Phoenix

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Hidden in Plain Site

The back roads of Port Whitamer are hedged with miles upon miles of prosperous farmland. Cassandra has always admired the lovely fields of emerald and gold that soar past her during long drives. They make her feel like she was flying. She a clever girl, strong-willed and more often than not, overly defensive of her family members. What she is lacking, however, is a healthy dose of precaution for herself. Cassandra has impeccable intuition, it runs fiercely through the veins of all of the women in her family. The wisdom of when to follow it and where it comes from needs some serious pruning. In addition to being rather naive, Cassandra is fairly foolish and insecure. Things that are not out of the ordinary for a girl of her age and being raised by a reputable family in a small town. She maintained a good job for most of high school and loved knowing that she was coaches next choice for captain of the dance team. They she was absolutely sure that the only reason she was being given that spot on the team was because her popular and very talented, cousin was leaving and had promised the position to her. She works hard at everything that she does, but has never found it to be good enough. No matter how often her mother told her she was beautiful and loved, Cassandra couldn’t help this nagging feeling of self-doubt. With complete disregard of her accomplishments, she felt like a total counterfeit lurking around the corner of her impending exsposure. Her paralyzing suspicion that she was condemned to spend life eluded by a love that would be stable, compassionate, and honorable.

It was these very back roads that encouraged her most anointed thoughts. It was no secret to her that she was, at best, mediocre to the loved ones that she was surrounded by. She looked up to so many beautiful women, and for very good reason. Sure, Cassandra was gifted in many ways, however she just couldn’t compare to the women the valued the most. They were more popular, more beautiful, and had the gifts that she could merely dream of. Maybe it was all of her insecurities that ran her into friendships that were flourishing upon first glance, but conniving in hindsight. Perhaps it was also those moments of self-doubt that drove her into the arms of abusive young men who were all to eager to feed her selfish needs for acceptance. Driving down the country roads, she couldn’t help to pondering things. She began to open her mind to how excited she was to see her older brother for the first time since Christmas, and to find out just why exactly he had changed the phone number he had used for years. Why exact did he want to meet by the lake? This wasn’t something they had done before. It most definitely would ease the pain of finding out that the boyfriend she had planned a future with had been spending time with many other girls. One of which being the very person who introduced them.

Turning onto the road that weaved back to the open parking available for the sandbar, Cassandra lit a cigarette. The drive past the first few beach houses would give her the time she needed to endulge in her nasty little habit. What started as a minor act of rebellion to fit in with the group that accepted her at the onset of her truly awkward phase, turned into her vice of choice to maintain her thin frame. Though this was a very favorite rendezvous spot for her and her young friends to get lost from the stress of teenage years, it just was not a place that she attended with her brother. In midst of pondering much of lives mysteries, Cassandra’s phone tremored in her purse. Upon inspection, it was a text from Jared.

“Where you at,” her older brother had a pretty aggravating way of criticizing people when he was pushed for time.

She tossed her phone to the side. “I’m right where I told you I would be, Jare!” Being his little sister, she had learn to bit back in secret simply to make herself feel better. He never caught her, and she worked hard to ensure that he wouldn’t.

The winding dirt road was enveloped by the deep green foliage, creating a serene and blissful environment. Noticing two trees that had just the right amount of room for her car to fit between, Cassandra squeezed the four door sedan and popped out of the driver’s side. After perching herself on the hood of the car.

After smoking several more cigarettes, walking back and forth from her car to the lake, Cassandra perched herself back on the hood of the car. She lit another cigarette and yelled out for her brother, “Jared, I’m here! Why in the world did you want to meet here?” She tried to wait patiently for a response from her brother, but the sinking feeling in her stomach happened again. Something was wrong, all of a sudden, deep down in her soul, she knew something was wrong. Shaking off the bad feeling when it comes to Jared is easy. Confronting him about why he changed his number and came home randomly when be the difficult part. As her older brother, he had some how become her best friend, other than their mother. Whatever it was couldn’t be so bad, but he was semi prideful. He could have a bit of a temper. When it comes to ignoring her intuition seemed more like putting a stop to ignorant paranoia.

The obvious noise of someone walking up behind her, through the tall grass caught her attention. Too comfortable in her decision to ignore her paranoid thoughts, Cassandra audibly sighed. “Bout time, you creep! Just tell me why you dragged me out here, making me wait FOREVER, when you know that I have plans to meet Mom. If you are trying to scare...” Cassandra is only able to shriek out a muffled scream from behind a gloved hand. Kicking and scrambling, Cassandra reaches her still burning cigarette up and presses it up against the frail exposed skin of her assailant. It’s just enough for her to get out of the grasp and grab for the driver’s side door. High pitched wails come from the person who had hold of her, but two more arms, thicker than the last wrap around her mouth and torso. Just like that her feet are off the ground. “There’s two,” she decided within herself.

Within seconds of being tossed upward, she is quickly plummeted to the hard ground. The two assailants yell and scream over who is going to get her subdued, but her ears pounding like she has a subwoofer in between them. Everything went black. Clearly the sharp pain in her neck was from being thrown to the ground so violently. One oppressor held her arms down, the other slid a gritty substance in between her teeth. All she could think of was how scared her mother and brother were going to be when she wasn’t where she said she would be. Moments later she felt like she was floating. No wait, not floating, they were dragging her.

Once in her apparent resting place, the none stop pounding in her ear drums began to slow. She could tell she was laying in a car and that someone’s legs were under her head. Her neck was warm and wet, and someone was applying pressure to that part of her body. “Are they trying to stop bleeding? Oh my goodness, I’m bleeding. Why would they try to help me after causing this to begin with?” Her thoughts were raising, but everything else began to slow way down. They were still arguing, but in was like listening to a movie in slow motion from another room. They were yelling at each other about how stupid Cassandra was to fall for this.

“ She fell for it, you got what you wanted, idiot,” declared the high pitched voice from before. She wasn’t quite sure why, but the voices both sounded so familiar. The fighting continued, but it became mundane about what they would do next and what should happen to Cassandra. She became weak and started drifting in and out of consciousness. There was a sudden loud scraping noise as the car was put into motion.


And then, there was nothing. No sound... no light... no sensations. Just nothing...


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