Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta adventure. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta adventure. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Julia in the desert


   The stars seemed to be very close. Somehow, the sky in such a remote area of the world was different than what you would see in other parts. Julia was lying down on a think towel she had purchased before the trip and she started counting the stars but she got lost and tired quickly. She hadn’t even removed her boots before lying down and now she was falling asleep, in the middle of the desert. She hadn’t prepared her tent or any food. She was much too tired after her first day.

 Early next morning, she was woken up by a tickling on her stomach. Julia didn’t really open her eyes immediately. But as the tickling persisted, she decided to sit down and properly wake up. She stood up in fear once she realized the tickling came from the tough little legs of a scorpion that was parading itself all along her body. She checked herself for any stings but there was nothing. It was clear that, if the creature had stung her, she would be in severe pain.

 Julia decided to spend her second day looking for a better camping spot. She walked half that day all along the desert and the small patches of life she could find, until she found a small group of thin trees. They gave some shadow from the sun, which was perfect because it had started coming out behind big clouds and it was insufferable to walk like that. She was able to put up her tent in a few minutes and get inside before the full power of the sun was displayed. Thankfully, she had bought the right tent.

 She smiled at the thought of her looking around several stores until she found the right one. It was clear that many of the employees at all the stores didn’t really believe her when she stated she was going camping in the middle of the desert. She even explained to them she was studying biology and that was the perfect way to get more comfortable with future trips she might have to endure. But apparently she looked too “girly” and too “nice” to be the type of woman that goes camping.

 Julia even imagined that they pictured her doing her nails inside of her tent or maybe bringing a man with her in order to repel bugs and others animals. But she couldn’t care about all of that, about what she thought they were thinking or about what they were actually thinking. She could only care about her priorities and her first one was to become the best biologist ever. She really loved the profession but had always had a certain fear and disgust towards going camping or working in the middle of a jungle or any wild place. So Julia forced herself to camp and live through it alone.

 She sat down on the tent and removed her boots after almost a day of use. Of course, her feet smelled awful but it was the price to pay for such an adventure. Besides, she was certain that a source of water would be around and she would take advantage of that the moment she found it. Meanwhile, she had to conform with removing her boots and socks and giving her aching feet some air to relax. She opened her backpack, grabbed a couple of power bars and ate them in a few minutes.

 Food was one of the big problems she had to face doing what she was doing. It  wasn’t like she was prepared from day one to hunt and eat anything she found. Besides, she was in a desert and the amount of animals there was severely reduced. It wasn’t as if she was in the middle of a beautiful European forest where she could hunt down boars and roast them slowly over a nice fire. She couldn’t do that, so she had prepared herself with lots of cereal bars and small foods that she could move around easily.

 It wasn’t the best meal ever, but at least she had fresh water, which was enough to make her feel alive once again. She lay down for a bit and realized she hadn’t really done much related to biology. The closes thing had been her encounter with the scorpion and she had run so fast after that, that she was ashamed to call herself a scientist. So after relaxing for a bit, she put on her socks and boots again and a baseball cap her dad had given her before departure.

Then, she went outside to check for animal life outside the tent. Julia found some interesting bugs near the thin trees and was able to take pictures with her cellphone. She had a better camera inside her backpack but she really didn’t want to be fixing its configuration when trying to take the picture of a small creature. She promised herself to check the camera features before going to bed. She saw some more scorpions, as well as tiny spiders that seemed to like underneath the hot desert sand.

 When going back inside her tent, a powerful noise attracted her attention upwards and she realized a very rare visitor was flying over her. Before leaving her house, Julia had checked all the information she could about that part of the country, so she was well aware of the existence of such a majestic creature. It had a very large wingspan but its body was rather small. Its feathers were light yellow, in order to reflect the sun light and being able to blind its prey with them. It was such a beautiful design nature had achieved, so of course Julia took lots of pictures.

 Later that day, and after eating a whole tuna can with beans, Julia uploaded the cellphone pictures onto her laptop. She had brought several spare batteries for it, but even so she decided to limit her computer time to only an hour a day. She erased the pictures that she didn’t like and was about to turn off the computer when she decided to look at some of the other pictures she had on her laptop. Family pictures, others with friends and some at college too. She was smiling in most, not in all of them.

