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

viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

Failure

   I pulled the cape over my head and ventured outside the module. Rainfall was minimal, so I could finally see how this world looked liked. It was kind of beautiful, with tall smooth mountains rising towards the sky and a small like very near the place I had been trapped in for so many hours. Well, I wasn’t really trapped but it did feel like it after everything that had happened. The ground was muddy and it was better to walk slowly. The possibility of falling to the ground was very high.

 When I got to the edge of the lake, I walked a little bit more towards a large boulder that was half in the water, half in the land. For a moment, I thought it wasn’t a good idea to seat by a lake without knowing if any beasts inhabited it. But then I remembered the moon had been surveyed several times and no life forms had ever been found. It was a barren wasteland that happened to be perfect for us at that time. We had landed only a few hours ago but it seemed like forever.

 I sat on the rock and a gust of cold wind moved my cape and my hair. I bowed down to it, trying not to feel that cold in my bones, but the truth was I did want to feel physically bad. Somehow, it eased the pain of what had happened earlier in Kristomo. I would always ask myself why I had gone to that planet instead of just staying put where I had been told to stay. I had never been the best at following rules, especially when I felt something could be done if I broke said rules.

 A single tear came down my face and I cleaned it fast. I didn’t want to feel bad for what had happened because I just couldn’t blame myself for it. It wasn’t my fault that people weren’t loyal anymore, than they preferred to do things differently. Sean had been with the team for a long time, much longer than I had been there. It made no sense that he would leave just like that but that’s exactly what he did. I thought it through several times but couldn’t really understand why.

 The point was that he had betrayed us on Kristomo. He had gone there with us, where we would try to retrieve a powerful mineral that was better away from the hands of any wrongdoers, as its properties made it not only unique and powerful but also extremely dangerous. It was good then that I managed to truck them and the crystal fell several meters and into an open volcano but it was then when Sean turned on us and started firing like crazy. His new friends did the same and we barely survived the attack. Actually, I was the only one who survived.

 Rom, our pilot, also counts of course, but he had been waiting for us the whole time on the ship. He hadn’t come down to retrieve the crystal or fight the band Sean had “suddenly” joined. He didn’t feel bullets coming all over the place, passing over the shoulder, under the feet and even millimeters away from his eyes. I had to live through that and also watching how my team, the people I had chosen to go there, died next to me in a matter of minutes. It was a bloodbath.

 When I entered the ship and yelled Rom to take off, he thought I was crazy or something. Not only because he knew the team was made up of six people but also because when he turned around, he could see that there was blood spattered all over my face and that my skin had turned to the clearest tone of white I could ever turn to. I yelled at him again and he obliged, taking off as our attackers fired on the ship, trying to make it explode or, at least, trying to prevent takeoff.

 But Rom was very skilled and, in minutes, we were able to make the jump towards the headquarters of our organization. I had no time to mourn for the loss of my team or the conversion of Sean. It was better to communicate the mission’s failure to the central command. So I asked Rom, as calmly as I could, to patch me through to them. He did, handing me a white rag too, which I used to clean the blood of my face. I almost cried then but I breathed slowly and avoided it.

 Central command was content with the crystal been destroyed but they were very concerned with Sean betraying all of us. They didn’t say much about the fallen men and women, I guess because it wasn’t that uncommon for them to hear about people not coming back from these sorts of missions.  They were the ones who told me to come to this barren moon in order to wait here, in case Sean and his new friends were chasing us through the stars. Honestly, I couldn’t care less.

 But that was a lie. I did care, I cared a lot. Because Sean was not only one of my go to people in the organization, he was also someone I had started to like more and more, in ways I had only discovered very recently. Not too long ago, we had shared our first kiss. It had been on another rainy place, much like the one I am right now. His lips were so soft and warm that I thought to myself it would be a very nice way to die, to be killed while kissing those beautiful lips. Of course, I was delirious at the time because it was a stupid thing to think, I could see it now.

