I fucking miss you. Shit hurts.
7 billions. We are 7 billions souls on this big piece of rock. When you think about it. When you think about yourself amongst those 7 billions people, you are small. You are no one. Until you meet those that make you important. Those who prioritize you. Those who love you. Truly.
Amongs those several millions minds, I only had two members of this community that are by my side. At all cost. They are my priorities, my world, my anchors. My everything. Without them and because of them, I became who I am today.
I haven’t always been this way. Others would describe me as an introvert. Shy. A man of few words. But my friends know who I am. And why I became who I am now. A certain event appeared in my biography. Sad event where randomness, gun, panic, fear, misunderstanding, bullet and blood meet. That event changed me. I’m not afraid of admitting it: the loss is unbearable. It all went from white to black in one night. Since that moment, I shut myself in. My world stopped moving. My mind went into a deep coma. My body entered an automatic mode. The 6,999,999,997 other human beings kept on moving. Most of them don’t know. It feels unfair and inconsiderate of them to live their lives like nothing happened. But they don’t know. So it’s hard to blame them. On the other hand, few of them know. A very few. They also keep on living normally, but every time they are around me, they have that weird energy where they need to show their compassion, their understanding of my feelings. When it’s unnecessary. In the end, no matter who I am around with, I will never be true to them. I created a fake smile, a fake state of happiness so that I won’t see those pity eyes anymore. As time goes by, the fake became true but fragile. Every now and then, it cracks to fall apart. I try to keep myself together. Thinking that I have to. I need to.
After a while, I fing myself laughing. With my heart. Some random objects, sentences or behaviours remind me memories. Memories that used to be painful are now nostalgic. I understand now what the feeling of missing someone means.
The world keeps on gravitating around the sun. Days keep on passing. Then weeks turn into months. Soon I will experience holidays without them. Soon I will overcome this feeling. Soon I will feel undepressed. I’m fighting this darkness inside of me every single day, at every single hour, minute and every single second. I don’t want to become a negative person. I don’t want to project a negative energy into this world. There’s already enough of that. I need light back in my life. And I feel like I can’t have it from anyone else. No one has experienced what i’m living now. Even those who lost a member of their family. I will never understand their loss because I don’t know their relationship with the lost ones. I don’t know how much important they were to each other. I will never understand their loss. And they will never understand mine. So instead of waiting for someone to enlighten my mind, I decided to do it myself. Slowly but surely, brightness will overcome darkness. Slowly but surely, I will be better.
Mike had a determined look on his face as he said those last words. A silent followed. Then a female voice came from his right: ‘Thank you for sharing, Mike.’ The latter nodded as everyone repeated shyly those words. Few minutes later, after someone else spoke, the meeting ended. Everyone stood up: some of them took a cup of coffee to slowly get back to reality, others helped putting the chairs away and cleaning the room. As for Mike, he immediately left without a word. The fragile state of happiness seemed to have been shattered. He went straight to his appartment, ignoring few of his neighboors. As he locked his door, tears came up. His heart beat faster and faster, skipping a beat every now and then. He could barely breathe. He managed to put himself together for a split second then fell down on his knees.
- ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!
An urge of rage and anger needed to come out. He stayed still for a moment, tears flowing on his chicks. His body let itself fall on the side, defeated by grief. Slowly, tears became rare, thoughts left his mind and his muscles relaxed. He fell asleep.
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.
‘Don’t play games with us. Where is the protector?’ said the other one.
‘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.’
I miss her. It feels like a dream. I feel like there’s a before and an after. And it’s noticeable by the way I’ve been lately. Am I gonna be this way til I pass away? Semi-sad every now and then, more often than before? At the verge of crying every time I hear something that she might like or say?
