Chrysanthemum | Teen Ink


April 20, 2021
By cgriffith4, Nicholasville, Kentucky
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cgriffith4, Nicholasville, Kentucky
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Favorite Quote:
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring-Marilyn Monroe

Author's note:

I am a sophmore in high school, I live in kentucky and I love to write, watch movies and i love supernatural. 

The author's comments:

There isn't any chapters 

  “The heat of the walls going up in flames is what woke me up. The smoke clouds were too much for me to see through. So, I rolled off my bed and crawled to my parents room. The last thing I can remember is banging on their door and then I woke up here.” I said to the police officer glaring down at me in my hospital bed. 

“And what’s your name again ma’am” he said while writing everything I just said on a piece of paper. 

“Cassidy… Cassidy Hayes” I said with a trembling voice.

“Okay, Cassidy. The only two who could be found in the house were your brother and your mom.”

“What about my dad?”

“I am afraid he did not make it”

I can still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. He told me that he thinks that my dad passed out and all the smoke filled his lungs and they couldn’t find him. Although I have never and will never believe that, which is why I'm still on the search with my brother, Kevin. Kevin and I are best friends, he’s my twin brother to be more specific. We’ve been on the search since the fire happened, two years ago. I know, that sounds crazy but my dad fought the supernatural. I’ve taken it upon myself to find them and prove to everyone that I am more than just a bookworm. He’s been missing for almost three years now. I know that it may seem weird that I don’t believe that he passed away, but I know him, I know that he’s smarter than that… it’s didn’t happen. 

“Cass,” Kevin said from the other room.

“What, Kev?” I yelled back to get the point across that I didn’t want to talk, he didn’t get the hint.

“People who are with the foster care system just pulled up”

“Great, we have to run, again. Get a small bag and go to the back door” I gathered some stuff in a rush and hurried to the back door. 

“Ready?” I looked at him.

“As ready as i’ll ever be” we both hesitate to run out the door but do it in a full sprint. One of the social workers realized that we had run, again. They bolt after us. Only to find out that we had planned this out way before they came. We had a hiding spot, one where they’d never find us. A bunker, one that our dad built for emergencies. This was an emergency. This is our go to place. No matter where we are, we can run here. The social workers make what I'm trying to do. They’re only after us because we don’t have any parents but we’re about to be eighteen. It should be fine.

“Do you think they’re gone?” I said after an hour or two passed. 

“I mean, I’m sure they are but it is already dark, so we should just wait to head out til the morning.” 

Kevin headed off to his room and laid down, while I stayed on the couch because I am not tired anymore. Our dad built this bunker when we were almost six. He spent a lot of money and a lot of time on it. It took almost a year. It's like an apartment underground. It has a bathroom and three bedrooms, and a kitchen. We could live down here if we wanted to but it reminds us too much of him. Around one in the morning I heard a bang on the bunker door which only meant one thing, it was my best friend, Julian. Who I just happen to be in love with. 

“Hey cass, I needed somewhere to stay, mom’s on one again.” he said out of breath.

“Well you can always stay here, you know that.” i said with no hesitation

Julian’s mom is a little out of it. She’s bipolar so she kicks him out for no reason sometimes. He stays in the bunker often. He just stays in my room. Julian has been my best friend since kindergarten, that's the only reason he knows about the bunker. I will never trust anyone like I trust Julian. 

“Ooo yay, a sleepover” he said in a girly voice. 

“Oh shut up.” I giggled 

“SHUT UP!”  Kevin yelled from the other room.

“Someones in a bad mood tonight” Julian whispered. 

I just smiled and looked at him. 

“So we’re sleeping in your room? Or do you want me to sleep on the couch” he said with a smile 

“You can do whatever but I will be in my room.” i said while getting up and walking to my room. I walked into my room and laid in bed and looked at the ceiling. Shortly after Julian came in and laid beside me. 

“Whatcha thinking about?” he asked 

Of course i couldn't tell him that i was thinking about him and what would happen if i told him how i felt. 

“Nothing really, just thinking about what our next move is, where we're going next” 

“Are you sure that's it?”

Julian knows me better than I know myself so I know he knows that I have something I won’t tell him. I wonder if he already knows how i feel and he's just hiding it, or ignoring it? 

“U-um yeah. What else could it be?” 

“You stuttered, spill.”

“Ugh I can’t tell you this. If i could I would”

“You can tell me anything, Cass. you know that.”

“It will change everything, I don’t want anything to change. I’m okay with how things are right now.”

“Okay fine but I think I already Know”

“And what do you think it is?”

“Y-you have feelings for me, Don’t you?”

I didn’t say anything, afraid that what i said next could mess everything up some way or another. We just laid there in silence for a while.
“Please give me an answer, Cassidy.”

“I-I don’t want it to mess anything up, Julian.”

“It won't, I won’t let it change unless you want it to change.”

“I have feelings for you, I have since eighth grade…”


Okay? Okay? That's all he had to say? I just confessed my feelings for him and all he has to say is okay…

“I feel the same, Cass” he said with a tremble. 

I just laid there, what am I supposed to say? My best friend and I both have feelings for each other. This is all so new. I should not have told him, this is going to end badly. I already know it will. So many thoughts are going through my brain. I turned over and sat up and looked at him. 

