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

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

No end


   As everyone celebrated on the streets and in their homes, Veronica wandered through the rubble trying to feel as happy as most people around her were. But it wasn’t possible or at least it was very hard to do so. Even smiling felt like a chore, like something you would do only to please people but not because you really felt it inside. There was a feeling of incompletion around, as if all the sacrifices of the war had not been enough to end every single type of hostility that many people harbored against one another.

 As she walked the streets, some lit and others not so much, she realized that the world after the war would be in chaos. Yes, everyone was cheering and celebrating right now, probably drinking stolen articles and launching fireworks that had been banned for so long. But after all of that happiness, a moment of truth and reflection would have to come and the atrocities of war would have to be addressed. For example, not everyone was on the same side, the winning side. Some people were not celebrating.

 Well, some of them were but just because they had to survive and keep on living. It was widely assumed that trials, of sorts, would emerge from the victorious side, condemning the losing side to many years in jail, banishment from the country or even death. Even if the maximum penalty had ever been enforced legally in the country, many of the victors would want the vanquished to be treated just as them treated others during the war. There were lots of executions, on the streets even.

 Veronica was actually just passing a street she knew very well, not only because it used to be a prime shopping spot before the war, but because many people were forced to stand in front of the former storefronts in order to be killed with guns. It was horrible to think about those moments, the images that would never going to leave anyone’s mind. That could never be overlooked, the fact that a large amount of the people now alive had killed at least one person over the last seven years.

 Everyone’s hands were tainted with blood; there wasn’t a single innocent, not even the children. They were used so many times to lure the kindness out of people, that all of their innocence had vanished. Many children were now celebrating the end of the war, just like adults. And the ones that were too small were orphans or just dead. Every single person had done something horrible during the war and now they chose not to remember that because it was a clear image of how disgusting and vile a human could get. So many atrocities in such a relatively short period of time.

 Veronica reached the gates of the Compound just as the night was darkest. She had to use a pocket lantern she had found days earlier, in order to go inside and check out the place for herself. The prison or camp or however you may call it, had been liberated only a few months before the end of the war but it looked as if it had happened many years ago. The place was covered in ash and debris, and the gates, doors and windows had been torn apart or had simply disappeared from sight.

 She walked from the entrance to a large yard area were she knew people had been selected. You see, not everyone was imprisoned in the same place. They had categories and each category had their own building in the premises of the Compound. The differences between each building were in the treatment given by the jailers. For example, former members of state entities and such would receive a better treatment there than homosexuals or blacks. Just the same as it had happened so many years ago, elsewhere.

 The Compound had surprisingly not been built by the losing side, as one would think. It had been built by the so-called winners, by the so-called heroes of the war. In some parts of the country, people were already designing statues for them to be put in every single park, in every single town. They had been the ones fighting for justice and freedom but they clearly didn’t respect their enemies’ rights at all. They were just as vile and vengeful as all the other people. They were not different.

 Veronica walked through the large yard in order to get to the only building that had been kind of spared by the last bombs the “enemy” had dropped from the sky. That was how the prison got its freedom. It hadn’t been an act of kindness. It was just the result of the last desperate attack from the would-be losers of the war. They had sent the few planes they still had and just bombarded the jail were their family members and friends had been imprisoned. They believed it was better to be dead that a prisoner.

 So pride made them act on that last move. And they succeed in destroying the prison and liberating some of their people from it. But only days later they would realize their days were counted and that their fate had already been sealed, well before the attack on the Compound. Veronica saw on the floor of the building some bone fragments, as well as fabric that used to be made into uniforms for the prisoners. There were also several metal plates and bowls, and a large assortment of cutlery. Maybe the prisoners had staged a mutiny as the bombs lit everything on fire.

 After a short time, she decided to leave the Compound through “the back door”, which was actually a large gap in the tall wall of the complex. She didn’t want to stay there too long in case the “winners” were patrolling the premises looking for someone to practice shooting with. She adjusted her backpack and walked on, towards very dark park covered with grand beautiful trees. The place was covered in shadows but even that way it felt like somewhere one would feel at ease.

 The park was one of the largest in the city and it was used to process many of the prisoners of the Compound. But apparently cold heads prevailed and no one ever really destroyed it on purpose or tore the trees down. Some of them had received damage from the bombs that were dropped in the nearby prison, but the building between the two sites had prevented the fire to really destroy the last green place in the city. It had been a miracle that most people were ignoring in that precise moment.

