A few minutes later, Jared stepped out of his family's cabin and set off through the woods. His father had let him go with a small smile, as if he knew perfectly well where Jared was headed, but Jared didn't care whether he did or not. He needed to talk to somebody about everything he'd just heard, secret or no secret, someone who would listen to him until he was finished talking and have a real response, and there was only one person in Bountiful who fit that description.
He found her where he expected to: behind the Orton family cabin, her arms wrapped around her body, looking out through the pinewoods over the wall at the crashing water far below.
"I did it," said Ever, without looking around. Jared stopped abruptly and cleared his throat. He hadn't deliberately made any noise; somehow, she'd known he'd was there.
"Did what?" Jared asked, though he thought he knew what she was referring to. He had had ample time to listen to village rumor between the council meeting and coming home.
"I saved her," she said. "Sister Flowers. She was...Sister Hales says she was as good as dead, and the baby too. But it worked." She turned and looked at him.
"I've healed wounds, even a broken bone once, but I've never done anything like this. I wasn't sure I could. I'm not sure I even..."
"What?" Jared asked.
"I'm not sure I even believed it, really. Believed that it was me doing it. That I had any...power...to do anything. Laying your hands on injured rabbits and flesh wounds...it's not the same thing. Not like this."
"Tell me," he said, unsure of what else to say. And she told him: Ever described seeing Sister Flowers, seeing the awful damage to her head and the silent swell of her belly, and the anger she felt. She described how everything got warm, and then went black.
"And then I woke up in a bed myself," she finished. Ever laughed quietly. "I'll never be much use in the field if I pass out every time I use it."
"Ever..." Jared began, the right words seeming just out of reach, "what you've done—"
"Please don't say it's a miracle," she said. "I'm not sure I could handle it. Not from you. I've heard it enough times today already. I don't want to feel like a...like some kind of...like something not human."
"I was going to say it's something no one else can do," said Jared. "But if it helps, I think what you do is...very human." He wasn't precisely sure what he meant even as he spoke, but the words suddenly seemed right.
"What do you mean?" Ever asked. She looked scared and hopeful and skeptical all at once.
"I mean, the way you described it," he said. "The anger...the way you felt when it happened. Wherever this ability comes from, the way you use it doesn't seem anything like...." He struggled for the right analogy.
"Like the Savior resurrecting the blind man?" Ever said.
"Exactly," said Jared. "That's it exactly. You use it the way a human—a person who isn't a god—would use it. There's no white light and angels and all that. Just an emotion, and then something happens."
The moon had risen some time before, and now Jared saw Ever smile in the faint light it cast down among the trees. It struck him suddenly that she was beautiful—not merely pretty, but beautiful. Her hair was the color the women called strawberry blonde, her eyes were the green of lake water, and her cheeks had a softness that somehow only accentuated the strength that Jared saw in her face.
YOU ARE READING
Exile: The Book of EverScience Fiction
Centuries after the Fall, the United States has been wiped away. The crumbling remains of the great American empire are home now only to savage, lawless tribes and packs of ravening Damned-the twisted children of the apocalypse. Most of those few wh...