Again we found ourselves in the same sullen and ominous scenery to which I have almost got accustomed,
since visiting the Low Astral world so many times, if one can get accustomed to something like that at all.
We quickly looked around and saw Maria.
The little girl sat right on the ground, bent, her head drooping, seeing and hearing nothing around. The only thing she did was affectionately
stroke her "gone" friend’s shaggy and immobile body with her frozen palm, as if trying thus to awaken him. Severe and bitter adult tears streamed
down from her sad and lifeless eyes like little brooks. Flashing like brilliant sparks, they disappeared in the dry grass in a split second, sprinkling
it with pure and living rain. It seemed that this world, which had been cruel enough before, had become even colder and stranger
for Maria. She was now absolutely alone, so amazingly fragile in her deep sorrow, and there is nobody left to console, caress or protect her. Her
best friend, her faithful Dean lay like an enormous and immobile hillock next to her…
She pressed close to his soft shaggy back, unconsciously denying acceptance of his death, and stubbornly refusing to leave him, as
if knowing that even now, after his death he still dearly loved and sincerely protected her. She desperately lacked his warmth, his strong "shaggy"
support and the habitual and reliable "their little world" in which only the two of them dwelt. But Dean was silent, refusing to
wake up. Some little sharp-toothed creatures darted about him trying to bite off a piece of his hairy "flesh". At the beginning Maria tried to drive
them away with a stick but saw that the attackers paid no attention to her and gave up on it. Like on the "firm" Earth, there was the "law of the
strongest", but when the strongest died, those who could not get him when he was alive were eager to repair an omission by "tasting"
his dead spiritual body, at the very least.
On seeing this sorrowful picture, my heart began to ache and my eyes to sting treacherously. Suddenly I felt so sorry for this wonderful and
brave little girl. I could not even imagine how she – poor lonely little thing – would now be able to stand up for herself in this frightful and
Stella’s eyes suddenly got wet too. Apparently the same thoughts visited her head.
– I am sorry, Maria, how did your Dean die? – At last I dared to ask.
The girl lifted her tear-stained face. I thought that she did not even understand what she was being asked about. She was very far away...
Probably where her true friend was still alive, where she was not so lonely and everything was clear and well. She did not want to return here.
Today’s world was wicked and dangerous, and she did not have anyone who would support and protect her. At last she took a deep breath;
courageously gathered her emotions together and told us the sad story of Dean’s death...
– I was with my mother and my kind Dean watched over us as usual... Suddenly a frightful man appeared from somewhere. He was
very bad. I wanted to run from him wherever my feet would carry me. I just could not understand – why. He looked the same way we do. He
was even very handsome, simply very unpleasant. He emanated horror and death. And he laughed loudly all the time, which made our blood
freeze. He wanted to take my mother with him, saying that she would serve him. My mother was breaking loose from his grip, but he, certainly,
was far stronger. Dean tried to protect us in which he was always successful before. Only the man was obviously special... He threw a strange
orange "flame" into Dean, impossible to put out, and when Dean, even being on fire, continued to protect us, the man killed him with blue
lightning which suddenly "blazed" from his hand. Here is how my Dean died... And now I am alone.
– Where is your mother? – Stella asked.
– She is still here. – The little girl was confused. – It’s just she is angry very often... And now we don’t have any protection. Now we are
Stella and I exchanged glances. It turned out that the same idea dawned on us – Svetilo! He was strong and kind. We hoped that he would
want to help this unhappy and lonely little girl and be her defender until she went back into her "good and kind" world...
– Where is this frightful man now? Do you know where he went? – I asked impatiently. – And why he did not take your mother
– I don’t know. Probably he will come back. I don’t know where he went and who he is. But I know that he is very, very wicked... Why he
is so wicked, girls?
– Well, we’ll find out. I promise you. And now would you like to see a good man? He is here too, but, unlike that
"frightful" one, he is truly very good. He can be your friend while you are here, if you want it, of course. Friends call him Svetilo.
– Oh, what a beautiful name! And a kind one!
Maria gradually came back to life and when we suggested meeting her new friend, she hesitated a little but finally agreed. The already
familiar cave appeared before us, emitting golden and warm sunlight.
– Wow, look! It’s a sun, right?! It looks like a genuine one! How did it get here? – The little girl looked dumbfounded,
discovering such unusual beauty in this terrible place.
– It is genuine. – Stella smiled. – Only it was created by us. Go, look!
Maria timidly slipped into the cave and immediately we heard an enthusiastic squeal, just as we had expected.
She jumped outside, being absolutely stunned, unable to put two words together being so surprised, although we saw in her eyes, which grew big with wonder and delight, that there was a lot she wanted to say. Stella affectionately hugged the girl’s shoulders and returned her to the cave... which, to our greatest surprise, appeared empty.
– So, where is my new friend? – Maria was upset. – Didn’t you hope to find him here?
Stella was puzzled –what extraordinary thing could have happened to make Svetilo leave his "sunny" abode?
