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

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Friends & Secrets

   It was very problematic for Sean to admit that his life had improved dramatically since he had joined the gym. He didn’t want to tell anyone about it and only went there once a day, six days a week. Of course, sometime people would ask him where he was and what he was doing, but he had created the illusion that he was attending cooking lessons at a school that happened to be in the neighboring building of the gym. The smell of warm and fresh croissants was almost constant and made almost impossible to focus on one's obliques.

 Sean had never been the kind of guy that went to the gym and cared about his body. Earlier in his life he openly mocked those who took too much care of their bodies and looks. To be fair, he still mocked only that he refrained himself from saying anything out loud because he would really look like a hypocrite if he said something. The difference was the he didn’t exercise because he wanted to look better but because he wanted to feel better, which were too different things. Most of the people there were just show offs that already had a great body.

 Since he was a little boy, he had loved eating candy. His favorites were salted caramel and chocolate. His life wasn’t complete when he was at school if he didn’t have a piece of chocolate with his lunch. It was kind of a ritual, a weird tradition that he had with himself. He kept that for years, until very recently. Actually, some of his friends had begun wondering what had happened to the chocolates he always ate and also about the ones that he kept all over the house in case he wanted something sweet to enhance his day.

 All of those chocolates had disappeared and no one really understood why. Some were not idiots and had realized Sean had lost some weight and, weirdly enough, he looked as if he had grown taller and bigger but not in a bad way. They asked him about it and he only answered he didn’t really knew why and that he partially blamed work and the classes because of the tension he went through every single day. Stress could be a powerful force and could certainly be blamed for many things, so it was a nice save that not everyone bought.

 One of those who hadn’t bought into the story was Billy. He had noticed something really strange one day they were at Sean’s apartment watching a movie. At one point, they were having popcorn and Sean asked if they wanted more. Of course, everyone said yes. To be funny, Sean raised his hands in the air and exaggerated a positive response. It was then when Billy saw it: Sean’s shirt had been raised and instead of a normal belly, he saw a body in the process of getting really ripped. He knew his friend had never been like that.

 Many times before they had taken trips all together. Billy knew his friends bodies, not because he had an obsession with them or anything but because he had seen them in their trunks and bikinis. He knew what they look like. So the new appearance of Sean’s body was a very big surprise for him. Now that he was thinking about it, he remembered that Sean had not attended their last trip to the beach. He had told them that he didn’t feel quite right but when they came back he looked exactly the same, like a normal healthy person.

 Billy decided to follow Sean one day. He worked for his father so he asked him for a day off from the office in order to attend some personal business. His father never asked many questions and agreed almost immediately. They following day, he woke up really early and decided to follow Sean by bike. He decided not to take the car as he suspected Sean would know it was him if he saw it. The first time he saw Sean that day was at seven o’clock, time he left at for work. He stayed in his office until midday, when he came out to lunch.

 It was then when he saw the first red flag: Sean had never been the type to eat big pieces of meat or a large portion of anything. He knew how to choose what his body was capable of consuming. However, he had never been the type to refrain himself from eating something delicious, even if hat something was not especially good for you. Billy remembered fondly the time the two of them had eaten a big plate full of spicy hot wings by themselves, no beverages or carrot sticks with ranch sauce. That had been a fun day.

 But now, he noticed that Sean had bought a salad for lunch, a salad that didn’t even had a piece of chicken or bacon or anything. And the worst part of it all was that he really seemed to be enjoying himself while eating it. Sean stopped looked from a distance and thought that maybe he was been too judgmental and a tad exaggerated. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all if Sean was taking care of himself. He was trying to feel better or maybe it was that he wanted to look hotter or even that he was dating and he wanted to look great for that person.

 That all went to the mental garbage when Billy saw Sean pulling a bottle of water from his backpack and drinking from it. That was just ridiculous. One thing was to take care of his body and all of that but drinking plain water with a lunch that consisted mostly on a bunch of leaves only a turtle would eat, was just insane. Billy thought that there was something really wrong with his friend because he had never seen him like this. Something had to be wrong, that was clear. But what could it be or why could it be?

 After waiting for several hours in a café across the street, Billy followed Sean again and the next destination, to no surprise, was the gym. Granted, it was not the type of gym that had many windows and looked more like a giant fish tank than like a human building, but nevertheless it was a strange thing. Billy decided to go in, as he would see nothing from outside. Of course, he had to pretend he was interesting in joining because otherwise he wouldn’t have been allowed entrance. A trainer showed him round but he didn’t really listened.

 He only saw Sean many minutes later, working out on a huge machine that seemed to be used to help exercise the abdominal area. He had no trainer besides him and seemed to be focusing a lot on what he was doing. For Billy, the sight was really strange but not because it was his friend but because he had never seen someone so focused to do something like that. For a moment, he even thought it was quite admirable that Sean had decided to take on such a challenge, but moments later he felt betrayed again, as a friend.

