What's In Venice?
Her eyes couldn’t stop looking at her boots. Black and filthy with scuffs and mud, they were bound to leave a trail that led to the train station she had escaped to. With all the mental energy she had left she really hoped that the trail would disappear since she had hopped on the train almost an hour ago. She wondered if she was pursued. She began to consider the fact that cameras were everywhere and she could have been spotted already.
Or would be spotted soon...
Attempting to calm herself, she kicked her feet under the chair and looked up. Immediately, she caught the eyes of a child. Someone’s cute son. He couldn’t have been over six years old. With khaki shorts and a white hoodie on, he sat beside his mother who paid no attention to him. With one hand she held one of his little hands and with her other she gripped a book in which her face was so fixated on. The title was too small to read from the other side of the train but it was thin. A short story maybe?
While lost in her curious thoughts, she realized that the little boy was still staring at her. This time he wasn’t looking her in the eyes. It took a second, but she knew why his eyes lingered on her face. Her left hand slowly went up and touched her eyebrow. There. She felt it still. A cicatrix holding the terrible memory of the previous night tarried in it’s spot. She winced at the contact of her own finger. She pulled her black hood further over her head and lowered her eyes once again.
Instantly, she noticed a couple tears in her black pants. The number of lacerated parts made her anxious again. She fiddled with one of the tears with her thumb and tried her best not to remember the activities that had caused it.
With each flash of memory she closed her eyes tighter. She clenched her jaw tighter. She balled her fists up tighter. Her chest was tight. Her throat was tight. She wasn’t breathing. She let out a loud gasp she didn’t know she was holding.
She peeked out of her hoodie and saw a couple eyes peering at her in confusion. The boy’s mother had looked up from her book with a slight frown on her face. She let go of her son’s hand and put her arm around his waist pulling him closer to her. Her hand then went to his head and pushed it down softly to make him lay in her lap. The boy swung his little legs on top of the seat and laid down as his mother immediately went back to her reading.
She hung her head low once again. Partially because she didn’t want to be seen and also because she was extremely tired.
She opened her eyes and looked up. The little boy was gone. His mom and her short book weren’t anywhere to be seen.
She froze and realized that she wasn’t on the train anymore. And her cold lips and breeze-filled air confirmed she wasn’t dreaming. Everything in front of her was dark. Everything below her was lit up with light. Where she was sitting, her back was propped up against something. When she turned, she saw that she had been leaning on the leg of a statue. The statue was made of travertine stone and was exceptionally tall. Very tall. And although it was super tall, the building behind it stood at an even more dramatic height. The base of the building was partially lit, but the top of the building was so high it blended in with the darkness.
“That’s Oceanus.” A loud voice echoed slightly.
Her head turned swiftly, scanning the area to no avail.
“Standing arrogantly on his seahorse-led chariot, the view is astounding, don’t you think?” The invisible voice continued.
She wondered if it was a recording that maybe plated for tourists. Her eyes darted around again before taking in the view of the statue. Once again, her eyes wandered to the height of structure behind it.
“I see you’re exceptionally captivated by the grand scale of the fountain. Eighty-five feet. That’s how high it is.”
She froze. The voice was live. Someone was watching her!
Her eyes seemed not to blink as she searched for whoever had her attention. The voice hadn’t stopped spewing out information about the fountain, but the light echo made it hard to tell where it was coming from.
“--the two seahorses are quite opposites. While one is tamed, docile and calm the other ravishes roughly and wild...just like the two personalities of the oceans.”
It then clicked in her mind. This was Trevi Fountain. This is where she had meant to go.
But she didn’t go there on her own . Someone who knew her anticipation finished the journey for her. Was it the man talking to her? How long had he been watching, or stalking her?
She considered the fact that this could actually be all in her head. The voice, the personified seahorses, the structure that scratched the heavens.
“According to myth, any coin that is thrown into this fountain is bound to return to Rome. They even went to the extent that throwing a second coin would bring true love.” The man babbled continuously. “Sadly, you only have one coin for right now.”
She halted. And for some seconds everything went silent. The man had kept on talking but his voice seemed to fade to silence.
