I produced these images long time ago, years.

The other day I was putting my stuff in order and I saw them again. I decided to compose a little abstract tale with a bunch of them and send them to Maria Zaragoza, a good friend and a great writer (we are expecting the release of a movie from a script of hers anytime: “Realidades de Humo“.) So she could write an invented tale based on the images. I thought it was a good idea because she’s skillful with the pen and great with her imagination. But even better, because she herself is pictured in these images. Also shown in the photographs is our friend Guillermo Mora (a great Spanish artist) and Juliette Exkore (a delightful make-up artist based in London). Thanks to all of you for that crazy night! We where there that night to take some nude portraits but it ended up being impossible.It was really cold and dark, and the equipment was not very good. In any case it was fun and we created these images among others. So in this case, as in the movie “Lost in La Mancha”, the making-of of a failed attempt of creation is the subject of the creation itself. I hope you enjoy the illustrated story.

(Relato Original en Español más abajo)

LOSING THE SOUL (Translated to English from the original in Spanish)

I was so close that I do not know how he did not notice. I was glued to him. A shadow attached to another shadow in the forest where we all end up losing. I don’t know why I liked him. Just wanted to follow. A ghost following someone who will become a ghost, two shadows in the midst of perpetual night. He did not see me, I could not touch him. I guess those are the rules. I guess that’s our punishment. When we arrive here we are doomed to wander alone. Not having a skin to touch. Not feeling the warmth of some else’s company.

It was cruel that they let us see them; that they let us see those who were arriving, whom we could not touch. Souls forever following shadows, without a future to which we could aspire; without a past to which we could cling. The cold of the darkest night. All of us who ended up here, for one reason or another, had lost our soul.
All religions were wrong. There was not a painful punishment, nor a burning fire for those who deviated from the path. There was something more unworthy than pain, as we did not have a body to torture. Although sometimes we could take the shape of what we were, this was nothing more than a shadow without senses. We could see without being seen. But we could not taste, smell, or touch. Our lost soul had taken away all the pleasure that those senses carried. All we were left was the forest; the eternal path through the woods. And eternal solitude.
Losing the soul was a forest with no animals, no humans. Losing the soul was trees and more trees among which to wander and wail. Losing the soul was eternal night, covered in mist.

But that night was different. I could follow that silhouette in silence, and feel it’s smell and it’s heat so alive. The smell of man, of sweat, even the smell of the cheese he had eaten. I could feel his heartbeat, as I could feel the crackling fire on my fingers when I was alive and we did bonfires. I followed him as if, instead of a flashlight, thebody that was radiating light was him. I followed him attracted by a fatal force, stronger than me. The same kind of force that, when I was alive, pushed me to take the knife and kill young men.
I remember that this was how I lost my soul. The alleys to which I dragged the boys; the slashes; therepentance that made me cover their face. Then I died just like that, because they never caught me. I died of old age in a stretcher in a hospital. I died from death, as innocents die. And my punishment was the forest.
I do not know how that man who was still alive had managed to get lostin the forest of souls. But I could only follow him.

The tree branches creaked in our way. The wail of the eternal forest, the forest in which I was trapped. I wanted to recal my previous life, or how I had gotten there. But what I remembered was a pool of blood and looking at my hands, that must have been a long time ago, the stone paving covered in black blood and my hands shaking. And realizing that this would be the last dead boy; that I could not go on, that I was getting old. Then came the cancer, but I did not care. I could still feel the urge, but I could not consummate it. I rather die. Cease to exist. Disappear.
I closed my eyes and when I opened them again it was night, the tops of the trees were looking at me. I was in the forest that I never again left.

But that night something was different. A real human being was lost in it. He had flesh and blood and bones, the kind of body that I, when he was alive, ended. The kind of boy with big anxious eyes that I liked so much; with a mouth of thick lips and small teeth. If I had known him alive, no doubt I would have chosen him as a victim, so manly and so young and with a feminine touch at the same time. He was just perfect and I was so close to him I could touch it. And then he turned and looked at me. It was for a second, but he managed to see me like you see nightmares when you open your eyes for a moment in the middle of the night and they still have not disappeared, but have crept into the comfort of the reality of your bedroom before vanishing.
And I went through him.

