Beyond The Shadow
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Mar 3 Fév - 22:46

Chapitre 1 a écrit:


Why did I accept it? I guess that question will haunt me until my death… And given the circumstances, it will probably not be long. He was here, so close that I could almost feel the heat of his breath. Yet, his footsteps were far enough to let me hope that, maybe, he will forget me; maybe he will take the wrong way and lost himself in the street. But it was utopian. He was a predator, a monster created to hunt his prey wherever it was, whatever it was. All of his senses were sharp enough to distinguish a drop of blood in an ocean of water, to hear the sound of a leaf dropping on the ground by fall. Unluckily, this time, I was the prey. And the worst part is, I didn't even know him! I hadn't done anything; it was just the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong friends.

Holding my breath as much as I can, I wish to be smaller; it would be easier to not be seen. Maybe if I stay in the shadow, I will be unnoticed. Behind the green veil of an old house of Caillte Cathrach, I pulled myself against the worm-eaten wood of the door. If only it was a little more rotten, I would probably have dug up a hole in it and slithered into the house. But it can't be helped. I had my fingers in blood and no strength left. In my pocket, only three of these spheres they gave me. They said it would protect me, but still, it couldn't do anything against him. I could be naked that I wouldn't be worse. Trying to calm my mind down, I took out theses spheres of glass, looking at the pale gray light, swirling in it like smoke. In its own way, it was beautiful, mesmerizing.

Suddenly, a sound made me jump. I didn't know if there was a God, but it was quite a miracle if I didn't scream of fear. My heart was beating loudly in my chest, every shadow, every sound looked like a threat that I couldn't handle by myself. Resounding in the ruins, his footsteps seemed to get closer, like a hammer hitting on the ground. But how can I be sure when the foul smell of death and garbage spread in the air. My own perfume could be hidden by that stench or well recognizable, especially by someone, something, like him. Unfortunately, I was all by myself, nobody knew that I was here, no one to save me, all I could do was hoping that he'll get away. But then again, the fortune was against me.

As the footsteps were stopped, what looked like a family of rats ran out between my legs, climbing my knees like I was just some other mountains of dirt. It was quite of ironic to see that I've been able to keep my calm, even with a monster ready to kill, but some rats were too much for me. This time, I wasn't able to hold my scream terrified and disgusted by some rodents. Leaping out my hiding place like, screaming, crying and gesticulating, I fell on the ground, stumbling over the cobbled road. The pain by itself was enough to make me close my eyes, but when I opened it again, the rats were far away from here and he was standing right in front of me. Even now, by looking at him, I couldn't say what he was. Taller, more than every human being, thin yet stronger than you can think, with his armor, he was more like a bug than a human. Behind his mask, his green-eyes were glowing of joy and happiness to have caught his prey.

What could I possibly do now? While he was standing above me, the spheres shook in my hands. What was a pale gray light started to shine with bright. Inside of it, the smoke was spinning furiously, trying to escape its glass cage. Desperately, without even thinking of the consequences, I threw them at my opponent. They were my last line of defense; it was probably the only thing worth to try. When the glass shattered, all I could see was a flash of pure light. All I can hear was a shrill whistle. Seriously, why had I even accepted it?

Kathy opened her eyes in the half-lighted room. In her iris, a gray flash persisted for a second. In the darkness of her bedroom, the only light came from an alarm-clock, displaying 3:07am in a green light. Way too early to think about getting up, but with nightmares like those, she couldn't go to sleep for tonight. It's been three days since those dreams began and every time, it was about strange creatures, looking like nothing else, unknown places, cities and villages. Yet, even by knowing that it was just some nightmares, some illusions, Kathy couldn't help but to feel the blood on her hands, the dirt under her feet. Every time, it looked so real that, when she woke up, she asked herself if it wasn't true.

Sticking a hand to her hair, Kathy slithered out of her bed, well-conscious that she wouldn't fall asleep again. The cold floor finished to wake her up. Despite, or maybe because of the temperature, this sudden freshness was welcome. It has been a month since the heat wave hit Paris; every habitant slept with wide-opened windows, fan and air conditioning. Still, Kathy knew that if her clothes were drenched with sweat, it wasn't just the heat. With a disgusted look, she took away her T-shirt, letting it drop on the ground, then stopped in front of her mirror. Despite her physical appearance, she couldn't call herself a beautiful woman.

In her twenty, she had nothing to envy to other women. In fact, most of them would probably be jealous of her, even if she wasn’t shaped like a sand glass. From her Hispanic father, she got a tanned skin, even during winter, matching black curly hair. From her Irish mother, she got blue-gray eyes, straight and strong. Still, she didn't find her attractive, looking at her belly, meaning of her lack of exercise, at her nose, short and upturned, at her shadows, right under her eyes that make up will probably not hide for long. But what was probably her biggest complex were her breasts. Roundly shaped, Kathy couldn't help but to think they were too small. Don't we say that men love big ones? Sighing of sleep, she pushed away a lock on her forehead, stuck by the sweat.

While the flash of a car's light reflecting on her mirror, something weird caught her eyes. It lasted less than a second, yet it was enough for Kathy to clearly see her nightmare come true. During this only second, a white mask stared at her with its glowing green eyes, before vanishing into the night. Still, surprised and terrified by what she saw, Kathy stepped back suddenly, hitting herself against the corner of her desk. The pain brought her back to reality in a blink of an eye.

"Fucking… Ouch… What the hell was that…?"

Covering her nudity with one arm, gathering her leg with the other, Kathy looked at the mirror, suspicious but didn't see anything else than her. Randomly searching for the switch between all the books, Kathy took a deep breath before switching it on. Then again, the sudden light made her blink. Slowly, as she feared what she could see, Kathy opened a worried eye, but all she saw was her long black hair, her tanned skin and her upturned nose. But no more mask or green eyes. Standing there, she looked at her room with a suspicious eye.

"Nothing… Of course, there is nothing." She said, massing her legs where she hurts herself. "And now I'll get a bruise…"

Irritated, she grabbed some clothes, Kathy headed for the bathroom. If she couldn't sleep, at least she could wash her and cool down a bit. Yet, like she needed to be reassured, Kathy switched on every light from her room to the bathroom. After such a nightmare and awakening, she didn't feel to stay in the dark, even for a few steps. In her white bathroom, she stopped for a second, picking a look in the mirror, like if something would suddenly come out of it. Shaking her head with a sigh, she took off her panties and slithered in the shower. The cold water made her clench for a while, yet with such a heat, it was a relief, wiping her dream like they were stuck on her skin. She could have stayed there indefinitely, she wanted to stay there, but quickly, she felt the urge to get out.

Wrapping herself in a towel, she sat on the floor, letting the freshness of the water on her skin to calm her mind. With a rare smile, Kathy stood up, grabbed a comb and started doing her hair while, suddenly, an unexpected sound resounded. It was someone, or something, knocking at the door. But it was only 3:30am, who could possibly come this late, or early? She didn't make any sound that could annoy her neighbors. Policemen or Firemen would have declared themselves and a drunken guy would have made way more noises. Then again, three little knocks on the door.

Tying up her hair, Kathy dressed up quickly and waited. Outside, the knockings were becoming insistent. Suddenly, she realized that they weren't coming from the apartment's door, but from the bathroom one. Her breath accelerated while looking for a weapon, something to defend herself. She hadn't taken her phone so she couldn't call for the cops while there was someone in her apartment. Grabbing the first thing she saw, a hair-dryer, Kathy tend her hand to the doorknob and suddenly opened it, ready to strike but there was no one. Then the knockings were heard again, from the main door this time. Slowly, Kathy walked to the door while the knocking intensified again. Looking through the spy-hole, what she saw surprised her. A man and a woman were standing right behind the doors, a little smile on the lips.

"Sorry to disturb you, Kathy".
She jumped in surprise, turning around to see those two people standing in her living room. Stunned, she took a look at the closed door, knowing without telling how, that nobody was standing behind anymore.
"How did you..? Who are you? Burglars? Look, I've nothing…"
"We are no burglars, Kathy, we are like you. My name is Abygail and this is Cain." The woman said, pointing out her companion. "But maybe we should continue our discussion after you've got some decent clothes?"

Kathy realized that the one whose name was Cain was looking at her, interested. Only then, she remembered she was almost wearing nothing. In a blink of an eye, she closed her bedroom door, looked for her phone and started dial a number, but there was no signal. How it could be that there wasn't any signal when her bedroom was probably the only room where she could use her phone most of the time? Turning off her phone, she looked for a pant and finally chose a gray one. For a moment, she thought of getting out of here by the window, but she was on the 4th floor with no stairs. By herself, she wouldn't be able to climb down the façade. Picking her phone, she turned it on and waited, looking at the screen again, but there was no signal.

"Kathy, you need to hurry, we have no time." The voice came from the other side of the room. At least, those intruders had some manners. "Kathy we really need to talk…"

Half-opening the door with apprehension, Kathy looked at the woman, Abygail, gently smiling. But she didn't look like mocking her, nor did she look like a robber or a dangerous person. In fact, it was the second time she said that both of them were here to discuss. Her movements were smooth and calm, just like she was trying to win Kathy's trust. Finally, the young woman decided to follow her, reluctantly leaving her room.

"It's better. Come."
"How do you know my name? Did you spy on me?"
"No… Well, yes, but not exactly, I mean… It's complicated; we can't talk about it right now."
"Why? Why not? And what the hell is he doing?" Kathy exclaimed, pointing an angry hand toward Cain, sitting on the sofa, closed-eyes, head down, and hands palm up.
"Calm down, Kathy. You must sit."

Looking at the woman like she was crazy, Kathy headed for a chair and, suddenly, turned back. How would she obey a complete stranger who broke into her house! Facing her refusal, the one named Abygail pouted a bit before sitting next to her companions. Worried and pissed off at the same time, Kathy looked at her intruders.

"How did you get in? You have been just behind the door and suddenly, you were here, how is that possible?"
"Again, it's not the right time."
"So what? What do you want to talk about if you don't answer my questions?!"

Looking for her words, Abygail passed a hand on her red hairs. With short but messy hair, she couldn't have more than thirty years old. Her face was covered with freckles and her eyes was emerald green. Green again, huh, just likes those. Kathy thought. Just next to her, the one named Cain was younger, approximately Kathy's age, with chestnut blond short hair. Both were wearing a black suit with a deep black green shirt.

