Her eyes scanned the room, from the pale blue sofa to the bloody dent in the wall. But she didn’t need her eyes to know Darron was there. Her heart sensed his presence before her eyes saw him lying in a heap on the ground. His body shuttered with occasional spasms, and even though he wasn’t fully conscious, his lips were twisted in a grimace of pain.
Uttering a gasp of surprise, Gabriella flew to his side. She knelt beside him, and choked back a sob as she took his hand in her own. She saw his chest rise and fall and was glad to know was alive, but she felt helpless as she watched his face contort in pain. She noticed something wet and sticky on her fingertips. She gently titled his head and saw a large gash that looked like it needed medical attention. The skin around the gash was so deeply bruised it looked almost black.
“Darron, what happened to you?”
He didn’t move or reply. Gabriella moved her hand from the cut on his forehead, and her fingers dripped with blood. She bit her lower lip with fear. She knew enough about head injuries to know that the wound could be serious. She grabbed a few tissues from a box on the coffee table, and tried to apply pressure to the wound, but it was useless. The tissues were soaked through in seconds.
“Darron?” She squeezed his hand, and fought back tears of fear and frustration. “Darron, please open your eyes. Please be all right!”
He squirmed and groaned a little in response. Looking at his contorted features, Gabriella felt incompetent and useless. She didn’t know what to do to help him. The cut must need stitches. The blood was gushing through her fingertips, and she was sure his life was slipping away just as quickly.
More than anything, Gabriella wanted to help Darron, to end his suffering. Her thoughts, her desperation, caused something deep inside of her to stir. Something that had long been napping was awoken. The power she had fought so hard to deny was forcing its way to the surface. This time she didn’t struggle against that power. Her instinct to hide from it was finally overcome by the thought of losing someone else she cared about.
Gabriella was pulling strength and warmth from the earth, as though her legs were tree roots taking nourishment from the element. A tingling sensation began in the tips of her toes and spread slowly though her body as she breathed in the essence of the element of air. Her blood flowed and grew warm, the element of water, bringing the power to the surface. She was overcome by a vigorous strength as she envisioned her spirit encircled by the element of fire. She felt so powerful that she thought she could stop the world from churning if that was what she wished. Gabriella focused the power, remembering for a moment her mother’s lessons. She looked down at her battered friend. She willed him to open his eyes and look at her. She demanded it of him.
Gabriella would have thought it was impossible, but she felt herself grow warmer. Her face dripped with perspiration. The power within her reached a climax. Then finally, when she thought she might burst, she felt the energy release. It seeped through her fingers, and shined with an illumination that only she could see. She heard herself chanting unfamiliar words, and scarcely recognized her own voice.
“By the power of earth, water, fire and air,
Heal this man who’s in my care.
Goddess, hear your daughter’s plea.
As I will it, so mote it be!”
Gabriella repeated the words three times. Three was the number of power. Then she watched as the wound on Darron’s forehead healed before her eyes, becoming smaller and smaller, until finally it was gone. The blood was still warm and sticky, but beneath the blood, the skin was smooth and unmarred. Even the horrible bruise had vanished. Gabriella stared in open astonishment, marveling at the work she had done.