Cherine and I kissed them goodbye and prepared to leave for our next visit. They all knew that the next time they see her she will have all her memories and this is the last time they will meet this Cherine and they hugged and kissed her, telling her how much they love her, as if they will never see her again. In a way, they never will.
“Cherine love, you are going to really like these two. This Robert is far nicer than I am.”
Rob laughed. “We know he calls us the soft ones because we did not go to war with Hettie and let her take us over.”
“You are wrong. You have never had to kill or see your loved ones die so you have remained as I was many years ago. The reference is also half made out of envy. You managed to remain dedicated to your art.”
Cher was amused and put her arm around my Cherine. “Actually I don’t know how you can stand it. You lead such a hectic life.”
Cherine sweetly replied, “But Robert makes it so exciting!” Her reply sounded so child-like, but I knew she was doing it on purpose.
The word had obviously spread and Cherinians arrived to welcome us. I was pleased when Natalie, Rose and Laura arrived.
“Cherine, here is someone you will not meet on any other world we know. This is Laura my sister, the original one. In this world she did not die.”
Even as they greeted each other, I could see that they took to each other. Laura was curious and being the girl she is, she asked. “How does it feel Cherine? I mean, do you feel an emptiness where your memories were, or do you just feel like an eight year old?”
“Come into my mind and see.”
Cherine made her welcome and then I felt something strange. I extended my awareness of her and felt something had changed. Alarmed I asked soon as Laura was back in her body, “What did you do to her?”
“I don’t know. I felt some pain and fear in her and tried to reach out to make it go away. Then it was not there anymore.”
I went into Cherine and felt the difference more sharply. The guilt about her father, the pain and fear of being a freak, all gone!
I thought Laura had taken it and with her agreement went into her mind. I found none of it there.
“Laura, have you done this before?”
“No.” She sounded afraid.
“Then this is a new gift! What a lovely gift too! You don’t know how I have yearned to take the pain from my love. Thank you. We must get the girls to come over and find which door must be opened so that we can share it.”
The strange thing was that the memories were still there in a vague half-remembered way, but they no longer had the potency to hurt. The memories just seemed to fade away into the background almost as if the events had never happened. I thought of all the people who can be helped if this gift can be spread to all the worlds and I felt very proud of my lovely sister. She felt me and glowed.
They took us out for supper and the mood was joyous. It is one of those silly things I have difficulty in adjusting to. Because Laura had discovered her new gift at a time that I am visiting, and I’d shown such pleasure in it, they all felt she has brought great honour to their world. I keep on forgetting and thinking I am loved just as the person I am, and then come face to face with something like this and realise they mostly think of me as the leader of all Cherinians.
They do not realise how this detracts from my pleasure. When I cannot relax and have to worry I might do something stupid and disappoint them, it means I cannot have an extra drink because the company and mood ask for it, it means I dare not trip and appear human like them. Or else it means I have to have that extra drink and make a fool of myself or trip. Depending on how they are reacting to me, or else how I feel about all of it at that particular moment.
A number of them came at the age of Cherine and she enjoyed herself talking, giggling and whispering with them. I hardly noticed that her eyes did not return to me every few minutes, but would not have minded anyway as I was so happy to see her enjoying herself.
When we went to bed we were both pleasantly tired and sleepy. I was surprised, but did not think it important when instead of lying on my chest she curled up with thumb in mouth and fell asleep without any part of her touching me.
The next day my Cherine was a joy to behold. She was happy, singing to herself, playing and laughing. She went out to a nearby kiosk and returned with two girls of about ten. She told us they are her new friends and they disappeared into our bedroom. I felt so happy to see her like this that if Laura had come over I think I would have kissed her. My little girl is happy at last and a dream of mine has come true. I hoped this change will carry over when she is given back the part of her I’ve stolen.
Sometimes she will curl up next to me and I will feel her contentment and that she only wants to be held and other nights she will sleep apart from me, but there is peace and a sort of joy and so I did not mind. I knew that slowly she would become my Cherine again - just happier.
One afternoon, after a tiring morning with Rob and other Cherinians, being shown changes within them and growths they have achieved, Cherine came back to the house and I was aching to feel her on my lap, her arms around me. She was so immersed in her magazines that she did not feel me and walked past me. That did puzzle me. This is not my Cherine I told myself, half pretending it was a joke.
