Echoes of Power
Parts 16 – 20
Alexandre felt the strange but familiar sensation that foreshadowed an immediate and acute episode of ‘the voice’, as he called it, coursing through his back. He stopped and leaned against one of the building, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths to try to calm down. But it didn’t help, he felt the buzzing in his temples increase and heard the whispering get louder. The voice always whispered, no matter how loud he could hear it, it was never anything else than a whisper. That was the only constant in his strange case. It didn’t change the fact that it could go from barely audible to a deafening, almost maddening, volume, on the brink of blowing his head off.
The brown-haired teen felt it, this time it was going to be really loud. So much for a quiet day, I guess this morning wasn’t enough after all! He cursed as he crouched against the wall in a corner and grabbed his head in his hands. He hadn’t had an episode like that for some time now. Alexandre pressed his hand on his ears, trying to reduce the sound he could hear louder and louder, but he knew it wouldn’t help, it never did. It was bad no matter what he did. The voice steadily got louder, ending up covering every other sound that he could have heard before and drowning the sound of life around him. He could only hear the incomprehensible whispering now, nothing else existed but that at that moment. He winced and groaned in pain as an eternity seemed to pass. He thought he was going to die as the voice got to its strongest volume yet.
He struggled a lot just to keep himself from not yelling and forced himself to hold his breath to keep the pain at bay. It didn’t work one bit but, as he thought he was not able to handle any more, he heard the voice speak three words more distinctly than the others. As he felt like he would never be able to form another sane thought in his life he heard the distinct syllables of the words coming from the whispering voice. Six distinct syllables that he somehow willed himself to remember after this just before the voice completely went silent and disappeared.
Noctar ares lot’to. Three words… He thought, opening his eyes as the searing pain started to fade away. He took in a deep breath. I heard three words… This thought almost made a smile appear on his lips. Finally, he had something new! He was still catching his breath and struggling to see as his eyes still re-adjusted to the bright light but he fumbled through his bag and took out a small notepad and a pen from his pencil-case. He proceeded to write the phonetics of the words he had just heard, or at least that he thought he had heard, as he didn’t know the correct spelling. Once that was done he tucked the pen and the notepad in a pocket of his jacket and closed his bag before taking in a few deep breaths and slowly standing up. He looked around to see if anyone had seen him like that but fortunately he had managed to partially hide himself in a corner.
Alexandre started walking towards his house again, slowly massaging his temples as he felt a headache coming. He thought about talking about this incident to his father this time but quickly decided against it, he didn’t want to go back to that time when he was barely living for anything else than the exams and tests. That period of his life was over and he didn’t want to go back to it. But why am I hearing this voice then? Is there a reason behind this or am I just crazy? That was the million dollar question that he couldn’t answer, was he schizophrenic like some had thought, or was it something else? It had eluded him since he had started noticing it and he felt he wouldn’t find out about it very soon… He had made some progress though, three new words in one episode, that was a good number. It raised the list to eleven now.
Alexandre kept walking for a few more minutes before he finally reached his house, he noticed his father’s car wasn’t there which meant he still hadn’t come back from work. Well, that’s not surprising… He thought as he remembered the working hours the man had every day. He took out his key and unlocked the door before entering, then he immediately walked to his room to put all of his stuff down and climbed down the stairs to eat a small snack. He took out a small notepad from his pocket as he ate a piece of his cake and read the list of words that he had collected over the years once more.
“Eizio, fallrum, bonham, meï, kafka, azod, noctar, ares and lot’to”. He recited them one after the other before sighing.
What was he hoping for by doing that? He wasn’t going to discover a potentially hidden meaning, if there even was one, by simply saying them out loud, he didn’t even know if the sounds he had put down on paper phonetically were correct or if writing them down that way would be enough to find them. Alexandre closed the notepad and leant back on the file of his chair as he took a sip of orange juice from his glass. His brain had produced so many conjectures, imagined so many possibilities of explanations to this strange phenomenon as the years had passed that he didn’t even know where to look anymore. He had even thought of the possibility that the doctors had been wrong about him, what if his mind was seriously sick? What if the voice was a delusion of his brain? But if that was the case, wouldn’t have anyone noticed anything by now? He didn’t have any answer and that was what frustrated him the most.
