Older Still

The concept isn’t new, neither is the idea. Since the beginning of human society, maybe even during the Stone Age, humans have tried to prevent aging and defy death.

The obsession to live forever seems to be embedded in a majority of us. There have been leaps of medical advancement and tons of research but right now, all we can do is expand our lifetime – not guaranteed.

There have been several stories, before this one, about how one person steals another’s life force. Stories about zombies and undead monsters aren’t rare either. So, are you really surprised that this man has stumbled upon a real ritual that makes him essentially immortal? Are you surprised that he has kept it a secret?

Ray stumbled upon a page from an ancient grimoir on one of his night strolls through the barracks. He was a young soldier being trained for a war he would never be a part of. As a soldier, immortality wasn’t something Ray craved but he wasn’t stupid. He memorized the page and burned it.

Twenty years later, devoid of friends and family a lonely veteran, Ray decided to pass on the knowledge of immortality because he had no use for it himself. But he didn’t have anyone to pass it on to. He walked into the Hillcrest LGBT center hoping to meet other veterans – maybe one of them would be worthy of a precious gift.

As in all stories, Ray, too, did not anticipate what was to come. He fell in love. Roger and Ray lived and loved for fifty years. Not once did Ray think about immortality. He treasured the life he had and he knew he would be the first of the two of them to die. Selfishly, he wanted to take the secret to immortality with him to the grave.

Now, what is a story without a twist? I bet you saw this coming… Roger was the first one to pass away. Ray was back to being a lonely old veteran, but not quiet. Ray was almost eighty two, frail and barely all there. A friendly neighbor took pity and started to help out the old man.

Jon helped Ray move to an apartment for LGBT veterans, visited him two-three times a week, and bought him all the Dr. Peppers he could drink.

One fine Saturday, a couple hours before Jon was to visit, Ray sat staring at his favorite model train. He had all but forgotten about the immortality spell. His mind had been playing tricks on him lately. Forgetting things, confusing dates, and simply not retaining any information. But that day, his brain trudged out the memory like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat.

It was a fairly simple spell. Everything he needed was right in his apartment. When Jon walked in, he thought something must have died in the apartment. The stench was awful. For a second, Jon thought the dead thing was Ray. Jon had had to use his key to get in because Ray hadn’t answered the door. This wasn’t uncommon. But when Jon called out, there was still no response. In a panic, he went into the bathroom to find Ray on the floor unconscious.


Maithri noticed Jon was starting to look like he was wearing out… not tired or getting older, simply thinning out. Every week, he looked more and more worn out. She wasn’t worried until Jon stopped eating. He was losing 2-3 pounds every week and could barely get out of bed anymore.

Doctors, tests, clinical trials, nothing could really explain the cause. The doctors concluded it was either a type of cancer yet unknown or an aggressive autoimmune disorder, causing his body to attack itself.

There wasn’t really time to find the cause anyway. Within 10 weeks, they were holding Jon’s funeral.

Maithri was beyond distraught. Everyone who attended the funeral gave their condolences that she barely registered. She hadn’t shed a single drop of tear yet worried if she started, she wouldn’t stop. But something that a strange young man said to her at the funeral shook her out of her shock, and she broke down.

Later, when asked who the man was, Maithri had no idea… he looked familiar in an old army uniform, but Maithri couldn’t place where she might have met him.

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