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

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Lost flight

   The only thing I could do was waiting. After having my new boarding pass printed and a coupon for lunch in the airport’s food court, I left to have a walk through the terminal. I just needed to walk around, to relax my body after so many problems and so much uncertainty. As I walked, I remembered that I didn’t have any luggage, nothing to take care of. My clothes and a couple of souvenirs I was taking home, had been destroyed just a few hour ago, in the blink of an eye.

Understandably, people were glued to all TV screens showing a news channel or any sort of new information about the disaster. As for me, I didn’t wanted to have anything to do with it. I was already in some sort of shock; I didn’t needed to get worse in any kind of way. I just looked for a place far from any crowd and there I sat down, trying to relax. That was not going to happen but having that kind of mission made me at least a little bit distracted, from the looks and the comments.

 Yes, people already knew that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I have no idea how, but it wasn’t a surprise as people have always been all about gossip and knowing thing they have no place in knowing. I ignored the few looks I got and, thankfully, I only heard part of their speeches about me. Maybe they were talking about my luck or if I was travelling alone. Something about that but I really didn’t mind. I couldn’t mind because I had better things to think about than them.

 There, sitting in a lonely row of chairs overlooking the tarmac, I remembered my favorite sweater. I hadn’t put it on because the weather report announced a very col day, which it was. But I could have put it on anyway or maybe stuff it on my backpack. It could have survived but now I was never going to put it on never again. It was something silly to think about but that’s all my mind could do to keep sanity inside. My sweater was no more and I couldn’t be more sad about it.

 Someone, a woman, touched my shoulder and made me jump from fright. She had surprised me submersed into my mind. When I looked at her, she smiled and explained the people from the airline were now looking for me. I asked if the new flight was being cancelled and she shook her head negatively. She was apparently there to take me to the airline lounge, the more exclusive one. I was very happy for that but also kind of confused. She then explained it was the safest place for people to be: “Not even photographers can come in”. That explained it all.

 I joined her, my backpack tight against me. As we walked towards the lounge, she was talking about all the things I could enjoy there for the next twelve hours, time I needed to wait until the next flight home. But I wasn’t really paying attention to her but to the people still standing in front of the screens, watching the images of twisted metal and molten plastic. It was a very morbid thing to see and yet, even children stood in from of the screens watching something they did not fully understand.

 When we got to the lounge, she explained to me they had granted me access to the most exclusive areas. She handed me a silver card, which I had to use to make certain machines work and access some rooms like the showers, the spa and special small rooms to sleep for a while. She showed me everything but the truth was my body felt very week and I just wanted to sleep for a while, have a rest before the long flight I had to face the next day. Looks and comments will also be heard there.

 When she left, I went straight for the room’s area. They weren’t really rooms, but more like a capsule hotel in the style they have in Japan. I chose one and hopped in. I put down the curtain separating me from the outside world and removed my trousers to really relax. I turned off the lights and lay there in silence, complete silence, trying to get my mind cleared in order to sleep. But I kept hearing people talking all around me and I just couldn’t do it. It took me more than an hour to fall asleep.

 When I woke up, I thought I was only a few hours away from my flight, but that wasn’t the case at all. I had just been able to sleep four hours, which wasn’t really much considering at home I managed to sleep double that time every single night. I woke up just as tired as I was when I had hopped into that space. The only thing to do was to put on the pants and go out there, maybe eat something or have a hot cup of coffee or whatever I could find. It was better to be occupied.

 I decided to have dinner first, so I grabbed a large plate and I started putting on it every single thing I could see on my plate, except the spicy food they had on one end of the room. I sat down to the table and I ate very slowly, trying not to look at the screens I had around. But that was almost impossible to do and, when I finished my plate, my head raised directly into on of those screens, showing in detail how the plane had crashed against the mountain, how no one could have survived.

 Very silly me. I tried to look for my suitcases in the images, but it was obvious that nothing was really the same anymore. The plastic it was made of had probably melted and all my clothes were probably scorched to their tiniest self or maybe the wind had carried them all over the place. It wouldn’t be strange if some person arrived next day to work with my clothes on instead of his normal attire. That thought made a chill run down and up again my spine. Not something I like to think about.

 I was supposed to be there, in that flight, having had their same last meal and hearing those same last announcements done by the crew. I have no idea what they said but I can guess it was something sinister, one of those things you would never hear in any other case. Or maybe not, people are so strange that maybe it was all going smoothly and death just caught up with them in the most awful and unexpected way. Not a great way to go, but many would love that for themselves.

