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Cassandra Allen last won the day on July 12

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  1. Cassandra smirked and donned the second-hand helmet, then nodded at Autumn. "I've been wanting to go up there for a long time now, but especially since I started working out how to really use what I can do. I think there's things we need to know in the past, and the Blackfeet have been keeping the past a lot better than Shelly has. Plus, once I'm there...I don't know, maybe I can look back far enough. It seems like it should be way too far, but...I have to try." She tugged at the chinstrap, drawing it snug, and worked her jaw a little. "Just do me one favor alright? If I get excited and start talking too fast, or accidentally insulting them or something because I'm too pushy or whatever? Just stand next to me so you can give me an elbow. And...Devin should be on the other side of you, for exactly the same reason."
  2. Cassandra's teasing grin faded as Autumn talked until it was just a little smile, then maybe not even that. There were thoughts on top of thoughts in her head, like time was slowing down and someone 'offstage' was narrating... 'there's four things you need to know about Autumn and Jase right now... Time started again and Cassandra smiled wistfully. "I guess I don't really know. I had a crush on a guy in grade school, but he moved away. Me and my boyfriend started dating just sort of...because? We already hung out all the time together anyway, it just kind of felt right. I guess I haven't really had that sort of...intensity you're talking about." She tugged a few strands of her blonde hair out from the rest and wiggled it around absently. "All teasing aside, if you're happy about it, I'm behind it." The grin came back then. "And I can spy on him to tell you if he's cheating on you. Cassie Allen, psychic detective. A hundred a week, plus expenses."
  3. Cassandra watched the kiss with a grin, waited to hear the bathroom door shut, then said in an excessively nonchalant voice, "So..." There was a lot of unspoken words in her word. She was intensely curious about Jase and how Jase worked as a boyfriend, for example. She was also a little concerned for Autumn and kind of jealous of Autumn because there was a kind of ambition revealed in her choice. Or maybe it was just hormones? Wow, that would really blow, wouldn't it? Cass waved a hand back in the direction Jase had gone off in. "...that's a thing. How did that happen? Is...is he good?" Somehow Autumn's face went from red to infrared, and she covered it with her hands just to feel the comparative coolness of them against her cheeks. "I mean, like, as a boyfriend," Cassie clarified. She couldn't back down, even in the face of her friend's mortification. "Does he, like give you flowers?" She couldn't wait any longer to ask the hard-hitting questions. "Did you guys do it yet?"
  4. "Do you have enough for a scandalous expose in the paper, do you think?" "I had enough for that before you even opened your mouth," Cassandra replied, still grinning. "Now I have enough for an actual book." Then she yawned and stretched, smirking slightly as she started down the hallway towards the bathroom to wash up before eating. Cass hadn't gotten more than a few steps though before pausing and looking back at Jase over her shoulder. "But that's if I was writing for gossip columns, you know? I have seriously important things to write about these days. Gods and heroes. Villainy. The end of the world. If you want page time, you're going to have to sell this relationship a bit more. I mean, if you're worried about embarrassing Autumn, there must be an embarrassing story in there, right?" She gave Autumn a grin and a wink to let her know she was mostly just kidding. Mostly.
  5. Cassandra's eyes immediately narrowed as Dana spoke. Words jumped out at her. "Hang on," she said, twisting around to look at Jason. "You...remember?" A slow grin spread across her face. "This isn't your first time here." Then she was on her feet, reaching instinctively behind her to grab the chair back before it fell over. "So?" Cass pressed, folding her arms and getting up in Jase's space. "Spill it? What are we talking about here? Study session? Hot date? Something...in between?"
