Hi ! Here you’ll find the first chapter of my book The World Upside Down, first of The Imagined Ones tretalogy, which you can find in french on Amazon. This chapter is the first of six to be translated in english, and by me, so I apologize in advance for any mistake or weirdly phrased sentence. There might be a few, I’m afraid. Hope you enjoy it nonetheless ! 🙂
I died at nineteen.
The weather wasn’t stormy. The air wasn’t charged with a tension to make your hair stand on your arm. There was no rain, no snow, it was a nice evening of April. I hadn’t had the impression of being followed all day long, that something terrible was going to happen. I wasn’t even on edge. I was just content.
It was six PM and all the workers going home had conglomerated on the large bridge, like every day, their car advancing slowly on the sun-bathed asphalt. I barely registered the first tremor, and thinking about it, I doubted I was the only one. I was checking a text Reda had sent me, asking to buy some bread on my way home. Confused, I dropped my phone on the passenger seat and tightened my hands on the wheel, frayed by age and heat, before the second tremor made itself known, this time shaking the bridge enough to move the stopped vehicles.
I saw the world around me starting to get agitated, and I was about to get out of the old clunker that was my means of transportation when a third tremor broke the right side pillars of the bridge. Before I could even realize what was happening, a car that a minute earlier was on the other side of the road crashed into my left side.
The force of the impact sent me flying against the passenger door, breaking my right forearm. I didn’t have time to hurt or understand what was going on, the other cars around me sliding rapidly toward the collapsed edge of the bridge. Screams were rising from all around, more and more deafening.
My car squealed loudly against the concrete, and the sensation of falling only seemed to last a few seconds before the car’s metal met the railing’s. The mom car that hit me bounced once more against the trunk before turning and going to wrap itself against the ledge.
If the bridge tipped just a little more, we were all going to fall into the river. The domino effect to the collapse was quick to come and klaxons far away told me that several accidents, possible pile-ups, were happening on both sides, on solid ground.
The pain in my broken arm slowly started to make itself known while I was watching with a grimace the gas tanks of some of the car catch on fire, people, panicked or distraught, getting out of their seats with difficulty. I scratched my brown, trying to understand, and a sudden pain told me I had a cut on my forehead. A quick inspection proved it wasn’t the only one I’d won.
Ignoring my arm and what I suspected was a sprained ankle, I climbed slowly toward the driver seat, from which I had been ejected when the antiquity that was my seatbelt had snapped under the shock. Balancing my weight between the wheel and the seat, I kicked the busted door, using my good leg. I had to try three times but the door finally caved.
The deafening sirens of fire trucks and ambulances seemed closer now that I had successfully gotten out of the car. I could even see their lights in the distance. The cars’fires around me were starting to gain an intensity I strongly disliked, their stifling heat reaching my face, and the smell of charred flesh slowly pervading the air told me that not everyone had been as lucky as I was.
I saw people, adults and children alike, trying in vain to get a closed one to move, and knowing they never would. Some were crying with all they had while others were trying to get closer to shore and rescue, weaving as best as they could between overturned cars and scattered bodies, slipping on the tilted road.
I was barely starting to realize the gravity and horror of the situation when I found myself on the ground, my skull throbbing from the violent blow I’d just received. Someone had hit me in the back of the head, and I was feeling the shock right down my neck, already feeling the heat of my blood running down my skin.
Bringing a scrapped handto my head, I turned, dizzy from the shock. The man was tall, built like a brick house, stuffed in a suit that threatened to crack every time he breathed. Black sunglasses hid his eyes and his face was none too friendly.
He’d hit me with the stock of his gun. I didn’t understand. I opened my mouth, and he backhanded me, brutally sending me back to the ground. My cheek was burning, I didn’t have time to react.
He grabbed my shoulder, forcing me on my knees, and the cold metal on the back of my neck was the last thing I registered.
Here are the links to the other chapters :