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The checked Moon, Page 1

Quelli di ZEd

  English version

  This ebook, in origin “Zed Experiments series”, was published as an experiment in English language with Zed Lab.

  The ZEdEx stories and novels are translated into a "hybrid" (automatic) version, waiting to be corrected by a reader who knows the target language. Next, the hybrid version was edited by a translator, and this is the final version in the English language.

  Now, from this version you can make a comic, an audiobook, or a direct translation in another language (excluding Italian, English and Spanish).

  If you can do it, come with us to Zed Lab.

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  Filip Fromell

  The checked Moon

  English edition edited by

  Carmelo Massimo Tidona

  The checked Moon

  Copyright © 2012

  Zerounoundici Edizioni

  Cover: Image by David Rossetti

  "Do not fight the monsters!"

  "Why monsters? When a blind man, an idiot, a murderer is born,

  this seems to us disorder, as if order was known to us,

  as though Nature acted for an end!"

  (Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pecuchet)

  I'm a Howlin' Wolf

  I've been Howlin' all 'round your door

  I'm a Howlin' Wolf

  I've been Howlin' all 'round your door

  I see your smilin' face

  You will not hear me howl no more

  (Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf )

  To my father

  The checked Moon

  White. At last the room would be white again.

  Police investigations had not proved anything, and even if forensics did not explain the cause of the grooves on the wall, the case was closed as a suicide.

  She was no longer in any danger, still she did not feel like calling the painter.

  No one should enter the room. Not yet, at least.

  She would do that alone. She was accustomed to doing things alone.

  She had arranged everything she needed on the floor: old sheets, newspapers, rollers, brushes and paint cans.


  She loved white.

  A ladder. To reach the ceiling.

  There were stains as high as twelve feet, but it was nothing compared to the walls. It did not look like blood anymore, it was so dark and clotted.

  She smiled.

  Usually, things start from the bottom. A career starts from the bottom, a skyscraper is built from the bottom, she too had started from the bottom, a very low bottom, but a room must be whitewashed from the top.

  And that's where she started.

  The roller was swallowed by the paint with a thick gurgle and she thought they had all come to the same end.

  They were all gone.

  The only thing that mattered now was restoring the room to its natural white.

  Because white does not ask questions.

  White would cover the stains.

  Then she had to take care of the bars. Certainly she could not take them off by herself.

  But the blood first.

  The blood had to be removed immediately.

  June 15 – 19:02

  Alida called Luca’s mobile four times before starting to get seriously worried.

  The heat wave news bulletin had been announcing since the beginning of the week had come, silent as a gas cloud, but that wasn’t the reason why her forehead and palms were moist and sticky.

  Why wasn’t he answering?

  In the elegant top floor apartment in Viale Romania, one block from Viale Parioli, the silence was broken only by the television. No one was watching it. Alida was too tense to be sitting in an armchair.

  After travelling about fifteen miles around the whole house, reducing stress by munching an infinite series of bread-sticks, she walked barefoot to the kitchen and opened her phone book at letter D. Before calling, she looked at the cordless, hoping for it to ring until the last moment.

  She was a rational, moderate woman. She knew how much Luca appreciated her balance, but discretion does not mean total indifference for one’s companion.

  The phone didn’t ring and no one soothed her pain informing her that he was stuck in the traffic in Muro Torto.

  Alida looked at her watch again.

  The possibility that Luca had forgotten it provoked her violent palpitations in the middle of her chest, and she hated him for that.

  Why did she have to feel so bad?

  Why did he have to make her feel so bad?

  She returned to the living room, turned the television off and stared at the screen, reflecting her slender figure dressed in white.

  White had entered her life along with the rabbits.

  She dressed in white for them, as a sign of respect, from the day their meat had become indispensable for her.

  It was Luca’s idea. A proposal that she had initially frowned upon, but now, seeing the good it had done to her, she considered the best intuition to ever come from the mind of her husband.

  Rabbits acted as a sedative. And not only. They also made the night pass more quickly.

  She looked at the phone and thought that if Luca wanted to get into trouble he was free to do so. At least he would learn his lesson.

  Sure, good Alida, very good! Then what?

  The consequences would be catastrophic. She reviewed them one after the other, and realized with dismay that all of them led to the same conclusion.

  They would trace him back to her in a few hours.

  Eventually she made up her mind. She started the call and put the phone to her ear.

  First ring.

  I reminded him twice this morning...

  Second ring.

  I can’t go crazy each time he’s not back in time...

  Third ring.

  Could he have forgotten?

  Fourth ring.

  I must hear his voice.

  Instead, she heard that of the secretary of the De Santis law firm, still lively in spite of the hour. She asked her to talk to Luca Menozzatti, introducing herself as his wife.

  "He left an hour ago. He had an appointment" the woman promptly informed her.

  "An appointment so late?" Alida asked, less than convinced.

  "It is written on his organizer, have you tried to call his mobile?"

  "Not yet, I will try now, thank you."

  She hung up without waiting for her reply. She was annoyed that a stranger could sense her anxiety. That's why she had lied. Even if that woman was doing her job, she was annoyed that she could poke her nose in Luca’s appointments while she, her wife, was kept in the dark.

  She walked a stretch of the corridor and stopped in front of the door. The heavy security locks shone in the half-light. She decided that, if Luca wasn’t back in time, he would find the door locked with the extra latches.

  Oh yes, this time you’ll need a cannon to come in. As far as I’m concerned, you can keep ringing the door bell until your finger bleeds.

  Alida examined her nails. They always grew too fast. She decided to clip them, at least she would get her mind off Luca for a while. She went to the bathroom, but froze in the doorway.

  She saw Luca lying on the stretcher in an ambulance launched in traffic in the throbbing sound of sirens. Under no circumstance, even if he had been victim of an accident, they could run the risk of letting him spend the night outside. She tried to rationalize. If a tragedy like that had happened, she would have been the first to know, and at least someone would have answered the phone.

  She dispelled t
ension by rummaging in the bathroom cabinet, she took the toiletries and settled on the terrace of the dining room, taking advantage of the evening light to do what, under normal circumstances, she would have done once a week.

  June 15 – 20:48

  The phone rang again.

  "Who the hell is it?" the girl in the Audi asked to the man dressed in blue linen in the driver’s seat.

  They were parked in a cul-de-sac in the countryside of Labaro, just outside Rome.

  "Work," Luca said, straightening his trousers. Then he silenced the phone and placed it in the glove box next to the gear shift.

  Alida would keep calling until he got back home, which was what he would do if Giada let him go without questions.

  By mid-afternoon, while examining some files, the physical need of her had overwhelmed him. He had ordered the secretary to update his organizer, making up an appointment, and walked out wondering if she had noticed the bulge in his pants.

  Come on, you can admit it. You could not say no to a fuck in the car. What’s the harm in that, except that you've been married for ten years?

  When Luca had become aware that a quickie on the roadside was not even part of his early twenties experiences, anxiety to return home had become as heavy as a wet coat.

  The sky above was darkening quickly.

  "Giada, they keep calling me, we have to go."

  The girl looked at him askance. He hated to be always the one who took decisions. Not even the time for a fucking cigarette.

  "We? It’s you who want to go. Or rather, have to" Her blouse was undone and he could see the erect nipples in her perfect breasts. Giada was fifteen years younger than him. A difference which resulted in an unpredictable, stormy personality. Worse than a teenager.

  With a sudden movement of her arm, Giada removed the keys from the ignition.

  "I'm fucking tired of letting you treat me like a whore you can screw every time you want," she said aggressively.

  "I'm not starting an argument now, give me the