“Are you sure? Because you know how my life is and you know that I’m not around much and that my life is complicated and-”

He kissed me. This is the last thing I expected to happen… 

“I’m sure. I know all the complications and all of the ‘what ifs’ and i'm ready for all of it, let's just try us? Okay?” 

“Y-yeah. Okay” we laid there and talked till 5 oclock in the morning until I finally fell asleep with my head on his chest. I slept later than I should have, 2 pm. I missed school, me and Kevin do online classes and since he didn’t wake me up I assume he missed school. Doing online makes it easier for us to focus on the thing that really matters, finding our dad. When i got up i went to the kitchen and walked to the table. 

“Hey Cass, I went to the skate park with Kevin. Come join us when you wake up -julian” wrote on a bright yellow sticky note.

I quickly changed and put on different clothes and went to the skate park where I saw Julian teaching Kevin how to skate. Julian looked at me and let go of kevin's hand and ran up to me, which caused kevin to fall

“Ouch, that was rude.” said Kevin slowly getting up off the ground. 

“Sorry my girlfriends here.” he said with a smile 

“Girlfriend? When did that happen? ``Kevin said with a shocked look. 

“Yesterday” I said with a smile and Julian hugged me and of course I hugged him back. I love this kid but what if this doesn't work. I won't only lose my boyfriend but I will also lose my best friend who has been there for me through everything. 

“Um, Kev, I actually came here because I have a lead. You don’t have to come but it's at the old abandoned preschool. People said they have spotted people coming in and out of there. Mom worked there. What if she's there?” 

“Okay, yeah. We can go in a second.” 

I went and sat on the bench and waited for them to finish, I still remember the day she went missing, it was a month after my dad.

“Come on, kids. Time for school and I have to go to the store.” she said early morning on a wednesday. We got up,  and when I walked to the kitchen I saw a new pot of chrysanthemum’s on the kitchen table. I went back to my room and got ready for school and she headed to the store.  After around three hours had passed I went to kevin's room and knocked on the door.

“Kev, mom’s still not home.” 

“You can come in, Cass.” he said, opening the door. 

“What if she’s not coming back?” 

“ she will, she wouldn’t leave on purpose” for the longest time Kevin believed that our dad was actually dead, until i pulled up enough evidence to prove there was no way he could have left.

“Yeah, not on purpose what if she got kidnapped. Well momnapped.” 

“It will be okay, you can sleep in my room until she gets here if you want.” i walked into his room, at this time it was around 7 pm, she left at noon. I knew she wasn’t okay, days and days passed and no sign of her. The cops wouldn’t do anything because we didn’t have anything that showed she didn’t choose to leave.

“Okay Cassidy, let's go,” Kevin said, snapping his fingers. 

“I-i’m sorry i zoned out.” i said, looking up at him. 

“Can I come?” Julian said with a big smile 

“I-” i started to say 

“Of course you can,” Kevin said, cutting me off.

Julian grabbed my hand and pulled me off the bench. We all started heading towards the rundown abandoned preschool. It's about a 15 minute walk. Maybe longer if we can’t focus on the target. We actually did though, I mean we made jokes and laughed a lot on the way but we got there faster than you'd think. When we got there the parking lot was empty, I didn’t want Julian to go. I didn’t want to bring him into this side of me, my crazy family, my dad's business. As we walked up to the preschool you couldn’t tell that it was abandoned, it looked oddly new.

“Why does it look like a new building, Cass?” Kevin looked at me, confused.

“I-I don’t know, it said it was being torn down in like a month” 

The boy’s froze while i kept walking 

“I don’t think this is a good idea anymore, Cassidy” said Kevin backing away

“Yeah, me either” Julian agreed.

“Well i'm going with or without you and there's nothing you can do about that.” 

They both sighed and followed me to the window I knew would be unlocked. I opened the window and climbed inside and the floor was destroyed

“It may not look abandoned out there but it does in here so come on, it's a big school, we have to start now.” 

Kevin rolled his eyes and climbed in the window and Julian shortly after him. 

“I can go on my own, you two should stay together” i said while walking off 

“No, we all stay together, we don’t know what's going to happen or what's in here.” Kevin said, grabbing my hand and pulling me back to them. 

“Okay, whatever. Lets go then” I walked out into the hallway and started walking down to the cafeteria. The boys followed but they walked slow and kept huffin and puffin. 

“Omg if you all are gonna be like that then go home, i can do it on my own.” I stopped and turned to look at them, they’re eyes got really wide and they froze 

“What? You guys look like you’ve seen a ghost” 

When I looked to the left of me I saw a chrysanthemum, those were my mom's favorite flowers. She painted and drew them all the time and there was always a pot of them in the center of the kitchen table. She said they were a sign of hope and that wherever they are, there's something good. This all took me off guard, I mean it had to be a sign right? I mean she had to have been here, I was too distracted to see that the boy’s had walked off and out of nowhere something was dragging me by my hair, I kept screaming and kicking, punching but nothing worked. I could feel his sweat drip into my hair and hear his feet hitting the floor, they were loud but stren footsteps, I could feel my whole body being dragged against nails and rocks. Then suddenly it just stopped. My hair wasn't being pulled and I wasn't being dragged, when I turned around to look at the guy, Julian was standing there with safety scissors.

“W-where did you get safety scissors?”

“Really? That's what you ask? I got them out of a bucket. Anyways, that only bought us a little bit of time, he’ll be up soon, we gotta go” we all ran out of the doors, big mistake. We triggered the alarm and before we knew it the police were there. We all stayed silent and went back to the bunker. Without saying anything I went to my room.

“She’ll be okay, she always is” Kevin said 

Julian just smiled a little and went and laid in my bed. I got up and went to take a shower because I felt gross and my scalp was bleeding. I stayed in the shower for what felt like hours and all I could think about was who that guy was and why he was at the same place we were and he came after me instead of just talking to us about why we were there. What does he want and the chrysanthemum, that has to mean something. I am going back to that school no matter what anyone says. I heard a light knock on the door.

“Yes?” I shouted over the sound of water hitting the bottom of the shower. 

It was julian “I just wanted to make sure you were okay”

“Yeah, i’m fine. I’ll be out in a second.” 

“Okay, I love you.”

“I love you”

Thirty minutes later, I got up and I got dressed and walked back into my room. Me and Julian made eye contact and I laid on my side of the bed, facing away from him. 

“Do you want to talk about it?” I know he was talking to me but i couldn’t force any words from my mouth so i didn’t. I just shook my head, no and started to doze off. 

I could hear my screams and feel the guy pulling me by my hair. I jumped myself awake, like one of the dreams that feel like you're falling off a building, except that my screaming woke me up. I sat up and tried to catch my breath and calm myself down. Julian woke up and looked at me but i didn’t want to make eye contact so i didn’t look at him. He started to rub my back which calmed me down almost immediately.

“Are you okay, Cassidy? Like actually, do not lie to me.”

“N-no i’m not okay.” Tears streamed down my face and I looked at him

“It’s going to be okay, I promise.” He pulled me into a hug, this is the first time I had cried since both of my parents went missing, I was holding it all in until now, I had to let it out even if it made me feel weak, it felt like i had been crying for hours but i just lied on him and sobbed until there were no more tears to cry.  He said it was going to be okay but I just don’t believe that, both of my parents are missing and neither of them are being looked for. One is “dead” and the other isn’t being looked for because of the fact that they think there isn’t enough evidence. They said she left on purpose but they don’t know her like i did, everything had to go a certain way every day. She woke up, went to work, got groceries, volunteered every monday and wednesday and on the days she didn’t volunteer she went to the dog park with our dog, Lucy. then she would go home and cook dinner and then go to sleep, except for on movies night. Lucy passed away shortly after my mom disappeared. 

“We should go to sleep” Julian said, interrupting my thoughts 

“Yeah, you’re right. I guess..” I laid down, I felt fragile like a piece of glass that could break at the slightest touch. Julian laid down beside me and fell asleep almost immediately. I don’t think I will be getting any sleep tonight, but I have school tomorrow. As all the thoughts flowed through my head, I drifted off to sleep. 

I woke up to a loud bang on the door to the bunker. When I turned and looked, Julian was gone. a little bit of me panicked but the other part of me didn’t have the energy to jump up. As much as I didn’t want to, I got up and walked to the door and opened it. It was Kevin and Julian, they both had a huge smile on their face. 

“Sorry, Cass. We got locked out” Kevin said with a little giggle.

“Mhm” I said, as I was walking away from the door to the couch.

“Ah come on, Cheer up.” Kevin said, as he walked in and to the couch to sit next to me. 

“I am happy,” I said with the fakest smile on my face. 

Kevin rolled her eyes and walked into his room. 

“Want to walk about it?” Julian said, as he walked in.

“There’s nothing to talk about. I got dragged by my hair by some random old man, I have a migraine and I need to go back to that school.” 

“Oh yeah, definitely not. You can’t go back there, you saw what happened last time and we were only there for like five minutes.” 

“Okay Julian but I saw a Chrysanthemum, they were her favorite and it looked just like the ones she painted. I'm going back whether or not you agree. it‘s my mom”  

He didn’t say anything back. He just looked at me. I got up and walked into my room and shut the door behind me. I understand that he cares about me but he doesn’t understand. I know he doesn’t like his mom or dad but he left them. He had a choice, I didn’t, they just vanished out of my life with no warning or anything. Which is a horrible way to go by the way. I put on shoes and started to walk out of the bunker.
“Where are you going?” Julian and Kevin said at the same time, sitting on the couch glaring at me.

“Exactly where i said i was going, the preschool”

“Omg Cassidy, what is your obsession with finding them, they’re gone. Let it go.” Kevin said with a straight face. I could not believe he would say that, especially about our parents. 

“Whatever, Kevin. There was a chrysanthemum, it was a sign and I want to find them because they’re our parents and I'm not ready to let go.” 

“Well you should, they’re not coming back.” 

“What’s your problem?” 

“No, what’s your problem, Cassidy? You act like you owe them something,”

“I don’t owe them anything, but you owe me this.”

“What does that even mean?” 

“I mean it was always you. You got what you needed from them. I’ve spent 17 years as the family reject, the defective twin. The black sheep of the family. You were the golden boy, the athletic one, not book smart but street smart.”  I said raising my voice, as my eyes filled with tears 

“Nothing I did was ever enough compared to what you did, so yes, you owe me this. Because maybe if I find them it will show them that I am finally better than you at something.” Tears ran down my face 

“I must be a real god bone, the only letters i'm missing is ‘ly’” kevin does this thing where he anagrams words while you’re talking to him and when he can’t make the full word, he comes up with something that is close enough and says it.

