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

miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017


   Carmen had always been the most reserved of the four Duke sisters. Everyone in town knew that family, as they owned almost everything around those parts. Apparently, the great-grandfather had been the one to first set foot in the region, before mining teams settled too and the small town of Golden River was founded. What made them rich, of course, was gold. The Duke family became rich in a glimpse and now every person in town felt that family owned them.

 Deluded by his power, the leader of the family had always thought the people of Golden River adored him and his family. But Barnaby Duke was not loved but despised and I was all a really good acting scene, as the inhabitants of the small town preferred to avoid conflict that basically shooting themselves on the foot. It was the Duke family that gave them the jobs on which they based their survival, so any words against them wouldn’t be precisely wise. So lies settled in town.

 What was worse, Mr. Duke loved to give speeches every so often: on the first day of spring for example. It didn’t matter if it was raining like crazy, he made people reunite in the town’s square and talked for hours about how in Golden River people lived a better life than in other places. He had a point, as they had never starved or anything like that. Meanwhile, many other towns in the country were suffering and had been going through very tough times for at least ten years.

 As good as he portrayed himself to be, Barnaby Duke had instructed the mayor and the police, a group of less than five people, to stop any outsiders from settling in Golden River. They had to ask it formally first and the requests were mostly denied. That’s why no one really knew about what was going on in other places. They were shielded from everything that way. Gold was the only trade they had and it was done by the Duke family, so none of the workers had the need to travel beyond the forest.

 But even so, people hated the Dukes. They hated the pompous Barnaby and his stuffy wife Henrietta, who was rarely seen in town. And of course, his daughters were beyond despised because he exhibited them around, like prizes, wearing all the best but never letting them interact with anyone from town. The people despised the girls for perpetuating the wrong his father had done, paying them miserably. They knew their dresses and perfumes would have made Golden River a better town. But they decided hate was the way to go because they had nothing else.

 There’s where Carmen comes in. She was the youngest of her sisters, maybe the most beautiful of them all. Her elder sister Diana was getting ready to leave town, as she had been promised in marriage to a rich merchant with whom her father had business with. The man was much older than her and even so she was beaming with joy, as she was leaving town forever in order to have, what she thought, was a much better life, filled with excitement and many things to discover.

 Carmen was a bit jealous of her sister but only because she was leaving town, the first one of the sisters to do so. It was obvious that they would all leave sooner that later, as they were all getting close to the marrying age. Diana was sixteen and Colleen was fifteen. Then Marguerite was fourteen and, finally, Carmen was only thirteen. Few years under her belt but she was the most adventurous one, always curious about the world around her. She was the least loved one too, by her father.

 Her mother was largely absent. She had not raised them as such, the job having been assigned to a number of servants. They were the only family to have nannies and cooks in town, which made people hate them even more. Nevertheless, those servants loved the girls and had learned to teach them the things they needed to know in order to be good wives in the future. But that wasn’t enough for Carmen, who often left the house to walk around the woods, and even to the mine.

 She liked to watch the men coming in and out of there. They looked different in the morning and then in the afternoon, all covered in dust and dirt. She also visited the ones that worked in the river, looking for gold there. She would always walk at a safe distance, because she was a bit scared of all those men and women. They appeared to be suffering and she inferred that because of the facial expression they had. She was the first to learn how much people hated the Dukes.

 Not that anyone did anything to her; she just knew it one day. Her sisters left, with the passing of time. One day, waving goodbye to Marguerite, she realized how little time she had left there. Her parents had not chosen a suitor yet but the decision would be announced any day now. She didn’t wanted marriage or leave Golden River, even if people hated them. Carmen felt she could help them have a better life, maybe better conditions at work. She had spent so much time watching and hearing them, that she thought she knew what was best for them.

 Silly as she was, Carmen walked to her father one day and told him she would like to work with him, handling the family business. The only answer she got was a slap on the face, one so hard her father’s ring left a mark on her cheek. He didn’t say a word after hitting her, calling one of the servants and telling them to lock Carmen in her room. Her wound was not even taken care of. It was then she realized the hate that people had against them was justified and she hated herself for who she was.

