An orange glow hung over the city. In the morning, the traffic proved intense—nobody would budge. Malibu Airport always had top notch service and swift security teams in place.
Terence Fletcher stood six foot sharp, dark hair, high forehead, and a chiseled body. His girlfriend, Tanya Flaherty had thin long, blond hair, thin glasses, and long legs. In no time, the travel bags went through the scanners and everything checked out. The next hour, they took a corporate jet out of LA. Bankers, lawyers, and salesmen filled the business jet. After the plane took off, they caught sight of the maze of highways and roadways that filled the city central. Occasionally, however, they saw a shining, blue pool, or a building, but the emergence of the Atlantic Ocean blurred everything out.
In time, they landed in an airstrip outside of London, England. The eight hours went fast. In a flash, the couple made into a stretch limousine. Occasionally Fletcher would cuss, or curse, but remained silent, while the car took them deeper into the woods.
Eventually, they made it to their cabin. It didn’t take time for the chauffeur to drop the travel bags in the front room. In a nanosecond, Fletcher tossed Ricardo a ten pound note, and the dark vehicle slithered back down the dirt road, hidden by rolling hills.
That evening, the couple slept a dreamless sleep in the quaint atmosphere which resembled an old rec room, or an attic. Old paintings covered the walls, every nook and cranny. A fireplace with a long mantel and a room with paneling gave the place charm. Oversized furniture filled the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. The white, silk curtains concealed the front, bay windows, obscuring the natural light, making a gloom occupy the atmosphere.
Sometimes, the rain came down. No one spoke, as they ate in the kitchen, or washed in the bath tub. An hour went by. Out of the blue, a cell phone broke the silence.
“Hello,” Tanya responded.
“Did you make it across the pond so soon?” quizzed the lady on the phone.
It took a few seconds for Tanya to answer. “Yes, Elizabeth! We landed just fine. How are you?”
“You know LA,” her friend responded, tiredly.
“Has your PR called yet?”
“How’s your hubby?”
Tanya stood stalk still, her eyes wandered. “Don’t call him that yet,” she replied, quietly. “Besides the divorce has not gone thought yet.”
Without warning, the cell phone died. “Oooooh, I forgot to recharge the battery.” Almost immediately, a knock echoed from the front door, jolting Flaherty. Tanya made it to the door, throwing it open.
A crusty, old man stood before her. His ugly face hidden by a dark hood. The stranger looked as if he had been in his 80’s, was slightly hunched, as he wore a black windbreaker and an old pair of shoes. He resembled a phantom not mindful of his early morning appearance. Tanya almost jumped at seeing him, hiding behind the door. “Can I help you, sir?”
“I am the custodian of the old church up the road,” he groused. The morning fog had cleared, revealing a cemetery filled with tombstones. “Oh,” Flaherty replied, but still she fixed eyes with the somber man, who remained before her. “Sorry… We never expected to have guests and wish you to respect our privacy.”
The man nodded. “There has been a lot of flooding last year,” he went on. “Down south and this far North too.”
Flaherty nodded, somberly and stopped. “Are we expecting any floods today?” she quizzed, pausing at the possibilities.
“These floods only recently happened,” he responded. “Worst in years too.”
“Must be global warming,” she added, adjusting her poster for a stretch. “Is that all?”
The man nodded again. “I must warn you about those who live up the street.”
Flaherty stiffened once again. “They are a creepy sort.” Tanya looked around her, wondering about the whereabouts of her fiancé. “Don’t believe anything you see, or hear.”
Flaherty even laughed aloud, trying to signal Fletcher. “In the business we ARE in, that is a given.”
The man then breathed, his paleness remained. “You have been warned here,” the man replied. On the double, Fletcher rose from the bed and faced Flaherty. “Tanya, who are you talking to?” She always does that with stranger, he continually thought. She’ll get herself killed someday.
She had just turned her head, flashed an anxious smile to her fiancé and looked back, jumping at the visitor’s sudden disappearance. “Oh, my God,” she screamed, leaping backwards. “Terence!” What now!
In a flash, Fletcher came forward, staring outside at the wet ground and receding mist. “He was just there!”
What’s the problem now?! “Who!” Fletcher ran around outside, mud gathering on his running shoes. “Who!” I don’t see, he thought further.
Flaherty pulled Fletcher away, her arms wrapped around him. “Who was there?”
“Some weirdo!” Had to be. You spoke to him, didn’t you! “He warned me about a possible flood.”
“He didn’t recognize you, did he?”
“Oh, no,” she moved her hands around. “He said some crap and gone! He was standing right before me too!” So mindless. Probably a lonely stable boy.
“Flooding,” he reacted. “I remember an expert warning how London, or parts of New York, will soon be underwater. If there is any flooding, it is obviously Global Warming. “ Fletcher scanned the scene, seeing no evidence that another person stood outside.”There are no foot prints out here, except my own.” Being typed casted as a police detective in American television proved helpful. “Let’s hope there is no flooding.”
Presently, the two scampered back inside and sat before the fireplace, awaiting the flames that lit up the room. The door closed remained closed. Several hours whizzed by.
At two thirty, a phone call came from New York, bringing the influence back home to life.
“Hey, J.D,” Fletcher cried. Just the man I am looking for.
“I have a cousin James Cassidy. He lives near the cabin. He might visit you and share an old fashioned ghost story with you. Now how’s that sound?”
Both men laughed. “I think we had one this morning.”
“Good for you!” Both men laughed again. “He warned about a flood!”
Just like that, the phone died. “Hello! Hello!” Fletcher cried, fidgeting with a nearby magazine. “Honey, I thought you recharged this!” They can put a man on the moon… Fletcher turned off the phone and tossed it.
“Who called?” Tanya asked, leaning forward. “J.D. is always good for a laugh.” She’ll buy that one!
In the afternoon, the sun came out; setting the gloom that had covered the landscape outside. Fletcher and Flaherty clambered outside and explored the scenery. As time went on, they saw the old church with its cemetery, complete with its gray light and cold air that permeated its milieu. In the forest, they found a weather beaten path that stretched out into infinity. Just the rabbit trek we’re looking for! “No sign of flooding!” They caught sight of old trees, some of which had been around for over a millennium.
Soon after, the couple found an old town with old shops, including a farmers market. That afternoon, the stores all appeared lifeless. Not a soul to be found. If they did see anyone, the locale population kept far away from the two, even turning promptly whenever they arrived within walking distance of the strangers. Why are they so unfriendly? As the light died down, Fletcher looked at his mobile phone. “My God,” he said offhand. “It is almost five in the afternoon.”
“For real,” he replied, showing her the phone. After a while, a figure emerged from the shadows. Long faced, high forehead, hooked nose, and a deep set of eyes. The stranger lurched towards the couple, with an outstretched hand. “Oh, I was expecting you.” Who is this man?
Fletcher stopped, craned his neck, and scratched his head. “Are you,” Fletcher stuttered, unsure if the person had recognized him and Flaherty? “Terence!” he replied, stretching out his hand, clasping the man’s hand.
“James Cassidy,” replied the stranger. “I was on my way to calling you.”
“J.D. mentioned him, Honey,” Fletcher replied. “I believe he did.” Better have. I hope so!
Cassidy took Fletcher by the arm, guiding him forward. “My cousin J.D. mentioned you were coming. I am having a garden party up the hill.” All at once, Fletcher turned his heels, noticing a Victorian Mansion hanging over a hillock. Now how did that come to be?! Looks like Transylvania. A path through the forest led to the home. Torches lit its exteriors and inner rooms. The couple came to be at a loss to explain the appearance of such a spectacle. “I take it that is your home, sir?” Fletcher exclaimed, as Flaherty nodded with surprise.
“I just noticed it now. Stupid me.”
“In the daylight, the home blends in with the scenery,” Cassidy replied, his eyes widening. “At night, is when it becomes alive. Everyone knows it as Cassidy Manor.” The couple quietly nodded at such a revelation. “I invite you to a party tonight. If J.D. were here, he would come too.”
“What type of party is it?”
“Costume Party of course.”
“It’s not even Halloween yet.” Why are the British so batty!
“Every time we have a garden party, it IS Halloween. Come one. Come all.” No sooner than the stranger had come, he scattered off in the distance. That night, Fletcher repeatedly attempted to call J.D. and all such efforts ended with no luck. The sixth hour then came and darkness soon covered the land. In the distance, Fletcher and Flaherty caught sight of Cassidy Manor, illuminating on the cliff that overlooked the valley with rolling hills. “Can you believe global warming would put this underwater?” Fletcher quizzed Tanya, who rolled her eyes. “This place should have solar panels.”