“Ugh! Can’t you just listen to me for once?” I yelled 

“Silent,” He said with a little but of a smile. I rolled my eyes and walked out, slamming the door behind me. 

Julian looked at Kevin and rolled his eyes and ran after me. He finally caught up to me and tried to grab my hand but I pulled away and kept walking. 

“You can’t hate him forever”. He shouted as I kept walking away, as much as I wanted to turn around and yell at him, I didn’t want to ruin anything else. I have a spot in the woods I go when I get into a fight with anyone. It’s like a cave, it’s dark but it's not made of rocks, it’s made of sticks. I made it when my parents left me home alone because they had to go to Kevin’s basketball game. He lost, he always lost. They just went to support him, although the amount of times I went to the science fair and got first place, they never came. They never asked about it either. I love Kevin and I love my parents but I just want to prove to them that I am better than him at something, anything. 

I sat there and closed my eyes, I was so mad that tears were streaming down my face. I didn’t want to go back there, I didn’t want to see him again. I felt someone grab my shoulder, I jumped a little and turned around. It was julian.

“Kevin told me you’d be here, you can’t blame it all on him, Cassidy” he said as he said down beside me.

“ Yeah, but I can blame it on all of them and that is exactly what i’m doing. I know you want me to forgive him and it all will be better but that's not gonna happen. I've tried so many times to make something, anything, about me. For once I just wanted to work with him and not against him. He’s my best friend and my twin and I will always love him, but if she doesn’t want to help me, I’ll do it alone. If he wants to sit back and be mister perfect, a little golden boy, then he can find somewhere else to stay and someone else to help him. If he really cared, he would be here right now and he's not because he doesn’t care.” i said, rolling my eyes.

“You’re being childish, me and kevin will go and stay at my house until you grow up.” he said, standing up.

“Seriously? I'm being childish? You try being the reject, julian. You don’t have any siblings, you were always the kid who had everything because you were the only kid she had. You sound so conceited right now.” 

“Okay, fine, I'm sorry.” 

“Whatever, go away.”

“Really? Cass, don’t be like that” 

“You were going to leave anyway.” 

“Fine, i’ll see you at the bunker” 

I didn’t have the energy to reply to him, I know that if I did it would just start another argument. Julian left right after that. I knew I had to go back, I just didn’t want to; I guess it's time though. I got up and took the long way home. When I walked inside Kevin was sitting on the couch. I quickly walked into my room and shut the door

“You can’t avoid me forever, we’re twins.” he shouted 

“Watch me.” i said, as I was laying on the bed.

“Oh God- there’s no point in avoiding me, I didn't know you felt like that and you have every right to be mad, Cass. I'll help you look for them if you still want me too.”

I didn’t reply to him. I had nothing to say, Kevin wasn’t one to apologize or be sympathetic to people's feelings. That was weird. I missed school again, I have to catch up on my assignments, so that’s what I'm going to do. I got out my laptop and started to do school work. When I checked my email, I got an email from someone I never got one from before. It was a picture of a chrysanthemum. Just like the one I saw in the preschool. The email wasn’t a normal looking email, it was just a few letters and numbers. I don’t know who it could have been or who would have done it but it was weird, it looked like they took a picture of the one at the school. 

I didn’t think anything of it and just finished all of my work. Hours passed and I couldn't stop thinking about the email that he sent me. There has to be more to it, who could it be from? Maybe there’s a secret message in it. The urge to look at it was strong, almost unbearable. I knew I shouldn’t but I did. I looked at the picture so thoroughly. There was nothing that looked out of the ordinary. Julian walked in the door and I jumped a little, I didn’t hear him walking to the door. 

“You okay? What are you doing?” he said with a slight smile 

“Not talking to you, go away.”

“You can’t not talk to me forever, we’re dating and it is going to stay that way, so just please talk to me, I didn’t mean anything that I said. I was just trying to help and you were pushing me away.” 

“I wasn’t pushing you away, I was mad and you called me childish for being upset and then told me to grow up. So do not push this on me. You started that argument so I don’t have to talk to you” 

“Okay, fine, i’ll leave.” He said.

“No, don’t go, I’m sorry. I’m just upset and mad and It's not your fault.” 

“Okay, so what are you looking at?” 

“Someone emailed me a picture of the chrysanthemum that I saw at the preschool.” I said handing the computer to him.

“A weird email, do you know who it is from?” 

“Nope, no clue, it doesn’t have a name” 

“I can figure it out for you” 


“I know my way around computers, I can get you a name.” 

“Okay, great.” 

He had started working and it felt like it took forever, I just laid there and laid there. 

“Are you done, yet?” I said, sitting up. 

“It’s only been an hour, I need a little longer to hack into the system.” 

“Ugh,okay.” I laid back down. 

About thirty minutes had passed, there was no sound being made. Julian basically screamed 

“I got the name!” He jumped up with excitement. 

“Omg! Omg! What is it?” I said as Kevin walked in. I ignored him. 

“Jack Obran Toshg”

“Hmmm, that’s weird” Kevin said, with a little bit of shock on his face. 

“What's weird?” julian asked knowing i wasn’t going to talk to him 

“If you rearrange his last name, it spells Ghost. You don’t think a demon took her do you, Cass?” he said looking at me

“N-no, there's no way, her necklace wouldn’t let that happen” 

“Necklace? What are you talking about?” Kevin and julian said at the same time 

“Our mom had a necklace and if a ghost tried to get near her, it would trap them in the necklace, they were locked in there. Along with every single spirit dad caught..” 

