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

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.

Time (3)

Time

‘Pfff….Pfhahahahahahahahahahaha!! You’re kidding, right? Right? Oh no, you’re serious?’ Simo stared at his friend, his face as serious as it could get. Ezekhiel stayed quiet for seconds, he tried to contain his laugther. ‘I don’t care if you don’t believe me.’ Simo said as he turned his back and left the room. Those last words resonated in Ezekhiel’s ears. He reacted as fast as he could and grabbed Simo’s arm before he disappeared. Time froze. Ezekhiel’s mind was transported to his eighth year of life. He was standing in the middle of a baseball field, surrounded by other kids his age. Bats were thrown on the ground, particules of sand flew in the air. Ezekhiel looked upset: he gesticulated violently towards the group that kept its smile. Despite the fact that kid Ezekhiel was screaming his lungs out, no sound resonated. Ezekhiel had a spam and felt something between his fingers. He turned his head and saw Simo looking at him straight in the eyes. A strange feeling spread in Ezekhiel’s body, when a wave of dioxygen disturbed the atmosphere, followed by another one. And another one. Until the frequencies aligned perfectly: ‘BACK OFF!’ Kid Simo shouted. All of the other kids shut up. They stepped backward as Simo walked in between Ezekhiel and them. ‘Pff, it’s not funny anymore.’ one of them said before leaving. ‘They said…my…my father’s dead…’ Kid Ezekhiel confessed, tears flowing on his chicks. ‘They’re…they’re lying! He’s… He just left. He said he’ll be back! He said he’ll be back!’ Sobs didn’t allow silence to settle in. ‘He said: he’ll come back.’ The calm gained the boy’s mind and body. A urge to scream grew in him, but more tears came out instead. Ezekhiel remembered that feeling: being at the edge of facing the hard truth of reality. ‘I know.’ Kid Simo’s voice pierced Kid Ezekhiel’s thoughts. Simo turned around: ‘. I believe you. He’s gonna come back.’

As he let go of his friend’s arm, Ezekhiel found himslef back in his room. He gazed around then put his eyes on Simo’s. They stood in silence for a couple of minutes. Simo looked astonished and yet excited. Ezekhiel understood then: ‘I believe you.’

 

To be continued

Time (2)

Time

Bright. Yellow. And blinding. The sun was high in the sky when Simo opened his eyes. He sat down and looked ahead of him. The impact of the white dwarf created a crater in the middle of the park. The dirt has settled down on the ground, covering the green grass. Simo felt a pain coming from his brain. A strong ache. As he tried to control his misery, he heard a branch crack. He scanned the area when someone suddenly grabbed him by the collar then dragged him behind a tree and covered his mouth. They stood still for few seconds when a group of armed men, dressed all in black, invaded the field. ‘All clear.’ each one of them yelled to their partners. Simo felt less pressure around his chest. He turned his head to take a look at who kidnapped him. ‘Zeke…’ he whispered. The latter ordered him to stay quiet. They both glanced behind them: men in orange arrived carrying heavy cases. They started to analyze the object while the men in black secured the place with barriers. Ezekhiel poked Simo on the shoulder then showed him the way. As silently as they could be, they ran away on the opposite direction from the tumult.

