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

miércoles, 20 de junio de 2018

Survival


   Fire blurred my vision every single time I leaned over my right leg to run. It hurt like nothing else had ever hurt me, but I had no choice. Running required me to be agile, not minding what was happening with the rest of my body. Those legs that had carried me around all my life had to work at the top of their game, never minding anything else. I felt the taste of iron in my mouth and my mind seemed to leave my body for a couple of moments, but somehow I moved on through the night, like a wraith between rocks and chopped trees.

 When light finally broke the darkness of the night, there was not much to look at anyway. The fields had been almost carbonized and smoke filled every single corner of the once green and lush environment. I stopped and tried to hear the world around me. My ears were buzzing and my head was turning like crazy but I tried anyway but I couldn’t hear a thing. It was then when I noticed that my leg was in a horrible state, a large part opened and spilling blood all over. However, the pain was not as bad as it was supposed to be.

 I tasted iron again and realized I had bitten my tongue while running. There was blood on my head too but I didn’t touch myself to know where it was coming from. It was urgent to find a place to get the proper help I need because, after all that had happened, I was still alive. They had sent troops after me, I had been strapped to a torture table for days and yet there I was, in the middle of a field that they had apparently abandoned. I started walking once more, trying to find a proper exit to that horrible place.

 I might have wondered through the smoke for several hours. I knew it was still day because there was light but it was very hard to see where the Sun was exactly. I tried to identify it a couple of times but it was absolutely useless. So I moved on, walking through the scorched plains, hoping to find a place to rest for a while. I have to confess I never thought of anyone else during that time, I had only myself in mind. What would I be good for if I died? The only way to help others was if I made it alive to the other side.

 When light began to wane, I found the first untouched trees that I had seen in several days, maybe more. I had no idea how much time had passed since everything had started. But there they were, smelling like smoke, with the tips of their leaves burned, but alive nevertheless. I walked into the forest, with a frankly good mood. No one would enter the forest to only look for me. There was a lot more to do in the world than to go after one person that got away. Maybe they thought nature, or what remained of it, would finish the job and make my bones be food for the ground.

 In the dark, I eventually found something of use. It was a small village, made of about a dozen little houses. It looked like one of those places were people gather when they expect to be mining for something, one of those temporal towns that were built back in the day, when retrieving the remaining minerals was of outmost importance for the world. Now, all those miners and their families worked in the big factories in the cities. The old villages had been left to rot under the sun and the rain and everything else.

 Plants had overrun the place, flowers growing everywhere. The smoke around there was much less dense. I was able to breathe a little bit easier. I walked around and eventually found the little hut that had worked as the doctor’s office. Maybe they hadn’t been able to attract a proper doctor to that remote place, only a nurse or maybe someone that came once every two or three weeks to help as much as they could. As I expected, there wasn’t a lot to use around there but almost nothing was better than nothing at all.

 I cured my wounds with whatever there was around and I was lucky enough to discover a linen closet filled with clean sheets and other fabrics. I cut a large one in order to use as bandages for my wounds. My body felt a little better, especially when I lay down in a cot. There was only the light of the moon, which happened to be almost getting to its fullest state. The beautiful pearl color of its surface, visible past the sheet of smoke, made me think of the past, of simpler times that I had been lucky enough to live.

 I fell asleep, dreaming about things that I remembered but mostly about things I had no idea how to understand. It was obvious that I had begun to forget things. Their attempts to make me less of a human had actually worked, as I didn’t feel like my old self anymore. My dream did not make any sense and everyone in it, or most of them at least, felt as a fabrication of my mind or maybe even someone else’s. It was so disturbing, that I woke up very suddenly, sweating profusely and damning my humanity.

 I realized I had slept much more than I had thought. It was morning already and the sound of birds reached me. For a moment, it seemed very normal. But then I realized there was no way. The plain had been destroyed or at least most of it. It was improbable that wildlife would have found a way to survive the destruction of the war and all other things that had happened. I stood up and went running outside, realizing I was not dreaming at all. There was a bird singing somewhere close, and I wanted to see it. I wanted to remember what a bird looked like, one that was real.

