In 1928, my maternal grandfather, Pavel Petrovich, of 12, together with some other boys stole a 5-liter bottle of self-made alcohol from the adults, first tasted the 100-grade-drink and went to test each other: who was a true male and who wasn’t. The test was cruel, but the alcohol boldness supported the deliberate bravery. They put a corroded shell found the day before into the fire. They stood around the fire waiting for the first boy to show his fear. The boys tried to summon up courage as none wanted to be a coward. A branch deafeningly crackled in the fire, and everyone twitched, but then laughed with relief, “The danger is past!” At that moment the shell burst up. Granddad was contused; a shell splinter cut off his right arm up to the elbow. The others died.
It was near Sarapul Town in Udmurtia. There was no skillful surgeon nearby; and the boy was taken to a local female healer-fortuneteller. She herself was very old, but she couldn’t deny. Her name was Anfisa Semenovna Krifchunova. She stopped bleeding, whispered some spells and wound the stump with cloths soaked in grass extracts. Pashka began to recover, but fell ill again. He suffered from fever, shivering and ache; his fearful dreams and visions as well as speaking aloud to someone invisible didn’t gladden his parents and relatives. He stayed at Semenovna’s until late autumn. He was lying on the trestle bed almost all the time, his head turned to the wall. He told later: he had such a strong headache that the trestle bed was squeaking because of the vibration in his body. Some creatures and lands unlike the earth nature appeared in front of his eyes even if the eyes were open; the creatures were getting clear flesh, disappeared and appeared again changing each other like coloured glass patterns in a kaleidoscope. Those patterns were blowing some strange but conscious sounds. Some of them disappeared for ever, the others stayed long as if scrutinizing the boy, tried to communicate with their strange sounds unusual for a human ear. Some of them made the glaze coating of the clay cup he drank the extracts from be covered with a net of cracks. Among them there were complicated lines with flat fringe – they were silent but tried to touch the boy with their fringe. Pashka hid himself into the corner of the trestle bed waving away with a wood board on which he managed to draw a small rhomb with a cross inside a circle with his only hand. The drawing came to him by itself as well as his inside certainty about its protective qualities. While sensing the room’ space, the twisted glaze lines as if stumbled on an invisible barrier appearing in the air in front of the wood board he was holding in his hand. At the same time the boy was whispering something unclear for himself then but later recognized by him as protective spells, special word formulations calling the ancestors’ Power and reflecting evil. Later, at his mature age, those spells helped Granddad to survive in prison where he got due to the envious people’s slander. But then, in Semenovna’s house Pasha hadn’t understood yet that his hand was cut off: he could vividly feel the presence of the absent hand, moreover, he could move his fingers hidden under the bandage as it seemed to him. He was only surprised that the arm was as if shorter.
But when it got dark (there was no electricity in the healer’s house at that time), it seemed to Pasha that his hand as if got free from the cloths. He managed to pull a cup of the healthy extract to himself with his non-existing hand and drink; by folding the fingers on the cut-off hand, he learnt to control the movements of those strange gutta-percha blobs which frightened the boy earlier. And once at night Pasha was awakened by ringing silence. The wall clock had stopped. Somebody touched the palm of the cut-off hand – tenderly and carefully, but Pasha’s whole flesh got filled with nagging and causing tears anguish of leaving. Then the whole arm up to the shoulder and after that the whole body started vibrating greatly. It felt as if you are driving a cart on a rough road covered with cobble-stones like big watermelons. And these watermelons suddenly began bursting breaking the whole world into hundreds of thousands of smell tones, the mosaic of colours, complicated sound vibrations consisting of myriads of smaller, every-day ones but unnoticeable in every-day existing: cockroaches are rustling in the wall slits, mice are moving their small noses smelling the crumb between batten ends, nightingales are calling to one another with their melodic songs. Unbelievably much pounced upon the boy turning him in the mosaic of feelings. Then calmness and warm living emptiness came like dough rising in a wood tub. Anfisa Semenovna died in the next room having time to reach him thoughtfully through the space and to caress his cut-off hand which got a magic flesh in the other, non-human world of subtle vibrations; before her death she managed to donate Pasha her Magic Gift. That was why she died easily, without any sufferings which happen when the Gift isn’t given to anybody.
When he was a boy, Pasha guessed not to tell anybody about his visions, but he had a specific feature. If somebody laughed at him or offended the cripple, the person couldn’t fall asleep for a long time: as if somebody was tickling, or some sinister gobbledegook started fussing around in the eyes tormenting every moment with unclear anxiety, until the offender guessed himself to ask for forgiveness. Pasha could also cure ailment and illnesses. He didn’t impose himself, people came to him by stealth and told each other in a whisper about his curing abilities. That was the time of dispossession of kulaks and demonstrative cutting icons, the enforcement proceedings over “obscurants”. Pasha was curing in an unusual way: he made the patient sit down on a stool (his back turned towards Pasha) and hold a mirror behind, the amalgam side turned to himself and the backside turned to Pasha; at the same time the patient was to complain of his ailment. So, while the patient was pressing the mirror to his back, complaining and moaning, Pasha was chewing a whole newspaper facing page. Time stopped, three or even five hours could pass. Then Pasha suddenly spitted out the ball of chewed paper into his palm and strongly threw it into the mirror. The ball stack to the glass with a squelching sound. Pasha came up and started moving his stump over the ball. Later, all those who passed through the curing procedure claimed: they felt the hand inside them which was probing the pain site with its tenacious bony fingers and pulling out the pain, or tearing it out like a weed, or pulling out a needle of anguishing uneasiness which later was drawn into the ball of newspaper; that paper being wet before got dry instantly after that pulling out. Granddad scraped away the ball with an ash scoop, wrapped it into the rest of the newspaper and told the patient to burn it in an isolated place. It always worked without any exception.
Everything was OK, but then a trouble happened. The secretary of the local Komsomol group learnt about the anti-atheist movement around Pasha. The secretary was very active and delved into every detail concerning any discrepancy to Marxism-Leninism. Though “thank you” for curing illnesses was quite enough for Granddad and he didn’t go to the church that miraculously escaped destruction, the news about his invisible hand was popular with people… So, the secretary came to Granddad and said he had a bad toothache in order to see what Pavel would do. As usual, he asked the secretary to sit down on a stool and press the mirror behind his back while Pavel started chewing a newspaper. But the Kommunism-follower noticed that the newspaper had the portrait of one of the local party leaders. The secretary had complained of a false toothache, but then his gum began really aching and a dental abscess appeared when Pavel threw the chewed ball. The secretary decided to bring the ball to the NKVD (Department of Home Affairs) as the testimony of outrage upon the “Superior Man”. But unfortunately for the secretary, the mentioned party leader had been arrested three days before as “the enemy of the nation”. The secretary’s illegible (due to the abscess) speech was listened to with great attention – in it he vividly described his big love to that ‘remarkable Man’ whose newspaper portrait had been outraged upon by the obscurant. The Granddad’s curing activity wasn’t paid great attention: it was too unimportant as it didn’t look like a Conspiracy, but tubs were kept on him. As for the secretary, he was arrested, confessed and pleaded guilty and disappeared.
Granddad married my future Grandmother. When a virgin, she was unapproachable – she rejected fornicating actions and could have stayed unmarried if it were not for Pavel. He was armless and seemed to stay aside, but as if a warm wind was stealing inside her breast and stretching his wings behind his back. It could mean that she fell in love with him. She got married and gave birth to children.
I was born after Granddad’s death and have never seen him alive. But I have noticed the Little Spider (I perceived his invisible hand so in my childhood) near me since early years. Pavel Petrovich died, moved to the Light world, but by then his invisible hand had turned into a clever thing like a little puppy. And it started taking care of me. Several times it saved me from death, but it didn’t look like the Hand from “The Adams’ Family”. It was a creature’s presence who is ready to caress your head with a warm light breeze, to help you find a lost thing, to knack the offender’s forehead, to find a crumpled ten-ruble note on the asphalt. A lot of good things came to me from the Little Spider beside the mysterious language of finger closures.
In 1961, my grandmother Anna Ivanovna Kalabina became Stepanida Sarapulskaya. In the hot summer of 1960 her beloved son Vladimir returned from the army, went to swim in the river together with his friends and took a running dive into the water. His body was found a week later. My mother and my aunt, being then young girls, got white-haired. Granddad took to drink, and grandmother got mad. She was always escaping to her son’s grave and refused to come back when someone tried to bring her home. Once in a frosty winter, she could hardly escaped getting frozen when she snatched a moment and ran to her son, bare-footed and wearing a nightgown. It was discovered almost in the morning; she was sitting near the grave and smiling quietly, she got only her feet a little frostbitten. She said that her son Vovka had come up to her, embraced her shoulders and kissed her head and had asked not to keep him her — in the human world – with her mother love as he should have to fly away; he had turned into a huge (as big as a goose) bullfinch, with a red breast and blue belly, chirped something tender at parting and dived into the pink-golden dawn. Nobody believed Grandmother: everybody cried and took pity on the unhappy woman who had lost her mind because of the great grieve. But what was interesting: my grandmother completely recovered her ability of normal communication with surrounding people. And not only that. It was very warm and joyful to be near her. She could tell a person about many things which were unknown to him but what he wanted to know. As a modern extrasensory individual could say, the perception channel had opened taking the energy-information trace of the event matrix. She cured an illness by embracing the patient’s shoulders, like her son had done at parting, while singing something very ancient sounding like lullabies in Old Russian or in a strange rhythmic language as if striking a huge copper gong.
Once she was recorded by students-ethnographers interested in countryside folk art and let a linguist-professor listen to the records. It appeared it was Sanskrit – barbarian Aryan with the most ancient roots before mixing Aryan nomadic tribes with the original Indian Dravidian population. Those were not the well known nowadays gayatri-mantras, but the echoes of Red Rudra, the white-skinned God of hurricanes and roaring storms. The news about Grandmother started to worry the powers who frightened her several times, then imprisoned for half a year for “dissidence”, then released. The old woman stopped curing. Soon after that Granddad died. The house and farm were sold, the family moved to Novosibirsk in 1975. I was born in Sarapul, but grew up and became a father in Siberia.