– Maybe something happened? – I asked, a quite foolish question.
– Of course, something happened! Otherwise he would never go away from here.
– Maybe that wicked man was here too? – Maria was scared.
To tell the truth, though this flashed through my mind too, I did not have time to say it aloud, because we saw Svetilo with three children.
It was obvious that something mortally frightened them and trembling like autumn leaves, they fearfully pressed close to Svetilo, being too
afraid to stir from his side by so much as a step. But the childrens’s curiosity obviously overcame the fear and, peeking around from their
defender’s wide back, they examined our unusual trio with surprise. As for us, we even forgot to greet everybody and looked at the children
with even greater curiosity, trying to figure out where they could have come from in the "low astral" world and what had happened here anyway.
– Hello, dearest... You should not have come here, really. Something bad is happening here... – Svetilo affectionately greeted us.
– Well, one hardly may expect something good in such a place. – Stella commented sadly smiling. – But why did you leave?! In fact any
"bad" one could come and occupy the place while you are away.
– In that case you would "fold" everything back up. – Svetilo gave a simple answer.
The two of us stared at him in surprise – this was the most appropriate word for the process. But how could Svetilo know it?! In
fact he did not understand anything about it! Or did he understand but say nothing?
– Much water has flowed under the bridge since we met last time, dear. – He said calmly, as if answering our thoughts. – I try to survive
here and begin to understand something with your help. And as for my bringing somebody here, I cannot enjoy such beauty alone when
the little ones tremble in terrible horror just behind the wall. All this is not for me if I cannot help...
I glanced at Stella. She looked very proud and of course was right. Not in vain had she created this wonderful world for him.
Svetilo was truly worthy of it, but like a big child, he did not understand it. His heart was too big and kind and refused to accept help
without sharing it with somebody else.
– How did they get here? – Stella asked pointing at the scared children.
– Oh, it’s a long story. I called on them from time to time. They came to visit their father and mother from the upper "floor". Sometimes
I took them to my place to protect them from getting into trouble. They are small and did not understand how dangerous it is here. Their
parents were here and they thought that everything was all right. I was afraid all the time that they would understand that it was dangerous
when it was too late... So, this "too late" has just happened...
– What have their parents done to get here? And why have they all "gone away" simultaneously? Did they all die? – The tender-hearted
Stella could not stop asking.
– Their parents had to kill other people to save the children... for which they paid after death, like all of us... But now they are not
even here anymore... In fact they exist nowhere... – Svetilo whispered very sadly.
– What do you mean "nowhere"? What happened? Did they manage to die here too?! How could that happen? – Stella was
– A man killed them, if "it" can be called man... He is a monster... I’ll try to find him... to destroy.
We at once looked at Maria. Again it was a frightful man and he killed again... Apparently it was the same who killed her Dean.
– This girl – her name is Maria – lost her only protection, her friend which was killed by a "man" too. I think it’s the same person.
How can we find him? Do you know?
– He’ll come of his own volition. – Svetilo quietly answered and pointed at the children who pressed close to him. – He’ll come after them.
He released them accidentally. I prevented him from having them.
Stella and I felt huge thorny tingles down our spine.
It sounded very sinister. And we had not been adult enough yet to destroy somebody easily. We did not even know whether we could do
it at all. It’s all very simple in books – good heroes defeat monsters, but in reality everything is much more complicated. And even if you are
sure that it is evil, you need a lot of courage to beat it... We knew how to do good which, in fact, is not something everybody
knows... but neither Stella nor I had learnt how to take somebody's life, even the worst one... And on having not tried such a thing, we could not
be quite sure that our "boldness" would not let us down at the most crucial moment.
I was unaware that Svetilo observed us very attentively all this time. And of course our confused faces told him all about our "vacillations"
and "fears" better than any confession, even the longest one.
– You are right, dearest. Only idiots do not fear to kill... or monsters... A normal person will never get used to it, especially,
if he’s never tried it before. But you will not have to try. I am not going to allow it, because, if you take revenge, even justly protecting somebody,
it will burn your soul and you will never be the same... Believe me.
Suddenly, right behind the wall, we heard a loud and terrible laugh the wildness of which made our hearts freeze. The children squealed and
threw themselves down on the floor. Stella feverishly tried to close the cave with her protective shield, but failed, apparently being in the grip of
deep emotions. Maria stood motionless, white like death and it was obvious that the recently experienced shock seized her again.
– It’s him. – The girl whispered in horror. – It’s he who killed Dean. And he’ll kill all of us.
– Well, we’ll see. – Svetilo pronounced deliberately and very confidently. – I’ve seen worse! Hold on, girl Maria!
The loud laughter continued. Suddenly I understood very clearly that a human being could not laugh like that! Not even
lowest of "low astral" ones. There was something very wrong in all this, something "grated upon my ear". It looked more like a farce or a false
performance with a very frightful, mortal end. Finally it dawned on me – he was not the man he appeared to be!!! It was just
a human mask, but the interior was frightful and alien. In for a penny, in for a pound – I decided to try to fight him. But if I
had known the outcome, I probably would have never tried.
The children and Maria hid in the deep niche which the sunlight did not reach. Stella and I stood inside trying to maintain the protective
shield which for some reason broke all the time. Svetilo, trying to preseve his iron calmness, was at the entrance of the cave to be the first to
meet the unknown monster and, as far as I understood, was not going to let him inside. Suddenly my heart began to ache badly, as if having a
presentiment of huge misfortune.
The bright blue flame blazed. We gasped. That which was Svetilo just a second ago instantly turned into "nothing", having no chance even
to start resisting. He turned into a transparent blue puff of smoke and went into distant eternity without leaving any trace in this world...
Before we had time to be frightened, the terrible man appeared in the entrance. He was very tall and to my surprise... very handsome. But the
loathsome expression of cruelty and death on his refined face spoiled his appeal, and also there was a terrible "degeneration" in him, if I may
define it like this... Suddenly I remembered Maria’s words about her "monster" Dean. She was absolutely right – beauty can be
surprisingly monstrous; on the contrary, one is able to love dearly something "monstrous" which is good and kind...
The terrible man boisterously laughed again.
His loud laughter repeated in my brain like a sickly echo, sticking in it with thousands of the thinnest needles, and my body, growing numb,
gradually weakened becoming almost "wooden" as if being influenced by some very strong alien force. The sound of the mad loud laughter
scattered into a firework of millions of unknown shades which came back into my brain, piercing it with sharp splinters. At last I understood
that it was something like the strongest "hypnosis" which steadily increased fear using the unusual sound as an instument, thus forcing
us to dread the man.
– So, what? Are you going to laugh for long?! Or are you afraid to talk? We’re tired of listening you! It’s ridiculous! – I rudely shouted,
unexpectedly for me.
I had no idea what had come over me and where I could find so much boldness inside me, because my head was spinning in fear and I
became weak at the knees, as if I was going to faint right on the floor of the cave. But not for nothing do they say that sometimes fear can push
people to perform big feats. Probably my fear went so beyond some limits that I somehow managed to forget about it. Fortunately the
frightful man noticed nothing. Apparently he was taken aback by the fact that I had the nerve to speak to him in such an insolent way.
Meanwhile I continued, feeling that by all means I had to break this "incantation" as quickly as possible.
– Well, what? Are we going to talk or are you only able to just roar with laughter? Have you ever been taught to talk?
I intentionally made him angry as much as I could, trying to get him out of his groove, but at the same time I was wildly afraid
that he would finally show us that he could do much more than talk. I glanced at Stella and tried to pass the picture of the
green ray, which always saved us, to her. (This "green ray" simply meant a very dense and concentrated stream of energy from the green
crystal which my distant "star friends" once gave me. Its energy was qualitatively very different from the "earthly" one and therefore almost
always worked faultlessly). My friend nodded and before the frightful man knew where he was we struck him right in the heart... if he
certainly had one at all.
The creature howled (I already understood that it was not a human being) and began to writhe, as if "tearing" off itself the stranger’s
"earthly" body which now became a huge impediment for it. We struck again and suddenly saw two different tightly grappled spirits
which flashed with blue lightning and rolled along the floor, trying to incinerate each other. One of them was that beautiful human, and
the other one... Well, no brain is able to imagine such a horror. Something incredibly scary and wicked which looked like a two-headed
monster spitting green saliva and "smiling" with bared knife-like teeth rolled down the floor grappling with a human being. The green,
scaly-serpentine body of the horrific creature was incredibly flexible and it was clear that the man would not stand long and without help
the poor fellow had no chance to escape with his life, even in this terrible world.
I saw that Stella was trying to do her best to strike but was afraid to injure the human who she wanted to help so much. Suddenly Maria
jumped out of her shelter and somehow grasped the terrible creature’s neck, in a second she blazed up like a bright torch and ceased to live
forever... Before we had time to scream let alone to understand anything, the fragile and brave little girl sacrificed herself in order that
another good man could win, remaining to live instead of her... My heart stopped with pain. Stella began to sob... An incredibly
handsome man of very robust constitution lay on the floor of the cave. However, he did not look strong at the moment, rather on the
contrary – he seemed very vulnerable and dying... The monster disappeared and to our surprise, the pressure which just a minute ago
threatened to crush our brains disappeared too.
Stella came to the stranger and timidly touched his high forehead with her palm. The man gave no signs of life. Only his trembling eyelids
showed that he was still here and had not died for good, like Svetilo and Maria who now do not live anywhere...
– Why, Maria... How could she?! She is so small... – Stella whispered bitterly, swallowing tears. Shining large peas streamed down her
pale cheeks, making wet tracks and dropped on her chest. – And Svetilo... How can that be? Tell me?! How!!! It’s not a victory at all. It’s
worse than a defeat! A victory should not cost such a price!
