Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Katleen_A_Cooke would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Forgotten

By Katleen_A_Cooke All Rights Reserved ©

Other

~

I won’t start by telling you how old I am. And it’s not how I intend to end this story either.

It’s not a matter of modesty, I assure you. It’s just that trying to remember my exact age would be too strenuous. Don’t get me wrong; I know what year I came into the world and I still remember how math works, but there comes a time when a man should stop counting.

Thirty years ago, I was already old which can only mean… let’s move on, shall we?

I’d had reached the three digits mark when a doctor at the local hospital got interested in me. My wife had been gone for fifteen years and I couldn’t wait for the day to come when I’d be joining her. I went to see the first professional who’d wanna see me, seeking for answers. I had a single question.

“How much time do you think I have left?”

After touching, prodding, and listening into his stethoscope, Dr. Martin smiled and assured me I had nothing to fear.

“You’re in excellent health,” he said, making my heart sink.

His smile dwindled a bit when I told him how old I was and how I couldn’t wait to be done with it all.

“I could have sworn you weren’t a day older than eighty, Mr. Barnaby,” he said, taking another look into his folder to make sure I had told the truth. “What’s your secret?”

The doctor seemed to be expecting a real answer. What in the world could I tell him? That I engulfed a huge steak every evening? That I drank a full gallon of gin per week? That smoking a cigar before going to bed kept my insomnia at bay? I couldn’t, so instead I claimed to have lived a flawless lifestyle with plenty of vegetables and daily exercise.

It’s his damn fault if from then on, my life went down in flames. He had to have been dreaming of being a celebrity because less than a month later some lady called, inviting me to appear on a popular daytime TV show. The subject was extreme old age and I would be compensated for my participation.

I have to say, I was a bit bored and I thought making a little money wouldn’t hurt, so I agreed. The next week, a luxury car adorning the show’s logo picked me up to bring me to the studio. They put some makeup on me, combed the little hair I had left before making me sit in a plastic chair on an overheated stage.

All around me were other sweaty old timers. Most looked much older than I did, and they didn’t seem too lively either. In front of us sat an assembly of loud people, impatient for the famous host to grace us with his presence. As time passed, the other geezers and I came to look like melting wedding cakes. The only upside had to be the cute redhead that would come and pat our faces dry and add extra layers of makeup.

Finally, the show started. We had been asked to be on our best behavior while the middle-aged host – looking younger than he was thanks to plastic surgery – did his thing. I kept to myself, barely paying attention to anything, right up until he had me in his visor. He had kept me for last, the dessert, the cherry on top.

“And how old are you, Mr. Barnaby?”

With the others claiming they were ninety-three, ninety-four, and a hundred and one, I knew divulging my age would create a stir. I can’t explain why it felt so nice to hear them all gasp when I said I had just turned one hundred and eight. Some even clapped and, yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t relish in it.

The questions poured in: How do you do it? How are you feeling? Do you wear diapers? It came as a relief to see the host cut the interrogation short and soon introduce Dr. Martin. He was the main reason for my presence on the show; to give some weight to his own wacky theories about aging.

Just like that, I was done with. I had gotten my five minutes of fame and all I could do now was wait for death to claim me. Or so I hoped.

Fast forward to ten years later; I had become an icon. In the wake of my unsolicited fame, I had been a guest on every show and been interviewed by every magazine. I even agreed to be poked and prodded in the name of science. I just can’t tell you the very nature of those tests as I signed a nondisclosure agreement. Not that they told me much about it all anyway.

After spending years at the top, my shining star faded and I started being hated, feared. Mostly thanks to some obscure religious leader who used my misfortune to his advantage, claiming God had rejected me. Preacher Bob told stories about me, all of them untrue. Still, people believed him when he said I had raped, abused, and killed my fair share of kids and women. My ever extending life had to be one of atonement.

Social medias buzzed with even more lies about me. I’ve been spotted downtown sucking blood from young girls. I’ve been called an alien, the kind from another planet – although being from a different country could have been just as bad in some parts of the country. Some called me the new Messiah. Some sent me death threats over the phone, by email, even in my damn face. Some kissed my feet, others asked that I bless their child. An emerging sect even claimed my name.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

I still believed enough in God to be against taking my own life. I had to find another solution. Over the years, I had amassed a nice bundle of cash, so I called my favorite granddaughter, Michelle. I asked her to make me disappear, which she accepted with great pleasure. I gave her every last cent I had and all she’d have to do was make sure I’d have all I needed to live for what I hoped would be a short time.

“Two to three years, tops!” I promised her.

She shrugged and assured me that I could stay alive as long as I wanted. That she’d take care of me until the day I died.

