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

lunes, 18 de septiembre de 2017

Trip to the moor

   As Morton walked along the mud path, he noticed the heavy dew all around him. At night, as he slept in his tent, a colder climate had been battling with the creatures all around him. The morning had a white tone that came from the frost on some of the leaves and dead insects that hadn’t been properly prepared for the cold. He looked at it all in wonder, as it was the first time in his trip in which he saw such a thing. Granted, he had been out in the wilderness for only a week, but he already felt like a proper explorer.

 His next assignment was to look for a lake or a pond in order to wash his body. He hadn’t been able to properly clean himself since he had entered the moors, and it was time for it, judging by a small cloud formed by many tiny mosquitoes. It was a little bit funny to be followed by those creatures all over the place, no matter if he stumbled to the ground or if he climbed down or up a wall. They were as resistant as him and, after a couple of days; they became little more than his own shadow.

 At the end of the mud path, a large amount of tall bushes covered what lay beyond. The sun was casting its first few rays onto the world and it seemed it was going to be a great day for his expedition. He had been granted a permit to explore for two weeks but he intended to traverse the park in order to reach the north border post before the two-week mark and there he would ask for another permit of the same amount of time. He needed at least one month, or that’s what he thought anyways.

 Morton had asked for the month period at first but he had only received a laugh and a severe look from the guard that was supposed to be giving the permits. They were not available online, so people had to go to the post and just make an exposé about why they wanted to enter the park and how would they spend their time in there. They also asked for people to have a proper plan for sleeping and eating. Even if they granted the permit, one had to sign several papers before going in.

 He didn’t mind at all. He signed everything they wanted because he needed that place; he needed to get lost in there for at least one month. He couldn’t deal with the real world, with the urban settings anymore. He had found the natural park while surfing the Internet and he had decided that was the perfect place to go. Besides, he could say he needed to go in there to take pictures and have some video footage of the place for a documentary. He had a degree in cinema but he had never used it. Not until it became relevant to get the damn permit.

 Once everything had been set, he prepared himself by watching several videos on the matter of camping and exploring. He had signed on for rock climbing lessons and he got only the basics before it was time to leave. The only people that knew what he was doing were his parents but they didn’t say anything besides wishing him good luck. After all, that trip had not cost them a dime and all the camping equipment had been bought in a second hand specialized store. Morton had done everything correctly.

 He left very early one day before they woke up, leaving only a handwritten letter on his bed. In it, he told his parents that he loved them but that he needed time to get his mind and his life in order. He needed to get away from every single thing that, according to him, was poisoning his life and his mind. He wanted to be well, he wanted to try and have a proper life. Not that he hadn’t tried before but all his attempts had proven unsuccessful and the trip to the moors was just an idea that seemed perfect.

 In the cabin on the south entrance, he received every single piece of advice every other person entering the moors had received before him: how to properly put off fires for cooking, how to dispose of bones and other proteins, where not to go, what not to do, what animals to be aware of, which plants could cause his eyes to pop and several other nice anecdotes and advices like those. Once he actually crossed the gate, every other person around him was getting ready for lunch.

 He remembered all that as he pulled out a survival knife from his backpack and started slashing at the bushes on the mud path. He smiled at the memory of his first day there, as if he had become an experienced hiker in just a few days. The smile went away when he realized cutting branches with such a small knife would take several hours. He decided to put the knife away and try to do it by hand. In a matter of minutes, he got both his hands covered in shallow and deep cuts.

 In a way, it was nice to feel the pain. It was strange and gross and fantastic to see blood on his hands. He rarely ever cut himself shaving at home or something like that. Looking at what was inside his veins was very bizarre but it somehow made him felt like the trips was worth every single one of those cuts, every single pain he had felt since he had gotten in the wilderness. His feet got swollen often and his skin was getting rashes all over the place but it was part of something much more important that he definitely wanted to go through.

