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

sábado, 22 de octubre de 2016

Hurricane Eliza

   There were pieces of wood and tiles all over the place. No house was left standing. The only big structures close to the big were a couple of buildings, which were about seven floors before the hurricane hit the area. Now, they were also a big pile of rubble that was very difficult to put apart from the rest of the rubble from all the other structures likes house and small business buildings and commerce. Everything had been destroyed in only one night and now people were trying to define what they were going to do after such a tragic event.

Anne had always lived in the area. Her parents had moved when she wasn’t even in their plans and the city was only beginning to flourish. Back then; they had some powerful hurricanes too but nothing like Eliza, the storm that had destroyed every single house. Anne had evacuated early the day before, leaving for a shelter inland. That move had saved her life. Many other people were not as fortunate. They had been afraid of leaving their things, their home, so they had been taken away by the storm along with everything else.

 The death toll rose every hour, as more and more bodies were found beneath what remained of the houses. The ones closest to the beach had been the most affected but destruction had reached every single part of town, even those not so nice houses that were inland. Poor people who lived away form the beach and all of the beautiful things also died or were left to live in a pile of what used to be their home. The storm didn’t care who had money or who hadn’t. She just arrived at peak intensity and took everything with her.

It was true, however, that people had been warned long before the actual hurricane hit the city. But every prediction said it would turn north because of the warmer waters up there. Everyone was convinced that was going to happen. And the turn happened but it was too close to the shoe line. Actually, when all the data was compiles, the hurricane’s eye had never touched the ground. It had been away from the coast for only a couple of kilometers. The destruction was maximal that way. Not even something planned would have been so evil.

 Anne spent all of the first calm day trying to find things in the remains of her house that she could use. Contrary to popular belief, people were not helpful or nice. All the opposite: they were vicious and didn’t want anyone to even step on one of the rocks they thought belonged to their house. People got really scared and believed everyone was out to get them and that their pile of garbage was somehow much more important or valuable than the other piles of garbage in the area. Some people even got weapons to protect their stuff.

 Anne decided to explore her space and try to take as many things as she could salvage from the rubble. Of course, there wasn’t a whole lot to take with her, but she did found some valuables like kitchenware and jewelry and other stuff that she could use to sell and survive for some time. Anne was a widow and had never had any children so she was alone in the task of trying to make something out of her life after such a tragedy. She was always almost at the breaking point but somehow always pulled herself together and moved on.

 When the sunset of that first day after the storm approached, she realized she couldn’t save anything else. The lot was still hers but it would take a while for the city to clean the neighborhood. She had to do something else that wasn’t camping there like a lunatic. She decided to pay a cheap hotel for a night and decide the next day what it was that she was going to with her life. As she drove to the hotel, she realized all of what was happening would have been a lot easier to handle with her husband on her side. But he wasn’t there.

 Walter had died almost a year earlier from a strange disease that had almost annihilated his body in a matter of months. They never told her exactly what it was but the quality of his life quickly diminished: by the end of it he wasn’t able to stand on his own, speak fluently or properly use her hands. When he began to drown because of his problems one day, she had no idea she would lose him. And she also didn’t know he had signed a paper that said he shouldn’t be revived in case something like that happened. He had taken that decision in order or her no to make it.

 Walter had been the love of her life, having met him in college. They used to do everything together. They planned and went on great trips and loved to try new things as a couple like dancing unknown rhythms or trying to learn a new language. It was hard for Anne to admit, but it was because of Walter that she had evolved and become a stronger and more loving person. Before she met him, she as a bit too rough and didn’t really care for romance or love or any of that. It was Walter, which showed her how beautiful love could really be.

 Now she was by herself, sleeping in a small bed that smelled like old people. It was pitch black outside her room but even like that she couldn’t sleep. First, her husband had been taken away from her. Then, the hurricane destroyed everything. And now she felt extremely lost and lonely. It had o be said that she had no more family than Walter as she had lived her full childhood in an orphanage. That was what had made her tough in the first place.