No one said anything, we all just sat there. Everyone was in shock, if she didn’t have her necklace, who did? That thing contains more spirits than the human race. It is crazy. My dad was going to give me one but then he said I was not responsible enough. If someone breaks that necklace, it will quite literally end the world and if it doesn’t end it then it will never be fixable. 

“We have to go back to the preschool” I said, to break the silence. 

“Are you crazy? We saw what happened last time” Kevin said as he plopped on the floor

“I don’t care, if anything or anyone has that necklace, it will end the world, everything will be gone, the blast from that necklace breaking will set everything on fire and no amount of water or sand will be enough to put it out and even if we do survive, it won’t be the end, there will so so so many spirits walking around like they own this place and they will want to kill anyone and everyone they see.” 

Their faces went blank. they looked shocked. 

“O-okay, let’s go,” Julian said, standing up.

We all got up and put our shoes on, all at the same time. While we were walking to the preschool the town was quiet or maybe i was just blocking out all of the noise with my thoughts. I couldn’t stop thinking about her necklace, if it got in the wrong hands it would be over for us. Nothing would ever be the same, it will all be over. As I walked over to the preschool I could tell that they had added caution tape, they were getting closer to tearing it down. When we got to the window we had previously climbed in, it was locked. When we walked to the window next to it, it was also locked. 

“Maybe we should try the door,” I say to break the silence. There are only two sets of doors, one in the back and one in the front. We tried the back one first because that's where the window was, when we tried to open the door, it didn’t budge, like at all. We ran around to the front. The door was unlocked but blocked by a bunch of stuff. Someone didn’t want us back here. 

“There's a cellar looking thing over there” Julian said pointing to two doors, barely peeking out of the ground.

“Lets try it” I said starting to walk to it 

“Um no, I am out of here” Kevin said walking away, i grabbed his hand and yanked him back to me 

“You owe me this, remember?” I said looking him dead in the eyes 

“Fine” he rolled his eyes and followed along with Julian and me to the cellar doors. 

“You’re going first” they said at the same time, bothing pushing me towards it. I rolled my eyes and opened the door, a whiff of what smelled like mildew, it was strong, almost unbearable but I know I have to do it, for mom and dad.  It was pitch black and you couldn’t even see the stairs, I stepped one foot in and clinged on to the cobwebbed wall. I could feel the sand and dirt running off the walls, hitting the ground. There was a light, at the end of this long hallway. The boys came after me.

“Walk slow, we can’t see anything,” I said walking along the wall.

“Are we all walking to the light?” Kevin asked 

“Yes, we all go there” I replied, picking up my speed a little bit. It felt like I had been walking for hours, every sound echoed, the sound of mice’s feet hitting the ground while running to the little hole in the wall. The light seemed to be getting closer but I can’t tell if I’m getting closer to it or if it’s getting closer to me. The silence broke when a big bang hit the ground. 

“When you get to light, watch your step” Julian said with a little laugh. I ran down to the light not caring what I stepped on or what happened to me, when I got there I peered down at him. 

“Are you okay?” i said, worried.

“Yes, Jump.” 


“Yes, jump, i’ll catch you”

“Okay” I said and jumped hesitantly, to my surprise he caught me. 

“Told you,” he said with a smile. 

“Yeah yeah, whatever.” I smiled and looked around this room. There was a bed, a made bed and food. Someone was living down here or being held hostage down here. 

“Where’s Kevin?” Julian said looking at me.

“I thought he was with you” 

“No, I thought he was with you.” my heart dropped and my heart started racing, what if they took my brother. My eyes started to go black. The faint sound of Julian's voice saying   “Cassidy” over and over and over again is what snapped me out of it. I looked at him. Kevin jumped of the ledge and yelled 

“Gotcha, suckerssss!!!”

My first instinct was to hug him and that's exactly what I did, he had a shocked look on his face and he hesitantly hugged me back.

“Are you okay” he asked me.

“Y-yeah, I just thought I lost you,” I said, reluctant to let go. 

“Aw, Cass. you have feelings” He said with a giggle, still hugging me.

“Shut up, that was scary” I said letting go of him, he let go of me and smiled.    

“There's nothing to smile about, that wasn’t funny”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

“And she's back.” he said as his smile slowly faded. 

There wasn’t much in this room, a bed, a dresser and a nightstand. 

“Alright guys, start looking for something, anything.” Kevin said 

I went straight to the night stand, I opened the drawer and inside was a sticky note. With only the word “SUS”.

“I found something guys.” I said grabbing the sticky note. I walked to the middle of the room and looked at the note, then up at them.

