"To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables" - Luke 8:10. Lord, bless!
My adventures after death began when I fell from the fourth floor and was smashed into pieces. The police, as I later found out, had two versions of the story - plain suicide, and murder disguised as suicide.
Previous chapter: My Adventures After Death (Introduction)
Both versions had nothing to do with reality, and they weren't worth much even hypothetically, since they were based solely on the testimony of my emigrant friends. The version of suicide was as simple as a woman’s romance, and in a nutshell it boiled down to the fact that my husband left me, and in response I threw myself from the balcony. If I really reacted this way to George's betrayal, there would not be enough balconies in our entire apartment building.
The second version - murder disguised as suicide - did not fit for the simple reason that George didn't fit the role of a murderer: like almost all fornicators and lovers of women, he was, in essence, an adult child, capriciously seeking admiration and affection, weak and a little hysterical, but essentially helpless and kind. He avoided the dangers in his life, avoided obstacles and never went to extremes.
It was all much simpler than that. Our cat, Watermelon, loved to go to the bathroom in nature, and for this he would use my flower boxes, suspended from the balcony lattice - above and below. As soon as the balcony door was left open even for one minute, he immediately crept into the luxurious thickets of petunias and pooped there with delight. And that would be half the trouble: having done something nasty and sensing retribution, the vile defiler of innocent flowers cowardly tried to hide the traces of his crime, while clods of earth and the petunias' broken twigs flew in various directions.
No educational measures, including hitting his head with the "Russian Thought" newspaper folded four times, could cure the cat of its favorite vice.
On that ill-fated morning, I went out to the balcony several times so as not to miss the taxi ordered for that evening, and simply forgot to close the balcony door behind me for the last time. My prodigal husband grabbed a travel bag with foreign gifts for his Moscow girlfriend, whom of course I did not know, and went to the elevator. I walked him to the door with the usual parting words: Don't try to come back, and don’t forget to put on a warm sweater before boarding - there will be cold and rain in Moscow, according to the forecast. He also habitually replied that everything would be fine, he would put on a sweater and call to tell me when to meet him. After that, I went to my bedroom, cried a little and fell asleep, because I had already spent almost an entire night of thinking and facing reality.
The heart-rending meowing of Watermelon woke me up. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the balcony, where his cries for help were coming from.
The mischievous cat, using the open door and the silence in the house, had this time managed to get into the bottom flower box. He did his dirty deed there, but he could not get out: his fat stomach, for which, along with his stripes, he was nicknamed Watermelon, did not let him crawl between the bars of the lattice, and the spreading petunias interfered with his climbing over the top. I leaned over the railing and grabbed the cat by the scruff, and he was so scared that, to be sure, he twisted and grabbed my hand with all twenty claws. I jerked with pain and, trying to grab him with my other hand, leaned too far over the railing: my feet almost came off the floor.
The frightened Watermelon was not at all bewildered at this decisive moment, and the little fleabag jumped over my shoulders and back up onto the balcony. While that saved his striped hide, he pushed me down. I finally lost my balance and flew from the fourth floor upside down. I hasten to reassure the animal rights zealots: after I was taken to the hospital in the ambulance with its sirens and the police broke into the apartment, our neighbor Frau Hoffmann took care of the poor orphaned cat, and he did very well with her.
Her geraniums suffered for that.
The lilac bush, which I, fortunately, fell into, was old and spreading - maybe this softened the blow slightly. After all, I wasn't completely smashed, I only broke half my bones and shattered my head on the wood.
When I woke up in the intensive care ward and saw my mortal remains surrounded by doctors in the mirrored ceiling above me, I once again admired the success of German medicine: a whole team of doctors was treating my unfortunate members! Some of them attached my broken ribs, sticking out like springs from an old canapé, back into my chest, others screwed some screws into the crumbled bones of my legs, others dug into my open abdomen and sewed up something in there - and I watched everything that happened in the mirror above me and did not feel any pain or fear - only complete and absolute peace.
I looked at the reflection of my face as it appeared between the green tops of the doctors bending over me: I wanted to see how my appearance corresponded to this medicinal bliss - and then it all really started. I saw my face, but it was the face of a corpse: white to blueness, a pointed nose, blue lips stuck to my teeth, between which a transparent tube was sticking out, and something in it was hissing and gurgling. I felt disgust for myself - I was always frightened by the faces of the dead, and then my own ... But the worst thing was that my eyes were closed - so how could I see all this?!
