Time (13)

Time

Full moon. Clouds have deserted the sky, allowing stars to reveal themselves. A sweet breeze lifted the heaviness of the night, making tourists and locals forget their worries. Lamp-posts were dimed, giving directors the perfect setting to play with lights. Music bounced from wall to wall, voices and applause echoed in the air. Glasses broke every now and then. In the midst of all that, a young man wandered in vain, his own sound in his ears. His steps were slow. Unstable. He held his head, massaging his temples in hope that the swords piercing his brain will go away. Images of strangers appeared and disappeared, the ground shifted from concrete to a large forest in a second. A warm pressure suddenly appeared on his right arm.

The weather changed: rain fell abundantly, dark clouds hung above Toai City, cars created an unnatural smoke, blocking the view from fifty miles away. The foggy mood of the streets reminded him of a dark fictif world. Simo found himself in the middle of an intersection. In front of him, two teenagers were sitting at the window table of a coffee shop. The girl seemed to have fun while the guy was lost in his thoughts. He walked in the shop to hear their conversation.

– ‘Hé! Look alive! Am i that boring, today?’ Thea affirmed.

– ‘Ha, sorry! I was thinking about something.’ Ezekhiel said.

– ‘I know. He’s in my mind too, but for now, there’s nothing we can really do.’ She paused. ‘Besides…’

– ‘Waiting, i know.’

– ‘In the mean time, please, look like you’re enjoying this moment.’

They exchanged smiles before the scenery swithed back to his present. His wet clothes dried instantly. Interesting. He looked back at his friend, his pain intensifying.

– ‘A bit intrusive what you just did, isn’t it?’ Ezekhiel said.

– ‘My bad. I wanted to know…’

– ‘Yeah, it’s what i’m saying: intrusive. You’re alright?’ Simo held his head a little tighter.

– ‘You found him! Dang! You’re fast when you want.’ Megan yelled as she joined them.

– ‘Maybe, listenning to music in a loud place isn’t a good idea while having a major headache. Let’s go somewhere more quiet.’

– ‘I know a spot with a nice view.. and very calm.’

After few minutes of walks, they arrived at the top of a small hill. Below them, the population of Toai invested the beach to the edge, where waves crashed. Laid in front of them, endless water. ‘Nice view, indeed.’ Thea said. Megan and Simo shared a glanced: their thoughts went to their common memory, their mind were connected for that split second. ‘You’re feeling better?’ Ezekhiel asked him. He turned to him, nodded then laid down on the grass. ‘When does it start?’ Their voices faded to reduce into silence. He felt his heart pounding in his head, slowed his breathing, relaxed his body and tried to focus on the dark sky. As the pain started to leave, an explosion reverberated in the air, followed by others. Detonations shut everyone up. Simo sat then froze. Colors have painted the sky: green, blue, purple, pink, red, orange and yellow appeared and disappeared on the black background. A symphony. His focus swang from his breathing to his sight: his pain vanished. A smile appeared on his face. The salty wind blew on his face like a bowl of fresh air. It took a deep inspiration, closed his eyes then exhaled. ‘It feels good, right?…Sy? Simo? Si…’

 

When he opened his eyes again, Simo found himself in a room, laying in a bed that wasn’t his. Walls were white and light blue at the same time. Cold. A tone beated to his respiration. Hospital…

 

To be continued

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Time (12)

Time

The pain disappeared but the discomfort remained. The young man was lying on a bed, his thoughts running around in his head. An OR… Operation Room. Surgeons were operating on… me. But when? When did i ever get surgery? I didn’t look different. Not younger. Not older. He remembered the moment he zoned out: he wasn’t in contact with anybody. Only wind brushed his skin. So where did that come from? As he raised more questions, his eyes blinked slower and slower to finally closed themselves. The darkness obtruded, silence suppressed noises and whispers, and calm traveled through his body.

A rhythmic sound from afar woke his conscious. As the sound came closer and louder. Simo slitghly opened his eyes, enough for him to scan his surroundings. It was night time still. Blinds were shut but a weak light from outside helped him guess. He let his head fall on the left, saw an empty couch against a white wall, then turned to the right: a window gave to a hallway that few people used. The door was ajar. He looked closer to himself and spotted the origin of the sound. His head came back to its initial position and he felt himself slipping away. Darkness reigned again. All parasitic noises disappeared, except for the recurring bip that rang louder and louder each time. His body felt relaxed: it felt as if gravity had no effect and yet, the bed underneath was very present. A sudden brust of electricity struck him. His body jumped up and down and was pulled from left to right. He tried to open his eyes but in vain. Simo felt his limbs dashing against a barrier surrounding the bed. His body wasn’t responding anymore. The noise intensified. Its rhythm fastened. An eternity seemed to have passed when footsteps rushed into the room. A voice shouted orders, a liquid ran through his vein and hands held him down. Everyone became quiet for a second while the product took effect. Simo’s wild body settled down. The noise became steady. Immediatly, his chest was exposed to the atmosphere, then warm hands applied a regular pressure on him. Less than a minute later, something cold disbursed a wave of electricity to his heart, animating his body for a quick instant. The perpetual bip broke the silence in the room. ‘Charge at 300!…Clear!’. Another shock. Simo’s mind was fully awake. But his corpse wasn’t reacting. On the third attempt, something happened.

 

Simo’s ventricules felt the electricity: the provoked contraction led to another one. The stagnant blood flowed again, air filled his lungs and his brain showed activity. Simo heard his own breathing: it was fast. He opened his eyes then sat down and gazed around. The room was unfamiliar but he recognized it. He looked down to his right arm: no trace of a needle. Sound of waves slowed the pace of his heart, dispelling his disorientation. Once he gathered himself, Simo stood up and scanned the room. Walls and floor became one – Again – extending to infinity. A tone caught his attention. He looked to his right and saw the hospital room full of surgeons and nurses busy around the bed. He stared at the scene. At the corner of the room, he noticed someone in tears. When a knock on a door made him turn around: Megan. Simo was lost: ‘What’s… going on?’.

