by: pat winterburn
This is not part of the Detective Amanda Ellis series. Just a promise I've kept to bring them back in some holiday specials. Disclaimers: Love, friendship and ghosts. Nothing graphic or too spooky. *************************************************************************
Amanda Ellis walked out of the costume shop dressing room and stood to model her outfit before her friend, Mitchell Blake. She had chosen a costume that resembled the gangster Al Capone. A pin striped suit with wide lapels, a white shirt with a higher collar and a dark coloured tie to match. Her shoes were called "spats" a black and white shoe that buttoned down the side. In her arms lay a replica of a 1920 to 1930's machine gun, a popular method of weaponry for that era.
"Well Mitchell, what do you think?" Amanda asked of her friend.
Mitchell stood back wearing her own costume that she had previously modeled for Amanda. Her jet black tuxedo from the "roaring 20's" era gave the appearance of an actor of the silver screen gone by when the Barrymore's or Chaplin ruled the movie industry. She looked closely at her friend of so many years, and a slight shiver ran down her spine. Amanda looked just too comfortable and familiar in her costume and Mitchell had to shake off the creepy feeling.
"You look..........Mitchell had to search for the right words, like I should just hand you my wallet and diamond studded cuff links."
Amanda rolled her eyes at her friend and was about to say some quick smart ass reply when her lover, Dr. Sandra Wilson, came out of the fitting room with Mitchell's lover, Deb Tyler.
"Hey girls, Mitchell cat -called and whistled, how about you two sweet looking dames come out with my friend and me here?" Mitchell tried to sound like a smooth talking Cary Grant, but her Texas drawl snuck out making her sound more like John Wayne.
Sandy and Deb both laughed while Deb stepped up to Mitchell and kissed her.
Both women were dressed in the same fashion era, but with totally different costumes.
Deb had chosen a long, light -blue coloured ball room dancing gown. It had been years since she had worn high heeled shoes, but would get used to them again before the Halloween party next weekend. Shyly she looked over at Mitchell who was now standing a few feet behind her admiring what she saw, and wondered why Deb looked so different and yet familiar in that gown at the same time.
Sandy wasn't sure she should be dressed as a 1920's "flapper" since it was the hospital's fund raising masquerade ball. As head of the surgical department she should show some good taste in her costume, but when she stood beside Amanda dressed as she was something about the two of them felt so right together. She reached over taking Amanda's arm and gave her hips a shake. The feather boa she wore around her neck matched the feathered tiara she had placed in her hair. They both looked at themselves in the mirror and, for a moment, felt an odd sensation of a past life. Each woman thought to themselves...."Have we been dressed like this before in another life?"
The four women left the shop with their purchases in hand and headed for the nearest restaurant for a light lunch and conversation. There had been an uneasy feeling in Amanda's stomach and she hoped she wasn't coming down with something. She ordered a bacon, tomato and lettuce sandwich with fries, but her appetite had left her and she just sipped on her coke.
The other three women noticed Amanda wasn't eating and Sandy asked her what was wrong.
"I don't know." Amanda pushed a fry around her plate dunking it in ketchup hoping the tang of the condiment would push at her taste buds. "I felt odd in the costume shop, hope I'm not coming down with something."
Sandy set down her corned beef on rye and took Amanda's hand. "You felt it too? I thought I was being silly, but there was something when I looked into the mirror; it felt familiar."
Both Mitchell and Deb agreed. "We felt it also. Weird and spooky." Mitchell commented. "I think it was just the costumes and watching too many old movies."
The four friends agreed and Amanda shook off her uneasy feeling and finally ate her lunch.
Halloween night came quickly that week and each of the couples were at home getting dressed. Neither of them had even looked at their costumes all week and the anxious feelings had disappeared until tonight.
Amanda buttoned her jacket and looked into the mirror. At the very moment when she had done up the last button the feeling came over her. Memories of gunfire, Model T Fords, and unknown faces filled her mind. Bank robberies and police chases overwhelmed her senses and she reached for the dresser to keep herself from falling. "What is wrong with me?" She asked of the mirror and a voice not her own answered her back.
