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

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

No end

   As everyone celebrated on the streets and in their homes, Veronica wandered through the rubble trying to feel as happy as most people around her were. But it wasn’t possible or at least it was very hard to do so. Even smiling felt like a chore, like something you would do only to please people but not because you really felt it inside. There was a feeling of incompletion around, as if all the sacrifices of the war had not been enough to end every single type of hostility that many people harbored against one another.

 As she walked the streets, some lit and others not so much, she realized that the world after the war would be in chaos. Yes, everyone was cheering and celebrating right now, probably drinking stolen articles and launching fireworks that had been banned for so long. But after all of that happiness, a moment of truth and reflection would have to come and the atrocities of war would have to be addressed. For example, not everyone was on the same side, the winning side. Some people were not celebrating.

 Well, some of them were but just because they had to survive and keep on living. It was widely assumed that trials, of sorts, would emerge from the victorious side, condemning the losing side to many years in jail, banishment from the country or even death. Even if the maximum penalty had ever been enforced legally in the country, many of the victors would want the vanquished to be treated just as them treated others during the war. There were lots of executions, on the streets even.

 Veronica was actually just passing a street she knew very well, not only because it used to be a prime shopping spot before the war, but because many people were forced to stand in front of the former storefronts in order to be killed with guns. It was horrible to think about those moments, the images that would never going to leave anyone’s mind. That could never be overlooked, the fact that a large amount of the people now alive had killed at least one person over the last seven years.

 Everyone’s hands were tainted with blood; there wasn’t a single innocent, not even the children. They were used so many times to lure the kindness out of people, that all of their innocence had vanished. Many children were now celebrating the end of the war, just like adults. And the ones that were too small were orphans or just dead. Every single person had done something horrible during the war and now they chose not to remember that because it was a clear image of how disgusting and vile a human could get. So many atrocities in such a relatively short period of time.

 Veronica reached the gates of the Compound just as the night was darkest. She had to use a pocket lantern she had found days earlier, in order to go inside and check out the place for herself. The prison or camp or however you may call it, had been liberated only a few months before the end of the war but it looked as if it had happened many years ago. The place was covered in ash and debris, and the gates, doors and windows had been torn apart or had simply disappeared from sight.

 She walked from the entrance to a large yard area were she knew people had been selected. You see, not everyone was imprisoned in the same place. They had categories and each category had their own building in the premises of the Compound. The differences between each building were in the treatment given by the jailers. For example, former members of state entities and such would receive a better treatment there than homosexuals or blacks. Just the same as it had happened so many years ago, elsewhere.

 The Compound had surprisingly not been built by the losing side, as one would think. It had been built by the so-called winners, by the so-called heroes of the war. In some parts of the country, people were already designing statues for them to be put in every single park, in every single town. They had been the ones fighting for justice and freedom but they clearly didn’t respect their enemies’ rights at all. They were just as vile and vengeful as all the other people. They were not different.

 Veronica walked through the large yard in order to get to the only building that had been kind of spared by the last bombs the “enemy” had dropped from the sky. That was how the prison got its freedom. It hadn’t been an act of kindness. It was just the result of the last desperate attack from the would-be losers of the war. They had sent the few planes they still had and just bombarded the jail were their family members and friends had been imprisoned. They believed it was better to be dead that a prisoner.

 So pride made them act on that last move. And they succeed in destroying the prison and liberating some of their people from it. But only days later they would realize their days were counted and that their fate had already been sealed, well before the attack on the Compound. Veronica saw on the floor of the building some bone fragments, as well as fabric that used to be made into uniforms for the prisoners. There were also several metal plates and bowls, and a large assortment of cutlery. Maybe the prisoners had staged a mutiny as the bombs lit everything on fire.

