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   Chapter 5 Quickening Cassie Wilson Book 1

Quickening By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15397

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:41


Chapter 5

With a concrete task in hand, Cassie was able to push away the swirling emotions for later. At the moment she didn't want to think of her parents or her grandfather. She didn't want to think about people being after her. Concentrating on just typing in the words exactly as they were written on the page let her do that. She went to her bedroom and set up her laptop on her desk. Deciding to get all the text in before getting distracted by what information the translation might reveal, Cassie opened a blank document and began to type. She was careful with her punctuations, making sure she created an exact replica. In addition, she added a backslash to the document every time she turned a page on the off chance page numbers became relevant once she returned the book to its hidden location. The simple straightforward task helped her calm down.

'Strange place to hide it, ' Cassie thought as she typed in the currently meaningless words, hoping they would have relevance later. 'If I were hiding a book, I'd hide it with other books so it'd be less noticeable.' She paused her typing wondering if there were books in her parent's collection that could help her.

'Of course those aren't in English either, ' she thought. 'But some of them are in Latin, if I can figure out what words relate to what's going on I could at least check the titles.' The thought gave her more incentive to focus. Most of the books in the collection were larger than the small volume she was working on and the thought of typing them all in was a daunting one. 'Maybe I'll hold off on that until after I talk to grandfather.' Cassie decided. 'And after I see if it will work on this one.'

A few hours after she began her self-imposed project, Cassie heard thunder rumbling, the gray sky fulfilling its promise of rain. Cassie looked up as rain began to fall splatting against the glass on her bedroom window. She saved the document, turned on her bedroom light and returned to her typing. As the storm settled in, Cassie saved the document repeatedly. After a while she paused, made herself a quick sandwich to quiet the rumbling in her belly and tested her chocolate cake. She pronounced it a success and decided she would add it to her repeats list at some point. Then she returned to her typing. Eventually, she grew tired and her eyes started to blur. Cassie was worried she might type in the wrong word, fouling up the translation later on and called it a night, retreating to her bed with the television for company.

It was still raining and the out of doors looked gray and bleak when she awoke Sunday morning. She made herself a quick sunny side up egg and toast and when everything was washed and put away, she returned to her typing. The day passed quietly, Cassie again taking breaks to eat and finally calling it quits when she was too tired to be certain of her transcription. Monday began the same way and by lunch, Cassie finished typing everything in.

The rain was still falling steadily outside as Cassie made her sandwich, a curried chicken salad with lettuce on her homemade bread. Her eyes felt somewhat bleary from so much time concentrating on the black inked Latin and the computer screen. Now that it was all typed in, Cassie wanted to run it through a translator program. She knew however that once she did she would no doubt concentrate on the document she hoped would tell her something about herself. Cassie reminded herself she had a take home math test to complete and a book report to finish for English. She spent most of her life being responsible for keeping herself on track as far as responsibilities went and she felt the ingrained habits war with her desire for answers.

Don't get noticed was her personal mantra. That meant she turned her homework in on time, never asked for more time to finish anything, never raised her hand to answer questions, never spoke unless someone else spoke to her first.

"If grandfather did put a blocker on me I wonder if the teacher would have actually called on me or just not seen my hand?" Cassie mused as she finished the last of her sandwich and took out the remains of her cake. The thought of someone putting a blocker on her, of preventing people from noticing her unless she forced them to do so by talking to them directly seemed a lot less far-fetched than it had before finding her parents' reminders in their bedroom. Cassie shivered and pushed thoughts of her parents away not wanting to think about them at the moment.

"Homework first, then the book, " she decided, a life time of responsible behavior and self-discipline asserting itself. She finished her piece of cake, washed her dishes and wiped down the counters. Then she moved to her bedroom. Before she could take out her schoolwork, her eyes fell on the small book.

"I have to return it before they get home tomorrow, " Cassie reminded herself, wondering if her parents would be home when she returned from school and if so how she would respond to them, Should she tell them that she went into their room and saw their notes and demand to know if they knew she existed when she kept her mouth shut? Should she keep her mouth shut and see if they actually noticed her before she said anything?

