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

viernes, 2 de febrero de 2018

Broken home

   Shaving had always been one of those things to do when things were about to change. For many people, it wasn’t like that. Most people would never do something like a ceremony to move from one place to the other. But Phillip was not like every person. He had always felt different from others even when he was certain there was nothing really special about him. Nothing at all. However, he felt he needed to shave before leaving his parents home for good. It felt like the right thing to do.

 As he was doing it, he realized he hadn’t shaved in a long time. The last time he had, another change had come to his life. He had done it after formally entering a relationship that didn’t last very long. Phillip found it funny that people talked about one, two or even five-year relationships. He had no idea what that was like or if it was even a real thing. Being together for that long wasn’t the difficult part, but being interested in the other person for that period of time seemed excessive to him.

 Then again, he really didn’t know any better. When thinking about his parents home, it has to be clarified he was talking about a place were both his parents lived but had decided to do it in separate rooms, with their lives almost completely apart except for the obvious part of living together. But he had seen, for the last two years, how they had transferred from being a couple that was always fighting, to a pair of people that would rarely even speak to each other, let alone fight.

 They had decided to divorce a long time ago, but the process had become stalled do to several complications with many documents that they had to fix with the law, one by one. Any time now, they would be divorced for good and his father would leave the house to finally start a new life on his own. At least that was what he told Phillip in numerous times, as if his son had any interest in what he was going to do next. Frankly, the kid only wanted to get away form all that madness.

 He had achieved that by sending documents and filling forms for every single university he could find on the Internet. Not only colleges in his country but also abroad and with programs longer than four years. He really wanted to go away, to experience something new and different. Who knows? Maybe he would be able to find some really needed stability away from his crazy parents and from the person he had always been. Because he was also one of the problems he faces in life. Phillip had an issue with his lack of passion for anything other than getting away from his parents.

 He had tried though, a lot. In his last two years of school, Phillip had decided to try lots of new things and, thankfully, his school was a very good place to do that. He could include at least two classes each year that had nothing to do with the mandatory assignments. So he still had to go to math and physics class, but he was also able to attend some cooking classes, karate, football and even the woodwork workshop. He attended every single class until the end but the real results were very mixed.

 In cooking class, he had a tough time with the amounts of every ingredient he had to put into each concoction. He followed the recipe word by word but that didn’t seem like a good strategy because his creations would always taste awful or burn in the oven or something would happen. Phillip had to apologize to the teacher several times until he grew tired of doing that and he just tried to fix every single one of his failed attempts at making something edible. The teacher realized he tried, at least.

 In karate, he had the most fun out of all the classes. It came as a surprise to him that he was very strong in all the right ways for such a sport. The bad thing was that he wasn’t really able to channel that strength like he was supposed to. That meant that, although he could do all the exercises the trainer demanded from him, Phillip was the culprit of about five broken noses and several kicks that had left his opponents without any air and wanting to go urgently to the nurse’s office.

 In football, he realized he was out of his element the moment he put on the uniform. He felt strange and clumsy, which was kind of a premonition of his performance in every training session that season. He was so awful at even walking around the field, that the team’s coach decided to assign him as water boy for the remainder of the year. He was teased a lot because of that but at least that guaranteed him a good grade, which was all he really needed at the end of the day.

 Finally, it has to be said that Phillip really liked the woodshop. He was in his element when using the machines, because he was doing it all on his own. Unlike in the kitchen, he felt being alone there was relaxing and really a good way to spend the time. The only thing was his creations were never what the teacher wanted. He never really knew if he was bad at it or if it was all about that bald man not liking what he did just because. He got an average grade again and also the sense that people don’t really give a shit about how you do anything in this world.

 When the acceptance letters began to arrive, Phillip wasn’t surprised that the first two had been rejection letters. They all began in the same way, praising the idiot that had spend hours filling forms, only to say at the end that he wasn’t what they were looking for. Reading those letters, he wondered why would anyone spend so much paper only to say “no”. It would a lot easier to just send an email with the word “NO” and the words “rejection from this college” in the subject section.

