DISEQUILIBRIUMS The individuals. Chapter 32

Thursday 22 December 2016

Time: 10:00 pm


Photo by Mauricio Lobos

So, it seems that Erik has finished telling his story.

I’ve not been able to look at Sofia throughout the meal. I sat down next to her so that I wouldn’t have to do so. Neither did she look at me. I still don’t know why the episode in the kitchen happened. I keep asking myself why. If she had slapped me after the kiss, I would feel more at ease, but she didn’t.

For me, it was somewhat uncontrollable. Deep down, I think she was right: it’s all that tension from before. For a moment, I thought that it could be the end. And here I am, with her sitting next to me. Moreover, she tells me that she is pleased that I am her friend. I thought that it would be the last thing that I would do before the world exploded. And I did it. I’ve felt quite ashamed of myself since that moment, but she hadn’t rejected me in the beginning. I felt her response. I felt it a lot.

“David.” I look at Elsa sitting opposite me, moving her right hand from side to side to get my attention. “David, where are you?”

I open my eyes wide. I look first at her and then around the table at the others, ending at Sofia.

“Sorry.” I look at Elsa again. “I was lost in my own thoughts.”

They all laugh… all except Sofia.

We get up to leave the table. Samuel cleans it with a cleaning cloth and in a matter of seconds, we are again at our laptops and tablets at the table.

I put the situation with Sofia out of my mind. I have to be strong and be serious. We have a difficult problem on our hands, which requires the group to work as a unit.

“I think I owe you all an explanation,” Samuel remarks.

“Before you say anything, Samuel,” Sofia sits upright and, with her hands crossed, says: “It’s clear that someone has hacked into our videoconferencing conversation earlier.”

Well, it’s true. With all the commotion with the noise, the sentence and Samuel’s situation, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would be the first conclusion we would reach. I don’t know how they did it, but there’s someone else out there.

“Has anyone here given our video link details to anyone?” Sofia interrogates us.

Without meaning to do so, we all turn to look at Samuel.

“No, no and no,” Samuel responded nervous, feeling under attack. “Stop looking at me. I was here with you and I didn’t start the session.”

What a cheek! Now the blame is going to fall on Elsa and me. I’m not even bothering to respond to this. It will not change a thing.

“I’ve always done it,” Elsa says, “and I’ve never had a problem like this.”

I get up quickly and in two steps, I reach the Wi-Fi connection router and turn towards them. They’re all looking at me. With my right hand, so that they can all see, I pull the switch on the router and all the little lights on the device disappear.

“Now, we have no spies,” I say as I sit down again. “Everyone has to connect to the Internet using their own mobile data.”

They will probably accuse me of behaving like a jerk, but I don’t care. I’m not prepared to be accused in my own home of having spies.

“Someone’s observing us,” Sofia says again. “This has changed things in the game.”

“Of course,” Elsa continues, “someone doesn’t want us to continue what we’ve started.”

“Well, in my case,” says Erik, “they’ve succeeded in doing the opposite. Now, I’m really interested in continuing.” He turns towards Sofia and takes her hand. I can feel my stomach turning. “Before I was interrupted, I wanted to tell you the last message that the Disequilibriums Group received from Sofia’s father: ‘I am convinced that the real Disequilibrium is coming soon to this city. I am going to travel to fix it. Wish me luck’.”

Sofia’s face crumbles. I think that we are all coming to the same conclusion.

Erik remains quiet for a moment as he looks down at their clasped hands. For a minute, I think it’s a message for me. Sofia does nothing. Erik continues speaking without looking away from their hands.

“After that message, they sent him several, but they received no answer. We don’t know anything more.” Sofia releases Erik’s hand.

At that moment, if there were electricity running through the group when we linked hands with each other, we could have lit a bulb. We look at each other and at Samuel, hair well-groomed again, with whom I am smiling. At this precise moment, we nod and say ‘Yes!’ to each other. We are united. The thought that someone else is trying to stop us is precisely what is motivating us to carry on.

“I believe that, without saying anything to each other, we’ve all combined our information and we believe Nicola all the more.”

Nobody says anything, but we all nod. Inadvertently, I glance at Sofia and at her lips. I can’t forget the kiss. I am distracted just by her presence. But I have to be serious. I cannot put myself in the middle of a couple’s relationship, and moreover, they are my friends… if not, I’d be thinking of her everyday.

“Each one has a mission.” Erik’s voice brings me back to reality. “Remember what Nicola told us: ‘Your job is to solve the problem and mine is to watch… the rest I will tell you when you return’. When he said that, I thought that this guy is even crazier than I first thought…” He stops for a moment and then continues, “but now I am convinced that he knows more than he has told us.”

