Short Fantasy Story About a Healer and the Mysterious Consequences of Their Rare Power: The Truth Below
The Truth Below
“Please, hurry, my daughter’s in pain!” cried a mother, barging into my house. I stood unprepared, in nothing but my bath robes, and looked at her blankly. She was sweating and her grey hair was an unruly mess.
“She’s gone into labor and she’s losing so much blood!” she said, holding me by the shoulders and shaking back and forth.
“Where is she? Bring her to me.” I finally said, coming back to my senses. In came a stretcher, with a young woman no older than twenty writhing in pain. Her nightdress was drenched in crimson blood, ragged breathing heard from her mouth. She was playing with death and I needed to transfer this, fast.
The man who pushed her in ran out, the two mothers left alone with me.
“I need you to lay straight please.” I requested softly.
“I...I can’t.” she replied hoarsely.
“The baby is in a bad position. You need to stop moving.” I demanded, trying to pull her legs and uncurl her body.
She yelped as I moved her vertically. I felt her hips and her womb. The baby was fighting for its life inside, I could feel it choking. The umbilical cord wasn’t where it’s supposed to be. We had minutes, maybe seconds before all hope was lost.
“I need you to leave ma’am.” I told her mother.
“But she needs….”
“Leave, now!” I yelled. No one should see this. It was something I kept to myself and it was to remain a secret. If these people knew my true actions… I’d be exiled.
She left reluctantly, but closed the door as she did.
I felt the woman’s hip bones again. They weren’t far enough apart, and she hadn’t dilated enough for the baby’s head to come out. I considered a cesarin, but I wanted to give a natural birth. I believed it was still possible.
I must move her bones apart manually, and by God, it would hurt like hell.
“Ma’am, I need you to close your eyes and keep them closed. Don’t open them no matter what.” I told her. She nodded.
I conjured up my might, and my hands glowed blue as I found and held the bones on either side. Heat pulsed through my blood and out from me palms, warming her skin where it made contact. I gripped it firmly, then began to pull.
She screamed and screamed, the pain unbearable. More blood poured out, covering my hands and the already dirty mattresses beneath her. I wondered why they didn’t bring her to me earlier, this would’ve been easier.
The heat peaked and she screamed again, crying in agony.
“Don’t scream ma’am, he’s scared.” I told her.
“Wha… what?” she mumbled, eyes still squeezed shut.
“Your son. He’s alarmed. Calm down, please.” She nodded, and I continued the process.
“You’ll be out of suffering soon, and it’ll be all worth it.” I spoke soothingly.
“Your son will be beautiful, and you’ll be the first to see him. All the misery will be worth it, I promise.”
My hands lost their glow, and returned to normal. I heard the wonderful sound of a newborn’s cry.
I held up a curly haired baby boy, covered in blood as he first opened his eyes to the world. She had stopped moving, his mother, and slowly opened her eyelids. Tears flowed from them, a smile forming on her lips.
“Gabriel,” she whispered, naming her precious.
An hour later, the mother and baby were securely asleep in a patient chamber behind my house and the whole bloody mess was cleaned up. Her mother and the man who came with them accompanied them. I told them to send for me, by horse, had anything happened, and that I needed to go somewhere.
I usually cure small things, cuts and bruises as well as diseases and pain in general. I’ve only had two other women give birth before, and none of those were this bad. I had to see the effect below.
I threw on a black cloak and descended the hills of our village, Braria, and traveled to a Feris Valley. People here never met people of my town, and I made sure of it.
Here, I was known as the Griever. Bringer of pain. Witch. Monster. And all of those were true.
My gift wasn’t necessarily a good thing, and guilt had buried itself deep in my heart. To everything there was a catch, and my power was no different.
If I didn’t use it regularly, I’d die. My raven hair would go white, my blue eyes grey, and I’d age in a matter of seconds. I’d turn to dust. Unfortunately for the Feris folk, I was a selfish woman and they were the victim of my actions.
What would’ve happened had I decided to not use my gift. People of Braria would’ve suffered without a healer, but the Ferisians would have been unharmed. Alas, I care too much for myself and I must look for my best interest.
“Griever,” Kyle greeted, bowing as I entered the gates. People here were entitled to me, my subjects so to speak. The blue light that emanated from my palms Braria was a red glow here, and if I touched someone there, it would touch someone here. That’s just how it worked, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Here, everyone was diseased. Everyone was in pain. Everyone had cuts and bruises. Because of me.
“Take me to the infirmary.” I commanded. He nodded, and the large gash on his neck could be seen. He limped forward. I remembered whose pain he had been given. A little boy, Noel, broke his leg a while ago, and I’d obviously healed it. Kyle, however, was now crippled forever.
Inside the infirmary was one woman, a woman once pregnant. Her lifeless baby laid beside her, her hips broken and her blood in pools on the floor. She was unconscious.
“Will she die?” Kyle asked.
“Yes.” I told him.
I held his shoulder for a moment, then left to sit on the marble bench. I watched as people walked around me, many cowering away from me, some cursing at me. I saw the pile of death in the distance, rotting bodies and fresh ones thrown together.
I kept my eyes narrow and straight, trying to rid myself of this horrid feeling. I must keep using my gift, I did not want to die. I cannot die.
It’s not my fault my power transfers pain to another. Hell, I would’ve been fine without this damn power at all. But no, my mother had to sell her soul to a sorcerer just before she died, to give me an ability. It was her mistake, and I prayed that all my sins would be banked on her.
Was it so bad to want to live? At the cost of others, maybe, but I do care for me. Who would’ve done differently?
My name is Kora, witch and master healer. I’m beloved by my people of Braria, and held as a high official. I bring peace to their hearts, and bravery to their souls when they are faced with tasking issues.
In Feris Valley, I’m known by a different name. I hold a different position, and different purpose. People run from me and curse my existence. They abhor me, and only look to me as a cruel leader. I do not blame them.
I’m known by many names in total, and here I’m known famously by this one. This one name that strikes my humanity every time I’m called by it. The one that makes me shudder, the one that makes me angry, the one that makes me sad.
Here, I’m known as the Griever.
© 2018 Bushra Ibrahim