Eden’s Arch – Chapter 03

It never works.

Never might be a bit harsh. I have to stay positive if I want to avoid any further ‘cheering up’. Let’s settle for: it hasn’t work as of yet.

I usually wake up with the sun and while it sounds poetic and all, it’s actually pretty darn annoying. It grew on me and I don’t really think about it anymore. It’s not like I’d be able to sleep any longer. I can hear the neighbor’s alarm clock through the wall of my room every morning. I can also hear Cedric’s ‘card games’ whenever he brings a girl to his room.

I swear, why do we even bother building walls inside our homes? Wouldn’t we have a lot more space with just one big room? Privacy is overrated anyway. I heard some places are like that. Gotta get myself one of those.

I stopped on my tracks. Or perhaps I just have outstanding hearing?

Unlikely. I never really saw myself as a gifted person. That is not self-pity, it’s self-praise. I had to work something over and over before getting anything of worth. I doubt those ‘gifted’ persons even exist in the first place. At the same time I’m fully aware some people are born better than others. That’s just nature for you. I am not unlucky either. Far from it.

Where was I going with that?

My job. Right.

In the end, I’m just jealous of people I see as better than I. That’s nature for you.

I swiped my pass at the entrance and got in.

I waved vaguely at the receptionist who glanced vaguely at me.

It was just one of those vague days. We’d be up and smiling again in a few days. No worries.

I wasn’t so sure about myself, but the receptionist at my job was usually pretty friendly.

Receptionists are people too you know. They are not just the building’s user interface. Although that’d be pretty cool.

I heard the sound of a rubber ball bouncing off Johnny’s office wall over and over before passing by. I wasn’t in any rush to start my day so I dropped by and leaned on his door frame.

« That’s odd. Aren’t you working on that big project that’s supposed to feed us for the next month or so? »

Johnny kept throwing the ball at his wall.

« I am. Big boss told me he had a big call with that big company for that big project and not to work on it until it was over. Can’t you see I’m actively not working on it? »

He sure was pretty active about it.

« Don’t we have other projects to work on? »

He snorted.

« Don’t you watch the news? Ah… sorry. Forgot who I’m talking to. We’re public enemy number one. »

I gasped in fake astonishment.

« Johnny. No matter how young you like them, below 18 is a crime! »

Did I fail to mention that this senior, twice my age, is going out with a women five years younger than myself? I know. You’re still lacking data to calculate my age. Don’t let it bother you.

He grinned.

« Screw you Noah. You’re just jealous of my model 2010. »

Ouch.

« So… why all the hate? »

He dropped the ball on his desk and turned toward me.

« Do you know who was CEO until recently? »

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. Just saying.

« Not really no. I don’t even know what he looked like. »

« Exactly. Well that upstanding individual was convicted for corruption. The government thought it would make perfect sense that since he was corrupted, every single of the thousands of employee under him would be corrupted as well. That means you and me. »

I nodded.

« Bananas are yellow, you’re yellow and therefore you’re a banana. »

He smirked.

« Something along those lines I presume. Then the media did their job and trashed us good. No hard feelings. »

So that’s what Cedric was referring to yesterday. I guess I’ll have to revise my judgment. He doesn’t spout random nonsense in order to get me all riled up. He bases his teasing off of reference. Which makes it worse. I should sue him for premeditated teasing.

« What do we do now? »

He looked over my shoulder.

« We should know soon enough. »

Big boss was coming this way. Big boss was actually really skinny. He looked so old and tired while walking down that corridor.

The sly raccoon jinxed it.

You could pretty much tell the call didn’t go well. You also couldn’t help but feel bad for him. Everyone at the office love big boss. Most people at the office love big boss.

I’m trying to stop taking my assumptions as facts. Try it. Question yourself. I actually realized I don’t know as much I would like to believe.

Big boss put his hand on my shoulder.

« Can you come with me in my office? »

He didn’t look like he was going to yell at me of anything.

« Sure. »

Then he looked at Johnny.

« I’ll be with you in a minute. »

We went into Big boss’ office. He sat into his chair, massaging his temples with his long and slender hands.

