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

sábado, 29 de octubre de 2016

The phoenix

   The majestic bird rose above the tea plantation and flew very high into the sky. The people that had been working in the cave where it had been sleeping for thousands of years, ran towards the exit in the hope of catching a glimpse of the animal flying free in the sky. No one really understood why or how the creature had survived living in a cave, apparently, for so long. It wasn’t common for a bird to live in such a place but, then again, it wasn’t no ordinary bird. According to the legend, that red feathered animal was the mythical phoenix.

 As the bird appeared to defy all laws of gravity by flying as fast as a supersonic airplane and as high as a weather balloon, the people below began considering the options: they could try to capture the creature but they had no real way of doing so. If the legend was true, such a fantastic bird would have the strong of a thousand oxen and its screeching sounds could tear down the roughest wood. At least that’s what it said on the many manuscripts kept by the monks in several temples of the region. But should such ancient scriptures be taken into account?

 It was well known that people exaggerated their fear when they felt threatened. They wrote tales of the most horrible things in order to surprise others by saying, “we endured this” or “we vanquished this”. Maybe the phoenix that was now hovering over the plantation was just like any other bird, just much more beautiful and graceful, and also very big and beautifully garnished by nature. In any case, most people agreed that capturing it would not be good at all for anyone. Their gods may punish them for those actions.

 Most of the population of the region consisted of peasants. They grew tea and rice and some other valuable goods that they tried to trade with other regions. But the economy all over was very hard for everyone and competition was rough from places that were much more advances, being able to produce tons more of tea leafs and rice grains. They were too far from any modern science and too close to ancient traditions that prevented them from going too far into the future. It was a very complicated situation indeed.

 The bird descended and landed on top of one of the tea bushes. The workers, who had been there all day, watched the creature with expectation, finding it very odd that such a big bird could pose itself on such a small bush and not fall to the ground. They believed it to be the magic of the phoenix and many of them started praying to it. As the sun sunk in the horizon, the bird’s feathers started glowing with a reddish hue that made look as if it was on fire. No… It was on fire. It became engulfed in it and suddenly it became a pile of ashes on the dark doil.

 The wind carried away the ashes and no one in the vicinity was able to say a word for some time after that. They had been witnessed of something beautiful and also very confusing. The people that had been digging in the nearby cave arrived just as a gust of wind cleaned the soil from any residue of the bird and when they asked what happened, no one could really explained what they had seen. It was only the next day that a young boy told them they had seen the bird burn, as the legend said it could happen at any moment.

 The problem with the people of the cave was that they were not from those parts. They came from the capital, saying they wanted to investigate the cage, which they thought was filled with uranium which they need to build a power plant not very far from there. At least that was what they said once and again, every time someone dared to ask why they had a arrived out of the blue and not years before, when the energy crisis was in its peek. They never really answered in a very straightforward way. There was always something elusive about them.

 After the bird burned, most of them left for the capital. Only one remained behind. He sealed the cave and stood guard there every single day. He lived in a small tent built by the entrance of the cavernous place. Apparently, they wanted no one to go there because they thought it was a place worth protecting but who knew why? Maybe they thought the phoenix had laid eggs or maybe they assumed the bird would be reborn in the same place it had been living for, apparently, a very long period of time. Their reasons were unclear.

 The people of the mountains went back to work as normal, grabbing tea leafs and cultivating their rice in the old fashioned way they had always done it. Some of them had begun to resent the government: it had never made any presence to help them in the past and out of nowhere it had send those people and now they couldn’t even get into their own cave, where they sometimes mined for precious stones that could give a family some more food to feed their children and the elders. Sadly, being farmers didn’t mean they could live at their heart’s content.

 Many of them had not eaten the meat of any animal in a good while and the children had no idea of what a sweet fruit tasted like. The only thing growing around them that could be similar were wild berries but they were always really tangy and many species were poisonous. So their diet was based on rice and tea, accompanied by a handful of vegetables each farmer grew in their private orchard. They were very careful with them because it wasn’t much.

