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

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

Through the Alps


   The train’s movement woke me up as it pierced through the longest tunnel in the route. The trip from Italy to Germany can be quite annoying because of that, although you get to check out some beautiful sights in between the tunnels, so it’s not that bad. The very dim lights of the tunnel gave me an eerie glimpse of the people that were in the same cabin, all of them fast asleep, not disturbed by the movement as I was. It was right then when I heard someone rushing by the aisle, stumbling and then running off.

 I was about to yell and pull the door of the cabin making a lot of noise, but I remembered my friends were sleeping so I stood up and carefully pulled the door open. Once I was standing on the hallway, I close the door again and enjoyed the show the little lights on the floor of the train were doing. They turned on and off and on and off. It made the hallway look like some kind of disco. I looked down the hall but there was no one there, at least not where I could see. I decided to walk in the same direction as the person I had seen.

 I had to move from one car to the other. Apparently most people were asleep because there was not one noise breaking the silence, only the one of the train travelling on steel. The tunnel, I recalled, was so long it could take up to half an hour to traverse it completely. And if I was not mistaken, we had entered it less than ten minutes ago. So walked on knowing that natural light would take its time to comeback. The third car I entered was completely dark; the lights on the floor were not working.

 Then, I saw him. The lights on the tunnel were too weak to actually see anything but his form was noticeable. I stood there, on the entrance to the car and waited for the shadow to make its move. But it didn’t. It just stood there, most likely watching me, until it dropped something on the floor and my curiosity pushed me forward, in order to check the object closer. I walked half way and then the shadow bent its knees and fell to the floor, apparently unconscious. Something was wrong.

 Not only wrong but very wrong. The object on the floor shimmered with the dim yellow lights of the tunnel. It was obviously a knife, the kind you use to cut a steak. I remembered watching those on the restaurant car, a place I had only sat once earlier that day. It was a bit too expensive for me but I did remember watching someone eating a piece of juicy red meat with a knife just like that one. However, the handle on the one on the floor was glistening with dark red blood. Some of the silver edge had stains of it too. It was so strange to see that there, doing nothing but dripping blood.

 The train moved violently and it was then I realized what was going on and how serious it could be. I wanted to tell someone about it but I also realized I hadn’t seen one single person from the train company around the hallways. Neither a security person nor a waiter. There was no one around to denounce such a strange thing happening. Because bloody knives are only found on the floor of trains in novels or movies, but never in real life. What to do in that case, when there’s no one to turn to?

 The shadow then groaned. I got scared, walking back a little, abstaining myself from touching the bloody knife. I was about to turn around and look for someone to help, when the shadow said something. I had no idea what it said, because it wasn’t really articulating words. At least not words I understood. I got closer and the shadow coughed and suddenly looked up. I could not tell if it was a man or a woman, even if it was young or old. But I knew it was someone disturbed, as its eyes were red and mad.

 Then, the shadow spoke once again. I finally understood what language it was speaking but I had no idea what the words meant. I had seen several movies in German and I had even studied a bit of German back in college, but not enough to understand what the shadow was saying. Maybe it was asking for help or maybe it was begging for me to go away. I had no idea, as my trip through Europe had not contemplated helping dying or crazy people in dark trains while traversing a long tunnel.

 However, my instinct told me to help that person. So I got closer and tried to make something out of the words it was saying. By getting closer, I finally realized I was interacting with a young man, maybe half my age. He had delicate features covered by a large amount of very blonde hair. He was obviously of Germanic descent as the eyes that were looking at me were made of a very deep blue, almost the color that ice gets sometimes. Those eyes gave me a shiver.

 I spoke to him in English, asking if he needed any help. He wouldn’t answer, so I decided to speak a little slower. That seemed to do the trick because the young man started nodding violently, his eyes becoming even redder and more insane. It was quite disturbing to watch but not as disturbing as when he stood up and revealed his tainted clothes to me. He was wearing what any boy would ear in the summer: shorts and a stripes shirt. However, both were soaked in the same dark blood that covered the knife. I tied one and two together and realized I had a killer in front of me.

