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

sábado, 29 de octubre de 2016

The phoenix

   The majestic bird rose above the tea plantation and flew very high into the sky. The people that had been working in the cave where it had been sleeping for thousands of years, ran towards the exit in the hope of catching a glimpse of the animal flying free in the sky. No one really understood why or how the creature had survived living in a cave, apparently, for so long. It wasn’t common for a bird to live in such a place but, then again, it wasn’t no ordinary bird. According to the legend, that red feathered animal was the mythical phoenix.

 As the bird appeared to defy all laws of gravity by flying as fast as a supersonic airplane and as high as a weather balloon, the people below began considering the options: they could try to capture the creature but they had no real way of doing so. If the legend was true, such a fantastic bird would have the strong of a thousand oxen and its screeching sounds could tear down the roughest wood. At least that’s what it said on the many manuscripts kept by the monks in several temples of the region. But should such ancient scriptures be taken into account?

 It was well known that people exaggerated their fear when they felt threatened. They wrote tales of the most horrible things in order to surprise others by saying, “we endured this” or “we vanquished this”. Maybe the phoenix that was now hovering over the plantation was just like any other bird, just much more beautiful and graceful, and also very big and beautifully garnished by nature. In any case, most people agreed that capturing it would not be good at all for anyone. Their gods may punish them for those actions.

 Most of the population of the region consisted of peasants. They grew tea and rice and some other valuable goods that they tried to trade with other regions. But the economy all over was very hard for everyone and competition was rough from places that were much more advances, being able to produce tons more of tea leafs and rice grains. They were too far from any modern science and too close to ancient traditions that prevented them from going too far into the future. It was a very complicated situation indeed.

 The bird descended and landed on top of one of the tea bushes. The workers, who had been there all day, watched the creature with expectation, finding it very odd that such a big bird could pose itself on such a small bush and not fall to the ground. They believed it to be the magic of the phoenix and many of them started praying to it. As the sun sunk in the horizon, the bird’s feathers started glowing with a reddish hue that made look as if it was on fire. No… It was on fire. It became engulfed in it and suddenly it became a pile of ashes on the dark doil.

 The wind carried away the ashes and no one in the vicinity was able to say a word for some time after that. They had been witnessed of something beautiful and also very confusing. The people that had been digging in the nearby cave arrived just as a gust of wind cleaned the soil from any residue of the bird and when they asked what happened, no one could really explained what they had seen. It was only the next day that a young boy told them they had seen the bird burn, as the legend said it could happen at any moment.

 The problem with the people of the cave was that they were not from those parts. They came from the capital, saying they wanted to investigate the cage, which they thought was filled with uranium which they need to build a power plant not very far from there. At least that was what they said once and again, every time someone dared to ask why they had a arrived out of the blue and not years before, when the energy crisis was in its peek. They never really answered in a very straightforward way. There was always something elusive about them.

 After the bird burned, most of them left for the capital. Only one remained behind. He sealed the cave and stood guard there every single day. He lived in a small tent built by the entrance of the cavernous place. Apparently, they wanted no one to go there because they thought it was a place worth protecting but who knew why? Maybe they thought the phoenix had laid eggs or maybe they assumed the bird would be reborn in the same place it had been living for, apparently, a very long period of time. Their reasons were unclear.

 The people of the mountains went back to work as normal, grabbing tea leafs and cultivating their rice in the old fashioned way they had always done it. Some of them had begun to resent the government: it had never made any presence to help them in the past and out of nowhere it had send those people and now they couldn’t even get into their own cave, where they sometimes mined for precious stones that could give a family some more food to feed their children and the elders. Sadly, being farmers didn’t mean they could live at their heart’s content.

 Many of them had not eaten the meat of any animal in a good while and the children had no idea of what a sweet fruit tasted like. The only thing growing around them that could be similar were wild berries but they were always really tangy and many species were poisonous. So their diet was based on rice and tea, accompanied by a handful of vegetables each farmer grew in their private orchard. They were very careful with them because it wasn’t much.

 A year passed when the government, finally, decided to retire the man they had left in front of the cave. They claimed to have been unable to find uranium there so the decision was to let the cave in the hands of the people that had taken care of it for so long. It was a bunch of nice words but they all knew the truth: they had given up on the phoenix making its appearance once again, just as the farmers. No one thought it would come back again but everyone believed the bird still lived somewhere in the vicinity or maybe far in to the higher mountains.

 Children did many drawings of the bird and people started talking more freely about what they had felt when they has seen the bird flying over them. They now could do it because they didn’t feel the pressure of the government on their backs. They could say whatever they wanted, just as they had thought, without any restriction. That was the good thing of living ins such a remote area: those people were actually free, at least in a way most people would find alluring. Besides, they were happy despite everything.

 The celebration of the tea harvest that year was simply over the top. Artists from other regions were invited over and they showed everyone how elegant and hilarious they could be. There were also dances and music and many people wore costumes. The most magnificent thing was the construction of a huge phoenix made out of wood. It had been painted red by the children and built patiently by farmers after the working hours were over. They wanted to thank the creature for such a great year for their crops. They truly believed it was because if it.

 The happiness was contagious. Everyone laughed that night, celebrating with simple joy. They were glad to be who they were and the truth was that they didn’t want to become anything else. Most of the people day would never accept a trip to the capital or changing in any way the lifestyle they had enjoyed for the last hundred years. They respected each other, they took care of one another and they believed in the same core principles that ruled over most aspects of their lives. One of those was the belief that everything was possible.


 Late, when the party was about to end and dawn approached; they saw the bird flying over their crops and above the party, released what seemed like sparks. Everyone saw the bird with delight, thanking it for everything good that year. They would have another great year after that and for many more because they had been blessed by the phoenix, which had finally found the perfect spot on Earth to live in peace and learn from the good things humans had to offer.

viernes, 25 de marzo de 2016

Corina, Silkat and the pirates

   She left all of her clothes by the shore and the slowly entered the water. The sunrays coming from both suns toasted her skin but it was not necessary because Corina already had the most beautiful skin, which she completely submerged into the ocean after a while. She felt the water cooling down her body and a certain peace of mind that she hadn’t felt in quite a while. She swam from one of the big rocks in the beach to the other. The water was not very deep and it was very clear, so much that you could perfectly see if anyone or anything was too close to you.

 Corina stopped swimming after a while and went back to the beach where she sat down on the sand, leaving her feet in the water. She had wanted to do that for so long. She had been very stressed lately and just needed to relax a while. She worked very far from there, as a nurse. Silkat was one more of the many new colonies, so she didn’t really have a lot of people to handle back in the infirmary, but Corina was ok with that too. Even with a few people coming in, she was glad to help and to learn.

 Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw something in the water. Instinctively, she stood up, stepping away from the water. The water moved again by one of the rocks and it was then she saw it: it was a medium sized creature, swimming very slowly, with not a lot of grace. Corina couldn’t tell if the creature was violent or not but she didn’t move any more than she had. She just waited to see if the creature came closer or if it was just passing by.

 The creature then jumped out of the water and landed almost in front of Corina. She almost screamed but covered in her mouth in time. She realized screaming to a creature that was double her size would not be a very smart thing. The creature looked like some old pictures Corina had seen as a little girl in storybooks. It resembled a lot to what her parents called a seal but this one was larger and its husks were smaller and its skin was light blue. And the end of its flippers, it had something like fingers.

 The creature walked towards Corina and she decided not to move. Even if she had wanted to, she wouldn’t have been able to do so because she was very scared. She even forgot for a while that she was stark naked in the middle of a beach she had just found. The creature slowly walk (maybe it had something like human feet, too) and then raised its “hands” and touched Corina.

She almost screamed but she was surprised to realize the creature was nice and warm and its skin had a nice thing about it, it felt good. It was like its skin had the power to make you feel better. Somehow, she saw the creature’s face form something like a smile and Corina responded with the same. So she had found a friend.

 Corina was about to touch the creature when something loud broke the peace of the beach. The creature apparently felt it just before because it moved quickly back into the water. Corina stumbled to the ground and saw how two men came out of the wilderness by the beach and started shooting something at the creature. It was obvious they weren’t trying to kill it but they were hurting him somehow. The men got near her and she tried to get to her clothes but another men, that she hadn’t seen, blocked her way. When she tried to run the other way, she found another men.

