Fr. Michael anointed Emily with blessed oil and chrism on her head, hands and feet. He prayed first in English, then Latin. Taking her head between his hands, he began to pray in a language Kyle didn’t recognize. His hands moved to her shoulders and down her body. Emily trembled beneath his touch, her breath coming in short, sharp gasps.
Kyle and Thaddeus moved toward her, but Pablo stopped them, indicating silently that she was all right. None of them said a word as Fr. Michael continued to pray. Emily grew flushed and began to sweat as the intensity of his prayers increased. Suddenly, she collapsed, falling back in her chair, limp and unconscious.
Fr. Michael stumbled, losing his balance. Pablo caught him expertly, laying him gently on the floor. Dr. West moved to take his pulse or check on Emily, but Pablo stopped him even more adamantly. He took them from the room, motioning that they must not speak yet.
Once they were in the study with the door closed, Dr. West showed his anger. “I have to insist that you allow me back in that room!”
“No, I cannot. And please to not yell. It is part of the healing process. They are connected right now, by spirit. If you touch them, break the connection, the healing will not take place. Your anger is bad, Doctor. If you cannot keep it under control, you must leave.”
“I’m not leaving.”
“Then I must insist that you remain calm. If Emily is to get well, you must.”
“If I don’t say anything and don’t touch them, may I go back in?” Kyle asked humbly. “I—I want to be with her.”
“Yes, of course. But you must promise, say nothing, and do not touch.”
“I promise. On my honor, I won’t interfere in any way.”
“You go in then. You stay,” he told Dr. West firmly.
Nodding, Thaddeus poured himself another drink. Scotch this time. Kyle went back in the other room. He sat on the love seat between Emily’s chair and Father Michael’s prostrate form.
Emily was still sweating, her face flushed. Father Michael was pale, his features drawn much like Emily’s had been. Dark circles had formed around his eyes. His body shook with tiny tremors. It was his hands that upset Kyle the most. They were darkly mottled, misshapen, swollen and a hideous shade of red. The sight nearly turned Kyle’s stomach and it was all he could do not to vomit.
He concentrated instead on Emily. Her color was returning to normal, her breath less shallow and ragged. Her cheeks and lips blushed with health, not fever. Her skin no longer had the waxiness he’d seen there the last few days. One last shuddering breath, she began to breathe normally, and he knew she was asleep.
Father Michael gasped, groaning. His body shook more violently terrifying Kyle. He left the room quietly, running into the study. Motioning to Pablo, he asked him to check on the priest with gestures. Pablo pulled him into the study, closing the door behind him.
“He will be fine in a few minutes. Depending upon now sick the person is, depends on how long he’s unconscious.”
“What’s wrong with his hands?”
“He must process what he takes from them. Not all healers do this, but it is Father Michael’s way. He will be weak when he finishes. May I order him some food?”
“Certainly,” Dr. West replied. “Whatever he requires.”
“Bread and wine. Some meat—grilled fish is best. I shall call now. He will be coming out of it when the food arrives.” He called room service, placing his order.
The food arrived moments after Fr. Michael regained consciousness. Dr. West met the waiter at the door, signing for the meal. Emily was still asleep. Kyle stood beside her, gazing at her helplessly.
“You may touch her now,” Pablo said as he helped the priest onto the couch. “Do not try to wake her, she will come around on her own.”
Kyle nodded his thanks, drawing a chair next to her. He sat vigil, waiting for what seemed like forever for her to wake, but began to think she wouldn’t anytime soon.
“She will sleep several hours,” Fr. Michael said. His voice was dry, rough. “She needs to stay here tonight and can go back to the ship at midday tomorrow.”
“Is she healed now?” Kyle asked anxiously.
Father Michael smiled at Kyle, his blue eyes glittering. “Yes, she’s healed. Your faith and hers will keep her that way. Never doubt, especially not right now.”
“She looks magnificent, so much better. I have no doubt she’s well. Thank you, Father.”
© Dellani Oakes