C H A P T E R     T W E N T Y - S E V E N

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      Cassandra stood from the curb wiping her eyes dry. She began to walk back to her old house hoping Isaac had left her car keys where he always left them when he used the car, in a magnetic key holder above the right front wheel of the car. She thought if anyone knew where Isaac was it was his best friend, Marlon.


      Cassandra reached above the tire feeling for the magnetic box. When she found it she tugged it off and pulled it to eye view. She slid the top off hoping for the best.

      “Oh yeah!” She exclaimed when she saw the shimmering metal catch her eye. She pulled out the key and unlocked her door hoping in.

      First stop Isaac’s best friend, Marlon. She drove wild threw the city to Marlon’s house. She had been there once before with Isaac.

      She found Marlon’s blue and white two story house and went straight to the door knocking. A middle aged woman opened the door. Cassandra suspected it to be Marlon’s mother, Mrs. Phillips. The woman stared down at Cassandra waiting for her to say something.

      “Hi,” Cassandra started. “is Isaac or Marlon here?”

      “No, Marlon went up to Turtle Rock Lake with some friends. I think Isaac went with him. They’re supposed to be home late tomorrow.”

      “Thank you.”

      “Are you going up there?” Mrs. Phillips asked.

      “Yeah, right now.”

      Mrs. Phillips shook her head. “It’s kinda late to go up there. The mountains are pretty curvy. You’d be safer going up tomorrow morning.”

      Turtle Rock Lake was up in the mountains, two hours away. Almost all the high school kids have been there. Cassandra had been to many parties there with Isaac over the last summer.

      “Okay.” Cassandra decided to take her advise, besides Helen would be missing her in the morning and she would be in big trouble for running away.

      “Be careful on the ride up there.” Mrs. Phillips warned. “And tell Marlon he better be back tomorrow. He has school Monday.”

      “I will, thanks.”

      Mrs. Phillips shut her door when she saw Cassandra was safely in her car.

      Cassandra drove back to the Tingle house. She parked her car four houses down so Helen wouldn’t see it. She quietly crept back to her window and climbed back in. She didn’t get much sleep that night. She was thinking of Isaac.


      The lake sparkled from the moon and stars above. The air was cool and calm sending Isaac’s hair to move gently in its breeze. Isaac sat on the edge of the pier with his feet dangling into the cold water of Turtle Rock Lake. He looked over at his best friend Marlon, a beer lightly griped between his thumb and four fingers. He popped the lid and chugged down half of it.

       “Come on man, loosen up.” Marlon shoved Isaac with his elbow. He laughed at nothing but the air. He was smashed. “You look like a friggin, I don’t know what you look like, but come on have a beer. It will get rid of all your Cassandra problems. Come on.” Marlon shoved a beer at him.

       Isaac took it reluctantly. Debating whether or not to drink it he opened the can and took a sip. “Get rid of all my problems huh?” Isaac took another sip and then another.

       “Hey Jake, Manny. Look at Isaac.” Marlon called to his two friends that sat on the other end of the pier. “My man’s drinking.”

       “No way man.” Manny chuckled as the two stood up to join Isaac and Marlon.

       “Way to go.” Marlon handed him another beer when his saw Isaac throw the first one into the lake.

       “Man, I dare you to take off all your clothes and go to that hot chick we saw earlier and tell her you want her.” Marlon dared Manny.

       “All right.” Manny striped down and ran off.

       The other three just kept passing beers. When they heard someone scream they broke into a fit of laughter.

       Manny came back picking up his boxers and tugging them back on. “I don’t think she liked me too much.” He sat back down.

       They continued daring each other and passing beers to one another until the last beer was split between them all.

       “I’m going out in the boat, anyone want to join me?” Jake asked standing up.

       “I will.” Isaac volunteered as he staggered to get into the small boat.


       The next day, Sunday, Cassandra refused to go to church with Helen and the kids. She told them she wasn’t feeling well so they took off without her. It worked perfectly.

       Cassandra quickly got dressed grabbed a banana and headed to Turtle Rock Lake. It took two hours to get there so she stopped at a gas station mid way. She filled up her gas tank and went into the mini mart and got herself a twinkie to tide her over. She was lucky she had a credit card in her glove box.

