Monday, August 5, 2013


I like the streets at night. No light. Few people. Feral cats. An occasional wandering ghost. A fresh corpse. Social types scurrying home from dinner parties surrounded by torch bearing (truncheons too) lackeys. Some recline in heavily curtained liters. It's quieter that way. Won't attract street gangs or 'the black hand.' Romans especially fear 'the black hand.' Some call it 'the red hand,' but they are misinformed. Everyone pays 'protection' in this town. Flows through the streets like water. Sure, they have sewers, but a lot of raw sewage never makes it that far.Imagine getting drowned in a reeking shit bucket. They do that, you know. 'The black hand' I mean. You can still feel the air on your arms. You can still feel the air on the back of your neck. But your face is buried in watery, loose turds. It burns your eyes. And after a few dozen heartbeats you can't hold your breath.... so you 'breathe.' Only what comes in isn't air. 

I saw them do it to a man. Young he was, maybe twenty three, twenty four. Caught him silently padding through the dark with one lackey and a sputtering torch. Must of been out gambling. Dice parlors are all over the place. Must have owed somebody too. You know, a lot of those senatorial and knightly families aren't as rich as you think they are. Lost plenty in the Dacia fiasco. Nobody wanted to go there. You got the Parthians right across the Euxine (Black) Sea. You got Bulgars and Slavic barbarians to the north. Superstitious natives. Swamp fever. And a really coarse, low, common, primitive type of lamia sanguine (vampire) too. Not at all like what we have in Rome. Big parcels of potentially choice land went begging. The empire had to give it to the troops and some of them are making a 'go' of it. I know all this because Clan Nesso knows it. You don't read about it in the broad sheets. In case you don't know, every district has a central square. And every square has a pillar... a big, wood pillar. That's where they go for news. Runners bring fresh sheets every day. Rip down the old ones and tack 'em up. Them what know their letters reads 'em. Them what don't bring a friend. But rich folks are privy to the real deal.... whispers on the dining couch and all that. 

But let me tell you what I saw 'the black hand' do to a man.... that young one, I mean.

Four guys grabbed him. The lackey ran away, screaming in the night. Then they threw him down on the cobbles. Must of broke his nose. I heard the crack. I saw the blood. He screamed, but they shoved some rag in his mouth. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they stretched him out, spread-eagle, and chopped off his hands. Shoved another rag in his mouth. Had to stuff it up real good, so he wouldn't bite through his tongue. Don't want him to die that fast. In fact, they want him to live. They want him to be a symbol... an instructional tool..... As if anybody has to be taught. Every dirty kid, at every dirty lunch counter both sides of the Tiber knows 'the black hand.' Oh, before I forget, they took his feet too..... Right through the ankles..... crack, smash, pop!! You should a seen his face. I never saw somebody go into shock like that, 'specially when they 'cupped' him.... Forced these copper things that look like cuffs, on over the stumps of his arms and legs. Real hot, they were too. Not red hot... but pretty close. Could hear the flesh sizzle as they locked in tight and contracted into place.

Stopped the bleeding though. Cauterized it and everything...
Click on this. LOOKEE! LOOKEE! LOOKEE! ... and join me on Twitter at @wilkravitz ... leave COMMENTS TOO. thanks.

No comments: