English paper using Poe's technique of single effect. Guess what the effect is =)
ps I promise it's not as awful as the first paragraph may imply haha



The Red Dress

The Red Dress
It was as if Cordelia Everett had no regards for the rights of fashion. Her wretched dress and awful, tacky shoes reminded me constantly of why we weren’t friends anymore. Honestly, she could at least try to pull an adequate outfit together, she’s not poor or anything. Thankfully I was inducted into the more… exclusive set of people and of course crowned shortly thereafter. So I left poor, loser Cordelia to her loner status and moved into my new home at the top… yet, despite having absolute power, there’s still something about that girl that creeps me out… like she never got over my totally justified decision to ditch her.
“Miranda! Come on please tell me! What are your plans for your birthday? It better be fabulous.”
“Oh boohoo. Phoebe, you don’t even care that’s it’s my birthday, do you? You just want a party”, I blubbered. It’s so easy to manipulate obsequious suck-ups.
“Oh of course we care! We love you!” Of course you do.
I looked at all their shining faces, my own personal fan club that would do anything I wished, even if it meant hurting someone. Perfect.
“Oh thank you! Well I guess I can tell you as long as you promise not to tell anyone.” Especially her. They all nodded vigorously. “I’m going to take a select few people to Glenwick Hall for a special tea party!”
“Oh that’s a wonderful plan!” “M how do you come up with such grand ideas?”
“Well that’s not even the half of it. I want this birthday to be special! What would you say to playing a little trick on poor Cordelia Everett?”…
I knew they’d love it.

All the plans were set. We would wait until after the tea and cakes had been served then rip her apart; no one could withstand that much embarrassment and stay in school. I would never have to deal with icky Cordelia and her strange stares ever again; her parents would probably ship her off to some other private school.
“Hey M? I don’t want to sound paranoid or anything but did you er… get some weird vibes from Cordelia today? Jeez, I swear it’s like she knows or something.” Jessica was walking home with me so we could finalize our “plans” for tomorrow.
“Yeah right, how could she possibly know? But… yes I caught her staring at me more than usual.” It did feel like she knew something but I knew none of my glamorized cronies had spoken to her so there was no possible way. I was the one who gave her the invite and that had gone perfectly smooth; all she said was “thanks, I’m sure it’ll be to die for”, which is totally true.
“M? Focus! We’re at your house, do you have the key?”
“What? Oh of course, hold on.” I pulled out the key and had it almost in the lock when the door opened on us.
“Oh darling you’re home!” My mother exuberantly ushered us through the door and, as I looked up I could feel the blood rush out of my head and I felt dizzy and nauseous.
“I thought I’d never see you in here again Cordelia! How sweet that you came here to… er what did you come here to do?” Shock. That sick little freak, what was she doing in my house?!
“I wanted to see if M”, how dare she use my nickname, “cared to go shopping with me for tomorrow’s party…?”
“Hey, um… I’m just going to go. Bye M!” I watched in horror as Jessica darted down the steps and onto the street.
“Wait! Er ah… well Cordelia, I’ve actually got a lot of homework to do.” Oh but I do need a new dress.
“Well I could work with you on it later… if you wanted.” Okay never mind, I am not going shopping with that.
“No I should really do it now. But thanks for asking,” I gave her the sweetest smile I could muster; which wasn’t much.
“Oh.” She looked crestfallen, good. “Well it’s just this is your- I mean my last chance… to get a dress.” What is with her? She looked at me almost… maliciously; but really, Cordelia being mean? Yeah right. “I guess I’ll wear my red one, is that okay? Is there a theme?”
“Oh!” I smiled inwardly at this sudden opportunity. “That follows our theme exactly! I’m sure you’ll look beautiful.”
“Great, I’ll see you tomorrow then! Thanks again for the invite. It fell in perfectly with my other plans for this weekend.”
“Whatever. Bye.” Freak, freak, freak. She gave me goosebumps! I don’t know, something about the way she said everything… like it was a joke between her and herself just creeped me out.

