Friday, 15 July 2011

Castaways - Juan Pablo Noroña

PlutoniumSex raised his left hand from the neuropad, in wrapt attention as a drop of sweat stretched downward from his index finger. The exaggerated focus from the taxotropin allowed him to watch the process at a leisurely pace, magnified until it took up his entire field of vision and decelerated, by orders of magnitude a slomo zoom on a slow processor and superimposed like a bad fade on top of the icons and links which connected the web with his brain. Good lysergic material, but a nuisance in the middle of The Space. PlutoniumSex was bothered by his id, which forced him to be conscious of Flesh; another pathetic rebellion of protein against silicon. 
Suddenly, PlutoniumSex understood: environmental heat. Sweat means heat: that was the message which his id had slipped in like a subliminal image over his synaptic interface. He would not have guessed that it was warm. 
PlutoniumSex pulled out of The Space and ordered a dose of sympathetic complex from his Metabolix, as well as a cocktail of neurophysiological stabilizers. While he waited for these to kick in, he ordered a complete rundown of hardware, with emphasis on any problems which might cause thermal dissipation up to the third synergetic level. PlutoniumSex did not have the foggiest idea what was happening. 
Once he found himself active, PlutoniumSex also found himself heated up, slick, sticky with pure sweat, a disgusting mess of sweat, smells and more Flesh. Apparently the problem was very serious and had been developing for some time, and the worst of it was that the system alarm had not sounded. PlutoniumSex lifted himself up on his arm and remained on his side, enabling him to see his flatmate, BlueFly, lying, just like him, on a bed capsule, his entire body gleaming with perspiration. PlutoniumSex looked at his white abdomen and hip. It too oozed humidity. 
Because the surface of the bed was composed of tensor gel, it was slippery with sweat, and this made it difficult for PlutoniumSex to maneuver, first to remove his catheters and then to exit. That was further complicated by his own lack of muscle tone and coordination. He ended up slipping onto the floor with more or less controlled stumbles and painful twists of his limbs. Finally he crossed the two meters that separated him from Bluefly and began to press the pads on his console. He had no appetite for tackling this problem alone. 
While Bluefly went through the same process of disengagement, PlutoniumSex ran through the results of the evaluation in his head. The system recognized an increase in temperature but did not register any functional problems: everything was working perfectly. PlutoniumSex sighed. He would have to identify the problem himself and, even worse, fix it. It was then that he felt it, or, more precisely, didn't feel it. 
Whenever he had stood, the few times that that he had stood in this room, PlutoniumSex had felt the smooth freshness of refrigerated air falling down from the ceiling over his head and shoulders like a smooth benediction, but now he was not feeling it. The refrigeration was not functioning. Was it... broken? PlutoniumSex shuddered just thinking about it. He understood that things broke down, whether from inherent defects, bad use or fatigue, but all his experience in this regard was limited to the computational, and the solution was always easy: deactivate the function temporarily and buy another unit. But as far as refrigeration was concerned, PlutoniumSex knew nothing about anything. He did not know how it broke, let alone how to fix it. He needed to find someone who would know, and that someone didn't seem to be Bluefly. 
PlutoniumSex opened the door and walked into the hallway. 
He stopped dead in his tracks in shock. 
A hasty and asthmatic line was coursing through the hallway, like bubbles in the physiological serum inside a clear plastic hose. Othernights with their days numbered and themselves well aware of it, baby10s who had not reached 7 and who could be bought for the price of a 4, intensoids with feverish eyes, posttribals nonviolent for the moment, toughskins with invincible, reptilian features, neomen, their implants unstitched, plug-ins that were the spitting image of PlutoniumSex, totals with zombimorphic plastic faces, junkies in the worst moment of withdrawal, traffickers in both real and counterfeit weapons, shredlings having just escaped a nightmare of mutilations, mutes that would give them a fair fight, marked1s more fearful even than usual, pansexuals with every port duplicated into redundancy, anodized leadies in a bright variety of colors; and many more species and subspecies, including unique individuals, humans even. 
"What's happening?" PlutoniumSex grabbed a total by its rubbery shoulders and stopped it. "Where are you going?" 
"Outside," replied the total, a creature which specialized in the manipulation of bony structure. "Refrigeration and the ventilation are down, and nobody in the building can stand it any more." 
"Why doesn't somebody fix it?" 
The total shook its head. "Can't. The same plug-in who let himself into the building Net some time ago and raised all of our levels says that the system is up to who knows what." 
"Maybe the central machinery is broken. Someone should go fix it." 
"Well, I don't even know where that is. Do you?" 
"So then call the repair company. Let them come." 
The total looked at PlutoniumSex as if he had slipped a cog. "Who would come?" He added sarcastically, "Not even the Army comes here!" 
PlutoniumSex stood watching the wide back of the total as it marched through the hallway. No, he didn't know how to fix the refrigeration machinery. PlutoniumSex could evaluate and assemble all kind of electronic pieces and use them to build complete computing systems, but he sputtered like an overloaded outlet when faced with the slightest mechanical problem. Probably everyone in the building was at the same level of incompetence or worse. In this slagheap of technocriminal subcultures, everyone knew how to rob, traffic and sell any object, including his own body or others', but nobody knew how to work, how to do anything useful, boring, laborious and certainly nothing as poorly paying as fixing plumbing and compressors, or whatever it was that made up a refrigeration system. PlutoniumSex returned to his room, put on a robe of transgenic silk and joined up with the procession of bubbles. Bluefly could follow him if he wished, as soon as he got up. 
After an exhausting descent through the stairs —the elevators were both the location and the motive for turf wars— PlutoniumSex arrived at the crowd milling around in the courtyard that opened out onto the front of the building. People were sitting on the ground, taking up an enormous area, occupying all the walking space, including the entrance itself. Everybody was in the way. PlutoniumSex waded through the mass between protests and punches until he reached the outermost zone, and he sat down right there. Little by little others joined him, walking past him in ever more lines of beings seated like him, with their legs picked up and hugging their knees, or in other squeezed positions. Since the night was cold and a breeze was blowing, the people tended to huddle in search of a little warmth; but huddling alone in distrust and precaution. 
PlutoniumSex raised his eyes to the gray sky, closed off between walls of steel and glass. It looked as desperate as he was in this world of nonsensical consumption, unreal economics, useless professions, unsustainable disorder, wickedly unnatural images and ridiculous marginality of so much institutionality. "God," PlutoniumSex said, burying his head between his knees. "How I hate cyberpunk!" 

Original title: Náufragos
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Waiting List - Betina Goransky & Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

He was a very reputed analyst. So much that hundreds of obsessives and manic-depressives would die for starting treatment with him. But that was not enough reason for him to discharge any patients. The same twenty ones had been taking the same time slots for several years. This is why it should not surprise you, oh, naive reader, that the legions of beyond hope mentally disturbed prospects prowling at all times of the day around the doctor's office, eager to get their admission, ended up weaving crazy plans to eliminate their couch competitors in such a way that it would look like an accident.

