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 *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:14 pm

Chapter Nineteen, Part 1

Chapter Nineteen

Once her well of tears seemed empty enough, Alexis stood back up. Following a whim, she walked over to the wardrobe and opened it. Inside, there was a new dress bag, and it was not empty. Alexis carefully took it out of the wardrobe, placing it on the bed to open the bag and reveal its contents. Inside, she found a very vintage wedding gown, its beauty so antique that it awed her, even in her saddened state. As she looked at the gown, words that Avery had said suddenly played in her mind:





“You must get ready, for you do not want to be late for the ceremony, do you?”

The meaning of his words suddenly became clear to her. She had been right: he and Mary Sanderson were going to try repeating the almost-wedding ceremony from over seven decades previous, only vows would not be recited. With a grim dread, Alexis knew that everyone’s fates were sealed, including Urs’. The thought of anything happening to him stabbed at her like a knife, causing her to fall to her knees on the floor. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to bear it if something happened to him, if he was killed. Tears came from her eyes again as that last word rang in her thoughts like low-toned bell. Just as quickly as they had come, she made up her mind about her fears of death, and they seemed to dry up once more. A world without Urs was one that she could not stand to live, and that possibility was extremely likely now that Avery and Mary were in control.

Forcing herself to stand up, Alexis made her way over to the bed, standing in front of the gown that was draped over the sheets. Without hesitation, she slowly changed out of her ball dress and into the vintage wedding gown, not surprised that it was a perfect fit. Once the gown was on, Alexis walked into the bathroom and combed her dark hair through, pinning it in all of the right places to look just how Alexandria’s wedding hairdo had looked in her vision. She found a pair of matching shoes upon further inspection of the wardrobe, put those on, then looked at her reflection in the full length mirror. The resemblance between her and Alexandria was uncanny, but this mattered little to her at the moment; she knew all too well that they were about to be led to the very same fate.

Alexis walked to the door, and this time when she tried to open it, the knob turned and the door was no longer locked. She had figured that this would happen, but then again, she was trying as hard as she could not to think of anything at all. Alexis made her way down the stairs until she stood in the lobby again, the ballroom once again in sight. Carrying herself with a false sense of confident bravery, she slowly walked to the ballroom’s entrance, then paused to see the new scenery that had appeared within it. There was a white garden arch with fresh pink and red roses entwined in it. In front of it, there was row upon row of white chairs facing the arch, separated down the middle by a cream colored rug that ran the entire length of the aisle. Alexis was sure that this was what could have been Alexandria’s, but which had been brutally torn away from her. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to call forth whatever inner strength might remain within her, but she opened them again when a new thought occurred to her: No one else was there. Perhaps she was too early? Suddenly, without giving her new urge a second thought, Alexis shot back up the stairs to the third floor. She went to Erika, Chloe, and Izzy’s room doors, pounding on them in a urgent manner. When she called out their names, though, she could not hear an answer from within their respective rooms. Trying to open them was no use, as every door refused to budge from its frame. Then, she hurried up to the fourth floor and did the same with Carlos, Sébastien, and David’s room doors, but that yielded the same results. Lastly, she tried Urs’ old room, pounding on his door harder and quicker, her disposition more desperate.

“Urs, please, if you can hear me, answer me! I can’t get anyone else out of their rooms, and I think I am the only one who found a way to unlock the doors. They wouldn’t answer me, I don’t think they heard me...,” she said to the door. “I want you to be able to hear me, Urs, please!”

There was no response. Alexis closed her eyes, then sighed before saying her last words. “Urs, these last few days with you have been so surreally heaven-sent, aside from all of the chaos that has also happened. I fell in love with you, and you with me, and I hope that you will always cherish that, as I will. I want you to make it, even if I cannot escape. Whenever you remember this time that we have had to spend together, I don’t want you to look on those memories with sadness, only smiles. I will always love you, no matter what happens, just like I said in the ballroom. I am sorry that this might disappoint you, but I must do what I can to make sure that Alexandria knows the truth, no matter the extent. Please, forgive me...”

Blocking whatever urge she had to remain at Urs’ door, Alexis turned away and down the stairs to the lobby once more. After looking both ways to make sure the coast was clear, she bolted for the back door that led into the garden. Alexis ran past the still fragrant flowers and blooming trees, the grass fading into dirt as she neared the grave by the river.

Touching the tombstone, she said, “Jonathan, Alexandria is going to find out what happened to you. Be prepared to meet her in the afterlife, alright?”