‘Yo!’ A known voice resonated. ‘Zeke…?’ The latter appeared in front of him, a smile on his face. ‘You must be confused by all of this.’ He paused as he pointed to the two scenes displaid around them. ‘What is this? Where am i? What’s happening to me? Why are you here?’ His voice was trembling. ‘Breathe. And listen.’ Ezekhiel paused again. ‘See this place… like a bridge. The bridge where dream and reality collide. A peacefully place to make your decision.’ Simo frowned. ‘Which reality do you want to live in?’ Incomprehension could be read on his face: ‘What do you mean which reality? There’s only one reality…right?’ – ‘Right.’ He smiled. ‘Which one is yours: the one where you’re in a hospital bed or the one where you’re at a beach house?’ Simo stayed in silent. ‘You need to choose.’ They made eye contact. ‘I don’t… I don’t understand…’ He took a moment to think. ‘How… Why are you here?’ Simo asked. That smile again.

– ‘I’m not really your friend, Ezekhiel. I am more, like, your support system. I’m here for you. To help you make the right decision.’

– ‘So, there is a wrong decision… What happens if i make the wrong choice?’

– ‘You don’t have much time. You can’t stay here too long, too often. Your body won’t handle it.’ Ezekhiel started to fade away along with the different pictures.

– ‘Wait. What? Then help me!’ Simo yelled. Right before he completely vanished, Simo heard:

– ‘All you need is to wake up!’

 

Simo opened his eyes. His heart was pounding fast. Drops of sweat wetted his forehead. He was out of breathe, his vision blurry. ‘Wake up! Simo!’ He turned to his left and saw Ezekhiel. In a blink of an eye, Megan approached his bed. She stared at him for a second, put the back of her hand on his forehead and did the same on hers. ‘You have a slight fever.’ she said. As she stepped away, she noticed fear in Simo’s look. ‘Are you ok?… Can you tell me where we are right now?’ The latter analyzed his location. He recognized the place but couldn’t put words to it. ‘Don’t worry. You’re in a safe place. Do you know who i am?’ He nodded: ‘Megan.’ She smiled, relieved. ‘Where’s Zeke?’ he asked. ‘He must be around, somewhere.’ Simo stood out of his bed and walked to the door. He grabbed the handle, jolted it before opening then disappearing behind it.

 

To be continued

Time (11)

Time

The following night, Simo put down in a notebook every memory he encountered, as detailed as he could. When he finished, he stared at his Moleskine for a moment, a blank face on. Slowly, he came back to reality and leaned on his desk. The tip of his pen acted madly, a rhythm floated in the air. After a while, the silence of the night invaded his room. The pen froze. A drop of blood landed on his hand. He put the pen down, wiped his nose and laid on his bed, eyes locked on a stain on his roof. As seconds passed, darkness surrounded his field of vision. Light was sucked up each time he blinked, until he finally fell asleep.

 

Summer was coming. The sun decided to wake up earlier each day and stay up a little later each evening. Temperature increased fast, south breezes relieved the atmosphere from its heaviness. The dress code in and out of the streets changed: more skin and less tissues. Ezekhiel showed up at the doorstep of Simo’s house. ‘Good morning, young man. You’re here. And he’s not ready. First floor, you know the way.’ The paternel said. When Ezekhiel entered in Simo’s room, the latter was still in bed. ‘What are you doing?’ He sat down: ‘What are you doing here?’ he whispered. A long sighed resonated in the room. Ezekhiel spotted his bag, grabbed it and left: ‘You have five minutes to meet me downstairs. I have your notebook. If you don’t show up, a special someone will read.’ A heavy silence settled for a second then noises of rush emanated from the door. ‘My notebook. Where are we going?’ Simo asked as he hopped in the car. ‘Somewhere peaceful. But first, a need to pick up somethings.’ Ezekhiel checked his left side, put his signal on and left. They drove for fifteen minutes through Toai City before making a stop in front of a ten-floor-building, where two girls were waiting bags and luggages at their feet. ‘By ‘something’, you meant two human beings, in a female gender? Including that special someone…’ Simo said as he turned to the driver. The latter got out, greeted quickly Thea and Megan, and loaded their bags in the trunk. They took place at the backseat and he drove away from the city. The road trip happened in an awkward mood. The girls talked in whispers to each other while Ezekhiel watched every move Simo made. ‘What?’ The latter asked. ‘Since when do you have a car?’ A voice came from the back. ‘Euhm since i have my driver license… two days ago.’ – ‘Alright, i feel safe.’ Thea let go in a sigh.

Once arrived, the first thing they did was getting food. They went to the closest restaurant. It was small, intimate: lights were dimmed and music was barely audible. Then they headed to the house they rented, unpacked and took a walk alongside the ocean surrounding them. Thea pulled back Ezekhiel, slowing their pace: ‘So, what is this all about?’ The latter gathered his thoughts: ‘Do you remember the white dwarf that landed in Toai? Well, Simo, right here, touched it.’ Thea looked surprised. ‘So, since then, he can, sort of, see anyone’s memory just by touching them.’ He paused. ‘For the last few weeks, i noticed some things: he starts to be forgetful, misplace things, lose track of time and space…’ – ‘Alzheimer?’ She interrupted. ‘That’s what i thought too, but i haven’t enough symtpoms to tell. That’s why i organized this trip… And for other reasons.’ They turned around as they reached the end of the beach and walked back to the ephemere home. ‘And then? What are you going to do? What’s your plan? And why not telling his parents?’ Ezekhiel turned to her. They stared at each other for a moment, then: ‘He needs to accept his situation. So that we can help him.’ – ‘How?’ He got lost in his thoughts once again. As he was about to explain his plan, in front of him, Simo froze. He caught up to him and faced him: his friend’s nose was bleeding and his eyes were blank. ‘Hé! Simo! What’s wr…’

