|Casper Montgomery was about to embark on his fiftieth suicide attempt. He considered perhaps memorializing the milestone, laughing aloud at the morbidity of the idea. Thus far, he had been stabbed, shot, hanged, drowned, impaled, electrocuted, poisoned, bludgeoned, suffocated, crushed, starved, frozen, trampled, and burned alive. In retrospect, some of those techniques had been more unpleasant to endure than others, but he was still determined to off himself if it was the last thing he did... which, this time, he sincerely hoped it would be.
He looked over the freeway beneath him, as cars zipped past the overpass on which he stood. Casper still marveled at these amazing inventions, remembering a time when people traveled not at seventy miles an hour in metal and glass enclosures, but by carriage, or even on horseback. These automobiles were a relatively new invention, and never ceased to amaze Casper.
Casper was tired. And it wasn't just the eighty-five years he had been in this body. It was that he could never rest. Whenever his body became weary and he would lay down to sleep, he would inevitably wake up again, and although rejuvenated, would feel the weight of the world once again start pressing down on him, as his ticking clock reset for another eighty-five years.
The suicide attempts weren't the mark of a troubled individual... they were a last ditch attempt to gain some peace. To escape from the cruel cycle that Casper found himself bound to. With a deep breath, Casper took that long first step, and tumbled over the guardrail of the overpass, into the oncoming traffic below.
He landed with a thud on a passing Cadillac Escalade, its wheels, complete with spinning twenty-four inch rims, screeched to a halt as Casper impacted with the hood. The force of the stop propelled Casper off the hood and into the road, where a truck was unable to stop before running over his broken body.
Casper smiled to himself as he felt his life ebbing away. It wouldn't be long now... soon he would be able to rest.
And then he felt it... that familiar, cursed heat.
He groaned in frustration as his body spontaneously burst into flames. The bystanders who had gotten out of their cars to inspect the scene were forced backward by the intense heat given off by Casper's body. The fire that consumed him started with a dull cherry color, before amplifying to a deep orange... and finally a blindly bright white that forced everyone to avert their eyes. The heat kept increasing until the paint on nearby cars bubbled and distended before melting off.
And then, just as abruptly as the flames had started, they were extinguished again, leaving nothing but a pile of ash remaining on the charred concrete.
One brave woman edged forward to inspect the ashes. Imagine her surprise when she leaned in and a hand burst out from underneath the soot, clawing its way out. People ran screaming from the scene as Casper dug himself out of the heap of ashes, now as a naked young man of not more than twenty years. By now, the freeway was a mess of abandoned cars; most everyone had fled the moment a person began to emerge from the ashes of the dead one.
Casper calmly moved to one of the cars that had unimpeded access to the now empty freeway in front of him. He listened to the chorus of car horns that sounded from the massive traffic jam behind him. In the car, he found a small travel mug, which he used to scoop up some of the ashes from the pile, transporting them back to the car. Climbing in, Casper shifted the car into gear and sped away from the scene, making a mental note that in another eighty-five years, he might want to try something a little less public.
Back at his house, Casper found some clothes, checking out his new, youthful appearance in the mirror. Frowning at the garments that his older, previous self wore, he resolved to go out and purchase himself some decent clothes. Although he was still tired, his new, young body gave him back much of the energy he had been missing in recent years.
Casper took the travel mug full of ashes and took it to the back of his walk-in closet, where it joined over a dozen other urns and other vessels, housing the ashes of his previous incarnations.
Whistling a little tune as he locked up the house and headed outside, Casper decided that if he was going to be stuck here for another eighty-five years, he may as well enjoy himself.