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

martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Tragedy and mystery

The flames appeared to be running up the hill at a great speed. From the small town below, the fire seemed to conquer the mountain with ease. The smoke started to descend shortly and only minutes after the incident, the whole valley was choking on thick and toxic smoke. People got out of the streets and got in their homes, sealing every single window and door in order not to let the smoke inside. They kept the blinds up however, as it was important to know if the fire in the mountain continued or if someone attempted to stop it.

 Sure enough, a larger city located close by, had decided to send a fire brigade to extinguish the fire. But they weren’t only there for that: they were also sent on a rescue mission. After all, the fire had not been caused by some glass in the woods (it was nighttime) or a badly taken care of bonfire. The flames had appeared out of the impact of a plane against the side of the mountain. Only a couple of people from the nearby town had seen it actually crash but they wouldn’t have to know how big the aircraft was or why it had crashed.

 The city’s firemen battled against the flames for several hours. The fire that had grown around the wreckage was so violent that it had consumed a good part of the forest in its first hour. As the firemen took their time to kill the fire, dawn came and it was thanks to the first lights of the day that the fire could finally be beaten. They got to the wreckage and discovered it was one of those private jets. It probably carried around twenty people or something like that but it would be irresponsible to say before getting the black box or any additional information.

 The people of the small town were grateful that the fire had been beaten, so they decided to help the firemen with the search for the black box. They divided themselves into teams, each team having a specific area of the forest to go and look for the box. The awful thing was that, as they looked for that, they found some other things that they weren’t prepared to see. Severed heads, burned limbs and even the corpses of a couple of children. It was very shocking for everyone to see that, as their own children were not very far away.

 A farmer that lived by the mountain finally found the box. He was very thankful that the fire didn’t get to his food, so he rushed up the hill when he heard they might need help. He actually found the black box when walking towards the wreckage, closer to his house than to the remains of the plane. It seemed like something important, so he grabbed it and showed it to the chief of the firemen. He was very happy to see the box and thanked the man. It was a very happy moment in a very awkward moment to feel something like that.

 As the box was sent to the city, the firemen and people of the small town had decided to help carry the dead downhill and then to several ambulances that came and went every so often. They all counted the bodies and, when they didn’t find anyone else, they concluded there were actually thirty-seven people in the plane. It was a very strange number; as such a plane was not really suited for that many people. Even the people of the town knew that or at least they thought it was very strange. The last thing they did was waiting for the experts.

 Those people were the ones that were in charge of taking all the pictures for the report that would have to be filed in order to investigate the reasons of the crash. The experts had taken their time arriving because they had to travel from the capital to actually get there, so many of the objects and the general wreckage site was not exactly as it had been before they started looking for the box and picking up the bodies. A young fireman was bright enough to take pictures the moment they had arrived so he surrendered those images to the experts.

After the experts were done picking up all the pieces, big and small, as well as sweeping what remained of the forest to look for every single piece of evidence, the site became some sort of graveyard. It was very particular because there were no remains there but no one really knew if, maybe, some more passengers had been burned by the fire that had consumed the forest. They had no idea if that was possible so the people of the small town organized a mass one-week after the accident. Some of the firemen attended, it was a beautiful ceremony.

 Meanwhile, the experts analyzed every single fragment of the plane and determined that the model that had crashed had seating for twenty-six people. That meant that, according to the amount of bodies people had rescued from the mountain, at least eleven people had not been seating on a proper seat but somewhere else. That was not really the usual and it didn’t happen very often. The experts also tired to determine if the extra passengers could have been a reason for the crash but everything seem to point that it hadn’t been a critical factor.

 The remains of the planes and of the people were thoroughly checked and, two weeks after the crash, the experts released a statement in which they announced that the final number of dead in the crash had been forty-one and not thirty seven as the firemen and townsfolk had counted. Apparently, the remaining four that hadn’t been counted had caught on fire shortly after the crash and now their remains had almost combined with some of the other passenger’s remains.

 It was only thanks to the black box that they could determine who the passengers were and what flight that was. After all, the nearest control tower had declared that no aircraft had been detected in the area before the crash. That meant that they wouldn’t have had any contact with it and it would also have been impossible to know it had crashed. Other airfields were consulted and they all said the same thing. The first theory was that it was some sort of drug related flight, maybe operated by criminals wanting to get away from the country.

