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

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2017

Strange place

   The woods outside the small town of Iris, were a very lonely place almost all year round. Not a soul dared to cross through it to get anymore, no matter if it came from outside or inside the small town. People would rather cross the lake by boat to reach the village or simply take the main road that made a big detour around the woods. After so much time of this prohibition having settled in in the minds of the people, they simply didn’t think about it anymore and saw it as one of those things of nature.

 But it wasn’t exactly nature, which barred everything living from the woods. It was possibly the opposite, something dark and sneaky that didn’t wanted for people to penetrate the place were it lived. No birds crossed over those woods or even built nests on those trees. All animals, from bears to butterflies, avoided that patch of the world as if it was something automatic and not something they could do something about. Nature had nothing to do with that chilling place, not at all.

 On Iris, people loved life. It was such a strange thing for first visitors because one would think that living with a certain fear for so long would be quite a marking experience but it wasn’t at all. Children there loved to play all day long and the adults were kind people that loved to greet new souls to their community. They welcomed strangers as if they were a gift sent by the heavens and would also celebrate for an entire day if a new citizen was born inside the boundaries of Iris.

The festivities there were always something to behold: they put small flags of many colors over every doorway in town and they would sing beautiful old songs all day long, celebrating life. They also cooked the best food, especially fish, when a newborn entered their community. They also cooked some sweets that were specially made according to the tastes of the person being celebrated, meaning it was also done in birthdays, which were always a very grand occasion in town.

 The best part though, was the fact that people seemed to be having the time of their lives every single day. It didn’t matter if they were selling products in the markets, fishing on the lake, running around town or cooking lunch for their family, people in Iris always had a helping hand for everyone and big smile to top that with. All traders loved to visit, as they felt doing business there was more like being on a vacation were everyone is very kind to you. The name was famous in the region and the fact that the woods were so close, was baffling to so many curious people.

 They couldn’t understand how those people in Iris could be so happy. After all, those tall dark trees and that frozen wind had a presence that was not easy to ignore when one would travel through the main road towards Iris. People from the small town had moved the trail further away from the forest, many times during their history, but the woods seemed to catch up every time they did that. So every time a particular part of the road felt colder and simply strange, they rebuilt the road further away from that place.

 That work was normally done in a few days and it was something that needed to be done every year. But even so, the people from Iris that worked on the road weren’t even a bit worried about that. Every year, their town kept being pushed away from the rest of the civilized world. When the road was first created, the journey to the nearest town could be achieved in about 10 hours. With all the changes on the road, Iris was now located 12 hours away from civilization and it kept moving away.

 The route through the lake, by boat, was used my traders mostly. And that road was also altered every few years do to the fact that the dark woods seemed to be conquering the opposite side of the lake, little by little, and people now have to change courses a little bit which also made the trip a little bit longer than before. But people just did what had to be done and they tried not to think too much about it because there was nothing they could do, or at least that was the general opinion.

 A couple of experts in biology and other fields had studied the woods from the outside. Of course, most of these people came from other towns and they would go to Iris at least once to study the forest from there. The problem was that they were the only people not to be welcome in town, asked very politely to leave after spending one night in town. People usually agreed to do it in order for them no to cause any sort of unpleasant mood among the normally chilled population of Iris.

 Not many findings had been done by the very few experts that found the dark woods to be a fascinating anomaly in nature. The fact that no life could be detected there was strange enough, no matter if it was on the trees, the soil, the air or even the water that existed in the form of puddles. But even stranger was the fact that every single person that got too close to the forest, and lived to tell the story, would always tell others about a presence that was strong among those trees. There was something there but no one could really say what it was, if it was something at all.

 Of course, the people of Iris were not very big on any of those stories. The few people from town that had grown any interest in the woods, no matter how fleeting, would be asked to live the village and never come back. That seemed a little bit too hard but the fact remained that Iris was not a town where being curious was rewarded in any way. They lived a quiet peaceful life between a lake, some mountains and the main road; they didn’t really need to ask the world for anything else.

