Cupid's Gift

Pearl realised that something was wrong with her when her back started itching uncontrollably. She tries to deal with her problem by herself and in the process meets Monica, a girl who is new to town. As things get complicated, will she be able to handle everything that comes at her? Or will she be crushed by her inner conflicts?

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3. Abilities

Monica was standing in front of me with her now visible wings sprouting out of her back. I stood there like an idiot gaping at her and trying to connect the dots. The itching starts and she coincidentally moved to this town. She turned down the popular group to hang out with Jade, Ian and I. She wasn’t grossed out when I told her about the itching and the candies either. Almost as if she knew what was happening. “Why couldn’t I see your wings?” “I made them invisible. You can do it too. You’ll need practice though.” “Were you the one who told me that candy works better than fruits?” She nodded. “That was me.” “Are you going to explain or just stand there examining my wings?” “Right, so long story short, you’re one of Cupid’s helpers, just like me, and I was sent as your mentor.” She told me that there are 5,000 helpers in total in the whole world. Helpers grow their wings about a week after their 17th birthday. Helpers are immortal once they grow their wings, but can die when they make huge mistakes. When a helper dies, they get replaced. “So I’m immortal now?” “Yes.” “How old are you?” I asked skeptically. “17, but you already knew that.” “No, I meant it as in the how-long-you’ve-been-alive kind of age.” “I’m 87. I’m still new to this.” Helpers have amazing hearing ability, can fly (obviously), can compel people and can read minds. They can also take away others’ pain. She also told me about the story about how Cupid became really busy over the past few centuries, so he decided to create helpers by giving chosen people the gift of pairing people up. Helpers have the ability to see whether two people would be a good match or not and if the people would, the helpers can pair them up. But if the helpers purposely or even accidentally match the wrong people, there would be consequences. An example of these mistakes is abusive households. According to Monica, abusive people are supposed to die alone, but because of these helpers who make mistakes, these types of households exist. The consequence of making a mistake is that the helper’s soul gets linked with the soul of the person between the pair who feels the most pain. So in this case, if the person being abused gets hurt, the helper gets hurt. If the person being abused dies, the helper dies. For the helper to become normal again, the helper must find a good match for the person being abused. I was able to handle everything, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for all the responsibility. “I can show you how to use your abilities tomorrow, at school. You need to rest for now. We also need to plan out timings for your workout sessions. You need a lot of training before you can fly. It took me six months to learn to fly, but my mentor sucked and was terrible at well, mentoring, but you have an amazing mentor, so you’ll probably be able to fly in about a month and a half.” “I can’t go to school with these.” I motioned to my wings. “Of course, I almost forgot.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a bracelet. It was a silver bracelet that said ‘Expansum caritas, non dolor’ in beautiful writing. “It’s Latin. It means ‘Spread love, not pain’. It’s the motto of Cupid’s helpers. You have to learn to live with it.” I nodded, and put it on my wrist. I reached back to find that the wings were gone. “You don’t have to take it off unless you want to, and it won’t come off unless you’re the one who takes it off. It’s real silver so it won’t get ruined. And take care of it. You won’t get a second one. I’m going to leave now. Good night. Oh! And you can’t tell Jade or Ian about this! See you at school!” She climbed out of the window and flew off. ----- I got ready for school feeling a bit overwhelmed. Monica said that she would show me how to use my powers today, at school. I wonder what exactly she’s planned. I examined the bracelet on my wrist. It truly was beautiful. I looked at the time and ran down the stairs. I grabbed an apple and yelled, “Bye mom!” I ran out the door and continued running for two blocks before I had to stop to breathe. I really was out of shape. That’s going to change soon though. I’m really glad that the weight of the wings also disappears when the bracelet is on my wrist. Those things are really heavy because they need to hold up my weight and carrying those on