 The third one was an acceptance, which was kind of exciting, but it was a college he didn’t even remembered reading about. Letters poured in for about two weeks. After that, he had received sixteen rejection letters and four acceptance ones. Three of the acceptance ones came from schools fairly close to home. Only one was from a university abroad that offered various programs but nothing that he was really interested about. He looked at their website for our but couldn’t make up his mind.

 That was until his birthday, the day his parents had agreed to behave like normal human beings. Or at least that was what was supposed to happen. Instead, it became the first time in two years that they engaged in fighting, this time over the size of the portions they should serve of the birthday cake. Phillip had so many feeling trapped up inside of him, that he just spouted out that he was about to leave them for good and that he was very happy he would probably never see either of them again.

 You see, Phillip’s parents had given him as a present a bank account with years of savings on his name. They had planned that since he was a baby, in order to give him the best education they could. It amazed him that they were able to do it, knowing how much they hated each other. The point was that he had the money to do with it whatever he wanted and, right then and there, he only wanted to run away from their crazy ways and every single thing that reminded him of them.

 For months, he prepared everything to leave the country. He finally decided on some career, not even knowing if it was the right choice. He made all the payments, got a place to live in and even tried to get a job at his destination, soon to be his home.


 The day he left, his parents agreed to take him together to the airport. Right before crossing the security checks, he apologized to them and told them he wanted to say “Thank you” for their efforts and also that they were finally free. And so was him.

jueves, 9 de junio de 2016

Scientific discoveries

   The water was very cold. It wasn’t surprising at all as the lake was located very high into the mountains, far from any real source of heat. Besides, the area was often covered with a thick fog that didn’t really let the sunlight pass. The group camped on the edge of the lake and was careful enough to put everything near them. It wouldn’t be very nice if an animal decided to steal their food or if they lost things that were just in front of their noses. They would stay only one night and then continue their journey.

 Their destination was a high plateau, located on top of a flat mountain. Rumor has it that many species of plants and animals lived there and that most of them had never being registered by science. The five people in the group had the mission of arriving to that area, after climbing completely vertical walls, and do the most thorough job in identifying new species of animals and plants. They had to bring pictures, drawings and even samples if possible.

 The day they arrived at the lake was only the fourth day of their journey. They had already crossed through a deep humid valley where one of them had been bitten by a snake and had to be airlifted out of there. Where they started the mountain section of their trip, they often had problems falling to the ground and hurting their hands and knees. It was a very difficult job, especially for the ones in the group that had never really gone out in a mission like this.

 Two of the camper by the lake, one man and one woman, were teachers and real professionals in biology. They had already travelled to every corner of the world, they had categorized many species and each had discovered quite a few, so they were the visible heads of the expedition as experience was always most appreciated. The rest were four students and interns, five originally, that had decided to enter the ballot to get into the trip.

 The two professors interview several people for the trip. They were essentially looking for people just like them, people that didn’t mind having no food in a day and knew how to walk in a jungle, a forest or the mountains. They rejected many almost immediately. Most of them thought it was going to be a nice little trip with hotels and cars and video cameras and many other nice things. It wasn’t.

 They had only one cellphone that had to be used only for emergencies. Everyone could bring their laptop but, obviously, there wasn’t going to be any Wi-Fi or anything like that. The computers were just for keeping track of their discoveries and have a copy of the pictures they took every single day. It was a useless brick aside from that. No makeup, no artificial elements, nothing like that either.

 The guy that had been bitten by the snake was the one the professors had thought was really one of a kind. He was very brilliant and had actually collaborated with a couple of amazing scientists from other universities. He was very well versed in every single aspect of a mission and was looking forward to the one they were interviewing him for. He was even tested by showing him several pictures of different species and he had answered everything correctly.

 So it was more than a surprise, more like a disappointment, when he had stupidly left the tent to pee in an area that hadn’t been checked yet. According to what he said later, it seemed like he had urinated on the snake and that’s why the animal had reacted so violently, biting him in one of his thighs. He knew the venom of that particular species was not one that acted fast but it was venom all the same. The helicopter arrived soon as they were only a day away from their departure point.