He sighed, took a deep breath and regained his composure. He was tired and stressed, but not weak. Or we wouldn’t call him Big.

« We lost it. »

He dropped the bomb then kept going.

« You were allowed to take some time off for your uncle’s death. »

I opened my mouth by reflex since we already had that conversation. He held his hand up to stop me.

« You already explained to me that you don’t need it. I want you to take it nonetheless. I can’t afford to keep a lot of people active without any work coming in. Truth is, you’re probably better off that way. »

His point made more sense than bananas.

« I understand. I suddenly feel very depressed by my uncle’s demise. »

I was only half joking.

He smiled faintly at me.

« Don’t worry. I’ll have something ready for you when you get back. It’s just a phase. In a few months nobody will be talking about it anymore. »

Wisdom from experience.

I figured he was done with me so I got up to leave. I felt like I had to say something.

« Out of the two of us, I’m the lucky one. Because I got a good boss. »

He smiled.

« Thanks. »

I left and went to my desk. I didn’t exactly had an office. Nor a cubicle. It was just there at the end of a deserted room.

I opened my computer to get a quick look at my emails before leaving. I put my tea mug in my bag while I was at it. I had the bad habit to leave tea remains in it, which in turn spawned new forms of life. Sometime it just needed a good brushing off.

I looked at my computer doing corporation ‘updates’.

Those updates generally meant more restrictions on what you could do with said computer. Which can be a bother when your boogle search on fetus is classified as ‘sex’ and is blocked. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t need to. I never could get myself to ask for that block to be removed. I can be so spineless at times.

I decided I didn’t really need to see those emails and left.

At the entrance, the receptionist intercepted me by waving an envelope at me.

« Noah. Someone came and dropped this for you. »

Was I finally going to see some of that corruption money I’m supposed to be making?

I opened the envelope and found a ticket. A single ticket for the next Lady Baba concert. By next I mean tonight. I frowned.

« Hum… who dropped this exactly? »

« A short haired blondie. Never saw her before. »

I didn’t exactly had a short haired blondie in my acquaintances. Not one that was likely to drop a ticket for that concert anyway.

I wasn’t even a fan of Baba. The only thing that mildly interested me was that the first half of the concert would feature Natsune Mitsu a virtual idol that would appear as a hologram on stage. Who in the hell would think of giving me that on such short notice?

Under normal circumstances, I might have decided to just ignore it. It smelled like trouble. But then again, I now had an excuse to bail some cheering up party…

 

Procella update

I added an image of the current base mesh of Noe in the Procella page. As my classes are currently focusing on character modeling in Maya (Autodesk modeling software), I took the opportunity to model the main character of my story. From this I’ll be modeling the clothes, adding details in Zbrush (Pixologic sculpting  software) and texturing until I get a satisfying result.

Eden’s Arch – Chapter 02

 

I reached for my keys while walking up the stairs that lead to the duplex I live in. A natural reflex I developed when I actually had a proper lock on my home’s door. I grabbed the door knob and gave it a good push to snap it open. It was worth a sigh.

I climbed the second row of stairs, chasing after that light far above. Who am I kidding? The light bulb has been out for god knows how long. Now, don’t go and make any assumptions there. I ain’t any more religious then the next fellow. I’ll get to that guy in a second. I simply treat gods the same way I believe they treat us. With indifference. Now what I truly meant to say is that I don’t give a damn about the light bulb.

I pushed the door at the top of the second row of stairs. At first I had thought the door was to be used as some sort of failsafe in the event that you opened the first door to the wrong people. It was one of those unlock on button push door. Then again the second door sounded hollow. It felt like you could punch through it without much effort. Which I felt very much like doing right now. But sloth was stronger than anger within me and the door would’ve been a hassle to replace.

No. The actual purpose of the door was probably to prevent falling down the stairs. I wouldn’t bet my life on it if I was any heavier. I’m neither really fat nor quite muscular which makes me relatively light. If you ever tried to lift another adult you know why I mentioned relatively. We humans are quite a bitch to lift.

My mind busy thinking about bitches, I barely noticed my roommate calling out to me from the couch in the living room.

This would probably be the right moment to describe my… Yeah I guess I have to call it a friend. Then again I don’t feel like it right now so I’ll let you imagine him a bit longer.

