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

viernes, 22 de septiembre de 2017

A life of risk

   Natalya stopped by the hotel only for a few minutes, enough time to pick up whatever she had brought along with her to that damn place and then get out of there as fast as she could. She put it all in a small suitcase with wheels and practically ran down to the reception in order to pay whatever she owed. It wasn’t something she did often, but she had been made to pay for dinner in her room, as her target had not being available that night. He was too far for her to follow him as he had to.

 The woman asked for her receipt. As she was grabbing her wallet to pay the reception man, she realized something in just a few seconds: a man wearing all black had suddenly stood up in the living room in front of the reception. Almost at the same time, a tall woman with hair as white as snow, had entered the hotel almost as if she was the impersonation of the wind. Their presence made Natalya feel nervous. Something was going to happen, she just knew it. She extracted two bills from her wallet and tried to seem innocent.

 The moment the reception man received the bills from her hands, Natalya heard the first shot behind her. As fast as she was, it had been impossible to save her luggage entirely. She pulled to the left just in time and then ran away from the lobby area, trying to get away from the scene as fast as possible. Screams came from the area she had just been in and she knew there were bodies there. One of them was probably the young man that had given her that damn dinner’s receipt.

 It was difficult to run with boots on but Natalya was very agile and fast. So fast, that people in the kitchens were surprised to see her run past them, minutes before the two assassins would come running after her. She was fortunate enough to find an exit through the depot were fresh vegetables and meat were received every morning from various markets around the city. She ran past workingmen carrying big crates and didn’t stop until she actually saw traffic and passersby.

 The hotel was located on the most sought out part of the city, where all luxury commerce had found a spot to lure everyone. Not only people that could actually afford to buy any of that stuff but also the ones who liked to see what opportunities others had in life. As it was a Saturday afternoon, the place was packed. The main street of that area was filled with families and couples, with tourists and salary men and women trying to find a good place to have a beer and maybe do something else afterwards. And among them was Natalya, running for her life.

 She knew she had to hide but the first thing to do was to know where her assailants were. Both of them were pretty easy to pick out in a crowd but the street was so crowded and Natalya was substantially smaller than most people. That had always worked in her advantage but it could also be something of a hurdle. She decided to enter a clothing store and run upwards, towards the tallest point of the structure. Sure enough, one could get a great view from the area from the men underwear section.

 A young woman looked at her and asked if she could help her. Natalya was breathing heavily. She tried to smile and said she was just looking for some boxers for her husband. The young woman smiled back and attempted to show some of the newest models to Natalya. The woman stopped her by saying she was going to look around first and then decide on something. The young lady nodded and told her that she could look around all that she wanted, even in the changing rooms.

 The girl walked away leaving Natalya confused. What had she meant? She turned around quickly, remembering why she was inside of the store. Sure enough, she saw the silver mane of the woman that had killed so many people in the hotel just minutes ago. In the distance, Natalya could hear the sound of several ambulances, probably rushing to the place. She hoped the body count was low, as those people had nothing to do with everything that was happening. It was all her fault.

 She started wandering around the store, in order to not look suspicious. She looked at some male underwear, some of them with fun textures and prints but she wasn’t really interested. She was remembering what had happened just over a day ago, when she had stolen a series of documents from a rich man’s mansion, a very rich man that was suspected to have links with several terrorists groups that would give him the advantage if they were capable of reaching the higher spheres of power.

 Natalya had been sent to retrieve the information, as the people that had hired her had an interest in it. She had been ordered to copy everything she had and take it back herself to be given in person. They had also asked her not to use the Internet, make phone calls or even talk to any people beyond the necessary communication. Then, she remembered the young boy from the hotel and realized a tear had come down her face. As she cleaned it off her face, she felt something warmer. Natalya realized what the young woman had meant before, about the changing rooms.

 She walked down one floor and entered the changing rooms with a blouse and a skirt she had grabbed without even properly looking at them. She was assigned a stall and it was then when she realized that one of the bullets had come way closer than she had imagined. The projectile had burned her cheek, leaving a red line below her right eye. She still had her purse hanging around her body, so she took out some tissues and tried to clean her face as thoroughly as she was able to.

 Natalya came out of the store half an hour after she had entered. She decided the best thing to do was to get to the airport. Her flight was still some hours away and it was a priority to get the information back safe. After all, her business was danger and that wasn’t the first time she had been shot or had actively been targeted by someone. She walked for a bit until she found a big avenue. There, she stopped a taxi and asked to be taken to the airport. The man had doubts but she paid up front.

