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

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.

martes, 21 de junio de 2016

Aquarium

 He took a bite of the sandwich while looking at the huge shark as he passed by the glass. It was a majestic creature, a real wonder of the seas. Don loved to sit there every day at work and just watch such a creature swim from one end to the other of the tank. It was a very large ecosystem but the sharks had a tendency of always moving around, which made them very interesting.

 Of course, there were many other creatures like manta rays and several types of fish, but none of them had the beauty of the shark, its elegance and just utter grandeur. Don’s lunchtime would soon be over. He only had thirty minutes to eat whatever he brought from home or bought from one of the many stores in the park. He really liked the big hotdogs from the stand by the turtle’s pond. They were always covered in thick mustard that was spicy and so rich and delicious. When he was in a good mood, he bought two.

 It was also the day he had a night shift. He hated it because he had to parade all around the park, walking up and down with a flashlight, looking at nothing because there were never trespassers in an aquarium. Who was going to get in there? Some barracuda thief or someone who really wanted to have a real penguin as a pet? No one would do that. But the company that managed the park was so cheap with their hiring’s and expenses that they rather put him at night with a flashlight than invest in real security like cameras and all that stuff that any other place had.

 In any case, he took that time to see the animals when they were less stressed out and it happened to be really nice. They behave differently, as if a huge weight had been lifted from their… Well, not shoulders but, you know what he means. Don loved to see the penguins sleep because they got all together and put their heads in a funny position and it was like seeing an old man trying to sleep at the park. They were little funny creatures and he had grown to care for them.

 When he was finished with lunch, he had to go to his day job as a janitor. He knew he had to be close to the petting areas because kids always spilt water on the ground there and more than one mom had complained about the puddles there, which could cause accidents and a lot more things according to them but he rarely listened to the whole speech. It was funny to him how they thought he was like the owner of the place or something.

 He always had his mop and his little cart to clean the mop not very far from him. Also a wet rag to clean the glasses and a bottle that left those glasses looking perfect in order for all the visitors to have a good look at every single creature in the aquarium. That was his job and he was kind of proud of it after having done it for more than twenty years. He had to like something about it after doing it for so long.

 That afternoon, just before the park closed, he bought two hotdogs and asked the young lady to put them in a Styrofoam case, in which they sold burritos and nachos and other stuff. She complained because she knew he had the night shift and every one there was kind with whoever had the nightshift. Even Don would always give a chocolate bar to the person that had to do it all the other days. His name was Vinnie and he was an idiot but the surprising part was that Vinnie only worked for that job, four days a week. Don had to do it the other three days of the week. It was a fair settlement, although odd.

 Vinnie was the type of guy not many people would hire: he had been in jail a couple of times and he appeared to show some evidence of mental challenges, if you will. He was very kind, organized and loyal to the place but, he was very dumb, always asking silly questions about the job and the animals, like how they mated in the dark at night or how the manta was able to fly and if the shark could read his thought. He was really insane but people, the other workers, cared for him. He was part of the aquarium family.

 That day though, it was Don’s turn to watch around. He had his food, his flashlight had brand new batteries, and he had brought a bottle of fresh orange juice from home and a magazine he had found in the trash by the tank of the jellyfish. It was one of those celebrity magazines, where they show who has been doing who and how and where. He wasn’t particularly interested in all of that but the magazine had enough information to keep him interested all night and that was the real important part.

 He also wanted ice cream but he had no way to store in order for it not to melt in his hand or his pocket. The weather had recently changed, from very windy and rainy to a dry heat. There were rarely clouds in the sky; no matter if it was day or night, it was really disturbing sometimes. He would have wanted his uniform not to be pants and a thick shirt with a hat on top and those big black shoes. He had even approached his boss about it but he had been convinced that if he wore that in the day, he might as well do it by night.

 Don really didn’t get that logic because, after all, of the other guys in the aquarium got to dress in shorts and nice cotton shirts and sandals. The dolphin trainers were always half naked and no one said anything. There was even a girl in the shark tank that hated to wear shoes. She would never use them, even in winter. Her fashion only included sandals and that was it. She didn’t fell cold or so thought Don. In any case, he would have wanted a changed for the evenings.

 As the doors closed, he decided to change things without telling anyone. After all, no one was even there to tell him anything. He had brought some flip-flops from home and he put them on as soon as the park got deserted. His feet were actually very thankful for that. The black shoes and socks stayed in his locker as his shift started. He watched the main map at the entrance, as he always did, and tried to create a route that would pass once by every single tank or exhibition. That way he did his job right and he had time to read his magazine and eat whatever he had around. He brought it all in a plastic bag.