The day before we had said we were leaving, Rob and Cher came to me. Rob spoke. “Robert, it may be none of our business, but we are worried. Cherine has changed.”
I nodded. “I know. It is good to see her so happy.”
“I told you!” Cher said to Rob. He looked unhappy.
“Robert, we are glad she is happy, but it was not what we meant. There has always been something about you and Cherine, as if a flame burns brighter in both of you. Her spirit, her cheekiness and strange way of loving you has always fascinated us. She is rarely mushy. More often her love is shown in the way she teases you, in her pride of you and that fierce protective way she watches over you. Most of that was there when you arrived. It is not anymore.”
“Oh come on, she has never been happy like this before, give her time to adjust.”
Cher spoke. “I think it would be a mistake. Robert, she has changed and is still changing. When did you ever see her pout before because she did not get her way? She is beginning to feel to me like a little girl who has grown up spoilt rotten and protected from everything. It is not how she is!”
Rob I might argue with, but not Cher. She forced me to admit to myself that I had not been happy for a while and had been fighting a feeling of unease. I’d thought it selfish of me and had not acknowledged any of it. Cher sensed the struggle within me and found the courage to bring my world tumbling down. “Robert, what would you be like if every pain, worry, guilt and sorrow were taken from you? You said my Robert is soft, but he has had his sorrows. What would you be like?”
I have seen what bitterness can do to a Robert. I now wondered what I would be like if it happened the way she said. I shuddered, not liking the possibilities I saw. I still refused to admit to myself that this can happen to Cherine, but when I looked at Cher to make some excuse, I saw the look in her eyes and my resistance crumbled.
“What can I do Cherine?”
“Neither of us knows. Perhaps you should stay here longer until you solve the problem. What if Laura can give back to Cherine all she took?”
“All? Even the guilt of her father’s death?”
Even without the protector, I am the protector, and I trembled at the thought of giving such pain back to my little love. I knew I could not do it.
We stayed with no departure date now, but still I did nothing. How could I?
I noticed that sometimes she did not ask, but demanded, though not with me yet. The two new friends began to appear less often and she did not seem to care. Her life seemed to gravitate around movies, chocolates, magazines, ice creams and new clothes. Whatever she wanted she had to have. The one time she came to me in bed wanting sex it was not to love me, but for her own gratification, and I pretended to be asleep.
I do not know how long I would have remained paralysed like this, but I got up one morning a little late, went through to the kitchen for coffee and toast and Cherine was there with a new friend. They stopped talking when I came in, something no Cherinian ever does, so I was upset and only made a coffee to have a cigarette with. As I walked out I sent a thought to her, *Will I see you today?*
She screamed in my mind, caught in a temper tantrum that was abusive and virulent. I had such a shock I spilt my coffee on the floor. Without a word I put my cup down and collecting some paper sheets from the dispenser I mopped the floor. She joined me, making a half-hearted attempt to help, already sorry. I ignored her and taking my coffee left.
Laura broke down, sobbing her heart out. Tenderly I took hold of her face. “Don’t blame yourself love.”
“I’ll never do it again!”
“Don’t say that. The gift is not evil love. Learn and refine it. There are many people who are in permanent hell. If you learn what and how much to take, your gift will be a blessing. Laura, can you return any of the pain you took?”
“I don’t know how I took it, how do I find it to put it back? I don’t know how it happens.” She was almost wailing. I soothed her and repeated my assurances that she is not to blame. When she had calmed I asked to be allowed to view her memories. She let me into her mind. I saw her gently separate what she took to herself, but as it arrived within her mind it disappeared. I hugged her, kissed her eyes which were still wet from her tears and returned home.
I now spent my time watching Cherine, when she was around, but did nothing. It was hard enough to think of putting the pain back, if it is possible. To actively try to find a way to do so was beyond me - this experience is certainly teaching me to empathise with the impossible position I had placed the Inguel in with my demand that they act against their instincts.
The longer I watched Cherine, the more disturbed I became, but in another way I also found myself trying to compromise, excuse her.
This time Cher came to me alone. “Robert, have you given up?”
“I don’t know how to answer that.”
“What is it about you Roberts? You face death and torture without bending, but soon as you think you are not loved you give up.”