What could I tell her?! Like her, I was deeply hurt and felt terrible. The loss burned my soul, leaving a deep bitterness in my memory,
which still remembered them alive, and imprinted this frightful moment in it forever... But I had to brace up somehow because the frightened
to death little children fearfully snuggled up to each other and there was nobody who would calm them down or caress them in that terrible
moment. Therefore, I drove my pain inside as deeply as possible and warmly smiling to them, asked what their names were. The children did
not answer, but only snuggled up to each other more strongly, understanding nothing of what was going on and where their newly found friend
with a very kind and warm name Svetilo had disappeared to so quickly.
Stella sat, shrivelled up, on a stone quietly sobbing, wiped the bitter tears with her fist. Her fragile shrinking body expressed her innermost
sorrow. On looking at her, grieving and so unlike my usual "light Stella", I suddenly felt cold and terrified, as if the bright and sunny Stella’s
world went out in the twinkling of an eye, and dark heart-scraping emptiness surrounded us instead...
The usual Stella’s quick "coming to herself" did not work this time. Probably, it was too painful to lose friends dear to her heart, especially
knowing that no matter how strongly she missed them later, she would never see them again. It was not an ordinary death
of the body, when we all get a great chance to be incarnated again. Their soul died – that was exactly what had happened...
And Stella knew that the brave girl Maria, the "eternal warrior" Svetilo or even the scary-looking but kind Dean could never be
incarnated again, all having sacrificed their eternal life for other, probably very good but, absolutely strangers to them, people.
My heart ached unbearably the same way as Stella’s, because it was the first time I saw how brave and very kind people... my friends…
went away into eternity of their own free will. It seemed that the sorrow settled forever in my injured child's heart. However, I
already understood that no matter how strongly I suffered and wished, nothing would bring them back. Stella was right – one
should not pay such a price for victory. But this was their own choice and we had no right to deny them it. Regrettably, we
had no chance and time to try to make them change their mind... Well, the living have to live, otherwise this irreparable sacrifice will be vain,
which we should not allow under any circumstances.
– What shall we do with them? – Stella brokenly sighed and pointed at the bunched up children. – We cannot leave them here.
Before I had time to open my mouth, I heard quiet and very sad voice:
– I shall stay with them, if, certainly, you will allow me.
We jumped and turned around. It was the man who Maria saved and about who we had absolutely forgotten.
– How do you feel? – I asked as amiably as possible.
I honestly did not bear any ill will toward this unhappy stranger for whose salvation such a high price was paid. This was not
his guilt and Stella and I perfectly understood it, but the frightful bitterness of the loss still covered my eyes with anger. Although I knew it
was very unfair as regards him, I could not force this terrible pain out of me, holding on to it in order that later on, when I would be absolutely
alone sitting "in my corner", I could give free rain to my bitter and heavy tears... Also I was afraid that the stranger would somehow feel my
"non-acceptance" of him and thus his liberation would lose the importance and beauty of the victory over evil in the
name of which my friends died... Therefore I tried to do my best to brace up and smile as sincerely as possible, waiting for the answer to my
Man sadly looked around, apparently understanding nothing of what had happened here and what had been happening to him in particular
all this time.
– Where am I? – He asked in a low voice, hoarse with agitation. – What is this terrible place? It does not look like what I remember... Who
– We are friends. And you are quite right. It isn’t very pleasant place... Moreover, further on there are places much more frightful. Our
friend lived here and he died...
– I am sorry, little ones. How did your friend die?
– You killed him. – Stella whispered sadly.
I froze and stared at my friend. The "sunny" Stella I knew so well, who always felt sorry for everybody and everything, would never make
anybody suffer! It is highly likely that the pain of loss made her, as well as me, unconsciously angry at everybody and the little girl was unable
to control it yet.
– Me?! – The stranger exclaimed. – It cannot be true! I never killed anybody!
We felt that he told the truth and knew that we had no right to lay somebody else’s blame on him; therefore we hurried to
explain what had happened here.
The man was absolutely shocked and fell silent for quite a long time... Apparently everything he had heard sounded absurd in the extreme
to him and did not coincide at all with what he truly was and his attitude to such an inhumanly terrible evil.
– How can I make reparation for all this?! I cannot, right? It’s impossible! And how I shall live with it?! – He clutched his head in despair...
– How many have I killed, tell me! Can anybody tell? And your friends, why did they do such a thing? Why?!!!
– In order that you could live like you should... like you wanted to... not as somebody else wanted... to kill the Evil that killed
others. That’s why, probably... – Stella said sadly.
– I am so sorry, dear... Please, forgive me... if you can... – The man was absolutely broken-hearted and a very bad presentiment suddenly
"pricked" my heart...
– Wait a moment! – I exclaimed indignantly. – You must live now! Do you want to bring their sacrifice to nothing?! Don’t you
dare even think about it! Now you should do good things instead of them! It will be the correct thing to do. To "leave" is the
easiest way. You have no right to do such thing.
