Hair Rising, Heir Raising, Erasing
Her shrieking voice is the dreaded and familiar one which guides Abraham Wilton-Cough during the night of the rising dead. Born Elroy, the widow Bates has the privilege to be Abraham’s impoverished neighbour. Always in the now and know, Amelia is his perfect guide.
Amelia Bates is a lively character: The woman next door, married to a soldier, alone and childless, who knows everything about anyone, aka your perfect nosy neighbour. She is the gossiping widow from whom all news of the neighbourhood and further are broad-casted, rather colourfully and bluntly than not. She reports things as she sees them with her own sensitivity and at her own doorsteps.
February 1801 saw Amelia breathe for the first time in the very crowded yet loving Elroy family. Her Irish father came to Wilton Town to settle. The Elroy’s eleven strong brood of children were all an asset to the small town in their own right. They could have been twelve yet their mother passed away giving birth to her last child, a boy who did not survived very long afterwards.
From her tough early days, Amelia learnt love and what it meant to individuals within a family. This is also why she is the appointed guide to Abraham Wilton-Cough. She is able to pin-point and show him his wrong doings plainly like no other. At each blows/ home truths, her hand and voice help the hero move along and get back together. She is a provider of heart warming comfort, for being a big heart, she knows what love is and how to spell it.
Amelia was only sweet sixteen when she was married to Harry Bates. Although it was a marriage of love, it also provided a certain respectability and standing to her. She lived in a small modest flat in the well off part of the town. Her husband soldier however was hardly ever there. Going from war to missions Harry left behind his wife so frequently that the lone Amelia occupied herself with all the livings surrounding her. From learning to read just to be able to be in the know of what was going on around her and the world, to spreading the news and latest gossip, this ardent newspaper reader was filling up the sorrowful result of Harry’s absences which was their inability to build their own family.
Her husband’s death abroad happened during a prolonged military campaign which took him away from his wife for five long years. The devastated Mrs Bates, drowning her sorrow in alcohol the night of the funeral, is in such a state that her neighbour Wilton-Cough helps her back to her flat. But almost as drunk as her, his offered comforting shoulder turned rapidly into a sexual embrace.
Returning to his senses, Abraham Wilton Cough realises his mistake and adultery in his case, by brushing it under the thick carpet of silence. However the exert of one drunken night was enough for the widow Bates to fall pregnant. Despite all his will to ignore the fact and result of his mistake, the increasing waistline of his neighbour is a constant stark reminder of his guilt.
On his death bed, only a few months after the one of Harry Bates, a feverish Abraham is haunted by a vivid nightmare where Amelia Bates take his hand to guide him to see the results and consequences of his deeds and actions.
The vision of the widow Bates in his dream plays like the agent of his conscience reminding him and showing him all that troubled him or not of his past actions which were enough to torment him as he lay dying slowly from his shot wound.
Amelia is a confident and gutsy character who will rise to any challenges thrown at her. She will turn situations around, transform mistakes into blessings. With the capability and intelligence to see things in different angles, she shares her somewhat blunt yet honest views with some aplomb.
Not only Mrs Bates accepted her faults, she admitted them disarmingly to her best friend, the wronged woman, Angela Wilton Cough but also to the town’s Doctor and the Priest. Together, they formed, unknown to Abraham Wilton Cough, the small contingent that will protect and preserve the honour of both parties. All are extremely aware of the pride of Abraham which prevent him to just even acknowledge any of his wrong doings. They hatched a plan in order for the childless Amelia to be able to keep her unborn child in a fashion which does not destroy her reputation.
In the partly premonitory feverish dream of Wilton Cough, we see the result of his infidelity with Mrs Bates, Abigail but also the one of the plan to let her be kept by Amelia.
The consequences of which made the Widow Bates own proudly an epitaph on her grave which states:
‘Here, lay the sweetest and dearest of souls, Mrs Amelia Bates, born Elroy, February 1801, the adoptive mother of many orphans of Wilton Town, the biggest, largest and richest heart known in town until it passed away, blessed by all in August 1876.’