Without waiting for Jonathan’s spirit–or anyone else’s spirit, for the matter–to give some kind of reply, she headed back in the direction of the mansion, but off the path and to the side. Alexis looked up to see if she could spot the balcony in the dark, the last place where Alexandria had stood alive. It was difficult to spot, but at last she could make out a balcony jutting from the outside wall on the fourth floor.

Looking up at it, she cried out. “Alexandria, it’s Alexis! I know the truth about what happened to Jonathan. Your brother, Avery Carpier, and his wife, Mary Sanderson, killed him. Mary brought him the gun, Avery shot Jonathan, and they both buried him near the river not so far from the garden. Harold had been deceived by Avery, made to think that Jonathan had actually left the mansion, when in fact, Avery, the very man who deceived Harold, had killed him! You can rest in peace now, Alexandria! Go to meet Jonathan in the afterlife, he is waiting for you.”

There were tears in Alexis’ eyes when she finished. The emotion of that reveal was hard to avoid, and the small joy that she felt rejoiced for Alexandria and Jonathan, who could finally reunite in the spirit realm. However, her joy was soon replaced by fear as a new smell reached her: smoke. She was not sure if that flickering orange light was a trick that her eyes were playing on her, but she wasn’t going to take the risk of dismissing it as such.

Alexis rushed into the mansion and up the stairs, coughing as the strong odor became heavier around her. When she reached the third floor, she hurried to each of her friend’s doors, starting with Erika’s. Shouting Erika’s name, Alexis turned the doorknob to find that it was unlocked, then rushed into the room. To her frenzied amazement, the room was empty. When she checked Chloe and Izzy’s rooms, theirs were empty as well. Alexis quickly became frustrated and scared, not sure where her friends had disappeared to. She reluctantly left Izzy’s room to go upstairs to check the Divos’ rooms, leaving Urs’ room for last. Carlos, Sébastien, and David’s rooms were empty as well, much to her immense fear. With a knot in her chest, Alexis finally went to check Urs’ old room. A part of her hoped that Urs was still in his room so that she wouldn’t have to be alone, yet a greater part of her wanted nothing more than for him to be as far from the fire as possible. When she swung open the door, Urs was nowhere to be found.

Dread dropped like a heavy weight in her chest as she considered another possibility. Perhaps Avery was lying about everyone being in their rooms? Maybe he had made them disappear, placed them in the spirit realm, which could only mean one thing.

“No...no, no, no, no, no!” Alexis murmured frantically, tears once again filling her eyes. “I can’t be the only one alive...I can’t be alone!”

She let herself collapse to the floor, laying on the carpet as she realized Avery’s cruel trick, sobbing for her lost love, and lost friends. In that moment, Alexis decided that she had nothing left to live for, and all cares of burning fled her mournful mind.

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Last edited by LADY on Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:15 pm

Chapter Nineteen, Part 2

Urs sat on his old hotel room bed, frustrated that his door wouldn’t budge. Being away from Alexis was driving him crazy; he didn’t want to leave her alone with Avery and Mary for any amount of time. However, he had no control over it when he suddenly disappeared from the ballroom and appeared in his old room, the one place he had vowed never to return to. Urs had spent a fair amount of time pounding on the door, calling out for help, but it seemed that no one could hear him, much less come to his aid. Suddenly, he heard someone pounding his door from the other side in a quick, desperate manner. Urs jumped up went to the door, trying to get the door handle to open the door, but to no avail. When he heard her voice, he stopped trying to open the door, only listened as he heard her voice.

“Urs, please, if you can hear me, answer me! I can’t get anyone else out of their rooms, and I think I am the only one who found a way to unlock the doors. They wouldn’t answer me, I don’t think they heard me...I want you to be able to hear me, Urs, please!”

“Alexis, are you alright?” Urs asked through the door, his voice raising a bit. “How did you get out of your room?”

There was a pause, and for a moment, he thought that she had heard him. When she spoke next, however, Urs found that was not the case.

“Urs, these last few days with you have been so surreally heaven-sent, aside from all of the chaos that has also happened. I fell in love with you, and you with me, and I hope that you will always cherish that, as I will. I want you to make it, even if I cannot escape. Whenever you remember this time that we have had to spend together, I don’t want you to look on those memories with sadness, only smiles. I will always love you, no matter what happens, just like I said in the ballroom. I am sorry that this might disappoint you, but I must do what I can to make sure that Alexandria knows the truth, no matter the extent. Please, forgive me...”

