20 juin 2015

Chapter 12





I know that voice. And the silence around it is still absolute.

“Please, please, open your eyes!… Vlad, are you absolutely sure this is harmless to them?”

Who them?...  I’m in such a peaceful haze that it’s impossible to think straight. Slowly, it all comes back to me: the hospital, Peter’s panicked glare, Erik’s face, frozen in time, the two beautiful beings gliding towards me in the stillness – three, technically, if I include Peter. Although he looks the most human…

Them! Did he mean Humans?!

My eyes flash open in alarm. I know he’s there, so there’s a strange reassuring thought at the back of my mind, putting a dam to the terror.

The first thing I see is an abnormally radiant, abnormally high, abnormally huge church cupola. It’s so luminous that it hurts to stare. 

Wow… I feel so hazy that I wonder idly if someone’s drugged me, inducing a hallucination episode. The warmth of this place is exquisite, soothing, and the surface under me is so amazingly… silky. I run my fingers over it… Yep, I’m definitely not at the hospital.  

And judging by the unearthly look and feel of this place, I have an inkling it would take time for anyone to explain it to me. I’m a dangerous, foggy second away from screaming.

I feel a palm and long fingers very gently stroking my cheek over the bandages. The first thought that crosses my mind is a fatalistic one: I still have bandages here? Now that’s just cruel!

Then, out of the bright blue, Peter’s face finally appears. He looks troubled …and criminally beautiful. I think this is the most accurate way to describe him.

“Are you okay, you stunning, courageous girl?” he coos.

I close my eyes at the sweet chime of his voice, and again, resort to lame humor. “So, no limbo, or light at the end of the tunnel?” I tease, with an undercurrent of terrified denial. I hear no laughter. Tough crowd! They must not be familiar with techniques of reassurance, which I need very, very urgently.

I re-open my eyes and see Peter’s, filled with tender concern. I’m aware Mr. Supernatural Vlad is also there, and maybe the other silent one too, but I’m in no state to start exploring the premises and checking who else is present.

“I’ll also add ‘silly girl’ to the list,” he jabs, shaking his head. “And I’m shutting all known tunnels from this day on,” he promises with a warm smile, pouring more balm over my misty panic.

But Erik’s unnaturally still face pops back into my head, abruptly shaking all my senses to life, and opening my eyes to what’s really around me. I still see the sleek white cupola high above, and the silence is still crushing, just like it was at the hospital. 

“Peter!!!” I breathe in a rising voice, “What just happened? What did you do to my dad? Is he okay?! …And where exactly am I?!”

Despite my alarm, he keeps looking at me with a reassuring smile, and simply says, “Just… have a look around.” There’s a hint of pride in his voice, as if he were sure whatever I’ll see will impress me.

I tentatively swivel my head to the right, only to see that the cupola multiplies into an entire intricate web of majestically carved, bright white stone – too shiny to be marble. My eyebrows almost reach my hairline, and I hear an obviously satisfied chuckle. The merged cupolas seem to form a breathtakingly large circle, defined by… what are these exactly? They look like veils of white sand, suspended in perfect stillness, and serving as subtly shimmering walls. Freddie Mercury’s voice peals in my head, “Am I dreaming, Am I dreaming?”…

My eyes keep descending for what feels like an eternity, until they come across a long set of shockingly beautiful sculptures, standing equidistantly against the entire span of the walls. Carved in the same marble-like material as the ceiling, they represent more unearthly beings like Vlad and his bodyguard, but none the same as the other. They’re too far for me to see all the details, but they seem to be one breath away from springing to life. This place feels sort of like… an ethereal mausoleum.

My jaw keeps dropping lower, until it reaches an awed maximum, especially when I notice that the statues are also suspended in mid-air! They’re not still though; I can see an eerie sideway gliding, as if they were rocked slowly by an unfelt wind, and needless of solid ground. Although, the ground looks amazing: equally white and marble-like, but with absolutely no markings whatsoever. A pure milky sea.

My sight finally sets on the two magnificent creatures who helped in getting me here, standing at a close distance, as if giving Peter and me some space. And since I’m already light-years beyond my threshold of tolerance of all things supernatural, I allow myself to stare at them. Beyond their undeniable beauty, there’s definitely something not… human.   

“I’m sorry; this is Vladimir… and Nirav. And technically, this is Vlad’s…erm… home,” Peter explains.

“His home where?” I ask incredulously, “In Paris?”

Light laughter fuses from Vlad and Peter, but Nirav keeps a perfectly silent, broody composure. Great, laugh at the dead girl!

“Lily, I know this all seems surreal to you, but in time, we’ll all help you understand…”

In time?! I suddenly feel claustrophobic.

“What do you mean?! Shouldn’t you take me back to the hospital now? Cause this is really starting to creep me out…” I order, with as much strictness as I can muster, for someone bedridden and at the mercy of three mythical-looking creatures. 

Peter suddenly appears grave, and decides to use a diversion.

“Are you still in pain?”

“Yes… please, take me back?...” I plead, not even wanting to know where I am, and why exactly I was brought here.

He throws a quick glance towards the other two, then whispers, “I’m so sorry Lily… I can’t.”

And this is when I realize I’m being kept here by force.

“Why not?...” I choke pathetically, unable to hide the trembling in my voice. My throat goes dry, and tears start pooling in my eyes. Before the assault, I would have tried to stand up for myself. But that impulse is long gone now. I realize I’ve become just a pitiable wreck who caves at any threat. I hate myself…

“Lily please… No one is going to hurt you, not as long as I’m around. You have my word,” Peter swears solemnly. But to me, he’s currently the bad guy, and his words can’t stop the fear from escalating inside me. He sees it, and suddenly slouches in defeat. Hmm… interesting! I should learn how to use this effect I have on him to my advantage from now on.

