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

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2015

Queen of tragedy

   The devastation brought by the wave could be seen easily from the castle, which had been built in a peninsula that shoot straight into the ocean with a very high elevation. The waves that attacked the city did not really affect the castle or the people inside it, although they did feel the arrive of the killing water and saw how it engulfed the whole fishing town that was located very close to the castle. Every little boat and those small and weak houses were rapidly destroyed by the wave. The people didn’t even have time to pray or to scream. The wave was just too fast and too destructive, it didn’t leave a thing standing. The people in the castle, including Princes Ariana, were all horrified. She sent some soldiers after it happened but, as they were about to go out, another wave, even taller than the last one, hit the beach.

 No one could have survived that. And the thing now was that, because of the second wave, the access to the castle had been flooded. Until the waters receded, they were all trapped there, without any communication with the rest of the world. Ariana’s father, the King, had left the day before to attend a very traditional ceremony in an inland town and her mother the Queen had also left to visit her brother who was a duke in some region south of the castle. Ariana was alone and needed desperately to talk to someone, as she was very perturbed by the images of water hitting the fishing town with such vile and strength. She remained in the chapel for a whole day, praying and asking God for the souls that had been lost. She asked “why”.

 But, of course, she never got an answer. After that time, the princess tried to help the people that were inside the castle and organize everything for every single person to have a ration of food. She had no idea how much time that could last but she would at least try to help them as only she could do it. At the end of the day, the castle was hers, her domain, and everyone inside it had to hear her until the King or the Queen came back. The day after the waves hot the coast, the castle started to receive various letters sent by aerial means (pigeons, mostly). Many were soldiers informing of the situation on their towns and others were people, asking for help as the situation was very dire. It was a surprise to see letters from far inland and the Ariana’s heart stopped for a moment.

 She asked her helpers to look for letter from a specific location. There was only one letter and it was from a farmer. He said the wave had flooded his field and now his crops had been destroyed, so he had no means to sustain his family or to trade with others. He also mentioned, although briefly, that the nearby town had been flooded too and festivities had been cancelled. Ariana breathed out. Her father was probably okay but she needed to be sure. She asked her servants to answer the letter she had just read and do what they could to locate his father and help that poor man with his crops. She owed him, or at least she felt so.

 Ariana did the same thing to know if her mother was okay but there were no letters from that region in the big pile that had arrived during the day. More pigeons entered the castle during the day, but almost all came from very nearby, were apparently the stench of death was already hard to ignore. People said that there were no victims, as the people who sent the pigeons were merchants that traveled from town to town and saw what happened all around them. Apparently the fishing town couldn’t be saved and the most awful part of it all was that everyone could easily see the ruins of the town from the castle. It was so close but at the same time it had such a different faith than the people hidden in the castle.

 They received a letter from the King the day after that. He informed the people that he had been injured by the flooding, that had taking everyone by surprise. He was in bed with a very swollen ankle, product of a fall as he escaped the water towards higher ground. The doctor said that it was easy to cure but that he had to stay there for some day, at least a week, to make his leg better. Ariana read the letter in front of everyone and even shared with the people the nice adjectives he had for her. He said that the castle was in hands of the princess and that everyone had to respond to her orders and listen to her lead, as she was the only person with authority to be there with them.

 These words from her father made Ariana feel very happy and also very important. She had never done much in the castle or even in her life, only being a nice girl that sits correctly whenever an important visitor comes and that leaves for her room to do nothing at all there, except if you consider combing your hair or looking at your dresses some sort of job. The truth was that Ariana was thrilled to finally have some responsibility and taste, however short it may last, the sweetness and pleasure to share her kindness with her people and with everyone that wrote the letters that kept coming into the castle. On the fifth day, the waters finally receded and soldiers were sent to every single nearby that to assess the situation.

 The small fishing port had not been the only one to be destroyed completely. A very large portion of the coast had been devastated by that same wave, ten meter tall or more, so many towns had suffered the same faith. Even some soldiers that decided to check on the state of the castle came with urgency to see the princess and asked her to put some men to work. Apparently, the bases of the castle had been shaken very seriously and repairs had to be made in order for it not to fall into the ocean. A small army of men was hired to do those works and the proper army was tasked with burning every corpse they saw and help survivors, if any. There were not to many.

