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

martes, 30 de agosto de 2016

A single moment

   The very next day, the garden was covered with a very fine layer of snow covering everything. The most beautiful flowers and the largest plants were all covered in white, giving everything a “frozen in time” appearance. The house inhabitants had never seen snow, so when the first workers saw it that morning, they didn’t really know what to think. The low temperatures that winter were something they had never seen either so it was a very particular season for everyone.

 The first person to see the garden covered in snow was Mrs. Ross, the cook of the house. She had been living there for so many years but had never seen anything quite like that. She was so surprised that breakfast that morning was not ready on time and some people and the family had to wait or go hungry for a couple of extra hours.

As curious as everyone was for what was happening, every person coming late to work, showing up minutes later for a date or simply not coming because they had seen snow, were all excused as if it was the most normal thing. The snowfall lasted for about a week and then it disappeared. People were very disappointed when snow melted and everything they had thought was so magical was now covered in this very thick layer of mud that was nowhere near as attractive as snow. People returned to their normal lives and the winter experience was soon a thing of stories.

 The house were the garden had been covered suffered severe transformations between the first snowfall ever and the following one, which took place fifty years later. Some of the people that had seen it the first time as kids were still alive and they didn’t get tired of telling the story once and again, as if people were not living through it. It was possibly because of the excitement and because not a lot of things happened around there.

 The garden of the house was still there but the place was no longer a private place. It had been converted not so long ago into a museum after the family that had lived there for generations had decided to sell to the best bidder because every single part of their business, now related to the technology industry, was located nowadays in the city and having such a grand state in the countryside was very expensive to maintain.

 So the building had become a place where people could learn about the past but also where they could remember and experience in a very special way the two times snow had fallen in the region. There were pictures and poems and various others artistic manifestations, remembering what had happened in a variety of ways.

 There was even a picture of the cook that had been the first one to see snow. Her descendants came for the opening day of the museum and were very happy to see their relative love forever in such a fabulous space. More pictures, drawings and so on were placed all over the house, which had been decorated in a way it had never probably been decorated before. The museum had disguised the house as something it wasn’t, trying to get more and more people to come and enjoy the place.

 Soon, that wasn’t enough so they had to integrate the various areas surrounding the house, in other words the rest of the state that was still being exploited by a private company. Some parts of the land were used to grow various organic vegetables and others had fruit with the largest portion been dedicated to grapes and a small processing plant where the best grapes were chosen to be sent to another place where they were turned into a very decent wine. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t bad either.

 The people who ran the museum decided to make it all part of the daily walks around the house. They wanted to show the visitors how farming worked in the region so they also created a small petting zoo and worked with a foreign company in order to use the grapes in the farm to make their own brand of wine. Of course, the first few bottles wouldn’t be very good but with time they could end up having one of the best products because of the experts they were hiring to ensure that everything was as good as it could be.

 People really enjoyed the new additions to the museum. Now it was a more complete experience and many visitors didn’t even care to enter the museum, the enjoyed themselves thoroughly in the fields and with the animals. Various vegetables and fruits were added to the crop selection and the wine started being sold to supermarkets in the city with a very special sticker that invited everyone to witness the creation process of the beverage.

 That proved to be a very good move and visits increased once again. The bad thing was that the museum was not being visited as much as it had been before. The situation was so bad for the house as it was that they decided to make it a free entrance if you cared to buy a pass for all the rest of the attraction in the state. That helped the snowfall story become well known once again.

 The place was renamed Snowfall Fun Park and they dedicated themselves to find new ways to attract more customers each year. After the name change, they were able to convert a small yard that had only been used for maintenance into a small food court selling various foods from around the world. The place was packed daily.

 The biggest news coming from the park was the announcement that they had bought the whole neighboring terrain, which was almost as large as the one they were operating in currently. They would use all that land to build an area for rides and overall entertainment. Every single thing would be themed around snow and winter sports. The main attraction would be a huge roller coaster named the Yeti, which had almost no relation with the region except for the fact that those fantastic creatures allegedly lived in the snow.

 The construction of that area was halted when they discovered some bones and rock alignments that seemed to be very interesting to the scientific community. As it turns out, it had been forgotten that the area had been the place for the old homes of the main house workers were located. The famous cook had lived right there and it was her bones that the machines almost crushed to dust.

 When her DNA was picked up from them, traditionalists in the region were appalled that such a beloved person would have been died in a place no one knew about and now they had discovered she had never been properly buried anywhere. Many signed a petition to have her remains be buried in the garden of the main house, as a gesture of respect to her legacy and the lives of all the other workers and farmers of the region.  After all, she had been a very humble woman, not wealthy or anything like that.

