Life (10)

Life

Thomas Sawyer froze in mid-step, his face horrified by the question he just heard. His brain shut down, his heart pounded in his chest and sweat dropped profusely down his back.

‘What happened between the Garners and the Turners?’ she repeated. He remained speechless for several moment. ‘Dad…’ Her breathe was short.

‘It’s too early for that kind of story.’ Thomas Sawyer said. His daughter stepped forward about to object the statement: ‘Karen.’ His tone was severe.

‘Dad.’ Thomas took a deep breathe. From her eyes, he knew he couldn’t escape from this moment. No matter how long he tried to stall. He took another deep breathe then walked to the living-room to take a seat. Karen joined him.

‘You already know that we are different from most of the world. Not just us. But a handful of humans.’

 

Over six million years ago, evolution enabled the developpement of early humans from apelike ancestors. Through time, species appeared and disappeared all around the world, some of them leaving evidence of their existence: tools, fossiles, even remains of hearths and footprints. As paleonthropologists kept on searching places on Earth and digging bones to complete and understand the historical journey of human beings, paleongenecists came across a phenomenon occuring in neanderthals’ DNA. One specimen, from the dozen where DNA could be recovered, seemed to have an additionnal pair of chromosomes. Paleongenecists found few replicas of such anomaly in other relics of the past. But in the year of 2000, every trace of this discovery vanished in thin air, altering the veracity of a still existing rare species.

‘It was the making of the council, composed by the Garners, Morgans and Turners. The three most powerful families of our kind.’ Thomas continued. ‘They kept us safe from the ‘outside’ world.’

 

In recent History, stories of mysterious events were reported in literature and newspapers. Singular events happened now and then but were always referred as miracles or illusions by the population. Until in 1992, when an agitation all around the world could be felt.

‘It was the beginning of a forbidden relation between Jean Morgan and Miles Turner.’ Karen twitched but remained composed recalling an inkling of her father’s diluted version of History, that he told her when she was smaller. ‘They broke the only rule that maintain the balance between us all and amongst the council.’

 

The agitation grew bigger and bigger as warrants for an ordinary couple spread rapidly from city to city. Suddenly, in 1996, a massive wave of energy made the world stand still for several minutes.

‘The inevitable happened. And only our kind knew it. We all felt it in our bones.’ Thomas said. Karen was confused.

‘They had a child.’ His wife interrupted. ‘A child that holds the power of two powerful lineages.’ Karen looked at her as she sat next to her husband. Chris…, she thought.

 

For seventeen years, a succession of killing spree were reported all over the world, families went missing, cold cases skyrocketed and members of respectable families were murdered without motives. An unexplicable wind of violence raised in the atmosphere.

‘Ralph Garner, the head of the Garner’s family, warned the council of the potential threat of that relationship, but they didn’t listen. A lot of families agreed with him and followed his lead.’ Thomas continued. ‘He tried to restore the balance by sending men to find the child and keep him under careful watch, but his face was unknown to any of us.’

 

In 2005, a journalist digged in a case that occured in his building. One of his neighbor, a quiet person without any trouble, was brutally murder in his appartment. There was no trace of break ins and nothing was stolen. His researches led him to other cases where bodies were found and everything around them seemed to be in place. Through his investigation, he noticed two recurrent names amongst the victims: Morgan and Turner. Before he could corroborate his suspicion of a possible genocide, the journalist was involved in a car accident, putting him into a deep coma.

In 2013, what appeared to be a gang war broke out under the eye of a helpless police, in northern Nevada. The crime scene revealed clues that two groups of people were fighting each other, no guns were involved. Hundreds of inanimate body were found in and between craters: both side suffered damages. The investigators spend months trying to make sense of the inscrutable carnage displayed before them but only more questions resulted from their reflexion.

‘The Great Battle put an end to everything: Ralph Garner and his son, Marvin, died on the field by the hand of Miles Turner. Cal Garner, the Garner’s last descendant, fled after being seriously injured by Turner’s child. After that, each remained families stayed low and hidden. In a way, the balance was restored.’ Thomas Sawyer’s face darkened.

‘At what cost.’ His wife replied.

 

A heavy silence fell between them. Rays of sunlight pierced through the curtains to lighten the living-room. Sounds of engines created a relaxing stream through walls. Streets returned to life. Karen processed the informations she just received. Her eyes traveled around her then went back on her father who still had his face down. A thought then struck her: her father took part of the hunt. Horrified, she put her hand on her mouth, stood up, exchanged a look with him then slamming the door of the bathroom.

 

To be continued

 

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Life (9)

Life

It’s been seven hours since the new year started and one by one, the group fell asleep, returning the night to its rightful silence. Chris was left alone in the darkness of the living-room. He overlooked the room then stood up. As he closed the door behind him, a noise irrupted. Karen stepped out of the bathroom, waking Mike Banner up.

‘Sorry.’ she whispered. She paused and scanned the couch. ‘Where is he?’ Mike pointed at the door. She followed his finger and stared for a moment. ‘Does he always leave like that?’

‘He usually doesn’t stay this long.’ He mumbled as he straightened up.

‘Why does he… do that?’

Mike had a smile. Few years back, shortly after they met, the group has raised the same questions she’s presenting. For the longest time, John refused to explain anything to them, keeping them to a certain distance. But on one evening where Chris granted them of his presence for more than ten minutes, Mike began to rant on him, unable to tolerate his behaviour anymore. When James and Malcolm slowly showed their agreement with Mike, John felt the need to intervene. Once he told his story, Mike understood the character. All of them did: Chris developped a wrong way of viewing the world. A selfish way… The following days, Mike decided to correct his point of view. His strategy was to compel Chris to spend time with him once a day. At first, the task was uneasy: Mike struggled to find excuses for them to meet, raising suspicions amongst the rest of the group. But as time went by, they saw his intentions and followed his initiation. Slowly and without him noticing it, a bond was forged between them and Chris. At leat, that’s what Mike thought until the latter disappeared for a month. Their actions weren’t in vain, for all that. After many failed attempts of reconnecting, Chris naturally went to them. Mike gave a faint smile when he saw him walk through the coffee shop’s door. One small step for mankind, but one giant leap for Chris.

‘You’ll have to ask him yourself.’ he said knowing it wasn’t his to answer.

Karen hesitated then grabbed her jacket and stormed outside. She scanned the street before getting a glimpse of his silhouette in between trees. She ran and caught up with him.

‘Hé!’ He turned around. ‘You’re ok?’ He looked beyond her then laid eyes on her again. ‘Can i ask you a question?’ She paused. ‘Besides this one… Why is everyone so secretive and protective of you?’ He glanced beyond her again.

‘I don’t know.’ he replied as he stared at her. When the discomfort emerged, Chris looked away and left. She followed suit. ‘Why are you following me?’

‘I’m not following you. I’m just walking with you.’ They stayed in silence for a moment, then she finally asked: ‘Who was that guy, the other day?’ She could notice him taking a deep breathe. Too straightforward.

‘Not today.’ He said. ‘Another time, maybe.’

They walked aimlessly through Toya City until the sun broke through the horizon. They retraced their steps to Sarah’s appartment where Chris left Karen alone before disappearing in the light of day.

Two nights later, a loud tone awakened Karen: a message just came in. She stared at the screen for five minutes, trying to make sense of the blankness of the text. She tried to arrange her thoughts, when a single knock on the door suddenly pulled her out of hypnagogia. When she opened the door, she found him, standing in the darkness of the hallway, his hands in his pockets and a hoodie on his head.

‘Up for a walk?’ Chris asked in a low voice. She glanced at her phone. 5:04 am. ‘Sorry.’ he said in a breathe as he turned his back.

‘Wait!’ she whispered as she grabbed his arm. ‘Let me change.’