Once they were out of any possible reach, they slowed down and mingled with the crowd. ‘What was that?’ Simo asked. Ezekhiel looked back, making sure they weren’t followed. ‘I don’t know. I just found you lying there. What happened?’ Simo tried to recollect his memories but they were fuzzy. ‘I touched it then…’ – ‘You blacked out.’ Ezekhiel finished. Simo nodded. As they made their way in the crowd, Simo was shaken by a passer-by. For a split second, something changed: his left foot sinked into sand before concrete reappeared. He slowed his pace before stopping. His headache amplified and the world spinned around him. His vision became blurry then darker and darker. ‘You’re alright?’ Ezekhiel asked. No respond. Simo lost balance all of a sudden then blacked out. The next thing he knew, he woke up in a room he recognized. Next to him, his friend was sitting in a chair, watching his computer with a particular attention. ‘Mmh, what happened?’ Simo mumbled. Ezekhiel raised his head then turned to his bed. He pointed a glass of water on the nightstand: ‘You fainted.’ As Simo drank few sip, he laid his eyes on the screen. Ezekhiel was watching the news about the white dwarf: journalists discovered its landing point and has surrounded the scientists that were studying the area. ‘It appeared, from the footage we received from one of our reporter on site, that the dead star created a relatively large crater in the middle of Kiho Park. But it seems that there is no object at the bottom of it. Scientists are actually analyzing and researching for the white dwarf….’ Ezekhiel gazed at Simo to have some explainations. The latter noticed a look on him. Thoughts and images of the lasts events ran into his mind. ‘It disappeared…?’ He finally said. His friend nodded. ‘You didn’t see anything when you found me?’ A silence passed, letting Ezekhiel time to think. ‘Mmmh, no. I don’t think there was anything.’ he replied. ‘What happened?’ Simo took a deep breathe and narrated his evening. ‘And what happened before you fainted today?’ Simo thought: ‘I bumped into a woman then… walked on a beach for a second.’ – ‘A…beach…But… we’re in land.’ Ezekhiel said. Simo agreed. He stood up then started to pace, trying to understand what was going on. He let his eyes travel on the room’s walls, his mind went empty until he realized he wasn’t in his room but in Ezekhiel’s: ‘Wait. How did you know i was in Kiho Park?’ The latter stood up and charged his computer: ‘You’re parents called me this morning asking if you were here… I told them you were still sleeping, then i figured you went to the park to see the star.’ – ‘Clever.’ Simo replied before yawning. ‘Well, thanks. I can’t think of anything right now.’ They both understood that it was time for them to go separate ways. As they were starting their handshake, Simo felt strange. The wallpapers faded, leaving room for trees. The bed and all furnitures disappeared, green grass replaced the floor and a gentle wind blew. Simo recognized the place. Kiho Park. He scanned around him and saw Ezekhiel running towards someone sitting on the grass. He grabbed him then dragged him behind a tree right before a swat team got closer to Simo. The latter looked at his feet: he was standing in the crater. He looked for the space stone but there was no trace of it. Zeke was telling the truth. On that thought, he found himself back in his friend’s bedroom. ‘You’re alright?’ He gazed around, trying to find his bearings. ‘What? What happened?’ Ezekhiel insisted. Simo felt lost, he didn’t understand and couldn’t explain it. As he stood still, Ezekhiel poked him on his shoulder sending Simo deeper into paralysis. After a long ten seconds, the latter regained consciousness and looked at his friend with wide eyes. Ezekhiel reached for the shoulder one more time to bring him back to reality, thinking he went on auto-pilot mode again, but Simo dodged him. Ezekhiel felt a bit confuse. He saw a light in his friend’s eyes. ‘I..I think… that when someone touch me…I’m teleported…In the past.’

 

To be continued

Time

Time

December 17, 2016. Winter was coming. A cold breeze pierced the air but the sun was still high. Clouds deserted the sky giving no hope for a white Christmas. Although, citizens of Toai City didn’t give up on celebrating: streets were filled with last minutes shoppers, running around, not paying attention to one another. In the middle of the crowd, he stood still, looking up far beyond his sight: Simo Ha, 18, eternel dreamer, stared at the barely visible space that lay above him. The more he observed, the more he felt drown by the darkness of the unknown. Suddenly, a bird flew by in his field of vision, pulling him back to Earth. Simo overlooked his surrounding to situate himself then went on in shopping spree, going in and out of the freezing atmosphere. He belonged to that community that thinks they have plenty of time to find the perfect gift for their loved ones as long as Christmas day hasn’t arrived.

Two hours passed and the night was falling. Lights were turned on, illumanting sidewalks, fake trees and ornements placed on shop signs. As time went by, Simo began to lose faith in finding something special for his parents. His mind shut down and his body went on auto-pilot. He walked away from the main street where all animations happened, his eyes locked on the dark ground. When two strong flashlights blinded him. A hand grabbed and pulled him strongly to the left: Simo’s consciousness resurfaced to regain control. He scanned his arm from his own hand to the one that saved him. ‘Ezekhiel?’ he said. The latter looked at him with frowned brows: ‘What’re you doing?’ Simo froze for a second then realized a car almost ran him over. ‘Wow!! That was a close one. Thanks, man!’ he replied. His friend shook his head before leading the way back to civilisation: ‘You have to stop doing that thing.’ Simo followed him: ‘What thing?’ – ‘Your auto-pilot thing. You’re gonna get kill, one day. Not paying attention, and just…be that vulnerable all the time.’ Simo listened his friend lecturing him with one ear, as they were making their way through the crowd. As the time to go home rang, they stopped by a small park. They crossed the semi-jungle to end up in a perfectly circular clear space. Simo let himself fall on the grass while Ezekhiel stood still. The night was clear. The moon shone brightly amongst the stars. No clouds still. Simo closed his eyes as a breeze passed by and took a deep breathe. When he opened them slowly, the entire forest got quiet. Both nature and humans were in peace.

