Life (3)

Life

‘A boyfriend?’ Sarah was surprised by the blunt question. ‘No, i don’t have one. Why do you ask?’.

‘How long have you been single?’ he asked. Sarah began to be suspicious about James’s intentions.

‘What is going on?’ Her voice raised, attracting some eyes around them. The ambiance music of the coffee shop wasn’t loud enough to cover their conversation.

‘Nothing! Sorry, he’s just… not used to talk to girls.’ John interrupted before James could get a word out.

‘No, i’m not.’ the latter whispered.

An awkward silent settled at their table. Sarah scanned the three guys one by one and caught John and Chris exchanging a look.

‘What? Why did you invite me for lunch, exactly?’ She felt trapped, ambushed. John leaned closer to her, lowered his voice and said:

‘Listen. We… Just  wanted to let you know that we are here. If you ever need… Anything. Help. Support. Anything.’ He glanced at Chris one more time then directed his attention back on her.

Sarah looked confused and moved. She came in Toya City alone, to pursue her studies and become an architect, leaving her entire family back in Chime town. On her first day of school, she was teamed up with a random guy for a project that would occupy them for a year. As they had to interact often, they learnt to know each other and eventually fell in love. Their relationship evolved faster than she expected: without notice, he moved in with her. It didn’t bother her at first, she thought she would adapt. But as time went by, his small flaws became bigger and her tolerance reduced to a point where she reached her limits. His jalousie appeared when she met Charlotte whom is more outgoing. He wouldn’t let her be without him: she felt locked in her own relationship. After another unresolved fight, things got out of hands. The next morning, she found herself using make up more than she usually did. She then remembered her father’s greatest lesson: ‘Don’t ever let a man mistreat you in any kind of way. You are my daughter. My princess. A queen to the world.’ She left her appartment and found shelter with Charlotte and Karen. She managed to avoid him for few days, until she had to go back to her appartment to take some clothes. He apologised, begged her to come back and promised it wouldn’t happen again. She wanted to believe him, but when he stepped closer to hug her, her body remembered his violence and tensed. She pushed him away and clearly stated her decision: ‘It’s over.’ The same night, Karen and Charlotte stopped by her appartment after Sarah told them what happened and how he reacted. They let him know that he had one day to gather his stuff and leave. The next day, the three of them spend the night at Sarah’s place. It took her a week to feel at home again. Once she did, she noticed a silhouette creeping behind a tree, down on her street, some time to times. The same silhouette appeared now and then every where she went: she didn’t feel safe anywhere anymore. And no one could help her with that. So when she heard John’s words, a sense of relief burst in her chest.

Days passed and Sarah found herself surrounded most of the time: she let her guard down, her paranoia faded.

The eve of all Saints arrived. The moon was high amongst stars. Little monsters were running from house to house, screaming and laughing out loud. Sarah was on her way to Karen and Charlotte’s party, her walking dead make-up scaring small ghosts, princesses, vampires and wizards. She walked proudly.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed her and pulled her in the darkness of an a alley. Another hand blocked her mouth before she could make a sound. As she was very close to the stranger, she could smell his perfum. She pushed him away and turned to face him: ‘Jamal! What the hell!’

The man walked slowly to her. His eyes fixated on her. The more he came closer, the more she stepped away, until her back hit the wall. He put his hands on it, trapping her between his arms.

‘Who are those guy?’

‘What?’

‘You don’t belong to them. You belong to me. We belong to each other.’

‘What.. Listen, go away and i won’t call the cops.’

‘You’re supposed to be with me…’ He closed his eyes and aproached his face to hers.

‘Go away!!’ Sarah pushed as hard as she could. They froze for a second, starring at each other. Confusion filled his eyes. ‘I don’t belong to you. I belong to no one. I’m not an object you can own.’ Her heart beat faster each second. Her hands were trembling.

‘You love me… I love you.’

‘No. Not anymore.’

One those words, something broke in him. She turned her back on him and walked away. In a flash, his expression changed. He grabbed her by the arm, turned her around and punched her to the ground. She didn’t have the time to process everything that he put himself on top of her. With one hand, he held hers, while his other one moved down. He was strong and heavy. Sarah could barely do anything. She moved about but he didn’t flinch. Instinctevely, her knee met his sensitive parts making him scream of agony. His grip loosened. She took her chance and punshed him in the face: he fell on the ground. She stood up and started to run but was quickly caught up by Jamal. He pulled her further in the alley and attacked her relentlessly. Hollers of anger came out of his lungs as his fists percussively hit their target. Suddenly, he stopped.

He looked her: her eyes were closed a long time ago, blood covered her make-up and bruises started to appear. He stood up, starred at her inanimated body one last time before walking away.