 I started breathing heavily but had to control it because the kid was getting worked up to. I relaxed so he did too. However, he did seem to be breathing a lot heavier than he should. He was obviously scared. Maybe he had killed his mother or father, or maybe a brother or sister. He had done it with a knife he had found close by and he had taken advantage of the tunnel to run away. But they were in a train and there are not that many places were you could hide. Ask Agatha Christie.

 For a moment, I was lost. I had no idea what to do. Yeah, maybe looking for a security agent and giving them the kid would be the smartest thing to do but it also seemed like a very wrong thing to do. The kid was obviously traumatized and maybe he had done what he had done out of self-defense. Maybe he had been bullied by someone or harassed by his family or at least one member of it. There were so many things to consider and reflect on before just running out of that car. It wasn’t simple.

 Then, as if in a dream or a religious movie, natural light filled the space. They had finally come out of that dreadful tunnel and the train was now advancing through the mountains by a large beautiful lake. The view out there was amazing but inside the train things were not exactly that. I realized then, with light, that the young man had not injured anyone else. Someone had injured him. He had blood pouring out of his body from a point around his stomach. It was something of a miracle to see him standing there.

 I finally did what took me so long to do: I ran out of the car and made noise, lots of noise. Finally a security guard appeared and I took him directly to the place where the knife and the boy were. When we got there, the young man had collapsed on the floor, falling on his face next to the knife. Some people on the neighboring cabins had stepped out and were screaming like lunatics. I ran to the boy and tried to wake him up but there was no point. He had bled out to death. I had acted too slowly.

 When we finally got to a train station, the body was brought out and sent the local morgue. Every single passenger was questioned by the police, especially me. I told them every single thing that had happened and they let me go without saying anything. I saw the parents on my way out of that place.

 The train departed later the following day. As curious as I was, I went one more time to the police station to ask about what had happened. Apparently, the autopsy had revealed the wound had been self-inflicted. The young man had committed suicide. I would think of him for the rest of my life.

miércoles, 20 de diciembre de 2017

The model and the artist

   Cecil had always been his favorite model. Because of some strange characteristic in him, Cecil was able to stand or sit or lay down for hours, looking at a certain part of the room, with his eyes closed or slightly moving if that was needed. He could be naked or dressed; he could be pretending to do something or just be there, being himself. He was one of the best models an artist could ever wish for and Claude had been fortunate enough to meet him in one of the artistic gatherings.

 If he remembered correctly, it had been his friend Anya who had introduced the young man to him. They had all been drinking that night and the house that they were in was filled with the scent of smoke and marihuana. And those two smells were there because of the softest members of the community. Others enjoyed other pleasures that left no scent or at least not in a very notorious way. So it was strange to see Cecil, a boy of around nineteen years old, to be walking around there holding a glass of whisky.

  The first thing Claude asked him was about the whisky itself. He wanted to know if that was Cecil’s favorite drink. However, the young man took a while to answer. He seemed to be kind of gone, maybe distracted or bored by everyone and everything in that house, that night. But he eventually said that the drink wasn’t his and that he didn’t like to drink any alcohol because that way the only thing that happened was that he would get disconnected from reality around him.

 His answer was so strange and particular that Claude instantly liked him. That and because Claude adored the sight of younger men. He was not that old himself. He wouldn’t be considered somewhat of a father figure to anyone or anything like that. But he was older than Cecil, for sure and he loved younger men because they made him feel alive and in touch with everything around him. That’s why Cecil’s phrase hit so close to home for Claude, who decided he had to make Cecil a part of his life.