 That theory was soon debunked, as the closest border was almost two thousand kilometers always. Besides, the black box was able to tell the experts that the flight happened to be a private one. Furthermore, the codes inside it were able to point the origin of the flight, almost a thousand kilometers away. The aircraft had apparently left an airfield not so far from the capital city. It looked like they had boarded in a rush, in fear if that was possible. The voices of the crew on the recordings were very difficult to tell one from the other.

 It was rather easy to say that the plane was really crowded because a lot more voices could be heard in the background. The audios were checked several time in order to identify what everyone was saying during the flight. It was hard work because many voice chimed into the conversation happening inside the aircraft and it seemed as if they had been talking every single second until their death. Apparently the instruments had begun to fail and that could be the cause behind the crash.

 But even if that was the reason, it didn’t answer much about why all of those people had decided to get into a crowded airplane. As the voice experts analyzed the audios, others decided to have a second look at the object that had been rescued from the plane. There were toys, glasses, a briefcase, magazines, and a couple of computers… Everything except suitcases, actual luggage that the people inside the plane should have carried. It was kind of obvious that they had boarded on a rush. The origin airport was consulted on that and it was then when they had an extra clue.

 The manager of the airfield had a report of a disappeared business jet owned by a pharmaceutical company. It had been there for several months and now the people had left. No one really knew when but the fact that a company owned it raised some eyebrows. But that didn’t explain the amount of people that were inside. It took another week to have one more clue, when a clumsy investigator dropped the suitcase found on the plane, making it open and revealing a series of papers and a very bright substance in a titanium tank, the size of a forearm. The mystery was not done.

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.

martes, 4 de octubre de 2016

The swamp

   Everyone and everything had been thrown into the swamp. The plane crashed violently in the middle of the night and all the safety and security services had been dispatched to help. The bad thing was that the area was very remote with no roads and nor real ways to access except by foot, which would take several days for any person, even the most knowledgeable as the swamp was concerned. They also send helicopters and drones, which could see the fire, caused by the fuel, but could do nothing else than watch, as there were no spots to land.

 The families of the victims traveled from their homes to the nearest town but they were soon frustrated to now that the area was difficult in every sense of the word. Besides, the imagery registered by many cameras showed that the fire had already caused explosions and most of the actual plane was now destroyed. The likelihood of anyone been able to survive that was very remote but most families stayed in town, trying to join the rescue teams or at least attempting to be useful somehow before the pain and the tragedy hit them hard in their hearts.

 With machetes, firemen and policemen tried to cut down some of the swamp trees. That wasn’t very well received by the many people whose job was to protect that green area. They realized the destruction caused by the plane could not be prevented but they thought that cutting more trees to be able to only access a couple of more meters of swamp was just stupid. Not only because the trees got thicker and less likely to be cut the more they advanced, but also because of the legends surrounding the place, which people from the nearby town knew so well too.

 The lady that ran the only decent diner in town was the one who told the families of the victims about the legend of the swamp. It was said that in ancient times prehistoric men started to come in the area and that when they tried to travel further the swamp didn’t let them. Some of the people in the tribe wanted to go through it, others around it. So they divided into two groups but only one remained. The one that penetrated the forest never came out. It is said that they remained in there and that they evolved differently than the rest of humanity.

 Someone else explained that it was a legend similar to the one of Big Foot but in a swamp. Many people had seen the creature or at least that’s what they said. Fifty years ago, the place was not a wildlife reserve so people would go in to fish and hunt. There were many stories from that time about the green gigantic men that roamed all over the swamp. Some said they helped stranded people; others portrayed them as savage beasts capable of eating human flesh. Either way, the families of the victims were not really thrilled about the idea of a beast attempting to eat their people.

 The fire caused by the jet fuel lasted for two days until a storm helped and extinguished it for good. Drones and helicopters were used again but at a lower altitude now that they didn’t have to handle smoke or flames. Their fly-by’s only showed the few pieces left of the planes and the black water below those pieces. They even detected pieces of clothing and some objects that any passenger would have like a suitcase or a doll. But there were no bodies or parts of bodies. They could not detect any victim, dead or alive, and that was tragic.

 The general thought was that the fire had burned the bodies to a crisp, especially after having been alive for two days. The force of the impact also had to be accounted for. The most possible outcome was for every single person to have died because of the fire and not even because of the violent crash. Those news were very hard on the families who started leaving the small town right after the announcement. Most of them felt everything was done for them there.

 However, some family members stayed. They insisted on having at least some bones to bury, some of their objects or anything they could mourn with. They needed something, anything really, to start the long and painful process of mourning. Some had lost children, some others fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. The plane had been at full capacity on a very popular route. The tragedy was just too big to ignore. The remaining family members decided to help police and firemen with the look for the black boxes.

