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* The Library - Fiction for the Heart *

The Gathering
Ch. 11 - Terror and Rage

The next few nights around the fire were full of sharing. Mara, especially seemed almost in a frenzy to try to heal everything all at once.

Several of their sharing circles had been dominated by Girda's booming shouts and large feet stomping around the fire in rage. During these outbursts Mabel would often cringe and cower, which infuriated Girda even more.

One night she strode over and shoved her finger right in Mabel's face. "You are a sniveling coward," she shouted. "You shouldn't have kept me down all that time. It's all your fault, what we've become. You acted right into the enemy's plan. Look what you did to us, look what you did to me!" Louder and louder and closer and closer, and pretty soon she was hovering menacingly over poor Mabel who just curled up into a ball and seemed to be getting tinier by the minute.

"Wait!" cried Magda, rising to stand between them. Mara jumped up and stood beside her, relieved that Magda finally said something. She waited, her eyes wide, looking from one to the other.

"This doesn't feel right," Magda said finally. "Step back, Girda, something feels bad here."

Girda took a step back, panting. Mabel shivered and whimpered, but wouldn't uncurl.

"You said this is where we can feel our feelings," Girda said. "You said! Why do you say no now? You can't do that! That's not fair!" she was yelling at Magda now.

"Girda, for three nights running you've yelled and stomped and berated Mabel, and the only thing that seems to be changing is that Mabel is getting smaller and smaller. We can't let that happen! You can't threaten physically. Look at her," Magda pointed to Mabel, still trembling on the ground. "You're scaring her, and you're scaring me. She can't even hear you. You've reduced her to jelly, is that what you want?" Girda scowled and growled.

"At least move to the other side of the circle so she knows you won't hit her," Magda said.

Girda growled again, but she moved. Mara sat behind Mabel and wrapped her legs and arms around her.

"Now," Magda said to Girda, "what do you feel?"

"I feel," Girda snarled, "like SHE is a sniveling, cowardly, ratfaced little..."

"Wait!" Magda said. She let her truth-sense reach out to the giantess. She looked at Girda's red face, the angry eyes glaring at her. "Girda, you're all focused outward. I can feel it. Your anger wants to hurt her and make her change. Just feel what you feel."

Magda had no idea what she was saying, or if Girda would understand it. She just knew something didn't feel right.

Girda stood absolutely still glaring and growling at them. Then she closed her eyes. They could hear her teeth grinding. Her fists clenched and unclenched, and then suddenly she burst out, "I hate you!" and the explosion released a flood of angry tears. She dropped to the ground and sobbed, "Kill you, kill you, kill you," pounding the ground with her fists. Her face got even redder and her eyes, streaming with tears, seemed not to see them. She was deep in her rage, moving quickly beyond coherent speech. She growled and sobbed, and screamed and sobbed. She began to push on the ground with her feet and her back arched, throwing her backward. Magda and Mara quickly moved behind her, bracing themselves against Girda's back and giving her something to push against. And Girda pushed, and kicked, her feet digging little trenches in the dirt while she cried her rage. Just as Magda and Mara thought they couldn't hold up anymore, she sat forward and shook her clenched fists at the sky. "Kill you!" she screamed at some invisible enemy.

When the storm finally subsided, Girda lay on the ground exhausted.

"By all that's holy!" she sighed. "I didn't know, I've never been in a place where I could just feel what I feel. I always had to act, to try to change the situation, defeat the enemy, DO something. This healing is very different. I feel different." She moved so she could see Mabel on the other side of the fire. "I'm sorry little one," she said. "My rage did want to frighten you more. It wanted to hurt you and punish you and blame you. I'm very sorry."

Mabel looked at her and began to cry. Mara held her while she cried, little gasping sobs at first and then wailing cries "I'm so afraid, so afraid, don't hurt me, please, please!"

While she cried Girda moved quietly to her side. "I won't hurt you, little one. I promise. I'm sorry I frightened you. I won't let my anger hurt you, truly." Mabel looked up at the warrior woman's face and slowly, very slowly she uncurled and her sobs faded.

Something very important healed between them that night. They fell asleep curled together by the fire.

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