Jack Collins from AcademicEarth.org shares a video he produced explaining “in less than three minutes, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451“. Ray Bradbury, as explained in AcademicEarth.org, “wrote his dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451 at the height of McCarthyism and Cold War paranoia. In the novel, Guy Montag is employed as a fireman who burns books. The whole of American society has descended into a zombie-like stupor of instant gratification, and books are seen as challenging and disruptive relics, which must be destroyed at any cost.”
“The video highlights the major plot points, characters, and themes used in this cornerstone of modern literature,” says Jack Collins. It is enjoyable and with outstanding illustrations that keeps you watching it.
“There is only one thing more horrible than the monster; human greed.”
It had been a few days after the assignment. Our lives, both John’s and mine were back to normal. We sat in our respective cubicles reading charts and looking at environmental patterns. Even though some time had gone by, the sting from the assignment lurked in the back of my head. Yet, another thought surprisingly prevailed beyond the shock; what was the agency’s plan for the monster? I could not shake the uneasiness of thinking that if the monster would attack, we would not stand a chance.
Overwhelmed by thought, I decided to take a break and take a walk around the complex. Being a monitoring employee gave me that freedom; our job relied on our clear heads and our clean eyes so these breaks were expected. Leaving the cubicle John looked at me curious and concerned. He, unlike me, was unaffected by the assignment. “Where are you going?,” he asked stopping me before I could leave.
“Just a bathroom break mother, can I go? ” I replied a bit annoyed. He nodded playing along and return to his things. Exiting the department I quickly got lost in the unchanging maze of cubicles of an unrecognized department. The silent was dizzying; only the sound of flipping pages was present. Going by one of the cubicles I saw a big worn book, probably one of the oldest books in the world. Some pages peeked out of the side trying to avidly escape. Noticing there was no one in the cubicle, I stepped in and opened the book. Dust and an aged smell burst out of it. From the first glanced it seemed to be a catalogue for monsters.
The book was written in a bizarre language probably only understood by the people from this department. Flipping through the pages I noticed some recognizable monsters: werewolves, banshees, goblins…even zombies. All the information on them was there, only unreachable to me. With a random flip of pages I stood in shock…it was him. An exact portrait of the monster was sketched in the book; his red eyes could be felt from the black and white ink. I tried hard to look at the symbols that described him, but as hard as I tried I could not get anything out of it. Passing to the next page a strange image was portrayed. The monster was surrounded by seven figures each with a distinct expression in their face: anger, sadness, fear, excitement, happiness and kindness. The man with the last expression was blurred in the ink and his description was torn off.
Lifting my head to give it some thought, I saw the director of RC walking in a hurry. What was he doing here? It is very unusual for the directors to leave their current departments. Out of curiosity I decided to follow him. Making sure he would not notice me, I walked behind him some time. He seldom looked back while walking. Taking a sharp corner he went inside a regular door that he left ajar.
I stepped close to the door and quickly glanced inside. The four directors and the agency chief were sitting in a plain table. “Chief, we can continue monster’s fund for quite some time,” said the Finance director, a slick tall man with a devious look.
“This goes beyond funding, Amon.” growled the RC director.
“This monster has always been a potential threat to the agency. Reconnaissance and control will not be able to contain a class one event.”
“Verin, the monster has provided advantages to both your and my department. How many agents have been saved by using the monster?,” said Vetis, the seductive yet serious director from my department, Monitoring.
“You are quite clear that the monster is not fully understood, right Vetis?,” questioned an old man, by elimination he was the director of Documentation.
“What are you suggesting, Eligor? What do your old books and your useless scrolls tell us about the monster,” replied Amon facing forward with his devilish eyes.
“I said enough about the monster, all that we know. I, like Verin, choose to tread carefully. We both know what price ignorance pays in these situations.”
“Chief, we will not be able to control a breakout,” pressed Verin in a subtle, yet pressing tone.
