Book 3. The Space of Love (1998)
“The helicopter was coming in for a landing,” Alexander went
on. “We all watched it land without saying a word. The two crewmen got out, came over to where we were standing and fixed their eyes too on Anastasia. A group of armed, robust fellows silently stood watching this lone figure in an old cardigan standing before them, and immediately it was clear to all: they must capture this woman. The only question was: what was the most accommodating way to make the capture? After a long pause Boris Moiseevich laid it down in black and white:
“Anastasia, you realise you represent a valuable resource for science. The decision has already been made to transfer you to the nature preserve near Moscow This is necessary for your own good, among other things. If for some reason you don’t understand the situation and refuse to come voluntarily we shall be obliged to effect the transfer by force.
“‘Naturally you will want to have your child with you in your new place. You show us the location of your glade on the map and the helicopter will go fetch your son. Later we can capture a few of the animals and transport them to your new dwelling-place. I repeat: all this is necessary for your own benefit, for the benefit of your son and other people as well. You do want to bring benefit to people, don’t you?’
“‘Yes,’ Anastasia replied calmly, and right away added: ‘Everything I know I am ready to share with all people, if they find it interesting, but only with all people. Science is not something that is available to everybody at once. Its
achievements are used first only by localised groups, often for their selfish, personal interests. The vast majority get to know about only what the localised groups are disposed to reveal.
‘“Who do you represent? Is it not a particular localised group? I cannot go with you. I need to raise a Man, I need to raise my son. That can only be done properly where a Space of Love has been created. This Space has been created and perfected by my forebears, near and distant. It is still small, but it is what ties me to the whole substance of the Universe. Every Man must create around himself his own Space of Love, and offer it to his child. Bearing children without preparing a Space of Love for them is criminal. Every Man must create around himself a small Space of Love. And if everyone understood this and acted upon it, then the whole Earth would become the brightest focus of Love in the Universe. This is the way He wanted it, and this is Man’s purpose. For only Man is capable of creating such a Space.’
“Two strong security men approached Anastasia from behind, one on either side. It wasn’t clear whether they were acting on orders from the security captain or whether it had all been planned out in advance. They exchanged glances and simultaneously grabbed Anastasia’s arms. They did this quite professionally, though not without a certain degree of appre-hension. They kept a tight grip on her arms, as though holding a captured bird by its outspread wings.
“The security captain was a stocky fellow, his hair cut real short. He stepped out in front and stood beside Boris Moiseevich. Anastasia’s face showed no sign of fear. But she was no longer looking at us. Her head was slightly inclined toward the ground, her eyelids were lowered, hiding her gaze. And she began to speak without raising her eyes, with the same calm and gentleness in her voice as before.
“‘Please do not use force. It is dangerous.’
“‘For whom?’ the security captain enquired in a raspy voice.
‘“For you. And it would be unpleasant for me.’
“Boris Moiseevich tried to restrain what may have been either his fear or his excitement. He asked Anastasia:
“‘Can you cause us physical pain using supernatural abilities?’ “‘I am Man. A Man, like anybody else. But I am worried. Worry may allow undesirable things to happen.’
“‘Matter... cells... atoms... nuclei... nuclear particles in chaotic movement... You know about them. If one visualises them vividly and in full detail, perceives and understands them properly, and then uses the full powers of one’s imagination to extract from the nucleus even a single chaotically moving particle, then the matter begins... begins to...’
‘Anastasia turned her head to one side, lifted her eyelids just slightly and fixed her gaze on a stone lying on the ground. The stone immediately began to break apart into small particles and before long was transformed into a pile of sand. Then she raised her gaze to the security captain, squinting her eyes into a concentrated stare. Steam began to escape from the tip of the security captain’s left ear. The tendon slowly, millimetre by millimetre, began to disappear, and suddenly the young guard standing beside him went white with fear and drew his pistol from its holster. He did it automatically, like a professional soldier, without thinking. He aimed the pistol directly at Anastasia and discharged the whole cartridge.
“No doubt the thoughts of each one of us at that moment were racing at top speed, and something happened which you occasionally hear about with soldiers in wartime, when in extreme conditions they see a grenade or a bullet in motion. And even though the grenade or bullet is flying at its usual speed, the acceleration of one’s thinking and perceptive faculties causes it to be seen as in slow motion.
