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Three Prayers, Three Miracles, One Price
“Oh, ones who have ascended before us, please place your wisdom and knowledge in our hands. We ask to speak to Eros, God of love. I ask for your guidance and assistance,” I nearly shouted. My two best friends, Laura and Marina, watched me, I could feel their eyes on me, the weight of both of their stares.
“Wow, nice one,” Marina laughed. “Way to show us up,” Laura chimed. It was true, it did sound much more professional, but then again, I was the writer out of all of us.
We had found each other about five years ago at a homeschooling conference. We had been inseparable ever since. We had finally found others like ourselves, others who appreciated the splendor and grace of the old Greek myths.
Now I was seventeen, Laura was eighteen, and Marina was sixteen, but we all still held to our love of the after life. We had created our own religion, I guess you could say. We crossed normal ghostly belief, prayer and Ouija boards with Greek lore. Now we were in my room trying to conjure each of our favorite Gods or Goddesses, trying not only to get a reaction for a change, but also just to hang out, it had been so long since the three accidents.
Laura, her father had been kidnapped on a trip down to Brazil for an entomology search. Marina, left by her mother and not well taken to by her father afterwords, he blamed her. Me, in a wheelchair after my ex, who had been so flooded by guilt from the car crash, had left me. Every time I closed my eyes I could still see the misery and pity in those eyes that I had loved, and still did, so dearly.
We hoped that we would eventually get help from those which we had each
treasured for so long. Most of the time it was just for fun, but each of us, whether we
voiced it or not, had a little bit of hope, of faith....
….”Okay, Connie says the prayers from now on,” Marina declared it official. We, Laura and I, burst out laughing. “Yeah, not, that will probably be the only time I ever do,” I corrected her.
I sighed. “Let's try one more time. Remember to concentrate,” I was getting frustrated. I had been praying to Eros, more commonly known as Cupid, which is actually the Roman name for him, for months, nearly a year now. It hit me, finally.
Nearly a year since my accident, nearly a year since Greg had left me. Nearly a year and I still had not let go. I was pathetic. I sighed again as we all placed our hands on the triangular piece.
“Please, guys, no trickery. Nobody moves it, seriously.” “Okay,” Laura whined, she was our prankster, but she knew how much I wanted this, even though we all had had our doubts for a while now.
I breathed in the scent of the vanilla, cranberry, and pumpkin spice candles, as they finally started to burn down, their lights growing slightly but steadily duller. “Eros, God of love, I call to thee.”
“I pray for your guidance, for your help. I pray for a sign from you of where I should go, what I should do. Who I should love!” I could feel all of my concentration, to where my eyes hurt, and all of my heart and very soul go into this most probably futile attempt. “Your turn, Laura,” I said without opening my eyes. I knew she now closed hers.
For a moment we were silent, all praying together for my call to be heard.
“Thalia, Goddess of good cheer, hear my prayer, hear my call. I ask for
your humble guidance, for your generous help!”
We could all hear the desperation that hid in the undertones of her voice. I wanted to open my eyes, to cry for her, to comfort her, but I knew that would break the cycle. I scooted my hand onto Marina's, I could feel her move it as if she was squeezing it, I knew she would be if she could. I moved it back, as it was her turn.
“Hestia, Goddess of the home, I call out to thee, place my heart in thee, place my hopes and dreams in thee, please hear me!” she half said, half whispered. I knew we were all thinking along the same lines.
Then Laura said it for me, “Dang, Mariana, now THAT was DEEP!” We all smiled, eyes still closed. We had all formed a deep, closely linked connection. Marina had known when I had gotten in the crash, before the police even did, I had known about Laura's father, as he was getting kidnapped, and Laura had known about Marina's distress before I had even called her for an emergency meeting.
Suddenly, all of us nearly let go of the triangle. It had started to move. We all opened our eyes, it stopped.
“Laura,” I shot her a caught-in-the-act look. “It wasn't me!” her nearly denim-blue eyes told me that she was being truthful. We both turned to Marina, shocked, speechless. “Don't look at me,” her chocolate brown eyes were wider than ever with fear.
My heart sped up, my stomach tying itself into the kind of knots that I had only ever thought of tying with string. “Okay, let's try concentrating again, and keep it this
time,” I switched into now or never mode. I was not about to let this opportunity escape us.
