Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Ten

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 10 (or, "Back To Kofenya")

Previous Chapter: Mac finally returned to school, and Carissa, Isabel, and he conversed over lunch about the strange phenomena going on.

    Mac had a good idea coming, and a better one when he decided to take the subway back into Brooklyn instead of taking both Carissa and Isabel on the bike. They went straight to the subway after school and took the train all the way down to Borough Hall.
    “This won’t be so bad to get back uptown tonight,” Isabel noted as they went topside. “But why did we have to come all the way to Brooklyn again?”
    Carissa grinned. “You’ll understand when you get there.”
    Kofenya was hopping today; there were several students there studying and almost all of the chairs and tables were taken. Carissa quickly took a seat at a small table with two chairs and put her duffel bag on the second chair to reserve their space. She knew that not everybody in their group would be able to sit down just yet, but at least she was trying.
    Sure enough, Mac didn’t mind standing. “Isabel ordered for you,” he said. “Didn’t miss a beat.”
    “I told you,” Isabel said as she sat down and flipped her straight dark hair, “we’re spirit sisters! I know everything about Carissa.”
    Mac laughed. “You weren’t kidding.”
    “Well, duh. I don’t kid. I get distracted. There’s a difference.” Isabel relaxed in the chair. “Where’s that piece of paper you guys were eyeing, anyway?”
    Carissa reached back into her bag, now on the floor, and pulled it out. Mac took another look at it. “Did someone draw this?” he asked. “It looks like they did, but if it’s pencil, I don’t want to smudge it.”
    “I don’t know if it’s smudgable,” Carissa said as a barista -- the same curly haired guy who had been studying the Bible the last time -- brought them their drinks. Carissa immediately had her hands on her chai, taking a long sip. Yep, just as good as the last time, with that special kick to it that she couldn’t identify. “But it’s definitely a sign, and I think we should pay attention to it.”
    “Does this mean you guys have to stay away from all the Saint Arbucks, or just the creepy one?” Isabel asked.
    “That’s a good question,” Mac said as he took a long swig from his Italian soda. “For now, we should be careful and just stay away from all of them.”
    “Aww,” Isabel said just as Carissa said, “I’m not complaining.”
    “What we need to do is make a list of the strange things that have happened so far, and then try to analyze them,” Mac said. “I’d like to see if there are any patterns with this reality thing, and then we can try to find a solution to stop it. If people keep doing stuff and not knowing it’s happening or completely forgetting, then our sense of reality is going to be well disturbed. We need to figure out what is reality, and what is not.”
    “I agree,” Carissa said as she took out her science notebook. Turning it to a blank page, she began to write.
    “Guy collapsed at Saint Arbucks, Monday morning. Peter Doyle shows up at my apartment, Wednesday night. Two detention notices were signed for us being on the roof, Wednesday afternoon.”
    “Mr. Withrow remembering he gave me the key,” Mac noted. “He forgot for all of Wednesday.”
    “So part of Monday and a lot of Wednesday were disturbed,” Carissa noted. “I wonder...” She made another column and started to write, “Times I’ve Seen the Creepy Lady.” Then she began to write again. “Monday morning at the scene of the crime. Tuesday morning when Isabel and I went for our regular. Wednesday afternoon when Mac and I stopped by to try and get clues, she was standing talking to a police officer.” She put her pen down. “Which you still haven’t explained, by the way.”
    Mac glared at Carissa, and she knew she wouldn’t be getting an answer now. “Keep writing.”
    “I dreamed about her Tuesday night, but that was just a dream. Still gonna note it though. And then...” Carissa couldn’t decide whether or not to add the strange train ride to school on Thursday. It had been like something out of a science fiction movie. Had it even been real? Then again, she had put down an incident that she knew was a dream, so... “I think I saw her on the train on Thursday. But I don’t know if it was real or not.”
    “You didn’t mention this,” Mac said. “I’m pretty sure this lady is somehow involved, considering she keeps showing up and she’s in that picture we found. What happened on the train, Carissa?”
    She tried to remember the best she could. “She was the only person on the 1 train,” she said. “And it wasn’t even a real 1 train, it was a new train with the announcements and blue seats and stuff. Anyway, she knew my name, and she said that I had to figure out a puzzle and that I had to be the only one to do it. Something like that. I don’t remember a lot of the details. I thought it was a dream, because --” She almost jumped as she remembered. “Because all of a sudden on the train, when she was done talking to me, the train went back to normal. It was old again and it was packed like sardines.”
