Furia: Two-Way Mirror (The Story of Kassandra)
by P. Kristen Enos
Standard Warning: Mature Themes and Situations! All rights reserved.
(Posted February 25, 2010.)
Three years and approximately five months.
The toddler braced herself by gripping her mother's hand and pressing her face against smooth arm. She no longer cried out at the sting of the needle but she certainly didn't enjoy the experience.
"There!" Dr. Entman quickly finished giving the little girl the shot. With the customary pat on the head, she proclaimed, "You were a good girl again!"
The girl's mother just quietly smiled as she held the child to her. "So this really may be the last one, Doctor?"
She nodded as she punched some notes into her data pad. "Her progress is wonderful. I think she's on the road to a very healthy childhood. Just observe her as usual and let me know immediately if her symptoms come back. But since she's been so good the past few times, I think her immune system has finally stabilized."
"What about her size? She does seem to be small for her age."
"She's still growing. And puberty is always the wildcard. But I think she'll be fine, Yuko. Trust me. Her brother is as healthy as ever and he had a little bit of a rough start too, right?"
The younger woman had to concede to that point as she stroked her daughter's long black hair. She then finally allowed herself a pleased smile. "Well, I'll be very glad if this is the last appointment like this. Hopefully she'll forget about all of this when she gets older."
"True," the doctor said as she finished her entries. "I'm hoping for that too."
* * *
After sending the report, Jane sat back in her chair and let out a deep sigh. She had to admit the sense of relief at this closure. Of this phase anyway. It was now just a matter of letting nature take over.
A soft knock at her office door made her suddenly bolt upright in her chair. She quickly closed her computer windows and yelled out, "Come in!"
The head nurse pushed open the door with a distinct frown on her face. "Doctor, Mrs. Schmidt said she didn't need to schedule a follow up appointment. Is that true?"
Jane let out a sigh and then nodded. "I think Kassandra just needs to let her body's natural defenses build up. And it's not like Mrs. Schmidt can't schedule another appointment if any of her symptoms come back. I just don't think we need to keep as close of an eye on her daughter as much anymore."
Even though her frown didn't lessen, the other woman then muttered, "Well, Kassandra looked like she's become stronger in the last few visits." She then closed the door behind her.
Jane smiled to herself, knowing that this was the closest she was going to get to a statement of agreement from her tough but respected colleague. It was time for a triumphant cup of coffee.
Grabbing her wallet, she stepped out of the office to make her way down to the coffee stand in the lobby. She nodded and smiled to familiar and new faces as she walked down the hallway towards the elevator. She then pressed the down button and waited while humming a random tune.
A sharp prick at the back of her neck suddenly made her jump slightly in alarm. She reached back at the spot only to feel a similar prick on her fingertip from the needle.
As numbness started to flood through her, Jane Entman knew better than to be surprised but she couldn't help but feel her mind swirl with thoughts and visions as her heart pounded furiously. Her last thought was reassuring herself that it was all worth it.
* * *
Six years and two weeks.
As she floated on the inflatable tube under the hot sun, Yuko grit her teeth as she watched her seven year old son swing from the rope tied to the oak tree on the bank.
The boy flew into the air with a broad smile and flapping limbs to land in the water with a loud splash. He surfaced to the thunderous applause of his beaming father who was floating nearby.
"Now try to do a flip. Like how I taught you!"
"Alfred!" Yuko hissed. "Don't encourage him to do dangerous things too fast!"
"Oh, he'll be all right, Babe!" he said with a hearty laugh as he watched the anxious boy swim to the shore. "He needs to be challenged!"
The still unhappy woman clamped her mouth shut at the familiar losing battle and turned her attention back to her other child. Only to see an empty tube float by.
"Kassandra?!" the woman screamed in alarm as she looked around the water for any sign of her daughter. "Alfred!!! I don't see her!!!"
She immediately dove beneath the surface to see if she could see better underwater as her equally alarmed husband did the same.
The six year old girl had finally caught the little fish that had tried to swim out of her reach but her moment of triumph was interrupted by the feeling of a hand clasping her ankle. She was so surprised that she coughed up her mouth full of air as she felt herself being pulled through the water.
After they resurfaced, Yuko clutched her coughing and clinging daughter in both relief and fear. "Are you all right, Honey?!"
Once she was able to breathe regularly again, the bewildered girl nodded.
Yuko hugged her tightly and said, "I was so worried. I don't know how you ended up so far down but please don't do that again."
Kassandra nodded again, saying the only thing she could think of, "I'm sorry, Mommy."
~ To Be Continued! ~