I walked on the dimly lit paved road of one of the parisian subhurb area, alone with the sound of my violin case's handle hitting against the case itself.
But the silence was cut short when I heard loud steps behind me, and when you are a young woman walking alone on the streets at night, the only emotion you feel is pure fear.
I still had five minutes to go before making it home, and I started to walk at a much faster pace, hoping I was just being paranoid.
However, the stranger's step followed my pace and even turned right just like me, following me in another street.
I didn't know what to do, I began panicking and my breathing became shallow.
The only thing I could think about was to run. And run is what I did. As did the stranger.
My white violin case was heavy on my back, dangling right and left, slowing me down. He was so close to me now that I could hear his ragged breaths, making me shiver in disgust.
I was almost home now, but I had to cross the street and I prayed that there wouldnt be cars or I would be done for. He would catch me, and I didn't dare think of what he would do to me if it happened.
I was exhausted, my body not keeping up with the chase. I was beginning to slow down, and I willed my body to carry on.
I finally reached the crossroad, the traffic lights out of order.
I didn't stop, I couldn't. I barely even looked at the road to see if there was traffic, all I could think about was to save myself from the man chasing me.
All of the sudden, I saw a small light advancing toward me and then there was pain, the most intense suffering I had ever experienced. My left arm was in excruciating pain and all I had been able to see before passing out was blood.
I woke up drenched by sweat and breathing heavily, clutching my left arm like my life depended on it.
I could see pink jagged scars marring the snow white flesh, mocking me, reminding me of the thing I had lost, the thing I had loved the most in my whole life.
My dream had been shattered.
My entire life ruined.
I would never be able to play the violin again.
And I had no tears left to shed.
I stayed in bed, looking at the ceiling and lost in my thoughts.
It had already been eight months since the accident and I still dreamed about it every night.
I didn't have it to heart to do anything anymore.
But I had to get up, as today was my first day of class.
My mother had enrolled me at La Sorbonne Université in humanities, she had done it in my stead because, I quote: "you have to do something with your life."
However, my life had stopped on the third of february 2020.
Now I was just an empty shell, wandering in a never ending cycle, eating and sleeping, waiting for time to pass.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror, disgusted at what I saw.
My once shiny ginger hair were now dull, reaching my lower back and definitely in need of a cut. My blue eyes framed by dark circles were lifeless, every spark of life they once had had deserted them.
I couldn't even recognize myself.
I decided to at least put on some makeup, because I truly looked like a sight for sore eyes.
We were at the beginning of September, it was still hot outside and my tiny chambre de bonne under the roof was piping hot.
I still settled for long sleeves to hide my scars, hiding them away from prying eyes.
After eating jam on a slice of baguette, I grabbed my totebag and made my way out.
I lived on the seventh floor of an haussmannian building, without elevator.
It was the cheapest I had found in one of the more expensive city of the world, Paris.
It was small, shady, but it was home.
I walked into the streets bustling with people, the sun high in the sky, already exhausted by the surronding agitation.
The métro halls smelled of old rotten piss and the métro was crowded, people reaking of perspiration glued to me.
Had they never heard of deodorant ?
I had never felt so relieved taking in fresh air again, trust me.
The campus of La Sorbonne was near the entrance of the metro.
It was a typical french building built in between the 17th and 19th centuries, it was magnificent. And the interior was even more so.
The entrance gave way to a huge courtyard, in which resided a glorious Chapel framed by two statues. All of the courtyard was surronded by archs, beautiful paintings adorning the walls.
Students were hustling about, some new taking in the exquiste intrecacies of the building and some older ones just vacing to their occupations and reunating with friends.
I had my first english litterature class in Amphithéâtre Richelieu but the campus was so massive I got lost.
I asked my way to what appeared to be an older student and she was kind enough to take me there directly, I thanked her for her much needed help.
The amphithéâtre was as spectacular as the courtyard. It was entirely made of dark wood, even the desks, with a balcony and a gigantic Renaissance painting above the board.
It was already crowded with students, some chatting, trying to make some friends.
They were all pretty younger than me by two or three years, too young to make friends with. And I didn't need friends.
I sat on the first row of the balcony, away from the platform and the mass of students, having a perfect view of the entire amphithéâtre.
Just as the clock above the board strucked ten, the doors of the amphithéâtre opened, revealing a massive man in a suit.
To everyone's surprise, he turned around and locked the door. He then dropped his leather snatchel on his chair and turned to face us, his hand resting on the desk.
He spoke, his deep voice strong.
"I am your english litterature teacher for this year, Professor Ezekiel Barnes.
And let me make it clear, I despise tardiness. Any student who does not make it on time for my lesson will not be accepted in class."
Students whispered among themselves.
"I also ask for silence, you are not here to chat but to learn. If you find me too harsh then I ask you to leave right now, let's not waste any time. The use of english is mandatory from the moment you step foot in this classroom and until you leave it.
No french shall be heard."
Looks of confusion appeared on the student's faces, his english accent overly pronounced and words much too difficult for their english level.
However, I understood him, thanks to the numerous travels I had done in the past, going from one masterclass to another. I had learned english to an extent I could almost speak it as if it was my native language. Save from my french accent.
"Do you have any question about the course before we begin ?" the teacher asked.
A few students raised their hands, mostly of the female gender. He allowed a small girl to speak with a swish of his hand. She was petite, with blonde hair and tanned skin. Her nasal voice asked in a really pitiful accent "How... old are you ?"
Was she crazy ? Did she have a death wish?Everyone's attention was focused on the teacher, waiting for his reaction. His thick dark brows furrowed, he looked pissed. Like really really pissed.
"I shall tell you my age Miss, if you can tell me the relevance of your question."
She kept quiet, shifting in her seat.
"Well, does someone else want to ask another stupid question about my humble self ? Or are your studies that irrelevant to you ?" His tone was harsh, unforgiving.
Nobody dared emit a sound.
"Well then, let's get down to business. We will begin by the romantic age and study the way authors..."
The teacher began the lesson, it was quite interesting in fact. He was a skilled teacher. Not boring at all.
I heard two girls behind me whispering to each other about "how hot" the teacher was.
Hot was not an adjective I would have used to describe him. Charimatic perhaps would have suited him best.
He was not handsome per say, not to beauty standards at least.
I was quite far away but from what I was able to see, his crooked nose had been broken and thick dark brows framed his deep set eyes.
Dark rimmed glasses sat on his nose, accuentating his features.
There was a light stumble on his strong jaw, matching with the almost black, dark brown of his hair. He was tall, built like a wall, and it wouldn't have surprised me if he worked out a lot.
He could have been attractive if it hadn't been for his nasty personality. A shame, truly.
The class came to an end, and he gave us an assignement for the next week.
"The subject of this assignement is Dreams. It can be any kind of dream you may have, professional or personal. It's a creative writing and must be at least three pages.
Any work not handed in by the deadline will result in a zero.
You are dismissed. See you next week."
Other students began packing their belongings in their bag while I stayed glued to my chair.
Dreams, what a joke.
Dreams were meaningless.
And I had promised myself that I would never dream again.
I hoped you liked it!
This first chapter is kind of dark but it gets lighter in the next ones, I promise!
English is not my native language, don't hesitate to tell me if I made mistakes!
I'll add a traduction of the words I write in french at the end of every chapter!
Chambre de bonne: maid's room
Baguette: French bread