Cassy felt the weight of the walls as if they were sitting on her chest, hanging off her shoulders, bowing down her head like a stone crown. The drugs in the needle they had forced into her vein didn’t help the feeling of total suppression. “I guess this is what ‘Maximum Security Prison’ feels like,” Cassy mumbled, plucking at the thin bleached sheets. She didn’t deserve this; she hadn’t meant to hurt anyone! Tears blurred her vision; “I’m not evil Daddy, I swear!” she called out as the past overwhelmed her.
The train gave her a headache and Cassy rubbed her temples irritably while her dad went on about how these trains were the future of cross country travel. Faster and cheaper than cars, the high speed electric trains were more practical than planes and could transport more people. But Cassy didn’t care; she knew why he was babbling on about the stupid train. He was avoiding talking to her.
“Dad please!” said Cassy exasperated. “If you don’t want to talk to me than at least let me sit here in peace!” They were in a private car near the front of the train. Cassy could feel the engines pumping all that voltage into the train. It traveled under her, through her, and into her. Concentrating on it, she could hear it roaring all around her. This is what was making her head ache as if someone was stabbing her temples.
Cassy’s father paused in his adulations of the train, and looked at her with a mix of annoyance and distrust. “Cassy I’m not avoiding talking with you, if you want to talk about something else, just say so.”
Cassy didn’t believe him; he had been carefully NOT talking about what happened to Charles for the last few weeks. “Then let’s talk about what we are going to do about this.” she said, determined to corner him into an answer.
“Do about what Cassy?” he said, guards going up all over his face.
Cassy ground her teeth in frustration, a buzzing started in her ears and she rubbed her temple again. “About me dad!” she cried, flinging her hands out in exasperation, “about me nearly killing Charles!” She remembered how she felt when Charles had forced her to kiss him, how the energy had risen up from inside with her panic. She recalled how he had just lain there after she shocked him, how the hand print burned into his chest had smelled like plastic melted onto a stove…
Her father was very quiet, his face completely closed to her, and she mentally shrank from the void of emotion she saw there. “I am taking you to Italy Cassy; I will enroll you in school there while I work out the details for my next project.”
“But…” Cassy felt betrayed, was he going to farm her out? “What if it happens again Dad?” she asked quietly.
“Nothing is going to happen, Cassy, you will go to school and nothing is going to happen.” he said, picking up the daily paper and opening it.
Cassy felt a sudden rage, she stood up across the table from her father, “So that it, is it?” she said, “You’re just going to ignore what is happening to me?” Her hands were clenched at her sides; the buzz was now the roar of hurricane winds.
“Sit down Cassy, there is nothing happening to you, you merely have an overactive imagination.” he didn’t even look up from the paper, dismissing the topic altogether.
The roar was now a screech and Cassy barely heard herself say: “Did I imagine the burnt handprint on Charles’ chest? Did I imagine the paramedics barely reviving him with the paddles!? Did I imagine the cops asking me all those questions or the disgust in their eyes as they whispered ‘mutant’ behind my back!?!”
Cassy’s dad finally looked up from his paper and the empty look in his eyes was replaced with fear when he saw his daughter. Her hair was standing out from her head, her hands dripped blood from her nails as they dug into her palms, and her eyes glowed white hot like lightning.
“Cassy!” her father gasped, “Stop!”
“Stop!? Stop!! How can I stop Father?? I’m IMAGINING THIS!” Cassy screamed and in that moment that part of her mind which felt the energy, reached out and touched the train’s engines. A real mechanical scream caused Cassy to clasp her hands over her ears as the engines overloaded and started feeding back on themselves. She realized in that second what she had done and she tried to stop it, but she didn’t know how.
“Daddy!” she cried, looking into her father’s frightened eyes, “NO!”
Cassy jerked awake in a bare cell room, her sheets were drenched in sweat. She stared at the white walls for a few minutes, remembering the screams of the people on the train as it blew up. Mostly though, she remembered her father, running around the table in their compartment, trying to shield Cassy from what she had done.
© Maria Rich 2011
(Episode 2: HERE)