The Adnate

2 Oct

Detective Sergei Goshkov had a unique specialty.

He dealt with cases of major fraud in Tsarist Russia of the early twentieth century that involved the exploitation of interest and belief in parapsychology.

His most important and peculiar investigation occurred in St. Petersburg in the spring of 1908.

What is going on at the Conjointal Institute on Samsonievsky Prospect?  That was his newest assignment: to find out whether police suspicions of fraud and swindling could be confirmed.

Several reports of suspicious activity had come in, but none were specific. A direct probe on the spot was necessary. Sergei wrote a letter expressing an interest in parapsychology and asking to visit the institution. The result was a time set for him to stop in.

The site was a large osobnyak house converted into separate offices.

A female secretary unlocked the front door, asked who he was, then ushered him in.

“Dr. Perovsky is awaiting you in his office upstairs,” she smiled. “Follow me, please.”

Up a narrow stairway climbed the two. The secretary pointed to an open doorway. “The Director is in his office. You may go in.”

Sergei did so, entering a large room where a small individual sat behind a marble desk. “Please be seated,” said Boris Perovsky in a surprisingly deep, low voice.

Once the bulky detective was in a chair in front of the desk, the other asked him a question.

“What is it you wish to know about our Institute, sir? How can we be of service to you?”

The investigator repeated sentences he had rehearsed a number of times.

“For many years, I have had a profound personal interest in parapsychological matters of all sorts. My experience has included experiments with posredniki who transmitted psychic signals as perevodniki and recipients who were priemniki sensitive to extrasensory messages of different kinds. I discovered that my mind was capable of elementary telepathic sending and receiving, and my hope is to develop my inborn talents as far as possible. That is why I am here today.”

He stared at the Director with steely gray eyes that never blinked.

Perovsky suddenly posed an unexpected question.

“Are you familiar, sir, with the Russian traditions and legends concerning possession?”

“Possession? What sort of possession?” asked Goshkov with a measure of perplexity.

The Director grimaced. “We at this Institute try to be scientific and empirical in studying demonic and ghostly forms of control. As you must know, Russian folklore has a rich tradition dealing with the charodeika women and the urochnik men in villages across our country. These people are said to be able to influence and take control over the persons who fall within their spheres.

“Our research activities center on the power and capacities of these adnates.”

“Adnates?” inquired Sergei.

“Any person or being able to unite with subject individuals and change their thought and behavior. This can often be observed among the insane and mentally ill. But it also is common among ordinary, sound persons as well.

“You can imagine what the effect on Russian society would be should we succeed in establishing the existence of what we term conjointed adnates.”

“Indeed,” nodded Sergei, studying the bald, circular head of the Director.

The amber eyes of Perovsky glistened as he went on.

“It may be like what happens when one thinks about one own’s self. Instead of being the subject, one turns oneself into an object, an external thing. The question then becomes that of which one is the true, genuine self.”

The Director suddenly bolted to his feet. “My assistant, Pavel Levov, will show you to our library. There you can read what we have recorded about our field of research. Make as many visits here as may be needed to understand our thinking and practice concerning adnates.”

His guide was a tall, skinny man with blond hair and almond eyes. He led Sergei through several rooms of files, showing him important studies and field reports. Levov spoke in a high, scratchy voice.

“We have data from numerous locations in both Europe and Asia. All of our Russian realm is included. The oldest of adnate legends are preserved. Our mission is to record and describe all phenomena that fall into that category.”

The pair climbed down stairs to the basement of the house. Levov continued talking.

“Here is where we have all our written correspondence and the diaries of persons who uncovered an adnate attached to themselves.”

Sergei took out and glanced at his pocket watch. “I must be going now. Is it possible for me to return tomorrow and explore these materials? I promise to be careful and guard the privacy of everything I see.”

The assistant gave a grin. “Certainly, sir. The Director has authorized me to provide you complete, truthful access to everything that we have here.”

Over the next several weeks, the detective dived deeply into the theories of the group he was investigating. He put together and composed his own version of their teachings, becoming versed on the system centered on conjointal adnates. “Of the fundamental characteristics of humans, no other is as central as their intrinsic duality. For most persons, this trait remains an unseen potential. But in those who develop a conjointed nature, it becomes the core of their life. Humaness is a fractured reality, never perfectly harmonic or consistent. Inner contradiction and tension is basic .Nowhere is this more evident than in conjointal men and women. An external, unconnected spirit or force can become a person’s affiliated double and companion for life.”

Detective Goshkov spent sleepless nights mulling over this new viewpoint.

Reading and taking notes in the Institute basement, Sergei was surprised by a noise that resembled a rustling. He looked up and searched about with his mind and nerves on guard.

Something began to become visible to him, but what could it be?

Nothing in his memory gave Detective Goshkov a clue. No identifiable shape or form characterized what now appeared to him.

A foggy, insubstantial imprint was pressed upon his brain. Something between fear and familiarity rang through all of him.