 The creature was caught inside a huge net that appeared to hum, like a bee. It was probably taking its energy in order to control the animal’s strength. The creature complained for a while, but then it stopped making sounds. It had died or maybe fallen asleep. As for Corina, one of the men was holding her and the other one was smelling her clothes and then threw it all to the water. They pushed her into the wilderness and made her walk for a while until they reached the water again but this time there was a boat and they made her go into it.

 Silkat was made of many islands, both big and small. They were no big continents like in other planets. The island on which Corina met the creature was next to a bigger one, where a small town called Pazu was located. The pirates, the men that took her with them, probably used another island as their hideout.

 They tied Corina’s hands with a thick rope and she was able to see that the creature was being transported on another boat, behind hers. She wondered what they were going to do with her. She looked at them and saw only men so she remembered the tales that some of the woman in Pazu had told her. They said that Silkat was not very advanced and that men ruled life in here. It wasn’t like in the rest of civilized planets. Silkat was still in the Stone Age, in that sense and also in many others.

 They reached another island when the sun was setting and they put Corina in a cage made of a strong wood. She would stay there for days, never to see the creature again. She wondered if it had been killed or if had another use for them besides food. It was very classic of her to worry about others when her own situation was not the best. She decided she wouldn’t fight unless she had a clear shot at escaping.

 But that opportunity didn’t present itself the first year. She remained on that cage for many months until they decided to put a collar on her and then make her work for them. They threatened her to activate the bomb on the collar if she ever did something wrong or if she tried to escape, so Corina had no choice but to bare with everything those men did to her. They touched her a lot, like an object of their property. They made her cook for them and also clean their boats and their clothes. She was a slave. They never gave her anything to put on her body except that collar but she didn’t really care because the weather had gotten somehow hotter.

 Every single night, when they stopped harassing her and she could just lay down on her cage, she looked up to the stars and wondered if someone was missing her at all. Maybe the people of Pazu were looking for her, although that was unlikely because she didn’t feel the town was too far. If they had been searching, they would have found her. And her family and friends abroad, they probably had no idea that she had vanished so long ago.

 Some days, most of the pirates left and left her to do her chores almost on her own, only one bodyguard with the activator on his belt. But even so she just couldn’t get herself to steal from him. She didn’t think she could win in a fight. Besides, every single day she felt less like a human been. It was as if they were draining her energy very slowly, second by second. She recalled the net they had thrown over the poor creature and how it made it weaker.

 The other thing was that she worked so hard, in so many ways, that when she was left alone she could only think about sleeping. Corina had stopped wanting real food after she realized the men treated her like a pet and just threw whatever they weren’t going to eat to her: some bones with very little meat on them, hard flat bread and some rotten fruits from the nearby trees. So she preferred to dream. And those dreams she asked, way to often, to be killed or to die fast.

 One day, after almost two years, she saw most of the pirates coming back as she was cleaning their clothes by the shore. Then, some of their boats exploded and she could hear gunfire. She tried to take a better look but her eyes weren’t what they were anymore. She could only see there were other boats there and that the fight was savage. Then, she felt someone stand behind her. It was a woman, fully clothed, with the activator on her hand. She pressed the button and Corina thought her death had come.


 But it didn’t. The activator was actually a deactivator. The pirates had never wanted to kill her. As the woman that rescued her told her some days later, “They need their slaves”. She was dragged into another boat and brought into civilization were she was cured and then asked if she wanted to remain on Silkat or if she wanted to be transferred. She thought about it for a whole day before realizing she wanted to stay to help build that society, to make those men realize they couldn’t do what they had done to her. She wanted the universe to be fair.

jueves, 20 de agosto de 2015

Virus

   Although it was supposedly summer, the island was covered by ice and some snow too. Only a few patches of green were seen from the plane but once in the ground, those patches proved to be really small and sad. A car came to pick up the three people that had arrived: a security official, an expert in virus and pandemics and a botanist. It took them only fifteen minutes to reach the northern part of the island, where the vault was located. In the past, there was only one smaller vault where all the seeds that could be found in the world had been stored. Wanting to expand the collection, the owners of the vault decided to expand to living being, although they kept them in a special substance for the body not to rot or decay with time. It was a very delicate an expensive endeavor.

