The Cure: Chapter 2

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The Cure: Chapter 2

The Cure Chapter 2

The Cure Chapter 2

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The Cure Chapter 2

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PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE

The Cure Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

    Wow, I’m late,” I announce as I shove a slice of buttered toast in my mouth and grab the car keys.

    “Cassie, don’t forget your bag,” Mack thrusts my tan book bag into my hands.

    “What would I do without you?” I smile back at her.

    “You will never have to know.”

I don’t want to know. I don’t want to do this.

“Cassie, wait,” Ken calls after me, but I’m already gone, pushing past the mob of people breathing condolences at me. Truth be told, I couldn’t really hear them anyway over the blood pounding in my ears.

“She’s not dead,” I keep repeating in my mind. “She can’t be.”

“Cassandra.”

I hear my name through all the buzzing and turn to see one of the office secretaries standing behind me with her hand held out to me. She’s speaking to me, but it sounds like I’m underwater. I feel like I’m drowning.

“Cassandra, please come with me,” she whispers. I reach for her hand, but it feels numb and I lift it only inches from my side.

“I can’t breathe,” I tremble, holding my throat and trying to catch my breath.

“Let me help you.”

The room is spinning and so is her voice, but I hear her calling for the nurse right before I hit the ground and everything goes black.

 

*****

“Cassie. Cass, wake up.”

I open my eyes and look at the clock next to my bed.

“Mack, it’s 3:30 in the morning. What are you doing?”

    “Put your jacket on and come downstairs.”

“What? Mack, what’s going on?”

    “Come on, we’re gonna miss it.”

She disappears from my doorway as I sit up and rub my eyes. I yawn and I slip on my Uggs and my pink fuzzy robe and push the door open. 

“Mack?” I whisper down the hall. 

“We’re down here,” she whispers back. “Hurry.”

I make my way slowly down the white hardwood stairs into the living room. I look to my right and notice that the sliding glass door is open and Mack and Charlotte are standing on the front porch. They seem to be looking up at the sky.

I walk onto the porch and stare at my sisters. “Ladies, what are we doing?”

    “Watch,” Charlie points at the stars.

I look up and see the millions of bright sparkling stars in the sky. “It’s super pretty, but what am I supposed to be looking at?”

Then a white and gold ball of fire comes hurtling across the sky.

“Woah. A shooting star,” I smile and stare open-mouthed.

There are millions of particles colliding with the atmosphere every day, day and night,” Mack stares in awe.  “But since you can only see them at night, and you can only look at a small part of the sky at once, shooting stars actually happen every 15 minutes.”

“Really?” Charlie looks up, astonished.

“How text-booky of you,” I laugh, and she smiles her beautiful smile back at me. “So, to sum up, you woke me up at 3:30 in the morning to watch pieces of rock fall from the sky while you spit scientific facts to me?”

“Of course not,” she beams at me, eyes glowing. “I wanted to show my beautiful sisters something beautiful.” I look at Charlie and she is glowing in the light of the stars and the moon as another shooting star floats by.

“This really happens every 15 minutes?” she glows. “And we just can’t see it?”

    “Beauty happens where you choose to see it,” Mack stares lovingly at little Charlie. “I choose to see it in both of you.”

“You always choose to see beauty in the simplest of things,” I stare admiringly back at her. “Some things are just that, Mack. Some things are just simple.”

“If you’re referring to yourself, you’re simply wrong,” she grabs Charlie’s hand and Charlie grabs mine. “But, lucky for you, Charlie and I will always be here to remind you of how extraordinary you really are.”

“Always,” Charlie’s brown eyes twinkle up at me.

 

“I think she’s waking up,” I hear a male’s voice murmur in my ear.

“Cassie.” I hear a more familiar voice this time. I open my eyes and see a blinding white light. I turn my head slightly and see Ken’s tousled blond hair kept back by a navy blue bandana. His blue eyes are crinkled with worry.

“Where am I?” I try to sit up, but Ken puts his hand on my stomach and pushes me back down.

“You’re in the nurse’s office,” he mutters softly. “You fell, and they want you to stay here until they determine whether or not you have a concussion.”

“I don’t have a concussion,” I resist, trying to sit up again.

