A stretch of clear, blue sky overlooked a bright green lawn. Light breezes combed the grass. Drops of sparkling sunlight danced upon a nearby brook. Its bubbling waters gave the place a peaceful, comforting feel. Rows of pink and red tulips petals stretched up, toward heaven. Down below, two women walked across the clearing, carrying the limp form of a girl, no more than twenty. A man in a white robe met them.
“You can set her down here,” he said, with a downward glance and a wave of his right hand.
The women exchanged puzzled glances, wondering what he meant. Then they saw a purple blanket lying on the ground, with a soft pink pillow on it. The man took the girl from them and laid her on the little bed he’d made.
Before he could introduce himself, the first woman blurted out, “Hi, I’m Cynthia.”
“And I’m Janice,” said the second.
“I know. I’ve heard about you,” said the man. “I’m the head physician here.”
Cynthia’s eyes filled with tears as she gazed at the girl’s thin arms and pale white face, which seemed to show more bones than skin. “Do you think there’s any hope for our good friend Eagle Girl?”
“There’s always hope,” said the man, his voice filled with compassion. He nodded to the golden building behind them at the top of the hill. “At the Super Hero House of Healing, we have cures for every disease that ever did exist.”
“I sure hope so,” said Janice. “She’s been wasting away for months. It is a mystery.”
“I hate to say this, but I think she might be anorexic,” said Cynthia. “She has all the symptoms. She won’t eat. She barely drinks. She never used to be like this. What do you suppose has gotten into her?”
“Something villainous,” said the doctor. He lifted the girl’s head and rolled her on her stomach.
“Just as I suspected. Do you see those tiny red marks just below her neck? This is no doubt the work of Backbiter.”
Janice gasped. “Who’s Backbiter?”
“A villainous vampire that bites your back with a deadly poison called False Accusation, based on lies which may contain a tiny grain of truth,” said the doctor. “False accusation is a type of hallucinatory drug. It distorts how you see yourself when you look in the mirror, exaggerating every flaw and minimizing every virtue. If you’re five pounds overweight, it will make you look obese. That’s the sort of horrible self-image False Accusation conveys.”
“Oh, so maybe that’s why she won’t eat,” said Cynthia. “No matter how thin she gets, she sees herself as fat.And you believe false accusation is at the root of her disease?”
“I believe that’s a big part of it,” said the doctor. “But False Accusation alone is not enough to cause a person to become anorexic. I suspect junk food, as well, in the form of multiple gossip bites.”
“But she’s not a gossiper,” said Janice. “At least, not that I know of. She doesn’t really talk bad about people behind their backs.”
“I’m not judging the degree of gossip or the reason for it,” said the doctor. “I’m just looking at the facts, based on what I know. False accusation and gossip go hand-in-hand. You don’t have to be a gossiper to be involved in gossip. To listen is to participate, and what goes in the ear can affect the inner parts of your digestive system. If it’s poisonous, it will make you sick, but people drink it in anyway. They seem to think that feeding on other people’s flaws will make them feel better about themselves. But in the end, it makes them feel worse because it’s all based on hatred – hatred of others and hatred of yourself.”
“So, what’s the cure for hatred and false accusation?” asked Janice with a frown.
“Forgiveness,” said the doctor. “That’s the key to healing. Forgive and you’ll be forgiven, but if you don’t forgive others, then you won’t be forgiven.”
“That’s what Eagle Girl needs, all right,” said Cynthia. “She needs to forgive and be forgiven.”
“But first we have to wake her up,” said Janice.