Summer. Day. Butterfly

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Summer. Day. Butterfly

It happened when I was seven years old. For some unknown reason, I was alone in the cemetery — my parents were far away. Actually, I had never liked to walk in such special places, looking at flowers, photos, dates, and other nonsense. But something brought me there that day. Maybe it was a white butterfly which I tried to catch unsuccessfully…

There was quiet, deserted and cool despite the summer heat. I felt happy as always when I was alone — no one taught me how to live and what to do. No restrictions, no permits, no guilt, no regrets. The butterfly whirled carefree in the air, pulling me further and further. I wasn’t a collector — I wanted it just for fun. And in that moment when I was ready to grab my prey, I heard a strange noise on the left, a rustle of some kind.

I looked down and froze with the horror — there was a big man with a naked torso who had half climbed out of a grave. He was dark gray — I saw it clearly, it wasn’t a nightmare. And the contrast of his unnatural color with the outside vivid world terrified me more else. Despite the stable position, the body of the dark gray man was very tense — obviously, it took a lot of effort for him to struggle his way out from the underground…

Of course, for a seven-year-old boy, it was too much. So, if I wasn’t seven but seventy-seven then I would die from the surprise. Anyway, my emotions from the meeting with the living dead are unforgettable: fear covered me like a huge cold wave, an internal shiver swept through my body, the ice clenched my throat so I couldn’t even breathe much less to scream.

The dark gray man was stuck and his struggling arms rested on the ground as if some mighty force prevented him from completely freeing himself. He looked forward ominously as he searched something or...somebody. A sudden thought pierced my mind — he scanned me! May be, to return to this world, he had to leave a replacement in the grave — a sacrifice who would atone for his sins!

Time had stopped. I understood this was the end. No one could help me to survive. There was nothing except death and me. My short life as a kaleidoscope picture crumbled into many colored pieces before me — only a small white spot flashed in front of my bleary eyes…

And in that moment when I had almost lost consciousness the white spot whirling carefree in the air, finally fell down on the face of the dark gray man. He didn’t even move to brush the butterfly away.

And then I realized at once that the man was not the living dead.

Actually, it wasn’t a human at all but a big piece of dark gray marble. Someone “smart” made the original decision to install a half-body human figure monument on the grave. And the strange noise that I heard was merely an ordinary mouse’s rustle. That’s it.

I turned my head up to the sky, took a deep breath, felt the blood running through my veins again, and understood that time is the same illusion as our fears. Since the whole event seemed like an eternity for me but really it took the same amount of seconds as it takes to read these words: summer, day, butterfly.

Infinity of parks

A flock of sparrows, disturbed by the couple, rose from the ground like an alerted helicopter squadron. The young lady had observed the man sitting on the bench five meters from her. He had something like a black brick in his hands. Or was it a book?

It was not the wish to know that drove her from her seat. The reason was that she saw Archangel Gabriel in the guise of a pigeon descended next to the man. She made sure it was the Archangel when she read the title of the book — New Testament.

She thought it was the New Testament with the long comments because the four canonical gospels wouldn’t inflate the pulp so much.

The man with the New Testament almost didn’t pay attention to the young lady despite her attractiveness. Meanwhile, she opened her bag searching for something and finally took out the knitting needles and yarn. Then, as she used to do it every day, she continued to knit a scarf. Pink scarf, he noticed it. The same color as the dress Mashenka wore that day…

He felt cold, his heart raced, everything went dark. He took the pills out of his pocket and hastily swallowed one. Breathing deeply, he tried to pull himself together, to remember everything Father Nikon had said to him. He couldn’t do it well. He stared at the young lady with the pink scarf. Mashenka would grow up and become so beautiful. She would… if she hadn’t died in such a terrible way. The death he hadn’t accepted all these years.

Well, only Christ reconciles us with death. His followers tamed death and let it into their caves like the defeated beast. Thanks to Christ, death gained the spirit of childhood and the coffin turned into a cradle. The end of the world comes; our feelings go out; we close our eyes and if we deserve we wake up in the house of our Heavenly Father. The priests say so. They also say we must forgive our enemies.

But there is another, real death, the torment of which we must endure without closing our eyes here on earth, which keeps its vivid colors and continues to revolve around the sun despite the death of those we love.

It was a wonderful summer morning: the park was full of sunlight; the birds chirped cheerfully; the air was filled with the smell of lilac. “Maybe the same in paradise,” thought Gennady Vladimirovich.

“Let’s go, Alexey.” he told the approaching big guy and took one last look at the young lady: she smiled at him and broke a thread.

She knew this tall, white-haired man always came to the Lilac alley of the park. He looked about fifty years old, his expression showed deep intelligence and self-confidence. He was dressed commonly but with good taste. The only sign of luxury was his expensive watches which she casually saw when he checked the time. He always came here in the morning, sat on the bench and looked of the alley as if he was searching or waiting for someone…

Gennady Vladimirovich and Alexey went to the car. Alexey noticed the excitement of his boss. It seemed something happened and Alexey tried to guess who this young lady was.

His boss once told him that before marriage he used to pick up women. As he was handsome and full of energy they actually didn’t resist. He preferred sexual freedom despite the strict Soviet moral order and the specifics of his work in the Secret Department.

But this chaotic life finished when Gennady Vladimirovich met Ludmila — the beautiful blonde with good soul and big blue eyes, the look of which lit love in his heart. And after the birth of Mashenka it became completely impossible for him even to think about other women.

He believed that in case of adultery he would not only betray his wife but also somehow harm his daughter. And even imaginary adultery would transform into something physically unpleasant like a rash on the body. Moreover, on the body of Mashenka.

Now all this stayed in the past. Forever.

The distance from the park to the house of Gennady Vladimirovich was short. He had bought this building two years ago. It was a food storage before the revolution. Then Bolsheviks used it for completely different purposes.

Gennady Vladimirovich had bought and renovated this already dilapidated building because of its hidden location near the park.

They were silent all the way but Alexey noticed that as they arrived the glance of his boss became intense.

“OK, Alexey, have a rest.” said Gennady Vladimirovich and went inside the house.

Dmitry, his best friend and the head of his security service met him there and looked at him questioningly. He knew that all these years Gennady had lived only because of the strong obsession to take revenge on his enemy. And now for some reason he was slow…

“Don’t worry,” Gennady Vladimirovich said as if he guessed his thought, “I can handle it.”

Dmitry nodded in recognition. Yes, Gennady has to do it. Although, he would have done it himself with great pleasure.

“Listen… No, it’s not important.” Gennady Vladimirovich change his mind. “Go,” he waved his hand.

He went to his office upstairs, took the black folder from the safe and put it on the table. His people found this folder in some brothel. Sometimes the trap closes at the most unexpected moment.

In the folder there were documents on one prominent deputy. In the eighties he came to Moscow from a small town. Thanks to the good marriage he became the official of the Trade Ministry with great career prospects. He had everything going for him. But being abroad suddenly he got arrested and went to prison. The worst problem was that it happened in one of the Middle East countries. Due to the nature of his crime the probability of getting out alive was zero. So he agreed to collaborate with the foreign intelligence service in exchange to offset the lawsuit. Through the efforts of his new supervisors, he was in prison for a short time on some light charge. But when he returned to Soviet Union his career had failed despite the strong support of his wife’s powerful family.

Then Perestroika began. The wind of freedom opened up new opportunities. The former Soviet trade official didn’t miss his chance to become a professional politician and Member of Parliament. Neither domestic nor foreign intelligence services didn’t make contact with him. For the time being.

Gennady Vladimirovich got this blackmail folder as a result of a special investigation. In the folder there were all the details of the deputy’s recruitment, bank accounts, client data, secret transactions and photos. Many photos of little girls. Among them he saw the photo of his daughter.