 Those were essential to understanding how everything had happened. It would help bring some closure to the people touched by the accident and it would also bring much needed answers to the investigators because the causes of why the planned had crashed were not at all clear. The aircraft had passed its last revision only a few months ago and had flown that exact route thousands of times. The night it went down, there was no storm or atmospheric phenomena that would explain the crash.

 The small town saw a surge of people coming in and out: reporters, investigators and even curious people that knew everything about the swamp and were dying to know what the crash meant for the alleged creatures that lived in there. All of those people came and went for weeks, doing different things to find answers, not always looking for the same ones. But as they did what they felt they had to do, they had neglected to check other areas of the swamp. Areas that were even more remotely located than the crash landing site.

The swamp was a very large natural entity. It was such a big part of the region that many roads had to do go around it, making travel very difficult around that corner of the Earth. The plane had crashed in the area where smaller trees grew. The area was almost always flooded because of the nearby rivers the swamp helped in regulating. The importance of the ecosystem was so high that the people of the region had been the ones to ask the government to protect the swamp, thus guaranteeing a good flow of the rivers, which would give them fish and energy.

 That was the reason why people didn’t really care about the swamp, as long as it was there to do its natural job. However some occasionally tried to get it in order to find the alleged creature that lived there. The interest arose briefly after the plane crash. However, weeks later, there was no one very interested in creatures no one had seen in years. They were more concerned with the swamp turning into a graveyard and the consequences of the fuel that had been poured into the water. They were more concerned with that than anything else.

 So worried that they ignored the signs coming fro mother parts of the swamps. Unusual movements of the plants, incipient fires and large creatures swimming that were not alligators. People had ultimately survived from the crash but no one was watching in their direction. They were just three people: two adults and a child. They didn’t have any connection among them except that they were seating on the same row of the plane. That row was expelled far from the plane and that was the reason why they had survived.

 However, that was to be seen as they had no food, the water they were swimming was probably polluted by the jet fuel and there were animals all around, trying to have something to eat. They had tried going from tree to tree but that was hard and one of the adults was very injured. Swimming was the alternative but they had to do it during the day, in order to know if alligators or similar were around the area. They moved away from the crash site, thinking they would be seen more easily if they did so but that proved to be false.

 The adult who was injured died three days after the crash, as he slept on a tree. The kid and the other adult tried to move onwards but it was practically impossible, as the swamp seemed to be less “open” as they advanced with the river. On the fifth day, they saw a helicopter. When they tried to wave to it, the branch of the tree they were holding on broke and they both fell to the water, near a group of reptiles. As the animals got closer to attack, another creature appeared out of nowhere, knocked out the flesh eaters and helped the kid and the adult out of the water. It was a big, greenish creature. And it seemed to smile.

sábado, 13 de agosto de 2016

The secret of Moon Bay

   The massive ship entered the silent waters of the Moon Bay. The silent fishermen villages could be seen from it, waiting to be attacked and pillaged. The pirates aboard the ship were getting ready to do what they did best, drinking wine and recalling past victories. However, their captain was on the observation deck, contemplating the bay were he had been born all those years ago. It was his first time back and he was thinking about telling his men to stand down and retire to the open ocean.

 Captain Fox was renowned as one of the most vicious pirates in all the seven seas. But that night, he felt as a kid, unprotected and filled with emotion because of the place he was in. He had been taken from his home from a very young age and he had never known what it was to have a family. His crew was his family but he felt that wasn’t the same thing, especially when he had seen true family love in his past raids.

 When the men were ready, he was unable to say anything. Captain Fox authorized them to set the first town on fire and take all they wanted from it. There were only a few houses there, so not many people. Fox stayed on his ship as he saw his men rowing in the silent night, slowly taking the town by surprised. From his place, he was able to see the houses catch on fire, he heard the screams and he even felt something strange, a certain uneasy feeling that he had never felt before as a pirate.

 As expected, the men returned almost empty handed.  Village of fishermen was not an interesting target and Captain Fox was sure of it. He told his men that they needed to go back to the open ocean and then plan the raid of a real big city or at least of towns that had something more to offer than rotten fish. But his men argued that they were hungry and that they needed the fish to survive. None of them was smart enough to make a net and use it a way to get food.