The next day, Simo woke up in the beginning of the afternoon. His head pounded like a hammer and his vision was blurry. He went downstairs to the kitchen, grabbed some cereals and milk and ate, ignoring his parents. ‘1:00 pm. That’s a record.’ his father said, making his mother giggle. In response to the sarcasm, Simo yawned and focused on his food, shutting down his senses. After few bites, his hearing came back: the television was on a special flash of information. The journalist started her news with an expose about the universe. The dark, unknown and infinite space that fascinates many scientists.

‘Since the discover of the existence of a white dwarf, the becoming of a large star after many years of thermonuclear reactions, in 1783 by William Herschel, scientists kept on scanning different part of space and evolution of stars to understand their caracteristics and behaviours: their temperature can reach 150 000 Kelvin and lower to 4 000 K; their light decrease as they lose temperature. As a white dwarf doesn’t have any source of energy by itself, hydrogen and helium are consumed by chemical reactions at the surface of the small star. The coldest they observed is the white dwarf, named WD 0346+246, and it reaches about 3 900 K. But scientists explain that in humanity lifetime, we will never see a white dwarf attain the absolute zero. 

This leads us to six years ago where Joshua Aikon, a scientist considered mad by his peers, uncovers a white dwarf with an abnormal low temperature in our solar system. The scientist kept an eye on its evolution and noted some odd behaviours: indeed, this white dwarf’s temperature decreased exponentially fast. After confirming his observations, Aikon shared his thoughts and fears with few close scientist friends. Those latters kept an eye on the white dwarf and noticed a movement from its original position. Two years ago, they realized that it was attracted slowly by a gravitation force from the sun. From that observation, they contacted the governement to warn them of a potential danger. The latter decided to keep it a secret as to prevent any type of panic amongst the population.

Against all pressure and opinion, one of the initial scientists, that wish to remain anonymous, sent us a folder explaining all of this. He revealed on his latest notes that according the speed of the white dwarf and Earth trajectory, there is a chance of 4% that they collide. According to his calcuations, …’

Simo’s eyes widened like a revelation struck him. He jumped off of his seat, knocking his bol of cereals, disappeared in his room and ran outside his phone to his ear. ‘Zeke! Wake up! Meet me at the park!’ Simo ran as fast as he could. His focus was on the blue sky, trying to catch any sign of the small star. Arrived at the park, Ezekhiel was already there. ‘Wow! You’re fast!’ Simo said. ‘I was already awake when you called. So what’s going on? You sounded…and look over-excited. And what took you so long?’ Simo had a huge smile on his face: ‘Did you watch the news?’ Ezekhiel shook his head. Simo pointed the sky, stars filled his eyes: ‘Something’s coming!’ His friend stayed perplexed and waited for the second part. ‘A white dwarf. A white dwarf is coming!’ Silence. ‘What?… Like a… very small caucasian human?’ Ezekhiel replied. Another silence. ‘What are you talking about?’ Simo asked. ‘What are YOU talking about?’ Both of them looked confused. ‘We’re not on the same page.’ – ‘At all.’ Simo said. ‘No, a white dwarf is coming to Earth. Something from space is finally landing here!’ Ezekhiel felt lost: ‘Alright, let’s start from the beginning. What’s a white dwarf?’ Simo pulled a book out of his bag and opened it: ‘Look! A white dwarf is a star that didn’t go into supernova. It looks like this. They say that it’s surface is hotter than the original star, and it loses its warmth. Apparently, this one has a strange behaviour: it’s moving!!’ – ‘Moving?’ Ezekhiel interrupted. ‘Yeah, by gravity. And it seems that it will hit Earth.’ Simo waited for his friend to absorb all the informations. ‘And so, when will it hit? And what does that mean?’ Simo took the book out of Ezekhiel’s hands and turned the pages from cover to cover. Fast, Ezekhiel thought. ‘Well, from the speed of the white dwarf and Earth’s speed and their trajectories, it will happen next week.’ Simo looked at his friend, his excitment still at its peak. But the latter froze, his look locked on the ground. Terror invaded his head and spread to his entire body. He started to tremble. Until a warm hand land on his shoulder. It took him back to reality. He looked at his friend: he had a huge smile on his face. ‘Don’t worry. According to its size, it will be disintegrated in contact with the atmosphere. It will end up like… that piece of rock.’ Simo got a small smile out of his friend. They kept on talking about space for the rest of the afternoon.

For the next few days, the news were filled with discussions, debates and informations about the white dwarf and the eventual end of the world. Religious speculated it was an act of God and humanity needed to pray for forgivness for all of its sins. Scientists tried to convince the masse that it will barely brush the atmosphere and we will see a trail of light on certain part of the planet. They also predicted this event to happen on Christmas Eve. And politicians denied their knowledge about the situation. Population all around the world were in panic and disbelief. But no protestations happened or were recorded. The world kept on moving but in slow motion.

