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

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

The rocks

   Every single woman in the town visited the rocks at least once a weak. It was the perfect place to do laundry by the river, but also a place for encounter. They would discuss the latest news, as well as sharing some of their most personal things. Not every woman went there at the same time, so small groups of them visited the rocks every few hours. It was never crowded because they all knew at what time they should be visiting in order to find the people they communicated best with.

 The ones that arrived at the earliest were mostly older. For some reason, experienced women tended to do their chores as early as they could. It was kind of an irony because they were the ones with the least amount of work at home and there in the rocks. After washing a couple of undergarments from their husbands, they were finished and did not know what else to do. They usually stayed on until the last woman had finished. That means they only stayed about an hour in the morning.

 The biggest group visited the rocks after midday. It was the time when most women had finished cooking for their families, so they all decided to process their meal by doing some exercise, and washing laundry was exactly that. Some women spent up to three hours there. It wasn’t very surprising considering the amount of dirty clothes accumulated by one husband and at least three young children. It was a lot of clothes to clean and they did it as fast as they could, as they talked and laughed.

 Then, there was a small group of women that visited the rocks an hour before sunlight disappeared. They normally visited that late because they really didn’t want to confront other woman during the day. They just wanted to do their thing and then leave as soon as possible. Women that visited at that time were often widows or single, having never married. They were just a handful in town but enough to make people talk about them. That’s why they preferred a certain darkness.

  What they all had in common, and rarely realized, was that every single one of them loved to visit the rocks because it gave them an outlet, it was something different from seeing men every single day and then having to do what they said. There, in the rocks, no man was in charge. Actually, they practically never went there, as they knew they would encounter a large number of women and men always felt a bit scared when outnumbered by anyone. The rocks were only for women and, as such, it was a safe space where they could discuss anything.

 It wasn’t uncommon to hear women curse and talk about their families in a not so kind way. A person hearing them out of context would never understand how much these women actually cared for their families. But they would sometimes need to vent their dissatisfaction with some of the thing that happened at home, because they needed to tell someone. In the household, the men were not supposed to be bothered with those issues and children were too immature to understand.

 So they only had each other to talk about those things that only women went through. Of course, they didn’t all got along as adults are complicated and there’s always some kind of animosity against someone because they did something you may think is wrong. That’s why the single women had their own scheduled to clean. Because they didn’t wanted married woman to ridicule them in their own time, when they needed to feel they could breath for at least a second.

 The point was that life for women was very difficult in town and they were grateful to have a space of their own to talk and have a little bit of fun once a week. There was no fun in anything else they did and their little town, so out of the way of the world, was sometimes too slow and boring for any of them to feel they were living the best life possible. Granted, some of them stated often they could never have a big city life as the change would be too much and they thought of urbanites as sinners.

 Religion, as expected, had always been a very important part of the town’s life. Every single person, or at least most of the people, would go every Sunday to the mass. There, Father McGregor would tell them once and again that their ways were wrong and that it was time to correct them in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes he softened his words but it wasn’t something that happened often. It was clear that religion wanted people to be scared and they were effective at that.

 So much so, that women sometimes felt guilty of whom they were just because they were women. They discussed it sometimes on the rocks, but it was a very complicated subject that some of them didn’t want to talk about because they felt heir beliefs were above anything else. These women had been raised to believe that they were inferior, by nature, to men and most had assimilated that and thought it was true. Changing that was very complicated so that’s why it wasn’t a very popular subject to bring to the table. Something more entertaining was always better.

 On the rocks, they laugh, they cried and they shared thoughts and words and what little knowledge came their way. Sometimes they could stop talking and other times, there was a silence that settled in and made them fell protected somehow. It was strange but after so many time there, they knew exactly how they should behave there and how they should do it at home and how it was better to never mix both worlds, because doing that could be dangerous to anyone.

 A woman once remembered a funny anecdote she had heard on the rocks and laughed out loud. That happened in her home but in front of her husband and children, while they were having supper. She tried to explain what she had remembered but the only thing that happened was that the husband stood up in silence, walked towards her and then slapped her as hard as he possibly could. The pain on her cheek was enough to understand that she could never mix the rocks with her daily life.