"Didn't you notice something odd, something different these past few days? Like if you wanted to grab something far, but it suddenly went in your hand or if you truly wanted to be somewhere and you just appeared right there…"
"What? No, of course not! What are you talking about?"
"Not even, weird dreams or… I don't know, anything unusual that started four or three days ago?" She asked, desperately.
"Just nightmares, but… What's the point of all of this? Who are you? And why are you here?"
"Nightmares, good… I think."
"You think? What do you…?" Kathy stopped herself, looking at Cain. "What's up with him?"

Breathing heavily, Cain seemed to have some difficulties to do… whatever he was doing. Clenching his fists, he took a deep breath. From what Kathy could see, it looked like he was focusing on something.

"Listen Kathy, those nightmares. They are not just dreams; it's more than just that. They are more likely vision, a premonition of something that can happen. It doesn't mean that it will happen. It's complicated and I know it sounds crazy."
"You know? Ho, well, I'm relieved that you know you're crazy. At least, you won't be surprised when some white-dressed men will come to you." She said, taking off her phone from her pocket and starting dial.
"It will not work here, Kathy." In a gesture, Abygail make the phone disappeared suddenly. "You have to focus, and listen to me." She said, grabbing the hand of Kathy.
"What was that? Where's my phone?"
"Kathy, there is a world, behind ours. Reality is just a veil, you can pass through it. Those dreams are a warning, they are an overview."
"Get off me!" Kathy claimed, trying to free herself. Suddenly she felt like the temperature dropped down. It was cold, wet. From the sofa, Cain tried to call for Abygail, but his voice was too low. "You're hurting me!"
"Please, Kathy, you have to understand. It may sound crazy, but it's true… It's way more important that you could imagine."

Then again, Cain tried to call for his companion, but she couldn't hear him, too focus on what to say to convince Kathy to believe her. Yet, every time that Cain tried to talk, the temperature dropped down a little more. The wall seemed to be drench of water; her clothes were soaked, just like she just left her shower. But surprisingly, Abygail seemed to not feel the cold nor did she seem bothered of the water dropping from the ceiling.

"Abygail!" Cain claimed, strong enough to be heard. His black eyes were open and he seemed to struggle. His fist was clenched and his body tensed. Unlike Kathy, whose lips were cold blue and couldn't stop shivering, Abygail seemed to suddenly understand the situation, yet wasn't bothered by the water nor was she by the cold.

"We run out of time, Aby. If I continue to hold her like that, she may risk hypothermia."

With a disappointed look, Abygail pick out of her pocket what looked like a knife, not bigger than her hands, but it was enough to make Kathy scared for her life. Suddenly, Abygail grabbed Kathy's arm with a strong grip. "Remember, you're more than you think. And I'm sorry for that."

Witch a quick move, Abygail cut out the skin of the arm, graving a symbol into the flesh. By reflex, Kathy screamed of pain even if there was not any suffering, just like there was no blood. When she finished her work, Abygail let the young woman go.

"You have to trust me, to trust us, Kathy. We're on your side. If anything happens, we'll be here to help you."

While she was talking, Cain took out a locket of his pocket. Strangely, it was glowing in green, looking just like the symbol on her forearm. Quickly, the light fainted and a strange sensation took Kathy to the chest, like if her breath was taken away. The two intruders stayed side by side, hand in the hand while the glowing light vanished. The pressure intensified, just like a cable of steel was pulling back from the middle of her chest. She couldn't breathe anymore, the pain was unbearable. She closed her eyes for a second, then, suddenly, the air rushed into her lungs, making her cough.

Sitting on the tiled floor of her shower, water still ran out of the tap. With a shaking hand, Kathy closed it out. Clearly, she fell asleep while taking a shower. That could explain the shaking and the coldness of her dream, but how is it possible to be asleep under a cold shower? And that dream was so real, just like those past nightmares. Grabbing a towel, she wrapped herself in it when a sudden pain took her in the arm. Right there, in front of her, in her forearm, a swollen, red piece of skin, just like a scar. There was no blood, no cut, and just a little pain where she was stabbed by that red-haired woman, Abygail.

Next to her, there were her clothes. The same that she brought with her just before, yet there was something different. When she ran out of her room, she was sure to only take a T-shirt and some underwear. Did someone truly break into her house? After all, she heard someone knocking or was it a dream too? Dressing quickly and carefully to not rub the scar, Kathy slowly opened the door, just enough to listen if there was any sound coming from her apartment. Nothing. It seemed that she was alone and, from the window, she could see the sun set. Running to her room, she could see her alarm-clock displaying 6h15a.m. She had stayed more than three hours under the shower.

Just like always, her phone worked perfectly fine, with full signal. Neither the doors nor the windows suffered of any break in. Perplex, Kathy walked through her apartment, looking for anything that shouldn't be here, anything weird. Finally, she headed for the kitchen, relieved and certain that it was just a dream, a strange one, again. After all, those two couldn't have entered without opening the door, nor the temperature could have decreased so quickly. And all the water in the living room, completely dry right now. While thinking of this, she prepared a hot cup a tea. It was too late, now, to go to sleep again and after such a night, it would be better to stay awake.

Yet, when she sat on the sofa, she couldn't help but to shout a little scream of surprised. Just right in front of her, on the table, there was something, that wasn't here the day before, nor was it when she took a look at her apartment. It was a locket on a little square a silk. Grabbing it, she examined it closely. It looked just like her scar; it was the locket of Cain, the same one that was glowing in her dream. Letting it drop, she jumped over the phone and started dialing the cops' number. She could have taken the pants while heading for the bathroom. She could have hurt his arm in the shower. They could be an explanation for almost everything that happened that night. But that locket, it wasn't hers, it wasn't there before and it couldn't just have appeared right away. Someone or something truly had broken into her house.
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Squatte depuis le

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Mar 3 Fév - 22:47

Chapitre 2 a écrit:

Strangely, it did take long for the cops to come right through her house and search every possible evidences of a break in. Even if she was terrified bah the possibility of someone sneaking around in her own apartment, seeing all of these cops snooping in her stuff put her uncomfortable. Sadly, even with all of her will and everything she said, the police couldn't help but apologize. How could they believe something that simply looked like a bad dream? Of course, as they were pushed to, one of them took her deposition, carefully writing down the description of the two intruders. By safety, the locket and its silk were sealed and took away, but still, Kathy knew that it will not lead to anywhere. There was no reason for them to do any research on that case since there wasn't any sign of break in.

With the officers gone, Kathy looked suspiciously to the chair, just like it will suddenly jump and attack. Quickly, the lack of sleep stroke again. Even if she didn't want to, afraid of her night, Kathy had only slept for few hours and now her eyes were closed by themselves. Furthermore, she didn't want to think about what will happen if she falls asleep again. To avoid it, Kathy headed to the coffee pot, naked feet to feel the cold tiling in the kitchen. Screw the tea! She needed to stay awake. Standing against the fridge, Kathy looked vaguely into the transparent container while it filled up with a blackish liquid. But it's when the acrid smell spread out that Kathy felt that she was truly hungry.

While waiting for her coffee pot to be full, Kathy grabbed a cup, a knife and everything that could possibly make a breakfast. With a bit of scruple, she looked at all the sweet things, thinking about her weight, at the hour. Then, she thought of her night, at all the emotion she endured and decided that she really needed anything with sugar in it. A "click" announced her that the coffee was ready. With her arms full, Kathy went back to the living room, dropping everything she got on the table, filling the cup with a hand, opening her laptop with the other, searching for the TV remote, everything that could let her fully awake.

According to the clock, it was 7:04am. Out of habit, Kathy looked for the early news while eating. On her laptop, she looked for her e-mail, surfing on the internet. Everything was good enough to stay awake. Sadly, the news weren't that good. All over the world, there was killing, terrorism and death. Pakistan, Iran, Israel… Middle-East seemed to be on fire. In the US, the situation was tensed thanks to murders and riots. Piece by piece, this world seemed to fall apart. But Kathy didn't want to get depressed watching some terrible news. With an expert hand, she changed the channel, looking for any show or musical group, increasing the volume.

Still, despite the hot cup burning her fingers, the caffeine running through her veins, every bite of chocolate, butter and bread, the light of the TV and the laptop, when Kathy opened her eyes, it was 10o'clock. Without even knowing, she fell asleep on the couch. But strangely, it was probably the first time she slept that well. No dream, no nightmares, she was rested. But still this heat was overwhelming. Unconsciously scratching her forearm, Kathy felt something under her finger, getting her attention. It was a scar. Suddenly, she remembered that night and the signification of this. If it was just a mark of sleep or a hit, it wouldn't be that accurate. Despite the fact that it wasn't inflated anymore, the skin was still red and the symbol was clearly visible. Three curved lines, spiraling on themselves, without touching each other.

It was too perfect, too accurate to be normal. Is that possible that a dream can influence the reality? Or maybe that someone truly broke in, even without evidence, drugged her and graved it on her arm. But for what purpose? Feeling that she became a little too much paranoid, Kathy stood up, headed to the shower once again, quickly washed her and dressed up lightly. Even with such a heat, she needed to get some fresh air so at least; she decided to wear something casual, light and comfy. A blue shirt with long sleeves rolled up, over a white T-shirt, a khaki three quarter pants and just a simple handbag. In this one, she put a wallet, a notebook, a mini flashlight and a bottle of water. Pulling her hair into a bun, the young woman slipped his cell phone in his pocket and retrieved his keys before leaving his apartment and his building faster than she would have wanted.

In Paris, in August, there was not necessarily much to do. Museums and exhibitions were not that interesting for everyone and there is no real beach to enjoy the warmth. Also, Kathy decided to go to the nearest bookstore, one of his favorite, to see the latest releases. As a lover of all kinds of novels, the young woman had to go to war not to break his bank account and took the money she hardly managed to win with her former work, even with all the discounts she have by being a student. It did not take her less than an hour to finally choose what book she was going to buy. After what, her steps led up to a cafe along the Seine, in which you could enjoy a shaded terrace fans or a room on the first floor, where blowing an air conditioning that the manager seemed to have difficult to adjust properly. To appreciate her purchase, Kathy landed on one of the most remote tables, enjoying that one of the many trees kindly offered its shading. She ordered a simple soda and took advantage of the light breeze blowing. Before dropping a trained eye to the cover of her book, Kathy looked up to the sky. Her almost gray, blue iris eerily reflected the color of the sky, loaded with heavy clouds ready to crack. It was probably the reason for the heat of these days. As if she could not detach the eyes, Kathy watched the slow and graceful ballet of clouds, wrapping the height in a monochrome whirlwind.

The young woman felt her breath accelerate quickly. This nonchalant maelstrom only reminded those wispy glass globes of her last dream. The waitress brought her glass, pulling her, not without relief, from his thoughts. With a smiling nod, our Hispanic students thanked the waitress before throwing a last anxious look to the ground cover above his head. The weather was not really threatening in itself and it would probably not rain the next day, maybe even later. However, memories of her dream were too present to enable it to assess his book to its fair value. Recovering his business and his glass, Kathy left her place, yet perfect, to take refuge inside the building. It was a normal pub, nothing extravagant. The tables were, for the most part, wood or plywood, with simple sets matching the decoration. The manager had kind of a morbid obsession with retro but not really set in an era in particular. The old-Gen flippers, the posters of Edith Piaf and disco balls while the songs of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and other Village People went in a loop from the jukebox.

In this atmosphere of generational patchwork, it was strangely easy to let go, especially in the comfort of the room corner benches. Leaving his precious sesame from the plastic bag, Kathy watched the coverage with interest. It was the face of a woman on a galaxy background where a dozen planets, all similar, stood firm. This was not a novel per se, but a collection of around twenty news of a French author. If the sight of torrential clouds had produced a reaction of fear and rejection, just reading the title of this book rekindled a spark of excitement that she repressed biting her lip. Feverishly, Kathy looked at the most comfortable and socially acceptable position while devouring the first pages of the book. If Kathy was ordinarily a studious girl and concentrated on his work, the books were probably the only thing capable of making her drop her notebooks. She could escape completely into a world without paying more attention to what was happening around her. How many times had she preferred to spend the evening in his corner, despite the speakers resonating throughout the room, rather than go dancing on the dance floor? Yet that day, Kathy was not able to concentrate as she usually did. The first story, about a world where pollution was prohibited, however, was interesting and surprisingly well writing for such a subject. But as soon as she arrived to half the news, a shiver went up along its spine.

A glance around her, by reflex or instinct, told her that the bar was almost empty. It was not something unusual in itself, but the atmosphere at the time was not more natural. Despite the cloud cover, the brightness was more than enough to read, yet the coffee seemed strangely dark. The music was still running, but it seemed like slow down, same for the bartender behind the bar, waiters and waitresses were busy taking care of customers. All movements seemed heavy, slow, almost painful, blurred. Yet while these nebulous figures moved painfully slow, Kathy saw someone where there was no one second before. There, sitting a few tables away, there was a man in a black suit, wearing a blood red shirt. Completely bald, with no eyebrows, he seemed to be based on a black cane. Stoic, his eyes of steel pierced the young woman, as if he was searching the depths of his soul with a white-hot poker. Then he made a single step in his direction. Again, this simple gesture was an agonizing slowness, but the feeling was different. It was not as if the flow of time had suddenly slowed for him, as for the other people. No, this man walked slowly, simply. He moved like a predator who knew his prey trapped. One step, then another and another, still slow, so sure of him.

The breath of Kathy quickened as the man approached. When she tried to back away, his back hit the wall behind her, the young woman was cornered. The man in the suit was only a table of her when he raised his cane. It seemed to be carved from one block floor in the woods, but the knob was crafted, forged in steel and represented the gaping mouth of an unknown animal. The face of the man, impassive until now, became animated with a strange smile despite the situation. His eyes flashed suddenly, illuminated from the inside while a sound seemed to rise from the ground. It was not a common sound. He was neither serious nor acute but both at once. As the noise increased, the man in the suit raised his cane a little more, unless it was the movement that amplified the sound? While the pain went up the ear, Kathy could not help wincing pain, but raising her hands to her ears. His face was exultant of joy, the joy of hurting someone. Then everything stopped. The silence was almost as painful as the noise as the transition from one to the other was sudden. In reality, what Kathy had not seen was the intervention of a third party that ended this torture. Bluish lightning struck the steel jaws, making it burst into black smoke. A second flash burst out from the outside, smashed against the bald man, lifting him up off the ground in a blue-white explosion.

"Everything's all right? You're not hurt?" A voice said, without even waiting for the answer. "Okay, good! Don't worry, we'll come get you!"
This voice wasn't unknown. Kathy would have been unable to say where she remembered the moment, but no doubt she had already heard. Feverishly, the young woman opened her eyes just in time to see a flaming red hair turning on her and pushed a black burst that struck the brunt ceiling. Suddenly, a pressure was made in the chest of the young woman who felt pulled back abruptly. Someone gently shook his shoulder pronouncing his name, but it seemed to come from far away to be closer to the speed of a train. Suddenly, the young woman emerged, still bent over her book, she started seeing the face of a man so close to her, letting out a cry of surprise.

"Hi Kathy, remember me? Cain, we met this morning. Ok, now follow me, we have to hurry!"

This man was the same one she had dreamed this night. Without understanding what was happening, the young woman was caught out by a complete stranger, spilling his soda on her new purchase. Around them, customers were inquiring glances. The counter was in perfect condition, as well as the ceiling. There was no trace of the black man or of the woman with red hair. Her name, then, suddenly came back to her memory: Abigail. The two people who had entered his dream were there right now, or rather, one of them was there, and the other one had mysteriously disappeared.

"What happened? Where is this woman? Who was that man?"

Heading to a car parked not far away, Cain motioned her to climb, putting himself behind the wheel. As soon as the key was turned, the car rushed into Paris traffic, quickly getting away from the coffee. The atmosphere in the car was as contradictory as possible. Kathy was struggling to resume a regular breathing, her pulse was racing and she could not settle on one point. Conversely, Cain was quiet, annoyed every time a car slowed down for no reason or did not respect the rules of the road. But then, Kathy exploded on her seat.

"Are you going to tell me what happens!?" Then Cain turned to her slightly, smiling as fun of the situation.
"Do you mean that our explanation wasn't enough this morning? But if we really had taken our time, you would have not woken up. "
"No, that was just a dream... Just a nightmare, it was not real!"
"Really?" he said, glancing at the mark on the forearm of the young woman. "What about that? Still just a dream?"

By reflex, Kathy puts her hand on the brand before rolling down the sleeve of his shirt completely.

"I fell in the shower..."
"Yeah, sure! Rather slept, that's how we were able to contact you, to the world on 'the other side of the veil'... The old geezer before us decided to call it 'the Scáil', literally 'The Shadow' because the contrast shadow / light is accentuated there. In short, from our world you can go to the other and with a little practice, you can enter into the dream of people. "

Even if he was quite convincing, Kathy looked at him like he was completely crazy, which what wasn't completely false.

"... The old geezer? Traveling into dreams? Are you gonna kill me?"
"Yeah, Veterans Druids, the Great Sages in communion with nature and all that goes with it. But no, I will not kill you."

Kathy then looked at his interlocutor of the moment, trying to detect the slightest trace of madness or humor in his behavior. Druids? Like Getafix?

"This is crazy," then argued Kathy, desperately trying to rationalize the thing, "stop the car, I want to go home!"

Cain then chuckled. It was true that, out of the blue, it was unlikely that someone believes in such tales the first time. Oh, sure, there always had to be open-minded, but it was clearly not the case with Kathy.

"You may encounter some difficulty to back home… Since we're not in Paris anymore, in fact, we're not in France either."

Smiling to Kathy, Cain's face lost all expression playful, concentrating on the road in front of him. His black eyes flashed briefly.

"You're gonna get cold in a few seconds this is normal, do not worry, it will not last long."

Hardly had he finished his sentence when the lights suddenly went out for less than a second. It was not just dark, it was overwhelming. Traffic noise had stopped with everything else. As Cain had predicted, intense cold, then slipped in throughout the cabin. It was not like those cold winter days when a cold current penetrated by a window ajar to spread in the room. There, it was as if all the heat had suddenly vanished completely. Ice needles seemed to pierce her skin, seeping into the nostrils and Kathy throat during what seemed like an eternity. Then everything returned to normal. Breathless, the young woman turned wide eyes toward Cain, who did not seem bothered more than that.

"What the hell was that?!"
"Cosan Scath, the path of the shadow. Pretty cool, isn't it? In a blink of an eye, we went from Paris to… somewhere in Russia."
"A… A second, but... I felt like it lasted for hours! And what do you mean by Russia?"
"That's because your mind is not accustomed to wander without data point. The only concern with this spell is that it is much easier to use when there is little light."

Completely lost on what happened, Kathy tried to open the door.

"I don't understand a thing. Let me go!"
"As I said, it will be difficult. Even more now that we're not anymore in Russia, but in… Australia!"

Then again, the sensation of coldness came back and both the car and its passengers were dropped in the middle of the Australian's desert.
"How is that possible...? And why did you do that again?"
"Do you ever listen when we speak to you? I just told you that... We must be followed; it would be harder for them to track us if we jump in different countries. At last one and I think we'd be good."
".... Where do you take me?"
"Stonehenge."
"Stonehenge, in England?"

Without a word, Cain held thigh to the wheels, a satisfying smile on his face. Cowering in his seat with a grimace, Kathy waited for the moment. Strangely, even if it was cold and disturbing, the third time was clearly less unpleasant.

"It was… shorter."
"Your brain starts getting used to that. Good things done! Look at your right."

Still surprised, Kathy slowly turned her head, looking through her window. Where, a second ago, there only were red-sand dunes, was now some green hill. In a middle of them, far away, there was a gray edifice. They were too far to clearly distinguish the erected stone block, but the entire environment completely bluffed the young woman.

"Look, it's right there, the gray building."

In fact, this building was a real complex, as if an agency decided to build its offices here. But "gray" was not really the right word. One can speak of "gray" when it comes to Paris sky as that day or most administrative buildings. This complex was light colored rock, the same as the historical monument a little further. Probably the architects had given this setting.

"What is it?"
"Offices, it's a research lab." Cain explained.
"A laboratory? You do not look like a scientist..."
"Don't be fooled by appearances... it does not fit your new condition."
"New condition?"
"Yep. Why do you think that guy was aiming for you? Same for us. You are a Druidess, just like Abygail and me… Well, I'm a Druid, but you get the point."
"What?"

Laughing out loud like it was just a joke, Kathy quickly understood that he was laughing at her, at her face, her reaction. Stunned by what he said, she couldn't react, couldn't say anything. With an amicable punch in the arm, Cain laughed louder.

"What's so funny? Is that a joke?" She replied defiantly, still without letting him answer. "Of course it's a joke, you're just crazy."
"Yeah, I might be a little. But still, it's no joke." He said, still laughing. "You should have seen your face. You looked like a fish outside the water!"

