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

miércoles, 6 de junio de 2018

To vanquish fear


   Trying clothes was one of those things that Rebecca had never really liked about going out to a mall, whether it was with her friends or her family. She would always see something cute that she would love to wear herself, but wouldn’t be able to bring herself to try it on and least of all buy it. Something just prevented her from actually trying to change, even when she really wanted to make something for her that would maker her at least a little bit more interesting, not only for men but also for everyone in general.

 She had never been the kind to talk to strangers or just initiate a conversation in the line of the grocery store. It was very difficult to find the right moment and the right words and apparently the right person to that with. And when she finally decided to do it, people would have moved on and she would already be out, walking home or something. Rebecca would always blame it on her being slow and not as smart as other people, but the reality of it was, and she knew it very well, that she was just too shy and insecure.

 Her parents had tried for years to get her out of her shell, almost pushing her to do different extracurricular activities in order to discover things she could be good at or that could help her relate better with people. She tried cooking and playing various sports, as well as knitting and dancing and also horseback riding and even volunteering to help those in need. She did all of them for some time and then quit when she realize she wasn’t really getting anything out of any of those activities, only frustration.

 After every single failure, she would go back home and stay in her room for hours and days, sometimes crying for being such a weird kid but then realizing she didn’t really care about other people and then taking on hobbies that could work with her being alone like drawing and writing. The only things she would ask her parents to buy for her would be pencils in every single color in existence, as well as notebooks and, once, a better laptop to keep a copy of everything she did just in case she needed it.

 For a while, she was able to just to that and come to school almost running in order to keep drawing and writing. Her parents were busy most of the time so, even if they had been worried at first because of her lack of skills with others, they soon realized that they had to be grateful their daughter was having such safe and creative hobbies, rather than causing problems for others or for herself. So they were happy buying her whatever she said she needed for her arts and they never doubted her skills again. However, it would soon be all for nothing because of the big changes that happened afterwards.

 As everyone knows, the Plague started its expansion about a year ago and in a matter of days, several millions had died suddenly and others had been severely deformed and turned into creatures without a proper mind. They had no thoughts of their own, nothing that could relate them to the people that had been before. They just lived, if that could be called living, to wander the world and attack those that the Plague had not killed in the first wave. The survivors moved around often, avoiding their former families and friends.

 Rebecca had been one of the few survivors of that cataclysm. It was very strange but, for a long while, she had been completely oblivious about the whole thing. Not only because she spent her days in her room, drawing and writing about all the things that came into her mind, but also because the Plague had expanded at the beginning of summer, meaning she had less reasons to be outside or wander around town. Rebecca enjoyed the sun more when she could be as away from it as she possibly could.

 She was already seventeen when everything happened. The day she heard shots outside and people screaming was the first one when she realized something was going on. She had been in her room for at least a week. Rebecca had learned to cook for herself a long time ago, as her parents would often be at work, so she had not missed them or needed them for anything. But the day the shots were fired, was the same day she ran out of pages on her favorite notebook, which had a beautiful Japanese design on the cover.

 Normally, the girl would ask her mother or father to go to the shopping mall and buy a new one but she wasn’t able to find them at all that they. She waited at home all day but they never came in. So she looked for their offices phone numbers and then things got even stranger because the phone wasn’t working. It was obvious that something very bad had happened because when night came, the lights suddenly went out and they never came back again. She was very scared and decided to stay in her room.

 She did so for a whole day until she heard shots again and then more screams and then silence. Rebecca was terrified and in need of her parents. It was true that she had never been really that good with people but she realized that her parents had been essential in her becoming at least a functional human being. She didn’t love being with them and she felt bad for that because she knew children were supposed to love their parents and she had never felt that. Until, she was alone. Until she had been forced to realize how dire her situation was without them. She cried herself to sleep that second night.

 By the third day, she came down to the kitchen and decided to pack every single piece of food she could find on a bag. She would carry that bag to her room and then survive whatever was happening in there. As she put everything on a suitcase that her father would often use for business trips, she realized she had never thought on turning on the television or the radio in order to know what was happening. She was about to do so but then she felt stupid because the electricity had stopped working two days ago and she knew that.