 I walked, slowly, out of the smoky cloud that had covered me for hours, maybe even more time. I seemed to be walking on the edge of the forest. The bird was chirping away, probably flying away slowly. I eventually arrived to a place where the trees began to be shorter and there were more rocks and reddish soil. It was then when I saw the little bird making the noise. It was small, brown in color and a little bit puffy. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was happy and talented and free. That was the most important: free.

 I wanted to go closer, to touch him, at least for a moment. But another sound cut me off from desire. The bird seemed to notice it too because it suddenly stopped singing. It stayed on its branch, silently staring right into a group of trees. Then, suddenly and very fast, a bullet rushed through the air and blew up the bird into oblivion. I saw its feathers fall slowly to the ground. I saw beauty being destroyed just because it was there. I felt enraged but also very much confused. I really didn’t like that at all.

 A group of two men and a woman came from the trees. I had walked back a bit just before, hiding behind the thickest tree I had been able to find. I trembled when I realized who they were: Ravagers. They were mercenaries that captured rebels in order to surrender them in exchange for money or food. Sometimes even more ammo for their guns. They didn’t care at all for the rights of others to live or to think differently. That was all done a long time ago. They had sold their souls for a cheap price.

 The woman grabbed the bird from the ground and did something I only heard, because I couldn’t make myself watch any of it. I only heard the crackling of bones and then laughter. I knew of their sadistic ways, identical to those of the people in power. There was no real difference between them. They had all been complacent in what had happened in the country. In the world, even. I only waited for them to go and they eventually did, walking back into the trees, their voices unable to hurt my ears anymore.

 When I felt better, I decided to go back to the village and grab everything I could find that might be useful. I used an old rag to make a sort of bag and put everything I could inside. I put that ball of stuff almost at the end of a thick stick I had found in the forest, getting ready for my next move.

 That night, I decided to walk in the opposite direction of everything that I had seen the day before. They had been the ones to almost kill me. My legs and feet walked on, hoping to move away from everything that had happened. Nevertheless, deep down, I knew that wasn’t at all possible.

miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

Sound, lights, action.

  There seemed to be no change in the weather. The wind continued to howl all night, not stopping for a moment. Luckily, there was a very large trunk filled with various blankets and pillows that helped pass the night without freezing on the spot. Being give people inside a tiny cabin was not something very comfortable but it was the only place they had found to spend some time away from the horrible storm outside. They didn’t say a word all night, trying to preserve their energy.

 The next day, the storm was still on full swing but they just couldn’t stay there the whole weekend. They had to leave right then in order to get home as soon as possible. They were there, on the mountain, for only a weekend and they had already wasted a whole day on that cabin in the middle of nowhere. However, some stated that maybe it would have been a better idea to just stay put, because sooner or late the rest of their friends would come for them, or maybe their families or someone that had seen them near the lake.

 The point made sense so they tried to discuss it but it only generated a silly argument related to food and heat, so nothing was really solved. After an entire hour of not deciding anything, Richard who was the oldest, decided he would go out and try to reach the lake. If he failed, he would come back to the cabin. But he thought they had to do something instead of staying there. No one said a word but the other four members of the party left behind him, covering their body as much as they could.

 The storm seemed to get stronger about five minutes after they had put one foot outside. With signs and screams, they decided to tie a rope around everyone, in order no to get lost. Richard was the first one in line and Theresa, the youngest, was the last one. She kept looking back but it was impossible to see anything. It was the middle of the day, they were sure of that, but no sunlight managed to get to the forest floor. The wind and snow made it impossible to open one’s eyes for very long.

 However, they kept on walking. Words couldn’t be heard anymore, even if the person yelled with all their might. So they just kept walking and walking, hoping they would soon get to the lake. After maybe forty minutes of traversing the storm, with legs and arms tired, they finally reached some sort of housing. The lights inside were off. Richard found the door and he soon discovered what Theresa had realized just seconds before going in. That building was the very same cabin they had just came out of, hours earlier. They had been moving in a circle.

 Of course, going back out was not really an option. Not only because it was extremely dangerous weather but also because the same thing would happen again. The snow and the wind would blind them once more into heading back to their departing point. There was no way to go through that again. Besides, their watches clearly stated night had fallen a short while ago and going out in the darkness, on a stormy night, seemed to be even a worse idea than the one they had before.

 They took out the blankets again and covered themselves with them. Mark and Daniel looked for food everywhere but the only thing they were able to find was a stale pack of cookies and some sour milk in a small crate, possibly some kind of refrigerator. Theresa was shaking violently. So much so that Caroline had to check her pulse and blood pressure by hand. She was clearly not well, as her skin had slowly turned blue and her lips seemed to have been covered in a thin layer of blackness.

 Everyone then gathered around Theresa and tried different things they knew, in order to get her blood pressure higher. They covered her with all the blankets and pillows, sat around her on the bed and gave her soft massages in arms and legs. However, the young woman started to shake violently. It was a very scary sight, as she seemed to be behaving in a way they had never seen. She would yell, scream profanities and then shake violently again. It was a very disturbing scene, in such a small cabin.

 She convulses some more and then stopped moving. Caroline checked on her again. Theresa had just died, in front of them all, for causes that were impossible to determine at the time. Caroline tried to explain it by blaming the cold temperatures and lack of food, but no one really paid attention to her. The men thought, without speaking to each other, that what just happened to Theresa had something to do with them going out of the cabin only to come back because of the storm.

 Mark had a few tears on his face when he said they should cover her body well or do something, because human bodies tend to decompose pretty fast. He said he had seen some documentary when it was stated it was best to bury a body as soon as it died for fear of certain diseases. Richard interrupted him, saying it was pretty obvious they couldn’t do that. The freezing temperatures could affect them too if they stayed outside for too long. Everyone looked at Theresa and hoped to be out of that place soon. Something they felt made them uneasy about the whole thing.

 Time passed and soon it was past midnight. The wind didn’t seem to be stopping soon, as it howled like a dying wolf outside the window. Caroline tried to look outside. She would have wanted to see some miraculous sign outside like a light or the face of someone she knew. Maybe rescue workers or even a helicopter. But the night was pitch black and the only source of light came from the lantern that Richard had brought in his bad. No one else had thought of it.

 Some time later, everyone was sleeping. Mark still had traces of tears on his face and Caroline had fallen asleep by the window, maybe the coldest place in the whole cabin. Richard was sleeping by the door, in a weird crouching position that seemed to be very uncomfortable. Daniel was the only one that had properly sat down and covered himself with one of the blankets. After all, Theresa wouldn’t need them anymore. And curiously enough, he was the one to wake up by the sound.

 A very powerful noise coming from the outside. At first, it was as if a gigantic creature was roaring wildly, but by the time Daniel woke up, the sound didn’t seemed to be that natural anymore. It was now something out of some horrible machine, causing an uproar that made the window shake and the body of their deceased companion fall from the bed. Daniel was close to the window when all the glasses broke and they got stuck on his face, making him bleed and scream to his death.

 It was him who woke up the others from their deep sleep. Caroline screamed when she saw Daniel bleeding on the floor. She had been close to the same faith but luckily she had leaned back in her sleep. Richard took her by the hand and raised Mark from the floor. He kicked the door open and started running, with the other two by his side. The forest was not in darkness anymore. It was now bright because of some very powerful lights that seemed to flood everything on sight.

 They ran away from the light as fast as they could but the snow was very difficult to go through. After a while, they grew tired and the lights finally disappeared, leaving in the air a scent that reminded them of their worst fears, of every single thing they hated.


 When they stopped, the light turned on again, more powerful than ever. They didn’t get to know if that was a weapon or some other kind of technology. The last thing they knew was that their fate was sealed and that they had not been in their very own world for a long time.

viernes, 17 de noviembre de 2017

Cry of death

   When rain came down the forest, it scrapped off the first layer of every tree. This gave the trees a really scary look, as if they were bleeding from their whole body. It was the reality of the world now, where acid rain had gotten worse. Plants and animals were having a very difficult time surviving the new state of things. In other parts it wasn’t much better. There was sand where there used to be farmland and many islands had disappeared far from the continents. It was a new world.

 Gaby was one of the many women that had decided to form a team to go into the forest every day in the morning in order to pick up as many fruits and mushrooms as they could. They were rare and fragile, so they needed the soft and delicate hands to pick them up from the ground or grab them from the tallest branches. The men, as always, had been doubtful of the enterprise at first but they eventually came around when noticing that everyone had to work in order to survive.

 Even children helped by fishing from the streams or picking up berries that were far more resilient that other fruits and would usually grow close to their camps. They had changed, as humanity had done before, into a nomad kind of people. They would built small towns from old plastics and some wood and stay in the same place for at least six months, at most a year. After that, they scouted for new places to live and then they would just move out, all at once, to start again.

 Gaby had been one of the first women in the morning team and she had already learned the many ways of the new forest. They carried books to check if what they were picking up could be eaten or not and they soon learned that many of the fruits that humanity had enjoyed for a long time, were now extinct. Mostly tropical fruits, but also plants that needed a calmer weather to survive. Maybe they still lived in other places of the planet but that seemed almost impossible.

 Animals, on the other hand, were rare now. Some smaller ones could be seen sometimes when walking around the forest such as rats and squirrels. They were resilient little creatures. But the tall trees had been deprived of other mammals such as monkeys and finding a bird was almost impossible. Their beautiful chants had been silenced. Nature clearly had no place for such delicate creatures anymore. It was a reminder that humanity’s days could be over sooner than expected. But people would still try to live another day, one step at a time.

 Gaby had actually discovered a small woodpecker she had found in the tallest branch of a tree, after picking up some chestnuts she had discovered by accident. She knew for a fact that many of the children and elders would love to eat such a strange thing but it was then when she saw the little bird, with a broken wing. She looked at it for a long time until one of her teammates called from her from the ground. Gaby opened her small bag and put the bird inside, hoping it wouldn’t make a noise.

 This has to be explained further. As bird reminded humans that their immediate future could be extinction, running into a bird wherever they went would be seen as a bad omen. People still had those strange beliefs that came out of nowhere. They were normally things based only on fear and feeling related to such contempt for things alien to ourselves. Birds became a sign of death and an undesirable future, so people left them to die when they found one, never minding the greater meaning of life.

 When she hit the ground, Gaby still had the chestnuts in her hand. She put them fast inside the bag and kept to her work for the rest of the morning. Some black clouds of rain loomed over them and it was decided they should be back home as soon as possible as they had neglected to bring special covers that resisted the acid in the rain. They made it in time and realized the men had also arrived, which was extremely uncommon as they normally spend their days in caves or deep in the forest, where the rain had trouble reaching them.

 They were all reunited in the biggest house in the camp, which was normally used for important matters. As rain started to fall, the men told the women that they had found something very strange in the forest. The women listened in silence, as the men told them they had discovered an abandoned power plant. They had investigated inside the place and, apparently, it was in perfect condition. It generated energy using the waters of a small lake, enclosed by a huge concrete wall.

 That was the problem. The rain, that was making a horrible roaring sound, was the one causing the huge wall to have small holes all over. This made the whole basin below a very dangerous place to stay and it was there they had been living for at least four months. The concrete wall could break at any moment so it was imperative to escape the basin to another place. For the last two years they had been following the same river, slowly, but it was clear they needed to travel further this time in order to find a proper place to live permanently, as nomadism was not sustainable.

