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

martes, 28 de junio de 2016

Through the unknown

   The fleet was moving at full speed. The sails were working tremendously well and the wind was taking them exactly where they wanted to go. Everything was going according to plan. The only thing that worried them was that, in order to go unnoticed by the enemy, they had to around the other side of the world to properly surprise them. That meant navigating through water no one had ever sailed before, which could be extremely dangerous, as they held no maps of the region or information regarding its potential inhabitants, whether they were permanent or nomad, like pirates.

 They had not seen any land for the past week and they were beginning to think there was going to be no land until they reached their destination. Some of the sailors were very nervous because there was a strong belief, among men and women of the sea, that the world was not connected on both sides. In other words, that they were heading for an enormous waterfall or “the end of the world”. In their minds and in their legends, that area of the world was inhabited by vile monsters that ate boats and sailor whole, leaving no trace of their existence.

  However, they had been convinced by their new masters with money and other riches they could enjoy once they returned home, if the battle was gentle enough with them. They were fierce and very driven, known for raiding ships all over the sea in the course of many years. But this was not a raiding expedition but part of an invasion army that planned on attacking hard and taking back their homeland by force. The new masters plan was to defeat their enemies in the hardest and most definitive way possible, in order to rebuild from scratch.

 The world would never be the same after all that, nothing could be the same. So many things had already been done that had changed the world, including the fact that they were passing through an unknown region. Alliances had also been made that were not probable before. The Yix, also know as the new masters, had reunited all pirate forced in the known world and had proposed to them to join their army or be destroyed. The pirates thought they were coming for bounty but the truth was they were surrounded the whole time the conversations took place.

 Finally, half convinced by the payment but also the threat to their existence, they accepted. By doing so, they were technically turned into slaves but with a much better relationship with their masters. The Yix were only cruel to those that deserved it and the pirates had done the right thing by allying themselves with their faction in the war. In that case, they wouldn’t hurt them at all. However, if they ever rebelled or thought they had any choice on important matters, they would how to pressure the men and women of the sea to make their will.

 The ocean was beautiful every single day of that long week they had already spent in it. The experts the Yix had brought in, had concluded that a week and a half was necessary to get halfway through the world, which meant the whole trip would make almost three weeks. These made everyone a bit uneasy because, even as big as the ships were, there couldn’t be enough food for so many people for so much time. The rations were small for everyone on board, both the pirates and the Yix and they were limited to only a couple of meals a day. That was not what either of them was accustomed to but traditions don’t really matter anymore when you’re trying to make history.

 Everyday, it was some kind of rice with fish. There was a group that took care of the fishing every single morning in each one of the boats and they were essential in order to have an orderly life in each one of the boats. Sometimes the fish tasted awful and some other times it was delicious. They could have it raw or roasted on a small fire created on a big bin to prevent the ships from burning down. Those moments, when they all ate, were the ones when all of them really looked the same, no matter their uniforms or their accents. They were all men trying to survive a horrible journey through an unknown region. They were brother and sisters, even if they had no real exchanges of words.

 After the first week, some of the sailors noticed something on the horizon, which was on starboard. Just when the sun set, the whole line above the sea appeared to be on fire, especially where at sunset. Some of the people said it was an illusion commonly associated with the sun but others swore they could see things happening in the horizon. No one really believed in the people that said that but even with the few instruments they had to see such a phenomenon, they couldn’t see a thing. The sun was exactly the same as always, except for that band of fire that seemed to appear every afternoon, just as they prepared for a new night.

 Nights were the most terrifying part of the whole experience as many men, even the sceptics, felt something was wrong when they couldn’t se the water they were navigation on. Besides, the moon and the stars were always veiled by a strange thing that happened every single night. It was as if the region was condemned not to look directly at the sky, instead having only some blurry vision of every part of the cosmos. This was frustrating for all of them, because the ships depended on the stars in order not to get off course. They could be seen enough in order to follow them but it made them all feel as if something was not right about those waters. Some thought it was haunted and others were still expecting to arrive to “the end of the world”.

 But they never did. They did, however, saw a small group of islands. They were located roughly halfway between the two continents they knew well. The islands were named Summer Islands, because of the weather of the region. Two of the ships got near them and used some rowboats to investigate if they were inhabited or not and whether they could get food out of there, something that had nothing to do with fish or rice, which was getting ruined pretty fast.

 The rowboats carried twenty men into the land, mostly pirates. They walked on the largest island and disappeared into its jungle just after arriving. From the ships, the Yix waited for them to return. After the first two hours, everyone felt something was wrong. From the apparent size of the islands, it was not very possible that someone would take longer than an hour in order to walk around them, much less to go across it. They have had an accident or something like that. Yet, no one did anything to go and help because of fear.

