Un Lampo di Bianco (A Flash of White)
A Diaper Giallo
NOTE: “Giallo,” literally translated, means “yellow.” It refers to the yellow covers of the cheap paperback novels which inspired a popular and influential genre of Italian films in the 1960s and 1970s. Suspenseful, violent, erotic and shocking, giallo films combined the tension of American detective novels with the flamboyance of Italian opera and theatre. They also served as a predecessor to the slasher films of the 1980s, albeit with more artistic merit and higher production values. Dario Argento is considered the master of the giallo film and this story is intended as an homage to him. If you are easily disturbed, read no further.
The History Club’s coffee social ran late and by the time Amy was able to extricate herself from Prior Hall, it was both dark and pouring. She’d brought an umbrella, but she did not relish the walk back to her dorm, even if it was a straight shot down Campus Boulevard. A stiff gust of wind greeted her as soon as she stepped outside, dumping a sheet of rain in her general direction.
“Ew,” she said as the cold dampness soaked through the legs of her jeans.
Both sides of the street were parked up, and for a minute, Amy wondered why. Then she remembered: faculty awards night. Just a few buildings away, Don was probably soaking up the praise for all the grant dollars he brought in. He said he’d thank her if they gave him a chance to speak. Then again, Don said a lot of things. It was always hard to tell with him. She never knew when he was kidding and when he was being sincere, when he was flattering her and when she was being used, when she should just relax and when she could have a serious problem on her hands. He was a difficult man to read, and at 20, she couldn’t hope to have him all figured out.
Amy crossed from the right side of the street to the left and continued toward her dorm, the rain drilling her persistently. It struck her umbrella with a soft pfft, pfft and the hoods of cars with a harder splat. Given the conditions, the coffee social was a resounding success. Five had showed up, plus her and Mark, and at least three of those five seemed genuinely interested. Thank God, Amy thought. She didn’t want to be running the club solo next year after Mark graduated.
As she approached the Faculty Center, Amy thought once more about Don. Really, she was being paranoid. There was no reason to suspect he’d cross the line with her. It was only her research that had her spooked. She…
The umbrella jerked sharply to the left, propelling Amy off the sidewalk and toward the side of the Faculty Center. It took her a moment to realize that this was not the wind, that someone had grabbed her and pulled her away. She tripped and fell down, into the bushes, the leaves and branches scraping her cheeks and arms as she toppled. She let out a surprised groan, an “ungh” that got lost in the rain.
A gloved hand clamped down over Amy’s mouth and her flight instinct finally kicked in. Her thoughts turned to rape and her groan escalated into a muffled scream. Her legs kicked out, desperate to find footing in the soft grass beside the bushes. It was too late. A razor flashed, her mind shouted “NO!” and her neck suddenly felt very warm. Somewhere, just beyond that wall, Don was probably collecting an award.