C H A P T E R     T H I R T Y
ALTERED STATE*

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      Isaac jumped as he heard a loud crash. He furrowed his eyebrows in questions. “What was that?” He asked himself.

      He knew he was the only one in the house. Maybe there was a robber. Isaac stood up walking around the desk. He decided to go check it out. To him it sounded like it came from upstairs so he quietly crept up the stairs first grabbing the fire place poker for a weapon.

      He walked on tips toes not making a sound, fire poker in batting position. He was ready for anything that came his way. He checked in all the rooms starting from one side and making his way to the other. Dales room was the last one. He walked in more frightened then ever. It was the only room left upstairs, they had to be there. Finding nothing he went to the bathroom, he stopped dead in his tracks.

      “Cassandra?”

      “I.. Isaac?” Cassandra asked confused.

      Cassandra laid on the ground, her head slightly propped up from the bottom of the shower doors. “Isaac you... your alive.” She sputtered.

      “What did you do Cass?” Isaac looked at her as she stumbled over her words, looking out of it. He saw the prescription bottle in her hand and took it from her. “Cassandra, did you take these?” Cassandra continued to mumble her words. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.” Isaac ran out of the bathroom and grabbed the portable phone beside Dales bed. He ran back to Cassandra pulling her into his arms. He dug in his pocket and pulled out Marges phone number. He looked at the crumpled piece of paper which had gotten wet from his swim in the lake. He held it up scrutinizing the numbers that were now a blur.

      “Ahh.” He breathed. “This is just great.” He racked his brain for Marges number. “Come on Isaac, you can remember the number. Come on.” Isaac had a photographic memory but never applied himself in school.

      He started dialing the number. “I can do this.” He finished punching in the numbers.

      “Hello?” A woman answered.

      “Is Marge there?”

      “Sorry, you have the wrong number.”

      Isaac hung up the phone. “You dialed this before.” He badgered himself. “Come on, what is it?” He picked up the phone. “I got it?” He exclaimed pushing the right digits.

      “Hello?”

      “Marge, I need help.”

      “Who is this?”

      “It’s Isaac.”

      “Isaac?”

      “Yeah, Cassandra she-”

      “I don’t believe you. Is this some kind of joke?” Marge stormed.

      “Marge, it's me I swear.”

      “Who is this?”

      “Ahh, Marge I need some help here.” Isaac was becoming more and more irritated.

      “Your supposed to be dead. You drowned in the lake.” Marge went on.

      “Drowned in the lake? Where did you get an idea like that?”

      “Everyone’s looking for you. You’re even on the news. But your Alive!” Marge boosted.

      “Never mind that now Marge. Cassandra is lying here dying in my arms can you help me or not?” Isaac screamed into the phone.

      “What’s wrong with Cassandra?”

      “I think she was trying to kill herself. She popped some Valium.”

      “How many did she take?”

      “I don’t know. I just found her here. The bottles empty.”

      “Okay, keep her awake. Don’t let her fall asleep. Get her up and walking.”

      Isaac struggled with Cassandra as Marge stayed on the other end. “Cassandra, come on help me out here.” Isaac strained holding the phone to his ear and lifting Cassandra to a standing position and walking. “Okay babe, walk. That’s good keep walking with me.”

      Cassandra stumbled on her feet as she was held up by Isaac. Her legs felt as if they were collapsing from under her but she continued to put one foot in front of the other leaning most of her weight on Isaac.

      “There we go.” Isaac praised Cassandra. “Okay Marge, were up and walking.”

      “Okay, now I want you to hang up with me and call 911. Tell them everything you told me but keep her up. Its real important that she doesn’t fall asleep.”

      “Okay, thank you Marge.” He then called 911 and told them where they were.

      “Stay on the line with me.” The operator instructed.

      “I can’t I have to keep her up.” Isaac dropped the phone to the ground.

      Cassandra’s head lowered and she rested it on Isaac’s chest. She closed her eyes and loosened her grip on him. “No you don’t, Cassandra. You have to stay up with me.” He slightly pulled her away from him and shook her. “Were going to take a trip down the stairs.” He pulled her to the stairs taking one step at a time.

      Cassandra’s head was spinning. She thought she was hallucinating Isaac being there. At first it was shocking but then her mind became tired and she just let it be. She felt as if she couldn’t move and her head kept lowering, wanting to be taken over with sleep. Her body began to feel heavy.

      Isaac trudged Cassandra down the stairs with all his vigor. To him it felt as if she was giving into the medications power. He continued to shake her, trying to keep her alert. This time there was no response. Cassandras body went limp in Isaacs arms. He lay her on the cold wood floor. “Cassandra wake up!” Isaac shouted on deaf ears. Cassandra lay motionless as Isaac kneeled over her still body searching for signs of life. He put his had over her nose hoping to feel a breath. There was none. “Where the hell are the paramedics?” Isaac started to do CPR when the front door flung open and two EMT’s rushed to Cassandras side followed by three firemen. Isaac was quickly relieved of his job. He stood to the side and watched the EMT’s do their work.

      “What did she take?” A paramedic asked Isaac.

      “Valium.”

      “Can we see the bottle?”

      “Yeah, its upstairs. I’ll go get it.” Isaac shot up the stairs coming down to reveal the prescription bottle.

