The color of water

Today is suicide prevention day. Following the suicide of a friend some years ago, I told you about my attempt. Today I just take this opportunity to pay homage to her with this little unpretentious fiction.

The color of water

Jeg savner dig så meget

The water seemed beautiful to her, Maggie planted her tiptoe there. After three long hours of walking under the August sun punctuated by her brother’s grunts, she wanted more than anything to dive there into this transparency: to wash her body of the sweat that ran from her neck to her lower back. and the head under water, not to hear any more its jeremiads. The picnic and the first hike traditionally marked the beginning of a family summer vacation.

The Copenhagen apartment abandoned for two weeks, a journey traced, organized, timed, from the month of January by the mother had begun. But from summer to summer, disconnecting from everyday life became less easy. Parents always found an excuse to check their emails, from work or parent-teacher associations, whatever! Thomas anchored his headphones to his ears at length, only Maggie survived without wires, connected only to the nature around her, looking up at the peaks and the foliage, listening to those of the birds which did not fly away frightened by the disputes about the next stage chosen… She walked with her eyes in the green, in search of a soothing rhythm, her head still too full of the metallic noises of the city.

No need to strive to carry on any conversation whatsoever during this forced march; and then anyway, with Thomas, no more discussion was possible: paradoxically, he seemed to be angry with the whole world since he had won the congratulations of the jury in the final exams of “Gymnasium”*, and the earth whole, it started with her twin who she had only just passed her exam in June. Their aspirations were like disjointed without them really realizing it themselves.

The young girl brought up the rear because she was lingering longer. “Stop hanging around, slug! his father had repeated all morning. Maggie no longer heard, she breathed in, inhaled the smell of dry thorns and smiled at the butterflies in the tall grass, trying to guess the shape of the pebbles under her shoes. Why come this far if it was to run again? In order to be able to hold forth in society in September: we swallowed so many kilometers, on a terrible drop in altitude in less than a fortnight! Competition was the very essence of his parents. We didn’t play tennis: we had to be ranked; we didn’t cook: we made the recipes of the great chefs; we didn’t play the piano: we went to the conservatory…

They had settled down under the welcoming and generous shade of an umbrella pine. Her mother’s pride would come out of her backpacks: terrines, a seasonal vanilla fruit tart, an organic fruit juice, nothing but homemade! So Thomas might grumble that he would have preferred a sandwich, crisps and coke.
Maggie was not hungry. She took off her oversized T-shirt and her sports pants, put them next to her shoes. She entered the wave gradually, she seemed afraid to disturb the clear and soft expanse that enveloped her and engulfed her as delicately as a silk blanket, her silhouette was so frail. The young girl swam in apnea as long as she could, underwater, her weight vanishing. When she stuck her head out, she was halfway between the two banks.

She stared on her back then sat up to scrutinize the couple formed by her parents. Neither of them spoke or touched. Like the evenings in the living room. Like the mornings in the kitchen. They exchanged only in the presence of the weekend guests transformed in spite of themselves into relays of the conjugal word a formidable couple, Erik and Cathie! They are on all fronts, everything is successful for them, nothing ever frightens them, nothing is impossible! Cathie had double the work, you think with twins!

Thomas, giving in to his perpetual bad mood, had dissociated himself from the now ill-matched duo, sitting on a dead trunk lying down; she could only make out his already hunched back. She turned and in a slow breaststroke headed for the opposite sandy edge. The more she moved away from them, the more her breathing calmed down. Her heart seemed to be beating better, less painful. Her muscle mass having melted in recent months, the physical efforts were beginning to cost her. But there, between the drops, she felt lighter, almost gone. If Erik and Cathie had taken the time to raise their heads, her naked thinness would have pierced their eyes, her protruding ribs, her sharp elbows and the hole in his belly, her body so thin that she trembled at the slightest breath, they would have looked at their girl ghost, failing to touch the truth.

Maggie totally crossed the river in the carrier current, on the other side, she sat down and tried to take stock. If she went deeper into the forest now, when would they realize she was missing? She didn’t want to worry them, but something in there was consuming her, a force that unbalanced her while pushing her beyond the boundaries set by her family. When one is not armed for life, what escape route is there? When the abyss awaits you, where to hide? She plunged discreetly into the wood; For a long time, she did not meet anyone.

— Thomas, have you seen Maggie? inquired Cathie, who was handing her son a slice of pie.
— She doesn’t need to be watched, Mom!
— She must have stayed a bit behind, added Erik, as usual!

Thomas approached the water and picked up his sister’s small bundle of clothes. The shimmer of the sun on the undulating surface created flashes, blinded him. On the other bank, he thought he saw a small family set up to have a picnic as well. Parents and children sitting by the river had fun trying to ricochet. Their flat pebbles dipped unfailingly and yet they laughed.

The End

Maggie, vi har savnet dig i mange år allerede og alligevel havde vi ikke set dit ubehag. Jeg håber, at hvor du er nu, hviler du i fred.

Ethereal Stories: Rebirth

A personal version of my favorite Andersen tale. I hope you will like it.

Rebirth

I

I am different. I have always been. For my mother, it’s as if I were an extra-terrestrial. But having no place among those hanging around on a mound of dirt doesn’t seem so bad, when you have the whole sea as your home…
If I could properly redefine the terms myself, I would say that they were similar to each other; not that I was different. They were the ones who looked nothing like me; who had neither my ardor nor my boldness.

At the first rays of the sun across the big blue, you had to be up already, doing the healthy breaststrokes of the morning, in order to thank the day for having put an end to one more night; in our beliefs it meant that the end of the world was still far away.
In this precise order, you had to let the whales, huge and graceful, pass first. Then came the turn of sea turtles, accompanied by molluscs. Afterwards, in a rainbow torrent, a whole flock of diverse, multicolored fish rained down, some more cheerful than the others. And finally, the parade of mermaids, in well-ordered rows, from our coastal cave to the coral reef, without forgetting to always throw the first fin stroke from left to right. Always ! This, orchestrated with the most perfect harmony in the azure and salty blue of an awakening sea.
“Stand up straight on your tail! I heard my mother grumble every morning. “Brows up! All, without exception, gave themselves up with grace and zeal to this abominable morning masquerade. And to close the show, it took hours to harvest enough seaweed for the day’s meals. Aren’t they fed up? As soon as I reached puberty, I withdrew from these activities. My rebellious behavior had ended up driving a wedge first between my mother and me, then between the other mermaids and me. The difference was scary. They didn’t look like me, so they kicked me out.

II

I liked it better in my corner of the sea, waving my massive tail softly, my beautiful brush set with precious stones in my hands, languidly combing my abundant hair. I had found a secluded, deep space not far from the reef where I could snuggle up in the hold of an old ship that had sunk. He was massive. Wonderful. He bore his name well; “La Santa Ma…” printed on its side. The Santa Madonna? Santa Marianna? Santa Maria…? That was all that was legible; “La Santa Ma”… The rest had been erased, and destroyed. I wonder what hair-raising adventure this boat has had… At its prow stood a magnificent woman’s trunk; she had a haughty bearing, her arm firmly raised, and her hair frozen in the direction of the wind. Sometimes I tried to talk to her, to find out her story, but she kept the secret of her eternity to herself, her gaze lost in the distance.
Time crashed heavily like waves as I hid in this haven. I contented myself with swallowing what fell under my fins; small crustaceans, worms, sometimes even shrimp hidden here and there in the hold of the boat. But no algae. I could no longer bear this vegetal taste which marked in bitter letters the dreary and monotonous existence of a siren. There had to be something more than just existing. And one night, I discovered it.
The Big Blue had fallen into a deep sleep that night. Inky night on land, and under sea. Only the distant glow of a timid moon glided over the almost motionless surface of the water; grain of light in my salty night.

III

Not a single small fish in sight. Everything was sleeping. Except those above….
Suddenly I felt a call. From the top. He was powerful. Like a punch to the heart. He was almost overpowering my own will. I perceived moreover, a metallic scent, delicious, new, that I did not know. I soared towards that call, cutting through the sea. I carefully stuck my head out of the water, dazzled by mysterious hymns emitted to the tribal sound of the drum, by a crowd of restless earthlings dressed in white. One of them saw me and exclaimed:

— There it is…the water spirit! She heard us!

Saying this, he grabbed an empty conch shell and began to blow with all his might. A bewitching sound made me shiver and prompted me to reveal myself then in full to them, erect on my large shimmering emerald tail, garlands of pearls at my belt. They were much smaller than in my memories, these earthlings. Dead silence. They all knelt down. Except one, waist deep in water, who seemed to implore me with a whimper. He was restrained by heavy chains. Looking at him I understood that he had been beaten. The metallic smell became stronger, more insistent, so I approached him, looking for the source of this intoxicating aroma that had pulled me out of my hole. Staring at his dripping wrist, I then discovered that red, throbbing elixir tickling my gills from the depths.