I flushed, partly angry and partly in acknowledgement. She sighed, exasperated. “Can’t you see that she is getting worse? Who would have thought taking away painful memories could have such an effect!”
I began jumping to the beach on Cyprus. I welcomed days when the wind blew, for then I could justify the tears. I often agonised, but mostly walked numb with despair. Cherine still loves me, but no longer the way she had. Now I think I am more of a father figure, the adult who is supposed to care for her, protect her and in return she loves me for that. Passions are now directed at material things or at ensuring she dominates. I could feel that she is not interested in power, how could she be with her empathy? However, selfishness is beginning to affect even her gift. Actually dominant might not be the correct word to describe how she is. She is cocky and thinks everyone has to listen to her because her wants are important. Yet she does not think that because she is Cherine we should, it is just that never having suffered, she is insulated from doubts about herself. This makes it possible for her empathy to be overridden sometimes. The fact that all Cherinians still treat her like a little princess does not help.
She asked me why I spend so much time away, don’t I love her? She told me that she wants to spend the next day with me. Her friends came that morning and she asked me sweetly to wait. They left and then she needed me to wait just a little, while she does something else and so the whole day passed. When I finally came to my senses and left late that afternoon, I spent the whole night walking, not bothering to protect myself from the strong wind, the stinging beach sand flying into my eyes and face, nor the sudden torrential thunderstorm.
On reflection it is odd how when confident of her love I could be strong and put my foot down, while now that some insidious process is at work corroding the way she feels for me, I withdraw and then succumb to every sweet smile. Being at home and seeing her is torture and being away is just as bad in other ways. I hardly ever remember to eat, even though either Rob or Cher make certain that my pockets are filled with money. I sometimes sit at the taverna, but then it is only for a coffee and cigarette.
My healer is not affected by the cause of my moods and keeps my body in prime health. Unless there is something powerful to negate it, the feeling of being so alive can make it almost impossible to stay depressed.
Again Cher cornered me. “Listen to me Robert, without allowing your protector instincts to take over. You cannot remedy the damage done to Cherine, so I have decided to handle it. She needs to suffer and I will do it. She may hate us, but hopefully once an adult, she will understand we had little choice.”
“Do not try it! Cherine has far greater power than you imagine.”
“Than all of us?”
“Perhaps. She does not recall that she has right now, but put her to the test and it will erupt.”
“What about you?”
“She cannot harm me.”
“Then you have to do something. Robert, if you could ask the Cherine who came here with you, do you truly think she would chose to be as she is now? Her love for you was everything to her, how can you ignore what she would want?”
“What people want changes with time.” I replied dryly.
“She did not have a free choice. Robert, are you also blind to the fact that she is not happy? Can’t you sense below the surface? If you hurt her now, she will thank you later.”
“No! I will not hurt her. It is not the same as giving her back the old pains. It would be totally uncalled for and I cannot justify it to myself, never mind to her.”
“But you cannot recover what was lost.”
“I might be able to.” There, I’d said it, admitted it to her and myself at last.
“You can and you haven’t!!”
“Damn it Cherine, you said it yourself. You know it goes against all my instincts.”
“You are not an animal. Fight your instincts.”
It took days. I went to see Laura again. She was willing to do anything I asked of her, but I was not clear in my mind yet what I wanted her to do. I sat and talked with Themi.
“Her gift should be used to help those who have been hurt so badly that they cannot face life and are locked up in mental institutions. As Laura helps them, she will also learn to control her gift. As long as she is able to leave the normal pains we all suffer through life, her gift could become a blessing.”
“For most people I would say her gift should not be used. Healing comes through facing your problems and coming to terms with them.”
“Nonsense, you give drugs that distance the pain. It seems to me that your profession has become dependent on those drugs - you only have to look at the billions that are earned by the pharmaceutical companies and the expensive research they are still involved in.”
“I may agree to try it on an extreme case, for instance a patient who has become catatonic.”
That gave me an idea. “Could you do so? Could you arrange for such a patient to be brought here?”
“I need to be part of it. Laura should not be exposed either. Say you want to try a weekend of having such a patient in a normal family environment.”
“That is ludicrous, they will laugh at me.”
“No Themi, you are highly respected. They will only wonder what your real reason is, but you will not be refused.”
