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   Chapter 18 Quickening Cassie Wilson Book 1

Quickening By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 23758

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:49


Chapter 17

After they left, Cassie passed the day quietly. Even if it sounded like she was in the clear, she had the intense desire to hide and draw no attention. She skipped her self-imposed Latin lesson even though she took a few minutes to mentally run through the vocabulary she was trying to memorize. If nothing else, the rote memorization helped to calm her down and stop her shaking. She tried reading, but her brain was too full to concentrate on anything for very long. After a while, she just turned on the television and lay back on the bed as she tried to sort things out.

As crazy as it seemed, her dreams, at least the ones with the weird symbols and restricted movements were real. 'I wonder what those symbols were.' She thought. 'And who put them there.' She somehow didn't think that they were part of the manufacturer's original design. Even from what little she could see of them, they looked scratched in.

'I'll still be going to Mr. Dana's class so maybe I can get a better look at them then.' Cassie knew she couldn't just drop out of the class now without someone getting suspicious. If she suddenly stopped going to the district at all people might wonder why. She remembered her dream and running away from Enki and his searching friends through the district and into the parking lot as she flitted from lamp post to lamp post.

'I could check the one on the edge of the parking lot as it still had the symbol drawn on it and no one seems to watch me until I actually enter the district.' That seemed safer than looking at the ones in the district. For all she knew all the 'others' knew what the symbols did. Pointing out that they were there might again draw suspicion her way.

'It also might look strange to suddenly stand there and just stare up at the lamp posts. I'm also staying away from the concession stand, ' Cassie thought of her intentions to visit the salon and gift store she marked on her map and shook her head. 'Those will have to wait, ' she decided. 'Maybe I can look at the gift store when it gets closer to Christmas. That way it just looks like normal shopping.'

Comfortable with her draw no attention plan, Cassie again wondered about the symbol. If she copied it and drew it on something, would she be able to go to that place in her dreams? 'Was that why the symbols were put there in the first place, ' she wondered, a thought beginning to glimmer in the back of her mind. 'Put in places where the 'others' might go so people like me could watch them without being seen?'

It was a strange thought, but an exciting one. 'If I can put the symbol somewhere and then follow it in my dreams then someone like me put the other symbols in place. I certainly didn't put the ones in the district up. Someone else had to have done that.' The thought of another person like her around was a comfort. Not only would it be someone who could see the things she could see, but they would also be hiding from Enki and the others as well. 'And if they know to put the symbols up then they clearly know more than me. Maybe they'd be willing to help me.' Not being alone sounded like a great idea.

'Maybe there are a couple of people a little older than me around.' She suggested it when the others were watching because it seemed to fit their timeline, but what if it was true? Cassie felt a momentary twinge of guilt for sending the others in that direction, but figured anyone older than her had to have more training and would be more adept at hiding.

"Either way there is nothing I can do for them, " she muttered. "Especially since I don't know who they are." She sighed and looked at the television screen. It was still on one of those travel and adventure channels. This particular show featured a man who looked like he was pretending to be Indiana Jones as he followed a native guide deep into the jungle. He was talking about the remoteness of the location and mentioning how the unmapped areas of wherever he was still held secrets in an overly dramatic tone. Cassie hadn't been paying enough attention to know where he actually was at the moment.

"But at least he left off the whip, " she said to herself. Despite not knowing where the Indiana Jones impersonator was, the sight of him traversing the wilderness reminded her of her maps. She knew her eyes were always drawn to the same locations on the maps just as they were always drawn to the concession stand and certain businesses in the Plaza District.

'Several of the businesses seem to be where 'others' get together. The others might be as well since they didn't hum and the concession stand was certainly a gate of some sort.' Cassie felt various puzzle pieces start to come together in her mind starting to form a semblance of a picture. She sat up in bed. 'If my eyes are drawn to the same places on those maps then it might be because those places are either where the 'others' get together or because there are gates there.' Cassie felt the excitement building as though she was a can of soda that was roughly shaken up. She could feel something fizzing inside her waiting to explode.

'If those are gates or meeting points then someone may have put symbols there to watch whoever was there. If someone is putting symbols up, they probably intend to use them and I may be able to find them.'

She smiled broadly and looked to the window seat. Even though she didn't expect a return visit from invisible interlopers anytime soon, she didn't feel comfortable putting her maps back on the wall.

"But I have the book the cat made me buy, " she reminded herself. Before she could change her mind, Cassie slid off the bed and moved to the window seat. She opened it and began pulling blankets out. Everything was as she left it. She left the folded maps, the tissue containing Kelly's charm necklace and the box containing her mother's letters in the bottom of the space and pulled out the large book of maps. Cassie set it on the bed as she refolded the blankets and returned them to their space. She then joined the book on the bed.

