Have you ever spoken to satan

Stanislaw Przybyszewski
Satan's children
Stanislaw Przybyszewski

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VIII.

Half an hour passed in the deepest silence.

Suddenly Ostap looked at Gordon again with a strangely embarrassed smile.

"I always dream of it," he said, "always ..."

He coughed, drank, and began to speak quickly and insistently.

“Nobody saw it. No judge can prove it to me, and yet I have the feeling that everyone knows it. I see my secret on all the billboards, I read my profile in all the newspapers ... "

He looked around in confusion, smiled and nervously began to turn the glass. But he seemed to have a sick need to speak, to numb himself with his own speech.

“About Hela ... No! I don't want to talk about Hela, it hurts so terribly - I get a kind of heart cramp every time ... You smile? "

"No, it never occurred to me to smile," answered Gordon very seriously.

"So? It felt like that to me. But you care? ”He looked maliciously at Gordon. "You are very curious about my relationship with Hela?"

"No more than what is useful to my intention."

Ostap laughed out loud.

"Now! That’s honestly. Yes, yes - I care no more than what is useful to your intentions. Hey hey - you should care a lot more about me. There is a lot of your own nature in me .... "

He yawned.

“Did you actually hear the story of the murderer who murdered a rich woman, ransacked her cash register, escapes happily, but suddenly thinks about a canary he saw up there? He goes back, although he risks the utmost, pours food into the bird's cage so that it doesn't starve to death. See! It's typical of all of us. We can murder and steal without feeling anything other than joy for a second, joy that one is not discovered ... But the little thing, the sweet thing ... Hey hey - the canaries! They mustn't starve to death ... You can't kill children, ”he whispered, trembling. Cold sweat stood in thick drops on his forehead.

Break.

"You are a criminal too, but your instincts are more secure than mine ... You would never commit such a small, crude crime ... You are like the great criminals ... such a degenerate, criminal genius ..." You are Charles the Twelfth! Yes! just Charles the Twelfth! "

He got into a triumphant excitement.

“I've pondered so much about the Gordon puzzle, but now I've solved it. Just look at Charles the Twelfth: He is moving away from his fatherland, God knows why and for what purpose, he is embroiled in a war with all of Europe, defeating fifty thousand Russians with eight thousand people! Do you understand? eight against fifty thousand ?! He beats August the Strong and - and ... he he ... lets himself be lured into the swamps by a stupid barbarian, a Mazeppa, because he liked his stories so terribly under a starry sky ... Ha ha ha. .. the poor esthete! Then he goes to Turkey, sits there for five years ... All for the sake of an obsession - you understand? - for the sake of an obsession, I said - pull yourself up, ride back from Turkey to Stralsund in a fortnight ... He he he ... Why? Why? His whole empire could easily have perished and he would have turned the devil off it. But his fixed ideas had to be satisfied ... "

“You say the example is badly chosen? No, no ... You are one of these people, an Alexander the Great, who lets himself be named Son of God and who seriously believes in his divine origins. You are a Byron who wants to become King of Greece ...

Why are you doing this? Huh? The great thing is that you don't know the why, that you have no reasons. Because of that, only because of that do you have terrible power over people. I love that, I love it beyond measure. I am a co-criminal, co-criminal, I say wisely, co-criminal out of love for this mystical, adventurous nature that makes itself known through you. "

He suddenly laughed suddenly, with an ugly, malicious laugh.

“See, see: in this you are all alike. Charles the Twelfth was a godly man, one who loved justice above all else, but he knew of no greater pleasure than murdering, burning and roasting people ... He was a passionate murderer. He burned houses, he burned the harvest in the fields, and never was he as happy as he was when he wrote to his sister about Stralsund that he had stewed a few thousand people ... Have you ever seen that little, pointed girl's face ? As accurate as yours!

Byron sneers at the world, he despises it and everything that is on it, but he himself wants to become king of Greece! And you ... you ... you think you have to destroy out of a dark theory. Hey hey - how you lie to yourself! You only destroy because you have this hell of hatred and disgust inside you. No, not disgust, that paralyzes and destroys the energy, but hate - hate! I never believed that a person could hate so maniacally ... "

He suddenly threw the glass in the corner and drank from the bottle with greedy gulps.

