Chapter 29: Third Part / Chapter 9

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 48


Michel and Nicole got into the car, fastened their seat belts. In the beginning, he went to the nearest gas station, paying with his credit card. Then they drove along the highway outside the city for a very long time. Nicole pressed the button and opened the glass of the door. The wind began to blow into her ears at a rather hot temperature, and she felt herself overside like in an aeroplane. They drove for about fifty minutes.

They stopped in the middle of some road, having bought some cakes and a bottle of soda in a small trailer. They didn’t eat in the car, saved food before the cemetery, and set off further along the road. Nicole directed to Michel into the side of the road towards the concrete grave, where she had stopped on a motorcycle.

When they arrived at the cemetery, Gratte was released from under the belt, closed the glass and opened the door. Nicole ate a cake; Michel ate some kind of sandwich, drinking part of the soda. Getting out of the car, she ran toward the same grave. She had no flower or anything else, she just wanted Michel to look.

Nicole explained that the resting Alain Renard was her classmate, and worked with her in the same company. They used to love each other very much, maybe they could be got married, and they have known each other since the fifth grade of high school. Michel said:

“Yes, I understand you, Nicole. I also buried my wife, whom I loved very much.”

“By the way, my red rose is still here. I have been here before, but, unfortunately, not on the day of his funeral. I had a lot of work.”

Gratte thought that Michel should by no means find out who his adoptive father is and what they are famous for. She also suggested that Schneinga didn’t need to be aware that she didn’t actually work, but was sitting in the police station in the case of broken tires of an SUV.

It does not matter in this context. He’s not going to tell her about a hoax racing company, too.

Nicole walked and examined the other graves. Suddenly, she felt very happy in the cemetery. The fact is that in childhood, Margeaux and Bernarda often took Nicole to the cemetery of Abraham, the father of Margaux herself. She was more likely at Abraham’s grave than in restaurants, and now the woman felt that she liked the atmosphere of the cemetery.

She saw several namesakes of her other classmates if they knew them, or people from online forums. On one tombstone was written Douks, it seems that a person with this name went to the forum of large-scale models. Grais was written on the other, the initial syllable was similar to her last name and almost also read (the last ‘s’ is not pronounced according to the rules of French).

On the third tombstone that attracted her, Maunedaux was engraved. This is the name of that child from the toxicology clinic, who called her a whore and suggested pulling down her bra. In the fourth, she saw the Chinese name Yeng San Khan. Nicole thought about her beloved white fish, which, as a rule, is served in Chinese restaurants and imbued with great respect for a person of Chinese nationality buried in France.

As far as she heard, people are only cremated, but not buried in China. It followed that he was born in 1915 and died in 2004, from the dating of his life on the grave. Nicole, of course, went around many graves. The youngest buried Alain Renard, who was only twenty-five. The oldest lived 102 years, who was born in 1902.

Nicole went to some abandoned white rag, more like a small bed-sheet. There was some text in French on it, but she didn’t know it. Taking the material, Gratte saw the text, turned upside down. Spit and spin, trying to read. It turned out that the prayer “Forgiveness of all sins” was on the bed-sheet.

Gratte laid a bed-sheet on one of the tombstones. The surname of this man was unfamiliar to her, she didn’t meet such a surname. Nicole thought that this would certainly contribute to her personal luck.

“Why are you watching someone else’s graves?” Michel asked, surprised at her curiosity.

“I see a lot of namesakes that I knew at school, on the Internet.”

“Ha! Namesakes. I was at a memorial in France, so the second name Schneiga, I also met there. I don’t know any military members of my family. There are millions of people in Paris.”

“You don’t understand, Michel. I feel inner harmony when I see namesakes. I know very well that there are millions of people with the same surname in the city.”

“Look, Nicole, the green lizard,” Michel noticed the lizard, which crawled into one hole in the ground and crawled out from another. Gratte’s look froze. The head of a lizard peeking out of a mink, she wanted to go out. Nicole stood motionless for about three minutes, maybe five, and the head of the lizard looked out.

She thought about the guard who walked in Francesco’s house from corner to corner, and he suddenly stopped. Gratte still remembers how she looked at him in the back of his neck, and wanted to strangle him, but didn’t. She had just understood that this idiot had been hired by Ricardo. The guard kept her in the house not because he wanted to.

Nicole moved her head a little. The lizard turned its head and again went inside its mink, from which she wanted to exit. Michel also pointed to three anthills.

* * *

After the trip, Nicole returned to Michel’s flat. She was still hired as his servant, this is the only place of her work, although a little strange. Michel went to the editorial office of Deutsch in Frankreich to find out how things are going in the newspaper for German immigrants in France.

