Cinq extraits d'une histoire en anglais. Ou une histoire racontée en cinq chapitres. Trois personnages dans un monde réaliste. Un flic, sa soeur, un tueur. Voici le résultat.
He was walking in the street, hands in pocket, deep in thoughts. His brown hair were long and attached on his neck. He was wearing a short black leather jacket, closed. His sweater's hood covered his face and a scarf his neck and his chin. A rucksack hanged on his shoulder. His jeans were old but clean and he wore a pair of old army boots. He was almost invisible in the crowd of a grey Thursday evening, full of people hurrying home. He headed toward the business centre.
The building seemed empty and the main door closed. Without any hesitation he turned at the corner. Taking a small key from his pocket he opened a back door. He took the elevator to the last floor making sure the camera could only see his back. Once the door closed he opened his jacket and took a gun from his holster. He checked it and equipped it with a silencer. The bell rang and the doors opened on a large and empty area. Walking quietly toward great doors he checked the place, pointing his gun to the dark. At the door he stopped and listened. A small noise a paper, a keyboard's clatter. He got back and kicked the door open:
He shot the man silent. He stood in and observed the bureau. No one in sight. He checked the man's pulse. Dead. Good. He went out the bureau and the building without being seen.
He took a train toward the suburb area. He got off an hour later. He walked about half a mile and entered a small shop. Inside an old small man greeted him.
“Good evening, sir. What can I do for you?”
He took his gun out of his holster and put it on the table.
The old man studied the weapon without touching it.
“Very much,” was the answer. They went it the back yard. The old man aimed a bottle put on the other side and shot. The bottle exploded.
They went back in the shop. The old man opened a small biscuit box and took some banknotes. He counted it and hold them to his customer.
The banknotes were taken, the gun wiped and got off sight and the two men parted.
On his way back to the train station he stopped at a bakery and bought a croissant. He ate it in the train.
His name was Nathaniel Hopkins but the only persons to know that were dead a long time before this story began. Nat, as he was known, was a tall dark man. Long hair, dark eyes, never smiling. His name was known but not his face. And he was a hired killer.
Strong smell of tobacco. A computer and a small lamp lighted the desk of Inspector Philippe Denoël. He was looking out the window, smoking thoughtlessly his cigarette. It was almost midnight. On the computer screen photos and descriptions were indicating several murders in the business centre, the rich neighbourhoods or a mistress's house. But the method was so perfect that it had to be a professional. Probably the same guy each time. But he had nothing more.
Philippe passed his fingers through his hair, short and black. His cigarette joined the large pile in his ashtray. He reached his jacket draped on the back of his chair. From an inside pocket he took a smashed cigarette pack and put a new one to his lips. He lit it. He sat, leaned on the back of his chair, his feet on the desk. He sent circles of smoke to join the already thick cloud in the dark ceiling.
That guy was a professional, but was he member of a gang, Mafia, or something of the same type? A hired killer? Nobody could decide. He obviously knew what he was doing. Nothing had been left behind. No foot nor finger prints. Nothing unusual in that kind of office, except the corpse. The bullet was common and from the black market. The coroner was sure: the guy was at the door when he shot. No hesitation. Obviously not his first time.
Denoël rubbed his fingers on his three day beard. He knew he should have been at home but home was no better. And here he had free coffee. He stood up and went to the kitchen to finish what was left in the coffee pot. It was cold and he put it in the micro-wave.
He went back to his desk, sat, and plunged again in his papers and reflections. The phone rang. It was the night team: they had found another body. Same kind of setting: Business building, nothing of use on the cameras, just a guy in a hood with a leather jacket. The lab guys were trying to use one of the picture to obtain a face but there was only a small chance of success.
“I'm on my way.” he said and hung up the phone.
He put on his jacket, took his keys and turned off the lamp. The door banged closed as the micro-wave bell rang. The cigarette slowly consumed itself in the ashtray.
Sat on his bag, he saw them arrived.
