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

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Afraid of them

   Each one of them had to be eliminated. There was no point in trying to argue this logic. The fact remained that all of them had been witnessed of something they shouldn’t have and they needed to be killed before they could say a word to anyone. Lucas did a very thorough list where he wrote the name of each person that had seen him move that object with his mind. Every single one of them had to be destroyed unless he considered them to be harmless with that knowledge.

 Actually, he did consider that for a while. After all, it wasn’t like he knew them all personally. All of the opposite, he couldn’t care less about who they were and he did try to convince himself that none of them had seen absolutely anything on that night. But then, someone was stupid enough to tell someone else, maybe as a funny story, and Lucas had to take care of it before it couldn’t expand beyond those two people. His watchful eye had been right then and he concluded it should be a definite answer.

 But, as he planned everything, he thought that probably every single one of those people didn’t really know what they had seen. Maybe they were confused and had decided to deny it or even rejected what their eyes had brought to them because their beliefs did not match any of what was happening with that unique moment in time. It was possible that people weren’t as bad and terrible as he thought they were. But then someone spoke about it and then someone else did and he realized what he had to do.

 A total of one hundred and fifty three people would have to be killed. That was the amount of people that had seen the large explosion he had caused very high in the atmosphere. He had caused that by pushing a bomb that was going to detonate, destroying a whole town. His reaction was to use his mind to push the object as high as he could. That way, the bomb would go off but harming no one. His effort almost caused him to faint but he bomb successfully detonated away from town.

 The problem was that, during that night, the monthly fair of the small town was taking place and, at least, a thousand people were there, eating and enjoying many rides and games. So was he and it was just after winning a plushy on a booth that he discovered the plans of a mad man and had only second to propel the bomb up into the night sky and hope his plan worked. That was why so people had seen his feat and that’s why know he needed to eliminate them all, as they couldn’t be allowed to know what he did, least of all tell anyone else about it.

 For many weeks, he decided to listen to every single person he remembered in the fair. The good thing was that he had a photographic memory and he was able to a complete list of people that had seen the explosion high up in the sky. After that, he followed every single one of them and checked on their lives to see if they had spoken about him at all. This they didn’t know, but he had very good hearing, able to hear a person speaking from many kilometers away, which he used to his advantage.

 He would spend hours hearing what a family talked about during and after dinner. Lucas did that in order to convince himself that maybe some of the people would be able to keep their mouths shut, for the good of the future and because they were afraid to say something out loud that seemed a little bit too crazy. However, that first family finally talked about it almost a week after it had happened. There was no choice in Lucas’s mind. So he entered the house at night and killed them with care.

 The idea was that he didn’t want the police or anyone else to think that someone had silenced those people. Instead, he wanted them to believe that all of these people had died of natural causes. Of course, after the first few, imagination would begin to be much more difficult to harness. But, thankfully, not much of it was needed because no one questioned the first deaths. It was all seen as a coincidence or as tragic ending stories for very happy and, sometimes, very sad stories.

 When he wasn’t doing what he was doing, he punished himself physically for what he did. He did so because it was obvious that he wasn’t killing criminals but all of the other people instead, the good ones, the ones that had families, and something they loved doing and lives that shouldn’t be disruptive of someone who wasn’t able to find another solution for an immediate answer. Lucas blamed himself for not having been able to handle things in a different way, for having to kill.

 Yet, he couldn’t change his plans now that he has started to execute. It wouldn’t make any sense to ignore them and let oust him as what he was. They couldn’t understand what was happening and what had been happening to him since when he was a teenager. Although he had received training, Lucas had never been able to master the complete arts of mind control and everything that had any connection to it. People wouldn’t understand that having those abilities was more of a curse than a blessing. And he couldn’t explain carefully to anyone, it would take much too long.

 Two weeks after his initial decision, only forty-two of the former group was still live. He had killed most of them during their sleep so they could be able to avoid pain and everything related to it. Lucas hated himself every single time he had to do it and would have loved to have a second opinion but there was no one there except him and his plan. He couldn’t be stopped and he honestly regretted that because a good person always wants to be stopped when they do something for the greater good.

 More often than not, the greater good is a way to shield oneself from criticism and understanding. He would have loved all those little children and the adults to understand that he didn’t want to hurt them but that he knew very well, after hearing all of them, that most would like to have his abilities or at least be able to see them in action once more. Once they had seen something so strange, they really wanted to see it again and again, until time came that it made no sense or they decided to be afraid.