The stranger stared at me astounded. It was obvious that he did not expect such a stormy expression of "just" indignation. And then he
sadly smiled and quietly pronounced:
– You must have really loved them very much. Who are you, girl?
I had a tickle in my throat and was unable to squeeze a word out for some time. The pain of the terrible loss was so strong and at the same
time I was so sad for this "lost soul" which would find it very difficult to exist with such a burden...
– I am Svetlana. And she is Stella. We just walk here – visit friends or help somebody when we can. To tell the truth we have no friends
– I am sorry, Svetlana, although it certainly will change nothing, even if I beg for your pardon all the time... What happened happened and
I cannot change anything. But I can change what will be, right? – The man fixed his sky blue eyes at me and on smiling the
sorrowful smile, pronounced: – And one more thing... You say that I have a free choice, but it turns out that it’s not so free in the end, dear.
It rather looks like atonement for the guilt, with which I certainly agree. But in fact it’s your choice that I must live for your
friends, because they gave their life for me. But I did not ask for it, right? Therefore it’s not my choice...
I looked at him, quite dumbfounded. But instead of "proud indignation" ready to break loose from my mouth, the understanding of what
he was saying gradually grew in me. No matter how strange or offensive it might sound, it was a sincere truth! Even if I did not like it at all…
Yes, my friends’ death hurt me painfully, because I shall never see them again. I shall never lead our marvellous, "eternal" conversations
with my friend Svetilo in his strange cave filled with light and heartfelt warmth and merry Maria will never show us interesting places which
Dean had found and her laughter will never again sound like a merry bell... And it was especially painful that this quite unknown to us man
will now live instead of them...
But on the other hand, he did not ask us to interfere. He did not ask anyone to die for him. He did not want to
take somebody’s life. And now he will have to live with this heaviest burden, trying to "pay off" the guilt with his future deeds which in reality
was not his guilt. Rather it was the guilt of that terrible unearthly creature which, on seizing our stranger’s spirit, killed "far and wide".
Yes, it was not his fault.
So, how was it possible to tell who was right and who was guilty, if the truth belonged to both sides? There was no doubt
that in that moment life seemed me, a confused ten year old girl, too difficult and multi-sided to choose only between "yes" and "no", because
there were too many different sides and opinions in every act we did, and it seemed incredibly difficult to find a right answer which
would be correct for all...
– Do you remember anything at all? Who were you? What is your name? How long have you been here? – I asked to leave the delicate
topic, unpleasant for everybody.
The stranger was engrossed in thoughts for a while.
– My name was Arnault. I only remember how I lived there, on Earth. And I remember how I "went"... I died, right? After that I remember
nothing, although I would like to very much.
– Yes, you were "gone" or died if you are more willing to put it like this, but I am not sure that it’s your world. I think you must
dwell on a higher "floor". This is a world of "crippled" souls – those who killed or strongly offended somebody or even simply cheated and
lied a lot. It’s a frightful world, probably, that which people call Hell.
– Then why are you here? How could you get here? – Arnault was surprised.
– Well, it’s a long story, but this is really not our place... Stella lives on the very "top" and I am still on Earth.
– How is that – on Earth?! – He was stunned. It means that you still live, right? But how did you get here,
into such a terrible place?
– Well, to tell the truth I don’t like this place too. – Smiling, I shivered. – But sometimes one can find very good people here and we try
to help them like we helped you.
– So, what shall I do now? I in fact I know nothing here. And as it appears, I killed too. It means it’s just my place. Besides, somebody
should take care of them. – He affectionately tousled a kid’s curly head.
The children began to look at him increasingly trustfully and a little girl clutched at his hand and decidedly was not going to release it.
She was a tiny thing with large grey eyes and the very amusing smiling little face of a merry monkey. She would certainly be very nice,
affectionate and everybody’s favourite child in normal life on the "real" Earth. But here, after all the horrors she had lived through, her pure
and risible face looked extremely exhausted and pale; horror and anguish constantly lived in her grey eyes. Her brothers were a little older,
probably about 5 or 6 years old. They looked very frightened and serious, and unlike their little sister expressed no wish whatsoever to enter
into contact with us. The girl was the only one of the three who was not afraid of us, because, on adjusting to having a new friend very quickly,
she began to chatter merrily:
– My name is Maya. May I, please, stay with you and my brothers too? Now we have nobody. We will help you. – And turning to Stella and
me, she asked. – Do you live here, girls? Why do you live here? It’s so scary here...
Her manner of speaking – the incessant volley of questions and her way of addressing two people at one and the same time – strongly
reminded me of Stella and I wholeheartedly laughed...
– No, Maya, certainly, we don’t live here. It was you who were very brave to come here. One has to have a lot of courage to do
such thing. You are really fine fellows! But now you will have to return where you came from. There is no reason for you to stay here.
– My mum and dad have died "for good"? And we won’t see them anymore... Right?
Maya’s plump lips began to quiver and the first big tear appeared on her cheek. I knew that if I failed to stop it, there would be a waterfall
of tears which should not happen right now, considering everybody’s highly-strung state.
