Pass On What You Have Learned - 1 - Melanie

Pass On What You Have Learned
by Saless
Part 1: Melanie

Chapter 1

I want to tell you about how I met Ann. I was living in a park at the time. I came out to my parents as transsexual a few weeks before this. They didn’t take it very well. Frankly, I’m amazed I made it all the way to the park with all the injuries I had. Did I mention they didn’t take it very well? Anyway, I was living off of what I could find at the orchards and farms near the park and sleeping in a *very* small cave at night. Seriously, I could barely move once I’d gotten myself wedged in there!

I wasn’t feeling very well at this point. I don’t know if it was the fruit diet, the primitive living conditions, or the injuries my ‘oh so loving’ parents bestowed upon me, but I felt like shit. I had just stumbled out of my little rock bed that morning, nearly tumbling down the very steep slope leading up to it in the process. I settled my backpack on my back and turned to walk down to the orchards for breakfast when I found myself face to face with this beautiful, petite little woman.

Okay, it wasn’t really face-to-face. She was only like five foot tall, and I was nearly six. But you get the idea. She was really thin, but not like malnourished thin. She just looked like you could knock her over by breathing too hard, you know? Anyway…yeah, I was really surprised. There usually wasn’t anyone this far back in the park this early in the morning, let alone up here.

See, this ‘cave’ (if you want to call it that), is at the top of a *very* steep hill. There’s nothing to hold onto, no steps or stairs, just this rather slick rock at like a 45 degree angle. I chose this spot to sleep because so few people knew about it, and most of those who did never came up here. I mean, why would they? Once you’ve seen this little niche in the rock, it doesn’t exactly hold a lot of interest.

So, yeah, surprised. And she’s just standing there with this concerned look on her face. Like she was really worried about me or something. I finally remembered that I’m still technically a minor and started to get worried she’d call the police and I’d get stuck in some foster home, or something. But it was like she could read my mind, because right then she said, “Don’t worry, you’re safe with me.”

Weird, huh? I mean, how many women are going to say something like that to some scruffy looking guy who’s like twice their size in that situation? Not too many, I bet. So there I am, looking like a fish out of water trying to get some air. I thought about running, until I remembered where I was. I mean, yeah, I know this hill really well, but I’d still probably break my neck trying to run away from her here. Then again, no great loss, right?

And again with the mind reading! “Please don’t think like that!” She said. What! How did she know what I was thinking? She looked even more concerned now, but with a little grin starting like she knew something I didn’t. Well, duh, of course she did, but what?

“Uh…what?” I asked. Yeah, real genius material here, right?

Laughing softly, she answered, “I was referring to the way you were putting yourself down. You really shouldn’t do that.”

Okaaay, so yeah, reading my mind. And did she have to have that smug little smile while she did it? “What do you want?” I asked.

“Just to help you help yourself.” She answered cryptically.

“Uh, mind explaining that?” I asked brilliantly.

“How about this?” she asked. She held her hands out like she was revealing…well, herself. I was just about to ask what that was supposed to mean when she started to kind of glow. The next thing I know I’m looking at a guy! A short guy, but a guy! He looked like her twin brother, only a little taller and more muscular. Still looked like a stiff wind could blow him away, though.

The thing is, he was still wearing her clothes. Soooo, the woman somehow became this man? What the hell?!

“It’s a bit shocking, I know,” he began, “but I thought a demonstration would help. This *is* what you want, isn’t it? Only in reverse?” he asked with this quizzical expression on his face. His voice sounded very similar, just deeper, you know? I knew it was the same person, but it was taking my brain a while to catch up with this.

Wait a minute! How did she know I was transsexual? My parents are the only ones I ever told, and they were so worried about what the neighbors would think that I doubt they told anyone. And even if she could somehow hear my thoughts, I hadn’t been thinking about that! Well, not really. Okay, okay, I guess I was *always* thinking about it at some level, but still!

Just then he changed back to she. “Look,” she started, “I’ll stop answering your thoughts if you’ll start talking to me, okay?” She had this cute pleading look on her face. You know the kind, where you’d feel like a heel to say no? Yeah, like that.

“Alright, alright, what do you want me to say?” I asked.

“Why don’t you start with introducing yourself?” she answered.

I grinned back, “You first.” Hey, she’s the one who snuck up on me, right?

“Deal,” she said, “I’m Ann.” And she held her hand out all business like.

“Joe.” I answered, and shook her hand. Why do people do that, anyway?

“So, Joe, would you like me to help you?” she asked.

Just about then the fact she had just changed from a woman into a man and back again, right in front of me finally penetrated. “How the *hell* did you do that!” I asked, exclaimed, whatever, with those fish eyes again.

“That,” she answered, “is what I want to teach you.”