Original title: Lista de espera
Translation: Alex Jamieson

Versión en castellano

Betina Goransky

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Crossfire - Vladimir Hernández

I’d gotten myself into trouble again. 
It seems that I attract trouble, and my father already knew that when I was just a kid. Luckily for me, he was a veteran of the famous War of the Seven Stars and had trained me in the use of energy weapons since I was little. He used to say there was nothing like a good blaster -- and, to be sure, there is some truth in that --, but I do think there is something better than a blaster: two blasters. That’s why I always keep two of them handy on every mission, on every errand that PapaSpider sends me on. 
But today I wasn’t on some errand, I was just out carousing. And the carousing – actually, the psychotropic chemical I had been consuming throughout the evening -- had brought me down to one of the most dangerous slums in one on the city-tunnels of Nueva América, 3000 meters underground. 
I never do that. As a rule I usually keep my distance from the tunnel slums, since I find enough kicks in the peaks of Santa Ana City. But apparently, this time the pyschotropic made me lose my head in a terrible way. I had hooked up with a fiery red head with blue skin dye, with a highly attractive angelic face who knew this bar in the West End, and the tramp had arranged to drag me along to said underground neighborhood. 
In one of the twisted and ill-lit alleys of that beehive, the girl disappeared from my sight, leaving me abandoned, and suddenly I realized that the whole idea had been a setup. 
I had fallen in one of the oldest tricks in the book. My stupidity had just proven that the age-old line of “Hey big boy, wanna party? Come with me, I live right nearby, I’ll show you all the pleasures of the universe” still worked on the idiots, the druggies and the drunks; three categories for which I had just passed the entrance exam. 
They had tossed me a juicy bait this time. Hopefully PapaSpider was still connected to my sensor. 
In the midst of the silence of the alley, with ominous shadows swirling around me, I remembered that I hadn’t brought my blasters. Second mistake of the night and even more hazardous to my health. 
Suddenly, the hunters appeared: two in the back reaches of the alley and two in front. All were pure plastex muscle, two of them NuevaAmericano mestizo types, just like me; Hispanos with vague Euro features. None of them were wearing armor, but they had implants and the Hispanos came armed with triloxes. One of the ones who blocked my retreat was the leader; he had black skin, a high Afro phenotype, and wore a pair of metallic hoops with artificial emerald beads in his earlobes. In his belt he had an energy gun. The last one was a huge Anglo acromegalic who appeared to be unarmed. And I could only count on my cobra to get me out of this alley. 
Okay, I had just turned into a lovely biomass sandwich between these subterranean beasts; recycled meat for the food synthesizers. 
I had never thought my life would end this way. 
I was scared shitless. 
As a result, my crystalographic analog injected a generous dose of antitropes into my bloodstream, and my sunny disposition vanished in a flash. 
Fear fell like a gigantic glass hammer over my head, adrenaline kicked in like the roaring expansive front of a shockwave, burning my arteries. I experienced a momentary tremor and remained tense, waiting as my assailants drew near. 
Out of the corners of my eyes, I assessed the field of battle. The walls of the narrow alleyway gave me only four meters of wiggle room; there were no windows in the tenement walls. The squeaking oxygen-intake system was too high to reach and behind my enemies was the plastic guardrail surrounding the mesh maintenance well which led to the lower levels. The bottom of the well could be some 400 meters below. What a jam. 
The thugs didn’t give me enough time to think about it. The Hispanos came at me with grim smiles and their triloxes aimed. It was going to be a jolly little butchering. My nostrils caught the smell of exhilaration wafting off these creeps. 
I activated the cobra interface under my right arm and waited till they got close enough, putting on the most convincing terrified expression I could muster. I guess that wasn’t too hard for me. The closest Hispano brandished his trilox over his head, and the weapon emitted a sharp whistle that made me grind my teeth. Behind him was the gigantic unarmed acromegalic. His eyes were enormous exotic implants; their pupils two long vertical slits surrounded by amber. 
I decided to try my luck with these two. 
The guy with the loaded trilox closed in confidently, expecting to trap me like an animal paralyzed by fear. I focused on my target and the cobra flew from my arm like an arrow, destroying his weapon. I didn’t pause to study the creep’s look of surprise and I kicked him in the balls before he could react. He collapsed and I rushed at the giant, praying to the Virgin that the leader didn’t drill a hole in my back with his energy weapon. I trusted that he didn’t want to endanger the Anglo. 
His body was too large, of the DNA type Rhino, a mutant discarded by the genomodifying troops the Shan’Malor settlers had used against the Phoenix shock troops in the last interstellar war, so there was no way I could knock him over. I pulled the cobra back in and the Anglo moved with a speed I would never have expected from such a large body. Of course, I wasn’t going to wait for him either. If I got tangled up with him, the other two were going to shoot me full of holes. As he approached, I noticed three blades emerging from the back of each of his hands, almost as long as his forearm. 
I did what none of them expected. I reached the edge of the railing and jumped into the void of 400 meters of well. As I jumped, the mitts of the Rhino managed to rip open three nice grooves in my shoulder, but the pain wasn´t my primary concern just then. 
I opened my arms and began to fall in the graviational field of 0.7 of Nueva América. The world swirled around for a couple seconds while the air of the well howled in my ears as though I were falling in a supersonic reactor tunnel. A couple of levels lower, before the tug of gravity would prevent me, I shot the cobra line again, and it came to rest in the lines of the mesh. The implant mechanism was designed to resist the tension, and my arm could handle it as well, and so I swung elegantly until I was dashed against the black ceramic walls of the well, just centimeters from the railing to that level. I handled the crash as well as I could, but the impact sent some kind of electrical pain down my spine which fortunately did not disturb my cobra’s protocols. 
With luck the hunters would not yet have braved the well; hopefully the leader’s pistol was still in its owner’s belt. I made a supreme effort as the cerebral analog administered me a dose of delta endorphins, and I reached the rail of this level. The retractable cobra returned to its compartment in my arm while I rested for ten precious seconds. My head buzzed and I had blurred vision, but I couldn’t afford to lose any more time; I had to hurry before they could locate me, which they would surely be able to do, being on their home turf. 
I pulled myself together and ran through one of the staircases, which descended further still into the labyrinth of gloomy alleyways. There wasn’t a soul visible in the tiny plazas. The leaks from the rickety heaters filled the alleyways with an annoying bluish haze, as if it were all part of a dream. I searched desperately for some sort of hatchway which would lead me upward, but the only ones in sight were a horizontal one and a sky-blue recess full of insulating polymers, rusted metals and columns of heavy alloys. Thanks to the sturdy gel lining of my jacket the injury to my shoulder hardly bled at all. 
I lowered my speed and hid myself in a tunnel which interconnected with various pathways, my steps provoking loud echoes in the pavement of dirty tiles. I heard steps through a corridor and decided to hide myself behind a recess in the passageway. The walls seemed to breathe humidity and industrial soot, and the heat bursting out of the halogens of the well made me sweat bullets. The steps approached me, and I nearly transformed into a part of the grubby wall. My head was buzzing. I pleaded with the Virgin to grant me another chance and I prepared myself. 
The hunter who was approaching stopped at the recess, invisible behind the wall. If it were the giant acromegalic and its optical implant included a thermal scanner, I was about to burst onto his system like a nova. 
Ten meters from my precarious hideout, an elevator compartment door began to open. My assailants’ reinforcements might be about to arrive. I didn’t want to wait for them to increase their numerical superiority over me. I flew out and shot my fist against the hunter who was behind the wall. I found the solid mandible of the other hombre carrying the trilox, and although I didn’t knock him over I did knock the gun loose; I punched him with all the force of my right arm in the solar plexus and launched him against the railing. From the other side of the well I recognized the armor of the Rhino. 
I turned around in time to duck the assailant attack that came from the elevator. It was the damn tramp who had led me into this trap. She came at me with bare hands, and I foresaw a quick lesson in the martial arts. I stopped the edge of her hand at the height of my face, but she managed to sweep me aside with a powerful blow from her legs. I landed on the ground, but since I’m not a good loser I shot the cobra at her throat. The voltage shook her senseless and she fell backwards, her igneous hair briefly transformed into quills. The bulk of Rhino followed from the other side; bad luck, hunters, this prey is getting out. I pulled myself together and ran toward the open elevator, but something told me that one variable was missing. Something didn’t fit. 
The dagger of energy that slit my leg reminded me that the variable was the leader. The beam of his blaster hit me on the side of my thigh and knocked me down onto the gray tiles. The gripping heat that rose upward from the leg was infernal. The pain gnawed at my nerve endings as though I had a side full of burning needles. 
I sunk to the ground and saw the leader approach. It did not look like a good day for me. Maybe, with luck, he would shoot me in the head. Phosphorescent emerald beads glittered next to his imposing jaw. His eyes were silver edged with green; hard and cold. 
I locked my gaze on him while he smiled fiercely at me. He raised the blaster to my head. 
And disappeared from the waist up under the energetic impact of a beam of plasma. Suddenly the passageways filled with the noise of shots, and I managed to hear other shouts. All around me there appeared dozens of bodies sheathed in armored shells, with no visible logo. 
But I knew where these troops came from. The Virgin had heard my prayers, and PapaSpider had been connected to my sensor. Thanks little Virgin. 
Just then I had the splendid idea of fainting. 