Gennady Vladimirovich pushed the folder away. He put his head in his hands breathing heavily…

Dmitry saw him in that position when he looked into the office. Realizing that he had not been noticed he closed the door carefully

During last few days since the beast had been taken to the basement Dmitry was afraid for his friend. As he had been afraid for him twelve years ago when Mashenka disappeared. Gennady became completely white-haired in those two bloody days. His wife died two years later. The loss of her daughter drove her crazy. Despite all efforts the police didn’t find the maniac. Dmitry saw how his friend became numb and couldn’t move for a while knowing that Mashenka was lost in the park.

Now the beast had been in the basement for three weeks already. At last father did what police had failed to do. But Dmitry couldn’t understand why his old friend didn’t kill the beast immediately. As cruelly as the beast killed Mashenka. So cruelly that the coroner was afraid to show the results of postmortem examination to her distraught father. Dmitry himself wanted to tear the beast apart. Without any doubts.

He came into the office again half an hour later. His friend was sitting at the table with the black folder lying on it. Gennady Vladimirovich stood up and nodded to him. Dmitry understood the meaning of this nod. He saw Gennady had the keys to the basement in his hands.

“I am ready,” said Gennady Vladimirovich and went out.

He put the light and opened first door, then second, and finally he saw the beast in the corner.

In three weeks of imprisonment he had gone terribly low. The basement smelled of shit, fear and something inhuman.

Twelve years have passed since the day the beast killed Mashenka. He raped, killed her and then abused the corpse. The priest, Father Nikon, officiated at her funeral. He went close to Father Nikon and asked him: “Why?!”

The priest looked away for a second. Then he spoke for a long time trying to calm Gennady Vladimirovich. From all words he remembered only this: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”

He didn’t believe it that time. And he doesn’t believe it now. How it is possible to believe it?!

This bastard has lived twelve years after all he had done! But he didn’t feel himself strong enough to execute him in the same terrible way as he executed his daughter.

The beast felt it was the end. He had been here for twenty days, not counting those two days when he was beaten by the cohorts of this white-haired man. The father of that little girl from whom he took such pleasure in love and then freed her from the torment of this world. She almost never cried. He feared her screams. Her screams would get the attention of those whom he disliked, those who would beat him. But why?!

Because he loves little girls so much? Because he gives them a chance to go sinless to God? It’s not fair!

“How did you meet her?” Gennady asked despite the strong pain in his heart. Actually he didn’t want to speak with the beast, but he remembered other words Father Nikon said: “He is also human being. Although, it’s hard to believe. The laws of God are the same for all.”

Looking at the beast Gennady couldn’t believe it: chained up, smelling of shit and fear he didn’t look like human being.

Gennady sighed and pulled out his gun. He wanted to release all bullets. A few bullets in the stomach and the beast would die after long painful agony. But the Christian duty did not allow him to do it.

He fired once. For Mashenka. Amen.

Suddenly a great pain gripped his chest. He gasped and sank to the floor, clutching his chest.

The beast wanted to say that when he walked up to the little girl in pink dress he didn’t want anything except to touch her. He wanted to explain that it didn’t depend on him but the man pulled out his gun. And at the same moment something hit him.

He thought he was dead. But the bullet slipped from the rib and struck the chain, breaking its links.

Surprised at his own force he jumped at the white-haired man. Suddenly the man cried out and fell down. The man clutched his chest. Freed from the broken chain the beast rushed the way he had thought about for a long time.

There was something giving him hope during his imprisonment. It was the iron hatch with the letter “I “in the center of it. He had discovered this hatch in the far corner of the basement.

There were other half-erased letters which he couldn’t read. But now it wasn’t the time to solve the inscription. He yanked the latch. It moved quite easy, so he didn’t even believe in his luck.

Then he jerked the hatch open and dived into uncertainty…

He crawled through the dark tunnel so fast like never in his life. The light appeared soon. It was so bright that the man who had spent three weeks in the basement realized that freedom was near. Finally, he got out and looked around… It was the park. He laughed trying not to be very loud. Well, now they can search for him. He will go very far. He will hide to never be found.

In the park there was total silence. It was overcast and smelled of something burnt.

Suddenly someone touched his back. He shuddered and turned around. A little girl stood before him.

“Are you lost? May I walk you?” he asked automatically like his voice belonged to someone else.

“Thank you” she said trustfully. “My parents are somewhere and I’m lost. I need to go home.”

“Come, little girl” he said clutching the child’s hand with pleasure.

They walked long. But it seemed they were back at the same place.

“What’s the name of this park?” he asked feeling something weird.

“Lowermost,” the girl said.

“Really? “He was confused.

“There are a lot of parks here,” the girl laughed. And added seriously, “Infinite number. Everybody gets what they deserve.”

“And what’s that?” he asked, seeing a strange objects behind the trees.

“Our toys. We will play. We will laugh. But not you.”

He heard the answer and trembled.

The girl looked at him so hard that fear came over him. Instead of a baby face he saw a bloody, rotting snout with fangs. The tongue of the monster fell out of the maw and wriggled like a snake reaching for him.

“There are a lot of torture machines here,” said the monster hoarsely. “And a lot of children you killed. We’ll hurt you and tear you apart.”

He was frozen with horror. He knew he had made a mistake somewhere. A fatal mistake.

“But I had killed them before,” he said like it was an indulgence.

“But you had been killed already too,” said the “girl” with a sinister smile on the appeared face

Then children came from all sides of the park. A lot of children. He tried to escape from the “girl” but was grabbed by children’s hands. Ruthless, strong, cold, slimy. And he realized he had no chance to get away.

Suddenly something lifted him up. The sky became dark. Instead of children’s faces only snarling snouts flashed in front of him now. It smelled unpleasant, disgusting, and scary. The black wings flapped behind the demons that lifted him up in the air. Looking down he saw an infinite number of parks with torture machines. And he understood he was in hell.

Then he was lowered down. His hands and his feet were attached to the terrible mechanism. And when the first time he was slowly torn to pieces, when his consciousness was filled with excruciating pain, he knew he would stay forever in Lowermost park among torture machines, demons and monsters tearing his flesh cruelly and it will NEVER


It was wonderful summer morning: the park was full of sunlight; the birds chirped cheerfully; the air was filled with the smell of lilac. “Maybe the same in paradise.” thought Gennady Vladimirovich. He looked of the alley as if he was searching or waiting for someone…

He came out of the basement some time ago. He couldn’t tell how long ago. He didn’t even seem to remember why he was in the basement. He felt fine. Even though he had another heart attack. But now his heart didn’t hurt. It just waited somebody.

And finally they appeared: a beautiful blonde with a little girl in pink dress. They waved to him happily. Gennady Vladimirovich smiled and hurried to meet them and he knew now there is


The Contract

— 1 —

The clouds over Paris darkened, gathered and headed to south-west, emitting a guttural rumble of the future storm.

The rays of the sun fell to the bottom of my eyes and then flowed into the cellars of the subconscious, where until the end of my days they are destined to dimly illuminate what is better to forget like pretentious and meaningless phrase, a shameful act or a shameful lack of it, original sin, mass solipsism, my first assignment, other people’s empty lives, cowardice and betrayal.

The footprints on the dusty sidewalk, slightly sprinkled with the beginning rain, looked like a pattern of interwoven worms. One of them almost crawled to the entrance of the house, to which I was going. It’s better not to do the job than to do it halfway. I entered this house only with one purpose — to complete the mission entrusted to me and to complete it perfectly as always…

The “object” — brown-haired, grey-eyed bon vivant lived in the apartment on the third floor. Clark Delaunay In reality he looked even better than in the photo. Everything in him: his elegant manners, confident voice and charming smile made profound effect.

“Mademoiselle Benoit? S’il vous plait,” he said, opening the door, and I entered the apartment. He helped me to take off my jacket, and then we went to a large room with the bookshelves along one of the walls. A round table, a red couch, a couple of chairs, a Persian rug, a bust of Seneca, a full bar, a big mirror — this is what immediately caught my eye. Several heavy books lay on the table. I identified only one of them — “Experiments” Montaigne.

