Home for the Aged

Home for the Aged

A Story by bba
"

An overseas nurse's first day of work in an hospice.

"

Jamie jumped out of bed and looked around the unfamiliar room. For a brief moment she was scared, lost in the lethargy of her sleep. She took deep breaths, and then calmed down.

“Stupid girl,” she whispered to herself as she slowly lay back down the bed. She was used to waking up in her own room. Finding herself suddenly in a strange room in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home distressed her.

Taking care of catatonic elderly people was not actually her dream job but it was not so bad either. The salary was very good, and food and lodging were free. But deep inside her, the thought of taking care of old people in dreamlike state somewhat frightened her.

Jamie had observed people in this condition back in college, and as silly as it sounded, they reminded her of zombies - creatures without any sense of purpose, oblivious to the world, and trapped within the vaults of their minds.

She lay in the dark for about an hour. Then she rose up, put on the white uniform, and went out to start her first day of work.

 

“Ah, good morning, Jamie,” greeted Dr. Sunday the moment she walked in the lounge. Dr. Sunday was a man in his early forties, with thinning dark brown hair, and a sagging neck. The deep set of his baggy eyes hinted long sleepless nights. But despite his tired features he always had an amiable smile on his lips.

 “I understand you haven’t yet adjusted to the time,” he said as he turned away from her to secure the nasal tube into the old man in the wheelchair.

“Jet lag’s a b***h, isn’t it? I know it’s so hard to travel that’s why I’ve never traveled myself. But I assure you, you don’t have to worry about making yourself at home here.

“This is Mister Alexander Holden,” the doctor continued, referring to the old man on the wheelchair. “He was transferred here about five years ago, the latest addition to our family. Well, before you that is.”

Slowly Mr. Holden turned warm eyes on Jamie to show her how pleased he was to have her on board.

“And over here is Miss Deborah Sattler,” Dr. Sunday said, moving on to the next elderly patient.

 

The hospice was occupied by seven male and six female patients, aged between sixty to seventy years old. They were all suffering from catatonia. The building had two wings, and each had nine doors. The right wing was occupied by the men, and the left by the women. The two wings met in a T in the hallway that led to the spacious lounge, and the first two rooms on the fork were Jamie’s and Dr. Sunday’s that doubled as his office.

As Dr. Sunday said, it did not take long for Jamie to feel at home at the hospice. As a matter of fact, she was starting to enjoy herself now that she found out that her job was not as arduous as she had expected. Her morning included bringing the patients out to the patio and letting them linger on the grounds for a few hours. Then they were all shepherded back inside the lounge where they were given their daily medications.

 

“The red pills are supplements,” explained Dr. Sunday, gesturing to the capsules on the table.

            Jamie took one from the stainless steel tray. The red pills glistened. She had never seen this supplement before. She figured most of the pharmaceutical companies handed out experimental drugs to hospices like these.

“All the residents have lost their craving for solid food. And this is for their nightmares” he continued, holding a green capsule.

“This is what keeps them calm, keeps them… in check.”

“Are these pills safe?” Jamie asked before she could stop herself. “I mean…”

“I know what you mean, Jamie,” the doctor interrupted. He smiled at Jamie. “Although, these pills are unavailable in the market they had been around for the past half century.”

Jamie nodded.

“And don’t worry the pills are safe and tested with amazing results. These truly are miracle pills. Without them, the patients couldn’t continue life as a normal human being.”

* * * *

“Time for your medicine, Mr. Holden,” Jamie said as she crouched down next to the old man’s wheelchair. Mr. Holden was looking down a piece of paper on his lap. It was a picture of a young man taken at least fifty years ago.

“Is that you, Mr. Holden?” Jamie asked. She looked at the young face in the picture then up at the old man who was holding it. There was a distinct similarity between the man in the picture and the old man sitting in the wheelchair: the same long nose, the high cheek bones, the strong arched eyebrows, and the deep penetrating eyes. Beyond the withering skin, nobody could argue that the man in the picture was him.