Every night, Simo dragged Ezekhiel at the park to scrutinize the sky. Simo was the one that mostly talked. As he was sharing his recent knowledge and interest for space to his friend, he felt the latter anxious and scared. Simo tried to reassure him but it didn’t seem to be effective. One the side, Ezekhiel felt skeptic about everything but began to be fascinated as he listened to his friend: ‘Where do you think it will land?’ he asked. Simo took some time to think. then pointed the grass. Ezekhiel was lost: ‘H…Here?’ Simo nodded, a huge smile on his face. ‘Precisely, here?…How do you know?’ he asked. ‘I did the math.’ Simo stood up and stared at the night sky. Ezekhiel looked at him, impressed by everything he learned in the past week. Why you dropped out of school? he thought to himself.

Since they met, he always thought that Simo would go places and be successful in life. But the latter wasn’t motivated by anything school gave to him. So he stopped going and got busy. Ezekhiel received a call every day from Simo to keep touch. And the latter always seemed to be busy but Ezekhiel never knew what he was doing. And he never asked either. He’s going somewhere. A smile appeared on his face.

The next day was Christmas Eve. Humanity was on stand by hoping that scientists were right about the white dwarf only brushing Earth. As the darkness came, people emptied the streets and cherished their probably last moments with their loved ones. Only one person dared to step outside: Simo was leaning over a tree, a book in his hands. He had a pile of books on his right and bunch of junk food on his left. Around 9 pm, as he finished the last pages of his book, something shone bright in the sky. Simo dropped his book and stood up. The fire created by the penetration of the white dwarf into Earth atmosphere grew bigger and bigger as it approached the ground. Simo stepped back a little. A huge deaf sound broke the silence of the night followed by a tremor that lasted four seconds. Smoke rose blocking the view. Few minutes later, Simo walked to the center of the agitation. The closer he approached, the more the dirt got thicker. He crouched near the impact: as he thought, the white dwarf’s size diminished as it went in contact with the atmosphere. It’s so small, now, he thought. Simo’s mind was atttracted by the space object. After his phase of observation, he reached out to touch it. The second his finger fondled the dead star, a wave of energy ejected Simo to ten feet, knocking him unconscious.

 

 

To Be Continued

Let me tell you a story (6)

Let me tell you a story

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

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

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

2021

Age: 15

Name: Christopher

Location: middle of a field in state of Kansas.

Event: the idea is growing in my mind.

Objectif: Eliminate Jonathan Pierce [COMPLETE]

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

TRIAL Num.3: FAILURE

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

To be continued

Let me tell you a story (5)

Let me tell you a story

I was pushed on the side. I hit the wall strongly. My chest was compressed making it hard for my lungs to pomp air. My vision started to get blurry. I could hear footsteps coming from the front door as my opponent punshed me in the face and knocked me out. I woke up tied up to a chair. Two persons were arguing in whispers in front of me.I recognized Eden. He looked angry. Facing him, a woman, around his age. Dark long hair. Blue eyes. Half-head smaller than Eden. I made a sound to notice them that I was awake. They shut up immediately and stared at me. They both walked towards me, then stopped at the same time. They looked at each other as a misunderstanding. Eden pulled a knife out of his pocket and came closer to me. My heartbeat went off. His face went close to mine, his arms surrounded me. He set me free. I backed up as fast as I could, kicking off the chair. We stayed in silence for thirty seconds before the woman started to talk: ‘What were you doing at that house?’ I remained silent as knockledge semed to be my only weapon. ‘He won’t talk.’ Eden said. The woman sighted. I glanced at her before staring at Eden. My eyes interrogated him on the situation. He took a deep breathe then started to walk away. ‘What’s the point of saving me if not to explain me what’s going on?’ As I yelled, the pain in my chest increased. The woman stared at me with a smile on her face. ‘You must be the protector. The constant factor. Mmh, he seems strong.’ She turned towards Eden but he was long gone. She sighed, kept silence for a moment then put eyes on me. She scanned me intensely and came closer. ‘Why are you protecting him?’ I was perplexed. My mind went blank: she took me off guard, I didn’t know the reason of my actions. So I stayed in silence, starring deep in her eyes. We stood still for a while. It looked like she knew the answer of her own question. She turned her back to me and walked away. ‘Follow us.’ I obeyed as there was nothing much I could do at this point. ‘Where to?’ – ‘Find him!’ she shouted from another room.

