Anchor Island

Pietro heaved another bucket of water over the side of his family’s red and white fishing boat. 

“I didn’t think we’d make it through that storm alive.” 

His younger brother, Nicolo, slumped against the boat’s narrow cabin, his dark hair soaked. “We’re lost. Papa will kill us! I warned you about the storm clouds, but of course, you wouldn’t listen.” 

Nicolo was right, but Pietro had persuaded him to go out fishing for the day because their family needed the money. He shook out his blond hair and shrugged.

“It was a short storm. We can’t have gone that far off course. When the sky clears, I bet we’ll see Sorrento.” 

Pietro took the helm while Nicolo rummaged for a chart. “Non preoccuparti,” 

Pietro said. “Don’t worry, I see land ahead!” 

Nicolo looked up to see an unfamiliar island with an odd structure straight ahead.

“That doesn’t look like home,” he said, but Pietro already had the boat speeding toward the island. 

“There may be someone there who could help us. Or at least una mappa for you.”

As the boat drew closer, the structure took the shape of a derelict house. 

Reckless vines invaded the crumbling walls, the window panes were either shattered or stained, and the wooden front door was falling off its hinges. 

“I doubt there’s anyone there,” Nicolo said as they pulled up to the shore. “Can we turn around, per favore?” 

Pietro was already swinging his legs over the boat’s side. “Drop the anchor.” Once ashore, he made his way up to the house. 

Nicolo hesitated, but he too, was curious and clambered out of the boat.
Pietro shoved aside the decaying door, and the two stepped inside the house. 

The red wallpaper of the front hall was peeling and flaking onto the rough tile floor. 

A leather sofa and a trio of upholstered chairs were lying on their sides, stuffing spilling out of torn cushions.

Pietro opened the door beneath the spiraling staircase, and Nicolo followed him into what appeared to be a demolished office. 

Torn papers were scattered around the battered desk and dusty floor. Pietro hobbled over to the desk’s black typewriter and pressed a key, but there was only a cobweb where the paper should have been. 

“Maybe there’s a chart here,” Nicolo said, and he started pulling at the desk’s stuck drawers. 

Meanwhile, Pietro examined the many framed newspaper clippings and photographs on the wall until he noticed a familiar face. 

“Luigi Capirosso? Wasn’t that the man who used to work at the dock?” 

“Until he got lost at sea,” Nicolo recalled. 

Pietro continued looking at the photographs, and he paused at one of a young couple. “Alessandra and Lorenzo 

Martino?” he said in disbelief. “Mama and Papa were friends with them way back.”

“What ever happened to them?”

“They went out sailing and got caught in a storm.”

“Just like us,” Nicolo said. 

“The boat was found, but not the Martinos.” 

“Odd, isn’t it?” said Nicolo, shifting his gaze from the desk to the photos. “Both Luigi and the Martinos went missing at sea.” 

He nervously ran a hand through his dark hair. “It must have been a coincidence, right, Pietro?” 

He turned to his brother for reassurance, but Pietro wasn’t listening. He wore a sickened look as he stared at another photograph at the far end of the wall. 

“We should leave,” he said, staggering back from the wall as Nicolo approached the photograph.

Nicolo’s face immediately paled as he recognized the teenage brothers, one brunette and the other blond, standing in a red and white fishing boat, smiling. 


(Published March 2022)