Let me tell you a story (5)

Let me tell you a story

I was pushed on the side. I hit the wall strongly. My chest was compressed making it hard for my lungs to pomp air. My vision started to get blurry. I could hear footsteps coming from the front door as my opponent punshed me in the face and knocked me out. I woke up tied up to a chair. Two persons were arguing in whispers in front of me.I recognized Eden. He looked angry. Facing him, a woman, around his age. Dark long hair. Blue eyes. Half-head smaller than Eden. I made a sound to notice them that I was awake. They shut up immediately and stared at me. They both walked towards me, then stopped at the same time. They looked at each other as a misunderstanding. Eden pulled a knife out of his pocket and came closer to me. My heartbeat went off. His face went close to mine, his arms surrounded me. He set me free. I backed up as fast as I could, kicking off the chair. We stayed in silence for thirty seconds before the woman started to talk: ‘What were you doing at that house?’ I remained silent as knockledge semed to be my only weapon. ‘He won’t talk.’ Eden said. The woman sighted. I glanced at her before staring at Eden. My eyes interrogated him on the situation. He took a deep breathe then started to walk away. ‘What’s the point of saving me if not to explain me what’s going on?’ As I yelled, the pain in my chest increased. The woman stared at me with a smile on her face. ‘You must be the protector. The constant factor. Mmh, he seems strong.’ She turned towards Eden but he was long gone. She sighed, kept silence for a moment then put eyes on me. She scanned me intensely and came closer. ‘Why are you protecting him?’ I was perplexed. My mind went blank: she took me off guard, I didn’t know the reason of my actions. So I stayed in silence, starring deep in her eyes. We stood still for a while. It looked like she knew the answer of her own question. She turned her back to me and walked away. ‘Follow us.’ I obeyed as there was nothing much I could do at this point. ‘Where to?’ – ‘Find him!’ she shouted from another room.

Days later, we were on our way to the fanatics hiding place. After checking many places, they seemed to be confident about the last spot. The woman was sitting in front of me. Her head was balancing from left to right, in rhythm. A smile appeared on her face when she noticed I was staring at her. Next to her was Eden, a stoic face on. A noise was pounding in my ears. I looked on my right: through a window, the landscape moved fast at a constant speed. I was on a train. After five minutes of heavy silent, I finally asked: ‘How do you know where Ethan is?’ Eden moved his head slightly to his right. The woman looked surprised: ‘Ethan? Who’s Ethan?’ I was surprised by her question.

From what I’ve learnt the past few days, she was from the same place as Eden. Her name: Sanaa. She seeked for the young boy for the same purpose: to save the world from its imminent end. She tried to convince me that they were the good guys in this story. She told me the same things Eden said. Excpet for one thing: ‘We are from the future.’ As I looked confused, she explained me that in her timeline, her reality, someone created a device that allowed anyone to travel through time. That’s how they end up in our present. Eden went to different years before this one but all of his actions have failed and didn’t change anything in their present. ‘The butterflies didn’t have the effects we expected.’ she said. I stayed perplex as she told me her story. Few qestions popped in my head. But Eden cut the conversation short.

I looked at him to have an explaination about her question, but as usual, he stayed silent. The woman stared at me: ‘How old is the person you’re protecting?’ I hesitated then replied: ’10’. She was in disbelief and turned to Eden. He avoided eye contact. ‘How much do you know about…this?’ I shook my head: ‘Not much.apparently’ I was hoping she would tell me more. But the heavy silence returned. I rolled my eyes and brought my attention back to the moving landscape. From time to times, I glanced at the bench facing me. They shared few quick looks during the entire trip. When we arrived at the terminus, they stood up simutaniously. The woman let me know to do the same. We walked out of the station, rented a car and drove. ‘How do you know where to look again?’ I asked. Eden checked with Sanaa before replying: ‘They are another constant in time. And they usually have a building hilled amongst others.’ I stared at him. ‘But, how do you know where to go. It’s not like there was just one place in this country that have a neighborhood full of buildings.’ He sighed. ‘Like any human, they have their places.’

