After she listened to his story, Valerie took Thomas into a room with a massage table. She prepared a strange-smelling green, gooey cocktail and asked him to drink it. Ignoring Thomas’s protests, she helped him onto the table. She placed headphones on his ears that played a curious, relaxing music. Valerie began to clean his face with a soft cloth. She applied a soothing cream to his eyelids and around his eyes. Then she placed a series of acupuncture needles in various spots on his body. Thomas drifted in and out of sleep. He would open his eyes to see Valerie holding her hands a few inches above his head; then he would doze off again. Images came and went. There was Valerie waving a strange beeping electronic device; Valerie and Maya standing by him, whispering; bell sounds, maybe even some singing. Thomas eventually drifted into a deep sleep.
• • •
When he awoke the next morning, he was in his room, comfortably nestled in his bed.
Thomas stretched and walked to the bathroom. He splashed cold water on his face and looked at the mirror to see how badly he’d been hurt, and gasped. Nothing! His face seemed completely normal, with no swelling or bruising. Pressing his fingers against his face, he could still feel a pain where he had been hit, and looking more closely, noticed that his skin was a bit red—but that was it. Visions of Valerie flashed back into his mind. “What did she do to me?” he wondered.
Thomas found Maya in the kitchen, busy cooking. He could tell she was upset with him.
“Drink this,” said Maya, pushing a glass of green liquid in his direction.