Carter Jones could be a very patient man. He could wait for his enemies to die, and he could wait for his lost loves to return. He could sit outside a castle and watch it fall apart and decay as the days pass. He could wait for the continents to drift, merge, and break apart again and again...
But damn. Listening to this endless barrage of facts, finances, and 'If you check page five of your folder, you'll notice that our finances in blah blah blah' was literally killing him. Damn his immortality from keeping him from getting out of this...this micro-genocide of happiness.
"Now, Mr. Jones, if you look at the blue papers you'll find that if we cut out 15% of what we're giving to charities, you'll find that-"
Correction. MAJOR. Major micro-genocide of happiness.
Carter forced a plastic smile on his face and pretended to do so, giving the occasional nod to pretend he was listening as his mind drifted.
Jericho got down on one knee. He took the maiden's hands in his own and smiled, asking for her to spend her life with him. With tears of joy in her eyes, she said yes, and they kissed under the sun.
"I love you."
He smiled at her. They had a home together. A beautiful farmland, with a plot of land to call their own.
Then he blinked, and he was a father, and she was a mother, and their son was already pitching in to help grow crops.
"Hm..." So many memories, so hard to keep them separate and in time with each other...
"Sir? Mr. Jones?"
Right. He was still in a meeting. He clapped his hands together and stood up, surprising his board of executives. "Excellent work, Mr. Kellogs!"
"Fantastic. Tell you what? Leave the rest of your work with my friends here, and I'll get back to you, okay?" Carter glanced at his phone and quickly placed it against his ear to answer a faux call. "Sorry, Nigeria Prince. Very important. Got to go. I'll get back to you, promise." His board of executives could only roll their eyes and watch as he began to step out. "Loved it. Especially the part where you told me to look at the paper. Grade A stuff. Don't call me, we'll call you. See ya." Carter left without another word, quickly sighing and escaping to the only place anyone can truly rest in a business environment.
She was dead, and the land was in flames as their son was taken away by barbarians. Carter laid in the burning ruins of their home, his guts and blood a crimson carpet now. His fingers dug into the soft dirt, dragging his already healing body to his love. He took her unnaturally cold body in his hands and pressed his lips, warm with his blood, against hers.
His body healed like it always did, but his soul died. It died and was reborn as a warrior. He no longer lived for his wife and son, for they had been taken away. Now, he lived for revenge.
Carter blinked. He was standing over the bodies of hundreds. The barbarians had been slaughtered, and their blood and guts decorated the desert floor. His own sword had been plunged into the stomach of his son, ending the life of the young man.
At the water cooler Carter rested, sipping water from his styrofoam cup in safety from his responsibilities. His phone rang and he sighed as he answered it. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Not supposed to leave like that." He heard the voice scold him, talking about this and that as he sipped his water. 'Could you blame me, though? It was so boring in there! Can't I just have a stamp that says NO and use that?"
No, because apparently none of his business partners had ever heard about having fun. Carter sighed as his adviser hung up the phone. "Great. Stuff I have to worry about later. Who knew being the CEO of one of the world's greatest companies would eat into your Fridays so much?" he asked himself.
He let out another sigh and looked into his cup. Carter had always liked water. It changed to suit its container. It was adaptable. It could be whatever it needed to be. He could relate with that.
"Tabitha? Sweetie, will you come out?" Carter asked. He could hear her giggling, no doubt enjoying her father's selfless search for her. "I'm giving you to the count of ten, young lady." Despite his firm voice, he had a smile on his face. "Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. TWO-ONE!" He peeled open a bush and found...nothing? He felt something hug his leg, and there was the child, showing off the smile she inherited from her father. "You sure showed me, little lady!" He laughed.
"Daddy, you're easy to trick! Heehee! Let's play again!"
She was older now. His little girl had blossomed into a beautiful woman, and he...Carter looked the same as the day she was born. They were meeting her boyfriend, and they both agreed that he couldn't know the truth. Not yet.
"T-this is my little brother. Carter Jr."
"Nice to meet you." Neither party could look each other, or Tabitha's boyfriend in the eye.
Carter blinked again.
