Cassandra: A Short Story, p.1
Cassandra: A Short Story
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the work of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual person or persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved
Copyright© 2016 Toni
“Cassandra, why did you come to see me, if you are not ready to talk about your abuse?” She didn’t understand. Hell, I didn’t fully understand.
Life has always been a struggle for me, but lately things have been getting worse. I look at myself and see nothing but failure. I’m twenty-eight years old, still a virgin, I’ve never been in a real relationship. Every time someone asks me why am I still single it is like a knife to my heart. I didn’t know the answer to that question. On average, only one eligible man approached me a year. Some years it was less.
I didn’t know how to talk to men who were interested in me. I became nervous, if I gave them my number, I would avoid them when they called. I could talk to them on a platonic level, but if they showed the slightest interest, I would shut down.
The sad part is, I want a romantic relationship. There were three times when a man showed me interest, I gave them my number before they even asked. Only for them to never call. I would cry for days on end. The last time, I made a vow, that would be the last time. I have accepted the fact, I was meant to be alone forever.
“I’ve been having dreams. Dreams where I kill Thing.” That’s why I came to see Dr. Zakiyyah. I started having these dreams around six months ago, they scared the hell out of me. Deep down, I hoped I wasn’t capable of doing some of the things I dreamed I did.
“Sometimes, dreams are just dreams. They don’t mean anything.”
No, these were more than dreams. They are so real; from the feelings to the smells, they stay with me long after I wake up. I rubbed my hands as I thought about that time I stabbed Thing. The blood flowed down the knife and onto my hand. I can still feel the warmth of it, the stickiness of it. Then I felt the same sense of relief I felt when I choked Thing to death. I took a deep breath and relaxed. I remembered the calm that came over me as I watched Thing take its last breath. When I stared into its eyes and watched its soul leave its body. The only thing that could have made it better was if the gates of hell opened up and dragged Thing to hell. “These dreams are very vivid.”
She sat back in her chair and crossed her legs. She opened her notebook and turned to a clean sheet. “Are you ready to tell me Thing’s name?”
Hell will freeze over and the heavens will bleed before I even think to whisper its name. “Thing is the only name it deserves.”
“Cassandra what do you want me to do for you?”
“I want you to make these dreams go away. I want Thing dead, but I don’t want to be a murderer.” I tugged at my dress. I didn’t think I had the body to wear a dress. Dr. Zakiyyah was helping me with my self-confidence.
“Calm down. We’ll talk about the dreams. Start when you are ready.”
I snapped the rubber band on my wrist to calm my nerves. “They always start the same. I’m standing outside Thing’s apartment.”
“How do you feel?”
“Nervous. My heart is pounding in my ears. I’m breathing heavy and uneven. Thing opens the door and smiles at me. Then turns and walks into the apartment and I follow. Thing rubs its hand across my chest. “I missed you,” it says. Then Thing starts to take off its pants. I take off my jacket, I reach into my purse and pull out a hammer. Thing starts pulling down its underwear, when I strike it in the head, right behind the ear. “What the hell are you doing,” Thing yells, in pain. I don’t answer. I swing the hammer again, this time hitting it right in the middle of the forehead. It falls to the ground.
I like seeing Thing in pain. I kick it as it tries to crawl away. I hit it with the hammer again and again. With the last strike, I could feel and hear Thing’s skull crack. It’s kind of like when you crack a sunflower seed between your teeth. Thing crawls to the back. I don’t chase after it. I just followed the trail of blood. I feel better, with each strike I feel better.”
“Cassandra, Cassandra stop.” She wraps a towel around my arm. “You were scratching yourself. I think we should end here for the day.”
I nodded. “You know Zakiyyah, in every dream, I always start to reconsider. Then Thing always asks me the same question and I lose it.”
“What does Thing ask you?”
“Why are you doing this?”
I plopped my size twenty-two frame down in a chair. Three days had passed since my last session. I don’t really remember the days in between my visits, it’s like one big blur. The only thing I remember is the dreams.
Sitting there I watched Zakiyyah fumble around her desk. Suddenly I wished I looked like her. She was so pretty, thin, and her skin was so clear and soft looking. She looked like she just stepped off of a Magazine. She sat down across from. “How are you today?”
It was almost like she was singing when she talked. Her smiling face and soothing voice brought me more comfort than she could ever know. I couldn’t remember why I chose her, but I was glad I did. “I’m fine.”
“What have you been up to since our last session?”
“Life,” I blurted. She nodded while scribbling something down in her notebook. She knew I couldn’t remember. The last thing I remember is leaving this office.
“Let's talk about our last session.” She clicked on the video camera. “Do you remember it?”
“Good. Cassandra I want to ask you a few questions about that dream. Is that ok?” I nodded. “Alright, you can close your eyes if you need. When you walk into the apartment what does it smell like?”
I didn’t need to close my eyes. “Mr. Clean with Gain.”
“What does the apartment look like? Rather, how is it decorated?”
“It’s a living room slash kitchen area. There is a pleather red and black sectional against the far right wall. Black end tables are on both sides of it. In front of it is a black coffee table, it's wood.”
“Alright, that’s enough. Can you tell me what kind of pants Thing had on?”
“Black, the kind with the big pockets.”
“What color were Thing’s underwear?”
She sighed and sat back in her seat. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. “Are all the dreams this vivid?”
I thought about how to answer that question. I crossed my legs and looked her directly in the eyes. “Zakiyyah, do you know what burnt flesh smell like?” She looked stunned and slowly shook her head no. “I do. In one dream, I tie Thing to the bed and set it on fire. That smell never leaves my nose.”
“And that’s a big concern. Cassandra dreams are not supposed to be this vivid. You’re not supposed to remember every single detail once the dream is over.”
Now she was finally starting to understand. This was not normal. While this was scary, I was glad to have my feelings validated. It was like she was finally taking my concerns seriously. “That’s why I’m here. I’m scared and I need help.”
“I want to help you, but you have to help me help you. We need to talk about Thing, and what it did to you.”
My heart started to beat faster. I didn’t want to talk about what Thing did. She was never supposed to find out what Thing did. But she did, the minute I started to talk about Thing and my dreams, she knew. “I can’t. Can we stop, I really need to take a break. Cut the camera off.”
She came over and wrapped her arms around. “Don’t touch me.”
“It’s ok,” she said, getting up from the ground. “It’s ok, I’m fine. Sit back down.” I sat back down in the chair. “You want these dreams to stop right?” I nodded my head. “Then we have to talk about Thing. That’s the only the dreams are going to go away. Please tell me. Let me help you.”
“You mean, what Thing made me do.”
She was back in her seat, waiting patiently for me to continue. I snapped the rubber band again. “I don’t remember how old I was when it first started. The first instance that I remember, was when I was five, I think. I was sleeping on the floor; my mom was on the bed. I remember Thing had the covers pulled over us. It was hot under the covers, hard to breath.”
“Where was Thing?”
“I was lying on stomach. Thing was on top of me, grinding on my back. Thing didn’t have on any underwear. I didn’t fully understand what was going on. I kept thinking I was going to die, I couldn’t breathe under the covers. Then it got off me and I felt a wet spot. Thing rubbed its finger up and down my back spreading the wet spot.”
I was crying now. I wanted to stop, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
“So, Thing was sleeping next to you.”
“I guess. I don’t remember.”
“Your mother was asleep so close to you. If Thing was sleeping next you, it had to be close in age.” She was talking more to herself than to me. “Is Thing related to you?” I