Days later, we were on our way to the fanatics hiding place. After checking many places, they seemed to be confident about the last spot. The woman was sitting in front of me. Her head was balancing from left to right, in rhythm. A smile appeared on her face when she noticed I was staring at her. Next to her was Eden, a stoic face on. A noise was pounding in my ears. I looked on my right: through a window, the landscape moved fast at a constant speed. I was on a train. After five minutes of heavy silent, I finally asked: ‘How do you know where Ethan is?’ Eden moved his head slightly to his right. The woman looked surprised: ‘Ethan? Who’s Ethan?’ I was surprised by her question.

From what I’ve learnt the past few days, she was from the same place as Eden. Her name: Sanaa. She seeked for the young boy for the same purpose: to save the world from its imminent end. She tried to convince me that they were the good guys in this story. She told me the same things Eden said. Excpet for one thing: ‘We are from the future.’ As I looked confused, she explained me that in her timeline, her reality, someone created a device that allowed anyone to travel through time. That’s how they end up in our present. Eden went to different years before this one but all of his actions have failed and didn’t change anything in their present. ‘The butterflies didn’t have the effects we expected.’ she said. I stayed perplex as she told me her story. Few qestions popped in my head. But Eden cut the conversation short.

I looked at him to have an explaination about her question, but as usual, he stayed silent. The woman stared at me: ‘How old is the person you’re protecting?’ I hesitated then replied: ’10’. She was in disbelief and turned to Eden. He avoided eye contact. ‘How much do you know about…this?’ I shook my head: ‘Not much.apparently’ I was hoping she would tell me more. But the heavy silence returned. I rolled my eyes and brought my attention back to the moving landscape. From time to times, I glanced at the bench facing me. They shared few quick looks during the entire trip. When we arrived at the terminus, they stood up simutaniously. The woman let me know to do the same. We walked out of the station, rented a car and drove. ‘How do you know where to look again?’ I asked. Eden checked with Sanaa before replying: ‘They are another constant in time. And they usually have a building hilled amongst others.’ I stared at him. ‘But, how do you know where to go. It’s not like there was just one place in this country that have a neighborhood full of buildings.’ He sighed. ‘Like any human, they have their places.’

Eden pulled over in a crowded parking lot. As I followed the time-travelers, I looked around. Rooftops were high up, the sun played hide and seek with their corpses. A stream of business men and women walked in and out of the buildings. We entered in one of them. It didn’t look like a group of excentric believers were making their stay here. The hall was large: on the left, there were sofas and chairs installed in front of a counter. The right side was filled with objects precautiously protected in shopwindows. ‘Hi! We have a meeting with the CEO.’ Sanaa said to the receptionist. The late one checked her agenda then smiled at us before showing us the way to the elevator. We went to the top where two bodyguards were waiting for us. They led us to an office, secluded from everything. The walls were white and naked. A red door broke the monotonousness of the corridor. Behind it, a desk in a middle of a room with four chairs around it. Like if they were waiting for us, me included. Eden and Sanaa took a seat, but I stayed on my feet. An old man was facing the wall, on the other side of the room. A clock was ticking in rhythm. The two bodyguards left as the old man turned around to face us. I looked at him. His eyes were closed as he walked towards us. As soon as he reached the table, Eden stood up, pulled out a gun and shot him. From the sound of firearm, the bodyguards rushed in. Sanaa knocked her chair off to turn around, a gun in her hand, and shot them both in between their eyes. Then the silence returned. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I yelled. Eden said he needed to die. I was astonished. ‘Why? Why need?’ They walked away. ‘You better come with us. Otherwise, the police will think you did this.’ I caught up to them. We went out of the building like nothing happened. And no one seemed to have noticed anything. Back in the car, Sanaa said that it was their only way to reach out to the fanatics. ‘But I thought, you knew where they were.’ Another silence. ‘You don’t know what you’re diong, admit it.’ They shared a look. ‘Great.’

Few hours later, Eden got out of the car, leaving Sanaa and I alone. She made sure he disappeared from her sight before turned to the backseat.

  • – ‘He was their leader.’

  • ‘The fanatics’ leader? And you just kill him like that?’

  • ‘Yeah.’

  • ‘Yeah? That’s it? Just ‘yeah’?’ She remained silent. ‘And how is it that nobody noticed anything? It doesn’t look like you got their attentions.’

As I said those words, Eden came out of an alley behind us. He was running. Very fast. On his tail, four men were running, armed to their teeth. Sanaa took place in the dirver seat immediatley. He rushed in the car: ‘Go.’ I turned back as we distanced ourselves: they were still running. A bullet landed in the glass right in front of me. I backed up as a reflex. ‘Why…What is going on?’ I screamed. ‘I think we have their attention now.’ she said, an arrogant smile on her face ‘And now, what?’ She stopped the car in the middle of the road, looked at me and got out. Eden did the same. They faced their ennemies, unafraid. ‘This is ridiculous.’ I stepped out as well, took a deep breathe and closed my fist to calm myself down. They slowed down to finally stop few meters from us. One of them stepped forward. ‘Eden. The infamous time-traveler. The protector. I don’t know you’re name. And… Who are you?’ He asked. I could see that her feelings got hurt a little bit. ‘His sister.’ I looked at her with wide eyes. His sister? ‘Don’t lie to me.’ the man said. ‘Where is Ethan?’ Eden asked. The man smiled then ordered one his friend to bring him something. It was a tablet. He turned it on and faced the screen towards us. We could see Ethan, calmy seating in a couch surrounded by women. ‘Cliché.’ Sanaa said. The man ignored her. ‘As you can see, the young boy is safe and sound. We don’t need you. The world doesn’t need you.’ As the words came out of his mouth, his friends behind him aimed their gun at us. I froze. I looked around. The population has stopped as well. They formed a large circle. Some of them used their phone to call the police, others used it to record the scene. My mind went back to the fanatics. Nobody moved. I slowly stepped away from everybody. As the distance in between us grew, I noticed the fanatics didn’t care about me. Sanaa glanced in my direction. My heart beated fast.

  • ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ Eden claimed.

    – ‘Oh, I think you’re wrong. We know exactly what we are doing. This boy is essential to our future. To our survival.’

  • ‘He’s going to kill us all.’

  • ‘He’s going to save us!’ The man lost his temper. He took a deep breathe and calmed down.

  • ‘Anger issues?’ Sanaa said. The man ignored her once again. Eden moved forward. The fanatics were on their guards. They made a step back.

  • ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ Eden repeated. The man took a gun from his back, charged it and pointed it to Eden’s head. I approached them. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t let that stranger kill him.

  • ‘Where is he?’ I asked. The man turned his head to me. He gave me a smile.

  • ‘I’ll bring him to you…As soon as i’m finished with him.’

A gunshot resonated from my left. The man froze and slowly fell backwards. The crowd panicked. They broke the circle and ran to get cover behind anything. Women screams were joined by police’s sirens. Cars surrounded us in seconds. Policemen aimed for us. They blocked all issues. I stared at Sanaa: her face was cold. Eden kept his eyes on the three armed men in front of him. They didn’t move a muscle but they were confused on what they should do next. ‘Why…?’ I whispered. As I was about to scream, yell at her, at Eden, at anyone around me, Eden move his hand as a sign to stay calm. I held my breathe. A police man ordered everyone to put their guns down. Sanaa obeyed without hesitation. The three men were standing still. When suddenly, they all decided to shoot. Eden and Sanaa didn’t blink. I crouched and covered my head. All police forces opened fire on them. In a minute, the fanatics were lying on the floor, blood flowing out of their bodies. The calm came back. Few whispers echoed in the street. I stood up. Policemen coffed us and put all three of us in the same car. A police man guarded us. I saw through the window CSI agents examinng the scene. I looked at Eden:

  • ‘Did they need to die too?’

  • ‘No.’ His face was serious. I almost could see fear in his eyes.

  • ‘We messed up.’ Sanaa said.

 

To be continued

Let me tell you a story (4)

Let me tell you a story

A week has passed since the horrible scene we had to witness. We found shelter in a seedy motel outside of the city. Ethan was finally sleeping without having nightmares. Unless he was trying to be brave and didn’t say anything about them. I watched the news on an old TV every morning, but they didn’t mention anything about the man’s suicide.

‘I remember everything! Where he came from! Who he is! And why he came back! I remember it all! All of it!…BANG!!’

That sound echoed in my mind, my heart beated faster and my hands were shaking. It took me a moment to remember that I was in calm and safe place. I looked at Ethan. His face rested peacefully. Silence reigned in the room. Thoughts were running in my head making it a loud place. What was his fault? Who was he? Who were them? What was everything? He said he remembered all of it. But what was all of it? Why did Eden come back? Come back. Back. Back? Back from where? I had too many unanswered questions. I needed answers.

