14. The challenge


The young man kept the eyes open under the suffering which was in his thin body. He opened them wide so that the eyelids do not bend down.

The ROSHI was in front of him, sitting on the heels. He did not move. Because it was not his role of Master to intervene.

HIRO massed the heart of the one who was lying on the mat of rice straw. He pushed with all the force of his shoulders of fighter and his fingers searched in the ribs under his palms, to seek to pass between them and to touch the pear of the life underneath.

Because the Death still tried its chance on the body of the young man. It still tried its rights on this life there.

It was about to succeed in the small night. Where the spirit breaks its bonds with the body and that the attention ceases.

HIRO dozed on the mat of the right corner, next to the door. The ROSHI has kept the right back since hours, motionless in the shade of the bottom. He had the hands one on the other and they rested on his folded thighs. Gently. Everything has been tranquility in him since they put the foot in the East pavilion.


They have lengthened the young body close to the brazier. The monks had laid out a good stock of charcoal next to the door, on the veranda. There were covers in the left angle, where they did not obstruct. Close to them, the earth pots were aligned. The monks had known that the medicines were going to be necessary and they have brought them.

Then, they have installed the body who did not say anything, the eyes wide open. These eyes there looked at them doing. They did not intervene in their gestures. HIRO was frightened of these flames there. One would have said a fire which wanted to die. With too green wood

HIRO was frightened of these eyes there which observed him. They observed. Simply. They did not take part in his effort. The body was like a bag of grains between his arms. Just with a spine which did not make a puppet of it because there was pain in this conduit and the pain holds right.

- This man there wants to die, he blew at the ROSHI after having installed the body on the mat.

He went on the veranda where the Master was, to say these words. He spoke with low and deaf voice. But the ROSHI has frowned in reproaches.

HIRO was then turning over. The eyes of the young man had not left his high silhouette. They were as blades of pain which observed him. There was irony at the bottom of the dark brown color. There was also another thing. HIRO realized it when he tried to follow the spear of the look which went beyond his shoulder. By underneath of the main beam of the veranda, one perceived the sky. Just between the two central posts framing the wood steps, the sky was just opening and there was blue and gold which left the layer uniformly grey. The eyes stared at this place of soft light. There was sadness inside.

Then HIRO knew why he had been wrong to speak. This young man was cut into two.

- It is the side of the life that I must draw, is not it.

He has spoken without realizing it. The words left his heart. Just from there and he knew that those there were right.

The ROSHI blinked. He also stared at the place of the shimmering sky in the grey uniformity. However HIRO knew that this movement of the eyelids was addressed to him. An agreement. The vigour came suddenly again in his belly.

He knew then that his role of healer of the body was to pull on this fine wire of the life which is sad to leave the Life. He will have to seize the wire and to then pull it with firmness, to give it consistency, to make it move so that it touches the vital points of the body. He knew what he has to do. To enlarge this still luminous piece of the life. To enlarge, again and again.


And now, this bitch of Death had benefitted from his drowsiness. This louse wanted it, this life. Of course! The great success. To puff out of God, even of half-God… Come on, do not be petty. Even a quarter of God! A great success! Hey, here is an added filth to send between the gums of the men. Just to tell them that they are not capable to keep the Gods at them. That they make them flee by dint of their stupidities, their claim, their manner of liking to do evil.

- By all the Kamis the madest of the steppes, I tell you that you will not have this one!

The thick fingers searched between the ribs. Below there was the pump of the life of the men. This one there, that it does not believe that he will let it quiet! He has it well under his hands and it is not now that he will let his fingers slip. Even if it means to break these ribs of shit!

And this one there, he could look at him with irony in the open windows like balls of gun. The balls, he knows. He is not scared by them . His body can show him the scars. Died since a long time, he should have been. Then, not question of letting himself intimidate by balls hardly big like balls of armoured steel. Hey, in the teeth he will send back to him, this steel of shit!

But whore, this heart there is not going to peg out between his hands. Sure. Promised!

- Died of shit, beak of the Eagle or of my arse, you will see what it is an insane madman of the steppes who will seek you in your den!


He had battled. Two gongs to announce the meditation in the temple have thrown their sound. The vibration has run on the sweating back of HIRO. His muscles were painful.

The young man still did not close the eyes under the shock of his pain. Even so his body was suffering. The wave bumped against the fingers of HIRO which massed the heart. To force he had felt a rib cracking. But the one who was now the son of the ROSHI tightened a little more the lips on the teeth. HIRO wanted to apologize for his clumsy gesture. But he met the eyes of flames. There was nothing inside, at this moment. Just a brown depth like a dark lake. He has felt that if he opened the mouth and let pass the words of excuse through his lips, there was going to be contempt in this orbits there.

Then he lowered the head, ashamed, and he continued to work hard on the chest of the young man, to seek to draw aside the ribs without breaking them to touch the pump of the life and to give it the vigour that it did not want anymore.

But he was afraid. Because under his fingers the life did not want to remain. He felt it well and this certainty reasoned in his body. He wanted to speak with the ROSHI about it. When he turned the head towards him he met only this impassive forehead which seemed to give him like only message “Go on…. That does not have any importance”.

