Welcome to Elsewhere, this chapter and others like it are based on the book Elsewhere, which depicts a...you can sort of work it out for yourself!
BTW, for readers of Elsewhere, it is very unlikely that I will include any of the characters, unless if I get some loyal fans
2 ~ Elsewhere
Lillie was having a very strange dream, or so she thought, she appeared to be on a boat, and was wearing nothing but white, silk pyjamas. She woke up in the lower bunk of the bed and one of the cabins, it could be one of many, but then it could be the only one, Lillie didn't have a clue. A child was sleeping in the top bunk, a tiny brown haired girl who smiled in her sleep, which Lillie, mother of two, found adorable.
Careful not to make any noise, Lillie made a little evaluation of her cabin, she seemed to be very far out from the shore, no land could be seen from her window (but then again, they could be inches away on the other side), all the furniture was bolted to the walls or floor, which gave the impression the boat was well equipped too, and everything was white or plain wood, wooden panelling for floor, wardrobe, ceiling and walls, and white for bedding, pyjamas and doors, which was rather ironic, as she'd gone to sleep in something white, her wedding dress.
Lillie heard a little whimper as the girl woke up in the higher bunk, she breathed loudly and backed against the wall, looking at something Lillie couldn't see.
"Good morning, well I assume it's morning." Said Lillie to the girl who stopped breathing so rapidly and gazed into her room mate's eyes. Lillie's noticed the girl's eyes were brown, which made her stomach roll over, as they were exactly the same colour as her youngest son, Joe's. Why should she miss him so much? She'd seen him at the wedding reception, surely that wasn't very long ago?
"Where are we?" Asked the girl and Lillie shrugged.
"Aboard some boat."
"That's me, Useful Jamison...sorry-McCabe." Lillie corrected herself, with a little smile.
"I'm Lottie." Lottie thrust out her hand down to Lillie, who was a little lower than Lottie, due to the fact that Lottie was still kneeling in her bunk and Lillie was stood up.
"Lillie McCabe." They shook and let go with a little awkwardness. Lottie gazed off into the distance again, she wasn't usually like this, but something about this morning had made her really dreamy.
"This is a very odd dream." Lillie remarked but her friend shook her head.
"It isn't a dream, or at least I think not, I think I died." A tear rolled down her cheek as she felt the ache for home, and Lillie shared in her grief for a moment.
"How did you die?"
"I had a fever, I was very hot, and sometimes I was very cold, I remember Mummy telling me it was going to be alright." Lillie remembered when Harry was very small he had had something similar, she had uttered the same words, although she was beside herself with grief, but Harry did get better, Harry recovered, Lottie wasn't quite so fortunate.
"It's alright, are you dead too?" Lottie cocked her head to one side when it dawned on Lillie. Of course she was dead, hadn't she been waiting, dreading the day this would happen? Where did six months go? And why today, of all days? Where did the Lord have to break Eddie's heart today? "Lillie, I'm sorry, I'm sure it's a dream really! Please don't cry!" Comforted Lottie before running down the ladder to give Lillie a much needed hug.
"Sorry Lottie." Lillie wiped the tears from her eyes and Lottie held a tissue from the side, in front of her nose.
"Blow." Lillie obeyed and the little girl smiled. "I've always wanted to do that."
"How old are you, Lottie?"
"I'm 10, just got into double digits, as well. It was a lot better than being nine though."
"Hey, nine's a great age, you just wait until you have have to-" Lillie cut off when she realised what she was talking about would never happen for the dead girl in front of her. "Sorry."
"Don't apologise, it's not your fault."
"It's not yours either."
"Nah, where do you suppose we're going?" Asked Lottie, trying to change the subject.
"I don't know, but wherever it is, I don't want to go." Lillie was sure of one thing as she stared out that window, she wanted to go home.
"Me neither." The two sat on the floor for a moment, thinking over their unfortunate situations, and both felt steadily more depressed. Which, I think, was about the point that Lillie decided nothing was going to get done by sitting on the floor and so stood up abruptly and took a step towards the door, but Lottie called out to her.
"What are you doing?" The little girl grabbed her friend's hand. "Don't leave me!"
"I'm not going to leave you." Lillie resumed her position immediately and held Lottie's face in her hands. "I'll be five minutes." She promised, but Lottie looked doubtful. "Five minutes. You can come too if you like."
