Life (2)

Life

To: Chris T

It’s been a while since i’ve seen you at school. I think you need to go at least tomorrow, just to remind professors that you exist. I’ll pick you up at seven thirty, tomorrow. Be ready. 

A constant stream of engines lulled his ears as he, himself, walked his way through the crowd of  late workers and students. John took a right, coming out of the herd, then abruptly slowed down his pace. He pulled out his phone and typed quickly. As he was about to press ‘send‘, he heard a door unlock: Chris appeared in the frame.

‘Nice timing!’ John greeted him. ‘So, what happened last week? I saw Karen following you outside but… neither of you came back… So…?’ Chris gave him a death stare. ‘Oh! Come on!’

‘Nothing happened.’ he said. John’s mind froze for a second, realizing the miracle he just witnessed.

‘Euhm, yeah, sure!’, he glanced to his right, felt the threat in Chris’s eyes and didn’t insist. ‘Anyway. I wanted to talk to you about Sarah. You remember her? She was one of the girls from the bar. Anyway, she might be a danger. And in danger.’ Chris frowned quickly. ‘I haven’t seen much. Just a dark alley, right next to a party. I heard kids laughing and music.’ John paused, acknowledging the lack of information he was giving. ‘We will have to follow her for a while… I have this strange feeling that it will be on Halloween, though, otherwise, kids wouldn’t be out that late.’ He fell into his reflections and confined himself in a silence.

As they arrived at the gate of the university, John caught sight of Sarah entering the Architecture’s building. She was alone and her pace fast. He extended his sight to Chris who clearly didn’t want to be here.

‘Alright, i’ll see you at lunch.’ John claimed before leaving him on his own. Few meters later, he looked back to make sure Chris was staying within the university’s walls. The latter hasn’t move a inch, his face emotionless and his look blank. John turned his back around and rushed to class, hoping his friend won’t disappear again. Like you always do.

Hours passed and the time to eat arrived. As he stepped outside, John was joined by James Atwood, a young man who was once crushed by the weight of life. He was wandering around town, pretending to have a plan, after dropping off of school. One day, he found himself at Taan Aka Park, early in the morning. Only one person was there: a young man, around his age with a backpack in his hand, his head faced the orange sky. A student? Or is he faking it too?’ The young adult noticed him, he looked down. At first glance, one particular  thing struck James: he seemed to be just as lost as he was. When he turned to him, James saw something in his eyes: a deep sadness that he tried to hide. They didn’t exchange a word that day, but ran into each other every now and then. Until, James dared to approach him: it was a one-way short conversation. As they met more often at random places, a strange friendship was born. After a month, the young man handed him a piece of paper with a name and an address. James didn’t have the time to ask anything that his new friend disappeared. The next day, he went to the address and introduced himself:

‘Hi! I’m James Atwood. I was send by… I was told to come here.’

‘Oh! Yeah! Our mute friend gave me your name. I’m detective Ed Ogawa. If i’m good at my job, i think he wants me to train you.’

‘To be a detective?’

‘You’re not interested?’ James took a minute to process and evaluate his situation. What is more appealing: remaining a lost soul until death comes or contribute to society the was his father does.

‘I’m in.’

It was a year ago. Ever since, his days were filled and tiring. James met some of his silent friend’s friends and learnt his name at the same time: Chris Turner.

John poked him with his elbow and pointed to his right. James scanned the surrounding: through students passing by, he noticed Chris sitting against a tree. They walked up to him: he was asleep. James paused and stared at him: his hand was twitching and his lips were in movement. John gently shook him to wake him up. Chris grabbed him by the arm, unexpectedly, scaring John and James out. ‘Hé…’ His grip tightened strongly. ‘Chris…It’s me, John. Wake up.’ The latter regained consciousness and loosened his grip. ‘Sorry.’ he whispered. He took his bag, stood up and walked away, followed closely by James and John. They walked in silence until James finally adressed the subject.

‘So, i’ve made some researched in Sarah Jefferson. You told me to look into her family and friends: her father is a police officer and her mother a teacher. She has a younger brother that’s still in high school. Her closest friends here are Karen and Charlotte, and it looks like she doesn’t have a boyfriend. When i asked her neighbors about her, they said that they saw a man come and go frequently, but suddenly stopped. Although, some of the neighbors have seen him hanging around. I didn’t have the time to dig up more on him.’ He turned his head toward John but the latter was lost in his thoughts. ‘John?’

For a split second, he could see, in Chris’s eyes, fear and distress. He could still feel his grasp on his arm. ‘John!’ He looked up. ‘Yeah. Sarah. We’ll ask her directly. He’s probably her ex.’