 The women had taking advantage of this story in order to leave the food they had found in small pile in the center of the house. It was clearly not enough for everyone but they had all grown accustomed to the lack of food. It was then when Gaby remembered the woodpecker in her bag and checked on it for a bit, when everyone was looking at the men telling the story. She kept a chestnut for it and tried to close the bag as well as she could in order for the small bird to be kept a secret.

 Everyone agreed that it was necessary to leave for another place as a tragedy could happen anytime. They decided to pick up everything they could grab with them and start walking as soon as they rain had stop. Not everyone had fabric to protect themselves from the rain, but those who did decided to go back to their houses and prepare for the evacuation. Gaby was one of those, and she ran as fast as she could in order to properly check on her bird. She lived with other girls her age, but they didn’t mind her closing her door when she entered.

 She finally put out the little bird and noticed it was still trying to flap its broken wing. However, it seemed a little happier than before, maybe because it had eaten half the chestnut she had left for it inside the bag. She looked at it very close and the bird seemed to do the same. They kept their silence, only breathing slowly and moving their eyes from one place to the other. She was amazed to see how bright its feathers were and how small it was. But she knew it had to be different before.

 She took a book from her bookshelf and opened it in a page about birds. Although there was no picture of a woodpecker, it showed a similar bird and stated it was at least twice as big as they one that was curling up on her bed. It looked really cute right there, looking at her at closing its eyes, visibly tired but also happy to have had something to eat. It seemed so fragile, a little bit as the children of the small town who had no spark in their eyes anymore, just a glaring sad look.

 Then, Gaby heard footsteps nearby. She looked at the window and realized there was no more rain on the other side. Just in time, she grabbed the small bird and put it inside her bag, along with a few other things from her shelf, which made her seemed worried when other girls entered the room.


 An hour later, a large group of people was crossing the woods. They thought they had been able to escape their doom but then a strange sound was heard all over the woods, which made the woodpecker cry for the first time. It was a clear cry of death.

lunes, 2 de octubre de 2017

The tower

   When Samuel woke up, the first thing he felt was the stone cold floor of the tower. It was made out of huge rocks that had probably being recovered from the river down below. The sounds that the water made stumbling down from the mountain could not be heard at such heights. The cold wind blew and he was finally awake to see the horror of his situation. He had been trapped and put in a tower, far away from anyone that would be able to ever rescue him from his ordeal.

 Before losing his consciousness, he remembered a gentle smile and green bright eyes. He almost remembered huge yellow eyes and fire. But nothing else. Only those four things and when he put them together in his mind, they didn’t make any sense at all. It was as if he had many fragments of one story in his head but not the whole thing. He could put them in any order and try to make sense out of it, but it was useless. Even if he came up with the right idea, he wouldn’t know it.

 After waking up, he walked to the balcony and saw the land beneath the tower. There was an immense forest, larger than any he had ever seen or heard of. His motherland was located near the ocean. He had seen mountains only from afar and now he was surrounded by them. He had water so close he would fish every single day with his friends, for his parents and the townspeople in general. Now, the river was only a glistening thread that sometimes shone beneath the trees.

 Sam walked back to the tower’s interior and saw his new kingdom: a straw carpet on the center of the room, a bookshelf with many dusty volumes, a large wooden table with some fruit going bad on a basket on top, a chair, and a something resembling a bed but much smaller. It was uncomfortable even looking at it. Only one pillow and one thin blanket on top. It wouldn’t be enough for the nights on such a high place. The final touch was two doors: one half broken, going to the terrace, and the other made of solid metal, leading elsewhere.

 He ran to the metal door. He tried to push and hit and kick the door. But nothing happened. It wouldn’t even make a sound. It was just there, impervious, being the frontier between his cell and the rest of the world. He banged at the door, crying and yelling, desperate all of a sudden after realizing some mad man had imprisoned him. He begged for his life and for his sanity but no one came. He put one of his ears against the cold metal but couldn’t hear anything besides the wind. He was probably alone in that damned tower.