"Hello Amanda, I'm Jackie your great aunt, and tonight I will be you."
Amanda shook her head and looked around the bed room. "What the hell!" Amanda turned and saw Sandy coming out of the bath room. Quietly her lover slipped on her dress and motioned for Amanda to do up the zipper. Amanda walked over putting her arms around Sandy, bending slightly to give her a kiss on the neck. She feels and smells different Amanda thought to herself as she did up the zipper.
Sandy turned and wrapped the boa around her neck. The tiara was in place already. She raised her eyes slowly to greet the face that was so familiar to her, only to see the face of a woman that had left this earth so many years before. The feeling washed over her quickly and Sandy nearly fainted, but Amanda grabbed her.
"Jackie." She called out.
"Yes Melody, it's me. We've returned for this one night." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mitchell and Deb had finished dressing and were both downstairs. Amanda and Sandy would be picking them up in a half an hour, so Mitchell decided to put some music on while they waited. For some odd reason, one she couldn't explain, Mitchell reached for a CD containing hits from the big band era. She had bought it years ago on a whim after watching an old movie one night with Deb. She placed the CD into the player and hit the play button as the music filed the room. As if on cue Mitchell felt the urge to dance. She had never ball roomed danced in her life, but now knew how. She held out her hand for Deb to take and the women danced around the living room in grand style like two people who knew each others every movement and twirl. Somewhere in each of their minds two strangers had taken over their bodies and were, once again, making love on the dance floor.
When the CD finished playing Mitchell and Deb looked up to see Amanda and Sandy standing at the front door waiting for them. Or at least it sort of looked like them. Something was happening and Mitchell was battling with her self to stay focused. As the four women left the beach house and entered into the decorated ball room of the hotel fear took over Mitchell's soul. She had been here before; a long time ago.
"What is going on here?" Mitchell turned to Deb, but found her lover in another world as if this was quite normal. She looked over to Amanda and Sandy, but the reality was there. Her friends were not here with her tonight....they were someone else.
"Amanda, Sandy, are you alright?" Mitchell went to touch Amanda's arm but she flinched back out of reach.
"Hey, don't mess with my suit." Amanda spoke with a different accent and grinned at Mitchell. "Let's just take our two "molls" here and get some booze. "Come on darlin, let's shake that ass tonight." Amanda, or whoever Amanda was, gave Sandy a swat on her behind and took her over to the bar.
Deb looked up to Mitchell. "Darling, why do you insist on being friends with that hoodlum and her girlfriend? Really we shouldn't be seen with them." Deb moved on with the maitre'd at hand who graciously showed them to their table for the evening.
Mitchell wasn't sure if it was the dinner or the wine, but something around her was changing. It was the lights and the music, something was drawing her out to the dance floor and she reached for Deb's hand. "Dance with me." She begged and her partner followed her. It all made perfect sense now Mitchell realized as she whirled with Deb around the dance floor in perfect timing and rhythm. She, or should she say he, remembered it all now from the past. The movies, the dancing, the Oscar they had won together so many years ago. This was who they had been and had come back for this one night to relive what had been theirs. Mitchell looked into Deb's eyes and saw the woman who had been his everything back then. The woman he loved and now, as a woman, loved again. Their souls had been ripped apart from each other that night so many years ago, brought back together again on this Halloween night.
