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

lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Deadland

   The mask Arnold was wearing was very tight around his head. It was a very uncomfortable thing to wear but it was the safest way to cross such a horrible place. The Deadland, as some had named it, was a huge marsh land that had always been there but, all of a sudden, had begun to grow and occupy more and more territory. Of course, this happened after the war, a time in which a faction had used the marshland as a hiding place for themselves and all their weapons, including experimental ones.

 It was rumored that an explosion had occurred a few months before hostilities had ended. The problem was, no one could really tell if such an explosion had happened. Some of the elders from nearby towns, people who used to get in their boats and fish on the canals crossing the marshland, were the ones that told the rest of the world about the explosion. As many satellites had been rendered useless in the fight, there was no way to confirm what they had seen or any detail related to it.

 According to the general story, a roaring sound preceded the actual explosion. Some said it was like a gigantic lion roaring in pain or a panther, about to attack its prey. They all agreed that the earth shook violently afterwards and that the water in the canals rose in the most dangerous manner. Some even said they had fallen of their boats. A mushroom cloud then rose from the marshland and it had a very specific feature to it: it was very elongated and the color of a ripe plum.

 The elders said the cloud rose to the sky for several days, until it apparently dropped back again to the ground. It was very strange that, if that was the case, no one had the idea of taking a picture. A woman on the other side of the marshland tried to show Arnold and his team a picture she had allegedly taken but it was as blurry as those UFO pictures people used to believe were real. The woman was obviously in need of much needed attention, so they left telling her she was right about everything.

 Penetrating into the marshland had not been the first idea of the government but, after testing the air and water, it seemed the place was really changing fast in a chemical way, at the very least. The toxicity had grown so fast, that some people had died when passing by the marshland and not even entering. That was what made the government decide to send the team inside and not only collect proof of how that ecosystem was growing and, at the same time, seemed to be poisoning itself by the minute. It was very important to know what was going on.

 Arnold’s team was made up of only five people. The military had sent their representative, as well as one from the department of National Security and another from the Ministry of the Environment. The other two people were him and his assistant Linda, who had asked repeatedly if she could join the team. She had always had a certain obsession with fungus and mold and every toxic thing in the world and she wanted to be a part of the team that went inside that awful place.

 They did so one morning, after eating a very light breakfast. They all put on their masks and carried a backpack, which was half a tank of oxygen and half scientific equipment. Even the military guy had to carry computers and other things to test plants and, if they found any, animals. He carried a large assault rifle and a gun on his thigh, which was clearly excessive. If he misfired or anything bad happened, guns would not be a match for toxins. But he didn’t seem to mind that detail.

 The place was flooded with water and it was right there when they found the first traces of heavy toxicity: the bodies of several small mammals floated all around them. There were rats and raccoons and also squirrels. Many tiny corpses of little colorful birds floated there too and it was clear the possibility of anything surviving such a catastrophe was not very high. They moved on, trying to find dryer land but they couldn’t. So they took out the inflatable boat and paddles and moved on.

 They had decided against bringing a boat with an engine because of the noise it made and because its movement could cause some unwanted reaction in the water. The best idea was not to disturb the environment, even if it was doomed for a prompt death. The woman from the Department of National Security was one of the two people paddling, slowly through the maze of trees and many other plants. It was her who gasped and made everyone look to the side. The boat stopped.

 There was a tree there, which was not very unusual. But what made them open their mouths in disbelief was that it was twice or maybe three times the size a normal tree was. This wasn’t a red oak forest or anything like it. Most trees in these parts would only grow to three or four meters, at most. But that one was huge and, not only that, it featured some of the brightest colors any of them had ever seen. It was almost as if the tree was glowing right there, during the day, with the sun very high in the sky. But it wasn’t. It was a strange mutation, result of some kind of event.

 Arnold began to realize that all reports about an explosion had to be true. Only a cataclysmic event of that magnitude could explain the strange changes that were now obvious all around them. Because there were not only dead animals and colorful trees, also huge bushes that had once been as tall as a medium sized dog and water that seemed to be colored blue. The scariest part of it all was when, out of nowhere, a bird flew from a tree and flew above their head, making them spent more oxygen that they should have.

