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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Grant and Marsha are hospitalized after being knocked out by a gunman in a cathedral in Italy.
They find themselves in the middle of the Italian underworld of murder and diamonds.

Submitted: August 12, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 12, 2016




 A Short Story in Chapters

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Three


The doctor and Enrico conversed in a normal manner and their voices were at a reasonable level.

Marsha paid no attention to them and was concentrating on what glorious Italian cuisine she should order.  Enrico left within a few moments of talking with the doctor and the latter turned her attention back to Marsha.

While using a stethoscope and taking her blood pressure, VOl evel, pulse and a few other vitals, the doctor and Marsha talked like long-lost friends. They were about the same age and so the topics of their conversation were easily retrieved and offered into the mix.

Enrico returned in a few minutes with a dog-eared menu inside a cracked-plastic holder and, with ceremony, handed it to Marsha. He even managed a weak grin.

After pondering a couple of her favorite d ishes, Marsha chose, Enrico left to call the Russian Italianate chef, and the doctor left after a brief “see you later.”

Suddenly Marsha became aware of her loneliness; not only physically but also mentally. Boredom leaped at her throat; a twitch began to cause her thumbs and forefingers to rub together.

She swung her legs over the side of the bed and immediately her feet began to bang together in perfect rhythm with her metronomic feeling of boredom.

Then she became aware of the profound silence.

Something about being in a strange place in a strange town without the only person you knew in Italy by your side—wondering if he was all right—jabbed Marsha’s awareness and told her that she really was all alone

This thought suddenly disturbed her. She listened for any sound. The door to her room was closed and there were no windows.

Abruptly, she felt very strong and capable and ready to roll. 

Whatever they had given her for the bump on her head was working so well that she found it difficult to believe that the knock on her head was more than a glancing blow. She did black out but it hadn’t seemed either that long or that painful.

She felt for the bump on head and found only a small knot. The skin was unbroken.

This was surprisingly good news to Marsha and increased her twitchiness that resulted in her walking to the door.

It was locked.

Before knocking or calling out, Marsha realized that all she had on was a pair of panties and a hospital gown. She quickly turned and went to the tall green locker on the other side of her bed and opened it.

It was empty. She stood with her hand on the door and thought.

Then she remembered the high heels with the gold and red fabric.

Her conclusions drained the Italian tan form her face, brought on a chill in her feet and a wheelbarrow full of anxiety into her core.

Then she felt fear.

*  * *

Grant was seeing double and only the act of covering one eye permitted him to see the real proportions of his room.

The walls were a poverty-green shade, faded and chipping at the corners. The ceiling had been left white . . . or perhaps it had been painted white . . . and recently. There were no windows but the room was otherwise well lighted and rather cheery.

Grant finished the last of his profiteroles and downed the remainder of his Beaujolais. 

The doctor had  left his room moments before  after a very animated conversation with Grant about cathedrals, art and particularly the work of Giotto with special reference to his work  inside the Scrovegni Chapel, not ten miles from Frappiana.

The wine was first rate, the pasta with clams a triumph and the salad a poem.The profiteroles had topped all the rest in their sheer succulence.

Grant had been told that Marsha was in another facility where patients with less serious injuries were treated.

Grant, on the other hand, was here because he had suffered an extremely strong blow, mainly to the area of his frontal lobe. He was happy however, that his head did not hurt much and that the doctor had told him that he could find no signs of significant brain injury. 

Oddly, the doctor had not asked him if he remembered when and who had struck him. He had only remarked that some young boys playing a game in the field just north of the town limits had discovered Grant and Marsha and had run for help.

Grant looked about his room once more and once again, there was the Botticelli print, the gold-framed photograph of the Giotto Doors, a calendar with a scene of Tuscany over the letters and numbers of the particular month, two rather high shelves painted white, and a large hanging that looked to Grant like an old faded rug that might have belonged to the doctor’s mother but was probably fashioned by those same hands that produced the Bayeux Tapestry. 

“Sure.” Grant laughed aloud and continued smiling when realized that he had, once again, completed the tour of the walls. On the wooden floor, there was only a small mat in front of a washbasin. No mirror.

He sighed, and this shoved himself into a mood of thoughtfulness that required awareness.

He suddenly became aware that he was alone in a windowless room in a strange town in Italy. Moreover, Marsha was in another facility on the outskirts of the town close by the field where the boys had discovered the two of them.

Grant also noticed during this last look around his room—with some small sense of things not being quite right—that there was no telephone; not even a bell to ring for a nurse or the doctor. 

Then he realized hat he had not seen any nurses; or even one; only the doctor who had no name tag on his smock and had mumbled a name when they first shook hands.

At the time, Grant had barely woken up and he was seeing double; a double that was almost triple.

He sighed again and decided to see if he could stand. He did, while holding the bed stand with a fierce grip. He felt okay; even better than okay.

He decided to try to walk to the door, some twenty feet away. He managed this with ease. He turned the door handle. It caught and stopped.

It was locked.

He shrugged and returned to his bed and sat down.


He rose and went again to the door and rattled it. However, before he began any pounding he thought he had better have a think.

Something was missing.

He was a very brave man and so any fear was kicked out by his sense of strength; both physical and mental.

He particularly prided himself on his ingenuity.

“Hunh.” He began to review everything that he could remember from the moment he woke up.’

“Aaah,” aloud.

*  *  *


A stingingly hot sun was toasting the curving vista of coast at the foot of Naples.

Vito Petroni adjusted his sunglasses and turned to his companion.

“Well, what do you think Claudia; they are the best quality you have seen, yes?”

Claudia Shefferoni, tall, brunette and twenty-four, examined the diamonds on her ring in silence.

After she realized that her forty-seven year-old escort was waiting for a reply, she chose her words carefully.

“I’ve had better, Vito . . .  but they are exquisite all the same.”

Vito was unsure as to how he should respond to such a puzzling reply and simply smiled instead.

Claudia continued, “How many people had to die for these, Vito; the same as the last operation?”

Petroni was now convinced that despite Claudia’s arresting figure and extraordinary knowledge of all things carnal, she was still the street urchin he had rescued from the Scampia district just before she was to be drafted into the Camorra some eight years before.

“I have no idea. These were supposed to be from a legitimate source; found by luck in a cathedral in the north.That ‘s it.”

Petroni removed his eyes from Claudia’s full, spectacular, and very real breasts and sighed.

“But, then; who can you trust these days; all these youngsters murdering everyone; no organization.  . . . only mayhem.
He took another sip of his coffee and turned his view to the sparkling waters below.


End of Chapter Three

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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