Cassie’s life had existed as fantasy and now she was living a science fiction story. She still had her ‘sight’ or whatever it could be called. But now she had star wars also. She was now taking online courses to catch up on her education. The computer setup that her Dad had put in for her made this possible. She had ignored it, which was easy, since she could not read the screen. Now she was learning to really use it. She found that the stair exit from her study room had an electronic lock connected to her PC.
All she had to say was her name and tell it to open and the computer would do so. Outside that exit was a spiral ramp to the room beneath her rooms. There Dad had installed a complete gym, dojo and swimming pool. She had been using the swimming pool and Jacuzzi ever since she had gotten her ‘sight’. She was a little leery of all the gym equipment though and had left it alone.
Cassie had caught conversation between her mother and dad every so often. Her mother had told her dad about that day in town when those two men had tried to steal her purse. Sarah had mentioned what the police officer had asked Cassie. There were also mentions of schools. Finally the consensus was that they needed to start thinking about Cassie’s future.
George arranged a connection to an online education system to help Cassie get caught up with her former classmates. She spent at least four hours a day studying and taking tests.
The final addition to this prize package was an ancient Japanese gentleman. He looked about 150 years old. Cassie had really studied him when her dad introduced her. He was to be her Personal Trainer. Yeah, a twelve year old West Texas ranch brat was to have her own personal trainer.
“Just how rich are we Dad?” That was the first thing out of her mouth when dad introduced her to Sensei Inoue Shina. His look in response to that question was a firm rebuke. George realized that Cassie could not see his expression but his silence was even more effective. She never asked him that question in public again.
Mr. Inoue turned to Cassie and bowed with a nod of his head. She then looked him over good. He was only about five feet four inches tall. His hair was cut very short. A thorough examination of his body showed that he might be old but he was in great shape. She stood there while he held his bow, then it hit her. He was waiting for her to return the bow. She could see his calm face and relaxed stance. This man would hold that bow till the cows came home. She slowly turned in his direction and imitated his bow without thinking how this would expose her unusual awareness of her surroundings.
“I apologize for my impertinence Sensei Inoue. My humble self was taken by surprise.” She startled herself with that sentence but from movies she had not ‘seen’ it seemed appropriate. Both of them came out of their bows at the same time. Her Dad, setting behind his desk, was looking her over with a strange expression on his face.
“Cassie if Sensei Inoue decides to take my offer of a position he will live in one of the guesthouses on the property. As your Personal Trainer he will teach you in martial arts, gymnastics, swimming, and as many other physical endeavors as he feels that you will be capable of learning. He understands that you have chores as well as school work that must be done.”
“Sensei how soon will you be able to make your decision?”
“I would like to commune with your daughter for one of her normal days. Would that be all right?”
Cassie was amazed that he spoke better English then she did. He must have noticed her expression. He turned to her and smiled. “I was born in Alameda County, California.”
Cassie felt herself blushing.
“I have finished my chores for the day and was planning on doing some school work. Do you wish to join me now?”
“With yours and your father’s permission I would be pleased to join you.” He answered.
“I think that will work out. Cassie he will be a guest for the next day or so. Show him to a guest room first.”
Cassie turned and began her routine tap, tap, tapping; he followed her from her Dad’s office.
They went first to the second staircase that led to the upstairs extra bedrooms. None of the rooms in this part of the upstairs were used at this time. Her Parents rooms were down a hallway at the top of the other staircase while her room was straight forward from the main staircase.
Cassie led Sensei Inoue to the first bedroom off the staircase. “I hope this room will be okay? If not all the bedrooms up here are available.”
“This looks fine Ms. Howard. I will bring my bags up here when we finish.”
“Then Sensei, please follow me.”
Cassie led him back down stair, there being no connection to the upstairs area on the other side of the house.
Once back downstairs she led him to the downstairs entrance to the gym and dojo area. They walked through it and she observed as he examined the equipment. He looked the whirlpool and Jacuzzi area over closely. Then in the dojo he kneeled to exam the workout pads on the floor. Next he opened the cabinets where supplies could be stored but which were empty at the present time.
“Gi?” she returned.
“Work out uniforms?” He explained.
“Oh, no Dad said never try to anticipate an expert in what tools to use, so if you take the position you will decide and order for us.”
“Everything is very good. Top line equipment. Now your school work.” He turned to head out of the gym area.
“This way sir.” She said.
Then she turned to head for a door in the corner. Opening the door, she waited for him to catch up. As he closed the door she turned and began the walk up the spiraling ramp. At the top of the ramp was the door into her suite. She grinned as he joined her. She knew the camera over the door was identifying her.
