Coventina, p.1Jamie Antonia
Jamie Antonia Symonanis
Copyright © 2012 Jamie Antonia Symonanis
All rights reserved
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Published by Jamie Antonia
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The author can be contacted at
This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions and organizations in this novel are the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, are used fictitiously without any intent to describe their actual conduct.
A very grateful thanks and acknowledgement is given to the following artists.
Florence and the Machine
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.
Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.
This book is dedicated to a dear friend and fellow Saluki - Paul Buerger.
Table of Contents
1 – Approach
2 – Museum
3 – Studio
4 – Library
5 – Latin 101
6 – Ninth
7 – Barn
8 – Barbeque
9 – Time
10 – Morning
11 – Apartment
12 – Coventina
13 – Friends
14 – Eboracum
15 – Heworth
16 – Roman Column
17 – Via Della Magliana
18 – Palatium
19 – Gladius
20 – Lupanar
21 – Lenonibus
22 – Returned
23 – Back
24 – Big Bucks
25 – Sezze
26 – Breaking News
27 – Anna
28 – Custom
29 – Pilot
30 – Bologna
31 – Venezia
32 – A Few Questions
33 – Polizia
34 – Legio IX Hispana
35 – Matrice
36 – Segovia
37 – Ocean
38 – Maman
39 – Alex
40 – York
41 – Questions
42 – Home
43 – Offices
44 – Judith
45 – New Phone
46 – Upstairs
47 – AC
48 – Vengeance
49 – Back to Rome
50 – Paris
51 – Leaving Las Vegas
52 - Over Lasagna
53 – AC Upstairs
54 – The Woman
55 – Hotel Triton
56 – Golden Gate
57 – Arles
58 – Farmhouse
59 – Futons
60 – A Plan
61 – British Ladies
62 – Roman Morning
63 – Gay Paris
64 – Wake Up
65 – Special Delivery
66 – Two Moons
67 – Vesuvius
68 – Water Goddess
69 – Sewing Shields
70 – Rage
71 – Change
72 – Fit
73 – Dawn
74 – A Short Wait
75 – Lost And Found
76 – Scomparire
77 – Tua Vita Mea
78 – Decisions
79 – Departure
80 – Starry Night
It has been nearly a year since Denise Zen and Layla Martin were approached and entrusted to help Nola and the rest of the crew of the Tyrine locate and rescue two crewmembers that had been kidnapped while on the planet surface.
The odyssey sent them on an adventure across the southern United States and beyond, mastering along the way the powers they had within that manifested themselves, one of the deciding factors in their being approached by the gentle but advanced extraterrestrials seeking their help.
They have spent most of their time in Southern Illinois mastering the unique gifts they received from the crew of the Tyrine. Their new home is now in Makanda, Illinois.
Denise has been having dreams, seeing visions, instilling in her a sense of impending dread more than wonder.
Her senses and gifts will prove to be right as usual.
The sun had slipped behind the brightly lit Chicago skyline some time earlier, and was continuing its descent that would wash the sky in a shade of blue black. It was the perfect end to the opening concert, kicking off yet another season of The Grant Park Music Festival.
“I can’t say that I like the concerts at this site as much as I liked them across the way at the Petrillo Band Shell,” Denise said.
“And where exactly would that be?” Layla asked.
“Right over yonder,” Denise said, a serious look on her face for wanting to point directly to it.
“Over yonder?” Mary laughed.
“Yes, that’s what I said, over yonder.” She pointed again.
“I might have known Southern Illinois was having its effect on you when you greeted me with howdy.”
“I love the word howdy,” Denise smiled.
They had traveled up to Chicago for Mary’s birthday a day early, and since Vivaldi was one of her favorite classical composers, Denise dragged her out of the house for the free concert that included his Four Seasons.
“Still a bit of a chill in the air,” Denise said, reaching for the jean jacket she brought along.
“Really, I think it’s comfortable,” Mary said.
“Yeah, but we all are not from these here parts,” Denise grinned.
“Oh stop it, now I know you’re exaggerating.”
“Shhh, this here concert’s about to start.”
A guest violinist from France was introduced and they broke into spring.
I know this. I really like Vivaldi it seems, Denise thought.
As do I. Always loved this song, Layla sighed. It’s much better with you here though.
Of course, Denise giggled.
When the concert was over Denise insisted they head over for a pizza at Due’s.
“I keep forgetting, you’re on that college diet of pizzas and a schedule of having them at odd hours,” Mary said. “Sounds nice. Haven’t been there in a while.”
Layla drove the black Mustang over to the restaurant, finding a parking spot on the same block.