Glancing a cold look at Cain, Kathy massaged her arm where the scar was. The car left the main road to reach a paved driveway that just joined the famous building. Cain took out a card, what appeared to be a magnetic pass and slid into a drive. The barrier stood, leaving the field open for the car can enter the car park. Once stopped, Cain got out of the car, waving to Kathy to do the same. Annoyed, the young woman followed her kidnapper without really having another choice; she could not possibly steal his car and drive to the nearest airport. Reluctantly, Kathy Cain followed into the building from the automatic double glazed doors. If the exterior of the building was in perfect harmony with the environment, the interior was much more modern, large windows brought outside light in a clear and white wooden decoration.

"And what you study here exactly?"
"The brain, despite the biological research, it's still the less known organ of our body. However, it's the one we use the most without realizing it."
"So it's a cover for your... Druids activities?"
"Absolutely not. This is a completely official laboratory, receiving state subsidies and regularly publishing articles..."
"I am completely lost... What relationship between the Druids...", she still had a little trouble with this word, "and that lab?"
"You'll see, but it's complicated to explain it like that."

In silence, Kathy followed the young man who seemed strangely at ease and smiling, shaking hands and waving to the people he met. The young woman, however, noticed that everyone they met threw a sharp glance, almost surprised, before watching Cain, smiling, as if to give her approval. The first time Kathy didn't notice. But she noticed that these small discrete gestures were repeated more and more often as they descended into the basement of the building.

"Why do they look at me like this?"
"No, it's... nothing, forget it."

Suspicious, Kathy, however, preferred not to insist. Cain did not seem the type to break under the pressure, but rather to fight back. Following his guide to an elevator, Kathy was brutally struck by the obvious she was strangely unnoticed. They were in England, people spoke English, the indication signs were in English and yet she understood perfectly what was written. Not that she was bad at foreign languages; she even had a pretty decent level, if not good. But there, at the moment, it does not reflect, she just read, understood... The words came to her mind without needing to think about it or find their meaning. It is as if, suddenly, she had become fully bilingual. As if his brain was simply plugged into the frequency "English".

"That's it, you just noticed, aren't you?"

Kathy turned to Cain
"I... I understand English perfectly. Even words I had never seen or heard before, I understand them!"
"Obviously, you're a Druid. Now you are in communion with Nature. Men create languages, but in the end, they are just a barrier between people... At the beginning, there was no language; Druids are above that, we understand what people mean, automatically."
Still a bit in shock of astonishment, Kathy entered the elevator with Cain. Picking the last floor of the building, and then, as if to justify, turned slightly to Kathy.

"The entire top floor is reserved for us. This lift is the only access, most employees can use it too, but you need a password to get to the top floor…"

Suiting the action to the word, Cain typed a set of keys on a digital code of the wall.

"All employees are not...?"
"Druids? No. Most are normal people, researchers, technicians, secretaries, accountants. They are unaware of the Druids and simply contribute to research..."
"And they do not ask questions about the top floor?"
"For them, it is only the offices of the bosses, the meeting rooms of the Council, that sort of thing."
"But in reality, this is...?"

Cain then looked both surprised and annoyed at his interlocutor.

"This is a laboratory, a real thing. There necessarily is a direction. Top floor is reserved to management. The only difference is that some parts are not used to direct the complex...."

In a typical jingle, the elevator stopped his run and opened. The top floor was not much different than what you could find in any business. White walls with paintings. Rooms separated by walls or windows and sweeping views of the valley and including Stonehenge. Following Cain in a succession of corridors, Kathy was able to observe that these claims were indeed true. In offices, people were busy in stacks of files on their computers or just a coffee break. However, reactions to him were very different crossword employees at lower levels. While men threw an amused look at Kathy, many women seemed to want to get there. Somewhat reassured, the student then chose to stay close the young man, like a shadow in a square room where several chairs were lined up against the walls.

Kind of wide open cocoons, they seemed clad electronic equipment and sensors. Kathy could count a fortnight of these chairs, each separated from the other two, by empty shelves. Three of the "cocoons" were completely closed. The bottom half was composed of a kind of white hull, but Kathy was quite unable to determine what material. The top half looked like a completely black glass so that it was impossible to see through, but a small screen on the side of each chair gave the name, first name and a picture of the person who was on the inside. While Kathy was interested in the closest to the entrance armchairs, a noise startled her. A man came out from behind one of the chairs! At first, she thought he was on his knees, and then she realized her mistake. If he looked small, it's because he was. He was what we call, politically speaking, a "small person" or, more commonly, a dwarf. Wearing a blue work, with a grin stretching ear to ear, he came to greet the two visitors. In a warm handshake accompanied by a hearty laugh, the man came to greet Cain then turned his slightly balding head toward the young woman.

"Kathy, meet Jeff, our engineer. He's the one who created those chairs. Jeff, this is Kathy..."

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Jeff."
"Bah, no need to be formal! Call me Jeff, my beautiful! Hey Cain, you really are really damn lucky. With all the girls you're banging until now, you manage to find one even prettier! "
"We are not together, sir... uh, Jeff. In fact, he almost kidnapped me."
"Oh, Cain, you still didn't warn her, you little bastard, right?!?!"

Surprisingly, Cain seemed uncomfortable. He who had been almost overconfident all the way, was not quite sure where to go. After a brief moment of hesitation, he finally uttered:

"I thought it might be a bit too much for her if I tell her it right away..."
"Telling me what?"
"I'll tell you, Kathy..." A voice said.

Turning suddenly, Kathy saw that one of the "cocoon" had opened, letting out a woman in her thirties. Strangely, she was wearing only a little loose tank top and matching shorts, as if she had just woken up. Moreover, her face was drawn with fatigue, as after a long sleep not necessarily repairer. The newcomer yawned a good shot, rubbing his eyes to emerge a little before passing her hand in a bright shock of red hair cut short.

"Hi, I'm Abigail, we met this morning, remember? I did… That." She said pointing to the forearm Kathy, "Sorry."
"Yeah, I remember..."
Sorry, it was a bit brutal, but we really had to hurry."
"He told me..." The bitterness was palpable in the voice of Kathy as she showed Cain a nod, "What is this shit then?"
"If you do not mind, I have not eaten for almost 12 hours. Can we discuss it with a meal I'm sure you also hungry?"

With a smile, Abigail thanked Jeff and Kathy to follow her while advancing towards the exit. Nerves, the young woman didn't say a word during the short trip. It felt a little too suddenly, the Druids, the other worlds and now a boyfriend! Seriously? Just because she had weird dreams? The trio finally arrived in a room with a kitchenette, several closets and a table. Wasting no time, Abigail rushed to one of the doors and grabbed enough to prepare a decent meal. Conversely, Kathy took possession of one of the chairs and sat down heavily. His mood was decidedly more concessions, however, it had to face the facts when the smell of bacon began to invade the small room: she was hungry too! Without it asks anything, Cain brought three plates and covered up with.

"Then I'll have an explanation or what?"

Cain and Abigail returned to the table, bringing with them more than ample food, but with an expression more than embarrassed on their faces. Cain was the first to speak.

- "It's... it's an ancient ritual. Our respective parents made it before our birth, I do not really know how to explain it... Abby..?"
"It is better from the beginning, Cain... In ancient times, when one chooses a mate for her child, the two lived together. Then the Druids decided to choose future husbands and wives among members of their clan and created a spell. By linking two intergenerational way families, grandchildren are supposed to obtain a greater power."

Kathy raised a surprised eyebrow. It made no sense. Consciously or not, Abigail left drag the end of his sentence. In response, Kathy's face fell. It does not take a genius to figure out where she was going.

"I guess it is the ritual where Cain was talking about... So our families have engaged us by an obscure and old-fashioned new-age thing?"

Cain nodded without giving an answer. Kathy watched as, one by one, his interlocutors not knowing what to think of what they told us both. Finally, she put her hand to her face, as if to wipe the excess and focus.

"You do realize that this is nonsense and that there is absolutely no chance that I believe you?"
"It's a little hard to accept, but… Think about it. If it was not true, how would we have found you? Not to mention the scar or our trip." Intervened Cain visibly annoyed.
"Exactly, if you think about it, you may well have spied me, followed up with me. You'd drugged me to make me this tattoo and lugging me here at the same time! Isn't it much more logical that all these stories of Druids, rituals and spells?"
"Well, she's not wrong." Abygail admitted.

Not knowing what to say both of them looked at each other, embarrassed. Anyone would have reacted in this way, and again! How many would have taken too long to burst? However, Abigail put his fork into his empty plate, as if she had to resign.

"Well... In that case, I would like to show you something if after that you still do not believe us... We will bring you home and you do not hear about us, okay?"
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Mar 3 Fév - 22:48

Chapitre 3 a écrit:

Echo resounded under the limestone vault despite that the newcomer walked with a light step. An almost-sacred silence floated in the hall, enhancing every sound like an explosion. Quickly, the black-silhouette of a man went down the stair, regretting that he had to return in this dark, wet and stinky place so soon. Every few meters, a wall lamp diffused a pale white light, yet it was almost impossible to clearly see what was waiting behind every corner. Still, despite the malaise, he couldn't go against his mission and the messenger was clear; one of his agents was back from the field, waiting to make his report. Arrived from London in the early, Abraham Grants come all the way without resting. Blond of hair, short cut, his blue iced eyes were strong and proud, looked ferociously into your soul. From his one and eighty meters height, Abraham was thin but strong, with long hands manipulating his necklace.

Walking through the corridor, the outsider suddenly stopped, looking at one of the numerous steel doors. All along, thick steel doors adorned the wall, closing small cage where every enemy of the Order stagnated in their own feces and sweat. But, just in front of him, it wasn't any jail. It wasn't any prisoner. Glancing through the bars of the door, a proud smile on his face, the man in black looked down at his captive. Long and black hair, glued on his neck by his own sweat, what was less than a man stared at his visitor with an empty eye. A lightning of rage sparkled in the eyes of the foreigner before he left his captive in the darkness of his jail, walking faster to get rid of the smell of each cell.

The corridor was large enough to let the three men walk side by side, but its length was far enough to contain several dozen of the prisoners. Every cell was a perfect square of two meters of side, which means that the corridor was approximately sixty to seventy meter long. But, in a place where the sunlight never reached, it looked like a walk in hell with the groaning of desperate souls, whispering in your ears. Fortunately, salvation came in the form of a wooden door, bigger than the other. Ornate and carved with heavenly scenes, violently contrasting with the ambient atmosphere, the door was a symbol of peace and serenity. Any intruders would think as a border between Hell and Heaven, but Abraham knew it was more like a Purgatory.