Sarah regained consciousness for a moment. She looked at the stars sparkling on a black curtain. A muffled noise attracted her attention. She turned her head to her left with the remaining strength she had: she couldn’t believe the scene displayed before her eyes. Jamal was immobilized against the wall: he grasped for air. Someone else was running toward her. John…

 

 

To be continued

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Life (2)

Life

To: Chris T

It’s been a while since i’ve seen you at school. I think you need to go at least tomorrow, just to remind professors that you exist. I’ll pick you up at seven thirty, tomorrow. Be ready. 

A constant stream of engines lulled his ears as he, himself, walked his way through the crowd of  late workers and students. John took a right, coming out of the herd, then abruptly slowed down his pace. He pulled out his phone and typed quickly. As he was about to press ‘send‘, he heard a door unlock: Chris appeared in the frame.

‘Nice timing!’ John greeted him. ‘So, what happened last week? I saw Karen following you outside but… neither of you came back… So…?’ Chris gave him a death stare. ‘Oh! Come on!’

‘Nothing happened.’ he said. John’s mind froze for a second, realizing the miracle he just witnessed.

‘Euhm, yeah, sure!’, he glanced to his right, felt the threat in Chris’s eyes and didn’t insist. ‘Anyway. I wanted to talk to you about Sarah. You remember her? She was one of the girls from the bar. Anyway, she might be a danger. And in danger.’ Chris frowned quickly. ‘I haven’t seen much. Just a dark alley, right next to a party. I heard kids laughing and music.’ John paused, acknowledging the lack of information he was giving. ‘We will have to follow her for a while… I have this strange feeling that it will be on Halloween, though, otherwise, kids wouldn’t be out that late.’ He fell into his reflections and confined himself in a silence.

As they arrived at the gate of the university, John caught sight of Sarah entering the Architecture’s building. She was alone and her pace fast. He extended his sight to Chris who clearly didn’t want to be here.

‘Alright, i’ll see you at lunch.’ John claimed before leaving him on his own. Few meters later, he looked back to make sure Chris was staying within the university’s walls. The latter hasn’t move a inch, his face emotionless and his look blank. John turned his back around and rushed to class, hoping his friend won’t disappear again. Like you always do.

Hours passed and the time to eat arrived. As he stepped outside, John was joined by James Atwood, a young man who was once crushed by the weight of life. He was wandering around town, pretending to have a plan, after dropping off of school. One day, he found himself at Taan Aka Park, early in the morning. Only one person was there: a young man, around his age with a backpack in his hand, his head faced the orange sky. A student? Or is he faking it too?’ The young adult noticed him, he looked down. At first glance, one particular  thing struck James: he seemed to be just as lost as he was. When he turned to him, James saw something in his eyes: a deep sadness that he tried to hide. They didn’t exchange a word that day, but ran into each other every now and then. Until, James dared to approach him: it was a one-way short conversation. As they met more often at random places, a strange friendship was born. After a month, the young man handed him a piece of paper with a name and an address. James didn’t have the time to ask anything that his new friend disappeared. The next day, he went to the address and introduced himself:

‘Hi! I’m James Atwood. I was send by… I was told to come here.’

‘Oh! Yeah! Our mute friend gave me your name. I’m detective Ed Ogawa. If i’m good at my job, i think he wants me to train you.’

‘To be a detective?’

‘You’re not interested?’ James took a minute to process and evaluate his situation. What is more appealing: remaining a lost soul until death comes or contribute to society the was his father does.

‘I’m in.’

It was a year ago. Ever since, his days were filled and tiring. James met some of his silent friend’s friends and learnt his name at the same time: Chris Turner.

John poked him with his elbow and pointed to his right. James scanned the surrounding: through students passing by, he noticed Chris sitting against a tree. They walked up to him: he was asleep. James paused and stared at him: his hand was twitching and his lips were in movement. John gently shook him to wake him up. Chris grabbed him by the arm, unexpectedly, scaring John and James out. ‘Hé…’ His grip tightened strongly. ‘Chris…It’s me, John. Wake up.’ The latter regained consciousness and loosened his grip. ‘Sorry.’ he whispered. He took his bag, stood up and walked away, followed closely by James and John. They walked in silence until James finally adressed the subject.

‘So, i’ve made some researched in Sarah Jefferson. You told me to look into her family and friends: her father is a police officer and her mother a teacher. She has a younger brother that’s still in high school. Her closest friends here are Karen and Charlotte, and it looks like she doesn’t have a boyfriend. When i asked her neighbors about her, they said that they saw a man come and go frequently, but suddenly stopped. Although, some of the neighbors have seen him hanging around. I didn’t have the time to dig up more on him.’ He turned his head toward John but the latter was lost in his thoughts. ‘John?’

