The Edges of the Sky

“I choose to give my life for yours, as I know you’ve always been with me and I will always be with you.”

Lunch time, I am helping my mother with some tables at her restaurant for rich lonely people.
Yes, there is this new type of restaurant now. Basically rich people that have no one that actually enjoys their company, come to my mom’s Oriental restaurant where not only food but also human company is provided.
You can choose who you want to dine with and how many people have to be at the table. You just need to ‘order’ them.

We have a lot of returning customers, they have a second family here.. The employees that dine with them know more on their lives than their relatives. Crazy emotionally unstable shitty world.

My mom calls me to a table:

‘Hey Sasha, come to speak with Miss Balducci’
I approach the table and I sit beside Lorena Balducci, careful to be in the right position, lower than her so she can look down on me rather than up… rules of the restaurant.
She is super rich and super rude.. I know her well since she comes every year to celebrate her birthday with us like today and spends a fortune hiring 50 to 60 people for her party.

‘I need you to go to the Italian restaurant down on the main street, the one that serves the special meal ‘Villa dei Sapori’. I want you to taste it and let me know if it’s good enough for me.’

Seriously?? I look at my mother in disbelief. I understand she is one of our best clients but she is treating us like servitude!

My mom looks back at me and I understand without words that we can’t afford to make this pathetic woman angry so I get up and say:
‘Of course Miss Balducci, I will go immediately’… The moment I give her my back I curse her!

My little sister from the kitchen sees me and giggles.
I am not angry anymore. How can it be that simple?

I get close to her.
‘Lynn, you shouldn’t be laughing!’ I say while smiling back at her.
‘I need to go out for a while, but I’ll be back to help you with your homeworks later!’

I like helping her with school stuff. She is only 5 and I feel like a genius when I help her with those basic problems! I also feel younger and my heart lightens up when I am with her…
‘Can I come with you?’ she asks.
‘No Lynn, you will only get bored waiting for me to finish, trust me’ I kiss her and I leave.

I take the cable railway to go down to the city center and try this famous meal. I’ve actually heard about it: it’s a mega dish of Pasta, bread and special meat done the old way plus chips. I feel bloated already.. Ugh!

Luckily from our restaurant it takes me only 10 minutes to arrive. I sit in the outdoor area and I order my meal but something is not right. I just feel heaviness in the atmosphere around me. The colors seem darker, the air foggy and the tension gives me goosebumps.

I’ve been spaced out for a few minutes when the waiter interrupts the flow of my thoughts to serve me the first dish. He puts it on the table and suddenly everything trembles.

Earthquake!
But wait! We don’t have earthquakes since 2055 when we all relocated to Neo Seoul, the city in the sky. It’s simply not possible!

I look around and everyone is watching a live broadcast that is being transmitted on all the displays on skyscrapers, shop windows and vehicles.

‘Oh no… that is my restaurant! What is happening?’ I say and my heart feels like someone is squeezing it.
A man that is seated at the table behind me says ‘I am not sure but I think that the son of the Lowlands Mafia has been killed and now there is a conflict between his family and the clan that killed him?’
An older lady adds ‘And I think a bomb went off.. That’s what made everything shake, like it happened 11 years ago.. I remember’.

I can see the fear in her eyes but I don’t have time to be scared I need to run home!

‘Be careful child! I’ve seen this before..’

I am already running back to my family and my thoughts are louder than her voice, I don’t know what she is talking about and I don’t care.
‘I need to go!’ I yell back.

BOOM
CRACK

A big chunk of cement detaches from a skyscraper and falls on the road just meters from me. Other bombs are blowing up and the older buildings are not designed to sustain the vibrations.

‘Sis!!’

I look towards the voice and I see Lynn a few meters away from me.
Oh God! I run to her screaming: ‘What are you doing here??’
She must have followed me.
‘I am scared! What is happening?’
Still few steps and I am close enough to hug her: ‘Stay still!’

