Histoires courtes


4 Juin 2021 | Histoires | 0 commentaires

We were looking at the auction pieces. Lise, my wife, is my lifetime companion, we have been married for 43 years. Here, she wanted to make a good deal hoping to buy a grandmaster’s painting of great value for a few hundred dollars.

She has been watching Antique Road show every week and she loves to buy things and save money on a good deal. She is interested in buying objects of art or a nice little desk or some pieces of furniture, pottery, all kind of stuff…

 If I would not be a restraining factor, I think that we would end up having no more space to move around in our house.

 Nevertheless, she convinced me to come over to this drug dealer auction at the Marriott Hotel in Palmetto Dunes, a plantation mid-way into Hilton Head Island located at the southern tip of South Carolina. Last year she came to another drug dealer auction, and she regretted that I did not come since there were some great masters’ pieces we could have bought at low price.

 We have an art gallery there, in Shelter Cove Harbor. We have been here for almost 8 years now. So, we could have sold some of those pieces for possibly ten or twenty times the price we would have paid for. But I was hesitant, who knows if they are originals, it is hard to tell with half an hour of viewing before the auction starts and with the brown paper covering the back of the paintings.

 I don’t need to take a chance to make a potentially good deal; we are doing well here with our little art gallery, and I am very happy. I thank God every day for my life, the weather is exquisite, it is almost always sunny here and I am a golfer and a member of the Palmetto Dunes Club. I play golf three times a week and I paint and manage the gallery the other days.

 There was a very strange contraption amongst the sculptures, and I looked at it more closely. It had two kinds of horns about six feet long, arching towards each other to form a perfect circle coming out of a short two feet by four feet pedestal. I could not identified the metal it was made from, and the surface had an impossibly slippery surface; when I tried to touch it, I was not really touching the surface. There were some buttons on the side, and I started to touch them. I touched four of them at the same time and I saw an electrified field taking shape inside the circle. I quickly touched the four buttons again and the field disappeared.

 I looked around to see if other people had seen what happened, but nobody were looking.

 I have been a science-fiction reader, and I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, so for me, that contraption was worth buying. Who knows? It might be an artifact left over by aliens from another world. That’s crazy right?

 A nice couple started to look at the artifact and I hoped that they would not bid against me for at that moment I had decided to buy it if the bidding did not go too high.

 I told my wife about it, and she said it was ugly and that kind of stuff had no appeal to her. Then she showed me some pottery, a few sculptures and paintings that caught her attention.

 The auction started and I waited for that piece. They started the bid at $500.00 and I raised my hand; somebody else, the man that had look at it while I investigated the contraption bid $1000.00, I raised the bid to $1500 and the man finally outbid me and got the piece for $5000.00.

 Lise would not have talked to me for a week or two if I had bought it at a higher price, so I let it go but felt that I had just lost something important.

 A few weeks have passed since that auction, and I was surprised to see the couple that had bought the contraption walking in my gallery.

was surprised to see that couple that had bought the contraption walking in my gallery.

 They walked around and finally asked me at what price they could get one of my largest sizes, a 60″ X 48″ very modern fantasy landscape with a lot of red foliage on the shore of a pond. I told them the price was $12,000.00 plus $1,000.00 for the frame.

 – My name is John Edwards, said the man, Pam and I have a house here in Palmetto Dunes; we want that painting, but you will have to come over and install it on the wall. It was Friday afternoon and my week-end was already booked.

 – No problem, I can take it over to your house next Monday morning.

 The man paid me in full and I thank them but before they left I asked them if they like the contraption they bought at the drug dealer auction.

 – Oh, I remember you now, said John, you were bidding on the same piece, right?

– Right, did you notice that it is a very strange artifact? I asked; did you show it to anyone?

-No, it is standing in our living room.

-If you touch the first four buttons of the pedestal at the same time, the artifact produces a semi-transparent electrical field. I said. It is very strange, and that is why I wanted to buy it. I wanted to investigate that thing; I believe it has not been made by mankind.

– I will take a look at it, said John, when we get back to the house and on Monday when you come over with the painting we will talk about it.

-Excellent, see you Monday 9:00AM then.

 That Monday, I bubble-wrapped and card-boarded the large size painting, then, my wife helped me to fix it on the roof of our mini-van.

John’s house was right on the beach; his land alone must be worth $5 million, and the house was huge and very beautiful. I figured that its value was probably around 8 or 9 million dollars. Before I took the painting from the top of my minivan, I went up the stairs and rang. Nobody came. I checked the door, and it was unlocked. I opened it and walked inside.

 – John, Pam are you there?  I shouted. No answer!

– You can’t walk inside Richard, you might be arrested, said Lise.

-You are right, let’s have a walk for twenty minutes and if they are not back when we return, we will leave, and I will call them this afternoon to get another appointment. We went for a walk and came back half an hour later. I went to the door, rang, waited one minute, and finally, I boldly walked inside and went to the living room. The artifact was there. I went to the backyard to see if they were there, unable to hear the bell, but they were not there.

 So, I visited the whole house to see if something happened. I thought they might have been killed and lying on the floor somewhere because John was not the type of man to give an appointment and then miss it without calling.

 After visiting the whole house, I went back to the living room while Lise was waiting outside, I was hoping she would not be too impatient, I went to the artifact and noticed that it was on, I mean the electrical field was on, a perfect circle of transparent soft light  and I could not see the back of the living room through that circle of light.

 I saw something though; I saw a semi-transparent grass lawn though the circle of semi-transparent light.

 I went back to the kitchen and picked up a wood spoon and a fork plus an oven glove and walked back to the artifact. I touched the field with the wood spoon, and it went right through, and I could touch the semi-transparent grass with it. I pulled the spoon out and it was unaffected.

I then used the oven glove and tried to do the same thing with the long metal fork and again there was no sparkle, it just went through easily and I could touch the grass with it. I rolled it to pick up some of the grass and pulled some through the circle of light.

I was now convinced that it was a door to another world, and it worked both ways.

 So, I did the next step and went through the circle of light with my index, I touched it first and there was no reaction to my skin and then I pushed my index finger through and still no reaction and it was intact when I pulled it back. Then I went through with my whole hand and part of my arm and I could touch the grass; I grabbed a handful of it and pulled it through and into the living room. My hand and arm as well as the grass had not suffered from that experience. 

 I decided to wait a few days and see if I had any adverse effect following that experience. If not, I would come back well prepared for an extraordinary adventure and I would boldly walk through the circle of light created by the artifact.

 I went outside and told my wife about the experience; I told her everything. She was very upset and worried.

 – You could have been electrocuted or even lose your arm and die there bleeding to death. She said.

– I have that sixth sense of impending danger, sweetheart. How many times did I survive very dangerous situations relying on it? And it always served me well. I didn’t sense any danger and in fact I expected it to be a door to another world right from the start. That’s why I wanted to buy it at the auction.

I also think that John and his wife went to that other world and they might come back. I will come over to see if they are back every day for the coming 2 weeks and then I will go to that world and try to find them..

– You are out of your mind, she said, worried sick about it, for she knew that when I make a decision, I always do it.

In the next few days, I got a permit to buy a handgun and bought a Smith and Wesson, a solid knife and everything I thought I needed to survive in an hostile land.

I went back to John’s house every day of the following week and spent some time in front of the artifact trying to sense any danger from it but nothing, there was no foreboding.

 Seven days later, I was standing in front of the artifact, Lise was with me; I had written a note for the police explaining what I was going to do in case I would not come back. I had made a new will, leaving her everything I had; just to confirm my previous will of 43 years ago.

 It was time to do it, I had a bottle of spray paint to mark the emplacement of the door on the other side. I threw my backpack, my gun and the spray paint can through the circle of light and then I kissed my wife and hugged her.

 – I will be back Lise, don’t worry. In fact, I will walk back right now to show you that I can.

 I walked through and I stepped on a lawn, looked around me and saw the circle of light from where I had walked. I sprayed the paint to mark its emplacement and then walked right back into the living room.

– You see Lise, I walked back through it, that was my main worry. So, I am going there and I will try to find John and his wife. Don’t speak with the police if I am not back within one day; give me three days. I will do everything I can to be back before that.

