Cassandra's Nightmare

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just giving it a try. Feedback welcome, I know it's probably rubbish, but you never know unless you try. Work in progress.

Submitted: July 23, 2016

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Submitted: July 23, 2016



A bird fluttered past the window. Geoff stumbled in the dark as he searched for the door handle. He knew it was too late, but he had to try. Barry never agreed with the full plan, but Geoff didn't tell him the little surprise he had lined up. Cassandra would be none the wiser in the morning, as long as Geoff could get out now before the foxes broke into the coop. 

As the sun rose, Barry woke up. Dazed and confused he looked around, he was on a bed of moss with his hands cable tied behind his back. He tested the restraints, they weren't budging and all he was doing was making the sharp plastic cut deeper into his wrists. What the fuck had Geoff done? He looked up and saw a magpie overhead. The magpie seemed to be studying him intently, focused on nothing else. Without warning it swooped low over his head and behind his back. He wriggled and fought as best he could, but he was powerless and the bird was pecking incessantly at his back. Geoff had cruelly taped foil to Barry's back, driving the magpie to demented levels of pleasure as it pecked out each last piece to furrow away in it's collection. 

Geoff knew it was too late. By the time he had made his escape the sun was a good few inches above the horizon. Barry would have met his fate by now, the deed had been done. He just had to hope it was worth it in the long run and that Cassandra would understand his reasons. He decided it call it a night, and head home. He could at least concoct an alibi for the evening with Harold. He would never let Geoff down no matter what, that poor sucker was always good as gold.

As Cassandra was preparing breakfast, the first thing that struck her was the silence. Why on earth was it so quiet? Where was Barry? He was normally the noisiest bugger around, either playing the ukulele or stomping around looking for Shinty, their four year old springer spaniel. Come to mention it, where was Shinty? She looked across to see a bowl full to the brim with dog food, mostly offal from last night's slaughter, but odd to see it untouched. Not like Shinty to leave good calf's liver. She went out to the barn, and that's when the stench hit her. It was worse than a simple slaughter, this really was the smell of death. It hit her nostrils like sewage overflowing from a septic tank. The wretched stench was vile. She looked around as best she could, but the fumes over powered her. The last thing she saw was a masked man with a black bin liner climbing over the fence. 

Barry had managed to crawl halfway up the bank. Well, more wriggle. The magpie had enthused him to push on with it's incessant pecking. His back was like a pebble dashed sea lion, covered in bloody cuts and grazes. The magpie had finally given up, most of the foil has torn off pretty quickly, occupying the magpie in the short term. Not long enough though, Barry knew the clock was ticking. As he made it to the top of the bank, he could see Cassandra in the distance. She was looking around in a daze, then before he even had chance to call out her name she collapsed where she stood. He started screaming at the top of her lungs for her to come to him, but it was no good, she was out cold. Out of the corner of his eye he caught the glimpse of a masked figure climb the wall. No mean feat in the dawn light, climbing the estate's eight foot high barb wire topped walls in the early dawn light. As soon as the figure had reached the top, he rolled a slip of carpet he had dragged along over the barbed wire and soon jumped down the other side. He was wearing a mask, and dark black clothing, but from his figure and sprightly step Barry could easily recognise it was Geoff. What the fuck did he have planned? 

He soon sprinted across the lawn and was at Cassadra's limp body. He took out three bin bags, and used one as a make-shift sleeping bag. The second went over her head, encasing her in a cocoon of black plastic. With the third he made a belt to hold the whole thing together, then picked up her fragile figure and threw her over his shoulder. There was only one way out, and Geoff was ready. Barry watched as Geoff moved along the perimeter wall, stopping at what looked like a coal bunker. Geoff threw it open, and Barry could only see darkness inside. Geoff threw Cassandra inside, and then dove head first after her, pulling the trap door shut behind him.

So that was it. Barry rolled over onto his side and began to weep. The magpie had stowed all it's previous collection away, and was ready for more. Barry didn't fight as the magpie was not only pecking at the foil, but Barry's flesh. Suddenly, Barry realised he had some movement in his wrists. The foil had fallen down over the cable ties, and the magpie was working hard to get at it. Barry did his best to shift himself on the moss, and for a brief moment it felt like he and the magpie were working together briefly, on the same team, towards the same goal. Sure enough, the magpie was pecking at the cable tie. Barry did his best to lock into position, he didn’t want to move and make it easier for the magpie to get at the foil, nor did he want the magpie to lose interest. A fox barked in the trees only yards from their position, and magpie jumped back. Barry fought through the torrent of tears running down his face, tried his best to compose himself, and let out the sweetest cooing sound you would ever hear. The magpie tentatively stepped forwards and once again began assessing the cable tie, making calculated pecks. 

Within a few moments Barry was free from his restraints, and he leapt into action. He was sprinting at full pace towards the high wall, although he had absolutely no idea how he was going to mount it. The closer he got, the more impossible it seemed. Before he knew what he was doing, he was clambering up the stonework and at the top of the wall. The barbed wire cut into him like a knife through butter. It impaled his arms and his legs, he was well and truly caught in a trap that he himself had ordered, paid for, and seen installed. He cried out in agony, but the only one to hear was the magpie who was once again circling overhead. 

Geoff was running deeper into the network of tunnels. He knew them like the back of his hand, he had no need for the map he had been handed down all those years ago from his father. He knew exactly where he was going, taking each twist and turn at speed with Cassandra slung limp across his shoulder. She stirred briefly, but he allowed her head to knock firmly on a torch holder as he sprinted passed, putting her back under. She could wake up when the time was ready and not before. 

