The Rope | Riding With Cicciolina – A Hitchcockian Journey To Italy
Une nouvelle noire by Francesca. Photography by Reinfried Marass.
Be ever mindful, dear sir, that not all pretty faces have pretty intentions and not all lone travelers are lonesome. American Writer ‘Francesca’ takes you on a journey of revenge, lust, and sacrifice. What many would see as a stunning young woman turns out to be a cunning vixen. Left by her father too early in life, the victim of men and their lecherous eyes, scarred from years of broken hearts and lies, our darling Cicciolina takes to the road. With her suitcase in tow she hunts, patiently, innocently – driven by a well calculated plan. Taking a man’s car, his heart, and much more to make peace with the pagan Gods who haunt her night after night. In search of an oblation, a sacrificial lamb to cleanse her dark soul. A bare thigh or a thumb in the air can only lead to certain despair when you take a chance on beauty so fair that she must be too good to be true. If you have wheels that catch her eye and a selfish hunger that you can’t disguise, be warned, you will be next to find the burn that comes from meeting her rope.
A look of innocence required no effort on her part, so when it became a necessity, she thought nothing of it. That which comes naturally is often magnified exponentially, for better or for worse, without us even realizing it. All it takes is a little spark. In her case, worse seemed to own most days. This one started as any other, ready for escape, bored of the doldrums of everyday life. Waking to the taunting sneer of the sun as it celebrated freedom with a shining smile on its face, she rose from the bed on the wrong side as if to challenge the fates. Gathering up her effects, not in the least bit concerned of waking her lifeless companion or giving explanation, she stormed from the stale room, not quite big enough for two. Setting off to find a new adventure, keys in hand, she took to the open road with needs and no plan. If only the little Topolino and the road would have cooperated. Now she sits roadside, her thoughts as dark as her vixen eyes. No need to thumb a ride, she finds a spot in the shade and lets her curb appeal woo the right prey. The sultry breeze sticking angelic hairs to her damp neck only adding to her appeal. Seated on her case of secrets, waiting to catch the eye of the right passerby.
She was a cunning beauty, learning early that her impish charms could bring her any number of rewards. Started her life the apple of her father’s eye and for all the ways he adored her, he doomed her. While he refused to deny her, he spoiled her as rotten as an apple hung too long on the tree well into fall. When he disappeared before her 10th year the damage was beyond repair. In fact it was festering and putrid, beneath the stunning veil of youth. Sadness and anger the fertilizer for her growing orchard of mistrust, deceit and revenge. Revenge upon the entire species. Even before she was aware of her need to control men, she had a skill for cutting her eyes a certain way that would render any man senseless. She used that skill many times, and it fueled the darkest parts of her being. She found the complete mesmerized looks on their faces both disgusting and empowering.
The dust on the road kicked up just enough to cause her to squint back into reality. Surely someone would come along soon, if not she might be forced to nap. With far too much life out there to live, there was no time to waste with napping. This would not do. She had seen a little station a few miles back, surely there would be a young man there willing to help a damsel in distress. Or even better, a mature blue collar with rough hands and amorous gullibility. She’ll wait a bit longer, after all the shade casts just enough shadow to lend to her current state in an appealing way.
Her mind drifts, strolling through the path of potential suitors that could come calling. Her bewitching resplendence a consummate host, delivering wanderers, wonderers, travelers, and poets. Serving them to her in a bountiful buffet, feeding her ever increasing hunger for all of life’s vigor. First, was a love struck teenage boyfriend that defended what he believed to be her pristine honor, with a reputation ruining vigor. For no matter how many claims against his fair love, he refused to see her as anything more than a misunderstood martyr. So sad for her plight that he never failed to let her take out her woes behind the wheel of his treasured convertible. And on that late night when the cliff came too fast, she left him there smoldering and left their story to the past. Then came a college professor, so enamored and flattered by the adoration unabashedly cast upon him by this jewel, that his career was left in shambles and his heart a literary gold mine for the dark poetry he would write of her, for the rest of his days. He would miss her far more than the wheels she absconded with on her way out of his life.
Her seat was becoming a bit uncomfortable, after all this case was not meant for leisurely spells under shade trees. It was hard and heavy, not easy to carry. How she did love her treasure chest though. Often times she chose men and cars just because they could accommodate it, and avoided the same if they couldn’t. Standing slowly, a graceful stretch to match the most leisurely alley cat, she knelt beside her coffer. Maybe reorganizing her trinkets would help pass the time. Dragging it beneath the shade of the now sad little car, she sat in the dirt and kicked off her shoes. Pulling things from within placing them by her side, unpacking her memories, all the things that she hides. The delicate pearl-gripped pistol that she had never fired but she kept anyway because it felt good in her hand. Mementos from cities where she could never return, pieces of her past that any smart woman would burn. She kept them all, tucked among the silk and lace, her favorite, a dagger that had a special place. It fit in the lining, just inside the latch, so she could reach it with ease should a plan hatch. The rope that bound it all, that kept her secrets wrapped up tight, was the one thing that onlookers could see but few could truly know just how special it really was. Much more than a rope, a trusted tool, a friend to the end.