In the same line of idea denominating him my roommate every time would be sort of fastidious. So I’ll give you his name which will allow me an economy of three letters. Cedric. Five if you count “my”. Of course any profit margin I might have made from this concession has without a doubt been sucked up by this explanation. Worst. I’ll probably still be in the red by the time this story ends. Unless I say his name 27 times.

I dropped my coat on the back of my desk chair and turned on my computer. No I’m not that hot. I just pushed the power button. My laptop is pretty rugged by now so it will take some time before it can actually be used. Just to avoid confusion I’m still talking about my personal computer, not my lap’s top.

Cedric leaned on my door frame.

«What’s with the long face? You look like someone died. Or did the Asian chick finally give you the slip? »

I hate that guy so much.

It must have shown on my face since he kept going barely holding back his smile.

«No way! I thought you guys looked so good together! Such a shame… how did she do it? »

I didn’t even felt like talking at that point so I just held my cell phone up.

He gave me a pat on the back and left for the kitchen.

«You didn’t eat yet did you? I bet you didn’t. I still have some leftovers; I’ll warm them up for you. Then you can tell me about it. »

He was basically bribing me with food so he’d have another story to fuel his conversation at the next party. Knowing him it would be all too soon.

I started browsing a bit to see if any new anime episodes were out, stubbornly trying to ignore the nice smell of stew hovering from the kitchen.

Wait. Cedric had some points in cooking but that stew smell was all too familiar.

I got up. I ain’t that stubborn anyway.

Cedric was just reheating the stew leftovers my parents had given me. That sly raccoon.

I just went and sat at the dining table. Cedric gave me a plate of stew and sat in front of me. I was hungry after all.

Cedric popped a beer while listening to me. He had the decency not to offer me one. I told him about 30% of the story. I was pretty talkative for a guy gulfing down stew.

Cedric stood, strangely lost in his thought for a moment. Strangely because I honestly couldn’t tell the last time I had caught him thinking. Unless it was over something like…

Cedric asked me out plainly:

« So, what’s the address? »

« Huh? »

« The address. The address of your future house. »

« I’m the one who’s supposed to feel unwell. Did you eat anything weird lately? »

I looked at my parent’s stew with a renewed interest. Cedric insisted.

« Come on man. I’ll find out eventually. »

No you wouldn’t.

I sent him the address with my phone anyway.

I looked at him as he boogled the address on is uphone. I couldn’t help but get curious about it.

Damn. I realised Cedric was actually good at cheering people up. It pissed me off.

 

Cedric showed me the picture of some sort three story high luxurious building with a wall and a fence, with an astonished look on his face.

« What the fudge man?! Your uncle was a rich dude?! That house is sick! »

I looked at the picture for a while. I was pretty calm about it. I even took the last mouthful of stew before checking if I had the right address on my phone. It was right. I started thinking about checking how old the boogle picture was when Cedric put his arm around my shoulders.

« We’re on a mission. »

This ought to be good.

« We’re getting you someone to marry. »

I had complex feelings towards that.

« Don’t worry; if it comes down to it I’ll let you marry me. »

Such generosity.

I had to make some sort of retort before he kissed me or something.

« Don’t you have a girlfriend or whatever you call her? »

He paused for a moment.

« She’ll understand. »

Now that was just downright scary. I should probably put things straight, but the thought of an all-out argument with Cedric was enough to hold me back. In my state of mind, I could actually lose said argument and get convinced to do something stupid.

I was heading for my room, foolishly hoping that was the end of it.

Cedric advised, out of the blue.

« Make sure to put nice clothes on tomorrow. »

Out of the blue. Blue feels calm, at peace. If I had to put a color on my personal mental space, that’s probably what I’d choose. At least, I wish it would be. Into the blue? Through the blue.

I stopped and took the damn bait.

« Why? »

Cedric had one of those smirks on his face.

« For the party of course! »

I slowly turned around. I took my tired voice. Sometimes it works.

« We’re not having a party over my uncle’s death. »

Cedric took his not so offended look as a countermeasure.

