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

viernes, 3 de julio de 2015

The last march

  After the Great War, the lone commanders of the Union that were still loyal to the ideals of their lost cause, decided to force thousands to march to the deserts. One would think people would rebel against this in a heartbeat but the truth was that they didn’t. They were all exhausted after having been prisoners and slaves for almost five years. They didn’t have any energy in them and the commanders were the only ones that, though deranged, still kept some integrity and ideals, even if they were twisted. The war had destroyed every major city and no government had remained after the last nuclear warhead had been either used or destroyed in the ocean. The world was no longer in chaos because humanity was broken and it would take a very long time for it to be fixed.

 The march went on for a year, by which the commanders had begun to show mercy to their prisoners as they were all in the same condition. As the climate always changed, everyone wore the same robes that were cool during the day, when the sun was specially harsh on the planet and were a bit warm during the very cold nights in the deserts. The people only marched and marched. Sometimes they rested, ate what they could find, mostly insects, small animals and plants, if they could find them, and they had all agreed to harness the largest amount possible of water and to share among the whole community of marchers. The commanders wanted a larger share for themselves but, in time, they stopped asking for special conditions.

After the first year was done, almost five hundred people had died from exhaustion or disease. Among those, many commanders, some of the hardest and cruelest among them, which explained why no one was being as evil as they used to be anymore. The commanders had always believed that their race was superior and that their values and morals were the ones that would make the world better. But now, the ones remaining secretly believed that to be just propaganda statements. In the desert, going almost completely mad, they understood they were not superior to anyone and that they are equally fucked by war and the decisions of men that weren’t there to be punished.

 Of the group that marched, there were not many children. People began to notice, after a while, that sexual desire had decreased after the war and that even when people had sex, children were almost never produced. The general belief was that many women had been rendered infertile by the radioactivity in the air. One of those cases was Yolanda, a woman in her thirties that used to have three children but now only had one and had been rendered sterile. The only child she had was now too skinny and his skin was a weird green hue. She knew he was going to die soon because of radiation and, when it happened, she barely even bury him. She had been prepared.

 Among the commanders, Rick Wolf was maybe the oldest one remaining. He almost forty years old and had joined the Union because he had believed it would lead to a better life for him and his family but that was proven to be false. He actually thought about it often during the long walks, and he had reached the conclusion that the most disastrous point of his life had been the one when he had worked for some of the mad men that had rendered the world into a barren dust ball. Even then in the desert, he had never felt guiltier and shocked that during the war, were officials were demanding to exterminate certain groups o for them to be examined. They had inspired themselves from the past because, he thought, humanity had always been rotten.

 Commander Johansson was much younger, not even reaching his thirtieth birthday and he was beginning to think he would never reach it.  The truth was that he was never too hungry and when they happened to capture a large animal in some large wasteland, he just wasn’t hungry enough to eat more than a bite. He knew it was the radiation that was eating him slowly. He probably had cancer but he did not want to know anything about it. He was kind of glad medicine was over because he wouldn’t be able to cope knowing what was going to kill him. He felt better like this, just walking without thinking and waiting for his death.

 Not all of them just walked. A man called Jeremiah had been named one of the leaders of the prisoners, which were no longer really prisoners, and he was the one that lead them and decided were to go next. In the morning, he was the first one to be awake and he would often go around the camp singing waking everyone up. The songs he sang were sad and very ancient but they made the trick: people were ready in no time and it was him who decided which way to go. He thought that they should go to Australia, a country that was rumored to be still full of life and only marginally affected by the war. Radiation may be present there but not in such large quantities like here so he tried to take them there but no ocean had been seen yet.

 No water bodies had been seen at all to be correct. All the lakes and large rivers appeared to have been vaporized in the war and the small amount of water they often found was the kind that poured from the mountains over rocks and that could barely be kept in any bottle or can. They just drank from it or licked the rocks and went on with their march. Most people had forgotten fast about the taste of the food that they had eaten before it all went to shit. They forgot about juices, about cooked warm meals and about water that you didn’t have to lick to be satisfied. Their memories were slowly dying and nothing could really be done to stop it.

 They all knew that, eventually, they were going to die. They also knew that it would happen much faster than usual and that the weak would go first. And so it happen during that first year when mostly children elderly people and the ones that had a proper disease just died stumbling down to the ground. Some people, the ones that still had any real feeling left, tried to bury them with sand or under rocks but they soon realized that was too much work and that they didn’t have the amount of energy to be doing that every time. So from then on they decided to just let the dead lay down on the ground and for the living to continue their journey in peace, or at least without worries.