 He decided to confront Sean. He ditched the trainer telling him he would join after walking around alone and then walked, almost ran, straight to where Sean was. As expected, Sean was quite taken aback when he saw his friend standing there. But then he decided to finish his exercise and then finally stand up, sweating more than he would have wanted to in that moment. The two friends looked at each other and didn’t say a word, not until someone dropped a weight somewhere, slamming his foot. They both laughed, which eased the tension.

 Sean explained to his friend that he had always had self-esteem problems, going back to his high school days. He had always felt fat and ugly and he recently had realized he could actually do something about it. He had begun exercising over a year ago but the change in food had been done very recently. He didn’t call it a diet because he ate as always on weekends and he couldn’t say he was going vegan or vegetarian because his favorite meals consisted of pork chops in a pineapple sauce. Anyway, he was trying something to help him achieve his goal.

 He told Billy he was sorry for lying but Billy interrupted him saying he was a bad friend for never having really talk about their past in a much more open way. If they had, he would have known his buddy’s struggles and could even have helped him. He told Sean he was sorry and then hugged him, which was a first for the two as they had always been the kind of buds that only shake hands. It was a new beginning to their friendship, a much needed one.

sábado, 8 de octubre de 2016

What I saw in the cave

   No matter how much I try, I will never forget what I saw in that cave. The scientists had already done their digging and everything was as organized as it could be. To my surprise, people I had known from the past and from afar, were working with them. I didn’t know why but I never asked anything in detail, it was better if I was in the metaphorical dark. In the cave I was in the real dark, a humid place that appeared to be like a museum, at least in the first area I stepped in. It was a scary thing to do, entering that place, but I did it anyway.

 Then, I saw him. It was very strange: he came up to me and said “Hi” and I answered. We knew each other but, deep in my being, I didn’t know from where or why. He seemed to stare at me to much, making me a bit uncomfortable. I tried not to look at him too much because he made me feel worried somehow. Then, another man appeared, one that was already leaving the cave. That one I knew very fast who he was: I had bought my ticket in from him and I think I don’t really have to explain what that’s supposed to mean.

 We didn’t looked at each other for long, instead pretended to ignore one another. A kind girl I had known back in high school gave me a helmet and some protective goggles. I had to loosen them up a little bit because they were really tight around my head and I was already getting a headache from seeing two guys I had been intimate with in the same place. I suppose that didn’t really spoke very well of my behavior but, to be honest, I don’t really care how others perceive me as long as I’m able to get whatever it is that I want.

 With the girl, I started to descend into the depths of the cave. I was getting more and more nervous because I knew what they had found there, I knew very well why I had come and it was because I wanted every single piece of the truth in my power. I wasn’t going to give up an ounce of the knowledge I had gathered along the years and I certainly wasn’t going to pull back from getting my hands on every piece of information I might need. I think everyone that knows me has that in their mind when they see me and, to be honest, I like it.

 Julia, the girl who takes me deeper and deeper into the ground, doesn’t seem to care about any of that. She had always been so kind and respectful of everyone when we were in school together. She was a little bit like me: never excelled in anything, always been a very average student. However, she had it clear in her mind what she wanted to become: a renowned journalist. She worked her ass off for it and made it. Now she worked with this corporation because she thought she would get the first scoop on the story.

 I got scared for the first time when I stepped on a rock covered in moss and I almost fell right in the hole they had made in the ground. Julia was very agile and managed to grab my hand in the almost dark, pulling me back afterwards in one go. She was stronger than I had imagined and now I understood why they had hired her. Maybe she had being trained, like all those other security guards that I had seen around the compound. They were like huge rocks, impossible to overcome. They weren’t even scary but massive.

 We descended a little bit more until Julia took my hand and told me to let her lead, as there was a doorway built into the wall that lead into the space which I wanted to visit. After walking for a bit, we crossed a plastic curtain and then there was a very potent light. She told me to grab one of the hazmat suits that were hanging on hooks on the side of the tunnel and put it on as fast and as efficiently as I could. I don’t know why, but I started to shake a lot right there.

 When I was done with suiting up, I realized she had been ready for a while. I couldn’t hear her and she couldn’t hear me. I guess the suits prevented even know from getting in or out. I felt strange, not very sure of what I was doing but I was already there and there was no turning back. Julia walked first and I followed her. The tunnel continued for, at least, fifty meters and then it opened up into another chamber in the cave system. Julia had a flashlight and made me realize how massive the space was. A building could have easily rested there.

