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

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

Through the Alps

   The train’s movement woke me up as it pierced through the longest tunnel in the route. The trip from Italy to Germany can be quite annoying because of that, although you get to check out some beautiful sights in between the tunnels, so it’s not that bad. The very dim lights of the tunnel gave me an eerie glimpse of the people that were in the same cabin, all of them fast asleep, not disturbed by the movement as I was. It was right then when I heard someone rushing by the aisle, stumbling and then running off.

 I was about to yell and pull the door of the cabin making a lot of noise, but I remembered my friends were sleeping so I stood up and carefully pulled the door open. Once I was standing on the hallway, I close the door again and enjoyed the show the little lights on the floor of the train were doing. They turned on and off and on and off. It made the hallway look like some kind of disco. I looked down the hall but there was no one there, at least not where I could see. I decided to walk in the same direction as the person I had seen.

 I had to move from one car to the other. Apparently most people were asleep because there was not one noise breaking the silence, only the one of the train travelling on steel. The tunnel, I recalled, was so long it could take up to half an hour to traverse it completely. And if I was not mistaken, we had entered it less than ten minutes ago. So walked on knowing that natural light would take its time to comeback. The third car I entered was completely dark; the lights on the floor were not working.

 Then, I saw him. The lights on the tunnel were too weak to actually see anything but his form was noticeable. I stood there, on the entrance to the car and waited for the shadow to make its move. But it didn’t. It just stood there, most likely watching me, until it dropped something on the floor and my curiosity pushed me forward, in order to check the object closer. I walked half way and then the shadow bent its knees and fell to the floor, apparently unconscious. Something was wrong.

 Not only wrong but very wrong. The object on the floor shimmered with the dim yellow lights of the tunnel. It was obviously a knife, the kind you use to cut a steak. I remembered watching those on the restaurant car, a place I had only sat once earlier that day. It was a bit too expensive for me but I did remember watching someone eating a piece of juicy red meat with a knife just like that one. However, the handle on the one on the floor was glistening with dark red blood. Some of the silver edge had stains of it too. It was so strange to see that there, doing nothing but dripping blood.

 The train moved violently and it was then I realized what was going on and how serious it could be. I wanted to tell someone about it but I also realized I hadn’t seen one single person from the train company around the hallways. Neither a security person nor a waiter. There was no one around to denounce such a strange thing happening. Because bloody knives are only found on the floor of trains in novels or movies, but never in real life. What to do in that case, when there’s no one to turn to?

 The shadow then groaned. I got scared, walking back a little, abstaining myself from touching the bloody knife. I was about to turn around and look for someone to help, when the shadow said something. I had no idea what it said, because it wasn’t really articulating words. At least not words I understood. I got closer and the shadow coughed and suddenly looked up. I could not tell if it was a man or a woman, even if it was young or old. But I knew it was someone disturbed, as its eyes were red and mad.

 Then, the shadow spoke once again. I finally understood what language it was speaking but I had no idea what the words meant. I had seen several movies in German and I had even studied a bit of German back in college, but not enough to understand what the shadow was saying. Maybe it was asking for help or maybe it was begging for me to go away. I had no idea, as my trip through Europe had not contemplated helping dying or crazy people in dark trains while traversing a long tunnel.

 However, my instinct told me to help that person. So I got closer and tried to make something out of the words it was saying. By getting closer, I finally realized I was interacting with a young man, maybe half my age. He had delicate features covered by a large amount of very blonde hair. He was obviously of Germanic descent as the eyes that were looking at me were made of a very deep blue, almost the color that ice gets sometimes. Those eyes gave me a shiver.

 I spoke to him in English, asking if he needed any help. He wouldn’t answer, so I decided to speak a little slower. That seemed to do the trick because the young man started nodding violently, his eyes becoming even redder and more insane. It was quite disturbing to watch but not as disturbing as when he stood up and revealed his tainted clothes to me. He was wearing what any boy would ear in the summer: shorts and a stripes shirt. However, both were soaked in the same dark blood that covered the knife. I tied one and two together and realized I had a killer in front of me.