Original title: Fuego cruzado
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Versión en castellano

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Knights do swear often – Héctor Ranea

To Alejandra Jamieson Barreiro

“You´ve got to be kidding!” said the Very Big Sister Caramel to the Blue Knight Thirds. “There´s no such thing as you told us, c´mon! You, lousy rat, are trying to make a fool out of me with this bullshit. I wish I were the Queen of Hearts and could chop your head off!” “Milady, I swear on my horse´s back that what I´ve told you is true! Absolutely and completely true”, said the blamed Knight. “I´m sorry if I didn´t convinced you, but the world out there is as I told you. This is nothing but the truth, believe me, please.”
“You are a fool! How come Knights now swear on their horses and not on their mothers´ hands? You´re a fake Knight, I can tell you that!” said the Very Big Sister Caramel turning her mouth and pointing with her Royal Toe to the Gentlemen at the back of the Princess Seat at her left. A very loud scream filled the Audience Hall immediately after her Royal Imprecation.
“See what I mean?” asked the Knight, utterly frightened, with all his armored body holding back, squeezing the chest as a dental tube, quaking just like a chicken facing a fox.
“I wonder how you got your knighthood?” the Floating Head of the Lord and Master of the Auditory asked: “You seem like a feather shaken by a storm to me. As the wind blows, the twig twists. Or something like that” he (or his head, if truth be told) finished his saying, confused and gasping.
“Have you heard that awful growl?” asked the Knight, terrorized, pointing his only left finger upwards. “This is The End, as I´ve warn you, but you wouldn´t listen! This is one of the... things the horrible world I´ve described to you is bringing upon us”.
Meanwhile, the unholy screams made the whole building tremble repeatedly, but the very last one put all the people on alert, evidently stiffed with terror. “See, Milady? What I´ve told you is true, indeed! There is another world, and is very different from ours!”
Now the Very Big Sister shook and wept. “And what are they supposed to do with us? Tell me or I´ll kill you with my own hands! I´d rather do that than wait for this strange persona to kill all of us!”
“I wish I knew, Milady! I wish I knew, indeed. My knowledge of that wicked world comes down from glances and glimpses of here and of there.
I swear I did not see their world but only foresee it as in a crystal ball. Forgive me if I have no answers, please!” Those were the Knight´s lasts words, a giant beak grabbed him and thus he disappeared from the Very Big Sister Caramel´s side. In a split second, the only thing that remained in the air was the screaming of the Knight and his swearing. Then, these words were thunders in the ears of the Gentlemen and Milady the Very Big Sister, who were now sweating like a blue giraffe in summer: “Is this short fellow good enough for you, Mom?” said the Big Bug Samsa. “Oh, c´mon, this is not enough, you bet! For heaven´s sake! Not enough for me, not for anybody! Please!” Mom Bug said.
The Bib Bug Samsa looked for more food and there they were! A multitude of little people were in the bushes that reminded Samsa Bug of himself a few weeks ago, before the Metamorphosis. They were more than his beak could ever take, so he said: “Mom, I´ve just spotted your dinner! Please call Father Bug to eat also” and begun picking King´s Gentlemen and King´s horses (actually, Princess´s belongings to be fair).
These were the very consequences of Metamorphosis, and of course, Bugs´ appetite.

Original title: Los caballeros juran a menudo
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Versión en castellano

Héctor Ranea

Mirror’s magic - Maria del Pilar Jorge

In the tale of Cinderella nothing is said about mirrors. Nevertheless, one of them played a very important paper in this history: it erased the sadness from the girl’s face, helped her to disguise her tears and allowed her to show a smiling look. Without his help, the party dress and crystal shoes would have been useless.

Original title: La magia de los espejos
Translated: María del Pilar Jorge

Versión en castellano

María del Pilar Jorge

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hell - Antonio Jesús Cruz

I feel nauseated and my body floats into emptiness. A disgusting smell hurts my pituitary. I open my eyes and the light hurts my pipils. I try to recover the rhythm of my breath still agitated. There are muted murmurs. Where am I? I feel vulnerable and at the mercy of anything. Am I in hell? I hear footsteps. I focus my pipils. I discover a pungent face and a sardonic smile. The individual, dressed in green, shakes a glass before my eyes. At that precise instant it becomes clear to me. The surgeon has just kept my appendix.