 Ram put a hand on my shoulder and I almost fell off the rock. He laughed but I didn’t. Feeling nervous was never funny. He told me had had made some repairs to the ship, as some of the shots aimed at making us land had actually hit the right parts of the ship. He had been able to fix it all with patience and time and now he had decided to check on me. He asked about his friends, our team and I couldn’t look at him to the eyes. I was ashamed of how I had handled everything back there.

 They had died because I had taken too long discovering that Sean was a traitor. He had to say it before I realized it and that was a mistake, clearly because I had grown fond of him. Maybe he used that in his advantage, but the point was that he had betrayed us all and we only had a short period of time to run for our lives. Being on a volcano, stones and hot weather had played against us big time. Some of them fell to the ground and then were shot or they were just reached by very good snipers.

 I told Ram I had no idea how it was that I survived and they died. For a moment, I had wished the roles had been reversed. But that didn’t help anyone, seeing myself only as a victim and make people feel sorry for me. I had to pull myself together, even if it meant moving on from such an awful mission. Ram suddenly came closer and hugged me. Only Sean had done that before but this hug seemed different. I could feel he wanted me to feel good, safe in a way, not bad for what had happened.

 A beeping sound was then heard, so we went back to the ship where a call from our headquarters was waiting for us. I answered. They gave us authorization to proceed with our trip towards them, as they had determined that our enemy had stayed in Kristomo. Apparently, they were mining for a new crystal. We all knew it was almost impossible to find another one but they clearly believed they could work at it a little bit more. In any case, they were dangerous.


 As Ram raised the ship towards the sky, I felt confused and very tired. I had not felt like that since escaping the planet and it was just now that my whole body suddenly felt as if it was made from solid lead. I leaned back into my seat and the last thing I saw was Ram looking at me, with a somber expression on his face. I didn’t worry though. I needed to rest.

sábado, 30 de abril de 2016

A horse named Alex

   Every single horse ran immediately, except one. Alex, named like that after the leading character in A Clockwork Orange, had stayed exactly were he was and no matter how much the jockey on top of him kicked him, he didn’t move a single millimeter. Everyone in the team was seriously pissed. They had all invested something in the race and now it was all in the trash can just because a horse had decided to show his opinion during a very important event.

 To be fair, it wasn’t that Alex was especially bright or anything, the point was he had been well trained by his former master. Lady Claire had been only ten years old when her parents had gave her that horse as a present for her birthday. It wasn’t exactly a surprise, considering the family had strong connections with horse that went for years. They had even provided the police and the army with horses and won several contests and shows with their best stallions.

 Alex was, nevertheless, Claire’s pet. He was never supposed to run in any race or to be under scrutiny of any person ever. Yet, when he grew up and transformed into a very well formed horse, more than one person started telling Lady Claire’s father that he was wasting a great horse by letting his daughter have him just running around his premises every day. They saw how he played with the girl and how he ran when she asked for a mount and all the other instruments.

 Those men were always around the house, normally just overlooking the training process for the horses that had been specifically raised to enter competitions or to serve certain institutions. But one of them, called David Byrne, got obsessed with the idea of seeing Alex run in a real race. The man insisted daily to Claire’s father that he had to make that horse run and that he could make a lot of money with him. He also proposed him to sell the horse to him and he would be the one to train him in the best conditions possible.

 But of course, as soon as Claire heard someone wanted to take her away from her pet, she insisted to her father that he couldn’t simply take something he had given to her as a preset. The horse was hers and only Clair could be the one to decide if he ran or if he just walked around their estate. And she had no intention of selling or training Alex for anything, so the answer was always a negative one to Mr. Byrne.

 Annoyed by the fact that a girl was on his way and that her father was a man that couldn’t even control his own daughter, he decided to do what he knew most: manipulate the context. He decided to end various deals he had reached with Claire’s father, which put him in very serious problems with a lot of people, like the government and a large amount of private investors that had invested their money in the very large and modern stables in which all of the horses trained and maintained by Claire’s father lived. Although the hit was not very strong at first, it became a problem after some months.

 Byrne was a very bitter human being and he didn’t like to loose at all. He hated the idea of even stepping aside to make someone’s life easier. The moment he had the idea of making Alex his horse and making him run in various competitive events, he had decided in his head that it needed to happen and he wasn’t going to stop for details, like the horse not being his or the opposition of the real owner. Besides, he was rather accustomed to winning his arguments so he knew it was a thing of time until he had his way.

