OUTSIDE THE COURTYARD
“ Listen to me, little Bobby: you don’t have to go out of the courtyard at all! Do you understand? Not even to go after a hen, or a turkey, or a goose, or some other animal” Bobby saw Aunt Julie’s stern face at the window…He knew well that there was no questioning her orders. However, he dared to say ( reply) : “ But, aunt, the animals come out of the courtyard. WHY can’t I go out too?” “ Ah, my dear doll…They, the animals , are able to find their way to come back, my dear baby! Your are not able, instead!” His aunt shouted, pointing her index finger at him. Bobby had no choise but to lower his head, resigned, while his terrible aunt kept on yelling at him that he shouldn’t come out of the courtyard or he would have been punished. Aunt Julie, without stopping to scream, closed the window.
The white goose Gigia, the largest of the geese, which had a red feather in its tail, QUACQUERACQUANDO, with its swaying step, go out or, rather, slipped away from the courtyard to go eating grass in the meadow, which was just beyond the yard. He, Bobby, glanced at the windows and the front door of his house and, making sure that there was no one who could see him, he followed Gigia in the meadow. Come on, it was just two steps out of the courtyard…Oh, Bobby knew he had nothing to worry about going to the meadow bordering the courtyard, except , of course, to be scolding by his terrible aunt.
Beyond the meadow there was the road where even cars and other vehicles passed. Here, if anything, that road made him worried. He, Bobby, used to pass through that road in his aunt’s car, when she took him from home to school and from school to home , as it happened every day. He always felt worried, even if he was into the car, when he passed in that road. It was a rather narrow road , and even tractors, even trucks, even cranes passed through it. He was always worried that his aunt’s car could collide with one of those heavy and noisy vehicles.
Bobby, who had followed Gigia in(to) the meadow, despite his aunt prohibitions, while the great white goose with one single red feather in its tail, tore with its strong beak tufts of grass, that then greedly swallowed ( he) with an eye looked at the windows and the door of the house, and with the other he could not help but look at the road beyond the meadow. But no, what was he going to think…Gigia was interested in the meadow, the grass of the meadow , to gorge itself of fresh grass, (to fill up with fresh grass), it ( she) would never go beyond the meadow. To do what? Bobby kept repeating it ( this) to himself, while Gigia kept tearing off tufts of grass….since he knew that if the goose had gone over ( beyond) the meadow, he would have followed it ( her) even there, in the road where he was so afraid to pass, even when he was into the car of his aunt. And here it is, quite unexpectedly, Gigia, after having satisfied ( itself) with different varieties of herbs___clover, wild mint, chive, mallow and even lettuce___with its swaying ass, waving its tail, moved decisively ( decisive moved) crossing the meadow, without stopping , heading ( going) towards the road. He, Bobby, immobilized, astonished, stood looking at her, saying himself that oh, but sure, the goose would come back at the end of the meadow. Certainly Gigia would not have entered the road. When the big goose, come at the end of the meadow, quite unexpectedly, laid, very slowly, its webbed feet on the road, it seemed to Bobby to hear his aunt’s voice shouting his name: “ Booobby! Boooby!” He just gave a fleeting glance at the house___there was no one at the window or the door____then it was he who shouted : “ GIGIA! Where are you going?” The great white goose had now entered the road, it proceeded towards North, standing (moving) in the middle of the road. Gigia was in danger. He took off as fast as lightening to reach her ( it), not thinking about his terrible aunt anymore. Ah, Bobby didn’t know that Aunt Julie who, but sure took care of him , and she was very inflexible with her orders and prohibitions, which she called rules____you have to follow the rules, Bobby! You aren’t a wild beast, you are a little boy____he couldn’t even imagine , seeing her aunt so self confident, so sure, so enterprising, that for her too there were places, or environments, or situations in which she was overwhelmed by fear, a such strong fear which could even immobilized her. Now it just so happens that Aunt Julie did not notice that Bobby had dared to break her prohibition not to leave the courtyard since she was very worried, but indeed she was anguished, terrified . The next day she had to attend a funeral, and, here’s what really dismayed , but indeed terrified her to death : she would have to enter a funeral chapel, which was precisely one of the places that spread her out, took her breath away. She, Aunt Julie, could not refrain from entering that great, prestigious, very renowned family chapel, as it was the father of the majority shareholder of the company of which she was the top manager( director)who would be buried there. She( Aunt Julie) was so worried about what awaited her the next day, that hours passed before she realized that Bobby had not only come out the courtyard, but he had disappeared. When Aunt Julie noticed his missing Bobby had already come a long way in the company of Gigia. When he, seeing the great goose enter the road and stand in the middle of the road, ran to her, he had just had the time to prevent her ( it? Gigia) from being hit by a truck. He had risked of being run over too. Then he had picked up Gigia and walked towards V., which was the closest town to his(one). She, Gigia, protested, squirmed, pawed. Her (its) QUA QUA QUA had a shrilly, irritated sound. It was evident that she wanted , asked, to get back with her feet on the ground. But he, Bobby, didn’t trust to let her walk in the road, it would have been too risky for her. Besides he was not able to make the goose understand that she didn’t have to stay in the middle of the road. Ah, he would have needed a leash . But sure, geese like Gigia could also kept on a leash, as he had seen in television.
