How Much Would You Give?
She smiled again. "Well, what now?"
"I am sure 'our three lovely ghost friends' will be here any minute. They never fail to show up, do they? Hopefully they will have some news for us about, well . . . him."
"Actually we do," said Jacob, apparently arriving without our knowledge, with Mimi and Dale on his tail. "And I don't think you're going to like it."
'Of course not' I thought sarcastically. 'When is news involving Paul ever good?'
"It seems," Jacob continued, "that we are not the only ones that Paul has pressed under his thumb. There are others --- a good handful of them."
I stared dumbly at him and waited for my mind to process what he'd said. "You have got to be kidding me! What the fu-!"
"Ah-hem!" I took in the pointed look Jesse was giving me and frowned deeper. For a second, I didn't understand what he was looking at me so disapprovingly for, so I traced back to what I was saying and blushed slightly.
Mimi stared disbelievingly at me. "You didn't expect him to have more victims? For the amount of us to spread?"
"That's just the thing! It's exactly what I expected. Just not so soon! It's been, what, a day and a half at most?"
"Regardless, Susannah, it has happened this soon, and we need to do something. Quickly, to be sure. We will start your training today. You will be ready."
I didn't bother asking what I would be ready for. It would have been stupid to even ask, because I knew he was talking about. …Being ready for Paul.
"Did you . . . Um- meet any of them?" I asked, trying to scurry any traces of the former subject from my mind.
"Any of whom?" Dale asked in that naïve little voice of his. The familiarity of the voice was telling enough --- he only used it when he had gone off in his world and didn't know what the rest of us were talking about.
"The other ghosts. Did-you-meet-any-of-them?" I said slowly, deliberately.
"Actually, we met two of them. They seemed…lost. And scarred, mostly." Dale answered, not looking at me. He seemed to have locked his gaze somewhere on the wall behind me.
"What did they say?"
"Generally, they just asked questions. We told them about you and what you were trying to do for us, and they asked a lot about you in return. They want to meet you." he answered.
"Then why aren't they here?" I asked.
"Because," Mimi answered for him, "we figured you would have enough to take in already. We wanted to explain to you who they were before we brought them…for caution of a bad first reaction."
I saw Dale's mouth twitch a bit, and I realized he was probably thinking about my almost, R-rated response. I didn't blame him; I seemed to have a tendency for bad first reactions. I felt the heat return to my face from earlier.
When my thoughts drifted back to what she had said about them not wanting me to have to take in too much at one time, I had to conceal my astonishment. I didn't think they would think of anyone's feelings but their own in a situation like this, so their consideration for me was a shock.
"Well, um…thank you for- uh, that." I said, suddenly feeling very awkward.
Jesse, most likely feeling the uneasiness that had suddenly consumed the room, cleared his throat in attempt to cover the silence. "When will we be meeting them?"
"When ever is best for you. Soon, preferably. There in hiding now, but, for obvious reasons, they gave us permission to give you the location." Jacob answered.
"Is it safe for them to come here?" I asked.
"We think it may be, but they were barely able to make themselves move two feet out of the corner they were huddled into to talk to us. I don't think they would be up to it. Their pretty scared." Mimi got a haunted look in her eyes as she answered proof enough that the other ghosts must have been in pretty bad emotional shape when they were there.
"Oh, Okay. Well, then we will just have to go to them, wont we?" I said in what I hoped was a chipper voice.
Nobody answered, but I hadn't expected them to. It wasn't really a question, after all, more a fact.
"Tell them that we will be along this afternoon to see them. For now, I think it's best that you go try to comfort them a little if they are that spook. I need to start Susannah's training immediately, so I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Jesse's stern voice left no room for argument, and the three ghosts quickly departed.
"Alright, Susannah, we cannot afford any more distractions. This debate about us and who will be ready to face Paul is going to have to be put on hold. If you are not ready shortly before he comes…then we will discuss that then." Jesse's eyes darkened a bit, and I knew he was thinking that no such thing would occur. I would be ready, he was probably thinking, and that there was no way he was going to let me die for him.
To an outsider, Jesse's point of view would probably seem selfish. I mean, a lot of ghost could suffer in the most horrid way from a cruel man, and the only person he was thinking about was myself, and how he might loose me. It wasn't fair to them. But I could understand how he was feeling. If I was put in his position, and Jesse was at risk of going away forever from something, I would do everything I could to prevent it, too.
But I wasn't in his position. I knew that Jesse was strong enough to face Paul. I knew it, and so did he. But he refused to consider fighting himself because my life was on the line. It was sweet, in a way, that he didn't want to loose me that badly, but he wasn't thinking outside the box, and it could mean a horrible fate for a lot of ghosts who didn't deserve it.
For now, I decided, I would play along in this game of 'train Susannah'. But if I wasn't loads stronger by next week….
"Susannah!" My eyes snapped to Jesse's irritated face. "I just said that we wouldn't have a time for any more distractions, and you are already off in your own world."
I felt heat rush to my face again. I never though of myself as the blushing type, but I seemed to be doing it a lot lately. "Sorry."
"First things first. I assume Slater taught you how to materialize?"
I nodded and kept my gaze level to his. "But it could use a little improvement. The only one who can help me with that, though, is myself. I need to practice."
"What about teardrop?"
"Teardrop? Like a crying teardrop?" I asked, my confusion probably displayed in my eyes.
"Teardrop is a vastly old term, but it is also a very powerful gift that few mediators know. It was seldom taught, even in my time, and not many know it even exists. My hope is that Slater will be one of those who are naïve in the practice. But to answer your question, yes, the power does come in the form of a teardrop, like crying."