Eden pulled over in a crowded parking lot. As I followed the time-travelers, I looked around. Rooftops were high up, the sun played hide and seek with their corpses. A stream of business men and women walked in and out of the buildings. We entered in one of them. It didn’t look like a group of excentric believers were making their stay here. The hall was large: on the left, there were sofas and chairs installed in front of a counter. The right side was filled with objects precautiously protected in shopwindows. ‘Hi! We have a meeting with the CEO.’ Sanaa said to the receptionist. The late one checked her agenda then smiled at us before showing us the way to the elevator. We went to the top where two bodyguards were waiting for us. They led us to an office, secluded from everything. The walls were white and naked. A red door broke the monotonousness of the corridor. Behind it, a desk in a middle of a room with four chairs around it. Like if they were waiting for us, me included. Eden and Sanaa took a seat, but I stayed on my feet. An old man was facing the wall, on the other side of the room. A clock was ticking in rhythm. The two bodyguards left as the old man turned around to face us. I looked at him. His eyes were closed as he walked towards us. As soon as he reached the table, Eden stood up, pulled out a gun and shot him. From the sound of firearm, the bodyguards rushed in. Sanaa knocked her chair off to turn around, a gun in her hand, and shot them both in between their eyes. Then the silence returned. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I yelled. Eden said he needed to die. I was astonished. ‘Why? Why need?’ They walked away. ‘You better come with us. Otherwise, the police will think you did this.’ I caught up to them. We went out of the building like nothing happened. And no one seemed to have noticed anything. Back in the car, Sanaa said that it was their only way to reach out to the fanatics. ‘But I thought, you knew where they were.’ Another silence. ‘You don’t know what you’re diong, admit it.’ They shared a look. ‘Great.’

Few hours later, Eden got out of the car, leaving Sanaa and I alone. She made sure he disappeared from her sight before turned to the backseat.

  • – ‘He was their leader.’

  • ‘The fanatics’ leader? And you just kill him like that?’

  • ‘Yeah.’

  • ‘Yeah? That’s it? Just ‘yeah’?’ She remained silent. ‘And how is it that nobody noticed anything? It doesn’t look like you got their attentions.’

As I said those words, Eden came out of an alley behind us. He was running. Very fast. On his tail, four men were running, armed to their teeth. Sanaa took place in the dirver seat immediatley. He rushed in the car: ‘Go.’ I turned back as we distanced ourselves: they were still running. A bullet landed in the glass right in front of me. I backed up as a reflex. ‘Why…What is going on?’ I screamed. ‘I think we have their attention now.’ she said, an arrogant smile on her face ‘And now, what?’ She stopped the car in the middle of the road, looked at me and got out. Eden did the same. They faced their ennemies, unafraid. ‘This is ridiculous.’ I stepped out as well, took a deep breathe and closed my fist to calm myself down. They slowed down to finally stop few meters from us. One of them stepped forward. ‘Eden. The infamous time-traveler. The protector. I don’t know you’re name. And… Who are you?’ He asked. I could see that her feelings got hurt a little bit. ‘His sister.’ I looked at her with wide eyes. His sister? ‘Don’t lie to me.’ the man said. ‘Where is Ethan?’ Eden asked. The man smiled then ordered one his friend to bring him something. It was a tablet. He turned it on and faced the screen towards us. We could see Ethan, calmy seating in a couch surrounded by women. ‘Cliché.’ Sanaa said. The man ignored her. ‘As you can see, the young boy is safe and sound. We don’t need you. The world doesn’t need you.’ As the words came out of his mouth, his friends behind him aimed their gun at us. I froze. I looked around. The population has stopped as well. They formed a large circle. Some of them used their phone to call the police, others used it to record the scene. My mind went back to the fanatics. Nobody moved. I slowly stepped away from everybody. As the distance in between us grew, I noticed the fanatics didn’t care about me. Sanaa glanced in my direction. My heart beated fast.

  • ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ Eden claimed.

    – ‘Oh, I think you’re wrong. We know exactly what we are doing. This boy is essential to our future. To our survival.’

  • ‘He’s going to kill us all.’

  • ‘He’s going to save us!’ The man lost his temper. He took a deep breathe and calmed down.

  • ‘Anger issues?’ Sanaa said. The man ignored her once again. Eden moved forward. The fanatics were on their guards. They made a step back.

  • ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ Eden repeated. The man took a gun from his back, charged it and pointed it to Eden’s head. I approached them. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t let that stranger kill him.

  • ‘Where is he?’ I asked. The man turned his head to me. He gave me a smile.

  • ‘I’ll bring him to you…As soon as i’m finished with him.’

A gunshot resonated from my left. The man froze and slowly fell backwards. The crowd panicked. They broke the circle and ran to get cover behind anything. Women screams were joined by police’s sirens. Cars surrounded us in seconds. Policemen aimed for us. They blocked all issues. I stared at Sanaa: her face was cold. Eden kept his eyes on the three armed men in front of him. They didn’t move a muscle but they were confused on what they should do next. ‘Why…?’ I whispered. As I was about to scream, yell at her, at Eden, at anyone around me, Eden move his hand as a sign to stay calm. I held my breathe. A police man ordered everyone to put their guns down. Sanaa obeyed without hesitation. The three men were standing still. When suddenly, they all decided to shoot. Eden and Sanaa didn’t blink. I crouched and covered my head. All police forces opened fire on them. In a minute, the fanatics were lying on the floor, blood flowing out of their bodies. The calm came back. Few whispers echoed in the street. I stood up. Policemen coffed us and put all three of us in the same car. A police man guarded us. I saw through the window CSI agents examinng the scene. I looked at Eden:

  • ‘Did they need to die too?’

  • ‘No.’ His face was serious. I almost could see fear in his eyes.

  • ‘We messed up.’ Sanaa said.

 

To be continued

Random Access Memories

A day in my mind

A moment. Few seconds. Only few seconds were needed to take me back to the world of wonder, full of questions and, let’s face it, sadness. Just an image.

I was minding my own business. My focus was at its best. My eyes didn’t leave the screen one bit for the last few hours. My hands were moving faster than my thoughts. I was in the zone. When, suddenly, for a split second, i saw it. The image that made me stumble. Even almost fall. In front of me, a man interrupted a woman. Few words:

‘Allison! This is my daughter. No. I’m not proud!’

Irony could be heard in his voice and seen on his face. She was in his arms, hiding her face against his chest, embarrassed or shy. A little of both. He held her tighter for a millisecond then kissed her on her forehead. A smile was drawn on both of their faces. He let her go. As they walked away, side by side, almost like a reflex, he put his arm around her. And they disappeared behind a wall.

I smiled as I witnessed that love in between a father and his daughter. Then i wondered how could it feel like. Unanswered questions, that i thought i buried once and for all, emerged at the surface. My mind was slowly pulled down. I tried to fight it. Thinking about something else: focus back on work. I managed to keep my head out of the water. My dream helped me. But a little voice kept on talking in my head: Is he proud of me? Can he be proud of me? The need of answers came back like a urge. Then, i remembered a promise i made to myself: confront him face to face before my 25th birthday. I started to plan my journey to that point of my life that i need to reach. Going back to my ‘roots’. But it would be after my 25th birthday. Next year, i’ll go back to that big island i was raised in, relive my childhood through memories and see him in person. Hopefully…

In moments like these, i miss having a father.

http://symoha.tumblr.com/

Let me tell you a story (4)

Let me tell you a story

A week has passed since the horrible scene we had to witness. We found shelter in a seedy motel outside of the city. Ethan was finally sleeping without having nightmares. Unless he was trying to be brave and didn’t say anything about them. I watched the news on an old TV every morning, but they didn’t mention anything about the man’s suicide.

‘I remember everything! Where he came from! Who he is! And why he came back! I remember it all! All of it!…BANG!!’

That sound echoed in my mind, my heart beated faster and my hands were shaking. It took me a moment to remember that I was in calm and safe place. I looked at Ethan. His face rested peacefully. Silence reigned in the room. Thoughts were running in my head making it a loud place. What was his fault? Who was he? Who were them? What was everything? He said he remembered all of it. But what was all of it? Why did Eden come back? Come back. Back. Back? Back from where? I had too many unanswered questions. I needed answers.

After few hours, we went out to get breakfast at a cybercafé where there was free WIFI. As Ethan quietly ate his pancakes, I looked for the man’s name on the internet: Joshua Aikon. Which means Eden’s last name is Aikon. Unless he changed it. I typed his name on Google and slid to images. It was disturbing: something was odd about those pictures. I glanced at Ethan before putting my eyes on the screen again. I couldn’t point out what was so disrupting. I looked back and forth at Ethan and the screen for four minutes before it hit me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought my imagination played tricks on me. My face was frozen. My mind was about to explode. Questions fused. How could this be possible? I searched for an address to get the bottom of this once and for all. It was time for me to confront him face to face. But I found nothing. Surprising. As Ethan’s stomach was full, we left. I didn’t know where to go. I looked up. Clouds stopped falling upon us in pieces. A cold wind blew the street making everyone act like a turtle. My eyes gazed around. I felt lost. Overwhelmed. I needed to know what was going on. I needed answers.

