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

miércoles, 11 de octubre de 2017

The day he wanted to be someone else

   Trying to sleep on that big room was an impossible task. Not only the windows had cracks that let the cold wind of the night in, the stone floor prevented anything to be very warm, even under the covers. It was a dreadful place to stay for a night and John had to stay there for, at least, a whole week. It had not been his choice to go on such a remote place for a vacation. If it had been for him, he would have stayed in his cozy tiny apartment, with his cat Michael.

 But a letter had come on the mail telling him to wait for its writer during that week. It didn’t specify a date and the only thing he could learn out of it was that, whoever had wrote the letter, he or she knew a lot about him and about his family. In three pages, he wrote things that only a family member would know. It was very eerie but John had a sister and a brother, so his first reaction was to think it was one of them, or maybe even his parents, who would be most likely to actually written a letter in paper.

 After finishing the letter he emailed his family and told them it was a very funny joke, especially with his birthday approaching, but they all responded that same day telling him they had nothing to do with a letter. They even joked that the world was too advanced for such thing and that they hadn’t touched a piece of paper or a ballpoint pen in years. And to be honest, John hadn’t done either of those things either in a long time. Paper and pens where only in banks. So who was behind all of it?

 He decided not to respond and just doing nothing. Maybe it had been mailed to him by mistake or maybe it was just a very bad joke. There are people in the world that don’t really have a good sense of humor. Many have a deviant kind of humor that only a few people understand and sometimes only them. But the letter was not even funny, on any level. Maybe it was just a random thing, someone hoping to get a reaction out of the blue. It was possible, John said to himself.

 However, as the dates in the letter grew closer, John received another letter. It had the same kind of calligraphy but this time it was way shorter, more concise and had a certain air of urgency. The person that had written knew that it was difficult to believed someone that knew him so well was written but it clarified that it was a matter of life and death. The letter begged for John to go to where it was indicated and wait there for more information. He had to trust his instinct. And then the letter finished with a simple but resonating phrase: “You have to come because you need to close that chapter for good”.

 That really scared John. He had never discussed his past with anyone else. Not even his family knew everything that had happened to him when he was younger, the things he did when he was out of the house. John had always been the kind of child to stay behind, to have a small amount of friends and prefer to play with toys or videogames at home instead of going outside. But he did try to be another kind of person and it was then when it all happened. The trip reminded him of everything.

 He arrived to that sad hotel the day the week indicated in the letter began. He had to ask for a special permit in his office, permit that was strangely granted very fast. It was not very common for him or anyone else there to get permission to leave for a whole week that easily. The whole situation felt really strange, as if someone else had had some sort of hand in the whole matter. It was a very scary situation but he decided to ignore those facts and just do what he felt he had to do.

 The hotel was the only one in that small town, located about three hours away by road. As he had decided a long time ago not to drive a car, he had to take the bus and that experience was worse than anything because of the delays and all of the walking he had to do. It wasn’t that he hated walking around or anything, more that he really didn’t wanted to move more than necessary for whoever had lured him to that far away place. The town was made of maybe twenty blocks, more or less.

 The hotel felt more like a cemetery than nothing else. The only difference was the fact that there was a roof over his had. Aside from that, you could really feel the same kind of cold weather; the same ripe smell all over and that very sad light that makes you feel unhappy about being alive. The second day there, he woke up rather early. After a cold shower, he decided to walk around town and hope he could find the person he was looking for right then. Or should that be the other way around?

 The cold wind was powerful, descending from a mountain range that seemed to be really close. A woman in the grocery store told him the temperature was always the same every single day of the year. No summer days, even if the sunny was high up above them. The rays of sunlight also felt cold in that part of the world. She also realized John was a visitor and she recommended him to go to the nearby hills for some fresh air. She assured him it was much less depressing than the small town. Hearing her say that, gave him a little bit of hope, which felt out of place.

 He went to the hills every single day, for the next few days. On day six, he decided to leave the following morning very early. All that time in such a small town was making him insane. He wanted to hear noise again, to hear babies complaining and people being awful to each other in the street. He wanted to hear the sound of cars and planes and trains and he wanted to have his cat Michael next to him to warm up his feet before going to bed. He didn’t belong there.

 That day, he walked all over the place and stayed in the hotel lobby for at least three hours after lunch in order for his so-called host to come and tell him what it was that he knew, what the hell he wanted to speak with him about. He waited and waited, hearing the sound of the clock and the snoring of the man that tended the front desk. He wanted that awful week to end and was furious to have been made to spend one of his legal holiday weeks in such a sad a depressing town.

