In my dungeon

I was taken away and locked in a dungeon.
There I collapsed, broken in body and soul.
After a while I awakened.
Had I slept?
A deep darkness reigned around me, I was troubled by a terrible thirst and I felt stabbing pains in my chest.
Everything hurt, my limbs seemed paralysed because I could not move.
Around me I felt the silence of the approaching death, which made me shiver.
I felt like a wreck, my eyes burned in my head and my tong stuck to my palate.
I was shattered: would this mean my end?
My fame was wiped out like a flash in the dungeon.
I could not imagine it, it was not acceptable.
It had stormed on my life’s ocean, my trivial little ship had perished and I was thrown ashore like a pile of misery.
Yet this was probably not enough, I would also lose my mind as well.
Because I would not be able to cope with this, it would have to come to an end soon.
I was terribly bothered by a thirst.
Then I felt myself sinking away and I fell into a swoon.
When I gained consciousness for the second time, I felt a bit better.
There was now light around me.
Had the night made way for the day?
I could now think a bit better as well and move my body a bit more.
I felt that that sleep had done me good, but, oh, that thirst!
If only I had a small drink to moisten my lips, that would already be enough.
I had never experienced anything like it.
I longed for it, that was my only wish.
Now I heard some life, were they people?
People would now frighten me, I did not want to see anyone.
Only drink, drink!
I was in a cell, but where?
It was not considered necessary to put me in chains, I could move freely.
Next to me I saw those chains to which a great monster could be tied.
It was not possible to break free, the links were too thick, too close.
Again I heard life and wanted to call out for a drink, but I could not utter a noise, my throat was closed.
We were in the middle of the summer and around me I felt a horrible heat, in which I thought I would suffocate.
I wanted to get up but that appeared impossible for me, it was as if I was paralysed.
This drama had got to me and shocked my nerves.
Yet I wanted to get up, I moved into all kinds of positions and reached the entrance in this way.
At the entrance I collapsed again and was aware of nothing else.
I do not know how long I lay there, but a loud screeching suddenly wakened me and I felt that I was being pressed against the wall of my cell.
The man who entered apparently got a fright from me.
Had I changed so much?
I looked up to him and understood what he had come to do.
He handed me a pitcher which I grasped greedily and emptied to the last drop.
Delicious, now I could breathe a bit easier.
That was a mercy for which I was very grateful to him.
Without saying a word to me he left, closing the door behind him.
This was fine with me, I preferred to be alone, because I wanted to think, think, because many thoughts arose within me.
I felt my strength gradually returning and I wanted to try to return to the place I had been, in the corner.
How was it possible to suddenly lose all your strength like that?
It was not easy to stand up, but I made it to where I wanted to be, however poorly I managed it.
I had not yet lost my willpower.
Now I tried to get a clear picture of my situation and started to think about everything.
That scoundrel, that bastard, had put me in this situation.
Where was Marianne?
Was she also broken?
Poor child, how was our life, our meeting up again?
If this the fate of both of us?
I am a murderer, a murderer.
I repeated this word a few times in order to be able to listen to the sound of it.
It had a strange sound and something awful, it meant death.
Yes, Ron was dead and I was still alive.
He probably now knew more than I did.
I did not feel remorse, only that I was a person without hope.
My servant played a false game with him!
Oh, if only I had listened to my inner feelings, because I did not trust him, after all.
Did this have to happen?
Couldn't I have got out of this?
Fate had followed me to the last moment.
I had crushed his skull.
I was not sorry, on the contrary, he had earned it.
Like me, Marianne had become an artist.
All of this seemed a miracle to me.
That she should come into contact with him precisely, my friend, a devil in human form, who sullied her, Marianne, whom I loved, knew from my childhood!
No, everything was demonic.
I did not understand any of this and almost did not dare to think about it.
She had left home and followed me.
All of this was secretive.
I had wanted to look for her in the big wide world and she lived close, very close to me.
I thought this was even more awful than my murder and all the other things I would experience.
As children our ways parted, as adults we came together again, but in what a way!
What an end!
Where was she now?