Afraid, I jerked to the side and ... found myself hanging between two lamps on the ceiling. And in an instant everything turned upside down: there was no mirror above me - it was I myself who was above and looked from there at my own body stretched below. I was not scared, because the thought of death had not yet occurred to me, but I experienced a slight disappointment: it turns out that German medicine had nothing to do with it, and I have nature to thank for getting rid of my pain, as well as some of my own defense mechanisms. Well, now everything was clear: this is a dream, this is nonsense, I am flying in a dream. Then why not fly somewhere more pleasant? So I thought and immediately realized my intention, flying out through the door opened by someone into the hospital corridor.
Finding myself on the corridor's ceiling - for some reason I was constantly being pulled upwards - I found that a rather thick glowing cord was stretching from me through the door of the intensive care unit. I thought that I had accidentally dragged some hose from the resuscitation equipment behind me.
I wonder, what do I actually look like?
I tried to look at myself, and although I clearly had eyesight, and even better sight than in reality, I couldn't feel my eyes. But I only had to wish for it, and I saw myself from the side: it was old, but only translucent, something like a balloon in the shape of my body. The comparison that came to mind was further emphasized by this cord coming out of the middle of my chest, which, by the way, had no protruding ribs or any other damage. On the contrary, I felt absolutely healthy and full of vitality.
There was a large window at the far end of the corridor, and I decided to fly to it. It was a pleasure to hover under the ceiling, but I could not fly away further than the middle of the corridor: the cord to which I was tied was stretched, and I felt a burning pain in my chest when I tried to pull it away from me.
I had to submit and turn in the opposite direction.
I flew past the intensive care unit and turned the corner of the corridor. There was a visitors' corner: a coffee table, a sofa and two armchairs. In one of them sat my friend Natasha, who was talking to someone on her cell phone, shedding profuse tears and greedily smoking a cigarette. Of course, the conversation was about me:
"The doctors said that there was practically no hope. Poor Anna! I always knew that this marriage would end in disaster! .."
"Natasha, stop talking, you would enjoy the cigarette better!" I shouted cheerfully from the ceiling.
Not paying any attention to me, she continued the conversation. I sank lower, waved my hand in front of her nose, then touched her shoulder - and my hand went through it, like a sunbeam through water. Very surprised, I gave up my attempts and began to listen to Natasha's chatter.
"Well, of course, she is in intensive care and no one is allowed to see her. She's unconscious. George is not here, nobody knows where he is. Apparently, he disappeared, the scoundrel. The police found me from her notebook, I told them everything about their family life, and now they are looking for him as a possible murderer. And I believe that he is a murderer, even if Anna committed suicide herself, I'll tell you what, my dear ..."
I got bored and disgusted - and this is my best friend! She has been sitting here for a couple of hours, judging by the number of cigarette butts in the ashtray, sobbing for me, but still gossiping. I decided to fly away.
I felt sick. Hanging under the ceiling had already become boring. I was tired of this dream, but I did not know how to wake up from it. An unprecedented acute feeling of loneliness seized me. I decided to return to the intensive care unit, closer to my body, and I did it without difficulty.
There were no doctors in the ward, only the nurse on duty was sitting at a table in the corner. My body lay very calmly, my chest evenly rose and fell, but looking at the wires and tubes that entangled me, I realized that there was only life in this body thanks to the medical equipment. The glowing cord connected me with my motionless body below, and only then did it dawn on me: this is not a dream or delirium, this is all happening in reality.
It became clear to me that in fact I had died, an artificial life was maintained in my body, and my soul, that is, my precious "I", had already left it, and only this luminous thread still bound me to it. And I felt so sorry for Anna lying down there, helpless, tied with bandages and studded with needles and pipes! But I could not help myself, and again I wanted to be away from myself, and I again flew into the hospital corridor to feel even more acutely the sheer loneliness that gripped me.
They appeared at the far end of the corridor, where there was a window. At first I heard their voices, very strange voices: it was as if a group of adults were conferring about something very important in squeaky children's voices. I looked in that direction and at first saw only dark silhouettes against the background of the window, short, no more than a meter, squat and humped. They moved in my direction and found themselves under the light of corridor lamps, and then I saw them and immediately decided: aliens! 
I don't know whether I believed in UFOs before this meeting or not. Really, I just didn’t think about it too much, but information on this topic has accumulated in my head, settled down decently, like any modern reader and TV viewer. At any rate these creatures did not arouse fear in me, but rather curiosity, slightly tinged with alarm. If we admit that such meetings happen, then why shouldn't they happen to me one day?
The naked, stocky bodies of the aliens were covered with rather unpleasant-looking gray-pink folded skin. Large heads sat deep in the shoulders, and in the front they narrowed into elongated faces, which would be more accurately defined by the word "snouts".
At first glance, they resembled some kind of exotic animals, something like a cross between pigs and wolves, but a sharp intellect definitely shone in the large round eyes, surrounded by dark folds of skin and devoid of eyelashes.
The aliens stood near me and continued to confer, muttering something in their shrill, hoarse tongue, which did not even remotely resemble any of the earthly languages I had heard. It was clearly about me, since they not only looked in my direction, but also pointed at me with their upper limbs, similar to children's hands in carnival wolf gloves with claws, rather, I must say, frightening in appearance.
Feeling some disgust, I sternly reined myself: no cosmic racism, please! I don’t know what I look like to them, but in the eyes of a human I am now, presumably, more like a humanoid jellyfish than a well-preserved female in her forties.
One of the aliens, who was a head taller than the other, took a step forward and spoke to me in my own language, pronouncing the words mechanically, like a robot:
"We have come for you. You must come with us immediately."
I was silent, not knowing how to answer. He, too, was silent, and then said without any expression:
"We are very glad to meet you. We are very friendly."
Very endearing! First, the order to go with them who knows where, and only then the greeting. I decided to show independence:
"Until I know who you are and where you are inviting me to, I will not move. Besides, I am attached to it. Not to this place, but to my body."
Their reaction struck me as somewhat aggressive: they understood me, but they did not like my words, which was expressed by harsh screeching. They conferred, then the elder began to give explanations:
"We have come for you from a distant planet. The time has come for you to leave Earth. You will not regret it. The connection with the body must be broken. You have to do it. By yourself and now. Now and here. Do it and you will fly with us. Die and free yourself!"
What, just fly away? Even in such strange circumstances I wouldn't commit suicide. How could I break the connection with my poor, so familiar, such a dear body, leave it in suffering, betray it, helpless and voiceless! No, we endured so much together, we will tolerate more. And then, we'll see...
“Who are you to decide for me when it’s time for me to die? And what is this planet, where did you come from?"
The head of the aliens showered me in a cascade of astronomical terms, of which I understood nothing, and bombarded me with names, from which I only recognized Alpha Eridana from my childhood, the promised planet of Soviet science fiction writers. However, I thought, I shouldn't mock that: it may well be that the inhabitants of Alpha themselves inspired our science fiction writers with the name of their planet.
All these thoughts somehow very clearly, quickly, almost simultaneously flashed in my mind, which was unusual: I had long forgotten how to think in a young way about several things at once, without losing the clarity of thinking.
“We understand your doubts and anxiety,” the alien continued, “but you don't have to believe our words. Now you can see everything with your own eyes," and he waved his clawed paw towards the window.
A hospital window made of solid glass first flashed with green light, then waves went through it, like on a damaged TV screen, and then an unearthly landscape of amazing clarity and brightness appeared on this window-screen, first one, then another, then a third ... There were very many of them: vegetation of all colors of the rainbow against a green sky with a blue sun, purple forests and pink oceans, some flying animals with aliens on their winged backs, slender and fragile-looking buildings that look more like temples than dwellings. But you cannot surprise a modern person with astrological landscapes: the illustrators of science fiction and fantasy, filmmakers and "space artists" have not managed it yet.
Pictures floated in the window, replacing one another, and then everything stopped on a lovely landscape with a white villa on a golden hill, with a staircase sloping gently down to a pink pond, along which some emerald waterfowl with crowns on graceful heads slid imposingly. So what? If I can now fly wherever I want for free and without a visa, then of course I won't fly to some unknown planet to admire green swans, but to Australia, for example, or to Bermuda. But first I will fly to Moscow and see what my beloved is doing there. I wonder how he will take the news of my death?
“If you come with us, you can live in this house,” the alien said.
"Why should I? For people I am now invisible and inaudible - what prevents me from even settling in the Faceted Chamber of the Kremlin? I think that the housing problem does not affect me."
The aliens squealed menacingly, but the elder stopped them with a gesture and declared most seriously:
"The Faceted Chamber is already occupied by other souls, those who are not chosen to ascend to the Great Heaven."
"Why did your Great Heaven choose me? I am quite happy with my Little Earth."