Opening these doors, everything our foreigner could see was a perfect circular room furnished with benches, tables, racks and a pantry. All of those who were here looking at the newcomer while one of the youngest one, a blond boy not older than twelve years, came welcoming him. Like again, as most of his pair, he was wearing a white shirt with a brown trousers. Among the twenty persons in the room, five were little boys like him. Servants, orphans, selected and rose by the Order, waiting to be old enough to receive the opportunity and be introduced to the secrets. But in the meantime, those children were forced to obey every order given by any low-graded. Seeing all the leering and perverted man, looking for one of them with lust snatched him a grimace of disgust.

"Bring me to the supervisor." He said in an annoyed sigh.

Without a word, the young lad led him to another stair, in the center of the room, sinking into the ground. Smaller than the previous one, this stair ended in a soundproofed room where three persons surrounded a fourth one in the middle of a perfect square, lighted by a single lamp. Without waiting for it, the young boy ran upstairs, closing the door while one of the three came across the room, wearing a black dress. Evaline Leclercq was a classy woman. Wearing her long chestnut hair in a strict chignon, without a bit of a makeup, she was nearly fifty years old, even if her face didn't show any sign of the age. Straight and serious, her roomy dress was hiding her form, purposely to avoid every underestimating from her colleague due to her feminity. It wasn't that rare to see a woman in the Order, but to think that the supervisor of one of the principal jail was one of them was surprising. Yet, both of them knew each other for a while. He knew that she was in charge and she knew what he was looking for.

"Glad to see you again, Father Abraham."
"Glad to see you too, Supervisor Evaline." Abraham said, while his eyes were looking down to the man on the ground. "I see you've already taken care of my agent. Professional as always."
"Flattery will not get you anywhere."

A sarcastic smile on his lip, Abraham examined his agent, lying on the floor, naked. He was a mid-forty bald man, white of skin, named Barthelemy. But the first time both of them met, the exact same man was nearly two meters height, build like a monster, able to, accidentally or not, crush your hand while shaking it. But right now, the monster was falling on the floor, breathing loudly to manage the pain of the numerous wound. Chained to the ground, a strong smell could be the scent. It wasn't hard for Abraham to understand that it was the smell of urine. Even with the hardest training, rare were those who could restrain the urge while being whipped. Yes, Evaline was known as the Supervisor, but she was also famous for her nickname: The Golden Rose of God.

"You should have waited for me."
"Our rules are clear. He failed his mission, he told us."
"I am the one who decide if a mission is failed or not." Abraham said, slowly." Tell your men to get out of here. I will talk to him. Alone."
"I can't allow that". With a snap of her fingers, Evaline ordered the two of them to leave. "I have to report every word that will be said in these walls. Unless that you want to keep secrets of the Order, Father Abraham."
"Watch your word, woman!" Abraham yelled beneath his teeth.
"Or what? Father Abraham, you might be a higher grad than me, but both of us know that you're not powerful enough to fight me." The Supervisor whispered with a sadistic smile. "Can we go back to business, now? I've a report to write."

While looking daggers at Evaline, Abraham walked straight toward Barthelemy. His breath was lighter than before, but his body was tensed by the pain. From every wound, his blood was dropping loudly on the limestone floor. His wrists were red and tumescent from the chains that bound him to the ground. But when Abraham faced him, Barthelemy lifted up his head, just enough to let his master see an emaciated face with his eyes pressed into their orbits under a glabrous brow ridge. In front of his agent, looking like an undead, Abraham couldn't help but have pity for him.

"Forgive my failure, Master…"
"Tell me. What did you learn down there? I might forgive you if your information worth it."
"But my mission… The girl…"
"Your mission is not over yet. Not until I told you so, or until you die on the battlefield. Am I clear?"
"Yes, Master…"
"Now, talk to me. What did you see?"
"There were a red-haired woman and a blond-haired man. They appeared from nowhere when I was about to get her the first time. So I…"
"You ran away."
"No! Master... I have observed them, slowed them down! They weren't able to talk to her, at least not enough…"

Nodding his head, Abraham requested for a glass of water while asking Barthelemy to stop talking. Unwillingly, Evaline ordered one of the young lads while waiting at the bottom of the stair. No way would she leave the room with the two of them inside. It took less than a minute for one the youngster, probably the same that previously, to bring back three glasses and a jug of water. Thoughtful, Abraham poured one of the glasses; letting Barthelemy quenched his thirst before continuing his report.

"Now, carry on. What happened next?"
"I've followed the girl, waiting her to fall asleep again. Finally, she went out, she was reading a book in a bar when I felt that she was… diving. So, I… took my chance." Barthelemy stammered.
"That girl. She can't use her power, right now. Tell me, how is it possible that you, a trained member of the Order, could lose against her?" Abraham asked, strictly.
"The woman… The red-haired one, she came back. I didn't expect her and… The boy came too; he took the girl and run away."

A mocking laugh was heard. Without a word, Abraham looked daggers at the Supervisor, writing in a notebook near the door. It wasn't hard to understand what was laughable. The failure of an agent was incumbent upon the master. To imply that Barthelemy wasn't good enough would mean that Abraham himself was incompetent. The jangle of a chain drew the master's attention on his agent.

"I've learned! I've fought this woman, I know her spells!" Barthelemy declared vehemently, more to Evanline than Abraham. "Master, I beg for your trust! Next time, I'll win for sure!"
"But sill, you let her go! How can you be so self-confident about your victory?"Evaline claimed. "You have learned about her, just as she learned about you. Next time, you may be not as lucky as now. Of course, if there is a next time." Though it was more like a question, Abraham knew what she was implying. Any other would have let his agent be killed, to make an example or just to punish him.
"Miss Evaline is not wrong." Even if what she said was true, Abraham couldn't accept to let her have it. "Supervisor Evaline, could you please release that man."
"Absolutely… Wait, what did you say?" She said disturbed.
"Is there any problem?"
"You want me to free him?" Abraham asked, innocently.
"You… You can't forgive him! He failed his mission! You heard him, Abraham!" Evaline yelled, pointing Barthelemy with a prosecuting finger.

With a quick step, the man in black covered the distance between him and this woman, grabbing her arms in the same movement. Both of them looked at each other faces with a flame in the eyes.

"I've already told you. I'm the one who decide who failed or not."
"It's against the rules, the tradition. He must be punished!" She claimed, releasing her arm.
"Dead, he's no use for us. Alive, he can still help."
"The others won't understand."
"Do not worry; I know what I've to do. Now, free him."

Reluctantly, Evaline held a key out of her pocket that Abraham caught with a fake but charming smile. Then again, the priest faced his man, kneeling in front of him, slowly inserting the key in the handcuff.

"You have to understand, Barthelemy. It's your last chance. Next time…" Without finishing his sentence, Abraham picked a look at Evaline. While Barthelemy was nodding his head, his master turned the key, letting the handcuff fall on the ground.
"I promise, sir. I will not fail again."
"And I will make sure that you'll not forget your promise."

Helping with this poor guy to stand up, Abraham grabbed his arm with a superhuman strength, hammering his nails into the flesh. Surprised by the sudden pain, Barthelemy couldn't restrain a scream. Abruptly, the smell of burnt flesh spread into the air. Unable to stand, he stared at Abraham's eyes, breathing loudly to endure the pain, until it suddenly stopped when the black priest let him go. Looking at his arms, petrified, Barthelemy could see the marks of his promise, of his failure. The hand of Abraham was still glowing red while his power retracted on his order. The scent of ashes and heat overcame the blood in the small room. Amazed by the current event, Evaline looked at them with a satisfied eye. Still, it wasn't what she expected, but the punishment was painful enough to make an example. Even if they were working for the same organization, Evaline's and Abraham's boss were as different as oil and water. But right now, she was ready to put aside these differences, just enough to grab some ideas.

"I didn't know you were able to do such an accurate work." While talking, Evalin grabbed Barthelemy's arm, looking at the burnt skin. "Two crosses, a white and a red one. Does it make any sense?"
"We are the black lamb of God. Working for His church in the shadow. Hiding in His light we can't be associated to the White Cross." Looking down to his mark, Abraham continued. "It's our symbol. Or at least, the one I choose."

Pressing aside the mark, Abraham said, in a voice that didn't accept any rejection. "Every time you'll look at this, you'll remember. Your life is mine, you belong to the Order."
"Yes, Father Abraham, I will remember it."

Whipping is hands; the priest took the glass, pouring it with water once again before giving him to Barthelemy.

"Now, rest, eat, sleep, do whatever you want and need to get on your feet but I want results. Focus on the woman, the red-haired one."
"But the girl…"
"Right now, she's out of range for us. But if this woman showed herself to pick up the girl that means she will show again. There's a high probability that the girl will come back to her place, the redhead will accompany her."
"What should I do then?"
"Do I really need to tell you?"
"No, sir."

Nodding his head silently, Abraham walked out the room without a look back for his agent. A mischievous grin on his lips, Evaline followed him to the main room, writing in her notebook. By the time she came upstairs, Abraham was already talking to a young servant, ordering him to bring clothes and food to Barthelemy. The boy looked at Evalin with a feared eye, her reputation was known all over the Order, even from those who weren't initiated. Without a word, Abraham still asked himself what kind of rumor that kid had heard, what kind of treatment he had to suffer to be afraid of her. Non-initiated aren't allowed to assist in the interrogation, we can't trust them. Abraham though. Whatever he thinks of Evaline, I bet it isn't even near the reality of the events.

"Is there any problems, Father?"Sharpky, Evaline ordered the lad. "Bring this to my office." Quickly, he disappeared from one of the numerous doors.
"He must be quite a good servant, if you trust him enough for this work."
"It's not trust. It's fear." A vicious look in the eyes, Evaline looked at the door leading to her office. "Those boys, all of them know that if they do something, anything, against the order… They will regret it."

Discreetly, Abraham picked a preaching look, then closed his eyes with a smile. Evaline truly was like the rumors said; sharp and efficient, probably one of the best members of the Order. But, with such a narrow mind, she surely was the most dangerous person in place. Even if she was older than him, Abraham knew that he mustn't say a thing that could incriminate him. Being a member of the Anglican Order, he was in enemy territory, even if it was one of the order's stations. Most of the people who were here could attack him and most of them would die trying to. But Evaline, the Golden Rose, could easily break him with a snap of her fingers. Knowing that, Abraham decided to not say a word about the odious treatment that was inflicted to that poor boy. With a sigh, Abraham turned his back, facing the entrance door.