 The following day, she returned to her former house and tried to get some more stuff out but it was a very dangerous thing to do as the rubble could fall on her feet or hurt her somehow. It was a really difficult thing to do, to try and remember he things that had any value in order to sell them. She had also saved many things from him and now she couldn’t find any of it and it was making her desperate. She wanted those things to feel a little bit safer, as if someone was actually protecting her. Being alone was too hard after such a thing.

 Suddenly, a group of people from the mayor’s office and the government appeared on a car with a sound device to reach everyone. They were saying that the rubble would be cleared off in the following weeks, as the machines needed for the job weren’t even en route to help yet. They said the disaster had touched many different towns along the coast and that they were trying to make the best job possible for everyone to feel safe and to be able to rebuild if they want that or to sell their lots if they decided that was the better option.

 Anne was the first one to walk up to the car and make them stop by standing just in front of it. She had an impulse to do so and she did. She yelled at the people on the car, saying that they were talking as if it was something they did out of a routine or something, as if town along the coast got destroyed every day. And she also told them that she new for a fact that machines like the ones needed to clear the rubble were available to mayor’s office because of an article she had remembered reading to Walter when he was in the hospital.

 Other neighbors came closer and agreed with Anne. They also thought the government had come to tell lies and to make them feel safe and calm when there was no reason to be either of those. They needed to get mad and to demand what was right, which was the removal of all the rubble as soon as possible in order for them to properly look for their belongings and then decide if they wanted to leave or not. Many people, most of the neighbors actually, came closer to Anne and surrounded her, in order to support her stand.

 She then declared that they wouldn’t move until at least two machines came to clear the neighborhood. They would stand there and not let the vehicle leave. The people in it could walk away but the car stayed with them. One by one, the officials had to step out of the vehicle and walk away, afraid for their safety and humiliated because their corruption had been uncovered. Now, the neighbors hoped for the machines to arrive soon and Anne realized something she had in herself she didn’t even know about.

jueves, 11 de agosto de 2016


   When Katherine opened the door, a very strong smell came out of gymnasium, which hadn’t opened in a while. She grabbed her flashlight and went straight for the electricity box where she activated the breakers needed to let the lights back on. They turned on slowly, as if the whole building was waking its time waking up in the morning. As the lights turned one by one, Kath walked to the cafeteria and checked the refrigerators. As she had suspected, someone hade left some franks in one of the fridges and when they rotted, the smell settled in the gym.

 When she came out of the kitchen, every single light was on. She turned off the flashlight and walked through the machines as if she had never been in a gym before. The whole place smelled like humidity and it was very dusty. So much, that every step she took in any direction formed a cloud in overt he floor that took a rather long time settling in. The place hadn’t been visited for almost a year and it was already like not any human had been there ever.

 Katherine walked all over the place, checking the state of the building as such and of some of the machine. The walking ones still worked and many of the weight in the weightlifting part had not suffered the passing of time or at least the didn’t seem to. It was difficult to appreciate such a place with so much going on against it. And yet, it had a different feel than many other places.

 Katherine had inherited the gym from her boyfriend. Her story was very tragic: she had been married for about six months, until her boyfriend was diagnoses with cancer of the blood, also called leukemia. She had tried to make his last days the best of his life and had no idea if she had succeeded or not. Most of the time she spent it in the bathroom crying and tryng to be strong for him, which wasn’t easy at all.

 The moment she saw him without any hair, was the moment she realized he wasn’t going to make it. It’s difficult to explain but she just knew it. So what Kath did was making everything fun, no matter what it was. It was a very tiring task for her but she couldn’t stop thinking of the many people that had such a disease and died alone in a hospital. She did no want that for the love of her life.

 His father was a world-renowned boxer. He had even participated in some Olympic Games but hadn’t won any medals. That’s why there was such a large boxing ring in the middle of the gym. It was him who left it to his son and that son gave it to Katherine as he though t he could be helping her by giving her something she could use to win some money by selling on a very high price.

 The gymnasium was actually that expensive, not only for the very good location it had, but for all the machines inside, which were very last generation. Or at least the last generation in the times they had been opened. It was tragic to think that her boyfriend’s dad had died and only months after his own son had suffered the same faith. And between all of that, there was her. She had no idea what to do but she knew fro moment one that she wanted to check the place out and maybe then she could come up with a clear idea of what to do.