In that moment a balcony cracks open and I can see it coming down too close to us. Too close!
My brain accelerates and I find myself thinking about 10 different ways of saving Lynn and myself from being crushed. None of them seem effective enough.

The eleventh option comes loud and clear from my heart. It is the right one. The only one.

As I push my sister away from me with a strength I didn’t know I had, I try to look at her face for the last time but I can’t and all ends.

I am in the sky above the clouds now. I can see my sister crying. I call her name.
She looks straight at me, for a moment she is in the sky with me.. but I know she is alive, I think I have one last chance to speak to her…

“I choose to give my life for yours, as I know you’ve always been with me and I will always be with you.
As I met you once I will meet you again. We will be reunited so don’t cry sister”.

 

THE END


This dream left me crying.. I even had a hard time recording the last part of this story as I couldn’t help but crying while re-living the events.
It felt real. Emotionally real, so much that every time I think about it I cry again. Must have happened somewhere to someone..

Below the time-lapse of the illustration “Guardian Angel” and (soon-to-be) podcast of the story.


John Wick's Rose

Rosa was thinking about those annoying crows that kept ruining her veggie garden when she entered the crafty store on an apparently quiet Friday evening. She was trying to grow some Tomatoes and Chillies on the terrace of her new apartment in Scarborough, a lovely suburb few miles from Toronto.

Little she knew that what was about to start, wasn’t her typical weekend.

She was looking for some material to build a tiny scarecrow when she spotted John Wick on the same isle.
“What the hell is John Wick doing here?”

John was retired, possibly for real this time. Voices in the field have been saying he now had two children to take care of. The young boy and adolescent daughter of one of his dearest friends died to help him on his last suicidal mission.

Rosa was a cop, actually just a newly employed detective with not much experience in the field but enough to know exactly who was standing in front of her. She had been training in martial arts and gunfight since young age back home in Mexico and John was some kind of a legend to her.

She couldn’t help but admire John even if he was supposed to be one of the “bad guys”. She didn’t think he was a cruel assassin and especially after his last adventures, she grew fond of him and his impossible battles with the high powers that run the world. A part of her thought they were more like colleagues than enemies.

John noticed her immediately, he must have used his sixth sense for cops, and their eyes locked for a couple of seconds that seemed definitely more to Rosa. His stare scared her. she felt he could sense her feelings and thoughts but she also inexplicably felt drawn to him.

After his scan-stare, John got closer to Rosa and asked:
«Are you here for me? I don’t have time for you.»

He must have thought she was there for ‘work’ but she didn’t even have the time to reply as a loud BANG made both freeze in tension.

The gunshot was coming from the other side of the store.
John and Rosa automatically squatted to a safe hidden spot and got their guns out ready to fight.

Rosa looked at John trying to make him understand that she was not involved and surely had no idea of what was going on.
Unfortunately his eyes were focused somewhere else so she took the risk of being heard to whisper:
«I am not here for you. I would never hurt you.»

John ignored her completely and moved away to find a position with a better view of the counters where he assumed, a robbery was taking place.
It was clear he didn’t even see her as a threat.

«Great, 2 armed robbers.» He muffled. He didn’t really had time or will to do anything about it. He just wanted them gone.

Rosa thought it could be a good time to gain his trust and make clear she was not after him so she decided to do her job and take the responsibility of solving the situation. She even thought she could show off a bit of her skills to John.. like a fangirl would do. What a stupid and nonsensical motivation!

Rosa quietly approached one of the robbers from behind and..

-CLANK-
“Damn it! What was that?” She looked behind her.
A toddler with her mom let a toy fall on the floor at the worst time possible. They were shaking in fear, she couldn’t really blame them.

In a desperate attempt to avoid a gunfight that would put a child in danger, she hid her weapon behind her back and faked a scared face as the robber came to investigate on the noise.

«What do you think you are doing?! Hands and face down! Now!»
Rosa tried to secure the gun in the fold of her jeans but the impatient robber got a grip on her wrist and pulled her close just to push her violently against a shelf a moment later.