 The creature was not only bigger than a normal bird from a swamp; it had also developed new features in its body. As a scientist, both Arnold and Linda knew that any other scientist would be thrilled to visit such a place, once they knew about the change that has been done. Mankind had been the one to blame here, that much was true. No creature evolves from one day to the next. So Arnold proposed a slight change of course, in order to look for the source of the explosion and any remains that could exist.

 After several hours of paddling, in which each person did a shift, they didn’t seem to find anything knew. According to their devices, they were about to hit the northern border of the growing marshland, which wasn’t where they wanted to go at all. They needed to go deeper, to the center of the whole ecosystem in order to see for themselves if there was some kind of remnant of the bomb or whatever it was that caused the explosion. It was essential to find the key to explain the existence of such a place.

 The boat moved around several canals and, finally, they seemed to be where they wanted. However, the sun was beginning to descend and that meant they had little time to go around and look for any evidence. Besides, their oxygen tanks weren’t eternal and there was no way to survive that place without them. Arnold descended from the boat and asked for the military guy to accompany him. His weapons could be of use after all. It was not a place to be taking things lightly.

They had barely started their walk when a roaring sound came from beneath the canal, not the trees. Something resembling a tree branch, but much thicker and mobile, appeared from beneath the boat, knocking it out of the way and sending its passengers flying.


 Linda fell close to the men and the other woman swam fast to the edge of trees where she could be rescued. However, the fifth member of the team was impaled by the branch, after he had landed on a nearby mangrove. They couldn’t scream, just run, hoping that thing wasn’t able to follow them.

viernes, 25 de agosto de 2017

Recurrent dream

   I like lying on my bed every morning for a while, after I wake up. I clean my eyes and walk around naked for a while around my room, trying to decide what to do next. And what I always do is just lying there, watching the rood or staring at the window. Not that I’m actually using my eyes right there, I instead imagine another world, another place. I do that because, every single morning, I feel this is not my life. I feel my real self is somewhere else, living through something very difficult.

 It often happens that when I dream, I see this man in one room. It’s always the same room. I can see a bridge through the window and there are two beds, very neatly made. Everything is clean and there are also plushies everywhere. The man that I see sitting on one of the beds, the one nearest to the window, is not really the age one would think someone would have if you saw all those plushies and toys and several other stuff. It seems he’s stuck there, in that place, who knows for how long.

 I stared at him for so many nights. The dream was always the same and it would dissolve into my usual slumber after only a few minutes. It never lasted long so I couldn’t really pick up many details. After a while, I trained myself to be more aware of the dreams and try to really look around. The first thing I discovered was a teddy bear and that image stayed with me for long. Last Christmas, I even made the mistake of remembering the bear as if it had been mine, only I never had a bear.

 Oddly enough, my mother told me I almost had one. My grandfather had plans to buy one the day I was born, in order for him to be the first person to ever give me a gift. He wanted to have a strong presence in my life and he had decided a bear, carefully made and wearing a red shirt, would be the way to do it. Sadly, my grandfather had a heart attack some days before my birth, so he never got to buy the bear and I never got to meet him. That was the first time I had heard the story and it gave me chills.

 So, of course, I kept trying to figure out the recurring dream I had been having. But, for months, I was stuck in the same place every time. I saw the bear and then, when I turned my head towards the man, I instantly blacked out and then moved on to another dream. Well, to be honest, the first few times it happened I would wake up in terror, sweating and just too scared to go back to sleep any time soon. Those nightmares gave me dark marks under my eyes but I countered those by choosing to jog at night around my neighborhood, a very quiet place to think.

 I would come back sweaty and tired, ready to go to bed without any disturbance in my head or in my life. But the nuisance was there nevertheless. The dream returned a few days after and I just managed to handle it the best I could. I tried hard to discover anything new but it didn’t go anywhere. So I just decided to play a layback role every time, hoping my unconscious mind would get bored of playing the same dream over and over again. But it didn’t. It kept insisting.

 My parents entrusted me with a very large company, the main one in their corporation. It was started many years before by my grandparents and I just try to keep it going forward. We manage various companies dealing with trade and that makes my job very challenging but very fulfilling at the same time. I have been able to visit half of the world and I have learned so many things, even more than the ones I learned back in college, where I graduated with honors. I had always excelled.

