I am Vincent

IRL

It was in October. She just moved in her new appartment, in this new city where she believed she will have a potential bright future. The day she arrived, she decided to visit her neighborhood and check her way to school. She looked with wide eyes around her, memorizing every details. It wasn’t her first time here though. Two months before, she came for one day to search for a place and find one. The second time, she settled her appartment on her own and finally moved in. So she knew a little bit about where she was but she still looked around her as if it has changed during the night. Few days passed and on her way to her first day to school, she walked by a homeless guy. He was sitting straight, a smile on his face. He said ‘hello’ to everyone who’s passing in front of him. Most of walkers didn’t pay him any attention. But he kept his smile anyway. She saw him from afar and noticed his niceness. When she passed in front of him, a stranger stopped and chatted with him for few seconds, so he didn’t see her. The next day, around the same time, she took the same road and saw him again, saying ‘hello’ to eveyrone. This time, when she passed by him, he saw her and saluted her. She gazed at him and gave him a smile while nodding as a ‘good morning’. Days passed and now and then, they meet and politely greeted each other. Few months later, as they almost met everyday, the homeless guy asked the young girl how she was doing. She sweetly answered and asked him back. The small talk was installed. Every time he interrupted her walk to home, she had a smile on her face. This everyday small talk with this unknown man was pleasant and somehow innocent. Then, after a long day, she saw him, sitting at the same spot as usual. She always wondered : how can someone end up in the street? She walked towards him, few questions in mind. At each step, she gathered her courage and confidence and tried to find a way to interrogate him gently. When she arrived at his level, he winked at her as a greeting. She smiled and kept walking, thinking : it’s a bad idea. Around five steps later, she stopped, froze then turned around. She came back to him with a smile on her face. And boldly asked :

– ‘Can i ask you… How did you end up…’

– ‘Begging?’ He finished her sentence, paused a second then told his story.

Few years earlier, he was arrested during a protest in the East of France. He was accused for not paying his bills and spend some time in jail. When he got out, he had to pay a certain amount of money to the government. Because of that, he couldn’t get his own place as every cents he would earn will go immediately to the state’s pocket. So he didn’t search for any job and decided to live in the street. Because he had no job, he had no health security. His situation was  precarious. When he told her his story, she stared at him, processing the informations. Then he explained her his plan for the next year : finding a job and getting back on track. He seemed hopeful and motivated.

As the new school year has began, when they met again, he shared with her a big news : ‘I found a job so you’re not gonna see me as often as before. Only some nights.’ The girl was truly happy for him. She thought to herself that he will be okay and she didn’t have to worry that much for him anymore. She felt relieved. He found his way back. Months later, as they met again, the young girl saluted him. He had a big smile on his face, smelling alcohol and laughing out loud. He stopped her and showed her a card. It was a green card with his picture on it. ‘You are secured!!’ she exclaimed. ‘I have a health security!!’ he shouted. He was celebrating his new accomplishment with some of his friends. She congratulated him then left, letting him feel the joy.

Few day ago, it has been some time since they ‘talked’. But they ran into each other where they usually do. They smiled like always but this time, she sensed he wanted to talk : ‘You gotta give me a finger!’ He held out his arm as if he wanted to make a pinkie swear. She imitated him. Then he grabbed her hand and put it on his forehead. She stood still. She didn’t know what to do or what to think. When he let go of her hand, he stared at her :

– ‘You know i don’t even know your name!’

– ‘Nobody.’ she said.

– ‘I am Vincent!’ She started to walk away, this pleasant feeling in her heart. ‘You know, we know each other for two years now!’

– ‘Yeah, that’s true…’ she realized.

– ‘Keep smiling… You’re always beautiful.’ She thanked him, embarrassed.

– ‘Good evening, Vincent.’

Chapter four

A story

On the roof top of the highest building in town, N.4 scanned the area searching for any variation in the air. He switched building every five minutes, going from West to East. The fear of being purchased by the master haunted him. He was terrified. But he had a plan: ‘Find him.’ It was an easy plan. So he focused on this only task for the last few weeks. But he had no results. Until one day, a new aura appeared out of nowhere. It was weak and unstable, but enough for N.4 to track it. He rushed to Manhattan where he spotted a stranger who emitted the unsteady energy. The aura became stable and more consistent. As he came closer, N.4 slowed down his pace to finally stop on top of his target. He looked down at the street, paused for a second then stepped back, surprised. What is he doing here? He knew who the stranger was. The late one followed his prey but was located. The prey walked around the building where N.4 stood, ensnaring the stranger who seemed to not noticing anything. He followed them from above. It’s not good. He hesitated: should he let the stranger follow his prey, being attacked and eventually get killed or should he save the stranger and probably lose track of his prey… again. The late one slowed his step, ready to confront his follower. ‘His death could be useful to complete my mission…’ N.4 mumbled. Right before the stranger turned the last corner, N.4 jumped off the roof, in front of him. The stranger froze. His surprised face didn’t last more than three seconds. Then he sneered. They stared at each other when N.4 finally broke the silence:

– ‘What are you doing here?’

– ‘Why so serious? Relaax, N.4! I’m here to help you.’

– ‘Who send you?’

– ‘Thaat, i can’t tell you, but i think you have an idea on it.’

– ‘Why?’

– ‘Whyy? Well, let’s think. It’s been… almost seven months since you left the castle. You don’t give any news and the only time you call, you’re telling us you lost the target… I think you can imagine the reason of my presence here.’ He paused. ‘I’m here to succeed where you failed.’ A contemptuous smile could be seen on his lips.

That last sentence resonated in N.4’s head as an echo of what he feared the most. Failure. Anger gained him. He was ready to silence anyone who might jeopardize his success. His aura grew fast around him. Time has stopped for a second. The stranger didn’t react. He stood still, watching with pleasure his opponent losing control of himself. Suddenly, the air lightened: he calmed down. N.4 took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His shoulders were relaxed then he launched a sigh. He looked at the stranger, determination in his eyes. The tracker walked closer to his interlocutor then paused: ‘We finish with this, then after that, I am gonna kill you…Owen.’ He walked away. ‘Even if we are brothers?!’ Owen shouted. ‘Okay…’ The two brothers walked side by side toward the last place where N.4’s youngest sibling last saw their prey. Owen led them to a new building, built ten years ago for the privilege of unfortunates. The creator of this facility was a comedian who had the courage to protest out loud for what he believed was unfair. He created an association where anyone could volunteer to give food and warm and safe places to sleep for the homeless. As the association grew over the years, the comedian expanded his organization by buying more buildings and renovated them. The two brothers stood in front of one of the newly renovated facility. The wall was colorful, almost blinding, full of life as if it would give the homeless some. They entered to investigate on their prey. The place was loud, crowded by homeless men and women. All seats were taken. Few people were walking around tables with plates in their hands, supplying those who wanted to eat more. They came in and out of a door background. N.4 started to scan everyone hoping to find a potential hostage. He hid in a corner to not look too suspicious.

Most of the homeless were grimy. They were all dressed the same way: with a dark green cap, an unwashed shirt, a long overused leather coat, mittens, some garbage collector’s pants and rain boots. The smell they gave off stung N.4’s eyes. Tears appeared in his eyes. Women’s hairs were long, dark and greasy. On their face, any and each houseless had oil stain like it’s a way for them to recognize each other in the street. Volunteers, on the other side, were cleaned up. Compared to the homeless, they looked like models. They all had a smile on their face, laughing at any jokes, trying to make people forget why they were here for. N.4’s stare stopped on someone: a young girl. She looked innocent with her smiley eyes and her constant and pure smile. Her dark long hair floated on her shoulders every time she turned her head. Each of her steps was lightweight. It seemed like she was flying over the floor. Around her, a thin film of condensed air stuck along her body. Undetectable for a normal human eye. N.4 kept his on her. The more he stared at her, the more he was certain: he has found his hostage.

To be continued

A day in my mind

A day in my life

Today, was a weird day. It’s my borther’s birthday, so it should’ve been happy. Well, it was until i received a particular call from far away. The morning was normal. Under the rain, my shoes were way too wet, i need to change them. Buy new ones. Then at lunch i came back home – it took my half an hour but i felt like it was longer than that – then i ate and i was knocked out. For no reason. I took a nap. I thought i slept only fifteen minutes, but it was like two hours. It felt weird. Then i rushed back to school to attend to a reunion. Right before i went in my car to drive to school, i received that special call. I hesitated to take it not. I didn’t. So, i was in a reunion with other people, when i received a mesage from my brother. It was a message with a picture. I downloaded it and took a look at it : it was a picture of my father. A recent picture of him. I froze. Instantly.

