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

martes, 16 de agosto de 2016

When in Rome...

   The first thing I heard was the automated voice indicating people if they had to stand on the doors on the left or the right. I heard the sound as if it was coming from a place very far from me but then it seemed to become clearer. That made me open my eyes and then I realized I was in one of the metro trains I had used years earlier to get to know the city of Rome. People were talking amongst themselves, some tourists were looking at a map above one of the doors and a small child looked at me straight in the eye.

  I decided to stand up and get out of the train as soon as possible. There was another audio automated service and then the train entered a station. I didn’t really see the name of the station I was in. I only wanted to run away from that underground location in order to check out something above ground and feel a little les intoxicated. When I finally got out to the street, I felt very dizzy, my legs had problems letting me stand up and every sound and image apparently adjust itself in a few seconds.

 There was a park bench near the exit of the station and I decided to use it because I wasn’t feeling good at all. I felt my head was spinning around. Besides, everyone around me spoke a language I didn’t know and I didn’t really felt safe speaking to them in English. I felt I had forgotten everything about myself. I tried to remember what I was doing before appearing on the subways but I couldn’t remember.

 A young nun then came up to me and said something in Italian. She spoke very slowly for me to understand what she was saying but it wasn’t good enough for me. Anything that involved thinking hurt too much. She decided to give her hand and I grabbed it without thinking it much. She made me walk around a beautiful but very lonely neighborhood until we arrived to a very typical Roman house with an inner patio. I didn’t know much about religious people but that must have been a convent.

 She fed me and gave me something to read as he washed my clothes on a very modern washing machine. I waited on my underwear in the kitchen and was very ashamed when a group of four nuns entered the kitchen and I was there naked, reading a magazine. The nun that had saved me, I think her name was Angela, appeared out of nowhere and explained the situation to the rest of the sisters.

 They decided to give me a room for the night, as the weather was not as sunny as before and the clothes may take a longer while to be ready. I couldn’t deny the offer, even if I had wanted too. But I didn’t because in that place I felt the peace I needed to organize who I was before appearing on that city and why that had happened.

 That night was very strange. I was assigned one of the cells in the upper floors, were formerly the new novices slept before they were fully accepted as nuns. Sister Angela explained to me that they hadn’t had a new girl in a long time, as she had been the last one. The woman looked in her late thirties and explained further, commenting that girls nowadays had no desire to get in contact with their religious roots and have a life of celibacy and dedicated to the Lord.

 Through the very small window in my room, I was able to see the moon. It looked so beautiful but at the same time a little bit false. I pinched my hand in order to know if I hadn’t been dreaming or something but it didn’t work. I was really in that small room and had to get used to the idea of not remembering anything about my past o at least not in a very obvious way. I was lost, technically, and had to wait and see what I could do to go back to wherever I was before.

 I slept strangely at peace. My eyes closed early and I woke up early too. Normally, I would require several hours to feel rested but in that moment I felt I could take on the whole world by myself. It was a very nice feeling that I had never really experimented before. Normally I woke up much more tired than I was before going to bed. I guessed it had something to do with the strict code the nuns had going on there but I also expected it to be something related to the fact that I was in blank, no memories inside.

 The next day, I put on my clean clothes and they all came to the door to bud farewell to me. They were all very kind people and I would have loved to see more of them, maybe take a picture. But somehow, I didn’t think of that then. It would have been the best proof to guarantee that what had happened had not been a dream or an illusion caused by my mind. I waved at them as I walk further away from the convent, until I didn’t see them anymore and realized how lonely I felt, again.

 After walking a little bit more, I arrived in a square: it was very beautiful and tourists were all over the place taking pictures and discussing the shapes and sizes of the figures in the fountains. I was trying to understand what a couple was saying near me when I heard a voice, a very strong male voice coming from somewhere. At first, I couldn’t tell what he was saying. Then, I understood he was saying my name.

 I looked around for the owner of the voice but there was no one that seemed to have that very deep register near where I was. Besides, no one seemed to be looking at me, ignoring the fact that I was there as if my existence bothered them so much that they had decided to ignore until I decided to disappear.

 That happened a few seconds later, when the voice called upon me again and I understood that it was calling me from very far. Walking rather slowly, I was able to follow the deep voice saying my name. I walked through deserted streets, packed avenues and beautiful gardens until I reached some long and white stairs. The bright sun above made them look as if they were from glass.

 The voice called upon me again, urging me to come to him fast. His message to me had changed so I knew I was very near. When I arrived at the top of the staircase, I realized there was a museum up there. There was a small square and on one side the entrance and on the other side, the exit of the museum. The voice appeared to be coming from the exit so I walked towards there.