 Veronica walked along the central path of the park, hearing her steps on the stone and the wind blowing through the tree leaves. Everything felt so peaceful, and she was very glad to be there but even then she felt all of that could not be forever. She knew things were going to be bad for a while and she was alone and no one could just come and be with her. Her family had died during the war and those were not times of real friendship, just of convenient relationships that no one knew how long they would last.

 The best thing to do, maybe, was to leave the country altogether. It was a difficult choice to make and also a hard thing to achieve, but Veronica had nothing else to loose. She was carrying everything she owned on the backpack: some pieces of clothing and a couple of objects she had rescued from her former house. She had also stolen some food from a ruined supermarket, but that was it. She could easily walk her way towards the border and attempt to cross it. Or maybe get into a boat and sail away.

 Whatever she did, she had to do it quietly and carefully, as she had no intent of driving attention onto herself. No one was looking for her specifically, but everything around there was going to become very unstable and she knew that’s when unlikely things tend to happen the most.

 She decided to leave the city that night, taking advantage of most people celebrating the end of the war. As they raised glasses, told jokes, remembered family and friends, Veronica would banish into the night and attempt to forever disappear from that other night, one that would never end.

viernes, 15 de diciembre de 2017

Resistance and downfall

   When the dust settled, there was nothing to rally behind of, nothing to support us another day, not a rock or a person. There was nothing. When they blew it up, they destroyed everything we had believed in for so long. It was a strike deep in our hearts, resonating thousand of kilometers in every direction, where many others would also feel that hope had died and darkness had descended upon us to stay. We were in such disbelief, that they took advantage of our pain to come and destroy us.

 Those men and women were not the kind to take prisoners or to torture. They just killed every single person that tried anything against them and they had the best memory to ensure they would never forget how someone had wronged them. And that was what we had done. They had been the predominant power in the universe and we had tried to take them down, we had tried to stop them from making us penetrate into the abyss they wanted everyone to be in and they didn’t like us doing that.

 For a time, before all of this happened, we lived a life of relative peace and quiet. It would be a lie to day we all lived in harmony, because we didn’t. We just didn’t find interesting to disrupt someone else’s existence, unless it threatened our own. Our existence was not an easy one but we tried to make ends meet by using our wit and ability to cope with every single human thing that tried to tie our hands and prevents us from going forward. Maybe that’s how it started.

 At first, they were only a handful of people, but it started to grow exponentially when they made it into the media, into the information channels that every single intelligent creature used. You have to grant it to them: they used that in their best advantage and soon enough they rallied hundreds, then thousand of people in order to do what they wanted. It was one of those things you ignore at first but then they become so overwhelming and obvious, that you cannot just turn your head away.

 They started with fights and then with proper skirmishes. Now, we battle every so often with heavy artillery and our uniforms on, trying to change the tide one-way or the other. It has to be confessed that it doesn’t really seem to be working in anyone’s favor. We seemed to have stalled and it doesn’t seem like any of the sides knows where to look for the next step. However, with the destruction of our most sacred site, things will change in a new way, one that we haven’t yet seen and it’s very scary. Maybe they knew what to do all along and we were just pieces of a game.

 Being a prisoner is bad, of course, but we would prefer that option against the real one, the only one they give us: death. Facing that is not easy for all of us. Some have already decided they want to embrace it but others are too young or too afraid to actually walk into a battlefield and decide to die. So, when we were caught off guard by the destruction of our temple, they killed a big bunch of us but others ran towards the granite hills and hid there, moving through caves, trying to live another day.

 They eventually left, feeling there was no use in finding every single one of us to be killed. It’s obvious they realized that, without food, we wouldn’t be able to survive for long. And even if we did, such a small group of people had no power to overthrow the power hungry machine they had become. They were virtually unstoppable now and every other living being knew what they had to do in order to survive, and no other person could say anything about it, because we all wanted to keep living.

 The caves became our home and, as time passed, we were able to go outside and harvest foods we had never eaten before but we had to learn to enjoy them, for our sake. Many people had learned to grow other foods there and they also found water. In time, we had a small community that seemed to go unnoticed by the rest of existence. For a time, again, we were happy and we thought everything had gone back to what it was. We thought that, maybe, we had been given another chance.

 However, that was not the case. We were awaken one morning by the sounds of heavy artillery and then came the bombs. Our population was still small so two or three bombs easily killed most of our people. Those who weren’t killed, we tried to push them off for a while, in order to let others escape or maybe we thought someone was coming to the rescue, which didn’t make any sense at all. In time, they came through and the rest of our little group was almost completely destroyed.