Her gun slipped away and fell on the floor with a loud noise.
«Mierda!»
She knew she had to react immediately or sh*t could go bad.

«Hey!»
John’s voice caught the attention of both robbers long enough for Rosa to grab her gun and jump at the one in front of her blocking him in a lethal head-lock.

-BANG!-
-BANG! BANG!-

The other robber had the brilliant idea to shoot at John.
You can say that he made a bargain: shot one bullet and got two in return, one from John and one from Rosa.
Unfortunately not where he probably would have wanted: one in his right hand and one on his left knee.

John then looked at Rosa surprised at her quick reaction and also at the fact that she probably tried to protect him.
Rosa, on the other hand, was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t shoot to kill..

«This one passed out. I think we’re done.»
Rosa said, a bit embarrassed at her own doing. What was she thinking? John needing her help? That was pathetic. She couldn’t even handle her own gun…

«Good. …»
John wanted to add something but decided halfway to stay silent.
He looked around to see if there were any more potential targets and then said:
«You should go check the entrance.»

He was referring to the possibility of a third robber waiting outside ready to drive away.

Rosa saw his hesitation and was very curious to know what was going on in his mind but she couldn’t really master up the courage to annoy him anymore. Especially not after her embarrassing performance.

«Alright.»
She got up and quickly tied the two robbers then run out as per his instructions.
There were only tyre markings left. The third robber decided that abandoning his companions was the smartest idea.

Shortly after, John joined her outside.
«I think you should go before the police comes, I just called them.» Rosa said.
A cop wasn’t probably supposed to help a known criminal walk away after a gunfight but she felt it was the right thing to do.

John nodded and after another moment of hesitation he added:
«Why did you say “I would never hurt you”? Do I know you?»

Rosa blushed. She didn’t expect that question. She totally forgot having said that and was sure he didn’t hear!
“Because I am intrigued by you and I admire you” was the real answer but she couldn’t really piss him off with that bullsh*t.
She decided to ignore the first question and reply to the second one:
«No, you don’t know me.. but of course I know you.»

He gave her a perplexed/worried/curious stare.

She felt pressured to add:
«I wasn’t following you. I am sorry I stared. I was just surprised to see you.»

He seemed to process the information for a while then asked:
«What is your name?»

«Rosa.»
She didn’t want to add any more details to her identity. She revealed already too much and even though her gut feeling was to trust him, she knew she’d better not.

«I’ll go now. I hope I won’t see you again.» John said.

She felt hurt by those words. She knew they were appropriate. Still.. she couldn’t help feeling betrayed.

«I hope differently.»
She said out of spite and then ran inside while blushing and blaming her short-temper for that embarrassing sentence.

John was puzzled by the unusual response but didn’t mind it. In fact it made him smile. That young woman had something special, he felt it the moment they looked at each other and he also felt that they would surely meet again.

TO BE CONTINUED


Below the Youtube video of the drawing process plus the audio story!


BONUS Coloured Drawing

Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.


Tarantino's Zombie Apocalypse

«Run! Run! Run!!!! For Christ’s sake!»
«Over there! There is a barn we can lock ourselves in to buy some time!»
A group of people enter the barn, the gates are closed and secured and Dr. Whiteman checks if everyone escaped successfully the attack of 3 (really slow) zombies.
«It seems like everyone made it, that is good.»

«Now, we need a plan. There are only a few infected people out there, we can still solve this.»
There is a big table and everyone is gathered around it as a light is turned on and a map laid down.

«Ok, now that we are less scared and more focused, it’s time to get a better understanding of the situation. Jim please give me that piece of brain you collected from the injured one.»
Jim takes a plastic bag from his backpack and gives it to Dr Whiteman.
«Thanks Jim.»

«Listen, I am sure we CAN still save them. It is just the beginning and if we stop it now we will be able to prevent it from happening again.»
The doctor’s attempt to lift the spirits works and the atmosphere becomes more relaxed.