“Oh.” How would you answer something like that? I mean, here’s some stranger doing magical things in front of you, and now she wants to teach me to do the same? How did I end up in the Twilight Zone?

Ann kind of looked around funny, like to bring my attention to where we were, you know? “Why don’t we get down off this ridiculously steep slope and find somewhere more comfortable to talk?” she asked.

Hmm, yeah, this isn’t the best place for a conversation. Especially if she turns out to be nuts and I need to make a run for it. “Sure, I know where there’s a bench near here that nobody ever uses.” I answered. I knew this park real well. My mother and I used to come here a lot. You know, before she knew I was a freak.

She kind of half frowned, like she didn’t like what she was hearing (or whatever it’s called when you’re reading thoughts), but decided not to say anything since she already said she wouldn’t. Respond to my thoughts, that is. And yeah, it’s weird to think of someone hearing your thoughts, but how else could you explain it?

So, I led her around the side of the hill and up to the top, ‘cause that’s a whole lot easier than climbing down that slope. What, you didn’t think I actually climbed that slope everyday, did you? I’m not that stupid! Well, usually.

From there it wasn’t far to the bench. Well, picnic table, actually. It’s in this clearing on top of a hill. There aren’t any trees near it, so it’s really exposed. But it’s blocked off from view by trees and steep hills, so most people never know it’s there. It’s really weird how it can be so open and still totally unknown, but whatever.

So, we sat down on opposite sides of the table. I just stared at her, trying to guess what kind of crazy explanation she was going to come up with. Aliens? Military experiments? Magic? Mutation? So many crazy possibilities, so little time!

She had that half-frown thing again. “I want you to try to keep an open mind, and remember what you’ve seen already.” Okay, yeah, that was pretty crazy. “What do you think it means when someone refers to their spirit?”

Okaaay. Not sure where that’s going. “Um, their soul, maybe?” I asked weakly.

“Okay,” she answered, “forget about religion for a moment. What do you think your spirit is? How does it relate to you and your body?”

I thought she was supposed to be explaining something to me, not interrogating me! Anyway, what is my spirit? Hmm, good question. “I guess my spirit is who I am, and it doesn’t relate to my body very well at all.” I answered. Well, it doesn’t!

She smiled, “Not a bad answer, actually. Your body is simply an extension of your spirit. Your spirit usually cannot interact with the physical world directly, so it works through a physical vessel to do that. That’s your body. Your mind is the interface between the two. Your mind reflects your spirit, and controls your body. Does that make sense to you?”
I thought that one over. Pretty simple, really. At least the way she said it. If she could explain everything that way, she’d probably make a pretty good teacher. Better than most, anyway. “I think so. But so what?” It’s not like my body and spirit were going to get along any time soon.

Smiling again, she answered, “So, your mind can channel the energy of your spirit to affect your body. I’ve learned to do this. That’s how I transformed into a male, and back again. I think I can teach you to do the same. Still think so what?”

Oh. Wow. Like, double wow! If she isn’t smoking something, this could be really awesome. Like, change the world awesome. Or at least mine. “Seriously? You really think you could teach me to do that? And it would last?” I asked, remembering that she changed back pretty quickly. Sure, she could have done that on purpose because, like me, she’d rather be a girl, but still.

“Don’t worry,” she answered, “it’s not an illusion. When I transformed into a man, I was physically male all the way. Staying male didn’t require any effort, because it was a complete physical transformation. Once you’ve learned how, you can be a girl for the rest of your life.” She had this big smile when she said the last, like she actually knew how important that was for me. Hell, maybe she did. She does read minds, after all.

I’m sure my smile was at least as big as hers at this point. Yeah, I should have been all skeptical and everything, but what did I have to lose? I mean, I’m homeless, my parents hate me, and I hate me. Why not give it a try? Still, it’s always good to keep your eyes open, right? “What’s the catch?” I asked.

“The catch,” she answered, “is that you have to work for it. I don’t want anything in return. You don’t have to sign over your soul, or anything else like that. But you have to work hard to learn everything I have to teach you. Also, I’ve never done this before. I trained myself, so I don’t even know of any other teacher that can help you. It’s even possible that you aren’t strong enough, spiritually, to learn this. I think you are, but like I said, I’ve never done this before.”

I went over everything she said in my mind, looking for anything out of place, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I didn’t really care if there was a catch; I was just going through the motions. Still, better not to let her know that. Oh yeah, she reads minds. Oh well. “Okay. How do we do this?”

“Well,” she answered, “the first thing is to get you cleaned up and fed properly. If you’re too sick you won’t be able to learn anything.” She said this while looking down at my dirt smeared, ragged clothes. Hey, you try sleeping in a rough rock cave and not getting your clothes messed up a bit!

“Uh, what did you have in mind?” I asked cautiously. I still hadn’t forgotten the whole foster care thing. I’d heard some pretty bad things about foster care. I didn’t want that.

