BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.
Every door the huge man shoved aside smashed a tired, confused, half-formed thought from James’ aching head as he rushed to keep up with him. “where are we going?” he protested “can someone please explain to me what’s going on!”
“All in due time. For now you must speak with our leader”
“your leader? What? Is this like.. .some sort of cult or something? I don’t want to talk to any leader! I just want me and my friend to be taken home”
“not possible I’m afraid. You’ll soon understand.” The big man knocked twice on the huge oak door and a shutter slid open at face height and a woman’s voice whispered; “ah. Reginald. come in”
The door swung back, and James was nudged into a vast hall with a roaring fire; in a stone hearth which made at least one end of the room look welcoming. The door closed behind him leaving him alone with nothing but the moth-bitten arm chairs and the stuffed animal heads arrayed along the wall for company. Or so he thought. “Mister Turner…..” The woman’s voice nearly made him jump out of his skin! He turned around irritably. “yes I’m sorry for all the secrecy my boy.” said the woman leaving the shadow of the doorway where she had been standing. “but we had to be sure it was actually you.”
“and.. Why wouldn’t it be?” demanded James “it was you people who kidnapped me!”
“ooh! Please don’t use that term! We only did what was absolutely necessary”
“necessary?! You attacked me! Why am I here?! What do you want!” His voice had raised to a shout and the big man who’d escorted him burst in. “everything alright Rowena?” he asked
“yes, yes fine. He’s just.. A bit excitable s’all. It’s understandable after everything that’s happened.”
“right. I’ll erm… I’ll just be outside then”
“Yes. Thank you Reg” The door closed. “now then” she turned to James. “sit down and I’ll explain everything” she drifted to a seat facing the fire and James chose one close by.
“First. Your friend is perfectly fine. Ah. Ah. Ah.!” she raised her hand. “sit” she nodded back at the chair James had half moved to jump out of. “she’s fine. And in the care of our doctor whom, I’m assured you’ve met.” “ He’s a rather… eccentric fellow” she added seeing the blank look on James’ face
“HE’S a doctor!?”
“yes. You will find many of our… compatriots are somewhat, different from what you may be used to James” She stared deep into the fire and said; “I am afraid: a lot of what I am about to tell you may come as a shock James. Or even be completely unbelievable. But rest assured it is the truth and. Once you’ve heard me out you will be free to see your lady-friend and I shall answer any questions you may have.”
“Im listening” he answered.
“I Presume: James, that you are familiar with the Stories of Jesus Christ and his disciples?
“ yeah, but, What has that got to do with anything? Oh god!” James’ face dropped “Please don’t tell me your bible bashers!” Her laughter resonated around the room. A high pitched, pleasant chuckle which went on for a good while before she mastered herself and answered; “No. Dear boy. In time you will understand why that amused me so. But for now at least, you will have to bear with me.”
“erm, Can I ask your name first? Only… I can’t trust someone when I don’t even know their name.”
“a valid point!” She declared “and politely worded, I’m impressed. So, naturally. I am Obliged to grant your request. My name is Rowena Rose. And I am somewhat, unlike most people.”
“aye, you kidnap school kids and drone on about Jesus!”
“James. Please do not interrupt or this will get very tiresome.” This time Her dulcet tones barely disguised the threat.
“James. Would It interest you to know that Almost everything you’ve been taught about the world is completely wrong?”
“well. Yes. But, you can’t seriously expect me to believe you over everyone who’s ever taught me ever.” he laughed.
“If you ever fully come to appreciate our enlightenment you will never believe another person outside of our order again. We’re… Special James. Rather like yourself.”
“me?!” he stammered “I’m nothing special!”
“Oh. But you are. Have you ever wondered James? About certain things in your life? About your parents?”
“My parents died when I was 4 months old” there’s not alot to ask about to be honest”
“what about you though? You must have questions about things that have seemed strange to you.” she pressed “what about the young boy you assisted walking to school?”
“you know about that?”
“anybody watching local media stations knows about that James. It made quite an impression on certain people.”
“why?” he ventured “I didn’t do anything”
“my dear boy! I thought you were intelligent. Colin Freeman should of died that day James but, he didn’t. Because of you.”
“me?! I barel…
“YOU” she interrupted “snapped his arm back into place, sealed his wounds and… intriguingly, replaced his lost blood without even realising it.
“what!? This is crazy. Look. I barely touched him. He was lucky. That’s all.”
“He was lucky you were there yes. James. What If I was to tell you that there is a secret group of people with healing powers like your own, spread all over the globe.”
“I’d laugh. I don’t. have. healing powers! I didn’t fix that lad it just.. Happened.”
“Like the pet cat your care home had when you were small?”
“NO!.. err what? How do you know about that?” James was really flummoxed now.
“we’ve been watching you for a while now James. Right from the start we knew you were something special.”
“but that was years ago!”
