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

viernes, 15 de junio de 2018

Trip to the city


   The smell of books was overwhelming but soothing at the same time. The rows and rows of books stacked to the ceiling, stood there still forever, as the sunlight came in through the big windows and caressed different parts of them. It was a beautiful place that seemed to be miles away fro many sound that could be caused in the world. Only a very low-pitch murmur could be heard, caused by people flipping pages or gently breathing as they immersed themselves into the worlds described in their books.

 Martina walked towards the center of the gigantic room and tried to appreciate the beauty of the place from there. Sadly, it could not be done. It was way too big and with many hallways and corners to see it all at once. So she walked to a metal staircase instead and ascended to the second level, which had been built all around the edge, enabling views over the first floor were people were granted access to the library and the books. The view from there was much better but there was still a lot to explore.

 However, Martina was not there to explore the place. She was there to look for a specific book. She had the name of it in a small piece of paper she had in her pocket, given to her by her father. He needed it in order to complete a paper he was writing for the university he worked on. It was only to check some facts and maybe give a bit more of information to the reader. He had sent his daughter to this mission because she wasn’t doing much at home, as the summer holidays had recently begun.

 At first, she thought it would be very boring to go to a library. After all, they were not known to be the best places to have any kind of fun. Besides, she had to walk to the metro station and then take the train to downtown and then walk once more, this time towards the library building. It was quite a trip from her home. Such a long trip it was that, her father, had given her some money to pay herself some lunch after she had grabbed the book. However, he had asked for her to come home “as soon as possible”.

 That was all before she had seen the beauty of the place, of its main room at least. Because, according to a sign outside of the main door, there were lots of different rooms, further divided in sections. She had entered the largest one but the truth was that she had no idea if the book she was looking for was there. Martina had just been pushed inside by a feeling that she had the moment she saw the very tall windows and the sun entering in the most beautiful way. It took her a while to realize that she had a mission to accomplish and that her father was waiting for him back at home.

 She descended the metal staircase and almost ran towards the main counter. It was obviously not a thing people should do because a couple of people raise their heads only to look at her disapprovingly. Martina slowed down and almost tiptoed the rest of the way. When she got to the counter, she waited for one of the ladies that worked there to notice her. As she did, she saw a weird looking kid come into the room and walk straight into a dark corridor to the left. He was wearing strange clothes and what looked like makeup.

 One of the ladies interrupted the moment and Martina just passed her the piece of paper her father had written on. The woman moved her glasses a bit, as if she needed to make out what she was reading. The woman did not say a word and Martina had no idea what to say. There was a very uncomfortable silence, and that’s was in a place were silence is pretty much the norm. The woman then turned around and started using a computer, probably looking for the book’s location in the massive collection of the library.

 Again, Martina had time to turn around and look at the rows and rows of tables, where people were reading and trying to study. It was kind of amazing how some of them were reading only one book, in some cases one of the most popular novels in existence, and how others had a huge stack of them next to their main read or a laptop. Martina smiled because places like those were almost extinct at it was nice to see that they kept going on, no matter what happened with life and technology in the world.

 The woman came back from her computer and told Martina that book was a very unique exemplary and that a special permit had to be granted. Martina started getting worried but the woman asked her if it was possible for her to call her father, who they would talk to in order to make the permit that morning. Martina grabbed her cellphone and called him, passing him on to the lady. They talked for a long time, which wasn’t very nice for Martina, as she was already getting hungry and her cellphone battery was not eternal.

 When the woman finished, she told Martina that her father would have to talk to the manager of the library too. They were kind of doing that right then, so she would have to wait for a while until the permit was approved. When Martina was about to ask how much time that would take, the lady only said “In an hour” and started talking to another person. Martina was a bit surprised by that attitude but decided to make the best of it and have something to eat before coming back for the damn book. She was already thinking of a big subway sandwich when she noticed the kid she had seen before.

 He was coming out of the dark corner he had entered. Martina now noticed he was wearing something resembling a cape. He apparently felt her eyes on him because he stared for a bit, until she decided to move on and walk out of the building. The kid passed her on the stairs outside and almost ran down the street. Martina stayed there for a bit, both because she was thinking about where the subs place was located but also wondering what that kid’s deal was. He looked very suspicious and way too young to be that.

