"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"-Edgar Allan Poe
I am Víctor Del Mar, and the year was 1845.
I was once a young promising and studious photographer, who was lodging at the local Winfield Inn, in a small southern town in Texas named Kyle.
I was there at the inn for the purpose of taking a daguerreotype, which was a recent phenomenon from France and had provoked a sensation in the country and the world that was nonpareil.
For those who are not quite cognizant of what a daguerreotype is, it is a marvelous invention, by which an individual inscribes his or her own image, on a sensitized sheet of silver-plated copper.
The gentleman who I was to take the photograph was a charismatic man of a fascinating aura, by the name of Logan Clark.
He was a noteworthy aristocrat by birth, and well-esteemed in the southern society.
It was in the early morning, when I met the enigmatic Logan Clark in the hall, as he was waiting for my presence.
We made our cordial introductions, and his voice was deep, but mellow in his southern drawl.
What was discernible was his effable appearance of finery.
He was a willowy man in stature, and his eyes bore a tincture of a sable hue of mystery.
His nose was aquiline, with a protruding bridge in the front.
His cheekbones were high in symmetry, while his chin was solid and manly.
His hair was medium curly chestnut brown, with sideburns and a waxed trimmed mustache.
His shoulders were narrow and slightly sloped.
He was dressed in a green double-breasted morning coat, with a vest underneath of notched collars.
He had a linen shirt, and a short cravat around his neck knotted in a bow.
He wore full-length pantaloons and luculent black shoes.
He carried his tall hat in his hand, and an ivory walking stick in the other.
His proud and vintage disposition was a manifestation of his earnest and politic propriety and nature.
He was extremely eager to know more about the process of making a daguerreotype, before taking the photograph.
I had explained to him briefly the procedure, and afterwards the photograph was taken.
I was handsomely paid a good amount of cash for the daguerreotype, and we shook hands, as his departure from the inn was immediate.
He was a man of great punctuality.
I had remained at the inn, as I waited for the fresh daguerreotypes to be exposed and fixed.
Once the daguerreotypes were then exposed and fixed, I took notice of a strange occurrence that had succeeded inexplicably.
As I was in my room alone, with the darkness that had enveloped outside, I saw the complete development of the most unusual abnormality.
It was typical to expect that a daguerreotype could easily be manipulated or disrupted, by numerous things of plausibility.
Somehow, what I had discovered was a startling revelation of such incomprehensible magnitude.
It was evening, and the shutters were closed, so that I could prevent any pellucid rays of the sun, from damaging the monochrome of the daguerreotype.
However, what emerged from the photograph taken was of a man, who was not the same man I had taken the daguerreotype before.
You see, the gentleman was not the young man of before middle age, instead, a very hoary fellow.
Even though his stylish attire was not altered, his heteroclite guise was definitely.
His chestnut brown curly hair was now absolutely gray, and the vivid expression in his countenance was marked, in a profound crystalline pallor and imposition.
How could this be really practical?
The intrinsic effects of the distinctive glare of the sun or the surface could have induced this consequence I pondered continuously or the underexposure also.
Nonetheless, this mysterious result could not transpire so easily, if it did not require a reasonable explanation.
That night I tarried in deliberation and wondered, if this was not a misconception or uniquity.
I needed to confirm my puzzling doubt and conjecture.
But how was I to procure that contingency?
I did not know where to locate Mr. Clark, since all I knew of him was only his name and surname—nothing more.
Thus, the one option obtainable was to inquire at the front desk, with the clerk.
After asking I discovered that there was no address written in the hotel register.
Therefore, the enveloping mystery of the true identity of this man would be unsolved and perplex me for many years.
It was not until twenty years afterwards I was to come across the stranger again, whose name was Logan Clark.
And the encounter would be very chilling and memorable.
The year was 1865, and the ending of the American Civil War was nigh.
I was now a photographer of the war and had been at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek in Amelia County, Virginia. The Battle of Sailor’s Creek was part of the Appomattox Campaign, during the final days of the ongoing Civil War.
This was General Robert E. Lee's final battle, before surrendering at the famous Appomattox Court House.
