“Okay,” I agreed pretending to give in to his crazy demands.
He was clearly caught off guard.
“There’s no use denying it another minute. You’ve unearthed my superhero power, and I can no longer sit here and watch such terrible human suffering without using my powers for good.”
I was rambling, but I was also desperate to get out of there.
My abrupt willingness to help him, and my less than serious attitude had left him looking a little lost. I decided to take advantage of this one moment where he seemed less than sure of himself. Moving out of his vice-like grip became easier. I grabbed his hand and pulled him forward, directing him to follow me into a side room that looked like the inside of a doctor’s examining room. It was even equipped with a leather examining bed for sick students waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.
“Stretch out lengthwise on here, please,” I said.
“If you wanted to snuggle you could have told me sooner.” The cockiness in his voice sounded a bit forced to me.
“I’ll need absolute quiet in order to call upon the spirits of those superheroes who have gone before me.”
I could see Tie rolling his eyes.
“I wasn’t kidding about the snuggling. It’ll do us both some good.”
Tie lowered himself down and let his arms fall loosely to his sides, acting as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
My thoughts were whirling ahead of me. I knew this idea of mine wasn’t completely foolproof. I’d never actually healed someone gradually before. Healings were an instantaneous sort of thing. Once I showed someone’s life force what it needed to do, it was eager to comply. Somehow, I needed his life force to slow down the healing process in a way that made it look as if I’d had nothing to do with it. Easing his pain needed to happen gradually as well. If I couldn’t get Tie’s spirit to understand my intentions, then this impulsive plan of mine was going to backfire in a most unpleasant way.
I walked over to the top of the examining bed and gently placed my hands on either side of his head. I needed to focus. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and then began humming a single note like some weird religious monk might.
“Hummmm.” I was very proud of myself for not laughing.
“Seriously,” Tie muttered under his breath.
“I call on the spirits of superheroes past, present, and future. Give me focus and purity of heart, and wisdom to use my gift in a way that is pleasing to you all.”
“I get it, Hope. You’re mocking me. Your message is coming in loud and clear.” He sounded irritated, which made me smile.
“I would also like to take this time to give a shout out to my most favorite superhero of all. Wolverine, I always loved your cartoons, but you truly came to life for me when Hugh Jackman represented your iconic image in the unforgettable movie X-Men. May you live long and prosper, and may Hugh Jackman’s jeans always give you the best hind end a superhero could ever ask for.”
I hesitated before connecting with Tie. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, but once I actually focused it didn’t take more than a few moments. I wasn’t prepared for the way he responded to me, though. I could feel him inviting me in, almost pulling me forward as if he wanted me to stay forever and never let him go. A person’s life force was always something I felt and never saw, but the minute I connected with Tie’s, bright images of gold and orange burst forth within my mind. I felt their warmth as they enveloped me in a joyful embrace.
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