 I don’t want any of it yet. When I lost my flight because of a long line in the men’s room, I was very frustrated and I had yelled at half of the staff of the airport. I had called them anything from “useless” to “moron”. I tried to control myself because I started feeling a little anxious and it was then I went full crazy. If any photographers or journalists had seen that.  I bet that would have been a first page kind of story, Many more would be staring and saying what they think about what happened.

 But all of those are empty words. After all, I had seen those people. We had all done our check-in at the same time; we had even exchanged a joke or two or some comment about the weight of the bags. I had seen children yell and laugh and play. Adults trying to fix something and an elderly couple so in love still one would love to be them in any other life. I saw them being so human, so real and filled with life. And now they were no more, all of their flames had been extinguished in a second and I was the only one still alive from that group, just because.

 I guess my blatter saved me, which doesn’t really make me very proud but I guess it’s good to be here and not there. But… Maybe it was my time to die and I’m just here because of a mistake. Or maybe someone else had to live and not me but here I am because of some kind of mistake someone made and some point. But no matter how much I try to understand it, things are what they are. I am the last person to be alive from a group of almost three hundred. At some point, I would have to tell my story in any way possible, even if it’s just a case of pure luck.

jueves, 27 de octubre de 2016

In a second

   When she opened her eyes, she saw directly into the fire. The flames were in front of her, making her face feel warmer than she wanted to. As much as she wanted to move or get away, she just couldn’t move. Her body felt extremely heavy and her head felt really big, turning like crazy as she closed her eyes again and tried to convince herself she was not awake but sleeping, deep into one of her very crazy dreams. But she couldn’t do that either. It was all true. The flames danced in front of her and she could only look at them, feeling almost burned.

 Suddenly, she felt her body being pulled away from the car, which had being turned upside down. It hurt as the asphalt of the road caressed her skin and clothes. But she couldn’t complain. She couldn’t say a word even if she wanted to because of how weak she felt. Also, she was very dizzy and couldn’t quite understand what was happening. However, she kept her eyes opened because she just couldn’t close them anymore. The heat of the flames seemed far now and all she felt was the smell of it all, which was awful.

 Suddenly, the car exploded and several parts rained all over the place. One of them fell a bit too close to her face but she didn’t really mind at all. It was as if she was looking at a movie, at something she wasn’t really involved in. Her eyes were open the whole time and her brain worked so slowly she never really asked herself who had pulled her away from wreckage. She was just too shocked to think of anything. After a while, she felt very tired and decided to close her eyes for a moment. She fell asleep and only woke up many hours later in an ambulance.

 It was for long though. The only thing she saw was a very big needle and some blurry guy holding it. Or maybe it was a woman… She had no idea but she did now that a sudden pain invaded her body and then she was immersed again in the world of slumber. She dreamt about an ice cream shop she had loved as a child. Her father used to take her there in secret, as her mother was not very keen on sweets. They would ask for the ice cream and eat it in under thirty minutes, almost as a challenge to themselves before they had to head home.

 She woke up again many hours later, in a hospital bed. This time, the moment she opened her eyes, she felt the strongest headache she had ever felt. It seemed as if it was going to break her head into two parts. The pain was so awful that she screamed and in seconds two nurses came rushing in and injected what was probably a sedative on her IV. She calmed down but the headache was still there. She tried to tell them, tried to explain to them how much it hurt. But no words came out of her mouth. She couldn’t speak a word.

 When she woke up again, it was a very bright day outside. The light rushed into her room and she felt kind of happy to see the light after so much time spent in her dreams. However, her mind was still working slow, as well as her body. She was thankful because the headache had disappeared and she could at least look at the window without feeling a huge pain in her head. She looked on for a long time, so long in fact that the rays of sunlight changed angles as she stared at the world outside of which she couldn’t see very much.

 Outside, the sky was very blue and just a couple of thin clouds floated high above everything. Aside from that, she could only see some building, all made of bricks. She had no idea where she was or how but she was sure it was a safe place. Although, she did wanted to go back home as soon as possible. So much so, that she tried to get out of bed to have a better view of the window in order to know where in the city she was and if she could maybe walk home. She knew there was a hospital near her house, so maybe that was it.

 But when she attempted to move her legs, they didn’t respond. She attributed it to how slow her mind was running, so she decided to take a deep breath and then try again. But again, nothing happened. She looked at her legs and slowly touched them as much as she could. Her arms were not very long and they felt extremely weak, but she reached down as she could in order to verify what was going on. In that precise moment, a nurse entered the room and saw her. She then rushed back out, yelling someone’s name.

