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

miércoles, 8 de febrero de 2017

Strange place

   The woods outside the small town of Iris, were a very lonely place almost all year round. Not a soul dared to cross through it to get anymore, no matter if it came from outside or inside the small town. People would rather cross the lake by boat to reach the village or simply take the main road that made a big detour around the woods. After so much time of this prohibition having settled in in the minds of the people, they simply didn’t think about it anymore and saw it as one of those things of nature.

 But it wasn’t exactly nature, which barred everything living from the woods. It was possibly the opposite, something dark and sneaky that didn’t wanted for people to penetrate the place were it lived. No birds crossed over those woods or even built nests on those trees. All animals, from bears to butterflies, avoided that patch of the world as if it was something automatic and not something they could do something about. Nature had nothing to do with that chilling place, not at all.

 On Iris, people loved life. It was such a strange thing for first visitors because one would think that living with a certain fear for so long would be quite a marking experience but it wasn’t at all. Children there loved to play all day long and the adults were kind people that loved to greet new souls to their community. They welcomed strangers as if they were a gift sent by the heavens and would also celebrate for an entire day if a new citizen was born inside the boundaries of Iris.

The festivities there were always something to behold: they put small flags of many colors over every doorway in town and they would sing beautiful old songs all day long, celebrating life. They also cooked the best food, especially fish, when a newborn entered their community. They also cooked some sweets that were specially made according to the tastes of the person being celebrated, meaning it was also done in birthdays, which were always a very grand occasion in town.

 The best part though, was the fact that people seemed to be having the time of their lives every single day. It didn’t matter if they were selling products in the markets, fishing on the lake, running around town or cooking lunch for their family, people in Iris always had a helping hand for everyone and big smile to top that with. All traders loved to visit, as they felt doing business there was more like being on a vacation were everyone is very kind to you. The name was famous in the region and the fact that the woods were so close, was baffling to so many curious people.

 They couldn’t understand how those people in Iris could be so happy. After all, those tall dark trees and that frozen wind had a presence that was not easy to ignore when one would travel through the main road towards Iris. People from the small town had moved the trail further away from the forest, many times during their history, but the woods seemed to catch up every time they did that. So every time a particular part of the road felt colder and simply strange, they rebuilt the road further away from that place.

 That work was normally done in a few days and it was something that needed to be done every year. But even so, the people from Iris that worked on the road weren’t even a bit worried about that. Every year, their town kept being pushed away from the rest of the civilized world. When the road was first created, the journey to the nearest town could be achieved in about 10 hours. With all the changes on the road, Iris was now located 12 hours away from civilization and it kept moving away.

 The route through the lake, by boat, was used my traders mostly. And that road was also altered every few years do to the fact that the dark woods seemed to be conquering the opposite side of the lake, little by little, and people now have to change courses a little bit which also made the trip a little bit longer than before. But people just did what had to be done and they tried not to think too much about it because there was nothing they could do, or at least that was the general opinion.

 A couple of experts in biology and other fields had studied the woods from the outside. Of course, most of these people came from other towns and they would go to Iris at least once to study the forest from there. The problem was that they were the only people not to be welcome in town, asked very politely to leave after spending one night in town. People usually agreed to do it in order for them no to cause any sort of unpleasant mood among the normally chilled population of Iris.

 Not many findings had been done by the very few experts that found the dark woods to be a fascinating anomaly in nature. The fact that no life could be detected there was strange enough, no matter if it was on the trees, the soil, the air or even the water that existed in the form of puddles. But even stranger was the fact that every single person that got too close to the forest, and lived to tell the story, would always tell others about a presence that was strong among those trees. There was something there but no one could really say what it was, if it was something at all.

 Of course, the people of Iris were not very big on any of those stories. The few people from town that had grown any interest in the woods, no matter how fleeting, would be asked to live the village and never come back. That seemed a little bit too hard but the fact remained that Iris was not a town where being curious was rewarded in any way. They lived a quiet peaceful life between a lake, some mountains and the main road; they didn’t really need to ask the world for anything else.

 That of course included the answers that so few had asked for but that no one was apparently willing to give. The only possible way to get a proper answer was to enter the woods themselves but even among people from other parts of the world, that was a crazy idea. All studies qualifies that place as dangerous and unstable, because of the road thing, so why would anyone try to enter to find answers to questions that no one really is begging for? One thing is wondering, the other is demanding an answer.