 I started breathing heavily but had to control it because the kid was getting worked up to. I relaxed so he did too. However, he did seem to be breathing a lot heavier than he should. He was obviously scared. Maybe he had killed his mother or father, or maybe a brother or sister. He had done it with a knife he had found close by and he had taken advantage of the tunnel to run away. But they were in a train and there are not that many places were you could hide. Ask Agatha Christie.

 For a moment, I was lost. I had no idea what to do. Yeah, maybe looking for a security agent and giving them the kid would be the smartest thing to do but it also seemed like a very wrong thing to do. The kid was obviously traumatized and maybe he had done what he had done out of self-defense. Maybe he had been bullied by someone or harassed by his family or at least one member of it. There were so many things to consider and reflect on before just running out of that car. It wasn’t simple.

 Then, as if in a dream or a religious movie, natural light filled the space. They had finally come out of that dreadful tunnel and the train was now advancing through the mountains by a large beautiful lake. The view out there was amazing but inside the train things were not exactly that. I realized then, with light, that the young man had not injured anyone else. Someone had injured him. He had blood pouring out of his body from a point around his stomach. It was something of a miracle to see him standing there.

 I finally did what took me so long to do: I ran out of the car and made noise, lots of noise. Finally a security guard appeared and I took him directly to the place where the knife and the boy were. When we got there, the young man had collapsed on the floor, falling on his face next to the knife. Some people on the neighboring cabins had stepped out and were screaming like lunatics. I ran to the boy and tried to wake him up but there was no point. He had bled out to death. I had acted too slowly.

 When we finally got to a train station, the body was brought out and sent the local morgue. Every single passenger was questioned by the police, especially me. I told them every single thing that had happened and they let me go without saying anything. I saw the parents on my way out of that place.

 The train departed later the following day. As curious as I was, I went one more time to the police station to ask about what had happened. Apparently, the autopsy had revealed the wound had been self-inflicted. The young man had committed suicide. I would think of him for the rest of my life.

jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016

In a second

   When she opened her eyes, she saw directly into the fire. The flames were in front of her, making her face feel warmer than she wanted to. As much as she wanted to move or get away, she just couldn’t move. Her body felt extremely heavy and her head felt really big, turning like crazy as she closed her eyes again and tried to convince herself she was not awake but sleeping, deep into one of her very crazy dreams. But she couldn’t do that either. It was all true. The flames danced in front of her and she could only look at them, feeling almost burned.

 Suddenly, she felt her body being pulled away from the car, which had being turned upside down. It hurt as the asphalt of the road caressed her skin and clothes. But she couldn’t complain. She couldn’t say a word even if she wanted to because of how weak she felt. Also, she was very dizzy and couldn’t quite understand what was happening. However, she kept her eyes opened because she just couldn’t close them anymore. The heat of the flames seemed far now and all she felt was the smell of it all, which was awful.

 Suddenly, the car exploded and several parts rained all over the place. One of them fell a bit too close to her face but she didn’t really mind at all. It was as if she was looking at a movie, at something she wasn’t really involved in. Her eyes were open the whole time and her brain worked so slowly she never really asked herself who had pulled her away from wreckage. She was just too shocked to think of anything. After a while, she felt very tired and decided to close her eyes for a moment. She fell asleep and only woke up many hours later in an ambulance.

 It was for long though. The only thing she saw was a very big needle and some blurry guy holding it. Or maybe it was a woman… She had no idea but she did now that a sudden pain invaded her body and then she was immersed again in the world of slumber. She dreamt about an ice cream shop she had loved as a child. Her father used to take her there in secret, as her mother was not very keen on sweets. They would ask for the ice cream and eat it in under thirty minutes, almost as a challenge to themselves before they had to head home.

 She woke up again many hours later, in a hospital bed. This time, the moment she opened her eyes, she felt the strongest headache she had ever felt. It seemed as if it was going to break her head into two parts. The pain was so awful that she screamed and in seconds two nurses came rushing in and injected what was probably a sedative on her IV. She calmed down but the headache was still there. She tried to tell them, tried to explain to them how much it hurt. But no words came out of her mouth. She couldn’t speak a word.

