Kasin's Real, I Promise
Author: Kassandra

Chapter 7
Nice job, Cinderella.

I don’t get a “Hello?” or even a “What.”. What I get is, “So did he reveal himself to you yet?”

I flinch. “Uhm, is this Ash?”

“Yes, now can you answer my question?”

“Uh, I’m the girl you met in Spencer’s. My name’s Rose.”

“Jesus, woman, I know who you are, just answer my question!”

I bite the corner of my lip. “Uh, how about you not be a jerk?”

“Mmm, sorry, that’s not in my programming.”

I roll my eyes. “Yeah, he did.”

“And what did he say his name was?”

“Kasin. Wait, what do you mean by ‘what did he say his name was’?”

“Demons don’t ever tell their true names, it makes them less powerful.”

“Wait, how do you know he’s a demon? How did you see him yesterday? I’m so confused.”

“I can’t really explain it to you over the phone.”

The words slip past my lips before I can stop them. “We could meet up somewhere.”

There is a pause. “I was hoping you’d say that. You live in Palmer, correct?”

My eyes widen. What? “Uhm… yeah, I do. How did you know that?”

“I’ll explain later. Give me your address and I’ll come pick you up. Then we can talk.”

I smack my forehead repeatedly.

“Well?” he asks.

I close my eyes. “Ninety-six Saint Joseph Street,” I lie.

“Alright, I’ll be over in a few. Get ready.”

We disconnect and I roll my eyes at my own stupidity. What the hell was I doing?! Just giving my almost-address (I do live on Saint Joseph Street but ninety-six isn’t my house number) to a complete stranger just because he knew a couple things. But that’s why you did, my mind explained to me. Because you’re curious to know how he knows where you live, and that it was you calling without even asking if it was, and he even knew about Kasin. There has got to be something going on with this guy, and you need to find out.

I agree with myself and start to get dressed.

A pair of green cargo pants, a white tank top, and a burgundy hoodie are going to have to do today. I shake out my hair and shove my glasses onto my face. Then I pull on my black Converse sneakers and walk downstairs. I send a text message to my mom saying that I’m going to my friend Opal’s house and that I’ll be home later. I take a deep breath and start my walk up to 96 Saint Joseph Street.

 

I’ve been waiting here forever.

Where the hell is that boy?

It’s absolutely pouring rain and I am soaked to the bones, shivering on the side of the road at 96 Saint Joseph Street. It’s been like fifteen minutes since I stopped walking and started waiting and he still isn’t here. When is he going to get here?!

I wait two more minutes until I see a cherry red Pontiac Grand AM GT pull up next to me. I walk over to the passenger side and pull on the handle. It snaps back and the door stays closed. Ash leans over and looks at me through the window which is covered in a veil of rain. A lazy grin spreads across his face.

“Try pulling harder, I think it’s stuck,” he instructs with that languid smile playing on his lips. I nod and pull as hard as I possibly can. “It’s not budging,” I half-shout over the typhoon of rain. He bows his head and chuckles. “Oh, I think it’s just locked.” He gently flicks the lock up and the door opens easily when I barely pull on it. Irritation flickers through me.

I fall into the car and slam the door behind me, rubbing my hands together. Ash chuckles to himself and shakes his head. I look at him. “What?” I challenge. He finishes laughing but continues to smile and backs the car up. “Nothing, Rose. You’re just cute is all.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

He laughs again. “Yeah, you get so flustered over nothing. Lighten up, girl.”

I look out the window in incredulity. “Let’s see how you’d act if someone made you wait out in the pouring rain for fifteen minutes,” I grumble.

He glances at me briefly. “Why didn’t you just wait inside your house?”

I stiffen slightly. “Uhm, I don’t know. I didn’t want you to miss the house. The residential numbers are jacked up, they don’t go in order.” It’s not totally a lie. I’m getting better at this half-lying thing. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I suppose it’s a win lose; I’m pretty sharp when it comes to improvising, but at the same time lying is bad. I guess it’s not too bad in situations like these when-

“Uh, chick?”

I jump when I realize Ash is talking to me. My mind gets away from me sometimes and it’s like I’m not even here anymore. “Sorry, what?” I ask dazedly.

“I said what’s your name?”

I realize now that he is going fifty in a thirty five and my hands ball into tight fists. I don’t exactly get along with cars nowadays. My chest constricts and my breathing becomes shallow and ragged. My brain can’t grasp my own name, the only thought I am capable of is the memory of last summer.

He takes his right hand off of the wheel and waves it in front of my face. “Earth to chick?”

Now my body doesn’t belong to me. My hand lashes out and squeezes Ash’s knee. “Slow. The hell. Down,” I murmur in sheer terror. The Pontiac decelerates to a comfortable thirty and I relax.

“Rose, remember?” I finally answer him.

We finally pull up to his house and I get out. Turns out he lives quite close to me. I’ve never seen him in school though. He probably goes to Pathfinder. Or he’s home schooled.

