This particular day of Anton Pavlovich’s life went awry from the start.

At first a his lawyer for divorce proceedings called him by phone and with affectedly false regret in own voice notified Anton Pavlovich that a second apartment in a center of Moscow, which Anton Pavlovich has honestly acquired by not-so-honest work can’t be kept in any way because it’s considered a shared property, acquired by him along with his nowadays almost ex-wife. Then some sort of fool from Godforsaken insurance company called him and offered “new unique property insurance package with fire-protection included” – and this, together with a sad fact of his country house, which has been burned almost to ashes by a lightning strike about a month ago, sounded almost like professional, even though accidental mockery. In a doorway of this exact Moscow apartment, which has been bought on money from pension system fraud, his new mistress Jessica has been already waiting for him and with a languid voice she inquired, when her “sweetie daddy” is going to buy her a new promised mink fur coat instead of an old one, given to her by a former lover. And this new mistress, to be honest, was quite a black sheep – but his previous unmarried concubine Victoria demanded such thorough and capital investments, that it was much easier and cheaper to hire some east harem than to continue satisfaction of her growing not by days, but by wallets appetites. And in this moment Anton Pavlovich could do nothing better than to form a false smile on his tense face and go together with Jessica to a new boutique.

What can we say? That regrettable for Anton Pavlovich day was destined to come to a failure from the start. Anton Pavlovich was pressing on his car’s accelerator pedal so hard, trying to get rid on the way to boutique of one thousand of annoying thoughts, which have been importunately biting his raging mind, that he didn’t notice how he has exceeded allowed in urban environments speed limit of sixty kilometers per hour. Or maybe just this last hour became like a whole life, stretching into its own eternity?

Fuel track drove into a cross lane absolutely unexpectedly. It’s, however, quite possible that it, along with its driver Vasily Ivanovich, who has become quite drunk after a recent quarrel with own wife, along with Anton Pavlovich and aforementioned Jessica have all been waiting for these year, day, hour, minute and even second of this most fatal meeting? Alas, the answer to this uneasy question is hidden from us in far away informational archives of the universe, and we are unable to satisfy this possible curiosity of our faithful readers. No matter what, but the moment when Anton Pavlovich and Vasily Ivanovich synchronously pressed on brakes, and Jessica stridently cried, hands of invisible to them clocks stopped for an instant, as if forever imprinting it inside a memory of the world, and then a second hand made its last “tac!” and stood still. Black tinted jeep crashed into the middle of a fuel truck at such a speed that fuel track rolled sideways – and followed explosion muffled even agonal shout of Jessica. Shockwave threw away two nearby cars and three pedestrians without inflicting them too much damage – for it were yet not their year, day, hour, minute and second. Huge fiery mushroom sparked over a place of tragedy – and then everything sank in a roar of a storming flame …

* * *

Anton Pavlovich opened his eyes, greedily grasping autumn air, which has been flowing along with sunrays through slightly opened windows into his bedroom. He slowly wiped his eyes with own fists, trying to get rid of recent dreadful nightmare, and sat down on the edge of a bed. “What an awful dream!” – he was thinking, having not yet come to his senses. “Swindles, frauds, mistresses, road accidents … what our mind is capable of creating! Well, never mind, – the good news is that all of this wasn’t for real, it was just a dream, a simple dream…”

That way, continuing to calm down himself, Anton Pavlovich was gathering for work. Having already had breakfast, having already put on his crimson jacket and sat down into a black tinted jeep, parked near a house, already ready for new honest and not so honest feats, he suddenly caught himself on a thought that it has become somehow unusually deserted in a yard of his high-rise building – no signs of either cars, or pedestrians, or even some kind of stray dog, which weren’t travelling here anyway. “Perhaps, it’s a day off?” – an afterthought flashed in still slightly sleepy brain of Anton Pavlovich. “Precisely, day off! No further than yesterday I have finally got divorced with my silly spouse and was going to celebrate that moment today in a bar with my friends!”, – he remembered. “All because of that foolish dream! It totally drove me out of life!” Having repeatedly glanced over an empty yard of his house and having once again hemmed to himself, he struck pedals of his car and rushed through the gates.

Rare street pedestrians completely didn’t fit into an overall image of populous capital – they, having slightly stooped, were slowly moving on streets and, it seemed, didn’t look on each other at all. No sign of agiotage or any business turmoil and haste, so common for Moscow citizens … it seemed as if the city has become extinct – or have massively moved beside that distressful MKAD in a single incomprehensible instant of time.

There was no sign of a bar in habitual address, as well as no waiter, who has been obligingly opening doors before visitors. Instead of familiar three-lettered word an updated sign said – “Bureau”, while first two letters of it have been written in black, and subsequent two – in white colors; and slightly below the following text has appeared: “Salon of comprehensive otherworldly services” – and in this inscription white and black letter were going in turn. “Madhouse of sorts”, – Anton Pavlovich muttered to himself, slowly parking his jeep near bureau-bar. “What sort of bullshit these fucked marketing idiots do invent to attract more visitors”.

– We are glad to see you in our salon. Welcome to the Bureau! – a good-looking young man in a strange suit welcomed Anton Pavlovich once he stepped over a spinning glass door of this building.

– Pray tell me, man, are all of you, folks, dressed like that here? – Anton Pavlovich questioned with a jeer in his voice, while fixedly looking into the eyes of this newly appeared waiter.

– You must be talking about my wings, right? – showing no sign of confusion, he replied in return. – Frankly speaking, I have been in that form since the time of my birth – which, it should be noted, has happened several eons before your own. And, answering your next upcoming question, – this combination of colors in our poster symbolizes Free Choice – a very useful for mortals trait, which is, unfortunately, hasn’t been given to us. What else would you like to learn about the Bureau, my former workmate?

– Workmate in what sense? – Anton Pavlovich was taken aback for a mere second, silly looking first at the waiter, and then deep into the hall of unusual salon.

– In most direct and everyday, – quietly answered the man with snow-white wings behind his back. – A companion for all of your past life, which has been taking place recently. Absolutely, by the way, unnoticed by you, – he added as if with a small piece of grief in his voice.

– Young man, are you even in your mind? To me you a total stran…

– Then it’s a pleasure to get acquainted once again! – young “waiter” smiled and stretched his hand, which was shining with some kind of nacreous glow, to Anton Pavlovich. – All of our services will be completely free of charge for you today! Just follow me!

– No kidding? – Anton Pavlovich strictly raised his eyebrow.

– No desire to do so, – young man answered routinely. – I still have to bear responsibility for your course of life.

– So, what kind of entertainments do you offer? – Anton Pavlovich continued to pursue his own goals. – I was planning to meet here with my friends, by the way.

– With Jessica? Never worry, she is already expecting you here. I would even tell that she is exhausted from impatience, – smiled White-Winger. – But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and make it all right and in a correct order. According to our current action we can offer you three of our most popular attractions completely free of charge.

– Wait, what – you even keep a circus in your pocket? – Anton Pavlovich burst out laughing from own unsightly joke.

– No, no, may the Lord be with you! Circus is on the Earth, and we are different. What Lies Beyond, so to speak. We are currently carrying out an unprecedented action – we are telling all our future clients what is awaiting them in advance.

– How’s that? – Anton Pavlovich showed a sincere surprise on his face. – In advance?

– Well, you see … sometimes we are given permission to act that way. We already created similar actions … for example, about two thousand of years ago. We passed information regarding this action to you through one remarkable individual. What was his name … John, it seems. And his second name was so sonorous, as far as I remember, a … Apostle, right! And today … well, you can see for yourself to what strange methods we should resort today.

– So it turns out that your action is almost termless?

– Well, you are certainly correct in some way. We just need to remind humankind about it from time to time. But let’s get straight to business! You surely haven’t got in touch with art for a long time, am I right, Anton Pavlovich?

– I have pictures on walls in home, modern kind. And bookshelves with some … classics, – answered Anton Pavlovich , trying to remember which classics were there.

