Stealing the Moon
Dr. Natalie Stearn comes dangerously close to destroying the life of one of her patients in a chilling incident that fuels her quest to discover what lies hidden in her own shadow self. What she discovers transports her back to Ancient Egypt, exposing the Powers that have her and humanity held tightly within a savage mind and emotional control. More
Kingsgate Psychiatric Hospital,
Kingsgate, New Zealand
My back was turned when my patient set fire to his hands. He must have wrapped them in the tissue I keep for teary-eyed patients and then grabbed for my lighter.
He was going to be my first brilliant success “down under.” I, Dr. Natalie Stearn, feminist American psychologist, was going to revolutionize New Zealand’s Mental Health System.
A radiant healer of immeasurable love, my mentor, Shemura, had just won a research grant after dazzling the Viennese psychoanalyst’s convention with her miraculous results. She left Freud’s apostles howling at the moon, curing psychosis with touch, compassion and her radical discovery of the field of Emotional Intelligence! I had followed her abroad possessed by an unnamed obsession to be her next protégé.
After Europe we traveled around the world, meeting impassioned women everywhere ready to unfasten the corsets of patriarchal restraint. Generations of bottled up wisdom were about to catapult a worldwide change. She was central to it, birthing a new psychology that wedded science to soul, ushering in love as the missing link.
Because of her, the Kingsgate Psychiatric Hospital trusted me with Riley, their long-term psychotic who spoke only in gibberish. He was an awkward adolescent who ambled backwards, nervously hiding in his private world of nonsense rhymes. Once they took him off his medication, the tidal wave of his past abuse begged for expression.
For two days and nights I cradled him as he transited torture. We were raw with his psyche’s labor pains, shaming the regular staff who prayed our round-the-clock vigil was not to be in their future. After seventy-two hours he spoke his first coherent words of a lifetime.
“Don’t you come near me, you son of a bitch. You bastard, I’ll never let you hurt me again!” he shouted, his eyes staring straight into mine. I loved every syllable of his foul-mouthed declaration of independence. Freedom’s ring was sweet, even if it did chime out with profanity.
He was a different person after that, speaking quietly, his steady eyes determined to brave the riptides of terror that had held him mute. Like a newborn he lay in my arms, opening himself heroically to the sensations of his restored life.
Then, when we had unlocked this total tenderness he so deeply needed, I felt an indescribable energy rise up in my body, like a fiery beast hungry for ages. I wanted to feast on his fresh innocence, to fill myself with his purity. He saw the horrific hunger in my eyes. It was enough to make him retreat back into his vacant world.
This is not what happened when Shemura healed. She turned herself even more into a love-being. I had wanted to devour him. Never in my life had I felt something so evil. My betrayal drenched him in blood and incest, returning him to the nightmare of his father’s lust. As I turned to escape the full impact of what I had done, he lit himself on fire. His screams of anguish filled the ward.
“Oh Christ, he’s burning up!” the security guard shouted, breaking in and dousing the boy with fire retardant. The nurses injected him with a horse-strength tranquilizer, but it did nothing to quell his unimaginable pain. His departing stare bore a hole in my life of unexplored depths. In the hopes of discovering to what purpose I’d turned into this dark goddess, I shut down my practice and returned to the States. This manuscript is the chronicle of my investigation.