 In the afternoon, he headed off to the hills again. He did like to see the landscape, the mountain and a river far away. Sometimes there were some sheep around and he loved to caress them. That day they came again and he wanted to touch them one last time but they left suddenly, as a figure wearing a large overcoat walked towards him. It was a man, a very frail looking man, maybe the same age as he was. When he was closer, John was able to see a scar above one of his eyebrows.

 Then, he gasped and walked back a bit, scared of this vision of the past. Even without saying a word, he knew who that person was. As a teenager trying to get people to like him and having friends, John had stolen the keys to one of his classmates’ parents’ car. It had been done on a dare. He had to steal the keys and drive the car down the road. It was a short trip, a crime without victim. Or so he thought. The man standing in front of him was the kid he had run over that day, so many years ago.

 He had always thought the kid was dead. He had left them there, on the pavement, to die. He had turned around the car and left it at that. He always thought the police would find him. But nothing ever happened and John eventually learned not to think about that day.


 And yet, there he was, the victim of his attempts to be a normal kid. John wanted to be someone else and all he could produce was a horrible accident. His victim had traced him down for a long time and had been watching, waiting for his moment to come forward.

lunes, 4 de septiembre de 2017

Singin' ain't so

   From her earliest youth, Jessica knew exactly who she wanted to be. She wanted to be a singer, to spend her days on top of a stage and just please millions of people with her voice and personality. She insisted so much to her parents that they finally accepted to pay for acting lessons and singing lessons. They didn’t really support her aside from the money aspect, so every single thing that happened afterwards was done only by that young idealist girl who wanted to eat the world.

 She spent every single weekend practicing in her singing school and at home. Her family didn’t really like it because her voice was not very good at the beginning. And even when she improved it, it was still very annoying for people that just wanted to relax at home after long days at school or at the office. Jessica sometimes left the house and sang outside, walking to the store or the park. In her mind, she had to keep using her voice until someone noticed her.

 In all the magazines, her favorite singers and stars told the stories of their discovery exactly in the same way: someone had seen them in a public space; sometimes it was the supermarket and others in an ice-cream parlor. The point was that they just saw them around and knew that they could be amazing artists. As she wanted to be a singer, she decided to sing in the park sometimes, hoping for people to stop by and just stay for a while, enchanted by her voice and talent.

 Jessica convinced her best friend Anna to play the guitar while she sang. Anna had been pressured by her parents from a young age, leading a very different life than the one her friend had. She had been told that by the age of ten she should know how to play at least three instruments, and one of those was the guitar. She accepted Jessica’s request after her friend said that it was the best way to be far from her mother, who was always telling her what to do, even in summer holidays.

 They started doing their small shows when they were around thirteen years old. They would sing five songs, chosen that same morning by the both of them. They had to do an act that would attract young people to the park but also adults that had connections to the artistic world in order for them to get noticed by a label. Anna was not as optimistic as Jessica, but she supported her nevertheless, mainly because it was such a fun time to have every so often. It didn’t happen every day, that would have been impossible, but they sat on the lawn of the park as often as they could.

Four years passed, very slowly for Jessica and very fast for Anna. They had only one more year of high school to go and then they would be sent to college. Their respective families had been saving for a long time and it would only be the right thing to do to keep studying and go on to live a life where they could be someone. But Jessica had already chosen who she wanted to be and nothing could ever change that. I her mind, she had a year to breakthrough and then, it would be undiscovered country.

 Anna was always checking universities on her laptop, even moments before their musical outgoings. She would tell all of the details to Jessica, who never really paid attention. She was too busy memorizing the lines of several songs or learning about her favorite artists. She had her room all decorated with several pictures of them as well as of other artists and bands that had come before. Her aim was to be in one of those posters in the future, inspiring other young girls to be the best they could be.

 However, life has a way of laughing at people’s dreams. One of those days, in which they sang on the park, Anna was late with her guitar, as her mother had decided to argue about the prospects of university. She wanted her daughter to study to be a chemist or a biologist. However, Anna wanted to learn something that required more creativity, more freedom. She had seen a lot of brochures about design schools, film schools and others like those. She wanted more than what she already had.

 As they fought with her mother, she forgot that time was passing and that Jessica was not the most patient human on Earth. Once before, Anna had been five minutes late and she had been received by a furious Jessica yelling at her a bunch of things about decency and manners that a person in the artistic world should have. She also said some hurtful things and it made Anna regret her decision to help her friend. Jessica apologized later but made her promised she was not going to be late ever again.

