Firstly, thank you very much for your interest in my story! You can follow it here, on wordpress or on blogger. If you ever want to know where I'm up to in writing/picture taking you can check out the status of my story here.
There are two ways to read this story. You can read all the chapters and get the story from Bobbie's point of view. Or, in addition to reading all the chapters, you can read the added extras inbetween the chapters. These are diary entries, reports and letters that give an insight to the world and events outside Bobbie's point of view. They all relate to the plot and will be helpful to those of you who are trying to guess what is going on. These added extras are just that-- added extras to the main story. You don't have to read them as all will be revealed eventually. If you do read them keep in mind they are a) short and b) unillustrated.
About the sci-fi classification of this story.
No, it isn’t in the wrong category. Yes, on the surface it looks like any in-public-domain school story… or does it? What was that in the background of that picture? Why did that happen? That was a little… odd…?
The science fiction elements drive the plot and all will be revealed (much) later on. In the meantime you’ll see little glimpses of it here and there so keep your eyes open!.
"I grew up in an orphanage." The words were said quickly, like she was ripping off a bandage and wanted the pain to be over in as little time as possible.
I opened my mouth to respond but she cut me off "now take your shock, your pity, your horror, your disgrace and whatever else you are feeling and go get over it somewhere else for I don’t want to see none of that. I've had enough of that to fill a lifetime."
I looked at the elegant lady and took her in, from her polished, pointy shoes to the well curled locks of hair. No one ended up in orphanages but destitute; what family, however poor would not take in a child who had lost their parents? Even a struggling farming family would trade another mouth to feed for the extra hands to help around the farm. Here was a woman admitting that she had no family to speak of, or that she had family and circumstances meant they could not acknowledge her as their own. But here she sat before me, a lady of elegance, a lady of society… a… lady! People like her come from family, and those families are rich and powerful. Here sat a contradiction.
She remained impervious to all my questions, as you can imagine I had many.
"I made my promise. Perhaps I have already said too much. Good day."
I took this as my cue to leave but as I was in the hall I heard a door close upstairs. I saw what could only be the lady’s daughter descending the stairs and naturally I paused.
She reached the bottom of the stairs and for a moment she just looked at me.
"Good evening." I said. "I've just been visiting your mother—"
"I know. Look, I don't know anything about it." She said, "But if you want to know then perhaps you should speak to her best friend."
"Who is that?" I asked.
"Bobbie… Bobbie Hilton."
"No, she's a girl. They knew each other as children. Bobbie must have been a pet name, like my mother, she was known a Frankie instead of Francesca."
"Where can I find her? Do you have an address."
"Does your mother not write to this good friend of hers?"
"No, she is not allowed, don't ask why… I don't know."
"Right." As Alice would say this was getting curiouser and curiouser. "Do you know anything else about this Bobbie?"
"No…" she thought for a moment. "Wait! She was from the highlands, I think. Does that help?"
"It narrows it down a bit. Thank you."
It was many years later that I tracked down Bobbie Hilton. Roberta, for that was her name, was an elegant lady but not surrounded by the riches her friend was. I was saddened to hear from her that Frankie had passed away a few years prior.
"We had a good friendship, dear Frankie and I." Bobbie said. "All things come to an end eventually, I just wished I could have seen her one last time."
"Why couldn't you?" I asked. Bobbie looked at me for a full minute without speaking, like she was searching me for something… trust?
"With Frankie gone now and I myself not far from seeing the pearly gates…If I do not tell now the story may well die with me. But you must be willing to listen to the full story and promise on your life that you will not speak of it to another soul again. I wish you to record it in full detail to be released by your children, or grandchildren, in one hundred years time. Not a day sooner. Do you agree?"
"That will be explained in the telling of the story, lets just say it is very important and if you tell too soon you may destroy two thirds of the universe.... All I need now is your agreement. Those are the conditions of my telling."
"I agree." What else could I do? And so Bobbie started