by Ayn Rand
It is a sin to write this. It is a sin
to think words no others think and to put
them down upon a paper no others are to see.
It is base and evil. It is as if we were
speaking alone to no ears but our own.
And we know well that there is no transgression
blacker than to do or think alone.
We have broken the laws. The laws say
that men may not write unless the Council
of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!
But this is not the only sin upon us.
We have committed a greater crime, and for
this crime there is no name. What punishment
awaits us if it be discovered we know not,
for no such crime has come in the memory
of men and there are no laws to provide for it.
It is dark here. The flame of the candle
stands still in the air. Nothing moves in
this tunnel save our hand on the paper. We are
alone here under the earth. It is a fearful
word, alone. The laws say that none among
men may be alone, ever and at any time,
for this is the great transgression and the root
of all evil. But we have broken many laws.
And now there is nothing here save our one body,
and it is strange to see only two legs
stretched on the ground, and on the wall
before us the shadow of our one head.
The walls are cracked and water runs
upon them in thin threads without sound,
black and glistening as blood. We stole the
candle from the larder of the Home of the
Street Sweepers. We shall be sentenced to
ten years in thePalaceofCorrective
Detention if it be discovered. But this matters not.
It matters only that the light is precious and
we should not waste it to write when we
need it for that work which is our crime.
Nothing matters save the work, our secret,
our evil, our precious work. Still, we must
also write, for--may the Council have
mercy upon us!--we wish to speak for once
to no ears but our own.
Our name is Equality 7-2521, as it is
written on the iron bracelet which all men
wear on their left wrists with their names
upon it. We