“I usually work in the morning,” he said, scrutinizing me, “the agency told me you are their best typist. Take in mind, Clarisse, I dictate fast.”

“I’m sure I can handle it, Monsieur Delaunay,” I smiled.

“Well, just call me Clark,” he said. “No need to be so formal… By the way, don’t you find that similarity of our names is not occasional?”

“Oh, it’s funny but I don’t think so,” I said, probably more flirtatious than I should, and to correct my mistake I looked with interest at the picture on the wall.

It was made in bright colors and surreal manner. In the center of the desert landscape a futurist construction stood, on its stairs was a man in a spacesuit who addressed his speech to a crowd of naked beauties, standing on the orange grass. There was a mountain range in the background. Two suns shone under it in the lilac sky.

“It looks like another planet. Did your paint this picture?”

“I’ve studied painting once, but haven’t achieved any success in it. Recently I saw a strange dream. It so excited me that I decided to fix it. Now you can see the result.”

“Wonderful! And what name did you give to the picture?”

“I didn’t come up with a name. May be you will help me?

I wondered, my eyes fell on the bust of Seneca.

“Through the thorns to the stars.”

“Per aspera ad Astra. Great! It’s surprise that I myself didn’t think of this name.” laughed Delaunay. “By the way, do you know what van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother?

I looked at him inquiringly.

“Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, also we die to get to the stars”

“It’s a deep thought,” I nodded

Delaunay approached the bar.

“Do you want to drink? Oh yes,” he seemed to remember something, “if I’m not mistaken, you completed the bartending course, so you can make a couple of cocktails in case of my friends or companions come to me?”

“Sure. What do you prefer?”

“Well, I have pretty simple taste in this area of human passions. Mix gin, vermouth and vodka in a ratio of one-one-two and don’t shake.”

Preparing his cocktail, I looked in the mirror. Delaunay sat on the couch, his gaze traveled down my body. Oh, I remembered the same gaze of an important official in the Department of justice before he shot himself as it was said in the newspapers. Actually I killed that jerk. It was my job to make it look like a suicide. Finally the scandal was hushed up, and the unknown fatal beauty was never found.

“Is your hair naturally blond, Clarisse?” he asked suddenly. I poured myself a glass of wine. Drinking alcohol together facilitated my task.

“Yes, as natural as everything else,” I said, staring longingly into his eyes and feeling the incredible excitation all over my body.

Being an experienced male, he understood everything. He got up, came closer to me and gently lifted my chin by his fingers.

“What a lovely dimple,” he said, “you are devilishly beautiful, Clarisse. And you know that,” he ran his index finger over my lips. “Yes,” I smiled and licked it. Then I took his finger in my mouth and began to suck it, while his other hand softy squeezed my breasts.

I felt the heat underbelly when he pressed me against him and kissed deeply. My desire became unbearable. Not stopping to caress me he removed all my clothing fairly quickly. What he never should have found was hidden in my clutch…


If I visited the birthday of the writer Maxim Gorky on island Capri in Italy, I would definitely ask his opinion about Kim Dolphinov, a little-known Russian poet of the early twentieth century. Gorky had known Dolphinov since 1905, and patronized him for a long time.

After 1917 Dolphinov often visited Gorky on Capri, where proletarian writer preferred to live, glorifying Russian revolution far from Russia, in the quiet bourgeois atmosphere of the Italian resort. Not being a Soviet citizen, but also not being a supporter of the anti-Soviet movement, Dolphinov managed to take neutral position in emigration. I thought of this man at the moment, which could hardly be considered suitable — Clarisse has really outstanding oral skills. And what she was doing right now on her knees in front of me would drive any man crazy. But I can do several things at the same time not losing my mind control.

Traveling before the revolution in Europe, Dolphinov met some Englishman. The nature of their relationship remains unknown. Some people suggest that they were more than just friends. But in fact it is known only that later the Englishman gave his son the name of his Russian friend — Kim.