 After a short time, she decided to leave the Compound through “the back door”, which was actually a large gap in the tall wall of the complex. She didn’t want to stay there too long in case the “winners” were patrolling the premises looking for someone to practice shooting with. She adjusted her backpack and walked on, towards very dark park covered with grand beautiful trees. The place was covered in shadows but even that way it felt like somewhere one would feel at ease.

 The park was one of the largest in the city and it was used to process many of the prisoners of the Compound. But apparently cold heads prevailed and no one ever really destroyed it on purpose or tore the trees down. Some of them had received damage from the bombs that were dropped in the nearby prison, but the building between the two sites had prevented the fire to really destroy the last green place in the city. It had been a miracle that most people were ignoring in that precise moment.

 Veronica walked along the central path of the park, hearing her steps on the stone and the wind blowing through the tree leaves. Everything felt so peaceful, and she was very glad to be there but even then she felt all of that could not be forever. She knew things were going to be bad for a while and she was alone and no one could just come and be with her. Her family had died during the war and those were not times of real friendship, just of convenient relationships that no one knew how long they would last.

 The best thing to do, maybe, was to leave the country altogether. It was a difficult choice to make and also a hard thing to achieve, but Veronica had nothing else to loose. She was carrying everything she owned on the backpack: some pieces of clothing and a couple of objects she had rescued from her former house. She had also stolen some food from a ruined supermarket, but that was it. She could easily walk her way towards the border and attempt to cross it. Or maybe get into a boat and sail away.

 Whatever she did, she had to do it quietly and carefully, as she had no intent of driving attention onto herself. No one was looking for her specifically, but everything around there was going to become very unstable and she knew that’s when unlikely things tend to happen the most.

 She decided to leave the city that night, taking advantage of most people celebrating the end of the war. As they raised glasses, told jokes, remembered family and friends, Veronica would banish into the night and attempt to forever disappear from that other night, one that would never end.

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Afraid of them

   Each one of them had to be eliminated. There was no point in trying to argue this logic. The fact remained that all of them had been witnessed of something they shouldn’t have and they needed to be killed before they could say a word to anyone. Lucas did a very thorough list where he wrote the name of each person that had seen him move that object with his mind. Every single one of them had to be destroyed unless he considered them to be harmless with that knowledge.

 Actually, he did consider that for a while. After all, it wasn’t like he knew them all personally. All of the opposite, he couldn’t care less about who they were and he did try to convince himself that none of them had seen absolutely anything on that night. But then, someone was stupid enough to tell someone else, maybe as a funny story, and Lucas had to take care of it before it couldn’t expand beyond those two people. His watchful eye had been right then and he concluded it should be a definite answer.

 But, as he planned everything, he thought that probably every single one of those people didn’t really know what they had seen. Maybe they were confused and had decided to deny it or even rejected what their eyes had brought to them because their beliefs did not match any of what was happening with that unique moment in time. It was possible that people weren’t as bad and terrible as he thought they were. But then someone spoke about it and then someone else did and he realized what he had to do.

 A total of one hundred and fifty three people would have to be killed. That was the amount of people that had seen the large explosion he had caused very high in the atmosphere. He had caused that by pushing a bomb that was going to detonate, destroying a whole town. His reaction was to use his mind to push the object as high as he could. That way, the bomb would go off but harming no one. His effort almost caused him to faint but he bomb successfully detonated away from town.

 The problem was that, during that night, the monthly fair of the small town was taking place and, at least, a thousand people were there, eating and enjoying many rides and games. So was he and it was just after winning a plushy on a booth that he discovered the plans of a mad man and had only second to propel the bomb up into the night sky and hope his plan worked. That was why so people had seen his feat and that’s why know he needed to eliminate them all, as they couldn’t be allowed to know what he did, least of all tell anyone else about it.

 For many weeks, he decided to listen to every single person he remembered in the fair. The good thing was that he had a photographic memory and he was able to a complete list of people that had seen the explosion high up in the sky. After that, he followed every single one of them and checked on their lives to see if they had spoken about him at all. This they didn’t know, but he had very good hearing, able to hear a person speaking from many kilometers away, which he used to his advantage.

