Some women attract the opposite sex. Some women attract mayhem. Silvia Whitehall, flirtatious and constantly demanding to be center stage, attracted both like the charged particles of a magnet.
Most of the citizens of Rome were fast asleep after celebrating into the early morning hours. It was the anniversary of Liberation Day, April twenty-sixth. The day Italian freedom fighters, with the help of the United States Army, overthrew the Nazi regime and ended the reign of the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, in April of 1945.
When the sounds of sirens and screeching brakes arrived at the entrance of the Colosseum, a lone figure faded into the space between the outside column of the arena and the inside elevator used to reach the upper levels.
The Italian police found Silvia at two in the morning on the floor of a moss-covered cubical off one of the subterranean tunnels of the Colosseum. She met her death where thousands of years ago ferocious beasts paced as they roared in their cages. In the place, heroic gladiators, held in chains by their captors, were led through an underground tunnel from their barracks outside the arena to dark rooms near the animals. Both gladiators and animals were imprisoned under the floor of the arena until they were called to do battle—a fight to the death for one opponent. They fought with ferocity to provide a day of excitement and amusement for five thousand bloodthirsty Romans. Now, in the year 2013, only one person met death. Perhaps only one murderer stood next to her dead body to view the bloodshed.
The deep creases in her face made Silva looked well past middle age. Her blank eyes stared toward the sky. Her clothes suggested an air of being well to do. At a quick glance, she seemed to be asleep. With a closer look, the fact her chest didn’t move and her short, dark hair lay surrounded by a pool of blood, one could surmise she wasn’t asleep, but dead. Her lifeless body remained as when she fell. The twisted position would have caused her excruciating pain had she been able to feel. A silver shawl lay in a heap beside her body.
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