The chief stood up without a word. He looked at his subordinates deeply and thoughtful. “We will continue to use the monster no matter the cost,” said the chief with a hoarse voice and great willpower. “We will continue to provide him everything that he desires.”
“Do not feel pity for the monster, he will certainly not feel pity for you.”
I was sitting at my desk with the orchestra of phones and keystrokes in my background. The text cursor blinking before me, it was noon and I had not accomplished anything. I was unable to shake away the feeling from last night; I did not sleep or eat. Now I know why they call him the monster. Now I know why he is locked away in the basement. I could not forget the awkward trip to our destination, how the monster hummed an unknown melody so casually, so relaxed. I remember that my emotions were a wreck, I felt as if my body had no control over itself. It was definitely related to the monster, his presence made my fears avalanched against me. I was sure John felt it too, the monster was playing conscious or unconsciously with our feelings.
The swat van stopped after what seemed like two hours, more uncomfortable silence ensued. “Too quiet, boys,” the monster said with a plain and casual smile. “I prefer my walks to be chatty.”
I wondered what he meant with his “walks”. Does he thinks himself as a pet? I had no idea, but that is not what got me in that state…it was what followed.
I heard some chatter outside the van and what seemed to be gunshots. It was hell. Not only was I afraid for what was happening outside, but also who I was with. “You are shaking,” said the monster with a worried look and his thick foreign accent. “Are you cold?” Is this seriously happening? Is he not aware of what he is doing to us?, I thought. I ignored him and looked at John; he was twitching of what seemed like uncontrolled excitement. “Your friend seems to be extremely happy, you should be too,” added the monster interrupted by a loud knock on the door. A muffled voice was heard over the other side saying “It’s time”. The monster stood up with his clean suit and his ostentatious posture. “Now we dance boys,” he said opening the door and exiting the van.
Following him we identified the place to be some sort of abandoned warehouse. I could see some agents running from side to side, while others were exchanging shots with some weirdly dressed people. “They are visible, it’s time,” said one of the agents to the monster. He only smiled and walked towards the middle of the warehouse. Suddenly the fire seized from their side, they were completely unaware of what was going to happen. The monster turned around, ignoring our enemy and he looked straight at me with his reddish eyes. His smile was no longer casual, but twisted. He smiled like a hound ready to feast. “Shoot, is the ACPE! Is the monster!” yelled one of the people from a balcony. With a sudden movement the monster vanished and screams accompanied his disappearance.
“Brace yourself.” yelled one of the agents beside me. Suddenly a wave of pure fear covered me. I was going to die a horrible death. I screamed to the top of my lungs while falling into my knees. There was no way out, I looked at the spot where the monster had been, there was no immediate threat, yet I felt death was upon me. I started to cry and as I searched for a way out, I noticed all the agents were also on the floor. John was sobbing uncontrollably while moans of pain were heard coming from the others. Is he killing us? I remember asking my self. As sudden as the fear came, it went away. We were safe, we escaped…but from what? One of the agents, definitely a RC guy, stood up quickly and looked at me amazed. “Always gets me, he must have finished,” he said calmly. “You have guts kid, usually you throw up your first time,” he said to me.
Looking beside me, John was devastated, it took a while for him to stand up. Confused he looked at me and surprisingly there was still excitement in his eyes. “This is the best thing that has ever happen to me in this agency,” he said while we both looked and saw a bloodied head roll towards us. I will not forget the expression on his face…pure fear. Unable to contain myself and accompanied by John, we both puked at the sight of the head. “I forgot to mention that,” said the same agent smiling; these guys are tough. “Follow me, we have to fetch our little friend.”
Recovering from the impression we alone followed the agent inside the warehouse. We puked again upon getting inside. There was blood everywhere. It was barely possible to count how many people where there. Was it 20 or 30? Counting the body parts was useless, most of them where beyond recognition. Walking a little further we found a dark corner and heard sobbing. “There he is, go get him,” said the agent pointing at a small entrance to a dim lighted room.
“What?” I asked thinking it was a joke. “You cannot be serious.”
“The monster after feeding takes the last feeling from his victim. He is scared shitless,” said the agent thinking that would help which did not. John stepped inside quickly and I followed. I was surprised. The casual and handsome monster was reduced to a cowering animal waiting to be slaughtered. He was avoiding eye contact and shifting uselessly against the wall.
I approached slowly. “Do not kill me, do not kill me, do not kill me, please!” he whispered looking at the floor. At that instance I felt something completely unexpected… I felt pity for him. Now I know why the agency had invested so much money on him and definitely now I know why they call him monster.
“A research paper and a short story are the same thing, an epic tale of how someone (or something) came to be in the dire circumstances of the world.”
Alexis Ortiz Rosario, a graduated Industrial Engineer pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, currently works on electrophysiology (or neurophysiology) with the purpose of creating mathematical models to predict reaching motion from a specific area of the brain, at the Ohio State University. For Alexis Ortiz writing has always been an escape to faraway lands and conflicting characters. As an avid movie-goer he has been thrilled with how stories develop and take you places. Most importantly writing “is mostly a relief from the technical and rigid world of engineering. It does help improve my storytelling for the technical side, even if it is not as free,” he shares with us.
A person driven by learning and knowledge, Ortiz Rosario, who is from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, and also enjoys martial arts (Shotokan currently) and astronomy, says he wants to learn everything there is. “I love to have philosophical conversations on almost any topic. Usually existential are my favorite. I like to travel to the places I write about and I am a curious person, I always like to know how things work (hence the engineering).”
As a sci-fi and fantasy writer, Alexis Ortiz doesn’t enjoy stories that narrate normal people or normal events, rather those that challenge him in a creative level like the ones as Asimov’s futuristic ideas that are concepts or ideas that will blow his mind. “I get bored if the story involves everyday events; I am just not into it, there has to be some sort of magic involved, something mysterious and unexplained.”
He share more details on his writing life with us and his take on the development on creating a story.
AOR: I have an extremely active imagination and I am always creating these fascinating stories in my head (which almost likely I am the main character). So, after so much imagining I decided to express them through a medium, that being writing. I like to go places through my writing, is just the cheap way to travel and is best when I can take my audience with me.
ARRH: Tell us about that moment when inspiration hits. What inspires you?
AOR: Inspiration usually hits when a good song plays and I am in the corner of my apartment, alone. I get easily motivated with music, be it a Beethoven sonata to a heavy metal song, basically anything that resonates to my tone in that moment. I usually put my headphones, hit play and leave earth quite easily. ARRH: What about your writing process?
AOR: Usually I start with a concept, be it as broad as they come. Usually are philosophical concepts about the origin of something or some elaborated idea that blew my mind. After I have the concept, I figure out a setting that would resonate with the idea and after that I populate it with the characters. Everything happens quite quickly and sometimes I am not even aware that I figured out a story to write (going back to the last question, I have a big imagination).
ARRH: Do you have future writing projects?
AOR: I am currently working on a short story about the interrogation process of an alien from outer space. I plan it to be a reflection (hence the title Reflections) of humanity from an outside scope. I plan to give it some twists since is something thought clichè by many.
My other big project is editing a fantasy-fiction book I finished. The book is the story of two demon hunters in a demon ruled land where the people fight to survive. The main theme of the story is how people manage to depend on saviors and heroes, and how these heroes endure the heavy demands of the people. The plan is for the story to be a three book saga, but like they say…you got to finish the first.
I have some ideas, even to start crafting a comic book, since one of the stories I have is far too visual for letters, but these two projects right now have my priority.
A note from the writer of Vampire of Feelings that continues on Mink every Tuesdays and Thursdays: “On a last note, I wanted to thank Alexandra Román for the opportunity of being hosted in this website. It has been an honor. Please enjoy my work and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.”
“Beware of the beauty of the monster, for it is his weapon.”
John and I found ourselves in the monotonic hallway under the agency. Geared up with bullet proof vest and a shotgun, we were being escorted by an RC agent. It was noticeable that we did not belong in that attire. My awkward pacing and John’s posture betrayed our appearance. I was still unsure why the reconnaissance and control director would request us to accompany the monster during an assignment. Even more interesting was the director’s comment “per the monster’s request”. Reaching the reinforced door the RC agent unlocked it and revealed an extravagant room. The darkness from before was replaced by a warm and subtle chandelier light. Suddenly I heard a piano being played, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Entering the room, both John and I, looked for the piano in the enormous hallway. Inspecting the hallway and some rooms it was noticeable the detail and expensive taste. Some antique paintings and marble statues were perfectly placed around the room. A red carpet covered most of the polished wooden floor. Crossing the main hallway we found the dark oak piano under another chandelier. The monster, a tall man with dark hair and handsome face, played each note with a great expression in his face. He delivered each note as if a piece of his soul was being delivered. We stood looking at the monster in amazement as he finished his perfect performance. Stroking the last key he fixated his reddish eyes in the dark oak and slowly he raised his gaze to us. “Gentlemen,” he said in a thick foreign accent, “I believe you are my sitters for the evening.” I looked at John and my expression changed to embarrassment. His excitement oozed out of his eyes.
“It seems so,” I said plainly.
John looked at me bothered, as if I insulted someone of importance. “You can exit from the rear,” interrupted the RC agent while leaving. After a few seconds of awkward silence, the monster rose from his chair. I noticed he was wearing an expensive suit with a wine red tie.
“Are you to remain silent all the way?” the monster asked turning away and walking into a closet.
“My last sitters were so silent, it was sad.”
“What happened to your last sitters?” I asked curious and a bit frighten.
“They were relocated, I never saw them again,” said the monster coming out of the closet with a change of tie. “Are you afraid?”
I looked at John and knowing he was not going to answer I replied “No”.
“You do not look afraid,” said the monster piercing my eyes with his look. “But I know you are. Your friend is also afraid, even if he is excited too. Fear is such a beautiful feeling.” I took a step back, in that instant I wanted to leave the room. There was something odd about this man… What is the agency doing?
“Shall we proceed?” asked the monster walking towards the hallway we were in. Crossing by my side he gently touched my shoulder. My body began to tremble uncontrollably. What is going on? He quickly vanished from the hallway. “What the hell just happened?” I turned to John perplexed. He was still ecstatic, getting closer to him I tapped him in the shoulder. Shaking his head he looked at me confused. “What…what?” he asked. This has to be a joke. We both turned and walked to the main hallway. Upon inspection we saw a small door connecting to what seemed the inside of a swat van. The monster was sitting inside. He smiled innocently and waved signaling to get inside.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Book of Paul, a nail-biting supernatural thriller by Richard Long. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
Monsters: An Excerpt from The Book of Paul
by Richard Long
You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies.
Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below. Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hopscotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-hopscotch, maybe.
“Hhmph! What do you think about that?”
Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-gingham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street.
The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm.
Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like a rich, fragrant wine.
“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…”
He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash. At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hopscotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all. Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure thing to a dark, dirty place and…
And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do.
Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public?
“Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!”
He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hardened by degrees as he pictured the yanking daddy and the formerly happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do. He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?”
“Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall.
His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained. He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tasted like fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place. The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again.
“Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her father. And make her watch.
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All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
“The monster during a feast is always cordial and welcoming right until dessert.”
Once again I found myself pretending to enjoy lunch. The whispers of unrecognizable conversations buzzed annoyingly in my ears and the clanking of metal inharmoniously backed it up. “Are you eating that?” asked John while sitting beside me.
“Do you ever stop eating?” I responded annoyed.
