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

viernes, 14 de abril de 2017

The bird

   The bird was simply majestic. It had entered the canyon unexpectedly but the people that were there couldn’t take their eyes off of it. It’s wings were very large, so large in fact that the shadow that the creature casted over the terrain was huge. Some of the tourists near the river were a bit afraid of this because of the disproportionate size of the creature. Maybe it was precisely that feature that made it seem like it was flying very slow and close to the water. It was just like a dream.

 As it passed near the group of people, the bird let out a sound. It made all hairs stand on every human that heard it, as it was the most metallic sound a bird could ever do. It was as if the creature was not a biological being but that was impossible because of the eyes of the bird. No mechanical bird would look around like that. The bird continued to fly through the canyon until it reached a tight turn. Then it elevated it’s body toward the sky and soon it had disappeared completely from their sight.

 Every person there starting talking when the creature went away. It was as if the volume had been turned off for a moment and now it had made a comeback. The kids that had been playing in the water went back to it, but with much less enthusiasm than before and all the adults started mumbling and then openly talking about what they had just seen. It was obvious that gigantic birds were not really the norm in the region or out of it. They had just been in the presence of a unique event.

 The group was made of family members from all branches: grandparents, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and so on. Every single one of them had decided to do a little picnic down in the canyon, which was located only an hour away from the town where they were all staying overnight. That town was the one where their family had begun so they were essentially coming back to their roots, teaching their children all about the region that they had known so well when younger.

 As they had been cooking meat just before the bird had made its appearance, they soon realized it had been burned by fire. So much so, that they had to throw it away and put some new pieces of meat and start all over again. As they ate, some time later that day, the obvious topic was the gigantic bird and everything about it. One of the women said that she new a biologist from the university she worked in. She would talk to him about it as soon as they went back to the city, in order to know if that creature was known to science or if it was a new discovery.

  Weeks later, when she got to talk to the biologist, she realized something that made her look and feel very dumb: no one in her family had thought of taking a picture of the creature with a cellphone or a camera and they had lots of those that day, laying around as every silly thing they did was awarded with the taking of a picture. Her friend told her that it would have been easier that way but that she could describe the creature in detail and that way they could recognized it from archival footage.

 It wasn’t a surprise when the biologist almost fainted as the woman told him everything about the bird: its size, the silvery color of its feathers, its very particular cry and all other features she could remember. At first he was scared but then he decided his friend was not telling him the truth. He tried to convince himself of that. But the woman was so adamant he knew that there was something big there. After consultation of the archive, they didn’t find any bird even remotely similar.

 The woman was about to leave when she asked the man that, if they creature was a new discovery, her family would love to see their last name being celebrated on the bird’s scientific name. For them, it would be an honor to serve as the people that discovered a brand new creature, not known to mankind before it had appeared on that canyon, the day they had decided to go for a picnic. She said goodbye and the biologist stood there in silence, thinking what to do next.

 He decided to form a group and leave for the canyon as soon as possible. Contrary to what one may think, not many people knew about that access the family had use to the inner side of the canyon. Most people stayed on the higher level, in order to look into the rock formation from above. It was a spectacular creation of nature, with the red rock perfectly worked by the river and the wind, as well as the passage of time. It was a wonderful place to find something great.

 The scientific group was made of five people. They decided to probe different areas of the canyon in order to look for new form of life. At the beginning, they thought it was going to be very easy, as the size of the bird wouldn’t make it very easy for it to hide, but they soon realized that it was going to be much more complicated than that. The first day, they didn’t see a thing. However, they did discover two new species of butterflies, as well as a new type of fungus that grew near the river. It was very exciting but not exactly what they had come for.

 The second day was the same, although they did discover a new bat and several other bugs that science didn’t know nothing about. By the third day, they decided to move along the river and see where they could end up. Supposedly, it wasn’t possible to that for the whole extension of the canyon, as the river was bigger in some parts than in others. They walked for two day in one direction but didn’t find more than some other bugs and other minor creatures.