 Some even argued that the remains of the houses should not be moved and should be integrated in the project, in order to bring back the main interest why people would go to that place. The company that operated the park was at first very reluctant to make any changes because of the investors but they eventually saw a way they could win with it.

 The excavations of the remains of the houses were left alone. The design of the roller coaster was changed in order to not have any negative effects over any of the older structures in the park. Every other building stayed the same as in the original expansion plans except for an area where they would have meet and greets with actual farmers and have classes for interested visitors. That was moved to the farm area in order to surround the exaction area with a low fence and feature it as an attraction.

 Five years later, the third snowfall was registered in the region. It had been so many years since the last one that people were happy to have their museum in order to remember the story. Parties and festivals were organized and the legacy of a single moment in history kept on living on the minds and hearts of the people.

martes, 16 de agosto de 2016

When in Rome...

   The first thing I heard was the automated voice indicating people if they had to stand on the doors on the left or the right. I heard the sound as if it was coming from a place very far from me but then it seemed to become clearer. That made me open my eyes and then I realized I was in one of the metro trains I had used years earlier to get to know the city of Rome. People were talking amongst themselves, some tourists were looking at a map above one of the doors and a small child looked at me straight in the eye.

  I decided to stand up and get out of the train as soon as possible. There was another audio automated service and then the train entered a station. I didn’t really see the name of the station I was in. I only wanted to run away from that underground location in order to check out something above ground and feel a little les intoxicated. When I finally got out to the street, I felt very dizzy, my legs had problems letting me stand up and every sound and image apparently adjust itself in a few seconds.

 There was a park bench near the exit of the station and I decided to use it because I wasn’t feeling good at all. I felt my head was spinning around. Besides, everyone around me spoke a language I didn’t know and I didn’t really felt safe speaking to them in English. I felt I had forgotten everything about myself. I tried to remember what I was doing before appearing on the subways but I couldn’t remember.

 A young nun then came up to me and said something in Italian. She spoke very slowly for me to understand what she was saying but it wasn’t good enough for me. Anything that involved thinking hurt too much. She decided to give her hand and I grabbed it without thinking it much. She made me walk around a beautiful but very lonely neighborhood until we arrived to a very typical Roman house with an inner patio. I didn’t know much about religious people but that must have been a convent.

 She fed me and gave me something to read as he washed my clothes on a very modern washing machine. I waited on my underwear in the kitchen and was very ashamed when a group of four nuns entered the kitchen and I was there naked, reading a magazine. The nun that had saved me, I think her name was Angela, appeared out of nowhere and explained the situation to the rest of the sisters.

 They decided to give me a room for the night, as the weather was not as sunny as before and the clothes may take a longer while to be ready. I couldn’t deny the offer, even if I had wanted too. But I didn’t because in that place I felt the peace I needed to organize who I was before appearing on that city and why that had happened.

 That night was very strange. I was assigned one of the cells in the upper floors, were formerly the new novices slept before they were fully accepted as nuns. Sister Angela explained to me that they hadn’t had a new girl in a long time, as she had been the last one. The woman looked in her late thirties and explained further, commenting that girls nowadays had no desire to get in contact with their religious roots and have a life of celibacy and dedicated to the Lord.

 Through the very small window in my room, I was able to see the moon. It looked so beautiful but at the same time a little bit false. I pinched my hand in order to know if I hadn’t been dreaming or something but it didn’t work. I was really in that small room and had to get used to the idea of not remembering anything about my past o at least not in a very obvious way. I was lost, technically, and had to wait and see what I could do to go back to wherever I was before.

 I slept strangely at peace. My eyes closed early and I woke up early too. Normally, I would require several hours to feel rested but in that moment I felt I could take on the whole world by myself. It was a very nice feeling that I had never really experimented before. Normally I woke up much more tired than I was before going to bed. I guessed it had something to do with the strict code the nuns had going on there but I also expected it to be something related to the fact that I was in blank, no memories inside.

 The next day, I put on my clean clothes and they all came to the door to bud farewell to me. They were all very kind people and I would have loved to see more of them, maybe take a picture. But somehow, I didn’t think of that then. It would have been the best proof to guarantee that what had happened had not been a dream or an illusion caused by my mind. I waved at them as I walk further away from the convent, until I didn’t see them anymore and realized how lonely I felt, again.

 After walking a little bit more, I arrived in a square: it was very beautiful and tourists were all over the place taking pictures and discussing the shapes and sizes of the figures in the fountains. I was trying to understand what a couple was saying near me when I heard a voice, a very strong male voice coming from somewhere. At first, I couldn’t tell what he was saying. Then, I understood he was saying my name.