"Am I going to have to get really sad and start crying for it to work? I hate crying and haven't done it in years. I felt weak and stupid when I cried, so I made myself stop. I'm not sure I even can anymore." It was true. I hadn't cried in years, not since my dad died.
Jesse stared disbelievingly at me, and his eyes were rimmed with sadness. "I didn't know that, Susannah. It's something I should have noticed, too, so I'm sorry. I must not have been paying very much attention."
"No, Jesse, there was no reason for us to have talked about it or for you to have noticed. It isn't that big of a deal. It's just a fact, so you have no reason to be sorry."
Jesse was staring strongly at me, gauging my expression. I made a huge effort to keep my face blank, but it didn't seem to be working. He was still staring relentlessly.
"So…uh, do I have to cry for it to work? Even with the crying thing aside, I think I would still have trouble focusing my mind enough in a situation like that to get really sad." I said in a whisper, hoping to get his thoughts back to the matter at hand, and for him to stop staring so insistently at me.
He continued to stare, and it seemed like he hadn't heard me. When I stared back at him and started to glare in my irritation, he appeared to snap himself back into the situation. "Teardrop isn't triggered by an emotion, like most things. Normally, when people get sad, they cry. But teardrop is more a power that comes from within, and the only way to activate it is to imagine it's there. It comes from your eyes and trails down your cheek like normal tears do, but in order for this tear to be different and do what you want it to, you have to imagine it there, flowing from your eyes in the same color that they are."
"I have to imagine it's the same color as my eyes?"
"Yes. So, for you, you would imagine an emerald tear welling up in your eyes and slipping down your cheek, then falling until it hit the floor."
Green tears? It sounded like something you would hear in fantasy book. "Why does it have to be so detailed? Why can't I just imagine the teardrop?"
"Because, Susannah, it's what makes it so much more different and powerful than other tears. The power of teardrop is that when you imagine it hitting the floor, like I said, it's supposed to form into a miracle. Any miracle that you can think of, you can make form from that one special teardrop." He said, his voice deadpan.
I felt myself frown deeper. "If it's that easy, than why doesn't everyone do it? And if it's so special, why do you make it sound so dreadful?"
The shadows in his eyes told me enough. He'd had some bad run-ins that had to do with the power, but I waited for him to answer anyway.
"A shifter in my time had a very bad experience with the miracle gone badly. I don't have time to tell you the story now, but I will, someday."
I nodded, taking a silent note of the extra meaning in his words. He'd said we didn't have time now for the story, but that he obviously believed there would be, which indicated that somewhere inside of him, he was already convinced that this was going to work and that I was going to beat Paul. If only I was as sure.
"The power may seem feeble and ridiculously easy to use, but you have no idea how untrue that is. You have to have a large amount of focus and concentration to make it work, and a vast amount of power. You have to be able to clear your mind from everything around you. Every emotion, every sound, every thought has to be gone from your mind, except that one miracle trailing down your cheek."
Just the thought of making myself focus that hard gave me a head ace. "I-Is that all?"
"No. The only way you can make the teardrop form, is for the miracle to be worthy. I don't know exactly what the terms of the miracle are or who makes the decision on if it is or not, but if the miracle isn't laudable of being made, it wont happen. You may only get one in a lifetime, so make it worth it."
"I may only get one? Does that mean it's possible to get more than that?"
"No one has been able to make it work more than once, so no one knows if it's probable or not. That's why they always say 'it's your only chance, so make it count'."
"How will you teach me it then? I can't practice something that may only happen once in a lifetime. I'll use up my one chance and be SOL when the time comes to fight Paul."
His face glazed over in confusion. "SOL?"
Here I go again with the blushing crap. "Oh, um, it just means that I'll be out of luck. But that wasn't the point. How will I learn teardrop?"
"There isn't really a way to teach teardrop, but if you can make it work, it would be an extremely helpful power to know of. Just the fact that you know how to make it work could save your life.
"The only way to practice for it is to clear your mind. Start using all of your will power to block out everything around you and everything happening in your life, no matter how stressful it may be at the time. In fact, it would probably be wise to practice when you are under the most stress, for when you face Slater, you will not be under the best of circumstances."
I highly doubted anything in my life was going to be anywhere near as stressful as facing Paul, but I chose to keep this bit of sarcastic thought to myself.
Clearly, my thoughts went without saying, because Jesse was staring at me as though I had spoken aloud and was frowning. "Nothing about any of the powers you're going to learn with me is going to be easily learned or practiced, Susannah. The only way were going to defeat Slater is to give him a taste of his own medicine. As strong of medicine as it is, we will have to be able to give back more than he gives."
"I know, Jesse. It's going to be one of the most difficult things I've ever done."
If only he knew which difficultly I was talking about. Only half of me was actually preparing for my fight with Paul. The other half was preparing for Jesse's.
Hey guys! I feel really horrible about how long it's taken me to update this chapter. I really do. I said it might be a week, but that didn't turn out to well. I'll try harder next time, I promise. I know these long breaks between chapters has got to stop. It's cruel. LOL.
Anyway, I hope this chapter was worth the wait. I've always loved the thought of people crying and having their tears come out the same color as their eyes. It would be so beautiful.
A Special Thanks To:
You guys are so awesome! I can't thank you enough for sticking with me, even when I know my writing could use improvement. But I'm trying, and ya'll seem to like it, so thank you!