 A year passed when the government, finally, decided to retire the man they had left in front of the cave. They claimed to have been unable to find uranium there so the decision was to let the cave in the hands of the people that had taken care of it for so long. It was a bunch of nice words but they all knew the truth: they had given up on the phoenix making its appearance once again, just as the farmers. No one thought it would come back again but everyone believed the bird still lived somewhere in the vicinity or maybe far in to the higher mountains.

 Children did many drawings of the bird and people started talking more freely about what they had felt when they has seen the bird flying over them. They now could do it because they didn’t feel the pressure of the government on their backs. They could say whatever they wanted, just as they had thought, without any restriction. That was the good thing of living ins such a remote area: those people were actually free, at least in a way most people would find alluring. Besides, they were happy despite everything.

 The celebration of the tea harvest that year was simply over the top. Artists from other regions were invited over and they showed everyone how elegant and hilarious they could be. There were also dances and music and many people wore costumes. The most magnificent thing was the construction of a huge phoenix made out of wood. It had been painted red by the children and built patiently by farmers after the working hours were over. They wanted to thank the creature for such a great year for their crops. They truly believed it was because if it.

 The happiness was contagious. Everyone laughed that night, celebrating with simple joy. They were glad to be who they were and the truth was that they didn’t want to become anything else. Most of the people day would never accept a trip to the capital or changing in any way the lifestyle they had enjoyed for the last hundred years. They respected each other, they took care of one another and they believed in the same core principles that ruled over most aspects of their lives. One of those was the belief that everything was possible.


 Late, when the party was about to end and dawn approached; they saw the bird flying over their crops and above the party, released what seemed like sparks. Everyone saw the bird with delight, thanking it for everything good that year. They would have another great year after that and for many more because they had been blessed by the phoenix, which had finally found the perfect spot on Earth to live in peace and learn from the good things humans had to offer.

domingo, 21 de febrero de 2016

Messenger

   It was the children that love to look at him more than anyone else. Maybe it was because he was some kind of a novelty in their lives, having seen only their parents all their lives. The man in the bed just lay there, having been unconscious since the day he appeared in the front lawn of their cabin, far into the tundra. They had a decent life there, maybe not very exciting but they it was consistent and it was mostly safe to raise a family and to create values that in the rest of the world we in decline.

 The man they had found had his nose broken and several bruises all over his body, as if someone or something had kicked him repeatedly. He had some older scars and he had a black eye that healed pretty quickly. Yet, he wouldn’t wake up. Mama would try different salts and medicines they had, she tried the fat of the animals they hunted and several leafs and fruits from the forest but he appeared to be oblivious to an of them. Father was a bit more violent and would yell in different volumes to try and wake him up. He would say different kinds of things including asking him if he was a soldier or a spy but it never worked.

 After the first month, they got really worried. Even the children, who love to go into that room and play around the man, were now tired of him been asleep and wanted him to live, maybe even to tell them their story. The kids, boy and girls of around ten years old, jumped all around the poor man and screamed like crazy, hoping it would work but it didn’t. They pushed him hard and were even as violent or more than their father. They cried and screamed and the kicked him and screamed again but eventually they would just make their parents crazy so they stopped.

 Outside, winter was finally over and the sun was beginning to be a little stronger. In this region of the world, winter never really ended and it was cold all year except for some days were things appeared to change. Anyway, the fact was that there was no more snow and the temperature was tolerable so Father took both kids hunting one day and retook the lessons he had been giving them before the winter. He had been teaching them about the bow and arrow and how to use them and how not to scare your prey.

 As the kids and their father bonded, Mother stayed in and cooked some deer meat she had frozen a week before. Deer meat was the best kind of food one could find in the region as it was soft but also rich in nutrients and could pass for cow meat, which they never consumed. She chopped some of the vegetables they grew on the greenhouse and put them in the pot with the meat. She realized she had forgotten to chop the onion so proceeded to do it but them a muffled voice, more of a complaint, was heard all over the house. She turned and screamed her lungs out.

 The youngest heard her and ran as fast as he could to the house, followed by his sister and Father. When they got there, the man that had been in bed for so many months was laying face down on the kitchen floor, now drooling and making a very strange sound. The Mother was livid, shaking like crazy. She was still holding the big knife she used to chop things and only let it go when her husband pulled it away from her. He then checked the pulse of the man on the floor and realized he was still alive and that his pulse was faster than before. He asked everyone to help him carry back to the room and there they tied one hand to the bed, preventing another scare.