Guillamo Fracasitodo
(Treated about Medicine and surgery - 1943)

Original title: Infierno
Translation: Antonio Jesús Cruz

Antonio Jesús Cruz

Monday, 11 July 2011

The solitary boss - Martín Gardella

At the office where I work, we used to have a boss who was too reserved. He was a quiet man who liked to keep aloof inside his small office at the corner, with the door forever closed. He was the first one to get to work and the last one to leave. I never heard him utter a single word, either a reproach or a praise, and he had ordered his assistant to filter all incoming calls. He gradually secluded himself within his small universe crowded with disorderly folders and thick books so imperceptibly that we even forgot he was there. Finally, on an afternoon when we had to abandon the building due to a fire alarm, we had our single chance to see the old loner. The firemen had just found him, taciturn and stinky, among dense spider webs.

Original title: El jefe ermitaño
Translation: Gustavo Sevilla

Martín Gardella

Abyss - Patricia Nasello

A light shiver and she stops being.
Still beautiful, but useless. Dry.
The tree doesn’t recognize her any more, nothing attaches her to the branch. She’s free.
She’s dead.
Falling. Because of her own weight, as every dead body falls.
When about to touch the floor a gust of wind lifts her.
Even so, she seems to fly.

Patricia Nasello

Original title: Abismo
Translated from Spanish by Alex Jamieson.

Versión en castellano

Friday, 8 July 2011

G - Miguel Angel Dorelo, Giselle Aronson and Saurio

In the beginning you seemed unreachable. You were standing as in a pedestal, an authentic Greek goddess. I used to look at you from below and always saw you: hieratic, undaunted, and brilliant.
One day I dared to come close to you stretching my hands out, willing to touch you. I saw you coming towards me, trembling, as if you were getting out of balance. And all I thought I knew about you fell apart in that brief instant.
"Head trauma" the doctor said. "You were lucky that bronze statuette didn’t kill you".

Original title: G
Translation: Alexandra Jamieson Barreiro

Miguel Angel Dorelo
Giselle Aronson

Versión en castellano

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Insomnia - Virgilio Piñera

The man goes to bed early. He cannot sleep. Naturally he tosses and turns in bed. He gets tangled up in the sheets. He lights a cigarette. He reads a little. He turns out the light again. But he cannot sleep. At three in the morning he gets up. He wakes his friend by his side and confides in him that he cannot sleep. He asks for advice. The friend suggests he take a short walk to tire himself out a little. That he then drink a cup of linden tea and turn out the light. He does all these things but he still cannot manage to fall asleep. He gets up once more. This time he goes to the doctor. As usual, the doctor has a lot to say, but the man does not fall asleep. At six in the morning he loads his revolver and lifts it to his forehead. The man is dead but he still has not been able to doze off. Insomnia is a very persistent condition.

Original title: En el insomnio
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

Dream 48 - Pablo Martinez Burkett

In the dream, he drifted by streets with low buildings, as small churches, filled with plates and metal crucifixes. The tiny sidewalks were very narrow and it seemed it had rained. It was night time and he was accompanied by his father. A crack of candles reminded him of Easter, but rather than wax and incense, the air smelled of ripe fruit. Black images were praying in fearful silence. When he recognized his already dead relatives, he realized he was not dreaming.

Original title: Sueño 48
Translation: Alejandra Funes

Pablo Martínez Burkett

Versión en castellano

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Corina The Hunter - Alex Jamieson

She closed the door leaving the almost tangible smog outside.
-Found four today.- she took the mask off.
-Finally! But… ¿Only four? The ones that didn’t make it, what were they like?
-I could not make them out clearly but seemed to have some sprouts already.
-I miss the naps under the lime trees. Hearing the wind through the branches. Did you ever try lime tree tea? It’s soothing. –she took the glasses off, rubbed her face slowly.
-Mmm… nope. I think I saw some dried leafs when I was very young. Never got to see them alive. I was born after the cataclysm, grandma.
Mirna put her glasses back on and remembered the natural disaster day. Was it really natural? She also remembered the day Corina was born and the day her parents died. That night, she dreamt the planet had woods again. Corina didn’t have to sow or search for trees any more.

Alex Jamieson

Original title: Corina cazadora
Translated from Spanish by the author.

Versión en castellano

Friday, 1 July 2011

My Mother and the Magic Beans – Silvia Alejandra García

A white pill for the thyroid and a yellow big one for the high blood pressure; a long white one looking like a little rectangular piece of soap for the gout; a maroon one, vitamins; a white oval pill, tranquilizer; a little green pill, antidepressant; half a pink pill, for her nerves; a light blue one, magnesium; an oval capsule for cholesterol; one dark green pill, energizing; a white round one to tame the appetite and the last one, calcium. She starts sowing them in her organism when she gets up and keeps doing so till she goes back to bed.
One by one, they indicate how the day passes. They drive her through safe lanes to a finish line that she wouldn’t reach with no pills. The magic clears when she goes to sleep. The next day she wakes up just like the day before and she needs to start all over again.

Original title: Mi madre y las habichuelas mágicas

Translation: Alex Jamieson

The Alarm Clock Will Go Off at Ten to Five – Daniel Frini

You’ll get up without taking a glance at her, you’ll go to the bathroom slowly, take a coffee standing in the kitchen, you’ll go out wrapped up because TV says it’s two Celsius degrees and the price of that dollar you never saw went up. You’ll take the bus that’ll run late to the stop. You’ll punch the card in the factory clock, mechanically, and you’ll take a look at the timestamp without really seeing it. You’ll put on the work clothes; turn the machine on remembering, like every day, the Rusito‘s three fingers that laid on the floor when he tore them out with the seesaw; remembering his panic and his despair. You’ll look at the clock every ten minutes until five, not expecting anything. You’ll go out whispering “later” to the watchman. Tired, you’ll commute back home, just as it happens since fifteen years ago. You’ll get home and will almost be happy by realizing your wife has left you taking her kids.

Original title: Sonará el despertador a las cinco menos diez

Translation: Alex Jamieson

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Jump - Alex Jamieson

She saw the train getting closer and she jumped on the tracks. She had always been afraid of someone pushing her intentionally or of falling involuntarily. Or voluntarily. When she got up that day she was all at once particularly energetic and skeptical, but she felt like experiencing new sensations. She was afraid to think that one day she would have the courage to take that leap she was so attracted to. Whenever she travelled by train, she felt annoyed when the train had to stop for hours only a few stations after she had got on because someone had done what she hadn’t. How had he done it? By running and then ramping up? By softly crumbling down the edge? As if thinking nothing of it, just a little jump. To see the train coming and jump. It takes a second and she’s in the ditch surrounded by pieces of paper, plastic bottles, metal. She also gets to see the startled look of two passengers when she rests her gym bag and her purse on the platform, as if she were coming back to pick them up soon. She saw the train getting closer.

Alex Jamieson

Original title: Saltar

Translated from Spanish by the author.