Although the war seemed destined to proclaim Federal victory it was not overtly impartial to the moans and affliction of the ill-fated fallen soldiers of valiance from the vanguard, who lain in the strewn piles of the deceased I had witnessed from afar.
As the Confederates had retreated, I saw the familiar face of an individual that I recognized, as he passed me by.
It was the striking face of Mr. Logan Clark.
The retreating soldier bore a remarkable resemblance to him that was more than a coincidental consequence or anomaly.
He was now a Lieutenant in the Confederate Army. But how could this be?
If I was in my forties, he would have to be in his fifties.
However, he still appeared to be in his youthful thirties, and despite the wear and tear he suffered in the war consequently, he had no obvious signs of aging.
He appeared to be a very versatile and plucky man indeed, and he maintained himself, with the most sedulous care.
This I had to confess, with a sudden apprehension that inhibited my sentience. I ran after him, as he festinated into the woodland, where I lost him.
The next day, at the Appomattox Court House, I took a photograph of the soldiers who gathered around, Rebels and Yankees. I searched among the soldiers alive, for the face of Logan Clark, but I would never see him again—or so I had believed.
The war, at last, had ended, and I returned to my office to resume my passion and occupation.
But, the daunting phantom of that individual lurked in my mind daily.
Upon my return, I discovered among the soldiers gathered in the photograph was lo in behold, Mr. Logan Clark.
There he was standing next to the stoical General Lee, whose gestures were quite honorable and decorous.
This time the actual photograph had not altered at all and was then compatible to the era.
Surely, this was more than a coincidental phenomenon or a sensible conception of mine not imaginative.
Thence, how was I to prove this theory that was always engrossing me gradually, and contrasted the reality I knew?
Henceforth, I attempted to find this elusive stranger, and for years.
The decades passed, and no concrete evidence.
All infinitesimal pieces of information were discarded, and my intrigue became an urgent obsession.
In the year 1875, ten years after the Civil War, I was informed of a mysterious case of immortality, involving an individual. The case was more than an inexplicable coincidence, and had definitely captured my fascination and interest.
It appeared that this bizarre phenomenon was not only inclusive to Mr. Logan Clark, but as well though uncommon, to other unknown individuals.
This particular case was about a strange man from New Orleans.
Immediately once I was told about this occurrence I traveled to Louisiana, where I had met the man whose name was Bertrand Lafayette, a distant relative of the famous French Marquis de Lafayette of the Revolutionary War.
He was a reputable man and a prosperous merchant as well.
His family had accumulated wealth and a luxuriant mansion and estate, outside of the city.
When I arrived at his estate, I was greeted by him, and he was not aware of my interest in visiting him.
I had explained to him that I wanted to take a photograph of him, using the pretext of his remarkable lineage and his affinity to the Marquis to see whether or not this miraculous tale of immortality was accurate. Judging from his appearance, he was a man in his late thirties, tall and robust in stature.
Even though his surname was French, his propriety was excellent and cordial of a Southerner.
He spoke to me at length, about his honorable grandfather, as if he was the actual Jean Paul Lafayette himself in person.
I was captivated by his account and listened attentively. I did not mention or reveal the incident with Mr. Logan Clark, since I did not think it prudent.
His photograph was taken in the hall of his mansion.
Afterward, there was an urgency to reveal the photograph at once.
I had departed from his estate and returned to the hotel I was staying in within the city of New Orleans.
I wanted to be in a place or room that would allow the photograph to be properly exposed.
After waiting and waiting, the photograph was finally exposed.
However, there was no abnormality detected.
Apparently either he was a mortal, or the photograph was illusionary.
Either way, I was faced with the reality that there existed the extraordinary case of Mr. Logan Clark.
What if this odd phenomenon was only found in daguerreotypes and nothing more?
Of course to prove this I would have to find a daguerreotype of Mr. Lafayette himself, or take one of him.
But where in heaven's name would I find such daguerreotype?
Perhaps in the mansion of Mr. Lafayette, I would be able to discover such possibility.
I had returned to his estate the following morning, where I gave him a copy of the photograph taken before.
He was extremely content and satisfied with the photograph, and he invited me to the parlor.
Once there I saw portraits of him and his grandfather. But there was one in particular that arrested my curiosity.
