Hair Rising, Heir Raising, Erasing
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.
Mrs Wilton-Cough is very much central and pivotal to the entire story, for she is the one who bestows the heart of Abraham. Daughter of an Italian shopkeeper, her marriage to Abraham Wilton-Cough is an advantageous one, putting her in the tight knit society of the descendants of the founders of Wilton Town. From being a guest and invited to parties, she can now hold them as a respected host. She becomes renown for her tea parties. She loves society and shines in the midst of many.
This last point makes Abraham uncomfortable. He constantly worries that Angela would attract the attention of a better man than him, who would be blown away by her beauty and intrinsic charm. If he consents to the tea parties at his home, under the false pretension of hating balls, dinners and large gathering, he keeps his couple from attending to any of them. He jealously guards his wife at home by fear of losing her if she ventures out. His rather extreme lack of trust imposed upon Angela’s shoulders is the mere reflection of his own lack of trust about his own self. His cynical self doesn’t believe for one moment that Angela could possibly genuinely love him for himself. Abraham Wilton-Cough has a very low opinion of his own self and an acute knowledge that he is not the most amiable man. He hides this from all under the wrap of an overwhelming pride lined with a show of tyrannical confident authority.
The irony of Abraham’s story is that Angela truly loved him. She fell for his pride associated with the confidence he displayed. The besotted wife of Wilton-Cough falls under his spell. His orders become rules written in an imaginary household book: this is how it is in the Wilton-Cough’s home. He means to her, her entire life almost as if he was a god. Completely devoted to her husband, Angela is far from imagining her life without him or envisaging leaving him for someone else. A loving mother, straying is not on her mind at all, just the happiness of her children. If straying is not on the mind of Abraham either, he is the one who does it, once. After imposing such a reclusive lifestyle to his popular and well loved wife, it is Wilton-Cough who misbehaves under the influence of alcohol.
The guilt, knowing how he treated Angela the entirety of their wedded life, is enough to plague him on his death bed. His mistake, having a result in the Widow Bates being pregnant, breaks down the implacable defencive tower that Abraham has built around him all his life. It is the simple fault which widens the gaps between every single brick to expose the individual behind it: a character, which was rather scared all along, yet covered himself with proud pretence to rule whatever he may or loved.
The bricks, the entire wall he has laid, the rules, his orders, thought like laws within his family, do not stack up together. They lack the consistency of cement to bind them together, or something strong called love. Wilton-Cough is a man who failed to show his love when he had time to do so.
Irony for irony, the loving Angela does the same. She fails to reassure her dying husband in his last minutes about her love for him. She is confessing so on deaf/death ears.
Angela Wilton-Cough in death, in the nightmare, also shows her caricatured aspects. The centre of the tea party in her pauper’s grave, she is her own woman who have seen tough days. The death of Abraham did mean poverty for her and her son Josiah. Yet she is that undefeated character who will keep the party going anyhow beyond the grave. Centre of attention of an eclectic mix of skeletons, all socialising, gossipping, she sets the trend like in her living past. Her decision on a peculiar tea, or even a digestive biscuit is regarded with due respect and followed by many. Angela, who gave the best of her life to a man who chose to ignore her mere existence in his will, felt her love trampled by a thousand heavy horses telling her that she had just been gold digging. In her grave, it is a rightly offended Angela that we meet. She knows everything from her own heart to the love affair of Abraham. She strongly chooses to ignore him in death.
Their beyond the grave encounter works like an eye for an eye punishment for Abraham. He admits all his wrong doing or almost to his wife, there and then, giving her his shrunken dry heart for all it is worth to keep or throw, for it belonged to her all along. Heartbreakingly, he leaves her grave and tea party having been completely ignored.
The lesson in Wilton-Cough’s nightmare is learnt as when the character regains consciousness, his first actions are to ensure that his cold headed written will is destroyed to be replaced by a caring one. But also his words show finally consideration to his wife when he gives his final orders, wishes to her. He is conscious of having retrieved the Angela which he married, the one which he has not left yet by an untimely death, the one which has not lived a miserable and struggling existence after him, the one which has bravely endured living by his demeaning sides without an arguing word in reply, the patient soul which had accepted the like of him as a husband with so many kind and forgiving smiles that he could not count them on his death bed.
The Character of Angela is restored to her former self in the Erasing part of the story: she is the soldiering wife, ready to accept any order with almost blind love and blind respect. Unlike the Widow Bates, who has learnt to live without her husband for many years, who has taught herself to stand alone, and make her own stand anyhow, unlike Amelia who can tell how it is at her own doors at any point in time, who can correct anyone rather bluntly, disregarding their social status, Angela is a character that will conform to any rules, right or wrong. But she has a silent reply, one born out of forbearing love.
For example faced with the partiality her husband displays with their two sons, she is making sure the one left wanting has her support. Her last son, Josiah, and her developed a special bond, a strong one that help them go through adversity.
The ‘Socialite’ Angela sees the talent in Josiah as a pianist with the cheer glee of a proud parent straight away, and is ever so keen to promote him on his musical pursuit unlike the pragmatic Abraham who only sees a future impoverished church organist in his youngest son and tries to convince him to become a banker instead.
Angela Wilton-Cough only dares to defy her husband beyond the grave when it hurts the most, when everything is getting squared. Her life silence forbearance will never be forgotten pass death point, the point of no return, when one has done whatever he/she wanted by will or not.
The creation of her first name was another mind given. Almost born from the onset. She is an Angel with a letter at the end: A: A the first letter that is spelling Amour (Love) in French, the first letter in the alphabet. She is the character that teaches what it is to love for eternity to Abraham.
Angela in quotes:
From her husband:
-I remember the first time I saw your enchanting smile, it was at the tea party of my aunt Josephine and her very words to me: ‘whatever you do Abraham, do not fall in love with the Italian shop keeper’s daughter.’ I disobeyed and did the right opposite, for I could not forget the beautiful raven black curls, the deep blue eyes like the ocean to dive into, the yellow buttercup dress spreading around you like the rays of the sun. Anytime I see you somewhere, it is like gasping a big breath of fresh air, like seeing the sun in spring after a long winter, like feeling finally vibrantly warm inside. I am sorry to have loved you badly, jealously.’
Her character bestows the last words of the story:
When the long arm of the clock reached the thirteenth minute of the hour, it was all over, for Abraham Wilton-Cough had nothing left to say to the entire world having given his last breath. His tearful wife closed his eyelids tenderly and kissed his lips full of sorrow herself, confessing softly, -I forgot to tell you that I loved you for your proud guts, not your wealth, my Ab, and now I love you for yourself, for eternity.’
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.