Prompt Short Story: Blood (Lawkeepers 6)

The first human to reach over 130 years old stared out of the car window as they passed through the neighbourhood he had grown up in.

“This was so different in my younger days,” he sighed, almost to himself.

The driver nodded politely and made an agreeing noise, unsure if the old man could even see or hear them through his reverie.

A medical marvel, he was. Not only the first human to reach 130 (and still that – 30 years later, nobody else had come close than 120), but also, apparently, regenerating. Aging downwards. Becoming younger by the year.

He knew that one day soon others would reach his age, and the idea that the populace had picked up on – that reaching 130 years old would somehow cause the human body to grow younger – would be proven wrong. Even now, scientists couldn’t explain it, and he was careful to keep his blood and tissue out of the hands of anyone who might expose him early. To anyone who didn’t know better, he was, simply, growing younger. Benjamin Button disease was real, kind of, it just required a person to live long enough.

The car pulled up outside his old home. He had bought it back from the family living there some years ago, though he had not visited it again until now. But today, before his…treatment, as he thought of it, he had wanted to explore the old place and try to access the memories it held.

Very little of the place was the same. It had been reshingled, re-roofed, repainted, retiled, re-everythinged, inside and out. Even the old smells were gone.

He walked around for a while, trying to encourage his memory to work, but finally, with an extended sigh, he gave up and mooched back to the car, his head down.

He supposed it was confirmed, now. His memories were fading. With each extra year he grew younger, a year of memories seemed to disappear as well. He was slowly losing the man he had grown into, and becoming something he was slowly realising was unrecognisable to him. And to the few others who had known him for some time.

He told the driver to move on to his appointment, and found himself dozing, remembering the first time he had made this journey.

Even as he had reached his 130th birthday, his body had begun to give out. Seizures, first small, then increasing in both seriousness and ferocity, began to take hold. A tumor, it seemed, was pressing on his brain. At 130 years old, he was far too weak to take the shock of brain surgery, so it had seemed that mere months remained for him.

Then a card had dropped through the letterbox, inviting him for a private medical consultation, promising to offer an alternate route to healing.

He had assumed at first that it would be some form of alternative medicine, but curiosity, and a simple desire to go on living, won out. He had his live-in carers get him to the location, help him inside, and then leave him there.

He lay on a soft bed, in a small room with flowers on the wallpaper, and waited, staring at the stucco ceiling.

Eventually, a woman entered and sat with him. She told him unbelievable things – things that made him wish he could get up and walk away. She told him about the extranatural world, about vampires and witches and more, and then she told him that she was an immortal. She refused to tell him more than that – what kind of immortal, how or why – and still resisted such questioning. But she told him that regular infusions of her blood would not only remove the tumor, but also prevent all other illnesses. Indeed, it would make his body age backwards, year by year, to its prime.

Hypnotised by her voice, and the promises she made, he agreed to a first transfusion, for free, with no obligation to return. If he wished to continue, then every 6 months, he would have another transfusion, for which he would pay.

The old man, rich as he was, already watched his money rise every financial year. Good investment, businesses owned and sold, he was rich enough to afford the price she quoted.

Before allowing the first treatment, he had asked her why – why offer this. Was it just the money, or was there something more?

She – who he eventually came to know as Khalida – simply gave him the enigmatic smile that she always gave when questioned, and started the transfusion machine.

And, it worked. The tumor shrank, his body began aging backwards, and he became the medical marvel of the whole, normal, world.

But now, as the car drew close to the house, something was wrong.

A van was parked outside, and two people – what looked to be a woman and someone who was perhaps non-binary – stood outside, seeming to coordinate the movements of a number of others.

As the car slid to a halt, he saw Khalida escorted out, hands cuffed behind her by shimmering bracelets.

The woman’s attention turned to the car, and he ordered the driver to leave, hoping they would be mistaken for rubberneckers.

On the way home, he began to wonder how long it would take. How long before the blood wore off. How long before the tumor returned. How long until the death he had avoided for so long caught up with him.

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Writing Prompt Used:

Humans have discovered that once you surpass the age of 130 years, you start to regenerate and get younger. You just have to make it to that age.

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