“You don't fit into our time. There is no room for you here. In another time you could become king, beat the Russians, chase thousands of Turks away with thirty people, then cover thousands of miles in a fortnight, sleep on the ramparts of Frederikshall and dream of white nights ... Now you can you don't, that's why you take revenge ...

Did you see his handwriting? His: of course, Charles the Twelfth? It is similar to yours. And do you know that he never had a wife, physically I mean? Do you know that? I'm not sure if you ... hela! Hey hey, hela! It was kind of a mystical wedding - out of the brain. A kind of brain ecstasy ... And I noticed that you can fall asleep suddenly and wake up just as suddenly without knowing that you were sleeping ... You are the only crazy one among us. You are the one who can murder a rich woman with perfect calm, but would not let a canary starve to death at any cost. "

Gordon frowned in disgust.

“Well, enough of that now! Enough of the drunken chatter. I sat here for an hour and listened to the pointless stuff, I sat very calmly and patiently, but now I've had enough! "

"Do you have enough? So go to the devil! "

Ostap hit the table with his fist.

“Why are you sitting here? What more do you want? Now you can take me to prison if you want ... Hey hey, just try! A romantic is always noble, a romantic never commits a ignoble act, and you - Charles the Twelfth, King of the New Syon, should denounce someone for murdering an innocent child? He he he ... Herod murdered thousands of children, but he was eaten by worms ... "

He suddenly stopped short.

'Do you think, Gordon, that worms are to be taken figuratively? Besides, I don't want to stop you ... "

He lay down on the sofa and stared at the ceiling.

“Psychology is the stupidest thing on earth. Well ... ”He sat up again. - “Now we can begin to speak sensibly. So to the shops, isn't it? "

All of a sudden he became very serious and indifferent.

"Wronsky wrote the proclamation?"

"Yes."

"I think it's very good."

"Me too." Gordon stroked his hair thoughtfully.

"Who is spreading it?"

"Okonek."

"Didn't he want to cut his neck last year?"

"Yes."

"Did you catch him too?" Ostap looked up at Gordon in admiration... "I congratulate you, you really are quite admirable at times. I saw him drunk last year, I think he was delirious, and then he shouted, "I am I" ... I immediately thought that would be something for you ... But you know, Gordon, I care actually too little. You understand: I'm only an amateur - only an amateur ... "

He emptied the bottle, suddenly he hit his forehead with the palm of his hand. He became unusually aroused.

“Tell me, Gordon,” he moved very close to him and smiled maliciously - “just say: aren't Okonek and Sobek the same person? You know the famous Sobek who set fire to your barn last year? The famous Sobek, who is said to have shot your forester! Ha ha ha ... I was interested in the story, I did some research and then I found out that Sobek was sick and weak at that time ... It always seemed suspicious to me that Sobek should have done it ... Hey hey Hey, how your face flickers now, how your eyes stare at me ... "

Ostap moved even closer to him.

“Didn't you make a little mistake? Huh? "

Gordon composed himself and smiled quietly.

"You guessed well," he said suddenly. “Okonek shot the forester, Sobek died two days later. Nobody knows and nobody will know. If someone is dead, everything can be blamed on them. That doesn't do anything. But Okonek became my slave, my dog. That means a lot to me. It is also important that everything that happens now can be credited to Sobek's account ... «

Ostap looked at Gordon with increasing astonishment.

“You have never spoken to me so frankly before. Are you aiming for something with your openness? "

"No! But I think you can be open now; you understand what I mean by this now my?"

Ostap looked at him spitefully.

"And now you're going to let dead Sobek infect the Schnittler's factory?"

Ostap gave a hoarse laugh.

Gordon suddenly turned pale, but he didn't answer.

"What? Ain't it your plan You are so excited. Why do not you answer? Don't you want to extend your openness to this plan too? "

Gordon smiled contemptuously.

“God, Gordon, you are a naive child. Murder, fire, every servant can think of that; but haven't you got the idea of ​​growing pure cultures of cholera or typhus bacilli? Heh? Not yet? A means fin de siècle ... A really nifty tool. In a week the epidemic will spread all over the province ... "

He whispered, but suddenly he stamped his foot, his mouth trembled, his whole body trembled.

Gordon got up. They stared at each other for a second.

"Satan!" Hissed Ostap.

"I'll shoot you in the street if you dare to open your mouth."

Gordon foamed his lips.

For a second it seemed as if they wanted to throw each other. Ostap's hands flew around searching.

Gordon controlled himself first and left without saying a word.


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