Le Masbaha rouge

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Le Masbaha rouge

Un brouhaha quelque peu étouffé régnait dans le grand salon au boiseries finement vernies. Une foule d’une quarantaine de personnes attendait, patiemment assise sur des fauteuils installés spécialement pour l’occasion, que le propriétaire des lieux, également maître de cérémonie ce soir là, arrive et leur fasse part de son annonce tant attendue. Ils étaient venus de tout Paris, et même de province pour certains, afin d’assister à la révélation qui depuis deux ou trois semaines faisait frémir leurs coeurs passionnés d’exotique et d’étrange.

Cela faisait à présent presque une heure qu’ils attendaient pour les plus ponctuels, et une bonne demi heure pour les retardataires. La tension et l’impatience commençaient à se faire sentir dans les murmures agacés qui se propageaient sur le bois. Pour ceux qui connaissaient déjà la pièce dans laquelle ils se trouvaient, il n’y avait pas de doute : l’immense drap rouge, tendu devant le mur en face d’eux dissimulait quelque secret dont Louis Braguelonne, l’aventurier de légende, découvreur d’objets rares et uniques, allait leur faire la présentation sous peu. Les plus téméraires avaient bien sûr pensé à jeter subrepticement un regard derrière cette dernière mais deux hommes de taille et d’uniforme imposants les en avaient dissuadés d’un simple regard. Ils s’étaient donc contentés d’observer en silence la surprenante beauté des lieux dans lesquels ils se trouvaient ainsi que la qualité des gravures dans le bois des murs ou bien de faire survivre leur conversation avec la femme au cheveux gris qui ne pouvait s’empêcher de leur faire part de son excitation à l’idée de revoir le grand Louis Braguelonne.

Cette dernière était assise au côté de l’un de ces téméraires. Celui-ci avait les cheveux plutôt courts, blonds et bouclés, et observait la pièce de son regard brun, doux mais perçant, tout en l’écoutant d’une oreille distraite se vanter d’avoir pu rencontrer le Lord Braguelonne personnellement à plusieurs reprises et d’étaler son émerveillement pour la personne qu’il était. Il tendit cependant une oreille plus attentive lorsque la femme dont la voix chaude et presque sensuelle ne semblait pas avoir vieillit à la même vitesse qu’elle, commença à débattre de la présence du joli drapé d’un rouge foncé fort appréciable à l’oeil.

– Voyez-vous, je ne peux m’empêcher de me demander ce que cette tenture – car je crois, au vu des motifs répétitifs qui y semblent brodés, que l’on peut appeler cela une tenture – je me demande donc, disais-je à l’instant, plus que ce que cette tenture peut bien dissimuler, d’où elle peut bien provenir elle-même ? Car plus je l’observe et plus il me semble qu’elle est de grande qualité. Il me faudra demander à Braguelonne sa provenance lorsqu’il nous aura dévoilé son mystérieux “Masbaha” car j’en souhaite bien une pareil pour mon salon…, ajouta-t-elle avec un petit soupir en rabaissant ses lunettes de vue.

Le jeune homme ne répondit pas mais jeta un oeil rapide au drapé qui tombait depuis le plafond jusqu’au sol et prenait toute la largeur de la pièce, empêchant l’oeil de se glisser derrière lui. Il lui sembla, en effet, que le tissus de ce dernier n’était pas tout à fait aussi désuet et inintéressant qu’il avait pu le penser au premier abord. Il parvenait, en se concentrant suffisamment, à apercevoir d’élégantes formes et des motifs détaillés brodés en relief à sa surface. Ne s’y connaissant pas suffisamment pour évaluer le matériau simplement du regard, il ne savait dire quel genre de tissus avait été utilisé mais pariait sur du velour ou un tissus raffiné de ce genre. La couleur presque pourpre de ce dernier semblait également ressortir plus vivement maintenant qu’il y prêtait attention. A son arrivée son regard avait bien évidemment été attiré par ce grand drap rouge mais son coeur et son esprit s’étaient immédiatement transportés dans l’espace qu’il imaginait derrière celui-ci et vers le mystérieux objet, le fameux Masbaha rouge, cet objet mystérieux dont on ne savait presque rien sinon que Braguelonne le disait extraordinairement exotique et étrange et qu’il l’avait apparemment ramené de son dernier périple en Afrique.