 I hugged her again and kissed her and walked back through the circle of light. 

 The air smelled good, there were a lot of birds, singing birds, and the temperature was just perfect, around 75. The sun was just like our sun giving life to luxurious vegetation. The clearing ended up in a dirt path that went through a forest of oak, maple, birch and fruit bearing trees.

 I went to it and walked down the trail. There were raspberry and blueberry bushes all bearing fruits. I picked up a few and they were delicious. There were no mosquitoes, no flies, but busy working bees that never bothered me.

 I walked for 2 hours and spotted several graceful deer, a herd of wild horses that looked at me seemingly interested but they left. There were some kind of otters that came walking beside me in a playful way, touching my legs intentionally. There was now a golf course on my left and an ocean on my right as I walked towards a beautifully designed Swiss village.   I saw some people and I made a friendly hand sign; they saw me, and they invited me with a hand gesture to come over.

I walked to them.

– Welcome to paradise, said one of the men in English, my name is Henry.

– Thank you, Henry, my name is Richard.

Henry was solidly built, he had a gentleman way of speaking, he seemed to be very sure of himself and looked 55 to 60 years old. I thought he was a businessman of some kind. We shook hands and Henry introduced me to the three other men and the two ladies of the group.

 I come from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and I am looking for John and his wife. They left their house two weeks ago and I thought they came here.

– Yes, we met them, said Henry; they are probably at the marina or sailing on one of the sailboats. They will be back for dinner.

– So, what is that place? And where are you from?

 At that moment I spotted a robot levitating a few feet from the ground. The robot picked up some damaged fruits that had fallen from a tree and then it carried a handful of them to a receptacle that was probably serving as a garbage container. I realized that the place was clean and everyone was dressed in some immaculate clothes; the men were shaved and looked friendly and neat just like the women.

 – This place is amazing. Replied Henry; it was built for us by very sophisticated aliens. They reached a very high level of technology; they made those levitating robots that take care of everything plus some food synthesizers and teleportation doors from Earth to here and so many more wonders.

They control the weather; it only rains during the night. There are no mosquitoes, no snakes, no spiders, scorpions or anything that we wouldn’t like.

There are no predators and no one, no animals grow old and die here.  I got here just after World War 2, and I was in my sixties then.

-So you must be well over a hundred years old and you look like a fifty years old man. Wow!

– Let me show you the place, said Henry.

– Can we go back to fetch my wife first? She is waiting worriedly in John’s living room.

– Sure, that is considerate of you, we will use one of the golf carts, I will be right back.

Henry walked behind the plaza where many golf carts were parked in neat rows and came back to pick me up. We went back to the doorway to Earth, and I walked right through to find my wife sitting on a sofa reading a book. I took off my guns, knife and camping gear and went to her.

 – Lise, Henry is waiting on the other side, it is safe there; it is some kind of Eden. I found John and the villagers would like to show us their village; please come back with me.

– I don’t know if I should, she replied.

I knew she was afraid; she never wanted anything strange and weird in her life.

-Come Lise; there is nothing to worry about, I said reassuringly.

I took her hand, and we walked through the circle of semi-transparent electrical field.

– Henry, this is my wife, Lise.

– I am happy to meet you, said Henry. Please sit down in the cart and I will show you our little part of Eden.

We went back to the village and followed him to his house. It was just a living room, a family room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. There were no kitchen, no TV, no computers.

– The toilet is disintegrating the content as we close the cover. The shower water is purified and redirected into the tank.

We have no kitchen and that is a very good thing because we all eat together in the cafeteria and the food is delicious. Let me show you.

We went to an open building with a ceramic-like floor and a roof, a few walls and openings. There was a huge food dispenser with photos of meals and a selection of beverages.

-Are you hungry? asked Henry; with the smile of someone about to surprise another one.

-Yes, let’s see how this alien gadget works.

-I recommend this meat plate if you have a good appetite and the spicy wine here…

I pushed the buttons and one minute later, a fuming plate set on a tray with a tall glass of red wine came out of an opening.

