Thursday, May 19, 2022
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Friday, May 13, 2022
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Monday, May 9, 2022
Saturday, May 7, 2022
He was staggering in the rainy alley when he rested his hand on the wall to support himself and take a breath. He was drunk as hell, maybe more than other times. He glanced around at the dim street lights and security cameras. One of them seemed to him that it was watching him. He waved his hand to dispel the irrational thought and started moving again when he tripped on a stone and fell face down on the grass. It took his mind a little while to wonder what the grass had to do with the asphalt. He made an attempt to get up but the dizziness forced him to stay on all fours until his stomach calmed down. He wouldn't want someone of the few passers-by see him throw up in the night.
He half-opened his eyes and saw the meadow and the forest to his right. "That whiskey had something weird," he thought. Never before had drunkenness made his fantasies so persistent. He crawled to the first tree and sat with his back to the trunk. It seemed real. He had now begun to think that his few remaining friends had set up a nasty prank on him. But when? He just now walk down the street. He grabbed his head but did not seem to hurt. His eyes wandered into the night landscape. From afar he heard waves crashing on a shore. As he was tired, he slipped gently into a deep sleep.
Before opening his eyes he heard the birds. How long had he heard birds? It was dawn and the gentle breeze was refreshing. It was as if the dust of centuries had washed away from him.
He realized that the forest was not a dream within another dream in which he had awakened. He sighed at the thought that something serious had happened and that his friends would not jump from one side to tease him.
The grass gently stroked his feet as he walked towards the trees and from there to the sea. It was as if the world had stopped and was listening to his breath.
Then he saw the canopy. Half cracked seemed ancient in a new world. He bent down and went through the shabby door. The dome had opened in some places and climbing plants hugged the inside of the walls and the statues that adorned it. Some kind of machines protected by a transparent material were scattered in the space, one next to each statue. These represented human figures in such detail that the man wondered where the other people were for the first time.
He touched some of the figures and the marble answered with the cold feeling of the distant. The statue of a woman caught his eye. Long hair slid down her shoulders. She was wearing a one-piece suit and looked like she was looking at an unspecified spot in front of her. The man would like to congratulate the sculptor but did not think there was a chance to meet him.
He caressed her back with his fingertips and then he felt it. An invisible knock. Wait. Nothing. And then again the ghost of a heartbeat made him freeze. Something was wrong. He felt he should not be there and his presence was annoying or unwanted. Suddenly he wanted to run away, to hide, to forget this world and everything that had to do with it.
When he was far enough away from the canopy, he took off his clothes while trembling and dived into the sea. The water was cool and hopelessly clear. He threw plenty of it on his face and neck to recover and realized another paradox. Yesterday he was walking in an autumn cold alley and today it was summer. A group of small blue fish passed by him. He reached out and they swam around him without any sign of fear. Returning to shore he knew he had to find out where he was and do something about the hunger that had begun to bother him.
He went for a walk in the forest looking for something to eat. The suspicion of movement let him wondered of the existence of small creatures that were watching him with curiosity. Small purple berries like blueberries protruded through bushes that like small trees embraced the edges of the clearing. Hunger pushed him to try and their sweet taste compensated him for his courage.
Through the branches he saw a large rodent like a squirrel with long pointed ears watching him. He had never seen such a creature. He approached but the rodent ran to the forest to climb a tree that was loaded with fruits. They looked like pears but when tasted they were astringent and sour. Their flesh, however, was very filling and the man cut some risking and hoping that these strange fruits would not upset his already delicate stomach.
Beyond the glade on the opposite side of the sea the trees were dwindling and the ground was becoming stony. A small mountain dam limited the vegetation. The man looked at the tumor and noticed a place between two curves that allowed visibility to the other side. Without a second thought he began to climb. It took him a few minutes to realize how untrained he was. He reminisced about his years in the gym and almost fell, as the stone supporting his right foot receded, leaving him almost in the air. He grabbed a bulge and stopped until his heartbeat calmed down. He had to be more careful. If he fell, there was no one to help him.
When he reached the opening the wind hit his face bringing new smells and distant voices. He hid quickly and listened. In front of him the opening was lowering and created a passage full of caves on both sides. Outside of them sat or roamed humanoids with thick black hair. From this distance he estimated that they were a little shorter than an average person but much stronger, as their muscles were developed in their naked bodies. Two of them were fighting screaming and showing their fangs. The man stood up to see better and then one of the creatures looked at him in astonishment. As soon as their eyes met the creature began to show him shouting at the others. Cold sweat bathed him and he started going down throwing stones with his feet. As if time had stopped, he felt his body move mechanically, while his mind was frozen. He reached the trees with a few hacks he did not even feel and kept running automatically until he thought he was out of danger. Only then he stopped panting to calm down. So that not everything was as peaceful and idyllic as it seemed at first. He sighed trying to convince himself that everything was fine. He was so far away from the creatures that their intelligence might not have been enough to find him. After all, he was beyond their area and did not pose a threat to want to harm him.
