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

miércoles, 22 de noviembre de 2017

Thanksgiving

   She gave herself one last look in the mirror before grabbing her purse and her jacket. Jackie caressed her cat Milo before heading out into the night, where she would have to get into a cab and then wait inside before arriving and the Thanksgiving dinner she had been invited to only some days earlier. Paul had been kind enough to invite her and she knew they didn’t knew each other that well yet, so his gesture was all the more difficult to understand but welcomed. After all, she was very far from her own family.

Jackie’s new job as an assistant editor had forced her to move out of her small city to a bigger one, where she would have many more opportunities to grow. At first, she had been very reluctant to leave her home but it was her own parents that almost forced her to take that big new step in her life. They had never had the opportunity to do something like that and they wanted her to have everything they hadn’t been able to have in their respective youths. They were going to miss her deeply but it was necessary for her to leave.

 Starting somewhere else she had never being to was difficult the first few months but the amount of work had numbed her response to anything happening around her. Thanksgiving was the first time she was leaving her small rented apartment in order to actually have fun. She would leave everyday really early for work and then head back at night to sleep there. She would cook something as soon as she arrived and pack it for the next day. That was her routine and she was grateful for it because it didn’t require thinking.

 That party, however, did require a lot of it. She had to buy a proper dress, something she didn’t have in her wardrobe, and accessorize it with nice things and, of course, a great hairdo. She bought some fashion magazines to give her a good idea of what girls from the city liked to wear but she felt none of those styles actually fitted her. She was more the kind of staying at home and enjoy a new TV show, rather than going out to a club dancing or something like that. She had to go to several stores before finding a dress she liked.

 The woman that helped her was the one who advised her on which earrings and shoes she should wear with it. Thankfully, some of her own stuff was perfect for it, saving her a big amount of money she wouldn’t have being able to spend, unless she went in debt or something and that was something her parents had warned her against. She also borrowed a neighbor’s jacket, a girl named Olivia who had become her best friend in the city. That was something to say because they didn’t really know each other that well but Olivia had seen Jackie with her dress bag and sad expression and just knew she needed help.

 When she arrived at the venue, a very impressive restaurant on the twentieth floor of a very old and majestic building, Jackie felt she was entering some sort of book. The people tending to the guests were dressed like those butlers that you see on period dramas or something like that. She even smiled when one of them offered her a glass of champagne, which she accepted trying to fit in. She suddenly felt a little bit out of her element and tried to look for her friend all around. But the place was fairly big.

 The venue was like a palace inserted into a building. There were long and luxurious stairs that separated two floors, both of which had different rooms were people could stand up or sit down, have a drink or dance around if they wanted. No loud music thought. There was a live band playing some modern songs but in such a way it seemed the whole place had been transported magically back to the 1950’s. It was a very nice atmosphere but also a bit uncomfortable for Jackie, who wasn’t used to something like that.

 Her friend Leslie appeared from behind. He was a tall, very white and lanky man, who worked in the technical area of the magazine. He was the one who made it possible for the editor to make a digital edition to be on display for all of those women, and some men, who paid for the magazine online. He was one of the first people that invited Jackie to have lunch with him when she arrived, stating that he had always been the lonely kid in school and would have never wanted to have someone feel like that if he could do something about it.

 They laughed for a while before talking about the food and drinks and how fantastic the place was. Leslie explained that the place was owned by a very old club, which had been created by his grandmother many years ago. He didn’t say a word, but it was obvious his family was very wealthy. He tried to make it all seem like if it was something everyone could experience but Jackie soon realized that wasn’t the case at all. Elitist was maybe a very strong word but it would be appropriate for the situation.

 Leslie took her by the arm and carried hair up the stairs, to a room all decorated in gold and some red elements. There, she was presented to his family. Leslie’s mother Corinne was a very nice lady that was obviously not used to such luxury either. The young woman soon deduced it was her husband who had been born into wealth and not her. It was not only the way she spoke and moved but also the things that she didn’t do. Jackie liked her from the first moment and so did Corinne, who had never really liked any of her son’s friends because of their way of behaving in public.

 Helen, Leslie’s grandmother, was someone very different. She sat on a big chair and didn’t move too much. It wasn’t like she couldn’t walk or something like that. It was obvious that she wanted everyone to be around her and to be, to an extent, the center of everyone’s attention during her time in the event, which was actually short for being such a matriarch. The moment dinner was served in a very large table, she disappeared. Jackie asked about her whereabouts but no one answered. It was her thing.

