It would go like this. On a late summer night, you would stop right before the Forest, the small one in the city’s outskirts. You would turn off the engine, go beyond the guardrail and stop on the clearing. There was complete silence.
You would stay there, on the weeds covered in piss, facing the Forest and looking around you to be sure you were alone. Then you would whistle, quite softly, in the darkness.
At that point, you knew something had already started to move through the trees. The summer breeze was whipping your cheeks and the salty sea smell would penetrate in your throat, while they came out of the deep blackness of the aligned pinetrees.
They would walk slowly, dragging their feet. Their stolen jewels would clink together like the ghosts’ shakles on the stone floor of the ancient British castles.
Everyone knew it and at the same time no one did. The figures that walked slowly, perfectly aware of the dread they instilled in their waiter, were gypsies.
They would sell you cocaine, enough to give you the energy to go back to the city and go ahead until dawn.
It would usually go like this, but once it didn’t.
At 3.33 of a black night of that sultry summer, the breeze whipped my face again, but together with the sea smell, it brought a heartwrenching scream, coming from the Forest.
The city was shocked. A guy had disappeared.
The day after, I went to the Forest. I knew it must have happened there. I saw that he had digged his heels in the sun-burnt weeds, waiting, as we all did. Then nothing else.
The ground didn’t bare any other trace.
It could have been a debt that hadn’t been settled, as many others. Or a dispute over something no one knew about.
I was there, facing the trees, with my hands digged into the pockets. In the daylight, the Forest wasn’t that scary anymore. The place was desolate, except from the cars darting on the street behind me. I felt the sweat running down my nape.
I shook my shoes to polish them the dust and straw off and I turned to go away.
Then I saw it.
A human eye placed accurately on the ground, exactly where I’d come from. As if someone had silently put it there, behind my shoulders.
It was motionless, vitreous, shining under the sun.