“I don’t have a home either,” she answered, “but I’m not exactly broke. How about we rent a couple of hotel rooms and get you some clothes and food?”

Well, I wasn’t going to turn down food, now was I? Do you have any idea how old apples get after a few weeks? I mean, sure, I managed to snag a few other things now and then, but I was mostly living on apples. And I don’t even like apples all that much. “Okay, let’s go.”

Chapter 2

We walked to the entrance of the park. It was a good thirty minute walk, we were way back there. She didn’t have a car, so we just kept walking. Along the way she picked up her pack. Apparently she’s been hiking for a while. It was a big pack, too. Must have weighed 50 pounds or more. It looked waaay too heavy for her. But she just picked it right up, one handed, and slung it on her back with ease.

She told me a little of the things she’d seen while we walked. She’d been hiking around the area for a while, just looking for people to help. It didn’t even sound conceited or anything, from her. Apparently I’m the first catch of the day, so to speak. She said that being depressed actually makes it easier to use the energy of your spirit to do things. Weird, huh? I mean, you’d think being depressed would sap your energy, but I guess not.

We walked for a long time. I was really not feeling very well, but I was used to it. I normally walk most of the day collecting whatever food and other useful items I could find. I knew I probably needed medical attention, but I never really cared, you know?

We were just passing this Mexican restaurant when I was thinking this, and Ann suggested we stop there. I had thought she wanted to get me cleaned up first, (I really did look like a bum, at best) but she decided I needed to eat, more. So, we stopped and I ate like a pig. Believe me, when your entire diet consists almost entirely of apples for weeks, you get real excited at a real meal. And I like Mexican, anyway.

She talked about all kinds of things until long after I’d finished eating. I got the impression she was trying to get me to relax and rest, and I wasn’t complaining. My stomach wasn’t handling all that food real well at first, but I started feeling pretty good by the time we left. Amazing what actually eating a full meal can do for you!

We still had quite a walk ahead of us, and we mostly talked about current events and whatever else she felt like talking about. Along the way she managed to get a little of my story out of me. She was amazingly ignorant of transsexuals considering she’d spotted me as one right off the bat. Apparently what she knew came exclusively from what she could read of my thoughts, she’d never even heard of it before meeting me.

Finally, we found a clothing store and bought some simple clothes for me. She said I didn’t want to get much right now, because it wouldn’t fit after I became female. That just made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over! No seriously, I loved to hear that. I still had lots of doubts, but I was really starting to believe that she could deliver, you know?

From there it wasn’t far to a hotel. She paid for a room for each of us for a week. Then I took a nice long shower and cleaned off all of the dried blood and dirt from the last few weeks. Wow, was I ever dirty! I guess I got used to it. Anyway, I got dressed in the new clothes Ann bought me and met her in her room.

We had adjoining rooms, so I was able to just walk right in. She was sitting on her bed like she was meditating or something. Wait a minute! She’s not on her bed, she’s floating above it! She must have heard my thoughts or something, ‘cause she got this big smile on her face just before she opened her eyes.

She looked me up and down and said, “You’re looking a lot better, Joe. How are you feeling?”

I grinned back, “Great!” Well, it wasn’t totally a lie! I still felt pretty screwed up physically, but at least there was hope now. However crazy! And being clean and fed did help.

She had this knowing look. Like, I know you’re lying through your teeth, but I’ll let it pass. She’s cool like that. “Want to get started?” she asked.

Well, duh! “Of course!” I answered.

Laughing she motioned for me to sit down on the bed next to her (she had stopped floating somewhere along the line). “Hold out your hands.” she said.

I held my hands out in front of me. She held onto each with hers and said, “Now I want you to close your eyes and try to find that part of yourself that is truly you. That part you hide away from everyone else. You’ve put barriers up around it to protect yourself, but you can still go there. Focus on that place.”

I thought I knew what she meant. I’d always felt like I was putting walls up around myself (in my mind, you know?). I tried to deny what I am, and these walls helped me to forget, for a while. But they always seemed to wear down, so I was always putting up new ones. I finally got tired of it and told my parents, and, well, you know the rest. So I tried to look inward like she said, but I had no idea if I was doing it right.

“Now no matter what happens, keep concentrating on that place.” she said. No matter what happens? What’s that supposed to mean? I was getting a little nervous, but I reminded myself that I had nothing to loose and tried to focus like she said.

“You’re right you know,” she started saying in this off-hand way, like what she’s saying means nothing to her, you know? “You are a freak. Your parents were right to kick you out. They don’t deserve the shame and humiliation you would have brought on them. I don’t know why you bothered to fight so hard to survive these last few weeks. There’s no point, really. You should have just walked right off that cliff overlooking the little hole in the wall you were living in.”

