Chapter 7: Chapter 7: The Red Mask

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 229


Cassandra wiped her tears away one more time. She took a deep breath then realized that her cell phone on her nightstand had vibrated. It vibrated twice quickly, indicating that she had gotten a text message.


“Huh? Was that a text? This late at night?” As Cassandra crawled on her bed on her stomach trying to reach her phone sitting on the nightstand, she wondered at that moment who could have texted her. “If it’s Daru… Oh, I’m going to be so mad if it is.”


She turned the screen on and unlocked her cellphone.  She took a look at the text message. To her surprise it was Sumi. “What? Sumi?”


Cassandra whispered the text to herself.


SUMI: Hi Cassandra. Sorry if I woke you up. I can’t really sleep. I know it’s rude to text someone at this hour. Hope you understand.


Cassandra looked at the time on her phone. It was 4 in the morning. It was strange because Cassandra couldn’t sleep as well. She quickly decided to text Sumi back. 


ME: Hey Sumi. This is going to sound a little weird but I can’t sleep either so it’s alright.


That’s when a small bubble appears on Cassandra's cellphone screen asking her if she could holo-chat. She accepts the request for the holo-chat. From the top of her cellphone, a mini three-dimensional hologram of Sumi projects itself when she accepts. Cassandra disables the audio to the holo-chat so not to disturb her father who’s asleep. Cassandra texts Sumi back on her screen as the hologram hovers over her phone lighting up her room. With the hologram Cassandra could see Sumi’s facial expressions clearly. 


This was Cassandra’s chance to finally get her mind off of the past. She was relieved knowing that she could talk to someone.


SUMI: Cool


SUMI: I mean not cool.


SUMI: I’m not saying that it’s cool that you can’t sleep. I’m just glad you’re okay with me texting you right now. I just honestly needed something to do.


Cassandra tried to quietly giggle. She covered her mouth with her hand.


ME: I understand what you mean LOL. You don’t have to explain. I want to get my mind off of things too.  


SUMI: OMG that’s crazy it’s like you knew what I was thinking.


SUMI: I saw you after my match yesterday. You left early right? I was looking for you.


ME: Yeah I saw your thumbs up. And we did leave early.


SUMI: I'm sorry.


Cassandra was confused at Sumi’s sudden shift in tone.


ME: Sorry?? For what???


SUMI: You know about your match. : (


ME: It's alright. I'm so over that. No big deal.




Sumi decided to leave it at that, but she still had doubts that Cassandra was completely okay with everything that had happened during her match. Sumi thought back to when Cassandra had ran out of the battle field after her unexpected loss. She couldn’t run after her to talk and help her out because her match was next. She felt bad inside that she couldn’t help her.


SUMI: The reason I can't sleep is because I'm nervous for my next match today.


ME: You? Nervous? You’re kidding right?


ME: You'll do great!!!!! I saw how you beat Rondo in your last match. You're awesome at deck.


SUMI: Thanx.


ME: Sorry my phone auto corrected me. I meant to say Decca*.


SUMI: LOL I noticed that.


ME: Can I ask you a personal question Sumi?


Sumi stopped giggling and opened her eyes wide as she wondered what Cassandra wanted to ask.


SUMI: Yeah sure. What is it?


Sumi stared at her cell screen waiting for Cassandra’s text to come up. Sumi could see that her screen said Cassandra is writing…


ME: Well you are an android.


ME: Do you really need to actually sleep?


Sumi can be seen in the hologram cracking a smile at Cassandra, almost at the point of actually laughing out loud.


SUMI: I thought you were going to ask me something serious LOL.




Cassandra now noticed how much light was emitting from her holo-chat. She decided to go under her bed sheets to talk to Sumi. 


SUMI: I'm 40 percent android. The human side of me does need rest.


ME: Cool! I never knew that about an android that's why I asked.


SUMI: Curiosity killed the cat you know. JK.


ME:  : p


SUMI: Cop cars are constantly going down the street where my hotel is. I can see them through the window. That flashing lights from the cars are so annoying.


Cassandra could see in the hologram Sumi’s expression. Sumi looked worried as she looked away from her cell screen.


ME: Sooo? Is everything okay out there??


Cassandra started to worry for her.


SUMI: That's another reason I can't sleep. They keep making noise with their sirens as they pass by.


Cassandra wondered what was happening but nothing came to mind. That's when Sumi texted her again.


SUMI: IDK something strange is happening here in Crescent.


ME: Sumi please be careful out there. You should try and rest for your match.