 She remembered the place was only one block away, so she walked slowly and enjoyed the sun hitting her head. She noticed then that the library was a bit colder than the outside, probably because of all the marble and other stones that had been used for the construction of the building. As she got near the restaurant, Martina tried to remember if she had ever been inside the library before, but she somehow could not remember. It was as if accessing those files in its head was not possible.

 Inside the restaurant, Martina bought one of the biggest subs, with everything on it. She asked for the spicy sauce and potato chips with tomato flavor as a side. Instead of soda, she asked for an iced tea. After paying, she took her tray to a small table by the window and sat down there to have a view of the people passing by and the sun moving along the front parts of the building and over the sidewalk. The city could be very nice sometimes, even if she didn’t get very excited to be there often. Maybe that could change.

 As she bit her sub for the first time, and then cleaned the sides of her mouth with a napkin, Martina saw the kid with a cape walking on the other side of the street. He had just come out of a small store. In the front it said “Mystical treats” and it was adorned with many candles and painted all in black. It looked like a very spooky place for a kid that age (maybe ten or twelve). The fun part was, Martina thought as she took another bite, that no one else seemed to be noticing the kid with the cape. As if he was invisible or something.

 It was then when Martina realized something. The same thing had happened in the library. She had been the only one looking at the kid there too and he looked quite surprised and even angry when Martina stared at him. It was as if he was not very used to that happening to him.

 As she sipped some iced tea, Martina stopped and left her food on the tray. The kid was still on the other side of the sidewalk, in front of another store: “Mirror Wonderland”. But that was not the most surprising part. The fact that the kid had no reflection on any of the mirrors in the storefront was.

viernes, 4 de mayo de 2018

Green cave


   The cave was covered in the same slimy kind of substance we had seen in the trail going up the mountain. It was very sticky and had a dark color to it, which we had identified as a very deep green. Someone argued that, maybe, the creatures inside the mountain used that goo to attack predators and be able to escape. Another person said it was very likely that they were the predators and that they used the substance to actively hunt for food. The third opinion was simpler but more confusing: the substance could be blood.

 In trees, sap is green and it acts, in a very basic way, as the blood of a tree. But it never gets that thick or dark. Susan, who was the botanist in the expedition, analyzed a sample and assured everyone that green thing was not sap from any tree she had ever seen or that had ever been recorded by any human being. It did pass some of the tests that Marcus, a biologist, did for several other animals we had found earlier in our journey through the mountains. So it was blood but it was impossible to know why it was all over the place.

 Maybe they did use it as a weapon, like those lizards in the desert that squirt blood in order to scare their enemies. Something like that could be at play with these creatures, which we hadn’t had the opportunity to actually see with our own two eyes. Some of the tribes living around the mountains talked to us about creatures living under the mountains, creatures that would come at night into the town and kidnap children. We didn’t believe that story but it was repeated to us in various occasions.

 Alex and Richard stood at the entrance of the cave. They were geologists and wanted to have time to analyze the mountain itself so they asked to stay there as lookouts if anything went wrong. It wouldn’t have been a very smart idea if we would all enter the cave at the same time. Samantha and Sergei were the last two to enter the cave, just after I get stepped on a rather large mound of the gooey substance. I had to be helped by Sergei and Marcus in order to get my foot out of there. It was very scary for a minute.

 The cave was rather large and our voices seemed to run wild inside, so we decided to stop talking in order not to scare any potential new findings. We had helmets with soft lights on them and all the equipment necessary if we had needed to go down a very dangerous wall or even jump over a crevasse. It was normal for such cavernous systems to have different features that would play as obstacles for groups of people such as ourselves. But, strangely, after walking for twenty minutes, we realized that the cave wasn’t shrinking in any way, rather it was descending gently but steadily.

 I think we all thought the exact same thing at the same time: whatever creatures inhabited this world; they had modeled the cave in order to accommodate them and not the other way around. What that meant was that the creatures had to be able to use tools of some sort and had various abilities to carve stone. They would even be able to do a certain degree of calculations, which was only possible if they’re brain was evolved enough. We weren’t looking for some little creatures in the dark.

