In celebration of Carnival…
As I attended a Facebook party several years ago, I came across some pictures of Carnival in Venice. I was totally entranced. You see, I’m more familiar with the Caribbean version of Carnival. In Guyana, my country of birth, we call it Mashramani. It’s our annual celebration of becoming a Republic. Moreover, the phrase Mashramani is an Amerindian term meaning the “celebration of a job well done”. Counties throughout the Caribbean have various labels and meaning to represent their celebrations: Crop Over in Barbados, Spicemas in Grenada, Junkanoo in Turks and Caicos, Carnaval de Ponce in Puerto Rico and simply Carnival in many others amongst other terms. Consequently, there’s nothing simple about the extravagance surrounding the events…
Back to Venice…
Yet, seeing the different images from across the world (which I’ve seen before, though have never connected with in such a way) sparked something inside of me. They led me to explore the fantastic culture of Carnevale di Venezia, which will run from the 11th to 28th of February, 2017.
In turn, I created a different type of story. Carnem Levare was born of these images. It’s a short story of heartbreak and love in Venice. I’ll admit, it’s a tad bit spooky, but I can’t give away the plot. The first chapter is below, however, you can sign up for my newsletter to receive the remaining portion FREE.
Late Eighteenth Century Venice (Pre-Revolution)
Stefano Bonaro awoke floating face down in a hidden canal. The alley appeared to be closing in on him. He gasped, swallowing a mouthful of fluid. His nostrils filled. He jolted and flipped over onto his back. Looking up, he could see a distant sparkle, letting him know that night was dipping away. The stars clung on, in hopes of providing a touch of added pleasure, Stefano reasoned. He couldn’t understand how he’d ended up this way and in this location.
Luckily, he’d learned to swim at an early age, so he propelled around the marble foundation of a palatial structure. At first he felt lost in the once lonely lagoon but, as the edges of the waterfront came into view, Stefano relaxed. Arriving at the steps of the dock, he quickly took to dry land rung by rung. Once settled on the planks, he rummaged through his mind. He remembered drifting along with Anastasia; an argument. Or rather, emotional pain and her speaking in calm phrases. He pictured the detached manner of her rejection.
And then it all came back . . .
Stefano dove back into the water, swimming far out into the Grand Canal and searching for anything that would confirm his thoughts. He sought to debunk what his mind confided. Tears clashed with his surroundings. He dove under, plunging further into the abyss. Forcing his legs to flash fiercer, tearing through the heavy fluids.
“Anastasia,” he gurgled. He was barely able to make out trash that had been thrown against the sea floor, and his frustration at this unproductive search increased.
By the time he returned to ground, he panted in exasperation. And dangled his legs from the edge of the pier, slowly manipulating the waves. He studied his limbs—the watered-down slacks that clung to muscular legs and long fingers that were pale and colorless. A dingy white shirt threatened to smother him entirely, so he loosened the top two buttons and collar. His mind raced as he considered the inward flow from the Adriatic Sea in relation to its exit. In search of true love, Stefano would brave the entire roundabout—even out to the massive entrance. He pondered its strength with slight fear. Common sense forced him to finally step onto the main road.
As his countrymen walked along the paving, they did not take even a moment to acknowledge him. Stefano was distraught. He buried his face in his palms. His weeping was loud, yet no one comforted him. They went about their lives, oblivious to Stefano’s pain. His fingers rested at his forehead before running through the full length of his copper-brushed, curly brown coils. For one so appealing to study, his strong square jaw might as well have been caved in, since heartache so tragically robbed Stefano’s joy.
He forced himself to stand tall, pacing slowly around. His feet shuffled. The sun was now blazing into his face. Of the few people around, Stefano was the only one not in a hurry. He turned in the direction of home, nearly being overrun by another man that was several inches taller. And as Stefano sidestepped, another overtook him. Preparing to withstand the effect, the second man passed right through him.
Stefano was now frozen in the middle of the path. He no longer tried to dodge his peers. Instead, he allowed them all to overtake him. He coughed and spun around. For whatever reason, Stefano was no longer a part of their realm. He had lost Anastasia and at the same time, it seemed, his humanity.
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