SUMI: Yeah I should.


ME: Who are you up against???


SUMI: Kristalina. She's a tough fighter. I have to make some major changes to my deck.


ME: Ohhh She's the girl that uses Nature type cards if I'm not mistaken. What time is your match?


SUMI: Match starts at 8pm.


ME: I'll be watching I promise. I'll be rooting for you! :D


SUMI: Thanx Cassandra. That means a lot coming from you. And thanks for chatting with me so early in the morning. You didn’t have to.


ME: No problem that's what friends are for.


Sumi’s smile brightens up after Cassandra sent her that text.




ME: Of course we are. We should hang sometime.


SUMI: I would love that Cassandra.


ME: Ok I'm going to get myself a snack from the kitchen.


SUMI: Yum. Enjoy your snack. : ) bye!


ME: Bye Sumi and take care XD


Sumi’s hologram disappears as Cassandra placed her cellphone back on the nightstand after hanging up the holo-chat. The phone on the nightstand started to automatically charge its battery.


Cassandra got out from under her sheets and began to make her way to her bedroom door. If she couldn’t sleep, she thought it only made sense to go downstairs and eat something delicious. Her room door slides open as she makes her way down the stairs and have her late, late, late night snack.


It was almost 5 in the morning as she went down the stairs. “Wouldn’t my snack technically be considered breakfast right now?” Cassandra thought to herself as she turned the corner to the last stair hearing what sounded like audio coming from the TV. She found her father sitting on the couch watching TV.


“Oh, you’re up.” Cassandra was surprise to see her father up that morning after a long night of driving home from the Decca Tournament. Cassandra could see that he was watching the news. 


“Hey sweetie, you’re up early, really early.” Mr. Zyta was still in his nightwear, with a mug full of fresh warm coffee in his hand.


“Yeah, I really couldn’t sleep. I’m not tired. I’m getting something yummy to munch on.” As Cassandra made her way to the kitchen she stretched out her arms and let out a big yawn. She stood in front of the kitchen fridge, where she pressed a button on a touch screen on the refrigerator initializing the food prep mode.


“I was asleep till now actually. I can’t seem to fall back to sleep, so I decided to come down and watch some TV.” Mr. Zyta looks at Cassandra who was now in the kitchen. “No chocolate or candy Cassandra.” Her father goes back to looking again at the large TV screen which is integrated into their living room wall. He took a sip of his warm coffee.


“I know dad. I know.” She said that with a bit of frustration in her voice. Secretly Cassandra wanted something sweet and Mr. Zyta knew that. “Oh, Sumi texted me way early this morning. She’s nervous for her next match today. She just needed someone to talk to.” Cassandra selected on the screen something that her father would approve of.


“Uh, okay honey.” Cassandra could tell that her father wasn’t paying much attention to her and more on what was happening on TV.


“While you’re in the kitchen could you get me some more sugar for the coffee?” Mr. Zyta held out his coffee mug.


In about 5 seconds a small square door automatically opens from the fridge next to the touch screen and releases a plate full of freshly cleaned and chopped strawberries. Cassandra grabs the plate and begins to pop one in her mouth.


“Dad, you know you have to watch your sugar. No more sugar for you.”  Cassandra’s father lowers his mug and gives out a big sigh.


“Hey, hurry up Cassandra, come look at this footage.” Her father called her over as she turns off the touch screen. She slowly makes her way over to the couch to join her father. She was not very enthusiastic to watch the news with him.


“Dad, you know how much I don’t like watching the news.”


“Oh great. I really don’t want to hear about sad things right now.” Cassandra sat down next to her father with the plate of strawberries.


“It’s only for a minute or two, real quick. Debbie, please raise the volume by 20 percent.” A natural sounding artificial voice could be heard after Cassandra’s father said that. It was the home’s artificial intelligence system.


“Yes Mr. Zyta.” The volume of the TV went up as Cassandra placed her attention on the news anchorwomen who was talking about something Cassandra didn’t quite understand.


“This breaking news coverage, I’m just now noticing is on almost all the news stations. They keep analyzing this video footage. Something happened in the Crescent Colony last night. I think that’s why we hit more traffic than usual coming back home.” Mr. Zyta looked at the screen while Cassandra bit on another strawberry and then released it after hearing the shocking words of the anchorwoman. 


“As we will see in the following footage many are saying that this is the work of a lone terrorist breaking into a cyber credit center. The terrorist walked away with thousands of Zin cyber credits. The following scene is graphic, viewer discretion is advised.”