– Then it’s a due time to get in touch with what is nowadays eternal. Welcome to the Cinema of Memoirs! Allow me to open a door for us…, – and White-Winged young man waved his hand, drawing something in the air. In a couple of seconds a most real gateway appeared just in front of Anton Pavlovich’s stunned physiognomy – it was casting same nacreous light like the one coming from hands of his unexpected interlocutor. – Follow me!

– That’s how technology advances…, – Anton Pavlovich hemmed to himself with astonishment. – What sort of inventions can scientists-physicists create. All thanks to western sanctions, no doubt! – he assured himself and stepped into the portal.

* * *

The room, in which both of them have appeared, indeed reminded of some sort of big Moscow movie theater – except for the audience, which consisted only of him and his mysterious fancy-dressed colleague.

– Fourth row, eight place, – White-Winger noticed with satisfaction, taking a seat near Anton Pavlovich on a next chair. – Your place.

– Why are we sitting so close? Let’s take places far away from a screen to better see all demonstrated events, there is nobody here except for us anyway! – Anton Pavlovich muttered discontentedly.

– Unfortunately, all other places are already reserved. They just seem as empty only now and only for you. Everything is actually much more complicated, – replied White-Winger. – And this place is just yours, for exactly when you were forty-eight those events, which you have recently “seen” in a dream, have taken their place in your life.

– And how did you learn about my recent dream…

– Pay attention to the screen! – young man interrupted him. – Movie of your life is already starting!

Large screen in a cinema hall, which reminded with its carved decorated edges some mirror from Middle Ages era, lit up with nacreous light, showing a small bed with protective partitions, where a small child was sleeping peacefully, smiling in his own dream.

– Memoirs of your life, beginning from the time when your consciousness has started awakening. You were about half a year, apparently. At that time you were totally innocent, Anton Pavlovich, – young man commented on scenes.

… Meanwhile scenes continued to replace one another. Here the child uncertainly takes his first steps, stumbling and falling on a bottom. Here he diligently pulls a spoon into his mouth, being afraid to miss, eating porridge “for the father and for the mother”. Here he embraces a kitten, which was a gift in his childhood, and his eyes shine brightly with sincere children’s joy. Here he plays on a playground along with other children with steam locomotives toys, and here he takes a ride from a top of icy winter hill. Here he sails ships in autumn pools, which reflect a sky in themselves. Here he lays down together with a mother on a bed and hugs her in a sleep…

– They say that all children are precisely like Angels, – with a grief in his voice noticed White-Winger. – And adults are more like demons. These are the purest and most sincere memoirs of your entire life, Anton Pavlovich, – he continued, observing how a tear crosses a cheek of his former “workmate”.

… Pictures continued to lead their own life, replacing each other as in a kaleidoscope. Here the young “mean” man is being accepted into the institute on protection. Here he goes to night parties with fellow students. Here parents present him with a luxurious expensive car and he uses it to the full to shine and flaunt before girls of easy behavior. Here he visits night bars and striptease clubs…

– It’s hard to tell the exact moment where everything has started falling down into the abyss, – White-Winger commented on scenes once again. – Whether it was my personal oversight, wrong education of parents, false life values of society or first and foremost your personal vital choice, Anton Pavlovich? The court knows that for certain – and I, to my own regret, don’t. I am left only with a hope that both of us will be given one more chance.

… Images continued to float and move one after another, creating a unique feeling of repeated presence on own antecedents. Here an adult graduate of legal academy becomes an official. Here he runs roughshod over other’s feelings, deceiving and profiting on human laziness, stupidity and fear, – believing sincerely that he lives only a single life. Here he brings a mistress – first, second, third, yet none of them is capable to bring him back that long-lost feeling of life’s joy – the one which has been living side by side with him only during a far away childhood. Here he desires to tear all of this false life apart and become a hermit – but strong, too strong are now for his weak will his former affairs and ties…

– We demonstrate here only the brightest of your memoirs, which have been imprinted in a memory of your soul instead of a brain – and therefore became potentially immortal, having transformed into some kind of déjà vu. All other life’s nonsense, monotonous and gray life, boring and disliked job, frequent and repeating quarrels with your wife, which have brought both of you to a divorce – all of this was forced out from your brightest memoirs and therefore hasn’t been included in that movie. It was all kept in your personal record in Archives where we will soon go, – commented White-Winged “waiter”.

… Now pictures almost fly, promptly replacing each other just like years of life, rushing aimlessly before their owners, drenching them with dust of life’s roads. New financial swindles, new “none will be the wiser” deeds, new quarrels with his wife, a new mistress – Jessica. Day of their meeting in a second Moscow apartment, trip on a jeep. Fuel track, which has appeared on intersection of roads, pressed against the stop brakes, terrified soul-tearing squeal of his new passion… TV screen suddenly went black and light in a hall turned on, as if symbolizing the end of movie session.

– Why … why has my movie ended on this shot … the very same from today’s dream. Why, may demons tear you apart, is that so?! – Anton Pavlovich angrily seized his white-winged interlocutor and started shaking him.

– Let’s not use collective name of these spiteful beings in this place and context, Anton Pavlovich. You may happen to meet them face-to-face a bit later, – calmly answered white-winged young man, dexterously freeing himself from a grasp. – Let us better proceed into the Library of Fates, or, as some of us briefly call it, – the Archives. I do believe that your stay there will be able to shed some light on this question that torments you so. Shall we go?

– All right, we go, – muttered Anton Pavlovich. – And then to my friends and Jessica.

– Without doubt, – confirmed young man. – They are eager to meet with you as well.

A waving of hand – and once again a familiar silhouette of a portal appeared before Anton Pavlovich, along with a shining road that was leading deep inside it. Here he takes a step into unknown depths of this strange door and…

* * *

The Library was astounding. While movie theater somehow resembled similar one in Moscow, the Archives, apparently, contradicted all imaginable earthly laws of physics. Their carved regiments ascended to such high infinity, that it was absolutely unclear, how they could even stand still under a mass of all the books that were filling them. Huge shining tables from unknown material and mobile ladders were obviously created totally not by human measures. Corridors branched and twisted, connecting and disconnecting somewhere in a far distance. Some warm lilac light was shining from a ceiling that was totally hidden from human’s sight. Fragments of floor melodiously ringed if anyone was stepping on them. Somewhere in a distance a sound of murmuring springs and singing of birds could be overheard.

– Here we store the history of all ever lived and still living beings of the universe, which do have a soul, – suddenly materialized before Anton Pavlovich white-winged companion answered as though to himself. – We constantly supplement it and therefore Library continues to grow, as it’s said between us, – not by days, but by fates. As you can see, it by no means intended to be visited by humans, – but we have been allowed to prolong our action for a little bit more.

– Wait, are you trying to tell me that here I can get an answer to any of my questions?

– Any question, concerning the past, yes. And the future of each soul-given individual in particular and of the worlds in general has many possible outcomes and depends on that Free Choice, which I have already mentioned earlier. However, access for you here is denied anyway – mostly the staff of Department of Fates Control, which is located nearby, manage here the process of transfer and obtaining of information. They are frequent guests here, by the way.

– What-what department?

– Fates. Control. Humans included. What’s unclear? You see, Anton Pavlovich, your mortal life on the planet Earth … how should I put it more clearly … is not one of a kind. It’s just in the last time you were named as Anton Pavlovich, and before that … and how you were called before that you can learn exactly from one of the books, located in this wonderful library. The book of your destiny, which you have been writing with own deeds. You acted – and we fixed these acts, and wrote them down, and kept here. We have even shown you these books once – through mentioned John, remember? Your civilization must have kept records of his visions.

– And … why do you write down all of this? Do you write down everything?

– Everything that is related to Free Choice, yes. We store it for future Court, of course. So no deception can take place. Some soul-given live beings in this universe decided for some reason that they would be able to deceive us, “to move around a middle finger”, so to speak. Well … let them try, – White-Winger burst out laughing. – We will write down this Free Choice as well, and take it into account in the Court.

