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

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