At one point he had thought that maybe he could in fact hear radio waves or something like that, and that this was what made him hear the voice. But this theory hadn’t lasted long for two simple reasons: how could it be explained? And if he was indeed able to do it, what language could it have been? No, too many useless conjectures, he had had to get used to the fact that he had no explanation to this phenomenon, whether it was his subconscious losing it or a real ability of some sort. He tucked his notepad away and finished eating his cake before putting his glass in the sink and to walk back to his room.
He turned on his computer and spent a few minutes on diverse websites, searching for something new to read as he had already caught up with every manga he had started. The next two hours went by in a flash as he explored different new stories that seemed interesting before realizing that it was already half past seven pm. He swore and shut down the machine before taking out his pens and a few sheets of paper. He didn’t have much to do as the year had barely started but he had decided to exercise himself writing in kanji for his Japanese classes and he did have a few problems to solve for his math class at the end of the week. The teenage had almost finished when he heard the main door being opened and closed.
“Good evening!” He heard his father’s voice from the floor below.
“Hey dad!” He replied with a smile as he closed put away his books before rushing to the stairs. The clock in the hallway pointed to almost nine pm.
“So how was your day?” Asked the man with dark hair who seemed to be more awake than a few hours earlier.
David Parson was in his late forties but surprisingly didn’t appear to be much older than his early thirties, he often said his side of the family had a very good gene pool on that particular subject.
“It went quite well!” Replied Alexandre with a smile. “We didn’t do much for the first few hours, mostly a presentation of our year and how it was going to be different now that we were in high school. Normally we’ll have a history and geography class at that time. Then I had my first Japanese class of the year and it went well, then we had lunch and after that maths, philosophy and language study, so it was nice overall. I’ve also received my schoolbooks and inaugurated our new id cards at the cafeteria, the food wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but it is just the first day.”
“Well that’s good!” Replied his father with a smile as he took off his coat and walked to the couch before sitting in it with a sigh. “I, on the other hand, haven’t completely finished my day. I still have a meeting at a nearby factory at eleven, I don’t think I will be home very early after that…”
“Oh, that’s not very fun… Do you want me to cook tonight?”
“No, don’t worry, I’ve already ordered pizzas to bribe you into forgiving me for not staying long tonight, I hope it wasn’t too bold a move on my part…” Replied David with a smirk and a mischievous look.
“Ugh, you’re the worst!” Exclaimed Alexandre as he thrust his arms to the sky in his best impression of the annoyed teenage boy before stomping out of the room. “Want a beer?” He asked as he walked in the kitchen.
“Yeah, why not!” He replied with a laugh. “Oh, and the pizzas are with mushrooms for the toppings…” He added as he extended his hand to grab the bottle of beer his son had brought back but Alexandre retracted his hand too quickly and pretended to turn around.
“That isn’t excusable on the other hand…” He said before finally giving his drink to his father.
“It is non negotiable that’s what it is!’ Exclaimed David as he quickly grabbed the bottle of fresh beverage. “So, have you seen Bryan today?” He then asked as Alexandre sat beside him with a can of soda in his hand.
“Yep, he’s in my class so it’s great!” He explained.
“Well good for you then! Try not to do anything too stupid during class though…”
“Or what? You’re gonna ask mom to come back and punish me?” He asked with a smirk. His father shoved him to the side with his shoulder.
“Hey! I’m still your legal guardian until your majority and as far as I know I’m allowed to reprimand you as I see fit until then!” He exclaimed in a faked angry and vexed tone before turning TV and lowering the volume so that it wouldn’t bother them as they talked.
“Whatever you say pops.” Replied Alexandre, still smiling.
“Well, speaking of that, you know she sent me a mail yesterday? Apparently she’s in the north of the country to do some research on an old Indian site and she wishes you a good year. She said she’d send photos soon.”
Alexandre looked at his father before nodding.
“Yeah? That’s the site she was talking about last time no? The one where the whole tribe was killed by a plague?”
“Yep, the same one…” Confirmed David before explaining what she was doing over there in detail.
David and Caroline Parson had separated almost four years before, realizing they wanted different things and that they weren’t as happy as before and living together was becoming much too hard. The decision of getting a divorce wasn’t an easy one and despite their reluctance to go their separate ways while Alexandre was still young they had decided to go through with it after explaining to the young boy that it did not mean they didn’t love him.
