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

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.

miércoles, 25 de abril de 2018

Elipo and its eagles


   For some reason, the gigantic birds liked to fly around the volcano, doing many turns until they seemed to feel it was enough, and then they flew away to their nests, down in the base of the mountain. Many scientists had regaled for many years, visiting Elipo Island and watching the beautiful red birds fly around the mountain. It was one of those beautiful thing from nature you just had to see once in your lifetime and many had already did that from their comfortable chairs at home.

 Elipo was an island that, for many years, had been left alone by civilization. But as transportations got better and faster and communications made everyone accessible in seconds, there was an urge to discover everything there was to uncover in the world around us. So many scientists embarked for remote regions, trying to document in any way, shape or form, all the new species of plants and animals that they could find. It was a new age of discovery and every single person in the world was a part of it.

 The so-called eagles of Elipo were the most interesting species that had been found in recent years in that corner of the world. They were a strange animal, as birds would normally fly long distances to make nests or get food. But the red eagles did not do that at all. They liked to stay on Elipo, flying around the volcano and then getting food in the small patch of jungle that covered must of the island. They could feed on small lizards and tiny mammals that were very agile and would give up a nice fight.

 The eagle’s favorite food was the Elipo hedgehog, an especially large kind of hedgehog that fed on various smaller animals and fruits that it found laying around in the jungle. One of the best scenes to witness for a scientist would be the fight between an eagle and a hedgehog. The first one would be coming from above, just after locating its prey visually. It would come down at full speed, trying to use the element of surprise as a weapon. The shape of such a living bullet was just an amazing thing to see.

 However, the hedgehogs had lived there as long as the eagles and they had learned to notice the changes in the wind around them in order to notice any incoming dangers. So right before the eagle could grab them to take them away, the hedgehogs would turn into a very tight ball, with all its spines rising towards the sun. The eagle would then land on the ground, unable to properly carry its food, and proceed to attack its prey with its beak. You have to remember eagles in Elipo are at least twice as big as normal eagles, so the fight would be a very interesting sight.

 The hedgehog would then stay as a ball or sometimes open up and fight the eagle with the spines in its forehead, which tended to be longer and sharper. A fight between the two animals could last a few minutes or several hours. Many scientists would disrupt these encounters by making sounds, caused by an overwhelming fatigue. No one had ever seen a long fight between those two creatures in its entirety. And most times, none of the animals ended up dead. A draw was the most common outcome.

 However, eagles won enough times to feed themselves and their young with the body of one large hedgehog. It was more than enough for most of them. Elipo was a place of harmony and animals were never “bad” or “good”, they didn’t act on despair or anything like that: they had easy access to fresh water, to food and to places were they could take care of their families. Before the arrival of humans, they had nothing to fear. As you might have guessed, not every incoming human was a scientist.

 Hordes of hunters and animal traffickers had discovered these new places were they could go and get all the animals they wanted with almost no resistance from the countries allegedly controlling the area or by the local tribes that inhabited these remotes areas of the world. They learned soon that there was no way they could stop the cruelty of the white man with their weapons, so they decided to pull back and just be silent witnesses to the horrible things those men and women did in the jungle.

 So these horrible people soon got to Elipo and got to meet the beautiful eagles and the hedgehogs they ate. The first ones to get trapped were the latter ones, as they were craved all around the worlds as pets. Besides that, they knew that by depleting the food resources of the eagles, the birds would be weaker and they would be less willing to fight them the moment the hunters and traffickers started climbing the volcano to get them. The eagles noticed very soon that something was very wrong in the island.

 After a couple of weeks, the number of hedgehogs had dropped dramatically and eagles had no real way of supporting themselves and their young. That moment was used by the evil men to climb up the mountain and start grabbing eagle eggs and young chicks from their nests. Of course, that caused a horrible respond from the eagles, which tried to defend themselves against the traffickers but that was a lost battle. Those people had guns and many other weapons, so the eagles could only scratch some of them badly before been killed or having to escape from the area.

When the scientists came back from their period of rest, they noticed that Elipo was dying. Not only the eagles were very scarcer, the hedgehogs and other animals had almost disappeared from the island. They tried to do their best to help the species gain the territories they had once held, as well as their older numbers but that seemed impossible. The traffickers had done so much damaged; it was possible no one could ever make up for it, not even if they spent years working there.

 And the scientists could not just stay there, they had to leave for a while and, when the local government realized what had happened, they banned any ships from abroad to enter the area. They argued that it would stop poaching but it really didn’t, as most traffickers used local boats and were people from the region. They had to be in order to have all the information necessary to get all those animals and their young, as well as many plants, which they sold to the pharmaceutical companies.

