A Bridge Through Time: (Time Travel)

BOOK: A Bridge Through Time: (Time Travel)
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Copyright 2015 © Gloria Caballero Gay

 

All Rights Reserved

 

A BRIDGE THROUGH TIME

 

Published by Gloria Caballero Gay, 1605 Sombrero Way, San Diego, CA 92154, United States of America. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

 

Acknowledgment: Edited by Mariana Gay Hughes and Juliana Gay

 

Manufactured in the United States of America

 

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to any person or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

Cover Design and Interior format by The Killion Group

http://thekilliongroupinc.com

 

DEDICATION:

 

 

To my husband, Enrique Gay

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Jane glanced around as she walked at the rear of the tour group being led through The Tower and sighed deeply. Here she was, in England at last, her parents’ country of birth.

Ever since she had come here with her mom when she was fourteen she had wanted to return, but the few times it had come up something had disrupted her plans.

Her eyes filled with tears. A reporter with CBS, she had worked to get the transfer in order to absorb herself in a new job. She still could not get used to her parents’ death. She had spoken with her mother over the phone once or twice during the day ever since she could remember and now she often stopped herself from dialing her parents’ number.

Already people had commented on her loss of weight so when her health started to deteriorate Jane resolved to fill her life with activity that would keep her sad thoughts at bay.

She started by visiting the Tower of London—actually a castle surrounded by a fortification of several towers that dated to early Norman history and William the Conqueror. Later she would visit Lydford with her co-worker and friend, Cybil Steely.

Jane read the pamphlet as she walked and found that the Tower’s original purpose as a royal residence had ended with James I. This was the result of its original function as a fortress to protect monarchs having been breached when gunpowder came on the scene.

When cannon balls were invented it became apparent they could easily demolish castle fortifications that before had been impenetrable. The Tower was then turned into a royal prison where the Crown’s traitors were housed for years before being separated from their heads—or tortured into confessing to crimes.

Jane read avidly about the legend of the ravens. It was strongly believed that if the ravens left the Tower, England would be invaded and conquered, so the ravens’ wings were clipped to prevent this catastrophe from
ever
occurring. Faced between having England defeated and conquered and clipping ravens’ wings, the choice must have seemed an easy one for everyone concerned, especially since the ravens’ cousins, the pigeons, traditionally ended up in pies.

Looking up at the turrets, ramparts and towers, Jane imagined how eerie it must be at midnight with the ravens skipping about with their clipped wings and attempting short flights along the walkways that connected the towers.

She glanced with interest at the guards. They were dressed in traditional yeoman garb and were spaced at intervals all along the walkways and towers.

Through an open tower window she heard the flutter of wings and a shriek and looking up to a high window saw a raven settling along a windowsill. For a few moments she felt such a connection to the room they were arriving at, a physical pain coursed through her. The pain was momentary and it was gone almost as soon as Jane had felt it, yet it had been very unnerving.

The tour guide, Mr. Caulfield, an elderly man, was now speaking of ghosts:

“The headless body of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, has been sighted many times, walking the corridors at night when only the night guards are about. Some people have insisted they have seen her in plain daylight, walking through this tower, which is known as the white tower.”

There were audible gasps among the crowd and a few excited exclamations.

Jane felt a cold shiver cut through her like a sliver of glass and she felt as though her head was being forced to look up, to the place where she had seen the raven. There, Jane saw the gauze-like form of a woman in a long hooded cape rushing along the wall that led directly to the white tower, where Jane was with the tour group. The raven shrieked again as it took off suddenly in a short flight further along the walkway.

But as Jane turned to the group of tourists, she realized no one but she had heard the raven’s cry, nor had anyone appeared to have seen the transparent lady in a long hooded cape rushing along the tower wall.

***

The hotel phone rang, startling Jane out of her troubled thoughts. It was her co-worker Cybil.

“Well, Jane Fielder,” Cybil said, calling Jane through her cell phone, “Here I am at the lobby of your hotel, ready for adventure!”