 Only a handful of people had done that, demand an answer from the forest. And the fact was that none of them remained to tell others why they asked themselves that dreadful question. That is because all of them, a group of ten or less, had walked into the forest and had never returned. When that happened, no one really asked for an explanation or for their bodies to be buried or anything like that. Not even their families wanted to know anything more that what was a fact.

 Those people were part of the mystery of the woods and every time of them had entered the forest, it seemed that year was one of especially big growth for that space as such. Trees seemed to get thicker trunks and the cold air seemed to become even colder. It was a very scary thing to think about and that was probably why people just kept ignoring those facts and the conversation over all. They didn’t want to confront the reality of the situation they faced every day, so they compensate it with joy and optimism, as they didn’t have anything else to go for them.

 In about twenty years, a young woman will realize a very dreadful fact that people in Iris will again accept as one of those things that happen and no one can do anything about it. She will reveal to her people that the road will be cut off because they won’t be able to push it further away from the woods. The trees will grow on the trail and the town of Iris will be cut off from civilization, same from the lakeside. They will be prisoners of the forest. And one day, they will all disappear because of it. And even then, they won’t say a word because that’s they way they are.

jueves, 19 de mayo de 2016


   It had been discovered in a field, only some months ago, by a farmer named Enrico who had been plowing the ground in order to expand his carrot crop. He had been doing it manually instead than with a machine because he was testing the new piece of land he had bought. It was something of a lucky decision. If he had used any big machinery, he would have destroyed hundreds or maybe thousands of years of history.

 Enrico cleaned the shield with care, only using his hands. The state of the piece was amazing: drawings could still be seen on it, as well as some marking done by the edge. The farmer called the museum in Florence and they came to pick up the piece in a matter of hours. They also decided to ask Enrico if they could check his land for more objects and he agreed. He wasn’t going to use all the new land just yet, so the archaeologists could do whatever they wanted where he had found the shield.

 The object was put in a Styrofoam casing and transported to the city, to Florence, where experts would check its state and would determine where it came from, what it was exactly and when it had been used. Every single test available was going to be done to the shield because that’s what they did with every single piece that they recuperated. They would also clean it thoroughly, and put it somewhere in the vast collection of the Museum of Archaeology of Florence.

 The testing began at the same time a small team of people arrived at Enrico’s land. It lasted for several days, time in which many other objects were discovered in the dirt: there was a chest protection with the leather strap still attached to it, a golden ring made of gold and a dagger with an amethyst in the middle. They were very well conserved and the people that had unearthed them were really glad they hadn’t been affected by centuries of rain and earthquakes and all other natural phenomenon that affected the region.

 In the museum, they determined that the objects came from the times of the Roman Empire. By past data, they knew there was no city where the objects were found, so it had to be a camping site or a battleground of sorts. The objects appeared to be related somehow: the chest protector and the shield were used commonly by soldiers or even gladiators. The dagger also fit in there nicely. But the ring was the one thing that seemed out of place.

 No gold mines had ever existed in the region. And even if it had been made in another territory, only rich men and women were able to have such nice things. But not a soldier and that’s what the rest of the objects were suggesting the owner was: a simple soldier, maybe battling an enemy or just camping by a forest. The excavation of the site was ongoing.

 After restoration, every single one of the four objects looked as it had just been made. It was amazing. Some thought the dirt of the place they had found them all in was very special and capable of changing without deteriorating any type of material. The leather, for example, was moldy and about to break in some parts. But it was cleaned with care and then it looked almost new. The museum was expecting to find more objects in the area before organizing a special exhibition for the pieces.

 Almost six months after Enrico had found the shield, a group of college students that helped in the excavations, found another dagger and two skulls. The rest of the skeletons were discovered in the following days. It was amazing for every single person involved because the place was telling a story and it was telling it slowly, with mystery and even a little bit of drama.

 The skeletons were not complete but most of the bones had been recovered. They were reconstructed in separate tables in the museum and the bones were cleaned carefully in order to do a full testing of every single one of them. They also cleaned the second dagger found, this one missing the jewel that should have been right in the middle. It was impossible to know if it had been an amethyst or not. Maybe that was a small secret that the ground would choose not to disclose.

