Claire lay in bed with a down-comforter pulled over her head, a mound of a person wrapped in cotton and blankets in a way that teenagers stuff their beds with life-size decoys of themselves when sneaking out of the house. In Paris they make beds the way a bed should feel. She lay on the left side to preserve the small crease that her sister Hannah had left behind on the right. "I think I've earned this," she said out loud. She poked an arm out from under the covers to grab a pack of Delium cigarettes on the nightstand, knocking over a glass. She waited to light up and eventually fell back asleep. The concierge awoke her from her sleep.
"Ms. Claire, you have a phone call."
"No calls, Dante, let me sleep. And find my cigarettes."
"They're lying right beside you, Ms. Claire."
He walked into the back room where the phone sat off the hook.
"I'm sorry Ms. Iva, but Ms. Claire isn't able to talk at the moment."
"Dante, you give her the phone, even if you have to tape it around that thick head of hers."
Dante returned to the bedroom, phone in hand, stretching the cord all the way.
"Ms. Claire, it's your sister. She insists you answer her."
Dante placed the phone by her head.
"Claire, I'm standing outside the building. Let me in."
"I'll have Dante fill out the correspondance and then you can -"
"Claire, have him buzz me in, goddamnit."

Iva walked down the hallway in a fevered hurry, begast to a conversation that would stretch on for hours and required not an ounce of haste to marathon herself down the hallway like a police officer. The doors of the Bellvue Apartment complex were faded baige decorated in nothing more than room numbers and peep-holes. Except for the one at the end - The door had been hand-painted lavender some years ago and laminated on the front was a Gregor Namsoinski line - "Liking people and liking life. Riverbends lit up by light. Dancing flurry, laughing sigh. Let's be humans for awhile."
Iva let herself in.
Claire was upright in bed smoking her black Delium as Dante cleaned up the wine stain on the side of the bed.
"There was a lost passage in the New Testament," said Iva. "Archeologists discovered it."
"And what did it say?"
"The Lord said unto thee 'Black chemically enhanced clove cigarettes are not thy work of my father thy Lord, bur rather the work of Paris, it's ne'er do-wells and faded, crusty hipsters."
"Spare me this please."
Claire hopped out of bed and paced to the bathroom completely nude.
Dante nervously coughed and averted his eyes.
"I've come to tell you that it's incredibly unhealthy that you've been living in Hannah's room for the last two months, wearing her clothes, using her bathtub. Mom has sent me as dispatch to bring you back to Manhattan."
"Stuffy old Manhattan. You can't climb trees in Manhattan. Here I can pick any old tree from my balcony window and say 'I'll climb you today, fellow.' And I do it. Often."
Iva took a seat on the bed, careful to avoid Hannah's imprint.
"How do you see trees from 34 stories up?"
"It's a special telepathy. Me and the trees. Great minds think alike."
Claire returned from the bathroom wearing a pink low-rise spaghetti strapped dress that had come right out of a Lotus Vintage catalog.
"I like Paris, Iva."
"Are you still in mourning?"
Claire sat next to Iva and passed her a cigarette.
"Poor Hannah."
"Poor Hannah..."
"How many guys did you fuck in High School, you think?" asked Claire.
"You're devious...Not as many as Hannah."
"Poor Hannah...she got the worst end of it I do believe, wouldn't you say? Raped by the Science Club."
"And by that loathsome Phys. Ed. teacher."
"Snnnagggle Toooooth Smile."
The girl burst into uproarious laughter, falling over each other and the floor.
Dante poked his head around the corner with a grin.
Iva was rolling around on the floor holding her stomach.
"Jesus shit."
She stood up and walked to Claire, brushing the brown hair out of her face and pulling her straps back around her shoulders. Iva walked to the balcony window. In the right hand corner on the glass was another Namsoinski line - "Dilly dally, shilly shally." Iva opened the sliding glass door and threw the cigarette butt over the railing from the inside carpet. She turned to Claire.
"Show me where she jumped."

The girls headed out onto the balcony. A small fenced area that could fit a chair, a small in-table and nothing else.
"She wrote out here, I believe."
Three feet above their heads was a cement ledge that protruded from the top of the door frame. An easy climb for someone nimble enough to climb even the dankiest tree. Iva pulled the in-table close enough and both girls climbed the ledge. They stood on top of it looking out across the city. Three inches of their shoes stuck out and keep a solid footing proved difficult.
"She was a true blue. I applaud her. In a sense, she overcame her fear of heights."
The girls leaned against the back of the wall.
"What were in her pockets again?"
"She was completely nude. I can't believe you failed to remember that. They say as she passed the floor windows, every tenant on every floor popped their head out to watch her fall, like a dominoe reaction almost."
The girls climbed back down to the balcony and Iva re-arranged the in-table back against the railing.
They headed inside and closed the glass door.