Alors que son attention se détournait encore vers le sujet de cette soirée organisée par l’explorateur, un homme se leva du rang derrière lui et s’éclaircit la gorge bruyamment, attirant les regards vers lui. Attendant à peine que le silence fut tombé et que tous les spectateurs se soient concentrés sur sa personne, il retira le haut de forme qu’il portait, la veste en tweed et, à la surprise générale, son épaisse moustache et la barbe qui l’accompagnait, non moins épaisse. La femme à côté du jeune homme, qui s’était retournée avec quelque réticence poussa un petit cri et devint toute rouge, elle détourna le regard et cacha avec précipitation sa bouche ouverte en un grand O de sa main. Ce petit cri fut suivit d’un murmure de surprise dans l’assemblée et l’on put reconnaître les syllabes du nom de leur hôte prononcées dans un ordre décousu de-ci de-là. L’homme qui affichait un grand sourire prit alors la parole.

– Mesdames et messieurs, merci d’être venu ici ce soir. Pour ceux qui me connaissent, nul besoin de m’introduire mais pour ceux qui ne me connaîtraient pas encore, mon nom est Louis Braguelonne, pour vous servir. Il fit une petite révérence, laissant le temps à son auditoire de digérer l’information, avant de reprendre la parole. Veuillez m’excuser pour ce petit tour que je viens de vous jouer en me dissimulant auprès de vous sous une autre identité mais tout cela fait partie de la façon dont je souhaitais organiser la présentation. Il me fallait obtenir les réponses à certaines questions et il ne m’était pas d’autre moyen que de le faire ainsi, je vous l’assure.

Il s’inclina à nouveau, en signe d’excuse cette fois, puis se dirigea d’un pas assuré vers l’avant des sièges et s’arrêta lorsqu’il arriva devant le rideau pourpre, se tournant alors vers le public, toujours en souriant. Il étendit les bras de chaque côté et passa son regard sur ses spectateurs.

– Bienvenue, donc, à cette soirée où j’ai promis de vous faire part de l’une des plus étonnantes découvertes que j’ai pu faire au cours de mon voyage. Je vous ai promis quelque chose d’étonnant et de mystérieux, et bien me voici donc en train de tenir promesse. Il fit une pause. Vous avez tous, je l’imagine, entendu prononcer le nom de Masbaha avant ce soir, c’est même ce qui vous a poussé à venir si je puis me permettre de deviner, n’est-ce pas ? Eh bien, mesdames et messieurs, laissez moi donc vous présenter ce qu’est que ce Masbaha rouge dont vous entendez tant parler !

Il claqua des doigts et on apporta un tableau avec une carte de l’Afrique aux couleurs variées et étincelantes que l’on plaça derrière Braguelonne. Ce furent les deux hommes qui se tenaient de chaque côté de la tenture qui s’en chargèrent, à la surprise de presque toute l’assemblée qui ne les avait pas vu bouger d’un pouce de toute la soirée.

– Cette carte, mes chers amis, commença Louis Braguelonne en se décalant légèrement sur le côté pour que l’on puisse voir ladite carte, est l’une de celles que j’ai faites faire chez Marionnaud, un collègue à moi qui s’est depuis plusieurs années déjà reconverti dans la fabrication de cartes, et cela avec brio ! Selon mes indications précises, donc, il a fait confectionner cet ouvrage qui détaille les côtes mais aussi l’intérieur de ce grand et mystérieux pays qu’est l’Afrique. Voyez donc maintenant, avec mon assistance, le trajet que j’ai effectué au cours de ma dernière expédition. Ne vous inquiétez pas, votre patience ne sera pas requise bien longtemps encore et en sera fort récompensée, je vous l’assure !

Il entreprit alors, à l’aide d’un bâton qu’on était allé lui chercher, de décrire son trajet depuis Alger jusqu’à Khartoum, depuis Khartoum jusqu’à Kinshasa, depuis Kinshasa jusqu’à Maputo et depuis Maputo jusqu’au Cap, le tout par voie terrestre, à pieds ou à dos d’éléphant ou de chameau, et marine en suivant les rivières, à travers déserts, savanes et forêts vierges et, le plus souvent au péril de sa vie. Lorsqu’il parvint au terme de son trajet en Afrique du Sud, Braguelonne avait entièrement captivé les coeurs de son auditoire. Il continua son récit.