The sky was grey and heavy above his head, the field was wet and the closeness of the suburban buildings made it even smaller and disagreeable. Five people were walking toward him. They were all wearing red sweaters, probably of the same team. He shouldn't have come. All of this for a football game. He was playing with fire. He stood up to greet them:
“Hi Nat.” Phil said, a cigarette to his lips, “I'm glad you made it.”
“Couldn't miss something like that.”
Phil nodded and waved toward his mates:
“Here are most of my players: Teddy.”
A big blond guy came in front and shook Nat's hand vigorously.
“Elton and James, we work together.”
Elton was a short guy with a large flat nose, obviously broken several times. James was much taller but skinny with a rat face.
“And Jules, my sister.”
Nat arched his eyebrows in surprise. He had not noticed her, hidden under her hood. She was a tall woman, with the same dark hair as her brother's and eyes between blue and brown. Quite pretty in their wild light. Perhaps this game wouldn't be so bad after all.
“I wish you not to be against her,” Phil said smiling, “She's very vicious in games.”
Jules hit him gently and they laughed.
They prepared the game and the teams. Jules was with her brother and Teddy. It was most the most balanced they could do. Nat said with half a smile:
And he gave her the ball.
“You shouldn't have,” she said.
The game was quite ferocious. They had decided not to put too many rules and almost everything was permitted: from pushing people to hitting them. Not too much was the leading motto, which left a lot of space for inventive people.
Both teams knew what they were doing and were ready to do everything to win. The place soon became a dangerous battlefield. Jules and Nat were both extremely determined to win and there were no hesitations to push, hit or crush on any side.
It began to rain. The field became slippery. Jules was coming up to the goal, shouting at her brother, anxiously waiting to shoot him the ball when Nat ran toward her, ready to take it. She shot... and slipped. Nat could not stop and he crashed into her. She yelled with pain.
“You fucking idiot! You... you're smashing my hand!”
She was almost crying with dolour. He moved quickly and helped her to sit, his arm around her elbows.
“I'm sorry. Just let me see this.”
He took her hand.
“No, that's ok! It's just... aowh!”
She punched him brutally, her face torn by pain.
“Fuck off! Don't touch me you... you...”
“What happened?” asked Phil as he ran to them.
“Just hurt my hand. That's nothing.”
She was trying to stand up. Nat was still holding her.
“Perhaps we should get her to the hospital.” Phil said, worried.
“Yeah. Just in case.”
“I'm fine! Just help me up...”
Nat held her arm as she tried to get up, supporting her. She gritted her teeth in pain when she realized than she could not walk.
Her voice was far less loud.
“Well” Nat said, “Let's go to the hospital.”
And he carried her to the car.
They were in a back street, small dead end were the café's bins were stocked. Nat was lazily holding his gun, pointed to the floor. His observed his companion. She was leaned against the wall, eyes closed, arms around her knees. She looked pale but incredibly calm. She suddenly opened her eyes and frowned when she saw him looking at her. Anger and Fear. He sighed and grumbled:
“Wasn't supposed to happen like that. He... Phil didn't know when we met. And I learned what he was at the hospital. Thought it'd be all right to go out with you for a bit and then just leave.”
“Yeah. Leaving. You were supposed to do that when exactly?”
“A month ago would've been the best time, when Phil's away. But... well I didn't.”
“You didn't. Why?”
“I... never mind.”
“Yeah. Never mind. That's of no importance now, I guess.”
“Don't be so mad! I did nothing wrong to you.”
“Yeah, except taking me hostage. Forgot that? I suppose it doesn't matter anymore. It's just a little bit of fun to go out with the inspector's sister. Just more spices to the game.”
“It's not a game.”
“Yeah? And what is it? A job? What do you do exactly? Are you the guy they're looking for since February?”
“I guess so.”
“Killing people. Nice job. Cool, quiet, with a lot of human contact.”
“Oh, shut up. Soldiers kill people too. And everyone is sad for them not for them victims.”
“It's not the same. They defends civilians.”
