Mark's feeling of peace returned as soon as he was in the garden. He went straight to the statue of the woman – whom he had baptised Venus – and started talking to her.
“How could you be cursed?” he sighed. “You look so lovely and innocent!”
He came even closer and put a hand on the cold marble. Did he imagine it, or did the stone warm under his touch? It almost felt like he was touching a real woman’s skin.
His touches became more daring, and more and more Venus seemed to respond. He could feel the silken quality of her skin, the pulsating of her blood, the shivers that ran down her spine… His mouth sought hers. He felt her eager tongue meeting his, in a kiss that became almost unbearable passionate.
‘Venus, my love,” he whispered into her stone ear.
“Mi amore,” she whispered back.
They were so wrapped up in making love that the sudden noise escaped them. So it came as a big shock to Mark to be kicked in the side. The blow was so violent he fell to the ground. Before he could see who had attacked him, another blow landed. He could feel his arm break. The bone was literally trashed and blood oozed from the wound. Mark rolled aside in agony and tried to get to his feet. He did not make it. The third blow hit his head and rendered him unconscious. Therefore he did not see the stone man who stood stooped over him and used his heavy fists to smash life out of him.