 The scientist decided to talk to the regional communities, especially the indigenous ones, in order for them to better protect the area. It wasn’t really a surprise when they realized that Elipo Island had always been a sort of sanctuary to them. As per their traditions, a young man had to visit the island on his fifteenth birthday. Their only task there was to climb the mountain and get a single feather from one of the birds. That meant they had become a man and they should be welcome in their communities as such.

 The scientists learned from the local peoples and they learned from the scientists new things they didn’t know about Elipo. They made an alliance to restore the island to its former glory and to fight the poachers. No weapons were used, just a lot of very smart gadgets and traps to make the evil men go away and just never return.

 Their goal was achieved, many years later, when the government recognized its poor treatment of the situation. As for the animals, that was another story. The  eagle community had been severely damaged and recovering it would take a lot longer, if it worked at all.

sábado, 25 de junio de 2016

Orange

   The soap was provided to us at the entrance of the showers. No one could keep their soap bar in case they wanted to put something inside like a razor blade or something of the sort. There had been too many murders inside the prison and the administration had decided to make crime a thing of the past for the inmates. Yet, there were still all kings of drugs going around. They were used as money or money was used to pay for them. Anyhow, everything was about drugs, it was the only way most men had to live through their sentences.

 It was a minimum-security prison. No fancy cells or big electric doors that opened and closed behind and in front of you. That was too fancy for that place. It was a big prison but the kind where you can go out and enjoy the sun if you feel to, you can exercise in the yard under the watching eye of several guards or even take care of a garden the crazy ones almost owned. Everything was organized, in a way.

 Me? I had been there for a couple of months. My sentence was five years long, no parole. I could maybe scrap a year of the sentence if I decided to be a good boy but it was very hard to be one inside that place. Even a minimum-security prison can be hell and I never dared to think how much worse other similar places could be, with tighter security. I just focused on my life and things I had to do to stay alive and well. The rest was a thing of the outside, where I wasn’t.

 Shower time was always at the same time. One of the oldest inmates had told me that, years ago, guys were able to come and please from the bathrooms as they pleased. But so many got stabbed or raped there, the administration decided they would force everyone to be clean and ready by 8 o’clock. A general alarm was heard every day at that time in order to wake us up. Then, each dormitory would form a single line and all lines would go to the showers.

 The room was huge. On my first day, one of the other guys joked about it being like the place where Nazis had killed Jews in the World War II. I thought the joke was in very poor taste but I rapidly noticed he had many tattoos and most of them had something to do with Nazi symbolism. I had seen it before in History class. So I knew I had to stay away from those guys, being a foreigner and all.

 There were at least sixty showers. One group would go first and then another. Each group only had about five minutes to wash everything properly with the small soap bars we were handed at the entrance. When we were done, we had to leave the bars on the floor for the next group. If there was no next group, the same thing. A waste, I always thought.

 Of course, everyone in the showers was naked. They would make us remove our clothes in a room just before the showers one. Each guy would put his things in a small squared locker. On the way out, we just had to find our number and get dressed fast in order for the second group to go in, if we weren’t in the second group ourselves. It was the routine and, I have to confess, I got used to it fast. In there, you get used to everything. Life is not really yours anymore so you just do what you have to do.

 I’m always asked if it was a problem to be gay inside a prison. And yes, it was. Once someone shouted it in the mess all, many guys looked at me instantly. Who I was wasn’t really a secret or what I had done. Not that I was famous before that or anything but lets say I made myself famous because of all the shit I did. I couldn’t go to my bunk without at least four guys looking at me in a not too flattering way.

 Which way was the best one to avoid all of their attention? I have no idea. Because I didn’t really repel all of them, I couldn’t. I’m a small guy, not very strong. I had to do thing to survive and I am proud of it. Some people are ashamed of their actions in jail but not me. I’m proud to have gotten out of there alive and well and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, I let some of them, the powerful ones, have their way with me. It was the only way the others could leave me alone. The idea was to be seen as someone else’s property.

 Besides that, I did something even bolder, which gained me the respect of most of the men inside the prison. Maybe I wasn’t strong or big but I’ve always had a good brain and I knew I had to use it in order to make things easier for me there. In the first few months, I heard horrible rumors about some guy in the Nazi group that wanted to rape me somewhere no one could hear me scream. I heard it so many times I decided to go big and do my move first.

 His name was Duncan. He was a very tall guy and the few guys I hung out with told me he was a rather new guard. Apparently, he had been a soldier; veteran of all the recent fucked up wars that their country had started. So with only that in my hand, I decided to talk to him a little bit every single day. I heard him when he had something funny to say and he was kind to me, letting me in always first in the mess hall line and the shower line.