‘The origin of her threat.’

 

To be continued.

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Life (1)

Life

*Biip*

Yo! Chris! We’re waiting on you! It’s time for you to show up, now.’

*Biip*

Me again. You’re still not here. Come on, man, you said you’ll come. Don’t become someone you don’t like. Aka a liar, in case you didn’t get that one.’

*Biip*

Alright, it has been about… two hours, i give you five more minutes before i bring everyone to your place. And by everyone, I mean the entire bar.’

*Biip*

Three minutes left.’

*Biip*

A minute and a half.’

The place was crowded, dimmed lamp enlightened each table spread in the six hundred square feet of space. Some people focused on the glass in front of them hoping their worries and troubles would drown in it. Some people remained in their circles of friends. Most people searched for some excitement and entertainment for the night, eyeing and judging each other. A low music filled the background and blanks left by conversations.

Once he stepped in the bar, Chris was hit by a wall of heat. He made his way through standing customers, waiting for available tables, to join his stalker at the other side of the room. As he walked closer, he noticed that three girls had been enrolled in the group. One of them stared at him.

‘You’re here!! Finally. It only took seven calls, five voicemail and a dozen of texts. But hey! You made it!’ John said. The young man looked like he just had a fresh haircut with shades on the side and a little bit more length on the top. He was wearing a dark T-shirt with a ‘BB’ design on his left pocket, a black pair of jeans and grey snickers that matches with his snapback put on the table. Despite his dark outfit, John was actually a very joyful person. He stood up to greet his friend. They were around the same height, then he turned his back around and introduced him to the three incomers: ‘This is Chris, the one we were talking about. The one who never goes out.’ He glanced to his right. Piercing eyes were staring through him. He smiled then turned to the girls again: ‘And this is Karen, Charlotte and Sarah. They’re students, just like us.’. Simultaneously, they nodded and smiled. An awkward silent invested the atmosphere around them for few seconds, where Chris scanned the strangers in front of him. Once he was done making his judgment, he turned to his left and acknowledged the rest of his friends. He interrogated one of them with his eyes.

‘Yeah, I’m here too. Night off for my brain, I was about to go crazy.’ Malcolm said. He was in his third year of medical school and for the past few months, he had his nose deep into books and papers. He lived under the light of his lamp, sunlight becoming an utopia. ‘Why you decided to show up?’ he asked but Chris already diverted his look to the room around him, ending the conversation short. John sensed a discomfort on the girls’s face and immediately engaged a new topic of discussion, distracting them from Chris.

The latter never liked the attention, ever since they were kids, despite the fact that he’s always been under the spotlight: basketball team captain, major of each of his class, good looking, son of a surgeon and a lawyer. A born leader. But it aggravated since they reconnected in college. He immured himself in a heavy silence. In two years, his face didn’t crack for a laugh or a smile. Their way of communication was limited to texts and gazes. John thought that the drastic change was due to an event that occurred during their senior year of high school, where he went MIA. He was tempting to ask questions but knowing the man, John figured he will isolate himself even more.

‘Where is he?’ Malcolm wondered.

‘He left five minutes ago’ John replied.

‘He just got here.’. John raised his eyebrows and glanced successively at the empty seat in front of him and the exit behind him. One of their new friends was also missing.

Her pace was in between running and walking fast. On her way out, she knocked few people’s arms, spitting their drinks on them. When she emerged in the fresh air of October, she found him standing on the sidewalk, his gaze up in the sky. She walked closer to him. Her heels betrayed her ninja’s skills making Chris turn around. They exchanged a long look.

‘Hi!’ She paused, hoping he’d reply, but nothing. She glanced behind her, slightly shook her head with a smile: ‘You’re not staying?’. A breeze blew between them.

‘I don’t like crowds’ he replied. Karen was surprised: first because when his friends described him, they said he doesn’t speak at all. And second because his voice was calm, warm and oddly soft. Another silence settled.

‘Why did you come, then?’ she asked. No answer. She felt her heart pounding against her chest and her palms being a little bit moist: she was anxious. Why? A vibration on her thigh made her jump. She looked down then realized it was her phone. She searched in her handbag, pulled her phone out, stared at the unlocked screen then put it back almost immediately. She looked up at Chris, his hands in his pockets, a hoody covering half of his head and his eyes locked on her. When she showed signs of discomfort, he looked away. Her mind panicked, thinking of ways to decipher the character.

‘Do you need to go back in?’ he asked.

‘No. I don’t feel like it.’ She answered. ‘Do you have some other place to be?’ Chris blanckly stared at her. ‘Can you walk me home?’

 

To be continued.