I was laughing right before he called. I remember having a good day: finished on time for once and preparing myself to walk out and embrace the sun that waited for me. When I received the phone call. From him. He never calls me. When I picked up, his voice was trembling, he tried to hold his tears. He asked me where I was and if I was alone. Then added that I needed to go home asap and not take any other calls, especially from my cousin. But why would I? And mostly, why would he call me? On my way, my pace fastened as my thoughts ran into my head. Something happened. To her. Something bad. I think I knew deep down what was going on but I didn’t want to jump into conclusion to fast. I needed to hear it from a solid source. As soon as I stepped into my appartment, I sat down, redialed the last number in my history and waited. Straight to voice mail. I tried one more time. Voice mail again. I decided to wait for him to call me back. Few minutes passed. Then, the sweet melody of the song ‘All of the light interlude’ came to my ears. He started with small talk, very small, then dropped the bomb. I didn’t know what to say. My mind went blank. We stayed on the phone for a minute or two: I asked how they found out and what could be the cause. Then he had an incomming call from our cousin. As soon as he hang up, I broke down.
The first thing I did after calming down, was my laundry. My rationnal mind stepped in. The next day, I had to go to her house and after that, I wasn’t sure of my staying. Oddly, when I lied down in my couch, I felt exhausted. As if all the fatigue I cumulated over the last six months just fell on my shoulders. As if I had to carry my entire world on my own.
The next day, I took my luggages, got into my car and drove for five hours. Five hours in a complete silence. No music, no thoughts in my head. When I arrived there, I saw three cars parked in front of the house. I recognized two of them but the third one was unknown to my memory. I stepped to the front door: do I ring the bell? Knock? I decided to go inside. I heard noise above my head. I went upstairs, widened a second door and paused. I saw my brother sitting in the hallway, facing piles of papers. Next to him, there was his girlfriend. She noticed me before notifying my brother. He stood up and walk to me. How are we supposed to act? Do we hug? Or… We greeted each other like we use to do, like two strangers. I did the same to his girlfriend, my cousin’s wife and finally my cousin. They all had those saddened eyes as they looked at me. I tried not to shed any tears in front of anyone but my cousin said something that made me almost crack: ‘My condolences.’ I nodded then turned my face away. Fast forward to later in the afternoon, we went to the funeral office. I held it down pretty well so far. But on our way, I got car sick. Usually, it’s just an headache and a slight stomach ache. This time was different. Way different: my body started to freeze. It started in my left hand, but I thought it was because I held the seatbelt too tight. Then it progressed in my legs to right hand. At that moment, I suspected that it wasn’t usual, so I asked if we could stop for a while. As soon as the car slowed down, I opened the door and stepped away from it. I sat down. The feeling slowly went up to my chest. I ddin’t understant what was happening. I felt paralized, I couldn’t move. It scared me. They told me to relax, to try to calm down. They put me in the car. They tried to reassure me. They succeded a little bit. Then I massaged my left hand, like she taught me once. I relaxed a bit. As I did so: I fell apart.
Arrived at the funeral office – I don’t how to translate that in english, sorry – they talked about what kind of care to did on her so far and explained to us the process of her funeral. Then we went to see her. My brother asked if I wanted to see her. ‘I don’t know.’ I was scared and didn’t really want to see her. It would make it all too… real. He told me to come anyway. When we entered the room, I saw her lying on the bed, in the middle of the room. I walked in front of her. She stayed still. Her chest wasn’t moving. Her eyes were closed. I looked at her, tears came up. I tried hard to keep them in, waiting for her to sit down and laugh to our faces, like she made a bad joke. But nothing happened. The silence killed me. I cried my eyes out in front of her inanimate body. I didn’t understand.. how could it happen? In between tears, I managed to say something: ‘This is so stupid…’ As he heard that, my brother took me in his arms. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone.
I loved you. Truly.
P.S.: I hope you knew it.
Saturday afternoon. The sun was high up, heating the population after weeks of raining days. Few clouds persisted on clothing the blue sky. Windows of buildings blinded pigeons and other birds that flew low. A constant flow of voice resonated in between walls. Streets were filled with old couples, parents with kids , teenagers and tourists. Cars broke the crowd in two some time to times. Amongst all of this crazyness of a sunny day, there were two young adults walking side by side. They laughed, talked and smiled to each other. A strong bound tied them together. Their complicity could be felt miles away. As they made their way in the crowd, they came across few couples, young couples showing their love to the entire world. They both felt a strange vibe starting to flow around them. They shared a look: ‘You’re not girlfriend material to me.’ he said, suddenly. The girl was surprised by the raw statement. It came out of nowhere. She paused then said: ‘Euhm, i’m gonna head home. I’m about to sleep standing.’ The guy looked confused as she turned her back and started to walk away.