– Au terme de ce voyage, je rentrais ici, à Paris, comme vous le savez tous. Mais ce n’est pas de cela que vous voulez entendre parler il me semble, alors laissez moi plutôt vous conter mon escale à Kinshasa, ou plutôt sur l’île de M’Bamou, car c’est là, mesdames et messieurs que je rencontrai l’homme qui me fit cadeau de ce fameux objet que l’on appelle le Masbaha rouge et que je vais vous dévoiler ce soir. Il fit une pause pour s’assurer de l’effet de sa déclaration sur son auditoire avant d’enchaîner, visiblement satisfait. Dès mon arrivée à Kinshaha j’entendis prononcer la première fois, auprès de mon hôte, un marchand de pierres précieuses, le nom de Masbaha rouge. Je dis prononcer pour la première fois car j’avais, quelques mois auparavant, lu ce même nom dans l’un des livres de Sir Pierce, l’un des grands explorateurs du continent Africain de notre histoire, qui étaient passé par là bien avant moi. C’est d’ailleurs précisément ce qui m’avait amené à décider de passer par Kinshasa à mon départ : en apprendre plus sur ce mystérieux nom que Pierce décrivait comme le plus grand mystère de son séjour à Kinshasa. Qu’était-ce que ce Masbaha rouge ? Un bijoux ? Une épice ? Un animal ? Pourquoi autant de mystère autour d’une telle chose ? Je n’en savais rien mais j’étais bien déterminé à éclaircir ce mystère…. Il me fallut trois semaines et de nombreuses connexions pour trouver la trace de ce mystérieux nom. Les habitants eux-mêmes ne semblaient pas en savoir plus que moi à ce sujet. ce n’est peut-être que par chance que je croisais un jour la route d’un vieux chaman qui avait, de son maître, entendu parler de cet objet. Il croyait se rappeler en savoir la localisation, dans un petit village sur l’île de M’Bamou, située au nord de la ville sur le fleuve Congo. Je lui demandais des précisions mais il ne sut m’en dire plus quant à la nature de ce mystérieux objet. Car c’était un objet, comme j’avais pu le déduire lors de ces trois semaines. Le Masbaha rouge n’était pas, ou en tout cas n’était plus, un être vivant. Je me rendis donc sur l’île de M’Bamou et demandait aux habitants ce qu’ils savaient de l’objet de ma quête mais les versions divergeaient à chaque fois. Pierce lui, voyait d’abord une épice avant, comme moi, de réaliser que son existence ne pouvait qu’être extrêmement rare ou unique puisque l’on en connaissait l’existence sans pour autant en voir un grand nombre. Certains indigènes y voyaient un joyaux précieux, d’autres un sort recelant le pouvoirs de leurs ancêtres, d’autres encore une relique des temps passés, mais toutes ces réponses se révélaient soit incertaines soit complètement aléatoires. Une seule me marqua par la précision des détails et la certitude dans sa formulation, ce fut celle d’une jeune femme, fille du défunt médecin du village. Marqué par ce court échange je lui demandais des détails et elle m’avoua, après lui avoir assuré de la bienveillance de mes intentions, qu’elle pourrait me montrer ce fameux Masbaha rouge si j’acceptais de l’en débarrasser. Elle m’emmena alors chez elle, une grande habitation plusieurs fois centenaire, construite dans du bois précieux et qu’elle gardait malgré sa taille bien trop grande pour elle en l’honneur de son père. Elle m’introduit dans le grand salon où j’aperçus cette tenture qui se trouve derrière moi et qui cachait une partie de la pièce. Elle me fit alors l’histoire de la descendance de ses ancêtres et de la passation de ce mystérieux objet – que je vous passe pour le moment mais dont je vous ferait part plus tard si vous le souhaitez – avant de me faire la révélation de la vraie nature du Masbaha rouge. J’en fus frappé et ne pus la croire d’abord, mais une fois l’assurance de la véracité de ses paroles obtenue et un regard plus approfondi sur l’objet de ma quête je fus entièrement convaincu… Je vais à présent moi aussi vous révéler la vraie nature du Masbaha rouge mais, juste avant cela – ne vous inquiétez pas ce ne sera pas long -, laissez moi vous poser une simple question, la même qu’elle me posa alors…

Braguelonne fit une nouvelle pause et passa son regard sur chacun des membres de l’audience, celle-ci était pendue à ses lèvres et n’attendait qu’une chose : la libération de la révélation. Il prit une inspiration avant de continuer.

– Mes chers amis, que pensez-vous de cette tenture d’un magnifique rouge pourpre qui se trouve derrière moi ?, demanda-t-il avec un petit sourire aux lèvres.


Une nouvelle écrite dans le cadre d’un cours d’écriture créative.

Je n’en suis pas totalement satisfait, elle mériterait d’être quelque peu étoffée.

À retravailler.

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EoP – Part 122


Echoes of Power

Part 122


“So you mean to tell me that you spent the week-end exercising and meditating?”, Bryan asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, just as I said. I went running both Saturday and Sunday morning, around the hills to the south near the park.”, Alexandre said with a proud smirk.

“Nah, even after asking you a third time I don’t believe you… I mean, meditating, why not… But you, running and exercising on a resting day? No way!”

