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What If Liv Was Telling the Truth?, Part 2

Updated on May 6, 2017
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Irma Cowthern enjoys viewing old black and white movies and listening to jazz and classical music.

"Jane hurry out of here!"

A moment later I stood in a freezing dressing room. The silence was particularly daunting given 50 mannequins with thin eyebrows, icy blue eyes, and ruby-red lips appraised me. Their conceit emboldened by 1940s off the shoulder, spaghetti string, and halter top evening gowns.

Incredibly they started breathing, moving their heads, lips and relaxing their shoulders and arms. “Jane hurry out of here!” They screamed. I backed away from the models into the drapes. Seconds later stillness jacketed them. Am I in a Jean Cocteau movie? Am I dreaming? I thought rubbing my hands briskly against my arms and legs for warmth.

If not, I certainly felt on the verge of losing what was left of my mind. I pulled the drapes aside only to glimpse rows of red bricks instead of window panes. When I turned around a mirrored armoire swung open revealing an array of mink coats. I commandeered a brown one. I’d never tried on a mink. Let alone thought about owning one. For now I was warm. Then an object scrambled between my ankles. “Meow.” Why it’s that darn cat in the flesh.

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“Come here Pia.”

The cat left the dressing room. My curiosity shoved my fright out-of-the way. I hurriedly threaded my way through the maze of human dolls. I spotted two sliding panels and stretched them wide open. A sea of black Marcel waves, two gray orbs, a medium-sized sniffer, and two red half moons confronted me.

They belonged to an oval faced woman about 25 years old. Who sat on a divan holding the orange and white cat. Diamond rings adorned her dark brown fingers. “Hello Jane - I’m Marie.” So she’s the welcoming committee. Where’s the jerk who kidnapped me?

"What's your story Marie?"

On entering the sitting room, a large glass dome covering the surface of an oblong table caught my attention. As well as an odd art deco floor mirror. “Why was I brought here?”

“I’m retiring and you’re my replacement.”

Obviously she thought I would take the job without any protest. Then I suddenly realized it was Marie who’d rearranged my personal items in the condo. Was she a ghost or real? I needed to get to the bottom of this paranormal jazz. So I sat in a round chair with an immense tufted back near the divan and asked, “What’s your story Marie?”

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Her eyes narrowed. She fidgeted with her pearl necklace and then fiddled with her sweetheart neckline dress. Finally divulging she moved to Los Angeles shortly after WWII ended. And that she worked for Mieko during the day at a flower shop and attended college at night. Adding Mieko reopened her business after returning home from the internment camp.

Marie boasted she had a knack for ikebana floral arrangements and the word spread about her artistry. Resulting in Mrs. Edith Henry, the wife of the Grande Mademoiselle Hotel’s owner, ordering the arrangements when she was in town.

“How did you end up in this suite?”

“The day after Mrs. Henry passed her husband placed a rush order for three ikebana arrangements. I went over to the hotel and set up the floral arrangements in her suite. After I finished I caught the service elevator. The next thing I knew I was swooshed here.”

“What year did Edith pass?”

“In the Fall of 1945.”

“Is that her?” I pointed to a woman in a photograph who appeared 50ish attired in a suit with a fox stole thrown across her shoulders. Her hair was combed off her face and curled under. Her eyes shone.


“And you’ve been here ever since? Marie nodded.

“I screamed for help. No one came. The windows were all bricked up.”

If Marie’s story is true then she’s well over 100 years old and not a ghost. I could only suppose Edith’s will to remain in the physical world was so great. It empowered her to duplicate her suite of rooms at the Grande Mademoiselle. And to populate them with her possessions.

What did you do for food and water?”

“I didn’t need any. After my stomach stopped growling I discovered I could walk through the doors and walls of the Grande Mademoiselle. My wanderings spawn the legend of a colored lady haunting the hotel.”

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"She's very powerful."

Marie and Edith were insane if they thought I was going to stay here. I’d finally released Harry to journey forth to his next adventure. I was spreading the toes on my flat feet and unfurling my boas. Why would I give up spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the L.A. evening skyline for this inter-dimensional no man’s land. “I don’t want your job.”

- You're upsetting Mademoiselle.”

-“Edith can have a hissy fit. I don't care.”

-“Jane it’s the hotel I'm referring to.”

-“What are you saying?”

-“She’s very powerful.”

I glanced around the room stunned.

“You’ll never get lonely here. You’ll have plenty of companionship.”

The only life forms I’d perceived were Marie, Pia, and the dolls. “Where are these people?”

“Look inside the dome.”

I walked over to the oblong table and glanced inside the dome. My knees almost gave way. I observed people of every nationality there. Walking down streets, watching tv, cooking, and chatting with others. Children were playing and cars were traveling down streets. There were even high rises.

“A yellow-trimmed house is waiting for you.”

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It was all too much for me to handle. My journey here, the dolls, Marie, and the hotel. “No! No! No!” I screamed. “Mademoiselle, I refuse to be a part of your menagerie.” Marie’s gray eyes cringed in horror. “I will not be entombed in your world!” The room shook violently. Pia fled into the dressing room. The wardrobe mirror glowed. I watched in horror as the mirror displayed Liv running through her condo chased by her clothing and accessories. Afterwards it presented Richard’s body laying on the rooftop. Oh no she's going to kill me.

Within all this swirling drama strangely I remembered Richard’s inner glow. It shone so brightly. I supposed Edith had one as well. Hadn’t Charlotte mentioned that my eyes were dancing the last time she was in L.A...That’s what Mademoiselle desired…My joy of life. She’d depleted all of Marie’s. Richard wouldn’t cooperate so she sucked his out of him. My stomach growled like a wild beast.

"That's a lie!"

“Jane there’s no way out of here.”

Of course she would say that. It was in her vested interest to make me think so. “That’s a lie!” I burrowed into Marie. “You could’ve left. Now it's too late. What did Mademoseille offer you?”

Her lips trembled with anger. “Wealth and the Fountain of Youth.” Then she glared at me. “And I took them unapologetically.”

I could only speculate whether the women in the dressing room and the people within the dome were disappeared or imagined by the hotel. Perhaps they were satisfied with their situation. Or unaware they resided beneath a dome.

I yanked the mink coat off, threw it on the floor, and stomped on it. My joy of life and soul weren’t for sale. My stomach growled again, a bit less noisier. Marie peered at me with glee in her eyes. As a decaying, wormy, and moldy odor filled the room.

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“Run Jane run. Dive into the mirror Jane!” The human dolls shouted assembled along the threshold of the dressing room.

Marie flew off the divan towards them seething with rage yelling,“Close your mouths!” The voice wasn’t hers. And her neatly coiffured hair was standing all over her head. And her eyes were now two white orbs.

I in turn headed towards the mirror as fast as my 55 year- old feet in heels could run. “Stop! Stop!” Marie or I should say Mademoiselle caught up with me, grabbing the bottom of my pantsuit jacket and pulling on it. But her grip couldn’t deter my momentum as I dove into the mirror. When I glanced back terror etched what was now Marie’s face. As she beheld her shriveled hands and arms on the other side of the mirror.


A nanosecond later, I was on the rooftop of the Steele Towers alive and unaged. But I couldn’t help but question whether the world I inhabited was orchestrated by a powerful, forceful, and imaginative entity like Mademoiselle.

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Have You Ever Seen A Ghost?

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© 2017 Irma Cowthern


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      Noni Olabisi 10 months ago

      Wow!!!!! I never seen a ghost, however , i seen flashes of spirits /energy moving around......smelts strange odors and objects moving for no reasons at all ........... anyway , brilliant writing !!!