The young man was trapped in his own body. His hearing slowly faded away and his vision stuck on the scenery in front of him. Without notice, the sand below his feet turned into a white concrete matter. Away, in the background, he could see a cold room filled with strange instruments. People were alarmed and moving fast. Drops of blood smeared on the floor. Simo walked closer. The men and women surrounded a table where someone laid. His face was covered by a towel, leaving his body in the sight of all. That part was cut in two then teared apart. As the image engraved in his mind, Simo started to feel a discomfort. He stared at the hands coming in and out of the corpse, inserting tools and towels, and blood sucked out. Before he vomited, he chose to acknoledge the identity of the patient. He approached the bust and looked at the sleeping face. As soon as he laid eyes on it, a violent pain bursted from his stomach. He reached out for it and felt a warm liquid staining his shirt. He looked down and realized it was blood. He panicked, fell on the floor and agonised.

‘SIMO!!’ The voice woke him up. He returned to the beach where wind blew in the rhythm of waves crashing on land. As he realized it, he slowed his heartbeat down, gathered himself up and smiled: ‘I’m good.’. The group went back to the rented house. On the way, Simo shut himself up, afraid of what he has seen. He tried to convince himself that it was nothing. When they arrived, unable to calm down, he pulled his best friend into a room and explained what happened to him. ‘Maybe it’s just my imagination…’ he ended. ‘But?’ Ezekhiel insisted. ‘It felt… real. I, i don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on with me…? Maybe it’s the white dwarf. Maybe i’m losing my mind. I don’t know but it’s getting crazier and scarier… What do you think it is?’ Ezekhiel took his time to answer. He tried not to disturb him more than he already is. ‘I don’t think your mind created something like that out of nowhere.’ – ‘So it’s the white dwarf. But what does that mean?’ Ezekhiel shook his head. He didn’t want to push too far: ‘I don’t know.’

 

To be continued

Sandstorm

Imagination

I woke up in fear. A bell was ringing loud at the door of my habitation. I stepped outside: panic invested my village. Mothers and children ran towards the common living space that held a tunnel that will keep them safe. Some of men went with them, giving them an extra-protection in case of an attack. The other men came in and out of every home to collect each family their most valued properties. It was a clean organisation. Everyone knew where to be and what to do. Everyone, except me. It wasn’t the first time we experienced this situation: sandstorms were our daily. Yet, i was still not used to it. ‘Hé!!’ I stopped stopping and ran under the dome. I found myself a place and sat with the rest of my people. I wanted to help in any way possible but my training would start only in ten solar cycle. The underground got crowded: on one side, all belongings, on the other, us. It was quiet. All we could here was the wind blowing strongly and sand hitting our roofs. Although, everyone seemed calm, a point of fear floated in the air. Mothers kept their progenitures close. And kids didn’t let go of their creators’ hands. Men felt fear as well but were better at hiding it. One man stood out.

He was the last to arrive, heavy bags on his shoulders. He sat his back against the door, a piece of wood on his thighs. While everybody looked down, his head was up, surveilling everyone. His eyes stopped at mine. For a moment, we stared at each other, then he kept on going.

2604. We are hundreds of years after Mother Nature reached a breaking point. Disaster after disaster, the human race was forced to retreat in the most hostiles environments: forests, isolated islands, deserts, etc, and divided in clans. Mine was a nomadic clan. We barely stayed put for a full moon circle. Next to where my clan settled the longest, there was a large forest, ruled by animals with claws as big as my arm, surrounded by mountains of sand, infested by odd creatures thirsty for…anything. In between all of that, there we were, armed with sharp arrows and poisonous wooden lances. There were rules installed before i was born. Two of them were very important:

  1. Do not enter in contact with any other clan.
  2. Do not disrespect animals. No matter how small or big they are.

The first rule was easy to follow: the nearest clan was three sun circles of walk away. The second rules was respected to the extant of necessity: we killed some of them in order to survive. On a shiny day, Clay, a kid at the cusp of becoming a man, was sent in the forest to prove himself to the village. I was told of his story. He spend several moon under a fallen tree, hunted snakes, ate worms and drank the water from the sky. On the last day of his trial, he noticed unknown footprints that he followed with ease until the traces were washed by a river. He crossed it and found on the other side a small fury animal, sleeping. Out of reflection, he went around it without waking him up. When he was far enough, the mother came out of the bushes. I was told that Clay froze a moment before the fight began. Both Clay and the mother bear engaged at the same time. Claws and lance clashed in rhythm. It didn’t last long, but human’s stamina was lower that the beast’s. Although, in his last strength, he managed to jab his weapon into the bear’s throat. The latter fell instantly, leaving the human alone and weak. As proof of his value, Clay dragged the mother across the forest, and carried the baby bear on his shoulder. Facing this image, the entire clan remained silent. The chief of our clan stepped forward and stared at the young Clay. He, then, took his lance and gave it to him. For my people, that was a sign of respect. Since that portion of his life, Clay was trained harder that any other, to become our leader. Strong and fearless.

The storm has passed. Clay stood up first and checked the safety of the overground. Once he came back, everyone stood up then froze. Our leader had blood on him. His soldiers rushed outside. It seemed that some people from another clan had found refuge in one of our home. No contact with another clan. Our chief reassured us and led us out of the tunnel. We were found. That meant that we needed to move to another location. We left our installations behind and walked through the desert. I didn’t know where we would plant our houses again nor when. None of us did. All we could do was trust our command. After all, he’s my brother.

Time (10)

Time

TRRRRRIIIIIT!

