I am working on a roleplaying game based on my graphic novel Memories of Retrocity (Published in French in 2011), I decided to make the original texts available for you, revised and translated into English.
I will drop them here while I go through the translation process.
Those are "pre-translations". They need to be proofread and modified before any official release. Hopefully, you can enjoy the raw material!
Welcome to Retrocity.
. . .
She left in the early morning. And I'm alone.
I installed the typewriter near the window. To get more light. From the top of the Blue Hotel, we overlook the dreary ashen canopy (ooh, very nice metaphor, Willy! You're getting better every day!) produced by the infernal forges of Retrocity. It is truly breathtaking. Reminds me of the first time I flew. I was a kid. When the craft came out of the mass of clouds, I could not take my eyes off the window. Up there, everything was so beautiful, so pure. I knew that only a few hundred meters below, the rain was falling on fellow humans who did not have the fortune to contemplate what no man was ever meant to see: the heavens that dominate the sky, the ultimate azure beyond the earthly gray.
And I'm thinking about songs that Nick Cave has yet to write.
But it was time to leave. I was lost in thoughts about last night and her. Shit, I don't even know her name. I packed up the machine carefully, took the elevator, and was gone.
Back to reality. The taxi dropped me off a hundred meters from my place, refusing to enter my neighborhood.
I took the time to clean the table and gently put the machine back on it, near the window. She will be fine here. This way, I will be able to write with ease. I would lose it if I didn't have this outlet. Writing. Getting it all out.
And so that's what I was doing. Writing. When I saw ... or I thought I saw... a form outside in the street. A figure darker and more stealthy than midnight, colder than death. I try to write like the poet, and I shouldn't. In truth, at the time, the only thing I felt was shudders down my spine.
The figure disappeared almost instantly as my eyes landed on it. But I recognized the cold green glow coming from his face. The person downstairs watching me from a dark alley was the brute who wasted me in the passage a few days ago. I jumped up to get a better look at him. Wasted effort. The guy had disappeared.
What does he want from me?
He's obviously following me.
Here's the picture: a bloodthirsty cybernetic monster is following me, knows where I live, and is not letting go. And, if I remember correctly, he is convinced that "it's me!".
"It's me" what? No clue, but it stinks. Especially since I'm pretty sure it's not "me"!
I drew the curtains for the first time since I moved into this apartment. The rod gives way, and the whole thing falls to the floor; the heavy pole falls on my foot, and an explosion of pain courses through my body.
Feb 24, 2004
Spent three hours wandering around the walls. It is all so absurd. No way out. I am a shadow eclipsed by the light beam of a projector. These watchtowers, of metal and stone, peering into the night ... these walls...
I felt bad about the way she looked at me the other night. Irritated by her caring judgment. By the fact that she could interfere between me and the machine. I couldn't stand what I still refuse to acknowledge: my addiction. The bond between this piece of scrap metal and my self.
They must come to get me! And quickly... I no longer discern things, I guess them, I fear them, I imagine the worst... but I feel like I'm both out of my head, and totally trapped inside it. Not totally alone. Invaded by thoughts that are darkening day by day.
I sometimes hear the sound of the keys in my sleep. I feel the city under my skull. I hear mechanical noises.
I went to the wall to try to escape, or at least to observe, to find a flaw, a crack in the structure, for a future exit. But I didn't find it. So I walked around, brooding. My will crumbling. If I don't get out, I'll stay to remain. Yet I can't pull myself together. I can't even pretend that I want to.
Calm William. Calm.
It's going to be just fine.
Everything will be.
Feb 26, 2004
There were four of them. Wearing this uniform I had seen on them when I arrived: long coats, greasy leather gloves, and "mafia" hats. And again, this strange aura emanating from them. Their bodies had undergone so many mechanical modifications that I could hardly see a sign of humanity left. Their cold eyes shone with an inquisitive light.
Three of them seemed to watch the perimeter while the last, using a long pole, lowered one of these suspended androids from between the two buildings.
Hidden behind a mound of trash, I watched. Hypnotized. They could not untangle all the cables and rusty chains that were used to tie the body up, so they broke an arm, and the mechanical corpse slipped through and hit the ground. I saw the Watchers tear the mechanical eyes off and drop them into a clear plastic bag. And then, they walked in my direction.
I jumped up and knocked over a garbage can, which screamed a horrible semblance of words.
Two seconds later, I was cornered. Their firearms pointed at my forehead.
With a wave of his hand, one of them called out to me:
"Your papers, Citizen."
His voice had a metallic echo. Like he was talking into a tin can. His tone was monotonous. His diction was impeccable. Relentless.
I thought about a smart thing to say for a few seconds, but my tired mind couldn't concentrate, and I only stammered a few vague, nonsensical, stupid words. I handed over my papers. He took my card, harshly, while the others approached even closer, probably trying to intimidate me.
It was working pretty well.
But as soon as his "eyes" rested on my papers, he made a strange noise. A snap followed by a low hum. He turned to one of his colleagues, and after a silent minute, I decided to break the magic of the moment:
"Hey, can I get my card back? It's freezing, and I'm bored. I would like to go".
"-Mr. Drum. You are Mr. Drum.
- Yup, good job, buddy!"
I turned to the other. "Okay, can I go now?"
"- You are prohibited from being in this area. Access to this perimeter is strictly restricted without formal authorization. However, Mr. Drum, your case is unique, and we have been expressly ordered to refrain from using the usual elimination protocol. »
All four simultaneously lowered their weapons.
"- We will escort you to your place of residence. »
Half an hour later, they closed the apartment door behind me.
Back in my "place of residence".
They didn't give me much choice.
But we're not so bad here anyway! I took the machine out of her bag and put her back on the desk. Gently.
Retrocity will never let me go.
I see only death and madness looming.
Though I always dramatize everything.