 And fear was his number one enemy. Many of them had already planned to speak loud and clear about what they had seen and whom they had seen doing it. Although they felt a little bit of envy, fear was the key in making them move against what had fascinated them at the start. All of those he killed first were that kind of people, thinking they were doing this country a great service by pushing a fellow human into the pool of hungry sharks that was the military or even worse.

No, his powers had to die with him and that was it. He completed his mission almost a year after he had decided that was the only solution. There was no one to recognize that but at least he was in peace, or something close to that, at last. He also decided to never use his powers again, even at home where no one could actually see him. His short run as a powerful man was over. Lucas had so many other things to be worried about and he was glad everything now was on the past.

 But that never actually happened because the death of all those people was on his hands. It doesn’t matter what this intentions were back then, he had killed all of those people in order to protect himself. Every single day, he had to be convinced that what he did was the only choice. But then, months after finishing, a voice appeared in the back of his head and it told him something that he wasn’t expecting: an alternative. His own brain wanted to explain to Lucas how things could have been so different. But at the end of the day, he had to live with what he had learned.

sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

Paradise is not safe

   The sandstorm was slowly subsiding. For a couple of hours, every grain of sand in the desert had been lifted and sent several kilometers further from where it had been for months. Storms were not uncommon as the desert had them very often, especially in the summer month when the weather there got even worse.  It was a dangerous and unforgiving place, but it could also be beautiful and peaceful.

 There was a small oasis, containing a rather large pond, which had resisted to the wind and the forces of nature. To any traveller, it surely seemed like an illusion because it wasn’t very common to see all that water in the middle of the desert. A flock of orange birds arrived just as the sand settled, sitting on the palm trees and, from time to time, flying low over the pond to get their feathers wet in order to clean them.

 It was a small paradise. Some hours later, another creature came close to the oasis. It was a human and it was wearing a full mask over the face but, whoever it was, also had uncovered arms and tight pants that were smeared with mud and sand dust. The human was riding a camel, which was barely walking. As resistant as they were, it was clear this one had gone through a lot and really needed to get rest. Just a few meters away from reaching the pond, the came collapsed and the human hit the ground hard.

 For a long time, maybe a couple of hours, the person stayed there, with the face on the sand and the legs crossed in a very weird angle. The camel had stopped breathing the moment it collapsed. Whoever that person was, there was no ride that could take him or her back to civilization. Now, the desert had become even larger with the death of the camel. But nature and the orange birds ignored this. To them, it was all the same.

 When the human woke up, it ran to the water, fast, as if something was very wrong. It moved a lot in the water. Apparently, removing the mask was much harder that envisioned. After a few minutes of struggle, a shorthaired woman came out of the water and sat on the edge of the pond. She had to cut through the mask with her nails and she had hurt herself a bit by doing so as the material had become difficult to breath in because of the sand.

 She looked around, watching the orange birds and her dead ride, as well as some small twister far in the distance. The storm had not entirely died out. But that wasn’t really the problem. The real problem was being in the middle of nowhere with no way to survive. She looked at her reflection on the water and saw the small cuts she had given herself with her fingernails. She also realized how tired she looked and how her arms were burned by the very hot desert sun.

 Unwilling to stay put, she decided to dig with her own hands a grave for the camel. It was not only out of respect, but also because she didn’t want certain animals to come there looking for a meal. Burying her camel was hard, as it had been a gift from a person that had saved her some days ago and now that gift had left her stranded in the middle of nowhere. She actually had no idea who that person was because, as she was, the person also had a covered face. But the woman felt it had been another female prisoner back in that place.

 All kinds of memories were rushing back to her head and dug the grave: she had been a long time on a prison right there in the desert. It was run by legionnaires, men that were dedicated to the preservation of those colonies, places where they had no place to be in but there they were. Besides, she knew they hated woman because female prisoners always had worse punishments if they did something wrong. For stealing a loaf of bread for example, a woman would be flogged in the yard twenty times. A man would only get one punch in the stomach and that was it.

 But one night, something had happened. Apparently the prison had been attacked by desert dwellers and it the chaos, the woman that had given her the camel had appeared and liberated her from her chains. She helped her getting some clothes too and the mask in order to survive the harsh conditions of the desert.

 The shorthaired woman dragged the camel centimeter by centimeter, being a very heavy creature. She knew it was a waste to bury it and not eat it but she had no knife or a way to make fire. She couldn’t keep the creature’s milk and grease anywhere so there was no point in letting the camel there for the scavengers to eat. It took her several hours to get the animal in the hole she had done and some more time putting sand all over it. Finally, she rested on top of the mound she had created, shocked by the fact that she was hopeless.