 Just some time after that, I was already letting him fuck me in broom closet no one really frequented as I was the one in charge of cleaning the floors in that area. It may see like a crazy thing I did and it was but it saved my life. He did that and I’m forever thankful.

 Being a guard, people knew they didn’t want to mess with him. So, by definition, they kept their hands away from me. I was protected and I really enjoyed it. It was then when I really made some friends in jail and started exercising more and, as crazy as it sounds, I was having a great time. I even slept nicely at night, with all the snoring and the body odors around me. I didn’t care anymore because I knew I was protected by someone everyone feared and it felt great. Sadly, it didn’t last very long as Duncan had decided he was a good person and he didn’t wanted prison to turn him bad.

 Somehow, I was broken hearted. Not only because I was afraid for my safety, but also because I was beginning to care for him. We didn’t just had sex, we also talked and had these small moments together I really appreciated because they… he made me fell like I was worth something in a place where you’re supposed to be repenting and feeling like a piece of garbage.

 The day he left, I cried while mopping the floors. On our last session together he didn’t say a word and neither did I. There wasn’t something I could say that would magically make things great between us, or that would change what was happening. We had to move on and we had to do it fast because we weren’t able to do anything about it. So he left, I cried for a while and that was the end of it.

 However, I forgot my Nazi problem. They knew very well Duncan had left and every single one of them decided to threaten me everyday. They wanted me scared out of my mind until the day their boss, the one with the tattoos, would order them to drag me somewhere dark and probably fuck me with something awful. I thought of it a hundred times and it did make me shiver and had no idea what to do.

 The truth is I had forgotten to know myself. They day one of them came to me, I fought. I broke his nose and crushed his foot. Another one threatened me with a razor he had gotten in and I was able to disarm him and tell a guard he had a forbidden item. He was send to solitary in a second. I had learned how to defend myself. So it was me who went to the tattoo guy and told him to go fuck himself.

 That action made me even more respected among some of the other inmates. The minorities if you will. I didn’t really identify with them but they soon became my friends and, some of them, my lovers. Even condoms can be found in a prison, if that’s what you want and I did. The following years were very hard on me but I got stronger and smarter and much more intelligent, being able to fool everyone, even me.


 The day I stepped out of prison, I realized the real world had moved along without me and it scared me. But only for that day. Because the following morning, I used what I had learned and got myself a job in no time. I have a life now, a real one. And, strangely enough, I have to thank prison and its population for that.

lunes, 25 de enero de 2016

Forgotten

   When she looked at her face in the dirty mirror, she did not recognize her own self. She touched her face, clean it with the few drops of water that came out of the sink and just looked at her hideous face. Somehow, time had deformed it, changing from those times in which she had known proper food and a stable way of life. It hadn’t been like that for a very long time and she even doubted that all of the past she remembered had happened. Maybe she had invented all of it from TV, which now she loved to watch.

 The motel where she worked was the perfect place for her because there was no pressure in getting anything done. Her boss was a very fat man that couldn’t even go to the second floor of his own business, so she could spent all of the time she wanted up there and he would only yell at her once she came down, not having changed the sheets properly or without cleaning all the bathrooms of the very old building.

 She had chosen her name to be Carrie. One night, she had seen that very scary movie in her room and had loved it so much she had decided to be named like that. Her boss agreed to call her that as it was better than calling her “girl” all the time. She was thankful he was only a very stubborn man, as maybe her luck would have been pretty different if she had fallen into the hands of someone else. After all, Carrie was not her name as she did not remembered anything from her past accurately, only parts and feelings, like the ones that indicated her she had changed physically.

 Carrie had been working there for more than two years, and she was much more experienced now that she had been in the past, so just imagine how bad she was when she first started scrubbing floors and fixing small problems that people had in their rooms. Not that many people came to this part of the world. The world was normally empty, only some cars that wanted to take a more scenic rout would end up in the motel. The rest took the highway, which was better and much faster. But Mr. Ray, the fat man, never even thought of changing the location of his motel.

 Apparently, it had been a family estate. So when Mr. Ray’s parents died, the motel became instantly his and he had been managing it from the age of twenty. Carrie secretly admired him because the place could be much worse bur Mr. Ray kept it afloat; although how he did it was shrouded in mystery. Not many people came in and he only had two people to attend to the twenty rooms he had available. Carrie was in charge of all the chambermaid duties, Mr. Ray himself was the repairman (even if he did not know what he was doing most of the time) and there was also and old man called Timmy, who was the one protecting everyone and everything within the premises of the motel.

