”…Removing my elbow from the rumbling organ, I raised the napkin covered in writing to my eyes, cleared my throat and in my usual manner, using no intonation whatsoever but sim- ply making brief pauses between the quatrains, I read:

Eternal Non-Return

Hundreds of years spent filing at the bars set in the frame And shifting form and face through flux and dissolution, A madman bearing Emptiness for his name Flees from the clutches of a model institution.

He knows quite well there is no time to flee, Nowhere to go, no path on which to go there. But more than that, this self-same escapee Himself cannot be found, for he is nowhere. To say the process of the filing does exist Or that there are no file or bars is all the same. The madman Voyd clutches his rosary in his fist – All answers to all questions he disclaims. For since the world keeps moving but we know not whither. Better say at once both ‘No’ and ‘Yes’, but swear to neither.

At these words I raised Zherbunov’s pen and fired at the chandelier. It shattered like a toy on a Christmas tree, and a blinding electric light flashed across the ceiling. The hall was plunged into darkness, and immediately I saw the flashes of gunshots …”




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