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Notturno Veneziano

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Barbaria1

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‘What do you think,’ I ask my architect, ‘supposing there were a veil of black fabric, only just transparent, behind which the figures of two dancers, a girl and a man, move as if they were souls in torment – at first subtly, while they touch the veil with their hands , and then more defined when their bodies collide with the fabric, which suddenly opens as if it were ripped apart - and the two dancers disappear, sweeping the veil to the sides, as if their souls have been whisked away? It would need a continuous sound, a single note, I think F sharp, played by an oboe ... '
think it would work brilliantly ... :)

:rolleyes:
 
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Another bit, with the usual many many thanks to Eulalia and l'bogo, who do all the work! :)
_________________________________________________________________________________

The conductor listens to me, he seems to approve of my idea, but he advises me to use not just the two oboes but also four of the string section, that will play in scordatura, giving a sense of extreme tension, a pair of cymbals and a drum - the sound will have to increase, a crescendo from barely perceptible to fortissimo, like a thunderclap, at the moment when the veil is torn apart. I agree, the rest of the players can go out for a short break.

I call the dancers over to explain that two of them will have to interpret the imprisoned souls behind the curtain, a very young ballerina and her partner volunteer enthusiastically, the others can rest while we rehearse it.

Everything is ready, the architect starts recording the video, the instruments sing out the searing note that rises in intensity, the dancers begin to touch the fabric of the curtain with their hands, the spotlights highlighting their gestures, projecting shadows below them, then with their legs and the bodies, they seem to be striving to cross the barrier. At the stroke of thunderclap, they quickly pull the curtain, which opens from the top, sideways to the wings, disappearing as if their souls had flown. The whole sequence has taken less than a minute, leaving the scene in the dark. The conductor applauds, he is convinced that the idea will give a special touch before the crucial moment when the funeral procession enters.

Now it's my turn, the scene that I’ve been so anxious about, not today, but when I'm stretched out naked on the framework of stakes, like the ones they’ve just used during the fight scene, and they will carry me lifeless, to the sound of a funeral march of profound pathos, from the rear of the stage towards the proscenium, and then turn towards the wing on stage right.

The eight bearers are ready, the frame is on the ground. I position myself on the rods, feel myself being raised, lifting ...

'No! No! I risk falling... it needs an extra rod in it, crosswise, and a couple more carriers. I can’t be rigid, supporting myself, my body must look floppy, almost sagging. '

We repeat the scene, while the architect diligently resumes the video ...

'Don’t cancel the failed try, I’ll have to show it to Madame to explain what I’m recommending.'

So, right, now I can take a pose of abandonment in death, lifted up on the shoulders of my bearers. My legs, slightly apart, rest on two longitudinal rods, my bare feet falling free with my ankles resting on the first crossing rod; under my thighs the second rod prevents the weight of my body letting me sink downwards, as does the one supporting my kidneys; the fourth is behind my armpits, allowing me to keep my arms spread out falling, my head falls back with my hair loose.

'Oh no! We can’t do it this way! If you carry me horizontally, the audience will see only my open legs! No! No! You’ll have to lower yourselves there in front, and you behind, raise my shoulders higher. And we’d better not take this line, from the back of the stage straight in front of the audience... remember that I’ll be naked, it would become an obscene performance! We’ll start from the left, then move towards the centre, and finally we turn right towards the wings. Okay?'

So we resume to the trial, now I’ll have to hook myself to the stake that’s supporting me at shoulder level, but I can do that in a natural way, where I am stretched out on my 'cross'. The funeral march, slow and full of tension, accompanies the 'promenade' of my burial...

All the dancers observe, intrigued. At the end everyone applauds, the conductor with his baton, and the orchestra with their instruments, beat on their music stands as a sign of approval. I may have passed this test, but Madame will still have to agree to the changes that have proved necessary.

I exit behind the wings, they welcome me with a cheer. But how will it be when I'm naked on the stage of La Fenice? My legs are trembling at the thought.

'Did you get it all?'

'Yes, and I’ve taken pictures with my camera too – I can show you the bluetooth right now.'

'Let me see, I'm curious!'

'Here you are, so fabulous!'

I look with amazement at the images that flow by on the screen, As well as an architect, he's a good photographer too.

It makes a certain impression to be seen in video: when we look in a mirror, our image is turned falsely from left to right, so we often go wrong when we're practising at the barre in front of the mirror: we try to change our position, only those who are watching us from a distance can detect our inaccuracies, and we must not complain if our choreographer takes us back and makes us repeat the exercises.
 