After careful planning online, we finally settled on our exact course of action. We would all arrive wearing matching light outfits, making sure to remind her to dress dark and so begin the shunning. However, the brunt of it was all going down right after the teacakes were served and that’s what I was truly waiting for. Now all that was left was to get myself primped and ready to look the best.
“Miranda! Are you ready?” Ugh, mom was getting all antsy.
“Yes mom! I’m coming!”
Finally we were in the car heading for Glenwick… or not.
“Mom, where are we going?” This was definitely not the way to the party.
“OH I didn’t tell you? Cordelia called earlier saying she wouldn’t be able to come unless she had a ride so I offered to pick her up!”
We rode in absolute silence; I refused to speak. All I could feel was her weird stare boring into the side of my head but there was no way I was turning to look; I didn’t have to. I could see her intent reflection every time we passed under trees. As planned though, she came out in a dark red dress which would stand out appallingly from the rest of our pastel attire. Sadly, this only gave me so much satisfaction as to last twenty minutes of the forty-six minute drive; I counted. When we finally pulled up to the Hall, I jumped out to meet my fellow well-dressed partygoers. We were all gussied up in frilly dresses with white gloves and stockings and wide-brim hats over our bow-tied hair; the picture of frivolous, young innocence. Our nefarious purpose for the party thrown into sharp relief to the picture we painted now.
Cordelia stood on the fringe of our gathering throughout the greeting and barely participated in the games and activities before tea was served. She just sat on the settee smiling and watched us, mainly me, and once, she simply disappeared all together. But I didn’t really care, she would get hers later. Finally she would pay for the ignominy I suffered at her hands…
“Would you like milk in you tea, madam?” The waitress had reached Cordelia last on my orders and I hoped spitefully that the tea was cold.
“No thank you. I always take mine black, I’ve heard it more healthful for those of us with hearts. By which I mean all of us here of course,” she added with a blithe chuckle.
“Well obviously, how stupid is she? Does she even know where the heart is located?” Phoebe whispered viciously to me.
“I doubt it,” I returned. I turned to glare at the beast and found her already eyeing me with a clean smile… I hoped she had heard us.
We all drank our tea excitedly, a sense of anticipation ringing behind all of our words and glances. The teacakes would be served soon after we finished. I heard her annoying voice from across the table and leaned in to listen; ignoring whatever word-vomit Isobel was babbling to me.
“I wonder, seeing as how I’ve never been here before, if you might show me the bathroom Georgiana?” I scoffed; of course the little bat wouldn’t have been here, it’s a respectable place.
“Oh, um… well if it’s absolutely necessary. Come on.” They walked out of the dining room and shut the door.
“How long before we…?” Jessica asked impatiently.
“I told you, not until after the tea cakes are served. You do know what a tea cake is, don’t you?” I was feeling rather disturbed by Cordelia’s strange behavior and it made me more caustic than usual. Oh whatever, she can deal with it.
“Yes, of course. I’m just-just excited, that’s all.” I scoffed, she was awful under pressure.
At last, the door reopened only… where was Georgiana? Maybe she ditched Cordelia and she just happened to find her way back before G? Or perhaps G was simply in the bathroom still. She could have gotten a call too I suppose, had to go home or something.
“Oh my, Georgiana just received a message that her father was going to the hospital.” She said it with little emotion. “She’s crying in the bathroom and asked that,” she pointedly looked at Tabitha, one of the other girls, “you go to her. She needs some comfort.” Together they stepped through the doors and again Cordelia made a point to close them.
“Strange, I wonder why she would only want Tabitha. I had no idea they were that close.” I stared at Phoebe. She was right; they weren’t really “friends” so why would G ask for her? And why wouldn’t she ask the rest of us?
Quietly, Cordelia stepped back into the room and went to her seat. Each step disturbed the skirt of her dress and I noticed the light reflect off a wet stain; a dark spot on the red dress. So Georgiana was crying? The dress was so dark I could barely tell it was there but… it seemed too thick for tears. Before I could examine more, she flounced into her seat.
“Poor Georgiana has decided to go home and Tabitha is accompanying her. They asked that we continue the party without them, they wanted to cause no disruption.” It almost seemed like her face contorted into a nasty smirk but when I looked again, it was gone; she looked worried with a small pitying smile on her face for the girl adjacent to her. “When will the teacakes be served?” she inquired politely. I snapped out of my study of her face in time to answer.
“They should be arriving within ten minutes, dear Cordelia,” I added with a perfectly winsome smile. I watched again as her face went from a look of almost worry to mollified content.
