I saw that she wasn’t kidding and, in shock, I let the greasy plate I was still holding fall to the floor. It smashed into a million pieces.

Because you see, guys, that was the last thing I was expecting, the last thing anyone would have expected.

My mother took no notice of the disaster on the floor. She walked towards me, arms full of shopping bags, with a suspicious look.

– You’re a friend of Julie’s, right? You seem pretty old. Anyway, she’s not back yet.

She put her bags down on the table and added, in a firm tone:

– No one ever taught you to wait outside? Take your things and get out of here.

She pushed me to the door, and before ejecting me, made a point of warning me:

– Don’t do that again! Otherwise, I’ll call your mother.

Wham! The door slammed and I was left with a bewildered expression on my face, slippers on my feet and The War of the Worlds in my hands, kicked out of my own house. I thought for a moment and decided to ring the bell.

My mother opened the door in a rush.

– What do you want now?

– Come on Mum, look at me: I’m your son.

I tried to sound confident, but, I must admit, I found it difficult.

My mother looked at me, indeed, like one looks at a crazy person who escaped the psychiatric ward.

– If I had a son, I would be the first to know.

She took my arm and quickly dragged me to the front gate which overlooks the street.

I had seen her grab someone like that once before; a little snot-nosed neighbourhood idiot who had picked on Nestor the spring before. The kid had squirmed like a worm and screamed.

I now understood why.

My mother released her iron grip and unceremoniously propelled me onto the pavement. Then, without a word, she turned on her heels and vanished into the house I could no longer call home.

Wham! slammed the door a second time.

I paced the pavement and massaged my sore arm. Obviously, I didn’t dare cross the gate and go back into the garden, but I stayed well in sight, arms swinging, my face – quite certainly – appalled and pitiful, keeping hope in my heart that my mother would come outside with a big smile on her face and yell at me:

– Come back, my darling. It was a joke!

But she didn’t come out, even though I saw the living room curtains move once or twice.

(Go to PART 4)


All rights reserved
(C) 2015-16 Jérémie Cassiopée

Illustration: Marzena Pereida Piwowar

Translation from the original French: Emilie Watson-Couture and the author.

Do you like Harry Potter, Oksa Pollock or Bobby Pendragon? "In the Shadows, Down By the Bookshop" is just as good, but radically different! Give it a go, and you won't be disappointed!

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