 At dinner, everyone ate their deer in silence. They didn’t talk, ever, during meals, but this time Mother started crying and told Father she couldn’t keep living like this, with that man being captive in and improvised room. It was like keeping a prisoner and that didn’t make senses. She proposed to take him to the authorities, even if it meant travelling a full day to reach the nearest settlement. The Father did not respond, not right then at least. He had never trusted the authorities, even if it had been the government itself the one that had gave them authorization to live there.

 He finally said he would think about it. He wanted to know that man wasn’t going to die in the middle of the journey. And he really wanted to know who he was and why he was wandering so far into the tundra. Mother did not insist, changing the subject to the children not eating because of the earlier scare. She was right: they had always thought of the man in the bed as some sort of good elf but after hearing their mother’s tale of how he yelled something she couldn’t understand and then collapsed and drooled making sounds, it scared them.

 The next day, the Father tried again to make the man talk. This time, he didn’t yell or pushed him. He just sat down by his side and started reading the man in the bed the contract the government had given him in order to be able to live there. He started reading from the very beginning, with a normal pace and changing pages with a gracious move of the hand. The document consisted of at least twelve pages, detailing every single aspect the family had to take into account while living there.

 Back when he had signed the contract, it was only Father and Mother. But the contract specified how many children they could have living in that house, the dimensions of he house itself, which animals they could hunt and which ones they couldn’t, from where they could grab the water to survive and which trees they could use for heating and so on. Every single detail about living in that remote region of the world was in those pages and Father read every single one of them. But he didn’t need to as he knew them by heart.

 When he finished, he raised his head and realized the man had his eyes open. Without changing his pace or volume of voice, he asked the man who he was and what he was doing in his land. The man open his mouth but the words appeared to be trying to get out of it all at the same time. He grunted and tried again but nothing came out. He seemed to wanting to say something and he wasn’t happy at all when he couldn’t. He was certainly not happy when he couldn’t move one of his hands in order to complain. He looked at Father with red eyes, grunting.

 Kids and wife looked at Father, how he asked silence from the Man and slowly move his mouth, making soft sounds and then reciting all the letters of the alphabet. The Man stopped grunting and looked at Father. There was something dark, something mysterious in his voice. As he tried to recite the alphabet two, he started sweating and his eyes went very fast from Father to Mother and then to each of the kids. It was unsettling and combining it with the letters of the alphabet didn’t make it any better. Father continued, slowly, by spelling his name. He did it several times, pointing at himself with a finger.

 Then, he pointed at the man and fell silent. The man looked more scared that ever before and tried, again, to talk. At first, the same type of grunts returned to his mouth but then he tried to clear his mouth and a letter came out in a very deep voice. Mother let out a squeal and the kids’ mouths were very open. The letter was “D”. Father asked Mother something to write on and a pencil and she looked for them after snapping out of it. He wrote a big D and showed it the man, who nodded.

 The following letters where “A” and “N”, so they decided that his name was Dan. He started coughing like mad after he had said that last letter; coughing so hard blood came out of his mouth. Mother brought him something to clean himself with but he prevented her from coming neared. He saw the spots of blood in the covers with terror, his eyes also filled with blood. He looked at them, hopeless and guilty. Trying to calm him, the family came closer but he just said to more letters, which Father wrote.


 Something happened then that no one would ever be able to explain mainly because no person alive can really say what happened. Some say the gran began to shake, others say it was the roof that suddenly came off. All agree, however, that sound appeared to disappear for a moment in the world. Many years later they would found that house destroyed and the notebook where Father had written the word “DANGER”. In smaller writing, below, he had also written “deaf”, and that was it. No one ever knew what happened but it was clear the Man had failed to deliver his message.

sábado, 18 de abril de 2015

Strange Antarctica

   Someone had killed Doctor Pong. And however it was, had not cared about cleaning afterwards. The blood coming from the good doctor’s body had already frozen, formed a pretty disturbing picture for anyone who went into the storage room. He was lying there, eyes open, against the wall opposite to the door. It was windowless room and the killer had known that. It was obvious he had known where to look for the doctor, who was probably hiding, as the storage room was fool of brooms and buckets, not really what he used in his experiments.