 Arriving in the airport, Natalya thought that it was possible that she could be getting older. She was not the same age as when she had first entered that line of work. She had been trained and recruited because she was agile, both mentally and physically. But now she felt as if everything was getting a little bit too fast for her. Besides, she kept thinking about the boy in the hotel and that had never been an issue before. She had seen many bodies in her life but had never been specially affected by them.

 After checking-in, she rushed to the security checkpoint as her flight was leaving in less than twenty minutes. However, she stopped the moment she saw that damn blonde hair again. And it was impossible to run away from that situation. So she pulled the gun hiding in her purse and started shooting. Everyone around was screaming and running but the two women were just hunting for each other. They were doing what they had been doing for years and it was too late for them both to stop.

 Both ran out of bullets and a physical confrontation ensued. Punches were thrown back and forth. But then, experience appeared in the form of a selfie-stick lying on the floor. Some scared tourist had just left it there, in the middle of the shooting.

 Natalya grabbed it, removed the part that holds the camera with a powerful pull and then impaled the blonde woman with it. The warm blood on her hand made her feel alive but also scared. She had never been scared before and it couldn’t be the best of signs. Not right then.

lunes, 18 de septiembre de 2017

Trip to the moor

   As Morton walked along the mud path, he noticed the heavy dew all around him. At night, as he slept in his tent, a colder climate had been battling with the creatures all around him. The morning had a white tone that came from the frost on some of the leaves and dead insects that hadn’t been properly prepared for the cold. He looked at it all in wonder, as it was the first time in his trip in which he saw such a thing. Granted, he had been out in the wilderness for only a week, but he already felt like a proper explorer.

 His next assignment was to look for a lake or a pond in order to wash his body. He hadn’t been able to properly clean himself since he had entered the moors, and it was time for it, judging by a small cloud formed by many tiny mosquitoes. It was a little bit funny to be followed by those creatures all over the place, no matter if he stumbled to the ground or if he climbed down or up a wall. They were as resistant as him and, after a couple of days; they became little more than his own shadow.

 At the end of the mud path, a large amount of tall bushes covered what lay beyond. The sun was casting its first few rays onto the world and it seemed it was going to be a great day for his expedition. He had been granted a permit to explore for two weeks but he intended to traverse the park in order to reach the north border post before the two-week mark and there he would ask for another permit of the same amount of time. He needed at least one month, or that’s what he thought anyways.

 Morton had asked for the month period at first but he had only received a laugh and a severe look from the guard that was supposed to be giving the permits. They were not available online, so people had to go to the post and just make an exposé about why they wanted to enter the park and how would they spend their time in there. They also asked for people to have a proper plan for sleeping and eating. Even if they granted the permit, one had to sign several papers before going in.

 He didn’t mind at all. He signed everything they wanted because he needed that place; he needed to get lost in there for at least one month. He couldn’t deal with the real world, with the urban settings anymore. He had found the natural park while surfing the Internet and he had decided that was the perfect place to go. Besides, he could say he needed to go in there to take pictures and have some video footage of the place for a documentary. He had a degree in cinema but he had never used it. Not until it became relevant to get the damn permit.

 Once everything had been set, he prepared himself by watching several videos on the matter of camping and exploring. He had signed on for rock climbing lessons and he got only the basics before it was time to leave. The only people that knew what he was doing were his parents but they didn’t say anything besides wishing him good luck. After all, that trip had not cost them a dime and all the camping equipment had been bought in a second hand specialized store. Morton had done everything correctly.

 He left very early one day before they woke up, leaving only a handwritten letter on his bed. In it, he told his parents that he loved them but that he needed time to get his mind and his life in order. He needed to get away from every single thing that, according to him, was poisoning his life and his mind. He wanted to be well, he wanted to try and have a proper life. Not that he hadn’t tried before but all his attempts had proven unsuccessful and the trip to the moors was just an idea that seemed perfect.

 In the cabin on the south entrance, he received every single piece of advice every other person entering the moors had received before him: how to properly put off fires for cooking, how to dispose of bones and other proteins, where not to go, what not to do, what animals to be aware of, which plants could cause his eyes to pop and several other nice anecdotes and advices like those. Once he actually crossed the gate, every other person around him was getting ready for lunch.

 He remembered all that as he pulled out a survival knife from his backpack and started slashing at the bushes on the mud path. He smiled at the memory of his first day there, as if he had become an experienced hiker in just a few days. The smile went away when he realized cutting branches with such a small knife would take several hours. He decided to put the knife away and try to do it by hand. In a matter of minutes, he got both his hands covered in shallow and deep cuts.