 It was strange to be the only one making sounds in the night. He thought it was funny how only was person was trusted to stay there at night, to take care of so many animals that needed constant care. Sometimes, he would chat for a while with the vets that came at night. It did happen every night but it wasn’t unheard of that one of the creatures was having problems with its food or something like that. And those men and women knew a lot. The night passed by fast when they were around, imparting their wisdom.

 But that night, there was no vet or anyone else. Don was alone to read about how some celebrity had entered a rehab program and then gone out a week later. He ate one of the chocolates as he stared at the tank holding the sea dragons and then moved on to the sea horses, which he had always considered very particular, because of the fact the male can hold the babies while the mothers do other stuff. It was a little miracle in the sea and he pictured what that might look like in humans.

 A noise good him out of his imagination. At first it seemed to be far, not very important. But then, it seemed to be getting louder, to be more and more serious. He realized it was water and the first thought he had was that he might have to go for the mop right away. As he ran towards the sound, Don thought that maybe one of the animals was restless. He had read about in a magazine, how aquariums weren’t a thing anymore. They had no whale there and the dolphins had a huge habitat but maybe it was them. But it wasn’t.


 The sound stopped before he could arrive. Just as he arrived to the jellyfish exhibition, he saw someone run away. He attempted to follow but he tripped with his flip-flops and his bag of treats slammed against the floor. The Styrofoam case spilled hotdog all over the place. But that wasn’t the worst. The tank was spilling water all over and it wasn’t because of the animals. It was because there was a body floating just above the jellyfish, who seem to carry the dead man. As he got closer, Don’s jaw dropped realizing the corpse was Vinnie’s. He was purple.

viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2015

Dark enemy

   When the doors finally closed, everyone who had gathered in front of them just looked to the ground. They slowly went back to their duties in the palace or to their new houses in the lower levels, where they had been accepted just some hours ago. Another door that had closed was the one of the throne room, as the emperor had demanded to be left alone as he had “a strategy” to think about. The truth was, and everyone knew this, that the enemy was coming fast and that it couldn’t be stopped. It had been announced that they would destroy everything and everyone on their path and that’s why many had found shelter in the palace. The idea was that, as strong as the enemy was, they behaved like a group of buffalos. They charged until they hit something and then they moved on.

 The funny thing there was that no one really knew anything about the enemy except what people coming from other towns said. They were called “survivors” as they always arrived on the verge of collapse and they all had the same story about how awful and terrible the enemy was. However, despite been able to describe how their own tows burned and how people had been killed, they couldn’t tell anyone about the general aspects of the enemy. It was strange, but it was as if they had seen a shadow destroy all of those towns. No physical traits of any kind had been revealed, only the way they operated and that had been scary enough for everyone to take shelter in a building that was normally reserved for the rich and noble. That said a lot about their fear.

 The palace was a structure built in ten concentric rings, the highest been the one where the emperor lived and the lower ones where his staff lived. There were also some sublevels, normally catacombs used as prisons and to get access to a subterranean river. All of that space was now been used by the families that lived in the town and that had been allowed to come in by order of the empress. She was the one that was doing the most. Her name was Serena and she even went down to the sublevels and helped people build a house in the many rooms and spaces that had been only populated by rats for several hundreds of years. Her husband, however, was too scared or apprehensive to do nothing.

 No one knew if he had seen the enemy first hand or if he just felt this was the end of his reign. He had been emperor for fifty years; since he was a very young boy and this was the first time someone defied his power. And the truth was, he was very scared about it. Specially because there wasn’t a single man in the entire kingdom that could tell him anything useful about the enemy. No any general characteristics, not a weakness, not even the way they killed. It was true he was planning and working on the problem but it was also the truth that there was nothing he could really do about it.

 In the lower levels, many families tried to create the feeling of a home but it was practically impossible. Many of them were staying in rooms that felt too much like a prison and they soon realized that if the enemy didn’t walk through town but instead came to the palace, they would be trapped in the catacombs. The only way out was through the underground river but no one really knew how to navigate it and not everyone would be able to use the only boat that remained there. It was said that many of the emperor’s servants had escaped on other boats, leaving only one in the docks. Many children of these refugees loved to go and play in the docks as it was the only place that felt different and worth exploring, even if it was as dark and moist as the rest of the sublevels.

 Life in the upper levels, however, rapidly went back to normal. All the people working for the emperor resumed their work: they cooked big feasts for the few members of royalty, they made fabulous robes and they even brought in objects from the outside by specially trained hawks. They brought jewelry from very far cities and also delicacies that the king always liked. But the empress wasn’t too impressed by this. She was actually revolted by the fact they were eating a five-course meal as the people in the catacombs had only some bread to feed their children. She tried to protest before her majesty but his aides wouldn’t let her, as she would disturb him greatly. They didn’t want to bother him as he drank his beer.