“Listen… I once told you that the circle I’m from is not one I’d like you to be involved in, and for good reason. We’re… bound to secrecy, and to preserving it… True, I put it at risk when I drew you,” he admits, looking more at the other two than at me, “but you really weren’t meant to find me! I first asked Vladimir and Nirav to come along because I wasn’t sure how you’d managed that. You seemed like an immediate threat, and I couldn’t risk having you expose us…”

“What the hell are you talking about?!” I huff, “I had, HAVE no idea what ‘circle’ you’re from or what secret you’re keeping!! I’m not a threat to you, I swear! You don’t even need to reveal anything to me, and no one would ever believe me if I described this place, so… Please, please, take me back!!!”

“You told me that it was Officer Brandt who found me, and I believe you. Though the coincidence is just too great… And besides, I might have just settled for a discussion at the hospital, but something else made us bring you here…” he adds mysteriously.

Vlad finally decides to interfere, and approaches so noiselessly that he manages to startle the hell out of me.

“When did your skin start to change?” he asks imperiously, with his shockingly clear voice.

“I… I don’t know. After the assault I guess. The doctor pointed it out…” A swift panicked glance circulates between them, and I bite my tongue. Damn it… I should have kept my friggin mouth shut. But then again, why? Doctor Culbard knows absolutely nothing as to why this has happened, and neither do I! But they sure seem to know more than they’re letting on. “Why? What is happening to me? You know; I suspected it, and now I can see it in your faces. So again, Peter… what have you done to me?!”

All of a sudden, heavy sadness seems to fall on his shoulders, and he appears to surrender. He throws one more glance at Vlad and Nirav, then suddenly flicks his arm backwards, towards the sandy wall, with fingers spread wide open. In a fraction of a second, the silhouette of a face starts materializing, out of sheer sand.

“Peter!!!” Vlad scolds, furiously.

“Oh relax, she’s a smart girl. She’s already caught on to the fact that we can… do things,” Peter lashes. He suddenly looks like a rebel teen, defying authority.

Vlad and Nirav turn to me, and I roll my eyes. “If everyone could use teleportation instead of trains, the world would be a better place, so…yeah,” I say cheekily. Peter chuckles, as if trains have become our inside joke. Vlad remains impassive, although I could swear I see a fleeting smile on Nirav’s face. 

This distraction is not powerful enough though, to keep my eyes off of that specter of a face, being etched in sand. Peter turns towards it, and starts moving his fingers like a gracious air painter, sending some sort of invisible signal that adds details to the shape: more defined lips, an eerily realistic look in its eyes, a well-drawn nose…. Suddenly it becomes obvious. “That’s my father!” I almost yell.

“Yes, as I told you, I never forget a face, down to its tiniest detail. This is why I can do what I do when I’m working with the police. But it doesn’t stop there…” He adds cryptically. With one flick of the finger, he makes a dark shape appear on Erik’s left cheek, a sort of horseshoe-shaped tattoo, which my dad clearly doesn’t have. “I also add my touch to it. A touch that would be obvious enough to raise suspicion. A touch that, if I will it, actually ends up becoming one of the suspect’s features…” he says guiltily.


“So, whatever you draw… ends up on someone’s face?!” I ask, totally incredulous.

“No, not everything. Just one element, and only if I will it to… This makes them… easier to catch,” he shrugs.

“But that’s like… cheating!” I scoff. Vlad finally smiles, as if agreeing with me.

“Now please stop doodling on my walls Peter, thank you. I think she got the point,” Vlad jokes.  

Wow, I didn’t know supernatural beings could be anything other than grave and solemn.

Peter lowers his arm, and the sketch disappears into thin sand. “Cheating or not, I mean well,” he challenges.

I try to wrap my head around it, and to understand why he’s telling me all this. How does it explain things? He drew you, you idiot. Okay, but his drawing depicted my freckles really clearly, if I recall well. 
 “I don’t get it… Are you telling me that you ‘willed’ some detail on me? My freckles were in the drawing, and they’re gone in reality, so that can’t be it…”

“Lily, nothing of all this is clear to any of us. I didn’t ‘will’ anything for you, I can promise you that!” he argues, frustrated, throwing angry glares at the other two.

In a moment of clarity, everything seems to click. “But you’re not sure you didn’t cause this either, is that it? I might be some freak, unexpected damage, so you brought me here… to make sure?”

He nods, looking positively distressed. “I know you don’t believe it right now, but I truly, heartily am sorry…”

This is so unfair! I’m being held accountable for constituting a danger to a secret… race? Community? Sect? Although they have no idea what the danger really is, and they might even be responsible for it?
I just have to come up with an explanation! That’s all I can do to put them at ease. In a second of inner terror, I wonder if they’ll ever release me, even if I do find one.

“Peter, you said you knew you would ‘bind’ yourself to me that day,” I whisper, tactfully. The others suddenly look deeply surprised. “So could it be that you… unknowingly wished for something after all, while drawing me?” 

As I say those words, I feel like I’m paying myself a disproportionate compliment. Peter’s eyes suddenly get wider than I’ve ever seen them, but he remains as silent as the sculptures around us. It’s Vlad who finally drops the bomb.

“Isn’t it obvious? He’s held to secrecy, and can never really share anything with… your kind. So he wishes you could be… more like us!”

Peter closes his eyes and exhales.

 He wants me to be more like them. Like him. And if I got the idea behind his supernatural drawing skills, it takes one distinctive detail to cause it….

The Necklace.

My immensely shocked gasp catches their attention, and I utter, with dawning realization,

“I know what you are!!!”


Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire