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

viernes, 8 de septiembre de 2017

Liz

   The album filled with pictures from her childhood had to be somewhere handy. She would always bring it out when her children visited and now it was nowhere to be seen. She looked for it beneath the sofa, inside very shelf and drawer and even on the small and cramped space above the house that people called an attic but it was not as big as she thought an attic should be. She had to bring out a stick to bring down the stairs and at her age it was not an easy thing to do.

 Liz was her name and she had never been too fond of her name. Her mother had named her after Queen Elizabeth and her father had agreed. She would always ask her dad why he had let that happened and he never thought she was speaking seriously. The truth was that Liz didn’t feel anything like a queen, specially living in such a secluded place, when most people didn’t even care about such things. She would have wanted a simpler name, a more normal one in a way.

 Finally, she found the album behind a big chair near the curtain. It was right then when the wind broke the glass and she was forced to duck down, scared a big piece would cut her face or any part of her body. After all, Liz was all alone in that house and the only way to get to a shelter was to go down the road towards the town, where a big sports venue had been built more to shelter people when hurricanes happened than for hosting sporting events, rare in the island.

 When she realized the glass had fallen far from her body, Liz stood up and decided it was time to get into the car. The keys were on the dining table, next to her jacket. It was a bright yellow jacket, which came with a hat of the same color. Her niece had bought it for her in a big fancy store in New York and she had to accept it in order not to make her sad. The truth was that Liz had never liked yellow but with that rain, the jacket had finally become pertinent in her small world.

 Before heading outside, she stood up in the middle of her living room, looking around, trying to remember if she had left something. There was a backpack with some clothes in the car, along with Jim, an orange cat that had accompanied her for the last three years. Besides that, she had her album beneath the jacket, to protect it from the water, and she was closing her right hand around the car keys. She then realized that, maybe; she would never see her home ever again. That realization sunk her heart a bit but her feet suddenly moved.

 Moments later, she was shaking her gray her in the car and Jim was meowing like crazy. He was sitting in the copilot’s seat and he seemed to be a bit scared of the storm. Honestly, it was much stronger that what Liz had predicted. The wind was moving the car, so it felt as if she was in the middle of an earthquake. On the windshield, lots of water was pouring down. It was impossible to see beyond the car’s hood. The lights of the town were nowhere to be seen and the sun had been lost.

 Nevertheless, Liz turned on the ignition and started moving her car very slowly down the road. It had been a great idea by her son Richard to pave the road all the way down to the village. They had made a big garage sale and with the money they had managed to fix the access to the house. It was one of those things George had always hated about living right there, far from his beloved ocean. But the properties down there could only be afford by the wealthy and they weren’t any of that.

 It had been George who had discovered the island, in a way. He had been there while doing business and he had fallen in love with birds and the ocean and the lush green soft hills all over the place. When he visited, the island only had a couple hundred people living in it. His insurance business could do great with things like hurricanes. Liz laughed when remembering that, she thought the irony of him never seen such a storm living there having insured the whole island was just too funny.

 Maybe too funny indeed because it was right then when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator and the car when downhill fast for a few meters before she could react properly and hit the breaks. When the car stopped, Liz was very scared and Jim was meowing even more than before. But she wasn’t afraid of the storm. She had lived through others after her husband had died. The thing was that she was certain to have seen a man outside, through the windshield, before pushing the brakes.

 It was getting darker outside and Liz didn’t dare to step outside the car and check if everything was right, if it was her eyes that were creating mirages in front of her or if something had actually happened. Jim fell silent and that for Liz was louder than an alarm. She put on her hat again and opened the door, letting in lots of water and wind into the car. Jim didn’t say anything; he seemed to be too preoccupied for that. Liz was about to close the car door when she felt something on the pavement. She screamed the moment a hand grabbed her left ankle.

 But it wasn’t a zombie or anything of the sort. It was a man, a black skinned man, much younger than her. He was very weak and his hand soon fell to the floor from her ankle. Liz kneeled in front of him and touched his face. He was very cold and it was obvious he had been outside for too long. Maybe he was extremely sick. There was no one near and screaming didn’t help at all. The wind was howling much too hard for anyone to notice her, even if they were close.

 Liz grabbed the man’s face again and she gently patted her cheeks. Seeing nothing happened, she slapped him harder. The man opened his eyes and he started mumbling but nothing made sense. There was no reason for him been there, unless he had gotten lost in the storm. Maybe he had left his house after the rest of his family and then he had just lost track of them in the storm. No one, not even the youngest person, could ever see a thing or two with all that rain, haze and wind.

