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

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2017

Wild Space

   Above them, the various pieces that made up the space station had caught on fire and were falling at high speed to the ocean in front of the islands. It had been a miracle that the planet had a archipelago in the right place, or their pod would have landed in the middle of the water and they would now be dead. As the biggest pieces collided with the surface of the water, the five survivors of the station looked at the water in horror, as an enormous creature roared, visibly enrage by the fallen projectiles.

 There, above the ground and the sky, their life had been ideal but not perfect. They had everything they could ask for, such as running water, food, information, communications and so on. The program they were involved in was only about civilians in space, so none of them were actual astronauts or scientists. They were all normal people, in the sense that they only had the basic knowledge of how to survive in space. And now, survival skills were the most needed.

 The group started walking downhill, as their pod had crashed against the highest part of a mountain that seemed to be made of something sand-like. Shock wouldn’t have let them move but they noticed the ground shaking below them and the monster in the water became a second problem. In front of the team, Richard was leading them towards the beach, where he thought they could be safer. No one really said anything, they just followed and tried to hear everything around them.

 Richard had been a boy scout as a kid. He had camped in various national parks back home and he had enjoyed it thoroughly except for a traumatic experience that made him retire from the scouts. Their parents never demanded to know why and he concluded it was better like that. Now he was walking under a blazing sun, with four other people he barely knew, even after living together in a space station for a year. That, somehow, had not been enough time to get to know one another.

 When they arrive to the beach, the first to sit down was the only other man, a man called Sebastian. Despite the English sounding name, he was actually Swedish and spoke with a very thick accent. Sebastian was older than Richard and he had been a magazine editor back home. He had become a part of the team as they all had: paying a big sum and basically winning a lottery. He wanted to get out of the Earth fast, as his wife had died only a few years after getting married. He felt so heartbroken that he decided to leave on an impulse and now there he was.

 The three women were called Maria, Kim and Victoria. Maria had only win the lottery. She had won the only seat in the station that was up for grabs without the need to pay anything. She was a janitor back on Earth and had decided to join in order to get away from her family, who she secretly hated. Kim was a famous supermodel, tired of being in the spotlight and Victoria was an architect from Angola, named after the queen that had conquered the African continent.

 The three of them seemed tired but none sat down on the ground. They instead watched the ocean, looking for the creature. At some point, it had disappeared, along with the wreckage from the station. Richard was still trying to understand what had happened but it had all been so fast… They were all sleeping and the alarm started beeping: apparently the ship’s hyper drive had ignited by itself and they were now ramming against a planet. With only minutes to decide, they jumped on the pod and saved their lives.

 As they had no idea how that world worked, they agreed that the best thing was to walk along the edge of the ocean and look for something to eat. Then, they would try to find some sort of cave or safe place to rest. After those two things had been achieved, they could be thinking about the future, if that was a possibility. They walked in silence, watching the strange bushes growing by the beach, hearing the strange squishing sound coming from the greenish water of the ocean.

 Not of them wanted to talk too much. After all, there were originally six people in the space station. A man called Bruno had not come to the pod after hearing the alarm. They never knew what he was doing, if maybe he had been the one to make the hyper drive work. In any case, he was now dead, spread across the skies as the station fell to the ocean. He was a strange man, always hiding something from the rest of them. He seemed much more tormented than all of them put together.

 They stopped when they noticed a small stream coming from inside the island. The water was also green. Kim walked closer but Richard warned her that it might be poisonous or have chemical compounds too different for the human body to process them. But Kim didn’t want to drink the water but to observe it. It behave differently, not like a normal liquid but like some sort of creature. The woman got up fast, shaking. She then looked at the ocean and said what she was thinking aloud: what if the water in that planet was actually alive, moving slowly on its sides?

 As she said that, tentacles branched out of the ocean and launched themselves at the group. Richard and Kim ran first. Maria followed them closely, as did Victoria but Sebastian was way to slow and he got grabbed by the ankles. What happened next made Maria scream and Kim almost faint. Victoria vomited right there, just a few meters away from the water, as they saw the most disgusting spectacle that they had never seen. The universe was a place to be afraid of.