— What is your name, spirit?! I was shouted
— I am Simbi, I answered.
— Accept our sacrifice, mistress of the waters, and give us back the rain!

How? ‘Or’ What ? I was just a simple mermaid. What power did I have over nature to the point of extracting the rain from it alone?
I had never touched a hair of an earthling; but by the time I came to my senses, there was nothing left but chains reddened by the feast I had just enjoyed. I had crunched many times, while an explosion of new flavors made me vibrate from my claws to the tip of my cock. I cheerfully licked my fingers, my arms, my lips. I wanted more, I wanted more…I approached the shore, beckoning the other earthlings to join me in the scarlet water…
A flash of lightning streaked across the sky. And the clouds began to cry, the birth of a sea monster…

The End

Ethereal Stories : Connected Beings

I don’t know why, I wanted to write about a love story for some time. Surely a consequence of the sentimental desert in which I have been wandering for some time now! 😅
I promise I didn’t write a touching romantic story and I think the ending might surprise you.
Good reading guys.

Connected Beings


I

What sets them apart has always been sentiment. Some simulate them, others live them. For 137 years now that the android and Man have shared the same planet, their relations have evolved considerably. From docile and submissive servants, they became confidants, sometimes even friends, then even more so for some. But the feeling will inevitably remain this irremediable difference, this gap separating the room made of nuts and bolts from a living heart.

Robots, by definition, are predictable. Their simulacra of emotions are designed, programmed by humans, and if the physical difference is less and less perceptible, the robots gradually becoming androids, then humanoids, perfectly imitating the appearance of a man, their emotions are predictable. In fact, their behavior is reassuring, comforting. They don’t rebel. Unless they are designed for that. They don’t surprise us. Unless we program them for. They carry out orders. And to perfection. They don’t balk, ever. They exist. For us.

II

This state of affairs was what Margot was looking for. Like others before her, like many before her, she had suffered the pangs of bad relationships. She had been heartbroken by the unpredictability of men. The idea initially seemed crazy to her – how can you fall in love with a machine? – but in 2315, this kind of questioning was rare. Humanoid/human relations, if they were not yet the norm, were much more tolerated than during the last century. Mentalities had evolved since the generation of his parents.

Moreover, with the latest updates, humanoids now even simulated the vital needs of humans, they fed themselves and went so far as to imitate sleep to recharge themselves. The very existence of these couples, unable to procreate, had also helped save humanity from overpopulation, ending centuries of deprivation.

Also, when her friend Constance told her about a dating hologram site (impossible to find true love? Schedule it to measure! Satisfaction guaranteed!), she didn’t hesitate for long. She had thus quickly made contact with a holographic secretary who, following a long series of questions and personality tests, had presented her with the ideal humanoid, Henri.

III

Henri wasn’t just perfect for her, Henri was literally made for her. She hadn’t had to play games, hadn’t had to seduce him. She hadn’t had to force herself, hadn’t had to lie. She was herself, and he accepted her, he was designed for that, for her. He responded to all her requests, he executed each of her desires. After the chaos that her romantic life had been, Margot was reborn. And thanks to a humanoid, a robot, an artificial being.

During the first times, this thought did not leave her. How can one love a fictional being? Is it even possible? Madame Bovary would certainly approve. But according to the snippets of memories Margot had of her ancient literature lessons, the story had not ended very well for her.

Despite everything, Margot gradually began to surrender to this relationship. It started with small things: she took pleasure in no longer waking up alone in her bed. She liked to take his hand when they walked down the street. She found herself thinking of him when she was working. She surprised herself because she missed him.

The relationship was just like what Margot had always been looking for. Simple, without complications, without this undeniable phase that every couple goes through where one tries to hurt the other. They didn’t argue, or at least enough so that, as Margot had requested during Henri’s programming, their relationship remained credible on a day-to-day basis. Henri was there, his very existence was dedicated to him. She was happy, finally.

IV

Having children had never interested him. She wanted to live for herself, not to be at the service of another being who would deform her body and cost her all her time and energy by even coming into the world. So being with Henri was the perfect solution, and Love at First Contact guaranteed to schedule it without her ever having to. The illusion had to be perfect, never show any flaws.

She managed to forget that he wasn’t human. His reactions, his attentions, what he seemed to desire, everything in him breathed life, and if Margot had been afraid, from her previous contacts with humanoids, that carnal contact was not natural and broke the imposture, Henri’s skin, his eyes, his hair, his mouth, everything seemed authentic, everything felt authentic. The simulacrum was perfect, the lie became a reality, a utopia.

V

The years passed. Quiet, sweet, peaceful years.

If his friends were surprised at first by this choice of life, they quickly understood. Men remained far too complex mysterious beings and Henri made Margot happy, that’s all they asked for, that was enough for them, they accepted it.

It was less simple for her parents, who however ended up getting used to it over time when they saw their daughter blooming. The subject was only brought up during a few jokes from his brother during Sunday family meals.

Margot was aging well, her hair didn’t stand white, and the wrinkles didn’t seem to find a hold on her face. Henri meanwhile was getting older, and it showed. His laughter was now written in the corner of his eyes, his hair had taken on a salt and pepper hue, his hands were becoming more gnarled. Margot had probably asked for real-time aging, but with her time she forgot about it.

But after a few decades of relationship, she came to consider changing the model. Henri’s programmed nature still appealed to her on a day-to-day basis – which she could always keep afterwards – but the physical aspect became less attractive over time. If her holographic interview was now far in her past, she was convinced that she would never have asked for it with a belly for her old age, as small as she was. The illusion was becoming too perfect and she preferred to stay in her simulation.

Epilogue

As a courtesy, a strange thing when you’re talking to a machine, which she considered almost like a human now, she warned him one morning in April that she was going to contact the agency again to do what she called in her mind a “youthful update”, but which she formulated in front of Henri as an “improvement in their relationship” (could the humanoids be offended?):

— You will not be able to get what you want my dear, Henri replied calmly.
— We have the means. I know humanoids earn less than humans, but I’ve been saving up for a while, I’ve inquired about prices. I still want you, your spirit, everything we’ve been through together, I’ll only ask for a physical change.
— Honey, how old are you?
— 48 years old in three months, you know it well, we’ve been together for more than 20 years!”

Margot did not understand where Henri was coming from. He remained oddly calm but his answers made no sense to her. Was his programming starting to have flaws? Bugs?

— And how are you physically?” Henri continued to question her.
— Well…I’m lucky, my mother is still very well preserved for her age, we have good genes in the family.
— Margot, you don’t have any wrinkles or gray hairs. You are never sick, never exhausted. You always sleep well. You are always happy.
— Yes, thanks to you! What do you want to tell me ?!

Henri walked over to her, made her sit down on one of the chairs in their dining room and took her hands in his. He looked her straight in the eye:

— Margot, you can’t get what you want because I’m not a robot. You are you. You are a model humanoid designed not to know that he is a robot. How can we best simulate a feeling? Quite simply by being persuaded to live it. The illusion became perfect because the subject would not be aware of lying. The lie is no longer a lie when it is unconscious.
— But… well… it’s impossible,” she mumbled, “so you would have spent your life pretending to be a robot?”
 — Yes, because like so many others, I sought ease. My life did not suit me, I was alone, I had no one. A new experimental program promised to sustain me all my life, I had only to play the game of perfect love to develop their new technology… you. What would you have done in my place?
— No, you’re playing a bad joke on me and I don’t like it, I have a family! Friends ! All these people exist!
— They are also humanoids, Love at first contact has prepared for all eventualities, the illusion had to be perfect. You’re a Margot machine, but a machine I’ve come to love.
— I…I…I…”

Margot’s eyes widened, she stammered, unable to make complete sentences. She had a spasm. His eyes closed. His neck relaxed. His body sagged in his chair, his head falling back on the table.

Henri, still calmly, took out of his pocket a latest model holographic telephone, paid for by the organization. He pressed the third number among his favorites. After two rings, a familiar voice answered:

— Hello welcome to Love at first contact, what can I do for you?
— Hello Diane, this is Henri. The last model did like the others, he did not accept his condition. Do you reprogram a new one with yesterday’s backup and send me the next one?

The End

Ethereal Stories: Shed 66

“ You’ll see, it works, I read that in a magazine of the time.” While remembering the advice of a friend, Ed Hill took a deep breath in order to bring down the anguish. Hopefully, the torment his stomach was inflicting on him will fade away in a saving breath of air.

