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

lunes, 22 de mayo de 2017

A wedding

   Once he stepped into the room, the sound of laughter and talk suddenly died down. As he walked to an empty spot in one of the tables, people stared and some even held their breath, as if what they were seeing was something they would have never imagined. The walk he did from the entrance to the table only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed it had lasted for hours. Once he sat down people started talking and the noise in the room resumed after a while, as if nothing had happened.

The man’s name was Peter and he had come to the wedding alone. In the table he sat on, everyone was looking at him although it was obvious they were trying not to do so. They were failing miserably, as he felt their eyes probe him as if he was robbing something instead of just grabbing the napkin on the side of the plate. He was saved by the food, because the waiters started entering the room just in time. They served every single person a small salad and a small cup of soup.

 Peter liked the taste of both things and he specially liked that people were not looking at him anymore. It was a relief that they had stopped piercing his body with their eyes. Instead, they were busy making a critique of the taste of the food and the portions. In every table, at least one person was mentioning how in other weddings the food had been much superior. Also, they gave what they though was advice in order to improve the flavor of the dishes, even when most didn’t know how to boil water.

 Peter ate in silence. Once he had decided to go to the wedding, he had been conscious that he wouldn’t really be able to talk to anyone or share a single honest opinion. He was clearly the most polemical guest in the room but he wasn’t the most ungrateful at all. Maybe everyone knew his past and judged him for it, even some thought he didn’t deserved a seat in the event, yet there he was among all of the, having much more decency in one arm than most had in their entire bodies.

 With the salads and soups mostly finished, the waiters came back. It was as if a flock of penguins had suddenly entered the premises. They were agile and very fast, as they grabbed the plates and carried them out of the room. Only a few minutes after the last empty cup had left, they entered again, this time with the main dish. It was a combination of seafood and ground food, if you will. It was served in rather small portions but it came with another salad, this one smaller, as well as a plate with a baked potato filled with cream and ham. It looked very good.

 They waiters also filled everyone’s glasses with champagne. They would have to make a toast later on, before the cake was cut. Of course, please went at it again, criticizing the food. Some said the fish was raw and others thought it was certainly overcooked. Same with the other meats. Others complained they had received a smaller potato than everyone else and some people even declared theirs had nothing inside. Of course, many complained about the champagne, demanding for a waiter to come in order to ask them for the bottle.

 Peter enjoyed his food a lot. Even without talking, everything was really beautiful. Suddenly, it dawned on him that all of it could have been for him, if things had lasted longer and if love had been a little bit better built. Because every single person knew that Peter had been involved with one of the people getting married and that’s why every single time they looked at him, they followed it by a whisper and questions he knew were not the kindest or of any of their importance, to be honest.

 He tried not to listen to his own head and kept on eating, enjoying the fact that he had at least been invited, which was much more than he could have ever imagined happening, as there was no need to do so. But they had done it and he had complied because he wanted to show everyone that everything was ok, that he wasn’t dying or anything because he wasn’t the one in the altar. To be clear, he didn’t knew if an altar had been involve because he had missed the ceremony on purpose.

 There was no way he would make a scene inside a temple. He did thought about going but at the last minute he decided against it. Instead, he would make it to the party. However, he never intended to be late and make such and entrance but that’s how it happened and the only one he could blame was the taxi driver for being so slow. He even thought of talking to the couple and apologize for that, but he ultimately thought it was better not to fan the fire that people carried around.

 His baked potato was very hot so he decided to leave it alone for a while. The shellfish were excellent, or maybe that was because he hadn’t eaten any for a long time. The other two pieces of meat were a small pork cutlet, which tasted really good with a sauce they had made only for it, and a piece of veal that many people decided to leave on the plate. Peter ate it and realized that it hadn’t been properly cooked. This time, the murmurs around the tables were right. As he prepared to eat his potato, it was taken away by the waiter flock that came and went in a second.