Frantic, Urs half-yelled through the door. “Alexis, no! Don’t talk like that, we will all escape this. Alexis, please!”

There was no reply. Urs’ dread came because there was no wondering what “I must do whatever I can...no matter the extent” meant. To think that she would believe that death was so possible, so likely, made him sad. He didn’t want to lose her, and he wouldn’t ever be able to let her go. Not knowing what to do, much less how to get out of that room, Urs paced back and forth, growing more and more worried by the second. If his distress wasn’t enough, the room suddenly became cold, much as it had the very last time he had been in the room. Ending his pacing, he instinctively looked to the spot beside the window, and much to his fears, saw Jonathan Gehrig’s spirit standing there.

“What do you want?” Urs asked, not really up to communicating with the dead in his frustration.

Jonathan looked at the door, and for a moment, Urs feared that he would see the repetition of Jonathan’s untimely end. However, the spirit only pointed at the door, then disappeared. Urs spent a confused moment wondering what that had been about, but had to dismiss it not too long later. Suddenly, Avery and Mary appeared in the room, still in their ball attire.

“Jonathan, you are not ready, yet? My sister is waiting for you,” Avery said, hardly sounding kind.

“Where is Alexis? Is she alright?” Urs asked, his expression stony as he spoke to the phantoms.

“It is none of your business! You will not matter to her anymore,” Avery said, an evil sneer on his face.

Slowly, Avery raised his hand, which held a very real gun. Now Urs understood the meaning of this: it was intended that his fate be met as Jonathan’s had been all those decades ago. Just as Avery started to flex his finger with the trigger, something made him stop mid-pull.

“What is that girl playing at?” Mary hissed, hatred clearly expressed in her features.

At first, Urs had no clue what Mary had meant, but after listening for a few seconds, he discovered what had interrupted Avery. He couldn’t make out exactly what Alexis was shouting, but he had could hear enough bits and pieces to know that she was bringing all of this to a close. He smiled at the thought of a peaceful end, one that would also banish the malevolent phantoms. When Alexis stopped shouting, however, his dread returned.

“This will not be the end!” Avery roared.

Avery and Mary became transparent, then disappeared through the door. A few moments later, Urs heard a crash from downstairs, then nothing. He initially thought that the phantoms were taking their anger out on the chandeliers or any other breakable items in the house. That thought, however, was made false when a new smell reached Urs, panicking him: smoke. He immediately rushed for the door, which to his surprise, opened without any trouble. Urs ran down the hall, knocking on his fellow Divos’ doors as he went. One by one, they came out of their rooms, each alerted by the smell of smoke and flames.

“What happened?” David had to raise his voice over the growing roar of the flames.

“Alexis revealed the truth,” Urs replied, also having to raise his voice. “Avery and Mary didn’t want to go down without a fight.”

“So they set the place on fire,” Carlos said, growing anxious as the air steadily heated up around them.

Urs nodded. “We need to leave here, and fast. Let’s find the girls and get out of here!”

Without any further instruction needed, Carlos, Sébastien, David, and Urs sped down the stairs to the third floor. There, they found Chloe, Izzy, and Erika together in the hall, also scared of the flames. Once the guys got to them, all were paired up again except for Urs.

“Where is Alexis?” Chloe asked Urs, her tone frantic.

“I think she is still outside,” Urs said. “We’ll meet her outside, we need to go now!”

Each Divo, with the exception of Urs, grasped their companions’ hands, and the group of seven rushed down the stairs as quickly as they could. The hot air grew heavier around them as the flames licked at new parts of the mansion as it grew. It took longer, but after many a cough and close call, the seven friends finally made it outside and into the night air. Once they were away from danger, they turned around and were greeted by the sight of the mansion, slowly being consumed by flames. It was saddening to see the mansion being destroyed, all of its history and memories burning along with it. Thankful that they had escaped the blaze, there was much hugging amongst the friends.

Meanwhile, Erika had been very quiet. While David held her to him, she stared at the mansion as it burned, her eyes unfocused. Her arms fell from around David’s waist as she continued to stare at the mansion.

Noticing Erika’s behavior, David got worried. “Erika? What is it?”

Erika didn’t reply immediately, but when she did answer David, it made everyone stop whatever they were doing, like her quiet voice had instead sustained the volume of a megaphone.

“She’s not outside...”