 She really tried to remember her name, something that was so essential and obvious but she had no idea what it was. She had no idea either of how she had arrived to that prison. It was possible that the woman had been a thief or some sort of criminal but she really had no recollection of anything before the prison. The only image she had very clear on her mind was the one of the whole compound burning as the night became darker and she rode of on the camel. For a moment, she had wanted to go back and pick up the person that had saved her but, whoever it was, had disappeared in a matter of seconds. She wanted to thank that person, do it with her voice because she hadn’t spoken a word. But it was too late.

 Looking at the water again, she decided to take off her clothes and have another swim, this time to really clean herself up and feel like a human being again. Not that she remembered how to feel like one, but maybe she could have a revelation while in the middle of the pond. She left the tight and brown clothes near the camel mound to dry and then walked the few steps that separated her from the water. As her feet got wet again, she felt better than in any other moment in the past few months. When her whole body was in, she felt new.

 The woman sunk her head in the water and stayed there for a few seconds, realizing how great it felt to have the sun on her skin and her body all wet at the same time. She felt like a person, very different from what she had felt like in prison. She tried not to think about that, not to remember the atrocities she had lived through but it was impossible. It was the only life that she knew: the mistreatment, the dark cells, the lack of food and water, the laughs of the guards and the feeling that she was never going to see anything else than that awful place.

 A howl was heard on the wind. All thought of the prison vanished. She stood still in the water, waiting to confirm if what she had heard was real or if she had imagined it. No, there it was again. She got out of the water fast and realized it would take a while to get dry. Besides, she had no ride so she couldn’t go far. Another howl made her desperate, looking all over the place for an answer that didn’t seem to be coming fast enough. What should she do?

 The howling creature was a man, the leader of the guards in the prison. He rode a stallion, as well as the two other men that came with him. He arrived at the oasis at very high speed, which scared the orange birds from the palm trees. The three men descended from their horses and let them have a drink of water as they had a drink from the bottle they had on their waist. They also had a gun each on their belts and one of them used it to shoot a bird that had not flown. The little body dropped into the water, almost silently.

 The three men walked around the oasis and took random shots at the ground and the water. Then, their leader howled again, as they came full circle around the pond and reached their horses again. They left in a huff, the orange birds arriving shortly after.

 It was then when the woman stood up from the sand, having been breathing through a small whole which the men had ignored. They were obviously looking for escaped prisoners, which meant she wasn’t far enough from them. She unearthed her clothes from the ground, put them on and started walking. Maybe she had no chance but she couldn’t stare there forever. Paradise was not safe.

domingo, 21 de junio de 2015

The cauldron

   Terrified with what he had seen in the cauldron, the knight ran down the stairs of the tower. He was running so fast he missed a step and his heavy armor made him fall hard on to the ground. He broke his neck and there ended the legend of the brave knight from the valley. What just happened was exactly the same thing he had seen in the thick and ever bubbling water of the cauldron, which only needed fire in order to reveal its secrets to the person in front of it. However, as the knight had realized, the cauldron did not receive orders or commands of any type so he showed whatever he wanted from the life of the person peeking in his waters, and as an element of black magic, the cauldron often showed people their deaths, which often happened before they could leave the tower.

 There was no castle to speak off. The dark witch who had created the cauldron had left it in that tower because there a person would have to go through several trials in order to finally get to the cauldron. There was a wasteland with living dead underneath it, a sea of quicksand, hungry wolves, rivers of fire and many other horrible creatures in the dark. It was no place for anyone who just wanted to take a look. The people that went there had decided, consciously, to ask the cauldron for its wisdom. They still believed the object was magical and good because the legend said so and no one had ever returned fro musing it. So many valiant folk went and died, their bodies adding up to the army of the dead of the wasteland or dying in some other horrible way.

 One day, a woman appeared in the far side of the wasteland. She was very beautiful and was completely alone. What was very strange was the fact that none of the creatures tried to eat her or even growl at her. Every single one of them kept a distance and she just walked slowly over the ashes, the crushed bones and the skulls of so many men and women who had come this far just to die and never had their questions answered. She got to the tower and, patiently, she walked up, looking through the small windows on the side of the tower. There was no one. She finally got to the cauldron and there she transformed into a very old lady, with a very mean face.

 It was the witch, the one that had created the cauldron. After many years of exile, she had decided to come here and wait. Out of nowhere, she materialized a kitchen, a bed and a loom. The room was also expanded in the inside but had been an imperceptible change from the outside. The old woman boiled up some water and made herself some tea and as she did, she just gazed at the cauldron. She couldn’t change it anymore, she couldn’t do anything for the souls that had been taken by it but she could offer the next man or woman the chance of seeing something more that his or her death. She wanted the cauldron, for the first time, to be able to grant wishes. She would do it only once and that’s would be it.