 The strangest part of it all was the method the killer had used: an arrow. He had pointed it right between the eyebrows and had nailed just that spot. Of course, the distance was quite short so the shot may have not been that difficult to do but it looked scary all the same. The arrow was long and had pierced the skull all the way to the back, touching the wall behind the head with the metal tip. The body still had the expression of fear the doctor had experienced in his last moments and the weather helped it to get preserved for a long time, which made the job of checking the scene, much more ominous than usual.

 The crime had occurred in what it’s known as Queen Maud Land. Although Antarctica is in the practice a free land, Norway claims this portion of the continent. The mountains look like razor blades and the snow appears to be whiter than in any other part of this land. And there, in Troll station, Mr. Georg Pong had died from an arrow to the head. The media, of course, had a feast with the whole “murder on Antartica” story. And to be frank, it did seem ridiculous than someone had been so skilled to kill someone and then escape without a lot of means to do it. And they hadn’t been able to catch him or her.

 Norway’s government took almost a week to send two detectives: Nora Fröm and Erik Stavanger. They were both specialized in strange crime scenes but this one was by far the strangest one. On the boat from South Africa, both agents discussed how they were going to approach the investigation. They had seen several pictures taken by the scientist that had found Dr. Pong and they all pointed out to a chase inside and outside the complex. They were only a few buildings in the small compound so it wasn’t going to take very long.

 At arrival, they had to join a group of scientists that greeted them on to some snowmobiles. The journey to the facility was long and cold, during which the scientists discussed the real utility of being there. The man was already dead and the attackers had to be really far by now, if not dead. The government had wanted to show action but what the two detectives could actually do about the case wasn’t much. They had agreed that their prime concern would be to know everything about how it happened more than trying to actually catch someone. That was very difficult and, anyway, if they tracked the killer’s first steps, maybe they could investigate where he or she came from.

 The station was a small group of red containers overlooking the continental ice sheet. It was very small and not many people lived there during the year. The normal number was around nine but Dr. Pong had been alone the day he died. Ellie Warren, a friend and fellow scientist, was waiting there for them. She gave them a tour of the facility and led them to the storage room where the doctor’s body was still laying. She told them that no one had spent a night since the day of the events, in order to avoid contaminating the scene. Only the group that found him had touched some things but they had been kind enough to point everything out in a report.

 When entering the storage room, both Nora and Erik trembled. The man’s was looking at them, there on the frame of the door. It was strange how an empty body could seem so alive. They then started taking pictures with a special camera and asked Ellie to tell everyone they were going to comb the scene so they needed the station to be closed to any visitors. She nodded and disappeared, talking to a walkie-talkie. The duo took pictures of every single centimeter of the body. They didn’t dare to move it, afraid that the action would break the stream of frozen blood coming out of his forehead.

 It was an eerie sight, to see such brutality but at the same time, realizing how careful the killer actually was. They found no hairs around the body, nor the killer’s weapon. Only the arrow was still inside the doctor’s skull and they decided it was best to remove it only when they had finished doing everything else. The corpse was wearing the jacket normally used for the outside, so that indicated the doctor was outside when he was attacked or that he went out during a persecution. That wasn’t clear but he must have been outside at some point that day.

 When they checked the records of the day, doctor Pong had noted several things on his log. He had apparently been working on some ice sheet tubes they had extracted earlier that month from a field not very far from the station. The detectives, of course, had no idea what it all meant, but they realized he had worked on that during the day. The last thing he noted though was far more interesting than everything else: he had written, “The heating system seems to be malfunctioning. It’s freezing inside. I have to go out and check the heater”.

 The detectives put on their jackets and asked Ellie about the heather and she joined them to it. It was located in a shed outside, about ten meters from the main entrance. There, they found that the door to the shed was open but nothing else pointed to the murder. Ellie checked the heater and told them everything was ok, which they already knew because the temperature inside the station was very pleasant. When back inside, Ellie told them she had to leave because she was needed in another station but that she would be back in a few hours. She reminded the detectives that it was summer in Antarctica, so eternal daylight was the norm. She showed them a couple of bed they could sleep if they needed to. She said goodbye and left in her snowmobile.