 The only person that remained was I. Their leader in person came down to meet me and force me to bend the knee and sweat loyalty to him. He knew, very well, that it had been me who had started this whole thing; it had been my fault that so many brave men and women were now dead. It was my fault that our world had sunken into a deep darkness that would never go away. He knew how bad I felt about it all and he had come to make me say it out loud, not only to him but also to every other soldier on his side to hear. Because they had been on my side once.

 I did. I confessed my crimes and tried hard to redeem myself by asking forgiveness. But I didn’t ask him to forgive me; I did not ask that to his soldiers either. I was telling that to my people, to the ones that had been beside me for a long time and now they had paid with their lives. They had entrusted me with their faith and their lives and I hadn’t been able to correspond in any way, I had just grabbed their lives and used them as cards one uses in a cheap and lousy game of chance.

 As I cried, the man that had become the leader of the new world came to me, gave me his hand and carried me into his vessel. Inside, I was put on chains and treated like an animal, even worse. I was done and I wanted death to be forced upon me, but it seemed like he had finally realized that just death is not punishment enough. He wanted me to really need death, he wanted me to beg for it every single day of my life and he would be able to deny me that privilege.

 In time, I became something you cannot call a human anymore. I was much less than that. I was a shadow of everything mankind had ever amounted to. I just sat on my corner, in a dark cell, and thought about every single thing that had ever happened before my very eyes. There were happy moments but mostly fear and dread. I was haunted by the remains of the people I had failed to and the ones I had lead to their deaths. They blamed me and I could never disagree with them.

 I became increasingly weak and feeble, even to the point my mind started to go a little bit. The leader would come sometimes and watch me, ask me questions or just stare, as a disgusted costumer looks at a circus freak. He knew I wanted death and he would still deny it. There was something inside of him, something that remained from the past and seemed to be buried deep within him, some kind of grudge or maybe it was something completely different. I never really knew.

 Our vessel was destroyed one day, by armies that had been hiding and resisting the darkness that had befallen on the world. They had rallied, in silence, and their moment to attack had come in the exact moment I had been finally granted my death.


 I died anyway, but it was a different thing altogether. It was better. After all, it was them that needed to take revenge on me, after I had almost destroyed everything that they had tried to build. I had been the killer of their families and friends. So it was fair, in the end of the day, for them to kill me.

lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017

The past is always present

   The whole space between Planet B43 and its moon was a huge graveyard. Pieces of different sizes and different materials, floated all around, doing some sort of dance between the planet and the satellite. Some pieces did fall into one of the celestial bodies but no damages were done to intelligent life, as there was none in that section of space. The whole system had been deprived of that for a millennia and it was considered to be a sacred zone, not one to venture into lightly.

 The battle that had taken place only a few months back had been a consequence of miscalculations and a clear disrespect for anything that reeked to the past. Somehow, all the peoples in the galaxy had absolutely forgotten their roots, their common ancestry and history. That planet, which was now classified as empty, with only a letter and two numbers, had been one of the largest hubs in the past, gathering every kind of creature in its heart, making every single one of them feel welcome.

 The temples that were still scattered all over the surface of both celestial bodies were now covered in plants and moss. They had been the key to achieving peace a thousand or more years ago. It was a time when battles didn’t existed, no skirmishes were ever registered, and people tried to live without any kind of conflict. They talked. When they had differences, they agreed on meeting on the planet, which they called Takrut, and solve it there, with the help of other parties.

 There was something similar to a sense of community, even when civilizations would be separated by million of kilometers, of light years and planets and stars. Even with that inconvenience, all of these different creatures had the knowledge to gather and just share what they had all been given. Commerce was key during those times, and it was fair and it made senses to everyone involved in the transaction. No one felt they were taken advantage of or that were loosing somehow.

 The debris that now fell to the planet, sometimes fairly close to the ruins of those temples, was the proof that whole galaxy had fallen away from all that it had once held dear. The battle, which had begun in another sector, had burst into the system with fire and blood and screams, breaking the silence that for so much time had befallen those ancient tombs and sacred places. Respect had died a long time ago and there was no way to get it back, at least not with the current factions fighting each other over beliefs that were up for interpretation, nothing really factual.

A scout ship called Valiant was send to the cloud of ruins in order to try and rescue a piece of one of the ships that they needed in order to continue their fighting elsewhere in the galaxy. It was a piece of a memory bank that the pirates and smugglers would probably find to be of no importance. That’s why coming back after so long was not really a problem. Besides, not running into unwanted company was important, in order to maintain the mission a secret from everyone outside of their own group.

 The Valiant passed by the cloud but realized soon they wouldn’t be able to penetrate it. Even being a small ship, the Valiant could easily be hit by the large chunks of debris and that would leave them stranded on that sector for who knows how long and they certainly had no intention to do so. B23 was a country shrouded in rumors and tales of monsters and dark wizards. Not many people talked about worlds like those, except for mothers when trying to scare their children from doing something wrong.

