Father O’Brennen takes a deep breath and looks me directly in the eyes as if to give me strength and says, “Bluebell Kildare, you were stillborn, born with the umbilical cord wrapped around your neck. You were as blue as a bluebell, so I’ve been told. The midwife pronounced you dead and handed you to your mother. Your mother cried and said she could see your soul in the room.
“Your father rejected your death. He grabbed you from your mother and performed infant CPR on you. He sent healing energy into you through his hands. Your mother cried for you and called you, trying to get you to come back. She said that your soul drifted back into your body just a moment before you opened your lungs on your own and wailed.”
Father O’Brennen pauses for a moment then says, “You know, even Healers are not supposed to be able to breathe life back into the dead. I don’t know if it was your mother calling for you or your father’s healing that brought you back. Perhaps it was a combination of both.”
I did know that Healers weren’t supposed to be able to bring life back to the dead. I’m flabbergasted and can’t seem to speak due to the thoughts racing through my head. I was dead and brought back to life! My parents obviously loved me to reject my death so strongly. That thought is a treasure I will always hold on to. I fold my hands on the counter, drop my forehead to my hands, and close my eyes. I let that thought settle. My parents really loved me. My parents truly loved me! After a minute of letting that soak in, I lift my head again and wait for the rest of the story.
Father O’Brennen says, “Now, I wasn’t in that room, and even if I had been, I wouldn’t have seen your soul drifting toward the Plane of Light and then reversing direction. Nor would I have seen healing magic flow through your father’s hands into your body, restoring your life. But you were dead, and now you are alive. That I would have seen. When your grandparents heard about this, they assumed it was greater evidence of the evil nature of gifts. But I don’t believe that a soul would be excused from the Plane of Light without our Father’s permission. I believe all gifts are from God, and I must assume that he approved of the use of your parents’ gifts on that day.”
Father O’Brennen pauses for a moment and offers me some more cookies. I take them, mostly to keep myself busy while my brain processes all of this. This is more information than I’d ever heard about my parents, and I treasure every word.
Then Father O’Brennen says, “That’s not the only reason why I feel gifts can be used with the blessing of God. What have you been told about the day your parents died?”
I stand up, stretch, and walk to the window. I tell him, and my own words seem to echo hollowly in the kitchen as if in accord with the loneliness I feel inside. “I was told that a group of Dark Vampires came upon them in an alley when they were on their way home. I was told that they were killed in bloodlust.”
“Yes, that is true, but that is not the whole tale.”
I lean my back against the window and bow my head, unable to watch Father O’Brennen tell this story anymore because the emotions I feel are already too intense. “I’d like to know what you know.”
Father O’Brennen asks, “Did you know you were with them that day?”
“No,” I murmur. I’m almost beyond surprise at this point. I suppose I might be in a bit of shock.
He continues with his tale—my tale, really. “You were barely three years old and wrapped in a carrier on your mother’s back. It was very cold that night, so she had thrown a blanket over your head. Your father had been caring for an elderly woman, and because of her age, your mother accompanied him. So there you all were, walking home late at night through an alley. When the Dark Vampires attacked your parents, they pushed your parents against some buildings in the alley. Your mother landed in a corner where two buildings joined, so you were protected from the impact. Your parents were dead in seconds, but the corner you were wedged in kept you out of sight for a moment. A Daylight Vampire who was hunting these Dark Vampires that night came upon the alley just as the Dark Vampires were feeding on your parents. You started crying, and one of the Dark Vampires stopped his feeding, pulled your mother away from the corner, and uncovered you.
“The Daylight Vampire had just approached and was about to intercede when the entire alley filled with a bright light. The Dark Vampires shrunk from the light, and their skin sizzled and burned black as though touched by the sun. They tried to run away, but the one who had killed your mother was too close to the light and instantly turned to ash. The Daylight Vampire picked you up and brought you to me.”
Father O’Brennen pauses for a moment and then drops the real bomb. “He told me that the bright light that drove the Dark Vampires off and killed one of them was emanating from inside of you.”