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

lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017

The past is always present

   The whole space between Planet B43 and its moon was a huge graveyard. Pieces of different sizes and different materials, floated all around, doing some sort of dance between the planet and the satellite. Some pieces did fall into one of the celestial bodies but no damages were done to intelligent life, as there was none in that section of space. The whole system had been deprived of that for a millennia and it was considered to be a sacred zone, not one to venture into lightly.

 The battle that had taken place only a few months back had been a consequence of miscalculations and a clear disrespect for anything that reeked to the past. Somehow, all the peoples in the galaxy had absolutely forgotten their roots, their common ancestry and history. That planet, which was now classified as empty, with only a letter and two numbers, had been one of the largest hubs in the past, gathering every kind of creature in its heart, making every single one of them feel welcome.

 The temples that were still scattered all over the surface of both celestial bodies were now covered in plants and moss. They had been the key to achieving peace a thousand or more years ago. It was a time when battles didn’t existed, no skirmishes were ever registered, and people tried to live without any kind of conflict. They talked. When they had differences, they agreed on meeting on the planet, which they called Takrut, and solve it there, with the help of other parties.

 There was something similar to a sense of community, even when civilizations would be separated by million of kilometers, of light years and planets and stars. Even with that inconvenience, all of these different creatures had the knowledge to gather and just share what they had all been given. Commerce was key during those times, and it was fair and it made senses to everyone involved in the transaction. No one felt they were taken advantage of or that were loosing somehow.

 The debris that now fell to the planet, sometimes fairly close to the ruins of those temples, was the proof that whole galaxy had fallen away from all that it had once held dear. The battle, which had begun in another sector, had burst into the system with fire and blood and screams, breaking the silence that for so much time had befallen those ancient tombs and sacred places. Respect had died a long time ago and there was no way to get it back, at least not with the current factions fighting each other over beliefs that were up for interpretation, nothing really factual.

A scout ship called Valiant was send to the cloud of ruins in order to try and rescue a piece of one of the ships that they needed in order to continue their fighting elsewhere in the galaxy. It was a piece of a memory bank that the pirates and smugglers would probably find to be of no importance. That’s why coming back after so long was not really a problem. Besides, not running into unwanted company was important, in order to maintain the mission a secret from everyone outside of their own group.

 The Valiant passed by the cloud but realized soon they wouldn’t be able to penetrate it. Even being a small ship, the Valiant could easily be hit by the large chunks of debris and that would leave them stranded on that sector for who knows how long and they certainly had no intention to do so. B23 was a country shrouded in rumors and tales of monsters and dark wizards. Not many people talked about worlds like those, except for mothers when trying to scare their children from doing something wrong.

 The crew of the Valiant decided it was wiser to send an AI unit to do the work. They were always very eager to help and they had no need to breath, so they were the perfect candidates to take a walk in space. A special rope was attached to their charging port to get them back after they had found the object they were looking for. The first unit was sent shortly after arrival but it was soon lost to a large chunk of metal that destroyed it. Its arms and legs floated away, as the rope was pulled in to use on another droid.

 The next one was able to locate the piece they were looking for but was then pierced through the chest by a bar made of different alloys. It had been travelling at top speed, so it was just like being stabbed with a spear or something. They also used other kinds of droids, less humanoid in aspect but faster and better responsible to the commands coming from the ship. It was one of those, a little droid called IC2, who was able to finally get the part they needed to get back to their command center.

 The droid was being pulled into the ship when another piece of wreckage cut its rope, leaving it only a few meters away from the Valiant. The ship tried to indicate the droid how to get into the ship by itself but a surprise visit by a group of pirate ships was enough to make the crew of the Valiant realize they needed to get to safety first and then try to rescue the droid. Before jumping out of the system, the scout ship ordered the little droid to hide among the debris and stay there until another ship came to pick him up. He understood his command and floated, waiting.

 He waited for a week and then for another week but no one would come. As small as he was, his artificial intelligence chip was very well developed, so much so that he could even do things that larger droids couldn’t. The fact that he didn’t really have arms and legs but tiny wheels and some hooks, made him the last resource for any mission, and he knew that very well. But after waiting for so long, he decided something had to be done in order to get the information back to the command center.

As a droid, his priority was to serve, so that’s what he was going to do. However, debris was very difficult to avoid, even for a small droid that was able to avoid being hit with relative ease. One single piece, the size of a little ball, was enough for him to lose his stability and hurl down into B23. Luckily, they had made him with metals that resisted entry through different kinds of atmospheres in the case of an emergency. It certainly came in handy as he fell from the sky towards the jungle.

