Parte III

Pubblico la terza parte della mia storia (le prime due possono essere reperite attraverso i seguenti collegamenti: parte prima, parte seconda).

There was a crisp mountain air when Lady Elizabeth got out from the car to direct herself toward the villa’s entry hall. The spot there was wonderful, located on top of a tiny rounding upland encompassed by snowy mountains interspersed with higher and lower picks. The 360° landscape all around astonished, with its intrinsic loveliness. It could be possible glancing a hawk drew concentric circles up, in the air, and understand simultaneously how vapid the world was outside there, with his clutter, nervousness, chaos. As much wasn’t in those lands, where everything seemed frozen, more or less apart of time; seraphic[1] and imperturbable. The more gigantic mountain range visible overhead belonged to the “Broken Cliffs” group, they were quite recent in the historical timeline but unlike the most commune young mountains, they were not so high. If you think of massifs as the Himalayan one, they were quite recent and therefore exhibiting incredible sizes with roundish shapes, like a “panettone”. Conversely, the oldest mountains were sharp, shaped by wind erosion and reduce by centuries of natural phenomena. The “Broken Cliffs” mountain represented an anomaly, a totally particular case of fresh range but which was originally a marine reef and for that reason with an edgy form not usual else[2]. Considered all this spectacular spot only the importance of a lady as Madame Elizabeth could give her the chance to edify an area like that. This latter was included like UNESCO heritage but judged the value of the family has been decided to give a derogation to build the villa.

    Lady Elizabeth glanced in passing the panorama, next, annoyed by the cold, entered in the hall followed directly by madame Margaret, who had accepted the invitation for the weekend. A soft jingle, coming from a mechanism installed, welcomed the two people who settle oneself on the living room sofa. The Lady said: “Maria take the luggage upstairs and put them on the wardrobe. After takes a break, Barbara had promised to be here by evening and will cook something”. Maria nodded servilely “yes Madame, I go!”. But once turned around and did some steps she stopped, and waiting for a second, as to keep courage, asked: “Madame… the last day of the year shall be possible to see the party’s discourse? Do you know, I’m very religious and I’d like doesn’t lose the words of our Prime Minister”. Elizabeth didn’t reply immediately, rising the eyelids as she was thinking, anyway quite early hurried to confirm the request, nodding in contemporary: “Of course yes. We’ll do it all together. Now walk!” said ironically, imitating a military command. The girl picked up the huge bags and stamped heavily her steps on the stairs, doing what was ordered to her.

    On the first floor, flanking the living room, an immense window wall overlooked the amazing panorama, giving to the guests the impression to dominate everything was all around. It was the perfect situation for Elizabeth to apostrophize Margaret asking: “how has been finished the question about the Coltan furniture? Have they accepted our proposal?”. “Of course they are” replied Margaret almost offended by the lack of trust of the friend and colleague. “There was no chance which they’d refused the deal, we have asserted our power and the things were gone as we expected”. “Good, very good! In this period among the rebellions in the factories and the problems in Africa, I started to think that I’d have never seen the time for this trip in the mountain, but fortunately, I wronged!”. The two women toasted with a pair of glasses just caught by the cupboard and filled with a fresh juice whom Maria has taken to her not so long ago.

