Time after Time - Flash Fiction

Updated on February 19, 2018
Nell Rose profile image

Flash Fiction - Chilling stories with a twist that you never saw coming!

Young male reporter
Young male reporter | Source

'Why do I have to go? I don't look old enough to have a mom or dad in a care home for the aged'. Tom leaned against the door frame and frowned at his boss. He didn't mind investigating these sort of assignments, but in this instance he felt out of his depth. What would he know about an old peoples home? He was only 26 years old.

John his boss sighed and said, 'I am sending you because you do look young and naive, that way they won't suspect we are reporters, okay?'

Tom nodded his head in agreement, grabbed his coat and yelled 'Okay its on your head if I mess up though'! Laughing he ran for the door as John threw a paper ball after him.

'Cheeky young......'! John smiled then scratched his head. It was a pretty strange case, he thought. A care home for the elderly, it seemed Kosher but there was just that something.....!

'Never mind' He thought, 'Tom will figure it out'.

Elderly in care home old folks home
Elderly in care home old folks home | Source

Walking up the driveway towards the large house he reflected on what he had learned about this case. Locals had been whispering about it for years but nothing ever seemed untoward so they carried on sending their elderly relatives there as they grew older and infirm. There was never a question about care, they were looked after really well, in fact some even started to look younger after a while! He smiled, yes he had heard that one before!

Reaching the door he rang the bell and stepped back. Soon he heard footsteps and the door swung open revealing a smiling face of a woman in her middle years.

'Come in ! Come in!' she said 'I have been waiting for you since two o clock, I expect you would love a cup of tea or coffee!'

Turning away she walked quickly towards the kitchen area.

'What a lovely day! Do you take milk or sugar? '

Tom grabbed a chair and sat down, 'Yes tea please, two sugars'.

'So, what's this about? Did you say your grandmother needed help now?' She leaned over and poured the tea, pushing it towards Tom. 'Help yourself to sugar' she said.

Making tea cup of tea
Making tea cup of tea | Source

After explaining about his grandmother and how she was now infirm but still very bright and alert, the woman, she told him her name was Betty, asked him if he wanted to be shown around.

'Here on the first floor we have all the facilities for our guests, we like to call them guests it makes them feel special' She smiled.

'And through there is the dining room. Come on, follow me upstairs and I will show you your room'.

Tom took a step back. 'My room?' He raised his eyebrows in disbelief.

'Well yes, of course, how are you going to travel back tonight? Its miles from nowhere and I noticed you didn't come by car?'

Tom said nothing, but thought 'Darn it, I knew I should have borrowed Johns Volkswagen, now I am stuck!;

He smiled at her though and said 'Thank you, that's really thoughtful of you'

'Oh never mind that' She said, 'We do it all the time, we learned that a long time ago when we got visited by someone who got himself stuck out in the field at 3 am and.........

Tom listened with a courteous look on his face and followed her up the stairs as she chatted on.

Soon she left him to get used to his room and as darkness fell Tom felt quite comfortable and began to think the whole thing was a joke.

As it was late he decided to get some rest. He fell asleep really quickly, and woke up feeling fine.

Or so he thought.

Young guy drinking coffee
Young guy drinking coffee | Source

Something was wrong. He knew it. He felt it. Something........

'Good morning Tom may I call you Tom?' Betty was at the door with a steaming mug of coffee.

'Ah Mrs.....?' 'Betty to you love, now come on downstairs when you are ready and take a look at the gardens, its lovely at this time of year'. And off she bustled.

Tom walked towards the window. Pulling back the curtain he was surprised to see people sunbathing.

'That's odd, its a bit chilly for laying outside in shorts?' He thought. 'Ah well, better go down'. And he made his way to the stairs. He felt a bit stiff and sore, but put that down to the walking yesterday.

Tom asleep
Tom asleep | Source

After breakfast of bacon and eggs with coffee, he decided to take a look round. He smiled at the guests, shook hands with the helpers and smiled at the cleaners. They all seemed happy to see him and couldn't wait to tell him about the latest hobby or TV program they had watched.

But still.......

After an hour he suddenly felt tired so instead of heading to the station to report back to work he decided to have a quick lay down.

'Must be the country air' He thought, yawning. Slipping off his shoes he lay back down on the bed.......!

When he woke it was dark. 'Oh no!' He thought. 'What the hell...?' Climbing off the bed he made his way to the window. How did that happen? 'I must have been more tired than I thought'.

'Better stay here for the night, hope Betty doesn't mind!' With that he dragged his feet back to bed and fell asleep.

At last he began to wake up and realized that he was shivering. 'Brr, why is it so cold'? Opening his eyes he looked towards the window.


'What the.....?' Tom got out of the bed and walked slowly towards the light shining against the window frame. He could see powdery snow settling on the window ledge, and looking out saw a few of the guests laughing and throwing snowballs at each other.

