After you have taken away everything, stripped power and rank. When the crime is so deep it is incomprehensible. How do you punish an immortal?
They cursed him, barred him from the earth. No matter what, he couldn’t approach the ground closer than a handspan. He was a denizen of highrises, although he kept out of concrete buildings. Too much stone. He would walk out in gigantic platforms to feel some connection.
It wasn’t enough.
“You filled the form out well, but I see you claim to be a main protagonist. Do you have any supporting evidence?”
“Evidence? Look at my gravity-defying hair and manly charm!”
“Yes, you do have excellent hair, but do you have any heirloom swords, or unusual birthmarks? Do you suffer under a geas, or-“
“My neighbour has this goose that-
“Not geese. Geas.”
“Oh. No. Not yet. But that’s why I need this loan! I’m going to buy a magic sword and-”
“Let me stop you there. Even if you do find some proof of your heroic status you haven’t even attempted to show a serious nature.”
“There’s a chance that you are in a…” The clerk lowers her voice. “Comedy.”
“But that’s good right? Less chance of my dying a tragic death and not returning your loan.”
“Perhaps, but comic heroes come with a huge chance of losing everything in hilarious but unlikely circumstances. From our perspective the risk is just too high to give loans to comic heroes. And I’m afraid to say that you fell straight into the classic geas/geese comic trap. Loan denied.”
They found him, body switched and memories eaten, living rat-like in the London gutters.
“How can this be him?” I demanded, but they were supernaturally certain.
“Lemme go!” the boy howled. “I din’t do nothing! An’ if I did I’m sorry.”
I let the words pass unheard and listened to the music of his voice, then wept with realisation. How could I fail to recognise him? He was, in the end, my son.
This was originally written as a kind of fanfiction or homage to Twig, but Twig’s biopunk style didn’t quite fit into the genre for this challenge so I rewrote it as the above. Original is below:
The giant man made the armchair look toylike.
“How can you be sure who I am?” asked the boy. “With my memories mostly lost and body replaced… there were so many bodies in the club.”
As the boy talked the great man let mechanisms behind his ears filter out the words. He listened to the musical cadence instead, and wept with realisation.
“How could I not recognise you? You are, in the end, my son.”
The bait hit the river hard with an unhappy moo.
My client – a corrupt Beijing official – was trying to impress his date with cynicism, calling me a fraud. I grinned as the float twitched.
The monster exploded upwards, drenching everything, cow dead between terrible jaws. Our huge hooks pierced its noble face. We had it. Steel cable screamed off the reel.
I handed the winch controls to the shaking client.
Dragon fishing is the best.