“J.D. sent us to get away from it all. He said he had a cousin named James Cassidy. We met another Cassidy in the middle of nowhere and we now have an invitation to a costume party and you!” She pointed at him with mock anger. “Mister Poopy pants, wish to order pizza!”
Fletcher waved his hands in surrender. An invitation to a garden party, dear! “We have nothing fancy to wear.”
“At this late hour?” Are you crazy?
“Oh, come on!” Women!
At the same time, Flaherty took command of the antique telephone system. Brandishing a credit card, she called a respected West London Shop. In an hour, Fletcher stood adorned in a vintage tuxedo, complete with an alluring, white mask. “The Phantom!” exclaimed Fletcher. “Cometh!”
Opposite to him, faced his fiancé, all decked out as Cinderella. “I must get home by midnight, or I’ll turn into a frog!” she cried, laughing at the absurdity.
“That’s great, hon,” he returned. “The locales say this will be soon underwater. You’ll fit in! “ She slapped his shoulders and shook her head.
At precisely seven thirty, a horse drawn carriage stopped before the cabin. The couple immediately opened the door and confronted the crew of six black horses. A footman even disembarked from his chaise, staring at the two.
“Welcome, you two, to the Cassidy Manor Costume Ball.” Sweet!
“Simply lovely!” cried Tanya, as she pulled Fletcher forward into the carriage which soon swallowed them up. In an instant, the footmen had mounted his chaise, sending the whips down on the creatures, which sped them, all off into the distance.
All through the journey to the Mansion, the couple seemed frozen in the spirit of delight. They watched the trees, the dark shadows all speed off outside. They crossed a cobble stone bridge, where they caught sight of other horse drawn carriages, each with a footman, as if a busy town from medieval times had sprung from nowhere. In no time, their transport stopped before Cassidy Manor, complete with stone gargoyles and statues. It resembled a large movie set from the golden age of Hollywood.
They saw the huge walls, ramparts, and incredible, Iron Gate open up to them, letting in a myriad of visitors, all dressed in corsets, top hats, and old style, tuxedoes, reminiscent of another age passed. All the servants wore body length, red clothing. When the footman got tipped, they walked on the purple carpet that extended from the Mansion door. Well it’s not a Hollywood premier!
In a skip of a beat, they joined the long crowd of other event goers, all dressed in a variety of outfits.
They entered a home filled with innumerable servants and guests. Torches adorned the walls. The cathedral ceiling extended throughout the mansion. The open concept mansion amazed them. They caught sight of the original, oak flooring, tall ceilings, and huge windows, and countless portraits, and myriad of private terraces. In time, they ascended the staircases to an upper level, where countless chairs and bookshelves filled the abode. Portraits and paintings went on forever, including tapestries.
“All this place needs is a 40 inch flat screen,” he said offhand. “And all would be well!” If not already! An orchestra played in the orchestra pit, complete with a conductor.
As the gathering grew larger and organized itself in the main, banquet hall. Out of the blue, an older distinguished gentleman in top hat and coat stood before the group. He produced a set of papers, unrolling it. “Hear yea! Hear yea! Hear yea!” he cried, attempting to silence the party goers. At one full swoop, he repeated himself and gesturing, succeeding in his endeavor. “Welcome one and all,” he proclaimed to the horde, as an ovation sounded. All the musicians, servants, maids, and workers remained stock still, arms folded, and attentive.
“Tonight we are celebrating the marriage of my nephew Curtis Cassidy with his bride Ethel. As the two stood facing the audience, an ovation came. All at once, Tanya grabbed Fletcher’s arm and pulled him into a protective embrace. It became very apparent that the new husband and his wife wore the same outfits as Fletcher and Flaherty. “A simple case of déjà vu,” muttered Fletcher. “Nothing else.” A complete fluke!
Tanya bit her lip and remained fixated on the spectacle. “Better be,” she replied.
“To commemorate these nuptials, I have sought the finest artists of our time.” As the gathering again erupted into an ovation, a man dressed up as Count Dracula stood, bowing respectfully.
A group of monks all armed with vintage cameras crept up to the presenter, who pointed to a dark, maroon curtain that covered a possible new portrait. “And now, the older Cassidy motioned, as he swayed in the spotlight. “I ask for their portraits to be unveiled.”
The curtain fell down, resembling a veil on a wedding night, the monks fired their cameras on the scene.
