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

viernes, 15 de junio de 2018

Trip to the city


   The smell of books was overwhelming but soothing at the same time. The rows and rows of books stacked to the ceiling, stood there still forever, as the sunlight came in through the big windows and caressed different parts of them. It was a beautiful place that seemed to be miles away fro many sound that could be caused in the world. Only a very low-pitch murmur could be heard, caused by people flipping pages or gently breathing as they immersed themselves into the worlds described in their books.

 Martina walked towards the center of the gigantic room and tried to appreciate the beauty of the place from there. Sadly, it could not be done. It was way too big and with many hallways and corners to see it all at once. So she walked to a metal staircase instead and ascended to the second level, which had been built all around the edge, enabling views over the first floor were people were granted access to the library and the books. The view from there was much better but there was still a lot to explore.

 However, Martina was not there to explore the place. She was there to look for a specific book. She had the name of it in a small piece of paper she had in her pocket, given to her by her father. He needed it in order to complete a paper he was writing for the university he worked on. It was only to check some facts and maybe give a bit more of information to the reader. He had sent his daughter to this mission because she wasn’t doing much at home, as the summer holidays had recently begun.

 At first, she thought it would be very boring to go to a library. After all, they were not known to be the best places to have any kind of fun. Besides, she had to walk to the metro station and then take the train to downtown and then walk once more, this time towards the library building. It was quite a trip from her home. Such a long trip it was that, her father, had given her some money to pay herself some lunch after she had grabbed the book. However, he had asked for her to come home “as soon as possible”.

 That was all before she had seen the beauty of the place, of its main room at least. Because, according to a sign outside of the main door, there were lots of different rooms, further divided in sections. She had entered the largest one but the truth was that she had no idea if the book she was looking for was there. Martina had just been pushed inside by a feeling that she had the moment she saw the very tall windows and the sun entering in the most beautiful way. It took her a while to realize that she had a mission to accomplish and that her father was waiting for him back at home.

 She descended the metal staircase and almost ran towards the main counter. It was obviously not a thing people should do because a couple of people raise their heads only to look at her disapprovingly. Martina slowed down and almost tiptoed the rest of the way. When she got to the counter, she waited for one of the ladies that worked there to notice her. As she did, she saw a weird looking kid come into the room and walk straight into a dark corridor to the left. He was wearing strange clothes and what looked like makeup.

 One of the ladies interrupted the moment and Martina just passed her the piece of paper her father had written on. The woman moved her glasses a bit, as if she needed to make out what she was reading. The woman did not say a word and Martina had no idea what to say. There was a very uncomfortable silence, and that’s was in a place were silence is pretty much the norm. The woman then turned around and started using a computer, probably looking for the book’s location in the massive collection of the library.

 Again, Martina had time to turn around and look at the rows and rows of tables, where people were reading and trying to study. It was kind of amazing how some of them were reading only one book, in some cases one of the most popular novels in existence, and how others had a huge stack of them next to their main read or a laptop. Martina smiled because places like those were almost extinct at it was nice to see that they kept going on, no matter what happened with life and technology in the world.

 The woman came back from her computer and told Martina that book was a very unique exemplary and that a special permit had to be granted. Martina started getting worried but the woman asked her if it was possible for her to call her father, who they would talk to in order to make the permit that morning. Martina grabbed her cellphone and called him, passing him on to the lady. They talked for a long time, which wasn’t very nice for Martina, as she was already getting hungry and her cellphone battery was not eternal.

 When the woman finished, she told Martina that her father would have to talk to the manager of the library too. They were kind of doing that right then, so she would have to wait for a while until the permit was approved. When Martina was about to ask how much time that would take, the lady only said “In an hour” and started talking to another person. Martina was a bit surprised by that attitude but decided to make the best of it and have something to eat before coming back for the damn book. She was already thinking of a big subway sandwich when she noticed the kid she had seen before.