 But something had happened recently: one of the specimens brought in for the collection apparently contained an unknown virus than had already killed two of the scientists working in the vault. No one in the world knew about it because the place had been properly sealed and no one that was inside during the incident had been let out yet. They had enough food for a year inside the vault and it was imperative that they solved what was the virus in order to let them go. That’s why the owners of the vault had decided to call for help and received some from private parties involved in the creation of the collection. They couldn’t ask a government entity or everyone would know.

 Doctor Patel was a renowned botanist, dedicated to find a way to feed every single child in her native India. She had travelled all over the world in order to find every type of seed and nourishment that could help her achieve her goal. And, although she had not revealed it to anyone, she thought she was fairly close to achieving that dream. Ironically, one of the elements that she needed to complete her task was kept inside the vault and it was just days before she applies for a visit that she had been summoned due to her expertise with plants. She knew everything about them and it seemed that the people from the vault believed that a plant had something to do with the virus that they were experiencing.

 Then there was Fred Connor, also a world-renowned scientist but in a very different field. He had studied the use of several types of viruses as weapons and had also learned every tactic used by the governments that had used biological weapons against someone else. Viruses as weapons were no joking business to him and he was too well documented not to take one case seriously. This one of the vault one particularly intriguing, as the people working there had not been able to say if the virus that they were facing was from a botanical or an animal origin. The fact that it came from a rare animal had not been confirmed. He was eager to study this apparent new virus and neutralize it.

 Someone less excited about this trip was the taller black man that joined the two scientists. He was no science man or had anything to do with any studies or viruses or animal and certainly not plants. Mister Fox, as he liked to be called, was a private security agent that had been called to assess the situation in the vault. His role was not about helping anyone in any way. His orders were to shut down the place completely if he found out that whatever was inside could be dangerous for human life and, more specifically, for the investments of many wealthy businessmen that had put a lot of money to make the vault in order to get their taxes lowered. Fox had the authorization to use force, if necessary.

 When they arrived, one of the local scientists that did not work in the vault greeted them and told them to get inside. They were a bit nervous but he told them it was the only room that hadn’t been exposed to the virus as every shipment went in through a door in the other side of the building. The vault was built underground, so the building you could see in the exterior was only a very small part of everything that was the vault. Inside, they felt a bit less cold, maybe because the space was very small and their bodies helped each other to feel a little bit better. The local scientist, called Jorgen, told them that they could talk to the people in the vault via an intercom system that even video feed.

 It was Connor who sat down in front of the screen and asked Jorgen to dial the code of three numbers. There was no tone or ring, only silence. That was until, almost an entire minute later, someone answered and an image in the screen appeared. They seemed to be in almost darkness and the person that had answered could not really be understood. As the image got better, they all realized that he was wearing a mask in order to breath a bit better. But the mask had the disadvantage of masking his voice too. He then started communicating in sign language and Doctor Patel translated, as she had learned the language when she was in medical school. The person on the screen said that three more were dead and that only him and another one remained.

 The four-person team decided to suit up with special uniforms that were originally created to enter radioactive areas. They checked every single centimeter of fabric before entering the elevator, as any hole could bring the virus into their bodies and to the surface. No one knew if it could die in the cold but the fact that it had survived the trip to the vault wasn’t a very good reference. Only Connor and Jorgen had worn these kinds of suits before, the other took some time to put them on and he tried to help them. When they were ready, Patel communicated with the people below before they entered the elevator.

 The elevator was a very small space too.  On the instructions of Jorgen, everyone practiced how to properly breathe inside the suits. They had oxygen tanks that could last up to three hours but it wasn’t a very good idea to be there all that time. The plan was to go there and just check on the survivors and help them decontaminate. Once they had done that, they could put them in quarantine in a special room and then go up to call for help. After that, they could go down again in order to investigate everything they could about the virus. Fox was not so glad about the procedure, as he didn’t want to stay longer than necessary. His boss wanted news fast and helping people would only delay that.