“It is you. You were quite handsome, Mr. Holden, and I can see, not much have changed. You’re as good looking now as you were in that picture. Now, open wide,” she said smiling, pushing the red capsule into the old man’s closed lips.

Mr. Holden looked away from the picture and stared at Jamie’s eyes. There was something odd about the way Mr. Holden was looking at her. Jamie did not realize what it was until later that day - until the eyes haunted her in her dream - eyes that were filled with malice.

The old man slowly opened his lips just enough to let Jamie push in the pill with the tip of her finger. There was a strange sound as the old man closed his mouth, like the crunching sound of an apple being bitten or a flesh being torn from bone.

Jamie’s finger bled instantly. Every nerve in her finger sent out pain. She fell on her knees as she tried desperately to free herself. But the more she pulled away from Mr. Holden the harder the he clamped his toothless jaw.

She screamed but her voice was drowned out by the sounds the other patients were making. All of them were shouting, moaning, laughing, and crying in a frantic chorus that shrilled through the very foundations of the building.

Blood filled Mr. Holden’s mouth and dripped down his chin with his spittle.

Dr. Sunday rushed into the lounge to help Jamie. He held the old man’s head and took out a plastic tongue depressor from his white gown. He slipped the plastic between the toothless jaws and pried them open. After a few nudges Jamie’s finger was released.

“Are you all right, Jamie?” the doctor asked the frantic nurse.

The patients calmed down, the noise fading to the sound of heavy breathing. All became silent then except for Mr. Holden who made a faint gurgling sound while his whole body shook as though he was having a seizure.

“Yes, I’m all right,” Jamie replied, her voice slightly trembling. “I’m fine Doctor…” her voice faded as she saw her finger.

At the tip of her index finger were red marks - small pinprick marks that ran around her soft finger and right through her fingernail. The uniform holes still continuously gushed out droplets of blood.

“You should clean that wound, Jamie. I’ll take care of Mr. Holden,” the doctor said as he administrated a dose of sedative to Mr. Holden.

Jamie moved slowly away from the doctor and the old man, and headed to her room. She wanted to look back but decided not to, afraid she would meet the eyes of Mr. Holden, which were following her as she stepped out the lounge - eyes that were filled with malice.

 

Jamie tried not to blame Mr. Holden. Considering the old man’s mental state it would be unfair to hold him accountable for his actions. It was all an accident. Mr. Holden had only mistaken her finger for the pill. And a catatonic old man could not control his reflexes.

But as she justified to herself what had happened, she kept seeing the old man’s face and the way he looked at her. Mr. Holden had genuinely meant to hurt her. She saw the resolution on the old man’s eyes - the way an angry dog would stare just before it bites.

Jamie sat silently on her bed. Underneath her bandaged finger, she felt the wound throbbing. She missed her own bed - the bed where she felt safe. She started to hate this room: the musky smell inside the wooden cabinet, the lemon-green colored walls and the white tiled floor, the steel bed and the new mattress, and the cold air that permeated through the closed windows �" as cold as the tears that ran down her cheeks.

She lay down the bed, closed her eyes and cried herself to sleep.

 

In her dream, Jamie was lying on the floor of the lounge. She was naked, and the cold white marble numbed her back.

Everything around her was bright and luminous.

There was no sound; no whispers in the air, no secrets blown by the wind. Everything was silent she could hear her own heartbeat. No, what she was hearing was not the beating of her heart. In this dream, she had none.

The heartbeat came from the wheelchair in front of her, the wheelchair she knew well.

Mr. Holden sat calcified in the wheelchair; his white frail skin gleamed in the invisible light, his eyes were callous as ever, and his mouth wide open to a silent scream, revealing razor sharp teeth drenched with blood.

Jamie wanted to run away from the monster in front of her, but her leaden feet held her in place. No matter how hard she tried, she could not move her legs.

She stood there as the wheelchair moved slowly towards her. The heartbeat sound thumped louder at every turn of the wheel.

Jamie could feel the heartbeat vibrating around her; on the floor she stood on, in the air she breathed in. It was thumping viciously she could feel it inside of her - the heartbeat that sang a chorus of fear - until it became her heartbeat.