 She even laughed out loud when she realized she had a couple of pictures of her old boyfriends. She hadn’t seen any of them in a long time, as they had been only high school crushes and nothing more. Yeah, she had gone with one of them to prom and with the other one on a long summer vacation. But that was it, they were both now in the past and she had to move on. Actually, it had been partly because of them she had decided to follow her dream of becoming a biologist. They didn’t think it was a realistic dream.

 After turning off the computer and putting it away, she decided to grab the camera to fix the settings before using it the next day. She had bought that second hand camera online and had never touched more than a couple of times to know it could be turned on and off. That was it. Now she had to put everything in the right setting in order to capture the perfect pictures in the scorching desert. But as she wasn’t very good with things like that, Julia soon fell asleep with the camera on her chest.

 The next day, she woke up to see the camera had rolled to the side. She grabbed it to put away but then the bird with yellow feathers screamed loudly. Because this time, it did seem like a scream and not like the beautiful chant of a majestic bird. Julia stepped outside barefoot, only to see the sky was very dark and that the bird was on top of the nearby thin trees. The bird let out another “scream” and suddenly flew over Julia and away from the tree area. It seemed to be escaping something.

 Only moments afterwards, the ground began shaking violently. Julia fell to her knees and saw how her tent moved around as if tossed by some invisible force. She tried t o crawl her way back inside the tent but the earthquake stopped right before she was able to get it.

 Inside, all of her stuff had spilled out of the backpack. Food, the camera, phone and laptop, everything was upside down. The bird had warned her right in time. She was thankful and realized she had made the right choice by spending two weeks in that desert. She was going to make the best of it.

sábado, 1 de octubre de 2016

Change

   It’s very strange when everything is so familiar but, at the same time, it feels so strange, as if it wasn’t real. Of course everything is real. I haven’t stepped into another dimension or anything of the sort. I just stepped into a plane and, because of the time change, it seems like an eleven-hour flight was only about four hours. I suppose that means I gained some time but I do no feel very fortunate to have achieved that. Again, it feels like I’ve cheated somehow but that’s silly, as many people do it in a day and other lose hours, myself included.

 The body is the one that is the most confused. My mind, I think, can understand the issue but the body, as you know, has a process of adjustment that takes a bit more time. And it’s not only about the fact that time was involved in the process, it’s also the change in weather and surroundings. Things cannot be more different and, at the same time, they are exactly the same. I know: I don’t really make sense. And, to be honest, I won’t be trying to make sense for the next few lines because I think it’s not necessary. Everyone can understand this situation.

 One thing that struck me right as I stepped out of the plane was the cold. I mean, I have lived with this cold for a good time of my life, but I didn’t seem to remember how peculiar it is. It feels like something gently pressuring your body from every side, very gently. It’s certainly not as awful as full-blown winter weather but it had a particularity that I think most people ignore. Maybe it’s because it can go away pretty fast if the sun and the clouds help, not that it happens that often. Oh and the clouds! So many, many thick clouds.

 I forgot I wasn’t going to see much of the sky here. It rains constantly, making the city appear even darker than it is. The weather in some parts of the world really doesn’t help at all, not the people living there or the ones visiting. And it always leaves a lasting impression because it’s the subject people love to talk about. They remember the weather in one place better than many other things that could happen. It could seem as if it wasn’t that important but I do think it is crucial to what someone might think and how a place can be perceived.

 Oh, and I’m coughing. But it’s not the weather here that caused that. Instead, it was the dry cold air in the airplane, which has been really annoying to me in the recent days. Before this flight, I took other two less than two weeks ago so it makes sense why my nose cannot seem to get better at all and why I seem to be in the brink of the flu every day. I think I’ve been able to push it away for a while but it would be difficult to do that forever. At one given time, I will have to be sick again and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

 Another funny thing, or maybe not funny but just curious, is the fact that my bags felt very full but, in the end, they did not contain anything out of the ordinary. Just clothes, some souvenirs and a bunch of paper I like to collect in the form of tourist brochures, magazines, books and others. I don’t really have that many pieces of clothing or anything. In fact, I had to throw away a few things in order to be able to get it all in the bags without making them too “overweight” for the airline’s regulations.

