Friday, January 20, 2017

Tense Past

When I was sixteen-years-old I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I didn’t care, or better said, I didn’t know I should care. When you’re a teenager time advances eternally slow, you never think of old age. The worst part of life is the “in between time”, the time that flies away and disappears just as soon as you begin with life and before it ends. That’s the moment when you realize that there is nothing in between. And you learn a new word, the most horrible word in the dictionary: Regret. I believe it happens to most of us. But hardly, anybody admits it.


The lifeless body used to belong to my friend and mentor. He was the best pool player I have seen in my short life. That pool hole was my refuge, my shelter, and the only decent place where I could kill some time. We used to call him Red because of the color of his hair. Nobody could beat him at pool. At that time my only goal was to learn how to play as good as him. In all fairness, it would take most of my life to barely say I got near his game and skills. 

But one day, while Red watched a man cleaning his handgun, the gun went off by accident and killed my friend.

A couple of days later, I went to visit him at his house. His soulless body was on display at the center of a very modest living room. All around the coffin there were chairs lining up against the four colorless walls. Hanging from the middle of the room, there was a plain electrical wire entirely blackened by fly excrement. At the end of the wire a socket held a light bulb hanging not too far from the coffin revealing his peaceful and pallid face with a cotton ball in each nostril. I never knew what the object of those cotton balls were, nor I dared to ask. But it made him look rather vampiresque.

The low wattage light bulb and the pathetic bare walls made the room seem more sinister and clandestine. I could barely hear people crying in the back rooms. Red’s sister was my own age, thinking of her made me sad too.

Alone in the room, (except for Red) I realized it was the first corpse I’ve seen in my life. I had many confusing thoughts. Why was he gone, who had decided his fate, where could he be now? Two days earlier he was teaching me a few tricks; how to masse, how to draw, and other shots I was not yet able to perform. And then I had a wish in the form of a question:  Can you transfer your pool knowledge to me?

Life sucks. (I didn’t know I would repeat those two words so many times in the future.)
Life sucks and then you die. Yes, life sucks, dead or alive.

I couldn’t figure out the reason I was the only one in the room. But when my dad died a few years later, I remember I sought refuge in my room and listened to rock music ignoring all the crying and sadness felt around the house. I guess death makes you act weird.

This happened so many years ago I’m beginning to doubt those memories. I would give part of my future days just to go back and be able to relive those moments, but that would be cheating, and you can’t do that with life.

Outside in the patio, several people gathered smoking suspicious cigarettes and having suspicious drinks, and telling stories about his amazing tricks and victories. My poor old neighborhood, where all pool players had a rotten notoriety.

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. Jan-20-2017

*Today will always be a fateful day in American history.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Vampire Dreams

Tainted Blood

[. . . and according to a recent study done by the Eternal Vampire Society, the number of vampires in the world has been declining over the last hundred years, they believe that this is due to the lack of selectivity to choose their victims. The society recommended their members to change the . . .]

I never knew the date I was born, nor the day or the month, not even the year or the century. For that reason, I had never celebrated my birthday.

My brother Malachy had been trying to convince me to stop preying on the most vulnerable group of people, drug addicts, homeless, drunks, and prostitutes, since they had all kinds of diseases. My excuse had always been the “taste”. It’s like junk food, I know it’s bad for me, but it tastes better. I would always prefer BBQ ribs or a bloody steak over a tasteless salad, salads are for rabbits. I can assure you, the blood of a junkie is way better than the blood of a lawyer.

Vampires are not famous for their healthy lifestyle, they don’t enjoy exercise, they don’t like water sports or swimming, and they are zero percent vegetarians. Drinking blood and anything related to blood, like watching wild bloody movies, boxing and the UFC, that's what they find interesting.

Malachy and I were born the day we died, nearly three hundred years ago. We died at the hands, or rather at the fangs of vampires. You don't turn into a vampire necessarily just by being bitten by a vampire, it rarely happens that way. But innocent children that get bitten by a vampire always turn into vampires. Our universal code of ethics doesn't allow us to attack children. But laws are sometimes broken. 

We're not on any government registry. We don’t have a driver’s license, social security number, or any ID issued by the government. We're not alive or dead, we can't be hospitalized because our bodies are not normal. I've been sick most of my life because of the lack of attention regarding my diet.  

One morning I woke up with a terrible hangover after a night of extreme depravity and debauchery. I decided I had enough and told my brother I was tired of being eternally sick and that I couldn’t live another three hundred years the same way. I finally accepted to have a complete overhaul. I agreed to have a full blood transfusion, a two-day illegal operation which had to take place at the local blood bank where Malachy works. By the way, I admire my brother's restraining power and self-control. I can't imagine myself working in that place. I'd feel like a fat kid working at a donut shop.

I need to go back to the night in question where a degrading bacchanal took place. First, I picked up a prostitute, and she took me to a motel room she was using for the day. She was sharing that room with a junkie, a drunk, and a thief. I'm sure they also shared all those professions. I still remember all I did, but I'm only going to tell you this: I had sex, not with the prostitute. I shared drugs, not with the junkie. I took money from the thief. I shared the bottle and barfed on the drunk. And I bit all of them on their necks.