* * * *

Jamie stepped inside Dr. Sunday’s office and saw that he was not alone.

“Jamie,” the doctor said upon seeing her, “I’d like you to meet Alex, Mr. Holden’s son.”

The man stood up and faced Jamie. The resemblance between the man standing in front of her and the young Mr. Holden in the picture was uncanny. The features of the handsome façade in the picture were manifested in this young man, as if the picture itself was brought to life. Even the contemptuous eyes that burned Jamie were the same.

“Mr. Holden was temporarily taken home,” said the doctor. “You don’t have to worry about anything. Mr. Holden will be reinstated whenever he is ready, am I correct Alex?”

Alex nodded without taking his eyes away from Jamie.

“Now if you’re kind enough to escort Alex to Mr. Holden’s room, Jamie. I need to prepare the other patient’s medications. I’ll be with you in a moment Alex.”

 

“It wasn’t your fault,” Alex said as they entered Mr. Holden’s room.

“I was careless. I should have known better,” he murmured more to himself than to Jamie.

Alex sat on the bed.

“You can leave now. I will wait for the doctor by myself. Thank you,” he said without looking at Jamie.

She left the room confused and troubled.

* * * *

It was almost midnight when Jamie decided to go to her room. She had busied herself around the hospice in an effort to divert her mind from what had happened earlier.

Still, it was not enough.

The event plagued her mind, replaying the scenes in an endless sphere that reverberated through the thin walls of her consciousness and subconscious.

There were times that she would stop moving. She feared that her movement would invoke the memory, only to realize later on that the memory still remained, and would never be expunged.

Even in the refuge of her sleep, her dreams played the same tune - a tune of fear. And she had no choice but to listen.

* * * *

Jamie was extremely thirsty. She knew that no amount of water could replenish her. She needed something else - something rejuvenating, something powerful.

On the bright hallway, red liquid seeped out from Mr. Holden’s room. Jamie could feel her stomach churning from the very sight of the liquid. Her thirst would soon dissipate.

Alex stepped out of the room. His handsome face was pleasant and inviting. He held his arms forward, waiting for Jamie to embrace him. She could feel his desire to press his body against hers. She took his arms and held him - held him close that their heart began to beat as one.

She felt him move his lips to her neck.

She cringed.

Alex flicked his tongue on her silky neck, and a thin red line appeared on its wake. He closed his lips on the wound and drank. He drank until all the blood drained from Jamie’s body.

* * * *

Though the chilly air was present inside her room, Jamie woke up drenched with sweat, and her heart racing. Her dream felt so real. She could still feel Alex’s soft lips on her neck. So real in fact that her throat was burning like the unnatural thirst she experienced in her dream.

The hospice dreamt its secrets within the darkness. Every door was closed, every eyelid shut, every light extinguished save only the room where she left the old man’s son.

Could she have been so busy with her work that she did not notice the young man leaving the room?

The crack of light on the closed door intrigued her.

She grabbed the cold metal of the doorknob, and then looked down her feet expecting to see a thick pool of blood streaming under the door.

There was nothing except the glowing light from within.

Jamie opened the door.

There was a strong presence inside the room. It hung in the air like the winter chill, effortlessly making its presence known. Its poisons were that of a slaughterhouse - damp, infamous, and deathly.

Alex was bound to the bed. His arms and legs securely tied in a manner that utterly restricted any movement. Even his head was held by the same thick leather straps. The mouth clamp revealed that all of his teeth were plucked out. The red swollen gums still bore the holes where his teeth were.

Two red tubes were attached to his arm and connected to a small metallic box that could be mistaken for an old boombox. Two disks swirled the red liquid inside. One tube filled the box with the liquid, and the other pumped it out.

The bound man’s face appeared tired. His true age was hidden away within the molestations of his body, and yet his eyes never lost its venom as he stared back at Jamie’s frightened eyes.

Jamie was lost for words, unable to accept what she was seeing, unable to think what to do.

“It is part of the process,” Dr. Sunday said calmly at the doorway. “This is the only way we could bring back Mr. Holden,” he said pointing at the bounded man.