Then he did not know what became important. To save the son who didn't help him, to live? To leave him at the death which turned in his belly? Because he was certain, these are his fingers at him, HIRO, which untiringly has pushed back the death since hours. Him, this young man, he does not helped him at all. He let do the things. He observed.

It was that, he observed! HIRO looked for the word. He guessed a truth turning. He did not find the words to name it. Here! It has come suddenly. He observed! Just that. As an adult who follows with the eyes the disordered movements of a child who plays with forces larger than him.

He is suffocated by this discovery which bursts in the bones of his skull and he turns abruptly to his old companion of always. And he suffocates because he meets an ironic and a little painful smile there. The ROSHI stretches the lips towards the cheeks, without the teeth being discovered. This smile there, he knows it well. He opens the mouth, to ask an indication. He does not know very well. He has opened the mouth because he could not make anymore some other way. This smile there told him his nullity suddenly because he knew that it was pain which held the tight teeth.



The ROSHI stared at a point above HIRO’s shoulders. The Master cook sought the object which was in front of the eyes of the Master and he did not find anything only the naked wall next to the closed door.

He met the look of the young man who did not groan under his brutal fingers to want to draw aside the death.

Then he quivers until the bottom of the bones because this man there stared at the same point of the wall as the old Master. However there was nothing on this wall! Sure.

Then HIRO looked again to the wall and he stared him also at the place that the two others looked at. He did not see anything. Then he looked at better and he had to lower the eyelids to filter the look.

Gently, very slowly, he had the impression that a circle of golden blue light on the clay ground took shape. He closed almost the eyelids and the lashes touched the cheeks. The circle became more obvious. A clear contour. Broad like a big copper bowl to make the sounds in the temple. The gilded color was besides the one of the metal which radiated the oil lamps.

HIRO did not seek anymore and he was let carry by this blue color strong with his luminosity. There still there was no more means to make some other way or to flee. Or not to look at and say that these things do not exist.

Then, the eyes went up in his orbits, in the top of the cavity. The muscles were tightened. It was a little painful. But there was liberation of his spirit in this movement there. His spirit was calming. It now agreed to be let lead towards fields of deep luminosity that he felt now like pure and quiet right from the origin.

He did not know what occurred in him. It was peace. No more the effort of the will which wants to look for itself and to find itself. No more the effort. Here it is, the belief in the effort had just burst suddenly in his old skull of Mongol of the steppes and he insulted himself with all the names to have been so stupid during such a long time.

Then he did not understand anymore why his fingers continued to penetrate between the ribs of the young man. That one there should have howled under the pain that he has printed in his body since hours. Since hours!

And suddenly he was ashamed. He did not know anything anymore. Except that his gestures and his good will were useless. That they were so since the very first day, the first beginning.

Then he ceased. His hands withdrew from the ribs. His fingers left the pump of the life.

His palms caressed one moment the naked and flat belly in his hard muscles, because that one there was a combatant and he had the dry belly. His skin slipped on the skin of the other like a good-bye. As the one who will leaves and who says that it should be excused because he did not know to make.

Then the fingers like those of a mother replace the linens on the skin, buckled the belt of the tunic. They replaced the linens according to the arrangement which one makes with deaths.

Then, he moved back and deviated from two cubits. He broke the waist and his forehead went to bump against the wood. He did it three times. Then a strange frenzy took him and he started again without counting. Again and again. The heat which was done in his head was like a delivery. He did not know which one but it did not matter except this heat which dilated his skull and which came now in his heart so much that this one wanted to cry of gratitude.


He does not know how much time passed. At one time he has ceased. He does not know when and why. His body was immobilized in a peace which he had never yet known because that one there carried the look at the end of the Universe. This peace there was space. Just roomy. A free space right from the origin with its luminosity.

And his brain which observed saw the relation with the circle on the wall and the brain remained silent because what was there was larger than him and exceeded the limits of his activity.


A hand was placed on his shoulder. HIRO had not moved. This hand there was the one of the ROSHI. But he knew that this one was sitting at the end of the room and that he had not moved. However it was his hand with all the bones well marked in his flesh. HIRO did not want to understand anymore. No more now.

No more now with the breath which came on his right ear and the words which entered his canal. Words which slipped gently, without pressing themselves, as so now time was not counted anymore.

These words said to him that the Life saves itself with the Life and not with gestures of the death.

Then, he could only leave pearls of rain flow on his cheeks because there was nothing else to do but to leave the plug open to the pains accumulated by the effort.


That lasted a time that he could not count.

The day was now declining outside.

Then, he was bent only once in front of the lying body. He did not seek to know if he was still in life. Because now he knew that the Life had another world at its disposal.

He swiveled on his knees and bent once again in front of the Master, a dark spot in the corner of the room.

Then he rose and closed the door with a quiet insurance that he did not know he had.


Outside, beyond the palisades, there was the brook which rolled the ices.

His bare feet will learn the ground and will marble the stones of his blood. That one there required boiling in the cold and water because the ground needed some.