Name

short story

‘Hé! You!!’ A male voice shouted on my left. I turned to him, my eyes locked on his. ‘Get the fuck off of my grass!’ I looked down at my shoes. The grass he was referring to barely showed up under the dusty ground. I looked up again.

‘What grass?’ He got down of the bleachers and walked furiously toward me. I didn’t flinch. He stopped his course few centimeters away from my face. He was slightly taller than me. His eyes were green-ish, his nose small and pointed, dressed with a teenager’s mustache. A strong and spicy smell of sweat and greasy hair emanated from his entire body. I could smell his breath without him opening it. It stank like a piece of chicken has been left too long in the trash amongst a bottle of old milk and some cheese. He clearly didn’t know the existence of a toothbrush. ‘You mocking me, boy?’ Boy.

‘I have a name, idiot.’ A stare contest began. To intimidate me, he approached his face closer to mine. His muscles tightened. I sensed a circle forming around us. He did too. He lost the contest the moment he gazed around to see his homies ready to hype him up.

Under the pressure, he pushed me. But not hard enough. I made one step back, stretched my right arm behind me, brought it back, closed my fist, pivoted my hips on my left and landed my hand on his chick. As my weight carried me away, i felt his jaw crack and dislocate. Suddenly, louds screams and cheerings raised in the yard. I quickly scanned the crowd: they were clapping, throwing their fist in the air, whistling, yelling unaudible names. They looked like animals claiming their territories. A fist came at me, taking my attention away. I barely dodged, raising more cheers. The fight went on. I didn’t try to hit him again, All i did was to avoid being hit, not even once. My opponent, on the other side, was determined to end me. His face transformed into a unknown creature, showing his teeth out and breathing loudly, as if he lost his humanity. I didn’t understand. How something so vain can lead to this situation?

I’ve been put in jail four months ago after a week in and out of the courthouse. The jury decided without a doubt that i actually beat a man to death. And i did. I don’t deny it. In my opinion, that man deserved it. He had the time of his life when he sneacked into my sister dorm room, made her breathe a tissue filled with chloroform in her sleep, undressed her and took her trust in men away for ever. The police opened a case. A suspect was found but no charges had been held against him.

When i found out who he was, i followed him into a bar. I sat in his voice reach and waited for him to reveal himself. Few liters of alcohol later, i finally knew the reason of his action: he had spotted my sister days earlier and she became an obsession to him. That’s it? He confessed to his friend, who came in shortly after them, every detail of his plan. I didn’t think of recording him. I was disgusted. By his words and his friend’s reaction: a lack of empathy. I waited until he decided to go home. I made my choice. I was committed to waste my freedom in order to give my little sister a sense of relief that justice was done.

The inmate had stamina, the group had grown and the guards looked away. They probably thought that we will kill each other or one of us will fall. One less person to survey, control and feed. They, too, had lost their humanity.

A sudden pain made me stumble. I had enough of this game. I ran to my ennemy and knocked him until he lied still. The guards finally felt concerned and broke up the horde by shooting in the air. One of them checked on the loser and another one tackled me on the ground. He pulled my arms behind my back, cuffed me, pulled me up and dragged me to the isolation section. He knocked me on the head with his gun’s grip. Instantly, i lost consciousness and my body slammed the ground. My brain memorized one sentence before shutting down:

‘Prisoner n°7344, isolation time: two weeks.’

I woke up in the darkness. I lost track of time and space. Every now and then, they opened a small window to pass me food and water. My eyes forgot the colour of light, my hearing and sense of smell were more accurate. I spent most of my time on the bed, holding on my sanity. I will not let them break me. I will not become one of them. ‘I have a name. An identity.’

The Fall

Imagination

The day has come. The time for him to face the reality of his choice was imminent: he couldn’t back off anymore. His feet were at the edge of emptyness, the wind blew strongly, warm and comforting ready to embrace his entire body. Below him, land seemed far away, cars and people were small moving like automations programmed to accomplish only one task: living. For a split second, he stared at the ground, the Earth that he will soon meet face-to-face. His confidence in his decision was at its fullest when, gently, a pressure on his back threw him in thin air. As gravity was loyal to its principle, confusion invaded his mind.

While ascending to the top, bravery grew in him. Each step required a deep breath allowing him to slow down his fear and expectations, to shut them up and find serenity. He gazed up and far beyond to the horizon. The sky was blue untainted by white with a bright stain of yellow, high above all. What a perfect day to end this, he thought. Once he reached the peak, he felt ready and determined. His hands were shaking a little bit but his heart wasn’t pounding frenetically, his eyes and mind were locked and focused: he was in peace.

