Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1942022-A-Fresh-Start
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Supernatural · #1942022
An elderly couple recaptures their youth.


         “Could you come here for a moment? Something is not right.”

         George turned from the television.

         “Can it wait?”

         “Something’s not right. Something’s really strange, George. You need to come up here right now!”

         Millie’s voice carried over the sounds of running water and the sounds of the Red Sox hitting a double coming from the television.

         Grumbling, George stood and headed for the stairs. Although he did not want to miss the next moments of the game, he knew better than to ignore the note of alarm in his wife’s voice. After forty-three years of marriage, he knew the sound, the same one she expressed when she discovered the unusual mole on her cheek. Thankfully, the doctor managed to remove the malignant spot before it could cause any other problems. George wondered what else time had in store for them as they continued to age.

         George hurried up the stairs, and then paused. With his bad back and trick knee, it had been ages since he had been able to hurry anywhere, let alone up the rickety wooden stairs he had climbed for thirty-three years.

         Must be one of my better days, he thought. Maybe the two beers I had dulled the arthritis.

         “Did you use that new soap Rex sent us?” George asked as he continued upstairs. “He says he got it at a fair as a set. Says he bought it from some old gypsy. Maybe you had a reaction or- “

         He reached the top, turned into the bathroom and gasped.

         A young woman, naked and dripping water, stood just inside clutching a towel to her chest. She saw him at the same moment and screamed. Then her eyes widened with recognition.

         “George . . .”

         George stood rooted to the spot as if electrocuted. He recognized the woman in the bathroom, but it was the woman who had been waiting for him as he stepped off of the plane when he returned from the war so many years ago. The woman with blue eyes, a peach complexion and golden curls. His wife . . .

         “George,” the woman said in a voice from the past, with so many familiar years erased. “Look in the mirror.”

         George stepped into the bathroom, and slowly wiped the fog from the mirror to reveal not himself standing next to the woman, but the same man whose faded black-and-white portrait of himself in an Army uniform hung proudly from the wall near the bottom of the stairs. It was the same young man who had gotten on one knee and proposed to Millicent at the top of the Empire State Building while the whole city celebrated the return of thousands of other young men from overseas.

         Noise burst from the television downstairs as someone batted the runners in, but George didn’t hear it. He staggered, and would have fallen to the floor from the shock had his body not somehow undid the ravages of forty years.


         “George. It’s a miracle! I don’t know how, but somehow we lost forty years! Remember our first night?”

         Millie let the towel fall, and George saw the nymph he had bedded on their wedding night, just as young and fresh as if it had been yesterday. George felt a stirring in his own body at the sight, something he hadn’t felt in years.

         “But, how?”

         “Remember that soap our son sent us? He and Emily got it at that fair in Baton Rouge while he was visiting the in-laws. It happened after I used it! Did you use it, George?”

         George nodded, looking at himself in the mirror once more.

         “He said it was called ‘Timeless’. Got it from a gypsy.”

         He frowned.

         “You know I don’t believe in that kind of stuff Millie,” he said weakly.

         “George! The proof is right in front of you!”

         Millie, still dripping from her shower stepped forward and grasped George in a wet embrace.

         “We can start over!” she gushed, her eyes shining. “Just think! We can do all the things we promised each other! Oh, George, we never even went to Paris . . .”

         But George’s frown had deepened, and he now had a distant expression in his eyes.

         “Millie, we had a good life. But . . .”

         “Oh, but what George?”

         “Did . . . Rex and Emily use the soap?”

         Millie stepped back, her hand covering her mouth and a look of horror creeping across her newly-young face.

         “Oh, George! They’re only in their twenties! If the soap does the same thing to them . . .”

         George was already rushing to the hallway phone. As he reached for it, the phone rang.

         George looked back at Millie, peeking from the bathroom, radiating an expression of anxious apprehension. He slowly picked up the phone.


         “Hello? Dad?”

         “Who’s this?”

         “I’m sorry, I was calling for George Lund.”

         It was not the voice of his son, but the voice sounded oddly familiar.


         There was a pause.

         “Oh, thank God! Dad?”

         “Is this some kind of a joke? You’re not Rex!”

         “I swear, it’s me! It’s Rex! Is Mom okay?”

         Now George recognized the voice. It was his own voice after time had added its own tones, timbres and rasps. It was the voice of an old man. Until today, it was what he had sounded like.

         “Yes she’s fine, uh . . . Rex.”

         “Dad! That soap we sent you? Did you use it?”

         “Uh . . .”

         “Don’t use it! I don’t know how to explain it, but something horrible has happened!”
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