Often in writing a novel, the author must discard passages, scenes and sometimes entire chapters for various reasons of too much back story, too wordy or perhaps it just doesn’t work in the context of the story being told. Below is one such passage from my book, Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire. If you read the novel, you will know the characters and this little tid bit is just some unusable backstory I present here for your enjoyment.
Vito and Carlino
Twenty-two year old Vittorio Martinez and his friend, Carlino Gaetano, had known each other since they were just children. Vittorio, three years older, adopted Carlino as his brother soon after his own younger sibling, Francesco, died in a devastating outbreak of cholera in their village. Vittorio was only nine at the time and the two brothers were the best of friends. Francesco’s sudden death left Vittorio alone, bitter and empty.
One day, not long after his brother’s death, Vittorio was walking along the docks thinking thoughts a nine-year-old child should never think, when he came upon Carlino being taunted by three older boys.
“Sergio, get it,” one boy shouted.
A second boy, whom Vittorio assumed to be Sergio, stepped forward and snatched at the hat the younger boy was wearing, but he was too slow. The younger boy grabbed his hat and managed to save it from Sergio’s grasp.
The third boy cried, “Get around him,” as the three bullies formed a circle in an attempt to intimidate the younger, smaller Carlino.
As he watched, Vittorio became enraged at their cowardly bullying. In truth, the situation allowed Vittorio to vent the anger he felt toward God for having taken Francesco from him — an anger his strict Catholic upbringing did not allow him to voice.
Quickly looking around, he found a discarded strip of canvas, which he looped in half. Placing a fist-sized rock in the fold, he swung the improvised weapon over his head as he advanced on the scene.
“Leave him alone!” he shouted as he directed his sling at the nearest attacker, catching him with a glancing blow on the shoulder, making the boy wince with pain as tears shortly streamed down his cheeks.
The two other boys, completely taken off-guard by the sudden turn of events, took to their heels as Vittorio inched his whirling sling closer to their heads.
With the sling still spinning above his head, he turned his attention back to the first boy, but he soon saw the bully, who’d been so threatening just minutes before, was now sobbing and rubbing his badly used shoulder as he stumbled away towards home.
Carefully, with the danger passed, he allowed the sling to slow in its orbit until it came to rest at his feet.
Carlino hadn’t said a word. Instead he firmly stood his ground as he bravely faced his attackers. Now he looked at Vittorio, an unspoken question on his face. Then quite suddenly he broke down, tears streaming from his eyes as he sobbed openly.
Vittorio, only nine years old, had a wisdom born of his own suffering. He understood Carlino’s tears were a mixture of pent up fear and relief. As the two boys sat down on the edge of the dock, looking out onto the water, Vittorio put his arm around the shoulder of the younger Carlino, comforting him.
“They won’t bother you again,” Vittorio promised, taking the hat Carlino had been clutching so tightly, placing it on the younger boy’s head. The hat, obviously too large for Carlino, drooped over his ears and eyes. Under different circumstances, the sight of Carlino all but disappearing under the oversized hat would have made Vittorio laugh. Instead he fought the urge saying only, “It is a little big for you,” his lips curling up at the ends into a friendly smile.
Slowly Carlino pulled the hat off his head, again clutching it tightly to his chest, “It belonged to my brother,” he said to the water rippling beneath his feet, adding without looking up, “He died of the cholera.”
Vittorio’s heart thumped loudly in his chest, a lump forming in his throat as he heard the words. Wiping the younger boy’s tears in an effort to ignore his own urge to weep he said, “I too lost a brother.” He squeezed Carlino’s shoulder tighter, “his name was Francesco. He was six.”
Carlino turned his head to look up at Vittorio, “Six? That is my age. My name is Carlino Gaetano,” he said smiling through his tears.
“I am Vito Martini,” replied Vittorio as he smiled back at the younger boy. At that moment on the dock, as the setting sun cast its golden glow on the two boys, an unspoken bond formed between them —— a bond that would last a lifetime. Neither boy ever forgot the brother they’d lost, but each felt the other had been placed in his life to help him through his loss. Together they shared the unspoken belief that somehow, perhaps even together in heaven, their brothers were smiling down upon them. The loyalty that developed between the two was a connection stronger than blood.