“True, but James. My order stretches back thousands of years. So a ten year wait for you wasn’t much to ask really.”
“James. I belong to a group of people who share your abilities, In a sense.”
“ a sense?”
“yes. In that. We all posses limited power over living flesh, and other natural materials, but our skills require honing for many, many years. Decades in fact to become powerful enough to bring a soul back from the brink of death. That is why we’re so interested in you.”
“what do you mean? power?” despite his disbelief James was acutely interested now. After all, she was right about the Cat, and the Injured boy. Both had felt incredibly strange at the time.
“I mean, James, the power to Heal. Shape, Create. The power to make the world a better place.”
“but, if you people have the power to stop people from dieing. And to create a better world. Then. Why don’t you?” She smiled at his bright, interested face before looking down at the floor
“Because. There are those who do not wish to see such a world. Those who believe that only by having suffering, can others have Joy. Only by having poor can others be rich. They would see our kind destroyed so they can live in wealth.”
“but that’s awful!” James stammered, “Who’d do that?!”
“Governments.. Big corporations. Anyone seeking wealth really. If we show ourselves POOF! We are removed.”
“killed. Taken. Call it what you will. Our history is full of the more foolhardy sharing their skills openly among the rest of the world only to be hailed as a witch. Or A devil worshiper. The most notable of which was Jesus Christ”
“No. No way are you trying to tell me that Jesus was one of your “order” !”
“It’s true. Just stop and think about it. Think of all his miracles. What did they Include?”
“ errrrm” James’ mind ran back to his childhood - vague memories of the lords prayer mumbling along to school hymns and falling in asleep bible sermons. “He cured a blind man”
“indeed. And pray tell, How did he do so?”
“I.. I can’t remember but bare-handed I think”
“exactly. He used the same gift you used on the Freeman boy.”
“but.. Just saying I do have this “gift” or whatever you want to call it. Why did it take sixteen years for me to notice it?”
“because it’s not something that comes easy. We’re amazed that you’ve mastered such complex use already.”
“However, I digress. The answer to why we cannot publicly be seen to help is that many people. Powerful people don’t want a better world. They do not wish to change the Status quo, as It were”
“the balance of power dear.” she smiled sympathetically at him. “ I’ll give you another example.” James nodded. “Think of Medieval Europe. Now, can you tell me, who held the most power then?”
“errm, the catholic church?” guessed James
“good! The Church. Now. I’m assuming you have heard of the Inquisition?”
“sort of. didn’t they get rid of people who didn’t agree with Roman Catholicism?”
“yes. Or rather. That was their official role. What they actually did was remove anybody who might make people question the church’s teachings.”
“why? My dear child at this point the Church ruled Everything. They made the rules and the rules stated that the Church ruled. If you argued you were going straight to hell.”
“But, what about other places? The church doesn’t have power anymore, how is this relevant?”
“what you must understand child.” Rowena said, staring intently at him “Is that it was not, and was in fact, never. A particular group of people who hated us. Our enemy lies with whomever holds the most power at any given time. In this day and age it is Governments and big corporations. For instance James do you know how hard it would be to make a light-bulb which would last forever? Never die. Never need to be replaced?”
“erm, no… I don’t” replied James, confused once again “hard, I guess or It would have been done already”
“Spoken like a true mute” Rowena laughed “ My boy, The companies could do it tomorrow, but why would they? Why would they do anything to benefit the ordinary world when it would lose them money in the long-term?”
She could see she wasn't getting anywhere. "James, over the years Our kind have been persecuted the world over for upsetting the order of things. People are scared of what they do not understand and we’re. well, we’re pretty much unexplainable. Nobody knows how we got our powers or where from. Some say god, others, genetic mutation. But letting the wider world know about it invites our destruction. That is why we had to take you.”
Rowena sighed and began; “A Company named, NAMIT. North American Medical Insurance Trust. Heard about your little exploits. James. This company rakes in 1.28 Billion dollars a year. Employs 35,000 people and has assets totalling nearly 40 Billion dollars. Can you imagine the scale of this company? Of course. Their mangers know of our existence. But, just think. For one second what would happen if their 40 Million paying members were to learn that… at a simple touch they could be healed of any illness or ailment what so ever. Their business would be smashed, completely, utterly smashed. Then consider that this is one of several companies working in the United state in this role. If they all went out of business tomorrow. The Country would be in turmoil, Unemployment, .. Imagine a world where doctors are no longer needed? They would go from being one of the most sought after people in the world to a nobody, In the blink of an eye. Universities make Millions from Medical degrees. Pointless. With such threats to stability even the Governments of nations are willing to ignore us if we were to be swept under the carpet.”
“James. What I’m trying to explain is that.. The world doesn’t want people like us. It’s a sad truth but its a truth none the less It’s…” she glanced across at his innocent, finely chiselled, Sleeping face, glowing in the firelight.
He had no idea how many people wanted him dead at that very instant. She hurried away before her sobs woke him.