 The woman stopped trying to touch her legs and rested her body against the pillows. She felt exhausted and tried to think about what just happened: she couldn’t feel her legs. She couldn’t move them at all. Why wasn’t she reacting more violently to this revelation? Why didn’t she felt compelled to yell or cry or whatever? Her head felt like a balloon, filled with air that didn’t let her think of anything. She pulled her head back and closed her eyes, trying to get back to her last memory before the hospital. But that seemed to be almost impossible.

 The door opened again and this time it was a man dressed in those mint green uniforms that people often used in hospitals. She looked at him quietly, as he checked the machines around him. A nurse was behind him, taking notes. He then checked his patient by looking at her eyes and then checking her ears and skin. He asked for her to pull out her tongue but she didn’t seem to hear or understand what he had said. He tried again but she didn’t do anything.

 Then, he pulled out a very small bottle from his pocket, along with a syringe. He filled it with the liquid in the bottle and injected it directly into her arm. At first, she didn’t feel a thing. But then, it seemed as if whatever that liquid was, it worked as a way to shake people up in the most violent way possible. She suddenly felt pain and many thought rushed into her head. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Sounds were loud, maybe too loud and the sunlight felt too bright. She covered her face and cried, trying to control what she was feeling.

 After a while, the pain and awkward feelings went away and she knew exactly where she was and what had happened. She was finally aware of everything and not in some sort of trance. Whatever the doctor had put in her bloodstream, it eliminated all the effects from the other shot she had received. She was no longer a peaceful lamb that couldn’t even think for herself. She was her again, with every single memory and pain possible. But she couldn’t remember why she was there. As much as she tried to remember, it seemed hidden somehow.

 The doctor asked her if she knew her name. The woman said it out loud, hearing her own voice for the first time in a while. Then, he asked if she could remember the reason why she was there. She indicated that she couldn’t and asked him to tell her because she was going mad trying to remember, trying to go back to at least a sound or an image or whatever that could help her remember. The doctor said she had been in a car crash, having been expelled out of the car by the force of the impact. That’s why she had some cuts all over.

 When he said it, she looked at her arms and realized that was true: she had small cuts on her skin. And suddenly she remembered the flames and someone pulling her away from them. She told this to the doctor and he asked her if she knew who had done that. She replied that she couldn’t remember a face but that it had probably been her husband. But then the doctor looked at the ground and got closer. He explained his patient that it was not possible that her husband had done it because he had died instantly in the crash.

 The news hit her hard. She started crying and was held by the doctor for a moment. When they separated, she looked at her legs and realized what had happened. She looked at the doctor and he nodded, words being useless at that point. She cried in silence and the doctor left with the nurse. It was a lot to take for her and she was going to need all the time in the world to adjust to the fact that, in a single second, her whole life had been turned upside down, almost destroying her in the process.

jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

The blue box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sábado, 22 de agosto de 2015


   When Nelly woke up that morning, she only wanted to train. She was running a marathon in only two weeks and she needed to be ready to face off against so many other women that were coming into the city to participate. She wanted to be the best and for her city and country to be recognized everywhere in the world. She had begun training only recently but had been a runner for all of her life. She had won several tournaments and contests around the world. She even had a bronze medal from the Olympic games, her proudest achievement. Now, she was a little bit older and she knew she couldn’t be as good as the younger ladies but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be outstanding. She was ready to show the world, one more time, what she was made of.

 But that morning, when she stepped into the field to practice, she overheard two people in the locker room. She was going to leave her things there and put on her running shoes but as soon as she heard people inside she stopped. She had no idea why because normally she would’ve just come in but she didn’t. Instead, she heard everything about a medicine, some sort of shot, which a very well known athlete was taking to stay fit for the marathon. The two people were discussing bringing the medicine from another country and how they would do that. Apparently, the substance was not legal. They also said that the athlete needed to prepare herself for an upcoming anti-doping test.

 Then, Nelly heard movement so she silently walked back to the entrance and just pretended to be arriving. The two men inside the locker room came out and Nelly almost yelled when she saw who they were: a man working for the federation of athletics and her own personal trainer. For a moment, she stopped walking because she felt so overwhelmed but then she kept moving and greeted both men. The one from the federation left shortly after and her trainer told her to hit the locker room to prepare. As she put on her shoes, she thought about how disappointed she felt. She knew her trainer coached other women but not that he used forbidden substances to make them win. She had to do something about it but didn’t know what.

 The training session went as usual. She warmed up first and then practiced by jogging around the stadium several times. Her trainer would correct her several times and would show her on a map the several road features along the way of the marathon. But the truth was that she couldn’t be totally focused on what he was saying or on what she was doing. What she had heard was too serious. After all, an athlete couldn’t know about anti-doping tests because the point was for them to be a surprise and check the real current state of an athlete. They were cheating, probably to make her stay clean until they had to test her and then they could give her whatever substance she was taking.

