Puer aeternus



The years erode the body the way the millenniums have dissolved the great monuments of past ages. Every available resource across the fields of science was utilized to stymie this decay. Their masters gave them the imperative to find a way to indefinitely preserve childhood, to preserve life.
 Finally, it was done, and they were able to synthesize the fountain of youth. Only the most wealthy were permitted to drink its waters. It was a chemical regiment that took the form of a pill named Aeternus by a marketing team.
 For a time, it could encase the body in its childhood form. Mark Hamlin had lived on the earth for just a tick over 29 years, but his body hadn't aged past 15. As a result of his highly privileged upbringing, Mark grew into a handsome lad. Much to the disappointment of his elders he was neither business savvy nor academically inclined. He did possess though a certain flamboyant flair and had used Aeternus to lock himself in the early stages of adolescence for well over a decade. It was decided to promote him as a child pops star a record label owned by his family.
Mark's first album “Freshman Year” quickly went platinum, and the already extravagantly wealthy mark became significantly wealthier. He was 26 years old the first time he was presented to the public as a 14-year-old sensation. His absurd wealth gave him the means to satisfy any desire instantly, to indulge any lust.
 Every waking moment kept him plugged into every pleasure life had to offer. He sometimes attended classes at a middle-class high school as part of an ongoing PR stunt to make the child of an oligarch seem down to Earth.
The pubescent girls were smitten by the star and often confused admiration for love. Mark quickly developed a taste for his classmates. Luckily for him it had been three years before anyone asked when he would be done with Freshman year.
It was the beginning of the school year, so the classrooms had a fresh infusion of naive starstruck freshman girls, and Mark wasted no time. Laws are not applicable on the grounds of the Hamlin family estate, and Mark was free to do as he wished with his victims. Drugs and alcohol were easily obtainable for the synthetic child star, and chemical inebriation turned out to be his most effective weapon. While the broader society reviles men who sexually assault 14-year-olds Mark's money was able to buy silence.  The parents were usually very willing to sell their daughters for between 10 to 20 thousand dollars, a poultry sum to the child of a modern day robber baron.
Mark was giving a glassy-eyed wave to his latest conquest.  The 9th grader had never drunk before, and her 89-pound frame could not handle the white wine. After she had vomited on the floor, Mark ordered her taken away while of course promising to text her later.
“I really like you.” Mumbled the drunk adolescent.
“Ok, thanks for coming by,” Mark replied with a shallow amicability.
With the wave of his hand Eric, his Harvard provided intern ushered the stumbling girl out of the room.
The room was decorated by Hollywood set designers. It was a prop for Mark, something to support the edifice crafted by public image consultants. Its walls were decorated with images that served as simple commercial references to teenage culture.
It was a space that was supposed to reflect upon Mark as a typical teenage boy. At first glance it did, but its arrangement was formulaic, and like the artfully crafted  Mark was illusionary. They were simply aspects of the same predatory manipulation.
Mark's phone vibrated; it was a text from his father demanding an immediate face to face.
James Hamlin was gazing out the window of his home office while a cadre of men in expensive suits briefed him on the state of his various dealing and investments.
“Whats up?” Mark said announcing his presence.
“Oh, it's you. I've been wanting to have a talk with you.” His father declared furrowing his brow.
“We'll continue this in ten minutes.”He announced to the affluent lieutenants of his empire, and they quickly filed out of the room.  The door behind them and mark fell into a chair in front of his father's desk.
“They mentioned you in the Huffington Post today,” James muttered. “They want to know why you've been in high school this long.
“What was that in one of those articles they post on their Facebook page?” Mark said rolling his eyes.
“Shut up!” James shouted making mark jump.
“I know what you've been doing.” said James
“What do you mean?” Mark asked
“Don't bullshit me, Mark.” His father snapped. “Eric come here!” He shouted.
Not a moment later Eric was slinking through the door. “Yes, sir?”
“Eric tell me what Mark did today?” Mr. Hamlin ordered.
Mark glared at Eric, and the young intern cast his eyes down to the floor.
“It's ok you can tell me,” Mr. Hamlin said calmly.
“Mr. Hammlin uh I mean Mark brought home a Jennnifer Anderson, a fellow student at Bridgeport high.” Stuttered the intern.
“And what did they do?” Mr. Hammlin asked.
“Mark to took her to his room and asked her to drink white wine with him. I was asked to leave after that, so I didn't see the rest.”
“But you have some ideas about what happened I assume?” Mr. Hamlin growled.
Eric looked at Mark and looked back down at the floor. “Yes, Yes sir I do.” He nodded
“You skinny little fuck! You're fired!” Hissed Mark.
“Shut up Mark you can't fire him from now on he works for me and he's going to keep me filled in about what you're doing.” Declared Mr. Hammlin.
“Fine whatever  I'll just have someone killed him.” Mark retorted.
“You do that, and I'll make you fuckin sorry!” Mr. Hammlin roared. “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have a son that's a pedo ass?” Now you're going to stop fucking 14-year-olds, and you're going to stop taking taking Aeternus and you're going to start finally growing up!”
Mark's whole body trembled, his lip quivered, and his doughy blue eyes were twinkling with welling tears. “No Dad please please don't make me get old,” He said on the verge of sobbing. “Please dad I don't want to get old I don't want to get old!” Mark fell to the floor and wailing into his hands.
He could already see every ravage of age that awaited him, every wrinkle, every gray hair. The image of his aged face haunted him like a specter at nearly 30 years old was the first time he ever had to consider his mortality, to contemplate his decay and his end.
For James Hamlin watching his son's breakdown had a similar effect. He was finally forced to face the coming end of his once seemingly ageless empire.

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