The nearly invisible intruder seemed indefinite and non-material, but its presence was indisputable.

I am facing an adnate that has made me its object and target, the investigator realized.

It has chosen me to be its residence, its carrier.

There is no escape from what has to happen now.

When Pavel Levov returned to the basement late that afternoon, he found Goshkov sound asleep. He made a few coughing noises to wake up the visitor.

Sergei opened his eyes and lifted his head from the top of the desk where it lay.

“Excuse me, but I fell asleep. Time slipped by without my noticing it.”

“The Director is in his office and wishes to speak with you,” announced Levov. “We shall be closing and leaving the house in a short while.”

The detective rose to his feet, gathered his notes into a folder, and followed the other upstairs.

Soon the pair were in the office of Perovsky.

Levov was remaining in the room as the other two conversed, Sergei noticed.

“I hope that you have been successful in finding out all that you wish to learn about us and our work,” began the Director. He smiled warmly, then went on. “All that we have is open to those with a need to learn. There is no concealment whatever here.”

“I thank you for the opportunity to study and learn,” said Sergei. “I have been profoundly affected by the generous assistance given to me.”

Perovsky stared fixedly at the undercover policeman, then turned to his assistant who stood behind the chair that held Goshkov. The Director made a single nod.

“I must explain the new situation we face to you. While you were looking through correspondence in the basement, an unattached adnate became loose and aware of your presence. The result was an unintended, unforeseen invasion. That is probably what put you into sound sleep: the entrance of the independent entity into the home it had chosen.

“You are now a possessed human being, the same as myself and my assistant. Do not be afraid, for we will help you make the transition and the necessary adjustments. We can teach you how to establish control over the adnate, how to limit its power so as to prevent coming to grief through wild actions on your part.”

Sergei had a whirling sensation within him.

His life was not going to be the same as what it had been before.

The Director started to speak again.

“Levov and I shall support you in adjusting to your new condition. The adnate is now your other self, and you have become its conjointed partner. Do you understand what that means?”

All at once, Sergei Goshkov fully realized that he was no longer what he had been.

Everything inside and outside himself was now absolutely different.

I am not myself, because the adnate has made itself into a new me.

Sergei envisioned himself in a waking dream in which he pulled out of his breast pocket his small revolver and shot both men in the office with him. That could be a final resolution.

But how could a crime save him from the adnate now a part of him? The other would still be attached to him.

Without a word, the detective rushed down the stairs and out of the Institute.

He saw no possible escape from what had happened to him in that house.

It took only a few weeks for Sergei to uncover the true character of his adnate. The latter spoke to him in an authoritative, dictatorial manner.

“You must behave in a more intelligent way, or else you may never advance in your police career.”

The invisible conjoined spirit started to interfere in every sector of the detective’s life. It blamed him for lacking professional ambition, advising him to become more agreeable with superiors, less considerate of colleagues.

“You will continue to lose out on possible promotions if you remain so passive,” the adnate warned him.

Life became almost unbearable for Goshkov when the unseen partner tried to order him to find a wife in order to begin a family of his own.

Such heavy domination grew obnoxious to the investigator as he went on to new cases and probes. He had not found any criminal fraud carried out by the Conjointal Institute. But he had acquired an unanticipated burden to bear, the adnate united to him.

What could he do about this unforeseeable development?

In need of help, Sergei decided he had to return to Director Perovsky and the site where the disaster had occurred to him. What alternative was there?

Once they were seated in the office, the detective gave a general description of the troubles that had fallen upon him. He spoke with candor, but did not reveal what his occupation was. When he had finished stating the problem, Sergei looked at the Director expectantly, waiting to hear what the man might advise him to do.

Folding his hands together, Perovsky slowly analyzed his situation for him.

“No one has the power to dismiss a conjoined adate just like that, by snapping one’s fingers at it. Only the spirit itself can decide to leave, in a sort of divorce. A human being cannot make such a judgment for the adnate. Do you understand?”

Sergei felt the floor collapse under him. “Then I am at the mercy of my companion?” he moaned.

The Director lowered his voice to a whisper.

“If you could create discomfort and uneasiness for it, there is a possibility of making the adnate decide to depart on its own, under its separate will. But such a campaign is extremely difficult to carry out. There is no guarantee of success, none at all, my friend.”

“Thank you,” said Sergei, rising and heading for the door.

Once he was out on the street, alone with the adnate, the spirit addressed him.

“There is no chance of your accomplishing what was described to you up there,” announced the disembodied voice. “I shall never relent. You are stuck to me for life. There will never be any separation. I shall never leave you.”

Sergei gulped in his throat as he heard this. The adnate was unable to stop talking to him.

“Do not despair, though. I intend to inspire you to climb to high office wihin the police hierarchy of the Interior Ministry. My prediction is that in ten years, in 1918, you will have become the chief of criminal investigation for the entire Russian Empire. There will be no one as important or powerful as you in the enforcement and investigative sphere of our country at that time.

“The future is a bright one for both of us, I assure you.”

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