Cassie and the Golden Spider

This is the very lightly edited free-written fantasy story of Cassie Delong and the legacy left to her by her Grandfather involving time travel, deceit, magic, mystery and even a little romance. If you want to know what happens next, leave a comment. Thanks for reading!

 

Sitting in a stately home discussing the preparations for her grandad’s funeral, Cassie turned to her father with tears in her eyes and asked “ I don’t understand, I just don’t understand. How could this have happened?” Her father looked into her eyes and said, “sweetie, I know it’s difficult but he is gone.  He’s not coming back this time.”

Cassie Delong is 19 years old.  She loves a great adventure.  Her grandad would regale her with wondrous tales of the people he met on his travels as well as the interesting lives they led.  She was never quite sure if he was telling the truth but she loved to listen to him speak.  He would disappear for weeks and months on end then suddenly appear at the door and ask “hey there, what’s for dinner?”  Cassie’s father Eric was never a believer in the stories of his father in law ever since his ex-wife, Ava, disappeared on a trip with him  when Cassie was only 5, never to be heard from again. The old man never gave an explanation for his daughter’s disappearance, but as he told Eric, he knew nothing and it was probably for the best.

Eric never remarried, but did very well by Cassie with the help of a mysterious bank account that every year had money placed in it on her birthday. He tried for years to trace the money back to its source hoping he would find Ava on the other end.  The money was always dropped off in cash, directly at the bank, on Cassie’s birthday by a courier. He loved Ava very much and though he never believed she’d return,  he waited for her just the same.

Cassie’s motherless upbringing did not prevent her from becoming a lady. She speaks with grace and poise and always looks out for those in need.  She is strong, yet delicate, with a determination rivaled only by her father and grandad. She equally loves pretty dresses and stealing things from her father’s closet. The pocket watch she wears around her neck is the most prized possession she has. It came as a wedding gift from her grandad to her father, with a picture of her mother inside. Her father gave it to her on a necklace on her 6th birthday so she would never be without a picture of her mother. There is not a day in which she doesn’t wear it.

The funeral director sees Cassie holding and rubbing her pocket watch as if she is making a wish for her grandad’s return. He looks at her and says ” I understand this is a very difficult and confusing time but let me assure you that all measures have been taken to ensure the man we are burying is your beloved grandad.  The medical records have proven it. Accidents like this happen and are very sad indeed.“

Cassie looks the man in the eye, and asks “Can I please see him? I understand he was badly burned, but I have to see him. ” Eric looked at Cassie “what? No! I am not going to allow you to put yourself through that. Remember your grandad for how he was. You are not going to have that be the last image of him in your head.”

“Dad, you don’t understand! It can’t possibly be him. I’ll know,  but I just have to see. Please sir, let me see him.”

The director looks at Cassie very sternly and says “Young lady, I understand that you are upset, and I understand that you were close with him but as a father myself, I cannot allow you to view such a horrible sight.  Rest assured we have the best examiners in the state and I can guarantee you that it is in fact your grandad.  Can we please move on to the arrangements? ”

And with that, the conversation was over.

Cassie stared hard at the director as he shuffled papers across his desk.  He looked to Cassie’s father for some comfort but Eric was desperately trying to plead with his daughter to leave it alone. Cassie reluctantly agreed to start making arrangements; although, in the back of her mind, she knew she’d find a way to see the body.

Cassie looked at the director warily, “ I’m so sorry sir, what was your name again?”

The Director said “George Schwartz. Please feel free to call me George.  We are all adults here. Your grandad, that’s what you call him right? Well, he left some prior direction as to how he would like his arrangements handled.  Everything has been pre-planned and paid for.  There are only a few things he requires of you, Cassie.”

“Me?”, she replied. “ What exactly did he want me to do? For that matter, what has been taken care of?”

” Well, he wrote here he would like you to choose the music for the service, and the flowers and to use the telegraph on the boat to contact everyone? “ George read with a puzzled look on his face.

“Wait. What? May I see that please?” Cassie took the paper away from George and began to read :

‘I would like my funeral to be a party.   Have my granddaughter Cassie choose whatever music, flowers, and food she would like. Tell her to have fun with it. None of this somber chamber music horse hockey.  It should be a celebration of my life. And if I met an untimely demise, I am sure my adventures led me to it. Be sure to tell her the only way to contact anyone who would be interested in showing up would be to use the telegraph in the cabin of the balloon. The only reason I’m having it here is for her and Eric.  She’ll understand,  there are directions there.

As for my body,  I would like to be cremated as soon as possible. I don’t want Cassie to see me like that. I am sure she will insist no matter my condition so be sure to do it as quickly as possible. “ Cassie stopped reading.  She looked at George as she was holding back tears and said ” Did you? Already?  You didn’t yet right? You didn’t cremate him? Did you!“

George answered as softly and carefully as possible.  “Cassie,  we wanted to respect your grandad wishes, as I am sure you understand.   He was cremated this afternoon. ”

Cassie started to well up. She looked to her father for comfort but his face seemed annoyed.  She heard him mumble something about a selfish old bastard. He tried to hug her but his disdain for her grandad made her more upset and she pulled away.  She took a deep breath,  sniffed and cleared her throat. Her face became cold as she read on. She felt so alone as those around her rustled through books with florists and caterers names and phone numbers.

