Friday, 6 February 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #116: The Secret of Dark Vale

Mystydragon's Challenge

You have been offered the gift of healing everyone of everything - do you accept the gift?
Write a story showing the pros and cons of the dilemma of such a gift;
or write a story as to why you refused the gift if you choose not to accept it.

Dark Vale was a small unnoticeable village sandwiched between two hills. It was very seldom that a car found the road through the hills on its way to a larger town. Since the motorway had been built, it was much quicker to take a tunnel or by pass road and so Dark Vale was left for its rural life to take its course. Of course, not all were farmers, and some of the 300 people living in the village made their livelihood by working in one of the nearer towns, perhaps as a white collar worker, or in a factory, but each of those people working away from home during the day were glad to be able to return to the peace and quiet of the village in the evening. The children growing up in the village visited the local school until they had to visit the college in one of the surrounding towns.

If the inhabitants of this quaint little town could look back in history they would have seen that one day a woman and a man came across one of the hills and were the first settlers. It was the middle ages, a superstitious time, and the couple in question were glad to escape from their small town and find somewhere to live quietly and away from the questioning minds of the neighbours. James and Catherine Dark decided to name the land where they had settled Dark Vale and it was there that they had a small farm. They were happy to be independent, living on their farm produce and needed no other help. Their children grew up on the farm, but as time passed the sons found wives in villages near bye and the daughters moved to the other villages, or perhaps stayed in Dark Vale and their husbands moved into the area; slowly but surely the village grew and today it was a more or less small modern village.

Returning to James and Catherine, they were actually fugitives. Catherine Dark had inherited something from her family which was a speciality that all first born daughters of her family carried with them through life. It was not known where this particular gift originated, but it existed. Catherine was able to cure people of their illnesses. She had been warned by her own mother to keep this for herself and only to use this power in secret. It was the reason why they left their original home. Word got around of this gift and Catherine was in danger of being burnt as a witch.

Today the descendants of the Dark family still lived in the village. Some years ago a mother and her daughter were sitting in the sun out in their garden. Jennifer was five years old. Suddenly her cat Tiddles came into the garden.
“Tiddles, what have you got in your mouth” Jennifer asked
Jennifer’s mother saw Tiddles and was shocked. “Jennifer leave Tiddles alone, he seems to have caught a bird, there is nothing we can do.”
Jennifer was feeling very sad. “Tiddles put the bird down, you are hurting it.” By this time Tiddles was tired of his new plaything and dropped the half dead bird at Jennifer’s feet.
“Jennifer please leave the bird, there is nothing you can do”, but Jennifer took the bird in her hand and started stroking it. There was a flutter and suddenly the bird flapped its wings and flew away with no problem. It was then that Jennifer’s mother realised Jennifer had inherited the gift that had been passed down in her family. Some daughters had it stronger than others.

One day Dark descendants, now known as Smith, received a letter to say that Jennifer’s cousin Samantha would be paying them a visit. When the two girls left school they went their own way. Today Jennifer was working as a nurse in the local vet’s surgery and Samantha was now working as a journalist.

Samantha was glad to see Jennifer again.
“Oh, Jenny how I have missed you over the years as well as our wonderful village of Dark Vale. It has hardly changed over the years. Even the same people seem to be living here.”
It was a fact that the inhabitants of Dark Vale seemed to stay. It was a very healthy population.
“Hi, Samantha, it’s lovely to have you here. How is life in the big city?
“To be quite honest, it is interesting meeting new people. Working as a journalist means seeing new places and travelling all over the world, but I am glad to be able to return for a few days. I thought we could perhaps go for a picnic tomorrow up on the hill. It is the week-end and I remember how lovely it was when I lived here.”
“That it such a good idea” answered Jennifer. The next day the two girls made some sandwiches, took a bottle of wine and made their way up the hill. The weather was ideal. They found a comfortable place under the shade of a tree and after finishing their food and wine, they decided to make themselves comfortable. Samantha decided to take it easy and she was just drifting off to sleep when she felt a prick on her leg.
“Jennifer, I think I have been stung by a bee.”
“That is not so bad Samantha, I have some ointment with me in case something like that might happen.”
“No Jennifer, I am allergic to bee stings, and once nearly died. Oh dear, I feel the swelling has already started” and when Jennifer looked at Samantha she could see her face turning red and she was having trouble breathing.
Jennifer now had a problem. They were a long way from civilisation and something had to be done quickly, otherwise Samantha could suffocate. Jennifer knew what she could do but heard the warnings from her mother and grandmother in her mind. “We should keep it amongst us and the villagers. Your gift is a wonderful gift, but it is better to keep it and not let it get known in the world of today.” So what could Jennifer do? She listened to her heart and put her healing hands on the bee sting. In the matter of a few minutes Samantha was breathing normally again and there was no sign of an inflammation where she had been stung.
“How did you do that” asked Samantha.
“Do what?” asked Jennifer
“You cured me with your hands. The inflammation has disappeared and I feel fine. I have never seen anything like it.”