 He decided to rest for a while. Morton wanted to walk more before the sun was on its highest point but he decided eating before the long road ahead would be much better for his energy. He took out a couple of granola bars from his backpack and started eating them slowly, as if he wanted to flavor them and enjoy their texture. To be honest, he was fed up with the taste and aspect of the bars but it was the only thing that he had on his bag, as he hadn’t prepared himself as well as he had expected.

 Before coming in, the people from the park had told him that, in case of severe malnutrition or lack of proper food, he would be allowed to kill certain animals in order to cook and eat them. He would have to dispose of them correctly and hunt them with proper care. So he did. Morton had never hunted or done anything that even remotely similar. But on the second day of his trip, just to try his skills out, he was able to kill a rabbit with a bow and arrow he had been given by the owner of the second hand store.

 It had been more a toy than a proper weapon but Morton had received the gift with great enthusiasm. He had always wanted to use one of those but had never been given the opportunity. Now, a week after the beginning of his journey, he had killed several animals and had disposed of every non-usable part in the proper way. He had cooked the meat with some bags of tomato sauce he had brought and the flavor was just perfect. Had become a great hunter and a pretty good cook.

 There, in the middle of nowhere, he had felt for the first time how it was to be someone that was worth something. It was the first time that he realized that he might know something that most people don’t and that, if hunting and cooking a rabbit was seen as a handy skill in daily life, he would be regarded as more than he had ever been regarded as. He had been a failure for half of his life and now he finally thought he could he be changing that dynamic. He felt he could be becoming someone.

 After eater the granola bars and putting the wraps on his litter bag, he continued to tear down the branches until, finally, the bushes gave in and he was able to pass to the other side. What he saw made him yell in happiness, even if he wasn’t supposed to do that.


 A green valley covered by some mist could be seen below, between tall mountains and ridges. Morton was standing on a cliff looking at the majestic of nature. There, he felt special for the very first time in his life and he couldn’t do much else than crying in silence.

jueves, 6 de octubre de 2016

Rejection

   Jean grabbed her purse and the bag where she kept her laptop. She walked very fast but tried not to look angry, disappointed or anything else. She just wanted to leave that place as fast as she could. It was very uncomfortable to stay there after she had been so insulted. As she arrived to the elevator, the door closed as someone was going down just before her. She whispered a course word, frustrated that she had to wait like an idiot in order to leave a please she definitely didn’t wanted to stay in or return ever again. She felt too humiliated.

 Out of nowhere, one of the guys that had been there during her interview walked up to her. He told her that they had been looking for her. A tiny shimmer of light appeared in her heart only to be crushed moments later when she realized the man had come to find her because she had left her pen in the table. What was even more annoying, was that he started talking about the results of the interview and telling her, once again, about all the flaws she had as a writer and so on. She wanted the Earth to swallow her, as his voice was very loud and everyone around seemed to be listening.

 She had to close her eyes and just try to relax by breathing slowly, feeling the air through her body. Ignoring the man was not easy but she could at least think of something else as he talked and talked and talked. The lady that managed the reception on that floor looked at them with surprise and obvious disgust. When Jean opened her eyes, the lady looked at her straight in the eye and shook her head, then looking at the guy. Jean only smiled, thankful that at least one person realized in what an uncomfortable situation she was.

 Finally, the elevator opened up and she stepped in without even acknowledging the man. For a moment, it seemed as though he was going to follow her into the elevator but fortunately he didn’t. He was even able to say anything else to Jean as she pressed hard the button that made the elevator close faster. She then pressed the number for the ground floor and started breathing normally again. She felt seriously awful and couldn’t believe she had to go home now in a bus that would take at least forty-five minutes. She didn’t felt good at all.

 Luckily, the bus didn’t take long to pass and she was able to find a free seat next to the window. She really wasn’t feeling ok and even though she was going to fall asleep, her brain wouldn’t let her. Not only because it may not be the best idea to fall asleep on a bus, but also because she had their words in her head. She could hear them once and again, trashing every single part of the work that she had done for them. Saying that they destroyed her isn’t enough to describe what went on in that conference room. A few tears rolled down her face.