Thus began a strange routine: few nights a week, she found herself wandering in each corner of the city, covering any and every subject that came in her mind. She learned more about Chris as he learned more about her. The wall he built extended to her, allowing her to be in his world. At each sunrise, it felt more natural to talk to him.

‘So, what happened the other day?’ she dared to finally ask.

Chris abruptly stopped his step, looked at Karen and entered in the building next to them. She followed him to the roof where he placed two chairs facing a jungle of concrete. She sat next in one of the chairs, intrigued in knowing how Chris knew they were here.

‘How…’

‘It was…’

A silence settled. Karen just missed her chance of knowing a part of his truth. A sigh slipped.

‘It was Cal Garner’s henchman. He was following you.’ Chris glanced at Karen’s reaction: she gave him an interrogative look. ‘He saw you following me.’ Karen remained suspsicious, repeating the name over and over again in her mind.

‘Garner… Why does it sound familiar?’ she mumbled.

For few seconds, the cold air warmed up, particules of dirt elevated and time seemed to have slowed down. Karen’s eyes widened up. Startled, she stood up, knocked her chair off and stepped back. Fear and confusion surfaced as thoughts raced in her mind. Several questions needed to be answered but she knew only one could explain everything.

‘What’s your name?’

Chris slowly stood up and faced her.

‘Turner.’ he said as he made a step toward her, his eyes locked on hers. Karen’s heart skipped a beat. She stayed motionless and voiceless for a second before runninf off.

Chris stared at the door. He closed his eyes, took a deep breathe and tightened his fist to contain the slight discomfort appearing in his chest. Fuck.

 

To be continued

Life (8)

Life

*Biiip*

Hi!! It’s me, Sarah… Jefferson… If you didn’t remember. Hum… I was told you never pick up your phone. Guess, that’s true… It’s been a while since i’ve seen you around and i… I organise a party, at my house, for New Year’s Eve. And i’d like for you to come.

 

Under the illuminations still hung up in streets, John rang the bell for the fourth time. The cold infiltrated his coat despite his efforts to seal any potential entrance. All of his muscles worked in unisson to create warmth, causing confusion to his blatter. ‘Come on.’ he exhaled as he rang again. The door abruptly opened, revealing a young man in a black and white outfit. John, caught by surprised, made a step back as he saw Chris’s annoyed face. An urgent feeling brought him back to his senses and made him rush to the bathroom. Few minutes later, he stepped outside pushing his friend along with him. ‘Sorry, man. I really had to go. I was waiting in the cold, you know. No biggie.’ he said in hope Chris would feel a little bit guilty for making him wait that long. The latter stopped instantly, interrogating John with his eyes. ‘What?’ John asked. They stared at each other. ‘Sarah’s party. For New Year’s Eve? She called you. She left a message… You didn’t listen to it, did you? Of course, you didn’t.’ Chris stepped back in his house. ‘No, no, no. You’re coming.’ John said as he grabbed Chris by the arm and pulled him back in the freezing air. ‘She keeps on asking to see you ever since she’s out of the hospital. You’re coming so she’ll stop bothering me with that. And no need to sigh, let’s go.’

When they arrived at Sarah’s building, the sweet sound of Paul McCartney’s guitar came out of a window from the fifth floor. As they took the stairs, they noticed a note was put up on each floor, apologizing for any noises that might occur until dawn. A staircase below, voices and laughters could be heard through walls and door. John knocked then glanced at Chris, who clearly wasn’t thrilled to be surrounded by anyone at the moment. When the door opened, music and voices gasped for the air of the corridor as if they were breaking out. ‘You made it!’ Sarah exclaimed, a huge smile on her face, then stepped aside to let her guests in.

When he entered, Chris scanned the place. A small entrance was created with one of the bathroom’s wall, on the left, and gave to a large living-room where Charlotte and Malcolm were swinging remotes to a flat screen installed in front of them, entertaining the others. Facing the bathroom, a room was kept private behind a closed door. The common area was separated to the kitchen by a couch. Chris greeted generally everyone without interrupting the mood. As he was pulled to the kitchen, he caught Karen staring at him, then bobbed his head. She smiled back at him. Once alone, Sarah offered him a drink. Chris looked at it then at Sarah.