Alexandre almost laughed. If only his best friend knew all of it, he would probably freak out. Or perhaps not, considering… But he couldn’t very well tell him any of it, or ask him directly about his… condition, could he? No, that would be crazy. He would seem crazy. What if he had been hallucinating it all? Then he would really seem crazy, even to himself. And if he hadn’t well he’d still surely seem stupid, and that was inconceivable! Plus Damian had told him to keep his mouth shut about their arrangement. He’d had problems telling what was real and what wasn’t recently, which was completely understandable considering the strange ‘powers’ he had discovered, the monsters that had attacked him and the deep wounds that had just vanished under the shower…

“I swear to you my friend. I even got someone to give me a few pointers.”, Alexandre added, explaining his encounter with Damian but leaving out the important details.

No, if he was crazy he didn’t want to know it. Not yet anyways, he was finally living something interesting. Wait… Talking about vanishing wounds… He looked at his best friend’s face and noticed the thin pink line under his eye which was still there. That seemed to be the only trace left of his injuries after his violent practice session of the other day. His face was not bruised at all and his arm was not in a cast anymore. When had it disappeared by the way? Alexandre couldn’t tell, he had been so focused on other things that he hadn’t paid attention… Perhaps he was really a werewolf after all, and perhaps all of this was indeed real… Oh god, I’m going crazy!

“Hmm?”, he asked as he noticed Bryan had gone silent.

“Damn it, you weren’t paying attention again, were you? I was telling you I started training again this week-end. Softly, not to get hurt again, but I’m back in there!”, Bryan said as if reading his best friend’s mind.

“Oh! Nice! I was just thinking about the fact I hadn’t seen your cast the last few days! So, not too rusty I hope?”, he taunted Bryan with a smirk.

They had been sitting on a bench near the library since the morning classes had ended. It had been almost four days since they had been able to spend time together, the week-end had been really full for both of them and then the last few days had seemed to pass in the same way. Somehow their classes had been packed so tightly together and full of content that they hadn’t had a minute to breathe and each of them had things to do during pauses or after school, rendering their talking time almost nonexistent until that afternoon which, strangely, was almost completely void of any class.

Bryan had asked the question that he burned to know the answer to first: what about the date? To which Alexandre had happily provided details for almost a full hour, recounting how the evening had gone well and how he found Chloe amazing, which was very true, she was fun to be around and incredibly cute! Then, after ‘fangirling’ over that as he called it, they had moved on to other subjects, mainly filling the other in on what they had done up until that point. Alexandre noticed the rest of their group of friends heading in their direction and was about reply to their loud greetings when he spotted an unfamiliar redhead in the distance.


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Concept #3 – The Guardian

minecraft_desert_temple_by_algoinde-d7trjdf

Beautiful art by Algoinde


Prompts & Concepts

Context: supernatural/suspense story set in a universe with magic maybe – MC = Main character


MC was imprisoned for years (centuries? immortal?) in some sort of dungeon or labyrinth (in a desert? somewhere very isolated and long forgotten) with something they were supposed to guard. MC is released one day without knowing how, why or by whom, doesn’t know how long it has been at first and doesn’t understand what is going on. The object MC was guarding (or person? or concept? magic?) has been stolen? And MC has been set free to go and retrieve it?

Or someone tried to steal the object and failed because it was hidden too well, with MC and so they left “leaving the door open” for MC to leave. One day he realizes he is not ‘bound’ to that place anymore (the spell has been broken?) and he decides to leave.

The object (or person or concept) he is guarding could be anything (a powerful gem that is actually a person, some knowledge that only he knows about and that the world must never learn but he doesn’t know that he knows nor that the world must not know, or an object that must not be stolen [and that perhaps has not been there for a long time or has never been there]).

The whole point of the story is the search for an explanation as to why they were imprisoned like that and also the quest to find the thief and get back the object or protect it from the thieves.

MC was a completely normal person at first but became something else after having been imprisoned in that place for no real reason (was chosen? against their will? their choice? –> no clear recollection): immortal (each time MC is wounded or dies, their wounds slowly (or quickly?) turn into ashes and disappear, leaving them fully healed), amnesic (doesn’t know why they were imprisoned) and intelligent/wise (centuries old, lots of experience because lots of time to read, learn and experiment) but no practical experience in the real world.

As MC travels the world, they try to find out what was stolen and who stole it. Then, progressively they begin to question why they were imprisoned/chosen as guardian, why they were prisoner/what they were guarding and who did that to them. It’s a little fuzzy because of the time spent in the dungeon/temple/prison. They also try to understand why they are sort of immortal, what has happened to them?

