It makes no sense, but I somehow feel as if I wrote the story just in time. I was reading the news when a pair of familiar names leaped out at me.

FINO A IERI Monterosso era una delle perle della Liguria. Case colorate incastonate tra le montagne e il mare nel territorio delle famose Cinque terre. Meta preferita di tanti vacanzieri che oggi guardano increduli le immagini di un paese semidistrutto, tagliato in due un fiume di fango e detriti.

Until yesterday Monterosso was one of the pearls of Liguria. Colored houses set between the mountains and the sea in the territory of the famous Cinque Terre. A preferred destination by many vacationers who today looked on with incredulity at the images of a half-destroyed area, cut in two by a river of mud and detritus.

Villages all but wiped out as storms batter Italy’s ‘Cinque Terre’. The walking trails and picturesque fishing villages of the Cinque Terre attract hundreds of thousands of international tourists, but two of them – Vernazza and Monterosso – were severely affected as rivers of mud poured down from the hills behind them. The mayor of Monterosso said the fishing village had all but been wiped out.

“Monterosso no longer exists,” Angelo Betta told an Italian news agency.

From “The Deported”, published in the October 2011 issue of Stupefying Stories:

“It was the fourth day of our summer holiday in Vernazza, a little fishing village in the Cinque Terre. We had spent the morning on a charming hike through the hills, lunched in Monterosso al Mare, then enjoyed a languid afternoon in the sun on the beach there. After hiking back and taking a brief but restorative nap, the six of us had reconvened for the evening on the terrace overlooking the sea. We were well into our second bottle of prosecco as Francois attempted to convince Bertrand’s wife, Michèle, that one could not genuinely claim to be an atheist and yet still believe in ghosts.

What a tragic pity. I’d merely intended a homage to Maupassant, but I fear it turned out to be far more of a ghost story than I’d ever intended. Prega per noi peccatori.