 Samuel tried to look for something else around the room, something to help him, but there was nothing there than what he had already seen at first glance. It was just that room, with those objects. No magic or mystical thing behind it all. For a moment, he had felt like one of those imprisoned damsels on children’s stories. But his situation was far worse than what those ladies had gone through. His captor was not even there. And he only had bad fruit to eat and nothing to drink.

 He decided to grab an apple and bite a chunk out of it. He felt the need of food in his stomach and maybe it would be best for him to think with a somewhat filled stomach. But he ended up eating the whole apple. In his rage against himself, Sam threw the apple’s heart over the balcony, and looked how it fell several meters before disappearing among the trees. After he saw that, he started crying and sobbing. He was going to die for sure and he had no way to ask anyone for help.

 Night fell soon enough. He closed the wrecked wooden door but it was useless, as the freezing gusts of wind entered through the huge cracks. He got into bed, with all of his clothes on, and just lay there, trying not to fell the cold that pierced through the thin blanket. Besides, it was too short, so either his feet would froze or his chest. He decided to get up and use some of the bigger books on the shelf to cover his feet. They were more dust than paper but his idea worked. However, the sadness he felt prevented him from falling asleep quickly.

 From afar, he heard the noises made by the forest. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the faces of his family and friends, his adventures to the beach and how he was congratulated for a week after having caught the largest lobster ever in that area. He had been so proud and had provided for his family for a whole month because of that feat. The pride lit his heart and that made the perfect temperature to fall asleep and visit his home in his dreams. He needed it badly.

 As he dreamt, he saw the yellow eyes again and the fire but he also remembered something more: a laugh. Soft, almost imperceptible, but capable to chill every single fiber of one’s being. The laughter wouldn’t stop. It got louder and louder and louder. Until the green eyes appeared, the sound of metal was heard and everything became silent and peaceful again. Then, saw a smile and felt his heart filling with heat again. But this time it wasn’t pride that was doing the job. It was something much more powerful. It was love.

Samuel woke up all of a sudden. He had felt so good but then something had changed and his eyes just opened. But no one was in that place with him. He was still alone and the wind was still entering through the rotten door. But it was day outside. Not only that. His blanket had been replaced with a thicker and larger one, with many bright colors all over. And the moldy fruit was replaced with baked goodies and fresh fruit. The books though, were still as dusty as before.

 It was obvious someone had entered the room. He stood up in the middle of the room, looking for more changes, and he realized he had overlooked something very obvious: he wasn’t wearing his boots anymore. Those were outside, the sun shining bright over them. And his vest had been put on the chair next to the table, nicely folded. He could finally spot something, the only thing, out of place in the whole room: a pair of wool socks made into a ball, on the bookshelf.

 He walked towards it and grabbed the ball but, just when he did it, a piece of paper fell down to the floor. The bad thing was that the damn wind pulled it over to the balcony and through the biggest crack on the wooden door. Sam raced after the paper and was able to catch it just as it was flying over the edge of the structure. He pulled back so hard out of fear that he fell on his behind, hitting the stone floor hard. He couldn’t get up so fast, so he decided to read the note first.

 It was short and very concise. It read: “Nights are cold. P”. That was it. Nothing more. No explanation of who the person was or why he or she had imprisoned Samuel on that tower. Nothing more than a kind thought made into a pair of woolen socks. They were new and Sam learned they worked wonders in order to try to keep the cold at bay. But it was a pain in the butt not to know who had been there to leave that present. Not even the actual pain could put his mind to rest.

 The man from the coast stayed in that tower for a long time and each night, new food and objects would appear out of nowhere. Sometimes, he would get a new book; some other times it was board games he could play by himself. He even got more clothes, all which fit perfectly.


 In time, he learned to live in the tower. He doubted his host less and loss until, one day; he eventually met the person who had put him there. And the first thing he did was to cry. And then, he looked at the horizon, and knew exactly what to do.