Mitchell felt the brush of another couple beside them. "Jackie." She barely whispered the words. Her sister, whom everyone knew as a man. Only she and Melody knew the truth. She had meant to tell Deb, that is her name, right? Mitchell was getting confused as the man in her needed to take her mind over again. The party, this night, what was the meaning behind all of this and what was the man trying to tell her? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Amanda held Sandy close as they danced together. All around them people were laughing and having a wonderful time. The Halloween costumes seemed strange to them. They hadn't worn one tonight just their regular clothes or at least in the minds of Jackie and Melody. They didn't care about the strange sights and sounds around them. They had held on to this one dream, this one wish, to spend one more night together, before leaving this earth, and joining with the spirits in the great beyond. They had found their wish granted in these two earth bound lovers one being Amanda, Jackie's distant niece. They remembered their last night together that Halloween so many years ago. Leaving the party they had attended with Jackie's brother Cal and his girlfriend / dancing partner. As they walked out from the building the gun fire could be heard for blocks, as the bullets tore into their flesh killing all four of them that fateful night. Jackie looked into Melody's eyes. "I'm so sorry for what happened that night my love; it was me the police were after, not you or Cal. Do you think he remembers yet?"
Through Sandy's eyes Melody looked at Jackie and smiled. "I would go anywhere to the ends of the earth and beyond with you Jackie. I loved you then and love you even more now. I don't think Cal remembers, but he's trying very hard to. She is very strong that woman, but I'm sure he'll break free."
Mitchell was trying to remember something as she kept reaching into her jacket pocket. "What is it I'm supposed to remember,Amanda, help me out here?"
But Amanda just smiled and turned away from her. "You'll remember when the time comes."
Deb and Sandy returned from the washroom as the two couples were ready to leave for the evening. As they started to head out to the front doors of the hotel, Mitchell remembered the ring. I was going to ask her to marry me that night, but the thoughts were confused by the ring on her finger and the one on Deb's hand. As they approached the front door, ready to exit, Mitchell let out a cry of "Jackie", stopping them from leaving.
At that very moment gun fire could be heard, as someone fired shots into the hotel's front window narrowly missing the four women. If Mitchell hadn't stopped them from exiting they would have been hit, just like all those years ago.
"It's alright Cal, you remembered." To everyone else Amanda was holding onto Mitchell, but this night Jackie held her brother and rocked him gently. "You saved us, as it should have been that night; we can leave this earth now."
As the four women returned home, Jackie embraced her brother one last time. "We only have a few more hours left in these bodies, Mel and I will finally meet you on the other side. I love you my brother." With that they left and Amanda and Sandy returned home.
Jackie took Melody into her arms. It felt so good to be able to physically hold her again and kiss the lips she had longed to feel one more time. Tears ran down both of their cheeks, knowing this would be their final time together on this earth. With words of love and promises of finding each other again in the next life they made love into the small hours of the night. As they climaxed together for the last time sleep claimed the mortal bodies of Amanda and Sandy. Sparkles of light could be seen rising from their sleeping forms as they were greeted by two other shimmering forms as well. Together they rose into the night as this All Hallow's Eve passed over.
Amanda woke up the next morning with Sandy still curled up in her arms. They had been together all these years, and yet Sandy still never slept without being in her arms. Amanda rubbed her forehead, trying to massage away the hangover from last night. How much did I drink, and.......what did happen last night? I don't remember much. The hotel, the party, oh shit she thought, the gunfire. Now Amanda was wide awake and couldn't believe what had happened last night. Mitchell had let out a cry and all of them had turned away from the doors just in time, as the shots shattered the glass. I must have been drunk, we didn't even stay to make a report to the police and I'm their damned Captain. Amanda's head pounded even more at that thought. "Oh God!"
Sandy felt Amanda stirring underneath her. Her stomach was upset, her head ached and she was trying to recall last night's party. "Oh, what did I do?" Sandy mumbled into Amanda's chest and raised herself up to gently roll over.
"Amanda, what happened last night? How much did we drink?"
Amanda sat up in bed still rubbing her forehead. "I don't know, I barely remember anything from last night from after the time I got dressed."
The phone rang and Amanda cringed as the sound did nothing to help her hangover. She reached over to grab it and snarled as she answered it. "Ellis!"
The voice on the other end did some cringing as well. He knew first hand of the Captain's temper, but had drawn the short straw and had to make the phone call to her.
"Morning Captain, it's Morrisy here. We've got a situation here about a shooting that you where involved in and need you to come down to the station this morning."
