Chapitre 6

Notes de l’auteur : Je ne suis pas convaincue par l'italique de la police PA. Navrée par avance si ça manque un peu de visibilité.

    I woke up to a regular tapping sound and rolled on my bed to see a crow poking the glass window with its beak. I blinked a few times, trying to gather the pieces of my soirée at the police station and my running away from this Ergis Culusxan.
    I reached for my phone. It was almost noon already. I erased a couple of text messages trying to get me to tap on a link to and browsed through the seventeen missed calls from my mom.
    I pressed call back. Mom was as relentless as an American lawyer could be. I’d rather call her back than find myself with a PI on my heels. I put her on speaker so I could change while she rambled.
    — Vic ! What on hearth were you doing ? I was sick with anxiety ! Do you want to give me a heart attack ?
    I pulled off my shoes and socks. Funny. I could have bet about the heart attack.
    — Hi mom. Nice to hear you too.
     The crow was back at tapping against the window.
    — Did you go off drinking yesterday night with your latino friend again ?
    I rolled my eyes at my phone. Poor Bénédicte.
    — I was home at ten, but I was exhausted after my shift so I slept straight. Sorry I got you worried.
    A sorry a day keeps mom away. I muffled a laugh and opened my luggage looking for a clean t-shirt and a pair of jeans, mine now looking like of football jersey after a Superbowl match.
    — Worried doesn’t even cover it. Anyway. As I couldn’t see you yesterday morning after your shift I was wondering if we could eat out together before your plane tonight. You know, mother and daughter night. Ah don’t touch this file Josh.
    Ah. There it goes.
    I pulled my shirt off and replaced it with my 7000 Danses black t-shirt.
    — I check my agenda and I text you.
    I wiggled my jeans close wishing I’d been to the toilet before calling mom.
    — I’ll book at AO, let’s say at 7 ok.
    — I said I need to … whatever.
    I gave up. I would talk to my new telepaths « friends », but I was likely to end up calling mom again to cancel, so why bother arguing about it twice.
    I let her vent about work and came close to the window where the crow was still dancing around and tapping to get my attention. I tapped slightly on the glass too.
    — What do you you want ? I asked softly.
    The bird tipped its head sideways, weirdly confused. I looked around and found a pack of bird seeds on a table.
    — Food ?
    The crow shooked its wings and disappeared onto the roof I could see just under my window. I opened and looked down to find it perched on a bowl, waiting for me to pour seeds in it.
    — Vic ? Are you even listening ?
    I rushed back in and put the seed bag back on its table.
    — Sorry mom, I’m getting ready I need to run some errands. Let’s talk again later.
    — Don’t forget our girls night.
    — Yeah yeah.
    I quickly sneaked out of the room and into the toilet before coming back to put my socks on.
    Then I decided I could not hide upstairs all day, grabbed my phone and its cable and found my way to the kitchen.

    The house was so silent I was starting to think it was empty, when an old man walked in on me going through the cupboards and drawers in hopes of finding ingredients for hearty breakfast, and maybe some tea. I quickly put down the box of eggs I was holding and stand there like a child taken stealing from the cookie jar.
    — Est-ce que je peux vous aider ?
    — Je suis désolée. Pardon. Je cherchais à manger. On m’a dit que je pouvais.
    Je fouillais désespérément ma mémoire à la recherche du nom de mon hôte, en vain. Je ne l’avais pas demandé. Mais le vieil homme posa le journal qu’il tenait en main comme s’il trouvait des inconnues dans sa cuisine tous les jours et prit les oeufs sur le comptoir.
    — Asseyez-vous. Aldan est en conférence, il ne va pas tarder. Vous voulez des oeufs ? Autre chose ?
    — Euh oui, bredouillai-je en me hissant sur un tabouret de bar, merci. Je veux bien un thé, si vous avez.
    Je le regardai casser les oeufs dans une poêle en espérant que je sois la seule à entendre mon estomac. Un corbeau vint se percher sur le rebord de la fenêtre. Le vieil homme leva la tête puis me jeta un coup d’oeil.
    — Je suis désolée si je suis malpolie, mais euh, vous êtes télépathe ? Le corbeau vous parle ?
    — Vous pouvez m’appeler Ayatas. Le corbeau vous dit merci. Il se demande pourquoi vous êtes sourde.
    J’ouvris des yeux ronds.
    — D’ailleurs manifestement Bobby aussi.
    Ayatas pointa du doigt un coin de mur, où un tentacule dépassait à mi-hauteur. Je descendis de mon tabouret et m’approchai du tentacule, qui disparut dans un bruit visqueux. Un gigantesque aquarium courait tout le long d’un couloir et faisait face à la baie vitrée donnant sur la forêt. Et un octopus s’y prélassait, piochant de temps en temps une crevette dans un bol posé sur le couvercle.
    Je revins vers la cuisine avec l’impression d’être passé dans un autre monde, et m’assis devant une alléchante assiette d’oeufs brouillés.
    — Je vous laisse choisir votre thé dans le tiroir, dit Ayatas en tapotant un meuble. Bon appétit.
    — Vous pourriez me dire quelque chose ? Je veux dire, dans ma tête ?
