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   Chapter 3 NO.3

Cassy, Awakening Power By Jackie Forster Characters: 18282

Updated: 2018-02-06 16:02


Saturday 10th May

People were chanting, and she saw the glint of a sharp metal knife in the hand of the woman standing over her. She screamed in her head as she felt the cold, sharp stab of the knife as it slid into her arm. She was cold. So cold. The wind whipped through all the trees nearby, but nothing moved within the circle of people around her. She pleaded with her eyes to the faceless individuals who closed in on her. Her arm burned and she could feel the blood running down into her hand. She felt as though ice covered her body, holding her immobile, all except one arm, which burned as though it lay in a fire. She could not move. Fear gripped her as she saw a black mass moving towards her. Suddenly, without seeming to move, the darkness was everywhere.

Cassy woke with the sun streaming through her window, making rainbows over her walls as it bounced through the crystals she had hung across the glass. She lay there for a few minutes gazing around her room. She designed everything in here. The lilac wallpaper with tiny flowers had been her own choice when she was nine and she still loved it now. Lavender grew in a box on her windowsill. Some things changed over time, but Cassy considered this her special place. Her books filled two bookcases and more, piled high on her desk, were open. She kept her room tidy, everything in its place, and she loved to wake up and see her pin board every morning. It held a list of everything she needed to do. Before she even rose from her bed, she would know where she needed to be and what she had to do each day.

Her dad thought she was crazy, being so organised, but she had a plan for her life and felt she needed everything that would help. She wanted to teach. That meant going to college, then university. She needed her plan. First, she had to finish her exams.

She jumped out of bed and ran for the door, grinning. Today was her sixteenth birthday, and she did not want to miss one minute. Thundering down the stairs, she heard her parents talking in the kitchen, and, smiling, wondered what the day would bring.

She had always been a happy and contented child. A hug or smile was all she ever needed to make her happy. Today, she was no longer a child. At sixteen, she believed people would welcome her opinions, she felt she was an adult. She was more mature than most people her age, but the thought was still scary. For so long she had been the dutiful daughter, but Cassy felt a change within her.

Before she had even had time to reach the bottom of the stairs, she heard her mother call to her as she did almost every morning.

"Get back up there, get dressed and walk down the stairs properly young lady. You will bring the house down running like that."

"Oh Mum, " Cassy called, "Come on, it's my birthday." Without waiting for a reply, Cassy walked back to her room to change.

Ten minutes later, she came into the bright sunlit kitchen dressed in black jeans and a pink tank top. She threw herself onto a stool and ate the full breakfast her mother always made on a Saturday. Through the week, she grabbed toast on her way out to school, but every weekend, Jennifer, her mother, made her a full breakfast to compensate. Mother and daughter were best friends, but had little time together through the week, as they were both very busy.

"So what needs doing today Mam?" Cassy asked between mouthfuls of bacon and eggs. They spent as many Saturdays together as they could. Cassy at school and tutoring most evenings and Jennifer was a lawyer, so spent a lot of time in her office or court all week. Because of this, they usually spent the weekends together. "I've got to be at Tom's at six." Cassy rolled her eyes, "He needs help with his trig again, but nothing till then."

Cassy was a straight A student who tutored others for free and volunteered wherever she could. Jen could not have been more proud. Yet she could never quite push away the feeling that there was something different about her daughter. Jen had always thought it strange that Cassy never seemed to notice her looks. She was not vain or self-centred, but without even trying Cassy could pull every eye when she walked into a room. Her strawberry blond hair flowed down her back like a waterfall, curling at the ends. Cassys pale complexion minimised most of her features, but her eyes always stood out. She did not need make-up to enhance the clear blue sparkle, and when she smiled her eyes shone bright.

"I thought we might go shopping today." Jen replied, sitting down opposite Cassy with her coffee. She wore, as normal, an elegant dark green suit with the skirt stopping just short of her knees. Her light brown hair tied into a loose bun on top of her head and her make-up was so light it could barely be seen. Cassy was always telling her she should use brighter colours so people would notice her. She always stated, she was not trying to be noticed anymore. "You need new clothes, and your father wants us to meet him at Pierre's for lunch."

"Sure Mam sounds good, but only if we get you that suit we saw last week. I know you liked it."

"Maybe, we'll see what your Dad says at lunch. Oh… What time will you be finished at Toms? There's a movie I thought we might see. It starts at nine."

"Sure Mum, I'll be back before then." Cassy said as she washed her plate and headed out the door to collect the post.

*************

At one O'clock, the happy shoppers dropped their bags at the door of Pierre's and took in the familiar surroundings. It was their favourite restaurant, and they had been coming, at least once a month, for many years. They came for every family celebration.