The first part of the story would be the quest to protect/retrieve the object but it would slowly begin to be about himself and what his existence means as it progresses on. Perhaps the beginning of a series of books/stories about this character? The whole mystery of MC being either the guardian or the prisoner or both must remain until late in the story, it’s one of the central parts of the plot. The whole psychological part of doubt MC has inside themselves could be very interesting.


Well here you go, another concept I have had in mind for a while now. I don’t really know where it could lead because it seems fuzzy and not well designed for the moment (and I apologize if it was explained in such a way, I couldn’t really come up with a clear explanation) but I hope you will be at least a little inspires by it.

Feel free to enjoy this gift as you want and to do whatever you feel like doing with it!

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Concept #1 – Role reversal

Image by tomhotovy


Prompts & Concepts

Context: adventure story, most likely (during) a Manichean type of conflict. Good guys versus bad guys. Single characters or groups, doesn’t matter for either side.


During one of the fights between the protagonists and the antagonists, one of the antagonists, a particularly antagonistic character is captured/taken in by the protagonists.

At first he tries to free himself/leave and go back to his own companions. He doesn’t succeed and is stuck with the protagonists for some time.

Over the course of said time he tries to destroy them or convert them to his point of view to get them to come to his side but he doesn’t seem to succeed.

Slowly, however, and without completely realizing it, he starts to turn to the protagonists side and to befriend them.

At one point in the story he even begins to help them towards their cause. Overtime he changes to their side.

A possible twist to that would be that one of the protagonists, at one point in the story (possibly around the moment the antagonist who has been captured starts becoming a protagonist), betrays the other protagonists and decides to join the antagonists’ side.

Why not make this happen during a great battle (meaning a major conflict in the story). The antagonist who has been captured finally starts helping the protagonists and as they are about to overcome (or even things out with) the other antagonists (who feel betrayed by the captured antagonist’s desertion) they are betrayed by one of them and that betraying protagonist leaves with the antagonists and joins their cause but not before badly wounding the captured antagonist.

This could be either about the point of view of the good side or the bad side: a dark/evil character becoming good (with all the struggle it implies), or a good character becoming evil. Or something else entirely.

Also, I say ‘he’ when talking about the character(s) but that doesn’t mean I mean them to be male (nor human), anything goes.

This may seem common (it uses some common tropes/plot devices) but the whole psychological aspect of the betrayal of the antagonist towards his companions and then the betrayal of the protagonist to join the other side could be very interesting to exploit.

Also, why not mix in a few love interests here and there to make things more complicated? Like between a protagonist and the antagonist they captured or between a protagonist and the other one who will betray them? The person the antagonist who starts to become good likes is killed (or gravely wounded) by the protagonist traitor?


Yep. There you go.

This is a short and simple one to begin with, but quite interesting and efficient nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy!

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EoP – Part 121


Echoes of Power

Part 121


Back. And forth. One way and then the other, slowly and gracefully. The blade of grass danced in rhythm with the beats of his heart, slowly swaying from left to right and the from right to left. He could see it as clear as day. His eyes were closed, the sounds around him had all faded into the distance and he could barely feel the soft breeze or the warm sunrays on his face. His concentration was solely directed at his inner self, his thoughts and his feelings were focused on a single image: a lone blade of grass. It was a strange sensation that Alexandre had never quite experienced before. He knew he hadn’t moved from his spot on the grass but it felt like he was somehow floating around, he could still feel his whole body but it felt weightless.

In any other circumstance it would have felt completely to him to say this but at that precise moment it was as if he was one with the grass: floating around lightly and without a care in the world. It wasn’t as easy as he had thought to keep focusing his mind on a single object but somehow he managed to drive away any distraction that came his way for a period of time that felt like hours. He couldn’t say how long it had been however, perhaps even just a few minutes, and therefore he did not dare break his focus in fear of being reprimanded by Damian. The teenager suddenly noticed something peculiar however: as the blade of grass kept undulating it seemed to begin to glow slightly. It was almost unnoticeable, a sort of thin halo running along the border of the plant, however Alexandre couldn’t tell if it was the way he imagined the light around it or if it came from the blade of grass itself.

Just as he was beginning to focus on that strange vision, it disappeared. The teenager felt like he was suddenly pulled backwards, he was falling! He gasped and opened his eyes with a start. He had tried to yell but it had come out as a sharp gasp. His heart was beating loudly as he looked around and he felt beads of sweat roll on his face and arms. The sky was still as blue and as clear as before, the wind blew lightly on the hillside. The only thing that was different was the sun which had risen higher in the sky. Alexandre somehow deduced he had remained in his state of meditation (or whatever that had been) for a bit more than two full hours! As he calmed down his heart, his eyes darted all around, looking for the silhouette of the older man but, after a few seconds and having looked everywhere, the teenager realised that his teacher was gone. He must’ve left while I was deep in the meditation exercise.

