It was a dark and stormy night. I watched everything from the filthy window of the inn where we were sheltered, and sighed. The rain and the wind slapped everything, I saw the cornfields swaying beyond the narrow confines of the tiny village where we were staying. The shutters of the houses – many abandoned – slammed loudly against the walls, and a disturbing and persistent whistle passed through the structure as if it was about to collapse. It was me, my travel companion, some old drunkard sitting or lying at the table and the innkeeper snoring quietly next to the lit fireplace. At a certain point, the slamming of the sign woke him up, and looking around with bleary eyes I saw him scrutinizing us carefully. My nerves were on the edge of my skin, and the blow had made me jump; my travel companion, on the other hand, seemed to ignore everything, he stayed by the fireplace wrapped in his long overcoat. The host approached us. But he was looking at him, more than at me; on the contrary, he seemed to involve me as a measure of courtesy towards him.
<Who?> The anxiety devoured me, and those cryptic words could only contribute to that ghostly atmosphere. Instinctively I pulled my jacket around me: I was shivering from the cold.
he said, gesturing with his head at the horrible wooden sign that swayed off the pole just like a miniature hanged man, the rope tied around his neck. I muttered, but he kept ignoring me.
I didn’t know if I preferred his story or that frozen silence, which was entering my bones like the whisper of a ghost.
I nodded, and I saw him just catch the gesture, while he was preparing to sing in a hoarse and chanting voice, on the notes of old ballads but with new words, never heard of.
He grinned, while next to me my travel companion bowed his head, as if sleeping or thinking. the old man admitted, smoothing his long white mustache.
The storm raged around us, but I didn’t care. He added between his lips And then went back to singing.
Was it me, or was the light really going down?
The tone of the ballad became more and more pressing, more like a tarantella than a melancholy song, from a stormy day, and I felt more and more taken and everything was more and more dark. I couldn’t even see my partner by my side anymore.
And when the song ended, there it was: the man who was dangling in his long cloak, from the post of the inn.