But all the courage and confidence he gathered vanished, giving space to exaltation and excitement. He held on the harness surrounding his shoulders tightly, his mouth wide open. Any thoughts ran away from his brain as his chest leaned dangerously toward the ground. He couldn’t feel his legs anymore. A poke on his shoulder set off a reaction: he opened out his arms, spread them like wings. The friction between the atmosphere and his body gave him the sensation of flying. A huge smile, mixed with a mouth filled with infinite air, appeared on his face. As he made his way through the air, he understood what Superman felt like when he learned how to fly. Or just how flying birds felt every day: weightless and free. Few loud screams came out of his lungs as he soaked in the experience of free falling.

Suddenly, a force pulled him straight, stopping his fall dead. He let a ‘Oh shit’ slip. He grabbed the harness again to regain a sense of security then began his long way down. His legs were dangling in the air, his hands still on the harness and his head turning from left to right, his retinas enjoying the view from above he looked for his entire life. ‘My mouth is so dry.’ he claimed. Slowly and steadily, he landed following earlier’s instructions on the grass of the airport.

In matter of seconds, the monitor detached him: ‘Ooooh!! Oooh ooooh! Ooooooh! Wow. That was… Wow’ he said as he leaned on his knee fixing the turf below his feet. Amazing.

Time (end)

Time

Wake up, Simo. WAKE UP!

It all started about six months ago. When scientists predicted a dead star will land on Earth’s surface. I wasn’t particularly worried about it. I know the value of Life and what Death represents. I encountered those two already. So when my childhood friend came to me, all excited, telling me stories and reports on the white dwarf, i had a slight vision of hope that everything on this planet will disappear to begin a new era. Never in my mind, i would think this would happen. Not to him. It didn’t cross my mind that i would feel this feeling again. This wait, this unknowing part where i can’t face reality yet. Almost a peaceful time where everything is possible: Life as Death. At the beginning, hope was allowed . I thought it was just a simple concussion and that he will wake up at any moment. I went to visit him every day, sleep by his side on this small couch under a thin blanket. After a month, hope faded slowly to completely disappear when i overheard the doctor clearly say: ‘I have no idea what’s happening to this kid.’. He was looking at his parents, totally powerless. I understood them. All three of them. There’s nothing we could do and nothing was done. When he started to have random seizures and heart attacks, hope became dangerous. I forbid myself to think of the day he would wake up. Yet, every night i found myself talking to him and telling him to wake up. I dislike this in between situation strongly. It makes every tasteless. I already lost my father, i can’t lose my brother too. Lately, the only thing that helped me stay alive and kept me smiling was Thea. But i could see that she started to suffer from this as well. My mind wasn’t with her when it’s supposed to. The night she told me she couldn’t stand this version of me was the night i gave up on life. I needed a light to keep me going on but she took it away with her. Nothing made sense anymore.

The one who suffered the most, beside his parents, i think was Meagan. Ever since they met, they had that certain complicity: every of their actions were in sync to each other, every thought were simultanous and their attraction for each other was an obvious. Where ever one goes, the other follows, like magnets. They had chemistry. And suddenly, it stopped. She became like me: a hollow body wandering without goal. Although, she fought longer than me. It was only recently that she gave up on him too. She started to process his death on the longest day of the year. She realized he was there with us without being there. It was the first time i saw her cry. Thea and i couldn’t do anything about it. We just stared blankly at the fireworks displayed in the night sky. I asked if anyone would spent the night with me by his side. They declined. I guessed it was too much for them to handle. I understood. Every time i see him lay there, without making any noise, motionless, barely breathing, my heart hurts. That night, i sat down first, as usual, then my eyes had locked on him and the machine he was attached to. Doctors said that they think patients in the coma could hear us. I never knew what to say and closed myself into a deep silence to always end up whispering the same sentence as i fall alseep, on that rigid couch: ‘Wake up, man. Wake up.’

 

– ‘HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!’

– ‘Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

The entire floor stood still. Ezekhiel jumped out of his sleep, his body rudely reminded the laws of gravity. He looked up and saw. It took him a few seconds to process the image played before his eyes. He stood up, ran to the hallway, called for nurses, whom were already reacting, then came back to the bed side. The monitor went out of control: numbers skyrocketed, signals sped their pace as the heart pounded loudly and the brain retrieved some activities. ‘He’s tachycardic!’ a nurse yelled. ‘Give him a dose of sedatif.’ An intern proceeded to the injection while nurses tried to hold him down. It only took the product few seconds to be effective. The calm returned when Simo’s parents stepped into the room. ‘What happened.’ his father asked.