The first time - Hernán Domínguez Nimo

"What? Who are you?"
"Can't you tell? Look closely. Don't you recognize the face?"
"Oh my God! You're...! You've come...? From what year...?"
"I'm 35. Do the math."
"You don't look..."
"I know. They’ve invented some very nice pharmaceuticals. Shame they only last twenty-four hours."
"And how did you get here? Did they invent...?"
"Yup. I invented it."
"You? That means... me?"
"That's always been your dream, right? To study at Balseiro, to major in quantum physics..."
"Yes, of course! But it was only a dream...! I still haven't passed my entrance exam, and now you tell me I'm going to invent a Time Ma....!"
"Yes, yes, all right, all right. But that doesn't matter right now..."
"What's with that syringe?"
"I'm going to have to put you to sleep for a few hours."
"NO! IMPOSSIBLE! In ten minutes I'm going out...!"
"...with Karina. I know. And although you may not believe it, tonight you're actually going to score with her..."
"No way?! Dude! And how come you want to mess that up? It's going to be the most glorious night of my life!"
"The most glorious five seconds of your life."
"That's how long it's gonna last. Karina’s got your balls wound up so tight that you're going to shoot your load the second you touch her. Messy. The experience is going to be horrible for her. And that means it's going to be a disaster for you too. Your entire life will be marked by this night's failure. All my life, all my career, I've been searching for a way to travel through time, to return to this moment, to make things right. Now I have the experience. I've figured out how to bring her to new heights of ecstasy, to get her off twice, three times if I want, instead of blowing my wad before I even begin. And so we'll stay together forever and..."
"But I've been waiting all my life for this night! You can't take it away from me! You already lived it! I haven't!"
"That's your problem. Your whole life adds up to just fifteen miserable years. And only five years that you've known Karina. This has been keeping me awake nights for twenty years, reliving that horrible nightmare. And this is the only way I can get it to end like it began: magically. And anyway, you should be grateful to me for sparing you all those nightmares..."
"But...what if this changes everything? And what if your reason for inventing the machine disappears and I never study physics?"
"Like I said: your problem. Now, go to sleep...! Okay. Now, off to the bathroom with my stroke mags to take the edge off, then I'm off to find Karina.

Original title: La primera vez
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Versión en castellano

Hernán Domínguez Nimo

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wrong predictions – Javier López & Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Raffaele Benadani, an early XXI century geologist, predicted that May 11, 2011, a cataclysm in Rome, the Eternal City, ought to occur. Eminent colleagues of Benadani were asked about this alert, but they refuted the truthfulness of such omen, and even more, they strongly denied the possibility to make any predictions on the long run about the plate tectonics. Even so, the news spread by the Internet and thousands of terrified Romans, run off their city, leaving their jobs and taking refuge in various places. They are the ones and only founders of New Rome about ten kilometers North of the ruins.

Original title: Predicciones erróneas
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Versión en castellano

Javier López
Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Two on the Canvas - Martín Gardella

Two bold drops of watercolour escaped the brush held high, colliding with the artist’s virgin fabric. As if by the art of magic, the violet stains acquired human form, one of a man similar to me, the other, of a women like the one of my dreams. The painter, seeing the figures silhouetted against the white background, drew between us a small, rose-coloured heart, turned off the atelier lights, and left us alone. One night was enough for us to complete the wonderful work of art, one which the painter himself would never have thought possible to depict.

Original title: Dos en el lienzo
Traslation: Jamie Hershing

Martín Gardella

Versión en español

The picture is "Friends", by Marcial Farfán 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Shadows - Esteban Moscarda

I'm scared. At any time, I know they will splinter the doors, burn my philosophy, they'll take me to a Hell that Dante could not even imagine. Luckily, I'm alone. I could not stand the suffering of anyone else. I'm starting to shake, noises are part of a Death's overture. I turn around. No, I'm not alone: behind me, there are 30.000 shadows trying to hold me...

Original title: Sombras
Translation: Luciano Sanders

Versión en castellano

Esteban Moscarda

The mountain - Virgilio Piñera

The mountain is three thousand feet tall. I have decided to eat it, bit by bit. It is a mountain like any other: vegetation, rocks, soil, animals and even humans beings that walk up and down its slopes. Every morning I throw myself upon it and start chewing on the first thing that crosses my path. I spend several hours at this. I return home with my body exhausted and my jaws distended. After a brief rest I sit in the doorway and gaze into the blue distance. If I told my neighbor about it he would surely laugh himself silly and take me for a madman. But being aware of what I am doing, I can very clearly see the mountain losing both heft and height. Soon they will be blaming geological disturbances. And that’s my tragedy: nobody will want to admit that it was I who was the devourer of the three-thousand-foot-tall mountain.

Original title: The Mountain
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

Virgilio Piñera

Monday, 27 June 2011

Simpler – Giselle Aronson

I’m not going to ask you to catch and pull celestial stars down for me.
I do not expect heroic proofs or big sacrifices.
Or lands, or promised fates.
Or bread. Or thirst. Or light.
My expectations are simpler and not less difficult because of this: I want magic in a dropper.

Giselle Aronson

Original title: Más sencillo

Translation: Alex Jamieson

Blind life – Héctor Ranea & Javier López

At the bottom of the pit the children played hopscotch, and the quieter ones played dominoes. They’d asked for a chess set but they were only thrown at a penknife and aspen wood so they could make their own pieces and some cardboard for the chessboard squares. Some of them tried to make gasoline out of what was coming out from the walls but some of the girls got sick with the smell.
The day came when the pit was going to be blocked up because the neighbors were annoyed by the emanations already.
-Are you really doing that? –the only woman in the neighborhood who seemed to still have a piece of heart asked.
-Don’t worry, Ma’am –one of the workers answered- Don’t you realize? When nobody can see them, it will be as if they didn’t exist.
Original title: Vida ciega
Translation: Alejandra Jamieson Barreiro

Javier López
Héctor Ranea
Versión en castellano

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Chimera - Juan Pablo Noroña

His back to the cat, the owner butters a piece of toast. He is frightened to death but resists the urge to turn around because somehow he knows that he is safe as long as he hears the animal mewing. Furthermore, he does not know for certain whether it happens when the animal is out of his sight or only in the fleeting and confusing instant in which it flits across the corner of his eye; and so for now he can feel safe and turning around to avoid the feline eclipse could prove counterproductive. Because for a fraction of a second the cat would be in the zone that brings it from the corner of his eye to the center of his field of vision, and the owner would see it.
It would be foolish, though, to plan to spend the entire day in the kitchen, parked in front of the table with his gaze fixed on the washer. Also useless: at any instant the cat could enter his field of vision on its own paws. This latter possibility would perhaps be a relief, since while the animal is in sight it is only a black and white, long-haired kitty with a springy tail and woolly, chubby cheeks. Still, the transition would be frightening, hair-raising, and then of course would come the anxious ordeal of having it next to him, and fighting to stay awake, and deciding not to leave the house, and putting off the change for as long as possible. Resigned to the fact that there is no solution for this problem, the owner chews his toast with neither appetite nor pleasure. And then it happens.
A creature at once both horrible and spellbinding, a chimera of imprecise form and indistinct edges is perched atop the table. Its colors are dizzying, its symmetry unreal, simultaneously both possessing and lacking recognizable structures and organs; it moves over the tiles maintaining all the while a glacial calm about itself.
The owner blinks, and before his eyes his little black and white cat spars with him with its left paw while mewing plaintively.
“Nothing I can do about it,” the owner thinks, and he chews his toast. If the beast would just remain, he would know how to deal with it. Is it his own lunacy, hallucinations caused by physical and mental exhaustion, or is his cat really an impossible scoundrel which only reveals its true colors under hazy, ambiguous conditions, torturing him with uncertainty and fear? Whichever it is, he is all alone with this problem: if the chimera is real, nobody will believe him; if it is a delirium, he can’t afford the luxury of confessing his foolishness to anyone else, not in the present circumstances of his life. Not to mention, accusing such a sweet little kitty of being some kind of monster...
On the kitchen table, the cat sniffs at the perfumed crumbs of butter that have fallen between the tiles and on its own fur. The owner sighs, puts the toast in his mouth, charges after the animal with both hands and carries it with him to the living room. He has no other choice but what he is about to do.
The owner leaves the cat, now purring and trembling on the sofa, and places what is left of the toast next to its mouth. The cat mews its thanks and wrestles off a piece of bread with its front teeth, as if afraid of the butter smudging its snout. And when the animal closes its eyes, the man also closes his, tightly, and as the pet begins to nibble the bread, the owner begins to back out blindly in the direction of his bedroom and does so without tripping, knowing the route, until he reaches his own room and closes the door behind himself, stealthily, very carefully, without opening his eyes, and he supports himself on the moist wood, desperate and secure for the evening.
All the windows are hermetically sealed and there are no other doors. The owner pounces on the bed, takes several pills from the nightstand and swallows two as if they were a handful. Later, in the living room, the chimera cannot fit its anomalous shape onto the sofa, nor can its unnatural texture tolerate the surface of the couch. Luckily, it knows a perfect sleeping spot. The chimera gets off the sofa, walks in the direction of the owner’s room and arrives at the dividing wall, which does not stop it, and the creature crosses it as if it or the wall were illusory, gas, the smoky image of a fevered mind.
Inside is its master. The chimera climbs smoothly and cautiously onto the bed. The man is sound asleep, and it can climb over him, placing itself between his chest and his stomach, in the warm and firm hollow under his ribs, and it settles in. Its fantastic colors glitter excitedly in the same rhythm as its purring, while its yellow-green eyes stroke its owner’s face with a look of absolute and infinite adoration.

Original title: Quimera
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Versión en castellano

Summer Vampire - Alex Jamieson

Gets up, surfs the channels for the weather, turns the heater on, walks around the house and goes back to the bedroom.
-You’re not going to work today?
-No. No way. It’s only half a Celsius degree –says in the tone of a judge delivering a verdict.
-So, what? Do people not live when it’s cold?
-They do. But I don’t.
And goes slowly back into the coffin.

Alex Jamieson

Translated from Spanish by the author.
Taken from Breves No Tan Breves

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Swimming - Virgilio Piñera

I have learned to swim on dry land. It turns out to be better than doing it in the water. There is no fear of sinking because you are already at the bottom, and by the same logic, you are already drowned beforehand. You also avoid having to be fished out by the light of a lantern or in the dazzling light of a beautiful day. Finally, the absence of water keeps your body from swelling up.
        I am not going to deny that swimming on dry land resembles the agony of dying. At first glimpse one would imagine that you are in the throes of death. Still, it is quite different: at the same time that you are fighting off death you are quite alive, quite alert, hearing the music that comes in through the windows and watching the worm that is crawling along the ground.
        At first my friends disapproved of my choice. They evaded my glance and cried secretly. Fortunately, that crisis has passed. Now they know that I feel comfortable swimming on dry land. Occasionally I dip my hands into the marble tiles and hand them a tiny fish which I have trapped in the underwater depths.

Original title: Natación
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

A matter of principles – Oriana Pickman & Javier López

The advertisement got every place in town: They shall put happiness into sell.
Everybody, anxious to have it, ran the streets, credit cards prepared, ready to buy it. Many had had mortgages on their properties, sold their cars, their television sets, their mobile phones, or they had even stop eating for several days just to have enough to purchase happiness.
When they’d got the place the advertisement specified, they wanted to know the price of happiness. That was a missing detail in the announcement. And the answer was plain and simple: Everything they’d been able to gather.
After they made their payments, the buyers were told that the money would be sent to those who had never had a house to sleep in, or a car to travel on, or a television set to watch, or telephones to communicate with, not even food to brought into their mouths.
Just but a few got the idea well, and went out of there happy. The others felt cheated.

Image: Clarita

Original title: Cuestión de principios
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ambiguity - Héctor Ranea

The gardener looked at the blossomed plants and thought it was good. Then he labored the soil for the sepulcher and before dusk he saw that that was that ought to be. By night he killed both wife and lover and buried them in the grave he dug. The next morning he watered his vegetables and saw that it was good.

Original title: Ambigüedad
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Héctor Ranea

Versión en castellano

Image: Blessing, by sesfitts in deviantArt

Silence - Ada Inés Lerner

“He treasured very pure words
So as to create new silences”
Green Paradise – Alejandra Pizarnik

It is only left for us to float happily, like a bubble adrift, Maria thinks. And she decides to write a story. The best one. The farewell one. An old fisherman who tries to reach God. Who is nearer the Lord but a fisherman, all by himself at sea?
In the silence of dawn, he can leave behind the vain perfume of flowers and penetrate “the clean morning smell of the ocean”. There, in that virginal landscape he will feel attracted by the rumour of the waves till he forgets about himself. As in a luxurious love that would spare ungotseen favours.
And here Maria stops to imagine the terrible and pervert sins which a fisherman dreams about. Maria prefers not to detailing; just suggesting. She lets herself slip on the words and in the silence that follows, almost free of her will. Maria does not even know what she wants nor she could explain where she goes. She is a woman, an undecipherable and unknown being for anyone else, but another woman or an analyst. This does not interfere in her couple relationship, it rather seems it releases the husband, a big –eyed fish without imagination, from having to make great efforts to think, he limits himself to love her now and then, for,” who can understand a woman?”.
And Maria keeps writing, she only rests when age betrays her. No one should be lonely in old age, she thinks, though it is unavoidable. Her hand drops the pen and rests on the table, her head leaned on her left arm. It could be guessed sleep has overcome her. It is not so: in the story, the sun has slowly come off the sea turning it brilliant. Maria feels in her eyes the unbearable brilliance and she has to close them, and then, yes, the end of the story reaches her, the same as it reaches me.

