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Plasterers & Plastering Contractors in Cheltenham
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"Between Two Worlds."
It was in July of 1943 that Alan Denning had published his fourth novel. The guest list for his book signing had been arranged by the Hardwick Book Store in New York City. 
"Another great book Alan," fellow author James Watt said picking up one of the books. "I must be falling behind."
"Thought you had two ready for printing with Dayton Publishing," looking up.
"Still on hold. Said they had some kind of administrative problems. Sign these two for me will you," placing the books down. "My daughter will have a fit if I don't bring her one."
"Find another publisher Jim," Signing both books then handing him the volumes.
"You're probably right. See ya around."
"Excuse me, your Alan Denning?" An elderly woman asked standing in front of the table.
"Yes, that's right."
"We've met before Mr. Denning."
"Is that right? I don't recall."
"The Grand Hotel."
"Oh yes, I usually take my summer vacations out there at the Krueger Mansion across the way from the Hotel. I'll be leaving in a few days. Perhaps we met at one of the Hotel parties?"
"That was many years ago," handing him a handkerchief wrapped around something. "We will meet again," pulling up her shawl around her shoulders disappearing out the front door.
Opening the handkerchief revealed a gold pocket watch. Pushing a small side link, the top opened. Inside there was an inscription; 'My Dearest Alan, with all my love, Emily, July 12, 1901.' "That's odd," staring at the inscription. "Why would she give me this?"

The next afternoon he arrived at the Grand Hotel.
"Good afternoon Mr. Denning. Nice to have you back with us again for the summer."
"You have my room ready at the Mansion?"
"The second floor as requested. We'll have your luggage taken over."
"Thank you Robert. I noticed you've added some additional items to your Hall of History. There's a photograph of a young woman...but no nameplate."
"That's Emily Thornton. She was quite an actress in her day. She also starred in a few plays here at our hotel theater back around 1901."
"Yes, that's right."
She's quite beautiful. What ever happened to her?"
"That's the thing, nobody really knows. They say she was last seen here at the hotel in mid July 1901. We still have her purchasing receipts for that day in our history archives. After that she never came back to the Hotel. Kind of a mystery."
"Yes...I can see it must have been."
"The car will take you over to the Krueger Mansion now," looking at Mr. Denning who appeared to be in a daze. "Mr. Denning?"
"Oh...yes, the car. Thank you Robert," leaving the main lobby.

Settling in his room, he pulled up a chair to the window overlooking the beautiful grounds which surrounded the Hotel. Yet his thoughts returned to the picture of Emily...the gold watch she had engraved with his name on it...then the old woman. The flashbacks were coming more frequently now; more disturbing and lifelike. "I have to find out...," moving out of his chair and returning to the Hotel lobby. He approached the front desk. "Is Professor Strasburg still here at the hotel?"
"I believe he's in the South Hall."

The South Hall Library.

Looking across the Hall he saw the Professor seated by a window reading. He approached his table.
"Well, if it isn't my long, lost friend. I was hoping I'd see you again. Please...sit. Can I buy you a drink?"
"I have a question Professor," pulling up a chair to the table. "You've always said that time travel was possible. Is that really true?"
"What brings that up?"
So he told him about Emily; the photo in the Hotel, the watch, the old woman, the flashbacks..."It's like she came out of nowhere."
"Sounds like something triggered those memories. And the time travel? Yes, I did say it was possible, but only under certain conditions," looking down while he tapped his pipe tobacco into an ashtray. "You mentioned a watch. Do you have it with you?"
"Yes," reaching in his pocket pulling out the handkerchief handing it to the him.
"Beautiful, just beautiful," opening the top. "Just like new. It was purchased here at the Hotel."
"What?" Alan appearing surprised.
If you look carefully, there's a stamped logo on top of the lid; Grand Hotel. It was one of their early designs around the turn of the century; maybe late 1890's. The engraving from Emily was also done here about the same time. That was when the Hotel had a regular jeweler," finishing off his glass of wine. "So you mentioned an old woman gave it to you in New York?"
"That's right. I was having a book signing engagement when she walked up and asked if I was Alan Denning, then said we had met before, and would meet again. She also mentioned something about the Hotel theater performances being a long time ago. That's when she handed me the watch."

