Chapter 30

A new novel in the making.

A New Novel in the Making

I'm working on a new novel. Here's the 30th 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

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Ever Young. Novel by Stefan Stenudd.

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"Have they left the house yet?" Aaron wonders, having some trouble lying still under Caroline's bed.

Reuben, still staring right up at the bed base, shakes his head. Aaron turns to him.

"Okay, so while we're waiting for that, let's continue our inquiry."

Reuben hushes him.

"Fine, I'll keep my voice down," Aaron says, now whispering. "We've already learned that you have quite good hearing. And that's not all we've learned lately."

Reuben just frowns.

"We all have our little secrets," Aaron continues, still whispering. "Thomas and Fred had their love affair."

"I knew that."

"But did they know that you did? For them it was a well-guarded secret. And with me it was that AIDS thing. I'm not denying that I expected to keep it a secret. I still think everybody would be better off if I did. But now you know. So, how about you? What's your secret?"

Reuben just stares right up, with his mouth firmly closed.

"Don't be like that," Aaron pleads. "We've known each other for some time, now. A couple of years, isn't it? Not that we've hung out together much. You go your way and I go mine. We have different habits, to say the least. For one thing, I bet I have much more fun." He shows a quick smile. "But we do know each other pretty well by now. And you must know enough about me to understand that you can confide in me. Your secret is safe with me."

"I have no secret," Reuben objects with a grunt.

"Of course you do! Everybody does."

Aaron forgets to whisper, until Reuben hushes at him again with an angry expression.

"Sorry," Aaron hisses between his teeth. "Your secret is that strange power of yours. All three of us have felt it, this last day. So, what is it? What makes you able to do these things? And don't you deny it!"

"I have nothing to deny."

Aaron opens his mouth wide to protest, when he spots Reuben glancing at him in the corners of his eyes.

"Reuben, is that a joke? You're just full of surprises, aren't you? But don't think for a moment that you're getting away with it. I want answers, real answers."

Before he finishes his sentence, Reuben hushes him for the third time.

"Come on, I'm whispering. Any lower and not even I could hear me."

"Someone's coming."

Aaron closes his mouth and listens for a moment.

"Is this just another trick?" he asks, but then he stops himself.

They can both hear the doorknob being turned. Next, the door opens slowly and someone enters. Where they lie under the bed, Aaron and Reuben can only see the feet. They are a woman's feet, wearing dark brown half heel shoes. They walk right across the room to the window. Then the curtains are opened and bright daylight invades the room.

Reuben and Aaron blink repeatedly, but keep very still. At first, they even hold their breaths.

The feet move to the desk. Drawers are pulled and searched through. Next the feet walk to the closet. Its door is opened, but soon closed again. The feet pause for a while. Aaron and Reuben keep absolutely still under the bed. Then the feet start moving again, taking decisive steps to the bedroom door, which has been left wide open. They exit and the door is closed behind them.

After a few seconds, Aaron exhales audibly.

"That was close," he whispers.

"We're lucky that Caroline's bed is a little wider than her brother's," Reuben says with the same low volume. "Both of us could hardly have hid under that bed."

"We're not that safe here, either."

"They're soon leaving. Caroline already did."

"Was that her mother, sneaking around and even going through her drawers?"

Reuben nods.

"Strange parenting," Aaron comments. "Spying on her daughter."

"Every mother does."

"Well, you should know, I guess. Which brings us back to what I really want to know."

Reuben starts crawling out from under the bed.

"What are you doing?" Aaron asks, still whispering but with higher intensity.

"They're leaving. Can't you hear the car?"

Aaron listens. The muffled sound of a car starting and getting into gear is coming through the window.

"Are you sure they're both in it?"

Reuben nods. Then he stands up, takes a few quick steps to the window and closes the curtains. The room is immediately darkened, although far from completely. Aaron also gets out from under the bed, stands up and unconsciously brushes his jeans and jacket.

"Now we have the house to ourselves," he says and stares Reuben right in the eyes. "Start talking!"

"I've just learned a few things through the years," Reuben mumbles, staring right back at Aaron, but with visible discomfort.

Aaron observes him in silence for a little while, contemplating, before he speaks again.

"I know experience brings power. Every vampire knows. The longer you manage to stay alive, the better you get at it. Me, I've been doing this for nine years, and I've certainly learned a trick or two. But your powers are more than mere experience."

"Not really. That depends on the length of it."

Hearing that, Aaron gets even more inquisitive.

"So, how long have you been around? For that kind of ability, I know that ten years are not enough, probably not even twenty or thirty. Fifty years?"

Reuben is silent.

"A hundred?"

Still no response from Reuben.

"More than a hundred?" Aaron continues with some awe in his voice. "Is that at all possible? I don't know of any vampire that old."

"There are some," Reuben replies reluctantly.

"Are you one of them?"

Reuben turns his back to Aaron.

"What does it matter? Time is little more than an illusion. Days gone have nothing to do with days to come."

"Is it more than a hundred?" Aaron persists. "As much as two hundred?"

Reuben throws himself on Caroline's bed.

"This is ridiculous. I want to sleep," he complains and puts the pillow over his face.

"Sleep? You never sleep," Aaron says with a grin.

He sneaks up to the bed and snaps the pillow in one quick move.

"Touchy?" he inquires with a mocking voice. "Feeling the weight of the years? I've been like this for nine years and lived for twenty-six. Already I can feel it. This is a straining way to live forever. It's like life stretches out by being diluted. The longer it gets, the less I feel it. I won't say that I haven't had my fun. Loads of it, I tell you. But each day I have to struggle more just to feel alive. Maybe it's some kind of universal law. You can't cheat time."

Aaron hands the pillow back to Reuben, who lets it drop beside him.

"When I realized what it was I had changed into," Aaron continues in a pensive manner, "I was absolutely delighted. A creature of the night, living forever, biting necks and sucking blood — I loved it! I had become a comic strip super villain. What's not to love about that?" He chuckles. "It dawned on me slowly that everything about it wasn't dandy. Not much of it, actually. All those things that I thought were strengths turned out to be weaknesses. It's not that we seek the night, but we flee the daylight. It's not that we lust for blood, but it's the only thing we can feed on. And that longevity thing — well, that just made the whole deal much worse. Are we supposed to stand this forever and ever? No wonder most vampires aren't immortal for very long at all."

"Tell me about it," Reuben says with something close to a moan.

"Well, you're still around for I don't know how long."

"Just barely."

Aaron takes a good look at him. There is a long silence.

"You're right, you know," Aaron resumes. "Let's forget about yesterday. What else can we do? Let's concentrate on making one hell of a today! Well, tonight."

© Stefan Stenudd, April 2014

Chapter 31

All the chapters posted so far:
  1. Light and Dark

  2. Mumbles

  3. Don't Touch

  4. Not a Word

  5. Swings

  6. He Talked to Me

  7. Was It Quick?

  8. Flossing, Too

  9. The Lower Canines

  10. Two Dots

  11. The Creep

  12. The Goth Stuff

  13. Nine Months

  14. Like a Rat

  15. Morning

  16. Some Things Take Forever

  17. If He Doesn't

  18. One Little Thing

  19. Another One

  20. Playing It Safe

  21. The Netherworld

  22. Never Grow Old

  23. It Sounds Trite

  24. Dying Is Terrible

  25. Just Kids Playing

  26. He Didn't Know

  27. Maybe the Only One

  28. I Don't Hear It

  29. Honesty

  30. Secrets

  31. I Care

  32. Treacherous Longevity

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About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.