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Sandrine's Visitor

 

 

 

 

Sandrine’s Visitor

By

Mercedes Blanche

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition

Copyright of Mercedes Blanche 2016

 

 

Available for free in exchange for a fair review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The characters used in this story are fictitious and should not be attributed to anyone living or dead and any likeness to such persons is purely co-incidence and used for dramatic purposes only.

 

 

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll tell you this…

No eternal reward will forgive us now

For wasting the dawn

 

Love to John, Ray, Robbie and Jim

 

 

 

Sandrine’s Visitor

 

 

For Sandrine Trenchant, today had been one of her better days. She lived just outside of Aix-en-Provence in Southern France and had arranged to meet up for lunch with a few of her girlfriends. Their company was refreshing and light-hearted, it even managed to pry a small laugh from her, although it had felt a little forced, it was nice to laugh again.

Away from the dining table and alone in the ladies restroom; Sandrine had a few moments to stare into the mirror, albeit with a little dismay. Maybe it was the wine or the lighting but seeing those treasured friends made her a little despondent as they seemed so much younger in appearance than her. They also displayed that zest for life that had gone missing from hers somehow. She was only twenty-eight and should be enjoying these younger years much more than she actually was. Every day it was getting harder to paint a smile on her face and to conjure up an appearance of happiness that the world would hopefully believe.

Doing such things surely shouldn’t be that way. But they were.

Her good friend, Michelle, nicknamed: ‘Doobie,’ due to her fondness for marijuana cigarettes, came in and saw her friend looking almost angrily into the mirror.

‘I try not to look too closely these days, Sandrine, as I get disappointed with the reflection.’

She then added a playful grimace to her words.

Sandrine looked back at her friend to note the silly expression on her face. She was joking, of course, for Doobie was as gorgeous as ever. Owning a great personality, she was admired by all but never felt as a threat by her friends with their boyfriends or lovers, chiefly because Doobie liked women. She always had. Sandrine had never felt intimidated or uncomfortable with that fact because they’d always been close friends and appreciated each other’s lifestyle with the acceptance that lifelong friends always should.

‘How is Alain?’ Doobie tentatively enquired.

Sandrine didn’t answer immediately.

Doobie could see a look of certain sad resignation on her friend’s face.

‘Oh! You know,’ was the forthcoming answer that explained everything and nothing in one single downbeat exhalation of breath.

‘It’s that good?’ Doobie replied with a broad smile. ‘I think we must get some more wine into you, sweetie!’

They both laughed but for different reasons. Doobie’s always had compassion for any troubled friend and wanted to help if she could but Sandrine’s aim right now was more about blotting out her troubles as she must return to them in just a few short hours and didn’t want to think about it.

After four long years of being with Alain, she’d slowly grown to hate her life and told Michelle that fact as the hot tears ran down her face.

‘I’m sure he’s taken a lover as he rarely comes to me anymore.’

Doobie said nothing but just held her friend close and gently listened to those words of frustration tumble out, accompanied by what she thought was justified suspicion.

Those things were hard to hear from someone that you loved but Doobie felt it was essential to just let her talk. She knew this was the first time Sandrine had told anyone else about her heart-wrenching situation because it sounded so raw.

‘If you’re sure about that and want to get away for a while, you know there is always a spare bed at mine until you get your head straight.’ Doobie kindly offered.

‘Thanks, but I’ll be ok in a minute. I’m just being foolish and sounding off. I’m probably imagining it all. I know he’s a good man really and very generous with his money. Most people would envy my life as I want for nothing.’

‘Sandrine, honey, a nice house and a fancy sports car doesn’t automatically ensure a happy life. If you think he’s cheating, put a snooper on his ass and find out for sure. If he’s clean, then you’ll both need to make more of an effort to get things back on track.’

‘You’re right, of course,’ she said dabbing her eyes with a tissue, ‘but I would feel terrible having him followed.’

‘Not as terrible at finding out he’s been cheating on you. Sandrine, you need to know the truth or it will eat away at you like a cancer!’

Sandrine looked into the ladies’ restroom mirror again and took a deep breath. She was suddenly impressed by her determined reflection that was inspired by her friend’s words. It was certainly a brave start.

‘Come on, honey, let’s get you cleaned up and put some colour back on your face. Your public expects a certain standard from you, yeah?’

Sandrine laughed and opened up her bag to find some suitable make-up to match her improved new mood.

While fixing her face, Doobie’s forthright advice ran through her mind like a thundering juggernaut. Of course, she was completely right. As the blusher went on, there came a resolution to show the world that Sandrine Trenchant was a strong, independent woman, but right now she was ready for some fun.

Finding this new drive wasn’t going to be easy but sometimes you must fight your corner if you want to keep some vestige of self-respect. If people saw that in you, especially your friends, it was surprising how it helped them to be strong as well.

‘Ah!’ Justine remarked with a grin. ‘We were about to send a search party for you.’

‘Sorry, I was bending Doobie’s ear about something.’ Sandrine replied without explanation.

‘Oh? Do tell?

‘Perhaps later, I think I’m in the mood for some chilled Sancerre today. Would you all like to join me?’

‘That’s a silly question, of course we would.’

They soon changed venue to a more exciting bar with music and a dance floor that was just up the road. On entering, her other friend called Alice put her arm around Sandrine’s shoulder and steered her towards a table next to one with several attractive young men seated.

They looked very pleased these ladies had chosen to sit so closely when other tables further away were obviously available.

The men looked at each other with glee as one swore to his pal that he’d heard a starter’s pistol go off. The introductions flew around and the separate tables and they soon got pushed together to everyone’s agreement and pleasing laughter.

Sandrine really needed this uplifting day, what with the wine and the excellent company. It led to great night of fun, regardless of the fact that Alice slipped her friend a card of a private investigator.