 He would spend hours hearing what a family talked about during and after dinner. Lucas did that in order to convince himself that maybe some of the people would be able to keep their mouths shut, for the good of the future and because they were afraid to say something out loud that seemed a little bit too crazy. However, that first family finally talked about it almost a week after it had happened. There was no choice in Lucas’s mind. So he entered the house at night and killed them with care.

 The idea was that he didn’t want the police or anyone else to think that someone had silenced those people. Instead, he wanted them to believe that all of these people had died of natural causes. Of course, after the first few, imagination would begin to be much more difficult to harness. But, thankfully, not much of it was needed because no one questioned the first deaths. It was all seen as a coincidence or as tragic ending stories for very happy and, sometimes, very sad stories.

 When he wasn’t doing what he was doing, he punished himself physically for what he did. He did so because it was obvious that he wasn’t killing criminals but all of the other people instead, the good ones, the ones that had families, and something they loved doing and lives that shouldn’t be disruptive of someone who wasn’t able to find another solution for an immediate answer. Lucas blamed himself for not having been able to handle things in a different way, for having to kill.

 Yet, he couldn’t change his plans now that he has started to execute. It wouldn’t make any sense to ignore them and let oust him as what he was. They couldn’t understand what was happening and what had been happening to him since when he was a teenager. Although he had received training, Lucas had never been able to master the complete arts of mind control and everything that had any connection to it. People wouldn’t understand that having those abilities was more of a curse than a blessing. And he couldn’t explain carefully to anyone, it would take much too long.

 Two weeks after his initial decision, only forty-two of the former group was still live. He had killed most of them during their sleep so they could be able to avoid pain and everything related to it. Lucas hated himself every single time he had to do it and would have loved to have a second opinion but there was no one there except him and his plan. He couldn’t be stopped and he honestly regretted that because a good person always wants to be stopped when they do something for the greater good.

 More often than not, the greater good is a way to shield oneself from criticism and understanding. He would have loved all those little children and the adults to understand that he didn’t want to hurt them but that he knew very well, after hearing all of them, that most would like to have his abilities or at least be able to see them in action once more. Once they had seen something so strange, they really wanted to see it again and again, until time came that it made no sense or they decided to be afraid.

 And fear was his number one enemy. Many of them had already planned to speak loud and clear about what they had seen and whom they had seen doing it. Although they felt a little bit of envy, fear was the key in making them move against what had fascinated them at the start. All of those he killed first were that kind of people, thinking they were doing this country a great service by pushing a fellow human into the pool of hungry sharks that was the military or even worse.

No, his powers had to die with him and that was it. He completed his mission almost a year after he had decided that was the only solution. There was no one to recognize that but at least he was in peace, or something close to that, at last. He also decided to never use his powers again, even at home where no one could actually see him. His short run as a powerful man was over. Lucas had so many other things to be worried about and he was glad everything now was on the past.

 But that never actually happened because the death of all those people was on his hands. It doesn’t matter what this intentions were back then, he had killed all of those people in order to protect himself. Every single day, he had to be convinced that what he did was the only choice. But then, months after finishing, a voice appeared in the back of his head and it told him something that he wasn’t expecting: an alternative. His own brain wanted to explain to Lucas how things could have been so different. But at the end of the day, he had to live with what he had learned.

sábado, 13 de agosto de 2016

The secret of Moon Bay

   The massive ship entered the silent waters of the Moon Bay. The silent fishermen villages could be seen from it, waiting to be attacked and pillaged. The pirates aboard the ship were getting ready to do what they did best, drinking wine and recalling past victories. However, their captain was on the observation deck, contemplating the bay were he had been born all those years ago. It was his first time back and he was thinking about telling his men to stand down and retire to the open ocean.