 Claire’s Father, who she called Daddy even when she got older, came to her room one day and decided to ask her for Alex in the nicest tone possible. She was already a woman, almost off to college. She visited Alex every day in the stables and treated him more like a dog than like a horse. She even had the idea of going to study to a school where she could have him around in order to make some exercise and not to loose her connection to the horse. And it was then that her father realized what he had to do: promising something he wasn’t going to do, like taking good care of the horse.

 The girl trusted her father because he was who he was. She left for college months later and once she was out of the picture, her dad attempted to deal with Byrne. The man was obviously beaming with pleasure when he received the call and he even decided to play dumb and not accept the man’s calls for a while. But he eventually went to the stables and talked to him, hearing his proposal. Claire’s father was not ready to sell the horse as, legally; the horse was his daughter’s property. However, he would let Mr. Byrne trained the horse and earn money that way.

 The man accepted. Claire’s father was very glad because it meant they could do business again and he could access all of his former clients again. The money made from the horses was very important to him and his wealth. So Alex begun training under a very harsh woman hired by Byrne, who was supposed to be one of the best in the field. She was a very harsh person and used a whip to make her results even better.

 She made Alex work a lot more than he had ever worked. Called Françoise, the woman was as big as a small horse and cracked the whip every time she thought the creature was not doing what she was asking or had been doing it wrong for a while. She made him run and jump for hours, until Alex was exhausted.

 Even the other trainers, the ones supervising the horses that would go to other owners, seemed appalled by the way Françoise treated Alex and her energy around the stables. Every single horse got quite restless when she appeared and would only calm down after a while. Alex would always respond to her arrival by kicking the wall of his small room with his hind legs. He kicked so hard, he broke the wood once and that had to be mend by Claire’s father.

 He witnessed one day how the woman did the job and was horrified by it but he didn’t say anything because it seemed Byrne was very happy with the results. Françoise stated that the horse would be ready for a race in just a month and Byrne had already booked him for three different events taking place just within days of each other.  The only thing Claire’s father did was checking his calendar and making sure his daughter wasn’t going to be around for those dates.

 He had dodged any questions about her horse for days now. He would always answer to her vaguely over the phone and change the subject abruptly to her studies and she didn’t say anything because she was grateful to her father that he had understood her choices in life and that she had chosen to study a liberal art and not the career he had always wanted for her. So she went along and never insisted on speaking about her horse or anything else really.

 The last month of training was simply brutal. Françoise cracked her whip more times in those days that in all the others days combined. Her trained was becoming so intense, that some of the stable workers decided to ask her to relax a little and let the horse rest for at least a day or she would kill him from exhaustion. But she simply cracked her whip at him and they never insisted again.

 The day of the race, Byrne and the whip women were really confident that Alex was going to win. They had run tests with him against other horses and he had won every single one of those. So there was no doubt they had a winner in their hands. So it was baffling, to say the least, when Alex stood still and didn’t budge one bit.


 What they didn’t know was that Claire had found out some days earlier about the whole thing and she had visited her pet in secret. Having spent her life with him, enable her to just tell him what he had to do when he heard the gun going off at the racetrack. She claimed her horse back after that and decided not to forgive her father for his behavior. Claire just took Alex and moved him closer to her and away from betrayal.

martes, 1 de diciembre de 2015

Smoke and mirrors

   The sound was loud and insisted on staying. For a moment, it seemed they were really ringing at the door but it happened to be all in the dream. The sound was horrible, louder than anything he had heard in the past. He wanted to wake up but couldn’t until he forced his body to answer to his command. It hurt, like peeling of a Band-Aid. The sound then stopped and he felt he was back at his bed but the truth was his own brain had deceived him. Unable to get him out, it had just transported him elsewhere.

 First, he seemed to be sleeping in something similar to a bed but then the feeling fade away and he started falling and falling and falling through consecutive holes in a deep blackness of his subconscious mind. He felt the wind on his face and his ankles but did not worry. Somehow, he knew that he would land softly somewhere, eventually. The area kept changing color, sometimes being red and other times black again.