 When she woke up again, it was a very bright day outside. The light rushed into her room and she felt kind of happy to see the light after so much time spent in her dreams. However, her mind was still working slow, as well as her body. She was thankful because the headache had disappeared and she could at least look at the window without feeling a huge pain in her head. She looked on for a long time, so long in fact that the rays of sunlight changed angles as she stared at the world outside of which she couldn’t see very much.

 Outside, the sky was very blue and just a couple of thin clouds floated high above everything. Aside from that, she could only see some building, all made of bricks. She had no idea where she was or how but she was sure it was a safe place. Although, she did wanted to go back home as soon as possible. So much so, that she tried to get out of bed to have a better view of the window in order to know where in the city she was and if she could maybe walk home. She knew there was a hospital near her house, so maybe that was it.

 But when she attempted to move her legs, they didn’t respond. She attributed it to how slow her mind was running, so she decided to take a deep breath and then try again. But again, nothing happened. She looked at her legs and slowly touched them as much as she could. Her arms were not very long and they felt extremely weak, but she reached down as she could in order to verify what was going on. In that precise moment, a nurse entered the room and saw her. She then rushed back out, yelling someone’s name.

 The woman stopped trying to touch her legs and rested her body against the pillows. She felt exhausted and tried to think about what just happened: she couldn’t feel her legs. She couldn’t move them at all. Why wasn’t she reacting more violently to this revelation? Why didn’t she felt compelled to yell or cry or whatever? Her head felt like a balloon, filled with air that didn’t let her think of anything. She pulled her head back and closed her eyes, trying to get back to her last memory before the hospital. But that seemed to be almost impossible.

 The door opened again and this time it was a man dressed in those mint green uniforms that people often used in hospitals. She looked at him quietly, as he checked the machines around him. A nurse was behind him, taking notes. He then checked his patient by looking at her eyes and then checking her ears and skin. He asked for her to pull out her tongue but she didn’t seem to hear or understand what he had said. He tried again but she didn’t do anything.

 Then, he pulled out a very small bottle from his pocket, along with a syringe. He filled it with the liquid in the bottle and injected it directly into her arm. At first, she didn’t feel a thing. But then, it seemed as if whatever that liquid was, it worked as a way to shake people up in the most violent way possible. She suddenly felt pain and many thought rushed into her head. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Sounds were loud, maybe too loud and the sunlight felt too bright. She covered her face and cried, trying to control what she was feeling.

 After a while, the pain and awkward feelings went away and she knew exactly where she was and what had happened. She was finally aware of everything and not in some sort of trance. Whatever the doctor had put in her bloodstream, it eliminated all the effects from the other shot she had received. She was no longer a peaceful lamb that couldn’t even think for herself. She was her again, with every single memory and pain possible. But she couldn’t remember why she was there. As much as she tried to remember, it seemed hidden somehow.

 The doctor asked her if she knew her name. The woman said it out loud, hearing her own voice for the first time in a while. Then, he asked if she could remember the reason why she was there. She indicated that she couldn’t and asked him to tell her because she was going mad trying to remember, trying to go back to at least a sound or an image or whatever that could help her remember. The doctor said she had been in a car crash, having been expelled out of the car by the force of the impact. That’s why she had some cuts all over.

 When he said it, she looked at her arms and realized that was true: she had small cuts on her skin. And suddenly she remembered the flames and someone pulling her away from them. She told this to the doctor and he asked her if she knew who had done that. She replied that she couldn’t remember a face but that it had probably been her husband. But then the doctor looked at the ground and got closer. He explained his patient that it was not possible that her husband had done it because he had died instantly in the crash.

 The news hit her hard. She started crying and was held by the doctor for a moment. When they separated, she looked at her legs and realized what had happened. She looked at the doctor and he nodded, words being useless at that point. She cried in silence and the doctor left with the nurse. It was a lot to take for her and she was going to need all the time in the world to adjust to the fact that, in a single second, her whole life had been turned upside down, almost destroying her in the process.

martes, 14 de junio de 2016


   The first day, he went alone. He didn’t wanted to get anyone involved in his personal life and he wasn’t ready to share his fears with someone else. He was even unsure about the whole thing but finally decided to go because he had to now. At last, he was making some money and he was about to go and live by himself. He already had a new place, his first ever in which he would not be sharing space with his family or with other people. A tiny apartment just for him. He had made the calculations several times and he knew he was able to pull it off.