 But she was. Jessica had been waiting for a while. As winter was coming, the clouds and the sky turned darker sooner than before. It was the perfect moment for a criminal coming from outside of town to attack her right there, in the park. He covered her face and dragged her away from the lawn and into a wooded area, where he gagged her and raped her. A woman walking her dog found her the following day. Jessica had passed out the day prior and was still asleep when she was found. Not even the sound of more people around her and the paramedics woke her up.

  Jessica woke up in the hospital three days after having been found. Some of her bruises were already receding. Her mother was on the room when she woke up. It was obvious she had been crying for a long while. Her father came in later and he hugged her and cried, without saying a word. It was very strange but she didn’t even try to say anything. It wasn’t that she couldn’t talk; it just seemed wiser to just listen and wait for the right moment to say the right amount of words.

 That night, the doctor told her what had happened, her parents had left only minutes prior. She cried in silence as the man told her that the police had captured the man the day before on a road. He had been cornered by them, trying to take advantage of another girl. He was so surprised to see the police that apparently let the girl go and shot himself on the mouth. The police didn’t even have a moment to properly respond or to save his life in order to get the criminal to jail.

 Jessica nodded. She wasn’t really hearing the doctor. She was thinking about her career, about her possibilities now that she had been through something that horrible. She felt physically ill, disgusted and just tired. But something in her brain made her think that it wasn’t the end or something like that. She felt that there was more to her story than just that. She made sure the doctor knew she was going to get out of that hospital bed soon in order to achiever her goals, by any means necessary.

 Sure enough, she started writing songs the moment she was able to leave the hospital. Jessica closed her room door and did not come out of there for a whole week. Her mother would bring her food and she would often tear up but not say a word. Her father stood by the doorframe and watched her, absolutely stunned that she could be that active after what had happened. It didn’t seem right, but at the same time, Jessica seemed to be in her element writing in silence.

 Three songs came out of those writing sessions. She grabbed her video camera and recorded three different videos, which she uploaded to YouTube on the same day. She sang on them about what had happened, about how she felt and about what was going through her head.


 Her music was a success. Millions of viewers saw the videos and shared them in less than a week. Soon enough, a recording label contacted her and an album was planned to be released within the year. And Anna… She never saw her again. She couldn’t forgive her.

lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

Leap of the mind

   Breathing was not easy. For one moment, less than five seconds, no oxygen had reached Louise’s brain. She was going to hear this a few hours later from Yakuto, the onboard physician. But, somehow, her whole body felt shaken by what had just happened to her. As the hatch closed, telling her she was safe inside the station, she curved into a fetal position and started crying for no apparent reason, or at leas that’s what she thought of it at the moment. She would understand more later on.

 What was on her mind, the most present idea, was the fact that she had just survived a space walk that should have killed her. She had risked too much out there and she knew very well she was going to be scolded by the captain, but she had to make a choice right there, right on the spot, and he didn’t have the balls to take the next step. She, however, did have the balls to do the move that was necessary and she simply did. She took one leap forward and did what she had always trained for.

 Inside the ship, everything was silence. They had advised her not to do what she was going to do, multiple times, once and again and again. Female and male voices coming in trying to shut down her brain but they weren’t enough to shut her up. Her brain, her being was much stronger than the will of others and it was then that she made the choice, the right one, the one that almost killed her but that had also save several lives that now kept on existing thanks to her decision.

 As the machine regulated the pressure and the oxygen levels, Louise took small breaths in and out in order to get her body aligned with the environment. She couldn’t deny she had a massive headache and that she just wanted every single sound to be shutdown immediately. But she tried to relax as much as she could because she was no superhero and she had to accept that some physical malaise had to come with such a risky move. She heard her companions on the door, but she didn’t acknowledge them.

 She closed her eyes and tried to calm her body down and then her brain. But when she tried the latter, she discovered there was something new inside of her head. It was an idea… No, it was more than that. It was something that felt real, as if she could touch it. She tried to clear her mind a little bit more and it was then when the image became clear and she saw the face of a woman. She was a bit blurry still but Louise could easily say she was a very beautiful woman, or maybe just a girl. It was too hard to guess her age but her presence was comforting.