 I will be able to put everything in its place in less than thirty minutes, maybe even counting all of that paper I told you I have. It gets a bit ridiculous when you’re able to put every single piece of your life in two bags and then move them from one continent to the other. It really makes you think about the print your putting into this world and how important it might really be. It makes you think about your life, your achievements, everything. It can certainly be kind of overwhelming, when you’re playing close attention.

 But I did it without paying attention and I think it was for the best. It’s not useful to confront everything in your life in one go. It is much better if you just deal with one thing at a time. That guarantees that you can achieve better conclusions, instead of suffering because of everything that you might “find out” about yourself. I guess it really depends on how much you know and accept yourself. It may be even possible that you don’t have to face any demons because you don’t have any. No one knows how fast people confront their fears and anxieties.

 Sorry, I feel I veered in the wrong direction with that last paragraph. I guess it’s because change is always so hard on people, no matter who you are. Change takes a toll in the heart and the soul but not always in a bad way. It’s just one of those things you have to deal with and I’ve done it before so I know what I’m talking about. It can be very challenging to get from point A to point B, sometimes even impossible for some. But for others, like me in this very moment, it is not a matter of wanting but rather a matter of having to.

 There are clothes on the floor and objects beneath the bed. The bags are there, gently asking to be liberated from all my things and even my cellphone is asking to work in an environment different to the one he was in. Even inanimate objects seem to realize that things have changed. Or maybe that’s just me, imagining things to make everything a little bit easier. Who knows? Or… who cares, to be honest? I think I’m allowed to think and care about many different things right now, especially as I get used to the altitude, which can take a while.

 Page three and I think I have nothing more to say. It feels weird that even my fingers seem to weigh more here. My body in general feels heavier for some reason. Is that even normal? I hope it is because it’s certainly no fun at all. I expect my head to hurt a little bit in the next few days and my eyes to adjust to the light, because even that it’s slightly different. People never think about things like that and the fact is that they really affect your life without you even noticing.

 I have some reordering to do, some things to throw away and some others to fit in their new spots. I think that may happen in the next week or two because everything will feel strange for a while now, even people’s accent, as well as their way of doing things. I now it sounds silly but people are only equal before the law. In all other cases people are extremely different in ways that most people never even think about. I like that but at the same time I know how difficult it can be to adjust. Time will tell I guess. Isn’t that funny?

 I forget to say that I feel different anyways. I mean, I’m no exactly the same person that left a year ago. It may seem like I am, and probably not that many things have changed, but I do feel I have made important changes in how I perceive the world around me. It has been in my best interest and I frankly don’t think all those changes will be annulled being in here. If anything, they will all be but to the test again and that’s what life is all about so I don’t fear any of that. Challenge is a natural process and I, for one welcome it.

 I will have to make adjustments, of course. Pretending nothing has changed is a stupid way to face life. The best thing is to find out what’s the best new way to do the things you have and like to do and then it all becomes clearer and life just transforms into a good path to walk on. And that’s what I really want to happen. I want a path to follow; I want my steps to be safe and not to stumble down from one side to the other. I want to have security and also I want to be certain that life can find it’s way to me and me to it. Does that make sense?


 Probably not. I think that many of the things I wrote here, this morning, don’t make any sense at all. But that doesn’t really matter. I can blame the cold or the bed or maybe even my body. Hell, I can even blame my brain for being robbed of many hours! The truth is change has happened and it would be, at the very least, interesting to know what happens next. So many things are lurking around in life, waiting to be found or to jump on top of you. Let’s just breathe a little bit and take it slowly, trying to avoid pain and just having the best time possible.

miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016

Small green man

   The only thing Serena could do was drive. The desert was an enormous place and she felt good entering it with the old car she had bought in the city. The idea was the cross the whole length of the desert, taking pictures and getting to know the few people that lived there. She had a fascination about that place and, although she had already visited the largest cities in the world, her mind was set know in getting to know the Earth’s most isolated places. She put on some music in the old radio and drove away from the city at first light of the morning. That day, she stopped several times to take pictures of the rock formations and of the animals of the area. It was dangerous, but she didn’t mind.

