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Part 1 – Ch. 8/2 – Crime and Punishment – When The Devil Helps

Home » Part 1 – Ch. 8/2 – Crime and Punishment – When The Devil Helps

Part 1 – Ch. 8/2 – Crime and Punishment – When The Devil Helps

“When reason fails, the devil helps!” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

At The Stroke of Midnight

“You are so beautiful in the moon light. You always are…” Mauro’s voice was soft and pleasant. Serena couldn’t see his face, yet  she was pretty sure there was a tiny smile pasted on his beautiful lips. Thinking of which, Serena felt an urgent desire to melt away. Away from everything. Him mosltly. At least, to her accomodations, since she was imprisoned by this man in their own home.

Hence, without exchanging a word Serena headed towards the doorway hoping somehow to edge away, when Mauro switched on the light.

“You are naked!” Serena nearly jumped out of her skin, her face hot with embarassement.

“You are reading my mind!” He shooted her a radiant white smile.

“Of course, I don’t! No one does!” Serena’s voice appeared to be two notes squeakier than she intended.

Mauro raised his eyebrows. “The wine I mean, the wine… It’s midnight already, yet I couldn’t fall asleep. So I thought the glass of wine could help. I beg you an apolgy for being nude, but if you remember I like to sleep naked. And I wasn’t expecting to bump into you here now.” Mauro sounded convincing. “So, would you mind to share?”

When The Devil Helps

“I do!” Serena uttered on impulse with an explosion of delight. Then, recalling good manners and somehow mustering her voice back to normal, she trailed off defensively: “I mean I don’t. It’s ok, I guess… If only you are getting dressed immediately.”

“Done!” Mauro holded Serena’s gaze for a moment, then retraced in the darkness of the aisle. And, before Serena could take her breath, he was back to the kitchen wearing a black tight Armani shorts.

“Now, will you be so kind to give me the bottle and the corckscrew so that I can pour us some wine?” Serena realized she was still embracing the bottle with force as if it was a life buoy and there were floodwaters rising outside the window. On the other hand, the wine was a part of Serena’s initial plan to overcome her anxaiety. The anxaiety that now was turning into apocaliptic scenario in Serena’s head. With the devil himself playing the leading role.

Mauro is the devil. The devil in the flesh of “human being” which he is wearing as a carnival gown” suddenly Serena felt familiar dizziness in her head, legs, and all her body. “Why does he have this effect on me?” With a resentful sigh Serena passed Mauro the bottle of wine and the corckscrew.

Oh, what was it… Reason fails when… Definitely it had something to do with the devil…” as though searching for explanation, Serena was trying to reproduce in her head the phrase that struck her recently in “Crime and Punishment”. “Oh, I got it! “When reason fails, the devil helps!” Serena nearly jumped. Mauro glanced at her meaningfully, and then, with a deft movement, uncorcked the bottle in no time.

When Reason Fails

“Would you be so kind to pull a glass out of the cupboard for me too, please?” Mauro said coaxingly, his dazzling smile posted on his face.

Dumbly Serena obeyed. “Everytime, from the very first moment I’ve met him, I feel like a monkey hypnothized by the boa in his presence. First, I thought it was great love. Now, when I hate him, I should have become Mauro-proof. Yet, I haven’t! What is up with me? I never felt frightened or influenced by anyone. I hardly obeyed my parents. Yet, with this man beside me my mind gets paralized. My reason fails. As if my ability to think is subordinate to his. As if I’m a monkey hypnothized by boa. And the boa is going to swallow the monkey. I know he will, I just don’t know when”.

Serena’s thoughts were abruptly interrupted with the sound produced by the wine that Mauro just started pouring to her glass. “Say when!” he asked gentily.

…and of course, Serena didn’t. She didn’t say when because there was something about the possibility of more hovering in the air. More wine, more taste, more talk, more insight, more understanding, more game, more challenge, more love or more hatered, more anything…

Ever since she was a child, Serena had her own theory about knowing when to say “when”. She was figuring it as a barometer of “essential” and “desired”, a floating line that was entirely up to situation…

Now with Mauro standing right in front of her, all she wanted was more… Deep inside Serena wished her glass was bottomless.  “My reason fails“, she realized, her heart pounding.

When The Glass Is Bottomless

“So”, Mauro looked pleadingly at Serena who was thoughtfully sipping her wine. “Do you want to hear my side of the story?”

“You mean, about how did you get your marital amnesia?” Serena shooted back as if they were playing Ping-Pong.

“You know, each story has two sides!” said Mauro defensively.

“You’ll pour only more lies to shed some light on the situation. I don’t trust you. You are the devil!” Serena retorted, displaying coinfidence.

“Thank you. I assume that is exactly the reason why you prefer to be left in the dark?” Mauro’s eyes gleamed with a devilish twinkle.

Serena lifted her chin up, looking offended. “I was left in the dark! You did that to me!” she said forthrightly.

“Fair enough. But all ask you is the possibility to tell you my side of the story. You know, even the most violent, dangerous and hardened criminals are given the possibility to confess their crimes before being prosecuted…”

“Okay, I’m all ears”, with this words she bypassed Mauro and headed to the living room. Lights still off, Serena sank into a white leather chair gleaming in the dark. Slowly she made another sip of wine and glared at Mauro balefully. “So? Haven’t you have enough time to make up your version?” she said tartly. Mauro looked astonished.

The bottle in one hand and the glass half-full in the other, he followed her steps. Slowly Mauro set down on the parquette floor right in front of Serena, positioned the bottle in the moon beam creeping beside him and drained his glass in one gulp. Then, Mauro looked up and, as though making some inner resolution, adressed Serena. “So…”

To be continued…

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