viernes, 22 de marzo de 2013


There is no such a thing as chance. By chance we understand merely a term indicating known effects of unknown causes, extant but not recognized or perceived yet.

The story tells of a cuadrillero of the Santa Hermandad who hid a book meant to be burnt in an auto-da-fé. Even though the movement was minimal his hand trembled at the thought of unimagined torments that awaited him should the Santo Oficio found him out. However, no horror of the Inquisition would change his mind for: in this work of Ibn Hayyan al-Jabir al-Azdi Bariqui al-Kufi resided the answer to his prayers and the end of his sorrow.
The instructions seemed to be clear enough even when coming from a Moor. The treatise was an update of Aristotle’s magisterium, who taught that all elements of Nature have four basic qualities: heat, cold, dryness and humidity. And the prescription was simple: if after rearranging the qualities of a given metal another one could be obtained, then, by rearranging the principles of a dying body it was possible to have access to an immortal body. Indeed, and what also made the stolen book an invaluable object was that it contained all the necessary steps to achieve the takwin, the artificial creation of life. During daylight, the sorcerer's apprentice read the hermetical pages. At night, he built a large athanor. But after two weeks without sleep and the first signs of exhaustion, the time had come to proceed. Aldonza was dying from an unknown illness and the many indentations and poultices had not yielded any results. And as the altar where he planned to outwit the Grim Reaper was now ready he chose a maiden of unearthly beauty. She was the perfect subject to recombine her qualities. He sequestered her during a moonlit night and greedily undressed her, in anticipation of the pleasure he would find in her transmuted flesh. He set up the proper substances, stuffed both unfortunate woman with them and stirred the alchemic fire. Alas! It was not enough to replicate the formula of universal panacea. Their screams attracted the King's Guard. The stench was unbearable. One historian noted that even an old soldier of the Tercios puked his guts and the failed alchemist did not have the strength to resist the arrest for he had already lost his mind. However, and quite prudently, the chronicler omitted to state that from the bottom of the furnace a monstrous creature kept watching him with a drooling smile.
© Pablo Martínez Burkett, 2013

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