Let me tell you a story (END)

Let me tell you a story

The next day, Isaiah woke up, his mind filled with strange images of human sized bunny running after one another. After a hot shower and getting dressed, he headed to the subway when he noticed two men glancing at him in an odd way. They had the same tattoo on their hands. Fanatics? The color red popped up in his mind: it struck him. The book. They’re probably looking for that.’ Isaiah didn’t pay more attention to these men. He went to work as usual and waited for the dark to crash into the city to leave. His pursuers stayed put until their pray made a move. Once the latter got out, they followed him for a moment, when he suddenly made a left turn in a small alley. As they walked in the shadow between two buildings, they saw him, sitting like a vietnamese drug dealer: he was waiting for them.

  • What do you want?’ Isaiah said as he stood up. A silence passed.

  • Where is he?’ asked one of the pursuers.

  • He?…Who?’

  • Don’t play games with us. Where is the protector?’ said the other one.

  • Protector?’

  • Enough!!’ yelled the first pursuer. He stepped forward. All of the emotions he tried to keep for himself, from the moment he saw his savior killed to the moment he will face his assassin, suddenly came out on his face. ‘He doomed mankind to its end! So you’re gonna tell us where he went.’ He calmed down as he got closer to Isaiah. The latter remained silent for a while. He glanced at his pursuer’s fist then replied:

  • I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

The calm tone and relax attitude of Isaiah made the pursuer loose his temper. He threw his right fist to Isaiah’s face. The latter dodged it then walloped his opponent’s stomach. He could see a reaction from his victim but immediately, an elbow hit him on the temple. He stambled away from his opponent. As he recovered, the latter ran towards him, jumped to hit him from above, but as a reflex, Isaiah rolled on the side and got back up on his feet. He locked his eyes on his ennemy and forgot his environment, when he descried something on his right. The world made a 45 degree turn. Then everything went black.

When Isaiah opened his eyes, a bright light blinded him. He blinked a few times to get his vision back. He looked around: he was laying in bed in the middle of a room. On his left side, a woman was sleeping in a chair, covered by a blanket. Next to her, an image moved in synchronization with a sound. At the feet of his bed, his clothes were folded in a bag on a small table. In front of his bed there was a door, slightly opened, leading to a bathroom. On his right, another door gave to a hallway where people dressed in a uniform walked back and forth. Isaiah tried to sit but his body didn’t respond as much as he wanted. Hefelt a discomfort in his left arm and llooked down. A needle was taped into it. ‘Aaaah…’ is all he could say. The woman next to him woke up. She smiled. ‘We’re at the hospital’ she said. ‘You hurt your head pretty badly.’ She paused. ‘What happened?’ Isaiah took his time to remember his situation. The book. He pulled the intravenous out of his system, walked somehow to the table, grabbed his stuff then disappeared in the bathroom. Half an hour later, he came out and stood still. Two doctors appeared in the room. ‘You need to rest for a moment.’ Isaiah ignored their advice and kept on walking. As he passed next to them, he whispered: ‘I hear you… But I need to leave.’ After struggling to get back in his appartment, Isaiah crashed on his couch and fainted.

A ray of sunshine found its way through the blinds and landed on Isaiah’s face. It woke him up. Slowly but safely, the latter found his bearings again. He went straight to his bed and dived his hands under his pillows to find it. He sighed, relieved that the two men who beat him up weren’t curious enough to search for clues in his home. He stared at the object for a moment. He lost himself in his thoughts. No one knows about this. But it looks like this story is real… That can’t be. No one can return to the past. It’s… impossible…. Or is it? If it’s fake, why would they look for James? That dude is way to honest and straight to be inrolled in any kind of trouble. Which makes this story believable. He’s trustworthy. But… Time travelling doesn’t exist… Yet. So in 2027, it will be…real. Wait, the first trial led Eden/Ethan to the year of 2023. His objectif was to sabbotage the birth of the timemachine. So in 2023, we can, theorically but with realism, travel through time… Amazing…. But not the issue. Eden killed Ethan. Which means that reality must have changed… Somehow. So this reality took a separate road from the ‘original’ reality. Alright… But does that mean that the world will still end? Is it inevitable? If so, what to do? How could we know? What could we do? On that last question, Isaiah started to brainstorm on an idea to actively change the world. Or more precisely, to change Humanity.

It took him several years, many obstacles to overcome and mutliple failures to count , before Isaiah could see it. In the year of 2026, where it’s written that the world’s selfdestruction is supposed to begin, nothing happens. At the age of 36 year old, facing the large window of his office at the top of the highest building in New York City, Isaiah whispered to himself: ‘Humanity made it right.’ Below him, streets were cleaned, people respected each other and violence was reduced to almost 4%. The same situation spread all around the world, slowly but surely. Isaiah made sure of that.

Earth and mankind are now on a good track to reconcile with each other.’ Isaiah said. His voice was low, I could barely understand his words. I looked at him: his eyes hasn’t change since the day I met him, only few wrinkles appeared now and there around his mouth, nose and on his forehead. His hair turned completely grey, it gave him a certain charm. His hand was warm. But weak. He squeezed mine as hard as he could. I looked him in the eyes. A smile was drawn on his face. ‘I trust you.’ I figured that he could see my fears on my face. I smile back. His eyes blinked in rhythm, closing slowly. The pressure of his hand decreased at the same pace. Tears came up. Before his chest stopped moving, I whispered to his ears: ‘I won’t let you down…’ He smiled as he heard those words. Then his hand let go of mine and his eyes were completely closed. ‘I love you, Grandpa.’

