Life (5)

Life

The next day, Karen woke up to the sounds of Sarah’s parents’s arrival. She quickly stood up to introduce herself. They exchanged a look of indignation and sorrow. She gave them a moment alone with their daughter. On her way out, Karen caught a piece of conversation between an officer and Dr. O’Neill. A name was dropped. She walked to the reception and asked for a room number under the name of Jamal Clifford. At his door, two agents were standing and scrutinizing each person that were passing by. Karen asked few questions to them but they remained silence.

‘It’s for an essay. I’m a student in journalism at Sung University. I have an article to write about a fresh event in order for us to learn the ropes of getting informations from the police and other sources right on the spot.’

‘How’s it going so far?’ the officer asked, a point of sarcasm in his voice.

‘Ok, i guess. I mean, i did manage to find this room number. Come on! Help a student out! It’s not like it’s going to actually make the news. It’s just for class.’ The man took a moment to think, staring at the young lady in front of him. As seconds went by, her eyes softened his mind.

‘What do you want to know?’ A huge smile appeared on her face.

‘So, what happened to the guy inside?’

‘He was beaten up by someone. He don’t want to say who.’

‘So, he’s speaking.’ The officer nodded. ‘Did he say something about why he was attacked?’ The man’s expression changed: he looked amused.

‘You apparently know more than you pretend to. What are your real questions? I think it’s best if you are just direct.’

‘Ok. Did he say anything about Sarah Jefferson?’

‘He admitted to assault her.’ Karen froze. ‘He will be charge for a first degree assault and murder in the next few days, as soon as he gets out of hospital, if Sarah Jefferson doesn’t wake up.’ Karen looked down, then something attracted her attention on her right: a familiar silhouette drowned in the flow of medical personel.

‘And if she wakes up? What happens to the murder charges?’

‘The prosecutor will change it in attempt of murder.’

Karen left the officer without another word to return to Sarah’s room. As she approached the room, she saw John and Charlotte waiting in the hall. She interrogated her friend with her eyes. Charlotte brought her finger to her mouth. Minutes later, a policeman and the surgeon in charge walked out. Both of them gave a look to John who stood up straight. Shortly after, Sarah’s father stormed out. John tracked him with his eyes, waited for the father to disappear in a contiguous corridor before following his steps. Sarah’s father stopped his walk on the third floor where two police agents prevented him to go further. John pulled out his phone and dialed: ‘Chris? He’s moving.’ Then hung up. As he turned around to go back to Sarah, he bumped into Karen. ‘What’s up?’ he asked.

‘What’s going on?’ John let a moment of silence pass.

‘You saw her. You know what is going on.’ They stared at each other.

‘How are you and Chris involved?’

‘I can’t tell you that. Not yet.’ He left her on those words.

‘What? Why? And what does that even mean?’

 

The following friday, Karen visited her friend again, hoping to see her wide awake. Outside of her room, Mr. Jefferson seemed to be in a deep, serious conversation with a hooded man. Tears appeared in his eyes as he nodded to his interlocutor. When Karen was close enough, the hooded man mildly turned his head before evacuating the hallway. Right before a wall blocked her view, a quick eye-contact made Karen go after him but the latter already vanished. She questionned Mr. Jefferson but he claimed that it didn’t concern her. The same night, Karen convinced the Jeffersons to let her spend the night by Sarah’s side. She tried to pull an all-nighter but her mind had no power over her body and she fell asleep.

‘She still doesn’t wake up.’ A voice irrupted. ‘What should we do? At this rate, someone’s gonna notice something.’

In the silence, Karen’s consciousness surfaced. She heard movement around her then the darkness of her eyelid lightnened up.

‘Are you sure? I know you promised her father but… what about yours?’ Another voice said.

The light disappeared. As footsteps echoed in the room, Karen opened her eyes and caught one of them in the door frame. She recognized him: ‘Chris?’ The latter turned around. ‘What are you doing here?’ He watched her standing up then turned away. She followed his look: Sarah woke up. ‘Sarah!?’ That quick second was enough for Chris to disappear.

Karen rushed outside of the room to get a nurse then ran back to her friend. The neurologist checked her pupils and asked her some questions before explaining her briefly her situation. Her parents were called and arrived an hour later. ‘She is responsive. We’re going to keep her few more days under observation to make sure nothing is wrong. But…’ He looked perplexed. He glanced at the parents: tears streamed down Mrs. Jefferson’s face as she squeezed her daughter’s hand tightly, and Mr. Jefferson allowed himself to crack a smile. He walked to the neurosurgeon, opened his arms and pulled the latter against him: ‘Thank you… Thank you so much.’ he whispered as he chocked the doctor. When he released him, the neurologist felt the change of atmosphere: the severe and taciturn man became a jolly father relieved to get his little girl back.

Karen watched the scene few steps back. She couldn’t stop smiling as she texted Charlotte the news. When she looked up again, she noticed the concerned face of the doctor. She scanned the man as something bothered her. He looks like someone i know. What’s his name again?’