“You are so moody sometimes.” he replied between mocking and offended. “Do you think they will let us get a ride with the monster?” he asked as excited as a nerdy girl with a date.
I do not understand what the agency sees in the monster. To me he is a crying twelve year old and nothing more. How can the agency fund so extensively in everything that has to do with him? I guess is a matter of time before they truly see their lost money not being returned.
“Are you coming?” asked John already standing up. Looking at my plate and not entirely motivated to finish my food I followed him.
Unlike the dark unchanging hallways of the basement, the offices were rather colorful. Painted with modern and bold shades, the agency’s acronym ACPE, Agency Counter Paranormal Events, adorned some walls. Under the acronym stood the slogan: “Mundi sine malum”, a world without evil. Getting to the main lobby we greeted the attendant, which for some particular reason is changed every two weeks. While John delivered useless flirting in between questions I observed the main lobby with the same amazement as my first time. Extremely modern and polished, the lobby was located between seemingly infinite walls covered in glass to both side. Through them you could observe every possible employee from each floor working.
“The RC director wants to meet with us,” interrupted John somewhat disappointed.
“I think one of the things they tell them when they hire them is…do not let John flirt with you,” I replied poking at his failed attempts.
He lifted his head and let out a fake laugh. Leaving the lobby we headed towards the Reconnaissance and Control department to meet with it’s director. Crossing the entrance to the department we were surrounded by great hustle. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. Category 1, Priority 1, ASAP, were the words of the day between cubicles. With a couple of pushes and elbowing we reached to director’s office. John proceeded to knock his door, which was abruptly opened before his knuckles landed on the fake wood.
“Come in.” said a hurried voice. “And close the door.” Entering, both John and I noticed the difference in lighting. My eyes took half a second identifying the obscured environment. The silhouette of the director was visible against the almost entirely covered window. Suddenly I felt an additional person in the room, but I saw no one. “I called you because I am down by two agents,” said the director containing what seemed like a nervous breakdown. He took controlled sips of a strong smelling tea while looking at us with his beaten old eyes.
“Sir, we are monitoring. How could we help reconnaissance and control?” asked John shyly.
“We only need a babysitter,” replied the director while sipping from his silver cup.
“With all due respect, what are you talking about, sir?” I asked slightly offended.
“I need you to take care of the monster during a mission, nothing more.” I swear that upon the director’s words John let out a girly squeak and jumped out of excitement.
“Sir, if I may…” I stated only to be interrupted.
“You may not…” he replied suddenly serious. “…besides, it was per the monster’s request.”
“That night they met the monster with a human disguise.“
Walking down the hallway I was being debriefed on the agency’s secret weapon. Barely paying attention, I looked over the dull painted walls and the monotonic hallway while John’s words hovered over me. “Are you paying attention?” he said strongly while looking at me annoyed. “I am telling you he is a fucking monster.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked confused. He continued with his description of a supposed monster that was locked in the basement of the agency. Nine feet tall, dark skinned and blood of all those foolish to approach him. Eyes scarlet red, said to be able to pierce right to your very soul. “You know I find these fairy tales stupid, right?” I replied to his horrid descriptions of the so-called monster. “Have you actually seen him?” I asked stopping suddenly.
“No, but that is what I have been told.” he replied a bit shy, yet excited. We walked for a while before we stopped in front of a heavy metal door. I glance over it and noticed it was reinforced. It had seven locks strategically placed to improve the strength of the door. Once I had processed everything, my mind brought a horrid image of a monster standing in the darkness looking at me. With a pat in the back, the image faded and John proceeded to open the door. “This is going to be fun!” he almost giggled as he was opening the locks. “I almost forgot, upstairs they told me to avoid strong feelings in front of him.”
