Craven's Chaos

Craven's Chaos

A Story by Cassie Meno

When sleepwalking becomes your reality, what does that make the waking hours?


This is an excerpt from my latest book, Craven's Chaos.

It takes me a few minutes to find the pool; it’s in the basement of the school, and there’s only one stairway that leads down there. The locker room is nicer than the bathroom in my dorm. The floor is black with white grout separating the tiny square tiles. It looks like it’s just been mopped. There are about twenty changing stalls and ten shower cubicles, all blocked off by crystallized privacy glass.

I step into one of the changing stalls and slide the glass door shut to change into my bathing suit. I managed to keep my one-piece from the team back at Fountain View. I look terrible in green, and I could have brought a different one, but I’m glad to have something to hold on to from home.

I stuff my clothes in a locker, pull out the key, and head out to the pool with my towel slung over my shoulder.

It’s much larger than I had expected. Half of the pool is dedicated to laps, with at least twenty lanes. On the other side are three different size diving boards and one platform, about twenty feet high.

For the first time since leaving Colorado, I remember why I’ve always tried to keep some body of water close by. The familiarity alone douses some of my anxiety. I throw my towel onto the nearest set of bleachers and dive in to one of the lanes.

The water is cold, but it feels good against my skin. It’s odd to feel my hair against my shoulders for once; I normally have it up in a cap. I push off the wall with my feet and allow myself to glide to a stop before surfacing and rolling onto my back. Keeping my eyes closed, I paddle down the lane with my beet and breathe in and out through my nose.

It’s been too long.

Usually, even during the off season, I’m in the pool every day, conditioning and maintaining my stats. After the fire, everything changed.

When I reach the end of the lane, I just float there. It’s completely silent; I’m alone in the water�"just the way I like it.

“Hey, Kessi!”

I grab onto the side of the pool and look up. “Tammy?” It’s impossible that she could be there, but I don’t care. I jump out of the water, grinning. “What are you doing here?”

She starts toward me. “I wanted to come see you; you haven’t been online much so I wanted to make sure you were okay. Took me forever to find the place.”

Tammy is the only person I didn’t want to leave in Colorado. We’ve known each other since elementary school and the only person I was ever closer to is Craven.

She hands me my towel and I wrap myself up to stop from shivering. I laugh. “God, I can’t believe you’re here.”

She shrugs. “Well, like I said, I haven’t heard from you. I wanted to make sure you weren’t going crazy out here in the middle of the woods.”

“Yeah, sorry. I’ve been a little…overwhelmed.” I don’t have to elaborate; I know she knows what I mean.

“I knew I’d find you down here.” She looks around. “It’s nice. Bigger than Fountain View’s. The grounds aren’t bad either. How are the classes?”

“Okay, I guess. Not too bad.”

“Well, why don’t you dry off and show me around?”

She follows me back to the locker room and waits for me to chang into my clothes and we head back upstairs. “How did you know where the pool is? Or do you usually expect to find me in the basement?”

She just laughs and shakes her head. I lead her across the grounds and straight up to my dorm. Thankfully, nobody is in here.

“Not much decorations,” she says, staring at the blank wall above my bed.

“I haven’t had much time for personal touches.” I sit down on top of my scrunched up blankets; I didn’t have the motivation the make the bed this morning.

She sits down next to me and sighs. “Kessi, I need to talk to you about something important.” There’s a seriousness in her eyes that I’ve rarely seen there. Tammy has always been care free and passive about problems, no matter how severe. She’s always had a way of dealing with them in a calm and down-to-earth sort of way. But now, something is worrying her.

“What is it?” I ask.

She puts her hand on my shoulder. “It’s about Craven.”

My stomach drops upon hearing his name. Tammy hasn’t talked about him since sixth grade; she knows how much it freaks me out. I wasn’t even sure she knew he was here. So what’s the deal? She leans a bit closer to me, tears glazing her eyes.

“Tammy, what are you talking about?” I’m not sure I want to know.

“You need to listen,” she breathes. “You need to take him seriously.”

My blood turns to ice and my lungs are suddenly empty. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She takes my hand and looks down at it, shaking her head and biting her lip. I follow her gaze.

My hand�"my entire arm�"is dripping wet. I reach up and touch my hair. It’s soaked. I don’t understand; I dried it before we left the locker room; it shouldn’t be wet enough to drip like this. I look down at the rest of my body and see that I’m still in my bathing suit.

I swallow hard and go to stand up, but Tammy grabs onto my hand. “Be careful. Don’t let go.” I shake my head, too breathless to speak.

Tears are spilling out of her eyes. Tammy, who never gave a damn about what anyone said about her, who fell ten feet off of the slide on the playground and didn’t even flinch…Carefree, fearless, indestructible Tammy is crying. “You’re already gone,” she whispers.

She lets go of my hand, and I start falling backward. Down, down, down. I flail my arms around, desperately trying to grab a hold of something. After what feels like hours, I land in someone’s arms. We both let out a hmph sound and whoever has caught me sinks to his knees.


 I try to stay calm, but I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. Craven’s staring into my eyes, his mouth slightly open. “Let go of me.”

“Kessi, look�"“

I cut him off. “Put me down Craven!”

My knees are shaking as allows me to take on my own weight. I’m shivering, but I don’t think it’s from the cold. For a few seconds, I can’t even breathe enough to get any words out. And then, without looking at him, I say, “What happened.”

He points and I follow his gaze to the ladder that leads to the highest diving bored. “You were about halfway up when you fell.”

Tears are leaking out of my eyes, and I hope that the dripping water will cover them up. He puts his hand on my shoulder, “Please,” his eyes are pleading. “Just listen to me.”

I shake my head because I can’t listen to anyone. I can’t take hearing another word. “I don’t even know what’s real anymore,” I whisper, and then I turn and head back to the locker room.

© 2011 Cassie Meno

Author's Note

Cassie Meno
This is an excerpt from chapter 8 of my novel-in-progress, Craven's Chaos. Please note that this is completely unedited.

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Nice, are you going to finish this book, or am I going to have to sit here this whole time with my head spinning, trying to figure out what's going on? I'm definitely getting an "Inception" vibe from this; I like that.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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Added on January 11, 2011
Last Updated on January 11, 2011


Cassie Meno
Cassie Meno


Hey, everyone, my name is Cassie Meno. I'm eighteen and I've been writing pretty much since before I could spell. I prefer longer pieces--novels and novellas mainly. I have a hard time getting a poin.. more..

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A Story by Cassie Meno