La plaga / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Plague

     My colleague, inspired by an equivocal curiosity and by a vehement sympathy for dejected and reprobate beings, was going around arm in arm with a lost girl.

     I tried to dissuade him from such company, alleging the woman’s censurable bearing, affected by the memory of an insane brother, author of his own death.

     We separated on a memorable night. Fortunes were being made and unmade in the den of the loudest uproar. The furnaces were spilling a chlorotic light and whetting the physiognomy of the gamblers. Anguish was electrifying the air of the place and suppressing the applause and laughter of the libidinous women.

     A crowd of winged insects, fell, the next day, over the city and spread a contagious disease. Their larvae would domicile themselves in men’s hair and from there they would penetrate to devour the encephalon, aided by a sharp mechanism. They would toss from themselves a fibrous casing to protect them from any medicinal lotion. They would wound, in an irreparable manner, the resorts of thought and will. The infected would run through the streets shrieking.

     My colleague resisted my advice of fleeing and came to perish, without news from anyone, at his house in the suburb.

     The natives of the kingdom were abstaining from stepping within the environs of the cursed city. The agents of order situated at opportune places, were impeding the visits of petty thieves and were circumscribing the zone of the illness.

     I braved the prohibition and managed to discover my friend’s fate.

     I opened, after some struggle, the door to his house and I saw him lying on the floor, with signs of having rolled about.

     Some spiders, with phosphorescent eyes and bland and tremulous feet, were jumping nimbly over his cadaver. The new breed had depopulated the city, running in pursuit of survivors.

Las formas del fuego (1929)

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

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