The Architect

The Architect by Brendan Connell

Book: The Architect by Brendan Connell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brendan Connell
far…trusting this man too much.”
    “But you yourself said that you thought he was the greatest architect that ever lived!”
    “And so he is. But he is also…insane.”
    “Peter, he is the man I love. He is a sorcerer! He is as profound as Jesus, as wise as Parshvanatha!”
    “I think he is dangerous.”
    “Which makes him all the more exciting. You are only bitter because he has, quite rightly, expelled you from the works. And now you come here…”
    “Aunt, you should break with him.”
    “Never. He is the only real man I have ever known. You are only a child and are still ignorant…of the functioning of a woman’s heart. And are surely jealous. Because he is a genius, and you…”
    Peter bit his bottom lip. And then said: “So be it. If you want to destroy yourself, then I cannot stop you.”
    Maria stood up very erect. She had obviously been stung by his words.
    “Destroy myself?” she hissed. “Do you know what stupid things you are saying? Who are you to lecture anyone? It was you who first introduced me to Herr Nachtman. It was you who first brought him to the Society…You were always so forward-thinking, open-minded. And now listen to you. You talk like an old man. Though you are young, you are completely without spirit—an insect and a coward who does not believe in God! Yes, get out of here, go and bury yourself in the earth—and don’t come to me anymore.”

XXVII.
     
    The scene was something that could have only been painted by a Breughel or a Bosch. The scale of the structure dwarfed the workers, made them appear less significant than insects—ants or skipping fleas. Dozens of comedio-tragedies were being played out at every moment. A man let out a violent scream, his leg crushed to pudding by a large block of granite. Men scaled ladders, sat perched atop half-built walls, held hammers, hoisted loads. Olaf Lidskog, the old Swedish millionaire, could be seen high up on the walls, his beard being swept about by the wind. With his thin frame and wild eyes, he seemed like some holy man—some ascetic undergoing a bizarre penance as a few flakes of snow drifted down from the sky.
    It was so much trouble for the workers to get to the top that, once there, they had to stay for as long as possible, eating their lunch and dinner and often even sleeping in small hammocks in that precarious position, suspended hundreds of meters in the air. Of course falls were not in the least bit unusual, occurring on an almost daily basis. Mutilated corpses had to be scraped from the earth with such regularity that there was even a special work unit set with the task and those who perished in such a manner were referred to as martyrs and it was said that their souls graduated instantly to the twelfth plane where an extraordinary place was reserved for them and they were given audience with certain advanced spirits.
    Once prominent businessmen were reduced to unshaven, dirty, half naked specimens. Beautiful women saw their breasts dry up. Men were broken, women crushed. And yet, thanks in part to those disciplinary measures previously mentioned, not a complaint was now heard. These disciples of the great philosophy accepted the hardship with joy, convinced that their beings were being cleansed, that they were mounting, together with the structure itself, ever higher into the realms of spiritualism.
    The building itself seemed no longer a place to worship God, but seemed a god itself, around the heights of which the tails of clouds wrapped themselves.
    Some said at night they saw it moving, writhing like a snake, puffing like an angry bull. Others said that they had seen angels with long forked tails flying about the incomplete dome and the thing seemed to look over the land with a mighty eye.
    It seemed certain that it was possessed, endowed with malicious genius—an insatiate hunger. Its belly seemed to rumble and claws to reach out and grab those around; it would bite off their heads and gorge itself on their

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