from The Street of Crocodiles, by Bruno Schultz

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

And while the children’s games became increasingly noisier and more complicated, while the city’s flushes darkened into purple, the whole world suddenly began to wilt and blacken and exude an uncertain dusk which contaminated everything. Treacherous and poisonous, the plague of dusk spread, passed from one object to another, and everything it touched became black and rotten and scattered into dust. People fled before it in silent panic, but the disease always caught up with them and spread in a dark rash on their foreheads. Their faces disappeared under large, shapeless spots. They continued on their way, now featureless, without eyes, shedding as they walked one mask after another, so that the dusk became filled with the discarded larvae dropped in their flight. Then a black, rotting bark began to cover everything in large putrid scabs of darkness. And while down below everything disintegrated and changed into nothingness in that silent panic of quick dissolution, above there grew and endured the alarum of sunset, vibrating with the tinkling of a million tiny bells set in motion by the rise of a million unseen larks flying together into the enormous silvery infinite. Then suddenly night came, a vast night, growing vaster from the pressure of great gusts of wind. In its multiple labyrinths nests of brightness were hewn: the shops—large colored lanterns—filled with goods and the bustle of customers. Through the bright glass of these lanterns the noisy and strangely ceremonial rites of autumn shopping could be observed.

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