 That night, she couldn’t asleep. The memories of her husband always invaded her mind late in the afternoon. Besides, the gym certainly made her feel strange because it was something that was supposed to be his but he never got to properly enjoyed it. Jay, that was his name, had always loved to go to the gym and workout a lot. She told him that he shouldn’t force himself so much but he still did anyway.

 Katherine did not have a very long time to think about the future of the place. That was because the bills had also been inherited and they became coming in rather fast. For a closed place, the consumption of energy was pretty high and also of water. She would have to make repairs before selling if that was her plan. So she looked for the best people and paid them to fix whatever was wrong with the place.

 Thankfully, Jay had also left some money to actually do the repairs. He actually remembered about the repairs and had taken it all out into consideration. So some weeks later, several workers moved around the machines trying to make the electric network work properly and cleaning ever single part of the park. They also had to fix several water pipes and even the air conditioning, which hadn’t been working for a very ling time.

 As an accountant, Katherine’s job was one of those that required a certain amount of dedication. She couldn’t stop doing it for a moment because then all of her calculations and proceedings would become meaningless and she would have to start all over again. But the gym started to grow on her slowly and she often wondered what would happen if she decided to keep it, instead of following her husband’s desires to make someone else make it work.

 She had been reading a lot and thought she new what the place needed and how she could manage it. Besides, the place was already a very costly spot in the city, so giving it up just like that would prove a little bit stupid from the real estate point of view. It was an easy decision. After all, she still needed to earn a living in order no to depend on the gym in any case, whether she sold it or kept it.

 Katherine visited the workers who were about to finish the repairs. The foul smell had left the building and, although the dust was already there, the overall ambiance of the place had become quite nice. As she wondered through the boxing area, a man of about fifty years old came in out of nowhere and stood like a statue, watching the ring as if he was watching something rather incredible. His eyes seemed to become watery but he didn’t cleaned them with anything.

 Kath walked towards him and asked who he was. He presented himself as Mr. Burke, a trainer for boxers that had retired not so long ago. He was a friend of Jay’s father and had worked in the gym as a trainer for the young kids that wanted to learn how to box in order to become world champions. For many, it was an actual dream to become an important athlete and be recognized around the globe. After all, the neighborhood was very different several years ago.

 The young woman listened to the man’s stories and realized there were lots of people that really love a space like that one where they could become whatever they wanted to be. She didn’t like the idea of having people telling you what to do but it was nice to have people that could help you if you asked them. And then she realized she had already decided to make the gym come back to life, once more.

 The amount of money she spent was astronomical. She had to work twice as hard, pay a lot of people for more repairs and creating a safer environment respecting all the rules that had to be respected. She was able to sell many of the older machines for good prices in order to buy some more that were more modern. The cafeteria area was improved but she decided to eliminate the enormous kitchen and instead use some of that space for a nutritionist office, which she thought was very necessary.

 Every single Sunday, when no one was there, she loved to come by and check how things are coming. The works would still take some more time but she was already seeing the future before her eyes. It was exciting to possibly give back to the community something they had lost such a long time go, a place where not only they could come to exercise but also to find like minded people and grow in various ways.

 Every night she thought of the many things she still had to do in order to make the gym work and be able to properly run it. But when she was done thinking about numbers and possibilities, Katherine would close her eyes and try to imagine her husband right there, caressing her hair, telling her everything was going to work out fine. She cried and fell asleep every night.

martes, 12 de enero de 2016

Him and the gym

   It was very annoying, but it was more and more frequent that, in the middle of the night, he had to wake up to a cramp or some other time of pain. It would normally be in his feet or legs but sometimes it was his waist that felt the pain or even his face. He had gone to the doctor several times and to many different ones but none of them was able to tell him why that happened. He hated when it was obvious they were inventing what to say instead of giving him a science based and objective point of view. They just shot in the dark, trying to get it right.

