Illustration title: ‘Temptation’. Circa 28 AD, the Devil tempts Jesus whilst he is alone in the desert. Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images.
It was during the writing of the ‘Assault on Karthige’, as I was trying to put my notes in order and was writing the first chapters, when I met Marianna, in the small forest that I frequent. It was the first time I was seeing her there, and it was clear she did not know exactly where she was, but she was sitting in the usual fallen tree that I sit too, to gaze at the lake, right next to the rock in the shape of a pyramid that had once rolled down from the nearby mountain.
I greeted her and sat next to her, and she shrank to the opposite direction, either to give me space or to create some distance. She was lost in her thoughts, her face troubled, and she perhaps did not feel like having a chat, but the weather was good and she had been found in my way, she was sitting at my usual spot. I gave her some time, to gather my thoughts too, to decide if what she was going to tell me where things that would happen or things that had already happened.
‘Talk to me’, I told her, in a commanding tone, after a while. This brought her around, and without an objection, she started telling me about things that had already happened and were troubling her.
In the course of the day her friends and colleagues came to find her, Nikitas and Andreas, and they brought beers, refreshments and sandwiches. We sat there, next to the lake, and they told me all they had seen, all they had ready, all they were planning to write.
It was dusk, a ginger light in the horizon, when the narration of all three came to an end. I got up to stretch myself, and stood next to the rock, and looked at the sun that was going out in the distance, considering all that I had heard. When I turned to look at them, to ask them something, they were no longer there. And yet, all they had told me, burned in my mind, and I felt them a burden.
So I took the road of my return, and ‘No Prophet’ started taking shape that same night.