 Again, he felt he had woken up but this time he knew it wasn’t real. He hadn’t landed anywhere, instead having appeared in a grassy field with small hills and nothing else in sight. Then, the sky changed and it became nighttime and in the ground a forest had sprung up to life. He automatically entered the forest and hoped to find a proper exit to his dreams from there. Maybe there was a door or something special he had to do to end all of this nonsense.

 He felt trapped in a world similar to the one in Alice in Wonderland but the difference was that Alice’s world was at least funny and interesting. His dream world was seriously boring next to it. Having realized he wasn’t able to wake up by his own will, he tried to change the world he was in but all he could achieve was to make some flowers appear. As night had fallen just minutes ago, he could barely see them so he tried to change night back to day but al he could do was getting the sun stuck in the sky, casting an annoying twilight all around.

 Walking became harder as his eyes had to be covered because of the light. He walked as if he had become blind in a second, touching everything he could and doubting every step he walked. Then he reached a cliff and had to stop moving. But that didn’t change anything: he still slipped and fell, again falling through holes and for a long time.

 Then, he actually woke up for a moment and realized he was very warm beneath his blankets, so warm in fact that he had been sweating a lot. He removed his short in a moment and fell fast asleep once again. Surprisingly, he wasn’t wearing a shirt either in his dream. Apparently his subconscious liked the idea of being shirtless so much that it had put him in a tropical setting, which he appreciated.

 People he knew were all around: his family, some of his friends, even people he had never been very familiar with. They were all in the beach, playing volleyball or laughing or splashing water to others. It was a small paradise and the sun felt real on the skin, on his face. He wished the dream wouldn’t end but he knew that wasn’t possible, not even if he died in his sleep.

 He stood up and walked down the beach, smiling at his mother who was attending to a younger him and then watching how many of the guys he had dated were casually talking in a small group. They all smiled at him and waved their hands and he knew it was very strange but still waved his hand and smiled too.

 There was a pier he hadn’t noticed before, made of cement pillars and wood planks on the floor. He walked slowly on it, feeling the wood on his feet and the warmth of the sun on his cheeks. He really wanted this to be real, to be the world he lived in. Not only because of the beautiful setting but because he didn’t feel any worry, he didn’t feel he had to do anything. It was just perfect.

 At the end of the pier there was a man, taller than him and shirtless too, that looked at the ocean. All he could see of that person was his back, which didn’t look bad at all. And as he saw him, he realized he knew who he was and that he had to talk to him, to see his face and to hug and kiss him and share his life with him and cherish every single moment they were able to be together.

 But just when he was able to touch the man’s arm, the scene changed and the guy was behind him, with his arms around him. He had no idea why, but he wasn’t compelled anymore to see his face. Maybe deep down, in some other level of consciousness, he already knew who that person was or at least what he looked like. Maybe that’s why he didn’t mind turning around and stop watching the sunset beyond the perfect blue ocean. It was the first time in his life he finally felt at home.

 As it happens often, his body chose that exact moment to wake him up. He opened his eyes sad, frustrated to know all that had happened was a lie and that there weren’t any arms around him hugging him, making him feel alive and safe. He turned his head for a minute, realizing it hadn’t been his brain that had woke him up, it had been the rain in the window. It was very dark outside and he knew he had some more hours to sleep, after all it was Saturday the next day so he wasn’t precisely going to wake up early for anything.

 This time, it took him a while to fall asleep, as he kept analyzing what he had seen in the dream, trying to remember more about the man in the pier. But his mind finally let go of the thought of someone that didn’t existed and just surrendered to the few extra hours of sleep.

 This time, he ran through some destroyed street. There were bricks all around and graffiti on the wall and he felt he was in some serious thing because he couldn’t hear anything besides his feet stomping on the ground. He finally stopped running and went up some stairs, to the second floor of a typical movie motel. He had never seen one of those in actual life, but he had seen so many in movies and TV series that his brain must have design it from similar memories.

