When the madman finally made it home

When the madman finally made it home–for he still had a home, a little hut in the woods about two kilometers outside of town–he finally put out his lantern and knelt down beside his bed. For he still had a bed–like a rough cot, where his friends would sleep with him too if a friend ever chanced upon his door and walked through it. Now there was darkness all around like blankets except for a few glittering speckles on the tapestry. He knelt down so low that his face was pressed firm against the straw of the bedding. Even in the darkness, he still felt that there was a shadow next to him, and pressing against him the way he pressed against his bed. Oddly enough this pressing did not feel oppressive, and in due time the two, the madman and this shadow next to him, were engaged in what seemed a loving, if furtive and wordless, conversation. At last the madman got up from his prostrated posture and saw that the shadow was no shadow at all, but a fully formed man, fully formed and fully visible even when nothing else was. The madman gasped at first, then he sighed, then he cried, then he sobbed and gasped some more, then wailed and heaved. Then he laughed. Laughed at the others outside his home, back at the marketplace. Laughed at his own speeches and deeds out there, as a few of them were only dawning on him now in his privacy. Or what had been privacy, for now his privacy was turned into an intimacy with this stranger who came into his home without invitation. Finally he laughed at the figure before him, who in turn laughed back at him and with him. The two laughed such as to shake the walls of the house and, for all the madman knew, the walls of every house in the hamlet, the walls and floor of the earth itself. They laughed in a way that gave voice to everything, even the sound of their laughter seemed to contain every emotion and every utterance ever lived and uttered, and embrace them all with unrestrained adoration. Finally, amidst all the cackling, the stranger could be heard to say to the madman Put your hand here. The madman did as he was asked, and he was astonished. He did not know it was possible to reach so far into flesh that was still alive. But here he was, exploring the inside of this body like caverns and like secret hiding places for the weary. It was so warm, so hot and vital there that the madman surmised that the stars themselves were given birth inside these wounds. Thereby his madness was not cured but enflamed, and he could not believe but had to believe.


  1. Ibn Aqib says:

    Nice work emulating Nietzsche’s writing style!


    1. Richard Q says:

      I have always had a haunting sense that Nietzsche continued the parable of the madman, only not explicitly. Thank you in abundance.


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