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Red Dress

by Tyler Ridge 8 months ago in Short Story
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The Strange Nature of a Good Time

He didn’t wanna go out that night but something was pulling him strongly, something grandiose, something that felt intensely unique. He had to bolt out of his hotel room and be a part of whatever it was. As he scrounged through his apartment attempting to find something that fit the feeling the trance had washed him over with, he decided on something he wore everyday, a simple denim jean jacket and his favorite pair of black Levis. As the man surveyed his outfit up and down in the mirror he muttered, “Dammit Joe, you really have done yourself in again.” approvingly at his outfit in the mirror.

Joe found his way downstairs and into a cab waiting outside of his hotel. “Where to today sir?”, “I’m not quite sure yet man, take me around town and I’ll tell you if we’re getting close.”, Joe said in a matter-of-fact tone. The cabbie had had a slow night so far and pounced on the opportunity to run-up his meter and add a few extra dollars to the pot. After driving for close to 45 minutes through long spats of “almost theres” and “we’ve went to fars” Joe came across a large apartment building. The building sat in deep contrast to most of the city surrounding it. It was made of crimson-red bricks and ate up most of the sky above it. Joe thought it resembled something out of early 1920’s New York and was the place he needed to be without a doubt. Joe paid the cab driver a hefty sum and made his way up to the enormous iron doors that resembled a portal into another world.

Inside the building were ornate pieces of apparent priceless artwork, dazzling light fixtures that seemed to be hung from the tippy-top of the building, a stone fountain that roared as hard as a waterfall, and hundreds of sharply dressed dancers. These dancers seemed to be the unique force that was pulling Joe towards the brick building.

Joe walked in, and for no apparent reason, the party went dead silent. The dancers stopped gyrating and all of them looked intently towards Joe. Joe stood as still as a deer in headlights and began to feel as if he had intruded on something he definitely was not meant to see. As he turned to snap back into reality by walking straight out the doors he came in, a shrill, nagging voice yelled towards Joe, “Joey! Joey! Joey, baby! You have to come here and see me!”. Joe turned back around to see who had recognized him. As he turned Joe started to feel even more confused than before. He had never seen the woman who was yelling his name.

Joe met the woman with the shrill voice in the middle of the ballroom. Without warning the woman grabbed Joe and began to dance with him. The music returned, but no one else in the building had resumed dancing. They all just continued to stare silently at Joe. “Do you like my dress?”, the woman asked. Joe did like her dress. It was extremely shiny and red, but not red like the bricks on the building, more of a red on the ripest apple of the picking season, or the red of fresh blood on a strikingly white bathroom tile floor. Joe shared his positive feelings on the dress with the woman, “I have never seen a dress so beautiful, miss… can I get your name, madame?”. “My name isn’t important, we need to get out of here, right now”, the strange woman said in a rushed cadence.

For some reason Joe felt no confusion towards what the woman had just told him, he sprung into action and darted towards the stairs with the sharply dressed lady. Joe and the girl bumbled their way into the annoyingly large stairwell with a loud thud. “Listen, Joey, I know you are confused right now baby, I know you have tons of questions, and I know you wanna know who I am really, really badly. You have to trust me, I promise I'm not doing anything to hurt you, baby.”, the woman said in an empathetic, and almost scared tone. “You need to follow me up these stairs to the top floor”, the woman said disciplinarily. Joe could do nothing but follow her tense commands. At that point, that feeling, whatever it was, had returned to Joey, much stronger this time. The trance had become a real trance and it was pushing Joe up those stairs.

After what had felt like hours to Joey of walking up the unneeded steep stairs, the pair had made it to the top floor. Joe’s mental state continued to not deteriorate but mold into something unrecognizable. As he walked up the stairs, each step sent him ever deeper down the mental hole this trance had created. At the end of the stairs, there was a single door in the middle of an ever-expanding, and immensely bare wall. The door was the same shade of red as the woman's dress, but even more strongly inviting. The woman asked Joe to open the door. He was quite happy to oblige.

As Joe twisted the knob, he felt himself turning into a jelly-like substance. Mentally, he was grasping to a reality set to disappear shortly. As the knob fully rotated its intended 360 degrees clockwise, and the door burst open, Joe snapped back into full reality. His trance had disappeared and his mind felt intensely acute. Joe’s consciousness contrasted quite nicely with his newly present surroundings. Joe was in a dark and empty room, he was seemingly floating. As Joe observed his new environment he spotted a splotch of red in the far distance. He floated effortlessly to the only color present in the vast nothingness.

After a long time, Joe made it all the way to the strange object, he reached out to the void to touch it. It was just as smooth as he envisioned it being. Suddenly Joe was transported to somewhere familiar, he was in his hotel room, the only difference was that he floated above the space. Joe could see everything, but not interact with it. As he surveyed the room he noticed himself sitting alone in a dark room, illuminated only by moonlight. Joe observed himself, shockingly older, smoking a cigarette and staring at nothing in particular. As he panned to the other side of the room to get a look at his face, he noticed another figure, shrouded by darkness, standing to the side of himself. Upon a closer inspection, he saw what she was wearing. That damn red dress. The woman took out a lighter and lit a cigarette of her own. As Joey floated above the scene of an older version of himself enjoying a night with the lady in the red dress, he began to realize what that whole feeling was about, but he couldn’t quite grasp it.

Short Story

About the author

Tyler Ridge

Writer in your computer. Please set me free.

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