 I looked around for the owner of the voice but there was no one that seemed to have that very deep register near where I was. Besides, no one seemed to be looking at me, ignoring the fact that I was there as if my existence bothered them so much that they had decided to ignore until I decided to disappear.

 That happened a few seconds later, when the voice called upon me again and I understood that it was calling me from very far. Walking rather slowly, I was able to follow the deep voice saying my name. I walked through deserted streets, packed avenues and beautiful gardens until I reached some long and white stairs. The bright sun above made them look as if they were from glass.

 The voice called upon me again, urging me to come to him fast. His message to me had changed so I knew I was very near. When I arrived at the top of the staircase, I realized there was a museum up there. There was a small square and on one side the entrance and on the other side, the exit of the museum. The voice appeared to be coming from the exit so I walked towards there.

 Beyond the machines that controlled the exit process of the museum, there was a fountain and I realized the voice was coming from there. But there was a security guard nearby and the only way I could’ve entered the museum was by jumping over the machines. I decided to pretend I was reading some pamphlets they had on a table by the door. The guard finally moved, in order to face towards the inner courtyard of the museum. I took my chance and jumped, landing silently on my feet.

 I wanted to scream in celebration because I had never done anything so cool in my life, but I realized it wasn’t really the place and the moment for that. So I turned around and walked towards a small garden they had by a room filled with sculptures. The faces of those objects seemed to be looking at me but I knew the voice was coming from a fountain in the garden. Sure enough, there was a huge figure of the God of the seas, Poseidon, on the fountain.

 The figure did not move but it did talk to me. He told me the Gods had decided to bring me to Rome in order to let me know everything was going to be all right. When I heard that, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or punch the statue or what. I got closer to the water and the figure told me that I was there by choice and that I could’ve left at any moment, if I had wanted to leave.


 As I heard that, I felt dizzy again and then the world became blurry for an instant. Then everything went dark, I felt my head hitting something and then my eyes opened once again. I had fallen from my bed, my insane dream having finished. I was covered in sweat and had to go to the bathroom to clean myself, ignoring the metro card that fell with me from the bed to the floor.

miércoles, 8 de abril de 2015

Afternoon in the museum

  The place was deserted, except for the small team of scientists that roamed the debris and walked tightly together, as if they were a single entity. They approached a square, where two members of the team that had guns stepped forward and escorted the others inside a big hole on the floor. There was glass everywhere and the stairs to go down where missing some of the steps. Everyone was very careful not to fall. When they reached the bottom, they reunited again. One of them, a woman, lit up a screen where she had a map of the place.

-       There.

 She pointed at a hallway and they all began to walk a little bit more relaxed, although some of their breathing equipment started making wheezing sounds. Yes, they had masks and tanks on their backs because the air had been deemed unbreathable. This was the consequence of the bombardment the city had gone through many years ago, during the Dark Wars. These battles and skirmishes had attempted to destroy every single trace of civilization in the world but it had been stopped just in time for that not to happen. Unfortunately, not every place in the world had been spared and cities such as this one lay empty and in ruin.

 The team followed Calista, the woman with the map, through the hallway. They did steadily but not in a run, but fast anyway. They saw rooms in darkness but didn’t enter any of them. After many other dark hallways and a few stairs, they reached a long corridor, lit by the sunlit coming from the outside.

-       This is it. The rooms by this corridor.

 They entered a door to the left and they all did the same expression of amazement. The room seemed to be stuck in time as all the pieces where still exactly where they had always been. Their state, besides some dust, was just perfect so Calista and her time started unpacking everything they had brought with them. There were bags and plastic and some boxes. There was also a rod that could be extended and had wheels, to help with the transportation of the objects. In a little while, they had all the small objects wrapped in plastic and into small boxes. They did the same thing with two other rooms until the two armed men told them they should here if they wanted to leave the city before dark.

 The team was too amazed with everything to worry about time. Shiny little objects, aged thousands of years, where now in their hands. They had been ordered only to grab the smaller things, the ones that came from far away countries now to far to reach. The Hive needed every single thing to be rescued in order to preserve it forever in the fortress in the mountains. Cities like this one were toxic and people would not be able to live there for many decades or more if they weather kept being as unpredictable as always. They had actually decided to go for the objects during summer, as the other seasons were very unpredictable. In summer the only danger was the heat but the city was now covered in clouds so that wasn’t much a thing to worry.