 So most days Carrie would only clean half of the rooms, as the other ones were rarely used, and she mused about what her life had been before. Mr. Ray had convinced her that looking for her past could not en up well for her and at first she thought that he only wanted to keep her there, almost like a slave, but that wasn’t the case. He let her go to the nearest town, where she told the police of her situation. At first, no one believed her. And when one young guy decided to listen to her, he couldn’t anything about a missing woman fitting her description. She asked him to check again and he even let her try but there was nothing in there.

 When she finally gave up, the people of the police were kind enough to give her a new identity, so Mr. Ray was able to actually pay her and keep her healthy in his motel. With Timmy, they worked as a strange family but every time things were going too good in the motel, she was reminded of that past she had no idea about and started crying: what if she had been married? What if her parents were alive and missing her? What if she had been a mother? That was enough to make her cry all night and not making her able to sleep.

 One day, a young couple arrived at the motel. They wore really strange clothes and barely talked. As there was no one else in the building, Carrie tried to be very nice in order to get to know them better. She even made coffee for them and gave them some cookies she kept for herself. The strangers accepted the gifts, but she wasn’t really able to speak to them or looking at what they had in their suitcases. They would only open the door enough to have a short talk and that was it.

 Every day, Carrie attempted to talk to them and to do her job, cleaning the room. But she was never able to do any of that because they wouldn’t come out of the bedroom for anything. She knocked on the door, asking them if they wanted new bed sheets, water, coffee, their bathroom cleaned, candles… But the answer was always no. Only at night she would see the man walking out and driving off to town, then coming back with what appeared to be food.

 Those times the woman was alone, she tied to talk to her but Carrie realized it was her who was the crazier or weirder one. She wouldn’t even open the door to say the few words that came out of her mouth and Carrie knew she didn’t even stand by the door to say these things. It was very annoying after a while and they ended up staying in the motel for almost a month. Even Mr. Ray tried to talk to them once, but they only answered by paying a whole week in advance, so he didn’t insisted on asking them who they were and why they were barricaded in his motel.

 The man, however, was nicer. Carrie had been taken out the trash one night and she saw him arrive from one of his trips to town. He carried two bags with him and when she saw some liquid soap fell out of one of the bags, she just helped him and had a short conversation. He smiled a lot and it did not seem fake, it seemed like he really wanted to be nice but just couldn’t be fully nice in that moment. Carrie talked to him many times at night and she would only get some words but enough to know his voice and that the couple living there were loaded.

 Since they had arrived, they had spent a lot of money in food and probably other supplies. Besides, they would pay every week in anticipation and the car seemed to always have a full tank of gas. After the first two weeks, Carrie concluded that those two were running away from or with something, She even imagined they had killed people and the police should really know what was happening. But she was scared and decided to consult Mr. Ray before doing anything. He agreed and she called the young officer that had helped her search for her past.

 They decided it was best if they did it in the morning, as the couple would always make sounds later in the day, avoiding to be seen before midday. So the young officer arrived at the motel at nine o’clock and knocked on their door, announcing the presence of the police. At first, there was no noise, but as he kept knocking the door, there was a sudden strange sound. The officer understood the noise as something he had to respond to, so he kicked down the door (to Mr. Ray’s dismay) and shot one of the people inside and pointed at the other with the gun.

 Carrie came closer and saw the woman bleeding on the ground and the man terrified, fully dressed, by the window. They didn’t seem to have been sleeping; the bed sheets were in the exact same place Carrie had left them several days ago. None of them talked and when the officer attempted to call reinforcements with his radio, the man moved, causing the young man to be scared, shooting him several times. Carrie screamed and fainted.

 When she came to her senses, she was in the hospital. She had been taken there and Mr. Ray was in the next bed. Apparently the entire situation had been too much for him and he had a heart attack on the spot. Carrie did not feel bad, so she attempted to walk out the room but a police officer stopped her. It was a woman and she made her go back to bed. Carrie asked what had happened with the couple and the officer just told her that they had found them to be some kind of stalkers but that she shouldn’t worry too much about it, as she would get her answers pretty soon. So she waited, trying to sleep but unsuccessfully.


 The next day, she learned the young officer that had come to their aid was now facing jail, as there was no real proof the couple, which were dead, were any kind of criminals. However, they did found that they never slept in the days they were there, instead writing pages after pages about Carrie. They had taken pictures of her every day and, the strangest thing was that they had pictures that seemed to be her from a very young age. When looking one of the pictures, she cried because she couldn’t see herself in there. She was lost once again.