“Without even a goodbye or anything…”, he groaned as he stood up.

Alexandre started stretching, taking that time to think about what he should be doing. If he left, does that mean it’s over for today or should I wait for him to come back? The young man was pondering the best option, carefully weighing the possible consequences to the next decision he would make, when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. ‘Next week, same place, same time.’ That was all the message said, short and to the point. Even the number was hidden, but Alexandre didn’t doubt for a second that it was coming from Damian.

“Well then…”, he sighed after a few minutes of stretching his stiff limbs.

He ran off towards the city at a slow pace, preferring to warm back up a little before picking up the pace.


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The Phone

a short story by Sullivan P. Oopy.

*

handonphone

She jumped with a start as the phone rang again. The piercing beeps echoed in the empty house. A second time, a third time. It kept on ringing, and yet she wasn’t making a move to get up and pick it up. Instead she was rooted to the spot. Fear? Apprehension? Anger? Frustration? All of these feelings boiled inside her. She wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, to let her tears flow freely, to get up and run far away from that place. But she couldn’t. If she did it would only mean surrendering to her most primal feelings, it would also mean surrendering to him. No. That was not acceptable, it was not an option. She had to remain calm and strong. This was nothing. It would soon be over. She closed her eyes and tried her best to drown the sound of the phone out of her mind. One deep breath. Two deep breaths. As she exhaled for the third time she slowly opened her eyes. The ringing had stopped, the room was silent again.

She could feel her heart slowing down slightly, her breathing becoming less ragged. Oh, she wasn’t relaxing yet! No, not yet. This wasn’t over. It never was. Each time it kept ringing again and again for as long as she refused to pick up. It drove her mad. But this time, this time maybe… Maybe she would be stronger. Maybe she would stand up to him and not cower by answering. That was the kind of woman Hope Wien was, strong and independent, reliable and friendly, someone her friends could definitely count on. That came from her mother, Camellia, from the Wien side of the family, the strong side. Of course it was strong, her mother had somehow managed to convince her father to take her name when they had married, a feat that Hope had not seen repeated anywhere else. Wien was a strong name. Originally coming from the european city itself, and pronounced the same way, it had changed to a softer ‘ween’ when she had arrived to America all those years ago. Reluctant to accept this at first, she had slowly got accustomed to it, even getting her brother, who had remained in Austria, to say it that way when he talked to or about her.

Her brother. Thinking about him brought her immediately back to reality and made her shiver. He was the one responsible for all of this. Slowly and methodically torturing her with those calls. Each year, on the same day at exactly 6pm the phone would ring. Wherever she was, whatever she was doing, whether she was at home or only had her cell phone. It would ring without fail. How he got ahold of her, she would never understand, the point was he did. Every time. He would let it ring for as long as it would: once, twice, three times, as many times as it was necessary for her to pick up. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, sometimes hours. Once she had just thrown her phone into the river out of frustration. However he somehow had managed to call the friend she had been spending the evening with. He never stopped, he was relentless. As if this call and the feelings it brought down on her was the sole purpose of his life on that precise day.

“You psycho!”, she wanted to pick up and yell at him. “Why won’t you leave me alone already?! What have I ever done to you to deserve this?!”

But she couldn’t manage to do it. Never. Because somewhere, deep down, she knew she deserved it. Once upon a time it had been her who had the role of the torturer and him the role of the victim. Oh how she regretted it! How much she wanted to go back and change it, make it up to him. But time only went forward and karma had caught up to her. She was too far away for him to actually come over but the psychological torture he imposed on her each time seemed to be enough to content him. She sighed once more and looked outside, anxiously waiting for the phone to ring again. Rain started pouring heavily over the city, night was dark and cold. She was prepared this time and yet, as the phone rung again, she couldn’t help jumping one more time. She closed her eyes, repressing her emotions deep inside her and inhaled one last time. Two rings. Then, slowly, she got up and walked to the phone. Three rings. She extended a trembling arm towards it. Four rings. Five rings. She quickly grabbed it and picked up.

“Y- yes?”, she said.

Damn it! She cursed inwardly at her trembling voice.

“Who is it?”, she added in a more confident tone, for the form, despite knowing perfectly well who it was and what he wanted.

Her heart had stopped beating as she now waited for the dreadful reply. At first there was silence, no, not silence, she could hear him breathe! But he said nothing. Then there was a slight change in his rhythm. The bastard is smiling, he’s enjoying this! She couldn’t see him but she knew it. Rain started pouring more heavily and the sound it created against the large windows was harrowing. Come on! Come on! Say it! She silently prayed, wanting this to be over. A flash of bright light momentarily lit up the sky. Tears welled up at the corner of her eyes and she was about to say something when, finally, he spoke.