'Weird Spring!' He thought, and washing quickly, he got dressed. Opening the door he headed down the stairs.

Snow | Source

After wandering around checking the rooms, talking to the residents and generally chit chatting he realized that he needed a rest, and a bathroom break.

'Ouch! why do my legs hurt so much?' shuffling to the bathroom he looked round for a mirror. 'Strange, why aren't there any mirrors?'

Actually, thinking about it, he realized that he hadn't looked in a mirror since he arrived. When was that? For a few seconds he couldn't remember. Beginning to feel uneasy, Tom headed back up the stairs and in a second decided it was time to leave.

Grabbing his bag he started to put extra clothing back in. He noticed that his clothes looked a bit worn. 'I only bought that shirt a week ago, what the hell?' Leaning down, Tom picked it up and sniffed it. 'Yuck'! He threw it across the room. It smelled of mildew!

What was going on?

Grabbing his bag he headed for the stairs. On entering the day room he realized, with a start the the walls were a different color. And looking around he saw that there were a new influx of pensioners there.

He decided to look for Betty, and spotting a young woman walking towards him, he called out to her.

'Hi, can you tell me where Betty is please? I am going, and wanted to say thanks.

The girl gave him an odd look, then gestured towards a table with two chairs.

'Join me'. She said.

Old lady waving to Tom
Old lady waving to Tom | Source

'Now, who is Betty?' She asked. 'Sorry, my name is Anne, just started today'.

Tom shook hands with her, and went on to describe Betty.

'Sorry, I don't know her at all' Anne remarked. 'Hold on, I will go and check. How old is she?'

'Around 50 ish?' Tom answered.

Anne walked out the door, and Tom turned round to look at the residents. Suddenly he spotted an old lady with white hair over in the corner.

'Oo-oh over here!' She shouted.

Curious, Tom got up and walked over to her. 'Hello? do I know you?' He frowned down at her face, knowing that there was something familiar.

'Oh Tom' she giggled, 'Of course you know me, I just want to say thank you for all your help over the last few years. Do you know, you saved many people from dying early in here. Most of us are at least 100 years old. Sally over in the corner..' She pointed with her left hand '...She is 110! you are amazing, what great blood you have.....!'

Tom leaned over to take a closer look at her. Suddenly his neck hair stood on end, and a cold shiver went down his spine. He was struck dumb with horror!

The old ancient woman sitting in front of him was....Betty!

Looking up he saw a mirror above her chair. In the reflection was an old white haired man standing before him. The look of shock on the old mans face said it all. It was him!

' Ooh just think Tom, you are now old enough to live the rest of your life here with us, now won't that be lovely?'

Betty slowly got up from her chair and pointed out the window. 'See that young man there?' As Tom turned round in shock, he saw her pointing to a guy around 20 years old, who was about to do the gardening.

'He is your replacement, just think, by tonight you will start getting your first blood transfusion.......

Tom felt himself start to fall, no! He thought, 'I have to let that young man know the danger'! But his vision went black, and the last words he heard were Betty,

'Ah shame, his heart couldn't take it, too much blood loss, next time we will be more careful.......!''

Young man looks in mirror and sees he is old
Young man looks in mirror and sees he is old | Source


A newspaper fluttered down the pathway, its sides tattered and torn from the wind and rain. As it came to stop by a tree, a soft gust of wind unfolded the front page, and inside on page 2 there was the story of a man who had disappeared 50 years to the date on the front page.

It read......

Newspaper Headlines
Newspaper Headlines | Source

© 2016 Nell Rose


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    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks John, I love writing fiction, you can just flow, and not have to research anything! lol!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      An excellent story with a jaw-dropping ending reminiscent of the Twilight Zone.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Shyron, always lovely to see you!

    • profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago

      This is still an amazing story. I love it.

      Blessings and hugs dear friend

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks Shauna, lol! yes those lovely grey haired old ladies, would you believe it? thanks for reading, nell

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Nell, you've outdone yourself! I had no idea that the old folks were using Tom's blood to stay young. What a trip! And he thought only a few days had gone by.

      The newspaper at the end was the perfect touch. Great job!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks Peg, yes its cool isn't it? the newspaper was great to make, can't remember the name of the site, but easy to find, loved using the site, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks btrbell, lol! can't help meself!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Well, now I will be more careful when I visit the retirement home to not drink the beverages. Wow. What a great tale. Creepy and clever. I love the newspaper article at the end.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great flash fiction and fun, if not a bit creepy, story!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Chitrangada! I am so glad you liked it, nell

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful story with a magical twist!

      I read the entire piece with full attention and I must appreciate your talent as a flash fiction writer.