 The duo continued the investigations but, as expected, they weren’t going anywhere with all of it. They had found hairs in the lab and other rooms but that was probably Ellie’s or some other scientist that had been there before. She explained the doctor was alone when he was killed because all the other scientists had been called to another base as a great discovery had been made and the transmission from a Russian base could only be received in the other station. He decided to stay behind for a day and just wait for them to return and tell them the news.

 After checking every single part of the base, which was the size a of a single person’s apartment, they decided to eat something. The food looked like the ones they gave to astronauts and it taste just as they expected it to taste, so they continued their work rather fast. As Nora checked the doctor’s computer, Erik checked the storage room and the body once more.

 Some hours had pass when Nora called Erik, saying she had found something. Many of the other cases they had solved were all about love and envy and how to combine that with the thirst for revenge and so on. She builds up on that and decided to look for secret folders or hidden archives in the doctor’s computer and Norma had found just that. It was an invisible folder and had only five pictures. When the couple saw them, they couldn’t help feeling surprised at them.

 Each and every one of those pictures showed a younger Ellie Warren, with longer hair and a certain glow to her, fully naked on five different poses. It was obvious she was aware of the photographer but the pictures were certainly not new as the women in the pictures looked in her twenties, or even younger, and doctor Warren was at least fifty years old. Why would Pong have those pictures in his laptop? Had he known her before she became a scientist? Was he the photographer? Both Nora and Erik were baffled at the pictures but couldn’t make sense of them. Where them even meaningful to they investigation?

 Then, an explosion was heard outside the station. Nora and Erik ran out to see the heater shed had burst into flames and some of the pieces were burning on the snow, others already freezing. Why had that happened? And then Nora grabbed Erik’s arm. She knew exactly what had happened. It was Ellie. She had been the only one of them to actually enter the shed. It had been working fine with them but it had failed when Pong had been killed. And now it had exploded.

 Their conclusion was that Ellie had done the same thing that day. They decided to check with the nearest station, where the scientists had gone to check on the news. The radio wasn’t working very well but it was confirmed Ellie had not been there with them. According to the person in charge, she had stayed behind with Pong. So there.... It had to be her. She was the killer. But why? And where was she now. The man said she wasn’t there today either.

 Nora was looking at the screen and then noticed Erik wasn’t talking. And he actually wasn’t breathing anymore. He fell to the floor, with an arrow on his head. Nora had no time to be scared as she saw Ellie holding a crossbow.


- Couldn’t leave you here with the evidence. Sorry.

viernes, 13 de febrero de 2015

The last scene

-       Cut! That’s a wrap, people.

 Every single person on set relaxed their muscles. The shooting had been going on for three months, and they were simply exhausted. Besides, being in such a fantastic place was too good and perfect to be there only working. It was a large forest, almost like the ones in fairy tales, with perfect pine trees and rocks of all forms and shapes.

 The shooting had been going on among some of these trees, in an area where they grew a little bit more separated from each other than in the rest of the forest. The trailers and camp in general was located not very far, around a large lake that was almost perfectly round. The sound of birds and other animals came from the farthest places; it was as if you could hear forever.

 The lead actress, a beautiful young woman by the name of Samantha Hart, was the first one to return to her trailer. She was accompanied by the costumer designer, some makeup people and her personal assistant. She had to remove every single thing belonging to the movie in order to be able to rest in peace for the first time in several days. It wasn’t strange that all actors were wearing heavy makeup to conceal the traces of their lack of sleeping time.

 Otto Fröm was the name of the director, a big man, tall and fat with a beard that covered half his face. Although he was a very nice person as a friend and when the cameras were not working, he was ruthless when making a film. He had a vision for every single thing, for every single frame of the movie, and he wasn’t going to compromise that for anything in the world. He just wouldn’t.

 He left too for his trailer, to check the footage of the day with his two assistants and the director of the second unit that had arrived that very morning. He had been in charge of shooting some scenes very far, by the coast. They went into the trailer and kept working. For Fröm there was no resting or peace until he finished his movie. He wasn’t interested in what the production or distribution companies said. He always sent one of his assistants to speak on his behalf and his answer to everything was “When the movie’s done”.