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Friday afternoon.

That's enough for today, we'll see you next Tuesday. We wish each other well, exchanging greetings for a happy Easter.

'I've worked up an appetite ... do you fancy a bite?'

'Yes, sure, but we’ll have to walk a little way - to the Rialto at least, there isn’t any good eating place around here.'

'You know all the holes in the city.'

'Then today is Good Friday ... I don’t know what they’ll be serving, they respect tradition here.'

'For my empty stomach one day’s like any other - a good dish of pasta, maybe with a seafood sauce, that shouldn’t break any tradition.'

Let’s go.'

We turn left onto the Calle Lunga Santa Caterina, then across the Ponte del Chiodo to get to the quays along the Rio San Felice, it’s the shortest way to the Grand Canal. The sky has darkened with heavy clouds laden with rain, perhaps a spring storm is boiling up, a rumble of thunder is heard in the distance - let's hurry! Before reaching the Strada Nuova, the one that all the tourists swarm along, we turn left again.

'You’d better take me to a Venetian restaurant! Around here there’s nothing but trattorias run by foreigners to plunder tourists.'

'Trust me ...'

Just in time, as the first drops of a deluge begin to fall, we cross the threshold of a small tavern. The sign is barely visible, I can’t read the name, but a good smell of well-cooked food greets me as I enter, not fried stuff.

In spite of the tiny entrance door, the room is large, with an understated decor, white tablecloths, shiny dishes, everything looking very clean, casseroles and copper pots hanging on the walls, and unexpectedly, an upper floor that can be seen through a large opening in the ceiling.

'Sior architeto, what a surprise! What a pleasure to see you, and la bela puta xé you’ve found!’

He’s known here!

'This lady is a prima ballerina of La Fenice, I’m working for her on the set of a new ballet.'

'Aha! Le xé... she is your commander now?!’

The innkeeper, a man in his fifties, with a friendly and good-natured face, is somewhat surprised.

'Vegne with mi, ghe ve I find a quiet place de above.'

'What do you recommend?' asks the architect.

'The menu d'ogi, on Good Friday, if you like it that way.'

He hands us a hand-written paper with beautiful feminine calligraphy. –

- Tagliolini della casa, made without eggs, served with shrimps, scallops and fresh spinach.
- Salad Serenissima, with rocket, pear, Taggiasca olives, pine nuts, and steamed calamari.

‘To drink, I can offer you a special wine...’

I nod assent to my cavalier.

'Very well,' confirms the architect. The innkeeper bows to me, in deference.

He immediately returns with a plate of bread, a thin sheet of dough baked over the fire, with a mixture of rosemary and fresh herbs, a drizzle of oil. He pours me a half-glass of a white wine with a golden tint, and the fresh bouquet of a new vintage, a very simple aperitif to occupy the wait. The lunch is delicious, perfect, even the wine blends with the flavours of the sea that embellish the fresh pasta and simple salad.
 
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'What do you think of this ballet?'

'It seems very daring, modern, to the limit ...'

'I'm worried, a lot, this nude performance may be too much for the public – a lot of them are still traditionalists, we’re risking controversy and failure.'

'I don’t think so, you have to take risks – I’m surprised you have these qualms.'

'What do you mean?'

'I’m not criticising you, I can understand you, but you are a rascally girl, certainly no nun ...'

'You can say that, you don’t have to strip naked! And then I'm worried about the fact that there is no long-awaited Romeo, one has evaporated, Madame’s away to Russia to look for another, and who knows if she’ll find one...'

'If you don’t find one, I'll volunteer...'

'You couldn’t dance two steps, you chump!'

The innkeeper brings us coffee. We would like to go out, but the persistent rain, almost a storm, advises us against the adventure. The host invites us to go into a small room with windows that project above the alley, while he clears the dining room.

'Okay, turn on your bluetooth and I'll download my viceo.'

'Did you make a video?'

'Of course, I didn’t want to miss the chance.'

'I should tell you to delete it, to respect the privacy of the dancers! Videos may not made without their consent.’

'But you're really strange, you told me to film ...'

Activate the function, the upload starts, it will take some time before it is finished. In the meantime we enjoy the spectacle of the rain which, wetting the glass, creates ever-changing liquid arabesques, and the rivulets of water that flow on the cobblestones of the alleyway. The gutters are flooded by the water cascading down from the roofs, they can no longer carry the mass of liquid, overflowing and creating waterfalls. Suddenly a flash, followed immediately by thunder, illuminates the room, the roar is so intense that everything trembles. It seems like an earthquake, a tall, narrow vase with a purple orchid in it falls to the ground and breaks. The electircal discharge runs along the eaves of the houses like a fiery snake – terrifying!

At last the rain eases, and the file-transfer is complete. The host provides us with a free pair of folding umbrellas with jointed rods, they look like legs of alien spiders, just to cover our shoulders in the rain that is now falling only lightly. How beautiful it is to walk on the stones avoiding the puddles, it seems a ballet danced to a rhythm dictated by a sequence of random notes.

I wish my knight goodnight, tonight I shall be alone, he has family commitments he can not avoid. In my room on the third floor of the theatre I can relax, a good hot shower will take away any strain.
 
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I connect my smartphone to the laptop to copy the images and the two videos, I start the operation, then go and put myself under the hot shower. A blinding flash and simultaneous crack, followed immediately by thunder, the trip-switch snaps, the bathroom is plunged into the darkness. Only a little light from a small window allows me to find my bathrobe. The violent storm has resumed, it should not be like this at this season, but this strange spring is breaking every rule of the climate.

I wrap my hair in a bath-towel, and look from behind the shutters of the window overlooking the square in front of the theatre. I do not see any lights on in the houses in front of, the power outage is certainly affecting the whole block, maybe more. I light a candle, I check that the phone and the computer are working properly, nothing has happened to them, the back-up batteries operate when the mains power goes off.

All around, everything is silent, except for the noise of the torrential rain. The theatre is deserted today and tomorrow, there is only the caretaker, the one who opened the door when I arrived. Frau Helga and the Director are on holiday for the Easter weekend, there’s only me and the caretaker in this huge empty building. A shiver runs down my spine, I run to lock the door with the security bolt, un uncomfortable feeling is gripping my stomach - and in the meantime it's still dark, the power has not yet been restored. The flashing of a LED warns me that the transfer of the movies is finished, but also that the batteries are exhausted, I cannot see the result yet. I shall just have to look out of the window, the lights coming on in the buildings opposite will signal the return of the electricity. The square is deserted, only a shadow emerges suddenly and turns at the corner of the church, a passer-by - or the ghost that is haunting me?

It is dark now all across the city, there is no reflection of lights, not even in the distance, just the glare of the lightning of the storm that is moving away.

An infinite sadness overcomes me, it is haunting me, it is draining my life. Time passes and overwhelms everything, forcing me to live with ghosts...

My grandmother is dead, my grandfather had died before her, my parents may just as well be dead. My friend Nicol died crashing his bike into a wall. Silvano is alive, but he is mortal, too. I saw two very dear friends some time ago: Marianna and Donatella. The way Marianna drives her car, I suspect my friends are immortal, at least those two!

Even Vio, my love, died on February 15th, Ash Wednesday. Since then my mind has had no peace. Are there no fixed points in life? My heart has grown hard, icy as death, as pitiless as my life...

I lie down on the bed. I start counting the living and the dead of my existence, the number of the dead is growing, it is surpassing that of the living. Remember that you are dust ... but then why do I bleed? Dust does not bleed. Maybe I bleed to refresh my dear ghosts...

Dreams are hallucinations, memories too, and even eternity is a hallucination. Everything seems unreal to me, except for hallucinations. We are born, we are agitated for some time, and then we break. No hope: faith is just the hallucination of hallucinations. Faith is inhuman, living forever is monstrous. Death is welcome...

How much I miss Nicol! At this point he would say: "Gaby, get yourself a pear and stope thinking about anything. A pear is not a hallucination - and don’t you dare tel me I’m a ghost, I'm more alive as a dead man than you are being alive - trust a friend !"

All right, I trust. Trusting is good, not trusting is worse - but even Nicol does not convince me, supposing life is a hallucination?
 
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The light comes on all of a sudden, making me jump on the bed, and erasing the dark thoughts that were tormenting me just now - now I can check the footage.

On the laptop I look for the files, three folders: 'film 1', the one downloaded from my smartphone, 'film 2' and 'photo', those two from the architect.

The first video was recorded from a fixed point, my smartphone was mounted on a tripod, so there was no change of frame. The second recording was apparently made using a mobile camera, and the photographs correspond to the ‘takes’ of the recording.

