Yes, I'm aware that a follow up post to the fantastic and amazing Y-Bridge Arts Festival this past weekend is needed. But frankly, I was on a red-eye this morning, and on roller coasters the day before that. I need to do this, though, because I love Dvorak and you guys love Dvorak and I love talking about Dvorak so here we go. No worries, chai lovers, it's nothing bad.
If you're here from Serial Tuesday, welcome! If you just want to go straight to the serial without ANY of the backstory or info, click here. If you want more information on the series, click here before further reading.
Starting this week, the Dvorak series (including The Dealey Five) will update on this blog as well as on Wattpad. This isn't a bad thing, as most of the audience does find us on Wattpad, but should anything happen to Wattpad, I want to make sure the series is still accessible. Dvorak Classic is and always will be on MemR and will not move; and as of this writing, I don't foresee the past installments of The Dealey Five being on this website. Now, I'm probably wrong, and it's probably the Excedrin talking (again, red eye). But I want to make sure it's consistent, and also make sure that the Tuesday Serial gets a good link as well.
Do what works best for you. If you use Wattpad often and rely on the app to know when your serials are updated, by all means keep reading and voting there! It's much appreciated, and Wattpad will probably continue to update before this site does. Long story short, it'll be a mess for a couple of days, but all of this will be sorted out before Chapter 10 hits on Friday. (Which is a good thing. Chapter 10 is going to be a doozy.)
Dvorak is a series of serials, built around the same world and characters.
It started back in April of this past year (2013) as a one-shot novel during Camp NaNoWriMo, a serial that uploaded every day on my personal blog. After the success of what is now called Dvorak Classic, a series was suggested. The Dealey Five is the first serial novel out of this series. Yes, a serial series. Say that three times fast.
The name of Dvorak comes from the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, which I am learning/memorizing. As an author/musician who uses her hands for everything, Dvorak is easier on my fingers and allows me to type without strain. All of Dvorak's chapters are typed in the Dvorak layout. (And yes, the title does tie back into the series.)
The story is geared toward YA but is geared toward most audiences with a PG rating. Part of the fun of Dvorak is, also, that I encourage the reader to suggest what happens next. For now, simple suggestions work fine, and I do find a way to fit them all in. When I wrote the original Dvorak Classic, I started with two characters and the condition that it had to take place in New York City (for familiarity's sake), but other than that, my readers gave me my plot, including the science-fiction elements of string theory and universe collision that drive Dvorak today.
If you're just joining us, here's the series in a nutshell: String theory is loosely based around the idea that universes collide, merge, and separate at random. A multi-dimensional organization named QWERTY (yes, that's a pun) organizes these universe movements. Dvorak Classic covered the adventures of a girl named Carissa and her experiences as her/our world collided with another and merged with it. Because of Carissa's actions, most of her world survived the merge, and the other world ceased to exist except for five kids chosen at (not so) random.
These five kids are the focus of The Dealey Five. Unable to fully remember their old world just yet, they can become QWERTY trainees if they so wish to be -- but they have to track down all five of themselves first (as they've all crash landed on the world that collided with theirs -- aka ours). Four of the kids have been found; Jason and Rosa have memories that have returned, while Matsumoto (real last name) and Milaya (code name) have not yet. Making things more complicated are a group of men in black who seem to want Jason's boombox, and Milaya's connection to them, involving her old Soviet-run world.
Chapter 9 (or, "The Girls Go Shopping")
For previous chapters of The Dealey Five, and for the original Dvorak Classic, click here.
BACK to Chapter 8
Where We Last Left Off: Matsumoto, Jason, and Rosa cornered the girl named Milaya and got her to go with them.
The next morning was a Sunday.
Matumoto couldn’t sleep that night at Mac’s apartment. He and Jason had stayed there, while Rosa and Milaya had taken a cab service up to Washington Heights to stay with Carissa. But while Jason had stayed up late and played video games, then passed out without any warning, Matsumoto hadn’t felt the least bit tired.
After listening to Jason snore for what seemed like hours, he finally removed himself from the pull out couch and sat by the window. There was activity out there, sure, but it didn’t seem the same. He wasn’t accustomed to this. He wasn’t accustomed to anything, really. All of this was brand new, and Jason and Rosa seemed to have it all together, and he...
Just focus on finding the last person, he told himself. Focus on getting Milaya to stay a part of the team. Get us back to QWERTY headquarters. And then...then what? It was nice to have a goal for now, but he didn’t even properly know what this QWERTY was. There had only been the cold room, and Mick, and Rosa there at the beginning. And the words.