“Cassandra, open this door.” There was a quiet buzz and she pushed the door open. Before them was the massive control room of Starship Howard Ranch. She laughed at herself and started walking toward her control chair.
“Please move toward your right 2 degrees” A female voice said from the speakers over the computers. She shifted the direction she was headed slightly.
“Please move toward your right .5 degrees.”
Cassie waited until she was near the chair then reached over to touch it, swiveled it around and sat. She had been “watching” Inoue who had not moved from the doorway.
“This is your school room?” He asked.
“Yes sir, this room and everything in it is attuned to me. Come over here and have a seat, the computers will not say a thing. They have some safety software in them to try and protect me. That’s why the directions to the chair. This has all been arranged by my Dad to compensate for my blindness and to protect me.“
She waited for his reply which did not seem to be forthcoming.
Instead he simply walked to the extra chair next to her and sat down.
Cassie turned and began her lessons. The computer asked questions and she answered then it would read material to her for her to remember. Tomorrow it would ask questions about the material it read today. She had to hold herself back. It seemed so easy. For most of the questions the answers seem to be so obvious. She was beginning to suspect that her ‘sight’ was more than just seeing things. She could see the answer to most of the questions the computer asked her. She worried that she was cheating in some way and not really learning.
But so far Cassie had not been able to figure out a way to test herself. She knew that her understanding of Spanish had greatly increased. She and Marie talked together now with no interruptions for explanation of what she really meant. She did know that at this rate she would be able to start back to school when the next semester started. That was one of the reasons Dad had for hiring Mr. Inoue. He was afraid that the other kids in school would pick on the blind girl. Cassie remembered the two crooks downtown during the rodeo and was not afraid of her classmates. She had made some preparations on her own.
Cassie felt the leather holster strapped to her right forearm that held her custom made expandable baton. It would expand to a full 36 inches with a flick of her wrist. It was white and looked like a short blind cane except she could collapse it down to a handle of 13 inches which fitted in to her forearm holster. Her parents thought it was just a backup cane. It was actually longer then her real cane when she expanded it fully.
Dinner was served in the Dining Room. It was rarely used for family meals. Normally all meals were served in the breakfast nook. Cassie sat there eating whatever Marie set in front of her.
“Cassie, Tiny finished up laying the pipes today. We’re now connected to the east-side well. He also capped the waterline from the west-side well at the edge of our property on the west side. The center well is spraying water full force over the whole lake that he built.”
“I still don’t understand how he misunderstood my instructions. I’m just glad he did. We are getting enough water for the whole ranch. The town is now considering my proposal that they run a line out to our property and buy water from us. That would let them lower the water charges to everybody in town.”
“I don’t have any idea. Dad, where did he get the name Tiny?”
“Well that’s not really an appropriated subject for the dinner table.”
“Oh no, George, now I’m curious too. How could a name like Tiny be inappropriate for a dinner table?” Her mother joined the conversation for the first time.
“Well Egh, there was this bar room brawl up in Oklahoma. Tiny jumped into the middle of it. The fight did not last long. When the police arrive they wanted to know who was responsible for the fight. Tiny asked “What fight?” This was just a tiny disagreement. The police looked the place over. All the tables were busted, the chairs were in splinters, the bar actually was collapsing and the door on the bar was hanging by one hinge. The policeman then said. ‘Well Tiny I hope I never have to be in a middle of a fight with you.’ From that time onward everybody called him Tiny.”
Cassie sat there with her napkin over her mouth and as her Dad told that story she could just see it. He had forgotten the juke box turned upside down sitting in the broken window. she began to giggle. “What about that juke box?”
Mother had been laughing with Dad and Inoue had a smile on his face. He had not met Tiny Blocker so did not really get the point. A sudden quiet descended on the room. Cassie was still giggling in her napkin and took a minute to notice the quiet and that both mother and dad were staring at her.
Cassie put the napkin back in her lap and reached for her fork. The food was great as was all of Marie’s cooking.
“How you know about the juke box?” Her dad asked.
“Juke box? What Juke box?” She asked.
“The one you just mentioned girl! Did Tiny tell you that story? I don’t want you hanging around those workers! They are dangerous men.” He stated.
“Yeah I don’t doubt it Dad.” She continued to eat her meal.
“How you know about that Juke box? No more fooling around.”
“I don’t know. I just could see this huge Juke box upside down sitting in a window of a bar.” That was the truth. She had no idea. It had just popped into her mind while he was telling that story.
“I had forgotten all about that Juke box.” Her dad said quietly looking into the distance.
“Dad were you there, in that bar when the fight happened?” She asked.
“Yeah, me and two men got in an argument when some friends of theirs joined them and that was when Tiny came to our aid.”
