Gia February 18, 2020

alessandro varotari susanna and the elders gold frame

“NO! You cannot take my baby away from me, I will not allow it!”

She clutched her newborn to her chest with all her might, refusing to let the two barbaric men convince her otherwise. Dismissing her outcries, they yanked her every limb with ruthless brutality to weaken her grip.

Their mission was clear, and no lowly prostitute was about to keep the illegitimate son of the king.

Her pale body was exposed to her captors, with only a thin transparent veil draped around her hips. They had torn her white cotton garment to shreds during the brawl. Blood slowly dripped from between her thighs in the aftermath of the stress-induced premature birth.

She fought back with the tremendous force only a mother could muster during desperate times.

In spite of her otherworldly efforts, the cold-blooded brutes succeeded in wrenching the baby from her protective embrace. Her bone-chilling screams flooded the courtyard, drowning out the newborn’s incessant wailing.

Without a second thought, she grabbed the large brass vase near her feet.

As the men were walking away with the child wrapped in a red cloak, she charged towards them and smashed the vase over each of their heads. Between the sinister sounds of skulls cracking and their bodies plummeting to the ground, she snatched her precious baby back.

Sobbing, trembling, and sitting in the pool of blood around the lifeless bodies of her captors, she clutched her newborn to her chest with all her might.

“They will never take you away from me. Never.”


The Museum Chronicles is a series of flash fiction pieces written on the spot in front of paintings in museums.


Featured painting: Alessandro Varotari, called Il Padovanino (1588–1649), Susanna and the Elders, ca. first half of the 17th century


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