“Hallo… Wien!”, her brother said as thunder roared outside.

*

EoP – Part 120


Echoes of Power

Part 120


Repetition?

Alexandre tried to understand what his master meant with that. Of course he knew the saying that said practice made perfect but how could this apply here? He was barely beginning training this way, how could he use his experience in something he hadn’t even seriously practiced once? Or… Perhaps Damian meant something slightly different? Bits and pieces of old memories flashed in his mind, his mother’s words, things he remembered having heard on television…

“Try counting in your mind,” his mother had once told him, “from zero to a hundred. My trainer gave me this advice when I started yoga. You just count and try to picture the numbers in your mind and you focus on it, you think of nothing but the numbers. Once you’ve reached one hundred you start again. Go on, try.”

She had smiled at him, inviting him to sit back down besides her and to try this exercise. It had been years since Alexandre had thought about these few days in the months where she would be home and try to do some activities with him. He had always been bored by her definition of fun -almost always doing boring things grown ups liked to do, at least that was how he saw it back then- but he still tried to participate to make the most of the time he could spend with her and to please her. He could also remember a few TV shows that she watched at the same time, giving pointers as to how one could relax and try to meditate. It was always the same thing: focus on a point of your body and just try to picture it in your mind.

So, something like a single thought. And then work from there?, he thought, trying to understand what Damian had tried to explain. Counting it is then? No, I always get distracted. His mind worked at full speed, trying to come up with a solution to his master’s request as fast as he could so as not to get reprimanded once more. Then what? What should I focus on? I’m never going to succeed am I…? He was starting to feel desperate, relaxation techniques had never really been his thing, especially when they were close to meditation. Come on, think! I just have to find something to focus on, it shouldn’t be that difficult! He took a deep breath and tried to relax.

The warm wind rustled in the grass. He could hear the birds singing around him and the distant shouts of children playing in the nearby school. Somehow a piece of an answer came to Alexandre. He listed in his mind all of the things that were in his surroundings, trying to form an image of something he could focus on. A tree. The sky. The sun. The birds. The sounds he could hear. But strangely the thing that left the most striking imprint on him was the grass. A single blade of grass. It wasn’t as if he could see it per say but if felt like he could somehow imagine a single blade of grass as it slowly danced in the wind.

He suppressed a proud smile, unwilling to unnerve his teacher, and tried to focus his thoughts on that image, replaying that moment like a short video. He saw it, small and green, dancing back and forth, to one side and then to the other. Flexible yet strong and tough. Somehow, and he couldn’t quite understand why, the blade of grass had taken over his thoughts without much difficulty. This is actually working!, he thought. Which he regretted immediately as he found himself distracted by his surroundings once more. Damn it… he swore before trying to focus back on the grass, hoping Damian had somehow not noticed any of this. The teenager slowly took in a deep breath before trying the exercise his master had imposed.


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Paint me like one of your french girls

It was blue, it had always been blue. So why not?

The thought had occurred to me like a self-evidence. A statement that needed no explanation or demonstration, a universal truth. Or what should have been a universal truth. Unfortunately, things weren’t the same over here, they didn’t understand them like we do.

It had been weird at first, difficult to believe and to get used to even. But over time it got easier, it almost became normal. They needed my help for basic things, things that might be easy even for one of our young souls but which, for them, even adults couldn’t do…

I tries my best, helping when I could, explaining when I couldn’t, trying to teach them a few tricks to get by more easily. It got slightly better but not by much, that was their existence and There wasn’t a lot I could do to change it…

I could see something they couldn’t and they idolized me for it. Not all of them, but a majority. Not that I really wanted this. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you view things, I made a few mistakes, that made them realize that perhaps I wasn’t so perfect…

They started doubting me a bit more, questioning, which was good, that ways they would become curious and look for answers on their own. Maybe even fond them. It took some time for me to really win their trust as a normal person and not as some messenger of a vengeful god… But I manager it, slowly but surely.

That’s why I was so excited and proud when they came to me that day and asked That favor of me. They had not asked for something of the kind for a long time. It was a strange request, not that easy a feat either but I accepted with glee, after all, that was giving me a chance to help them one last time.

So what did they ask me?, you wonder. Well they asked me to paint the sky blue and to let them finally see the wonderful sight I had always been speaking about. That mysterious color they had never been able to lay their eyes on…


My short story for the writing prompt I suggested earlier this week, enjoy.

Writing Prompt #1


“It was blue, it had always been blue. So why not?”


So, here is something I have never done, at least not from this side of the game. I love participating to story prompts like this, most of the time it’s motivating and brings inspiration, and the rest of the time it’s just interesting to go and read what others have imagined.

