The Immortal Blood
Ages ago, on a courtyard terrace in the hall of the slain, two gods battled for the hand of one goddess. After a bloody victory, the victor terminated the life of the loser, murdering him.
The goddess who had hoped to love the beaten immortal for an eternity, collected a single cell from his heart’s muscle. She placed this nucleus inside an orb and protected it with a single drop of her own blood, dousing the specimen with supernatural life. But before the cell could regrow, a thief stole the orb and cast it into outer space, where it fell to the mortal world.
A religious man planting in his garden found the orb, and though he couldn’t comprehend the mystery enshrined inside the celestial object, he secreted it away, imagining it contained a powerful force for good or evil. This religious man created a brotherhood of priests who stood watch over the sacred relic.
Then one day, Queen Cynara required the celestial vessel for her own dark purposes, and not knowing the secrets it held, her acts of sorcery in the forest caused the orb to open.
A symbiotic transformation was occurring in the king’s forest, deep inside the vale, hidden beyond the hollow glen, a place where supernatural magic had transpired earlier. Having suffered an attack by one of Odin’s ravens, Queen Cynara had collapsed and was now bedridden. But unbeknownst to her, or other mortal beings, an odd and sinister foreplay twitched in the king’s forest. Ancient secrets whispered and the moon glowed pearlescent, casting a vital luminosity on red fluid, which sustained a microscopic cell in a single drop of blood, lying on a flower’s petal.
An immortal housed within that droplet had waited since the beginning of time to escape the orb. The building blocks of life; collagen, hemoglobin and numerous enzymes survived inside the nucleus. The genetic coding was perfect, to metabolize, synthesize and replicate. And now, earth’s oxygen, the glow of a blood moon, perhaps the queen’s lingering magic, had created the perfect storm of events, for now, the immortal blood could communicate and cooperate with a host of living creatures.
The sun broke over the eastern horizon and dark shadows retreated with the rising light. The first cell replicated, producing a genetic replica of itself. The tissue didn’t have a mind, nor did it house a brain. The tissue and plasma merely carried a genetically encoded purpose inside its core, a specialized genome on a mission to secure a yolk.
And the forest creatures were awakening.
Unmindful of the mystery taking place, a hawfinch welcomed the day’s light and soared above the treetops, swooping joyfully. She landed near a clear-running brook, having sighted an appealing nut. She grasped a wild cherry pit in her beak and fractured its stony casing to claim the pulp inside.
The surprising strength of her beak set her apart from other feathery fowl. She savored her reward.
The cell replicated. One begat two, two begat four…
A male hawfinch made his presence known to the lady bird and she found his orange-brown plumage striking. The pair took up a dance as old as time, a beautiful display of courtship.
The cells replicated, again. Four begat eight, eight begat sixteen…
Far beneath leafy branches, a spiny-tailed gecko crept from beneath a moss-covered rock. A nocturnal creature, she didn’t usually awaken during the daylight hours, but the weight of motherhood urged a sense of duty. She’d searched for a place to lay her eggs but had given up at sunset, given the autumn chill. Now, as warmth came again, she resumed the hunt. Such decisions came with risk, but she chose to hold the eggs inside her body until she could find a safe nest. Finding a decaying log, she dug an egg chamber, fit herself inside, then covered herself with dead leaves and substrate. She settled in to wait for the perfect egg-laying moment.
The cells replicated, again. Sixteen begat thirty-two, thirty-two begat sixty-four…
A breeze drifted through the vale. Leaves fluttered and other winged creatures dashed or soared above the canopy. Soon, the king’s forest twittered with birdsong, but an opportunity was in sight.
A goshawk, a medium-large raptor perched on a tree limb, enjoyed an amiable view for catching prey. Her marigold eyes scrutinized tall verdant grasses and pink and white foxglove oscillating in the breeze. An ever-growing droplet of blood slipped from a flower petal, and fell, collecting on a blade of grass. The droplet slid along the stem and then self-implanted on the ground.
The cells kept dividing until a large mass of fluid enveloped the forest floor. The blood could not be contained. It moved, searching for a host who would cooperate. Soon, a stream of blood flowed through the soil, blades of grass and wildflowers.
The goshawk caught sight of the red stream, and curious, she landed near the fluid and poked at it with her beak. The fluid attached to her bill; she tried to cast it aside, from her beak, from her talons, but the effort was futile. She hopped backward, flapping her gray plumage, panicking, shrieking, soon rising into the air, but as she flew beads of fluid crept along her legs, slid across her nether region, and entered her cloaca. The intercourse wasn’t painful, but it had successfully fertilized her eggs. Unspent droplets fell to the forest floor and carried on with their divisions.
Warm inside her burrow, the spiny-tailed gecko waited for an apt moment to lay her eggs, but the ground would not heat until spring. She was at risk of dying if she held her eggs too long, but she refused to release her motherly burden. Her young could not survive if she released these eggs now.
The male hawfinch attempted to mate with his lady bird, but the blood sensed the mated pair in the branches of the hornbeam tree. Like an army of red carpenter ants, the fluid marched along the bark. It wouldn’t be long until the perfect genetic code mated with the hawfinch, too.
To the naked eye, Mother Nature was as it should be. The sun cast a beautiful golden glow on a forest and its creatures. Yet, immortal blood was infiltrating this world and was exploiting the egg-laying creatures by stealing their protective coverings.
A resurrected life was never intended to rise in this way. However, inside the animal yolk, a miraculous transformation was taking place.
In the middle of the afternoon, a raven flew over the landscape. Curious about the red pond, it landed near the fluid and stood near its bloody edge, wary, watchful—As if the glossy black bird had a mind to sense the motivation, it leaned near the liquid and listened—
Unafraid, the raven dipped its black beak in the red fluid and filled its mouth with blood. It then took to the air, flying above the canopy, soaring with the wind, and set its flight path to the east barbican of Camden castle and the statue of an undead king.