 The small droid landed in a patch of jungle that seemed to have no trees or plants. The place was rather circular and, in a glimpse, he knew that was not a normal occurrence in the universe. Geometrical shapes rarely happened like that, so randomly and it such vast proportions. He decided to walk away from there and head toward some sort of building he could see peeking through the tallest trees of the jungle that was before him. Those were ancient ruins, something he already knew from his scanners.

  He crossed the jungle rolling through it; trying to avoid any puddles of water and paying close attention to the sounds of various creatures that were probably looking at him, wondering what it was that they were looking at. When the IC2 arrived at the building, he noticed it was a pyramid and that it had an entrance on the base, a rather large one. He decided it was the best place to wait for his owners, so he rolled into the building as fast as he could, not realizing a shadow had moved inside the cavernous entrance.

 When he realized that there was a creature there, it was too late for the little droid. A weapon, similar to an arrow, traverse the droid through what one would call its eye.  The creature, which was humanoid, bent down and grabbed the piece of memory bank the droid was holding.

 The human looked at the piece for a while and then decided to keep it for himself, putting it on a pocket beneath his cloak. He gave one final look to the destroyed droid and whispered something to him, in a language that hadn’t been heard in ages. After that, he disappeared into the shadows.

martes, 12 de julio de 2016

The tribe

   Once outside the darkness of he cave, the two men collapsed to the ground, exhausted. They had been lost for day, wondering in the dark, putting their hands on the foulest places. They had to be intelligent with their very small rations and their use of light. They had to flashlights that work on kinetic energy and one more that ran on normal batteries. That last one had depleted its energy in a single day. The others two had been of great help, even if the two men were not really strong at the moment.

 A couple of days latter, they woke up in a hut. They felt a strong smell near their noses and realized it was and indigenous woman, much older that they were, putting a bowl with some green paste inside beneath their nose. They didn’t want to be rude, but their reaction was to throw the bowl to the wall and crawl to the wall. It was then when they realized they had various cuts on the skin, plus many other bruises.

 Of course, they didn’t understand what she said but, somehow, she did seem to understand what they said. Maybe it was some kind of magic or maybe it was just an impression but in the following days, the two men regained their health and felt even better than before. They spent their days doing nothing until a man and a woman, also native to the jungle, came for them. Apparently, from what they could make of it, their nurse thought it was time for them to leave her and go back to civilization.

 The process was not immediate. They stayed with the tribe of the man and the woman for what seemed like a month. They didn’t speak their language wither, but that wasn’t necessary. Hands and body language was enough to communicate the most basic ideas so, in a matter of days, they were able to understand one another.

 Richard, who was the oldest of the two lost men, began to be interested in the ways of the jungle people, believing it to be very interesting how they use scorpion and spider venom to dip their arrows in and then hunt all of their meals. Apparently, the venom could be washed away from the flesh of the fallen animals and it wouldn’t affect one bite of a meal. He was very impressed by their agility and cunning too, as they seem no to be scared, in any moment.

 Lucas, the young one of the couple of rescued men, was not as interested in the hunting techniques as he was interested in the woman that had came for them to the old woman’s house. He had no idea of what her name was but he knew he loved her curves, her bright black hair, her big brown eyes and her full lips the color of strawberries. He couldn’t stop watching her everyday, even when she was doing her other chores such as cooking or helping the children of the tribe.

 Richard learned fast about their ways of hunting and in no time he was doing it himself, being able to bring a full-grown wild boar for dinner. Apparently, such a kill was a very uncommon occurrence as they tribe decided to hold a feast in their honor for their bravery and exemplary behavior. The natives had never seen foreign men before but they rather thought that Richard and Lucas had been sent by their gods to help them in times of need. That boar was not special. What was special was the fact that they hadn’t had anything decent to eat for a while.

 Every woman, man and child thanked the two of them and they rapidly learn some words that night, after they had heard them being repeated once and again and again. The celebration was topped off by the taking of a very powerful alcoholic beverage made from a mx of fruits the indigenous people picked up from all over the jungle. Richard was unsure about drinking it but Lucas did it in order to impress the woman he liked. It worked, as she thought he was brave for doing it.

 They both paid their bravery with three full days of chronic diarrhea and hallucinations. Richard had taken less than Lucas, but he too started seeing things once he got away of the village in order not to bother the others with his awful state. He would see his wife, his son and his parents. He had forgotten about them and maybe they had forgotten about him too. There, kneeling on the ground, he saw the image of his wife hugging and making love to another man. He also saw his little boy all grown up, turned into a man that was the opposite of what he had been. And his parents, dead for a long time.

