Chapter 1

'We are very lucky with our special speaker tonight Ladies and Gentlemen. Having only been in Bristol for a few days, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Alison Mundy.' There is a faded clapping sound coming from the audience. The announcer gestures towards the curtain in the left hand wing, footsteps slowly make their way from behind the curtain. A woman walks out onto the stage. The spot light follows her to centre stage where she picks up the microphone. She stares into the audience, looking at the vacant expressions on the people's faces. 'Thank you...' She says quietly into the microphone. She clears her throat and tries again. 'Thank you very much for having me here this evening.' There is a cough coming from the audience, in Alison's head there is only the sound of crickets. 'You may not know who I do, I'm not the most well known in the real world. I never know what to say, I usually just waffle on until something happens. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. I'm not in charge you see, they are. Sometimes it is really embarrassing, sometimes nothing comes and we just go home. ' She paces the stage with a few little steps but not taking her eye off of one person in particular. 'Excuse me madam, I'm sorry to have to bother you as I can tell that you would rather me not talk to you. I can't ignore this so I have to carry on...' She stands still on the spot and sits down centre stage. '...you've been married haven't you?' The woman sits up; the spot light quickly shines on her. 'Yes I have, but I don't see how that is relevant to anything.' Alison looks at her; she could tell that she was trying to deflect talking to her. 'You also had a child, a child that died?' Her face dropped, her eyes widened in disbelief, tears began to roll down her face.
'You see, I have your child here with me now, talking to me...' She points and breaks away, she turns her head to the side, and the audience follow her head. '...hello...who are you? ...' She begins to nod. '...okay, I will tell her...are you sure? ...okay, thank you...' she smiles and turns back to the audience. 'She just wanted me to tell you that she is okay...' she turns to the child again; she talks to the woman in the audience with her head still facing the child. '...she is safe and nothing can hurt her anymore...she said you need to stop...to stop worrying and move on, to stop living in the...past. Nothing can change anything so there isn't anything anyone can do...she is happy where she is, she are living their life.' She turns back to the woman. 'Does that make sense?' The woman in the audience is now crying, tears are reflecting off the light. 'Thank you.' She struggles to say through the tears.
Alison wonders to the other side of the audience.
'Like I said, I have a tendency to waffle on and on until something comes to me. There is someone else here, I'm not sure who they are or who they are attached to. It's a woman; she looks a little like, a little like you actually...' She points at someone in the audience. '...the only real difference that I can see is that her hair has got a natural red shade to it, unlike yours. Which I'm guessing is dyed?' The girl in the audience nods. 'I can't see here face properly, only certain details are standing out...' Alison stares at the girl, or at least that's what everyone thinks. 'The woman is now standing behind you.' The girl responds. 'You must be mistaken; I don't know anyone who has died.' Alison nods and puts her tong to her teeth. 'There seems to be a problem with what you just said, she isn't moving to anyone else. She's got a white coat on; her hair is reddish to about here.' Alison gestures to where her hair is on herself. 'I'm telling you, I don't know who this woman is. I don't know anyone who has died.' Alison walks away; the woman is still standing there. She tried to move on to someone else but she won't move.
'If you will excuse me ladies and gentlemen, as lovely as this has been, and it has been a very interesting evening, my time is up. Thank you for sitting through and I may see some of you some other time.' There is clap from the audience. She hands the microphone back to the announcer and walks off back into the wings and behind the curtain. As she walks further to the behind the curtain and stage the audience and announcer's voices slowly fade into silence.
The woman in the white coat is next to her, Alison knows this.
'What do you want? ...she won't listen to me, she doesn't believe me...I'm sorry, and there isn't anything I can do to help you...' Just as she was about to continue someone comes up behind her. 'Great show tonight Alison, you really had the audience's attention. Can I write you in for another performance next week?' Alison turns around; she is greeted with a smiley woman who works at the venue. 'Look, I'm sorry. This was just a onetime thing. I was asked by this elderly couple. To be honest I'm not sure how they found me, I'm only new. I doubt I will be doing it again, it was only a favour. Plus I've moved on from this. I'm sorry.' Alison picks up her bag and walks out leaving the women standing there watching her walk away.
On the walk home Alison wraps herself in her jacket and scarf. Smoke is coming out of her mouth, from the reaction of her warm breath with the cold air. She walks up the hill towards her house; she goes around the wall and walks up to front door.
'Excuse me? I was wondering if you could help me.' Alison turns around quickly. 'What are you doing here?'