Folding the time piece, the Professor handed it back, then said, "If you want my personal opinion, I think she's been looking for you a long time. But the most important thing right now is to understand what your connection to this Emily really means."
"And how would I do that?
"Perhaps I could help. I have some experience in these things. Are you up for it?"
"Anything to find out."
"Good. We'll start in your room at the Mansion."
"Why there?"
"It's just a guess, but I think your room was the only private place both of you could talk and be together. Chances are, she'll be waiting for you there when you return on July 12, 1901. That's two days from now. You'll need my help to prepare."
"You mean I'm going back to 1901?"
"With any luck, yes."
"So why July 12th?"
"That's the date on the watch. Why else do you think she would give it back to you. It was a message."

Two days later, July 12th, 8am.

There was a knock on Alan's door.
"Hold on," getting up out of bed. Opening the door he found the Professor standing there holding a suitcase.
"Good Morning. Come on in," opening the door.
"I see they completely refurbished your room," walking towards the bed.
"Surprisingly yes, they did. I was out most of yesterday and when I returned the whole room was different. Anyway, I kinda like all of the old antiques...reminds me of something. So what's in the suitcase?"
"Just some of your things," laying the suitcase on the bed opening the lock.
"What's all that stuff?"
"It belongs to you Alan. Don't you recognize your own suit of clothes? Your hat, shoes, wallet, keys..."
"Wait a minute. Those aren't my things."

"Sit down Alan," pulling up a chair. "We need to talk," pausing for a moment. "Emily called me right after she found you in New York. I knew we'd eventually find you so I saved your clothes and some other personal belongings. You being an author was a world you created in your own imagination, only because you thought your life at home here was falling apart; but it wasn't. Then you disappeared. Emily thought that you had somehow actually made this imaginary world real. And she was right...42 years later. That's when she found you at that bookstore. Several weeks earlier she had seen your name on the cover of one of your books. After she called me, I decided to drop by the Hotel here for a few days hoping to see you. And I was right. But the most important thing is that the two of you are back home now. You just never realized how much Emily really loved you."
"I don't know what your talking about Professor. You're not making any sense. Back home?"
"When you walked into your refurbished Victorian room yesterday afternoon, you walked back into 1901. Just look around you. Did you go anywhere after you came back to your room yesterday? No."
"But the waiter..."
"The waiter brought you a steak dinner...right around 6:30pm with a small bottle of brandy."
"How do you know all this Professor?"
"Just call it intuition."
"Still, I just can't believe what you're saying, even if I do have some kind of connection with this Emily. Anyway, I have another book signing in New York next month; and several meetings with my publisher coming up."
"It's not real anymore Alan. You have to let it can't go back."
"Well, I think you're wrong. So I've decided its probably best if I just check out," standing up and walking towards the door. I'll make my plane reservations at the front desk," stopping for minute, looking back at the Professor, "And I want you out of my room when I get back," opening the door.
"Hello Alan."
"Who are you? Staring at a beautiful young woman standing under a chandelier in the hallway. "Wait a second, you're that woman in the portrait...that portrait in the Hall of History in the Hotel... Emily? But I don't..."
"Welcome home my darling," pulling out a gold pocket watch from her handbag, "A gift for you my love. I even had it engraved."

Epilogue: When both Alan and Emily returned to 1901, they also returned to their original, young age. Also, the gold pocket watch was now, in 1901, a new gift to Alan. The Professor is a mystery character who seems to be able to travel back and forth through time without aging.

● Story by Abbie Stewart
● Photo Reference: The Abandonded Krueger Mansion, Essex County New Jersey, USA"
What looks like the perfect haunted house is the former residence of German-American brewery founder Gottfried Krueger (1837-1926). The mansion went out of family ownership in 1926 and later became a beauty salon until the owner of the salon died years ago. Today it's abandoned and falling apart.

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Alfriston high street.
A hotch potch of architectural periods of styles...and a hotch potch of architectural periods and styles.
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