Young Again

Sophie Heathers - a withered, ninety year old woman - is placed in the body of Brooke Braigly, a young woman barely out of her teens. She has three months of youth to herself. But when scientists come to collect her, she doesn't want to give the body up.


2. Fell Down A Hole


Yes. That's right. An update! Sorry it took so long. I can't say that updates will be frequent as I have exams going on, but I'll try and update when I can. Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment, as they're always appreciated!



I’m running and I’m not looking back.

The three months have gone too quickly. I spent the first few weeks doing whatever I pleased, and the last month trying to figure out how I’m going to keep Brooke’s body away from Doctor Lightfoot and his filthy experiments. This body is mine and I’m not giving it back. Brooke doesn’t know how lucky she was to have such a youthful embodiment – and she tried to go and kill herself.

What a foolish girl.

I started planning a week ago, and now I’m launching the operation. I don’t really have anywhere to go except a youth hostel, but I’m definitely not going to the nearest one. That’s the first place they’ll come looking. No, I’m catching a train to Manchester. I’ve collected maps and everything. Not as big and loud as London, but still easy to disappear there among the crowds.

Now, the night before they come to collect me, I’m finally making my move. I pack all the clothes I can fit into a rucksack. I don’t have to worry right now – it’s after I withdraw money from Brooke’s bank account that they’ll become suspicious and come to the flat to see what I’m up to. I know they’ll be monitoring the money. They’ll be cautious with me. They’ll see what they can learn before prying me from Brooke’s body.

I’ve told Rochelle nothing. I still have her mobile number. Every now and then she sends a text asking how the body’s going and if I’m still comfortable. I always reply vaguely, though the body’s been more than comfortable. It’s been exhilarating. I’m leaving the mobile in the flat. Doctor Lightfoot will be able to track it. But I write down Rochelle’s number on the back of my hand. You never know when I might need it, and Rochelle seems pretty easy to sway.

It’s evening and I’m almost ready to go. I hoist the rucksack over my back and go over to shut the last window. I lean there for a moment on the sill, weighing my chances of getting through this. The truth is, I don’t have a clue. I’ll just have to take that risk. If I make it, it’ll certainly be worth it.

I’m about to cut off the clean, cold air of the night when I hear a car pulling up at the front of the apartment building, which is strange. Only one person here has a car and it’s already parked, and there are hardly ever visitors. I stay at the window, waiting to see who gets out of the sleek, black and ominous looking vehicle.

A huge, muscular man gets out of the driver’s seat and bounds round to the back door, pulling it open. A tall, slim man nimbly steps out. It’s Doctor Lightfoot. He’s a day early for the collection.

It takes me a moment to realise that I should be panicking, that I should be running for the door or climbing out through the window or getting away from Doctor Lightfoot in some way as soon as possible. But I’m paralysed by icy tendrils numbing my heart in fear. I feel as though it’s skipping several beats. My plan is going to fail. I’m going to be locked away as an old hag again.

I can’t let that happen.

Before I know it I’m back in action and climbing out of the window. By the time Doctor Lightfoot and his bodyguard get up to the apartment in the lift maybe I’ll be gone. I pause, waiting for the two figures to walk around the building to the front entrance. I have a chance. I actually have a chance.

First I sit on the sill and look for a way to climb down. There’s a metal pipe leading from the gutter which doesn’t look very strong, but it’s also the only thing I can see to grab on to. I carefully wrap my ankles around it and manoeuvre into a koala-like position. I hear the screws holding the pipe on the wall groaning. I’m too heavy.

I slip down the pipe not very elegantly at all, awkwardly slipping every now and then because of the rucksack dragging me down. It would be a lot better if Brooke’s flat wasn’t so high up.

After a few minutes of struggling, both of my feet are on the ground. I breathe a sigh of relief, but it’s short lived. Someone’s at the window. Doctor Lightfoot is at the window, looking down – right at me. For a moment both of us are frozen, our gazes piercing into each other in astonishment.

Then he yells something to his bodyguard and I turn to run, but the rucksack’s caught on one of the pipe’s screws. Cursing, I yank at it. Blood pounds achingly through my head. Finally, the rucksack comes free and sends me flying backwards. I scurry to my feet and sprint past Doctor Lightfoot’s car.