They both nodded and we tried again. My fingers began to tingle, the tingling
then went to my palms. I overrode the instinct to let go or jump back. After a few
minutes, it began to move again.
I heard a gasp. “Don't stop, don't loose your concentration,” I said, barely moving my lips, which I just realized were completely dried out. It started to spell out a word, we all read it aloud.
“W-E_ H-E-A-R_ Y-O-U.” “If you guys are trying to punk me out,” I warned. Marina's eyes were stuck on the communication device, Laura looked me earnestly in the eye. I looked back down at the board.
“You know our hearts deepest desires, we place our trust and hope in you. We beg of you to help with our situations. We plead for you to do whatever you deem fit,” I carried on. Both girls looked at me, I knew they were happy with what I had just offered.
“W-E_ W-I-L-L_ C-O-N-T-E-M-P-L-A-T-E_A-N-D_D-I-S-C-U-S-S_Y-O-U-R_ R-E-Q-U-E-S-T-S_A-N-D_A-L-L-O-W_Y-O-U_T-O_K-N-O-W_O-U-R_
D-E-S-C-I-S-I-O-N_T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W.” It stopped moving. None of us spoke, we just looked at each other.
We all agreed not to speak of what had happened to anyone. No one even knew that we had this little 'club', if you will, they would all think us mad. We also agreed to have a sleepover the following night, where we would resume our 'business'.
The next evening, Laura and Marina came back to my house by six o'clock. We dropped our bags by my door and I got the Ouija board out from under my bed. Laura
set up the candles, while Marina turned off the lights and grabbed a notepad and pen.
“In case they get going really fast,” she said. I nodded. I started over to the
board, I had grabbed the last lamp, when I got dizzy. I fell against the bed post.
“Connie, are you okay?” Marina quickly came over and helped me to the edge of my bed. “Yeah, yeah I'm fine.” Laura handed me back my crutches, which had been leaning up against my dresser, since I had worked my way over to the lamp using everything available in my room to help me along. Some days I used the crutches, others the wheelchair.
“Thanks,” I said, holding the side of my head. “Should I go get your mom?” Laura asked. “No, just give me a minute,” I replied. I usually got dizzy spells, a side effect of the accident.
When I finally felt better, about ten minutes later, we all went to the board, Marina sitting my crutches against the bed, Laura helping me to sit on the floor in front of the board. “Eros, Hestia, and Thalia all great in your own wondrous ways, you told us to meet you here tonight, now we wait anxiously for your return!” I said.
The triangle began to move. Suddenly came the sound of someone trying to catch their breath. I looked up, it was Laura, on hand on her chest. “Laura?” I asked, already grabbing my crutches, getting ready to stand. “No, don't,” she put her hand out. “I'm fine.”
“W-E_H-A-V-E_D-E-C-I-D-E-D,” the board spelled out.
Even Laura held her breath. The room was now completely silent, no ones' eyes moved from the board, we were all transfixed. “And...And?” was all that kept going through my mind. Marina picked up the pad and pen, ready to write. “W-E_
I looked around, everyone had the same expression. “Whatever you want, we don't care, we will do anything,” I answered immediately. You don't keep the Gods, or
Goddesses waiting. “Don't even bother telling us, nothing will change our minds,” Laura broke in, full of excitement.
T-A-K-I-N-G_E-F-F-E-C-T_S-T-A-R-T-I-N-G_T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W.” “Thank you, you won't be sorry!”
We stayed up all the rest of that night. Wondering, day dreaming, chatting about what might or might not come of this, but mostly the what might come part. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, the phone rang. It was Laura's cell. We all looked over at the clock, 12:00 P.M. Who would be calling this late?
Laura turned back and answered. “Hello?” Silence. “Yes.” Muffled murmurs from the other end. “What?!?!” A sound similar to that of Charlie Brown's teacher. “OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!” Laura nearly dropped her phone.
“Okay, mmhhhmm, love you too, bye,” she said, closing her phone so lightly that it almost didn't fully close. It fell from her hand. “Laura, what is it?” Marina asked. “What's wrong, Laura?” I asked a millisecond later.
A smile much bigger than I had ever seen anywhere in my entire life began to
grow on her face, her eyes alight. “Nothing,” she said slowly,”Absolutely nothing!” She jumped up. “They found my dad, he's okay!” she practically screamed. Marina and I looked at her, stunned. “You're kidding?!” slipped from my lips. “No!” she started crying.
