Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta short story. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta short story. Mostrar todas las entradas

domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2014

A Royal Lady

Lavinia had been in the Montgraneux palace for only two months. On her first week she married the duke and her mother assured her it was the best choice she could've had for a husband.

The duke of Halesworth was one of those bachelors that every girls wanted to marry: he was rich do to his business as a country man and as a politician, he had participated in battles abroad and, most important, he was an elegant, gracious man.

To Lavinia, looks weren't that important. From the moment she realized she had come to the world only to get married and be someone's something, she had decided not to mind too much about looks. She wanted someone who she can talk to at nights, share silly facts about life and live a peaceful life, with children as her mother intended.

She was presented to the duke in a party nothing to fancy, and the man liked her for her wit and tenderness. Within the next month, the wedding was arranged as well as her moving from her parents house.

Montgraneaux was majestic. It had a french name as the duke's grandparent had built it for his spouse, a french lady. The palace was a two story building, filled with beautiful objects from around the world. Lavinia specially liked the ballroom, which had plenty of mirrors and the nicest view towards the gardens.

The wedding, of course, was magnificent. Every single person that counted was there. Even an envoy from her majesty attended. Lavinia was so happy and proud to be marrying such a respectable person. She never thought she would enjoy marrying but that day she was all joy and fun and her mother even asked her if she felt fine. She answered: "Mama, I love my new life".

So from that day onward she lived on Montgraneaux.
However, things changed fast and not as she would have liked to. The duke was rarely at home, even to work, so she would only see him on weekends when they walked the gardens and shared quiet meals.

Lavinia didn't wanted too much of life so she was sad to see her low expectations were not being filled. The change became apparent from day one, or night one to be precise. She had never had sex but somehow she felt the duke just rushed the moment, which she didn't enjoy very much.

The young woman passed the time checking on the house, visiting new acquaintances and having her mother in for tea. Not much could be done.

Every time she had a chance to be with the duke, she reminded him of her ambition to have a house full of children. His response was always something like nodding or anything of the sorts. He didn't seemed interested in it.
She even tried seducing him at nights but that proved to be a failure too: he would leave to room arguing she was being "strange" or he would have some minutes of sex with her, as if just to please her.

Days and days alone, left her plenty of time to know every single corner of the house, which was pretty large. She would enjoy helping the gardeners, although it was not very lady like for him to be doing such chores. Anyway she did it, as she didn't care who would say what. She was a disgraced woman as far as she was concerned, so she didn't mind the opinion of others.

Winter changed things, again. The duke couldn't travel as much as he used to so he stayed in more but in his office. She would try to help him with things or take some tea for him but it didn't seem to do anything for the marriage.

One night, she discovered that the ballroom was closed, all doors locked with key. Curious, she went outside to look in, but found our all the curtains were down and nothing could be seeing. Only a dim light.

This happened at least once a week. Strangely, it coincided with multiple visits from statesmen, military officers and local authorities. They would always come right at lunch time and leave after dinner. This would annoy Lavinia every time, as she had to listen to endless stupid war stories or about shortages of wheat or some other kind of nourishment. She would always try to eat fast and argue she was exhausted to be excused.

Snow came in february and she would spend many hours making castles in it or playing by herself, She would remember her young years, when she was a lonely girl too. She wanted a child so bad, to take care of and to be with.

Exploring the palace had proven useful as, one day, she found at that one of the rooms in the second floor, mainly used by as a reading parlor, had a small compartment on one of the walls. When you opened it, you would enter a small space were an adult person could stand comfortably. Most curious, at the height of the eyes, there was a sliding plaque, in order to watch people below, in the ballroom.

She used it only once when the duke celebrated a Christmas party for every single noble man and lady in the region. Lots of people came and, at one point, Lavinia disappeared to watch everything from her private "booth": the view was amazing, felt like being a bird. She thought the person that made it should have being very suspicious of his guests.

One night, in which the duke had once again left the bed to sleep in some other room, Lavinia decided to go to the kitchen and have some warm milk. It had always helped her to sleep and she was having an awful time trying to sleep, as her thoughts of feeling alone, as well as her mother's insistence on the subject of children, were revolving on her mind.

She got her milk and was going back to bed when she came to one of the ballroom's doors. Strangely, she could see a under the door, as if fire had been lit inside. She had the urge to scream but realized this was the perfect time to use her secret "booth".

She silently climbed the stairs to the second floor and entered the reading parlor. She left the glass of milk on a table and opened her private space. When she lifted the sliding panel, her eyes had to close for a minute as the light was to bright.

Indeed, it was fire light, coming from the hearth on one side of the room. She couldn't see anything else except a table and... Clothing, on the ground. Her breathing accelerated when she understood it all: her husband suddenly got up from the floor, naked. He then laid on the edge of the table and that's when Lavinia saw it: one of the many military men that had come for supper penetrated her husband and he, the duke, seemed to enjoy it.

She close the panel and wanted to cry but didn't. She breathed heavily but calmed herself down, stood up and drank her milk. She was in that room for hours, gazing at the compartment from which she had seen it all.

No one never knew how or why but Lavinia suddenly became a leader in the region, touring towns and cities, helping those in need. She taken an interest in doing charity and people praised for that and for being an amazing hostess.

The height of it all was the birth of her daughter Anne. And it all happened due to her wit and strength, as she blackmailed her husband and let him do as he may as along as he kept his side of their agreement.

When he died, years later, in a skirmish in a colony far away, she received condolences from everyone. But she didn't mind. Her life expectations were fulfilled and more was yet to come.

jueves, 25 de septiembre de 2014

You've gained 5 kilograms

And that was all the stupid machine could say: "You've gained five kilograms". Brian knew that, boy did he knew that.

Exercising in winter wasn't as easy as doing it in the summer. Besides, he had too many good, big meals and he didn't wanted to be that stupid person that says "I'll pass", as if food was something not much more different than a poison.

He got down the scale and, for a moment, thought it might be broken. But that was impossible: it had been bought only a few months ago and worked digitally. No, the stupid scale said the truth.

