The next three days were rough for Jill as her relationship with Ethan became terribly strained. They stayed together, but said little to each other. They touched, even kissed, but it was not the same as it had been. She felt as if something was broken and she did not know how to fix it.
Jill worried that she had pushed Ethan too fast; that despite what she felt for him, maybe he did not feel the same for her, or maybe he was not ready for that kind of relationship.
She did her best in those days to teach in the hospital auditorium, and Ethan tried to sit and listen, but it was hard for either one to stay focused. He looked so sad and lost. He looked so alone, and she felt at a total loss.
On the third day, Jill set up a demonstration on the natural healing abilities of the nano-chits. “The Doctor and I can talk to you all day about fighting disease, but there is nothing like a practical demonstration. Please come close.” As she said this, Ethan let the others move up front while he kept a little to the back. Jill laid her bare arm on the table. “Whenever you are ready.” She spoke to the doctor.
“I would say, rather, when you are ready.” Doctor Augustus responded, and when she had shut her eyes and nodded, the Doctor pulled out a knife about six or seven inches long. Jill shut her eyes tighter as he pushed the knife right through her naked arm. They all heard it thunk into the table, even above the shrill sound of Jill’s cry. Peter Alexander shut his eyes. Lars cried out with her. When the Doctor pulled the knife out again, Jill’s eyes filled with tears, and she bloodied her lip as she bit it to keep a second cry at bay. Ethan could hardly watch and soon turned away. The others looked too stunned to move. Then Jill’s face turned calm again, and she spoke without the least waver in her voice.
“I have instructed my chits to temporarily deaden the nerves in the area to end the pain. The arm is now numb, like with a powerful anesthetic, and I cannot feel a thing. You will also note how the wound has stopped bleeding, and it is already closing. I have instructed my chits to completely heal the wound and restore the arm to perfect working condition.”
“I can see.” Ali Pasha verbalized his amazement in his markedly improved English. “The wound is already closing up.” In only a few minutes, there was no longer a sign of any cut on the surface.
“It will take longer to heal the internal destruction to the muscles and all, but within an hour, certainly, it will be as if nothing ever happened.” Jill finished speaking and raised the arm, pointed to the chairs and invited the others to sit.
Jill nodded, “but only a few will be available for that at any given time. You can heal some things by the laying on of hands, but not many people before you become depleted and exhausted. Then the chits will need to grow again from the seeds within you.” Jill looked up. Ethan was not there. He had left at some point and she had not even noticed. Doctor Augustus, an old-time doctor with an excellent bedside manner, knew immediately what was happening.
“I think that is enough for today,” he suggested.
“No.” Jill shook her head, but the doctor interrupted.
“Jillian. Give your arm the time it needs to heal from the trauma. You have given your charges more than enough to think about for one day.” Jill did not argue. She had reached the point where she wanted to cry, but it had nothing to do with her arm.