Marina and I hugged her. My mom came in, she had heard the screaming. She frowned at the Ouija board, while she let me use it, only with limitations, she didn't agree with it wholeheartedly. “What's going on in here? Did James Dean contact you from the Great Beyond?” she asked playfully.
We all burst out laughing, Laura even started snorting, which I hadn't heard her
do since her dad went missing over four months ago.
“They found my dad!” Laura sobbed, we could barely understand her. “Oh
Laura,” my mom looked as shocked as we were. “He's getting picked up by a chopper at the airport to go to the hospital now. My mom told me to wait here, until all of the hullabaloo quiets down, if that's okay, of course?” Laura asked, water filled eyes and tear stained face looked up at my mom.
I looked at her hopefully. “Of course, Laura, that is perfectly alright.” Another wave of dizziness, I went to sit down, only to hit my butt on the foot board and fall to the floor.
“Connie!” my mom came over and the girls started to help me up. “Are you
okay?” she asked. “I'm fine, just a bruised tail bone,” I said, rubbing it for a moment. Everyone helped me over to my wheelchair.
“She did that earlier,” Marina said. My mom looked at me. “I'll go get your medicine,” she said. Once she had left, the girls started talking to me again.
“What happened?” they asked. “Nothing, I just got dizzy again, that's all.” “Do
you need to go to the doctor's?” Marina looked worriedly at me. “No, I'm fine. I'll just take my meds, that should help.”
Not long after, my mom came back, carrying my orange medicine bottle with the white label and a glass of water. I took them all, I take three, in one go. “I think this
deserves a celebration. Who's up for some hot chocolate?” my mom asked. She looked at me. I simply nodded to show her that I was indeed okay. We all exclaimed “yes!”, as if we were going to sleep tonight now anyways.
We all headed downstairs, Laura still full of excitement. At about, five o'clock in the morning, Marina's phone went off. “Hello? Oh, hi dad,” her voice lowered.
Suddenly, her gaze changed. She stared blankly at the wall across the room. “Mmmhmmm,” then she hung up.
“What is it?” I asked, coming over to put a hand on her shoulder. “That was my dad. He and my mom are going to try family counseling, they think that it'll work,” she
still looked spaced out. Clank!
We turned around. Laura's hot chocolate mug lay on the coffee table, dark brown dripping from the side and spreading across the eggshell carpet. Behind the table, lay
Laura. Marina and I ran over.
“Laura? Laura, can you hear me?” I asked. She was shaking, not quite seizing,
but shaking. “Mom!” I yelled. She came in, ran over, and lifted Laura, with my help, onto the couch. A few moments later, Laura awoke.
“Laura are you okay?” “What happened?” “Slow down, girls, give her a minute,” my mom told us. We leaned back, sitting on the coffee table edge.
“I-I'm not sure. One minute I was drinking my hot chocolate, ready to choke on
it from the shock of Marina's parents and all, and then the next I felt flushed and got dizzy. Now I'm up here, with all of you staring at me,” she smiled uncomfortably.
“I'll call your parents,” my mom told her. “No, no, I'm fine,” she said as she slowly sat up, Marina and I helping her. “It was probably all of the excitement,” she added. My mom looked her up and down, watched her for a moment and then nodded
and went to go get something to clean up the spilled drink.
“Are you sure you're okay?” I asked once my mom had left. Laura nodded as she coughed. I looked at Marina. She looked as unsure as I felt.
After all the commotion had died down, we all sat down to watch a movie with blankets and popcorn. It was cramped on the couch, but we were happy and having a
good time. It was a normal chick flick with awesome romantic comedy twists, our favorite. I looked over at Laura, she was bouncing slightly in her seat. I smiled, her enthusiasm and happiness were contagious. That's when my phone rang.
My heart leaped. How were the Gods going to help me? Shaking, I dug it out of my pocket and answered. “Hello?” I asked as I left the room for the brightly lit hallway.
“Hello, is this Ms. Connie Hallunder?” the voice asked. It was a voice that I did not recognize, but it sounded familiar and slightly perky.
“Yes, this is she, may I ask who's calling?” I tried to focus on the conversation,
even from the hallway I could still hear the TV in the other room. “This is Tracey from the South-Nott Hospital. We believe that a friend of yours was taken here today and were wondering if you could confirm?” “Um, what's their name?” I asked, completely baffled.
