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Publié : 23 février 2010

You have to know why ...

A short story by Aimée Cladière

The following short story was written after having described the painting by Michael Whelan entitled The Whale (1999). There is a reproduction of this painting in Bridges 1res L, ES, S (Nathan) p.41.

You have to know why …

My name is Elena and I’m cold.
I am writing to tell you how cold I am.
I lost them, I mean, my shoes, when I was running away.
But they caught me so quickly. I don’t know how they found me.
I was hidden. It doesn’t matter ; now, I am here. You have to know why.
I’m a journalist, a Russian journalist and I reported news, that was my job. You know, we have strained relationships with the government. They wouldn’t hear the truth. I know Stalin is a dictator. I said it. They locked me up. But I have good news, we are leaving.
I would like to feel the light on my skin. I would like to kiss my baby girl. We are leaving this frightening dark pit where we are locked up, I and other rebels. We love the truth. We can’t live without it. You have to know what is happening in my country.
To escape, we built a wooden ladder. It’s not very strong ; I hope it will be enough. I’m tired ofeverything. I MUST go.
I’m the only woman but I’m the last one to leave. I don’t know why. It’s unfair. I don’t care. I am climbing cautiously with the lantern. I glance for the last time at the bottom of the pit. Fuddy-duddy !! The man ahead of me has just broken a rung. I am close to the summit. I can perceive the light. The sun might shine. I imagine the smell of the woods. Phew !! I nearly fell because of this stupid broken rung. I am so high now ; I think I have been climbing for hours.
Am I crazy ?...
A shiver seizes me. I’m really scared of the dark. I can’t climb anymore. I’m tired... so tired.
There is nothing here : just me, alone with my fear.
My legs are so heavy. I can’t feel my arms.
My hands are shaking.
Where are they ??
I can’t see...
I can’t.
Sorry.

You won’t know.

Aimée Cladière. 1L1

Voir en ligne : The Whale, by Michael Whelan