 It wasn’t until much later in the evening when Jackie met Leslie’s father. He had just arrived from a very long flight, claiming he had taken a limousine straight from the airport to be able to share some time with his family. His wife was happy to see him but Leslie had a very different response. Jackie could tell he just stopped himself from joking around as he usually did and he became this stiff man that couldn’t almost speak a word. It was a very unsettling thing to see.

 And George, his father, was not at all an intimidating man. He was actually very charming; enchanting everyone present with some stories about his trip to Asia and the people he met there. He also told some jokes but many of them did not find an audience with Jackie. Maybe she was too oblivious or the content just went over her head. But the most likely reason was she was trying to make Leslie speak, with little to no success. He really seemed to have become a human icicle.

 Then, out of nowhere, a member of the staff came in rushing into the dining room, straight for Leslie’s father. He spoke in a very low register and fast enough no one could really understand what he was saying, not even Jackie who was fairly close. Whatever he was talking about, it was very serious because George’s expression went from utter joy to a very grim expression that drained all color from his face. The staff member left and George’s father stood up, trying to make people calm down.

 He announced, in a very deep voice, that his mother had just passed away in her apartment “upstairs”. He apologized for ending the evening, but the circumstances were very unique. Everyone stood up and headed to the lobby, to pick up their belongings.


 Leslie was still like a stone but he seemed to move his eyes, which was an improvement. Jackie wanted to stay with him but Corrine personally put Jackie’s neighbor’s jacket on her back and joined her outside where a cab was already waiting. She didn’t even have a moment to talk or think.

miércoles, 2 de agosto de 2017

The planetarium

   The planetarium was almost empty. The small crowds of the morning had been gone for a while and now only two couples and a sleeping guy were beneath the dome, not really witnessing the lightshow that had been made to teach people about stars, planets and all other astronomical bodies. However, there were two other people in the room. They were there only for a couple of minutes but enough for one of them to look at the massive Milky Way for quite a while.

 His name was non important. His service badge had the number 954. The number was always assigned randomly, with no real meaning. It was just a way for people to know something and, at the same time, not knowing a single truth about the person they were in front of. He would wear his badge everywhere when on duty and, on secret missions like these, he would have it somewhere on him to pull out fast or throw away in an instant, anything to live a bit longer in order to survive, step by step.

 He had arrived too early at the meeting but he had done so because it would have been too obvious if they had met on the street or even in front of the planetarium. And if they had entered at the same exact time, people would have noticed something else going on. So he just got there earlier, his hotel being pretty close to that place, and had witnessed most of the lightshow without a sound interrupting the narration, except maybe the snore of the sleeping guy on a back row.

 The agent sat down and waited. As he did that, he remembered his childhood, when he asked several times for stickers that lighted up in the dark in order to decorate his room. His mother tried to buy him some but she gave up after a couple of outings. Besides, his dad was against it the moment he knew of the kid’s request. The man declined to buy his son anything, especially not when he was doing so poorly at school. 954 had to repeat that grade the following year.

 Stars were just things that had fascinated him for a long time and they were also one of the things he had given up during childhood. When he looked back at those days, he felt that maybe he hadn’t really lived as a kid. His parents had always been so different and he was trapped often in his discussions. It was especially hurtful when they blamed him for things they hadn’t done in life, as he had been born very early in their relationship. He eventually learned that they had married only because of him. One of his grandparents told him, as if it was nothing.

 The exchange went fast. Agent XDE had come a long way for the information and she really didn’t feel like staying more than needed in that dreadful city. It was a very strange thing but she had been born in a city and hated every single urban landscape she had ever seen. This was because the only good memories she had had taken place far from those places, in nature, where animals lived and everything had a really nice feel of freedom and excitement about it. It felt true.

 She had landed her job just as she had come out of college. She was a very brilliant student, who had been fortunate enough to go to a very private and respected high school. She had done so many things to earn people’s respect that it wasn’t a surprise when the government started offering her jobs. Most of those jobs involved working on offices and she hated the idea of being in a closed environment. It was her that proposed them to work as an agent and they gladly complied.

 Her training was done faster than most recruits and she was sent to her first mission at the same age other girls are trying to fit in college and find what their passion in life is. She didn’t want their life and was successful in using everything she had in life in order to progress faster than others and always be ahead, no matter the costs. She had learned to be self-reliant and didn’t care at all about other people. Spies exist to prevent evil to destroy common people but she didn’t care at all.