 He was coming out of the dark corner he had entered. Martina now noticed he was wearing something resembling a cape. He apparently felt her eyes on him because he stared for a bit, until she decided to move on and walk out of the building. The kid passed her on the stairs outside and almost ran down the street. Martina stayed there for a bit, both because she was thinking about where the subs place was located but also wondering what that kid’s deal was. He looked very suspicious and way too young to be that.

 She remembered the place was only one block away, so she walked slowly and enjoyed the sun hitting her head. She noticed then that the library was a bit colder than the outside, probably because of all the marble and other stones that had been used for the construction of the building. As she got near the restaurant, Martina tried to remember if she had ever been inside the library before, but she somehow could not remember. It was as if accessing those files in its head was not possible.

 Inside the restaurant, Martina bought one of the biggest subs, with everything on it. She asked for the spicy sauce and potato chips with tomato flavor as a side. Instead of soda, she asked for an iced tea. After paying, she took her tray to a small table by the window and sat down there to have a view of the people passing by and the sun moving along the front parts of the building and over the sidewalk. The city could be very nice sometimes, even if she didn’t get very excited to be there often. Maybe that could change.

 As she bit her sub for the first time, and then cleaned the sides of her mouth with a napkin, Martina saw the kid with a cape walking on the other side of the street. He had just come out of a small store. In the front it said “Mystical treats” and it was adorned with many candles and painted all in black. It looked like a very spooky place for a kid that age (maybe ten or twelve). The fun part was, Martina thought as she took another bite, that no one else seemed to be noticing the kid with the cape. As if he was invisible or something.

 It was then when Martina realized something. The same thing had happened in the library. She had been the only one looking at the kid there too and he looked quite surprised and even angry when Martina stared at him. It was as if he was not very used to that happening to him.

 As she sipped some iced tea, Martina stopped and left her food on the tray. The kid was still on the other side of the sidewalk, in front of another store: “Mirror Wonderland”. But that was not the most surprising part. The fact that the kid had no reflection on any of the mirrors in the storefront was.

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2018

To vanquish fear


   Trying clothes was one of those things that Rebecca had never really liked about going out to a mall, whether it was with her friends or her family. She would always see something cute that she would love to wear herself, but wouldn’t be able to bring herself to try it on and least of all buy it. Something just prevented her from actually trying to change, even when she really wanted to make something for her that would maker her at least a little bit more interesting, not only for men but also for everyone in general.

 She had never been the kind to talk to strangers or just initiate a conversation in the line of the grocery store. It was very difficult to find the right moment and the right words and apparently the right person to that with. And when she finally decided to do it, people would have moved on and she would already be out, walking home or something. Rebecca would always blame it on her being slow and not as smart as other people, but the reality of it was, and she knew it very well, that she was just too shy and insecure.

 Her parents had tried for years to get her out of her shell, almost pushing her to do different extracurricular activities in order to discover things she could be good at or that could help her relate better with people. She tried cooking and playing various sports, as well as knitting and dancing and also horseback riding and even volunteering to help those in need. She did all of them for some time and then quit when she realize she wasn’t really getting anything out of any of those activities, only frustration.

 After every single failure, she would go back home and stay in her room for hours and days, sometimes crying for being such a weird kid but then realizing she didn’t really care about other people and then taking on hobbies that could work with her being alone like drawing and writing. The only things she would ask her parents to buy for her would be pencils in every single color in existence, as well as notebooks and, once, a better laptop to keep a copy of everything she did just in case she needed it.

 For a while, she was able to just to that and come to school almost running in order to keep drawing and writing. Her parents were busy most of the time so, even if they had been worried at first because of her lack of skills with others, they soon realized that they had to be grateful their daughter was having such safe and creative hobbies, rather than causing problems for others or for herself. So they were happy buying her whatever she said she needed for her arts and they never doubted her skills again. However, it would soon be all for nothing because of the big changes that happened afterwards.

 As everyone knows, the Plague started its expansion about a year ago and in a matter of days, several millions had died suddenly and others had been severely deformed and turned into creatures without a proper mind. They had no thoughts of their own, nothing that could relate them to the people that had been before. They just lived, if that could be called living, to wander the world and attack those that the Plague had not killed in the first wave. The survivors moved around often, avoiding their former families and friends.

