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

martes, 26 de mayo de 2015

The Donner mansion

   For the last hundred years, people had stated that the Donner mansion was haunted. People claimed ghost lived there and that’s why people never went there anymore. Professor Marcus Stevens and his assistant Vanessa arrived in town just to check out the mansion, in order to put to rest the legend of the so-called ghosts. Professor Stevens was not a believer of the supernatural and was decided, in his spare time; to debunk any silly beliefs people might still have around the globe. He had chosen the Donner mansion because it was a very well known place, not only in the region but nationwide. People talked about how real the experiences there were and the professor wanted to end all of that.

 To be honest, he had personal reasons. Silly beliefs had left his grandfather helpless. When he was younger, his grandpa was suffering from a strange disease. He asked his mother and practically everyone in the family to take him to the hospital but they wouldn’t, saying it was the will of God and that if He intended grandpa to be cured, it would be done that way.  Even as a child, Marcus was restless, even trying to sneak into the house a doctor he had picked up from the phone book. But to no avail, as his parents forbid it and his grandpa died days later.

 When he grew up, he decided to study science and prove everything, make the world a more realistic place, getting rid of all the magical creatures, the folk tales and the silly beliefs that took lives like his grandfather’s every single day around the world. Since he was eighteen, he had left home and didn’t talk to any family member but he soon made lots of friends in the scientific circles, so there was no sadness or longing for the past. He hated his pasts, his family’s beliefs and all that had to do with that. He decided he could live very well without his parents or anyone else from his family close to him.

 The first thing they did was travelling to the town of Rensal, where the mansion was locate, and talk to many people there. The idea was to make something like a survey, in order to better understand the phenomenon that people claimed happened often in and around the mansion. They set up their headquarters in a small hotel room and they would interview people in the lobby. It was an old town in the mountains and now it was a ski paradise in the winter but it was not yet that season so there were not many people around.

 Many told them that the mansion got “more active” during the summer, when less people were visiting. This was odd as, in many other towns, the occurrences happened always in the months when tourists were in larger numbers. Anyway, that didn’t mean it wasn’t a hoax, it just meant people in this town were probably not manipulating the events occurring in the house, or at least not in a large scale. In one week, they had already interviewed more than one hundred people and that was more than enough to make a survey that showed which were the most frequent activities inside.

 Apparently, people saw lights inside the house despite the manor being disconnected from the power grid, many people also testified seen people there wearing old clothes and ignoring them and the small group of people that had entered the house told him that the walls were covered in some strange goo, yellow in color and with a terrible smell. Besides that there was the usual: voices, lights that went in and out, strange sounds, the feeling of being touched… Marcus and Vanessa knew them all from their other experiences and were ready to debunk the tales of Donner mansion.

 The following week was used to enter the house. The plan was to go into the mansion every afternoon, three whole hours. They would carry special equipment to detect metals, radioactivity and other events that may seem strange but were very normal in a old house. They had done it a million times. The first day, on Monday, they entered the house with care as the front porch seemed to be damped and the wood that formed it seemed to be in the verge of breaking into several pieces. They went along with Xavier, an old friend of Marcus who loved the whole hunted house experience. He wasn’t a scientist but gladly helped as he thought it was a very cool thing to do.

 The first thing they felt was cold. Despite very warm temperatures on the outside, the house remained as cold as in the winter. They measured the temperature, noted it down, and proceeded to another room, crossing a large hall with care. The place was not dark as the afternoon light entered the house through the high windows all around the hall but it was very strange as the glass was not transparent but had various colors. It was like walking around a circus fair ride.

 The first room they entered after that happened to be the kitchen. It smelled awful, as if someone had left food to rot there. But that didn’t make sense as no one had lived there for the last hundred years. Vanessa put on some gloves and took out the food that was rotting in the fridge. There was a moldy cheese, meat and a chicken breast, all covered in green and smelling awful. However, Vanessa was able to recover a plastic covering from behind the food and put that in one of their own plastic bags.

 Vanessa had been with Marcus for a long time. She started as a student of his in a physics class back in the university but they had formed a nice friendship that had consolidated just after she had graduated. In the blink of an eye, Marcus had hired her to be his assistant in the university and proposed her to be his assistant in these trips too. Vanessa did not hesitate, as she thought it was a very cool thing to do and she confessed that she had always been bored out of her mind when friends started talking about the possibilities of life after death, ghosts and all that supernatural crap. She even had proven to them how the Ouija board was all about conditioned thinking, a fake in simple terms.

 After finding the rotten food, Xavier stepped on a weak part of the kitchen and the floor broke beneath his feet. He twisted his ankle and both Marcus and Vanessa had to help him out of the mansion and to the medical center down in town. It was good that Marcus had asked a local to be there with a car in case they needed help, so he took Xavier away and they had to cancel the rest of the exploration for that day. They spent the night in the hospital waiting for the doctor to tell them about their friend. He was ok but he was going to have a cast and crutches. So there was no way for him to join them anymore.