I was shocked at first. I mean, I never would have guessed she could be so cruel! She seemed so kind, before. But, maybe she was right? What am I saying, of course she’s right! I’ve certainly thought it often enough. My anger quickly turned to despair. Why did I keep going?

“Remember to focus!” Ann yelled, her voice suddenly filled with emotion.

I don’t think I was really thinking at this point, but I went back to that place she described, and found it. My world suddenly expanded. I could sense Ann’s emotions, she felt very guilty, and was worried about me! Huh? I even picked up a thought, I think. I’m sorry. At least, I think that’s what I heard, I was pretty confused at that point.

I felt a…pressure, I guess, inside me. I could feel all these weird emotions. They didn’t make any sense, like they were from other people. Strange thoughts flit through my mind that had nothing in common with me. Colors, sensations, all kinds of odd things. Was I going nuts, or what?

My eyes were still closed, and I wasn’t inclined to open them. Who knows what I would see? Pink elephants at the least, I figured. This was sooo confusing! Just then I felt arms around me and became aware of Ann holding me tightly. “It’s okay,” she said, “you’re spirit has been awoken. It’ll settle down soon. I’m sorry for what I said, I didn’t mean it. Your parents were wrong. You’re a beautiful woman, and I’ll help you bring that woman to the surface for all the world to see.”

There was such sincerity in her voice, I found myself believing her. My emotions were all over the place. I think I was crying, but all those weird sensations kept me too confused to tell. What was going on? Hell if I know!

Chapter 3

Somewhere along the line I fell asleep. With the day I had, can you blame me? My dreams were really weird. I mean, like drug trip weird! I couldn’t even begin to describe all the weird sights, sounds, and feelings in those dreams. It was a relief to wake up.

I think a little of those weird sensations were still with me when I woke. Ann was sitting in a chair next to the bed, and she seemed to be glowing slightly. And let me tell you, seeing someone glow pink is really weird. Well, the first few times, anyway.

“Feeling better?” Ann asked when she noticed I was awake.

“Ugghhh!” I answered oh so intelligently. “Why are you pink?” I finally asked, when my brain finally rebooted.

Smiling, she said “I wondered how you would see me. I should have known it would be pink. What you’re seeing is my aura. When you get used to it, the color will tell you a little about the person you’re looking at. I’m kind of surprised you’re aura sight is still active at this point, though. Your spirit must be stronger than I thought.”

“Uh, what?” I asked. Okay, maybe my brain isn’t finished rebooting yet. Aura? “What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You can do a lot more than just change your body with what I’ll teach you. Things like seeing auras are actually more of a byproduct. My aura sight was unreliable when I first started learning how to control this ability, but eventually it became constant. Crowds are always a rainbow of colors for me, no matter what they’re wearing.” She answered.

“Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?” I asked. I’ve been a freak for sixteen years; do I really want to give up being a freak in one way only to trade in for a new model? Wait a minute, what am I thinking? Of course I do!

She smiled, I’m sure at what I was thinking, and said, “It’s different. It was a little confusing at first, but I got used to it.”

My stomach started growling then, so Ann suggested we get something to eat. After getting some fast food we returned to the hotel for more training.

“So,” Ann started, “are you ready for another round? I promise it won’t be as bad as the first time.”

“What was that about? One minute I’m scum, then you’re all apologetic? Why did you do that?” I asked. Now that the psychedelic trip was over, I was confused for a different reason. Did she really believe all that stuff, or what?

Ann got this look on her face like her dog just died, or something. “I’m so sorry about that. Emotions have a strong affect on spiritual energy. Yours was too low to be awoken, so I needed you to experience very strong emotions in order to trigger it. I didn’t mean any of those horrible things I said to you. Please forgive me?”

I remembered hearing her say she was sorry (or was she thinking it?) last night. She did seem very upset about it. “I guess so. You won’t have to do anything like that again, will you?” I asked with dread. I didn’t ever want to feel that low again.

Sighing in relief she said, “No. You’re spirit has been awoken now. It will be a lot easier for you to feel it. I think you’re still feeling it now, a little. Which is more than I expected. I won’t ever do anything like that to you again.”

“Cool.” I said. “I could do without feeling like that again. Not that it was all that different from things I’ve felt before, but it was just so…intense, you know? I could have died right then and been happy.” I shivered, remembering how I felt last night.

“Well hopefully,” she began, “you won’t be feeling like that at any intensity when we’re through. This will take some time, though. I want you to be prepared for that. I’m not sure how much time, but months, at least. I’ll be getting an apartment for us to stay until you’re finished with your training. For now, we should concentrate on getting you to the point where you can feel your spirit. You did it last night, but you’ll probably still have to work to do it for a while. Are you ready?”

“Sure.” I answered. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but it would be worth it, right? To be whole would be worth just about anything.

