I will never die

“I will not die, Balé.”

“Not today.”

“Not now, nor ever.”

 

Lughe’s skin was dry, arid like the soil of the hill where she was hiding. Baleri lifted the rim of her skirt and gently stroked the tiny cracks along her right leg which opened on her ankle in a big bloody wound. If that wound never healed, it would have left her with the umpteenth scar. How long could all of this still last for? They were getting closer and closer and Baleri knew it was only a matter of time before they found her. “You shouldn’t have left the shack. Is the water I bring you no longer enough?” he told her off. “It was warm, Balè. And I am rotting in the sun”. Baleri sighed without saying a word, cleaned her wound and bandanged it. He kissed her goodbye on her forehead as he was used to do and slowly left the shack to go to town.  From the very moment his brother had asked him to reach him at the police station, Baleri had enormous black moths in his stomach.

 

He had to act fast. He parked at the feet of the mountain and took the shortest route at breathtaking speed. He was losing his memories at every stride: they overflew from his eyes, pushed by a bitter and rusty awareness which tangled his tongue in his mouth. He could see a younger Baleri being enchanted by the smell of helichrysum in Lughe’s hair and he asked God to forgive him for every instant of that refused love, a love hidden like an outlaw with no fatherland. When he arrived, the sun had left him just outside the shack, all alone with his fear. Just like any other day, he would pull the curtain aside and give her a small piece of his soul that then he would sewn firmly in the weft of her dress. As emotionally illiterate as she was, she would give him a loving and grateful look back: the usual stab of a fugitive who’s unable to love.

Baleri’s passion ended with the sound of two knees clashing on the floor: this is what woke him up. Something similar had happended when he proudly flushed her out but didn’t find the courage to shoot her.

“They found you and will be here at dawn, you need to leave!”

She sat down still visibly sleepy.

“There is not enough time to leave, not with this...” she said, pointing at the wound.

“If they catch you, they will put you away!”

“So make sure they won’t catch me alive, Balè.”

She had already asked him several times in the past, but only now Baleri realised that this would be the last time.

“How will I live if you die?” he asked grabbing her shoulders.

“I will never die, Balè” she replied with her damned wolf smile.

Perhaps he had already told her goodbye the same day they met, or the one after, when he realised that he loved a witch, a woman in exile who had chosen vengance over tears and freedom over life. That morning at dawn, he told her goodbye forever, kissing her forehead for the last time.

 

The Deputy Commissioner Gianuario Fresi arrived with a group of armed young men just when his brother was leaving the shack.

“Zunià, she is dead.” he told him.

“What did you do, Balé?”

“I killed her.”

“You should have waited for me!”

“Now it does not longer matter. She is dead anyway.” he whispered.

“No, damn it. She should have rotten in jail. Now she will become a myth and she will never...”

“... and she will never die.” Baleri interrupted.

“You cannot act like this in this job. You have no future.” the Deputy Commissioner snapped.

“No, I know.”

Zuniari was livid and he turned away to go towards the shack but something petriefied him: a shotgun shoke the hill and Baleri felt down, with a hole in his skull and his fingers still interlaced around the weapon.

“What did you do, Balè?” he mumbled quietly throwing himself on him “What did you do?”