The Start of It All

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Cassidy had just gotten off the phone with her sister Jessica. She was expecting Sam back soon, and had mentioned how his brother had picked him up for a family thing, which Cassidy thought odd.

In all the times that Sam had been at the Moore home, he'd never mentioned the idea of reconnecting with his brother or his father.

The morning of November 3, 2005, Cassidy walked down the stairs to see her parents at the kitchen table.

Colin Moore glanced up and said, "Cassidy, there's something we need to tell you."

She sat at the table, sensing the tension. "Yeah, Dad?"

He glanced to his wife Alicia. "There was an accident in Sam and Jess' apartment last night."

"What kind of accident? Mom? Dad? Is Jess okay?"

Alicia shook her head. "No, sweetheart, she isn't. Their apartment caught fire and Jess didn't make it."

Cassidy shook her head. "No. No! You're lying to me! Jess is gonna come home this weekend and- And-" She grabbed her backpack and stormed off.

Colin let out a sigh. "I'd have given anything not to tell her that. They were so close."

Alicia placed a hand on his back and rubbed gentle circles around. "I know."

Nine hours later, Cassidy returned home from school. As soon as she entered the house, she ran up to her room.

She dumped out her piggybank and put the bills in her wallet and the coins in a change purse. She grabbed leggings, jeans, socks, underclothes, shirts, a jacket and stuffed them in a duffel bag she'd grabbed. She grabbed a pair of sneakers and slipped them on, then put her combat boots in the duffel bag.

She grabbed her toiletries and stuffed them into the duffel bag as well.

Once she figured she had everything she needed, she grabbed the stuffed dog her sister had given her when she was little and put it in a smaller pocket in the duffel bag.

Cassidy wrote a quick note for her parents telling them she was sorry and that she loved them.

She walked out the front door, making sure she wasn't seen, and made her way to a bus station.

From there, she wasn't sure where she'd go. All she knew was that she had to find the truth of her sister's death, however long that took.

Little did she know her parents would never read that letter.

At age fifteen, Cassidy Moore was an orphan.

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