  6. "Lets fight inside," Cassandra suggested as she headed for the front door. "I can smell breakfast cooking from out here. And coffee. Once the adrenaline from thinking Devin was going to kill us wears off, I'm definitely going to need coffee." She did have the presence of mind to wait for Autumn to go ahead of her back into the house though. They were friends, but Cassie hadn't been invited into the house before. Maybe she was a vampire? Jesus, were there vampires? There were psychic space aliens and interdimensional monsters and psychic powers...what wasn't there? And who knew it and when did they know? Following Autumn in, with the boys right on her heels, Cass waved hello to Mrs Keane. "Hey," she chirped in greeting. "Smells awesome! Also, I'm Cassandra, hi." Offering a hand to shake, she added, "Jason's the tall one annnnnd sorry in advance for Devin. We have to take him around with us for a school project. It's kind of like that egg thing, only instead of an egg, it's Devin." She turned around a little to flash Devin a grin as she took a seat at the table.
  7. "Right, yeah. Okay. So, maybe he's not a native, or maybe it's not his real name, but you're right. If he was the one who put Air Force guy up to..." Autumn hesitated, sucked in a sharp breath, and pushed onward. "Up to that, then we need to know more about him. God, this is all crazy. It's like, the more we find out, the more we realize how much we don't know. You know?" Cassandra nodded as she slurped up her milkshake. The horror was still there, hiding in the shadows of her mind...but here in the bright, cheerful restaurant, eating delicious food that was really bad for her, that horror was muted, like a dream. "I'll start online. I mean, it's a weird name. I can probably just google 'enterich shelly montana' and find SOMEthing. I figure he's almost gotta be at the base...or maybe the prison. Remember how their mad scientist had basically moved in there and made it his playground? He could be part of that. It'd explain him knowing so much..." She rubbed her temple. "Ugh. Okay, I feel like once I get off the sugar rush from this, I'm going to pass out. We should get home. Get some rest. I'll look into Enterich, and we'll get everyone together and let them know what we found out. Sound good?"
  8. "Chocolate," Cassandra said automatically. "Definitely chocolate." The brief bike ride and the smell of deliciously unhealthy food were helping drive the lingering nightmare-dust off of her brain. It'd be a long time before she'd be able to eat pasta again though, that was for sure. She dabbed the end of a napkin into her complimentary glass of water and then dabbed it under her eyes, trying to keep them from getting all 'cry-eyed,' There were words hanging between them. Words like 'thanks for helping me when I was freaking out' that Cassandra felt like she ought to say, but also felt awkward about saying, and reminding them both of the whole incident. Better, easier, to focus on what had been gained than on the price paid to gain it. "I saw who was serving the tree before Cody," she said in a low voice after Autumn finished her text. "It was that guy. That...guy from the little cabin near where we had the party back when this all started. The guy that me and Devin saw get...cephaloed up." Cass frowned, realizing something. "Wait, did we ever tell you that story?" Autumn gave Cassandra a wry look. "The 'cephalogina'?" she asked, making air quotes. Cassie winced slightly. "Okay, yeah, you heard it. Anyway, he was the one doing it...BUT...he wasn't totally possessed by the Dark is the thing." She tapped the table, as if trying to get Autumn's attention. Totally unnecessary in this case. "He was put up to it by someone named Enterich. Some kind of ritual sacrifice. He changed his mind at the last second and tried to stop it...but..." Cassandra shook her head and took a quick drink from her soda, trying to wash away the memory as it came back up. "Anyway. The point is that this Enterich guy must have known...everything. We have to find him."
  9. "Jesus shit!" Cassandra yelped, and she tried to yank herself back from the vision, tried NOT to see, to close her Eye...but it wasn't as easy as a physical eyelid was. The image of it pursued her even as she batted at her eyes and tried reflexively to cover them. At the same time the raw fear, and the anguish, drilled like augers into her mind from the people she was witnessing. She wasn't even aware of herself falling over backwards. Coming back out meant passing through the choking, cloying Darkness, and it closed fingers around her throat...or maybe it was just panic...or maybe it was the same thing. She couldn't scream along with Cooper because she couldn't breathe. She tried to grab the floor under her, fingers scratching ineffectually at old concrete. The world was moving too fast. There wasn't any oxygen in the air. And all the while black tendrils reached out, reached for her, questing, gripping, tearing... "Cassie!" Autumn's voice reached her finally, and her eyes opened wide, terrified. She looked up to see Autumn's face, wracked by fear for her. Just seeing that she wasn't alone was like a splash of water, cleaning the Dark away...or at least easing it. With a whimper Cassandra sat up and flung her arms around her friend, clutching her like a drowning woman. "Oh my god," Cass whispered. "Oh my god. I saw it. He was just a little boy." With those words out, there was nothing left but to break into tears.