Since then, I’ve been hiding in a small house deep in the woods of West Virginia. I’ve always had everything I needed thanks to Michelle who brought me food and entertainment twice a month for many years. Except now it’s her son Larry who takes care of me. My sweet Michelle died a couple of years ago, unable to remember her own name.

As for me, I keep getting buried under the years without really being affected by them. I eat, I drink, I smoke, I do crosswords, and I take long walks under the moonlight. Nobody suspects I still exist.

Even if I pretty much vanished, nobody forgot about Ol’ Mister Barnaby. Dr. Martin, now deceased, made a fortune when he wrote a book about me. He told my story, which was read by millions of people in a multitude of languages. I’m no better than anyone else, I read it too. It was a beautiful story although I didn’t recognize much of myself in it.

Hollywood even made it into a movie. They went and pulled some old actor out of retirement to play me. Can’t say I remember his name, but he did win an Oscar in doing so. I saw it, it made me cry. It was a very good movie.

I’m now convinced that the day will come when Larry won’t be coming around anymore. Someone else will have to take his place but I can’t see who that could be. Larry doesn’t have children and the whole family pretty much thinned out into the ether. All I can hope for is that when this happens, when he stops coming, I’ll have the courage to wander onto the highway and fling myself in front of an eighteen wheeler.

But I doubt it’ll happen. Who knows, I might really be anonymous twenty years from now. I’ll go into the next town and sip on a coffee at the restaurant by the lake. I’ll smile at strangers and wiggle my fingers at children.

And if anyone asks me how old I am?

I’ll lie.




Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Katleen_A_Cooke
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

dd1226: I love reading about other countries and I think this story about Cambodia after Polpot creates awareness of the tragedy that happened there and the actions of the U.N. to hold elections. The heroine of the story is easy to relate to, a modern, middleaged woman looking for an adventure, wanting t...

Alex Reltin: The way you build the world around the characters is amazing, and the way you get into the character's mind and make us feel for the characters through the entire story. There isn't much more I can say about this other than amazing! Are there going to be anymore updates any time soon?I also Vote...

mariamalkorashy: Simply alluring, I have become addicted. Now the rest of this message is simply words because it notified me saying that my Review was to short haha. It has done it again so yup I am still here writing once more haha.

evanhoverly: I absolutely loved this book and the characters in it. The story would often introduce unexpected events keeping it interesting.The book could use a good proofreading before it gets published, but otherwise a good read!

Deidre L. Swain: I understood where the story was going but the writing skills were lacking a lot. There are some places that had no flow. The plot was good which is what kept me reading the whole story. I think the author shows promise. They just need to tighten up on their skills to really get it going

AnnaLucia: This fanfiction has an amazing plot. It's very different from the books, yet the author still managed to keep the personalities the characters had in the books. Your Alec and Magnus still are themselves, even though you created a different plot where Bane had to seduce Lightwood to get informati...

Patrick Johns: The Prince was an exciting read. I enjoyed the spoiled bratty protagonist and his drastic change through out the story. The world building was well though out and clear. The author did a great job painting a picture for the reader without having a map. I liked the connection to real life leaders....

Angel S. Adames Corraliza: Sensational! As a fan of superheroes, I have to say, you have a real winner of a story so far. I like that you made Allison a Wonder Woman expy, but kept her likable and relate-able in this first chapter. You showed us the Mother while also glancing at the Superhero, which I think is important to...

sujitha nair: What's so distinct about this story was that it could easily be real. Praveena can be your classmate, neighbor or that girl you saw at the coffee shop today. The important decisions she makes and the dilemmas she faces, remind us of our own twisted lives.

More Recommendations

Bella_Lee_Taylor: the plot of the story is good and I can't wait to read the second book, but you need to check your grammar because as I was reading there were were important parts of the story some of the spelling and grammar were out of place and the way you you worded things can be better but I can see that th...

zsyed3623: I really loved this book because it reminded me of all the harry potter characters. it alsok made me think better of Snape. lastly because it made me feel like it was realistic because of the feelings and the way everyone though! this book is 8ne of the best books ever and I am not lying when I s...

Jacklyn Reynolds: As a mother of an Autistic child, I know how hard it can be. I love how beautiful you made everything. That's all I can say. I need to grab a tissue.

Clare Cormack: Fantastic read! I was gripped from the beginning. The plot twist and change of gear stops you from putting it down. I enjoyed the way the individual characters had their own chapters, reading from their own point of view - believable and identifiable. Im really excited to read the sequel and have...

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters. What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gr...

RodRaglin: Your writing is very good, Rachel, but remember you also have to entertain the reader and in that regard it's a bit sparse in action and dialogue.Consider when revising...When starting a new story always consider your protagonist's Goal - what they want; Motivation - why they want it; and, Confli...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.