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By Marko Dorantes
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Marko Dorantes
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Runner
The man arrived to his home breathing heavily. His anxious eyes swept the cool place as he rapidly walked upstairs stretching almost elastically to reach his bedroom.
He was a dedicated runner, and every afternoon he would give himself to the same ritual; it kept him healthy and would bring relief to the accumulated stress of eight, and sometimes ten daily hours in his office.
The need for the physical routine seemed very urgent that day.
Thirsty due to the anticipated emotion, he went downstairs in three huge leaps; his respiration grew, already tasting the exercise. His legs were shaking and he could hardly control them.
Taking his keys he closed the door behind him.
His knees went up and down, almost as high as his waist, while, at the same time he would extend his arms as part of his warm up.
He started his race, feeling the reviving caress of the approaching evening.
The routine was always the same, after few feet at a slow trot his strides would become long and vigorous.
In less than five minutes his mind and body in coordination with each other were given to the exercise with gusto and dedication.
Other runners were coming the other way with their boring, tasteless outfits of white and gray cotton; with clothes of vivid colors he gave the appearance of a happier man.
He waved his hand in salutation, while his face drew a smile; the runners answered in the same manner, perhaps ephemerally admiring his modern running shorts and his very white shoes in spite of repetitive laundering and hours of service.
At approximately thirty minutes of running he covered the distance and he could distinguish the spot indicating half, and hence, the return of his tour.
The reference point was a small park, clean and elegantly dressed of green, at the outskirts of the town.
Forty to fifty minutes were usually invested to reach that place, but today his energy was higher, like something new, ready to be used; as if opening a hidden box, it came out in an avalanche, transporting him with speed and contentment at the approximation of the known destination, his legs didn't allow him to go around in return, instead, they moved as if having their own will; noticing it, he frowned but gave no importance to the occurrence.
Passing by the beautiful place, where comfortable tables and polished benches were set, aromatized by the presence of bushes artistically trimmed, he left the limits of the modest city.
Through the short grass, there was a road made by the infinite tracks of cyclists, runners and hikers; the road was aiming towards a small and sparse hill, a place that was during the day sweetly tormented by the presence of playful children; at this time, with the dusk in its way it was gratefully uninhabited.
The runner climbed a pronounced inclination without much difficulty; at the other side of the hill the landscape appeared as if kissing the mountains at the distance, and an immense sky of transitional tints was guarding the insignificance of the planet.
The distance between the valley and the hillock was generous and was gently offered to those who were willing to accept a challenge emphasized by nightfall.
With fast and imaginable measures he estimated reaching the mountainous elevations in complete darkness. Turning his head to watch the shrinking image of the city at his back, he thought with optimism that the sparkling lights of the streets would be the guide during his return; there was no doubt in his mind that the mountain chain would be touched by his feet.
The road grew dark; the eyes of the runner, with aspirations to acquire infrared properties, got accustomed to it. Eventually he could distinguish the gaps of bare terrain, brighten by the light of a partial moon.
Agile steps consumed the distance, falling smoothly from heel to toe, transporting him to the outskirts of the first elevation. The night was totally promised to the run, and the path, in complicity with the trees, mutated in to a hungry mouth, infinite to the eyes ...
He kept going.
A while later, he found himself in the middle of a forest proudly nourished by trees of whose he could only distinguish the canopy from afar. When close by, those trees would be acquiring ghostly personalities, illuminated with a weak life from the celestial body.
At that moment, but only as a question from someone that does not really want an answer, he thought of going back ... his daring legs continued ahead ...
An impetuous oddness crossed his mind, but it was easily disregarded by the emotion of the adventure ... this novelty was seductive.
He crossed several roads without knowing whether he was still on the original one.
With explosive legs, denying the gravitation, he jumped stones and logs that resembled fallen old men. His respiration was rhythmic and strong as if intoning a patriotic hymn; his own sweat refreshed him.
Sometimes the quick shake of an invisible animal was heard, running away from his path.
This type of areas was inhabited by small rodents and other inoffensive mammals; such knowledge made him feel superior; he was the big animal, the predator, the monster seeding panic on the underbrush with his tough breathing, with his fast presence.
The runner invaded a creek that mischievous appeared confronting him. His feet splashed the water and thick droplets splattered everywhere, grasping to his legs as if they were resisting the return to the boring calm.
The shoes so neatly washed got soaked. The future image of heavy and uncomfortable footwear with chunks of clay crossed his mind as an arrow.
Nevertheless, there was no time or place to consider the risk; the immediate enterprise was to run and run ... for how long? That was not important; suddenly his mission did not have a defined goal, only a forward trajectory.
By not carrying the instruments that formerly were useful, he estimated the time by instinct.
The descending road announced the opposite side of the mountain.
Incredible!—He expressed satisfied with himself, feeling imaginary clapping of admiration from an unseen enthusiast.
Sweaty and breathless, his crushing vitality brings him the next mountain. This one is lower and offers a lesser effort, although, today efforts don't exist anyway, because his legs are in command, and they do not take suggestions.
The same foliage, as an unexpected manifestation of leonine manes, obstructs his view, and his claw-feet give away his ephemeral body weight to a timid creature that reveals its terror with a dry shriek.
He rises his foot quickly, instinctively, at the touch of the softness of the diminutive body, but he doesn't stop, although, silently he whispers and apology.
A branch, perhaps an ally of the tiny being, suddenly appears, whipping his face painfully; then the thorny weapon rips his skin and hides, blending with many others. A salty drop, without identifying itself as sweat or as blood, penetrates the corner of his lips.
He keeps running.
The slope of a new mountain presents more menacing that the one before, but this one with a bare and clean landscape.
In occasions, inspired by the nature of arthropods, he has to multiply the use of his hands to hang on at the passing of enormous boulders.
The burning irritation of his own sweat makes his eyes close momentarily, sufficient to make him trip with something that hits his right shin solidly.
Lacking all the ability a dancer would have, he stumbles with clumsiness and trying to maintain his balance he bumps his knees against a rock. The pain grows gigantic, spreading in an instant from the bone to the brain, feeling, and almost seeing, the open skin and the emanating thread of blood.
At the end of this tortuous slope with great relief a friendly valley comes to his feet; the valley exposes lights of cars driving on a near highway.
He decides to take that route, wishing to find a flatter road, and with less risks.
His almost mechanical legs bring him to an asphalted area as black as the night. The flat and solid surface eases the pain on his feet welcoming it with love.
A car, attempting to go as fast as the sound of its horn, passes by his side. He, as a reflex, but without true dedication, waves his hand high as an answer and continues.
The running figure is depressingly metamorphosing due to the bumps, hits, scratches and wounds; the darkness almost respectful helps him hide such image from possible morbid eyes from the drivers passing by.
He arrives to the limits of a town; the road has been designed around it. Without the intention of a short cut, but rather curiosity, he decides to go through it.
So late in the night, the residents take shelter inside their homes, leaving the streets to the mosquito and other bugs that furtively would reclaim their right to live.
There is a faucet; he turns it on, always with his legs in constant movement, as if they were trapped in a treadmill. From the metallic nose—a silver one once, a while ago—a thick spurt of water comes out; he drinks a little, washing his mouth and refreshing his countenance. He puts his head underneath receiving the cold outpouring behind his neck; hugging him, the liquid clears his mind.
The trot continues.
At the end of the town there is a big farm; he jumps the small fence because even in pain he is in good spirit; that was a bad idea ... from the shadows an arrogant and annoyed dog comes barking loudly to make its aspect more impressive.
The runner hurries to the other extreme as fast as his will power could take him, but even so, the frantic guardian manages to insert its sharp and yellowish fangs into his left calf.
The pain, acute as joy, makes him elevate his heel as a spring, kicking back as a horse. A spark of fortune sends the foot to the animal's snout whom in disarrange gives him a broad chance to flee, and reaching the other side of the farm he jumps rapidly.
The light of the house's porch lightens up.
Outside the town that was unable to acclaim a lost athlete the panorama returns to be the same as before; more valleys and mountains invite him to come with a smile.
The wounds make him limp, but his legs invaded by a unique will and with their own identity refuse to stop.
The rest of his humanity exhausted, and with his mouth sandy and dry he swallows with great difficulty. He thanks the good shape of his nature that permits him to match the ordeal.
After several hours of intricate terrain, a new day shows on the horizon.
The cold temperature caresses his skin gently with a velvet-like whisper.
The new road takes him far from the pavement, and through the infinite tunnel of an unexpected feat he penetrates new paths.
He has no idea about these whereabouts; his sense of orientation fades in thin leaves of boredom.
At the end of the valley he encounters a brook of considerable width; the hasty water carries with vigor and happy tunes the microorganisms that shelters.
He approaches some rocks that roughly emerge from the surface; he uses them as support to cross but the impetuosity of this craggy race makes him slide and falls on his flank.
Half of his body sinks into the freezing water that moans with a short sound. He stretches his right arm as a reflex, in an attempt to absorb the fall, perhaps looking for the miraculous apparition of a handle bar.