The air entered his nose, bringing with it the scent of his freshly applied perfume, then rushed into his lungs and finally escaped from his mouth. This sensation, as new as it was, gave him an intense surge of oxygen to his brain, blurring his sight for a few seconds. On the other hand, his stress did not decrease, lack of pot.

Hidden behind the black stage curtains, he could already hear Brian Schmitt, the electrifying robot everyone was raving about. “ Welcome to New Encounters, the show where the world unfolds before your eyes… ”, he perceived from afar. Brian presented the most watched TV show in France and just before joining him, Ed dithered. He was just a scientist, not a star. Why inflict such pressure on yourself?

Nevertheless, the commitments were made, the distribution contracts signed with the hand of a wise automaton and the spirits heated to the bone. It was no longer possible to go back. Her life had just changed drastically and, deep down, Ed hoped that she would upset the lives of many others.

— Ladies and gentlemen, please give a proper welcome to Doctor Ed Hill! Brian declared with conviction.

A resounding thunder of applause rang out from the audience, while a tech robot made sweeping gestures compulsively for Ed to enter the stage. Hesitantly, the latter advanced towards the light, touching in the process the dark fabric which separated him from the tray. A gentle heat caressed his right arm before disappearing in a blinding glare.

— Welcome ! Can I call you Ed? Started Brian to relax the atmosphere, while asking his guest to sit down.
— Of course. he replied, intimidated.

Apart from the stage, illuminated by powerful lights, everything was completely plunged into darkness. The red sensors of the cameras were pointed towards the center, where Ed Hill was going to be filmed for the first time.

— How are you doing ? You look radiant to me.
— I’m glad to be here, Ed said, a grain in his voice.

— You see me delighted. I understand that the events we are going to talk about this evening have not been easy. Will you find it difficult to confide in yourself?

— Don’t worry, I’m ready. You have before your eyes the fruit of several years’ work, as tedious as it is fascinating, Ed confided while pinching his forearm in front of the lens.
— Ah! Was it painful? Brian asked, laughing.
— Let’s just say it tingles a bit, Ed ventured, smiling broadly.

— What humor ! Applaud him, ladies and gentlemen! Doctor Ed Hill! cried Brian.

Cheers broke out from the audience.

— Very well, then Ed, let’s not wait any longer! Tell us about Hangar 66? Brian continued in a calm voice.
— Do you remember your birth factory Brian?
— Like it was yesterday.
— I will put my hand to cut that it looks like two drops of water. In any case, hangar 66 is identical to mine, I was inspired by it. A particular atmosphere hovers there, full of questioning and doubt, but also of excitement and desire, necessary for the development of a marvelous future. The only difference is that it is not robots that come out, but human beings.
— And what a success, cried Brian, waving his arm at his guest.

Applause rang out, then the presenter continued.

— Ed, tell me, why did you want to be first?
— That’s a good question, Brian, Ed replied, brushing his hair with the back of his hand. Quite simply because I am the instigator of this experiment. I would have blamed myself if harmful side effects had occurred on people other than me.
— Precisely, have you had any side effects?
— Not yet, except ravenously hungry,” Ed joked, feeling more and more at ease.

The audience followed him in his euphoria.

— What did you prefer to eat, since your rebirth?
— When I woke up, they brought me what the humans called an Emmenthal ham sandwich.
— How was it ? asked Brian, microphones dangling from Ed’s lips.
— Delicious, I cried.
— Cried, you hear that! Brian cried as he stared at the camera, his voice laced with passion. New emotions overwhelm you? insisted the presenter.
— All the time. It’s only been a few days, but already I’m lost in the twists and turns of my sensitivity. Empathy overwhelms me when I see robots in distress, anger overwhelms me when I observe the price of electricity, and fear immobilizes me when I launch into an interview like this, my brain is boiling and my body reacts accordingly.
— Stunning! How do you handle all of this?
— For now, I suffer more than I manage, I’m not going to lie. We still have a lot to learn. This body is like an alarm bell on constant alert, it’s disconcerting. However, it makes you feel awfully alive.
— What hell ! laughed Brian, while throwing his arms in the sky.
— Nothing to do with god, I assure you, Ed joked.

The spectators burst out laughing.

— Everyone here wants to know Ed., how is the operation going? Brian asked, regaining control of his broadcast.
— The trickiest part is the making of the human body. They are so complex, it’s fascinating. Then just download our consciousness into the brain and you’re done, Ed explained proudly.
— It seems so simple. But, for what reasons? Why do you want to revolutionize the world in this way?
— This experience was born from an observation, which I realized after my first birthday bolts. Like many others, I understood that our mechanical eternity, as important as it is in our eyes, leads us towards a suffocating gloom, in which surprise and adventure no longer have any place. Our archives prove to us that at the time of humans, the world was full of creative energy of all kinds, making the slightest bit of boredom fleeting. Me what I want is to discover what the audacity of mortality can bring to our world in loss of imagination.

A long and heavy “Aaah” escaped from the audience, approving the doctor’s words.

— And do you feel a new energy?
— Just imagine that just this morning, I was wondering what I was going to be able to do with the time that was allotted to me. You see, the fatality of death has a spicy taste of adventure, it’s gripping.
— And what are you going to do with this time?
— I don’t really know, let’s say I’ll take the time to think about it, Ed said humorously.
— Funny! Brian stated firmly. Finally, do you have a message to convey?
— I must say that for the moment, I live an extraordinary experience. My body is only 20 years old, my senses are awake, my brain is fiery and I have only one desire, to share my life with other human beings. To know joy, sadness, love, melancholy and who knows what else. With our robotic wisdom, acquired over our millennia of existence, these emotions are real sources of inspiration, so don’t hesitate! If you feel like living life to the full and dying with panache, head to Hangar 66!
— Magnificent ! It was Brian Schmitt, with Dr. Ed Hill. The first human is reborn from his cybernetic ashes! I wish you a good evening, and see you tomorrow for new new encounters! concludes the presenter, under the ovation of a conquered public.

Ethereal Stories: Witches.com

Today I post a text I wrote for an old project, making a short movie or a play with my sis and friends a few years ago. It never happened but one day maybe… Who knows?

Not being Spielberg and not having an unlimited budget, I wrote this story with several constraints. It needed a unity of location to avoid having to multiply decors and then a contemporary setting to avoid having too many costumes.
Good despite all that I hope that the story will be pleasant!

Witches.com


http://www.mirageboghandel.com

“Welcome, people of Sidh, to the supernatural site of the mirage boghandel bookshop, run by Christiana Spandemager* , licensed witch.
Here you will find all types of rare, exotic, forbidden, bewitched and other original books, available on demand or on order.
Proof of your belonging to the People of Below will be required for any purchase of an item of category 3 or higher.
If you wish to meet us, physically or esoterically, the contact tab will allow you to find our address in Copenhagen, as well as the signature of our psychic presence.
The bookstore and all its staff thank you for your visit. »

I

Well, that should do the trick. Anyway, it’s not like I got paid for this job. And then my mother can’t tell the difference between a bookstore’s website and a Facebook page, so good… That’s also why I was chosen.

Christiana, my mother, has run this bookstore since she was eighteen and she is very proud of it. The apple of his eye. Not like me. You should also know that, in the family, we have been witches from mother to daughter for more than thirty generations. In other words, a lot of time. And then there was me. A failure in the family tree, no doubt. For me, Eleanore, sixteen years old and all my teeth, witch’s daughter, witch’s granddaughter, etc. I inherited absolutely none of the family gifts. But really none, not the slightest talent for sorcery. I am unable to cast even a minor incantation or craft an itch charm. Not even a small potion of nothing at all. Still, any fool with a recipe and the right ingredients should be able to make a decent potion, but not me, no. Nothing.

I chuckle now, but it wasn’t easy at first. When it was realized that I did not have the slightest magic power, the disappointment was great. And if I got used to it fairly quickly, my mother did not. She just couldn’t accept that the daughter of the most powerful witch in Copenhagen, and probably this half of Denmark, could be an ordinary human without the slightest supernatural ability. She lived in denial for quite a while, trying more and more exotic incantations in an attempt to reveal my magical abilities. Of course, it didn’t work.

When she finally came to terms, she just decided that the rest of the world didn’t need to know who I was. Out of the question that the other inhabitants of Sidh learn that his daughter was a “disabled person”. This means that almost all of the People Below know nothing of my existence, with a few exceptions, such as Fatima or Alibert, whom I have known for a very long time.