 She had to clean herself with her hand because she had no tissues or anything like that. But it was clear to her that she had no intention to be the crazy woman in the bus that cries “for no reason”. So she tried to clean her tears off and attempted to think about something else. For example, the fact that she had left her family cat by herself. It wasn’t something that she did for the first time but it was something to think about. The cat was obviously ok but she had to create a problem in her mind in order to be able to resist the urge to cry.

 The bus took less time to her stop than it usually did. She hadn’t realized but she had left that office so early that there wasn’t even the normal traffic jam of peak time out in the streets. When she came down of the bus, she checked she had everything with her, including the pen she had forgotten in her pocket. Walking home took only five minutes. Her house had a cute garden that was brimming with light and color as she entered. It was as if nature was trying to cheer her up.

 And it did make her smile at least. When she entered the house, she called for her parents. Fortunately, no one answered back. They were normally there but she didn’t care where and why they had left, she only wanted to go to her run and be able to fall asleep and nap for while, all afternoon was possible. She dropped her purse and laptop bag on the ground and took off her shoes before lying down in bed. She faced upwards, towards the ceiling and, again, she could her all the criticism and the things all those men had said.

 She began to cry again but, this time, Jean didn’t clean her face or attempted to appear tougher than she looked. She didn’t need to do that, as that was her bedroom, her place in the world. There, she could do whatever she wanted and in that moment she wanted feel miserable for her. The words those men had said had been like daggers and they had stabbed her with them once and again and again. It was almost as if they had enjoyed themselves by doing so. To her, it was a very sick thing to do but she only reflected on that many days later.

 It had been really unnecessary to tell her all those things. They didn’t have to sink every single fiber of her soul by saying a lot of things that, even if part of the truth, weren’t as important in real life as they might have portrayed them. They essentially told her she had no idea how to write, that she couldn’t put three words together and that she made no sense whatsoever in what she had written for them. It was an essay about internal practices in very big companies.

 Jean had no idea of that. She had not been to business school or anything like it. She was just a normal girl trying to make her way into the world. She had thought that her English level was good enough for them but apparently it wasn’t. And of course it wasn’t because they had told her that she didn’t need to correct her essay for them and she didn’t. They lied to her because she would always do corrections but they had assured her they weren’t necessary. Besides, she had no idea of any business practices. She had a degree in creative writing, for God’s sakes!

 They had also told her that her way of portraying the business world was not very professional. And when she attempted to explain that she had no experience in the actual business world, as she had told the woman she had applied for the job too, they wouldn’t let her speak. They would only raise her voice and just keep talking. The guy that gave back her pen had been particularly nasty when saying that she shouldn’t have told them that she was actually good in English. At that moment she felt so enraged, she stood up and decided to leave.

After all, three men in one small conference room were attacking her. And it was all because of one miserable test they had set up in order to chose the perfect person for the freelance job they were looking for. They weren’t even going to take her into the company; they only wanted to see if she was available to do some texts for them once in a while. And, later that week, Jean realized the pay for one piece of writing was extremely mediocre compared to what people with no big company attached to them could pay her.

 It wasn’t the fact that they hadn’t hired her but the fact that they had been deceitful in a way and that they had been so rude in explaining to her why she hadn’t been selected. After all, it made no sense that they had invited her to their offices only to insult her. It would have been better to receive an email with two phrases: one thanking her for applying and the other rejecting her application. It would be more direct and less surrounded with bullshit. She realized those guys only wanted to feel superior somehow and they had found their guinea pig in her.


 Jean fell asleep as she was thinking all of this. She woke up to the voice of her mom telling her it was dinnertime. When her parents asked how it had all went down, she told her everything that had happened and that she was planning to move along. It was hard for her to be her age, living with her parents and she did wanted to earn some money for herself but she wasn’t going to stop looking for a perfect fit to her talents. That company wasn’t the only one in the world and she was certain that, sooner or later, someone would be interested in what she could do.

martes, 9 de agosto de 2016

The ninja (Part 2)

  The ninja covered his face again, being able to stand up after being smashed against the ground. Kevin was still in shock, almost paralyzed, very close to were he had stood when that familiar face had looked at him with the eye that had gazed upon his so many times in the past. The ninja did not stay to chat; he was agile enough to open the wind and exit through there. How did he not fall to his death? Kevin had no idea. To be honest, he wasn’t even thinking of that.