 Once the elevator opened, Jorgen told them to follow him. It wasn’t long before they found a large room and, at least, three bodies pilled up there.  All three visitors stopped to look at the bodies and Connor said that he had never seen anything like that before. He had being in the presence of several victims of biological incidents and none of them looked like these people: these one had no visible eyes anymore, their skin had a purple hue and their bodies seemed boneless, like puppets. Doctor Patel realized they had dirt beneath their nails and that they were barefoot. Then, there was a crash and Fox pulled out a gun and pointed in the direction of the noise. One of the remaining scientists had dropped a tray.

 It was Jorgen who reacted first, very angry that Fox had brought in a gun inside one of the pockets that was supposed to hold medicine for the wounded. No one noticed when he put it in and he ordered him to keep that thing deep in that pocket if he didn’t want to have a real problem with the local government. But as they quarreled, they hadn’t noticed that the scientist that had dropped the tray was trembling. A scream by doctor Patel came just as the man’s skin started to bleed and his eyes seemed to melt inside his head. Then his body collapsed. Like the others, he was barefoot. The team ran towards the elevator and pressed up. As the machine moved slowly, they were panting.

 Once up, they were not able to speak or move. It was Connor that said that the other scientist was probably contaminated as well. He was about to remove his helmet when Fox stopped him and told him not to remove it, as they could have been contaminated. This statement by Fox surprised them all but no one said anything to him. They just headed for the chemical showers, which would clean up very single trace of the pathogen of their suits, if they had it at all. As they showered together, they discussed the horrible nature of the virus and how devastating it looked. None of them could believe something like that was real.


 They were not paying attention when something crawled in the showers. It had entered the elevator when they did and it decided to crawl up in a corner and just stay there and wait. After all, it had a way of waiting, a certain patience. It was the creature they had brought in but it didn’t look like it anymore. And it was getting near the cold, were it could finally feel much stronger.

miércoles, 17 de junio de 2015

Mjölnir

   From the top of the hill, he looked majestic. It was incredible to see him glide over the water and then fly up towards the sun and then fall, breaking the surface of the lake with his huge body. The creature loved to swim, or so it seemed, and it looked really happy to be there. He looked like a child that meets the ocean for the first time. But he was much larger than just a child. He was more the size of two horses and there were far from any ocean although he could reach one in no time. The people who found him had called him Mjölnir, like the hammer that the god Thor held in battle, the hammer that the gods had created to bring order and stability to a world in chaos. He was that for them, a fantastic creature capable of bringing calm to this world.

 The two explorers that had gone to see him were so amazed that they just stared at him for an hour, never mind the fact that he might fly away in any moment. The locals said he lived deep in the mountains because they were the only inaccessible area of the region. The mountains her were sharp and built by nature like razors. Not any human could climb those and to use any means of transport would be a waste of time because of the magnetic instability of the area, which no one had ever explained. Maybe there was something to mine down there; maybe it was because of him. No one knew. What they knew was that he was, for all intents and purposes, unique. The locals never spoke about another one or a herd of them nor nothing like that. He was alone in the world.

 After a week of the discovery, the scientists had begun to look everywhere in the world with the same circumstances but nothing had come up yet. Maybe he wasn’t alone but they had to help him mate or he would be extinct in a number of years. To be honest, they had no idea how long the lifespan of a dragon was but the general thought was that they could live for hundreds of years, so that gave them some time to organize and look for a suitable mate. They studied him for weeks and weeks and more and more people came to meet him, which was astonishing due to the fact that, in the past, any person that had attempted to get close had died.

 Doctor Lemon was a brilliant biologist. She had discovered many new plants and animals in the deep forests of Indonesia. As for Doctor Samuelson, he was a paleontologist, the one that had discovered the first skeleton of a dragon in China. He was the reason the two of them were granted help from an American institution to go and explore the Razor Mountains and see if its inhabitant was real or not. They had to train hard for days in climbing and trekking and in every sport that could help them pass the mountain range. When they got there, they had to try it several times, risking their lives, in order to finally make the crossing that would lead them to Mjölnir.

The lake was not a place they went to look for him. They had seen it from the range and had thought they needed to recharge their water supplies before attempting to do anything else and the lake was probably made of melted ice water from the mountaintops. It was summer, so the lake was not as large as it could be but it happened to be large enough for a gigantic creature to swim in it. It was so strange, for both scientists, to see the creature so at peace and relaxed. If they hadn’t known any better, they would have thought he was a giant dog or something. Not for his looks of course but for the way he behaved in private, playing around and just enjoying himself.