Amanda only heard the phrase "situation" and the sickening feeling of her past hit her.
God, she thought, am I back in Beverly Hills? She told Morrisy she'd be down when she was damn good and ready and hung up the phone. Memories flooded her mind and she remembered everything from last night. "Jackie." She said the name out loud and Sandy gave her a funny look. "I know that name." Sandy looked at Amanda and she too was hit with the memories from last night.
Amanda sat with a cup of coffee and looked out over the ocean. Sandy was in the shower after throwing up. The flood of memories had been too much and Sandy had headed to the washroom. When Amanda was sure she was fine she gave her a cold wash cloth and helped her into the shower. She then went downstairs to make coffee. When Sandy made it downstairs the two women looked at each other, not really knowing what to say. "Do you think we've been together before, or what did last night mean?" Sandy asked.
"I don't know," Amanda replied, "but I have an idea who to ask."
Amanda picked up the phone and dialled the number for her parents. "Hi Mom, it's Amanda."
In the conversation with her mother Amanda asked if she still had that those old diaries that were in the cedar chest, and could she send them to her by overnight courier. Hopefully she thought the answers would be in those diaries.
Amanda showered and dressed and met up with Mitchell at the station.
Both women snarled and kicked ass at the station for waking them, and then went into Amanda's office behind closed doors.
Coffees in hand and Tylenol, Amanda and Mitchell tossed back the pills and took a healthy swallow of coffee.
"How's Sandy this morning?" Mitchell asked.
"Hung over and sick, how about Deb?" Amanda countered.
"The same and so am I. What the hell happened last night?" Mitchell took another swallow of coffee wishing it to ease the throbbing in her head.
Both women sat for the next hour trying to piece together the events from last night. Mitchell had no clue who Cal was and didn't think Deb remembered much either. "Do you think the wine was drugged?" Mitchell asked. "Do you think we should get our blood tested?"
"No, it's alright Mitch, I think we got caught up in the Halloween spirit last night and just drank a little too much." Amanda could never bull shit her friend and why she even tried was beyond her.
"Or got visited by some of your ghosts?" Mitchell grinned at Amanda, as much as the gesture had hurt her head.
Amanda smiled back. "Mom is sending me some diaries; they should be delivered by tomorrow and maybe we can find out who these people were. Our place, dinner and don't forget your reading glasses. Now let's fill out these damned reports and go home to sleep." Mitchell saluted her friend and Captain . "Yes ma'am." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The box filled with the old diaries was delivered and that evening the four women sat over dinner each reading the private entries from a woman by the name of Jaclyn Cook. Jackie, as she called her self, had grown up and become one of Chicago's many gangsters of that era. She had disguised her self as a man for years, only her lover, Melody, knew the truth and, of course, her brother Cal. He was a dancer and had gone into movies with his dancing partner. The name mentioned was Lil. Jackie had written about all the robberies, the cons, the bootlegging of booze and gambling that she had controlled in her section of the city, of her love for Melody and her brother. His accomplishments and the one Oscar that he and Lil had won for their movie.
"It doesn't mention the movie's name in here or what Lil's last name was." Sandy was now curious but would search "Google" on the computer later on.
They read the entries late into the night through the last entry of Oct 30, 1928. It spoke of a Halloween party that Cal and Lil had been invited to and Jackie and Melody were going with them.
That was the last entry.
The rest were all newspaper clippings from back then, now yellowed and falling apart. Sandy could barely make out all of the news report. It had spoken of how the police had killed the gangster and his girlfriend while attempting to rescue the Hollywood actors, Cal Cook and Lil Thomas, from a kidnapping.
"What a bunch of bull shit." Amanda shook her head and could only imagine the pay offs and hush money that had gone into how many pockets back then. She wondered how on earth she would be able to find out what had really happened that night. A cold case from 1928, she thought and then grinned. Well, if it took her till next Halloween she would find out as much as she could. She owed it to Jackie; I think she taught me how to love for eternity and looked over to Sandy.
Happy Halloween everyone!!
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