 The adrenaline of her job was what kept her going; from the moment she stepped in her first mission. She never had an issue when asked if she could separate completely from her family. She even did it before they asked her.  XDE was assigned as her code and it was a series of letters she had chosen for herself and submitted them to her bosses. She didn’t care about receiving a “no” for an answer and that was because she knew people were afraid of her. She liked that.

 No one ever knew what her code name meant but that was of little importance in the long run. The most important thing she had to offer was her skills: she was fast, effective, silent and with an excellent eye to predict how a scenario would play out. She would play all the possible outcomes in her head and then try to move everything in order for her to get favored. She was a very good manipulator, which explained how she entered the museum without being seen and then out again, in a few minutes. She was one of the best spies the world had ever seen.

 The transaction was as follows: agent 954 was seating on the front row, very close to the projector. The couples were on the middle rows and the sleeping man on the back row. Agent XDE did not enter through the main door but through the one used by maintenance crew and all other people that worked in the planetarium and in the adjacent museum. She did it silently and had previous knowledge the door was always covered in darkness during one of those lightshows.

 When 954 noticed her, he immediately knew who she was. It wasn’t because she was obvious, but it was something about the way she walked or the way she looked at him from the dark, for only a second. He just knew that what he had to do was stand up and walk towards her side of the dome room. Darkness would help the deal get done faster and so it was. When he was very close to her, already covered by darkness, she grabbed his hand in a grip, almost as he wanted to crush it.

 Instead, she passed him a very small tube with whatever his bosses had told him to collect. The woman didn’t say a word. He just knew he had to pretend that he had decided to leave the show and she just disappeared through the same door she had used when entering. The woman almost flew away of the scene like a cat or some kind of incredibly silent creature. In a matter of minutes, she was already grabbing her only suitcase and hopping into a car for the airport.

 Meanwhile, he walked slowly through the planetarium’s exposition halls, watching the beautiful dioramas of how Humanity would colonize Mars and other celestial bodies in the Solar System. He just knew running away wasn’t the best way to do what he had to do. He had to play it cool. So he walked slowly towards the cafeteria and then bought some coffee there. He had in a table by a garden and then left walking as if nothing had happened, towards his hotel.

 The show ended inside the planetarium. The couples left after realizing the lights were on. They didn’t say a word, just walked to the exit in silence, as if they knew they had desecrated a place that was not meant for horny younger people.


 But the sleeping man remained there for a little more. After all, he hadn’t really been sleeping at all. He had just seen a very interesting exchange happened and he was well aware that many people would pay a lot of money for the information that was now in his power.

miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

Norman

   From the very first years of his life, Norman Atelon was a very peculiar man. He was always avoiding situations, which would cause him to ruin his appearance, such as playing in the mud or during the rainy season. From the moment he learned to read, he spent his time doing just that, inside the house, in his room. He didn’t really like the company of his parents or of any other person. He’d rather have his stories and his imagination to go with it. That was more than enough.

 Norman developed this love of stories through his upbringing and eventually became one of the most renowned authors in the world. For some reason, he had dedicated himself to writing children’s books. His family saw this as odd behavior because he didn’t like people, and children were his very least favorite. He thought they were obnoxious and repetitive, not really taking any interest in the real interesting things life had to offer. He thought they were dull and dirty.

 However, the author once explained to his mother that he loved to write simple stories and that’s why his creations were considered more suitable for children. He didn’t agree at all but he knew it was best not to argue too much, because he did want to be taken seriously by other authors and by the world in general. For a person that didn’t really like people, Norman had a real need for people to be acceptant of him or, at very least, of his literature. And the world answered in a big way.

 His first book was a recompilation of short stories and it sold like fresh baked bread. Mothers and fathers all over the country fell in love with his imaginative creations and the kids really took to it too. Social media was a very good promotional platform for him, as many kids that liked his stories loved to paint or draw their favorite characters and then upload the pictures online. It was all made as a contest by the company publishing the books and it earned him a lot of money.

 So much he earned, that he became a rich man by the age of twenty-three, when most people are barely coming out of university, trying to enter a world hostile to their wishes. The irony was that Norman had never really wanted to be part of the world. He couldn’t care less if his stories made money or not, he just wanted to be out there, his name with all the other great names of literature. That was his achievement and he wanted to feel he had made it big. However, despite all the success, he didn’t get the recognition he wanted, only the one he didn’t care about.

 That’s why he made an effort at keep getting better at his craft. He studied, educated himself further abroad and, of course, he kept writing, almost every day. He lived with his parents for years until he decided he needed to get out of there but not because he was too old. He had realized he had to be fully alone to be able to create things that every other author would be jealous about. So he left his parents in a huff, not really feeling anything else than the burning desire to be considered a great author.

