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"Two more victims of the mysterious murder, panic in Venice", the front page said.
I threw the newspaper away, quite upset. Journalists always knew too much...
The police has been trying to solve the case for weeks, I’ve been trying to solve the case for weeks, to find the awful murder… but nothing.
There was no clue, no connection: the victims were all different, in age, sex, nationality, some Italians, some tourists and they didn't know each other, never even saw one another, as far as I was able to tell.
The only thing in common was the place: all of them were found outside the Arsenal, and all of the bodies were torn apart, with awful bites and scratches, as if some animal had attached them...
But since I wasn't even close to solve the case, my boss dismissed me and gave the case to that Venier guy, saying he would have been the man.
But I didn't give up, I would have find out what was happening around the Arsenale. My whole job depended on it and I grew obsessed with that case.
So I decided to lurk around the place and lie in wait until something happened.
The city was noisy, as it was Halloween and there was a party in piazza San Marco, but the Arsenale was a bit far from the centre so music and laughter was muffled there, echoed by the water of the canals.
-Are you under cover, signorina?- a voice said. I jumped up scared, as it was too close and I didn't hear anyone coming.
I turned to face a mask. A typical 1700 venetian mask, anything scary or spooky …
I blinked a few times -this is the police, don't mind me, the party is over there. And it’s Halloween, man, not Carnival- I told him quickly, hoping he would leave.
-yes, of course... so, you're looking for that killer, aren't you?-
-this is none of your business -
-you won't see anything from here then, you should go on the other side of the Piazza-
I was suddenly suspicious, in a split second I thought about my gun in the holster -excuse me, can you identify yourself? - I tried to look at his face through the mask but I was only able to see his hazel eyes.
-I'm Casanova, nice to meet you, police girl -
-yes, I get it, nice mask, but who are you?-
He shrugged -alright, I'm Giacomo -
-mm, whatever, Giacomo, please just let me work-
He was silent for a minute and I looked towards the Pizza from my spot.
I unwillingly thought he was right indeed...there probably was a better view on the other side...
I turned around and hurried towards a calle to get there. I ran as fast as I could through bridges and narrow streets, small enough to make me consider claustrophobia.
As I walked, suddenly soft notes spread through the night air, blending with the tickling echoes of my footsteps: it was a woman, singing some sad and unknown melody. I looked up to the facade of those old buildings: there were a few open windows, warm yellow light coming from them, but I couldn't tell which one the sad voice was coming from. I hurried away, as the song slowly died and the voice started to cry and sob…
When I reached the other side of the Piazza, I was surprised to see the weird man with the mask from before standing already there, looking from the exact spot he told me before.
-hey you can you please just let me work?-
- and who's stopping you?-
-how did you get here so fast?-
He shrugged -just walked -
I shook my head -anyway, did you hear that woman crying, while you were getting here?-
He frowned -a woman crying? Oh, that was probably Melusina-
-Melusina?-
-yes, don't you know the story?-
-no-
He puffed and started to talk - many years ago a young fisherman named Orio used to cast his nets round here and one night, when he was collecting them, he thought that they were unusually heavy, enough to make him struggle to drag them into his boat. But suddenly a voice from the water cried "set me free, I beg you! ". Orio dropped the net in fright and he saw two female hands grip the side of his boat and a girl's head pop up from the water soon after, with the fishing net dropped all over.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you! But would you please free me?"
Orio asked if she was a witch, but she laughed and told him she was a mermaid named Melusina, nothing more. She waved her long fish tail to prove it.
They talked until dawn and the Mermaid's beauty caught Orio's attention so much that he made her promise to return to the same spot the next day. And so she did.
They met there every night and the young men fell in love with Melusina and proposed several times. Eventually, Melusina agreed to give up her tail for human legs and Orio's love, but there was one condition: Orio should never see her on a Saturday. He agreed and they got married.
The couple was happy and the fisherman's nets were always filled and for a time all was well. Orio stayed away from home on Saturdays, but one day he couldn't help himself: he headed home early, curious, and in the kitchen he found a giant, green, horrible snake.
Scared, Orio snatched up a knife and stabbed it to death. But from the dying snake a familiar voice called after him for breaking their bargain: it was Melusina, she just had the time to explain that she had been cursed to become a snake on Saturday and then passed away.
Orio finally understood what he had done and his heart turned into stone. You can see it between the bricks near Portego dei Frati.
Anyway he buried Melusina at sea where they'd met, and you can hear her sing and cry in cold nights like these. So you probably heard her.-
I looked at the man quite annoyed -yes of course, the siren, nice story but you could have saved yourself the trouble...-
He frowned -why do you ask, if you don't want an answer? -
-I wanted a sensible answer, not a fairytale-
-well you're talking to Casanova, a fairytale myself- he touched his mask.
-yes that's right, Casanova, then why aren't you somewhere else seducing some nun or something? And let me do my job?-
-seducing nuns? Oh, that's just a misconception: I never did that. Well you know, once, truth be told, I really had a love affair with a young nun I fell in love with...But, when we were about to start the unholy, I noticed the weird ring I saw her and her sisters wear, when I asked what it meant she told me it was a symbol of their marriage with Christ.
After her words, I was so guilty I had to leave, I swear. And when I was coming back to my gondola, I saw a crucifix from the monastery and he nodded his head as if he was saying thank you. No more nuns after that-