 Every women had a story like that, sometimes more tragic, sometimes less surprising. But they had all experienced what it felt to be something like a domesticated animal working for a master. They were like the bulls that helped in the fields or the horses that carried people from one place to the other. There were not that many differences between the two and that made them angry and hopeless. So they discussed it sometimes and they always ended up with a sour taste in their mouths.


 However, the rocks existed. And as long as the women had them to go and have a chat, they would feel empowered to keep going, to keep living day after day even if it felt difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

jueves, 8 de septiembre de 2016

The desert and its creatures

   Alexa had always been very fascinated by the desert. She had studied all types of animals from it and had done her final thesis back in the university about all of them. So it was very natural, when she finished studying, that she joined a team of proper biologists in order to go to a remote desert region to discover new species. She was fascinated by the fact that a whole bunch of life forms could be discovered just like that, even in these times. She was, without a doubt, the most enthusiastic person to ever work in such a difficult environment.

 Not only was it hard for everyone because of the food and the general living conditions, but because looking for anything meant having to submit oneself to the very hot temperatures of the desert and the dangerous creatures than lived within. In her first week, Alexa was almost stung five times by different scorpions that appeared out of nowhere, every time exactly where her hand was.

 She had become quite aware of those little creatures and was now very capable to know where the animals would appear and also how much time she could stand under the sun before she started feeling really bad. Alexa was a strong woman, willing to resist whatever was necessary in order to achieve her goal of discovering something new in the name of science. She wanted to make history and there was no doubt she could seriously achieve her goal.

 The food was also a big problem in the camp, always tasting a lot like the sand of the desert but she knew never to complain. If she didn’t like something, she just didn’t eat it and tried to exchange with others for things that she had like energy bars. And every guy in her group liked her because she had been careful enough to bring so many energy bars it seemed she would never run out.

 They stayed in the same part of the desert for a long time, without having any success in the discovery front. They had classified many differences between scorpions of the same type but not much more than that. They had also taken numerous pictures and had studied the possible ways that snakes and other creatures could survive the hot temperatures. It was a big revelation to see an actual snake move around the hot desert sand.

 The trip was really fun but the first week went by too soon and they had permission to stay in the desert for three weeks. After all, it was a national park that was protected by a series of rules and regulations in order for people not to alter its stability in any way. The permission they had been granted was very hard to get and they really needed to take advantage of it.

 However the first week proved to be a deprived of any real discoveries. They were all really worried that maybe they wouldn’t be able to fin anything knew. They changed their camp’s location drastically, in order to be closer to an oasis, where some animals may thrive because of the “easier” conditions. However, they found nothing there either except more snakes and scorpions.

 The water, however, was crystal clear. They grabbed some into bottles in order to test it once they went back into their labs and regular work lives. It would be interested to see how many bacteria would be able to live in such a hostile environment and to know if the water was as pure as it seemed to be. Alexa even drank some directly from the pond because she was very thirsty and thought that even catching a disease from the water would be more fun that what she was doing daily, which was nothing.

She was very disappointed in her first trip. She thought that maybe it had not been the best idea to go to the desert in this first time. Maybe it could have been better to get to the forest or even in a boat to some corner of the ocean. She was trying to come up with different alternatives but the desert was the ecosystem that had always fascinated her, maybe because her parents had been born so close to an actual desert.

 Although not nomad or anything of the sort, her parents had the tradition to get fresh dates from the desert when it was the right season for those. They would roam the desert in order to pick them from the trees and Alexa would love it because she really loved the taste of the dates but also the feeling of adventure she had when she was around her parents.

 They weren’t’ scientist or anything like that. As matter of fact, she was the non-artistic person in her family. She had some skill while drawing but that was it. Alexa was a terrible singer, even in the shower, and couldn’t properly paint, write or anything like that. For some strange reason, she had been born without that very characteristic gene that most of her family had. However, she was very good with numbers, so she never felt too bad in school.

Another week ended the day they changed locations in the desert, once again. They were trying desperately to pick up anything. Their walks every day were getting longer and longer and people were getting desperate, even to the extent that everything they saw was a reason to cheer and get excited and then realize they had just seen a rock or a dead scorpion or something like that. By the beginning of the third week, no one was very happy about the results they had come up with.