– And what do these employees do here? Are they here now?

– Most likely here, but they usually stay in a working wing of the Library, and we are in a guests section right now. You see, some of the events, taking place in your physical world, – they, how should I tell that … are already predetermined in the highest world – by chains of your previous Free Choices, and sometimes by the will of the Supreme One himself. The staff of this department carefully watches for compliance between a fate and affairs of each soul-given live being of a physical world, and if necessary verifying its accordance with a plan of his new life, created by the individual before his birth and written in his personal book, and if such necessity arises – they try to correct fates of beings so that they can manifest themselves in a best possible way and realize all their inborn potential. Unfortunately, in a case with your civilization of a Milky Way, it’s hard to achieve that goal – the beings calling themselves as humans became too willful, evil-willful, and perceive attempts of the staff of this department to correct their distorted destinies as a chain of life disorders and troubles.

– And can I … see the book of my lives?

– Now you can, – confirmed White-Winger. For an instant he touched Anton Pavlovich’s breast with a palm of his hand, and then waved in the air – and several moments later a weighty book from a top shelf of one of the racks smoothly descended on it like a planning bird, having automatically opened itself on the first page.

– Vibration code of your soul, – the interlocutor explained to Anton Pavlovich. – It’s easy to find necessary book by it. So, what did you want to learn?

– Here … what sort of lines and points are these? I can barely see familiar letters in this book.

– These are maps of your previous Free Choices. You must understand that each choice bears certain consequences along with it and opens opportunity for new ones, and together they all form maps. Points symbolizes moments of decision-making, when you choose one of options from a set of them. Numbers above arrows are probabilities with which you would have chosen one option or another at the moment of your choice. These diamond-shaped figures indicate a degree of influence of related choices on choices and fates of other people. All of this may look a little bit unclear in a two-dimensional plane – but I, unfortunately, cannot show you at present moment spaces with more than three dimensions, however I can assure you that in such spaces these books are read much more simply and pleasantly.

– Useless paper crap of some sort, and practically everything is unclear! –Anton Pavlovich sniffed angrily, vainly trying to find the moment of his meeting with the ill-fated fuel track in an artful design of signs.

– The language available only for chosen ones, – his interlocutor smiled again. – First and foremost for the staff of the Department of Fates Control.

– Let’s get out of here while the going is good, – Anton Pavlovich added biliously, – to my friends and Jessica.

– Well, – sighted interlocutor. – For preliminary Hearings then!

* * *

– … Okhrimenko Anton Pavlovich is to be summoned into the hall of Heavenly Court for carrying out preliminary Hearings. Guardian Angel Michel is appointed as the lawyer of the defendant, Demon-Tempter Zakhurat is appointed as accuser. The defendant and specified companions from his last life have arrived, Hearings are to be considered opened.

These words reached Anton Pavlovich’s hearing just in the moment when a portal, opened by his “workmate”, has transferred him with a soft melodious sound into completely new surroundings, which were resembling a court’s hall that has become habitual to him in a mortal life.

– I … what … where … what for? What a foul setup is that?! – muttered a newly teleported defendant, puzzly looking around himself and having not yet come up to his senses after so hasty change of space and own role.

– I shall explain you everything later on, we will have time, – White-Winger winked to him while going to the judicial stand of white color, which was intended for him. The opposite stand of black color in another corner of the hall was occupied by dreadfully looking being with a tail, horns and hoofs.

– The accuser, what can you tell us concerning last given to the defendant life in a galaxy of Milky Way on a planet formerly known as Gaia and nowadays being called simply as Earth?

– Thhhiiieefff…, – mischievously hissed a creature, vomiting sparks of dark flame from its mouth. – Fooorrrniiicaaattoor. Kiilllleeerr. Taaaakeee a looook…

Suddenly images started materializing in a center of the hall, reminding former ones from a movie of his – Anton Pavlovich’s life – they only had more than two dimensions this time. A shot was replaced by a shot, showing everyone how Anton Pavlovich gives and takes bribes, meets with mistresses, indulges in alcoholic euphoria, and so on and so forth. This demonstration was finished with a last shot of infantile-surprised face of the fuel truck’s driver and frozen in time shouting face of Jessica which looked almost alive.

– Quite a convincing presentation, Tempter. It’s obvious, that we are dealing with violations of three precepts and commissioning of three types of mortal – I emphasize, mortal! – sins. Does protection party wish to have a speech?

– Yes, your honor, I do have a wish, – and, having that said, Guardian Angel waved his wings and new images started floating through a center of the hall. These pictures now demonstrated how little Anton Pavlovich gently embraces his mother before going to bed; how he shares toys with other children from his yard; how he comes to the rescue of a school friend when teenagers from nearby district try to kick him to the death; how they walk in a park together with his beloved and future wife, how they truly love each other, at least for the first time…

– We thank you for that presentation, Guardian. The episodes, which you have provided, demonstrate that despite for a chain of serious violations of Heavenly Law, feelings of human compassion, justice and love were not completely alien for the defendant, which makes his soul potentially capable of Atonement. Whether the accusing party wishes to add something else?

– Wiiiiissshhhheeeess. Kiiillleeddd oonneess, – horned being hissed once again, having clicked a floor of the hall with its tail.

And with these words the fuel truck driver Vasily Ivanovich and mistress Jessica materialized in a center of the hall each from his own portal.

– You! – Jessica immediately cried out with rage, having hardly managed to jump out her portal. – My murderer! If I have only known that you would ruin me that day I wouldn’t ever approach you closer than for a mile! And I need no fur coats from you, ever! Rascal! Beast! Killer!

– Brother, you what … aye? Why you drove so … to red light? Didn’t you see … you go? –Vasily Ivanovich addressed Anton Pavlovich inquiring-puzzly. – I left my children there, my wife … who will support them without me, aye? You are a fool, brother, fool as you are!

– Are there are any witnesses from a defendant’s side?

– Yes, his mother.

And once again a portal opened with a melodious tune, and Anton Pavlovich’s mother stepped out from it.

– I brought him up … as I could, – she said with a whimper and pain in her voice. – In Christ’s values. My husband was drinking, even though he was a banker. He accustomed my son to … fancy living … alcohol … my poor little son. And I … as I was able … in the childhood … while he was pure … not to soil his soul…

– Does the defendant want to add something? We should remind that, according to the rules, each and every of his word – whether kind or evil – can be used both as self-justification and as self-accusation, in compliance with the uniform Heavenly Law, established by the Supreme One.

– I … well … didn’t know … what I was doing … I promise not to act this way from now on. To live with honor and conscience … and so on. Something like it…

– All of them speak that way, – someone hemmed from the hall of jurors. – I didn’t know, I had no idea, give me, please, one more life…

– I request to keep silence in the hall of hearings!

– Forgive me, your honor.

– If both accusing and defending parties have nothing more to add, then I suggest to end the first phase of preliminary hearings. This court session is closing.

* * *

– Well … it could be much worse than that, – summed up the Guardian Angel, brushing away sweat from his wings. – You still have a chance – not a bright one, but at least one.

– And you keep calling that as attractions? What kind of setup is that?! Return me back immediately, wake me up from this foolish dream! I still have a life, Jessica, divorced wife … I still have so many things to correct on this, how was it, Gaia! – Anton Pavlovich lashed out with fists at his newly acquired defender.

– Oh, my silly Anton Pavlovich! – sighted White-Winger with a grief in his voice. – You know what’s the hitch is? You don’t have a new life anymore! You have indeed died, my dear Anton Pavlovich…

Devoted to that Russians who have forgotten their past and to all nations who are killing their future.

Dear Russians, hey and hoy! Life of yours is not a joy. You have suffered really hard, with dim eyes you see no start. Made you tired all this life, made lose powers in a strife.

Hard to live in stagnant country, who sees you as mere infantry. And ancestors – they have lived life of which you are deprived.

Many credits you have taken, thus appetites were awakened. Weight of wishes you knew not – in consumption now you rot.

Love for shopping you have found, lots of trading goes around. Pretty things you have to buy – there are many … my, oh my.

Mansions of yours are poor – with no treasure chests and goor. Only carpets hang on walls and TVs from endless malls.

You now work in office cell – hard to do so, I would tell! Numbers adding and subtraction is your way to satisfaction. Dragging water yokes is past – move from nature is “a must”.

And your salaries are small – in some cars you cannot roll. Walk on foot is not for you – that’s for poor, who are few, that’s a certain waste of time altogether with a rhyme.

Those rich soldiers of the past, who destroyed fascists, are dust – they deserved no “likes” from ones, who are “selfie’s” social-funs. Are there are no demands just to honor combatants who defended Russia’s past – all such memoirs are rust. Their lives had useless riches – flying arrows, castles sieges … their feats don’t bother you – those who bothered are few.

Such a burden presses on, under it you whine and moan! Was your spirit changed by it, so you won’t be ever freed? As if soul has recoiled and to hear it you’ve foiled.

You are anxious now with sex as if it’s a first reflex. Count “partners” by the numbers, faithful ones now look like “dumbers”. “Adulteresses” are no good, who on penal servitude went with husbands in the past – they were happy, and as thus no fidelity they bear, even though they had no fear.

Oh, how hard it’s for you to go on, if you don’t have a precious iPhone! On your work you keep building careers, and if work isn’t “cool” – you shed tears. No more time for your children you keep – your careers are whispering “R.I.P”. And your families live all alone as if friendship has truly begone.

And you keep run in circles all time – and consider that this path is fine. Only quicker you all try to run, and willpower has almost begone. And ancestors have not built careers, they had no such ridiculous fears, only powerful nation they made – their feats, trust me, never will fade. They prepared a ladder for you – but those ones who will climb it are few.

It’s so hard to be Russians by now – it’s a burden that life does bestow, one that narrow your shoulders and way as if clue for a life goes astray. And no longer eyes shining with joy as if you are no more than toy, and no longer soul’s singing is heard as if throat was all broken apart, and some people are crying with tears, and some going abroad for careers. And ancestors were all carefree – throwing lives they were willingly, see? It’s for God and their families gave – and no longer they suffer in graves.

Burden crushed you and tortured much! How to dump it, so hated, or patch? How to beat this thrice-cursed great beast and to start with a fresh, clear list? Strain your minds and try thinking a bit – why your dreams are still lying at feet? Are your values now twisted and broken, have your soul still not have awoken? How you truly imagine your life that is kind and a meaningful strife? If you hear spiritual accord – you will once fly again as bird.

Point of view
- Excuse me, sir, do I correctly understand your claim that we all live under some surprising influence of two opposite and totally alien to us metaphysical powers, who are capable to affect our states of mind, thoughts, health and who were actually known to mankind since ancient centuries, yet knowledge of them has been transformed into something like children's fairy tale and ridiculous myth? I wonder - whether all of this is rather a product of your sick imagination and abnormal fantasy than a real-life state of affairs? I, thanks to my scientific background, is being more inclined to the second option because I don't see even a single reason of why your so beloved Divine would manifest itself in our infinitely troublesome world.

- The best way for demons to disappear from human sight is to convince them that demons never existed, right?

- Would you please stop overstepping borders of what is normal and reasonable!

- Earth mankind trespassed them very long time ago. But this was one of the tactics of these forces of darkness — it's possible to convince people that they don't exist in one easy way: to create a certain social phenomenon, way of life or way of thinking, if you will, which would against own right take impudence to claim that it and only it has a monopoly for truth and is capable to lead masses of humans into general prosperity.

- I believed that you were a totally non-religious individual.

- And I am speaking about science now. We will address religion later on.

- Is that so? And how did science displeased you? Only thanks to its efforts today we have all what we have!

- Nuclear and other weapons, nature which is ruined by wastes along with people dying of diseases in their reinforced concrete cages, right? So, they had to create such a social phenomenon, "new religion of mind", if you will, together with its devoted "apostles" and send it by a path extremely rational, materialistically practical, torn off and isolated voluntarily from everything that is "superflous" and spiritual — not such a bad practice, so that people, having once started praying to their newborn "god", haven't managed to get into inner sanctum — field of human spirit, monopoly for "saving" which so-called religions ones have already taken. Whether not for this reason official science has been trying to play dirty for many years — and tries to hide that simple and obvious for impartial observers fact that, having chosen false path earlier, nowadays it self-willingly came into expected dead end and is standing behind a blank wall? A syndrome of "British scientists" is an indicative phenomenon of common pseudo-scientific present, isn't it? And to keep claiming that it's just the end of all major discoveries and triumph of human mind instead of a blank wall — is a wildest nonsense.

- And what do you suggest to do?

- You can try make a break in this wall with your forehead. Will make a service for a greater science that way like so many have done before you, having voluntarily given their live bodies for scientific experiments or having given dead ones against their will for the same purpose.

- Still desire to throw jokes at me, sir? Science, as we all know, requires victims.

- Beauty, as we all know, needs them too. The consequence of which is utter ugliness.

- Do you believe religion is much more attractive?

- What became of a modern religion — by no means. Parasitizing on aspiration's of human spirit to the Divine and primitivization of belief, mostly. Yet everyone walks where he prefers.

- Even if we assume that modern science is being unable to discover something invisible and inaccessible to it, including to prove the very existence of mentioned metaphysical powers from a scientific point of view...

- "From a scientific point of view" sounds quite reasonably. For it's still only a small point which should make a long journey to become a line...

- ...Whether modern religion can brag of this knowledge at least?

- Modern religion turned them into something like a myth, and idolaters often don't have a slightest idea of what important things are mentioned in still undistorted by them texts. Look, for example, on some of the icons painting Christ — and you shall see white wings behind His back. He is painted as the Angel who is leading armies of others — and for a due reason. As well as not accidental still remained prayers to Guardian Angels, as well as names of Archangels and some other important things. Those people who are filled with poison of materialistic science aren't usually capable to understand that these facts reflect real-life reality more than a thousand and one theory, recognized in scientific world as no less than "laws" of nature. And if you dare to tell modern religious followers about live Angels, many of them will consider you as mentally unstable — a natural consequence of their own inadequacy.

- I have never seen any mentioned Angels in my entire life, - they simply don't even exist!

- As well as, say, radio waves.

- Sir, I didn't state that! We can't see them with own physical eyes, but...

- ...But that's a question of the point which you choose to view it, right?

- All of this is yet another religious myth!

- As well as your own thoughts. Forgive me, I wanted to say - their thoughts. They are not yours, right?

- What do you mean by "not mine"? I keep thinking and, therefore, existing.

- This statement doesn't fully reflect objective reality, though not in that case. Take a look on your chaotically thinking mind - are you totally sure that it's you who is controlling it? You can't even make it go silent! Waves of thoughts are jumping as if some stranger is pushing a handle of "thoughts radio" from one angle to another.

- Would you like to tell me that thoughts can be "indoctrinated"?

- Well, now finally you seem to start comprehending of what powers sent "ingenious" scientific ideas for invention of, say, different types of weapons. As well as, say, pharmaceutical drugs. As well as many of so-called memes, starting from "live once, care not" and ending with "money doesn't smell". However, you can probably understand now what powers spoke through prophets, for instance. But whom people were listening to? A systematic extermination of mankind is being made with its own hands.

- Well, the reduction of planet's population only promotes more rational distribution of natural resources among survived.

- Hoping to be among them? I am afraid that preservation of your particular life is not in the list of priority tasks for dark powers. As well as preservation of entire earth mankind.

- Hell with you, stop feeding fairy tales!

- You just look around. It that a paradise in your opinion?

- But not a hell at all, that's for certain! Progress is progressing, so to speak. Yes, maybe people don't ever hear thoughts of their, how did you call them - Guardian Angels - and crucify prophets coming to them, - but they generally move in right direction anyway. Or do you fondly suggest me to believe that everything you have just told me is a pure truth?

- And this, my dear friend, entirely depends upon correctness of your point of view...

Warning : the God !
- “Warning : the God ! Entrance is strictly prohibited for idle passers !” – Ivan read a sign on ordinary-looking gate, leading through a fencing to inconspicuous looking building. And there was a small addition slightly below – “The Entrance. Accept the hope, entering one !”

- Oh, what only they won’t make, - he thought at first. - Trying to lure us this and that way. Oh, sure, we have heard plenty of these fairy tales of yours in due time, about the New World, End of the Millennia, the Second Coming, everything at once. And predictors all unanimously chattered in due time – “The world is changing, something is happening !”, and everything like that, and where is all that ? We cannot see it yet. And maybe it doesn’t even exist, if we cannot see it ? Or maybe it does exist, but we still cannot see it ? Who knows it for sure …

Ivan began hesitating – to enter or not to enter ?

Nobody cries aloud any calls, no one stands with banners and posters on corners … Somehow strange … unusual. Not a single sign of what is called promotion, no sort of marketing in that disgusting style “The Savior ! Only with us ! Only for you !”. Just some ordinary-looking gate … who even enters such ones – it doesn’t even looks like a door. Somehow wrong … not common style. But, on the other hand … who did say that God must correspond to some man’s idea about Him ?


Ivan was starting to feel himself more out of place – not mainly due to his current reflections, but from some arisen during this moment aching and disturbing feeling somewhere in the depth of his breast, that if now he will pass this gate by, like he has been passing for all these years, hurrying somewhere in unknown distances on strangest affairs – he may not be able to find in the future this most ordinary-looking gate …

And, after all, he was looking … he has been searching for Him for a long time. Since the very birth, if it’s possible to say so, he has been looking. In autumn silence of parks and conversations Soul-to-a-Soul with others, in noise of human crowds and rich furniture of churches, in endless loneliness of own Soul he has been searching for Him … He thirsted to once find Him so greatly, but all this was something not totally so … not totally right … He has been seeking Him for all his conscious life !

And now … some sort of gate …

Finally he decided. Pushed a gate with his hand, expecting to hear a scratch of ungreased loops – but instead of it shutters softly and silently swung open, he made a step forward – and …

The world changed. Suddenly the city disappeared somewhere, as well as hurrying on affairs from work and for work thousands of sleepy people together with one thousand and one building … even the gate was no more. Now he was standing in the middle of some large hall with carved shining columns and ceiling, rising into infinite distances up and up … some soft of warm light surrounded him from everywhere.

- Have I already died ? – Ivan was suddenly frightened. – My heart stopped pulsating and now my useless body is most probably lying on some dirty operational table, and a group of laymans in white dressing gowns is working on it while I am standing idle in this unknown new world ?

- Greetings, Ivan ! I have been waiting for you ! – some immensely powerful, filled with greatest inner force and at the same time very melodious voice suddenly filled the area, coming, apparently, from all directions and at the same time somewhere from Ivan’s breast.

- I … just … just … don’t know … what to answer …, - Ivan mumbled.

- Don’t worry about it, - answered the Voice. – I can read minds. I have been watching you from your very birth … as well as many others. You desired to find me – and so now you are here. What is that you want to tell Me ?

- So, are you really the Most Powerful One ?

- Yes, - the Voice answered softly. – The First And The Last. The Beginning And The Ending. I am the One whom you call the Maker.

- So, you are really ..., - and Ivan stopped short. – Well, certainly ! How could I forget about it !

- Yes, - the Voice answered. – I truly exist. But many of your kind have forgotten and ceased to search for Me.

- To search where ? – Ivan asked shy.

- Inside and outside. I am inside and outside. All these worlds are Mine, and parts of Me are living inside you. I have once given you particles of Myself so that one day you can become similar to Me …

- So that people become similar to God ?

- Such is the true Evolution, Ivan.

- So, you are together with all of us …

- Yes, always I am. Now in your world as well. I have many homes, - invisible Voice was filling the room with matchless melodies and colors.

- In our world too ? So, it means that the gate …

- All your world is Mine. I can settle in any corner of it. I have no need for your empty praising. I desire to see all of you live, Ivan, with living particles of Me.

- That’s why Your arrival was …, - the sudden guess enlightened Ivan’s heart.

- Yes, - the Voice answered. – For this reason. I desire to see ones searching and coming to Me in their free will. They are capable of the true Evolution.

- So all these people in temples and mosques, calling themselves believers and at the same time remaining the same from the very birth …

- They can continue to believe in their illusions, if such is their wish. For some time.

- And what of Your Son ? He was speaking of You and Your return in the due time …

- He is together with Me as well. My second Son, - answered the Voice. – You dared to offense Him too much in the last time. This will not repeat any more.

- Oh, how wonderful it is that You are together with us ! – a sudden shout of joy escaped Ivan’s breast.

- The looking one will find. The going one will come. Accept the hope – and give it to others ! My time is coming ! – the invisible Voice filled entire enormous brightly shining room, and travelled, apparently, into the very core of human Soul.

- Yes, oh my Maker ! I will tell them of You ! I thank You !

The shining stream of light captured and shrouded Ivan. It, this Light of God, was coming, apparently, from everywhere – was shining from inside and outside. The sparkling stream shrouded him in a flash of time – and …

“Savior ! Only with us ! Only for you !”, - Ivan confusedly read red shining letters on a sign of some striptease club.

The gate was no more. The chance was accepted. Another world greedy stretched own hands towards him once again.

- Yes, oh Maker, I will tell all these sleeping ones of Your time, - Ivan decided. – Right now there is nothing more important than that.

Vasily squatted under a doorway canopy, diligently hiding his face from a pouring rain. Drops of rain drummed on his head, rolled up under his clothes through a torn raincoat, squelched in worn out sneakers. It appeared as if the rain in some uncontrollable mad rush was trying to clear country’s “second capital” from all that he could qualify as dirt by his unknown motive.

As if he couldn’t do only one thing – to wash away sins of humans. Servants of the temple, which was sparkling in this cloudy day with washed gilded domes, for instance, could – for a well-known payment, of course. Yet only not that rain. How could he, a simple rain, ascend to these heights?

Passersby promptly rushed under this storm from one building to another, overflowed cars on sidewalks loudly urged to stand aside each and every one except themselves, and Vasily – what’s in Vasily ? – to him this marvelous new world of as-if-sanctity was totally far away in all possible meanings.

Karma became a new fashion by the will of moral’s observers. For several years already every resident of this cultural capital – and not only it – has been trying to correct own karma without correcting himself. Show-windows of charitable shops called for it, newspapers and central television constantly reminded of it, even the face of some orphan on a huge advertising billboard appeared to silently offer all of its contemplators, who have been rushing through a central street’s ring each day, to bring another portion of their savings to children’s church shelter for the sake of clearing of own Karma. For several years already people have been insincerely smiling to each other on city streets, inquiring of a state of health of their interlocutors along with a weather’s forecast, buying various discounted knickknacks in numerous charitable shops which have grown as if mushrooms from a heavy rain and stated that they were giving a part of their profits on “good deeds”. Even banks offered an increased “cashback” for purchases in such little shops. It all became a question of fashion – to purify one’s karma, feeling yourself infallible.

Vasily had no idea how it all worked out – but the union of marketing specialists and those, from temples, turned out to be surprisingly productive. He, being watered in this very moment by a storm, didn’t know that in terms of marketing this was called “rebranding”, and in terms of finances it could be measured by a sum which only they – devout collectors of treasures – were able to afford. Anyway, this certainly helped to save themselves in own eyes for many, – except Vasily.