 His new apartment was small, very small. But it was located in a very wealthy neighborhood, with everything he could ever want not very far away. Not that he ever went outside for anything. He hired a maid to do those kinds of things for her. Food was a waste of time in his mind, so he dedicated the least amount of time to it, even reading through his meals or interrupting them abruptly when an idea came to mind. He had always been very skinny but he soon acquired an additional greenish hue on his skin.

 His parents and people he saw for work noticed this right away but they all knew him too well to say a word. Norman wasn’t the kind of person to care a lot about personal appearance. However, his mother convinced him to go to the doctor once. He complained about losing time of his daily schedule but he went with it. The doctor found him to be a bit underfed but, aside from that, he was healthy as a horse. It was incredible but he was, so no one could say anything about it anymore.

 The maid was ordered to cook better meals and he accepted to spend at least twenty straight minutes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. But he kept reading through the meals, because his mind had to be busy every single second of the day. People that met him thought it was exhausting just look at him go through a normal day. Norman was not a normal person at all; he was very unique in a very particular kind of way. Maybe that was the reason he didn’t like people that much.

 Friends, he did not have. He didn’t have any use for friendship or love or sex. As far as everyone that knew him was concerned, Norman was still a virgin and had never bonded with anyone else in his entire life, not even with other authors. People thought he wanted to be accepted by them but the fact was he wanted to be considered a true writer, a member of the group. If the people in the group liked him or not, he didn’t care one bit. That made people very annoyed by him, even if they were meeting him for the very first time. Norman was one of a kind.

 Ten years passed from his first publication. He lived in the same apartment, being cooked by the same maid and with his mom coming in every Sunday, as she had done since he had moved out. However, his father had died fairly recently so she had to visit alone. But Norman never seemed to notice his father was not around anymore. He did go to the funeral but he read a book through the ceremony and during the burial. People were very angry about it but his mother kept everyone from doing a scene.

 However, it was her who made the scene one day, one of those Sundays she visited her son. She served the meal left by the maid, as she always did and looked at her son as he ate fast to go back to his writing. He was working on a book about a young girl and her relationship with a magical cow. Or something like that, his mom was never that aware of the stories he made. No one really seemed to be, except his editor. The meal had gone by as usual except for one little detail.

 The mother burst into tears. She had never done so, not once in her whole life. Not on her childhood home, no in the house she had bought with her husband and least of all in her son’s apartment. She just couldn’t keep crying, tear rolling down her cheeks and nose. But that was not all that happened. Because, as she dried her face, she noticed that her son just left the table to sit on his table and keep on writing. Then, her sadness turned into rage, a feeling she had been repressing for many years.

 She yelled, as no one had ever yelled at Norman. Of course, there had been people who had had altercations with him. His way of being was off-putting to many. But that time, he seemed to actually care about the person who was yelling. It was his mother and, no matter how his personality was, he couldn’t just ignore the person that had brought him to life. She claimed she had been caring for him her whole life and he had never shown her the slightest sign of affection.

 For the first time, it seemed he didn’t have the right words to say. Norman had developed a very sharp and fast tongue. But that afternoon, all words seemed to leave him for good. And there was a reason for that: she was right. He had never shown her affection or any other feeling for that matter.


 He stood up and tried to walk up to her but he couldn’t. His legs wouldn’t budge. That feeling for her mother, whatever it was, was being overpowered by his personality. And she noticed. That’s why the woman grabbed her purse and her coat and never spoke to him again, not even when he was finally recognized as he had always wanted.

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2017

Strange place

   The woods outside the small town of Iris, were a very lonely place almost all year round. Not a soul dared to cross through it to get anymore, no matter if it came from outside or inside the small town. People would rather cross the lake by boat to reach the village or simply take the main road that made a big detour around the woods. After so much time of this prohibition having settled in in the minds of the people, they simply didn’t think about it anymore and saw it as one of those things of nature.

 But it wasn’t exactly nature, which barred everything living from the woods. It was possibly the opposite, something dark and sneaky that didn’t wanted for people to penetrate the place were it lived. No birds crossed over those woods or even built nests on those trees. All animals, from bears to butterflies, avoided that patch of the world as if it was something automatic and not something they could do something about. Nature had nothing to do with that chilling place, not at all.

 On Iris, people loved life. It was such a strange thing for first visitors because one would think that living with a certain fear for so long would be quite a marking experience but it wasn’t at all. Children there loved to play all day long and the adults were kind people that loved to greet new souls to their community. They welcomed strangers as if they were a gift sent by the heavens and would also celebrate for an entire day if a new citizen was born inside the boundaries of Iris.

