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Eliza: Chapter Seventeen: The Past Comes to Strangetown

July 31, 2009

Once Eliza and Emmy were safely in the house, they sat down to discuss this strange visitor, and Darryl’s apparent infatuation.

“Now,” said Emmy. “What is this about there being more to the story than I know?”

“Well,” said Eliza, “it began with a phone call…”

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“…I hadn’t been in Strangetown very long when I got a call from my friend Becca. I’ve known Becca forever. In fact, we grew up on the same street in Pleasantville. When my parents died…I was almost 16…” Eliza said, looking up at Miss Emmy, “and  it was Becca’s mom who took me in, so that I wouldn’t have to go live with strangers.  Becca and I had been close before I moved in with her family, and after that, we were like sisters.  We were even roommates for awhile in SimCity.”

“And the phone call?” said Emmy.

“Yes, the call…” continued Eliza.  “It was really just a chit-chat, a how’s this and that kind of conversation until the end. That was when Becca told me about Mortimer…” As Eliza drifted back in memory she recalled the conversation as ordinary catching up-type gossip. She searched her brain for any detail she might have missed that could have predicted this turn of events, but found nothing.


“Oh, and Mom said to ask if you’d heard about Mortimer Goth,” Becca said.

“No, I don’t really get back to Pleasantville much these days. What happened to Mortimer?”

“The old guy finally died,” Becca said with a chuckle. “I never thought it would happen. He must’ve been, like, 110.”

“You’re awful! He was pretty old, though, but nice, too. From what I remember people saying, he and Bella used to be quite the couple. Did anyone ever find out what happened to her?”

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“No, but get this…Mom told me Bella used to be friends with your Great Aunt Isadora. She said Bella’s disappearance happened not long after, well, you know…” Becca’s voice trailed off, not wanting to reopen old wounds. “There were rumors, Mom said, that Bella wasn’t entirely faithful to Mortimer. She was quite the rebel back in those days, I guess.

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“Really? I never knew that. Well, I am going figure out what happened to my family, don’t you worry, Becs. I’m not going to end up like Mortimer…alone until the end.”

“Of course you won’t,” said Becca. “Well, I’ve got to run…Mom sends her love! We miss you Eliza, come visit soon, okay?”


“And that was it,” continued Eliza. “The call is what got me thinking about Bella, though. Then, when I was at the park, I saw the strangest thing…”

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“There was a woman walking by who looked so familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. I sat there thinking until it hit me…Bella! The woman looked exactly like Bella Goth. Of course, I tried to run after her once I realized who it was…”

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“…but, of course, she was gone.”

“I meant to tell you all of this back then, Miss Emmy…”

“Eliza, there is no time for guilt now,” said Emmy. “Please go on with your story.”

“Well, I had met Darryl shortly after that, and the next thing I knew, I was pregnant!  It was then, during my pregnancy with Mirabella, that I saw her again! She seemed to be watching me eat from outside the window of Cafe Petite.

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“I was planning on ordering some dessert…you know how I liked cake when I was pregnant…but, there was something so strange about her. When she sat down at the table right outside my window, I just felt like I had to get out of there. I felt like I was in danger!

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“It was so irrational. I called the cab to come and get me, but as I was on the phone, she stood up, and started coming toward me.

“So, I ran. I just ran all the way home, big pregnant belly and all! Luckily, it was only a few blocks.

“Then, by the time I got home, I was so exhausted, I fell right to sleep. When I woke up, the whole thing seemed so illogical I just never told anyone about it. I chalked it up to female hormones, and never saw the woman again.”


“…until today,” said Emmy.

“Yes, until today.”

This time, as Eliza and Emmy looked out the window, they saw the woman walking away.

“Well,” said Emmy. “At least she’s gone for now. I don’t understand something. You say this Bella disappeared after your Great Aunt Isadora, and this Mortimer you spoke of was her husband?”

“Yes, that’s right,” said Eliza.

“But the woman we just saw is young…younger than we are!”

“That’s just it, I never actually saw Bella in person. When I was a child, Mortimer was already an old man. I’ve only seen her in pictures from the family album Mom had. I just never realized it was Bella until Becca told me about her friendship with Aunt Isadora. This woman,” said Eliza, “looks exactly like the Bella from the pictures. Exactly.”

“But, that’s impossible!” said Emmy.

“Miss Emmy, you are the one who once told me there is much more to the world than we realize.”

“Yes,” said Emmy. “Yes I did.” With a deep sigh, Emmy lifted herself from the kitchen chair. “I must go home for awhile. There is much research I need to do.”

Eliza followed Emmy out to the sidewalk. “You will be back tonight for Maria’s birthday, won’t you?”

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“Dearest Eliza,” said Emmy, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Go to Chapter Eighteen

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