 That of course included the answers that so few had asked for but that no one was apparently willing to give. The only possible way to get a proper answer was to enter the woods themselves but even among people from other parts of the world, that was a crazy idea. All studies qualifies that place as dangerous and unstable, because of the road thing, so why would anyone try to enter to find answers to questions that no one really is begging for? One thing is wondering, the other is demanding an answer.

 Only a handful of people had done that, demand an answer from the forest. And the fact was that none of them remained to tell others why they asked themselves that dreadful question. That is because all of them, a group of ten or less, had walked into the forest and had never returned. When that happened, no one really asked for an explanation or for their bodies to be buried or anything like that. Not even their families wanted to know anything more that what was a fact.

 Those people were part of the mystery of the woods and every time of them had entered the forest, it seemed that year was one of especially big growth for that space as such. Trees seemed to get thicker trunks and the cold air seemed to become even colder. It was a very scary thing to think about and that was probably why people just kept ignoring those facts and the conversation over all. They didn’t want to confront the reality of the situation they faced every day, so they compensate it with joy and optimism, as they didn’t have anything else to go for them.


 In about twenty years, a young woman will realize a very dreadful fact that people in Iris will again accept as one of those things that happen and no one can do anything about it. She will reveal to her people that the road will be cut off because they won’t be able to push it further away from the woods. The trees will grow on the trail and the town of Iris will be cut off from civilization, same from the lakeside. They will be prisoners of the forest. And one day, they will all disappear because of it. And even then, they won’t say a word because that’s they way they are.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2015

The man of Pearl Island

   The island called Pearl had only one small settlement that covered one third of the island. The rest was jungle and the beautiful beaches that many tourists visited often in the summer. The rest of the year, Pearl Island was only attractive to the seekers of new marine species or people looking to score big by finding a sunken treasure. Many years had passed since anyone had discovered any of those, but people kept trying, as legends were abundant in the island. All children knew stories with mermaids, colossal creatures that lived in the sea, the god of the ocean and so on. That’s why the souvenirs in the summer were such an important source of income for the people of Pearl Island. Everyone wanted to be part of their heritage and the residents liked that.

 One of the many stories involved the old town of Saint Mary. The new Saint Mary was the only settlement in the island and was located in a small bay in the west end of the island. The old Saint Mary was on the west, on the side the first people to arrive to the island had landed. There, in the middle of the jungle, they had built a very modest town, which they abandoned years later due to the dangers of being so close to the wild and also because this side of the island flooded when hurricanes passed over it. So people eventually moved and they had remained in the same spot for many years. The ruins of old Saint Mary could still be visited on trips to the jungles and it even featured one home that was almost untouched since the days of the first settlers.

 There was a story too involving the migration of people from one town to the next and it was the one that would haunt the island and the tourists for a while. It was said that of all the families and people that lived in old Saint Mary, only one man refused to leave his house. Coincidently, he lived in the house which was untouched today. He had decided he would not leave because he had built his home himself, with his hands, working every single day since he had arrived to the island. The houses were made of stone and a kind of glue they had discovered in the jungle. It was very resistant and, at least at first, the hurricanes were unable to knock any house down.

But with time, the floods came and some people went missing, which of course worried many. Then the hurricanes became stronger and one by one, the houses ended up being just a pile of rocks. That’s how the migration to the bay began but without one of the residents, who blatantly refused to leave his home. He had also being affected by everything, even one of his sons had died in a storm once, but he didn’t think running away was the answer. His wife thought he had gone mad, so he left him there in the jungle without ever looking back. He never knew, but she remarried and had a very good life. They never knew this either, but they died the same year, her first. He had always been more resilient.

 Or maybe he was stubborn. He attempted to rebuild the hole old town but it appeared that nature only wants his house to be there, not anyone else’s. So after a while, he stopped trying to revive the past and decided to just give up to the forces that controlled the place. The rainy months were harsh, and he would often have to make small works on his house, but the whole time he remained inside, writing on a diary and smoking on his pipe. That was the way he spent his days on the house in the jungle. He also did some walks around the trees and discovered many animals that people had not seen by that time, or so he thought. He drew all of them and described them properly on his diary.

