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

viernes, 17 de noviembre de 2017

Cry of death

   When rain came down the forest, it scrapped off the first layer of every tree. This gave the trees a really scary look, as if they were bleeding from their whole body. It was the reality of the world now, where acid rain had gotten worse. Plants and animals were having a very difficult time surviving the new state of things. In other parts it wasn’t much better. There was sand where there used to be farmland and many islands had disappeared far from the continents. It was a new world.

 Gaby was one of the many women that had decided to form a team to go into the forest every day in the morning in order to pick up as many fruits and mushrooms as they could. They were rare and fragile, so they needed the soft and delicate hands to pick them up from the ground or grab them from the tallest branches. The men, as always, had been doubtful of the enterprise at first but they eventually came around when noticing that everyone had to work in order to survive.

 Even children helped by fishing from the streams or picking up berries that were far more resilient that other fruits and would usually grow close to their camps. They had changed, as humanity had done before, into a nomad kind of people. They would built small towns from old plastics and some wood and stay in the same place for at least six months, at most a year. After that, they scouted for new places to live and then they would just move out, all at once, to start again.

 Gaby had been one of the first women in the morning team and she had already learned the many ways of the new forest. They carried books to check if what they were picking up could be eaten or not and they soon learned that many of the fruits that humanity had enjoyed for a long time, were now extinct. Mostly tropical fruits, but also plants that needed a calmer weather to survive. Maybe they still lived in other places of the planet but that seemed almost impossible.

 Animals, on the other hand, were rare now. Some smaller ones could be seen sometimes when walking around the forest such as rats and squirrels. They were resilient little creatures. But the tall trees had been deprived of other mammals such as monkeys and finding a bird was almost impossible. Their beautiful chants had been silenced. Nature clearly had no place for such delicate creatures anymore. It was a reminder that humanity’s days could be over sooner than expected. But people would still try to live another day, one step at a time.

 Gaby had actually discovered a small woodpecker she had found in the tallest branch of a tree, after picking up some chestnuts she had discovered by accident. She knew for a fact that many of the children and elders would love to eat such a strange thing but it was then when she saw the little bird, with a broken wing. She looked at it for a long time until one of her teammates called from her from the ground. Gaby opened her small bag and put the bird inside, hoping it wouldn’t make a noise.

 This has to be explained further. As bird reminded humans that their immediate future could be extinction, running into a bird wherever they went would be seen as a bad omen. People still had those strange beliefs that came out of nowhere. They were normally things based only on fear and feeling related to such contempt for things alien to ourselves. Birds became a sign of death and an undesirable future, so people left them to die when they found one, never minding the greater meaning of life.

 When she hit the ground, Gaby still had the chestnuts in her hand. She put them fast inside the bag and kept to her work for the rest of the morning. Some black clouds of rain loomed over them and it was decided they should be back home as soon as possible as they had neglected to bring special covers that resisted the acid in the rain. They made it in time and realized the men had also arrived, which was extremely uncommon as they normally spend their days in caves or deep in the forest, where the rain had trouble reaching them.

 They were all reunited in the biggest house in the camp, which was normally used for important matters. As rain started to fall, the men told the women that they had found something very strange in the forest. The women listened in silence, as the men told them they had discovered an abandoned power plant. They had investigated inside the place and, apparently, it was in perfect condition. It generated energy using the waters of a small lake, enclosed by a huge concrete wall.

 That was the problem. The rain, that was making a horrible roaring sound, was the one causing the huge wall to have small holes all over. This made the whole basin below a very dangerous place to stay and it was there they had been living for at least four months. The concrete wall could break at any moment so it was imperative to escape the basin to another place. For the last two years they had been following the same river, slowly, but it was clear they needed to travel further this time in order to find a proper place to live permanently, as nomadism was not sustainable.

 The women had taking advantage of this story in order to leave the food they had found in small pile in the center of the house. It was clearly not enough for everyone but they had all grown accustomed to the lack of food. It was then when Gaby remembered the woodpecker in her bag and checked on it for a bit, when everyone was looking at the men telling the story. She kept a chestnut for it and tried to close the bag as well as she could in order for the small bird to be kept a secret.

 Everyone agreed that it was necessary to leave for another place as a tragedy could happen anytime. They decided to pick up everything they could grab with them and start walking as soon as they rain had stop. Not everyone had fabric to protect themselves from the rain, but those who did decided to go back to their houses and prepare for the evacuation. Gaby was one of those, and she ran as fast as she could in order to properly check on her bird. She lived with other girls her age, but they didn’t mind her closing her door when she entered.

 She finally put out the little bird and noticed it was still trying to flap its broken wing. However, it seemed a little happier than before, maybe because it had eaten half the chestnut she had left for it inside the bag. She looked at it very close and the bird seemed to do the same. They kept their silence, only breathing slowly and moving their eyes from one place to the other. She was amazed to see how bright its feathers were and how small it was. But she knew it had to be different before.

 She took a book from her bookshelf and opened it in a page about birds. Although there was no picture of a woodpecker, it showed a similar bird and stated it was at least twice as big as they one that was curling up on her bed. It looked really cute right there, looking at her at closing its eyes, visibly tired but also happy to have had something to eat. It seemed so fragile, a little bit as the children of the small town who had no spark in their eyes anymore, just a glaring sad look.

 Then, Gaby heard footsteps nearby. She looked at the window and realized there was no more rain on the other side. Just in time, she grabbed the small bird and put it inside her bag, along with a few other things from her shelf, which made her seemed worried when other girls entered the room.


 An hour later, a large group of people was crossing the woods. They thought they had been able to escape their doom but then a strange sound was heard all over the woods, which made the woodpecker cry for the first time. It was a clear cry of death.

lunes, 2 de octubre de 2017

The tower

   When Samuel woke up, the first thing he felt was the stone cold floor of the tower. It was made out of huge rocks that had probably being recovered from the river down below. The sounds that the water made stumbling down from the mountain could not be heard at such heights. The cold wind blew and he was finally awake to see the horror of his situation. He had been trapped and put in a tower, far away from anyone that would be able to ever rescue him from his ordeal.

 Before losing his consciousness, he remembered a gentle smile and green bright eyes. He almost remembered huge yellow eyes and fire. But nothing else. Only those four things and when he put them together in his mind, they didn’t make any sense at all. It was as if he had many fragments of one story in his head but not the whole thing. He could put them in any order and try to make sense out of it, but it was useless. Even if he came up with the right idea, he wouldn’t know it.

 After waking up, he walked to the balcony and saw the land beneath the tower. There was an immense forest, larger than any he had ever seen or heard of. His motherland was located near the ocean. He had seen mountains only from afar and now he was surrounded by them. He had water so close he would fish every single day with his friends, for his parents and the townspeople in general. Now, the river was only a glistening thread that sometimes shone beneath the trees.

 Sam walked back to the tower’s interior and saw his new kingdom: a straw carpet on the center of the room, a bookshelf with many dusty volumes, a large wooden table with some fruit going bad on a basket on top, a chair, and a something resembling a bed but much smaller. It was uncomfortable even looking at it. Only one pillow and one thin blanket on top. It wouldn’t be enough for the nights on such a high place. The final touch was two doors: one half broken, going to the terrace, and the other made of solid metal, leading elsewhere.

 He ran to the metal door. He tried to push and hit and kick the door. But nothing happened. It wouldn’t even make a sound. It was just there, impervious, being the frontier between his cell and the rest of the world. He banged at the door, crying and yelling, desperate all of a sudden after realizing some mad man had imprisoned him. He begged for his life and for his sanity but no one came. He put one of his ears against the cold metal but couldn’t hear anything besides the wind. He was probably alone in that damned tower.

 Samuel tried to look for something else around the room, something to help him, but there was nothing there than what he had already seen at first glance. It was just that room, with those objects. No magic or mystical thing behind it all. For a moment, he had felt like one of those imprisoned damsels on children’s stories. But his situation was far worse than what those ladies had gone through. His captor was not even there. And he only had bad fruit to eat and nothing to drink.

 He decided to grab an apple and bite a chunk out of it. He felt the need of food in his stomach and maybe it would be best for him to think with a somewhat filled stomach. But he ended up eating the whole apple. In his rage against himself, Sam threw the apple’s heart over the balcony, and looked how it fell several meters before disappearing among the trees. After he saw that, he started crying and sobbing. He was going to die for sure and he had no way to ask anyone for help.