He went to the bath room and got naked as he had to take a shower. He turner the hot water faucet and then, he glanced at the mirror: he looked back at himself, a little sad, a bit disappointed. He looked down and saw his body was far from those in ads and movies. He wasn't obese or anything but felt bad for not being that perfect model society wanted all of us to be.

In the shower, as he did in bed as he slept, Brian imagined meeting someone who would love him for who he was and for discovering things about him that not even Brian knew.

But when the water stopped falling, he knew that wouldn't be the case. Again, this wasn't a TV series or a movie, there wasn't a someone for everyone and people didn't love you more for being different, just the opposite.

He put on his clothes, grabbed his keys and walked to the nearest bus stop, to wait. Being there, he remembered trying for a whole month to exercise and he did good but no results were evident so he stopped. He wasn't a patient person, so doing exercise for days and days wasn't fun, or interesting or anything. It was just painful and empty. So he just quitted.

He got in the bus and traveled through town for around half an hour until he got down near a mall. He had to go inside and pay some bills his parents had left for him to pay, with their money of course, as he had none to spare.

Standing in line in the bank, he saw a good looking guy also waiting to be served. He was just perfect: blonde, skinny, skin the color of milk and nice behind. He was even well dressed.

To be honest, Brian hated that. People that went through life just being perfect, being the ideal every other normal guy wanted to be. He must even be good in bed and well endowed. That's what Brian thought, checking him out one last time before running his errands.

He had just the time to get to a nearby café and meet Anita. She was had been his best friend for a number of years and he had told every single part of his life to him. Even that time he tried to take his life.

The two hugged, kissed, asked for cappuccinos and started talking about college memories, people they had met and new developments on their lives. Brian talked a lot, mainly because he didn't get to do it as often at home. It was to tell your parents "I hate my life" without a lecture on how easy the solution was.

Anita said the same, though. And Brian got it, he wasn't stupid, but things were hard to do. He didn't have that drive to try new things. A major impediment was the money factor. He felt bad asking and asking and trying and trying, like an idiot.

He parted with Anita, who encouraged him for the last time but he just answered: "I only do one thing right and people don't wanna pay me for it. I'm fucked". And he didn't even feel passion for writing. He just did it.

Back home, he enjoyed silence for a bit and then watched a movie. But in all honesty, he was still thinking on how much he hated his belly, his penis, his face. He hated to be the one that has to try and try and not get anything. Not all people fight for what they have and still they have money, a job, love and much more.

Trying to dissipate those thoughts, he repeated to himself that he at least had a loving family. Although one day he had to leave that house or he would really feel awful.

At night, he published the first chapter of his only novel. That was the boldest thing he could do. The subject was hard to swallow and his writing skills could sure use improvement. But he did it anyway as that was the only thing he could do now, to ease the pain a bit.

The next day, he went to buy some cinnamon rolls for the night and something uncomfortable happened: a guy stared at him, as if he was checking him out. He just blushed, bought what he came for rapidly and ran out of the place like a lunatic.

It was still unbearable when people did that. So cruel even. He tried to forget about it for the rest of the day but couldn't. He decide to log on to his blog to check out if someone had written and comment but nothing. "Self centered bastards".

But the night was even stranger than the day. An old school friend called him to his cellphone. He said he had read his first chapter and told him he really liked. Brian was a bit embarrassed. The guy then said: "We should really meet some time". He was red as a tomato. His only answer was "Ok".

And then life went on with Brian. What happened with the caller or with his ambitions as a writer, I just can't tell you. Why? Because those things haven't happened yet, so we might have to wait for some time to pass until we know what kind of life Brian had.

martes, 23 de septiembre de 2014

The Real Mrs. Humphries

Helena Humphries lived with her dog Alan and her crow Lena. They had been together for several years and weren't planning to separate any time soon. Her husband Harvey had died five years ago and both animals were greta companions for an elderly lady like Helena.

For years, she had taken care of a small shop, located just below her apartment. The place had been the property of Harvey's family but they all died out fast and he was the last one. So he gave the shop to Helena in his will.

To be honest, she had not been very happy when she realized she had to take care of business. She was 74 years old and planned to live the rest of her days in peace and tranquility. The shop was too much to do, too much to pay attention to. She had always thought the place was perfect for her husband, an innate businessman. But she didn't have it in her.

They had met in high school and from then on she was only a wife. They never had children and, to be honest again, she didn't resent it. She thought children should only come to the world if they were "looked for" and if they were guaranteed love.

Helena had suffered from depression when she was younger and Harvey had taken care of her with love and friendship. For that, she had always been thankful and decided to be the best wife she could and she had been: beautiful cakes every birthday, delicious dinners after a hard day at work and kisses and hugs in bed.

Harvey had died a happy old man. He was 80 and died from a heart attack, a disease that plagued his family, made mainly of larger people.

So Helena had to take the shop in her hands. She sold everything: groceries, candy and even hardware.

One day, a particular windy one, a woman called Virginia entered the store. She browse around but didn't appear to be really interested in anything. Helena had recognized her: people of the neighborhood said she was a prostitute and that she had a son out of one of her clients.

 - Might I help you?

Virginia looked at Helena and started crying. The older woman didn't know what to do, so she grabbed some hankies, the one she sold, and gave them to the woman. She cleaned her face, tainted by ruined make up, and blew her nose.

Helena asked if she was fine and the woman started her story: it was true. She was a prostitute as she had been laid off from her job at a brewery and she found herself with no husband and a child. But the child was not a consequence of her new work, more like the cause of it. She did it for him, so he could have food and a better life.
But she was tired of her living and wanted to stop. But her procurer forced her to keep doing it and she didn't wanted to.

At the edge of tears, Helena told her no woman should be forced to do nothing, as her Harvey had said. He had always encouraged Helena to be more than his wife but she had settled in it so well, she didn't wanted to pursue dreams that may not come true.

 - Work here. I have an extra room for you and the baby. Turn your life around.

This had two purposes: help Virginia and also separate herself from the store so she could have some peaceful elderly years.