 Eventually, he died because a very dangerous spider that lived there, and that he had never seen, bit him. As no one was there to help, he died in the place where the spider had bitten him: his bedroom. So it was quite a shock for many, several years later, when they rediscovered the house, checked his room and saw a perfect human skeleton laying there, as casually as it could be. The first tourists to go to the house had the chance to see the skeleton and that’s how the stories began to develop. Some said he had died because of a course, some thought that sorcery had been involved and others that he had been killed by a mythical creature called a basilisk. There were all great stories to make people come to the island and they all worked perfectly as the tourist numbers rose every year.

 But eventually people that descended from the old settlers, specially those that were related to the man, asked for more respect to the body and asked the council of the island to remove the skeleton from the house and bury it nearby, where he would have love to be for the rest of his life. The relocation of the body was a huge media circus, filled with sensationalists reporters and tourists that had come only to see how they took the skeleton from the bedroom and put him in a hole by the house. Many took pictures and, without proper context people started inventing their own stories even before the skeleton had been fully covered by dirt.

 In some circles, the man was thought to be a vampire, one that had left the old continent in order to survive the extinction of his race. Somehow, he had arrived to Pearl Island and had lived there in the shadows for a long time until he died because he had forgotten to close the windows at night and the sunlight toasted him. Others said the man was a sorcerer that cursed the people that had left him behind. That’s why many of them, according to the story, had developed bites all over the body and why the women weren’t able to bear child for many years. That story ignored that the settlers were not very clean and they had ticks all over their clothes and that women were infertile due to a fruit they stopped eating eventually.

 Although the ruins were not the mot visited place of the island, the beaches were much more attractive, many still visited in order to learn about the history of the place. Eventually, historians discovered that the house of the man that was buried right there was the only one still on foot because of one simple reason: he had been the only one to built it correctly. It was a much less interesting reason than expected, as many still thought of him as a sorcerer, but that was the truth. The first settlers were very lazy people and had not worked hard to build their homes. It was their children who eventually went serious when they decided to build a town for others to visit and for them to be proud about. Only that man had understood that many years ago.

 Even if children still told stories about how his skeleton wondered around the island on Halloween, some scholars wanted to rescue his name and his effort to preserve a lifestyle he deemed the best. He learned many things about the island and its ecosystem, which they discovered when reading his diaries. So many decided to know more about him but they stumbled against a wall as there was no manifest of how many people had first arrived on the island and what their names were. Of course, so many were known because of their descendants but there were a large minority. So it was impossible to know who that man was. At least, judging by his diaries, they learned he was a very intelligent person.

He didn’t seem to be a scientist of any kind but he did the right things when listing animals and plants. His writing was correct but he had made lots of orthographic mistakes, not uncommon for people of his time. Maybe he wasn’t very educated but he had wanted to become more cultured while in the island. The diaries told a very different story than the ones people had created around him. He seemed to be lonely and, at times, a very hurt man. But he was also brave and honest and eager to share his thoughts. It was obvious he had been hurt when people left but he kept working for the future inhabitants of the island and for anyone that would fall in love with Pearl Island, as he did.


 Eventually, a large party was organized were the mayor of the island unveiled a monument in honor of the unknown man from the jungle. The monument was just an eternal flame, that wanted to symbolize the debt the islanders had with this man but also to all others islanders who wanted their tiny piece of land to be a paradise for everyone in the world. People cheered and the square were the monument was built became a hub for tourists coming in and out of the island, as it was located in front of the marina. Some thought of taking the bones of the man from the jungle to the town, but then realized he would never want to leave his home.

jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2015

Phoenix

   The bird, magnificent as it was, flew over everyone’s heads and, just before disappearing as it always did, it let out a horrible cry, as if he had been wounded fatally. The cry was heard by every single man and woman that had come to catch it and they felt their hearts skipped a beat as they heard it. Then, the bird disappeared in second, making everyone wonder how much stranger nature could get. All the scientists that had come to the jungle stayed some more days but after a couple of them, they noticed no other bird like that would appear out of nowhere. That one, apparently, had been the last one of its species and now it could be hiding anywhere or maybe even dead. The jungle emptied in no time and paradise went back to be one.