During dinner, about three bites into her first slice of pizza, Mary softly moaned with delight. “Mmm, I’d forgotten how good this pizza is when you come here to the original restaurant. It’s out of this world.”
Denise and Layla looked at each other and laughed. “It’s not out of this world yet, but someday it will be,” Denise said.
Layla motioned for their waitress.
“I’d like another coke when you can slip it in please,” Layla smiled. When she brought it to the table Layla asked, “Can anyone write on these walls?”
When she’d had enough to eat, Mary headed to the bathroom to freshen up.
“Love the smell of a Sharpie marker,” Layla said. She found a small space on the wall next to and slightly behind her that was not already covered in names or graffiti, and slowly added her name and Denise’s inside a heart with an arrow through it. “There, what do you think?”
She turned to see Denise carving into the wooden trim using one of the forks.
She appeared to be in a trance as she continued to scrape into the wood.
“Denise. Baby what’s wrong?” Layla said.
She continued to carve into the wood.
DENISE. BABY WHAT IS WRONG? Layla screamed.
“What? Oh, it looks great sweetie. Yes, I love the smell of a Sharpie marker too,” Denise said, still holding on to the bent fork.
“What is that?” Layla asked.
“What is what?”
“That,” Layla said, pointing to the carving Denise had just created.
“That? I don’t know. Looks like Latin. Maybe someone’s name, why?”
“Why? Because YOU just carved it, with that,” Layla said pointing to the fork she was still holding in her hand.
Denise looked back at the letters she had just carved. “I did?”
“Yes, while I was doing the heart. Are you ok?”
Denise took out her iPhone and snapped a few images of it just as Mary returned to the table.
“Want to get going?” Mary asked.
“Yes, we do,” Layla said. She once again motioned for the waitress to pack what was left of the pizza so Mary could take it home with her.
Denise was the last one to get up from the table to leave, passing a final disturbed gaze over the letters on the wall. C O V E N T I N A. She could not help but feel overwhelmed with a feeling of dread.
The sound of car horns and traffic awakened Denise. Definitely not the peace and quiet of Southern Illinois, she thought, as she slid out of bed and went to the bathroom. She returned to the room that was still dark. She could hear the sound of Layla’s rhythmic breathing and tip toed over to the front window, separating the front curtain just enough to see out. The bright morning sunlight seemed more than her eyes could bear at the moment. The city skyline rose above the sign of the motel they were staying at, The Ohio House. She chose this motel because of its two level motel existence in a twenty plus story neighborhood on Chicago’s near north side that actually included a parking lot for the customers. They’d survived since the sixties. No one pushed them out. She liked that. She also liked that the Mustang was parked right beneath their window.
It was Friday, and she and Layla had an entire day to kill before heading over to her parent’s house to sing Happy Birthday to Mary. She got dressed and slipped out to get some coffee from the motel restaurant, returning with two large cups and a Chicago Reader newspaper.
“I smell coffee,” Layla moaned softly.
“You do indeed,” Denise said. She sat in a comfortable lounge chair looking at the newspaper.
“What’s it looking like out there?”
“Promises to be a nice day. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The horns are honking. It’s Friday in the big city.”
“Wow, all of that hey?”
“Thinking of getting some culture in our lives. Big cities may be distasteful to live in, but they do offer sweet museums, so what do you say?”
“Where you lead, I will follow. Is this one mine?”
“Yes luv, that is your coffee.”
Denise could sense that Layla was still somewhat disturbed by what she had watched her do the day before at the restaurant. I guess I am a bit disturbed by it as well, but I’m not going to dwell on it, she thought as she took her shower. They were still going to be in the city for another day and she wasn’t going to ruin it by worrying.
After showering and getting dressed, they started their day with breakfast at the motel restaurant. “It’s not Mary Lou’s but it’s pretty good,” Layla giggled.
“One must be out of this world to come close to her breakfast I suppose. I hear breakfast is good in New York, different potatoes.”
“That’s what I hear too.”
It was a beautiful late spring morning so they decided to walk to the Art Institute and stop along the way for some lattes.
“I guess we need to talk about last night huh?” Denise asked, as they strolled east on Ohio St. towards Michigan Avenue.
“Well, we don’t need to, but,” Layla said, her eyes widening when she did.
“All these brains in a city this size. Maybe I was picking up someone’s deep thoughts?”
“Maybe,” Layla said, her eyes widening again as she did.
“Not buying it huh?”
“Nah. I don’t know what it was, but whatever it was had you, had a grip on you that words spoken could not break through.”
“Yeah, that’s disturbing.”
