Elizabeth [Ghost-Story, A]

Elizabeth, twin-brother Noah & best-friend Jennifer walk-home barefoot having-attended 1843 Christmas-Eve celebrations at the Henry J Fate Flour-Mill. Twins are tragically-killed in a 'road-traffic-accident'.

Opening-scene; standing on the dirt-road [NO-pavement/sidewalk] a few steps away from the stone-wall entrance of the Henry J Fate Flour-Mill, camera moves-past gate-keepers [night-watchman’s] wooden-hut [on the right-hand-side] across the cobble-stones toward & through the school-room window.

Moving forward to the table nearest-lectern camera focuses-upon Jennifer & her best-friends Elizabeth & Noah listening-intently to their-employer reading closing Christmas Carol paragraphs... ‘God bless-us everyone’.
Closing the book Henry thanked the children for attending the modest flour-mill seasonal-celebrations; standing quietly, the children dutifully lined-up, thanked Henry & wife Zoë as they collected a token-bonus of nuts, flour...

Walking-home barefoot Jennifer fell-behind a few paces, holding the Royal Oak wall for-balance as she brushed the soles of-her-feet to remove stones that had been hidden under the light-dusting of-snow.

Standing upright she caught-sight of a pair-of-horses impact Elizabeth & Noah, their bodies falling-lifeless on-the-road.

Tolling of single church-bell; screen fades-to-black.

We move to 21st-century with Valerie standing by the Royal Oak wall, husband Allan walking-up behind wife of 30yrs.

Elizabeth is hidden-from-view...

Alive-&-mortal Elizabeth & Noah get to live in the 21st-century.


2. Getting To Know

Elizabeth & Noah spent the afternoon & evening with Valerie & Allan, watched Mickeys Christmas Carol, Ratatouille, Shall We Dance, Licence To Drive, Godzilla Blu-Ray DVDs on Valerie & Allans 55” Samsung LED TV.

The twins had seen magic-lantern shows when travelling-fairs had visited their village of Porterville, though nothing like this.

Noah enjoyed Godzilla, Elizabeth thought it too scary; they both liked the rest. Elizabeth especially enjoyed the Frank Sinatra music-tracks within Licence To Drive & with Valeries help downloaded the lyrics from the Internet. Mercedes hair & pink-dress were very-nice though Elizabeth had never seen pink-stiletto shoes before, ‘I would love to learn that dance’.

A quick Internet-search & the twins were booked as a juvenile-couple at the local dance-school. The ‘taster’ & car-parking were free, all liked Frank Sinatra rendition of ‘Strangers In The Night’ & loved-watching Mercedes dance, though NOT on the car-hood [bonnet]; to be-fair the character-played was portrayed as drunk.

Closed for the holidays they had to wait before taking-advantage of the promotion. In the mean-time Valerie & Allan demonstrated in their living-room.

Elizabeth was curious about CPR [Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation] featured in DVD movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre, her friend & co-worker Thomas had drowned whilst swimming near the flour-mill water-wheel years-before. Her boss, Mr Fate, famous for his potions & elixirs, was at home with his family, Dr Campbell attended though was unable to revive the boy.

Zoë Fate, Henrys wife, was particularly-upset when she heard of the tragedy; in the privacy of their-bedroom she had been shown the recovery-position, how to count-ribs & practice pumping on her dressmakers-mannequin, tilt head-back pinch-nose & breath into puppet; she insisted every-adult employed at the flour-mill be trained, with-pay, in first-aid whilst the kids learned to read.

Elizabeth really enjoyed the movie & although she had never heard Spanish before she understood what was being said in conversation; ‘bandido‘ was close-enough to bandit & through their actions they were clearly criminals. She wanted to see the Tim Holt character joining-in the fruit-harvest [something she-too loved] toward the movie-end & hopefully marrying the widow of Bruce Bennett, who had died in a gunfight with the bandits.

The old-prospector played by Walter Huston reminded her of late grandfather Benjamin, he too carried a walking-stick leaving blokes many years-younger struggling to keep-up, his laugh & beard brought-back fond-memories. Valerie, a qualified Health-&-Safety officer, demonstrated CPR on her mannequin, the recovery-position on each of the twins, Heimlich-manoeuvre & more.

‘Humphrey Bogart often featured as a untrustworthy movie-baddie without a conscience, unlike Heyes-&-Currey in Alias Smith & Jones’ said Valerie. Elizabeth was very-moral, quickly picking-up on Bogart-characters ‘getting what they deserved’ when watching The Roaring Twenties, Angels With Dirty Faces & Casablanca DVDs.  1954-movie 'We're No Angels' about 3-convicts helping a poor-family in-the-face-of-a bullying-cousin & his arrogant-son instead-of making-good their-escape from Devils Island left Elizabeth with a warm-glow inside.

Time was moving-on, Valerie checked her mobile [cell] phone; all okay, no missed-calls.

Valerie picked-out comedy-western Alias Smith & Jones DVD Series 1 box-set ‘I first watched this when I was your age’. As the opening-credits played horses & steam-engines were something they were both familiar-with. Wide-eyed & quiet the now-mortal twins were deeply following the plot; Valerie & Allan were amazed, nieces Naomi, Hayley & Nikita thought show was dated.

Elizabeth loved the dresses worn by actress Susan Saint James & the idea a single-woman in her 20s could be a bank-manager, albeit in her fathers’ absence, was wonderful. Her short-life & experience had shown ‘girls’ grew-up, married, brought-up their children, looked after their husband, cooked, cleaned & worked to bring-home extra-income. A husbands-death, common in the 19th-century, usually resulted in destitution, poverty & death; a landlords’ decision to afford any-kind of help was rare in the days before welfare.

Elizabeth was first to spot the movie-town name was Porterville; like the sign stated ‘A lovely place to live’, the same as the village where she lived & sadly died. The sign too was very-familiar ‘My-employer, Mr Fate, designed & paid-for our town-signs’.

After the end-credits had played Elizabeth asked ‘Did they get their amnesty, who married Miss Porter’. Valerie replied ‘I am not sure, you may watch more episodes if you like‘. ‘I stopped watching the series when actor Pete Duel [Hannibal Hayes] accidentally shot-himself in real-life‘. Elizabeth was shocked ‘He looks so young‘.

Allan opened-up the Manchester Science Museum website on Valeries laptop to check opening-times & special-events ‘Would you like to visit the Manchester Science Museum, I think you will be impressed with many of the inventions & discoveries made in the 19th-century & beyond’. Hungry for knowledge the twins replied together ‘Yes please’.

Many of their 21st-century peer-group were dismissive of John Benjamin Dancer [inventor of what is now known as microfiche] & other 19th-century pioneers; few, if-any could-match achievements with little-more than bare-hands [no-tools, no-computers, no-Internet...] for Elizabeth & Noah most everything around-them was new. Valerie cited simile of music on niece Nikitas iPod to sheet-music available to Elizabeth; albeit at a cost she could not afford or justify.

Elizabeth immersed herself in Valeries book-collection when not watching DVDs, LED TV & learning to play Valeries Yamaha EZ200 keyboard with under-key-lights. Elizabeth had many favourite-songs & thanks to 21st-century technology, including wireless-headphones, she played over-&-over barely waiting for the under-key lights to illuminate.

Valerie & Allan were only too pleased to accept Elizabeths request they listen to her sing-&-play; starting with In The Breeze, moving-onto Stranger On The Shore, Strangers In The Night, Impossible Dream, Telstar, Native New Yorker, The End, Closest Thing To Crazy, Georgy Girl, I Believe, Auld Lang Syne & finally Cinderella.

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