BLOOD ON THE SNOW
It was so terribly cold, snow was falling and it was already dark. Teddy walked on the snow-covered sidewalk and dug his feet into the snow, every now and then he slipped to the ground. He fled the house miraculously escaping the fury of his father who had stabbed his mother and slit the throat of his little sister, born a few days ago. After raging at his mother and his sister, his father chased him throughout the house with the knife in his hand. Teddy had first managed to hide in the cellar and then when it seemed to him that his father was no longer looking for him, he had fled the house, starting to run at breakneck speed. Luckily the snow that continued to fall covered the footprints and traces of blood he left, since so much of his house was smeared with blood that he had trampled. He kept sinking his feet into the snow and was drenched in the snow that kept falling. He had run a lot ( for a long time) falling and getting up in the snow to get to the city from the remote area of the countryside where he lived. He was very cold and also hungry. There, on the sidewalk no one seemed to notice him, not the rare pedestrians who went in and out of the bars, restaurants, and cinemas, not the cars passing by the street. Teddy to get attention went into the middle of the street, slipped, and was run over by a car. Only then they noticed him. He was transported to the hospital where he lay immobilized in bed for days.
When he could get out of bed he was uncertain about walking and movements. His father was in jail and he kept shouting that he should have killed his son too. Teddy was taken to an orphan and abandoned children’s home. Where there were no rooms reserved for the children hosted there who all slept in a large room with over a hundred beds. Life in that institute was hard. In addition to the school, being very strict _____it also included corporal punishment ___all the guest boys had to work in a tannery that was part of the institute. The boys spent eight hours a day tanning skins, with their hands in the acid and breathing the tanning fumes. Many of them fell ill, and some even died. After the death of one of the older boys, Thomas, who had been a stout boy with a dark complexion, Teddy found in his hands pieces of skin to be tanned much thinner than the calfskin he had accustomed to tan. He remembered the gash in the throat of his newborn sister his father had killed. He didn’t tell anyone about that different skin but he couldn’t help but think it was Thomas’s skin ….Yes, he had been skinned after he died. In fact, none of them had seen Thomas’s body lying down in the coffin after he was dead and he was buried none of them knew where. Teddy thought that after skinning him they cremated him.
When Thomas became ill from the acid fumes breathed in the tannery he wasn’t so afraid of dying as he getting skinned after he was dead. Even though he was very sick he said to himself that he absolutely had to escape from the institute in order not to meet the fate that had befallen Thomas and which terrified him. It was not easy to escape but with great effort and caution, he managed to do it at night, when he hoped everyone was asleep there in the institute. Indeed some of his companions in the large dormitory were not sleeping and saw him leave. But they assured him they would not have mentioned it to anyone of the staff of the institute. Of course, they said to Teddy that he had to be crazy to escape in his very bad conditions. Yeah, they didn’t know what would happen to him if he died there: he would be skinned and his skin would be tanned.
It was snowing and freezing cold even the night that Teddy, seriously ill, ran away from the institute. And he didn’t know where to look for help. Near the institute, there was a church where the boys were taken to Mass on Sundays, but the church was closed at night.
After all there in the city, even if he had met someone, no one had paid attention to him. And then ( besides) he didn’t care about being treated and being able to heal. He know he was going to die. All he cared about was making sure he didn’t be skinned after he died. So it was that drenched in snow, coughing horribly, he walked to the cemetery where his mother and sister were buried. He wanted to die there in the cemetery to be with them forever. But he was still afraid: how could he be sure of not being skinned after he died? Those of the institute would have found him even when he was dead and would have had no hesitation about skinning him even if he had died in the cemetery.
What Teddy didn’t know was that his father had escaped from prison and was looking for him, indeed he was hunting him to complete the extermination of his family. Of course, the police were chasing Teddy’s father who didn’t know his son had escaped from the institute that night. So he planned to break into the institute armed to kill his son. It didn’t matter if they caught him afterward. Meanwhile, Teddy dragged himself more and more battered in the night, under the snow that continued to fall. At the institute, they would have noticed his escape only in the morning. He absolutely had to reach the cemetery before daylight and they set out on his trail. By now he was dragging on all fours, more and more soaked, more and more exhausted. The poor boy managed to reach the cemetery as it was dawning and dragged himself before the grave of his mother and his sister. What peace! Now he was with them…he could die. Teddy fell to the ground and expired as his mother and little sister appeared in the sky, holding out his hands to him. Teddy died convinced that they would take his body to heaven, so they could not skin him. In the meanwhile, Teddy’s father burst into the institute and started shouting furiously because his son had escaped.