After few hours, we went out to get breakfast at a cybercafé where there was free WIFI. As Ethan quietly ate his pancakes, I looked for the man’s name on the internet: Joshua Aikon. Which means Eden’s last name is Aikon. Unless he changed it. I typed his name on Google and slid to images. It was disturbing: something was odd about those pictures. I glanced at Ethan before putting my eyes on the screen again. I couldn’t point out what was so disrupting. I looked back and forth at Ethan and the screen for four minutes before it hit me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought my imagination played tricks on me. My face was frozen. My mind was about to explode. Questions fused. How could this be possible? I searched for an address to get the bottom of this once and for all. It was time for me to confront him face to face. But I found nothing. Surprising. As Ethan’s stomach was full, we left. I didn’t know where to go. I looked up. Clouds stopped falling upon us in pieces. A cold wind blew the street making everyone act like a turtle. My eyes gazed around. I felt lost. Overwhelmed. I needed to know what was going on. I needed answers.

I thought we had to leave the city, lead Eden out of town, on a more familiar ground. As we waited for the train to arrive, we walked around the station. The hall was crowded by travelers impatient to celebrate the new year with their second/chosen family. Everyone was excited and in a rush. They shoved us all around the place, at a point where I lost Ethan’s hand. I turned around to check up on him. I saw him drowning in the crowd but something was unusual. He tried to reach for my hand as I tried to reach for his. I saw his face. His eyes were wide open: he looked terrified. ‘JAMES!!’ It was the first time I heard his voice since his mother’s death. I swam in between bodies to catch him. I looked beyond to see who was pulling him. I couldn’t see their faces: they were masked, hoody on. They moved fast. Or I was too slow. They disappeared. In front of my eyes. I ran outside, scanned the area and spotted them. They forced Ethan to go in a black SUV then left as soon as the door closed. I ran after the car. Each step got me farther to it. The chase was unfair. I had to think fast: the registration plate.

MOR 4062

I was out of breathe. I repeated those letters and numbers in whispers. I stood in the middle of the streets for minutes until a driver honked at me. I slowly moved out of his way my eyes locked on their directions. I panicked. My respiration got faster as the seconds passed. People around me moved in slow motion. Until I saw him. Eden. Standing at ten feet in front of me. The world stood still. I didn’t kow what to do. Run? Kill? He came closer. I scanned his hands then looked up to his face. His lips were moving but I couldn’t hear anything. My chest hurt suddenly. My legs couldn’t carry me no more: I fell. He rushed to me and held my head before it hit the ground. My vision got blurry. I blacked out.

I woke up in an empty room, on the floor. Filthy floor. I could see footsteps drew all other the place. I followed them. They led to a mattress where someone was comfortably sitting. Eden. I sat down. My hands were free. I took a deep breathe, with ease. We stared at each other, scanning each of our moves and facials expressions. He had a gun. A silence has fallen for five minutes. His eyes. His eyes were like Ethan’s but filled with anger, coldness and, deep down, behind all of that, hidden, sadness. I was shocked. Joshua Aikon was right. Suddenly, he stood up and walked towards me. As he did so, I felt myself moving backwards. When he was close enough, he sat down. ‘Where is Ethan?’ His voice was calm and deep. I kept my eyes on him. As he figured I didn’t know, he put the gun on the floor next to him and put his head in his hands. I didn’t understand the reaction: he seemed disappointed. Another silence. He took a deep breath before looking at me in the eyes. ‘What’s the meaning of all this?’ I asked. He looked at his feet. His mind was somewhere else. He was focused. I waited for him to immerge from this trance. After a minute, he looked up. He didn’t seem to have any idea of what to do now either. He stood up and walked away. ‘Follow me.’ As I stayed in silence, he continued: ‘We’re going to find him.’ I stood up and obeyed. I followed him in the next room where four computers were installed. He sat down in front of the screens. ‘Do you remember anything about them?’ he asked as he typed really fast like he was showing off. I stayed in silence. A footage of the train station popped up on the screen on the left. He kept on typing. The video rewound. It came back to few hours ago. I could see myself running in vain. ‘Still nothing’s coming back?’ The camera angle changed. He was scanning the screen, searching for Ethan. He froze the image on a black SUV driving away from the entrance. Then zoomed on the plate but it was too blur. He breathed loudly to express his exasperation. He zoomed out then stared at the screen for a while. He turned to me with piercing eyes:

  • ‘What’s the registration plate?’ I glanced at the screen behind him. He paused on an image of me staring at the vehicule. My attention went back to Eden.
  • ‘Why should I help you?’ He stayed silent. ‘You want to kill Ethan, don’t you? Then why should I help you find him?’ A silent passed.

  • ‘Tell me.’ It was my turn to hide behind a silent. ‘They will kill him.’

  • ‘So will you.’ He sighed.

  • ‘I’m the one who needs to kill him. Otherwise…’ He looked away.

  • ‘Otherwise what?’