 Then, she grabbed my hand and indicated with her hands that she was going to be pointing the flashlight downwards. And then she seemed to ask something of me: to remain quiet. I didn’t really understand why she would do that sign. I did moments later when I didn’t obey her advice and screamed at the top of my lungs. It was the most awful thing I had ever seen and the image was now stuck in my head, in my eyes even. She pulled me out as fast as she could and, in what seem seconds later, we were on the entry point of the cave.

 I ripped off my suit and decided not to listen to her orders or to anyone else. I dropped every piece of equipment as I walk straight to his office, to Michael’ office, the guy I had slept with in order to get in there. He wasn’t in the office. I started looking around for him but the small group of trailers that made up the camp next to the cave was not exactly a big one. There were not really many options to where he could have gone. I left the last pieces of the suit there, turning around as if going crazy.

 Then, Alex came and grabbed me tight. He took me to one of the trailers and close the door. He was the guy I thought I knew but didn’t quite remember. When I saw his eyes from a close distance, I remembered him all right: Alex had been one of the guys in my life that I had to convince of things that weren’t real. That was my life and now he was in front of me again and the worst part was that he seemed to still think that everything that happened was true. But I wasn’t up for that, not then.

 I asked him, before he could say anything, if he knew about the cave, if they all knew. He told me only a handful of people had gone down there. He hadn’t and neither had Michael. Only Julia and the group of scientists had been there but the rest of the crew in the camp knew exactly what was down there. I started crying. I couldn’t control myself. I told Alex that it was horrible and that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I had wanted information and now that I had it, I didn’t know if I wanted it anymore or if I could do anything with it.

He held me in his arms, which were very strong, and I realized how nice it felt. Actually, I remembered how I had lied to him for a long time in order to get to another secret I was seeking. He knew who I was and, instead of trying to arrest me or something, he was hugging me and trying to make me feel better. We looked at each other’s eyes and I realized he was crying but I never got to know why that was. Someone was knocking on the door and Alex opened it. He got out and I got confused for a second and then I saw Michael coming in.

 He closed the door behind him and demanded me to tell him what I had seen in the cave. I told him he knew exactly what I had seen and demanded his thugs to let me out of the camp. Michael smiled in the most awful and disrespectful way and told me that now I was theirs and that I had to work with them as a mean of payment for what I had seen. I told him he was insane if he thought I would tell anyone about what they were keeping underground. I would never be able to reveal such a secret to anyone a live unless I wanted to scare them for life.

 He grabbed me by the arm and reminded me how I had thought I had used him to get inside that camp. Now, he was giving the orders and the most important one was that I wasn’t going to get out of there anytime soon. Then, I felt the most awful look all over my body. His eyes felt like the most awful medical devices, making me feel more than naked, almost violated. He got out of the trailer without even closing the door and I collapsed on my knees. My job, my life choices, had taken their toll on me and now I had become something I had never wanted to be: a prisoner. Basically, they had beaten me at my own game.

martes, 6 de enero de 2015


   Niko handed Natasja with an envelope, telling her to read its content and then destroy it. He also gave her an umbrella, saying it was raining a lot in Vladivostok. He finally wished her a nice trip and promised to see her in two months on a plane to Japan, if all went well.

Natasja then boarded the train and looked for her seat. To make things less suspicious, she had bought a seat in a four-seat cabin. Getting to know other passengers and playing cards with them would make her less of a target for people watching, looking for odd behavior.

She found her seat and realized the compartment was still empty so she took the seat by the window and looked at all the faces outside: family members of the travelers, the travelers themselves giving advice about unimportant things, police officers and station guards, providing weak security to the building and even tourists. It wasn’t uncommon to see them, especially in the summer, but people around these parts noticed them always.

Sure enough, a tourist couple sat in front of Natasja and an older woman besides her. About fifteen minutes after her finding her seat, the train began to leave the station. The young woman leaned back, clutching hard on her envelope, thinking this should be her last assignment. She was so fed up with this job, always moving from one point to the next, never really having a place to call home or someone to actually care for her.

The older woman pointed something through the window and the tourists smiled and talked to her. Natasja then remembered she had to do exactly the same, blending in and trying not to look too strange among the fairly common passengers of the train.

She proposed a game of card, which they all eagerly joined. They played for well over an hour, laughing and learning each other’s name.

The couple was composed of Marisa and Tommen. She was French and he was German. They had boarded the Trans-Siberian in order to get to Lake Baikal, a place they had always wanted to visit because of its landscape and fishing possibilities. Every couple of minutes, they would say something about a fish or some sea creature they had captured while fishing. They could get annoying if Natasja or the older lady didn’t change the subject.

The older lady’s name was Katya. She had been visiting a sister in Moscow for a month or so but now she needed to go back to her home in Irkutsk. When asked why she lived in such a harsh city, especially during winter, she answered her father had been one of the first colonists to exploit oil in the region, by settling near the city. And she had always loved it there so there was no way she would leave, even if her old bones couldn’t cope with the cold as well as they did before.