"Well, I guess that my work here is done, for now. Next time, wait for my arrival before torturing my men, would you? And let a messenger with him, I want to be aware of his awakening right away."
"You do realize that I am not taking any orders from you, Father?"
"Yes, I know, Supervisor. But I truly think that my own boss will be highly annoyed to hear of any ill-treatment towards his recruit."
"In that case, I'm afraid that he will have to deal with my own boss, and it will take time."

Smiling to each other with a vicious grimace on their face, both of them walked towards the door. Relieved to leave the Purgatory, Abraham didn't show any useless emotion, letting Evaline close the wooden door. When he was finally alone, Grants walked out the corridors, thinking about everything he needed to do. At the bottom of the stairs, the blond lad was waiting for him, a sheet of paper in the hands. How did he get there so quickly? Abraham didn't care at all, but now on, he got a spy in the place.

"Did you have it?"
"Yes, sir."
"And you are sure that she won't notice?"
"Yes, sir."
"Good, give it to me now." Impressed, Abraham took out the sheet, thinking on how this boy was brave enough to go against Evaline. "Do you know what she would do to you, if, one day, she learns about that."
"Yes, sir, I know." He said, baring his arm. All over it, perfectly hide by the shirt, red lines winded on the flesh.
"And still, you betrayed her? That's brave. Or foolish."
"That's why I make sure that she won't learn about it, sir."
"Clever boy… Now, do you know what I will do, if you betrayed me?"

With recoil, the lad looked at Abraham, fear in the eyes. Clearly, he didn't think about any punishment after his betraying.

"Well, I'm not as harsh as Evaline. But I know some trick too. Painful ones." He said, while his hands were glowing red. "Follow my lead and I'll protect you. But if you tell anyone about me…"
"Yes, sir! I'll do as you say!"
"Good boy. Now, go back in there, I don't want you to be noticed as missing or late. Do not be spotted."

With a simple nod of his head, the boy started to run. "Wait a second!"
Turning back, surprised, the boy looked at his new master, afraid of anything that would happen.

"What's your name, boy?"
"The name's Alexis, sir."
"You still haven't a last name, do you?"
"No, sir."
"Accomplished your mission, Alexis, and I'll reward you."

Again, Alexis nodded his head before running to the Purgatory. For a servant like him, a last name will be given during the introduction at the Order. But, Abraham could overcome these rules and reward him, freeing him of his position as a servant. Without a look at the paper, the priest folded it up in his pocket and turned his face toward the jail's door, looking were the previous one should be before climbing up the stairs.
"Now, it's just a matter of time."

Like always, the square was full of people, mostly tourist and visitors. In the heat of August, most of the passersby were looking for a little place of shadow while workers were dying under the sunlight. Because of that, getting out of the tunnel wasn't easier for Abraham that getting in. Even if, for those who lived here, the entrance was placed in a surprising place, yet probably one of the best hide-out, for Abraham, it was more like an assault course. The Archeological Crypt of Paris, right before the square of Notre-Dame was a pretty big museum, yet poorly indicated. But right now, looking for a little of coolness, most of the tourists were parked in here. When nobody could notice, Abraham opened the doors, slithered into the place without being seen. Unexpectedly, it was easier than he thought; there were way too many people here to be noticed by anyone.

Moving slowly, pretending to be interesting in the relics, the priest walked out the room, avoiding the crying children, begging their parents for an ice cream. Rolling his eyes with an irritated look, Abraham thought about his chastity vow and how he was relieved of this burden. But, by his looks, he was forced to be patient, to listen at every moaning and screaming, like it was God's blessing. Quickly, Father Grants walked out the museum, climbing the stairs until he reached the exit. Suddenly, the urge of getting back in took him in a blink of an eye. The heat was suffocating; the sun was burning down the ground. After the Purgatory, Abraham believed that he ended up in Hell. But it was nearly noon, at Paris, during August.

With his black clothes, it only took a few minutes for Abraham to sweat profusely. Like everyone else, he wanted to find some freshness, but what he had in mind was quite different. With a quick walk, Abraham headed for a well-known edifice. Old of hundred years, unbelievable art of work, mixing few different architectural styles in a masterpiece, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame stretched to more than five thousand square meters. Yet, what probably was the most impressive were the two towers, overhanging their faithful over their sixty-nine meter height, facing the world, protecting the church. Right behind them, the spire of Notre-Dame pierces the sky with its ninety meters height. Heading for the West façade, Abraham looked at the tourists, mostly Japanese, who were seeking for some place to photograph.

Even if they were impressed by Notre-Dame, Abraham couldn't help but regretted their lack of faith. With a sigh, the priest walked in the Portal of the Last Judgment, taking a pic on the engraving and the statues, letting the sacred place calmed down his mind. Like he expected, the inside of the church was cool enough, despite the heat of the outside. Behind him, a large rosacea lightened up the church while Abraham crossed through the nave, walking between the benches where young children, stunned by the heat, were rested with their parents. Finally, as he was looking for someone, Abraham sat on an empty bench, closed eyes, like he was praying. It only took a few minutes for an old man in violet to sit next to him.

Old of almost seventy years, Dominique Morel was a loving man, careful about his faithful, always nice, kind and smiling like he could repel the Evil by his presence. Most of the people he was talking to were under his spell. Literally speaking, Bishop Dominique was emitting a sunshine-like aura, making his audience to believe in whatever he could say. Of course, Abraham was immunized, like most of the members of the Order, but the power of Morel wasn't just about his presence. He knew how to use words against you, twisting the reality in such a way that you couldn't tell what was true.

"Have a hard day, Father Abraham?"
"Not really, your Grace." He said, opening his eyes. "I had worst."
"And better, I guess. I didn't know that you were coming."
"It was an unexpected travel. My mission moved faster than we thought. "
Nodding his head, Dominique seems to understand. "It's always a pleasure to see that our plans, His plans, work without problems. After all, we are just tools for Him. Now, tell me how Notre-Dame can help you in your quest, Father Abraham?"

Silently, Abraham took the paper sheet out of his pocket. Slowly, the priest reads the reports before holding it out to the Bishop. "This is a report, from your own Supervisor."
"Ha, the Golden Rose! Quite a beautiful name for a beautiful young woman like her, isn't it?"
"Beautiful and sharp like the flower that give her its name, I know."

With a smile on his face, Dominique picked a look to the priest before reading the paper. Progressively, the smile faded away while the bishop was reading. Then, he closed his eyes, struggling with his own thought.

"That's terrible, Father Abraham. Truly terrifying, you do realize."
"Yes, Your Grace. That's why I took on myself to…"
"To betray one of your own, I can see that." He said, calmly.
"Betray? Sir, you have read the report!" He claimed, tempting to not raise his voice louder than necessary.
"Yes, Father Abraham. And all I can see is that you try to make me doubt of one of my greatest member."

Coolly, Morel ripped off the paper, four times in a row before giving it back to Abraham, with force and determination. Unbelieving what he saw, what he heard, the priest took the pieces of paper, looking at the Bishop with a lack of understanding.

"Your Grace…"
"It's enough, Father Abraham. I will forget what you try to do and put it on the tensed relation between our communities. We might be members of the same Order; I am well aware of the dissensions among us, especially with you. And by you, I mean…"
"The Anglican Order…"

With a comprehensive smile, the old man turned to face a young priest. From what they said to each other, Abraham didn't care much. Squeezing the sheet in his fist, he shoved them into his pocket in a hateful movement. But when he stood up, ready to leave the church, the Bishop stopped him a last time.

"Father Abraham, the Mass will begin soon. As a priest, you might enjoy joining us?" Once again, Dominique Morel was smiling, like a father to his son. But behind this joyful face, Abraham could see, in his eyes, flame and rage.
"Indeed, Your Grace. It will be an honor and a joy." He said, resigned.
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Mar 3 Fév - 22:48

Chapitre 4 a écrit:
A large green field, right before her eyes, was the only thing Kathy could see. Strangely, that green was almost blazing of light, the grass was dancing like a flame in the wind. Kathy had absolutely no idea on how she got there. Searching her memory, the last thing she remembered was a kitchen, a little one, with two other people, a red head and a guy. Making a few steps forward, Kathy felt soothed and light, as if her body was full of an energy, just like after a good night of sleep, but still, she didn't really know why. Everywhere her eyes stopped, all she could see was a typical English land, yet all the colors were exalted, whether a bird, a rock or a flower. However, despite her feeling of comfort, her breathe got louder, her step more hesitating, around her, the world seemed to waver.

Stumbling against a rock, or maybe was it a root she didn't see, something grabbed her. A solid hand and a man's chest against which she could rest. From this mysterious, yet know, savior, Kathy could smell the scent of musk and vanilla. Then, a shadow came to hide the sun even if the brightness let her think there was more than just one. Even she was a little fuzzy, their names came to her mind immediately; Cain and Abygail. The first one was obviously the one who held her, while the last one was looking at her, a little smile on the lips.

"It's ok, calm down and take a deep breath." Her voice was sweet and calm, like a mother to her child. "It's completely normal to feel dizzy the first time." Behind her careful advice, Kathy seemed to hear a little laugh. Did she make fun of her?
"You should close your eyes. Here, sit down, you'll be better in no time." That was Cain. Haggard, Kathy did as they said, without thinking, but she noticed that, actually, the simple fact of sitting made her feel better.

"Everything's ok?" Abygail asked again, but her voice didn't show any worry. "Don't move; let your mind get used to it. It can be kind of hard the first time."
"The first time to what… What am I supposed to get used?"
This time, it was Cain that answered, sitting right next to her like he was afraid of another crisis. "Your first voluntary dive in the Primeval World. Usually, the brain does the dive in its own way, during your sleep. But this time, Jeff's engine forced your body to switch to a particular state of sleep that forced you to dive. Since it's not the willing of your brain, it has a hard time to adapt." And then, as if the weary nod of Kathy was a sign of her incomprehension, Cain quickly added, "but don't worry, it's a pretty complicated stuff, it's… neuroscience and engineering, it's ok if you don't understand now."

With these words, some memories seemed to come back to her. A conversation, about an engagement, Druids and ritual… But it was still a little fuzzy. She still remembered a room full of strange chairs designed like some weirdo with eggs. Jeff, the engineer dwarf, brought her to an empty one. If from a certain distance, they could have look like weird chairs, but if you get closer and especially for Kathy at the time, it was more like a jail or a death penalty chair. Yet, despite her fear, Jeff helped her sit in it with a large smile, explaining what the meaning of all of this was.