 In my family, every single person trusts me with their lives, their secrets and their money. Every time there’s a problem somewhere, they call me to fix it or at least to call someone else to fix it. Since my high school days I have been connecting with various people around the globe and I have now an enormous network of friends and family in every single corner of the planet. Everywhere my jet lands, I have someone doing a party for me or at least treating me to dinner.

 Maybe it’s the dream, but I have found myself thinking what would my life be like if I hadn’t let this life. I think I would be fine. Maybe not rich but I would like to think that I would be as driven and smart as I am right now. I even think I would be just as much as attractive physically and socially as I am now. I have learned not to be ashamed of myself or of my various assets. I have made efforts in my life so I think it’s ok to let people now I’m very proud of everything I am and what I’ve done.

 That man in the dream seems worried. He’s not very well dressed and, to be honest, he looks bored to death. I cannot really make up his face entirely. I mostly see his body, like a shape, sitting there on the bed. It was a long time after I started having the dreams when I realized the man was actually moving the whole time. He seems to be writing, typing something on a laptop computer in front of him. The night I discover that fact I woke up tremendously excited because there had finally been a breakthrough. Whatever that was, it was going somewhere.

 You may not understand this, but I need to feel I’m always in control. I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak or something that crazy. The thing is I like to understand everything that happens around me, even if I’m not very familiar with whatever it might be. That’s why, when I travel, I try to meet locals and I ask them many questions in order to better understand their culture and their states of mind. It’s a unique way to understand a whole country, in order to do proper business.

 That’s why I cannot stand that I have the same dream every night and I cannot see or get what’s happening. I even got to a psychiatrist in order for him to explain what’s up with my head but he told me it was a pretty normal thing and that, once it resolves itself, it will simply go away as if nothing had ever happened. Normally, I would never doubt a professional but something tells me this is something else, this is maybe something much more powerful and convoluted than I thought.

 Then, Camilla came to my apartment. She does that frequently. Sometimes I go to her place and sometimes she comes to mine. My family has been pushing me to ask her to marry me but I cannot seem to find the time to do it. She’s very beautiful and entertaining, she has even heard every single detail about my dreams and has tried to help me find a solution. But something tells me I shouldn’t make that big step until I solve whatever is going around my head. It feels important.

 The last time she came, however, something changed. The dream happened as always but, when I was supposed to wake up, I finally got to see him. The man actually raised his face towards me and looked at my eyes with his, which were sad, kind of red. Then I woke up. I was sweating again. I got up as silently as I could, walked to the kitchen, and had some water. I was trembling a bit and my breathing was off. I tried to calm myself, trying to remind my mind it had been just a dream.

 I just realized the man I had been seeing in my dreams, for so long, was me. Those eyes were mine, that face was mine. Every detail was a copy of my real self. He looked sad, despaired and hopeless. I felt all of that inside me and I guess that’s what made me shake so much.


 However, what scared me the most was the fact that I got to see, through his eyes, what he was doing on the laptop. It happens he was writing. It was a short story and it was how, every so often, he had a dream about being someone else, having a much better life than the one he had.

miércoles, 5 de abril de 2017

Experiment

   Suddenly, it was as if all the oxygen in the room had been extracted. David started coughing and then his knees made his body collapsed to the floor, unable to hold him any longer. He felt as if his weight was three times as much. The room around him, well lit only seconds before, suddenly became a dark place, more like a cave than a normal hotel bedroom. He tried to inhale through the nose but it didn’t work. He opened his mouth wide but that didn’t do anything either.

 If that was possible, his brain was hurting. It was as if someone was burning it inside of his skull. The coughing continued, with his hands against the floor, trying to breather once again. But nothing happened. That was what people in space must feel like when they have a bad space suit or when the ship is not working properly. His head started spinning and, in a matter of a few more seconds, David fell completely to one side, closing his eyes, stopping his attempts to breath.

 Hours later, he woke up. He wasn’t dead, which was good. He had a mask over his face, apparently supplying him all the oxygen he needed. His head was still spinning, but David tried to make sense of where he was. He looked to the right and saw nothing more than a table full of operating tools. The wall was made of metal and there didn’t seem to be any windows in the room. To the left, there was a door, also made of metal, in the middle of the wall. There was some sort of sound coming from the other side.