Cybil Steeley and Jane were good friends as well as co-workers in New York. They had both been reassigned to England at the same time and were to share an apartment in London. For now, Jane was staying at the Hyatt and Cybil, who had left New York before Jane did, was staying at an aunt’s flat in London.

Cybil was an enthusiastic girl and just what Jane needed to spur her out of her depression. Cybil wore jeans and a jean vest over a red blouse that complimented her blond good looks. She had deep green eyes and a ready smile which she was now bestowing on Jane.

“I’m ready for adventure when you are,” Jane said, eager to forget her troubling memories of her visit to the Tower. She grabbed her large handbag, the rental car keys and her cell phone. “Well, at the very least we’ll have some fun sightseeing. I still have four weeks to squander – piled up vacation. Jake wants me to get acquainted with the area and as much of the country as I can see, so he’s going to pay the mileage and hotel bills.”

She must fill her life with her work, her new co-workers and exploring the country of her parents. She must not let sadness invade her because it was affecting her health. One good thing had come out of it, at least. At first forcing herself to eat with no appetite, she soon awakened her long-dormant taste buds and was now enjoying tasty English dishes at wonderfully quaint pubs.

“Lucky you,” said Cybil. A Great Britain native, Cybil was returning to her country after a two-year stint in New York. She wasn’t going to get any perks, she had told Jane, since she knew her country of origin inside out. But she had a couple of days off and was going to go on this outing with Jane.

“So we start with your obsession first,” Cybil said, reading through the pamphlet of the place they were going to. “How did you and your mom happen to go way out to Exeter?”

“She was born in the area,” Jane said, intent on concentrating on the left-hand driving with which she was not too familiar yet. She had taken a week’s course but it still felt weird to drive on the right side of the car. She had to always be
thinking
about her driving. She sighed and hoped that eventually it would come naturally.

“Refresh my memory on the portrait, again?”

“Sure,” Jane said. They had entered the motorway, as highways were known in England, and as there was light traffic she didn’t have to concentrate too intensely on her driving. After settling in a lane and easing her tensed body back on the seat she glanced briefly at Cybil and then back at the road.

“Well, I was fourteen at the time and Mom and I went on the tea tour you and I are going to,” she began. “The tour was comprised of tea and a tour of some parts of the estate and the picture gallery. After tea the tour guide led us through the portrait gallery and we stopped alongside the paintings while the tour guide would expand on each one. Not all of them, just the ones that were of special interest.”

“Then what happened?” Cybil asked, her interest perking when Jane hesitated.

“As I said, I was just fourteen,” Jane said. “You know how fourteen was, interested in boys, shy. Or at least
I
was shy. We stopped by two portraits of two very handsome young men, dressed in the clothes of the time – tan knee breeches, a white shirt, a navy blue waistcoat, tan leather vest, and high boots. I was immediately drawn to one of the brothers, in particular, to Jestyn Greywick. You wouldn’t believe his mouth, Cybil, and his wonderful eyes!

“We were not supposed to touch the portraits, of course, as they repeatedly told us. Then as I glanced down at Jestyn Greywick’s hands I noticed he held a pendant in his hand, which was odd – I thought. The chain of the pendant was twisted around his right hand. Without thinking I touched the pendant and then his hand. Cybil, his hand was warm!”

“You’re sure of that?”

“Yes. Absolutely sure of it. And even after all those years I feel as though it happened yesterday!”

“Go on,” urged Cybil.

“I thought it was weird that it was warm,” Jane went on, “so I touched the rest of the portrait. It was the beginning of spring, a cool day, and there was no central heating in the place. The parts of the painting I touched, other than the hand, were cool to the touch. Just to be sure I again touched his hand. And again it was warm!”

“That’s as weird as it can get,” said Cybil, then added, “Well, we’ll find out today, won’t we? I can’t wait.”

They stopped at a roadside motel that had a restaurant and had lunch: delicious roast beef and a salad.

Once again they took to the road. They had ordered coffee and scones to help keep them from dozing off.