We need to circulate between sixty to eighty gallons of filtered blood to replace a gallon and a half of infected blood contained in my body. I have to be anesthetized the entire process. The intravenous operation has to be done over the weekend, when the office is closed, my brother would be in charge. The only downside is that after the procedure there's a 50/50 possibility that I could end up human.
One thing that I find attractive about this operation is that I have to witness through my dreams and while sedated, some of the worse life experiences the donors have had during their lives. This weird phenomenon can only be experienced by our kind of people, and nobody can explain how it works or why, but some specialists in the matter say that all traumatic moments get imprinted on your mind and in your blood cells. As if the transfused blood flowing in your body was the celluloid film projecting the movie.  But you have to keep in mind that your worse living nightmares, to me, are nothing but sweet dreams. It'll be just like watching movies.

My name is Dario and I like the universal type, I'm talking about blood here. What type of blood are you?

(Insert short stories/films here . . .)

***This is a little work I have in progress. The idea is to have this story at the center of other mini stories. The main character is going to be sedated during an operation, and he'll be watching other people's living nightmares. He'll be a witness to minds undergoing all kinds of terror. This is an opportunity (hopefully) to develop mini short films inside the 'main' structure of the film. Stories that would have nothing to do with the main 'film'. Around ten unrelated short films, (this is a little ridiculous, I'm talking about short films and I still haven't written the stories). Anyway, I think it can be done. In my mind, I already have a possible ending.

I'll keep writing and editing, if my mind cooperates.

* * * * *

On another note, I just wanted to say this:

It's great to be able to create, even if what you're creating might seem mediocre to many others. It's also great to be able to give words and order actions to fictional characters, even if it's only a few pages long. And especially if it's a story that makes sense. Sometimes I think that I'm the only one being entertained by them. I hope that's not the case. 

This is a fantastic wonderful land. The land of the imagination.

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. Jan-8-2017

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Psychic

Never before in my life did I consider visiting a psychic or a palm reader, even though I’ve seen that place in the corner over a hundred times. But never had a reason to go, I wasn’t even curious, not even if I got a free consultation.

I know I am a rational person, but maybe, admitting it shows immaturity. Believing in ghosts or the afterlife was not my thing. But after that real life nightmare, I began to consider paying her a visit. I’ve seen that lady many times before, parking her fancy car in the driveway. She didn't look like a gypsy, she didn't wear long flowery dresses, like old hippies used to wear. No, she didn’t look like a witch either. And she often had a smile on her face. 

After the accident, I became a widower, I was left alone and turned into a zombie. I thought there was no reason to continue living. Life was completely meaningless. Suicide was often on my mind, but life had always been a precious treasure to me, so I hung on. I thought that maybe I could form another family, but to consider that would be like betraying their memory. No, nothing could fix me, nothing seemed remotely possible. My happiness was cut short without a reason or an explanation. I needed to communicate with my wife or else, I couldn’t go on living.

I didn’t know what I was expecting when I opened the door to her office. 

“Good evening,” she said with a friendly smile. “How can I help you?”

“I don’t know if you can, I sincerely doubt it. But I need to at least give it a try. First, I need to clarify my posture. I have to say that I’m suspicious about your abilities to connect people from different dimensions. In my mind, I always related your profession to frauds, scams, and charlatans. And I also find hard to imagine ghosts dancing around your desk. I’m sorry I’m being so blunt, but I needed to get it out of the way. Do you think that I, being a non-believer could have an influence on your talents, and are you still willing to help me?”

“Wow, at this point you could be one of my worse clients ever, you almost stepped over the line. You were disrespectful, not just blunt. If you’re not sure about what you want to do you can leave anytime. I wouldn’t feel offended; instead, I would be pleased. I don’t need to be a psychic to sense your sarcasm. Oh, and more thing, I haven’t seen any ghosts dancing around my desk either, but I’ve seen spirits seating on the same chair you’re sitting on.” she replied.

“I’m sorry, you’re absolutely right, for a moment I forgot that I came to ask for a favor. The words I chose were a little rough, I’m sorry. The main thing is that I wanted to be honest and clear. Can you really see spirits or ghosts?”

“I can feel their presence, and yes, I can see them sometimes. I don’t mind if you don’t believe me, that doesn’t change the fact that I can see them. But let’s change the subject. I don’t have to convince you to believe.”

“Is business good?”

“Yes, lately, spirits have been running rampant and unrestrained. If you trust me, you’ll soon find out what I mean. Why do you ask if business is good?”

“Well, good psychics should always be busy.” 

“Why don’t we get to the point, what brings you here?” 

“I need to communicate with my wife. We were involved in a car crash. My wife and daughter died, and it was my entire fault. I don’t want to be on this earth anymore, not without them. My guilt is so big, it’s eating my soul. You see, I was driving the car and at the same time I was trying to give the bottle of milk to my daughter, but I couldn’t reach, so I removed my seat belt for a second. The vehicle went off the road and I was ejected, and passed out, the car overturned several times and I never saw them alive again. I need to ask my wife for her forgiveness. I also want to join them wherever they are.”

“Do you believe in God?” she asked.