 More banging on the door made her open her eyes and lose the image she had been so concentrated on. She realized she had a couple of tears rolling down her face and there was no way she could clean them because the helmet was still on. When the alarm finally stopped, she removed it and cleaned her face, as the other hatch opened and her friends greeted her, all very happy that she was alive, except maybe the captain who had a very stern look on his face, like a very mad father.

 However, they let her be for a while. They decided not to pester her with questions and doubts. They just helped her to the medical area and there she was injected with a special serum to sleep two Earth hours in a row, without sleeping. The doctor told her it was very necessary for her to take the drug as her body had been pushed too hard and it needed time to fix itself up. She accepted, not because of the pain she felt on her body but because of the image she had seen.

 Every time someone talked to her or she was moved from one side to the other, she remembered the image and the woman on it. She wondered wy her brain would go to someone she didn’t recognize right away just as she was dying. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to know that person. Maybe it was just a random face in the huge amount of faces that had been stocked up insider her memory for so many years. Maybe she was thinking about it too much and she was just being silly.

 The doctor waited a few test results to be fully at ease with the idea of getting her to sleep. In the meantime, several of her teammates visited her and thanked her for her bravery. They explained that some final reparations were being done but that the trip back home was a fact. In hours, they would head to Earth once again and they would all be taken back to their families, to their homes. It was all very exciting for them but not so much for Louise, as she didn’t have anyone to go back to.

 Shortly before she had been accepted into the project, her husband and daughter had been killed in a traffic accident, after a massive truck had slipped on water in the highway. Several people were killed that they but for Louise the only important names were the ones of her husband and child. She had no parents, so she had to bury them alone, practically alone. She had been training that day and felt guilty, as everyone does when something of that caliber just destroys so many lives. She had the option to stay but she just didn’t because that wouldn’t have been her.

 The moment then came when Yokuta injected her with the serum. Her arm felt weird, and then her face and then her torso and other arm. And to her whole body. It felt as if many bugs, thousands of them, had decided to throw a parade on top of her body. And she didn’t mind at all because she was suddenly extremely sleepy. It was a very nice feeling. All her teammates came to see her before she fell asleep but they were there too late: she knew that they were there but couldn’t say a word.

 Her sleep was good. Very calm and beautiful at the start. She had many of those dreams one normally has when in preschool or something. Many beautiful creatures and colors and absolutely magnificent rooms. It was all so perfect that she cried in every single dream she had and she didn’t care at all because it was all made for her. She knew that those worlds were inside of her head, so she took advantage of that and decided to enjoy every single part of the ride.

 However, the woman of her death appeared again. But this time, she wasn’t an image. She moved and spoke. Louise couldn’t really interact with her, but somehow that felt just as good. She heard her sing and then cut some vegetables into boiling water. She was making some kind of big dish. It was obvious she was very happy. The place they were in was very bright so it was difficult to see what it was like. But Louise didn’t mind if it was awful, she was at peace.

 Then, another voice came from somewhere. She knew it was from a man but there was no one to be seen around. Only that woman, that beautiful creature, cooking and laughing and singing. It was so strange and, at the same time, it felt just like something she had seen so many times, lived in even. Louise felt that moment to be just hers and it was then when she realized that only she could have memories about that moment. Because she was an only child and those were her parents.

 They had died so long ago. She had never remembered their faces or their voices. Their home was a memory that had probably died but they were there, incomplete but trying to reach her innermost feelings. It was nice and unsettling at the same time.


 She didn’t need them anymore. She never did. But she thanked space for bringing them back to her. It was because of her brave attitude that she had been given that gift. It assured her that the decision she had made after her tragedy had been the right one. It had been made for all of them.

viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Too late

   Rain would fall for hours and hours. It seemed it would never end. The storm had been lashing out against the land for many days now and only from time to time it would feel like it stopped being so harsh. But then it seemed to restart again, twice as strong, relentless against anything living in the land. Even the oceans and lakes were in turmoil. Everything was upside down and people had begun to suffer serious shortages and problems, mostly related to food and general supplies.

 What families did was to ration food and try to consume as little as they could. They hardest hit groups were the ones where grandparents and small children shared a household. No one had the capacity to feed such a large amount of people and it wasn’t unheard of that so many people lived under one roof in that region. After all, it was very far away any big cities and that was the way people had lived for generations. Rain had never changed that before and this storm was no exception.

 So they had to make what they could with what they had, which wasn’t a lot but they made it last as long as they could. Fish, chicken and beef were kept like treasures and mostly vegetables were eaten because people could still try to recover some of those from beneath the mud. Some were pretty resistant like celery or carrots. So they consumed that first with maybe a little piece of actual animal fat every day. Pieces were slightly larger for children but that was not enough.