‘Zeke!’ The latter turned around and saw Thea’s face, sweaty. He glanced at his team gathering around the coach then ran to her. ‘What’s up?’ She was out of breathe. ‘You’re alright?’ He looked around. ‘Where is Simo? What’s going on?’ She took his hand and pulled him but a fence prevented him on moving forward. ‘Come on!’ she screamed. He gave her a look then proceeded to jump over it. They ran towards the restroom. ‘Euhm… where…?’ Ezekhiel noticed Megan banging at the door. The latter looked worried. ‘Simo? You hear me?’ Silence. ‘Hé! Simo! Open the door! Simo! Simo!! Simo!!!’ He heard a mumble but the silence reclamed its place. Suddenly, a big smile appeared on his lips. He stepped back then got ready. He whispered to himself: ‘This is the perfect time to fulfill my goal…’ He started to run. As he came closer to the door, his right shoulder moved forward and acted like a shield. His field of vision diminished to the door’s frame. A film of light appeared around it then grew bigger and bigger until Simo showed up. The latter looked up and felt a rush and stepped back. ‘Aaaaaaaaah! Don’t…!’ Ezekhiel froze. The four teenagers looked at each other for a minute before Megan broke the silence: ‘What were you doing?’ Simo put his eyes on hers. ‘No.2.’ Another silence. ‘You… did not!’ Thea tried to convinced herself. Ezekhiel put his nose in the room, inhale then made a face. ‘Yep. He did.’ The girls expressed their disgust and walked away. ‘Don’t you have a game to win?’ Ezekhiel had a sudden realization, as soon as he started to run, Simo said: ‘Hé, don’t you have a… Alright.’

Days later, they all met again at Toai’s famous zoo that hosted many wild animals from all over the world. Each species were brought by two as the owner, a multi-millionnaire animal lover, was inspired by Noah’s story. They walked by the underground world: Ezekhiel and Thea entered the dome, leaving Megan alone with Simo, who was afraid of legless creatures. Their next stop was up, up and away, amongst dream-makers living things. They fastened their pace under water and quickly paid a visit to the least seen animals, as maned-wolves, zebus, patagonian maras, tufted deers and others. Simo froze in front of the buffs‘ couple’s enclosure. He stared at them living their lives, eating as slow as they can then laying on the ground to fall asleep. A third buff appeared from behind their cabin. He walked to the fence, staring at his visitor, smelled the latter then licked his mouth. Simo gently raised his hand to his muzzle and pet him.

The second he touched the animal, a violent wind blew fences, cabin, plates and all visitors away to leave place to the hot savanna’s of Africa. The landscape was beautiful, enlightened  by a high sun. A tree nearby gave a nice cover, accompanied by a warm breeze now and then. The surroundings were empty of men. Until he made a complete rotation. There was a woman, standing thirty three feet away from him. Simo scanned her and didn’t recognized her face. She was stoic and immobile. Her lips were in motion but no sound arrived to his ears. He looked at her more carefully, tried to come closer but his legs refused to move. After narrowing his eyes, her name appeared like a revelation:

– ‘Sanaa…’

To be continued

Time (9)

Time

Few weeks went on. ‘How do you feel?’ Ezekhiel asked as they were heading towards a basketball field. Simo looked at him a small smile on his face, then walked away. ‘Still have an headache?’ He nodded. ‘Do you think it’s related to the white dwarf?’ He looked at his friend without saying a word. When, suddenly, Simo was brought to a coffee shop. Lights were dimmed, the room was full of students, discussions floated in the air, accompanied by a familiar song in the background. Simo scanned the place. In front of him were two girls he recognized: his good friend, Megan, and Ezekhiel’s complicated ex-girlfriend, Thea. He stepped closer to hear what they were saying. ‘Hey, listen! That’s Weathered by Jack Garratt!’ Her friend looked up and listened carefully then shook her head and raised her shoulders before scrolling back through her phone. Simo had the same reflex: he looked up to a speaker and focused on his audition. …My weathered soul, and memories reclusive, elusive, help me take ’em out… His fingers synchronised with the drums. As soon as he smiled, the music faded away along with the coffee shop. Ezekhiel appeared in front of him and a breeze found its way in his coat. ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ A female voice resonated behind him. He turned around and Megan was standing there. They shared a looked. ‘Hi!’ she said with enthousiasm. ‘…Hi’ Simo replied. A silent settled. ‘Euhm, what are you doing… here?’ He asked. Megan gazed around, stopped a second on someone on her left then continued her scanning. Simo picked up on that pause and gave a look in the same direction: Thea was  buying some drinks. ‘Oh! I see.’ – ‘Hé, Megan! How are you doing?’ Ezekhiel interrupted. ‘You know, i’m a basketball fan.’ The latter was skeptical. He looked at Simo who looked at him. ‘What?’ He shook his head. ‘You’re going to be late.’ Ezekhiel hurried up and disappeared in the crowd.

– ‘So; why are you here?’ Simo started the conversation as they walked towards to center of the agitation.

– ‘Thea… wanted to come. So, she forced me to go along. So, what happened at the party?’

– ‘The party?’

– ‘Thea’s birthday. You saved someone… Euh… Josh, right?’

– ‘Oh! That.’

– ‘That? Don’t act so cool. What you did was incredible! Reanimating someone like that! How did you know? You reacted so fast!’

– ‘I… it was just luck. I saw him wondering around the pool. I just didn’t really think about what i was doing.’

– ‘That’s what makes it incredible. What happened after that, you know?’ She glanced at him: his behaviour was strange.

– ‘Yeah, he stayed a few days at my place then moved out to New York with his grand-parents.’

– ‘His grand-parents? What happened to his parents?’ Simo hesitated.

– ‘His mother passed few years ago and his father was beating him ever since.’ He paused. ‘Now, he’s in jail, i think… I should ask my dad.’

– ‘Wow… Sounds like a movie.’

– ‘I know.’

– ‘But he’s fine, now?’

– ‘Yeah. He’s safe, now.’