 Serena decided to go for a walk around all the levels and wrote on a piece of paper everything that she saw that was wrong: too much water been wasted on plants in the gardens, a whole level dedicated to keeping his majesty’s clothes cleaned and perfect, the vaults of money and jewels been filled everyday despite the industry and commerce coming to halt, the closure of the market that had always worked in front of the main entrance, the fact that the his majesty’s guard was very numerous but there were only a few men guarding the first wall that would prevent the enemy from coming in and many other things. She actually ran out of paper as she walked along the edge of the wall, looking towards the town where only ghosts lived now.

 But she realized she was mistaken. There was smoke coming out from one of the houses chimney. She asked one of the few guards for how long that smoke had been there and they said that since the time the people of the town entered the palace. She concluded then that someone, maybe an entire family, had decided to stay behind and leave their lives as always. They didn’t care about the enemy, about wars or even about their emperor. They just wanted to keep living and Serena admired that. She asked her husband to let her go to the town, but his answer was obviously negative.

 But Serena wasn’t really one to wait around for others to approve. She had always been rebellious and she had always been curious about her marriage to the emperor. Despite having even younger sisters that were a lot less trouble, he had chosen her to be his wife. He said that it was because of her hair, which reminded him of wheat. But it had to be something else, or so she hoped. One night, she slipped out of her room and disguised herself as one of the refugees. Her handmaiden had gotten the clothes. Serena descended through secrets stairs and hallways that only a few knew about and finally reached the market in front of the entrance. There, she had to run through the square and reach a dark wall on the other end. There was a secret passage there too but the soldiers could see her if she made too much noise.

 She stopped first to calculate how to cross the square and then breath heavily in order to get herself pumped up. She then ran for her life like a mad person and reached the dark wall in seconds. It was strange that no one had seen her, as the moon was particularly bright, but she moved on. The tunnel she was walking on was very humid and full of moss. She fell a couple of times before reaching the end of the path. The tunnel ended in a small room, right in the middle of town. It was amazing no one knew about it. Serene walked out of it slowly and looked at the sky, looking for the smoke.

 The house she was looking for was just a couple of streets away. She walked slowly but not really trying not to make noise, as supposedly, there was no one in town. When she arrived at the house, she knocked. Maybe it had been a bold move but she really didn’t have time to play around. No one answered so she knocked again. Then, she let out a scream as someone pulled a curtain and looked out. Then the door opened and scared faces looked straight at her. There wasn’t one family living there, but two: three adults and five children. They recognized her and that was why they let her in. They were visibly nervous and she tried to reassure them but it was a lost cause. In the end, it was pretty reasonable to be scared and jumpy after been through so much.

 Serena was about to speak when the ground started to tremble. Everyone pulled back from the door and the walls and ran towards a hatch on the ground. Serena didn’t. She was too curious, too urged for the truth. She walked to the curtain and stood still, looking through the window, not even moving. The tremor grew stronger and then, what felt like hundreds of boars passed in front of the house. They were huge, with big horns and red eyes. They destroyed everything outside but they passed fast. She breathed again but it was too soon. Something else was coming down the street and she had to cover her mouth in order not to scream and reveal her position.


 In the palace, they finally realized something was wrong. But it was too late as the moon revealed what was happening there, in the town. And it also revealed that the palace wasn’t safe because, whatever was causing the ground to shake was coming their way. It was only a matter of minutes before the boars overran the market square. And even then, watching it all from his room, the emperor did nothing. Not even thinking about his wife.

miércoles, 12 de agosto de 2015

The Beast

   When the man also known as The Beast was caught, everyone was relieved. He had escaped every single police force along his path, as he killed innocent people, and he had finally committed was small mistake. The police had noticed his liking for a certain candy and it was a wrapper they found at a gas station that lead them directly to him. He was found torturing his latest victim on marsh. Fortunately, she was still alive. He had to be shot several times in the legs and spine in order to immobilize him. The police remembered that they couldn’t kill him, no matter how much they wanted revenge for what he had done before. He had killed several people, not only women but children and men too. Besides, the way he did it earned him the nickname Beast from every force chasing him.

 Finally in a prison cell, doctor that checked him upon arrival were surprised to see that the damage done by the bullets to his body was minimal. He could still walk and had only a slight limp on his left leg. He was transferred to a maximum-security prison that same day, where he was able to wait for his trial. This offended many of the victims’ families, because they didn’t thought such an animal had the right to a trial. But the law was the law and he was at least entitled to tell the people how he had done it and why. The trial, after all, was also useful as a way to explain everything that had happened and shed a light on such a monstrous behavior. If it ever happened again, authorities and society needed to know why.

 For everyone, it was a very hard time. The pictures, the police videos, the details by coroners… It was awful to hear how every body was dumped, how some of them were raped and how he tortured every single one of them. He had no real proceeding; it wasn’t like he just raped the women or something like that. He was erratic and that was proven by the first two weeks of the trial. People had asked for only a week to show evidence and so on but the judge had to change that as he had to cut short every day, because at least one person would get physically sick of all the details of the murders. He knew it was asking too much of every single person to sit there and stand such truths.