They still wouldn’t let him off the hook. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t translate them, even though they were in his mother tongue. Jason remembered he was a dancer from a place called Los Angeles. Rosa had been a superstar, no matter how she may have messed up. What did Matsumoto have? A last name and a whisper he couldn’t even decipher.
It was at times like these that he still felt alone, even though he had teammates.
Could he call them friends? He had before, even though they had all known each other for about forty eight hours or so. They shared the same world, and they shared the same experiences now. Rosa had even kissed him, which had been so out of his comfort zone he had nearly fainted. It was almost too much, and he wanted to push the pause button so he could try to remember who he was, what his role in all of this was, his destiny.
That one he could understand -- “can you hear me?” but even if he wanted to, he couldn’t answer back. There was nobody there.
Jason woke up at the crack of dawn and found Matsumoto slumped over the chair in a sitting position, goggles in hand, completely asleep. Instead of waking him up, he draped his blanket across his friend and went to the kitchen for some breakfast.
Mliaya woke up early.
Rosa was still sleeping next to her, undisturbed, as she rose from the couch. The windows indicated it was morning. Good. Time to get started.
She sneaked away from Rosa and toward the kitchen, where her target was. If she could just pull this off without anybody finding out, it would be a great morning.
The old corded phone was hanging on the wall. Milaya picked it up and waited for a dial tone, then put in the number she had memorized. She could have used the device the people had given her last night, but she didn’t know exactly how it worked yet -- and besides, she didn’t fully trust them.
The phone rang three times, and then a man picked up. “Yes?” he asked in clear-cut Russian.
“The tide is high,” Milaya said into the phone, making sure the key phrase was perfect. “Can I speak with Dimitri?”
“Yes, ma’am.” There was a pause, then another voice came over the line. “My Milaya.”
She blushed. She didn’t like it when he called her that, but if she was going to be a part of their plan, she would have to put up with this debauchery for a little while longer. “I’m still with them,” she said.
“Good. If they truly are from your dimension, then we have to keep them close.”
Milaya paused. “Even if they are Allies?” she asked. “Some of them actually remember who they are now. I do have something to tell you, though.”
“Affirmative. Please post.”
“The girl who was in the purple has been confirmed to be Rosa Querida. If we can get her on our side, she will most certainly be a good ally.”
“Understood. We will refocus our efforts --” The phone suddenly snapped off, and Milaya jumped. She turned and saw that Rosa was standing behind her, the telephone cord hanging in her hand from where she had pulled it out.
“What were you saying about me?” she said. “I heard you say my name.”
Milaya was speechless for a moment, and then she put the phone back down on the receiver, walking away from Rosa. “It shouldn’t matter to you,” she said. “You’ll just consider it trivial.”
“I don’t consider any of this trivial!” Rosa said. “This is very serious business!”
Milaya turned and glared at Rosa. “How dare you insist what is important and what is not?” she said. “Your opinions are worthless. You think you’re so great because of your dreams and aspirations, but that’s not how the world is supposed to work.”
Rosa rolled her eyes. “Oh, and you’re saying that will actually work? Because clearly that didn’t work in this dimension.”
“That is this dimension. Once we merge the two, the Soviets will --”
“For the last time, the worlds already merged! And your Soviet world is gone!”
“And where is your proof that this merge has happened?”
“I’m your proof.” That was Carissa, standing in her doorway, hair a mess. “What is going on out here? It’s too early in the morning to fight like this.”
“We’re not fighting,” Rosa said as Milaya said, “You think this is a fight?”
“You’re going to wake up my parents, and in that sense, it will totally be a fight,” Carissa said. She crossed her arms. “Seriously. I thought we had covered all of this already. If it weren’t for the events that happened, you’d all still be...” She paused to yawn. “See? Too early to fight. Anyway, you’d still be in your world, and Isabel would still be here. As it is now, the only way I can interact with her is through one of you.”
“Lies,” Milaya spat.
Carissa teared up. She clenched her fists. “You take that back.”
“Lies. I’d like to see proof of this Isabel girl’s disappearance in this world.”
And then, the door opened, and Isabelle Plotnikov stepped into the apartment.
Unlike the other three in the apartment, Isabelle was already set to go, wearing a pink one piece dress and Trojan sandals. Her purse was slung over her back. “Carissa!” she said, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder. “What’s up, girl? Did you forget we were going to go to...” She stopped for a minute as she saw Milaya and Rosa in the kitchen, both wearing some of Carissa’s pajamas. “Who are they?”
Carissa tried very hard not to throw something, but before she could crack, Rosa took over. “Oh? Carissa never told you I was visiting? I’m Rosa, her cousin from...Puerto Rico!” She stuck her hand out. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Isabelle said.
