Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Did somebody mention coffee?" I step out from the small kitchen with a steaming cup of java. I know my sister well.

"Gods, Erik, you're a lifesaver!" She grabs the cup and drinks thirstily. "So why'd you drag my ass out of bed at this ungodly hour? I had a rough night." - but she's smiling, so I have an idea what kind of rough night she had.

"Let's go for a walk." I turn to Tiger. "Stay with Star." The big cat rumbles happily. Now that I think of it, I haven't seen an animal yet that Star can't charm.

We walk a few paces into the woods. "What's up?," Raina asks quietly.

"You're the shaman, sis. Do you know of anything we can do to clean out bad vibes in a place? Star won't sleep in her bedroom because that's where she was raped - and this place is too small as it is. Am I asking the impossible?"

"No, cleansing a place is fairly simple in terms of the ritual. Before it can begin, though, you'll need to get rid of the furnishings; anything that might remind her of it. Just have a big bonfire and burn it all up. It has its psychological benefits, too, seeing all that crap go up in smoke... kind of like a new beginning."

"We can do that. Maybe if Star helps gather up the stuff to be burned, that'll help, too?"

"Yes, but don't push her if she can't handle it. Let her do what she can do and let it go at that."

I smile. "Thanks. Anyone tell you you're the best sister ever?"

She laughs. "I'll remind you of that next time I kick your ass sparring."

We head back to the cabin. "How should I bring this up? I never know how referring back to the rape will affect her."

"That's part of the problem, Erik. You can't treat her like cut glass. Treat her like she's tough and she'll be tough. Anyway, it's been two years. If she was gonna have a major freak-out, she'd already have done it."

I breathe deep. "Okay, let's do this."

We catch up to Star, who's roughhousing with Tiger - she has him on his back and she's tickling his belly like he's an ordinary housecat. He waves his paws in the air ineffectually, looking very pleased with himself.


I go down on one knee. "Star, Raina tells me there's a way to remove the bad feelings and bad memories from your bedroom, make it just like the rest of the cabin. We need to throw out everything in there, make a big bonfire and burn it all, and then Raina can clean everything out. You can help gather up the stuff for the bonfire if you want to; but if you'd rather not, I can do it myself. What do you say?"

She thinks for a minute, her eyes changing, then looks from me to Raina and says finally, "No, I don't want to." She looks back at me with a pleading expression. "Is that all right? You won't be mad at me?"

I sweep her up in my arms and kiss her and she giggles happily. "No, love, I could never be mad at you."

I think for a moment. "Let's see, it'll take about half an hour, forty-five minutes to clean all this out. I don't have to be careful, since we're gonna burn it anyway.... Would you like to visit Alise and Stoney while I do this?"

Star nods and I turn to Raina. "Would you mind, sis? I can send Tiger as an escort if you'd rather not, but I'd rather she have a human, someone who can improvise if needed."

"What a question!," Raina scoffs. "Give me another cup of that coffee, big brother. I need to fortify myself for the trip." Star giggles and I feel a wave of love wash over me, damn near staggering me. I go get Raina's coffee, hug her and then Star, then go back into the cabin and get to work.

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