The Night Masters of Venice

The Night Masters of Venice

A Story by Domenic Luciani

I just wrote this for the fun of it





                Demetri’s gondola bumped lightly against the concrete wall of his Venice home. Demetri lived in a very old house with peeling walls revealing a pasty exterior, and the inside was musty from years of Demetri neglecting to clean it. Dust had collected thickly upon the wooden desks, the countertops, the chandelier that hung loosely from the foyer ceiling, and the mantle which was cluttered with old birthday cards from relatives that Demetri hadn’t cared to stay in touch with.

                In the small bed on the upper floor, where the sheets were stained and wrinkled, Demetri tossed and turned in his sleep. His black hair fell in a mop on the pillow and his tall, lanky form barely squeezed into the tiny bed. Outside the window, deep blue light cast everything in near darkness. The roofs and peaks of the houses beyond were nothing more than angular silhouettes. The sound of the tiny waves of the canal below made their way through the thin walls and into Demetri’s ears.

                     Suddenly, another sound occurred to him, this one causing him to wake. He sat up slowly, recounting where he was and wiping his hand laboriously over his unkempt face. He heard the sound again and tried to register what was making it.

                Then Demetri realized what day it was. He sat up quickly in bed, swung his legs out from under the covers and walked over to the window in only his pajamas. He cast the squeaking doors open, feeling the immediate breeze as it fluttered through the fabric of his clothing and the moonlight shining through the salt encrusted glass reflected onto the scratched and dirtied walls of the home.

                The sound came from a pair of violins and a cello as their masters strummed their strings to perfection, emitting the most wonderful sound he had ever heard.  Demetri cast a heartened glance at the double bass cello that sat alone in the corner of the room. It was nearly the only thing in the house not coated in dust other than Demetri himself.

                He walked over to it, admiring the curves and rich color of the wood. The way the strings could nearly play themselves with only the slightest breeze to guide them. Demetri nodded to himself, picked up the large cello along with the bow that resided next to it and carried it downstairs. He changed into a clean black tuxedo with a white shirt underneath, dress pants and to finish it off, a bow tie. He bent down and brushed his hair so it was smooth and decent-looking, then left the house, walking straight and dignified.

                He treated the instrument more carefully than he would his own child. He tucked its wooden frame into a secure stand that he kept in the gondola, then kicked off from the tiny pier with the end of the oar.

                It was a remarkably quiet night as the black boat made the tiniest waves upon the darkened canal. Demetri continued to listen to the music as he drew closer to its origin, feeling the chilly night air on his skin and enjoying it with a serene smile upon his face.

                He docked the gondola at a pier similar to that of his own, only with red and blue stripes spiraling up the white cylinder. The boat bumped twice against the stone walkway above as Demetri placed the rope around it.

                With the gondola secured to the pier, Demetri continued up to the street, carrying his cello delicately in his arms. He grunted as he tried to move as quickly as he could to the walkway that stretched out into the Grand Canal.

                Ecco signores! Buonasera!” Demetri called through the darkness to a group of three men, huddled against the cold. Two of the men had violins resting against the underside of their chins, while the other man had a cello resting against his thigh. They continued to play as Demetri walked to them, grinning wildly. An empty chair sat next to the dark haired fellow playing the cello. The man was dressed similarly to Demetri, as were the others, each with long dark hair and tuxedos.

                The men nodded in acknowledgment as Demetri sat down beside them and began to play.


                Throughout the quiet city, nobody walked the streets. The tourists had left for the winter for warmer climates, and in respect for the unusually large full moon that now bathed the canals in an eerie white light, the people stayed indoors. However, few were asleep.

                They were up in their beds, fully aware of the late hour, but found themselves spellbound by the music of the four-man musical group known to many as the Night Masters of Venice. When they would play, their music reached over the waters and into the dimly lit homes of the people, enchanting them.

                Not even the mice, usually chattering loudly as they crawled from place to place were silent, enthralled in their own interpretation of the melodies and the pigeons that patrolled St. Marco’s square sat still in their perches.

                The four men played all night for their silent crowd. Sleepless hours that could have been spent in their warm beds instead of out in the cold night air were lost, but not wasted. The men played with their eyes closed, concentrating with all their might on the next note that they placed all of their passion and all of their heart for music into.

                When morning finally came, and the first few beams of red and orange light began to peak over the horizon, the four men called it quits.