The younger woman moved in with her son and life was good and quiet for a week or so until a man named Gregory came into the store, with a body guard as big as Mrs. Humphries wardrobe. They started pushing things to the floor and insulting Virginia for failing to do her job. She asked for forgiveness and told Gregory she would pay any debts. The big man grabbed her by an arm and almost broke it.

Suddenly a loud bang was heard. No one really knew what it was until Gregory fell dead on the floor. Mrs. Humphries had come down from her apartment, where she was taking a nap next to Virginia's baby, with her rifle.

It has to be said that Harvey had always been cautious and didn't trust the authorities too much, as his younger brother had been drafted illegally by military men and then died in a faraway land. So when he married Helena, he taught her how to shoot and use all kinds of guns. On saturdays, they would share an evening at the shooting range and then have milkshakes for desert. Helena had always loved those days as she felt strong and with purpose.

The tall big man dropped Virginia and attempted to leave but Mrs. Humphries shot again, this time pointing at his knee. The man screamed of pain.
In a matter of minutes, the police was there, picking up the bodies and summoned the women for interrogation. As it was self defense during property invasion, they let them go.

From then on Mrs. Humphries took care of Virginia as if she was a daughter and Virginia learned to think of the older lady as a mother. She proposed Helena to close the store for remodeling in order to turn it into a nice little café, which could attract more clients. Virginia was skilled at baking and pastries and had always wanted to do it for a living.

The new café was a success. Every person in town wanted to have one of Virginia's pastries for dessert. Helena helped too and, finally, gave in to her Harvey's wish of her becoming more than a wife. She became a proper owner, a good hostess and a great surrogate mother for Virginia and her baby.

They had difficulties and great moments but they were together, as a family, and that was all that mattered.

jueves, 18 de septiembre de 2014

Empress

She was kind, beautiful, joyful and full of good wishes for here people. And they loved her back, they admire her and girls wanted to be like her.

Anyone in the planet knew about the Empress, about Alysthina Jygda. Daughter of a butcher and a baker, she grew up in one of the many villages of the marshlands. Such a sad place wasn't the place one would expect to find such a beautiful girl, dedicated to the gathering of marshons, fruits that only grew deep in the wetlands. No one really knew how, but she was very skill at navigating his spaces and she was adored for this, as marshons were the primary export of the villages.

So beloved she was that, when the prince did his voyage around the planet to choose a bride, no one in the marshlands was surprised when he decided to take her as his bride. The wedding was majestic and she was even more beautiful, if that was people.

Time passed and the couple became emperor and empress and, about fifteen years later, he died diving for pearls in their summer house. A horrible death mourned by everyone, it was the stepping stone for Alysthina to become the ruler of the planet, the caretaker of every single thing in all of the lands.

But certainly, some did not really appreciate her skills and beauty. Although small, a group of people around the planet found hard to believe that the emperor had died in such and incident, specially knowing he had lived in those same islands when a youngster.

They also spread the idea that something was wrong with the empress: in roughly twenty years the planet had know her, she had barely aged, at least visibly. But people dismissed this idea by stating that she had "good blood".

No member of her original family was alive to see her enthroned, as her parents had died some years after her wedding, of old age, and she hadn't had any brothers or sisters or any other relative that was know. Her family now was her only child, princess Sygma. She was named by her father after the star that brought its heat to the planet. She was as beautiful as her mother but with some traces of her father's features.

One day, however, the princess also died. As stated by the Empress, she had wandered through a nearby forest, slipped on a rock near a river and hit her head on other rocks. Her burial was broadcasted planetwide but, oddly enough, the Empress seamed always calm and never dressed in black. Actually, she wore a stunning pearl white dress the her daughter's burial. People fell in love again with her, more than ever.

Months after that, an ambassador from a nearby world arrived to give the Empress the condolences of his world. He also gave her a present from his king: a beautiful necklace made only of rubies.

She was please by the gift but even more by the ambassador: a young, strong man with interesting new ideas. She seduced him and soon, she announced a wedding.

This was kind of a turning point for her. The people weren't really ready for her to remarry but there was nothing they could do.

The wedding, as expected, was magnificent. But something strange happened. The first night they would expend together as empress and emperor, changed the lives of everyone in the planet.

The man escaped the castle, frightened to death. He yelled and screamed through the nearby town, stole a starship and left the planet. Every one was confused by this until they discovered the reason he had left: the day after her wedding, Alysthina appeared with dark green skin and red eyes.

The reason of her youth was revealed: as a young woman she had given her life to Omaku, the god of evil. Why? she thought rulers had been neglectful to the planet and that she would make it all better. But the pact did not contemplate a second marriage and, least of all, for love. So he took away her beauty as payback.

The empress then became vengeful and the planet soon fell in the age of darkness, waiting for someone to liberate it from the good will but bad outcome of the wish of one woman stunning woman.

martes, 16 de septiembre de 2014

Austerlitz

Chef Michel Jacquet was the best in his craft and there was overwhelming evidence of this all over his prized restaurant, the Austerlitz. Medals, cups, plaques and ribbons were displayed all over the dining hall, for every client to see.

This, of course, had not happened out of miracle. No. Michel was born a chef. From age five, he enjoyed staying at home with his mother and grandmother and see them planning breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was particularly fond of grand feasts that his family held every once in a while to celebrate important days as July 14th, every family member birthday or a town gathering which his family was always asked to cater.

He lived all of his childhood and teenage years in the small town of Vaite, relatively close to Germany and Switzerland. And during all those years he watched his mother do hundreds of dishes, as well as his grandmother and the baker, Monsieur Grand.

From Mr. Grand, he learned the art of pastries and by the age of fifteen he did the best éclairs Vaite could offer its few visitors and residents.

Encouraged by his mother, he left Vaite for Paris at age seventeen, to live with an uncle and learn the craft of the best teachers he could get. They were a middle class family but Michel had the advantage of being an only child so there was some money to spare on his education.

It was his dream to be on the Cordon Bleu school but the tuition was prohibitive and they only selected the best in all fields and Michel was only a skilled pastry maker. He had no idea of meat or fish or how to cook grandiose meals as his mother used to do.