 They turned around when a huge boulder fell down on them, almost killing one of the scientists. They decided to go up the river this time, which was apparently easier. But after three days, the new animals became scarce and it was obvious they were not going to see any huge birds soon. It started to rain soon enough and the fact that they were in a canyon became a very dangerous thing. They didn’t even stay one whole day more. The group had to exit the canyon in order not to be taken away by the engorged river.

 They camped in the upper area of the rock formation and analyzed several of the specimens that they had discovered. They could do that in an actual laboratory but the truth was they all wanted to see the gigantic bird. But how to attract it, how to make it come to them? They wanted to know, at least, more details about where they could find it. But there was nothing to tell them anything new about it. They had to be patient and realize it even may not happen for them.

 They stayed for two more days but the bird never appeared. The scientist went back to the city, as they had tons of information to process. It hadn’t been a wasted journey because of the many discoveries they had made but the crown jewel of the whole thing had not been found. Some had even decided to doubt the story and they openly said the bird was probably an illusion or something of the sort. The rest agreed, even if with all their heart they wanted the creature to be real.

 Many years later, the same family went back to the canyon. The elders had passed away and their ashes were going to be spread on the river, near the place where they had grown up. It was a very sentimental moment, everyone was in silence, mourning.

Suddenly, the bird appeared again. It looked exactly as it had look years ago. However, this time it landed near the family, bowed and then left again. Everyone had been taken aback by the bird except one of the youngest children, who did turn on her cellphone just in the right moment.

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

Visiting hours

   The large male nurse walked as if it was the most normal place in the world. Esther followed closely, looking sometimes at the windows to sea the weather outside but also to the side, where she could see some other windows but these gave views into the room of several of the residents of the psychiatric hospital. Some of them were apparently silent but when she passed other rooms, it was easy to hear strange sounds like bumping or slapping or strange mouth noises.

 The weather outside had turned worse in the last few minutes. The sky had been dark all day but the first drops of rain had finally begun to drop. Esther thought it was maybe the best weather for such a day, for such a visit. The reached another gate, where she had to show some ID and a guard checked her for anything that couldn’t be allowed inside. She didn’t really know what those objects were, but she didn’t mind at all.

 Her purse had stayed behind, at the first gate. Also her car keys, her house keys, her cellphone and a knitting kit she carried everywhere because it made her feel a lot calmer. The only thing she was able to carry inside was a plastic bag with some chocolate bars inside as well as banana muffins and a bottle of iced tea. They had wanted to open the bottles to check it was really iced tea, but an officer had stated she trusted Esther. Apparently she understood what a mother would feel in such a circumstance.

 When they were done checking her bag again, they walked through another corridor but this one was short and ended up in a large room that was filled with people. The place was very warm and she noticed it was because of the amount of people there. Immediately, she could tell all of them were patients of the hospital. Some of them were blankly staring at nothing in particular. Others were playing by themselves or watching the TV, where a man was explaining to the audience how butterflies mated.

 The male nurse told Esther to wait inside a small room besides the recreation area. It was a small space with a table and two chairs. She sat down in one of the chairs and realized the table had two metallic hooks of some kind, small, possibly to tied down the patients in order for them no to attack or anything. She thought that was awful and decided not to think about it because the image in her mind was horrible.

 The room also had a small window and she decided to stand up, leaving the bag on the table, in order to look out the window and not think about the horrible things that maybe happened in that room, or for the matter, in that hospital. She already felt guilty and imagining situations she didn’t know about, was really not necessary.

 Her son entered the room, followed by the male nurse. She turned around when she heard his voice saying “Mama”. Esther walked to him and huge him as strong as she could and he did the same. They hadn’t seen each other in two weeks, since he had been interned in the hospital by order of a court that had decided that Kevin, Esther’s son, had to undergo psychiatric evaluation and, if necessary, rehabilitation in a psychiatric facility. And that was exactly what had happened.

 They let go of each other and sat down in the two chairs. The male nurse stayed there, by the door, leaning against the wall and pretending he wasn’t hearing anything but it was obvious he was. He had no option. Nevertheless, he had done exactly that for so many years already, that he had learned when he had to be listening and when he could just wander into his brain and imagine what he was going to have for dinner at home or what kind of car he wanted to have.

