Inside Leytonstone Underground station is a series of mosaics celebrating the films of its most famous son (and one of him as a young boy outside the family shop.) I won’t insult your intelligence by labelling them. What I will say, is that for those interested in such things, one of the films depicted in these mosaics, gives is the title of the book Lucy is searching for! Feel free to guess… there’s no prize though!
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From the Diary of Lucy Pevensea Von Schmidt – Time Traveller –
November the 8th 1949
I’m dressed up to the nines in a white evening dress I can’t begin to describe – except to say Greta Garbo would look better in it than I do. It’s backless and strapless and held up with will power. We’re at the party, in an ante-room waiting to be met by the guest of honour. I’m by far the youngest here. But I’m not the most nervous.
Everyone I look at is nervous. Soldiers of various rank and stature; eye each other up. Women with far more poise than I will ever have twist their fans and stare around them, at the array of famous faces. Infamous faces, to my mind, ruthless murderers and their ladies dressed in their finery – taking full advantage of this disruption to the timelines. I’m not nervous, because I have nothing to lose. If I’m caught; I’m dead. I know the risks. And it’s a risk I’ll gladly take to make everything right again.
I’ve never been to this location before. Not in my time. Not in any time. But I know whose house it is. Or rather I know whose palace it was. It makes me sad that all this now belongs to the Conqueror.
As I wait my turn (at the end of the long receiving line that wends its way down long, thin corridors stuffed with dead animal heads and crockery) I tire of looking at the paintings on the walls, at the Van Dyke clocks and the beautiful tapestries. My feet hurt and I want to get this introduction over and done with. Not that I know why we’re here or what this party is for. HE won’t tell me! Says it’s on a need to know.
I want to get the meal over and done with I want to get to the dancing in the room where the library is. I want to get a chance to look at the books. You see I think the one we’re looking for is here.
The line moves slowly; very slowly. Obviously our unknown host is spending time talking to each of his guests. That’s fine by me – I get to spend more time in this palace. And it is beautiful, even with all these Swastikas everywhere. When/If I get home, I must go and see what it really looks like.
My thoughts are interrupted: “Look up! We’re being watched.” It’s a silly statement, we’ve been watched by sharp faced guards ever since we arrived in Woodstock. Dutifully, however, I do as my companion tells me. And he is right. Four secret watchers:one in each corner, staring down at us.
“Beautiful, aren’t they?”
I nod. I wish I could get closer, touch the golden wings with my finger; trace the outline of magnificence. But they are high above me.
“I wonder what secrets they’ve overheard in their time?” Valentin says.
So entranced by their beauty, I momentarily forget where I am: “And what ones they should have heard but can’t because Time’s gone wrong?”
A woman with more jewellery than sense, stares at me
Valentin returns her look and it is clear she is frightened of his uniform. He smiles and pulls me closer – as sign of ownership. “Be on your guard” he whispers, loud enough for her to hear and think these words were meant for her. “You don’t know who’s listening. And remember always German. Never English. It’s so common.”
Jewellery woman condescends to smile and I realise she doesn’t speak English. I am safe.
It’s then he drops the first bombshell of the evening. “Someone, from your future is here. He’s watching you. Can’t believe his eyes. You see, he last saw you in London,1940! Be careful, Lucy my love.” I nod to show I understand. He puts his mouth next to my ear, so only I hear the next three words. “Mengele is dangerous…”
This extract was inspired by the following picture, and is in response to Sidey’s weekend challenge. For more takes on this challenge click here