 They were right not to act on their suspicions. The jungle began to tremble after three hours. The palm trees and other plants began shaking and some birds escaped the place in order to fly to the smaller islands. Out of the jungle, a gigantic animal emerged. And then, another two. Everyone on the ship was horrified. The animals looked like scorpions but were much larger than the ones you would fin in the known world. They were huge and were covered in blood in their pincers and over their bodies. The two ships that had grown close to the island, decided to join the rest of the fleet and forget what they had seen.

 For the remainder of their journey, the sunset brought back memories of those assassinated by the creatures on the islands. If the world made something like that, if those animals existed, then worse things could also exist somewhere. That’s what was in everyone’s minds and what made them stare at the sky or at the roof every single night, no matter where they were trying to sleep. They stopped looking at the sun and decided to rely only on the veiled stars, even if some felt they were being tricked by the cosmos and lured into a trap.

 Almost a month to the date of their departure, they arrived to the continent they had intended to invade. Everyone was exhausted but they had advantage of numbers. Day after day, they took a little piece of land from their enemies. When these realized what was happening, it was too late. The Yix now owned the world and they soon freed their “slaves”. They let them have their corner of the world and they agreed on never revealing what they had see in the Summer Islands and how that place was maybe not unique but it should remain “non existent”.

viernes, 25 de marzo de 2016

Corina, Silkat and the pirates

   She left all of her clothes by the shore and the slowly entered the water. The sunrays coming from both suns toasted her skin but it was not necessary because Corina already had the most beautiful skin, which she completely submerged into the ocean after a while. She felt the water cooling down her body and a certain peace of mind that she hadn’t felt in quite a while. She swam from one of the big rocks in the beach to the other. The water was not very deep and it was very clear, so much that you could perfectly see if anyone or anything was too close to you.

 Corina stopped swimming after a while and went back to the beach where she sat down on the sand, leaving her feet in the water. She had wanted to do that for so long. She had been very stressed lately and just needed to relax a while. She worked very far from there, as a nurse. Silkat was one more of the many new colonies, so she didn’t really have a lot of people to handle back in the infirmary, but Corina was ok with that too. Even with a few people coming in, she was glad to help and to learn.

 Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw something in the water. Instinctively, she stood up, stepping away from the water. The water moved again by one of the rocks and it was then she saw it: it was a medium sized creature, swimming very slowly, with not a lot of grace. Corina couldn’t tell if the creature was violent or not but she didn’t move any more than she had. She just waited to see if the creature came closer or if it was just passing by.

 The creature then jumped out of the water and landed almost in front of Corina. She almost screamed but covered in her mouth in time. She realized screaming to a creature that was double her size would not be a very smart thing. The creature looked like some old pictures Corina had seen as a little girl in storybooks. It resembled a lot to what her parents called a seal but this one was larger and its husks were smaller and its skin was light blue. And the end of its flippers, it had something like fingers.

 The creature walked towards Corina and she decided not to move. Even if she had wanted to, she wouldn’t have been able to do so because she was very scared. She even forgot for a while that she was stark naked in the middle of a beach she had just found. The creature slowly walk (maybe it had something like human feet, too) and then raised its “hands” and touched Corina.

She almost screamed but she was surprised to realize the creature was nice and warm and its skin had a nice thing about it, it felt good. It was like its skin had the power to make you feel better. Somehow, she saw the creature’s face form something like a smile and Corina responded with the same. So she had found a friend.

 Corina was about to touch the creature when something loud broke the peace of the beach. The creature apparently felt it just before because it moved quickly back into the water. Corina stumbled to the ground and saw how two men came out of the wilderness by the beach and started shooting something at the creature. It was obvious they weren’t trying to kill it but they were hurting him somehow. The men got near her and she tried to get to her clothes but another men, that she hadn’t seen, blocked her way. When she tried to run the other way, she found another men.

 The creature was caught inside a huge net that appeared to hum, like a bee. It was probably taking its energy in order to control the animal’s strength. The creature complained for a while, but then it stopped making sounds. It had died or maybe fallen asleep. As for Corina, one of the men was holding her and the other one was smelling her clothes and then threw it all to the water. They pushed her into the wilderness and made her walk for a while until they reached the water again but this time there was a boat and they made her go into it.

 Silkat was made of many islands, both big and small. They were no big continents like in other planets. The island on which Corina met the creature was next to a bigger one, where a small town called Pazu was located. The pirates, the men that took her with them, probably used another island as their hideout.

 They tied Corina’s hands with a thick rope and she was able to see that the creature was being transported on another boat, behind hers. She wondered what they were going to do with her. She looked at them and saw only men so she remembered the tales that some of the woman in Pazu had told her. They said that Silkat was not very advanced and that men ruled life in here. It wasn’t like in the rest of civilized planets. Silkat was still in the Stone Age, in that sense and also in many others.