 The truth is she waited for several years, maybe even hundreds of years. As a witch, time didn’t affect her in the same way that it affected every other living thing. She would just cook and drink tea and work on beautiful pieces she made with her loom. That was until she felt someone entering the wasteland and she decided to take a look from the window. Using her magic, she was able to see it was a woman, a noble woman to be exact. Somehow, she had decided to cross the obstacle wearing a gown, with her heels on her hands. Her hair and makeup were all run down and her expression was desperate. It was clear she wanted something out of the cauldron and that she would be an interesting choice for the wish.

 She was almost caught by the dead, but she just took off her dress and threw her shows into a river of fire to be able to pass. She was very skilled as she kicked every creature in the right place, and jumped when she needed to. The witch thought that maybe that woman was too skilled, too bright to be here asking a cauldron for advice or a wish. Besides, the noble people did believe in fairy tales but would rarely go out to the world and try to see if their beliefs were actually truth. So the witch decided to wait and not to intervene in the good luck the woman was having crossing the obstacles. She would be with her in no time and it was important that she realized what kind of person the witch was. So she made everything disappear except the cauldron that was impervious to magic and just stood in the middle of the room, waiting.

 When the woman finally arrived, she fell to the floor tired, and did not even glanced at the witch. It seemed like hours passed with them just like that. The witch wanted to say something but the woman seemed to ignore her presence or at least not even care about her. It was when the noble woman stood up and walked to the cauldron, that the old woman stopped her with her cane and asked her what was she looking in this place. The woman finally looked at her and the witch screamed. That woman was no ordinary human, she was another witch, one much more powerful and twisted than she was.

 The noble witch announced herself to be Morgana, the eternal sorceress that had heard of the cauldron and had decided to destroy it. The older witch asked her why would she do that. She explained that the cauldron caused death, despair , fear and false hope, so why not let it be there to teach a lesson to all the humans that had always hurt the witches and their brothers and sisters. Morgana stood still not saying a word. She had, however, transformed from the almost noble woman to a beautiful tall woman with purple eyes and hairs as black as the night. She thought about what the older woman said and finally, she just smiled.

 With one word, one in an ancient language that no one ever spoke anymore, Morgana engulfed the old woman in deep red fire, burning her to death like many men had done to other witched before. But when she ended the fire, the witch was unharmed physically but mentally broken. She lay on the ground sobbing, not saying a single word. That was Morgana’s way of punishing a witch for letting her feeling rule over her. Even though as her words had been very convincing, her heart told the red fire the truth and that’s why she would never again be the same with or even woman that she had been before. She was now powerless and useless and would die soon but from natural causes. That was the price to pay.

 Morgana then peered into the cauldron and look at its surface for a long time. Nothing was revealed, the blackish water did not reveal any images or made any special sounds. It was as if the cauldron didn’t work on her but she knew better than that. It was because her magic protected her from the spell that had been put into it. So she tried to think of another way to use the cauldron to her advantage. Maybe in battle? Or put it in a less safe place? All those traps and trials on the way to the tower were really useless. If the point of the cauldron was to cause harm and even kill, why not put it in an open space and just let humans die for their stupidity? Maybe that was it… Morgana decided to take the cauldron back with her but then she realized something she had not expected: the cauldron wouldn’t move.

 She tried doing it in many ways, with her arms, her magic and her mind but nothing worked. The cauldron seemed to be glued to the ground somehow and just wouldn’t move. The old woman, still lying on the ground, started laughing like crazy. Morgana lifted her with magic and demanded she told her what to do to move the cauldron or she would kill her, this time for real. The witch looked at Morgana in the eyes and just spit at her. This enraged the legendary sorceress, who threw the witch against the hard stone wall and tried again to move the cauldron. She grabbed by the sides and pulled but she would only see the black waters inside and nothing else.

 Then, Morgana’s mouth began to dry and her eyesight suddenly disappeared. She screamed and fell to the ground, begin for the witch to do something to help her. The witch slowly stood up and transformed into the beautiful woman that had arrived before. She told Morgana that her magic was far darker and ancient that hers and that she should never underestimate the power of someone who has not only caused suffering but who has also felt it her skin, flesh and bones. Morgana found her feet and begged the witch for forgiveness and asked her to be her apprentice. She said they could be unstoppable if they united their powers, something the older witch was momentarily interested by.