«Does anyone here have a camera? One fancy reflex or something similar would be perfect.»
One of the girls reluctantly puts a shiny new camera on the table.

«Thank you. Since I don’t have any medical equipment I want to try a simple thing. I will put some brain material inside the camera’s lens and add some water to use as enlargement agent. Maybe I can find out some information.»

As Dr Whiteman looks into the camera, the only thing he can see is a blurred greenish pattern but with some effort and eye squeezing a blueprint starts to appear, similar to a miniaturised chemical formula.

«I can see some symbols! There is a hourglass at the center and radiating from it some other graphic elements I cannot recognise.. Wait! I see also a leaf and.. A word? It starts with a T.. looks like ‘Tarantula’ but I’m not sure.. it’s so blur-»

Dr Whiteman suddenly stops talking. Everything in his body stops.
He looks away from the camera and at someone in front of him at the other side of the table.

«Tarantino! What does this mean? Are you involved in this? Why is your name showing up?!»

Everyone looks at Tarantino and as he smirks with no sign of shock he says:
«Well, yes. I am involved and I can tell you there is no way you can stop this, it’s irreversible.»

«Why?!?!»
Dr Whiteman yells while all the others are in a terrified silence.

«I needed some good material for my next movie and this was the best way to study the realism of a very unlikely situation.»

Silence.

«I promise I will put your names in the end titles.»

The End.


Below the SpeedPaint (done in Ecoline Watercolors) of the Zombie’s Brain as I saw it in my dream and the Audio Story.


Holographic Horses & Guns

Damn! Where the hell am I? Why is this guy looking at me like a scaredy-cat that lost his mouse?

«Excuse me Sergeant, should we proceed?»

Sergeant? Mh.. wait a minute, we are dressed like military people. Well.. I am dressed like a cool one, a “top of the hierarchy” one. He is on a lower level for sure.

While I slowly start to make sense of my surroundings I understand that I am a military instructor and this petulant boy is my assigned student.

«Yes we can proceed» I answer as I push a futuristic-like remote control I see in my hand.

I have no idea where I am and who I am but that’s ok, I’ll just go with the flow and trust my body memory for what I need to do. If I am here in this position it can’t be by mistake.

While I wait to see what happens next I take a look at the room and, woah! This place is huge!

It reminds me of a gymnasium but it’s full of small desks. For each one an instructor and a student.. This must be some kind of one-to-one lesson of crucial importance. What a perfect time to forget who I am. Well done brain. Thanks.

As I think that my brain could choose a better day to trick me, I see some shiny metal things coming out of a door in group of 4 and aligning at each desk. The more I look at them the more they remind me of something that I know but that isn’t quite what it should be… Wait, what?? They look like horse hoofs! That’s what they are! And they are also moving like that is a horse above them but I can’t see anything.. Just these black metallic hoofs “walking”!

I look at my student for a hint and then back at them and BAM! Now I can see a horse! What the hell?? Looks like a real horse for a split second and then for some reason my eyes tell me that is an holographic rendition of the animal. I can clearly see the structure of light that creates the illusion.

This is truly fascinating and I feel excited for a moment.. Until my body moves on its own, grabs the holographic horse with a special tool I can’t really describe, and lays it flat on my desk.

How can a horse fit on a desk? Well it’s holographic.. I guess it shrinked?

I am astonished that it makes sense and it doesn’t at the same time.

Next automatic move that I can see my body doing without me even thinking is traumatic. I cut open the freakin’ mini-holo-horse (I should copyright this) and a giant blob of black ink comes out of it. Yeah, great, fantastic.

Unpleasant to say the least.

Again I surprise myself because like if all of the above wasn’t enough, I dig my way through the ink, I find a disassembled gun and I assemble it in less than 5 seconds.

«See? Easy.» I say to my shocked student.

No freakin’ idea of what I just did but I knew it was cool so I guess… I played it cool.

 

The End.


Below the Youtube video with the speedpaint of the digital illustration and the audio-story.