The Old Man (Short Story)

5개월 전

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Jeremy Bottom had a very unique medical condition, which became rather a nuisance after quite a while: at some point he just stopped growing old. Just like that. And to make matters worse, this happened when he was already old, so now he was doomed to be old forever.

When news of this astonishing development came to be, the most renowned and prominent agents of the medical, spiritual and even philosophical fields of the time gathered to debate on how this had happened, and yet they couldn’t seem to even begin to grasp what could have motivated Jeremy to go and cheat death like that. Jeremy himself could not explain it, he just felt a shiver run through his spine one day and the next morning his arthritis had gotten better and the day after that he swore that he could see farther and farther and after one week every single one of his age-given ailments had disappeared. The experts simply accepted their failure. Shortly after, Jeremy’s condition was all but forgotten along with Jeremy himself who, outliving all of his relatives just took himself to the woods and took a long nap.

This was over four centuries ago.

Today Jeremy decided to come out of his cave, still lost amid the lush virgin woods he had chosen to rest. As he pushed the rock aside, the morning sun beams rushed in and reminded him just how wonderful colors were.

“Oh my!”, despite of his uncommonly exceptional physical shape, were his muscles sore after a four-hundred year nap!

After a stroll though the woods that took him a couple of hours, he came by a small village.

“Look, look!”, a child called out, “What strange clothes. And what a strange old man!”

“What do you mean strange, boy?”, Jeremy inquired, “and why must you be dressed all color-like like you are going to attend the King's court?”

“The King?”, the boy frowned, “what King? Where do you come from, sir?”

“Hmm. The past, actually... I come from the past!”, Jeremy answered with conviction.

“You come from the past?! Oh, dear me! I have never known someone who came from the past! You will be famous then, come, come, I will take you to my home”, the boy invited anxiously.

"Famous?!", Jeremy barely had time to consider what this meant, as the boy took his hand and guided him through dirt paths, followed by all his friends.

Entering the boy’s home Jeremy was astonished with all the shiny and unusual things, but his attention was fully stolen by the TV.

“What is this box, boy? Why do these people dance inside?”

“Dear me! That is a TV. It’s where all the famous people eventually end up.”

“Ah! I see.”

As the boy ran upstairs to rally his parents, Jeremy quietly got up and backtracked all the way to the forest before anyone else could follow him.

Finding back the trail to his cave, he blocked the entrance with a few big boulders like he had done so many years before.

“Ain’t no one gonna lock me dancing in no little box…”, he whispered before shutting his eyes for a couple more centuries.

This post was originaly posted at Narrative.org

(Image Attribution Leroy_Skalstad )

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