THE FACE IN THE DARK ROOM
Mark Ross, a bank clerk , liked very much taking pictures. He was a real enthusiast of the shot. Indeed it can be said that he couldn’t help but photograph. At home he had a well- equipped laboratory for developing the photos he took during his travels , during the holidays ( vacations), but even those he took on the street of his city every day as soon as he could, as soon as he glimpsed someone or something to frame, to capture in a photo.
So it was ( had been) a more than welcome surprise ,even exciting, that roll of photos which he happened to find, completely by chance. Where Mark had found it, in a ditch among brambles and scrubs, had soon given him hope ___oh , what a heartbeat! ___that one of those shots could have captured something very special, indeed even SOMEONE of whom almost everyone was wondering what face he had , ( someone of whom everyone was also trying to guess what face he could have.).In fact the ditch where he had found the roll of film was near the pitch where a girl and a boy, little more than teenager, who had camped in a tent, had been killed a few days before. Mark Ross knew what he should have done with that roll of film. He should have taken it immediately to the police involved in the investigation of that double crime. All the more so since both newspapers and televisions had said that a photographic camera had been found in the tent of the two young people killed, but the film had not been found, which yet had to have been there. Since it could not be assumed that Christine and David, the two young killed, had not taken photographs during their journey, the film had to have been taken away by those who had killed them. Finding that roll of film would have been of decisive importance in discovering who had killed that very young couple. Even if it had not been said explicitly, it was understood that it was implied that there was the possibility that among the photos contained in that roll of film there was also that of the one ( the person) who had killed Christine and David.
And yet, although he knew well how he should have behaved, Mark Ross couldn’t resist the temptation to develop the photos of that roll of film. He hoped precisely ___oh, it was a hope which made him all trilling with the emotion ____that among the shots the two young people had fixed on the film (roll of film) there was also the one that had nailed, that is framed their murderer, who had killed them ( by) shooting them with a 23 caliber pistol and then he had also stabbed them , when they were by now in the limine vitae, and even when they were dead, he had raged on their bodies with a big knife and a screwdriver.
He, who had been already trembling for ( with) the emotion holding that roll he had just found in his hand, he had entered the dark room that he felt as if he couldn’t stay into his skin for the impatience to see those shots, and to develop the photos. Mark Ross , he wasn’t even in the slightest doubt that the roll couldn’t contain any photo or that it could be someone else’s roll, not that of the two young people killed, or rather slaughtered, as( It) had been said.
The photos were 19. In almost all of them they, Christine and David were framed, or one of the two or both. Often they appeared ( were framed) against the background of beaches or of wide plains surmounted by high mountains.
The two young ( people), although not yet twenty, were tireless travelers. Christine was from Amsterdam and David was from Prague. They had met in Hyeres, in one of the campsites of the small peninsula. There they had decided to continue their journey ( trip) together, moving now, by foot, now by train, now even by hitchhiking . In Hyeres, where they had met, a German boy and a German girl , who had pitched their tent outside of the campsite, on a hill that offered a wonderful view of the sea and the cliff, had been killed inside their tent. They too had been killing by shooting and then they had been stabbed. Their bloody bodies had been put inside the sleeping bag, indeed they had been packed into the sleeping bag. It had been a crime that had scared even those who stayed ( were) in tent inside a campsite. Christine and David had decided to leave, to come back on the road a little after that double crime. It took ( had taken) them 11 days to get to Collefiorito , a charming little town in central Italy, which they had seen only on television and in photos when, a few years earlier it had been destroyed by the earthquake. Before pitching their tent on a pitch near the wood, Christine and David had gone walking around in the village. They had also entered the church, still cluttered with scaffolding for the restoration work in progress. The façade of the church, dating back to the early 1300s, had been rebuilt after the disaster of the earthquake. And also the roof and the supporting structures of the old building had been put back in place, that is, largely rebuilt, but the frescos on the walls of the church still needed a careful, meticulous restoration work in order to be visible again.
One of the photos showed ( portrayed ) the girl and the boy with the façade of the church in the background, while a tall, massive man, in the foreground, was walking towards them. Of this man, elegantly dressed, Mark could not see the face, as he had been framed from behind. By (from) his step walking forward, by the wide gesture of his arm outstretched forward towards the two young people, it seemed that he was going towards them. Perhaps he, with his wide gesture of his arm, was greeting them. Mark Ross kept staring the imposing size of that man, whose face, damnation, he couldn’t see. Who was that tall and big man? Was he someone the two young people had met in Collefiorito , or, was he someone they already knew? Was he someone who was waiting for them in Collefiorito? Mark kept wondering.
