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

miércoles, 10 de enero de 2018

Sitting there

   Sitting there, with so many people worrying about their own business, was kind of soothing to me. It’s an awful thing to say, but I’d rather have that than a place where everyone is clearly waiting to hear what’s up with you. In other contexts, where nothing is really happening, every single ear in the vicinity would hear a bomb like that. There too but no one would really care because they are waiting themselves for some words they hope they might be hearing and other they don’t want to hear at all.

 I woke up very early that day and I have to say it was very strange to just stare at my own feet for several minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed, before I realized I wasn’t really doing anything and I needed to get going. I slowly dragged myself to the bathroom and had a shower, longer than those that I had daily. I wanted to make time feel longer, but when I put on my clothes and grabbed a glass of orange juice in the kitchen, I realized I hadn’t really spent much time and I would be getting early to work.

 It has to be said: I hate my job and the people I talk to in it. I hate my boss and the girl who’s supposed to greet people in the reception. I really hate them all. It’s not just that I don’t like them but I actually hate them, because they always seem to want more information about me than what they tell me about them. They clearly just want to gossip and my boss only wants me as a mule, as a beast to use for work and nothing else. I don’t thank him for this job at all, none of them.

  However, I need the money and no one else would hire me. So I go every single day to work, by bus, standing up and very rarely finding a seat before I reach my stop. That day I walked especially slowly in order to take my time to work. I managed to get there a little later than expected but still at least one hour before I was supposed to begin my work. I didn’t care. I turned on my computer as soon as I got in and started working right then, as I needed to make my lunchtime valuable.

 I was happy when my stomach started growling, towards the middle of the day. It meant I was hungry, of course, but also that I hadn’t been interrupted by anyone all morning. Not a single stupid question or a greeting that had no real intention of being kind. Nothing at all for almost five hours and that was simply the best time I had ever had in that place. I was able to reach some clients, fixing some documents I had to correct and even do a couple of things ahead of time to free my schedule even more. Other would not appreciate that but I didn’t really care.

 The moment people around me started talking louder and stood up to walk towards the elevators, I realized it was my time to run. I went down by foot, through the relative darkness of the stairs and I reached the main gate in a very short time. Luckily, the place I had to go to was nearby, only a couple of blocks away, so my time would be spent in the best way possible. My stomach growled the whole walk towards the clinic, but I ignored it by smiling at the beautiful weather.

 The sun was very high up in the sky and there were a couple of fluffy white clouds there but nothing to prevent the sun from reaching all the people below that wanted that beautiful day to last forever. I was a bit sad to get to the clinic, a place that should’ve been a lot less dark than it was, but I decided to just grab my number and sit down as I waited. The place was not a real hospital or something like that. It was more like a center to get help, something much more informal.

 That was a good thing because I had always hated the smell and the sounds of hospitals. They make my skin crawl. Maybe it’s because every time you’re in a hospital it’s because something wrong is happening with you or someone else. Not even the food is decent in a place like that. So I really don’t like those places. Burt that one was a lot warmer, both physically and in the décor. It wasn’t blue and white but orange and red and green and all sorts of other colors.

 Maybe that’s because people with children tend to go there. I saw at least three very young mothers with their babies, waiting for their turn to speak with a counselor. It has to be said there were not that many doctors there. People were not waiting to have a checkup or something like that. It was more of a social thing in general. I looked at those girls for a long time, and I realized many of them seemed ashamed to be there but they didn’t go anywhere until their names were called.

 I, on the other hand, was there for something between a medical procedure and a psychosocial thing. It’s hard to talk about it but at least I went there. The point of it all is I waited for about twenty minutes until a nurse, a very tall one, called my name and asked me to follow her. She asked me to wait in a very small room. She came back shortly with what she needed. A syringe and a small plastic bag. She asked for my arm and in seconds she extracted a whole syringe of blood from me. The nurse asked me to wait there, as someone would be with me shortly.