She gave me the same directions as yesterday. I was a little hesitant at first. Once bitten, and all that. Once I relaxed I found I could almost find my spirit. Like, I could feel it just around the corner, but couldn’t quite pin it down. Ann was holding my hands again, and started speaking. But not in that offhand way like before. “You’re going to be a beautiful woman. You won’t have to hide anymore. You won’t have to pretend anymore. You can just be, without all the filters you’ve had to use. People won’t look at you like you’re crazy when you’re just yourself. They’ll just see a beautiful young girl. Which you are.”

This time I knew what she was doing and kept my focus, but I couldn’t help be affected by her words. In this situation, with someone else, I don’t think I would have bought it. Somehow, coming from her, I did. She’s like that. I was getting this warm glow as she spoke. I hadn’t felt this good in a long time. Suddenly, everything came sharply into focus and I had found it again!

It wasn’t as disorienting this time. I knew I was sensing Ann’s emotions for sure. She hadn’t said anything about it, but if she could read minds, me sensing emotions didn’t seem that strange. And a clear thought came through, too, Good job. I opened my eyes, and she was smiling radiantly at me. She was glowing again, too. Pink, of course.

She had me relax after a while, and I sort of lost the connection. I mean, I could still feel it, but distantly. And all those extra senses faded mostly away. Then she had me make the connection again. And relax. And connect. You get the idea.

By lunchtime I was exhausted. We went out for a quick lunch, then I went to bed. I know, going to bed at lunch time? But I was tired! Seriously! Besides, it gave Ann time to go apartment hunting. I wasn’t real thrilled with having to train for months or years, but what can you do?

Chapter 4

It was dark when I woke up. Ann was waiting in the chair again. Doesn’t this gal ever sleep? I guess she had an idea when I’d wake up, ‘cause there was Chinese takeout on the table next to her. Sweet and sour pork, by the smell of it. “Hmmm, smells good!” I mumbled drowsily.

“Well, if you can wake up all the way, you can eat some.” Ann said. It didn’t take me long.

“So how’d the apartment hunting go?” I asked, after polishing off the last of the Chinese.

“I found a good one not far from here. I’m not sure how long this will take, so I decided to get a three bedroom so we’ll have lots of room.” She answered.

“Uh, not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but how can you afford all this?” I asked. She’s homeless too, right? Aren’t homeless people usually like, really poor?

Smiling, she answered, “You are the first person I’ve trained, but not the first person I’ve helped. In my travels I’ve visited a few hospitals. I can’t heal people, normally, but when they’re near death I can stabilize them. One of those people I helped decided I needed some money and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

So she was poor, but not anymore? “But, how long will it last? I mean, it couldn’t have been that much, right?” Even thankful for their life, most people wouldn’t be able to give much.

“Well this particular person,” she answered, “happens to be very rich. So now, I’m somewhat rich, myself. I don’t usually spend a lot of money since I’m traveling all the time, so I haven’t put a dent in it yet. Don’t worry about money, I’m not.”

And here I was just starting to get a good guilt trip up over how much money I’m costing her! Some people just don’t cooperate, you know?

After dinner (and it was dinner time, I slept for hours!), we repeated the training we’d done earlier. It was coming really easily to me now. She didn’t even have to help me at all. Ann said this was because I have a strong spirit, or something. Whatever that means.

I slept like a baby that night. Apparently doing this stuff wears you out like exercise does. Or I’m just still in really bad shape. Or both. Whatever.

It was a good thing she rented our rooms for a week, because the apartment manager needed a few days to get the apartment cleaned up before he could let us move in. Move in? Makes it sound like we actually have something to move! Two bags isn’t exactly what I’d call a move! Ann said we’d go shopping for furniture and stuff once the apartment was ready.

For our second day of training, she said she wanted me to concentrate on feeling the shape of my body. Like inside and out. Sounds kind of gross, huh? Actually, it wasn’t that bad. Once I was ‘connected’ again, it was pretty easy to do. Apparently your spirit is constantly in contact with every part of your body, so all I had to do was sense that connection. Kind of boring, really.

“I know this is rather boring,” Ann said after the fifth repetition, “but it’s very important. You need to be intimately familiar with every part of your body for everything that comes after this. I tried to skip ahead a few times, and nearly killed myself in the process. If you don’t understand how your body works, you can’t change or fix it properly.”
I managed to last until dinner, this time, before crashing.

I woke the next morning to an empty chair. No Ann. Looking around, I noticed a lump under the blankets of the bed in the other room. So she does sleep, after all! I was really starting to wonder.

By the time I got cleaned up and into fresh clothes Ann was stirring. I decided to be helpful and wash our clothes. I hadn’t been able to do that at the park, because I didn’t have anything else to wear. I noticed my old clothes were gone; Ann probably tossed ‘em. I would!