Once finished, the door slowly opened and a strong smell permeated through the opening. John looked at me and smiled. The room was utter oblivion; a small bulb was shining down timid of the surrounding darkness. In the center of the room there was a man, a normal human being. His hair was as dark as the darkness around him. For a moment, while looking at him I felt surrounded, haunted by a presence that overwhelmed me. He shifted his head towards us, his eyes were indeed red and they did pierced our souls within mere seconds.
The man suddenly stood up and slowly walked towards us. The darkness of the room, seemingly afraid, shifted as the man approached us. Within a few feet of us the man stopped and with the piercing shriek of a twelve year old started crying. He threw himself unto my arms and cried without relief. While the apparent monster cried in my arms, I stood still looking as confused as the first time I kissed a girl. “Jimmy was supposed to go out with me, but that wretched horny Veronica took him away,” cried the man screaming from time to time. John, stood beside me equally amazed.
“Why?!” the man yelled once again. “Why did he do this to me?” While holding the greatly feared monster I overheard the steep sound of expensive shoes against the concrete. Unable to turn because of the crying man, I heard the voice of the director speak over my shoulder. “Congratulations on meeting the one of a kind monster,” said the Director with her usually serious, yet extremely seductive voice. “I think the girl we feed him was a bit too much.”
“Wait…” I tried to turn, but the man grabbed me and whispered while subbing don’t go Jimmy. “…do you actually feed people to him?” I asked confused.
“No,” replied the director abruptly and seemingly offended. “We feed him feelings. After all, he is a vampire of feelings!”
Tanto amigos como familiares, conocidos de las redes sociales y lectores en particular, me han preguntado acerca de Ascensión Divina. Es grato saber su interés hacia mi pasión como narradora de historias y les agradezco por el gesto. Por tal, he decidido compartir pasajes variados de la historia mientras voy a paso lento y cuidadoso con la segunda edición. Así como introducirlos a varios de los personajes principales y secundarios, los diferentes reinos que la componen y su geografía que es muy variada, y por supuesto, las razas de Ascensión Divina. Son ellas con sus diversidades y vanagloria que mueven la acción de esta historia de fantasía que lleva clavada en sus bases los orígenes de mi raza boricua: taína, española y africana.
En Ascensión Divina, La obsesión de un inmortal- libro uno- una inmortal se enfrenta a su mortalidad tras la muerte de su progenitor, de la cual ella es causante, y para obtener la vida eterna, poder absoluto y destruir a los Hüaku, sus enemigos y quienes se interponen en sus planes, debe hallar a toda costa la esencia de la divinidad.
En este pasaje conocerán a uno de los personajes principales del primer libro de Ascensión Divina, Arakoel Iyeqah. Ella no es otra que la líder de la raza de inmortales llamada los Kahali (ka-fa-li). Esta raza se caracteriza por tener ojos azules con mechones de su cabellera negra y lacia a juego con sus ojos, pero sus tonalidades dependen al Uraheke o familia que pertenece. Hay siete Uraheke, pero de estos hablaremos en otro adelanto de Ascensión Divina. De igual manera, se presenta otro personaje, uno secundario, quien no es otra que la Señora del Oráculo y quien pertenece a la raza de los Hüaku (füa-ku). Esta le hace varias revelaciones de importancia para el desarrollo de la historia y que pondrá varios planes de Arakoel en acción. Les recuerdo que este pasaje es tan solo la segunda edición de Ascensión Divina y por tal no es la final y es parte del primer capítulo que es mas extenso.
Arakoel sonreía complacida, y luego de un largo silencio que estaba segura atormentaba a la Señora, dijo, “Me place tenerla en mi presencia, a usted, que solo ven algunos, que solo un puñado de afortunados escuchan su voz y sus profecías. En contra de todo y de Yahedi, aquí está bajo mi poder.”
Tras la mantilla púrpura que cubría el rostro de la Señora se dibujó una sonrisa, y con serena confianza, contestó a Arakoel, “No estoy ante usted, Arakoel, por designios suyos, sino porque así lo desea Yahedi.”