 Captain Fox was renowned as one of the most vicious pirates in all the seven seas. But that night, he felt as a kid, unprotected and filled with emotion because of the place he was in. He had been taken from his home from a very young age and he had never known what it was to have a family. His crew was his family but he felt that wasn’t the same thing, especially when he had seen true family love in his past raids.

 When the men were ready, he was unable to say anything. Captain Fox authorized them to set the first town on fire and take all they wanted from it. There were only a few houses there, so not many people. Fox stayed on his ship as he saw his men rowing in the silent night, slowly taking the town by surprised. From his place, he was able to see the houses catch on fire, he heard the screams and he even felt something strange, a certain uneasy feeling that he had never felt before as a pirate.

 As expected, the men returned almost empty handed.  Village of fishermen was not an interesting target and Captain Fox was sure of it. He told his men that they needed to go back to the open ocean and then plan the raid of a real big city or at least of towns that had something more to offer than rotten fish. But his men argued that they were hungry and that they needed the fish to survive. None of them was smart enough to make a net and use it a way to get food.

 Without permission, the pirates attacked the second village. That one took longer to fully take over but they did. When they came back from the shore, Fox noticed they had brought someone with them. It was an elder, and old woman who was shaking and seemed to be on the edge of dying of how scared she was. Fox told his men to hold her in the empty cabin and not in the lower cells.

 His men obliged as they ate and celebrated the fact that they had a decent dinner for the first time in a month. The captain when to his room and tried to sleep but the noise his men made was difficult to ignore. Besides, he just couldn’t rest. There was something pressing his chest. Maybe it was being in Moon Bay again or maybe it was realizing he was becoming a very weak captain.

 He decided to join his men for a beer and some fish, seeing he wasn’t going to be sleeping for the next few hours. On his way to the staircase, he passed the cabin where the old woman was and the door there was wide open. He returned to see the woman sitting on the bed, in complete silence and darkness. However, he could feel something was wrong. Fox decided to enter the place and talk to her. Maybe she needed to know she wasn’t going to die there. When he was about to touch her shoulder, the woman looked at him with glowing red eyes.

 In some strange tongue, she said various words. She began saying them in a normal register but then she raised her voice and look upward, to the bridge. The captain then heard some noises above but he didn’t move because he wasn’t able to. He was very scared and wanted to do something, whether it was running away or stabbing the old woman with his sword. But he just couldn’t do any of those things. Something was preventing him from doing so.

 The woman had stopped speaking but her eyed were still very much red. After a moment, she spoke again, her voice amplified a thousand times. It was like receiving a massive wave on the face and being pushed a long distance by it. She told him he was a sun of the bay and that he shouldn’t have come back.

 That made Fox less scared somehow. How did she knew that he had been born there and why shouldn’t he be there? The woman then stood up from the bed and stretched out a hand towards him, as if she was going to grab something. And it felt like she did: the captain couldn’t properly breath, his eyes going blurry and his legs feeling very weak. It hurt a lot inside his chest and he still couldn’t move at all. It was torture, the worst kind.

 When she finally stopped, he was very dizzy. The old woman had driven him very close to the edge of death. She moved her hand again and then he was able to move but only to collapse on the floor like a bunch rocks. His breathing was heavy and he couldn’t talk but he knew he had been very close to the end. He looked at her and she looked at him. It was a strange connection that they maintained for a while.

 The witch told him Moon Bay was a haunted place. The villages there were nothing but illusions. All those things his men had done that night were scenes played out in their heads. There were no real villagers or fish or wine. It was all her, as she was the last surviving inhabitant of the area. No one else there lived and it was because someone else had been there before the pirates, setting everything on fire.

 She told Fox that it was that warrior, that creature made in hell itself, which had entered the bay in a similar night and had set on fire every single soul there except her. She was able to hold him for a while but he was too powerful to be stopped by an older woman. Her magic tricks were nothing against his darkness and villainy. However, he spared her life and made her stay there forever, attached to the waters of the bay, waiting for any adventurers trying to take what that devil had taken.