I stared at the picture for a while. Then i looked more closely to it. Then i kind of smiled. The funny thing was that my brother and i love the concept of Windows 8.0 and the label Nokia. We both have one. Not the same. He has the Lumia 1025 – the best in my opinion – and i have the Lumia 625. And on the picture, my father has… Wait for it… the Lumia 925! – I think it’s the 925. I thought it was a funny and weird coincidence. Is it genetic? I don’t know. Anyway, my father left me a voice mail as i didn’t answer to him. It took me twenty minutes to decide if i wanted to listen to it. I did. He just wanted to get my brother’s number as he changed his phone recently. Well, few months ago. Maybe i should’ve answered… I don’t know.

My mom is not so happy about it. She got upset when she heard about him contacting us. She started to yell at me like i was doing or did something wrong. I can understand that she dislike the fact that he want to be in our life just now but not before. But why screaming at me? At us? Like, it’s none of her business anymore. It’s our problem to solve. Whether we want or not him to be in our life. I know i wrote that letter about him, and said that it was useless now for him to make any effort, but i have to say, i was surprisingly confused by the call and the picture. And the voice mail. I feel like she can’t say anything about our ‘relationship’ with him anymore as we are grown up now. Us being in touch with him has nothing to do with our relationship with her. It doesn’t diminish the fact that she was the one who stepped up when it was necessary, that she is the one who took care of us until now and that she is the reason why we are who we are. But i guess she doesn’t know that and that i might need to say it out loud… I’m not good at expressing my feelings.

Chapter three

A story

The next day, instead of heading school, Chris walked straight to the park. He stopped at the entrance as if he wasn’t allowed to walk on this green area. It was ten in the morning. The weather was a little bit windy but the sun began to show up with his warmth and sweetness. There were few people in the park: runners, late workers whom tried to combine running and walking to go fast but avoid to sweat, and old couples whom paced as slow as they could, taking their time. Hours passed. Families invaded the place enjoying this beautiful day of May. Some teenagers and young couples improvised a quick picnic. After eating, children ran everywhere chasing a butterfly, a ball or just ran to spend their energy while their parents were sitting not far away, doing small talk and keeping an eye on their future. The young man stood still for the entire day. When he started to get hungry, he left this place of visible happiness and headed back to his home. On his way, he crossed the girl he ran into the day before. They both pretended not seeing each other and kept walking their own way. As he walked through his house main door, his father got down the stairs. The man smiled quickly but the teenager went straight to his room. Three hours later, the phone broke the silence that reigned since they moved in. Outside his room, Chris could hear his father answer. Few seconds later, footsteps came closer and closer to stop at his doorstep. When Mr. Turner opened the door, he found the room empty with the window wide open. ‘I’m sorry. He’s not here. Do you want to leave a message?’ he said. An innocent female voice answered: ‘Can you tell him that i called, please?’ He agreed and hung up.

The night has fall. The moon took over, leaving the sky dark dressed with stars. Chris found himself in the middle of Taan Aka Park, at the same spot where all those families were gathered to enjoy this sunny day. He observed emptied lawns, passages lit by streetlights and dancing shadows of trees. A gentle wind brushed leaves, making fly those who were on the ground. Chris’ eyes scanned the vast empty space that was in front of him. Children’s laughter could be heard as an echo of the previous day, silhouettes appeared here and there like ghosts of a past now unreachable. His eyes stopped at a man who stood few meters away from him. They stared at each other for several seconds before the man approached and hugged the young man. After a moment, Chris and his father walked home. His father dared to share some old, forbidden memories, trying to make his son smile.

Mr. Turner hasn’t heard his son’s voice for several months now. He hasn’t seen him smile nor laugh either. He didn’t even shed a tear since he woke up after his mother’s death. He had no longer any expression on his face. His son looked at the world through livid eyes, moving like nothing matter anymore. He lost his taste for life. And every project he used to talk about, even the smallest, were a reminder of the sudden loss and all the pain that came along.

