I'm a Swedish writer of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, a historian of ideas and an aikido instructor. Here's my bio.
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
by Stefan Stenudd. Qi, prana, spirit, and other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
A New Novel in the Making
I'm working on a new novel. Here's the 22nd chapter of it. Let me know what you think about it. You find a Facebook comment form below the text. I post each new chapter when it is completed. The first chapter is here: Chapter One
Never Grow Old
All the way up the stairs, Reuben keeps pulling Caroline by the hand with such haste that she stumbles repeatedly. That doesn't slow him down. Aaron follows with the same urgency.
"They killed her?" Caroline wonders, panting in shock. "Is that even possible with a vampire?"
"They will wait for her to bleed to death," Aaron explains, panting almost as much as Caroline does. "It takes time to kill a vampire, but they are a patient lot - when it comes to that. They'll cherish every minute of it."
"She made one of them. Never turn children into vampires! Everyone knows."
They reach the top of the stairs. Reuben pushes the door with his free hand. It swings open with such force that there is a bang when it hits the wall.
They rush through the alley and don't slow down for several blocks, until reaching a bigger street with cars driving by, pedestrians on the sidewalk and functioning streetlights. There, Caroline halts firmly, surprising Reuben enough to slip out of his grip. She staggers to the nearest building and leans her back heavily on the wall.
"I have to catch my breath," she says and closes her eyes.
At first, it looks like she might drop to the ground. Her legs shake and her head wiggles slightly. Both Reuben and Aaron hurry to her side. But then her breathing settles. Soon her legs and head stop moving. She keeps her eyes closed and her back against the wall, but her shoulders drop and she closes her mouth, breathing through her nose.
"I told you it was a bad idea," Reuben says to Aaron with a voice that is close to hissing.
"How could I have known?" Aaron protests, still obviously shaken. "Give me a break! How often does something like that happen?"
Reuben glares at him, but says nothing. There is a moment of silence before Caroline opens her eyes.
"So, what happens now in that cellar?" she asks with a whisper.
"They will stand there in a circle," Aaron replies when Reuben hesitates, "and watch life slowly pour out of her, until they are sure that she cannot recover."
Caroline blinks hard a few times.
"I know," she says. "A wooden stick through the heart, that's how to kill vampires."
"The stick doesn't kill her. The bleeding does. If the stick is pulled out quickly, she will heal. The only reason they use a stick is that a knife makes a smaller wound. Still, it takes time."
"Even when it's through the heart?"
"It's just a muscle," Aaron states bluntly. "Anywhere in the body, we can heal. The kids stay to make sure that it doesn't happen. Never turn children into vampires!"
He shakes his head and lets out a deep sigh. Then he leans his back to the wall, right beside Caroline.
"Some kids want to become vampires," he continues. "They're tempted by all the fancy legends. They plead and plead, and kids can be very persuasive. But never! When they find out that they will remain children forever, with their future always out of reach ahead of them, then they hate their makers, hate them without bounds. They gang together and chase them, for as long as it takes. They have the time."
"But they're just kids."
"Yes. A blessing for those few years it's supposed to last, but a curse if it's to last forever. Like waiting forever in the line to a disco, hearing the fun going on inside but never being allowed in. That will quickly make a devil out of any little angel. I tell you, child vampires are monsters. Right, Reuben?"
Reuben shrugs his shoulders, almost invisibly.
"How about you two?" Caroline inquires. "You were also changed when you were still kids."
"That's a different thing, altogether," Aaron replies with a slightly more cheerful tone in his voice. "We have become adults - in our loins, where it counts. In our muscles, too. Actually, in our whole bodies. Fresh adults, at the very peak. We're conserved at the very best age there is. Neither too young to taste it all, nor too old to enjoy it. All other vampires envy us."
"But aren't you all infertile?"
"Oh, you've heard that," Aaron replies with a glance at Reuben. "So, we don't need contraceptives. I'm fine with that." Now, his wide grin is back.
"I don't know," Caroline says thoughtfully. "Both me and my brother, when we were kids we hoped it would never end. It's a carefree existence - well, mostly. We wished for childhood to last forever. It was when we became teenagers that all hell broke loose. We were doing just fine until then."
Aaron tilts his head, looking her right in the eyes.
"Are you sure you remember it correctly?"
She doesn't answer.
"They always talk about the innocence of childhood," Aaron continues. "I was never innocent. I can't say that the other kids I knew were, either. No, I remember many torments that I escaped when I became a teenager - and I'm still free of them now. The only ones who praise childhood are those who have left it. Children are helpless prisoners. What's the fun in that? I tell you, I'm much rather a vampire, with all its drawbacks, than a kid again."
Caroline listens with her eyebrows curved in an expression of concern. She turns to Reuben, who stands with his hands in the pockets of his coat, looking at the traffic in the street.
"What do you say, Reuben? Was your childhood as bad as Aaron's?"
"I don't remember it."
"Of course you don't," Caroline comments with a frown.
"I rest my case."
Caroline is quiet for a while, pondering. She nibbles on her lower lip and moves her feet, but keeps leaning her back on the wall.
"How about old people, then?"
"What about them?" Aaron inquires.
"Wouldn't it mean the most to old people, who are so close to death? Wouldn't they be more anxious than anyone else to turn into vampires?"
Aaron shrugs his shoulders. His smile all but disappears.
"Sometimes, old people manage to be made vampires. I guess they're persistent about it, because they're terrified of their imminent death. They don't die, but they don't get any younger. To spend eternity in the aching and crippled state of old age must be just as tormenting as doing it as a child. By time, they would surely be just as hateful and vindictive towards their makers. But usually they don't last very long at all. It's difficult to manage as a vampire. Old ones don't stand a chance. I'm so glad that I'll never get old!"
Caroline lifts her eyes to the sky and inhales deeply.
"Never get old, and never die," she mumbles. "That's worth something."
Both Aaron and Reuben glance at her.
All the chapters posted so far:
My Fiction Books
Science fiction novel about a quest through the universe for a perfect world. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Thoughts on life, death, and the meaning of it all, explored by anecdotes and mythological fragments. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.