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(31) Ion

The entrance was as in an Egyptian temple, with a ramp that led up to the main chamber. It was as in an Egyptian temple except in one regard—it was all black, so black that the walls glittered with a crystalline glint that was caused by the moonlight. It was a full moon and the moon shone through an oval aperture set slightly to the right-hand side in the main chamber. At the chamber’s end there was a stone throne carved from granite as a single piece and elevated by several concentric circles, one upon the other.

On the floor there was a man, a man in a black uniform with knee-high boots—the uniform was black, except for a silver trim. Black was the theme. He was keeled over, hunched over like an animal—right on all fours, on his shins. He convulsed every few seconds, little spasms of pain went through his body; and from a wound on his flank gushed blood—it was black too. Black was the theme. The scene was lit by two large flames in bowls supported by coiled serpent-like stands—these reached halfway up the wall. Yet the flames shed little light, they sputtered—the animal fat tallow waxed low.

The man gave another spasm, the blood gushed—more than ever. He had moved perhaps a foot. Another man, dressed in the same uniform, appeared in the doorway and walked past the man on the floor. He did not stop to look at him—he advanced to the throne. By the time he had climbed the circle steps, the man on the floor had given a final convulsion and died—he lay with his right cheek to the floor. The man in the throne brought his right arm to his chin—he rested it there in thought. The moon’s beam was strong and over the night it progressed so that it settled on the corpse. The blood was a great black halo around the body.


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