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

miércoles, 25 de abril de 2018

Elipo and its eagles


   For some reason, the gigantic birds liked to fly around the volcano, doing many turns until they seemed to feel it was enough, and then they flew away to their nests, down in the base of the mountain. Many scientists had regaled for many years, visiting Elipo Island and watching the beautiful red birds fly around the mountain. It was one of those beautiful thing from nature you just had to see once in your lifetime and many had already did that from their comfortable chairs at home.

 Elipo was an island that, for many years, had been left alone by civilization. But as transportations got better and faster and communications made everyone accessible in seconds, there was an urge to discover everything there was to uncover in the world around us. So many scientists embarked for remote regions, trying to document in any way, shape or form, all the new species of plants and animals that they could find. It was a new age of discovery and every single person in the world was a part of it.

 The so-called eagles of Elipo were the most interesting species that had been found in recent years in that corner of the world. They were a strange animal, as birds would normally fly long distances to make nests or get food. But the red eagles did not do that at all. They liked to stay on Elipo, flying around the volcano and then getting food in the small patch of jungle that covered must of the island. They could feed on small lizards and tiny mammals that were very agile and would give up a nice fight.

 The eagle’s favorite food was the Elipo hedgehog, an especially large kind of hedgehog that fed on various smaller animals and fruits that it found laying around in the jungle. One of the best scenes to witness for a scientist would be the fight between an eagle and a hedgehog. The first one would be coming from above, just after locating its prey visually. It would come down at full speed, trying to use the element of surprise as a weapon. The shape of such a living bullet was just an amazing thing to see.

 However, the hedgehogs had lived there as long as the eagles and they had learned to notice the changes in the wind around them in order to notice any incoming dangers. So right before the eagle could grab them to take them away, the hedgehogs would turn into a very tight ball, with all its spines rising towards the sun. The eagle would then land on the ground, unable to properly carry its food, and proceed to attack its prey with its beak. You have to remember eagles in Elipo are at least twice as big as normal eagles, so the fight would be a very interesting sight.

 The hedgehog would then stay as a ball or sometimes open up and fight the eagle with the spines in its forehead, which tended to be longer and sharper. A fight between the two animals could last a few minutes or several hours. Many scientists would disrupt these encounters by making sounds, caused by an overwhelming fatigue. No one had ever seen a long fight between those two creatures in its entirety. And most times, none of the animals ended up dead. A draw was the most common outcome.

 However, eagles won enough times to feed themselves and their young with the body of one large hedgehog. It was more than enough for most of them. Elipo was a place of harmony and animals were never “bad” or “good”, they didn’t act on despair or anything like that: they had easy access to fresh water, to food and to places were they could take care of their families. Before the arrival of humans, they had nothing to fear. As you might have guessed, not every incoming human was a scientist.

 Hordes of hunters and animal traffickers had discovered these new places were they could go and get all the animals they wanted with almost no resistance from the countries allegedly controlling the area or by the local tribes that inhabited these remotes areas of the world. They learned soon that there was no way they could stop the cruelty of the white man with their weapons, so they decided to pull back and just be silent witnesses to the horrible things those men and women did in the jungle.

 So these horrible people soon got to Elipo and got to meet the beautiful eagles and the hedgehogs they ate. The first ones to get trapped were the latter ones, as they were craved all around the worlds as pets. Besides that, they knew that by depleting the food resources of the eagles, the birds would be weaker and they would be less willing to fight them the moment the hunters and traffickers started climbing the volcano to get them. The eagles noticed very soon that something was very wrong in the island.

 After a couple of weeks, the number of hedgehogs had dropped dramatically and eagles had no real way of supporting themselves and their young. That moment was used by the evil men to climb up the mountain and start grabbing eagle eggs and young chicks from their nests. Of course, that caused a horrible respond from the eagles, which tried to defend themselves against the traffickers but that was a lost battle. Those people had guns and many other weapons, so the eagles could only scratch some of them badly before been killed or having to escape from the area.