 The first week was difficult for Ariana, specially when a merchant that sold fur came into town and old everyone how the wave had destroyed the region south of the castle. He swore the smell was too overwhelming and bodies piled up on both sides of the roads. Ariana felt awful and sent some soldiers right then but it was useless. The man was right; there was nothing but destruction, especially because in the south there were no hills or mountain. It was a big plain and now it was something like a swamp, with flies flying all over it and over the bodies of hundred of people. One of those was the Queen, who had died with her brother as they were outside the duke’s house when tragedy came. Being inside, wouldn’t have changed a thing, though.

 The princess tried not to cry when she received a pigeon telling her of her mother’s death. She only asked for the soldiers to bring her body and that of the duke, if they found him. Some days later the dead body of the Queen arrived into town and a rapidly organized funeral was arranged. Ariana would have loved to have her father there to comfort her but was now having a very dangerous fever and his doctor recommended for him to stay were he was, as any trip might be too dangerous for him. So she had to bury her mother alone, in the family mausoleum. Many people attended the funeral and she wasn’t surprised, as her mother had always being loved by her people.

 Ariana, in the inside, was devastated. Now she didn’t want any responsibility or to grow up, she didn’t want to be the woman who ruled over the kingdom. And even if she was the last royal, she would have to marry to be able to exercise her role as Queen. It hurt her to be thinking of such things, as if her father was dead too but he wasn’t, he was just injured and she wanted to be with him but then no one would stay behind to help the people that needed the family. Some of her father’s helpers wanted her to leave to have a free reign over everything but she refused to go and even jailed some of those who pretended for her to leave the city and stay away from the corruption.

 Only two weeks after the waves hit the coast, the King came back to town. But Ariana suffered once more because he wasn’t doing as well as the doctor had said. Unsurprisingly, the doctor had left the party that accompanied her father. She ordered soldiers to execute him if they ever saw him. But the most important thing for her was to see her father, which whom she talked privately and summoned a religious authority and a lawmaker. After some days, the King was too weak to keep talking and he eventually died from his wounds and mistreatment. His funeral was attended by all and he was buried in the crypt next to his wife.

 Everyone was more surprised, however, with the fact that a new law had been enacted the day before the king’s death. It liberated his daughter of marriage and gave her the power to rule the kingdom as Queen. People didn’t know whether to celebrate or not. But eventually, they would know the answer to that question.

jueves, 2 de abril de 2015

Dark planet

             - We are able to confirm that the planet is uninhabited. No settlement has been found nor  any signs of intelligent life. No wildlife poses a considerable threat to human          colonization. Pockets of water have been detected on the poles and in small pockets    around the equator. The atmosphere is breathable but the atmospheric pressure takes a big  toll on our bodies. I’ll report again at the end of the week. Chief of mission Okilo, off.

   Carmen stepped away from the communications device and stared at the data. She pressed some buttons and sent the message home, hopefully having an answer by tomorrow morning. She then walked through the corridors of the ship towards her room, where she removed her uniform and laid in bed in her underwear. She was tired but that was normal after so many hours working in the surface of the planet. Carmen had begun feeling sleepy until she suddenly opened her eyes. She then sat on the bed and opened her bedside table drawer. She took out a picture and stared at it.

In the photo, there was a small girl with her parents. They were at Disneyworld, judging for the castle in the back and the character that had joined them for the picture. She caressed the paper and remembered her parents, who had been dead for a long time. Carmen had lost them in an airplane crash just the year after entering the space program. She had suffered alone for a long time but eventually came to be at peace with it by herself. She wasn’t the kind to crumble in front of difficulties. That’s why she had been chosen for leading this mission.

 Carmen put the picture back in the drawer and tried to sleep but that was a waste of time, especially because the speakers in her room carried the voice of her scientist officer to her room.

-               - Carmen. There’s… I need you in the observatory. It’s urgent.

 She detected the worry in his voice and decided to dress with some shorts and a shirt and go to the observatory fast. She was there ten minutes later, yawning and realizing her blouse was stained with chocolate. Norman was there, looking through a machine down to the planet. He hadn’t heard her coming and he almost jumped when she touched him in the back.

 Norman was a short and thin man. He had always looked sick but now he seemed worse, as if he had been informed of the worst news. Without saying a word, he invited Carmen to look through the lens he had been looking on. She leaned forward and realized it was pointed at the planet, somewhere near the Equator.

-                - It’s the region we call Morgana. Desert. Many rocks, no water. Let me put some                  coordinates here.

