1910 – Sicily
Montevago, an over three-hundred year old municipality situated on a hilly area southwest of Palermo is the setting for an unprecedented event. The most exciting thing that ever happened in this area is when a fight broke out between a priest and a man attempting to steal a gold crucifix. The priest eventually won and the thief was exiled to Palermo. Since then, with the main industry being agriculture and sheep farming, routine is the norm.
During mid-afternoon in the midst of lingering scents of orange blossoms, a normally quiet setting is disrupted by a gunshot. The proximity of the blast forces a ten-year old playing behind his parent’s tailor shop to kneel motionless. A second explosion followed by two rapid booming sounds, jars him to his feet. Running as fast as his skinny legs are able, Angelo enters the shop fearing the worst.
The youngster has reason for concern. Two weeks ago a group of men down the street aroused his curiosity. Strolling towards them, his presence caused stern stares and silence. As they waited for him to pass, he feigned disinterest and positioned himself behind a stack of boxes. What he heard was frightening. There was talk of something called the Black Hand and graphic details of vendettas. The conversation sent him racing home terrified. When his parents, Salvatore and Maria Rosali, confronted him he chose not to worry them and made up a story of an encounter with a large dog. Sleep proved difficult that night but as occurs often, the light of day dissolved concerns and his young mind created a belief the over ninety kilometer distance from Palermo was enough to keep them safe.
After scurrying through the shop Angelo runs outside and encounters a crowd facing the dusty street. Nobody notices him until a somber faced woman glances at him and mumbles something to the crowd. Without a word the group separates. Two blood soaked forms contorted over a cart filled with bolts of cloth cause Angelo’s mind to spin out of control. As his senses convulse, something his father said flashes before him.
“Beware of men that revere wine, lust for power and kill to maintain it.”
Eyes wobbling, Angelo attempts to make sense of the grisly spectacle, an act so vile the entire town is outraged. Entering a dimension where escape seems impossible his legs give way. A dark shroud momentarily shields him from the terror. Collapsing, he succumbs to the horror preferring death to reality.
See Chapter 1 of excerpt from book soon to be on sale in AD BOOKSTORE.