The afternoon they had come to Collefiorito Christine and David had gone in other places, besides the church. The shopkeepers of a grocery store remembered that the two young had gone to buy bread and fruit. They had bought white grapes. There were inhabitants of Collefiorito
who remembered her, the girl, as she was walking through ( along) the streets of their little town, with A BIG BUNCH Of WHITE GRAPES in her hand. Christine and David, that same afternoon, had also gone to the florist to buy a small bouquet of flowers, perhaps carnations, perhaps roses. The florist had said that she couldn’t remember exactly what flowers they had bought. She only remembered that they were RED FLOWERS, a small bunch of red flowers. But what a strange, while there were not a few people, there in Collefiorito, who remembered the girl who walked holding the bunch of white grapes in her hand, there was no one who remembered to have seen the bouquet of flowers, red flowers, that the two young had bought there, in Collefiorito, a little after their arrival. After the killing of the two young newspapers and television had also talked of that bouquet of red flowers of which, except the florist, there in Collefiorito, no one seemed to know anything. It was said that Christine and David might have bought those RED flowers to bring them to someone who had invited them, someone who they would have met.
There were ( had been ) those who thought ( said) that they, Christine and David , had bought the bouquet of red flowers probably since they intended to go to the great party which would take place that night in the big villa , not far from the pitch where they two have been killed that same night___yes, the same night of the great party___that was the seat of the renowned community , the Venerablilium fratrum Sacrosanctae Misericordiae cohors. But the Supreme Regent of the Sacrosanctae Misericordiae cohors, don Alonso de Castile, had claimed but no, the two unfortunate young, oh, but they had not gone to their party. And he, the Excellent Supreme Regent of such a holy community, had even assured that no one of them, of the Venerabili fratres of the community , had even seen the two poor, unfortunate young people, whose so cruel fate had so much pained they all , the Brothers of the Holy Community.
Who had killed the two very young globetrotters? Mark, as many people, kept wondering. Had he been a maniac who struck at ransom and that time it had been their turn, only by chance? Or had he been someone who had wanted to kill them? Perhaps someone who believed also to have some valid reason to kill them ? He, Mark Ross, was among those who thought that, whoever had killed the two young globetrotters, whether he had followed them on their journey to Collefiorito, whether he had met them only after they had arrived there, in Collefiorito, he, however had wanted to kill them.
There were other photos taken in Collefiorito. In one the two young friends were coming out of a bar. She, Christine , had something in her hand…but no, it wasn’t a bunch of grapes or a bouquet of flowers. It looked more like a little toy, a tiny dog attached to a chain, perhaps a key ring. In another photo you can see David while he was setting up the tent in the pitch… What a strange…lying on the ground, under David’s right foot, there was a hammer. Under the hammer there was something red that looked just like a blood stain. Mark, driven by curiosity ( intrigued) enlarged the detail. The hammer next to David’s foot was resting on something that looked like a piece of red cloth, but was instead a petal, perhaps a rose petal.
Mark watched with great attention the photos one by one, even those taken before the two friends arrived in Collefiorito, focusing his attention above all on the faces of the people who appeared in those photos In some photos you could see people crowing a square, or people walking down the street, but they were photos taken to frame a place, not paying attention to the people who were in that place. This to mean that the others ( than they two) appeared in the two young’s photos, did not seem to be in habitual relationships, much less in friendship with Chostine and David. They seemed all people who had entered the photos ( had been framed), since they were in the square , or in the street, or next to a façade which the two young had wanted to photograph. Therefore Mark Ross kept scrutinizing carefully the faces, but also the builds of the men who appeared in those photos. Since what he really was looking for (it) was to give a face to the tall and massive man , with an almost imposing physique, who in that photo (with the face of the church in background) seemed to be going to meet them, Christine and David. Ah he, Mark, had managed to find out, even guess the face of that man. Among the men pictured in those photos there were two with a massive and rather tall physique,. One, in mason’s clothes, had been photographed in the street, he had a headdress made from a newspaper and a towel in his hand. The other ( man) was sitting at a table in front of the bar from which Christine and David were going out. He was dressed in a suit and tie , and was drinking from a big mug….and , yes, he could be the man that in the other photo, seemed he was going to meet the two young people. But no, it was not possible, Mark thought soon after, since the photo with the man sitting at a table ( in front of the bar)had been taken an hour after the photo with the church in the background ( and the big man who seemed to be going to meet the two young friends. ) But between the man sitting in front of the bar and the two young ( people) coming out of the bar there were no signs of greetings, nor signs that they knew each other.
Mark Ross, he had heard of a procedure, still in an experimental phase , through which it would have been possible to see the face of someone who had been framed from behind. He looked for information on which procedure, even if it seemed impossible to him. Then he procured the necessary equipment and, locked in the dark room, he began to intervene on the figure of that tall and massive man who, in the photo with the façade of the church in the background, seemed going to meet Christine and David. Mark remained closed in the dark room for days and days, trying and trying again , but in vain for many times. Until the figure of that imposing man seemed to turn towards him. But , instead of having only one face, a multitude of faces appeared. They were all faces of people of Collefiorito.