 When he arrived to the hospital, they made him wait in a small room where all chairs were empty. No one else came that early to get tested. It was better like that, because he had no intention of running into anyone he knew and, besides, it was the only time he could pay a visit to the doctor without leaving his job. There was no way he was going to loose money to do that. He found a way to do it anyway and, after some time waiting, a nurse came for him.

 She led him to an office were a doctor asked him several questions. They were all very personal questions but he understood why those questions needed to be asked. He wasn’t offended at all but he did feel a bit embarrassed because it was the first time he really discussed these things with someone. The silly conversations with his friends, didn’t really count because there was always a certain amount of lying involved in that.

 Next, he was left alone in the office for a couple of minutes, time he took to take a look at the paintings in the room. There weren’t many. Most of the frames concerned some diploma or a family picture. But there were two actual paintings: one was the image of a field, probably wheat. The image seemed to have no end. In one side, little in the big space, there seem to be a couple of peasants, working in the field. Probably cutting some of the wheat or maybe taking care of something else.

 The other painting was an abstract work. It had a few read lines and dot among a jungle of black geometrical figures. It was very tiring to watch because it was obvious the red in the picture was being overwhelmed by the black. He didn’t have to be a genius to know what the picture was about. He was about to get nearer to the painting when the doctor came back with all his equipment.

 One by one, the doctor filled three small flasks with his patient’s blood. The process didn’t really took that long although it did seem longer for the man being drained out of blood because he suddenly felt dizzy and very weak. The person on the phone had told him he had to come without having anything to eat or drink. And now the doctor said he should do the opposite.

 As he stepped out of the hospital, he had to walk very slowly. He didn’t feel good at all. Not only was his brain aching, his arm was in pain too. After all, the man had used a needle in it three times. He had no idea the amount of blood they needed for testing but he thought that, at least, he could assume the results were going to be accurate with the amount of blood they had to double check any findings.

 He grabbed a taxi, which he never did, and asked to be taken to his work. He had money to pay but that expense meant he couldn’t so other things that week. A taxi ride was too much for him to handle on his low income and now more than ever, with the new place coming and the bills for that place and everything related to it. He was very happy to move out of his parents’ home but he was also worried that he would fail as an adult. After all, it had taken him thirty years to leave the nest.

 Once he arrived at work, he was greeted by people who told him how bad he looked. He told them he had being at the hospital for a flu he was feeling coming, and that they had asked him to come without anything on his stomach. So he ran up to his desk, left his bag there and then ran to the kitchen where he poured himself some coffee and looked around for the messenger boy, who was normally around the office at that time.

 He finally found him flirting with a secretary. Interrupting the conversation, he asked the boy to please go for him to the nearest store and buy him some things to eat for breakfast with his coffee. He gave the boy a bill and told him exactly what to buy. He also told him that he could have the change, which made the boy stand up fast and run out of the office in a huff. He returned to his office, a cubicle in corner of that floor, and started working. Yet, he realized he couldn’t do any working.

 The boy returned soon and he was able to eat and feel a bit less weak but he didn’t do much that day at work. He felt very dizzy and even thought he was going to vomit at one point. He ran to the bathroom and, thankfully, no one saw him do that. He stayed in the bathroom for several minutes, drinking water and sprinkling his face too in order too cool down. It didn’t really work that much but he had no idea of what else to do.

 That night, at home, he fell asleep fast. He was very tired. He just left his clothes all over the place and didn’t bother to have any dinner. When he woke up, he realized he had bled out of his nose, his pillow stained with a big puddle of dried blood. He was surprised he hadn’t been awake by the bleeding; yet he had been so tired that even that accident wouldn’t be significant enough to wake him up.

