Today I’m coming with something completely new and different from everything that I have posted so far. 10 days ago I posted on GoodReads that I was looking for people who would be interested in participating in a little writing project. On the same day a girl called Emma answered that she would be interested and now, 10 days later, I’m here to share the outcome with you guys.
I must tell you guys that the time and place in which our story plays is one that I never thought I would ever set a story in. I mean can you imagine me writing a story in 19th Century Italy? Me neither, but it happened. It was a completely new experience for me and I think it really helped me as a writer to grow, especially because I was working together with someone else, which I had never done before this project. Please be so kind and check out Emma’s blog, because, despite her age, she is a very talented author.
I’m presenting you Part 1 of “Ingeniosus”!
Copyright © 2014 Alice Reeds and Emma Iadanza
I open my eyes and look into the distance. The light of the sun taints everything slightly white, almost dreamlike. In the distance, standing on top of a big rock, I see a woman in white clothes. I don’t know her, yet she seems so familiar. Screams reach my ears. I look down and see people filing the streets, they are running and screaming. All of it seems familiar, yet I know nothing. Nothing about this place, the voices or the woman. It is unsettling.She turns to me, her white robes blowing in the soft breeze. She looks like an angel; a visitor from Heaven. Her face’s soft looks suddenly change from peacefulness to surprise. She opens her mouth, as if trying to scream, ‘Look out!’ but her voice is mute. Her hand is out, pointing behind me. I turn, but it is too late. I did not see the man behind me. I only just feel the pain in my back, the blood dampening my cotton dress. It is too late now.
I feel like screaming, but no sound escapes my lips. The man grabs my wrists. I look up at his face. His eyes are angry and focused. I try to rip my hands free, but he’s too strong. The warm blood continues to run down my back and I know there isn’t much time left. I focus and try to kick him. Miraculously I manage to hit him where it hurts most, so he lets go of me, yelling in pain. I use to moment and start running, quickly realizing that I don’t know where I’m going.
The safest place would be the village, but I remember the people I saw running in the streets. What could have happened? Is our town being raided? My mind races as I continue running, but I’m going nowhere. I follow a dirt path down a hill, and run towards my family’s old farm. I live there with my grandfather. But when I arrive, he is not there. Rather, there is a man there. He is wearing a uniform from the army: white breeches and black boots, a tricorn hat with a feather sticking out of it, and a black jacket with gold embroidery. He must have a high rank in the army – judging by the uniform, he seems French. Why would a high ranking French soldier want to speak with me, a simple Italian farm girl?
“Can I help you, Signor?” I ask him politely while trying to look not too terrified. I don’t think it worked because he looks me up and down. His eyes stop wandering as he notices the red stains on my dress. He looks up into my eyes, like he would be trying to figure out what might have happened. His eyes have a warm caramel color, which matches the light brown of his hair.
“Are you Signora Lucrezia da Corinaldo?” he asks – by the accent, I can tell that he is French. I nod and my heart starts racing. “I need you to follow me.” That is all he says before leaving the house. I quickly turn and hurry to follow him, wondering where he might take me and why.
By now, where the man stabbed me is full of pain. And, it’s bloody, too. Before running after the man, I grabbed a rag off the table, and tried my best to stop the bleeding without being indecent.
I follow him out of the house and towards the village. “Who are you?” I ask, “Where is my grandfather?”
“Signora, once we arrive at our destination everything will be explained to you,” the man says while leading me through a small ally in the village. To my surprise the screams are gone. Barely anybody is out on the streets.
I don’t like this. Is this all just a dream? Am I going mad? How is this possible? I saw them running and now they are gone. Two alleys later, we arrive in front of a large rotting wooden fence that surrounds a large dilapidated building. We slip through the fence and enter the building through a door that looks like it might fall out of its hinges any minute.
The inside of the building is just as desolate. You can tell that this building may have once been grand, but now there is paint peeling off the walls and broken furniture and glass in almost every corner. We finally arrive at a room that is somewhat less barren. There is a wooden desk and chair in the center of it. A few candles are lit, but light streams in from a hole in the ceiling. He motions for me to sit down. In other circumstances, I would not, but I do, as the pain in my side is almost unbearable.
“You are hurt,” he states plainly.
“Do you want me to call a doctor?”
A doctor? Who is this man? If you live in a small town like this, you know by now that the smallest cut could mean that you might die. A stab wound? Almost certain death. Here, there are no doctors that are worth paying for.
“Can you finally tell me why we are here?” I ask instead of answering his question. “Where is my grandfather?”
“What do you know about him?” he asks in an enigmatic tone.
“Well, his name is Alonzo da Corinaldo, and he is a simple farm man, no one special,” I answer his question wondering where this conversation is going.
“Signora da Corinaldo, your grandfather, Alonzo, he is no ordinary man,” he says and takes a few steps towards me. “He belongs to a long bloodline which reaches back hundreds of years. A bloodline tainted by spirits with unimaginable talents.”
Although this is just as surprising to me as anything would be, I am relieved that this man did not say that my grandfather is a Bonapartist and that he was arrested. Although that may or may not be true, I know that some people in our village have been arrested due to that. One was even tortured until he gave in, innocent or not. And then they shot him.
“What… what do you mean?”
“Alonzo belongs to the bloodline of Ingeniosus, people with talents that are hidden to most of us,” he explains. “You have seen it, though, didn’t you?” I look at him; my eyes wide open in confusion. “The Woman in White?”
“I… yes, I did…” I say unsure. “And there were screams and chaos.”
“So it is true,” he says and nods slightly, more to himself then to me.
“You are one of them, too.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You are one of the Ingeniosus.”
“I… I am? I don’t think my parents were…”
“Do you know why you live with your grandfather, Signora?”
“My parents were killed… there was a shipwreck, and–”
“No, Signora. They were murdered.”
“Because the two clans of the Ingeniosus are always fighting for superiority. Members of each are always trying to kill off the leaders of the other clans. Your parents were high ranked in the Candida clan. They were murdered by the Tenebris.”
“That’s what one of the clans is called. Your family belongs to the Candida.”
“How do you know all of this, then?”
He stops. The officer looks like he is deep in thought. But then he does not respond.
“You are still bleeding,” he tells me, “I must find someone to help you. I will be right back,” and he leaves me.
My head feels like the sea during a storm. Thoughts are rushing back and forth yet I cannot concentrate on them. I think the mixture of having a stranger tell you things about your family which you didn’t know and being stabbed in the back was not the wisest choice on the behalf of the Signore. But it all sounds so strange and unreal. How could my family belong to such a clan without me knowing about it? How is it possible that I’m one of them without knowing it, either? Why didn’t they tell me? Why didn’t my grandfather tell me? And if it is all true, what talent do I hold?
So, what do you guys think? Good, bad, boring? Please let me know in the comments.