The solution? Learn by himself. His uncle was a postman and left early and got in late. This time was used by Michel to watch all kinds of cooking shows on TV. He would also look for high cuisine books in a nearby library and would even come in the butcher's store to ask him to teach Michel how to cut pork, veal and lamb.

Believing to be ready, he went through the hard test in the Cordon Bleu. He was denied entrance and that put him in a severe depression that lasted for a couple of months. It was a hot summer but he wouldn't come out of bed. His uncle begged him to go out, meet girls and go dancing but Michel wasn't interested.

In order to stretch our of his misery, he looked for more schools and found Mrs. Villette school for cooking. True, it was a modest place to learn but according to many older students, Juliette Villette was among the best cooks in France but some bad reviews of her restaurant brought the place down and she decide to teach instead of fighting and ever demanding crowd.

Be that as it may, Michel excelled in all classes and soon got his diploma with the highest honors. Then, again, he applied for Cordon Bleu and failed once more. This time, however, he wasn't sad or disappointed. He had decided to be the best french cook to have ever lived and nothing would be able to stop him.

That was his turning point. He became obsessed with success and recognition. He went from loving cooking and food to just use them to surprise people and be loved as he had always wanted to be loved.

Although no one ever knew it, Michel had never really been physically attracted to anyone. He had never had the need for romantic love or sexual intercourse. But he was obsessed with people knowing who he was. This was likely to be a result of people never really believing in him, except his mother. He did not trusted people and had a passive aggressive behavior, that rarely bursted out.

He visited her only after he got his first restaurant job. He was sous-chef for Gaston Bisset, a respected chef in the city of Lyon. The man had seen Michel's talent and decided to hire him for his restaurante, the Licorne. When Michel told his mother the news, she just hugged him and kissed his cheek. It was all she wanted. After all, the father had died when Michel was very young and she had always regretted not giving him a sister or brother to share with.

In the Licorne, Michel excelled. He was fast, thorough and clean. His cuts were precise and his deserts found a place in the restaurant's menu. Everyone in Lyon knew of this young man that made the most delicious deserts.

Bisset soon became annoyed because everyone came to eat Michel's deserts and not his more recent creations such as lamb in tangerine sauce or his version of the popular ratatouille. No, everyone wanted an éclair or millefeuille from Michel.

The situation became tense. People saw them quarreling, yelling at each other and not talking to one another for days. It all ended one day when Bisset didn't show up and Michel had to take care of everything. Bisset was said to be very sick and Michel took this to his advantage: the Licorne was his. In one week, he created the most splendid dishes: salmon in lychee sauce, passion fruit chicken and macadamia nut ice cream on chia seed cake.

Bisset died. Officially it was a stroke. Some wanted Michel to stay in the Licorne but he decided to leave as he needed to create his own place and did so in the city of Quimper.

Not really known for its cuisine, Michel made the city renowned with the creation of Austerlitz, his restaurant. And that was how he got all the prizes and awards and how France and the world fell in love with his creations, in special his pastries.

Bu then, when all was great, Justine Bisset arrived went to Paris. She had seen her father in his last days and believed in her heart the stroke was just the final part of his death. She proceeded to sue Michel of killing her father.

Soon, the necessary evidence was gathered and, sure enough, the Austerlitz was lost, as Napoleon did many years ago. Justine cried in the court and explained how Michel poisoned her father in a moment of weakness and then proceeded to take over the Licorne. Michel always denied it all but the evidence was hard to overlook.

But he wasn't surrendering. In a stroke of genius, he escaped the police and the country. He grew a beard, started to exercise and opened a small pub in Scotland. Every now and again he made his amazing pastries for the townsfolk. And when someone was too disrespectful or didn't like his creations, he simply added a thin extra layer cream on his sweet works of art.

domingo, 14 de septiembre de 2014

Afterwards

Helena got of bed carefully, not wanting to awake Dave. Last night had been fun but she saw no need of staying around, least of all in his bed.

She pulled the covers as slow as she could, thanked God for Dave being on a fetal position on the opposite side and tiptoed all the way the the bedroom's door. She opened it fast and closed it softly.

- Fuck!

She realized her clothes were in the room. She was only wearing her panties.

The young women, rather short and with a beautiful average body, entered the room again and stayed on the doorframe trying to locate her belongings: her stockings were just beneath the bed, her shoes just by them, her dress near the door and her purse under his briefs.

It was funny, but she had always being judgmental about men wearing briefs. She saw it as a childish thing to wear them but all indications lead to her not minding about that the night before.

As she took her clothes, Helena felt some nausea, feeling her head hurt as she bend over to grab her things.

She went out the room, again, and walked to the living room. She had to be honest, the view from there was just amazing: from there you could see all of downtown and even more. As she noticed the apartment was on a high floor, she decided to dress by the window, checking everything out.

The girl could see people walking on a park below, some cars passing by, a rather peaceful day. She recalled it was sunday but had no idea of the time. She grabbed her purse and pulled out her cellphone: almost dead. Any way, it was 1 PM.

She got scared as maybe her parents had called home or something, but she was soon put at ease when the cellphone begin ringing. As the volume was on full mode, she almost dropped it, scared Dave would wake up.

She went into a bathroom by the living room and closed the door. Now she could answer.

- Hi mom.
- Hey sweetie. Where are you?
- I'm buying bread.

She just said the first thing that came to mind.

- Oh, sleeping late?
- Yeah. Had Monica's birthday yesterday.
- Right... How was that?
- Good. Had... fun. Mom could I call you back when i get back home?
- Sure sweetie. I'll wait.
- Ok mom. Bye.
- Bye.

She hung up on the middle of her mother's "bye". It wasn't a good idea to keep talking in a place where there was a man she didn't wanted to confront.

Helena got out of the bathroom, put on her shoes and took a last look on a mirror Dave had as decoration. She was a little pale and her makeup was a mess. She decided to clean up her face so she entered the bathroom and rinsed her face with water. When she was ready to dried it up, she let out a scream as she saw the man on the bathroom mirror.