“Please respect my wishes.  Be sure to tell Cassie to visit the balloon as quickly as possible.  It will most likely be parked by Lake Rosoko. Thank you, Cornelius Rutger”

Cassie sat with the George and her father and chose a random assortment of orchids, irises and daisies for his floral arrangements as they were his favorite flowers.  George reluctantly allowed Cassie to hire an irish folk band to play at the service. “ What, he always liked fiddles and bagpipes.  Oh and as far as food goes, hire a sandwich truck and an ice cream truck. If he wants a party,  he’s getting one. I’m headed to the balloon.”

George looked at Eric “this will certainly be an unconventional service.  By the way, can you please tell me what the Balloon is?”

Cassie snickered to herself as she shook her head and left.

As Cassie looked around, she started to realize how surreal the situation was.  She was being led by a very eclectic group of people she’s never met, into a police station, to discuss the death of her grandfather while her estranged mother incessantly mocked her. She momentarily believed this to be some sort of nightmare. Completely dazed, she barely heard the screams of her father coming from down the street.

“Cassie? Cassie! I’ll be right there!“ He yelled as he ran down the street.  She was happy to see his face but then realized it was definitely not a dream. Cassie looked around then immediately began to panic at the idea of her father seeing her mother. Luckily there was a good amount of traffic coming before he could cross the street.

“IT’S OK DAD. I’M FINE!” she yelled. Cassie paused on the steps of the police station , looked at Edmund and pleaded, “please, could you hide her or something.”  She shooed her hand at Ava. “I don’t want him to see that woman just yet.”

Edmund bowed politely to Cassie. “Understandable,” he said as he grasped Ava’s arm and started leading her into the station.”What, what is this about? Why are you holding…” her voice faded  to a mumble  as the door closed behind Cassie.  Patuk remained by Cassie’s side as if to offer some comfort but released her arm. He thought her father may get the wrong impression. Eric ran across the street and up to Cassie.

“What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Did you get in an accident?” He could see she was physically fine but looked paler than she did at the funeral home. He grabbed her shoulders and looked her in the eyes “You didn’t kill anyone did you?”

Patuk looked appalled at that remark and started to open his mouth to say something just as Cassie giggled.

“No, Dad. Geez…I’m fine. Really.  No worries. Well, as good as could be expected.”

He gave her a hug. “When you just ran off you scared me. But, I figured you needed some time alone to think so I didn’t want to pry.” He looks at the young man standing a little too close to his daughter. “And just who the hell is this?”

“Dad, it’s ok.  This is Patuk. He’s here regarding grandad’s affairs. And judging by the look on his face,  I don’t think he gets your humor.” She pats him on the back. “ Um, Patuk, why don’t you go wait inside and tell the others I’ll be there in just a minute.  I really need to talk to my dad about the uh…situation…first.”

“Of course, Miss Cassie.  Please, take your time.  It’s very nice to meet you sir.  I hope my presence did no..”

Cassie closed her eyes , sighed and interrupted “Patuk, just go inside.” He nodded and left.

“Cassie, what’s going on? What is this …situation?“  Eric looked concerned.  “Why are we at the police station anyway? What happened at the boat?”

Cassie looked at her father and cringed. “The boat is fine, the car is fine, I’m fine.  It’s those people.  Grandad’s  friends.  Everyone is here for the reading of the will.”

“What the hell? Everyone? First of all, we haven’t even placed an obituary in the paper yet. How the hell did anyone even know he was dead?   Second of all, who are all these people? I have never seen that kid before.”

“Dad, it’s hard to explain.  I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I’d like you to go in with me but I need you to keep your mouth shut no matter what, can you do that?  I promise we can talk all about it later.  Can you please trust me and do that?” Cassie begged her father.

“Of course ,sweetie.”  Eric suddenly saw the same look on her face as when he had to tell her that her mother wasn’t coming back. “Are you sure you’re ok?” Eric hugged his daughter tightly again as he saw his typically unemotional daughter’s eyes start to glisten with tears.

“Mom’s in there, Dad.  She came back. That conniving bitch came back. For THIS” The tears started streaming down her face.  She felt her father’s grip tighten. “Not my graduations,  not my birthday, nothing.  Just when SHE gets something out of it.  I don’t even acknowledge her as my mother.” Cassie abruptly pulled back from her father. “You aren’t going to say or do anything , are you?”

“Honey, I have let it go years ago,  for your sake.  For OUR sake. You are absolutely  right.  We don’t acknowledge her as your mother, that’s all. She’s just a con artist who left me with way more than she ever took.” Eric looked at his daughter lovingly and smiled.  “Now, where is my tough girl at? Hmmmm?” He punched her lightly in the shoulder , threw his arm around her and placed his hand on the door.  “Let’s do this!” He lets out a sigh as he opens the door and looks at Cassie. “Together,” he says sweetly.

Cassie wipes the tears from her eyes as they enter the station. It’s a relatively crime free town which is made obvious from the open nature of the building they walked into.  It seemed much less authoritarian than Cassie expected.  It reminded her more of her administration office at her high school. There was one large man in uniform with a sheriff badge and few other men and women dressed normally sitting behind desks.

Eric and Cassie walked into the station which was more like walking into a quaint hotel lobby than the dark and clinical place most people imagine. There were more pictures and articles about the local sports teams on the walls than crime stories and mugshots.  It was a relatively small and peaceful town where everyone seemed to know eachother.