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

jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

The blue box

   Everyone had an idea about who had send it and why but something compelled them no to check their facts, to respect what the card with the box had written on it: “Please don’t open this until July 28th”. The box didn’t have the name of the person who had sent it, it only had the address of Kevin’s house and that was it. It didn’t even have Kevin’s name or anything. It was wrapped in blue paper and had a blue bow on top. The most mysterious thing of it all was that the present had being sent seven days earlier.

 During that week, every person who came into Kevin’s apartment had a theory about who had sent the gift and why. Some thought it was a former girlfriend; others thought it was an absent-minded relative. They also thought the gift was anything from shoelaces to a severed head. His craziest friends said it smelled funny and that if you moved it, it seemed to have a pulse. But, of course, they were joking. When they left, he would shake the box and hear nothing or find himself smelling it like a dog at the airport.

 He respected the mystery of the small card that came with the box because he realized that no one in this day and age was that interesting with their presents. Everyone was very straightforward, or didn’t even give presents. It was, in a way, a dying art. So the fact that someone had decided to do something interesting with their gift to him was interesting. Every day, when he got home, he got close to the box and just stared at it, as if expecting it to open by itself.

 He assumed it had been sent to him because of his birthday but that could’ve been just a coincidence. What if the present was really something else, something that had nothing to do with him turning thirty years old? Every person that heard him suggest that looked at him as if he was crazy. It was going a little bit too far with the mystery. Granted, the package had arrived very early but that really didn’t mean anything.

 Kevin was not used to presents either, in general. To be honest, he was not used to celebrating his birthday. He found it to be annoying and a little sad. It wasn’t something he looked forward too and, in the past, he had actually forgotten to celebrate a couple of his birthdays. He didn’t care at all about checking his calendar to see how old he had gotten. He just wanted to live.

 That present, that stupid blue box was changing everything in his mind about birthdays and everything related. By the fourth day after it had arrived, he had to grab it and just put it away in a closet. He had decided not to play along with the game of who ever had sent the box. That person wanted him to behave like a fool and he was getting there. Well, not anymore

 The box spent the fifth and sixth days up there, in a corner of the closet. It was the place where he put all the cleaning equipment that he needed in his house. The mop, the green liquid to clean he dishes, the blue one for the floors and so on. The box looked good among ll those crazy colors. But he authentically forgot about it, even the day of his birthday. As his friends were rushing him to eat cake and dinner in order to go and have drinks afterwards, no one really remembered the box and it stayed there far longer that it was supposed to.

 Actually, it wasn’t opened the following week either. Kevin’s workload increased dramatically and he had to stay n the office for several hours, one day even sleeping over there on the floor. The day he came back to his apartment, he slept for two days straight and definitely forgot about his present. It wasn’t something that felt important to him so it slowly got transferred to the back of his head until he forgot completely about it.

 Life went on the apartment. Kevin attended funerals and weddings, he met babies and husbands and wives and he even visited places he had never thought he would ever visit. And during all that time, that blue box with the ribbon was sitting there, on top of that closet. It’s funny when we imagine all the inanimate objects that have always been with us or close to us. The way that, somehow, they have been a really big part of our lives and they’re not even alive.

 Kevin found out about the box once again, the moment he decided to move away from that old apartment. He had a girlfriend and the two of them were going to try and live to together and see if maybe they were as compatible as they seemed. If everything went fine, they would maybe think about getting married. It was a very important time in his life and the day he rediscovered the box, he realized the fact that he had changed in a good way in the last couple of years.

 When he saw the box, he decided he wouldn’t take it with him to the new apartment so he had to open it and see what was inside. Two years had passed since the box had arrived in his house and it seemed a bit silly to be opening it then, after so long. He removed the move the bow, as he thought he would never now who had sent it, unless there was another note inside or something like that.

 His girlfriend came running the moment she heard a scream in his room. She had been helping him pack every glass and plate in the kitchen and almost broke a couple when she heard him screaming. She had never heard him to that sound, not in the time they knew each other. And it worried her because it wasn’t a pleasant sound; it was made out of pure fear.

 When she got to his room, she screamed too. The box had fallen to the floor and its content was there, lying dead on the ground. It was a spider, almost as big as the box. Kevin was livid, unable to move from the bed. His girlfriend grabbed him by the hand and pulled him away from there, to the kitchen. They decided to call an exterminator and not enter his bedroom until that person had seen the whole thing.