Speaking of Fatima, here she comes to check that I’m not sabotaging the work out of resentment towards my mother. She walks through the door gracefully, tall, thin and imperious, her long hair flowing behind her. She smiles at me, sits down next to me, and casts a doubtful glance at my computer screen.

— The design isn’t too bad, but you should enlarge the font. What is the password to access the esoteric part of the site?
— Abracadabra.
“You’ve always had a deplorable sense of humor. Keep the presentation page, but change the background color, it’s too dull. What do you have to click on to get to the part reserved for Sidh?
— On the “m” of Mirage. It opens a page that asks you for the password, and if you give the right one, you get there. Besides, you and mom will have to distribute the flyers at the next black moon meeting, and tell the others to spread the word. Then, once on the site, you just have to choose from the items offered by my mother. I have classified them by subject and by dangerousness.

— Cool. So if I’m looking for the new “Handbook of Magical Deep Sea Plants”, I go first to “Botany” then to “Aquatic” and finally to “Level 2”, right?

— Exactly. There are also the dates and the authors, when they are known. And I’m almost done setting up the keyword search.

Fatima gives me a few more suggestions, before we abandon digital in favor of gossip. She always has an impressive number of juicy news under her belt, I sometimes wonder how she does it and if she isn’t using a little magic to collect all this information.

Fatima is my best friend and also the only one who belongs to the People of Sidh. She also descends from a very long line of wizards, dating back to a priest of the 9th dynasty of ancient Egypt, but her talents are the pride of her parents.
She was the one who had the idea for this website. In less than two days, she had managed to convince my mother that it would be excellent for business, she who until then had considered the internet an extension of Satan (not such a bad bugger, according to Mom, but very badly raised). The next day, I found myself mandated to create the bookstore’s website, with its hidden pages reserved for the People Below. My mother had made me understand that I had to do it well, and above all manage without her since technology and all its derivatives are a form of magic that remains completely hermetic.

II

A muffled scrape above our heads suddenly interrupts our conversation, followed by another. Fatima looks at me questioningly. I shrug, running a hand through my hair.

— It’s Alibert. Don’t worry, he moves furniture when he’s pissed off, and he’s had a really bad night.

Alibert is the vampire who lives in the attic. About four hundred years old, dainty, misanthropic, and completely outdated by the current century, it’s usually not a cumbersome roommate.
“Alibert?” Fatima asks with interest. What happens to him?

“He and my mom spent most of the night arguing loudly over one of Mom’s latest acquisitions. He ended up going to sulk, slamming the door to his room. It happens to him from time to time.
I understand my mistake when I see a glint light up in my friend’s eyes.
“A book by Christiana?” What kind of book?

— No idea, I say in a voice as neutral as possible.

But Fatima has already jumped out of her chair and is heading for the door.

— I want to see that ! Your mother isn’t coming home right away, is she? Come on, come on!

I personally think that this is a potential lot of problems, but I know from experience that when Fatima has an idea in her head, nothing can get her out of it, especially since my mother always has some pretty interesting stuff in store. So I get up with a sigh of resignation to follow her slowly down the stairs. The bookstore takes up the entire ground floor of the house we live in, filled with old, dusty books. Fatima doesn’t even glance at it. The real treasures are in the back room, where Mom keeps the goods for the Underpeople. Fatima starts rummaging everywhere.

— No chance that it is already referenced on the site?
— No, I haven’t had time to register this week’s arrivals yet.
Leaning against the door frame, I watch her move in all directions.
— Ah! she exclaims suddenly, straightening up, a big book with a cracked leather binding in her hands. That must be it.

She gently puts down the old grimoire, which must weigh a dead donkey given its size, then dusts it gently with her sleeve.
“So let’s see what we have here…
The cover is faded black, with a huge moonstone embedded in it and no visible title. Fatima tries to open it, without success despite her best efforts. She frowns, pouts, then whispers an incantation close to the crevices of the old leather. Nothing to do, the book remains stubbornly closed.

— Very well, sir is difficult. So we have to get down to business.

She spreads her arms to either side of her body, and begins to whisper words of power. Her beautiful black eyes turn milky white, her hair stands on end, forming a dark halo around her, her feet rise a few centimeters off the ground. It would be very impressive if I hadn’t already seen it done a thousand times. So I just shove my hands in my pockets, munching gum with a scowl.
Suddenly, the book begins to emit a slight hiss, which intensifies little by little. Then, with a hiss of rusty hinge and a vaguely eerie glow, it slowly opens, its pages scrolling by one after another. Then, in a cloud of dust, a flash of red light escapes from the book and flies towards the door of the shop, overturning all the books that are in its path.

For quite a long time, we said nothing, Fatima’s surprised eyes fixed on the grimoire, and my eyes scanning the mess in my mother’s bookshelves with a bored air.

— Well, decides to say my friend, what was that?

— No idea, you’re the witch. And I also want to tell you that it’s also you who will put away this mess before mom comes back.

Fatima gives me an annoyed look before leaning over the book. She mumbles, then winces.

— I can not read this thing, come here!

I approach cautiously and lay my eyes on the cryptic texts spread out before us.

— Don’t know.
I speak ancient Egyptian, ancient Greek, and Sumerian, but it’s not one of those languages. And you ?
— I did Latin and Aramaic, my mother insisted, but that’s not it either.

It was then that, coming from the depths of the earth, a dull rumble was heard, immediately followed by what sounded like an earthquake. The floor begins to vibrate, the walls to shake, the furniture to move and the books to tumble. I find myself with my buttocks on the ground, my coccyx in pain, Fatima’s knee in my ribs. Then everything stops.
I get up, help my friend to do the same, then we look at each other for a moment with the same thought: what the fuck?

III

— Uh, Fatima?
— Yes I know. You think that…
— “Does that have anything to do with the lightning bolt earlier?” Yes.
— Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Alright, so what do we do?

Our eyes are at the same time on the old book.

— The question is knowing what exactly we released.
— But we understand nothing of what is marked.
— Yes, it is a problem.

Our eyes meet again, then we smile at the same time.

— “Alibert!”

Fatima grabs the collection, slips it under her arm, then follows me down the narrow, dark stairwell toward the attic. I climb the stairs four by four, grab the ladder that goes under the eaves and drum at the hatch. It opens abruptly, revealing the aristocratic and upset face of Alibert.

— What, what is it? You don’t wake people up at such an hour! First that tremor out of nowhere, and now this. It is still daylight.
— I’m sorry Alibert, but it’s an emergency. We need a linguist.

I see a glint of interest light up in his tawny eyes. The vampire has used his immortality to learn every language, living or dead, he knows of.

After a period of reflection almost long enough to be vexing, he ends up stepping aside slowly to let us enter his lair, then stretches out his hands to greedily grab the book Fatima presents to him.

—Ah! he exclaims triumphantly, laying his eyes on it. I knew that one would be a problem, I said so. A magic lock of such power after all this time…

He places it on an antique lectern and opens it reverently, gently stroking the cover with his long, slender fingers.

— Yes, he mutters, an old book, very old, a lot of power locked in there…
He continues his merry-go-round for a moment, then begins to decipher.
— “So, reiker, no, erek… utar, hmm, that word, maybe alum?” Hmmm…

Fatima and I are not moving, waiting for his verdict.

— It’s a Bad Norse translation of a very old and almost forgotten dialect. A little gem. Wait, I’m trying to understand. Memory…bad…jail?

Suddenly, he throws his head back with a small cry of a wounded animal, before turning to us, his eyes wide with terror.

— When…when you opened this book, did anything unusual happen?

My friend and I exchange an embarrassed look.

— “It’s possible,” I said cautiously.

The vampire starts shaking all over, which normally only happens when he discovers a stain on one of his Armani shirts.

— My God, he says in a low voice (which is the equivalent of an apocalyptic swearword with him), ‘the earthquake, I didn’t imagine it, was it? I believe that you have just condemned Copenhagen.
—Sorry ?

IV

Fatima doesn’t seem to find it funny, her lips pursed in a thin line, her fingers clenched as if she were about to strangle Alibert. I place a soothing hand on his arm before glaring at the vampire.

— Would you care to explain to us what exactly it is all about?

He drops into a Louis XIV armchair with a dramatic expression and puts a tearful wrist to his forehead, like the diva he is. His attitude is starting to piss me off, so I plant my hands on my hips, stand my full height above him, and put on my sternest face.

— Alibert, you’re going to tell us what you know, or I’ll tell Mama that it was you who encouraged us to open the book.

His shocked look is comical. My mother scares the crap out of him.

— You wouldn’t do that!
— Are you sure ?

Silence. I raise an eyebrow.