 The water, or whatever it was, had absorbed Sebastian’s body through those tentacles. It was like watching a kid drink out of those juices that come in a bag, only that this bag had been alive just moments prior. He didn’t even had the chance to scream or anything like that. The man just died, obviously, his empty body dumped carried by the tentacles towards the ocean. Apparently, the tentacles fed the creature that had been disturbed by the fallen debris. It appeared again, eating their companion.

 Victoria was trembling wildly and Kim had to be helped by Richard, as her legs didn’t properly work. It was Maria who, her face white of the horror, suggested they looked the opposite shore. They had to verify if water was like that all around. It could be the decisive point between remaining alive in that planet or dying without any possibility. So they walked, in silence, still shaking and wanting to scream. But hey feared potential creature in the bushes, so they kept to themselves.

 The opposite shore was only an hour away, cutting through the island. When they saw it from afar, they noticed right away it was a different kind of ocean. When they got closer, they realized it was normal water, the one they knew from back home. Deciding it couldn’t get more dangerous than a stomachache, they decided to drink some. It wasn’t salted, as ocean water on Earth, rather on the sweet side. They each drank a bit and then sat down on the beach, to rest their trembling bodies.

 It was Victoria who started crying first, then it was Maria and then everyone was crying. In a weird way, that united them more than anything before. They hadn’t really been friends or anything back in the station, just travelling mates,. Now, things had to be a little different.

 They were drying their tears with their hands when a loud noise was heard above them. They looked up in horror to discover an enormous ship just passing above them. It was obviously not man made. It had all sorts of inhuman features. And it hadn’t noticed them… yet.

jueves, 14 de julio de 2016

The flood

   It was raining as if the end of time had come. For a full day now, dark clouds and water had been all that people had seen outside and it didn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Every single person in the city had decided to stay home and not go out unless it was strictly necessary. Buying food was not considered essential, or going around looking for someone who was lost or anything like that. The truth was that everyone was scared of going out of their homes, fearing the rain would take them.

 It seemed like a dumb fear to have but that was what people thought because it had already happened. In every building, where people now were obliged to talk to their neighbors in order to pass the time and in case of an emergency, they begun to realize that some of the inhabitants of the city had recently disappeared. Since the rain had started, no one had seen anything of them. The police wasn’t doing anything, or the fire department or anyone else.

 Those who were not with their families, were considered lost. No one bothered in having any other thought than the one of death. It was as if, with the rain, a strange wave of negativity had fallen upon the people of the city. Every fear they had, every single worry about life and concern about their well being was now very active in their brain, being the number one thing when they thought about anything, whether it was getting out of their homes or their loved ones.

 Yet, there were always exceptions. By the third day of the downpour, a man called Jim, from one of the tallest building in the city, attempted to do something no one had done yet: he was going to grab his kayak, the one he used when camping, and navigate the flooded streets to the nearest supermarket. His family and him had rationed food but they realize it wouldn’t last that much. They needed baby food as well as dog food and clean water.

 So Jim had the idea of navigating the dangerous waters towards the nearest supermarket and probably just steal whatever he needed. He didn’t thought it would matter if someone committed a crime because no one was really there to ensure it wasn’t being done. The police was not as daring as him and would never notice. And it was to have food for his family, not to steal a bank so he was decided to do it.

 He got to the second floor of his building and threw the kayak through a window. It fell softly into the water in the other side. The storm made the water feel very unstable but once Jim jumped into his transport, he felt safer than when he stayed at home, fearing of everything that might happen if they never got out of there.

As he took out the paddle to start moving around, he realized the rain was strong but more in the amount of water that fell and not so much in the intensity of the storm as it was. There was no lighting or an awful lot of movement in the water. He was very wet, probably about to catch a cold, but he felt strangely at ease as he cruised through the street adjacent to his building. The worries that had plagued him inside his apartment seemed to be far away. He couldn’t appreciate the rain as something beautiful, even if it was that destructive.