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Let me tell you a story (9)

Let me tell you a story

‘What happened next?’ Isaiah asked in a deep voice. He was sitting at the edge of the couch, his ears wide opened listenning to every words James pronounced. The latter stared at the street through the window. He took a deep inspiration and sighed before sitting back on the armchair. He got lost in his thoughts for a second. Isaiah waited for him to come back to reality. ‘James… James?’ They made eye contact. The exchange lasted few seocnds then James grabbed his backpack, took out a book and handed them to his friend. Isaiah hesitated before making any move. ‘What is this?’ his voice changed. He cleared his throat and repeated his question. ‘I need you to keep this safe for me.’ James said, completely ignoring all questions he’s asked. Isaiah overlooked the pages. Some of them started with numbers: 2023, 2022,2021,2006,… On others, there were notes. ‘What does this mean?’ he asked. Then he looked closely to the first pages:

2006

Age: 21

Name: Ethan

Location: Brooklyn

Event; Birth

Objective; Kill the mother. [COMPLETE]

I remained the same than in 2027, as I wasn’t born yet. Killing her wasn’t easy. The father was in the way but I managed to lead him away. It took me too long to act. She recognized me.

Butterflies effects were inavailing. The world still ends.

TRIAL Num.4 : FAILURE

‘Sanaa gave me all the reports Eden’s made and all his notes’. Isaiah’s skepticism about the entire story began to fade away as he held in his hands potential proof of time-travel. He looked at his friend: he looked exhausted. ‘When did all of this…end?’ A quick smile appeared on his face. ‘Two months ago.’ he said. A ghost went by. ‘Then what happened?’ Another pause. James looked up.

Fanatics needed to point out at someone for Ethan’s death. As his killer disappeared, their only choice was James. He realized it. Sanaa just sat there, looking in despair. He grabbed her by the arm and fled as far and fast as they possibly could. After they healed their wounds in a safe place, they assessed the situation and decided to keep moving across the country. They went from small towns to small towns hiding from the fanatics and the FBI. Close to the West coast, Sanaa got tired of running. She wanted to settle, have a life. James helped her get a new identity and left her on her own, leading their ennemies away.

He paused. His eyes started watering. He closed them and took a deep breathe. Isaiah looked away before focusing on the book one more time. There were seven attempts of saving the world. ‘Did he succeed?’ He said. James shook his head: he didn’t know. How could he. ‘What… really happened?’ Isaiah finally expressed his confusion. James took his bag and stood up, a smile on his face. ‘Keep it safe. No one can know anything about this… Either you believe me or not.’ One those last words, he walked to the door and opened it. At the same moment, Isaiah stood up and asked: ‘Where are you going?’What are you going to do? Why you came here?’ James stared at his friend: ‘I trust you.’ Then closed the door behind him.

Isaiah stood there for a good five minutes, trying to process everything that was said in his living room. He looked at the book again and opened it. The first pages were all the trials. After that, there were notes beginning with specific dates: somes were long, others were short. ‘A diary.’ In the middle of the book, a blank page interrupts the chronicle. Then it starts again but with a dfferent hand-writing. As he read that part, Isaiah understood it was James version of the story. After reading that part to corroborate everything he heard few hours before, he went back to the beginning of the book. He overlooked the trials. They all had on thing in common: at the bottom of each page, there was the word ‘Failure’ written in bold. Except for the seventh trial, where it was left blank.

The next page was the beginning of Eden’s version of the story. There was no introduction. He detailed his impressions, feelings and thoughts he had, mixed with comparaison with his ‘actual’ world. Isaiah turned the pages slowly, reading carefully each word. Few pages later, he stopped his movement. He was astonished, his eyes wide-opened.

May 11th, 2010

I just heard a bunch of people complaining about petty things. Whining about nothing. They pissed me off. This world needs to change. I thought of building ‘it’ again. Who gives a fuck about your iced coffee having to much ice. DON’T GET ICED COFFEE, THEN!!

If only, they all could think like me….But then, I will repeat History. I won’t learn from my mistake.

Isaiah blocked on that page. He agreed with Eden’s point of view. From the last sentence, he understood that Eden managed to make the people from his world to have the same state of mind as his. And that led to the world’s sefl-destruction. How? Isaiah thought. He read further more the book, looking for any clues of how he created a machine that could make people change their way of thinking. But there was nothing. He looked at the door as if James would reappear to give him all the answers he was dying to find. But nothing happened. The room remained dark, still and silent. Isaiah dived into his thoughts. Without noticing it, he was brainstorming on how to create such a thing. When suddenly, James voice echoed in his mind: ‘I trust you.’ He then realized that that was what his friend wanted to avoid. He closed the book and stared at the cover for a brief moment. He stood up, went to his room, put the book under his pillow and lied down. He stared at the ceilling. His mind was full of questions: what to do now? Where to hide this? Why him? And where did James go? As he kept on repeating the same things over and over again in his head, his eyes started to close by themselves until he fell asleep.

Let me tell you a story (8)

Let me tell you a story
  • ‘I beg your pardon?’ The man put the gun on a table and pushed it slightly towards me. I stared at the metallic object. The light reflected on it, enlightened my thoughts. ‘Wait. I was under the impression that I was… Well, important.’ I claimed. The man looked surprised that I knew something.