 After another twenty minutes, we finally arrived at a larger chamber. The ceiling on it was huge, covered in what seemed to be bats in a deep slumber. We fixed our lights in order not to disturb them and kept on walking until we weren’t able to. The ground stopped dead in the middle of the room to give way to a rather large body of water. The liquid look as gooey as the green substance in the entrance. We actually looked around for it but realized there were no traces of it in that chamber. There had to be a reason why.

 Samantha and Marcus walked and kneeled in front of the body of water, as Susan walked closer to me. It was obvious that, as a botanist, she had not being in such a situation before. She wasn’t hyperventilating or anything, but she was clearly not comfortable being in the underside of a mountain. Sergei stood right behind us, looking at the path we had used to come down to the chamber. It looked like he had heard something but, when I asked, he said it was nothing and tried to seem unperturbed, which he failed at.

Samantha filled three large syringes with water from the pond and Marcus grabbed some in his hands. He first smelled it, very thoroughly, and then drank some, to everyone’s amazement. But none of us said a single word, because we didn’t want to wake up the whole bat infested roof. When Marcus stood up, we asked in a whisper if there was anything wrong with it and he just did a negative movement of his head to answer. We all went back to breathing normally then. For a second, it had been very scary.

 However, we had failed to notice that Sergei was looking at the path we had come down through and there was something wrong with it. Sergei did not answer so I turned him around with one hand. His face was livid, whiter than ever, blood completely drained from his features. He was breathing heavily and it was only when I saw what he had seen that I realized why he was behaving in such a strange way. Out of nowhere, a rock had been put to block the path. We were trapped in the chamber. It was a trap and we had fallen into it without even a glimpse of doubt.
I wanted to tell them what was going on but then the water from the pond started making sounds, as if it was boiling. But that did not make sense. We only had time to look at each other once more before we saw something coming out of the water and then our lights failed and the bats flew over our heads, filling the place with confusion. Then, we felt them and it all went black.

lunes, 16 de abril de 2018

Every day is a raining day


   Every day is a raining day. Or at least that’s what it seems like these days. A storm follows another storm, which follows one more after that. There are only a few hours each day for people to get from one place to the other without being drenched in water. The rest of the time is almost impossible to look beyond oneself. There’s this mist that accompanies the rain, a strange vapor that seems to set in whenever water comes down pouring and those are the things some people thrive in.

 Not most but some. Some like to live in the dark, in alleys and dimly lit corridors. They even fear the light and what it brings, the people it lets into their lives. They’d rater stay in the shade with the other creatures of the darkness, as it is more comfortable for them and for the dealings they do with others like them. We all know what happens in those places, in those corners of the world we never really see but that we can imagine, with the distorted help of media, such as movies and television shows.

 The truth is that the darkness is way darker and grittier than we think. It’s not just about ugly people doing ugly things. It’s about every single kind of person doing things that we cannot even imagine. It’s about their lives, taking a turn for the worse and having to head for those shadows in order to survive, probably doing things that we think we would never do. But we haven’t fallen to the darkness, not yet anyways. We don’t even fear that happening because we feel it will never happen to us.

 But it does, all the time and everywhere. There are people right now; doing things they have to do in order to survive the day, maybe even to get some money to have something to eat. It won’t be a nice meal, a complete set of vegetables and proteins. It will most likely be something not very sanitary but cheap enough to sustain a body and a soul for a little longer. It’s what they have and what they can afford. And most of the times, they don’t even care. They just need the fuel to keep going.

 Eating is not a priority in their lives. Some of them don’t even do it often and they have lost all taste for things that they may have loved in their past, their better past. Food is a luxury to think about and to have. They go seeking other stuff, harder stuff; in order to be able to stay up all day doing whatever it is they need to do. Some of them sell drugs, some others sell themselves. Some kill and some are escaping people that want them dead. It’s the lowest and grimiest circle of life, one that barely exists and its filled with the worst this world can produce, which happens to be more than one would think.