Transcending Amelia through her tiny mistake: it gave her finally her own family and more. Age thirty six at her first and last pregnancy, she had no desire to give up the child under pretence of respectability to the judging community of Wilton Town. Her confession to compassionate Father Odell made him work out a plot to save his about to be stoned sheep in his flock.
The fate of Amelia Bates provides smiles and hope aplenty. She is annoyingly enjoyable to be with and follow from grave to grave in the story.
Her character was born from observations. The clues are in the numbers. She is a very happy blend of about three real characters. Guess who?
Amelia Bates in quotes:
The ancient skeletal woman, grabbed a pair of very old spectacles hidden within her bonnet, and putting them before her eyes sockets, advanced,
-Yes, it is very grand to have a name, the names of your forefathers and dates showing up after so many years in gold upon the marble, I must applaud at that I suppose but they forgot to put something else, something meaningful about you, a eulogy. Did you leave nothing to be talked about between your birth date and the last one? Come and see my grave…’
-Come you must regret one thing or two for we are all far from perfect and only human after all. Besides making mistakes is part of life’s learning curve. I have done a fair few in my time. The best mistake of all was our daughter, for example, which taught me never to regret some of my errors.’
-Fiddlesticks! Let’s meet him! If I didn’t know you better, I would swear that you are slightly scared of him: your son is intimidating you, at long last. Tables do turn around once in a while frighteningly so. Do you remember dragging his young hand to that boarding school, to his new intimidating Head Master? Do you remember the constant beat of the ruler that teacher played upon his own hands while welcoming his new pupil? That ruler beat your son’s palms to a pulp one day to that very same rhythm that is filling the air now. I think you cannot go back, Jo is acknowledging your presence by his musical welcome… Do you remember what you said to him in front of that Head Master? Let me refresh your memory and tell you exactly the same: Come on, man up!’
-Because I made a point to know everything. For every matter that matters are close to my heart. Now there is only one way to beat fate my dear Abraham, so do not be defeated before it is all over for you. You have one hour to go and sixty minutes to make something out of them. The clock is ticking, the countdown has started. Come with me and keep listening to your heartbeat.’
The Compendium of Characters
- Book Dedication
- This comprehensive nomenclature will be ordered by the chronology of the published books and within it by the alphabetical order of the characters. Following the ‘Who’s Who’ of characters, you will find a ‘What’s what’ section, a list of created or combined words with their meanings. There are a fair few occasions where I applied this poetic license to fit closely to the heartbeat of the story or a particular individual within it. The last sections are the peep-holes to the future publications relating to those stories, spin-offs, prequels or next instalments to look forward to. It will offer the tangible glimpse of what is coming next or what happened before.
- Published the 21st of October 2014, this short story was born like many of my stories within the midst of a nightmare. I remember still vividly hearing some chilling noises, some eerie music, sad laughter, stuck in the darkness of a long box. I pushed the door open to realise that I was in my coffin. A cowardly glance outside revealed a hilly cemetery, a moonlight night and other corpses rising from their graves, some dragging others to do so. I was freaked enough at the sight to lay back in the safe darkness, thinking that it must be a bad dream and that it will all pass. But someone saw me, someone recognised me, called my name out loud and opened my coffin lid wide open. In front of that half decomposed cadaver, my heart seemed to fail to beat any longer. I closed my eyes of fright and I woke up in my bed safe and well. I was not exposed in a coffin, exhibited to other dead people, I was in my bedroom with for only witness, my black cat Mystic blinking her yellow eyes at me peacefully from the other pillow.
- It-666’s story can not be told in one sentence not even in one book. It has a fateful spin to it which will last for as long as it is meant to last. It is determined.
- Illegitimate daughter of Abraham Wilton Cough and Amelia Bates, Abigail was not conceived out of love. She is a pure mistake, simply made by her respective parents out of drunkenness. Despite her controversial conception, even unborn she is a blessing to all. To her guilt ridden father, the mere fact that she is the growingly visible result of his action within the belly of the Widow Bates caused his nagging unrest and prophetic nightmare on his death bed. Her unseen presence pushes the proud Abraham first to admit that he did commit mistakes during his lifetime. With her mother playing the spiritual guide to the departing soul of Abraham, they help him to go from admission to making amends, passing by the acknowledgement of his errors.