  • ‘You are, indeed. We can’t kill you. It will be a blasphema. But if you end your own life, then it’ll be different.’ He looked me deep in the eyes.

  • ‘How?”

  • ‘There won’t be any negative butterfly effect if you commit suicide. The world will keep on going in the course it chose.’

  • ‘What makes you think i’m going to obey you blindly?”

  • ‘Well, if you don’t, i’m going to hurt one of your guides then, eventually, kill them.’ I flinched. I felt a urge of anger coming out of my chest. My fist closed by itself. He smiled. ‘You were a med’student, right? That means you value life more than anything else.’ He paused in his pace and pointed Ethan. ‘This boy. You took him under your wings without any questions. Knowing pretty much nothing about him. That means you care about others more than yourself.’

A silence passed. I heard a movement behind me. The man’s eyes looked beyond my shoulder before slowly grabbing the gun. He stepped cloesr to me, took my right hand and placed the gun. He nodded then a rattle resonated in the background.

  • ‘Why? Why do you want me to commit suicide?’ I asked.

  • ‘Ha! Excellent question. As you might know, now: Ethan is our saviour. And in order for him to fulfill his destiny, there’s a need for a specific event to happen right in front of his eyes.’

  • ‘And that event would be my death. Specifically.’

  • ‘Well, not specifically. Any death would do the trick, actually. But I figured, if it’s someone he knew and cared about, it would be more:::impactful.’ He paced again, like a scientist explaining his process to solve a complicated equation. His words kept on repeat in my head. Any death would do the trick. Joshua Aikon. He’s not aware

  • How a death can make him fulfill his destiny?”

  • ‘It will trigger a certain state of mind that will lead him to become the savior that we will know. ‘

  • ‘It doesn’t explain me how he will become “the savior”.’

  • ‘He willl create the machine that will change the face of humanity.’ I stayed perplex on every words that came out of the man’s mouth. ‘He can corroborate this himself.’ I held the gun tighter.

  • ‘Himself?’ I wondered.

  • ‘Yes, himself.’ he replied while pointing someone behind me. Himself? I turned around and stared at Eden. I had a flashback of the moment I research his name on Google. I remembered pictures of him younger. He looked like…. Out of the blue, as my brain focused on Eden, a thought struck me.

  • ‘You’re saying Ethan is going to save the world…’ The man nodded, a proud smile on his face. ‘Then how do you explain their presence.’ I pointed the gun behind me. ‘Aren’t they, somehow, a proof that the world will not be safe?’ The man looked surprised by the question. He remained silent, speechless. ‘If it was safe and sound, why would they come back in the past to change it?’

On that moment, I truly believed Eden’s story. I brought my arm back in front of me and aimed for Eden’s uncle’s head. The uncle’s army reacted but I wasn’t scared for my life anymore, nor for Ethan’s. They can’t kill us. They won’t dare. Suddenly, in front of my back, I heard someone being knocked out and falling on the floor. Another raffe, then a loud noise. Another body hit the ground. Footsteps came closer.

A first gunshot resonated few steps behind me. I moved to my left as I saw Eden’s uncle falling, one hand on his shoulder. I turned to the source of the shooting. For a split second, I saw Eden with a satisfied smile.. Everyone started to shoot him. At the same moment, the later fired his gun and got shot in the shoulder. I fell on the floor, covered my head with my arms, pulled my legs to my chest and glanced at his second target. My eyes and mouth wide-opened. I froze.

Sounds were reduced to silence. People around me slowed down to stand still. Half a second passed but it felt like an eternity. Only one body was in motion. It was falling. Straight. Inanimated. As soon as it hit the ground, a hail of bullets rang brutally.

Ethan

My eyes couldn’t believe the scene that diplayed few steps away from me. He was lying, immobile. My body crawled automatically towards him. A female voice echoed behind me but i kept on moving forward until my head was next to his. Blood came out of his forehead through a hole. His eyes stared at the ceiling, a last tear dropped on the side of his face. He seemed peaceful. No… I couldn’t get my eyes off of him while fanatics and time-travelers emptied their chargers on each others. I wanted to hold him but my hands were trembling and my body didn’t dare to touch him.

Noises around me suddenly stopped. I gazed around and stood up. Most of fanatics were dead, some of them moaning in pain. Only few were physically unscathed, hiding behind walls. I looked in Eden’s direction. Sanaa pulled him against a pilar. His shoulder was bleeding profusely, turning his black shirt in dark red. As I stared at them, a rush of hate grew inside of me. I closed my fist and walked towards them. Every step put me deeper in the darkness of revenge. Until I noticed it: Sanaa’s face was sad: she was at the edge of tears. Eden tried to calm her down and reassure her. ‘Everything will be good, now.’ he whispered, a smile on his face. Suddenly, he writhed in pain. I scanned his body. Something was off: around his legs, I could see the floor, clearer as the time pass. My eyes went up. The wall became slightly visible. Eden looked at me. ‘The Earth will be safe, now.’ He smiled then closed his eyes, took a deep inspiration and released it. He was feeling the joy. He looked me deep in the eyes again, opened his mouth and said something, but my senses were shut off. Slowly, his hands became transparent, then his chest. Until only his head remained. He gave a last look to Sanaa before completely disappearing.

