Copyright© 2011 by vlfouquet
No Hope For The Blind
A year and half later
Cassie was tired. She had been through test after test. She had been moved to Odessa to a bigger hospital. A dozen doctors had examined and tested her. After weeks of testing she had been moved again, this time to Dallas. The specialists at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas had started the tests all over again. Then they had taken her to Geneva. Sometimes she almost wished she could see again, but darkness was safe. She was so tired of it all. Now after more than a year of testing nobody knew anymore than when Dr. Grey had tested her at home.
"Cassie. How are you doing baby?" Her father's deep voice asked as he came into her room.
"Sweetheart, are you feeling okay?" He mother almost echoed her dad.
She turned facing them, her eyes focused beyond them at the wall.
"Oh, yes I'm feeling great! Do you think we might be able to go skiing this afternoon? Maybe go and visit a candy factory?" Cassie answered.
"Cassie?" She heard tears in her mother voice.
"Dad, Mom. Have they found anything different then Dr. Grey did back home?"
After a lengthy pause, "No, Cassie, they have not." Her father shot from the shoulder. He never weaseled with an answer.
"Then, Dad, what are we doing here? I want my bedroom! I want my home. Please let's go home." Cassie wiped at her eyes where she felt the sting of tears.
The silence was deafening. She knew that her mother and dad were looking at each other as she had seen them do so many times before this blindness had happened to her. They were communicating on some level she did not understand.
"Let's go home, George. She will be happier there. So will the both of us," Sarah told her husband.
"Okay sweethearts, Texas it is."
Cassie felt the tires screech as they made contact with the paved runway. She was jittering in her seat. She was almost home. The plane stopped and she heard the door being opened and the steps banged against the side of the plane.
"Here Cassie let me help you." Her mother spoke from beside her.
Cassie slowly stood up. Taking the cane they have given her when they left Geneva. She felt the floor and the legs of the seats she was groping between.
Her mother's hand gripped her left hand and began to guide her toward the exit.
"Mom..." Cassie began.
"I know dear. You want to do it yourself. Just wait until we're on firm ground."
Cassie said no more. She was imagining how high the steps were off the ground. It did not take long as soon as she was on the top of the steps her cane found the drop to the next step. Remembering her instruction she felt to either side and then down to be sure there were another step. Then she stepped forward. She let go of her mother's hand and grabbed the railing on the steps in one hand, her cane in the other, and proceeded down the steps.
When she reached the ground she took a deep breath. The breeze brought to her the scent of sage brush. It was much drier than any place she had been in the last year. It smelled and felt like home. A slow grin spilled out on her face.
She was home.
Oh she had missed this and had not even known it. The dry arid climate; and the bright sun on her skin meant this was home. She began to miss the brown earth tones of the landscape, but she was safe.
"Cassie the car is here." Her mother's voice attracted her attentions and she headed that way; her cane was sweeping the ground in front of her.
"Here take my hand." Dad's voice said in front of her. She raised her left hand out in front of her and waited. Her Dad gripped it softly and then tugged. Soon she found a step near the ground in front of her. Stepping on it she found a second one then she was setting on a seat. She heard noises from the area of the door.
"What is that?"
"It's the steps folding up. We had this van fixed up and delivered while we were gone. It has folding steps to help you get up in it." Her Dad said from the front seat.
He started the van up and pulled out of the airfield onto the road. Soon they were speeding on their way home. She leaned back and rested. Soon she would be home in her room.
The first starling change was her bedroom. The tile floor with throw rugs was no more. Now her bedroom was carpeted as were the hallways and stairs. The explanation that the throw rugs could slip and slide making them dangerous made sense. But they had opened a wall in her room and expanded her bedroom into a suite. All her books, bookshelves and computers were now in that room along with a love seat. Her old pc was gone and in the next room was the most advanced home computer system that her dad could buy.
She felt like a character in a sci-fi movie. The computer had the most advance voice recognition software and hardware being developed, a friend of her Dad owned the company that was developing it. She was now designated Beta tester Alpha. The banging and noise from downstairs was too much she needed to get out of this room.
Cassie walked down the hall from her room to the staircase. Her father had talked about putting in a folding seat on tracks for her to ride up and down. She had thought about it and even imagined it. It might have been neat for a little while but it would have been a reminder to all of them that she could not see. Before he could make definite plans to do so, she would had master the stairs. She would simply use the wall side and its railing to go up and down. This helped her a lot when she was descending the stairs.
She was moving rapidly toward the stairs. She had learned the ranch house all over in the last couple of months. This morning she had woke up hungry and breakfast waited in the breakfast nook. Reaching the stairs she felt her ankle hit something and started to fall. Moving without thought she did a skip twisted around and grabbed the hand rail at the top of the stairs. She froze in that position. Pulling herself upright she squatted and began to search the floor, wall and hallway till her cane made contact with an object lying on the floor. She squatted down and felt with her hand until she got a firm grip on it.
Standing she examined it, a simple broom. Why was it here? There was nothing but a bathroom on this floor that would need a broom. However, Marie did not use a broom in the bathrooms she used a swipe pad that she then disposed of and replaced with a clean one. She continued down the stairs to the breakfast nook.
She heard her mother speaking to her Dad.
"Listen George, Cassie has to start living. She has been out of school for almost two years now. She needs to start to some kind of school before it's too late for her to catch up with her classmate. She has not spoken to any of her friends or visited with them."
"She just needs some more time." Her Dad stated.
"Yes, time, it a shock to be completely normal one minute and blind the next. None of us can even tell her why!"
"Well let me tell you. She is becoming a hermit, a blind hermit. That's my daughter up there. My family never gives up and neither does yours George."
She froze outside the doorway to the breakfast nook. She was hungry. Cassie had not eaten last night, but now she wanted her breakfast. Well she had heard that eavesdroppers never heard anything good about themselves. Cassie stepped forward into the breakfast nook.
Seating herself she thought this is what was meant about being so quiet you can hear a pin drop. She paused and cocked her head sideway and then waited.
"Cassie? What's wrong?" Her mother asked.
"Nothing, I was just waiting for the pin to drop."
"Pin to drop?"
"Just a joke mother, Oh by the way; I tripped on this broom in the upstairs hallway. Who could have had a broom upstairs? "I asked, holding up the broom in my left hand.
"Marie?" My mother raised her voice.
Cassie grinned at the table top as she picked up her spoon and began to eat the cereal. The door to the kitchen swung open and she could smell the warm spicy aroma of pancakes with blueberries.
"Humm, that smells delicious, Marie."
"Marie, Cassie tripped over this broom when she was coming down the hall up stairs. Do you know where it came from?"
She hurried to finish her cereal before the pancake got cold. They tasted just as good as they smelled. She dug into them for another bite. Suddenly she squirmed in her seat. There was something wrong.
"Mother of God! She could have been hurt." Marie began to pray in Spanish. She had also grabbed the broom from her mother's hand. Examining it closely Marie began to curse in Spanish. Cassie stopped her rush to finish the pancakes. Marie almost never cursed. Cassie was all ears; listening to what she was saying.
"This is not one of my brooms! This is a cheap one. See how the bristle is coming lose. The binding is cheap and the wood! It would break with any pressure at all." She waved it around.
"Let me see that."Cassie's dad interrupted her.
"You're right this is something we would use in the stables."
"How would a stable broom get into the house?" He asked absently.
"What's more. I came down that hallway just a short time before Cassie. That broom was not there!" her mother stated positively.
A disturbing quiet settled over the breakfast table. Marie still muttering curses back in her kitchen. Cassie was getting more uncomfortable. It felt like she was sitting in some liquid.
"Marie?" She called out.
The kitchen door flew back as Marie pushed into the nook once more. She smelled more pancakes with blueberries. "Here you are niña. It's about time you started eating."
"Thank you, Marie. I'm not sure but I think I must have spilled something in my seat before sitting down. It feels wet."
Cassie pushed back from the table and stood up. Her parents lean over to see the chair and her father roared. "She is bleeding!"
She heard his chair slammed backwards on the floor as he came to his feet. Cassie felt his hands grabbing her. She went into the air. He had her in his arm and was headed for the door within seconds.
"George! Stop! She is okay." Her mother screamed at him. She heard her chasing after them.
"Out of the way! We got to get her to the doctors!" Her father was hollering. Then in front of them she heard her mother once more.
"Shhh! It's okay George. She is okay."
Then she felt her mother's hands rubbing her back as she hugged her and her Dad. He was shaking; her big strong dad was actually letting little whimpers out as he stood in front of my mother.
"It's natural George. She has reached puberty. Our girl is growing up. Cassie was slowly recovering from her dad swift actions. Now she was listening to her mother. She hid her face into her dad's shoulder. It was so embarrassing. She did not know much about it. Sex education was in her next year's curriculum, the next year that she had missed a year ago. But Susie had an older sister so she knew more than Cassie. They had talked in whispers about these changes in their bodies. Now it had happened.
It hit Cassie suddenly. She was not going to be a little girl the rest of her life. She was going to grow up. And she was dumb. Not in the natural sense but she had not been learning anything in the last two years. That was just dumb. It meant Susie though her best friend until this had happened would now know more than she did, though Cassie had always done better in school.
"Put me down." She said softly.
Slowly her dad set Cassie on her feet. She turned to her mother and threw herself at her. She caught Cassie and hugged her hard.
"I need to change my clothes," she whispered. Letting go of Cassie except for her hand she led her back to her room. When they got there she pulled her to the bathroom.
"Cassie, are you hurting, cramping, or aching anywhere. Do you have a headache?" She asked.
She just shook her head, no. In fact Cassie was feeling better than she had in ages. Sarah began to remove Cassie clothes. Though she was unable to see, she could imagine the bloody underwear and the back of her dress. She turned her face away feeling a burning sensation as she flushed. She heard the bathtub began to fill after her mother had turned it on and adjusted the water temperature.
"Cassie, let's get you washed off. Don't worry dear. This is all natural. Just imagine how your father is feeling right now." She then laughed.
She was soon in the warm bath water and her mother began to wash her as if she was a baby.
"Shh! You are my daughter and it's time for your mother to tell you all the things you need to know." She said softly as she continued to wash her.
As she later came to understand her first period was very heavy to start but quickly tapered off, lasting only two days but soon it was over and life started up once more.
She woke up that night and had to use the bathroom. By this time she had learned her room very well so she did not even reach for her cane so, she was up and in the restroom quickly. Finishing up she washed her hands and began to leave the room. She hung the wash rag on the cloth rack next to the sink and reached to turn the lights off. Cassie stopped and stood there. The lights were not on. She did not turn lights on anymore. But she slowly looked around herself. There was the sink; the wash cloth was hanging on that rack over there. Looking into her bedroom she saw that she had thrown the bed clothing over so far that they were hanging to the floor. Everything had a tint of grey to it. She started toward her bed and the table next to it where her talking wristwatch lay. She could not see the time from her digital Cinderella clock on her chest of drawers. The wristwatch told her it was about 4:45 in the morning.
Marie would be getting ready to start breakfast for the hands if her mother and dad were not getting up. She turned and headed for the closet.
Soon she was walking down the hallway. Cassie had dressed in jeans and a shirt with her old boots on. Everything was tight. She noticed that she was a little skinny but she had grown in the last two years. Marie was right she needed to put on some weight but if she had she would not had been able to wear her old clothes. As she started down the stairs she dragged her cane with her. Cassie was thinking a mile a minute.
She had not gained her eyesight back. Her first fright of this new sight was when she tried to comb her hair at the mirror. She could not see anything in a mirror. It was completely blank. Nothing was showing a reflection in the mirror, not just her. Cassie slowly finished grooming her hair and it hit her, she was seeing her head from all angles. It was perfect; even though it was only a simple ponytail. She could see in any direction at the same time. She could see in detail when she concentrated on the direction she wanted.
She pushed the kitchen door open and saw Marie for the first time in two years. She appeared to have aged little in that time. The kitchen was full of the aroma of cooking food. She smelled, ham, hash potatoes, and scrambled eggs and fresh biscuits and gravy. It was a working man breakfast. She also noticed that there was not enough for their crew.
"Blessed Marie! Cassie what are you doing up so early?" She asked with the expectation of an answer.
"I woke up hungry. I just knew if I crawled in here you would save a starving child." She said with a grin.