 Rebecca had been one of the few survivors of that cataclysm. It was very strange but, for a long while, she had been completely oblivious about the whole thing. Not only because she spent her days in her room, drawing and writing about all the things that came into her mind, but also because the Plague had expanded at the beginning of summer, meaning she had less reasons to be outside or wander around town. Rebecca enjoyed the sun more when she could be as away from it as she possibly could.

 She was already seventeen when everything happened. The day she heard shots outside and people screaming was the first one when she realized something was going on. She had been in her room for at least a week. Rebecca had learned to cook for herself a long time ago, as her parents would often be at work, so she had not missed them or needed them for anything. But the day the shots were fired, was the same day she ran out of pages on her favorite notebook, which had a beautiful Japanese design on the cover.

 Normally, the girl would ask her mother or father to go to the shopping mall and buy a new one but she wasn’t able to find them at all that they. She waited at home all day but they never came in. So she looked for their offices phone numbers and then things got even stranger because the phone wasn’t working. It was obvious that something very bad had happened because when night came, the lights suddenly went out and they never came back again. She was very scared and decided to stay in her room.

 She did so for a whole day until she heard shots again and then more screams and then silence. Rebecca was terrified and in need of her parents. It was true that she had never been really that good with people but she realized that her parents had been essential in her becoming at least a functional human being. She didn’t love being with them and she felt bad for that because she knew children were supposed to love their parents and she had never felt that. Until, she was alone. Until she had been forced to realize how dire her situation was without them. She cried herself to sleep that second night.

 By the third day, she came down to the kitchen and decided to pack every single piece of food she could find on a bag. She would carry that bag to her room and then survive whatever was happening in there. As she put everything on a suitcase that her father would often use for business trips, she realized she had never thought on turning on the television or the radio in order to know what was happening. She was about to do so but then she felt stupid because the electricity had stopped working two days ago and she knew that.

 Rebecca felt very stupid and realized filling a suitcase with crappy food was not going to save anyone from anything. If she wanted to know what was happening, and it was probably best that she did, it was imperative for her to step out of the house and confront the world, once again. She climbed the stairs fast and looked out the window, something she rarely did. There was no one on the street and no sounds could be heard. If there was a perfect time to come out of her house, that was it.

 She emptied the backpack she used to go to school and packed in some clothes and things she would need outside like a flashlight and batteries, some of the crappy food from the kitchen, a Swiss army knife her father kept in a drawer and a tiny bottle of pepper spray that her mother had indicated her on how to use, in the eventuality that a man would try to do something inappropriate to her or someone mugged her on the street. Of course, she had never found use for any of those things, until now.

 When ready, she slowly walked towards the front door of the house and opened the door with doubt. She was not as scared of what might have happened in the world, as she was from the exterior in general. She took a deep breath and slowly but surely walked beyond the front side of her house. Rebecca stopped for a moment and looked behind, wondering if she would ever go back there but she knew it was better not to ask too many questions, at least when she was so insecure about everything in the world.

 Rebecca started walking again and, in minutes, she was deep inside her neighborhood. Contrary to a normal day of summer, the streets were very empty and the sun was only heating up the cars that had been left outside. There were no corpses to see, so she was optimistic.

 She stopped being that when she got to the supermarket her family visited. A group of people was gathered in front of the door. She doubted for a minute but then, knowing she had to be brave, she yelled at them. She had vanquished part of her fears, just as a bunch of zombies looked at her, licking their dry lips.

lunes, 28 de mayo de 2018

Dragon Valley


   The real treasure of the mountains was hidden beyond the highest peaks, in a very difficult to reach valley. The water there was the purest in the world and those who went there had, in general, no intention of going back. The monastery of the valley of the Dragon was the crown jewel of the mountain range, covered in gold leaf and constructed for thousands of years, with the help of every single monk that had ever arrived there to dedicate his or her life to the cause of enlightenment and knowledge.