For a split second, he could see, in Chris’s eyes, fear and distress. He could still feel his grasp on his arm. ‘John!’ He looked up. ‘Yeah. Sarah. We’ll ask her directly. He’s probably her ex.’

‘The origin of her threat.’

 

To be continued.

Time (end)

Time

Wake up, Simo. WAKE UP!

It all started about six months ago. When scientists predicted a dead star will land on Earth’s surface. I wasn’t particularly worried about it. I know the value of Life and what Death represents. I encountered those two already. So when my childhood friend came to me, all excited, telling me stories and reports on the white dwarf, i had a slight vision of hope that everything on this planet will disappear to begin a new era. Never in my mind, i would think this would happen. Not to him. It didn’t cross my mind that i would feel this feeling again. This wait, this unknowing part where i can’t face reality yet. Almost a peaceful time where everything is possible: Life as Death. At the beginning, hope was allowed . I thought it was just a simple concussion and that he will wake up at any moment. I went to visit him every day, sleep by his side on this small couch under a thin blanket. After a month, hope faded slowly to completely disappear when i overheard the doctor clearly say: ‘I have no idea what’s happening to this kid.’. He was looking at his parents, totally powerless. I understood them. All three of them. There’s nothing we could do and nothing was done. When he started to have random seizures and heart attacks, hope became dangerous. I forbid myself to think of the day he would wake up. Yet, every night i found myself talking to him and telling him to wake up. I dislike this in between situation strongly. It makes every tasteless. I already lost my father, i can’t lose my brother too. Lately, the only thing that helped me stay alive and kept me smiling was Thea. But i could see that she started to suffer from this as well. My mind wasn’t with her when it’s supposed to. The night she told me she couldn’t stand this version of me was the night i gave up on life. I needed a light to keep me going on but she took it away with her. Nothing made sense anymore.

The one who suffered the most, beside his parents, i think was Meagan. Ever since they met, they had that certain complicity: every of their actions were in sync to each other, every thought were simultanous and their attraction for each other was an obvious. Where ever one goes, the other follows, like magnets. They had chemistry. And suddenly, it stopped. She became like me: a hollow body wandering without goal. Although, she fought longer than me. It was only recently that she gave up on him too. She started to process his death on the longest day of the year. She realized he was there with us without being there. It was the first time i saw her cry. Thea and i couldn’t do anything about it. We just stared blankly at the fireworks displayed in the night sky. I asked if anyone would spent the night with me by his side. They declined. I guessed it was too much for them to handle. I understood. Every time i see him lay there, without making any noise, motionless, barely breathing, my heart hurts. That night, i sat down first, as usual, then my eyes had locked on him and the machine he was attached to. Doctors said that they think patients in the coma could hear us. I never knew what to say and closed myself into a deep silence to always end up whispering the same sentence as i fall alseep, on that rigid couch: ‘Wake up, man. Wake up.’

 

– ‘HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!’

– ‘Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

The entire floor stood still. Ezekhiel jumped out of his sleep, his body rudely reminded the laws of gravity. He looked up and saw. It took him a few seconds to process the image played before his eyes. He stood up, ran to the hallway, called for nurses, whom were already reacting, then came back to the bed side. The monitor went out of control: numbers skyrocketed, signals sped their pace as the heart pounded loudly and the brain retrieved some activities. ‘He’s tachycardic!’ a nurse yelled. ‘Give him a dose of sedatif.’ An intern proceeded to the injection while nurses tried to hold him down. It only took the product few seconds to be effective. The calm returned when Simo’s parents stepped into the room. ‘What happened.’ his father asked.

‘…Wow… What a…dream.’ Simo whispered. Every one laid eyes on him. Ezekhiel suddenly let go of a laugh. His mother smiled for the first time since he arrived at the hospital. She came closer, held his hand and caressed his head, then froze abruptly. A tear came down on her chick when she felt her son’s hand closing on hers. ‘What… happened?’ The medical staff was in disbelief in face of the sudden recovery they just witnessed. ‘Simo? Can you hold my fingers? As hard as you can… Good. Now, can you move your feet for me?… Excellent. Follow the pen with you eyes only. Good, you’re doing good.’ The doctor took a moment to check his pupils dilated normally to the light then asked some simple questions. After the short interrogation, he shared a look with a fellow surgeon. ‘He’s responding well but we are going to keep him under observation for few days to make sure every thing is alright.’ He nodded to the parents, then gave the family some privacy. In the hallway, doctors allowed themselves to exchange some theories on the situation. One theory seemed to be on everyone’s mind. ‘What’s a surge?’ The two doctors and the intern turned around, ambushed by a concerned young man. They shared a look wondering if it was wise to share their thoughts. Ezekhiel waited, insisted. ‘A surge is a state of ephemeral recovery… We saw patients getting suddenly better before…’ – ‘They die.’ He finished. He looked back to his friend and his parents. ‘Why wouldn’t you say something to them?’ The other doctor took the initiative to admit their ignorance on Simo’s case: ‘We’re not sure this is one of them. Simo’s condition is…unique. We can’t anticipate the evolution of his health at this point. All we can do is keep him under surveillance for the next 48 hours.’