 Esther told Kevin his hands were very cold and asked him if he was eating properly. The boy, around seventeen years old, told her the food there was pretty okay and that she shouldn’t worry about it. She didn’t really listened to him. She just turned her bag upside down and showed her son all the treats she had brought him. Esther smiled to Kevin and he smiled back but it was obvious he was sad or at least not as happy as she was pretending to be.

 They decided to eat the big banana muffins first and the nurse’s stomach growled because of the delicious smell. Esther offered him a bite but he just raised his hand and moved his face, so she didn’t insisted. She asked Kevin if everything was okay with him, if he felt good there, if there was anything he wanted to tell her about it all. He took his time to answer, preferring to eat his banana muffin, which had been his favorite since he was very little.

 Kevin said to her mother that everyone in the hospital was very nice and that the only bad thing so far was that his room was a bit cold but he slept well with some two blankets and a thick quilt of top of them. She said she could bring more if he wanted it but he just said no and went on to finish his muffin. She ate too but she was more worried about her son. She didn’t know what to ask or how to ask.

 But she had to. She had no choice but ask things. Esther’s next question was about the medication they were giving him. Kevin told her he took a couple of pills everyday to control his anxiety issues and that he took others for physical problems like his blood pressure and such, because it was always very elevated. She nodded when he said that, as she tried to build in her head what that meant for him. Was he getting worse or better?

 Kevin took the chocolate bar next and smiled. It was a weird smile, as he didn’t even know how to do it. And it lasted only a few seconds. He felt the deep scent of the chocolate and took a bite. It was also filled with oranges, which he loved. He thanked his mother and kept eating it, until he reached half of the bar. His mother told him he could have some for later but then he looked at her and, out of the blue, laughed at her. His eyes appeared to transform and his laugh was so exaggerated, she felt bad to say what she had said.

 The male nurse looked at Kevin first and then stated that the patients couldn’t keep anything from the outside in their rooms, no even food. Kevin pointed at the nurse and nodded, indicating he was telling the truth. He told his mother that she should have known that, if she had come earlier to visit him. Esther felt hurt by that but explained to him that they wouldn’t let her in because his treatment had not being properly initiated so they didn’t want her to spoil it.

 Kevin just nodded and it was obvious he didn’t care one bit about what his mother was saying. He didn’t believe her and told her that the first week had been horrible, with all the people there crazier than anyone else in the world and the doctors pinching and poking and asking and everything going on and on every single day. He felt tired every night and in the morning it would begin again and the cycle would repeat, of course, with the horrible therapy that he went through.

 Esther was horrified because he had transformed before her very eyes. He asked her if she knew what the therapy was all about. Before she could deny that she knew, he explained to her that they put him on a chair, with restraints, and made him answers questions and look at pictures and videos and tried to understand what hade being going on at the time he had killed the children in playground. They wanted to know why he had killed three of them.

 The nurse got nearer but didn’t intervene. This time, he was listening carefully. Esther was on the edge of tears, trying to ask for forgiveness about him being there and also asking her son not to say anything else about he did.

 And then he punched the table and told her that was him that’s who he really was and that she had to accept that she had a son who was a murderer and that had enjoyed it. He was hysteric, not laughing or crying, just yelling to make his point be seen. Kevin told his mother that even now, he thought back about it all and even then he enjoyed it. He had taken pleasure out of it and he had no remorse.

 He stood up fast and the nurse was going to grab him but he had no need to do that, as Kevin went through the door by himself, and on to his room. The nurse told Esther to go back to the gate and tell the guard there that her visit was over. But when the nurse went away, she couldn’t stand up. She looked at the food there on the table and then repeated her son’s words in her brain and she just couldn’t understand, she couldn’t.

 What had ever happened to her baby boy?

jueves, 28 de abril de 2016

The cube

   Jessica walked carefully over the edge, barely having enough room for her feet to move around. The mountain that she was in dominated the jungle below and, in any other context, she would have been able to appreciate. But being just millimeters away from death, the least of her interests were the magnificent views. She grabbed herself to the dirt and the rock of the mountain and could finally pass the tricky section in a matter of minutes. She decided to rest a bit after that, and she only had a small space to do so as the mountain was not kind to any visitors.