The surgeon remained speechless after hearing the man’s words. He immediately understood that they weren’t meant for him. Chris. What have you done?

 

 

To be continued

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Life (4)

Life

‘Call me a doctor! I need a doctor!!’ John shouted as he entered the emergency’s hall, Sarah in his arms. Unconscious. Around him, patients and visitors stared at him, frozen in time. A woman in white ran toward him while instructing John to put her on a bed before stepping aside. She checked her vitals, plugged tubes in her before establishing a course of action.

‘I want a CT and a X-ray! Let’s go, people!’ She ordered. ‘You! Tell me what happened to her.’ she stopped to ask as her team headed to the elevator. John stood there in silence, breathless, his eyes locked on Sarah. ‘Hé!! What happ…’. A disruption attracted her attention. John turned around: a young man stumbled in, disfigured and blood coming out of his mouth profusely. John stared at him, memorizing the pitiful state of the young man. A second doctor ran to him for an examination. The female doctor understood that there was a relation between them, then asked an intern to call the police and keep an eye on John: ‘You! Stay here until the police arrives.’ She caught up with her patient and disappeared behind the door of steal.

‘Are you hurt? Are you bleeding from somewhere?’ The intern asked. John looked at his shirt and realized a red stain covered his chest. He shook his head: ‘I’m fine.’ Minutes later, two policemen made their entrance at the hospital. They briefly spoke to chief of surgery before turning their attention to John.

‘Are you the one who brought the young girl?’ One of the officers asked. John nodded. ‘What’s your name?’

‘John Smith.’

‘What’s the victim’s name and what are your relationship with her?’

‘Sarah Jefferson. She’s a friend of mine.’

‘What happened?’ John took a moment to answer.

‘I don’t know. I found her on my way to a friend’s house.’

‘Where?’

‘An alley, next to Luther Street. I heard someone begging for help. So i went to check and i saw her, lying in her blood.’ As he said those words, he tried to contain a wave of anger. The officer noticed his effort.

‘Luther street. It’s far from here. Did you carry her all the way?’ John couldn’t believe what the officer was implying.

‘I didn’t beat her up, if that’s what you mean.’ The officer locked his eyes on his with a smirk.

‘And do you know the other victim?’

‘No. Never saw him.’ The officer scanned his facial expression again then took notes.

‘We’ll stay in touch.’ As he walked away, John grabbed his phone and dialed a number.

‘Where are you?’

 

The night was early and everything was ready: chips and crackers shared a bed on the table, next to slice of carots and small pieces of sausages. Drinks were separated on another table behind the couch. Lamps were on and a background music filled the room. Spider webs, carved pumpkins and fake ghosts were thrown at every corner of their home.

‘We’re over prepared.’ Charlotte claimed.

‘As always.’ Karen replied.

A phone vibrated on the table. Karen looked at it, her eyes widened in disbelief of the words she was reading: ‘Something happened to Sarah.’ She grabbed her coat, threw Charlotte’s to her and rushed her into a cab to the hospital. When they arrived, they were asked to sit tight in the waiting room until the doctors show up. An hour later, two surgeons came out of a restricted area. Their faces seemed exhausted and closed.

‘Where is the kid?’ A woman asked. ‘The one who brought Sarah Jefferson?’

‘He left a while ago. He said that someone else will come for her.’ A nurse replied.

‘Friend, my ass. Alright. Is anybody here waiting for Sarah Jefferson?’ Karen and Charlotte stood up simultaneously. ‘I am Dr. O’Neill, i am the surgeon in charge of your friend’s case. She had an internal bleeding that we were able to locate  and stop. She also has few broken ribs and a broken arm but she made it through the surgery. She is stable, now.’

‘And i am Dr. Turner, neurosurgery. She had a severe bleeding in her brain and a concussion.’ He paused. ‘She is in a coma, for now, but, like Dr. O’Neill, just said: she is stable.’

‘But she will be fine?’ Karen asked. The two surgeon paused and exchanged a look. ‘What? What is it?’

‘Don’t keep us on tenterhooks. Tell us!’ Charlotte became impatient.

‘She will be fine… if she wakes up.’ The neurosurgeon said. ‘Does she have any family we can call?’

‘We already called her parents. They’re taking the first flight in the morning.’ Karen said.

‘Do you wish to see her?’ Dr. Turner asked.

Both girls nodded and followed the doctor to Sarah’s room. A religious silent reigned when they came in. Only the monitor, she was attached to, echoed in rhythm like a bell. She seemed peaceful and yet her body screamed the opposite: a tube came out of her mouth, her head was covered with bandages, her arm was in a cast and her eyes swollen. Charlotte burst into tears.

They decided to spend the night at the hospital and stay on the look out for the moment their friend will open her eyes. As the moon followed its trip in the darkness of space, the adrenaline fueling the girls’s hearts stopped, knocking them to sleep.