“Well, in that case, I wonder, Jessica, if you might like to join me in a walk through the gardens? I’ve heard so much about the ones here at Glenwick and you are interested in botany, right?” How the hell did she know that?! “It would mean the world to me if you came.”
“Hmph, well I am yes.” She has never been around Jessica long enough to know that; I didn’t even know that. What is going on?! Jessica eyed Cordelia calculatingly. “I suppose I could use the fresh air.” She looked at me questioningly and out of curiosity I gave a tiny nod. Surely her father couldn’t also go to the hospital and the gardens were small, they’d be back in a few minutes. Plus this gave Pheebs and me more time to get everything in order for the party’s grand finale.
“Oh and Phoebe, you simply must join us! I’m sure you know all about the sculptures in the gardens, you know, being your father’s daughter.” Why? What does her father do? He works with sculpture? How does she know all these things I don’t?! “I’ve always wished to speak to an expert whilst viewing the sculptures. You will join us, won’t you?”
“Ugh, why should I?” Thank god Phoebe, you can’t desert me.
“Well I thought you might want a bit of exercise before we eat. I know I’ll work up an appetite walking.” Oh! Perfect! That would seal our plans splendidly if she were to definitely eat the cake handed to her. I kicked Phoebe under the table and gave a diminutive glance to the empty plates and back to Cordelia. A second’s consideration and she understood.
“Oh if I must,” she huffed. “M, will you join us as well?”
I opened my mouth to answer negatively but Cordelia answered.
“I’m sure M, being certainly the most gracious host I’ve ever encountered, would want the extra time to check on those cakes. We’ll only be a minute; I have a certain statue in mind from a picture and I believe the map said it was just around the corner.” Perfect, she created my own excuse for me.
“Indeed, I was planning on doing just that,” I spoke sweetly. “I’ll see you three in a few minutes.” Hurriedly I skipped from the room, not bothering to see them out the terrace doors. Kicking into a run once in the hall, I made my way to the kitchen and, upon seeing it was empty, walked in. Immediately, I saw the plates of cakes ready to be served and choosing one at random, I sprinkled the crushed pill across the top. It meshed in perfectly with the dusting of powdered sugar; no one would ever be able to tell. Lastly, I dove out of the kitchen and rang the servant bell, waiting impatiently as one came swiftly down the hall.
“Yes ma’am?”
“I would like the teacakes to be delivered immediately.” I glanced at the “special” teacake then at the servant before deciding he wouldn’t mention anything. “But I shall take this one,” I grabbed it. “It happens to look like a heart and my darling friend simply loves heart-shaped things.” I stalked off down the hallway leading him to the right room. Delicately, I placed the cake and plate at her seat making sure he set the others down in exactly the same way. After careful attention to details, I walked over to the big wall of paintings; might as well do something productive while I wait.
“See anything good?” I practically jumped out of my skin at her voice. I hadn’t realized I was so on edge. Quickly I turned around to face them… no her.
“Where are Phoebe and Jessica? I trust none of their relations have suddenly fallen ill?” I still didn’t believe that she hadn’t just scared off Georgiana and Tabitha; it was too weird.
“No of course not, they’re simply still out in the garden. I merely came in because I wished to discuss something with you.” I noticed there were more shiny stains on her dress; probably stepped into a puddle or something stupid… but the color still seemed off. When clothes get wet they become darker, but this was almost a different color entirely. Whereas the dress was a dark purple-y maroon, the stains were a crimson color, almost lighter than the dress itself… but that wouldn’t make sense. Unless… unless it wasn’t water but something else. The thought gave me chills but I hardly knew why.
“Hm, I guess you’ve notice,” Cordelia pouted. “No it’s not water, though I would prefer you to think so for just a bit longer.” She held out the fabric and examined it thoughtfully. “I had so hoped this was the right color. If only you had come with me on that shopping trip I’m sure you would have known… only, had you come, I guess this wouldn’t be happening.” I looked at her, confused and strangely a little panicked; what on earth was she talking about? “That really was your last chance you know; you could have stopped all this pain you’re about to bring on yourself. Hm, well it’s too bad, so sad.” She gave me a pitying look but it didn’t reach her eyes, her calculating, cruel eyes. I didn’t understand much of what she said, but I understood pain and I was not having it.
“You will stop this ridiculous babble at once and fetch me my friends.” My voice sounded weak even to my own ears.
“I don’t think you mean that. Anyway, it’s too late now I have stolen the hearts of your friends from you and you will never get them back.” What does she mean?! How could my sweet, little followers ever turn on me? They love me!
“You’re lying. My friends would never leave me, especially for you.”