“I watched as the bullets from the frightened security guard’s gun flew at Anastasia one after another. The first
bullet grazed her temple. The rest of the bullets never reached her — they dissolved into dust while still in flight, just like the stone which she had trained her gaze upon earlier.
“We all stood there stupefied. We stood and watched as a stream of blood flowed down Anastasia’s cheek from under her kerchief.
“The guards holding Anastasia by the arms stepped back from her when they heard the gunshots, but didn’t let go of her. They had got her in a death-grip, and were pulling her in opposite directions.
‘All at once a pale-bluish glow flooded the ground around us. It came from somewhere up above and quickly intensified. It dazzled us, making us incapable of moving or speaking. In the unusual quiet that followed we heard Anastasia say:
“‘Please, let go my arms. I may not be able to... Let go, please.’
“But the petrified guards did not let go their death-grip. Now I realise why she raised her arm in a characteristic gesture when she was talking with you. It was this gesture that indicated to someone up above that everything was in order
and that she did not need help. But this time they wouldn’t let her raise her arm.
“The bluish glow continued to intensify, then something seemed to sparkle, and we saw — we saw a fiery sphere hanging over us, pulsating with a pale-blue light. It was like a huge ball lightning. And inside it were sparkling networks of hundreds of lightning discharges. Occasionally they would spark out beyond the blue membrane-like hull and reach the tops of the nearby trees, or even the flowers beneath our feet, but caused them no harm. One of the thin lightning bolts momentarily made contact with an obstruction which rocks and a fallen tree had made in the creek; it transformed the obstruction into a cloud of dust which instantly vaporised.
“The bolts that sparked out beyond the blue hull of the fiery sphere no doubt possessed tremendous power of an energy we know nothing about. It seemed as though it was being controlled by some kind of intelligence.
“We had the impression of being in the presence of an in-telligent being which possessed unimaginable power. But the most incredible and unnatural thing about what was taking place were the sensations we felt from its presence. We had no sense of fear or suspicion — on the contrary...
“You can just imagine — right there in a situation like that we began to feel a sense of calm and grace, as though something very close to us, something related to us, had suddenly appeared.
‘At that point the pulsating blue sphere soared over our heads and seemed to be studying us, sizing up the situation. All at once it made a circle in the air and landed at Anastasia’s feet. The bluish glow intensified and, like a pleasing languor, relaxed us to the point where we simply didn’t feel like moving, or even hearing or saying anything.
“The blue hull of the sphere then emitted several fiery bolts at once. They swept over to Anastasia, began touching her, as though stroking the toes of her bare feet.
‘Anastasia managed to free her arms from the languishing security guards. She stretched out her arms toward the sphere. Immediately it rose to the level of her face, and the lightning bolts, which we had seen with our eyes turn to dust the stones piled up in the creek, began to fondle her arms, while doing them no harm.
‘Anastasia began talking with the sphere. We couldn’t distinguish any words but, judging by her gestures and facial expression, she was trying to explain something to it, to prove or persuade it of the way she was seeing something, but without success. The sphere gave no response to her, but it was nevertheless clear that it was not agreeing with her. This
much was evident, since Anastasia went on trying to persuade it with considerable excitement. It was the excitement that no doubt caused her cheeks to flush. Still talking away, she removed her kerchief. Golden wheat-coloured braids of hair hung about Anastasia’s shoulders and covered the stream of dried blood on her face. We saw how perfectly beautiful her facial features were.
“The fiery sphere made several revolutions, like a comet, around Anastasia’s head, then stopped once more in front of her face, and a thousand delicate lightning bolts swept through her golden hair, neatly touching each individual strand, lifting and stroking them. One of the bolts lifted a whole bunch of strands at once and opened the bullet wound in her temple, while another bolt began gliding along the traces of the dried blood. It was as though the sphere was using the actions of its lightning bolts in place of words to remind Anastasia about what had happened and to contradict her arguments.
“Finally all the little bolts drew back inside the sphere. Anastasia lowered her head and fell silent. The sphere made one more revolution around her and then rose into the air. The bluish glow decreased in intensity, and we felt things gradually return toward the way they were before, but instead of the bluish light a brown smoke now began rising from the earth. This smoke filled the whole space around us, and only Anastasia remained in a little circle of blue. And when this brownish smoke completely enveloped us, that was when we began to discover what hell really is.”