Natasja introduced herself and told her cabin companions that she had been attending a specialist in Moscow. When asked if she was sick, she answered she had been attending chemotherapy, because of an odd tumor the doctors had found in her lungs. She had lived in Moscow for the time being but now that she had being deemed healthy enough, she had decided to travel to her family in Vladivostok.

She learned the story so well; she had started believing in it. She even gave precise details about the procedure, her family at the end of the line, her house and a dog named Flo, who she claimed was waiting for her in the Vladivostok train station.

But the truth was far from that nice story, which had nothing to do with her.  After playing for some more, Natasja excused herself and told everyone she had to go to the ladies room and to get a drink of water. She even asked everyone if they need something: Katya asked her to buy a water bottle to drink her pills with. She agreed and exited the compartment calmly.

Outside, however, she was impatient. She had to get to the nearest bathroom and read the documents Niko had given her in the station. No one, or so she thought, had seen her come out of the cabin with the envelope. She walked for a while until she found the restaurant wagon. There, she asked for a bathroom, which she found easily.

In there, she read all the papers. They were only two, detailing what she had to guard so carefully and instructions about what to do if the object in her possession became lost or was destroyed. This last thing was preferable than see it taken by someone else. In any case, it was imperative she got it safe to the Pacific and gave it to another person in the train station, at her arrival.

When she finished reading, Natasja soaked the papers in the toilet and then saw the ink falling, as it was made of some strange liquid. After a couple of minutes, all the letters had “melted” from the two sheets of paper. She threw the two empty papers into a trash bin and then came out of the bathroom. An annoyed tall woman was waiting outside. Natasja excused herself but the woman didn’t even care.

She went back to the restaurant wagon and bought the water bottle for Katya who was very happy to see it when Natasja got back to the cabin. They were all fed up with cards so they just started talking until they all fell asleep. The first day of seven had finished.

The next two days were all the same: playing cards and seating all together for breakfast and lunch. Natasja excused herself from eating dinner, as she had never really liked to eat at night. Her body never responded kindly so she preferred to stay in the cabin and read one of the books a kind lady rented every passenger for a couple of pennies.

The truth was that Natasja didn’t want to get too far from the cabin. The object was there, and it would be madness to leave it alone but also to take her with her everywhere. It would make her too suspicious and, somehow, she knew someone watched her everyday.

She felt it first during lunch in the second day, when she stared a little bit too long at the window and suddenly she felt everyone in the restaurant was looking at her. She was probably being paranoid but it was better to be paranoid than not to be careful.

Sure enough, her cabin companions had asked about her papers and she suddenly faked she had no idea where they were. They even called one of the train’s guards to help them look for the envelope but it was all in vane, of course. Natasja told her new friends they were only the results of the last blood test, affirming she was now well and free of any cancer cells. She just wanted her parents to see it, to make them happy.

This, somehow, made Natasja the subject of unwanted attention all over the train. She couldn’t go the to panoramic wagon or to the restaurant without people telling her how brave she was and how young and beautiful they thought she was. The young woman started having a problem with it, because some people even broke in tears and confessed they had suffered from cancer too. After all she was human and it was disheartening to see people open like that, for no real reason.

On the fourth day, at night, the train arrived in Irkutsk. So she had to say goodbye to her cabin companions. They even hugged and Katya shed a tear, handing Natasja a bottle of lemon juice she had bought in the restaurant. She said it was good for the cells and that it was the only thing she could have bought as a present. That little present made Natasja actually happy, as friends were not easy to be found, not for her at least.

They all exchanged phone numbers and then parted ways. The next day, just one more day or so to her final destination, Natasja went alone to lunch and thought of her life. She had never known a real family, having been abandoned by her parents in an orphanage. From very little she had to fend for herself and there was no space for love or animosity with anyone, not in the streets. When she got older, she was recruited by an intelligence agency from abroad in order to work inside of Russia, dealing with different kinds of jobs.

But she was tired of it. At night, alone in the cabin, she decided that this time it was her time to be herself. Not Natasja, or anyone else but only her. After handing the umbrella to the agent in Vladivostok, she would leave that world of secrecy behind.

When the train finally arrived to the Pacific coast of the Russian Federation, the police found Natasja’s body lying right in the spot she had decided to be free. After thorough investigation, they deemed her death a murder by poison, probably related to a bottle of juice found besides her. She had no possessions with her as nothing was found on the cabin besides the bottle.

Someone extracted the umbrella, just after she had died or fell asleep. But the identity of that person remains a mystery to this day and it’s very likely we will never now who called agent Natasja.