The Conceiting Portrait (Part 9)
The Conceiting Portrait (Part 9)4 mins 224 4 mins 224
Jo walked around with a smile.
She never felt so relaxed as she felt now. She enjoyed watching Clara talk to her and Max. But then her smile faded away. She reached her most hated memory; Clara’s funeral. She still remembered that day like it was yesterday. Grey clouds filled the sky as rain began to pour down. She could see Clara’s coffin being buried all over again. She averted her eyes as tears threatened to spill. It was then she noticed a peculiar man standing a couple of meters away. Jo cleared her vision and walked closer to the man. He stood there motionless; expressionless. Yet, he seemed like a determined person.
Raindrops slid down from his wet hair. His eyes were stern and focused, Jo noticed. A fair-complexed man in his early twenties perhaps. American taste most certainly. Jo comprehended his looks and style. Clara never mentioned her acquaintance with any man. Then what was he doing at Clara’s funeral? Jo carefully studied and memorized his face before her memories moved on. Now she had come to her most frightening memoir: The Ruby Chase. She was listening to the conversation she and her delusional anatomy of Clara (Clara’s soul she thought earlier) until she realized that the faint whisper she heard was the actual Clara’s soul’s voice. She could see things that were happening behind her while she was too busy running away from the tide. She could see how hard Clara was trying to fight the dark woman.
But, something bothered Jo even more. She clearly remembered that a huge tidal wave wanted to summon her and that is exactly the reason she started running but in her own mind, this vision was missing. What she could see was that she was running away from Clara’s true soul and the dark woman like a foolish person. She was angry with herself. She was so encased in her turmoil of emotions that she did not realize that there was an added memory in her brain. All the memories that had happened made sense to her but what was happening now was far from her knowing. She was sitting in a garden. Red philodendrons grew on the bushes she sat beside to. “Joan.” Clara’s voice lingered in the air. Jo as well as her hologram-self turned around to see Clara. “Clara!” Jo’s hologram ran to give Clara a big hug. “Now is not the time for this Jo. I need you to listen to me carefully. None of what you see is true. I know you have already read my diary. I want you to read my diary entry I wrote on 12th and 20th of January as well as 2nd February. But don’t believe the fact that Michelle de la Vanilli’s riches where used by the men. They were all stored in a huge trunk, say, like a treasure box and buried. The portrait is not a spirit. Whatever you saw; the anatomy of the dark woman, the hisses; everything is a game in your mind. It is a digital hologram.” Jo watched her own hologram becoming confused. Clara continued, “What happened that night with the ruby had happened with me as well. If you remember correctly, I was sent for mental treatment at the age of 15. That was because everyone thought that I was indeed mental. It is all a game.
The nano-tech particles mess up your brain chemistry which makes you feel that such fantasia elements exist.” What nano-tech is she talking about? Clara’s true-self thought. “In your subconscious, you still believed that all this never existed which gave you the power to snap your thoughts out of the tidal wave scene. The ruby you see doesn’t exist. The choking, suffocation and all that is interlinked. This is a planned hunt for Michele’s treasure that was buried centuries ago. A sort of …” Clara hesitated before she could complete, “a planned murder.” Planned murder? But, how will they get the treasure by murdering people? Clara thought. “Your job is to find out how does murdering help them accomplish their target. Last, but not the least, don’t bother yourself about how I put this message in your head. Sooner or later, you’ll figure it out. Good luck my friend.” Clara finished and faded away in the red sunset.
There it was again, the same uneasy feeling of transition between her conscious and the real life. She felt dizzy and the next moment, she fell hard on a cold surface with misty fog surrounding her.