Chloe hates working the late shift.
‘The residents seem so much older at night,’ she says. ‘Really, Lucas, all this doesn’t scare you.’
She waves to indicate the whole of Spring Vale Rest Home, the very idea of old age.
I smile and say, ‘It used to. Then I spoke to Mrs Holden.’
I walk her to the old lady’s room.
‘Go sit with her,’ I say
She reaches the bed and I gesture for her to sit in the chair beside it. Mrs Holden opens her eyes as Chloe sits and for a moment our friendship nearly has me scream a warning.
‘Oh, a visitor. Hello dear. Just let me get my teeth in.’
The old woman reaches into the glass on the bedside table and pops her dentures in with a wet sucking sound. A shiver of disgust washes over Chloe.
‘And what is it you want?’
She pats Chloe on the knee and smiles. I step forward.
‘Ah, Lucas, you brought her did you? Good boy.’
Mrs Holden eases her feet over the side of the bed and slips them into her fluffy slippers.
‘Well stand up girl, let’s have a look at you.’
There’s an authority in Mrs Holden’s voice that forces Chloe from the chair. Mrs Holden stands facing her, puts her hands on Chloe’s shoulders.
‘Oh yes, you will do very well.’
Chloe looks at me in confusion and Mrs Holden is on her, placing her shriveled lips over Chloe’s. She tries to pull away but already she is weak and her scream is swallowed whole by the mouth holding her in place. Two frail claws grip the back of her head as the old woman sucks.
A white foam leaks from their joined lips. I step forward, lift a little from the corner of their mouths with my finger, dab the foam on my tongue. It tastes of fat and salt and youth.
Chloe’s veins and arteries pulse and darken as blood floods to her head. Her cheeks sink, her hair thins and whitens, her skin grows pale and wrinkled, while the years slip from Mrs Holden. Her skin grows smooth, her hair dark and lustrous, as Chloe dries and shrivels.
Finished, the youthful Mrs Holden lays the elderly Chloe upon the bed and walks out the room, stroking my chin as she passes.
‘Good boy, Lucas. Bring me her clothes when you’re finished.’
My mistress is young again. I am in favour. Later she will show her appreciation. Now there is work to do. Chloe’s frail body is still, all except her eyes which rage and scream her fear. She manages to raise a wrinkled hand in front of her face and the screaming of her eyes grows wider.
I take her hand, her skin like paper.
‘Old age certainly does scare me,’ I say. ‘But she has promised to help me avoid all that.’
I undress her, as her eyes scream, young and helpless in an old woman’s face.
18 Responses to The Taste Of Youth – #fridayflash
Something a bit different today. A horror piece that I subbed and was rejected a few weeks back. It was an experiment, trying to cram a horror story into 500 words, and I was thinking of it as a snapshot of a larger piece possibly.
I’ve had an idea for a much bigger, much more interesting horror story since, so decided to abandon this story. And who better to abandon it with than the #fridayflash crowd. All criticisms gratefully received, be as brutal as you like.
I liked this one. Very creepy. I guess Chloe should have feared old age more than she already did. The narrator certainly had a good horror story vibe to him.
Nothing to be brutal about here! Really liked your take on a fountain-of-youth story.
The horror of Chloe being imprisoned in an aged body with youthful mind.
This is great. Really, I could see this as part of a longer piece. So creepy and awful. *shudder!*
very creepy and cool, lots of good visuals here dan, potent!
A good, creepy scenario that makes you shudder. Good pacing.
I liked it. Quick & brutal!
Perfect length and a great snapshot piece. I love it. I really struggle with writing short fiction, and would love to be able to do it so well!
creepy most certainly, but for me I think it would have worked better as a longer piece. Not much longer, 800-1000. A bit more build-up of the suspense, maybe? Just my opinion, of course!
“A white foam leaks from their joined lips” this line goes wondefully well with one’s first coffee of the morning 🙂
Thanks for the kind comments everyone.
@Mazz I did have a plan to extend it to a piece around that length, showing the nature of Lucas’ ‘reward’ for serving up Chloe to Mrs Holden. Fact is, my new horror idea is bigger and badder and demanding the full attention of my brain’s gore centres.
My first thought as Mrs Holden was sizing up Chloe was of Florence Finnigan the Plasmavore in “Smith and Jones” – the first episodes of DW Series Three.
The viscosity of the exchange between the two women in the white foam is a really nice touch and Lucas’s reaction to it. As is the young eyes trapped in the expiring body… reminds me of the look in the eyes of stroke victims.
What I found the most unsettling was the ending… I couldn’t be sure of what was going to happen, but the recent spate of sexual abuse of people in aged care in Australia certainly influenced what I thought might be about to happen.
Definite thumbs up for this as a longer piece. Especially something about Lucas and Chloe’s relationship – so we can feel how Lucas’s actions are a real betrayal – would make if even more horrific.
This is fantastic Dan! You bring the image of this story to life so vividly. Well done I’d say!
Loved this! It brought to mind (only a little) The Skeleton Key, in the search for youth, and the rest home reminded me of Bubba Hotep, but basically I just loved it. Creepy, well written and incredibly visual! Top marks, sir.
Goodness, quick and horrifying. I could see this a bit longer, too, but it’s dastardly and very well done just the way it is. Very visual and heart-thumping.
My freak-out for the day. 🙂
Very creepy! I like this straight-to-the-point tale.
Chilling! This was a great slice.
I usually don’t go for the horror genre – don’t know why, but they usually don’t have an effect on me. But this one really did, truly horrifying. I don’t know if I would have the stomach for a longer version.
I absolutely love hoo-doo quality of this little story! Nicely written horror!
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