‘So?’ Ezekhiel gave an interrogative look. ‘What happened? Where’s the white dwarf? Did it land? Did it create a huge hole that leads to the center of the Earth? Or did it create a huge wave of radioactie particles that transformed people into zombies?’ He was speechless: Ezekhiel just realized that Simo had no idea of what happened the last six months. For him, it looked like a night has passed. A long night. It took him a few seconds to readapt his way of thinking: ‘Euhm, none of that. The Earth is fine.’ Simo looked disappointed. ‘No zombies? Big bats? Vampires? Giants? None of that?’ He shook his head, a smile began to appear on his face. ‘What then?’ Simo insisted. ‘The morning after the white dwarf crashed at Kiho Park, your parents called me  asking if you were at my house. I told them you were still sleeping, then i figured you went to the park to see the star.’ – ‘Clever.’ Simo replied then he examined the surroundings. ‘What? What is it?’ Ezekhiel started to panic. Simo automatically glanced at his right hand then returned his attention on his friend. ‘Nothing, i’m good. Just a feeling of… déjà vu.’ A silence passed: Ezekhiel stared at Simo, hoping the surge wasn’t real, and the latter questionned his sanity. When Ezekhiel went back to his seat, he precipitously grabbed his arm with his right hand. Ezekhiel turned around and saw his friend with a scary face: his eyes were wide open, traveling from right to left, his senses on alert and his heart beating too fast for someone who’s been in bed for so long. His grip was strong as if he wanted a reaction. ‘Dude, it hurts.’ Ezekhiel calmly stated. ‘Are you alright?’ In a blink of an eye, Simo returned to his peaceful self, a smile on his face: ‘All good.’

 

 

THE END.

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

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 (5)

Time

We have a pulse. Finally…. Yeah. Prepare him for an IR…

His conscious awakened. Disturbance of a closed space grew louder and louder, then a recurrent tone appeared. After a few seconds, his eardrums vibrated to a breathing. Slow and steady. Simo opened his eyes to a white wall. He turned his head to his left and saw a monitor drawing his heartbeat. A little bit further, Ezekhiel was deep into Morphee’s arms. Simo gazed around, trying to sit but from neck to toe: he felt numb. He’s first instinct was to check his right arm. Footsteps and ringtones went through the doorway, accompanied by low voices. Simo’s eyes travelled to the window to see his parents on the other side of the glass. Behind them, he could behold a man in a white blouse holding a folder. He focused on them and tried to catch a word. After tuning down every noises, he stretched his ears to listen carefully but they tuned down even more their murmurations as if they knew someone was spying on them. ‘Hey!’ Simo was suddenly pulled out of his thoughts, whispers faded away leaving place to the monitor and perturbations of the air. The voice came from his left: Ezekhiel woke up. ‘How do you feel?’ he asked. Simo tried to sit but his father walked in and put his hand on his son’s shoulder: ‘You need to rest.’ The doctor was close behind and started to check Simo’s vitals. ‘Everything seems to be ok. A brain scan was realized and revealed nothing abnormal. Can you tell us what happened before?’ Simo looked at his parents then Ezekhiel before staring at the doctor. ‘Nothing special: we were just chilling.’ Simo replied. The doctor remained silent for a second then continued: ‘We’re going to keep you in observation for the night ‘ Simo’s parents shared a look. ‘It’s just for precaution. Don’t worry.’ reassured the doctor before leaving the room. Simo’s parents left as well, few minutes after. Simo looked at his friend and his right hand back and forth. ‘Do you think…’ He let his sentence hang. ‘You said i disappeared for a moment. right? At that time, i was following Thea.’ Ezekhiel looked at Simo going deeper and deeper in his process of thoughts. ‘Maybe, you should stop. That was the trigger to your seizure. Just… sleep on it for now, alright?’ They shared a look and Simo agreed.

