The Conceiting Portrait (Part 7)
The Conceiting Portrait (Part 7)6 mins 103 6 mins 103
Mr. Blake opened the main door to find himself in his studio apartment. He switched on the lights and sat on the chair in front of his table. He took out his phone and texted Jo.
“Hi, Joan. This is Blake here. I confronted a very peculiar incident today and I felt that you might be been interested in it. I am sending the clip to you. Watch it carefully and let me know if you find something important.” He clicked the send button and forwarded the video to her. He waited for about 15 mins but there was no reply. He was notified that Jo had received it but she hadn’t checked it. Jo never ignored Blake’s texts. Especially after Clara’s death. Did she sleep early? Did she forget to turn off her Wi-Fi? Was she busy doing some research about the de la’ Vanilli? Did she confront that mysterious woman again? What if she’s in trouble? Blake started getting worried about her. He called her but there was no answer. He dialed another number. “Hello?” a voice spoke up on the other end.
Jo silently crept through the walls as she clutched onto the sword and the ruby. She had now entered a blue hall with no walls but rather curtains. She referred to the tracker. According to its navigation, she had to go to the curtain in the far corner. She stood in front of it and observed the patterns on it. While some represented shapes in geometry, others represented variables of algebra. She smirked and shoved the curtain aside to find a locked room in front of her. She swiped her hands across the curtain and realized that the shapes moved at her gesture. The circles rolled from one end to another while the squares and triangles hopped and slid their way. As Jo solved the maze before her, she recognized the image she was making. It was the ruby she held. When everything was in order, she pushed the curtain aside to see a path that led straight to Clara. Everything was dim again. She found herself standing under the same disturbing blue spotlight but not alone this time. She stood beside a lifeless body, afloat in the air. Her eyes welled up but she controlled herself and gathered the courage to touch her hand. “Cl… Clara?” she stammered. “Right behind you.” Jo was astonished to see Clara’s soul standing behind her. “You’re not supposed to be here.” She warned. “I’m here to take you with me.” “As a soul?” Clara repented. “You let me down, Jo. You let me down. Where were you when I needed you? You had your eyes shut. You knew I would die if I opened my eyes, but you stood there and did nothing. You are nothing to me anymore. You killed me.” Clara fumed. “No.” Jo couldn’t take it anymore. She had no control over the tears that threatened to spill. Her words echoed in her mind. Jo now knew that Clara was indeed dead. It was then that everything including the surface beneath the feet began shaking. Clara burst into wild horrific laughter which slowly turned into a hissing voice. Jo realized that she had been tricked. Now it all made sense to her what the anatomy said earlier; it’s her belief that binds the bridge. If she broke even one string, the bridge collapses leaving herself and Clara trapped in the cold dungeon. “Run Jo, get outta here!” Jo heard a faint whisper. She went with her guts this time and ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She could now hear the splash of waves that followed her out of nowhere. Jo had now started sprinting her way with the sword and ruby clutched tightly in her hands. When she looked behind she saw that the wave had disappeared. She panted heavily as drops of sweat began trickling down from her forehead. She looked around carefully, but when she turned back, the woman scared her to death as she hissed at Jo.
Jo hopped out of bed. She looked around to find herself clad in her outfit beside her bed in her room. Everything had seemed real. She was still sweating. Her hands were wet and sore as though she had been holding something tightly. It was just a bad dream. Jo consoled herself and sat upright on the bed. Just as she decided to retire back to bed, her hand hit something hard. She moved the bedsheets to check what it was. She gasped. It was the same sword and ruby that she held in the dream. Was it a dream or was it real?
“I don’t care” a manly voice replied sternly. “I know things have been rough but what harm would it do to just go and check her?” the other argued. “It is futile and a waste of my time. So I won’t entertain. Why don’t you go and check?”
“I would have if they would have allowed me.”
“You speak as though they will let me through.”
“Of course, they most certainly know what good friends you are!”
“Were, Mr. Blake. She was so arrogant and so irritating. It’s what’s best for the both of us.”
“Here’s the deal young man, you can either go, check on her, make sure she is safe and get rid of your unwanted pride or you can keep your ego to yourself and let her die just like what happened to Clara.” Mr. Blake fiercely shouted. “I wish to keep my ego to myself.” Max hung the call.
Jo searched for her phone under the messed bedsheets to contact Mr. Blake when she heard a knock on the door. She looked up at the clock. It was half-past two at night. Who could it possibly be? Jo’s hands shivered as she approached to unlock the door. When she opened the door, the bright light of the corridor hurt her eyes as she strained to keep them open. “You look scared to death. Did something happen?” It was Max. Jo let out a sigh of relief. “What are you doing here at this hour?” She asked, a little light-headed. “Blake asked me to check on you because you didn’t reply to his texts.” He said as he walked in to look around if everything was in order. “I wasn’t able to find my phone. It is somewhere under all this mess.” She pointed out to the bedsheets that were scattered here and there. “What were you doing with so many bedsheets? Shouldn’t one be using one at a time?” “I have no idea what I was doing here,” Jo replied with her hand on her head to see if a body temperature was normal. “I’m calling Blake,” Max said, convinced that something was wrong with Joan.