Der folgende Text entstand in einem Seminar für kreatives Schreiben vor einigen Jahren und hat seither einen festen Platz als Zwischensequenz in der great American novel, die ich irgendwann ganz bestimmt schreiben werde. Der Titel stammt von einem Rossellini-Film, der inhaltlich mal so gar nichts mit der Story hier zu tun hat. Fürs Blog habe ich das Ganze noch einmal leicht überarbeitet.
Viaggio in Italia
The Umbrian sun burned down on him as he walked by the lake. Or rather by what would have been the lake, if it didn’t almost dry up every summer. The locals had told him over a glass of wine that it had not rained in the area for over three months now. As he walked by the lake front he took in the landscape around him. He watched the grass move in the soft wind that had been blowing since he left his car in that small village by the lake. He even saw a warbler sing.
He heard none of that, though, because he was not here for the beauty of nature. Indeed, its beauty was completely lost on him. The interest he took in the place on the lake shore was a merely historical one. In fact, he was going to create the historical dimension of the area.
Jones, for that was his name, turned left at a crossroads and started mounting one of the rather steep hills. He reached the top of the hill after a few minutes and looked around. Looking back, he could see the lake glistening in the sun; looking ahead, he could almost see his destination, another hilltop.
He had calculated a walk of about three miles, but he didn’t mind that. Jones was dressed smartly: he wore a gray suit, a white shirt and a dark tie. His sunglasses were evidently old, but they were in fashion once again, probably for the third time. The suitcase he carried matched his appearance equally well. In fact, one might argue that the gray Alfa he had driven up here from Rome was also very fitting. The man certainly could color-coordinate.
When Jones reached the next hilltop, the sun was in its zenith. „Ideal overall conditions,“ Jones thought and chuckled softly, as he put his suitcase down. He produced a pair of binoculars and peered into the valley.
Exactly as he had been told, there was the villa, next to a narrow creek. The two-story building sported the yellowish color that was typical for so much in this part of Italy. It had a small balcony and a thatched roof. He hardly noticed that all the shutters had been closed. A rather large black Mercedes was parked right in front of the door, and three muscular men were, well, standing guard, it would seem.
Jones smiled contently and started to unpack his bag. He spread a flax-colored blanket on the ground; then he produced barrel, stock, and magazine of a sniper rifle. He assembled it and lay down on the blanket, watching the villa through the binoculars, careful to not give his position away by light reflecting on its lens.
And then he waited for the man, his thoughts going back to that day eight months ago, when his life had been changed. When he had come home from his office, he had found both his wife and child murdered. He had never fully understood why they were dead, why it was his family that the Italian mobster had decided to hit, but he knew one thing for certain – he would get his revenge. So Jones had taken a 6-month sabbatical and traveled to Europe, where he acquired the means to fulfill his thirst for revenge.
And now he was lying on a hill in Italy, waiting for the man responsible to show himself. Finally, after hours of waiting, he noticed some commotion at the villa. He readied himself, began to breathe deliberately slow and for the first time looked through the scope on his rifle. There he was, the murderer, the man responsible. He took his time finding his aim, holding the gun steady, his finger ready to pull the trigger…
The sound of a gun safety being released is the last thing he hears. He doesn’t even have time to wonder how that bodyguard could get so close to him without making a sound.