It was the second Kim who played a big role in our operation in Britain. Agent Berkovsky organized Cambridge five so that by the forty — seventh year Soviet intelligence received seventeen thousand pages of secret text belonging to the British uranium Committee the information that came previously from Los Alamos.

This girl who came to kill me has no idea she’s just a link in the chain of a plan drawn up in KGB. She must give me a substance that will first cause deep sleep, then paralysis of the respiratory system. So it was explained to her. It is necessary to convince the British intelligence that the Soviets want to get rid of me. Clarisse thinks that after tasting her potions I will die. But the vial has been replaced. So really I just will go to sleep. Then the British, making sure in my fair play, will use me as their special agent with the top-level security clearance. My comrades made everything for I had all opportunities to prove myself in the service of British Empire…

Oh, Yes. Yes! What a perfect bitch this girl!


He lifted me up from my knees, spine me around and bend me forward over the table.

Then he grabs my hips and, spreading my legs apart, enters me roughly. I moaned, feeling his strong pushes, and followed his rhythm. My God, I wanted it to last forever! Oh, no, my heart was not destroyed by Clark Delaunay. But I felt a bit pity that this exceptional man will die soon. He moved faster and faster, driving me crazy. Everything was fuzzy. a hot wave came roaring out of me, and the last thing I saw before our screams of pleasure filled the room was the book’s title “Experiments”.


After all was finished he lit a cigarette. Its smell was tart and sweet as the smell of our sudden passion. I wished to continue our “experiments” but I couldn’t risk so I quietly took the vial from my clutch and put the poison in his cocktail. Clark took the glass from my hands, looking thoughtfully at me.

“Well, you are fantastic girl, Clarisse, and it’s a pity that… However, okay. Later.” He smiled and drank his cocktail.

“As you wish,” I smiled him back despite some sadness I felt at that moment. I drank my vine slowly. “It’s a pity that I must kill you”, that’s what I thought about.

“Come in the other room,” he suggested and motioned me to follow him.

We entered a luxurious bedroom with antique furniture. It was a little bit cool because of the open window. The large bed decorated with multi-colored pillows and purple blanket calls to forget about everything.

“Here are more comfortable conditions for what we have done recently, don’t you think so?” Clark asked, touching my hair. And without waiting for my answer he suddenly went to the desk, on which something stood, covered with a thick cloth. He took it off, and I saw a cage, inside which an absolutely pirate parrot sat. He seemed to me very wise if so can be said about the birds.

“How lovely,” I laughed. “What’s his name?” I remembered that I had to leave immediately after the “object” falls asleep.

“Stanley,” he said a little hesitantly.

“Can he talk?”

“Yes, as far as I know.” Clark said more slowly than before.

“Oh, God!” I exclaimed. “What is it? Another one?”

“It is a crow, his name’s Livingstone, He came this morning.” he muttered and collapsed on the bed.

This is exactly what the first stage was supposed to be. He simply falls asleep, and after twenty minutes he quietly goes to another world. However, I was not sure that quietly. There are may be some unpleasant moments related to death, such as blue in the face and death cries. I didn’t want to see his agony after all what happened between us. I looked at him last time, sighed and went out of the room. Sometimes I hate my job.


I woke up hearing that someone opened the front door. I was a little bit shaken because of the “poison’s” effect but I quickly recovered. I took a gun out of the desk and hid behind the door, watching the corridor in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall.

In the corridor appeared two men with weapons in their hands. I had no idea who they were. But I had no illusions about their intentions. The mirror gave me a good overview to control the situation. Quietly dropping to one knee, I sharply fell on the side and fired. The first shot I sent exactly in the neck of the nearest one, and the second was to get the brush of another, but I missed. They fell down almost in the same moment. Two dead men, no doubts.

