The Unseen World… Chapter 1

"Is there anything else that you wish to ask me, Mikhail?" Mr. Yevgeny asked. With that stern look on his face, I dared not ask him another question. As I sat in the classroom, I wondered how I had gained the misfortune of being assigned the harshest Ethics professor at the University of St. Petersburg. Looking at the seemingly-broken clock with disdain, I began to wonder why I was in school in the first place.

Ever since I was a small child, my mother would always ask me why I stared into the sky with such fascination. I was an intuitive child, always questioning my own existence. Even though I often played with the other children, I could not help but to notice that I was the only one wondering why we ended up on this planet which provides such perfect harmony to the human race. Of course, I was not a skeptic; I embraced the Orthodox religion that my parents had encouraged me to accept. But sometimes, I would wonder how life would be on another planet. I was taught that God created this universe, but what if there was another Universe? Would that mean that there is another God that exists? Is there an unseen world even on this planet that we as humans can experience if we put our minds to it? But after I had grown older, my intuitiveness was replaced by other concerns, such as making sure that my family could sustain itself after my father died in the Second Great War.

After class, as if the Fates had decided to toy with my sanity, Professor Yevgeny ordered me to stay. Of course, I knew why he had wanted to see me: my last essay covered the unethical nature of the U.S.S.R Nuclear program, which pretty much guaranteed intense consequences for the individual who goes against the infallibility of the Communist regime.

"Mr. Mikhail Novgorod, you never cease to amaze me. I cannot believe that you would embrace such an idea. It's so preposterous, so ludicrous, so….wonderful!" Professor Yevgeny exclaimed. Taken aback, all I could do was stare blankly at him as if he had told me that the sky was falling. "I never knew that you had such an interest in discovering the unseen worlds that reside within our own physical one!"

Oh, he's referring to the paper that I wrote earlier in the semester, I thought. My very first paper covered the esoteric nature of the "spirit" realm that may or may not have its existence within our own physical world. I've always wondered why everyone else got their papers back but I had not; I thought that he had thrown it away because it was so terrible.

"I apologize for not informing you earlier that I am also interested in discovering those worlds that only the human imagination can find! You must be absolutely confused! I am sorry for suddenly bombarding you with this information. I just needed to wait until I could verify some things." I could not believe this: the professor that I had always assumed had such dislike for me has suddenly shown such admiration for me. I simply could not figure out why…

"With all due respect, sir, why did you wait so long to show me my paper? And what exactly were you 'verifying'?" I asked politely. This whole situation was eating away at me; had the universe been tilted upside down or something?

"Your paper held an idea that I myself had long disregarded. Your paper reminded me of the problem that our modern world is facing today: we don't seek those 'unseen' worlds anymore like we used to. It seems that ever since our beloved Czarina, Catherine, passed away, people have stopped nourishing their imagination. As a result, Mikhail, you can see how the people have turned into mindless beings who sacrifice their intellectual joy for the sustenance of a war-mongering government." As he said this, I could faintly see tears of indignation in his eyes. "Mikhail, I have been looking into a certain myth that has been passed down from generation to generation. There is supposedly an altar in the depths of the Siberian mainland that grants an individual access to another world."

After listening to what the old man had to say, I realized that everything that he had said was right. Our country has become a place of desolation for individuals who thrive on hope; rather, we have thrown away our freedom to dream for the burden of survival. Of course, international stability should be the first priority of the government, but where there are no dreams, there can be no true nation. After pondering over the Professor's statements, I also realized that he had no regard for his own life; by intellectually rebelling against the government, he had accepted his fate as a martyr for the dreams of the people. " Mr. Yevgeny, I am familiar with the myth, but you don't intend on traveling to the Siberian wastelands, do you? The frigid environment has caused the deaths of even the most prepared individuals," I said.

"Mikhail, some things are worth dying for. Now, I am setting out tomorrow at the break of dawn. If you wish to participate in this endeavor, then meet me in front of this building! If not, I understand that you have regard for your life, and I wish you the best of luck in living your life under such a burdening government!" the professor said excitedly. My first thoughts were to reject the professor's offer; however, I began to reflect on my childhood, when I used to stare at the blue sky and pretend that I was floating. I could faintly hear my mom's voice telling me to never stop dreaming; she always reminded me that my dreams were the "keys" that would free me from the "prison" of reality. A week later, my mother had been arrested and executed for treason because she asked why Stalin had raised land taxes.

"Mr. Yevgeny, I absolutely agree with everything that you say, and I will meet you tomorrow in front of the building," I said. With that, I left the professor's classroom and walked outside into the cold, dark "prison" that I called Moscow…