"That's humor. We do not understand it, but we accept it as proof of your fearlessness. You are not afraid of us. That's good."
He shouldn't have said that. I immediately realized that I was afraid, very afraid, for a long time I had not been afraid of anyone or anything. But the old dissident instincts began to speak in me: the best way to protect yourself from fear is to laugh at those you fear. I decided to be on the lookout.
In the past, KGB officers could destroy first of all one's well-being, then one's life and body, and last of all, one's mind and soul. Here the conversation went straight away to the soul, after all, I had nothing left ...
"Peace awaits you there, it is very beautiful there!"
"Sounds tempting. What else?"
"There you will be able to meet and converse with great minds, with heroes of human history."
"What, you mean practicing spiritualism? I was never particularly interested in that, you know ..."
"You will be able to meet those whom you loved on earth and who left it before you. Remember them!"
That was a hard blow. I lost my mother and father in recent years, and my only brother Alyosha, my twin, died in childhood from scarlet fever. I was very close to him, and I often thought about how we would have been friends when we were old.
As soon as I thought about my dear ones who had died, they, as if they were just waiting for this, appeared in the frame: the three of them left the doors of the white villa and stopped at the top of the stairs - Mom, Dad, and Alyosha. How young my mother was - younger than I am now! My father looked a little older, but he died only five years ago. But Alyoshenka was exactly how I remember him, he was even dressed in the same gray school suit, in which we buried him. Alyosha ran down the stairs, waving invitingly at me and laughing happily, while Mom and Dad ...
It was then that they made a mistake. In this touching picture, Mom and Dad stood at the top of the stairs, affectionately embracing each other by the shoulders, and also smiled lovingly and invitingly - but this could not happen, even in your Big Heaven! The fact is that after the death of Alyosha, my parents out of grief did not think of anything better than to blame each other for his death. The matter reached such an ardent hatred that both the old love and the very memory of Alyosha were completely dissolved in it; at rare meetings, they remembered him only in order to prick each other more painfully. I rushed between them, tormented by love for both, but could not reconcile them. Even on dates at the camp where I ended up for samizdat, they always came separately. They even accompanied me to emigration one by one: I spent the last evening with my father, then I went to my mother, and I talked to her almost all night. In the morning George arrived by taxi and took us to the airport.
“I don’t believe your commercial and I’m not going anywhere with you!”
"But you must!"
"How can I owe you anything, when until my last hour I did not even suspect that you existed?"
"Everyone finds out about us at their last hour!"
"It still remains to be proved whether my last hour has really come!" I shouted boldly and rushed to the only shelter available to me - to the intensive care unit, and ran in with all my might.
And then I did something really stupid: I should, having escaped from these suspicious aliens, slowly and smoothly moved into the room, and then nothing would have happened. I would have swung over my mortal body like a balloon, and there, you see, the aliens would have gone back to their Alpha, and I would continue my ephemeral existence in quiet hospital corridors until better times.
But hurrying out of fear, I literally fell into my sprawled body and suddenly found myself in complete darkness and deafness. A terrible, completely unbearable pain seized me, and each heavy beat of my heart intensified this pain. I screamed and struggled to get out of this container of pain - and I succeeded. I was too successful: the thread connecting me to my body broke off because of how sharply I jerked away, and I flew like a bullet into the same corridor where the aliens were just waiting for me.
They did not grab me at once, but extended their terrible paws to me, and in the distance I felt the freezing cold flowing from them. This cold bound me so that I could neither move nor shout. And they approached me, squealing gleefully and rubbing their vile limbs. Here the elder stretched out his paw, touched my chest ... and with a heart-rending squeal jumped aside, shaking his hand. I felt a little better, and I was able to shout: “Save me! Someone save me! "
"No one will save you from us!" the elder squealed angrily. "Your disgusting talisman will be removed from you when you are buried, and then you will be ours!"
"No one will save you! Nobody!" the other aliens shouted.
"No one, indeed!" a loud and calm male voice sounded behind me. I looked around, and the joy of hope flashed inside me.
A tall gentleman with a beautiful face, who appeared out of nowhere behind my back, took several leisurely wide steps and stood between me and the aliens. This was not a doctor or a visitor, because he was dressed very strangely: he had high shiny boots on his feet, a black and red cloak, and the gold embroidery of some medieval costume peeped out from under him.
"She called for help, and I came to help her. All of you, get out of here! This woman is mine."
