Mrs. Schwin had been the first to notice her absence. She had come over to collect the month’s rent. Hoping to get the cheques for the four previous months as well. When there was no reply to her persistent ringing of the bell, a panicked call to the authorities was made. A day later it was confirmed that the tenant had gone missing, no one knew of her whereabouts. A few days later, it was confirmed that she had died. To swim with the fishes was the last thing she did.
However, the following week, Mrs. Schwin received a package at her door. It had been sent to her from Luca. The date on the letter was of eight days before. The contents of the letter shocked her. The money in the package paid for the rent for the 5 months that she had missed, shocked her even more.
Five months before the alarm on the phone went off, Luca had woken up after having the most wonderful dream ever. She had been on a vacation in spain and done the things people do in spain. Gone for bull fighting matches, had amazing, exotic, food, seen Barcelona play Real Madrid and seen Frank Gehry’s architecture. But then the alarm went off and brought her back to earth in a nose dive. The alarm made her feel like a lyricist who couldn’t find a sensible word that rhymes, like she needed to listen to Eminem.
And that’s what she did. Half an hour later, having gotten tired of being tired, she got out of bed and made some breakfast. The sun was about to rise. She always made sure she woke up before the sun rose. So she could decide whether or not to go for a run that morning and be out at the same time as the sun, in case she wanted to. On this day however, she didn’t feel like doing anything at all.
This is how it had been for so many days. The fortune left for her by her distant cousin had run out last month. Which mean she would have to get a job. She’d never gotten a job before. She’d never even considered what it would be like to have a job before. All she wanted to was… Well she wanted to do something amazing, but she had no idea what. She had time. She had had all the time in the world. But now, with all the money gone, she had no idea what to do. Obviously, not all the money had gone. But 97% was. And that was a big reason to be worried about. The remaining money would last for a few months, at this rate. Unless she did what she had to do. Something amazing.
Luca had been the brightest student as a child. Too bright. No one likes such people. So she dumbed it down a little. Allowed herself to fail at times too. As it turned out, no one likes such people either. Eventually she realised that what others thought, who others liked was not of any significance. So she dropped out of school. She got her tuitions at home for some time. But these teachers, too, couldn’t satiate her appetite for knowledge. She wanted to know everything. How does the Earth revolve? Why can’t paper be folded more than seven times? Why don’t only children become presidents? She wanted to know trivial facts that irritated her teachers because 1) these wasted time and 2) they couldn’t answer them. So they were packed away as well.
She tutored herself over the next few years. She used text books. Text books thick as bricks, and probably heavier. Then she learnt of the internet. And she never looked back. The World Wide Web could teach her French and tell her exactly what makes a football curve the way it does, simultaneously.
Eventually, at the age of 18, while other teenagers were discovering a haven in drugs, she was making complete use of every resource the world had to offer. She didn’t want to miss a thing. She wanted to know more and more and more. She wanted to know everything. Then she became scared. What if she died? There would be things she was completely unaware of. This fear of death gripped her. For days she left her books, forgot meals. She had no idea what to do. She would eventually die. And all the things she’d done would have been a waste! How would she beat Death? She began reading literature dealing with death, about how, in myths, people had tried and failed. She analyzed these mistakes, thought of ways to correct them. Eventually, she traced the reason for these people’s mistakes to the root. Their very method was wrong. It’s not possible to evade death, He will come when the time is right. When the time is right. This time would have to be avoided.
She pondered upon this fact for a month, a month during which sleep was an elusive luxury. Hours were spent by her in front of her beloved computer on the internet. Every theory was researched thoroughly. This took roughly eight months. Eight months in which Luca had aged decades. The nineteen year old looked like someone in her thirties, but she hadn’t bothered one bit. She spent her free hours in the gym or listening to Eminem. Sometimes, listening to Eminem in the gym.
This description, however, portrays an incorrect picture of Luca as being almost anti-social. Luca had numerous friends but just didn’t manage to meet them face to face often, as her research kept her busy. Her humour and ability to finish others’ home work with obvious pleasure not only pleased her friends, but made them like her a lot. Despite their affection for her, she never mentioned her project to these friends. She did so for two reasons: 1) These people would not be able to grasp the magnitude of her research and 2) Those who would, would realise the danger of such an experiment and would convince her to stop.
Despite her precautions, her friends did find out that she was up to some sort of scientific experimentation and the word spread. Like a game of Chinese whispers, the experiments that she was up to varied from a machine that brings world peace and a plan for world domination, during these peoples’ daily gossip. Hence, our protagonist came to be known as a Mad Scientist. Later, as The Mad Scientist. The “Ms.” In front of Luca’s name came to stand as an abbreviation for “Mad scientist” in many household jokes, said over dinner tables to guests who needed to be entertained and had unknowingly brought up the hot topic that was Luca.
It’s needless to say that those friends who had so joyously used her to solve math problems through their miserable, soon-to-end, lives were discarded from Luca’s life, the way torn up shoes are thrown after years of their use. Now Luca dedicated her time to her research, dedicated her time to beating death at his own game – Life. Achieving immortality was her sole purpose of life. The irony of this never struck her until it was too late. If her sole aim in life was to find the formula of immortality, what’s the point in living after you’ve found it?
Mrs. Schwin had a sad smile upon her face. She looked up from the letter and looked out of the window. She looked at the sun that was now setting and said a silent prayer for Luca’s soul.