“Terrorist?” Cassandra said that out loud as she looked at the screen. That was something Cassandra wasn’t entirely familiar with. Saturn had never really experienced any real form of terrorism over the years after the establishment of its colonies.


The surveillance footage started to play, revealing the inside of a building with people walking around. The building then experienced an explosion that opened up a hole on the side of the building. The cameras could see the large amount of smoke that the blast created. Out of the smoke and confusion, while people ran around trying to get to an exit, a strange man in red emerged.


“Oh my God. That looks like a…” Cassandra couldn’t believe what she was seeing.


“Yeah, it reminds me of those battle suits you wear for the Decca Tournaments. But this guy’s suit is all red.” Mr. Zyta adjusts his glasses after saying that.


The news anchorwoman describes the shocking scene as Cassandra could see that the man was looking around from left to right in the surveillance footage. “As you can clearly see here in the footage ladies and gentlemen the man is wearing a protective red suit and what appears to be a red biker like helmet with a red kabuki style mask.”


In the confusion and chaos, another man in a black suit could be seen attempting to run pass the masked man trying to reach the exit of the building. The man covered his mouth due to the smoke created by the blast and raised his head to see where he was going. As soon as he did that while running forward, his eyes came in contact with the red mask man. He was now standing right in front of him. The man hesitated, when all of a sudden the footage shows the masked man lifting up his hand with a card like object and producing electricity from it pushing the man back into the air away from him.


“Whoa. It looks like… Like he just used a Decca card to attack that guy. The footage isn’t that clear though, there’s so much smoke everywhere.”


“I know it’s like all their security cameras are cellphone cameras from like 2018 or something. You can never get clear crisp footage.” Cassandra’s father took another sip of his coffee.  Cassandra stopped eating the strawberries. She was trying to process everything she was seeing.


“That’s impossible.” Cassandra began whispering to herself. “Decca cards can’t hurt people.” Cassandra saw the man leave the range of the cameras to the right of the building. The man then comes back into range and he can be seen walking out casually from the area where the explosion went off. The man had a black box in his hand. The news anchorwomen starts to speak again.


“The man that clearly can be seen being attacked by the red mask terrorist, is in critical condition. The explosion that occurred also injured about 18 people in the process. So far there have been no deaths reported. The rest of the footage shows how the masked man walks out of the building from the same area from which he walked in from after the explosion went off but he is now holding what I’m being told is a small black box containing thousands of Zin cyber credits. This whole situation is very odd. The Saturn colonies have never seen such a deplorable act. For the victims who have experienced such a tragic and frightening event in the Crescent Colony, we wish the best for them and their families.”


“Crescent…” Cassandra now remembered that Sumi was telling her about the cop cars that kept passing by her hotel building where she was staying at during the tournament. Cassandra turned to her father.


“Dad, Sumi… this morning, she was telling me about something strange happening in Crescent with cops. That’s also why she couldn’t sleep, because of all the noise and the sirens.” Cassandra said that all so quickly. Mr. Zyta could tell she was startled. He tried to calm her down. He knew that carrying weapons around on Saturn in the open wasn’t allowed. This was the first time he’s ever seen or heard of an attack and robbery of that intensity occur on Saturn.


“So your friend was in that area when it all happened, huh? Yeah, I hope they capture that guy soon. All that destruction, just to steal a bunch of money. What a disgrace. It sounds like Crescent isn’t a safe place to be anymore, such a shame.” Mr. Zyta puts his coffee cup down on a small table next to the couch. “We can’t have people like that walking around the streets of Saturn.” Mr. Zyta could see the concerned look on Cassandra’s face. “Honey, don’t worry about this. The police of Crescent have it all under control trust me.” Mr. Zyta didn’t want Cassandra to worry about it anymore, so he decided to change the channel. He was regretting showing her such a graphic scene.  


Cassandra looked at the strawberries on her plate. “It just doesn’t make any sense. You can’t hurt people with Decca cards. It’s just a game.”


“The footage wasn’t clear Cassandra. That person could have had something entirely different in their hand. They didn’t address it at all, whether what we saw was really a card and electricity coming from that masked man or something else.”


“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Cassandra ate the rest of her strawberries and decided to go back up to her room. She wanted to see if she could finally get some rest and fall asleep.


As Cassandra fell into a deep sleep the last thing on her mind was the video footage she had just seen of the red mask man.


Cassandra found herself standing in a black room. As she looked around all confused she turned to her left and saw a man with a red mask standing in front of her.