 Captain Fox was able to speak, even if his chest was aching too much. He wanted to know why that creature, if real, had left her there. Why her and for what purpose? The woman laughed like mad. She was surprised he didn’t realize she was a slave of the devil that had burned those waters. By magic, she was attached to the place and obliged to kill anyone who entered the bay. She had to offer their lives to his cause. That would make him stronger for his return.

 So he was going to come back and set the world on fire once and for all. She said it was not going to happen for another couple of hundreds of years but that his reign was unstoppable. There was no way to prevent it from happening. The captain asked the woman if she could be able to break free from the shackles she had been put in. Her expression went somber and turned away from him. The answer was obvious.

 The old woman changed the subject, telling the pirate that she had only let his men take her to the boat because she wanted to speak with him, as she had an idea to try and tilt everything in her favor, at least once. He didn’t understand. She explained that she knew his parents very well, the witch knew exactly who he was and remembered the day he had been taken away by a group of pirates. She told him about the tears they cried and how they did during the creature’s first raid.

 They had been very brave and had asked her, just as the monster neared, to cast a special spell making their boy immune to the powers of hell. After all that time since he had been gone, they still loved him and wanted to protect him against the outmost evil. She did so and that’s why she was onboard, to tell him he had a chance, a long shot at making the devil pay.

 Before he could ask anything of her, she said some more words and vanished, turning into thick black fog that disappeared in seconds. The captain ran to the bridge of his vessel to see if he could call her back but he was stopped as he saw the bodies of all his men. It had been her but only because It had ordered it. It was then when Fox realized he had to think his next step very well.

sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

Paradise is not safe

   The sandstorm was slowly subsiding. For a couple of hours, every grain of sand in the desert had been lifted and sent several kilometers further from where it had been for months. Storms were not uncommon as the desert had them very often, especially in the summer month when the weather there got even worse.  It was a dangerous and unforgiving place, but it could also be beautiful and peaceful.

 There was a small oasis, containing a rather large pond, which had resisted to the wind and the forces of nature. To any traveller, it surely seemed like an illusion because it wasn’t very common to see all that water in the middle of the desert. A flock of orange birds arrived just as the sand settled, sitting on the palm trees and, from time to time, flying low over the pond to get their feathers wet in order to clean them.

 It was a small paradise. Some hours later, another creature came close to the oasis. It was a human and it was wearing a full mask over the face but, whoever it was, also had uncovered arms and tight pants that were smeared with mud and sand dust. The human was riding a camel, which was barely walking. As resistant as they were, it was clear this one had gone through a lot and really needed to get rest. Just a few meters away from reaching the pond, the came collapsed and the human hit the ground hard.

 For a long time, maybe a couple of hours, the person stayed there, with the face on the sand and the legs crossed in a very weird angle. The camel had stopped breathing the moment it collapsed. Whoever that person was, there was no ride that could take him or her back to civilization. Now, the desert had become even larger with the death of the camel. But nature and the orange birds ignored this. To them, it was all the same.

 When the human woke up, it ran to the water, fast, as if something was very wrong. It moved a lot in the water. Apparently, removing the mask was much harder that envisioned. After a few minutes of struggle, a shorthaired woman came out of the water and sat on the edge of the pond. She had to cut through the mask with her nails and she had hurt herself a bit by doing so as the material had become difficult to breath in because of the sand.

 She looked around, watching the orange birds and her dead ride, as well as some small twister far in the distance. The storm had not entirely died out. But that wasn’t really the problem. The real problem was being in the middle of nowhere with no way to survive. She looked at her reflection on the water and saw the small cuts she had given herself with her fingernails. She also realized how tired she looked and how her arms were burned by the very hot desert sun.