 

 

 

Two

 

 

Instead of taking a cab, which she knew that she really should, Sandrine decided to drive her small Peugeot convertible the twenty miles home. Kissing her friends goodbye and taking the cell phone number on the insistence of one of those lovely men, she walked alone back to her parked car.

On the way, Sandrine argued with herself that it was too much bother leaving the car in town and having to travel back the next day to collect it. She knew the majority of the journey would be on the quiet back roads that would have even fewer cars about that time of night.

To make sure she stayed awake, she dropped the top down so that the ice-cold night air was fully in her face, which should allay any effects from those large glasses of wine. It was bad for the complexion, certainly, but when needs must!

Arriving home and remembering to lock the car, she noticed only the automatic night lighting was on, which made her feel saddened and alone because it meant Alain wasn’t here. Perhaps he’d left her a message on the landline answering service. It would be so good to hear his voice. She really missed him being around.

Letting herself inside and turning on the hallway lights, she made straight for the kitchen and the telephone.

No voice messages.

Sandrine checked her cell phone again and it was with the same result.

‘Merde!’ she cried out and was tempted to throw her phone against the wall in frustration.

Going to the refrigerator, Sandrine took out a wine bottle but stopped herself and thought better of it. She replaced it with a bottle of spring water.

With a nasty headache forming, she searched for some pills to take. Of course it was the overindulgence of wine that was to blame but she felt it was a fair price to pay for the therapeutic evening of fun with her friends and also the handsome young man that said she had beautiful eyes.

Maybe after a good night’s sleep she would call Alain and talk things over but somewhere deep down she began to accept that this relationship had probably run its course.

Time would tell.

Removing her make-up and then brushing her hair in front of her large dressing mirror convinced her somehow that Alain had probably already moved on. She must prepare herself to move on with her own life as well. This genuinely surprised her as it didn’t really hurt as much as she thought it might. That said an awful lot to her.

After taking the paracetamol with the bottled water, she switched off the lamp on her night stand and snuggled down under an overstuffed duvet that tried to envelop her with a warming welcome. Instead of lying there and worrying about what tomorrow may bring, she fell asleep in moments.

Whilst dreaming fitfully, she felt a strange sensation of not being alone and it began disturbing her. Sometimes dreams can seem really vivid and often quite scary and this one certainly had her spooked.

Opening her eyes in the darkened room, she wondered if maybe that guy at the bar had followed her home with hopes of spending the night but it seemed fanciful and unlikely.

Sandrine suddenly sat up and began breathing in such a way that was close to hyperventilating. Reaching across with shaking hands, she inadvertently knocked over her bottle of water and heard it hit the floor and roll.

Fumbling in her distress, she eventually found the lamp switch to turn on the light.

‘Oh my god!’ she cried and found she was exhaling hard.

Sandrine leant over the side of the bed to rescue the bottled water. Sitting back upright, she flipped the cap and began to suck hard on the nozzle. The liquid brought with it a calming action that was very welcome.

‘My god, what’s happening to me!’ she asked the empty room and then gently laughed at her own embarrassment.

‘OOOW!’ that headache forming up earlier was now arriving in a solid block of pain.

Lying back against the pillows, she began to regulate her breathing as doing this reduced the tension at the back of her head. This was something she’d been practising for a while when such migraine-like attacks seemed imminent.

Her breathing went in and out slowly for several minutes, which brought the calm required and she soon began to feel at ease.

Suddenly, she opened her eyes and was alarmed to see a light shining from under the gap in her bedroom door.

Sandrine called out because Alain may have returned home after all.

No reply.

Oh God! This made her feel very apprehensive and to wonder whether she should she call the police?

Looking over at her night stand where she always left her cell phone, she remembered she’d left it on the kitchen counter when angrily slamming it down after checking for messages from Alain.

Now, here was the dilemma: should she go out to see who was in her home or maybe go and hide somewhere safe until morning.

‘Oh, don’t be a fool you scaredy cat, it’s just Alain using his headphones and listening to his music. You know he can’t hear you calling out.’

Sitting still for a moment and carefully deciding whether to get up to go to the kitchen or perhaps to stay here and wait for him to come to bed. When he hadn’t appeared after a few minutes, it only served to increase her anxiety.

Sandrine slipped out of bed and put on her robe with care.

Easing her bedroom door open slightly, she could hear someone moving around in the kitchen. Should she call out again or just take a peep and could always run for the back door before being discovered.

Taking a breath, she steeled herself. Now gently walking in bare feet toward the kitchen found the closer she was the more intense the feeling of fear.

Stopping by the corner before a right turn into the kitchen itself, she stood still with her back to the wall. Sandrine could feel her heart beating furiously and notice her mouth was suddenly drier than the Gobi desert.

Taking a moment to consider her options again; she reasoned it must be Alain but then again, it could turn out to be the most monumentally stupid life-threatening thing she’d ever done.

Taking another gasp of breath, she decided to continue. It was only two steps and then she’d know for sure.

Sandrine heard a clatter like cutlery hitting the floor. It made her jump with fright but also prompted her to move quickly.

What she saw next defied belief, which caused her to yell out in total fear.

Her loud scream caused her eyes to close and to wonder if she might faint. She had to steel herself from doing that otherwise the outcome may prove fatal.

Opening them again after those few seconds of panic forced her to replay in her head what a horrendous figure she’d seen standing by her kitchen sink. Now, concentrating fully, it didn’t look anything like what she’d first seen. Surely it must have been a trick of the light?

Blinking hard and biting the inside of her cheek to make sure all this was actually real; Sandrine saw the figure slowly turn around and warmly smile at her.

Aside from the overwhelming sensation of wanting to urinate, Sandrine’s eyes lit up like an exploding star as this stranger was the most beautiful looking man she’d ever seen.

