Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

A Chapter by Jooolie
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The Lavender Dress

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The wind blew through Lora’s hair as she continued down the sidewalk. She hugged her arms against her sides and her teeth chattered from the cold as she fought off her urge to look behind her. She considered turning back, hoping Ellizabeth was still there on the back steps of the bar. Lora wished she could have stayed behind with the group, she wished she could stay in New York. But her stomach churned at Jeff’s news of the disease and her skin tingled as she wondered how long it would take for the dioxide to seep into the city.
A street lamp sputtered and burned out as Lora passed it, and she turned her head up to the sky. She had managed to wander onto a residential street, and the sparse light made the stars gleam brighter than she had ever seen in the city. As she gave a weak smile up at the sky, Lora’s eyes focused on a patch of elegant, pale cloth as it seemed to float above the street. 
Lora came to an abrupt halt on the sidewalk as her gaze caught sight of the full image in front of her. The cloth was a portion at the hem of a long, wispy silk dress that waved several stories above the street as the woman in the gown stood with her back against the outside of her apartment building.
Lora let out a small cry and rushed farther down the street until she was directly across the road from the woman.
“What are you doing up there?” she cried out to the woman, and her voice echoed through the street.
“Don’t call for help! I’ll jump!” the stranger yelled back. As she replied, the woman braced herself tighter against the stone wall behind her as she glared coldly down at Lora.
“Okay,” Lora answered quickly, raising her hands gently as if she expected the gesture to halt the woman. “Okay,” she continued calmly, “I won’t. Just hang on, don’t do anything stupid.”
“Are you calling me stupid?” the woman snapped back with a hint of laughter in her voice.
“No, no!” Lora jumped in, taking a few sudden steps forward. “Just get back inside the building. Maybe I can help you. Do you want to talk?”
The woman scoffed. “If I wanted to talk, I wouldn’t be standing on the edge of my apartment building.”
“Why are you doing this?” Lora asked, her eyes still focused on the pale dress blowing in the breeze as the woman steadied her footing. 
“What’s it matter to you?” the woman snapped back, looking down at her feet as she took a small step to secure her balance.
“Look, I want to help,” Lora replied quietly.
“I told you, I don’t need help. Just go away.”
“Don’t do this. You have no idea what you’re doing.”
“And you do?” the woman cut in, the laughter growing in her voice. “Who are you anyway?”
“My name is Lora Valestin, I’m a botanist,” Lora responded as she carefully took a few more steps forward until she was standing in the street. “I know I’m not a psychiatrist, but maybe I can help. Just tell me what’s wrong. What’s your name?”
The woman stood silent for a minute, staring down at Lora. “Ava,” she answered blankly.
Lora smiled at her breakthrough. “Right, Ava,” she beamed. “It’s nice to meet you. Now please, just tell me what’s wrong.”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Try me.”
Ava stopped short and turned her head to look down the street, her long blonde hair blowing behind her. As she gazed at the surrounding buildings, her lip began to quiver and her eyes glistened with tears. 
“All this news about the carbon dioxide,” Ava finally said quietly, her voice shaking as she choked back the tears. “I heard people are already dying over in California. We don’t have much time left over here, what’s the use of sticking around if we’re just going to be miserable?”
Lora raised her hand to point up at Ava. “That’s why?” she asked with excitement. “That’s why you’re out here? I told you I could help! I’m working on finding a cure. You don’t have to jump, everything is going to be fine. Trust me, I’ll fix it.”
“Trust you?” Ava sneered. “Why the hell would I do that?”
“Because I’m not going to let you die,” Lora answered proudly, a new determination growing inside of her. She took three more steps toward Ava’s building. “From this or the dioxide. I’ll fix everything.”
“Yeah, good luck with that,” Ava chuckled. 
Lora stood quietly for a moment, contemplating her next move. Finally, she turned back up to the woman. “Would you let me come up there?” she asked desperately. “Please, let me talk to you.”
“We’re talking now,” Ava smirked down at Lora, her dress flowing beneath her as another gust blew through its silk skirt.
“I’m yelling in the middle of the street,” Lora retorted slyly. “And you know, with all this yelling, someone might hear us and call the cops. Then you really wouldn’t be able to jump.”
Ava stared down at the street, nodding slowly as she realized Lora’s trap. “Fifth floor, room 503,” she answered plainly, her eyes never leaving Lora. “The door’s unlocked.”
“All right!” Lora clapped her hands together at her successful plan. “All right, I’ll be there. Just hang on!”
“And no calling for help! I’m serious,” Ava called after as Lora dashed the rest of the way across the street and toward the apartment building.
Lora ignored the woman’s call as she pulled the door wide open and scanned the main hall for the staircase. She found it on her right side and darted up the flights of stairs, eager to find the room. Her small frame flew up to the fifth floor, her short legs skipping two steps at a time, until she reached the doorknob and stopped quickly to catch her breath. She readied herself, then promptly opened the door and made her way over to the window. The open window blew cold air into the apartment, and the room’s white curtains flailed in the breeze. The pale color of Ava’s dress blended with the blowing curtains as Lora approached the window.