 One of the scientists that had gone to the expedition, a man called Hunter, did not go back home after being in the jungle but instead traveled to several zoos, laboratories and so on in order to investigate. He wanted to know if maybe there was one of those birds in captivity or if anyone at least knew more about it than him. But most people, when explained what he was looking for, thought he was crazy. The creature he described was fantastic, out of some story told from generation to generation and even is account sounded even stranger than the most creative story of them all. He traveled the world for another year but no one knew anything. He gave up and he intended to return home immediately, as there was nothing more to do for him.

 However, he never got home. In the flight over there, he started feeling strange, like there wasn’t enough air. He had gone to the lavatory and it was only when the flight had ended that a flight attendant found him there, asphyxiated in the toilet seat, with a large red feather on top of his head. People thought he might have committed suicide somehow, but the autopsy proved, weeks later, that he had choked because he couldn’t breath. The reasons for that were not known or the origin of the feather, but the tragedy made it to the news and several of his colleagues realized there was something they couldn’t just ignore: the red feather.

 There was a tribe in the region where they had all gone to catch the bird. They had warned the scientist not to enter the jungle as dangers beyond their understanding lived there and could very well be their end. But the scientists thought it was just a folk tale to keep everyone away from the jungle. The tale said that the phoenix lived deep in there, alone always alone and with possession of a great strength and will. The legend said the bird could not be capture or tamed but that it could be befriended in order to find a way out of the jungle, if the person that found it was lost. But if it wasn’t, the bird would put its course on them, a course that would end life in little time.

 Every single person that had been at the jungle the time the phoenix cried, remembered the legend when they saw the news about Hunter. Some of them were openly scared; others dismissed it as a coincidence. A long month passed until there was word of a second victim, this time one of the assistants. She had been found dead in her apartment, apparently also asphyxiated and with a feather on her head. Then, two more deaths followed and the rest of the scientists just knew there was at least some truth to the legend. Now, some thought there was someone killing al of them, blaming them for something that had happened back them. Maybe they had an outbreak of some sort of disease or they just didn’t like foreigners in their lands.

 One of the explorers decided to take the bull by the horns and go back to the jungle where it had all started. The tribe there wouldn’t talk to him because they said foreigners had disrespected their beliefs and advice, which had been given in the best interest of everyone involved. They didn’t want to know anything about all those people ever again and asked to be left alone for good. Overnight, the whole tribe moved and they were not found again until several years later. The explorer attempted to enter the jungle again, to see if there were any answers inside, but that would be a secret for that place to preserve, as the paths had changed and nothing was the same as the last time.

  People kept dying until there were only three people left from the expedition that had discovered the existence of the phoenix. One of them, doctor Stacy Holmes, published a very controversial article where she described the creature and its behavior, what she could see anyway as the encounter had only lasted for a couple of minutes, until the beard cried and disappeared. No one really believed what Holmes had written on her report and the money that she had been granted for investigation was pulled away from her, leaving her to beg for more money to continue her investigation. Stacy was obsessed with the bird, she had been obsessed before too and it was something that hadn’t gone away.

 She was found dead on her bed, at home, asphyxiated as the rest of her peers. The feather rested softly on her head and the place seemed, to the people that came for the body, as some type of mausoleum. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful somehow. Someone took pictures and they were all over the Internet, talking more about the possibility of a serial killer than about the feather or the ambiance in the place when the men taking the body got there. The remaining two people died in the following weeks. One of them thought it could hide from the curse but it could follow anyone anywhere so they died anyway.