    “Woah,” Mac said at the same time Isabel said, “Eww.”
    “So there’s that,” Carissa said. “And we’re, I’d say, 95% sure that this drawing is connected to her. Something’s going on that is making people forget stuff, and this lady has something to do with it. And she wants me to find out what it is. By myself.” She groaned. “I never was good at problem solving.”
    “We’ll both help you,” Mac said.
    Isabel gave Mac a strange look. “We? Um, excuse me, but somebody’s gotta go home and watch her telenovelas and play Farmtown online and...” She saw Carissa’s face. “Do homework, yeah. I’m way too busy with homework to help you guys find your creepy lady.”
    Carissa rolled her eyes. “Dios mio.”
    “Well, I think it’s fine for us to help,” Mac said, “even if it’s supposed to just be Carissa who finds out the secret of the world. What do you say?”
    “Sounds good to --”
    Carissa never got a chance to finish her sentence. Without warning, her chai tipped over and spilled all over her white duffel. She immediately stood up in shock and picked up her bag to try and save it, but it was way too late. She bit her lip. “And I’ve been doing so good with it, too.” She sighed.
    “Take it into the bathroom,” Mac said. “You should at least be able to soak the top layer.”
    “Soak my bag?” Carissa felt despondent. “I’ve been trying to keep this bag clean for months now! You know how easy it is for something white to turn not white? It’s a lost cause.”
    Isabel got up from her seat and grabbed the bag. “I’ll clean it,” she said. “You just sit here with ‘su novio’ and I’ll take care of everything.” With that, she disappeared into the bathroom.
    “He’s not my boyfriend,” Carissa muttered -- loud enough for Mac to hear.
    “Is that what she said?” he asked.
    She nodded. “She’s always boy crazy, though. Don’t let it bother you.”
    “Oh, I won’t.” Mac took the paper and put it carefully into his pocket. “We’ll talk about safe topics, like math.”
    “Don’t bore me, Mac.”
    “I’m not trying to. Quite the opposite, in fact.”
    Isabel returned shortly with the bag, which was a bit damp and still showed signs of staining. Carissa still wasn’t happy; Mac decided it was best they call it a day before more coffee was spilled. Before they left, though, Isabel remembered one crucial thing that, up to this point, Carissa had forgotten.
    “You don’t have his phone number?” she asked, and without warning, she stole Mac’s phone and started pressing buttons. “There -- now he will have both of our numbers.”
    With that, Isabel and Carissa returned to Manhattan, where Carissa stopped at a Bleecker Liz store and picked up some bleach for her mother. She would have to take a different bag to school tomorrow, probably the backpack she had used up until she had gotten the duffel.
    When she got off the train she noticed that she had a text message from an unknown number. Unlocking her phone, she saw that it was Mac.
    “Just checking to make sure that this is the correct number,” the text read.
    Carissa smiled. “Yep,” she texted back. “Isabel can be a little bit crazy sometimes, but she wouldn’t play tricks on me. Or you.”
    The night was uneventful; Carissa tried her best to wash her bag in the washer that her building provided for the tenants. She didn’t use straight bleach, afraid that it would do more harm than good. It worked -- kind of. Most of the stains were not visible to the naked eye, save for one that ran along the side pocket that had set pretty well by the time Carissa had gotten home.
    “You pick and choose your battles,” Carissa thought out loud to herself.
    She fell asleep and dreamed not of the creepy lady, but of the weekend to come. Weekends were usually spent with Isabel, shopping either in their neighborhood or going down to Harlem. Anywhere south of 59th Street was, in Isabel’s words, “too touristy, and we go to school down there, so it’s weird.” Carissa had to agree, at least about the school part.
    She woke up, threw on a pink skirt and a black colored blouse, then went into the kitchen where her empty duffel was still sitting from the previous night. She grabbed her coat from the rack -- then stopped.
    Looking closer at her duffel, she noticed that any trace of the chai incident was gone, including all of the stains. She opened the bag, but there were no notes, no tampering. It was just gone as if she had never spilled the chai in the first place.
    “Wait until I show Isabel,” she said to herself as she grabbed the duffel.

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