"This isn't healthy Claire, and it's not going to get any better."
Claire curled back up into bed and pulled the comforter to her chin. She placed her Delium pack back on the nightstand.
"Just give me one more week. Can you stay that long?"
"No, not here. Somewhere else. I can't stand for anyone to be here right now."
Iva slowly walked to the lavender Namsoinski riddled door and cracked it open.
She ran her hands up and down the frame.
"I won't tell you that you have a chance to save your marriage, because you don't. When you up and left, Shane disappeared. I can't say if he'll return."
"Shane can stay gone. Everything now is bigger than my relationship to him."
Iva walked out into the hallway.
"I'll see you tomorrow. One more week, okay?"
She shut the door.
Claire sat back up in bed and lit another clove cigarette. She got back up and headed towards the kitchen to pour a glass of wine. A Coudeux for a reason. Unopened for a reason. Centered to the left of the china cabinet for a reason. The apartment had been blueprinted on perfect reasoning and perfect occurances that matched Hannah's scheme of things. The telephone rang.
"Dante, could you please get that?"
Another ring.
Yet another.
Claire hurried to the living area and took the call herself, invigorated in some strange form of ghost control and haunted balconies.
Heavy breathing filled through the wiretaps and a woman's raspy voice came out the other end -
"You'll die alone up there if you're not careful."
The phone clicked.
Claire crawled back into bed with her glass, sat it on the table, threw the rest of her pack of Delium's in the waste basket by her bedside, pulled the comforter over her head and cried and cried and cried for the remainder of her last week in Paris ghosthunting.
Poor advice.
Last edited by stellar_legs at Aug 20, 2008,
- "Three inches of their shoes stuck out and keep a solid footing proved difficult." - Is there a mistake in "keep" here, should it not be keeping?

- "Iva let herself in.
Iva was upright in bed smoking her black Delium as Dante cleaned up the wine stain on the side of the bed." - Wasn't it Claire that should of been upright in bed smoking the cigarettes?

This doesn't belong here, its too bloody good! I'm only kidding really.

I love the way you have used subtle changes in the vocabulary, it really lends this a poetic edge and stops it from becoming novel-ish or static.
Your overal layout and paragraph usage was nice and, oddly enough, even the font that you have decided to use - your common one - was a triumph, it seemed to portray a certain sense of belonging and detail. It allowed the reader to see things in a particular way.

As per normal, this has your stamp on it - quirky and spotaneous. Almost like a tamed lion, its controlled spontanaeity... however the hell you spell that!

There isn't anything that I would suggest altering, I don't dislike anything from it. But the good thing, its not just good, its great!
Middle of the road pieces that have no real need for change seem bland and unimportant to me. This, on the other hand, has so many qualities to it, its impossible not to recognize the bueaty behind your words. The perfect combination of pretty + personall.
damn. i dont come on here a lot anymore but when i do youre one of the writers who i like to look for. take that guys advice and write us a book.
Glad you're back, and back on track.
Always have enjoyed your stories, always will.
This, perhaps, was one of my favorites from you yet.
On the eight day we spoke back...

let there be sound.
There's one spot where he calls her Ira and the rest are Iva, maybe intentional?

Great regardless.
Agghh skeet, skeet, crit me, skeet, skeet!
The misuse of the names are simply the result of me mixing up the two women while writing a few times.

Thanks guys.
I've had a horrible block, and sort of still do, so don't see this as a return.
Poor advice.
Numerous spelling mistakes. A part where you use "Iva" where "Claire" should be.

But I ****ing loved it. Every second of it.

And I shat my pants when I read the "second Namsoinsky" line.

"Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear." - from Tao Te Ching

How LONG did it take you to write this?

every sentence flowed perfectly.
Quote by icaneatcatfood
On second thought, **** tuning forks. You best be carrying around a grand piano that was tuned by an Italian
'hours and required not an ounce of haste to marathon herself down the hallway like a police officer.'

I think this would be easier to understand with a comma before the 'and'. This way, I read it as the 'not an ounce of haste' belonging to the previous action, then got confused at the second half.

'Claire sat back up in bed and lit another clove cigarette. She got back up'

The repetition of 'back up' was too clear cut, I think.

Other than that, and that is very little.

This was bloody great . I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
yes, i agree with Alex.
well deserved.
There's a road that leads to the end of all suffering. You should take it.

- Jericho Caine

secret, aaaaagent maaan.
secret, aaaaagent maaan.
Grats. Deserve more, imo.

"Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear." - from Tao Te Ching

To say, from me personally anyway, that this is the only deserving wotw in ages is a little extreme. There is no doubt in my mind that recent material has been great, nothing spectacular mind you. Then again if everything was extremely awesome then nothing would stand out! But this is the first piece I've read in a long time, that really shines, anywhere.