I recall that Nicola’s words left us astonished that day, but today we remember it. He has become part of the mission. We are ready. We are going to jump. The only thing missing is the music.

“Still,” Samuel starts speaking, but waits until we all look at him, “we still have to sort out the music.”

What’s happening here? Can Samuel read my thoughts? Otherwise, we’re all thinking the same thing, but he’s the first who dares to mention it.

“According to what he said,” Elsa reads from her little note book that she’s put on the table, “we have to go to the Eastern Gate and, just as the sun is rising, we have to say the words that he has written. Then we have to go to the intersection of the Cardus and the Decumanus just as the light of the dawn…”

“At that moment,” Erik continues, “if the music to open the portal is played, it will open and we’ll be able to enter….”

Like in a chain game, I then take up the story, “From there, our objective is to find the answers and the reasons why the balance has been broken and to try to fix it…”

“Because,” Sofia continues and makes us all smile, “according to what he’s insisted on again, we cannot fix it with only the information we have at present.”

We look at each other again in silence. Outside, in the street, the weather has begun to change. The black clouds from before are releasing all the water they held. The sound of the rain on the window and the cold outside make us enjoy being indoors together.

“OK, Samuel,” Sofia makes me jump. “Explain yourself.”

Now, he’s the centre of attention. As the heating is on high in the apartment, he’s rolled up his sleeves and I am drawn to the tattoo on his left forearm near his elbow. I can’t quite make it out, but it seems to be a geometric figure. He has noticed me looking at it and lowers his sleeve.

“Approximately a year ago,” he starts speaking, as he looks for something on his tablet, “I found something on the Internet which I didn’t attach any importance to, but then curiosity got me the better of me.”

He stops and looks at Sofia.

“Your father’s name appeared.”

“Why?” she asks, looking fixedly at him.

Samuel shifts his position on the seat. He leaves his tablet on the table and is rubbing his hands.

“I frequently investigate everyone on the Internet and, when I entered your name, your father’s name popped up.”

What!!! If I were to speak for everyone in the room, I would say that another bolt exploded on us. This time, it’s invisible! This guy was spying on us?

“What?” Elsa asks, with a change in her voice. “Are you saying that you were investigating all of us?”

All eyes are fixed on him, without any pity. All the tension and now all the accumulated anger are now directed at one person. I want to…

“Yes,” Samuel continues in a more diplomatic tone of voice. “I normally put the names of people I know on the Internet and follow the trace…” He stops for a moment and looks at all of us. “Have you never done this before?”

Yes, I have to remain quiet as I’ve done it. I see the others lowering their heads and looking down at the table.

“So,” Samuel continues looking up, “I see that I can continue.”

We watch him again.

“When I typed in Augustus Canizzaro in the search engine, after several searches, I came across the Disequilibriums. To register, they required more details than normal and one of the requirements was that you have to be of legal age. As always, I completed the form putting in the details necessary to comply with what they had asked.”

Outside, it’s raining more heavily. Samuel has to speak up because the noise on the window is getting louder.

“Something happened. I don’t know if they investigated my IP or if it was some ‘electronic contradiction’, as I call it when you introduce two different details of your profile from the same IP. But the fact is that they detected an inconsistency. What struck me as strange was that a welcome message appeared… but with limited access.”

“What do you mean ‘limited access’?” Sofia asks.

“I don’t know.” Samuel responds. “The only thing that I could see was that people were telling stories about what had occurred in the cities and how they had fixed it.” I could never see the messages from the ‘organiser’ of the group. I knew that it was your father, but the system did not allow me to see anything of his.”

“And,” Erik intervenes, “How did you know about my parents?”

“That,” Samuel scratches his head. “That was outside Disequilibriums.” I had put in a series of search alerts on the Internet and, when one of the key words appeared, I would get a message…”

Suddenly he stops. He blushes and, looking at Sofia, he continues:

“When I typed in the Canizzaro name, I began to detect, there were emails for over a year addressed to him, asking him where he was. There were many. But what surprised me was that all of them came from the same IP address in Sweden.”

Erik sits upright at the table and stares at Samuel. His sleeves are rolled up and the muscles in his arm are tensing up by the minute. Samuel looks at him and continues:

“And the rest is history. Once Erik joined our class this year, I investigated him on the Internet and, through his surname, I arrived at the IP his parents used in Sweden. This is the last message they sent your father, Sofia.”

He turns his tablet round so that we can all see and read:

You are not alone Augustus. We are going to your city to live and we will help you.


WriterGlen Lapson © 2016

English translator: Rose Cartledge

PublisherFundacion ECUUP


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