 He entered a door on the second floor and locked it. The room was all done in a clear ‘70s style, with the orange and brown curtains smelling of pot, silky sheets on the bed, furniture in gold and silver and a TV set with no remote control. Everything was on point and he knew, again thinking of himself as asleep, that he had seen some place like this one before. He was sure of it.

Suddenly, someone entered the room and he just had seconds to run to the window and jump towards it. Whoever was behind him had starting shooting and his only option had seemed to jump through a window. He landed on the pool below, which was rapidly tainted with his blood. He had no idea how but he managed to get out of the pool and run down the street again. His body was aching but he had no idea where it hurt exactly. He just ran, preventing more damage.

 Out of nowhere, a neighborhood of tall skyscrapers and perfect sidewalks appeared in front of him. He entered the closest door, which happened to be a department store. He went up one floor on the working escalator and sat down by all the men shoe section to check his body. Only one bullet had hit him, on the right thigh, but it didn’t really hurt. He cleaned the wound with a shirt he grabbed from a table and decided to look for supplies or at least something to eat.

 Common sense drove him to the lower level of the department store. The supermarket was there and he suddenly felt very young and happy. He grabbed a cart and started grabbing various things he had eaten throughout his life: cookies, beverages, fruit, vegetables, cooked meals that smelled delicious, water and even deodorant. He went around with his shopping cart, happy about life and all it had to offer.


 Then, the man from the pier stood in front of him. He knew it was him, even if he couldn’t see his face. The man had been the one firing at the motel and this time he wasn’t going to miss. He had him in his hands and one last horrible thought crossed his mind: “What if I really died here? What if I never wake up? What if this was all a trap?”

jueves, 15 de octubre de 2015

Venice

   As she walked, careful always to land on one of the many steps set for the tourists not to fall into the floodwater, she thought of the whole thing as very funny. Well, it wasn’t really funny if you thought about it, but there was some humor in seeing a bunch of people that looked like tourists (flip flops, maps, binoculars and big backpacks included), crossing a large square at five in the morning, all in their version of a pajama. To the native, the people from Venice, Jean knew all of he situation looked funny as hell. I mean, they had been staying in a hotel that wasn’t very good and now the hotel was slowly decaying into the lagoon. That was the part that wasn’t so funny and maybe the one that worried the neighbors and the people in general more.

 Jean tried to stop smiling like a fool and asked her brother Peter to take her hand, as they finally reached the other end of the square and waited behind a long line of people to continue their journey through Venice. It was a late tour of a city that Jean hadn’t particularly loved. She had noticed how many lovers and people who adored romance could see all the beauty of the place but she had founded boring after only two days. And she had to stay there with her brother for a week until their parents arrived to Europe. They would meet them somewhere and share a city, most likely Paris, and then go back home. Jean at least thought the midnight tour to the replacement hotel was the best thing that had happened in a while.

 Her brother wasn’t of the same mind. He was very worried about people that were older that them and had to be at the end of the line, being helped by the people from the hotel. He was one of those people that care about everyone but himself, which is always seen as a very good thing but his sister thought it was his worst trait. He cared about others so much he wasn’t able to see when his own family or even himself was on trouble. For a time, he had been in a very difficult financial situation but he had failed to address it as he was using the few bucks he made to help a poor family. His family had to intervene because he was about to lose it all because of his kindhearted nature.

 When most people had finally crossed the square, the people from the hotel indicated with lights the way they should follow to get to the replacement hotel. Apparently, according to a map Jean had, the place was crossing the side of Venice they were on. So they started walking and thought it wouldn’t be long until they had a bed to sleep in, as the city wasn’t so big. They thought, initially, that the city would be asleep and quiet as the roamed around, but the truth was just the opposite. They could her people talking in Italian very fast, some people going around the streets and disappearing with ease. Something was wrong, they could all feet it. Maybe the news about their hotel had spread.

 But it wasn’t about their hotel. At one turn, they heard a woman screaming at the top of their lungs from a building. Peter, savior to all, was about to run and save her but she was just an older woman being dramatic. Her building was fine and if she could scream like that there was nothing really bad going on. The explanation to her screaming came in the form of a gossip, which came from the back, where an older man had been hearing the radio since he had gotten out of the hotel. He wasn’t very good at Italian but he could easily understand from what he was hearing that other buildings in the city had started to sink like their hotel. When the news reached the front, people just stopped and some even fell to the floor, causing a small chaos when people got pushed and stepped on.