For some time now I have been toying with the idea of doing one myself, to see if I could manage to motivate some people to try playing with me and also to see how different our imaginations work. As I just said I don’t have much experience with this kind of exercise, except for those I have participated to so I apologize in advance if anything is unclear or not well-organized, this is my first. I’ll try to do better next time, because indeed, I hope there will be a next time!

After thinking about it for the last few days here is the prompt I have come up with. Imagine the sentence I offer you at the beginning is the beginning of a novel, a poem, a short story or anything that you might want to write. The goal is simple, you have to answer this single question: what comes next?

Your writing is absolutely not limited in any way, it can be in the form you want, go on for the length you want, be about the subjects you want and end or be destined to be continued later.The only restriction I would apply is that it has to contain the prompt as its first sentence, or in its first line(s) if you decide to go for a poem or something of the sort. That’s all, apart from that you are free. You choose, you decide, you write.

If you want me to give it a go and read it (to give you a bit of feedback on my impressions), you can send it to me via comments on this blog or through my social contacts on my Contact page (there’s a form to send me an email at the bottom of the page). Make sure you add a way for me to contact you and I’ll try to give you my thoughts on what you have to offer.

I will also (try to) participate to this prompt and (try to) give you my version of the inspiration I get from this sentence (if and when I have time). I’ll (try to) post it as soon as I can but it will be uploaded at the latest by next weekend, around the 27th or 28th of August so y’all have about one week to get to work and produce a masterpiece!

I really hope you’ll find this motivating and have fun trying it out!

All right, set your watches on me, grab your pens (or keyboards, as you prefer) and get ready… set… imagine!


My text for this prompt : Paint me like one of your french girls

Or another prompt I am offering!

EoP – Part 118


Echoes of Power

Part 118


The older man hadn’t looked away even once since he had begun his explanation. Alexandre could feel his cold blue eyes fixedly studying his reaction as he listened to him.

“What I am going to teach you,” Damian said after another short pause, “is how to sense, refine and use this energy to make it do your biding. It will not be easy, not even one bit. You will have to work extremely hard, harder than you have to this day, and potentially hurt yourself quite gravely to achieve any result. But if you do, in exchange, you will completely push open the doors to a world you can’t imagine yet, and perhaps you will be able to tread more safely along this path…”

“Now,” continued Damian, “I have already explained to you what geigers -the creatures that attacked you- were, I have given you a few indications about what Empirium is and you have seen for yourself some of what it could do. Do you have any question that you wish to ask before we begin? This is the perfect chance because after this morning, you will do everything as I ask. Though I must warn you: ask only questions that are worthy of answering because I am a firm believer that stupid questions exist!”

Alexandre nodded and remained silent for a while, pondering. He racked his brains in search of potential questions for a few seconds, unsure if he had any that wouldn’t seem stupid to his teacher (he couldn’t help feeling slightly weird at the thought of Damian being his ‘magic’ teacher).

“Yes master, I do have one question.”, he finally said.

Damian looked at him but did not reply, simply staring at the teenager as if silently inviting him to ask it if he dared.

“Why would you decide to show me any of this? You don’t know me so why help me back then? Why not… let me die?”

Alexander almost cringed as he spoke, only barely managing to keep a straight face. The question didn’t seem stupid to him, he wanted to know the reason why someone like Damian would decide to help him. There were a few reasons to that, the main one being that the blue-eyed man in front of him didn’t seem like someone who really cared about others. So why save him? Was there something behind this decision? He looked at his newly found teacher as the man seemed to ponder if his interrogation was worthy of an answer.

“Not bad,” Damian finally said, “that is a passable question so I will answer it.”

The man paused for a moment before continuing.

“It was not because I particularly cared nor because I am usually inclined to do this, I saved you simply because I felt it might be entertaining afterwards. The reason I am offering to train you now is mostly the same: I do this to entertain myself, nothing more. That is why, if I am ever discontent with your attitude or investment in what I kindly offer you, I will simply put a stop to it. So, if you want to learn as much as you can, you have better make sure to keep my interest up… Is that clear?”, Damian said in a casual tone, not looking away once as he spoke.

Alexandre swallowed with difficulty as his teacher went silent again. He had somehow been expecting that, that man wasn’t quite… normal, if that was the word. The teenager had a feeling things were not going to be very pleasant from then on…

“Yes master.”, he finally replied with a short nod.

Damian seemed pleased, or something akin to that, if anything. He stood up, towering over the teenager who was sitting on the ground, as walked behind him.

“Very well then, let us begin. Sit straight and close your eyes!”, he exclaimed, his voice clear but cold.


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