The House of Razum. Chapter V.

3 Oct

In a single second, the light vanished and the water turned colorless. It was as if nothing at all had happened up to then. The Mayor of Suzdal put his hand on Klimov’s elbow, giving his guest a start that seemed to awaken him.

“Let us go to the other end and see how Irina is doing,” he whispered softly. “The three of us can discuss all of this up in my study.”

Irina Antova appeared exhausted and strangely emptied out. She said very little, allowing Tronich to provide all the explanation.

“I must inform you, David, that what you went through in the basement was a psychic transportation of colors from the mind of our colleague, Miss Antova, into yours. Nothing that you saw was real in a material sense.”

Klimov looked blankly into the politician’s enormous red face. The Russian bruin continued in a subdued tone of voice.

“It is all very simple. You were the recipient of a mental perevod.”

“A translation?” gulped David with astonishment.

“A transference,” replied Tronich. “From one mind into another. Irina was the source, the origin, the istochnik. You were the receiver, the priemnik.”

The hands of the Moscovite began to tremble. He felt cold perspiration break out on his temple. His brain seemed to whirl.

It was Irina who intervened with an explanation of what had happened to him.

“You passed this test of your psychic capability, David,” she said excitedly. “As of tonight, I have a new priemnik.”

The detective tried to return her smile, but was still too confused.

“None of the colors I saw were real, then?” he said to her.

“Absolutely none,” she triumphantly grinned. “They were in my mind first, then in yours. I projected what you saw.”

Moments of silence ensued. Then, the Mayor broke in.

“What you have witnessed tonight, David, is the greatest stride in the area of telepathy of our time. You were the subject of what I call psychic hypnotism. That is a phenomenon the world never possessed until this generation. It is a breathtaking initiative that promises to revolutionize the world of mental transmission and reception. Nothing like it has ever existed before, as far as we know.

“Think what can be achieved in the future through psychic communication of the state of trance in the mind! The prospects cannot yet be calculated or described. And you have undergone the process tonight. We can include you as one of the pioneers.”

Klimov was astounded by what he was hearing. “The changing colors that I saw were a mirage resulting from telepathic hypnosis by Irina?” he managed to get out from his throat.

“You are starting to understand the great breakthrough that has occurred,” smiled Irina with deep feeling. “You will come to learn the techniques that are used, so that you too will be able to carry out such operations on your own. We shall teach you the art of transmission.”

For the next week, Klimov spent his mornings on the hunt for any trace of Sara Milova. His afternoons were given over to psychic training by Irina Antova in the new area of psychic hypnosis. He learned methods that he had never known existed and was soon able to apply them upon his teacher from an ever longer distance.

He visited every above-ground and below-ground hotel in Suzdal and its surrounding area. None of the desk personnel or serving employees he questioned could give him any useful information. No one could remember or recognize the face in the holograph he showed them. His search was totally unsuccessful.

Klimov then descended into the network of tunnels beneath the city, where the lower class inhabitants made their homes. Cheap boarding houses, sitting-room flats, utility apartments, and rooms rented by the week became the focus of his search. But here, once again, failure faced the detective from Moscow. No one anywhere could identify the missing student of parapsychology. His hunting for her was futile.

David decided to make a report to the man paying his bills, Boris Milov. He called on his hotel room fibrafon, finding the client at home on Friday evening.

“Hello, Mr. Klimov. How are you? I have not heard anything from you.”

His voice had an undercurrent of anger to it.

“I am trying every way possible I can think of to pick up Sara’s trail. So far, nothing has turned up, sir. As I told you when you hired me, time and patience are necessary in this kind of work.”

“What are you up to, then?” demanded Milov in an impatient tone.

“I have infiltrated the circle of the leading psychics of Suzdal,” explained Klimov. “They have come to accept me as one of their own.”

“Do any of these people know what happened to my daughter?”

“I do not yet know that. Whatever information they may have has to come out naturally, on its own. Nothing can be forced out of them. There is constant danger of being uncovered as a hired investigator. I have convinced my psychic associates that I am a novelist collecting material.”

“A novelist?”

“I claim to be writing about a young woman who is missing.”

“Like my Sara?”

“Yes, that’s it, precisely.”

A short silence followed.

“I hope you know what you are doing, Mr. Klimov,” sputtered the client with doubt in his voice.

“The results will come in time, I assure you, sir,” promised the detective with confidence. “I hope to send a positive report shortly.”

“Yes, that would be good,” said Milov with resignation.

The telefibra conversation ended. David left the hotel room and headed for the flat where his psychic instructor lived.

“Hypnosis has always been a difficult matter to deal with in a responsible, ethical way. It holds many traps and perils. That is why the urok for centuries was feared and shunned by psychically responsible operators.” Irina paused for breath. “It is morally wrong to seek control over the will of another. I transmit images to you, David. But I do not attempt to lead your movements and actions. You have not received orders or commands from me at times when you were in deep trance.

“I place you in an elevated mental state. That is why you were able to receive the rich spectrum of colors that first night, down by the water tank. You viewed the rainbow of shades with the inner eyes that I helped you to liberate and put to use.”

Her eyes dilated as they focused upon his. “And now you will master the techniques of telehypnosis through psychic projection, my friend.”

Klimov suddenly thought of Sara Milova and his search for her. Had she also been made a subject of psychic hypnosis by someone? he wondered.

“I have read that a person cannot be made to do something they find evil by a hypnotist,” he said. “Is that true, Irina?”

The latter frowned. “I know of instances when operators have enslaved the minds of their subjects through their control of ideas and perceptions. It has resulted in the exploitation of the weak by the strong.”

“Is that possible in practice?” he asked, furrowing his brow.

“The House of Razum claims to have transcended that old limitation on hypnosis,” she said with gravity in her voice. “They say that they have discovered a means of complete control.”

“Complete control?”

“It is said by them to stem from the unusual potency of telehypnotism. It has multiplied strength and power, far more than traditional methods enjoy. They argue that there are no defenses that can withstand the power of long distance psychic forces that are harnessed by the newly discovered methods.”

“That is hard to accept,” sighed Klimov. “Can the laws of psychology be broken by the House of Razum?”

Irina’s eyes turned cloudy. “No one is able to resist telehypnosis, because it strikes out of the blue and is invisible. That is why Lev and I are fighting against the Razumites. He and I are leaving tomorrow for Yaroslavl.”

David gave a start. “You are departing that soon?”

“We must,” she frowned. “There will be a struggle over choosing delegates with Doctor Viktor Razum.”

“Viktor Razum?” asked Klimov with surprise in his voice.

“He is the founder and leader of that group. It is ironic that his name means intelligence and wisdom. I doubt that is his real name, but that is what the man calls himself.”

“You expect a conflict in Yaroslavl, then?”

“Yes, over the selection of the convention delegates. The opponents of the House of Razum have called for our help in their fight to free themselves from domination by these radical fanatics.”

“I see,” mused David aloud. “You will both, then, be going on to the St. Petersburg convention of the Psychic Tsekh, I presume.”

“That’s right,” she said. “Why don’t you come along with Lev and me? It will give you much inspiration for your writing, I believe.”

I accept your invitation,” he instantly whispered. “Thank you for inviting me. It will allow me to learn much that I want to find out.”

Within a minute, the undercover investigator departed for his hotel, where an unexpected message awaited him.

The room clerk called to David as he crossed the subterranean lobby.

“A telefibra message came for you, Mr. Klimov. A number was left that you were asked to ring immediately.”

“Thank you,” said the surprised guest as he approached the desk and took the piece of celluloid containing the number.

He saw at once that it was from someone in Moscow. It was easy for him to guess the identity of the individual involved in this.

The detective went to a lobby public fibrafon and pressed in the numbers he had been given.

“Hello,” he said as soon as someone picked up the buzzing receiver on the other end. “Mr. Milov, I presume?”

“Correct,” said the voice in Moscow. “It was necessary for me to reach you at once, because of something that has happened here. I received a letter from my daughter, Sara.”

“What does she say?” asked the surprised investigator with excitement in his voice. “Do you have any idea where it came from?”

“Sara demands that I give up my search for her. Somehow, she has found out that I have hired and sent you out to find her. I should recall my syshchik, she begs me. Her decision to break off all contact with me is irrevocable, according to this letter.”

“I see,” groaned David. “What have you decided to do, Mr. Milov?”

A short pause ensued before the father responded to this question.

“If I told you what city is on the postmark, do you believe that you could go there and locate her?”

“I can promise an all-out attempt, sir,” asserted the detective. “All that you have is the name of the town where the letter was mailed?”

“Correct.”

“And what is that place?”

“Yaroslavl,” hesitantly said Milov. “Her letter was sent through the Yaroslavl main post office.”

David felt his head spin a little. After several minutes of rapid thought, he spoke with determination and decisiveness. “I can go there tomorrow, sir. My intuition tells me that I know exactly where to look for her in the city of Yaroslavl.”

“You do?” cried out the father with surprise.

“The psychics there will be meeting to select delegates for their national convention to be held soon in St. Petersburg. I think that I can penetrate the gathering and find some link to your daughter. There is a good chance of success. Shall I continue to Yaroslavl, sir?”

The answer came fast. “By all means. I do not know what your expenses will be, but that does not frighten me. Find her and get me in contact with her as soon as possible, please.”

“I will report to you from Yaroslavl,” promised the private investigator.

Both men closed their receivers. David went to his room to prepare for leaving Suzdal.

He thought he now knew where he would find Sara Milova.

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