It was a painting of the Marquis with his grandfather. I studied the painting, with such meticulous observation, while he had left for a moment.
Although it was only a painting, the incredible resemblance to his grandfather was stunning.
But once again, this was not enough proof to deduce any concrete surmisal or conclusion of absolute immortality.
What if I took another photograph of him using the methods of a daguerreotype, instead of the modern usage of taking a photograph?
Thus, I asked him if I could take another photograph of him, and he agreed. I took the daguerreotype and then returned to the hotel to reveal it.
Once there, I had the daguerreotype revealed, and indeed, as with Mr. Logan Clark his appearance on the daguerreotype had altered, from being a man in his thirties to being a hoary man over a hundred-years old.
It was too unbelievable and yet a confirmation of an actuality.
There was no doubt that he was Jean Paul Lafayette.
The problem was how I would prove this theory to be rational and coherent to any one?
I thought of revisiting Mr. Lafayette, but when I did I learned that he had been shot and killed, by a disgruntled man who he owed a debt to.
Naturally, it was a terrible thing to be told, and unfortunately for me, I was left wondering what if he was truly immortal?
My quest for immortality would have to wait, until I located Logan Clark or discovered another case such as the previous, with Jean Paul Lafayette.
Forty years had elapsed, and it was now 1905, and I was 83 years old. I had always pondered within my creative thoughts the incredible immortality of Mr. Logan Clark, and the apparent notion and truth, about the actual existence of immortals in this world.
I could not avoid the pressing temptation to investigate this unearthly phenomenon and ensample even more, as I assayed.
But my baffling obsession would have to wait, until I could locate Mr. Logan Clark.
His daguerreotype had haunted me forever it had seemed, since that year of 1845, in that small southern town.
Where was he at?
I could not fully determine anything, about his whereabouts.
This was an impalpable enigma and so was he in the end.
I had searched and searched endlessly cities and towns throughout America and Europe previously, with the sole intention of finding him.
Verily, would I ever see him again, after all these passing years of decades?
This was the pending doubt that I had and could not answer, as a solonist.
I had then retired from my days, as a photographer from my senectitude.
My children had long grown, and I had grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I was at the escritoire of my home, when someone tapped on my door gently.
It was my beloved granddaughter Maria, who had wonderful news for me.
A telegram had arrived, with the news that I had been seeking, the actual whereabouts of Mr. Logan Clark.
A person from the Winfield Inn had spotted him there, after he was shown a photograph of him that was taken.
In spite of the fact that he was located I was not certain, if he was still present at the inn.
Perchance he was gone already, and I was too late.
Though I was in the early stage of consumption, I was strong enough to travel.
Much had changed, since that unforgettable day of 1845, and now the trains were quicker, and the evolution of the industrial revolution had unfolded.
I had my granddaughter accompany me, on the arduous journey.
At the Winfield Inn, we were told by the front desk clerk that he was no longer there.
Logan Clark had left the inn.
However, we were informed by a guest of the inn that he lived in a large deluxe house in a nearby Texan town called Lockhart.
It was the enfolding evidence desired.
When we arrived at the address, we were truly impressed, by the magnificent Gothic house that stood beneath the cerulean sky.
The exterior of the three-story house was built, with cream-colored limestone and red sandstone.
The central clock tower housed a four-faced clock and a heavy silver bell.
The mansard roof of the house was characteristic of a Victorian design.
When we tapped on the front door, a generous colored servant opened the door and asked us what we wanted.
We made mention of the name of Logan Clark, and a photograph was shown. The photograph was the incontrovertible proof that demonstrated the identity of Mr. Clark.
We were then escorted to the parlor that had draperies festooned over the window, as we waited for his presence seated in the chaise lounge.
Upon his arrival I rose to my feet to shake his hand, and see the man that had eluded me for sixty years.
He greeted me calmly and mannerly, while I stood with my walking cane in awe of the extraordinary sight of this affable and deferential man.
He was exactly the same as before, when I took his daguerreotype in 1845.
"Mr. Logan Clark, it is you in person verily. My God at last I have found you in earnest. You do not know how long I have searched for you, and how long I have been waiting for this day, with sudden anticipation to occur sir!" I said.