                No applause, no cheering, no standing ovations. The men simply said their goodbyes and returned home, to sleep for awhile and then begin another normal day. They would go unrecognized and unnoticed for their awe inspiring performance the night before. However, the men didn’t need the recognition, or the applause, or anything for that matter. If they needed those things, they wouldn’t be playing in the first place. They played simply to play and the music was all that mattered to them.

                But it didn’t matter who called them arrogantly for their service, or demanded things from them, no matter what degradation they would suffer the next day, or the next day, or the day after that, until the end of their lives. Those who heard them play on those cold nights, would forever know them as the Night Masters of Venice.





© 2010 Domenic Luciani

Author's Note

Domenic Luciani

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Featured Review

this is such a quality reading, your talent is evident, and i'm not trying to be puffy, i really think you've captured the story line from all angles,
and gave the plot the feeling of the venice night winds, such flavor and class, awsome job. also the details really won me over, very clean
and refined statements

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


You captured the personality of Demetri very well; the flow of the peace reflected his mood and emotions very well. The changes in description and feel were smooth when the change came about. The passion for the music was described beautifully, the way a musician loses themselves in the moment, each note so carefully chosen as it tweaks something deep inside.

It was all very well described drawing the reader in and playing out all the images to a high standard. You finished it well leaving it all wrapped up with that feeling of gentle satisfaction.

Posted 11 Years Ago

The second half of this is remarkably stronger than the first, to the degree that it's rather curious. Your description early on is lacking, you use Demetri's name way too many times in a short span, and you jump around a little. Also, some of your word choices don't make sense (sounds aren't generally thought to occur to people. Thoughts and facts do).

Once you cross the halfway point, though, all those problems disappear. Your description and attention to detail render the simple story beautiful, even if you do get a bit redundant with the denial of recognition at the end.

Look over those first four paragraphs and see if you can't come up with a way that doesn't make it feel so disjointed and rushed. This is a pretty short story; it wouldn't kill you to lengthen it a little.

Posted 12 Years Ago

I thought it was really well done over all, it captured the mood of a crisp night well and the music adds a whole new depth to it.
My favorite parts were probably your descriptions of Venice at night. Your words really brought the scenes to the forefront of the mind and I caught myself thinking about my times on the water at a few places in this story.
As far as improvement goes, Id suggest laying off his name a little bit. Especially in the beginning it felt like all I kept hearing was Demetri, Demetri, Demetri. Though it is a pretty cool name. Just a bit more of "he", "his", and "him" would really help to stream line it all.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Man, this is lucid and gripping. I like how you showed everything, and didn't just tell. Nice work.

Posted 12 Years Ago

This is a great read.A story that didn't introduce any conflict, or go into detail about the characters. Just wanted to capture those nightly moments where the mysterious men played beautiful music. Not for the fame, fortune, or any recognition whatsoever. Just enjoying music for the beauty it is.

Nice detail, but it probably gets a tad too detailed in the first paragraph. Just an honest suggestion, but I think you could hook the reader if you opened up with the moment of the revelation, you know, open up with that moment that he realizes what day it is, and he's late. Then you could explain the action and give a few details about the house while he's scrambling for things, trying to get dressed. I know that the detail about his house is probably important, because it points out that he is a more carefree, laid back individual, and enhances the story of the Night Masters of Venice. It suggest that all they care about is the beauty of their music. So you could divide the detail, and sprinkle them throughout the beginning part of the story.

Posted 12 Years Ago

this is such a quality reading, your talent is evident, and i'm not trying to be puffy, i really think you've captured the story line from all angles,
and gave the plot the feeling of the venice night winds, such flavor and class, awsome job. also the details really won me over, very clean
and refined statements

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The story entrancing the music hypnotic

Posted 12 Years Ago

I see you managed to make that work

Posted 12 Years Ago

I loved how the story combined with the music making reading it more pleasurable to the eye. The truth is, you are very talented with writing. I would love to see more of your work, as it would no doubt become an inspiration. I enjoyed reading about the night masters of venice, truly motivating.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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19 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on April 4, 2010
Last Updated on May 17, 2010


Domenic Luciani
Domenic Luciani

Buffalo, NY

That is my real name, and that is really me in the picture. Like Patrick says, I'm not in the witness protection program. I mostly write books and stories. I like fantasy, or fiction, but if.. more..

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A Chapter by Domenic Luciani

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