‘…Wow… What a…dream.’ Simo whispered. Every one laid eyes on him. Ezekhiel suddenly let go of a laugh. His mother smiled for the first time since he arrived at the hospital. She came closer, held his hand and caressed his head, then froze abruptly. A tear came down on her chick when she felt her son’s hand closing on hers. ‘What… happened?’ The medical staff was in disbelief in face of the sudden recovery they just witnessed. ‘Simo? Can you hold my fingers? As hard as you can… Good. Now, can you move your feet for me?… Excellent. Follow the pen with you eyes only. Good, you’re doing good.’ The doctor took a moment to check his pupils dilated normally to the light then asked some simple questions. After the short interrogation, he shared a look with a fellow surgeon. ‘He’s responding well but we are going to keep him under observation for few days to make sure every thing is alright.’ He nodded to the parents, then gave the family some privacy. In the hallway, doctors allowed themselves to exchange some theories on the situation. One theory seemed to be on everyone’s mind. ‘What’s a surge?’ The two doctors and the intern turned around, ambushed by a concerned young man. They shared a look wondering if it was wise to share their thoughts. Ezekhiel waited, insisted. ‘A surge is a state of ephemeral recovery… We saw patients getting suddenly better before…’ – ‘They die.’ He finished. He looked back to his friend and his parents. ‘Why wouldn’t you say something to them?’ The other doctor took the initiative to admit their ignorance on Simo’s case: ‘We’re not sure this is one of them. Simo’s condition is…unique. We can’t anticipate the evolution of his health at this point. All we can do is keep him under surveillance for the next 48 hours.’

‘So?’ Ezekhiel gave an interrogative look. ‘What happened? Where’s the white dwarf? Did it land? Did it create a huge hole that leads to the center of the Earth? Or did it create a huge wave of radioactie particles that transformed people into zombies?’ He was speechless: Ezekhiel just realized that Simo had no idea of what happened the last six months. For him, it looked like a night has passed. A long night. It took him a few seconds to readapt his way of thinking: ‘Euhm, none of that. The Earth is fine.’ Simo looked disappointed. ‘No zombies? Big bats? Vampires? Giants? None of that?’ He shook his head, a smile began to appear on his face. ‘What then?’ Simo insisted. ‘The morning after the white dwarf crashed at Kiho Park, your parents called me  asking if you were at my house. I told them you were still sleeping, then i figured you went to the park to see the star.’ – ‘Clever.’ Simo replied then he examined the surroundings. ‘What? What is it?’ Ezekhiel started to panic. Simo automatically glanced at his right hand then returned his attention on his friend. ‘Nothing, i’m good. Just a feeling of… déjà vu.’ A silence passed: Ezekhiel stared at Simo, hoping the surge wasn’t real, and the latter questionned his sanity. When Ezekhiel went back to his seat, he precipitously grabbed his arm with his right hand. Ezekhiel turned around and saw his friend with a scary face: his eyes were wide open, traveling from right to left, his senses on alert and his heart beating too fast for someone who’s been in bed for so long. His grip was strong as if he wanted a reaction. ‘Dude, it hurts.’ Ezekhiel calmly stated. ‘Are you alright?’ In a blink of an eye, Simo returned to his peaceful self, a smile on his face: ‘All good.’

 

 

THE END.

FML

A day in my mind

11:08. 20th Thursday, 2017. The sun has finally crossed the horizon to light the other side of the Earth. The asian part of humanity. Asia. That reminds me of last september when i went to Tokyo. Weirdest, in a good way, experience of my life so far. Lonelyness at its finest. No knowledge of the language. Barely scratched the surface of the culture. No bearing none what so ever, and above all, no guide to show me around. Internet was a great help. Although, i got lost a couple of times. I was free, kind of.

Back to my appartment. My thoughts vanished. I stared blanckly at the table settled in front of me. The camera caught my attention. Photography. I want to keep on trying to catch fragments of the world as i see it. Well, i’m not there yet. Again, need to pratice. Then the big TV at the end of the room gets my focus, along with the technology surrounding it. On the right, there’s a small jewelry box in shape of my motherland. My mother’s land. Madagascar. Been there as well, last year. Saw the differences what i recall and what it became. Came across insensitive humans and the other half of my DNA. A different kind of loneliness. Oppression and frustation were predominant at that time. Although, emptiness was king. I felt nothing. I moved like a ghost of the child version of myself. Administration pissed me off. Family members pissed me off. They all acted like nothing was happening. Smiles, laughters and social conversations felt inappropriate. Yet, i couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t control them. Insensitive.

I tear up more easily than before. It’s annoying. The pain is annoying. As i lean my head back, my eyes land on comics and illustrations displayed on the wall. I look around at everything i’ve drawn so far. The meaning behind each of them gradually became deeper. Darker. My only catharsis. I need those ideas out of my head. I’m tired of being… incomplete. My chest hurts. I can’t stand this feeling. Tears again. Fuck you, Death.