Tabitha's husband left her. After ten years of being happily married, he had left when her body began to sag, wrinkle, and grey. She was left with an empty house and a decrepit old body. Her 'little brother' was as healthy as the day she was born.
He watched her as she cried. He didn't know what to say. When she did look at him, by her own choice, he saw the hate in her eyes. The jealousy. The contempt. His own daughter hated him, and he understood why.
He left her alone that night. When he returned, she was-
Carter snapped out of his thoughts and saw two of his employees walking towards him. He smiled at them and waved at them, causing them to pause. "M-Mr. Jones! H-hi!" one of them stammered. She avoided his eyes as her co-worker greeted their boss.
"Hey, Carter," he smiled.
"Flynn, that's our boss!" The girl repeated, staring at her co-worker as if he had just grown a third eye.
Carter just smiled and leaned against the wall as he explained. "Its cool, Miss Morris. I like being on the first name basis with the employees I like, and I like just about all of you." The woman blinked, blankly as he and the younger man bumped their fist together, before opening their hands and making an explosion noise. "How you doing, Flynn? How's the wife and kid?"
"Viola's okay, sir. As for our daughter, well," Flynn words were caught in his throat as he looked away with melancholy twinkle.
"Flynn." Carter gripped the man's shoulder. "Is something preventing you from getting her the help she needs?"
"Money's just tight right now. Viola lost her job and-"
"Say no more. I'll call in some favors and make sure your daughter gets a proper check up. We'll help her." Carter gave a warm grin to the surprised young man, before looking at his newer employee. "What can Carter Claus do for you, Goldilocks?" he chuckled, staring at her short, blonde hair.
"Huh? Oh! No! N-nothing, sir. T-thank you."
"Hm. If you say so. Just remember, I'm always happy to help. I named this company Justice Industries for a reason. Our mission is to deliver good to everyone we can."
Miss Morris smiled at her boss and nodded. "R-right! You started this company all on your own from the ground up! Its amazing. If you don't mind me asking, Mr. Jones-"
"Carter. Please. I'm your boss, but I also want to be a pal, Miss Morris."
"Right, sorry. C-Carter. How did you do it?"
"How did I become the CEO of one of the most powerful companies in the world?" Carter's grin held his secret well. "Life experiences."
King Cather ruled over a mighty kingdom. He controlled miles of land with his mighty sword. His very whisper could damn a soul. His very glare could end armies. He was a king unlike any that came before and after.
But while the king was immortal, the kingdom he had forged was not. The land he ruled over decayed around him. His servants and slaves laid on the ground with red skin and boils. His own skin was sick, a disease festering inside of him. He scratched against his vile, infected flesh and tore off his own skin with a howl of pain. This sickness should have taken him weeks ago, but his body would not, could not die.
He was left alone, the only survivor of a once grand kingdom.
Carter said his goodbyes with his classic, friendly smile and returned to the confines of his personal office. As promised, the files left by Kelton were waiting for him. He held back a roll of his eyes and got out his lunch. Might as well eat as he read. He took out a simple sandwich and bit into it, chewing away as he faux-read the endless pile of letters and numbers.
Oh, how he missed the days of dungeons. If someone was bothering him, BAM. Dungeon. Nowadays if you tried that you'd be called 'crazy' or 'a supervillain.'
"Ugh," Carter groaned with disgust. He dropped the file and looked at his computer. "Break time? Break time," he told himself. He spun his chair a bit and was quickly surfing through the world wide data web, one of the greatest inventions of this eon in his personal opinion.
He smiled at a video of a sleepy puppy, only to frown as he spied
America's Roaring 20s. Oh, what a time to be alive.
A time to find music and women. A time to dance and laugh and drink.
A time to find love, and be loved in return.
Oh, Charlotte. How she danced with him. How she laughed with him. They would spend entire nights dancing together, drinking under the starry sky, enjoying the wealth and riches they had acquired.
Oh, how she feared him.
Her skin, once shimmering with youth, smooth to touch, was dull and sagging. Her hair was greying, weak and limp. But he was still as young as the day they met. She screamed at him. Accused him of being a devil. She had a gun in her hands. She shot him. His brain matter and blood made a carpet on their bedroom floor. By the time his vision returned to him...