 He did a sharp turned thanks to a lamppost and continued for two blocks until he reached the supermarket. There he realized he hadn’t thought about everything: the water level covered the entrance of the market and it was likely to be flooded inside, so every food, except maybe the one in cans, would already be spoiled. He grabbed another lamppost tight and thought for a moment about what to do.

 He could continue rowing along the street until he came about a “dry” supermarket but that was not a very likely ting, seeing how much the water level had risen in just three days. The best plan was to enter the flooded supermarket and try to dive around to find some of the food that hadn’t been spoiled yet by the storm. So he pulled out a string of one of his pockets, which he used to tie his bike on the top of his car, and used it to tie down the kayak to the lamppost.

 Once it was safe to leave, he took off his wet clothes and jumped out of the kayak. The water was cold but he was already wet so it didn’t really matter. Not losing time, he swam towards the entrance of the supermarket and dove in just right in front of the door. Of course, it was closed and apparently damaged, as it was one of those automatic doors. He went up to the surface and tried to think what to use to break the glass.

 There was nothing around to use so he dove in again and tried to pull the door open but it wouldn’t budge. He tried once and twice until he had to go up to have some air and then try again. After resurfacing for the third time, he realized he was just losing time and that he had to go back home before nightfall. It was well known already that the storm was always worse at night.

 So he dove down again but this time to the pavement, looking for something. He found a cane, just by a small yellow car. Someone must have dropped it when the rain started it. Jim grabbed it and used it as a spear to attack the glasses of the door. At his second try, the glass shattered and he cleaned his path with the cane, in order to cut himself.

 The first thing he did inside the supermarket was grabbing a basket to put everything on it. He came back to the surface in order to remember how the distribution was, to find everything faster. He remembered it vaguely because he had always being one of those people that don’t really like going to the supermarket. His wife was always the one to go with the children. Jim preferred to stay home watching a game on TV or reading the news on his computer.

 He decided to swim along every aisle and try to be fast; grabbing whatever he thought was essential. As predicted, the fruits and vegetables were floating in the water, probably rotten already. The air did smell a bit weird. He grabbed all the baby food he could find and also every canned food he could see around there. There were tomatoes and beans and also full meals like ravioli inside.

 Jim felt like a treasure hunter filling his basket with the best things the bottom of the river could offer. Once his basket was too heavy, even underwater, he decided it was best to go back to the kayak and maybe come back the next day if they needed more. No one seemed to be interested in coming out of their houses so they really didn’t need to worry about facing any competition when grabbing food from the supermarket.

 Once outside, he had trouble putting the full basket inside the kayak. He dropped a few cans into the water but most things were still there. Because of the weight now, he had to be extra careful when moving around. He untied the kayak from the lamppost and started paddling as soon as he was able. He didn’t put on any clothes or put away the rope he had used. Jim knew the first thing was getting him safe with every single thing he had gotten.

 He reached the street in which he had to turn and had to it carefully in order for the kayak not to turn around. If that happened, he would loose everything and all of his efforts would have been in vain. He had to be very patient but he was able to turn and head home in no time. Once he got to the window, he decided tie his kayak to the nearest lamppost and just jumped out of the kayak with the basket on his hands.

 His family had a really nice dinner that night and his wife decided to go with him the next day, to find more food and maybe even some other things they could use, as electricity had already failed and now they had to live their nights in the dark. The children were calm and saw it all as an adventure but Jim’s worries came back to him. He feared the future more than anything now. He didn’t know how to live to avoid a catastrophe.

sábado, 5 de septiembre de 2015

World of twilight

   Somehow, the temperature had begun to drop so fast it was impossible to get used to. The days turned darker and it was some sort of twilight that ruled over the world instead of the light people had enjoyed for so long. No one knew exactly why this was happening but many people pollution and others climate change. But it didn’t matter what humanity thought of the matter, the planet had changed and it was beginning to die faster that ever before. Animals and plants started disappearing forever and people had to build new homes in order to survive. Whatever had happened it was too late to fix it and people had no other way but to endure what had come for them. Many died in the first few weeks.

