Raulf, an Adventure of Sorts
RAULF a story of intrigue and courage. By Paul Audcent. Copyright 1999
I loved reading spy novels, especiously ones by Fleming and de Carre, so I thought I might try my
hand at one. I wrote this when we were building are house. Whenever it rained I wrote!
The bleached grass hissed as the wind tore over the rock-strewn hillside. Vincent watched the goats
slipping on the shale as they clambered forward searching for green stems, devouring leaves and
roots as they foraged toward the skeleton bushes. Their hooves clicked on the flattened rock as they
sought shelter from the wind and the thorny branches. Sustenance and a place to lie for the night
were what they sought. Vincent followed quietly behind, then pulled a tattered leather bag from his
shoulder, pulling it open and then laying out a canvas bag stuffed with dried grass in the lee of the
wind. Eyeing the dying sun, he wished Tanks was with him tonight but the dog had sprained a paw
on this same hillside two days ago and had been left at the farm. He checked his charges once they
had reached their chosen destination, then s lipped into the bag and slept.
Something awoke him, a shriek in the wind, unease in the herd, he rose quickly to check and count
them. A goat was worth a week of food, a pair of shoes, and a trip to Palermo and back for the
family. Again, down from far b elow, a wail and a gunshot.
Images of tragedy crossed his mind and grabbing the halter of the herd leader he strode quickly
down the rocky path toward the family fields far below.
He heard several vehicles thunder away, raising a brief cloud across the fields. He now ran, leaving
the herd to find their own way. He cut down the steep slope, jumping and leaping through the
pathway’s bends and raced to the farm. Scattered about, like dolls, was his own brother, Mario, the
tongue cut from his head a sickly b lack mess over the chest, Mario, tall and strong, unbent by
bullies or bandits. He ran to the squat house calling his mother, she lay pinioned by a knife through
her hand to the floor blood coursing down her chest. But she groaned and Vincent held her head in
his arms. She turned over and with the other hand wrenched the knife free.
“Mario”, she whispered hoarsely.
Vincent shook his head and started to weep. His Mother wrapped her weak arms around him.
“God in heaven” she cried, “Antonio…Antonio.”
“Papa is not here”
“Vincent go to the stable…Go at once”
Vincent propped his Mother up against the wall and hurtled out. He fell over Tanks, his dog, brave
carefree Tanks, shot and a crushed skull. He stood paralysed, breathing deeply in shock and hatred
for those that had done this to Tanks. O ld Cappello’s gift for helping at harvest. Tanks gone, his
mind reeled and he held the dog, still warm, but his mother called again to find his father, and half
running half crouching he reached the barn. His father lay in a pool of blood, badly beaten but as
Vincent knelt beside him he could hear a throaty guttural noise. He ran for the old blanket used for
the animals when they were sick, and he covered his Father up.
“Don’t move Father I will run to Cappello’s for help.”
“Your Mother?” the guttural voice wheezed.
“ A blade to the hand and blood at her front”
“And…and Mario…and your Tanks?”
“Both…” Vincent could not bring himself to say it.
“Go then, get Cappello, a Doctor for your Mother, quickly…Vincent hear me you must