‘Don’t be so suspicious: none of us, here, drinks alcohol.’ She said, a smile on her face. She handed him the glass then waited for him to take a sip. ‘My father told me what you did.’ She paused. ‘And John filled some blanks.’ Chris glanced on his left: John looked back at him quickly. ‘I just want to thank you. I would be… I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. So…’ She skipped a beat, then put her arms around Chris, startled. As she held him longer than a simple hug, he slowly came out of his static posture and embraced her back. They stood still for a few seconds then she stepped back  and looked at him straight in the eyes, an admiration in her look. ‘My father also told me who you are. Don’t worry, i won’t tell anyone. I’m a good secret keeper.’

Chris slightly nodded and watched her going back to the rest of her guests. His eyes traveled around the kitchen, thoughts spinning in his head.

‘You can trust her.’ A voice burst next to him. ‘Her family was neutral.’ Chris stared at John who handed him a controller. ‘It’s your turn.’ Behind John, Chris noticed the entire room laid eyes on him. Under the peer pressure, he grabbed the Wii remote, walked in the gaming zone and pressed the button ‘A’.

‘Ready to lose?’ His opponent said. As he glanced to his right, Karen smirked.

‘You wish.’ he replied in his breathe, a shy smile on his lips.

 

 

To be continued

Life (7)

Life

The night was quiet. Streets emptied and lights turned on. Rare cars passed by like a slow heartbeat. Miles Turner sat alone at the counter of the kitchen, staring blankly at the mug in front of him. The steam of his coffee disappeared long ago. Cal Garner, he thought. The name who was the source of his son’s pain. The silence of the house made the name heavier than it already was.

‘What are we going to do?’ Chris asked. The question startled his father. The two men exchanged an intense look as to decipher each other’s thoughts. Chris’s muscles tensed, his jaw tightened and his attention beyond his father. Miles noticed it: the rage growing stronger in his son’s soul.

‘I’ll take care of it.’ He paused. ‘You do nothing.’ He stepped closer to bring the young man back to a safe place and prevent him from falling further into his darkness. The latter looked away, closed his eyes and took a deep breathe. When he opened his eyes again, he paused a second before locking himself in his room.

What is going on in your mind, right now, Chris? Miles thought. He exhaled loudly. ‘What’s going on in mine? That’s the real question.’ he whispered to himself. As he went to his room, he checked on his son. Chris finally surrendered to exhaustion. Peace had invested his face. Miles watched him, taking a mental picture of this moment he knew won’t last long. Sure enough, as soon as he closed his eyes, a holler woke him up. He jumped out of his bed and ran toward it. Once he opened the door, Chris moved about on his bed, his sheet ripped off by his fists, sweat dripping down his shirt and his eyes still closed. His screams surrounded him like a shield, isolating him from the world. Miles walked through the invisible wall and wrapped his arms around his son. ‘Calm down. Calm down.’ he whispered as he tightened his grip to contain him. ‘You’re alright.’ he kept on saying. When Chris opened his eyes and realized where he was, he grabbed on his father strongly. The screams died away and replaced by a heavy breathing. ‘I’m right here.’ In his arms, Miles could feel his son trembling, his grasp intensified as seconds went by.

‘I killed…’ Chris mumbled. ‘I killed…’

Miles put his hand on Chris’s chest. ‘You didn’t. It’s not on you.’ he said. Chris closed his eyes again and strengthened his grip. ‘I’m right here.’ he repeated. ‘I’m right here.’

his heartbeat slowed down, tears stopped their ascension and tremors gradually faded. As the words echoed through his body to his mind, Chris slowly closed the funnel of his emotions. Without another sound, he fell back to sleep.

 

 

To be continued