Five years without a home – is it much or is it little? Someone will spend out eternity in dirt, feeling no flight of time at all, – and for him these five years became their own eternity. Five years through cold and snow, dirt and such rains which were washing streets of St. Petersburg from time to time. Five years in worn-out clothes under disapproval looks of passersby and without a single chance to find a constant shelter. Sleepless nights, spent in open entrances, hundreds of shouts and kicks from residents of these buildings. It all has been – it all will be going. This is a vicious circle.

* * *

Ultimately our memory saves only best of moments for us – ones which are worthy of living in the ocean of memories. And sparks of these memoirs don’t fade away up to our last day on this rock.

… First year of his wanderings. Late evening. Sound of footfall behind his back.

– Hide me away, please! – a girl of seven or so years desperately shouted. – Hide me from them!

When two adult figures, wrapped up in shadows, appeared on a pavement’s horizon, there was no more time for reflections.

– Here, come with me! – Vasily shouted to a child.

Several dozens of meters, absolutely close. Here, in a yard, broken door entrances were always open. When you wander through entire city, which has become your final resting place, your memory tenaciously stores inside such spots, where you can spend your next night – or at least several remaining hours till dawn when law-abiding citizens will once again go for their most important and significant jobs. Like in a vicious circle.

The child ran after Vasily in door openings and went silent.

This was a day, – or a night if we are to judge by time, – when he saved future great ballerina from thugs and rapists. Yet in that very day he didn’t know of all that – that kind of knowledge came so much later – and in another world.

… Third year of his wanderings. The rain, drumming on a bridge his strange rhythm and drawing circles in waters of Neva river. Vicious circles.

Little kitten with orange fur, who is desperately beating on a water with legs and trying to reach a high stone embankment with a meter’s height above him. He would drown that day if not for Vasily’s aid. Would drown as many are being drown by force – whether they are cats or people. What is some saved kitten, after all? Just a clear distinction between compassion and indifference.

… That very day, those very minutes which few mortal ones are capable to predict in advance. Winter wind, freezing a face. Glacial face of Neva. Group of school students not far away, moving as a chain to another coast.

Here a weak ice breaks from their measured step and one of them falls down into icy waters with a splash. A cry of despair, being carried around.

When Vasily ran up to the place of that ice break, the student was still on a water surface, yet none of surrounding children had any power to pull him out. They pulled their hands to him, trying to grasp – but small weak hands of theirs has been sliding off over and over again, accompanied by cries of despair.

It happens that we don’t know the exact limits of own powers until the moment they are truly needed … and neither did Vasily. Having grabbed him by a wrist, he pulled the child with both of his hands with such a force that he has flown away on a surface and landed two meter behind. But this breakthrough shook Vasily, turning him around, his legs slid off and he fell into icy waters himself.

Time and again, up to the moment when hands and legs finally refused to obey him, he has been fighting for life. Over and over again he was trying to get out on ice, but forces were fleeing from him – or perhaps this so memorable for his soul and destiny winter has finally decided to take its toll. Here icy water flows into his mouth, forcing to stop breathing. Flashes of light – last messengers of this world – and he is drown to the bottom of the river...

* * *

… In that last farewell instant of his life he had no idea of what would happen afterwards, when the very concept of time will change itself. He had no idea how in a world of immense beauty, which was unimaginable for his tormented and exhausted mortal body, three golden drops – one for each soul that he has saved – would fall one day down on a bowl of great Scales, forgotten by many. How these drops, similar to ones of rain, – so small and so big at the same time! – would touch its surface, and in that instant one of two bowls will bend and light up with unextinguishable fire. During that instant these three drops, which were seeming too small for many, will overweight all mistakes and pain of his past, lighting up his way. In that moment – a moment of fading link between this world and another one which is being constantly forgotten by those born in this, – Vasily by no means could know this. Mortal beings are rarely granted a privilege to know their future in advance. He didn’t know that these drops would become his – absolutely sincerely and disinterestedly coming to the rescue – most significant Justification.

He couldn’t think of how shortly after this moment two glowing with warm and soft light figures would stand to right and left from him and lead him into the Great Hall – a divine place where only worthy ones will once be gathered.

Where there is place for justified and expiated and no place for paying off ones.

Not them!
Disaster came – and you were standing apart. This position was convenient for its ambiguity and, as you secretly called it, flexibility. Neither cold nor hot – just as nothing.

The country was ripped apart with a greatest distemper, which has even tormented it for the duration of its entire history. A distemper behind which there was Darkness standing, and its feet have been stepping over once alive people day after day, milling characters, crashing fates. And not only bodies were swallowed inside it.

People summoned it by themselves and willingly invited to share this bloody dinner. They were ready to pay for “changes”, demanded by their hearts, with lives of others. Why others? Certainly not with their own!

You didn’t travel in vanguard of those, – men in black hoods with a color of blood, with hands and souls of which distemper was forged, – you were standing apart, dreaming that it won’t touch you with its bony fingers, won’t ever reach. So many think that way shortly before their own demise.

It was some sort of calming – yes, you constantly kept reading that your fellows were still perishing nearby, you saw in the glass TV box bodies of tortured and killed – ripped by a machine of death – but it, as it appeared, was so far and uncommon for your own illusionary tiny world, which you valued so much and out of which you didn’t want to crawl. Yes, others kept dying every day – but it was them, not you!

Somewhere hundreds of kilometers away bombs were falling on once peaceful cities and tanks were squashing defenders of peace, who have dared to oppose a distemper. Somewhere hundreds of kilometers from you retaliatory groups were shooting in cold blood groups of refugees who were struggling to break through blockades. Somewhere hundreds of kilometers between you and them hungry children were crying and old men and women were quietly sobbing. Somewhere hundreds of kilometers from here a funnel to hell opened itself. So close – and somehow so far from you at the same time…

You were away from all of this. Soared over turmoil of life, so to speak. And over time pictures from your glass TV box ceased to frighten you any longer. They became natural.

And when the hand of dark and red color finally reached your dwelling as well, – it was too late for you already. Vanguards of darkness poured into the streets of your town, bringing their own orders, methodically and openly killing those who were still resisting – not such as you. There was certainly nothing for you to fear!

“Let them die, let them!”, – you have been whispering to yourself more and more often when images of surrounding cruelty made your mind scream from pain. “They are guilty, didn’t submit! Themselves, themselves! Not you, not like you! Let them all die, but you will survive – that’s all that matters!”

And when chasteners have left, having taken away with themselves wives of someone’s former husbands, – a fiery tornado has fallen upon the city. And it was a blessing – to die instantly.

On a third day tornado took away you as well while you were hiding in dark city districts, marauding. Ones with a torn-off hands and legs don’t live for too long – not in this body, in any case.

At first you saw this mutilated body of yours from above – in pools of blood with ones like you, thinking as “not us!”. And then suddenly as some kind of stream started whirling you, dragging away from this place to a totally different one – a dimension which you have forgotten up to this point.

And there, in this so unusual and as if infinite world you were placed near those, – resisting ones, – whom you so recently, still possessing a body, still living in a so habitual for you world, – so furiously and cruelly hated. Hated for the feeling of own imperfection which they caused in your heart. You were placed near those the death of whom you were wishing. You were given a last chance to look upon their eyes – and they were given a chance to see ones like you. And when they – shining ones – looked at you – silently, with no hatred in their eyes, – you were forced to look away. And you had nothing to tell them during all your term.

… And then your judges came for you as well to bring there, From Where No One Has Ever Left. Many came back to Earth – yet not from there. After painfully-sadly-endless and infinite times of waiting you were dragged there.

Why it was you? Certainly not them!

Once upon a time someone knocked at a door of human’s Soul. A Happiness was standing behind a threshold, having come from unknown edges of the world. A true Happiness always comes unexpectedly.

– And who might you be? – the surprised man asked it, for he has been living alone with Sadness for a long time.

– I am your most real, long-awaited Happiness! – it said with a joy.