Few seconds later, as my eyes were stuck on where Eden was sitting, his words came to me:

 

‘Thank you.’

 

To be continued

 

Let me tell you a story (7)

Let me tell you a story

The night has come, the landscape was dark and the moon was the only Iight we could see. I was locked in Eden’s loft, sitting on the table. He took everything interesting with him, leaving me in a complete boredom. TRIAL Num.3. How many times did he attempt to change his present? What his Joshua’s role in this? And most of all: do I really believe anything they’re saying? An headache started to grow: my brain slowly committed suicide. I closed my eyes and put my face in my hands, trying to stop the process of self-destruction. Thoughts were bouncing off the walls of my mind. I felt overwhelmed once again. My heartbeat went faster and my body trembled. One thought kept on coming back and forth, stronger and stronger: Ethan. I needed to get him back by my side at all cost. I walked to the door and tried to open it. Closed. Well, that was expected. I looked around if there was any ventilation pipes I could crawl into and get out like in movies. ‘But this isn’t a movie… ‘ I whispered to myself. I gazed at the window.. Carefully, I stepped closer. In front of me, a landscape of rooftops drew its line in the dark blue sky. I wondered in which of those buildings was Ethan. I looked down. The distance with the ground was way too much for me to even consider jumping. I got lost in my thoughts when suddenly, the lock on the door opened. I turned around. The door slowly moved A metallic object appeared in the opening. A gun. I searched for a place to hide but there was no furnitures to get cover. I stood there like a statue, hoping to acquire the hability of invicibility in the next five seconds. As the gun moved forward, the person holding it appeared as well. It was Eden. I sighed as I felt relieved it wasn’t some crazier person. Behind him, a woman was following him closely. Sanaa…! She winked at me when she saw me. I was confused. ‘How…?” was the only word that came out of my mouth. They ignored me. Eden took some papers under his bed and notified us to leave. As I stayed immobile, Sanaa grabbed my arm and pulled me.

We were walking for about four hours. I didn’t know our destination, but Eden seemed to be confident. He led the way, few steps ahead of me. Sanaa, who watched my back, caught up to my pace. In whisper, she asked me: ‘Is it true that Joshua is dead?’ I looked at her, surprised by the words she used. I nodded. She looked down at her feet, her mind was lost in emptiness, then: ‘How?’ I glanced at Eden, wondering why she was whispering. ‘He shot himself in the head.’ She froze for a second. I observed her: she was obviously shocked. ‘Keep on walking.’ Eden said. I looked at him as he was turning his back to us. I focused back at Sanaa: she retrieved her usual face. The silence of the night became heavier. Sound of our footsteps echoed in the air. I slowed down to be at Sanaa’s level. ‘How did you get out?’ I asked. She smiled as an answer. I waited a moment before daring to ask: ‘Who is Joshua Aikon?’ I could see tears appearing in her eyes when I pronounced his name. A nostalgic smile replaced the mischievous one. She looked at Eden’s back, intensevely I didn’t expect her to tell me anything, as they avoided all key issues I raised so far, when: ‘He’s… was a good friend of mine. For Eden, he was a little bit more: he considered him as a second father. He has a profound respect for him.’ My eyes fell on Eden again. I saw him differently, somehow. ‘Joshua is…was the one who created the time-machine… In 2024.’ My head turned abruptly. ‘Yes, his death changes everything.’ I stayed speechless for a minute. ‘What do you mean?’ I finally said. She took a moment then put her eyes on mine. ‘It means that this is our last chance to avoid the world’s destruction.’ My headache came back. The mood became heavier. I stared at my feet as we kept on walking along a desert road. Suddenly, Eden stopped in front of an old barn. A large garden surrounded the building, we could only guess its shape in the darkness of the night. A metallic door shined with the moonlight. It was the only entrance, but it didn’t look like anyone used it for a while. I walked closer. As soon as I stepped on the grass, a big bright light blinded me. I heard the door opened and people running towards me. Rattles accompanied their every moves. They are armed. Two of them grabbed me by my arms and dragged me into the building. The hallway was pitch balck, I couldn’t see where I put my feet. My heartbeat was racing. I was scared and lost. I felt like this was the long way to hell. My view was barely adapted to the darkness that antoher light blinded me. ‘Enough with the lights!’ I yelled. They moved it away from my face. ‘Oh, my bad.’ Someone said shyly. I gazed around me: I was surrounded by a bunch of men staring at me like I was a caged rare animal. A man stepped forward. He had more presence than everybody else in the room. We stayed in silence, scanning each other. He sat down, released a long sigh and ordered someone to approach. A minute later, another man showed up holding Ethan by his shoulders. My eyes wide-opened. ‘Ethan’ I whispered. He looked at me, tears came up tp his eyes. I could see that he wanted to run to me but he was held back. I stepped once, they aimed their guns at me. I froze. ‘Stand down.’ The man sitting down said. ‘There is no need for violence at this moment. The danger is not in this room yet.’ My body started to shake. I gazed around: Eden and Sanaa weren’t there. Where were they taken? The man in charge waited. He kept his eyes on me for at least two minutes without blinking. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I broke the silence: ‘What do you want?’ He smiled. ‘Nothing you can’t do.’ I didn’t understand. It’s like he was speaking in another language but from another planet. Really strange dialect. ‘We want you to do something for us.’ I glanced at Ethan: he seemed physically fine. The door behind me suddenly opened. I turned around as Eden and Sanaa were pushed in by two armed men. When Eden saw the man in the chair, he looked surprised. Chocked. So was Sanaa. ‘You… can’t be alive.’ Eden whispered. What? I looked at him. He had a bigger smile on his face but remained calm, even relaxed.

