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••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Extracts

The Guru Will See You Now
• Sam Hawksmoor
We Feel Your Pain
Hammer & Tong
ISBN-13: 979-8699087693

Special Treament for Patient X


The patient sat upright on the chair; bare feet planted squarely on the floor as instructed.  He was dressed in a pale blue hospital gown and seemed nervous.  His hands lay in his lap and he was aware of each painful throbbing finger.  He could almost sense the gristle growing in his pinkies, distorting them ever more out of shape.  He hated his hands now and how he kept dropping things, he could barely get a firm grip on his paintbrush anymore.
            The Guru was studying him from across the room, his disciple, Rafael standing beside him.  The Guru knew that Rafael fancied that he would one day replace him, despite the fact that he seemed to have little spirituality about him and even less empathy with the patients.
            The patient was trying the deep breathing exercise that the Guru had asked him to do.  He’d agreed to the disciple being at the session as he got a small discount on the price and every cent mattered to him.  He’d given Jirdasham his entire life savings so far and was pissed that the first all-day session had given him no relief at all.  Thirty grand flushed away with all the anti-toxins they had made him swallow.  He’d insisted that if they wanted more, the Guru himself had to treat him and finally after months that day had come.  If it didn’t work, he’d seriously considered ending it all.  Had they no idea how fucking desperate he was?  What kind of artist couldn’t pick up a pen without being in agony?  How was he supposed to concentrate?
            “Can you raise your arm, Mr Alexander?  Your left arm,” Rafael asked him.
            He raised his arm, but only as far as being level with his shoulders, he couldn’t go further.
            The Guru’s expression didn’t change.  Rafael thanked him.
            “Did you list your diet as we asked you to?”
            The patient nodded.  “Yes, I eat fresh fish mostly now.  I live by the harbor at Jarrick Bay.  I won’t touch meat.”
            “And alcohol?  Wine, beer, whisky?” Rafael asked.
            “Not anymore.  I can’t drink wine; it makes my toes hurt.  I think it’s the sulphur.”
            Rafael walked around the back of the man. “Yes, it’s acidic, no other alcohol?”
            “How long?”
            “Four years.”
            “And no meat?”
            “Ten, at least.”
            “You’re aware that a high fish diet may contain mercury?”
            The patient made a face. “I have to eat something.”
            Rafael put pressure on the man’s neck and asked him to raise his arm again.  He managed to raise it just a little higher than the previous time.
            Rafael told him to lower it.  He looked over at the Guru.
            “His spine is out of line and needs cracking.  His hands are at second stage osteoarthritis and he has virtually no mobility in his neck.”  He glanced at the patient. “You spend long periods of time doing one task I think.”
            “Yes, it’s true, I’m an artist.”
            “You need to do these neck exercises” Rafael demonstrated turning and lowering and raising his head to get the maximum flexibility. “Often.”
            The Guru slipped off his chair and came closer to the patient. “Good assessment, Rafael.  Now take hold of his hands.”
            Rafael came around to the front and took up Mr Alexander’s hands.
            “Rafael is going to apply positive energy to your hands.  I’d like you to consider giving up fish for a whole year.  None.  Eat only vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables.  Cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spring greens, radishes, these can prevent DNA damage and help with your liver.”
            Rafael was holding the man’s hands, rubbing the bony growths on the pinkies.  “These must be sore.”
            The patient winced.  They were sensitive to touch.
            “Rafael will now apply positive energy directly through the hands.  Rafael, focus your energies directly into his fingers like so.”  The Guru demonstrated with his own hands and Rafael followed him, closing his eyes to concentrate and channel his energy into the crippled hands.
            The Guru watched keenly and smiled encouragement at the patient.  “Any heat?  Can you feel a tingling?”
            The patient thought about it a moment, then shook his head.
            The Guru frowned.  “No heat at all?”
            The patient shook his head again.  The Guru tapped Rafael on the shoulder and bade him release the man’s hands.
            “Rafael, it’s all about empathy.  You must meld your mind with his; feel your way to his energy flow.  You need to work on channeling.”  He took the patients hands into his own and laced his fingers between the patients.
            Rafael backed away a little, annoyed that whatever the Guru did, he could not.  They had tried this before, and he still couldn’t generate any damn heat.  He knew his way around the human body, but unless you were generating friction, there was no way to create heat in his book.
            The Guru reminded the patient to relax.  “Think of something beautiful, a place, a memory, a moment.”  He pressed their hands together with more force.
            The patient began to frown; he could feel the beginnings of heat.  He tried to think of the ruins at the base of the sand dune he’d been painting.  How he’d paint it repeatedly, each time minded of the immense presence of the mountain of sand poised to engulf this building, but for some mysterious reason had remained in this symbiotic state of constant threat for countless years, ever threatening, never consumed.
            The heat is his hands was intense, he wondered if he should yell to stop it, but this was the ‘cure’, this was the Guru and more importantly, this is what he had paid for.  He wanted that cure; he wanted his hands back.  He became aware that the Guru was singing.  Rafael reluctantly joining in the mantra of joy, only he could tell that Rafael was faking it, the Guru was radiating joy and he could feel it engulf him, like an x-ray maybe, heat him up from the inside.
            The Guru abruptly let go, he smiled as he stepped back and fell back onto his barrel chair.
            The patient closed his eyes; he was almost vibrating.
            “Place your arms straight out in front of you,” the Guru gently asked him.  He complied, his arms tingling, his hands still warm.
            “Wiggle your fingers.”
            He wiggled and opened his eyes in astonishment.  He was actually wiggling his damn fingers, that hadn't wiggled in nearly five whole years.
            “Raise your arms.” Rafael asked him.
            He raised his arms.  They both went well above his head with no pain.
            The Guru giggled.  “Enjoy your life now.  Remember this isn’t a cure; we have simply removed the pain.  Eat cruciferous vegetables.  Exercise your neck, keep the blood flowing.”
            The Guru left the room.  Rafael asked him to go behind the screen and put his clothes back on.
            The patient felt immensely happy, he had never really thought he could experience happiness ever again.  It had cost him everything but finally he was cured.
            “He’s amazing,” the patient declared.
            Rafael shrugged as he headed for the door.  “Don’t forget to sign the forms on the way out.”  He left aware that the Guru had once again failed to show him the trick.  It had to be a trick.  There was no way he was channeling some mystery heat. Somehow, he was able to fool the patients into thinking they were cured.  Whatever it was he wanted to know how, one way or another.
© Sam Hawksmoor 1.3.21
Pain Cover Read Sam Hawksmoor’s new novel  ‘We Feel Your Pain – so you don’t have to’.  Download now!

Review: 'I really enjoyed living with Delaney, Asha and Maria. And I particularly revelled in that obedient and loving dog, Rufus.  They were lovely characters and it was a good story. The author evokes amazing, vivid pictures of St. Joes with human misery and the beach and Jasmina’s neighbourhood and the apple farm'. B. H. February 2021

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