 Without permission, the pirates attacked the second village. That one took longer to fully take over but they did. When they came back from the shore, Fox noticed they had brought someone with them. It was an elder, and old woman who was shaking and seemed to be on the edge of dying of how scared she was. Fox told his men to hold her in the empty cabin and not in the lower cells.

 His men obliged as they ate and celebrated the fact that they had a decent dinner for the first time in a month. The captain when to his room and tried to sleep but the noise his men made was difficult to ignore. Besides, he just couldn’t rest. There was something pressing his chest. Maybe it was being in Moon Bay again or maybe it was realizing he was becoming a very weak captain.

 He decided to join his men for a beer and some fish, seeing he wasn’t going to be sleeping for the next few hours. On his way to the staircase, he passed the cabin where the old woman was and the door there was wide open. He returned to see the woman sitting on the bed, in complete silence and darkness. However, he could feel something was wrong. Fox decided to enter the place and talk to her. Maybe she needed to know she wasn’t going to die there. When he was about to touch her shoulder, the woman looked at him with glowing red eyes.

 In some strange tongue, she said various words. She began saying them in a normal register but then she raised her voice and look upward, to the bridge. The captain then heard some noises above but he didn’t move because he wasn’t able to. He was very scared and wanted to do something, whether it was running away or stabbing the old woman with his sword. But he just couldn’t do any of those things. Something was preventing him from doing so.

 The woman had stopped speaking but her eyed were still very much red. After a moment, she spoke again, her voice amplified a thousand times. It was like receiving a massive wave on the face and being pushed a long distance by it. She told him he was a sun of the bay and that he shouldn’t have come back.

 That made Fox less scared somehow. How did she knew that he had been born there and why shouldn’t he be there? The woman then stood up from the bed and stretched out a hand towards him, as if she was going to grab something. And it felt like she did: the captain couldn’t properly breath, his eyes going blurry and his legs feeling very weak. It hurt a lot inside his chest and he still couldn’t move at all. It was torture, the worst kind.

 When she finally stopped, he was very dizzy. The old woman had driven him very close to the edge of death. She moved her hand again and then he was able to move but only to collapse on the floor like a bunch rocks. His breathing was heavy and he couldn’t talk but he knew he had been very close to the end. He looked at her and she looked at him. It was a strange connection that they maintained for a while.

 The witch told him Moon Bay was a haunted place. The villages there were nothing but illusions. All those things his men had done that night were scenes played out in their heads. There were no real villagers or fish or wine. It was all her, as she was the last surviving inhabitant of the area. No one else there lived and it was because someone else had been there before the pirates, setting everything on fire.

 She told Fox that it was that warrior, that creature made in hell itself, which had entered the bay in a similar night and had set on fire every single soul there except her. She was able to hold him for a while but he was too powerful to be stopped by an older woman. Her magic tricks were nothing against his darkness and villainy. However, he spared her life and made her stay there forever, attached to the waters of the bay, waiting for any adventurers trying to take what that devil had taken.

 Captain Fox was able to speak, even if his chest was aching too much. He wanted to know why that creature, if real, had left her there. Why her and for what purpose? The woman laughed like mad. She was surprised he didn’t realize she was a slave of the devil that had burned those waters. By magic, she was attached to the place and obliged to kill anyone who entered the bay. She had to offer their lives to his cause. That would make him stronger for his return.

 So he was going to come back and set the world on fire once and for all. She said it was not going to happen for another couple of hundreds of years but that his reign was unstoppable. There was no way to prevent it from happening. The captain asked the woman if she could be able to break free from the shackles she had been put in. Her expression went somber and turned away from him. The answer was obvious.

 The old woman changed the subject, telling the pirate that she had only let his men take her to the boat because she wanted to speak with him, as she had an idea to try and tilt everything in her favor, at least once. He didn’t understand. She explained that she knew his parents very well, the witch knew exactly who he was and remembered the day he had been taken away by a group of pirates. She told him about the tears they cried and how they did during the creature’s first raid.

 They had been very brave and had asked her, just as the monster neared, to cast a special spell making their boy immune to the powers of hell. After all that time since he had been gone, they still loved him and wanted to protect him against the outmost evil. She did so and that’s why she was onboard, to tell him he had a chance, a long shot at making the devil pay.

 Before he could ask anything of her, she said some more words and vanished, turning into thick black fog that disappeared in seconds. The captain ran to the bridge of his vessel to see if he could call her back but he was stopped as he saw the bodies of all his men. It had been her but only because It had ordered it. It was then when Fox realized he had to think his next step very well.