The rain nearly blinds me as I run up to the front door, which unfortunately does not have an awning that will shield me. I wait for Ash, who moves slowly towards me. The rain plasters his black hair to his forehead. He runs a hand through the front to get it out of his eyes and it sticks up to one side. He pats his pockets down and sighs. “I forgot my keys inside,” he says simply. “We’re going to have to break in.”

My eyes widen. “Uhm… are you sure this is your house? Where are your parents?”

Ash laughs and a huge smile spreads across his face. I look down at my sopping shoes and then back up at him. His eyes sparkle a brilliant emerald green against the dull gray sky. “Rose, don’t you trust me? Come on, my dad is in Texas for business; I swear, I really live here.” I find it hard to not believe his big green eyes and that perfect, wide smile. But trust him? Not in the slightest. “Alright,” I decide. Then I add, “You have really nice teeth, by the way.” He smiles exaggeratedly, squinting and looking like a goof. A cute goof. “Thaaanks. I’ve got braces and whitening toothpaste to thank for those.”

He leads me around back to a low window. He pulls it open and hoists himself up with all the grace of a panther. He leans out of the window and juts his hand out. “Grab my hand,” he instructs. But I smack it away. “No thanks, Prince Charming, but Cinderella isn’t waiting for you to rescue her. She’s got this all by herself.”

Ash smirks and back off. I place my hands on the window sill and attempt to copy what Ash did.

It doesn’t really work out.

First of all, I’m not nearly as strong as he is, and second of all, he’s a lot taller than me, so the window was lower for him. I scramble clumsily up the wall and into the window, but the loop of my shoe string catches on a broken piece of the wooden sill and I am sent flying flat onto my face. Mile giggles uncontrollably. “Nice job, Cinderella.”

I roll my eyes and lift myself off the ground.

 

He walks me over to a nice dining table and I sit down. He peels off his soaked zip up hoodie and tosses it onto the chair in front of him. He doesn’t sit. I lace my fingers together on the table. “Alright, so spill. First things first - how did you know I lived in Palmer?”

Ash rolls his eyes. “You had a Palmer High sweatshirt on, you dumbass.”

“Oh… now I’m embarrassed. Well, how do you know about Kasin. How did you see him?”

His face gets very serious. “Okay, what I’m about to show you is top secret. And a little disturbing.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Try me.”

He turns around and, without warning, sheds his shirt. I gasp. From the tips of his shoulders down to his lower back is decorated with a huge, intricate tattoo. It’s of a giant eye with tiny swirls in the iris, and below the eye are a bunch of hands reaching up to it. The rest of the tattoo is just elaborate patterns of swirls and smoke. It’s pretty cool but it’s kind of skin-colored and the lines are a little shaky, like the tattoo artist was shivering when he created it. That must have hurt to get it done.

“Okay, so you have a cool tattoo, what does that have to do with anything?”

Ash looks back at me. “It’s not a tattoo, Rose” he mumbles, his thick voice barely above a whisper.

I cock my head. “Then what…” I walk over and take a closer look at it. Each line is sort of raised, not smooth like a tattoo should be. I run my finger over the inside of the iris. It’s… bumpy. I gasp. “Oh my God… Ash, how… did you do this to yourself?”

“Yes, Rose, because I’m a fucking self-mutilation artist, I could totally do that to myself,” he snaps. I recoil and he softens at the edges. “I’m…” he sighs. “Okay, this is really weird, but you have to follow me. When I turned ten, a demon plagued me with the ability to see and interact with the nonliving, you know – demons, angels, ghosts, shit like that. He etched this into my back, and took the life force of my mom and infused it into my wounds. Now that I had the energy of two life forces, I could see those with none. For the past two years I’ve come into contact with so many spirits, each wanting me to do something different for them: unfinished business, God’s will, Satan’s bidding. That’s how I was able to see your new friend, there.” He talks about this so casually, as if it’s not completely mind-blowing. “Wait, so your mom…” I reach out to put my hand on his shoulder, to show my empathy of losing a parent, but he walks away from me and goes over to a drawer. He rifles through it for a moment, looking for something. I try not to stare at his bare torso, so I focus on his nose. An odd place to stare, but it’s better than gawking at his toned body like a silly thirteen year old girl. This is a serious moment, Rose. He pulls out a thin brown cylinder and a lighter; a blunt.

He lights it and puts it to his lips. He inhales deeply and slowly, closing his eyes in satisfaction. He walks over to where he was before and picks up his shirt, exhaling through pursed lips. He pulls it over his head and says, “Let’s go upstairs. C’mon.” I cautiously follow him up the winding staircase to a huge room. His walls are all black, one white, and he has toys everywhere. I’m talking plasma screen television, huge stereo system, PS3, XBOX 360, a Wii, and an entire bookcase filled with CDs. Oh my God, can I live here?

He gestures to the bed. “Sit down if you’d like,” he mumbles with the blunt in his mouth. I obey and jump onto his queen-sized bed. And oh my God it is the most comfortable bed on the face of the planet.