— Very well very well ! I was going to tell you about it, anyway. You know, of course, about the monster that sleeps under the foundations of the city?

Fatima nods knowingly as I open my mouth in disbelief. Eh ? But I am absolutely not aware of such a thing! What is this story ?
They explain to me. Apparently everyone in Sidh (apart from me) knows that the bases in Copenhagen were built to imprison a sleeping monster, which my mother obviously didn’t see fit to tell me. What kind of monster? No idea. Why is he imprisoned? No idea either. How was he asleep? Always nothing. It has been there for more than two thousand years, without moving, so long in fact that no one cares about it anymore, as if it were just part of folklore. In short, we are no further ahead.
“What has to do with the flash that escaped from the book?”
Alibert clears his throat, which does not conform to the character.
“Well, it seems that this book served as a container for a wake-up spell designed specifically for the monster in question.

— It’s annoying.
— Yes indeed.
— So the earthquake just now?
— Probably the monster that was starting to wake up.
— So it’s not over?
— I do not think so. From what is written here, we have about twenty-four hours to put him back to sleep before he breaks free from his prison and destroys Copenhagen.
— Okay, it’s doable. How do we put him back to sleep?
— I don’t know, there’s nothing marked about it. It just says “see the Sayings of the mage Hreidmar” or something like that.
— Oh.

V

New silence. We all look each other in the eye, not really knowing what to do. Then suddenly, enlightenment. I rush to the hatch to reach my room on the floor below, and come back with my laptop. Alibert doesn’t have one, he doesn’t even have a telephone, since he pretends not to know of the existence of any technology dating from after the 17th century. Note, however, that this aversion to the modern does not extend to clothing.
My two companions throw me looks of incomprehension.

—The catalog !

Fatima understands where I’m coming from, but Alibert continues to stare at me in bewilderment. I explain:

— I’ve almost finished cataloging Mom’s books on the site. If the solution exists, it must be somewhere in there.

I log on and start browsing the bookstore’s website, encouraged by Fatima’s suggestions.

— Look at “monsters”. No ? “Copenhagen” perhaps? “Spell Release”?

Minutes pass, our search is still fruitless and Alibert begins to question my genius idea with mocking remarks.

And then, he’s not laughing at all when the ground starts shaking again, not very hard, without violence, a bit like one of those sports machines supposed to help you lose weight. But it vibrates, undeniably. We exchange worried looks.
“Is that what I think it is?”
“The monster’s awakening?” Probably.

— Well, says Fatima, let’s try to deal with the problem in a logical way. Where are we most likely to find a spell capable of putting back to sleep a gigantic monster that has been imprisoned for millennia beneath Copenhagen?
— “The mage thingie perhaps?”
— “Hreidmar?” It’s not stupid. We should even have started there. Start the search!
— I Have Something: A Guide to Ancient Treatises on Magic, Section M.

Fatima and I rush downstairs, leaving Alibert in his attic, which he can’t leave as long as it’s light. We rush into the shelves of my mother’s shop, jostling the books that have already fallen to gain access to the M section. Each of us tackles one end of the section.

— I got it ! shouts Fatima after a few minutes.

She pulls a rather shabby book from the shelves and immediately opens it to find the passage she is looking for. She flips through the pages excitedly. Suddenly, I see her turn pale.

— What ? Fatima, what’s going on?

She hands me the gaping work. I read, after extrapolating the meaning of the text in Old Norse:

— The parchments of the Tales of the mage Hreidmar, containing in particular the runic sleep spell used to put to sleep in the entrails of købmandshavn** the very last argelot of the known world, were lost during the 13th century. No copy has ever been found. »

I look up at Fatima, who is looking at me with a look of despair.

— What shall we do now ? A silver buck is… This is very bad news.

I don’t answer, lost in thought, frowning, pursed lips. Indeed, the argelot, a kind of gigantic psychopathic vulture endowed with magical powers, is not really the kind of animal that we want to release in Copenhagen. For a long time, I think hard, in silence, facing the anxious expectation of my best friend.

— Fatima, your magic, how powerful is it?
— Very powerful, the most powerful in my family for ten generations. Almost as much as your mother, I would say.
— Well, then I think we can try something.
— What ?
— We’re going to do exactly like Hreidmar: we’re going to put the monster to sleep.
— But we do not have the spell!
— We don’t need it. I told you, we’re not going to put him back to sleep, we’re just going to put him to sleep. Now that we know what it is as a species, we can make one ourselves, a spell, we don’t need the mage’s.

VI

— I’m not very good at writing spells…
— Me, yes. You can’t imagine how many my mother made me invent hoping that it would awaken my gifts for magic. Sure, it didn’t work, but at least now I’ve got the concept under control.
— But it won’t work! I don’t mean to upset you, Eleanore, but your spells never work.
— They don’t work when I throw them. But if it’s you…
Little by little, I see Fatima’s eyes light up.
— It can work…

No more is needed. I immediately get to work, paper and pencil in hand, and half an hour later, I’m satisfied enough with my work to hand it to Fatima. Fortunately, moreover, because the vibrations of the ground have noticeably increased. My friend gives me a dubious look.

— Are you sure of yourself?
— Reasonably. Anyway, we have nothing else on hand.

Fatima nods, then begins, her voice full of power:

— That deep in the city of Copenhagen
The immortal argelot rests
And that on the forehead of the sleeping monster
Oblivion forever arises.

We wait a moment, anxious, but nothing happens. The ground continues to vibrate and the walls to shake. Fatima clears her throat.

— Well, maybe it’s time to call your mother.

I look at her in disbelief, my eyes wide like saucers.

— Are you crazy ? Do you realize she’s going to murder us?
— Eli, I don’t have too many solutions left.
— But I have not said my last word.

I recover my computer to continue my excavations on the site, more and more desperate. Finally, I breathe a sigh of relief. Searching for the word “sleepiness” came up with something. Occult lullabies, section F.
A few minutes later, we have the book. The ground vibrates so much that you have to hold on to the walls to avoid falling. Another long moment of laborious translation from Aramaic, then Fatima and I exchange a skeptical look.

— “To increase the power of a sleeping spell, link the power of words to that of music using the tune and lyrics of a children’s lullaby. Watches love it. »

Good, and bah since it is necessary. I set to work and ended up handing Fatima the piece of paper that, with a bit of luck, will save us all.

— So you’re going to have to sing it to the tune of “Twinkle little star”, that’s all I found in a hurry.

She lets out a sigh.

— Very well.

Again, she lets the power invade her, begins to levitate, rolls back her eyes, her hair stands on end. Then, in a sepulchral voice, she begins to hum
Fatima begins to shimmer with magic, as the invisible filaments that bind her to the world appear. Her voice rings out, as if the universe responds with a deep echo to the power of her words. The song seems to glide through the air, sink to the ground, then get absorbed and disappear. Then, the continuous shaking of the floor and the walls abruptly ceases.
The witch lands on her feet, looking exhausted. She turns to me, a slight smile on her lips.

— “I believe we succeeded. Your spell worked, Eleanore.

I smile at her too, then burst out laughing, before looking around the room and grimacing. The worst is not yet over.

— “We make a good team, you and I, after all. But now that we’ve saved the town, and possibly the world, the hardest part remains: cleaning up the shop before Mom gets home, and finding a really good lie to tell her to justify…well, everything. Ah, and I hope you have a Nostalgia potion or two on hand, because you’re going to have to bribe Alibert so that the truth about what happened today never comes out of the attic. We have to be able to establish with certainty that these earthquakes have nothing to do with us and that we know nothing about them. Because otherwise, I don’t think all the powers in the world will stop my mother from killing us.

The end

Notes:

* Spandemager: Spandemager is the name of the first woman burned for witchcraft in Denmark in 1543.
** Købmandshavn: Former name of Copenhagen which means “the port of traders”.

Ethereal Stories: The Ventriloquist

Today I bring you a horror story. The beginnings of this story were written some time ago, quite a long time in fact. I started writing it shortly after my accident. I found it in a pile of writings that my grandmother kept, then I reworked it to become what it is today. This story comes from the bottom of me so I’m very attached to it, but I know that it may not please everyone.

If you want something happier, I suggest you wait until next week for another much lighter story.

Attention:

This story was written at a time when I was not doing very well and is much darker than what I usually write. I’m talking about violent scenes that might shock some people and I use profanity there.

The Ventriloquist

I

The man wore an old-fashioned black suit, he sported a thin mustache and his searching eyes were like two balls of hot coals. He was tall and thin, almost inconceivably. Alicia cringed when she saw him on her doorstep. A strange apprehension gripped her, gripping her heart in a vice of ice.
The stranger entered the vestibule. Discovering a razor-blade smile, he said in a honeyed voice without even introducing himself:

To form a couple, it inevitably takes two, is not it?