“ How strange” he thought, as he was walking with the big goose in his arms “ This road…when I drive through it with my aunt scares me so much…while now, that I’m doing it on foot, it doesn’t scare me at all”
When Aunt Julie realized that Bobby had disappeared, she did not immediately noticed that Gigia too had disappeared, as it was Mary, who was her handywoman rather than a housekeeper , who took care of the animals. ( the farmyard animals).
Bobby’s aunt, after reporting the disappearance of her nephew, immediately began to look for him, together Mary and her neighbors. Local boy scouts also joined them. But as much as they all looked for him, they could not find him. No trace of either Bobby or Gigia, that seemed to have disappeared into thin air. In the meantime it had become dark and the concern of his aunt, Mary and all those who were looking for Bobby grew more and more.
He, Bobby, in the company of Gigia, when it got dark, had sought shelter for the night. So he had entered the first door, indeed it was a very large and very high open door, that he had found, without worrying about whether to ask for permission or what building it was. It was only when that great door closed behind him, with a heavy, sinister thud, that Bobby, struggling to see in the almost total darkness, realized that it was an abandoned building, and therefore it had to be also inhabitated, probably there was no one. It could be dangerous to remain there, but he was very tired, sleepy. He didn’t feel like getting back on his way. So Bobby decided that he, indeed he and Gigia , would stay there for the night. The next morning he and the goose would get off and come back home. Bobby was about to fall asleep when he suddenly remembered the dull, sinister thud of the door closing behind him. He rushed to the door and tried to open it. The large, massive door did not open. Then Bobby started kicking and punching on the door, yelling at the top of his voice: “ Help! Help! I want to get out of here! Help! Let ( get) me out of here!” But the great door, despite his desperate shouted calls for help, remained closed. While Bobby kept raging with punches and kicks against the door, he felt himself grabbed by the scruff of the neck and left off ground. He couldn’t scream, since his throat tightened. Gigia let out a shrill moan ( cry), a kind of QUIRRQUIIICKRICKR. “ Ah, but well! We don’t have only a child! Ah! Ah! Very well! “ A powerful, very terrible voice thundered. “ Ah, the goose will be good for roasting! “ A dark, massive, imposing presence, that to him, who could barely catch a glimpse of it, in that darkness, appeared as a kind of large cluster or mountain, had materialized , as if by magic, beside Bobby. Of the face of that big one, who(m) he ( Bobby) rather could perceive than see, Bobby could see clearly only the white row of teeth, long and grinded in a frightening grimace. That kind of giant, whose grip he felt on his neck, had to have a hood on his head, that fell over his face.