“Who are you?” The voice came from the man, but it was Cassandra’s own voice. As Cassandra began moving her lips she came to the realization that she could not speak. 


The black room she was standing in soon got bigger. Cassandra took no notice to the room. Instead she kept her eyes focused on the red mask. The man’s shiny red armor kept glistening in the bright lights that appeared all around them.


The man looked to this left then to his right just like how he did in the surveillance footage Cassandra saw on TV. Cassandra stood there as he lifted his hand just like he did in the video. She felt as if something terrible was going to happen, but the man just pointed to her and asked one more time in her own voice. “Who are you?” Cassandra didn’t understand. She could now see blood dripping down from the man’s red mask. A drop of blood fell to the floor.


The black room they were in soon turned into a Decca stadium with crowds of people cheering. She didn’t want to take her eyes off the man to look at the crowd. She was afraid. She felt as if she could hear her own heart beating rapidly. The sounds of the crowd soon became muffled with the sound of her beating heart.


“You can win! Go out there and beat him!” Cassandra now heard a familiar voice. It was the voice of her older sister Cassidy cheering her on as if Cassandra was in a tournament. Her voice echoed in her mind. As the masked man lowered his hand, Cassandra decided to take a risk and run up to him, even though she had doubts about the whole thing. With 4 Decca cards now in her hand, she felt as if she was in a Decca battle. She ends up dropping her cards, all of them, on the battle field. She reached out to the masked man, her goal was to rip the mask right off his face. She could hear her heart now pounding louder and getting even louder the more she got closer to the man.


Everything began to slow down, all of her movements, even the crowd of people cheering in the stands. The cheering crowds now began to disappear into the darkness. The bright lights one by one slowly began to shut off, casting more darkness onto the battle field. She needed to take his mask off. She wasn’t afraid any more.


“What are you doing? Stop…” She could hear her own voice again echoing through her mind coming from the masked man. She finally did it. With her right hand, she was able to grab the red kabuki style mask that covered the man’s face. As quick as lightning she removed his mask, only to discover that it was Cassandra’s own face under the mask.


She stepped back. Cassandra paused and dropped the mask on the floor in shock. Frozen in place, she could see now the Teleport card gently flying in the air. It floated towards her. In mid-air she was able to grab the Teleport card. The card began to glow intensely. With her gaze now focused on the Teleport card she didn’t realize that the mask returned to the man’s face. She looked back at him and saw that he was activating, in his hand, a card he was holding up.


The masked man began to laugh at her as the card activated an intense explosion all around them.


Cassandra woke up. She quickly got up from her bed. She felt her heart racing. She was confused but at the same time relieved that it was all just a crazy dream. She gulped and took a deep breath while she closed her eyes for a moment. She turned her head back and reached out to grab her cellphone from the nightstand. She saw that it was 10 in the morning.


She had also noticed that she had a missed call from Sarafina.


“Hmm, Sarafina?”


When did she…? Oh, it most have vibrated while I was sleeping and I didn’t hear it.” Cassandra looked at the time the call was made. It was made at 9:26 in the morning. Cassandra decided to give her a call back later after she got ready for the day.


It was a beautiful Sunday morning. As Cassandra got ready, she started to forget major parts of her crazy dream. All she knew was that the red mask man was in it. She could only think of now how much she hated watching the news.


Cassandra sighed as she looked at herself in the mirror thinking about her dream. “Stupid dream.” She started to brush her hair and get dressed. Cassandra decided to take a break from Decca for the day and hangout with her friends.


“Debbie, what’s the scheduled forecast for today?” Cassandra asked the home’s AI about the weather while trying to get her sneakers on. Cassandra knew that on Saturn the weather is simulated and controlled by the government, so the conditions would never actually be extreme.


“Good morning Cassandra. Your father left you one holo-message before leaving to work today. The scheduled forecast for today is Sunny all day, highs of 75 degrees and lows of 65 degrees after 6pm.”


“Thank you Debbie!” Cassandra raced down the stairs knowing that her father wasn’t home. If she did that when her father was home, she would be scolded and told that it’s not safe to do that.


“Play the holo-message Debbie.” While Cassandra was in the living room she waited for Debbie to display in the center of the room her father’s hologram message.


“Playing holo-message.” After Debbie said that a beep could be heard.