 Rebecca felt very stupid and realized filling a suitcase with crappy food was not going to save anyone from anything. If she wanted to know what was happening, and it was probably best that she did, it was imperative for her to step out of the house and confront the world, once again. She climbed the stairs fast and looked out the window, something she rarely did. There was no one on the street and no sounds could be heard. If there was a perfect time to come out of her house, that was it.

 She emptied the backpack she used to go to school and packed in some clothes and things she would need outside like a flashlight and batteries, some of the crappy food from the kitchen, a Swiss army knife her father kept in a drawer and a tiny bottle of pepper spray that her mother had indicated her on how to use, in the eventuality that a man would try to do something inappropriate to her or someone mugged her on the street. Of course, she had never found use for any of those things, until now.

 When ready, she slowly walked towards the front door of the house and opened the door with doubt. She was not as scared of what might have happened in the world, as she was from the exterior in general. She took a deep breath and slowly but surely walked beyond the front side of her house. Rebecca stopped for a moment and looked behind, wondering if she would ever go back there but she knew it was better not to ask too many questions, at least when she was so insecure about everything in the world.

 Rebecca started walking again and, in minutes, she was deep inside her neighborhood. Contrary to a normal day of summer, the streets were very empty and the sun was only heating up the cars that had been left outside. There were no corpses to see, so she was optimistic.

 She stopped being that when she got to the supermarket her family visited. A group of people was gathered in front of the door. She doubted for a minute but then, knowing she had to be brave, she yelled at them. She had vanquished part of her fears, just as a bunch of zombies looked at her, licking their dry lips.

viernes, 1 de junio de 2018

He was me


   For a split second, I had been unable to recognize him. But then, as I drew closer, I realized that I had known him my entire life. The only thing was that, I hadn’t seen him in a long while. He was still inside my head but only as a fading memory, as something that wasn’t real anymore but does not want to die and disappear. I looked at him and started crying in silence. Suddenly, the past came rushing in like a flood, filling every corner of my being. Because he was me, only much younger and way more innocent than I am now.

 I hadn’t been able to see myself like that in a long time and I seemed to have changed. Well, it was expected to be that way because many years had passed, more than a decade in fact. Not only had my physical appearance changed a bit but also what I had inside my head. It was like seeing a mirage in the middle of the desert and just standing away from it, hoping it won’t vanish. Because if it does then it doesn’t exist anymore and it fails to become something real, something that I can point to when trying to explain who I am.

 That was one of those damn questions I wanted to answer so bad back then. I really wanted to know who the hell I was and how I had become who I was and how I could move forward. The need to know myself was first and foremost in my mind, so much that it was shortly after when I started stepping outside of my comfort zone, making it easier for others to take advantage of me without me actually realizing it. I was so much younger in mind and body, and so silly and plain. But I guess I was also brave, beyond my wildest dreams.

 I know that because I can see myself now, what I do and what I’ve done and all of that can only be the result of someone having the balls to run away from his or her life and just go for it, whatever “it” is. I never realized the dangers I had faced and that many of the moments I had forgotten were forgotten for a reason. Because it was then, and not before, when I realized that life is not so simple and so easy as many make it seem. Life can be horrible and tiring and just too much for a young person to handle. Just too much sometimes.

 I had no idea before that, of all the things that awaited me. And I know many think that it’s precisely that what gives life its meaning. That mystery and the unknown are supposed to be what living is all about. But they never tell us how frightening it is or how horrible it can be sometimes. You do things and then you realized you have crossed several lines created by mankind in order to controls us and you freak out because you’re not that innocent little boy anymore. You’re a grown man doing things, left and right, and they could be a deal breaker in life with many people or even yourself.

 A movie was the one that made me think all about this. A beautiful simple movie rocked my brain and made me remember moments and facts that I had completely forgotten. Moments populated with actions and thoughts and people, all of them part of that big dream we all call the past. And that dream keeps getting larger and larger and I have no idea if I should keep believing in that dream. Maybe that was the reason why, all of a sudden, everything exploded inside my head. Maybe I have to make a choice.