 Secretly, the other four students and interns laughed at what had happened. They hadn’t like him at all when they had met him some days before the journey started. He seemed pretentious and so full of himself, telling them every single part of his experience with other scientists. It got boring very quickly and he probably knew right away that he was going to be talking only to the professors during the trip. But no one would never really know that as he had left so early, in such a particular way.

 By the lake, they decided to check the water with a special machine that was equipped with sonar. They wanted to know what kind of wildlife lived there and if it was possible for them to bathe there. They already smelled very strongly and they had to, at some time, have a bath to clean themselves up or else every animal in the jungle would know they were there.

  The sonar didn’t pick up anything big. So the professors decided to fish for a while, as the four students entered the water and swam just in front of them. The funny thing was that they couldn’t almost see each other. It was very difficult to move without hitting a rock or tripping on some formation no one had seen. In the water it was the same and it felt dangerous too, so they only were there for five minutes, enough time to feel refreshed.

 When they were done, as they dried their bodies on the shore, the professors announced they had capture two fish but none of them was a new species. They were some kind of anchovy related creature, very small and really smelly. They took pictures and returned the animals to the water. Sometimes discoveries took their time to happen.

 The next day they moved away from the lake in order to get to the plateau. As they had already lost some time because of the snake and the lake, they decided to walk two days in a row, without resting or at least only resting for a few hours. No more camping. They walked for three straight days. They descended the mountain on the other side and had arrived to the jungle again, were they discovered a couple of new insects and saw a couple of snakes that resembled the one that had bitten their partner.

 Finally, one afternoon, they arrived to a very tall wall made of rock and dirt. They tested the surface with their climbing gear and discovered that area was not well suited to climb to the top. Several rocks fell once they tried to climb onto the wall. So they had to walk along the wall until they finally camped to wait for sunlight. First thing the following morning, the professors found the perfect area to climb. It was going to be very difficult and they had to get everyone up there so the plan was complex.

 The experienced climbers had to go first. That meant the two professors and one of the students had to climb almost with no instruments or equipment, at least to a certain point. Then, they would help the others with ropes and all the climbing equipment they had carried from their base camp. None of the leaders were nervous about it. They simply began climbing. By midday, the three scientists had climbed at least fifty meters, which was very good. They installed everything there, on a special hard part of the mountain and kept going as the other three just started.

 As expected, nightfall arrived as they were still working on the mountain. Their fingers were numb and some had awful bruises that made it difficult for them to climb. The student that had joined the professors was the first one to arrive and he helped bring his two companions on top. When they were all there, they helped the remaining three. Two of them were bleeding a lot when they came up to the top.

 They decided to form camp not very far from the edge. The idea was to rest, cure their wounds and start real work on top of the plateau. They almost couldn’t sleep as they had arrived to the place they had wanted to visit for a long time. No other human had ever been there and it was certain that they were going to encounter very special creatures. They were about to enter scientific history.

 However, the night did not only bring the best wishes from them. It also brought heavy sleep, provided by a plant they had ignored, just by their camp. The plant released spores that made people extremely sleepy, almost putting them in a coma. This was used by a certain kind of spider, an undiscovered species, to kill all the campers with its powerful poison.


 The bodies wouldn’t take long to decompose. That’s how powerful the venom was. And all the machines and equipment would be destroyed by powerful gusts of wind and other animals, completely erasing any trace the scientists had ever been there.

sábado, 4 de junio de 2016

Men & Monsters

   The chains did a horrible sound, indicating that Genke was now a slave. He had fought bravely and had resisted for many days in the jungle, but the Wataku tribe had attacked with everything they had. They had burned down every single tree in the jungle, killing every animal that lived in it and making every former free man run for their lives. They put men on all sides of the jungle in order to capture the escaping men. They would beat them up with sticks that damaged the skin and then throw one of those stink bombs they used to render people unconscious.