– ‘What’s going on with you?’ Simo looked at her. ‘You’re dodging everyone. I mean, we’re in the middle of a crowd, i know, but you’re too careful.’

– ‘Oh. My shoulder hurts. That’s also why i’m not playing today.’ He glanced at her and saw her worry face. ‘And i have an headache.’

– ‘Not in a great shape.’ He shook his head.

They arrived at the side court. Each team occupied the field, passing the ball amongst players. The focus grew as the countdown kept on going. The anticipation spread through the spectators that gathered around. Megan kept watch on her friend from the corner of her eyes. The latter examined every player then called Ezekhiel. They exchanged few words in a whisper, pointed to some of his opponents before the coach called his team. ‘What did you tell him?’ Thea asked. Simo jumped of surprise: ‘Oh! I didn’t expect you to… be here… Nothing special. Just tips…’ At the same moment, a group of guys made their way to the first row, pushing Thea against him.

In a matter of second, Simo traveled through time: darkness replaced sunlight, people emptied the place, leaving two teenagers alone in the middle of the field. The leftovers of the previous day’s heat was interrupted by a breeze, making shadows dance on the ground. Branches cracked releasing few leaves. The teenagers listened to the sweet sound of elements crashing into each other. They were just sitting there, staring at the stars. ‘Well?’ started Ezekhiel. ‘I lov…’

Day light covered the park. Simo and Thea looked at each other, as they came back to the present. ‘You’re alright?’ He asked as he saw confusion and a bit of fear in her eyes. ‘Be careful, man. There are people around.’ His interlocutor didn’t care enough to turn around. ‘Let it go, Simo. The game is about to begin.’ Thea said. She gave him an insistant look before he calmed down and moved his attention to the referee. The latter blew the whistle. The game began. Ezekhiel jumped higher than his opponent, taped the ball behind him and ran forward. His teammate quickly crossed the middle of the field, threw the ball to the basket, penetrating the defense. Ezekhiel caught the ball, made a step then a fadeaway underneath a defender’s arm. A whistle. ‘2 points for The Pandas.’ The scorer looked at the audience and made a head sign to one person. Simo responded the same way with an aura of proudness surrounding him. He felt eyes starring at him: ‘I taught him that.’ Megan let a laugh slipped. His attention turned away from the players and focused on a the sky. His look was blank. Did you know that hummingbirds were able to fly backwards. He blinked to come back from his absence. He turned his head and looked for the origin of the voice. But everyone’s eyes were glued to the court. The first quarter went fast, led by The Pandas by six points. ‘Did you hear that?’ He asked to Megan. She looked at him, her eyebrows frowned: ‘…No…’ Instantly, he held his head. Dizziness got to him once again. ‘Simo?’ Simo!? The latter stood still for a minute. Then he looked up: his face was peaceful. The pain disappeared as fast as it resurfaced. ‘You’re ok?’ Thea asked. ‘Ha… Yeah, i’m fine.’ He crossed eyes with Megan. She looked concerned: ‘Your nose. You’re bleeding.’ He located the blood, apologized and left the young women by themselves.

He locked himself in the public restroom of the park. He stared at the mirror, toilet paper on his face. The bleeding wouldn’t stop. What’s happening? Is this related to … A strong pain traveled through his brain. Blood flowed profusely. What’s going on? What can i do?

– ‘Hé! Simo! Open the door! Simo! Simo!! Simo!!!’

– ‘Wait… I need a minute…’ Simo whispered.

Suddenly, he found himself catapulted in a strange place: roof and floor became one. A strong light enlightened the room. There was no shadow. No wall. Now and then, shooting stars appeared around him. Simo looked around him: he flew and yet, was stable on his feet. As he noticed that his pain was gone, he heard a voice from afar:

– Simo!

– He’s in cardiac arrest! Get the defibrillator. Page Dr. Carl!!

– What’s happening to him?

– Parker! Take them out of the room!

 

To be continued

Time (8)

Time

The next morning, Simo woke up alone in his room. Sunlight encompassed him. A strong pain immerged from his eyes. He tried to sit but, as soon as he lifted his head, he started to lose balance. He leaned on his arm but the world kept on spinning around him. The pain migrated to his frontal lobe. A desire to vomit grew in him. The floor below disappeared. His heart beated faster, he was out of breathe and his vision became blurry. Panic got to him. Numbness invaded his body. Mechanically, he moved his fingers and realized there was a solid matter underneath. He focused on that, kept on moving his hand to regain sensation of his body and took deep breaths that slowed his heartbeat. He regained his composure.

‘Simo! Wake up! Josh’s father is here.’ The latter jumped: his pupils dilated, his muscles tightened, his mind lost in between two worlds. Time stood still. Then Simo took a deep inspiration: he forgot to breathe. His sight cleared. He was confused; the floor and the roof were in place. Simo felt the warmth of the sun on his skin and could hear birds cooing outside of the walls. He gazed around and recognized the harmony of his room. Although, what he experienced seemed to be a dream or an hallucination, his headache was very present and it spread to his temporal lobe. ‘What?’ Simo located the origin of his ache. When he looked at Ezekhiel, his eyes burnt. ‘What? Who’s here?’ He said as he stood up. ‘Josh’s father is at your doorstep. Let’s go! Your father is waiting for you to… I don’t know, do something.’ Ezekhiel announced. Five minutes later, Simo joined his parents at the door. ‘Where’s my son?’ Josh’s father. He had no response. ‘Tell me where he is?… JOSH! COME OUT!’ He started to lose his patience. ‘Calm down, sir.’ Simo’s father stepped up. ‘JOSH! You, little scum! You better make him step out or…’ – ‘Or else what?’ Simo interrupted.

The latter stared straight the abusive man in the eyes. Unafraid.