  10. Cassandra stopped pushing on the wall when Autumn made her case and just stood there for a moment. It looked like she was using the wall to hold herself up more than trying to open it. Her eyes dropped down to the shoe again, but she didn't say anything. There were a dozen reasons not to do it. Or, at least to wait to do it. If the shoe really had been there that long, it didn't seem likely another hour would change anything. And she remembered well how the presence of the Dark had made it hard to focus on her vision down here. And also she just was really unsure she wanted to see what had happened to the owner of this shoe. But this was kind of her thing, right? What good was an eye that refused to open? She pushed off from the wall and bent over to scoop the forlorn little shoe up in her hand. Her eyes never left it as she spoke to Autumn. "I'll give it a try, but...the Dark is boiling in the air here. It made it hard to see through before. And if it does work...there is a fair to...to average chance I may freak out or something? Because I think I get it. What happened to this...to whoever had this." Cassie nodded at the drawing on the wall, the one the trail ended at. "That's not a secret door. I remember it now. It's the spot the Dark was strongest. I think it must be where Cody can push through. And...I guess he can take other people with him." The wannabe reporter let out a shuddering breath. "I don't want to do it, but...I think I have to try. If there's even a chance they're still alive, we need to know about it now."
  11. Cassandra froze on seeing the shoe, both mentally and physically. Like a passenger in her body she could only watch as Autumn knelt down and examined it more closely. All she could focus on was a phrase that kept repeating in her head, like a panicked mantra. I didn't see this. I didn't see this. I didn't see this. It was a feeble attempt at a denial. If she hadn't seen it, it couldn't be. If she hadn't seen it, it wasn't her fault. She couldn't have stopped it. Stopped...wait, stopped what? Scuffs on the floor. Leading to a wall. Bloody marks. Blood on the shoe...but not a lot of blood? Maybe? She leaned down and took hold of Autumn's shoulder. Her eyes were too wide, her breath was too fast, but there was a frantic clarity shining through the horror and instinctive disgust. They didn't KNOW yet. "Autumn, we have to get through that wall," Cassie whispered. "They might still be alive. We have to find them." Everything else could wait. The panic, the disbelief, the guilt. They could wait. She brought her light up and shone it on the wall, on the disquieting image that had been scrawled on it. It didn't make sense. A secret door? In a town hall? Why? Start simple. Start basic. Cassie moved up to the wall and pressed her palm against it, trying to see if it would move...or even if it was real at all. At this point there was almost nothing she wouldn't believe.
  12. Cassandra nodded as she solemnly lifted her flashlight-phone and snapped a shot...first of the wall marking, then of the victims used to make it. "Definitely," she whispered. "There's more in the basement. Animals strung up. I didn't know why before, but...yeah, collecting blood could be one reason. Also I think it may be what he's eating?" Cass winced at that. "This is why I wanted to come back though. Remote viewing is kind of...wispy...it's not like being here." She shook her head and looked away, feeling her stomach move uneasily. Even prepared as she was for what they'd find, there was something profoundly more disturbing actually seeing it. It was the smell, maybe...or the feel of the old, dusty dry air on her arms. Standing here she could imagine what it must have been like when Cody had been here, killing this creature. Holding it. Cutting it. Letting blood just...pour out. "Damnit," she muttered, then reprimanded her brain privately. Not the time! "Okay...I think we've seen enough up here. Just the basement left. It's..." Cassandra gave Autumn an apologetic look. "...it's worse than this. A lot worse. Just so you know." Then she headed back down to the dry, worryingly bendy stairs to get to the ground floor...and from there, to the basement stairs. Where they would be both very grateful, and very unhappy, that they had flashlights.