She must have seen him healing. She must not have liked it.
So she took herself to where he could never follo-
"Oh my God!"
Carter broke out of his stupor and looked up from his computer. Shouting. Screaming. What was going on?
He got up from his seat and walked over to the window. He saw the crowd of people forming at the base of his building. They were point at something above him. He followed their gaze. There was a ledge. There was a man on that ledge.
"Don't jump!" a voice yelled.
"Shit," Carter whispered, before running off.
Carter walked onto the ledge. He walked with purpose and without hesitation towards the man. The red faced fellow saw him and screamed at him. "Stay back! Don't come any closer!"
And Carter stopped, but he did not leave. He was five steps away from him. He held up his hands, and he said to the man, "My name is Carter Jones. I'm not going to hurt you." The portly man didn't seem to hear him. He was too busy staring down at the asphalt roads and concrete walkways. Carter could see his grip loosening. He spoke once more, "I understand that your life must be hard right now. But I want you to know that-"
"Shut up! Shut the fuck up! You don't know a thing about me!"
"I know I don't want you to jump, and I know you're better than this."
"I'm not...I-I'm not better...I know I'm not..." The man looked on the verge of tears. Carter took a step forward. "I deserve this..."
"No one does. I don't see any reason you do."
"Just...just shut up!" This was the first time he looked directly at Carter. He was crying.
"I want you to know something. Something I think everyone should know." Carter took another step forward. "You're amazing. You're a miracle. You're a blessing to my life, and I'm honored to have met you. Of all the particles to float through space, of all the gravity wells to bring those particles together, of all the billions of people to exist, and out of all of the billions more to be born...This planet was made. Your family was made. YOU were made... I love you. I love what you represent, what you are, and I love your potential."
The man didn't shy away as Carter stood three steps away from him. He continued to speak, he had to keep his momentum going, he had to save him. "No matter what's happened to you, no matter what you've gone through, there are millions of people out there who don't want you to hurt yourself. I know I don't. I know that I want to help you. I know that you are stronger than the world is cruel. I know that when you can't be strong, and its okay not to be all the time, I am ready and willing to offer my strength, or even just an ear, to you."
Carter took another step forward. "Whatever you think is, whatever problem you think you caused, or whatever you think you've done, you can grow past it. I don't care who you are or what you did. Maybe you thought you were just having fun and you went too far. Maybe you hurt someone, knowingly, and are only now realizing the extent of what you did. Maybe, and this is more likely than you think, you did nothing wrong. Maybe it's not your fault, and even if it is...I'm here. I will always be here for you."
The man took his first step towards Carter. Carter took his last step towards him. He embraced the man, holding him tightly and securely. He felt hot tears fall on his shoulder, and he gave the stout man a comforting squeeze.
"I-I'm not ready to..."
"That's okay. We can sit up here for a bit. Talk about life, the universe, whatever..." And Carter sat down with him and happily took the role of the listener.
A/N Phew. What a story. I tried doing something really different with this one. Most stories I write are usually action pieces, so I wanted to try something...not so action-packed. Its kind of my first time writing something that's supposed to be inspiring. If it didn't work, please tell me. I want to improve. I hope I was able to make something at least half-decent for you, my dear reader.
I wanted to convey a lot of mixed emotions, since that describes a lot of Carter's life. Pain, joy, regret, guilt, and most importantly, love. I wanted to show that Carter had gone through a lot of different personas and faces, before ending up as the loving, benevolent businessman he is here. His words to the suicidal man aren't just to him, they're to everyone. Every miracle on planet earth. He loves you. Bless you, for existing.
Secondly, this story is part of the Super-verse, a unified universe I created that with the help of my friends. Its about superheroes and supervillains. Granted, this story lacks a lot of references to superheroes because I wanted to focus more on Carter and his immortal journey, but still. If you're interested in joining Fictionpress' superhero universe, please, check my profile for more information. Team up with other superheroes, join a super-team, and interact with some other great writers that are learning to improve just like you! If nothing else, I hope you enjoyed the story!