I thought we had to leave the city, lead Eden out of town, on a more familiar ground. As we waited for the train to arrive, we walked around the station. The hall was crowded by travelers impatient to celebrate the new year with their second/chosen family. Everyone was excited and in a rush. They shoved us all around the place, at a point where I lost Ethan’s hand. I turned around to check up on him. I saw him drowning in the crowd but something was unusual. He tried to reach for my hand as I tried to reach for his. I saw his face. His eyes were wide open: he looked terrified. ‘JAMES!!’ It was the first time I heard his voice since his mother’s death. I swam in between bodies to catch him. I looked beyond to see who was pulling him. I couldn’t see their faces: they were masked, hoody on. They moved fast. Or I was too slow. They disappeared. In front of my eyes. I ran outside, scanned the area and spotted them. They forced Ethan to go in a black SUV then left as soon as the door closed. I ran after the car. Each step got me farther to it. The chase was unfair. I had to think fast: the registration plate.

MOR 4062

I was out of breathe. I repeated those letters and numbers in whispers. I stood in the middle of the streets for minutes until a driver honked at me. I slowly moved out of his way my eyes locked on their directions. I panicked. My respiration got faster as the seconds passed. People around me moved in slow motion. Until I saw him. Eden. Standing at ten feet in front of me. The world stood still. I didn’t kow what to do. Run? Kill? He came closer. I scanned his hands then looked up to his face. His lips were moving but I couldn’t hear anything. My chest hurt suddenly. My legs couldn’t carry me no more: I fell. He rushed to me and held my head before it hit the ground. My vision got blurry. I blacked out.

I woke up in an empty room, on the floor. Filthy floor. I could see footsteps drew all other the place. I followed them. They led to a mattress where someone was comfortably sitting. Eden. I sat down. My hands were free. I took a deep breathe, with ease. We stared at each other, scanning each of our moves and facials expressions. He had a gun. A silence has fallen for five minutes. His eyes. His eyes were like Ethan’s but filled with anger, coldness and, deep down, behind all of that, hidden, sadness. I was shocked. Joshua Aikon was right. Suddenly, he stood up and walked towards me. As he did so, I felt myself moving backwards. When he was close enough, he sat down. ‘Where is Ethan?’ His voice was calm and deep. I kept my eyes on him. As he figured I didn’t know, he put the gun on the floor next to him and put his head in his hands. I didn’t understand the reaction: he seemed disappointed. Another silence. He took a deep breath before looking at me in the eyes. ‘What’s the meaning of all this?’ I asked. He looked at his feet. His mind was somewhere else. He was focused. I waited for him to immerge from this trance. After a minute, he looked up. He didn’t seem to have any idea of what to do now either. He stood up and walked away. ‘Follow me.’ As I stayed in silence, he continued: ‘We’re going to find him.’ I stood up and obeyed. I followed him in the next room where four computers were installed. He sat down in front of the screens. ‘Do you remember anything about them?’ he asked as he typed really fast like he was showing off. I stayed in silence. A footage of the train station popped up on the screen on the left. He kept on typing. The video rewound. It came back to few hours ago. I could see myself running in vain. ‘Still nothing’s coming back?’ The camera angle changed. He was scanning the screen, searching for Ethan. He froze the image on a black SUV driving away from the entrance. Then zoomed on the plate but it was too blur. He breathed loudly to express his exasperation. He zoomed out then stared at the screen for a while. He turned to me with piercing eyes:

  • ‘What’s the registration plate?’ I glanced at the screen behind him. He paused on an image of me staring at the vehicule. My attention went back to Eden.
  • ‘Why should I help you?’ He stayed silent. ‘You want to kill Ethan, don’t you? Then why should I help you find him?’ A silent passed.

  • ‘Tell me.’ It was my turn to hide behind a silent. ‘They will kill him.’

  • ‘So will you.’ He sighed.

  • ‘I’m the one who needs to kill him. Otherwise…’ He looked away.

  • ‘Otherwise what?’

  • ‘Otherwise, the world will come to an end.’ His eyes were deep in mines. ‘Now, tell me what is the plate?’

  • ‘No. You are going to explain me everything. Concisely and clearly.’ Silence.

  • ‘You don’t need to know anything.’