 When training was over, her coach was willing to take her home but Nelly told him that she was going to meet a friend nearby for lunch. This was true and she couldn’t be happier that it was. Her friend wasn’t part of the sports world but she was a very pragmatic and effective friend who worked for the ministry of culture. Her name was Grace and she was waiting in the restaurant when Nelly arrived. She excused herself but Grace told her she was actually early because of her work. Apparently, everything related to a ballet performance coming from Ukraine had gone great and her presence was not needed anymore. So Nelly sat down and told Grace everything, not even breathing properly to stop. She finished by saying she had never witnessed anything like that.

 Grace told her she had seen a documentary about something like that but that it happened in poor countries, where people needed to win because of the amount of money that moves around in those types of competitions but she wasn’t surprised that it happened there either. She then asked Nelly what she was going to do about it but Nelly just couldn’t answer that question. She was worried because anything that she said would be very bad for her trainer but she felt a responsibility to do something. After all, she had been running for at almost twenty years and she had always been clean. For her, it was awful what some people did to stay on top.

 Her friend told her that the best she could do was to investigate more about the two guys. If they were cheating it couldn’t be the first time so many other people may be in it and some would even be willing to tell the truth. Grace told her that she would investigate with people in the ministry of sports, who had been created some years ago, specifically to deal with all of these issues. She knew a couple of people there and they might be able to tell her more. Nelly thanked her and they then had a very nice lunch, discussing other topics that had nothing to do with sports or culture. They had been best friends since college and they understood each other perfectly, even to the point where they knew what the other would do or say in some contexts.

 Later that evening, Nelly began her investigation online. She found out about small scandals and wrote down some name that would be willing to tell more about what they had seen in the past. She knew that what she was doing was going to put a personal friend, her coach, in the line of fire. She had thought she knew him for all these years but now, she had no idea what to think. But she knew that other athletes, honest like her, didn’t have to put up with cheating of any kind. Training and been ready for any type of sportive event was tough enough and cheating just felt like the worst kind of betrayal.

 The next day, Nelly decided to visit a man called Frank Underwood. Several articles pointed at him after he had allegedly denounced corruption in the federation of athletics. Nelly went directly to his house because meeting in any other place would be too dangerous. The man did not know who she was but when she announced her intentions, he rapidly let her in. He was surprised to know she was an athlete and, for whatever reason, he knew who she was and told her she respected her work immensely.  Nelly told her she suspected her coach and at least one federation man of corruption and leading athletes to forbidden drugs. The man faintly smiled and told her he had had been thrown out of sports altogether of what he had seen inside of the athletics world.

 He told her that he found out how they imported a substance called “tetromizine” into the country. Apparently the procedure was even more difficult to achieve than if they wanted to import marihuana or even alcohol. They would just put it in home appliances like refrigerators and microwaves. Someone in the port would help them get their stash and then a single box would have enough for at least a hundred athletes or more if they knew how to use it. It was, to put it simply, a drug ring and everyone in the federation was involved, from a beginner in the athletic world to the president of the organization. Every point of the pyramid was rotten beyond repair.

 Before leaving, the man told Nelly to have proof before saying anything. He didn’t want her to live through the hell he had lived some years earlier. She took her advised and begun investigating harder, even to the point when she was really letting go of the training for the marathon. Her coach asked her several times what was going on and she always had an answer, namely something related with the female anatomy. But the truth was she was getting closer to what she saw as the truth. Her friend Grace gave her some statistics to work with and the number proved that the athletes had consumed something before some of the events as their blood results were all over the place.

 Then, one other morning of training, she heard them again but this time she came ready. She recorded the whole conversation and decided it was time to act. The marathon was only three days away but she needed to do this now. So Nelly went to the police and then to the federation and formally accused both her coach and the man from the federation, called Marcus Fröm of drug trafficking and influencing official sportive events. There a huge scandal, of course, and many people attacked Nelly because of what she had said. She never talked to her trainer again, mainly because he was sent to jail for ten years. The evidence had been to solid to refute.

 She participated in the marathon and finished fifth, which she considered to be a triumph. She celebrated with Grace and other friends who praised her for her decision to denounce what was wrong with sports. However, only a year after it all broke out, she decided to leave the world of sports. The pressure from all sides was too much to handle and she wanted to have a peaceful rest of her life. So she retired and started enjoying many other parts of her life she had never explored. She still ran though, because she felt it made her free.