Time (13)

Time

Full moon. Clouds have deserted the sky, allowing stars to reveal themselves. A sweet breeze lifted the heaviness of the night, making tourists and locals forget their worries. Lamp-posts were dimed, giving directors the perfect setting to play with lights. Music bounced from wall to wall, voices and applause echoed in the air. Glasses broke every now and then. In the midst of all that, a young man wandered in vain, his own sound in his ears. His steps were slow. Unstable. He held his head, massaging his temples in hope that the swords piercing his brain will go away. Images of strangers appeared and disappeared, the ground shifted from concrete to a large forest in a second. A warm pressure suddenly appeared on his right arm.

The weather changed: rain fell abundantly, dark clouds hung above Toai City, cars created an unnatural smoke, blocking the view from fifty miles away. The foggy mood of the streets reminded him of a dark fictif world. Simo found himself in the middle of an intersection. In front of him, two teenagers were sitting at the window table of a coffee shop. The girl seemed to have fun while the guy was lost in his thoughts. He walked in the shop to hear their conversation.

– ‘Hé! Look alive! Am i that boring, today?’ Thea affirmed.

– ‘Ha, sorry! I was thinking about something.’ Ezekhiel said.

– ‘I know. He’s in my mind too, but for now, there’s nothing we can really do.’ She paused. ‘Besides…’

– ‘Waiting, i know.’

– ‘In the mean time, please, look like you’re enjoying this moment.’

They exchanged smiles before the scenery swithed back to his present. His wet clothes dried instantly. Interesting. He looked back at his friend, his pain intensifying.

– ‘A bit intrusive what you just did, isn’t it?’ Ezekhiel said.

– ‘My bad. I wanted to know…’

– ‘Yeah, it’s what i’m saying: intrusive. You’re alright?’ Simo held his head a little tighter.

– ‘You found him! Dang! You’re fast when you want.’ Megan yelled as she joined them.

– ‘Maybe, listenning to music in a loud place isn’t a good idea while having a major headache. Let’s go somewhere more quiet.’

– ‘I know a spot with a nice view.. and very calm.’

After few minutes of walks, they arrived at the top of a small hill. Below them, the population of Toai invested the beach to the edge, where waves crashed. Laid in front of them, endless water. ‘Nice view, indeed.’ Thea said. Megan and Simo shared a glanced: their thoughts went to their common memory, their mind were connected for that split second. ‘You’re feeling better?’ Ezekhiel asked him. He turned to him, nodded then laid down on the grass. ‘When does it start?’ Their voices faded to reduce into silence. He felt his heart pounding in his head, slowed his breathing, relaxed his body and tried to focus on the dark sky. As the pain started to leave, an explosion reverberated in the air, followed by others. Detonations shut everyone up. Simo sat then froze. Colors have painted the sky: green, blue, purple, pink, red, orange and yellow appeared and disappeared on the black background. A symphony. His focus swang from his breathing to his sight: his pain vanished. A smile appeared on his face. The salty wind blew on his face like a bowl of fresh air. It took a deep inspiration, closed his eyes then exhaled. ‘It feels good, right?…Sy? Simo? Si…’

 

When he opened his eyes again, Simo found himself in a room, laying in a bed that wasn’t his. Walls were white and light blue at the same time. Cold. A tone beated to his respiration. Hospital…

 

To be continued

Time (12)

Time

The pain disappeared but the discomfort remained. The young man was lying on a bed, his thoughts running around in his head. An OR… Operation Room. Surgeons were operating on… me. But when? When did i ever get surgery? I didn’t look different. Not younger. Not older. He remembered the moment he zoned out: he wasn’t in contact with anybody. Only wind brushed his skin. So where did that come from? As he raised more questions, his eyes blinked slower and slower to finally closed themselves. The darkness obtruded, silence suppressed noises and whispers, and calm traveled through his body.