 Another woman came in and talked to me about all those things I knew about but I had ignored. She was very nice and kind and even tried to make me asked her questions. Just to be kind, I did ask a couple of things, of which I already knew the answer to. When I stepped out of the clinic, I still had a half an hour to have something to eat. Luckily, there was a fried chicken place in the way to work. I sat there and ate several pieces, with fries and a large soda. I was going to be late but I didn’t care at all.

 I sat on the restaurant’s terrace, where my face could feel the scorching rays of the sun. I didn’t mind at all. I was just so happy eating my chicken, getting all greasy and having such a blast eating and enjoying the sun. It was one of those short moments in life when you actually feel happy, truly happy. I did not feel my happiness then was artificial or the cause of something someone else had done. It was all about me and how good I felt for making a good decision and pairing it up with fried chicken.

 When I got to the office, the boss called me to his office to basically yell at me for being fifteen minutes late. Other people were still talking about the gossip they had heard at lunch, no one was really working, but I was the one being called to the boss’ office in order to be yelled at. I let him do that for a couple of minutes, not really paying attention, just nodding and saying, “yes” every so often. But then, he said something I cannot remember but that phrase somehow struck a chord deep inside me.

 I told him to "fuck off" and then went back to my desk. I did expect to be fired but nothing happened.  Actually, nothing has happened since then, almost two months ago. And now I’m in that waiting room again, waiting for them to tell me if there’s something wrong with me or not. I’m very nervous, of course, but somehow I feel as free as that day eating fried chicken. Because I defended myself once and I did something for me on the same day. I’m kind of proud of those things.

 The nurse calls my name. She’s the same very tall woman. She has such a kind and beautiful smile on her face. It’s so soothing to see someone greeting you like that. She asks me to follow her and we end up in a different room than the one the time before. She asks me to wait for the counselor.

 As I wait, I notice the pictures around the room. They are personal photos and items, collected through the counselor’s lifetime. She really does feel that place, that tiny office, to be her place. I hope I feel that way about a place too, someday. Or something else.

miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

Sound, lights, action.

  There seemed to be no change in the weather. The wind continued to howl all night, not stopping for a moment. Luckily, there was a very large trunk filled with various blankets and pillows that helped pass the night without freezing on the spot. Being give people inside a tiny cabin was not something very comfortable but it was the only place they had found to spend some time away from the horrible storm outside. They didn’t say a word all night, trying to preserve their energy.

 The next day, the storm was still on full swing but they just couldn’t stay there the whole weekend. They had to leave right then in order to get home as soon as possible. They were there, on the mountain, for only a weekend and they had already wasted a whole day on that cabin in the middle of nowhere. However, some stated that maybe it would have been a better idea to just stay put, because sooner or late the rest of their friends would come for them, or maybe their families or someone that had seen them near the lake.

 The point made sense so they tried to discuss it but it only generated a silly argument related to food and heat, so nothing was really solved. After an entire hour of not deciding anything, Richard who was the oldest, decided he would go out and try to reach the lake. If he failed, he would come back to the cabin. But he thought they had to do something instead of staying there. No one said a word but the other four members of the party left behind him, covering their body as much as they could.

 The storm seemed to get stronger about five minutes after they had put one foot outside. With signs and screams, they decided to tie a rope around everyone, in order no to get lost. Richard was the first one in line and Theresa, the youngest, was the last one. She kept looking back but it was impossible to see anything. It was the middle of the day, they were sure of that, but no sunlight managed to get to the forest floor. The wind and snow made it impossible to open one’s eyes for very long.

 However, they kept on walking. Words couldn’t be heard anymore, even if the person yelled with all their might. So they just kept walking and walking, hoping they would soon get to the lake. After maybe forty minutes of traversing the storm, with legs and arms tired, they finally reached some sort of housing. The lights inside were off. Richard found the door and he soon discovered what Theresa had realized just seconds before going in. That building was the very same cabin they had just came out of, hours earlier. They had been moving in a circle.