She had been tempted by this latest love to stay longer and demand more of her heart, but the weight of his ring on her finger pulled her under, and lust for his coveted little Fiat Belvedere, pushed her beyond conscious. She hadn’t even thought to feel a tinge of guilt, not even as the night grew dark and ghosts lined the road. He was likely in a drunken stupor by now, cursing her name, spewing a dangerous cocktail of venom and pain. And try as she may, she could feel nothing but disdain and the familiar need for a stronger frame. One with the cockiness to believe she could be tamed. She did enjoy the initial thrill of a unyielding man with a sharp tongue. How challenges of her will and tests of her body made her appear to be the weaker party, but actually mitigate his mastery without him even realizing it. For each time a women bends without breaking, a man is left in awe. He, so distracted by her soundness that he fails to catch himself as he falls. A quick flick of the wrist and the tables turn, she claims his heart, his soul to burn.
She heard her next suitor long before she saw him, the unmistakable whinny of a ‘Cavallino Rampante’ speeding toward her. It was as if a storm were brewing in the distance and sending a warning to those soon to be caught in its cross hairs. And just like that, the atmosphere was electric. A storm was coming, indeed. Complete with lightening, shooting up her spine and finding her lips with a dangerous smile. She had yet to see him, but she instinctively knew that the man behind the wheel of that sparkish GTO would be a rewarding mark and a pleasurable challenge to behold.
As the phantom grew closer, it was as if the earth vibrated. The dirt kicking up in a thick cloud, the suspense conjuring a new kind of excitement. She could only make out a blur of red and the distinct canary Ferrari badge and this was enough to force her into action. Gingerly she began placing the gimcracks away, and stood slowly, in a most refrained way. She was in the process of straightening her sundress, and trying to appear not to notice him, when she caught his attention and his foot found the brake. The car skidded on the gravel for a few feet before coming to an abrupt stop almost kissing her little Fiat. She bit her full lip to resist the urge to grin, cut her obsidian eyes and lowered her delicate chin. The introductions were short as she was so exhausted and overcome from these hours on the road, helpless and stunned. He rose valiantly to the call of shining knight, scooping her up into his chariot to her carnal delight. And as he began to load her things, from the Topolino and the ditch, she watched his muscles dance beneath his shirt, and began to savor this latest hitch.
The last few days have felt longer than most, the sweltering heat only adding length to the road, but he can’t recall a time when he was in better company. His journey began as a business trip headed in the other direction, but that was quickly altered with little persuasion. Now he found himself headed to the coast, the petal to the metal and his companion looking most breathtaking, every mile adding to her intoxicating allure. She hadn’t much to say, quiet and mysterious, as all exquisite things are. She was happy to let him fill the voids between them, both with his words and his hands, reaching for her thigh, his eyes stealing glance after glance. He was curious about her, it was true, but more so he was hungry, hungry for a taste of that spot just under her ear, the one that seemed to beckon him with the sweet smell of honey. Little did he know, this clueless stranger, that nothing going through his mind was a mystery to her. She knew what he was thinking, she knew that he was like all the others. A bee drawn to her nectar, not keen enough to realize that the more beautiful the flower, the sharper the thorn. She took great care to assure that her hem rode up just enough to keep him distracted, to shake him a bit, for his nervous chatter was quite revealing. He was not a knight after all, that much she knew. Now, she need only wait for the time to strike, and she knew it would come. He would prove his worth eventually, his true colors would show and she would be free to take control.
The inevitable came to fruition late into the fourth night of their Italian journey into the abyss. Pulling to the roadside, he slipped stealthily across the seat selling an infatuated boyish guise, fawning and pawing, whispering sweet nothings, his mouth descending and his grip intensifying. It didn’t take long for her to realize that he had become acquainted with her precious rope, wrapping it around her waist, eager to show her that she was now owned. With tender kisses and slight of hand, she was free of his power before his first command. She stretched her legs and straddled his lap, the rope at her will and his surrender in her grasp. His curiosity mingling with his desire, he allowed his hands to succumb to the ties that now bind. As a reward she leaned her head back and let him taste what she knew he craved, as her hand slipped behind the seat and into the case. He never heard the latch or saw the glint of the blade, as the stars blinked as to not witness and her dagger set him straight. She was off again, not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.
Though, she won’t be leaving this one in the ditch to waste, instead she’ll be taking him to her sacred place. She’ll grace him with the honor of a ride in her coffer and sink him in her pond as a special offer. There could be nothing more intimate, nothing more treasured, than filling the role of her offering to her pagan fathers, a gift meant to deter her lingering nightmares, another required lamb to keep the ghosts fed, to keep them beyond her.
About the Author
Francesca is an American writer whose pen name is derived from the character in the book and movie ‘The Bridges of Madison County’. In her writings, Francesca attempts to break through to the other side by stepping out of her everyday life and into the scenes and characters captured in photographs. Often reaching deep within her own dark shadowy places, she writes from a place of raw vulnerability, with a sensual edge. So, anywhere in the countryside, maybe in Iowa, maybe close to Des Moines, where people share a vanilla life, just right now while you read this, another dark fictional character might be given birth by her. And so, dear knight of the road, take care when a sweet hitchhiker attracts you on the crossroad — your name might already be written on Hell’s gate …