The aliens retreated to the wall, nudging each other and squealing pitifully.
"I said, get out!"
He did not make a single movement or even raise his voice, but such a sense of authority came from him that the vile creatures suddenly rolled into a ball with a squeal, which then rolled to the window, jumped, seeped through the glass and melted into a gray cloudy sky.
The cold and terror that bound me disappeared without a trace.
“Look into my eyes, my child,” said the beautiful stranger, affectionately. His eyes shone with wisdom and understanding, and tenderness shone in them, one wanted to always look into them.
"Did they scare you very much?" he asked quietly.
"Yes. They wanted to lure me to some alien planet, where my deceased relatives were waiting for me. They even showed them to me, but it was a hoax!"
“Of course, it was a deception, fake,” the beautiful stranger confirmed. “They are great masters of deception. Do you know who I am?"
"I see that you are kind to me, but I don't know who you are. I am so scared, so alone, this whole situation that I got into is so strange and incomprehensible - don't leave me alone, please!"
“I won't leave.” he nodded. "Do you know what has happened to you?"
"Yes, I understand that I died. But my body lies there, on the table," I waved my transparent hand towards the intensive care unit, "but for some reason I am here, and I don't know what I should do next."
"This is not at all as scary as it seems at first. You have already understood that there is no death. You got out of that rotten human shell ..."
"But why 'rotten'? I'm not that old ..."
“I am not one to be argued with, child. I repeat, you left your fragile, thoroughly sick, and now mechanically damaged flesh to join the completely new world of spirits. Now opportunities open before you that you did not even know about during your life. Stupid priest's tales about Paradise do not convey even a shadow of the splendor of those worlds that you will see. We will go to my kingdom, beautiful, carefree, sparkling with fun. There you will experience joys and pleasures that are inaccessible to bodily creatures. I generously share my kingdom with everyone who loves me and whom I love. But I do not take everyone to me, but only my chosen ones."
"So I ..."
"Yes. Ever since your birth, you have been marked by me. I followed your development with love and anxiety, and took care of you, although you could not notice it. It was I who helped you cultivate your most beautiful qualities - pride and self-esteem, independence of judgment and non-recognition of authorities. I admired how boldly you broke any framework, if they were imposed on you from the outside. I pushed you to accomplish your most daring deeds.
It was I who did not let you turn sour in the warmth of the Philistine swamp; it was I who saved you when your soul was in danger of succumbing to the Power that broke and humbled more than one proud human soul."
"Are you talking about the Soviet totalitarian regime?"
"No, I'm talking about cosmic totalitarianism. Fortunately, you have avoided its harmful effects, which means that you are mine! You are one of the many, many millions of my beloved daughters, there are many of you, but I love you all equally."
"So who are you? Tell me already! What is your name?"
“You can just call me 'father'."
"Yes. Give me your hand. Come with me and you will never be alone again. You will have many brothers and sisters, strong, independent, proud. Most of those who have lived on Earth now live in the spheres under my control. Well, now have you guessed who I am, my child?"
Then it dawned on me, and I exclaimed joyfully: "I know! You are Jesus Christ!"
His beautiful face twisted, he recoiled as if from a blow, raised his hand from the edge of his cloak and covered himself with it. I felt embarrassed - I realized that I had not said at all what he expected from me. And I was also afraid that he would leave now, and I would be left alone. But he was silent for a little, and then uncovered his face again and said with mild reproach:
“Never use that name around me again. Of course, I'm not that funny character from outdated church legends. I am the only true Sovereign of the human world, it has been and is since the very appearance of man on Earth. But I am also the future ruler of the WHOLE world! Already now I own the most beautiful corners of it, and soon everything will belong to me!"
Now he spoke with an almost theatrical passion, and this slightly alarmed me: I never liked pathos during my life, but it turned out that I did not tolerate it well after death. The look of my beautiful stranger began to give off a kind of theatrical mothballs. Well, yes, he saved me from crafty aliens, thanks to him for that. But isn't he himself one of them? Why would they obey him so unquestioningly, just like the sixes to the godfather?
They have completely confused me, Lord have mercy ...
He shuddered. Somehow, bewildered, he fell silent.
Then he roused himself and continued with the same pathos: "So give me your hand, my child, and let's go to my wide and open world! Only first take off this metal, which for some reason you wore during your life. You wore it without attaching special importance to it — and this is good — but its shadow remained on your soul. Take it off!"
"How can I do that? Only the shadow of my cross is on me, it itself remained on my body there, in the ward ..."