 They would see each other a couple of other times, in other houses, in order for them to actually talk about their interests. It was clear that Cecil had no skill as an artist but he did wanted to work with them, to be able to understand their process and they ways they did their work. So when Claude decided to ask him to be his model, Cecil agreed, even adding a smile to his approval of the agreement. That smile, with soft pink lips and beautiful teeth, was the seal of approval Claude needed. After all, he hadn’t had a proper model for a while and he was certainly interesting in getting to know Cecil better.

 The first time they met in Claude’s studio, Cecil was as silent as he had ever been. He wanted to be professional and Claude was very appreciative of that. It wasn’t often for a young man to respect the work of others and wanted to be part of the whole artistic experience. Claude decided to be bold and asked him to remove all of his clothes at once. He said it almost as if it was an order, something Cecil had to do in order to remain in that world. And he did, in silence, removing every garment with care.

 The moment he was entirely naked, Claude asked him to pose in the simplest way possible: sitting on a high stool, imitating one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Cecil did not say a word and exhibit his body exactly in the way the artist wanted. The painter started his work, first outlining the whole picture and then putting colors. It was something of a rough sketch, a different take on the way he used to do portraits. They were in that studio for several hours, without speaking or eating.

 Claude finished his work when the sun began to set. Cecil moved and stretched a bit, obviously feeling a lot of pain all over his body. But he didn’t outright complain or say a word. He didn’t even ask to see the painting. He did not say anything besides a soft “Thank you” before heading towards the door and running down the stairs. Claude had some bills prepared for him but he had no opportunity to give them to him. He put them away and started smoking a cigarette, as he thought of that beautiful young man.

 They saw each other the following week and Claude was decided on making their second time a better moment for both of them. The moment Cecil entered the studio; he asked if he had to undress once again. He seemed ready to do it. However, Claude asked him to sit on the tall stool and tell him about his life. Cecil seemed surprised, for the first time since Claude had met him. His eyes looked larger and much more beautiful. His face was pale as he tried to find the proper words to begin his story.

 He was a student. His parents had always wanted a doctor in the family, so they sent him to the best university there was. They did not live in the city but in the countryside, where they had a very prosperous milk business. He didn’t say it, but it was clear that he came from a wealthy family. His parents obviously owned a very large company but he phrased it in a way none of that could be put against him. He also said he had a younger sister and a big dog named Larry, who he missed a lot. That last part, made him shake a bit and clean the corner of his eye.

 Claude only smiled at him when he finished telling his story. A moment later, he asked Cecil to wear a large sweater he had seen in a store recently. He would only wear that for some pictures Claude was going to take with an old camera he had borrowed from a friend. As he undressed and put on the sweater, Cecil confessed he had no idea about Claude being a photographer and also a painter. The artist smiled and asked his model of he had been asking about him to his friend in the business. Cecil did not answer back.

 They spent several hours taking pictures. A camera was much less restrictive, so they were able to move around the place and play with objects. Better for Cecil, he was able to avoid any uncomfortable poses and even got to propose some of his ideas for some pictures. Claude would normally never take advice or comment for anyone but himself, but something from Cecil’s story made him agree to at least take some of his ideas into account. It was a nice afternoon of creating art.

 When the time came for Cecil to leave, Claude stopped him at the door and gave him his pay, including the money he had prepared for him the last time they had met. Cecil told him he wanted to be part of their world but he did not want to take any money of them. He confessed he wasn’t there to hop from bed to bed or from one artist to the other. He wanted no mixing of feelings and work, he only wanted to be part of the experience of creating art and money would only make problems.

 Claude extended his arm, with the money on his hand, and explained to Cecil that what he did was a job. He was a beautiful man with a natural ability to pose and to look the way artists wanted, whether it was for paintings or pictures. Claude even confessed Cecil could be great in audiovisual media; the kind artists did sometimes in order to show something in artistic light but with all the new media available for them. He said money was just a reward for being that amazing person that he was.

 But Cecil did not accept the money. He did, however, kiss Claude on the cheek. He did not say a word after that, only running away once more, down the stairs. He left a very confused artist in that small studio where light entered in droves.