"I should just take the note down off of the bathroom mirror and see if they remember I exist without it, " Cassie said, still staring at the book. She let her mind wander, thinking of the likeliest scenarios should she remove their reminders of her existence.

You are the parents of Cassie Wilson.

Without the reminder, if they became aware of her presence would they think she was an intruder? Would they call the police? Would the police be able to see her? Her thoughts turned dark and she decided not to chance removing the notes, at least not before finding out what would happen without them.

"I still have to put the book back, " Cassie reminded herself. She found herself strangely reluctant to do so. It wasn't that she didn't want to go back into her parents' room, but that she didn't really want to let the book out of her sight, as it seemed the most likely place for answers.

"I'll double check that my copy is correct, then put it back, " Cassie told herself. "Even if they do come home tomorrow they won't be staying in town long and I can always get the book again now that I know where it is hidden. If they think I know about it they might move it, or get rid of other things that could tell me something."

Deciding that was her best course of action, Cassie held the book next to her laptop screen and slowly went through the lines of text making certain they were identical. Satisfied, she saved the document and filed it away. She then took the book back to her parents' bedroom, hid it back under the draping curtain and looked around to make certain there were no signs of her presence in their space. Satisfied she left no mark, Cassie returned to her room and pulled out her homework. The math test and book report took longer than she expected and by the time both were complete Cassie was wrung out and bleary eyed.

Uncertain whether or not she could take any more emotional trauma, let alone more time in front of her computer Cassie eyed her laptop. "Maybe a couple of sentences to let me know if I'm on the right track, " she mused. "I don't have to decode the entire thing tonight." She yawned widely, feeling her jaw pop and rubbed her eyes. She slipped into her desk chair and pulled up an online translation program. She remembered her French teacher mocking the inaccuracies of the program and the laziness inherent in using such a thing.

"But it sho

uld give me a general idea of what the book is about, " Cassie said reminding herself that this wasn't a report for class or anything that had to pass a historian's inspection. If she needed something more accurate, she could find a way to get it later. Cassie pulled up the document she typed up and copied the first few sentences into the box for the computer to translate. She took a somewhat shaky breath to steady herself and pressed the button.

The computer took a moment to think about it and then spat back an error message. Cassie sighed. This time she typed in only one sentence. Again the computer thought about it. This time there was no error message. Cassie pulled up a blank document and copied the English translation onto the blank page.

The journey each must face to reach their fate is unique.

She cleared the translation box and typed in the second sentence, hoping she had not spent the entire weekend copying a Latin self-help book. Again the computer had to think, but eventually it spat back an English translation.

The single unifying factor is the risk each must be willing to endure, for without the willingness to risk there is nothing.

Cassie added it to the document. She felt as though she were laying down pavers and creating a sidewalk. Clearly the translation process, as inaccurate as it no doubt was, would still take some time. Unable to resist, she added a third sentence.

Ambulans est periculosum.

Cassie typed the words in and rubbed her eyes, feeling them burn from too many words, both known and unknown, swimming in front of them. She opened her eyes and swallowed hard at the translation the computer gave her.

Walking is dangerous.

Cassie read the words several times her heart thumping loudly. They seemed to echo in her mind. Unable to stop herself she typed in another sentence.

Risk appears.

She thought about her grandfather showing up with the boxes, about the man and the girl in the book store. Before she could stop herself she added another sentence and hit the button for a translation.

A walker chooses.

"Risk appears. A walker chooses?" Cassie repeated aloud, frowning at the computer screen. "Chooses what?" She frowned at her document wondering if, even after all the care she took, she copied the text incorrectly, possibly adding extra punctuation. She typed in the next sentence wondering if it was in fact part of the sentence she just typed.

"After all if I have to make a choice I need to know what I'm choosing between, " she said to herself as she typed in the words.

Hoc est quomodo coeperit.

She typed in the words and double checked everything before pressing the button to translate.

This is how it begins.

Cassie saw the sentence appear in the translation box and stared at it for a long time. Suddenly, she felt as though she were standing at the top of a precipice, her toes hanging over the edge. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"That's not a choice, " She told the computer screen as though the words were somehow its fault. Nerves were jumping in her belly. She looked at the paragraph she translated and saved in a separate document, hoping that as a whole it would mean something useful.

The journey each must face to reach their fate is unique. The single unifying factor is the risk each must be willing to endure, for without the willingness to risk there is nothing. Walking is dangerous. Risk appears. A walker chooses. This is how it begins.

Cassie shivered. She saved the documents, closed them down and closed down the translation program. She shut down her computer and slipped it into her desk drawer, closing the drawer with perhaps more force than was necessary. She stared at the drawer for a long moment.

This is how it begins.

Cassie shook her head. "Maybe I should translate it all and then it will make sense, " she decided, trying to quell the odd twisting sensation in her belly. She stepped away from the desk and went to her closet, retrieving her pajamas for the night. "At least it mentioned Walkers so I know it has something to do with what's going on and not just some random book that was accidentally dropped."

She dressed for bed. She then laid out her clothes for the morning and made sure everything was in her bag and ready to go. She picked up her cell phone meaning to charge it and remembered the three messages she saw when she checked it with Sarah. There were still three messages waiting for her. She called them up and listened to her messages play. The first was from her mother.

"Cassie, " her mother's voice said, her tone crisp. "Instead of arriving Wednesday as expected we will be continuing on to Madrid with the Carlisle's. I am uncertain of our timeline, but if anything arises we can be reached at the following number." As Carolyn rattled off the number, Cassie wondered if her voice always sounded so detached or if Cassie's recent discoveries made it seem that way. To her ears it sounded like the message one would leave with their personal assistant rather than family.

'I wonder if they have a note taped to the inside of their luggage reminding them to call when their plans change, ' she thought as she pressed the buttons to save the message in case the number was needed later. Over the years she was left many messages with phone numbers to call if 'something came up'. Thus far if anything ever did, she called her grandfather and he dealt with it. 'I wonder what would happen if I did call. Would they say 'Cassie who' and hang up?' Twin feelings of abandonment and relief that she wouldn't have to face her parents just yet mixed inside her uncomfortably.

The second message began to play and Cassie pushed the thought away as she listened to Sarah's voice.

"Cassie, this is Sarah, from…school. I was just calling to see if you were coming to the party tonight. Call me back if you need directions or anything."

Cassie frowned, thinking of the pause, as though Sarah had to think about where she actually met Cassie. 'The 'school' actually sounded a little uncertain. But maybe I'm projecting.'

The third message was also from Sarah. This time Sarah wanted to know if she could give Cassie's phone number to Eric.

"Which I told her was okay at the book store, " Cassie remembered. She deleted both of Sarah's messages and plugged the phone in to charge. "Either she hasn't given it to him or he no longer wants to call."

Everything ready for the morning, Cassie crawled into bed, set her alarm and turned out her bedside light. She lay on her back in the dark and quiet house, her thoughts swirling.

"Eric never noticed me before, " she said to herself, oddly disappointed he didn't call. "He probably didn't even know who I was before I fell on him."

Their eyes would slide right past her.

The girl from the book store's words floated across her mind and beneath the covers Cassie shivered. What if that was it? Her parents' friends only noticed her when she spoke to them and then forgot her when she was silent. What if by falling on him, she put herself on his radar, so to speak.

"And then it faded after a while, like the lady with the wine glass. She only remembered me for an instant, but he remembered me at least until the party that night. Touch has to be more memorable than sound, right?" In the darkness it sounded disturbingly plausible.

"Well, Kelly would have made things worse if he was interested in me, so I guess it is better this way." Cassie decided trying to dismiss her own disappointment that Eric could forget her so easily. She closed her eyes and ordered herself to sleep.

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