The Day Things Changed

“Ruelle Nuit – Paris Noir et Blanc” by Regis Frasseto on Flickr.

The train runs along the tracks, little by little the forest of buildings is transformed into a green pine woodland. From small villages to big cities, from mountains to fields, I am leaving.

What have I done?

The others passengers on the train examine me, glower at me. When I entered the wagon earlier a mother took her children back to her. I know that I can impress but never someone to whom I’ve done nothing… a complete stranger looked so terrified at my sight. I painfully stand up and walk to the bathroom. Inside, the mirror shows me the reflection of a devastated man, my face is covered by large bloody cuts, the dark red blotch on my shirt continue slowly to grow. If I don’t stop the bleeding, I won’t last the night… I step back in horror.

Everything went so fast, only snatches of the scene come back to me.

What happened? Why did things go wrong?

I open my sport-bag containing what little I could grab in the apartment, I take the disinfectant and the bandage and try to stop the bleeding. The pain is intolerable, my sight darkens, I feel my leg collapsing under my weight, and then there is nothing but shadows…

*      *      *

The client is here and he is waiting for me. The square is empty and lightless except for one sinister street lamp. On his side I can see the suitcase I am supposed to collect and bring to the Boss. I don’t know what is inside it and I really don’t want to know. My sport-bag on my shoulder, heavy with banknotes, I move toward him. I know him, it’s not the first time I have dealt with him.

Never drop your defences, I should have know that! It’s the rule.

A sharp crack, the first bullet misses my head narrowly driving me half-deaf. Suddenly an acute pain twists my stomach and throws me to the ground. Blood, blood everywhere! The sticky liquid leaves my body slowly. I can feel its wet warmth running along my thigh. In the daze, I discern my client who, panicked, dashes down towards a narrow street; he will never find the shelter he was running for. A blinding light followed by an horrible roar stops him, his corpse flies lacerated by the power of the blast. Bits and pieces of the bomb and the buildings slash my face and my body. I lump together my lasts strength, grab my bag and start running, as quick as possible, as far as I can. I loose myself in the labyrinth of streets and try to loose my eventual followers, I know where I am going.

The door of the apartment flies open. Everything is so peaceful here, my life spreads below my eyes under the shape of objects and pictures of me and her. My Honey, my young and sweet lover. How can you be in love with a man like me? I have to go and leave behind me this place, this city with all their memories, this country. I grab every useful things I can find, run to the bathroom and empty the medicine cabinet in my bag. I leave a wad of banknotes on our bed, I don’t have time to write to you, no time for an explanation, I can’t leave any proof, not even the proof of my love for you, nobody must know where I’m going.

A quick look at my watch tells me that the next train is in 20 minutes.

Before closing the door behind me, I take one last glimpse of my past life and then run to the train which brings me to the next one.

Forgive me.


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