I asked him, if we could speak privately. He smiled as he remembered, "Indeed, it has been quite a long time, since we last saw each other Mr. Del Mar. You look remarkably well, for your age sir, if I may say so."
"And time has treated you so kindly I see, Mr. Clark. Why, I am extremely envious of your timeless evolution and fortitude sir." I responded with my candor and admission.
Once alone, I had a sudden need to know and verify the encroaching truth that was haunting me every day, since that famous photograph was taken.
I was smitten with great curiosity and admired his composed deportment and douth.
He seemed to be a very bounteous and prodigious benefactor within society.
We sat down afterward, as the crows could be heard cawing, from the row of the oak trees outside, and I perceived the familiar intonation I had heard decades ago, when we first met to take the indelible daguerreotype in the first place.
Despite the passing of time, he had maintained his youthful guise that made me marvel with that bizarre reality that occurred.
It was a bitter reality that I had envied for many years of my life.
He was always affable and an altruist man of probity toward me, and not insouciant.
He was not cantankerous or a catty man in nature.
Without a doubt I had admired his unflagging strength and unflinching courage.
"Mr. Clark, I repeat, you do not know how long I have waited for this day. I have dreaded this day decidedly and longed for this new encounter endlessly. If what I have been suspecting all these years with intrigue and excitement is veracious, then you are a living example of such absolute divinity," I replied.
"I am very flattered by your mere eloquence and passion Mr. Del Mar. There are many unlearned swines who debase themselves through greed and treachery. However, it is clear that you are not one of them. You are wondering then, why I have not aged in all this time elapsed, since we met on that day, you took my daguerreotype," he said.
"Yes, yes, tell me please I implore you sir—I must know your hidden secret. You hold the key to immortality, in your hand Mr. Clark. The world is at your beckon call."
He gazed into the depth of my eyes and began to relate his empirical story, as he smoked a cigar.
He was not a jejune man to pontificate or were his replies curt, "You see Mr. Del Mar, it all started one day long ago. I was born sir, in the year of 1768. I am 137 years old. My parents were noble aristocrats, who emigrated from Europe, before the French Indian War. I fought in the Revolutionary War, against the Loyalists and British. I was the first born in the United States, and I have fought in the major wars of this country. I have soldiered well, with gallantry in the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. I had been invested respectfully, with tremendous honors and rank. However, the disturbing images of the bodies of dead soldiers or smithereens of their remains haunt me horribly, till this day Mr. Del Mar."
"But how did you become immortal? Why have you not aged at all? What is your fountain of youth? Why do you not have any wrinkles or gray hair like me, if you are older than me, Mr. Logan?" I had inquired.
During the colloquy he revealed his century old secret in such an unctuous and unfeigned manner perceived.
It was the undeniable pith and denotation of his illusory truth. "It is like the wonderful mystery of the phosphorescence of the fireflies or the metamorphosis of a butterfly. You see I was traveling in Mexico, and I had become very ill with a rapid fever and was dying, when I was saved, by a local curandera of Aztec blood with the name of Tonantzin, who saved my life. I was then given water from a mysterious spring that appeared to be vulnerary. The mysterious spring of Chalmecacihuilt, the Aztec goddess of the underworld was never discovered in the end, and neither was the old curandera. In my frantic delirium I had failed to distinguish her. But there is one thing I have not confessed yet."
He took out from the cabinet, a bottle that contained these eternal drops of water. "In this bottle, is the water of that magical spring, and take the water and be young again. My time has now expired, and I have seen in three centuries, many castles, fortresses, monuments, mansions, manors, etc. I have dined and wined with elegant and illustrious nobility, from all around the world. I have seen the prominence of the Romantic and Victorian epochs. Now I long for peace and quietude, along the side of my ancestors. I have no wife, no children, and this has been my curse. Today, it shall all end, and I bear no ill will to the curse that has given me this immortality."
He was totally immune to any pernicious illness, wounds, and other grievous conditions of sudden peril, as long as his heart would beat continuously.
He took a deep breath, before he took some poison and fell to his chair manfully, as he began to slowly age and enervate before my very own eyes.
The deadly poison swiftly attacked his inner organs, and without mercy.
His curly chestnut brown hair turned entirely ashen, and his face began to be covered in unveiling wrinkles.