 The older woman decided to do the only thing that made sense. She opened one of the back doors or her car and then grabbed the man by the armpits. She pulled as much as she could. It took her a while to get him close to the door. Then she slapped him again and managed to make him help her, by raising his waist a little bit. That was enough to get him in the car. She pushed his body gently by closing the door and then she hopped on the vehicle, all wet. Liz had lost her hat and she hadn’t realized.

 It was easier to go up that road backwards, than moving down. She knows that at full speed, she would be back home in less than a minute. Liz stopped the car right before she hit her house. Jim had jumped to the back seat and had helped by keeping the man awake, although he kept trying to talk, as if he was in the middle of a very deep dream. Urged by the situation, Liz grabbed the man by an arm and took him to the house. Jim followed, unbothered by the rain. The car had been left open.

 Liz left the man in the small room beneath the stairs. He would be safe there. She would hide in a tiny cellar that her husband had built beneath the kitchen to keep his wine bottles cold. She took the bottles out and snuggled with Jim in the cramped space.


 Few minutes had passed when she heard a horrible noise, as if a tree had been pulled out of the ground. It was awful. She closed her eyes in horror. But instead of remembering something comforting, she reminded herself of the album she had left in the car. Her memories were gone.

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.

sábado, 22 de octubre de 2016

Hurricane Eliza

   There were pieces of wood and tiles all over the place. No house was left standing. The only big structures close to the big were a couple of buildings, which were about seven floors before the hurricane hit the area. Now, they were also a big pile of rubble that was very difficult to put apart from the rest of the rubble from all the other structures likes house and small business buildings and commerce. Everything had been destroyed in only one night and now people were trying to define what they were going to do after such a tragic event.

Anne had always lived in the area. Her parents had moved when she wasn’t even in their plans and the city was only beginning to flourish. Back then; they had some powerful hurricanes too but nothing like Eliza, the storm that had destroyed every single house. Anne had evacuated early the day before, leaving for a shelter inland. That move had saved her life. Many other people were not as fortunate. They had been afraid of leaving their things, their home, so they had been taken away by the storm along with everything else.

 The death toll rose every hour, as more and more bodies were found beneath what remained of the houses. The ones closest to the beach had been the most affected but destruction had reached every single part of town, even those not so nice houses that were inland. Poor people who lived away form the beach and all of the beautiful things also died or were left to live in a pile of what used to be their home. The storm didn’t care who had money or who hadn’t. She just arrived at peak intensity and took everything with her.

It was true, however, that people had been warned long before the actual hurricane hit the city. But every prediction said it would turn north because of the warmer waters up there. Everyone was convinced that was going to happen. And the turn happened but it was too close to the shoe line. Actually, when all the data was compiles, the hurricane’s eye had never touched the ground. It had been away from the coast for only a couple of kilometers. The destruction was maximal that way. Not even something planned would have been so evil.

 Anne spent all of the first calm day trying to find things in the remains of her house that she could use. Contrary to popular belief, people were not helpful or nice. All the opposite: they were vicious and didn’t want anyone to even step on one of the rocks they thought belonged to their house. People got really scared and believed everyone was out to get them and that their pile of garbage was somehow much more important or valuable than the other piles of garbage in the area. Some people even got weapons to protect their stuff.

 Anne decided to explore her space and try to take as many things as she could salvage from the rubble. Of course, there wasn’t a whole lot to take with her, but she did found some valuables like kitchenware and jewelry and other stuff that she could use to sell and survive for some time. Anne was a widow and had never had any children so she was alone in the task of trying to make something out of her life after such a tragedy. She was always almost at the breaking point but somehow always pulled herself together and moved on.

 When the sunset of that first day after the storm approached, she realized she couldn’t save anything else. The lot was still hers but it would take a while for the city to clean the neighborhood. She had to do something else that wasn’t camping there like a lunatic. She decided to pay a cheap hotel for a night and decide the next day what it was that she was going to with her life. As she drove to the hotel, she realized all of what was happening would have been a lot easier to handle with her husband on her side. But he wasn’t there.

