"It will be an old door," Ludovica says as Davide and I rush after her through the maze of foggy alleys. "Doors with history are dangerous things, just so you know. The longer the history, the more layers of possibilities are available once you pass the threshold."
"I've gone through old doors before and nothing happened to me," Davide says dismissively.
"Most human beings are like a radio tuned onto a single channel. Reality is many things happening at once, but you're lucky enough to know only one wavelength of occurrences."
"This is like parallel worlds?" I ask.
"No. There's only this world, it's just bigger and wider than you can comprehend."
We all duck aside into a tall gateway to allow the passage of a car, tires roaring on the cobblestones and sounding dully in the fog.
"We're just to go around randomly opening doors?" Davide asks.
"There will be only one door to open," Ludovica answers as we continue past a pizzeria that's closing up for the night, the smell of baking dough and tomato sauce still flooding the cold air.
I remember with a jab how Chiara, Alessandro, Mattia and I had last eaten in that particular pizzeria only a few months ago. The distance from that memory is so big it feels as if it happened to a different person. The person I had been back then is gone.
"It's somewhere here," Ludovica says, stopping by the little piazza by the San Teoadoro Basilica.
I look at all the possible doors: there's a big, wooden double door to an apartment building with a small, rectangular pedestrian door cut out on the right side, and then, next to it, the side door to the basilica. Beyond that, I could see another apartment building door through an adjacent alley.
Ludovica's not looking at any of the doors. Her eyes are firmly locked on me. "Well?"
"Am I supposed to feel something?"
"I think so," Ludovica says, pinching her chin.
"You think?" Davide is making it his job to doubt her at every turn.
But she doesn't waver. "Yes, I think. You should try it sometime... ah, but it might be too painful for you."
"I don't feel anything in particular about these doors," I say.
"Ignore the church," she says. "But do neither of these other doors make you, I don't know, tingle?"
"Definitely no tingling."
"How about a general direction?" Ludovica points to the narrow alley breaking away from the little piazza. I take a few experimental steps and shake my head.
"Hmm... We need to expand the radius, then," she says, pressing the palms of her hands together, eyes squinted like always as she trudges forwards towards the front door of the basilica. Me and Davide follow. "We'll just go back to the beginning and try to feel up all the doors that surround this piazza —"
"We didn't come from this direction," Davide says making Ludovica stop short before the stairs of the basilica. Even in the foggy, orange lamplight, I could see colour flooding her cheeks. So there is something she's embarrassed about.
"Night isn't the best time for my eyes," she mumbles.
I'm staring at the doorway of a building right across from the basilica's front entrance. Its facade is clearly ancient, with intricate stone reliefs framing the square double doors. Then I laugh when I realise what the reliefs are showing.
YOU ARE READING
The Thirteenth Courtyard - Updating new draftFantasy
LAST AIRBENDER meets STRANGER THINGS set in a small town in Italy. After his best friend's murder, Filippo escapes grief when he discovers he could fly. But he'll have to stay grounded and accept the help of Ludovica, a strange albino girl, to unco...