– ‘What are you going to do? Beat me up? Then what? Drag your son out of my house to yours then beat him up a little bit more? I don’t where i’m going with this but i have a question: where’s your wife?’ Simo realized he touched a sensible subject. The man’s face changed. Simo glanced at his right. ‘I’m sorry. I thought wrong: i thought you killed her but from your expression, it seems like you didn’t. I’m guessing you started to drink after her death, then. Trying to forget, grieving, i understand… I saw the pictures on your walls, when we broke in your house. You looked happy: you, Josh and your wife. She didn’t look – how can i say this – like, dangerous. No, that’s not the word…’

– ‘Violent.’ His father helped.

– ‘Violent! That’s it! She didn’t seem violent. None what so ever.’

– ‘Your point being.’ His father tried to shorten his son’s speech.

– ‘My point is that what you’re doing right now, who you’re becoming, right now, isn’t the person she fell in love with. I don’t think that she would have been happy seeing you beating her son like that.’

As Simo voiced his thoughts, Josh’s father felt the anger grow bigger in him to a point where he couldn’t control himself anymore. He walked towards the young man and punched him in the nose. Simo fell on the ground. Josh’s father attempted to hit him more but Simo’s father intervened. Simo’s mother called the police. Ezekhiel ran to Simo to make sure he was alright. And Josh stood there: overwhelmed. The police arrived, five minutes later, breaking the fight bewteen the fathers. Two officers handcuffed both of them and brought them to the police station to clarify the situation in a neutral space. Another asked Simo, his mother and his friends some questions then notified them that a social worker will come within the hour. ‘Here: put some ice on your nose.’ Ezekhiel handed a towel filled with ice cubes. They sat in cercle in the kitchen waiting for the bell to ring. A silence settled.

‘What now?’ Josh’s voice resonated in the air for the first time since he left his house. Simo looked at him. The latter had fear in his eyes. Then Simo turned his head to Ezekhiel hoping he will have an idea. But he remained silent. ‘Wait for the social services to come and we’ll figure it out then.’ Simo’s mother said. Her son took a minute to think. He stared at the table, his hand pressing the towel on his nose. ‘Do you have any family other than your father? Like an aunt or uncle.’ he asked. ‘Grandparents.’ Josh said. ‘My mom’s parents live in New York.’ Simo looked up. He grabbe his phone and handed it to Josh. The latter entered a phone number then handed it back to its owner. ‘Do you talk to them often?’ Simo asked while the tone rang. Josh shook his head. ‘When was the last time you saw them?’ Josh raised four fingers in the air. ‘Months?’ He shook his head again.

– ‘Are they ni…. Hi! Good morning! Am i speacking to Josh Scarrey’s grand-parents?… Hello, sir! I’m sorry to call you this early on Sunday. I am a friend of Josh’s and euhm, there’s a bit of a situation that you might solve with us… Ha? So he was violent even before your daughter died?… Oh. Alright, i see… Yes… He’s fine. He’s next to me right now… I’ll let you talk to him in a minute, he’s eating… Yes, i was wondering, well, we were wondering if it was possible for you to become his foster parents or guardians. To give him a safe place to live until he can fly with his own wings…’

– ‘What are you saying?’ Ezekhiel commented. Simo stepped away.

– ‘Do you know what that implies, right?… I mean, financially, could you handle it?… Oh! Perfect!… Mmh, mmh… Ok, cool! Well, for now, i can’t do much. Since i’m just a kid, still. But a socail worker is going to come to my house to talk to Josh about his situation. We’ll explain to her/him and talk about you… Euh, yes, my mother is here: she’ll do the talking… And after, that, Josh will wall you back to let you in the know. And that would be it… Ok… I let you talk to him.’

On that note, Simo gave his phone to Josh who left the room for more privacy. Simo reported the conversation to his mother and Ezekhiel. An hour later, a woman appeared at their door step. She requisitionned the living room to speak to Josh. Simo’s mother insisted in being next to him throughout the process.

Simo and Ezekhiel were locked out of the conversation. Simo glanced in their directions some time to times but his headache intensified. ‘Are you alright?’ Ezekhiel noticed the discomfort his friend was experiencing. The latter nodded. He massed his skull to ease his pain. It didn’t seem to work: ‘I’m going to lie down for a moment.’ As he walked through the hallway, he met the social worker. She stopped and scanned him, a smile on her face. ‘Hi!’ she introduced herself. Simo turned around. They starred at each other for ten seconds then the social worker realized her strange attitude. ‘You must be Simo. Josh’s friend. The one who convinced him to walk away from his abusive father. Josh yarned me.’ she said as they shook hands. ‘Euh, yeah. I mean, yes.’ Simo replied. She used her right hand.

They teleported to another house, the social worker rejuvenated by twenty years. The room they were in was dark: blinds were shut and lights were off. She looked up to Simo, fear in her eyes. Suddenly, a slammed door made her jump. A man rushed towards her, a belt in his hand. As he came closer, he prepared his arm behind his back. The little girl made a step backward, her hands as only shield. The man was close enough. He swang his arm. The belt followed the movement.

Before the belt touched its target, Simo came back in his own house. The social worker’s face was blank: her eyes were wide open, her heart skipped a beat, a chill went through her spine. Suddenly, her facial expression turned into worry. ‘Your nose… is bleeding. Are you alright?’ Ezekhiel joined them, intrigued by their sudden immobilization. The social worker offered him a tissue but the latter seemed to have frozen. His vision became blurry again then returned to normal. ‘Are you alright?’ Simo looked up: ‘Mmh? Yeah, i’m fine. Sorry.’ The social worker smiled to him. She said goodbye and left.

The three teenagers gathered in Simo’s room. Discussions were flowing like they were old friends. Josh was silent most of the time but a smile appeared on his face. Fear slowly vanished from his mind: he felt safe. When the conversation faded, he asked: ‘How did you know about me?’ Simo took a moment to think: ‘Euhm…’ – ‘You have bruises. When he rescued you at the party, yesterday.’ Ezekhiel responded. Josh was lost in his thoughts. He stood up and enclosed himself in the bathroom. Ezekhiel scanned his friend.