Days passed and Chris skipped school more and more. Worried about him, Mr. Turner decided to take his son at an association. The building looked semi-old. The front wall was covered by colorful graffiti. The organization only used the first floor. The room was large enough to welcome seventy persons, volunteers excluded. But that day, the room wasn’t crowded. While Mr. Turner spoke to the person in charge to get some information, Chris waited in the middle of the room. A young girl came to him, a shy smile on her face. She waited for him to notice her, but he didn’t. So she introduced herself: ‘Hi! You are Chris, right? The new student… At Sung High? I’m Karen Sawyer. We’re in the same class.’ They shared a long look. She expected him to say something or just even show that he recognized her or any reactions but none of that happened. A man joined them. He looks a lot like Chris but older and with more charm, Karen thought.

– ‘Hello, i am Chris’ father.’ He said.

– ‘Hi, i’m Karen, a classmate.’

– ‘Oh! What a coincidence, don’t you think, Chris? Do you volunteer here?’ She nodded. ‘Perfect. Then maybe you can help my son take his mark here.’

– ‘You gonna work here?’ she asked to Chris. The late one turned his impassive face to his father.

– ‘Yes, he starts today.’

After a moment of incomprehension, Mr. Turner left the young teenagers by themselves and disappeared in his car. Chris and Karen stayed in silence for a minute, hoping for this awkward feeling to pass. Someone behind the counter interrupted their silence. They were called by the manager. A man in his thirty, closing the forties, was dressed with a dirty black shirt, old jeans and overused shoes. He seemed to not care about his presentation. When the two teenagers were close enough, he gave them instructions about the room installment. They listened carefully then began to work. Nothing came out of their mouth. Some polite smiles and shy laughter were seen and heard from Karen.

In the middle of the morning, they were giving different assignments. From afar, Karen watched the young man, trying to figure out what kind of person he was. She saw him being busy, getting the job done. He stayed alone, in his world. Then out of the blue, he walked toward an old man, who stood outside the doors for a while now. They talked for a moment. Then Chris handed a piece of paper to the homeless man. When he returned to his duty, Chris saw her staring. Karen blushed and went back to work. She tried to hide her face behind her hairs.

At lunch, she tried to reach out to him again. She sat at his table and thought to anything she could say to him. Five minutes have passed and nothing came up. When finally: ‘So, how do you know this place?’ She wasn’t expected any answer as he didn’t seem to be a big talker but: ‘I didn’t.’ She looked at him. His face still showed no expression. His eyes were staring at the floor, lost in his thoughts. He looked like a statue. A cold statue. But his voice was the opposite. It was grave, calm, deep and unbroken. The voice of a singer. She thought quickly to another question to get to know him better:

– ‘So… How long do you live here?’

– ‘Three weeks.’

– ‘And where did you live before?’ She knew the answer but she wanted him to speak so she could hear his deep voice again.

– ‘L.A.’ A moment passed. ‘And you?’

– ‘I…I grew up here. My parents moved from New Jersey to Manhattan when i was born… What did you say to the old man?’ He looked at her in the eyes, then walked away, leaving Karen speechless.

The afternoon went on without another word. The two teenagers were seated the room to accommodate the homeless for dinner. The young man left right before the doors open and rushed to his place. Hoody on, headphones in his ears, his steps were in time with the music. Suddenly, he felt a presence behind him. He stopped. Then he kept walking. A small aura could be felt now and then. At the next corner, Chris turned left then right three times to get back where he was. The presence was still there, but it was clearer. He knew then: they found him. Chris managed somehow to lose his tracker and went home safely. When he walked through the doors, his father was waiting for him with a serious face on. ‘I’ve been followed.’ Chris said. His father looked surprise. A rush of adrenaline rose for a second in his body. ‘We’ll deal with that tomorrow. Before that, explain me something. How does this old man know you?’ As he finished his sentence, an old man, dressed with torn pants, a shirt stained brown under a dirty military coat and some oversized work boots, came out of the living room to appear next to Mr. Turner. His hairs were long, messy and mingled with his beard. He was at ten meters away from Chris, but his smell reached perfectly to the door. The old man looked straight at the young man, tears starting to come out.

– ‘You said you could help me… Change my life.’