 That night, he wasn’t able to sleep. He decided to go to work early and check on the records again for the incident that had taken the life of his husband almost two years ago. As he drove to work in the middle of the night, he remembered that day clearly. They had been fighting a lot, the reason been that Paul wanted to have more missions on his own. He didn’t want to be paired up with his husband every single time. Kevin took this the wrong way.

 For a week, the tension in their home had been very high. They would only spoke to each other if they had to, avoiding each other completely at work. However, they were assigned to the same mission once again and Paul wasn’t up to complaining about it with his superiors. He knew it wasn’t a good way to try to start his own thing as an agent so, in order to win everybody’s trust as a capable guy, he accepted the mission without asking any questions.

 It was a very straightforward mission: they had to infiltrate a very secure compound where a very wealthy businessman kept his private documents. In them, he supposedly had proof of the existence of several chemical and biological weapons that had been sold illegally to countries that wouldn’t know how to manage any of that. Their mission was only to copy the documents and come out as soon as possible.

 Entering the compound was very simple. The three agents they had sent were able to step in undetected, all very well trained in martial arts and everything needed in order not to make noise or activate any of the alarms of the place. They were able to reach the library, where the documents were being kept. It was Paul who took the pictures of what they needed and finished just when Kevin stepped in the wrong direction and activated an alarm.

 They had to knockout several of the businessman’s thugs, which was easy at the beginning. But on their way out, one of them was able to take hold of Paul and Kevin was sure he had heard the snapping of his neck and his body falling to the ground. He was sure he had seen his body hit the ground just as his body went numb and the other agent had to help him run faster.

 The information was lost that day. However, they were able to retrieve all of it months later, in a raid the special forces of the state had been authorized to do in the compound. Of course, they had no opposition of any kind. They didn’t find any bodies on the premises or recently dug areas. Even like that, it was very unlikely that Paul had survived that. The guy that grabbed him was taller and bigger in every sense, his hands being larger than Paul’s face. He had to be dead, that’s what Kevin had to convince himself to believe

 There was a funeral for Paul and everyone in the agency attended. Kevin got to meet his parents, which he had never met before. He didn’t get close to share his grief, instead looking from afar and realizing that, despite having gotten married in secret, they still didn’t know a lo about each other. The fact that he had no idea what Paul’s mom looked like before the funeral made him feel awful.

 And that was two years ago. As he drove into the office building, he realized he had no idea what route he had chose to get there. He had barely paid attention to the road and he felt bad for that for a second, before returning to those days once again, before Paul disappeared and they were happy, back when they had decided that they wanted to live together forever and ever.

 It had been a very easy thing to decide. They had been dating for a little more than a year after the relationship had started in the strangest of ways: not four months before commencing their love story, Kevin had finished another one with a former girlfriend with which he had been engaged to be married. He decided to call off the wedding when he realized he couldn’t deny that he felt different inside and needed to process that. Beside, work had been hard, as usual.

 Paul had been working with them for a while, not too long. He barely knew him well and the truth was they didn’t really like each other. Paul saw Kevin as the typical guy that thinks he’s better than everyone else at anything, form his physical appearance to anything he could do with his body and his mind. And Kevin thought Paul was a very smug guy, never really accepting his mistakes or accepting his obvious flaws.

 It was on a mission that took several months to complete, where Paul had saved Kevin from a bomb, practically using himself as a shield in order to protect his partner. From then on, they gained a certain respect for each other that enabled them to form a relationship that grew to be a very stable friendship. But even then, they felt something was off with all of it.