  • ‘Otherwise, the world will come to an end.’ His eyes were deep in mines. ‘Now, tell me what is the plate?’

  • ‘No. You are going to explain me everything. Concisely and clearly.’ Silence.

  • ‘You don’t need to know anything.’

  • ‘I… I spend the last few months taking care and keeping safe a boy – I barely know – that you’re eager to kill. I haven’t had a, a good, peaceful and, most importantly, resting night of sleep for a long time. I almost got killed way too many times for an ordinary human being. I spend most of my time running from YOU! Who I know nothing about excpet for a freaking name and a face! Who wants to kill me and a ten-year-old boy who has done nothing but hiding his entire life and, and who has lost his mother right before his eyes because you snipped her! And for what reason? So that the world doesn’t come to an end? So that we can preserve this planet Earth for, for, for, for how long? Few more decades until something else’s gonna come up? That’s the most shitty answer I’ve ever heard! The world will come to an end. That is an obvious statement. Humanity is not made to last, otherwise we would be immortal. But it dosn’t give you any right to shorten the life of an innocent boy or anyone else… So I don’t think you’re allowed to tell me what I need to know or not.’ I caught my breath. ‘Now. Explain me everything. Concisely and clearly.’ He stared at me. ‘Fine. I’ll find him myself.’

  • ‘There will be a moment in his life where he will want to change the world. He will create something – I don’t know what – that will help him do so. I have to kill him before he has the idea.’

  • ‘What makes you say that this idea will end the world.’

  • ‘I just know.’

  • ‘How?’ He remained silent. ‘Fine. Who took Ethan?’

  • ‘A group of fanatics who wants him to change the world. Some sort of sect, if you will.’

  • ‘Fanatics?… So if they want him to create… something, they don’t want him dead…? But you do. So why…’

He stood up. His fists were closed tightly. It was clear that he tried to contain his emotions but the look in his eyes betrayed him. He was angry. He let a long moment pass before returning to his computers. I stood there watching his back then turned around and walked away. As I went through the door, I glanced one last time behind me and disappeared in the staircase. He’s letting me go

As soon as I got out of the building I was held in, I started to walk around without paying attention to my environment. My mind was lost in Eden’s words. The end of the world will be caused by Ethan…? What to think about that? Was I protecting the wrong person? Am I an actor in our selfdestruction? More questions were raised. When I immerged from my thoughts, I found myself in a crowded street, in the middle of the road. The sun was high in the sky, its rays reflecting on the snow. Some people had smiles on their face, laughing uproariously. Some people were hangovering from partying too much the night before. I slowed my pace to finally stop. I looked up. The strong light blinded me instantly. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and:

  • ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!’

All eyes were on me for two seconds, accompanied by a silence. Then the population went back to their discussions. I looked down at my feet but I could feel few people whispering and glancing at me. I felt relieved. My belly was making noises. I scanned around to locate me: I was lost. All shops were closed.It’s the first day of a new year after all. I kept on walking straight hoping to come across a McDonalds. As I looked on my left at a corner, I found the famous red and yellow sign. I entered, ordered and took a seat next to a window. Probably a bad idea. I ate, my mind emptied itself. My thoughts were gone. I zoned out for an hour. When I came back to my senses, I walked towards a pollice station. I came in and talked to a woman at the reception. I made up a story to get information about the owner of the SUV. I was convincing enoughto get a name: Sam Johnson. From that I easely found an adress. It was in the middle of nowhere. A small house, outside of the town, surrounded by fields. The neighborhood was inexistant. I looked through the window. Dirt covered the floor, furnitures and floated in the air. No one seemed to live there for a long time. The door was unlocked. As I walked around trying to find any clue of Ethan’s whereabouts, a car pulled over. I ran to the window to see who could it be. Three men came out of the vehicule. Not a SUV. They came closer to the front door. Fortunately, I had the good reflex to close it behind me. I hid in a closet between the living room and the kitchen. I heard them enter. They stopped immediately. There were whispers, then one of them went upstairs. My footprints! My heartbeat got faster as I heard them walking around cautiously. They checked every room. After a moment, the third one joined the others. They whispered again. One of them approached my location. I saw the handle turning. I felt a sweat coming down my temples. The door opened slightly. I prepared myself to fight. I hoped they didn’t have guns but I knew it was a foolish idea. I stepped back as much as I could. At the same moment, I heard three gun shots. I froze instantly. I waited. Patience. There were three shots, which means a fourth person made his entrance. Adrenaline rushed in my body as the sounds of footsteps getting closer to me resonated in the empty house. The door opened widly. I barely saw a silhouette that I have tackled him.

To be continued