      “Do you know how much she took?” The EMT read the label.

      “No. Is she going to all right?”

      “Just let us do our job and you can ask the doctor when you get to the hospital.”

      Isaac stood back paranoid for Cassandra life. He watched as they gave Cassandra a shot of Narcan, a drug which would counteract the Valium. The paramedics loaded her up on a stretcher and wheeled her out of the house.

      “Can I go with her?” Isaac asked.

      “Sorry son, there’s no room in the ambulance.” The paramedic pushed past him.

      “I have no ride.” Isaac pleaded with him.

      “You’ll have to find one.”

      That’s when Isaac saw Cassandra eclipse in the drive way. He could borrow that again. “Where are you taking her?”

      “To Scripps.”

      “Thanks.” Isaac waved to the EMT as he watched them pull away with their lights flashing and sirens yelling.

      Isaac ran to Cassandra car reaching under the front tire. He pulled off the magnetic key holder and opened it up. He stared down at the empty box. “Dang it.” He exclaimed as he kicked the dire. “This is just my luck.” He kicked it again throwing the box hard to the ground. He took off at a steady run to his friends house. He came up to Manny’s house and ran up the porch. He rapped on the door a few times. “Manny!” He yelled. “Manny, I need to use your car!”

      Manny came to the door with disbelief on his face. “Isaac?”

      “Yeah, who do you think it is the tooth fairy?” Isaac said sarcastically.

      “But your supposed to be dead.”

      “What is it with you people. Why does everyone think I’m dead?”

      “We thought you drowned in the lake.”

      “Whatever, I don’t have time for this now. You have to drive me to Scripps, Cassandra O.D’d.

      Manny still couldn’t believe it was Isaac standing in front of him but he did what he was told to do and grabbed his keys. The two loaded up in his car and headed to the hospital. One the way to the hospital Manny explained to Isaac what had been going on the last couple of days.

      “Isaac, Cassandra thought you were dead. She’s been so upset. She probably tried to kill herself, you know how much she loved you.”

      “The last time I saw her she didn’t want anything to do with me.” Isaac grumbled. “Can’t you go any faster?”

      Manny floored it and soon they arrived at the hospital. Manny barely had enough time to stop the car before Isaac jumped out running for the emergency entrance. Isaac scurried passed the waiting area and up to the reception desk where he demanded to see Cassandra.

      The receptionist made him sit in the waiting room. Soon a nurse came out and told him they were still working on Cassandra and the doctor would be out to tell him Cassandras condition.

      Manny joined Isaac and they waited together for what seemed like hours. Isaac became antsy as he stood and paced the room.

      “Isaac, settle down.” Manny urged.

      “I can’t.” Isaac objected.

      A tall balding man dressed in a white doctors jacket entered the room. He wore thin glasses perched on the tip of his nose, as he looking over them.

      “Isaac Hanson?” he read off of one of his many papers in his hand.

      “Yes.” Isaac rushed over to him as Manny followed hanging back a little. “How’s Cassandra?”

      “Cassandra is resting comfortably now.” The doctor started. “The dosage of Valium she took wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her sick. She’ll be just fine.”

      “Can I see her?”

      “Yes, the nurse will show you the way.”

      Isaac was lead to the room while Manny waited outside. Isaac stepped into the cold white room. There were three hospital beds in the room. He peered around at the other two women. They were sitting up in bed watching the small television attached to the wall.

      “You only have five minutes.” The nurse pointed him to Cassandra bed.

      Isaac slowly stepped up to her bed pulling the curtain around them for privacy. She looked wiped out, dead asleep. She had an IV on the back of her hand and was wrapped in the hospital blankets. Isaac took her hand in his. “Cassandra.” He whispered.

      Cassandra was sedated she felt very relaxed. She heard her name being called. It was Isaac’s voice. “Am I dead?” She thought. “Isaac’s dead, I must be dead if he’s calling me.” She observed.

      Cassandra opened her eyes blinking to focus. She was very groggy. She felt someone squeeze her hand and she slowly looked up to see Isaac’s warm brown eyes meet her gaze.

      “Cassandra.” Isaac squeezed her hand again.

      Cassandra slowly moved her lips. “Isaac?”

      “Oh, Cassandra, I’m so glad your all right.”

      The memories started to flood Cassandra mind. She remembered taking her fathers pills and then blacking out.

      “Isaac is that you. Are you alive?”

      “Of course I’m alive, Cassandra I didn’t drown in the lake, I swam to shore and hitch hiked back. If I hadn’t gone to your fathers house to stay I would have never found you.”

      “Oh, Isaac, when I heard you had drowned I thought it was my fault for telling you to go away. I didn’t want to live with out you.” The tears were streaming down Cassandra face and staining the pillow she lay upon.

      Just then the nurse entered the room. “You’re going to have to leave now, son. Cassandra needs her rest.”

      Isaac held tighter to Cassandras hand and kissed her on the check. As he bent down Cassandra whispered in Isaac’s ear. “I know it wasn’t your fault. I love you.”

      “I’ll be back in the morning, babe. You just try and keep me away this time.”

      Isaac wandered back to the waiting room with a big beaming smile plastered on his face. “Come on Manny, drive me home.” The two headed out the door. “I’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

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THE END
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Sequel? or No Sequel?

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© 1999 Alana Gustafson