To be honest, she didn't screamed because she saw him awake. As she walked out the bathroom she confirmed what she saw: Dave was stretching, still half asleep, naked in front of her.

- Hey... - he said.

She didn't answer. Her face was soaking wet and it seemed as she had forgotten how to talk or move.

- You should dry yourself up. I don't like wet floors.

She reacted then and took a towel. As she did this, Dave entered the kitchen, only separated by the living room by a black marble counter. He turned on the coffee machine and took out a mug from a shelf.

No, Helena didn't even faked it: she saw his body as she hadn't seen it the night before. He was really not a model or the example of perfection but there was something really attractive. She couldn't really point out what it was.

- You want coffee?
- Sure.

No doubt. She needed coffee. She came out of the bathroom again and walked to the counter. He poured some coffee on two mugs and had a big sip before speaking again.

- Have to go?
- Yeah, kinda.
- Oh, ok... Last night was great.
- Guess so...

He smiled.

- What?
- You were drunk, I knew it.
- I wasn't!
- Yes, you were. Do you even remember it all?

It was not her style to lie. She didn't saw the utility of it.

- No.
- It's cool. Just a crazy night then.

He winked at her and drank some more coffee. She only sipped some, not really in the mood to stay longer.

- Look, I have to go.
- Sure, ok.

Helena walked to the door, grabbed the doorknob and turned to Dave.

- I remember you're great in bed and I hadn't had so much fun having sex or talking to sometime in quite some time. Thanks.

He smiled and raised his mug, as if toasting. She smiled too and went out the door.

Dave finished his coffee, scratched his belly and passed one hand over his hair. After thinking of her one last time, he took out some bread from the pantry and put them on the toaster.

He went to the living room to turn on the TV and entered the bathroom to pee. As he did so, he noticed something by the sink: Helena's cellphone.

Sure enough, just after Dave had put on his briefs, he heard the doorbell. Second chance was ringing.

lunes, 8 de septiembre de 2014

The Gardens of Versailles

Windy and chilly. A typical parisian winter, or at least that's how it is at the beginning.

Today, Paul has got on a train to visit one of the most spectacular places in the world: the chateau de Versailles. A beautiful palace where the King once lived and the infamous Marie Antoinette lived her life, isolated from the rest of the people.

That's how you fell, after you've seen the museum and you start wandering through courtyards and gardens: you feel alone in the world, even if there are hundreds of tourists around

What Paul didn't expect was running into an old school mate. No, they were not friends. Far from that: they despised each other. Jonah was always the athletic jock, not that beautiful to be honest but always life of the party and center of attention. Paul was just the opposite.

Jonah was buying a sandwich from a lady in al old kiosk and then he saw Paul. And Paul saw him. It was one of those moments when time freezes because you don't really know how to react. It was too late to fake not seeing the other man and too strange of a situation to say anything.

It was Paul that came closer and bought a hot beverage from the same lady. It has to be said that he had being trying to change his elusive and shy self in order to be more assertive and spontaneous. So, when he saw Jonah, what would be more spontaneous than just greeting him, as if he was better than all that had happened in school.

To be honest, only discomfort happened. There were never awful jokes or nasty discrimination: it wasn't a movie high school or an american one for that matter. They just disliked each other and that was it.

Anyway, Paul greeted Jonah and Jonah responded. They asked for their respective lives: Paul was in Paris in a holiday. He lived in Berlin, working in a restaurant as an apprentice of the main chef. He had always loved food. On the other hand, Jonah lived in London and was working in a big advertising company.

They fake smiled and had small talk, walking along the path that lead to the Grand Trianon. They ate and drank their respective foods.

 - Did you come here by yourself? - said Jonah.
 - Yeah. You?

Jonah nodded. Paul didn't know but Jonah had a nervous crisis a year earlier. He had being in a relationship with a girl from school and realized he was bored to death by her. They had come together because of their "status" in life but that faded fast when they moved to London.
The separation broke Jonah as he didn't know where he stood. With difficulty and thanks to some friends and his work, he seemed to come back to life.

But he didn't say this to Paul. Only that he always wanted to visit the palace and see its grandeur at least once. Paul agreed: it was a personal dream of his to visit Paris, a well regarded place for food, and specially to walk through places so charged with history and beauty as these gardens.

After watching the furnitures and art inside the Trianon, they walked through the village created by Marie Antoinette to recreate a fairytale town, with animals and beautiful houses and even a pond.

There, Paul told the truth: he had suffered to much when caring for people and keeping the truth hidden, about his feelings and thoughts. So about six months ago he had decided he would change that and try to be more open and bold.

Jonah was curious.

 - Like what would you say then?
 - I had a crush on you in high school. I thought you were so perfect. I knew I could never be like you. It was weird.

And the Jonah kept asking why and how and when and Paul answered every questions as they fed some bread to the ducks and walked through narrow paths.

 They walked closely but never too close. They didn't say a word for several minutes as they walked to the front gate.

 - Would you take a drink with me? - asked Jonah.

Paul was confused. He hadn't had the intention of making Jonah feel bad or obliged somehow by his story. He expressed this to him as they neared Versailles-Rive Gauche train station.

 - It's not that... I'm just here 'till January 2nd and it would be nice to see the city with someone else. Don't you think so?

He certainly had a good point.

 - Ok. You're right. I was planning on scouting the left bank neighborhoods tomorrow.
 - That's great. But first a drink.

An hour later they were drinking wine in small bar were they chatted for several hours. So many hours that the owner had to ask them to leave as he had to close the establishment.

A bit drunk and all talkative, Jonah confessed to Paul he was glad to find him in Versailles. Paul only thanked him and abruptly changed the subject, a little bit annoyed to feel good about revisiting his past.

Paul invited Jonah to his hotel were they ate bread and jam and two more bottles of wine.

It wasn't strange when, after two bottles and only a few hours until sunrise, Paul kissed Jonah and the former jock stood still. Paul was ashamed and Jonah was speechless. He decided to grab his coat and leave.

Paul barely slept, all alcoholic intoxication lifting from his body by the thought of his mistake. He had gone to far and he had to learn from it. So much for the walk around the Rive Gauche.

