Read A Quest of Heroes Chapter Two
For the next five days I was really busy. The feeling of time slipping through my fingers pushed me harder than any number of motivational coaches. Had I lived my whole life as if every day was the last, I’d have been driving a Bentley before I turned thirty. For a start, I raked together whatever cash I had. That included collecting a couple of pretty well written-off debts. One of the debtors was reduced to hiccupping, amazed at my aggressive stance. It didn’t amount to much—about three grand give or take, of which four hundred and a whole precious day were wasted on repeat exams in a private clinic. All they did was confirm the initial diagnosis. The only difference was that their doctor insisted that I be admitted straight away for some proper care and a possible few extra weeks—or months—to live. I told him very nicely that I’d think about it, then legged it. Vultures. I splurged five hundred more on a casino. Actually, I was on the point of winning a couple grand, but that wasn’t what I’d come there for so I kept betting on color doubling up after each loss. In theory, provided there were no limitations to the size of your bet or your wallet, you might just end up in the black if you quit in time. But my particular wallet had quit after having backed black seven times while the wheel kept throwing up just reds. The croupier suppressed a smirk. As if I didn’t know that he could come up with any number he pleased. What he didn’t know was that I was staking my life, not just my money. But it wouldn't have changed jack shit. For three more days I was doing the rounds of the retail stores buying on credit cell phones, game consoles and other such electronic junk. In the evenings, I’d drive to the market and flog it for a third of the real price. Now I sat in a burger joint, my aching legs stretched out under the table, my stomach reluctantly digesting whatever artery-cloggers they had on the menu. Pointless trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. I was entitled to whatever I fancied, be it food or activity. Should I smoke a cigarette? Shame really, considering how much effort I’d put into doing cold turkey only a year ago. Right. What was on my agenda for tomorrow? First thing I needed to pop by the lawyer’s and get a letter about parents not assuming responsibility for their children’s consumer credits. Just in case a bailiff paid Mom a visit after my death. I didn’t like the way it sounded. After my death, bah. From the lawyer I had to go back home and sort through my digs. I had to decide what to give away and what to take to a boot sale. The rest was going straight to the dump. I didn’t want strangers – or Mom even, for that matter – to rummage through my underpants and dusty mementos. I also needed to go through my photos and paperwork and trash the more personal items. Then, back to my retailers to ruin their insurance statements by a few more cents. My iPhone vibrated over the slippery table top, gradually sliding to the edge. I didn’t recognize the number so I kept watching the gadget’s suicide attempt. On the ninth beep it plunged and leapt down onto the tiles. I caught it halfway to the floor giving a wink to the picture of a pretty young mother complete with kid who observed my actions from the phone screen. "Yes." ‘Max? Hi. This is Olga from Chronos." I glanced at the clock. It was well past eight. "You seem to be working long hours. Be careful they don’t run you into the ground." I heard a short polite laugh. "Not at all. I’m already finishing. You’re the last on my call list," her voice grew serious. "So, have you decided anything?" "I’m afraid I haven’t," I shook my head as if she could see it. "It’s too expensive. No way I can afford it. Some other time, maybe? Some other life?" "I see." Was it my imagination or was the sympathy in her voice genuine? Or was it still her sales pitch? "Max, I... I'm not sure you know but our company has access to our potential clients’ medical records. In case something needs checking, you understand..." I winced. In this electronically-controlled world, privacy was quickly becoming obsolete. "So I know all about your situation. My mom died of cancer three years ago, too," she faltered and sniffled. I could see her wiping the corner of her eye with a Kleenex trying not to smear her mascara. "This was what influenced my decision to work for Chronos. But there’s something I want you to know... Max," her voice grew stronger. "Cryonics isn’t the only solution. There’s another option, too." I pricked up my ears. "Which is?"
Tales of demons and gods.
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