 The man that came was apparently very well versed in those creatures. Kevin’s girlfriend had asked for someone with that kind of knowledge and apparently they had such person. He told her, as Kevin was still in shock in the living room, that those spiders were really difficult to find. They normally inhabited deep in the jungle. The weird part was, to him at least, that the creature was very poisonous and that it had died inside that box because of the lack of air and the fact that it had poisoned itself.

 He gave her a card that was inside the box and left with its content and the actual box, per request of the woman. The only thing that remained was that small card which she held on two fingers. It had the phrase: “Hope you enjoy it” written on it and she thought it was the most sickening thing she had ever read. She knew Kevin well and she knew he was horrified of those animals. Apparently the person that had sent the box did know about that too. And that person didn’t only want to scare him but also kill him, at least according to the exterminator.

 Kevin had to go to the hospital, as his shocked state was lasting for too long. He had to stay there for observation for a couple of days, enough time for his girlfriend to pack everything in his house and move. He came to his new house, talking again although a bit nervous. She didn’t want to talk about it but it was him who brought the subject up.


 He said he thought he knew who was involved with that horrible joke. And after he said that, he started crying and the vomited, trembling. He ashamed and very scared. His girlfriend had no idea what was going on.

sábado, 25 de junio de 2016

Orange

   The soap was provided to us at the entrance of the showers. No one could keep their soap bar in case they wanted to put something inside like a razor blade or something of the sort. There had been too many murders inside the prison and the administration had decided to make crime a thing of the past for the inmates. Yet, there were still all kings of drugs going around. They were used as money or money was used to pay for them. Anyhow, everything was about drugs, it was the only way most men had to live through their sentences.

 It was a minimum-security prison. No fancy cells or big electric doors that opened and closed behind and in front of you. That was too fancy for that place. It was a big prison but the kind where you can go out and enjoy the sun if you feel to, you can exercise in the yard under the watching eye of several guards or even take care of a garden the crazy ones almost owned. Everything was organized, in a way.

 Me? I had been there for a couple of months. My sentence was five years long, no parole. I could maybe scrap a year of the sentence if I decided to be a good boy but it was very hard to be one inside that place. Even a minimum-security prison can be hell and I never dared to think how much worse other similar places could be, with tighter security. I just focused on my life and things I had to do to stay alive and well. The rest was a thing of the outside, where I wasn’t.

 Shower time was always at the same time. One of the oldest inmates had told me that, years ago, guys were able to come and please from the bathrooms as they pleased. But so many got stabbed or raped there, the administration decided they would force everyone to be clean and ready by 8 o’clock. A general alarm was heard every day at that time in order to wake us up. Then, each dormitory would form a single line and all lines would go to the showers.

 The room was huge. On my first day, one of the other guys joked about it being like the place where Nazis had killed Jews in the World War II. I thought the joke was in very poor taste but I rapidly noticed he had many tattoos and most of them had something to do with Nazi symbolism. I had seen it before in History class. So I knew I had to stay away from those guys, being a foreigner and all.

 There were at least sixty showers. One group would go first and then another. Each group only had about five minutes to wash everything properly with the small soap bars we were handed at the entrance. When we were done, we had to leave the bars on the floor for the next group. If there was no next group, the same thing. A waste, I always thought.

 Of course, everyone in the showers was naked. They would make us remove our clothes in a room just before the showers one. Each guy would put his things in a small squared locker. On the way out, we just had to find our number and get dressed fast in order for the second group to go in, if we weren’t in the second group ourselves. It was the routine and, I have to confess, I got used to it fast. In there, you get used to everything. Life is not really yours anymore so you just do what you have to do.

 I’m always asked if it was a problem to be gay inside a prison. And yes, it was. Once someone shouted it in the mess all, many guys looked at me instantly. Who I was wasn’t really a secret or what I had done. Not that I was famous before that or anything but lets say I made myself famous because of all the shit I did. I couldn’t go to my bunk without at least four guys looking at me in a not too flattering way.

 Which way was the best one to avoid all of their attention? I have no idea. Because I didn’t really repel all of them, I couldn’t. I’m a small guy, not very strong. I had to do thing to survive and I am proud of it. Some people are ashamed of their actions in jail but not me. I’m proud to have gotten out of there alive and well and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, I let some of them, the powerful ones, have their way with me. It was the only way the others could leave me alone. The idea was to be seen as someone else’s property.