“Let me think about it.”
What he said or did I am not certain, but he told us we will have one such patient for two days. He said that he had to agree to two of his students being present to watch over the patient and to witness whatever we do.
“I have a young man and woman who I think Cherine would accept as Cherinians.”
“Good, then some good comes out of this, whatever the result. Do it Themi, please.”
We were told it would be done in three days, but then there was some last minute red tape and it was delayed another day. In the meantime the two students were brought to meet Cher socially and she gave Themi the thumbs up.
The patient is an elderly woman. She lay before us, totally withdrawn and looked very frail. I was puzzled by her appearance of having suffered and lived a hard life, though she has been in a coma for years. If I’d been asked, I think I would have expected to find such a person looking rested. Even though, on a non-invasive sensing of her emoting I do not sense any pain, it seems that whatever drew her into a coma is still hard at work deep within her, making what is left of her life a continuous misery.
At least, I could reassure myself, this part of our experiment is in line with my protective instincts, so I was not torn by my own emotions. My hands did perspire, but it was normal jitters and fear that I would succeed. If this works then I have to confront my own devils and decide what to do about my Cherine. Whatever I choose to do, the responsibility will be mine alone and in either case I will have to pay.
The night before, I reached out to Cherine and tenderly caressed her. She enjoyed the feelings I emoted and stretched out for me with a smile. As her body responded to my fingers and adoration of her, she began to burn with a sexual fever. She did touch me, just a few caresses as she approached her orgasm and I was so starved for her affection, for the loving touch of her, that I wanted to cry. Once she had recovered she gave me a little smile, a soft kiss and turning away from me went to sleep. In a way it is good that it happened on the night before our experiment, as it helped shore up my determination to continue with our planned experiment.
The students sat listening to Themi and tried not to show their incredulity.
“What you are about to see, you will not be able to read about in any text book and I will never present these facts in any lecture. As a matter of fact, I have only brought you here because I believe your minds are open to new ideas - I hope you are not going to disappoint me.
This young lady is going to try to help the patient by using mental abilities that are unique to her. She intends reaching into the mind of the patient and withdrawing from her the various painful experiences that led to her hiding from herself. You are not asked to believe what I tell you, as a matter of fact I would prefer you do not, so that you remain unbiased. This man,” he pointed at me, “is going to participate, but he will only be monitoring the mind of the young lady so that she suffers no harm. The minds of mentally troubled people can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Are you ready Laura?”
“I’m not certain I am.” The female student said. “Who are these people professor? What made you believe in them?”
“The young lady is my stepdaughter. As for him, your need to know will be decided afterwards. I warn you, what you see will shock you and force you to re-think all you have learnt up to now. Does that frighten you?”
The young guy gave a wry smile. “If it does, will your daughter take away our fear?” I had my first laugh for over a month. I had not sensed any aggressiveness in his question, so I put out my hand and shook his.
“I think I’m going to like you. My name is Robert and as you can see I am a foreigner. The pedantic answer to your question, which I know was meant to lighten the mood, is that none of us under any circumstance go into the mind of another person uninvited. Excepting your patient of course, but then she is not in a condition to give her consent. If she could know what we plan to do, she would probably come out of her coma, running for the door.”
“This is not your first time?”
“Themi asked that you not believe, so I will only promise to answer all your questions afterwards. I do keep my promises.”
I smoothed back the hair on Laura’s face and she leant forward with eyes closed. I was instantly within her mind.
*Hold on Laura. I am going to split myself. A part of me will come with you, but I want to also stay here and watch what happens from this end. You comfortable with that love?*
*I’m scared Robert. What if I damage her?*
*You will not. Concentrate on your gift, only taking pain that is not bearable. I’ll be with you love. Come to me first.* She came and I enveloped her with exchange motes of love. When I let her go, I felt she had used my love to strengthen her resolve.
As she moved away she took a part of me with her. Soon as she moved out of her mind I withdrew, keeping my concentration sharply focussed on the ‘space’ within her. A swirling light appeared and it held within it shades and fuzzy shapes that I decided were from the patient. The swirl speeded up looking like a storm and I saw it was tearing at the shapes within. In a panic I realised I would not be able to see where it sent them. I quickly tore off a small part and sent it into the storm with only one directive: come back from wherever you are sent.
