I know my first name is Cassidy

So many things have been happening lately, some new subscribers, people possibly interested in my script … producers and such. Very exciting! And, a new acquaintance on facebook, and this blog. Cynthia Shepp, who is on her way to becoming a book editor. She put out this contest on her blog, and well I intend to enter, but first I wanted to post my short story on my blog.

Part of this is due to the fact that I need to start posting more stuff, and make a name for myself, but also finding fun and interesting material for you guys to read, which is not always easy. So here goes.  Hope you like it. And, I’ll let you know if I win anything. Ps: Thank you Cynthia for giving me the kick, and the inspiration. For any interested here is her blog site; http://cynthiashepp.wordpress.com/

I KNOW MY FIRST NAME IS CASSIDY

BY

KIMBERLY HENNESSY

My mother always taught me that everybody has a purpose. You know the kind of purpose that says you matter …

Myself, I just believed that we were part of some intricate web, no more special, no more singular than the next silk string, but all together part of a whole … that was before … before I was possibly the only survivor left of my kind.

 Now, I don’t know what to believe …

 I open my eyes, and it’s dark as usual. The pit in my stomach immediately starts to swell and radiate all through my body.

 Like an exercise routine, I replay my humdrum. “Breathe Cass, breathe” – “Don’t be afraid. Be brave.”  I hear him say. His voice is so familiar, so soothing and safe, but who is – him? Who I am? I know my first name is Cassidy, and I am not alone, I am not alone.

 I manage to quell the fear inside me, but in the back of my mind I know my supplies are depleted, and I need to venture out, but the mere thought of leaving swoons every single one of my thoughts, and makes my blood curdle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going stir-crazy in here, wherever here is, and the smell, but all that fails in comparison to whatever’s waiting for me outside. I don’t remember much, just an overwhelming feeling of dread, but it’s enough to ice my blood.

 I woke up in this cave, about three days ago – someone must have dragged me inside? They even went to the trouble of leaving me with a backpack of provisions – water bottles, matches that are too moist to use, and most importantly a gun, but I have no recollection of ever learning to use one. Its cold metal sends my mind in a spiral, and I’ve since abandoned any hope of using it.

 The humidity has leached into my bones, and from what I can tell, my body is covered in bruises, but worst of all, is my leg – I think it’s broken because any movement sends shock waves of acute pain to my brain. It has since receded into a type of numbing throb.

 “Shit!” I lean against the rocky wall, and my hearts start to flutter. “Be brave, Cass. Be brave.”

 How am I going to do this? I can hardly move, but I can’t stay in here and starve to death? I listen carefully, not unlike every minute of every hour of every day since I’ve woken up in here, and still not a sound. It’s worse really – I’d prefer the gunfire that keeps me up at night in my dreams, at least that would mean I wasn’t alone.

 “Go! Get up, and go! Just do it!” My breathing is erratic, and my palms are instantly sweaty – in a swift stretch, I grab the gun despite my reservations, and painstakingly crawl out towards the small hole. I am gasping for air, and my body screeches for me to rest -the pain is unbearable, but I don’t stop, instead I quicken my pace, because if I stop, I die.

 I finally reach the outside, and with all my might I suck in as much air as my lungs can hold. The world’s momentarily lopsided. I catch my breath as the pain subsides, and my fear takes over. Devastation! I can see for miles upon miles of decimation, and like a torrent of knives, I see flashes of dreadful images attack me. The raw memories come flooding in, and they paralyze me.

 Marcus is leading the way. I yell for him to stop, but he’s squeezing my hand so hard I can’t let go. He’s running too fast for me and I’m tripping over everything. The air around us crumbles like dust pouring from the sky. Everything is gray, and black. What is happening? I look up and behind the heavy grayish curtain of smoke and debris the sky is ablaze. A faint glow engulfs us, but the fiery fire is far from weak, I think my face is melting, and I quickly look down. I feel it now, weighing on me – the heat, the debris squishing us like bugs. The pain is intense, but I trudge on – when I suddenly hear – CRACK. I ignore the sound and push forward but fall flat on my face.  One of my legs is broken, and the foot is completely askew. I panic, and reach down and put it back straight but the pain is excruciating, and I scream. It’s too much … too much.

 “Cass, Baby run! Don’t stop now – Be brave, we’re almost there …”

 “I can’t  Marcus … my leg.”

 Marcus looks down at my leg as dread covers his face. “It’s too late – Marcus go … leave me … Go now!”

 I see the shimmer in his eyes, and he’d rather die here with me than leave me behind. He picks me up, and runs into the forest where we had found shelter months before. His entire body is covered in boils, but he won’t stop. The forest has vaporized, and nothing is left but dust, except for the big boulder – it still stands, and he sprints towards it as though his wings could take flight.

 “We made it Baby, we made it together like we knew we would. It’s okay Baby, breathe – just remember to breathe. We’ll be all right. We hold their secret.”

 I hear him talking, but it’s impossible to concentrate on anything but the pain, the sores on my skin, and my leg. It’s all too much … and I fall unconscious.

I remember, now! “Marcus!” I scream, but he doesn’t answer.  I go back inside the cave, and search frantically every inch of the dark cave, hot tears pour down my face as I fight back the physical and emotional agony – “it’s my Marcus. Baby, where are you?” I finally touch his face, but he’s unrecognizable, swollen beyond recognition, and I suddenly feel cold, like my body has just shut down. I fall over him. I know this is not what he would have wanted but I just can’t bring myself to care, not anymore. In a moment of sheer terror, I cock the gun and put it in my mouth, my eyes are shut tight, as if not watching makes all this easier, and just when I’m about to pull the trigger and end this nightmare, I hear it – the sound of life, or something other than dead silence.

 I gently pull the pistol out of my mouth, and hold on to Marcus as though his mere presence can save me. He always had in the past, I don’t see why in death that would be any different. I stop and listen.

 Echoes of some foreign language burn in my brain … it’s them … it’s them … I repeat frantically. What am I going to do? My hearts beat as though they will fracture out of my body, nothing but the swooshing sound of blood in my ears – so much so that I can’t even hear if they are near or not.

Breathe Baby, breathe – you can do this, be brave.

They said they came in peace from their dying planet, but Marcus was on to them from the start. He told me he didn’t trust them, and that I shouldn’t either, I just thought he was being paranoid – we should have listened. I kiss Marcus and slowly drag myself to the opening, and peek outside. The grim sky reveals that my arms are covered in welts, but the adrenaline just kicked in, and the pain seems bearable. I look around and search for the intruders – the soft shells.

Ah! Soft shells we called them, we thought they looked so vulnerable. They would have been such easy targets too in the beginning, but they were smart … and peace was never their intention.

I glance to my left and I find the enemy, a team of five humans exploring the wasteland in anti-radiation suits, they’re looking for something, but what? What was it that Marcus had said – “We have their secret.”

Some distant memory flashes in my brain, and I roll over on my back, aim the gun inside the cave, and pull the trigger. A hologram emerges from my pistol inside the dark cave. It’s the location of their vessel. This information is invaluable … I know what I need to do now – I need to survive, and protect this information.

My mother always taught me that everybody has a purpose. You know the kind of purpose that says you matter …

My first name is Cassidy, but my friends call me Cass, and if you can hear this – you are not alone, you are not alone.

Published in Apocalypse Anthology (TBA)

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