Cassandra was born in Nebraska and raised by a single father who said her existence was written in the stars so there was no use reaching for them. He taught her everything there was to know about life: shut up, you’re just like your mother, you’ll never leave this town. And sure enough, his prediction came true. When he got drunk, he would proudly dub himself Nostradamus, boasting of his psychic prowess to anyone within earshot. But those who listened did so out of fear, for his temper was as unpredictable as a summer storm. No ears were willing, but still, he persisted in his claims, desperate for validation.
With nowhere to turn, Cassandra sought refuge in alternate realms, finding solace in self-medication. She swapped one addiction for another, surrendering to the allure of substances. Smack replaced sugar, a temporary fix for her restless soul. Self-obsession gave way to self-help, a futile attempt to mend the fractures within. And in the depths of her despair, sex became a hollow substitute for the fleeting satisfaction of material possessions.Yet, each pursuit, no matter how seemingly innocuous, was laced with calamity. Her path was paved with ruin: financial destitution, a desolate existence void of social connections, and the scars of physical injuries. Desperation weighed heavily upon her shoulders, suffocating any flicker of hope that dared to ignite within.
Finally, she summoned the courage to seek professional guidance and contacted a therapist. Unfortunately, the weight of a lifetime's secrets bore heavily upon her, preventing her from baring her soul entirely. She had never entrusted anyone with her deepest truths, and for two long years, silence became her armor, an involuntary shield that cloaked her pain. But like the crumbling levees that could no longer contain the surging waters, Cassandra's resolve shattered. Words flowed from her lips, an unceasing torrent of pent-up emotions and hidden stories. Her therapist, witnessing this breakthrough, welcomed her newfound liberation, extending their sessions beyond the designated hour.
As Cassandra's therapy sessions progressed and she finally broke through her emotional barriers, a shocking revelation emerged. It turned out that her therapist, whom she had trusted so deeply, had been manipulating her from the very beginning. The therapist had recognized Cassandra's vulnerability and exploited it for personal gain, using the extended sessions as a means to control and manipulate her further.
This all culminated one night at a seedy motel on Lincoln Road. Her therapist persuaded Cassandra to meet him after-hours at the Deluxe Inn, for an unconventional session to “unlock her deep psyche”. In reality, this meeting turned out to be the climax of his deep desire to penetrate into more than just her past traumas. Sensing his excitement and the danger that she now found herself in, Cassandra slipped into a detached state of being. Her mind, so carefully honed by stressful environments, went into auto-pilot and she barely felt the cold coil of the wine opener slip into her hand. When her therapist advanced on her and began touching her knees and moving his hands up towards her inner thigh, she didn’t remember the sharp jerk of her arm but only felt the soft plunge of the corkscrew into his neck and the startled gurgle that lept from his lips. Cassandra didn’t wait around to see the full damage she had caused — she flew herself against the door and hurtled out into the damp and dark parking lot. Cassandra ran through the drizzly night until she found herself at the bus station. She emptied her coin purse and bought the next ticket out of her hometown, not caring of the actual destination but instead of the feeling of exhilaration she felt coursing through her body. No longer was she another victim of her surroundings, no longer was she paralyzed in the dredges of her poor decisions, she was moving on and out of the dormant cesspool she had found herself in. She had a new fire lit inside her, a new excitement bubbling up and urging her to reach for the very stars that her father, so long ago, had pushed far away into the darkness.