 Unwilling to stay put, she decided to dig with her own hands a grave for the camel. It was not only out of respect, but also because she didn’t want certain animals to come there looking for a meal. Burying her camel was hard, as it had been a gift from a person that had saved her some days ago and now that gift had left her stranded in the middle of nowhere. She actually had no idea who that person was because, as she was, the person also had a covered face. But the woman felt it had been another female prisoner back in that place.

 All kinds of memories were rushing back to her head and dug the grave: she had been a long time on a prison right there in the desert. It was run by legionnaires, men that were dedicated to the preservation of those colonies, places where they had no place to be in but there they were. Besides, she knew they hated woman because female prisoners always had worse punishments if they did something wrong. For stealing a loaf of bread for example, a woman would be flogged in the yard twenty times. A man would only get one punch in the stomach and that was it.

 But one night, something had happened. Apparently the prison had been attacked by desert dwellers and it the chaos, the woman that had given her the camel had appeared and liberated her from her chains. She helped her getting some clothes too and the mask in order to survive the harsh conditions of the desert.

 The shorthaired woman dragged the camel centimeter by centimeter, being a very heavy creature. She knew it was a waste to bury it and not eat it but she had no knife or a way to make fire. She couldn’t keep the creature’s milk and grease anywhere so there was no point in letting the camel there for the scavengers to eat. It took her several hours to get the animal in the hole she had done and some more time putting sand all over it. Finally, she rested on top of the mound she had created, shocked by the fact that she was hopeless.

 She really tried to remember her name, something that was so essential and obvious but she had no idea what it was. She had no idea either of how she had arrived to that prison. It was possible that the woman had been a thief or some sort of criminal but she really had no recollection of anything before the prison. The only image she had very clear on her mind was the one of the whole compound burning as the night became darker and she rode of on the camel. For a moment, she had wanted to go back and pick up the person that had saved her but, whoever it was, had disappeared in a matter of seconds. She wanted to thank that person, do it with her voice because she hadn’t spoken a word. But it was too late.

 Looking at the water again, she decided to take off her clothes and have another swim, this time to really clean herself up and feel like a human being again. Not that she remembered how to feel like one, but maybe she could have a revelation while in the middle of the pond. She left the tight and brown clothes near the camel mound to dry and then walked the few steps that separated her from the water. As her feet got wet again, she felt better than in any other moment in the past few months. When her whole body was in, she felt new.

 The woman sunk her head in the water and stayed there for a few seconds, realizing how great it felt to have the sun on her skin and her body all wet at the same time. She felt like a person, very different from what she had felt like in prison. She tried not to think about that, not to remember the atrocities she had lived through but it was impossible. It was the only life that she knew: the mistreatment, the dark cells, the lack of food and water, the laughs of the guards and the feeling that she was never going to see anything else than that awful place.

 A howl was heard on the wind. All thought of the prison vanished. She stood still in the water, waiting to confirm if what she had heard was real or if she had imagined it. No, there it was again. She got out of the water fast and realized it would take a while to get dry. Besides, she had no ride so she couldn’t go far. Another howl made her desperate, looking all over the place for an answer that didn’t seem to be coming fast enough. What should she do?

 The howling creature was a man, the leader of the guards in the prison. He rode a stallion, as well as the two other men that came with him. He arrived at the oasis at very high speed, which scared the orange birds from the palm trees. The three men descended from their horses and let them have a drink of water as they had a drink from the bottle they had on their waist. They also had a gun each on their belts and one of them used it to shoot a bird that had not flown. The little body dropped into the water, almost silently.

 The three men walked around the oasis and took random shots at the ground and the water. Then, their leader howled again, as they came full circle around the pond and reached their horses again. They left in a huff, the orange birds arriving shortly after.

 It was then when the woman stood up from the sand, having been breathing through a small whole which the men had ignored. They were obviously looking for escaped prisoners, which meant she wasn’t far enough from them. She unearthed her clothes from the ground, put them on and started walking. Maybe she had no chance but she couldn’t stare there forever. Paradise was not safe.