 The rest of the week, Marcus and Vanessa would go into the mansion and test every single apparatus they had inside. They used the electromagnetic device to prove that the house was actually not fully disconnected from the power grid and just walking around they found thousands of small gaps and holes, which were used by the wind to enter and make strange noises. All very natural.  The cold feeling inside the hosue was explained because of the location of the house, just in the way a small air current that went down the mountain, covered in snow all year, towards the valley were the town was located.

 The only thing that hadn’t been able to prove wrong was the presence of unknown people inside the house; even some wearing old robes, from the times when the mansion was built. They decided to plant several cameras all around the house and stay one more week. Marcus wanted to go away as soon as possible because, although he found it all to be very interesting and even funny, he also wanted to properly rest this summer before the classes began again. He didn’t have much time to spare and this time he wanted to think more about himself than about work or others.

 However, the cameras didn’t show anything. She stayed in front of the monitors for hours, even falling asleep in front of them but they had not picked up anything, not a real person, not a floating person, nothing. On the last day, the moment they were packing, something happened. One of the cameras picked up kind of a shade crossing the front side of the house, apparently entering the mansion. Back in his home, Marcus checked the video various times. He could explain the shadow; it was probably the sun and the surrounding trees. But there was a moment when a face seemed to appear and the door opened a bit, and it was a heavy wooden door.

 For the first time ever, Marcus decided he didn’t care. He didn’t believe he was a ghost and he knew there was an explanation to everything that happened in that place and in places like that all over the world. But the truth was he was tired, growing fed up with filling his life with meaningless things. He had to admit he still resented their family but that, however, he was in need of someone to hug and that feeling appeared to him, like a ghost, every single morning.


 There was nothing supernatural in Donner mansion but there was something missing, something rather natural, from Marcus’s life and he didn’t know exactly what it was or how to get it.

sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015

Flights

   The flight had not been awful but my body was just sore from being seated for so many hours. Somehow, those airplane exercises did not do the trick for me. Besides getting in the way of some people, they didn’t accomplish anything. When we finally landed, I felt my legs weakened by the journey. And to think I still had six more hours to go. But at least I had twenty hours to refresh and relax before hopping into another aircraft.

 I went through customs quite fast, and then headed straight for the airport hotel. I had my only bag with me and was certainly happy to be able to sleep in a proper bed for at least a few hours.

 The lady at the counter of the hotel seemed a bit distracted by something and kept looking towards a TV located in a small meeting area besides her post. I asked her if there was something wrong and she said something about a hurricane that was battering some islands in the south. It was feared that the storm could come this way. But, at the moment, her words seemed not all that important to me. As a matter of fact, the moment she gave me my bedroom keys, I had only the bed on my mind.

 The walk from the front desk to my room felt short and, seconds after I closed the door, I had stripped to my underwear and was making my way into the cozy queen sized bed. I fell asleep fast didn’t even remember to put an alarm in case I slept longer than I expected.

 I had a dreamless sleep, very nice and cozy. When I woke up, I saw the sun through the curtain, which could only mean that the day was coming to an end. I grabbed my cellphone and realized I had slept seven hours straight, which was perfect for a guy that had to make another six-hour flight the following morning.

 I stayed in bed a few minutes until I realized I could have a nice hot shower and change my clothes, which I did. I even sang through my entire time in the bathroom. For some reason, a hotel made me feel special, more so when my company was the one that had to pay and not me. After changing clothes to a less constricting combo of shirt and jeans, I decided to head down to the restaurant.

 When I got there, I noticed there was no self-service but one could order anything from one of the waiters, which I did: a big cheeseburger with fries and onion rings. Yeah, I was starving after my sleep. The television screens were still broadcasting images from the storm in the tropics and warned people in the city were I was that they should be mindful of the storm for the next few days.

 When my burger came I ate it so fast, I surprised myself, and the waiter, who kindly asked if I needed something else. I told him to bring me lemonade and to put it all on my tab, as I had no money to pay and even If had had any money I wouldn’t. After a week of hard work, I had earned all the nice treatment.

 There were only a couple more tables occupied and some people on the bar. I looked at those people, the kind that have their first drink of the day at four o’clock. It was nice to be that careless with one’s decisions, although maybe they had interesting jobs or just lives that required that extra kick. As I drank my beverage, I saw them all one by one and realized I knew one of those men: he had worked with me years ago but he had left, probably fired but I did not know for a fact.