 Walter had died almost a year earlier from a strange disease that had almost annihilated his body in a matter of months. They never told her exactly what it was but the quality of his life quickly diminished: by the end of it he wasn’t able to stand on his own, speak fluently or properly use her hands. When he began to drown because of his problems one day, she had no idea she would lose him. And she also didn’t know he had signed a paper that said he shouldn’t be revived in case something like that happened. He had taken that decision in order or her no to make it.

 Walter had been the love of her life, having met him in college. They used to do everything together. They planned and went on great trips and loved to try new things as a couple like dancing unknown rhythms or trying to learn a new language. It was hard for Anne to admit, but it was because of Walter that she had evolved and become a stronger and more loving person. Before she met him, she as a bit too rough and didn’t really care for romance or love or any of that. It was Walter, which showed her how beautiful love could really be.

 Now she was by herself, sleeping in a small bed that smelled like old people. It was pitch black outside her room but even like that she couldn’t sleep. First, her husband had been taken away from her. Then, the hurricane destroyed everything. And now she felt extremely lost and lonely. It had o be said that she had no more family than Walter as she had lived her full childhood in an orphanage. That was what had made her tough in the first place.

 The following day, she returned to her former house and tried to get some more stuff out but it was a very dangerous thing to do as the rubble could fall on her feet or hurt her somehow. It was a really difficult thing to do, to try and remember he things that had any value in order to sell them. She had also saved many things from him and now she couldn’t find any of it and it was making her desperate. She wanted those things to feel a little bit safer, as if someone was actually protecting her. Being alone was too hard after such a thing.

 Suddenly, a group of people from the mayor’s office and the government appeared on a car with a sound device to reach everyone. They were saying that the rubble would be cleared off in the following weeks, as the machines needed for the job weren’t even en route to help yet. They said the disaster had touched many different towns along the coast and that they were trying to make the best job possible for everyone to feel safe and to be able to rebuild if they want that or to sell their lots if they decided that was the better option.

 Anne was the first one to walk up to the car and make them stop by standing just in front of it. She had an impulse to do so and she did. She yelled at the people on the car, saying that they were talking as if it was something they did out of a routine or something, as if town along the coast got destroyed every day. And she also told them that she new for a fact that machines like the ones needed to clear the rubble were available to mayor’s office because of an article she had remembered reading to Walter when he was in the hospital.

 Other neighbors came closer and agreed with Anne. They also thought the government had come to tell lies and to make them feel safe and calm when there was no reason to be either of those. They needed to get mad and to demand what was right, which was the removal of all the rubble as soon as possible in order for them to properly look for their belongings and then decide if they wanted to leave or not. Many people, most of the neighbors actually, came closer to Anne and surrounded her, in order to support her stand.


 She then declared that they wouldn’t move until at least two machines came to clear the neighborhood. They would stand there and not let the vehicle leave. The people in it could walk away but the car stayed with them. One by one, the officials had to step out of the vehicle and walk away, afraid for their safety and humiliated because their corruption had been uncovered. Now, the neighbors hoped for the machines to arrive soon and Anne realized something she had in herself she didn’t even know about.

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

Facts of war

   The bombs had suddenly stopped dropping from the sky. There was an awful, eerie silence that occupied everywhere that still stood, which wasn’t much. Most of the city was now ruins, a bunch of unrecognizable rubble where people had lived and tried to have good lives and happy days. But that had ended some time ago, when the war started and things went rapidly downhill for everyone in every corner of the globe. It had happened so fast that no one really knew how to explain it or understand it. It was just chaos in it’s simplest form.

 Before bombs started dropping, people thought it would never come to that. They innocently thought that the war would be fought in empty, far away spaces, where no one would ever get hurt and where countries could argue for long periods of time without really affecting the civilian population. Those who thought that had visibly no idea of what war was really like and how it had destroyed and devastated the world once and again in the past. How cities had been leveled down by fire and force and how the strong ones didn’t really care who they hit and how.

 The morning before the bombs dropped on the city, people were already getting a bit nervous but not nearly as nervous as they should’ve been. They had all heard about the rumors that new airplanes that could fly without being detected could be sent in any moment to attack. But the frontline of the war was so far way that people simply didn’t buy that theory. They claimed that some people were being alarmists in order to get some sort of advantage in the war. They decided to deny any possibility of war coming to them. It was their undoing.

 Most of the people in the city died right then, that morning when the sun was just coming up and then, out of nowhere, the first bomb was dropped in the city. It is strange to say it, but the enemy had the so-called kindness to drop a single bomb on an industrial part of the city first in order for people to be able to run to the nearest shelters or to get safe in any way possible. It was a kind of warning shot. Most people ignored it and that’s why the amount of survivors, on the days following the decimation of the city, was so low.