 The rooms they were going through had objects brought fro m the Middle East, some parts of Africa and Asia. They had been taken away from tribes and other cultures so many years ago. Violence had made many museums great at some point in their history. And now, many of the cultures that had done those pieces of art had been dead for some time. One of the helpers was not only amazed by the small sculptures but by the paintings. Some were European and others where from across the Atlantic. Walking away from the others, he stared at an especially vivid portrait of a young woman, who seemed to be looking straight at him. Then, the eye moved and a whistle was heard.

 Calista’s assistant fell dead to the floor, bleeding heavily on the marble floor. The armed men told everyone to stay down but there was no use as they now so what the dead man had seen before dying: the eyes of the young woman where not there anymore and there was a hole in her mouth. Someone behind the wall had shot the assistant. But who was it? Then, more whistles were heard. The person that was shooting was using silencer. The armed men made everyone crawl out of the room and stay down as they stayed by the door and shot down some of the paintings with their guns. The whistles stopped but then, they heard steps moving away. Whoever it was, he or she was escaping.

 They all ran towards the sound and Calista took out her map and checked the corridors. There were no secrete passageways on the map but there was a service door by the next couple of stairs. She yelled this to the armed men and they ran for the door. They did so just in time, as a shadow stepped out of it and they shot it down. Calista screamed. She realized it was a bad idea to kill someone who had probably survived the nuclear holocaust. Although, the person might not be right of the head. A medic they had brought with them came fast and checked to body. The person was dead. The men pulled the body towards the corridor and then, not only Calista but everyone screamed in horror.

 The creature had been a human. That was obvious because of his body but his face… He was gravely disfigured. Everyone’s breathing machines were working at full, as terror had required much more oxygen for them to breath. Calista and the doctor grew closer to the creature to check on the details of their attacker. He had a gun with a silencer on his belt and some other gadgets that they didn’t know what they were for. He also had a handful of keys in a chain. He was wearing normal clothes, although he was visible bleeding from open wounds on his legs and arms.

 His face was striking because there were no eyes there anymore. He had a mouth but the body seemed to have grown over it, making it small and disgusting, oozing some foul odor now he was dead. Then, they all pulled back. His hand had moved. In a second, one of the armed men show the creature several times on the chest. When he was finished, everyone looked at him, as if he was mad but he said he had seen some of the movies in the archive and dead always return before they really die. Calista smiled and stood up. She asked the doctor to do every analysis he could in a short time as they were leaving soon.

 An hour later, they had put several small boxes in three large boxes that they carried on the wheeled rod. When they reached the pint where they had entered the museum, the armed guys grabbed one end of the rod and three of the assistants grabbed the other end. They were careful not to fall down with it but that plan failed when several creatures appeared on top of them, looking down through the hole on the ground. The doctor and Calista replaced the armed men on the rod as these started shooting at every single creature they saw. They were all like the one they had gunned down inside: no eyes, some extra limbs, no mouth, … All mutated from the nuclear blast. These people had survived only to be transformed into something less than the most despised animal.

 The team finally reached the top and was able to create a circle. The men gave everyone a gun so they had even more chances to get out alive. The hovercraft that had left them there could not land so near the museum so they had to make a run for the nearest bridge. After passing it, they could as the pilot to bomb the bridge to prevent the mutants from crossing. One of the armed men called the craft as they ran with difficulty, both carrying the boxes and running and shooting at every disfigured face they saw. Then, they saw the hovercraft above them but this distraction cost the arm of one man, as one of the creatures grabbed him and broke it with ease. The wheeled rod fell on the ground and they had to put it up fast, kicking and shooting like crazy.

 No one knew how they really did it, but they ran across the bridge followed closely by the mutants, that moved incredibly fast. Of the armed men asked the pilots to shoot a missile at the bridge to blow it up. He did exactly that  rocks flew all over, making everyone fall to the ground. The hovercraft landed in front of them and opened the ramp. Shooting some mutants that had been on their side when the bridge exploded, they almost dragged the boxes into the craft and left fast. The machine went fast into the clouds and far from the city. Inside, they realized the assistant whose arm had been broken, was bleeding too much. The doctor tried to stabilize him went they realized his breathing apparatus had been broken in the run. They were both put in quarantine in a small room as they flew back to the Hive.


 Calista fell onto a seat and took off her mask. She was able to breath in calm, at last. She saw the clouds through the windows and asked herself if the mission had been worth it, if they the dead assistant had died for nothing and if both quarantined men were going to be ok. And then she fell asleep, never answering these questions.

viernes, 10 de octubre de 2014

Signore Mazzanti

Fyodor Mazzanti, was born to an odd couple: an italian father and a russian mother. He was born in Kazan in 1916, but a year after his family fled to the west. They eventually came back to his father's hometown, Laurenzana, locate in southern Italy.