“What? What have you done?” Jamie shouted.

“This is what they want, Jamie” the doctor smiled.

“No! Stop this! Stop torturing him!”

Jamie stepped back as the doctor moved closer.

Dr. Sunday looked down at the bound man and touched his bloody head, caressing him as though he was a tamed animal that was once wild.

“This is not a place of torture. It’s the outside world that’s torturing them. They were living a life driven only by an insatiable thirst,” he said softly. “They come here to end their curses and to continue their lives in peace - to continue to live life like a normal human being. This is their sanctuary.”

“What are you talking about? Get away from him!” Jamie frenzied, shoving the doctor away from Alex.

Jamie made a run for the door but was stopped on her tracks as the doctor emptied a syringe of clear liquid on her neck.

* * * *

Dr. Sunday reviewed the white paper he was holding. He smiled and waved the paper to Jamie who was standing on the side of the table. She was smiling all the time as the doctor read the contract.

“Very well,” the doctor said as he clapped his hands together and rested them on his lap. “I think everything is in order. Jamie will prepare you for the process. Jamie, if you don’t mind taking Ms. Eason to her room.”

Jamie smiled at the thin woman sitting in front of the desk and gestured her out the room.

“And Ms. Eason,” the doctor added as they walked to the door. “Welcome home.”

 

The End

© 2011 bba


Author's Note

bba
I think I'm way off to what really want to emphasize in this story: A retirement home for vampires. Maybe in the future, I'll write another story using this concept. But for now, I don't want to change anything in the story. Thanks for reading! XD

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Featured Review

I liked the premise of this story,please accept this review as a subjective attempt to offer advice and suggetions for its improvement. Not to be considered as criticism.
I came across a few grammatical errors, You have used a few contractions in your work, which is ok if it is dialogue but not in the main body of work. Capitalisation missed off at the start of some of the dialogue and also a couple of words missing from certain sentences. be carefull of using too many passive verbs,try and stear clear of, that,were,being,are,is,been,am,just,get,got,very.Stick with action verbs,makes the story flow better and makes for a more enjoyable read. It takes time and practice,remember write, write, write.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Enjoyed this story. Do write more using this concept.

Posted 6 Years Ago


well it sure scared me! I don't like vampire stories as a general rule, but I think I got into this one by accident and then found myself quite "enjoying" it if that's possible!

Posted 6 Years Ago


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dc
perfect story! i'm impressed

Posted 6 Years Ago


I loved this story. However, I was kind of confused as to what happened to Jamie between the Injection and the part at the end where she seemed to be doing her job again. Did the good doctor explain that they were all vampires he was caring for and that they no longer wanted to live in the outside world?

Posted 7 Years Ago


bba

7 Years Ago

I really don't know what happened myself, but yes, Jamie is doing her job again after the room incid.. read more
Mark Best

7 Years Ago

thats really cool.
Aside from a few grammatical errors, this was an excellent premise and an entertaining story. As I read it, I kind of pictured myself watching an old Twilight Zone or Night Gallery episode. I could almost hear Rod Serling's voice, "And now, presented for your amusement, a building housing a very special group of not-so-frail elderly folk..."
Good job overall!

Posted 7 Years Ago


Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is a very brilliant tale. I was hooked fro mthe start, and you keep it very mysterious till the end. Vampires are not really scary anymore, but your's was. I think because of the eyes. You reminded me of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot, which is my favorite book by him. Awesome job and keep writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


You had me reading and reading and wondering. If english is your second language, an astonding piece. I loved the story!

Posted 8 Years Ago


I like this. Its very interesting :) Great job.

Posted 8 Years Ago



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Added on December 18, 2010
Last Updated on April 15, 2011
Tags: Short Story, Horror, Fiction, Hospice, Vampires, Blood, Doctors, Overseas Nurse, Retirement Home, Brian Ayson, I really don't know how to tag m

Author

bba
bba

Philippines



About
I write short stories mostly, somewhere within the realms of horror, fantasy, drama, dark fantasy. Please feel free to read and write a quick review of what you think of my stories. Any comments gr.. more..

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