“Greg Thimkins,” the woman said. The phone slipped from my hand. It was a
few moments, I hoped it hadn't been too long, before I realized that the woman named Tracey was still talking. I bent down and picked it up, my blood pulsing ice-cold and then hot. “Yeah, I'm still here. I'll be there in a few minutes,” I replied, quickly hanging up.
I went over to the living room doorway. “Laura? Mom? Can one of you drive me?” “What's wrong, sweetheart, you look pale?” my mom came over and felt my
forehead. “It's Greg, the hospital. They just called, asked me to come in and make sure it was him. They think that they brought him in today,” I spluttered, trying to keep calm,
trying to fight the tears.
Silently and swiftly, without any questioning, my mom went and grabbed her keys, coat, and purse. Then we all trekked out to the van and drove. The drive was silent, no one knowing exactly what to say. I knew what the girls would be saying if they had been able to move their mouths, I sure couldn't make my brain and mouth connect right now.
After finally finding a decent parking spot, though silently argued imagined that I was having the conversation with my mom, with me saying that I would've taken a
spot at the opposite end of the block at that point, we walked in. The doors slid open to
reveal your usual hospital. White walls, wooden counters, plenty of chairs, bright lights, and people waiting. The atmosphere attempted to be cheerful, but everyone could tell that it was in vain.
We went over to a counter. I turned to the girls while my mom got the information. “What do you think happened?” Marina asked. “Are you okay?” Laura asked me. I nodded, though it was a superfluous nod. I was still in shock.
My mom touched my shoulder and we started off down a hall, it seemed to be never ending. The walls all looked the same, except for the occasional change in artwork that was hung. Most of it passed in a blur, it made no sense at all right now.
Finally we reached another desk. My mom went and talked to one of the nurses there, who came over and led us around the counter and down another hall. As we walked I caught a glimpse of one of the signs overhead, “ICU”. I gulped.
To think of Greg in there. Images of tubes and machines flashed in my mind's eye. I blinked rapidly, trying to fight an immense battle with tears that threatened to win.
“Right in here,” the nurse said at one of the doors. We walked in, me in front now, feeling overly self-conscious and eager to see Greg, or rather to see if it was Greg. On one of the beds of white sheets, with tubes and IVs everywhere, beneath all of the scratches and bruises and blood, lay Greg.
My hands automatically clapped across my mouth. Slowly, I forced them down.
“Wha-What happened to him?” I asked, horrified. “He was in an automobile accident. From what we can tell, he was parked and his seat belt got caught. A speeding car slammed into the rear of his car. Right now he's in a coma, it was a bad accident. Word
is, that the speeding car was going about seventy-five in a residential area,” the nurse replied with a sigh and a sad shake of her head.
My mom put a hand on my shoulder, as did the girls. “I hope this doesn't sound terrible, but can I stay here alone?” I asked them. “Of course,” my mom said, with a gentle smile, the girls agreeing from right behind her. They all left.
“How did you know to call me?” I asked the woman. “The ambulance driver's said that they found a picture of you, your phone number, and a note addressed to you
clipped to the back of his mirror,” she answered, looking up from a chart. “May I see the note?” I asked.
She went over to the nightstand next to Greg's bed, opened a drawer, and took out an envelope. The word Connie caught my eye. She handed it to me. “Thank you,” I said. She just smiled and left me to read it alone.
I just stood there, staring at it for a while, repeatedly tracing out the letters of my
name with my eyes. I had always loved his hand writing, but with my name it was even more special. Greg had been the first, and last for now, guy that I had ever loved.
My throat tightened. I tried to force the bulge in it down, but it would not surrender. In a daze, I made my way over to a chair across the room, sat down, and slowly, carefully opened the little envelope.
I unfolded the letter, careful not to bend or tear it, and let my already partially blurred eyes focus. And then read:
I miss you. God, do I miss you. Our late chats and in depth talks about our future. I am
so sorry for what I did to you, all of it. I never meant to hurt you, in either way.
I wanted to stay with you, you'll never know how much I wanted to stay with you, but the guilt was...I couldn't take it. Every time I looked at you, I saw what I had done, what I had caused, and it broke my heart. I regret what happened every day, I regret my decision. By the time this letter reaches you, if it ever does, I'm sure that you
will be with some one new, who knows how to treat you and who cherishes every breath you take. And I hope, with all my heart, that you are genuinely and sincerely happy.