 They reached another island when the sun was setting and they put Corina in a cage made of a strong wood. She would stay there for days, never to see the creature again. She wondered if it had been killed or if had another use for them besides food. It was very classic of her to worry about others when her own situation was not the best. She decided she wouldn’t fight unless she had a clear shot at escaping.

 But that opportunity didn’t present itself the first year. She remained on that cage for many months until they decided to put a collar on her and then make her work for them. They threatened her to activate the bomb on the collar if she ever did something wrong or if she tried to escape, so Corina had no choice but to bare with everything those men did to her. They touched her a lot, like an object of their property. They made her cook for them and also clean their boats and their clothes. She was a slave. They never gave her anything to put on her body except that collar but she didn’t really care because the weather had gotten somehow hotter.

 Every single night, when they stopped harassing her and she could just lay down on her cage, she looked up to the stars and wondered if someone was missing her at all. Maybe the people of Pazu were looking for her, although that was unlikely because she didn’t feel the town was too far. If they had been searching, they would have found her. And her family and friends abroad, they probably had no idea that she had vanished so long ago.

 Some days, most of the pirates left and left her to do her chores almost on her own, only one bodyguard with the activator on his belt. But even so she just couldn’t get herself to steal from him. She didn’t think she could win in a fight. Besides, every single day she felt less like a human been. It was as if they were draining her energy very slowly, second by second. She recalled the net they had thrown over the poor creature and how it made it weaker.

 The other thing was that she worked so hard, in so many ways, that when she was left alone she could only think about sleeping. Corina had stopped wanting real food after she realized the men treated her like a pet and just threw whatever they weren’t going to eat to her: some bones with very little meat on them, hard flat bread and some rotten fruits from the nearby trees. So she preferred to dream. And those dreams she asked, way to often, to be killed or to die fast.

 One day, after almost two years, she saw most of the pirates coming back as she was cleaning their clothes by the shore. Then, some of their boats exploded and she could hear gunfire. She tried to take a better look but her eyes weren’t what they were anymore. She could only see there were other boats there and that the fight was savage. Then, she felt someone stand behind her. It was a woman, fully clothed, with the activator on her hand. She pressed the button and Corina thought her death had come.

 But it didn’t. The activator was actually a deactivator. The pirates had never wanted to kill her. As the woman that rescued her told her some days later, “They need their slaves”. She was dragged into another boat and brought into civilization were she was cured and then asked if she wanted to remain on Silkat or if she wanted to be transferred. She thought about it for a whole day before realizing she wanted to stay to help build that society, to make those men realize they couldn’t do what they had done to her. She wanted the universe to be fair.

viernes, 19 de febrero de 2016


   The Bont islands expand from one continent to the other, forming a natural bridge that connected the biggest landmasses of the planet. On one side, there was the port of Ventura, one of the largest and most populated cities in the world and the destination of Captain Kimura, better known to her friends as Feisty Flo. She had been one of the main colonists of the Dharma expedition but things had gone horribly wrong: creatures from deep within the jungle had destroyed the colony and killed every single person in it. She had been the sole survivor of the attack and was now attempting to cross the Bont islands to get to Ventura and tell the authorities what had happened.

 There were five hundred islands or so from one side to the other. Some of them were only a few meters long but others were large enough to have their own forests and volcanoes. As the continent she was leaving, he islands remained mostly unexplored except for he one closest to Ventura. She had to wait to cross during the day, as the moon prevented crossings during the night. For security, she would only sleep on the beeches and would keep a small inflatable boat she had known in the destroyed colony close to her. She had collected some items and put them there, including footage of what had happened.

 She would cross the thin sand bridges between island and have the small boat, the size of a lifesaver, attached to her waist by a rope so it trailed behind her at her own pace. The first few days and islands were nice enough. The weather was very warm and without wind. Finally, on the fifth day or so, so was caught in a small storm but didn’t sought shelter, instead gathering water from the sky in various flasks and thermos she had found back in the continent. The boat was beginning to feel a bit heavier but it was for him own good.

 She would food from fish she caught between the islands and when there were none she would eat coconuts or whatever plants seemed good to eat. What Flo didn’t eat were small berries or strange leaves. She didn’t wanted to have to endure a stomachache or food poisoning in such a journey. In one of the islands she found enough wood to make herself a spear (with a pointy rock from the beach) and a bow and arrow with part of the rope she had around the waist. It didn’t really work much but at least she was able to get the occasional sea bird for dinner.