Leaning his body in a fat and limy rock, this one denies the help; his whole arm is incrusted in the gap between the boulder and the neighbored one. An elbow bends the opposite way, turning in to a shape that if seen would make anyone flinch; his mouth fights to contain noises without vocals that furtively sneak out throughout tighten teeth. A short crunch similar to nuts roasting under the fire announces a fracture.
The loose soil of the mountainous slope tattoos swarthy on his body, dressing it with peculiarity.
He goes in the thicket that the inclination offers, and little by little the unappreciated friction of plants and flowers cleans his attire.
Hours after hours of falls and stumbles, drinking the oxygen and the dew from the suspended leaves of the bad weeds to get rid of the sticky dryness he conquers ravines and valleys without knowing.
The night is here again and with it the prolonged agony, similar or more offensive that the one of the first days.
Nevertheless, his pace does not subside; resigned he prepares his mind.
The swollen and numbed arm appears grotesque against his body, as if growing amorphous roots such as the ones of the passing trees.
The scabs of his wounds covered with mud camouflage him with blackish lines and spots, confusing themselves sometimes with the night.
The advanced dehydration compresses his sunken and emaciated face. The irritation of sweat, blood and dirt distorts his spectral countenance of flaming eyes.
One more day of the undecipherable, infinite race aggravated his hunger; giving him the impulse to eat anything. Cutting leaves and pulling out roots at his pass, he gobbled them in a futile attempt to alleviate his appetite, a foolish act that brought instead the fulminating complain of his stomach that preferred to stay empty.
Ahead and downhill a village could be seen, but remembering his encounter with the dog, plus the misery of his looks, he desisted to cross it. Even as badly wounded as he was, he knew his legs wouldn't stop.
Several days passed by and his pathetic figure never knew rest.
In an almost hypnotic stage, he suffered and conquered the facing obstacles.
Lulled by the whispering of morbid criticisms from the creatures of the woods, he dreamed and dreamed ...
Dreamed with his house ...
His family ...
His work ...
Yearning for that comfortable sofa where he used to relax during his free time; wishing fervently for the food prepared by his wife every night. That customary dinner that gave them the momentary privilege of being together. Remembering their days off, going to the beach, to the plaza of their beloved city, to see a movie, to a restaurant ...
Imagining his cozy bed with fluffy pillows and soft sheets; a warm and long shower ... a fresh orange juice ... a program in television ... a background music ... a greeting neighbor ...
... A car blowing its horn!
... A dog attached to his calf, making him to emphatically return to reality!
With a furious jerk of the leg he saw the animal fleeing scared and repenting at its boldness.
He accepted the new pain as equal and monotonous to the other accumulated pains of his voyage.
He lost notion of days and nights. Ghostly figures passed by his path ... Perhaps somebody yelling and questioning ... He couldn't remember.
His hallowed gut and the rest of his body, covered by a scarce and filthy flesh, made him a specter.
His face was hidden behind a disturbing and anarchically grown beard.
In moments of lucidity he bent down his neck, and looking painfully at his legs, he asked them imploring: when would you stop? But the proud limbs with destroyed knees, camouflaged with blood, mud and sweat didn't want to attend the plea.
In another beautiful dream of consolation, he saw himself as a child; those episodes of games, free of worries, the vicinity of a mother and the caress of a father. He wished to be a child again.
He wished to have short legs unable to go for so long and so fast.
He wished to be crippled.
He wished to be a log ... no extremities ... leaning by a soft nook ... with static figures surrounding him.
He kept running.
The emaciated body arrives to a clear spot where the sandy field builds a black-and-white landscape. There he gets in a brief quarrel with some thorny scrubs and groups of a long, reddish grass; feeling the smooth surface, his feet sink to the ankle in the sand that quickly invades the available spaces inside his shoes; with a sudden and desperate move he removes them.
Few yards before him the ocean, almost monstrously passive, welcomes.
How long is the distance between home and the nearest coast?
He doesn't remember ... he doesn't want to remember.
He digs out his feet with difficulty from the yellowish dust at every step, giving him the appearance of running in slow motion; then he goes straight to the water breathing heavily; reclaiming its freshness before reaching it.
The cold and salty liquid soaks his feet, lacerates his wounds, cover his hips ...
Excerpted from Somewhere Somehow by Marko Dorantes Copyright © 2012 by Marko Dorantes. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPART I ANECDOTES OF A CITY....................1
The Old Man....................61
My Mom's Garden....................136
Origin Of The Emailism....................150
A Frightening Fact....................178
An Ocean In My Room....................196
PART II NATURAL PHENOMENA....................199
Letters Of Despair....................207
This Of The Rock&Roll....................216
It's Cold Out There!....................219