Both Fletcher and Flaherty froze. On the portrait radiated the clear images of Curtis and Ethel, both identical to the Americans themselves. I require an immediate explanation!
“My God,” exclaimed Tanya.
“Yes,” replied Fletcher, as he went pale. “This has to be some type of coincidence.”
“They DO look like us!” Another fluke!
Under the image, emblazed on the brass covering, sat the year of the unveiling written in clear black letter. “1947!” Fletcher looked again, his eyes squinting. “Me thinks!”
“It has to be a re-enactment because that it almost sixty years ago.”
“A lot of small towns have their celebrations,” Tanya thought aloud. “Including their founding. “Maybe they founded this town?”
“In 1947?” Fletcher replied. “Possible, but it’s pretty creepy. They pick a very creepy way of going about it. Again the two marveled at the scene, the costume, the layout, and decorations that filled the walls.
It’s obviously real!
Their eyes rested on the recently unveiled portrait. It sure did look like them, resembling an old picture snapped by a photographer and transferred to canvas, almost a lifetime ago. Just like that, Curtis and Ethel, still in costume, made their way through the gathering. Men in monk outfits continued to follow them, photographing the newlyweds with vintage cameras, while they glided through the well wishers.
Almost instantaneously, Ethel froze. She stared at her mirror image of Tanya, unaware on what to do.
Immediately, she gestured a signal to Curtis, who came to her immediate rescue.
“Who might that be?” Curtis asked aloud, holding his hand out, which Fletcher quickly clapped.
No problem. This will be straightened out. “Your cousin J.D. got us up here,” Fletcher replied.
Curtis, a cheery shaggy haired fellow, pulled Ethel forward, who still frowned on their identical outfits.
The bride had long, blond hair, a streaming white gown, steely gaze, and her high level of intelligence matched her appearance.
“I don’t recall having, an American cousin named J.D but maybe a nephew.” That moment, a Champaign bottle broke, giving away to an applause which later subsided.
“But both of us are not American,” Fletcher countered back, drowned out by the applause. “I’m Canadian!”
“I have a lot of nephews in the Americas,” replied Cassidy, as he turned back to face Terence.
“Maybe he is a nephew,” Ethel exclaimed.
“Come join us at supper,” he replied. “Welcome to England.”
A full moon shone outside. A pack of wolves howled in the distance. The stars shone strongly on the partygoers. In time, the banquet hall filled up, each group occupied it. A group of musicians played gay tunes, only adding to their merriment. The next hour, the four met again. As they dined, music filled the air, almost resembling New Year’s Eve. Every servant had an old style red uniform, all emblazoned with Cassidy Manor across the upper sleeve. Every table was furnished with the finest silver, cutlery, bone china plaits, and crystal glasses. Someone had the lights dimmed; only adding to the good spirits that sailed about.
Mash potatoes, corn on the cob, red wine, lobsters, sea food, the finest meats, and vegetables, all came from the supply of trays, brought by the servants. Sometime after the meal, Fletcher and Curtis engaged in talk. “SO where are you originally from?”
“I am from Toronto and Tanya is from Chicago.”
“I am Canadian and my fiancé is American.”
“How odd,” Curtis replied, leaning forward. “I must familiarize myself more with the colonies.” He certainly can’t be serious. British humor at its finest. That instant, Fletcher and Flaherty froze, unaware if Cassidy proved to be serious, in earnest, or nuts. “What brings you to England?”
“We’re here to get away from the paparazzi,” Tanya replied. Unaware of what this meant, Curtis and Ethel huddled again, forever suspicious of the strangers that sat across from them.
“What do you do?” she ventured, quietly.
Here is comes! “We act.”
“In theatre?” No money in that business.
“In movies and in television.”
All at once, the newlyweds stopped. “What is that?” These people can’t all be eccentric! Both looked mystified with such answers, only adding to their anxiety.
What to do? Fletcher looked stunned at their reaction, almost as if he felt lost in a time warp of a forgotten town. What to do?! “Movies, television, and the five hundred channel universe,” he replied, waving his hands about. “My God, it is the 21st century!”
Just like that, Curtis and Ethel went pale at these revelations. These people can’t be Luddites! Curtis leaned forward, adjusting his outfit. “It’s the nineteen century, my friend.” Yea right!
Fletcher and Tanya both laughed at this one, again visibly annoyed at the newlyweds.
“You people must be joking,” Fletcher exclaimed. “You must be joking!” He again laughed aloud, raising his frame up and down. British humor at its best! Curtis stopped, his face tightening up, and went red.
