Prompt: You are sitting on a park bench when someone shouts your name.
Cassidy looked up from her drawing pad. The wind whistled softly across her face and blew a few strands of washed out green-dyed hair into her mouth.
“Cassie! Over here!”
She absently reached up and removed the hair from her mouth. It tasted like cream cheese. Why would her hair taste like cream cheese? She shrugged, lifted some strands in front of her eyes and studied it like she had never seen her own hair before. A tuft of hair was indeed moist. She shrugged and placed the hair back into her mouth.
“Bet you can’t catch me, Cassie!”
She straightened her back, sat bolt upright on the bench and looked around. “Don’t call me that!” She yelled into the wind.
A little girl’s laughter rang out on the cool morning breeze.
“I’m right here, Cassie! Can’t you see me?”
Cassidy shoved the drawing pad under her arm and stood up. “I said, STOP. CALLING. ME. THAT!”’ she barked out. She began to walk toward the gray and white building.
“Okay fine, Cass-i-dy,” the voice rang out, drawing her name out in sarcastic syllables. “Go inside and act like a baby. I don’t want to play with you anyway.”
Cassidy’s purposeful stride toward the house faltered. Why did that voice sound so familiar? She titled her head to one side and puckered her mouth – it was her thinking pose. She thought it made her look smart. Wait. She WAS smart. The doctors said so.
“You’re too stupid to find me anyway,” the voice taunted.
Cassidy froze. A small trickle of anger began dripping into her drug-induced awareness. “I am not stupid,” she whispered, her words being whisked away by the strong, salty breeze.
‘You ARE stupid, Cassie, even mom thought so,” the voice matured. The sound triggered a deep sadness. She could also feel a long-forgotten rage tickling her nerve endings.
Cassidy spun around. Seeing nothing, she spun around again. Her eyes turned wild and she began to hyperventilate. “Laura,” she hissed, her eyes narrowing to slits as she sought out the source of the voice.
“You think you can get rid of me?”
“I DID get rid of you,” Cassidy responded. “I buried you in Old Man Winter’s woods.”
“Are you sure about that?” the voice whispered followed by a sly chuckle.
Cassidy cocked her head again and listened more closely. She thought the sound might be coming from behind the rock wall surrounding the bird bath. She cautiously stepped forward. Doubt tickled her spine and she shivered in reaction.
“This is not real,” Cassidy whimpered, her once purposeful stride now little more than a shuffle, her confidence shattering into a million ice shards.
“Of course this is real. I will never abandon you, little sister,” the voice turned hard as granite. “I exist to torment your black soul. I will never allow you forgot what you did to me.”
Tears began to roll down Cassidy’s face, though she was unaware of her wet cheeks. “You are so mean to me, Laura. Why do you hate me so much?”
“No one can love an ugly, stupid piece of shit, like you, Cassie. No one will ever love you. Mom and dad couldn’t stand to look at you, you were such an embarrassment to them. And Josh …”
Cassidy’s body turned to stone at the mention of Josh’s name. “Shut up,” she whispered, her voice raw with anguish.
“Josh only pretended to love you so he could get closer to me. If you hadn’t walked in on us, we’d be married now, with our own brats to torment…” the voice sizzled, like acid on skin.
“Shut up … shut up … SHUT UP!” Cassidy screamed. She dropped her drawing pad and began pulling her hair. Her mind cracked then splintered apart as wave after wave of memories came crashing into the black hole of her mind she had always sheltered. She dropped to the ground and began pounding her head against the concrete.
Men in white coats came running toward her.
Laura’s laughter dissipated into Cassidy’s screams.
Each man took hold of Cassidy’s arms and dragged her up. A streak of crimson stained the ground and Cassidy’s forehead had an angry red gash slashed across it. The men half carried, half dragged her back to the gray and white building. Her screams echoed back toward the courtyard.
After several long moments, a prim and proper girl stepped from behind a tree. She pulled a small spiral notepad and pencil from her pocket and gleefully checked off a name.
“That was too easy,” she mumbled to herself. “I really thought she would be harder to break.” She happily sighed and looked around the courtyard. Even though Cassidy’s dramatic exit was loud and disruptive, the other residents continued to wander aimlessly around the area, their zombie-like steps monotonous in their slowness.
The girl frowned. Every single breath from their crazy, stupid mouths annoyed and angered her.
She tapped her lips thoughtfully, her nearly black-colored eyes scanning each individual in turn.
A slow, malicious smile spread across her thin face. “Ah Eric … there you are.” She casually strolled toward her next victim.