“The Fountain of Youth Overflowed

Meg Burns

All rights reserved by the author

               
               It was a Sunday night deep in the rain forests of Brazil. The rain fell in huge
droplets. Inside a man-made shelter of  bamboo stems, three men sat working diligently over microscopes and lab equipment, making calculations and observing rats kept in cages around the room. A discovery had been made that would change the world forever.
               “The rats are doing well, shrinking at a consistent rate of five grams and one centimeter  every two hours. This amazing new substance, glycerob, is burning calories at an enormous rate, yet seems to keep enough to be able to stabilize all bodily functions. It’s just amazing.” said Dr. Dunleavy.
               “Yes, amazing but very dangerous. Extreme dosages of the substance could only lead to deadly consequences. It will have to be monitored intensely. Top secret
I presume. The government will have to be informed of the progress the substance
has made.” Dr. Anthony added.
               With the rain subsiding the scientists walked out of the hut admiring the bright sunlight that peered thorough the canopy of the rain forest. The world around them seemed so peaceful yet so mysterious. Natures perfect cycle was continuing right before their very eyes whether they knew it or not and evolving so perfectly, so subtly. Evolution was moving at the rate of a pinpoint on a never ending line, struggling to reach the end, and it seemed as though life as they knew it would never change....
 
               “Honey, could you turn that up please, I’ve been waiting for this story.”
               In breaking news today, it had been discovered that last month’s government
grant, issued to the Houston Biochemical Lab, to research aging advancements has aided in a successful endeavor. It is unknown any details to where the research was done or what exactly the discovery entails, but it is thought to involve some sort of rare exotic plant in South America. Government officials will issue a statement regarding the specifics of the chemical and the repercussions of the discovery, late next week.”
               “Well it’s about time they’ve discovered something of this sort. Its already 2103 and the life expectancy of a human female is only ninety-eight. You’d at least expect it to be over an hundred by now.” said Cassey, a loud, obnoxious thirteen year old girl.
               “Well your grandmother here is one hundred and three Cas. So I wouldn’t worry about yourself. Old age runs in the blood.” said her father in a confident tone, looking down at his mother Endora. She looked up at him, nodded and smiled.
               “That's right. My grandmother lived to be a hundred and one. It only gets better my dear. It only gets better. Although, I don’t quite understand the obsession with living so long. My generation would rather have lived a good solid life and then die when it is our time rather than shoot for an unlikely age of say, one hundred and thirty. But you younguns these days seem to have more to live for, well with the technology and sorts. I guess with the booming economy and the new major technology nobody wants to miss a thing.”.
               “I sure don’t. By the time I’m grown up I won’t have to worry about anything.
Life will be a complete breeze.” said Cassey, shooting a sly grin up to her grandmother.
               “Oh you have no idea what a breeze life already is honey. You have no idea.”
said Endora.
               In other news, trouble with French relations continues to worsen. Threats
continue to be made towards the US. Although the threat level is not high, security continues to tighten in airports and in major US cities. Terrorism continues to get worse, and technology continues to get stronger but the threat remains. This is Donna Lark for ABC news.”
               A sullen look spread across Endora’s face. “These terrorist threats just keep coming and coming. I wish the media would stop reporting on them. Honestly it’s just not necessary to scare the nation like this. We haven’t had a major terrorist invasion since 2070.  And it seems like a new terrorist threat comes every year. It really just isn’t necessary.” 
               “Aren’t you the one who always told me better safe than sorry grandma? It’s good to be on alert about these things.” said Cassey.
                “But it’s not necessary to create paranoia dear. I feel we are living in a very
paranoid society because of the media. Back when I was young this type of paranoia didn’t exist and people lived a mush more care free life. Life was better back then, I always say that. The more we evolve the more we become desensitized from life as we should know it. It’s really a ridiculous cycle I say.”
               “All right mom, that's enough of that for the night. Let’s all get to bed. It’s
getting late.” said the father.
               With the T.V. turned off and the lights out, the family made  their way up the
stairs to bed. Little did they know what would lie ahead for them as they woke up the next morning to the chirping of birds and the warm sunlight pouring in on them from the east. Though their surroundings seemed familiar, nothing else would.
               As Endora went to step out of bed her whole world came crashing down. Every
morning for the past eighty or more years of her life she had woken up in the morning and stepped out of bed steadily feeling the floor firmly beneath her. But this morning was very different. She could no longer feel the floor firmly beneath her and as she went to step out of bed she fell right to the floor landing right on her bottom. Petrified at why this had occurred sh opened her eyes to discover a most frightening thing. She was merely two feet tall. Everything about her felt different yet she felt as if her brain had not changed at all. She got herself up and went across the room to look at herself in the length mirror that stood against her wall. What she saw shocked her. It was as if she was looking at a picture of herself when she was a girl of two years old. Her skin was fresh and smooth. Her hair had beautiful soft golden curls. Her eyes were a piercing blue. Was she dreaming? What had happened? Was she hallucinating? Had she gone crazy? She ran to her son’s room for some sign of hope, some sign that this was all some sort of dream. When she got to the foot of his bed, she climbed a top his trunk, because she could not see over the bed. At first she thought he’d had already gotten up because she didn’t see him in the bed. But when she looked closer she saw something. A tiny baby laid in the center of the huge king sized bed! She crawled onto the bed and over to the baby. Caressing its head she recognized it as being her son. She picked him up like she had so many years ago and rocked him in her arms. He awoke with a fright.
               “Who are you?” he said in a groggy, half asleep kind of voice. The when his eyes opened wider he shrieked in fright. “WHAT IS GOING ON??? WHAT HAS HAPPENED?? I FEEL LIKE I’M IN THE BODY OF A BABY!!! WHY HAVE MY HANDS SHRUNK??” he cried.
               “Calm down honey, I have no more of an idea what is going on than you do. Let me turn on the television.”
               Crawling across the huge bead she reached for the remote control and turning on the T.V. The words “BREAKING NEWS” were imprinted across the bottom of the
screen.
               Yes the entire world has been a victim of this terrorist attack. A French team
of psycho terrorists had supposedly had this plan in progress since early September. Scientists have discovered that large amounts of the Rico plant in Brazil have disappeared. The French terrorists have filtered it into all water supplies across the earth, making every single human a victim. The terrorist group consists of thousands of people all hypnotized by one man, Jacques Bordeaux, who was found to have committed suicide early this morning. And this just in; scientists have been running tests all morning and it seems as if our brain capacities are lessening by the minute. They predict that with in the next day or so we will not have our normal brain capacities, but ones in much simpler forms. Earth; brace yourself for what's to come because life as we know it now is ending. I'm Donna Lark for ABC News.”
               It was a horrifying shock to know that even the news anchors were babies talking like gown men and women. It was found out that people under fifty no longer existed but were just mere cells or embryos and you would be lucky to find them in the bed in which they laid the previous night. Endora and her son sat there waiting. , waiting for their brains to fail waiting for their lives to be over. In a sense, waiting to die.....
 