 Samantha had already taken everything from her: the beautiful jewels, the amazing costume and even the tons of makeup that made her look beautiful. Not that she wasn’t beautiful on her own right but she was human and she had many flaws. As a matter of fact, she spent several minutes in front of the mirror, looking at herself. She particularly hated the freckles that seemed to occupy most of her face. She would have loved to remove them but that wasn’t possible so she had learned how to conceal them with makeup.

 When every single person had left her, she lay down for a while in her bed and stared at the ceiling of that tiny space. Another movie had passed by and now she was technically unemployed again. Well, only for a couple of weeks until she had to travel to Peru and begin the production of a new film, a historical depiction of the Inca Empire. She got up and looked herself in the mirror: she would have to dye her hair and let it grow longer. Maybe they would force her to use contact lenses because she had never heard of Incas having blue eyes.

 In the woods, however, people were still working. They were the gaffers and electricians that had to pick it all up, every cable, light and accessory used in the production of the film. Noah was one of them, a man aged thirty-five, very strong although not very tall. He had been working in the business for the last ten years and knew every trick and technique to help the director of photography to do his job.

 That man had already left following the director, who Noah thought was too obsessed with perfection. In his experience, he knew some things have better results if they just happen or if they are improvised. As he gathered several lights boxes, he realized this Fröm guy had not let any of the actors improvise the scenes. This was very particular as most of the action scenes Noah had been in, the actors had had the necessity to improvise because they felt fear of the situation, even if they knew it wasn’t actually threatening.

 In his trailer, Fröm consulted every single detail of the scenes done that very day. Although he had made the actors repeat the last scene at least ten times, and it was a very long scene, he felt the ones that had been done lacked something. He asked the director of photography but him, being a rather older gentleman, thought it was all perfect and that postproduction may help him have a more shocking scene.

 But Fröm, who was a purist, didn’t really like all the beautiful things promised by the visual effects people. If he could, he would avoid them at all costs but the production company had already paid them to be on the lookout once Fröm delivered his rushes to them. He asked his assistants if he could shoot the scene again but they told him that most of the materials used had already being removed from the forest and that it would be very costly to put them up again for one scene.

 The crew organized a small gathering that night, on the beach of the circular lake, in order to celebrate the end of the shooting. The director was absent and the lead actress appeared only very late at night, when most of the people had already gone to bed. They had no way of drinking alcohol so the party was all about eating the food they hadn’t eaten for the last few days, as well as several bottles of water and soft drinks. The producer that was present didn’t object and actually offered to put on some music from her trailer, were she had a computer with good speakers.

 Of course, the amount of noise that could be done was not very high. Amongst them was a man from the government that had to ensure the preservation of the site during the shooting. He agreed to the celebration but made them promise that the music won’t be very loud and that they would finish it all by midnight. That wasn’t an impediment to have fun for a few hours, eat a lot and celebrate the end of another day of work.

 Seeing she had arrived to late to the party, Samantha sat down with the makeup people and started chatting amicably with them. She felt closer to them than anyone else on set as she spent a lot of time in their quarters. Same with the costume designer and her assistants but that woman was always so busy that she didn’t seem to have fun doing her work nor realizing that she could relax once in a while.

 They spoke about their families and the beauty of the place. The lake looked now like a large tar pit, in the blackness of the night. Eventually they all went to their respective “dormitories” and had the best night of sleep for weeks.

The following day, a helicopter arrived to start transporting equipment back to the nearest city but the director surprised them by announcing that no one was leaving until they had done the last scene one more time. Every single person was annoyed and most workers refused, threatening to get their unions involved in the matter. But the man had received an authorization from the production company that made them stay another day.

 Setting up everything took four hours and the proper shooting of the last scene last almost that same amount of time. But this time, one the director had yelled “It’s a wrap now, for good”, they start dismantling everything so fast that in an hour every single prop and accessory was put away and on the helicopter.


 Samantha left with Fröm on the first helicopter and Noah had to wait almost until dusk to be able to leave. When in the air he looked one last time to the forest and the lake and smiled. It was always fun to enjoy work, even if he had no rest for months or his boss was a jerk. He loved it all.