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Authors: Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Tags: #Historical

The Contessa's Vendetta

BOOK: The Contessa's Vendetta
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Copyright © 2012 by Mirella Patzer

Internal design © 2012 by Mirella Patzer

Cover d
esign © by Mirella Patzer


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems – except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews - without permission in writing from the publisher or author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author
’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or location is entirely coincidental. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious and used factiously. Apart from well-known historical figures, any similarity to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.


No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


Kindle Edition September 2012

Cover artwork
and interior pictures:

File Source: Creative Commons, Attribution License



978-0-9868439-5-2 - Trade Paperback

Electronic Book




Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand.

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.






To Richard Patzer

A good-hearted, generous man

Our Husband, Father, and Grandfather



Sanctuary of the Madonna of Monte Berico




A.D. 1645


I know what it is like to be dead, because I was once dead to the world. Dead to everyone who I believed loved me. Dead to everyone who knew me well enough to call me by name. Dead and buried.

My f
riends and family in Vicenza believed the plague that ravaged the city had struck me down; and that my body lay buried and decaying in my ancestral crypt. They were wrong, of course, for I was very much alive. The only certain way to know someone is dead is through cremation or decapitation. Thankfully, that did not happen in my case.

The warm blood of a woman of thirty-two years
courses through my veins. My eyes are ardent and clear, my body still curvaceous and firm, my face and hands are soft and pink, and my spine upright and dignified. My hair is the only thing that has changed. Before I died, it was the color of roasted chestnuts. Afterwards, it turned as white as the snow blanketing the Alps, though my curls remain as thick as ever.

several years ago, I confessed my story to a compassionate priest. He listened to me without interruption, but I sensed his unmistakable scepticism. When I finished speaking, he hinted that I might be mad, and with a pitiful gaze, he gave me a menial penance. I never told my story to another soul again.

everal years have passed, but the need to tell my tale has not left me, so I have decided to take pen to parchment. Now that enough time has passed and I can no longer be prosecuted for my crime, I can write the truth without fear. Here in the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Monte Berico, a person’s past is irrelevant, a matter between them and God. Here I can dip the plume in my own blood if I choose, and no one will oppose me.

se days, the silence of a cloister surrounds me; an imposing, dignified tranquility within a haven of perfect calm. The sole thing to disturb the silence is the gliding of leather soles upon stone floors and the tolling of bells that announce the Canonical hours.

sanctuary sits high upon a hill overlooking Vicenza. The Blessed Virgin appeared on this hill twice with a promise to rid the people of the plague if they promised to build a church on the spot. The people honored their promise, but I am a living testament that the plague returned centuries later.

Now, amid
the rose bushes and stone pathways of the convent’s cloister, I can raise my burdened heart like an overflowing goblet, and spill it on the ground, emptying it to the last drop of vexation contained therein.

What a terrible thing it is
to bury the remains of a loved one in a cold stone crypt or a hole in the sodden earth. Repulsive creatures hide deep in that dark. Things vile and abhorrent; slithering worms, sinister insects with unseeing eyes and worthless wings.

hat would happen if, after they lowered someone’s coffin into its vault or hole in the ground, they learned they had made a mistake? What would happen if the crypt or coffin were not as secure as everyone believed? What would happen if desperate, panicked fingers opened the coffin in the dark? What would happen if their loved one did not die, but instead returned to the love and fidelity of friends and family? Would their loved ones be happy to see their dead relative? Or would they regret their sudden reappearance, especially if they had inherited their wealth?

believe most people are fake. Few truly mourn the dead. Fewer still, remember them with any real affection. Of all this, I am certain, for I have experienced it firsthand.

long after my ordeal is over, I want to narrate the events of one short year; the most agonizing year in my life; a year in which a sharp thrust from the stiletto of time stabbed me in the heart and opened a wound that still drips tainted blood to this day.

With deliberate care, I dip my
plume into the inkwell and whisper a prayer for God to forgive me. Then word by word, I begin to inscribe the story of my sin; a transgression that can never be cleansed. This is my dreadful tale...

Chapter One


BOOK: The Contessa's Vendetta
11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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