Happy mid-week, and happy #WritingWednesday, everybody! Hope everyone’s up for a little sharing time. And if you’re not, then I’m sorry, but you have no choice if you’re reading this. I’m probably gonna be writing a little and stuffing myself with Saltines because I love Saltines. I could probably live off of them!
For today’s #WritingWednesday, I’m sharing the next bit of AFYCSO’s “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide” chapter. This is right where I left off last week, but it’s not everything I’ve written since then. I decided to cut it off where I did just so I don’t give the chapter away. With this, I have around 2.1K words, which thankfully means I’m well on my way to finishing this chapter!
Hope you guys enjoy, and see you next week for another excerpt! xx
“1907?!?!!” Freddie exclaims in hushed tones. “How the hell is it two hundred years in the past when it was 2017 mere seconds ago?”
“Because it just is? If you don’t believe me, why don’t you ask someone what year it is? Or wait—newspaper! Look at the date on today’s paper!”
Finding it the safest suggestion Élodie’s given him so far, Freddie walks over to the newsstand. He scours the selection, noticing the vast difference of the material compared to his time. There’s no news on terror attacks, Président Hollande, Trump, climate change… The global crisis as Freddie Miller knows it doesn’t exist anymore because it’s—
“Le dix-sept juin, 1907,” Freddie whispers, staring at the date on the day’s issue of Le Fiagro. “Exactly a hundred ten years in the past!” (June 27)
As Freddie continues perusing the stand its owner suspiciously keeps an eye on him. The man, a middle-aged brunet with deep set jade eyes, sticks his nose in the air after carefully examining his attire. His eyes meet Freddie’s for a brief second, and he gasps.
“Ça va?” Freddie concerningly asks. “Quel est le problème?” (Are you okay? What’s wrong?)
“Rien,” the man grunts. “Mais toi…tu ressembles à Frédéric Molyneux. C’est très bizarre parce que tu ressembles à lui exactement!” (Nothing. But you…you look like ___. It’s so strange because you look exactly like him)
Freddie scrunches his brows in confusion, thinking the man must be mistaken. He doesn’t know anyone named Frederic Molyneux. He knows a Frederick—himself—and Élodie’s last name is Molyneux. But together? He can’t seem to grasp this person he mentioned.
“Excusez-moi… Qui est Frédéric Molyneux?” Freddie wonders. “Je ne sais pas le nom.” (Excuse me. Who’s _____. I don’t know the name.)
The man’s eyes widen, shocked, and his jaw drops. Freddie turns back, hoping Élodie can explain the man’s behavior, but she isn’t there. He looks around, frantically searching for Élodie so she can take him away from the man who’s just staring at him like he’s crazy, but she’s nowhere to be seen.
“Fuck! Where are you?” Freddie spits, holding onto the vinyl tighter for fear someone will just snatch it out of his hands.
Frustrated, Freddie leaves the newsstand and stomps into the crowd. Everyone’s heads turn for the peculiarly dressed teen, who for some reason, is traveling by himself—everyone else is accompanied by a loved one or servant. Despite the ogling, he carries on without so much as a nod of acknowledgement.
Freddie travels through the streets, thinking he can just board the métro back to the heart of Paris, then remembers they don’t exist yet because it’s 1907, not 2017.
“Think, Freddie. THINK!” he coaches himself. “Think about how you travelled back in time—no. Why? Wait, no—both! Ugh, what’s going on? One minute you were in Moulin Rouge in 2017, and now you’re at the exact same place, but two hundred ten years to the very day in the past! And who’s that Frédéric Molyneux guy the newsstand dude was talking about?”
“He’s you,” a familiar voice responds from seemingly out of nowhere. “Frédéric Molyneux, c’est toi.” (It’s you)
Freddie swiftly turns to see Élodie dressed in the traditional 20th Century European attire, and in the highest fashion like the other fine ladies strutting around the streets. She chuckles and twirls around, ending in a low curtsy.
“I-I’m confused,” Freddie voices. “How did y—”
“A girl never exposes her secrets, Freddie Miller—Molyneux. I’ll explain in the car. Follow me.”
“Y-you have a car? Is that why you left me? Did you run off to steal one o—”
Élodie grabs Freddie and yanks him away as a man with a spyglass clocks them. His steely blue eyes cut through Freddie and Élodie like a scalpel dissecting a pig, picking out every organ, artery, and vein in sight. He smirks at Freddie, then vanishes into the crowd.
“That’s not good,” Élodie grumbles as she snakes her way through the people walking at a speed too sluggish for her liking.
“What?” Freddie questions. “Do you know that guy? More importantly, do you know how we got here?”
“Can you be patient for like, one sec? I’ll tell you part of what I know in the car.”
“Can you also tell me who you are and what significance this Frédéric Molyneux holds?”
“WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP AND STOP ASKING QUESTIONS?” Élodie snaps. “We’re already threatening ourselves by conversing in English. Wait until we’re safely out of Pigalle, preferably your place.”
“But I’m Americ—”
Freddie leans back, frightened that if he asks one more question, Élodie will explode from the plethora of thoughts swimming through his mind. He allows her to continue leading him to the car she spoke of—if there even is a car.