 Once they hear thunder in the distance, they run to their hiding spots. These creatures, these people if that’s how you want to call them, they don’t really have a home. They have places to stay and the most fortunate ones amongst the unfortunate have a room somewhere that they can call their own. But it never feels like a proper home because most of the things there are not really theirs, the place is not theirs and they can never stay there for long. It’s just a place to go if they need such a thing, and a storage room.

 Everything is different in the dark. Not only you have to be stronger than in most places, you also have to be a bit smarter than the rest or at least more intuitive than in the real world. People will want to deceive you and there’s not really someone to trust fully. There are no friends or family, they are just people that are ok in one moment and then enemies or strangers the next second. It changes that fast because it has to, because it is a world in a never-ending flux.

 They also feel, like us. That’s not really different. The thing is they have to mask those feelings and even make them harder to manifest. They will love someone if the proper situation arises, they will also hate them with ease. But feelings can be dangerous to have in such a place because they are a weakness others can exploit. So you have to be tough, you have to be a rock even if you do feel like any other human being. Because they’re also humans, just ones that have ran out of any luck.

 Luck is not only about being fortunate enough to have a loving family and the right set of opportunities in life. Luck is also that thing that always seems to help you in moments when nothing seems to be able to give you a proper hand. We are all lucky, up here. In one way or the other. But down there, there is no luck. You actively have to know how to survive; you have to think your every move. One misstep, and you are out. And when you are out in the darkness, the consequences are much more serious.

 The darkness feeds on those who inhabit it. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is very tense and can break in any moment. That’s why those who live in it have to be careful. They don’t have one second to stop and think about life and feelings and how everything around them happens or doesn’t happen. They don’t have that luxury. They have to keep moving, keep doing things in order for their head to stay above water level. Because if for only little moment they forget where they are or who they are, they will drowned in the deep darkness of the world.

 And there’s nothing or no one that can help after that. In this world you are on your own and that is even more of a reality down there. Things may hurt and be scary but the real trick is to adapt fast and use who you are to stay in the most advantageous position you can be in.

 It’s not always easy and many; actually most of those who live in the dark, die without anyone else in the world knowing what ever happened to them. And that’s sad but its also not surprising seeing the kind of species we have become, one that is more than carnivorous but does eat one piece of meat.

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

Through the Alps


   The train’s movement woke me up as it pierced through the longest tunnel in the route. The trip from Italy to Germany can be quite annoying because of that, although you get to check out some beautiful sights in between the tunnels, so it’s not that bad. The very dim lights of the tunnel gave me an eerie glimpse of the people that were in the same cabin, all of them fast asleep, not disturbed by the movement as I was. It was right then when I heard someone rushing by the aisle, stumbling and then running off.

 I was about to yell and pull the door of the cabin making a lot of noise, but I remembered my friends were sleeping so I stood up and carefully pulled the door open. Once I was standing on the hallway, I close the door again and enjoyed the show the little lights on the floor of the train were doing. They turned on and off and on and off. It made the hallway look like some kind of disco. I looked down the hall but there was no one there, at least not where I could see. I decided to walk in the same direction as the person I had seen.

 I had to move from one car to the other. Apparently most people were asleep because there was not one noise breaking the silence, only the one of the train travelling on steel. The tunnel, I recalled, was so long it could take up to half an hour to traverse it completely. And if I was not mistaken, we had entered it less than ten minutes ago. So walked on knowing that natural light would take its time to comeback. The third car I entered was completely dark; the lights on the floor were not working.

 Then, I saw him. The lights on the tunnel were too weak to actually see anything but his form was noticeable. I stood there, on the entrance to the car and waited for the shadow to make its move. But it didn’t. It just stood there, most likely watching me, until it dropped something on the floor and my curiosity pushed me forward, in order to check the object closer. I walked half way and then the shadow bent its knees and fell to the floor, apparently unconscious. Something was wrong.

 Not only wrong but very wrong. The object on the floor shimmered with the dim yellow lights of the tunnel. It was obviously a knife, the kind you use to cut a steak. I remembered watching those on the restaurant car, a place I had only sat once earlier that day. It was a bit too expensive for me but I did remember watching someone eating a piece of juicy red meat with a knife just like that one. However, the handle on the one on the floor was glistening with dark red blood. Some of the silver edge had stains of it too. It was so strange to see that there, doing nothing but dripping blood.

