Chapter XII.

7 Oct

“We must talk about something different,” suggested Sara, attempting to return their attention to the specific purpose of demonstrating the nature of telehypnosis to David Klimov.

“Alright,” he said. “What shall we discuss next while I remain in this trance you have put me into.”

“No one is forcing or compelling you to undergo this, David. It is totally voluntary on your part. You agreed that hypnosis would be a valuable experience for you to undergo at the present stage of your psychic training.”

“No, that is not the way it is,” he countered. “It is a different kind of trance that I am thinking of and referring to at this time.”

“You have me puzzled,” she admitted. “I do not understand what you mean.”

“The trance you are talking about is the kind that the methods taught you by Viktor Razum induce.” He hesitated for a moment. “The one that I am thinking of is the result of a mystical attraction like the one that you exude over me.”

The room suddenly fell into nearly complete darkness.

“Our session is now over, David,” she loudly called out to him. “You are awake and no longer in a hypnotic trance. We did not have time to get to telehypnotic influence and suggestion. That must wait until next time.”

Having said that, she ran to the door, flung it open, and hurried out of the library room.

Sara had experienced a sudden flush of emotion completely new to her.

Georgi Shutsky jumped out of the polynex chair he was occupying and ran toward the entrance to the hotel lobby.

“David!” he panted. “Let’s you and I go somewhere and talk.”

“There’s a small traktir around the corner,” said the private detective. “We can discuss matters freely there.” He led the way back outside, then into the nearby tavern, now almost empty. The two took a booth far in the rear, away from the few remaining customers. A sluzhanka appeared and asked them what they wanted to order.

“I will have orange blossom chai,” muttered Shutsky indifferently.

“A cup of romashka for me,” decided Klimov. “Camomile always helps me fall asleep quickly.”

The waitress turned and walked away.

“You look tired out, my friend,” softly said the fat man. “What have you been up to this evening? Are you any closer to finding Miss Sara Milova?”

The questions hung in the air, unanswered. The two men peered at each other a brief time. Then, David got right to the point.

“Why are you here in Yaroslavl, Georgi?” he blurted. “Was it my Moscow client who made you follow me to this city?”

Unexpectedly, the fibratapper started to laugh. “No one can put anything past you, dear comrade. Your brain is as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. Yes, it was Boris Milov who called me again and again. He had not heard from you for over a week and was becoming anxious. There was no indication what you were doing in pursuit of his daughter. Somehow, he learned that I was keeping your mail and recording messages for when you return to Moscow.”

“So, he asked you to locate and talk to me,” sighed Klimov.

“Yes,” answered Shutsky. “It is as simple as that. The man’s bill is growing each day that passes. He needs to know if you are making any progress or whether you are wasting his money. Have you found the girl yet? Do you know anything about what has happened to her?”

It was useless to lie to someone who knew him so well, for so many years.

“I have found the girl,” gulped David. “His daughter is here in Yaroslavl. I followed her from Suzdal. The two of us were together this very evening.”

That was the moment that the waitress arrived with their two cups of tea, setting an argentic tray she was carrying them on down by the edge of their table.

“I hope you gentlemen enjoy your drinks,” she giggled.

It took awhile for the two to begin sipping their liquids after dropping sweet cubes into them. Klimov was the first to speak.

“Let me explain to you what has happened, Georgi.”

There followed a general outline of his adventure with the Psychic Tsekh, then with the House of Razum. The narrative was selective, not at all complete. The individuals involved with him were not named or described in any specific manner.

Shutsky stared at his colleague in wonderment.

“You mean to tell me you joined these lunatics in order to become acquainted with Milov’s daughter?”

“It was the only way available to me, Georgi.”

“And you have had to deceive Mr. Tonich and Miss Antova!”

“I had to make use of the opportunities offered me,” argued David Klimov with indignation. “I did the best I could. Wouldn’t you have done the same, Georgi? I had to use my wits as best I could.”

The face of the fat detective turned reddish.

“I do not belong in a sumashedshi asylum for the insane, like you do, my friend,” he irately muttered. “Tell me this: are all the inmates of this House of Razum as crazy as you are?”

David’s mouth twisted with emotion, then changed into a disarming smile in less than a second.

“Let us talk about the future, Georgi,” he pleasantly cooed. “We have to figure out how to bring the father and the daughter together once more.”

“It would be easy to call Mr. Milov on the fibrafon and tell him to come to Yaroslavl at once, I would think.”

“That would not be wise,” countered Klimov. “Sara is not ready to face him now, at this time. I am certain of that.”

“Then what can I tell him about the situation?”

David came up with an answer instantly, as if it had been readied and prepared for deep in his subconscious.

“I need more time to find out what Sara is thinking and what will make her agree to be reconciled with her father.”

“Mr. Milov cannot wait much longer,” insisted Shutsky. “What can I tell him if I have to return to Moscow empty-handed?”

“In two weeks, thousands of devotees and fanatics of the parapsychological will be meeting for a convention in St. Petersburg. This event will be the most important, the most fateful they have ever held in Russia, this army of psychics. Lev Tronich and Irina Antova are going to be there, for example.”

“Yes,” interrupted Shutsky. “They mentioned it to me many times this afternoon and this evening.”

“This convention will be the climax, the final battle that the enemies of the House of Razum are waging against it. The leader and founder, Dr. Viktor Razum, will be present there to lead and inspire his followers. I plan to go as an observer, a non-voting member watching what the delegates decide on the issues involved with telepathic hypnotism.” He drew a deep breath, then went on speaking. “Boris Milov should be advised to go to St. Petersburg and see his daughter there, at the national gathering.”

“At a convention of all those crazy psychics?”

“I think that I can make her willing to see him by then,” predicted David with sincere bravado. “Sara and her father can talk in private. I’ll arrange everything for them.”

Shutsky gave him an intent stare, testing what he said with his eyes.

“Very well,” he concluded. “I will go back to Moscow tomorrow and lay this all out for our client. Then he will decide for himself what to do.”

The two finished their tea, now cold and tasting flat.

Around the house curved the white fog of early morning.

Klimov had not slept well in his hotel room that night. His eyes were slightly swollen as he entered the old house of psychics. Sara was waiting for him in the downstairs hallway. Both of them smiled as they exchanged good mornings.

“Viktor told me he wants to see you as soon as you arrive,” she told him. “He is in his office waiting for you.”

David stepped down the hallway that bisected the ground floor of the old house. He stopped in front of the room that Razum had turned into his private sanctum and knocked on the closed oak door.

“Come in,” rang the strong voice of the leader from inside.

The detective did so, closing the door behind him. He took two steps forward till he stood directly across the cluttered desk from the man who wanted to see him.

“How are you this morning?” began Viktor Razum, eyeing him with a steady, flinty look.

“I am well, sir, but a bit tired.”

“You have been reading a lot of the books in our library, Sara tells me.”

“Right,” grinned Klimov. “I am more accustomed to writing than reading, it appears. There is a lot of material that I have still not covered.”

Razum laughed several times, then turned stern and serious.

“Tell me something: do you have a valid electrocar driving license?”

“Yes, I do.”

“I myself have never driven one,” confessed the founder of the House of Razum. “It was never an important skill for me to attain. I wanted to ask you whether you could serve as my private driver for a day? I need to go out to the countryside and visit someone there. There is a company just a few blocks from here that rents out vehicles to customers. That is where we can obtain the electro that we will need tomorrow.”

“It would be my pleasure to accomplish the driving,” said David in a ringing tone. “I am most happy that you decided on having me behind the steering wheel, sir.”


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