The cover was stiff when Cassie opened it as though the book were old, but rarely, if ever, used. Before the book came to her, someone tore out the title page and all information regarding the publication. Only the maps remained. Slowly, Cassie turned the pages. With each map her eyes darted from place to place, circling through the familiar landmarks. Even though some of the maps were ones she never saw before, her eyes darted towards specific locations in a circuit.

"I dreamed about the district because I was looking at the map before bed last night, " Cassie mused as she continued to flip pages. As she continued to look through the maps, she wondered if she could direct her dreams to a specific location.

"Maybe if I concentrate on one map instead of all of them, " she mused. The tiredness she woke up with behind her eyes remained and Cassie wondered if that was part of it too. Going somewhere else in her dreams didn't require physical movement, but what if it required energy of some so

for a minute and realized in the other places, there was nothing close to her that she could use for scale. In addition she was located high above everything else looking down and generally felt as though she were a pair of eyes trapped in something else rather than an actual person. Cassie decided she would have to pay more attention in the future.

The faint sound of traffic reached her ears when she listened for a hum. Again she wondered if her humming would do anything, but refrained from attempting it. At the edge of her vision, Cassie spotted something metallic. She could barely make out what looked like the same symbol scratched into its surface. It was far to her left and she focused her attention on it, she suddenly jumped to the symbol.

Cassie felt a strange sense of vertigo and for a second wondered if throwing up was actually an option. The world swam beneath her and instead of feeling tiny, she once again felt as though she were just a pair of eyes someone glued to a metal pole. The metallic pole seemed to be a street light, similar to the ones in the Plaza District, however these were taller, much taller and the lights were snake head style rather than large globes. Below her cars and busses rumbled past. Overhead, the sun blazed in a cloudless blue sky.

"Must be a time difference, " she said, wondering what time it was here. "It was day in Heliopolis too." The traffic below was a thick steady stream and belched out more blue-gray exhaust than she was used to seeing. As she looked down she was able to get a better look at the stone edifice where she previously perched. It was enormous and as she thought stretched off far into the distance in either direction like a great wall of stone. "Except it's not solid, " Cassie realized. The stone wall had rounded arches carved into it at regular intervals. Each arch was big enough to allow traffic to pass through it and the streets ran through them, like threads through the eye of a needle.

"Or at least the bottom row, " Cassie said to herself as she watched a bus drive through one of the arches. There were in fact two rows of arches, one set on top of the other. The tops of the lamp posts were even with the top of the second row of arches, thus accounting for her height.

"So I'm probably about two stories up, " Cassie decided. She studied the stone for a moment, thinking it looked familiar. Finally, it hit her. "It's an aqueduct, " She realized, remembering seeing an image of one like it in her history text book. "Well that explains the hollow bits at least. That's where the water goes." She was pleased to actually be able to use logic and deductive reasoning on something again. Lately it seemed logic completely deserted her world. It was nice to have it return, at least in part.

Cassie took a little while to look around, but the noise of the traffic prevented her from finding anything she could definitely term a hum. She decided to return to what she thought of as the central map area.

When she was once again surrounded by gently glowing lines, Cassie requested another city. One by one she went through her mental list. Some of the names took her to ancient ruins where no one lived for centuries. Here she was easily able to hear a distinct hum amid the bird song and insect noises. Sometimes the location was in too heavily trafficked an area to notice anything. Sometimes it was full daylight, sometimes it was twilight and sometimes full dark. Sometimes the markings were carved into ancient stone and other times, they were newer, carved or scratched into more modern surfaces. More often than not, there was a mix, as though the markings were used over generations, each new group carving the same symbol on new materials. With each trip, the symbol became more and more familiar to her.

Finally when Cassie was certain she could identify and even recreate the symbol, she stood looking at the gently pulsing lines. Despite the excitement she felt bubbling through her system; Cassie realized she felt tired, even in her dream state.

"That can't be good, " she decided. "I think I'd like to go home now." Cassie said. Cassie didn't know if the lines could hear her or not, but suddenly she found herself once again flying. This time when she landed, she opened her eyes to find she was in her own bed. She blinked herself awake and looked around. The rain continued to fall outside and the room still had the same sort of shadowy grayness to it as it did when she first lay down, but the clock told her that several hours passed. Cassie felt exhaustion sucking her under and was unable to keep her eyes open. She lay back down closed her eyes and slept until her alarm woke her.

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