The Conceiting Portrait (Part 6)
The Conceiting Portrait (Part 6)5 mins 224 5 mins 224
On the other hand, Jo sat on her bed and let the moonlight fill her room. Tears rolled down her cheek as she dipped into the past. She held the books Sister Emilie had handed over to her earlier that day. She flipped through the pages of her very first diary. She saw pictures of Clara’s childhood with Jo in almost every picture. By the end of her first diary, there was a photo labeled ‘My Best BFF Joan… A friend who’d never let me down.’. On reading this, she burst yet again into tears. A little later, she heard the same hissing voice close to her ear, “It hurts doesn’t it.”. She turned back but found no one. She sat upright and looked around. She found the same anatomy of the woman in front of her. “I’m not afraid of you anymore. What did I ever do to you? You took away what was most valuable to me. The only thing I had closest to the family is now gone because of you!” Jo yelled as she stood up, walking towards her. She breathed in the same black choking smoke but paid the least attention to it. She was furious with an unknown spirit. Or hologram? She had no idea what she was dealing with but she didn’t care. Clara trusted her. She already let her down once. She couldn’t do it twice. “Do you wish to bring her back?” the woman hissed at her opening a portal in front of her. “If you manage to swap places with your friend in this world, she will come back to life but you will sacrifice your own life for hers.” The woman chuckled. What should I do? Should I listen to her walk inside the portal? What if it’s a trap? What if she was trying to take advantage of her pain? Jo’s head started spinning as her thoughts raced. “How do I know it is not a trap?” Jo spoke up sternly. “You don’t. It’s your belief that binds the bridge. If you break even one string, the bridge collapses leaving you and your friend trapped in here.” She hissed. Why is she talking in tongues? Can’t she say it directly? Should I or not? “Time’s running out.” The woman broke Jo’s trail of thoughts. Joan took a deep breath and walked in to find herself in a dark pitch-black world the illuminated itself from a blue spotlight glowing somewhere, far away. She walked on an old dilapidated bridge that creaked with every step. She took out her phone and switched on the flashlight. Her surroundings were filled with an eerie smell which often made her feel drowsy. But she fought it and continued to be on her path. The portal behind her was still open.
She looked down to see a pothole probably deeper than the Mariana Trench. Don’t look down Jo. Jo consoled herself and scurried to the other side of the bridge. She found a small tracker on the floor and picked it up. It displayed two dots: one blue and the other red. Jo walked ahead and found out that she represented the blue dot. Okay, Clara, I’m coming for you. She thought and marched ahead. She entered a huge building. It looked old and frail as if it would come down any minute but none of that bothered her. She marched ahead. She soon entered a hall where everything looked red. Red walls, red curtains, red lights, red artifacts… Jo felt awkward and avoided looking around. She transfixed her eyes on the tracker to see if she was going on the right path. She got so lost that she bumped into the wall ahead of her. It was a dead end. What? But the tracker clearly shows that there is a path ahead! Either the tracker’s damaged or this is another puzzle to solve. Jo concluded in her thoughts. She looked around. “All I see is red! Ugh…” she frowned. She walked back and moved the artifacts to see for clues but all in vain. She started sliding her palms across to feel any slight unevenness. There you are! She smiled as she rubbed her palm over and over again to confirm that she had finally found something embedded in the wooden wall. She knocked it and heard a hollow sound. She looked around for something like a hammer to hit. She found nothing except a couple of empty vases and trunks. She untied her hair to remove the hairpin and rubbed it against the metal edge of one of the trunks to make it sharper. Once it was sharp enough, she scrapped the wallpaper that covered the ‘something’ and fixed it to the wall. As she nearly completed, she figured that it was a key. She looked around for doors but found none so she decided to try it on the trunks which were locked. The key was either too small or too big but finally, Jo found the right one. She found a sword and a shield with a giant ruby at its center. She ran her fingers across the metal and picked it up but as soon as the red light hit the ruby, A sharp ray of light emerged giving birth to a bigger piece of ruby. It fell right into her palms. The walls parted, showing her the path that led to Clara. She quickly tied her hair and ran towards the parted walls. She looked back. Should I take the sword with me or…?? She was puzzled. She looked at the ruby and decided that it was probably best if she took it with her; just in case she was invaded for the gemstone.