EPISODE THREE: An Offense of Man and God.
The room was dark and heavily scented with candles.
Leonardo knew why. It is because the smell of death is offensive to one who has not familiarized themselves with it and he will soon be dead, and therefore offensive.
He struggled to keep his eyes open, even though the room is warm and comfortable, and he was exhausted.
But there was much yet to do! There is so much he does not know, but he wanted to, needed to…
He was dying and Leonardo was frustrated by the fact.
“Sleep, most worthy of men.” King Charles whispered, leaning over him. Leonardo smiled sadly.
He was a fool, his most dedicated patron, if he thought Leonardo does not know what was happening to him. Leonardo knew more about how the body worked than this man could imagine.
From further back he can hear his assistants crying and trying to comfort each other. He knows that Melzi, the kind hearted son of his heart is trying to hush his tears but still cannot face Leonardo before his death. Leonardo wanted to comfort him, tell him “Do not cry, do not shed tears for a life so well spent, and how unlikely it should all be that any of it should happen to the bastard son of a slave.”
Idly he wondered who will tell Salai, who has left him long before. Leonardo has left him enough land and property for Salai to support himself for at least a while, but considering how Salai spent and steals, Leonardo thinks he’ll probably be seeing the ever caustic flame of his loins before long.
‘Do not cry, little devil. Soon you will be joining me,’ Leonardo thought, his breathing slowing a little more. It is curious, how much death is almost like falling asleep. His useless right hand, having seized into a claw earlier this year, twitched compulsively on the bedspread. He wanted to makes note of what it is like to die, so maybe it will be of use to…to…
Well, to someone.
That’s all Leonardo has wanted, to be of use to someone. His mind splits like a rotten fruit under all of the thoughts it has, to the point of sometimes paralyzing him, but Leonardo has always wanted to show that there is a reason. Something greater that forever eludes him.
But if he could name it, present it that would give Leonardo the greatest satisfaction.
Leonardo kept his eyes open for a moment more before the inevitable happened and they closed. With the last of his strength he whispered what he has always known in his heart, what has haunted Leonardo up till this moment, and he believes that he should meet the Divine with a clear consciousness, if nothing else.
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” he whispered.
The wail goes up in the room as Leonardo ser Pierdio da Vinci, the first genius of man, breathed his very last breath.
In the year three thousand:
Leonardo opened his eyes. He blinked in confusion for a moment, trying to place his surroundings. When he closed his eyes he had been dying in the arms of the King of France. Now he was in a place that looked, smelled, and felt strange. Leonardo doubted this was the gates of paradise.
The room he had just been is gone. This one is far too bright and Leonardo squints up, before he realized he doesn’t really have to. His eye sight seemed to have been miraculously restored.
Curious, Leonardo held up a hand for examination.
Instead of the wrinkled and clawed appendage that his right hand had been come in recent years, it is smooth, and there is no resistant at all when he flexed it.
Nothing hurts and he can see clearly.
Leonardo took another breath and another.
He was not dead.
He was very young and not dead?
Leonardo became aware of a sound like birds chirping and turned his head. A tall woman, dressed in white like a bishop was staring at him, mouth open.
It is his name and he turned his head again.
An older woman, also dressed in white was leaning over him.
“Leonardo? Can you hear me?”
“Si, yes I can hear you Madame.”
Leonardo drew his eyebrows together. Her accent is unlike any he had ever heard before, almost like it’s been coming from the back of a cave.
He repeated himself and her expression clears like a summer thunderstorm. She hit her forehead and whipped around to the younger woman, snapping her fingers.
“The translator! I forgot all about it! Kam!” The other woman crossed over to them, holding a small black ball in her hand.
“I’m going to put this in your ear alright? Don’t worry signore.” She grabbed his head in a gentle but tight grip and moved him so he was facing sideways on the table. Leonardo shivered, just realizing he felt cold, and bare.
Leonardo felt it dropped in and jumped when something like a thorn stabbed the inside of it.
“Is that better?’ Leonardo twisted in amazement. Her Italian in now flawless and he can place her accent even, as if it is from Florence.
“Yes!” Leonardo touched his ear, trying to feel for the pill, astounded. It must have gone deeply into the canal if he can’t even feel it anymore and the small sting is also rapidly disappearing. “What was that?” he asked in amazement. She grinned at him, her unusually light colored brown eyes glinting in satisfaction.
“A universal translator, so I can understand you and you can understand me.”
She beamed at him for a moment, astoundingly bright white teeth, whole and unstained, against her coppery skin.
“How extraordinary!” Leonardo muttered and sat up.
“Oh my god.” The young woman muttered, hands up to her face. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we did it…”
“I also forgot clothes.” The other one muttered, looking at Leonardo’s bare chest. Then shaking herself from a reprieve, she looked back up at her face.