To be continued

Chapter two

A story

In a dark alley-way, a man, dressed all in black, was hidden behind dumpsters, observing afar a young man. He finally found him after months and months of research. Since this mission was given to him by the master himself.

Three months earlier, while conducting intense training with the bodyguards of the master, Command came to him and ordered him to follow. They went deep inside the castle, to the master room at the end of a long corridor. When they entered, the room was silent, windows closed, no furniture were visible, only a large bed with a bedside table and few monitors weakly illuminating the headboard. There was a man, middle age, lying in the bed. Monitors’ sounds were in rhythm with the master’s heartbeat. The two men came closer to the foot of the bed then kneeled to pledge their allegiance. ‘Good morning, Sir Malgers.’ they said in synchronization. ‘Sir, this is N.4, the most efficient tracker i trained.’ continued Command. Monitors’ sounds reigned again. After a moment, the master’s arm raised slowly. The nurse, who stood aside of his bed, came closer and listened to what her master was whispering to her. As soon as he finished, she repeated with her sharp loud voice: ‘Find him and bring him to me… Alive.’ ‘Yes, Sir’ they replied in union. The two servants stood up, turned their back and left their master alone with his nurses. As he was about to close the door, N.4 dared to take a glance at his master, as he never saw his face before. But as soon as he met the gaze of the master, the ground disappeared under his feet. He felt himself falling into a huge gap leading to hell. Suddenly, the door closed on him and he found himself in the corridor. The ground has returned. ‘Don’t EVER do that again’ whispered Command.

The tracker started his journey across the country the day after his assignment. He began where everything toppled: at Cal Malgers’ manor. He looked for evidences amongst rubble: traces of blood, aura residue or fingerprints that can give him any direction to follow. After a close observation, he noticed some aura particles here and there, heading toward East. They were tiny but sufficient for him. On his way, he found other evidences leading him to South America, Australia, Canada, Japan, back in Nevada, then Florida. In Miami, he stopped following stupidly obvious clues and started to look more deeply. That brought him to New York where he lost his target. Then began a long period of wandering.

His food wasn’t healthy: he only ate triangular sandwiches without any taste, from supermarket opened 24/7. Then, one day, he decided to offer himself a real meal with flavor: he chose to buy hot-dogs. He engulfed a dozen of them then went to Central Park to digest everything. He completely forgot about his mission and took a nap. When he woke up, he descried the silhouette he desperately looked for. He followed it closely. He was afraid to lose sight of it when he had looked for more than six months. His spinning was going well. He didn’t let his prey with a sole and was sure he wasn’t spotted. He was proud of himself and thought about his future reward when he will capture his victim.

Master and Command would be very happy with his capture. But first, he needed to establish a plan, the man he was about to kidnap is still the one who put his ailing almighty master. But when he came back to his senses, he lost his prey. Again. He panicked. He scanned the main street. Cars, which were traveling in headlights, blocked his vision. He ran on the sidewalk, exposing himself, then rushed to cross the street. Two cars almost hit him, He ran to the opposite direction for few meters, stopped, out of breath and grabbed his phone. One ringtone. Two ringtones. He waited nervously. He started to sweat. At the forth tone, someone picked up. ‘N.4 speaking.’ He paused. ‘I…I lost him.’ A silence fell. Cold sweats trickled on his forehead. His hands were trembling. His eyes scanned every inch of the street, hoping to find him. His heart beat fast and his legs ran everywhere. The pressure of the silence drove him crazy. ‘Find him or you better make sure, i don’t find you.’ His anxiety turned into fear. All his senses were in alert. His throat was closing, it was hard to swallow. The person on the phone hanged up without saying another word.

Furious about the news he just heard, Cal Malgers tried to stand up off of his bed, ignoring doctor’s orders. We could feel and see his frustration: a deadly aura began to rise but didn’t last. His wounds weakened him. A silhouette appeared in the door frame. She approached slowly, with a walking stick.

– ‘What… do you… want, old lady?’

– ‘I’m asking you, Cal.’

– ‘Power’ he replied.

– ‘Only power?’

– ‘What d’you… mean?’

The old lady stared at him intensely then directed her look to his right eye. He had a reflex and passed his hand on his wound as if the pain was as intense as when it was made. A light appeared in his eye: ‘And his death.’

To be continued