“La Vendetta”, Chapter Three

West side of front garden

West side of front garden


Chapter III. 

Signora Faini could hear Balsamo but could not respond.  It was as if she was made of wood, like the puppets before the rain drove her into the shelter of Count Swartzskya and into his arms.  Madonna!  Everything felt wooden, numb about her and her breath barely moved her bosom.  She could hear but she could not speak or move her limbs.  She was like a puppet awaiting the wires to animate her body.

The Count leaned over and his finger made a trail from throat to cleavage, his eyes staring intently, his face close enough to kiss her.  She could not avoid him and suddenly she felt his fleshy lips as he bit her mouth, drawing a little blood.  She could only register fear with her eyes.

The Count busied himself with a little squeeze here, a sharp pinch there, and Maria could not feel his hands molesting her.  She could only follow his behavior with a limited movement of her eyes.

“You know, Maria, his Holiness and you share a common desire.  He loves puppets too, just like you.  But he will never have the privilege of being one.” 

Signora Faini could hear him but could not respond.  Her mouth seemed frozen.

“Ah, sweet Maria, some paint to fix your pretty little face, a costume, some wires and you will be ready for a performance.  Tonight you will dance before the Doge and his guests.  Wonder if they will recognize you?  Ah, no matter, I will disguise you well enough.” 

Maria could hear him mumble and laugh, but it was as if from a far distance. 

 “It is a subtle and sharp little revenge of your good friend Signor Balsamo, no?  He will be sitting there, enjoying your puppet antics and your memory of this night will be his alone.” 

The Count stood and stretched, throwing his arms over his head.  It would be a long night and he had much work.  He regarded the little doll of a woman before him, still sitting in her chair, silent, only her eyes animated, and chuckled.

“Ah, Maria…some women learn lessons easily, and some take a bit of the twisting of the wires to get their attention.  Perhaps after tonight you will think again before you scorn your Signor Balsamo for his missing parts?” 

“Come, Maria, drink a bit more tea.  It will fortify you. Is it too bitter?  Here, let me add just a little more ‘special sugar’.  It will do the trick.” 

The Count obligingly held the delicate porcelain teacup to her rosy lips and filled her mouth with tea. She sputtered, but swallowed, her eyes filling with tears. 

Maria couldn’t protest, she had no voice.  Only the terror in her eyes registered she was even alive. 

“Ah, look Maria!  Your eyes are sparkling!  Tonight you will be the belladonna of the stage. Of course tomorrow the critics will say your acting was a bit ‘wooden’ but what do they know?”



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2013


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2 Responses to ““La Vendetta”, Chapter Three”

  1. TR Says:

    Wow, I was drawn in. She is a cruel woman who became a puppet of her own cruelty. I enjoyed reading La Vendetta. xxTR


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi TR!

    I’m so glad you did. This story is one of my first attempts at short story (around 2009) and it’s still one of my favorites. You are about the first reader to comment and I really thank you. Exactly…a cruel woman who became a puppet of her own cruelty.



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