Thursday, June 9, 2011

Burntcore Week 55: Hearts So Deep Part 3


Picture 1

Picture 2

Burntcore's Choice: Picture 2

Hearts So Deep - Part 3

The Sunday after Casey went out with her friends, she found herself curled up with her mother’s journal again. She kept going back to the entries about Pittsburgh. Something happened there. Something that Casey knew could only be found by a trip to Pittsburgh and to the university.

Pitt Stadium was no longer in existence, but perhaps there were other places she could go to try to find information. At the very least, there should be something in the school’s archives about the old stadium, perhaps even something at Heinz Field, the field where the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers played.

Casey popped open her laptop and decided to do some sleuthing from the comfort of her home before making a trip into Pittsburgh, something she wouldn’t be able to realistically do until the next weekend. On the website for Heinz Field, she found the field tour schedule. Conveniently, they did tours on the weekends too, at least when there wasn’t a home game. Since it was currently in the middle of football season, the weekend tour availability was scarce. Casey lucked out that both the Panthers and the Steelers had away games next weekend. It was a perfect opportunity.

She did another search for any photos from Pitt Stadium from around the time that Susan was there. Google Images was a godsend but there was a lot to sift through. Casey adjusted her search to narrow the results. It only had limited success.

Frustrated with her lack of success with the Google search, she turned back to her mother’s journal. Idly, she flipped through the pages randomly, not really sure what she was looking for. Casey noticed some variations in Susan’s handwriting based on her mood when she wrote in the journal. Towards the middle of the journal, Susan’s handwriting was a lot more jagged, like she was angry or upset. It must’ve been resolved at some point because her writing smoothed out until the very end.

Casey turned to the last page and it appeared that the final entry was incomplete. It was also dated the week that she died, well after Casey was born. The last sentence was written in scratchy, hurried script, the pen pressed far into the paper, almost tearing it. Casey realized the last sentence wasn’t even complete. The pen line scritched out, like it was dragged. A few flecks of something brown dotted the bottom of the paper. Casey held the corner of the page up closer to her face to try to examine the specks.

It looked like old, dried blood.

Could this be her mother's?

Feeling suddenly ill, Casey tossed the journal on the table. She had put more force in her arm then she realized as the journal went sliding across the table and tumbled to the floor on the other side. Sighing, she walked over and picked up the journal by its spine. As she lifted it, a couple of pictures fluttered to the floor.

Puzzled, Casey knelt down and picked them. When she had flipped through the journal earlier, she had not seen any pictures tucked into any of the pages. The first picture looked like it was overexposed, but what Casey could see was a long haired woman in a seventies-esque fringed jumper. The woman did not look familiar. She flipped the picture over and the name “Julianne” was written across the back.

“Oh my God,” she whispered.

She finally knew what her aunt looked like. Casey reverently touched the photo, careful to not leave fingerprints. Gently, she slipped the photo back into the journal and turned to look at the second photo.

Casey couldn’t help but laugh, it was not the most flattering picture of a guy. The picture also looked a little old but not as old as the picture of Julianne. The name written on the back of the picture was Jack. She flipped the picture back over the front and stared at the picture again.

“Dad was never that skinny, was he?” she whispered to herself.

She left the picture out to remind her to ask her dad about being with mom on a lake when they were young the next time she talked to him.

The ringing of her cell phone brought her out of her thoughts. The phone skittered across the table, vibrating as it rang. Before it could follow the same path of the journal, Casey picked it up and answered the call.