 Genke had been the victim of one of those bombs and had woken up in a cell on top of a cart. He had been sleeping in a corner, as there were at least five other men with him inside the cage. The cart advanced through the wilderness very slowly and it was then when they all realized the jungle was burning, very far in the distance. It was something very difficult to see, as the forest had provided food and shelter for a long time and now it has fallen with them

 They wanted to ask where they were taking them but there was no way they would answer them. Any sound they made was answered with the crack from a whip. It always scared them despite the fact that it never it them. They were too scared and tired to fight nay longer and decided to let things happen however they had to happen. They stayed in silence and tried not to annoy the Wataku.

 The night passed and when the first light of morning appeared in the horizon, their new masters made them step down the cart and start walking behind it. They did not know why they had to do that but they did it without question. They had no intention of crossing any of the slavers. The man with the whip was on a horse and looked at them like a hawk. Any wrong move would be enough for him to react.

 That wrong move was when the youngest of the new slaves fell to the floor, possibly because of dehydration. The man whipped him with an uncanny ability and the kid’s flesh opened horribly, making wounds that would never properly heal, much less in the new conditions that they were living in. He had to be helped up in order to resume the walk, which he almost didn’t finish. The following morning, they entered a small village.

 It was called Sihoku and it was a settlement created by the Wataku that lived from capturing other tribes’ men. There was something like a jail there, where the five men were put in. There were lots of other slaves, possibly twenty more. Genke thought, for a moment, that they could rise and destroy the enemy but that wasn’t possible. Everyone was either too tired or had been beat up horribly by their new owner.

 Later, a tall member of the Wataku came and pushed every single man to the corner of the cage where they were being held. As he did that, two others carried a big metal deposit that worked as a feeding device for the animals. There were two of them. The big soldier pushed and kicked them, calling them names in his language and then left, doing some kind of a grin that they thought was very strange.

 As soon as he left the cage, every man except Genke and the boy that had been beaten up, ran to the metal deposits in order to eat and drink. They looked like pigs or cows feeding as if they had never eaten in their lives. Some pass over others to get food, some others hit their fellow men in order to get a handful of the food, some kind of mashed product that smells like it had gone bad recently.

 Genke did not even try to get closer. He thought they had to be better than that, he thought it was better if they showed the enemy that couldn’t be broken so easily. They had their houses burnt, their wives and children skinned alive or burned and now they were behaving just like the enemy wanted. They seemed to have forgotten every single thing that had happened recently and, the worst part, was that their new owners realized how easy it was to tame them and to convert them in the nice little slaves they wanted them to be.

 However, they had also seen how Genke had not even tried to eat or drink and they had already decided to make an example out of him. During the night, the cage was open and the big soldier entered again but this time he was careful no to be so loud or violent. He was there to grab only one of them and it was easy to stop who he wanted as he was apart from the group: Genke had separated from them because he couldn’t stand them anymore.

 The man grabbed Genke, woke him up and took him out of the cage. They tied a rope from every extremity and tensed the ropes from poles in order to cause him extreme pain. This was done over a wooden table were he was lying down, although there were moments when his body didn’t even touched the table. That was how much they stretched his body.

 Genke screamed all night. The guys in the cage realized what was happening and were sad for him but they had understood that there was no way to win to the masters. They were stronger and simply hand the upper hand. When morning arrived again, Genke was not thrown into the cell again but into the one in a cart. Others joined him there and then the transport began to move. The journey would be much shorter.

 The Wataku were sending them to the ocean. There, they saw some kind of event happening in the beach and also immense boats floating on the ocean. They understood what was happening just as the cart stopped and they had to walk, in chains, to make a line behind many other men that were been auctioned to a public of foreigners. They were dressed in funny clothes and look very different from one another. Genke even noticed that they all preferred to raise their hand and show fingers than actually speak during the auction.

 When they finished with the group that was there when they arrived, it was their turn. Genke felt sick, not only because of his torture, but because he was very hungry and thirsty. He walked in front of the foreigners making his best effort not to faint and then waited for their Wataku master to release them from the chains. But that didn’t happen. The Wataku were merciless and never forgive any misbehavior.