Lise chose a fish plate with the same spicy red wine; she took her tray and we sat at one of the tables.

The food was delicious, and I felt exhilarated once I drank half of the wine. I was bubbling with joy and ready to laugh at nothing.

-The wine will have no more effect from now on, commented Henry, we get high, but we never get drunk. There must be a chemical that stop the effect.

I just felt wonderful and very energetic.

-Can we do something Henry? I spotted a golf course on the other side of the village, and we have plenty of time before John comes back for dinner. Would someone give me company or play with me?

– Sure, said Henry and James at the same time. Let’s take a cart.

There were a dozen golf carts parked neatly just beyond the dining plaza.

– The carts engines never need to be recharged or fueled, commented Henry.

We went to the clubhouse where we picked up a golf bag and I played a good game. The golf course could not be nicer; there were hills and deep valleys, all kinds of beautiful trees, a lot of wild life and none of the animals and birds bothered us during the swings but they came to us when we were just walking around.

– Every one of these birds and little furry friends are at least 50 years old. They like to be caressed and come in contact with us, but they know when to do it and they keep quiet and stay at a respectful distance when we concentrate on a shot, said James. They probably became more intelligent over the years, he went on.

– Very interesting, I commented, but do you have people here that aren’t respectful? Bullies, drug dealers, assassins?

– No we don’t have any of those, replied Henry; perhaps the teleportation doors don’t allow them to come here. The next village once had a violent man that beat up a couple of people and one day he wasn’t there anymore.

– I guess the robots are keeping us safe and will not allow any predator to live here, including human predators. I replied. But how many villages are there in this world?

– I took one of the golf carts once and drove a few hundred miles north and then made a left turn and came back and I found 18 villages; many were empty of people, and none had more than 50% of the houses occupied. There are always empty houses to sleep in when you visit this world. So, if you decide to stay here, you just move into one of the unoccupied houses.

– We will think about that, I said politely.

– If you spend one night here, you will miss this world when you go back and if you spend a week here, you will not want to live anywhere else. We are all very happy here and that is forever, since we are not growing old here and we are all in excellent health. It must be the food, something in it, prevents us from getting sick and there is no virus or bacteria that can affect us.

I looked at my wife, I didn’t have to say anything, but she understood that I was considering that possibility.

 I would have to give up my career, my paintings, my financial security, everything I had, I thought.

 We went to the stable after the game and Henry showed me the different bells.

 – Each of the bells have a different chime and the horse knows which one we are calling, said James as he rang one of the bells. A beautiful and joyful stallion came galloping from the prairie. James took a handful of horse treats from a dispenser and gave it to the horse.

 – This is Richard, said James to the horse. I walked to it and caressed his head. We went back to the dining plaza and John was there with his wife waiting for me.

– Hello Richard, said John happily, you must have delivered the painting we bought from you and found that we were gone…

– Yes John, I went to your living room and saw that the artifact was on; I deduced that you had walked through a door to another world and decided to come to your rescue.

– That was very nice, thank you, said John, will you spend the night with us?

–  Why not? I replied, looking hopefully at my charming wife.

We had dinner with the whole village and then we played some games and walked to the beach.

 – Why don’t you put on a swimming suit and refresh yourself? Asked James; the bathing suits are in these little beach cabins.

We changed and swam with hundreds of colorful fishes over multicolored corals and then we watched the sunset. Then the tree frogs started to sing their hearts out; the sky was full of stars and there was a moon with seas and continents and a beautiful atmosphere.

 We were captivated by the millions of tree frogs sound and the beauty of the night; we just felt wonderful. I took Lise in my arms and shared that unforgettable moment. Later, we walked to one of the empty houses and spent the night on a most comfortable bed.

We talked with John again at breakfast.

– You can have my 12 million dollars house and all the money I have in bank if you wish to live on Earth again, said John, you just have to get my check book from the top drawer in my bedroom and bring it here along with a legal paper that will transfer you the right to the house and the right to manage my assets. I will sign the document and a large number of blank checks, and you can return with it. But I want to warn you, the door to this world might stop working at any time and this is why we will not return. The longer you delay your decision to come and live with us, the greater are the chances that you will not be able to.