 In a way, it was nice to feel the pain. It was strange and gross and fantastic to see blood on his hands. He rarely ever cut himself shaving at home or something like that. Looking at what was inside his veins was very bizarre but it somehow made him felt like the trips was worth every single one of those cuts, every single pain he had felt since he had gotten in the wilderness. His feet got swollen often and his skin was getting rashes all over the place but it was part of something much more important that he definitely wanted to go through.

 He decided to rest for a while. Morton wanted to walk more before the sun was on its highest point but he decided eating before the long road ahead would be much better for his energy. He took out a couple of granola bars from his backpack and started eating them slowly, as if he wanted to flavor them and enjoy their texture. To be honest, he was fed up with the taste and aspect of the bars but it was the only thing that he had on his bag, as he hadn’t prepared himself as well as he had expected.

 Before coming in, the people from the park had told him that, in case of severe malnutrition or lack of proper food, he would be allowed to kill certain animals in order to cook and eat them. He would have to dispose of them correctly and hunt them with proper care. So he did. Morton had never hunted or done anything that even remotely similar. But on the second day of his trip, just to try his skills out, he was able to kill a rabbit with a bow and arrow he had been given by the owner of the second hand store.

 It had been more a toy than a proper weapon but Morton had received the gift with great enthusiasm. He had always wanted to use one of those but had never been given the opportunity. Now, a week after the beginning of his journey, he had killed several animals and had disposed of every non-usable part in the proper way. He had cooked the meat with some bags of tomato sauce he had brought and the flavor was just perfect. Had become a great hunter and a pretty good cook.

 There, in the middle of nowhere, he had felt for the first time how it was to be someone that was worth something. It was the first time that he realized that he might know something that most people don’t and that, if hunting and cooking a rabbit was seen as a handy skill in daily life, he would be regarded as more than he had ever been regarded as. He had been a failure for half of his life and now he finally thought he could he be changing that dynamic. He felt he could be becoming someone.

 After eater the granola bars and putting the wraps on his litter bag, he continued to tear down the branches until, finally, the bushes gave in and he was able to pass to the other side. What he saw made him yell in happiness, even if he wasn’t supposed to do that.

 A green valley covered by some mist could be seen below, between tall mountains and ridges. Morton was standing on a cliff looking at the majestic of nature. There, he felt special for the very first time in his life and he couldn’t do much else than crying in silence.

miércoles, 13 de septiembre de 2017

Claudia's new life

   Rain had fallen all night long, forming little ponds all around the house. As it was surrounded with dirt, the water had converted the landscape into a horrible mixture of mud and overgrown foliage. However, the weather had improved over the morning, which Claudia took as a permission to go outside and check on her beloved plants. Normally, she would have carried all the pots inside before the tempest but that storm had come in such a way, no one had predicted it to land just there, on Hownhall.

 The small town still preserved much of its architecture and every year one of them was chosen as the prettiest in the entire county. The contest was only a month away and Claudia had a lot to do to make her estate be at its most perfect. She had already won the prize for two consecutive years and she planned to do so for the remainder of her life. Being seventy six years of age, she knew that wasn’t much of a time window but it was something to put her mind into.

 Her husband Jim had died only two years prior and that same year she decided to enter the contest. She had loved the man for many years, but he wasn’t the type to like a lot of people in the house. They would spend entire days enclosed in there, reading and not talking. To Claudia, that was torture. She liked when the children visited and brought the kids but Jim had always dreaded those visits because he had never really being into children, which explained why their own had such a tense relationship with him.

 So when he died, Claudia decided to do something that made her feel alive and still willing to contribute something to society and to herself. She got the idea from the weekly newsletter written by several women of the county. They were a small group that gathered often in the town’s main square and discussed the many ways that they had at hand to improve their lives and the coziness of the region. They loved their part of the country and wanted everyone to know about it.

 So once she entered the contest, Claudia decided to simply be the best at it. She went out of her way to get the most beautiful flowers ever seen, which she bought from people that did walks on the remote mountains and in areas that were difficult to access. Practically no one else had all of that in front of their house, so it certainly gave her an edge. The other detail was that, when she was much younger, Claudia had learned a lot about design from her deceased brother Remus, who had been one of the top designers in the capital, a great artist in every way.

 As she prepared once again for the contest, stomping the mud and cleaning all the leaves and overgrown branches of the trees, Claudia heard some rumble in the house that was closest to her. As she lived in the outskirts of the small town, only one other house was close to hers and it hadn’t been inhabited since before Jim had died. An older couple had lived there for years but they had both died and no one had ever come to reclaim the property. However, that was about to change.