I look at the times, they’re very long, so I start the playback at triple speed. It looks like a film from the beginning of the last century, the age of the silent movies, with figures moving rapidly as if in the grip of some inexplicable frenzy.
Suddenly parts of the screen take on changing colours, blue, red, green, which take the place of the figures. It must be too fast, I pause it, change the playback speed to 1: 1. I wind back, to restart at the point where the funeral procession starts moving towards the proscenium. I am lying on my improvised cross in my black leotard, the dancers are dressed. Again it happens, the colours hide the figures, then the whole image becomes confused, just outlines on a grey field.

What a nuisance, the download must have failed. I click on my phone, everything is regular, the images are clear, there’s no disturbance, so it has to be the copy: I'll have to repeat the operation, maybe it happened when the lightning flashed and the laptop switched to battery power.

'Erase'

'Forbidden, you do not have the privileges to perform this action.'

Shit! How is that possible? I certainly haven’t done anything, I didn’t encrypt the file, it’s not a protected folder.

I check the files on my smartphone again, properties: 'Free R/W'. Why is it okay here and not there? I restart downloading the movie, at the point where it stopped previously. Now the image is only a little disturbed, I can see the dancers well who are carrying my 'corpse' laid on the framework of stakes...

But no! It’s not possible! I'm naked! Not just naked, completely bare, nude, with my sex wholly exposed in the foreground!

Fuck! What’s happened?
 
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With many many thanks to Eulalia and l'bogo... :)
______________________________________________________________________________

There’s not even time to stop the video, in the room a thunderbolt explodes, a noise of unbearable intensity, as if it’s erupted in my brain. I’m blinded, deafened...

Suddenly I feel myself grabbed by the ankles, and by the wrists, someone pulls my hair back, turning my head - I open my mouth to scream, but there’s not even time, a hand slips a rag into my throat that prevents me from screaming or even breathing – I’m stripped of the towel I’ve had round me...

Everything happens in total darkness, hands gripping my breasts, clenching, nails sinking into the flesh... claws sneaking into my vagina, widening it... a grotesque male member forces through my anal sphincter to penetrate so deep it seems to reach my stomach... another, bigger still, violates my intimacy, invading vagina and uterus.

I am at the mercy of these inhuman, monstrous, alien forces that are raping me. The assault continues for a long time, until I feel the burning sperm of the brutes invading me... but the violence begins again with renewed ferocity... I’m exerting all my strength to try to escape the rape, but in vain...

Overwhelmed, I’m forced to endure the shame of so much bestiality, pain and terror, I’m powerless, devoid of any defence. I am the victim of a horde of Tartars tearing my poor body. Slammed from one end of the room to the other, dragged along the floor, punched in the face, kicked in the abdomen... I can no longer breathe, my chest is contracting and expanding in an effort to inhale a little air, I choke and try to throw up the tampon that’s clogging my throat, just a minimum of air that prevents me from dying reaches my lungs... but it simply prolongs my pain...

I’m covered and invaded by slimy sperm that’s burning like hot oil, it’s sticking to my skin... then someone grabs my throat, someone else sneaks a hand into my mouth with fingers that seem like claws, so my head’s held firm... I feel pain in my forehead... on the sides of my head, at the nape of my neck, a thousand spikes are tearing my skin, penetrating my flesh...

Now I’m lifted off the floor and thrown brutally on my back, onto something that feels to me like splintered wooden stakes that chafe my back. I’m lying immobilized with open arms, legs apart, in crazed, excruciating pain, when a sharp iron penetrates and breaks through my left wrist, then another in the right, after that in either foot.

I have been crucified - nailed in this obscene pose, upside down, my head hanging.

The violence ceases, as suddenly as it began. I'm dying, I'm not breathing anymore, the blood pressure building up in my head makes my brain explode...

Im dying! Dying...

Now that my soul has left my body, I see myself - crucified, naked, bloody, lifeless, in this inverted position... my body is still quivering in the last spasms of death...

But there is nobody around me...
 
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Holy Saturday

The dazzling sunlight sneaks into the room, reaches my eyelids and awakens me. I'm still alive, filled with pain, but alive. I find myself curled up in the corner furthest from the door. I'm not nailed to the cross... I hardly dare look at my battered body, I feel with my fingers for the wounds of the nails that pierced my wrists... nothing.

