lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2015

The wind on L

   The wind roared and roared. It seemed like it carried the voices of thousands of people long deceased, as if it all of them had decided that life on planet L should be eradicated. For thousands of years, the elders had gathered every single piece of mysticism and mythology, every tale and story told by a grandmother or a priest. And in many of those tales the wind played a very important role. It was always a destructive force, a very awful power of nature that menaced everything on its path, specially the sensible civilization that had grown on L. Despite their advancements in many fields, they still hadn’t been able to put an end to the never-ending problem of the wind. Besides, they knew that doing anything against it would cause consequences and who knew what those might be.

 Planet L was mostly water, so the wind didn’t really have obstacles that would stop it, like mountain ranges. On L, the only obstacles were caves dug underground by centuries of people trying to find a solution for their awful problem. They had also tried to build walls but that had failed fast. The only way to properly survive was underground, below the few continental masses of the planet. The cities below were small and very damp, but the people had adapted fast and did not care anymore. They had also developed a great sense of hearing and of sight, meaning they could navigate the caves without fear of getting lost or hurt by falling or something like that.

 Their way of living was the main reason no one in that area of the galaxy knew of their existence. Funny enough, many creatures of the universe knew planet L. Pirates, bounty hunters and warriors met there sometimes to exchange prisoners, goods or just to kill each other off in very bloody battles. Almost all alien creatures could withstand the wind easily, at least in some regions. And they liked that it made a cover for them, in case authorities followed them from other systems. But the inhabitants of L had no idea this had been going on for a long time. Their personal belief was that no one on the galaxy would be interested in landing in such a nightmare of a planet.

 One day, however, something rather different happened. Two ships entered L at very high speed, breaking the sound barrier several times. One was after the other and, from time to time, it fired on it. They had cannons mounted everywhere so one could only think they were bounty hunters or assassins. The ship being attacked caught fire but kept fleeing into some more shots mad it crash into one of the largest islands of the windy world. The ship that went down exploded and the other one just left, its crew thinking that all life inside of the downed ship would soon be dead, if it already wasn’t. It was a matter of time.

 Below, the people of a city had felt the tremor of the ship crashing into the ground. They had been scared for a moment, but then remembered that the weather report had clarified that a very strong storm was going to take place outside, so it was better to stay at home and close all doors, just in case the wind breached the main entrance. That was almost impossible as the main entrance was made from an incredibly strong type of metal they had found when building the caves, but these people preferred to play it safe, specially when from their houses they could hear the moaning of the wind and the voices of all creatures that had died out there in it. For the young ones, the wind was a monster to avoid. For the older ones, it was the difference between life and death and the thing that kept them there, at home.

 As they all ran to their houses and took shelter from the sound of the wind, in the downed ship its pilot was struggling to get out of there fast. The other members of its crew had been killed and he was the only one capable to transport their precious cargo back to their home planet. The treasure was on a small chest he grabbed with bloodied hands. He put it on a bag, which in turn he put on his back. He checked conditions outside but couldn’t wait for the computer to calculate anything. Partly because it had been damaged in the crash but also because there was gasoline leaking all over the place. He didn’t have time to wait so he just put on a suit and went outside. The wind knocked him off at first but then he managed to sink his feet into the ground and at least walk slowly.

 The storm was too strong but he managed to walk away from the ship a few meters just before it exploded. He was pushed away, landing on a puddle of mud and dirty water. The strength of the explosion caused him to lose his balance and stability for a while. He even bled from one if his ears but he could still hear fine, or so its seemed at least in the middle of the storm. He had nowhere to go now so we just stood up and slowly walked away from the wreckage. He turned around to see his ship one last time and a small tear slid down his face. He had lived in that ship for years, but now he had to move on and try to get someone to pick him up there. His suit had a communications device but the wind wouldn’t let it work.

 In the city below, as he tried to use the device, a red light appeared in one of the consoles that checked security all over the city. The computer had detected the device that the stranded alien was using out there. But there was no one there to see it. Everyone had been ordered to their homes due to the storm, to their fear of a wind that just couldn’t get inside their city. However, there was a lonely native of L who happened to be a priest. Secretly, he left his door opened when a storm happened, as he loved the sound of the voices. He thought he could hear in the wind what his ancestors wanted for all of them.

 That priest was the only creature that heard the destruction of the ship outside and he knew, right away, that that sound had nothing to do with the storm. He ran to the metallic door that separated the city from the outside world but just stood there, as if it was going to open magically. Of course, it didn’t and he didn’t dare to open it by himself. Doing so would mean the death penalty, by precisely stepping outside and never coming back. The rules of their civilization were pretty clear and even it moment, when his desire to see what was outside was so big in his heart, even then he just couldn’t do anything. He just stood there by the door, waiting for one more sound to make him do something crazy or at least let him know they weren’t alone.

 Outside, the stranded one was walking clumsily, falling over very often, and almost going insane due to the voices that he could now hear very clearly around him. He didn’t have a clue of what they said, but he had a feeling it wasn’t anything good. Finally his device began beeping and he thought that some ship was en route to save him. But that wasn’t it. It had detected an energy source ahead, which might lead to life or at least to a shelter. Going more and more crazy by the minute, he walked in that suit as fast as he could, careful not to drop his bag with the small chest inside. He had a massive headache and he knew he was bleeding but he just kept on going.

 Then, the priest heard a sound on the door. It had been a subtle, soft sound but he knew he had heard it… Again! It was as if someone was trying to know but didn’t have the strength to do it. As one of the few that dared to listen to his planet, the priest knew this time the death penalty was worth it. Even if there was nothing there when the door opened, he knew something else had happened and that was good enough for him. He then ran to the control panel and entered a password that had never been used. The door moaned, as everything turned to lift it over the priest’s head. The wind entered from the outside like a plague but he felt something else enter so he closed the door instantly.

 When the metallic door had fallen into its place, the priest turned around and saw the stranded alien lying on the cave’s floor. He was bleeding or at least that was what it looked like. Their blood was yellow and his was green. His breath was slowing down. The priest dragged the body to his house and there checked the alien. It was risky, but he took off the helmet. He waited but nothing happened so he got to work and cured him as well as he could. He removed him from the suit and put the bag with the chest on a chair nearby. For days, no one knew there was an alien in that house and they wouldn’t think twice about the bag on the chair.

 As it happened, that bag carried the most important object in the universe. And it was a coincidence, a very happy one to be precise, that it had landed in that forgotten part of the universe as many hands wanted that thing but only one person could manage to handle it. And that person was not very far now.

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