Don Ricardo wanted a successor worthy of himself. Jorge would always be cocooned in the privileges of his class, hiding from his mediocrity in creature comforts. Penelope, the beautiful Penelope, was a woman, and therefore a treasure, not a treasurer. Julian, who had the soul of a poet, and therefore the soul of a murderer, fulfilled all the requirements. It was only a question of time.

Suddenly the full long wail of a ship’s horn surged through the open window and flooded the dim room – a cry of boundless, dark, demanding grief; pitch-black and glabrous as a whale’s back and burdened with all the passions of the tides, the memory of voyages beyond counting, the joys, the humiliations: the sea was screaming. Full of the glitter and the frenzy of night, the horn thundered in, conveying from the distant offing, from the dead center of the sea, a thirst for the dark nectar in the little room.

I knelt and locked the door. I locked the door locking the world and time outside. I stretched my body across the mattress and Saskia drew in close to me and placed her open hand on my chest, her mouth near my shoulder; her breath, my breath blew out the candle, and I held my lost Wanderess with tenderness until sweet sleep overcame us.

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