Sus palabras la turbaron, pues si era por designios de Yahedi eso solo significaba que la Señora tenía una profecía para ella; una noción que lleno de gozo su rencoroso corazón. “Entonces, habla. Dime las palabras de Yahedi,” demandó acercándose a la Señora. Pero justo cuando esta le referiría el mensaje, la detuvo y en voz baja le indicó, “Alto. No digas nada. Sé que puedes hacerlo de otra forma, y quiero que me hagas ver.”
“¿Deseas ver tu profecía?,” preguntó la Señora confusa.
“Sí, es mi deseo y sé que lo puedes conceder. No quiero tus palabras, quiero la esencia de la profecía y lo que con ella trae.” La Señora se mantuvo en silencio por varios segundos, dudaba de lo que debía hacer. Los ojos de Arakoel se fijaron en la silueta del rostro que se dibujaba a través de la mantilla. Esperaba paciente por su respuesta, la Señora tenía que darle su profecía, pues era su deber. Podía escuchar su tormento interno a través de su alígero respirar, palpitante en su pecho que se inflaba con cada soplo de aire. Arakoel deseaba sonreír de placer, pero mantuvo su mirada fija sobre la Señora. Finalmente, la Señora del Oráculo preguntó, “¿Quién le dijo que puede una profecía revelarse de esa forma?”
“Todo elemento tiene la esencia de la vida dentro de un ser, y aunque el suyo no es considerado uno, vive en usted y solo en usted. Fue dado como lo fueron los elementos de la creación a los Custodios, y ellos manipulan esa esencia que vive dentro de su ser. Quiero sentirlo dentro de mí, y sé que lo puedes hacer.”
“No sabe lo que pide. Las palabras son más fáciles de internalizar, las sensaciones crudas de lo que vemos nos pueden impactar de sobremanera, a tal punto que podrían cambiar nuestras vidas.”
La líder de los Kahali tornó su mirada hacia un lado para asimilar las palabras dichas por la Señora. No había nada que temer cuando la victoria estaba cerca, y los riesgos que se presentaban en el camino fortalecían al espíritu. Una sombra de maldad se apoderó de su mirada y cambiaba las facciones de su rostro del cual emanaba terror para aquel que le mirara. De esta forma miró a la Señora, que espantada retrocedió. Arakoel avanzó hacia ella, y ordenó con voz tenebrosa, “Revela tu profecía, ¡Oh, Señora del Oráculo!”
“Bien,” contestó temblorosa ante lo que iba hacer.
Arakoel se arrodilló frente a la Señora y esta colocó su mano izquierda, decorada con el Üanin, joya en oro blanco utilizada por los Custodios y ella, sobre su cabeza y cerrando sus ojos dejo fluir a los pensamientos de Arakoel la profecía que debía entregar. Arakoel Iyeqah sentía que su cuerpo era inundado de paz y serenidad, ese era el toque de Yahedi al entrar en el ser, que abrieron su mente por completo a la espera de la visión de Yahedi. Ésta entró en su mente tal y como un rayo cae sobre un árbol, haciendo que todo su cuerpo quedara tieso. Su boca se abrió para poder respirar, un intento fallido; y mientras se quedaba sin aliento y clavaba fuertemente sus uñas en la alfombra que servía de piso en su tienda, la visión de la profecía se dibujaba en su mente. Un rayo, una piedra, un rostro negro en pena… Luego, la Señora comenzó a hablar, “La mano suprema esculpirá tu rostro en piedra. En negro sellando tu destino. La eternidad efímera de un inmortal. Marcado en piedra la angustia, el dolor y la penitencia. De tus labios nacerá la cólera divina.”