After lunch time, he decide that walking would be better than staying at home. As he put on his coat, the phone rang. It was the front desk lady stating someone was waiting for him downstairs.

Indeed, waiting by the travel brochures, there was Jonah.

 - We should visit Montparnasse Tower. They say the view is great.

And there they went. The day was gray and gloomy but it went perfect as they slowly became friends. No mention was made of the kiss, not once all day.

But the truth is that when they parted in the airport days later, Jonah eyes were watery and Paul had memorized Jonah's scent. They shook hands, as if they had always being great friends and then went on with their lives, each one changed a bit by a casual and random encounter in a place full of magic.

sábado, 6 de septiembre de 2014

New Freedom

Official Transcript # 485

Interrogation officer: Please, state your name.
Inmate 3063: My name is Jordan Skye.
I.O: Louder, please.
J.S: I'M JORDAN SKYE!
I.O: Occupation?
J.S: Special agent of the UN special forces unit.
I.O: Can you prove that?

Silence. Jordan sighs.

J.S: Not at the moment.
I.O: Why?
J.S: No papers, man.
I.O: Please sum up the events occurred on September 6th.
J.S: That was the day after the invasion.
I.O: Proceed.
J.S: I was part of a small group that came in with the rebels, on their ships. As they took the city, we had a special priority.
I.O: Which was?
J.S: Capture Minister Sumter.
I.O: What were your orders regarding him?
J.S: Capture and bring him to justice.
I.O: Which justice?

Again, Jordan sighs, tensioned.

J.S: Had to take him to Geneva.
I.O: What happened September 6th?

Jordan fists close, as if imagining the man's neck.

J.S: The rebels were winning. You were winning.
I.O: We know.
J.S: I fucking bet that.
I.O: Keep going.
J.S: My team was composed of seven men and women. Three of them had to secure Sumter. My partner and I were the ones that had to going in his office and take him.
I.O: Partner?
J.S: My husband.
I.O: The new government overruled those rights. Are you aware of it?
J.S: I don't give a shit.

The interrogation officer moves on his chair but doesn't say a word.

I.O: You failed. Why?
J.S: Supporters of Sumter overran me and my team. They started to chase us. I lured them to me in order for my team to be extracted by fellow rebels.
I.O: No report of that on our data.
J.S: Secret operation, genius.
I.O: You were captured by those men, correct?
J.S: That's right.
I.O: Then, you were rescued by the new government on September 10th, correct?
J.S: Rescued is a strong word.

The room feels too cold. Jordan wraps his arms around himself trying to the cold not to diminish his spirit.

I.O: What happened between your capture by those men and your extraction?
J.S: You know what happened. You did the tests.
I.O: Please, sum up for record.

Jordan tries to talk but his mouth feels dry. There's a glass of water on the table but he doesn't take it. He wets his lips with his tongue and talks.

J.S: I was held prisoner in some old barracks or a hangar. I don't really know.
I.O. Hangar A-03, Sumter Military Base.
J.S: Ok... I was tortured by the group of men that captured me.
I.O: Were you visited by Sumter during that time?
J.S: Never.
I.O: What kind of torture were you submitted to?

The man looks at the officer and smiles.

J.S: This is fucked up.
I.O: Please state the nature of...
J.S: They raped me, ok?! They fucked me with a stick or something and tortured me with water and punched and hit me, for hours.
I.O: Were you given food or water?
J.S: What a fucking stupid question.
I.O: What happened on September 10th?
J.S: You people showed up and apparently took me here.
I.O: What happened before that?

Jordan stands up, annoyed.

J.S: None of your business.
I.O: This is a report for the republic. We need...
J.S: You don't need shit!
I.O: Our team extracted a body along with yours. Whose body was it?

Shadows do not allow Jordan to see his interrogator well but he tries to glare at him, hurt.

J.S: You have his body?
I.O: Yes. Who is he?
J.S: You have my husband.
I.O: Those rights were...
J.S: Fuck you! That man got in that airbase and attempted to save me. He did something as you stood there, forgetting what we did to let guys like you keep on living.
I.O: He was unsuccessful.
J.S: They caught him. He was framed. They beat him up in front of me. They made me watch...

Jordan has started crying, in silence.

J.S: Then, they told him because of his bold act he had to see me go. Turns out, right in the moment they were going to kill me, the gang's leader changed his mind and shot him in front of me. I fainted after screaming my lungs out. I woke up here. In this prison.

The interrogation officer stands up and exists the room. Jordan walks to the door but they shut it. He then hears a voice on the speakers.

I.O: Thank you, Jordan Skye. You may go to your cell now.

Another door, on the opposite wall, opens. But Jordan does not walk towards it.

J.S: I told you everything. Let me go now.
I.O: You will be released in due time. Have a good sleep.

Two men enter the room. Jordan tries to fight but they have a needle, the needle he has learned to fear. He slowly falls asleep, letting go, again.

jueves, 4 de septiembre de 2014

Letter for me (Part 4)

Hey me,


I write you, or me, from my bedroom. Strange, huh? Well, another week passed and more happened. So here it is.

I decided to be honest with the family. They are not to blame in any of this and I had to tell someone about all of this. I mean, after the last letter I remember feeling I was going crazy. I didn't know what was real or not.

So after coming back from "jogging" around the neighborhood, I decided to tell Susan everything. She very patient and calm. She just sat there and let me say every single thing that I had been thinking and feeling, including the fact that I believe this is not my life and that they are not my family.

When I said that, I saw here eyes filling with tears but she contained them as long as she could. I didn't know she was such a strong person, so well put together. She's a therapist, you know? Maybe that's why after talking for thirty minutes straight and then falling silent, she just grabbed my hand and hugged me.

Susan told me she knew something was wrong and that she was happy I finally decided to tell her. She said she loved me and wanted all the best for me. She even offered taking me to a friend of hers, a psychiatrist. Susan think it will help.

To be honest, it has not helped me one bit. I have been going once every day, so I've seen that creepy guy five times. And believe me, you don't get used to someone picking your brain with stupid questions for one hour. I hate going there but Susan seems to be happy about it and I don't want to disappoint her.