 The first night of her trip, she slept in the car. She just parked by the road and covered herself with a blanket. From that point of view, she could see the moon, which also fascinated her. It was its brightness and uneven terrain that made her wonder, for a long time, if people would ever be able to walk there permanently. She fell asleep fast just by looking out. Early next morning, a sandstorm woke her up and she had to wait inside her vehicle until it had moved on elsewhere. It was a violent situation but she had loved it because it was so unique. The storm indicated that the future held many secrets and interesting things and one of those happened just a few hours later.

 He was walking by the road, very slowly, visibly on the verge of collapsing due to the horrible heat one had to endure in the desert. When he saw the car, he tried to wave but was so tired he couldn’t and just collapsed by the road. That was the way Serena had to notice him. She stopped the car and ran outside. The man had fallen on his face and had hurt his forehead with a rock. She carried him inside and sat him on the copilot’s seat. She didn’t have much water but used some of it to wake him up. As he came to his senses, Serena notices that the man was not a common sight: he was rather short but with big bulgy eyes and greenish skin. He had normal hands and legs but his skin seemed “fake” somehow.

 When he woke up, he congratulated Serena and asked if she had any water. Whatever she had left, he drank it in haste. He was very thankful but then fell asleep very fast, after dropping Serena’s thermos to the ground. She picked it up, closed the copilot’s door and then got in the car and started driving again. The man was in no condition to keep walking and she couldn’t just leave him there so she decided to carry him to whatever place she found. She didn’t stop for the whole day, mainly because she was scared to be alone with such a strange man. She just wanted their shared journey to end as fast as possible. That night, she almost gave up but finally found a motel past midnight.

 The manager was a young man with his face covered in pimples. He was reading a science magazine when Serena opened the door and asked for two rooms. When he looked at her, the young man started looking for the keys but then realized there was a small strange man behind Serena. She almost screamed when she heard his weird voice, a bit squeaky. He thanked Serena for the ride and the water and told the young man that he wanted a room too. But he told them, as he looked suspiciously at the small man, that there was only one room available with two beds and another one with only one bed so should choose what to do. Serena thought about sleeping in the car again and letting the small man take the single room but her body hurt a lot from all the driving.

 It was the squeaky voice of the man and his stubby hands on the counter, who asked for the double room. He told Serena it would only be for one night and that way they could take care of each other. And then he winked at her, which she didn’t really know what it meant.

 The young gay gave them the keys and indicated the way to go: it was just across the parking lot. So Serena told the little guy to go there first. Meanwhile, she would park the car in front of the room. After she did so, she entered the room to see that the small man had taken off his shoes and socks and was lying there on the bed closest to the door. He had his eyes closed so she could stare at him longer than usual.

 It was not only his statue and the weird hue of his skin. Besides his eyes, his little hands and feet were also kind of puffy, as if they were filled with water or something. Maybe he had been walking too long or maybe he had an allergic reaction to something in the desert and that was why he looked like that. As she sat down on her bed and took of her shoes, she realized how strange it was for anyone on Earth to be walking alone through a desert. Or maybe he had been left there… The desert was a place of many strange events, where people saw lights in the sky and had encounters with life from other planets. Maybe her new friend was a little green man, of the other ones.

 She then asked him what his name was and he answered right away. “Gordon. Gordon Shumway.” Was it wrong that he had answered so fast? Maybe it was his real name but she was sure she had already heard that name before. Or maybe she was just tired and her mind was jumping to conclusions. He asked her name too and she only said “Serena”. They talked for a while about their love for the desert, which they discovered was mutual. They talked about certain species and plants and about the beautiful sunrise. And, slowly, they feel asleep at the same time.

   When she woke up the following morning, the first thing she felt was how hot the room was. The desert had to be burning up. She was glad to be inside a room, on a bed. She wondered if it was early and if she should start her journey of the day right away or maybe just ask for some breakfast and then take some pictures around the place. It could be interesting to talk a bit more to the young receptionist and to any other person working in the motel.

 Then, she recalled the earlier day and finally opened her eyes. Gordon, if that was his real name, wasn’t there. His bed sheets were all over the place so maybe he was still around or maybe he had just left… with her car. She sprung up the bed and ran outside. For a moment there, her heartbeats almost made her deaf. But there was no need for that:  the car was there and looking towards the reception, she saw Gordon waving at her and telling her to come. She raised her hand to indicate she had heard.