« Noah, I’m hurt. As if I’d ever do that. I know how difficult it is for you right now; The funerals, your break up, your manuscript being shut down… »

« Hey. I didn’t get an answer from all of them yet. »

« …your job going down the drain… »

« Don’t go adding new problems to my life! »

« … This party is meant to cheer you up. »

« You’re gonna do it wathever I say aren’t you? »

« I’m glad we came to an understanding. »

« We didn’t! »

But the conversation was over. Cedric opened his cellphone, selected a number and made a call. Before I knew it he was all: Hey! How are you doing? Been a while huh? ‘You free tomorrow night?

I proceeded to my room.

There are things you can’t control in life. You really wish you’d have superpowers so you could, but when it comes down to it you won’t stop the world from spinning forward. It might give you motion sickness. You might want to barf it out to feel better. But you won’t. Because it isn’t your stomach that is upset. All you can do is learn the dance.

It’s a little grandiose, but I feel I got the point across that further arguing with Cedric would be useless.

I looked at my bed and wondered if I could enter a sleep deep enough for everything to have solved itself out when I’d wake up.

Eden’s Arch – Chapter 01

 

«Look Noah… You’re a really nice guy…»

Yes. You probably guessed as much. You can’t actually hear it, but I could guess where this was going just by her tone of voice in the two first words. Don’t worry, when they make an anime adaptation I’ll make sure to put that line in the voice actress audition. Yes. I’ll turn it into a ‘who’s the best at dumping a guy over the phone’ contest. Just the thought of it brought a smile to my face as I listened to Nami saying her piece.

«…I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship right now. »

By now I had heard those lines so often I thought they might be a quote from a top hit on boogle. I took a mental note to check it out later. It isn’t by the way. Anyhow, has I was a gentleman, I took the knife from her hands and showed I could commit hara-kiri on my own. Note that I say knife out of concern for less Japanese oriented readers. The correct name would be tanto I believe. I don’t translate hara-kiri by suicide for the same reason squares are not the same as rectangles. Hara-kiri is definitely a suicide, but not all suicides are hara-kiri. By committing hara-kiri, one deliberately inflicts excruciating pain upon himself before being beheaded as a mean to restore its lost honor. Therefor I cut Nami short at the appropriate time to stab myself in the guts.

«Nami it’s okay. I understand. What about we just stay friends? »

I can picture Nami being taken aback by my words. She had quite nice legs so I’d probably make an insert on them right about now. Of course having her be literally taken aback might be a bit much, but hey. I’d forgive a little inconsistency for a good leg shot.

«Ye… Yes. Of course. I’ll see you around then? »

What she probably meant by that was that the next time we’d awkwardly meet would most certainly be around our apartments as we live in the same block. This was wrong as far as I knew. But as her sentence was nothing that precise I agreed.

«Sure. See you. »

That was the extent of my spite for being dumped. Some forgotten Easter egg’s chocolate bunnies must be shivering right now. To my defense, I really liked the girl and I didn’t subscribe to the ideology that a thin line separated love and hatred. I actually see those two on opposite branches of an emotional spectrum. The central and broader section of that interval was filled with indifference. But I hadn’t been downgraded that far. No. I was still on the same branch. In a section called ‘The Friend Zone’. Damn, I knew that spot so well I had my own room in there, with a change of clothes and everything.

The receptionist greeted me with a smile.

Not the Friend Zone receptionist. That one didn’t felt like she needed to greet me with anything more than a headshake while she wrote my name on her pad. No. The actual receptionist at the actual lawyer’s office I actually was at. Forgive me for my crude way of putting the dots on the ‘’I’’s but I’d rather avoid having people lose themselves in my train of thought. It’s messed up enough as it is without having unaccounted for squatters in there.

«Hello. Noah Beausoleil. I have an appointment with Richard Karlson. »

The receptionist checked something on her pad.

«Her secretary will be with you in a moment. »

I bet she will.

Nami opened the semi-transparent door separating the waiting room from the office.

I was hoping to see her look of bewilderment as she saw me, but she somehow had the opportunity to put on ‘the face’. Her professional mask if you will.

She must have heard me through that not so soundproofed door. Way to betray my ill-willed expectations.