 The next thing they brought were the small plates for the dessert. Peter could actually see that some carts were being pulled into the room. They had a large selection of small desserts on them, so you could choose any to join cake on the plate. Most people were looking at the selection but that was exactly on the opposite way they should have been looking. They were warned about this with the sound of a fork being lightly banged against a glass full of champagne, done by the groom.

 Everyone’s face denoted boredom. That part was often the most boring one in any marriage ceremony. But the sad faces all around weren’t enough to make the groom refrain from doing what coupled had done for generations in a wedding: telling everyone about their love in that small public forum, as if they had to justify what they felt. And many people, in this case, felt exactly that was what was happening, especially when they noticed the presence of Peter once again.

 The groom talked about how beautiful the bride was. He told everyone, with jokes and a charming but used sense of humor, how he had being the lucky guy to ask such a beautiful woman out. It was childish at times, but ultimately effective, as many people had started crying for no apparent reason. The speech wasn’t sentimental, maybe romantic. It was short and people erupted in cheers but no one really knew if it was because he hadn’t talked for hours or if they were really touched by his words.

 Then, the bride spoke for more than thirty minutes. Granted, she looked quite beautiful in her white dress and whoever had helped her with makeup had done a fabulous job. But her voice was monotonous, and people were almost sleeping by the time she finally ended her speech. People applauded but clearly because they wanted to be mice to the person getting married. She was proud of herself and didn’t seem to realize she had bombed so hard. Love had made her stupid.

 They cut the first piece of the cake and, after fake laughs, apiece was delivered to every single person in the room. The cake was not good or bad; it was just fine, like the couple on the main table.

 Before attracting more attention, Peter ate his cake with haste and then left the room. He grabbed some macaroons on his way out and ate them as he cried on the taxi back home.

domingo, 24 de abril de 2016

Turning point

   He walked towards the window and noticed the void was only a few centimeters from his feet. He saw the city, its lights and many smaller figures moving from one side to the other. They could be seen because of the traffic lights and the cars. He imagined, or rather, he asked himself, if maybe there was someone in that entire city that could understand how he felt or what his life was like. But the answer was probably a negative one. He was alone and he had to learn to embrace that or suffer for the rest of his life.

 In his hand, he had the syringe ready to be used. He pressed his hand around it but, somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to do what he always did: inject the client with it so he would sleep longer and then have all the time in the world to rob him of every penny he had. After all, it wasn’t all about two coins. It was about a lot of money that couldn’t be traced once he had done what he knew best. But he just couldn’t do it.

 He was completely naked in front of that window, with a powerful drug in his hand and just couldn’t be the person he had been for so long. Suddenly a couple of tears escaped his eyes and then he knew what happened was really bad. He never cried and it was obvious he wasn’t crying for the guy that was sleeping in he bed. That man had it all and couldn’t complain about a single thing in his life. He cried because if he couldn’t do what he always did, he was done.

-       What’s up cutie?

 A tremor traveled all along his spine. The man on the bed was no longer sleeping.

-       I’m good. I wanted to feel the cold a bit.
-       Ok. Are you staying?
-       Whatever you want.
-       Come here.

 So he had to go back to bed, dropping the syringe in the dark and hoping he would be able to find it afterwards. It would be a disaster for him if someone else saw it and started asking questions.

 In bed, he had to wait until the client fell asleep again but apparently that wasn’t the mood he was in. The moment he got into bed, it seemed the guy had developed a new set of hands. And the younger man didn’t enjoy it one bit. He wanted to pick up his things and leave as soon as possible. But the only way to let the guy do. So he did.

 After thirty minutes or so, the man was tired again and felt asleep right away. The boy got out of bed, went to the bathroom to clean himself and to clean his face too and he discovered that he hated the person that looked at him from the mirror. There had been a separation between the version of him that did whatever was necessary to survive and the him that just wanted to be left alone in order to live in peace. They had lived in peace for long but now it seemed that conflict was coming back to his head.