 However, good things come to people that wait. In one of their long walks, a good friend of Alexa’s was the one who discovered some markings on rocks who had never been registered. By the way they were painted, it seemed the artist had lived a very long time ago, probably when the rock was really above the desert and not buried in it. Although they were mostly biologists, they were all very excited about such a discovery because it was something that could change the understanding of the place they were in.

 The most interesting part of the drawings was that it depicted humans and also other creatures hat seemed to represent the ecosystem of the desert. There was a drawing of a scorpion, another of some kind of bird and also snakes. All of those were pretty common. But then, there were drawing of several insect like creatures that had never been registered in that desert. So from that day, the biologists decide to help and clear the rock formation from sand in order to see if they could find something interesting to their field.

 And that’s exactly what happened. Four days before living, one of Alexa’s partners found the rotting body of a huge beetle the size of an adult’s hand. Several pictures were taken and the specimen was treated with a special solution in order to put it in a box and take it to the laboratory. The most interesting feature of that insect was the color: it was golden, just like the sun and the sand. Nature was very bright.

 Some other insects were discovered in the area and those were actually alive. There was a big thick worm it red antennae and some kind of really big green ant. They were all preserved carefully in boxes and jars for further study. In a few days, the would be back in their usually work attire, not shorts and shirtless like in the desert, typing in to computers and using several machines to understand what they were seeing.

 Alexa’s discovery came on the very last day and it happened to be a very dangerous one because it was a total accident. The creature was basically a scorpion but the difference was it was as big as a human baby. Its eyes were bright red and its body was very white, probably because it lived beneath the sand. Sadly, the creature had to be killed in order to take it back to the lab. But not only because of that but because it had almost stung Alexa with its tail.


 She took a picture of the creature and would later print it and put it in her workstation in the lab. She was very proud of her discovery but she couldn’t help wondering if what she had discovered was a natural creation or if it was some kind of mutation. She was really looking forward to solve that problem too.

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015

Mirrored

   The ship gently settled on the ground. It made no noise, it lifted no dust. Everything was very quiet and, for a place were rocks floated all around you, there wasn’t a single sense of danger. The crew of the ship, consisting of only three people, were checking the final numbers in order to decided if it was really safe to go outside and take a look.

 The planet was a gas giant and it had been discovered many years ago by traders trying to built faster routes into the worlds of the Core. Actually, according to the charts and many calculations, the planet was located exactly between the center and the edge of the galaxy. It was also a rare system, as the sun was potent and such have been the center of a very active neighborhood but the truth was that no creatures, no matter the type, lived in any of the planets.

 However, and exactly four months ago, a signal had been detected in the gas giant. First, it was thought to be a mistake but the signal persisted. Then it went mute. The traders and even the smugglers told the authorities that they hadn’t lost any ships and no other ships had been lost in the area. So who had activated a very strong signal on a deserted planet?

 The three-person team had been sent to collect data about the planet and check if there was a reason to believe anyone could be stranded on the planet. Upon arrival to its orbit, the team named the planet as Cotton World. It was not an official name of course. It was just a way to identify it and feel more comfortable while talking about it. The name, of course, came from its appearance: the world was covered by huge pink clouds that made the world look like a massive cotton candy. As they descended through the clouds, they realized that the name had been very accurate as the clouds were not only pink in color but were also kind of solid.

 The first to go out was the biologist on the team. Her name was Yarra and she came from a very different world, a world she deemed incredibly boring and that’s why she decided to have many adventures by joining the forces of authority that ruled the galaxy, Besides, she had always been interested in life and in all the shapes and sizes it took all over the galaxy. She had been working for the State for four years and she loved it: she traveled a lot, got to meet lots of people and made good money out of it.

 Yarra was half human but even her other half couldn’t breath on this planet, so she had to use a special suit to be able to walk around without fear. She only took a couple of steps before returning to the ship and telling the other two crew members that the rock seemed stable and that it was urgent that they began the search for the beacon that had been detected. After all, that was the reason they were there.

 The next one to step out was a big, yellowish creature. He wasn’t human at all but had many features that one could identify as human. The only things that really differentiate him were a horn in the center of his forehead, his large tusks, his four arms and tall stature. His name was Gorg and he always seemed menacing at first but he was the most tender and calm being ever to be seen by anyone. He was happy by just helping and had joined the force almost seven years ago. Granted, he was very strong and could fight any kind of danger physically, but he was first and foremost a physicist.