I sighed -why are you so impossible? Now, please shut up and let me concentrate, there is some kind of killer and...-
-hush!- he said suddenly, pressing his fingers on my lips, not minding me and looking towards the Piazza. I shook my head angrily but then I saw what he meant.
Two young guys were there, I didn't saw them coming, as I was busy listening to those stories. They had spray cans and were drawing offensive words on a wall.
But when I focused, the scariest thing was actually the lion that was behind them.
I widened my eyes in shock: a solid lion, in the middle of the city, and it was roaring at them.
-what the...-
The two kids turned around scared and started to scream in full dread as they saw the animal.
Wait, so the killer was...a lion? I tried to give some meaning to the thought for a moment. Where was he hiding? Why nobody saw it before?
I didn't know what to do...call for backup maybe?
-just like I thought. .. look at the other statue...- the Casanova mask whispered beside me.
The other statue? What was he talking about? I glanced at the side of the Piazza and my knees were suddenly made of jelly. The lion shaped statue started to tremble and move, the marble mane suddenly turned into real fur and the teeth were as sharp as never before as the beast growled, softly walking close to the other lion.
One of the two kids passed out against the wall he was just painting on, the other one tried to run away but a scratchy lion claw made him reconsider.
-this needs to stop- the man beside me moved away from our hiding and walked inside the open space of the Piazza.
-what are you doing?- I whispered -you're going to get yourself killed!-
-and what do you plan to do? Call the statue vet?- he laughed. Then turned to the beast -hush, hush!-.
The lions turned to face him, I clenched my teeth, ready to see them jump and awfully eat him all at once.
But unexpectedly, the beasts only shook their head, nervous.
-good job, guys, now come on let them be, let's go back - the masked man pointed at the side of the Piazza, like a circus animal trainer.
I couldn't believe my eyes as the two lions threw another growl at the kids and then headed to jump on their pedestals. Once they got there, with one last roar, they froze in white marble.
Everything stood still for a moment in deafening silence.
I rushed off my hiding place into the Piazza, I ran closer to the statues: the lions where solid stone...how could they...?
In the meantime, the masked man turned to face the two kids: the one still awake was shaking, almost hiding behind the passed out one, he looked at the man before him in utter terror - w-what...w-w-was that...?- he bit his words between his shaking teeth.
The Casanova took one spray can from the floor and shook it, walking closer to the kids -I would never write on walls or monuments ever again, if I were you. As you just saw, in such an old city, statues tent to get easily offended by these new inventions... Now go away.- he handed the can to the guy but he didn't take it and carried his friend instead, trying to disappear as fast as he was able to.
The mask shrugged and threw the can in a trash can.
-what just happened? How did you do that?- I asked him.
He came closer to brush the white marble fur of the lions.
-oh, it's just that sometimes spirits are more willing to walk free: those kids were ruining city monuments and these lions are so old they got such a bad temper through the centuries…you know, they come form Athens…-
-but they killed people!-
-And the lions can't stand vandalism: all of those people damaged the city somehow. We have always lived here, we need to protect home, it's just that each one of us has its own way, I'm not saying it's right.-
-what spirits? But...how did you turn them back to stone? Are they...coming back again?-
He shrugged again -no, they won't come back. Unless something make them mad again - He laughed -thank you for helping the city, police girl, you just took down a gang of city criminals. Goodbye, dear- then started to walk away towards the end of the Piazza.
-but...you said "we"? Who are you?- I asked
-I already told you that, signorina- he pulled up his hat for a second.
He walked into a calle and turned around the corner, disappearing from my sight.
I threw one last glance at the marble lion's blank stare and ran after him, turning at the same corner.
When I rushed over it, I checked both side and glanced at the nearby bridges, too, but the street was empty. There was nobody there, only the far, soft Melusina's singing voice...

art, history, and rage image dark, lion, and night image lion, sculpture, and statue image venice, gondola, and italy image adventure, ocean, and travel image Image by Minionforever

Playlist:
- Vindata - Wide Awake (feat. Kenzie May)

be careful when you walk in Venice at night :) I rewrote some old legends, I hope the ghosts won't mind it and I hope you liked it!
I love you and thank you so much for reading :)
Juliet ~♥