 He threw away the pillow and washed the pillowcase. He threw that too after he realized the stain wouldn’t come off. He didn’t tell anything to his parents about it and they didn’t ask why he didn’t have a pillow in the following days. After all, he was about to move and maybe he was throwing the things he was going to replace once he was in his own environment.  It was only a couple of weeks later when it happened.

 His mother cried a lot, as if he was going away to the other side of the world. True, the apartment was not very close to his family’s place, but it was in the same city all the same. He asked them to visit once he was ready to receive visitors, in other words, once he would have furniture and glasses and plates and all that stuff that make some place a proper home. He moved out a Saturday and the following Sunday was a hard day to put everything in place and buy a lot of things, including a new pillow.

 Mom and dad had given him some money to start and he was grateful for that because there was no way, with his salary, that he was going to be able to buy everything he needed for the new place. With that small help, he was able to make that place something he could be proud of. However, the weekend ended very soon and he had to work as he finished putting everything where it belonged. But by the third week there, he decided he could have a small gathering of friends and then ask his parents to visit him.

 Those two couldn’t be done at the same time because of the size of the place, but he was thrilled to do it. He asked his friends to bring their own bottles of alcohol. There was no way he was paying for those. They had a very good time, joking around and even dancing in the small space. They had to end the party when a neighbor complained about the noise. Ironically, it was a neighbor that was always kind of drunk.

 It was the following day, a Saturday and more than a month after his blood had been taken out, that he received a letter in his house. It was the first letter that he received there and it was kind of awful it had to be one from the hospital. Once he saw it, he wanted to open it. But then he remembered his family was coming for lunch. And he didn’t want that on his mind while he ate with them. So he put it away for the day and enjoyed his family.

 He cooked that day. His mother tried to help every so often, but he wouldn’t let her. They had the best day ever, looking at old pictures, eating a lot and giving decoration ideas for the whole place. His parents wanted to be involved in some way and he wasn’t rejecting the idea at all. He needed them by his side.

 The following day, alone, he opened the letter. He had known what it said long before he ever got tested. But to know was exactly how he thought it would feel: like a hot knife piercing through the skin. His life had been on a path for a long time and now, his eyes had been opened. What to do next?

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Purple eyes

   The knight in shining armor was running through the hallways, make a clanking noise that was very hard to miss. He had entered the castle through the back, by a courtyard that had never been seen by eyes different than the ones of the cooks and maids that had worked there when the castle lived its golden age. Now, it building was empty and some areas were ruins, crumbling slowly into the ground.

 When he arrived at the end of one of the hallways, he took out a map from his pocket. It wasn’t very easy to take anything out of there with that costume on, so he decided to remove the leg parts in order to be faster. He wasn’t as big and powerful as one would guess so for a charming prince, but that’s what he was. He checked the map and then ran towards the left, down a very long corridor that connected the main part of the building with the south tower of the complex.

 He finally found the door that lead to the second tower. With one it of his sword, he was able to make the door collapse to the ground. He stepped on the remains of the door and started climbing the stairs, step by step. He got tired after the first fifty. He had to stop running so he sat down by a small opening to the side of the tower and saw the world from there. He could see the former gardens and the courtyard below but he was still too close to the ground to see any fantastic views.

 After a while, he kept on climbing, his armor was still making the clinking sound, with every single step he made. He stopped again after climbing for a long time and he saw, through another window, that he was close to his goal. He could see the road from the window and also the forest that existed between the castle and the rest of the civilized world. Some said the forest was created to keep everyone away from the castle but that hadn’t stopped many men from risking their lives and go there.

 Many died in the forest, attacked by packs of hungry wolves or by some huge bears that lived around. There were also rumors of ghosts and various monsters that only rose when the fog was thick or it was very late at night. But the biggest legend surrounding the area was that a dragon protected the building and it had burned knights to their deaths when they had tried to enter the castle without permission.

As he walked the few steps that distanced him from the room in the upper level of the tower, the knight celebrated the fact that he had wore the full armor to defend himself on his way to the top. He had killed a few wild animals with his sword but that was it. That’s why he felt that something was wrong. It had been too busy, not according to the legend that everyone knew by heart.

 When he got to the upper room, he knocked gently and presented himself as Knight of Vals and Dam, sir Tristane Deschamps. But even speaking loudly wasn’t good enough to make anyone open the door from inside. So he pushed the door opened and looked around to see if the rest of the legend was true. If there really was a very beautiful woman sleeping in the tower, waiting for someone to rescue her from imprisonment. He looked around but so no one.

 He entered the room and walked to what appeared to be a bed and checked, in order to know if the person that had lay there had left a moment ago or many years ago. He put his hand covered in metal on the bed and realized it was warm. There had been someone sleeping in it. Out of nowhere, a young woman appeared behind him and held him tightly with a knife to his throat. The knight felt hard to the floor. He couldn’t move there.

 The woman asked who he was and he repeated his name. Then she asked what he was doing there and he just looked at her a bit confused. He asked her if she wasn’t the beautiful lady that lived inside a castle waiting for a knight in shining armor to save her and take care of her for the rest of her life. She looked at him as if he had just heard someone speak in a strange language. The woman released him from her grip but told him to stay down.

 - You don’t need to rescue me.

 The knight was about to ask something else but then a sound was heard very loudly and appeared to come from the first floor. The knight had never heard anything like it, like a thousand lions roaring at the same time or many pieces of silverware falling to the ground. It was very unsettling and that’s why he couldn’t move, he couldn’t do anything more that advise the woman to live the castle with her as she was in mortal danger if that was the dragon.

 She didn’t appear to listen, instead helping him getting up. She seemed to be thinking about something else or was at least too distracted by other thought in her mind. The knight insisted she should go with him in order to fulfill the legend. He knew that she would be very well received in his towns and that everyone would love her.

 That apparently convinced the young woman. She stopped walking around and told the knight she would go with him. They went out of the door and slowly walked back down, each step being easier as they headed to freedom and civilization. The knight was happy about it because he had never thought he would be able to fulfill such a difficult task.

 When they arrived to the back courtyard, through which the knight had arrived, the woman stopped running behind the man. She just stood there, like frozen in time. Her heart was racing but none of her limbs could move. He got near her and tried to determine what was wrong with her and he couldn’t point it out. The roaring of the dragon seemed to grow closer so he decided he would carry the princess to the backdoor but that didn’t work because, somehow, she was very heavy.

 He doubted that was something natural. It had to be some kind of black magic in order not to take the woman out of the castle without fighting the dragon. Probably, whoever put her there, had left very specific instructions in order to safe her and killing the dragon was probably one of those. So he let her where she was and he stepped into the grass patch of the courtyard and looked up.

 The dragon wasn’t flying, as he had thought. He appeared from the opposite side of the courtyard, tearing down a wall with its enormous paws. It was very big, just like a gigantic lizard with blackish wings and a sickening greenish skin. The dragon pushed the wall, launching several stones towards the knight. He avoided them easily. He decided to grab his sword and run towards the dragon. He had to fulfill his destiny.

 But his arms were almost broken when the sword hit the dragon’s skin and it did absolutely no damage. Not only that, but the body of the creature seemed so big and resistant, that the blow had actually affected the knight more than the dragon. The creature did nothing. He just watched him trying to feel his arms again and grabbing his sword to try again with same results.

 He then realized there was no way of killing the creature, so he ran towards the princess in order to wake her up from her trance. The dragon was only looking at him so he thought it was a safe thing to do. When he reached the woman, he realized she was very cold, her hands almost feeling like ice. The dragon watched as the knight tried like a fool to “wake” her up fro whatever was happening to her.

 But then the dragon just grew closer and ate the knight in one gulp. The girl was then able to move but her eyes were not the same as before. They were purple, just like the eyes of the dragon. She blinked and the dragon blinked. She thought about tearing down the wall and the dragon did exactly that with ease. The princess was the monster everyone was afraid of. That’s why she couldn’t leave her castle. Because she shouldn’t. There was no way in trying to prevent evil from pouring out of her. So she kept herself locked away, even if sometimes she needed to breath like anyone else, to run away.