      Your characteristics as a mystery writer can be clearly felt throughput the hub.

      Thank you for this wonderful story!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      lol! wheel chair race? sounds like fun! thanks for coming back Shyron, always great to see you!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Lawrence! :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Yes Nell, Cocoon was the movie. Funny the things that come to mind (at least my mind) when I read someone's hub.

      This also reminds me of Continueum the name of the rehab, where they sent me after my hip replacement and I was the youngest one in there, and I got some of the ladies to wheel chair race. The staff thought it was hysterical.

      Blessings my friend.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      That was an awesome story.


    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Deb thanks! I love me my weird endings! Haha! glad you liked it, and thanks again, nell

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago

      Spell binding! I loved the story, and wanted to see the mystery as it unfolded. Loved it.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thank you MsDora glad you liked it, and thanks for reading, nell

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      This story is hard to beat, not that I dare try. You're a great story teller, Nell. Please write another one, or two or . . . just write.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Samuel, I may turn this and others into an ebook, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Nadine, I made the newspaper clip! lol! if you look below the paper you will see I have put a link to the site, its great fun! thanks so much for reading, oh and look at the date on the paper! its meant to be 2066!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Oh wow! thanks so much John! that is a great compliment!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks Shyron, wasn't that Cocoon? I think that was the movie you are saying! lol! thanks so much, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much Will, I am so glad you liked it, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Miz, no I made the newspaper headline! lol! it was me! its not real, I just went to a website that lets you make your own! cool eh? thanks for reading, nell

    • Samuel Gorbold profile image

      Samuel Kian Gorbold 

      4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Great read. Hope to see it published on paper! Keep the work up!

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Good grief Nell you have written a great short story. Where did you find that newspaper clip and the two man looking in the mirror image? Well done!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      My goodness Nell Rose this was Fantastic.. I thought Winged Centaur wrote great stories here but you give him a run for his money.. Wow..:)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Fantastic flash fiction story here Nell. One of the best short stories I have read on HubPages. I wish I could dream my stories.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Wow Nell! What a flash of fiction this is. I was really intrigued, it reminded me of a movie about a lot old people in a nursing home and a space ship landed and took the residents on board and as the entered they got younger and younger.

      Blessings and hugs dear Nell.

    • WillStarr profile image


      4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Whoa! What a plot! Wow, Nell, this is a real winner!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      Superb, Nell. Did you see the newspaper story and get the idea? I think that is as good a guess as any, but it does remind me of the Twilight Zone.

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks Martie, I found that when I looked for free front pages! lol! its great isn't it? thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks suzette, glad you spotted the newspaper, its fun isn't it? easy to do too! and yes those care facilities!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      What an interesting and well-written short story. That report in the newspaper surely gives wings to our imagination.

      Well done, Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks Bill, glad you liked it, and I am sure you are great at flash fiction!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi phoenix, thanks so much! glad you liked it, and thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      ouch! I didn't know that Flourish! really? thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Faith thanks for reading, yes those care homes can be so darn depressing can't they? that must have been awful, sorry to hear that, nell

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Lol! Your stories always have a great twist to them. I am staying out of all care facilities! The newspaper is a great twist too!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great read, Nell. Please note that I have never tried flash fiction. There is a reason for that: I find it too difficult to tell an entire story in so few words. I'll leave that to people who do it so well, like you.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Even though I had an idea what was coming I was still surprised when it happened. I mean I thought they would experiment on him but I didn't think they would hold on to him for as long as they did. Nice job, Nell. Very nice job.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This was excellent! It reminds me of cats and dogs that some veterinarians keep for doing blood transfusions.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA


      You are great at writing flash fiction! Poor Tom ...what a shocker in that reflection to say the least.

      This was entertaining.

      In high school, I was in the National Honor Society, and we went to visit a nursing home facility. I was so upset and never went back again because an elderly lady in a wheelchair asked me was I her granddaughter. I was torn on what to say to the poor woman, but gently told her I was not her granddaughter, and then she started getting upset and shaking all over, so much so, they had to take her away from the main room! Oh, me, she was traumatized and I was too. I felt terrible. My question was ...where is the real granddaughter!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hiya Ruby, lol! I just can't help myself! I try to write something sweet and nice and it takes a turn! LOL! thanks as always, nell

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Oh my, I don't think I will be visiting a near-by nursing home any time soon!!! This is a great flash fiction with a twist. I loved it. You can incorporate the paranormal into so many of your pieces. Excellent!!

    • Nell Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Thanks so much cam, I dreamed it believe it or not! LOL! yes I am one of those people who dream stories, thank goodness it wasn't really gruesome!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      4 years ago from Traverse City, MI

      This is an awesome plot and told so well. I knew he was in for a wild ride, I just had no idea what it would be. Great job, Nell.


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