 Gorg was simply in awe of the Cotton World. In all his travels he had never encountered something quite like this place. The fact that sound didn’t seem to function exactly as it did in the rest of the planets, was something he wanted to understand urgently. But Yarra was right and their priority was to explain the origin of a beacon signal that had been detected in far way worlds. In order to do their examinations, Gorg put on his suit and carried a large antenna outside, as well as a special console and computer which they used to detect any electric emissions. No matter the type of beacon, it would leave an imprint in the atmosphere if it existed.

 The third crew member was the captain. He was full human and his name was Ionek. His skin had been burned by many suns so he had patches of red and brown all over. His eyes were yellowish, although they could change color depending on his mood. He was a tall strong man and he had been known many years ago as a military hero all over the galaxy. He had served in the army for many years before having to step out of it due to a scandal that he had to pay for. The only option they gave him was to have his own ship and serve the State with it.

 Ionek did what he had to do but he was always clear that exploration and discovery weren’t his first choices in a world where so many wars and battles were being fought. He wanted carnage and destruction but had to settle to be the pilot of some scientist trying to discover why fire burns. So he just sat down in his captain chair and tried to have a nap as the other two investigated outside.

 After several hours, Gorg and Yarra detected something very weak but still trying to work. It was located directly below them, maybe four or five kilometers. They copied the information on an electronic pad and then packed everything in order to investigate closer. Ionek wasn’t very happy that his nap had been cut short but at least he didn’t have to move too far. The trip downwards was an easy one but it wasn’t deprived of a few scares, mainly because the clouds and the environment got darker as the ship sank into the planet.

 Finally, they detected a rock they could land on and Ionek settled on it, but this time landing wasn’t as soft as it had been the last time. When they came out of the ship to check, they realized one of the landing “legs” had sunk into the rock and was now trapped in there. Captain Ionek wasn’t pleased at all and asked Yarra and Gord to be fast in order to mend the damage to his ship immediately. They then took the electronic pad and walked around the rock, trying to detect the signal again. But what they saw wasn’t a signal or a beacon but something far stranger.

 Below, another kilometer maybe, there was another ship on another rock. But that wasn’t the strange part: the strange part was that the ship looked exactly like the one they had used to get there. Both Yarra and Gord looked below and then their ship and then back again down. They couldn’t believe it at first but then they realized that the model was not that uncommon and that the most important thing was to determine who had entered the planet if it was supposed to be deserted.

 They went back to the ship, where Ionek asked if they could leave at once but they refused, telling him about the ship below and how they had to go down there and check it out from up close. The captain refused to move his ship and clarified that the model was exclusive, or at least that was what the army said when they transferred him from the military. Yarra ignored that last part and told him they were using the jetpacks. Nothing indicated they couldn’t use them and it would be easier for them to investigate that way.

 Minutes later, Gorg and Yarra were floating down to other ship. The jetpacks worked a bit awkwardly, not responding fast enough, but they were good enough to get to the next rock. Once they were close enough to the ship, they started to check for life forms and found out they were three and they were all inside the ship. Gorg turned to Yara and urged her to leave. He had suddenly had a very bad feeling about it all.

 Then two shadows crossed the sky and the whole area became shrouded in darkness. It was as if they had landed on a dream that was about to turn into a nightmare. The team tried to active the jetpacks but they were slow to respond. Gorg’s made him fly but Yarra’s wasn’t working. It was then when she heard a sound coming from the ship and, at the same time, a device in her backpack started to beep. She had found the beacon. It had been put up by…

 She screamed but no one heard it as she was wearing a mask. She did it just as she had seen the crew of the other ship come out of the ship and walk towards her. Her jetpacked suddenly worked and she landed abruptly on the right rock. Gorg helped her up and they both ran to the ship. Ionek used every force the engines had to liberate it from the sink part and he succeeded, only by leave that part on the rock before rushing into space.


As he typed the codes to achieve interstellar flight, he asked them what had happened. His ship was know missing a limb and he wanted to know why. Gorg told him everything he had seen: the other ship and the shadows. But Yarra was shaking and trembling too much. She only said two words “beacon” and “us”.