La boutique de l'Antre

Mon service de correction

Haze of Oblivion - first excerpt

"Haze of Oblivion", by Bloodwitch Luz Oscuria
"Haze of Oblivion", by Bloodwitch Luz Oscuria

This is the first excerpt from my novel, "Haze of Oblivion", in its version translated by Andreea Mirică.

- Hands in the air!

My blood is circling around my body. That voice is so cold, so deep, so… So many things are jostling in my head at this moment. I think I'm aware of what's happening, and yet I wonder…

- I said hands in the air!

The voice was already not very calm when it first rang through my ears. Now fear takes hold of me. What surrounds me is real. I recognize the place, even if my eyes have now just closed. Because of the fear, no doubt.

- I'm going to shoot you!

- No!

I raise my hands. The gesture is so mechanical that I’m not sure I did it. Then, only silence surrounds me. I can't see anything. I can't hear anything. It seems to me that I'm in a convenience store.

- The cash register!

The sound of a cash register's drawer reaches my ears. The cashier lets out a little cry. Then I hear the mugger load his gun. He's going to shoot, that's for sure. Whoever he is, and whatever he wants, there’s going to be a victim.

My name is Catherine and I’m 35. I was grocery shopping so that I could fill both mine and my son William’s stomachs. He’s 5 and patiently waiting for me at Claire's, his nice nanny to whom I entrusted him this morning before leaving for work. She was the one who took him to school, like she did every day from Monday to Friday. And she was the one who picked him up after school, gave him a snack, played with him… She did all the things that any mom would love to do with her child. But then again, I have a job – and, I must add, a fairly good salary – in a loan company affiliated with a well-known bank. I’m rich and I live in a beautiful apartment in the heart of Paris, all mine. Sacrifices do pay off.

- Hurry!

The return to reality is so harsh that my eyes open again, and I finally see what they refused to show me before: a hooded man, dressed all in black, pointing his gun at the poor terrified cashier’s temple as she empties the cash register money into the bag he impatiently hands her.

I should run away, and quick. However, I find it impossible to move. I'm still with my hands in the air, and I don't even know why. My gaze remains fixed on this man, whom it would be perfectly impossible for anybody to describe. He looks slim, and he's willowy. From where I am, I can’t see anything else. Nothing would distinguish him from anybody else, if not for his accent when threatening the cashier. Looks like he's awkwardly trying to change his voice, inventing a tone that he never had. Perhaps for the purpose of not being recognized? This is probably what I would have done too, if…

But I’m not a criminal! I’m an honest mother! I have a well-paid job, I have a son whom I love infinitely, I have a fantastic nanny who takes care of him as if he was her own son, I have… So many things. And yet I have nothing.

My son's father? I don’t know where he is. This man disappeared from my life before William was born. This is what happens when you don't choose the right person to start a family with. And no, it doesn't only happen to other people. I've been there too. I too had to face my share of trials, joys and sorrows. In theory, it’s mainly the latter that we recall. The positive things… I'm not sure where they went. They’re completely buried in the depths of my memories. So far away that I can hardly remember anything. Everything appears so dim. Nothing is ever clear.

That’s why I’m being constantly checked. Every week, I have to go see Dr Tullier, for a good hour at each session. He’s a good man, who manages – I don't know how – to embrace the suffering of people without batting an eyelid, and who always has good advice.

- Wham!

Then silence. He shot. Everything went so fast that there was nobody left when I decided to look in the direction of the cash register. Where is he? And the cashier, where is she?

I feel paralyzed at this precise moment. I’m very afraid of what I will find out when I approach the cash register. Because I know very well what I'm going to see there. A pool of blood on the ground and the cashier bathing in it. So where did the bullet she just caught go?

My shopping cart will wait, my feet directing me to the crime scene without my being able to resist. And at the end of these few meters which keep me from what expressly obscures my thoughts, I see it. Exactly what I imagined a few seconds earlier. I feel like I've been through this before. But when? Under what circumstances exactly? It’s impossible for me to remember, these images suddenly appearing distant. Like most of my memories, to be honest.

Silence has taken over the premises. It seems to me that I’m alone. As if there was already nobody there by the time I made my triumphant entrance, with my shopping cart at the end of its life, with its wheels so worn out that they all squeak in chorus, one after the other. Now this loneliness bothers me. In any case, I think it bothers me. I don't know, it's a strange feeling that comes over me and I don't know how to interpret it.

The cashier doesn't move. She bathes in her pool of blood without flinching. I think she's not breathing. I don't really want to check. By the time I think about it, I can already hear the police siren. Someone must have called them. Which – theoretically – I should have done.

Find the full list of Antre's articles HERE! I am also a writer, find all my books HERE!