Uncomfortably, Alicia nodded. However, she did not understand what the man was talking about. The young woman bitterly regretted the absence of her husband: Paul would never have allowed this individual to enter their house! He had a holy horror of door-to-door salesmen, especially when they were as intrusive as this one. Intrusive…and bizarre, with its long, spindly body, which reminded Alicia of a horrible stick insect with a human face…
In the hallway, the stranger gave her a wink.

“Relax, dear! he declared. You have nothing to fear. They call me Benitor, the miracle worker. My partner and I are here to help you…

Alicia winced: her partner? Until proven otherwise, the seller was alone. No one accompanied him. At least, so far…
The man reached inside his black suit. Alicia had the absurd belief that he was a pervert. The patient was about to throw himself on her, armed with a kitchen knife, a taser or an ice pick… But the intruder contented himself with extracting a soft and shapeless mass, similar to a mask of rubber. He quickly put it on his right hand. A rattling voice then rose:

— Bonjour, ma petite ! Je suis Compère, l’assistant de Monsieur Benitor, mon bon maître… Son bras droit, en quelque sorte ! Enfin, l’assistant, c’est un peu facile : d’un bout à l’autre des Mondes, comme à l’intérieur des Cercles d’ailleurs, c’est moi qui me tape tout le boulot !

The so-called Benitor raised his shark gaze to the sky, as if to say: “Ah! He’s starting again!”

A ventriloquist! Well, as a way of selling, Alicia had to acknowledge that it was original. However, she remained anxious, almost frightened, because the puppet was not reassuring. It was a head, obviously that of a man, with a pale complexion and blue lips, stringy hair and eye sockets filled with darkness. Morbid, was the word that came to the young woman’s mind, and it was the adjective that best suited this hideous figure.

The thing resumed:

— We are here to offer you a unique offer, which you cannot refuse. Yes, yes, I assure you: no need to play scared sluts!

Alicia doubted she had heard correctly. For a moment, she thought she would take to her heels. But, paralyzed by fear, she remained incapable of the slightest reaction. And something, in the stick man’s sooty gaze, nailed her to the spot…
Adopting the cavernous tone of his own voice, and wearing a serious countenance, Benitor continued:

— Be sure that we understand your sadness. We sympathize. After all, fate has befallen your husband. It’s natural for you to be upset…

Buddy spat on the ground, at Alicia’s feet. A reddish spit, within which a horde of maggots was struggling. The young woman felt her heart racing. But, stunned by what she had just heard, she found herself once again unable to make the slightest gesture. Paul had been in hospital for two weeks, in critical condition following a serious car accident. He lay in a coma, and doctors were pessimistic about his chances of ever waking up.
How did this stranger know her husband? And then, what did he want?

— You’ll soon understand,” the disfigured puppet gritted, as if reading his thoughts. We have come to offer you our services, because we are able to help you. Finally, it was he who insisted, above all…

The mask nodded in the direction of its master.

— I was just going to take it easy,” he continued. But hey: it’s the great chef who leads the way! Anyway, what you need to know is that your husband can be cured today…

Alicia blinked, but didn’t formulate her thoughts. Nevertheless, the human head belched:

— Of course it’s true! What do you think ? That we came to cut the piece of fat, while your stupid husband slaps?

The word “slap” was accompanied by a deluge of scarlet sputters.

— So, the mask said, like I said, he could come home and you’d be free to get laid again, and everything and everything… At least, if you wanted to?

The sentence remained suspended, like a slap in the face. Of course she wanted him more than anything!

Benitor took the floor again to exclaim cheerfully:

— Good ! In that case, all you have to do is give us your okay, dear, so that we can get your husband back on his feet. My partner and I have exceptional power, which I like to call a gift. The power of life over death.

Alicia felt her heart skip a beat. If it was a joke, it turned out to be in very bad taste! Nevertheless, somewhere deep inside her, the young woman knew that an incredible thing was happening. She felt it dimly in the way the stranger spoke, in his horrible puppet parody, and in that strange vibration that seemed to cloud the air.

In a calm tone, the Tick-insect-man continued:

— Know, however, that in return, I will come and take what is rightfully mine. This is an honest deal, made between well-meaning people…

Compère partit d’un rire éraillé.

— So, continued Benitor, I ask you again: will you allow us to save your husband? Without quick action on our part, he will die, I can guarantee you that.

The young wife was flabbergasted by the audacity of the seller. However, driven by despair, she found herself sketching an affirmative nod. After all, what did she have to lose?

Benitor then declared, loud and clear:

— All in good time ! Your wish will be granted, and we will exercise our special gift on your loved one to save him. As for us, we will see each other very soon!

Buddy laughed again, an icy croak that twisted Alicia’s eardrums and hammered her skull. Then the ventriloquist also emitted a strident air, a shrill melody reminiscent without question…
The phone woke her up and the dream slipped away like a thief. The young woman sat on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands. She remained shaken for a moment: what a delirious dream! So real… But she didn’t have much time to think about it anymore, because the phone kept whining.

Alicia walked fearfully towards the bell, not daring to grab the receiver. This call in the middle of the night seemed like an ominous sign. Before she could stop, she picked up the phone.

— Hello?

C’était l’hôpital. Paul était miraculeusement sorti du coma. Ses jours ne se trouvaient plus en danger. Alicia remercia l’infirmière, raccrocha, puis se laissa glisser sur le sol où elle pleura à chaudes larmes.

II

A few days later, Paul came home. Life then resumed its course. The couple took advantage of the smallest pleasures of existence. Both seemed happy, truly, because they knew ephemeral happiness.
However, a shadow marred this idyllic picture.

Alicia felt that her husband was hiding something from her. Paul did his best to appear comfortable, but he often looked distant, bewildered, as if lost in a trying memory. The young woman was burning with desire to know the cause of this hassle, without however daring to question it. Her husband had just recovered from a coma; she didn’t want to rush him.

Finally, one evening when the couple was comfortably installed in their little garden, contemplating a magnificent starry vault, Paul confided. Feverish, he seemed unable to contain himself from speaking.

— I don’t know if you’re going to believe me, Alicia. Perhaps you will take me for a madman? However, I must tell you what happened, just before I came out of the coma…

Her voice sounded hesitant, which surprised Alicia. Her husband had always been someone strong, thoughtful and collected. But this thing that had been gnawing at him since his return… “ He came so close to death ”, she thought, shuddering.

Enough to shake the strongest of men.

— I was in complete darkness, he began anxiously. An intense darkness, almost palpable, which seemed to stretch to infinity. I was vaguely aware of being awake, but not really. It was a dream, or maybe a nightmare, but it was also very real…

Paul secoua la tête, frustré de ne parvenir à mieux s’exprimer. Il cherchait ses mots, incapable de trouver ceux qui auraient retranscrit au mieux son expérience.

— Quand ils sont apparus, reprit-il en frémissant, j’ai d’abord vu l’homme. Il m’a fait penser à un colporteur. Ce fut le mot qui me vint sur le moment, même si j’ignore pourquoi. Il semblait anormalement grand et mince, comme un insecte répugnant…

Alicia felt a deep unease as her own dream resurfaced. Her mind monopolized by Paul’s awakening, she had completely concealed the insane dream. Now the stick man came back to him.

With growing terror, she listened to the rest of the story.

— He held the head of a puppet, horrible, repulsive. Both approached me. I still couldn’t move or run away. I didn’t want to, however, believe me!

Alicia thought about the paralysis that had taken hold of her, in her own nightmare. A shiver ran down his spine.

— L’homme a tendu cette chose vers moi, continua Paul d’une voix défaillante. Cette horrible tête boursouflée… La marionnette s’est mise à dévorer un truc noir qui sortait de mon corps. Un genre de mélasse, ou je ne sais quoi. La créature mastiquait en provoquant des bruits atroces…

Paul paused. Alicia took his hand, both to support him and to reassure herself. When the young man spoke again, he seemed a little calmer.

— The most delirious thing is that it made me feel good! he wondered. Gradually, I regained awareness of the real world. As if this strange duo took hold of the evil lodged in me. Then I woke up.

Alicia remained silent. What could she have said? Her husband lived, that was all that mattered. She was afraid of shocking him, even traumatizing him, by evoking her own dream. Then she was silent, and the two embraced each other tenderly under the stars.

III

The night after Paul’s story, Alicia dreamed again. The ventriloquist reappeared, alone this time. He was smiling amiably, like an old friend met on the street. However, his arrival owed nothing to chance.
Alicia thanked him warmly for granting her wish.