 Not all people had been created to resist something like this. Most humans had been too comfortable in recent times to even bother to think: “What if everything changes? Am I going to be ready?”. No one asked that and that’s why people just died in the middle of the streets or even killed themselves. They had no idea how to survive, how to keep going, so they chose death over life. But others did endure because they loved life so much they couldn’t just let it go. Some people got organized and created small communities that moved around the globe looking for a better climate and others occupied places where they could live a sheltered life, surviving by eating bugs or whatever there was at hand. They did what they had to do and no one in those groups ever complained.

 In one of those groups, of the kind that migrated around the world, there was a woman named Ylia. Before the transformation, she had a family consisting of a husband and two children. She wasn’t rich but she wasn’t poor either. She had a good life, living in a small apartment and working for a small tourism office. She wasn’t exceedingly happy about her life but it was her family that made her happy and fulfilled. She had always dreamed to go with them to one of the destinations she showed her clients and had been saving for that everything changed. The transformation took her children and then her husband, mad with pain and grief, killed himself when she was out trying to find some food.

 Since then, Ylia decided to start moving. She broke in several abandoned stores and gathered winter clothes and tried to get some food but she could only get her hands in frozen fish. So every night she would make a small fire with some igniting stones and eat the frozen fish, that was always small and tasteless but it was better than to eat nothing. She moved on foot and off the roads, in order to avoid groups of people that had come to realize how much they loved to kill people. According to them, as humanity was already doomed, they only wanted to help by moving on with the process. So Ylia stayed far from roads and turned off her fires when she was done cooking her fish.

 One day, when she was doing that same thing, she noticed a presence near her. It was something scary, as if she was about to be attacked by monsters or something. So she stood up and yelled like mad towards the tall grass around her. Soon, a group of three children came out of the grass. They were all filthy and it was obvious they hadn’t had anything to eat for days. She could see the rib cage of one of them. They didn’t talk, just sat down near her and stayed there. She took some of her fish and cooked a piece for every one of them. To be honest, she did it kind of reluctantly because the fish was not eternal and soon she would have to start hunting or stealing something else. She had to feed herself and know; apparently these ids needed her in order to survive.

 When the light was even dimmer in the world, she knew it was night so she lay down in the ground and the children did the same. She didn’t have anything to give them to sleep better but the only thing she could for them is to ask them to sleep all together, all very close to one another in order to keep the heat. They seemed to understand, so they got close to her and fell asleep fast. It was difficult not to think about his own children, who had no chance against this kind of life, against the destruction of what humanity used to mean and of the world, that had become visibly fed up with every single person. It wasn’t a secret any more that our own world wanted us out fast.

 The next day, Ylia and the children started walking up, through the forest towards the tallest part of the hills that separated the city from the ocean. Her logic was that maybe the ocean creature had not died out yet, so maybe there was a way to catch something to eat before it died or got extinct soon. But having the children with her proved good and bad at the same time.  They were fast and agile but sometimes they got tired really fast and she needed to have a certain rhythm when going cross-country like this. In the mornings she would always tell them that they needed to be fast and never to stop for hunger or thirst. All of that could wait once they were safe somewhere else.

 But they were children and she knew she couldn’t ask that much of them. They were often afraid and even one of them seemed to be closer to death that the other two. She didn’t discuss it because she didn’t want to face something like that again, but it was obvious he wasn’t doing well.  The day arrived when they saw the end of the hills and knew the ocean could not be very far. But then, an arrow flew directly at the sick child, taking his life. The others reaction was slow and Ylia had to push the other two children in order to avoid the arrows that flew their way.