He pushed some buttons and the telescope aligned. Now, Carmen was looking at a small patch of something black. Or maybe, dark blue. It looked as if the lens was dirty or something but it wasn’t… It couldn’t’ be, out there, in the vacuum of space. Besides, the dark patch seemed to be… to be growing, yes. The edges of the stain seemed to move, like ants when moving in large groups.

-              - What is it? – She asked.
-              - No idea. It appeared only a few hours ago. I thought at first it was a telescope                  malfunction but it clearly isn’t.
-              - Is it life?
-              - Maybe.
-              -But we did a planetary scan… There was nothing big, not like that.

She pulled away from the viewer and went closer to Norman. He appeared to tremble, which was not uncommon in space. It was very cold there and Carmen had just realized she had not put any shoes on. She had to take a decision about the dark stain that seemed to grow. Should they go and investigate or only report the event and wait for instructions on how to engage it? She told Norman to go to bed and that they would discuss it in a meeting with the others. She also decided to send another message to Earth before going to bed, stating the latest events.

 The following day, she met her team. With her, there were seven humans in the ship: two scientific officers, two technical officers, a chief of mission, a navigator and a mechanic. They were all experienced and had been travelling through space for many years. They all trusted each other and knew the risks of the job. But this event was all about what they didn’t know, which visibly scared them. The stain had grown even larger as they slept. Carmen told them of the message she had sent and that she wouldn’t hear anything about an answer for, at least, a whole day. So they needed to make a decision: do or not do.

 Carmen and the two science officers voted for taking their shuttle and landing on the planet to investigate. The technical officers and the mechanic were against it, thinking risking the shuttle was a very dangerous move because they might need it latter in their mission. The decisive vote was the one of the navigator, a young woman that was the least experienced of them all. She loved the stars and planets and was very fond of making calculations and measures but this decision was bigger than her. She finally stated that she had entered the job because she had always been curious about the universe and that this might be a chance to reveal one of its mysteries.

 So later that day, the mechanic made sure the shuttle was just right for a flight over the planet. Carmen had decided she would go with Norman and one technical officer called Sarkar. The three boarded the shuttle in silence and got the instruments ready. Shortly after they had begun their short travel towards the surface. Norman monitored the stain at all moments, being able to do more accurate calculations as he drew closer to it. Sarkar took the ship over the Morgana region and flew over the edge of the stain. It was not a surprise when they all gasped, covering their mouths or just started sweating even more than usual.

 Down there, the dark stain moved. It did. Like soda spilled over a table. But this wasn’t a liquid. Or at least not at first sight. They were thousands, maybe millions of living things down there. Sarkar made the shuttle be still and that way they realized that the creatures were actually gigantic. They weren’t human in form, but rather like insects. They moved tightly, away from a center. Carmen, calm as she could make herself to be, told Sarkar to get the ship over the stain. The creatures seemed to be coming out of somewhere.

 Sarkar started moving the aircraft as Norman took pictures and measures of the creatures. They all knew they had made a big discovery but they still did not understand what it was all about. The planet had been deemed void of any large creatures and, now, there they were, looking down on gigantic insectoid creatures, roaming the desert dunes. After a fifteen minute flyby, they arrived at a point in the desert were mountains had been able to grow. And there, on a small group of peaks, there seemed to be a volcano. Sarkar had to make the ship go up, in order to take a better look.

 Somehow, the volcano was active. There was some smoke and Norman could detect small tremors on the surface. But the volcano wasn’t spilling lava or rocks. It was spilling living creatures, dark as the emptiness of space. And it was then that Carmen covered her mouth. She realized that the creatures emerging from the crater were not all the same. They were smaller ones among the titans. And not all looked like insects. Some even had… had some kind of human form. Not exactly our same biology but so similar. And like their volcano brothers, they were also dark as night.

 Norman took several pictures, Sarkar tried to maintain the shuttle in a good vantage point and Carmen just looked everywhere, amazed. The creatures had not realized or did not care about them. They just came out of the planet and walked, away from it. Then, like coming out of a trance, Carmen ordered Sarkar to flyby again towards any edge of the stain. They did so, faster than the time before and realized the group below had grown by the millions as they watch over them. The creatures kept walking, like under hypnosis.

Carmen decided it was enough and ordered Norman to release a probe and Sarkar to get them back to the ship. They both complied and got to there home minutes later. All the team reunited in the observatory and watched as the planet slowly became invaded by the dark blue stain. The probe sent back images, of every type of creature down there, just walking. Finally, hours later, the whole planet had been covered by the volcano creatures. The probe showed how they all suddenly stopped moving.