– ‘What’s going on?’ he asked.

– ‘Yesterday, we went to a party…?’ A silence passed.

– ‘Is that a question? Or an affirmation?’ Simo thought.

– ‘A question.’ Another silence.

– ‘Thea’s birthday… You don’t remember?’

– ‘Apparently not.’

– ‘Where do you think we met Josh?’ Simo remained silent. ‘You don’t remember.’

Ezekhiel’s tone was grave. He looked at Simo who seemed worried as well. Am i losing the small control i have on this thing? Simo thought. Josh came back in the room and noticed a familiar look on his saviors’ faces: both of them were scared.

To Be Continued.

Time (7)

Time

Few hours have passed since they met the father. Ezekhiel looked at his friend talking on the phone, wondering why wasn’t he as fearless as Simo. ‘Yeah, we’ll be back for dinner, i think.’ As those words came out of his mouth, Simo noticed a movement at the far right window on the first floor. ‘Gotta go.’ he said as he stood up. ‘You’re right: need to go to the backyard.’ They headed behin the house: the backstage of it showed something very different from the front. The grass wasn’t maintained, dead leaves returned to dust on the ground and trees were dying of thirst. A small cabin was hidden between two of them: from the entrance, Simo could see a mattress. He had no more doubts on the situation. He checked if the back door was locked: it wasn’t. Before they invited themsleves in, Simo stopped his friend: ‘His father is a alcoholic and has a tendency to beat his son. And probably his wife too.’ Simo made eye contact with his soon-to-be partner in crime to clarify his agreement on what might happen next. Ezekhiel nodded. They went in. Beside low voices coming from the TV, the house was quiet. Clean. And warm. StrangeSimo thought. On the hallway’s walls, pictures of the family smiling and having good times were displayed. Ezekhiel glanced at his friend: the latter proceeded to walk up the stairs, undisturbed. He gave a look in the room on his right: the man fell asleep on the couch, his beer spilling on the carpet. Once on the first floor, the mood changed. The corridor was pitch black. ‘Which door?’ Ezekhiel whispered. Simo raised his shoulders. At the same time, a sound of a door opening led them. They slowly walked towards it then entered the room. It was minimalist: a bed in a corner and a desk on the other side were the only furnitures dressing it. Josh removed the curtains half way to let some sun light in. When he turned around to face his guests, the latters looked surprised: a black eye, swollen lips, a cut below his other eye, bruises on his arms and an arched back as his stomach was in pain. He sat on his bed. His steps were small and movement in slow motion. ‘What happened…’ – ‘Come with me.’ Simo interrupted. Josh looked surprised. He didn’t expect anything from anyone and wondered why they would come to his place in the first time. He looked at Simo. Seriousness overflowed around him. Ezekhiel did the same: ‘What are you talking about? He can’t just leave.’ Simo stared at Josh. ‘Your father did this to you, right? I didn’t think of what i would do once we will be face to face. But now… It seems pretty obvious that you need to get away from him. Even if he’s your father. It doesn’t give him the right to do that. So, come with me. We’ll find a solution once you’re out of here.’ A silent settled. Josh was thinking about it. Ezekhiel couldn’t find words to describe his intentions nor his feelings at the moment. ‘You can’t…’ – ‘I can’t leave.’ Josh whispered. Simo frowned: ‘Why?’ His aggressive tone surprised Ezekhiel. ‘Lower, Sy.’ Josh remained silent. He knew that his reasons weren’t logic. ‘There are other ways.’ Ezezkhiel tried to calm his friend, as frustration grew in him. ‘Not if he doesn’t want to be helped!’ Simo turned his eyes on Ezekhiel. The latter understood his feelings, but was powerless.

‘WHO’S THERE!?’ A voice shouted from downstairs. The three teenagers turned simultaniously their heads towards the door. Fear and apprehension could be read on their faces. For a second, they froze. Simo reacted first: ‘Come with us. What do you think he’s going to do once he’ll know we’re here?’ As Josh didn’t make any move, he continued: ‘Look at you!! Look what he did because you almost drowned! Look at what he’s capable of doing!’ Tears filled the fragile boy’s eyes. ‘He’s coming fast.’ Ezekhiel commented. A few seconds later, the bedroom door broke, showing the angry man, still drunk, in it frame. ‘WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULD HAVE GUESTS?’ Josh couldn’t move. The man started to walk toward him an idea in mind: beating his son up to give him a lesson. Without thinking, Ezekhiel and Simo stepped in his way. ‘Get out of my way.’ His voice calmed down. Ezekhiel felt a thrill on his back. As no one moved, the father engaged a fight. By reflex, Ezekhiel barely dodged the first punch but was hit by the second. He stumbled on the side but reacted in an instant when he saw the man walking forward. He tackled. They both fell on the floor: Ezekhiel tried as much as he could to immobilize his opponent but received few punches along the way. While Ezekhiel kept the father occupied, Simo turned his back to Josh, bent his knees, lowered his center of gravity and arched his arms: ‘Hop on!’ Josh stood still. He couldn’t believe the scene that was played in front of his eyes. Suddenly, a voice screamed in his mind: ‘Run!’ Like a wake up call, Josh made a decision. He jumped on Simo’s back. As soon as he felt his weight, Simo ran out of the room. ‘Zeke!!’ The latter glanced at them going through the door. He threw a weak punch on the father’s face, stood up and ran away. As they walked down the stairs, they could hear a grunt. ‘Maybe, i shoudn’t have hit him.’ Ezekhiel confessed. When they arrived in the backyard, the man was already at the backdoor. The teenagers fled as fast as they could, but not fast enough. Simo and Ezekhiel shared the same thought. When they arrived at the front side of the house, where sun was shining, Ezekhiel threw the trashes at the father’s feet. The latter fell flat on his face, giving them time to disappear.