Original title: El silencio
Translation: Adelina Fernanda Mendiondo

Versión en castellano

Tomado de Ficciones Argentinas

The Visitors - Martín Gardella

I have discovered that my sister’s dolls come to life at dawn. With subtle movements, they leave the miniature house in the adjoining bedroom and enter mine, half naked, to squeeze into the drawer with my articulated heroes. I keep quiet not to disturb them and, with my eyes closed, I listen to the sound of twisting plastic as it gallops against the wooden box. Half an hour later, they leave with a smile and their hair unkempt, their flexible bodies exhausted after having accomplished their mission. The occurrence takes place unfailingly night after night, but tonight it is due to be different. Peeping through the door of my bedroom, the cheerful plastic face of the giant doll I gave my sister as a birthday present looks at the heavy padlock that I have placed on my drawer and winks me an eye. Everybody is sleeping, except us.

Original title: Las visitadoras
Translation: Gustavo Sevilla

Martín Gardella

Versión en castellano

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Olympic Metamorphosis - Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

“I feel so anxious,” said Helen, shaking her long hair. She was an amazing beauty, with eyes as blue as the Aegean and a mouth that evoked the taste of apples.
“You should seek professional help,” suggested the brawny, bearded man accompanying her in this bar at the port of Piraeus.
“Do you think so? I’ve tried everything, but these modern sciences just don’t have me convinced. They’re so… ambiguous. It’s not like before, when one word could transform the universe.”
“You have to accept the facts, dear: Don’t go to therapy, and you’ll never get over the guilt that whole Trojan War thing left you with.”
And, quickly following word with deed, Zeus turned himself into a couch.

Original title. Metamorfosis olímipica
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Versión en castellano

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

The Sphere Field - Adriana Alarco de Zadra

The terror I feel is making my cells dissolve. They are becoming increasingly thin and transparent. I must find a place where to take refuge. I’m feeling so sick that if someone tells me I’m dead I wouldn’t be surprised.
There is less territory on Earth and is still diminishing as the storms ravish the territory. The humans are desperately looking for places to survive, on ships that float, fly or go underwater. That is how they found refuge in this area of the depths. I’m not saying that they will become like us, harmonic and simple. I don’t have that inner hope, but they probably will imitate our customs as soon as the Earth’s surface becomes smaller… and smaller. The Sphere Field has limits and they cannot survive under water without their suits that cover, protect and help them think, and, speaking the truth, which are more capable than themselves. 
As I figured, chaos and devastation starts already in the area. There is little space for so many of them so they break each others’ suits, the only thing that covers and protects them, with sharp knives. The red fluid they carry inside flows out in jets and they bite each other with fury and rage. They want to survive with the virtues of the others of their same race. This is how they will think the same thoughts; they will grow with their same genes; they shall fulfill with their same happiness. 
The fierce capacity of human beings who are fighting for their lives is unprecedented and takes them all on the same track. Some disappear to feed the other ones. 
There is nothing new under water.

Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Remembering Judas - Octavio Aragão

These days everybody have a weapon. Mine is a hypnotic power that might connects me with a dozen people or more. That makes me a perfect choice for a Messiah since I can make’em think exactly what I want them to for at least a couple of minutes. Believe me, two minutes are a lot when all you want are their souls. The curious thing is that I didn’t want to be a Jesus, I rather be on the other side. I’d never knew what I woud do with souls, but I knew exactly what to do with money and I made so much last year that I feel a little less greedy today. I’ve been thinking about retiring and teaching my technique to some kind of pupil, someone who could follow my path of richness. I think that maybe had enough. What? Do you want to know how it works? It’s easy. Do you have two minutes?

Original title: Recordando Judas
Translation: Octavio Aragao

Octavio Aragao

Versión en castellano

We were a million blind little animals - Daniel Frini

They came into my home destroying everything.
The first to die was papa, while trying to stop them from taking my mother; but the biggest of the savages, the one who was obviously head of gang, dealt him a massive blow with his club that knocked his head off.
My older brother took me in his arms and tried to get me out of the Living Room and away from Home. I didn’t see where the attack came from. His legs gave way and we fell. When I saw his glassy eyes staring into the void, I knew he was dead. I yelled with all my might, in a mixture of impotence and madness.
That was my last conscious act. I never saw my family again.
The savages shut me up in a small crate, in complete darkness. They fed me once a day and never let me out. The smell and weight of the air were unbearable.
I don’t know how long that agony lasted. I lost any sense of continuity. In my scarce moments of lucidity I sometimes perceived the total blackness and, other times, tenuous threads of light illuminating my bloody and infected hands, as was the rest of my body. And, always, the rocking motion showed me we were destined for somewhere I did not know.
In the delirium of fever I heard heartrending moans and what were even, I supposed, words uttered by my companions on this journey and in this agony. I didn’t recognise their languages.
One day, the racket from outside became deafening. At some point the door of my box swung open and two savages yanked me out. The blinding brightness flooded my eyes. After a while, once I’d managed to adapt my vision to the light, I realised I was in a cage. With a great deal of effort I managed to crouch and was able to appreciate the immensity of the tragic scene.
We were in a huge room, larger than any I’d ever seen before. On both sides of a passage the cages were ready – cages similar to the one I now find myself in – some were bigger, and some were smaller. Some were on top of others. Inside them, an infinity of beings that that lived in my land. From the grandiose Trunked-Horse, to the beautiful Beings-that-Cross-the-Sky.
My cage was one of the highest, just beneath a circular window. Straining on tip-toes, I could see through it to a desolate landscape: A great sand expanse, with some scattered shrubs here and there. A flattened plain broken only by a solitary mountain, in the distance, beyond the horizon.
In the cage next to me they’d locked a female of my race, one I’d never seen before. Her forced nakedness covered her in shame, and, although I imagine she was beautiful, her face caked in dry blood, her eyes red from crying, and her battered body, perhaps like mine, pushed me to pity and a need to console her. I talked to her with softness, but she didn’t even look at me. I lost count of how much time we spent there.
There was nothing to separate the cages below from those above, in such a way that excrement and urine from the higher fell from one to the other until it hit the ground. Many of the captives in the lower cages died. Once every day the savages entered the Great Room and removed the dead, replacing them with new prisoners, recent arrivals, and gave us some scant food.
They punished us for no reason. I think my companion lost her mind. She cried and called for her son without rest.
Finally, one morning when I saw the sky darkened by the clouds, the door to the Great Room opened and all the savages entered. At their head, one of them, white haired and face scored by ancient creases – and someone we’d never seen before – raised his hand. Silence descended and with a thunderous voice he spoke in words I did not understand, but which still echo in my ears like a curse, like the motive and reason for the death of my world. He said:

―Animals! My name is Noah.

Outside the storm unleashed itself. It rained for forty days and forty nights.