 Beyond the machines that controlled the exit process of the museum, there was a fountain and I realized the voice was coming from there. But there was a security guard nearby and the only way I could’ve entered the museum was by jumping over the machines. I decided to pretend I was reading some pamphlets they had on a table by the door. The guard finally moved, in order to face towards the inner courtyard of the museum. I took my chance and jumped, landing silently on my feet.

 I wanted to scream in celebration because I had never done anything so cool in my life, but I realized it wasn’t really the place and the moment for that. So I turned around and walked towards a small garden they had by a room filled with sculptures. The faces of those objects seemed to be looking at me but I knew the voice was coming from a fountain in the garden. Sure enough, there was a huge figure of the God of the seas, Poseidon, on the fountain.

 The figure did not move but it did talk to me. He told me the Gods had decided to bring me to Rome in order to let me know everything was going to be all right. When I heard that, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or punch the statue or what. I got closer to the water and the figure told me that I was there by choice and that I could’ve left at any moment, if I had wanted to leave.

 As I heard that, I felt dizzy again and then the world became blurry for an instant. Then everything went dark, I felt my head hitting something and then my eyes opened once again. I had fallen from my bed, my insane dream having finished. I was covered in sweat and had to go to the bathroom to clean myself, ignoring the metro card that fell with me from the bed to the floor.

martes, 9 de febrero de 2016

A hotel story

   When Peter got to the hotel, the first thing he did was taking off his shoes and socks. He massaged his feet for a while after arriving, checking if it was as bad as he had imagined. He had some blisters on his foot, probably because he had used the wrong shoes or the wrong socks or who knows. The point was he couldn’t walk anymore so he decided to shower in order to freshen a little bit and then go to bed.

He decided to sleep naked, as the rest of the body also ached from the long day and he wasn’t planning on doing anything special the next day. He wanted to be comfortable during the night and that was a nice way to be at ease. The weather was nice so he wouldn’t feel cold at night or anything like that. Just five minutes after getting into bed, he was already asleep, dreaming some wild story were he had to run and do many things that he would simply not do in the current state of his poor feet.

 All night long he tossed and turned and pushed his pillows to the ground and pulled up the covers and then down. He couldn’t stop moving and he finally woke up when his body felt the smell of smoke. His senses were not very good but he was certain it smelled as if someone was smoking right there in his room. He looked from one side of the room to the other and couldn’t see were the smell was coming from, if that makes any sense. He came out of bed and suddenly the room’s main door was pushed open by a group of men with flashlights.

 Poor Peter fell backwards and looked like a turtle trying to get back up. He had hurt his back and the men had to help him up and tell him to go out. With a hand on his back, the man obeyed and walked towards the door and it was there he noticed the smoke was everywhere. Maybe he had so many weird dreams because of the smoke and no because of his own head but, yet again, he always had weird dreams.

 He continued walking down the corridor, barely seeing were he was going, until he hit a wall and didn’t know where to go next. He noticed a fire escape sign on a wall and followed it. The firemen had remained behind, probably fighting the source of the smoke, so he had to go down some dark smelly stairs all by himself. He wasn’t thrilled to do it, especially since his feet hurt and he couldn’t walk very fast.

 It was just before descending the last step when he heard the voices of many people and realized he had arrived to the lobby, which was packed with people; probably waiting for the firemen to extinguish whatever fire they were fighting against. It was then when Peter realized he wasn’t wearing any clothes, not even underwear or a t-shirt. Not a towel, not a robe, nothing.

 He decided to remain there, in the darkness of the stairs and just hear the people talk in the lobby. He got very near the door and heard someone saying the fire was in one of the rooms, not very far from his own room. It was probably because of a smoker, said a man in very deep voice. He blamed the hotel for not having a policy against smoking and letting some people just do whatever they wanted. He also reminded his audience, which Peter couldn’t see, that many children had caused a scandal the night before at dinner in the restaurant and that it was rumored an old gentleman had once peed right there on the lobby.

 Peter wanted to laugh because that last story had to be false but the man had said it as if he was talking about some very important matter. Even if he couldn’t see him he was sure he knew who he was, a guy that looked at everyone as if they were a bother to him. He had seen him once during breakfast and he thought it was curious that such a large man could blame others for not respecting boundaries. That thought made him want to laugh but he knew he couldn’t.