He was about 185-190cms tall; with sandy blonde hair and the bluest eyes anyone had ever seen. His continuing smile somehow assured her that he couldn’t possibly be a threat.

‘What are you doing in my kitchen?’ Sandrine demanded with new found bravado.

He continued to smile at her but said nothing. He then turned back to the sink and was seen gazing at the taps.

‘Would you like some water?’ Sandrine asked as she moved closer to the refrigerator.

Opening the door, she took out some Evian and held up the bottle to pass it to him.

He looked bewildered at what she was doing but then raised his hand to hers to receive the bottle.

Sandrine remained standing there, now almost eye to eye. This was a spooky stand-off sort of situation, yet, she found it a very intriguing one.

Feeling thirsty herself, she took out another hoping to conquer her tongue-dry mouth.

He watched intently at how she opened the container and put the bottle to her lips. He now attempted to do the same.

‘Is that better?’ she enquired.

He didn’t say a thing. All he did was continue to look into her eyes.

Crazily, as much as she found it disconcerting, it was strangely uplifting as well.

He moved two places closer, which should have given her the hint to run but she didn’t or even care to.

An onlooker would probably have described Sandrine as mesmerized but in fact she really wasn’t. All she wanted to do was to find out about him. To be honest, most women would want that because he was so damned handsome.

Sometimes when people are nervous, they can chatter away incessantly and often don’t make any sense. This is what Sandrine could now embarrassingly hear emanating from within herself. As the rapid babble spilled from her lips, it became like a torrent of words that no one could decipher.

The ironic thing was he couldn’t hear her at all.

Placing the bottle on the counter, he moved toward her then gently placed his hand on her face around the hairline.

She stopped talking, motionless and compliant and now wondering if he was deaf or possibly autistic in any way.

‘Thank you, you are very kind.’

His lips didn’t move but that’s what she heard inside her head.

‘How are you designated?’ the voice enquired with no audible sound but had a kind of mellifluous tone that softened her anxiety.

Sandrine looked baffled at this question. He must be a foreigner without a good grasp of French yet. Thinking quickly, she figured that perhaps he was asking her name.

‘Sandrine …Sandrine Trenchant,’ she paused for a second to then ask: ‘what is your name?’

She suddenly realized that his hand was still gently touching her face and liking his delicate touch, purposely made no move that would dislodge his hand. All she could do was willingly smile and gaze into his ocean blue eyes that had her completely spellbound.

Sandrine forced herself to shake her head slightly to make his hand fall away, which then gave her the powers to think a little more rationally. After all, she mustn’t act like some beguiled teenager hankering after some jock hunk from High School. That reference caused Sandrine to suddenly remember some of those very difficult times as a girl and took another deep breath to bring some calm.

Already she had firmly vowed to find out why he was here and arriving during the middle of the damn night. Not only that, how the hell did he get in because she’d checked the doors and windows before she left earlier today and knew that only the front door would need bolting when she came home tonight.

Sandrine needed to play for time and motioned for him to sit at the table, which he slowly did. Thinking he was probably hungry, she made her way across to the refrigerator and took out a couple of cooked chicken legs and an apple. She put them on a plate before placing it on the table in front of him. This action seemed a good ploy to diffuse the tension.

‘Please, if you’re hungry, do eat. I’ll be right back in a moment.’

He just stared at the items placed in front of him and appeared not to know what to do with them.

He surely must have some learning issues, she confirmed to herself.

Leaving the kitchen, she’d managed to scoop up her phone without him seeing and was still wondering how he’d managed to get inside. The funny thing about it was no door or window had been forced. What that meant was; either he’d picked the locks somehow, which would have taken a lot of skill or he was already inside when she’d left this morning.

But how could that possibly be?

Sandrine was still considering whether to call the police in case this man had been reported as missing or maybe just invite one of her male neighbours over to make sure her sudden guest left her property.

Her head dropped to look at the display on the cell phone screen to find there was no phone signal. Damn. Also it was 3:40 am and far too early to wake someone up, especially as she didn’t feel in any immediate danger. What she had was just plain old-fashioned curiosity.

Suddenly a loud crashing sound came from the kitchen causing Sandrine to run as fast as she could to see what had happened.

This event was turning out to be quite some night.

 

 

 

Three

 

 

Staring at each other from across the kitchen with mutual alarm was Sandrine’s visitor and her mottled house cat. It was hissing away at him, not really in fear, but mainly because he was standing right beside her food and water bowls.

Seeing Sandrine enter the kitchen diffused the situation, although the man now looked at her in a slightly bewildered way.

‘Oh! Don’t mind her; she just doesn’t like anybody close to her at feeding time.’

Sandrine went to the cupboard where she kept the pet food and quickly doled out the cat’s ration for the morning and placed it down on the floor. In fairness, it must have been hungry because Sandrine had been out all day.

As the visitor moved away, the cat, named: Charlot, totally ignored this new person and set about gobbling down her food.

‘What is that?’ the visitor inferred by pointing directly at Charlot.

Picking up on his gesture, Sandrine informed him this was her house pet, which gave her company when Alain wasn’t around. What she tried to put across in a humorous way was that cats don’t really have owners; they just have staff, ask anyone that has a cat.

What she’d just said made Sandrine feel foolish as he didn’t really understand and certainly had no idea what an ‘Alain’ was either.

Filling the kettle, she switched it on and grabbed two coffee mugs from the cupboard to then place them on the counter. Her broken night’s sleep was starting to overtake her alertness but she still was going to have to make a decision about what she was going to do with this guest/intruder.

Placing the coffee cups on her kitchen table, she invited him to sit down with her. He watched intently as she raised the mug to her mouth and took a sip of its contents and offered him an open-handed gesture to do the same. As his hand touched the hot mug, it instantly recoiled in pain from the heat and she heard him emit something of a muffled yell.

