Alastor / José Antonio Ramos Sucre


The army of the Athenians had suffered deplorable setbacks in the confines of Syracuse and the order to retreat was necessary. The ships in charge of facilitating it had been lost in a fight reestablished several times. We the survivors envied the happiness of those who were sacrificed. The bonfires consumed the dead and their spectacular military accessories and were marking the route of our day’s journey.
     The army was moving slowly and with difficulty. The wounded, abandoned on the floor, broke into lamentations and thought they had fallen into the hands of the victor.
     My companion in the field tent sat up from where he was succumbing and clung to my shoulders. We had grown up together in imitation of heroes and had agreed to help each other. He was frightened of dying amidst the abuses and even more of surviving only to end up in captivity.
     I threw him down in front of me and took his life with a dart penetrated by infernal aconite and reserved for myself in case I was imprisoned.
     I have blindly inflicted upon him the mortal wound. I have turned my face and covered my eyes with the other hand.
     Unlimited compassion barely serves to alleviate my crime of having anticipated the necessary day for him. I describe without respite the event where my inquietude begins.
     His soul did not drift away indignant.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

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