Excerpt form the Passed pawn. Illustrations are black and white ZENTANGLES by Daniela.
….Where the narrow street ends the skyline is on fire but the path ahead of her is filled with shadows. She starts walking in the absolute quietness of the alley, wearing only jeans and a snug T—shirt, her arms raised. A noise lodges inside her head, a bird calling the same sequence of notes, stopping in between, at neat intervals, to make a silence. The second time she hears it, she knows it’s not a bird.
In the periphery of her vision she detects a fourth sniper. He is positioning a high target turret. She imagines a shot, ripping her neck open to the spinal chord, blood gushing out, a thick, oozy minestrone, and has a vision of Teo jumping on his bed: Mamma. Mamma. Play? The image of her son disperses into indistinct unidentified shapes, the sign above the dry cleaners, the rectangular shadows the building cast on the travertine, the bark of a barren tree on the pavement. For a moment she has the sensation that the ground is reeling to and fro beneath her feet like the ripples of an aftershock.
Relax, she tells herself. You’re not human. If you were you’d be dead by now. The prehistoric birds, the spider, or the villagers with hoofs for extremities would have made an honest meal out of you, the mighty sandstorm would have blown sand up your Vazzooz and out through your facial cavities, annihilating your internal organs. You’re here because you’re indestructible. What can a puny bullet do to you?
Elisa Santini inhales a bucket full of air and witnesses her mind coming back…