Carissa sighed. “Nice save, Rosa,” she said to herself.
“We should totally take her with us,” Isabelle said. “Rosa, we’re going downtown to go shopping today. Do you want to go with us?”
The thought of her credit card just waiting to be used again came to the forefront of Rosa’s mind. “Yes yes yes yes yes!” she yelled, jumping up and down in excitement. “Oh, but can I take somebody to carry my bags?”
“You are not taking that boy along again,” Carissa muttered. “He has more important things to do than carry your bags all day.”
“I beg to differ,” Rosa said as she pulled her phone out of her pajama pocket. “I’ll contact him right now.”
Isabelle’s eyes, meanwhile, had gone over to Milaya. “And who is she? Another cousin?”
Rosa stuck out her tongue. “Oh, her? She’s the new maid.”
Milaya’s face changed in an instant. “Го́споди! I am not you maid!”
Isabelle’s eyes widened. “Вы говорите по-русски?” she asked Milaya.
Carissa put a hand to her face. “Oh, it is over,” she muttered.
Rosa turned to Carissa as Milaya kept talking with Isabelle in rapid fire Russian. “What is?”
“I totally forgot that Isabelle’s parents are Russian Jews. Thankfully Isabelle’s not fluent, but Milaya could still spill all of our secrets to Isabelle.” Carissa paused to regroup her thoughts. “Rosa, that girl is also from your world.”
Rosa’s eyes widened. “She is?”
“Yes, but she’s been changed to fit in with this world. She remembers nothing about your world at all, and I’ve tried to keep it that way.”
Rosa took control of the situation again. “So, about that shopping trip!”
It was like this that Rosa, Milaya, Isabelle, and Carissa found themselves down at 34th Street, ready for a day at Macy’s. Everybody except for Carissa was excited...even Milaya.
“I have been looking forward to this day for years,” Isabelle said as she spun around outside the store.
Carissa rolled her eyes. “You have not,” she said. “We just went here last week.”
Rosa, meanwhile, was trying to distract Milaya by showing her the ins and outs of her QWERTY communication device. Milaya had initially objected, but when Rosa had showed her all of the ways it could function, even as a phone, she became interested.
“And if you push this button,” Rosa showed her, “it’ll call Carissa and Mac. This is in an emergency.”
Milaya nodded, trying to show that she was interested. "That all seems very...interesting,” she said. “Thank you for showing me all of this.”
“No problem. It’s what friends do, right?”
Milaya paused, then didn’t answer Rosa.
“Well, aren’t you girls coming?” Isabelle said. “I mean, even maids need nice clothes!”
Rosa rolled her eyes away from Isabelle. “Ignore her and get in here and relax,” she said. “You should get something to wear other than that dress anyway.”
Milaya crossed her arms over her chest. “No. It’s my dress.”
“Suit yourself,” Rosa said, following Isabelle and Carissa into the store. “Wait for me!”
She left Milaya just enough time to call Dimitri again. “We’re downtown in a store,” she said. “Come find me when you get a chance.”
Unfortunately for Milaya, Rosa was a whiz when it came to women’s clothing, which meant she STILL went shopping for the other girl. “I got you a bunch of things,” she said as she held up two bags, balanced between two arms. “Don’t worry, they’re not that heavy. You can try all of this stuff on when we get home, and if something really doesn’t fit, we can bring it back. Although this isn’t really our money anyway...”
Milaya felt like screaming. “For the last time, I am only wearing this dress!” she yelled in the middle of the downstairs food court, where she had been waiting for Dimitri. Unfortunately for her, he still hadn’t showed up. She had, however, figured out what her card could be useful for, and had bought every sweet in the shop.
“But I just...” Rosa put the bags down. “Would you get over yourself?”
She froze as she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning around, she saw one of the men in black holding her. Rosa kicked backward, but missed, and the man grabbed her around the waist.
She tried to bite him, but there was no angle to. “Help! Police!”
“For the last time.” And the leader of the men in black stepped forward. “We are the police. You will come with us, Miss Querida, without any issue, or else.”
“If we told you, that wouldn’t be very fun, would it?”
“These guys aren’t fun at all.” Rosa turned at the new voice and saw the original Isabel Gonzalez standing there. “You all right?”
“I am,” Rosa said. “Just get me out of here before they do something stupid.”
“Got it. Hey, Mick, watch this.” And Isabel pressed a few buttons on her phone, and the man let go of Rosa. She fell to the floor only to be caught.
