CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FORTY-FOUR
“I was going to say that while I was living this high life, I didn’t notice that other people were following,” Jeraine said. “Then one girl died. Then another. Then … Didn’t have anything to do with me. I wasn’t even there, but …
“All of the sudden I was in jail,” Jeraine said. “My parents had given up on me. Miss T wouldn’t take my calls. I had this heavy withdrawal and …”
“These women and men died because they believed what I told them,” Hecate said.
“They died because someone else didn’t like what the strength and purpose they got from you,” Jeraine said.
“You can see why …” Hecate said.
“Withdrew? I withdrew, too.” Jeraine cut her off to say. “I hid from the world. I tried to make good with Miss T but she wouldn’t have me, and rightly so.”
“What happened?” Hecate asked. “How did you get …?”
Hecate gestured to him now.
“A friend of my father’s came to talk to me while I was in prison,” Jeraine said. “He sat with me all day, every day for weeks. I don’t really know why he did it. He just showed up there and …”
“He probably saved my life,” Jeraine said. “He’s sober. He definitely got me on the road to recovery.”
“Then I just …” Jeraine said. “I ate a lot of humble pie.”
“Humble pie?” Hecate laughed.
“I can imagine,” Hecate said.
“I made my mess,” Jeraine said. “I needed to heal it. That became the purpose of my life. And … It’s not a bad life purpose — to heal those who are hurt by you and the world.”
He took the brownies out of the pan and set them on the counter. He looked at the Goddess who looked so much like Tink.
“Did you make your mess?” Jeraine asked.
“They came after me! Stupid Roman Catholics! Had to kill everyone because …” Hecate said. “I didn’t do anything! I supported women where they stood for the purpose of making a better world.”
Jeraine gave her a sad nod.
“I understand,” Jeraine said.
“But?” Hecate asked.
“Did you warn them?” Jeraine asked.
“Warn them?” Hecate asked.
“You knew that people were angry with women and men following your teachings,” Jeraine asked.
“Small people, stupid people …”
“But people none the less,” Jeraine asked.
“Are you saying that I caused my followers horrific deaths?” Hecate asked.
“I am not,” Jeraine said.
“What are you saying?” Hecate’s voice still defiant.
“I’m saying that we are responsible for those who love us,” Jeraine said. “Even if it’s just to love them in return. Did you love your followers?”
“I …” Hecate’s eyes were wild with pain. “I …”
“Then you didn’t you warn them that people were small, jealous, and status hungry?” Jeraine asked. “Protect them or get them to protect themselves?”
Hecate’s eyes went wide. They filled with tears as she gasped for breath.
He pressed a warm, frosted brownie into her hand.
The simple gesture was enough. Hecate broke down and sobbed. He negotiated her to a chair. He finished making the brownies and then started in on lunch. When her storm of emotions subsided, he gave her a box of tissues.
“Welcome back,” Jeraine said softly.
Hecate, the Titan, gave the human, Jeraine Wilson, her first genuine smile in a long, long time.
Denver Cereal continues Monday…
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