"Well, this is done very simply. It is enough to say: 'I renounce my cross and take it off myself,' " and he, staring at me with a hypnotizing look, waited for me to follow his order.
He didn’t know that this cross was not a talisman and not a fashionable decoration for me at all . . .
My mother gave me a small golden cross when she accompanied me to emigration. She put it on me with the words: “I got this cross from your grandfather, I wore it in my childhood, when I still believed in God.
Then it lay in a jewelry box, and when you were little and seriously ill, and the doctors refused to treat you, a believing neighbor offered to take you to church and baptize you. Then I remembered it, found it and gave it to her: they baptized you with it. So the cross is not just some plain old thing. Wear it in memory of your grandfather, whom you do not remember, and of me. Who knows, maybe it will save you in a foreign land, because once it helped you — after baptism you immediately started to recover." Since then I have never taken it off.
I hesitated, holding my hand to my chest.
"Come on, hurry up and take it off!" Now there was barely suppressed irritation in his voice.
"Don't do it, Anya!" another voice sounded nearby, so familiar and dear, one I have not heard for a long time.
My dead mother stood in front of me. She was as dimly transparent as me, maybe a little denser in appearance.
She died without me, they didn’t let me go home to take care of my seriously ill mother, or to bury her, and only now I saw how thin and exhausted the cancer had made her.
"Be silent! Go away!" the beautiful stranger yelled in a voice ugly with rage. Very little beauty was left in him: his face suddenly became gray and wrinkled, his slender figure hunched over and somehow twisted, even the luxurious cloak now seemed like a crumpled and faded rag left over from a long forgotten carnival.
I rushed to my mother and hugged her. Touching her airy body was quite palpable and pleasant, as if you were touching a strong stream of warm air. Of course, the stranger's anger scared me, but Mom was more important! A thought flashed: maybe now we can be together again and never be apart?
"Mom, you know, I died too!"
"Yes, daughter, I know. Your grandfather and I came to meet you."
A tall young man with a beard and long hair, in priestly clothes, appeared from behind my mother. I never saw him during his lifetime, and for some reason the family didn’t have photographs of my grandfather, but I realized that he was really my grandfather, by his resemblance to my mother: he had a thin nose with our family hump, light brown hair and blue eyes like my mother had in her youth.
“Hello, granddaughter,” he nodded. "You did the right thing, that you did not renounce the cross: if you did it, we could no longer help you. Now pray to the Lord to save you from Satan, beat Satan in the Name of Christ: the old liar has appeared to take you with him and destroy your soul."
"What is a lie?" The stranger, already recovered, shrugged his shoulders.
Hell, Satan? Who believes in these tales now? It is clear that there is Evil in the world, but not to the same extent as it is personified!
The one whose existence I doubted, spoke as if he had overheard my thoughts:
"You are right, my treasure, who believes in Satan with a tail and horns now? Only idiots like your grandfather, who even went to a stupid, caricatured death for his delusions. I am not Satan, I am the Demiurge, creator and protector of all people."
"You're lying, blasphemer!" My young grandfather exclaimed, and there was power in his voice. “You didn’t create people, you just distorted God's creation. And I am trying to save my granddaughter by my death on the cross, and by God's mercy as well."
"Do not trust this bigot and witch hunter, Anna! Do you need to save yourself from me? Don't you understand how much I love you and how dear you are to me?"
"You love her like a wolf loves a lamb! Pray to the Lord, Anya, pray right now. The Lord is merciful."
"I don't know how to pray, Grandfather."
"You once called out to Him: "Lord, have mercy!", and it helped you shake off Satan's spell."
Satan laughed mockingly: "You're lying, saint! Modern man has long turned your prayer into a simple saying, these words meant nothing both for Anna and for the One to whom they were supposedly addressed."
"Again lies! The Lord even hears a random prayer, because He knows: nothing accidental comes from the human soul. Anna is a Christian and in a moment of danger she acted like a Christian, calling on God for help."
"She's a Christian?! What nonsense . . . "
"Yes, she was bad, sinful, but still a Christian. I myself was present at her baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
"And they call me the father of lies, when every word of yours is a lie! How could you be at the baptism of your granddaughter, if your daughter was a girl, when you so carelessly and stupidly got involved in an argument with drunken sailors?