– But you are alive, right?! Therefore, whether you want it or not, you will have to live. I think that your mum and dad would be very
happy, if they knew that everything is all right with you. They loved you very much... – I said as cheerfully as I could.
– How do you know? – The little girl was surprised.
– Well, they performed a very grave deed, rescuing you. I think that one could do such thing only when he loves and cares for somebody
– Where shall we go now? Shall we go with you? – Maya asked looking at me inquiringly, pleading with her enormous grey eyes.
– Arnault would like to take you with him. What do you think about it? His life is also not sweet and he has to get accustomed to many
things to survive. So, you will help each other. I think that will be the right thing to do.
Stella finally came to herself and at once "rushed to the attack":
– Look, Arnault, how did it happen that this monster got hold of you? Do you remember anything?
– No... I only remember the light, and then a very bright sunlit meadow. But it was not Earth. It was something wonderful and
absolutely transparent. There are no such things on Earth. But everything disappeared and I "woke up" here and now.
– What if I "look" through you? – Suddenly a quite wild idea dawned upon me.
– How is that – through me? – Arnault was surprised.
– Right! – Stella exclaimed here. – Why it didn’t occur to me?!
– Well, as you see, sometimes something comes to my mind too. – I laughed.
I tried to "enter" into his thoughts – nothing happened. Then I tried to "remember" the moment of his "going away" together with him.
– Oh, it’s terrible!!! – Stella squeaked. – Look, it’s when they got hold of him!!!
I stopped breathing. The picture we saw was truly awful! This was a moment when Arnault had just died and his spirit began to go up
along the blue channel and three terrible creatures sneaked into it right after him! Two of them were low-astral earthly spirits and the
third one was very different, very frightful and alien, obviously not an earthly one. These creatures were very purposefully after the man,
apparently trying to get hold of him for some reason. And he, poor thing, was absolutely unaware that somebody was hunting him and soared
in the silence of the silver-blue light, enjoying the unusually deep and unearthly peace. He voraciously absorbed this peace, enjoying
peace of mind and forgetting for an instant the wild earthly pain which had burst his heart "thanks" to which he got into this transparent
At the end of the channel, right before the very entrance to the "floor", two monsters quickly darted right behind Arnault into the
channel and unexpectedly merged in one which quickly flowed into the main one – the most loathsome, obviously the strongest of
them. And it attacked... or rather it suddenly became flat, "spread" until it became like transparent smoke and on "wrapping" itself around
Arnault, who suspected absolutely nothing, totally swaddled his spirit, depriving him of his former "me" and of his "presence" at all... And
after that he dragged poor Arnault’s spirit (which had been just enjoyng the beauty of the approaching top "floor") straight to the
low-astral world, laughing with his terrible blood-freezing laugh…
– I don’t understand. – Stella whispered. – How could they capture him? He seemed so strong. Let’s see what happened before.
Again we tried to look through the memory of our new acquaintance... and finally understood why he was such easy prey.
Judging by the clothes and surroundings, it happened about one hundred years ago. He stood in the middle of an enormous room where
two female bodies, totally naked, lay on the floor, or rather it was a woman and a girl of probably no more than fifteen years old. Both bodies
were unmercifully beaten and brutally raped. Poor Arnault was deathly pale... He stood as if dead, motionless and probably did not even
understand where he was because the shock was too terrible. If we got it right, it was his wife and daughter who had been subjected to such
beastly violence... However, the word "beastly" would not be appropiate here, because no beast is able to do what sometimes man is capable
Suddenly Arnault began to yell like an injured animal and fell down next to his wife’s (?) terribly disfigured body... Emotions raged within
him like wild whirlwinds – rage changed to despair, fury clouded grief and turned into the superhuman pain from which there was no salvation.
Screaming he rolled down to the floor failing to find the way out of his grief... until finally, to our horror, he became totally silent, no longer
Of course, on producing such a stormy emotional "squall" and dying in the process, he became an ideal "target" to be captured by any,
even the weakest, "black" creatures, let alone those which later pursued him so persistently to use his powerful energy body like a simple
power "suit" to do their terrible "black" deeds with its help.
– I don’t want to look at it anymore. – Stella whispered. – I don’t want to see terrible things at all. Are they really humans? Tell me!!!
Is it really right to do such things?! We are people!!! Aren’t we?
Stella became really hysterical which was so unexpected that in the first seconds I became so confused that I did not know what to say.
Stella was strongly indignant and even a little angry which in this situation was quite acceptable and explainable… for others. But again it
was so unlike her that only now I at last understood how badly and deeply the endless earthly Evil wounded her tender and kind
heart, and how she must be tired of carrying human filth and cruelty on her fragile child’s shoulders. I wanted very much to hug this nice,
firm and now so sad human being! But I knew that it would upset her even more. Therefore I tried to be calm and do my best to assuage
her "dishevelled" feelings, avoiding touching sore spots.