After a quick trip to Jack’s for breakfast, we got back to my training. “We’re going to do the same thing as yesterday,” she began, rolling her eyes at my groan, “but a little different. Last time you just felt everything, all at once. This time I want you to focus on just one area. Let’s start with your bones.”

My bones? “What do you mean?” I asked.

“I want you to focus your attention on your skeletal structure. Just focusing your attention like that may be difficult, because you’ll still be feeling the rest of your body. The point is to filter out everything else.” She answered.

“Okay, I’ll try.” I said. So I ‘connected’ and again became aware of every cell of my body. Then I tried to focus just on my bones. It wasn’t easy.

Sensing my frustration, Ann suggested I concentrate on their texture. Sounds weird, but it worked. By ignoring everything with a different texture, I was able to focus on my bones. But, what’s that? There was something weird there. It didn’t feel right. “Um, Ann, is it supposed to feel like this? Something feels off.”

I could almost feel Ann focusing her attention on me, so she could see what I was saying through my thoughts and feelings. “No, that’s not normal. You have some bruised ribs, I think. And I think there might be a tiny fracture in your skull.” I started to feel really pissed off, but I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized it was Ann that was pissed off. Huh?

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

She pulled back, mentally and physically, and it became easier to tell the anger was coming from her, and not me. “It just really upsets me what they did to you. For your injuries to be this bad now, weeks after the fact, they must have nearly beaten you to death!”

Oh, yeah. My parents. You might think my dad would be the one to do all the damage, that’s the stereotype, right? I think my mom did more. Maybe it was the cast iron frying pan? That could explain it. I was starting to feel really down again, remembering that day. And this building pressure, kind of like that first night of training. What’s that about?

“I’m sorry!” Ann exclaimed with tears running down her face. Why was she crying? “I didn’t mean to upset you. You don’t have to worry about your parents anymore. They’ll never hurt you again.” Then she wrapped me up in a fierce hug. Someone this small really shouldn’t be able to hug that fiercely! But she didn’t hurt me, and I did feel better.

I noticed her shoulder was wet when she pulled back, I hadn’t even noticed I’d been crying. Guess it still gets to me, huh? We both finally calmed down after a while, and Ann helped me to narrow things down even more and find the exact areas of my ribs and skull that didn’t feel right before.

“Soon you’ll be able to heal that.” Ann said. “Surprisingly enough, healing yourself is one of the easiest things to do. It’s too bad it doesn’t work so well on other people.” She had this wistful look on her face when she said that. “Healing yourself will also give you a better idea of how your body works, and how what you do affects it. That will help when you’re ready to start making changes.”

“Making changes?” I asked. “You mean like becoming a girl?”

“Yes, but we’ll start with minor changes and work our way up.”

She had me do the same sensing thing with other parts of my body. We found a few other things wrong, along with a lot of bruises. Big surprise, not!

Chapter 5

Ann spent the rest of the week getting me ready to heal myself. She didn’t want me to try anything until we’d moved to the apartment, in case I screwed up. She didn’t say it like that, of course. Moving into the apartment was simple enough. We grabbed our bags, checked out of the hotel, walked over to the apartment, and walked in! If only moving were always so easy.

The apartment was nice, and spacious like Ann said. Ann had me lay down on her sleeping bag. Once I was settled she had me start to try healing myself. She was right, it was pretty easy. Basically, I threw energy at my injuries until they stopped feeling ‘off’. Ann said I would learn to be more precise in the future, but this would do for now.
“So, how do you feel now?” Ann asked after an exhausting healing session. I thought a bit, and I did feel a whole lot better. I could breathe way better. No more pain. Not bad!

“I feel a lot better. Except I’m really tired.” I answered, and yawned hugely. Like swallow the whole room big. I’m not even sure if I finished talking before I was out.

I must have been asleep for a long time, because when I woke up there was a small table, some chairs, and other stuff all piled up in the center of the room. Ann was sitting in one of the new chairs talking on her cell phone. She said good-bye and turned to look at me. “Finally awake, I see.” She said.

Glancing around I asked, “What’s all this?”

“Furniture.” She answered. “I went shopping while you slept. What I couldn’t carry will be delivered tomorrow morning. We’ve got pillows, sheets, and blankets enough to make a halfway decent bed for each of us to sleep on tonight. Want to help me set up the table and chairs?” she asked, pointing to boxes of chairs and a table that looked to require some assembly.

It took us a few hours to get everything she bought put together and set up. Ann insisted I use the sleeping bag, in addition to the blanks and pillows, while she made herself a bed with what was left. We now had a kitchen table, four chairs, a desk and desk chair, and enough bedding and towels to last us a while.