Because it happens that the one where Bobby had entered with Gigia was not just any abandoned building. It had originally been a church. Then, when the church had been deconsecrated, it had become a hotel by hour which, however , had kept the altar, the baptismal font, the holy water fonts and other church furnishings. When the hotel by the hour also had been closed , the building was left in a state of neglect. It became a refuge for the homeless , but even for drug addicts and drug dealers. Until THEY had arrived. Yeah, THEY…there were so many rumors about them. There were those who said that it was a sect of fanatics who believed the end of the world was coming. Other people claimed instead they were magicians , real magicians, capable of doing real wonders, real miracles. And there were also rumors which said, murmuring, that it was a sect that practiced human sacrifices. Some of those who gathered in the former church and former hotel by the hour, had protested vehemently against the rumors which portrayed them as murderers, as criminals. Ah, they were all very respectable people, who gathered in that abandoned building because they considered it, indeed perceived it as AN OPEN PLACE par excellence, and therefore just what it needed for their spiritual research, for their meditation. Oh, it also will be an open space, people had thought, but then…why all the homeless people and the drug addicts , who frequented it, had disappeared since THEY arrived?
“ Help! Help! Leave me, you, ugly, very bad ogre!” meanwhile Bobby started shouting, who had regained his voice, and screaming, he also was kicking at that…huge mountain that was holding him by the scruff, and also had taken to touching him all over his body, giving him terrible pinches, that seemed he wanted to tear his flesh from bones. “ Oh, well, very well! The puppet is nice and firm ( beautiful firm), even pulpy! Gnam gnam! But sure, he too will be roasted with the goose! Ah! Ah! Ah! We are really lucky this night, brothers! It doesn’t happen often that we can taste young and fresh meat!” While Gigia, neck stretched, continued to squawk desperately, other hooded men arrived , and they too began to touch Bobby. “ Nice plump,yes…ah, what a soft, delicious meat!” they said smugly, greedily.
Yeah, despite all the rumors about them, no one had ever suspected that those who gathered in that abandoned building were cannibals, who could not always satisfy ….their food tastes. It wasn’t easy to find a human being…to cook. There were so many difficulties that most of the time they had to be content to fall back on the meat of….some other animal. No, it wasn’t at all easy to find someone, man or woman, preferably still young, who(m) they could cook as their liking and then enjoy in complete tranquility. In fact when someone disappeared, there was almost always those who started looking for him/ her. In order not to be suspected of having been to make the desparecido disappear____and until now everything had gone well for them____they had to make do with homeless people and drug addicts, who did not provide right the best quality of meat. A child then, until now it had never happened they could taste a child.
Bobby, in the hands of the cannibals, who continued to grope him( to palpate him), pleasing, all satisfied with his soft and firm flesh, kept struggling, pawing, shouting to get free of them. It must be said that the only hope ( possibility) that remained to the unfortunate child to save himself, that is not to end up cooked and eaten, this was represented by Gigia, which, with her cries (cackles), but they were real howls, sooner or later, would have attracted ( called) the attention of someone.
Meantime Aunt Julie, although worried about the disappearance of her nephew, she could not help but tremble at the thought of what waited her the next morning, when she should have entered ( should enter) nothing less than a funeral chapel. But despite the fear she was overwhelmed by, she could not even remotely imagine what would happen the next day after she entered the funeral chapel. Here, while the coffin of the deceased, Arthur Krisler,was put inside (into) the niche, preceded by a loud squawking, it entered Gigia. While everyone else was at least bewildered and even disturbed to see the great goose enter the funeral chapel, Aunt Julie felt relieved. If Gigia was safe and sound, Bobby had to be too. In the surprise and confusion caused by the completely impredictable arrival of the goose the coffin jumped. Then everyone started screaming that Mr. Arthur was not dead, that the coffin had to be reopened. When the coffin was reopened it could be seen that Arthur Krisler was undoubtedly dead.
Aunt Julie and Mary were now convinced that, since Gigia had come back, Bobby would also come back, he too safe and sound. They certainly couldn’t know or even imagine what had happened to Bobby, who had ended up in the hands of cannibals. So Aunt Julie and Mary could not even know that, just when he was about to be killed, to be soon after cooked and eaten, the child had escaped from that atrocious fate by pure chance. He had in fact fallen into a trap door which had suddenly opened on the floor of that abandoned building. A trap about which even the cannibals, on whose hands he had ended up, knew nothing.
Who knows what happened to Bobby later. Maybe he ended up in a sewer. But instead it could also be that he managed to get out of the ground and decided not to come back to his aunt, not to go back to the courtyard, but to walk around free and, perhaps, happy.