Arakoel retrocedió de un empujón con las pocas fuerzas que le quedaban en su cuerpo, para romper con el contacto que tenía con la Señora. Cayó de espaldas al suelo jadeando. Por varios minutos quedó allí tendida hasta que sintió que su cuerpo recobraba un poco las fuerzas. Con dificultad se puso en pie y tomó asiento. La Señora aún estaba parada en el mismo lugar, le miraba en silencio. “¿Eso es lo que sientes cada vez que se te entrega una profecía?,” preguntó Arakoel exhausta.
“No siempre, pues mi cuerpo ha sido creado para esto. La tuya, no obstante, fue una dolorosa.” La Señora tenía razón, aunque por su parte ella podía decir que fue más que dolorosa, fue aterrador y la cual veía en su mente cada vez que cerraba sus ojos para inhalar profundamente y serenar el fuerte palpitar de su corazón.
“Aún hay más,” anunció la Señora mientras se acercaba a ella.
“¡No!, no más,” exclamó con un rostro de repudio y levantando su mano temblorosa. De igual forma la Señora se acercó. “Esta profecía te incumbe, y debo entregarla.”
Una segunda profecía, se decía para sí la líder de los Kahali. No sabía si era su día de suerte o quizás de maldición. La primera fue espantosa y aterradora, tomar una segunda en la condición corporal y mental en que estaba era un riesgo muy alto de asir. En especial, por los nuevos tormentos que quizás acompañaban a la visión. Su fuerza la ayudaba a soportarlo todo, pero esta vez tomaría el consejo dado en primera instancia por la Señora aunque no le admitiera.
“Hazlo, pero en palabras,” le ordenó.
La Señora se acercó a su oído y en él susurro la profecía de Amaya. Al terminar, la visión entró en la mente de Arakoel y aunque no fue tan fuerte como la anterior, la dejo nuevamente sin aliento. Al recuperarse dijo indignada a la Señora, que estaba frente a ella. “Te ordené que no me dieras la visión.”
“Pediste la profecía y esta no puede ser dada si no es acompañada por la esencia del oráculo. La visión vino a ti, porque a través de mí se escucha la voz de Yahedi y ambas se acompañan cuando una profecía es revelada.” Entonces, dijo con voz misteriosa y con un tono de advertencia, “De ahora en adelante tendrás solo visones de un futuro no muy lejano. Profecías a medias que tendrás que interpretar y que tal vez te lleven a agonizar. Las visiones de tu vida no las verás, pero sí la de los demás. Tómalo como una bendición o una maldición. Independientemente, dentro de ti hay una diminuta porción de la esencia del Oráculo. Recuerda es dada a ti no por mi deseo, sino porque así estaba decretado.”
Aún débil por ambas visiones, no podía pensar claramente. Las palabras de la Señora eran confusas y no las comprendía en su totalidad, necesitaba descansar. Por eso tomó de la mesa que estaba a su lado una pequeña campana de plata, y a su retumbar entró inmediatamente un Nabori. A este le ordenó se llevase a la Señora a la tienda asignada y que la mantuvieran allí hasta que ella la mandara a llamar nuevamente. Insistió en que la seguridad fuera doblada y que nadie entrara a verla , con excepción de su hijo Nariqah. Entonces, dio órdenes de no ser molestada a menos que no fuera por la contestación de los Hüaku a sus demandas, que estaba segura tomaría un largo tiempo ya que la capital quedaba al otro extremo de Ataiba y ellos se asegurarían que ella decía la verdad sobre la captura de la Señora, sino era que ya conocían de su desaparición.
Aunque casi cuatro centenarios atrás, el recuerdo de esa noche estaba fresca en su memoria, palpable en cada visión que experimentaba. Esta última venía como punzada dolorosa, pero cargada de esperanzas: Huyán. Con ella podría poner en marcha sus planes, pero el Tiempo, quien cargaba con la alusión de su final, le pisaba los talones. Arakoel sonrió a medias aun exhausta. Ignorante, pensó, mi final no forma parte de mis planes y tú, Señor Tiempo, nunca me traerás la muerte.