 They had always been portrayed as savages in every single culture. They have been deemed dangerous and quite vengeful but this one did not seem like that. He seemed nice. Maybe that was because in all of the first week, they didn’t see him spout fire. It was possible that he used it only as mechanism of defense but when they saw him eat a deer, they realized he wasn’t able to do it at all. He was a very large lizard who happened to fly short distances but he had no ability to propel fire from his mouth or nostrils. This disappointed many who followed the investigation but he was, nevertheless, a species in the brink of extinction. The two scientist looked all around the area and found the skeleton of another dragon but it wasn’t its partner but its mother.

 The bones indicated it was a larger animal, with a far longer wingspan and a huge body. It was now easy to see now why they had such a clumsy ability to fly: they were too big. They weren’t like the pterosaurs of the past that were light like birds. These dragons were heavy and had to train their whole lives to be able to fly properly. That’s why no one had ever spotted one. Contrary to belief, they didn’t fly that much, they didn’t spout fire and they lived in an area where the magnetic field was just crazy. The area was soon protected by law, so only scientist and authorized people could come in, dare to cross the mountains, and then just watch him to his things.

 Both Lemon and Samuelson stayed there for a whole year and were the ones who set the rules on how to behave while staying in the area. They would explain to any visitors that they had been very careful for him not to se them or be able to smell them. They used a special perfume that made them smell like plant life so he wouldn’t come too close and attack. People always obeyed because it was more important for them to see him and take pictures than risking their lives in a silly way. But like with everything that goes into fashion, most people soon forgot Mjölnir, after only a year. Lemon and Samuelson were happy that this had happened because they needed to investigate more and see how much time he had.

They gathered saliva from the remains of his meals and some scales that had apparently fallen from him. Maybe he was changing skin like most reptiles or maybe he was sick. They had no real idea and that made them insane. For a while, they had to go back to a proper lab and just try to understand more about him. As they did all the tests and experiments they had to do, they realized it was a very difficult job as there was no other creature like it. Lizards and snakes were only similar to him in small things but, in the larger picture, he was a unique creature. And that worked against him hard because it’s much more difficult to protect something you don’t understand than the opposite.

 It was during that time that a couple of explorers in remote parts of the world found more dragon remains and even fossilized eggs. They were brought to a laboratory for investigation and hoping they could lead to a possible cloning project but that was cancelled when they realized there was nothing they could do with the eggs, except noting it features and putting it in a museum. After six months of hard work, they had come to the conclusion that the dragon was about to enter adulthood. His mother had died at least fifty years ago when he was a baby but only know he was beginning to grow up. That explained, at least partially, his behavior in the lake and the way he did things. He was becoming an adult all by himself and it appeared he would die alone too.

 Then the news came. The locals had found his body lying next to the lake. He was dead. Lemon and Samuelson flew to the area but it was too late, another team had come for the body and, with permission and bribes to the locals, they had managed to take the body in a helicopter and now it was far from the reach of those two scientists, the ones that had discovered him. For months, no one heard one more word about anything related to the creature. But both scientists decided to release a book with their impressions and experiences with the dragon. They thought they should at least be the first to say what he was like and how thrilling it was to discover him.

 The rival scientists released an autopsy report saying that he had died from drowning and that they had found the organ that might have produced the flames every single culture in ancient history attributed to the dragons. The discoverers of the creature published an article saying all of that was false and that there was something they weren’t telling and that they should have been able to check the bodies themselves or at least leave someone else do it. But they never did. And the body was never donated to any museum or organization. People, again, largely forgot about the dragon and about them, even as they slammed scientists without scruples every time they had the chance.


 Mjölnir was dead and the truth was he had died because he had wanted to. He was smarter than people thought and his fly over the lake were just an attempt to understand how to kill himself. He was grieving and because he missed his mother. And he was alone and that wouldn’t change. So he took matters into his own hands and did it. People would have never understood that because of the intelligence factor but that no longer matters. We will never understand.