- ‘Wait!’ He yelled to stop her. She turned around.’What are you doing? I thought you liked me.’
- ‘I do.’ she replied without any hesitation.
- ‘But…then…what are you doing?’
- ‘I just said: i feel tired. I need to sleep.’
- ‘But. Aren’t you supposed to chase me?’
- ‘Euhm, no. You just said i’m not a girlfriend material by your book, so i’m not gonna chase you. It’s a waste of time.’
- ‘And the mood got awkward. You know i don’t like awkawardness, so i prefer to leave.’ She turned her back to him again. He grabbed her by her arm to hold her. She glanced at her arm before putting her eyes on his.
- ‘Wait, i thought we were good.’
- ‘We are.’
- ‘But then, why do you leave?’
- ‘Listen, if you don’t like me, it’s ok. Life goes on, i will survive. We will still be good. I will see you as a friend and nothing else. So we’ll still hang out as friend, if that’s what you’re worried about. But for now, like i said, the mood got awkward and i feel tired, so i’m leaving you for my bed, alright? So, see you later, ok?’
- ‘And what about the gift?’
- ‘I’m pretty sure that whatever you will get her, she’ll like it.’
- ‘Wait! Stop trying to leave. I like you too.’ He boldly announced. A short silence went by.
- ‘What? Ok, you need to explain things to me, because i’m lost.’
- ‘I heard somewhere… I thought that if i said that, you will be more inclined to go after me…’
- ‘Oh!!!! Reverse psychology!’
- ‘Yeah, exactly!’ A huge smile lightened up his face.
- ‘Well, you thought wrong.’ He let go of a laugh. ‘But i’m still leaving.’
- ‘Wait, the gift: i still need help.’ She sighed. ‘You said you will never let me down.’ She looked away for a quick second then sighed again.
- ‘Fine. Why did i say that?’
As she said those words, they walked side by side again. A new mood was created around them. Another kind of awkwardness appeared. They glanced at each other: ‘Off to a great start.‘ she mumbled. ‘I know!’ He replied.
‘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:
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.
Springtime. The day was still bright but the sky was full with clouds, giving the air a nostalgic mood. I walked by a church with a red door. Above it, there’s an angel watching over the horizon. I took a right turn. The street was empty. My footsteps echoed in rhythm off trees and bushes. A car passed by. In front of me, a group of three men fooling around. As I came closer, they noticed me: they stopped talking and stared at me. Frightened, I tried to cross the road, avoiding any eye contact. Suddenly, I felt a pressure on my right arm that pulled me back abruptly. I looked at them, uncertain of things that were about to happen.
In a matter of seconds, my body was lying down on the ground. I was in a foetal position: my arms around my head, my knees close to my chest. I closed my eyes. I felt quick prints of fists and feet on my back, arms and legs. My jaw was tight. I couldn’t scream. I wasn’t allowed. Otherwise, their kicks would be more intense. Pain increased. I felt waves of shocks spread through my bones. I opened slightly my eyes to glance at their faces: they were smiling. Laughters resonated in my mind. A minute passed and they got tired. ‘Pfff. He’s not doing anything. It’s not funny anymore.’ said one of them. They walked away leaving me for dead. ‘Yeah, he used to scream for help. That was funny.’ I heard a different voice said.
I stayed there for a moment. My back was wet. I was lying in a puddle of water. The sky was still grey. In the corner of my sight, a bright colour appeared. I turned my head as my body was immobilized. A portion of blue sky was coming to me. Sunrays broke through. I stared at that image for seconds. I smiled. In that moment, I knew things will be good.
‘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.
‘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.
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:
To be continued
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