When the scientists came back from their period of rest, they noticed that Elipo was dying. Not only the eagles were very scarcer, the hedgehogs and other animals had almost disappeared from the island. They tried to do their best to help the species gain the territories they had once held, as well as their older numbers but that seemed impossible. The traffickers had done so much damaged; it was possible no one could ever make up for it, not even if they spent years working there.

 And the scientists could not just stay there, they had to leave for a while and, when the local government realized what had happened, they banned any ships from abroad to enter the area. They argued that it would stop poaching but it really didn’t, as most traffickers used local boats and were people from the region. They had to be in order to have all the information necessary to get all those animals and their young, as well as many plants, which they sold to the pharmaceutical companies.

 The scientist decided to talk to the regional communities, especially the indigenous ones, in order for them to better protect the area. It wasn’t really a surprise when they realized that Elipo Island had always been a sort of sanctuary to them. As per their traditions, a young man had to visit the island on his fifteenth birthday. Their only task there was to climb the mountain and get a single feather from one of the birds. That meant they had become a man and they should be welcome in their communities as such.

 The scientists learned from the local peoples and they learned from the scientists new things they didn’t know about Elipo. They made an alliance to restore the island to its former glory and to fight the poachers. No weapons were used, just a lot of very smart gadgets and traps to make the evil men go away and just never return.

 Their goal was achieved, many years later, when the government recognized its poor treatment of the situation. As for the animals, that was another story. The  eagle community had been severely damaged and recovering it would take a lot longer, if it worked at all.

lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017

The past is always present

   The whole space between Planet B43 and its moon was a huge graveyard. Pieces of different sizes and different materials, floated all around, doing some sort of dance between the planet and the satellite. Some pieces did fall into one of the celestial bodies but no damages were done to intelligent life, as there was none in that section of space. The whole system had been deprived of that for a millennia and it was considered to be a sacred zone, not one to venture into lightly.

 The battle that had taken place only a few months back had been a consequence of miscalculations and a clear disrespect for anything that reeked to the past. Somehow, all the peoples in the galaxy had absolutely forgotten their roots, their common ancestry and history. That planet, which was now classified as empty, with only a letter and two numbers, had been one of the largest hubs in the past, gathering every kind of creature in its heart, making every single one of them feel welcome.

 The temples that were still scattered all over the surface of both celestial bodies were now covered in plants and moss. They had been the key to achieving peace a thousand or more years ago. It was a time when battles didn’t existed, no skirmishes were ever registered, and people tried to live without any kind of conflict. They talked. When they had differences, they agreed on meeting on the planet, which they called Takrut, and solve it there, with the help of other parties.

 There was something similar to a sense of community, even when civilizations would be separated by million of kilometers, of light years and planets and stars. Even with that inconvenience, all of these different creatures had the knowledge to gather and just share what they had all been given. Commerce was key during those times, and it was fair and it made senses to everyone involved in the transaction. No one felt they were taken advantage of or that were loosing somehow.

 The debris that now fell to the planet, sometimes fairly close to the ruins of those temples, was the proof that whole galaxy had fallen away from all that it had once held dear. The battle, which had begun in another sector, had burst into the system with fire and blood and screams, breaking the silence that for so much time had befallen those ancient tombs and sacred places. Respect had died a long time ago and there was no way to get it back, at least not with the current factions fighting each other over beliefs that were up for interpretation, nothing really factual.

A scout ship called Valiant was send to the cloud of ruins in order to try and rescue a piece of one of the ships that they needed in order to continue their fighting elsewhere in the galaxy. It was a piece of a memory bank that the pirates and smugglers would probably find to be of no importance. That’s why coming back after so long was not really a problem. Besides, not running into unwanted company was important, in order to maintain the mission a secret from everyone outside of their own group.