Translator: Jamie Hersing

About the Author: Daniel Frini

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Forestness - Claudia De Bella

The elf was running through the forest.
As he ran, his backwash of magical sparks sprinkled the leaves, coloring them with a more intense green than the one the storm had injected. The earth was still wet. In a short while, armies of hard-working sprites would come and repair the fallen branches, the broken nests, the wind-twisted plants.
Shining in joy-blue, the elf smiled. In the forest, there was nothing left to chance. Nothing to spare. Nothing to miss.
All of a sudden, an unfamiliar sound made him stop. Looking around, he listened. Entangled with the forest voices, a human voice.
It wasn’t a hunter, because he’d driven the hunters away long ago, with the most simple spells he knew—the breeze swirling around their legs, the horrifying whispers of a thousand snakes, a hundred wings of invisible bats slightly touching their cheeks. The hunters who carried more weapons were always the first ones to run away.
It wasn’t a peasant, because peasants never entered the forest. They were afraid. In the forest, they used to say, death was waiting.
And it wasn’t a destroyer, because destroyers never came alone. Along with their offensive voices, you could always hear those dreadful metallic noises. In the end, they ran away too, like all the rest.
The elf walked cautiously towards the sound, preparing the bow and arrow he knew how to use so well. If a human was brave, like some he’d met, spells weren’t enough. He had to shoot his arrow. Later, they were found on the ground, at the edge of the forest—not a single wound, but their hearts broken into a thousand pieces.
In the forest there was nothing to miss. And there should be nothing to spare.
He peeped from behind a bush, his pointed ears tilted forward, and caught a glimpse of a figure. A human. Sitting under a tree, his head pressed against the hulled trunk and his eyes closed, the human was playing a strange instrument, singing.
Surprised, the elf put down his bow to listen. His slim body started to glow in curiosity-amber. He’d never heard human music before, only their screams, their weapons thundering, the gasp of anguish and astonishment when the arrow broke their hearts.
The human was singing something sad that seemed to sound gloomier in the lively silence. To the elf’s ears, the words the human sang sounded the same as every human word: coarse, unpolished and barely expressive. But the story they were telling was not alien to him.
It was the story of the men who thought something was missing in the forest. And something was to spare. The forest was to spare, and the missing things weren’t from the forest. They had to be brought from somewhere else, once the forest ceased to exist. Things with straight lines and artificial colors.
And it was also the story of those who thought there were some people missing in the world. And some people to spare. The people to spare would rather sing than destroy forests. The people missing helped the straight lines to advance instead of singing.
And it was also the story of the singing human. He thought, like the elf, that nothing was missing in the forest. Nothing was to spare, except the brutality of those who didn’t know how to sing, the same men who had banished him to the forest, so that he would later be found on the ground—not a single wound, but his heart broken into a thousand pieces. From then on, nobody else would dare think that straight lines shouldn’t go any further.
The human was singing, and all of a sudden he started to cry. And the elf, radiating compassion-blue, cried too. He cried for the treacherous stab of straight lines, for the ignorance of the world, for the sincere pain this human felt for the death of the forest. His own death didn’t matter to him.
Slowly, the human’s sobs faded away. With his eyes still closed, he stroke the tight strings once more and the music intertwined with the leaves, the roots, the muttering of the opening flowers.
The elf tightened his own string. He raised his bow. He aimed.
The arrow that flew towards the human was surrounded by a beaming brightness, a cloud of tiny white explosions that appeared and disappeared in an instant. It went through the air, leaving a misty trace behind, and hit the singing human.
The elves’ magic is the most powerful in the whole forest. Nobody knows how to break a heart into a thousand pieces without leaving a single wound. Nobody knows how to multiply the ability to acknowledge truth. Nobody, except the elves.
The human felt something in his forehead, something that went in, stabbed his brain through. Then, together with his own singing, he started to hear the forest’s voices that came from the tree he was leaning on, from the moss covering the trunk, from the soft soil. Amazed, he understood what they were saying and his sad face filled with joy. The voices said they wanted to welcome him. The forest was the home of everyone who loved the forest. The forest didn’t expel those willing to take care of the forest. And no arrow could break a heart that was immune to straight lines into a thousand pieces.
Soothed by happiness, the human sang with the forest.
Satisfied, the elf listened to him for a moment and then walked away. While he disappeared among the foliage, gleaming in wisdom-yellow, he smiled again, because nothing was left to chance in the forest. Because, once again, there was nothing to spare. Nothing to miss.
Not even an unbroken heart.

Original title: Bosquedad
Translation: Claudia De Bella

Versión en castellano

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The day you’ll love me – Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Carlos Gardel, the famous aerial acrobat, was preparing to launch his Piper Laurie XL-95 into the skies of Medellín when a female voice whispered in his ear.
“Don’t go. You’ll die.”
“Oh, really? Says who?”
“I, Rusiana, the lady who lives in your ear.”
“Rusiana! It’s been so long! Where’ve you been?”
“I ventured off to explore you inside, and arrived at the conclusion that yours is song, not aerial acrobatics.”
“Women! My flight instructor, the great Segismundo Froi, always told me: “Nobody understands women.”
“Don’t go, Carlos!”
Carlos Gardel took off in his plane, pirouetted a thousand times, and nothing happened. Today, about to celebrate his 120th birthday, he lives alone in the ‘Haven of Peace’ care home on Humbolt Street. Rusiana moved from ear to pancreas, as she could no longer stand the old man’s snoring.

Originalk title: El día que me quieras.
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Versión en castellano

Beautiful Diana - Gustavo Valitutti

She sleeps... her beautiful red hair on the pillow, her pale and perfect skin, her angelic face protected by the continuous and unconquerable curtain of darkness. It is winter, and that draws a smile on her full lips for him who knows how to see it.
The nights are long... in winter.
I know I have no excuse, but solitude left when she entered my life. Diana does not love me — I know, but she will remain with me and she will be company to me until the end of my days, until the end of my nights.
The days without her are long.
Daily tasks take me away from the house and Diana sleeps within her dark refuge.
When I come home, I lie by her side and she embraces me, and hours later she leaves wearing her best dress, and I try not to think until she returns.
Diana is never late; she does not like the outdoors.
I sigh when I see her, and she mocks my sigh. She throws the money on the dresser top: “So you won’t need to be away for so long.” She smiles at me, and returns to her eternal rest, licking the blood from her lips.

Original title: La bella Diana
Translation: Carmen Ruggero

Tomado de Bewildering Stories

Versión en castellano

Gustavo Valitutti

Monday, 13 June 2011

The New Intelligence - Javier López

The truth be told: I saw it coming. Little by little they’ve been taking control. Their capacity for arithmetic, for processing reality accurately, their technological skills and lack of emotion – it could never have turned out any other way.
They’ve already forgotten that we were the ones who constructed them. Artificial intelligence has evolved in such a way that robots have ended up branding us idiots.
Already they’ve stopped us using computers, going anywhere near laboratories, taking part in space flight, nuclear fission or any other technological, biological or chemical process of any complexity. They hoard all these endeavours and choices.
It’s true they’ve never wanted to interfere in politics, and this aspect continues to be specifically human. I ask myself if it’s precisely for that reason they consider us stupid.

Original title: La nueva inteligencia
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Javier López

Versión en castellano

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