"Can't, got pins and needles." Lillie smiled a little, Joe always complained about them when he sat in front of the TV on a Saturday night. Funny how only children seemed to get them.
"Five minutes." Lillie reminded her friend before standing up for the second time.
"Wait!" Lillie spun round in a heartbeat. "You're not supposed to open doors in dreams, it's bad!"
"But this isn't a dream, remember? You died of the fever." Lillie sighed as she returned to the floor again, she so wanted to see what was on the other side of the door.
"But it's not reality." Lottie begged again.
"Please tell me why we can't open the door, Lottie."
"Because if we stay here, the 'reality' of this world is only this big, if you went through the door then you might not exist anymore." Oh how Lillie missed the days when her children had such vivid imaginations, it made life so much more surreal.
"Sorry, but if we stay here, then maybe nobody will find us, and we get to be stowaways for the return journey. We can't let anyone see us." Lillie was very confident she had the truth out of the girl now, but she appeared to be no closer to coaxing her out of the cabin.
"Look, Lottie, I know it's not easy, I really do, I left behind my family, two brilliant sons, 11 and 16, and the most perfect and romantic husband a girl could ever dream of, and I only married him yesterday." Tears rolled down their cheeks again as Lillie thought fondly of everything she'd lost and Lottie of everything she could have had, and they happened to be exactly the same things.
Joe and Harry couldn't stop smiling that night, they felt too proud of themselves. After all, if it wasn't for Harry complaining the dingy hall was a lame reception, then they wouldn't have got the brilliant circus tent – free, and if it wasn't for Joe's poetry writing before his mum's last birthday, Lillie would never have realised the necessity of marrying their Dad, although both children had been begging their whole lives, Joe more than Harry. They'd put so much effort in today and it had been, well, if you turn a blind eye to Gina's date trying to steal the wedding gifts, perfect.
"You alright back there?" Dickie asked through the paper thin walls.
"Yeah, you sure you still want to take the sofa?" Harry called back, but he wasn't being polite, any brother would genuinely prefer the sofa.
"I told your Mum and Dad I'd look after you and if that means making you two share the double bed, then so be it." Dickie chuckled but the boys didn't find it so funny.
"'Night, Joe." Harry turned to his brother and said the line as if he was being forced to.
"'Night, Harry. I do hope the bed bugs won't bite."
"Oh ha, ha." Joe switched off the lights and they both hid under the covers, Joe to sleep and Harry to stare at his phone, as if expecting Gina to text him any minute...but why would she? She said it herself: "I think of you as a brother", besides, she was with Ivan and Harry was way out of his league. Then again, it looked like their relationship was over after Ivan almost stole those gifts, and then who did Gina dance with? Harry. Maybe he did have a fighting chance...maybe he was just getting his hopes up.
Dickie was woken later by the phone ringing, he answered in a whisper and vowed not to tell the boys, not now, not this way.
Babs couldn't get to sleep. She paced the bedroom all night, it drove Gina nuts. But she couldn't stop thinking that something was wrong...very wrong. So, with nothing else to do, she remembered what her best friend told her, and packed. A few minutes later, the phone rang. Her best friend...
"You're on my side of the bed again." Abbie said impatiently, pulling her share of the covers back off her boyfriend, Clint. "If you want me to stay for the night again, you will behave."
"I'm sorry, Abbs, but I feel like something's not quite right." Clint sat up in bed and pondered, which made Abbie rub her eyes, she'd never seen the man think so deeply.
"You've just been to a wedding, possibly the best wedding you'll ever go to in your sad life. What could possibly be wrong?"
But Abbie was the one who was wrong. Clint's phone rang that night, too. To half-asleep-Clint the phone was usually like an alarm bell, but tonight he rang to answer it, before quick-witted-Abby had the chance to register that the phone needed answering.
"Hello?" Clint asked, almost desperately.
"It's Flo." Ed's colleague answered from the hospital, beside a tearful Eddie.
"Ed's work colleague, right?"
"Yeah, I'm sorry, we lost her."
"Thank you for telling me." Clint choked before jamming the phone back into its cradle. Abbie held him tight, he didn't need to tell her what had happened, the only question between the friends had only ever been 'when'.
Bit longer this time, I'll work on it guys.