Πέμπτη, 1 Αυγούστου 2013

FAMADIHANA


They lived in the stone house at the edge of the island. No one had ever visited them. Everyone spoke of the two elderly weird men in fear. Tall, thin, unexpressed, full of secrets. The two brothers that never spoke to anyone but they always fed the small cats living on theirs stairs and gazed at the clouds. When they met them at the market they always lowered their gaze. They exuded a quiet, invisible threat. Their house was as old and as hostile as they were. Cold, with the wild sea almost licking it and the wind punishing it. I was a small boy back then but I still remember all the stories told about them. They had come from far away, they talked to their cats, they were very rich, they hid gold coins in a big trunk at the bottom of the sea near the house, they spoke an unknown language. The list with all the weird things had no end. Now that I am old enough and have reached their age feel that they exaggerated for sure. Or maybe not.
That summer was very cool. I used to go to the beach and play in the afternoons all by myself. The road was always pulling me near the stone house.

I tried to avoid it and change my way every time. Not effectively enough. I couldn’t resist. The moment was so strong. It pulled me like a magnet and my heart was beating like a drum. I knew I was doing something wrong and my parents were definitely going to punish me once they found out. I heard the wind whistling, the cats meow with pleasure on the stairs, the waves pounding the rocks. I was almost at their door. The windows were half open. There was serenity in the landscape but it didn’t easy my worries. It was as if everything was trying to calm me when I could feel the evil deep inside. I went up the stairs leading to the house. I counted about twelve cats purring that looked straight into my eyes without a blink. They watched me till I reached the door. My childish curiosity drove me and urged me to enter a stranger’s house only to search and discover it.
The door was unlocked. I got in without a second thought. Rays of light from the window entered the room. There was only one room and that was empty. A vacant space for two elderly men. There was only an old wallpaper with flowers. How was that possible? How could they live with nothing? I could hardly breathe. It was the right time to start running. I froze as I turned for the door. They were there. They stood still behind the door. Two tall and thin figures staring at me without a blink, without even shouting that I had broken and entered in their house. I felt as if my feet had roots in the floor and a voice was about to come out from my inner self but something was holding it back. At least an eternity passed until they reached me. Their pace was almost synchronized. They had an empty look that didn’t express anything. The distance between us grew smaller. They could almost grab me from the collar when they stopped in front of me. They opened their mouths and many snakes burst out and fell on the floor writhing.
I finally found the strength to run screaming, trying to remove with my hands the ones that had climbed on my back. Now that I recall it I don’t think that any snake was on me but I sure felt like it. I ran down the stairs and I stopped only when I got close to my home. I never turned around to see if they were following me. Never told a word to anyone, they would never believe a ten year old boy. For the next days I stayed indoors, imagining that they would look for me in order to punish me in their own way. I vividly remember that summer for all the nightmares I had. I even started to wet my bed again. Never returned to the island until now that I need a cane to go for a walk on the beach. The nightmares have returned.


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