 At the same time, Kevin began his problems with his girlfriend. They got worse as the date of their wedding got near and, after another intense mission where he and Paul single handedly completed the task at hand; he realized she was not what he wanted from life. So he cancelled the engagement and tried to think about everything for a while. Just two weeks after that, he kissed Paul for the first time. And another two weeks after, they had sex. It was then when Kevin realized that he had been very close to making a very big mistake.

 The guard at the office building recognized him and he was able to enter without any problem. Outside, the first glimmer of the new day could be seen very far into the horizon. As he sat in his office, he looked for the files of their last mission and checked every single paper the Special Forces had submitted about their mission there, when the whole place had been swept.

He couldn’t understand what was missing, what had happened. Paul was dead; he had heard his neck snap. He was sure of it. He had been convincing himself of that for years. But now he was alive. Even with that scar on his face and those wild eyes,  it was still him beneath that ninja outfit. He looked in the computer again and discovered that a similar ninja vigilante had been reported before, in a couple of missions by the agency. It seemed he was very skilled and worked both against and with them.

 It was difficult for Kevin not to think about the guy with whom he had slept so many times, kissed so often and felt so close during so many nights. During their life together, they had slept in the nude and Kevin had learned to love to wake up and feel Paul just by his side. He would often hug him tight and kissed him softly. It was difficult to understand why and how he loved him so much but he did. Maybe that’s why it was so hard to see him alive.

 A stack of papers fell from a nearby table. Kevin woke up from his daydreaming and looked in all directions. The papers had been stable moments before and there was no window opened. He got near it in order to check out the exterior but they were too high above the ground. He knew it was stupid to be worried. He decided to grab something to drink from a machine, unaware that the picture he kept there of the two of them had been taken away.


 In the rooftop, Paul removed the cover over his face, revealing his very pale skin and the scar across the side. He looked at the picture, without any particular expression. He seemed to be on the edge of tears for a moment but then he threw the picture from the rooftop and put on his face cover again. The shadow of a soul that had been visible for a moment, was not there anymore.

sábado, 6 de agosto de 2016

The ninja

   The city below was pretty much silent. It was very dark and lonely and the sun wasn’t going to rise for another four hours. People would be starting their day in some time but in those moments they were sleeping, barely imagining what was happening on their rooftops.

 A group of three people were chasing another one that had a very big lead in their chase. The character they were chasing was wearing a ninja outfit, all the uniform being black and his eyes being the only thing the people that were chasing him could distinguish from the darkness of the night.

 As they jumped from one roof to the other, one of the persecutors slipped on the edge of the building and fell backwards, being caught in the last second by one of his peers. The woman that had gotten hold of his ankle, could barely cope with the weight of her companion. The other man that came with them, the one closest to the ninja, stopped short from jumping to the next building and went back to his companions to help the woman lift their buddy to the rooftop.

 The ninja stopped running when he didn’t hear the sound of steps following him anymore. He turned around and looked on, as the man and the woman pulled their friend towards them, saving their life. The ninja blinked several times, very confused. He started to sweat right then, and not before when he was running.

 The man that had almost fallen realized the ninja was looking at them and attempted to stand up and chase him again but as he tried standing up, he felt terrible pain in his ankle, the one that his companion had grabbed him by. Apparently, in all that chaos, he had hurt himself so bad that he couldn’t walk by himself. His two friends helped him up again and, when he tried to locate the ninja again, he didn’t saw anyone anywhere.

 Hours later, the persecutors were in a hospital. The one in the bed, named Kevin, was asleep and the other two, Martha and Philip, were also asleep but in two armchairs in front of the bed. It was the middle of the day, a warm day outside. As they slept, the ninja appeared out of nowhere, standing in a corner, and just looking at the three of them. He walked, making no noise, towards Kevin in the bed.

 He looked at his leg, which was in a cast and elevated to avoid pain. The ninja looked at it, with the clear intention of doing something, but he didn’t. The movement of his hands, the sweat drops on his forehead, were telling of how nervous he was to be there. Outside, a door was slammed just as he had been looking at Kevin very closely. When the patient opened his eyes, the doctor was there. He had dreamt again about the ninja.