A rhythmic sound from afar woke his conscious. As the sound came closer and louder. Simo slitghly opened his eyes, enough for him to scan his surroundings. It was night time still. Blinds were shut but a weak light from outside helped him guess. He let his head fall on the left, saw an empty couch against a white wall, then turned to the right: a window gave to a hallway that few people used. The door was ajar. He looked closer to himself and spotted the origin of the sound. His head came back to its initial position and he felt himself slipping away. Darkness reigned again. All parasitic noises disappeared, except for the recurring bip that rang louder and louder each time. His body felt relaxed: it felt as if gravity had no effect and yet, the bed underneath was very present. A sudden brust of electricity struck him. His body jumped up and down and was pulled from left to right. He tried to open his eyes but in vain. Simo felt his limbs dashing against a barrier surrounding the bed. His body wasn’t responding anymore. The noise intensified. Its rhythm fastened. An eternity seemed to have passed when footsteps rushed into the room. A voice shouted orders, a liquid ran through his vein and hands held him down. Everyone became quiet for a second while the product took effect. Simo’s wild body settled down. The noise became steady. Immediatly, his chest was exposed to the atmosphere, then warm hands applied a regular pressure on him. Less than a minute later, something cold disbursed a wave of electricity to his heart, animating his body for a quick instant. The perpetual bip broke the silence in the room. ‘Charge at 300!…Clear!’. Another shock. Simo’s mind was fully awake. But his corpse wasn’t reacting. On the third attempt, something happened.

 

Simo’s ventricules felt the electricity: the provoked contraction led to another one. The stagnant blood flowed again, air filled his lungs and his brain showed activity. Simo heard his own breathing: it was fast. He opened his eyes then sat down and gazed around. The room was unfamiliar but he recognized it. He looked down to his right arm: no trace of a needle. Sound of waves slowed the pace of his heart, dispelling his disorientation. Once he gathered himself, Simo stood up and scanned the room. Walls and floor became one – Again – extending to infinity. A tone caught his attention. He looked to his right and saw the hospital room full of surgeons and nurses busy around the bed. He stared at the scene. At the corner of the room, he noticed someone in tears. When a knock on a door made him turn around: Megan. Simo was lost: ‘What’s… going on?’.

‘Yo!’ A known voice resonated. ‘Zeke…?’ The latter appeared in front of him, a smile on his face. ‘You must be confused by all of this.’ He paused as he pointed to the two scenes displaid around them. ‘What is this? Where am i? What’s happening to me? Why are you here?’ His voice was trembling. ‘Breathe. And listen.’ Ezekhiel paused again. ‘See this place… like a bridge. The bridge where dream and reality collide. A peacefully place to make your decision.’ Simo frowned. ‘Which reality do you want to live in?’ Incomprehension could be read on his face: ‘What do you mean which reality? There’s only one reality…right?’ – ‘Right.’ He smiled. ‘Which one is yours: the one where you’re in a hospital bed or the one where you’re at a beach house?’ Simo stayed in silent. ‘You need to choose.’ They made eye contact. ‘I don’t… I don’t understand…’ He took a moment to think. ‘How… Why are you here?’ Simo asked. That smile again.

– ‘I’m not really your friend, Ezekhiel. I am more, like, your support system. I’m here for you. To help you make the right decision.’

– ‘So, there is a wrong decision… What happens if i make the wrong choice?’

– ‘You don’t have much time. You can’t stay here too long, too often. Your body won’t handle it.’ Ezekhiel started to fade away along with the different pictures.

– ‘Wait. What? Then help me!’ Simo yelled. Right before he completely vanished, Simo heard:

– ‘All you need is to wake up!’

 

Simo opened his eyes. His heart was pounding fast. Drops of sweat wetted his forehead. He was out of breathe, his vision blurry. ‘Wake up! Simo!’ He turned to his left and saw Ezekhiel. In a blink of an eye, Megan approached his bed. She stared at him for a second, put the back of her hand on his forehead and did the same on hers. ‘You have a slight fever.’ she said. As she stepped away, she noticed fear in Simo’s look. ‘Are you ok?… Can you tell me where we are right now?’ The latter analyzed his location. He recognized the place but couldn’t put words to it. ‘Don’t worry. You’re in a safe place. Do you know who i am?’ He nodded: ‘Megan.’ She smiled, relieved. ‘Where’s Zeke?’ he asked. ‘He must be around, somewhere.’ Simo stood out of his bed and walked to the door. He grabbed the handle, jolted it before opening then disappearing behind it.

 

To be continued

Time (11)

Time

The following night, Simo put down in a notebook every memory he encountered, as detailed as he could. When he finished, he stared at his Moleskine for a moment, a blank face on. Slowly, he came back to reality and leaned on his desk. The tip of his pen acted madly, a rhythm floated in the air. After a while, the silence of the night invaded his room. The pen froze. A drop of blood landed on his hand. He put the pen down, wiped his nose and laid on his bed, eyes locked on a stain on his roof. As seconds passed, darkness surrounded his field of vision. Light was sucked up each time he blinked, until he finally fell asleep.