“Did Tiny put that Juke box there?” she asked eagerly.
“Forget about that fight, like I said it not appropriate for dinner. Marie.”
“Senor?” Marie stuck her head into the dining room.
“I would like more tea Marie.” Cassie added.
Seconds later the rattle of cups and glasses could be heard from the kitchen as Marie prepared the drinks. She entered the dining room and set a pot of coffee in front of George. Cups for him and her mother were set out. A large glass of ice tea was set in front of Cassie. Marie then gathered up the dishes and removed them. Once more from the kitchen they could hear her fixing something then she once more entered the dining room with a tray in her hands.
She paused next to Inoue and carefully placed a tea pot and cup in front of the man. Next, she opened a wooden box from which arose a sweet pungent aroma. Inoue’s eyes open in surprise as his face lit up with a smile. He bowed his head to Marie and she returned the nod.
Cassie watched him as she sipped her ice tea. He took a spoon full of ingredients from the box and put them in his cup then slowly poured the steaming hot water. The room filled with the rich aroma from his cup. She watched as he finished the tea making ceremony. The drinking of the tea was like a religious ritual. It was fascinating and they all sat there quietly sipping and thinking.
“Mr. Howard, I do not need more time to decide.” Mr. Inoue stated as he sit his empty tea cup down.
“I find the position to be much as you described it to me. In fact it’s much more than you stated. I would be honored to accept. I do have some suggestions. For now I would suggest that she does her school work in the late afternoon.
After her chores would be the best time to start her physical training and exercise.
A break after eating her noon meal then back to the physical.”
“Cassie?” Her mother asked.
“How much physical are we talking about?”
“Enough that after a year of training you would be ready to compete. Your Swimming and martial arts skill should be at those levels for sure. The rest running, gymnastics would depend on your natural abilities on top of the training.”
“Running!” Her mother exclaimed.
“Yes madam, I will ensure that the paths she runs will be clear of obstacles”
The next morning, while cleaning the stable, she heard a truck pulled up in the yard. She looked out and saw it was Tiny. She left the barn heading his way. Her cane barely touched the ground as she hurried to him.
“Tiny.” At the sound of his name he looked her way. A smile lit up his face.
“Cassie Howard. It’s a mighty fine day when I can see your smile.”
“Oh Tiny, I know you’re here to say good bye. I’m going to miss you.” It was the truth. He was the only one she had met who even had the slightest inkling of what she was able to do.
“You still keeping secrets from your dad and mom?”
“Oh yes. I don’t know how they would react but I don’t want to be any more of a freak to them then I am now.”
“Okay girl. It’s your life.”
At that moment she saw her parents exiting the house and headed their way.
“Well don’t forget me. I might have to hunt you up for a job one day.”
“Lass, when you’re older come see me. Together we’ll get rich!”
“Tiny! Man you did a heck of a job for me. I got more water than ever and it still coming.”
“Well man that what’s a little water witch blood will do for you.”
“What? Water witch blood? What you do, some dowsing? Is that how you found that water?” Her dad grinned at Tiny and shook his head.
“Man I’ve got to hit the road. Time is money and I got rigs, men and roads to get down.” With that Tiny waved and got in his truck and took off down the gravel road.
She stood there staring down that road. She knew one day she too would travel down it. Maybe she would come back. But she knew she would be gone more than she would be here.
Cassie was very busy for the next month. She cleaned the stables and fed the horses in the morning then worked out with Sensei Inoue the rest of the day. Then it was school work.
She wondered if her ability to keep up had anything to do with her ‘sight’. In between her studies and what free time she had she had begun to research the internet looking for anything like her ‘sight’. Finally she began to understand. What she had was a fully functioning ESP sense. Clairvoyance, seeing at a distance, but in her case it did not come and go anymore but was always there.
Every once in a while she would sneak out to the bunkhouse dayroom. Most nights the hands would have one or two poker games going. It was nothing serious, just some penny ante games. She told the hands she liked just sitting there listening to them but she was testing her ‘sight’ on the deck of cards.
Soon she could see each and every card in that deck. She knew where every card was! She also began to notice that she could sometimes see things before they could possibly be seen. Like on her computer she could answer some question before she had heard the lessons.
But now her time of solitude was coming to an end. She had taken the state TSK test and tested out in the low 8th grade level. The beginning of the next semester she would begin to attend the middle school in town for the rest of the school year. She was going back to school!
My thanks to Grumpybear for his editing and proofing help. But the final results are mine and all criticism should be loaded onto my shoulders.
© Virgil Lee Fuqua III and vlfouquet.wordpress, 2008-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vlfouquet and Virgil Lee Fuqua III with appropriate and specific direction to the original contents