  13. Cassandra nodded and whispered back, "The basement's where his...lair is, I guess. But yeah, lets take a look around before we head down there. When I was doing the vision quest thing, I didn't stop and look for details. But...well...I don't feel like Cody's here, but he could come back any time so lets not take too much time doing it." She started her phone camera recording, and swing her flashlight around a bit, checking to see how it was dealing with the low light. Not great...the 'image' was grainy at best, and most of the time was just not useful. When Cass flicked the flashlight on though, it worked fine...the beam landing nearly right on the center of the camera's field of view. It taken her forever to get that alignment right. The flashlight winked out again, but she left the recording running for audio. "Okay, room by room, we stick together. Lets start with this one." She motioned towards the room closest to their point of entry and moved towards its doorframe...testing each step before putting weight on it to try to minimize squeaking.
  14. "Most of the ways in are boarded up, but there's a window around back," Cassandra said in a hushed tone. She was frankly rather impressed with Autumn's array of gear. She really was a Girl Scout, it seemed like. "Lets bring the bikes up to the side of the buildings, over by those bushes. We can just lean them there. Shouldn't have to worry about anyone stealing them from here." She dug out her own flashlight, which had been modified with one of those dashboard mobile phone holders. It made the tool a little ungainly, but it let her attach her phone to the flashlight with the camera facing forward so she didn't need both hands. Despite this Cassie said, "Lets not use the lights at least until we're inside. I don't know if he's home. I don't think he is...but he could have come back since I did my woo-woo thing." Bikes left nestled in an overgrown bush, Cassandra then led Autumn around the Old Town Hall building, navigating the unkempt grounds like someone who'd been there before, making a beeline for the window she'd discovered where the boards were just stuck loosely onto it, not preventing it from being opened. "Okay. I'll hold the window open for you, and you hold the pepper spray or that wrench thingy as you go through...just in case there's trouble. I'll be like three seconds behind you."
  15. Saturday, August 31. Evening. Cassandra rode over to the intersection across from the Old Town Hall at the appointed hour...the one she and Autumn had agreed to over a flurry of texts that was...on her bike wearing suicidally dark clothes. This mission called for stealth. They had to be sneaky. Glancing around she didn't spot Autumn, and with another look at her watch she realized why. The bike ride from her house to here was apparently shorter than she'd estimated. That, or she'd been riding pretty fast without realizing it. That meant Cassie had a few minutes to herself. It felt oddly uncomfortable. It felt like she was wasting time, like any minutes spent not making tangible progress towards the goal was a failure. Why? Well, because there was a timer, and not a very long one. And the Man in Black had made it pretty clear there was cause for haste. ...and that led her back to the Man himself. No sooner than she'd summoned up his image in her head than pieces socked together in her head, and her eyes widened. Holy shit. No way. It fit though. It did. It was pure speculation on her part, and the only evidence was circumstantial at best. But...it fit. It explained at a stroke all her questions. Why had he come here? Why was he so invested in their success? What did he hope to gain from their efforts? She looked around, half-hoping to spot that too-tall, lanky figure ambling along down the street under the nearby streetlamp. There was nothing though. Then, somehow, Cass heard the distant metal rattle of spokes and gears and sat up straighter to twist around and look. A lone bicycle rider was approaching, flitting between the lengthening shadows of dusk. They didn't have much daylight left, but that was good right? Sneaky? Even if it would magnify the creep factor as well. Cassandra waved at Autumn as she rode over towards her and as she came up alongside her said, "Hey! Okay do you have everything you need? I brought some extra stuff just in case."
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