I still keep one picture of you out, the one of us on my couch, that night when we stayed up until 3:00 A.M watching those stupid Kung-Fu movies that I like. Thanks for bearing through them with me, I know how you felt about them. I keep that picture under my pillow. I still pull it out and look at it from time to time, more frequently then I'd care to admit.
I still feel your hand on my arm, your lips on mine, your eye lashes brushing my cheeks. I miss every slight touch, every warm breath. I miss you. I still, and always will, love you. I'm sorry I never told you in person.
Forever yours at heart,
A tear slid down my cheek, warm and horrid. I could imagine him as he wrote this, filled with sadness that he would never show, emotions he would never tell, anyone but me that is, and regret and anger so strong that he couldn't stand it. I could picture him punching his wall or pillow or kicking something very, very hard. He had always been the silent type, the kind who mostly kept to himself. I was one of very few people able to talk to him, or rather to get him to talk.
I felt so horrible for him. He had been feeling everything I had, everything that I thought he had gotten past. I walked over to his bed.
Wincing, I used my crutches to help me sit in the chair next to him, wondering if he would be able to hear what I was about to say next. “Greg?” I whispered. In front of me was still just his bruised, broken, helpless body breathing with the help of the long tubes that traced to some huge, metallic machine.
“Greg, it's Connie, I'm here. I came as soon as the doctors called-,” I choked. I wiped my raw nose on the back of my sleeve and sniffed. “Greg, if you know I'm here,
if you can hear me, I-I love you too, I've missed you so much!” Nothing changed, but I felt a miniscule amount better, not much though.
I touched his wrist, leaving my hand on it. It wasn't nearly as warm as I
remembered it once being, but it wasn't marginally different either, it just had an inherent coldness to it. I tucked my rat's nest brown hair, the wind up the walk had been horrific and, in the midst of my crying, I had run my fingers through it a few times, behind my ear, leaned forward, and gave him a kiss. I had missed those lips.
From all the soap opera type chick flicks that I had seen with the girls, I looked at the machine reflexively. Nothing had changed. From reality's perspective, I hadn't
figured it would, but a girl can dream can't she? That's when I realized that my other hand still held the letter.
I set it under my leg and leaned into his arm, taking in deep breaths of his scent. Well, the scent past the blood. Event though it was weak, I could still remember it well enough to compensate.
“Thank you for bringing us back together and revealing that which was mutual, but so well hidden, Eros. I am grateful, but I would rather not have been reunited with him, than to have him like this,” I sighed as the thought finished in my mind. I brushed
some of his black hair from his forehead, watching, inspecting every inch and detail of his face. I could picture his laugh, his smile, the twinkle in his eyes....I couldn't take it, the worry gnawed at my gut like it was a juicy steak. I lay back on his arm, and began to sob.
Suddenly, my pillow moved. My heart stopped. Had it been my imagination? My wishful thinking? That's when it moved again.
I quickly sat up. The mouth before me twitched uncomfortably, the eyes moved under their lids, fingers found their way to my hand. I looked back up, I had been staring at the beautifully crafted, long fingers over mine. Now, Greg opened his unusually dark blue eyes. I could tell that the darkness was from pain, from the
accident, normally they were much, much brighter.
“Nurse,” it came out of my mouth much quieter than I had hoped for. “Nurse,” I said it louder this time, but just as slowly, shocked, and unsure as the first. “Nurse!” I called loudly this time.
“Connie, is everything okay?” I could hear Marina's voice from the doorway that
I could not see. “Marina, get the nurse, quick!” I said half breathless with excitement. Though she said nothing, I could vaguely, from behind a cloud of fog and over the loud noise of the hospital halls, hear her hurried footsteps leading away. I still hadn't taken my eyes off of Greg.
“Greg, can you hear me?” I asked his fidgeting, slightly moaning body. His eyes opened for a second time, wearily looking over at me. “Connie?” his slightly, but just enough, deep voice asked curiously and questioningly. “Yeah, it's me,” I let out a surprised laugh.
His fingers tightened around my hand a bit, I could tell he was too weak to hold it properly. I grabbed his for the both of us. He smiled. I leaned over and carefully hugged him, I felt a familiar, warm hand and a not-so-familiar IV tube on my back.