“Well what does it say” Julian said 

“It says “SUS”, in all capital letters.” i said looked back at it 

“Just hold on to it and gather stuff, we’ll talk about it when we get back to the bunker” Kevin said, as he went back to looking for other stuff. I went back to the night stand that was right by the bed. I glanced at the pillow on the bed and saw a paper under it. When I pulled the paper out, it was a half painted chrysanthemum. She had been here. I have never understood her obsession with them. I personally don’t think they’re that pretty but she always had them. She said they symbolized her good luck. I've never understood how they symbolize good luck, I thought they symbolized happiness or love? I guess that was her good luck. Me and my mom have never been that close, it was always her and Kevin and me and my dad. I never understood why I wasn’t close to my mom but as I got older, it got more apparent. It was because she wanted a boy, she didn’t want a girl and with my dad it was the complete opposite. I would love to say that it never bothered me but if i were to say that, i would be lying. I have always wanted to be closer to her and even though I know that’ll never happen because Kevin is very clearly her favorite. I can always dream. I wish she knew how i felt, i know that she loves me but she doesn’t love me like she loves him. Which would be fine if she didn’t treat us completely different. There was a time when I convinced myself she hated me because she treated him amazon and me like I meant nothing but maybe if i find her she’ll change her feelings. 

“I found a candle and some matches,” Kevin said breaking the silence

“That will help on the way back down the tunnel” I said

We all went back to search for another minute.

“Can we leave now? I think we’ve found everything we’re gonna find” julian said 

“Yeah, let’s go.” Kevin replied, lighting the candle with a match.

Suddenly, I could feel the smoke filling my lungs. 

February 8th, 2019, the day of the fire. Waking up with clouds of smoke, blocking my sight, the floor was the only safe place. I rolled off my bed and army crawled to my parents room, banging on their door. When I looked to the left and saw my dad with a box of matches, with a huge smile on his face, as he walked out of the house.

“Dad?” I said coughing.

There was no response, just a slamming of the front door. 

I suddenly snapped out of my thoughts and looked up at Kevin with a tear rolling down my face. 

“What happened, Cass?” he said, worried.

“Would you believe me if I said I saw dad on the night of the fire, with a box of matches? He was the one who did it, Kevin..” 

“Of course I believe you, Cassidy, but why didn't you say anything before.” he looked at me. 

“I pushed it away, I wanted to pretend that I didn’t see what I saw, I wanted to believe that he didn’t and wouldn’t do that.” More tears streamed down my face, as I grabbed the candle from his hand and started walking towards the doors to leave. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, I needed to get out of here. 

“Cass, you can’t just ignore it. We need to tell someone.” 

“We can’t tell anyone, they’ll accuse us of lying and on top of that, we’re on 17. They’ll make us go into the foster system. If we go to anyone, at all. We’ll be exactly where we’ve been avoiding… so can we just go please?” 

“Yeah, yeah, let's go..” he said, grabbing the candle and walking in front of me. Julian tracking behind both of us. When we got out, I grabbed my bag with all the stuff we found in there and started to walk back to the bunker, Kevin followed behind me. 

“I’ll be back later guys,” Julian said, walking the other direction

“Um, Okay?” I said, continuing to walk back to the bunker. Julian walked faster away.

“That was weird,” Kevin said.

“Oh yeah, for sure.”

“Imagine if he was working against us.” we both laughed. 

“No way.” I said walking down the stairs to the bunker. 

When I got down there, there's a single chrysanthemum laying on the ground. Someone was here. Whether it was my mom or it was someone messing with us, someone was here.


“Yeah, cass?” 

“There's a chrysanthemum down here” 

“No way, how did it get there?” 

“Well, I don’t know, i’ve been with you the whole time.” 


I ignored him and dumped the stuff from my backpack onto the table. Starting from the post that said  “SUS” on it, down to a single pedal from a chrysanthemum. I looked at everything, a lip gloss, paint brushes with scratches down the wood. You know what though, I don’t think Julian grabbed a single thing from that place but he looked like he knew what the place was, in fact he’s the one who pointed it out. No, Cassidy, stop. Julian is not working against you, don’t let that thought get to you. I got out my computer and looked up aliases for ‘SUS’ but I wouldn’t find anything. Like at all “No results found for this search”. We are nowhere close to finding her or maybe we're closer than we think? This is too much, it’s getting late and I have school tomorrow, I need to go to sleep. I got up and went to my room, laid down and stared at the ceiling.  As i started to drift off, into sleep, I heard the bunker door slam shut and in came Julian, 

“Hey, Cassidy, I think we should talk.” he said, walking into my room.

“Um.. okay.” I said , sitting up, resting against the headboard.

“I’m afraid that finding your mom had become your top priority, like you’re becoming obsessed”

“What do you mean?” I said, shocked that he would ever say that to me.

“I mean, we just got together and haven’t spent a second alone together because you’re always talking about finding your mom. Can’t we just take a break from it?” 

“If i take a break, they can get farther ahead then me. She is my first priority and I can make time for you but I will not drop it and I can not believe that you would ever even ask me to do that. You know how much this means to me, or at least i thought you did.”

“Cass, I didn't mean it like that.” 

“Okay whatever, i'm going to sleep” i said rolling my eyes, i laid back down and closed my eyes, i could feel the other half of my bed get weighed down by julian. I didn’t open my eyes and I slowly drifted off to sleep. When i woke up the next morning, i couldn’t stop thinking about what julian said. Maybe I was getting too into it, and maybe it was taking away from things that truly mattered. But I'm so close, I can feel it. I am so so close to finding her. I got up and walked to the kitchen and looked at the table of things we found at the preschool and I gently put it all into a bag. Kevin walked out of his room and looked at me confused.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“I am giving up. I can’t do it anymore. I mean, have we really even gotten anywhere? I don’t think we have. I mean you don’t even care and I care too much about finding her. It is exhausting so i’m done.” I said while my eyes filled with tears and I shoved everything else in a bag.

