A staircase! The first step, covered with a red carpet, had served as a cushion for his dream. A scarlet hanging rope formed the railing, and, on the other side, a diagonal row of ascending marble cones.
Where am I?
The man sprang up. Up or down?
Taking the steps two or three at a time. A deserted landing between two floors, with no windows and no doors. And again the red-carpeted staircase. Another floor, blind and deaf, with a white lamp hanging from the ceiling. Red carpet. Up. – The scarlet rope, like an endless snake on his right, and those ascending cones on the left.
When was this going to end? Where were the doors?
The man keeps running up. His head is spinning and the scarlet cascade of the staircase is burning into his brain.
Suddenly he stops. Perhaps… perhaps it would be better to run down instead, to go back. No, it’s too late. I’ve come up too far now. Have to keep going.
Another floor! – And another! Can’t go on!… One last floor! And another, equally desolate, with its tongue of red carpet hanging out.
His heart cried out, his legs buckled. No more, impossible to go on. Where am I now…? Who…? I…? Who is I? Who am I?
An astonishing thought! – A surprise! – The man grasped his mind in his hand.
Who am I?
But his mind is silent… He has no memory…
What’s my name? – What do I look like? Where have I come from?… My God, I must have had a name in this world… but what was it… what was it?
The pain boring into his temples when he asks that question. If he remembers, everything will become clear and this staircase will disappear… what was it?
More floors stacked up on top of one another, deaf and blind, each with a sun in the ceiling, an electric globe made of milky glass.