I just made you up – to hurt myself

[yes I did!..]

[yes I did!..]

The sun was broiling hot, red spots floated before his eyes, the air was quivering on the floor of the quarry, and in the shimmer it seemed that the ball was dancing in place like a buoy on the waves. He went past the bucket, superstitiously picking up his feet higher and making sure not to step on the splotches. And then, sinking into the rubble, he dragged himself across the quarry to the dancing, winking ball. He was covered with sweat and panting from the heat, and at the same time, a chill was running through him, he was shuddering, as if he had a bad hangover, and the sweet chalk dust gritted between his teeth. He had stopped trying to think. He just repeated his litany over and over: “I am an animal, you see that. I don’t have the words, they didn’t teach me the words. I don’t know how to think, the bastards didn’t let me learn how to think. But if you really are…all-powerful…all-knowing… then you figure it out! Look into my heart. I know that everything you need is in there. It has to be. I never sold my soul to anyone! It’s mine, it’s human! You take from me what it is I want… it just can’t be that I would want something bad! Damn it all, I can’t think of anything, except those words of his… ‘HAPPINESS FOR EVERYBODY, FREE, AND NO ONE WILL GO AWAY UNSATISFIED!’

A & B Strugatsky


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