A Very Short Story

Daniel Baranski

Releasing myself from the umbrageous hold of the woods, I went on following the pathway inundated with some strange light of the Moon. All those dark bushes——tall skeletal trees——languid bare rocks, which I one after another was passing, gave not a single respite to my romantic mind. I yet perceived something within—at least initially—something like a whit of agitation sparkling as the place was drawing nearer.

Soon, I paused—and glanced, unhesitatingly now, at the moribund arch outstretched right before my person. The massive stone walls, which were supported by the multitudes of grim arcades and slender columns—present on each floor, formed an elliptic but quite irregular shape of the ancient object. Its wretched weathered visage aroused an impression of sweet melancholy and subtly enticed me to take a stroll along the perimeter.

In that atmosphere of gloom, stillness, and contemplation, I perceived no one save a stray soul standing by the entrance. He seemed to be not in particular tall, and his silhouette was clothed in some costume resembling much a boiler suit. Still hearkening to the nearly soundless tones of the symphony (composed by myself, the Wind, and no more discernible scenery), unhurriedly approached I the form staring at my posture.

“It’s closed,” uttered he.
“I see. . .” answered I, “I am having a walk.”

I could doubtless state whether he observed my motions.
Nonetheless. . .

“Are you. . .are you a thief?” asked he, his voice displaying terror inconceivable to me.
“A thief?” slightly I laughed, “Be calm, Adamo—not really a thief. And you—what are you doing?”
“Ekhm. . .live not far away from here. I was recommended to take care of this place. It’s my job now. Don’t you feel cold?”
, cold. Don’t you feel cold like that?”

I wholly forgot that everything I was having on was a white dalmatica. I hastened with the response.

“Perhaps I should. And you still have not given the answer to the question.”
! We’re going to restore the building.”
“Are ye?”
! Aristocracy have already underwritten all renovations foreseen.”

I looked into his orbs.

“Adamo, take a simple glance at that sullen landscape outspread around,” said I.

And he took. At the time of him being engrossed with Nature, I could hear a faint short-lasting caw somewhere above the sapless veil of the clouds. Did I see no raven, though.

After a while, another talk emerged.

“Here—it is forsooth insufferable cold. Perhaps, you should let us in so we can know if there is any difference inside,” said I.
“Ekhm. . .I don’t know.”
“Moreover, we will have a chance to admire the place together in the lone presence of the very spirt of the Night.”

We, once again, were able to plunge ourselves into that wonderful symphony.

“Maybe you’re right. . .it’s indeed very cold.”
“Undoubtedly, it is. Open the archway.”

And thus, we entered the ring and let us become absorbed in every inert stone—every collapsed wall—every fissure drawn. At such views, another sense of frailness obsessed my poor heart. I approached my companion.

“Adamo,” said I, in the darkness, seeking his figure.
What would you do if you were to live eternally?”
“I’d likely take up restoring this place.”

Something urged me then to take a glimpse of the surrounding.

“Is it not what you intend anyway?”
“My family, my friends—they recommended me.”
“I’m just best in it—that’s what everyone tells me, and I stick to it. Great people—honestly.”

I then attempted to keep my entire attention on that drifting Wind pulling the endless string of silence—pleasant and soft. Adamo, however, appeared to grow oddly uneasy.

“It’s getting too cold now, let’s go back,” said he.
“No,” I declared. “We shall move on.”
“Move on? Where to?”
“Open the gate of the catacombs.”

And so—I strode through the threshold, Adamo close behind, to descend the ragged stairs overwhelmed with ash, dust, and bone. Its spiral structure led us to the heart of ancient times. An intricate black-soaked corridor arose before, and I, lighting up the torch, which one had shackled to a such frangible wall, perceived plenty of a mote hovering in the still air. In sooth, all those torches were arranged in a manner inscrutable—not only created they an abundant array of unextinguished glare, but also no portion of whichever pair could produce light simultaneously with the other. Therefore, during our stroll, we had to proceed incessantly.

The place, apart from being a tumulus for all those rusty armours, swords, or creatures decayed, revealed more and more of its history full of blood, torment, and terror as the following torches inflamed. In adjacent rooms, there were niches embellished with urns, whereas the rooms themselves wielded a dim coffin in their middle. The walls told stories about battles and life.

I stopped by one of the reliefs, which seemed to persist in an immensely healthy spirit, and wondered.

“It will anyway crumble on one day,” said I.

Soon, we moved forth. At length, I lit up the mere torch, and we found ourselves within some large chamber situated at the very end of the blackened corridor. Once more, there was a wide carved sarcophagus denoting the centre of the bleak room. Adamo leant against it. 

“So now—what are we going to do?” asked he.
“Undress yourself.”
“What? Why would I?”
“Thou ought to look as thou once didst.”
“Eh. . .God. So be it. Give me a moment.”

Ere he took his clothes off, I had drawn aside the heavy stone plate concealing the inner part of the tomb. Shortly afterwards, I set one foot in it.

“Adamo, are you following?” asked I, offering him my hand.

He took the hand but replied not: solely laid himself down. I decided to draw the plate back.

And thus, I, too, put myself to sleep—to sleep forevermore—and more, and more, and more. . .

Daniel Baranski is a Polish artist who combines literature and music in order to wholly express the depth of his philosophical and psychological thought. He promotes an entirely individual approach with respect to interpretation of the world, which is evident in the concept of 'totality' employed in his creation.