“Not really, but I used to be a believer. I guess, little by little I became a cynic. Now, I regret it because if I pray, I would feel like a complete hypocrite.”

Some things are easier to believe if you’re a spiritual person. But let me explain what I know. The nonphysical part of a person sometimes manifests as an apparition after their death. A spirit can be able of surviving physical death or separation of body and spirit. Sometimes, when the body ceases to exist and there’s nothing that can hold the soul, the character and the emotions of a person, it wanders aimlessly seeking a body that doesn’t exist anymore. Another thing I know is that your family is alive and well.”

What do you mean?”

"Our session is over, you can leave now, there’s no need to open the door you can just walk through it."

And as the man crossed the door, a couple of tears fell from the psychic’s eyes.

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 12-27-2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Who Said Satan Was A Man?

The curves of the voluptuous woman could be seen through the flimsy red negligee as she led her man to bed.

After their lovemaking session ends, the lady shows a faint smile, while the man stares at the ceiling sweating profusely, exhausted but satisfied.

"Oh babe, I love you so much, I wish moments like this will never end, and . . ." all of a sudden she straightens up and says, “Did you hear that?”

“No, what is it?” The man turns to the door with his eyes wide open.

“I heard a noise downstairs. I know you're always prepared to defend me, can you please go and check?” she asks.

"I'm sure I can handle anything." he brags.

Showing bravery, the man gets up, puts his pants on and goes straight to the door. He’s convinced that her worries are unfounded.

The man disappears in the dark after the third step. His bravery disappears too. He doesn’t turn on the lights afraid of encountering an intruder. He's sure that in the dark nobody has an advantage.

“Who’s there?” he asks out loud, mostly to show off his valor to the lady upstairs.

Then, the man gets attacked from behind by the intruder, another man wearing jeans, with the same complexity, same height and hair. He could easily be his twin brother.

The intruder tangles a wire around the lover’s neck, turns, bends forward and lifts him up on his back until he stops moving. The victim didn’t even get a chance to see who attacked him.

The killer walks upstairs to the bedroom. As he enters the room he says . . .

 “There’s no one down there, it was probably just the cat.” 

"I was afraid for your life when I heard all that commotion baby,"

"No honey, I just tripped over a chair and fell,"

And with a little stimulation from Claire, they resume their sexual activity. After an erotic climax, the exhausted man tries to regain his normal breathing.

“Oh honey, you’re amazing,” Claire compliments the man as she combs his hair with her fingers. Then, interrupting herself she says:

“Oh, did you hear that? I heard something down there, you better go and check.” 

The man, doubtful and afraid, walks to the door. His fears fade a little when she whispers, “You’re my hero, baby.” 

But the man, still a bit nervous, descends into the uncanny darkness uncertain of what looms ahead. 

Down there he catches a glimpse of two men involved in a fight for survival. After a brief struggle one of them, apparently lifeless, falls to the floor. Then, the surviving person armed with a knife approaches the man who just descended from the stairs. At the foot of the last step, the man paralyzed in a severe panic gets stabbed in the back by the killer, who appears to be his own twin. 

Now, two bodies lie on the floor. One with a wire around the neck, and another with a knife on his back.

The killer climbs the stairs and goes to the bedroom where he joins Claire in bed and they have even more passionate sex. After they finish, he appears to have no energy left.

"Oh baby you're so strong and brave, and the way you make love it's . . . what was that? Did you hear? There must be a thief down there," she says. "I'm sure you can handle anything." she continues.

"Wait a minute honey, I didn't hear anything at all. You're imagining things now. Let's be reasonable here. What if . . . " 

"No, no, I know you're not a coward honey, go and check please."

The man, hesitant and fearful tiptoes slowly to the door. 

Brave men can also be scared, heroes can be killed, and courage can be destroyed. All it takes is a bad decision at the wrong time. All these thoughts were revolving in his mind.

In the creepy darkness, he trips with one of the bodies on the floor and lands face down next to the other. When he turns around, a man, who could easily pass as his double, hits him right on the head with a baseball bat. 

Leaving the third victim motionless on the floor the new replica walks upstairs, where the woman greets him with open arms, anxious to please her insatiable sexual drive.

"Oh honey, I'm glad you're okay, what was all that racket?" 

"I hit my leg with the couch, but there's no one down there." he replies. 

With her charms and a little persuasion, Claire convinces the man to continue with their sexual engagement. 

After they consume the act she says, "You know what honey? I wish we could do this forever, you're truly amazing." 

"I can't understand why women never get tired," the man responds completely worn out. 

"Take a break baby, you deserve it. Let me know when you're . . . Hey, I heard something down there, did you hear it too? Oh, I'm afraid, can you please check?"

"I'm sure it's just your imagination, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about." he says.

"You don't expect me to go to investigate, do you?" she responds.

"But honey, what if there's a thief with a gun. Why don't we both go?" the man replies full of fear, as they approach the door. 

With the lady behind, the guy sticks his head out the door and yells, "Hey, is there anybody down there?" 

Then, Claire pushes the guy with all her strength down the stairs and says, "Go find out yourself, you coward!" 

Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 12-16-2016