Would she be sick?
I understood that her inner self had snapped like mine.
It could not be any other way.
What would she do now?
What had taken hold of Roni to be jealous of my art?
I thought it was wonderful that his beautiful body, which had caused so much suffering and sorrow, no longer belonged to the living.
His dreadful jealousy and hate would no longer hurt other people.
Now I also understood him, my frightening feelings and horrible dreams, my anxiety and agitation and my servant, now that it was too late.
I had already felt it a few days beforehand.
That was the reason for that continual fear within me of meeting him.
Was all of this coincidence, cause or a law?
An invisible power?
I did not work it out and would never work it out, but it was awful.
I could not release myself from him, however much I wanted to.
And he?
He could probably not either.
We still felt attracted to each other and yet he hated me and I him.
I would have found it amazing if it was not so sad, so intensely tragic.
In any case it had cost him his life and I was sitting here in a cell, waiting for my end.
Roni, Marianne and I, how great the influence was which connected the three of us.
The three of us?
Yes, because we were brought to each other, but by whom?
By satan?
Did the devil interfere in human affairs?
It could not be God, God was Love.
In any case they were invisible powers or it was fate or the power which first connected us and then destroyed us, which was demonic.
I accepted this irrevocably, no other solution appeared possible to me and yet, what did the devil have to do with us trivial people?
Did he not have any other work, did he have nothing better to do?
But who was it then who destroyed our young lives?
It was a mystery, I could not solve it.
But I was still busy asking ‘why’ and ‘for what purpose’, as always.
I had not lost this property either through all of this.
If only Marianne came to visit me, if we would both be allowed this.
Perhaps she knew more than I did.
She had got to know him, I was blind, completely blind.
How awful my thoughts about her had been.
I would be happy to take all of them back, because she was not a she-devil.
No, not that, that was the last thing, the saddest of all.
I would probably see her again before my death.
I would ask in any case, no, beg for it, because I had to and would speak to her before I died.
The door was shook and an eminent person entered.
He asked various questions and I answered all of them.
Then I asked: ‘Could I receive someone?
Has no one been here before?’
‘No’, was his short and cool answer.
‘Would it be possible if someone came to me?’
He waved his hand and I understood that it was not so very certain yet.
A poor comfort.
It was my only longing before I died.
How harsh people were.
A deep sadness overcame me and I felt dead tired.
Someone else came once who brought me water again.
How grateful I was to him for that.
I drunk some of it, but wanted to keep some of it, perhaps they would keep me waiting longer, then I would at least have some more.
My head hurt and I felt weakened, I could no longer think of anything else.
I had already thought too much, it had tired me out, so that sleep overcame me.
I let myself go, I did not have to think in that situation, I did not feel anything of all this misery.
Now I would have wanted to sleep to death.
Soon sleep had mercy upon me.
When I woke up again I felt deeply unhappy.
It appeared to become day and by that I calculated how long I had slept.
However, I was so dopey that I remained staring in front of me for a few hours in one and the same position.
As a result of the intensity of my feelings deep within me I felt blank.
What would my end be like?
Hung, beheaded or tortured until I would die?
It was all the same to me, as long as I could speak to Marianne.
I would endure everything, give my life for her, but I had to know what I was doing it for.
I wanted to see and speak to her.
Days passed.
I scribbled some signs on the wall and counted the days which passed.
I had already been locked up for almost two weeks and Marianne had still not come to see me.
I became afraid that something had also happened to her.
When I was given this great happiness one afternoon, I burst into tears.
The bolts of my cell were undone and Marianne entered.
She threw her arms around me, wept against my chest and we were both broken.
I started to think as fast as lightning.
‘Come on’, I said, ‘do not lose a second, come on, speak.’
I felt that we were one on soul and spirit.
‘How I have loved you, Marianne, since my childhood.
Come on, darling, tell me all you know about Roni, because I must die.
It will then be easier for me to go.’
She was deeply moved, but could not utter a word.
I asked her questions and gradually I heard from her that she also knew precious little about Roni.
She also felt attracted to him, a bond, a dreadful power drew her to him.