Understandably, she still wondered if he could be slightly mentally slow and should take a different approach in an attempt to get more information.

Moving her chair closer, she got her face right into his so he was able to see all her relayed expressions as she spoke to him. It didn’t seem to work at all until he placed his hand upon her face again.

Inside her head, she heard the stilting words from him say: ‘I apologise for alarming you, Sandrine, but I am going to need your help. I’m in danger and must stay here for three cycles before I can leave.’

His plea for help was certainly not from someone that was a little backward but what kind of trouble was he in and would it come to visit her house if she let him stay? Also, what the hell was three cycles?

He let his hand fall away to let her think about his situation.

It was understandable if she was thinking he could be on the run from the law or an escaped prisoner from some mental institution. Perhaps he’d double-crossed some drug cartel boss and they were hot on his trail. Any of those things could be a real possibility.

‘If I let you stay, am I in any danger?’

Again, he placed his hand on her face.

‘No, it’s very unlikely that they will search this …er, klotan within three cycles.’

‘Oh! Putain! You’re really spooking me monsieur and what’s more, I don’t even know your name.’

He had no idea how to describe his name and looked across the kitchen to find some inspiration and something she might accept. He saw the name on a tin of cat food.

‘My name is Arden Grange.’

His deception hadn’t clicked with her yet as she had other pressing questions on her mind.

‘What the hell is a klotan and explain to me what you mean by three cycles?’

‘This may be a little difficult for you to comprehend as your people cannot do this yet but may sometime in the future.’

The look on her face was one of disbelief because this guy was talking like a madman, now accepted as an educated and patronising one, but a madman nonetheless.

‘A klotan, Sandrine, is another …mmm, dimension, yes, dimension. The three cycles are what it takes this world to orbit your star three times.

‘Oh! Merde! I should have taken Doobie’s offer of staying with her for a few days and not have to put up with all this confusing bullshit!’

Sandrine stood up and looked at him. God, he was so very handsome, so much so, it made her stomach churn. Handsome or not, the fact was, she’d enough troubles of her own.

Deep down, Sandrine was a lovely person that would help most people in a fix, but this twaddle was all a bit too much. What if she did help him, how the hell would she get rid of him after three cycles? Merde! …I mean three days.

She shook her head.

And what’s all this nonsense about coming from a different dimension.

She sighed like a person on sadly learning they’d been taken for a complete fool.

Sandrine retorted.

Tu te fiches de ma gueule? (Are you taking the piss?)

Strangely, even Charlot the cat paused for a second from her enthusiastic eating to look up at Arden with a certain amount of disdain. Noticing that, it made Sandrine laugh, although her displeasure with Arden remained.

‘God! I can’t deal with this right now!’ She huffed. ‘Follow me, you can stay in the spare room and we will talk again in the morning.’

Arden had no clue what she was saying but could tell that he should follow her.

Sandrine opened the door to the spare room and gestured he should go in. Why he must do that; he wasn’t too sure but did so. She closed the door and went into her own bedroom and still thinking, if she was lucky, when she woke later, maybe he’d be gone and that would be an end to it!

 

 

 

Four

 

 

She did sleep, eventually, but it wasn’t what you would call a restful sleep. Many things were churning over in her mind, and in truth, it felt exhausting.

Waking, she lay there for a minute organizing her thoughts before getting up and putting on her robe and slippers.

She quickly put a brush through her hair and checked herself in the mirror before making her way to the kitchen. Without doubt; she was a French woman and constantly made the effort to look good.

Arden was there and preparing some more food for Charlot. The cat was weaving in and out of his legs in happy anticipation for her second breakfast of the day. They’d obviously found some sort of accord, although cats will be anybody’s friend when you are about to serve them with something good to eat.

Sandrine observed the domestic situation in her kitchen and wondered if today was going to get any weirder than last night.

Hold on tight girl because the day had just begun!

He’d clearly watched her every move last night for he presented her with a mug of coffee with it just how she’d made it. She also noticed he hadn’t made one for himself.

‘Don’t you like my coffee?’ she asked.

He touched her face.

‘I cannot eat or drink the things you do except for water. My needs are very different to yours, Sandrine, but Charlot seems to like the chicken you gave to me last night.’

‘I’m sure she does!’

She sounded a little indignant but liked it when he used her name.

‘What are we going to do about this touching me every time we need to speak?’

Arden looked at her; he paused for a moment and then produced something in the palm of his hand. As he showed her, he explained it was a communication device.

‘I would have to put this here,’ he said and placed a finger on where it would have to be inserted at the base of her skull, ‘it would only be painful for a second but then would also give you pleasure for a minute or two until your brain adjusted to it being in place.’

‘What kind of pleasure?’

‘I can’t describe it because it’s a human female emotion.’

‘Oh yes?’

She was certainly intrigued and looked into his face for some kind of clue.

‘You would have to trust me, Sandrine; please believe I would not intentionally harm you.’

‘So, we could then hear each other?’

‘Yes.’

This wasn’t really happening, was it? It must be a dream because I wouldn’t let some complete stranger stick something in my brain.

Sandrine stalled for a few moments and wondered if she was going nuts to even consider it.

Arden said nothing else. He waited until she’d made her own decision and thought if he were her living on this planet with its backward technology, would he let someone do such a thing to him. It was very unlikely.

‘Will you remove it in three days when you leave?’

‘If that is your wish but I will explain that it does have further uses when the time comes.’

‘It’s not going to turn me into some kind of zombie is it?’ she laughed.

‘Let’s hope not!’

He actually smiled when he said that because he’d only just discovered what that term meant from a TV guide he’d seen on the kitchen counter.