“What seems to be the problem?” a voice asked. I looked up, tears making my face cold and dry as they quickly evaporated. “Doctor!” the nurse left in s hurry. Both of the girls gasped, speechless.
Tears flowed over the rims of my eyes uncontrollably. I let them, the relief, the happiness felt so good that I didn't want them to stop. I wanted to keep feeling
everything that was going on. I wanted to be sure that it was all real.
I stood up to go over to my mom, who was smiling kindly at me , though her eyes told a shocked story. My stomach felt as though a surgical knife cut through it, my
brain controlled by a storm of dizziness, I toppled over. The cold, hard tile flooring, which I would rather not have felt, hit my arms and cheek.
“Connie? Connie, are you alright? Can you hear me?” It came as though it were a dream. I tried to answer, I wanted to answer. I knew that voice, I wanted to
respond to that voice more than anything else in the entire world.
“Connie, it's Greg. Connie, please wake up.” It sounded desperate. I tried again and again, but no words would form on my lips, I couldn't even move my lips.
“Here,” a slight groan from some forced movement sounded,”Put her down here.” “I could hear everything you said to me, Con. I want you to know that. I could feel you. I could feel your touch and your presence. Can you feel this?” Moments later, I felt a warm, light touch on my forearm.
My stomach lurched. Not just with pain this time either. “Connie, I am so sorry
for leaving you, I had no excuse. God, Connie, don't leave me.” He sounded terrified. What I would have given to let him know that I was, well not completely, but mostly alright, to let him know that I could hear him.
Suddenly, I felt as though I were under an entire ocean. My breath was now loud, watery. I couldn't breath!
My heart raced. My body started to panic, I started to panic. “Doctor! Nurse! Somebody, help!” I could hear Greg's voice above my own internal commotion.
I could very faintly hear footsteps, running footsteps that were growing louder, but not by much, my mind was to full of chaos, so it was hardly noticeable. I heard a cry from the voice that belonged to my mom. I knew the girls were panicking, I could feel it, I could feel them, all of them. I heard the doctor's muffled voice shouting orders. None of which I understood, of course.
Three more 'presences' entered my mind, these were stronger than the others,
though I did not recognize them. “Connie, it is time,” an unfamiliar voice said kindly. “Time for what?” I asked. “Time to pay the price for what we have done for you and
your friends,” another, lighter feminine voice said. “Why me?” I wondered aloud, well in a manner of speaking.
“Because, you were the one who said you would pay.” “How do I pay?” “With your life, you will give it to us,” they all said. If I had been myself, awake and conscious, I would have stopped breathing, though I wasn't sure if that had already happened or not.
A yellow light appeared, soon dimming down to a beautiful young man. “Come with us Connie,” he said as he outstretched his hand. “But-,” I didn't know what to say. I wasn't about to-I wasn't ready to die. “Isn't there anything else I can pay with?
Anything else I can do?” “If you choose not to go with us, your friends will lose what they have gained, and Greg will die.”
I was puzzled, baffled. No, none of those are the right words to describe how I felt. I'm not sure the English language has those words yet, or ever will for that matter.
“Are you willing to die for him?” a different female voice suddenly joined the conversation. I thought about it, but not for very long. My thoughts raced, though they were well formed and serious.
I pictured myself standing tall as I replied. “Yes, I would die for Greg. In his place. And for my friends.” Silence followed.
“Connie! Connie, listen to me. Listen to my voice. Connie, don't leave me!” it
was Greg's voice. A pain sharper than any other that I had, or would ever feel, shot through me like one of Eros' arrows.
The young man looked over his shoulder for a few moments and then turned back to me. I looked him straight in the eye. Then, like a light switch that had been
turned on, it clicked. “Eros?” I asked quietly. A sweet smile grew upon his face, lighting up like the light he had arrived in. This was all too much!
“Why did Laura get dizzy, why was she sick?” I asked, suddenly realizing that it might be related. “Because, we were going to make all of you pay, but then we decided that the one who agreed, the one who had originally offered, you, would be the one who would pay the price for all three,” Eros explained calmly, gently. I started to stretch out my hand for his, slowly, but when they met, he simply closed his other one on top, holding my hand gently in both of his. Then he let go. I panicked.
“No, I'm serious. Take me, not him. I'm sure.” His smile only softened even more.
