"...Eddie, you bear the responsibility for how you live your life from hereon. Live it the right way and you absolve yourself of your past. You will have the opportunity to right some of the wrongs. For the wrongs you cannot right? Use your abilities to help others so that the good you have done finally outweighs all else that you did. To do evil now would be the real crime, for you are now aware.”
He was silent a while. “You have a very gentle way of reprimanding. What you are really saying is that the last twenty years I spent cut off from mankind, aware of the evil I had done, but not doing anything to atone, those were my years of guilt.”
I nodded, pleased with him. “I had not thought of it quite that way, but you are right - though I also accept it was part of a process you needed for evolving.”
“Poor Hettie! Your empathy will be a sword.”
“Now you understand why I am walking in the garden trying to find a way to avoid hurting her?”
“You must not Robert. She too must see herself clearly.”
“Her memories will be filled with justifications, she must be able to see them for what they are.”
“I think she will, if her present age and way of thinking is allowed to remain dominant.”
“It will, her memories will be given to her, but they will have the feel of being ‘second-hand’, they will not really feel as if they belong to her. These days she has had as she is, have strengthened her.”
I felt Hettie coming out, so I steered us back into the house.
I faced her, “You are going about this in the wrong way. You have returned a meek and defeated little mouse. Hettie, we need that girl of spirit, the one with the fire that made her such a wonderful person.”
“Give me back my memories please. All you have told me I did, none of it seems real. Let me see what I did.”
“You wish to have your memories as a kind of penance. They will enable you to feel guilt and that way you can punish yourself.”
“What are you asking of me!!” she cried out.
“I want you to take your memories for the purpose of understanding yourself, why you did what you did. I want you to take that understanding and use it to change yourself, make your life the best it can be. I want to see you grow over the years, become a lovely woman of love. I want to see your way of life, the softness of your heart, turn you into a Cherinian. We do not ask and it is not necessary for you to ask for atonement. Hettie, atonement is only another form of self love. Accept you did wrong and try to live your life in such a way that you become the best Hettie there could be, and all the ghosts of the past will depart. You may have the chance to give love, do so and that is the best atonement of all - for then your mind and heart are turned outwards towards others, not inwards, examining yourself and checking for a balance you can never achieve. Allow others to love you, even those you wronged and they will make their own peace with the past.”
Cherine and Dommi glanced at each other and giggled. Irritated I glanced at them. “What is so funny?”
Dommi, quick as ever in trying to accept responsibility answered, “I’m sorry Robert, you sounded just like a preacher.”
“I am a preacher, as a matter of fact, I am the head of our church. The Cherinian Church of Empathy.”
Nicko groaned. “Now he appoints himself as our Pope - I suppose he will soon be demanding we kiss his hand.”
“That is the Catholic Pope Nicko. As your Pope it is my duty to kiss your hand, the hand of all Cherinians. Would you like me to start with you?”
Nicko looked alarmed for a moment and then he saw the grin on Cherine’s face and he laughed. “If you really want to turn things around then you should make it the rule that you have to kiss our feet. That would really make your point.”
“That would be cumbersome, you would all soon get fed up of having to take your socks and shoes off every time you see me. Cherine, you were the first Cherinian so it is only fitting you be first now. Come, let me kiss your feet, after that I will be quite happy to kiss the feet of Nicko.”
Eddie softly told his wife, “Hettie love, he has not forgotten you. It is just his way, when things get too intense for him, he starts clowning around.”
That was how easy it was to kill the Cherinian Church of Empathy. I may have enjoyed being it’s Pope for a while - especially the part about kissing their feet; their embarrassment at my doing so would have been a fine joke for me.
“I wish there was a way not to give you back your memories Hettie. If you are to become a full person, attain all you can become, you need them. Apart from the wrongs you committed, you also grew wiser in some ways and a lot of what you learnt should not be thrown away. What of the years of love you and Eddie have shared, those too must remain a part of your lives. Please keep that in mind. Your memories are not being given to you for the purpose of you using them to punish yourself. Use them to grow into a better and stronger person. Build or rebuild, based on whatever was good.
Once they have been transferred to you, we will give you time alone to re-absorb them. Do not use that time to make any decisions - that by the way is an order. You will wait until we sit together again and I will tell you the rest of what I have to say. Then you may make your decisions. Is that understood and agreed?”
“That is all I ask of you sweetie.”