‘Arden, you seem to be acquiring a sense of humour.’

Looking at her with what she took for tenderness, he took her head with both hands and kissed her very passionately on the lips.

She felt her knees start to buckle.

‘Merde, you’d better do it now before I change my mind.’ she panted.

Arden understood and placed the small injector to the back of her skull, it inserted a device that was no larger than a dressmaker’s pin head.

‘OOOW!’ she cried out in pain as it entered her neck and flew toward the top of her spinal column.

‘Are you ok, Sandrine?’

‘OOOOOH!’ came back the delighted sound.

She grabbed at him as she went into a momentary spasm. With her back arched, Sandrine’s breathing became irregular as her body temperature rocketed to 38oC in a flash. Not fully understanding why, Sandrine dug her nails into Arden’s arm and gasped saying that she wanted him right now.

He had no clue about what she was asking of him and ignored her words because he knew the device wasn’t fully functional yet.

Sandrine felt waves of passion flood through her body. To her, it certainly felt like an orgasm but never on such a monumental scale.

With her body temperature subsiding back to normal, Arden sat her in a chair and tested the device without touching her.

‘Sandrine, how do you feel?’

‘Wonderful!’ she replied without speaking but he could see she was obviously quite breathless.

‘Will I be able to do that any time I want?’ she gasped hopefully.

‘Probably, but I would hold back as you may become addicted to it and your brain might physiologically override all other functions until starve you to death.’

‘Really! Oh Well! There are worse ways to go if you must!’

All things considered, this was probably going to be worthwhile and definitely more than a tad rewarding!

She rested for a moment but then realized she had only thought of the reply and not actually spoken it.

‘You heard me?’

‘Yes, very clearly.’

They carried on with their dialogue back and forth, yet the only sound you could hear was the noise Charlot made as she chased around a fabric mouse that had a bell inside it.

It was going to be a lot easier for Arden to explain his situation and what he needed in the way of help.

Sandrine fought hard to concentrate on the things he was trying to teach her but the problem was her brain was still flooded with dopamine and it left her a little unreceptive.

 

 

 

Five

 

 

The time had shifted to the evening and the sun had gently slipped over the horizon above the trees in her back garden.

‘I think I’m going to call up my friends and organize a party. I feel like celebrating tonight.’

‘That sounds nice, Sandrine, but we must stay here until it is time for me to go.’

‘Can we not go into town for a couple of hours and meet my friends?’

‘I’m very sorry but the device will not let you go more than five hundred metres from the rip-spot. It could damage your brain if you do and I would not forgive myself if that happened.’

‘So, I’m stuck here alone for another two days? I’ll go stir crazy!’

Waking to the refrigerator, Sandrine pulled out a cold bottle of Chablis and poured herself a large glass.

‘I do appreciate everything you have done for me.’ Arden tried to offer some kind words as consolation.

Taking a large sip from the glass, she placed it down on the counter and then smiled with certain satisfaction from the pleasing taste.

‘Yes, well, maybe you can show me where you’re from.’ she indicated this by pointing up to the sky.

‘OK. Do you see that group of stars over there?’ He said indicating in the night sky to the Pleiades star cluster.

Sandrine looked up and was taken aback because she had never really been interested in such things. Tonight was so different. If you actually took a few moments in the quietness to look at it, there was no doubting, the sight of it all was breath-taking. She suddenly recalled a date that once said something to her over dinner, and it was a line that had somehow stuck. ‘…everything in nature is beautiful. It’s only man that can make things ugly!’

Sandrine now found that remark chillingly profound.

‘I wish it was possible to see it even closer but I don’t own a telescope.’

Arden took out what looked something similar to a cell phone in size. He pointed it up at the sky. Five seconds later, he then placed it on the kitchen table and it instantly showed his group of stars in a hologram type of moving projection. By rotating your hand above it, you could see other planets and stars in varying aspects and not just as seen from Earth’s perspective. It was incredible and so outstandingly beautiful that it made her shed a tear.

‘I’ve always hated science-fiction stuff when it’s on TV and found it extremely boring.’

She took another drink.

‘Sandrine, this is neither science-fiction nor television. This is real and now.’

‘With all those stars out there, you’d think there would be more life than just here on Earth.’

‘There is many, only just not your kind of life.’

‘Oh, you’re beginning to sound a little star-trekky to me.’

Arden looked inside her memories to see what she’d meant.

‘I see, no, you’re not even close, but a nice try, as you say.’

‘Arden,’ she mused, ‘would it be possible for me to visit to your planet?’

Was she teasing him or just testing out his honesty? After all, he could be a complete phoney.

‘That is something I would like very much but your body would not be able to tolerate the pressures and atmospheres there. First of all, humans would have to evolve to travel such huge distances and in your present form you would definitely not be able to cope.’

‘Do you think its likely humans will ever evolve to your stage?’

‘The way you’re DNA was constructed by other ancient space travellers long ago, it’s a possibility.’

Looking at her wine glass, she placed it down and thinking maybe she’d had enough.

‘Are you talking about God?’

‘I don’t really know what you mean by that, Sandrine.’

‘When young, many of us were taught about a god that made the earth and skies, along with promises that if we conduct ourselves in an appropriate way, when we die, our spirit will rise up and go to this place called heaven.’

‘Where is that exactly?’

‘Nobody knows for sure.’

‘Sandrine, I think that is only wishful thinking and passed down to you by older generations as a hope for the younger people to behave kindly towards each other. It’s a very worthy idea, but I can tell from your past world history that rarely happens. You’re quite a hostile race that enjoys killing each other.’

‘That’s a very sad and difficult thing to hear, Arden.’

‘It’s a reason why others are reluctant to make contact.’

‘Do you think others have tried?’