 Many days afterwards, Kevin was recuperating in his house. He had flowers all over the place and had visitors almost every day. He had never felt so popular in the agency and had to make an effort not to look to annoyed by the amount of people coming and going from his home. He knew they all did it out of concern for him but he also knew they came because they wanted to know more about the mysterious ninja figure he almost died because.

 Everyone wanted to know what he had seen about him. The truth was that Kevin had consciously tried to stop recalling those moments because when he fell asleep, he would always relive the moment he fell and it wasn’t something very fun to experience. It felt as if the floor was suddenly removed from beneath his feet and he didn’t thought that was something great to tell anyone.

 But people knew how adamant he had been before the mission to catch the ninja. After all, he had attacked them before, as they tried to infiltrate a chemical plant, several months ago. As security agents, they were tasked with a lot of different mission in order to preserve the order in the world and in the country. The man and women of that agency were just the best of the best, always being very good at handling themselves and their opinions in front of people and under pressure.

 However, with the ninja, Kevin easily lost his mind. After he had seen him kill some people in order to steal some classified documents, Kevin realized the ninja was a persona that had no moral compass and that seemed to work for anyone who paid the price he asked for. He was only a mercenary and those people were sickening to Kevin as they just sold themselves for whatever they asked in order to be able to kill for sport.

 When they met the first time, Kevin fought the ninja for a long time before they had to declare the fight a draw and just run out of the chemical plant before it blew to the sky. From that moment on, Kevin tried to investigate whatever he could about the ninja but he was very unsuccessful. In other encounters, and there were not many, he tried to get some DNA to use a sample for testing but the ninja did not spit and it was very hard to grab his head.

 He even scouted the places of their fights in order to pick up anything he might be able to do but there was nothing or, at least, nothing important enough to pinpoint any particularities about this person. The worst thing was that Kevin had realized some of the moves the ninja used were the ones they learned at the academy. 

 He talked with one of the trainers there who assured him that no one outside the agency knew about many of those moves as they were created specifically for some exact situations and in order to use maximum force if necessary. That was the first real clue Kevin got. But he failed to tell his companions before the rooftop mission and, when he told them in the hospital, they were very mad at him for not revealing something so important to them.

 They decided to launch a full investigation and they had to check every single agent that had deserted the agency. They even did some surveillance work on some of them, discovering how boring people’s lives were when they wanted to be far away from all the chaos of the agency. But none of those guys, none of that people had any similarities or set of skills that resembled the ones of the ninja.

 Frustrated, Kevin returned to proper work after being a full week in the hospital. He had to use a crutch to walk but the pain was much less intense than before. He was assigned some office work in the agency and tried to forget all about the ninja killer. After much thought, it was obvious that person didn’t wanted to be caught and, he had been an agent, he wasn’t going to be so stupid as to leave any single clue around. After all it was a game of intellects to the end, in order to see who survived and who did not.

 As he thought this in his office, Kevin almost fell from his chair because he had realized something: when checking past agents, he had omitted to check on the deceased ones. It was a long shot but he decided to try to find the ninja there. In order not to be reprimanded by his superiors, he took copies of the files and took them home with no one knowing. Each night, he would check some of them and then fall asleep as he read them all.

 Almost a month after the incident in the rooftop, the ninja appeared in his room as he slept. He came closely to the desk and grabbed his file: it had been there all along but Kevin had not wanted to look at it. The ninja read it and then looked at the agent. He left the file back in the desk. As his eyes became watery, he leaned down to kiss Kevin on the cheek. Caught of guard, Kevin grabbed him by the neck and slammed him to the floor. With a fast move of the hand, he removed the ninja’s mask.


 As in a horror movie, Kevin pulled away from the dizzy ninja with wide opened eyes. He was seeing a ghost, one he had not wanted to see. He had a scar on his face and he looked paler than ever. His eyes looked empty and his body seemed to be fitter than he remembered it. But it was him. It was really him, his husband, just back from the dead as if nothing had happened.