Demon Derby

Demon Derby by Carrie Harris Read Free Book Online

Book: Demon Derby by Carrie Harris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carrie Harris
could take the train.”
    “That would be awesome.”
    Mom and Dad squeezed through the doorway, nearly upending the massive sheet cake they were supporting between them. It overflowed with green frosting; plastic ninjas competed for space with at least two boxes of candles. One of the ninjas had toppled headfirst into a candle flame, and his head was dripping.
    “Happy recovery to you!” they sang. Rachel warbled along out of tune. “Happy recovery to you! Happy recovery, dear Casey! Happy recovery to you!”
    They set the cake down on the table, nearly upsetting it into my lap. Then Dad said, “Blow out the candles, honey.”
    I didn’t need to be told twice. Those poor ninjas.
    Mom whipped out a knife and started cutting the cake into dinner-plate-sized slices. I got the first piece. It had a lot of ninjas on it, including the damaged one. A puddle of head goo encased his feet. Poor guy; I scooped him out reverentially and laid him to rest on my napkin.
    “Uh, guys?” Rachel asked, taking her plate. “Isn’t it customary to have dinner first? You know, vegetables, meats, that kind of thing?”
    “Reverse dinner. Duh,” I said.
    My parents were big on themed meals. They did reverse dinners, where dessert was served first and appetizers last; alphabet meals, where every food item began with the same letter; and no-utensils nights, where they served things like chicken and noodles with no forks and lots of napkins. This kind of thing was one of the many reasons why I never invited anyone except Kyle over for dinner.
    “Nope.” Mom laughed. “Good guess, though.”
    “Just wait and see,” added Dad, forking a piece of red velvet cake approximately the size of a baseball into his mouth.
    “Whatever.” Rachel rolled her eyes. “So how was the dojo thing, Sis?”
    “I think it’s great that you’re getting out and about again, Casey,” boomed our father. “And only one day after your traumatic experience. I’m proud of your bravery, kiddo.”
    I had to give my parents some credit; they were pretty chill. They had to be, with me as a daughter. I’d come home sprained, broken, or abraded more often than not. They’d clamped down pretty hard when I’d first gotten diagnosed, but I’d liked the fact that they’d been at the hospital every day. Mom would give me foot rubs, and Dad would debate with the doctors about experimental techniques he’d read about on the Internet. They were weird and embarrassing a lot of the time, but they’d known exactly what to do when I’d needed them. And, just as important, they’d known when to back off.
    “There’s not much to tell,” I said, shrugging. “One of the girls invited me to try out for a roller derby team. Will one of you sign the release form? I called Dr. Rutherford’s office, and he said it was okay. I’m allowed to go back to the dojo too.”
    Of course, when I’d spoken to my doctor, I’d failed to mention the hallucinations. And I might have downplayed the derby thing. In fact, I might have lied outright and told him I was going to be a mascot.
    “How is Phil Rutherford these days?” Dad asked. “I keep leaving him messages about community theater tryouts, but henever shows. Pity, because the guy’s got a natural stage presence.”
    “Not bad.” I took a deep breath. “He said Little Casey’s back on the floor. He thought I might want to know.”
    Little Casey had been my children’s hospital fourth-floor neighbor for months. She’d had acute lymphoblastic leukemia; I’d had acute myelogenous leukemia. She’d been nine at diagnosis. I’d been just shy of sixteen. But the nurses had called us the Casey twins anyway. It was the only time I’ve ever been called big.
    I hadn’t spoken to her since I’d been discharged. I missed her, but she was a reminder of all the things I really would have preferred to leave behind.
    “You should call her,” Dad said. “Or go to visit. Take her some of this cake.”
    “I’ll think about

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