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It was the beginning of our third week home, and a couple days past my research on healing by laying on of hands, when I worked up the nerve to call Cora. I waited until after Talon went to work on some of his neglected homework because of his father's insistence, after both Josh and Paul wandered by hungry before their watch, and after Granny and I cleaned up from dinner, but before it was too late to be considered impolite. As the phone rang, I wondered if Cora knew I was calling her. I guess psychics didn't need caller ID.
She answered by the fourth ring and didn't sound surprised. She said she'd been expecting my call at some point since the events of last spring, but chuckled and said no she hadn't known it would happen at this precise time, and she couldn't read my mind. But it actually brought a shiver to my spine because she came out and said it without me asking her those questions out loud. I asked her how she was feeling and we spent a few minutes getting caught up. But Cora waited for me to ask what was on my mind before saying anything else, although I had my suspicions she already knew what this conversation was going to be about. I could picture her in my head, a small, delicate woman of nearly ninety- years- old, long white hair and clear blue eyes, with wrinkled alabaster skin.
"Cora, did you know last spring that Talon was going to die and I was going to bring him back?" I asked softly.
"Yes and no, my dear. Life is full of possibilities depending on the paths we choose," said Cora.
I processed this. Things could change. The future was not set but determined by the paths were took or didn't take in the present and even the past.
"Why didn't you tell me that it was at least a possibility?"
There was a pause on the other end as Cora seemed to drawl in a weary breathe.
"I didn't want to influence your decision, Mera. And besides you wouldn't have believed me even if I had told you."
That was true. I would have never believed I would have the power to bring Talon back to life, but I probably would have believed he would die because of me. And that thought alone would have destroyed me and changed my path. I would have pushed him away, thinking it was the only way to save him, and in the process I would have lost myself. I would never have started to understand my potential. Never gone to Valle Del Lagarto. But if I had known the cost to discover this new power was Talon dying was, I would have chosen a different path.
"Cora, what do you know about my ability to heal people by touch? I don't want to be afraid of it. I want to learn how to control it so I can use it for good," I said finally.
"Learn how to control it so it doesn't control you. You must conquer it, but keep that healthy sense of fear and respect my dear, because powers should be respected and used wisely."
I smiled though she couldn't see it over the phone. Well maybe she could see me smiling.
"Yes because with great power comes great responsibility," I quoted uncle Ben from Spiderman.
Cora chuckled. "Wise words no matter where they originated." Then her light tone darkened. "But yes, my dear. But there are a few other things you must remember as you set out on this path of yours. You can't save everyone. You are not limitless. To heal you must steal energy from one life to give to another. As you found out the hard way. Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you should do it. And most importantly, there is only one God and he lives above."
"Thank you Cora. I'll keep your words close. I have a lot to think about. To heal others, I have to kill a part of myself. That could have some serious consequences."
Would healing others age me quicker? Shorten my life? Make me ill? Or just kill me outright? And how much energy would it require to heal a broken arm vs something like a heart attack? I already saw the consequences of bringing back a life completely.
"Everything comes at a cost, Mera. It just depends on how little or how much you're willing to pay. But you don't have to pay the price in full yourself, dear. It's not just your own energy you can use to heal others. You can take energy and you can give it."
"What? How would I even know how much to take without hurting someone else or killing them? And why would I want to risk someone else like that?" I mussed.
I knew I was capable of taking the energy of others. I'd done it in some sorts when I'd taken the souls in the past. It seemed to be the same sort of concept, but I barely knew what I was doing and no way would I risk hurting someone I loved.
"That is up to you to decide. Only you can answer those questions."
I took a deep breath. I had more questions, but I sensed I was going to get no more answers from Cora, probably only more questions, and maybe she didn't know all the answers anyway. I mean how many healers could she actually know, or more correctly how many shifter healers? This had to be new territory for her also.
"Thank you Cora. Thanks for everything. You saved my life and I am grateful for all the things you've done for me and the Theron's. Can I call you again sometime?"
"It's been my pleasure. Feel free to call me anytime, my dear. I try and use my gifts to help others when I can. I turned what my mother called a curse into my blessing. Perception is what separates a blessing from a curse."
The next day, while I was doing some math problems on scrap paper, I received a paper cut on my right thumb. I said a not so nice word and watched the line of blood appear on my stinging appendage. Blessing or curse? I looked at my thumb, took a deep breath, and willed it to heal itself. I watched as the skin knit itself back together. I felt a wave of dizziness pass over me abruptly, but it was gone as swiftly as it had come. Only the bead of blood remained behind upon my skin as evidence. Blessing or curse?