  • ‘I… I spend the last few months taking care and keeping safe a boy – I barely know – that you’re eager to kill. I haven’t had a, a good, peaceful and, most importantly, resting night of sleep for a long time. I almost got killed way too many times for an ordinary human being. I spend most of my time running from YOU! Who I know nothing about excpet for a freaking name and a face! Who wants to kill me and a ten-year-old boy who has done nothing but hiding his entire life and, and who has lost his mother right before his eyes because you snipped her! And for what reason? So that the world doesn’t come to an end? So that we can preserve this planet Earth for, for, for, for how long? Few more decades until something else’s gonna come up? That’s the most shitty answer I’ve ever heard! The world will come to an end. That is an obvious statement. Humanity is not made to last, otherwise we would be immortal. But it dosn’t give you any right to shorten the life of an innocent boy or anyone else… So I don’t think you’re allowed to tell me what I need to know or not.’ I caught my breath. ‘Now. Explain me everything. Concisely and clearly.’ He stared at me. ‘Fine. I’ll find him myself.’

  • ‘There will be a moment in his life where he will want to change the world. He will create something – I don’t know what – that will help him do so. I have to kill him before he has the idea.’

  • ‘What makes you say that this idea will end the world.’

  • ‘I just know.’

  • ‘How?’ He remained silent. ‘Fine. Who took Ethan?’

  • ‘A group of fanatics who wants him to change the world. Some sort of sect, if you will.’

  • ‘Fanatics?… So if they want him to create… something, they don’t want him dead…? But you do. So why…’

He stood up. His fists were closed tightly. It was clear that he tried to contain his emotions but the look in his eyes betrayed him. He was angry. He let a long moment pass before returning to his computers. I stood there watching his back then turned around and walked away. As I went through the door, I glanced one last time behind me and disappeared in the staircase. He’s letting me go

As soon as I got out of the building I was held in, I started to walk around without paying attention to my environment. My mind was lost in Eden’s words. The end of the world will be caused by Ethan…? What to think about that? Was I protecting the wrong person? Am I an actor in our selfdestruction? More questions were raised. When I immerged from my thoughts, I found myself in a crowded street, in the middle of the road. The sun was high in the sky, its rays reflecting on the snow. Some people had smiles on their face, laughing uproariously. Some people were hangovering from partying too much the night before. I slowed my pace to finally stop. I looked up. The strong light blinded me instantly. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and:

  • ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!’

All eyes were on me for two seconds, accompanied by a silence. Then the population went back to their discussions. I looked down at my feet but I could feel few people whispering and glancing at me. I felt relieved. My belly was making noises. I scanned around to locate me: I was lost. All shops were closed.It’s the first day of a new year after all. I kept on walking straight hoping to come across a McDonalds. As I looked on my left at a corner, I found the famous red and yellow sign. I entered, ordered and took a seat next to a window. Probably a bad idea. I ate, my mind emptied itself. My thoughts were gone. I zoned out for an hour. When I came back to my senses, I walked towards a pollice station. I came in and talked to a woman at the reception. I made up a story to get information about the owner of the SUV. I was convincing enoughto get a name: Sam Johnson. From that I easely found an adress. It was in the middle of nowhere. A small house, outside of the town, surrounded by fields. The neighborhood was inexistant. I looked through the window. Dirt covered the floor, furnitures and floated in the air. No one seemed to live there for a long time. The door was unlocked. As I walked around trying to find any clue of Ethan’s whereabouts, a car pulled over. I ran to the window to see who could it be. Three men came out of the vehicule. Not a SUV. They came closer to the front door. Fortunately, I had the good reflex to close it behind me. I hid in a closet between the living room and the kitchen. I heard them enter. They stopped immediately. There were whispers, then one of them went upstairs. My footprints! My heartbeat got faster as I heard them walking around cautiously. They checked every room. After a moment, the third one joined the others. They whispered again. One of them approached my location. I saw the handle turning. I felt a sweat coming down my temples. The door opened slightly. I prepared myself to fight. I hoped they didn’t have guns but I knew it was a foolish idea. I stepped back as much as I could. At the same moment, I heard three gun shots. I froze instantly. I waited. Patience. There were three shots, which means a fourth person made his entrance. Adrenaline rushed in my body as the sounds of footsteps getting closer to me resonated in the empty house. The door opened widly. I barely saw a silhouette that I have tackled him.

To be continued