Swallowing the bile

I kneel down by the injured human. I was right - this is not a normal journey. There's something strange going on, and I can't bear it for much longer. The Commander's face swims into my mind.

"Keep going, Mai, you're going to be fine." From the air next to me, Olivia drops onto my shoulder.

"Need any help?" she says. I open my mouth to answer her when she Changes, becoming a teenage girl in the blink of an eye. She's got red and black hair - I guess that's why she likes to be a Black Widow spider. Together we lean over the woman and start to heal her. I recognise Olivia at last - we were at babyschool together. She must be a healer too - everyone in our district is.

I can hear murmurings from behind us. Evidently they've noticed Olivia.

With two of us, the job doesn't take so much energy, and the woman is healed within five minutes or so. I place the tip of my middle finger against the tip of Olivia's - a silver spark entwines them, then winks out. Both of us can feel that we've got new energy. Sharing always works.

"Well done, both of you," says the Commander in my head. I smile and make my way back to my seat, hoping this is the last injury that I have to deal with. I don't know if I can do it for much longer. The blood makes me feel sick.

"Come on, Mai," says Olivia. "I'll sit by you, shall I? No need for being a spider any longer, if I'm not the only freak." Her light-hearted banter makes me laugh.

"I am not a freak," I say, gravely but laughing inside.

It was the last time I laughed in quite a while, because that is when everything started to go wrong.

The End

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