 When the skeletons were finally reorganized and tested, it had been determined that both bodies had been man, probably in their late thirties. One of them was missing at least three teeth. The other one had week bone structure in one of his arms. Both, however, had evidence of having being stabbed in the chest, probably causing their deaths. The entry of the daggers had been so violent, they had almost sawed some of the rib bones.

 What was strange was the fact that the daggers had been extracted after the first and, probably, only blow. Maybe they had been fighting alone, away from the main conflict and they had just realized they were exactly the same strength, they realized they weren’t going to be able to overcome the other one so they decided to go for the daggers and each had stabbed the other in the same way. Maybe it was a way of dying honorably… It seemed odd anyway.

 The skeletons were also introduced in the plan for an exhibition and the city of Florence had decided to go ahead and organized, even if the amount of objects was not as abundant as it would have been desirable. They trusted new discoveries to be made in the time they would take to organize everything. And they did right.

 Just before the excavation site turned one year old, a young archeologist name Camilla discovered the remains of two sets of sandals, as well as a leather pouch filled with coins. Inside the pouch, which was not as well conserved as the rest of the objects, was also a key that had a very small inscription in Latin.

 The first person to see the key, besides the young woman, was an expert in the museum that was very well versed in the language of Ancient Rome. And he was very amazed to realize what the key said: VOBIS IN PERPETUUM, which means “yours forever”. The key and the coins were, as predicted, of the same time that the bones and the rest of the objects. The story had turned much more interesting. What did that key open and why the inscription?

 The excavation went on for another six months but nothing else was discovered in there. It was as if those two men had been alone, very far from any other group of people, maybe sharing the money they had in order to go somewhere else. Many experts investigated old maps and discoveries made all over Tuscany and realized there was an ancient road that passed near the site and served merchant that wanted to take their good from the coast and back. So maybe the two men had been looking for a way to go there, to the coast.

 Others thought they were actually going to Florence, or Florentia as the romans called it. Some even dared to say that the two men had no intention of moving anywhere. Maybe they didn’t even know what their next step was. Anyway, none of that gave light about what the inscription in the key meant and why they had stabbed each other to death, presumably.

 The museum exhibition took place almost two full years after the first remains had been found. The excavation site was closed but the farmer never used it, deciding to excavate himself from time to time, as a hobby. The exhibition was complemented with other objects of the time, in order to illustrate the era and the way people lived. But at the center of it all, there was a big class casing with the skeletons lying there and even animated versions of how the two men would have looked like.

 The key was put in a casing above the bodies. The small object appeared to float over them and the inscription was written all over the walls and the exhibition asked every visitor to give their interpretation of the words. Maybe they would see something the experts had not seen. Maybe new fresh minds would be necessary to resolve a mystery of one thousand years. Or maybe, just maybe, some things deserved to be kept secret forever.

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2016

Always there

   The two armies had destroyed each other in the field. There were shields and swords and helmets all over the place. The spears had lost all shine and the images on their armors were all tainted in blood or dirt. The ones that were alive from the Barbarian side had been captured. They were dragged like animals to a pen built with the broken spears of the fallen soldiers and there they would wait for some kind of transport to take them away, to being their lives as slaves of the Roman Empire.

 When the soldiers left with their prisoners, the bodies were left to rot on the field. It took several days and the process was somewhat helped by the rain and the occasional wild animals that were still coming out of the forests to attack humans. Desperate for any food, they would eat the corpses, specially the vultures. Months later, the ground only had a bunch of bones there and most people that travelled through the nearby road, never noticed anything particular.

 Many years passed until the Romans stopped travelling through the country. The field was left alone and trees begin to grow, very slowly but steadily. More than a hundred years later, there was a proper forest in that place and many creatures called it home. There were several kinds of creatures, including wolves and boars. They moved around with ease, not minding the few humans that cross the forest, risking their lives in the journey. The ancient Roman road was still being used.

 Then, the numbers of transports passing through the forest begin to grow. Apparently, the economy was beginning to do better and the ports on the south needed to reach the cities in central Europe, to the north. Some merchants carried salt and sugar and exotic good from far away lands. There were no slaves anymore but there were beautiful scents that every creature in the forest was interested in. They had never smelled anything like that before.