“We don’t have a refrigerator or stove yet, so we’ll have to go out to eat again for dinner, and probably breakfast and lunch tomorrow, too. Once the refrigerator arrives we can go grocery shopping. How about we go out and grab some dinner?” Ann asked.

We got some burgers and came back to eat them. After dinner Ann had me do the sensing thing again, both for practice and to see if there were any injuries or illnesses we’d missed. There weren’t. It was really weird to realize I could find and cure my own injuries and illnesses. It was almost too bad there weren’t any more injuries for me to practice on.

It was weird sleeping there that night. I’d be living here for months, maybe years. It was the first time in weeks I could say I had a home.

The next morning we got back into training after breakfast. Ann kept it simple; she wanted me awake for when the deliverymen got there. They didn’t get there until after lunch. I was amazed at how much stuff Ann had bought. We now each had a queen sized bed, dresser, and shelves. We had a refrigerator, stove, oven, and microwave. Dishes, pans, glasses. Everything!

We spent the rest of the day getting everything set up and put away. And shopping for groceries. Ann was really ornery about not buying any pre-packaged stuff. That’s the good stuff! She’s as bad as my mom. Ur…maybe not, on second thought.

Being healthy after weeks of pain is really cool. I almost felt like I could fly, I felt that good. When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to see Ann hadn’t gotten up yet. I felt so good I made us breakfast. Not being much of a cook, all I could do was bacon and eggs. Still, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Ann was pleasantly surprised when I had breakfast waiting for her when she got up. When I told her it was about the only thing I knew how to cook, she promised to teach me.

We alternated between more of the same training between meals, and cooking lessons at mealtimes. It was a great day!

At breakfast the next morning Ann told me I was ready to start learning to make changes to my body. I was just about bouncing off the walls until she reminded me we were doing little stuff first. Spoilsport!

She showed me how she could change her skin color, and had me try to do the same thing. I’d gotten pretty good at focusing on different parts of the body by this point, so it was easy to focus on my skin. Trying to figure out how to change its color was a different story. I wasn’t getting anywhere. My breakthrough happened when I burnt my hand cooking lunch. I went to heal it, and as the red color went away, I was able to see some different things I hadn’t seen before. It still took a few hours, but I was finally able to change its color.

We spent like a week on skin color changes. Boring! After the first time or two, there really wasn’t anything new there. But Ann insisted. Next we focused on hair. This was something I had some interest in. I was seriously hairy. When we met I had quite a beard going, which I hated. I shaved it off the first chance I got, of course, but still!

Once Ann was comfortable with my ability to change the color of my hair (being blond was way weird!), we concentrated on facial hair. This was a little tougher, because all of my hair has more or less the same texture. Focusing on it based on texture and location was tricky. I think it took two days just to get that right!

Funny thing was, once I got the hang of it, it only took an hour to kill all of the hair follicles on my face and neck (except my eyebrows and eyelashes, of course!). The rest of my body hair soon followed. Way cool! I really hated having to shave.

The next thing we did was reshape my eyebrows. That might sound simple, but remember I was doing it from the inside! Killing all the hair follicles would have been easy. But I had to kill only certain ones. The thing that did the trick was when Ann plucked them for me. With those hair follicles empty, it was easy to isolate them. It was still hard, because only like a third of your hair is growing at any one time, but I finally got it.

Next we grew my hair (on my head, of course!). It was already pretty long, but I wanted it longer and Ann thought it would be good practice. Ann thought it was extreme, but I grew it down to my ankles. It wasn’t practical at all, I just wanted to see what it would be like, you know? Naturally I cut it back from that length. I cut a bit everyday until it was at a length I liked, at my waist. Ann still thought it was extreme, but I thought it was great!

My hair was naturally this mousy brown color, but I managed to change it to this shiny, sort of metallic, white. It stood out like crazy, which made me really self-conscious, but it just looked too cool! It was also kind of thin, I thought, so I caused it to grow in more thickly. By the time I was done I could have gone topless and not shown any skin, practically.

From there we changed my skin. I went with a really pale, but healthy looking, white. I know it makes me stand out a lot, but so what? Isn’t it more important to like how you look than to look just like everybody else? I think so. Ann just shook her head and smiled every time I did something like that. I think she kind of disapproved, but she never said anything.

Oh, I also made my skin really soft and smooth, and got rid of my acne and a few scars. That took weeks! But I learned all kinds of things about my skin from that. By then I looked pretty feminine, which I loved. I was still wearing androgynous clothes, but people usually thought I was a girl. Cool or what?!

I still got kind of depressed at times, still being male physically. Ann was always there with a hug and a smile.

Chapter 6

We’d been training for weeks, and I could tell Ann was getting restless. One morning she was up, made breakfast, and ate all before I even woke up. She was impatient to get started as soon as I showed my face. I finally asked what was bugging her, and she admitted that she wasn’t used to staying in one place so long. She’d been hiking around the area for over a year by the time she found me.