    — Communiquer. Non. Aldan m’a demandé de ne pas communiquer avec vous. Et comme je travaille ici depuis bientôt quarante ans, je n’ai pas l’intention de désobéir.
    Le vieil homme me gratifia d’un sourire et disparut dans le couloir de l’aquarium.
    — Ah-euh… Merci pour le repas !
    Je fouillais dans un tiroir à thé digne d’un salon, jetai mon dévolu sur un thé de noël à l’étiquette en allemand, et me hissai à nouveau sur mon tabouret de bar pour grignoter mes oeufs avec satisfaction. En l’absence de Culusxan cette histoire prenait une tournure beaucoup moins anxiogène.
    Même si manifestement le chef ici c’était le type en fauteuil roulant, et que même les animaux me surveillaient.
    Je traversais la pièce en avalant une bouchée d’oeufs, ma tasse de thé à la main, et m’approchai de la baie vitrée. Ça menait sur une belle terrasse digne d’un procedural américain, et il y avait une piscine semi-enterrée.
    J’avais beau avoir grandi dans une maison similaire, sur les hauteurs de L.A., celle-ci me semblait irréelle. Peut-être parce qu’elle avait été soigneusement réaménagée pour être facilement utilisable avec un fauteuil roulant. Ou alors c’était la multitude d’oeuvres d’art pas vraiment finalisées, comme si l’artiste de la famille était trop pressé de les accrocher au mur.
    Je changeai ma tasse de main et poussai la baie vitrée par curiosité. C’était ouvert. Une crevette s’écrasa sur le verre avec un bruit spongieux et humide et tomba à mes pieds. Je me retournai. L’octopus gigotait négativement un tentacule au-dessus de son tank.
    — Je ne fais que regarder.
    Je ri à l’incongruité de la scène, passai la tête sur la terrasse puis refermai la porte, ma curiosité un peu calmée. Je me plaçai devant l’octopus Bobby et posai la main à plat sur le verre du tank avec une idée idiote.
    — See ? Still there.
    Bobby slowly blobbed out of hiding and literally shrugged me off. I burst out with laughter and ended up having to put down my tea cup on the cover next to the shrimp bowl before I could spill it.
    I wiped my tears and stared at the animal. I was supposed to be able to communicate with it, somehow, right ? That’s what had gotten me into this mess, into this home. I looked at it intently.
    How do you communicate, eh Bobby ? Do I have to focus real hard or something ? Do you hear me now ? If you do, grab a white pebble and give it to me. Please.
    That is not how it works.
    I jumped around and my gaze fell upon a rather smart-looking man in a wheelchair. As he rolled himself closer my internal hospital alarm went off.
    I had not noticed yesterday, maybe because I was tired, maybe because it was dark, but this man wasn’t in a wheelchair because his legs were broken or something. He was in a wheelchair because he was ill. Dark circles around reddish eyes, weak looking legs and shaking hands ill.
    — I startled you, he said casually. Sorry. Does your head hurt now ?
    It took me a minute to realize that no, this time I had heard his thought without feeling like I was going through open brain surgery without anesthesia. The relief spread in my back and legs as a strong chai tea on a cold winter day.
    — Are you Aldan ? I blurted out.
    Something like surprised confusion showed on his palish face.
    — Did I forget to introduce myself last night ?
    — Yes you did.
    He wiped his hands on his ironed trousers and lifted his right towards me.
    — I am sorry, he said as I clumsily shook his hand. Yes, I am Aldan. And your name is Victoire. Ergis told me. It does not sound very American.
    — My dad was French.
    I felt compelled to add precision.
    — The one on my papers.
    — Please follow me.
    He T-turned his way back into the kitchen.
    — Wait. Am I your prisoner ?
    Aldan stopped halfway through the door to the living room and pushed himself sideways to be able to look at me.
    — No, you are not. I can even have you driven back to the RER. But I need to make sure you understand your circumstances before.
    — My circumstances ? I asked following him into the living. I don’t like the sound of that.
    I watched him awkwardly battle to push himself out of the chair as he reached for the sofa and fell into it. No matter how much I felt like asking if he needed help, I knew better. I quickly went back to grab my forgotten tea cup and sat in a comforter in front of him as he was pulling his second leg up onto the sofa with a muffled grunt.
    — Would it be ok if I asked about your condition ? It’s professional curiosity. I’m a nurse.
    — It is a genetic disease specific to telepaths. You would not have heard of it. But your curiosity will find some satisfaction, because you sitting in my living room has something to do with me stuffing myself with pills every few hours.
    He stared at nothing for a minute.
    — Ergis is on his way back.
    I refrained from asking how he knew.
    — What do you know about us ? He said, reaching into a small fabric bag hanging from his wheelchair armrest.
    — Not much I guess. In my medical studies we had an evolutionary biology course, so I know you descend from Denisovans…
    I stopped as he carefully unfolded a piece of knitting and started working it deftly. Ok Vic. No questions, no staring. Get a hold on yourself, for crap sake.
    — It is a sock. He said without looking up from his fingers.
    — Can you read my thoughts ?
    — No, but I can read your body language.