I got into his body. His muscles, his tendons, his blood; they fit me like a tailored suit.
Even the forest seemed different. Enlightened by the flashlight in his hand, it appeared as a clear path that was often traveled, without threatening branches. No other ghosts. Nothing. I was as alive as I had been long ago. I felt everything: the cold air, the weight of the backpack, the smell of damp earth.
I heard a voice. I felt the borrowed heart stirring.
Where have you been? Not funny.
A woman’s voice.

The new me, in the boy’s body, did not take long to find her. She seemed angry with the boy, as if he had tricked her.
I got lost.
I said it as an excuse and my voice sounded clear, new, warm. A radio-announcer voice in such a young and sweet body, who knew?
Well it is not funny-she said, but her face showed relief. We are going back home. Peter has taken all the photos he wanted.
She feigned indignation. She walked ahead of me and I disliked it. The boy’s mind had remembered fragments in which the body that I now occupied was in bed with that girl. I felt disgusted as a tenant, but my body did not feel it.

The first thing I saw was the other boy’s covered face, who was triyng to pull a neck warmer off. I was fascinated by this involuntary portrait he had composed, so much like what was left of my boys when I cut off their necks and hid their faces. We were in a parking lot that we had reached by going down some stairs. The forest was no longer endless since taking that body. I could get into the car that that they told me. I could get out of there forever.
Pedro told me something that I did not hear. Amazed, I could not stop thinking about his beautiful slanted blue eyes; about how they would fill with panick.
We left the forest, I was in the back seat. I took one last parting involuntary glance. I thought I had stolen a body and a new soul. And that I was willing to lose them again.
My host drew a stark reminder of the Swiss Army knife he kept in his backpack. Just in case.

Maria Zaragoza


PERDER EL ALMA (Relato Original en Español)

Lo seguía tan de cerca que no sé cómo no se dio cuenta. Iba pegado a él. Una sombra pegada a otra sombra en el bosque donde todos nos terminamos perdiendo. No sé por qué me gustó. Sólo quería seguirlo. Un fantasma que persigue a alguien que va a convertirse en fantasma, dos sombras en mitad de una noche perpetua. Él no me veía a mí, yo no podía tocarlo. Imagino que son esas las reglas. Imagino que ese es nuestro castigo. Cuando llegamos aquí estamos condenados a vagar en soledad. Ni una piel que tocar. No sentir el calor de la compañía.
Era una crueldad que nos dejasen verlos. Que nos dejasen ver a los que iban llegando, sin que los pudiésemos tocar. Por siempre almas en pena siguiendo sombras. Sin un futuro al que aspirar. Sin un pasado al que agarrarnos.

El frío de la noche más oscura. Todos los que aquí terminábamos, por una razón o por otra, habíamos perdido nuestra alma.
Todas las religiones se equivocaban. No había un castigo doloroso, ni fuego ardiente para los que nos desviábamos del camino. Era algo más indigno que el dolor, ya que no teníamos cuerpo al que poder torturar. Aunque a veces pudiéramos tomar la forma de lo que fuimos, esta no era más que una sombra sin sentidos. Podíamos ver sin ser vistos. Pero no saborear, oler, tocar. Nuestra alma perdida se llevó todos los placeres que aquellos sentidos conllevaban. Sólo nos dejó el bosque. El eterno camino por el bosque. Y la eterna soledad.
Perder el alma era un bosque sin animales, sin humanos. Perder el alma era árboles y más árboles entre los que vagar y lamentarse. Perder el alma era una noche eterna, cubierta de bruma.

Pero aquella noche era distinta. A aquella silueta podía seguirla en silencio, y notar su olor y su calor tan vivo. El olor a hombre, a sudor, incluso el del olor a queso que había comido. Sentía su palpitar, como solía notar el crepitar del fuego en los dedos cuando estaba vivo y hacíamos hogueras. Lo seguía como si en vez de la luz de una linterna, su cuerpo fuera el que irradiase luminosidad. Lo seguía atraído por una fuerza funesta, superior a mí. La misma clase de fuerza que, cuando estaba vivo, me empujaba a coger el cuchillo y matar hombres jóvenes.
Recuerdo que fue así como perdí el alma. Los callejones a los que arrastraba a los muchachos, las cuchilladas. El arrepentimiento que me hacía taparles el rostro. Luego me morí sin más porque nunca me pillaron. Me morí de viejo en una camilla de un hospital. Me morí de muerte, como se mueren los inocentes. Y mi castigo fue el bosque.
No sé cómo aquel hombre todavía vivo se había logrado perder en el bosque de las ánimas. Pero yo sólo podía seguirlo.

