– Combat de samouraï – Ando Hiroshige
The duelists face one another, fresh snow at their feet The bamboo forest barren of life except for them, and no matter how cold it is, both are sweating. The cold sweat of anticipation and desire.
both masterless the ronins can be distinguished from far thanks to their garments, one has a white kimono with a red pink emblem design and the other has a blue lotus emblem in the back of his black kimono.
Their swords drawn and pointing to each other. they pace Ever so carefully reading each movement, predicting the strikes in their minds and with it, it’s counter and the reversal to that as well, their bodies switching from a stand to another, strategizing the next few steps before they are performed.
The challengers wait, their fist tight around their blades each knowing they will seal their fate. Blades that have ended many lives in countless challenges. Sunlight fading, the stand off consumes time. the white clothed opponent rushes forth; sword up, his black counter part ready to parry his attack and counter it, steps to the side in a a perfectly angle, allowing the white ronin to pass, and attacks in a forward cut across.
Having expected that move by the black ronin, risking his position and his life, he steps through and lift his sword to block his counter and prepare to retaliate. Blocking the counter he directs the sword to the master-less samurai’s arm in a downwards cut, slicing it off, pain and agony rip the silent air, but the loss of a limb would not deter him from his task. Trained to fight until his full demise, he re-positions himself and still in control of his right arm and with sword in hand he attacks with slash to faster than the eyes can see.
The white garbed swordsman moves towards him letting his opponent sword pass him inches from his shoulder, and with a kick to his adversary’s side he folds him and with a forthwith cut slices his enemy’s head clean from his body. Blood gushes everywhere, covering the snow in red, silence fills the air again and with the day coming to an end he stands inexpressive passive and unmatched.Unmoved by his triumph he starts to walk away leaving behind the seed of death he had sown.
I arrived at Leonardo Da Vinci international airport; it had been a long and exhausting flight, but regardless of my apprehension to flight I was brave, if only for the occasional jumps during turbulence.
It was a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, a bit of humidity but still very comfortable, the buzz of the people was very exciting, I could smell the welcoming scent of car exhaust and Italian food in the air, It brought me back to my childhood experiences, and no matter how tired I was, I could not help but to stare outside like a child going to the carnival for the first time.
I finally arrived at the hotel; it was a boutique hotel with small but comfortable rooms. The room was located in the 4th floor with windows overlooking the “Parco ninfeo di Nerone” it was rustically decorated like at small country home and equally comfortable, since I was exhausted i decide to take a nap the trip and the taxi ride had drained me.
Waking up up an hour before dusk, I decided to have a quick look before the light of day had finally diminish. I raced downstairs not waiting for the old elevator to arrive, determined to see the coliseum with the final rays of sunlight of the day.
I crossed the street towards the Park, it was a beautiful park full of cypress trees, it looked like the paintings of the old masters and we felt transported in time. As I walked towards the hill, I observed boys playing soccer, girls cheering and running, and lovers kissing as the evening draws near. Finally reaching the top, I leaned against an ancient wall and marveled the view of the Coliseum, one of the 8 wonders of the ancient world.
Sweat flows like a torrent down his forehead, his shirt is drenched and the heat makes his body shivers as if having hypothermia. His heart beats so fast that it feels as it may detach from his chest and go on it’s own.
lungs full of fluid, wheezing and aching make him feel like a drowning man. It feels much harder to spit it out the dry frothy saliva than swallowing it.
Legs throbbing and aching, so heavy he can barely contain his own weight, his sore feef burning with every step he takes but he presses on as he approaches his destination.
The sound of barking dogs draws near and even if freedom seems closer, the knowledge that they are gaining ground affects his psyche. Fear of being caught, and a sense of failure clouds his mind, but his determination to scape drives him to continue.
He finally reached his destination: a large fence, which looks larger than it did minutes ago when he first saw it. With barely any strength left in him, he takes a deep breath, squat and jumped as high as his aching legs would take him, with his clammy hands he holds to the top of the fence and with all his strength he tries to lift himself up and over the fence.
One of the hounds finally catches up to him and with its wide jaws snatches his foot and pulls him by, shaking its head right to left, jerking at him. It seems that he might not elude his get away after all.
A struck of luck…the dog jaws loosen up by the dogs own weight and the drool of its mouth, the man takes this opportunity to give all he has and pull himself over the fence and finally to the other side.
As he lands he looks back and sees the disappointed faces of the dogs that continue barking he smiles at them in defiance and takes a quiet walk away.