Cassy had never seen the place change. The welcome table on her right still held the book that was originally used for reservations. At a glance, anyone could see signatures and comments from regulars and people just passing through who thought it was the best restaurant in the area. A faded French flag hung, as always, on the back wall above the kitchen door. Circular tables, spread around in no particular order, covered in their red, white and blue tablecloths, gave a chaotic feel to the room. The chairs around them were chrome with the seat covers matching the tablecloths. One thing was different each time they came. The centre table. There were always fresh iris's, which Pierre had once told her was the national flower of France, French memorabilia and candles covered the flag tablecloth. The differences were subtle, people added new items, or the broken things were taken away. However, one thing on this table was the same. There was a rather battered model of the Sacré-C?ur, a French church, in pride of place. It never moved. People said the table was a shrine to the country Pierre, the M'atra'D and owner, loved.

Jen waved to the head chef when he looked out over the swinging doors that led to the kitchen. The restaurant was always busy with the lunch rush. but they had made reservations and knew they would get a good table. Being situated on a small side road the restaurant got little sunlight. Pierre had made the small space cosy and romantic with his superb use of colours, paintings of Paris and candles on all the tables.

"I didn't think we'd make it with this lot." Jen puffed, leaning on a nearby, unoccupied, table.

"Ah, Madam, Mademoiselle." Pierre came rushing over from a nearby table smiling. "It is so good to see you again. The best table in the house is all yours lady's." He was from Sussex, but he had worked hard to make people think he was actually French so nobody ever said anything when his accent slipped.

With no time to thank Pierre for his hospitality, they were whisked off through the restaurant to a quiet table. Their shopping deposited at their feet, water poured and they were left with menus. Everyone knew that Pierre could easily have made the restaurant exclusive. Taking in only the rich and influential, but he preferred to keep the prices reasonable, the food excellent and the clientele happy. Whenever Sam, Cassy's father, mentioned it, Pierre just shrugged and said money was nothing to him next to friends and the look of pleasure when people taste the food.

Sam, handsome as ever with his black hair and tanned skin, dressed in his normal jeans and white T-shirt, strolled in through the front door. He threw himself into a chair and nodded to Pierre and a few of the other customers, across the crowded room, and grinned at Cassy. "So, how's my birthday girl? You two had fun?"

"Oh Dad it was great." Cassy grinned. "You should see the new clothes I got. They are amazing. We even bought Mam that suit we saw last week, the pale blue one I told you about last week. We got the socks and tie you wanted, but Mum said no to the suit I thought we should get you. It was bright green with florescent pink and orange swirls all over it, very psychedelic."

Seeing the enthusiasm on her face Sam grinned at Cassy. "You're getting too much like your mother with this shopping obsession. Although, I must say, I agree with your mother on the suit." Sam flashed Jen a s

mile to show he was not angry. "Still, I suppose it will take a year to pay off the credit cards. Just in time for your next birthday shopping trip." He laughed as Cassy pouted.

They continued discussing the day's purchases after ordering their meals, enjoying each other's company, as they did not get together often. With both parents working long hours and Cassy at school, there seemed little time to be together as a family, so when they made time to be together, it was special. They all cherished the time together. Even though they spent little time together, they had always been closer. Cassy knew if she ever had a problem, she had to call one of them and both would drop whatever they were doing to help her.

Sam took the bones of the frogs legs Jen had been eating and made them dance in his leftover soup. This was a regular occurrence that had been making Cassy laugh for as long as she could remember. Pierre passed, shaking his head but smiling indulgently. "Don't you think she's a little too old for that now?" He chuckled, watching Cassy choke on her own soup as she tried not to laugh when Sam did a cancan dance with the legs, humming the music.

"Oh honey, I spoke to Mary-Anne this morning before we came out." Jen said trying to keep her face straight. She did not like the way Sam behaved at the dinner table, but had to admit to herself, he was always funny. He made it very difficult to be angry. It was his sense of humour that had first caught her attention. "Her daughter has just passed her collage exams and is going on to university." Mary-Anne was Cassy's aunt, they did not see each other much as Jen did not get on with her sister. Jen believed her sister was too ambitious and Mary-Anne thought Jen had settled into a rut with her work. Jen had held the same position, in her firm, for the last seven years.

"Really? Well, I hope she has more sense than her mother and realises that climbing the corporate rung like her parents is not as important as family." Sam hated people who put work first. He knew he and Jen worked a lot, but they both always made time for Cassy. If she ever needed them, they would both walk away from whatever they were doing to help her. "Have you heard from your brother in America?"

"Oh, didn't I tell you? Johnny junior has just entered the navy. He wants to be a seal. I tell you that kid has seen too many movies."

"At least he's doing something to help not just trying to make money."

Cassy listened to her parent's conversation as the main course arrived, she wondered when they would ask her what she wanted to be when she was older. When they got talking about her mother's family, it always came back to what their children were doing and then to what Cassy wanted to be. The problem was, she had not told them yet. Cassy had always pushed herself to try everything but had found nothing she felt she would be interested in doing for the rest of her life, except teaching. She was thankful her father was an only child or she would have more to compete with. She was not sure how they would take the news, but she hoped they would understand, it was what she loved even now.

