Friday, June 5, 2009

Invisible Meow

Prompt: Include this line in your story – “Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

Authors Note - This ties in with my recent Rromani stories and The Astonishing Adventures of Captain Juan.

The winds promise of autumn rustled at the tents opening, momentarily allowing the sweet perfumes of spices and candles burning from within to waft lazily outward.

Amongst the muddied field, brightly begarbed jugglers and acrobats practiced their art, laughing and jostling one another as their acts intruded on one another. A figure cloaked in a rough woven wool picked her way around the heavily trafficked areas trodden into deep mud, toward the tent. As she approached, the material door flung outward, the dark maw opening beckoning its visitor. With only a moments hesitation, she ducked her head and entered.

The sweet pervasive smells embraced Litizia as she shrugged off the scratchy ill made garment, allowing it to fall on the floor by the doorway. Blinking quickly to adjust her eyes to the dim interior as she glanced around the room and made her way towards the small table and chairs.

“Litizia. The years have been gracious to you.”

Margarina stepped out from the darkened folds in the tent to face the Italian noblewoman.

Litizias eyes darted away from the strong Rromani face before her. “I’ve come to you especially, for a glance.”

Margarina turned quickly, her wild hair and beaded shawl narrowly missing their target as they spun past Litizias face. With feline grace, she settled into one of the cushioned chairs at the table and smoothed the cloth with her long fingers. A tallow candle on the table beside her flickered uncertainly.

Litizia straighten her girdle and gathered her skirts to sit beside Margarina.

“Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

“Of course. I apologize.” stammered Litizia as she found her way to the other chair. “Even after all this time, you look..”

“You’ve come to view the future or to ask of a hidden answer. Please hold these cards and focus on what it is that you have come for.”

Margarinas plump lips pursed into a serious straight line across her face, the only indication of her true emotions as she handed over the well worn tarrochini cards.

Outside the tent and beyond the low indistinguishable murmurings of the reading, Gitano lent against Margarinas caravan, idly whittling a shape from a small piece of drift wood. Despite a full mornings strenuous practice with task master Victor, his nervous energy continued to spill outward. With a dozen tribes camped in close quarters on the grounds of the Piazza del Duomo, the air of expectancy and mystery ran electric. Everybody was waiting for something; but unsure of its form or of its arrival.

The tent door flung open suddenly, a disheveled figure hurriedly pulled on her cloak and nearly ran into one of the cart horses as it made its slow way across the sloshing mud
toward the pastures.

Litizias frightened eyes darted about as she clutched her cloak close to her chest and stumbled her way out of the encampment.

Continuing to whittle, Gitano shook his head and held an expression between frowning and smiling.

“You’re amused by what?” Thick swirls of rich fabric brushed up against his thigh.

“Margarina, you don’t have a cat.”

Thick hair fell over her face as she gave a sly smile. “It helps with the illusion – they expect it.”

“People, especially Christian nobility, have long memories. I don’t think you aught to encourage fear.”

Magarinas breath warmed Gitanos cheek, as she ran her fingers down the side of his face. “For someone so young, not of our blood and one who rejects all help, you have such leadership qualities our tribes need. Such a shame. Such a shame.”

Gitano gently shrugged her body away from him and gripped the knife he still held. “The hysteria, the witch hunts; were only a scant few generations ago and there are still many parts of this country we cannot travel. Our tribes have just been ejected from Spain. I’m just saying, its not over and perhaps you could walk a little gently about nobility. You didn’t see her face when she left your tent. She was terrified.”

“And yet people still seek us out for truth. The same ones who would condemn and burn us. I only showed her the truth, nothing else. The same offer is there for you, Gitano.”

Gitano captured her wandering hand and held it as gently as his anger would allow. “ I will find my own truth. The threat of Brothers or Enemys or whatever else your divination revealed; were all messages for the Rromani, not for me.”

“You are not afraid of me as others are.” Margarina tilted her head slightly to the side and allowed her dark curls to ripple over her shoulder. The glistening sun reflected from her jewelry as she stared hard at Gitano. “That’s good. You’ll need this courage to face your future.”


Jodi Cleghorn said...

The richness of your writing and the depth ... well I am speechless and covered in goose bumps.

You have definitely hit your groove with this story Annie. I am transported with ease back to this time, intrigued with the plot - I can even smell it. Edge of your seat reading!

I can't wait for the two stories to collide with each other. I think I will be writing some Captain Juan tonight.... the La G needs to make landfall soon in Italy so these stories can explode into each other.

Hats off to you Annie. Just brilliant! You should be very chuffed with where all this is going (for want of better words!)

M. D. Benoit said...

Interesting that the man named Gitano is not Romani (since they're basically synonym). Any particular meaning to that?

The tone is still good and credible. I would call this more of a sequel rather than a scene, a sort of hyphen. Cool.

You can read mine at

Unknown said...

This is a great story that can run and run with these characters. Love your descriptive content, really takes you back to that era. Look forward to see how it moves on.

Vanessa said...

Beautifully written as always. I always get lost in your scenes that touch all the senses.

rosey pinkerton said...

A thouroughly good piece. It is so decriptive that I felt I was there.

kajoemanis said...

beautifully written. like rosy said, I also felt that I was there witnessing the story flow.
Bravo, Annie!

Benjamin Solah said...

I liked the imagery and description, especially of the circus performers playing in the mud. I could see their bright colours contrasting so strongly.

Unknown said...

Thanks - and yes - it is a scene from my Rromani stories - which will also at some point run into the Captain Juan blog fiction. To answer your question MD - Gitano means Gypsy in the rromani language. In previous stories I have posted here I explore a little of his heritage.

Uncle Tee said...

Annie, thanks for the kind comments on my story. I love the way you write...I feel right there in the story.