Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.
I’m now sharing excerpts which, as you’ll see next week, are related to a new project I’m researching, an alternative history set in Medieval Italy. This comes from my hiatused WIP The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees, which follows a group of young Shoah survivors from Hungary, France, Czechoslovakia, and Italy as they readjust to the land of the living and decide where they ultimately want to settle.
It’s December 1945, and the friends have gone to the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence before departing for Paris. Young doctor Caterina was apprehended here by the Nazis in November 1943, despite a priest invoking the rule of sanctuary. It took three people to haul her off of Dante’s empty tomb.
“Do you think we’re about to ascend into our own version of Paradise?” Eszter asked. “The past three weeks have been so nice, it feels like we’re already there in some ways.”
Caterina shook her head, still touching Dante. “It’s more like we’re ascending to higher terraces of Purgatory. Dante didn’t go through all those levels of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise in one fell swoop. It was a gradual journey, with lessons to be learnt at each stage.”
Imre pulled out his golden pocket watch. “I’d love to spend the entire day exploring this place, but we don’t want to miss our train. We can always return to Firenze later and do everything we didn’t get around to this time around.”
Caterina swept her hands down the monument and put them back at her sides.
The ten lines end here. A few more to complete the scene follow.
“Yes, we sure can return. Unlike Dante, our exile isn’t forever.”
This tomb may finally be occupied soon, at least temporarily. Since Dante’s 700th death anniversary is in September, negotiations between Ravenna and Florence have been in the works regarding a transfer of the remains to mark this special occasion. Maybe someday his bones will return to his native city to stay.