 Many children lived in those mountains and they were seriously affected by the rain. The poor quality of water to make their food and the amount of nutrients from what their parents could give them was simply not enough for them to be correctly nourished. After the first week, many children started feeling bad and many parents did the trip beneath the rain towards the small town nearby, where the only doctor in the region lived. He always had bad news for the concerned parents.

 They had malnourishing problems, very serious cases of infections and lack of proper hygiene because of the water being contaminated by damages to water pipes and so on. Many children died instantly, the others filled the few rooms the doctor had available on his small practice. He asked for help from other parts of the country but the roads were under water or severely damaged and no trains or planes could reach the remote location. They had been driven out of the world by the storm and had been let to die or starve for who know how long.

 When the elders started feeling as bad or worse than the young, people were in a general state of panic. It didn’t felt real that it was happening all at once. Some thought of the storm as a punishment from the Gods but others thought it was simply the chaotic weather changes happening all over the world. They might have not been the most well connected people in the world but many had television sets and they knew very well about climate change and what it had done in other parts of the world.

 After three weeks, an emergency team was able to reach them through the forest and then taking a very long path that made them penetrate a nature preserve. It was the only way to reach the small town and that was only because they studied several maps of the region in order to find that hidden way in. When they reached the only settlement in the mountains, they were able to tell people that a couple of helicopters had been sent before they left for their mission, but they had never called back.

 People were only shocked to hear this but only for a few minutes, because their families were suffering and it was too much to start caring for others at the moment. They needed the help the group brought them and that was the only way they could think of to change the state of things. So the volunteers, a group of fifteen men and women, got installed at the doctor’s house and started helping with vaccines and other treatments they had brought on big crates that had been carried by mules and themselves.

 Sadly, all they did was not enough to really ensure that everything was going to be fine. The rain wouldn’t stop and sick people from the most remote areas of the mountain range would come in at all time, very wet and sicker than they had left. It was a really sad thing to see for the volunteers and it was difficult for them not to be sick as well just by looking at all the despair and the human condition that was in display on that small community. It was hard and a test to their abilities.

 After a couple of days, it was decided that most of the group would go back to civilization. Only five people would remain with the doctor, in order to help with all the patients arriving and leaving every day. Besides, the townspeople needed hands to bury the people that had died and they also needed appropriate bags to do that because contamination of the water had to be avoided at all costs. The group also had to bring more people and medicines, a whole lot more than before. They left early one morning and expect to reach their destination in two days.

 And they did. However, they also encountered the crash site of one of the helicopters. The scene was gruesome and some of the helpers had to vomit right besides the wreckage because of the stench and the sight of things. They had to mark the place on a map, on their electronic devices, in order to go back there in future in order to collect the corpses and any valuables that could shed a light on the cause of the accident. But thunders above them reminded the group that the storm was the culprit, no matter the details.

 Meanwhile, in town, another tragedy happened at night and there had been no way to escape it: the mountain itself collapsed and carried several homes from almost the summit to the foot of the hill were the most densely populated part of the region was located. So bad it was, that the patients at the doctor’s house felt the rumble in the middle of the night and they alerted others in order to evacuate. But that didn’t happen because there was no other place to go besides there.

 The volunteers that had been left there had the very difficult task to find survivors. However, they soon realized that was not going to happen. They started finding bodies, after some of the mud and dirt had been washed away by the rain. It was gruesome to see their faces covered in brown or grey and their expressions of fear forever imprinted on their faces. That had been their last thing to do and it looked horrible. The volunteers, however, did what they had to do.

 People from town helped with blankets and also tablecloths and the dead were covered with those and then lined up in front of the doctor’s office. Then, one body at a time, they were carried to a clearing in the woods where the ground was firm. They had to spend several hours digging for a hole, but they did so anyways, in order to provide a dignified place to rest for the many people that had died at night, never expect nature would turn against them after so many years living there.

 It took one more week for more help to arrive. The condition of the trail they had used had decreased and the amount of things they brought was not easy to transport. Besides, many people on the outside world wanted to help, to do something for those poor souls.


 The storm ended two weeks after than, suddenly one afternoon. Clouds slowly floated away and the sun came back. But the lives of that community had changed forever. Death had covered them with its veil and now they couldn’t see a proper future in what had been their home for such a long time.