Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dvorak Classic: Chapter Twenty Five

Dvorak Classic
Chapter 25 (or, "How To Save The World")

Yesterday’s Episode: Mac and Carissa made it safely away from Mac’s mother and found out that Isabel had survived the Washington Heights purge.

    “Are we ready?” Carissa asked, her cell phone in hand.
    “We are ready. Over.”
    “Isabel, for the last time, you don’t have to do that,” Mac said back into Carissa’s phone, which was on speaker.
    Isabel’s voice came out. “But it’s fun, and we’re on a mission anyway. Over.”
    Carissa rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Are we ready to go?”
    “Yeah. I’ve got the entire Saint Arbucks on lockdown. There will be a few people in and out, I’m sure, but it’s late enough that it should be fine. Over.”
    “Okay. We will converge on the area and I’ll stop time. When everybody is frozen, we’ll be able to get through and find the Bible with as much time as we need, unnoticed. Got it?”
    “Sounds good. I’ll stay at base. Over.”
    Carissa sighed. “Yeah, you’re over,” she joked, then hung up the phone and turned to Mac. “You ready?”
    “Ready as I’ll ever be,” Mac said.
    They were both dressed in black shirts, Carissa’s taken straight from Mac’s closet (and slightly big on her), and blue jeans. It wasn’t the best camo wear, but for the situation it would have to do. Besides, time would be frozen in a matter of minutes anyway. Who cared what they were wearing as long as they could move around in it?
     Apparently Isabel did, and she was the one who had gone to great lengths to make sure that Mac and Carissa were matching for this project. She had even taken pictures with Carissa’s phone to document it, which had caused more eye rolling.
    None of that mattered now, though. It was Saturday night and Mac and Carissa were ready.
    When Isabel had arrived at Mac’s apartment, they had kept her busy in the lobby downstairs until Mac’s mother went to sleep (they didn’t want to have his mom thinking that he was dating BOTH Carissa and Isabel). Post clearance, they had congregated in Mac’s extra room, snacked on cheese puffs, and made the plan to get the Bible back. They didn’t know what would happen next, but according to Raz, the guy from the library, it would somehow lead to the solution to their problems. They spent all of Friday preparing and decided to strike the next night.
    Dvorak, Carissa thought to herself. What a strange name for a person who can control the world. And it’s unique enough. Why wouldn’t we just be able to look him up on the Internet? She was surprised that she hadn’t thought of it earlier, and almost made a point of telling Mac, but then remembered that if Raz and the old lady weren’t part of this world, then neither was Dvorak, which killed their chances of finding him online.
    So find the Bible it was then. Carissa reached into her back pocket and pulled out the apple she had gotten from Mac’s apartment this morning. It was now or never.
    “What do you think you’re doing?”
    Carissa froze. Mac was the one who turned around, though. “You!” she heard him say, and she tried to pivot, but she was still frozen in place.
    “Mac,” she said, “why can’t I move?”
    The other voice continued. “So you do remember me.” A pause, then “To be quite honest, I’m not sure you were going to.”
    “Where’s my bike?” Mac asked. “And for that matter, where did Peter go?”
    “You know where Peter went,” the voice said. “And that will be where you go if you’re not careful.”
    “What’s going on?” Carissa asked. “I can’t move.”
    “You can’t move on purpose, sugar,” the voice said.
    Mac put his right hand on Carissa’s right shoulder. “What are you doing to her?”
    “Oh, just making sure that I’m not interrupted with my critical information. It’s okay. I’ll let you move after I’m done.”
    “You’ll let her move now,” Mac said. “She’s not your toy!”
    “I get to decide that,” the voice continued. “She gets to decide everything else that’s going on. I just think it should be fair that she knows the truth. You realize that the old lady whom you love and trust so dear hasn’t told you everything, right? I bet the boy hasn’t told you everything either, but you probably love and trust him more, so it’s okay.”
    Carissa was able to turn her head to look at Mac, but no further. Mac was still visibly livid about the entire situation. “I thought I told you to put her down,” he said through gritted teeth.
    “Not until I say what I get to say,” the voice continued. “If you want to save your world, you must not release Dvorak.”
    Carissa was confused. “What do you mean?” she asked.
    Mac looked at Carissa. “Are you crazy?” he asked her.