 As she rested, she noticed a big bird-like creature raising from the jungle. It appeared to be fighting something off but the other creature, or whatever it was fighting, could not be seen. After a couple of minutes, the bird appeared to be toppled from the ground and disappeared from sight. Jessica knew right then that this planet was definitely not a good one for life in general but she had no choice in the matter of visiting it. After all, her mission was there.

 A couple of days earlier, a skinny man going by the name of Renzo Uto, contacted with her team in order to ask for an extraction. Normally, that meant rescuing someone from some horrible place, most often jails or some kind of internment camps. There were lots of both of those in the galaxy and they had a vast experience getting people out of both. But instead, Uto wanted them to rescue an object.

 They almost had to torture him in order to get a basic drawing of the object he wanted to retrieve. Well, torture is a bit extreme. But Jessica’s companion Jimmy, a very big and tall Glafarian (species with the appearance of a dog) was asked to make the client talk fast or to expel him immediately from the ship, by any means.

 Of course, Uto was so scared he did a drawing in less than thirty seconds but he clarified that the object could change form whenever someone attempted to grab it by force. The drawing he had made showed a very simple cube but he said it only looked like that when at rest. If someone when near it, the object would change into any type of thing that would lure the person into a false sense of security and then it would kill them.

 They really wanted to ask Uto why someone would want that type of object. But their motto was “We don’t ask questions” and they couldn’t just violate that. Bounty hunters had to keep a little bit of their dignity and, if that meant seeking for an object hey didn’t really know existed, they had to do it. But Yera, the ship’s pilot, reminded Uto that the team only worked for days. So depending on his pay, they would determine the number of days they would look for his weird cube.

 Uto, of course, had no tons of money. So he was able to pay them for only three days worth of work. The team then agreed on setting course for the jungle planet, which didn’t really have a name and now Jessica was on her second day looking for the damn object. According to Uto, she wasn’t that far away now. After the dangerous mountain pass, she had to go through a razor sharp field of rocks between that mountain and the next one and then descend a bit to find a cave. The cube was supposed to be there.

 The razor sharp field of rocks, a straight line that united two summits well above the jungle level, was easier than the pass but still a horrible experience, mainly because some sorts of animals paraded around the site and launched themselves at Jessica. She had to use her ray gun several times but the little creatures were very fast and attacked with some sort of liquid that smelled really bad. It didn’t hurt or anything, just smell really awful. She crossed the field just before nightfall.

 At the other end, she found a suitable place to sleep and decided to pull out her sleeping bad and protective shield from her special belt. The belt had been an old gift from her mother, a former bounty hunter herself. Now she lived at peace in a farming colony where she could just relax and not worry about someone blowing her head off. Her mom was a legend among the people Jessica knew and she was proud of her.

 The belt had been created by the most advanced civilization in the galaxy. They were able to construct things like that, were size and space and even time did not matter. She could fit an endless amount of things in there and only had to press a button and think really hard about whatever she wanted from her belt. So that night she was protected from the creatures by the shield and slept warmly in her sleeping bag.

 The next day she woke up screaming. Her face hurt, as well as her arms and some of her chest. The stinky liquid had transformed, somehow, into something that had apparently burned her skin and was now penetrating more and more into it. She felt a horrible burning sensation and tried to pour water over herself to feel better or look for something else in her belt, but it was useless. It hurt and she could barely move.

 It was the last day for Uto and could have been the last day for her if she hadn’t decided that the liquid might actually be the best weapon she could ever have. To put it simple, the cube supposedly transformed into something false, in order to kill the person that wanted it. So it would transform into a cure for the liquid if Jessica showed up. But then, it would be obvious to her that the cube was there and she would just fire away.

 Thinking the plan was far simpler than doing it. Her body really hurt, as if she had been very badly burnt by the sun. Her legs though, had been left untouched by the creatures, so they still had their agility intact. She started trembling halfway down the mountain but she focused on the prize, which was something she could have never imagined. Although Uto had almost no money to pay them for their days of work, he did offer something else if they actually gave him the cube he wanted.