He quietly pointed to the portrait. “The date says 1847.” You mean the prop! In a flash, the Canadian caught a close up glimpse of the portrait, seeing the words eight teen hundred and forty – seven emblazoned on the brass frames.
Alright, this has gone on for too long! “This is impossible!” Fletcher joked. “We were fearful of being recognized by the news in the tabloids and here we are lost in a time warp,” he added, shaking his head and burying it in his open hands. This can’t be happening!
“What are the tabloids?”
What now! “The News of the World—Hollywood!”
“What’s that?” OH- MY- GOD!
This conversation immediately caught the attention of not only the wait staff, but the other guests too.
Some of whom came to the source of the spectacle. “Everyone knows Hollywood, television, movies, and the world of make believe!” They can’t be stupid!
Curtis and Ethel and some of the guests stared back at the strangers. “You said you were in the news, sir?” Ethel quizzed, fearful of what would come next.
Here it comes! “Yes,” Fletcher smiled in return. “It was all over the headline news—everyone was talking about it. I thought I would never talk about it!
“What!” Curtis fired back, his face hardened with burning anger at the two that mocked his sense of sensibilities.
“The divorce, the breakup, and the mess that followed!” What’s his problem!
Without prior warning, a shiver went throughout the banquet hall. Fletcher felt emboldened by his consumption of alcohol. Tanya smiled at him, only adding to the collective sense of shock. “It so happens I left my first wife Christine Bronze for Tanya. The sense of shock reverberated around the room, changing into dismay and plain old outrage. The English can’t be that backward!
“You pride yourself on this?”
You snooty sot! “Well shit does happen—doesn’t it!”
“Well,” Tanya added, sheepishly. “You must consider over fifty percent of marriages end with divorce—it’s in the statistics, sir!” Well you said it, not me! More howls of outrage and disgust continued about. “Statistics don’t lie!” The numbers don’t lie, but the politicians do!
From nowhere, a Colonel in the military came forward, eclipsing those around him with his immense frame. His silver hair, height, forehead, and strong European features made his aura complete. His stern features only added to the drama that unfolded in Cassidy Manor.
“Over my good, Christian soul!” cried the military man. “Arrest them!” What! In a flash, a contingent of red coated individuals manifested. Where did they come from! The couple both were searched and handcuffed. The party goers gathered around the prisoners, grimacing. Some wanted proof of the identification of the two.
That moment, a heavy set, middle aged waiter came forward. What’s he want? He inserted his large, fat hands into Fletcher’s jacket, retrieving a wallet. Instantly, the Colonel took a glance of the driver’s license and went ashen, rubbing his face with a handkerchief. What next!
Someone else seized Tanya’s purse and procured the identification, only adding to the dismay of the presiding officials. “According to these documents, Terrence Fletcher and Tanya Flaherty are both born in the 1980’s.” A shock wave went through the onlookers. What’s with these people! The more sober minded sorts quickly declared the identifications a natural forgery. In time, a member of the clergy came forward. Short, a wide girth, and a somber face with gray streaks in his hair. “Sir,” he beckoned Fletcher. “Your admit to being recently divorced?”
“Yes, Reverend,” he replied, his eyes widening at the attention they received, once welcomed but now inappropriate. Any more probing questions!
“Are you now having relations with this woman?” someone else asked. Ask my PR person!
“We are living with each other,” replied Fletcher, going red himself at the threatening figures that surrounded him. Assholes!
“He is divorced and now living with another woman,” an old woman announced to the throng. “Don’t you have any shame?” That’s why were in show business!
“Trust me, in the business we are in,” Tanya countered back. “In this day and age, anything goes!”
Tell ‘em, they’ll hate you more!
“What business is this again?” the Colonel grilled her, as the others circled about them.
“Hollywood!” What do you expect? Not propaganda films from the cold war!
A constable got called, complete with a military attachment. This only added to the gathering of officials.
The red coated individuals saluted the Colonel, as a minister gave them the sign of the cross. Laying it on a bit thick!
A young, balding Sergeant came forward, introducing himself. Immediately, the spectators informed him about the background information of the prisoners. In due course, the Sergeant had his subordinates take Fletcher and Tanya into their custody. Oh great! A nearby cuckoo clock struck the ninth hour.