 Night fell soon enough. He closed the wrecked wooden door but it was useless, as the freezing gusts of wind entered through the huge cracks. He got into bed, with all of his clothes on, and just lay there, trying not to fell the cold that pierced through the thin blanket. Besides, it was too short, so either his feet would froze or his chest. He decided to get up and use some of the bigger books on the shelf to cover his feet. They were more dust than paper but his idea worked. However, the sadness he felt prevented him from falling asleep quickly.

 From afar, he heard the noises made by the forest. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the faces of his family and friends, his adventures to the beach and how he was congratulated for a week after having caught the largest lobster ever in that area. He had been so proud and had provided for his family for a whole month because of that feat. The pride lit his heart and that made the perfect temperature to fall asleep and visit his home in his dreams. He needed it badly.

 As he dreamt, he saw the yellow eyes again and the fire but he also remembered something more: a laugh. Soft, almost imperceptible, but capable to chill every single fiber of one’s being. The laughter wouldn’t stop. It got louder and louder and louder. Until the green eyes appeared, the sound of metal was heard and everything became silent and peaceful again. Then, saw a smile and felt his heart filling with heat again. But this time it wasn’t pride that was doing the job. It was something much more powerful. It was love.

Samuel woke up all of a sudden. He had felt so good but then something had changed and his eyes just opened. But no one was in that place with him. He was still alone and the wind was still entering through the rotten door. But it was day outside. Not only that. His blanket had been replaced with a thicker and larger one, with many bright colors all over. And the moldy fruit was replaced with baked goodies and fresh fruit. The books though, were still as dusty as before.

 It was obvious someone had entered the room. He stood up in the middle of the room, looking for more changes, and he realized he had overlooked something very obvious: he wasn’t wearing his boots anymore. Those were outside, the sun shining bright over them. And his vest had been put on the chair next to the table, nicely folded. He could finally spot something, the only thing, out of place in the whole room: a pair of wool socks made into a ball, on the bookshelf.

 He walked towards it and grabbed the ball but, just when he did it, a piece of paper fell down to the floor. The bad thing was that the damn wind pulled it over to the balcony and through the biggest crack on the wooden door. Sam raced after the paper and was able to catch it just as it was flying over the edge of the structure. He pulled back so hard out of fear that he fell on his behind, hitting the stone floor hard. He couldn’t get up so fast, so he decided to read the note first.

 It was short and very concise. It read: “Nights are cold. P”. That was it. Nothing more. No explanation of who the person was or why he or she had imprisoned Samuel on that tower. Nothing more than a kind thought made into a pair of woolen socks. They were new and Sam learned they worked wonders in order to try to keep the cold at bay. But it was a pain in the butt not to know who had been there to leave that present. Not even the actual pain could put his mind to rest.

 The man from the coast stayed in that tower for a long time and each night, new food and objects would appear out of nowhere. Sometimes, he would get a new book; some other times it was board games he could play by himself. He even got more clothes, all which fit perfectly.


 In time, he learned to live in the tower. He doubted his host less and loss until, one day; he eventually met the person who had put him there. And the first thing he did was to cry. And then, he looked at the horizon, and knew exactly what to do.

viernes, 9 de octubre de 2015

He was just here

   Raymond felt he sand between his toes and just kept on walking, not even realizing he was walking towards the ocean. To him, it didn’t matter anymore. His life was stuck on a loop and he had lived what he needed to live. He felt there was nothing more he could do or that he could get out of life on Earth. He had decided to think things by taking a walk and, unknowingly, his subconscious had already decided that it was time to end it all. The water reached his pants fast, and then his underwear. Then his belt, his shirt and finally his glasses. The current and the sheer strength of the ocean did the rest, taking his body from that cold, windy beach to the bottom of the ocean, from where no one would be able to take it for some time.

 He wasn’t someone people would miss and, although the ocean released the body, the police didn’t identify him for several months, as no one would ask for him. When they finally did identify the body as Raymond Bloom, it happened just because of a casual matter and not because someone was looking for him. The truth was he had no wife, no children, no parents and no friends. According to the information an officer was able to gather, he had lived alone for at least twenty years in a small attic on a very old building. The place smelled awful, as no one even knew the owner was dead. The officer found there some leads on who the man was and, maybe, on why he had done what he had done.