    I drank from my tea cup to recover from my embarrassment.
    — So what else do you know ?
    — There are telepaths minorities in every country, but historically there were lots of you in Russia and China, though I didn’t pay attention to the last census but I’d say you now like the US better.
    He turned his sock around to keep knitting.
    — The truth is, and I am not supposed to tell you this but I cannot see any way around it, our numbers have been plummeting since the World War Two. You have a medical education so I will just stick to scientific facts. Your over-use of estrogen-like compounds everywhere ruins our fertility. And we pay for decades of trying to increase our… capacities by actively removing the less powerful from the genetic pool, which only lead to this.
    He gestured at himself.
    I wasn’t sure I had understood - or even heard - it right. I could think of dozens of questions but the only one that wanted to come out was « I beg you pardon ? ».
    — If we were listed as animals, we would already be on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
    I took my tea cup up to my lips, only to realize it was empty, but the cold porcelain helped my brain reboot. What did all of that have to do with me ? Aldan obviously thought I could help… Oh fuck.
    As I mentally reviewed my horrendous conversation in the car last night I figured out that if I was a chimera, I was supposed to be sterile, which I knew I wasn’t, no matter how much thinking about it made me want to trow up again.
    I stand up as calmly as my run away instinct was allowing me to. They could never learn my secret. Ever. I had to get away.
    — You and your friend are freaking sick…
    I couldn’t help but walk backwards as he paused his knitting and put it down on the sofa.
    — I would like that drive to the RER, please. I asked as strongly as I wish I felt.
    He started to put his feet on the floor.
    — Please, let me finish…
    I fled through the door as fast as I could, straight to the glass doors.
    I stopped. I felt completely hijacked. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even hear the sounds from the house anymore.
    I will not hurt you. Nobody in this house will hurt you. You are allowed to be afraid. But I can’t let you flee like a hunted rabbit again. You do not have shoes on. We are not monsters, no matter what you think of us. We want to figure out how you were born. We hope to convince you to help us find a solution. A decent solution. If we keep hiding the truth from humans we will all die and no one will ever care. We need to come clean. We need to convince the humans to help us. Please.
    I felt my own mouth again.
    — What happened to the other chimeras before me ? Surely I am not the first one.
    Dead, according to the law. The last reported one was in 1956.
    — Wait. What law ?
    All laws. You can look it up online. And I dare say they were pretty much human laws before we happily agreed to them. They are old, but still valid. In France it is the article L2164-3 du « code de la santé publique ». Some of us might choose extinction over letting you live, but that is not my case. Now can I release you safely ? I cut your pain off but the longer I bypass you, the worse the headache afterwards…
    — I have to be in Paris at 7 pm. I said. Do I have your word that you’ll let me go ?
    I am not sure this is safe, can we wait for Ergis before…
    — I don’t trust him. I need your word.

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Posté le 24/12/2022
Encore un très bon chapitre ! Je ne suis malheureusement pas encore bilingue et ne peux donc pas te dire si les parties en anglais sont correctes dans leur syntaxe mais ça ne me semble pas trop mal ! Par ailleurs, c'est seulement une petite remarque, bien que ça ne m'ait pas personnellement dérangée plus que ça, mais je pense que les parties en anglais pourront paraître trop imposantes à quelqu'un qui ne connaît pas plus que ça la langue. Ça fait vraiment de gros paragraphes à lire et peut-être que ça pourrait en décourager certains, ce qui est dommage puisque des informations vraiment importantes sont données à ces moments là. Comme je sais que tu n'utilises pas l'anglais pour faire "joli" mais bien dans un but scénaristique, je te conseille peut-être d'évoquer à nouveau en français les infos les plus importantes qui pourraient échapper à un novice en anglais à d'autres moments dans l'histoire. Après c'est peut-être déjà le cas et je ne le découvriras qu'en lisant les prochains chapitres haha !
En tout cas, c'est encore un pur plaisir à lire !
Camille Octavie
Posté le 25/12/2022
Bonjour ! Merci pour ton retour ! Effectivement l'anglais c'est un risque :) j'espère pouvoir profiter des retours pour ajuster ce que je peux. Maintenant j'ai aussi des ami(e)s dont la langue maternelle est l'anglais qui lisent, donc en ce cas il faudrait aussi le faire pour les informations données en français... je pense que, ne pouvant viser "tout le monde" avec ce genre d'histoire, je vais devoir ajuster ce que je peux et accepter que certains arrêtent dès les premiers chapitres
Posté le 22/11/2022
La partie sur la pieuvre et sa crevette qui fait partie de la maison ça c'est une trouvaille !
Le corbeau aussi qui se demande pourquoi Victoire est sourde. D'ailleurs le corbeau et Bobby la pieuvre comment savent-ils que Victoire reçoit leurs pensées ? Y-a-t-il une sensation comme une dring-dring dans leur tête ?
Camille Octavie
Posté le 22/11/2022
Merci Cœur d'Ange ! Les animaux sensibles à la télépathie ont d'autres sens qui leur permettent de savoir si ils ont affaire à un humain ou un télépathe ;) C'est un peu expliqué par la suite. Bonne lecture !
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