Finally making it to Michigan Avenue broke the doom and gloom mood they were allowing themselves to sink into. “To your left is many wonderful shops along the Magnificent Mile,” Denise said, motioning as if she were starring in a television commercial. “To your right are less shops, but many historical sites to behold, including the place we were at yesterday.”
“I take it we are not heading to the shopping part,” Layla laughed.
“We can if you’d like. There’s a Victoria’s Secret that way.”
“Just as easy to order online, and the deals are better. Right it is.”
They walked south, stopping at a Starbucks along the way. “Hey, let’s cross here. There’s something very cool I’d like you to see,” Denise said.
They crossed the street and stood in front of Tribune Tower. “See these stones? They are from all over the world,” Denise said, pointing to stones that were embedded in the façade of the building and cemented in place.
“Now this is very cool,” Layla smiled.
“The Parthenon. Amazing. We need to travel more.”
“That we do. Ooh, the Great Pyramid.”
“The Alamo,” Denise said, giving Layla a strange look. “I wonder how Maria and Anna are doing?”
“I’m sure you can tap into the network and find out if you wanted to,” Layla laughed. “This one is from Pompeii.”
When she pointed it out Denise saw the vision of a woman’s face flash in her mind. “That would be an amazing place to visit,” Denise said, forcing the words out so Layla did not turn to see the effect seeing the image had on her.
“Lot’s of Revolutionary War stones, and rightfully so I think. Oh look, this one is from the Colosseum,” Layla said.
Denise walked up to the stone and touched it. “I think I was a Roman,” she said.
“Yes, in a past life, and I think,” she stopped speaking when the same word she had carved into the wood at the restaurant was heard, followed by muffled whispers. C O V E N T I N A.
“Yes, you were saying, you think?”
“I think I might have even been here, at the Colosseum.”
“As a spectator I hope.”
“Yes, as a spectator.”
After checking out the rest of the stones imbedded in the walls of the building, they continued south towards the Art Institute.
Much of the art they viewed at the museum took the edge off the messages Denise still seemed to be receiving. They ate lunch at the museum restaurant.
“Enough painting, let’s look at some old stuff,” Denise said.
“Ok. You lead the way.”
“It’s got to
Denise led them to the Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman Art galleries. It is obviously Latin. Coventina. I wonder how much Roman stuff they have on display today.
“This is utterly amazing. I love everything Egyptian,” Layla said.
“All so masterfully crafted.”
“Notice that all the Roman stuff seems to have noses missing?”
“Yes. Every time they were conquered it seems, more of their artwork would fall victim to vandalism. There are other theories of course. Some believed that the spirit of the person was in the sculpture, and if they removed the nose it would be released. One thing is certain, there are more Roman sculptures missing a nose than any others.”
“Can only imagine what it must have been like to live in those times,” Layla said. “She is very beautiful, even without a nose.”
“Yeah. I wonder what her name was?” C O V E N T I N A, sounded in Denise’s head as she gazed upon the ancient face. She reached out to touch the face with both hands, gently gliding over the front and back of the head. “I think maybe I will try my hand at sculpture.”
“Well, we’ve got plenty of room for a studio.”
“Hey, do you mind if we hit an art store on the way to the party?”
“Of course not.”
“Come on, let’s catch a taxi.”
“I was hoping you were not going to want to walk back,” Layla laughed.
Back at the Ohio House they showered quickly and headed to her favorite art store where Denise picked out an assortment of clays and tools along with a rotating sculpture stand before settling in at her parent’s house for dinner and birthday cake.
“Do you have to head back tomorrow?” Mary asked.
“We don’t have to, but I’d like to,” Denise said.
“Would you mind if I came to visit you down there?”
“What an absurd question to ask Mary, of course you can. You’re welcome to come stay with us any time you like. We have plenty of room now thanks to Lucky Layla,” she smiled.
“I’ll be sure to call before coming down.”
“Call, don’t call, you’re welcome any time. Love you sis, Happy Birthday.”
“Thanks sweetie, I love you too. Be careful.”
“Always am,” Denise smiled.
Denise and Layla settled back into their Southern Illinois existence. They no longer lived in separate trailers. With the lottery winnings they had already claimed, they purchased a plot of land roughly two miles southwest of Makanda. They each found it hard to believe so much of this area was wide open, uninhabited. The nearest neighbor was a mile away. There was only one road leading to their property that eventually twisted and turned it’s way to it from Makanda Road and Highway 51. The house and barn they had built was completely surrounded by forest. All in all it was a ‘modest dwelling’ as Denise put it, considering they had the riches to have built a small mansion.
Coventina by Jamie Antonia / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction have rating 2.8 out of 5 / Based on17 votes