    The next day they were on the ski resort ready to the slopes. It was early in the morning and the downhill wasn’t so crowded so that if the situation weren’t so quiet the vibes wouldn’t be so carefree. Elizabeth glanced down the steep slope and a soft sense of dizziness came to her. The snow was good: fresh and only a bit frozen, with anyway a remaining slight layer blended with pale cream simple to slit. In short words, the skiing wouldn’t be so difficult, and they started quietly the first turns, descending very slowly with narrow shifting. When gradually they acquired sureness, they started to enhance the degree of amplitude and the carving became more decisive and eager to run. The adrenaline began to flow into the vein as a stream, launching them in a new status of consciousness, extremely reactive and eventually ready for everything. Elizabeth took the head of the race, jumping a bit on an elevation created by the splashes of snow accumulated there, just landed turned the ski’s tips swiftly on the right and after down, straight, lacking every inhibition. The vegetation ran alongside her, blur because of the speediness, the firs and the pines took a turn one after the other, flashing back to leave space to the next that a fragment of second after was in turned overcome by the following one. Now the adrenaline was at the top level but contemporary the terrain was beginning to be rough and peeled of snow. Elizabeth didn’t notice that and continued in her race but if she had given more attention, she wouldn’t have fallen into a hole hide in the white surface. She leaped in air pell-mell, with the worried sight of Margaret which was following the scene from upside. The woman landed badly, and one ski binding opened, leaving the tool sliding down. She kept soaked in the ice and finally, passed a bunch of seconds, she got up and was reached by Margaret that asked: “I’ll see you fly! Are you ok?”. “Yes sure, I didn’t do anything to myself. The only problem now it’s that I had lost my ski. Could you go downhill to recover it? I’ll try to follow you balancing on one leg”. The friend nodded, next her face frowned and the eyebrows flattened: “I wait for you down with the ski but there, I have to say you something, I hadn’t been sincere in the past days when I said you which everything was ok in the factories, actually it had happened something…”

***

The working day was barely finished, at the first shadows of the evening. Linda and Emily were returning home rapidly when the latter took the courage to ask something about the past of the other: “Recently you said me that you were in a political association after your study end, I’d like to ask you what its name was?”. Linda launched a puzzled look to the other, trying to extort the reason of that question, after few seconds pulled the long hairs aside and replied: “I would rather don’t speak about, it has been a sad chapter of my life which I’d prefer not to discuss”. The second looked down, as disappointed by the response, then came out with a new argument, this time inherent with Last Year’s Day and in particular with the dinner menu: “Given that you are an incredible cook, can I ask you what should be the dishes which you are going to prepare?”. Linda smiled, heartened by the switch of the topic and said: “I supposed to prepare an ensemble of Vegan recipes, as you know I have chosen to be not omnivorous, but I do not reveal you which in particular I’m going to prepare, just to feed the secret”. The eyes of Emily glistened, “do you know which I’m vegan too, I never dare to ask you when I noticed that in all your meals there was no meat but now… that’s simply wonderful!”. Linda smiled another time and replied: “Actually I knew of you. Thinks about your NAAAOTC profile, don’t you have added among your generalities which you were vegan?”. Emily shook the head cheerfully, “You’re like Sherlock Holmes, I have to give you my compliments”. “I only read carefully the folders which I have between my hands, nothing more, at any rate, since we are in the argument, I’ll reveal you what I would like to cook tonight!”. “I cannot wait a minute, please continue!”. “So, the first recipe is: grill chicory seasoned with pomegranate seeds, soy sauce, a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper; it’s a simple entrée to prepare for the next delicacies”. Emily smiled brightly. “Next, we shall cook, and I say we because you too will give me a hand, a dish consisting of Tofu Morsels. Firstly we have to chop the tofu dough in cubes of medium size. Secondly, we have to marinate the pieces mixing with them: two garlic cloves peeled and cut in slices, soy sauce and rosemary at pleasure. We shall rest the stuff there at least half an hour, then we should take a cooking pan and put to heat a bit of oil just to grease the surface. Hence, it’s the moment to pour the marinating content in the pot and cook everything over high heat, and this till the surface will not be golden. Meantime, your task will be to prepare, in another pan, a good side dish with vegetables. I’ll give you chopper board, carrots, pepperoni, onion, zucchini, don’t let me down!”. She has said all without breathing, almost ordering, Emily nodded feebly and in turning aside noticed that they have just arrived at home.

    Inside the house, Emily retouched the argument of Last Year’s Day, “Are you one of those that don’t like to celebrate, who aren’t very religious?”. In her face it was possible to see fear about the possible answer, next added: “because I’m a very liege one, I don’t know whether you have noticed it?”. The reply was not long in coming, “I knew it… anyway no, I’m not very spiritual but I like Last Year’s Day, I promise that we’ll organize an extraordinary party”. Emily, heartened by the quiet song of her voice, did ask no more and the two women continued to follow their own culinary tasks.