 But the people from the hotel ignored the news and just asked people to keep on walking. Eventually, they reached Campo de la Maddalena, a very small open space were they could feel a little less trapped and were people were able to just sit down on the floor and have something to drink and eat. The hotel people still weren’t talking about the news but they were talking amongst themselves and they looked very worried. Their hand gestures were enough to confirm the news. Then, screaming some more news, the older man told the crowd that tram and train service had been cut off and that the bridge to the mainland was only open to buses getting people out of the islands.

Some people checked their maps with haste and realized that the train station wasn’t that far away, and as the road ran alongside of the tracks, maybe they could be able to walk to the mainland or at least reach on of those buses. They formed a little committee and send a person to talk, which happened to be Peter as he was deeply concerned for everyone around him. He talked to the people from the hotel and tried to convince them to go to the train station or the bus station instead of the other hotel. They heard what he had to say but then explained they couldn’t do anything that wasn’t approved by the company. So they had to ask first.

 One of the staff, a very young man, called on his cellphone and started speaking a very fast Italian, trying to get as far from people as he could. Everyone could see him gesturing and trying to convey every thought in what he had to say but then he turned to everyone. He was one of those very pale people but now he seemed to look even paler. He hung up, walked towards the crowd and demanded their attention. He had received orders to get them to the replacement hotel as some areas of the city were beginning to flood, namely the train and bus stations. He had also received news that their hotel had fully collapsed into the water, as it was located just at the Grand Canal.

 People stood up to keep on walking but others thought it wasn’t a very good idea to stay. Their best chance, they said, was to get to the mainland by anyways possible. But it has to be explained that those who said that were young tourists, people that could walk and run if they needed to. Most of the people that wanted to do as the hotel said were older and they couldn’t afford to go hopping around without a real plan or a real way of doing nothing. Peter intervened, saying the most important thing for everyone was to be safe and that the elderly were first. Then a battle of voices ensued and Jean was bothered now by the fact her brother always needed to be a hero instead of trying to worry for his own.

 She was decided to leave that place. As people argued, she took a look at her map and realized it was all very near: the bus station was probably only fifteen minutes away, less if they made good time. So she decided that she would walk and try to get into one of the buses. Then, a very loud sound interrupted the voices and the thoughts. Something was doing a very haunting noise, like of something about to snap. Some people even felt the environment move a little, like shaking beneath their feet. Then, they knew something bad had happened because the sound was awful and it seemed like a thousand people screamed at the same time. Some people fled, others couldn’t. Jean grabbed Peter and ran.

 He fought her initially but then stopped opposing her and just looked over his shoulder from time to time. Some others were running, and then walking with them. They crossed a canal and noticed there were many bricks and pieces of walls and roofs floating on it. They reached the train station and were amazed to see it partially collapsed. That may have been the reason why the closed it, and not for just safety. They crossed the square in front of it, crossed another bridge and then reached the bus station. The place was full of people and they were all complaining. Apparently, there were no buses there to get to the mainland. Some policemen could be seen on the rooftop of a building, possible trying to control what couldn’t be controlled.

 For Jean, the response was simple and it got simpler when people started screaming because they started to fill the puddles of water grow larger beneath their feet.  Again, Jean grabbed her brother and pulled him through the crowd following the road. People were so scared they were barely moving, others had taken the route Jean had thought to be the only way out: just follow the road to the mainland. They started walking, being joined by many people, but they didn’t get too far as another one of those horrible sounds broke the chaos of the march towards the mainland. The sound, however, was much stronger now. People felt it inside, in their hearts and all other organs.


 Then, the ground just started to collapse and people just ran like crazy. Many died there, been trampled by other people that were as scared as them. Jean took Peter’s hand hard and they ran too, trying no to lose each other in the process. The sad thing was that the police had failed to tell people the bridge had collapsed in its middle part. So running was of no use. They had to find another way to live.