In the old fashioned way, Nicole continued to listen to his calls to the answering machine. Alicia Schneiga won’t return, Michel has no other siblings in France. He seems to have arrived in Paris for privacy. Blood didn’t need calls, but she wanted to know if she could completely trust Michel, or if he was a swindler.

Non-existent races, fake sports racing company. But Nicole simply doesn’t have a better man and is unlikely to get to know someone else in the near future.

Pulling the compact cassette from the answering machine, and inserting it into his music centre, she listened to some call in German from a woman of thirty-five to forty. The subject of the message was like a bad excuse of why she didn’t want to respond to his compliments:

“Michel, I know you won’t like it. You were always in love with me, showed signs of attention, and tried to care about me. I really appreciate it, though, you’re a good person. But I can’t leave Germany and go to France. I don’t know French, I’m not interested in Paris, and even more so, I don’t want to learn France at all. My son went to the first grade not so long ago, and he will receive education in German. But you can come to me at any time.”

The other day, Gratte went to her mother and decided to talk about her plans. She didn’t hope for understanding, especially since her mother almost never supports her.

“I quit the Banque de Morales,” Nicole said calmly.

“How?” Margeaux’s short answer was like the beginning of another bickering and reading morality.

“After they killed my classmate Alain Renard, I don’t understand what I’m doing there. But I decided to start my own business,” Nicole said.

“Where did you get business experience?”

“After the bank. But I understood that I have ideas that can never be realized if I stayed there.”

“I myself worked in a bank for more than thirty years,” Margeaux began to recall. Nicole thought, maybe she will still remember how she was taught to shoot with a pistol, and how cool it was from the communist France point of view? A job in one place has always been an indicator of reliability and solidity for people of the past, but times have changed.

“Why didn’t you stay at the bank?” Margeaux asked, and it was immediately clear that she was blaming her for this.

“Because I was an employee of the Economic Risk Assessment Department, and made decisions on granting loans to certain businessmen.

But I understood that I wasn’t interested in accounting, financial reports. I’ve seen enough stores with weird warehouses, with sellers who don’t know what is lying under their noses, and I want to do process optimization of business. Help businessmen sell better, provide better services, and don’t decide how solid they are at the request of such ‘pious’ people.”

“Where will you find the money for your own business?”

“I met one entrepreneur, both professionally and personally. I’m still wondering how it will go. Perhaps we’ll go to Germany; he has a whole holding there that brings big profits, but here is only a small newspaper.”

“And how old is he?”

“Fifty five years old.”

“You’re kidding! Fifty-five and twenty-five—he suits you as a father!”

“I don’t have a father, I never knew him, and I probably won’t recognize him, so shut up,” Nicole said rather rudely, but surely. Sometimes a mom just wants to hear such answers.

Honestly, she still didn’t fully believe Michel. And even if Nicole believes, she still won’t tell him everything. Most likely, he won’t even know about half of those secrets that Alain knew about. At night, she left her mother’s flat, closing the door to the key. She was sleeping and didn’t notice.

She went to the rented flat of a dead classmate, and she had an old bunch of keys. If she is lucky, and Blood hasn’t yet changed the lock, she’ll take away some of the old things: dictionaries, notebooks. Of course, they are her own. She’s lucky. Pierre seemed to have a foster son, and the lock hadn’t yet been changed for some reason. Maybe he thought that she’s a naïve fool who would go to him a second time?

Nicole was doubly lucky, and Pierre wasn’t at home. One wonders: is she the only one who knows about this gift, or are other bank employees regularly visiting here? Gratte decided not to turn on the light, illuminating everything with a cell phone screen. Apparently, there were no outsiders in the flat, there was no characteristic mess inside the flat.

She tried not to think about mysticism, capturing her dictionaries and notebooks, which she planned to carry away under her arm. Now Nicole knew who and why murdered Alain. Before going to bed, she wrote the full name ‘Francesco Ricardo’ when Gratte couldn’t immediately fall asleep. She even thought: “If Alain wants to know me and look for some personal diaries, I let him still read my notebooks.”

So he found out the facts about her. Most likely he made inquiries to Francesco Ricardo, declared himself, and then he shot him because he couldn’t forgive his rejection from Nicole’s side. Nicole took to her side everything she wanted. She tore this bloody page from her notebook. Nicole never kept diaries, and most likely she won’t. Her secrets of third parties are not a concern. She left some note: ‘This is for Pierre’.

Submitted: January 30, 2020

© Copyright 2020 RomanBoukreev. All rights reserved.


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