1,000,000 years later....
 
               “Another suicide huh?” asked Charles, a small boy appearing to be about ten
years old.
               “Seems like it. That's the five thousandth reported today. Over a million were
lost in that mass suicide yesterday. It’s the millionth year anniversary that has people dropping like flies.” said his mother.
               “Well I can understand the mentality. Four and a half feet in one million years
isn’t exactly encouraging. And another nine million to go, if I’m lucky. That is if you think about it that way. I’ve never really thought about it until the anniversary but, honestly another nine million years?? I feel like I’m stuck here in this hole. And to think at the end of my life I will have to live at least two million years without you! Well I just can’t fathom the idea.” Said Charles.
               “Settle down, settle down. Your not thinking of giving up are you?” cried
Endora.
               “I’m just thinking that what is there worth living for? Life is so monotone, so
repetitive. I’m beginning to think we’re the insane ones for living, rather than the suiciders for giving up. Researchers have been saying for over five hundred thousand years that they are almost to a breakthrough.”
               “I have faith in the researchers, and the scientists who are working day and
night to quicken the pace of our aging. They say that a breakthrough should be coming very soon. I still have hope Charles. I can’t understand why you’re giving up yours...”
               “Well say they do come up with this break through. So we’ll add another eighty
years onto our lives which have already lasted one million? I just don’t see the point.”
               “The point is that we can live a short amount of time longer, and we can die
like we’re supposed to die. Not by means of ourselves, but by means of fate. I agree that it’s difficult to think of our lives being another nine million years long. It’s almost unbearable. But if you keep hope in these new medical breakthroughs than it will be easier to live life day by day, not millions of years by millions of years.” Endora smiled and placed her hand on his. In a warm convincing tone she said,  And trust me; I’ve gained a lot of wisdom and knowledge in the one million one hundred and three years I’ve been around!”
 

© 2003 by the author

All rights reserved