The discussion was cut short when Jason Bard, quarterback of the Prescott Academy Panthers, descended the stairs covered in blood. He was the first of what was to be a series of bungee-jumping casualties and had sustained a deep gash on the side of his neck. Turned out, he was directed to me by a student who’d been sledding at Danahy Park on the day I mended Callie’s broken ankle.
I suggested taking Jason to the ER, but everyone was curious to see whether the rumor about my having healed Alessa’s burns was true, and I eventually gave in to peer pressure. It was a messy procedure, but—with the help of the OM—I managed to close Jason’s wound. When the bleeding stopped, the mob of kids around us erupted into wild cheers and whistling. That didn’t surprise me, but what happened next did.
Someone suggested that I attempt to heal Tasha Gomes, and soon the whole room was chanting, “Heal Tasha! Heal Tasha!”
Although somewhat uncomfortable with all this attention, I was happy to be of service. But Tasha Gomes didn’t just have a neck wound. She’d been blind since the age of three!
“Listen guys,” I said, “broken bones and bruises are one thing, but I can’t restore sight.”
The partiers would have none of it. As they continued chanting, “Heal Tasha!
Heal Tasha!” the crowd parted just enough to allow Tasha Gomes to approach me, proceeded by her guide dog, a German Shepherd named Fred.
Tasha was an auburn-haired beauty who wore aviator sunglasses. Her blindness followed a bad case of the measles, which she’d contracted because her parents didn’t believe in vaccinations. Despite her handicap, she was active in school affairs and never missed the honor roll. I’d known her since kindergarten and had always admired her strength and determination.
“I’m sorry, Tasha,” I told her, struggling to be heard above the chanting. “This really isn’t fair to you.”
“Hey, knock yourself out,” she replied. “I’ve got nothing to lose.”
I turned to Alessa and Deon and they both shrugged.
So I switched my PVD to high and had Tasha sit in a chair with me standing behind her. Fred licked my hand and sniffed my crotch, then lay down on the floor.
The band had stopped playing, so it was fairly quiet, except for the drumming coming from the third floor. I signaled a guy by the door, and he lowered the lights with a dimmer switch. Then I removed Tasha’s sunglasses and handed them to Deon.
I rubbed my hands together to get the energy flowing, and then gently cupped my palms over Tasha’s eyes. I zeroed in on the OM for a couple of minutes and then visualized Tasha’s eyesight returning to normal. As usual, my hands became warm and began to tingle. I felt an enormous build-up of energy in my palms but it didn’t seem to be flowing into Tasha. I sensed resistance, and sure as hell wasn’t going to make the same mistake I’d made with Alessa.
I dropped my hands and softly said, “Tasha. Do you feel ready to see again?”
“I’m not sure.” Her voice cracked and she began to cry. “I guess I’m afraid.”
“Of course you are,” said Alessa. “This would dramatically change your life. You need to ask yourself whether you truly want it.”
Tasha continued to cry softly and I began to regret the whole thing. Who the hell did I think I was? What if she says yes, and no miracle occurs? Tasha would be crushed, and publicly humiliated to boot.
I was trying to figure out some way of gracefully exiting from this mess when Tasha said, “I do, Joss. I want to see.”
I sighed and turned to Alessa. She took hold of my hands and squeezed them. She smiled as I looked at her, and her faith in me was so reassuring that I gradually regained my composure.
I placed my hands over Tasha’s eyes again and opened myself to the OM. As I merged with the primordial vibration, I felt my heart fill with compassion and the wish to relieve suffering. My hands trembled with energy, but this time I felt it flow into Tasha’s eyes and circulate throughout her entire body. When I felt a shudder pass through both of us, I knew I’d done all that I could.
I withdrew my hands, then walked around the chair and knelt down, facing Tasha. I told her to take her time, and to open her eyes when she felt ready.
After ten seconds or so, Tasha blinked her eyes open. They were a brilliant blue and looked like the eyes of a newborn. With my heart beating furiously, I watched as she struggled to focus. A tense minute passed, and then she sadly shook her head.
The crowd groaned, and I felt sick to my stomach. Someone said, “Nice try, buddy boy,” and it took me a few seconds to realize that it was Fred, her German Shepherd.
The lights came on and everyone had started to scatter when Tasha jumped up from her chair and cried, “Wait! I see colors!”
“What?” I said. “Are you sure?”
Tasha rubbed her eyes with her fists. She looked all around the room and then back at me. She slowly lifted her hand and reached directly for mine.
“Joss? Is that you?”
“Yes, Tasha!” I said, tears streaming down my face.
We hugged, both of us sobbing.
Tasha hugged Fred and then went from person to person, clutched their hands and blurted out their name. Over the years, we had all let her feel our faces, so she recognized everyone.
Well, I was the hero all right, which felt a whole lot better than being the asshole who burnt down the Sadowski’s house, almost killing Alessa. The only trouble was, for the rest of the night, every twerp with acne or postnasal drip was hounding me for the cure.
For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.
When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan
with the ability to hear things others can’t, reality as he
knows it begins to unravel.
A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he’s always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he’s studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.
Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.
Michael Sussman is the author of Crashing Eden, a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and
Otto Grows Down, a children’s picture book featuring illustrations by Scott Magoon.
Dr. Sussman is a clinical psychologist and has also published two books for mental
health professionals. He’s the author of A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations
for Practicing Psychotherapy and the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of
He resides in the Boston area with his son, Ollie.
Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman
For further information, visit Michael’s website and blog at MichaelSussmanBooks.com