 The Valiant passed by the cloud but realized soon they wouldn’t be able to penetrate it. Even being a small ship, the Valiant could easily be hit by the large chunks of debris and that would leave them stranded on that sector for who knows how long and they certainly had no intention to do so. B23 was a country shrouded in rumors and tales of monsters and dark wizards. Not many people talked about worlds like those, except for mothers when trying to scare their children from doing something wrong.

 The crew of the Valiant decided it was wiser to send an AI unit to do the work. They were always very eager to help and they had no need to breath, so they were the perfect candidates to take a walk in space. A special rope was attached to their charging port to get them back after they had found the object they were looking for. The first unit was sent shortly after arrival but it was soon lost to a large chunk of metal that destroyed it. Its arms and legs floated away, as the rope was pulled in to use on another droid.

 The next one was able to locate the piece they were looking for but was then pierced through the chest by a bar made of different alloys. It had been travelling at top speed, so it was just like being stabbed with a spear or something. They also used other kinds of droids, less humanoid in aspect but faster and better responsible to the commands coming from the ship. It was one of those, a little droid called IC2, who was able to finally get the part they needed to get back to their command center.

 The droid was being pulled into the ship when another piece of wreckage cut its rope, leaving it only a few meters away from the Valiant. The ship tried to indicate the droid how to get into the ship by itself but a surprise visit by a group of pirate ships was enough to make the crew of the Valiant realize they needed to get to safety first and then try to rescue the droid. Before jumping out of the system, the scout ship ordered the little droid to hide among the debris and stay there until another ship came to pick him up. He understood his command and floated, waiting.

 He waited for a week and then for another week but no one would come. As small as he was, his artificial intelligence chip was very well developed, so much so that he could even do things that larger droids couldn’t. The fact that he didn’t really have arms and legs but tiny wheels and some hooks, made him the last resource for any mission, and he knew that very well. But after waiting for so long, he decided something had to be done in order to get the information back to the command center.

As a droid, his priority was to serve, so that’s what he was going to do. However, debris was very difficult to avoid, even for a small droid that was able to avoid being hit with relative ease. One single piece, the size of a little ball, was enough for him to lose his stability and hurl down into B23. Luckily, they had made him with metals that resisted entry through different kinds of atmospheres in the case of an emergency. It certainly came in handy as he fell from the sky towards the jungle.

 The small droid landed in a patch of jungle that seemed to have no trees or plants. The place was rather circular and, in a glimpse, he knew that was not a normal occurrence in the universe. Geometrical shapes rarely happened like that, so randomly and it such vast proportions. He decided to walk away from there and head toward some sort of building he could see peeking through the tallest trees of the jungle that was before him. Those were ancient ruins, something he already knew from his scanners.

  He crossed the jungle rolling through it; trying to avoid any puddles of water and paying close attention to the sounds of various creatures that were probably looking at him, wondering what it was that they were looking at. When the IC2 arrived at the building, he noticed it was a pyramid and that it had an entrance on the base, a rather large one. He decided it was the best place to wait for his owners, so he rolled into the building as fast as he could, not realizing a shadow had moved inside the cavernous entrance.

 When he realized that there was a creature there, it was too late for the little droid. A weapon, similar to an arrow, traverse the droid through what one would call its eye.  The creature, which was humanoid, bent down and grabbed the piece of memory bank the droid was holding.


 The human looked at the piece for a while and then decided to keep it for himself, putting it on a pocket beneath his cloak. He gave one final look to the destroyed droid and whispered something to him, in a language that hadn’t been heard in ages. After that, he disappeared into the shadows.

martes, 12 de julio de 2016

The tribe

   Once outside the darkness of he cave, the two men collapsed to the ground, exhausted. They had been lost for day, wondering in the dark, putting their hands on the foulest places. They had to be intelligent with their very small rations and their use of light. They had to flashlights that work on kinetic energy and one more that ran on normal batteries. That last one had depleted its energy in a single day. The others two had been of great help, even if the two men were not really strong at the moment.