She didn’t move but she felt something in her hand. She sat there perplexed. The bewilderment or her sudden realization had held her captive to shock.
In her mind was nothing but anxiety. Inhaling deeply, she decided to count to three.
She opened her hand palm up and stared.
Silver, round and flat. Jagged edged. The inscription REPVBBLICA ITALIANA. She could do nothing but gasp.
She doubted the coin had been in her hand previously but she wasn’t too sure.
Her fingers wrapped around the coin as she clenched her hand into a fist and squeezed. She opened her fist and was shocked when the coin was still there. She closed and opened her palm again. The coin remained face up in the crevice of her thin palm.
“You’re not supposed to be on that statue, young lady.” A lady’s voice said loud enough to cross the water and reach her ears.
She looked up and saw the lady; she was standing beside a tall man. The lady beautiful and the man handsome, they wore the formal attire of a dress and a suit. They stood straight with exemplary posture and matching suspicious faces.
Through leaning a little bit forward and squinting, she could make out their faces. For a second she completely disregarded the lady. Her eyes met the man’s. Something about him was emphatically familiar and the gash in his right cheek only intensified his look. Her mind associated his face with animosity. But also disquietude. She feared him and whatever he was capable of. His stare stopped her breath and his grin sped up her heartbeat.
She caught her attention back and returned her gaze at the lady.
“Young lady, please come down.”
She didn’t move. Too many thoughts formed too many questions in her mind. How did she get to her location? Whose coin was she holding and when did it get into her hand? Why did she just realize that the big voice had stopped talking? Who were these two people?
The lady looked at the guy and said something too quiet to be heard by anyone who wasn’t supposed to hear. He nodded and took off the outermost layer of his suit. He dropped the jacket on the floor without a care and made his way closer to the fountain.
Insouciant, he entered the water and was moving quick. He waddled but made progress at a terrifying speed.
She looked around for a place to run to but couldn’t see a clear exit out of the situation.
There was no way to go but she had to get up. She wouldn’t sit down and let herself see what would happen when she was caught. Bracing herself with her hands, she pulled the lower half of her body up and stood beside to statue. She glanced around again before she saw a path that led behind the statue. She tried to be careful but slipped. Reaching out quickly, she was able to grab onto one of Oceanus’ legs and hold on.
She heard a plop! in the water. Still grasping onto the calf, she peered over the ledge into the water.
There the coin was sinking and she stared at it as it descended.
Eventually, it hit the bottom.
“Catalaya! Wake up, wake up!”
She opened her eyes and saw her father’s face filled with worry and concern.
He grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the bed. Out the room, through the living room, through the kitchen and out the sliding doors, they barged through the backyard.
The two of them were blindsided and ended up on the floor.
She sat up on the grass to see her father wrestling a man. And as soon as she stood up, another man appeared and grabbed her. Instict from her training is selfdefense caused her to kick, scream and scratch while the man retried to gain a hold of her. A hard and final kick in between his legs sent him stumbling to the side.
She tried to run to her father but was grabbed and turned. For a split second she stared at the man. There was something on the right side of his face, on his cheek. Before she knew it, his hand went up and came down fast sending a hard backhand to her head.
Her father tackled the man and sent a punch before approaching his daughter. He picked her up and put her in the car. The car door closed behind her but her father was on the other side.
“Daddy?” She whispered.
The car engine started. The person in the driver’s seat was her family’s driver.
“Miss Catalaya, your father will be fine.” He assured her without a drop of conviction in his voice. “He left you everything you need for right now.”
Looking on the seat beside her, she saw a plane ticket, a train ticket and a coin. She picked up the items and stared at them. The plane ticket was a departure from her city’s airport to Italy. The train ticket was to Venice. The coin had something written in a foreign language. The three items were all strange to her but she held on to them so tight that she began to wrinkle the two tickets.
She couldn’t stop thinking of her father . She had left him back at the house with the two violent men. He had to fight them off by himself.
She hoped and prayed that he could.
With a deep sigh and a tear on her cheek, she looked at the tickets again with confusion.
“What’s in Venice?”
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