The kid, born between communism and fascism, grew up with a lot of love around: his mother, an only child, gave him all that she could, including a younger brother. His father always came from work with candies or toys.

Lorenzo, his brother, and him, grew up happy. That was the most important. But their parents suddenly became enthralled by the governing party in the country. Soon enough, they were attending rallies and supporting causes they did not fully understand.

When he turned eighteen, he had the chance to leave the country to study and their parents wanted him to go to Berlin. They said the german language was the future and that he and Lorenzo should know all about it.
But Fyodor felt his place was in Italy, as his love for this country, his adoptive one, grew exponentially since he was a little boy. He wanted to study history or art. His parents finally accepted his decision and he went on to live alone in small flat above a bakery in Rome, in the Trastevere district.

Lorenzo turned eighteen the same year Italy entered the war against the Allies and he didn't let his parents say a word: he went to Sicily and boarded a ship from there, on to New York. Fyodor would only know about him until five years later.

The war ravaged the continent and it was worst for the Mazzanti family towards the end, when the allies bombarded cities all over Italy. Fyodor himself was saved by a lover, who kept him a little bit too long in her room, saving his life as a bomb hit his house.

In Laurenzana, his parents were safe and received the American troops by asking them how to get in touch with their son. No one knew how to help, as communications to the outside had been cut for months. And both mother and father suffered for the faith of their children.

As soon as the government fell, Fyodor travelled to his former house and found that no one was there. His family had disappeared, leaving no word or letter behind. He returned to Rome, finished his studies and went on to work with the Capitoline Museums. They were gathering a lot of damaged paintings and sculptures from every single part of the country.

He was happy for his job and now lived in a very nice house, near his first flat in the city. Every day he got to see great pieces of artwork. But at the same time, he thought of his family, the face of his mother when cooking a brilliant new dish, his father when carving a nice piece of wood and his brother Lorenzo playing with his favorite toy train.

He had looked for them all over, visiting Laurenzana often but he found very little information. A neighbor told him they had left after the American arrived, towards Sicily. Fyodor went to Palermo but the trail died there as no one knew if they had ever boarded a ship or if they had decided to go back.

Death was not an option, he thought. He felt of them as alive as every single moment he wasn't working, restoring old pieces in the museum or traveling for them, he went on to check every fact he knew about his parents and his brother.

He had even visited New York a couple of times, looking for his parents. He knew that was useless as many immigrants had changed their names when arriving through Ellis Island but he insisted without success.

Fyodor grew bitter because of this. His family had given him so much love as a child and then they just vanished. He was a grown man but he missed them all and not knowing anything about what had happened, was just heartbreaking.

It had affected his love life too. Women grew tired of trying to make him fall in love with them as he never paid much attention. His work was the thing that distracted him from the pain of having been left alone. Besides, he was afraid that if he had a child, he would do the same. He couldn't think of breaking someone into pieces like that, he just didn't want to do what his parents did to him.

In 1978, after more than thirty years on the job, he finally decided to step out to give room for a new generation. His eyesight was everything for him and now he was slowly loosing it. The staff of the museum made a party, with cake and champagne and all kinds of songs and music. It was the first time in years that he cried, in public no les. People thought it was because of his job, but that wasn't the cause.

During those years he had a dog called Caesar. A gray great dane that just loved him. As tall and strong as he had always being, it was the perfect pet for Fyodor.

Now, with all the time in the world, he decided to try one last time and he looked for the help of an institution to track down his family. He gave them all the information he had and they told him to be patient, to wait and that sometimes, nothing happened.

Fyodor waited for almost fifteen years until a young woman called Maria, called him to tell him she had found his file and that she had been investigating. She had found her brother. When he asked about his parents, she said they had died years ago in California.

Weak but now on the verge of finally getting answers, he flew to San Francisco and, with Maria, visited the cemetery were his parents were buried. He cried and cried, kneeling and just crying, without saying a word. Maria could only stand there.

The day after that, they went to Las Vegas. Lorenzo had become the owner of a fast food restaurant chain and now was retired in a house on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
They hugged and cried together and Maria smiled, as she was happy to reunite family.

Fyodor went back to Rome after a week and asked Lorenzo to visit him sometime.

Just a few weeks after that, he went to take a stroll around his neighborhood with Caesar. They sat in a park bench and watched people go by. And he then fell asleep. And died there, finally at peace.