  • ‘You grew up, my nephew.’ he said.

  • ‘I’m not you’re nephew.’

  • ‘You’re father was a brother to me. That makes you my nephew. No matter what you think.’ He stood up.

  • ‘This can’t be.’

‘The old man you shot in that building was my paternal. You know: it took me a long time to find you. Both of you.’ He pointed Ethan and Eden. Very odd language. He looked back at Eden and smiled. ‘It’s a chance to see the two of you in the same place. A rare privilege. Don’t you agree with me, James?’ I didn’t know what to answer nor what to think. The man scanned me. He looked at Eden but the later kept his mouth shut. ‘Oh. He doesn’t know anything…? That is….Both admirable and, let’s face it, a little bit dumb.’ Without any hesitation, I ran towards him and threw him my strongest punch. He stumbled and fell down on the floor, spitting blood. ‘I hate it when people openly mock me.’ He raised his hand to order his men not to shoot me. He stood up and turned around. We stared at each other for a while, then he laughed. ‘I haven’t meet anyone this impulsive in a while. It’s refreshing.’ I wanted to turn and look at Sanaa to get any translation of what he was saying, but I was afraid he would attack as soon as my eyes leave his. ‘What do you want from me?’ I finally ask. He went back on his chair as a man ran to him with a tissue in his hand. I shook my head like a reflex. THIS is dumb. ‘We need something that only you can provide.’ He paused. He grabbed a gun and handed it to me: ‘We want you to kill yourself.’

To be continued

Let me tell you a story (6)

Let me tell you a story

‘What do you mean: ‘We messed up’?’ I asked. Before one of them could answer, two policemen came in the car and brought us to their headquarters. They separated us. I was left to wait in a room with only two chairs separated by a table. A large mirror was placed on the wall facing me. Minutes later, a man and a woman in black suits came in. The woman sat down in front of me. I could see from his reflection, the man holding the wall behind me, arms crossed. She took a deep breathe. I stared at her: she was blond with blue eyes. A walking stereotype. I felt a heavy pressure behind my back. My heart beat faster. Stress was rushing through my body. ‘I am Agent Carter and this is my partner, Agent Simmons. We are the FBI.’ She paused. ‘Do you know how serious the troubles you are into?’ I shook my head really slow. My eyes were still fixed on hers. She glanced at her partner. ‘James Sawyer, 26, born in Chicago.’ She read the file she had in her hands. ‘You were in medical school but missed few classes for the past eight months. You moved from city to city, leaving behind you a stack of bodies. We found your fingerprints on a lot of crime scenes.’ I replied instantly: ‘I killed no one.’ She looked beyond me again. ‘We know that.’ The man said. ‘We also know that one of the other two is responsible for all of this.’ He walked around the table like a shark then stopped next to his partner. ‘We want you to tell us which one.’ I stayed in silent. They took it for fear. ‘We can protect you.’ I let go of a laugh. They took it for arrogance. I took a deep breathe as to gather some courage. I was ready to be my version of disrecpectful: ‘I’m leaving if you don’t charge for any crime.’ I stood up and looked at them alternatively. They glanced at each other one more time, but remained silent. I nodded as to say I thought so, but restrained myself. They held me back: ‘We can charge you for obstruction of justice, if you don’t tell us what you know.’ My hands were shaking. I felt sweat drawing my face’s outlines. ‘You seem to be in a tricky situation. We can help you to what you have to do.’ Agent Carter said. After a pause, Agent Simmons completed her thoughts: ‘But you’ll have to give us something in exchange.’ As I heard those words, I whispered: ‘Equivalent Exchange.’ I turned my head to the mirror and saw them looking at each other, skeptical. ‘It looks like you need me more than I need you… I sound like a criminal…’ Their silence said it all. They had nothing. They knew nothing. I opened the door and walked away.

As I got in the elevator, I imagined a scenario where other agents waited for me downstairs to bring me in a cell, somewhere away from the sunlight. When the doors opened, nothing happened. I laughed at myself. I went back to the first building we entered, but just when it appeared in my sight, someone grabbed my arm and dragged me in a dark alley. ‘What are you doing?’ I yelled. Eden put his hand on my mouth as to shut me up and scanned the main street for minutes. ‘Come with me.’ He went further in the alley and disappeared in the darkness. I obeyed like a desperate puppy.

When we arrived in one of his hiding place, he took a deep breathe and froze. ‘How did you get out?’ I asked. ‘They let me go… They still have Sanaa.’ I heard insecurity in his voice. ‘What are you going to do?’ He didn’t hear me. He was lost in his thoughts. I looked around. Like the other place, there was the strict minimum: a bed on the floor, a large table in a corner with bunch of papers on it, one chair and that was it. The floor was filthy, dirt was floating in the air and walls were yellowish. There was only one big window to lighten to room. I walked towards it. But he stopped me when I walked by him. ‘Don’t.’ I didn’t understand: ‘Why?’ He released my arm and took a look at the pile of papers. I looked over his shoulder: there were plans with towns circled in red and reports with years as titles. I grabbed one and read it.

