Actes du Protaton by Denise Papachryssanthou

By Denise Papachryssanthou

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Thomas found himself seated rather comfortably, but the young man had caught one leg in the arm of the other chair and could only keep his balance by supporting himself with one hand on the floor. He began to moan in pain. "That's enough," said Thomas. " The other men intervened as well. All they wanted was to reduce the prisoner to silence, but with their spastic gestures, they hit him so roughly that the moaning began again in earnest. The noise was unbearable. " shouted Thomas. He was so close to the captive that this moaning voice seemed to be coming from his own breast, and it was difficult not to give in to the desire to lament for himself as well.

At that moment he thought he heard the little bell that had called him into this room, and it terrified him. Was it already time to leave? Was he wrong to complain, and did they want to punish him? He listened care­ fully, but since everything was quiet, he wondered if he had not dreamt it. " he asked. "Didn't the bell just ring out a warning? If there is a misunderstanding, I'm counting on you to tell me. " Thomas spoke with his lips pressed to the cheek of his companion, while the latter tried to turn his head slightly so as to place his mouth against this mouth that was speaking to him; he seemed to be searching for a way to soothe his ills, but at the same time if by chance he touched this mouth he turned away violently, as if it would have awakened the suffering it was supposed to cure.

He worried always about forgetting certain details, and three-quarters of his time was spent in a feverish comparison that left him simultaneously satisfied and worried. Thomas had great difficulty in maintaining his pose. Added to his fatigue was the temptation to change his position slightly so as to be able to feel the intensity of the painter's attention. No one both­ ered about him, and yet he was not free to move as he pleased. He ended up falling into a light sleepy state, but he took care to keep his eyes open, fixing on his executioner an impassive gaze unmoved by any hope for rest.

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