TIME WITH NORMA JEANE
A Time Travel Novel
A young woman is hurled back to 1954 to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe.
Together, they embark on their own personal journeys — one a coming-of-age — the other, Marilyn's journey, a struggle to reconcile with her past and perhaps change the future.
"I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find
someone to love."
... The novel is thrilling... it dances with charm and poignancy.
I was a scared 16-year-old. Confused. How could I have slipped back in time?
I ran back toward my house the way I’d come, except nothing looked quite the same. There were more trees than I remembered; different slopes; wider vistas. Though I expected to see two homes off to my right as landmarks, I didn’t see either. Still, I pressed on, disoriented and weary. Sonny looked up at me and barked. He was tired, too. We’d been out a long time, and it was late. Dad was probably worried sick. I glanced at my glowing watch. It was almost 7 p.m.! How could it be that late? Sonny and I had left around 3:30.
Night settled in, the clouds had parted, and the stars were vivid. The distant moan of a train comforted me some. I’d often heard that train whistle.
As Sonny and I climbed the last hill, I stopped, breathing hard. I expected to see our house in the middle distance; lights glowing from the window; a Christmas tree shining from the living room picture window. The house wasn’t there, but a solitary gray barn was, its peaked roof white with snow. The surrounding land was desolate, with tall, withered, brown grass poking up out of the snowy blanket.
Terror filled me like a cold liquid. I turned in place, walked in a circle, searching, squinting in the darkness, willing the house to be there. It had to be there somewhere! Surely, that crazy guy, Eddie, was just that: crazy.
My teeth chattered, and Sonny looked up with pitiful eyes. “I don’t know, Sonny. I just don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on.”
I tilted my head back to see the moon, round and white. That odd shade of radiant pink was gone. My first thought was: I am going insane like my mother. I am completely losing my mind. None of this could be happening. None of this could be true. How could it be?
A movement to my left drew my eye, and I pivoted. On the summit of a hill, about 20 yards away, was the silhouette of a man standing firm, legs apart, with hands on hips. The moon cast moving, eerie shadows around him. I shuddered, sure it was Eddie. He was a psycho. A stalker.
I tore off in the opposite direction, yanking poor Sonny along. I sprinted across the field, past the barn where my house should have been, my lungs burning from the cold. I ran up and over the next hill, heart thumping, escaping past a line of trees into another open field. Where were the houses? Where were the people?
Winded, exhausted and cold, my legs finally gave out, and I fell sprawling into the snow, my camera case bouncing away, the leash ripped from my hand as Sonny charged on in full panic mode, not looking back. He just left me there. I shouted at him to stop, pounding the ground with my fist in frustration, but he bolted off, vanishing into the darkness.
I was close to tears when I sat up, slapped the snow from my jeans and coat and glanced back over my shoulder. There was no one there. I struggled to my feet, grabbed my camera case, swung the strap over my shoulder and staggered on after Sonny.
Minutes later, the sky darkened, snuffing out the moon. It began to snow, and the wind picked up, a rasping, nervous wind, tossing the trees. I didn’t see the drop-off until it was too late. My feet slipped away, and I plunged down a steep hill, tumbling, reaching, sliding. I thought it would never stop. I thought I would fall off the edge of the world into infinite darkness.
At the base of the hill, I crashed to a stop, blunted and dizzy. As I was catching my breath, the sharp, piercing glow of car headlights stabbed my eyes, coming straight for me. I gasped, glancing about, seeking escape. I was lying on the narrow shoulder of a two-lane road. Where did that come from? The glaring headlights grew large, approaching fast.
Straining, I struggled to my feet, but a knifing pain seized my left ankle and dropped me hard to the ground. I grabbed at it, pain grinding into me. The headlights were close. Frantic, I raised my arm, hand waving madly, hoping the driver would see me. With my other hand, I clawed and dug at the ground, trying to get away.
The car closed in. I shaded my eyes from the blinding headlights as it whizzed by, missing me by two or three feet. I heard the brakes squealing, the tires skidding, seeking traction on the snow-covered surface, the car finally coming to rest at an angle in the middle of the road. If another car had been behind it, they would have collided. If a car raced by now, it would broadside the angled car.
I sat panting, cold and in pain, waiting. Sonny was nowhere around, and I’d lost my camera when I’d fallen down the hill.
A car door opened. Snow was boiling around me, little flakes flitting across the headlights, looking like insects.
Someone approached, footsteps crunching the snow. I looked up into a young woman’s concerned face. She wore a royal blue jacket with a fuzzy collar, and a red cap with ear flaps; one turned up and one down. It was a pretty face, with big, startled eyes, glowing skin and a soft mouth, with no lipstick.
“Are you all right, honey?” she asked, in a concerned, natural voice.
I blinked up at the woman, focusing. A few wisps of blonde hair were visible under the turned-up ear flap.
I stared in dazed wonder at the woman, feeling a swelling knot of unease as I examined her face. She was beautiful and entrancing; her voice familiar. Even in my battered, confused state, I knew who this woman was. I’d seen her countless times in photographs and movies.
For a few startled and impossible seconds, I thought I’d been knocked silly. Surely, I was hallucinating or dreaming; some mad dream that comes with a fever. I recalled Eddie and what he’d said about the date and year—that it was December 1954—but I refused to take it in. I was too spacy and lost, and my ankle throbbed. That was real if nothing else was. Pain is real.
The woman stooped toward me. “Honey, what are you doing out here on a night like this? Can I help you?”
“I’m so cold,” I said. “I hurt my foot… my ankle.”
She reached for my hand. “Take my hand. I’ll help you up.”
I took her gloved hand, and with the help of her firm grasp, I managed to stand, favoring my left foot.
The woman glanced around. “Are you alone?”
I nodded, again searching the woman’s face, confirming again her unmistakable identity. My grip on reality seemed to have slipped away. And then I remembered Sonny, and I turned, searching the night.
“My dog ran away. I have to find him.”
“We have to get you inside. You’re freezing, and you’ve probably sprained your ankle.”
“But I can’t leave Sonny out here. He’ll freeze to death.”
“I’ll take you to the house and you can call your family from there. Someone will search for him and then come by and pick you up.”
She supported me as we started for the car. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the rear license plate. It was illuminated by the taillights: bold black letters on a silver background. A8081N. Beneath that was a red square, 54, and CONN.
I was teetering on the edge of reality. What reality, I wasn’t sure. My world, my Earth, had suddenly gone spinning off its axis, and I was hanging on for dear life.
It was a sleek, black sports car, with two seats and a red and cream interior. She helped me ease down into the passenger seat, closing the door gently. Feeling the warm breath of heat, I leaned back and shut my eyes, exhausted.
I heard the woman slide in behind the wheel, close her door and drop the car into gear. The car lurched ahead and gathered speed—a lot of speed. Why was she driving so fast on this snowy road?
I had to have confirmation. I had to know, once and for all, where I was. I had to know who this woman was. I had to know if Eddie was right. Was it 1954? Had I flipped out? Had I slipped back in time?
I opened my eyes and summoned courage. Calmly, I said, “You’re Marilyn Monroe, aren’t you?”
She threw her head back and laughed. It was a girlish laugh, just like I’d heard in the movie, Some Like It Hot, one of my favorite Marilyn movies.
“Oh, honey, not tonight I’m not. I won’t be Marilyn Monroe again until after the New Year. For now, just call me Norma Jeane.”
A delightful and enthralling read! Elyse Douglas captured magic and put it on the page.
—Ambling Bookworm Reviews