“I assure you I’ve never been more honest.” She walked slowly towards the table as if carefully picking out each place to set her foot. “They have left you quite permanently, so sorry.” She mimed crying for a moment before reaching down and lifting her teacake from the table. “Now this is just a bit childish don’t you think? I mean, if you’re going to destroy someone… you have to have the confidence to do it thoroughly don’t you agree?” Suddenly, I could feel a cold sweat breaking out all over my body. Those stains… of course they weren’t water, they were blood. Warm, wet, fresh blood.
“What have you done?” I asked, horrified of hearing the answer but almost more so of not.
“Simply what it took for me to be with you. We’re the greatest friends and you know it. You simply needed some time to toy with these weaklings before you were ready to join me again, I understand. But now they’re out of the way and we can go back to how it was.” She beamed at me and suddenly I was just anger, wholly and solidly.
“You freak! I will never, ever be anything but enemies with you! You are the absolute scum of the world; hardly good enough for me to even bother mocking you. What have you done with my friends? I want them back and you will give them to me.” My lip curled in satisfaction as I watched the smile slide from her face. Only, as I stared loathingly at her, the smile was replaced with a look of such absolute malice an uncontrollable terror froze me on the spot. She glared back at me and I knew the mask was off.
“You stupid girl. Fine, seeing as how you have a death wish, it’s my duty as your good friend to slake it for you.” She walked over to my petrified body and held up the perfect little teacake. “Sedative right? I want you to eat it, then I will tell you where your friends are.” She shoved the cake into my face but I couldn’t bring myself to move at all. “I don’t want to have to break that pretty jaw of yours, M. Eat it.” Out of sheer mortification, I forced by face to work and opened my mouth. “Good girl.” She thrust the cake into my mouth and, grabbing my jaw, forcibly made me chew it. When I swallowed she smiled. “Not so bad is it? Well I suppose I should tell you, it wasn’t exactly a sedative you ate. I may have slipped in a little acid… or a lot really. My, I hope you don’t go into cardiac arrest. Better keep you’re heart slow and calm though, don’t want the acid to go through your bloodstream too fast.” I stared at her horrified, a-acid? I had to keep calm? I looked down at my chest, thinking I could see my heart pumping out of my chest and it pounded… was it actually? I didn’t know anything for sure anymore. I looked back up at Cordelia’s face, she was laughing silently. “Fun isn’t it? Now follow me please, M. Yes, over here to the terrace doors.” I had no choice but to be lead out into the sunshine then down the steps, I had no resistance left in me. I had nothing left in me; I was nothing as we reached the bottom of the steps. I walked forward a few feet before I tripped and fell over something solid and warm. Rapidly the warmth ran itself up my arms, soaking into the sleeves of my dress.
A scream echoed across the gardens, a gruesome, ragged thing that ripped through the still air and chilled me straight through. Where had it come from? I raised my hand sluggishly and looked at for a moment before suddenly feeling the rawness of my throat and realizing it had been my scream. The terror again ripped through me as I looked at my hand again and saw the thick, crimson liquid which coated it entirely. Unstoppable, I vomited, heaving again and again until nothing was left yet still gagging.
“Oh, it’s not that bad. Honestly, I thought you of all people would have a stronger stomach than that. But yes, it’s blood and it’s all over you now… really you look rather disgusting.” She looked down at me with scornfully. “How does it feel to have your friends’ blood on you? I find it rather exciting but then I’ve never been that coated. Oh I wouldn’t put your hand there, don’t want to go in the body.” I looked down terrified to where my hand was poised over a ghastly, jagged hole in Phoebe’s chest. “To answer your question from earlier, yes I do in fact know where the heart is.” I stared at the evidence of that statement, I could only hope made worse by the effect of the drug. “You shouldn’t pick favorites, pay attention to the rest of your friends, M.” Tears spilled from my eyes as I looked away from Phoebe to the row of bodies next to her. They were so perfectly line up, if it hadn’t been for the grisly stains, we might have been playing a game; all lying in our fresh pastel dresses, looking up at the sky. “I do so love “heart-shaped things” you know. Goodnight, Miranda. May you forever be admired just as your name commands.”
I could feel myself falling straight into formation, finishing the perfect, pretty line. My head hit the ground but I barely felt anything as I watched Cordelia Everett walk away from us, her pretty red dress whipping gaily in the breeze.




Short story by Mary
Read 693 times
Written on 2009-01-14 at 01:15

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Sun.Moon.Stars.Rain
This...is...AMAZING!!! ALKJFKL:JD:KALSJ:DLAJSLASJLJKFLKJAH!! Wowwwwww...brilliantly crafted, Miss Mary. =D
2009-01-14



oh my goodness, I love this! Wonderful, meaningful story.
2009-01-14