When Rosa looked up, she saw it was Mick -- the same person who had met her and Matsumoto back at QWERTY headquarters. “I thought you were staying back there,” Rosa said.
Mick smiled. “Isabel called me in. She said she wanted me to take a look at the threats you guys have been receiving. I can’t help her, but she should be able to take care of them so you guys can focus on finding your fifth person. Congratulations on getting so far so fast, by the way. It shows you’re perfect for the organization.”
“So wait -- you’re just saying that Isabel can take care of the guys in black?” Rosa asked.
“It’s a very weird scenario with that girl,” Mick explained. “You see, the Guardian of the world only holds the power for a short time, and only in the ways we detail it possible. But Isabel fought for this world on her own terms. She didn’t do most of the work up front, admittedly. That was Carissa’s doing, as she was chosen by Sarah. What Isabel did is she made Project Colemak possible for this world, and she helped bring about the peaceful merge. Because of this, she stayed the guardian of this merged world and retained her powers through QWERTY. Unlike you, then, Isabel can use her Guardian powers to mold this world and this world only, even thought she is invisible.”
“So, could she do that...like, right now?” Rosa asked.
“Well, she can’t eliminate them entirely,” Mick said. “Since the world isn’t changing anymore, people will remember that these guys disappeared. Isabel’s changes have to be subtle. Just like that,” he said as Isabel pressed another button and the guys in black all walked off.
All except for the guy in charge. “You won’t fool me,” he said. “I know what’s going on here. There are invisible Allies helping you, are there not?”
“What?” Rosa asked as Mick said, “He seriously thinks we’re Allies?”
Milaya stood by the man in charge and spoke something else to him. “Hmm,” he said in English. “You do have a good point. We’ll be going now.” And he took Milaya by the arm and started to lead her out of the food court.
Isabel shook her head. “Oh, this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.” She pushed a few more buttons, but nothing seemed to be working on this man. “Why won’t the phone work?”
Mick grabbed her phone from her. “Not a clue,” he said.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” And Rosa ran over to the nearest table, grabbing a salt shaker and chucking it right at the man’s head.
It hit right on target, he turned. “Who threw that?”
Rosa did the only thing she could think of to do. “Food fight!”
Isabel followed suit and tweaked the area around them. In the ensuing madness that followed, everybody in the basement food court under the age of eighteen started throwing their food, as Isabel had programmed. Mick simply stood still, making notes in his own phone.
“Man does not respond to QWERTY devices, and people in the general area do not seem to notice him,” he said as a bowl of salad flew over his head. “This will require a special report. Sarah will have to take a look at this.”
Milaya felt the man’s grip on her tighten as they walked out. “Dimitri?”
“Come home,” he said in Russian, but for a split second, this didn’t feel like home. She thought about wrestling away, but knew she couldn’t do that either.
Dimitri gave her a glare. “Don’t you dare think about giving up, after all we have been through --”
He slumped to the floor as something hit his head. Milaya went down with him, then freed herself from his grip. Looking up, she saw Matsumoto standing with a metal pipe.
“You’re right, Jason,” he said. “This works perfectly.”
“Who wants a show?” the ever charismatic Jason said, hoisting his boombox over his head and getting the attention of all of the food court patrons, now covered in food.
“No shows today, Squirrel,” Rosa said as she grabbed him. “We need out of here now. That means you, too, Milaya. Isabel, can you throw up that shield?”
“Sure thing,” Isabel said as she pushed the code, giving the kids thirty seconds of invisibility. “Run for it.”
Matsumoto held out his hand to Milaya. “What were you guys doing here?”
Milaya stayed silent. “They were shopping,” was all she said.
“I know, I know. Rosa has a habit of that. You can ignore her if you want. What say we get out of here?”
She looked at Matsumoto, and then looked at Rosa pulling Jason out of the store by the hand. Mick and Isabel were following behind, Isabel checking her phone. And then, she looked back at her dress, now covered in alfredo sauce and mashed potatoes. Bits of noodle clung to her pigtailed hair.
For a minute, she remembered why she had been so adamant with Rosa: this was her only dress, and from her Soviet homeland, as well. But she was sure there was more to it than that.
“We’ll wash it,” Matsumoto said. “I’m sure there’s some way to get all of that out. Maybe Isabel has a button for that. It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Milaya’s eyes were on Matsumoto as Dimitri’s booming voice echoed behind her three steps. “You get back here!”
She didn’t know how he could see any of them, but she did want her dress washed. “Run.”
FORWARD to Chapter 10
The Dvorak Series, including The Dealey Five, updates every Friday at Wattpad.
Okay. Now I have to not go have a heart attack while I submit this.