 – Thank you, John, I appreciate it, I will take a golf cart and get those documents and I will be back with an attorney and the documents.

 We left the plaza and went back to John’s house and from there I called his attorney Tom Swift and told him that I needed him to prepare the legal documents and come over to John’s house. It is urgent, I said.

The document will be ready tomorrow and I will be there at 10:00AM.

Tom came on time, I opened the door and brought him to the living room. I showed him the artifact and turned it on and asked him to promise me to keep secret what he was about to learn. He promised. Then I moved in and out of the door to Eden a couple of times to reassure him that there was no danger at all and told him we were going to Eden where John was awaiting us.

 Tom was quite courageous, he followed us since Lise would not let me go without her. We took him to the village where John signed the document and a pile of blank checks and we returned to the house, my house now.

 – Are you sure you want to return? Asked John, the house and those millions in the bank did not bring us happiness but here in Eden we are very happy and you would be as well.

– Well John, I replied, I have an artist’s career and with the fortune you are giving me, we have decided to go back for a short time and then we will decide what to do. I am quite sure we will move here forever in a short while.

 We went back to John’s house and moved in the following day. I paid Trident Villa Rental for the balance of our condo rent and called Trish.

 – Trish, there is a big change in my life, I said, would you like to work full time in the art gallery?

-Oh yes, absolutely. When will I start?

 Trish had been working for us for a few years, managing the gallery when we were away in Montreal, and she loved it. She loved meeting a lot of people and she loved my work and felt rewarded every time she sold one and I mean personal satisfaction, not only the 10% commission she was getting in addition to her salary. She was a wonderful lady and my wife and I loved her very much.

 – If you don’t mind, start tomorrow and let’s meet at the gallery at 10:00AM; I have something to tell you.

 We spent the rest of the day walking inside and outside our new 12 million dollars house and reflected on our luck and how great it was to be living in such a beautiful place. We went to the Fresh Market on the 278 and bought 2 large size lobsters and a few pastries.

That night, we opened a bottle of Champagne and feasted on our freshly boiled lobsters. We spent two weeks away from the art gallery, visiting Daufuskie Island, Beaufort, Charleston and Savannah and I got bored.

 -You know what Lise, I said, I don’t think that a great house and all those millions in bank are making me happy. In fact, I had more fun bicycling from our condo to the beach and have a walk once we get there than bicycling from our very wealthy area to our old condo. Let me explain with a comparison here: Going to Central Park in New York from an apartment in the Bronx is more fun than going to a poor sector of the Bronx from Central Park…

-Yes, very funny but true, replied Lise,

– Also, we get used quickly to luxury and now that we have been living in this multimillion dollars house for two weeks, it does not excite me anymore. In fact, I went on, the happiest day of my last twenty years is the day and night we spent in Eden. I felt so energetic there and the serenity of the place and the relationship we had with the people.

– So, what do you really want to tell me?

–  Well, I propose that we spend one week in Eden and at the end of that week, we decide what it will be: living forever happily in Eden or living a few more years in our 12 million dollars house, then get sick and die in a crowded hospital.

– You have such a way of hammering your idea, said Lise; I would look foolish to object to it. Are you ready to quit on your artist career and everything we have been working on for so many years, our financial security, our friends, our children, our relatives?

– They have their own lives to live and besides if they want to join us in Eden, they have our new address and I will leave a note how to use the artifact. We will have a lot of friends there, the whole village.

 We did it, we spent a wonderful week there and Lise stayed there. We decided to live in Eden forever.

 I came back to do a video, my last video, and tell everyone that I am leaving the 12 million dollars house and the pile of signed blank checks that John gave me to whoever find the house. I will not tell you the exact address, you must find it. But the house is in Palmetto Dunes, right on the beach and there is a private gate to get to the house. The code is 7707.

If you can open the gate of a 12 million dollars house sitting on the beach with that code, the house is yours. If you decide to come over to Eden and live there forever with us leave everything like I did for the next lucky ones.

 Now I am returning to Eden, I got only one step to do, I wish you all a very good life, Farewell.