 The train moved violently and it was then I realized what was going on and how serious it could be. I wanted to tell someone about it but I also realized I hadn’t seen one single person from the train company around the hallways. Neither a security person nor a waiter. There was no one around to denounce such a strange thing happening. Because bloody knives are only found on the floor of trains in novels or movies, but never in real life. What to do in that case, when there’s no one to turn to?

 The shadow then groaned. I got scared, walking back a little, abstaining myself from touching the bloody knife. I was about to turn around and look for someone to help, when the shadow said something. I had no idea what it said, because it wasn’t really articulating words. At least not words I understood. I got closer and the shadow coughed and suddenly looked up. I could not tell if it was a man or a woman, even if it was young or old. But I knew it was someone disturbed, as its eyes were red and mad.

 Then, the shadow spoke once again. I finally understood what language it was speaking but I had no idea what the words meant. I had seen several movies in German and I had even studied a bit of German back in college, but not enough to understand what the shadow was saying. Maybe it was asking for help or maybe it was begging for me to go away. I had no idea, as my trip through Europe had not contemplated helping dying or crazy people in dark trains while traversing a long tunnel.

 However, my instinct told me to help that person. So I got closer and tried to make something out of the words it was saying. By getting closer, I finally realized I was interacting with a young man, maybe half my age. He had delicate features covered by a large amount of very blonde hair. He was obviously of Germanic descent as the eyes that were looking at me were made of a very deep blue, almost the color that ice gets sometimes. Those eyes gave me a shiver.

 I spoke to him in English, asking if he needed any help. He wouldn’t answer, so I decided to speak a little slower. That seemed to do the trick because the young man started nodding violently, his eyes becoming even redder and more insane. It was quite disturbing to watch but not as disturbing as when he stood up and revealed his tainted clothes to me. He was wearing what any boy would ear in the summer: shorts and a stripes shirt. However, both were soaked in the same dark blood that covered the knife. I tied one and two together and realized I had a killer in front of me.

 I started breathing heavily but had to control it because the kid was getting worked up to. I relaxed so he did too. However, he did seem to be breathing a lot heavier than he should. He was obviously scared. Maybe he had killed his mother or father, or maybe a brother or sister. He had done it with a knife he had found close by and he had taken advantage of the tunnel to run away. But they were in a train and there are not that many places were you could hide. Ask Agatha Christie.

 For a moment, I was lost. I had no idea what to do. Yeah, maybe looking for a security agent and giving them the kid would be the smartest thing to do but it also seemed like a very wrong thing to do. The kid was obviously traumatized and maybe he had done what he had done out of self-defense. Maybe he had been bullied by someone or harassed by his family or at least one member of it. There were so many things to consider and reflect on before just running out of that car. It wasn’t simple.

 Then, as if in a dream or a religious movie, natural light filled the space. They had finally come out of that dreadful tunnel and the train was now advancing through the mountains by a large beautiful lake. The view out there was amazing but inside the train things were not exactly that. I realized then, with light, that the young man had not injured anyone else. Someone had injured him. He had blood pouring out of his body from a point around his stomach. It was something of a miracle to see him standing there.

 I finally did what took me so long to do: I ran out of the car and made noise, lots of noise. Finally a security guard appeared and I took him directly to the place where the knife and the boy were. When we got there, the young man had collapsed on the floor, falling on his face next to the knife. Some people on the neighboring cabins had stepped out and were screaming like lunatics. I ran to the boy and tried to wake him up but there was no point. He had bled out to death. I had acted too slowly.

 When we finally got to a train station, the body was brought out and sent the local morgue. Every single passenger was questioned by the police, especially me. I told them every single thing that had happened and they let me go without saying anything. I saw the parents on my way out of that place.

 The train departed later the following day. As curious as I was, I went one more time to the police station to ask about what had happened. Apparently, the autopsy had revealed the wound had been self-inflicted. The young man had committed suicide. I would think of him for the rest of my life.