 Men and women were allowed in the temple and they were not segregated in any way. Actually, people of every single ethnicity had at one point lived there as a monk. It was a welcoming community, who had no interest in the personal lives of their people. They only lived to achieve the highest state of knowledge and compassion. They believed humanity existed to learn all that it could and to teach others about the wonders of the universe. They thought that teaching and learning were the pillars of any civilized society.

 That’s why, once in a lifetime for every single monk, they had to live the monastery and journey to the outside world in order to teach somewhere whatever they thought people had to learn. Some went to the villages in the outskirts of the mountain range. Meanwhile, others were more adventurous and traveled further, to enormous cities and remote towns where they felt they could make a real connection with people. Each one decided the destination on his or her own, no obligations attached, except for one.

 They always had to come back. The life of the monks of the Valley of the Dragon was forever tied to the monastery. After a year outside, they were obliged to come back and dedicate the rest of their lives to further learning and teaching, in the form of writing books or painting illustrative art. They could also help restoring the building, as it was getting very old or they could even attempt to take care of the few crops and animals that they had in that remote space so far into the mountain, so high up too.

 Most of the monks never had a problem with coming back to their monastery. After all, it was there where they had felt the ray of enlightenment for the first time and that was a sensation no one could really forget or dismiss so easily. That’s why they felt compelled to go back and keep helping their fellow monks and humanity in their quest to be more cultured and aware of the wisdom that was in all things. However, they had been various exceptions of monks not coming back the moment they were supposed to, which was dealt with in the most sensitive but also serious way their community could.

 They would send another monk to the place were the person that didn’t want to go back was and they attempted to talk to them in order to understand why they want to stay in the outside world. They would hear the complaints and the thought of their fellow brothers and sisters and then they would try to make them realize how all of their fears came from places of insecurity and not from any hatred or ill will against their faith. After such a profound conversation, most runaway monks would come to their senses and head back home.

 But yes, they were very few that even after the conversation had no intention of going back. Maybe they had remembered what they had missed from the outside world and they just wanted to experience all of that more permanently. Complaints of that nature were unfounded as the monastery had found a way to use technology in their own advantage, for example protecting the most ancient texts with the help of very advances machines and using the internet to further their cause and connect with others seeking the same goal.

 The monastery had actually been in contact with several universities in the world and they would often send their monks to those places in their year of teaching, in order to exchange ideas and learn from others who were also seeking the answers in nature. It was mutually beneficial and it was an experience that could make a person grow beyond his or hers wildest dreams. Maybe even love would be born from such exchanges and the monastery welcomed it with open arms. They were not celibate.

 In recent years, the monastery had allowed the construction of small huts all around the Dragon Valley in order to accommodate some families that had decided to live there permanently. Life was much simpler, filled with hard work but with a sense of being able to actually help people in a meaningful way. That’s why every monk could decide when and where to go for his teaching year. It was left open to their choices in order to let them feel their way through life, not based on what others said.

 However, the place was still remote. Technology had also been used in order to install disruptors in the vicinity of the mountains, in order for satellite imagery to be unavailable for the whole area and to render high-tech equipment obsolete if someone wanted to find the valley through “easier” means. Whoever wanted to join the order had to do it with conviction, by foot and with effort. It couldn’t be in any other way. Men, women and children were all equals in that way and it happened to be the best way to make a proper selection of who deserved to be there and who didn’t.

 Dragon Valley was therefore a small fragment of the world that most people had never seen or even heard of in their lives. Sometimes it sounded like a myth or a legend, and people would even dismiss it as fictional. That wasn’t a problem for the people that lived there, at all.

 They would live their lives trying hard to actually have something to show for after years of studying and learning from the world around them. They tried not to just be here, doing things, but actually trying to hear the world and also speaking back to it. Their lives were always filled with purpose.

lunes, 16 de abril de 2018

Every day is a raining day


   Every day is a raining day. Or at least that’s what it seems like these days. A storm follows another storm, which follows one more after that. There are only a few hours each day for people to get from one place to the other without being drenched in water. The rest of the time is almost impossible to look beyond oneself. There’s this mist that accompanies the rain, a strange vapor that seems to set in whenever water comes down pouring and those are the things some people thrive in.