 Claude went on to have an amazing relationship with Cecil that was always on the verge of something else. They both knew there was some kind of tension in the air but they had both decided to ignore it or at least pretend it wasn’t there. Something prevented them from being fully honest.

miércoles, 3 de mayo de 2017

My sister's visit

   We did not expect her. There was no reason to do that, especially after we had buried her only a couple years back. When she rang, the doorbell did that strange repetition, the way it sounded back when she was alive. When our mother opened the door, she stood in front of her for a long time. Then, almost in slow motion, she fainted. I ran towards her and checked for bruises, trying to wake her up and the same time. I had neglected to look at the door and at the person standing right there.

 She came in as my mother recovered her senses and started crying for no apparent reason. I told her to relax and, as I could, I helped her to the couch, where she could be much more comfortable. Then, I realize the door was still open, so I walked towards it and closed it. When I turned around, it was as if I had a vision. I saw my father, by the window, holding my sister’s hand. He looked at her as if it was the very first time he was looking at her brown eyes and long hair.

 The vision was special, as they were both standing against what little light entered the apartment. It was raining a lot outside and we hadn’t turned on the lights inside the house. The vision was so special; that I absolutely forgot about my mother in the couch or that my sister couldn’t be there because she was dead. But it was my mother who dragged me to the real world when she asked, almost in a whisper, what my sister was doing there. Strange enough, my sister laughed.

 It was a very particular laugh. Not a loud one at all. To be honest, the sound seemed to be coming from a place much farther than the living room next to the window. I walked towards her and then I saw her body very next to mine. My response came in without intention, just from deep within my soul: I started crying profusely. Think tears ran down my face and landed on the floor making a very particular sound. I noticed my father was also crying and my mother had fallen silent.

 It was her, walking slowly from the couch to the window, who looked at my sister and asked her if she was doing fine. The question was exceedingly strange but my sister had no problem answering it. She told us she was perfect, had never been better, but that she had been granted a special permission to visit us. Apparently, after you die, you get to come back once, wherever and whenever you choose. She had decided that was the perfect time to come and visit us. We asked her why and she explained it had seem like the best moment to her.

 That answer confused me a lot but it didn’t seem to mind my parents. Their faces denoted happiness beyond anything they had felt in a long time. It was sad to realize, but I hadn’t been enough for them to be happy about. To be fair, I didn’t really bring a spark of joy into the house. My sister, on the contrary, had always been full of life and that was apparently still true, even if the statement was particularly strange at the moment. She had always been their baby girl.

 Of course, it did help that she was their first one. Her death had been very hard on everyone. She was a very young woman still and no one had ever predicted she would die so soon. It was all because of a car crash, a horrible event that lived in their memories as a scar that won’t go away. She had been the only victim of that accident, which made everything feel even more unfair and horrible that it already was. She had been pronounced dead right on the spot, before anyone could see her.

 We decided, or rather, my parents decided they wanted to have a small funeral for her. They did not want a huge amount of people to be there only to gossip and to cry like crazy when they had never really liked her or known her as they had known her. So we had a very private ceremony, a really silent one. I wanted to ask her about it but it felt wrong not to enjoy her presence instead of asking things that didn’t made a difference anymore. I decided to put the teapot on the stove.

 My parents sat down with her on the couch. They touched her hair and her hands and fondled her face.  They didn’t talk much and the only thing they said was that she was beautiful and smart and the best daughter they could ever have. Her face was very white and her expressions were a little bit… dead. It was as if her attitude reminded them that she was actually dead and she was only there for a while. But they didn’t care because it was an opportunity they never knew they had.

 They talked about the past while drinking tea. She had some and loved it, it was the only authentic expression of joy she showed. They spent a long while in silence and then my mother realized she could do something for her right there. She decided to cook my sister her favorite meal, so both of them stood up and almost ran to the kitchen. In minutes, they were pots on the fire and chopped vegetables, as well as meat cuts waiting to be put on very hot pans. It was a beautiful sight, one of warmth and happiness, never minding the storm outside.