2021

Age: 15

Name: Christopher

Location: middle of a field in state of Kansas.

Event: the idea is growing in my mind.

Objectif: Eliminate Jonathan Pierce [COMPLETE]

I checked on Joshua. He was safe. After coming back to the present, my parents were still dead. Killed in a car accident. The situation hasn’t change from when I left.

TRIAL Num.3: FAILURE

As I read the report, many questions were raised in my head. Too many that it left me voiceless. He yanked the report off of my hands. ‘What was that?’ I asked as I stared at him, my eyes wide open. He stayed in silence as usual. But this time I didn’t stop there. I started to think out loud. ‘It says ‘TRIAL Num.3”. How many times did you travel through time? Who is Christopher? And Jonathan Pierce? And why did you have to kill him? And is the Joshua mentioned Joshua Aikon?’ On that last question, he looked at me. I froze as if I said something wrong. ‘How do you know that name?’ he asked. I stepped back. He stood up. ‘I met him.’ My voice was lower, trembling. ‘When? Where?’ It was my turn to remain silence. ‘ANSWER ME!’ I was scared. My heartbeat went fast, my hands were shaking. I couldn’t blink, my eyes were locked on his. I thought to myself that if I looked away for even half a second, he would kill me instantly. He stepped forward. I could see in his eyes something that I didn’t think he could feel: fear. ‘At his house. About three weeks ago.’ He waited for me to keep on going but nothing came out of my mouth. Spams on his face showed me his frustration and anger. ‘What happened?’ His voice was calmer and deeper. He was concerned. ‘We barely talked and…’ He cut me off: ‘What did he say?” I scanned him. His body language told me that that scene wasn’t a part of his plan nor his predictions. ‘He said he remembered everything: the reason you came back, the reason of your actions and who you were.’ Tears sparkled in his eyes, his chest was moving fast and his hands relaxed: he cooled down. When he turned his back to return to his desk, I looked down at me feet. I felt obliged to tell him: ‘He’s dead.’ Instantly, he stopped moving. A heavy silent imposed its presence. I tried to catch any reaction, but he let nothing show. ‘He shot himself. He had a gun with him…. I don’t know why.’ Still nothing.

To be continued

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

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

Let me tell you a story (3)

Let me tell you a story

Days later, we arrived in New York City. The city was white. People covered half their faces in their scarf. Everyone walked head down, staring at the sidewalk. As soon as we got out of the bus, we walked toward the address on the back of Ethan’s picture. After few buses, subways and minutes of walk, we found ourselves on Claflin boulevard. The street was clear. Calm. Only our footsteps in the snow broke the silence of the neighborhood. We stopped in front of a house with a little garden on the front. ‘144 Claflin Boulevard’ I whispered. Ethan held my hand tight. I looked at him. He seemed scared. A noise coming from the house took my attention away. I scanned the front of it. Lights illuminated its shape. Flowers and grass were surrounded by snow. I looked at the window. The curtain was moving: someone was watching us. I put my eyes on Ethan again and smiled to reassure him. We walked toward the main door, climbed the three steps that led to it and knocked. I looked behind us: a car drove by. Then the silence returned. We waited a minute before hearing any noises from the inside. The door unlocked. Behind it, there was a man in a black suit with round glasses on his nose. His hair was semi-long, touching the top of his shoulders. He scanned me from head to toe then his focus stopped on Ethan. The late one stepped back behind me. The man stared at me again. ‘Come in.’ he said. As we entered, a smell of a cooking meal invaded our nostrils. He showed us the way to his living room where we took seats. He left us alone for few minutes. The inside was basic: there was a chimney centered in the room, a couch faced it with a low table in between. A desk was settled in front of the window on the left, facing an armchair. Walls were beige. Basic. The man came back with a tray in his hands. He offered me a beer and a glass of Coke for Ethan. A silence passed by. ‘Who send you?’ he finally asked. I was surprise. ‘No one.’ He seemed suspicious. He stared at Ethan like he was a threat. I asked him if he knew the boy. He didn’t answer right away. He let a pause pass. He took a deep breath, took of his glasses off and closed his eyes. ‘No.’ I didn’t understand. ‘But I know someone who looks like him.’ He returned in silence. ‘Is his name: Eden?’ I asked. The man froze. The sound of that name seemed to terrify him. After a minute, he stood up. He walked toward the chimney and took the only picture in the room. He stared at it for a moment then handed up to me. It was a picture of him, but younger, with a woman. They both looked happy on that sunny day. He sat back in his chair. ‘Eden. It’s been a while since I didn’t hear that name. My wife, the woman on this picture, loved him like her son. I did too. He came in our lives so abruptly. In a cold night of winter. Someone knocked and left a baby on our doorstep. We raised him the best we could but coming to a certain age, he drifted away, made decisions that didn’t make sense for an eleven-year-old boy. He matured very fast. He learnt karate by himself within a day. One time, he brought a gun out of nowhere and started to shoot in our backyard. We tried to prevent him to do such things. But we obviously failed. He disappeared as suddenly as he came, leaving a note on his pillow: ‘Thank you for your hospitality’, like we became strangers over a night… After that, we didn’t hear from him for four years. When he started to kill all of those people, he sent us a postcard: ‘You might not remember him yet, but I found him. I hope I’ll make you proud.’ Once again, it made no sense to us. Few months after that, my wife died from a heart attack, reading about all of those murders. She couldn’t handle it anymore. After her death, I stopped wishing for him to come back to the little boy I knew. He’s far gone…’ He paused. The man looked down, his hair covering half his face. He tried to hide a tear. I looked at the picture one more time. Suddenly, Ethan stood up. He walked over the man and put a hand on his shoulder. They shared a look. ‘He looked just like you.’ He continued. ‘Innocent eyes on his face. Watching the world in its details. Searching for its magic. I cherished him like no one else.’ He broke down. His sobs resonated in the house. After a moment, he put himself together and aimed for something in his back. I instinctively knew he had a gun. I pulled Ethan behind me. The man stood up and pointed his Glock at us. I stepped back: I thought it was the end. He pointed the gun at his head. ‘I remember!’ He screamed in between tears. ‘I remember everything! Where he came from! Who he is! And why he came back! I remember it all! All of it! All of this! THIS is my fault! I created him! I made him this way!!…it shouldn’t have happened…’ BANG!!