 Besides that, I did something even bolder, which gained me the respect of most of the men inside the prison. Maybe I wasn’t strong or big but I’ve always had a good brain and I knew I had to use it in order to make things easier for me there. In the first few months, I heard horrible rumors about some guy in the Nazi group that wanted to rape me somewhere no one could hear me scream. I heard it so many times I decided to go big and do my move first.

 His name was Duncan. He was a very tall guy and the few guys I hung out with told me he was a rather new guard. Apparently, he had been a soldier; veteran of all the recent fucked up wars that their country had started. So with only that in my hand, I decided to talk to him a little bit every single day. I heard him when he had something funny to say and he was kind to me, letting me in always first in the mess hall line and the shower line.

 Just some time after that, I was already letting him fuck me in broom closet no one really frequented as I was the one in charge of cleaning the floors in that area. It may see like a crazy thing I did and it was but it saved my life. He did that and I’m forever thankful.

 Being a guard, people knew they didn’t want to mess with him. So, by definition, they kept their hands away from me. I was protected and I really enjoyed it. It was then when I really made some friends in jail and started exercising more and, as crazy as it sounds, I was having a great time. I even slept nicely at night, with all the snoring and the body odors around me. I didn’t care anymore because I knew I was protected by someone everyone feared and it felt great. Sadly, it didn’t last very long as Duncan had decided he was a good person and he didn’t wanted prison to turn him bad.

 Somehow, I was broken hearted. Not only because I was afraid for my safety, but also because I was beginning to care for him. We didn’t just had sex, we also talked and had these small moments together I really appreciated because they… he made me fell like I was worth something in a place where you’re supposed to be repenting and feeling like a piece of garbage.

 The day he left, I cried while mopping the floors. On our last session together he didn’t say a word and neither did I. There wasn’t something I could say that would magically make things great between us, or that would change what was happening. We had to move on and we had to do it fast because we weren’t able to do anything about it. So he left, I cried for a while and that was the end of it.

 However, I forgot my Nazi problem. They knew very well Duncan had left and every single one of them decided to threaten me everyday. They wanted me scared out of my mind until the day their boss, the one with the tattoos, would order them to drag me somewhere dark and probably fuck me with something awful. I thought of it a hundred times and it did make me shiver and had no idea what to do.

 The truth is I had forgotten to know myself. They day one of them came to me, I fought. I broke his nose and crushed his foot. Another one threatened me with a razor he had gotten in and I was able to disarm him and tell a guard he had a forbidden item. He was send to solitary in a second. I had learned how to defend myself. So it was me who went to the tattoo guy and told him to go fuck himself.

 That action made me even more respected among some of the other inmates. The minorities if you will. I didn’t really identify with them but they soon became my friends and, some of them, my lovers. Even condoms can be found in a prison, if that’s what you want and I did. The following years were very hard on me but I got stronger and smarter and much more intelligent, being able to fool everyone, even me.


 The day I stepped out of prison, I realized the real world had moved along without me and it scared me. But only for that day. Because the following morning, I used what I had learned and got myself a job in no time. I have a life now, a real one. And, strangely enough, I have to thank prison and its population for that.

viernes, 27 de febrero de 2015

The Killings

   Ten years had passed since the murders, ten years in which captain McCormick had not been able to get proper sleep. She had gotten a divorce and her children preferred to be away from her, although they called her sometimes. She thought that was more out of respect than because they actually cared about what happened to her. They were living their lives far away, with their own families and jobs. Her former husband had remarried and her children seemed to like their stepmother more than they liked her.

Or maybe it was the town. Maybe it was the things that  had happened there and her youngest son had seen some of them with his own eyes. She didn’t blame him for not coming back. Oddly enough, of her three children, he was the only one who called her regularly and not only on the holidays. She knew that he called out of fear of the past, thinking that what had happened may happen again one day.

 Captain McCormick still worked with the county police and she was proud too. After those horrible days, security had been strengthened and her county became an example for many others around the state. Samantha McCormick was proud that her work had done so much good but there’s always a case that hunts a policeman. There’s always that one unsolved case that hunts you to your death.

 It had begun during the state fair, when the bodies of two schoolteachers, both women, were found one morning in the middle of the rodeo ring. The corpses had been left in perfect state except for the eyes, which had been taken out. Besides that, everything seemed to be fine with them: no signs of extreme violence, no signs of rape or torture.

 Samantha looked for the murderer for at least a month until they found three more bodies, in the forest north of town. They were all male, various ages. They appeared to have been hanged but the heavy rain had made the tree branches weak and they had broken due to the weight of the dead men. At the moment, they thought both series of murders were not related but it was very uncommon for such a small county to have two murderers on the loose.