Ezekhiel didn’t hear from Simo for an entire week, until the week-end. It was on a saturday evening, at a birthday party, where Simo and Ezekhiel meet again. ‘What are you doing here?’ Ezekhiel asked. Simo looked at him with big eyes. ‘Is it ok with your…Condition?’ he whispered. The two friends shared a look. As soon as Simo opened his mouth to share his thoughts, a female voice interrupted them: ‘Hi! You are here!’ They both looked towards her. ‘It’s been forever! What are you doing now?’ Simo assumed she was talking to him since he stopped hanging out with his classmates the moment he dropped out of school: ‘I’ve been busy.’ She waited for the second part of his statement but an awkward silent settled. ‘Euhm, i’m, euh, let you two talk.’ Ezekhiel said; Simo watched him leave. ‘How you’ve been!’ Simo continued the conversation. ‘I’m good! Well, a bit stressed: exams are soon so i’m….’

As she kept on talking, Simo tuned her voice a bit down as a background noise in his mind. He gazed around. Some people were dancing, some people were playing around the pool. But most people were just sitting around and talked about everything and nothing at the same time, an empty glass in their hands. Others were just trying to keep their balance. ‘…and then a huge dragon came out, grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me into the air to fly away from the mafia.’ Simo’s eyes crossed hers. She smiled. ‘You haven’t changed.’ she claimed. ‘It hasn’t been that long either.’ She shook her head and let go of a laugh: ‘Just two years.’ One of the Sunday dancers ran into her, making her all of her drink on Simo’s shirt. ‘Sam!!’ She yelled. The latter put his left hand on the troublemaker’s back who turned around and stared at them for a second: ‘Yo! Simo!! What’s you’re doing here? Hey! Megan!… What’s up?’ Then he walked away. Megan looked at him, confused about what just happened. ‘What was that?’ she whispered to herself, before turning to Simo: ‘Oh no! Your shirt! I’m so sorry!’ The latter smelled the wet area: ‘Coke? I thought you were drinking alcohol like everyone else.’ She shook her head. At the same time, far behind her, Simo noticed something odd: one of the guests had an empty bottle of vodka in one hand and a half-full bottle of HSE in the other. He stood still in the middle of the crowd, raised the empty bottle in the air before dropping it at the break of a song. Then he drank the rest of the rhum in an instant. When he raised his arm, Simo noticed some bruises underneath his t-shirt. The drunk teenager walked the best he could through the crowd of other drunk people. As he marched along the swimming pool, he froze on his reflection few times.

When suddenly, Sam pushed him violently. The drunk boy lost his balance and fell into the water. Sam didn’t notice he hit someone, once again, and kept on moving his body around off beat. As the music was loud, the party attenders raised their voices to be heard creating an excessive level of frequencies that covered the sound of someone falling. Simo stared at the scene: from where he was, he could see splashes of water. But after a minute or two, it stopped. Simo waited a moment, expecting to see the swimmer stand up and walk away. But nothing happened. Intrigued, and worried, Simo walked to the pool. As he got closer, he saw the teenager inanimate at the bottom of hole. A rush of adrenaline burst from his chest. He dived in, grabbed the teen by his right arm and swam as fast as he could to the surface. As soon as they made contact, Simo had flashbacks: a sunny day at the park with his mom, a dark afternoon in his bedroom, his father raising his fist, empty  bottles and cans of beers all around his living room, boring days in class and sleelpless nights. When he reached the surface, Ezekhiel helped him pull out the teen out of the water. Music was turned down. Discussions paused and people gathered around them. ‘Step back!’ Ezekhiel yelled. ‘Give him space to breathe.’ But the latter wasn’t. When Simo got out of the water himself, he kneeled next to the unconscious young man. He put his ear on the latter’s chest: no sound. Simo had to think fast: he put his hands together slightly below the chest and started to push at a regular rhythm. ‘Zeek, call 911.’ he said as he was counting. ‘Fifteen.’ He listened to his chest again: still nothing. He continued. ‘Thirty.’ Simo pinched the kid’s nose, pulled down the latter’s jaw and blew air in his lungs. After the forth time, Simo practiced CPR again. He listened, hoping to hear the siren of the ambulance. But it was quiet. All we could hear was his breathing. Seconds passed. ‘How long can a human brain stay without oxygen?’ Simo thought. His hands started to shake. He was out of breathe but kept on pushing on the diaphragm. The world stood still. Everyone held their breath. When, finally, he coughed. Simo was in disbelief. He immediately turned the kid’s head to the side to make him spit the water from his lungs. Everyone sighed of relief. Simo looked at Ezekhiel, a huge smile on his face. The latter mimicked him and pointed to his ear. Simo looked over the crowd and heard it: sirens.

To be continued.