The festivities there were always something to behold: they put small flags of many colors over every doorway in town and they would sing beautiful old songs all day long, celebrating life. They also cooked the best food, especially fish, when a newborn entered their community. They also cooked some sweets that were specially made according to the tastes of the person being celebrated, meaning it was also done in birthdays, which were always a very grand occasion in town.

 The best part though, was the fact that people seemed to be having the time of their lives every single day. It didn’t matter if they were selling products in the markets, fishing on the lake, running around town or cooking lunch for their family, people in Iris always had a helping hand for everyone and big smile to top that with. All traders loved to visit, as they felt doing business there was more like being on a vacation were everyone is very kind to you. The name was famous in the region and the fact that the woods were so close, was baffling to so many curious people.

 They couldn’t understand how those people in Iris could be so happy. After all, those tall dark trees and that frozen wind had a presence that was not easy to ignore when one would travel through the main road towards Iris. People from the small town had moved the trail further away from the forest, many times during their history, but the woods seemed to catch up every time they did that. So every time a particular part of the road felt colder and simply strange, they rebuilt the road further away from that place.

 That work was normally done in a few days and it was something that needed to be done every year. But even so, the people from Iris that worked on the road weren’t even a bit worried about that. Every year, their town kept being pushed away from the rest of the civilized world. When the road was first created, the journey to the nearest town could be achieved in about 10 hours. With all the changes on the road, Iris was now located 12 hours away from civilization and it kept moving away.

 The route through the lake, by boat, was used my traders mostly. And that road was also altered every few years do to the fact that the dark woods seemed to be conquering the opposite side of the lake, little by little, and people now have to change courses a little bit which also made the trip a little bit longer than before. But people just did what had to be done and they tried not to think too much about it because there was nothing they could do, or at least that was the general opinion.

 A couple of experts in biology and other fields had studied the woods from the outside. Of course, most of these people came from other towns and they would go to Iris at least once to study the forest from there. The problem was that they were the only people not to be welcome in town, asked very politely to leave after spending one night in town. People usually agreed to do it in order for them no to cause any sort of unpleasant mood among the normally chilled population of Iris.

 Not many findings had been done by the very few experts that found the dark woods to be a fascinating anomaly in nature. The fact that no life could be detected there was strange enough, no matter if it was on the trees, the soil, the air or even the water that existed in the form of puddles. But even stranger was the fact that every single person that got too close to the forest, and lived to tell the story, would always tell others about a presence that was strong among those trees. There was something there but no one could really say what it was, if it was something at all.

 Of course, the people of Iris were not very big on any of those stories. The few people from town that had grown any interest in the woods, no matter how fleeting, would be asked to live the village and never come back. That seemed a little bit too hard but the fact remained that Iris was not a town where being curious was rewarded in any way. They lived a quiet peaceful life between a lake, some mountains and the main road; they didn’t really need to ask the world for anything else.

 That of course included the answers that so few had asked for but that no one was apparently willing to give. The only possible way to get a proper answer was to enter the woods themselves but even among people from other parts of the world, that was a crazy idea. All studies qualifies that place as dangerous and unstable, because of the road thing, so why would anyone try to enter to find answers to questions that no one really is begging for? One thing is wondering, the other is demanding an answer.

 Only a handful of people had done that, demand an answer from the forest. And the fact was that none of them remained to tell others why they asked themselves that dreadful question. That is because all of them, a group of ten or less, had walked into the forest and had never returned. When that happened, no one really asked for an explanation or for their bodies to be buried or anything like that. Not even their families wanted to know anything more that what was a fact.

 Those people were part of the mystery of the woods and every time of them had entered the forest, it seemed that year was one of especially big growth for that space as such. Trees seemed to get thicker trunks and the cold air seemed to become even colder. It was a very scary thing to think about and that was probably why people just kept ignoring those facts and the conversation over all. They didn’t want to confront the reality of the situation they faced every day, so they compensate it with joy and optimism, as they didn’t have anything else to go for them.


 In about twenty years, a young woman will realize a very dreadful fact that people in Iris will again accept as one of those things that happen and no one can do anything about it. She will reveal to her people that the road will be cut off because they won’t be able to push it further away from the woods. The trees will grow on the trail and the town of Iris will be cut off from civilization, same from the lakeside. They will be prisoners of the forest. And one day, they will all disappear because of it. And even then, they won’t say a word because that’s they way they are.