 There was an information network called the Omen. It was a very big and important piece of information as it had records on every single living creature in the galaxy intelligent enough to do stupid things. It was like a criminal record center for the entire galaxy and, of course, Jessica and her group were in there. What Uto had told them was that he could be able to remove every single one of their names from he list permanently. Not even erase the crimes but their names altogether.

 At first, they didn’t believe what he was saying. Jimmy threatened to eat his hand and Yera told him it was impossible. But then he simply asked of them to look for his name in the Omen. Everybody could access the network so it was easy for them to see that Renzo Uto did not appear in any part of the Omen. They even scanned his head to look for him, but it just wouldn’t work. He wasn’t there and that was more than enough proof that what he said was real.

 The cave was only a few meters away when Jessica collapsed. She was trembling too much in her upper body and felt really sick. Not even her healthy legs could get her away from danger or from the pain. She stayed down for a good while and, once again, she gazed at the jungle and saw the trees moving and what looked like tentacles rising above the treetops. She only thought about how insane that planet was before she fainted.

 She woke up hours later in a nice room. A beautiful nurse came to her bed and asked her if she was ok. Her face and body didn’t hurt anymore. She touched her skin and every single centimeter was normal. Then, the nurse smiled and told her she was going to be all right. Se turned around but Jessica had recognized her. And the only thing she could do was pull out her gun and shoot right in the center of her body.

 The illusion fell to the ground like a house of cards and so did the cube, a rather normal transparent cube that fell to the ground and Jessica put inside her belt. Her face still hurt horribly and she was sure she was in a worse state than before. She turned to the jungle one last time, watching the tentacles and the moving trees, as she pressed another button for her ride to come pick her up.

martes, 21 de julio de 2015

Men as monsters

   Inoctium was the name of the compound that they had invented in the lab. It had many properties that a normal human would have deemed incredible and many of those who had been involved in the project thought exactly that. Many had wanted to leave the project before it was finalized but that wasn’t possible, as no one wanted any leaks or stolen information. It was obvious that any foreign power, anyone to be honest, would love to have their hands on such a potentially disastrous little element. So very few knew about its existence and another handful thought it was just an urban legend and that no one would be so stupid to create something so incredibly dangerous, although good in every way too.

  Only a small amount had been created but what had amazed the creators was what that small quantity could do. It was an alchemist’s dream as it had the capacity of transforming anything into platinum, one of the most expensive metals in the world. It could also be used to manipulate magnetic fields so many objects had been created around it to transform the world, as we know it. But of course, all of those objects, like flying devices and many military weapons, had not come out to the world yet. The committee that had approved tests to create the compound, finally decided to cancel the whole thing altogether and ordered the inoctium to be destroyed in the act and not a single thread of evidence to be left around. The reactions were varied but it wasn’t like they could say anything to prevent it.

 Nevertheless, the destruction never took place. And that was simply because the inoctium behave almost as if it was a living creature, a very strong and resilient creature. It couldn’t be destroyed. They tried every single corrosive agent, viruses, alloys, even small bombs but nothing seemed to do anything to it. The only real difference they detected was that the amount of inoctium had somehow grown larger. The committee, after hearing the results of the attempts to kill the thing, decided to keep it away from every single human forever. It was sent to a nuclear waste disposal facility, where the deepest chamber had been redesigned to contain even the largest explosion. The inoctium was placed there, under several locks, security and around several amounts of nuclear waste.

 Its creators never forgot about it. They felt it was their baby, their proudest moment as scientists. But they knew it was dangerous so they never spoke about the inoctium, ever again. The files that had been created around it had all been destroyed and their lab was dismantled. Thirty years passed and no one dared to go back to those dark times. That was until the day Yucca mountain, the place were the inoctium rested, exploded in a massive way. A whole was opened in the desert and some small towns were in the way; the earthquake that was generated wiped them out. It was the biggest disaster involving anything nuclear and scientists couldn’t explain what happened.

But the creators of the inoctium, a group of only six people, knew exactly what had happened. They had warned the government against burying the compound in a place were other chemicals and elements were kept but no one heard then and no heard after the explosion, mainly because only a handful of government officials knew about inoctium and they were all close to retirement. The president didn’t believe a word that he heard, thinking that if such a powerful thing existed, the past governments would have used to finally impose the country on the world. Maybe that was what he would have done but it wasn’t what had happened. The team knew that the explosion had a cause but no one would believe them.