 A couple of days latter, they woke up in a hut. They felt a strong smell near their noses and realized it was and indigenous woman, much older that they were, putting a bowl with some green paste inside beneath their nose. They didn’t want to be rude, but their reaction was to throw the bowl to the wall and crawl to the wall. It was then when they realized they had various cuts on the skin, plus many other bruises.

 Of course, they didn’t understand what she said but, somehow, she did seem to understand what they said. Maybe it was some kind of magic or maybe it was just an impression but in the following days, the two men regained their health and felt even better than before. They spent their days doing nothing until a man and a woman, also native to the jungle, came for them. Apparently, from what they could make of it, their nurse thought it was time for them to leave her and go back to civilization.

 The process was not immediate. They stayed with the tribe of the man and the woman for what seemed like a month. They didn’t speak their language wither, but that wasn’t necessary. Hands and body language was enough to communicate the most basic ideas so, in a matter of days, they were able to understand one another.

 Richard, who was the oldest of the two lost men, began to be interested in the ways of the jungle people, believing it to be very interesting how they use scorpion and spider venom to dip their arrows in and then hunt all of their meals. Apparently, the venom could be washed away from the flesh of the fallen animals and it wouldn’t affect one bite of a meal. He was very impressed by their agility and cunning too, as they seem no to be scared, in any moment.

 Lucas, the young one of the couple of rescued men, was not as interested in the hunting techniques as he was interested in the woman that had came for them to the old woman’s house. He had no idea of what her name was but he knew he loved her curves, her bright black hair, her big brown eyes and her full lips the color of strawberries. He couldn’t stop watching her everyday, even when she was doing her other chores such as cooking or helping the children of the tribe.

 Richard learned fast about their ways of hunting and in no time he was doing it himself, being able to bring a full-grown wild boar for dinner. Apparently, such a kill was a very uncommon occurrence as they tribe decided to hold a feast in their honor for their bravery and exemplary behavior. The natives had never seen foreign men before but they rather thought that Richard and Lucas had been sent by their gods to help them in times of need. That boar was not special. What was special was the fact that they hadn’t had anything decent to eat for a while.

 Every woman, man and child thanked the two of them and they rapidly learn some words that night, after they had heard them being repeated once and again and again. The celebration was topped off by the taking of a very powerful alcoholic beverage made from a mx of fruits the indigenous people picked up from all over the jungle. Richard was unsure about drinking it but Lucas did it in order to impress the woman he liked. It worked, as she thought he was brave for doing it.

 They both paid their bravery with three full days of chronic diarrhea and hallucinations. Richard had taken less than Lucas, but he too started seeing things once he got away of the village in order not to bother the others with his awful state. He would see his wife, his son and his parents. He had forgotten about them and maybe they had forgotten about him too. There, kneeling on the ground, he saw the image of his wife hugging and making love to another man. He also saw his little boy all grown up, turned into a man that was the opposite of what he had been. And his parents, dead for a long time.

 Lucas had it worse. He vomited and soiled himself several times. The woman he loved attended to him as his nurse and she feared the worst because he had really taken a lot of the beverage and she believed the messengers of the gods probably weren’t as tough in the stomach as the natives were. She did her best to keep him with them, helping him with cold water and prayer.

 He saw his family too. He didn’t have a wife and children but he did have friends, all of whom were giving him their back. He saw them saying how horrible of a person eh was and how disappointed they were of him. They also said that they had always thought he was a fake, always pretending to be something he wasn’t, always trying to be one step ahead of everyone to seem cool or whatever but he wasn’t. He heard the laughter louder and louder and he wanted to scream and pull off his skin to stop feeling the pain all over his body.

 After a while, their condition disappeared. The day Richard woke up from his visions, he was taken to a nearby river with freezing water. The shaman of the tribe made him swim in that water and when he was out, everyone cheered. Apparently, he had achieved another level in his status among them and he was proud of himself. However, he now had his family on his mind, calling for him from a distance. They were probably thinking he had died by now but he needed them to know he was a changed man, man that could make their family so much better now.