 Sometimes, very angry wolves attacked the carts or a hungry bear but that was only at the beginning. After many years, and many fires too, the greatest danger for those merchants were the thieves that hid in the forest. They would live there because in town they had nothing to eat. And then they would wait for a lonely cart full of food and just kill the driver.

 In time, the carts were made more elaborately and the drivers were never alones but with a security composed of one or maybe even two men. Besides, the merchants were not the only ones going through the forest. More and more caravans of just people in carriages penetrated the forest in order to rich the better life of the north. There were rich people and poor people crossing, not one of them caring a bit about the forest.

 One of those men and women caused the biggest fire the forest had seen. As all towns were so far away from the place, the trees burned for many days until rain calmed down the fire. When the inferno was over, half of the forest had completely disappeared. When the users of the road noticed this. They thought they could do better than the fire and decided to chop off all remaining trees in order to use the wood for making many things they needed in the cities.

 The area became a plain again and the road was cleared for the heavy traffic that it was receiving.  Then, for a long while, people stopped travelling. The animals that had left slowly returned, not missing the humans at all. In the nearest town, almost all of the population had died. The ones that hadn’t, burned the bodies and wore strange bird like hats in order to protect themselves from one of the worst pandemics to attack humanity. That’s why, for a long time, the road of the plain was practically not used.

 It would take many years to make the merchants return, to the annoyance of the animals that had seen small bushes and trees grow in the region. The forest wanted to come back but humanity wouldn’t let it. When the carts and carriages returned, they did not removed the new plants but they did reinforce the road by putting down stones on it to make it less slippery when it rained. For the next hundreds of years, the number of transports using the road would only grow.

 Also, the customs of the people that travelled to the road had changed. One day, a beautiful woman travelling in a very elegant carriage, just jumped out of her transport and ran into the highest part of the area. The weather was not good and her brother, younger than her, had some problems following her. She appeared to be an unusually strong woman but, in the top of a hill that dominated the plain, she started crying.

 When her brother approached her, she confessed she did not want to marry the man she had been promised to. She knew her parents had already arrange everything, even paying big sums of money, but she wasn’t into the idea of living with a men she didn’t even know. He had seen her once and she didn’t even remembered her face and now he was going to be her husband. She just didn’t want that.

 Her brother stayed there with her for a while and then convinced her to go back to the carriage. He helped her realized that it was the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She didn’t want to get old and never have been married or having kids. After all, it was what women were all about. She finally conceded and went back to her journey.

 Years later, more soldiers stomped the ground of the plains. They had high black boots and marched in order. It looked so nice, so spectacular, that no one would think twice about the number of people those men had already killed and the numbers they were going to kill. They camped there for one night and all they could talk about was about how great their leader Napoleon was and how Spain needed to fear him more than ever. They all agreed he was going to rule all over the continent and maybe even more.

 The next day, they were gone. The animals ate the food they had left and the plants used the animals and humans droppings to grow a bit more. The following winters, almost all of them, were harsh on the region. Some trees froze and never grew again. The road was covered permanently in snow and the few carriages that passed had to be extremely careful not to flip over to something. Those were very difficult times for everyone. But worse one would come.

 More war and, this time, even more men and chaos. Tanks trampled over the bushes and planes invaded the air with their horrible sound. The town nearby was taken by the Germans and then retaken some days later by Allies who helped push the Germans away from the rest and into their country. It was around that time one a road was built near the stone road. But these new road was made of asphalt and was made for cars.

 At first, there were not many. But as years passed, the number increased exponentially. There were all types of vehicles going up and down the road and also all kinds of people. Some of them were going of vacation and some others were only travelling for work. Some years later, the road was widened to support even more vehicles.

 World War II began and the road itself was bombarded several times when the Germans took the region. Some men and women, very pale and skinny, used the forest to hide. Some of them managed to escape the Germans but others weren’t as fortunate. They were put on cars and driven to the nearest train station and then they would never be seen again.

 Many months later the place was bombarded again, but now by the Allies. In a few days, the whole region was captured and the Germans pulled away from it. From then on, the road grew even more and became the basic link between north and south. The forest also began to grow a lot and soon became protected by the same humans that had destroyed so many times before. The animals now lived in peace and, only now and then, something happened in there but never like in the olden days.

 But who knows what the future holds?

lunes, 25 de enero de 2016


   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.