 Two of them, who had married and had children, decided to try and recreate the process that had created the inoctium but they failed horribly, dying in another explosion, less massive but also a tragedy. Only the two of them died, so the other four members of the team knew what had happened. They insisted on talking to the president, they wanted to explain to him how it all worked for him to understand but he just wouldn’t listen. Word had it that he was trying to blame the explosion on some terrorist group or another country, so he could get a hand on their resources. This president was not like the other who hid their intentions; he didn’t care for those who were ashamed of what had to be done, according to him.

  The team reunited with other experts and tried for them to understand what was going on and how they should prevent anyone from mishandling what was left of the compound on the site of the explosion. If the wrong person got there first or if someone mishandled the inoctium, something even more awful could happen. The scientific community was much more receptive than the government, mainly because the four remaining members of the team had time to explain how they had created the compound and what were its properties. By doing so they were going against the law and against every single paper they had to sign the day the inoctium project was shut down. But lives had been lost and they couldn’t afford to allow more to happen.

 Nevertheless, the scientific community was very divided. Some, like the government, thought the four scientists were insane old people that needed to be in a retirement home and not talking to anyone about science. Others believe some parts but the properties of the inoctium were the thing that put them in high doubt. And other believed them, mainly because they had worked on similar projects before that had ended in failure. Despite that, they felt it was possible to do what they had tried to do back then. So the team got some support and tried again to contact the government, with no more success than before. It was announced, a few days after, that the country had concluded the explosion to be a terrorist attack.

  For the members of the team, it was a tragedy when they saw the images of tanks and planes attacking some country on the other side of the world. The government had declared them guilty of harboring terrorists and claimed that they should be brought to justice. What was obvious after a few days though, was the fact that every suspect they found was killed. No one was apprehended. In a few days that nation had fallen and occupation began, like it had happened before elsewhere. Of course, every single company prepared their luggage and landed in the destroyed country to set up business, weather it was security related or minerals related. Anyway, the world had lost another piece and scientists weren’t closer to prove anything.

So they decided to disobey in the most visible way possible: they would get the proper equipment and then travel to Nevada, were the explosion had taken place, to illegally enter the site and see for themselves if the inoctium had been destroyed or not. Many fellow scientists helped them prepare and get the equipment and it took them only a week to be prepared and leave for the desert. They had brought weapons too because this time they weren’t going to be just scientist but also madmen, even if there was a women among them. When they got to Nevada, they started doing vigilance on the site, which was very heavily guarded. Fortunately, they were able to get a military drone from one of its makers and used it.

 The drone discovered that the site was not only a whole on the ground as it had been portrayed in the media. The truth was that they had built several building around the explosion site and the crater created had been covered by a white fabric, which looked like plastic, or something like it. They didn’t get to see or know more as the drone was shot down and by the military, who were the ones guarding the place. The scientists had controlled it remotely so no one knew it had been them watching but they decided to head for Las Vegas, to think about their next step. The news had changed their headlines from “Patriotic war” to “Our heroes triumphed” showing military man “guarding” the streets of a ravaged town.

 The team knew they just couldn’t get into the site as no one would allow them to and another drone would be even more dangerous, because then they would really be in the eye of the storm. They didn’t know what to do, what to think of it all. Because of them, because of what they had done so many years ago, people were dying every day. That fake war and the explosion were a symptoms of a cancer that had to be taken out. And although the government was also another disease, it was preferable to deal with the inoctium first. They planned to seek help from the opposition to the president and to the war and try to get international help from scientists around the world, willing to speak on their behalf.

   But when the war on the other side of the world expanded and spilled onto other countries, the scientists were rendered mute. Because on one morning in august, people around the world got to see the most incredible and most horrible thing in the world: the military had used the inoctium against other. They had seized it and created weaponry with it. Easily, the world started to crumble and people, for the first few seconds, were all without a voice. They couldn’t believe they were seeing the end of their world on their TV and computer screens. And many wouldn’t get to see the real end, further ahead.