His back was bending, as his posture faded. He rose to his feet nequient, as he struggled greatly with his ivory cane in his hand.
He stared at me and then muttered one last utterance of entreaty and ghastliness before his untimely and impending death, as his declining bones became particles of dust he sloughed.
"By the grace of God, I am eleutheros now, and I can rest Mr. Del Mar! Bury me thereafter, next to my beloved kinsfolk. This is my honest supplication, and not condign punishment!"
That was the grisly final act of the immortal life of Mr. Logan Clark.
History would never know the inception of his incredible and fascinating story of the man behind the daguerreotype.
No one except me knew the remarkable account of Mr. Logan Clark.
His unfathomable secret was kept silent and confidential by me.
His death was proclaimed, as an inexplicable disappearance.
Thus, the indeterminate fountain of youth and the bottle of that water of immortality were never revealed.
And presently it is the 21st century and I am no longer an old man instead, a young vigorous and peripatetic man in my thirties seeing the world, as that very same man that took the unbelievable daguerreotype.
To my family I am presumed dead, and this is the ineluctable curse I shall have to endure forever as an immortal in impletion.
The seed of immortality is taught from the commencement of the Homo sapiens unwittingly, as an unattainable and unfounded concept we pursue incognito, in the fanciful desideratum that consumes us in such an inexplicable obsession and unbalance, by degrees of such deep introspection.
After the unfortunate death of Logan Clark, I was driven to the extreme passion of discovering more cases of immortality within this world.
I knew that other immortals existed amid the mortals, but where could I find them, and when?
Therefore, I continued my search, until I found another immortal.
I was traveling in Mexico, when I met in the distant town of San José of the state of Coahuila, a woman who claimed to be immortal and ageless.
Her name was Ofelia Balderas and was beautiful and as brisk as a morning nightingale.
Ofelia was of average height and had dark hair that flowed down her lower back, as her oval eyes of onyx had a luster that was so revealing.
San José was several miles outside of the city of Piedras Negras, and it was the year of 1918.
The Mexican Revolution and Pancho Villa had occupied the minds of the Mexicans.
When we finally spoke to each other, we knew we were both immortals.
Ofelia Balderas was born in the year of 1668 and was originally from Sevilla, Spain, but migrated to Mexico in 1690.
We became lovers in time, and we fought against the federalists, until the war ended.
We stayed in Mexico, until we feared being revealed. All those who fought with us had then died.
We outlived our acquaintances and had to abandon the children we had together.
Perhaps, it is cruel to believe that immortality is worth an endless treasure than the children one bears.
You must believe me, when I acknowledge, through my admission that I was destined to the fate that sealed my existence.
Ofelia was then my soul mate, until she mysteriously disappeared.
I looked everywhere for her, but could not locate her. The years passed and became perpetual.
I thought much of the family I left behind, my sons and daughters.
One day of mere coincidence, I saw my beloved daughter Maria, who I had not seen in decades.
She was then in her late sixties.
Despite her advanced age, I recognized her smile, her face, and above all, her gaiety.
Immediately, I thought of approaching her, as we were walking the streets of Rochester, New York, but I didn't.
I watched her pass me as she stared at me, then she paused and turned around.
She looked into my eyes afterward and walked away for good.
I never saw her again, nor did I ever return to Rochester, where she was born and grew up.
The mere reality of the nature of physics renders the dubious probability of immortality devoid of an unequivocal basis of any rational and coherent asseveration and logic in eveniency.
Then, we must conclude and ictuate that the very cogent ratiocination determined is more than a tentative assumption we ascribe, instead, a quality we yearn with such desperation to ascertain.
The engaging passion to be immortal manifests within the brain's detachment, from the ponderous and visible circumference, in the world of the illimitable mortals, who are vectitorily in an unknown place.
This in accordance, with the elucidated theories of science imposed, upon the immutable suppositions and visionary dreams expressed.
Herein, the veridicous mystery of immortality is sought, through the consequent process of causation.
I ask the reader, can immortality be existent and irrefutable, if it is proven to be no actual aberration or a quixotical impossibility?
My unbroken and undeniable obsession for immortality forsook and superseded my unbounded or earthly mortality.
Mors certa, hora incerta!