 He noticed I was looking at him and stared back and, clearly, he realized who I was. He waved, a whisky glass in one hand, and came walking towards my table, smiling like an idiot. I had just remembered I did not like him very much when he took a seat just besides me.

 He acted all surprised and shocked and happy to see me but somehow I know it was all a lie. I normally knew when people were being deceitful to me and guy just didn’t seem quite honest to me. He smiled a lot and I had always mistrusted that and he had stopped drinking, which was clearly a bad sign.

 The man started talking about his new job, where he traveled a lot and met many famous people. He was something like and insurance guy for the wealthy or something like that. To be honest, I did not pay much attention to anything he said and, from time to time, I would look towards the screens still showing what was happening in another part of the world.

 He obviously noticed me doing do because he started giving me he’s opinion of the matter, as if an opinion was able to change the path of an incoming storm. Yeah, I clearly remember I hated that guy. He was always trying to be visible, attracting everyone to his stupid life and just trying to be funny and just coming out pathetic. He was the kind of person that was desperate for attention and I had never cared for any of that.

 Without any warning, I told him I had some affairs to attend in my room and shook hands with him. As I walked away he told me to email him some time and I nodded but I clearly had no intention to do so. I decided to get around the airport, which was huge, and walk around until my flight became available on the screens all around the place.

 The airport had three terminals and each one was simply huge and well connected, so walking was just a pleasure, looking at people come and go, the pilots and flight attendants and all the colors their uniforms sported. Besides, I had always liked airplanes so my favorite thing to do was buying some candy and then seating by a large window and stare and the planes moving all over the tarmac. It was like watching ants work on giants or something. Maybe that’s what was attractive to me…

 After getting bored and running out of candy, I decided to shop for some souvenirs. They weren’t for me but for my friends and family, all of whom loved to receive t-shirts and fridge magnets after I had traveled around the world. My mother had a collection of those and I had already bought her some in my earlier destination. I found a store that sold several of those, shaped as animals and fruits so I bought a whole bag.

 My sister’s gift was a bit trickier as she loved clothing but I always seemed to forget what size she wore and which colors she was into right now. They changed quite often and it was hard to keep up with it. So I just bought her a black sweater with a funny image on it thinking it went with everything and even if I got the wrong sixe I could tell her I thought she could use at nights or something.

 For my friends I bought boxes and boxes of chocolate and candy. That was what they liked, besides booze, which I couldn’t buy because I had always been scared a bottle would break and then of my underwear would smell of vodka or something. Some of the candy I bought were filled with rum and gin so that would cover me with them.

 I went back to my room, realizing my flight was only three hours away. I got everything I had bought into my suitcase but I couldn’t make the chocolate boxes fit in so I took that on their bad and hoped for security officers not to annoy me about it. I took all my things; check the room twice for things I may have left around and then left the room. In the front desk, the receptionist was busy on the phone, speaking occasionally. She hung up and attended me quickly to go away rather hastily.

 Not thinking twice about it, I walked straight to customs again, then to my gate were I sat down to wait for the boarding procedure. As I checked my emails on my phone, an airline worker dressed in light blue and with jet black hair walked to the counter and spoke on the microphone.

-       Ladies and gentlemen, Air Jet has to announce the cancellation of this flight due to a serious event that has taken place. We will take care of accommodations and will help you get into a later flight to get to your destinations.

 People started to quarrel with her and, not talking to a microphone, visibly tired and fed up by passenger’s attitude, she said:

-       A man committed suicide. He, somehow, got to the building above this gate and  jumped. He landed… he landed on the plane.

 Everyone was now silent and the some of them where walking towards the window. Although far to have a good look, I was sure I had seen correctly. The man that killed himself had been talking to me some hours earlier

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014

Antares

   Aslana was reclined on her chair, barely looking at all the screens she had in front of her. She had been commissioned with surveying a barren part of the Cosmos no one really cared about. Neither did she, but it was her job and she complied. After the first hour, however, she had bored herself to death by watching the screens with practically nothing showing.

 That had not been the idea she had had when in college, trying to decide what to do next. Antares space station was hiring but becoming an actual astronaut also interested her. People saw them as adventurers and explorers and she wanted that, to feel that she was doing something special.

 She decided to become an astronaut and went to Star City, near Moscow, to become one. With at least fifty others, she trained hard for a whole year but at the end of the process only ten were finally chosen. It had been decided they were the only ones fit for space travel. Aslana was not chosen. Her performance on skill and intelligence tests was formidable but the physical demand of the career had proven a bit too much for her.

 However, her tutors had recommended her to the Science Academy of Moscow, who were about to open a new observatory orbiting Triton, near Neptune. The observatory was located, funny enough, on Space Station Antares. So she had wasted a whole year of her life to do almost exactly what she had thought of doing when coming out of college.