 Many had told him it was the lack of exercise so he tried to jog in the mornings. Soon, he changed it to the afternoons, and then the nights. All of this happening in the same week, as he realized he hated to reorganize his life around such a menial activity. He didn’t understand how some people dared to say they loved to exercise often and for many hours. He didn’t tell this to anyone, but for him all those persons in the gyms and the parks exercising every single hour of the day, were just insane people without any real talent in them.

 Of course, he didn’t tell this to anyone when he signed on for a year at a big gym near his house. A perky girl showed him all the machines, explained the courses he could take (as if he was entering Harvard) and told him about the trainers that helped people there. Some even had experience in the military, which assured quality but also inspired some fear. In his first week he avoided the trainers and the courses and the dancing lessons, in order to focus only in the machines. It was a failure anyway but at least he wasn’t getting yelled at.

 The screams were constant in that place and everyone behaved as if it was extremely normal that a man build like a house would scream a bunch of skinny short women about how they couldn’t meet his extremely bizarre quotas of exercise. The man was clearly deranged somehow, always screaming and never really doing any exercise himself, only when he needed to demonstrate something he wanted all of them to do. Even then it was strange, because he would do the exercise so fast and in such a bizarre way, none of the women would get it fast and the screaming would ensue.

 He wasn’t the only insane one in the place. For a spinning class, there was a lot of yelling there too. The “teacher” there was a woman. She was very beautiful and her body was testament to her prowess in the exercise area but she was another one that yelled a lot. And he could never hold his laughter when looking at the spinning class because it was simply ridiculous. That woman yelling others to accelerate on bikes going nowhere, in a closed room with the concentrated heat that everyone was releasing, without the refreshing sight of the actual world.

 He exercised independently as long as he could but in every area of that place, there was a man or a woman kind of supervising that everyone make good use of the machines, normally looking after the cleanliness of everyone in the gym and to see that everyone was using the machines in the right way. To him, it was amazing how little sense of humor people in a gym could have. He saw a young man once trying to do a choreography he had clearly taken away from the TV on some of the running machines and they simply expelled them for that because they deemed his behavior “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.

 No one laughed there unless it was hypocritical laughter or if the person was talking on the phone. Besides that, the sound that ruled was heavy breathing and the eternal sounds of the machines and the one of the stupid music the put every single day. Every day it was the same playlist, from beginning to end and he already knew it by heart. And what was so annoying about it, is that it was there to make you feel you could always do more, like the music they put on shops and so on.

 Basically, the place was a laboratory, and every stupid person that paid to be there was a mouse or a hamster forever turning in their little wheel like an idiot, not ever thinking twice about anything. It was easy to see how brainwashed some of them are and the scary thing was that the results they had made them even more prone to stay there and keep on going and just obsess about the whole thing. He had hated to rearrange his life around exercise but many others were happy to do it, dedicating even more and more time per week to what they called “the art of exercise”.

 “Horseshit”. That’s what he told his doctor after a couple of months going to the gym. They did a lot of exams and tests and it was revealed that the exercise had nothing to do with whatever was happening to him. The cramps would even get worse some nights and he had slowly became a person that slept on his chest, as it was impossible to him sleeping in any other way. His legs always hurt and his body was still as bad as it was months ago.

 When he saw the results of the test, he decided to quit the gym. He had paid for a year but he didn’t mind “loosing” that money because in any case he had already paid it and new that the people in the gym had already spend it in some stupid machine. So he decided to only exercise in the weekends and on the park and maybe doing something he would enjoy, for a change. He played football with friends sometimes, or with a Frisbee or he could even buy a dog and play with him. The possibilities were endless.

 Yes, he wasn’t ripped like those nutbags from the gym but he started feeling better once he decided to relax about the whole thing and when he decided to get massages and eat better. All of those decisions made him happier than going to an enclosed space to run like a lunatic. Now he enjoyed his life and, even without the killer body, he felt better and that’s all he ever wanted. He had always been happy with who he was and had been depressed the whole time being in the gym. With all the pictures and the trainers and the brainwashing, it was hard not get out of there thinking “I have to be like all of this people”.