 Back in the jungle, the phoenix appeared again. It floated around freely and was now, again, free to be. Often it would fly over the houses of the tribe that lived nearby, but they wouldn’t see it. It was a lonely creature, so there was almost no way that anyone could find it in the immensity of the world. What people didn’t know was that the bird moved around the globe at will, change its home from a cave on a cliff in China, to a nice nest in a European forest. It even lived among humans, who were too distracted and busy to realize they were so close from something they couldn’t even understand. The phoenix was a creature born several millennia ago, as the planet started to breath life. It was a time of legends and miracles, but a time that no one could remember.

 It had to be said that the cry did kill of those people but not the phoenix itself. He just did what had to be done in order to preserve a little mystery in the world, something that was being lost rapidly to the advancements of technology. The phoenix, being a creature with the capacity to be reborn and to cure every single disease in existence, could be the holy grail of mankind. But the bird knew what humans did with whatever they found out to be of use. They were brutal and did not care about anything except their personal goals, their thirst for financial retribution and for a power that, in the long run, didn’t mean anything.

 The bird cured people, however, when they were lost somewhere in the world. Because it had something many humans had lost long ago, which was compassion. Humans didn’t have it anymore, only showing a shadow of it when they wanted to gain something from behaving like that. Humans, almost all of them, were not sincere anymore and could not be trusted. That had been proven when that large group of them had entered the jungle without the proper respect, without hearing what their own had told them. They were disrespectful and only cared about their personal glory. The phoenix felt everything at that time, it could feel their ambitions and thoughts and the decision to put the course on them was as simple as disappearing and never being seen again.


 True, some humans had seen it and he had not killed them. Those lost souls; men and women that only wanted to go back to their families and be in peace, they wanted nothing more than to be left alone by life and the phoenix respected that. That’s why he helped them with everything he could, ultimately carrying them to the outskirts of the jungle in order for them to be taken care of by the nearby tribe. The bird was compassionate and behaved only in the way survival was meant for it to behave. It didn’t hate anyone or had any remorse either, it was just a pure creation of nature, forgotten by the world and that’s the way it should be forever, until the big change arrived.

martes, 24 de febrero de 2015

I Don't Want to Kill

   I had twisted my ankle when running, just after killing my first target on this campaign. Of course, I knew I was going to have to kill but it had caught me by surprise. Well, to be precise, she had caught me by surprise. I had been trying to put my weapon in the right configuration for shooting long range but then she appeared and raised her weapon. The look on her face was the one of a crazy person, her eyes all swollen and her hair a little bit everywhere, as if the madness had given it free reign over the head.

 Scared as I got, I shot her without even thinking. I just pressed the trigger and she fell dead in front of me, her madness flying away from her body, every limb just collapsing on its on weight. I didn’t stay behind to check on her, although I would have wanted too. Somehow, I thought she wasn’t really dead, just trying to fool me or maybe injured. But I never knew as I ran away from the fire that came from down the hill.

 My mission consisted in setting a vantage point on the top of the hill and start acting as a sniper from there. Others should then join me and we could stop the whole battalion before it reached the near port city. If the enemy took that part, we would be destroyed for sure. That port was our hope to launch a proper invasion to our enemy’s strongholds across the ocean. But first we had to destroy what battalions they had left behind after our consecutive attacks on their military.

 I had not been raised as a military. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing half of the time. But there were people there that assured me they needed my help and that they would be there to guide me through the whole process. Well, that was true up to that moment in the hill. So I just ran for the top and, once I was there, I settled myself by some thick bushes. This time, I was able to get the configuration of my very modern weapon right. I took a position there and took a look through the visor.

 Down the hill, it seemed as we were winning. I could see the general destroying a tank by himself and a group of soldiers attacking a group of enemies. There, I realized how awful this all was: blood and the stench of death everywhere. It really smelled like scorched meat and I knew I didn’t want to know where that came from. The sound of shooting that had followed me for a while was now very distant and a thought presented itself to me: will they need me?

 What if they defeat the enemy without my help? Maybe I won’t have to kill again… I mean, if that girl was dead. Because if she wasn’t… But how would she be alive. My gun was so close to her and I was sure the bullet had pierced through her chest and she had collapsed to the ground. My God, is this was people have to go through? I never wanted any of this. Any death and blood on my hands… But it’s too late.