 The crew of the Valiant decided it was wiser to send an AI unit to do the work. They were always very eager to help and they had no need to breath, so they were the perfect candidates to take a walk in space. A special rope was attached to their charging port to get them back after they had found the object they were looking for. The first unit was sent shortly after arrival but it was soon lost to a large chunk of metal that destroyed it. Its arms and legs floated away, as the rope was pulled in to use on another droid.

 The next one was able to locate the piece they were looking for but was then pierced through the chest by a bar made of different alloys. It had been travelling at top speed, so it was just like being stabbed with a spear or something. They also used other kinds of droids, less humanoid in aspect but faster and better responsible to the commands coming from the ship. It was one of those, a little droid called IC2, who was able to finally get the part they needed to get back to their command center.

 The droid was being pulled into the ship when another piece of wreckage cut its rope, leaving it only a few meters away from the Valiant. The ship tried to indicate the droid how to get into the ship by itself but a surprise visit by a group of pirate ships was enough to make the crew of the Valiant realize they needed to get to safety first and then try to rescue the droid. Before jumping out of the system, the scout ship ordered the little droid to hide among the debris and stay there until another ship came to pick him up. He understood his command and floated, waiting.

 He waited for a week and then for another week but no one would come. As small as he was, his artificial intelligence chip was very well developed, so much so that he could even do things that larger droids couldn’t. The fact that he didn’t really have arms and legs but tiny wheels and some hooks, made him the last resource for any mission, and he knew that very well. But after waiting for so long, he decided something had to be done in order to get the information back to the command center.

As a droid, his priority was to serve, so that’s what he was going to do. However, debris was very difficult to avoid, even for a small droid that was able to avoid being hit with relative ease. One single piece, the size of a little ball, was enough for him to lose his stability and hurl down into B23. Luckily, they had made him with metals that resisted entry through different kinds of atmospheres in the case of an emergency. It certainly came in handy as he fell from the sky towards the jungle.

 The small droid landed in a patch of jungle that seemed to have no trees or plants. The place was rather circular and, in a glimpse, he knew that was not a normal occurrence in the universe. Geometrical shapes rarely happened like that, so randomly and it such vast proportions. He decided to walk away from there and head toward some sort of building he could see peeking through the tallest trees of the jungle that was before him. Those were ancient ruins, something he already knew from his scanners.

  He crossed the jungle rolling through it; trying to avoid any puddles of water and paying close attention to the sounds of various creatures that were probably looking at him, wondering what it was that they were looking at. When the IC2 arrived at the building, he noticed it was a pyramid and that it had an entrance on the base, a rather large one. He decided it was the best place to wait for his owners, so he rolled into the building as fast as he could, not realizing a shadow had moved inside the cavernous entrance.

 When he realized that there was a creature there, it was too late for the little droid. A weapon, similar to an arrow, traverse the droid through what one would call its eye.  The creature, which was humanoid, bent down and grabbed the piece of memory bank the droid was holding.


 The human looked at the piece for a while and then decided to keep it for himself, putting it on a pocket beneath his cloak. He gave one final look to the destroyed droid and whispered something to him, in a language that hadn’t been heard in ages. After that, he disappeared into the shadows.

lunes, 7 de agosto de 2017

They speak to us

   If you stand in the bridge, you wouldn’t be able to see it. You have to walk south, by the great way. It’s a rather short walk. On the left bank, you will see a beautiful meadow plagued with trees that are not tall or especially beautiful. However, if you walk across the meadow, close to a wall that limits the growth of plants, you will see a small hill and three trees on top of it. The one with the straightest trunk, clean leaves, and no roots on sight, is the one I want to tell you about.

 Beneath that tree, a friend of mine was buried a long time ago. He was not especially strong or fit or brave. He was not particularly remarkable in any way. He was just my friend and that is the reason why that tree is so special to me. I’ve been there many times, at night and during the day, a few minutes and also several hours. And every single time I visit that place, I talk to my friend. Sometimes there is nothing to say, other times it’s different. It changes, as life happens to be.

 I like that meadow because the sunset look gorgeous from it, the golden rays from the sun seem to be touching your body in such a magical way. Even when it rains, the green field looks as if it had escaped a book of fantastical stories. It’s the kind of place where, in stories, ladies and lords encounter beautiful white unicorns and heroes lift a sword out of a stone. I wonder if thing like that have actually happened there but maybe it’s best not to know for certain and just imagine.

