translated by Serge Clause

Kevin was driving home from the city to his small two-story cottage, located in one of the suburbs. City skyscrapers, factory, and factory buildings were left behind; villas, cottages, and gardens flashed.

Suddenly there were pops in the Toyota engine. Kevin pulled over and stopped the car. Leaving the car, he opened the hood and began to inspect the engine: a high-voltage wire fell off one of the candles.

A red Chevrolet rushed past in the opposite lane, at breakneck speed, with a roar. Madman! Kevin thought. His speed is probably over a hundred miles.

Soon Kevin, having thrown the case with the tool into the trunk, got behind the wheel again and went on. Turning left at the intersection, Kevin drove a little more and found himself in the area where his house was located. On the way, he stopped at a roadside shop, where he bought a pack of cigarettes, a couple of bottles of beer, and chatted with Mrs. Davis, the owner of the shop.

Leaving the car near the house, Kevin went through the terrace, having unlocked the door with the key and went inside. What he saw in the living room made him stop in surprise: on the sofa, with his hand under his head, on his side lay some bearded man of about 40. He was wearing a white T-shirt, cream-colored shorts, and socks of the same color. Nearby, on the floor, stood blue sneakers. The fellow was asleep and smiled blissfully at something in his slumber.

Kevin dialed the number of the local police station on his mobile phone and, putting it with his left hand to his ear, with his right hand pulled his pistol from its holster.

“The attendant is listening, speak,” came the phone.

“There’s a stranger in my house. The doors were locked. Now he is lying on the sofa in the living room. Seems to be asleep.”

“Your address?”

“Seventh Street. House number 21.”

“Good. We’ll drive up now.”

The bearded fellow, apparently jostled awake from Kevin’s conversation on the phone, lowered his legs from the couch, touched his head with his hands, and then looked in dismay at Kevin, who pointed the gun at him.

“The police will be here soon, but for now I recommend that you do not make sudden movements and get underway,” Kevin said.

“Kevin,” the guy replied, “I’m not a thief or a bandit. Put the gun down.”

The fact that the stranger called him by his name somewhat puzzled Kevin.

“In that case, who are you?” he asked.

“I am your guardian angel.”

“Who?!” Kevin asked, amazed.

“Your guardian angel.”

“And I thought that guardian angels would somehow look different, with wings and a halo over their heads.” Kevin grinned.

“With wings—this is probably more than it really is. Fairy tales.” The bearded guy smiled. “But the halo, yes, it exists. It contains all our strength and magic, so to speak. And also, thanks to it, we, the guardian angels, become invisible to humans. I hung it for a while on a hanger at the entrance. Then I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep accidentally. Trust me, I really am your guardian angel. I can prove it to you. I just saved your life.”

“How did you do that?”

“Three miles before the intersection, your engine wire fell off, didn’t it?”


“I did it. If you had not stopped at the side of the road to connect the wire to the candle, you would have collided at an intersection with a red Chevrolet driven by a drunk man. You would have died in this disaster. He would have died with you.”

“Yes, he rushed past me at breakneck speed.”

“And three years ago, I didn’t let you crash in the Himalayas. You would have fallen off a cliff.”

“And here,” Kevin grinned again, “there’s a discrepancy: I was not in the Himalayas three years ago.”

“That’s right, you weren’t. Therefore, you remained alive. You had to give up this trip with your buddies. You refused because you twisted your leg at work as you walked down the stairs. My job. Yes, you limped for almost a month, but you stayed alive. Have I convinced you yet?”

“Yes, you know, somehow…”

“The first time I saved you, you were only three years old. You climbed into the chair that stood by the open window on the seventh floor. I threw a large vase off the shelf. To the crash of a broken vase, your mother came running and managed to grab you by the legs at the last moment. The glory for your salvation then went to this lazy and fat ginger cat; everyone decided that it was he who threw a vase from the shelf.”

“Yes, my mother told me that story,” Kevin said, shoving the pistol back into his holster. “Perhaps you’ve convinced me. Although, I confess, it is somehow hard to believe: a bearded guardian angel, lying on my sofa in the living room, in a T-shirt and shorts…”

“I’m sorry; I blundered, I relaxed. But if you believe me, can I take my halo? It’s hanging on a hook at the entrance.”

“Of course,” Kevin said, but then three policemen armed with pistols burst into the house.

“Him?” asked one of them, nodding at the guardian angel sitting on the couch, with the sergeant’s shoulder straps holding the fellow at gunpoint.

“Yes, Sergeant,” Kevin replied. “But, as we’ve now figured out, he ended up here completely by accident and did not steal anything. I checked; everything is in place.”

“Your documents!” ordered the sergeant to the guardian angel.

“I don’t have any documents with me,” the guardian angel replied and apologetically looked at Kevin.

“Who are you? Where are you from?” the sergeant continued the interrogation.

The guardian angel shrugged.

“It’s clear. Put on your shoes. Come with us to the police station for identification.”

When the guardian angel tied the laces on his sneakers and got off the couch, the police snapped the handcuffs on him and took him out of the house.

“Sergeant,” asked Kevin, already at the Ford police cruiser, a flashing light flaring up on the roof, “can I find out what will happen to him next?”

“You can,” the sergeant replied, sitting down in the front seat. “Call tomorrow.”

On one of the hanger’s hooks hung a small circle of milky color with the thickness of a pencil. Kevin removed it carefully. It was as smooth as glass, warm to the touch, and slightly glowing. Kevin placed it on the glass table beside the living room couch.

The next day, he called the police station almost in the morning.

“Kevin Morris?” the voice asked him on the phone. “Did you make the call to Seventh Street, Building 21 yesterday?”

“Yes, I did,” Kevin replied. “I would like to know what happened to the detainee? Where is he now?”

“Killed. Killed while trying to escape. If you have any complaints, you can write a statement.”

Turning off the phone, Kevin sat down heavily on the sofa and picked the halo up from the table. It was cold, darkened, and no longer glowed.

About the Translator

Serge Clause was born on March 24, 1955 in Donetsk, Ukraine and is a citizen of the Russian Federation. He graduated from the Military Academy of Strategic Missile Forces named the “Great” Peter (Moscow), specializing in electronic computing machinery. Serge has written for numerous arts and sports publications in Ukraine and Russia.