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   Chapter 26 Training the Walker Cassie Wilson Book 2

Training the Walker: Cassie Wilson Book 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 17302

Updated: 2018-03-14 11:13


Chapter 26

Monday morning Cassie arrived at school half expecting to see all manner of strange things. Nothing noticeable jumped out at her as strange as she drove to school. In school, Mr. Babbin was walking the halls.

'He does not have tusks, ' she reminded herself automatically. Surprisingly, even though he wore the charm of concealment, she could see the shadowy outline of his tusks.

'I'm not certain if that's an improvement or not, ' she thought as she moved from the hallway into the class room. There were no further occurrences during her school day and Cassie braced herself for entry into the Plaza District as she parked and walked into work. The buildings owned by 'others' still featured golden nets thrown over them. Oddly, she could feel the symbols etched onto the lamp posts throughout the district. She knew exactly where each symbol was carved without having to look at the poles. It felt as though they were continually whispering to her, asking to be used.

'That's new, ' she thought trying to ignore the symbols that wanted to tug at her attention. By contrast the humming gate was easier to ignore, even if she had to press her tongue against her teeth to keep from humming along.

Those from Abraham's pantheon were scattered throughout the district, but paid little attention to her today for some reason, so ignoring them was easier than dismissing the symbols and gate. In addition to the people sitting on benches and watching the gate, Cassie spotted a few shadowy forms lurking in corners.

'I wonder if they are concealed like Mr. Babbin's tusks or like when the others put on extra concealment so I can only see their foot prints.' Cassie found the thought intriguing. 'Maybe I'll be able to see them without the video function on my cell phone now.' She remembered her grandfather's addition to the lock. 'Hopefully I won't have to find out.' As she continued on to work, she wondered if anyone would know why she could capture them on video even with their concealment.

'And if so why haven't the security videos been sold to some sort of monster hunter website, ' she thought as she passed one of the others sporting the head of what she thought was a buffalo on top of a man's shoulders. 'Some people would pay a lot of money for those videos.'

Cassie cut through the alley to the back door of the bakery. 'Another question for the list.'

The bakery showed her nothing unexpected and after work she made her way back to her car. She was ready for the symbols, the gate, the nets and the shadowy forms. She was also pleased nothing more was added.

That night when her dreams took her to the gate room, she checked her hands. The symbol on her left hand was growing fainter, the right one looked as though it was glowing a little brighter. Deciding she could do nothing about either, she let the symbols be and journeyed first to Mr. Babbin's office, then to The Gray Cat.

The first was dark and empty, the second full and bubbling with gossip. The usual patrons were still in evidence, with Enki and Skadi noticeably absent. In one corner her grandfather grumbled about the state of his shop, sounding very much like a grumpy old man complaining to his cronies, or in this case Jacob.

As Cassie made her rounds through the room, she wondered at their relationship as they seemed close. Each spot she stopped to listen, she found Mr. Babbin's rumors of possible retribution spreading. She was pleased to note that the majority opinion, at least of those present, was that Abraham's disappearance had nothing to do with her and that Enki overstepped the bounds of propriety.

'I wonder how he'll take that when he returns?' Cassie thought as she decided there was nothing new to hear and returned to her bed. 'When he left everyone sounded like they were on his side.'

The next day when she arrived at Oliver's studio, he and Bert pretended there was nothing out of the ordinary; that nothing happened the previous Saturday. No one mentioned Abraham's return even though Cassie could see the lights on behind his thick curtains as he sorted out his show room. After class Ina escorted her back to the car, offering glares to anyone who looked her way and causing amusement in a few of those watching. She left Cassie at her car without a word, but a look of concern stayed plastered to her face.

Her Tuesday night observance at the bar was more of the same. No new rumors, just a repetition of the old. Wednesday and Thursday likewise slipped by without incident. Thursday after class Oliver and Bert canceled her Saturday afternoon lessons. They didn't give her a reason, but she suspected they were waiting until after her birthday brought whatever it was going to bring. Cassie was trying really hard not to think too much about it.

'He said the ceremony wouldn't be a painful one and would end in cake. Bad things don't end in cake, ' she told herself whenever she started to worry.

She wasn't certain if any bad things ended with a pig roast, but she was certain that bad things did not end with cake. During the day Cassie was extra careful not to touch any of her class mates, especiall

ts own accord, since she certainly wasn't steering, over the wreckage. Slightly nervous about what she would see, Cassie leaned over the side and looked down. Expecting to see dead bodies, Cassie was surprise to find she was merely looking at an old wreck of a sailing ship half buried in the sand of the ocean's floor. It looked as though it had been there for hundreds of years not a few minutes. Cassie was grateful for the lack of carnage, but puzzled by its absence.

"It looks like one of those underwater expedition shows, " she mused. "Or shark week." Cassie looked around, but saw no sharks in evidence. There were also no fish or any other form of life. It was like looking at a phony wreck placed in the bottom of a fish tank, after the water was added, but before the fish arrived.

"Strange, " she said. Cassie started to lean back and see if there was some sort of island nearby when she caught the flash of something coming from the bottom of the ocean. Cassie leaned forward and the metallic glint came again. It was in the center of the wreck.

"I wonder what it could be." Suddenly she had an overwhelming desire to find out what it was, to see what survived the destruction. Cassie looked down at herself and discovered she was wearing a swim suit. "It doesn't look that deep, " she decided. Unable to stop herself, Cassie dove out of the boat and into the water, swimming down towards the wreck.

The water was as warm as a bathtub and as she thought it wasn't deep. It was like swimming in a heated pool more than anything else. Cassie had never been to the ocean before, but didn't think it was anything like this. She reached the shining bit in the center of the wreck and dismissed the thought as she brushed sand away from it. Cassie blinked in surprise as she uncovered a round metal disk. It was a circular emblem, with one green gemstone and one blue one, and was set into bronze colored metal.

The disk looked suspiciously like the one on both the necklace and the box from the music box guide. The disk was attached to something and as Cassie continued to brush away sand she found that it was a box. The box was the same size and shape as the one she saw with the dancer. Curiosity as to what it could contain filled her and she searched for the latch. She was able to uncover the lid and the latch but the rest of the box was too deeply buried for her to lift out of the sand. Cassie waved the swirls of sand away and looked at the latch. There was no lock on it, but etched into the metal was the same symbol she saw on her right hand when she stood in the map room.

Cassie twisted her right hand up and sure enough, the symbol was shining brightly. She turned her hand to the latch and pressed her hand into the symbol. There was a loud click as the two connected. Then the case sprang open. As the box opened, a golden light spilled out. It flowed towards her and sank into her skin, the light disappearing into her body. For a moment Cassie glowed with a strange golden light. She spread her fingers and watched the gold outline her bones under her skin. The light dimmed, fading completely and leaving nothing but an empty box.

Cassie recalled that she was underwater. She kicked off of the sand ocean floor and shot towards the surface like a dart. As she reached the surface and took her first breath, her alarm clock began to sound, signaling the arrival of Sunday morning.

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