It was hardly surprising that no one believed her when she told them that a God of antiquity told her in secret of the future. No curse was necessary to do that. The true curse that Apollo had put upon her was that he was not there to protect her when they dragged her off to an asylum.
And surely it must look like she was completely insane. She had not been able to resist screaming out what she had seen when the images of her father, lying murdered in their living room, and her older brother, dead in an alley after a duel, filled her mind. She ripped her dark hair out of its fastenings in despair at the knowledge of her family's fall, which she knew would come but could not prevent, and attacked her younger brother at the knowledge that it would be his affair with an already married woman that caused that fall. And when she collapsed on the floor, her energy drained by the exertion of her violent response to the things she had seen, her horrified family members had locked the door of her bedroom and taken out anything that she could had broken. And the next day they sent her to Carfax Asylum.
It was at that moment, when she realized where they were going, that her blood turned cold and she began to despair. She whispered, not wanting her family to hear, even though it didn't matter anymore. "Please, Apollo, I know I denied you, but surely you will not allow them to do this to me, you will not allow them to lock up your chosen one…"
But there was no response, even though she would have welcomed one.
The asylum wasn't so bad, she supposed. The room she was given was bare, but she had never cared much about such things. And the Doctor, Seward, his name was, seemed kind enough. No, it was the turn of the key in the lock as the door was closed behind her that made the place intolerable to her. She sat looking through the barred window through which a weak beam of sunlight fell for hours, until the sun set, early, as it was March. When she went to sleep that night, she dreamed of summer.
The next day she had her first interview with Doctor Seward. She looked him straight in the eye, which she thought disturbed him a bit, and then titled her head. She could see a laughing golden haired girl, and then that beauty turned to ice, and, over it all, a wide, all encompassing shadow. She said, her voice perfectly calm. "She'll die, you know." Seward looked startled, and then, when he had recovered himself slightly, began to ask questions about what she had said. She merely shook her head and smiled. It was useless. He would make all the wrong assumptions anyway.
It was in May when her mother and younger sister came to visit. As soon as she saw them, Cassandra felt dread in the pit of her stomach. Her mother was crying silently, and her sister had an arm around her. Her mother could barely speak, but told her about what had happened. It was all the way she had seen it. Her oldest brother, Hector, was dead, had gotten himself in a duel to protect her younger brother's honor. But, of course, it didn't seem to occur to anyone that she had predicted this months before it actually happened. She didn't say anything to her mother or sister, and lay curled up on her bed for hours after they had left.
Of course, Apollo came after that. To talk to her, to comfort her, something. She felt his presence without looking at him and without him saying a word. "Leave me alone." She said, her voice expressionless. But he, the meddling God, moved a step closer to her. "Cassandra, if you just stop this foolish resistance then I could bring you away from all of this, away from all of these concerns. We could be together like we were before you started this, before I had to punish you for it…" He reached a hand out to touch her arm and she pulled away.
"Never." She said softly, her voice completely calm, and not in the slightest bit angry.
If he was annoyed, his tone didn't show it. "Why do you continue like this? It's completely useless, and it only hurts yourself."
She sighed and sat up, looking directly at him. "I've told you a thousand times, I can't let you just use me and then throw me away. We all know that's what you'll do, and I can't let that happen to me. I was content when you were just a God and I was just your worshipper, before you tried to make me into something more."
Not to be deterred, he reached out to touch her shoulder again. "You always were something more. That was why I gave you the gift of prophecy in the first place."
She couldn't resist raising her voice. "Then take it back! I never wanted that gift! Take it back and leave me free!"
His voice was gentle, and she wished it wasn't. "It can't be taken back. It's part of your fate now." And with that he left. Most of her was relieved but there was a part of her that wished he had stayed. At least then she wouldn't be so lonely.
After her brother's death, Dr. Seward made more of an effort to connect with her in the interviews that still happened once a week or more. She was compliant enough, but didn't make any more of an effort to explain anything to him. She did, however feel quite sorry for him. His life was to be one of loneliness and loss. How could she not pity him?
He was very kind the first interview they had after Hector's death. "I'm very sorry to hear about the death of your brother, Miss Ilium."
She didn't meet his eyes. "I knew it was coming long ago."
He did sound genuinely confused, and she wondered how he managed to still not realize anything at all. "And why is that?"
If he didn't manage to figure it out on his own, she wasn't going to spell it out for him. She gave evasive answers for the rest of the interview.
It took two months after that till her family was completely ruined. Dr. Seward brought her the news in July, speaking gently as he told her of the murder of her father, and the suicide of her younger brother, and the marriage her sister had to undergo, in hopes that they might regain something, even if all was lost. Of course, it hadn't worked.
She had known all of this long ago. She sat in stony silence at the news, wanting much to completely dissolve into tears, but not allowing herself to do so. She waited until Dr. Seward was gone, and then went to gaze out of the window, as she had done when she was first brought here. She thought that if there were no bars on it she might jump out.
After that, nothing much happened until mid September. She had behaved well during that time, giving everyone at the asylum little cause for concern, and consequently people paid less attention to her. She managed at one point to get out onto the garden attached to the asylum. It was a beautiful day, still ripe with the fullness of the summer, but just beginning to have the feeling of autumn to it. As she relished the feeling of warm sunlight on her skin again, she noticed a couple being met at the entrance of the asylum by Doctor Seward. For some reason she didn't think they were there to visit any of the patients. She could hear just a snippet of conversation. "How nice to see you, Jack…" and then, a few seconds later, "Of course, Mina, you can just wait out in the gardens." And the young woman in the couple began to walk towards the gardens where Cassandra was.
She wasn't particularly pretty, this young woman, but there was a certain quiet beauty to her. Cassandra would have liked to see for her a happy future with that husband of hers – though she didn't know if he actually was her husband, she presumed so – as she looked at the young woman she saw something quite different.
The most vivid image was of this woman kneeling, her mouth pressed to the chest of a pale, dark haired man who Cassandra found strangely familiar, the man's hand holding her head down as blood dripped from her neck. And then there was an image of the woman with her head in her hands and she sobbed, crying in a way that was extremely painful to hear. And Cassandra looked at the young woman where she sat in the garden, her hands playing with the fabric of her dress as she waited for her husband to return. "October second." Cassandra said then, her voice quiet.
The woman turned to look at Cassandra quickly, extremely startled. Cassandra smiled slightly. "There's no way to stop him. And he will not be kind."
Cassandra was not sorry that she had said what she had, even though the young woman looked terrified out of her wits. Luckily, though, before the woman had to make an awkward reply to Cassandra's words, her husband and Dr. Seward returned. Her husband instantly went to her side, and Cassandra gathered from their conversation that her name was Mina, but Dr. Seward frowned when he saw her there. "Cassandra, shouldn't you be inside?"
Cassandra didn't reply, but followed him without protest back into the asylum, the image of Mina and the dark haired man from her vision haunting her.
It was a week and a half later when anything more happened. She was sitting in her room, reading, when she heard a voice filling her mind, but one completely different from Apollo's. This voice was as made of darkness as Apollo's was made of light. I need your aid. The voice said, and she somehow recognized it as being the voice of the dark haired man from her vision about Mina. Almost instantly she realized what was going on. You're a demon, a creature of darkness. Why do you need my aid? She paused. And you haven't told me your name.
The voice remained calm. I am Count Dracula. And I must be invited before I can enter any house. He, as well, paused. Soon enough Mina will be here. I need to be able to enter.
Suddenly, a name filled her mind. Agamemnon.
She had known for years something of her future, and it had been what would come near the end of her life that had terrified her the most. She should have been thinking about her coming fate as soon as she heard of her father's death, but it had been far from her mind at the time. Now it seemed all too immediate.
The idea occurred to her suddenly that if this Count Dracula was also the person she had spent years being terrified of, inviting him in and letting him fulfill Mina's fate might stop her own from occurring. Perhaps she should have known better than to think such things, but she didn't think the idea through too greatly. So she said mentally, complete calm in her words. You may enter, Count Dracula.
As soon as she said those words, a strange mist filled the room, materializing to form the dark haired man of her earlier vision. He bowed slightly. "Cassandra, I thank you greatly for the service you have done me. If there is anything you wish me to do to aid you, I am in your debt."
Her reaction was immediate. "Get me out of here."
He looked over her, a red glint in his eyes. "I believe that can be arranged." He said with a smile.
Perhaps this was not the best way to escape her fate.