"I was present at the baptism of the babies Anna and Alexei invisibly. The priest who baptized them was an unworthy and lazy shepherd, he fearfully hurried, fulfilling the sacrament, and the grace of God invisibly replenished him. He missed the moment of renouncing Satan, and I myself performed the act of renouncing you with the baptized babies Alexei and Anna. You remember that, evil one! It was on Wednesday, Holy Week, 1955."
"Yes, yes, Anechka and Alyosha were baptized at that time, which means it's all true!" my Mom exclaimed, hugging me tighter.
"And someone else's grandmother thought of baptizing them out of pure superstition — so that the child would not die!" Satan did not give up. "And her brother was taken for the company." He grimaced more and more and became uglier; the glittering costume of the opera Mephistopheles had already completely disappeared, and instead of it hung black rags, through which one could see skin the color of wet asphalt; black claws sprouted from the fingertips, tearing the skin of the red gloves.
“But about that priest, you told the truth: he soon gave up his priesthood and faithfully served me until his death. Well, after death, of course, he came to me. So her baptism is hardly valid."
"Any baptism is valid if it is performed according to the rules, regardless of the dignity or unworthiness of the one who baptized them."
"I have my own opinion on this matter, and I stand by it! I do not recognize her baptism!"
"So why are you afraid of her baptismal cross?"
"Afraid? I am simply disgusted when people who have lived their whole lives at my prompting — after all, these creatures always obey either me or your Master, and they themselves are not even capable of sinning on their own — it's disgusting when they suddenly thoughtlessly hang themselves on your spillikins, wearing something they don't even understand . . . "
"Spillikins, you say? Let's see about that." Grandfather took hold of the cross hanging on his chest with both hands and raised it above his head with the words: "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!"
Satan was shaken, pounded, thrown to the end of the corridor, towards the window. Writhing on the floor and shuddering, he croaked:
“Damn you thrice, you pathetic saint! Anna, you traitor! We'll meet again, you won't hide from me anywhere!" and with these words he disappeared.
I sank to the floor, powerless. Mom bent over me and stroked my head:
"Forgive me, daughter, it's all my fault: I didn't take you to church, I didn't teach you prayers or the commandments of the Lord."
"And you yourself did not go to church, you yourself did not pray!" Grandfather said sternly.
"Yes, if it were not for you, I would be suffering in hell. I didn’t want to repent even before I died, and they didn’t have a funeral service for me in a Christian way. If not for your martyrdom, father . . . "
“Dad,” her grandfather corrected. “First of all, I’m just a dad for you, and only then my rank and my martyrdom."
"Mom, Grandfather! What kind of martyrdom are you talking about? Gramps, didn't you starve to death in the civil war?" I asked.
"Anna! Why don't you speak respectfully to your gramps . . . I mean, to your grandfather? Have you forgotten my patronymic?"
"What do you mean? Of course I remember — Evgenievna. But it's somehow inconvenient to call a young man, who is almost half my age, grandfather, but Gramps — it sounds quite modern. May I call you that?"
"You may call me by my name!"
"Your grandfather's name is Father Eugene, and you may call him that!"
How long I've gone without my mother's lectures, how I have missed them!
But my mother continued in the same stern tone:
“Your grandfather is a saint. He was crucified on the Church's Royal Doors by the Bolshevik sailors, it was in 1919. He tried to prevent them from breaking into the altar during the liturgy. They lifted him on bayonets and pinned him to the gates, mocking him: "Hang, like your Christ hung!" — and did not allow anyone to approach until he died. He hung like that until the evening, praying for those who crucified him, and the parishioners stood around, crying, but could not help him."
"Why didn't you tell me about this before, Mom?"
"At first I was afraid, and then . . . You remember how we lived — without God, without the Church. I was ashamed of my father! Now I understand that I am not so guilty before you, Dad, as before Alyosha and Anya."
"Mom, where is Alyosha now?"
"He is with your grandfather."
"Have you seen him?"
"Yes, but only for a very short time, and now I will probably not see him again until the Last Judgment . . . "
"Tell me, is he doing well there?"
"Very well. I can't even tell you how good it is there! It turns out, my daughter, that when Alyosha was already very sick, Daria Ivanovna, our neighbor, secretly called a priest to him, and he confessed Alyosha and gave him Communion. You were at school at that time, and your dad and I were at work. And now our Alyoshenka is in Paradise!"
"And you, mom?"
"By your grandfather's prayers and the great mercy of God, I am in a quiet place over which Satan has no power, and where one can pray to the Lord.  But how I would like to walk on the grass, to hear a bird! There is nothing like that there, just stones upon stones . . . Dad, while there is still time, please teach Anya the most important prayers!"
