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Prisoners of Perfection

Prisoners of Perfection
Epic Fail: Book Two
By Tom Lichtenberg and Johnny Lichtenberg
Copyright 2013 by Tom Lichtenberg
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One
It was a rat that led the way, the first one ever seen in the forest prison world. It was Soma who saw it
first. From high above the forest floor, perched on the top of a blue eucalyptus, she heard an unfamiliar
scrabbling sound, and peered down between the leaves to see a creature sneaking its way among the
duff. She assumed it was a squirrel, of course, since squirrels were familiar and fairly numerous, but
this one was missing all the fur off its tail, and it was squeaking. Soma swung down from branch to
branch and in moments had snatched it up by that very same tail, but quickly dropped it as it lifted and
squirmed to bite her hand. The rat hit the ground running but Soma pounced again, and this time
grabbed it by the scruff of its neck, so it couldn't reach her with its teeth. The rat struggled and kicked,
but Soma held on tight, and carried it back to Bo mbarda's hut by the lake. He'd know what it was, she
thought. Bombarda knew everything.
He was sitting by the fire in the middle of his house, warming his hands and watching the smoke curl
up through the hole in the roof. It was not cold outside, but Bomba rda was always cold inside. He felt
the chill in his bones, his eternally sixty- four year old bones. O f all the luck, he was one of those cursed
to stop aging when he was already old, not like Soma, or her near constant companion, Squee, who
were both eight, and had been eight for so long now that no one could say how many years it had been.
No one even tried to guess anymore. Since the day when The Hidden One had died, the inmates of the
forest prison had hoped against hope that there might be a true cure for their immortality. All of them
had been locked away, cast aside by a mortal civilization that could no longer tolerate their presence.
In the beginning, when the first of their lot had randomly turned up, not aging past some binary
birthday, be it eight or sixteen or thirty two or sixty four, or even one hundred and twenty eight in the
extremely rare case of The Hidden O ne, way back then the first reaction of the normal humans had
been jealousy accompanied by fear, then anger and rage. The immortals were seized and eagerly
experimented upon, even tortured and dismembered in a mad race to discover their secret, a secret that
was never detected. It had to be something in the genes, but if it was, it was locked away in all the
infinite so-called junk DNA that littered their bodies like everyone else's. Scientists failed, and doctors
failed, and politicians failed, and the mob ruled in the end. They were tossed into this mutated forest
prison, a jail whose infinity matched their own interminance. The forest had no boundaries, or none
that anyone could determine. Anyone who came close to an edge, or thought they did, found
themselves somehow transported, instantly and seamlessly, to another part of the woods entirely.
Bombarda, the old pulp fiction writer publicly known as Gowdy, had spent years, decades, maybe even
centuries, seeking a way out. He had made many attempts. He had tried to burn down the forest, but the
curious trees were resistant to flame. He had tried hacking away at them with sharpened stone axes, but
the crazy trees grew back just as fast as he could cut them down. Just as the immortals could not
become ill or seriously injured, neither did the trees ever seem to suffer any great or permanent