– You lie! – grinned the man. – This world has no happiness to be found!

– But I am already standing here, don’t I? – Happiness was surprised. – How can’t I exist if I have finally found you as well?

– No, you cannot be my long-awaited Happiness, – the man began to doubt. – My Happiness should look and feel differently, I feel it.

– I am just tired from a long journey to you, – Happiness smiled in reply. – I have been searching for you in these swamps of Grief and steppes of Loneliness for so long! Allow me now to enter a home of your soul – and I shall help you bring it to an order.

– I already have all things in full order, just like everyone else, – the man frowned.

– That’s why you look so sad? – asked Happiness.

– I am just normal, – replied the man. – Not like some others.

– Like who? – questioned Happiness. – Ah, you were speaking of those ones whom I have already managed to find? – it guessed.

– They are cranky! – sniffed the man. – And you are crazy as well! – he became angry.

– But I am your dear Happiness! – and Happiness beggarly gave hands to the man.

– Leave me be! – snapped he and pushed Happiness sideways. – I no longer believe in you!

– … All right, – answered Happiness, – I will do as you ask of me. But maybe even the memory of my short intervention will manage to warm you in upcoming cold nights of Sadness…

And, having that said, Happiness turned back and walked away through the doors. The man sniffed once again and, continuing grumbling something about totally ridiculous and untimely guests, went back to his sleeping rooms.

And Happiness, who have made such a long and dangerous journey, sat down on a porch of a home of human’s soul and, having become silent, started to wait patiently without drawing too much attention. It hoped so much that the man will once start believing in his own Happiness.

Here and There
– Hi, There! – joyfully cried Here, embracing his brother. – Where have you been hiding for so long recently? All of us missed you greatly!

– I was … there, - evasively answered There. – Had many business deals during the past times so there was no time for idle chatter and useless meetings. I am a very busy businessperson right now, as you can clearly see.

– You have been like that from the very cradle, brother! – smiled Here and patted brother’s shoulder. – Tell me, did people once again give you no time for meditation to such a degree that you had no other choice but to go into hiding?

– Oh, that’s not the word, – grieved There. – Almost teared me apart! There is neither rest nor release from them for who knows how many thousands of years. I have almost become some sort of human “star”, can you imagine? Almost each of them strives to find me, as though I have gathered in my lair a horde of treasures for him personally and is willing to gladly and joyfully share it with each and every speaking, and asking, and demanding, and threatening newcomer. I may be willing to share something good and kind with some of them who are worthy – but not with some sort of hordes!

– That’s all because they have no idea of what they are doing … or where they are searching! – Here burst out laughing freely.

– A very precise note! – confirmed There. – Probably for that very reason you, my brother, became such a lonely and I am such a popular one. Almost no one wishes to stay and search Here and almost everyone dreams of making it There. As if I, a single There, would suffice for them all!

– It’s good where they don’t walk. For where they do – something goes wrong as always.

– And how do you think, Here, why is that always the case with humans?

– No idea here, There. Possibly because they ceased to feel with their souls and learned to feel only with a body instead?

– And how many of them still imagine that you, Here, is not-so-perfect, not-that-right, and There on the horizon, in some unreachable cloudless distances, which they look for where they are not present, everything is simply awesome! And it can happen, Here, that somewhere in one of my multiple There’s the horse didn’t even start rolling, not to mention of riding! And they certainly can’t help riding in their glorious quest of finding some irresistible There.

– My wondrous brother, my kind There, I won’t give you them anywhere! – smiled Here. You will be of much help here … to all of us. For, you know … maybe something, which they have been searching diligently for so long there – it’s is already here, right before their itching noses.

– I really hope that they will once learn to respect and love you, Here, – replied There. For even the finest of There’s appear here once in a while!