 In the right moment, David closed his eyes and tried to breath normally. The sounds he had heard were voices and they were apparently discussing him. As they entered the room, they commented on the health of the subject, that probably meaning him. For their tones, he could infer one of them was a woman and the other a man. They walked around him, probably staring at his body, sometimes saying something interesting and some other times just walking.

 One of them touched David in the head and it had required a lot from him in order not to scream. He didn’t really know why, but the touch of that person had triggered a horrible headache. It was as if he or she had fire on the tip of the chosen finger. They left after doing that, probably expecting to have an instant reaction and instead not getting anything. But as soon as they left, David opened his eyes, touched his head and realized it was still burning. Or at least that’s how it felt, as if he had been marked like cattle by however those people were.

 The point was, he didn’t want to know what else they had prepared for him. He stood up, got down the table he had been laid on and walked to the door. No sounds were coming from the other side so he opened it and ran out. There was a very long corridor but he just chose a direction in the moment and started running. Soon, he had to stop. All of a sudden, he felt very tired and the headache threatened to make a comeback, which wouldn’t help him at all right then.

 He was then more careful, walking along the hallway until he saw another door, which he opened. It was a closet. He was a about to close it when he realized there were several robes there, the kind doctors use. He hadn’t seen the people that had entered the room he was in, but they possibly had those robes on. So he entered the closet and put one over his body. He then realized that he wasn’t wearing his shirt, only his pants and shoes. It was very strange but he didn’t have an answer for that.

 David came out of the closet and started walking again, this time with a faster pace but without really running. He finally found a crossroads and it was there, from the distance, where he saw other people in robes, checking on some papers. The hallway they were standing on was much shorter, as on the other side there was a massive room, very white and bright. He would have wanted to know what that was all about but the real goal was to get out of there fast, before they noticed he had escaped.

 He checked at least five more doors along the way, finding only rooms just like the one he had been in and more closets. Finally, he ended up in a tiny open space, that had a very different door, this one made of glass, with one of those machines on the side were you put a card for the door to open. Obviously he had no card and he had no idea how to make the door open. His breathing started accelerating and, even as he tried to calm down, it didn’t work at all. It was as if something was inside of him.


 Suddenly, several men and women with robes surrounded David, as he collapsed on the floor completely. The headache was getting stronger. But instead of helping him to a bed or something, the people were just watching and using instruments to measure something over his body. They waved those things over him but then someone else appeared. Someone who’s voiced he recognized. But he couldn’t raise his head to look at the person, as the pain had grown too strong. David finally collapsed and the last thing he heard were the words “It was a success”.

viernes, 20 de enero de 2017

Interview

   That elevator ride fell as if it was going to last forever. I don’t really know if it stopped in every single floor but it really did seem to. My hands and my legs kept shaking and I was failing miserably in trying to control them. I was very nervous. I also kept cleaning the sweat off my hand with my pants, which wasn’t the best idea to have when going to an interview. At one point, I felt I was going to faint. The people there with me seemed completely oblivious to my personal struggle.

 When I finally got to my floor, after every other was gone, my legs seemed to be unwilling to help me anymore. Only a few step away from the elevator, I felt I couldn’t walk anymore My feet actually hurt and trying to move my body was very challenging. I have no idea how, but somehow I got myself to the reception, which was very close by. A woman heard my name and told me to wait in a seating area. Around me, other people were also waiting, all younger than me.

 I felt as if I wanted to run away from that place. When I checked every single face in that room, I realized I was way over my head. I had come thee looking for a job but these people were clearly much better for it than me. I even bet that some of them had much more experience than I and had even already worked somewhere else before. Their resume was quite possibly a long list of names, which they could put in there as a reference, from a clothing store to a big multinational company.

 I had my resume in folder I had brought and I instinctively wanted to check if I had put everything that was worth written on it but then remembered there wasn’t that much to tell, so I refrained from looking at it and instead tried to force my eyes to focus on the window that was very close by. It wasn’t easy to look out through it but it was much better to stare and try to imagine and quieter world than attempting to breathe normally with the typical methods that had never had a any real results. Looking through the window was my way to escape.