“Cassie, you passed out in the middle of the hallway,” Ken tries to reason with me. “Please, don’t do anything stupid.”

I concede and sink back down and Ken removes his hand. I lay there for a moment in silence and close my eyes. “How did she die?” I whisper.

I hear Ken take a deep breath and pause for a moment. “They’re saying it was a drug overdose.”

My eyes snap open. “That’s impossible.”

“I know, Cass–”

“That can’t be right, Ken.”

    “Cassie, please–”

“There has to be some kind of mistake, Ken, there has to be–”

    “Cassie, please stop!” I’m suddenly very aware of the incessant and deafening beeping coming from the machine next to my bed. I take very slow, very deep breaths to lessen the noise until my heartbeat is back to normal and the rhythmic beeping is more regular.

“Kenny,” I beg. “Listen to me.”

“I understand that you don’t believe Mack could have done something like that.”

“She is-” I pause and close my eyes. “She was the only one in my family who didn’t have a problem with drugs.”

“Cassie, she worked a lot. At a hospital, no less. She had the time and the access-”

“She never would have done something that would increase her chances of being taken away from me,” I look him in the eye. “You seriously think she watched my parents spiral all these years and then decided that’s what she wanted her life to be?”

“I don’t know, Cass. Taking care of a human being when you never even wanted to be a parent is hard.”

“She didn’t do this, Ken. I know she didn’t.”

He leans forward and stares deep into my eyes as if he’s searching for something. “Okay,” he nods. “If you truly believe that, then so do I.”

“Good,” I breathe, sitting up. “Now, help me get out of here.”

“What? No way.”

    “I need to figure out what happened to my sister. Are you going to help me or not?”

    “Listen, Nancy Drew, you can’t just walk out of here like you didn’t just drop to the ground like a sack of potatoes an hour ago.”

I stop and glare at him with wide eyes. “I’ve been in here for an hour?”

“More like an hour and a half, give or take.”

“Give or take what?” I grind my teeth.

“Like…another hour.”

I roll my eyes and twist on the table so that my feet are dangling above the floor. “Where are my shoes?”

    “What am I supposed to tell the nurses when they ask why I just let you walk out of here?”

“Tell them my sugar dropped, I had a juice box, and then I went home to take a rejuvenating nap.” He cocks his head to the side and gives me a look. “Or,” I offer. “You can give me my shoes and help me pull off a jailbreak.”

He thinks about it for a second and squints, assessing my proposition. Then he heaves a sigh and pulls my Converse out of a large plastic bag in one of the tan hardwood drawers, along with my necklace and the bracelet I was wearing. Mack had the same one. 

“Where to first, future fellow inmate?” Ken puts his hands in his pockets and pulls me from my thoughts. 

“To the last place Mack was seen alive,” I tell him as I tie my shoelaces. “We’re going to the hospital.” I hold out my right arm as I wait for him to help me off the bed.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea, Cass?” he inquires, grabbing underneath my arm and placing his other arm around my waist to help me to my feet.

“I have to know what happened to her,” I mumble as he pulls me from the bed and stands me up straight. 

“We need to go before someone comes back to check on you,” Ken cautions as he turns the knob of the door and holds it open for me. I nod and grab my backpack and he follows me out. We speed-walk down the stairs, through the hallway and past the cafeteria and the gymnasium. We make it to the tenth grade hallway and keep walking until we’re one row of lockers away from the door that leads to the only exit.

“My car is on the other side of the lacrosse field,” Ken hurriedly tells me. “If we walk quick we might make it before anyone notices we’re gone.”

“Kenny, you seriously need to stop worrying,” I scoff at him. “Nobody is going to catch us in the middle of the–”

“Cassandra Wilthrop and Kenneth Douglas,” a very deep and husky voice coming from behind us stops us dead in our tracks. We turn around slowly, and see a 5”11 male in a police uniform with “Hernandez” tagged on his chest is standing behind us. A female in the same uniform is close behind with “Bailey” etched across hers. “Cassandra Wilthrop and Kenneth Douglas?” he inquires again. “Would that be you?”

“Yes?” Ken swallows hard. 

“Perfect,” he looks at his partner over his shoulder. “We’ve been looking for you two all day.” Ken and I exchange worried glances as the man says, “We’re going to need you to come with us.”



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