sábado, 7 de mayo de 2016

Always there

   The two armies had destroyed each other in the field. There were shields and swords and helmets all over the place. The spears had lost all shine and the images on their armors were all tainted in blood or dirt. The ones that were alive from the Barbarian side had been captured. They were dragged like animals to a pen built with the broken spears of the fallen soldiers and there they would wait for some kind of transport to take them away, to being their lives as slaves of the Roman Empire.

 When the soldiers left with their prisoners, the bodies were left to rot on the field. It took several days and the process was somewhat helped by the rain and the occasional wild animals that were still coming out of the forests to attack humans. Desperate for any food, they would eat the corpses, specially the vultures. Months later, the ground only had a bunch of bones there and most people that travelled through the nearby road, never noticed anything particular.

 Many years passed until the Romans stopped travelling through the country. The field was left alone and trees begin to grow, very slowly but steadily. More than a hundred years later, there was a proper forest in that place and many creatures called it home. There were several kinds of creatures, including wolves and boars. They moved around with ease, not minding the few humans that cross the forest, risking their lives in the journey. The ancient Roman road was still being used.

 Then, the numbers of transports passing through the forest begin to grow. Apparently, the economy was beginning to do better and the ports on the south needed to reach the cities in central Europe, to the north. Some merchants carried salt and sugar and exotic good from far away lands. There were no slaves anymore but there were beautiful scents that every creature in the forest was interested in. They had never smelled anything like that before.

 Sometimes, very angry wolves attacked the carts or a hungry bear but that was only at the beginning. After many years, and many fires too, the greatest danger for those merchants were the thieves that hid in the forest. They would live there because in town they had nothing to eat. And then they would wait for a lonely cart full of food and just kill the driver.

 In time, the carts were made more elaborately and the drivers were never alones but with a security composed of one or maybe even two men. Besides, the merchants were not the only ones going through the forest. More and more caravans of just people in carriages penetrated the forest in order to rich the better life of the north. There were rich people and poor people crossing, not one of them caring a bit about the forest.

 One of those men and women caused the biggest fire the forest had seen. As all towns were so far away from the place, the trees burned for many days until rain calmed down the fire. When the inferno was over, half of the forest had completely disappeared. When the users of the road noticed this. They thought they could do better than the fire and decided to chop off all remaining trees in order to use the wood for making many things they needed in the cities.

 The area became a plain again and the road was cleared for the heavy traffic that it was receiving.  Then, for a long while, people stopped travelling. The animals that had left slowly returned, not missing the humans at all. In the nearest town, almost all of the population had died. The ones that hadn’t, burned the bodies and wore strange bird like hats in order to protect themselves from one of the worst pandemics to attack humanity. That’s why, for a long time, the road of the plain was practically not used.

 It would take many years to make the merchants return, to the annoyance of the animals that had seen small bushes and trees grow in the region. The forest wanted to come back but humanity wouldn’t let it. When the carts and carriages returned, they did not removed the new plants but they did reinforce the road by putting down stones on it to make it less slippery when it rained. For the next hundreds of years, the number of transports using the road would only grow.

 Also, the customs of the people that travelled to the road had changed. One day, a beautiful woman travelling in a very elegant carriage, just jumped out of her transport and ran into the highest part of the area. The weather was not good and her brother, younger than her, had some problems following her. She appeared to be an unusually strong woman but, in the top of a hill that dominated the plain, she started crying.

 When her brother approached her, she confessed she did not want to marry the man she had been promised to. She knew her parents had already arrange everything, even paying big sums of money, but she wasn’t into the idea of living with a men she didn’t even know. He had seen her once and she didn’t even remembered her face and now he was going to be her husband. She just didn’t want that.

 Her brother stayed there with her for a while and then convinced her to go back to the carriage. He helped her realized that it was the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She didn’t want to get old and never have been married or having kids. After all, it was what women were all about. She finally conceded and went back to her journey.

 Years later, more soldiers stomped the ground of the plains. They had high black boots and marched in order. It looked so nice, so spectacular, that no one would think twice about the number of people those men had already killed and the numbers they were going to kill. They camped there for one night and all they could talk about was about how great their leader Napoleon was and how Spain needed to fear him more than ever. They all agreed he was going to rule all over the continent and maybe even more.

 The next day, they were gone. The animals ate the food they had left and the plants used the animals and humans droppings to grow a bit more. The following winters, almost all of them, were harsh on the region. Some trees froze and never grew again. The road was covered permanently in snow and the few carriages that passed had to be extremely careful not to flip over to something. Those were very difficult times for everyone. But worse one would come.

 More war and, this time, even more men and chaos. Tanks trampled over the bushes and planes invaded the air with their horrible sound. The town nearby was taken by the Germans and then retaken some days later by Allies who helped push the Germans away from the rest and into their country. It was around that time one a road was built near the stone road. But these new road was made of asphalt and was made for cars.

 At first, there were not many. But as years passed, the number increased exponentially. There were all types of vehicles going up and down the road and also all kinds of people. Some of them were going of vacation and some others were only travelling for work. Some years later, the road was widened to support even more vehicles.

 World War II began and the road itself was bombarded several times when the Germans took the region. Some men and women, very pale and skinny, used the forest to hide. Some of them managed to escape the Germans but others weren’t as fortunate. They were put on cars and driven to the nearest train station and then they would never be seen again.

 Many months later the place was bombarded again, but now by the Allies. In a few days, the whole region was captured and the Germans pulled away from it. From then on, the road grew even more and became the basic link between north and south. The forest also began to grow a lot and soon became protected by the same humans that had destroyed so many times before. The animals now lived in peace and, only now and then, something happened in there but never like in the olden days.

 But who knows what the future holds?

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