In the middle of the night, a noise woke Karen up. The silence of the recovery service was peaceful and scary at the same time. She mildly opened her eyes: the door was semi-closed, allowing light from the hallway to come in. An unusual glow appeared over the bed: someone was standing near Sarah, his hands upon her head. What? A noise attracted Karen’s attention to her left. Another person was leaning against the wall, his hands in his pockets and his head plunged into a hoody. The latter turned to her: they exchanged a look but her eyes were heavy and closed by themselves. As she fell back into Morpheus’s arms, it struck her: she has seen those eyes before.

 

To be continued

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

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.

Life (1)

Life

*Biip*

Yo! Chris! We’re waiting on you! It’s time for you to show up, now.’

*Biip*

Me again. You’re still not here. Come on, man, you said you’ll come. Don’t become someone you don’t like. Aka a liar, in case you didn’t get that one.’

*Biip*

Alright, it has been about… two hours, i give you five more minutes before i bring everyone to your place. And by everyone, I mean the entire bar.’

*Biip*

Three minutes left.’

*Biip*

A minute and a half.’

The place was crowded, dimmed lamp enlightened each table spread in the six hundred square feet of space. Some people focused on the glass in front of them hoping their worries and troubles would drown in it. Some people remained in their circles of friends. Most people searched for some excitement and entertainment for the night, eyeing and judging each other. A low music filled the background and blanks left by conversations.

Once he stepped in the bar, Chris was hit by a wall of heat. He made his way through standing customers, waiting for available tables, to join his stalker at the other side of the room. As he walked closer, he noticed that three girls had been enrolled in the group. One of them stared at him.

‘You’re here!! Finally. It only took seven calls, five voicemail and a dozen of texts. But hey! You made it!’ John said. The young man looked like he just had a fresh haircut with shades on the side and a little bit more length on the top. He was wearing a dark T-shirt with a ‘BB’ design on his left pocket, a black pair of jeans and grey snickers that matches with his snapback put on the table. Despite his dark outfit, John was actually a very joyful person. He stood up to greet his friend. They were around the same height, then he turned his back around and introduced him to the three incomers: ‘This is Chris, the one we were talking about. The one who never goes out.’ He glanced to his right. Piercing eyes were staring through him. He smiled then turned to the girls again: ‘And this is Karen, Charlotte and Sarah. They’re students, just like us.’. Simultaneously, they nodded and smiled. An awkward silent invested the atmosphere around them for few seconds, where Chris scanned the strangers in front of him. Once he was done making his judgment, he turned to his left and acknowledged the rest of his friends. He interrogated one of them with his eyes.

‘Yeah, I’m here too. Night off for my brain, I was about to go crazy.’ Malcolm said. He was in his third year of medical school and for the past few months, he had his nose deep into books and papers. He lived under the light of his lamp, sunlight becoming an utopia. ‘Why you decided to show up?’ he asked but Chris already diverted his look to the room around him, ending the conversation short. John sensed a discomfort on the girls’s face and immediately engaged a new topic of discussion, distracting them from Chris.

The latter never liked the attention, ever since they were kids, despite the fact that he’s always been under the spotlight: basketball team captain, major of each of his class, good looking, son of a surgeon and a lawyer. A born leader. But it aggravated since they reconnected in college. He immured himself in a heavy silence. In two years, his face didn’t crack for a laugh or a smile. Their way of communication was limited to texts and gazes. John thought that the drastic change was due to an event that occurred during their senior year of high school, where he went MIA. He was tempting to ask questions but knowing the man, John figured he will isolate himself even more.

‘Where is he?’ Malcolm wondered.

‘He left five minutes ago’ John replied.

‘He just got here.’. John raised his eyebrows and glanced successively at the empty seat in front of him and the exit behind him. One of their new friends was also missing.

Her pace was in between running and walking fast. On her way out, she knocked few people’s arms, spitting their drinks on them. When she emerged in the fresh air of October, she found him standing on the sidewalk, his gaze up in the sky. She walked closer to him. Her heels betrayed her ninja’s skills making Chris turn around. They exchanged a long look.

‘Hi!’ She paused, hoping he’d reply, but nothing. She glanced behind her, slightly shook her head with a smile: ‘You’re not staying?’. A breeze blew between them.

‘I don’t like crowds’ he replied. Karen was surprised: first because when his friends described him, they said he doesn’t speak at all. And second because his voice was calm, warm and oddly soft. Another silence settled.

‘Why did you come, then?’ she asked. No answer. She felt her heart pounding against her chest and her palms being a little bit moist: she was anxious. Why? A vibration on her thigh made her jump. She looked down then realized it was her phone. She searched in her handbag, pulled her phone out, stared at the unlocked screen then put it back almost immediately. She looked up at Chris, his hands in his pockets, a hoody covering half of his head and his eyes locked on her. When she showed signs of discomfort, he looked away. Her mind panicked, thinking of ways to decipher the character.

‘Do you need to go back in?’ he asked.

‘No. I don’t feel like it.’ She answered. ‘Do you have some other place to be?’ Chris blanckly stared at her. ‘Can you walk me home?’

 

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 (13)

Time

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

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

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

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

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

– ‘Waiting, i know.’

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

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

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

– ‘My bad. I wanted to know…’

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

To be continued

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