She stopped and stared at her. Cassie noticed that she crossed herself. "You sit down at that table. A starving child indeed! I have attempted to feed you day and night but you just won't eat."
She entered the nook and sat down in her place. Soon the food began arriving. There was a large glass of orange juice next to her plate. She really began to eat. It was the best food that she had eaten in two years. Cassie cleaned her plate wiping it with a biscuit then eating the biscuit. She finished off her second glass of orange juice then slowly got to her feet. The jeans were cutting into her stomach with no mercy.
She headed through the kitchen to the back door. The sun was just beginning to show in the eastern sky; she could not see it but she could feel the heat on her face.
"Niña, where are you going?" Marie asked as she opened the back door.
She stopped and it hit her. She had not been outside by herself in two years. Turning she grinned at Marie.
"I think I will stumble down to the stables."
With that she was out of the house and began her imitation of a stumbling blind girl. It was great. She could see the whole ranch house area and there was the stable. She pushed the main doors open and stepped inside. The horses were in stalls on both sides of the center aisle. Some were asleep and some were awake and beginning to look for their food. She did not know any of these horses. She had not had her own horse or pony. Dad did not believe in making pets of working animals.
She slowly began to walk down the center until the first horse stuck his head over his gate and whinnied at her. She really began to "look" at the horses. They were big and strong, but they were dependent on man. She began to hum as she reached out slowly to touch that first horse. His neck stretched and she touched him just above his nose. He shivered then closed his eyes as she walked to the next horse. She soon noticed that all the horses were standing with their head over their gates waiting for her. Soon she made the turn and started back down the other side.
Reaching the door she turned looking back into the stable. All the horses were standing there heads down as if asleep. Leaving the stable she hurried back to the house her thoughts tumbling like a clothes dryer. She had never been an animal person before. But she had felt great as she touched each of those horses.
Pushing the back door opened she stopped and knocked off all the crap that had stuck to her cane and boots. Entering the kitchen the door of the breakfast nook opened at the same time and there stood her dad stretching. His eyes landed on her at the backdoor and his mouth dropped open.
"Cassie? What are you doing up so early?" He asked.
"I just got hungry so I decided to get up and come down stairs." she said with a smile.
"Egh, so are you going to join us this morning?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"Marie, where are all the hands? I notice that none of them had made it to the stables yet."
"Stable? You been out to the stables? It still dark out there!" My dad exclaimed.
"Yeap, it's just as dark as it is in here." With that she tapped her way to the breakfast table.
Behind her she heard Marie choking as she tried not to laugh.
"But..." My dad stopped as he thought about what she had said. Cassie had still not made up her mind what to tell her parents about her sight. They would be tickled to death that she could see. Until they found out that it was not normal eyesight. Then it would be back to the doctors and more tests and more tests. No she did not want that.
But if not that, then she needed to give them something else, a normal girl who just wants to go back to school, dress up and grow up and take on some responsibility. So that was what she would do.
Suddenly her attention was grabbed by what Marie had said.
"Rodeo, there's a rodeo in town?" she asked.
"Si, the hands stayed in town to party and get ready for today. A couple of them think they can compete. Ha!" Marie said.
"George!" she heard her mother hollering from the top of the stairs.
"Cassie is not in her bed!" Cassie could hear her mother rushed down the stairs.
"It's okay Sarah; she's here in the breakfast nook." He had stood up and opened the door to the dining room. Cassie could see her mother as she hurried down those stairs and slowed as she approached the dining room area. Cassie saw her take a deep breath and get control of herself. She had really been afraid.
"Cassie. You are up early." She set down as if she had not been frightened to death a moment before.
"Si Senora, the Niña has been up for awhile." Marie set a huge plate of food in front of her dad. Then quickly she went into the kitchen and return with a moderate plate for Cassie's mother. Seconds later another plate was set in front of Cassie with more orange juice. She began to nibble on her food.
"Are we going to the rodeo? I really need to go to town so we might as well go to the rodeo while we are there." She said between bites.
"Rodeo, Oh no, it would be too rowdy for you to go." Her mother said.
"Really, more rowdy then thirty kids in a class when I start back to school?"