After the trauma of the birth, I had thought that despite Reilly’s being killed in the process, most everything would be able to settle down for a while. That is, until Fiction told me about Fee.

I found her hanging from the ceiling in our living room next to another person whom I had never met. I’d learn later that this person was named Thomas and needed some help as well, but in the meantime, I could only stare at the tied up creature who I had gotten to know so well in the last few months. She looked so helpless. While I had only actually been a father for a few hours, a part of me honestly saw Fee as a daughter. A slightly insane daughter with a spiritual companion and a lust for life that made my head spin on a regular basis, but a daughter none the less. I pulled up a chair to stand on so I could look her in the eyes.
“Noel! You’ve gotta help me. Take me down from here.” She was pleading with her eyes. I could see how much she wanted to get down.

“Alright, my bonnie girl, but I have to check some things first.” I concentrated on her mind, trying to ease my way in so as not to hurt her or disrupt her privacy any more than necessary.

“Noel, please let me go. I have to go back so I can transcend,” she told me in her head.

“And what exactly do you mean by ‘transcend?'” I was stalling for time while I carefully slid into her brain, feeling along neural pathways and streams of consciousness, following one idea to another until I ran across the source of the problem. Some sort of effect, a compulsion, had been put on her to return to the person who originally set it there. I summoned all of my power, imagining my mind as an ax, striking at the very thick rope that was her compulsion. I beat at it, watching it fray a layer at a time. Meanwhile, I looked for what happened to her.

The set of rooms I watched through Fee’s eyes was clinical in a sinister way. I could see the different rooms, each with a new and strange form of torture going on. He led Fee/I into one of the rooms, and I could feel her desire to be there, a longing unlike anything natural. The man turned toward Kellen and spoke to him in the Spirit Tongue. Suddenly, our lifelong friend was choking us, but that was ok because it would help with the transcendence. They tied us down, and we felt the ecstasy of an invisible force that started penetrating us. Then Fiction came and ruined it all.

I paused in my casting, the metaphorical ax hovering over the last strand of rope. Letting this go would let the flood of memory hit her, and the pain would begin. If it were anything but her life in danger, I might have even spared her that pain. Even as I write this, I wish that there was something I could do to make the memories go away, to make it not have happened. She’s been through so much of the hell I grew up with just since meeting me, and there are times I regret picking her out of that MOSS meeting instead of just sending her away for her own good. I finished the spell and cut the last part of the rope, freeing Fee from her compulsion.

The first thing I felt from her was shock. Often the first thing a person feels upon being released from a compulsion is shock or curiosity at how they didn’t realize that they didn’t want to do what they were doing. Then came the fear, coupled with guilt and shame. Anxiety would be coming pretty soon. I saw her tears, felt them running down her cheek in her head.

“It’ll be ok, my bonnie girl,” I told her, trying to comfort her as best as I can.

“Can you make this go away?” She was in so much pain. I wanted more than anything to say, “Yes.” But I couldn’t lie to her, not now. That would make me a cruel as the man who did this to her.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t. I wish I could, but I can’t make it go away.” I tried to be comforting, but I knew there was very little I could do.

“Of course you can! I’ve seen you do amazing things. You can make me feel better, I know you can.” It broke my heart. I wanted to make her better so much, but what could I do? Erase the memories so that when she is finally ready to be with someone voluntarily she breaks down crying for no reason? Let her be afraid for days or weeks on end and not know why? No, I couldn’t do that to her.

“Listen to me carefully, Fee. I know it hurts, but you can learn to live with it. Trust me.” I don’t know what impulse made me share. I hadn’t shared this with anyone, but I let one of my own memories slip across our mental link.

I was in my church back in Dublin. With one hand I gripped a comic book, with the other, the alter cloth that I was bent over. I was careful to only let Fee see and not actually experience what I was showing her. Demons stood all around, calling me names, laughing, delighting in the constant red blush in my cheeks, my utter humiliation. My trousers and pants were around my ankles, and I felt that invisible force penetrating my nine-year-old ass in front of the rest of the neighborhood who sat in the pews for Sunday worship. I couldn’t stop crying, mostly because I knew that they were all too afraid to do anything, even my parents.

With sudden and unexpected force, the spirit behind me lifted me by the thighs and flung me over the alter to land hard on the steps. My cheeks burned with shame as I stood up and shuffled my way to the pew reserved for those Chosen for the week. I wanted to get dressed again, I wanted to hold myself, but I knew if I did anything before the Act of Thanksgiving that things would get worse. I kneeled next to several other children of various ages and states of undress and folded my hand, intoning aloud, “Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving us this chance to nourish our Earthly masters. I am nothing to Their power, and Their word is Yours. Amen.”

“The pain never really goes away, my bonnie girl. But it will make you stronger.” I slowly untied her, careful not to burn her with the ropes. She was shivering as I carried her down from where she was tied. I took up a blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders. “It can get cold.”

She nodded and pulled the blanket tighter. “Noel, can I go back to my room, at EPIC?”

“I suppose so. It’ll be safe there. Let me get the keys to the SUV.” I went and grabbed the key, letting Fiction know Fee wanted to go to her own room and I was going to drive her home. I opened her door and made sure she was buckled in, then drove her home and made sure she got safely up stairs behind the wards and bans. I’ll have to let Elle know that she’ll be needed. I’ve introduced Fee into a world of pain, now I’m going to have to teach her how to live with that pain.

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