Jack Sorderstrom sat on the veranda, gazing at the stars. His wife, Maria, stood in the doorway.

"Nice stars tonight," she commented.

"Yeah, nice," Jack replied in a voice that showed he wasn't remotely thinking about the stars.

"You're thinking about Ray again," Maria whispered sadly. Ray was Jack's father who had passed on a couple of weeks earlier. "You have to go on, Jack. There's no use living in the past."

"I know," Jack responded quietly, "but I think it's my fault he died. I could have noticed he was sick." Even quieter, he said, "He could have been saved."

Maria tried to reason with him. "He was old and stubborn. He wouldn't have told us he was sick any more than Dominic would tell us he doesn't want us to read him Peter Rabbit anymore. He's in bed, by the way, sleeping like an angel."

Jack smiled. "The little tyke wore himself out in soccer today. He scored two goals!" His smile faded. "I just don't want to slip away from you like my dad did for me."

"You won't," Maria assured him, kissing him and the forehead and smiling. "Not for a long time."

"Never, if I can help it," Jack decided firmly.

* * * * * *

Jack spent the next couple of days in the basement, locking the door and not coming out for any reason. Maria began to get worried. He had enough food, she knew; there was a fridge down there. But she had to wonder, "What was he doing down there?"

Little did she know that Jack was making something that would stop his aging in its tracks. It would make him immortal.

The Potion of Eternal Living, Jack called it, was extremely dangerous for the soul to make. It would cause you to live forever, but as Jack struggled to mix, boil, pour, and mix again, he did not know about the side effects that would take place.

A storm raged as Jack added the finishing ingredients. Not pausing to think about what he was doing, he drank the potion. Jack's grey hairs that had accumulated over the past few days returned to their natural color, any wrinkles that he had disappeared, and a new energy went to the tips of his fingers and toes. He went up the stairs and unlocked the door to go and have dinner with his wife and son, not planning to tell them what he was doing down there.

* * * * * *

The years went on, and Jack never showed any signs of aging. He still loved Maria, even though she got older, and after a while, people began to think she was Jack's mother. They had to move away. Breast cancer took Maria a few years later.

Dominic never married, but stayed at home to keep his father company. He grew to be the same age as his father, older, and passed on eventually. Jack, already broken down by Maria's death, went mad.

* * * * * *

Jack stopped going out of his house. He had groceries delivered, but that was the only way he kept in contact with the outside world.

One day, Jack sat in his living room, staring at the wall, thinking about Maria and Dominic. His mind almost normal again, he said, "Why didn't I stop to think that if I became immortal, others would die around me?"

There was a knock at the door. He got up, and when the door opened, there stood.
Death. The grim reaper itself. At every breath it took, the air became frigid.

"Oh, please," Jack pleaded. "I only want to join my wife and son. I miss them desperately."

Death didn't say anything. With one swift nod, Jack felt his soul rise up to the heavens. That day, many swear that they heard a voice on the winds saying, "I'm coming, Maria, I'm coming."

The end.