Something Else Happened! ~ The Death Of Yuri Gagarin



“That conclusion is believable to a civilian — not to a professional.” Aleksey Leonov’s stark eyes looked unquenched. His haggard countenance portrayed a man who had not had a blink of sleep in years, as if a parasite grew inside him threatening to devour him. He emptied his third glass in the last half hour and sat looking at the melting ice at the bottom. “Hey. Are you okay ?” He ignored my concern and laughed like a lunatic. Several people at the bar threw us scathing looks.“It’s just like this f**king ice here ! Once it’s gone, melted…there’s no way in hell you can prove it was ever there…”

My name is Anton Dostoevsky, like that lonely author. Unlike him I don’t deal with fiction. I am a correspondent for Russia Today. Three days back I got an anonymous voice-mail on my home number. The voice asked me to meet him at a rundown pub in a shanty suburb near Grozny Street claiming that he had some sensitive information regarding the mysterious death of Comrade Yuri Gagarin. Today, the 28th of March, marks the death anniversary of the first human ever to beat the escape velocity and rise above the sultry skies. The information confided onto me was nothing like I had ever heard of. After all, I deal with facts not the mad ravings of a lunatic. But two more Sukhoi pilots have died today. Although they have fired the field engineer calling it an engine malfunction that was overlooked, it appears almost as if it has been hushed into oblivion. History is repeating itself…people deserve to know the truth. If something were to happen to me, as my last wish, I want this recording to be broadcast to every nation there is…

“Tell me what you know”. He looked outside the sooty window where the lights of cars turning round the car, made strange fractals. “I first came to know him when we were training for the space program back in 1960. We were an enthusiastic lot, always eager to learn…space was our calling you know, that kind of thing. Soon we were selected into the elite Sochi Six, you heard of it ?” “The elite group from which the Vostok crew would later be chosen ?” He nodded and signalled the waiter for another round. “We were all exceptionally talented but he was something else entirely. He had all the makings of a great aviator – sharp attention and focus, quick reactions, amazing memory, brilliant in celestial mechanics and mathematics…it was as if he was from space, from some far advanced civilization waiting to go back home.”

“It was not surprising that we all chose him through the anonymous vote which would decide who would write history by being the first human being in space. He was that good. He had been waiting for this all his life but he had no idea what he was getting into…” I pushed the recorder a little further. “Go on…” “After he came back, he was not the same anymore. It felt as if it was a different person inside the same body. He was scared of god knows what. I tried to talk to him on several occassions but every time I mentioned the assignment, he broke into cold sweats, so I didn’t push him. I was worried about him…”

“One day he disappeared. I tried all day but he wouldn’t answer his calls, so I decided to check up on him. When I reached his house, I felt this strong sense of foreboding. It felt as if I was about to see something I could live without knowing. The front door was open and it was dark inside. The television was running psychedelic patterns of noise. ‘Yuri ? Its Leo…where are you brother ?’ – I yelled. I was talking to a dead house. I went upstairs to his room but it looked as if no one had slept in that bed for months. Just when I was closing the door, I heard a dull whisper. It came from the closet at the far end of the room. ‘Yuri ?’…I opened the closet to see a sunken face of a dying man. His eyes looked hollow, he had become thin over the last few months but now he looked deathly pale. He was shivering. ‘What happened to you ? What have you done to yourself ?’ ‘Leave me alone…PLEASE, leave…me…alone.’ ‘Look at me Yuri….its okay, you will be all right.’ ‘No no you don’t understand. We should never have gone…I saw them. They are watching us now….HIDE ! Hi…de…’ ‘Yuri ! Who ? What are you talking about brother’ But it was too much for him. The doctors kept him under observation for a week and then released him. I knew it was a bad idea, he wasn’t stable but he was the best damn pilot they had.”

I still remember the day Yuri died. I was training some new cosmonauts in the program. As soon as I heard I dropped everything and ran. They said it was some kind of engine failure or something. They were pilots with advanced training and I knew something was amiss. Why hadn’t they tried to eject ? I personally asked to be a part of the investigation team and was granted access. The forensic team had been able to retrieve the black-box from the Sukhoi. Although a large part of it had melted away, we could still extract some 13 minutes of audio. What we heard was certainly not what we had expected or even anything remotely close for that matter. We heard a voice which might have been Yuri’s. It gave a routine summary of the pressure gauges, flight path, vertical angle, etc. It sounded as if they would be landing any minute now, even though we were holding the charred remains of their box. There was something that Yuri said which attracted my attention. He started talking about a black object he noticed near the wing.  See they had been flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft, at mach 2.1. No birds or  anything for that matter can get stuck to the wing out there, in those conditions. His crew-mate Vladimir Seryogin reported that the object was not there anymore. He asked if something had fell out of the wing. But the next routine check appeared normal too. The last 3 minutes would change the definition of normal though. We could hear Vladimir report that he was catching something in the RADAR system on his dashboard. Whatever it was, it was moving at a speed of mach 4 towards them. The next moment it dipped some 13,000 ft and rose up right in front of them. No aircraft can have that kind of a sharp dip angle at that velocity. It would break up into pieces. This one didn’t. Yuri must have swerved to avoid contact but it was too much too soon. The left wing was ripped apart as we later established. They were gone…just like that !”

He was obviously waiting for me to say something. “Mr. Leonov…” “Call me Leo.” “Leo…to be honest, this is not much. This is hardly evidence to what you are pointing at. How do you expect anyone to….” “You self-righteous bastard ! I knew you would say that. Do I look stupid ? I have been in the program for the last 30 years. Do you know what that means ? I know things and I have never seen anything like this. You know what ? You can go to hell…” He took up the cane by his chair and staggered off towards the door. He stopped for a moment and turned to look at me– “You should stay alert young man. I have told you things you had no business knowing…more will happen soon. I can feel it.”

I still remember his fierce eyes when I read about the death of the two young pilots under the same circumstances. One might have said it was déjà vu, except that instead of being just a feeling, it was actually manifesting itself. Mankind had crossed the final frontier. We had breached a world which wanted to stay hidden forever. We had become Icarus…we had flown too close to the sun !


Note:This story is an amalgamation of fact and fiction, written after a little research on Yuri Gagarin’s life. The idea came after I read an article recently about how the mystery surrounding Gagarin’s death was being finally revealed by Aleksey Leonov. Felt like a good alternate fiction subject. So here you go…

You can read the article here :


Duality of Life | The Dancer




They distract you.
They would break you.
Every time is the hardest when they betray you.
They will hate you,
For whom you are.
Make you what you not are.
Then, it’s you who has to choose,
Either break your life or build one.

They will scare you,
They will pull you.
But, as you build that world.
They will live in it, 
And will love you for who you are, what you are.
And it’s the duality of life

Cheers to Life!


I see some dots so small,
Hidden under the lines.
And then some drops of water,
Hidden under the streams.
Then I could see my heart, so corrupt,
Hidden by the brain so fast.
I see those strong metals working hard,
Hidden under the paints.
The b’ful essence,
Always we could just sense.

As stars from far looks small,
The magnanimity of life, also looks small.
But I see a difference.
With stars they are far away,
But to admire the breath we get,
We’re so close to it.
Even then, we never see it as BIG.

So, lets do it now.
Go close your eyes, sit near a beach 
And give, 
A cheers to life!