Las ramas de los árboles crujían a nuestro paso. El ulular del bosque eterno, ese bosque en el que me había quedado atrapado. Quise recordar mi vida anterior, o cómo había llegado hasta allí. Pero lo que recordaba era un charco de sangre y mirarme las manos, eso debía ser hacía mucho tiempo, el empedrado del suelo llenándose de sangre negra y mis manos temblando. Y percatarme de que aquel sería el último muchacho muerto. Que no podría seguir. Que me hacía mayor. Luego vino el cáncer, pero no me importaba. Seguía sintiendo el impulso, pero no podía consumarlo. Prefería morirme. Dejar de existir. Desaparecer.
Cerré los ojos y cuando volví a abrirlos era de noche, las copas de los árboles me miraban. Estaba en el bosque del que ya nunca salí.

Pero aquella noche tenía algo diferente. Un ser humano de verdad se había perdido en el. Tenía carne y sangre y huesos, la clase de cuerpo con el que yo, cuando estaba vivo, terminaba. La clase de muchacho de ojos grandes y ansiosos que tanto me gustaba. Con sus bocas de labios gruesos y dientes pequeños. Si lo hubiera conocido vivo, sin lugar a dudas lo hubiese elegido como víctima, tan hombre y tan joven y con un toque femenino al mismo tiempo. Era simplemente perfecto y yo lo seguía tan cerca que pude tocarlo. Y entonces él se giró y me miró. Fue un segundo, pero logró verme como se ven las pesadillas cuando uno abre los ojos un momento en mitad de la noche y todavía no han desaparecido, se han colado en la comodidad de la realidad de tu cuarto antes de desvanecerse.
Y lo atravesé.

Me introduje en su cuerpo. Sus músculos, sus tendones, su sangre, me quedaban como un traje a medida.
Hasta el bosque parecía distinto. Iluminado por la linterna que llevaba en la mano, se presentaba como un camino claro, muchas veces recorrido, sin ramas amenazantes. Sin otros fantasmas. Sin nada. Estaba vivo como lo estuve hace mucho tiempo. Sentía todo, el aire frío, el peso de la mochila, el olor a tierra húmeda.
Escuché una voz. Sentí cómo el corazón prestado se removía.
-¿Dónde te has metido? No tiene gracia.
Una voz de mujer.

Mi nuevo yo, en el cuerpo del muchacho, no tardó demasiado en encontrarla. Parecía enfadada con el chico, como si le hubiera gastado una broma pesada.
-Me perdí.
Eso dije como excusa y mi voz me sonó clara, nueva, templada. Una voz de locutor de radio en un cuerpo tan joven y dulce, ¿quién lo hubiera dicho?
-Pues no tiene gracia -dijo, pero su rostro expresaba alivio-. Volvemos a casa. Pedro ya ha hecho las fotos que quería hacer.
Ella se fingía indignada. Caminaba delante de mí y a mí me desagradaba. La mente del muchacho había recordado fragmentos en los que el cuerpo que ocupaba estaba en la cama con esa chica. Sentí asco como inquilino, aunque mi cuerpo no lo sintiera.

Lo primero que vi fue el rostro tapado del otro chico, que intentaba arrancarse una braga del cuello. Me sentí fascinado por aquel involuntario retrato que había compuesto, tan parecido al que quedaba de mis muchachos cuando les cortaba el cuello y les tapaba la cara. Estábamos en un aparcamiento al que habíamos llegado bajando unas escaleras. El bosque había dejado de ser infinito al tomar aquel cuerpo. Podía meterme en el coche que me indicaban. Podía salir de allí para siempre.
Pedro me dijo algo que no escuché. Maravillado, no podía dejar de pensar en sus hermosos y rasgados ojos azules. En cómo serían al llenarse de pánico.
Nos alejamos del bosque, yo iba en el asiento de atrás. Eché una última e involuntaria mirada de despedida. Pensé que había robado un cuerpo y un alma nuevos. Y que estaba dispuesto a volverlos a perder.
Mi anfitrión dibujó un escueto recuerdo de la navaja suiza que guardaba en la mochila. Sólo por si acaso.

Maria Zaragoza