Waking of a man


Receiving a call in the middle of the night is never a good sign. It hardly can be your banker or a tv channel willing to announce you that you won 10 000€. Especially when the number is masked. So, as I was answering, I expected the worst: the police, a distant relative informing me that a close one had died, my mother-in-law. The truth is, I was expecting anything, but to hear a hoarse and worrying breathing.

“Hello? I can’t hear you… Hello?”

It’s a principle for me to never stay more than three seconds on the phone if I smell that it’s an umpteenth cold calling for windows. However, this evening, I received this call on my work phone, which transfers calls from my office when I’m not there. In other words, this person wasn’t trying to call Mrs Lafont, but Doctor Lafont.

“Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?”

I’m about to end the call: I’m freezing, in dressing gown outside on the balcony, but I didn’t want to wake my husband up. So, as I move the phone away from my ear, I finally get an answer, or rather something close to it:


Finally hearing my interlocutor, I detect that in his voice are blended fear, sadness, and an inch of determination with a morbid tone.

“Are you… the Dr. Lafont? he say haltingly.
- Yes that’s-
- Well, I’m stupid, of course you are.”, he cuts me off.

Not expecting such an answer, I open my mouth to try to stutter a question, but he doesn’t even let me the time to make a single sound:

“So, were you feeling good? Comfortably sat home on your sofa or your bed, reading or sleeping? Are you really able to do it, to go home on the evening, to say hello to your family, forgetting what you do during the day? Forgetting those tens of files, that you processed? All those persons, not less human than you are, that you sentence each day? If that’s the case, if you were forgetting, then I’m happy. This evening I’m here to remind you that we exist. That we’re not just numbers on a piece of paper or a data file. We exist and we have feelings too. And even names, isn’t that crazy? I am Pierre Gombert. Well, it’s gonna be easier for if I tell you that my name is Remi Pergotreb, right? And yeah, you were right on your damn file: I can know everything that’s written on each document concerning me. And this line that you wrote this morning was also correct: no, a pseudonym doesn’t get around the problem. I know everything that talks about me, even if my name isn’t on it. Well, nobody can blame you for taking this long to understand, you just discovered me.”

He gives me a moment of silence, as if to let me process all the information: indeed, I remember his name. It’s one of the humanoids called “abnormals” whose files pass every day at the AIMB. It’s my job to read those, several times, and to decide the fate of every one of them. That’s true, sometimes, we sentence some to an unenviable future. That’s true, it often happens that the order is given to eliminate one or two, from time to time. My mind makes the connection by itself, and I understand immediately the way he obtained my number, and the reason for his call.

“Then, I suppose you understand the situation? Obviously, you’re a smart woman, or they would’ve never hired you. However, seriously, leaving a little note “In case of emergency concerning this individual, call this number:” while knowing my abnormality? They should fire you. Well, it’s not mine to decide, of course… And I wouldn’t be able to anyway… you know why I’m calling you…”

I interiorly curse myself, but don’t answer immediately: I need to be very careful, because although I never had any contact with him before today, agents that investigated about him have told me about his instability. “He’s used to learn things that others tell about him against his will, and this rarely make him in a good mood”, they told me. Moreover, if he’s where I think he is and in the situation I’m thinking of, that’s even more reason to be twice as careful.
Measuring every word I’m about to pronounce, I go for it:

“Mr. Gombert, you-
-Shut up. I’m the one who’s talking, this evening. I’ll enjoy this, while I still can, right?

A silence settles down. I don’t dare to say anything, I just wait for him to continue.

“Anyway, what did I want to say again? I didn’t really have the time to prepare a script, you know? So yeah. First of all, thank you. I’m not mad at you personally, you know. You have been rather cool with me, you refused that I be treated like one of your “SCP objects”, you even discretely changed the decision of your superiors on to the way to treat me… So I know that what’s gonna happen to me today isn’t your fault. It’s your Foundation, your Bureau, which is after me, right? I’m too dangerous, right? I don’t deserve to live like a normal person, right? But I did everything right… I answered to the letters, I signed the little paper, filled all your fucking files… yet I’m here, tonight, and I don’t have much time left… I decided to contact you, you know why? Because you, you’re gonna answer me, right? Why?”

The moment of silence felt like an eternity, while I measure the depth of his question. That’s right, why?

“Why me? Why am I here tonight? You’re apparently more human than me, so answer me: which fucking part of me disturb you? Why would my existence be worthless? I didn’t choose this, for fuck’s sake, I didn’t choose… I never wanted this anomaly. So why? I’m not even fucking dangerous. Give me amnestics or I dunno what, you must have some, don’t you? Erase my name from your files, from your servers, I don’t know… Leave me alone, let me live with my wife, can’t you? She’s in the room just besides, they put her to sleep… She’ll get amnestics, and she’s gonna forget about me, right? I won’t exist anymore, for anyone except you, right? But you, you don’t give a shit about me! I’m human, for fuck’s sake, why can’t you see it? I’m human…”

I’m shaking just from listening to him. The tears in his voice are easily discernible, despite his attempts to sound angry. He simply doesn’t have the strength to fight or to shout anymore.

“M. Gomber, I’m-
-Shut up. I don’t want your pity. ‘nyway we don’t have anything left to say to each other: my time is over. Farewell. And don’t forget to say to your Bureau that they killed a man, tonight.”

Saying his last words with a calm voice, resigned, as if he was cursing us, he drops the phone without ending the call.
A dull sound: the device falling on the tiles. Then orders, yelled in the background. And finally, a gunshot: the MTF in charge of neutralizing him because of “risks of information leaking” did its job.
Someone grabs the phone, and I hear a familiar voice:

“That’s okay, Dr. Lafont. We’ve neutralized the individual, you won’t receive any further call from this number. Good night.”

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