 Alone and locked away, she felt herself sink into an abyss. The following day it was her mother who visited her. That never happened, as the woman was always busy trying new clothes and stuff she bought from the city. She entered the room, visibly having never been there. It seemed she was going to sit on the bed but, instead, she just said a suitor had been found and her marriage was settled to happen in just a couple of months. The man was elderly but extremely wealthy.

 That night, a storm broke over the small town. Rain and wind hit all the houses, making the windows crack and the doors tremble. Carmen had cried so much that she had fallen asleep as she was, on her bed. But the storm woke her up in the middle of the night and gave her an idea. The noise was so strong that no one heard when she broke the window. She removed almost all of her clothes, to be able to move faster, and just like that, she jumped outside and ran towards town.

 The idea behind what she had done was that someone there could help her escape her father, maybe giving her a horse to ride to her freedom. But when she got to the small town, she realized people were asleep and none was there to help her. Then, she did something very stupid: assuming no one would notice, she grabbed a horse from a stable and just tried to ride it. The horse didn’t let that happen and dropped her to the round. The racket attracted the owners to the scene.

 When they realized who the burglar was, their rage seemed to reach new levels. In their eyes, their owner was mocking them, sending his daughter to steal from them. So they did the only thing that made sense to them and that they wanted to do: they killed Carmen Duke.

 Soon, an angry mob was formed. They had grown tired and the intrusion of the Duke girl had been the last hey would take from the oppressor. So that stormy night, they marched straight to the Duke house and set it on fire. Everyone inside was killed in the sleep. There were Dukes no more.

viernes, 3 de marzo de 2017

Cold town

   It started very early one morning, as everyone in town was sleeping. It was very unusual but every single person was asleep and didn’t see the clouds forming in the darkness and the first tiny rocks of hail fall from the sky. What awoke most of them, hours later, was the sound of thousands of little balls of ice falling from the sky and hitting their windows and roofs with a certain insistence. Only some dared to go outside and check on their belongings like cars and such. It wasn’t safe.

 The white curtain created by the downpour looked almost solid at one moment. Everyone was fascinated by it, mainly because they had never really seen hail or anything similar to ice falling from the sky. The small town was located in a warm area, not that far from the sea. So the occurrence of a hailstorm was extremely rare and certainly very special for everyone there. Every social gathering was canceled and every family had to stay home, without studying or working.

 This resulted in very interesting conversations between members of families. People that didn’t really have a great relationship started speaking about something that they thought was interesting and harmless in a way too. They hall had theories as to why they had been hit by a hailstorm but the most people popular theory was that there was a cold front that came rushing in from the south and it collided with the very warm weather of their valley and then created the hail.

 The point was that everyone now was talking, every house in town had member that were now sharing thoughts and, after a few hours, those theories did not have a limit: some people found it easier then to explain to their children how babies came into the world and children would understand very fast. Other families discussed things they had left buried and unspoken and suddenly they were all solving problems that had been harassing them for years.

 It was difficult to explain. Some blamed the actual hail, others the temperature and others the fact that people had been made to stay in the same rooms and houses as their families, making them talk to each other. But they could have stayed as before, not speaking and having secrets from one another. There was something, some kind of special mood that made the families share what they had been ignoring on purpose for so long. Of course, not every scene in town was of love and beauty. Some were harsh as the truth is not always the prettiest of situations.

 But they talked and that was advancement. In a town were many fathers refused to hug and kiss their sons, it was a huge progress that they had started doing that, as the storm grew stronger towards the afternoon. Many years later, some elders said the water contained in the fallen hail had formerly been holy water from a special source. Others said a native shaman had enchanted the pieces of ice with a spell to make people truthful. They all had different and imaginative answers.