my back everyday would be a big task itself. I reached my school after 10 minutes and rushed to my locker. I grabbed everything I would need for the first few classes and shut my locker. I saw Jade and waved at her. “How’s the itch?” “Gone.” “What happened?” “I guess the ointment worked.” “Huh, weird. It seemed more serious than that, but at least it’s gone now, right?” If she only knew. “Ooh, cute bracelet. Where’d you get it? Did you go shopping without me yesterday? Doesn’t Monica have the same one?” Thankfully, Monica appeared beside me to save me from lying to her. “I gave one to her as a birthday present. I wasn’t there for the actual celebration so I thought why not.” “Ah. Anyways, we should head to class. Come on.” As Jade walked off, I mouthed a ‘thanks’ to Monica and rushed to catch up with Jade. The itch was completely gone and I felt different. Jade and I talked about the latest gossip until we reached class. ----- We had a free period before lunch because Mr. Harris, our Biology teacher didn’t show up. Jade took Art instead so she didn’t have this class with Monica and I. We were sitting on a bench outside near the cafeteria. It was a hangout area. “Look at them.” Monica motioned to two girls talking on a bench far away from us. “Now concentrate and imagine yourself next to them. You’ll be able to hear what they’re saying.” “I can’t listen in to someone else’s conversation!” “Just do it already, I’m trying to train you.” Monica rolled her eyes. “Fine.” I closed my eyes and concentrated. “…hear about that Pearl girl’s weird obsession with sugar these days? She honestly doesn’t need more fat on her than she already does.” My eyes shot open and I was about to stand up when Monica grabbed my hand. “I heard them talking yesterday too. They were talking about how you got everything you wanted and how they were jealous of you. Don’t take anything they say to heart. They’re trying to make themselves feel better. But hey, you were able to hear them! Now try getting into their head to see whether what I told you was true.” I concentrated hard again. “I wonder where she got those shoes. She always has the best clothes! Ugh, I wish I were her.” “You were right.” “Told you so. Now the compelling part. So you can only compel someone when you have contact with him or her. Wait a second. I’ll be back in a few.” She stood up and started walking towards the two girls. I decided to listen in. “Hello. I was just walking by and saw your ring. May I see it?” Monica held the girl’s hand in hers and looked into her eyes. “Now, I want you to wait patiently while I teach Pearl how to compel someone. All you will remember is that you were talking to this friend of yours. Got it?” The girl nodded. Then, Monica looked at the other girl who looked terrified and said, “Don’t worry. Just give me your hand.” The girl stretched her arm towards Monica. ”You will not remember what I just did to your friend. You will do what I tell you to do until I release you.” “I will do what you tell me to do.” “Good. Now come with me.” Monica came back to where we were sitting with the girl. “Now your turn. Hold her hand and concentrate.” I held her hand and looked into her eyes. “Open your mouth.” She didn’t move. “Concentrate harder. You’re distracted by your anger towards her.” “Open your mouth.” She slowly opened her mouth. “Yes!” “Now slap yourself.” She did. “That was not needed.” “I had to.” Monica took the girl’s hand. “You will only remember yourself complimenting Pearl’s shoes. You are released.” She girl became normal again, sputtered some nonsense and ran away back to her friend. “And that is how you compel someone. I can’t teach you how to take someone’s pain right now because no one is hurt, and we’re not allowed to hurt anybody. If we do, our souls will combine with the person we hurt, just like what happens when we make a mistake.” ----- We met Jade and Ian on our way to lunch and we talked about Mrs. Rowe. She’s an 64-year-old lady who works as the librarian for our school. She insists on us calling her ‘Mrs.’ Rowe even though her husband died years ago. She hates children and always yells at any student who enters the library. She’s sickly sweet to the teachers though. Nobody uses the school library anymore. “How did she even get hired in the first place?” “Probably because of that ‘sweet’ personality of hers.” “What a joke.” Jade, Ian, Monica and I had lunch the way we always did, and it was refreshing from all the supernatural things that were going on around me. Lunch break was over quick and when we were about to go our separate ways, Monica whispered in my ear, “Meet me after school at the coffee shop down the street.”
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