“I do care, you can’t give up. Mom needs you” 

“I can’t do it alone either, Kev. and i am doing it alone. I have always done everything alone.” Tears ran down my face and I ran to the bathroom and shut and locked the door. Sliding down the back of the door, my head in my hands and my eyes getting puffy because of the amount of tears I'm shedding. I can’t do it anymore, Julian was right. I prioritize it way too much. I need to focus on other things. Im sorry, mom. I heard the bunker door shut and open and when I got up and walked out of the bathroom, Kevin was gone and Julian had walked in.

“Why is all your moms stuff in a bag” Julian asked 

“I gave it up, I'm done.” 

“Awww, yay. Cass, this is going to be so much better for us and for you. We’ll have so much more time together.”  He said with a huge smile on his face 

“Yeah, I guess.” 

“Wanna watch a movie?” 

“I mean, sure.” i haven’t watched a movie in so long, I haven’t had time. We both walked to the couch and laid down, I put on my favorite movie, ‘remember me’. About an hour into the movie Julian fell asleep so I turned it off and went outside to get some fresh air. Where did Kevin go? I mean where could he have gone? He doesn’t hang out with anyone. That's a little weird. I strayed off into the woods and went to my old tree house, my dad built it for me and Kevin when we were six. It was an escape for me and a toy for kevin. I pulled out my sketchbook that I always keep in my back pocket and started to draw what my brain felt like. Hours and hours had passed and it started to get dark and when i looked at the paper all there was, was scribbles. My brain always feels like it's running and it never stops, it never ever stops. I feel numb. I take care of everything and everyone. It is so tiring. I could feel my eyes shutting and everything going dark. I fell asleep. 

“Cassidy, wake up.” Julian said, shaking me. 

“Im up, dang. Stop shaking me.” I said, sitting up and looking at him

“Why would you ever even consider sleeping outside?” he said, raising his voice at me.

“Because i can, you’re not my dad, shut up,” I said , climbing down from the tree house and walking towards the bunker.

“What’s your problem?” 

“What’s yours, julian?”

“I dont have the one, you’re being a jerk.”

“Gosh, You’re so annoying. Just go away and don’t come back,” I said walking into the bunker. Julian didn’t follow me but I don’t care. He’s become so obsessed with me and always wants to be around me and never leaves me alone. I laid on the couch and tried to fall back asleep. Kevin walked in and slammed the door behind him. 

“I FOUND IT, I FOUND WHAT WE NEEDED.” He said screaming and running down to me, with a painting in his hand. 

“What are you talking about?” I asked sitting up.

He threw the painting at me and I looked at it. It was a clock tower with a trail of chrysanthemums leading to it. It was her. There's no way it wasn’t her. 

“We have to go there, Cass. we have too. Let's go.” 

“I don’t know, Kev.” 

“Omg, we are going, let’s go. Right now.” he said pulling me up from the couch and walking out the door with my hand still in his. 

“I really don’t want to, Kevin.” i said walking slowly behind him 

“I don’t care what you want. I know you and you are not a quitter and you let julian have too much of an impact on what you do so we're going and i don't care what you say”  

“Fine, fine.” I said rolling my eyes, as we kept walking we approached the clock tower from the painting. We both walked to the door and just stood there staring at it.

“Should we call Julian?” Kevin asked  

“No, I think he is getting a little too controlling about me looking for mom and after we found the last place she was, they obviously moved her, it’s just weird that he left after that and then came back and now she moved.”

“You don’t know she was there, Cass.” 

“Yes I do, it was so obvious” 

“Okay… let's go in then” 

We both opened the door and took one step in, we both walked in and shut the door quietly behind us.

“She’s not here.” I said 

“SHHHH and look around.” Kevin said, whispering.

Kevin walked under the stairs and stood there staring at the ground. I walked over to him and looked at the ground.

“Those are my initials.. C.H.A.H. Cassidy Hannah Averdean Hayes.” I said 

“C.H.A.H mum sentry” kevin whispered 

“Sentry means to like someone guarding something right?” I said.

“Oh my gosh, it’s an anagram. It means chrysanthemum. I mean that's what it spells out.” 

“So someone is guarding mom?” I asked 

“She’s here somewhere cassidy.” he said as he started walking up the stairs. I followed behind him, slowly but still following. About halfway up the stairs, I heard something drop, it sounded heavy but not heavy enough to be a person, but heavy enough to be a box full of stuff. Kevin pushed me in front of him and I walked to the top of the stairs, there was a door, a red beaten up door, it had holes in it, almost like someone continuously kicked it but only in the same spot. I gently grabbed the door knob and quietly opened the door. There lying on the floor was our mom, her eyes lit up as soon as she saw me. She jumped up and pulled Kevin and me into a hug. You can tell she was tried, maybe not physically tired but mentally tired. 

“You guys found me” She said, with a smile on her face. 

“Y-yeah, it was all Cassidy though, she never gave up. I did.” Kevin said, I could feel the tears running down my face. 

“We have to go,” I said, pulling myself out of the hug. 

“No I can’t, there’s a guy in the room back there and he’ll know if I leave. You guys should go, I'll find a way out, ``my mom said, backing away from me and Kevin, staring behind us, with fear in her eyes.

“What, mom? Are you okay?” Kevin asked, all she could do is point, like something was the same and took away her ability to speak. 