 It appeared to be that people were afraid to say they had feelings and that they had acknowledged that for a moment. Because after the storm, everything returned to normal and it made the situation in town much harder than usual. It was the reason for many of the younger people to leave that region and look for a better place for them. They had tasted a bit of something they had loved and now they wanted their lives to be exactly like that all the time, filled with love and not secrets.

 The elders and most of the parents returned to their old ways of not talking to their children and keeping all of who they were deep into themselves. Inside, they feared that they may have gone too overboard with their display of feelings but no one really thought it was like that. Everyone agreed that being open was the best option for all but they all thought this in secret. They did not dare to change what they had been doing for so long, even after the so-called magic in the hail.

 All the inhabitants that had been born over thirty years ago had develop something like a shell around them. They all had it and it was because during their times as children and teenagers, the exposure of feelings and displays of affection were deemed a weakness and something real men wouldn’t do. As for women, it was something one could expect from them but it should never be discussed or addressed in any way. In that part of the world, people had been raised to be like that.

 Young people had also been raised like that but it was the hailstorm that awoke something in them. It made them realize that things didn’t have to be as they had always been. Maybe there could be a little bit more honesty or love in the world. With the memories of everything said and done during the hailstorm, they decided to leave their homes as soon as they were able to and made a promise to always look for a truthful life, never falling back to the old ways of their families and ancestors. That’s why they all left, leaving that small town to die slowly.

 The ones that stayed there died in the following years, at a faster rate than normal. People from other regions came to investigate, as the mortality rate had accelerated in a fantastic manner. Some believed it had to do with a mysterious disease or something like that but no disease was ever found among the dead. Yet, for some reason, every inhabitant of that town was dying much younger than normal and out of nowhere, without any symptoms prior to their untimely death.

 Every day someone died and only one baby was born in the span of six months. Those rare babies would also day after a couple of days. Some people left town during those times but they weren’t many, just scared of death. Maybe that had made them decided they were maybe better off somewhere else. But that was a very rare decision to make, as most people stayed in town to die. Some days one, some other days up to five people would die. All in peace, not violently.

 They were no memorial services, not for any of the dead. They were just buried in the graveyard, and that was it. Life continued after that but in melancholic manner, as if it was slowly giving up on everything that had a beating heart. Investigators looking into the deaths reported in town, were driven away not long after by the sadness and depressing vibes that place had for people that did have warm blood running through their bodies, making them alive.

 The thing was that, all of the people there, the ones that had stayed, were not alive anymore, not like a normal human being. They had been dead inside for quite some time, way before the day the hailstorm hit them with its mysterious aura. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but theirs that they were cold and emotionless. They had decided to be like that, blaming their parents and their beliefs. They decided to accept the world as it was, instead of trying to leave their personal mark in it.

 A couple of years later, every single inhabitant of that town was dead. The graveyard came to be one of the largest in that country and only curious eyes would visit it. Family would not come and friends had never existed. Their houses slowly crumbled to pieces and in a couple of decades, no one even remembered such a place ever existed. And no one ever tried to rebuilt or anything like that. It was a done deal.

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Lost flight

   The only thing I could do was waiting. After having my new boarding pass printed and a coupon for lunch in the airport’s food court, I left to have a walk through the terminal. I just needed to walk around, to relax my body after so many problems and so much uncertainty. As I walked, I remembered that I didn’t have any luggage, nothing to take care of. My clothes and a couple of souvenirs I was taking home, had been destroyed just a few hour ago, in the blink of an eye.

Understandably, people were glued to all TV screens showing a news channel or any sort of new information about the disaster. As for me, I didn’t wanted to have anything to do with it. I was already in some sort of shock; I didn’t needed to get worse in any kind of way. I just looked for a place far from any crowd and there I sat down, trying to relax. That was not going to happen but having that kind of mission made me at least a little bit distracted, from the looks and the comments.

 Yes, people already knew that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I have no idea how, but it wasn’t a surprise as people have always been all about gossip and knowing thing they have no place in knowing. I ignored the few looks I got and, thankfully, I only heard part of their speeches about me. Maybe they were talking about my luck or if I was travelling alone. Something about that but I really didn’t mind. I couldn’t mind because I had better things to think about than them.