‘Definitely but your leaders ordered their destruction when they arrived as they feared panic and collapse of current beliefs. So, understandably, they keep away.’

‘So why did you come here?’

‘I’m avoiding a dominion that wants me to give them our advanced technology so they can use it to harm others.’

‘Really?’

Sandrine looked at him in that disbelieving way she’d skilfully mastered as a teenager.

‘Yes, if I can avoid them for two more Earth cycles …excuse me, days, then I shall not see them again for several thousand years.’

This was all too much for Sandrine to absorb: time travel in the blink of an eye, life spans running into thousands of years, alternate dimensions, it all boggled the brain.

She wanted another drink but decided not to.

Nevertheless, Arden was here with her for now, so why not just enjoy it because who the hell would believe her!

‘Arden?’

‘Yes.’

‘Where you’re from …is there a Madame Arden?’

He stopped and thought about her question and the reasons for why she might ask it.

She was smiling up at him with a look he’d not seen before, except during the implantation.

‘Ah! No, we do not mate as you do or take a counterpart.’

‘In that case, I can’t see the harm if you would like to try out an experiment with me before you return.’

Sandrine was wondering why she was being so forward and playful. Was it the wine?

Arden thought about her proposal but seriously wondered if he could hold his transformation as a human while testing their mating rituals. Judging by her first reaction; she would probably die with shock if she saw his true form.

‘Are you sure about this, Sandrine?’

‘You won’t hurt me or anything, would you?’

‘No. Of course not but I don’t think it’s a good idea.’

Not to be dissuaded; she took his hand and with some determination led him to her room. Charlot followed them down the hallway but was shooed away and denied entrance to the bedroom this time. The cat really wasn’t best pleased at being shut out.

Arden was scanning her memories to understand what part he had to play in this procedure and quickly arrived at the correct archive but was slightly alarmed.

‘Oh! No! Really! I have to do all of that?’

‘Don’t worry, Arden, leave this to me and we’ll take things nice and slow.’ Sandrine assured him.

How was slower actually going to be any better?

He’d had mating opportunities with other species but always found it distasteful and sometimes very dangerous. However, Sandrine was different; she was a warm and sensitive creature with kind intentions that held no agenda or demands. These next moments excluded.

He was obviously concerned and tried to share those reservations with her but it didn’t deter the amorous Sandrine at all as she’d already put her plans into motion and figured how her body was to respond.

Although this night was intended to be mutual, Sandrine could help but think: ‘One small step,’ etc. …!

 

 

 

Six

 

 

Waking was a real effort this morning and Sandrine turned to look over at Arden but he was not there. Across the room, she could see the door was slightly ajar; therefore, he must have got up.

‘Putain,’ she said to Charlot as the cat jumped up onto the bed. ‘I was hoping for Arden to spend a little more time with me in here and not you, my furry friend.’

The cat nestled down on the warm duvet and felt content.

Getting up, Sandrine went to the kitchen to look for him but he was not around. Maybe he had gone for a walk. With a small sigh, she loaded her coffee pot and put it on to percolate.

Hearing a small slam of the back door, she turned to see if it was him. It was and it made her heart beat faster. Now switching her thoughts to communicate, she opened.

‘Good morning.’

As she asked this, there appeared a huge smile of relief on her face.

‘I’m not sure, Sandrine, as I don’t have much data on your weather patterns for this area but it does seem quite temperate.’

‘No, silly, it’s a greeting we use on meeting for the first time in the day.’

‘Ah!’

She went over to him and kissed his face.

‘More sex?’ he enquired.

Sandrine howled with laughter.

‘Maybe later, but for now I want you to explain a few things to me.’

They both sat at the table.

‘How can you make me understand about other dimensions without my head exploding?’

He looked at her strangely as causing her head to explode was something he would never subject her to.

She laughed at his precise interpretation.

‘It’s just a figure of speech. What I mean to ask is: can you put it simply as I’m not a professor in quantum physics?’

Arden needed to study her memories for a moment to make it comprehensive.

‘OK! This is by no means an accurate description but it may offer some kind of an analogy.’

‘Go ahead.’

She readied herself.

‘Imagine you were one of identical twins that had been separated at birth. You stayed here and the other lived on Mars. During your lives you did the same things; chose the same type of clothes and both liked the same kind of music. You were living exactly the same lives but were totally unaware of each other and could never meet.’

‘Yes,’ Sandrine acknowledged, ‘but there could be a billion to one chance we could meet if I or she became astronauts’

‘Well, possibly, if Chanel made spacesuits.’ he grinned.

‘Very good,’ she remarked sarcastically, ‘but I do see your point.’

‘There’s also a time thing as she may exist thousands of years in the future or the past relative to the time of your own existence.’

‘Let me see if I understand. So, what you’re saying is there are worlds within worlds like a reflection within a reflection but within a parallel universe?’

‘Kind of …yes.’

‘I think that’s enough of that. I need some coffee and an aspirin!’

Arden smiled but it instantly became a grimace as he exhaled in pain and fell sideways from the chair and landed heavily onto the floor.

Sandrine could see he was hurting and dashed to his side asking him what she should do.

With his left hand, he pulled some device from his pocket and pushed it toward her.

‘Take three paces back, point the green top at my body and press the triangular button. You must hold it for six seconds until the beam stops.’

Taking the unit in her hand, she found the button and pointed it at him.

‘Six seconds, Arden?’

‘Yes but you must not look at it as it will damage your sight very badly.’

That wasn’t true, he only said that because he would revert to his original form during the procedure and didn’t want to frighten Sandrine.

Doing as he asked, she pressed the button. Amber light began to scan his body from top to toe but the intensity of its action made him groan with pain.

Sandrine was very tempted to look but was afraid to jeopardise her sight. His original form began to return to the human shape and his pain began to subside as the amber light stopped.