 But with one stroke of her cane, she made Morgana’s body break into a million pieces that fell in the ground before being absorbed by the cauldron. The witch then disappeared and left the cauldron alone once again. But now, if anyone gets close enough, Morgana’s screams can still be heard, deep in the black waters of the mysterious cauldron.

jueves, 30 de octubre de 2014

Reign of the Ruler

It was the 1960's. Johanna was a catholic and her family thought the best education could only be provided by the clergy so she went to a school run by a convent, by nuns. Her parents were right, actually. In a country with such a low quality in education, only private institutions could provide real knowledge for children.

Johanna at first was unhappy. Before going to a catholic school, she had attended one of the districts institutions. The difference was abismal and there was no doubt that they had better quality with the nuns but she missed being with both boys and girls. She had many friends from both sexes and the change proved hard.

But she grew accustomed to that. She discovered that being around girls all the time wasn't so bad at all and, anyway, she still had friends who were boys in her neighborhood so no problem there.

Besides, she loved many of her new teachers. Sister Glenda, music, was one of her favorites. She brought all kinds of music to class and knew how to play every single instrument, or at least that's what it looked liked. She was very skilled and fun to be around.

Sister Clara, biology, was very strict and poised but she encouraged curiosity in her pupils. The best part of the school year was when she brought dead animals to be opened by the girls. Although contrary to what one may think, every single girl loved to do it and only a few went sick after it. They opened iguanas and frogs and also dissected a cow's heart. It was all fun and learning.

Sister Mary was short and chubby and the funniest woman you would ever have the luck to meet. She cooked the meals in the kitchens and also had an optional course for girls looking to learn how to cook a proper meal. In those times, women were taught to be good housewives from school and no one had anything to say about it.
They made cakes and cookies and also stew and baked potatoes. Even before entering the cafeteria, you knew the contents of the meal. And it was heavenly.

But they were not all nice. Some were even known to be cruel and girls whose mothers had come to the school told the others about what it was like years ago: in their minds, it sounded like a prison of the Middle Ages.

In their years, however, there was Sister Joy. Her name was pure sarcasm as no one thought the woman had ever felt joy in her life. She was professor of mathematics, so it was a prefect combo: most difficult subject, most cruel teacher.

It wasn't only that she hated girls talking or not paying attention during her class. She only hit the chalkboard with her one meter ruler and that was it. Things got bad when, for example, Johanna challenged her once about an exercise they had to do as homework. The girl told the nun she thought the exercise was to advanced for them and that's why many had not even done it correctly.

Sister Joy responded by asking Johanna to put her hands on the table and threatened her not to move them or the punishment would be worst. And then she hit her with the ruler, right on her fingers. The pain was awful. The fingers rapidly got swollen and Johanna had to go to the nurse. That wasn't much better as Nurse Amanda, a nun too, was a bit too old for the job and sometimes didn't handled her strength.

They did denounce Sister Joy's actions but to no end. The school said the professors were actually allowed to enforce respect in their classrooms as they wished. However, they told Johanna's parents that they would talk to the mathematics teacher about her ways of responding to the girls.

They were times children had to respect blindly what older people said, even if they were wrong. And besides that, the church was more powerful and families thought the best thing to do was to live how God intended, or rather, how the church intended.

From that moment on, Johanna tried to be better at math and decided not to give any reason for the woman to be mad. But the truth was the kid was not very good in math, so when she failed an important test, Sister Joy told her she wouldn't be able to pass to the next grade. She would have to get an impressive mark in the last exam to do it and that, in her opinion, wasn't probable.

Johanna told all about it to her parents but they just said "Study harder" and so she did. For other subjects she wasn't as dedicated because she liked them or they were somehow easier for her. But for the final math exam she studied a lot, with friends and her brothers and reading and doing a large amount of exercises.

When the time came, she did the best she could and waited. All other exams had gone fine and she was pleased with it but couldn't stop thinking about Sister Joy and her ways to grade the exam. She didn't think a religious woman would be unfair but this woman seemed liked she liked challenges.

The day came and Johanna got her exam. She received 11 points out of 20 but she needed 12 to pass. She compared her exam to a friend's and noticed one of the answers was the same but the way they got there was different. The thing was her friend had receive the point but not her.

She knew she couldn't complain to Sister Joy so she went to her boss. Mother Superior was also a though woman but fair and really nice if she wanted. Johanna told her about the exam and Mother Superior summoned Sister Joy. She had no way to deny her awful attitude. She just said sorry, changed the grade and almost didn't even looked at the girl.

After the summer vacations, Johanna was surprised to learn Sister Joy had left the school to be in a remote convent, somewhere in a valley or something. The girl didn't care anymore, although the younger girls were relieved to know about her departure. She had made that ruler very popular among them but, from now on, it would only be use from time to time to silence a class or to trace simple and innocent lines.