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The Curse of Knowing

A novel by

Rome present day

My name is Vittoria Armieri, I work at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and I know everything.
If you feel safe, well, you aren't. I know everything about you too, beginning with who you are and what your name is. I can tell where you are right now, what you do for a living and whom you fantasized about just minutes ago.
Like so many of the things that I know about you and anybody else, these are trivialities. These are facts that nobody cares about, least of all me. So, I treat them like gnats that are buzzing around. I wait for them to fly off, without even bothering to wave them away.
But things are different when I come across a murderer, like the guy on the bench opposite. I'm not talking about the older man with thick glasses: he is as clean as a whistle; in fact, he deserves compassion. At age twelve, he was beaten unconscious by three seniors of his boarding school and a year later he was raped by a janitor. He has always kept it from everyone, denying it even to himself. But it happened. I know it did.
Anyway, I was talking about the man sitting next to him, the guy in the blue coat who is now devouring his sandwich. His name is Domenico Morgelli and he's sixty-four. Back when he used to inflict on human beings the same savagery that he's now reserving for his food, he slaughtered a young man and a girl in their twenties. It's no coincidence that he was christened Dom the butcher by the whole of Rome at the time of his crime.
I turn my gaze towards the passersby here at Villa Borghese. Unaware of what this guy did, they stroll around the park, looking for some rays of sun in this insipid early autumn. Most of them are employees on their lunch breaks, but I can spot some students too. There's a pair of lovebirds among them. They're crossing the pathway now, preventing me from seeing the murderer for an instant. Their names are Giada and Marcello and they attend medical school. They're both twenty-four years old and have been together for a few weeks. Last Sunday they screwed without a condom; now she is living in anxiety, desperately waiting for her next period. From the way they are holding each other, they seem to have eight arms. Caught by their mutual love, they ignore everyone else, as if they're living in a world confined to themselves.
Yes, that's right: a world confined to themselves.
Oh, how I envy them that!
I dwell on the two lovers. They're walking a few yards from a man who could slice them up, like he did to that couple years ago, and they're practically naked in front of me. But oblivious as they are, they pay no attention to either of us.
As for me, a gloomy and withered figure, I'm not surprised that I go unnoticed by them or by anyone. I see my decay as a conquest, and my desire to hasten it exceeds by far any wish I may have of detaining it. With the misfortune I bear and the stage that I've now reached, my life as an outcast, ignored by everyone, is a blessing.
You wouldn't say it today, but forty years ago anyone would have dislocated their necks to crane at me. The black waves of my hair drank in their gazes like swirls of the sea. Not to talk about my eyes--an out-of-stock hue of blue, as my mother once said; despite being azure they were like two black holes in the way they swallowed the attention of everyone around me. In the summer, when I used to wear a suntan and little else, every step I took was like a whiplash: most people gasped with pleasure; some were eaten up by envy.
But why am I distracting myself with this decades-old nonsense when I'm facing this criminal, who could be just the man for the job?

Genre: Mystery

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Paperback Editions

July 2020 : UK Paperback

Title: The Curse of Knowing
Author(s): Aldo Cernuto
ISBN: 1-913340-01-5 / 978-1-913340-01-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Kindle Editions

July 2020 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Curse of Knowing
Author(s): Aldo Cernuto
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU