Description : A Shadow of Guilt
HE SHOULD BE in that coffin, and not his irrepressible best friend.
Gio Corretti stood in the shadow of the tall pine tree and watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground just a few feet away from where he was effectively hidden. The tight ball of ice firmly lodged in his gut was slowly spreading out to every extremity. He weed this even as he castigated himself for being a coward.
The small group of people around the coffin started to move, the priest’s final words of blessing lingering on the warm spring air along with the pungent scent of incense. It shouldn’t be warm, Gio suddenly realised, it shouldn’t be spring. The sea shouldn’t be twinkling benignly under a cerulean sky. He desperately wanted apocalyptic clouds to roll in off stormy waters, for everything to darken and for thunder and lightning to lash this place. To lash him to pieces.
He could hear the heartbreaking sound of Mario’s mother sobbing as she leant on her aged husband. The sound cut him in two. Gio would never have merited this outpouring of grief. The realisation was stark but brought with it no sense of self-pity.
In contrast, beside them with a stoically straight back stood their tall and narrow-shouldered daughter, Valentina. Her long chestnut hair was tied back in a plait and on her head was a black scarf. The ill-fitting black jacket and skirt she wore hinted at the coltish seventeen-year-old body underneath.
She didn’t have to look around for Gio to know every line...