“We still do darling!” Had said his mother. “But your father and I have changed so much since we were young, we… we don’t feel the same towards each other. Staying together is getting very difficult for us and we don’t want you to suffer because of this. We both still love you very much and whatever you decide to do we will still love you Alex. I know it’s a selfish decision but it is a decision we had to make…”
He remembered nodding as he listened intently, then having to make a choice as to whom he would stay with. His mother had cried a lot but she told him she knew it was for the best, promising him that she would be back soon to see him before leaving for her new archeological mission. In the end they hadn’t seen each other for almost three months but she had sent him letters often and mails almost daily. She had come back for Halloween and then Christmas, each time with a wide smile and presents, and then, as the months and years passed, he had returned the favor by going to visit her a few times.
His parents had remained on very good terms, not lovers but slightly more than just friends, and despite the slightly awkward situation when they got back together, his mother’s visits were always an occasion for happiness for both him and his father. Alexandre had realized that one doesn’t come back that easily from loving somebody for so long, we always keep a place for that special someone close to our heart. The teenager could see this in his father’s eyes when they talked about her, a faint glint of sadness mixed with warmth.
Recently though he had heard a lot about a certain Lucille, a colleague of his father’s that worked in the same department and he was happy to see his old man open to someone new like this, even if it wasn’t on a similarly deep level as with his mother. That meant he was beginning to move on and to live again which was good even if the older man had never let himself get completely overwhelmed by sadness.
He listened intently to his father’s explanation on his mother’s newest project, apparently they were investigating a very small and very old prehistoric village that had disappeared mysteriously, probably due to an epidemic. The end goal was to restore as much as possible of what was left and to turn it into a commemorative site.
“Yes, that’s what I think too but that’s the kind of thing your mother loves!” Replied David as his son stated that the project was a serious piece of work.
“Indeed.” Alexandre agreed.
He was about to ask when the pizzas would be delivered when the door bell rung out.
“Don’t move, I’ll go!” He exclaimed as his father motioned to stand up. “I was just about to ask when the pizzas would get there by the way…” He added as he walked out of the room with a smile.
He opened the door after checking it was indeed the delivery man, he didn’t want to have to deal with an unwanted visitor. The delivery man turned around and he realized it was in fact a young woman, she had been turning her back to him when he had looked, with short dark hair and a bored expression on her face.
“Good evening sir. Here are the three pizzas you’ve ordered, that’ll be seventeen pounds and sixty cents.” She simply stated in an equally bored voice while chewing what he guessed was a gum.
The teenager almost lost his balance when he caught the large boxes she roughly shoved in his arms, only preventing his fall by holding on to the door knob.
“Uh, hi…” He replied, surprised by her attitude. “I’m gonna go get the money, just wait a bit.” He added before turning around and walking into the kitchen.
He put down the warm boxes and took the money his father had already prepared for it from the table and hurried back to the young woman with the blasé expression. She took the money with a deep sigh and opened the small pouch she had to her side, searching for the change she had to give him back. The young man took this opportunity to look at her in detail. She must not have been much older than her mid twenties. Her short dark hair was mostly covered by the red cap she was wearing but the teenager guessed it wasn’t her natural hair color, it was too dark to be.
That added to her dark make up, eyes surrounded by dark mascara and purple lipstick, and the number of piercings on her lips and ears gave a pretty clear picture. One didn’t have to take a look at her black turtleneck shirt, the worn out jeans and the heavy boots to guess she had gone for the full gothic look. She was surrounded by an unpleasant aura, only emphasized by her attitude. Despite that Alexandre guessed she must have not been ugly under all these artifacts, trying to imagine her without any of it. If only she’d smile a little… He caught himself thinking as he studied her scowl.
He hesitated a second before finally calling out to her as she struggled to find the necessary change to give him back.
“Uh, excuse me miss…?” He said.
“Yeah?” She simply asked without looking up, still chewing her gum.
“You can just forget the change and keep it as a tip.” The teenager explained with a small tempting smile.
“You sure?” She asked, looking up this time, though with her dull expression and her eyebrows furrowed he couldn’t tell if she was annoyed or not.
“Yeah, sure.” He said, trying to keep his smile up but finding it very difficult in front of her pseudo scowl.