“And when they are bombing cities, they are defending civilians too? Don't make a fool of yourself, I know you don't believe in that. Told me yourself.”
“Yeah but now I begin too think that they're better than you. At least they're protecting some people. Who are you protecting? Your employer? I suppose those who can afford you don't deserve to be protected.”
“You don't know what you're talking about. Now shut up.”
“Or what? You're gonna kill me? I guess I don't really have a choice here.”
“Don't be ridiculous. I will never hurt you and you know it. Otherwise you wouldn't be that talkative.”
She stopped, unable to speak any longer.
“Oh don't cry now. Jules... please! Don't...”
He looked embarrassed and tried to take her in his arms. She pushed his hand away and wiped her tears angrily.
“Just... just give me a minute all right? I'm the one worried, here.”
He shrugged and said nothing. She finally talked again:
“You're just so... so...”
“So nothing! I can't say what you are. Until now I thought you were a nice silent guy who cared for me. Now...”
“Now I'm a nice talkative guy who still care for you.”
“You...You forgot the gun and the hostage part.”
“Yeah. Sorry: I'm a nice talkative guy with a gun who take you hostage because he was short on ideas when his girlfriend's brother came up with a bus full of cops. Better?”
“Well... It was what I had planned for us today so... guess it doesn't turned really right. But the idea's still here.”
“Just miss the wine and the candlelights.”
“See? You got the idea.”
“How can you be so calm about all that? They're trying to get you or even kill you!”
“How can you still joke with the man who keeps you prisoner?”
“...Yeah. I guess it's the same thing.”
Silence. She looked at him:
“What's you name, Nat? I mean your real name.”
“You sure you want to know that?”
“You owe me that.”
He smiled sadly:
“It was nice to meet you.”
They fall silent. After a while he took her hand and kissed it.
“What was that for?” She asked, surprised. A small smile was on her tired face.
“You should get ready to go.”
“What? Where are you taking me?”
“Nowhere. We're parting here.”
“Shut up. There's no point to this. I'm not gonna kill you and as soon as Phil realizes that I'm dead. So leave.”
“But you said...”
“I took you hostage remember?”
“... Yes. I remember. But...”
He put is hand on her mouth and shouted to the outside of the street.
“Hey Phil! I know you're out there! Jules's going to stand and to walk towards you so don't shoot her!”
“Don't try to trick me Nat!” Phil's angry voice answered. “I know you better than you think!”
“We don't have time for that. You're gonna be fine once with your brother, and I'll be better without you as a burden.”
He gently pushed her and she stood up. She looked more terrified now than ever. She stared at him one last time.
“Don't die all right?”
“I'm the best remember?”
She heard shots. Four shots and all was still. Her fists were tight, her face pale, her mouth hard.
Phil came out the street. He looked at her. His face was calm. She gritted her teeth and walked to him.
“You can't go in there.” He said stopping her.
She stared at him.
“He's dead.” He added padding her shoulder awkwardly.
Her voice was calm and perfectly under control. But her eyes were hard. Phil took off his hand. Soon the coroner arrived and walked in the small crowded street. Passers-by were now coming to see the slaughter. A bit of blood is always appalling for the crowds.
The coroner soon came out with the corpse in a black sack. Her eyes followed them.
A nervous cop came to her:
“You will have to identify the body.”
“Do I need to?”
“I'm afraid so.”
“Very well. When can I do that?”
“Well... I suppose that if you don't need to see a doctor...”
“Not today anyway.”
“Then you can come later at the coroner's office. Just give your name.”
They guided her into the cold place. A metallic table was lighted on one side, a corpse on it. A white sheet covered it. The coroner assistant stood on the other side of the table. The anonymous cop stayed on her side: Phil was waiting outside. She refused him to come with her.
“I just want you to look at him and to tell me if you know him and his name, all right?” The cop said.
She nodded and the coroner's assistant pull down the sheet, revealing the face of a tall brown haired guy. She breathed loudly. Her voice sounded feebly in the cold air.
“His name was Nathaniel Hopkins. And he was a hired killer.”
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