“Not today, Connie. We have decided that you have paid us more than enough.” “How?” “You have proven that my work, that all of our work, has not been forgotten,
nor wasted. You have proven that some men, or rather women, still fight against the horrors that Pandora once released. You have shown us true love and compassion.”
I smiled at him. He let go of my hand and started into the darkness. “Connie, Connie, please! Connie, come back to me, I love you! I'll never leave you again, I swear,” the voice begged, pleaded, prayed.
The next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes against two or three blinding white lights. Out of the corner of my eye, past all of the men in white, which oddly enough resembled snowman aliens, I caught sight of several worried faces. I could still feel their emotions, though the ability or side effect, whatever you'd like to call that sort of thing after a near death experience, was wearing off quickly.
The snowmen smiled, lowering their white mouths to reveal flesh colored ones. They checked my vitals and some things on the machines. Soon after, they left. The people which I had felt, took their place. I looked over. “Mom,” I said quietly. My
throat was surprisingly dry.
“Connie,” she said shakily. “How are you?” Laura asked. “Fine,” I coughed, my lungs feeling as though they had been lit with fire.
Marina came back over, for some reason she had left abruptly, and handed me a glass of water. “Thanks.” I took a sip, as Greg helped support me from behind.
I relished in his touch. I had missed it more than I had realized. I drew the glass
away from my lips, smiling. I looked up at him.
His smile was so big, he was beaming. I could practically feel the sun's radiation off of it. “Come on girls, Connie probably shouldn't be crowded right now,” my mom
said. I watch with a smile, as she nudged them to the door. She smiled at me for a moment and then left.
“Greg,” I started. “Shh,” he stroked my hair from my face. Lightly, I squeezed his other hand, which was still around mine. He squeezed back. For a moment, in the light from the UVB bulbs overhead, I could have sworn that his eyes were filled with tears. Then, as mine began to focus more reliably, I noticed that his face was red.
“Oh, Greg,” I quietly breathed. I reached up and touched his cheek, he leaned into my hand in response. “Greg, I missed you.” “I missed you too,” he said, kissing my hand before putting his on top of it.
I got a flash, as he touched me, along with a snippet of a voice. “He really does love you,” it said as I watched. I could see Greg struggling, two nurses holding him back. Fighting to get to me. I could hear the yelling, what he had been saying. I could hear my friends and my mom, worried, on the verge of breaking down. I could see the desperation in his eyes, the fear.
He was trying with everything he had to reach me, to get to me somehow. I
could feel his fear, his anger, his regret. He had been terrified that he would lose me. How he had gotten his strength back to that amount, I may never know.
“I know,” I said aloud, without thinking. “You know what?” Greg asked. “That you love me. I love you too,” I replied quietly. “I know,” he smiled, slightly playfully.
“I heard you. I felt you, just like you said you felt me,” I told him. He just kept smiling. His eyes were nearly back to normal, but with an added sweet, bright twinkle in them.
“I promise, I will never leave your side again, Connie,” he sounded exasperated,
but with relief almost, and anguish at himself. It was sort of like a huff. “Me neither,” I said. “I'm so sorry that I left you before, I was a coward-” I cut him off. “Shh, it's alright, you're here now, just don't ever leave me again.
Later, once I was back home, I told the girls what had happened, and Greg. They were shocked. Shocked that I saw them, shocked that I saw the God, that I had heard him and the Goddesses, shocked that I almost died, for them, for Greg.
Greg was just happy to have me back, as was I him. I told him that I knew he had never meant for the crash to happen, even though I had at least a million times before, that I loved him more than anything else, even than life, and that I never wanted to lose him again. He told me that he wasn't going anywhere, ever.
He said he believed me, in what had happened, and he was speechless that I had heard him and could tell him all of the details of what he had been doing, what he had been feeling, and that I had nearly willingly died for him.
Though I never heard from Eros, Hestia, or Thalia again, I know they're real. I know that they helped me, Laura, and Marina, even Greg. I thank them everyday for
what they did. Sometimes, I can even swear that I feel them smiling at me from atop Mount Olympus.
I know that my experience cannot simply be chalked up to a near death hallucination, I know that I wasn't dreaming, and I know that it was not caused by some lack of oxygen side effect. My experience was real. All of it.
I thank the Gods for every day, for everything, and for everyone in my life. I know that they will always watch over me, as long as I stay loyal to them. Maybe, one day, I will even tell my mom what happened. Who knows, she might believe me, miracles do happen when you have faith.