What could I do?

The familiar sound of a motorcycle caught my attention and I nearly cried with relief: it was my dad coming home from work. I would explain everything to him, he would rescue me and find a solution. I ran to meet him and waved my arms wildly. The Harley-Davidson stopped and the biker, a two metre tall giant, took off his helmet.

It was my father’s face, but it was neither his voice, nor his eyes.

– You! he spat at me

He looked at me as if I was Jack the Ripper.

– You…, he repeated.

He stepped off his bike, took a spanner the size of his forearm from the bag behind his leather seat, and came towards me, threateningly.

– How dare you come back here…

He raised the spanner like one raises a bludgeon, ready to knock it onto my head without regret. I dropped The War of the Worlds (that I was still holding) and ran, only to stop, panting, at the top of the street

Behind me, my father – who, the day before, had treated me to a memorable McDonald’s dinner and cinema trip to celebrate the 3D theatrical release of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer – was running towards me, a wild expression on his face.

He looked a lot less fun than the pointy-teethed creatures from the movie.

– But Dad, look at me: I’m your son! I yelled at him.

As an answer, my beloved dad threw the spanner with all his might, with the clear intention of hitting the top of my skull. I swerved, the spanner finished its course – Bong! – against the crossroad’s stop sign.

I took off again, running as fast as my legs would take me, turning right onto the boulevard before turning right again into my neighbourhood’s pedestrian area, a maze of little shopping streets and an enormous covered market. My father chased me for a while – I could hear his footsteps behind me – but I was more agile, I sneaked around better, I managed to lose him.

I sat down on a bench for a moment, in a square between the covered market and the Swan Walk, to catch my breath. The shopping centre’s sign projected its neon lights’ reddish glow on the square’s trees and aisles. If the mood had been different, you could have thought yourself immersed in one of The Martian Chronicles’ many captivating stories.

The Martian Chronicles

… Yet another book I had taken from the family library, when I still had a family.

It must have been in another life…

I stood up, my head empty, and walked blindly.

(Go to PART 5)


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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