Monique Chevalier - Condat-sur-Vienne - France 2012

STORY ON HOLD, MY ENTIRE HARD DRIVE HAS VANISHED

Where mercenaries have more power then governments and every country now has a curfew on it's streets, 3 brave women begin a movement that will send ripples of change out across a war torn Europe.

The sun was shining brightly in the sky above Condat-sur-Vienne, a small commune outside of Limoges in France. A young girl hurried through the deserted street glancing around quickly as the heavy atmosphere sent chills up and down her spine. Just as soon as she reached the doorway of a little shop she heard the sound of shouting and gunfire in the distance and flung herself through the doorway, slamming it behind her and panting in fear.

“Monique, what is the matter?” an old man moved forward from behind the counter to take her arm and lead her to a nearby chair. “They are back Monsieur Luc.” she shivered as she looked out the window and into the street, slowly wiping the palms of her hands in her faded blue denim jeans. “The country is getting more dangerous then ever.”

The old man sat down heavily in the chair next to her and glanced around the dusty antique shop with a sad look on his face. “All of this will soon be lost.” he murmured and Monique turned sharply to him. “No, we cannot allow this to happen. Madmoiselle Dupouy and her baby, my brother and his pregnant wife, these people do not deserve to live in such fear. There must be a way that we can stop this!”

“Monique my child,” Luc took his glasses off and wiped a wizened hand across his brow. “It is too late. The economy has fallen, the riots and fighting have begun, it won’t be long now.” He shook his head sadly. “I am only glad for one thing, and that is the thought that maybe Anton will be clever enough to never come back from America.”

Monique shifted uncomfortably in her chair at the mention of Anton Girard, Luc’s one and only child who had left France three years ago to work in the United States. Luc noticed immediately and a wave of pity and regret washed over him. “You should go too Monique, you should leave while you still can. I have a friend that can get you out of here and across the border into Spain, you can then travel to Portugal and get a boat or a plane across to America. Anton will help you, I am sure of it. I can call him today if you like....”

Monique raised a hand for him to stop and he fell silent. She plucked at the sleeves of her jacket and then sighed. “Luc I cannot leave my family. Not now. Besides, Anton has long forgotten about me I am sure. Right now we need to try and escape from this place. I have an idea, but I will have to call a meeting so that we can speak of it properly, all of us.”

She bowed her head and her long chestnut hair fell in a shimmering cascade of soft curls about her face. When she looked back up, Luc could see that her green eyes glistened with tears that she refused to shed. “You must promise me that you will not say anything to Anton. Do not get him involved Monsieur Luc. Please, for me?”

Luc swallowed hard and nodded as he felt the tears begin to well up in his own eyes. “Monique I truly wish that things had turned out differently.” he hesitated and then took one of her hands in his. “You would have made a wonderful daughter in law.”
Monique smiled sadly as she thought of Anton. It was ridiculous to even think that he would have come back. She only wished that she had told him how she felt before he left, now she was almost sure that she would never get the chance.

She stood up and moved towards the door. “I think they are moving in the other direction, if I leave now I should be able to make it home before curfew.” she turned back to Luc. “You will be ok tonight?”

Luc smiled and waved his arms around the shop. “There is nothing here to interest anyone except the rich.” he exclaimed. “I will be fine. I am thankful that Marie is no longer with us, this would only break her heart into a thousand pieces.”

Monique nodded. Luc’s wife Marie had died 5 years previously from a particularly bad bout of pneumonia. Now Anton was gone and the only person that still came to visit him every day was Monique.

She pulled open the door and then paused, turning back to him with a small flicker of hope in her eyes. “Perhaps it will not come to pass? Do you think that it could all calm down in the next few months and everything will go back to normal again?”

Luc shook his head and watched as the glimmer of hope in her eyes slowly faded and she sighed. “Then it is true, and it will happen.” she slipped through the doorway and glanced down the street, flicking up her hood before disappearing into the shadows cast by the old buildings.

“Yes Monique.” Luc whispered as he watched her go. “Europe will go to war.”

The End

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