He turned to his favorite tree and leaned his body. His thoughts returned to the statues that he no longer believed were statues. What were they? And where, for goodness sake, was he? Definitely not somewhere near his city. Suddenly he wanted a cigarette and a drink too much. He had never needed them so much in his life. This place looked too clean and undefiled and he wanted to contaminate it with a little smoke to feel human. He also wanted to talk to someone, to vent the anger that was gushing out of him like a wild river. By what right did someone or something brought him here against his will? By what right do others interfere in his life? He had never understood that. A drink. Maybe if he got drunk he would go home and this would be a crazy break in his life, which would remain unexplained forever.
Home… He smiled bitterly. He had not had a home for more than two months. Even when he had, it was his girlfriend who had hosted him for a year until she was so loathe of him that she threw him along with his things on the street. Then he was going from friend to friend and when they finished he started burden them again repeating the row. In fact he knew that his supposed friends no longer saw him in the best of moods. It was nowhere near his house. Unless it was a place, any place with a big couch, a drink, a cigarette and a chick.
The thought of a chick reminded him of the statue of the woman. It had been some time and things seemed calm from this side of the canopy. He approached hesitantly again. The room looked the same except for a low hum that could only be heard thanks to the silence. He was almost certain it was not heard the first time but he might have been wrong. The girl was still looking motionless somewhere in front of her. It seemed so fragile as a piece of another world. He touched her throat and felt it. One soft tap and then another. The woman slowly turned her head and looked at him blankly in the eyes. He was left stunned to get lost in them. The pupils turned green, the frozen stone began to change color, temperature and density. The sounds around him also changed, as the machines were working feverishly to get people back to normal. He turned and saw them come to life and look around as if lost. The woman kept looking at him and felt embarrassed that he had to say something.
- "Hi, I am Steven," he said.
The machine next to her reproduced his voice in another language. The woman showed herself and said "Lorna".
- "Who are you? How did you wake up? "Where are we?" He let the torrent of questions erupt now that he could speak to someone.
The woman asked the machine something and the answer surprised her. She spoke to it and heard the translation in his language.
"Four hundred and seventy-seven earth years, five months and twenty-one days have passed since the destruction of the planet. Arti says we woke up because it was approached by an identical DNA sample to ours. It must have been you. "
- "Artificial Intelligence"
- " Sorry, I did not want to wake you up," said the man.
Lorna smiled and Steven felt his heart sink.
- "What happened means that we can inhabit the Earth again. But who are you? You do not seem to belong to any other life support unit," she told him.
- "I do not know… four hundred years! I was just then and suddenly here!"
Then he noticed that the other people were listening to them. His response was embarrassing but it was not their first priority. They came out silently sucking images and sounds. They touched things as if seeing everything for the first time.
Steven understood that his presence, which he could not justify, made the newly awakened avoid him. Even Lorna had a reservation. Everyone, however, was satisfied that the resurrected abundance of nature could undoubtedly sustain them. The shock of everything that had happened and he had learned from the moment he was there, just the day before, was still trying to calm down inside him.
He approached her next to the fire that had been lit on the beach. Lorna was looking at the sun sinking into the colors. When she saw him, she got up to leave. He turned his head in frustration and then heard the scream. One of the humanoids had attacked her from behind and she was trying to free herself. The creature stripped his pointed fangs and screamed in the night. Steven looked at the bewildered people around him and realized that he could not rely on them. He snatched a stick from the fire and rushed to the creature who did not seem to know what it was. As soon as he felt the burning and pain he left the woman and stepped back in surprise, looking at the bright flames, before running on all fours to the safety of his camp. A rustle rose in the language of the newly awakened, who now had a reason to look favorably on his presence near them. Lorna took his hand to thank him and then it happened.
An opening began to fade in front of him, it grew and stood fragilely waving with translucent edges. On the other side he could see the alley where he had come from, his own world, right where he had been walking drunk the night before. He noticed that others could see it too. He knew that if he passed the gate he would be there, everything would be as before, he would go on with his life. He took a step towards the opening and stood. He looked at the world he had left and at the new world he had met and felt that something had changed within him. It was not the alley. He felt that he had an opportunity here, that he was needed and he could not remember when someone last needed him. The opening flickered around like a huge amoeba and began to close. He knew it was either now or never. He took another step forward and looked into Lorna's eyes. Divided, he fell to his knees and watched the gate close.
"Damn, I will never eat chocolates filled with liqueur again," he thought.