 All the slaves in their group were kept in chains and the foreigners had a chance to approach before they began the auction. Genke found it humiliating, as the foreigners checked every slave’s hair, their teeth, their skin and even their overall size, including the size of their feet. They didn’t understood why so many measurements and detailing. What had the mouth anything to do with working in a field?

 The auction began some time after that. One by one, the men that had been captured the same day as Genke were being sold to different foreigners. Other men from beyond the sea would come and take them directly to the ships. They didn’t wait or let anyone say anything. They just dragged the slave if they had to do it.

 The younger boy that had been badly beaten up by the Wataku was sold to a man with a mustache but when he was being taken to the ship, he started fighting his new owner, trashing about and yelling in their tongue. Somehow, he thought they would all suddenly rise and defend him from being taken away. The truth was much more sad: he was punched and kicked in the ground and carried unconscious into the boat. No one knew if he ever survived the journey.


 Genke was sold to a tall man, the tallest he had ever seen. His eyes were cold and his skin was the one of a ghost. He didn’t fight them as he was taken to the ship. He didn’t say anything when he had to sleep with dozen of others inside that boat. And he didn’t talked once he was sold again, in a port far away from his homeland, which he would never see again. He rarely spoke again, hoping he would eventually die and, at least, have some peace in his grave. That was his only wish.

miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016

Small green man

   The only thing Serena could do was drive. The desert was an enormous place and she felt good entering it with the old car she had bought in the city. The idea was the cross the whole length of the desert, taking pictures and getting to know the few people that lived there. She had a fascination about that place and, although she had already visited the largest cities in the world, her mind was set know in getting to know the Earth’s most isolated places. She put on some music in the old radio and drove away from the city at first light of the morning. That day, she stopped several times to take pictures of the rock formations and of the animals of the area. It was dangerous, but she didn’t mind.

 The first night of her trip, she slept in the car. She just parked by the road and covered herself with a blanket. From that point of view, she could see the moon, which also fascinated her. It was its brightness and uneven terrain that made her wonder, for a long time, if people would ever be able to walk there permanently. She fell asleep fast just by looking out. Early next morning, a sandstorm woke her up and she had to wait inside her vehicle until it had moved on elsewhere. It was a violent situation but she had loved it because it was so unique. The storm indicated that the future held many secrets and interesting things and one of those happened just a few hours later.

 He was walking by the road, very slowly, visibly on the verge of collapsing due to the horrible heat one had to endure in the desert. When he saw the car, he tried to wave but was so tired he couldn’t and just collapsed by the road. That was the way Serena had to notice him. She stopped the car and ran outside. The man had fallen on his face and had hurt his forehead with a rock. She carried him inside and sat him on the copilot’s seat. She didn’t have much water but used some of it to wake him up. As he came to his senses, Serena notices that the man was not a common sight: he was rather short but with big bulgy eyes and greenish skin. He had normal hands and legs but his skin seemed “fake” somehow.

 When he woke up, he congratulated Serena and asked if she had any water. Whatever she had left, he drank it in haste. He was very thankful but then fell asleep very fast, after dropping Serena’s thermos to the ground. She picked it up, closed the copilot’s door and then got in the car and started driving again. The man was in no condition to keep walking and she couldn’t just leave him there so she decided to carry him to whatever place she found. She didn’t stop for the whole day, mainly because she was scared to be alone with such a strange man. She just wanted their shared journey to end as fast as possible. That night, she almost gave up but finally found a motel past midnight.

 The manager was a young man with his face covered in pimples. He was reading a science magazine when Serena opened the door and asked for two rooms. When he looked at her, the young man started looking for the keys but then realized there was a small strange man behind Serena. She almost screamed when she heard his weird voice, a bit squeaky. He thanked Serena for the ride and the water and told the young man that he wanted a room too. But he told them, as he looked suspiciously at the small man, that there was only one room available with two beds and another one with only one bed so should choose what to do. Serena thought about sleeping in the car again and letting the small man take the single room but her body hurt a lot from all the driving.