 But I don’t want to. Because choices in this world are never permanent, they are never something you take to your grave. Choices always get mutated and manipulated, whether you do it or others do it. Nothing is permanent, so why should I do something that makes anything seem forever when, I know for a fact, that forever doesn’t really exist? It’s a thing in our heads that makes us think about our legacy or how capable we are to survive our own lives but the truth is that we don’t. We die and that’s it for us. Nothing more.

 Watching the “me” from the past makes me feel very bad, it hurts me very deep. I disappointed him, so I try to avoid looking directly into his eyes. Because I know that even that figment of my imagination, of that past we keep recalling, can understand that my life did not get to be what we always thought it would be. The paths I walked on are not the ones we always thought we would walk on. And my life is not the life of someone in a movie, but the life a lonely boy who doesn’t really matter in this world.

 None of us really matter, by the way. I don’t want to sound as if everything had happened to me and only me. It is the world that doesn’t give a shit about any of us and that’s why our pasts or presents or futures are not important. Even if we become the worst person on the planet tomorrow, nature has an expiration date on all of us, and that will never change. So the mistakes we’ve done and will do, are never really important in the grand scheme of things. It’s just that we think too much about ourselves as a species.

 Thinking condemns us every single day or at least it should. Most people are drones who live their lives from one side to the other, never really thinking about themselves in a profound way. They fill their lives with things in order to fill holes that they don’t even know if they have or not.  They have friendships and relationships and try to be as similar as the norm says, because if you step out of the line traced by people before you, then you’re on your own and no one will help you survive. You will have to learn how to navigate life by yourself and that’s scary, so few people actually go down that way.

 The only thing I can do now is to wait for my memories to go back to sleep, deep inside my head. They will fall in a deep slumber because they know I have no use for them right now. But they will always be there, waiting in the dark for me to need them or for them to teach me a lesson about myself, again.

 As for the movie, it’s something that happened and now it’s gone. I will probably reflect on it some more but, as I have no one to talk to about it, the need to have that on my mind will also die down. And he will go back deep inside my soul and not comeback for a very long while.

 However, I’m sure I’ll see him again. At least once more before the end.

miércoles, 23 de mayo de 2018

Synthetics


   The small teddy bear looked out through the railing, trying to catch a glimpse of what the other were looking at: indeed, some kind of ship was descending rapidly through the thick clouds that engulfed the tower and soon disappeared beneath them. It was well known by every synthetic life form, that the Spire had been built tall enough to observe anything happening in the vicinity, for thousands of kilometers. The air was very thin up there but that wasn’t a problem for their kind. It had never been.

 Teddy pulled back from the railing and descended with other synthetics to level Ninety, where they had their quarters. Some others were still in the elevator when it closed, as they were heading for the tracking center in the lower levels. Most of those synthetics were what one would call scientists and anything that seemed odd or out of place was extremely interesting to them. For Teddy though, something falling from the sky was not that much of a new thing, as he had seen it happen so many times.

 Secretly, most synthetics were hoping one of those things falling from the sky would be a ship piloted by their former masters, the former rulers of that world. They had left thousands of years ago, leaving behind many of their creations. The synthetics had been something like their offspring and they had been abandoned from one day to the other. It hadn’t happened for no reason: the planet had become toxic for their masters and if they wanted to survive they had to leave as soon as it was possible for them.

 The consequence was leaving their planet to the synthetics, which over the years, decided to take charge of things and try to make the planet more hospitable. It took a very long time, but the air in the surface eventually became breathable and they were even able to recreate water and vegetation, as it had been in the past. Of course, synthetics had no need for all of that as they couldn’t breathe or feel like their former masters, but it was the sense of achievement and purpose that drove them to do all of that.

 Teddy had belonged, so long ago, to a series of children, all from the same family. He had no recollection of when and how he had been made but he knew that he was one of very few toys that could actually interact with their owners in a more realistic way. However, he was left behind as if he had been another working droid, with no mind or soul of his own. He always wondered why he had been left behind and many answers would often come up in his head. The one he liked the most was the one where his owner had just being forced to leave him there, so no one was to blame.