 Of course, going back out was not really an option. Not only because it was extremely dangerous weather but also because the same thing would happen again. The snow and the wind would blind them once more into heading back to their departing point. There was no way to go through that again. Besides, their watches clearly stated night had fallen a short while ago and going out in the darkness, on a stormy night, seemed to be even a worse idea than the one they had before.

 They took out the blankets again and covered themselves with them. Mark and Daniel looked for food everywhere but the only thing they were able to find was a stale pack of cookies and some sour milk in a small crate, possibly some kind of refrigerator. Theresa was shaking violently. So much so that Caroline had to check her pulse and blood pressure by hand. She was clearly not well, as her skin had slowly turned blue and her lips seemed to have been covered in a thin layer of blackness.

 Everyone then gathered around Theresa and tried different things they knew, in order to get her blood pressure higher. They covered her with all the blankets and pillows, sat around her on the bed and gave her soft massages in arms and legs. However, the young woman started to shake violently. It was a very scary sight, as she seemed to be behaving in a way they had never seen. She would yell, scream profanities and then shake violently again. It was a very disturbing scene, in such a small cabin.

 She convulses some more and then stopped moving. Caroline checked on her again. Theresa had just died, in front of them all, for causes that were impossible to determine at the time. Caroline tried to explain it by blaming the cold temperatures and lack of food, but no one really paid attention to her. The men thought, without speaking to each other, that what just happened to Theresa had something to do with them going out of the cabin only to come back because of the storm.

 Mark had a few tears on his face when he said they should cover her body well or do something, because human bodies tend to decompose pretty fast. He said he had seen some documentary when it was stated it was best to bury a body as soon as it died for fear of certain diseases. Richard interrupted him, saying it was pretty obvious they couldn’t do that. The freezing temperatures could affect them too if they stayed outside for too long. Everyone looked at Theresa and hoped to be out of that place soon. Something they felt made them uneasy about the whole thing.

 Time passed and soon it was past midnight. The wind didn’t seem to be stopping soon, as it howled like a dying wolf outside the window. Caroline tried to look outside. She would have wanted to see some miraculous sign outside like a light or the face of someone she knew. Maybe rescue workers or even a helicopter. But the night was pitch black and the only source of light came from the lantern that Richard had brought in his bad. No one else had thought of it.

 Some time later, everyone was sleeping. Mark still had traces of tears on his face and Caroline had fallen asleep by the window, maybe the coldest place in the whole cabin. Richard was sleeping by the door, in a weird crouching position that seemed to be very uncomfortable. Daniel was the only one that had properly sat down and covered himself with one of the blankets. After all, Theresa wouldn’t need them anymore. And curiously enough, he was the one to wake up by the sound.

 A very powerful noise coming from the outside. At first, it was as if a gigantic creature was roaring wildly, but by the time Daniel woke up, the sound didn’t seemed to be that natural anymore. It was now something out of some horrible machine, causing an uproar that made the window shake and the body of their deceased companion fall from the bed. Daniel was close to the window when all the glasses broke and they got stuck on his face, making him bleed and scream to his death.

 It was him who woke up the others from their deep sleep. Caroline screamed when she saw Daniel bleeding on the floor. She had been close to the same faith but luckily she had leaned back in her sleep. Richard took her by the hand and raised Mark from the floor. He kicked the door open and started running, with the other two by his side. The forest was not in darkness anymore. It was now bright because of some very powerful lights that seemed to flood everything on sight.

 They ran away from the light as fast as they could but the snow was very difficult to go through. After a while, they grew tired and the lights finally disappeared, leaving in the air a scent that reminded them of their worst fears, of every single thing they hated.