 I needed to do it if I wanted to keep breathing. The only way to make myself relax was to imagine a wide array of situations that could happen inside that waiting room or outside of it. It didn’t really matter. The point was that t all had to be happening around me, so the false memory, the invention, was all about making me feel like someone I wasn’t, at least for some time until I realized I was being childish and I needed to breathe a little and just move on. The thing was that it wasn’t always as easy as it sounds.

 Suddenly, the woman called my name. She told me to go through a door and then walk down an aisle to another door marked “Human resources”. My interview would be taking place in that office. Before leaving the waiting room, I had a brief eye contact with another guy waiting there and I have to say the only thing I could see n his eyes was fear. He seemed really terrified somehow and I kept thinking about him even after the interview was over, many hours later.

 I walked slowly towards the office and when I finally got there, no one was waiting for me. The place was empty so I had to check if I was in the right place. I was. The best thing to do was to wait outside, by the door. The person that was going to do the interview had to be very close by, so there was nothing to worry. However, I was shaking so much that my teeth started to make a very annoying noise that I had to try really hard to suppress. This was definitely not my element.

 The person finally got there and it was a woman. I was a little bit disappointed because I thought a man was going to ask me the questions. I’m not saying one is better than the other in the workplace but it is a fact that men are typically less harsh in interviews, unless you get a guy that had more in common with a buffalo than with an actual human male. But whatever, anything can happen so I just sat down, as she did on the other side of the table. The room seemed to have gone smaller.

 There was also a very particular scent but I couldn’t really point at what it was. She was really trying to be very nice and that was good because I felt my hands shaking much less than before. However, she started talking about work and about many things I had no idea about. She kept talking and talking and I just nodded at some of her comments and then answer some questions she threw from time to time. It was kind of hard to follow what she was saying but I did my best to do so.

 At one point, she stopped short and offered me a beverage. My bladder was full because of how nervous I was so it wasn’t an option to start drinking water or whatever she offered. The other reason I refused was because my throat felt closed to anything trying to go in. Every time I spoke, I had to clear my throat because it felt as if I was waking around the Sahara desert. She clearly noticed something about me but didn’t comment on it and I was very grateful she decided not to ask. My feet kept moving and my hands kept sweating profusely.

 She then asked me for my resume and I handed it to her. She looked through it for a couple of seconds and then put it on a huge pile I had neglected to see. At least some fifty other resumes had to be there, waiting for something that would probably never happen. She talked to me then and I feel like she said some important things but I wasn’t listening at all. The sight of that pile made me realized that I was fooling myself, that everyone was fooling themselves with this charade.

 I had no idea why I did it. I had never done anything remotely similar. I would normally just wait until the person was finished to say something, if I did because most of the time I was just a zombie that shook hands and maybe cracked a smile in order not to look like a complete mental patient. My mouth would normally be too dry to say a word and my body too shaky to keep making that moment go longer. So that was one of the few times I really surprised myself.

 My voice cut her off; making her stop her speech about something I have no idea. I noticed too that my body had made me stand up, which I even didn’t realize. Slowly, I grabbed my resume from the top of the pile and told the woman I was very grateful for the opportunity but that I knew that I had no real chance of getting such a job. I was highly overqualified in the academics side of it but grossly under qualified as experience is concerned. So my chances were pretty slim.

 I told her I knew of those kids outside would be getting it because it was just easier to make them do whatever the company needed and they could even pay them less because they were just beginning, even if they had worked for ten years already. Age was one of those things that companies used at will in order to grant or deny benefits around the workers. I knew that’s how it worked, even if I had never been paid to do anything in any company, anywhere to be perfectly honest.


 The woman had her mouth open and I thought of shaking her hand but I was shaking so much already and my hand was so sweaty that I refrained myself from doing it. I excused myself and left the room, almost running back to the elevator, which filled up once again and seemed to take years to get to the ground floor. My resume escaped my hands, falling to the floor. I felt a bit dizzy, probably hungry already. As soon as the elevator got to its destination, I ran outside, to the sun and the air and the freedom of a world that didn’t needed me to keep moving.