Grabbing some bottled water, she sat down and raised him gently to sit up in front of her. He was clearly weakened by the experience and appreciated the bottle now pressed to his lips. As he drank, he felt his strength returning.

‘That scared the hell out of me, Arden. You could have warned me this might happen!’ Sandrine snorted.

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Yes, well, you’d better tell me if you ever feel like that again so that I can be ready.’

It had genuinely been a frightening experience for her.

Charlot made an appearance and began to brush up against Arden in a friendly way.

‘You see, even my cat is worried about you.’

‘Were you concerned I wouldn’t be able to feed you, my little friend?’ Arden asked the cat as he stroked its back with the palm of his hand.

The cat mewed something that sounded like an acknowledgement.

Sandrine found that amusing and put both arms around Arden.

‘I think I should put you to bed.’

‘Not more sex, my body is a little weak right now!’

‘I’ll let you know when that’s going to happen.’ Sandrine smiled at her new found confidence.

They both rose from the kitchen floor and Sandrine gently helped him to the bedroom. Satisfied he was ok; she left him there to rest.

Arriving back in the kitchen; Charlot was actively pestering her for some food but she would have to wait a minute because Sandrine wanted to call one of her friends on her cell phone. Opening it up, she began to type the first three letters of her girlfriend and then pressed ‘call’ but the phone line seemed dead. She tried a different number but no luck. It seemed the network was down and she was unable to contact anyone.

Going over to her landline, she lifted the receiver and pressed a stored memo number. That was really odd because the result was the same. Placing the handset back down; she wondered what the hell was going on. It was important to speak to one of her friends right away because she needed to hear a familiar voice that would offer some reassurance after witnessing what happened to Arden. There was also another reason to make the call and it may have had something to do will telling her girlfriend that she had slept with probably the world’s most handsome man last night and it had been absolute heaven.

A little disappointed, Sandrine made herself a pot of coffee, fed Charlot, and went outside to enjoy a quiet half-hour at her garden table. She watched the many forms of wildlife that liked to visit her garden and eat the foods she’d put out on bird tables and various other places.

During her third cup of coffee, she’d composed several questions to ask Arden and what she might say to his possible range of answers. Some of them were very important to her as his replies might be life-changing.

 

 

 

Seven

 

 

‘Hello, how are you feeling now?’

‘Much better, thanks. I’m sorry to have worried you like that.’

Sandrine motioned for him to sit at the table with her.

‘That thing I had to press earlier, does it cure most ailments?’

Arden smiled at her, saying nothing because he believed she was teasing him.

He took her hand, which was something she wasn’t expecting, nevertheless, Sandrine found it charming.

‘Are you still due to leave tomorrow?’

‘Sadly, I must.’

She looked into his eyes to find it confirmed his words. Sandrine instantly felt something in her stomach that was very close to panic as she couldn’t bear him to go.

‘I would like it very much if you could stay a little longer.’

‘As would I, but you’ve already witnessed that my body can’t take the stresses your planet imposes upon it.’

‘OK, Arden, have it your way. I thought we could really make something of this but if you’re determined to leave then you must go. I really don’t need to be messed around with your fanciful notions of time travel and parallel dimensions or whatever you call them.’

She was feeling hurt and lashed out at him because her emotions were holding her to ransom and at this moment reason would have to take a back seat.

‘Sandrine, I’ve tried to explain that your delicate body cannot tolerate the environment on my world, so we have reached something of an impasse.’

He was going to say more but stopped because other things had come to the fore in his mind.

This thought had grabbed Sandrine’s attention entirely. She tightened her grip on his hand as if to prompt him to share.

Looking intently at her, he began.

‘Sandrine, I feel very close to you even though it has been only a short time.’

She wished he would just spit it out.

‘If you are willing, we can talk about going to a planet where we could both exist and where it wouldn’t be too hard on either of us.’

‘Go on,’ she was intrigued.

Arden had to touch her face for this because he had to show her exactly what she was in for and how they would both have to sacrifice everything in their present forms.

All this was a lot to take in and she still felt a little sceptical because it followed something close to the realms of fantasy. However, she hadn’t dismissed the idea entirely and told him that she needed some thinking time because, if true, she would be leaving behind friends and loved ones forever.

He told her that he understood.

To keep herself busy, she made up her bed, tidied the room and opened the windows to air it. It was all a little frantic going on inside her head but she could cope with that but still had to contemplate and focus on what her answer might be.

Later, she sat down at the table and began to question him on what it would be like on this new world if she decided to go.

Arden took out the same device from when he had shown her his home in the stars. This time, it was somewhere far from his star cluster and even further from Earth that it was unknown to Earth’s astronomers.

To be honest, the beleaguered Sandrine, understandably, found it all a little surreal.

The close up of the planet he’d chosen was certainly beautiful in so many ways and so enticing that it made her heart sing.

‘We could both live there?’ Sandrine questioned.

‘Yes, it would be wonderful life but so very different for you.’

‘How so, exactly?’

‘Your body would have to die before we left so that you could make the journey with me.’

Her brain froze.

Although she only had to think of a reply; nevertheless, her reaction just had to be expressed verbally.

‘Merde!

 

The room was silent, the mirrors vacant, and all held with a stillness that pervaded the air like living in the centre of a hurricane.

Sandrine felt it hard to breathe; chokingly so.

She reached for his hand and he could feel her shaking. Her fear felt enormous but somewhere inside remained enough courage for her to nod an agreement.

‘When will we go?’

Her voice expressed this so calmly that it impressed Arden.

‘I think now would be best.’

Standing up, Arden rolled something across the floor that resembled a childhood marble.

To Sandrine’s amazement, a two metre blood-red vertical rip appeared in her kitchen. She couldn’t understand why but she suddenly thought that Picasso would have loved to paint this scene as it was so surreal.