He shot himself.

I stood in disbelief.

I covered Ethan’s face behind my back. I felt his hands trembling as they held my shirt tight.

We stayed still for a moment. I tried to process the image of the bullet going through the man’s brain. The blood splashed all over the beige wall. As my senses came back to me slowly, I looked down at the body. He looked like he was sleeping. Tears still dropped on his face. The gun didn’t leave his hand. Silence floated around him.

Ethan cried.

I turned back. He was shaking. I looked at the body again then realized we needed to leave before anyone noticed there was a gunshot.

I took Ethan away from that scene. We walked to the closest subway and blended in the crowd.

 

 

To be continued

Let me tell you a story (2)

Let me tell you a story

Two months later, I had the chance to face Eden again. We were at the mall. Christmas was around the corner and to cheer Ethan up after the last few hard days, I told him he could get whatever he wanted. We made our way through the crowd, store by store. Until Ethan saw him. He stood still. I glanced at what he was staring: a young man, in his twenties, red hair, the look of an assassin and a long black coat on his back. Eden. I pulled Ethan behind me. I gazed around quickly to find an escape but all the exits were unattainable. Eden slowly opened his right hand. Something slid along his sleeve to land in his hand. A shotgun. A woman randomly noticed the weapon and started to scream. Everyone looked at her then where she was pointing. In a second, all the happiness turned into fear. People fled in all directions. But we stood still. Eden raised his arm. He aimed at me. I closed my eyes to blink when I heard a loud BANG! When I opened my eyes, Eden ran to get covered: three guards were shooting at him. As Eden wasn’t paying attention to us, I dragged Ethan in a hallway that led to the toilets. We hid in one of the many cabins. When we suddenly heard three shots. Then a complete silent. Footsteps came towards us. It was fast and distanced. Someone was running. The pace slowed down arriving in the toilets. I heard people trying to camouflage their tears. Ethan was terrified. He trembled like a leave falling from its tree. When I saw a shadow under the door, I slammed it from inside. It knocked the assailant down. I hardly got up. I grabbed the shot gun, took Ethan’s hand and rushed to the closest staircase. We went to the parking lot. I tried to open several cars but none opened. We hid in between a big truck and a wall. I checked the shotgun: one bullet left. Ethan held me tight. Eden arrived at the same floor as we were. He walked slowly, stopping every four steps. As soon as he appeared in front of us, I shot him. I missed but some bullet’s particles came across his leg. At the same moment, I ran and hit him in the chin with the shotgun. He fell on the floor. Unconscious. The mall’s guards were getting closer and closer. I had few seconds before they showed up. I took that time to search in his pockets, trying to find something that will help me understand a little bit more the situation I got in. He only had one thing: a picture of Ethan, younger than he is now. I stared at the frozen smile Ethan wore. I turned the picture. On the back, something was hand-written.

144 Claflin Blvd. NY

To be continued

Let me tell you a story

Let me tell you a story

 

Crack! He turned around. Someone is here. Uninvited. Isaiah left the key in the lock. He scanned the corridor of his new apartment. It was dark. Quietly, he started to move, grabbed an umbrella and held it like a baseball bat. Crack! The intruder made a move. Isaiah descried a silhouette, hiding. He ran towards it. Then BAM!! Everything went black. When he regained consciousness, he felt himself sitting down. His vision was blur. He looked around, trying to define where he was. He could see the shape of a TV screen. As he blinked more often, his view became clearer. He was in his living room. In his couch. What the hell? He looked to his right. In the armchair was his assailant. Calm and immobile. It was a man. Isaiah couldn’t see his face; he was wearing a hoody that covered his head. Under it, was a shirt with some stain of dark things on. Isaiah noticed the inside of the stranger’s sweater. It was the kind he liked: fluffy, soft and warm. The intruder wore jeans with some Van’s on. At his feet, there was a backpack half-full. Isaiah put his look back on his guest’s face. Now, he could see the light in his eyes. He was staring at him. Isaiah felt scared and pressured by his look. He tried not to look away. It took him everything. A sweat was sliding on his temps. Slowly, he felt the liquid coming to his cheek, down to his chin. He swallowed his saliva. As soon as he found the courage to finally say something, his assailant pulled back his hoody. Isaiah could now see clearly who he was. He had dark hair. They were long as he didn’t cut them for almost a year or so. His eyes were determined. But to do what? He had a small scar above his left eyebrow. A little bit like a certain wizard, except for the shape of it. Suddenly, the intruder’s lips cracked the seriousness of his attitude. He was smiling. It took Isaiah a moment to realize it. They stared at each other for a while. Then it struck him. ‘James!?’ Isaiah said. A rush of adrenaline exploded from his chest. He sat straight, his eyes wide open. His heart skipped a beat. James brought his forefinger to his lips. He stood up and walked to the window. He glanced outside then looked back at Isaiah. The late one was still in shock. He hasn’t seen him for a year, now. He looked tired and unhealthy. ‘James… What happened to you?’ he whispered, as James came back to his seat. Before Isaiah could say another word, his old friend started to talk. ‘Let me tell you a story’, he said. ‘You are free to believe me or not. It all started two years ago…’