 Claudia continued to use her gardening tools but she moved slowly towards her fence, from where she could easily see the entrance of the other house. There was a moving van in front of the gate and two men dressed in couple carried boxes into the house. More voices came from there but Claudia couldn’t really hear much more than the typical noise people make when moving things around. Later, she was tired of not seeing anything and decided to leave work for the day.

 At night, the woman would always make herself a hot cup of chocolate, with some small marshmallows to enjoy in front of her favorite dramas. Jim had never really liked sweet foods or drinks, so now she enjoyed them continuously. Her doctor had told Claudia that she should measure her consumption of sugar a little bit but seeing she was and older person, he also told her it wouldn’t be wise to cut on any food. So she didn’t and decided to treat herself every night.

 A powerful revelation on her soap was obscured by a scream, a loud and powerful scream coming from the neighbor’s house. Claudia didn’t got up from her armchair. She clicked on the “mute” button of her remote and tried to hear something else. It was possible at her age to imagine noises, so it wasn’t really that scary. But then, a weaker scream was heard. She decided to stay still and think what the best response would be. Seconds later, she was calling the police.

 Granted, the police always took a while to arrive. Such a small town did not have a police force to help people in need. They came from another county, which made their trip around twenty minutes. Claudia did not hear another scream during that time. She didn’t stand up either. She didn’t want to get so involved in the matter. She just wanted to clarify what happened because maybe her neighbors were simply loud people and she wanted them to know early on that she was not going to stand up for that. She had learned to be like that from Jim.

 A young female officer and an older male officer arrived exactly twenty minutes after the call had been made. Apparently it was still raining in their part of the country because they were drenched. Claudia did not let them inside her house and simply repeated what she had heard that night. The officer looked at each other and they decided to investigate. She knew they had decided not to believe her but that didn’t matter. Anything to live at peace in her home.

 She entered the kitchen as they left, preparing them some tea. It was a nice custom to give a beverage to people that came to help. True, she wasn’t going to let them get the floor all wet, especially after seeing their boots live a trail of prints on her property. But she had to be gracious and look as if she was accepting of everyone. Claudia clearly wasn’t, as she had been prejudiced for a long time, in part because of her husband but also because of her very conservative upbringing.

 Actually, she had noticed that the policewoman was not from those parts, or at least her parents weren’t. According to what she saw on TV, she knew it was wrong to feel that way about people but she couldn’t help it. It was as if something manipulated her from inside her head. She tried to change her ways but, in the end, it didn’t work. So she simply did what she had done with her husband for so many years: she kept her mouth shut and didn’t get into “difficult” business.

 The police officers came back in a matter of minutes. However, the man ran to the police car, not saying a word to Claudia. The young woman entered the house without being properly invited, grabbed the phone on the living room and started dialing. As she waited for someone to answer, Claudia was livid: there was mud all over the entrance and on the beautiful white carpets. They were ruined. She looked outside and saw, in horror, that they had broken a pot with gorgeous roses when coming back to the house.

 Claudia did not hear when the policewoman alerted her precinct that a double murder had taken place. She didn’t hear the gruesome details, of how the wife had been decapitated and how the husband had been found without his genitalia.

 The older woman only cared about her contest, about her little world. And it was all thrown to the abyss because of that silly murder. She was so enraged at the matter that she decided to find out who had killed the couple by herself. It couldn’t be more difficult than her topsy-turvy life.

viernes, 25 de agosto de 2017

Recurrent dream

   I like lying on my bed every morning for a while, after I wake up. I clean my eyes and walk around naked for a while around my room, trying to decide what to do next. And what I always do is just lying there, watching the rood or staring at the window. Not that I’m actually using my eyes right there, I instead imagine another world, another place. I do that because, every single morning, I feel this is not my life. I feel my real self is somewhere else, living through something very difficult.

 It often happens that when I dream, I see this man in one room. It’s always the same room. I can see a bridge through the window and there are two beds, very neatly made. Everything is clean and there are also plushies everywhere. The man that I see sitting on one of the beds, the one nearest to the window, is not really the age one would think someone would have if you saw all those plushies and toys and several other stuff. It seems he’s stuck there, in that place, who knows for how long.

 I stared at him for so many nights. The dream was always the same and it would dissolve into my usual slumber after only a few minutes. It never lasted long so I couldn’t really pick up many details. After a while, I trained myself to be more aware of the dreams and try to really look around. The first thing I discovered was a teddy bear and that image stayed with me for long. Last Christmas, I even made the mistake of remembering the bear as if it had been mine, only I never had a bear.