 An explosion drove me out of my thoughts. One of our airplanes had exploded very high in the sky and the pieces were falling heavy on the battleground. Maybe we were winning the ground battle but it appeared they had the upper hand in the aerial part of this confrontation. I guess this is my time to come in and help.

I started shooting and, it has to be said, I was very good. One shot and they fell dead and my companions had noticed because they were able to pierce even more into our enemies flank in order to take their antiaircraft vehicles. I lost count of how many people fell because of me, how much blood I was accumulating on my hands. At one point, I started to cry because I couldn’t stop and I could see nothing but the dead falling at my hands.

 Then I realized everything was about to finish. The army had penetrated the flanks and was destroying everything and using their vehicles to take down their own planes. It was something awful to see but even more horrible was the fact that many of the men that had helped me with my training, seemed to be enjoying all of this. They were corpses and blood everywhere, but some of them were already celebrating, laughing and doing victory dances.

 Disgust ran through my veins. I wanted to vomit right there, which I did, just as the last few airplanes our enemy had began to retreat. The disappeared fast and then my radio began to beep but I didn’t acknowledge the sound. I just grabbed my weapon and threw it down the cliff on which I had been kneeling. After that, I just walked down the hill, ready to die from a mysterious bullet if it came to that.

 In a matter of minutes I was joining the rest of the army but I didn’t want to be with them or with anyone else. I was disgusted by me, by them, by everything. This could not be the only way things could be solved. It was impossible that the only way we had to make ourselves be heard was to kill each other and, worse, enjoying it.

 I have to say I was a bit relieved when I saw that many other men seemed to be thinking the same as me. Besides, the stench of the battlefield couldn’t be ignored. After all, this was a warm region and bugs were already having a feast with the rotting corpses lying everywhere. I wanted to close my eyes until I reached the camp but that was impossible. Not only because of the terrain and the distance but because when I closed my eyes, I kept seeing her dying in front of me.

 The number of corpses began to decrease and I knew we were about to enter friendly territory. By then, I had already made up my mind: I was going to leave the army and find another way to help the people. I had entered this war because of the injustice and cruelty the enemy had brought upon us but I knew we couldn’t respond their brutality with even more brutal and sanguinary acts.

 When we finally got to camp, I walked straight to my bunk. I grabbed a small bag and put my few belongings there. I also took of my clothes and change into a plain green shirt and jeans, which hadn’t been washed in some time. The whole time I was there, the radio kept beeping.  I left without talking or even staring at anyone, headed for the command center. As I expect, the general was there. He seemed unharmed. He asked me why I hadn’t answer to his calls. I only took out my radio from my chest pocket and gave the radio to him.

-       I won’t need it anymore.

 He took it but didn’t stop looking at me, confused first and then angry. He asked me what that meant and I explained I couldn’t kill. I couldn’t live my life enjoying the death of others, even if they had done so many things to me that I’d rather not remember. The general proceed to threaten me to be court martialed but I reminded him I wasn’t a military but a civilian in military garments. I told him I had left them in my bunk except for the boots, which I needed because I had no shoes to wear.

 Before he could say anything else, I left the place. Many soldiers stared at me while I walked towards the main gate: some of them with defiance in their eyes, some of them just scared to death. Maybe their reaction was because they couldn’t do that. Almost all of them had entered the military, they weren’t civilians like me that had been tricked into thinking they could help a hopeless race.

 No, most of them knew what they had singed up for. And they didn’t mind. Eventually, they would all become killing machines, the ones the rebellion needed to destroy the enemy forever, without any possibility of retaliation from their part. But that was impossible; someone is always going to want revenge, for one thing or the other, in one way or the other.


 Real peace is impossible with such resentment, such hatred based on ignorance, which is by far the largest and most effective weapon armies and governments have at their hands. I know that the enemies didn’t want to torture me as they did. They were brainwashed to do so, as I was to think that by killing others I would feel better or happy. I won’t, never. Because only cowards shoot first, and doubt later.