“I’m here,” Lora said breathlessly as she stuck her head out of the window opening.
“Don’t try to grab me or I’ll jump now,” Ava answered sharply.
“I’m not going to grab you, I promise. Let’s just talk through this.” Lora looked around the apartment, desperately looking for a change of subject. Her eyes fixed on Ava’s dress, which she realized was a pale lavender color up close. She smiled warmly at the sight. “I like your dress. What’s it for?”
“A concert,” Ava answered shortly.
“What kind of concert?”
“I’m a violinist,” Ava replied proudly, her pale blue eyes lighting up at her own words. “My symphony performed in City Hall tonight.”
“Congratulations,” Lora smiled back. 
“Shut up! Don’t you get it?” Ava snapped back. The gleam in her eyes vanished and was replaced by an icy glare that pierced through Lora. “None of it matters! At the concert tonight, I started to think. This dioxide is already killing people; and we don’t have much longer. I told myself, ‘What’s the use in all this? Why should I even bother playing any of this music?’ None of it will matter anymore once this thing gets to New York. None of it!” Ava’s voice cried out and rang through the street. She glared down at the concrete below her. “I’d rather die now before I see everyone else in agony.”
“But you don’t have to! I’ll fix this,” Lora cried out from the window. “We’re already conducting experiments to find the cure. You just have to hold on a little longer.”
“Yeah, just like scientists are ‘almost’ finding a cure to cancer!” Ava snapped, her wavy blonde head turning sharply back to Lora. “‘Almost’ doesn’t cut it. ‘Almost’ is worthless!”
“I have a plan,” Lora answered calmly. “My friend and I, we’re going to stop the disease before it gets here.”
“Who’s your friend, a miracle worker?”
“He’s a politician of sorts.”
“That’s promising.”
“He can help,” Lora added in defense. “He’s trying to find a way for New Yorkers to beat the disease before it gets worse.”
“And what are you, his little sidekick?” Ava sneered, her blue eyes scanning Lora up and down. “I bet you are. What good are you then, huh? Don’t you know anything about superheroes? Their sidekicks never do anything; all they do is tag along. They may think they’re important, but they’re really invisible.” Ava smirked as she saw Lora’s body begin to tense. “No one ever remembers them because they never make a difference,” she continued coldly. “You can pretend you’re going to find a cure to this, but you won’t.”
Lora’s gaze turned down to the ground below. She winced and held back the tears welling up in the corners of eyes. “I’m not going to let you down, Ava,” she answered quietly.
Ava stared at the small girl, her head proudly tilted up as she looked at the pathetic sight next to her. “You already have,” she replied in a grave tone. “No small group of no-name scientists can find a cure, so you might as well consider me dead already.”
“That’s not true,” Lora choked out, unable to look Ava in the eyes.
Ava stared at the girl for a moment, then turned out to look at the street once more. “You know something?” she started after the two stood in silence for a moment. “I used to imagine what it would be like to grow up, what it would be like to get married, to have my own kids and watch them grow up; to teach them how to play the violin and watch them love it as much as I do.”
Lora could not stand to look at the woman, and she turned to scan the inside of the apartment. Near the window, in the corner of Ava’s elegant pastel living room, sat her violin. The polished wooden instrument was set peacefully on its stand and it sat, unmoving, as it seemed to watch Ava outside the window.
“I hoped to see my music take wing and make an impression on people,” Ava continued from her perch. “But there’s never going to be any of that. That concert was the closest thing I’m ever going to get to success.” Ava closed her eyes as another breeze gently flowed through her wavy blonde hair and she grinned as she took a step further out on the ledge, her toes lightly curling over the concrete edge. “I used to think my music would be better than anything the world had heard; better than the big artists themselves. But then I realized I’m not that special.”
“Please don’t do this,” Lora said softly from Ava’s side, her tear-filled eyes still staring at the violin in the corner. 
Ava studied the girl until Lora finally turned back to look her in the eyes. “None of us are ever going to change the world. It’s about time you realized that too.” Ava’s eyes remained fixed on Lora as she lightly leaned forward, her arms outstretched at her sides, and fell from the ledge. Her flowing lavender dress hit the pavement with an abrupt stop as Lora’s screams rang out into the star-filled sky.


© 2011 Jooolie


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JRB
nice read

Posted 12 Years Ago



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Added on April 5, 2011
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Author

Jooolie
Jooolie

The city with the water tower, IA



About
I'm a sophomore in Journalism/Mass Communication and in the process of some sweet novel-writing. I thoroughly enjoy show tunes and I don't care who knows. I really like reading short stories an.. more..

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Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Jooolie


Chapter One Chapter One

A Chapter by Jooolie