He believes she’s bluffing, that there’s no car and this is a huge joke he’s foolishly witnessing. But as the pair walk through the winding streets, the scenario trickles into reality. Everyone in the arrondissement is dressed and decorated like it’s the early 1900s. Brick buildings, tiny Renaults, the lack of faces glued to phones… it’s all too real for the blond boy to deny.
They walk until reaching the edge of Pigalle, the road separating them from Montmartre. Élodie and Freddie take a moment to catch their breaths, resting under a tree and thankful to be out of the scorching sun’s rays. Out of nowhere, Élodie hands Freddie a bottled water. He greedily drinks it dry, not even stopping for a breather. Élodie laughs and shakes her head at her parched comrade.
“At least you didn’t lose the vinyl,” she notes, eyeing it lying between them on the grass. “We’d be in so much trouble if you had dropped it.”
“Which reminds me. You haven’t told me ANYTHING yet,” Freddie points out. He scoots back and rests against the tree, then turns to Élodie. “SPILL! I deserve to know what’s happening and why I’m here. I deserve to at least know who you are. Just tell me something so I don’t wreck myself from insanity.”
Élodie sighs and crosses her arms over her chest. She fights with herself about what to reveal as she stares into the distance, lost in her thoughts. A tinge of copper highlights her russet irises as light from the sun refracts from them. Freddie watches as they change from russet to amber.
“Your eyes just changed colors. Does it always doe that under light or what?”
“It does that a lot,” she answers without a blink. “Even when it’s cloudy and grey, it can change colors. It’s normal for me.”
“Huh. So will you tell me something, or are we gonna find that car now?”
“No need. It should be here in three…two…one…”
On cue, a cherry red Renault AG1 pulls up from nowhere. Freddie rises and rubs his eyes, thinking it’s magic, but the car is right there in all its metallic glory. He’s so stunned by the vehicle’s sudden appearance, he can’t move a muscle.
“You see one thing, and you’re impressed!” Élodie scoffs. “Honestly, Freddie! We need to get moving!”
Élodie grabs the vinyl and Freddie, dragging him along for the third time to the vehicle. There’s nobody occupying the driver’s seat, which puzzles Freddie. Élodie climbs in without question, sliding into the driver’s side and pats the seat beside her. Hesitantly, Freddie doesn’t hop in.
“We need to get you out of those clothes so you blend in, Freddie. C’mon! If they know you’re here, they can easily spot you solely on your 21st Century ensemble.”
“But that car…i-it just came out of nowhere!” Freddie protests. “It could be haunted.”
“Nonsense! If it were haunted, I wouldn’t be calmly sitting in it. Besides, it hasn’t done anything crazy yet. Trust me, Freddie. I dragged you into this time period; you need me to return home. Now get in the damn car!”
Freddie knows Élodie is right. He does need her if he ever wants to see 2017 ever again. Defeated, he trudges over, still wary about the Renault’s reliability. He buckles himself in, making sure it’s tight enough he won’t fall out of an accident happens or the car should act up.
“You done?” Élodie asks, placing the vinyl on his lap. “It’s a super short drive. You’ll be fine.”
“Yes! I promise it is, and I promise I’ll tell you everything you want to know when we’re at your house.”
“Like why I have your last name here?”
“Miller isn’t exactly the most French sounding surname.”
“Right. Well, let’s get going. Allons-y.” (Let’s go)
Élodie instantly turns on the ignition, revving the Renault into life. Seconds later, she zooms down the road, heading into the Parisian countryside.
The road ahead blurs into an earthly canvas filled with blues, greens, browns, and the occasional yellow from the sun while Élodie takes Freddie out of city boundaries, to the country. The farther they travel, the less buildings they see. Instead, historic architecture is replaced by the open road and rolling green hills, a stark contrast from the pair’s previous location.
Élodie makes a right at a fork in the road, and suddenly a grand château is visible in the near distance. Freddie shoots up in his seat, eager for a better view of the house, which grow closer and closer with each kilometer.
For a car whose top speed is 40 km/hr, the AG1 flies down the road at a greater speed. To Freddie, the car appears souped up. To Élodie, it drives like a dream. The joy on her face as they approach the château radiates.
“Oh. My. God.” Freddie breathes. “I live here?”
“Yup. Bienvenu Chez Molyneux.” (Welcome to the Molyneux house)
Larger than the average French manor, chez Molyneux makes the tiny patch of land Élodie and Freddie is parked appear like a speck of stardust floating through space, so minuscule in its company. Made of the usual brick and stucco, the estate-like château hovers above the usual two-story with an additional floor, and stretches the length of a modest medieval castle. An oddity in the city, château Molyneux seems aptly suited for what Freddie would classify “the middle of nowhere.”
The pair size up the building, up until the very height of the roof, and exhale in wonderment of the structure.
“How am I this well endowed two hundred year in the past?” Freddie wonders without taking his eyes off the château. “Who are my parents?”
“You’re about to find out,” Élodie teases, shooting him a grin. “But I doubt your dad’s home. He’s a busy guy—you can never stay home for too long when you’re in his position.”
“What about my mom?”
Élodie takes one look at Freddie, then grabs the vinyl and exits the vehicle. For a few seconds, he stares at the vacant seat she occupied just moments ago, attempting to decipher the silence. A pang of sorrow hits as the thought of not having a mother anymore crosses his mind, and he bolts out of the AG1 to catch up to Élodie. She doesn’t even look at him, just pushes the door open without a knock.