General Fiction posted November 6, 2017 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 22... 

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Veronica and Gwendolyn Chat

A chapter in the book This Time - That Time 2

Enlightenment part 1

by sandramitchell

End of previous part:
Meg turned over and eased herself up on her elbow. She watched him for a while as she listened to him giggle, then smiled. ‘Are you playing with the fairies again, little one?’
The love in her eyes was unmistakable, but if I even imagined her to be the child’s mother, I know it couldn’t possibly be. She had to be in her sixties. I was pleased Francis had her in his life.

‘You’ve no need to worry about Francis while he has Meg,’ I heard a soft voice say.

I spun around and stared into the eyes of the woman I’d thought to be Sir John’s wife, only this time it was her ghost….

Part 21

I realised I still had my mouth open and immediately clamped it shut. ‘Hello,’ I said warily. ‘Lady Gwendolyn?’

She let out a small laugh. ‘Yes … but not Lady, just Gwendolyn,’ she replied. ‘The title only passes on to the son and heir, and the only female who will have a title will be my brother’s wife when he marries.’ Her eyes strayed over to Francis, and I watched as confusion invaded her lovely features. ‘Now you know who I am … perhaps you’d like to tell me who you are?’

‘Oh, I’m sorry … my name is Veronica.’ I frowned as a thought suddenly occurred to me. ‘You do know what happened to you, don’t you?’

She looked at me, and I could see she was struggling with her emotions. ‘Don’t worry, I know I’m dead. I thought I would be at peace when it happened, but here I remain, worrying about my son.’ She stared down lovingly at Francis. ‘John’s frightened of him because he believes he’s the son of the devil,’ she said, her voice engulfed with sadness.

‘For such an intelligent man, he can be so damnably stupid. He wouldn’t listen to reason … with John there is only black and white, no grey areas.’ Her arms flung out angrily as if to encompass the whole room. ‘He can’t keep him locked up in here forever, surely?’ With a deep sigh, her whole body slumped as she looked back at her child. ‘I won’t be able to rest easy until I know he’s safe. If my brother decides to get rid of him—’

‘Get rid of him … you don’t mean…?’

She pursed her lips for a moment before looking back at me, her expression wretched. ‘He’s not a cruel man, but as long as my son is here, he won’t be able to get married. He believes Francis should have died at birth, and not only because of the colour of his eyes and hair. He never forgave me for falling in love with Francis’ father and then being with child.’  

That can only mean one thing… ‘I knew you were Francis’ mother, but when I found out you weren’t married, that flummoxed me. Can you tell me who his father is, or is he someone you would rather not name?’

She straightened up and looked at me steadily, while I held my breath waiting for her answer. As it turned out, I was to be disappointed. Her raised brows revealed her suspicions regarding my motives, and she broke my stare before speaking again.

 ‘You’ve told me your name, but I still don’t know who you are. I know you must be a ghost, but what are you doing here, and why are you wearing such ridiculous clothes?’

Oh, that was a let-down. ‘One thing I’m not is a ghost. It’s complicated, but I’m from the future, and I’m very much alive in my own time,’ I told her. ‘...and I believe I’ve been sent here to help your son.’

The confusion on Gwendolyn’s face evaporated and was replaced with a look of relief. ‘I do so hope you can, but how?’

‘I wish I knew,’ I admitted. ‘There has to be a way, I just haven’t worked it out yet.’

Gwendolyn didn’t look convinced. ‘Can you take him away from here?’

I wish! ‘No, I’m afraid I can’t. I have as little power as you have in that respect.’

‘Then how can you help? Apart from my brother, the only other person who even knows of my son’s existence is Meg, but she doesn’t have the means to look after him on her own. If you can’t take him to … to wherever it is you’ve come from, then who else can save him?’

In a sense, her question supplied me with an answer to the question I’d been asking myself since I’d first encountered both Francis and Joe. ‘There is one other person who has seen your son … Maybe he could help him.’

‘But who is it?’

I recounted the story about Joe helping to repair the roof and how he’d seen Francis looking out of the window. ‘The problem he has now is he mentioned the child's red eyes to the head gardener. He, in turn, mentioned it to the game keeper, who then told Sir John. He’s been …’ God what do I say? If I tell Gwendolyn how Joe invaded my son, she probably won’t believe another word I say! ‘ hiding for a while, but he’s come back to find out your brother is looking for him, and he has threatened to throw his family out of their cottage. Maybe he can help us. Could he take your son to his father?’

I found it hard to gauge whether she liked my suggestion and hoped she didn’t think it was just a ploy to find out more about Francis’ parentage.

‘Before I tell you who my son’s father is, let me explain what happened ... then you might understand.’ She gazed at Francis once more, then suggested we go to her room. ‘There are too many distractions here. I know he can’t hear us, but I find it hard to talk when he’s so close.’

I followed Gwendolyn through the door, down the stairs, and into her bedroom. Immediately, a vision of Lady Ann, standing at the window as she looked out to see if the ambulance had arrived to take Alice to hospital, flashed vividly in front of me. I could even see her mischievous smile. I scanned the room remembering how it would look one day in the future and although it wouldn't be made for at least another hundred years, I could picture her lovely dresser with its secret drawer to hide her jewellery.

Gwendolyn moved over to the window seat, and I followed. ‘I loved to sit here when I became too sick to go outside,’ she murmured, almost to herself. Her eyes seemed to drink up the view, and then blink it into her mind for safe keeping. ‘I see you travel through doors like I do. Are you sure you’re not a ghost?’

I laughed when I thought about all the practice it took to master the art in Lady Ann’s time. ‘I was taught by a relative of yours,’ I explained. ‘Like me, she hasn’t been born yet, but she was born long before me. I was sent back in time to help her, too.’

‘A relative of mine?’

I tried to work out exactly what Lady Ann would be in relation to Gwendolyn, but gave up as quickly as I started. ‘Yes, she married your brother’s grandson in the future—’

‘His grandson...’ she gasped. ‘So my brother does marry and have children?’

I could see this revelation worried Gwendolyn for obvious reasons. ‘If he married, then what did he do with Francis?’ she asked.

‘I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that. Perhaps he brought him up as his own after he married,’ I suggested, although I knew it was highly unlikely. The one time I’d seen the current Sir John in the same room as Francis, it was obvious he was petrified of him.

The expression on Gwendolyn’s face seemed to confirm what I was thinking. ‘He would never do that. He must have found a way to get rid of him....’


Characters in: This Time – That Time 2

The Powers that be who are all watching Veronica:
Veronica Russell – time traveller.
Dr James Russell – married to Veronica.
Ann Russell –  Veronica and James’s five-year-old daughter with paranormal gifts.
Michael Russell – Veronica and James’s three-year-old son.
Mildred – Veronica’s closest friend and adopted grandmother to the children.
Daveth Hammett – ten-year-old boy from 1846.
Elowen Hammett –Daveth’s five-year-old  sister.
Joe Hammett –  Daveth’s father.
Rosie Hammett – Joe’s wife.
Sir John – Lord of the manor.
Mistress Gwendolyne –  Sir John's sister, now deceased.
Francis – Albino son of Gwendolyn.
Meg – Francis’ nanny and carer.


Thank you for reading my story. Sorry it's so late, I haven't been very well so any errors you find, please don't be afraid to tell me. (lol) UK English.
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