Her soft lips synched me a ‘what are you doing here!?’ before saying:

«Please follow me mister Beausoleil. »

Yes. What was I doing here you ask? Although the idea of paying a surprise visit to my girlfriend… ex-girlfriend’s work place was a thrill on its own a few minutes ago still, I had a valid reason in the first place.

My uncle was dead. Is dead. Died. The point is, I am supposedly receiving some sort of inheritance.

Depending on how you interpreted my demeanor up to now, you might think I’m a pretty cold guy. Or just a cold guy if your stingy on compliments. To which I’d answer that my temperature is fine thank you. Bad puns aside, I barely knew the guy. I had met him at mandatory family gatherings which grew scarcer every year, but I hardly talked to him more than curtesy required. Honestly, I have no idea why he thought I was worth inheriting anything at all. My best guess was that he didn’t want to hassle himself over it and just spread is money evenly. I know I would’ve done it. Of course he might have not even put that much thought into it. It was unlikely that he had predicted the 18 wheels that took his life. I say unlikely because there’s always… well, you know.

I entered Karlson’s office under Nami’s heavy gaze.

Karlson was strong. I mean he looked strong. The kind of man whose shapes and sharpness seemed to be spared by aging.

He stood long enough to give me a good handshake and show me the chair in front of his desk. Nami closed the door behind her as she left. If it was as good as the first, it did little more than create an illusion of privacy.

«Mister Beausoleil. I’m glad you’re here. »

I doubt it.

«I was a close friend of your uncle. »

More likely.

«I give you my sincere condolences. »

Don’t push it.

I nodded. He moved on.

«Michel had something a little peculiar in store for you. »

He suddenly had my undivided attention.

«He conceded his property, house and its contents to you… »

You gotta be kidding me.

My thoughts probably leaked to my face as he glanced at me before continuing.

«…provided you commit to a marital agreement. »

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. For the first time since I heard he died, I was sad he did. If that was his idea of a joke we could’ve hit it off if I had given it a shot.

«Sorry. »

I apologised. He gave me an understanding look.

«It’s quite all right. »

He put a document in front of me.

«I’ll need you to sign those to confirm I informed you of your uncle’s wishes. »

I started reading. I had been tricked into a contract once. I’ll be careful not to mention names in a way someone could take offense. It had taught me two important lessons:

–          Never trust a sales person that put his arm around your shoulders and calls you his friend.

–          Always read everything you sign.

I thank Quebec Plaisir for those life lessons.

A few words caught my attention. I lifted my gaze from the document unto Richard.

«Upon fulfillment of those requirements keys to the property will be delivered and the location of the invitation to Eden’s arch will be disclosed. »

I raised an eyebrow.

«Beside a bad biblical reference, what is that? Some sort of show? Weird thing to put in a testament… »

Unless he knew he wouldn’t live to see it.

Richard moved his lips around like he had taken a bite in some ineligible food and wasn’t sure if he should shove it down its throat or spit it out. He spat.

«I do not know. But your uncle was adamant on having it written down specifically. »

I finished reading while Richard was busy typing stuff on his computer so I wouldn’t feel like he was waiting after me.

Everything was legit. Although a bit… What did he say? Peculiar.

I signed and pushed the papers back towards him. He co-signed in the same motion. He asked me out of protocol while giving me the carbon copy.

«Do you have any questions? »

I was already up. We handshook.

I don’t care.

He gave me his card.

«Call me whenever you need. »

I took the door.

I was hoping Nami would be at the desk just outside. She wasn’t.

Of course I knew that even though the receptionist called her a ‘secretary’, she was actually a lawyer in training. It’s beside the point, but it’s as good of a moment as any to mention it.

I wanted to see her because she was the only one who could’ve understood how spot on the timing of our break up was.

I waved at the receptionist with a grin before leaving.

My loyal steed was awaiting me outside. A Suzugi SX4.

I know giving personalities to your possessions is akin to imaginary friends. Don’t judge me. At least I don’t name them. The rice cooker is an exception. Just shut up.

Midway home. On the highway. I yelled. I yelled until my throat hurt. I was angry. I was sad. I was so damn good at lying to myself.