    Later, meantime they were cooking as decided before, a sudden hungry necessity led Emily to crunch something. She pulled a package of Crispies out from a shelf and started to bite and swallow them; actually, he seemed very voracious so Linda warned her which the meal should be ready very early, and that wasn’t a good idea lost the appetite without reason. In saying so she came up in mind when she was yet young, and her mother did the same warning to her: “You shall not eat so fast! It’s very dangerous you know!”. When turned back to reality realize who Emily was sighting her. “what’s up?” uttered her with a questioning tone. The other girl replied: “Nothing, nothing, I was only thinking that the advice just said resemble incredibly with which my mother did to me when we were together at home”. Linda confirmed with a happy smile to the coincidence of the simultaneity of thoughts.

    At first blush, Emily seemed a nice person, without doubts kind and gentle in the ways of doing, but under-skin Linda has immediately understood that she was one of them, a religious type as she had defined herself. Almost to prove what she was brooding the young guest inquired: “but how about to tune on the internet channel to watch the party’s speech for the last day of the year? I mean, I never lost one since when I was young and would be very significant to me whether you will follow it with me”. The proposal numbed Linda who however resumed early the control and remarked: “This can be done. As I said to you, I’m not very devout, but the party is the party and I’ll not refuse the thing if you like that”. Emily’s face drew with a big smile and not being able to contain the cheerfulness she leaped all over the room meantime Linda, maintaining her usual composure, persisted folded on the stove. The woman’s eyebrows strained, and the hands became restless, abruptly all the memories of her past resurfaced as a force uncontainable, all the misfortune following the University end, all the political alteration, all the sad events came in front of her eyes like a film.

***

Chanya was tied to a chair in the middle of a microscopic room, bordered by four cracked walls, raw and dusty, without windows. The only connection with the outside consisted of a wooden door located just in front of the girl’s face. The military has conducted her there some minutes ago and was disappeared quickly, leaving the hostage with no explanation and no words. It was impossible to measure the time passed in but at a certain moment, when nearly she was thinking to be forgotten there, someone opened the door. A big man did his appearance in the spot, with a frowned face both threatening and inquisitorial, by means of which he stared the unlucky prisoner. He has been immediately followed by four militaries and last but not least by the same Afya. The four energumens arranged themselves in two groups, one located on the left side of the door, the other located on the right side. Instead, the first man to be entered and Afya sat directly in the face of Chanya, signal that in brief, the interrogatory would start. That bunch of people there composed a real few edifying pictures, but bravely Chanya picked up her head showing a defiant look.

    “Well, well, well”, begin to say Afya with a curious voice, “Who hell are you? And above all, what were you listening, there, hidden in the bathroom?”. The tone was absolutely calm but in a certain way aggressive as it was prefiguring something worse; however, the silence was the only response of the prisoner, to which followed a play of looks, without nobody took on the initiative. After some second of reciprocal checking, Afya smiled, lowered his head, after raised the same, and in no time continue what she was talking: “listen, I have no time to waste, I can say to these pleasant guys here to slaughter you instantly, and whether you continue to not reply this shall be your future, anyway there is a choice, and is your choice, speak and say me what did you fucking doing in that damned bathroom!?”. This time the tone seemed not to leave space to contradiction or silence and so Chanya deviated slightly her lips and uttered the following words: “I… I am in the western’s crew. My task was to check the area, to control whether it was safe and whether the developing of the reunion proceed lacking interferences…”. The look of Afya flared up, brightening of pure rage, she got up and without uttering nothing directed herself onward the door, meantime the big man who was beside her for all the conversation pulled out of the pocket a bag in a rough material which was slip on Chanya’s face in way she couldn’t see anything. From then on, the passage from room to room became nebulous and confused, tossed as she was left and right, as well as blind.

