Excerpt from Death In Bagheria, publishing soon
Thursday, March 24, 1870
Serafina spun her glass around to the ship. Splinters of bright sun glinted off the waves and the metal hull of the Caterina Bella as the crew hoisted the gangplank while men untied the ropes and threw them over the side. Serafina forgot everything around her and leaned against the railing, feeling again the mysterious pull of the ship’s power and might. Like Etna, it held her momentarily in its thrall until she shook herself, heard the screaming of gulls, saw the water begin to churn, and watched the baron wave to someone on deck, perhaps the captain. A few passengers were on deck, signaling to their loved ones on the pier. There was movement and shouting from the crowd. Women wearing black shawls held linen to their eyes and children jumped up and down. Serafina felt the ghost of grief tugging her heart as the ship’s horn let out three mournful blasts and tugboats heaved hard against the steamer, pushing the massive hulk away from the pier and out to sea.
Photo: Cefalu. Credit: Mike Jack (Flickr), Creative Commons.