 Then, he heard some noise coming from upstairs and decided to hide on one side of the stairs. Thankfully the space was almost completely dark except for the emergency exit signs. Sure enough, about five people were coming down the stairs and a fireman was accompanying them. He assured them everything was going to be fine and that they just had to join the rest of the people in the lobby. They passed very near Peter and opened the door, flooding the space with light for a while. Everyone outside turned to look at the family coming out.

 It was really unpleasant to hear so many people faking worry, as if they all knew those people. They were a mother, a father and three children, probably the same children the fat guy didn’t liked and he was one of the people to ask if they were okay. It just proved how false a person could be. Shortly after, the fireman attracted attention to him and announce the fire source had been found and that they were close to extinguishing it. After they had done that, sleeping bag would be borrowed for people to sleep in the lobby.

 Someone asked who had been the responsible for the fire and all that smoke but the fireman refused to answer that as the most important thing was that everyone was alive and well. They were still going floor by floor checking no one had been left behind. He then asked people to be still and let him count them in order to know if someone was missing from the lobby. After all, they had the list of every single person staying in the hotel and they could easily find out who was missing.

 When he heard that, Peter felt some cold sweat in his forehead. It was obvious they were going to see he wasn’t there and if that fireman had been one of the men that had entered his room, it would seem even stranger. The most obvious thing would have been to come out and just reveal himself naked as he was but he had a better idea: he climbed up the stairs as fast as he could and waited by the door there to check for anyone passing by. When he noticed that the floor was deserted, he came out and started pushing every room door he could.

 That level wasn’t as filled with smoke as the others but people must have been evacuated anyone. The bad thing was that many rooms had blocked automatically but not every one of them. Some had been left open and the system hadn’t closed them back. He entered some rooms and realized many women were at the hotel because he couldn’t find a single clothing piece for a man. He finally decided to put on some pajama pants he found in one room and just come down like that, with nothing else.

 Hoping no one would notice their pants on him, he went back down and opened the door to the lobby to reveal… Well, nothing. No one was there. The place looked even more deserted that the floor he had been in before. He had no idea where so many people had gone so he decided to go around the place to see if he could find someone. They weren’t in any of the two restaurants, or in the kitchens. They weren’t by the reception or by the smokers lounge. Finally, he saw some people running by the building and screaming. He understood right then he had to go out and see what was happening.

 Just as he crossed the doors, a horrible sound flooded the space. He knew he had to run but not why. He followed a fellow runner and just sprinted as fast he could which wasn’t much because of his feet. But he had to make them hurt because his mind knew it wasn’t a time to choose. He ran for at least to blocks until he stopped. Many people were running more but he just couldn’t. His feet were red. He sat on the ground and looked up, realizing why he had been running so much.

 The fire in the hotel had apparently been much more serious than what the fireman had said. A whole floor had sunk and the top part of the building had collapsed into the other and now it looked like one of those futuristic visions of architecture, the top part of the structure not far from collapsing into the street. It was certainly going down but for the moment it stood there, in an odd balance that everyone was fascinated with. He realized many people were looking at the spectacle besides him and that the people of the hotel were just some steps away.

  He walked there slowly, sitting on a bench near them. The fat guy was arguing with some lady, a woman was drunk or high or something, fighting against one of the fireman and a paramedic was curing a child that cried incessantly. Peter felt tired right there. So much he closed his eyes and the last thing he heard was: “I have a pajama just like the one he’s wearing”.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

Freedom in Chiyoda

Kumiko had already bought every single thing she needed to cook her mother's favorite dish: a soup filled with several types of seafood, native of her birth city. She boarded the train and sat down calmly: the trip was a long one, as her home was near the terminus station.

She decided to check her emails on her smartphone but a strange sound distracted her as she drew the phone out of her backpack. She looked up and stared at the people in the train with her: they were all distracted by their mobiles phones, some others were sleeping or trying to. She grabbed her phone and then heard the sound again. It came from inside her backpack, most precisely from the bag with all the things she had bought at the market. She tried to hear the sound again but nothing happened so she zipped the bag up and left it on the ground.

As she checked some messages, she heard another noise, this time from somewhere on the floor. As the wagon was filled with people, it was hard to determine its origin. Kumiko looked at every shoe and foot around her but couldn't see a thing.

"I must be very tired", she thought. She had been working too hard on her thesis, staying at home for days without ever going out or resting properly. She would fall asleep very late at night and wake up early to investigate and structure her work. Her mother would cook delicious things for her but she never finished any of them. To be honest, she always left more than half of what was served to her because the thesis absorbed her attention.

In a nutshell, she had been a zombie for almost a month. But the day before, she had finally finished it and today she had delivered it to college and, after that, had the idea to make her mother an special dinner, as a way to thank her for her support and understanding.

