Greetings! Thea (or Snake Lady as Doodah calls me) here! Welcome to the first chapter of Flashes In Time. For clarification, writing in normal is during modern times, while italics are during the past. Say, eighty, ninety years before Beth was born.
Disclaimer: Er... I think I'm getting too used to fanfiction. Claimer: This story (including its plot and characters) is property of Flightless Birds (AKA Mbak Sanca and zipadeedoodah)
This is a joint story between me and Doodah. I wrote this chapter, and Doodah proofread it. The characters and plot belongs to us, though, so ask if you want to borrow.
"Beth, did you hear?" Kelly Cox, Beth's friend, whispered. "I heard the principal's wife gave birth last night!"
Birth… hers hadn't ended well. "My mother died giving birth to me," Beth whispered. Kelly gave her a slightly confused look. "Elizabeth Mayers, what are you talking about? Your mother is alive," Kelly said slowly.
"Eliza…" Beth whispered. "Eliza, Eliza, Eliza…"
"Mrs. Thompson is giving birth!" Linda whispered to Mrs. Grace.
She gave the Thompsons' maid an interested look. "As in Clara Thompson? The mayor's wife?" she asked, interested. Linda gave a self-important nod, as if she had just delivered the most important news in the world. "Interesting," Mrs. Grace mused.
"Now, now, Allana, not gossiping with maids in front of the mayor's house, are you?" Mr. Honey, Mrs. Grace's father, asked as he hobbled towards them. Mrs. Grace ducked her head. "Of course not, Father. Linda here was simply telling me that Mrs. Thompson is giving birth," she said smoothly.
As if on cue, a pained cry rang out of the house. Mrs. Grace winced. "I think I shall take my leave. Hearing a fellow woman cry is horrible for one's nerves. Mr. Honey nodded in agreement. "We should go," he agreed. The trio hobbled away from the Thompsons' house.
Inside Mrs. Thompson's room, the midwife pushed up the blanket covering Mrs. Thompson's lower half. "Push, Mrs. Thompson, push!" she shouted. Mrs. Thompson let out a pained gasp. Outside, in the hall, Mayor Thompson paced anxiously. A small, slight blonde woman stood besides him. Miss Winters, soon to be the child's nursemaid. The midwife's apprentice suddenly opened the door.
"Miss Winters!" she called. Miss Winters hurried to the apprentice. The younger woman whispered something to Miss Winters, before she hurried out of the room, and Miss Winters hurried in.
Mayor Thompson tried to catch the apprentice. "India, is there something wrong?" he asked in his deep voice. India shook her head. "No, sir. Mrs. Potter just needs someone to handle the dirty towels while I prepare a herb infusion." The dark-haired girl proceeded to go downstairs towards the kitchen. Mayor Thompson shot her an alarmed look. "Herb infusion?" he called after her. The mayor didn't claim to know much about medicine, but he was sure that birthings didn't normally require herb infusions.
Anxiously, Mayor Thompson took a few steps towards the door. Hesitantly, he turned the knob, opening it slightly.
Immediately, he regretted it. His wife's cries rang through the hallway. "Mrs. Potter, there's so much blood!" he heard Miss Winters exclaim. "The baby is three months early, Miss Winters. Mrs. Thompson is hemorrhaging." Mayor Thompson's eyes widened. He burst into the room. "Hemorrhaging?" he exclaimed.
Mayor Thompson was far from a doctor. He was a mayor. But he knew the definition of the word 'hemorrhaging', and he knew it was far from good. If his wife was hemorrhaging… she could die. Miss Winters yelped in shock, her little blue eyes wide. She dropped the pile of bloody towels she was holding to the ground. Mayor Thompson felt slightly sick at the sight of so much blood. Mrs. Potter sighed. "Mayor Thompson, I must ask you to leave…" she began, but Mayor Thompson rushed forward. He kneeled by Mrs. Thompson's bedside.
"Clara! Clara!" Mayor Thompson cried. His wife let out a low moan. "George," she rasped. Her hand searched for his. Mayor Thompson gripped Clara's small, fair hand in his own large, calloused one. "Sh, I'm here," Mayor Thompson whispered. At that moment, he was none but George Thompson. Gone was his status, his rank. In that moment, he became only Clara's husband.
He felt sick at the sight of his lovely, fair, dark-haired Clara in so much pain. When he glanced at Clara's lower half, all he saw was blood. So much blood. Clara's face was pale and sweaty. At that moment, India hurried back in, carrying a small cup of tea. "Miss Winters, you may leave," Mrs. Potter said, though it was more of an order. Miss Winters obliged, hastily shoving the bloody towels aside and leaving. India helped Clara sit up.
"Please, Mrs. Thompson, drink this. It will help with the bleeding," the sweet girl said. Groaning, the mayor's wife shakily took the drink. She finished it in one gulp, before collapsing back onto the bed. She was gasping with pain. Mayor Thompson gripped onto her hand. "Hush, Clara, it'll be fine," he assured, planting a soft kiss on her forehead.
"Push, Mrs. Thompson, I can see the head!" Mrs. Potter cried out suddenly. Gasping with effort, Clara did as she was told to, before screaming. Mayor Thompson hastily smoothed her hair. "Push! Push!" Clara moaned. "It hurts," she whimpered to Mayor Thompson. "It'll past, love, it'll past," Mayor Thompson whispered. Several more strong pushes, before a baby's cries filled the air.
Mayor Thompson let out a cry of joy. Clara lifted her head and smiled weakly as Mrs. Potter cleaned the baby and handed her back to Clara. "She's beautiful," India declared. "Elizabeth," Clara whispered weakly. "Eliza." Mayor Thompson took the baby and rocked her gently, pacing the room.
Suddenly, Clara's whole body went limp. "Clara!' Mayor Thompson cried out. India gently took the baby - Eliza - as the mayor rushed to Clara's bedside. Mrs. Potter was on the other side of the bed, feeling Clara's wrists for a pulse. She moved her hand to Clara's neck, before shaking her head gently.
"I'm sorry, sir. Mrs. Thompson is dead."
Beth frowned at Kelly. "But Clara is dead…" she said, half to herself. "Beth, are you nuts? What are you talking about?" the other girl demanded. Beth frowned. "I don't know. It felt like a flash to the past… a vision…"
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