 At night she wouldn’t eat anything, fearing the jungles of some islands to be infested with the same monsters that had killed her friends. Flo was afraid of them and the possibility of luring him into the inhabited continent. She would hate to be the one to bring them there. The idea was to warn them, not to condemn them.

 When she reached the island called Jall, the biggest one on the chain, she knew she was midway to her destination. The island was very large and would require several days of walking and certainly a more intelligent way to cross it as the beaches were blocked and it could only be traversed through the jungle. She slept the night she arrived on the beach of the neighbor island and crossed and first light. She wanted to take advantage of every single second of light during the day and was even prepared to go hungry for whatever time was necessary in order to cross the island as fast as she could.

 The jungle was thick and the environment was very humid and thick, as if it was possible to actually touch the air and even take a bite out of it. The scents were generally sweet but after two hours of walking, the air turned heavier even and it started to smell awful. Flo had to pinch her nose for a straight hour, only breather through her dried out mouth. She wanted to wait to have some water but couldn’t as she fell she needed it badly, not being able to wait longer.

 She stopped pinching her nose and the scent of sulfur invaded her nostrils. She grabbed the closest flask on the inflatable boat and drank fast but when she finished she didn’t kept walking. Flo realized that the smell came from small holes and gaps in the ground and that it was the ground itself that smelled like that.  She looked up and between the trees a volcano as majestic as any other feature of this planet could be seen and a plume of heavy smoke, pouring ashes onto the other side of the island, was coming out of it.

 Flo had to keep walking but then she heard a noise she had heard before, the sound of pincers opening and closing and before she realized one of the large animals that had attacked her village launched itself towards her. Her legs were apparently faster that her head because she had already begun running when the creature attacked. She escaped by a thread and ran towards the other side of the island, hopefully reaching the opposite beach soon. But she could only see jungle and more jungle and huge trees rising from the ground. They looked like palm trees but much larger and with lots of branches.

 She only stopped running when the ground around her began to shake. The volcano was causing an earthquake and it was better to stay still. Far, beyond some plants, she saw the creature that had gone after her being devoured by a hole in the ground. It squealed horribly and disappeared as the tremor subsided and the island calmed down. Flo was sweating a lot and could only think about her boat and seeing if she had everything. After that, she kept on walking.

 The other side of the island could not be very far but the more she walked the more it appeared the island was expanding or maybe she was walking in circles. She decided to climb one of the tall trees, leaving her boat at the base, in order to check out where she was and if she could see the ocean and the direction she needed to go to be on the good route home. She climbed with ability, having done it many times as she had built the village. She had done so with so many great friends and people that wanted a second chance at life, trying to begin again in a new place. But that had just been a dream and she was the residue of that nightmare.

 When she got to the top she realized that she was very close to her objective, having only change course a bit. She had to start walking to her left because if she kept doing what she was doing maybe the volcano would consume her too. Talking about the volcano, she saw that the ash cloud had grown bigger and was spilling ash all over the passage she had to cross. But that wasn’t the most awful thing she saw from there. She noticed something like rocks on the side of the volcano, big black rocks. But then Flo realized they were moving and were coming down the mountain. She had little time.

 Fast, she always broke a leg getting down and tying up the rope to her waist. She ran to the left as she had planned and didn’t stop until she reached a rocky beach and saw a blackened ocean. The light of the afternoon, red as blood, didn’t help to the image of the place. It looked like hell, as simple as that. And the demons were coming behind her so she just swam. The natural bridge had disappeared so she propelled herself hard with arms and legs and was soon tired but because the water felt thicker and she couldn’t even breathe properly.

 Behind her, she heard dozens of pincers opening and closing and that made her try even harder to reach the other side and when she did she realized her body was covered in ashes and was black as the night that was beginning to fall. Tired and breathless, she saw how the beasts attempted to cross the water but something prevented them. The ashes were apparently more toxic to them than to her. One of the creatures, the bravest no doubt, launched itself to the ocean and tried to sweet but it got turned into a big white lump that floated away into the open sea.

 The others were mad but not for long. Flo had felt the ground shake again and then saw fire pouring out of the volcano. Lava, just like water, bathed every single side of the island and she could feel the heat on her face. The creatures tried to escape but they had nowhere to run. She saw them die and she felt bad for them and didn’t know why. The lava slowed down and she decided to cross the island she was in and sleep later.

 Florence actually crossed three small islands during the night, her fears having been also consumed by the lava. When she looked back, two days after the disaster, she saw only that the volcano had stopped and nothing more. She then had the silly idea that maybe, just maybe, that island was the natural toll booth of this world and maybe that other continent had never been one to settle a foot on.

 She then turned around and headed on to Ventura, pulling her small boat with her and hoping for the best for the future of the human race.