 Not most but some. Some like to live in the dark, in alleys and dimly lit corridors. They even fear the light and what it brings, the people it lets into their lives. They’d rater stay in the shade with the other creatures of the darkness, as it is more comfortable for them and for the dealings they do with others like them. We all know what happens in those places, in those corners of the world we never really see but that we can imagine, with the distorted help of media, such as movies and television shows.

 The truth is that the darkness is way darker and grittier than we think. It’s not just about ugly people doing ugly things. It’s about every single kind of person doing things that we cannot even imagine. It’s about their lives, taking a turn for the worse and having to head for those shadows in order to survive, probably doing things that we think we would never do. But we haven’t fallen to the darkness, not yet anyways. We don’t even fear that happening because we feel it will never happen to us.

 But it does, all the time and everywhere. There are people right now; doing things they have to do in order to survive the day, maybe even to get some money to have something to eat. It won’t be a nice meal, a complete set of vegetables and proteins. It will most likely be something not very sanitary but cheap enough to sustain a body and a soul for a little longer. It’s what they have and what they can afford. And most of the times, they don’t even care. They just need the fuel to keep going.

 Eating is not a priority in their lives. Some of them don’t even do it often and they have lost all taste for things that they may have loved in their past, their better past. Food is a luxury to think about and to have. They go seeking other stuff, harder stuff; in order to be able to stay up all day doing whatever it is they need to do. Some of them sell drugs, some others sell themselves. Some kill and some are escaping people that want them dead. It’s the lowest and grimiest circle of life, one that barely exists and its filled with the worst this world can produce, which happens to be more than one would think.

 Once they hear thunder in the distance, they run to their hiding spots. These creatures, these people if that’s how you want to call them, they don’t really have a home. They have places to stay and the most fortunate ones amongst the unfortunate have a room somewhere that they can call their own. But it never feels like a proper home because most of the things there are not really theirs, the place is not theirs and they can never stay there for long. It’s just a place to go if they need such a thing, and a storage room.

 Everything is different in the dark. Not only you have to be stronger than in most places, you also have to be a bit smarter than the rest or at least more intuitive than in the real world. People will want to deceive you and there’s not really someone to trust fully. There are no friends or family, they are just people that are ok in one moment and then enemies or strangers the next second. It changes that fast because it has to, because it is a world in a never-ending flux.

 They also feel, like us. That’s not really different. The thing is they have to mask those feelings and even make them harder to manifest. They will love someone if the proper situation arises, they will also hate them with ease. But feelings can be dangerous to have in such a place because they are a weakness others can exploit. So you have to be tough, you have to be a rock even if you do feel like any other human being. Because they’re also humans, just ones that have ran out of any luck.

 Luck is not only about being fortunate enough to have a loving family and the right set of opportunities in life. Luck is also that thing that always seems to help you in moments when nothing seems to be able to give you a proper hand. We are all lucky, up here. In one way or the other. But down there, there is no luck. You actively have to know how to survive; you have to think your every move. One misstep, and you are out. And when you are out in the darkness, the consequences are much more serious.

 The darkness feeds on those who inhabit it. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is very tense and can break in any moment. That’s why those who live in it have to be careful. They don’t have one second to stop and think about life and feelings and how everything around them happens or doesn’t happen. They don’t have that luxury. They have to keep moving, keep doing things in order for their head to stay above water level. Because if for only little moment they forget where they are or who they are, they will drowned in the deep darkness of the world.

 And there’s nothing or no one that can help after that. In this world you are on your own and that is even more of a reality down there. Things may hurt and be scary but the real trick is to adapt fast and use who you are to stay in the most advantageous position you can be in.

 It’s not always easy and many; actually most of those who live in the dark, die without anyone else in the world knowing what ever happened to them. And that’s sad but its also not surprising seeing the kind of species we have become, one that is more than carnivorous but does eat one piece of meat.