"This keyboard allows us to type name and code, specific to each user. Every chair includes different kind of receptors that take biometric data and save them in the computer, directly in the user's account. When someone logs in, all the data are used by the computer to adapt the form of the chair to the user and maximize the diving process!"
As Cain told her before, Kathy could see how much Jeff loved his machine. His excitation was almost palpable. Then, the dwarf proceeded to explain a lot of scientific things about brains and wavelength like any geek would do for his passion. But as Cain also explained it, t’s completely normal if she didn’t understand. For what she remembered, it was awfully complicated and most of what Jeff said was already forgotten.

“Since you’re new, there’s no data yet, so your immersion will probably last a little longer than usual. Moreover, since your brain is not used to that kind of treatment, you may suffer of a slight amnesia, most likely from the recent event.” Hearing that, Kathy widened her eyes, terrified by what Jeff said. Did they plan to brainwash her by wiping her memory? Obviously, Jeff noticed that his words weren’t exactly the one he should have said. “Don’t worry! It’s only temporary!”

Then, as if he was afraid to see her flee, Jeff quickly reached the keyboard, selected the “Default” setting, then quickly step back while the chair was closing itself. From the window of her egg-chair, Kathy could see Abygail and Cain taking place in their own seats just before the windows suddenly turned black while different kind of data appeared on what was more a screen than an actual window. After that, the green field.

“I think I remember… Jeff? He explained me a few things… It was complicated… What happen next?” From the corner of her eyes, Kathy gave a mad look to Cain. Consciously or not, he kind of insult her or at least did he imply that she wasn’t able to understand something just because she wasn’t a scientist. Even if it was true, after all she didn’t catch a word of what they explained, but the fact that Cain assumed it annoyed her. But then, Abygail caught her attention with a clear voice, like she was reading her mind.

“Don’t worry, Kathy, I had a hard time understanding it too, at the beginning. You know, usually, I’m a maître d’hôtel. In fact, I’m the director of my own establishment so, all of that scientific stuff, it’s not really my cup of tea.”

Strangely, and even with all the magic and scientific stuff, the simple fact that Aybygail had such a simple, realistic job was probably the most surprising fact. For a second, she looked like a ray of rationality in an ocean of madness, making her more seductive than ever.

“So… How did I get here exactly?” Her question was legitimate, but, even if both of them could have answered it, Kathy unconsciously turned her toward Abygail.
“You’ll understand later. Now, all you need to know is that we’re in a place known as the Primeval World, near to the closest Origin, Stonehenge.” Facing the incomprehension look of Kathy, Abygail couldn’t help but smile. “It would be too long to explain everything in details right now. Don’t try to understand everything at once.”

At the same time, the woman stood up, wiping the dust on her pants before lending a hand to Kathy. “Come on, you should be able to move now, we’ll make you visits our world and, I hope, your world-to-be” Her smile seemed genuine, just like the sound of her voice. Cain didn’t seem to push anything more than needed. Everything seemed too nice to be true, but something in the air made she grabbed the helping hand and followed the couple.

The Stonehenge site wasn’t that far from where they were, only a few meters, yet Kathy didn’t notice the difference before getting closer. When usually the site of Stonehenge has been more like a ruin, a lot of rock missing or fallen, here it looked like it was built last night. All the rock was perfectly carved with no sign of erosion or time passing. The actual Stonehenge, the one right before her eyes, was made of a large outer circle, formed by a row of several huge vertical stones, where another bunch of stones was placed like a card castle. It was an impressive work, almost impossible for the time that the monument was reached. But with all this magical thing, Kathy started to think that, maybe, that was the way they built it. Inside of this circle, a second ring of smaller stones around two arcs of stone. The bigger one was made of block like the outer circle, forming five three-stone arches. The smaller half-ring was made of the same type of rock as the inner ring.

“It looks like a fairy tale.” Looking at the Cain and Abygail for a second, Kathy didn’t wait for an answer. “All your stuff about Druids, origin of something and World of stuff. Plus, the site… I’m not an expert, but I would have sworn that it’s supposed to be a ruin, not completely new…”
Yet, with a smile, Cain nodded to her remark. “A lot of tales and myth are based on real things. Without knowing, parents teach their child all they have to know about our world. Even if most of them nowadays are completely made-up stories.”
“Sadly, a lot of our legends were modified by the ages; it’s kinda hard to tell what part is the truth and which one is a lie.” In the voice of Abygail, that phrase sounded like a curse but Kathy wasn’t aware enough to understand it.

“Even if all of this is quite impressive, it’s still pretty hard to believe that I’m truly in a parallel world of magic.” That one phrase made them stop, but by the faces they were showing, Kathy knew that none of them were surprised. Noticing that, she decided to continue. “You won’t make me believe that you are Druids with super power and you’ll certainly not make me that I’m one of yours.” Yet again, none of them seemed to be surprised. In a way, that lack of reaction started to piss her off.

“You said that you wanted to show me a thing and if I didn’t believe you, you’ll bring me back. So, now, I want to go home. I won’t believe you even if you tell me that I’m the chosen one!”
Strangely, it was that last sentence that made them laugh. Not out loud, but sniggered at least. “Calm down, Harry Potter or should I say Hermione. There is no Chosen One.” As usual, Cain was direct, but Abygail laughed again. “He’s right and we didn’t show you what we want you to see yet.”

Then, without waiting for Kathy, both of them hit the road again toward the site. Without truly knowing why, she followed them, getting close enough to see that they weren’t alone. Sitting against the small of the inner ring and the small arc, they wore brown dress with a hood and yet Kathy couldn’t tell much about them. Still, it wasn’t the distance or their position that made it difficult, it was something else. Without knowing why, Kathy could keep her eyes focused on them, but their face, their body looked vague. Not literally, but it was the only word that came to her mind, like she could actually see them, but when she wanted to describe them, everything gone blur in her mind.

“These are the Great Sage. I told you about them in the car, remember?”
“Yeah, vaguely… The old geezer, right?” Behind the back of Kathy, Abygail glared furiously to Cain. She knew that he was the one who said that to Kathy. “What do they do?”
“They listen to the voice of Earth.” At that moment, Kathy lost every bit of confidence she could have had for Abygail. How can someone could truly think that “listening to the voice of Earth” could be a normal answer? And yet, the way she said that, full of passion and sweetness, might suggest that it was more than true or, at least she blindly believed in that. In a feverish voice, she continued her explanation, looking to the Sage as they were some kind of deities.

Explaining the meaning of the standing stones, vulgarizing probably what could be too complicated for Kathy to understand. But as she spoke, describing the fundamental energy and other new-age stuff, Kathy walked toward the stones. A weird feeling resounded in her body while she raised a hand to touch the rock, just like she wanted to check something. Warm and smooth, the imperfections of the rock were still there, like if those who put them there just tore it off the mountain. Yet, Kathy could feel something else, something more, the reason why she feels the urge to touch it. But under her hands there was nothing more than rock, despite the intermittent vibration she felt before noticing that it wasn’t a physical sensation.

At the time, she couldn’t say how she was so sure about that. The stones weren’t moving, nor were they vibrating. Without her noticing, Kathy started to contemplate the stones as if she was searching for an explanation while in the meantime, Aybgail stopped talking to look at her with a smile. The all-time, Cain stayed quietly next to her, looking, religiously at the site, sparing into the space as if he was in communion with something or someone.

“You can feel too, right?” Kathy jumped suddenly when Abygail talked to her. “The pulse.”
“Pulse?”
“Of our world.” Her head nodded gently as she spoke. Her faith was huge and probably as pure as possible. “Stonehenge isn’t just a bunch of standing stones. It’s an Origin, which concentrate and release the energy, like a heart that pump the blood of the Earth. It has a pulse.”

Even if all the rest was hard to admit, Kathy couldn’t deny the fact that she could feel it. Just like the bass of a song that make your chest beat. An inner sensation, slow, grave and deep that resonate in your mind. “Close your eyes, focus on the stone.” It wasn’t an order, but a favor Abygail asked her, with a calm and sweet voice. Turning her face toward the rock, her hands on it, Kathy did as she said, taking a deep breath. Nothing happens for a while. Then, she felt something growing bigger and bigger until it exploded in a giant wave. Stepping backward suddenly with a muffled scream, Kathy pulled back her hand quickly from the stone. Looking to Abygail for an explanation, an approving smile on her face made her understand that everything was as expected. Quietly, without even a simple sign, Abygail made her understand to try again. Reluctantly, Kathy put her hand on the rock, closed-eye, breathing slowly. Under her fingers, she could feel the rock’s asperities first, then the same sensation of something growing until the explosion, but that time she knew what to expect.

Slowly, she get used to that pulse, that feeling of a tidal wave overwhelming everything, even if it was still quite disturbing. Yet, something else drew her attention, completely different. Within the Earth’s one, Kathy could feel another pulsation, smaller, more high-pitched. If the Earth’s pulse could be pictured as the sound of a hammer hitting the sand, that new feeling sounded more like a drop of water hurting a metal plate. Clear and crystalline, as the sound of a chime. Quickly, a second pulse, or rather a tinkle, came to her mind, followed by another one and another. In the end, it was dozen of tinkling that resonated in her and she understood that they weren’t coming from the Earth’s Pulse. Pulling off her hand, Kathy turned toward Abygail with a comprehensive quizzically.

“So? How was it?” Her question was legitimately and truly curious about the answer.
“It was… weird…” Again, Abygail nodded with a smile, waiting for the rest. “But interesting, I guess… What was that tingling?”

Without abandoning her smile, as if it was a part of her face, Abygail gave a sign while moving away from the site. Without a look for Cain, who was still closed-eyes in front of the edifice like praying some gods, the red-haired woman started to explain the meaning of this little experiment. Mostly by pure curiosity and also because Abygail looked like the less dangerous person here, Kathy followed her without thinking much. Is that what she wanted me to see? I didn’t understand a thing, that’s just… unbelievable. Maybe if I insist a little bit, she will explain everything… It shouldn’t be too complicated since they obviously don’t want me to go back home… In front of her, just few step away, Abygail was completely devoted to her explications. As she talked about the Pulse, speaking of exchange of energy, distribution by wavelength diffusion and other complicated things like that, far from her expertise of a maître d’hôtel, Kathy lost her train of thought, trying to understand what it was about.

“If it can help you, try to imagine Stonehenge as… a giant stethoscope. Instead of listening to the lungs or heart, it amplifies your perception of the pulse of every human being.”
“A stethoscope…” The idea was quite simple and pictured enough to understand it, but there was still something unexplained. “What is that pulse?” As if she insulted her, Kathy saw that Abygail stopped suddenly. For a moment, she regretted asking it, but then, she noticed that her guide didn’t seem mad or sad. She was thinking, searching for her word. It wasn’t hard to understand that Abygail wanted to be as clear as possible and that she realized how Kathy could be refractory to an idea if it was too far into her reality. Talking about Druids, energy, vibration of the Earth wasn’t a part of her life and it was completely normal to not accept them as the truth.