“Those are called tors,” said Cybil, glancing up at the huge boulder hill ahead of them.

“It’s so pretty around here with spring sprouting everywhere,” Jane said. “Just look at the heather and the yellow wildflowers. And it smells so fresh, too.”

“Even so, I wish we were there,” said Cybil. “We’ve been on the road more than three hours! Too bad we can’t just go straight to the portrait and check it out. We have to go through this silly tea tour.”

“I don’t mind,” Jane said, keeping her eyes on the road. “I want to see again the areas of the house I saw with Mom. From what the pamphlet says the tours are exactly as they were ten years ago.”

“And they’ll probably be the same fifty years from now,” Cybil said with a laugh.

Finally, they arrived.

Jane and Cybil took up the rear of the two dozen tourists as they listened to Miss Shatner, the tour guide and Miss Finchley, the estate guide.

The grounds of Greywick Hall’s original land holdings near Lydford had been enormous, with a few dozen tenant farms to sustain it. None of those farms remained now attached to the estate. The mansion was surrounded only by six acres of park-like grounds. The grounds, however, were beautifully kept.

Members of the group commented admiringly, especially when they were led through an ancient gate and across an antique rose garden the tour guide told them contained rose bushes from hundreds of years back. They walked in twos alongside the lush green lawns and along walks lined with dark firs by the high ancient walls. Now and then the tourists would sit on ornamental benches to listen to the tour guides.

The building was large and grand, with an enormous hall. The large gray stones of its façade were weathered and pearly pink in the morning sun. The four square towers on the corners of the outer wall that enclosed it and that dated back to the fourteenth century were high and imposing.

After the tour of the grounds was completed the tour group was led to the large drawing-room, to the left of the great hall, most of which was roped off.

The tourists gazed along the side of the roped section and some of them made comments now and then. The antique furniture in the roped-off area was upholstered in cerise velvet, gold and pale blue silk and cream brocade. Most of the furniture was in Georgian design but there were some pieces in French Rococo. Every piece was in harmony with its neighbor.

Jane looked around at the large drawing-room appreciatively as the tourists spoke with each other. The tourists who had come with a friend or family member were more talkative than were the singletons, for those few only made a trite comment now and then to the person next to them.

The history of the room’s furniture was thoroughly gone over by Miss Shatner, a small, intense woman dressed in black who answered the few questions briefly and almost inaudibly. The tourists were then led to a large section next to the roped-off area that contained similar furniture, but that appeared to be cheap and sturdy knockoffs. Obviously, these pieces were built for the constant wear and tear hundreds of tourists gave it daily.

Two waitresses then came in with tea carts and the tea part of the tour began.

One of the waitresses pushed around a large cart that contained combinations of watercress and cucumber and ham and cheese sandwiches while other trays on it were heavily laden with pastries, cakes and breads. The second waitress pushed in a cart with a huge tea pot, cups, plates, saucers and spoons.

Two women from the teacher group from Boston commented politely on the watercress and cucumber sandwiches as being quite different from what they were used to. They expressed their wish to try new things and each one of them reached for a sandwich. Jane and Cybil soon noticed that the teacher group from Boston was polite and well-behaved. Most of the others in the tour were also quiet and polite. Only a very few displayed ignorance or poor manners.

Balancing a scone heavy with golden raisins on the saucer of her teacup, a large woman dressed in black and with equal amounts of brown and gray hair, from the group of non-native tourists, was saying earnestly and loudly, as she read from a booklet in her hands:

“Neither Lord Greywick nor his younger brother were married, Miss Finchley? How very sad that they weren’t,” she added, answering her own question. “Had either of them died a little later, say, after one of them at least had married and had an heir, the story would have been quite different – don’t you think?”

“As I have told you before, ma’am,” said Miss Finchley with undisguised exasperation, “the Greywicks were not a titled family. It’s not
Lord
Greywick. It’s
Mr.
Greywick.”

BOOK: A Bridge Through Time: (Time Travel)
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