 Officer Jenny Marshall was one of those people who believe the best of every single person. It was strange for a cop to have such an attitude towards life but there she was, trying to cheer people up and making the best of her day every single day. She had been transferred recently and it was only the second post she had held ever so she wasn’t really assigned to the streets or to some interesting investigations. Jenny normally did the paperwork for every case and was in charge of keeping the archives in order, something she took very seriously. Deep down, she knew that her male counterparts loved to see her tie down to a job that didn’t lead anywhere but she ignored that fact and just did her work.

 Investigating the death of Raymond was assigned to her because she requested it. She told her boss she wanted to change her work a little and such a case would be perfect for her. After all, it seemed pretty straightforward and she could even do all the paperwork herself. So she convinced her boss and there she was on Raymond’s apartment, pinching her nose to avoid the foul smell of rotten food and trying to uncover the reason why he had committed suicide. To Penny, personally, it was not clear how a person could do such a thing. For her, life was sacred and no one had the right to take their own, even if they felt helpless and desperate. She knew there were always better options.

 She went through Raymond’s things and discovered that he had been published. The books did not look very nice on the outside but then she decided to sit down on the bed and just read one of the many stories the man had written in them. One was particularly moving; dealing with a ghost that saw how his childhood home was tore down to build an apartment building. She found very interesting but very sad too. She kept on looking for clues on Raymond’s house but she realize the only thing worth looking in there was his books so she put them all in boxes and took them to the station. She would try to find something in them and get to the bottom of the case, that way making everyone realize she could be a great agent and even a decent detective.

 Jenny started ready every single one of Raymond’s stories at work. No one really said anything to her because she wasn’t annoying anyone and she was doing her main job, which was taking care of the all the data. As she did that and on her free time, she would only read and read everything. Months passed until she had read every single piece of writing in Raymond’s apartment.  It was winter now and the last words she read from him where strangely appropriate for the climate: “I feel the cool breeze coming and telling me it’s time to go”. That was a short story about a man radically different from Raymond, with family and love all around him.

 The officer decided to let the case go for a while, so she went home and spent the holidays with her parents and her boyfriend and every other family member that had decided to come to the city for Christmas. She had a wonderful time eating and talking and dancing. She laughed a lot and wished for life only to be like that, full of joy and people whom you loved and who loved you. She realized Raymond’s writing had begun to depress her a bit but her family and all the love and special mood of the season brought back to her the best feelings and that nice warmth that only love can take to someone’s heart. And then, right in the Christmas dinner, she understood what had happened to Raymond.

 He had killed himself, not because he was weak or suffering in a too awful way. He died because he was alone; he had no one to take care of him or to even listen to what he had to say. And that was obvious just by reading what he wrote, as he said everything about anything he had ever thought about in life. It was amazing to read about so many things, but funny and serious, happy and sad, short and extremely long. His writing had been the way for him to externalize every single thing he had bottled up inside, as he ad never had anyone to properly talk and share his thoughts with. He had been trapped by his own life or, at least that’s what Jenny thought. Even if he was to blame, he had no choice.

 When the holidays ended, she wrote her report on the death of Raymond Bloom and decided to properly request her transference to the detective’s unit. She knew she could do more there and when her demand wasn’t accepted, she resigned the police. Jenny had learned from investigating Raymond that she needed to do with her life as she wanted, she couldn’t afford not living and not doing what her heart demanded of her. She didn’t want to end up like Raymond, all alone and talking to the books because there’s no one there. Unappreciated by the world and ignored to the point when, at her death, no one would ever think of grieving her. She wanted more from life and, eventually, she got it.

 Raymond’s books were donated to a public library and it was almost two years later when Jenny saw Ray’s name on the news. She was working with the FBI and now had a partner and was properly working the field. But during the investigation of a case, she saw the headline and bought the newspaper to find out what it was all about. Apparently, a book expert had been investigating the libraries of the cities looking for antiquities and particular books and so on. He had discovered Raymond, who had been an unknown author all his life, and declared he was one of the best storywriter he had ever found. He didn’t know that Ray was dead but he did know something else that Jenny didn’t: Ray hadn’t been as alone as she had thought.