It felt like a humongous weight had suddenly descended inside of Urs’ chest. He felt his face drain of color as he processed what Erika had said. Without giving the urge a second thought, he sprinted back towards the burning mansion, ignoring the warnings sounding from his friends. All he could think about was Alexis, and rescuing her from wherever she was in the mansion.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:04 pm

Chapter Nineteen, Part 3

Urs speeded into the burning building, flames leaping around him as the air steadily grew hotter. He quickly did a mental list of places that Alexis could be, wanting to find her before it was too late. Urs knew she wouldn’t have stayed in the lobby, and that the only places she might be were the third or fourth floor. He ascended the first three flights of stairs without trouble, coughing every now and again as the smoke’s heavy scent assaulted him.

“Alexis!” He shouted, running down the hall, checking rooms as he went. “Alexis, where are you?”

He held on to hope when he flung the door to her room open, but then it was diminished when he didn’t find Alexis inside. All that he could see could see was her dress, which lay on the floor in a careless heap. He sped out of that room and up the stairs to the fourth floor, calling Alexis’ name as he went. A loud cracking noise distracted him, but once he made sure that nothing would be falling on or in front of him, Urs ascended to the fourth floor hallway. He checked every room he passed, coughing from the smoke and the heat as he looked for Alexis.

“Alexis, where are you?” He shouted again, growing more desperate with each empty room.

At last, he came to his old room, and all previous fears associated with it were suddenly nonexistent. It was the last place that she could be, and Urs was basing all of his hopes on the moment when he threw open the door to the room. Without having to look too far, he finally set his eyes on Alexis. When he saw her, he first felt relieved that he had managed to find her. Not too long after feeling that, however, Urs felt panic when he saw her laying on the floor, not moving. He rushed over to her, kneeling at her side on the floor. Urs carefully turned her over onto her back, gently checking the pulse spot on her neck. After a few moments, he let a brief, relieved sigh: there was a pulse, she was still alive. However, the fact that she wasn’t responding to him concerned him greatly, and without a second thought, put his arms under her still form. Urs quickly and carefully lifted her up with him as he stood to leave the room. He could hear more loud cracking noises as the fire consumed the beams that supported the roof, and knew he had to get out as soon as he could manage it. Because Alexis was so light, Urs easily ran out of the room and through the hallway with a hurried ease. He took the stairs at a slower pace, making sure his hold on Alexis was tight and secure so as not to drop her. Urs passed floor after floor on his way down and out of the burning mansion, refusing to be distracted by anything as he strove to get himself and Alexis out of the building. In no time at all, he reached the flaming lobby, and upon spotting the open front door, made a break for it. Just as he stepped outside, a beam broke from above, falling to the spot on the floor where he had been standing only moments before. Once the night air hit them, though, Urs knew that he and Alexis were out of harm’s reach.

Urs slowed his pace to a fast walk as he made his way back to his six friends, who were standing together worriedly. Upon catching sight of Urs, though, a small bit of that worry seemed to disappear. However, a great amount remained when they saw Alexis, immobile in Urs’ arms. Erika let out a small, fearful cry, covering her mouth as if to hold back a scream as she looked at her unresponsive friend. Urs kneeled to the ground, carefully laying Alexis’ still form on the grass. When he checked her pulse again, he felt with a heightened degree of fear that it was weaker than before. Urs took one of her hands in his and touched her face with his free hand.

“Alexis, can you hear me? Alexis?” He asked, not too loudly as to betray his anxiety, trying to keep his tone even.

There was no response. Tears of desperate frustration began to well in Urs’ eyes as he silently willed Alexis to open her eyes, but there was no hint of that happening.

“Alexis, please wake up,” he whispered. “Please survive...”
*****************
Alexis lay on the carpeted floor of her hotel room, which was not burning. Sunlight was streaming in through the window, shining upon on her tear-streaked face. She opened her eyes, heavy from so much crying, blinking from the bright light. The first thing that she noticed was that the room was not on fire, and nothing warned her about flames in any other part of the mansion. Had it all been a terrible dream? Had she fallen asleep before the Wedding Eve Ball without meaning to, leaving her mind to conjure up this insane nightmare? Alexis wasn’t sure which of those possibilities were correct, if any of them were even near the truth, but she knew that she needed to find out immediately.

She rose up from the floor, her friends and her love on her mind. They couldn’t have disappeared, not every single one of them. Upon standing, Alexis noticed that she was wearing a vintage wedding gown, which brought back the memory of a locked room, tears down her face...she shook her head to clear her thoughts. That couldn’t have been a memory, but then again, why was she wearing the gown? She pushed that thought to the back of her mind as she made to go towards the door, choosing to focus on finding her friends now, wondering about everything else later. Suddenly, the room disappeared from around her, replaced by a huge white space.

