It was dank, dim under the bridge, but he was used to that. Used also to the slow mesmodic drip of water into the pitted concrete foundations. He picked listlessly at a scab on his scar puckered forearm. The thick grimy yellowed fingernail caught the edge, lifting, releasing a gush of greenish pus. It itched it's trickling way down his coarse grey skin as he watched, resigned.
It hadn't always been like this. He hadn't always been like this, reduced to a shambling hulk, dressed in the cast off taters of the homeless. He was less even than them, they still held their humanity, their dignity, he held nothing but his existence, and that only because he could not die.
They shunned him.
Once he had been glorious.
Once, one long glorious moment of glory.
For one long, yet never long enough, moment of time he'd had everything. But of course he hadn't really. It was an illusion. Like Midas everything he'd touched had seemed precious, but the more he had, the less he had.
He knew true loneliness now.
Like only someone who had lost everything could.
How many bridges had he torn down in his quest for revenge?
It was so many, across so many ages, he couldn't begin to count.
It had started simply enough. He'd been humbler then, a goat farmer. A man with a tongue and an imagination. A teller of tales that became taller with each rendition. What they say about a lie, spoken often enough, taking a life of it's own is true. And so his stories, his embellishments of the truth, his boasts of courage and invention became a truth of a kind and he revelled in the adoration it gained him.
It was foolish, whatever way you look at it, to tell tales about the gods. To be fair, he hadn't started them, but he also didn't stop them, instead he embroidered and fluffed each lie so it sparkled like a precious gem encrusted cloak, and then he wore them with pride.
Oh how pride always comes before the fall.
A terrible terrible fall.
The gods you see have a sense of humour, but they do not like braggarts. So they gave him everything he said he had seen and done, simply made all his lies true. He found himself with scars from battles he had only spoken of. Treasure from mythical creatures bent on revenge and retrieval. Women scorned and vicious, shunning him and turning all other women from him. But the worst, the worst part of the curse. Each lie he told after that, to try and get himself out of the impossible places he found himself in, each tiny little untruth left another patch of his skin as thick and rough as granite.
It didn't take more than a double handful of decades before he was as he found himself now, hunched, gnarled and hideously ugly. And completely unable to die. That was painful found knowledge. He'd been drowned, burnt, beheaded, boiled alive. So many methods, and none had been more than an incredibly painful inconvenience in his unwanted continued existence.
The biggest irony was the gods were no longer around to see what they had wrought. To see just how low they had brought him.
To see what they had created.
He was another lie now, a fable, a story, a thing to frighten naughty children with. He lived under bridges, and climbed out only to snatch another mouthful of food, another handful of cloth. He was so lonely.
He even missed the goats.