Used to guide newcomers, Abygail have seen numerous of people of different type. Those who were able to stand everything without questioning more than that, as if it was a second nature, were quite rare, but even within those who had a hard time accepting it, there were different. Some needed clear explanations, other needed just a long time. Kathy was part of the fourth group; the one who needs explanations and time. To facilitate that part of her role, Abygail tried to vulgarize what she said, using images and metaphors, but it was quite a difficult exercise. That’s why she turned herself to her young lad with a smile.

“A pulse is a signature! Your signature. Everyone is different in something, even twins, you know that, right? Even if, sometimes, those differences are invisible, the pulse cannot be mixed up. It’s not something physical, it’s… rah! How can I explain this…?” Closing her eyes, the woman started to think as hard as possible, making Kathy regretting her question. But when she was about to apologize, saying that it wasn’t important, Abygail finally seemed to find what she was looking for.

“Do you play any instrument?”
“Hu? Oh! No, I’m not a… I have no feeling with an instrument, I think they hate me in some way…”
With a non-feigned expression of surprise, Abygail nodded silently. “Well, in music, there’s something called harmonics. A note is not just a sound. It’s the combination of complementary note indistinguishable that make a note. It’s pretty complicated, but in short, everybody made a sound, the pulse, which is a combination of all the sound made by your body in a normal state…”

Then again, Kathy seemed a little lost in the explanation. “Your heartbeat, your breath, your muscle and bones, your eyelids. Every movement makes a sound, specific to you. All those sounds, heard at once, make your pulse.”
“But the… pulses that I heard, they were the same… I think.”
“That’s because you don’t know how to listen to them. We will teach you.”

That last sentence sounded weirdly for Kathy but with a sign of her arm, Abygail showed her the rest of the land. As if a veil were suddenly lifted, the student could see a dozen of groups, mostly composed of two or three persons; some were sitting on the grass, discussing, other were running or doing sports. For some, Kathy could even see what look like a fight until she understood that it was a sparring combatant. But what really surprised her was different flashes of color that came from several groups; more than just a camera-like flash, it looks like lightning of color. But yet, when she thought she had seen everything when she noticed that those flashes were actually cast by those people!

They were too far for her to understand what happened and to hear what was said. The first group was composed of three women from different age and ethnicities, probably that they weren’t even from the same country. Yet, all the three of them have been able to understand each other, whatever they said. From as far as Kathy could see, the guide was a black woman, tall and thin, her hairs were tied in a large ponytail and she was wearing a simple deep green sleeveless top with a grayish pants. Crossed arms, she seemed to cheer on her trainees while they were casting different spells, or at least it seemed different, until she stopped them from moving forward. With a great deal of gestures and explanations, the black woman stretched her hand, pointing to something in the ground. Suddenly, several strands of grass started to grow bigger and bigger while some flower started to open. As the plants grew up, the guide raised her hand higher or was she raising her hands to make the plants grew faster? After what, the young woman, or at least she looked young, turned to her students and then stepped backward, leaving them an open field to practice.

“How did she do that?! It’s… Amazing!” Kathy was honestly surprised and amazed. Perplexed, Abygail looked at her as if the young lady was stupid. “It’s magic! Why does it surprise you so much?” Yet, with a smile, Abygail took the time to explain concisely. “It’s what we call an intermediate spell. I won’t explain you what it means now, but in short, Mathea, here, used a Growth Spell.”

Without removing her eyes from the scene that took place in front of her, Kathy listened to her guide, whispering to herself “growth spell” as if repeating the words made them more realistic. The first one to try the spell was a little too shy, moving her hand in the air, targeting a random area with her finger without anything happen. The second one was a little too excessive, swinging her arms without focusing on a specific target, resulting in the erratic growth of a row of grass and flowers. Both were reprimanded by Mathea, in a strict way, without a scream or violence. From what she saw, Kathy started to think that the black woman must be one of those teachers that firmly assure their position and yet can show kindness to their students.

“She will be your teachers too.” That time, it wasn’t Abygail. Jumping, Kathy turned suddenly when she heard the voice. Cain was headed to them with a smile. “Mathea. She will be your teacher too. She is quite of a specialist in Intermediate Spell. Aby and I will teach you the Basics.”

As she turned to Abygail, Kathy could see her acquiesce what her companion said without even looking to their protégé. “So, what’s the news?” She asked with a little sign to the site. Then, the young student understood that if they left him behind, it wasn’t for any reason. Even if she didn’t hear a thing, Kathy knew that Cain might have received some kind of signal and Abygail was aware of it.

“A bad news and a good one. Which one first?”
“Go for the bad first…”
“Okay.” Taking a deep breath, Cain seemed to resign himself. “The bad news is… We have a new mission and we need to leave as soon as possible…”
“What?! But, what about Kathy? And we didn’t even sleep in two days!” Her face was clearly concerned. In fact, even her shoulders were lowered by the disappointment. Yet, her eyes were questioning Cain, who was smiling with a certain pride. “What?”
“The good news is… We’re going to Italy!” His smile was no match for the joy scream of Abygail. Suddenly, the great and powerful Druid that she almost claimed to be, was nothing more than a little big girl, jumping around, almost hysteric.

“Really? You’re sure, it’s not a joke, right?!”
“Of course it’s real! It’s been a month that I stalk the Sages to make sure that we’ll have the next mission in Italy…” Without let him finishing his sentence, Abygail suddenly grabbed his shirt and kiss him.
“You’re the best! But Kathy…” Her childish attitude faded away in a heartbeat while she turned to her pupil. Suddenly, the young student felt bad, as if she took away a lollipop from a little child after promising he could have it.
“Well, I can go with you, maybe?” As she said that, Kathy suddenly realize, it was her chance to get back home. She couldn’t just go in Italy like that, they would have to bring her to her apartment; she would have a chance to flee. Yet, Abygail’s face enlightened suddenly with a smile of pure happiness. As she hugged Kathy to death, Cain nodded gently while looking at his watch. “Well, if everybody’s alright, let’s go to the airport! We have a plane ready to take us.”
“Hu? Wait a min –.” And the world suddenly turned black.
Through the Plexiglas, Kathy watched the tarmac at the airport of an empty eye under migraine who beat his skull. A normal side effect of the first dives, this did not affect him turn and return the situation in every sense. It was so unlikely that, during a short time, the idea that it may be subject of a sort, since they seemed real, but her discomfort was quickly stolen shattered this embryo of thoughts. His discomfort was visible since Brandon then came to stand beside her, radiant.
“I always dreamed to go to Italy! Rome, Venise, Milan, it’s like the dream comes true! Of course, we can’t choose which city we have to go, but still! It’s awesome! And it’s all thanks to you! And Cain, of course, but if you weren’t proposed to come with us, it would have been impossible!”

With a pitiful smile, Kathy nodded slowly. “Why is that so important for you that I come? Couldn’t you just… I don’t know, drop me at home before leaving for whatever you have to do?”

Shaking her head, Abygail explained quickly. “There’s a strict protocol when it comes to new Druids. In case of attack from the Order, a team of two experts shall take care of the newcomer until he masters the basic. Until then, at least one of the two shall stay with him and teach him.”

Another question popped out in Kathy’s mind, but her migraine prevented her to ask anything that could be a little too complicated to understand. Rather, she decided to ask something more normal.

“So… You and Cain are… together uh? Wasn’t he supposed to be my fiancée?”

Then, in the most natural reaction ever, Abygail blushed suddenly. It was so unexpected that Kathy looked at her with big round eyes when she saw the impact of her question. When she thought of apologizing, saying that it was just a joke, Abygail explained herself.

“It’s not like… We’re not officially together. It’s… He didn’t want to cheat on you, I mean we didn’t want to… It’s kind of… happen? But, don’t worry! Now that you’re here, it will be alright… I mean you’re destined for each other…. You know, the ritual…”

Despite her headache, Kathy couldn’t help but to laugh as silently as she could. “Wow, calm down. I’m not destined to anybody, I won’t steal him from you!”

The beginning of the flight was rather silent as Abygail was embarrassed by her situation. Still, quickly, Kathy and she started to discuss about what happened during their dive. On how Kathy was also a Druid, with her own power and spell and how did Abygail and Cain found her with the help of the Great Sages. Promptly, Kathy noticed that everything looked like a religion or a sect and she couldn’t help but shared her thought. Strangely, Abygail didn’t seem offended, as if it was a common reflection.

“Our world is nothing like a sect or a religion, but you’re not the first to think like that. Our main difference is the absence of a leader. The Great Sages are messenger only.” Which lead to a concise yet clear explanation about who the Sages really are. Different persons, with different personality without any special qualification except that they are Druids. By staying too long in the Primeval World, those Druids absorbed an incredible amount of primeval energy and moved away from their body until they die. They were, in fact, something close to ghost of energy. Unable to leave the Other World without a functional body, they stay close to an Origin to feel every variation in the pulse.

Then again, those explanations were clear and still incomplete, full of void and mystery, leading to more and more questions. Finally, the two hours of flight from Southampton landed in Verone with a Kathy full of information she didn’t know what to do with and a migraine bigger than at the beginning. Yet, even with a headache more virulent than ever, Kathy felt lighter, more confident. But even such contradiction seemed meaningless with the lessons of Abygail. As they were waiting for a cab, Kathy found a bench in the shadow, enjoying a little break without thinking of anything. A little further, her guides seemed to plan their mission.

“Where are we going exactly?”
“Parma. About an hour and half by car. I made sure to rent a car before leaving the lab. If you don’t mind, I’ll drop you to the hotel with Kathy before.”

Nodding her head, Abygail joined her protégée as if she read her mind. “Everything’s alright?”
“Yeah, yeah… But I wonder… Wouldn’t it be easier to use… Whatever Cain can do? You know, like when he brought me from Paris…”
“Yeah, it would have been quicker… But we didn’t rest since we contacted you this morning and with the fight and the escape... Cain… He won’t show it, but he’s tired. We must be careful.”

Not knowing what to add, Kathy simply put her head against the wall until the cab showed up. Her migraine was almost gone and she could finally think clearly. She was in another country, on a mission with two strangers that possessed some kind of superpower. And, according to them, she had some too. It wasn’t really her summer’s dream.
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