“Just forget it, it was no problem.”
Jennifer just hoped that she would forget it, but Samantha was a journalist and it was Summer. Summer was known amongst journalists as the most uninteresting time of the year for stories, so when Samantha returned to her work place, she made herself busy telling the world, at least the local world, about her cousin’s healing hands and the wonder of Dark Vale.
Then it started.
There was a knock at the door in the small farm house in Dark Vale where Jennifer’s family lived. Jennifer’s mother opened the door and was immediately confronted with cameras, microphones and about 10 people from the local television and newspaper.
“Is your daughter Jennifer at home?” they asked
“She is at work. What do you want from her, and please stop flashing with those cameras.”
As she was talking an ambulance pulled up at outside the house.
“We have organised the transport of a few patients from the local hospital. We thought your daughter could show us her healing properties on them.”
It was then that Jennifer arrived home from work.
“What is going on?” she asked. “What are you all doing here.?”
“Here she is” called one of the journalists and immediately Jennifer was surrounded, cameras clicking and films rolling. “Now you can show us how you heal people” and stretchers were pulled out of the ambulance showing patients with broken legs and other problems.
“Please go away. I cannot help you.”
“Just touch my leg” said a patient “give me the chance to walk again”. “and me and me” the voices surrounded Jennifer. Suddenly everything went black before her eyes and she fainted. She woke up to find herself in a hospital ward.
“Where am I?” she asked.
The nurse came over “You had a circulatory collapse; probably the warm weather and the people. You were not getting enough oxygen. It seems that you are getting better now and we can release you. Your mother is waiting.”
Jennifer’s mother was waiting for her and her cousin Samantha was also there.
“Samantha what are you doing here. If it wasn’t for you, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“I am sorry Jennifer, but after you healed me so well on that day, I just had to bring the story in the newspaper.”
“And now you can see what has happened. I will be quite honest with you Samantha. Yes, I can heal people, but how many people shall I heal? Do I have to pick special favourites, or shall I just advertise and let everyone come to me for their healing chances; how do you expect me to cope with all the people that need help?”
“I just didn’t realise …”
“No Samantha, you did not realise anything. If you do not realise, how do you expect others to realise. Life on this earth is a balance of many factors, but it is a fragile balance and can quickly be destroyed. My gift is something individual. Perhaps there are others with this power, but if there are they keep it for themselves knowing the danger of having it made public.”

Jennifer returned home hoping that she would not be besieged by reporters at the door. It so happened that at this time a comet had been sighted in the sky. One that returned every five hundred years and this was now the main theme in the newspapers. Jennifer and her healing powers were soon forgotten and a new story was making the headlines.

Dark Vale reverted to its normal daily life. It was true that people living in this village were rarely ill. They knew no real dangers to their health. The vet where Jennifer worked was also very popular. People knew that their pets were in good hands at this animal clinic and nearly all animals were successfully treated. Some years later Jennifer married one of the vets in the clinic. Her first born was a little girl. It was interesting to watch how the little girl would play with the birds that she had healed with their broken wings.

United Friends Challenge #116: The Secret of Dark Vale

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