 He waited until Lucas came out of his sickness. He helped him out of the cold water in the river and then spoke to him alone, in a hut they had built only for them. It was the first time in a while that they were alone and that they spoke their language. Richard wanted Lucas to know he appreciated having a companion through this ordeal but that he had realized, thanks to the beverage, that he had responsibilities and that he had to fulfill them.

 Even being younger, Lucas understood what Richard was telling him but he also announced something: thanks to the visions, he had realized he needed to stay there with the tribe. He had seen his present and his past but also a glimpse of the future and he knew that the only real happiness that he could take away in this world was there, with the natives in the jungle. Even more, he had already decided to ask for the hand of his nurse in marriage, as he loved her deeply.

 The next day, Richard wanted to announce his intentions to the tribe but here was no need. They all knew what he was going to do and they had prepared a feast for him, to send him on his way. There was no psychotropic beverage this time, rather plenty of meat and some provisions he could take for his long way home. On a leaf, the shaman explained to him how to get to the nearest town from where he could possibly reach civilization.

 He thanked all of them and bid farewell to all of them, both in his language and in theirs. They were moved by this kindness and by the fact he hugged Lucas as a son, even if he wasn’t. He was thankful for his help and his support in the most difficult times, both in the jungle and in the cave. There were things that were a secret between them and Richard knew he could trust Lucas with all those revealed secrets.


 As he went away, the native nurse came to Lucas and said a few words by his ear. Somehow, he understood. That same night, they got married in the most beautiful ceremony the tribe had seen in a while. Everyone was happy, well-fed and very good health. The gods had really sent them. But for Lucas it was them, the tribe, that were the real saviors, making him realize what his life was and how to make it into something better, for him and the world.

sábado, 4 de junio de 2016

Men & Monsters

   The chains did a horrible sound, indicating that Genke was now a slave. He had fought bravely and had resisted for many days in the jungle, but the Wataku tribe had attacked with everything they had. They had burned down every single tree in the jungle, killing every animal that lived in it and making every former free man run for their lives. They put men on all sides of the jungle in order to capture the escaping men. They would beat them up with sticks that damaged the skin and then throw one of those stink bombs they used to render people unconscious.

 Genke had been the victim of one of those bombs and had woken up in a cell on top of a cart. He had been sleeping in a corner, as there were at least five other men with him inside the cage. The cart advanced through the wilderness very slowly and it was then when they all realized the jungle was burning, very far in the distance. It was something very difficult to see, as the forest had provided food and shelter for a long time and now it has fallen with them

 They wanted to ask where they were taking them but there was no way they would answer them. Any sound they made was answered with the crack from a whip. It always scared them despite the fact that it never it them. They were too scared and tired to fight nay longer and decided to let things happen however they had to happen. They stayed in silence and tried not to annoy the Wataku.

 The night passed and when the first light of morning appeared in the horizon, their new masters made them step down the cart and start walking behind it. They did not know why they had to do that but they did it without question. They had no intention of crossing any of the slavers. The man with the whip was on a horse and looked at them like a hawk. Any wrong move would be enough for him to react.

 That wrong move was when the youngest of the new slaves fell to the floor, possibly because of dehydration. The man whipped him with an uncanny ability and the kid’s flesh opened horribly, making wounds that would never properly heal, much less in the new conditions that they were living in. He had to be helped up in order to resume the walk, which he almost didn’t finish. The following morning, they entered a small village.

 It was called Sihoku and it was a settlement created by the Wataku that lived from capturing other tribes’ men. There was something like a jail there, where the five men were put in. There were lots of other slaves, possibly twenty more. Genke thought, for a moment, that they could rise and destroy the enemy but that wasn’t possible. Everyone was either too tired or had been beat up horribly by their new owner.