 When the darkness of the night came, the synthetics took their time to recharge and fix themselves if they had to. Teddy had been repaired fairly recently, so he was working just fine. He was about to power down in order to rest for a while, not that synthetics needed it, when an alarm was heard all over the Spire. Through a series of speakers, every single inhabitant of the tallest structure on Earth was able to hear one of their top scientists say that, the ship that had fallen from the sky seemed to have brought back a human.

  Everyone went insane. Some more than others. It has to be said that most of them still missed, in one way or the other, their old masters. They didn’t think much of the fact that they had been left there alone, on a decaying planet. Most synthetics felt that humans had been obliged to do what they did, so there was no such thing as a choice. Many dreamt of the day they could encounter humans again, in order to show them how well they had evolved and how they had recuperated their planet from certain doom.

 Everyone descended to the lowest level of the Spire and did something they very rarely, if ever, did: they gathered outside, at night, by the tower, and waited until everyone was there. When realized they were complete, the scientists exposed their findings while talking from a boulder that was higher than the rest of the synthetics. That way they could speak loud and their voice would reach even the smallest synthetics like Teddy, who decided to sit down as he heard what his companions had to say.

 They showed images of the ship, taken earlier by a drone. The metallic transportation was interesting in shape, but synthetics had never really been that interested in moving beyond the planet. So travelling from somewhere very far to there, was not something that impressed them or interested them. However, the last few pictures revealed what they had all descended to see. Just before the drone had left the area, the ship had opened some kind of door and a silhouette could be seen walking out of the ship.

 Maybe it was the dirt being moved by the wind or the fact that the drone was not fully charged when it started its adventure, but the pictures were not top quality at all. The shape everyone could see in the pictures was indeed something that looked like a human, as most of them did by the way, but who says that no other creatures in the universe has been created the same way? Everyone was in doubts, discussing their points of view, their overall reaction. Then, the scientists announced an expedition to leave for the landing site in order to encounter the creature, whatever it was.

 As they were all connected via a special network, the chosen ones to go to the ship were chosen in a few seconds. Teddy had insisted to go but he was afraid he would be denied the opportunity. However, he was accepted on the grounds that his general aspect might prove to be an advantage if the visitor was indeed a human. After all, he was smaller than most synthetics and his appearance was soft and adorable. No one would dare harm such a cute little bear, or at least not it if they knew what he was and what he was created to do.

 The team left that very night, in order to get there before sundown. The landing site was not that near but they could reach it easily with transportations they had rebuilt after the humans had left. They had their versions of trains and cars, and also planes and even helicopters. They chose to hop on to something very similar to a jeep and go on their way. No one talked during the trip, as they were all very nervous of what they would encounter. What if it was something else, something dangerous?

 The moment they reached the site, they were amazed at how clean the ship looked. It sparkled in the sun, as it was setting. It had only a couple of windows and the rocket busters to help it come down were easily visible. They didn’t have much time to take a look: when one of them approached the ship, the door opened as it had happened on the images the drone had taken. And, as in the pictures too, a creature came out through the door and greeted them. None of them could really believe what they were watching.

 It wasn’t a human. It was a synthetic, just like them. It was just more refined and clean; its parts were made from things no one on Earth had ever seen. He actually looked like a human, walked like one and even talked like one. But they knew he wasn’t real, he wasn’t one of the former masters. It was another one of their creations, just like they themselves had been all those years ago. For a while, they just looked at each other, confirming that all of what they were thinking was correct.

 When it spoke though, the synthetics realized something very important about it: it had been sent by the humans to their former planet, in order to check on it and see what had become of the place they had once called home. The android even played a video for them, recorded a long time ago.

 A human male and a human woman explained their curiosity to see their former planet but also their sadness that the ship would take many years to reach it. However, they thought it was worth their time and effort. And the synthetics agreed, even if they didn’t really know what to do next.

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

Through the Alps


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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