"So have you given any thought to what you want to do Cassy?" Jen asked. Cassy smiled.

"I'm not sure Mum. There's a lot I want to try before I worry about a career. But I was thinking maybe a teacher or something. I'd like to help people, but I want to have a little fun first. You always told me life isn't just about what job you do. I was thinking of maybe travelling around for a while after I finish school. There is a group of my year going backpacking in the summer, and I have been learning a few phrases that might help in German, French and Spanish."

"That sounds great." Sam said.

"No way." Jen said at the same time. They looked at each other, then back to their plates. The conversation was dropped. Cassy was the only thing they ever disagreed on, Sam thought she was old enough to take on more, but Cassy knew her mother still saw her as a child.

As Cassy finished her chicken Marengo, three waiters carried a huge cake from the kitchen to the empty table beside them. Three cream coloured tiers covered in lilac coloured roses and ribbons with sixteen white candles on the top, burning away as the whole restaurant sang happy birthday. Cassy turned bright red. She had never been one to stand in the spotlight, but preferred to stay on the sidelines. Now, however, everyone was looking at her and smiling.

"Make a wish." Sang Pierre as he pulled her to stand before the giant cake.

After Cassy blew out the candles, she turned to blow the kitchen hands a kiss. Twelve people dressed in black and wearing ski masks were pushing them out of the kitchen door way. Cassy looked around confused, wondering if this was something her parents had planned. Each man was pointing a gun and one started shooting at the ceiling. Women screamed, children cried out in fear, and everyone dived for the floor.

"Do as you are told and no-one will get hurt." The leader shouted over the din. He had a heavy accent but Cassy could not place it. "Now, my men will come round to each table. We want all your valuables. Purse's, watches, jewellery, everything. Clear. Hold anything back and you will be shot." The men spread out around the tables and the one who had spoken moved to lock the front door.

One man approached their table. Cassy looked at him, he was quite young she thought looking into his eyes and he had a small scar under him right eyebrow. He took Sam's wallet, and it fell open to reveal his police badge. The young man froze in horror for a second, then ran to the one who was obviously the leader.

"So, we have an officer of the law here, huh?" The man mocked glaring at Sam. "Oh wait, no, what does it say here? Chief inspector! I think we had better have your weapons now." The masked man sneered at them. "To save any trouble, you understand."

"I'm off duty and unarmed." Sam replied rising, calmly, to approach the man. "Check me if you want but please lower your weapons."

"Hmmm, no, I don't think so. I think I should just shoot you. What say you Sir?" He taunted.

"No." Cassy screamed. "Don't hurt him. He's a good man, a good father. You can't kill him." Rushing to her father's side Cassy felt no fear, but a strange power seemed to flow through her. She did not understand it, but felt little need to, something inside her propelled Cassy forward. As she stepped between her father and the armed man one of the other men, thinking there was trouble, panicked and fired his gun at Sam.

Cassy saw and heard everything in fine detail. Time slowed down for her, the recoil of the gun, the explosion that seemed to fill the room, the screams of the other diners. She noted them all, then pushed the sounds and the smell of fear and gunpowder aside as the bullet whizzed through the air towards them and hit her father. Sam fell to the floor as the bullet slammed into his side. The seconds ticked by, marked by the clock on the wall.

Throwing herself down next to him Cassy tried to stop the flow of blood. Only a second or two had passed, it felt like an hour to Cassy. "No." She whimpered as blood stained his T-shirt a dark red. "Stop. No Daddy." Applying pressure to the wound Cassy looked into Sam's warm brown eyes. Shock showed clearly on his face, pain in his eyes. Then they changed. Cassy was sure she saw fear. It was not fear of the people around them though, which seemed bizarre. Cassy felt sure, in that instant, he was afraid of her, but she could not understand why. "Don't die." She pleaded, pushing the thoughts aside, tears streaming down her face.

Turning to the shooter who seemed stunned at what he had done, Cassy felt a power within her grow. She felt hot, but calm. Very calm. She wiped away the tears that scolded her face as they dripped from her eyes. She gazed at him, calmer than she had ever been in her life.

"Burn." She whispered, then louder. "Burn in hell you bastard, burn."

The man, already shocked by what he had done, seemed to stumble back under Cassy's glare. The terror on the gunman's face was obvious to every person in the room. All colour drained from what little could be seen of his face and his eyes, wide open, were staring at Cassy. His hands trembled as he reached for support and his whole body quivered with fear. He unconsciously knocked over the candles that had been standing on the centre table in the doorway then just stood there, gazing around stupidly. The flames licked at his clothes. Seconds passed as the flames quickly turned into a blaze and engulfed him. Then he screamed, but still did not move. Sirens wailed outside and the rest of the armed men ran out the back door of the restaurant, through the kitchen, leaving behind their burning companion.

As the police and paramedics rushed in through the front door Pierre had opened, Cassy turned back to her father. She saw the fear in his eyes, again, before the darkness swept over her and she collapsed to the floor next to him oblivious to the surrounding turmoil.

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