 It feels good to be there, laying on the grass and just hearing the wind caressing the greenery. Flowers are scarce but when you find one, it is sure to be one of the most beautiful botanical being your eyes have ever seen. So many colors and such beautiful designs. They make you realize how perfect nature is and how intricate life can be in order to create things that have apparently little to no value. That’s how simpleminded and stupid humans are, because we just do not understand.

 I’m not saying I do understand but, when I’m there, I do feel different than usual. Sometimes I feel my muscles are stronger than ever and some other times I feel it is my mind that has grown one full size, in intellectual terms. I have attributed this particular feeling to the fact that my friend is there, beneath the tree or maybe inside of it. I have a special connection with that place, that goes far beyond it’s location or the many ways the sun touches the leaves and the rain flows down the small hills. It’s just something that I will never be able to understand or explain.

 I never go to two of my favorite places at once but I do have another natural space where I like to relax my aching bones. It’s a prairie, many hours away by walking from the meadow. It’s on the outskirts of civilization and maybe that’s the reason why it feels so special. It might also be the fact that many great people died there a long time ago and the place became a graveyard, although not on purpose. There’s not a sign labeling it as such and there are not tombstones to read.

 You feel the presence of thousands of soul when you enter the prairie. That one, different from the meadow, is filled with flowers all over. As trees are scarce, flowers grow on the ground, big as the fists of a mighty warrior. The colors are unimaginable if one has never been there and the sound of many birds creates a wall of sound that no scream or weapon can pierce. It is very beautiful but it can also be a little bit too much, if the person doesn’t know how to handle it.

 I’ve gone there for many years, from a very young age. Family members were buried there for generations and I feel that my body will also lay beneath the many flowers of the prairie. It’s not a nice thought on my head, but it comforts me that, at the very least, my final resting place could be that beautiful place full of all many of the things that people in other places don’t really have anymore. Birds and flowers are considered wild nowadays and people don’t like that too much.

 There are no hills, no real elevations on that never-ending prairie. There’s just a road on one side and a road on the other. The rest is grass and flowers and birds’ songs. Nothing much besides that. I relax on the meadow but not on the prairie. The prairie makes me think too much sometimes, about my own mortality and about the many things I have yet to do in this life. It makes me feels I have little time, which is true, but I suddenly hear the clock ticking and it’s unbearable.

 When I go, I only stay for a couple of hours and then leave without a prayer or a word. I don’t talk to anyone there, even if a good part of my family’s bones has fed the flowers that live there. I don’t feel comfortable or happy there. But I don’t feel sad or persecuted. It’s just a very strange feeling of not being quite there somehow… I don’t understand it and I just go there when I feel I need to pay my respects, which happens when I take the road north in order to get home after several days of hard labor. I go because I have to, in a certain way, not because I want to.

 My final spot is not very far from home. I live in a beautiful mountain, which oversees the most amazing green valley you have ever seen. Only a small amount of farms break a beautiful natural landscape. The sound of the stream is the one that always tells me I’m only a few minutes away from seeing the faces of my family. When I pass the rushing waters, I can almost feel their skin on my hands, their perfume on my noise and their happy laughs on my ears. It really is home.

 When I’m there, I often take my family to the other side of the mountain. It’s a bit colder and rockier than the place we live in but somehow I really like it. It happens to be the border that separates our country, if one can call it that, from the rest of the world. Beyond the rocks, you can only see the tallest and greenest trees in existence. They make a kind of fabric that extends for several kilometers and then some more. Water can be heard but not seen and animals are the only ones populating it.

 There are no roads that cross it. No one really dares to go through the maze that is the forest. Some daring neighbors love to go there in the summer to pick up grapes, the wild kind, that grow on the outskirts. The yare very sweet and have a beautiful purple color and kind smell. However, wolves have been known to attack people that stay there for too long. It is not a place for humans to thrive. But it’s nice to look at all those leaves from above, while having a warm drink.

 I enjoy the view alone or with my family. We spread mother’s ashes there some three years ago and I still remember how the wind carried the dust the deepest parts of the forest. I stayed there, waiting for the cloud that was my mother to fall on top of the trees but the wind kept on carrying it away, farther and farther away from everything that woman had ever known. It made me think about her and about every single person I had ever met that was not in this world anymore.

 Those are my favorite places on this Earth. They are so different the one from the other but they do share the fact that I feel my people on them, I feel their hearts and minds and, certainly, they souls. They guide me still in this wretched world.


 I know I will become one of them someday. It might be today or tomorrow or in several years. But I know it will happen. In a very strange way, it calms me to know that they are going to be there, on the other side. And I will still be able to visit all my favorite spots.