Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Night watch

Cagliari, 2nd April 1714

Amidst the calm night of Cagliari town, a human figure in dark cloak keeps quiet and silent behind a corner, as if watching something he was. He then listens a faint rubbing sound behind him, and turns around startled.

--Stand still, Niccolò. It's me. --says a soothing voice. The man recognizes the voice and relaxes. When both men meet behind the corner, it becomes clear they are dressing in some kind of dark uniform, inclusive of a black cloak and a long halberd, and both are holding a lantern --now extinguished not to be watched in the night. They are night watchmen of the city.

--What were you going to show me, Niccolò? --says the second man.

--Can you see that large building ahead, captain? --Niccolò answers-- The one with two torches at main door's lintel.

--Yes I see it. Isn't that the Bacallar family manor house?

--That's right. Well, the matter is that this house was abandoned three years ago, when the Two Crowns were ultimately expelled from the island. It was deserted by its owner, Vincenzo Bacallar, who was by then military governor of Sardinia. It has since remained empty and lifeless... until last week, when an old man re-occupied it along with a couple of youngsters, perhaps servants to him. --Niccolò says, triomphantly.

--Hum, suspectful indeed --replies the captain.

Then the large house door opens discreetly. The figure of an old man emerges and closes the door again with care, so as not to make unnecessary noises. The night watchers react quickly and, when the man is about to start walking and get lost in the darkness, they stop him.

--Listen, sir. Would you mind to join us?

--Am I arrested perhaps? --the man replies in a fearful voice.

He is given no answer.