Sunlight came through the window to end up on his face, giving him a sweet heat. He opened suddenly his eyes, his retinas retracted due to the change of brightness, his forehead was sweating and his heartbeat went faster as if he had run a mile in sprint. He felt lost between reality and dreams when he suddenly heard a voice putting him out of this state of confusion.
– ‘Chris?… Chris! Wake up! Your breakfast is ready. Get prepared for your first day. I have to go to work… An emergency i need to fix right now. I’ll be home around 8 pm.’
The young man raised his arm to let his father know he got it. As soon as his arm touched the floor, the door closed and footsteps departed. He lay for a while staring at the ceiling, his arm on his forehead, and waiting for the alarm to ring.
His new high school, in which he will spend the rest of his schooling, was like a city in a city. Big walls surrounded different buildings isolating students in a timeless space, away from the outside world and probably from any distraction. The teenager stood in front of an imposing gate where an almost constant stream of students and professors walked through every day. As he observed the sign overhanging the entry, a man, around his forty, white hair, wrinkles marked on his face, a black suit with a white shirt beneath a red tie, walked toward him with confidence and an almost forbidden authority. The old man introduced himself as the dean of Sung High and led the way to his office to finalize Chris’ registration. Without asking any question, Chris followed the dean through a huge garden in front of what seems to be the main building. His office was roomy, secluded and calm, away from the hubbub of residents of the facility. His desk was in front of the door, almost against the wall. In between the door and the desk, there were two sofas facing each other, between which was installed a coffee table. Hanging on the walls, we could see different degree obtained by the director. Few shelves gave the room a bureaucrat appearance.
The man in suit invited Chris to take a seat while he collected a file on his desk. The young man did so in silence. The fact that the dean himself took care of him was strange. I’m just a student like any other so why the head of high school needed to welcome me, he thought. The dean sat down, opened the file, read it and started to comment: ‘Chris Turner, 17, born in Mahajunga. Spend his first two years of high school in Eltic High, lead his basketball team to championship final and win it. Good grades… You seem to be a serious student as i can see.’ He looked at the teenager to detect any reaction, but this one stayed imperturbable. The dean continued his reading in silence for two minutes then closed the file and put it on the black table. The two men exchanged a long look before the director stood up to take few papers on his desk. ‘Here. I need your signature on the bottom of those pages. It will confirm officially your registration in our school.’ he said, giving the young man a pen. ‘I give you a copy of those documents and your schedule. You’re starting with History. What a chance. I will lead you to your class as soon as we finish’, he continued. ‘Any questions?’ When he was done, Chris looked up deeply to his interlocutor then turned his head to the small sign where was engraved the dean’s name:
Dr. Michael Laine
He stared at the dean again then shook his head as an answer. A smile was drew on Dr. Laine’s face and let the new student know that it was time for him to meet his new classmates. They took the same path as before in reverse then entered in another building which seemed to be older than the first one. They went on the second floor, walked through a silent, and kind of scary, corridor. When suddenly, the dean stopped. Chris almost hit him. He waited in the hallway while the director interrupted a class and motioned to the teacher to follow him. The dean and the teacher stepped away from the young man and started to whisper as they gave few looks at Chris. Instantly, the latter knew. They are aware of my past. After a minute, the dean left without a word and the teacher led the way into the classroom.
When he put a foot in the room, every eye were staring at him. He scanned the room then went in the back where a seat was vacant. The professor waited few seconds giving the newcomer time to settle then continued his lecture on Japan’s History. Chris’ attention wasn’t directed to the teacher but through the window. Towards outside. The vast world. After only ten minutes, a bell rang announcing the end of class and the beginning of the break. Everyone ran toward the exit as if the door would suddenly close trapping them forever in that room. The young man took his time, waited for everybody to stop walking on each other and went out safely. On his way to a noiseless place, he ran into a girl. She stumbled and dropped her books on the floor. As a reflex, they both reached for her books and stood together. Chris disappeared instantly in the crowd before the girl could say anything. Okay, she thought.
She looked toward the way the new one left for a while when a friend called her: ‘Karen! What’re you doing? Let’s go!’ As the day went by, she observed him discreetly: he stayed alone, in his world, in any and each of class. He was staring at the outside world and didn’t pay any attention to teachers or even his classmates. He didn’t speak to anyone. She didn’t hear his voice once at least. Every time she stared at him, she found something disturbing about his attitude. Something really sad. At the end of the day, her friends and her went to a coffee shop with free WIFI, put their computers out on the table and tapped : Chris Turner on google.
– ‘So? Have you found anything yet?’ asked Malcolm Reese, as he arrived late.
– ‘Name: Chris Turner… I mean Chris is not a short version of his name, it’s really Chris’ answered John Porter, disturbed by this information.
– ‘We don’t care. What else?’ interrupted James Akan.
– ‘He lived in LA until a week ago – about a week ago, a week ago… Ok, i stop – His father is the head of a large company. We don’t really know what they do but it seems to work pretty well’ continued John, slightly irritated by the remark.
– ‘He doesn’t have any siblings.’ said Charlotte Peterson. ‘He doesn’t have Facebook either… That’s weird.’
– ‘And Twitter?’ asked James.
– ‘He has one but he doesn’t tweet anything.’ answered Sarah Johnson. ‘Do you have anything else on his parents?’
– ‘Yes.’ replied instantly Karen Sawyer. ‘His father is Miles Turner… Whoa, the founder of ASU company. Married to Jean Roy… Who died… Six months ago…’
Outside the coffee shop, on the other side of the street, a young man was staring at the group of high school students. When they discovered about Jean Roy, he felt a wave of anger growing inside him. He walked away in a small alley before he exploded. At the end of the dark and dirty road, the young man stopped in front of a wall. He stood still for few seconds trying to calm himself down. He slowly closed his hand as he’s containing his emotion. Head down, all the memories popped in his mind. Painful memories that he tried so hard to erase. As he was about to break down, he suddenly jumped but never went back on the ground. He went straight through the troposphere then the stratosphere to finally coming back down near rooftops. He flew between several towers and landed in a small street where nobody could see him. He took his time to get out of that street and get home. As soon as the door opened, a man came in the hallway, with a smile on his face. Chris and his father shared a look for a while. Then the teenager went up in his room. His father watched him climbing the stairs and disappearing behind a red door.
Six months ago, i lost my wife and my son…
To be continued