2.3 Outpouring

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Healing required almost no effort, as far as Alex was concerned. It took his full focus, but he was getting faster each time, and the drain only lasted for a few seconds afterwards. Then he was back to feeling good.

It was so easy, he wished he could visit a hospital, just to see how many lives he could save. He could have saved patients every day, if he had only known that he possessed this power.

He could have rescued his father. He'd been eight years old, but with this power, he could have healed everyone aboard that plane when it crashed and burned.

After all, he had been there. The news media attributed his survival to sheer luck, but now he had strong suspicions. Something—someone with power—had intervened. It was probably the same person who'd protected him from lightning when he was crucified. It was probably himself.

"Alex." Margo touched his arm. "Can I interrupt you for a minute?"

His mother stood next to her, stooped and fragile.

"Sure." Alex bowed graciously to the ummin whose sore wrists he had just healed. Ever attentive, Kessa saw the situation, and spoke to the queued line of ummins, presumably asking them to wait.

"Your mother has something to tell you." Margo gently pushed his mother forward.

Alex expected her to exclaim about his amazing powers. She hadn't shown much reaction yet, but she must be as happy and surprised as he was. Her eyes filled with unshed tears, and she gazed at Alex with more love than he had seen from her in a very long time.

"I have cancer," she said.

He figured he must have misheard.

"Late stage pancreatic cancer," she said. "I may only have a few days left, Alex." She reached out to grip his arm with one gnarled hand. "I'm sorry I hid it from you."

Margo and Kessa looked unsurprised. They watched Alex to see his reaction.

They had known.

His mother's odd behavior during their last few months on Earth suddenly made sense. Her frequent shopping trips must have been cancer treatments. Her morbid talks about the future must have been her way of trying to prepare. Now Alex understood why she'd urged him to invite a friend, or a caretaker, into his lonely life.

How could he have been so obtuse?

"Alex." Margo sounded apprehensive, her gaze darting to either side of him.

He became aware of items floating in his peripheral vision. Pebbles and stoneware had risen like the hairs on his arms, because his awareness had spiked beyond the container of his body.

As gently as possible, he set the floating items down. They resisted until he took a deep, calming breath.

Once his awareness was safely withdrawn, he faced his mother. "Thank you for telling me."

She sniffled and wiped at tears streaming from her eyes. "I didn't want to burden you."

She didn't need to explain why. Neither of them glanced at the suicide scar on his arm, but both remembered. He had taken a knife from the kitchen. Blood spilled over the giant-sized table. His mother had pleaded, yelled, and finally threatened to call an ambulance. She'd tapped the emergency number on her phone.

"Promise me you'll never hurt yourself again," she had demanded, her voice strong, and her hair dark. At the time, she had seemed as unstoppable as a force of nature. "Promise, for as long as I'm alive, you'll never do that again."

The threat of being seen was enough to make him hesitate, but the terror in her gaze was worse. How could he leave her, abandoned, like that? So he had put down the knife and made the promise.

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