“Wow, then they said you were tall and athletic, they sure meant it huh? I’m Doctor Rainbow Miller.” She held out her hand, slightly scarred and nails clipped very short for a lady, to him.
“A doctor?” Leonardo asked.
“Yes of course- oh right. Fifteenth century. Yes, I’m a woman and a doctor.”
Leonardo nodded, mind still whirling even as he did so.
“And you are Leonardo da Vinci. The greatest mind from the Renaissance.” She said, eyes shining.
“The what?” Leonardo asked.
“The time period you lived. That’s what it’s called now, the Renaissance, when people finally started using their brains again.”
Leonardo laughed at that again and did a sitting little half bow. He wished for a shirt at least, but was not sure if he should ask for one yet.
“I’m glad I could contribute!” He smiled, but couldn’t help but feel oddly self-conscious about the title.
The younger woman let out a hysterical sounding half laugh.
“My god, he doesn’t even know what he did, oh my god Rain, what have we done, what have we done?” She muttered, a hand half covering her mouth and her green eyes impossibly wide. Leonardo thought she looked a little like the traders who came from Egypt or beyond, her skin darker than Rainbow’s and her features rather kind and sleepy looking. She stared at him as if witnessing a miracle.
Rain rolled her eyes. “That is Kamala. She’s my ex-intern, or I guess you would consider her my assistant. Ignore her breakdown, she’s just being dramatic.”
“Dramatic!! We just brought back Leonardo Da Vinci! If there was ever a time for drama now is it, Rain!” Kamala said.
“Brought back?” Leonardo asked distractedly, wiggling his toes and deciding that walking would probably be safe. Nothing hurt, at least and everything seemed to be in the proper place. His body looked as it had when he’d lived in Florence for the first time, after he’d left Andrea’s workshop to start his own. He made to get off the table. His legs did indeed support his weight and none of his muscles had atrophied. So his old body had probably not been used. A new body had been created then?
Hmmm, how interesting. He tried to think if anything was missing from his mind, and wondered if he would even realize if any of it was. If you did not remember not remembering, would you ever know you had forgotten? Leonardo itched for paper and looked around for anything to write the thought down on.
Leonardo thought that he should be more concerned that he can’t remember being dead but right now he was too interested in looking around the room he was in. It almost seemed like it was made of the clearest glass he had ever seen, so smooth it looked like a still lake. He reached out and ran his finger along the cold surface he had been lying on. It looked like the metal that was used to make steel for swords, but it had a hollow sound when he flicked it with a nail.
Leonardo was aware that silence had fallen and turned back to the previously bickering women. Rain was staring at him in amusement, like he had learned a trick and Kam was still clutching her face, looking extremely frazzled.
“Pardon me, did you ask me something?” Leonardo chanced. Many times he had been berated for his own absent mindedness.
Rain shook her head, smiling slightly. “No, no. Sorry, here let’s get you some clothing. Walk with me, signore.”
Rain held out hand and assisted in helping him walk, not evening batting an eye at his nudity. Kamala turned her back and blushed, however.
“Ew,” she muttered, quietly. Leonardo frowned. Andrea had used him as model, there was nothing offensive about his body. At least in comparison to some of the naked men he’d seen.
“Grow up Kam,” Rain snapped, looking annoyed. Leonardo noticed the hand that wasn’t gripping the inside of his elbow held onto a walking stick, made of some kind of light colored metal. She didn’t seem to exert much force in lifting it, so he assumed it must have been hollow for her to lift it that easily.
Leonardo wondered if he would be able to see how it worked.
Rain had been looking at him with an amused and questioning look. “What’s the last thing you remember Leonardo?”
He considered the question carefully.
A dark warm room. Crying. ‘Sleep, the best of men.’ He was tired, and had closed his eyes.
“I… Did I truly die?” Leonardo guessed, feeling uncharacteristically nervous and unsure.
Rain nodded casually, and guided him over to a square hole in the wall.
“Exactly. Peacefully in your bed, at the ripe age of sixty-seven, pretty good for someone who lived so close to the plague years.”
As Leonardo processed this she spoke to the hole.
“Mens cotton shirt, white, large.”
Leonardo gaped at what she requested appeared. He ducked to look to see if he could find the nimble tailor who lived in it. But it was a hole that ended about a foot and a half back, completely closed on all sides. He looked at Rain in amazement.
“How?” Leonardo demanded, quickly getting over his own death in the face of new and very interesting data. Death was commonplace, Leonardo had seen it many times. This was the first time he’d ever seen something created from nothing, however.
She grinned at him and held out the shirt.
“Clothes first, then answers.”