 The few people that survived did recognize the signs of what had happened and ran to the underground parking lots and places similar to those. There were no shelters because they had chosen not to get ready for a war that was real, even if it was far from their homes. Most survivors had to be dug out from under the rubble because they had been underground by chance. Almost no one had actually run down from their home to protect themselves. They really didn’t believe anything could happen to them, as if they were special in some way.

 But they were not. The city was not treated any differently than any other city before or after that. The enemy had a clear objective and new exactly how to hit a target in order to have maximal damage and be able to withdraw fast if the attacked nation reacted efficiently. This was almost never the case as they always destroyed military bases and other potential points of defense in order to be able to do whatever they wanted. The rules of war were clear to them.

 Exactly two day after the bombing started, the bombers retired and went back home. They had done their job and the ground army was already advancing fast, taking advantage of the new position they had taken. It was a very dared strategy but it had worked perfectly for them. When the army arrived, they helped the survivors out of the rubble and they put them in special camps to be held as prisoners of war. No one was mistreated in any way and that made the whole experience a little bit worse. People couldn’t properly hate them if they were suddenly kind to them.

 Of course, they had been the ones that destroyed their city and probably killed many members of their families and friends. But the treatment in the detention center was not the one of a concentration camp or anything like it. It was exactly as if the hundreds of survivors had been taken to a five-star hotel to be locked down as prisoners. It was a very odd thing to experience and most people had no idea what to feel, what to say to the guards and how to react to anything. However, it was clear who had won and who had lost that battle.

 Many other camps like that one appeared in the region, as the enemy’s army advances through the continent. They had a pretty successful year but then, at the end of it, the expansion stopped. The invaded nations were responding but only with skirmishes and guerrilla warfare. The fact that winter had come was an important factor in them being successful and the enemy deciding that the advance of their troops could hold for a while as they decided a new course of action that would end the war in the favor, once and for all.

 The winter was unusually long and harsh. Snow covered the ruins of many cities and prisoners in camps realized that their situation was harder than they realized. Even though they had a goo reason to feel good about being in a warm place during the violent snowstorms, they realized that they were prisoners because of they weren’t they would be out there, standing in the storm with a weapon, defending their countries and their right to exist. Not all of them thought the same but a general feeling of sadness and confusion could be felt among the prisoners.

 When the winter ended, people assumed the enemy would resume expansion and the war would be over in months. But that didn’t happen. Pockets of resistance had appeared during the summer and they turned stronger once the weather got better. No matter their big guns and strategies, the enemy’s army couldn’t taken them all down as they wanted to. They had to be smart about it and realized that their plan for expansion had problems from the beginning, as they had never thought people could resist them.

 That entire year, the Resistance movement, which spanned several countries with different languages and cultures, was able to have some small victories over the enemy. They robbed some weapons or transports; they temporally blocked their advance or just annoyed them when trying to do anything. It was a very tense year and it was the turning point for everything or at least for most things. Prisoners were still in the camps and the destroyed cities remained on the ground. That hadn’t and wouldn’t change in a long while.

 The following winter, the enemy decided the offensive was taking too long so they did something that no one expected them to do: they reached out to the Resistance and proposed they negotiate a deal to end the war. Of course, the people that had been massacred and persecuted were not very keen on accepting anything that came from the invader. Most people called the move a trap and felt that it was a new strategy by their enemy to exterminate any opposition to their plans for the whole world. They didn’t trust them at all, they couldn’t.

 However, they finally sent a group to discuss what the ideas were for the ending of the conflict. The war had lasted for too long and it was worth the shot to at least know what they could potentially do to end the fighting. The group that met with the enemy was very nervous about everything but the others tended to tend as if they were allies. They gave them a great dinner and told them that they wouldn’t return any of the occupied lands but tht they could liberate some territory for people to leave in what could be called the Free Cities.


Those cities would have access to sea and rivers, would controlled by Resistance but an Occupation Board would oversee anything to do with the cities and their development. They would basically be free but with a few limitations. The group went back to the rest of the rebels with the proposal and, it had to be said, they discussed thoroughly for many days. It was very hard to discuss what was right or what was wrong because any measure is good to end death. But at what cost should that be done? The decision didn’t make everyone happy, that’s for sure.