After making sure they were out of the father’s sight, they slowed their pace. Simo put Josh down and called his father. ‘Are you sure he’s going to agree with this?’ Ezekhiel asked. Simo paused. ‘Yeah. He will.’ Half an hour, a car parked in front of them. The driver’s door opened. A man in his late forty appeared. He looked sharp with a white shirt and black pants on. His face inspired confidence and trust. ‘What’s going on?’ His tone was set. Ezekhiel hesitated to speak. ‘Well, his father’s beating him up any chance he gets. I needed to get him out of there.’ Simo’s father scanned them then motioned them to get into the car. Simo sat in the front, while Ezekhiel stayed with Josh in the back. A heavy silent reigned in the small cockpit. ‘So. What were you thinking?’ The father asked. ‘What’s your plan, now?’ He didn’t get any answers.

When they arrived at Simo’s house, the night reclaimed its rights. Rain started to drop as they found shelter. Simo’s father let his son take care of his guest. They took Josh upstairs to Simo’s room and settled him in the bed. As Josh fell quickly asleep, they both lay down on the ground. ‘So, you’re sure about this?’ Ezekhiel asked. After a moment of reflexion, Simo said: ‘Yes. I’m sure. He needed to get out of there.’ Ezekhiel stayed quiet. ‘Someone had to get him out of there.’ Ezekhiel took a deep breathe. ‘A bit cranky, don’t you think?’ he asked. ‘I know.’

 

 

To be continued

Time (6)

Time

The next morning, Simo went to the hospital where the drunk teen was supposed to recover from his recent near death experience. At the doorstep of the enrance, he saw a familiar silhouette: Ezekhiel seemed to have the same thougt he had. ‘When the great minds meet… Or something like that.’ Simo said. They didn’t stay long: according to the receptionnist, he went back to his home against doctor’s advices.

They went to the school. For Simo, it has been two years since he saw the tagged wall of the main building. When they crossed the hallway, Simo couldn’t help himself but to scan everything, a feeling of nostalgia filling his mind. At the administration room, a woman was sitting behind a desk bigger than her. Ezekhiel and Simo had to tip-toe to be able to face her. ‘Hi! A friend of ours missed a few class this week and we have a test on monday.’ Ezekhiel started to explain but the lady didn’t even look up. ‘Euhm… Excuse me?’ The receptionnist gave them a death stare. Simo was surprised by the attitude. ‘What can i do for you?’ She said. The two teenagers looked at each other. ‘We need an adress from a student in senior year. His name is Josh Scarrey.’ Simo cut to the chase. The woman looked at them for a second before typing on her computer. ‘What’s the name again?’ Ezekhiel spelled it for her as Simo contained a sigh of exasperation. A minute later, they walked out towards Josh’s house.

The neighboorhood looked calm. Cars were lined up to create a separation between pedestrians and drivers. Sidewalks were covered by a film of water. Simo looked around to understand the world Josh lived in: ‘It looks normal. I mean, not depressing at all.’ Ezekhiel seeked for the 67th house. ‘What do you mean depressing? How do you know he’s depressed?’ Simo stayed quiet. ‘Here it is.’ They walked to the door and each hit their turn in rhythm. Noises of footsteps rushed towards them, heavely. As a reflex, both Ezekhiel and Simo stepped back. Their heartbeat quickened. The door opened abruptly. A man in his forty appeared, a beer in his hand and anger in his eyes. ‘WHAT?’ The two visitors jumped of surprise simultaneously. A silence settled in. ‘Well? What do you want?’ Ezekhiel opened his mouth but no sound came out. His brain just went blank. ‘We’re Josh’s friends.’ Simo paused to see if the man had social intelligence. He stood still. ‘Can we see him? He was in a pretty bad shape last night, so… We were worried about him. Hence our presence….’ The man didn’t move at all. ‘Can we see him?’ Simo insisted. After a moment, the man tried to slam the door on them, but Simo slipped his foot before it. Almost at the same time, Ezekhiel knocked the door with his palm: ‘We need to talk to your son.’ the latter said. The door opened suddenly. The man stepped towards them, his teeth out like a rabid animal. Ezekhiel retreated but Simo stood still. ‘Get the hell out of my property’, the man whispered at Simo’s ears. The latter ignored him and proceeded to walk through the door. ‘Josh! It’s me: Simo! The dude who helped you last night!?’ He yelled. But no response. A heat envelopped his shoulder. Simo turned around and beheld something coming from his side. He fell down. Before he could recollect himself, Simo was lifted then thrown out of the house. ‘Next time you come back, you’ll meet my shotgun. Understood?’ the man yelled. Before Ezekhiel could hit back, the man slammed and locked the door, once and for all. ‘Ass.’ Ezekhiel said. ‘Aaaah, he sure is.’ Simo leaned on his knee to stand up, while holding his back with his other hand. He scanned the front of the house: each windows were dressed with curtains, blocking any sunlight. Simo sighed. ‘Maybe from the back!?’ Ezekhiel suggested. ‘No. No need for that.’ Simo sat down on the grass and focused on the front door. Ezekhiel understood his friend’s intention. Even if he wasn’t convinced about the efficiency of his actions, he followed the movement anyway. ‘How long?’ he asked. ‘As long as it takes.’

‘You know you’re sitting on a wet grass, right.’ Ezekhiel noticed.

To be continued

The Messenger

A day in my life, A day in my mind, Imagination, IRL

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The Messenger | This is a long one | If you have a chance to say one last thing to someone you lost: what would you say?

The lasts scenes were something i personnally lived. Seeing an empty appartment – once again – but this time, the goodbye was slightly different. More like a ‘real farewell’. The kind i didn’t expect to say or feel before i would be very old. Or never, actually. But it happened.

This will also be – hopefully – my lasts drawings about it. I’m moving forward. I can’t stay still forever.