The House of Razum. Chapter XXV.

14 Oct

Klimov did all the talking on the electrobus ride to the Neon Hotel. By the time the two investigators arrived there, Shutsky fully understood what his friend planned to do.

The lobby was almost empty. A small cellulose sign before the Great Hall announced “Convention in Session”.

“I will stay out here and keep watch,” said Shutsky in a hushed whisper.

David opened the door, showed his identification wafer to the man posted there, and then stepped into the meeting hall. Scanning from side-to-side, he caught sight of Irina and Lev near the front. He looked about some more, till he was certain about the situation. It was up to him to act at once, he quickly decided.

The presiding officer began to talk about the events of that morning.

“After the tragic death of Sara Milova and the savage attack upon Viktor Razum, we have all been shaken to the depths of our minds and emotions,” his baritone voice rang out loudly. “But the work of our convention must proceed on schedule. Is there any objection to taking up the election of officers for the coming year?”

This is my opportunity, the former detective said to himself. He took a step forward, toward the rostrum.

“Mr. Chairman, may I have the floor on a vital matter of urgent importance? I am David Klimov of Moscow, and I served as one of the psychic posredniki in the failed demonstration of this morning.”

“This is highly irregular, Psychic Klimov,” grumbled the chairman.

“Then, let me explain how this convention can itself identify the person who commanded the telehypnotic assault and the death that occurred only a few hours ago.”

A loud humming and muttering filled the hall for a couple of seconds.

The chairman pounded his tiny molotok several times to restore order.

David decided to seize the initiative, shouting forth with all his vocal force and power.

“I propose that this convention enter into an integral telepathic union that will identify the true attacker and the killer of our lost Sara Milova.”

Several Razumites rose to their feet. “Yes!” they called out loudly. “A united psychic trance!”

Then, Klimov made another important proposal. “I nominate Psychic Irina Antova of Suzdal to be our telehypnotic interlocutor,” he shrilly shouted.

“I second the nomination,” yelled out one Razumite.

“I do, too,” cried another.

“Silence,” called out David. “Let us begin, Psychic Irina. Let no one leave this hall till we are finished with the united, shared trance.”

Vocal opposition to the proposal instantly disappeared, or at least seemed to. Soundless quiet fell over the convention delegates. They appeared to be in unison over what would come next.

The voice of Irina floated over the rows of psychics and telepaths.

“We are going into deep rhapsody,” she sang out. “We will soon be in total trance.”

David noticed that many delegates had closed their eyes shut.

A sense and feeling of mental illumination volleyed through the hall, from wall to wall. Many of the participants were breathing heavily. Irina Antova alone was standing in the central section of the hall, Klimov noticed. He moved forward until he stood directly behind her. The next several seconds would prove crucial, that much was clear to him.

The ex-detective suddenly whispered instructions to her.

“Ask who was jealous enough of Viktor Razum to make an attempt upon his life,” he whispered under his breath.

She did exactly that.

“Who was it that envied Doctor Razum so much as to try to bring about his death?” her voice plaintively inquired. “Let that evil person be revealed through a psychic confession at this moment.”

An expectant silence could almost be touched, it was so tangible.

One single voice then started to wail as if its owner had just become insane.

A large shape arose on the side of the hall and started to run toward the rear entrance. The wailing grew into the shrieking of a wild lunatic, louder and louder.

The madman dodged several delegates who tried to stop him.

Succeeding in reaching the door, he flung it open and raced out into the lobby of the hotel, hunting for some refuge or relief.

That was where Georgi Shutsky, with enormous difficulty, tackled the running hulk of Dr. Maxim Grekov.

The two investigators sat silently a long while on a polynex bench, both of them in deep thought. The St. Petersburg central police station seemed a hollow tomb at the midnight hour.

At last, the younger man started to speak.

“I was blind and stupid from the start,” he confessed. “It was Professor Grekov who was trying to destroy the movement he had helped to create. But why? His motive was a mystery to me, as to everyone else, I think.”

Shutsky eyes his friend with a sharp, steady gaze.

“The reason is too simple to see,” he slowly said. “It was there all the time, like a pimple on the top of the nose.”

David sent him a searching look.

“Jealousy,” mumbled Shutsky.

“Jealousy?”

“Grekov had to destroy what now bears the name of Razum. Telehypnosis and its movement were not his, but someone else’s.”

“Perhaps,” admitted Klimov, glancing at his finger-timer. “It is nearly twelve. Viktor and Irina will be leaving by poezd soon.”

“His tour of the East?”

“Yes. First to Siberia. Then, China, Tibet, and India.”

“There will be great interest in levitation there after what has happened here,” said Georgi Shutsky.

Dr. Viktor Razum stood next to Irina Antova on the silex train platform.

Both noticed the approach of David Klimov toward themselves.

“I am glad to be leaving for the Far East,” announced the leader. “It will help us in moving the recent trouble out of our thoughts and memories as much as is possible.”

David peered at him thoughtfully. “Our work will now advance unimpeded,” he said with a sigh. “The invisible obstacle has been uncovered.”

Razum frowned with sadness. “He can still try to cause harm to the movement and its aims. His jealous mind can operate at an astounding distance away.”

“From his prison cell?”

Irina was the one who replied to this.

“Our hope is to escape from the power of his disturbed mind over the Urals,” she softly muttered. Her eyes focused on those of David.

“Do you have enough psychic sensitivity to receive messages from distances?” she abruptly asked him.

“I do not know,” he replied. “Perhaps I do, perhaps not.”

The right hand of Irina rose and gripped his left one.

“Try to listen,” she whispered. “We will be sending to you.”

“When will it come?” he gulped.

“When it is twilight dusk in Moscow. We shall synchronize the time exactly.”

David smiled at them. “I will be waiting for it. Such reception promises to be very exciting.”

A loudspeaker voice came from the station. “Boarding time.”

The pair of traveling psychics shook hands with David Klimov and climbed onto the maglev train for the East.

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