Chapter XIV.

7 Oct

The threesome stepped up to the last door on the right side of the north wing of the great stone building.

“The case in here was one of deep, serious depression when the fellow arrived a few months ago,” whispered Dr. Ivanov. “He himself will explain to you what happened to him after he came here.”

The psychiatrist led them into the square, neat bedroom after knocking on the door. A short, tubby middle-aged man with thinning, gray-flecked hair rose from a foam easy chair on which he had been watching a videon screen a few feet in front of him. The patient, in a natty yellow surtout, leaned over and turned off his receiver.

“We have two visitors who would like to meet you, Igor,” announced Ivanov. “They are both interested in how much your condition has improved in recent days. You can tell them whatever you wish in your own words.”

Igor, smiling as broadly as a full moon, shook hands with Viktor Razum, then with David Klimov. He began describing his problem without any urging from the psychiatrist who was treating him.

“This place is marvelous and Dr. Ivanov is a miraculous healer,” he beamed with joy. “My state of depression was extremely serious before I came here for treatment. The half dozen clinics I had been to up to then could do nothing at all with my deep melancholy. I did not wish to live, but I dreaded dying. My condition was one of complete physical and mental inaction and inertia. It was a kind of suspended animation. My thoughts were a rotating circle of bad memories. The future held no hope or prospects for me. I was a prisoner on an endless thread-mill of negative depression when I first arrived, wasn’t I, Dr. Ivanov?”

The latter gave a gentle nod. The patient named Igor continued.

“But then I underwent hypnosis and it was explained to me how I could call for assistance and support at any time of day or night by concentrating my thoughts and attention upon sending forth a psychic request. You see, I learned the secret of summoning telehypnotic help whenever my mood declined and I began to feel the old sadness. That source of strength is always present and available for me. I am never alone.”

The face of Igor glowed with excitement. His coal black eyes flamed with inner fire. An inner fire seemed to energize and inspire him.

It was Dr. Ivanov who then went on, explaining the significance of what the patient had said.

“You know how to focus your mental power on communicating with me and others, don’t you, Igor?” he calmly said.

The short man in the yellow leisure suit turned his burning eyes on his therapist.

“Of course,” he nodded. “All I have to do is concentrate completely and what I need will instantly come to me. I send to you, and then the hypnotic state is reconstituted in me, as soon as you have received my telepathic message and returned your reply to me. Then, I calm down and feel much, much better.”

Both Razum and Klimov were able to see an unusual light in Igor’s dark eyes, the afterglow of a flash of neon-like brightness.

“And how are you feeling today, Igor?” suddenly inquired Razum.

The patient turned his face so he could see the visitor who asked him this question.

“Fine. It is a feeling of both contentment and joy that I have. How can I describe it? My mind is confident and secure, but I also feel emotions of exhilaration and rapture. I know that telehypnosis is always available whenever I need it. That thought provides me solid confidence and courage.”

“When was it that you last called for psychic support, Igor?” asked Vktor Razum, staring intently into his shining face and blazing eyes.

Igor glanced at Ivanov for a second before answering.

“Last Saturday night,” he whispered. “I have always experienced emotional lows on weekends.”

“Our friend here will be leaving us in the near future,” grinned Ivanov, taking a step toward the door. “His clear, definite progress promises that he will soon be able to go home to his family and job in Moscow.”

“What is it that you do?” suddenly asked Klimov.

“I am a police investigator,” replied Igor.

At that precise moment, as the private detective sighed and then swallowed, the door to the room opened. A male nurse in white coat and pants appeared there as the four men looked to see who it was.

“Excuse me,” said the newcomer. “I have an urgent message from Yaroslavl for Dr. Viktor Razum.”

“What is it?” asked the latter with surprise on his face.

The nurse focused his eyes on him. “The building you live in, the House of Razum, has been chemi-bombed and is on fire, sir.”

In a matter of seconds, Igor was alone in his room. No one had bothered to say a word of farewell to him in their sudden panicked exit.

For a long time, as the electrocar roared back toward Yaroslavl, neither the driver nor the passenger spoke.

There had been no details on the extent of the damage and destruction in the fibrawire call from the city. Was anyone hurt or injured? Neither of the pair dared say a word about the grim possibilities.

As their vehicle crossed into the ring of suburbs that surrounded Yaroslavl, David made a sudden statement of how their visit had impressed him.

“The results that Ivanov claims he is getting are incredible,” he asserted out of the blue. “Unless you see it for yourself, as we did, you would think anything like what we witnessed there impossible. But we know that it actually happened, don’t we?”

Viktor Razum pondered a second before giving his opinion.

“What Ivanov is accomplishing through telehypnosis will shake the world of psychotherapy throughout all Russia,” he said thoughtfully. “Indeed, all over the planet of ours. It will make my House famous and renowned. I am certain of that.”

All at once, the founder of a movement recalled why he was rushing back to his headquarters. “A building can be replaced, David. I only hope that none of my people have been hurt by this satanic arson.”

“You believe that is what it was?” Klimov turned and looked into the face of his companion in silhouette for a single instant.

“Indeed, I do,” groaned the passenger through his teeth.

“The Psychic Tsekh partisans are capable of a criminal act. you believe?”

“Our enemies are fanatics,” grumbled Razum with disgust. “There is nothing at all that I would put beyond them. They hate me and all my followers. Every one of us is in mortal danger, David. We have to be careful. Do you understand what I am saying?”

Klimov peered forward along the cautchouc roadway.

“Nothing must be allowed to derail our plans,” continued Razum. “The election of convention delegates occurs tomorrow at the Childrens’ Theater. This fire was meant to divert us from our goals. But I intend to win and teach my foes a lesson they will never forget.”

Both of them fell silent. The electrocar crossed the city boundary into Yaroslavl. The driver lowered their speed.

“We shall see the extent of the loss soon now,” said David to his passenger as he lowered the electro-engine to the urban limit of 80 kilometers per hour.

White smoke billowed from the attic rafters of the tall house. The roof was gone above most of the structure. A small crowd still stood about on the sidewalk and lawn, though the pozharnii fire brigade had already left the scene.

As the two men climbed out of the electrocar and approached the front of the House of Razum, various members provided snippets of information to them.

“It came from an incendiary flare,” said a high-pitched, excited voice.

“Hvala Bogu, no one was up in the attic at that moment.”

“The top ceiling was completely destroyed.”

“The trevoga alarm at the foot of the street was sounded in seconds”

“The komanda for this district arrived within three minutes. They went to work and stopped the spread of the flames at once. Their long trubi shot anti-fire foam all the way up there. You can still see the green pena that they used to suffocate the flames. Their work was highly effective.”

“A gyrodron flew over the house, extremely low, and dropped particula over the upper storey. That helped a lot to halt and extinguish what was still alive of the fire up there. It had an effect at once.”

As the newly arrived pair headed for the first floor, a pozharnikar in bright red uniform stepped forward, blocking their way.

“Sorry,” the young man called out. “No one can enter the building until our investigation is completed.”

The two men stopped. “I am the legal owner,” gruffly asserted Razum. “It is necessary that I see what papers and records may have been destroyed in the attic area.”

All of a sudden, a voice came through the open front door. “The files upstairs were saved in time.” It was a female voice that shouted this. Klimov sighed with relief, at once recognizing whose it was.

Sara Milova walked out onto the small porch of the house. Her dress and hair were disheveled. Her face had smoke and dust all over it.

“We managed to save almost everything upstairs,” she called out.

The heart of the private investigator pounded ever faster as Sara came toward the two men. She was safe, he was able to see for himself.

A smile of triumph covered much of her blackened face.

The fireman in red shouted from behind the travelers. “This young woman was the true hero of this conflagration,” he explained. “She organized the group that went up into the attic and evacuated what was up there at great risk to themselves.”

Sara stopped in front of Viktor Razum and David Klimov.

“It was my duty to our movement,” she shyly muttered. “Someone had to take command of our people and issue the orders that were necessary.”

David could see her face reddening under the dirt and dust. “You are exhausted,” he said to her. “Let me take you down the ulitsa for a bite of something to eat. We will talk more there.”

“I must go and examine the records,” said Razum as he headed toward the open door of the house.

All at once, David took Sara’s right hand in his.

“You have proven your heart is a brave one,” he whispered lowly to her.

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