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The quiet on the lake

“Why aren’t you crying?” asked the policeman.

“Because tears cannot wash away blood…not even all the water in this lake could!” Handcuffed, Marco got into the police car. There was no trace of humanity on his face, just cold detachment.

That morning, Como woke up to one more dead body. There, where the duck swam placidly - as if someone had just purposely placed them on the surface of the water - a young man with three bullets in his chest lay on the ground, his open eyes staring at the grey sky. The light in his eyes had just gone out; the one in his spirit had died long ago.

It was about three at night when Marco took his gun from his pocket. He fired three times; three, like the police cars that arrived soon after. Marco was there, sitting by the lifeless body, waiting for the men in uniform. He gazed ahead for an infinite time, sitting on the steps that led from the street to the lake, as if he did not feel the cold coming from the enormous expanse of water. Actually he didn’t feel anything. He was motionless. When the policemen came down the stairs, he stood up and surrendered his arms, which were marked by the needle holes of a vile addiction, to the cold steel handcuffs. Again, no tremor, no hesitation, just a dreadful detachment. Marco’s coolness was in sharp contrast to his youth. His sweet and pallid face, not yet showing the exhaustion of time, had just undergone a rapid and profound metamorphosis. He had forever lost his youth.

The week before the people in Como had gathered in Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral for the last farewell to Alex, a boy of just twenty. Too young to die, but not young enough any more to feel the joy of living. For a couple of days he hadn’t been to the cafè or answered the phone. When his parents, alarmed, came back early from Stockholm, they found a body near the sofa, with a needle still stuck in his arm. The scream of his mother and the desperation of his father are the expressions of a drama that cannot be put into words.

Marco arrived before three. The person he was supposed to meet had been there just a couple of minutes. Marco shot him without giving him time to light a cigarette. The man fell down dead and Marco, after throwing away the gun, took a photo from the wallet. There, he and his brother Alex were with the rest of the family. Still happy.

“Sir, the victim is a pusher. Thirty years old, a gun and five hundred euros stuffed in one sock”, reported the policeman to his superior officer.

“I remember, he’s been inside a couple a times. Now it’s all over for him.” 


Artwork credit: 
郗若楠, Beijing Film Academy

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Flash Europa 28 is organised and run in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to China, the embassies of each of the 28 EU member states, The Bookworm, Literature Across Frontiers, and social media platforms in China.