- We meet Abraham Wilton-Cough as a skeleton in the feverish nightmare he is having on his death bed. Our Anti-Hero rise from his coffin to reluctantly follow the Widow Bates on a journey to discover what happened to his heirs.
- Her shrieking voice is the dreaded and familiar one which guides Abraham Wilton-Cough during the night of the rising dead. Born Elroy, the widow Bates has the privilege to be Abraham’s impoverished neighbour. Always in the now and know, Amelia is his perfect guide.
- Angela is the beautiful yet suffering wife of Abraham Wilton-Cough. Present by his death bed, she hold his hand until his last breath. She is the recipient of his last orders, the soldier that can execute his last wills, which starts with burning the ones he had written previously with a lawyer and friend, with a cold and calculating heart: The very will which would have seen her become totally destitute and dying on the church steps of Wilton Town’s church a very bitter winter night, the 23 rd of January 1866.
- Private Harry Bates is the quintessence of absent characters. Talked about, missed, grieved, his lack of presence, nonetheless affects the other characters in many ways. Like a missing link the life of Harry Bates can explain and shed light about the lives of others and their behaviours. Let’s take the example of the always well informed Amelia Bates to illustrate the point. She has developed that trait of her character because of the military career of her husband. Harry is the determining factor behind a self taught Amelia who reads the newspaper to know if he is still alive, which part of the world he is located, which battles he faced, their results and consequences on the world and people, and trying desperately to guess when would he possibly be able to come back.
- Briefly mentioned, she is the character which presents Angela to Abraham in one of her tea parties, warning him to not fall in love with the Italian shop keeper’s daughter. Aunt Josephine is the would be keeper of old generations and old fashions yet to still be in fashion herself and for her parties not to be obsolete, she has to invite the new generation which brings life to the old town and the like of Angela. Angela is like a mirror of herself in her younger years, an up and coming socialite to be watched.
- Josiah by his imaginary piano/organ/organic instrument, playing beautifully and powerfully, is a pure vision. The youngest son of Abraham Wilton-Cough symbolises all the children who had to endure the will of their parents as their own. If they do not do so, they end up beaten up badly.
- Noah M Wilton is the revered character, founder of Wilton Town, ancestor of Abraham Wilton-Cough. We hear about him first, mentioned proudly by Abraham who boast to be the eleventh removed from him. Larger than life, Noah takes shape and form in a formidable statue in the delirious dying dream of Wilton-Cough. As Abraham catches his breath at the base of the colossal brass effigy of his ancestor, he regains stock of who he is, who he came from but also the courage to face his own future, hence the judgement for his mistakes.
- The character of Father Odell looks after his parish like a shepherd after his flock. Ready listener of their ailments and tribulations, he offers to them the comfort of an educated comprehension, wraps their shoulders by his understanding and instead of letting them face their worst nightmare alone, he leads them to forgiving solutions to their dilemmas.
- Father of Abraham Wilton-Cough, Terah is just mentioned by him with great pride. This character is not elaborated in this story. From the association of two powerful families, the Wiltons and the Coughs, Terah is a member of the third generation. His important wealth handed down to his son made him own half of Wilton Town. Still not enough, Abraham endeavoured to increase his fortune by creating the first bank of the town.
- Doctor Vincent Valdi is another character barely mentioned in the story. At the bedside of the dying Abraham Wilton-Cough, he is monitoring his last hours, unable to save him.
- What can I say about Zach? The first time you encounter him you will not like him a tad. I wrote him with his sheer stupidity aligned with his false cleverness. Zachary Wilton-Cough is a character as daunting as a sponge which was left to absorb vitriol until it is so poisonous, your guts instinct are to just leave it there and ran away without dealing with it or squeeze it out of the bullshit it is full of.
- Wilton Town is a whimsical place with a far-West feel to it. Created out of the sheer wilderness of a large, dark and strange forest by the broad axe of Noah M Wilton, it represents all the hope of a better future that people do carry with them. However it didn’t quite synthesise itself on the ground, despite Noah and his followers’s best will and efforts. The hard working and generous Noah provided them with the free land, built the houses, designed a small town out of the treasure of their surrounding seas of trees.