    “Just because she tells us something doesn’t mean we have to follow or believe it,” Carissa said. “Plus, if I really am the only one who holds the power, I’d like to know another viewpoint.”
    “You think well,” the voice said, and Carissa felt the stiffness in her legs let go. She was finally able to turn around and see her assailant, a tall woman with long brown hair and a long black hood on. She immediately felt creeped out, but tried to make herself brave. Mac was here, the apple was here, and she did want to hear this person.
    “My name is Ariana,” the hooded figure said, “and I used to be involved with QWERTY. The old lady was my boss. QWERTY is in charge of making sure the universes operate as intended. We are all from different universes, and we are all given the power to jump from universe to universe to assist those in need. We, however, cannot change the fate of the universes we are in ourselves. Therefore, we must choose someone from that universe to temporarily give our power to and let them decide. And that is what we have done with you, Carissa.”
    Carissa nodded to show she understood.
    “Because your universe is changing, and you and any friend you let see understand that even more now,” Ariana continued. “Your universe is colliding with another as we speak, and my boss has chosen you to decide what stays and what goes in each universe. The other universe does not have this advantage. I do not know why she chose your universe instead of the other one, but she seems to favor it. This has happened millions of times before, with millions of other universes, and those without the power will never know the difference. Normally, if a guardian like yourself is not chosen, the universes collide. People, places, and things will change at random. Your friend can be here, and then the next he will be replaced with an alternate universe version of himself, and the rest of your world will have been recalibrated to fit. It’s all automatic, and you will be the only one who remembers the world as it once was. But you have a chance to keep your world as it is, if you wish. Just decide it before the fated day, and when the universes collide, your world will stay the same, and the other universe will simply cease to exist.”
    Carissa couldn’t process it. Another universe? And both of them had their fates in her hands? She had to choose one over the other, and of course she wanted to pick hers over the other to save her friends and family...but nobody in the other universe knew this danger was coming.
    “Do you understand?” Ariana asked.
    “I do,” Carissa said, “but why doesn’t the other universe have a guardian?”
    “It does,” Ariana said, her voice darker. “His name is Dvorak. In the instance that a guardian for the other world does not come about, Dvorak appears as an alternative to the way things have always been. And if you follow the old lady’s instructions and find him and wake him up, then the world you know will be in great danger. And that’s why I have to stop you from taking that book. As you probably know by now, it’s the key to releasing Dvorak.”
    Mac sighed. “I’ve heard quite enough of this,” he said, turning to Carissa. “What do you want to do?”
    “What do you think I should do?” Carissa asked. If there was anybody she trusted, it was Mac.
    Mac thought for a moment. “You want to save Peter, right?” he asked. “And your family, and your neighborhood?”
    “But Mac, if she’s right and there’s another world out there --”
    “If she’s right, then this old lady friend of yours should have chosen someone for that world. The fact that she didn’t means she knows it doesn’t stand a fighting chance, and this world is worth keeping.” Mac turned back to Ariana. “Thanks, but you’re wasting our time.”
    Ariana growled. “You can’t stop me -- even if you do stop time again!”
    Carissa had had enough. She stepped forward and smiled at Ariana. “If you come with me, I’ll listen,” she said as she went up to the nearest storefront, a bookstore.
    Ariana seemed strangely relieved. “Promise?”
    “I’ll do my best,” Carissa said, and Ariana followed -- right through the door. As Ariana filed in, Carissa grabbed her cloak and shut it into the door, then took a bite out of her apple, and time stopped.
    “She’s not going to be able to move if her coat is stuck like that,” she said as she returned to Mac’s side. “I made sure to get her sleeve, too. We’ve got some time now.”
    “Then let’s not waste it,” Mac said, and they didn’t. They made their way quickly across the frozen wasteland of Union Square and to 11th and University, busting down the door of each building. Nobody would see them, and this was extremely important.
    It took them a while, but they found it: the Gutenberg Bible, undisturbed, in a box in the back storage room of a tea shop.

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