 When they stopped, the light turned on again, more powerful than ever. They didn’t get to know if that was a weapon or some other kind of technology. The last thing they knew was that their fate was sealed and that they had not been in their very own world for a long time.

miércoles, 22 de noviembre de 2017


   She gave herself one last look in the mirror before grabbing her purse and her jacket. Jackie caressed her cat Milo before heading out into the night, where she would have to get into a cab and then wait inside before arriving and the Thanksgiving dinner she had been invited to only some days earlier. Paul had been kind enough to invite her and she knew they didn’t knew each other that well yet, so his gesture was all the more difficult to understand but welcomed. After all, she was very far from her own family.

Jackie’s new job as an assistant editor had forced her to move out of her small city to a bigger one, where she would have many more opportunities to grow. At first, she had been very reluctant to leave her home but it was her own parents that almost forced her to take that big new step in her life. They had never had the opportunity to do something like that and they wanted her to have everything they hadn’t been able to have in their respective youths. They were going to miss her deeply but it was necessary for her to leave.

 Starting somewhere else she had never being to was difficult the first few months but the amount of work had numbed her response to anything happening around her. Thanksgiving was the first time she was leaving her small rented apartment in order to actually have fun. She would leave everyday really early for work and then head back at night to sleep there. She would cook something as soon as she arrived and pack it for the next day. That was her routine and she was grateful for it because it didn’t require thinking.

 That party, however, did require a lot of it. She had to buy a proper dress, something she didn’t have in her wardrobe, and accessorize it with nice things and, of course, a great hairdo. She bought some fashion magazines to give her a good idea of what girls from the city liked to wear but she felt none of those styles actually fitted her. She was more the kind of staying at home and enjoy a new TV show, rather than going out to a club dancing or something like that. She had to go to several stores before finding a dress she liked.

 The woman that helped her was the one who advised her on which earrings and shoes she should wear with it. Thankfully, some of her own stuff was perfect for it, saving her a big amount of money she wouldn’t have being able to spend, unless she went in debt or something and that was something her parents had warned her against. She also borrowed a neighbor’s jacket, a girl named Olivia who had become her best friend in the city. That was something to say because they didn’t really know each other that well but Olivia had seen Jackie with her dress bag and sad expression and just knew she needed help.

 When she arrived at the venue, a very impressive restaurant on the twentieth floor of a very old and majestic building, Jackie felt she was entering some sort of book. The people tending to the guests were dressed like those butlers that you see on period dramas or something like that. She even smiled when one of them offered her a glass of champagne, which she accepted trying to fit in. She suddenly felt a little bit out of her element and tried to look for her friend all around. But the place was fairly big.

 The venue was like a palace inserted into a building. There were long and luxurious stairs that separated two floors, both of which had different rooms were people could stand up or sit down, have a drink or dance around if they wanted. No loud music thought. There was a live band playing some modern songs but in such a way it seemed the whole place had been transported magically back to the 1950’s. It was a very nice atmosphere but also a bit uncomfortable for Jackie, who wasn’t used to something like that.

 Her friend Leslie appeared from behind. He was a tall, very white and lanky man, who worked in the technical area of the magazine. He was the one who made it possible for the editor to make a digital edition to be on display for all of those women, and some men, who paid for the magazine online. He was one of the first people that invited Jackie to have lunch with him when she arrived, stating that he had always been the lonely kid in school and would have never wanted to have someone feel like that if he could do something about it.

 They laughed for a while before talking about the food and drinks and how fantastic the place was. Leslie explained that the place was owned by a very old club, which had been created by his grandmother many years ago. He didn’t say a word, but it was obvious his family was very wealthy. He tried to make it all seem like if it was something everyone could experience but Jackie soon realized that wasn’t the case at all. Elitist was maybe a very strong word but it would be appropriate for the situation.

 Leslie took her by the arm and carried hair up the stairs, to a room all decorated in gold and some red elements. There, she was presented to his family. Leslie’s mother Corinne was a very nice lady that was obviously not used to such luxury either. The young woman soon deduced it was her husband who had been born into wealth and not her. It was not only the way she spoke and moved but also the things that she didn’t do. Jackie liked her from the first moment and so did Corinne, who had never really liked any of her son’s friends because of their way of behaving in public.

