Lexy stood before them, clearing her throat a couple of times before she announced, “This portion of the training is a brain exercise. The testing will tell the third tiers if you are a viable second tier, long term. A second tier’s biggest weakness is that their brain is trained to respond to situations as a human being. We have the ability to heal everything but your psyche. You have to be able to shut down the need for self preservation. In order to have the ability to run full force into the center of a hurricane, you will need to fully accept the fact that death is not a permanent state. The human brain has a little self preservation switch. It wants to turn off once it’s been wounded. It needs time to reboot. Some call it shock and others say it’s a blessing, but your brain wants to protect you from prolonged agony. You break a limb and your brain shuts off the pain until the shock wears off. Our brains need to be able function in those moments after serious injury. Just because we can heal your body, that doesn’t mean your brain will allow you to operate it.”
Kayn could read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page. This portion of the training was going to epically suck. They followed Lexy through the endless desert. There was a flash of light and the scenery changed. They had to stop cold as they were now standing right on the edge of a vast clay ravine with no greenery.
Lexy said, “The three of you are only as strong as your weakest link. Hold hands.”
Kayn and Melody each grabbed one of Zach’s hands. They stood on the edge of the rocky bluff. She guessed they were going to have to stop themselves from falling? They knew how to do this. What was the big deal about this exercise? Kayn stretched forward and peered over the edge. They wouldn’t have much time to work up the adrenaline to stop. This wasn’t thousands of feet. When they entered the in-between it was from just above the cloud line. This drop would be fast, and it would hurt like a son of a bitch if they didn’t manage to stop themselves.
Lexy said, “This game has only one rule. No matter what happens, you can’t let go of each other’s hands.”
Kayn looked at the other two and thought that sounds easy enough.
Melody said, “Don’t let go. Let’s do it on the count of three, one, two and jump.”
Zach said, “Are we jumping on three then?”
Melody answered, “I don’t think it will matter. You are in the middle so when we jump you’re coming along.”
Melody began to count, “One, two and jump.”
They sprung off of the ledge without any fear. They knew they could stop. All three of them reached up one hand to try to stop the impact and it didn’t work. Kayn had time to remember one of the first times she had dropped from the sky into the in-between. She was told to let go of Kevin. Let go or she wouldn’t be able to stop. They were not allowed to let go of each other. They didn’t let go and kept holding each other’s hands.
Kayn squeezed her eyes shut in the last second before impact and said, “Shit.” There was an explosion of excruciating soul altering pain. That was followed by nothing for a moment, then a steady humming sound. She felt heavy, weighted to the clay floor. She began to vibrate. She heard Melody’s voice echoing in the distance. It sounded like it was coming from the end of a tunnel, “Kayn, Zach, wake up.”
Kayn choked a deep breath of air into her lungs and gasped. Her chest felt like it had been scalded from the inside with boiling water. All the way down her throat, it was on fire. It was burning. She took another breath and it slowly began to subside and normalise. Shit, did that ever suck. She heard someone groan from beside her on the ground. It was Zach. He was writhing around, also in excruciating pain.
He squirmed on the ground and thought back to her, you can say that again.
Kayn agonizingly rotated her head, so she could look at him. She noticed that Melody was already standing up. She looked just fine. Why couldn’t she be a healer instead of this Conduit bull shit?
She heard Zach’s feeble attempt to choke out the word, “Ditto.”