But all that was now on the back of her head. That sound, that strange sound that she could hear every so often, had taken the first place in her list of priorities. Maybe she had gone crazy from so much work... But it came again, she could hear it. Not able to stand it anymore, she stood up, her backpack tight on her body and followed the particular sound.

It was something small, on the floor. Kumiko could see she wasn't the only one hearing the sound: a little girl was staring at the floor without saying a word and an older gentleman was staring at the roof, most likely trying to remember if he had ever heard that same sound.

Then, Kumiko heard a scream. It was a crazy scream to be honest, she even thought someone was been killed or stabbed or mugged but it was nothing like that. She ran towards the woman that had screamed and she was pointing to the floor. So... that was it.

On the floor, crawling slowly, was a tiny octopus. It looked wet, slimy and weird. The woman screamed again and Kumiko put a hand over her ear: too much exaggeration for such a small and defenseless creature. He must have escaped the cup the vendor had put him in. And Kumiko had asked for fresh octopus so he had taken it a little bit to literal. She started to reach down for it but then the train slowed down: it was nearing a station.

The girl only stared at the window for a single second but that was enough for the tiny creature to crawl very fast and exit through the nearest door. She reacted clumsily and ran for the door, as it was closing. If she had been late for a couple more seconds, her hand would have been caught by the metal doors.

Now, on the platform, people were staring at her, which was funny: there was an octopus somewhere in the station and she was the one been looked at. She looked to every side but couldn't see anything. So she turned around and walked towards the edge of the platform. Well, she didn't walked too much as a security guard grabbed her strongly by the arm and started yelling at her. He clearly thought she was going to commit suicide.

And then she reacted in the worst way possible: she started laughing, which made the scene even crazier. The man yelled even more and she just couldn't stop laughing. The situation was so ridiculous. And then, over the man's shoulder, she saw the tiny creature getting on an elevator. She didn't stay for the rest of the lecture, instead running towards the elevator which doors closed right in her face.

Kumiko ran up the stairs, for three floors, until she saw the tiny creature gliding down the handle of some other stairs. She wanted to laugh again but stopped herself from that as it would take a lot of her time. She ran, again, after the creature. Kumiko smiled as she ran down the stairs after the creature: it had been a long time since she had had this much fun. And it made her feel alive to see such a tiny fellow gliding and jumping and crawling. It was amazing to see it, so alive and desperate to keep living.

They got to a different platform to the one they had been before and the creature jump right into a waiting train and she did the same but through a different door. As the train began moving, she grabbed a metal pole and rested. She remembered playing with her friend in school ,running around and just being young. She missed badly, she missed them so much. Kumiko had invested her life on the thesis and in her career and she had left out all those other important things.

The train stopped and she stared through the window. The creature must have left already. No need to chase it. He would be able to fight for his life, hopefully not being stepped on or caught before he gets to a water source.

Kumiko walked past some busy people on the train, towards the back of the wagon, and stared at their faces while stroking the phone on her pocket. It was so sad for her, to be always so busy and giving importance to such stupid things, missing out so much from life.

The train slowed down again, this time on Takebashi station. Kumiko began thinking how to get back home from there, when suddenly the small creature jumped out of the train. She ran after him again and chased him to another elevator. The difference was this time she was able to get in with the octopus.

The trip towards the street was short but it was enough for her to see the small animal was not feeling very good. Its skin seemed pale and its tentacles were drying. Its escape stunts had taken their toll, leaving it too tired and almost dead.

When the elevator opened, they could see car and a street. The creature stepped out first and Kumiko decided not to intervene. It seemed as if the octopus knew were to go, which seemed crazy but the girl was sure something had brought it this far.

Then, she noticed were she was and she understood, as the octopus crawled towards the edge of the sidewalk. No, not to throw itself at the moving cars but on the other side. They were steps away from the Imperial Palace. And it had a surrounding moat and that was were the octopus was going. With its last breath, the creature used all of its tentacles to jumo over the railing to the water below.

Kumiko saw it all but was worried not to see it anymore. She knew the canals around the palace led, somehow, to the ocean but that must be a harder journey.

As she was getting worried, she saw the head and eyes of the creature, that sunk almost inmediately in the water, leaving a small trace in the water. Kumiko stayed there until she wasn't able to see nothing else.

An hour later, she was cooking in her house. Her mother had thanked her for the unexpected present but was disappointed to see Kumiko hadn't bought her favorite food, octopus. The daughter then told her she had a story to tell her. Her mother smiled and kissed her in the forehead.

 - You're a free woman now. And I want to hear all of your stories.