Ash takes another incredibly deep, slow, long drag. I can’t even fill my lungs that much with air, never mind smoke. He blows the smoke into my face and I cough, fanning it away. “Ah c’mon dude, get that shit away from me!” I yell, annoyed. He laughs giddily. “You don’t smoke?”

“Clearly.”

He chuckles and searches for a CD to put in. “Well we’re going to have to change that, now, won’t we? Maybe it’ll make you lighten up.” He pops one into the CD player. Pretty Visitors by Arctic Monkeys begins and I pipe up, forgetting his last comment. “Oh my God, I love this song!”

He turns towards me with an impish smile on his face. “Yeah?”

I nod vigorously. He laughs for some odd reason. “Why are you laughing?” I ask.

“Because I can!” He responds with an elaborate gesture after taking another hit. Then he walks over to his door and closes it. My breath suddenly gets quicker. I’m kind of nervous now that I realize the full magnitude of my situation. Sitting on a stranger’s (awesome) bed, in his house, alone, with the door closed. My stomach flips as I remember his scarred but muscular back. He could easily over power me if he wanted to… Oh God why did I call him in the first place?! I am so, so, so, so stupid! I need to get out of here. I need to - He jumps onto the bed, startling me, and puts a hand behind his head. “I’m going to get so fucked up if you don’t smoke this with me.” I twitch an eyebrow quizzically. “That sucks.”

He laughs.

“All the pretty visitors came and waved their arms and cast the shadow of a snake pit on the wall,” Alex Turner sings from the speakers of the stereo. Ash blows more smoke into my face and I cough uncontrollably.

“Look at you, so cute and innocent,” he mocks.

“Yeah let’s see how cute I am when I mess your day up,” I warn him.

He smiles. “Yeah? I’d like to see you try.”

“I don’t even know why you smoke,” I criticize him, ignoring his challenge, “it’s so pointless.”

He shrugs and sucks in more smoke. After exhaling he replies simply, “It helps the visions.”

I look at him. “What are you talking about?”

“Yeah, I’m psychic, too,” he mutters, waving a hand dismissively and rolling his eyes. As if it’s no big deal. “It comes with the whole seeing ghosts and stuff thing. My visions come and go, and if I’m sober, they’re really vague and fuzzy.” Another hit. A mischievous smile. “But when I’m fucked up, they’re crystal clear.”

I pull my eyebrows together. That makes no sense, but that’s okay. Nothing makes sense anymore, except for the things that don’t make sense.

“I saw the day I met you, you know.”
“Really?”

“Mmmhhhmmm. I was drinking in my room last week, the day after my dad left for his business trip, and I saw this girl in Spencer’s. She was with this guy, but I knew right away that he wasn’t alive. But he was different. Usually dead people have this little outline of light, and angels have a lot of light around them, but this guy was the opposite - he seemed to collect every shadow in the store. So I knew he was a demon. And I don’t know why, but I knew you were special. Something was significant about you, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. You were really, I dunno, vibrant, if it makes sense. Like every other color in the store was plain compared to you. So I thought that you might be a Slight Seer - those who can see invisible entities that are connected to them. That’s not normal, by the way.”

“All this supernatural talk is making my head hurt,” I complain.

We talk for I don’t even know how long. Long enough for my hair to fully dry into its normal curls and for Ash to lose his high a little bit. I look at the clock. “Holy crap it’s five thirty! I have to get home!” Ash laughs sluggishly. “Oh come on. You can stay a little longer.”

“No, you don’t understand, my mother will kill me if she finds out I’m at…”

 He gives me a strange look. “What?”

“Oh…” I say confusedly. I forgot, she thinks I’m at Opal’s, not anywhere else. But… Kasin thinks I’m at home… Oh jeez, I need to get home. “I really need to go home now. We can do this some other time? Soon?” Ash cocks his head, trying to read me. He seems almost angry with me. I make myself remain totally neutral.

At last he grumbles, “Fine,” and rolls off his bed. I let out an inaudible sigh of relief and follow him down the stairs and into the car. It’s still raining cats and dogs out. In the car, I stare out the window, thinking about why I decided to go home when I thought about Kasin.

He wouldn’t care that I was with Ash, would he? I recall what Ash said in Spencer’s. He had said to not let him push me around. ‘Him’ must have been Kasin, obviously. So maybe he is pushing me around? I don’t know, I don’t feel like mulling this over right now.

We arrive back at 96 Saint Joseph Street. As I open the car door, I thank him for driving me home. He doesn’t answer me, though. He just grips the steering wheel and glowers at the smooth black surface.

I raise my eyebrows. “Are you alright?” I ask in concern.

To my utter surprise, he snaps, “Yeah, fine. Just get out of my car.”

I draw my eyebrows together in angry confusion. “Well…Fine then. Christ, someone has an attitude.”

I exit the car and slam the door. He drives off, leaving me to walk back home with my daunting thoughts of what the hell I did wrong.

 

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