 Oddly enough, my mother told me I almost had one. My grandfather had plans to buy one the day I was born, in order for him to be the first person to ever give me a gift. He wanted to have a strong presence in my life and he had decided a bear, carefully made and wearing a red shirt, would be the way to do it. Sadly, my grandfather had a heart attack some days before my birth, so he never got to buy the bear and I never got to meet him. That was the first time I had heard the story and it gave me chills.

 So, of course, I kept trying to figure out the recurring dream I had been having. But, for months, I was stuck in the same place every time. I saw the bear and then, when I turned my head towards the man, I instantly blacked out and then moved on to another dream. Well, to be honest, the first few times it happened I would wake up in terror, sweating and just too scared to go back to sleep any time soon. Those nightmares gave me dark marks under my eyes but I countered those by choosing to jog at night around my neighborhood, a very quiet place to think.

 I would come back sweaty and tired, ready to go to bed without any disturbance in my head or in my life. But the nuisance was there nevertheless. The dream returned a few days after and I just managed to handle it the best I could. I tried hard to discover anything new but it didn’t go anywhere. So I just decided to play a layback role every time, hoping my unconscious mind would get bored of playing the same dream over and over again. But it didn’t. It kept insisting.

 My parents entrusted me with a very large company, the main one in their corporation. It was started many years before by my grandparents and I just try to keep it going forward. We manage various companies dealing with trade and that makes my job very challenging but very fulfilling at the same time. I have been able to visit half of the world and I have learned so many things, even more than the ones I learned back in college, where I graduated with honors. I had always excelled.

 In my family, every single person trusts me with their lives, their secrets and their money. Every time there’s a problem somewhere, they call me to fix it or at least to call someone else to fix it. Since my high school days I have been connecting with various people around the globe and I have now an enormous network of friends and family in every single corner of the planet. Everywhere my jet lands, I have someone doing a party for me or at least treating me to dinner.

 Maybe it’s the dream, but I have found myself thinking what would my life be like if I hadn’t let this life. I think I would be fine. Maybe not rich but I would like to think that I would be as driven and smart as I am right now. I even think I would be just as much as attractive physically and socially as I am now. I have learned not to be ashamed of myself or of my various assets. I have made efforts in my life so I think it’s ok to let people now I’m very proud of everything I am and what I’ve done.

 That man in the dream seems worried. He’s not very well dressed and, to be honest, he looks bored to death. I cannot really make up his face entirely. I mostly see his body, like a shape, sitting there on the bed. It was a long time after I started having the dreams when I realized the man was actually moving the whole time. He seems to be writing, typing something on a laptop computer in front of him. The night I discover that fact I woke up tremendously excited because there had finally been a breakthrough. Whatever that was, it was going somewhere.

 You may not understand this, but I need to feel I’m always in control. I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak or something that crazy. The thing is I like to understand everything that happens around me, even if I’m not very familiar with whatever it might be. That’s why, when I travel, I try to meet locals and I ask them many questions in order to better understand their culture and their states of mind. It’s a unique way to understand a whole country, in order to do proper business.

 That’s why I cannot stand that I have the same dream every night and I cannot see or get what’s happening. I even got to a psychiatrist in order for him to explain what’s up with my head but he told me it was a pretty normal thing and that, once it resolves itself, it will simply go away as if nothing had ever happened. Normally, I would never doubt a professional but something tells me this is something else, this is maybe something much more powerful and convoluted than I thought.

 Then, Camilla came to my apartment. She does that frequently. Sometimes I go to her place and sometimes she comes to mine. My family has been pushing me to ask her to marry me but I cannot seem to find the time to do it. She’s very beautiful and entertaining, she has even heard every single detail about my dreams and has tried to help me find a solution. But something tells me I shouldn’t make that big step until I solve whatever is going around my head. It feels important.

 The last time she came, however, something changed. The dream happened as always but, when I was supposed to wake up, I finally got to see him. The man actually raised his face towards me and looked at my eyes with his, which were sad, kind of red. Then I woke up. I was sweating again. I got up as silently as I could, walked to the kitchen, and had some water. I was trembling a bit and my breathing was off. I tried to calm myself, trying to remind my mind it had been just a dream.

 I just realized the man I had been seeing in my dreams, for so long, was me. Those eyes were mine, that face was mine. Every detail was a copy of my real self. He looked sad, despaired and hopeless. I felt all of that inside me and I guess that’s what made me shake so much.

 However, what scared me the most was the fact that I got to see, through his eyes, what he was doing on the laptop. It happens he was writing. It was a short story and it was how, every so often, he had a dream about being someone else, having a much better life than the one he had.