 

A cold day. Winter just started but everyone was already in their biggest and warmest coats. They were all shivering. Well, they looked like it, or maybe it was my entire body that was trembling, including my eyes. The snow was sticking to the ground, making it slippery for any cars. A truck was coming in front of me. The driver was focused on his radio. A young boy crossed the street with his mother. The driver did see them at some point, but a little too late. He hit the break. The tires stopped moving and slid for a hundred meters. I ran as soon as I saw the truck coming. I ran as fast as I could. The boy was in the middle of the road, her mother a little behind. I passed next to her, bend my body to reach the boy and jumped. I tackled him to get him out of danger. I put one hand on the back of his head to protect him. I landed on my back. The truck kept sliding after passing us to finally stop without hurting anyone. Everyone gathered around us. The mother’s boy held him so tight in her arms. She looked at me and nodded as to thank me. I smiled at her, then turned my head to the imprudent driver. I stood up, helped by few passant, and walked towards him. As I arrived closer, the driver opened his door and stepped out, terrified. Speechless. I approached him to make sure he was alright physically. A young man walked to the little boy and his mother. Determined to do something bad. I watched him. He pulled his shirt on to take a gun out of his pants. As soon as I saw the shiny machine, I ran, trying to stop him. I jumped on his back. We fell on the ground. The gun slid on the snow, away from us. I jumped on the assailant, punched him as hard as I could. Once. Twice. As I prepared my arm to hit his face for the third time, he hit me. I got destabilized and fell, giving him the chance to run away. I stood up. I watched him leave, without his gun. He looked back to the boy and his mother before vanishing in the darkness of a street. The picture of the crazy young man stuck to my head. He had short red hair. Green eyes. A small scar above his lips. He seemed to be twenty or twenty-one. White. Maybe British. He was trained: his punch was strong as if he repeated that move over and over. He was around five feet tall. I looked at the mother and her son. She stared at me. Intensively. I got closer to them. She walked closer to me with her son besides her. ‘Are you alright?’ She nodded. We shared a look. It seemed like she wanted to add something but hesitated. ‘Are you sure?’ I insisted. She gazed around. ‘I need your help.’ She finally said. I was confused about what was about to happen. I noticed a familial restaurant behind her. I pointed her the place and we sat at a table inside. A long silent imposed itself. When she decided to break it, she told me about her son. Ethan. He was the love of her life. He was everything to her. He was her precious. She couldn’t lose him. At any cost. That’s why she decided at his birth to disappear and hide until he was old and strong enough to confront his destiny. I didn’t understand a word she was saying.

She continued by telling that he was a target. A target to the young adult I fought a little earlier. His name: Eden. He found their traces six years ago. It was his first attempt of killing Ethan. His mother managed to stop Eden before it was too late. They escaped. For months, the mother could afford a roof in different cities for a couple of weeks for her child. But the money started to become rare. Thankfully, she had families and friends she could count on. They stayed for a while hidden at her closest cousin. They were safe. At least, that’s what she thought. No one noticed their presence in the house and nobody was after them. They lived in peace. But it didn’t last long. After a year and a half, Eden showed up at the doorstep. The mother’s cousin attacked him to protect his family, but he wasn’t strong enough. Ethan’s mother took him and ran as fast and far as she could, to save what was left of her cousin’s family. They escaped in the subway, found refuge amongst the homeless under a bridge. The following days, they headed north to visit one of her closest friend. He welcomed them for two years. Until Eden found them again. Eden killed her friend before aiming for Ethan and his mother. The late one knocked him out with a vase. Once again, they escaped death. As she called another friend to find shelter, she saw the police hanging out at her friend’s house. Pictures of the living room with the silhouette of the owner drawn on the floor were showed by the journalist. She was scared. Months passed. They found a roof now and there, leaving a pile of bodies behind them. Federal police found out a common point to all of the victims. Them.

They managed to stay in the shadow until that day. I listened to her story. Her unbelievable story. I was about to ask her why they were purchased by a teenager. She took a moment before answering as if the reason was terrifying. When she found in herself the courage to talk, a noise of breaking glass could be heard. Suddenly, the mother fell from her chair. Blood splatters painted the table. The boy screamed at his mother. He kneeled next to her. He shook her up, trying to wake her. I pushed him down to protect him from the bullets. When it stopped, I dragged him in the kitchen. I looked at him. His eyes were wet, his nose flowed freely. I stared at him. He stared at me.

What could I do? Only two things: keep him alive and figure out why he was the target of a killer.

 

To be continued