 After putting on her shoes, she walked to where Gordon was and realized here was a small dining room, with a few tables, by the reception. The lights must have been turned off the previous night because she hadn’t seen it. The pimples boy was there and it was him who served them as a waiter. They had orange juice and black coffee and lots of bread with butter and jam and also some scrambled eggs. The quality was not the one of a five star hotel but it certainly wasn’t bad at all for a desert motel.

 Serena and Gordon chatted all the way through breakfast, starting the conversation where they had left it the previous night. They talked about all the creatures they had seen and also about their journeys and what they were planning for life. Gordon confessed that he still wanted to roam the desert and showed Serena a bag the boy had gave Gordon as a gift. He only had two big bottles of water inside and an old map. Then, he asked Serena for a one last favor before parting ways.

 That afternoon, they both penetrated even more into the desert. Serena took, on Gordon’s suggestion, an alternate road, which went straight into a national park. The small man told her he had some business to do there, as if it was an office building or something of the sorts. Once they started seeing more hills and rock formations, they stopped the car. She got out and took some pictures as Gordon looked all around, mumbling. He finally choose to walk to a far away mountain, which he said would have a great view over the whole desert and he could do whatever he was he wanted to do.

They bid farewell with a very peculiar hug and a smile and then parted ways. As she went into the car, Serena saw the little man walking very fast towards the mountain he had chosen. Secretly, she admired him for his sense of adventure and because he seemed to know more about life than her.


 After an hour of driving, before she hit the main road, she stopped the car and looked up to the first few stars of the night. And then laughed. It was strange how funny she had thought Gordon was, considering she was the one who had arrived to this planet only a couple of years ago. She was the “new” girl in town. Maybe he looked like a small green man but she had seen some of the real ones and they much less pleasant and adventurous.

viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2015

Dark enemy

   When the doors finally closed, everyone who had gathered in front of them just looked to the ground. They slowly went back to their duties in the palace or to their new houses in the lower levels, where they had been accepted just some hours ago. Another door that had closed was the one of the throne room, as the emperor had demanded to be left alone as he had “a strategy” to think about. The truth was, and everyone knew this, that the enemy was coming fast and that it couldn’t be stopped. It had been announced that they would destroy everything and everyone on their path and that’s why many had found shelter in the palace. The idea was that, as strong as the enemy was, they behaved like a group of buffalos. They charged until they hit something and then they moved on.

 The funny thing there was that no one really knew anything about the enemy except what people coming from other towns said. They were called “survivors” as they always arrived on the verge of collapse and they all had the same story about how awful and terrible the enemy was. However, despite been able to describe how their own tows burned and how people had been killed, they couldn’t tell anyone about the general aspects of the enemy. It was strange, but it was as if they had seen a shadow destroy all of those towns. No physical traits of any kind had been revealed, only the way they operated and that had been scary enough for everyone to take shelter in a building that was normally reserved for the rich and noble. That said a lot about their fear.

 The palace was a structure built in ten concentric rings, the highest been the one where the emperor lived and the lower ones where his staff lived. There were also some sublevels, normally catacombs used as prisons and to get access to a subterranean river. All of that space was now been used by the families that lived in the town and that had been allowed to come in by order of the empress. She was the one that was doing the most. Her name was Serena and she even went down to the sublevels and helped people build a house in the many rooms and spaces that had been only populated by rats for several hundreds of years. Her husband, however, was too scared or apprehensive to do nothing.

 No one knew if he had seen the enemy first hand or if he just felt this was the end of his reign. He had been emperor for fifty years; since he was a very young boy and this was the first time someone defied his power. And the truth was, he was very scared about it. Specially because there wasn’t a single man in the entire kingdom that could tell him anything useful about the enemy. No any general characteristics, not a weakness, not even the way they killed. It was true he was planning and working on the problem but it was also the truth that there was nothing he could really do about it.

 In the lower levels, many families tried to create the feeling of a home but it was practically impossible. Many of them were staying in rooms that felt too much like a prison and they soon realized that if the enemy didn’t walk through town but instead came to the palace, they would be trapped in the catacombs. The only way out was through the underground river but no one really knew how to navigate it and not everyone would be able to use the only boat that remained there. It was said that many of the emperor’s servants had escaped on other boats, leaving only one in the docks. Many children of these refugees loved to go and play in the docks as it was the only place that felt different and worth exploring, even if it was as dark and moist as the rest of the sublevels.

