La ciudad de las puertas de hierro / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The City of Iron Doors

I was combing through the vestiges of a fortress edified, three thousand years earlier, to divide the floor of two continents. The towers were rising just slightly above the walls, according to the Asiatic custom. The antiquity of that architecture declared itself through the absence of the arch.
     The passage of Alexander, conqueror of the Persians, had disseminated in that country an imperishable rumor.
     I observed, from a lookout in the ruins, the dispute between Sergio and Michael, two idlers of Russian origin. They were accused of having killed and despoiled a gentleman, while they were guiding him through a plateau. They would appropriate the cattle wounded by the neighboring hunters. They surpassed the perfidy of the Jew and the Armenian.
     Michael retired after inflicting upon his adversary a funest blow and he locked himself in the guesthouse where I was lodged. No one else had become aware of the case.
     The wounded man died the night of that very day, uttering insults and curses. Michael was unable, at such a great distance, to conciliate sleep and he would call out loud to his lodging companions to save himself from the constant hallucinations. I contributed to pacifying him and persuaded him to wait, without fear, until morning.
     We left him alone when he was starting to fall asleep.
     We returned to his presence well into the day. We found him drowned by some ferreous hands, different from his own.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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