When I examined their bodies, the face of second one whom I wanted to leave alive seemed familiar to me. Ezra Dickinson, The member of the world’s largest criminal syndicate “Spectrum”. This top secret organization was engaged in all types of criminal activity. No one, neither the West, nor the East didn’t know who the leader of “Spectrum” was. Well, maybe I will find it out in my new life as an agent of Her Majesty…

I got dressed, took the documents and went out the back door.

— 2-

Delaunay left the apartment over a minute ago. Two dead bodies lay on the floor. Two birds, a crow and a parrot, looked at each other. The parrot slapped a few times by the wings and said loudly: “Dr. Livingston, I presume?”

“I‘ve known you’d say that phrase, Captain Stanley,” the crow answered.

They unlocked the cells with their beaks and went out.

“Okay, colleague ' the parrot said, “How was your adaptation?”

“Well, even better than it could be. I immediately got into good conditions, lived with a Professor of Philosophy. He has given me a lot of new knowledge. And what about you?” Livingston asked.

“I am tired. My mission went long. I bothered to listen to this sounds of awful human speech and only dreamed about normal civilized communication. Shortly speaking, I want to go home.”

“‘""""""""""""""’, ” Livingston carefully proposed.

“No, let’s use human language since we are here. Will you stay for a long time? In fact the crows are long — lived creatures.”

“No, unfortunately. I have to complete my mission within a month.”

“A month?! Unfortunatelly?!” Stanley was surprised.” I’ve been here twenty-eight years. I almost got eaten by some bastards. I could have died in a bombing in Berlin. They wanted to cross me with some Amazonian whore, and so on… And you will stay here only for a month. You don’t know how lucky you are!”

“But I came here only to take the report,” as if apologizing, Livingston said. “Besides, your real rank now is equal to the rank of Lieutenant-General. I’m just, if you must know, a Lieutenant”

“What do I get from this title here except a color coat of feathers?” Stanley flapped his wings indignantly. “When will I see my home — Kingdom Ptakh?!”

“I was instructed to inform you that your mission will end in six months.”

“Which ones?”

“Biological, of course.”

“I am afraid that there will be some force majeure circumstances again to extend my mission for an indefinite period” Stanley said wearily and then he shook his head: “Okay, let’s get sown to business,” he pulled a yellow feather out of his wing, “Here, Livingston. This is all the data over the past four years. With the samples. Pay special attention to the atomic bomb, this is the most important thing.”

“I heard something about that…” the crow hesitantly said. “But I don’t quite understand what it is. People, who often gathered at the philosopher’s place, discussed it from a peculiar point of view. I’ve learned a lot during those few days I’ve been there.”

“What exactly?”

“For example, about religion. I don’t know if anyone else in the Universe has what earthlings call Faith.”

“As I understand it by studying humans, Faith takes a lot of energy not giving anything in exchange.”

“Maybe it’s because people haven’t created a perfect religion?”

“Maybe. But this is not the reason why we are here now.” Stanley said strictly.“You better tell, what is your level of access to secret information, Lieutenant Livingston?”

“Fourth, sir.”

“Then there’s something you should know. In fact we are talking about the splitting of the atomic nucleus. We have information about the chain reaction in the atomic structure as a result of which there is an explosion of immense power. Do you understand how it’s important for us?”

“Yes. And how powerful is this explosion?”

“If you have a fourth level, you must have heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“Ah, this is the atomic explosion! Then the Kingdom of Five Fogs will come to an end! Our enemies will be defeated once and for all!” Livingston almost screamed, demonstrating his excitement.

“We have more than enough of what people call uranium-235 and plutonium-239. Using the latter, we teleport.” Stanley said staring at his colleague.

“Tell me,” Livingston began, carefully choosing his words, “When Hiroshima and Nagasaki were killed, what happened next?”

Stanley was silent for a while.

“What did you say, “killed?”

“I’m not quite fluent in human language,” Livingston said nervously, “Correct me if it’s necessary. Or maybe we should speak in our native language?”

“Don’t worry,” the parrot said as carefully as the crow did before, “But don’t you know that Hiroshima stayed alive after he killed Nagasaki?”

