I can hear the square, but I don’t seem to be any closer to it than I was five minutes ago, despite moving in the direction of the noise the entire time. Well… Mostly in the direction of the noise. The streets here are more like passageways between houses than what Americans tend to think of as roads, and they turn at the edge of every building. It’s no wonder the locals rely on walking and scooters more than cars.
The town is a gorgeous relic of ages past. It could be the year 1400 as easily as the year 2000. It’s the sort of place I’ve always longed to be. That would be why when I set out to take pictures of the church, I allowed my fascination with history to distract me. It pulled me down lane after lane, chasing stonework and statuary until I had no idea which way the hotel was. Trust me to get lost in a town of a few hundred people.
Not only am I lost, but I am lost in the dark, and have been for the last half hour of my adventure. I’ve been sticking to lit areas, but I’m worried that’s my problem. I’m really starting to think that the street between where I am and where I want to be is dark, and that I’m going to have to gather the courage to cross the darkness.
The cobblestones that seemed so charming when I left the hotel hurt my feet as I approach the next intersection. I can go straight, past a house I’m almost certain I passed before, or I can turn left.
I stop and look down the unlit street. Above me, the clouds part for the first time in days, allowing the moon to shine down. It’s nearly as bright now as if there were electric lamps. I stop and take a quick picture of the view down the lane. There’s a tile staircase leading up to a doorway straight ahead and I run down to grab a shot of it, even though that’s the sort of behavior that got me lost in the first place.
Since I’ve started down the unlit way already, I keep going. As I walk, I struggle to keep my shoulders straight and act as though I know where I’m going. Which is stupid because anyone looking at me will know I’m a tourist thanks to the camera I carry. I’ve only passed one person since the sun set, though, an old man walking a dog. There are people in the buildings; some of the windows have lights behind them and occasionally I hear a television or radio. I wonder how the people inside would react to a hopeless foreigner knocking on their door and gesturing for them to draw a map to the Hotel Europa.
The road twists around a wall, and I follow it to find the first dead-end I’ve seen today.
Ahead, an ornate iron gate stands open to a flight of stone steps leading down into a door that is ever-so-slightly ajar. It looks like the perfect place to meet a vampire.
I adjust my aperture for darkness and take another picture.
Then I turn around and continue my quest for the plaza and my hotel. There’s too much of Sicily left to see for me to become vampire food.
The above was a true story
inspired by Window by Daniele Marzocchi,
which was provided to me via Bliss Morgan's Nightmare Fuel Project.