 There, sitting in a lonely row of chairs overlooking the tarmac, I remembered my favorite sweater. I hadn’t put it on because the weather report announced a very col day, which it was. But I could have put it on anyway or maybe stuff it on my backpack. It could have survived but now I was never going to put it on never again. It was something silly to think about but that’s all my mind could do to keep sanity inside. My sweater was no more and I couldn’t be more sad about it.

 Someone, a woman, touched my shoulder and made me jump from fright. She had surprised me submersed into my mind. When I looked at her, she smiled and explained the people from the airline were now looking for me. I asked if the new flight was being cancelled and she shook her head negatively. She was apparently there to take me to the airline lounge, the more exclusive one. I was very happy for that but also kind of confused. She then explained it was the safest place for people to be: “Not even photographers can come in”. That explained it all.

 I joined her, my backpack tight against me. As we walked towards the lounge, she was talking about all the things I could enjoy there for the next twelve hours, time I needed to wait until the next flight home. But I wasn’t really paying attention to her but to the people still standing in front of the screens, watching the images of twisted metal and molten plastic. It was a very morbid thing to see and yet, even children stood in from of the screens watching something they did not fully understand.

 When we got to the lounge, she explained to me they had granted me access to the most exclusive areas. She handed me a silver card, which I had to use to make certain machines work and access some rooms like the showers, the spa and special small rooms to sleep for a while. She showed me everything but the truth was my body felt very week and I just wanted to sleep for a while, have a rest before the long flight I had to face the next day. Looks and comments will also be heard there.

 When she left, I went straight for the room’s area. They weren’t really rooms, but more like a capsule hotel in the style they have in Japan. I chose one and hopped in. I put down the curtain separating me from the outside world and removed my trousers to really relax. I turned off the lights and lay there in silence, complete silence, trying to get my mind cleared in order to sleep. But I kept hearing people talking all around me and I just couldn’t do it. It took me more than an hour to fall asleep.

 When I woke up, I thought I was only a few hours away from my flight, but that wasn’t the case at all. I had just been able to sleep four hours, which wasn’t really much considering at home I managed to sleep double that time every single night. I woke up just as tired as I was when I had hopped into that space. The only thing to do was to put on the pants and go out there, maybe eat something or have a hot cup of coffee or whatever I could find. It was better to be occupied.

 I decided to have dinner first, so I grabbed a large plate and I started putting on it every single thing I could see on my plate, except the spicy food they had on one end of the room. I sat down to the table and I ate very slowly, trying not to look at the screens I had around. But that was almost impossible to do and, when I finished my plate, my head raised directly into on of those screens, showing in detail how the plane had crashed against the mountain, how no one could have survived.

 Very silly me. I tried to look for my suitcases in the images, but it was obvious that nothing was really the same anymore. The plastic it was made of had probably melted and all my clothes were probably scorched to their tiniest self or maybe the wind had carried them all over the place. It wouldn’t be strange if some person arrived next day to work with my clothes on instead of his normal attire. That thought made a chill run down and up again my spine. Not something I like to think about.

 I was supposed to be there, in that flight, having had their same last meal and hearing those same last announcements done by the crew. I have no idea what they said but I can guess it was something sinister, one of those things you would never hear in any other case. Or maybe not, people are so strange that maybe it was all going smoothly and death just caught up with them in the most awful and unexpected way. Not a great way to go, but many would love that for themselves.

 I don’t want any of it yet. When I lost my flight because of a long line in the men’s room, I was very frustrated and I had yelled at half of the staff of the airport. I had called them anything from “useless” to “moron”. I tried to control myself because I started feeling a little anxious and it was then I went full crazy. If any photographers or journalists had seen that.  I bet that would have been a first page kind of story, Many more would be staring and saying what they think about what happened.