"It's too late, Mashenka. You knew them from infancy, and in your childhood you never got up or went to bed or ate without praying. Only now, out of necessity, have they come to mind."
"Well, at least give her a priest's blessing!"
Grandpa came very close to me and blessed me.
“Kiss the hand that blessed you,” Mom said. I did not understand why this should be done, but obediently kissed Dedov's hand, as if cast from elastic light.
"You see, mom, how obedient I am in church education, you can send me to Sunday school!" I laughed.
"What are you happy about?" asked grandfather. "Didn't the little bird sing a little too early?"
"I do not know. It's so easy and free for me, being without my usual body. You and mother appeared, and I heard such good news about Alyosha. And with you, I feel so good! I'm in favor of these meetings."
"Have you met anyone else besides Satan?" - Grandfather was alarmed.
"Yes, there were some fake aliens from Lanet inviting me to fly to Alpha Eridani."
"Lord, save and have mercy!" Mom exclaimed.
"Come on, tell me!" demanded grandfather. So I told him. “They were demons,” said grandfather. “They fool modern people with modern methods. But they would still take you to Satan."
"Grandfather! How could I be of any importance, that he came for me himself?"
"Because of my martyrdom, God gave me a blessing to intercede before Him for my descendants, until the end of time. So Satan is busy — he is offended that so many people can be saved without special deeds."
"Am I not your last descendant? After all, I had no children, and I myself died."
"I have and will have descendants. Calm down."
"And they will all be saved?"
"If they themselves will strive for this. Against the will of man, God cannot save him. Oh, you fools, my dear ones, if you lived even a weak Christian life, how easy it would be for me to lead you straight to Paradise! And now not only are my prayers needed, but also the prayers of the whole Church on earth and in Heaven, and all her saints."
“Can’t you arrange it so that the whole Church would pray for my mother and me?”
"Do you think it's easy? Think for yourself, which of your relatives and friends will pray for you? On earth, you were surrounded by people as indifferent to faith as you are."
“I really hoped that you would come to faith,” my mother told me sadly.
"If I had known!"
"Knowledge and faith are different things. But do not be discouraged — there are still prayers of the entire Church for all previously departed Christians, including those who have gone astray, and for those who have died without repentance and have been deprived of Christian burial. We will rely on them, and even on the great mercy of God."
"And what awaits me now?"
"It's all in the hands of God. You can trust that I will pray to Him boldly on your behalf. And your Guardian Angel has promised not to give up on you in the presence of God, even though you have been sinful in the presence of your Angel. And why is he hesitating? As if the demons will not come running again."
“I've been standing here for a long time, listening,” came a sonorous and very melodic voice. I looked around. Not far from us stood a luminous creature, shrouded from head to foot in a veil, as if woven from fiery streams of light.
"Here he is, your Guardian Angel!" - Grandfather was delighted.
The veil opened up and turned into either fiery wings or two streams of sparkling rays falling from the Angel's shoulders to his feet. His radiant face was beautiful and serious, and there was not a drop of that operetta, emphatically earthly beauty in him, which Satan, like the last fool, was fascinated by at first. He wanted to please, tried to please, and he succeeded. The angel was beautiful, perfect, but immensely far from earthly beauty. He was so perfectly clean that it would be indecent to admire his beauty.
From him came the strength, calmness, and love of the elder for the younger, that is, for me and for my mother. But Grandfather — and I noticed it right away — the Angel treated with the greatest respect, as an elder.
"To worship the Lord," said the Guardian Angel in his sonorous voice.
I immediately bit my tongue. Good or bad, I did not know, but I guessed that it was very important.
Then Grandfather began to explain the situation:
"We must carry you through the earthly atmosphere, which is teeming with demons. I hope that we will succeed with God's help. Now say goodbye to your mother. We will wait for you."
"Grandfather and the Guardian Angel stepped aside and began to talk about something, and my mother and I hugged each other tightly."
"Mommy, there isn't any way you can go with us? I don't want to part with you!"
"Me either, my daughter . . . "
"We will not see each other again, Mom?"
“See you if you find yourself in the same place as me."
"I'll try, mom!"
"Silly . . . Give my kiss to Alyoshenka if you see him."
Mom hugged me for the last time, dropped her arms, walked away without taking her eyes off me, and then disappeared.
Source: Мои посмертные приключения (Russian)
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