Her father in full size appeared in front of her. “Good morning sweetheart. Just wanted to let you know, I’ll most likely be working late tonight” Mr. Zyta can be seen in the hologram picking up a brief case. “So umm… treat yourself to some take out, okay? Sorry, you know how it is in the office around this time of year, it gets hectic. Well see you tonight, bye kisses, got to go.” Mr. Zyta at the end recorded himself waving to Cassandra goodbye and then makes another hand gesture signaling Debbie to stop recording the holo-message. But the message kept going. Mr. Zyta noticed this and looked around in confusion. Cassandra started to laugh. “Not again. Debbie, please end holo-message.” The message ended after Mr. Zyta said that.


“Ah, so funny. That always happens.”  


“End of message.” Debbie’s realistic artificial voice can be heard, then a beep afterwards letting Cassandra know that the message is done.


Cassandra puts a frown on her face as she digs her hands deep in her pocket. “Oh great. Not again dad. You always have to work late.” Cassandra hated when her father had to work long hours at the office. She wanted to spend more time with him. With her Decca defeat still fresh in her mind, she just wanted to spend time with someone. She prefer it being her father.


Cassandra however, had to settle with the next best thing, her friends. She already knew he had to go in to work today, so she planned on calling her friends Sarafina and even Daru to see if they wanted to go out with her and watch a movie together. Cassandra grabbed her cellphone from her pocket and looked at it as she made her way to the kitchen to make herself some breakfast.


Cassandra approached the fridge’s touch screen and pressed a few buttons. In about 10 seconds a plate of hot Chicken and Waffles pops out from the square door next to the touch screen of the fridge. Cassandra grabs it with a big smile on her face. She takes a second to smell the aroma of the food. 


“Debbie, can you put Chicken and Waffles as my new favorite dish on the home screen of the fridge?”


“Yes Cassandra, I can.”


Cassandra sat down at the dining table to eat her meal. She hit a button at the table and a spoon, fork and knife appear from under the table. She grabs the fork and knife while the spoon gets automatically tucked back under the table.


She took her cell phone and attempted to call Sarafina. After two rings Sarafina finally picked up her phone. Cassandra immediately sends out a request to holo-chat with her as she takes a big bite of her fried chicken.


Sarafina’s hologram appears over Cassandra’s cellphone. Cassandra puts her phone down on the table and continues to eat. “Hey Sarafina, you called me this morning?” Cassandra was talking with food stuffed in her mouth. She attempts to cover her mouth discreetly with her hand.


“Yeah I did. Did you see the breaking news this morning? You won’t believe what’s going on.”


“I did see it, unfortunately.” Cassandra kept chewing on her food.


“The red masked guy right? It’s all over. That’s all people can talk about. It’s the only thing trending.”


“Look, I really don’t want to hear more about this. This guy probably used some advanced weapon to do all this crazy stuff.”


“No Cassandra, listen to me. Eye witnesses are saying that this guy was clearly using cards to do all this.”


Cassandra dropped the piece of chicken on the dining room table, then the chicken rolled off the table falling to the ground. Cassandra zoned out and stared straight ahead past Sarafina’s hologram. She thought about her dream. Quick instances of the dream flashed within her mind, especially the part when the red mask man held a card that made everything around them explode.


“Cassandra? Cassandra? Hellooooo!” Sarafina was getting worried looking at the lost, zoned out expression on Cassandra’s face. 


Cassandra snapped out of it and looked at Sarafina’s hologram. “That’s not possible Sarafina. There’s no way a person can use a Decca card to hurt someone. It’s just a game, okay.”


“Okay, okay. Calm down. I won’t mention it anymore, sorry. Your right. Decca is just a game. Those people that saw the terrorist attack, are probably suffering from PTSD, I guess.”


“Look, I’m sorry I overreacted like that. I… I just want to clear my mind and enjoy the day, that’s all.” She frowned as she turned and looked down at her fallen piece of chicken.


“No, it’s alright, really. You don’t have to apologize.” Sarafina felt bad, she still felt that Cassandra was upset about losing her match yesterday at the Decca League Tournament. Sarafina now looks down at Cassandra’s plate of food she had on the table. “Are you eating chicken and waffles?” Sarafina asked after she noticed in the hologram a plate in front of Cassandra full of two more pieces of chicken and two big waffles.


Cassandra didn’t want to think about anything involving the red mask man. She just wanted to take a break and relax. She didn’t want the rest of her day to be about the terrorist attack. She also wanted to take a break from Decca, for at least a short moment. She wanted to take her mind off of her older sister and her lost in the Decca Tournament. She didn’t want this masked guy to be another thing she would worry about, another thing that would ruin her day.

Submitted: January 19, 2018

© Copyright 2020 X Caliber. All rights reserved.


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