As the last of the swirling light faded away Laura returned. She sensed my fierce concentration and did not speak, holding on to the part of me within her. It seemed to take forever, but then my bedraggled part returned and joined with me. I gave a cry.
“I could kick myself Themi. I should have guessed long ago.”
“How, I mean what are you talking about?”
“Her gift! It sends the pain to the void!”
The two students looked at us as if we were talking gobbledegook. A soft moan from their patient distracted them a moment.
“Can you get back the pain?”
“Robert, is she alright?”
“You did fine Laura. You may have taken too much though. Remember, take as little as possible. If Themi says you need to take more you can return and do so. I will not be around to help get back any of it if you take too much. Will you excuse me?”
I went to the void and becoming the void I went back in time to watch the arrival of the pain. I had never thought of pain as having energy and was curious how it would look to me as the void. As carefully as I watched I almost missed it. The arrival of the part of myself alerted me and I quickly surrounded it with energy to hold all of it. I experimented, sending in various levels of energy until the pain was lit up. Torn though they had been on the other side I saw they had regained their original shapes. Like clinging to like I guessed. It seems the law of affinity stretches across the spectrum. I let my part slip out and it returned, vanishing.
Carefully I studied what I had. I realised that the more intense the colour, the stronger the pain. I separated those that were the haziest and smallest. Now the big moment; could I return them to our patient?
That damn instinct of mine took over and I sat there fighting it. To give pain to another human, that is wrong! Instincts are inflexible and do not bend to logic (as my protector has proved to me so many times). I compromised and was allowed to take the packages with me back into the mind of our patient. I now sat immersed within myself as I examined and re-examined what the part of me had seen when it accompanied Laura. I grew to recognise where each pain had been taken from, down to the exact brain cell. Now if I could only place them back in their rightful places!
*Are you having problems Roberto?*
*Yes. I found them and have brought back some of the minor pains. Themi, it is amazing! Most of them are imagined pains. I have identified the exact locations for replacing them, but I can’t force myself to place them back.*
*You have to. Even one would prove it can be done. Roberto, I am the doctor and I am responsible for my patient. Too much was taken from her and I am ordering you to replace the pain you brought back.*
I refrained from thinking about his order and accepting it tried again. First I let go of a small pain without trying to place it correctly. It seemed to vaporise without appearing anywhere I could see. Not a good idea. I imagined the damn thing floating around, tenuous and vague, a fear or pain that nagged without being identifiable. I can only hope it will lose any strength it has, over time.
Carefully I reached out, a nerve thin projection with the tiny globule of my energy holding the pain. On reaching the cell I let the energy-pain go and it settled back in place. The cell actually looked more alive now. I repeated the performance until all I had brought was back in place.
“Themi, from our side it has been a success. How is the patient?”
“We are waiting.”
I reached out and patted her cheek gently. “Yes, let her sleep, she is exhausted. A good sleep without her demons to haunt her, will help her when she has to deal with you.”
“You can be quite a nasty man.”
I took Laura with me. “I want to repay you for your kindness. How would you like a tour?”
We went to the void and I took her with me as I became the void and brought her closer to our planet. We lazily whirled around it, taking a dip at the wall of China for her to see it clearly. From there we went to the sun and danced with it. That was all I had planned, but she was so excited I could not resist and took her to see a number of planets. When we returned I stopped to check on the patient and saw she had turned over and was lightly snoring. Smiling until I was alone, I left.
I had now reached the point where I have no more excuses. What should I do?
I reached out and felt Cherine. She was sitting alone watching info-commercials and bored out of her mind. Silently I withdrew.
I went walking. Deep in thought I walked without looking and neither realised how the time had passed nor how far I’d gone. I reached a busy intersection and looked up, grabbed an opportunity and crossed the road. I was soon back among houses.
“You made me dizzy.” Startled I turned to her.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’ve been trying to work out where you are for I don’t know how long, but all I could see was the tar and your feet appearing. I’m glad you finally had to look up.”
Cher looked serious so I knew why she was here. “Please Cherine, not now.”
“I came because I felt you need me. I’m not here to push you into doing anything Robert. I think you are doing all the pushing. Your patient has woken up. You have two young people dying to talk to you.”