– But there are good things, not only bad! You just look around, your grandmother, for example, and Svetilo, and Maria. She lived
only for the sake of others! There are many like them! You simply got very tired and sad because we lost good friends and therefore
everything seems to be as black as night now... And tomorrow there will be a new day, and you will become yourself again, I promise you!
And one more thing: if you want, we shall never come again to this "floor"? What do you think?
– I don’t think that the reason is in the "floor". – Stella said bitterly. – Nothing will change whether we come here or not... The matter
is just in the earthly life. It is wicked... I don’t want to be here anymore…
The thought that Stella wanted to leave me and go away for good, terribly scared me. It was so unlike her! Anyway, it was
not the Stella I knew so well and I wanted very much to believe that her impetuous love for life and her light merry temper would
"make mincemeat" of today's bitterness and exasperation, and very soon she would be the same sunny Stella she had been quite
Therefore, I decided to calm down myself a little bit, not to make any "far-reaching" conclusions and wait till tomorrow before undertaking
any serious move.
– Look. – Suddenly Stella became interested to my huge relief. – Don’t you think that it is not an earthly spirit? That
which has attacked... It is too different from ordinary "bad earthly" ones which we saw on this "floor". Maybe it used those two earthly
monsters because it could not get to the earthly "floor"?
Like it had seemed to me before, the "main" monster, indeed, was unlike others which we had seen here during our everyday "journeys" to
the ground "floor". So, why not to assume that it came from somewhere far away? In fact, if a good one like Vaya came, then
why not bad ones?
– Probably you are right. – I said thoughtfully. – It did not fight the earthly way. He had another, unearthly, force.
– Girls! Please! When shall we go anywhere? – The thin child's voice suddenly asked.
It was Maya. She was embarrassed by interrupting us. Nevertheless, she looked straight at us very decidedly with her big doll’s eyes.
Suddenly I became very ashamed that I was carried away with our problems and absolutely forgot that those tired and scared to death
children were with us waiting for somebody's help...
– Oh, I am sorry, my dearest! Certainly, we shall go! – I exclaimed as merrily as I could and then asked Stella: – What shall we do? Shall
we try to go a little bit higher?
We made a protective shield for the children and waited with curiosity for what our new friend would do. On attentively observing our
actions, he very easily made similar protection for himself and now calmly waited for what to do next. Stella and I smiled with satisfaction
to each other, understanding that we were absolutely right as regards him and that the low astral world was not his place... and who knew;
maybe his place was even higher than we thought.
As usual everything around began to sparkle and shine, and in a few seconds we were "pulled" into the very familiar, hospitable and
quiet top "floor". It was very pleasant to breathe freely again, not being afraid of some abomination jumping suddenly from round the corner
and trying to "regale" itself with us. The world again was friendly and light, but still sad because we understood that it would not be so simple
to expel the deep pain and sorrow from our hearts which our friends left on leaving us... Now they lived only in our memory and hearts,
having no chance to live anywhere else. Then I was naive enough to give my word to myself that I would always remember them.
Regrettably I did not understand then that our memory, no matter how perfect it was, later would be filled with the events of the passing years,
and far from every face will be remembered as clearly as we remember it now, and every person, even a very important one, will gadually
disappear in the dense fog of time, sometimes never coming back at all... But then it seemed to me that the wild pain would never leave me
and stay with me forever…
– I’ve got it! – The already same Stella whispered with joy in her voice. – We can make him happy! We just need to look for one person
– Do you mean his wife? To tell the truth I thought about that too. Don’t you think it will be too early? Maybe we should give him time
to get used to being here?
– If you were him, would not you like to see them alive?! – Stella disagreed at once.
– As usual you are right. – I smiled to my friend.
We slowly "swam" along the silver path, trying not to disturb the sorrow of the others and give them the chance to enjoy the peace after
everything they had gone through during this awful day. The children slowly came back to life, observing with admiration the marvellous
scenery which passed by them. And only Arnault was very far away from us, roaming in his memory, probably reminding him of very happy
events, and his refined and so handsome face lit up with a surprisingly warm and tender smile.
– See, he certainly loved them very much! And you say it’s early! Let’s look for them! – Stella did not wish to calm down.
– All right, let it be in your way. – I agreed easily, because it seemed correct to me too.
– Tell us, Arnault, how did your wife look? – I carefully began. – Of course, if it’s not too painful to talk about it.
He looked in my eyes, very surprised, as if asking how I knew at all that he had a wife.
– It so happened that we saw, but only the end... It was so terrible! – Stella added at once.
I was afraid that the transition from his marvellous dreams into the frightful reality would be too cruel, but as they say "a word spoken
is past recalling" and it was too late to change anything. So, we just had to wait whether he would wish to answer. To my huge surprise,
his face lit up with happiness and he answered very affectionately:
– Oh, she was a real angel! She had such beautiful fair hair! And her eyes... blue and pure like dew... Oh, what a pity that you never saw
my dear Michelle!
– Have you got a daughter? – Stella asked carefully.