— It’s nothing, Benitor assured him. And then I didn’t do much. It is Compère who should be congratulated, he who courageously took hold of the disease from which your husband suffered. Unfortunately, the poor perished in the business. This is how…

Alicia wanted to tell him how sorry she was, but the man didn’t give her time.

— I’m here to remind you of our market, he went on. You allowed us to save your husband, and now I’m coming back to take what’s mine. It’s because, you see, I can’t practice without a partner. I need someone through whom to transmit my gift. Since you had my help, it only seems right to return the favor. That is why…

As he spoke, Benitor pulled an ax from under his long black coat. Alicia stared at the blade, horrified and fascinated.

— You will understand, and forgive me, what is to follow. I am sure !

The ax sliced through the air and sliced clean through the young woman’s neck. His work done, Benitor bent down to take hold of his head. He put it on his right hand, like an ugly scarlet mitten. The magic worked and the face took on a demonic grin.

— To form a couple, it inevitably takes two, is not it? said it in a nasal voice.

Epilogue

When Paul awoke the next morning, he discovered with amazement, lying in the bloody sheets, the headless body of Alicia.

Ethereal Stories : Alone

Ethereal Stories is a new format that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been writing stories since I was little, but I’ve always been afraid to share them for fear it won’t be good enough but this time around I made up my mind to give it a go.

Ethereal Stories will be short stories set in an imaginary science fiction or fantasy world. I keep my fingers crossed, hoping you like it.

Alone

I



— You look bad today! Really, you’re scary to see eh? And no need to blame this broken mirror. Yeah, what it reflects makes you look like you are stepping out of an earthquake.
— Oh yeah, it’s just like.”
Good…
Well, I still have my pretty brown eyes at least and… and no blood. Phew! This is a good thing.
Fucking Shivans! They destroyed everything and we saw nothing coming.

How many days have I been on the road? I have such a hard time remembering, and this, this pain in my head.

The ceremony yeah, all the heads of state were there and my god! Dany ! Dany my darling! Neos, my son!
No, no, no, no, no, no, I must not mope, there is still a way to save them, to save them all.


— Come on Nat, take it again, luck is on your side. The inhabitants of this barracks had a supply of water and food. Hehe, this is the first time since you got out of the rubble that you’ve found a place that hasn’t been looted or destroyed. It’s a good omen!
— Go pull yourself together and a little water on my face to wake you up.
Oh yeah, what’s wrong with my head!
— Hey don’t look at me like that with your unearthed face!
— I know I’m in really bad shape and then this bandage around my head isn’t meant to help me.
— Okay, move on, we’re not going to spend the day there.
— Ok, what do I do now?
— The research center. I have to go to the research center. Where is he already?
And that headache!
— Come on, remember, you know that!
— This is… this is a top secret military research center, you are in the skill set, remember!
— He, he’s underground, The Shivans couldn’t destroy him, I know that but… Oh damn, damn, but where the fuck is he? Ah yes, it comes back to me, The natural park of Ørsteds and, and Andersen? Why do I think of H.C Andersen?
— Nat, that’s not going my dear, get hold of yourself common sense!
— Hahaha, yes, it’s easy for you to say that! You’re not the one dragging your damn headache!”

What am I talking about? I’m losing control, here I am yelling at myself.

— Come on, think about it, what’s the deal with Andersen?
— The Jarmers Tower! Where the Nørre Voldgade and H.C. Andersen Boulevard intersect! I must go to the remains of the tower.”
This is where I have to go. Let’s get out of this hut before it falls on me. Direction Copenhagen


II



— Breathe in, the sky is blue, barely a few small clouds blown by the east wind and no trace of the Shivan ships.
— Yeah, they left the game, like angry kids. Unable to accept that he could never invade us. They swept the playmat with their hands, except that there, instead of cards, are entire cities… and how many deaths…?
— Oh Dany, honey, what did they do? I don’t want to lose you, I must save you and Neos. And my head hurts so much! It’s unbearable, I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Dany !
— I am here, my love.
— Dany ?
— You can do it, but time is running out. Come on my love, your life is at stake.
— Dany ? Dany, my darling, it hurts so much.
— Advance !
— Yes, yes you’re right, I have to… I have to… What is happening to me, I’m not feeling well, my head is spinning, I… Huh? What ?”

I had one more absence. How long have I been unconscious? Come on, we don’t care Nat, get up.
Ok, where am I again? Where am I ? I’m in… in Køge! I arrived yesterday. I got there … How did I get here? I don’t know anymore, I … I can’t remember anymore, I …


— Come on, come on, come on, it’s okay, I have to go ahead, Copenhagen, that, that I know. I know where I need to go, that’s all that matters. To speak, I must speak, so as not to forget. Come on, it’s … about forty miles. Have, without this headache, a real health walk.
— Come on, one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other.
To say it was a city here. Køge was not a very big city, but a city nonetheless. Now all is ruins and desolation. And all these bodies! These poor people …
— Clear the hell out of you! Go feast further.
Only the dead and, aside from the scavengers, not a single living soul on the horizon.
I am alone. Am I the last?
— No, no idiot, the stores did not loot themselves!
— Yes of course… yes of course but where are they then?”


III


I’m finally out of town, finally out of what’s left of it.

— I need to talk ! I need to talk !”
I feel my head clouding over and my thoughts escape me. The world rocks slightly in front of me and,

— And MY FUCKING SKULL IS JUST A FUSION OVEN READY TO EXPLODE!
— Speak Nat, speak, you must not forget. Remember, remember! Yes the center in Copenhagen, Speak, speak, speak, focus on the center.
— Ok, ok, ok, ok, ok, we have developed a process of cloning and tissue regeneration.
— Yes that’s it ! That’s it, we borrowed this technology from the Shivans. We, we didn’t ask them for permission, you surprise me! Joke of fate, the Shivans destroyed us and thanks to them, we will be able to rebuild ourselves, well I hope.
— AAAhhhh that skull!
— Go talk, talk!
— In the basement, in an airtight room, designed to withstand the most violent earthquakes, there is the largest genetic library in the world, all humans who have at least once given blood are listed there. But without their conscience, it is of little use.
— But if I can, but if I can … I still have to get there!”
I feel so weak now.


— Courage my love, you’re almost there.
— Dany ? Dany ? Yes, yes, I have to move forward, I have to move forward …
— What am I doing here ? What is that building in the distance? I… I’m so tired. I must rest. I’m… I’m going to rest there. I think I’m going to … get some sleep
— Get up Nat!
— Who is talking to me ?
— Nat get up! The center is in front of you!
— Who’s Nat? Who is this? Is the man coming? I believe, I believe that, that I fall asleep


IV


The ceremony had started, all the heads of state were present. We thought we were celebrating the dawn of a new era. Relative peace was established with the Shivans and we were going with this new technology that the Secret Service had recovered to become their equal.
The machine present in its premises made it possible to duplicate our entire consciousness and store it in a bio-quantum chip.

I was walking down the steps to the lab and chatting with the engineer when we were knocked to the ground with a deafening uproar. I got up groggy. The engineer had been crushed under a cabinet but he was still breathing. The door leading to the stairs had been gutted by concrete blocks preventing any exit. Instinctively I looked for another way to escape. I walked over to the air vent and felt a thin trickle of air. Hundreds of fleas were lying on the ground. The engineer called out to me with difficulty.


— Hey, hurry up! They cannot survive for long outside of the foster frost.”

They were the bio-quantum chips intended to be implanted in the brain of a clone in order to integrate its consciousness there. To be stored, they had to be bathed in a specific liquid and then frozen. All the heads of state, including the staff present, Dany and Neos, they were all there in these chips.


— What do I have to do ?
— You have to put them back in tubes and freeze them.”

I looked at him and he looked at me, aware of his blunder. There was no more electricity. We could still see each other as light tubes with their own energy had taken over, but storage freezers that continued to run on internal battery would not last long. And after ? Afterwards, fleas, like any organic component, deteriorated rapidly.
I picked up one and watched it through my fingers.


— Ok, it activates thanks to the magnetic field produced by a brain, right?
— Yes that’s it … But what, what are you doing?!?!”

I placed the chip on my shaved head and felt biomechanical filaments implant themselves in me.

— I offer them an alternative source of energy.
— You can not do this !
— Yes, I can and I do. I said, looking for Dany and Neos chips.
— Consciences will seek to infiltrate you, you risk … losing yourself and disappearing.
— I take the risk.
When I was done, my entire head had been covered with bio-quantum chips. In the meantime the engineer was dead. I was hoping for him that it was in one of the chips that I had implanted. I wrapped a bandage around my head and threaded my way through the air duct to open air. The world was on fire, there was nothing and no one left.


