TO TOUCH IMMORTALITY
It is the dream of humanity to escape death. No one lives forever, but we hope that our lives mattered, that we will be remembered by the next generation. We have a lifetime to create that legacy. All too often most of that lifetime gets squandered. We come to realize the importance of our legacy only when it is almost too late.
They are the most desirable and seductive women in the city, the women of the night. Men are willing to travel into the most disreputable of neighbourhoods to meet them, offer money and gifts for but a few hours of their time or even less. They ply the oldest profession, selling their bodies into others’ fantasies.
For the streetwalkers of the red-light district known as the Kaz, death takes its time. The disease known as the Pale stakes its claim by transforming its victims into visions of beauty, alabaster skin and elegantly thin. But beware, for death is a jealous lover, who lays claim to any who might make love to those already ill, and so they become known as the Terribly Beautiful. Shunned by society, they find each other and face the remaining days of their lives.
It is a world not unlike that which we live in today, with countries that war and trade. It is a city not unlike those found in many parts of the world today, with cultures that clash and blend. They are streets not unlike those that we walk in our cities every day, filled with people who have dreams both pursued and dashed.
The city sits on the water, industry and docks to the east, a thin strip of old docks leading to luxury shorefront property to the west, a downtown of skyscrapers and suburbs beyond. Nestled between them all, surrounded by stone walls, is a neighbourhood, the oldest in the city. It is called the Kaz.