 Later, a tall member of the Wataku came and pushed every single man to the corner of the cage where they were being held. As he did that, two others carried a big metal deposit that worked as a feeding device for the animals. There were two of them. The big soldier pushed and kicked them, calling them names in his language and then left, doing some kind of a grin that they thought was very strange.

 As soon as he left the cage, every man except Genke and the boy that had been beaten up, ran to the metal deposits in order to eat and drink. They looked like pigs or cows feeding as if they had never eaten in their lives. Some pass over others to get food, some others hit their fellow men in order to get a handful of the food, some kind of mashed product that smells like it had gone bad recently.

 Genke did not even try to get closer. He thought they had to be better than that, he thought it was better if they showed the enemy that couldn’t be broken so easily. They had their houses burnt, their wives and children skinned alive or burned and now they were behaving just like the enemy wanted. They seemed to have forgotten every single thing that had happened recently and, the worst part, was that their new owners realized how easy it was to tame them and to convert them in the nice little slaves they wanted them to be.

 However, they had also seen how Genke had not even tried to eat or drink and they had already decided to make an example out of him. During the night, the cage was open and the big soldier entered again but this time he was careful no to be so loud or violent. He was there to grab only one of them and it was easy to stop who he wanted as he was apart from the group: Genke had separated from them because he couldn’t stand them anymore.

 The man grabbed Genke, woke him up and took him out of the cage. They tied a rope from every extremity and tensed the ropes from poles in order to cause him extreme pain. This was done over a wooden table were he was lying down, although there were moments when his body didn’t even touched the table. That was how much they stretched his body.

 Genke screamed all night. The guys in the cage realized what was happening and were sad for him but they had understood that there was no way to win to the masters. They were stronger and simply hand the upper hand. When morning arrived again, Genke was not thrown into the cell again but into the one in a cart. Others joined him there and then the transport began to move. The journey would be much shorter.

 The Wataku were sending them to the ocean. There, they saw some kind of event happening in the beach and also immense boats floating on the ocean. They understood what was happening just as the cart stopped and they had to walk, in chains, to make a line behind many other men that were been auctioned to a public of foreigners. They were dressed in funny clothes and look very different from one another. Genke even noticed that they all preferred to raise their hand and show fingers than actually speak during the auction.

 When they finished with the group that was there when they arrived, it was their turn. Genke felt sick, not only because of his torture, but because he was very hungry and thirsty. He walked in front of the foreigners making his best effort not to faint and then waited for their Wataku master to release them from the chains. But that didn’t happen. The Wataku were merciless and never forgive any misbehavior.

 All the slaves in their group were kept in chains and the foreigners had a chance to approach before they began the auction. Genke found it humiliating, as the foreigners checked every slave’s hair, their teeth, their skin and even their overall size, including the size of their feet. They didn’t understood why so many measurements and detailing. What had the mouth anything to do with working in a field?

 The auction began some time after that. One by one, the men that had been captured the same day as Genke were being sold to different foreigners. Other men from beyond the sea would come and take them directly to the ships. They didn’t wait or let anyone say anything. They just dragged the slave if they had to do it.

 The younger boy that had been badly beaten up by the Wataku was sold to a man with a mustache but when he was being taken to the ship, he started fighting his new owner, trashing about and yelling in their tongue. Somehow, he thought they would all suddenly rise and defend him from being taken away. The truth was much more sad: he was punched and kicked in the ground and carried unconscious into the boat. No one knew if he ever survived the journey.


 Genke was sold to a tall man, the tallest he had ever seen. His eyes were cold and his skin was the one of a ghost. He didn’t fight them as he was taken to the ship. He didn’t say anything when he had to sleep with dozen of others inside that boat. And he didn’t talked once he was sold again, in a port far away from his homeland, which he would never see again. He rarely spoke again, hoping he would eventually die and, at least, have some peace in his grave. That was his only wish.