As the troops guided the couple out of the Mansion, the surroundings no longer looked pleasant and welcoming; the onlookers appeared ugly, and threatening. The wait staff, the servers even looked defensive and angered. The arresting officials guided their prisoners into a horse drawn carriage.
Moments later, they heard the snap of the whips, the clucking sounds of the hooves on the cobble stoned path. Off to the races we go!
It took almost an hour for the carriage to come to a stop. All through the journey, they saw other horse drawn carriages go about, the general stores, passer buyers, and a cathedral that filled an entire city block. “It’s almost like we are in the Twilight Zone,” muttered Fletcher, as Tanya looked on. And some!
Scenery fled by them, including the bridges, shops, and the townsfolk. At the end of the hour, the city jail house loomed in the distance, as darkness threatened to absorb them.
Fog covered its old walls. If one observed the building any longer, a scream, or cry, would be heard.
No sun, or rainbow, settled over this edifice. A dark, miserable gloom covered the place. A crude, black sliding door moved open, releasing a foul odor. The dark black horse carriage glided through the opening, as the door slide shut. Welcome to hell!
When the horses came to a standstill, a crowd of tall, black figures surrounded them. The undecipherable men asked Fletcher and Tanya to exit the transport. In time, the carriage flew open, sending the movie stars onto the floor. It took a while for their eyes to adjust to the darkness.
“Who are you?” Fletcher cried, flinching at the smell that came from such a location.
“I would like to call a lawyer,” he coughed, holding Tanya close. “Or a legal representative.” Where’s my cell phone!
“That will come in time,” came a response.” The tallest of the officials pointed for the couple to move on. They went down a hallway and stopped in an office. Seconds later, the door popped open and unseen hands gestured the couple to sit. Time whizzed by. All the while, they heard a small radio chattering in the background. Even a cuckoo clock chimed.
“Where are we?”
“What’s going on in here!”
“There must be some mistake.” Fire my agent! Fletcher looked high and low for a telephone, but caught sight of old filing cabinets, small furniture, and a big banker’s type desk. “Does this place even have a frigging television?” barked Fletcher. Is this the dark ages!
“Doesn’t look like it, Honey—does it?”
More time went by. In the end, a tall, gruff man entered the room. He had dyed hair, long bags under his eyes, and a grey suite. Immediately he sat down, settling his mug of coffee down beside him. “I need to see some identification please.” Will do!
In a flash, Fletcher produced his wallet, showing a driver’s license, health card, and a green card. The officials jotted down all their information. “What’s this all about?” Fletcher begged, flashing an anxious smile. What’s his story?
That instant, the man fixed eyes with Fletcher. “So why are you here?”
“We’re on vacation, sir.”
A solar system called Alpha Centuria. What do you think! “California. My wife is American, but I am a Canadian. Both of us are based in LA.”
The man leaned back, holding his finger, as he curled a lip. “So what do you do for a living?”
The man looked at both of them. “You know you were trespassing.” What!
Fletcher just stopped, his jaw hit the ground. That instant, the stranger removed a cigarette from an elegant, gold plated case, tapping it lightly on the lid, and lighting it up. His hands then casually rested on a pistol. “All the guests paid to be there.”
Side swiped into a train wreck! “But we were invited. The horse carriage brought us there.”
The man, who now had a cigarette wedged between his lips, shook his head at that one. “We had you under surveillance for fifteen minutes.”
“What!” He must be joking!
“Our officers saw you walk in, drink the drinks, eat the food, and join the celebration.”
Are these men in the CIA?! Fletcher froze, shaking his head at this outrage.
“You didn’t pay to be there!”
Where did this come from! “But!” The man waved his hand at Fletcher. Keep it coming!
“You Americans are all the same,” he continued, as Tanya’s eyes widened.
“But we are FAMOUS, officer!” she shrieked. Tell ’em, sister!
“We can take you down to the waterfront and have my men give the boots to you!”
“I beg your pardon, sir!” Fletcher cried. “You are making some kind of mistake!” Clearly an understatement!
“You can be charged with trespassing and theft,” the man warned, as he took a sip from his coffee mug.
Call my lawyer, bud. What is your price? Ok, I have a tale to tell you! “We are friends with J.D. Cassidy who is a nephew, or cousin, of the Cassidy clan. Everything can be straightened out with one simple telephone call.” Got it!
The man shook his head at such a response, as if such a suggestion bordered on the realms of science fiction. “Why don’t I just put you in a cell, where you two clowns can cool your selves out!” Call my lawyer!