 Life in the upper levels, however, rapidly went back to normal. All the people working for the emperor resumed their work: they cooked big feasts for the few members of royalty, they made fabulous robes and they even brought in objects from the outside by specially trained hawks. They brought jewelry from very far cities and also delicacies that the king always liked. But the empress wasn’t too impressed by this. She was actually revolted by the fact they were eating a five-course meal as the people in the catacombs had only some bread to feed their children. She tried to protest before her majesty but his aides wouldn’t let her, as she would disturb him greatly. They didn’t want to bother him as he drank his beer.

 Serena decided to go for a walk around all the levels and wrote on a piece of paper everything that she saw that was wrong: too much water been wasted on plants in the gardens, a whole level dedicated to keeping his majesty’s clothes cleaned and perfect, the vaults of money and jewels been filled everyday despite the industry and commerce coming to halt, the closure of the market that had always worked in front of the main entrance, the fact that the his majesty’s guard was very numerous but there were only a few men guarding the first wall that would prevent the enemy from coming in and many other things. She actually ran out of paper as she walked along the edge of the wall, looking towards the town where only ghosts lived now.

 But she realized she was mistaken. There was smoke coming out from one of the houses chimney. She asked one of the few guards for how long that smoke had been there and they said that since the time the people of the town entered the palace. She concluded then that someone, maybe an entire family, had decided to stay behind and leave their lives as always. They didn’t care about the enemy, about wars or even about their emperor. They just wanted to keep living and Serena admired that. She asked her husband to let her go to the town, but his answer was obviously negative.

 But Serena wasn’t really one to wait around for others to approve. She had always been rebellious and she had always been curious about her marriage to the emperor. Despite having even younger sisters that were a lot less trouble, he had chosen her to be his wife. He said that it was because of her hair, which reminded him of wheat. But it had to be something else, or so she hoped. One night, she slipped out of her room and disguised herself as one of the refugees. Her handmaiden had gotten the clothes. Serena descended through secrets stairs and hallways that only a few knew about and finally reached the market in front of the entrance. There, she had to run through the square and reach a dark wall on the other end. There was a secret passage there too but the soldiers could see her if she made too much noise.

 She stopped first to calculate how to cross the square and then breath heavily in order to get herself pumped up. She then ran for her life like a mad person and reached the dark wall in seconds. It was strange that no one had seen her, as the moon was particularly bright, but she moved on. The tunnel she was walking on was very humid and full of moss. She fell a couple of times before reaching the end of the path. The tunnel ended in a small room, right in the middle of town. It was amazing no one knew about it. Serene walked out of it slowly and looked at the sky, looking for the smoke.

 The house she was looking for was just a couple of streets away. She walked slowly but not really trying not to make noise, as supposedly, there was no one in town. When she arrived at the house, she knocked. Maybe it had been a bold move but she really didn’t have time to play around. No one answered so she knocked again. Then, she let out a scream as someone pulled a curtain and looked out. Then the door opened and scared faces looked straight at her. There wasn’t one family living there, but two: three adults and five children. They recognized her and that was why they let her in. They were visibly nervous and she tried to reassure them but it was a lost cause. In the end, it was pretty reasonable to be scared and jumpy after been through so much.

 Serena was about to speak when the ground started to tremble. Everyone pulled back from the door and the walls and ran towards a hatch on the ground. Serena didn’t. She was too curious, too urged for the truth. She walked to the curtain and stood still, looking through the window, not even moving. The tremor grew stronger and then, what felt like hundreds of boars passed in front of the house. They were huge, with big horns and red eyes. They destroyed everything outside but they passed fast. She breathed again but it was too soon. Something else was coming down the street and she had to cover her mouth in order not to scream and reveal her position.


 In the palace, they finally realized something was wrong. But it was too late as the moon revealed what was happening there, in the town. And it also revealed that the palace wasn’t safe because, whatever was causing the ground to shake was coming their way. It was only a matter of minutes before the boars overran the market square. And even then, watching it all from his room, the emperor did nothing. Not even thinking about his wife.