“It’s not just that I’m used to moving around a lot,” she finally explained, “but that I got to meet lots of new people. I was able to help people sometimes, too. I love helping you, I just feel sometimes like I’m letting everyone else down by staying in one place so long.”

Wow! Hero complex, or what? I didn’t say it, but…mind reader! Of course she heard it. Oh, did I mention? I could hear her thoughts about a third of the time, now. Emotions, too. Her aura kind of flickered in and out of my vision, too. Kind of annoying, really. I usually only got that from her, though. Everyone else was just as much of a blank as they were before, usually.

Anyway, I heard her thinking, I’m not like that! I figured there was no point arguing the point so said, “Would it make you feel better to visit a hospital or two? Maybe save a life or two?”

Ann brightened up at that for a moment, then kind of sagged back. “I couldn’t leave you alone like that! In order to get anything done, I would have to wander around the hospital for hours. I can do it without anyone noticing me, but you can’t.”

Really?! I wonder what that means? Can she make herself invisible? “I can practice what we’ve already done while you’re gone, it’s no big deal. I’ll even promise not to try anything new, if you want.” Ouch, that promise hurt. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at changing my bone structure next, but Ann said I wasn’t ready.

Ann caught that, of course. “Well, if it means that much to you that you’ll promise that, I guess I could take a day off from teaching you to visit a hospital. Are you sure you’re okay with that, though?” she asked.

“Sure.” I said, “One day isn’t a big deal.”

So Ann spent that day at the nearest hospital, and managed to save the lives of three people. She seemed much happier after that. From then on she would take a day off every week to visit one of the local hospitals. I’m still not sure why it means so much to her, but it does. I mean, I can appreciate wanting to help people, but it’s such a compulsion for her! Weird, right?

Anyway, we soon moved on to bones, then muscles and fat distribution. It was really cool to think that I could pig out all I want and the fat would go wherever I wanted, including not being absorbed at all! Some people would kill for a diet like that.

Somewhere along the line I changed my eyes to silver. I know, weird, right? But I like it. Ann was worried I would stand out too much, but compared to all the piercings and stuff people my age were doing, it didn’t stand out that much.

Anyway, we finally got to the point of changing the parts I wanted changing the most. Breasts and reproductive organs! I could shove fat to my breasts (and did), but that didn’t make real breasts, just gave me convincing curves. Real breasts have ducts and things that would be difficult to make from scratch. I could, but why do it when I can let my body do it for me?

Ann was really worried about me changing my reproductive organs. She knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I did, she just worried that I’d hurt myself. But she had done it before, so she was able to guide me through it with the help of lots of medical texts. It’s a lot easier when you know what’s supposed to be there and how it works!

It took me three weeks to get it right. I’m glad Ann was so paranoid about it; I did nearly kill myself at one point (on accident, of course!). Finally, it was done. All that was left now was to grow breasts. Everything else was female, right down to DNA (Don’t ask me how we managed that, I still don’t really understand it). Once I had all that estrogen flooding through my system, it was child’s play to finish my breasts. I had to actually reduce them in size because of all the fat I had moved there to help me pass as a girl.

Not that passing as a girl was hard. My hair and skin pretty well took care of that. Anyway, by the time we were done 6 months had passed, I was 3 inches shorter, and I was all girl. I still towered over Ann, though!

The next day after I completed my transformation, I heard the words I had been waiting for, “Are you ready to buy a new wardrobe?” Hmm, I wonder, am I? Duh!

I’m glad that Ann is rich, or that trip would have broken her bank account for sure. I admit it, I went a little crazy. Ann didn’t seem to mind, though!

After that we began advanced training, as Ann liked to call it. She taught me all kinds of cool tricks! She showed me a little of what she’s capable of, and it’s scary! If she wasn’t such a good person, I’d be worried. As it was, I was just as glad that I’m not as powerful. Oh, I could be pretty scary too, just not as much as Ann.

It’s now been a little over a year since I met Ann. She spends most of her time traveling again, like she did before she found me. But we keep in touch. She pays all my expenses, because we haven’t figured out how to get me a new identity yet (although I go by Melanie now). I don’t look anything like I used to, thankfully.

Hmm, what did you say? Oh, you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this? Didn’t I mention that I can read minds? I can tell that you’re like me. I know you’re a lot older, and you have a job and stuff that will complicate things, but I think you need my help just as much as I needed Ann’s.

She’s only ever asked one thing of me, in return for all of the help she’s given me, and is still giving me. Just before she left this last time she said, “There are other people in bad situations like you were in, Melanie. The best way you can thank me for helping you, is to pass on what you have learned. Will you do that Melanie?” I, of course, said yes. So, will you let me help you, Gerald?

 To Be Continued...

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