The Hotel by the Sparkling Sea [en]

After a long dusty drive across the desert, we have finally reached the sparkling sea. The coast is bordered by a wall of stone. A real road runs beside it.

It’s beautiful. I take photos, cursing myself for not taking more during our journey.

We hear gunfire. Our party does not seem to mind much. Those responsible for all the racket are small kids, boys mainly, with big machine-guns. Dead earnest, they stand in front of our hotel, spraying the street with bullets. We stay aside, like when strangers nearby have an argument: pretend not to hear, don’t interfere.

I enter the hotel to get some pictures. I almost get a photograph of the big window breaking into one thousand pieces as one of the shooters falls onto it, but I’m a fraction of a second too late.

I suddenly realise being here is dangerous. The kids are done outside. They start coming into the building. I hide in the back rooms. They advance without a sound, from all directions.

I’m really scared, but one room ahead. I walk calmly across a corridor, say hi to the sentinel as if a kid with a gun in a hotel hallway was perfectly normal. It works. He says hi back, almost like a real kid, and I pass my way up the stairs, heart beating.

I end up hiding in a bedroom marked “Private”. I’ve heard some isolated gunshots. I huddle in a corner, near the telephone, concealed under a bed cover. I dial for reception.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

– Hello?

– …Hello. Er. There are kids with guns in the hotel. Call the police. I’m hiding in a room.

I hang up, trembling. I wonder if my time has come.


The door opens, and a small armed figure steps silently inside.

The Key [en]

She had forgotten what she had come here to forget, whiskey upon whiskey.

The door opened. Three men stormed in.

“You must help us!” they cried.
“Go back home, I can’t even help myself. I’m just a miserable drunk!”

One of them pointed to her silver ring, gift from her dead mother.

“You’re the one we’re looking for. If you do not come willingly, we will take you by force.”

He gripped her arm as she staggered to her feet, cursing and thrashing and telling them to leave her in peace. But his grip was strong, and the two others helped, and soon they had dragged her out to their horses. They threw her over the biggest one and sped off without a word.

Many sick and bumpy hours later, the riders stopped. She fell to the ground in a heap, blinking and bewildered.

“Forgive our manners,” said one of the men. Her head felt of lead. “But our affairs here are of utmost importance, and we could not wait to convince you. My brothers have gone ahead, we must now follow them.”
“Not until you tell me what you want from me.”
“You are the fourth key. But time is running out, we must hurry now!”

As he grabbed her wrist to lead her through the woods, she noticed he was wearing the same silver ring. Still in a half-drunken daze, she stumbled along until they reached a clearing. The two brothers had been busy removing moss and branches from a huge stony door, half-open in the cliff.

He showed her the four pairs of hand-prints in the stone. If the door was not closed by sunset, great evil would come through it.

The four took position, and the door creaked tightly shut. Just in time.

Des histoires [fr]

Ce qu’elle voulait plus que tout, c’était raconter des histoires. Des histoires qui feraient rêver, ou bien qui feraient peur. Des histoires mystérieuses ou intrigantes, qui emporteraient leur lecteur très loin de son monde à lui.

Hélas, nulle histoire ne pointait le bout de son nez. Elle avait beau essayer, rien ne venait: elle ne savait pas comment faire.

Elle décida un jour d’aller consulter un vieux sage.

– J’aimerais tant savoir inventer des histoires, lui dit-elle.

L’ermite la regarda quelques secondes et répondit sèchement:

– Mais tu ne fais que ça! À longueur de journée, tu te racontes des histoires. Sur ce qui va arriver, ce qui pourrait arriver, sur les autres, sur toi-même. Tu sais très bien inventer des histoires. Maintenant, fiche-moi la paix et va écrire!

Un peu heurtée par la rudesse du vieillard, elle prit le chemin du retour. Oui, elle passait son temps à se demander ce qui allait arriver, à échafauder des plans et des scénarios — mais pour elle, c’était bien différent de ce qu’elle voulait faire. Elle ne voulait pas parler de la réalité! Elle voulait inventer des histoires qui n’existaient pas.

Durant les jours qui suivirent, elle repensa aux paroles du sage. Au fond, les histoires qu’elle imaginait pour se protéger contre trop d’inconnu avaient peut-être aussi peu de rapport avec la réalité que celles qu’elle désirait inventer.

Alors elle se mit à écrire. Tous les jours ou presque. Elle inventait des histoires, et tant pis si elles étaient farfelues. Au fil des mois et des années, elle prit de l’assurance. Le vieil ermite avait raison, pensa-t-elle; je sais très bien inventer des histoires, au fond.

Et un beau jour, sans avoir trop compris comment, elle avait imaginé une histoire qui était en train de devenir un livre.