I open my eyes cautiously, I look for signs on my skin, nothing. I touch my forehead, it is wet with sweat, not with blood. I have violent chills of cold, but I feel a burning fever. The window is wide open. Slowly I lift myself, first on all fours, then on my feet, the pains I am feeling are still intense, I struggle to walk. I drag myself towards the window to close it, then towards the bed, where I collapse, exhausted.

What happened to me? How can I still be alive after so much violence? Why are there no traces on my body? No marks of the nails, not even of the crown of thorns? How is it possible? Yet I do not think I have dreamed, the pain is still present...

The ringing of the internal phone shakes me out of the torpor that is overcoming me.

'Caretaker here, caretaker, are you okay? I didn’t see you down for breakfast. "

A voice from the real world!

'No I shan’t be coming down now, I'm not feeling well... I seem to have got a fever, I’m getting cold spasms yet I feel like I’m burning.'

'Don’t move out of bed, miss, I'll call a doctor right away!'

'Thanks, I seem to be needing one.'

He doesn’t take long to arrive, maybe a quarter of an hour, then there’s knocking on the door.

‘Here I am!'

I wrap myself with the duvet off the bed, and open the door.

'Good morning, miss, so what’s the matter?'

He is a good-looking young man, blond with blue eyes, long hair falling on his shoulders, a slight beard framing a strong, calm face, his gaze pierces immediately into my soul.

'Good morning doctor. Please have a seat.'

'I see you haven’t slept, those dark circles, eyes a little swollen ...'

'I haven’t slept at all. It's been like that for a long time.’

'Don’t you take sleeping pills?'

'No, never, Doctor. I think I have a raised temperature, but I’ve no way of checking it.’

'Lie down on the bed, I’ll examine you.’

He touches my forehead.

‘Yes, you’ve certainly got a fever. Let's see the rest of you.’

'I have pain in my hands, feet and abdomen, and a severe headache.'

He examines me carefully, with his stethoscope on my respiratory tract, check in my heartbeat, inspecting my mouth, tongue and throat.

‘You’ve caught a cold, a touch of bronchitis, hence the fever. I’ll give you an injection now, then take these capsules, twice a day, every twelve hours, starting this evening. You’ll certainly have to stay in bed for three days, and if you don’t get better, call me - this is my number.'

He gives me his business card and a packet of capsules, unmarked.

'What are these?'

'An antibiotic used in hospitals – they’re not on the market, but they will work very well.'

'And these pains – in my hands, wrists, feet, abdomen...?'

'What's your job, Miss?'

'I’m a dancer in the theatre’s corps de ballet.'

'Ah! In truth I was wondering how you had such an exceptional physique. Let's see...'

As his hands manipulate me, the pain disappears from my wrists and my feet. He feels my abdomen, down to my groin, pressing slightly to the side of my pubis, releasing a little, pressing again, like a massage... the pain dissolves.

'There is a bit of inflammation in your ligaments, as far as your limbs are concerned, but that’s is understandable given your activity as a dancer - there are some cases much worse than yours. As to your abdomen, it’s not hard, it’s palpable and elastic... have you eaten something different from usual?’

‘I had lunch on Friday at a restaurant, but everything seemed very good to me.'

'You don’t need to worry, your abdomen doesn’t present any problems. If the pain should come back, we'll have to investigate more deeply, but for now, especially as it’s the Easter weekend, I don’t consider a hospital examination is urgently needed. Did you have sex recently?’

I don’t know how to answer after this crazy rape last night – but did it really happen?

'No... it's almost a couple of months now, since my boyfriend died, a car accident... I've not had sex since...'

‘ Is your cycle regular? Have you taken a pregnancy test?’

'Yes to both, It doesn’t seem like I’m pregnant.’

'I noticed while examined you that you’re showing no signs of recent sexual activity, I only asked the question for confirmation. I judge that you’re going through a deep trough of anxiety and depression due to the loss of your partner. After the antibiotic treatment, we’ll see if you also need pharmacological help to alleviate the anxiety.'

'Thank you Doctor, how much is the fee for the visit?'

'Just give me your health card to record the visit, it's an Emergency Doctor call.'

'Well - thanks again.'

'Now stay in bed, just take tea with biscuits, at least for today, keep it a little light - from tomorrow you can eat normally, in a couple of days you’ll be fit.'

'I hope so, I really need to recover, I’ve an important commitment soon. All the best!'

'Best wishes to you too!'
 
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