“Later. You were right, I don’t have a choice. Cherine, this is tearing me up. I know it is for her good also, but I can’t avoid feeling guilty.”
She put her hand under my arm and walked alongside me without speaking, just her heart warm and tender. I stopped, pulled her to me and kissed her forehead.
“I better do it now. Wish me luck.”
“Why don’t you wait until she is asleep?”
“That would be dangerous love. At such time she would be closer to her instincts. I’d prefer to do it while she is distracted by friends.”
“She will try to stop you. Perhaps a number of us better come into her mind with you.”
“At my signal.”
I know my character. The more I wait the worse it will be. I had to do this now, but I recalled how I suffered trying to do this with the patient. How would I manage to do it to my Cherine? If I hesitate, all will be lost. She is not comatose and will fight me. I’ll never be able to try again. We went to Alki’s home and I explained my thoughts. By now Themi had come over also.
“I have thought of a solution, but it could turn out worse for all of us. You heard about the time I suppressed all emotion? Cherine had to trick me as I saw no benefit in my having emotions. If I don’t do this I lose Cherine; if I do all my loves may lose me.”
“What if you create a trigger word we can use that would release your emotions?”
“Alki, whatever I know now, I will know then. You have never had occasion to deal with a person who has absolutely no emotions to influence his thinking. I’m not bright, but you will not be able to fool me.”
“What if you split yourself. The dominant part as you are and the other just logical. If that part is not strong enough to exist without you, logic would demand it joins with you again.”
“You are using emotional thinking Robert. He would know that all he has to do is die, go to the void and grow. After that he can return here stronger than I am. Just in case you are wondering, he too can become the void. Do you have any concept of the damage we could cause if we have a battle there?”
“All that is besides the point.” Themi said. “You are all confusing emotion with instinct. Roberto, you have to find a way to weaken your instincts. Do not try anything before you find a way.”
“I don’t know enough about my mind to do that.” Something teased at the back of my mind. I tried to think what I had done with his patient that suggested an answer. “When I split off a small part of myself and sent it to see where the energy-pain was being sent, I gave it only one order to obey. Come back. It was too small to be aware to a degree that it would have an agenda of its own. I do not think instinct would be strong either. Themi, what do you think?”
“You want to split yourself into many parts?” He was aghast at the idea.
“I have not been one soul for a long time, since I created our spaceship-world. Even there I am not in one part as there are various duties to perform. I think I could safely split into about twenty non-sentient parts - perhaps as many as thirty.”
Laura was called.
“My love, I need to come into your mind to see how many pains and so on you took from Cherine. May I come in?”
After recounting I decided it would be safe to work on about two hundred parts. Eight parts to each of mine if I split into twenty five.
“That will not be necessary Roberto. You do not need all of them back. Half should be enough.”
“Something, not logic, tells me I need much more than that. First of all, I will assume that the strongest pains, guilts and so on must come first. They played an important role in moulding her. Tell me Themi, is it not possible that something that caused a lot of pain did not affect her character as much as something minor? If at the time of some small disappointment she was at the edge of her endurance, would it not be possible for that to cause her to snap and change her way of thinking?”
“True. I’m sorry, you are right, you need all.”
“I’d be prepared to risk it at say one hundred and fifty. If I succeed with more, then that will be a bonus.”
I went to the void and using the same technique again snared her pain as it arrived. This now was part of my love and I was painstaking in my examination of each one. I worked out how much time it will take to reinstall each pain and guessed the time Cherine will allow me. I cannot allow more than four packages to each and no matter how I tried, I could not reduce the number to under thirty nine.
“There is a danger Roberto?” Alki asked. Cher immediately nodded and I agreed verbally.
“There will be no personality to pull me back together. No part capable of thinking and solving a problem should things work out wrong. Based on previous experience, I suggest the following. I split into forty seven parts. The one part to be the equivalent of eight parts. It would be just large enough to coordinate matters if needed.”
They were all afraid, only sweet Cher looking back at me with a steady gaze. “You can do it Robert.”
I smiled. “Tell me one Cherine who would not say that.”
“You can do it, if you listen to me.”
“Oh. I’m listening.”
“Before you do this, you take a part of me. It will make you stronger.”
“How can I do that? We must not bond, love.”
She laughed. “What do you think you have been doing with all of us?”