Shoot. Someone else is getting out of it, and they’ve got a gun. And they’re running, too.

Hopefully they won’t know any shortcuts to the train station. I’ll take a shortcut. Maybe I’ll be able to lose them.

After a minute of running I’m beginning to lose my breath, my gasps of air even louder than the massive hulk of a man’s pounding footsteps. Quickly, I duck into a side alleyway, hoping to surprise him. But I don’t hang around to find out – I keep going. No stopping now.

Another few minutes of dodging through passages and slipping around walls and I’m just outside the entrance of the train station. It’s pretty busy. Of course, London never sleeps. I finally pause, catch my breath and take a quick glance around. No sign of the man. I rapidly blend into the crowd pouring into the station, trying to calm my breathing. There’s still a chance. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

I look down to check my watch. Have I made it on time? The palms of my hands are sweating like mad.


Of all the things, I’ve forgotten to wear my watch. Cursing, I stop for a second.

“Excuse me,” I say, grasping a white-haired woman’s hunched shoulder. I can see an old watch ticking on her skinny left wrist, protruding from her aged, woollen coat. She cranes her neck and appears mildly annoyed, but is evidently trying not to show it. Maybe she’s late for her train. I don’t want to hold her up – I know what it feels like, to be old and haggard... to be late for everything, because you’re too withered to keep up with it all.


“Sorry, do you know what time it is?”

She checks her watch. “Ten to nine, dear.”

“Right, thanks.” That gives me ten minutes until the train for Manchester sets off, and the muscle man appears to have lost me. Things seem to be going... well. Wow. Now, isn’t that a first.

I make my way down to the train station to get tickets, but end up frowning at the machine. All this new technology... I have no clue, and it hurts my eyes. Instead I end up going to the desk and asking the middle-aged man behind it for a ticket the old fashioned way.

“And a return ticket?” he asks.

“That won’t be necessary, thank you.”

I withdraw some money from a cash point with some difficulty, but at least it’s not as complicated as the ticket machine. Now I have two hundred pounds in cash. There’s another few hundred pounds on the account, but I can only withdraw a certain amount, and I can’t use the credit card again, or Doctor Lightfoot will track it. No, I’ll make do with two hundred pounds for now. I’ll get a job, too, once I’ve found a safe place in Manchester.

Returning to the track, I attempt to find a seat, but with no luck. All the benches are full of people impatiently checking their watches, appearing bored or asleep. Two minutes to go. I watch the constantly changing digital boards of times, its yellow neon lettering imprinting onto my brain. Two minutes and I’m free. Two minutes, and I can live another life, avoiding all the mistakes I made in my old one. My eyes brim with excited tears. Two minutes, two minutes, two minutes.

One minute to go and there’s still no sign of my pursuers. Soon, my train’s arrival is announced over a speaker by a woman in clipped tones, and I hear the screeching of it on the tracks. It rushes out from the station’s underground and comes to a noisy, painful stop. The doors are sliding open, and I’m walking fast. If I get on that train, my troubles are over.

Almost there. I’m stepping quickly off the platform and onto the train. I’ve done it. I quickly grab a seat by the window before anyone else can even get into the carriage. People pour on and soon the alarm rings for the shutting of the sliding doors. That reminds me of a movie – Sliding Doors, an old film now, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, about two parallel universes which change depending on whether she makes it past the sliding doors of the train. Well, looks like I made it.

The train begins to shudder and moan, and I turn to watch through the window as it starts its journey to Manchester.

My blood runs cold.

Doctor Lightfoot is standing there, right where I was a mere minute ago on the platform, coolly observing me from in between the bulging shoulders of his bodyguards, sticking out of the crowd like a sore thumb. When he realises I can see him, he grins.

He knows where I’m going. And he’s not going to stop until he finds me.

I turn round and exhale a shaky breath. The train enters the dark tunnel at the other end of the station. At least I have a head start. I take a book out of my backpack and start reading. I’ll get off in a few stops and change trains. I’ll have to go to another city, somewhere I haven’t researched. I’m going to bide my time, and strike them unawares. I realise now that there’s only one way to get out of this for good.

I’ve got to kill Brooke. I’ve got to kill my old body.


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