 My father was very silent the whole time and he just looked at them while they cooked. Tears went down his face every so often, in complete silence. He was obviously beside himself to have his daughter for a while. But I knew he was asking himself the same questions I was asking: for how long was she going to stay? And, what will happen when she leaves? Remembering her visit would be a privilege but it honestly didn’t seem to be something mortals would be allowed to have.

 Some time later, I helped them serve and we had a very tasty lunch at the dining table, as we used to when we were younger. As back then, we laughed and told different stories. We also ate all of the food, which was delicious and made me realized I wasn’t dreaming or at least it didn’t seem like it. We didn’t turn on the lights for lunch and it was clear my sister didn’t care for light at all, as the sight of thunder outside made her appearance much less beautiful that minutes before.

 We continued talking, remembering the past, even after we finished the food. Mom served coffee and cookies, the ones my sister used to love. She drank it all and ate several cookies. My mother was absolutely happy and it was clear she didn’t want the day to end. It was clear none of us had veer wanted something like this to happen, but now that it had we didn’t want this beautiful dream to end. We wanted my sister, their daughter, back from where she was, forever.

 But that wasn’t possible. A few hours later, my sister asked to go to her room. My parents hadn’t changed anything there, going to the extent of closing the room since her death and never opening it again. Apparently, she wanted to have a nap, feeling exceedingly tired. We all looked at each other, knowing that it was probably the sign that indicated she had to leave very soon. We all helped her into bed and sat besides her, my mother even singing a lullaby from our childhood.

 My sister fell fast asleep in seconds. For some reason, we all started crying in silence, as we realized that her body had disappeared in the glimpse of an eye. She wasn’t there anymore, we couldn’t feel her anymore and it was horribly devastating.


 It was in that moment, when I felt that pain in my heart, when I woke up from that dream. The first thing I felt, beside my heart in pain, was a single tear running down my face and landing on my pillow. I almost couldn’t breath, as I had seen her one more time.

lunes, 24 de abril de 2017

No one

   The floor was cold and the room was very humid. No light entered the tiny space where he was trapped. He had forgotten his name long ago, maybe because of the many beatings he had received or maybe because it wasn’t something that was important anymore. A name didn’t help anyone survive such a horrible thing. Then again, he wasn’t sure he wanted to survive. He just wanted his awful situation to change, one way or the other, it didn’t matter at all.

 All the days were the same so remembering each one individually was difficult and also useless. There was no point in having a good memory when the schedule every day was the same: early in the morning he would be woken up by a plate of water sliding towards him or by cold water coming out of a hose. It apparently depended on the humor of his captor. Then, he was kept there all day unless his captor wanted something else from else, usually to work for him in the most awful way.

 He would knew it was a “work” day when an old mattress was put inside his cell, alongside the water plate and also some food. The food was never good, some sticky stuff that looked like mashed potatoes, but wasn’t exactly that. He ate it anyway but his stomach always complained. Those days, he would have to wait all day until his captor’s client would come. It was and excruciating wait that didn’t get better after it all ended. Of course, he wouldn’t see any of the money the client paid.

 Actually, he had never seen the face of the man that had kidnapped him and kept him there. He always wore a ski mask, so he had no idea what his face was like. But what he did know was that he was a very strong individual. After many beatings, using both punches and kicks, the captured had learned how heavy the captor’s body was. He had an incredible force in his arms and legs, probably because he exercised a lot. But the man was losing his eyesight living in the dark, so he could only go by what he felt was the truth.

 The beatings took place randomly. It was the only thing in his cell life that changed and, of course, it wasn’t something he would look forward to. When it happened, it almost felt like part of a sick and awful routine that had survived for far too long. The man in the cell knew he had been there for a long time but he had no idea how long that was. More than a year? Probably. Five years? Maybe, he didn’t really know. What was true was the fact that the violent man would never use him as the clients did, which the captured always thought was strange.