Tanya jumped, waving her hand about. “But we’re FAMOUS, sir…we’re actors!” You go girl!
“The man briefly smiled, waving his hand at them. “Where!”
“On the TV and in the movies!” What do you think!
“The television and in the motion picture mediums!” Everyone in Britain has at least seen one film in their lifetime.
“I don’t know what you are talking about—you people in the colonies are all mad!” Not even close!
In a skip of a beat, the door flew open, sending in two red coated soldiers inside. Almost immediately, these two men pulled the couple outside and shoved them forward. Fletcher objected to such treatment and even continued to demand for more respect.
“Hey!” he cried. “What do you think about what you are doing? We have rights! Goddammit!” Their minds went into a swirl, as they lurched forward down a dimly lit hallway. They saw other prisoners held in cells, all looking horrid, sad, angry, and somber at them, while the couple passed by in the dead of night.
This can’t be happening! “This has to be a dream,” Fletcher cried. “A bad, bad dream!” Not for real by a long shot!
“Carry on, you!” responded the guards, as their movement never ceased to abate.
“Where are they taking us,” screamed Tanya, who held her fiancé’s hand. Not to Sunset Boulevard!
Finally, a large door thundered open, letting a sudden pool of white light, blinding them both. The cavalry has finally come in! “Let’s get out of here!”
Ultimately, the couple staggered outside. A stretch limousine sat outside. That instant, Fletcher immediately recognized their chauffer. “Ricardo!” A friendly face smiled back. Moments later, the couple leapt into the rear doors, and the luxury car glided through a maze of cobble stone streets.
“This is amazing how he just appeared out of nowhere!”
“Give him a good tip for this one, honey!”
You bet! “Will do!”
The couple immediately embraced, Fletcher’s curled up in Tanya’s arms. In time, they saw trees, the farmlands, the town, and the woods loom in the distance. Grain silos, old buildings, an old style, train station, and a church steeple whizzed by outside. An hour must have passed. Their car came to a halt in the gravel road. In a flash, Ricardo opened the door, letting out the stunned couple free from the threat of imprisonment. The cabin never looked more welcoming. Fletcher dropped a fistful of hundred dollar pounds into the chauffeur’s hands. Take your girl to the movies. See my film for once! At that,
Fletcher picked up, carried Flaherty into the cabin, which never looked more welcoming and appeasing.
Suddenly, out of the blue, a knock came from the door. Fletcher stuck his head out of the door, screwing up his face to the scene that awaited him. “What’s up now?” No more obstacles!
Outside, Ricardo and the limousine came not to be seen. Instead, J.D. held an attaché case, beaming back. “Welcome to Britain, mate!” Both men laughed.
“We are so happy to see you, man!”
As a final point, the two pulled their friend into the living room, closing the door behind them.
“It’s only been 24 hours,” he replied. “England can’t be that dull!” Certainly not!
Where can we start! “You don’t know what we’ve been through!”
“We got arrested!”
No stupid! “No!”
Immediately, JD sat down, listening to the story of the stranger, the invitation, and the journey by horse carriage. When Tanya alluded to the mansion, JD frowned. “What now?” There’s a story. What’s his angle!
“Cassidy Manor burned down over a hundred some years ago, killing everyone.”
Pop quiz! “In 1847?”
“Something like that.” Knew it!
Fletcher grilled JD on his supposed cousin Curtis and Ethan Cassidy. “We met them!”
“Never heard of them!” We’re going to have to find them!
Moments later, the threesome immediately exited the cabin and journeyed up the dirt road, through the woods, to the ruined church. No one had cut the grass in years. Weeds covered the area. Some stones appeared blank, as the statues seemed to tilt, or sink. In no time, they walked through the cluttered monuments and field of tombstones. Suddenly, that instant, they stopped. Everyone froze. On the monument before them revealed an inscription. Here lies Curtis and his beloved bride Ethel, who died in the terrible fire at Cassidy Manor in 1847. Rest in peace.
“This is unbelievable,” argued JD.
“It happened,” they cried in unison. “You should have been there!”
JD smiled weakly. “Well the only thing for certain,” he exclaimed with a grin. “They are calling for more rain this weekend and there is a warning of flashfloods.” Fletcher and Flaherty were still in shock at their situation. “Global Warming is real, not this tale of ghosts and goblins in this day and age!