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Stronger

“You’ve got to get me out of here, George.” Walt Draby held his head low and glowered up at his assistant.

George sighed and looked around him, hoping no one heard. “Sir, you really need to keep your voice down,” he whispered.

“Fine,” Walt mocked in a harsh whisper that was even louder than his voice. “You’ve got to get me out of here!”

George slid onto the chair across from Walt’s bed. “Why do you want to leave, sir?” he asked.

“Why, everybody here is old and sick!” Walt said.

“Well, it is a nursing home, sir. It’s perfect for you — quiet, not many visitors, hardly any sunshine.”

“Well, I don’t like it here. Why do I need to be in a nursing home, anyway?”

George sighed and hoped his boss wouldn’t notice his annoyance. That could be disastrous. “You know we’re both getting older, sir.”

“But I’m not supposed to get old! That wasn’t part of the deal!”

Even at his advanced age, Walt was frightening when his anger flared. “You’re getting along much better than I am, to tell the truth, sir. And I’m only seventy.”

“Seventy! That’s nothing. Why are you so broken down?”

George shifted in his seat, uncomfortable. “Well, we’ve been moving around for many years, sir. Your … um … accoutrements … are heavy, and great care must be taken so as not to damage them.”

“I suppose so,” Walt leaned back and studied the younger man. “You know, George, I can help you with that.”

“Yes, I know, sir. But I plan to just let nature take its course.”

Walt harrumphed. “Well, I certainly do not. Which is why you have to get me out of here. I will never get stronger drawing my energy from all these geezers!”

“Keep your voice down, sir,” George snapped. He looked at his watch. “Now, the third shift is about to start, and I have it on good authority that there is a young orderly named Chad, and he …”

Just then, a strapping young man bustled into the room reading from a clipboard.

“Mr. Draby?” the young man said with a smile. “My name’s Chad. I just started here tonight and I wanted to be sure to come around and meet all our residents.”

“Ah! A pleasure indeed to meet you, Chad.” Walt drew out the name, and it made George’s spine tingle. He had seen that glint in his master’s eyes too many times.

“I’ll come back around later, and maybe we can get better acquainted,” Chad said as he turned and disappeared into the hall.

“I’m counting on it,” Walt said as he inched forward in the bed.

George stood to leave, keeping his eyes on the floor. He didn’t need to see Vlad’s face to know the old ghoul was licking his fangs.

Published inFlash Fiction

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