 At least five of the jurors had to be excused. They all decided to leave the trial as they realized they weren’t fit to stand all those gruesome details that they knew had to come out to the light. They were replaced as they left, and some information had to be repeated for the new jurors in order for them to understand the whole process. That week was the most difficult time in the lives of the family member, more than the moment when they had been notified that their loved ones were dead. Everything hurt up to that point and most of them just wanted it all to finish with the dead of the Beast, they needed to see how his body stopped breathing.

 The second week of the trial it was all about the Beast. Bringing him to the courthouse proved difficult, as demonstrators were always there throwing things at him. The authorities didn’t really mind but they just couldn’t allow something worst to happen. It was rumored that some of the family members were planning to kill the Beast and that had to be stopped. The police started bringing him through the back door of the courthouse and they also made a couple of arrests to make people understand that they needed to trust justice and what it stood for. It was understandable that they were angry, very angry for what happened but they had to let justice do what she needs to do. They needed closure and that couldn’t be found by killing a human being. They shouldn’t become him to prove their love.

 The first couple of days, he was cooperating so much. But by the third day, he started speaking, saying incoherent things. After the opposing lawyer confronted him, the man attempted to attack him and had to be restrained and tied to the chair he was sitting on. The lawyer asked for the trial not be cancelled for this incident and he used this event to demonstrate to the people why the murderer was called the Beast. He then read a psychiatrist’s report, where he stated that the Beast suffered a very rare syndrome were his brain thought everything and everyone was a danger to his existence. It was the only explanation they could give to killing so many people. But why torture them, they asked? No response.

 The next day, it was a very long one. Again, pictures and videos of crime scenes were shown but this time in order to provoke a reaction of the Beast. His lawyer, who was trying to get him life instead of the death penalty, had not spoken much with his own client because he had become very quiet and still. He had to go through all the evidence to, at least, prove the man he was defending was insane and that he belonged to an asylum. He repeated this over and over again during the trial, without little to no positive response from the jury. They were all disgusted by what they had seen and had no space in their hearts or their heads to consider the Beast as only a crazy guy that happens to kill people.

 By the end of the week, they finally got some words out of the Beast. He said that he had to kill them all because he was afraid. But when asked if he had any reasons to torture any of them, he was quiet for a while. By the end of the session, he stood up and said that he fought against the forces of the devil and that it had been God himself who had told him what to do and how to do it. This was a low blow for everyone in the courtroom and for everyone in the city, to be honest. Blaming God was ridiculous but it was a step towards that insanity plea and it was hard to fight it because his time on the trials ended just after that.

 The following days a couple of family members gave their statements. It was, again, a difficult thing to see and hear. Most of the people in the room cried at some point and how not too, when the details of someone’s death were being given by their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers… The jury was thankful that those statements only lasted for a couple of days. After that, the judge gave the jury four days to decide about this man’s faith. Of course, they didn’t need so much time. The following day every single person had being summoned to hear the verdict: the Beast was going to die by lethal injection. Many of the families were relieved but none of them were happy or anything close to that. They just needed to close that door in their lives, once and for all.

 The execution was programmed a month after the trial had ended. Some people complained that it should have been done faster, but they couldn’t get everyone that needed to be there at an earlier date. The governor wanted to be there, as well as at least one member from every family that the Beast had destroyed. They even looked for his parents or relatives and found and old woman that denied the invitation to see a family member die. She said he had not seen him in years and that he had always been “one of those weird kids”. Television crews stationed themselves very early the day of the executions, as well as many people that supported the families. Strangely enough, there were also protesters against the death penalty. Not their best showing.

 The lethal injection process was very simple and some people complained, again, that it was too humane for such an animal. But the state had no other way of killing inmates. Firing squads were a thing of the past, there were no electric chairs anymore and communities had successfully avoided the implementation of death by gas. So everyone gathered in very small room and just watched as the man they hated so much was brought from his cell. As they saw the people from prison tie him down, many thought that the last ting their loved ones had seen was probably the face of that man. And that made them so much angrier.


 The liquids that went into his body were lowered slowly, one by one. As they saw him closing his eyes and his vital signs going away, they felt their hearts even more broke than before because it was the end of the road and they had gone through all of it together. They pronounced him dead and the governor started to applause but soon stopped. Everyone else looked at him with disgust. Somehow, people were still disgusted by the fact that people had to be killed to teach a lesson, a lesson that maybe no one was really hearing or understanding. Somewhere in the region, another person was being killed. Because the evil inside humans doesn’t stop and it has many layers and faces. The only way is to keep fighting.