 And now, there was Aslana, sitting on her chair, legs up on the dashboard, looking at Triton through one of the many windows in the space station. Antares was home to about five hundred people and its builders were already trying to get the permission to build another wing to it and get five hundred more to come and live almost at the edge of the solar system.

 Aslana enjoyed it sometimes, and other times she hated it. She loved space and she hated people there. They got to be so annoying, judgemental and hypocritical. Well, there were some people that were very kind and lovable too but they weren't a vast majority.

 Suddenly, an alarm made Aslana fall from her chair. The sound had come from the dashboard, which she hadn't been looking. To be honest, she had fallen asleep for a couple of minutes, tired and bored at the same time.

 She sat down again, combed her hair with her fingers and started tapping and clicking and writing. The signal seemed to come from a quadrant of empty space. Of course, it was not actually empty but nothing really big seemed to be there. Yet, the alarm had been set off.

 She ran all the tests, to know if the signal was actually foreign in origin or a Earth signal bouncing between the stars. After a half hour, she could certify that the pulse, the call if you will, was from deep space. No human had traveled there. There was a science base in Haumea and that was it. That was the farthest place humans had gone from home. But this signal was from deep space and, somehow, it had reached Antares.

 Aslana aligned every dish available towards the quadrant from which the message was coming. The pulse got weak at some point and then strong again. It was like the people, if that word could be used, were having problems keeping up the strength of the pulse.

 When the woman activated the audio machine, she let a loud squeak come out from her mouth. The sound was awful, it was like if a thousand bees and wasps had suddenly entered the station. She screamed because of the volume, which was unusually high. She thought that, for sure, someone in the station might have been woken up by the sound.

 And that reminded her. She should report what was going on immediately. The machines were all recording the event but she needed to send a message to Earth, for them to check the message out. Very large telescopes had been built on the Moon, capable to trace the message more accurately that what little potential the Antares station had.

 - Moon base Tycho, this is Aslana Tromaterova. I'm in charge of the observatory for the night. I have    detected a pulse coming from this space. I'm sending the coordinates encrypted in this message.          Please check. I'm monitoring the event. All tests have been done. Waiting for instructions.

 She sent the message, which would take several hours to reach the Moon. Meanwhile, she started playing with her audio machine to clean up the noise she was hearing. Aslana moved every knob, button and switch and listened carefully. After a while, she thought she had heard something, like a mumbling. She did her best to clean the sound with the computer, but, of course, the distance had disrupted the signal and it wasn't coming clean.

 Then Aslana remembered a class she had received at Star City, when an old german professor had taught the everyone how to clean sound and video feeds coming or going from space stations. He said it would help tremendously on occasions of distress or emergency. One thing he had said was that sometimes video could help clean sound waves. The sound could be translated by a screen and then cleaned properly.

 So Aslana did just that. One of the many screens helped her accomplish something she thought would have been impossible due to the circumstances. After two hours on it, she had finally cleaned the pulse. And the woman was very nervous, unsettled.

 She had not thought of the signal to be dual, to be sound and video at the same time. But it was. Aslana realized she was the first person in History to see the face of an extraterrestrial, a being from another planet. They were different, true, but she could see humanity in them, in their eyes and behavior.

 There was some data being sent on the video feed too. It was on some other language but she could conclude, from the video and some of the statistics, very similar to human ones, that they were on a ship. And that this ship, was in deep trouble. Some of the creatures seemed to be controlling a fire and others ran in several directions.

 Then something happened that almost made her fall from the chair again: the creatures spoke towards the camera, probably asking for help. And Aslana cried, realizing they would die there in the middle of nowhere, only been heard by one human woman so far away.

 The woman cleaned her face and decided to do something useless: send a message. Judging from the distance between her and the quadrant they were calling from, Aslana knew all of them were already dead, probably for many years, maybe even hundreds of years. They had died alone, horribly. So she wanted to honor them by sending a message. She thought her words carefully and then sent the message, which she later sent towards Earth with all the data relating to the event.

 It was important to her to do this. She had been alone half her life and, with this gesture, useless maybe but sincere, she wanted to tell anyone hearing that they would never be alone, not while there were others around caring for their well being.

 When her shift ended, she spoke briefly with her boss and told him she was very tired but that all the data had been sent to Earth and was saved in the station's main hard drive. The boss granted her her wish and, as she laid down in bed, she realized she still had a life in front of her and that she could do whatever she wanted with it.

 - My name is Aslana. You will never know me and I will never know you. But I wanted you to know    you have a friend now and I hope I have one or many too. I'm a human and is probable you won't        understand what I'm saying. But I trust someday you will. And when you do, I want you to know        that we,  I, will always be here for you. We are now bound to each other and I will try my best to        keep this  promise. Sorry for your loss.