I still knew nothing because I had experienced a similar situation.
A few years after me she had changed to art.
She did not know anything else to say, she did not understand any of this incomprehensible problem either.
I drew her closer to my chest because I really loved her.
She could have given me the highest, but it was no longer necessary, my life had been destroyed and also hers.
Then she began to talk.
‘My art was my ruin, Lantos.
Do not ask about my life, you will send me away.’
‘Do you love me, Marianne?
She looked at me with tearful eyes and I understood her completely.
We were one, one in feeling, one thought, one life and this would soon be torn apart.
For how long?
My heart bled and I had to make every effort to remain standing.
I wanted to experience these moments, experience them completely.
I saw a path before me, endless, endlessly long, so that I saw no end.
What did this mean?
I came back to reality and pulled her even more firmly against my chest.
‘My child, my Marianne, will you never forget me?
If there is an eternity, will we see each other there again?
Tell me, what are your thoughts about this?’
‘We will live, Lantos, you will live, it is God’s will.’
‘Is there no death then?
Do you know more about it than I do?’
‘No, but we will be taught about it, won’t we?’
‘Oh, you learn and accept?
So be it.
Let us trust that we will meet again.
Wherever it is, I will continue to love you, through the ages, until eternity.
Do you feel something similar, Marianne?’
‘I can feel it, Lantos, I now know what it means to love in a real and pure way.
I had not loved, I could not love, now, however, I feel it in a different way.
Do not ask about my life, but I love you, I love you deeply, very deeply.’
She kissed me and I felt her collapsing, but I held onto her and said: ‘Marianne, remain conscious, save those seconds, give me that precious time, do not lose yourself, stay awake, stay awake!’
She opened her eyes again and looked at me.
Thank God, I did not want to miss a second of it.
‘Long for me when I am no longer here, won’t you?’
She embraced me even more deeply and wept.
I could no longer think and yet I had so many questions, but I felt empty.
‘Long, long’, that one thought occurred to me, ‘long, just continue to long until you no longer can.
If there is a God, if You truly love Your children, then connect us after death.
Long for me, for love!
Marianne, will you long, continue to long for me?
Wait, keep on waiting until He, who calls Himself God, gives us it?
If there is a Father in Heaven, then I beg you, do not destroy this beautiful thing, not this love, let us keep this one thing, this sacred thing.’
I continued to speak, I kept on begging not to destroy our love.
I, who did not believe in Him, still begged.
I was not conscious of His ability, but I asked and begged, could not behave any differently at this moment.
An unprecedented peace lay within me.
Then I felt empty again, could no longer think and I was overcome with dizziness.
I strongly resisted it but it was impossible for me.
Not Marianne but I collapsed.
I still felt her near me, her lips pressed upon mine, on my eyes and cheeks, but I sunk far, far away, into an internal depth.
I awoke during the night.
I was surrounded by darkness, but I loved this darkness, even more than the day, than the light, because I could think in it.
I remembered everything and thought it was awful that I could no longer experience this.
I was not allowed this either.
How I longed for death.
To die just as quickly as possible, then all of this would stop, also this misery.
Gone from this life, from the earth, from people and animals.
Only then would I be delivered from this cursed life.
I now longed for the silence of the grave.
For death, that dreadful monster for which I longed.
It became day and night.
The days and nights followed each other and it was heading straight for my end.
But why did it take so long?
I had to die anyway, so why not as quickly as possible?
Finally the time came when I would be sentenced.
Would I also meet Marianne?
One morning I was collected and brought before the judge.
I looked around me, but Marianne was not there.
She was sick, I heard.
I was not sentenced to death, but would be locked up in a dungeon for life.
I asked for the death sentence but they did not go into it, my sentence had been passed.
Locked up in a dungeon for life, it was terrible, I could not bare thinking about it.
How I would have liked to lay my head on the scaffold.
Everything was dear to me, but this was terrible.
I was taken to another place.
I was taken there blindfolded and I felt that I was locked up on an island.
I did not hear anything more from my parents or from Marianne.
I was the living dead.