‘We need to step through, my love.’ Arden encouraged and took her hand.

Without hesitation, Sandrine moved forward and followed him with love in her heart.

 

 

 

Eight

 

 

The crowd of people around the hospital bed were all weeping but reluctantly agreed with the doctor to switch off the life support as nothing further could be done.

Alice, Justine and Doobie were there, along with Alain and Sandrine’s parents. It was at very sad and desperate times like this that huge decisions have to be made.

‘We must prepare her now. When it is close to her time I will come and get you.’ The kindly charge nurse told them.

They understood the nurses had their jobs to do and filed out to a waiting room close-by. The atmosphere in that room was incredibly tense.

Doobie began to silently weep.

Alice put her arm around her inconsolable friend.

‘I feel this is my fault!’ she said through quivering lips.

‘Yes,’ Alain enquired on hearing the guilty remark, ‘why’s that?’

Doobie looked up at him, surprised that he’d heard her.

‘I begged her not to drive home and to take a taxi. Being Sandrine, she just laughed and said it was boring having to come back to town tomorrow and would drive carefully on the back roads.’

‘Not carefully enough!’ Alain said curtly. ‘Her over-drinking is the reason she is here!’

‘Leave her alone, Alain. You’re being very unfair because we all loved her as much as you but just couldn’t convince her. It was just a tragic accident.’ Justine scolded him.

The room went awkwardly quiet.

Sandrine’s parents were in a daze and at a complete loss at hearing them argue.

‘You may come back now,’ the nurse informed them on entering the room, ‘please say your goodbyes now as it won’t take very long.’

It was strange to hear the nurse say that because they would stay as long as it took as they were all under no time constraints.

Around Sandrine’s bed, it looked very different now as all the life support machines had been moved out. The only thing left was the monitors that reported her heartbeat and brain activity.

One by one, they took their turn to kiss her goodbye. It was almost unbearable to watch.

The sinus rhythm reported by one monitor began to buzz as Sandrine’s heart began to fail and within a minute it was a flat line completely. Another minute passed agonisingly by until the brain monitor showed the same result.

The doctor came in and checked Sandrine and to confirm with the charge nurse the time of death to be recorded.

‘She is at peace now.’

The doctor said this to no-one in particular and left the room after indicating the charge nurse called Rochelle would finalise everything.

She told everyone there that Sandrine would now be moved down to the morgue for an autopsy as it was a sudden death and the parents would be informed by the Coroner when her body would be released for the funeral.

Sandrine’s girlfriends looked at each other bereft. Was that it? No more fun times with their friend. Sandrine was gone forever? They stood and hugged each other silently. What words could possibly fill the void of their friend’s tragic departure?

Their legs felt like lead as they walked the long corridors of the hospital to a life without their good friend, lover or daughter.

 

‘Can you help me unplug these monitor’s?’

The auxiliary nurse asked this of the more experienced charge nurse Rochelle.

‘Yes, Suzanne, I won’t be a moment. Please begin to prepare the body.’

This was only the second time that Suzanne had to attend the laying out a body before an autopsy. It gave her the creeps but not as much as when the brain monitor suddenly sprang back into life and the data sheets began to print at an alarming rate. By its erratic rate; it looked like it could be printing out France’s budget deficit, item by item. The speed it needed to go to keep up with this sudden activity from Sandrine’s brain stem was astounding and scary.

‘Nurse have you…’ the charge nurse stopped in her tracks as she spied the huge amount of scan paper that was now folding itself untidily onto the hospital floor.

The auxiliary nurse looked petrified and was frozen to the spot.

Rochelle became concerned as she watched the monitor continue to print furiously.

‘Suzanne, go and get the doctor now!’

She didn’t need telling twice and was glad to get away.

‘What is this?’ the doctor asked a little grumpily at being recalled to review a confirmed corpse.

As he entered the room, both nurses just stared at him as they needed a comforting answer.

He walked over to the machine and just casually switched it off.

The printing stopped.

‘Doctor?’ the charge nurse asked.

‘Don’t worry; it sometimes happens after we have pronounced death. We believe it’s just residual neurons firing their last.’

He paused to look at the frightened young nurse.

‘I’ve heard some say that it’s the soul leaving the body, but that’s a lot of nonsense, don’t you think?’

He didn’t wait for a reply; he was far too tired and walked away to snatch a half-hours sleep before the next emergency.

‘What should I do with all this EEG paper?’ Suzanne asked her senior nurse.

‘Put it in the recycle bin and then take the patient down to the morgue.’

The uncertain Suzanne did as she was told.

 

Jean DeGlas did the autopsy and found nothing inconsistent with the many traumas Sandrine’s body had received in the car crash. Her blood alcohol level would show it was almost double the permitted level considered safe to drive.

‘What a waste,’ he exhaled over the young woman.

Turning the body, he saw a small indentation at the base of her skull.

‘Pass me the long nosed tweezers.’

DeGlas said this quietly to his attending assistant called Henri.

Gently easing them into the small break of her skin, he retrieved something about the size of a pencil tip.

‘What do you make of this?’

He placed the foreign object on a piece of tissue to then look questioningly at his assistant.

‘Well, Henri, what do we have?’

Not able to see it clearly due to its small size, Henri placed it under a microscope.

‘Incroyable!’

‘What is it?’

‘I can’t be sure M. DeGlas but it certainly looks electronic.’

‘What!’

‘Look for yourself.’ Henri encouraged.

He did and what he saw made no Earthly sense at all.

 

 

 

###

 


Sandrine's Visitor

  • Author: Mercedes Blanche
  • Published: 2016-11-28 18:35:10
  • Words: 9889
Sandrine's Visitor Sandrine's Visitor