“Of course, I know,” Livingston said confidently.

Suddenly the parrot rushed towards the crow. After the answer to his control question, Stanley realized that Livingston was an insidious enemy. Stanley wanted to peck his eye. Livingston managed to jump aside. He was the best special agent of Kingdom of Five Fogs. Several precise strikes and the parrot’s wings were stained with blood. One more hit and Stanley stopped moving. Livingston looked at him regretfully. Well, the only hope is that the secret information in the yellow feather is really important. Actually, Livingston was sure of this, he was only annoyed that he did not learn more. But he will find the answers somewhere else. Knowledge is power as once the philosopher said. He was an existentialist, like all humans actually. Livingston looked at the defeated enemy for the last time, let out a victorious croak and flew out the open window.

— 3-

“There are immortal trees, which roots grow upward and branches grow downward. Their leaves are the hymns of Livingstone, who knows the Truth. Only the one who knows the roots of the trees knows the secret. The one, who knows the branches of the trees, knows the Yellow Feather. The one, who knows the leaves of the trees, knows the mass ratio.

Those who know 235 and 239, they are priests. The priests know about two ways — the way of gods and way of mortals.

Something with ability of moving is created on the crossroad of these two ways.

Two halves of the Universe gives birth to the Great Thought.

I am, Livingston, invincible, great, wise, shining in the darkness of ignorance, the mightiest of the mightiest, always with my loyal subjects.

I threw the stones 235 and 239 and the enemies were dead.

I killed all living beings that resisted.

I know how to collect stones and how to throw them.

I say to the high priests who glorify my name, do not put stones in the hands of your enemies. Read sacred books and remember:

There’s uranium-235 and plutonium-239, they’re fissile materials. To make an explosion, insert additional neutrons into the lattice of the fissile material.

A fissionable atom is an engine that runs at great speed. The neutron penetrates into this engine and gives it an additional charge, making it unstable, so it disintegrates into parts with great force, bringing the atoms into an unstable state. This is a chain reaction. This is Livingston’s Anger, his strength, his face of death.

Sing the hymns to remember how to combine the elements. The main rule is to combine them at the same moment. And then Livingston will show his anger and joy.

Those who come in the dreams of dead beings, laugh at the endless life, laugh at desires and passions.

Those who come in the dreams of dead beings own the Yellow Feather and direct the flight of stones.

Those who come in the dreams of dead beings, control the lower and upper spheres.

Knowledge is power, but mind is above thought.

Can you separate the present that don’t exist, for it has passed already or has not come yet, from the future that has not come yet, or from the past that has passed already?

Can the living being not be considered as dead being if time exists only in his imagination and is not an absolute like Livingston’s anger and joy?

Our eyes told us those who digest food are alive and those who became food themselves are dead.

By weaning our eyes from talking, you can feel the Truth.


The commander of the spaceship “Vologda” looked at the map wearily. He lost his way because of the strong meteor storm and so ended up in the most neglected part of the Galaxy. His name was Fyodor Isaev, he was thirty-eight, and he had no illusions about himself.

Despite his high professional level and excellent knowledge of several galactic languages he will retire in seven years. His money will run out quickly. His health has become badly already. No home, no family, no child. And after all, many believe that he settled himself pretty well. It is true, in a sense. At least he has ten thousand credits for a rainy day. Five of them, however, he will have to pay for the treatment from the strong radioactive flux. His medical insurance saved him from more serious consequences but didn’t cover the cost of total health restore. Actually, only in order to earn money for the operation, he agreed to such long and risky flight like this.

Now he was far from the usual transport ways. It is unlikely to find someone else here. Unless he, like Fyodor, becomes the victim of force majeure. Well, he has to weight all of this and make the right decision. To risk or not? According to rules, he must report about discovery of any viable planet. It pays well. The price triples if the planet is inhabited or has been inhabited. The pricing scheme is quite confusing, but in any case he will get real money. No less than fifty thousand.


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