And, to be honest, what else is there for me now? That life I had o r think I had has been dead for far to long because I can't seem to get a grip of it.

I know, the drawings... Yeah, that keeps popping in my head from time to time. It's one of those things I've discussed with the shrink but he says I have been putting things I read into Linda's drawings and that I see what I see because I want to see it. Crazy, right? Not surprising though.

But I do. And even Henry does. I asked him to tell me what he saw in the drawings and I'm not insane, I see what he sees.

By the way, I finished the book. The writer has various adventures, like a big spy or something, and at the end, I mean in the last 10 pages, he dies. He's shot in the head by a drug dealer. Linda drew me in a pool of blood. I screamed at the girl and then she cried and then I fought with Susan. That was just some hours ago.

That's why I'm alone in my bedroom. Actually, alone in the house. Susan took the kids to her mother's house and told me to cool down for the night. She didn't seem angry but scared. She seems to think that a night away from them might do me some good but I believe she was scared I might hit her or the kids.

I went crazy. I yelled and hit myself on the head with my fists and punched the wall. My hand hurts as I write.

You know what's funny? My head started to hurt just after I saw the drawing Linda did for me. It's a piercing pain on the back of my head, just as if I had been hit with a blunt object.

I don't want to sleep. It's 3 AM but I don't dare to close my eyes. What if this all goes away too? What if I don't go back to being a writer but I just fade away into another life? I wouldn't be able to take it. I know I can't.

Please be with me. Help me. I'm scared.








*           *           *

The hallway is white. No other color on sight. A woman, rather short, enters a room. Inside an elderly woman cries next to the only bed in the room.

A young man lies there, with tubes coming from all places, breathing through a machine.

- The doctor is ready Mrs. Dominguez.

The elderly lady is squeezes one of the man's hands as a man in a white robe enters the room.

- Do you want to be present? - he says to the woman.

She nods. Tears keep pouring out of her eyes but she makes no noise.

The doctor and the nurse start pressing buttons, pulling out tubes until only one machine is attached to the man in the bed.

The elderly woman comes near and kisses the man on the forehead.

- Bye, Alex. Mama loves you.

The machine starts beeping and finally the sound of death engulfs the room.

martes, 2 de septiembre de 2014

Letter for me (Part 2)

Hello you,


or should I say "me"? This is getting weirder and weirder. Yesterday I couldn't keep writing because I had to sign loads of papers and then go home and be with the family.

Not my family but the family. I still don't get how this happened. I've tried going over and over it but I keep forgetting things. Had to read yesterday's letter in order to remember about the dog! Not that anyone cares... I have a cat now, Snow or something like that. He's always very creepy appearing in weird places and looking straight at me as if he knew something I don't.

The work is not that bad though. It appears I have been a pretty good accountant and my position here seems to be very well respected. Everyone greets me when I come in the morning and they wave at lunch time. There's even a young woman that flirted with me on the elevator, by showing a little too much cleavage and biting her lower lip. It's weird but I don't think our past self likes that.

That's something else I've forgotten: I have no idea if we had a girlfriend, a wife or if we just lived alone in an apartment. I don't feel like a party boy but not like a husband or father either.

Actually, that's one of the upsides of this "reality", if you will. Linda is the tiny one. She's actually seven years old, not six as I first thought. She's a sweetheart and up to this moment she has handed me at least ten drawings done specially for me. Yesterday night I told her a bedtime story and for a moment I didn't even care about all of this. She looked so peaceful and happy...

Henry is the name of our son. He's 11 and looks more like Susan (wife) than like us. The girl is more like us, so that's why I think I like her better. The boy likes sports a lot: he was playing football with friends when I got home yesterday and Susan told me he had judo practice today. He didn't get it from me though, not past or present. I remember, and feel, that we never liked any kind of physical exercise. Furthermore, I've looked through some photo albums (telling Susan I felt like reviewing the past) and saw that in this version of us we have no interest for sports either.

Actually that move was kinda dangerous. Susan, who is quite beautiful and sweet, wanted to have sex when seeing the pictures of the wedding. To be honest, I wanted to keep watching them as I had no recollection of that ever happening. The saddest part is that I didn't recognize who Susan called "your parents". Two nice people smiling me from a picture and I have no idea of who they are...

No, I didn't have sec with her. I told her I had to get some things ready for work and just sprung out of bed. I spent almost all night wandering around my office (a fucking office in the house!) thinking of the pictures and those memories that I don't have.

I have a theory now and I want to share it with you. I believe someone has to have our memories. Probably the man that lived here woke up in our old life. I can't stop but hating him but I guess that, if he exists, he's really not to blame.

Almost no sleep is giving me a headache but it was just impossible. I've gone all through the house, the details of this life and I have no recollection of anything. I just don't know any of these people. I don't even know if we lived in this city or this country for that matter. I'm trying to teach myself how to behave and breath because I may go insane. I feel it.

Maybe that's another explanation? What if this is all a reality I've created after having a seizure or a breakdown? I think it's possible although is not a really nice thought.

To be honest, I can't say I want to go back because I keep losing more and more of that life and keep feeling obliged to do my part here. Susan, Linda and Henry have no fault in this and I can't keep but thinking about their reaction if I told them about this.

Man, I know your are me. But this is the only way to keep me sane. At least until I start to get all of this, at least a bit more.

Well, time to go. Some big shot invited me to lunch and I had to say yes. I guess that's what this guy is all about.


Keep it real,

Alex.


P.S: Don't you think it's weird we are named Alex in both versions? That makes me crazy.

lunes, 1 de septiembre de 2014

Carta Para Mi (Parte 1)

Querido Yo,


te escribo escribo esta carta para hacer algo así como un diario de lo que ha venido pasando en los últimos días. Creo que así podré saber que fui yo mismo quien escribió esto, si es que de un día para otro también olvido quien soy ahora y no solo quien era antes...

Todo empezó el sábado en la mañana. Me desperté, como normalmente supongo que hago, pero en vez de hacerlo en mi cama lo hice en la cama de alguien más. No te imaginas la sorpresa que fue sentir un cuerpo al lado del mío, durmiendo tranquilamente.