We took her back to the bedroom and she was slowly given back her memories, giving her time to review them in a chronological order, sickening her. When we were finished, I knew she would now need time to review them again and digest them until they become part of her.
“We will leave you now. One more thing Hettie, those of us who have held your memories for you, we did not examine them. They are yours and private to you, so do not fear we know what you did or thought. That is not our way. Eddie, please come with us, she needs time alone.”
I made Dommi take her supper in to her and next morning Wendy took her breakfast. At lunchtime we took a tray in again.
“Robert, she has not touched any of the food.”
“That is alright Wendy, I did not expect her to. By tonight I think she will be ready for a meal and a talk.”
Actually I had not been monitoring her and to work off the anxiety I had sat at the computer designing new work for Alki. Not anywhere close to my best, just efficiently pleasant, but I was certain he could make use of it.
She showed consideration by proving my prediction true and came out to find every single Cherinian waiting for her.
“I sense a lot of hurt in you Hettie, but I also see growth. Have you kept your word?”
“I have. Why are all these people here Robert?”
“These are the people you wronged. They have all come to give their love if you will accept it. First though and more urgent, those little girls whose bodies you took, do you wish for us to bring them back as I have offered to do for Eddie?”
“He deserved a second chance Robert, he changed on his own. You had to trick me to change me, I have not proven I deserve another chance.”
“Do those girls deserve another chance? Then what has it got to do with what you deserve? Just thinking of yourself again?”
Her cheeks turned red. “I did not mean it that way.”
“Well, I did mean what I said. You turn inwards to find ways to punish yourself and you will achieve nothing. Turn outwards, be prepared to give love and you will find peace. The girls and boys we bring back, they will need a mother and father to look after them and love them. Are you willing to be their mother?”
“I swear I will look after them as if they were my children.”
“I’m sorry Eddie, I will have to find others to look after them. I want them to be loved, not just looked after, pampered to assuage your own feelings of guilt.”
“I meant I would love them Robert.”
“How do you know you would love them Hettie? Apart from Eddie you have not loved another human being in over two hundred years. Remember, they come from shitty families, they were poor and uneducated. They might turn out to be horrible kids.”
She began to cry. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“Because it is important for you to realise they are human beings, just like you. They need to be loved for who they are, not as a payment for what you did to them. Do you really think you can Hettie?”
“Yes I can!”
“And you Eddie?”
“I will love them Robert”
“You both have a few weeks before I bring them back. We cannot do so while we are still in the middle of a conflict. Use this time to become close to each other again. Your love for each other will make you a family when the kids come.”
“What are we going to do about the other Eddie and Hettie?”
“I intend bringing them here as our guests.”
That caused an uproar, even Eddie looking at me as if I had gone nuts. I took my Cherine into my arms and sat down.
“Take over the protector, love.”
I closed my eyes and went into the void, becoming a part of it. I gathered the energy and using as much of it as I could I speared my way down to them.
“You spoke of my weakness, my love, and claimed that would be my undoing. I decided to use my weakness as my weapon, as I warned you at the time.”
“Cutting off communications with the other Hettie does not prove love is your weapon.”
“I did not cut off communications between you. I have come here for two reasons. First of all, I wished to thank you for not attacking during this time of what would have been our time of weakness. The second reason is, I have come to invite you to stay with us for a while. It will give you the opportunity to get to know us…perhaps it could help you decide on more effective ways of fighting us,” I added with a small smile.
“Eddie there is a catch to this. He is trying to trick us in some way.”
He looked at me disdainfully. “That is obvious. We thank you, but we shall not be accepting your invitation. However, should you be willing to surrender without terms, we invite you to do so.”
“I am sorry, it would have been far more pleasant if you had accepted my first invitation. You now force me to order you to become our guests for a short time.”
I brought forth all of my energy and power and it shone out of me as the two of them are capable of seeing. I spread it out and wrapped them within it and carried them back to our home. They used all of their powers to try and free themselves, to try and harm me, but I ignored their efforts. As we arrived, they immediately lashed out at the others, hoping I would try to defend them and thus lose my control over their bodies. I again ignored them, the protector being fully capable of protecting all my loved ones.
“Eddie, Hettie, we need to give you different names so that you know when we are talking to you. I shall call you Edward…and Hettie, you I shall call Doris - at least until you deserve to be called Hettie again."
I hope you enjoy reading this long, long story of fantasy, adventure and love.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
8th July, 2019
* posted on Steemit: 8th July, 2019
@nikosnitza - @wakeupkitty