 

Summer was coming. The sun decided to wake up earlier each day and stay up a little later each evening. Temperature increased fast, south breezes relieved the atmosphere from its heaviness. The dress code in and out of the streets changed: more skin and less tissues. Ezekhiel showed up at the doorstep of Simo’s house. ‘Good morning, young man. You’re here. And he’s not ready. First floor, you know the way.’ The paternel said. When Ezekhiel entered in Simo’s room, the latter was still in bed. ‘What are you doing?’ He sat down: ‘What are you doing here?’ he whispered. A long sighed resonated in the room. Ezekhiel spotted his bag, grabbed it and left: ‘You have five minutes to meet me downstairs. I have your notebook. If you don’t show up, a special someone will read.’ A heavy silence settled for a second then noises of rush emanated from the door. ‘My notebook. Where are we going?’ Simo asked as he hopped in the car. ‘Somewhere peaceful. But first, a need to pick up somethings.’ Ezekhiel checked his left side, put his signal on and left. They drove for fifteen minutes through Toai City before making a stop in front of a ten-floor-building, where two girls were waiting bags and luggages at their feet. ‘By ‘something’, you meant two human beings, in a female gender? Including that special someone…’ Simo said as he turned to the driver. The latter got out, greeted quickly Thea and Megan, and loaded their bags in the trunk. They took place at the backseat and he drove away from the city. The road trip happened in an awkward mood. The girls talked in whispers to each other while Ezekhiel watched every move Simo made. ‘What?’ The latter asked. ‘Since when do you have a car?’ A voice came from the back. ‘Euhm since i have my driver license… two days ago.’ – ‘Alright, i feel safe.’ Thea let go in a sigh.

Once arrived, the first thing they did was getting food. They went to the closest restaurant. It was small, intimate: lights were dimmed and music was barely audible. Then they headed to the house they rented, unpacked and took a walk alongside the ocean surrounding them. Thea pulled back Ezekhiel, slowing their pace: ‘So, what is this all about?’ The latter gathered his thoughts: ‘Do you remember the white dwarf that landed in Toai? Well, Simo, right here, touched it.’ Thea looked surprised. ‘So, since then, he can, sort of, see anyone’s memory just by touching them.’ He paused. ‘For the last few weeks, i noticed some things: he starts to be forgetful, misplace things, lose track of time and space…’ – ‘Alzheimer?’ She interrupted. ‘That’s what i thought too, but i haven’t enough symtpoms to tell. That’s why i organized this trip… And for other reasons.’ They turned around as they reached the end of the beach and walked back to the ephemere home. ‘And then? What are you going to do? What’s your plan? And why not telling his parents?’ Ezekhiel turned to her. They stared at each other for a moment, then: ‘He needs to accept his situation. So that we can help him.’ – ‘How?’ He got lost in his thoughts once again. As he was about to explain his plan, in front of him, Simo froze. He caught up to him and faced him: his friend’s nose was bleeding and his eyes were blank. ‘Hé! Simo! What’s wr…’

The young man was trapped in his own body. His hearing slowly faded away and his vision stuck on the scenery in front of him. Without notice, the sand below his feet turned into a white concrete matter. Away, in the background, he could see a cold room filled with strange instruments. People were alarmed and moving fast. Drops of blood smeared on the floor. Simo walked closer. The men and women surrounded a table where someone laid. His face was covered by a towel, leaving his body in the sight of all. That part was cut in two then teared apart. As the image engraved in his mind, Simo started to feel a discomfort. He stared at the hands coming in and out of the corpse, inserting tools and towels, and blood sucked out. Before he vomited, he chose to acknoledge the identity of the patient. He approached the bust and looked at the sleeping face. As soon as he laid eyes on it, a violent pain bursted from his stomach. He reached out for it and felt a warm liquid staining his shirt. He looked down and realized it was blood. He panicked, fell on the floor and agonised.

‘SIMO!!’ The voice woke him up. He returned to the beach where wind blew in the rhythm of waves crashing on land. As he realized it, he slowed his heartbeat down, gathered himself up and smiled: ‘I’m good.’. The group went back to the rented house. On the way, Simo shut himself up, afraid of what he has seen. He tried to convince himself that it was nothing. When they arrived, unable to calm down, he pulled his best friend into a room and explained what happened to him. ‘Maybe it’s just my imagination…’ he ended. ‘But?’ Ezekhiel insisted. ‘It felt… real. I, i don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on with me…? Maybe it’s the white dwarf. Maybe i’m losing my mind. I don’t know but it’s getting crazier and scarier… What do you think it is?’ Ezekhiel took his time to answer. He tried not to disturb him more than he already is. ‘I don’t think your mind created something like that out of nowhere.’ – ‘So it’s the white dwarf. But what does that mean?’ Ezekhiel shook his head. He didn’t want to push too far: ‘I don’t know.’

 

To be continued