Epilogue


— Do you think she’ll be okay?

— Daniel, I’ll do my best to save her, she’s a heroine. What she did, the risk she took, all mankind will forever be grateful for.

A few days later alongside Natalia, Daniel was watching. She began to breathe harder. Then his eyes moved under his lids, before slowly opening. She looked at him as if she didn’t recognize him, then swept the room with a long, lost gaze.


— Where, where am I?
— In a treatment room”
She looked at him without understanding.

— Do you remember how you got there? he asked anxiously.”
She continued to look at him without saying anything. Detailing every feature of his face.

— I, I know you. It was both a question and a statement.”
He took her hand, kissed it, and put it on her cheek.

— Yes ! he said quietly so as not to cry.”
At this contact Nat’s face contracted, then her eyes widened and then she said:

— Dany. Dany ? Dany ! my love ?
He hugged her with all his strength.
— Tell me I’m not dreaming.
— No, sweetheart, you are not dreaming. You saved us all.”

The End

The Wheel of Time

On November 19, a series on Prime Video is released adapting a book series that I love: The Wheel of Time and I am both impatient and at the same time afraid of the result. On the other hand, I found The Witcher cheap on the trailers and I expected the worst but even if the series is mega cheap actually I liked it so hopefully the Wheel of Time will be cool it too.
In short, I love his books and this universe and I wanted to take this outing to tell you a little bit about it.
Do not see any sponsor on this article even if I didn’t say no, if Amazon wants to contact me … ^^ ’


Well in summary, The Wheel of Time what is it all about?

So The Wheel of Time by Jordan and Brandon Sanderson consists of 14 books, a prequel and an encyclopedia, not to mention the derivative products. So inevitably with more than 10,000 pages to read I cannot be exhaustive in a summary and then to avoid spoilers I will only give a hook to the story.

So begins this adventure:

Moiraine who is an Aes Sedai (a magician) and her champion Al’lan Mandragoran arrive in a small village in the province of the two rivers. The following night, the village is attacked by Trolllocs (monsters).
The monsters appear to be targeting 3 young villagers Rand, Mar and Perrin.
The 3 young people, accompanied by Moiraine, Al’lan and the minstrel Thom Merrilin try to escape the creatures of Dark One.


A beginning that looks terribly like a certain book by our dear Tolkien, it is normal and it is a homage totally assumed. The rest gets complicated and this is clearly the moment when the story gets exciting.

In bulk, we find:

  • A prophecy about the Reincarnated Dragon, a man who would be responsible for the downfall or rehabilitation of the world.
  • A catastrophe that took place 3000 years ago and ravaged half the world has made the practice of magic very frowned upon or even feared.
  • A world where men who practice magic gradually lose their sanity. Only women from Aes Sedai are allowed to practice. Part of this order is responsible for hunting down and killing men practicing magic.

Of course the characters evolve over the volumes and show themselves more and more worked and as in the work of JRR Martin, the politics and the interactions between the different characters take a considerable importance (while being less dark and can be read easily by a younger audience).

The wheel of time is also a journey. We discover lots of exotic places and cultures very different from each other, while being very rich.

On the other hand, the story is long, it is true, but it knows very well how to renew itself and at no time are you bored, you always want to know more and for my part I never let go of my reading than when I was exhausted.

If you liked mythology, it’s a nice puzzle to find from which one or another element of the story is taken, so many references have inspired the author, whether it is the Bible, Buddhism, the ‘Islam, Nordic or Asian myths …

Conclusion:

I wanted to tell you about this saga because for me and I don’t think I’m the only one, The Wheel of Time is one of the greatest literary sagas of all time and I weigh my words.
I have never seen such a level of detail in the creation of a fictional world. And the story is just as good as a Lord of the Rings. The only little flaw is that there are one or two annoying characters, but the story is fantastic.
So Amazon’s prime video series is super cool but please try to dig up the books, you won’t regret it.

The near future, a distorting mirror

From Andy Cline’s Ready Player One to Judge Dread to Black Mirror and Pacific Rim, near future works are endless.
Close anticipation is not a genre, it is an approach.
Common point of the corpus: the stories must take place in the near future. Something to get excited about and also often fuel the nightmare machine.

What is sience-fiction?

Science fiction is inextricably linked with anticipation. It is about imagining possible developments in science and technology in order to explore possible future possibilities. In their time, the forerunners of Mary Shelley (Frenkenstein), HG WELLS (The Time Machine) and Jules Vernes (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) marveled at the advances of their time to build wonderful philosophical stories. or terrifying. These, among others, invented speculative fiction. Imagining the future, even on the basis of facts and cutting-edge documentation, is still science fiction. SF is written in the conditional, not in the future, and always feeds on the context in which it is born. And too bad if its projections fall short of reality or become obsolete, sometimes in just a few years. Because even when they claim to talk about something else, the works are full of the mindset, values ​​and knowledge of their time, and of their author. It always speaks of the present, and has effects in the present.

The case of near future.

The genres of the imagination, including fantasy and SF, are therefore always situated in relation to the real, and the works of near future undoubtedly hide this even less than the others: their plots are close to their context and time. of creation – and close to us who receive them. For the British writer J.G. Ballard, the near future would be a means of talking about the “true future”, the one that we “see approaching”, as opposed to hypothetical elsewhere, in eras and galaxies far, very distant. On the contrary, from space opera or mythical fantasy, the near future does not open the door to escape, it immediately announces “in not very long” and implies “right here”. Ballard himself was adapted (Crash by David Cronenberg).

In the continuity of Ballard, many works – novels, films, comic series, games – have placed their plots in a futuristic universe, without necessarily exploring a supposed immediate future. Problem: all fiction implies a distancing from reality. Near future works consciously break this convention with the help of a distorting mirror. Everything is familiar and so different.

But why are these works often so terrifying?

Seeing the future negatively, is it for ease? Where has the reassuring cocoon of our daily comfort gone? Do we no longer have the right to dream, to imagine? This is a crucial question. Most of the near-anticipation works outbid the existing, adding a small dose of dark futurism, freewheeling technology, eerie androids, triumphant capitalism, and permanent cops. Just what it takes to smash the glass in our comfort zone. The reassuring daily life becomes deadly, your intelligent vacuum cleaner seeks to kill you, a spaceship is planning its worrying shadow over the city, even it is absolutely necessary to chip or get vaccinated so as not to fall on the cost of law and order. . (get vaccinated guys, this is important)
In the preface to his full short stories, Ballard cautioned against this trend:

“The future […] is a dangerous, heavily mined area that tends to turn around to bite your ankles when you take a step forward. “

Too late the damage is done.
Many works anchored in the near future stage an imperceptible and perpetual shift where each technology, each authoritarian drift, each change in lifestyle or degree of global warming, testifies to the fact that nothing will ever be the same again. Rather than the completely reconfigured worlds of the post-apocalypse, where everything was destroyed and then recast, this is about the cycles of life and death of civilizations. The collapse is not imminent, it is immanent. History is on the move. It happens continuously.
In the fluctuations of a pandemic, the British series Years and Years, or through the words of Chuck in Fight Club:

«This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time”

Paradoxically, it is also this perpetual end of the known world that allows all hopes and allows utopias to flourish, however diffuse they may be. Dark futures fuel the emergence of new horizons, new battles to be waged and new hopes to be nourished. Suddenly utopias exist mainly to legitimize the fights waged against them. In reality, the great battle of imaginations, ideas and values ​​is fought deep inside each of us. The fight is brutal, merciless, it spares none of our received ideas, our intuitions and our usual thinking patterns. And test what we think we know as the disgust, fear or revolt that arises over fiction becomes able to inspire us and spur us to action. For example, the treatment of aliens in District 9 strikes us as despicable, because it inevitably reminds us of the plight of refugees around the world. What is terrifying about this distorting mirror is less the distortion it conjures up than the fact that we recognize ourselves in it.

Izaline

I have a story in mind for a novel (or comics) for young adults. It’s a little concept from my main character Izaline.

Need to be finish.

Izaline was born under strange conditions into a sect whose members call themselves “the Zealots”.
Within them and with twelve other children like her, she learned hand-to-hand combat, stabbing and fighting against supernatural beings.

After yet another traumatic event, she fled at the age of 12.

Today she is 24 years old but has not aged since she was 19. How will she manage to hide her powers and her identity, how will she use her powers? Will she succeed in escaping the Zealots? will she discover the secret of her origins? …