 Hidden behind a rock, Ylia confirmed what she had thought: it was a group of killers and they knew there were more humans to kill. A bit nervous but resolved, Ylia came out of hiding, surprising the children, and took out a gun she had hidden inside her big coat. It was a revolver that she started shooting with, wounding at least three of the members of the killer gang. She was not very good at shooting and new she wouldn’t manage to kill anyone but she was successful in scaring the hell out of them. They all ran, turning back to where they had come from. When they disappeared, Ylia and the children when back to where the kid had fallen and decided to bury him beneath the rocks that covered the hillside. She was about the leave the place when she saw the children doing something she hadn’t seen in a while: they were praying.

 They spent some time there, the children praying and Ylia thinking what their next move should be. She knew she needed a better weapon than the one she had but that revolver was the only thing she could find. In fact, it was that revolver that took away her husband’s life. But had not thought about him when she fired towards the killers. She had not thought of anything. Ylia realized she was becoming like all those people that were just shadows of what they used to be, just killers or machines that lived but not really liked to be alive. Ylia was on that edge but she knew she wouldn’t be there for long.

 With the remaining children she started walking towards the ocean. She knew it couldn’t be too far so she kept on walking, despite the complaining of the children that did not talk but did growl and complain on their own way.  She gave them some hours to rest but then they were attacked again. More arrows fell off the sky, like rain, and landed in one of the children, killing him and on Ylia’s shoulder. She took the hand of the remaining child and ran like mad towards where she thought the ocean was. They didn’t stop for a minute and then she knew the kid wouldn’t survive. She was carrying dead weight and it may be her fault that he was dead. He collapsed a few minutes later, dead too.

 She went on alone, running at times but tired and bleeding from her should. Ylia looked around and then ran and then stopped and ran again. She was erratic and insecure because she knew what had come. Then, she heard the sound of the waves and felt sand that was wet. Her happiness filled her so much that she just ran towards the water and got in the ocean, wanting to swim there and drink the water even if it was salty. But it wasn’t. The ocean was now acidic and she had just drunk a huge amount of poison, not unlike cyanide. Ylia died with a rather disturbing smile on her face and with the realization that she had done what she could but her death and everyone else’s, was already written.

lunes, 29 de diciembre de 2014


Stepping on the sand, feeling it beneath our feet, it was different. We had been walking along the road for such a long time that we had forgotten what it felt not wearing any shoes, any clothing except underwear.

We were six people, three women and three men, and we had been wandering the country for almost a month. We had begun walking because all the cities had been destroyed, devastated by war. Bombings and attack troops and orbital bombardment. All done because of many wanting the same: rule over the world.

But the world couldn’t be ruled, not by only one person. So all the war had caused a violent reaction from nature. Pests and natural disasters had stopped the fighting and violence. So much was the catastrophe that the war had to be finished, as there were no more troops to hold an invasion, an attack or even to support a small settlement.

Our group had seen thousand of bodies on the roads, mostly of soldiers and other men of war but also from people that had flee the crisis too soon or too late.

I, for one, had stayed in the lowest part of my building, waiting for all the sound from above to stop. I had a radio, a mobile phone and a small portable television but they stopped working after the first month. I also had rations of food and batteries, a lamp and even a sleeping bag. I had been prepared.

Family? None, at least not in this city. They were far away and there was no way of knowing if they were alive or not. All transmissions had died slowly: TV stations, radio stations, satellite feed, everything stopped at some point.

So when I came out, the city were I had lived in for the last five years, was in silence, deserted almost completely. I found a few people on my way out of it and we formed this group. I had told them I needed to go to my family’s city and see if they were dead or alive, as the doubt was eating me up.

The route was a long one so we headed first to a gas station and took several maps to help us get to our destination. We also got a little cart to put all our things in and we would take turns pulling it but in the first week we were lucky enough to find farm animals, cattle and so on. So we borrowed a donkey from one of them and he has proven to be our most prized possession. 

In the group, we all have the same responsibilities and duties with each other. There’s no one that rules over others or someone that gets to do nothing. We all do, we all pull, we all feed Burrito (our donkey) and we all get food and explore the places we walk into.