Barry took his pen knife from his pocket. Impaled on the barbed wire as he was, there was only one thing for it. What did he need his left arm for anyway? He took the sharpest blade and began carving into his forearm, cutting out the flesh that was stuck on the wire. The red blood poured out of him like a fountain, but he persevered through the pain. He thought he would black out, but the pure adrenaline of pursuing Geoff saw him through. He dropped down on the other side of the wall, and briefly lay in the bramble bushes. They too pricked at his skin, but it was almost like silk after the barbed wire. He managed to drag his way to the coal bunker, threw it open, and fell in out of pure exhaustion. 

Barry knew he had the edge now. He had designed these tunnels from scratch, and knew their secrets. What Geoff didn't know was that he had an electric rail system fitted. Scrambling round in the dark, limited to crawling as he was, Barry eventually came across the switch. He threw it up, and the are was flooded with light, blinding Barry and ruining his night vision. After his eyes had adjusted to the harsh white light, he found his way to the electric carriage and stumbled in. Now the chase was on.

Geoff was almost there, he just had to make it through the waterfall and his plan would fall into place. Behind him he heard a loud bang, and suddenly the area was full of a bright white light. This wasn't part of the plan! What the fuck had Barry engineered down here? He knew these tunnels were his baby, but he never thought he'd had time for this level of infrastructure. Panic set in, and it only spurred him on to complete his plan as quickly as possible. Turning the corner he could hear the waterfall raging ahead, soon it would all fall into place. 

Barry whizzed along in his electric carriage. His left arm was still bleeding profusely, and he had removed his belt and wrapped it tightly just above his elbow to try and stem the flow. It was gradually slowing, but he knew he would lose the arm. He didn't care, as long as he could stop Geoff, as long as he could save Cassandra. As the electric carriage came to a jarring halt next to the waterfall, Barry could see the dark figure of Geoff darting across the other side, deeper into the tunnels. Barry lifted the control panel, entered a seven digit number, and the track unfolded across the water. A guttering system gradually lowered, stemming the waterfall in a controlled direction, allowing Barry's carriage to continue the pursuit. 

Geoff had made it. It was even better than he had dreamed. His holy grail. He rounded the alter, and gently lowered Cassandra's body onto it. He ran across to the other side of the room to manipulate the controls, and a great panel in the ceiling began to move. The room was bated in a yellow glow through the opening, illuminating Cassandra's limp form. Geoff ran across the room, reaching for an ornamental sword hung on the wall. With a few well placed slices, he removed Cassandra's nighty, leaving her pale white skin exposed to the yellow glow. Now everything was in place. 

Barry crashed into the auditorium like a hound chasing a rabbit, with a clatter and a bang he burst through the door. Geoff turned to face him, still brandishing the sabre. So it came down to this. 

“You're delusional Geoff” Barry screamed. “It's just a myth, she's not the chosen one. You can't even trace the blood line that accurately.

“Oh, she's the one all right” Geoff spat through gritted teeth. “I've had DNA tests done, she's the one, there’s no doubting it”

“But..But there's no way! It's all just a story!” Barry exclaimed.

“Oh, it's no story Barry. I am the master, and she will be my sacrifice. The cost of my immortality will be her life. I would have given you the same gift, but perhaps now you will have to pay the same price.” Geoff turned to face Barry, expertly wielding the sword in his hands. 

Barry reached into the lower section of his electric carriage, and began to fumble for his dagger. Geoff was advancing, getting closer and closer, making sword master forms with his body with each step. Barry was stretching to reach his hidden weapon as Geoff was advancing step by step, methodical, focussed. Barry was sweating, his left arm a useless husk, he felt he was clutching at straws with Geoff bearing down. With the sweat dripping through his fingers, Barry just managed to grasp his dagger, and then he pounced straight on Geoff. Surprise was the only real weapon he had left. He lunged at Geoff slashing and waving like a mad man. He cut Geoff clean across the cheek, and he recoiled in agony. Barry could only use this brief window to jump on Geoff's back and flail wildly at his face with his one good arm. Geoff tried to repost, but it was useless, his large curved blade was useless in close courters, and Barry now had the advantage in the close proximity. 

Barry finally had Geoff pinned. He slashed at Geoff's right arm, cutting him across the wrist. Geoff loosened his grip on his oversized sword as blood poured down his fingers. He knew he was beat. He knew his plan had failed. He only had one move left. He arched his neck, pursed his lips, and let out an almighty crow. A dozen magpies flew into the cavern, and straight into Barry's face. He fought as best he could with his one good arm, but he was still covered in foil and they were all over him like flies on shit. He let out a cry of agony, and in response heard the echo of a bark. Could it be, he called out once again, and again heard an echo of a bark, this time louder. He summoned the last of his strength, and let out the loudest cry he could manage, and with that Shinty came bounding into the cavern. Without even taking the time to look around, Shinty dove straight at Geoff, going for the throat. He fell to the floor like a tree being taken down by an expert lumberjack, he fell straight onto his back, writhing around with Shinty holding her firm grip on his throat. He thrashed around for what seemed an eternity, but eventually gave up the flight and went limp. In all the commotion, the magpies had flown back through the tunnel, and Shinty came tentatively to where Barry was lying, She tenderly licked at his bloody arm and face, and through the tiny slits of his barely open eyes, he could just muster the energy to whisper the words “thank you”. 

© Copyright 2018 Geoff Bridges. All rights reserved.

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