 Helen, Leslie’s grandmother, was someone very different. She sat on a big chair and didn’t move too much. It wasn’t like she couldn’t walk or something like that. It was obvious that she wanted everyone to be around her and to be, to an extent, the center of everyone’s attention during her time in the event, which was actually short for being such a matriarch. The moment dinner was served in a very large table, she disappeared. Jackie asked about her whereabouts but no one answered. It was her thing.

 It wasn’t until much later in the evening when Jackie met Leslie’s father. He had just arrived from a very long flight, claiming he had taken a limousine straight from the airport to be able to share some time with his family. His wife was happy to see him but Leslie had a very different response. Jackie could tell he just stopped himself from joking around as he usually did and he became this stiff man that couldn’t almost speak a word. It was a very unsettling thing to see.

 And George, his father, was not at all an intimidating man. He was actually very charming; enchanting everyone present with some stories about his trip to Asia and the people he met there. He also told some jokes but many of them did not find an audience with Jackie. Maybe she was too oblivious or the content just went over her head. But the most likely reason was she was trying to make Leslie speak, with little to no success. He really seemed to have become a human icicle.

 Then, out of nowhere, a member of the staff came in rushing into the dining room, straight for Leslie’s father. He spoke in a very low register and fast enough no one could really understand what he was saying, not even Jackie who was fairly close. Whatever he was talking about, it was very serious because George’s expression went from utter joy to a very grim expression that drained all color from his face. The staff member left and George’s father stood up, trying to make people calm down.

 He announced, in a very deep voice, that his mother had just passed away in her apartment “upstairs”. He apologized for ending the evening, but the circumstances were very unique. Everyone stood up and headed to the lobby, to pick up their belongings.

 Leslie was still like a stone but he seemed to move his eyes, which was an improvement. Jackie wanted to stay with him but Corrine personally put Jackie’s neighbor’s jacket on her back and joined her outside where a cab was already waiting. She didn’t even have a moment to talk or think.

viernes, 6 de octubre de 2017

The golden carp

   Fishing had always been the way to live for Lin and his friends. Fro ma very young age, their parents had taught them the best parts on the river and the ocean where they could easily catch a vast array of fish and other living being from the ocean’s floor. They even had a friend named Chen, who lived his life by diving on the ocean and fishing things that many net couldn’t pull away from the sea. When he was lucky enough to find pearls, he would sell them and stop working for a month or so.

 However, the rest of them could never take a day off or anything like that. They had to work every single day for many hours, from dusk till dawn, no matter how tired and bored they sometimes got. The youngest one of them was Sun, who had only started the year before. He had being made to leave school but, after a very vivid argument, his mother had managed to convince the father to let him stay in school. So Sun had to wake up really early to fish for a while with his father and then he would go back at it in the afternoon.

 It was a hard life for such a young person but it wasn’t a unique thing for anyone on that region. They all had to do things that they didn’t really want for themselves. Most young people, for example, had the ambition to travel to big city, any of them, and being able to live the lives they sometimes saw on advertisements or on the television set, when people had one. It was a matter of doing what was needed to be able to reach that moment when they could choose their own path.

 When in his family’s boat, Sun would often try to do his homework but the fishing rods that he put on the edge would always move in the precise moment he was concentrating, on the verge of getting to a point where he would advance in his studies. He was doing poorly on some of his assignments and he really needed to get better soon if he wanted to get ahead in life. He knew the only way to get out of his town would be to learn more than others, to be smarter than any of the people he knew.

 Suddenly, one of the rods moved violently and then it was pulled into the water. It didn’t float for a moment or anything; it just disappeared in the blink of an eye. Sun leaned over the boat and tried to fish for the rod but the only thing he got out of it was a powerful bit from a huge carp that suddenly came out of the water. Normally, a fish bite wouldn’t really hurt but this one left a red mark on Sun’s hand. However, the weirdest thing was to see the carp looking back at him, almost as if it was staring. Then, out of nowhere, the carp spoke with a deep voice.

