According to hell’s demons, Fumacchio had a terrible downfall: although he was supposedly one of them, he showed no signs of cruelty in his DNA. They told themselves he must be the classic exception to prove the rule, and accepted that was how things were.
The young demon made up for this supposed flaw with an enthusiastic curiosity, and when a certain Dante Alighieri’s book ended up in front of him, he was drawn to its content:
“versan le vene le fummifere acque
Per il vapor che la terra ha nel ventre
Che d’abisso le tira suso in alto”
With the help of a dandelion he rose to the surface where he could see the smoking places located in that place called “le Biancane”, where rocks were multicoloured rather than just being grey or red, as was expected in hell. Here, he unexpectedly found corks and heather that benefitted from the earth’s heat, living at an altitude that was most unusual.
Not too far from where he stood, he noticed a strange tower, which, too, was smoking. A warthog he’d just met told him that happened to be a building where humans would lead steam to so to have electricity, and that there were many others like it around them. It was a natural resource coming from the earth’s core that allowed mechanical energy to turn into electric, coming there through a maze of underground tubes. This was thus the major industry of the area.
Fumacchio’s attention then happened to be captured by the nearby town that he could see – how, though, would it be possible to walk amongst humans so to visit it? A brilliant idea came to him: he would have exploited Carnival, acting as though he were, in fact, mask. On the first Thursday of lent, with indifference and confidence, he headed to this new, small world. The houses were so close to one another that they would create narrow alleys that managed to enchant him, as they crossed forming an entrancing labyrinth, getting to the small main square only to leave it again.
It seemed to him as if he were hearing noises from another time, artisan’s workshops with their carpenters, cobblers, blacksmiths, and watchmakers, whitesmiths, the bakery with its smells that weren’t there anymore but he could still inhale, as if the stones on each home were able to tell him about the lives of they had seen go by. He even didn’t disregard the locals warm welcome, as they had set up a town party with stalls full of typical products all through the alleys, and asked themselves over and over who that boy that was masked so well could be.
He wandered around all afternoon, amongst masks and sweet treats, until one of the alleys opened up onto a view of the Maremma area, all the way to the sea, and from the sea onwards, so that he could see Elba and the shape of Corsica, striking against the sky.
Fumacchio decided, in the end, to go back to his fellow demons to tell them of the wondrous things he had encountered in Monterotondo Marittimo during his journey with all the enthusiasm he had. He was sure that the demons, having heard that, would mellow.