– A daughter? – Arnault was surprised and, on understanding what we had seen, added. – Oh, no! It was her sister. She was only sixteen…
Suddenly his eyes were clouded by such acute pain that only now I understood how terribly this unhappy man suffered! Most likely that
being unable to carry such beastly pain, he consciously isolated himself with the wall of their former happiness, trying to remember
only the happy past and to "erase" the horror of the last terrible day from his memory, as much as his wounded and exhausted soul allowed...
We tried to find Michelle and failed for some reason. Stella stared at me in surprise and quietly asked:
– Why can’t I find her? Has she died here too?
It seemed to me that something simply impeded our finding her in this "floor" and I offered to Stella to look "higher". We mentally slipped
to the mental floor... and at once saw her... Indeed she was surprisingly beautiful – light and pure like a brook. Very long golden hair covered
her like a golden cloak... I never saw such long and beautiful hair! The young lady was deep in thought and sad, like many others on "floors"
who lost their love, relatives or simply because they were alone...
– Hello, Michelle! – Stella greeted her and getting directly to the essence of the matter, said. – We brought you a present!
The lady smiled in surprise and affectionately asked:
– Who are you, girls?
But Stella, not answering, mentally called Arnault.
No words can describe what this meeting brought to them. There is no need, I think. This kind of happiness can’t be expressed in words,
it’ll fade. In that moment there were no happier people in the whole world, and probably on all "floors"! We were sincerely glad for them,
without forgetting those to whom they owed their happiness. I think that both little Maria and our kind Svetilo would be very happy, if they
could see them now, knowing that not in vain did they give their life for them.
Suddenly Stella became anxious and disappeared. I went after her, because we had nothing to do here.
– Where have you all gone? – Maya asked surprised but very calm. – We thought that you had left us for good. And where is our new
friend? Did he disappear too? We thought he would take us with him.
We’ve got a problem. I had not the least idea what we should do with the poor children. Stella glanced at me, thinking the same thing
and desperately trying to find some solution.
– I know what we shall do! – She merrily clapped her hands, like the "old" Stella. – We shall create a merry world for
them to exist in. And maybe they will meet somebody, or some good being will take care of them.
– Maybe we should acquaint them with somebody. – I tried to put the lonely children’s life as much in order as I could.
– I don’t think so. – My friend answered very much in earnest. – Think yourself – not all dead children get this kind of thing. And,
probably, not all here are taken care of. Therefore it will be honest regarding others, if we create a very beautiful house for them here until
they find somebody. In fact there are three of them, which is quite helpful. Others are alone. I was alone too, I remember…
Suddenly she became confused, sad and somehow unprotected, apparently recalling that frightful time... I wanted to bring her back and
mentally swamped her with a waterfall of fabulous flowers.
– Hey! – Stella laughed like a little bell. – Come on! Stop it!
– And you stop being sad! – I did not give up. – Look how many things we have to do and you are moping. Let’s go and get the children
Suddenly Arnault appeared out of nowhere. We stared at him in surprise... being afraid of asking. I even thought for a moment that
something terrible had happened again. But he looked incredibly happy and I cast aside the foolish thought.
– What do you do here?! – Stella was sincerely surprised.
– Have you forgotten? I have to take the kids. I promised them.
– And where is Michelle? Are you not together?
– Why not together? Of course we are together! But I promised... And she always loved children. So we decided to be all together until
a new life takes them.
– It’s wonderful! – Stella was happy, and then jumped to another subject. – Are you very happy, right? Tell me, are you happy? She is
Arnault looked into our eyes long and attentively, as if wishing but hesitating to say something. Finally, he dared.
– I can’t accept this happiness from you... It is not mine... It is wrong... I don’t deserve it yet.
– What do you mean you can’t?! – Stella almost choked with indignation. – Of course you can! Don’t you dare even to try to refuse!!!
Look how beautiful she is! And you say you can’t…
Arnault smiled sadly, looking on the raging Stella. Then he affectionately hugged her and quietly pronounced:
– You brought me unspeakable happiness and the only thing I brought you was such frightful pain... Forgive me my dearest, if you
can some time. Forgive me...
Stella gave him light and affectionate smile, as if wishing to show that she perfectly understood everything and forgave him
everything, and that it was not his guilt at all. Arnault could only nod sadly and pointing at the quietly waiting kids, asked:
– Do you think I can take them with me "upstairs"?
– Unfortunately, not. – Stella answered sadly. – They can’t go there, they stay here.
– Then we shall stay here too... – A tender voice sounded. – We shall stay here with them.
Surprised, we turned around. It was Michelle. "Well, finally everything has been settled". – I thought contentedly. Again somebody had
to sacrifice something voluntarily, and the simple human good won again. I looked at Stella. The little girl smiled. Again everything
was all right.
– Shall we go for a brief walk? – Stella asked with hope.
I should have come back home a long time ago, but I knew that I wouldn’t leave her alone for all the tea in China and nodded.