 Then, something happened, something that cannot be explained. The planet turned bright, as if it was a sun. It grew brighter and brighter and engulfed everything with its light, even the ship. They all screamed as their heads felt heavy and hurt them. They couldn’t open their eyes. And suddenly it was done. They help themselves up and realized, scared, that the stain had disappeared. The planet was as it had been before. When checking on the volcano, the crater was found to be non-existent.

 Carmen ordered her team to have an early dinner as she reported back to Earth. This event was of a terrific importance. She knew it. Or better yet, she felt it so.

domingo, 26 de octubre de 2014

Guy with iPhone

That's all guys want. And girls too. A guy with an iPhone.

In today's world things, stuff, objects are what define us. Not what we think or do or say but what we own. Going to the newest store or coffee shop, buying the latest trend in technology or clothes, watching the "hip" shows on TV or trying to be like the hottest celebrity. All that is important now.

But what about us? The real us, I mean. These days who er are is extreme diluted, as if what we own was water and our painted souls just got to insignificant in its presence.

What is really incredible is the fact that many people fabricate originality and sell it as if it was unique and never repeatable. But it is the opposite. We are unique by the mere fact of being born but that seems not to be enough for any of us.

As a species, we fail to appreciate life. We recognize ourselves as the ruling species of this Earth, more intelligent and adaptable but are we really? Specially when, for the largest part, we use our lives only to imitate and pretend instead of living it and nothing more?

Just go outside for some time, it doesn't have to be much. You'll see people. Look at their way of using clothes, their way of wearing make up, even the way people talk and walk. In the most part, all of it has been prefabricated. And the source is not a surprise. The media is today the most powerful force in the world, more than any petty politician or religious leader. Media is here to stay and judges us all every single day.

We created it so we should know what is about but we seem to have lost control of it. Instead of using it as a tool to unite the world and share cultural heritage, media has transformed in the almighty God of us all. Church is inside our homes and, even more dangerous, inside our minds.

Media has become so powerful that everything it tells us, we assume it as the truth. And even if we don't, we have no way of really contradicting it as it handles almost every aspect of modern day societies, here and anywhere else in the world.

The worst are the mixed messages. For year media, along with other industries at its service, has told us that we most look a certain way. Skinny, in general, but also with certain features to be more attractive to others, never mind our gender.

So that's where all the perfume ads are born. Artsy, maybe. But they tell who should we be or at least what we should aspire to be. And people believe it and enforce it.

For example, create a profile in any dating site or even any social media website. For one week put a picture of someone else. Women should find the picture of a woman with big breasts, tiny waist and pouty lips and men should post a picture of a shirtless guy, gym body, nice teeth. A week after, change it for a picture of yourself, out of bed (for real). See what gets more attention.

And this even translates to subcultures. Gay men are a perfect example or superficial thought. And no, its not about homophobia, is how homosexual men have adapted to their so called community being mistreated for years. So it was preferable not to form a bond with someone so sex has stayed most important. And that, is hardly arguable. So big dick pics are a huge thing. I'm a gay man, I should know.

But when I said mixed messages I also refer to those endearing campaigns, ads or others, most likely featuring a celebrity, that tell us how great it is the be ourselves and how everyone is going to love each other so much just because we accept our differences.

I call bullshit on that one. Why? Because humankind is hypocritical, we say one thing but do the opposite just seconds after. That's how many wars have started and how geopolitics works. Many people don't really like each other but they try to keep it peaceful as wars are often too expensive and money is first.

Many people may disagree with all that's being said, more like written, in these past paragraphs. But it is the truth, take it as you want. As said before, just go outside, take a walk and take a good look at the people, everyday folks walking around with their families or in couples.

Do you really see happiness? Or do you see people just content, happy enough? Is like asking about freedom, a phenomenon not very different from this one.

So that's how we can come back around and realize we do want to be those people, the one in the advertisements and the movies. We want to be easily happy, we want love that is unconditional and perfect and even better if it comes in the shape of someone we have learned is physically suitable.

We're not the same humankind that came out of caverns and mated only to have offspring. No, now love is a status factor in society, like a very important prize that not everyone gets and certainly not in the same way. This affects specially the people born after the media explosion, the sixties and seventies.

So that's why, we look for that guy with an iPhone, a guy that helps us get where we want and to be who we've been told to be. And if you disagree, you fail. Because the only way to change that reality is by accepting it and then slowly turn it into something else. After all, we made it happen. So we can make it stop.