Taken off guard, she asked aloud, “Where am I?”

“Alexis?” A familiar voice asked.

Looking up, Alexis saw Donny walking towards her, a kind of panicked expression on his face. He was still wearing the palm tree shirt, she noticed absentmindedly, but the look on his face was all wrong. Donny was a smiling person, someone goofy who would provide the best jokes, make the best person when it came to making one feel better. This look of panic did not suit him.

“Donny? What’s wrong?” Alexis asked, her voice a little quieter.

“You can’t be here...,” he murmured. “You shouldn’t be here...”

“What are you talking about? Where are we, anyways?”

“Alexis, think about it: you’re not dreaming, and I am dead. How many other circumstances...no, no, no...,” Donny murmured, trying to keep his tone even.

With a sinking feeling, Alexis knew what he meant. “You mean...I’m dead?”

“Not quite, but you’re really close,” Donny replied, his tone grave. “You’re slowly dying, but we can see each other...it doesn’t make sense...”

“Donny, why am I dying?” Alexis asked, alarmed.

“Too much smoke in your lungs, Lexi,” he replied simply. “The mansion you were staying at caught on fire somehow, and you couldn’t find any of your friends. You went to a room and collapsed, and gave up...”

“Gave up?”

“You didn’t want to live, Alexis,” Donny said, his tone expressing his disbelief at the very idea of her thinking like that. “You thought they were all dead...”

Like his words were a cue, she could remember all that he said in vivid detail. However, she jumped at the last part of his sentence. “Are they all okay, though?”

Donny nodded, much to her immense relief. “What about Avery and Mary Sanderson?”

“They never came here, not ever,” Donny said. “I can tell you, though, they will be leaving you alone from now on. You did it Lexi,” he finished with a smile.

“So Alexandria and Jonathan?...”

“They are reunited,” Donny confirmed.

Alexis was so happy that she had completed the task appointed to her. Now, Jonathan and Alexandria were together in the afterlife, joined together by the revealed truth behind the wedding that never happened. Plus, every one of her friends was alive, including Urs. As she smiled at that last fact, she felt another, more sorrowful feeling.

“I don’t get a choice now, do I...” Alexis said, not phrasing it as a question.

Donny came to stand in front of her, then gently grabbed her upper arms. “You do get a choice, Lexi. You can choose to go back, or to stay here. No offense, but I would really rather you choose the first option.”

A small smile crossed over Alexis’ features at his unintended joke before a smile of gratitude replaced it. “Thanks, Donny. I’m glad that I have a choice.”

It was Donny’s turn to smile. “Hey, it’s no problem, it really isn’t,” he said, embracing her.

Alexis hugged Donny back, knowing deep inside that this would be the last time she ever got this chance again. They separated after a few moments, then stepped back from each other.

“See you later, Donny,” Alexis said, smiling.

“Way later, Lexi. Oh, and good luck,” Donny added with a grin.

Alexis had seen him wave his hand in a goodbye gesture, and she had returned it before all of the white turned black...

Alexis became aware that she was laying on grass, and that she was being held. She could hear Urs speaking to her, pleading with her. Like Donny’s worried expression, this sound didn’t suit his voice; in turn, it made her worried. He sounded like he was on the verge of tears, and that upset her. Not wanting to prolong his pleading, Alexis opened her eyes.

“Urs?” She whispered, her voice hoarse, but even-toned.

He looked down at her face, visibly relieved that she had spoken. “Alexis? You can hear me?”

“I can hear you loud and clear,” she said, weakly smiling.

Urs held Alexis closer to him, his tears falling out of joy rather than sorrow. “I am so thankful that you’re alright...”

“I thought he had done something to all of you,” Alexis murmured into his shoulder. “Thank goodness he didn’t...”

Urs lowered her from him a little, smiling at her. He lad a gentle hand on her face, overjoyed that he had not lost her. Alexis placed her hand on top of his hand, returning his smile as tears left clean trails down her smoke-grayed skin.

Everyone visibly relaxed, hugging and crying out of sheer joy. From somewhere above them, Alexandria and Jonathan looked down at them, finally hand-in-hand, smiling down at the four happy couples. The terror was over, and everyone was alright.


The End

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*To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)
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