       By the time she got to Turtle Rock Lake it was eleven in the afternoon. She pulled up the driveway of the camp. A wooden sign hung above reading ‘Turtle Rock Lake’. As she drove further in she noticed park rangers and a couple of local police cars. Cassandra parked her car wondering what was going on. She looked to the lake and saw a couple of boats holding men in black scuba gear. It looked like they were searching for something. Cassandra got a bad felling in the pit of her stomach. She noticed Marlon standing with two of his buddies Jake and Manny. They were standing at the side of a ranger’s jeep.

       She jogged over to them. “Where’s Isaac?” She asked looking to Jake.

       Jake looked down at the ground.

       “Where’s Isaac?” She asked again looking to Manny.

       Manny took interest in his fingers.

       Cassandra moved to Marlon. “Marlon, tell me where Isaac is, now!” She panicked.

       Marlon looked into her eyes and then to the lake.

       “Marlon, please tell me where he is!” Cassandra bellowed. She had a bad feeling about all of this.

       Marlon looked back down at Cassandra’s face. He took a deep breath.

       “Where is he?”

       Marlon furrowed his eye brows. “Cassandra,” Marlong looked one last time at the lake. “We think he drowned.” He stated.

       “What?” Cassandra yelped.

       “Last night we got totally wasted. He went out on the lake with Jake last night and when Jake woke up this morning he was gone. Jake was way out in the lake. Everyone thinks he drowned.

       “Oh no! Isaac, no!” Cassandra yelled. “No, this isn’t happening.” She cried.

       Marlon grabbed her shaking body and pulled her to him trying to keep her calm.

       “He doesn’t drink. He couldn’t have drowned. How could you let him drink?” She continued to yell.


       The day dragged on slowly. Cassandra, Marlon, Jake and Manny stood on the side lines watching the commotion of the search. Rangers and police covered the grounds walking back and forth, in continual circles. They hadn’t found anything yet. The police had questioned the three boys leaving them to suspect the worst.

       The camp ground soon became busy with news reporters and locals wanting to help search. The news reporters were pests. Cassandra refused to talk to them but Marlon and Manny couldn’t refuse the two second spot light on the television. They gladly spoke for all of them leaving out Isaac’s name like the police had advised them.

       News hounds repeatedly shouted at Cassandra.

       “Cassandra!” They yelled.

       “Cassandra tell us your relation with this young man?”

       Marlon, Jake and Manny tried to get rid of them. “Please, can you just leave her alone?”

       “Cassandra, what his his name?” They were presistent.

       Soon two police came and told them they wanted to do a live report. The news reporters went crazy shoving their microphones and cameras in the air.

       “We first want you to move.” The officer pointed to a barricade. “Please, everyone step behind the barricade and we will start our account of what’s going on.”

       The reporters made a mad dash behind the blocked out area. It was about two hundred feet away from Cassandra and the boys. They finally got a little peace once they left.

       Cassandra resumed her place on a bench staring into the lake, the lake that took her only love.


       Holly, the youngest of the children staying at the Tingle home, sat in front of the television. She was flicking around all the channels when something caught her eye.

       “Helen!” Holly yelled into the kitchen where Helen was starting dinner. “Cassandra is on T.V.”

       Helen came walking into the living room with a bag of chicken in her hand. “What?”

       “Cassandra, she was just on the TV” Holly simply stated as she turned the channel.

       “Wait, turn it back.” Helen walked to the couch and sat down watching the end of the news report.

       “A local teen from Tulsa is suspected of downing in Turtle Rock Lake last night. Apparently he and a friend had gone out on the lake in a small boat. The next morning one of the young men woke to find his friend missing. We’re not sure at this time if either of the young men were intoxicated. Right now police and divers are searching the lake and the surrounding woods.”

       They cut to a video clip of the lake.

       “Police are withholding the young mans name until they get a hold of his parents. That’s all the information we have now. Stay tuned for more. Jeff Addo reporting.”

       Helen gasped. She stood up and went straight to the back door.

       “Brandy!” She called the oldest of the children.

       Brandy and Brad were outside playing catch. Brandy ran up to Helen.

       “Yeah, Helen?”

       “You have to watch the kids.” Helen stammered. She walked back into the house putting the chicken down and grabbing her keys.

       “Okay.” Brandy agreed.

       “I’ll be back in a little while.” Helen waved at the kids. “If I’m gone past six thirty heat something up in the micro. Bye!” She opened the front door.

       “All right. Where are you going?”

       Helen closed the front door behind her before she heard Brandy’s question. She hoped into her Civic and sped down the road and onto the two hour drive to Turtle Rock Lake.

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[Green Eggs And Hanson]

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© 1999 Alana Gustafson