 But all of those are empty words. After all, I had seen those people. We had all done our check-in at the same time; we had even exchanged a joke or two or some comment about the weight of the bags. I had seen children yell and laugh and play. Adults trying to fix something and an elderly couple so in love still one would love to be them in any other life. I saw them being so human, so real and filled with life. And now they were no more, all of their flames had been extinguished in a second and I was the only one still alive from that group, just because.

 I guess my blatter saved me, which doesn’t really make me very proud but I guess it’s good to be here and not there. But… Maybe it was my time to die and I’m just here because of a mistake. Or maybe someone else had to live and not me but here I am because of some kind of mistake someone made and some point. But no matter how much I try to understand it, things are what they are. I am the last person to be alive from a group of almost three hundred. At some point, I would have to tell my story in any way possible, even if it’s just a case of pure luck.

sábado, 7 de enero de 2017

Accidents happen

   The pain in my legs was, for lack of a better word, horrible. Any movement caused me awful pain, so I had to learn to be still or to move only from the waist up, twirling that part of my body like a gummy candy. The bed they had assigned for me was, thankfully, larger than myself and very comfortable. It even had a sweet scent that I couldn't point to but that I found really interesting and soothing. I think it may have been vanilla or something very similar because it reminded me of my past. For some reason, that smell help me calm down whenever my legs would start to make me feel as if I was in front of the devil in the depths of hell. It was that bad and, looking back, I can easily say it was one of the worst moments in my life.

 The accident had caused me to stay in that bed for months, in that hospital located in the middle of nowhere. The number of patients changed dramatically during my time there. At one point, I could swear we were not more than twenty people. Later on, it felt like a filled up prison holding more than a thousand inmates. And I talk about prison because that's how it felt like sometimes and the building really did help to that effect. It was one of those relics from some war long ago and they had tried, without much success, to convert it completely to a hospital. Apparently it had also been a mental house, a school, an orphanage and even a place where alcohol would be hidden from the local authorities.

 The history of the place, without a doubt, was very interesting. But during my stay I could only think about when I was going to be released. The doctors told me, through a translator they had called only for my case, that my recovery was going to be so difficult that it was best if I stayed there for several months. All in all, I stayed there for around five months until I was finally released. The doctors and the nurses were not the most loving or soft people in the world but they were very good at what they did. Maybe I didn't see them smile very often but I know that they did the best they could with my case and thanks to them I was able to recover. Of course, my legs still have some moments of "weird behavior", but I have learned to live with that.

 After all, only centimeters and seconds had separated me from being dead. Everytime I think about the accident, I understand everything a little bit less, if that's even possible. Because I have no idea how I got to be fighting for my life, my legs covered in blood and my body just aching with pain. I have no idea how I endured after all of that but here I am, I guess. It happens often after I shower that I sit down on a chair in my bedroom and I look down to them and I see some of the scars, still visible below a not so thick layer of hair. I am thankful to be alive and walking around because I have no idea how the hell they did it, how they made my legs work as if nothing had ever happen to them. It's just amazing.

 I am not a religious person and doubt I will ever be but, during my stay in the hospital and even recently, I have found myself praying somewhere in my house. I had never done that before but I guess that when death has been so close, you just want to cover your bases. And besides that, I really think it was a miracle that I could walk again. I don't think it was the Lord or anything like that that helped me recover, but I cannot find a proper way to understand how it all came up to this. to me writing about this, here and now, as if had been nothing. It just amazes me every day and I think many people that know me and that know about what happened to me, are just as amazed by all of it as I am.

 Even the stay in that dreadful place is something I will keep forever in my heart. Because in that place I learned to love myself for who I am and not for anything else. I learned to settle down, to calm down even and let things fall into place before I rush into anything. I had many sleepless nights, many moments of reflection during days in which I didn't do much. I even met some great people and, towards the end, I also had a temporary lover who helped me in more ways than one to pull it off, to survive what I was going through. It wasn't easy and I won't, ever, forget that it happened because it is one of those pivotal moments in someone's life. It had to be that bad to get a slightly better with time.