 He got out of the bathroom and looked for the syringe with the light of his cellphone. It had fallen under the bed. He removed the needle and put it all in an internal pocket of his jacket. He put on his clothes in silence and got out as soon as possible, not before grabbing a couple of bills from the guy’s wallet. The fact that he wasn’t going to do the same thing to him that he did to all others, didn’t meant he didn’t need any money.

 Once outside the hotel, he walked to the nearest metro station and wait on the platform for ten minutes until one of the late trains arrived. There were many people inside for such a late hour but mainly drunks, prostitutes, junkies and many other beautiful flowers of the night. He sat down near the door and realized he was very tired and just wanted to rest. Even his awful bed would be perfect, even in that awful shared apartment in which the other guys living there were more like pigs than men.

 He reflected on his life, thinking he really hated must about it. He would have wanted a nice place with a big bed and a nice mattress. He would have wanted to live alone and away from idiots, who made him have headaches every single day. He would have wanted to just live a private life away from any eyes that would want to ruin that, that would want to judge him for everything he had done.

 But that wasn’t possible. He was poor, even after having stolen so much money. Because there was always a bigger fish and that bigger fish demanded a piece of the earnings or it would do a lot of damage just because. And he had to pay the rent for that hellhole, he had to eat and pay for his metro card. Like any other human being, except he robbed men who were “defenseless”. He didn’t thought of it like that but, whatever.

 Once he got home, he locked the door, turn off the lights and put on some cotton on his ears in order not to hear anything from the outside. He wanted a moment to himself and that wasn’t going to happen if he heard the stupidities of the world outside of him. So he fell asleep soon and he slept for several hours, until he felt he had had enough of his bed. His body felt hurt somehow and then he remembered clients could be assholes so he didn’t give it a second thought.

 Before he could cross any of the idiots that lived with him, he put on some clothes and ran for the door. He bought breakfast with money from an earlier job and tried to eat as slow as he could, in order to enjoy the meal and also to make time go slower. Because if he went fast, night would come again and he didn’t wanted it to come because he was part of it and he had responsibilities there which he didn’t want to fulfill at all.

 He ate bacon, eggs, bread, ham and a cup of tea. It was much more than what he normally ate. Sometimes he would just have a granola bar or something like that. And other days, very bad days, he would stay in his bedroom because there was no money to eat and then he would have to deal with all the other guys shit, They would ask him for money or for drugs or whatever and he was sick to have to do that, dealing with them.

 It was a possibility to send them all to hell, but he really couldn’t do it because he knew what he was like when he lost control. He knew that if he started yelling or something, he couldn’t be stopped. And many times it was not only about what could come out of his mouth but also what he could do to others and himself, physically. He was a very violent man when he wanted to and that’s why he wanted to avoid people in general. They only pissed him off and that wasn’t good.

 After breakfast, he decided to go to a mall and just try to have a normal day, without so many worries. So he grabbed one of the bills he had stolen from his client the night before and promised himself to buy something with that. Maybe a t-shirt or at least an ice cream to enjoy the day. But after looking so many pieces of clothing and so much food, he felt more ill than ever. Somehow, he was worse than he thought.

 He found himself thinking about the man that he wasn’t able to rob and also about all the other that he had indeed robbed. And tried to make sense of all of that. He realized he had no idea how everything had gotten to that point, how it was that a young guy like him had to do such things to keep living. He knew the world didn’t give a shit about him but there had to be more to it than just that.

 Then, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned instantly, scared as he had being thinking and not paying attention to the people around him. For a minute, he thought it was a cop or a security officer. But it was just Nathan, the guy that charged him for what he did. He knew Nathan had come for more money but he had none. And he was done accepting that deal, because there was nothing he could take away from him anymore. No secrets, no revelations to make to anyone.

 His life was on a turning point but he had no idea if it was for the best or the worst.