Powers and Skills
Because of the energem, Charles does not physically age past twenty-two years old.
Over time, there weren’t many opportunities to gain a new or official skill for Charles. However, he’s a very talented mechanic for domestic vehicles with about fifty years of experience.
Charlie is pretty fly for an old guy. There are times when his patience can be lacking. Though he’s been around for a long time, he wasn’t keen on thrusting himself into the central hub of civilization. He’s been very isolated for a very long time. Therefore, he isn’t the most caught up with modern times. He’s aware of the changes. Overwhelmingly so. But he’s out of his time. Like many people his age, there’s a struggle to adapt. Yes, he wants to learn and adjust but sometimes it’s too much for him. When there are things he doesn’t understand, he gets frustrated. There are even times when his ‘surly old man’ shows for no apparent reason.
But for the most part, Charlie tries to be pleasant. With such a general calm and responsible air about him, Charlie is a lot like everyone’s grandfather. Although he tries to keep the grumpiness and pessimism to a minimum. He’s an excellent listener. Being around people he can actually talk to is a privilege. Most notably, Charlie is kind and has such a giving personality. Even if he knows it won’t be the best for him, he is willing to make sacrifices. That’s why the energem was able to bond with him.
Born in the year 1933, Charles has had quite a history. He grew up in a perfectly average household with two parents and an older brother. Times were tough as America was still reeling from the Great Depression, but life would still move forward. Charles’ father, previously a factory worker, was drafted and deployed into World War II. His mother, a classic housewife left to raise two children.
By the time the war was over, Charles was already in school. He was a clever boy, self-sufficient as most young men were trained to be. Growing up, the kid was never anything extraordinary. His older brother was an athlete, popular, and favored by his parents. Of course, this was common in those days. The eldest son was supported and pushed to be something special. Not that Charles was neglected but he never had the same motivation to be anything spectacular. All he wanted was to get a job, get married, have kids, and retire. A family life was all he ever needed, really.
There was never a real appeal in being the top dog at anything.
At the age of 16, Charlie started courting his long-time friend, Margaret and by age 20, they were married. It was at this time that Charlie moved out of the house, graduated high school and got a job working at a local mechanics shop. Everything was falling perfectly into place. With one child and another one on the way, Charlie began working more hours at the garage. Once in a while, a buddy would bring in a project from the salvage yard and the shop would buy parts or they’d attempt to bring it back to life. Digging through the remains of a 1942 lemon, Charlie stumbled across a strange green rock, cut in a peculiar fashion lodged in the torn upholstery. There was a strange shock that ran through him as he held it in his hand but he had absolutely no idea that he was holding a powerful artifact. Little did he know that the previous owner had found the energem while hiking, only to disregard the finding when he sold the vehicle.
12 years later, while his wife and friends began noticing fine lines and even gray hairs, Charles appeared to be aging impossibly well. Not a thing had changed other than dark circles marking lack of sleep from the late nights crunching numbers for the garage. He’d just bought his own business and yet still looked almost fresh from high school. Two years later, when the concern became too much, Charlie went to be examined by a family doctor. According to every local test, he was able take, his biology all read that he was still in the same condition as he was in his early 20’s. Perfectly healthy. He was told to take it as a blessing and was sent home. However, this anomaly was starting to cause some concern with Margaret, scaring her, as the unexplained tended to do. And as long as he tried to deny it, it was scaring Charles just as much. In every photo they had, he looked the same. The decade changed but his face was stagnant.
Finally, when his children entered high school, Charle’s wife had too much. Her husband was being confused for her son and already the children were asking questions about why their mother married a much younger man, only to be shocked that their father was actually a year older. It was an absolutely tragic day when Charlie was kicked out of his house one day while the kids were in school. But, terrified himself, he left in the best interests of his family. If things didn’t change, he’d look to be the same age as his own son and no one knew what would happen if any media found out about his condition.
Having to leave rather hurriedly, Charles sold his garage to put some money into his account while he stayed in an apartment. His business partner and friend would take it over and as soon as the divorce and sale were done, Charlie left town. As torn down as the man was, he hadn’t hit absolute bottom until his identification was accused of being fake some years later. It was at that point that he’d have to live completely off the grid. In the long run, with technology mind-blowingly more advanced than it was before, he was going to have real problems with the law. There was no getting around it. He had no documents that would be accepted. What would happen when he hit 40? Or 50? He could be arrested for identity theft.
For decades, Charles worked under the table. He never stayed anywhere too long. He had no car, no house, no family, friends or anyone he could rely on. It was hard to find anywhere to work or live without any documents or references. Every once in a while, he’d try to check in on his family the best he could. Mostly records or combing through country archives for any mentions in the newspaper. Nothing, really, ever showed up and he was much too afraid to go back in person. It wasn’t until the internet became reliable in the 90’s that he was able to find that his kids were grown with children of their own. As for his wife, he could feel his heart breaking once again to find her death records. Her obituary said that she was fighting lung cancer for years.
After so many lonely years, Charles had lost hope. He was alive but definitely not living. It almost felt like he created the saying. He never got sick, he never had to visit the doctor. Even if he wasn’t able to go, there was never a reason. To be honest, he never knew if he was able to actually die. However, when he found himself in California for the third time, he was approached at work. This woman was looking for something. The green rock he’d found ages ago. At first, he brushed it off as a coincidence but as the woman pressed on, he gave in. After all, what did he have to lose?
For the first time in countless years, Charles had a purpose. That energem may have ruined his life, but at least he could do something useful. There was so much that he’d lost but if it could actually mean something? It wouldn’t be a complete waste of a life. In fact, it could help save the world.