 He sometimes saw some of them in the park or in the street and they always gave him this look of superiority. But the look wasn’t only at him but at the world around them. For some stupid reason, all of this toolbags that had once decided to go crazy in the exercise, decided they were better than the rest of us and the worst thing was that all the media and the society at large believed that to be true. We have been taken by the balls by a small group of people and now the prototypes of beauty are radically different than what they were a hundred years ago and even more than what they were on the Renaissance or before.

 But people can stand up to that and just move along, living their lives as they may and not thinking every single second about how they look. He laughed alone when recalling some of the conversations he had overheard in the gym while in the machines or in the locker room. It has to be left clear that he didn’t thought they were all stupid but some of them were such idiots, it was a very difficult thing to ignore. They talked about sex in a way it was simply funny to hear about it, as if it was an exhibition of the caliber of a two peacocks showing their feathers to the one female, who also happened to be ripped like them.

 It hadn’t been his thing but he new that some people liked it and he was fine with it. Even some of his friends told him he should have at list used his membership the whole year, at least once a week. But he told them he simply couldn’t stand going there anymore. Seeing the faces of people that claimed they had fun exercising but were there every day stressed out because they didn’t lose as much weight as they had planned or because they wouldn’t meet theirs trainer’s demands. It was a disaster.

 He finally decided to buy that dog and it was the best decision he ever had. Not only he had tons of exercise running after his furry acquisition, the dog also became his best and most loyal friend. And that was something exercising like a lunatic couldn’t offer. It couldn’t give you real feelings, only shallow ones that surfaced because you can’t even think as you kill yourself on those damned machines.

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015


   The ship gently settled on the ground. It made no noise, it lifted no dust. Everything was very quiet and, for a place were rocks floated all around you, there wasn’t a single sense of danger. The crew of the ship, consisting of only three people, were checking the final numbers in order to decided if it was really safe to go outside and take a look.

 The planet was a gas giant and it had been discovered many years ago by traders trying to built faster routes into the worlds of the Core. Actually, according to the charts and many calculations, the planet was located exactly between the center and the edge of the galaxy. It was also a rare system, as the sun was potent and such have been the center of a very active neighborhood but the truth was that no creatures, no matter the type, lived in any of the planets.

 However, and exactly four months ago, a signal had been detected in the gas giant. First, it was thought to be a mistake but the signal persisted. Then it went mute. The traders and even the smugglers told the authorities that they hadn’t lost any ships and no other ships had been lost in the area. So who had activated a very strong signal on a deserted planet?

 The three-person team had been sent to collect data about the planet and check if there was a reason to believe anyone could be stranded on the planet. Upon arrival to its orbit, the team named the planet as Cotton World. It was not an official name of course. It was just a way to identify it and feel more comfortable while talking about it. The name, of course, came from its appearance: the world was covered by huge pink clouds that made the world look like a massive cotton candy. As they descended through the clouds, they realized that the name had been very accurate as the clouds were not only pink in color but were also kind of solid.

 The first to go out was the biologist on the team. Her name was Yarra and she came from a very different world, a world she deemed incredibly boring and that’s why she decided to have many adventures by joining the forces of authority that ruled the galaxy, Besides, she had always been interested in life and in all the shapes and sizes it took all over the galaxy. She had been working for the State for four years and she loved it: she traveled a lot, got to meet lots of people and made good money out of it.

 Yarra was half human but even her other half couldn’t breath on this planet, so she had to use a special suit to be able to walk around without fear. She only took a couple of steps before returning to the ship and telling the other two crew members that the rock seemed stable and that it was urgent that they began the search for the beacon that had been detected. After all, that was the reason they were there.

 The next one to step out was a big, yellowish creature. He wasn’t human at all but had many features that one could identify as human. The only things that really differentiate him were a horn in the center of his forehead, his large tusks, his four arms and tall stature. His name was Gorg and he always seemed menacing at first but he was the most tender and calm being ever to be seen by anyone. He was happy by just helping and had joined the force almost seven years ago. Granted, he was very strong and could fight any kind of danger physically, but he was first and foremost a physicist.