All that could be seen on their walks was dead or dying. The few creatures that they had managed to hunt were skinny animals that were simply not enough for such a large amount of people. At first, when capturing an animal, they would let one of the commanders skin it and then cook it in some hot water they had found. But like burying bodies, that too proved to be just a waste of time and energy. With time, they began eating raw meat, which gave them the energy needed to keep going and live one more day. Because in the end, that was their goal, to just live one more day in this world that had been destroyed and that would eventually be empty and with no recollection that we, the humanity, had ever been here at all. All of our things destroyed, our individual stories rendered useless and forgotten in the abyss of time.

 People didn’t know why they wanted to keep living. But they did. Most of them still had hope that they could fin more people, maybe living like proper human beings, or maybe getting to that Australia place and live in peace for at least a couple of years. Some of the walkers still remembered the old world and they would often tell storied to the others, to keep them entertained. The commanders allowed this and they would too be enthralled by the stories of the man, who claimed men had walked on the moon and that they had created viruses to be weapons and how an entire country was blown up in a day by the forces of the Union before the war even started. Although most people thought they were just stories, it happened to be all true.

 People had forgotten who they were. Humanity was no more and just people remained, empty, like a shell that some animal has left in the ocean to be covered by algae and sand. People had no interests in the world anymore or on each other. Some were still more human than others but it was all the same because they all knew that they were the last generation to walk the Earth. Strangely, that didn’t make them nervous or crazy. They had just accepted it because they knew it had all happened because of them and now the consequences were upon them and not accepting them was not an option.


 The march went on for as long as ten more years. The last group, of no more than twenty people, finally arrived to what used to be the ocean. Now, it was a region of canyons and death. It was then when humanity disappeared.

viernes, 13 de febrero de 2015

The last scene

-       Cut! That’s a wrap, people.

 Every single person on set relaxed their muscles. The shooting had been going on for three months, and they were simply exhausted. Besides, being in such a fantastic place was too good and perfect to be there only working. It was a large forest, almost like the ones in fairy tales, with perfect pine trees and rocks of all forms and shapes.

 The shooting had been going on among some of these trees, in an area where they grew a little bit more separated from each other than in the rest of the forest. The trailers and camp in general was located not very far, around a large lake that was almost perfectly round. The sound of birds and other animals came from the farthest places; it was as if you could hear forever.

 The lead actress, a beautiful young woman by the name of Samantha Hart, was the first one to return to her trailer. She was accompanied by the costumer designer, some makeup people and her personal assistant. She had to remove every single thing belonging to the movie in order to be able to rest in peace for the first time in several days. It wasn’t strange that all actors were wearing heavy makeup to conceal the traces of their lack of sleeping time.

 Otto Fröm was the name of the director, a big man, tall and fat with a beard that covered half his face. Although he was a very nice person as a friend and when the cameras were not working, he was ruthless when making a film. He had a vision for every single thing, for every single frame of the movie, and he wasn’t going to compromise that for anything in the world. He just wouldn’t.

 He left too for his trailer, to check the footage of the day with his two assistants and the director of the second unit that had arrived that very morning. He had been in charge of shooting some scenes very far, by the coast. They went into the trailer and kept working. For Fröm there was no resting or peace until he finished his movie. He wasn’t interested in what the production or distribution companies said. He always sent one of his assistants to speak on his behalf and his answer to everything was “When the movie’s done”.

 Samantha had already taken everything from her: the beautiful jewels, the amazing costume and even the tons of makeup that made her look beautiful. Not that she wasn’t beautiful on her own right but she was human and she had many flaws. As a matter of fact, she spent several minutes in front of the mirror, looking at herself. She particularly hated the freckles that seemed to occupy most of her face. She would have loved to remove them but that wasn’t possible so she had learned how to conceal them with makeup.

 When every single person had left her, she lay down for a while in her bed and stared at the ceiling of that tiny space. Another movie had passed by and now she was technically unemployed again. Well, only for a couple of weeks until she had to travel to Peru and begin the production of a new film, a historical depiction of the Inca Empire. She got up and looked herself in the mirror: she would have to dye her hair and let it grow longer. Maybe they would force her to use contact lenses because she had never heard of Incas having blue eyes.

 In the woods, however, people were still working. They were the gaffers and electricians that had to pick it all up, every cable, light and accessory used in the production of the film. Noah was one of them, a man aged thirty-five, very strong although not very tall. He had been working in the business for the last ten years and knew every trick and technique to help the director of photography to do his job.

 That man had already left following the director, who Noah thought was too obsessed with perfection. In his experience, he knew some things have better results if they just happen or if they are improvised. As he gathered several lights boxes, he realized this Fröm guy had not let any of the actors improvise the scenes. This was very particular as most of the action scenes Noah had been in, the actors had had the necessity to improvise because they felt fear of the situation, even if they knew it wasn’t actually threatening.