 It was the squeaky voice of the man and his stubby hands on the counter, who asked for the double room. He told Serena it would only be for one night and that way they could take care of each other. And then he winked at her, which she didn’t really know what it meant.

 The young gay gave them the keys and indicated the way to go: it was just across the parking lot. So Serena told the little guy to go there first. Meanwhile, she would park the car in front of the room. After she did so, she entered the room to see that the small man had taken off his shoes and socks and was lying there on the bed closest to the door. He had his eyes closed so she could stare at him longer than usual.

 It was not only his statue and the weird hue of his skin. Besides his eyes, his little hands and feet were also kind of puffy, as if they were filled with water or something. Maybe he had been walking too long or maybe he had an allergic reaction to something in the desert and that was why he looked like that. As she sat down on her bed and took of her shoes, she realized how strange it was for anyone on Earth to be walking alone through a desert. Or maybe he had been left there… The desert was a place of many strange events, where people saw lights in the sky and had encounters with life from other planets. Maybe her new friend was a little green man, of the other ones.

 She then asked him what his name was and he answered right away. “Gordon. Gordon Shumway.” Was it wrong that he had answered so fast? Maybe it was his real name but she was sure she had already heard that name before. Or maybe she was just tired and her mind was jumping to conclusions. He asked her name too and she only said “Serena”. They talked for a while about their love for the desert, which they discovered was mutual. They talked about certain species and plants and about the beautiful sunrise. And, slowly, they feel asleep at the same time.

   When she woke up the following morning, the first thing she felt was how hot the room was. The desert had to be burning up. She was glad to be inside a room, on a bed. She wondered if it was early and if she should start her journey of the day right away or maybe just ask for some breakfast and then take some pictures around the place. It could be interesting to talk a bit more to the young receptionist and to any other person working in the motel.

 Then, she recalled the earlier day and finally opened her eyes. Gordon, if that was his real name, wasn’t there. His bed sheets were all over the place so maybe he was still around or maybe he had just left… with her car. She sprung up the bed and ran outside. For a moment there, her heartbeats almost made her deaf. But there was no need for that:  the car was there and looking towards the reception, she saw Gordon waving at her and telling her to come. She raised her hand to indicate she had heard.

 After putting on her shoes, she walked to where Gordon was and realized here was a small dining room, with a few tables, by the reception. The lights must have been turned off the previous night because she hadn’t seen it. The pimples boy was there and it was him who served them as a waiter. They had orange juice and black coffee and lots of bread with butter and jam and also some scrambled eggs. The quality was not the one of a five star hotel but it certainly wasn’t bad at all for a desert motel.

 Serena and Gordon chatted all the way through breakfast, starting the conversation where they had left it the previous night. They talked about all the creatures they had seen and also about their journeys and what they were planning for life. Gordon confessed that he still wanted to roam the desert and showed Serena a bag the boy had gave Gordon as a gift. He only had two big bottles of water inside and an old map. Then, he asked Serena for a one last favor before parting ways.

 That afternoon, they both penetrated even more into the desert. Serena took, on Gordon’s suggestion, an alternate road, which went straight into a national park. The small man told her he had some business to do there, as if it was an office building or something of the sorts. Once they started seeing more hills and rock formations, they stopped the car. She got out and took some pictures as Gordon looked all around, mumbling. He finally choose to walk to a far away mountain, which he said would have a great view over the whole desert and he could do whatever he was he wanted to do.

They bid farewell with a very peculiar hug and a smile and then parted ways. As she went into the car, Serena saw the little man walking very fast towards the mountain he had chosen. Secretly, she admired him for his sense of adventure and because he seemed to know more about life than her.


 After an hour of driving, before she hit the main road, she stopped the car and looked up to the first few stars of the night. And then laughed. It was strange how funny she had thought Gordon was, considering she was the one who had arrived to this planet only a couple of years ago. She was the “new” girl in town. Maybe he looked like a small green man but she had seen some of the real ones and they much less pleasant and adventurous.