 But that was only when he wondered about his situation, which was really that often. Instead, he loved to sleep. It was the only way his body felt actually rested and, when he managed to sleep long hours, he was able to dream. Even when nightmares slipped in, it was a good thing for him. After all, he had forgotten what having an imagination was like and seeing all those images that make no sense inside of his head was a sign that there was still hope for him, in a very sad way.

 In the dreams, he was sometimes free. Not every time and that was very strange. One would think that his obsession was to be free in the world. But a recurring dream happened to be a redecoration of his cell, with more light and nice furniture, as if he was restoring his childhood bedroom, which he didn’t really remember anymore. When he dreamt of freedom, it always ended on a stark note, like a remainder that he wasn’t really free and that he might never be free again.

 What he did want, at least judging by his dreams, was to be able to talk to someone. Once, he did have the chance to do so, when another person was locked in a cell beside him. He had thought for long that he was alone wherever he was and that discovery was the best for him. Except the other person was not very interested in talking, instead crying and demanding an explanation to why they were there. Soon enough, their captor moved that other person somewhere or who knows.

 Voices were rarely heard. In their daily routine, not the captor or the captured would talk, even when one would pull the other by the hair or when the beating was especially brutal. No words were heard, as it was an unspoken rule to actually say something. It was better not to taunt danger, not more that was usual. So words were something inside their brains, wondering around and trying to get out in any way possible. He was afraid he would forget how to talk and behave.

 Many of his dreams and nightmares were an exercise on precisely that, trying not to forget every single thing about himself. He would sometimes remember, for example, the faces of his family. He knew who they were but not their names. It didn’t matter because “mother” was “mother” not matter what. So were “father” and “sister” and “brother”. He would normally wake up soaked in tears when he dreamt about all of them but, in a certain way, it was worth it. Because he still remembered, which meant he hadn’t been completely broken down.

 A day came in which his captor did not come. For an entire day, the poor man was locked in that cell with no water or anything that would indicate the presence of another human being. It felt pathetic and sick but he wanted the man to come and, at least, smack hard. At least that felt real, it felt as if it was happening. But having no one, deep in the dark, was very cruel, even more than the usual. That happened for what seemed like an eternity, but were actually five days.

 Then, someone did open the door. He would normally raise his head and wait for the captor to get close but he couldn’t do that anymore. He was too weak, feeling sick and preferring to sleep and dream about something less depressing. With his eyes tightly closed, he dreamt about an enormous bird carrying him to a magical land that was made of many colors and shapes. He hadn’t dreamt hat before and it was the happiest moment for him in a long time, as he felt loved, in way.

 He woke up several more days later. When he did, it was very dark, like in his room, but he realized he wasn’t there anymore. There was a machine besides him making a sound and he was lying on nice mattress, with clean covers and sheets. He saw the light from a corridor near him but, as his head felt too heavy to bear, he fell asleep again. The last thing he would hear were the steps of several people passing by his room. Or that was what he thought it was, he wasn’t sure.

 When he woke up again, it was day. A thick curtain diminished the light, which was a good thing because the sunlight felt like acid on his skin. He felt very tired but also dry and clumsy. A nurse came in and brought a drink in a bag with a straw. By the flavor, it was obvious it wasn’t water but it didn’t taste bad at all, so the formerly captured man drank it all. The nurse didn’t say a word the time she was there. And he wanted her to tell him something, anything at all.

 However, he would have words to share the following days as doctors and policemen visited him. The first group told him what his physical state was. To sum it up, it wasn’t good but he would be able to recuperate in the future, he just needed to be patient. Go figure.


 The second group, the enforcers of the law, explained to him his captor had been killed by one of his clients and that crime had led them to the cell. Apparently the client was mad because the captor hadn’t let him stay with the man in the cell when he wanted. He never understood that part.