 He moved his mouth very differently than a human would but it was obvious that it was the one who was speaking. There were no other boats in the vicinity and Sun was too stunned to produce any words. The fish wanted to know where he was, as he had been following a current for some days and now it seemed he had found himself on the opposite side of the current. He apologized to Sun for biting him, but he explained he had been very scared when looking up and watching a hand reach for something.

 A little bit calmer, Sun rubbed his eyes and moved his hair around: he was obviously surprised but also very skeptical that it was actually happening. It seemed much more probable that he had fallen asleep in the boat and the sun on his head had created some kind of illusions or nightmares. It was very uncomfortable for that to happen, because of the response his parents would have if they looked at him sleeping on the boat. Yet again, he wasn’t very close to the beach.

 So Sun decided to play with the moment and just decided to ask the carp more questions, in order to really understand what was happening. Sun asked the fish where he wanted to go. The animal named a bay that he had never heard about. It had to be somewhere very far, so he just told the carp the name of the river that was nearby and the one of the bay they were talking on. The carp then did something even more unexpected than asking: it yelled, very loud, a very harsh curse word.

 The carp told Sun he really needed to go where he wanted because his whole family was reuniting for a very special event. He explained that he was part of a very special kind of carps that turned golden after a certain amount of time. When that happened, they were allowed to join a special school of fishes that could travel the ocean at fast speeds and could also grant wishes to anyone, human or animal, that came across them. It was a special thing that only they could do.

 Sun then interjected. He was very interested by that story because his mother had told him about how his maternal grandmother had come across a golden carp when she was young. Apparently, the fish had healed her from a very powerful disease that was creeping its way through her young body. The wish had made her well, and even better, it had made her a very vivacious woman until her last day. He remembered her from his toddler years and asked the carp if it was possible to know which carp had granted that wish, in order to give his thanks.

 The carp moved his head from side to side. He explained that golden carps never returned to the same place twice, so it was rather difficult to know which carp had granted which wish. Then, it started swimming back and forth. It was obvious he was really upset by the fact he was going to miss the best and most unique event in his life. Sun realized that, illusion or not, he should help the fish just because he had been the cause of him existing. No grandmother would have meant no Sun.

 He proposed the fish to jump on the boat in order to help him get somewhere, anywhere he wanted. Maybe there were other carps nearby that could help him get to the place he wanted to go. The carp was a bit skeptical of the plan but it really wanted to get to the event so he asked Sun to take him to a place where he could talk to many other fish. Maybe in such a hub he would be able to get some information on how to get where he needed to be. Time was of the essence.

 So Sun pulled the rods into the boat, a net filled with only water and then turned on the engine. The carp told him it would follow from underwater. Sun tried to remember the place where his father would fish every single day but then he realized the place would be crowded and all other fishermen would see the talking carp. Sun still believed he was asleep or maybe delusional, but it wasn’t enough to make him do such a stupid thing. They would capture the carp and kill it or maybe sell it because of its abilities.

 He stopped the boat at least three times; changing courses frequently because he remembered people would be there. Maybe even his friends who would taunt him. When the carp swam to the front and asked why he appeared to be so indecisive, Sun realized he wasn’t dreaming at all. He started taking it more seriously, less like a weird dream and more like something that was really important to do. He turned to the carp and was about to say he was sorry about not being able to help but then he remembered Chen.

 He was a good friend and had told him once where he fished for oysters and other animals. Sun turned on the engine again and in a matter of only minutes they were in the spot used by Chen to have his leisurely life. Then, Sun jumped out of the boat and indicated the carp to follow him.

 The carp followed and they found a colony of mollusks on the ocean floor. The carp started communicating with them and Sun went back to his boat. The carp surfaced later on, thanking him for his help. When the carp left, smaller fish appeared out of nowhere and jumped into the boat. Sun’s family was very surprised by his success.