 Lucas had it worse. He vomited and soiled himself several times. The woman he loved attended to him as his nurse and she feared the worst because he had really taken a lot of the beverage and she believed the messengers of the gods probably weren’t as tough in the stomach as the natives were. She did her best to keep him with them, helping him with cold water and prayer.

 He saw his family too. He didn’t have a wife and children but he did have friends, all of whom were giving him their back. He saw them saying how horrible of a person eh was and how disappointed they were of him. They also said that they had always thought he was a fake, always pretending to be something he wasn’t, always trying to be one step ahead of everyone to seem cool or whatever but he wasn’t. He heard the laughter louder and louder and he wanted to scream and pull off his skin to stop feeling the pain all over his body.

 After a while, their condition disappeared. The day Richard woke up from his visions, he was taken to a nearby river with freezing water. The shaman of the tribe made him swim in that water and when he was out, everyone cheered. Apparently, he had achieved another level in his status among them and he was proud of himself. However, he now had his family on his mind, calling for him from a distance. They were probably thinking he had died by now but he needed them to know he was a changed man, man that could make their family so much better now.

 He waited until Lucas came out of his sickness. He helped him out of the cold water in the river and then spoke to him alone, in a hut they had built only for them. It was the first time in a while that they were alone and that they spoke their language. Richard wanted Lucas to know he appreciated having a companion through this ordeal but that he had realized, thanks to the beverage, that he had responsibilities and that he had to fulfill them.

 Even being younger, Lucas understood what Richard was telling him but he also announced something: thanks to the visions, he had realized he needed to stay there with the tribe. He had seen his present and his past but also a glimpse of the future and he knew that the only real happiness that he could take away in this world was there, with the natives in the jungle. Even more, he had already decided to ask for the hand of his nurse in marriage, as he loved her deeply.

 The next day, Richard wanted to announce his intentions to the tribe but here was no need. They all knew what he was going to do and they had prepared a feast for him, to send him on his way. There was no psychotropic beverage this time, rather plenty of meat and some provisions he could take for his long way home. On a leaf, the shaman explained to him how to get to the nearest town from where he could possibly reach civilization.

 He thanked all of them and bid farewell to all of them, both in his language and in theirs. They were moved by this kindness and by the fact he hugged Lucas as a son, even if he wasn’t. He was thankful for his help and his support in the most difficult times, both in the jungle and in the cave. There were things that were a secret between them and Richard knew he could trust Lucas with all those revealed secrets.

 As he went away, the native nurse came to Lucas and said a few words by his ear. Somehow, he understood. That same night, they got married in the most beautiful ceremony the tribe had seen in a while. Everyone was happy, well-fed and very good health. The gods had really sent them. But for Lucas it was them, the tribe, that were the real saviors, making him realize what his life was and how to make it into something better, for him and the world.

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.

jueves, 5 de mayo de 2016


   Yitris had always been a very special place to leave. The few people that lived there, never left but they lived in one of the best places in the world because it was located in a remote area where no one would go bother them, whether they wanted it or not. Its location in the middle of the desert, made it only possible for the best explorers to reach the city and know its citizens and also, their queen.

 Queen Alina was more than fifty years old and she had been working for her people for at least thirty years. She lived in the top house of the city but her home was not really different than other peoples home. It was only above all others house, all built on top of very high trees in the middle of the green valley, hidden in the desert. It was a very good place to hide but also a very good place to feel free from everything.

 There were less than a thousand people living in Yitris but hey all had access to good doctors, to the only school that was directly handled by the Queen and also to food, that never really lacked in any of the people’s tables. Everyone had to have, at least, some bread and fruit to eat. Only half of the population actually ate animal meat and they were very good at using every single part of the animal’s body in order not to kill something and then waste it all because they only wanted some of the meat.

 People were very trusting and, also, always seemed to be happy. No person of Yitris yelled, unless they were really angry and it was only for one second. The Queen, of course, set the example for the rest, always been gracious when she did her daily tour around her small kingdom. She went from her place, to the jungle floor. There, several people had settled, specially the ones that were hunters or farmers.

 There was a small piece of the terrain that had almost no trees and that had been specially done by the people with the permission of the Queen, because they didn’t have anywhere to grow things like corn and wheat and they also needed land to build mills and kitchens where they would make the bread and so on. So she authorized a rather small piece of land to be used for that purpose. It was so small; it was always the first place to be hit by sandstorms, when they occurred.

