“Dark Retreat"

Gaby returned to the parking lot. He neglects to go back to the room to retrieve his Sig Pro from the travel bag. Nothing indicates to him that he will need it. He consults the map. A dozen kilometers separate it from the village of Sacey. From there it can penetrate into the reserve around the Ferrier ford. If he is to believe Madame Lebrun's indications, the observation post is very close there.  As soon as you leave Pontorson, the countryside unfolds the astonishing flatness of its opal-colored lawns and its freshly plowed fields. The horizon is barely broken by the undulating mass of a flock of sheep or by the round tower of a mill stirring the humid air with its large blades. Beyond lies the marsh. It is made up of a vast open meadow, subject to flooding, drained by numerous canals which allow the management of water levels. On the edge of the Couesnon, it is surrounded by a few hedges and curtains of poplars. The places are not deserted. The reserve is widely frequented by seabirds due to the proximity of the bay of Mont Saint-Michel and in winter by numerous web-footed birds, Mallards, Whistlers, Pintails, and Teals. In spring, the area is covered with water, which attracts myriads of migratory birds. The White Stork nests in the surrounding area. The marsh serves as his food storage. In its shallow waters, it finds all kinds of succulent dishes, pike fry in profusion, tree frogs and dragonflies which crisscross the bouquets of irises and clumps of cattails with their graceful flight. In the summer, its lush grass, despite droughts, allows it to maintain its use as collective grazing where various animals such as cattle, horses and geese coexist. It is also visited by several hundred tourists.

The curse of the Beast 

Extract number one

The Squirrel landed in the center of a clearing. The sun was at its zenith and the weather forecast announced a radiant spring day. However, there reigned in this undergrowth a stifling darkness. A kind of fog enveloped the tall trees in a mysterious matrix from a distant past. One felt its power penetrating to the depths of one's soul. And it was not the sixty extras in period costume that lessened the effect. Gaby advanced towards the crime scene, carefully circumscribed by yellow tape and by a handful of gendarmes who prohibited access. A complete loss, given the number of footprints on the soft earth. The victim, struck down by a bullet, collapsed at the foot of an oak tree. A man was leaning over the body.

extract number 2

The branches and foliage were lying as if a herd of wild boars had lain down in the thickets. She turned to Tahar, they didn't need to speak to understand each other. Their senses were subjected to the same stench and the vision of the same traces seen in the darkness. In broad daylight, they became much more relevant. On the soft earth, we could make out paw prints with formidable claws. However, their size was no more impressive than that of a big cat. The support on the ground seemed asymmetrical. It could be assumed that the length of the limbs was not identical. Not having the necessary equipment to make a cast, Sabrina hastened to reproduce the sketch in her notebook. As she was drawing, Tahar showed her a purple trail extending toward a thicker bush. They followed her. What they discovered made them cry out in astonishment. They no longer needed to look for Sanders. The photographer was lying on his back in a pool of blood. His face was barely recognizable, his neck half devoured and his clothes in tatters as if his entire body had been passed through a shredder. He hadn't been reduced to shreds in the same way as the she-wolf. Everything indicated that the wild animals had been interrupted during their meal.

But what animal was powerful and voracious enough to crush the body of a man?...

extract number 3

 When he saw the gendarmes arriving, Ernesto was tempted to climb over the fence and run away, but he was stuck. He just greeted them with a toothless smile. We could not have given him a precise age as life had damaged him so much. With a bald forehead, an emaciated face and deep-set beady eyes, he wore overalls of dubious cleanliness on which he wiped his bloody hands. He had just skinned a hare and he would have a hard time denying it. The police did not come for that. He understood it immediately when Ange came forward to shake his hand.

“Always stealing, my friend! You know, however, that it is strictly forbidden to take anything from national forests.

-You have to understand me, boss, the guy justified himself, it's not the meager income from work on the farm that manages to feed me.

-Basically, Ernesto, I don't care about your little deals, but be careful, the forest guards won't be as smooth as me. Where do you put your snares?

-In the bushy part of the Mercoire forest. Game is abundant there since no one has entered it anymore.

-Aren't you afraid of meeting bad people there?

-What are you thinking boss?

-To the wolves!, replied the captain.

The cursed gold of Forcalquier 

Tired from the road, he then left his two partners alone to go and rest. While Tahar undertook research on the internet, Lilou, still dizzy from the pleasure of the discovery, decided to take a dip in the swimming pool.

Left alone, the mentalist tried to synthesize the data of the problem. Two mysterious child murders, anti-globalization families, an old city in deep Provence, a Celtic cross and a Chilean fascist. What relationship could there be between all these elements? There were definitely links. He already saw one.

Until now, no one had been concerned about the existence of Longo Mai in the surrounding area. This libertarian-inspired association, founded in the 1970s on the principles of the Anarchist International, campaigned for the reception of migrants. At the fall of the Allende government, it received a good number of Chilean political refugees. His support for the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo remained relevant today. As Lilou pointed out, sixteen years later, after Pinochet's departure, we witnessed a second exodus, albeit less massive.

The latest arrivals could have hidden themselves in the cohort of the first. For their French hosts, it was not easy to differentiate the wheat from the chaff, the socialist activist from the nationalist activist.

As for the Celtic cross, if it had been adopted by the Far Right, we should not forget that it was also, in its Occitan version, the emblem of the independence movements. There we found all the material of this endless battle of light against darkness, just on the edge of two worlds, at the improbable moment when the glow of dawn merged with the fires of sunset.

He was lost in his thoughts when he saw Lilou return, her hair with rebellious curls dripping with fine droplets and her face lit up by a childish smile. He was delighted to see her happy and relaxed. It was surprising after the tragedy she had experienced. Tahar admired this power of resilience specific to martyred peoples. Outside, nocturnal insects crackled in the darkness. It was time to go to bed. The next day promised to be exciting and he wanted to be in good shape  to fully appreciate it