 According to the article, the man had found several letters in the apartment Raymond had lived in, now turned into a posh flat. During the reforms on the place, they had found several letters and the expert had read them, discovering he had owned a dog for a long time and that he had died just about the time the author had stopped writing. Besides the dog, he had been in love with someone he described thoroughly in his letters, every physical aspect and some traits of characters. The letters, with such richness and passion, ended up being edited into a book that sold millions of copies, making the expert a rich man.

 Jenny was sad that Raymond had not been there to enjoy his fame and fortune. They eventually discovered he had committed suicide and that made his letters and all his books even more popular. Eventually, there was no one that didn’t know the name of the author and his tragic story. Jenny had thought, for a moment, that she had known the author but she realized she never did. She realized that no one had ever known him properly. He had been in love, that man who felt so alone and so sad. He had experienced life and life had not experienced him and Jenny felt that he finally understood why he had done what he had done. It was clear as water and she wouldn’t argue with it.


 Raymond became famous, as well as his views on life and his pain, which was painted all over his letters. But no one would ever know him as he was already gone and everyone had lost the chance to tell him “I’m here”.

martes, 30 de septiembre de 2014

Breath In, Breath Out

Brenda had been going to the doctor for a year now. She had discovered she suffered anxiety and depression and they told her that she should be medicated and doing special exercises to be calm.

She went to yoga class, two hours every day. There, she tried hard to do the exercises correctly but the truth was that Brenda had never really exercised in her life, at least if you don't count walking the city looking for a job as a sport.

She had been jobless for a year and her health problems, or should we say mental issues, were to blame. Brenda had a crisis one day, punching herself, yelling, screaming and attempting to jump from a balcony. So she was fired.

Her parents, already disappointed that their daughter had not found a suitable husband, found her problems to be the last drop in their glasses. So they just sent her money and try to help her that way.

Besides yoga class, she had to attend a psychiatrist. This, she hated. The woman would only sit there and let her talk for a whole hour, an expensive hour. Brenda would have dropped out if her doctor wasn't like a falcon, watching her every move.

Sometimes, she would only tell the psychiatrist what she had dreamt. She found out that an hour could pass fairly faster if the woman had to decipher dreams, all of which had apparently the same theme: her suicidal thoughts.

Brenda had only thought of that option at that time. She had been cheated on, she was miserable at her job and meeting her friends proved to be a difficult task.

She had only three females friends from school. They would reunite at least once a month to chat about the new and exciting things they were going through. That was precisely what Brenda hated: as she was not banging anyone and her job as assistant archivist was not precisely movie material, she would always spend those meetings in silence or fake smiling and laughing at the precise moments.

It was not that Brenda had not had her share of fun. She had indeed: sleeping with men and going on interesting vacations. But they were anecdotes that one could only repeat once or twice, before they became annoying to others and hurtful to herself.

The psychiatrist once asked about sex. "What about it?", Brenda replied. She hadn't done it in a year and a half and the last time the man she had done it with had cheated. She had enjoyed, during college, the crazy sex nights. It didn't happen often but she had her fun. But when she liked someone for real, Brenda was always honest. But honesty was not a quality most men found appealing, or so it appeared.

Love was this mystical being for her, like a unicorn. Very few people actually see it and there's the strong possibility one would never see it in this lifetime.

Religion? Another fun question. Of course she wasn't religious. She just couldn't. Temples, of all denominations,  made her nervous. It was this overwhelming aura that felt too much to carry on your own and the words were simply not helpful.

After her breakdown, Brenda hid herself in books. Adventure and science fiction, as they were her favorites. They told stories of worlds that didn't existed, that could not exist. And she liked that very much.

Brenda lived alone, only with a dog named Luna who was her only real friend and companion. Luna had licked her wounds of self hatred and would always sleep beside Brenda as she read a book. The dog, ironically, was a gift of a college flirt that she had never had anything with, besides smiling and having small silly talks.

What she liked best was that moment after you put your book down, pull the covers up and wonder about the world in the darkness of your room. She would imagine a life that would make her happy: writing her own stories and becoming famous, sharing her thoughts with people, having a beautiful house with Luna and a special male friend.
He would take her hand often, kiss her in the most unexpected moments and comfort her when she would fall into the pit of her mind.

Brenda would often go to sleep just like that. And then, the next day, she would realize the world is not made of fulfilled wishes but of an almost endless effort to be a bit more happy.