“I see the sense. You are asking whether I would prefer you take a part of me rather than Cherine? Much as I would prefer it, I must admit she is right. It can only be her. You know how fierce they are about protecting their Roberts. She would enhance you far more than I could. She will also help you fight your instinct, I would only add to the confusion in you.”
I thought about it. I sat up and her face tightened. “I’m sorry, I cannot do it. It is likely Cherine will hate me for doing this. I will not allow her to have reason to hate others too.”
“I suspected you would think of that. Robert, it is not a matter of choice. You do not belong to yourself only. You have proven time and again how important you are to all Cherinians. You have to accept my help and risk her wrath. It will not last long anyway. When she reverts to being the Cherine who adores you, she will understand and forgive.”
“Her heart is big enough, I don’t dispute that. There will be however, always, a suspicion and it will damage the way she feels about you. I will not do it. As for my importance. Cherine, I have the right to also be selfish and under certain circumstances think only of myself or one loved one. To think your way would change me and I refuse to take that road.”
There would be no opportunity to practice. Each part has to have a very clear understanding of its role and how to succeed. Back in the void I prepared myself, snuck a peek at Cherine and gave my signal. Within a split second I was within her and all parts were frantically doing their work.
Despite the ‘attack’ being unexpected, within a second Cherine was protecting herself and desperately trying to kill me. By the time Cher and Rob got her to understand it is me she is killing, she had already destroyed eleven parts of me. She then did what she should have done right at the start. She kicked me out. I had succeeded in reinstalling about one hundred and thirty seven packages. Quickly I sent the remaining packages to the void and wrapped them in a cocoon of energy.
I opened my eyes to the sight of Cherine on the carpet in front of me. Why she had jumped to us I do not know, but I saw her sobbing, felt her bewildered hurt at my traitorous action and cried out, “I had to Cherine.”
“You had no right! You do that again I’ll kill you.” Her voice was filled with hatred.
“I promise never again. Only if you invite me…”
“Never!” She stared at me and her eyes went cold and hard. She cut the link. I heard myself screaming in the distance.
“What…how…Cherine, you?” I’d felt the difference. Cher had linked to me.
“You were dying Robert, I had to. You’ve lost too much of yourself and losing the link…you would not have lasted long.”
I looked around for my Cherine, but could feel she is not anywhere close by.
“She jumped Robert. We don’t know where.”
A Cherine is a Cherine is a Cherine - we all know a saying similar to that. The truth is that it is not true. A link to my Cherine is far more than just a link. It is part of the bonding that comes of our love, a reaching in a million little ways for each other. The link by Cher does help, but it is like trying to live on bottled air. For a few days or weeks bearable, a lifeline. After that?
All Cherinians of this world were trying hard to strengthen me with their love. They asked me to join them in the void to dance. The way I felt now, all I wanted of the void was the becoming of the void where I am but a force that controls other forces and there are no large dark eyes to tear at my heart. It would be very easy to lose myself forever in the void.
There is a thick invisible woollen blanket between the world and I. I hear, but the words are faint echoes with little meaning, sometimes just one word slipping through. I see, but all colour blurs and is alien so that I struggle to find meaning. My only comforts are my lonely beach, the wind and the occasional memories of my Cherine. I hardly notice the days and nights passing. What value have they when her heart does not touch mine?
There is no comfort in deceiving myself. Cherine has stayed away too long. She has set her heart against me. She may love me and ache for my arms, but she does not forgive easily and she feels my actions were a violation of the one sacred part of her. I see the other side of the coin now and there is no peace for me. Where I feared what would she become if she stayed as she was, I now saw the possibilities should she refuse her love for me. To spend an eternity in pain, growing slowly bitter and empathy dying. What have I done to my little girl?
Cher gradually came to me less often, finding little to reassure me with and unable to bear what she sees and feels in me. Rob comes daily, walking silently, his presence that tiny spark that fights against the eternal dark that calls to me.
I sat in the garden, not feeling well enough to walk the beach. My healer had not failed me, it was my spirit that was weak. Alki sat close by, his chair not facing me as he read.
“You have work Alki. Do not waste your time here.”
He turned his chair. “Work can wait. Caring for my friend is never a waste of time.”
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
9th November, 2019
- posted on Steemit: 9th November, 2019
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