“You’re not supposed to be here” A deep, manly voice said from behind me. I  jumped a little and moved to my mom, when I turned around, it was him. The guy who dragged me by my hair… on the first day at the preschool. I could feel my heart racing faster and Kevin grabbing and squeezing my hand. 

“I don’t want to hurt you guys, I just need you to leave before he gets here.” 

“Before who gets here?” Kevin asked, walking in front of me. 

“My boss, the one that would be very mad if he found out that you knew where she was.” A car door slammed outside, and the doors to the clocktower opened and slammed quickly behind. Heavy, stomping, footsteps slamming up the stairs. I looked around the room and a cloud of fear came upon the room. Everyone went silent. 


The footsteps were getting closer and closer and the only sound in the building was the sound of them walking up the stairs. I could feel my body tensing up, like if i tried to move, i would fall over. My heartbeat was getting faster and louder. And then the footsteps stopped. They stopped walking… 

The door slammed open. There stood a 6’3, dark haired, skinny man. He had a hat and gloves on. 

“Why are they here?” he said in his raspy voice, getting closer to us. 

“I-i’m sorry sir, they found her on their own…” The big man said, taking a few steps back and then I realized. I ran to the man and knocked his hat off. It was him.. It was my dad… 

“Wow, first you burn the house down and then you kidnap my mom? That’s low, even for you” I said, he just smiled. As if he was at a loss for words or maybe it was intended to be a snarky response to the way I said it. I can not believe he would do that. I mean burning down the house is one thing but all of this too?

“You know, Cassidy. You were always my favorite. Why did you have to go and ruin it?”  He said, with an angrier tone. 

“Why did I ruin it? You tried to kill all three of us! I didn’t ruin anything.” I said, raising my voice. I felt a blast of anger come upon me. I grabbed a glass that was sitting behind me and threw it at him. He dodged it and laughed a little. 

“So that's what we’re doing now?” the doors of the clock town creaked open. 

“Who’s here now?” I asked. The footsteps were quiet and subtle. Julian walked through the door and looked at us all 

“What are you doing here?” My dad asked, very angry.

“I need her to know my side of the story.” Julian said, walking to me and grabbing my hand. 

“I never meant to hurt you, Cass.” He said, I pulled away and backed away from him.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You didn’t tell her?” he said looking at my dad and back away from me and everyone else.

“Oh, oh, oh right. Your little boyfriend has been on my side the whole time. He doesn’t love you. He never did.” I felt my heart shatter.

“Cassidy…” Julian said, walking to me.

“Stay away from me.” I said walking close to kevin.

“At least tell me why you did it.” i said looking up at him 

“I needed the money. He promised me 10,000 dollars if I went with it. I had to, please forgive me.” 

“You didn’t have to do anything, julian. That was a choice, you chose to be on his side and more importantly, hurt me in the process but it’s clear that you never cared about that anyway.” I said, as tears filled my eyes. 

“I do care. I have always cared about you..” 

“No you have not. It has all been a lie. Everything that has ever been done with you has been a lie. I can not believe that, I trusted you and told you things I would never tell anyone else and you did this.”  I said, as I started walking down the stairs. 

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this, cassidy. You have to believe me.” everyone started to follow me. As I got to the bottom of the stairs I saw a little glass box that I assume my dad brought. It had the necklace in it. My mom's necklace. I ran to the box, opened it and grabbed it, slid it in my pocket and turned and looked at everyone who had just got down the stairs.

“Well it was like that and now there is nothing we can do about it. So you're going to stay out of mine and everyone else I associate with lifes. We don't need your toxicity and your fake love. Nobody needs it,” 

“My love wasn’t fake… at the end, i mean it was in the beginning but not in the end.” 

“You’re not worth it anyway.” 

“WHERE IS MY NECKLACE?” my dad screamed, cutting into the conversation. 

“Hm… I don’t know, that’s strange.” I said with a smile.

“You took it, give it back. I need it.” he said walking towards me. 

“Why is it a part of the plan? What is the plan exactly?” 

“Yes it is, so give it to me.” He said taking another step 

“Tell me the plan and it’s all yours” I said, backing up, trying not to look intimidated.

“Fine… I made a deal with the devil, quite literally. The deal was, I have kids and give him your souls to torcher. In return I get whatever I want, whenever I want, no matter what it was. That’s why I set the house on fire but when that didn’t work I needed another plan, so the plan was to take your mom, which would make you want to find her because that’s how i raised you and then when i got you all together. Make him come and take what he wanted. But you got here too fast, the plan was supposed to take longer. Julian was supposed to distract you enough so that you would stop looking for a few months, maybe even a year but he obviously couldn’t do that. Now give me my necklace” He said walking to me. As we were standing face to face, I could see in his eyes that he had changed and that he had become evil. I could see the evil in his eyes and how dark it looked.

“Mmm, I don’t think so.” I said, smiling again. 

“You’re just like me” 

“Oh, I am nothing like you, I am smarter than you and now, Mom, Kevin and I are all leaving; with your necklace.” I motioned for Kevin and My mom to walk out and they did, as I started to walk out he walked behind me. 

“Step back.” I said 


“I mean it, step back.”

“I’m not stepping back.” 

“I will throw this necklace.” 

“No you won’t, you don't have the guts” 

I turned around, took a step back and pulled the necklace out of my pocket.

“I think you’re wrong,” I said, smiling. 

I threw the necklace. 

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