 Besides, because of the media, everyone got scared into thinking the streets were filled with murderers waiting for them to take a wrong step on the street. Some people left town and others barricaded them inside their houses. Some time later, a family was found burned to death inside their home and it was determined someone had initiated the fire by using the gas installation. It was then when Samantha began to think the murders were all related.

 It was impossible that three people were doing so much damage. Specially here, in a community were everyone knew each other and were strange behavior was easy to spot. Samantha had seen that private eye spirit in people before and it had never failed. She had been summoned many times by people thinking that their neighbor was a killer when in reality they were hiding affairs or just happened to be stealing money from their jobs.

 But this was different and, although many of her companions did not believe her, she was sure it was a mass murderer. Then, she was personally attacked. A man had taken her son and two other boys from outside the movie theater. She put every single policeman to work, scouting through the woods and the farmland to the south. Finally, they located tow of the boys still alive.  The third one had been killed with a gun in front of them and they claimed the murderer had told them he was going to eat them.

 Samantha sent all members of her family out of town, with her mother who lived in a big city far away. Only her husband stayed because he thought she was becoming increasingly obsessed with everything around the case and she was: that man had attacked her personally and she wasn’t going to let anyone to that to her. She couldn’t shake out the memory of her son trembling like mad, his eyes filled with tears and the blood covered shack where he and a his friends had been held hostage.

 Weeks after her children left town, police found the body of two elderly women. They had been left on one side of the road leading to some hot springs, which were really popular with tourists around the region. Then, everything stopped. They checked everyone’s house, every inch of the forest and the files, of the hot springs and every single public and private building in the county. Not only they did not found one more body, but also they didn’t found any suspects they could interrogate.

 Samantha got obsessed in the search for the culprits and would often drive all night around town to check on things, believing the murder or murderers might come out late at night to escape or kill again. But nothing happened. The only real change in her life was that her husband got fed up with her obsession and left her alone in town. She didn’t really care, at least not at the moment.

 She interrogated the kid that had been rescued with her son and, although she learned some new details about the kidnapping, she happened to be extremely harsh on the poor boy that kept weeping and was about to pass out by the end of her interview. The kid’s mother chased Samantha out, telling her to look for those mad men instead of harassing the only victims that happened to be alive.

 The head of the state police came to town to check on the mass killings investigation and decided to put someone else on the case and give Samantha a leave of absence to be with her family and get away from it all, at least for a few weeks. But she just couldn’t. She visited her children at her mother’s but it was then when they all realized nothing was going to be the same again.

 Her children were scared of her as she only sat on the living room, checking every single data on the killings on her computer. She did that every single day she stayed with her children and when her mother quarreled with her, telling Samantha she was no real mother if she cared mother about dead people than about her own children. Samantha responded that her job was to see that no one’s children; no one’s relatives will never be killed again. She stated that her job was first.

 This affirmation was hard on her children who decided to stop insisting on getting their mother back. To them, it was like her mother had been one more victim of the killings. They stayed behind when she went back to town and her mother only asked of her the necessary money to take care of the three children. Samantha did not argue and for the next seven years she sent money to her mother, no argument, no questions.

 She went back to solve the case, or so she thought, but she never got really far with it. Some of the evidence suddenly pointed towards a cult, a satanic group that had decided to settle in town and kill randomly and then leave, leaving no trace. It was the theory she backed after so many years, but the killings became a cold case, and unsolvable one.

 Every year Samantha attended a remembrance of the victims of the killings and many of the family members thanked her for never letting go of it all. They knew it had all been very hard on her too but they appreciated the fact that she was still looking for the person or persons that had committed such awful crimes.

 After ten years of the killings, people had begun to forget about it all. The county had become one of the safest places in the whole country and tourists poured in often to check out the hot springs, the food and the hospitality. She knew that some small groups came to visit the places were the murders took place but she didn’t mind, although she always suspected the murder could come back.


 But if he or they did, it never became obvious. People came and went and Samantha stood there for many more years. Even after her retirement, she would still try to solve the puzzle but she was never able to. She often cried, alone in her house. Not only because she felt so frustrated, not being able to go any far into the case. She also cried because the killer had not only killed those people but because he (or they) had destroyed many families, the spirit of a place and their hopes for the future. Samantha knew this to be a fact, from personal experience.