The good thing is that no one ever complained or tried to be more than the others. We just got along and, to be honest, we try to speak as sparsely as we can. Sometimes there are heat waves, and fighting or talking too much during them would be fatal. We just way under a large shadow and be sure to have plenty of water.

It does seem like some things are running out, like water. We normally find gas stations or supermarkets with bottles that are still good but the natural sources seem to be running out. Just a few days ago, we saw a gigantic patch of mud on the ground. None of us had traveled the region before, but it was obvious a large lake had been there.

We ate anything that would not need frying or real cooking of any kind. We had matches and a portable cooking thingy, but the first ones ran out fast and the other worked on gas, which was not really that easy to find, so we would rather grab all the jerky we could get, ham, cheese, and so on.

Not milk, never, as it had all gone bad already. Most places we entered had that foul smell of milk gone bad. But we rapidly learned how to stand it and soon we ignored it altogether.

We traveled mainly by the roads. Not directly on them, as the heat made it annoying, but on one side, walking on grass or dirt. There were small rural roads and freeways of many lanes. But these days they all looked deserted, except for the many cars left stranded a little bit everywhere.

The tough part was when we started heading up a mountain. We had to do that to go down the other side and from there it was practically a slope towards the ocean.

The mountain was really hard for Burrito and for us. I personally feared more for the animal than for us. We had fed him well with the few fresh vegetables we had found on our way but it never seemed enough for such a creature. On the way up, he was nevertheless relentless. It was like he didn’t feel the annoying angle on which we had to walk.

There was neither snow nor nothing that cinematic, only a lot of chilly wind, trying to topple us with its strength. But after a single afternoon, we made it to the other side. Unfortunately, we had to camp up there. This time, Burrito wasn’t that strong.

We buried his body, first thing in the morning. We all cried and said a few words. A guy on the group had a Bible (he was the religious type), so he said a prayer for the animal. We owed him a lot.

Now it was us who had to pull the cart again but this time it was harder. The weather had gone significantly worse: heavy rain for three straight days and that damn wind that never stopped blowing. Not even when we got to sea level, did the weather stopped.

This moment proved to be a test for all of us. It was then we really had to meet each other, when we learned about each other and why we were doing what we were doing. It wasn’t like before, when we wouldn’t speak or even breath too loudly. Maybe it was the rain, but that had changed.

Now, during dinners, we would share stories about our past. The unspoken rule was that only one could tell his or her story per night, but the person could decide for how long they wanted to speak. At first, the stories went on for as much as fifteen minutes but, with time, we got to a story spanning several hours, during which we would eat something and enter our sleeping bags.

The road after the mountain was difficult, very rough to the legs and arms. The person pulling the cart always had the worst part, as it was too hard to do it on rocks that would move when passing on them. It was sometimes dangerous and, many times, it pulled out all the feelings people were hiding.

But that didn’t split the group; it actually made us much stronger, like a family. We were learning to live together but we knew we stood no chance if we were to take on this new world by ourselves. Without saying much, I believe love started growing among us, the kind of love you have for sisters and brothers.

Rations were getting smaller. For some reason, these roads had nowhere to find food or canned goods or nothing. For a good week, we fed very poorly, and it was starting to show. Some of us had yellowish, greenish tint on our faces, as if we were in a constant urge to vomit.

So when we finally got to the city, everyone acquired new strength. The possibilities to find food were a lot higher here than anywhere else. And we did, yes we did. We ate like pigs our first night there. We actually ate pig: a lot of preserved ham and canned beans still good. And there was water and, in a hotel, we had found an ice room still working for some reason. We played like children in there, freezing but happy.

The next day, was the day we went to the beach. And it was then, when we first felt we were alive, that we were reminded of our humanity and that our time here was not done yet.

Some walked the beach hand by hand. Others, like me, just stood there with sand up their ankles, watching the ocean. The waves, coming and going.

And there I cried again, the first time since Burrito had died, the second time since… Since I didn’t know when. I was alive but the word was dying and we all knew it.