Something Spooky about this Place

Excerpt from Death In Bagheria, a work in progress

Thursday, March 24, 1870

As if reading her thoughts, Rosa said, “Something spooky about this place. The spider crawls up my spine. And the little girl, what’s her name?”

“Adriana.”

“Sweet little thing, but weird all the same. If my Tessa acted like Adriana, she’d get her hide whipped once and that would be the end of it, I can tell you. And the nurse, or governess or whatever she is, gives me the creeps.”

Serafina said nothing for a while, and when she spoke, she told Rosa about the child’s visions of her mother walking about the grounds in the middle of the night, doubtless the fantasy of a child grieving for her mother, but the telling deepened Serafina’s sense of foreboding: at her core, she felt the mysterious atmosphere at Villa Caterina. However much Serafina knew she needed to distance herself from fear and cultivate a clear head, her temples throbbed. When she shut her eyes, she saw the undulating grasses, now appearing in bright colors in her imagination, heard a strange wind blowing through them, so she opened her eyes and gazed at the sea. “We’ve awakened the monster. Whoever poisoned the baroness is in this house, I’m convinced of it. Nature senses it, and so does the child.”

Rosa nodded. “I feel it, too, and the nun was correct—the baroness was slipped a venom—but we’re a long way from proving it, especially to the likes of the baron.”

Photo: Noto at dusk. Credit: gnuckx (Flickr)

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