Into the Unknown

This is a story of a Miss Edith Mistledust searching for a new life. She stumbles across a little boy with the ability to see the future. After meeting him she resolves to find the path to, what he called, a land "so lush and green and bountiful". Will she find it, and what sufferings are there for her on the way?

This is a period drama/fantasy set in the year 1941, 3 years after WW2 ended.

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1. My apartment block

1941 - I lived in Surrey, on a housing estate. It was an apartment complex that had been put up quickly to try to house the many people who lost houses in the war and were stuck in prefabs. It had cracked paint flaking of the sides of the whole building and most of the concrete had huge cracks in it, showing how rushed the building was put up. The windows were mostly jammed shut and come winter there was barely any heating. We had tried to explain but it was always the same excuse.
“We are not made of money” I imagined the council block inspector’s usual response echoed through my head, as I continued to drag my body to the door. Hearing the usual chink of the door unlocking, I shoved through. My school bag digging heavily into my shoulder as I started to walk up the stairs. My footsteps echoed heavily with every step I took. Running my hands along the wall as I walked up I could feel the lumps and bumps of the pebbles imbedded into the concrete. I imagined all the laughter of the children from the school and all the happy times in the lake with my brothers and mother. My reminiscence was soon ended abruptly with the hasten approach of the cleaning lady as she barged past me and commented.
“Come along child, not all of us have time to spend with our head in the clouds.”
I opened my mouth to apologise but she was already 3 stairways down and mumbling about how Mr. Jenkins from Flat 64, an elderly gentleman with a bad attitude and a drinking problem, had once again spilt his cider in the hallway and forgotten to wear his trousers on his way out to the pub.

 In many ways I felt sorry for Miss Honeywinkle, our cleaner, because she has so much to deal with. As I recall her she couldn’t have been less than 60 and she cleaned the entire block 2 times a day. Not to mention that she has been widowed in the war, in fact everyone in this apartment block has lost someone to the war all be it fathers, brothers or sons. Continuing upwards I could hear the powerful voice of Lady Flanington, our resident Opera singer who at 65, was retired but, could still belt out a high C loud enough for people to hear 5 floors up. I knocked on the door and shouted through,

“Mrs Flanington, its Edith from Flat 81. May I come in?”. I heard the music pin being taken off the vinyl and make the scratch of an abrupt ending. Her 2 inch heels shuffled quickly to the door and opened it as much as the chain lock would allow and said quietly
“Oh heavens! How much you have grown Edith!”. I chuckled quietly before announcing.
“Oh Rose, I only came on Monday! Now, may I come in?” She hesitating before smiling.
“Of course you may dear.” before closing the door and unlocking the chain.

The door creaked open to reveal her perfectly clean and glamorous house. Hung on the wall were her many trophies won from numerous concerts end hung pride of place in the centre was a picture of her husband George just before he left to join the Army. The flat was plain. It had a living room which doubled as a bedroom with her bed tucked away in the corner and a small kitchenette which was perfectly clean and suitable to a Lady like Rose. She had become like a mother to me since the war had left me lacking in that area and with her sweet personality it was hard not to become attached. Of course there was a strict level of respect between me and Rose I was always to call her Lady Flanington in public and I was never to go to her in an immodest fashion and never interrupt. All this though did not matter. She was a short and quaint soul who mostly kept herself to herself and despite her arthritis always tried to get out once a week to get her daily newspaper and packet of cigarettes. I walked into the living room after neatly placing my bag on the second of the 2 hooks by the door. She was rushing around cleaning moving as fast as her walking stick could cope with. I smiled at her.
“Sit down, I’ll make some tea and you can tell me how you have been.” I beamed. She smiled a bit before sitting down reluctantly. I walked into the kitchen and placed the tea bags into the teapot placed biscuits and cups with saucers on the tray, and as the water was boiling I popped in to the living room and saw she was fast asleep. I reached deep into my bag and pulled out a packet of humbugs, her favourite sweet, and placed them on the table beside her with a note saying,

To Rose,
With love
From Edith.

I popped back into the kitchen turned off the gas heating the kettle and placed the tea bag and biscuits back into the jars before leaving, closing the door quietly behind me.

Placing my feet on the concrete once again I carried on up two flights of stairs before stumbling across Bobby, an 8 year old boy who was being home schooled playing with his army aeroplanes. He panicked as he saw me coming and sat at the top of the stairs with his planes poorly hidden behind him. I ruffled his hair and whispered loudly,
“Shouldn’t you be studying?” He went a funny shade of red before looking up at me. Revealing my smile, he giggled with me as I passed him iced bun and he gleamed with joy. Passing him some tissues for afterwards I kissed his forehead and went on my way. Bobby never seemed to talk, you could maybe hear him mumbling about his dad in the war but that is only when he doesn’t know you’re listening. His dad was “Lost at Sea”. I don’t know how Bobby’s mother told him that, but that might explain why he is such a shy boy.

Shuffling myself now I suddenly saw Mr Flanders. An extremely elderly gentle man at 90 who was suffering from the early signs of dementia and often left his house and then become awfully confused and panicked.
“Betty! BETTY!” She shouted. Hurrying up the stairs I caught Mr Flanders just as he was going to fall on down the stairs.
Betty, Mr Flanders’ wife, died 2 years ago.
“Mr Flanders, Betty is dead.” I whispered softly. He looked at me confused and for a minute I had thought I had somehow done wrong by telling a lost man the truth. However moments later Mr Flanders corrected himself and calmly replied.
“Well of coarse she is, my dear, what an odd thing so say, Are you sure you are alright?” He asked me. I smiled letting go of Mr Flanders’ arms and replied
“Yes Sir, perfectly. My apologies.”
I smiled at him and clutched at my hat as I ran up the next 2 flights of stairs.

Standing at the top of my most recent set of stairs I paused, took off my hat, and took a long deep breath.
“What an eventful stairway!” I spoke aloud to myself.
“Yet you wouldn’t swap it for the world, eh?” a voice spoke out. I spun round quick as a flash, and there he stood, Jimmy. My Jimmy. I gasped for a moment in shock.
“Jimmy! You startled me.” I said as I moved slowly up my last set of stairs, running my fingers along the safety bar.
Jimmy was 6ft and worked on the docks. Well built and with brown hair I just loved to run my fingers through. Jimmy and I had begun dating when I was 17 now 21 it had been 4 years now and I was perfectly happy and securely in love. Our hands met on the handrail as he grabbed my waist and spun me round the landing before kissing me gentle on the lips. I smiled as he pulled out a coin and said
“Heads, you love me or Tails, I love you” he joked. I paused.
“Tails,” I grinned.
“Ok, Tails it is!” He smiled as he flipped the coin up into the air and caught it in his cap. He turned around and looked at the coin before turning back and looking at me and smiling to himself.
“Oi you, what you smiling at?” I said jokingly. I smiled as he bowed and said,
“Miss Edith Mistledust, would you do me the honour of...” he paused for a minute before continuing
“...accompanying me to this fine restaurant this Friday night.” He grinned as he took out reservation tickets for the new place up town called the Spice. I had been dying to go there but had never found the time and now he had bought me tickets; it just made me love him all the more. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him again. After he placed me back on the floor, I noticed the time on my watch.
“Oh Lord the time! I have to go!” I panicked.
“One more kiss,” Jimmy asked. I nodded as he kissed me once more.
“Now go, or we will both get it” I smiled and he ran down the first set of stairs and paused on the landing below me.
“Im so lucky to have you Edith, I love you” he serenaded. I felt my cheeks going crimson and cocked my head to the side before smiling and responding
“I love you too!”. After that he ran down the stairs out of sight.

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