En caso de que no recuerdes nada, antes vivías solo. Sí, solo! Tenías un apartamento pequeño pero iluminado en el centro de la ciudad. Aunque la soledad no era total pues tenía un perro raza beagle de nombre Pepe. Era el mejor amigo que has tenido.

Pero él no estaba en esta casa. Ese día me levanté en silencio y salí del cuarto. Pensé que podía haber tomado bastante y resultado en la cama de una mujer desconocida pero no recordaba haber bebido el día anterior. Para serte sincero, quisiera recordar más de nuestra vida pasada pero parece que cada día detalles se desvanecen de mi mente.

Cuando salí del cuarto me di cuenta de que estábamos en una casa, bastante grande y moderna por cierto. Bajé al primer piso cuidando de no despertar a la mujer pero casi fracaso cuando, a mitad de la escalera, un gato blanco y gordo me maúllo porque casi le piso la cola. El horrible bicho (no nos gustan los gatos) salió corriendo hacia arriba.

Al bajar llegué a la sala y me fijé que había bastantes objetos, muebles y fotografías. No les puse atención, más que todo por el hecho de estar sorprendido: una mujer con una casa tan grande y tantas cosas seguramente era mujer con dinero. Y siendo escritor, no viene mal un dinero imprevisto.

Se me olvidaba decirte que somos escritores. Escritor mejor dicho. Publicamos una novela que no tuvo mucha acogida y ahora escribir reseñas de un poco de todo y damos clase en una universidad. Disculpa si te confundo al hablar como si fuéramos dos personas, cuando tu eres yo y viceversa. Se me hace más llevadero así, como si hablara en alguien que puedo confiar.

Fui a la cocina y había café en en la cafetera. Puse a calentar un poco y, mientras tanto, me acerqué a la ventana de la cocina que daba a la puerta de entrada. Parece un sueño ese sitio! Pasto verde como en las películas y un muro bien cuidado que la separa del mundo.

Y ahí me asusté. También se veía el camino para los automóviles y, de hecho, había dos. Una camioneta como las que usan las mamás que llevan a sus hijos al partido de fútbol y un carro más pequeño, gris. Instintivamente pensé que era de su esposo y me invadió el pánico. Tenía que irme pero estaba en boxers y mi ropa seguramente estaba en el cuarto de la mujer.

No sabes el miedo que sentí. Me devolví a las escaleras e iba a subir cuando me detuve en seco y me puse más frío de lo que estoy ahora, escribiéndome.

Había una niña de unos 6 años, abrazando un peluche en forma de elefante, en la parte más alta de la escalera. Sentí como si estuviera desnudo en la mitad de la nieve, como si no tuviera más opción que salir corriendo. Si te soy sincero, creí que la niña iba a gritar o a correr o algo.

Pero no. Bajó algunos escalones, me miró con sus enormes ojos color avellana y dijo:

- Papi, tengo sed.

Sí... Somos papás. O al menos ahora lo somos. Antes nunca estuvimos cerca de serlo ni mucho menos...

Mierda. Estoy en la oficina de este... nuestra oficina, la de ahora. Acaba de sonar el teléfono y era mi secretaria. Aparentemente trabajo en un banco y la verdad, no sé como, pero sé que hacer lo que hay que hacer. Es horrible.

Te escribo esto mientras nadie me ve pero temo que alguien pueda entrar y me vea haciendo esto. No puedo permitir que me internen o algo así. No sin entender que pasa.

Nuestro nombre es Alejandro Domínguez. Somos un escritor y vivimos solos. Ahora somos un contador y tenemos dos hijos y una esposa. Nos aman pero no los puedo amar de vuelta.

No puedo seguir escribiendo. Me busca alguien que no conozco pero que al parecer debería... 

En todo caso quiero que sepas que estoy contigo, si es que las cosas han vuelto a cambiar. Vamos a averiguar que pasa. Te lo prometo.


Fuerza,

Alejo.

domingo, 31 de agosto de 2014

Stop

Work, work, work. Break. Some coffee, by the window. Work, work, work. Another coffee, now walking to someone else's office. Work, work, work. Lunch time.

This is it. His time has come to opt out of everything he has always seen as he's life. This is no life.

Instead of eating with the same person he has always done so for the last 3 years, this man decides to go home and pack.

Where to go? Not important. But life's grip is tightening to much and he cannot keep fighting it.

Some shirts, couple of pants, two pairs of shoes and some underwear. That should be enough. He takes his passport, in the eventuality of traveling abroad. There are no real plans about where to go but that's precisely the idea.

He checks his phone: no calls, no messages, nothing. Better, he thinks, if they believe he's running late or has had some kind of problem.

Takes the backpack and walks to the door. After closing properly, he pushes the elevator's button and then a woman, older than him but still beautiful, stands closely. Her hair is messy, she even appears to be missing a day or two of careful grooming.

He looks at her big running pants and old shirt. There appears to be a lot of dust on her shoulders.

- It's taking quite long. - she says.

- Yeah... - he answers, no idea what's she's talking about.

No, he doesn't like to chat with strangers. But she does.

- You live here? - she asks.

- Leaving for some weeks.

Why he answered that, he has no idea. He's starting to sweat.

- I'm moving in. So weird to move from another city.

- Must be.

He really doesn't want to talk.

- Am I making you uncomfortable? - she asks, looking at him.

He cleans  some of the sweat off his forehead. He decides not to say a word.

- Sorry, I tend to over talk. Guess I'm nervous for the new job and everything.

Then something clicks inside his mind, like a key entering the keyhole.

He turns to her, watching her honey colored eyes and says:

- Don't you get fucking trapped by that job, ok?

He's dead serious. She knows it.

- Never become a zombie like they want you to be. Think for yourself, even if they don't give a fuck about it.

- Ok.

He falls silent.

She suddenly says he has remembered something at home and leaves, without saying a word.

The elevator arrives. He comes in and tightens the backpack.

As the door closes, he faintly smiles, rising his head, finally feeling as a real free man.