And for Kumiko, that was the cherry on top of such a strange and wonderful day.

jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014


When I got to the top of the hill, I realized the street did not continue upwards. Online maps were not really accurate in many ways and this was one of those: they had marked a street but instead all I saw was stairs, very steep and almost endless stairs.

The other option was continue by a side street but that wouldn't take me as high as I wanted and I was hoping to take some pictures of the great view those buildings and houses had. But, then again, I had never learn to breathe correctly and that was needed for such a climb.

Suddenly, a dog appeared. He had a collar but I couldn't see a tag on it or any other human, besides me, nearby. The animal looked at me for a moment and then started climbing the stairs, certainly faster than I would.

I decided he was the signal I was waiting for. I inhaled deeply and started climbing myself. I felt it as an eternity and sometimes I could almost touch the steps in front of me. It was insane. I did not stop for a second as I was afraid I might fall but I tried to listen carefully: only one bird seemed to live around here, despite all the trees. I mean, it was a neighborhood enclosed by a forest.

The first part of the stairs finally ended. Yeah, the first part. I noticed I had arrived to an upper street but the stairs continued further up. I took some pictures with my cellphone, as it was an strangely peaceful place, and the continued my journey.

The second part of the stairs was a lot easier, although my breathing and my legs were already not pleased by me doing this athletic attempt.

From out of nowhere, an older man dressed in a bright sport clothing came down the stairs. As we crossed he said: "Good afternoon". I greeted him the same way and we continued to our destinations. It was not very common for people to greet you on the street, at least not if you weren't a potential buyer or something.

I got to the real ending point of the stairs but did not stop. If I did my feet would hurt even more. Most appropriately, I saw the dog again. That black fur, almost like a sheep, was unmistakeable. What was weird is that the dog was siting down, as if he was waiting for me.

When I approached to pet him he got up and walked toward a private path. It was a curved lane belonging to a big house on top of the hill. I could see the house from the point from where I was standing but one had to walk all along the curved lane to get up there. There were no stairs or any other pedestrian access.

The dog disappeared and I thought that was the end of my adventure. Well, it was fun. A normal street ended right there so I thought I would go down the hill through it.

Suddenly the dog reappeared, now on the high part of the hill, in front of the house. Even more, he barked at me. At first I only waived and turned to head home but the dog barked again. I did this twice more to check my theory: he wanted me to enter the house. And I thought "Why not".

I walked to starting point of the curved lane and noticed there was a gate just a few meters away. When I got there I realized no security guard was there so I just opened the gate and entered private property. It took me only some minutes to get to the garage area of the house, were my furry friend was waiting for me.

The moment he saw me, he moved towards some stairs that lead to the main entrance. When I got there, I did what I came to do: took several pictures of the beautiful afternoon and the mysterious place I was in. I took pictures of the house, the curved lane, the lonely gate and the place were the steep stairs ended.

Suddenly I felt cold and a voice spoke, icy as the wind:

 - She's waiting for you. Please follow me.

I turned and saw a tall black man. It is weird to say this but he seemed perfect, both physically and in looks. His suit was impecable and his face was smooth and his eyes the color of the trees.

The man turned around and entered the house. The dog followed him inside, as well as I did.

I was indicated to wait in a large room. There was a fireplace on one side, a beautiful tapestry on the other and in the third wall, opposite the entrance, a large window from where I could see the woods behind the house.

I took my cellphone out and started taking pictures. Then a new voice startled me and I dropped my phone. I turned around and saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen: she was tall, brunette, big honey colored eyes and skin the color of caramel.

 - You finally came.
 - I'm sorry, I... I think you're mistaken.

The woman smiled. She came neared and then, unexpectedly, she touched my face. It might have been that I was nervous, but I distinctively felt an electrical charge when she touched me.

- You look different. - She said.
- Different?

She smiled again and then turned and walked to a cabinet. Inside, there were many bottles and glasses. She grabbed some and poured two drinks. She asked me to sit on a sofa by the window and she sat near me. I tasted the liquid she had poured: it tasted like whisky.

 - Who are you? - she asked.
 - Who do you think I am? - I asked back.
 - You're a friend. A friend that will help us.

Then, I started feeling dizzy. Maybe the climb was too much for me after all.

 - Help you?
 - Yes. We need an imperfect being to test our last creation.

Imperfect? Who the hell...?

 - Creation?
 - Yes. A serum that makes you...

And then I lost all my functions, as if someone had shut down my body. I could still see and feel and hear but very faintly. I was slowly going away and there was nothing I could do.

The last word I remember hearing was "perfect". And then, I was.