– Greetings, oh great Master! – the Seeker started yelling. – I have heard a lot about your wisdom and knowledge and truly desire to become one of your devoted Disciples!
– And won’t your heart jump straight out of your chest, should I accept the offer? – the Master squinted his right eye and looked fixedly at unexpectedly found neophyte, while continuing to nibble sunflower seeds. – For, you know, I have no desire to stand responsible before GorZdrav for your breathless corpse, you see? After all, I am already on a note, for my own health is not the one it used to be in youth.
– I would surely jump out of my trousers from the joy, if you take me with yourself! – assured him Seeker.
– It’s a bad karma to jump like that. After all, we are not Europe here, see? Different spiritual climate, so to speak. And who was that wise man who advised you to visit me, especially so early in the morning, aye? – murmured Master while scratching his own back.
– Destiny itself has brought me to you by tracks rarely-walked and ways inconceivable! – ardently exclaimed Seeker.
– Probably, ye found the announcement in the newspaper, aye? – Master coughed, having choked with his next sunflower seed.
– In newspaper used in toilet for the paper! – Seeker started chattering. – I have understood finally that throw away my life aimlessly in the trash can, like an ultimate fool, I do!
– Well, you are not the very first, and surely not the last! – Master laughed in reply. – The last little fool here in our village was Vasily.
– I finally desired to comprehend the meaning of my life, my mission, my path! – Seeker continued to chatter a tongue twister.
– Well, if you are such nimble, we can join our ways, – answered Master. – Can you chop firewood, for instance?
– I will gladly learn this lesson! – ardently confirmed Seeker. – Just make me your Disciple!
– All right, all right, have it your way! – Master coughed another time and spat out next sunflower seed on a grass. – Grab that axe over there and go with me. I myself is too old already for deeds like that, need a fresh blood to make things shine.
* * *
– How are you holding your axe, silly one! – Master shouted and struck Disciple’s head with a crutch. – What’s the reason to hold it with one hand? Hold it with both hands when dealing a blow!
– Like that we should cut strenuously through burdens of our life? – Seeker looked hopefully at Master, brushing away sweat from his forehead.
– What sort of burden is that?! – Master looked shocked. – You were simply asked to chop firewood, nothing more and nothing less. What, have you eaten too much henbane to make daily routine tasks look like a feat?
– I have consumed too much of Internet, Master! – bitterly exclaimed Disciple. – I have eaten it too much and become satiated! I spammed through forums, trolled poor children, scribbled disgusting articles in newspapers, I did!
– Sins of yours are heavy! – Master has thrown up his hands. – And what are trolls, exactly? – he decided to specify just in case.
– Ones such as we are, Master, – sighed Disciple. – Shivering creatures.
– Oh, you haven’t tasted our frosts yet, dear! – Master laughed. – Not to worry, we shall cure you of this civilized nonsense, only give us some time.
– Many thanks to you, Master! – cried Disciple. – Just tell me what should I do now, I am ready for everything!
– Keep on chopping firewood, stupid city-dweller! – Master yelled and once again laid a precise blow with a crutch upon Disciple’s head.
* * *
– Very well, – Master noticed with satisfaction, climbing upwards. – Stove is good, it gives warmth. And warmth is priceless nowadays.
– Hearts of men have grown indifferent and cold to burdens of their earth brothers…, – Disciple nodded knowingly in response.
– Goof! – replied Master and threw valenok from his leg into Disciple. – Firewood is cheaper, and oil radiator would cost me a fortune for sure. And my pension, I’ll make you know that, isn’t a fortune at all, and it’s without a premium. They didn’t even give me a veteran of works status, nasty ones! – Master grumbled disappointedly, settling on a stove.
– Master! – frowned Disciple. – Master…
– Zzzzzzzz…, – noise came to his ears from stove’s location.
– Master! – Disciple cried beggarly. – Master, I look forward to hearing from you!
– Yes, what-what-what?! – opened his eyes almost fallen asleep from warmth Master, having stared at his Disciple. – Why have you once again disturbed me when I was regaining my strength, aye? – he said and threw a second valenok in Disciple.
– Master, we have been engaged in some nonsense for several months already – we were dragging waters from a well, collecting grass in stacks, catching fish in a river, cooking a fish soup. When will we finally start doing something important and great, something that matters? My spirit has grown tired waiting for future achievements!
– Does it look like insignificant to you? The fish soup we used to cook turned out to be great, by the way. Especially when made from carps and catfishes, – delicious! For long time I haven’t tested such a meal without you.
– Are you scoffing, Master?! – Disciple cried bitterly. – What kind of significance is that?
– Your empty head! – Master sighed. – It surely doesn’t want to put a meaning in things you are doing. For if you put sense in your deeds – you would love it, and if you loved it – you would do so with joy, and if you did them with joy – you would be happy, and if you were happy – you would share that happiness with others around you. And what kind of fish soup they would be able to cook then? Divine!
– Easy for you to say! – Disciple took offense. – You keep lying in warmth while I have to freeze each day down here on this wooden bed. I would certainly like to be in your shoes!
– Are you sure you want that? – Master blinked his eyes. – No problem, climb over here! And I will luxuriate in your place, for I get used to enjoy the place I live in no matter where I am.
– Shit … how do I … where is … damn it … master! There is no free place here at all! – started complaining Disciple, having once again hit his head against a brick of the stove.
– It’s you for whom there is no place over there, for you have your own place in life, simpleton! – with these words Master threw back his valenok onto the stove. – Catch valenok!
– Why do you give me your footwear, Master? – Disciple looked at him with confusion. – Come back to your stove and I shall climb down to wooden bed.
– Not so fast! – laughed Master. – Quickly put on valenoks and sheepskin coat, you shall go to a post office now. The lesson of humility and patience awaits ye.
* * *
– Back so soon? – Master smiled, seeing as covered with hoarfrost Disciple has hardly rolled over a threshold and has wearily fallen to his bed even without putting off valenoks. – Well, how are my valenoks to you, don’t they put too much pressure on you?
– Hard is the journey in sandals of yours …, – Disciple murmured wearily with hardly obeying lips.
– Well, – Master sighed with satisfaction, moving on a stove. – Russian Post, village … Should I explain it further, or will you manage to comprehend it itself, spineless troll? And I, by the way, went there every month to collect my pension. But I do see now that you can replace me in this battle.
– Who the heck advised you to settle in such boondocks, Master! – grumbled Disciple. – God only knows how long I have been travelling to you through woods with no direct direction in order to find you!
– By beloved dolt! – Master lifted his hands. – Who has told you the false fact that it was obligatory to crawl through woods for several days in order to find me – your own ego, or some kind of Buddhist? You, I gather, haven’t even heard of such a thing as public transport even once in your life? Bus number sixty second goes to our bus stop every day, and it takes only ten minutes to get to me from there.
– Wisdom of your speeches escapes vision of my spirit … – Disciple murmured wearily, falling asleep.
– You have to find right stops in your life’s journey, simpleton! – Master laughed in full voice.
* * *
– Master, why do we need all this at all, what’s the point? – Disciple carefully touched Master’s shoulder.
– We need to catch it first at this point, and you keep disturbing me from setting a drag-net on foxes right now! – and Master straightened out him. – Silence!
– Aye, aye, sir! – replied Disciple. – I will be silent like a great Buddha, beholding the world.
– No way, I don’t demand these self-tortures from you here! – Master hushed on him. – I can’t cease communication for such a long time myself, and won’t advise you to do so either. We only need to set a couple of traps here – and then we go back to the stove.
– It’s important for men not to fall down into self-made pits or traps by bringing evils to our neighbors…, – efficiently confirmed Disciple.
– Oh, my! When will you cease philosophizing for an instance, aye? Your ego is still wagging a tail just like a fox!
– I have gathered wisdom during this year, including one from you, my Master! – Disciple assured him. – Now I feel myself stronger.
– Tell this to forty-degree frost tomorrow when checking drag-nets, – said Master and spitted on a snow.
* * *
– Master …, – a familiar call ringed in the air once again, as always.
– I am not the master for you already! I am Egorych, Stepan Egorych! – said grandfather, wearily sitting down on stock of wood. – I have been repeating you this for several years already, troll’s head, and you are still crying “master!” and “master!”
– But in that old newspaper announcement you called yourself as “master”, – objected fairly overgrown and lost weight for the last five years Disciple.
– I am a plumber, you dumb! They always name us that way. And I was looking for a disciple-assistant to repair pipes in our village, for they have been completely worn out during a Soviet period and may burst out pouring at any moment, – and no masters will be able to help us if that shit happens.
– It turns out that …, – Disciple fatefully sat down on the ground, being shocked by what he has just heard, – you are not my Master?
– Well, why not? If destiny itself has brought you to my doors – this means you belong here. After all, we have greatly uplifted and advanced our housekeeping for the last five years, so it might be a good time for you to go into the hands of Avdotya Mikhaylovna, – her pipe under a bathtub started leaking quite a while ago … and she needs someone to help get her pension from Russian Post office either way.
– It means … everything was in vain … all meaning of life is thrown in a pipe …, – stunned Disciple was barely whispering with disobeying lips.
– And maybe that purpose of your particular life which you have been seeking, – is exactly to laid a helping hand to Avdotya Mikhaylovna, aye? – and Master blinked his eye, smiling.

Tough one
You are the tough one – and that’s lies out of doubt’s borders. Dreadfully respectable type! You have achieved success in life, and now it successfully continues to support your illusion of own happiness with such degree of intensity, that you simple don’t have time for anything other except for support of own respectability in the community of ones similar to you. And they respect you, certainly, not for whom you actually are, but for all that external social attributes, with which you have painted yourself. In the company of the ones like you hypocrisy, you know, is the nature of things.

How many powers and time were spent in a struggle for that invaluable mask, how many people were smashed, how lots of beautiful feelings and words were thrown out on a wind for the sake of opportunity to overtake several others on this roundabout route which is out of sense! But for now you are cool, and it’s not subject for doubt, because all those millions who have made you their idol, can’t be all mistaken, yes? And they have already managed to stop doubting own infallibility – because, according to their opinion, the ones who have managed to be imprinted on pages of “ForBes” magazines are hardly capable of making mistakes. You, much like the comrade Lenin, have become the idol of many – you became simply intolerable. And the stream of your life didn’t take you out to a coast of serenity and boundlessness. And whether did you really desire to swim in that direction?

Power of money because of money for the sake of money not without money. Money replaced so many things in your life. You have become extremely rich and valuable person – that’s why simple human happiness was too expensive for you to afford. It, unlike you, is able to understand people and doesn’t run after to each passer if they have “Rolex” watches or “Porsche” cards at their disposal. It’s very human because it searches for humanity. It’s much like a Firebird, and one can grasp it by tail only be being simple and kind – and you have become too tough, suspicious and intolerable. Probably, it’s almost unbearable to remain as such at all times – yet by some mystical ways you have managed to achieve it still.

Probably, at least once or twice you managed to notice some kind of special people, by and away from which your highly profitable life express were carrying you time and again. These people were, according to your measures, simple poor ones – yet at the same time they were rich with something totally different, phenomenon of so mysterious to you nature. They were able to celebrate life in each its instant and therefore knew no such thing as grief. They were sincere – and hypocrites feared to approach them, being afraid to be disclosed at the next instant. For now you do understand that they were rich with happiness – for there was something from the God inside them. You know, this something could belong to you as well …

You have built you castle on the false base – and now it’s being shaken by blows of conscience. But nevertheless you, apparently, don’t understand that all those common truths which have been once called as both banal and boring, even being rejected by you have been living nearby still, as if invisibly marking and fixing something. It’s they, these truths, will never lose its value no matter how thick and strong the dust layer of fabrications and lies would use the ones who have still not understood that truths aren’t capable to be banal.

But all of that is, apparently, not your business – for after all you move, run and rush forward by a belt road, without seeing a path. You didn’t understand for the sake of what you once again – and maybe the for the last time, - have come to the planet Earth. Dreadfully respectable type!


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