 The desert was mostly benevolent, protecting them from the outside. But it’s sand was sometimes the worst thing for them because it could almost destroy everything that they had build. But they endured because it was because of that sand, because of the endless desert, that they had always been protected from exterior influence. Only a handful of people had made it to Yitris and all of them had died there, whether from exhaustion or because they had chosen not to go back to their lands.

 That was until Jack Freeman, a English explorer, and two of his men wondered into the desert and stumbled upon Yitris after a particularly strong sandstorm. The locals were cleaning their homes when they saw the men approach. It was the first time for many to see a foreigner and that’s why so many did not seem to remember that they always had to notify this to the Queen. She only knew about these knew visitors when they decided to ask for a leader and the people, shy but interested, indicated her home.

 She didn’t like, at all, to have people enter her house without permission as they did. Alina knew nothing about manners in the exterior world, but she imagined England and all other lands must have been really awful places if all people did that to their neighbors. They communicated with hand gestures and body language because both of their languages were highly incompatible. Even so, the English sometimes yelled things in their language, as if the people of Yitris had to understand them.

 The Queen, trying to be as generous as she could, decided to invite them for dinner. She had all the best food prepared for them and every single person in the small country, which only consisted of a deep valley, was able to come and greet the strangers in person. Those men ate differently and seemed to have a second skin that made them smell funny. That’s what most of the people thought of them.

 The English, however, thought the people of Yitris were nice but also very strange. They thought it was very weird that a valley like that existed in the middle of the desert. They had been looking for another settlement, an oasis that they had to check thoroughly because it seemed to be located on top of an oil reserve. That’s the kind of explorers they were. Not adventurous men working in mankind’s behalf but just some guys working to get some money like many others.

 When, after the party, they decided to leave, the Queen denied this and insisted on them sleeping on a house that they would give them to be alone and to rest. No one would be there, just them. They took them by a series of stairs and bridges to a lower level where a big house, normally used for storage, had been cleaned and three beds made of thick leaves had been set as well as some more food and water on a table in the middle of the circular home.

 The locals left them alone and the foreigners decided to leave as soon as they could the next day. They agreed that the people of Yitris were very nice but they also thought that they had some work to do and that they couldn’t let down the company for which they worked. Oil was important.

 When they attempted to leave the next day, a group of locals decided to take them, instead, to the mills and fields in the border between the valley and the desert. The men looked at the sand with insistence but the people did not realize that they wanted to leave. Even at the end of the tour, when the English did all signals for them to know they had to go back to the desert, the people appeared not to understand or at least it seemed like they had no answer for that.

 The English had arrived with an exhausted horse and some bags of objects and they went straight to the Queen’s home and demanded their things to be brought to them immediately. Again, she was very bothered by them entering like if it was their home but she decided not to say anything. Instead, she told her aides to bring the objects and, as they did, she told the English with mimic that their horse did not existed anymore.

 She imitated a four-legged animal and then passed a finger over her throat. They understood that immediately and one of the men launch itself at her in rage but two locals grabbed him and stopped his attack. He was yelling and crying and having all sorts of emotions that the people there did not really exhibit on a daily basis. Even for the men holding him, it was interesting to see how foreigners used their feelings.

 They released him and the Queen then spoke in broken English. They were very surprised. She explained that the horse had been killed because in their land, animals were not used for work. Besides, the creature they had brought in was exhausted and wouldn’t have survived another trip. That’s why they had decided to kill it and use its meat and insides in different things in order not to waste anything.

 The man crying didn’t really hear any of this but his leader did. He demanded her to explain what that meant and when they would be able to leave, as they had important matters to attend.

 Queen Alina simply said that the horse was in all that they had eaten fast and happily the day before They had eaten all of his meat and the organs had been stored for further usage in soups for the people of the valley.  They expect it to be very nutritious. As for the bones, they could use them to make weapons or instruments for working on the fields.

 The second question was easier to answer: they couldn’t leave because no one left the valley. They couldn’t afford anyone leaving and telling the world of their existence. So, smiling, she insisted on them going back to their assigned home and settling in. They would soon learn their ways and will be integrated in no time, been able to enjoy all that life had to offer in Yitris.

 The English men complied but not because they agreed but because they knew when to stop fighting. In their minds, Queen Alina was now an enemy and Yitris had to come out to the world and be destroyed. Only because of a horse and the secret of its existence.