 In his trailer, Fröm consulted every single detail of the scenes done that very day. Although he had made the actors repeat the last scene at least ten times, and it was a very long scene, he felt the ones that had been done lacked something. He asked the director of photography but him, being a rather older gentleman, thought it was all perfect and that postproduction may help him have a more shocking scene.

 But Fröm, who was a purist, didn’t really like all the beautiful things promised by the visual effects people. If he could, he would avoid them at all costs but the production company had already paid them to be on the lookout once Fröm delivered his rushes to them. He asked his assistants if he could shoot the scene again but they told him that most of the materials used had already being removed from the forest and that it would be very costly to put them up again for one scene.

 The crew organized a small gathering that night, on the beach of the circular lake, in order to celebrate the end of the shooting. The director was absent and the lead actress appeared only very late at night, when most of the people had already gone to bed. They had no way of drinking alcohol so the party was all about eating the food they hadn’t eaten for the last few days, as well as several bottles of water and soft drinks. The producer that was present didn’t object and actually offered to put on some music from her trailer, were she had a computer with good speakers.

 Of course, the amount of noise that could be done was not very high. Amongst them was a man from the government that had to ensure the preservation of the site during the shooting. He agreed to the celebration but made them promise that the music won’t be very loud and that they would finish it all by midnight. That wasn’t an impediment to have fun for a few hours, eat a lot and celebrate the end of another day of work.

 Seeing she had arrived to late to the party, Samantha sat down with the makeup people and started chatting amicably with them. She felt closer to them than anyone else on set as she spent a lot of time in their quarters. Same with the costume designer and her assistants but that woman was always so busy that she didn’t seem to have fun doing her work nor realizing that she could relax once in a while.

 They spoke about their families and the beauty of the place. The lake looked now like a large tar pit, in the blackness of the night. Eventually they all went to their respective “dormitories” and had the best night of sleep for weeks.

The following day, a helicopter arrived to start transporting equipment back to the nearest city but the director surprised them by announcing that no one was leaving until they had done the last scene one more time. Every single person was annoyed and most workers refused, threatening to get their unions involved in the matter. But the man had received an authorization from the production company that made them stay another day.

 Setting up everything took four hours and the proper shooting of the last scene last almost that same amount of time. But this time, one the director had yelled “It’s a wrap now, for good”, they start dismantling everything so fast that in an hour every single prop and accessory was put away and on the helicopter.


 Samantha left with Fröm on the first helicopter and Noah had to wait almost until dusk to be able to leave. When in the air he looked one last time to the forest and the lake and smiled. It was always fun to enjoy work, even if he had no rest for months or his boss was a jerk. He loved it all.

domingo, 31 de agosto de 2014

Stop

Work, work, work. Break. Some coffee, by the window. Work, work, work. Another coffee, now walking to someone else's office. Work, work, work. Lunch time.

This is it. His time has come to opt out of everything he has always seen as he's life. This is no life.

Instead of eating with the same person he has always done so for the last 3 years, this man decides to go home and pack.

Where to go? Not important. But life's grip is tightening to much and he cannot keep fighting it.

Some shirts, couple of pants, two pairs of shoes and some underwear. That should be enough. He takes his passport, in the eventuality of traveling abroad. There are no real plans about where to go but that's precisely the idea.

He checks his phone: no calls, no messages, nothing. Better, he thinks, if they believe he's running late or has had some kind of problem.

Takes the backpack and walks to the door. After closing properly, he pushes the elevator's button and then a woman, older than him but still beautiful, stands closely. Her hair is messy, she even appears to be missing a day or two of careful grooming.

He looks at her big running pants and old shirt. There appears to be a lot of dust on her shoulders.

- It's taking quite long. - she says.

- Yeah... - he answers, no idea what's she's talking about.

No, he doesn't like to chat with strangers. But she does.

- You live here? - she asks.

- Leaving for some weeks.

Why he answered that, he has no idea. He's starting to sweat.

- I'm moving in. So weird to move from another city.

- Must be.

He really doesn't want to talk.

- Am I making you uncomfortable? - she asks, looking at him.

He cleans  some of the sweat off his forehead. He decides not to say a word.

- Sorry, I tend to over talk. Guess I'm nervous for the new job and everything.

Then something clicks inside his mind, like a key entering the keyhole.

He turns to her, watching her honey colored eyes and says:

- Don't you get fucking trapped by that job, ok?

He's dead serious. She knows it.

- Never become a zombie like they want you to be. Think for yourself, even if they don't give a fuck about it.

- Ok.

He falls silent.

She suddenly says he has remembered something at home and leaves, without saying a word.

The elevator arrives. He comes in and tightens the backpack.

As the door closes, he faintly smiles, rising his head, finally feeling as a real free man.