    Approximately thirty minutes later she had been done to sit yet, in a very uncomfortable chair which cracked noisily at every minimal solicitation. The head-bag was interweaved to guarantee the possibility to breathe but at any rate, it was enough thick to hinder the look on what was going on outside. Some trickle of sweat began to slide down from the forehead, caused by the intolerable heat present down there. In no time the air became unbreathable, too hot for leaving the chance of good respiration, then the prisoner started to murmur something, shacking slightly the face right and left. Luckily, but not too much, practically in the same moment the reason for the malaise was pulled away, and accordingly the brutal faces of Afya and which of the energumens turned out just ahead. This time there was a surprise either, barely deviated on the left surged two people: one elegant woman, and another military man. The elegant one immediately after has squared with eyes Chanya, remarked: “Absolutely not, She’s not one of mine!”. Chanya recognized the voice, she was the woman present at the reunion, the occidental envoy. The enormous military, later sit beside Afya, spoke: “Now? What we have to do with her? If I can…”, His speech was interrupted by the interference of the western woman, who in turn said: “I take her, I take her with me!”. “Why?” asked almost wroth the energumen, “Yeah, why” echoed Afya. “Because I’m intrigued about the reason which has conducted her to lie. Among whichever possible explanation she had chosen us; it must be a motivation behind, and I’d like to discover it! By any means”.

    Subsequently, Afya consented the western people to take the prisoner, nearly without other complaints. Three hours from then, they were on a jeep directed to the closest airport, so that to take off on a plane north directed; the black woman had no spoken a single word, so the elegant suit one kept talking: “Well, you now are with us, so… It’s time to give some more explanation about your sortie in the shed and above all about the reason that keeps you to professed yourself as one of our group!”. Chanya didn’t reply, turning the sight apart, toward the Savana, which spread itself from the square glass onward. “I don’t like your reluctance and therefore I shall be frank: or you begin to narrate or for you will be impossible take the plane, and for what I have noticed your best interest is to go far from here”. She has taken the point, in fact she could notice the others features shrinking, sign who she had hit the mark. “Ok, I’ll speak and yes, you are right, my principal design was that to go far from here and when I listened a friend spoke about the meeting, I thought could be my chance to enter in contact with occidental people. The rest of the story is already known by you: when I had been caught I immediately fake to be one of yours and so till this jeep. Elegant suit nodded and after silenced herself beginning to watch outside, in unison with the prisoner. Half an hour later they were at the airport.

    Elegant suits distanced herself along the platform and, made sure be not spied on, phoned Margaret: “Here I am boss, ready to the news”. “I’m listening” replied the other. “Then, the affair is concluded, as already reported on the phone call had some hours ago, but the inconvenient which I was referring is the following: a local, a black woman, has been captured to spy inside the building and she faked to be member of our team so, we had testified against her”. The restlessness of Margaret was touchable through the electronic tool, she uttered: “and then, what did you do?”. Elegant suit continued: “Barely I had denied everything, but I became curious about the why, from all the possible explanation, she has chosen us and…”. Margaret interrupted: “she obviously was trying to flee here, in the western continent, it’s manifest!”. “yeah sure, that’s what I thought too, but after I demanded to myself: why spy the conversation, and why so many risks, there must be something underneath”. “And to sum up what have you done?” interrupted yet, more and more nervous, Margaret. “I took her with me” found the courage to say elegant suit, “and I know, I know that is dangerous, but I’d like to discover what her real plan was and, as Madame had taught me, is necessary to keep friends close but enemies even closer”. Margaret released a ludicrous puff and next said: “at least did you took necessary information? I mean about her life”. “Yes, sure. She has been till the thirteenth year of age in a Mixed Colony, blacks and whites, men and women. Subsequently, she started to work as a cleaner in the mine’s sheds where, right now, we had found her; have a brother, he was in the colony with her, this latter had been deported to work in our western factories, like a slave”. Margaret intervened yet: “Can’t be this her purpose? To get back in touch with her brother”. “it could be” replied the second, “that’s what I’m going to discover. “Ok! it’s your responsibility and, in case, your fault” said dryly Margaret, “You know what the consequences are!” and in pronouncing so, closed the phone call.


[1] I know that seraphic is always referred only to people but in this case, I could not name the landscape with another epithet: it was a seraphic panorama.

[2] Specifically about this case I drew inspiration by the “Dolomiti mountain range”. It was an Italian massif with the same characteristic of the my fictional “Broken Cliffs”. They were recent but sharp as if they were old, so that because originally, they formed a marine reef.

6 pensieri riguardo “Parte III

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