Giovanni Scarafile

Stalker

In Uncategorized on 17 March 2015 at 9:40 AM

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Mattia Jacopo Zaterini

Acting on our being, on our very nature can be a challenging process, especially if this action produces a conflict, a rift between the need for a change and our choices that have accompanied us up to that point: fighting for ourselves and with ourself has consequences not easily predictable. What is certain is that at the end of the battle we have to choose the winners and losers.

You know what, Professor? I do not want to argue with her. With the discussion comes the truth… Water shakes my ankles, my left hurts since we crossed the border of the Zone. The forehead resting on the hands, the cold makes me forget the pain I live only a few minutes at a time, then reappears and becomes mind, recaptures my attention, lowers my peace. Words, relentless words, I cannot hold them, they slip through my fingers, dripping in pools around the feet, slow, and their noise keeps track of time in a world that does not understand us, that does not want us. And my dear fellow travelers can still breathe and move their lips as if this air were not for them, as if every breath was their right and not a conquest of their lives. I rise, we have to start over. We walk for a long time and we are four. The Writer, the Professor, the Stalker. We got in line, in an order without criteria, determined from our guide without name, like all of us. I asked her to take me into the Zone, to be escorted into the room. I’d go alone if only it were possible. But the Zone needs a stalker, and a stalker and needs the Zone. I am the last this time and I have orders not to turn around. Rain must have fallen recently, the gray sky hides perhaps a distant sun. We move slowly through tall grass, metal skeletons, dilapidated buildings, meadows and streams, with little noise, little reason to talk, little desire to do so and even less to see foreign eyes planted on us. Wait. The stalker is launching yet another of his bolts attached to a piece of cloth a few yards in front of him. I see it draw an arc in the air before falling near a bush and disappearing among the flowers. Here it is, the room is there. A little house on a hill resists crumbling, half a mile further on, draws unnatural lines against the gray sky. The roof collapsed because of the war or time or by the hand of God, the lower floor is without doors or windows, the porch mired in the muddy ground. We’re almost there. No, Professor, we cannot proceed. We have to go around. Why? In the area the straight road is not the safest. The area is perhaps a very complex system of traps and they are all mortal. I do not know what happens here in the absence of man, but as soon as someone comes around it starts to move. The old traps disappear and new ones arise. Safe places become impassable and the way now is simple and easy, now complicated beyond belief. This is the zone. Perhaps to some it may seem capricious, but it is just as we create it, like our state of mind. I do not deny that there have been cases where people have to go back empty-handed. Some are even dead in the doorway of the room. But what happens does not depend on the Zone, it depends on us. The good man goes on and the bad one loses his head? I do not know, it seems to me that those who have no hope can go on, not bad or good, but unhappy. The wind starts to pick up, the cold intensifies. We need to continue. We follow a line that runs from the house. I cannot think, the professor and the writer yell, insult each other. Why you are here, Professor? Well, I’m a scientist. And why you are here? You are a writer, will certainly have all the women you want. I am looking for inspiration, I came here to beg. And why you are here? For the first time the writer speaks to me. I’m here because I want to become the most skilled thief who ever lived. He is a few steps away, but I can clearly see the skin on her face bend, a smirk, half smile. I envy you, dear two-bit thief. Alone in the dark, living at the limit of what is permissible, even a little beyond, you appropriate the belongings of others, take advantage of the distraction of those who have something that you do not have but want. Weak, and for this reason, clever. I remain to hear the last words in silence. I’m good, but not quite. I will ask to the, to steal whatever I want, with the confidence to stand overnight in a warm bed, not to be caught. Shut up, everyone. Have you heard? The stalker stops, looks around terrified. No, I do not think I’ve heard anything. More silence. He began to move cautiously, slowly, resumed his unsteady gait. We’re almost there, we have to come in here. A kind of trap, or at least what’s left of a trapdoor. A hole in the ground, a well turned out, a passage into a hallway from the roof down, with dirty walls and four inches of water covering the floor. We have to go there? Unfortunately there is no other way. Now slowly, we must move forward one at a time. Writer, you will go first. It is very dark. The idea of going first is not my thing. He starts to walk away, without ever turning back. There is a door. Wait for us at the entrance, do not go ahead, it’s dangerous. The stalker now guides us with less conviction, is hesitant, unsure. We reach the door, but the writer is not waiting for us. The door opens into a small room, completely flooded. After a few meters a scale emerges from the water, leading to another door. We have to move from here. The professor moves, the water up to his neck, holding the bag upon his head. Then me and the stalker. The water is cold, I feel the warmth leave my body while I immerse myself. I continue to move forward, the water bathes my chest, forcing me to lift my chin, I will not wet my face. It stinks, filthy, dark, I cannot see the bottom. Now I’m surrounded, I move up. I’m afraid of what will happen to me. The water. The water does not support my weight. I feel the cold become more acute, my eye blinks. Why? I want to scream for help to the teacher, I look at him going out of the water slowly, bracing himself on his arms and legs. That image does not comfort me, it scares me. I will stay here, alone, drown in this slurry, to slump in the dirt, and no one will look. I want to get out of here, I have to do it quickly, soon I will not be able to do so. I close my eyes, I look for the strength and courage to move, to get out of the pool. I want to live, I have to get to the room, I have to get to the stairs, I have to take another breath. I feel my heart beating in my ears, beat after beat, then nothing. I’m dying. The water makes its way between my lips, it slips into the throat, lungs, cold, disgusting, heavy, black. Why am I here? What do I want now? Yes I want to live, live again. Experience is the only way I can understand, to discover, take, steal what I need. I do not want to suffer again, I need to see for myself what I can do. The professor turns and looks at me. Come on, watch out for the steps. He holds out his hand, I climb the stairs, breathing, walking. I see the sand first, the room is invaded. The writer is sitting in the shade at the end of that hall. You had to wait for us! Come back! The stalker screams behind me, but the writer does not seem to hear him. His head down, he whispers. What kind of writer am I if I even hate writing. For me it is a pain, fatigue, painful chore, shameful. I used to think that someone would become better because of my books. I will die and after two days I will be forgotten and they begin to devour someone else. I want to change them, but in the end they are changing me. I have changed in their own image and likeness. The future has merged with the present. They are ready for this? They do not want to know anything, they devour everything and nothing. We walked on in a small hallway. The stalker breaks the silence. You are beautiful men, you have passed a terrible nightmare, this tunnel is an awful place, the most frightening of the Zone. […]

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Matteo Jacopo Zaterini was born in Maglie in the province of Lecce 29 years ago. After a first failed approach to an improbable degree course in Rome, he decided to sign up and complete his studies in Science and Psychological Techniques at the University of Salento. Passionate about cinema, Russian literature and videogames, currently he is working for the “Oistros Edizioni” where he had the opportunity to collaborate with Sergio Spina as a production assistant in the last works of the director.

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