 Gorg was simply in awe of the Cotton World. In all his travels he had never encountered something quite like this place. The fact that sound didn’t seem to function exactly as it did in the rest of the planets, was something he wanted to understand urgently. But Yarra was right and their priority was to explain the origin of a beacon signal that had been detected in far way worlds. In order to do their examinations, Gorg put on his suit and carried a large antenna outside, as well as a special console and computer which they used to detect any electric emissions. No matter the type of beacon, it would leave an imprint in the atmosphere if it existed.

 The third crew member was the captain. He was full human and his name was Ionek. His skin had been burned by many suns so he had patches of red and brown all over. His eyes were yellowish, although they could change color depending on his mood. He was a tall strong man and he had been known many years ago as a military hero all over the galaxy. He had served in the army for many years before having to step out of it due to a scandal that he had to pay for. The only option they gave him was to have his own ship and serve the State with it.

 Ionek did what he had to do but he was always clear that exploration and discovery weren’t his first choices in a world where so many wars and battles were being fought. He wanted carnage and destruction but had to settle to be the pilot of some scientist trying to discover why fire burns. So he just sat down in his captain chair and tried to have a nap as the other two investigated outside.

 After several hours, Gorg and Yarra detected something very weak but still trying to work. It was located directly below them, maybe four or five kilometers. They copied the information on an electronic pad and then packed everything in order to investigate closer. Ionek wasn’t very happy that his nap had been cut short but at least he didn’t have to move too far. The trip downwards was an easy one but it wasn’t deprived of a few scares, mainly because the clouds and the environment got darker as the ship sank into the planet.

 Finally, they detected a rock they could land on and Ionek settled on it, but this time landing wasn’t as soft as it had been the last time. When they came out of the ship to check, they realized one of the landing “legs” had sunk into the rock and was now trapped in there. Captain Ionek wasn’t pleased at all and asked Yarra and Gord to be fast in order to mend the damage to his ship immediately. They then took the electronic pad and walked around the rock, trying to detect the signal again. But what they saw wasn’t a signal or a beacon but something far stranger.

 Below, another kilometer maybe, there was another ship on another rock. But that wasn’t the strange part: the strange part was that the ship looked exactly like the one they had used to get there. Both Yarra and Gord looked below and then their ship and then back again down. They couldn’t believe it at first but then they realized that the model was not that uncommon and that the most important thing was to determine who had entered the planet if it was supposed to be deserted.

 They went back to the ship, where Ionek asked if they could leave at once but they refused, telling him about the ship below and how they had to go down there and check it out from up close. The captain refused to move his ship and clarified that the model was exclusive, or at least that was what the army said when they transferred him from the military. Yarra ignored that last part and told him they were using the jetpacks. Nothing indicated they couldn’t use them and it would be easier for them to investigate that way.

 Minutes later, Gorg and Yarra were floating down to other ship. The jetpacks worked a bit awkwardly, not responding fast enough, but they were good enough to get to the next rock. Once they were close enough to the ship, they started to check for life forms and found out they were three and they were all inside the ship. Gorg turned to Yara and urged her to leave. He had suddenly had a very bad feeling about it all.

 Then two shadows crossed the sky and the whole area became shrouded in darkness. It was as if they had landed on a dream that was about to turn into a nightmare. The team tried to active the jetpacks but they were slow to respond. Gorg’s made him fly but Yarra’s wasn’t working. It was then when she heard a sound coming from the ship and, at the same time, a device in her backpack started to beep. She had found the beacon. It had been put up by…

 She screamed but no one heard it as she was wearing a mask. She did it just as she had seen the crew of the other ship come out of the ship and walk towards her. Her jetpacked suddenly worked and she landed abruptly on the right rock. Gorg helped her up and they both ran to the ship. Ionek used every force the engines had to liberate it from the sink part and he succeeded, only by leave that part on the rock before rushing into space.

As he typed the codes to achieve interstellar flight, he asked them what had happened. His ship was know missing a limb and he wanted to know why. Gorg told him everything he had seen: the other ship and the shadows. But Yarra was shaking and trembling too much. She only said two words “beacon” and “us”.