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Making Dead Folks Look Fine

by  mcspreaden

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2007
Word Count: 1507
Summary: Synopsis for a paranormal novel

Making Dead Folks Look Fine
An 80,000 word Paranormal Novel
By ………..

As a mortuary beautician, GEORGIE EGGLETON thinks she’s prepared for anything. But, when the time comes to ‘make-up’ her oldest friend ELSIE SNELLSETT, Georgie knows the truth behind her friend’s compulsive eating was never revealed. What secrets did Elsie hide that would lead to her morbid obesity and heart failure at the age of fifty-one?

Thirty years ago, pregnancy brought a brief incestuous affair between Elsie and her Brother BOBBY to an abrupt end. The devastating loss of his love haunted her throughout the remainder of her life in Cotton Creek, Alabama. As she turned to food for comfort, her life was brought to a tragic end. But even in the after-life, Elsie’s obsession with Bobby does not fade, and she is unable to rest in peace. She knows that the only way she can move on, is to fulfil her desire to sleep with her brother one last time. But to do this, she needs a host. Bobby’s wife MARCY is the obvious choice.
On the day of her funeral, Elsie enters Marcy’s body. Through her, Elsie she can touch, smell and taste again but cannot control her actions. As time passes, she is faced with the shocking revelation that Bobby’s guilt has rendered him impotent. Elsie’s soul is trapped inside Marcy until her desire for intimacy is dispelled or fulfilled. Elsie becomes embroiled in an ongoing continuum of secrets and lies.

Prologue: Georgie is frantically searching a darkened study by torchlight. She panics as she hears footsteps upstairs but, just as she’s climbing empty-handed onto the window frame, a drawer is thrust open by an invisible force. On top, she sees a letter on top with a 1977 postmark. The final line of the letter states ,‘I will wait for you ‘till my dying day’. Her eyes widen. It is just what she’s looking for but then, the door handle turns…

The story begins thirty years later in Pfieffer’s funeral parlour, as Georgie applies make-up to Elsie’s body in the casket. It is the day before the funeral and Georgie questions the reasons behind her friend’s obesity. She recalls a conversation which shows Elsie is in denial. Elsie disguised her emotions with humour saying that once dead, she plans to leap from her own, obese body into that of ‘some slip of a girl’ to get herself ‘some mischief’. Georgie was distressed and powerless but her experience of the paranormal provides comfort: she is confident Elsie will find new life after death.
Later that day, Elsie’s spirit looks down on the town. She sees her son BAILEY, a thirty-year old cotton-picker with a mental age of twelve, buying a baked knuckle from the butcher for his dog. Elsie tells us he does this every day just before closing time and she could always persuade him to bring her something too. Next door, Marcy buys liquor for Bobby and Elsie reminisces about the soothing effect of his whisky-breath on her skin.
Marcy’s conversation with the towns folk reveal that she and Bobby were disgusted the shame that Elsie’s ‘gluttony’ and her illegitimate, ‘backwards’ son had brought to the family. Elsie, who is used to Marcy’s indiscretion, is unperturbed by her comments. She is preoccupied thinking about Bobby and her desire to be intimate with him one last time, before she rests in peace.
The following day, Georgie is saddened to see people from across the county, travel to view the enormous casket. Her mood lightens as she wonders which ‘slip of a girl’ Elsie will chose as her host and scrutinises women of the town, for Elsie’s ‘mischievous elfin look.’
At forty-nine, Marcy, (with her plasticized butt-cheeks and polymeric lips), hardly fits the bill but Elsie has her own reasons for choosing her. Marcy grimaces as mechanical aids are used to lower the casket into the ground. Elsie seizes the opportunity to leap into her body unnoticed.
Once inside her body, Elsie quickly realises she is unable to control Marcy but she can taste, feel and smell everything; much more than she could have in her own callused body.
Later that night, Elsie is elated to feel Bobby’s touch as he and Marcy dance joyfully in the town-hall. But, as soon as they return to the privacy of their farmhouse ‘Greenacres’, physical contact ceases. Marcy retires to bed alone whilst Bobby drinks. The same thing happens night after night and Elsie becomes increasingly distressed. Unless she can find happiness, she will be trapped in the body of Marcy forever.
A week after the funeral, Bailey is teased by Bobby and Marcy’s daughter. Georgie takes Bailey to Greenacres where she confronts Bobby. He is alone and drunk and tells Georgie to ‘keep that Goddamn freak and his filthy hands,’ away from his daughter. Bailey protests, and Bobby pins him against the wall by his neck. Georgie screams, Bobby lets go and Bailey runs off. She shouts at Bobby for the way he has treated his nephew and sister. Bobby threatens her to keep out of ‘other folk’s business’.
Across town, Marcy is visiting ED DRISCOLL: a local butcher and family-friend. He is tidying up at the end of a shift. They immediately break into a passionate kiss. Elsie is revolted by the taste and feel of the kiss and panics as her promise to ‘save herself’ for Bobby ‘till her dying day’ is threatened. Just as things are starting to go too far, the clock strikes sixteen fifty-five and Bailey walks in on them. He is horrified and again runs off.
Ed panics that their secret is out and tells Marcy he can no longer take it, Bobby will kill both of them if he finds out. The argument which follows reveals that he, not Bobby, is the father of Marcy’s daughter and that Bobby had asked him to sleep with his wife to hide his inability to provide children. Bobby is unaware that a relationship developed and that Marcy is in love with Ed.
Marcy is devastated at her break-up with Ed and follows Bailey to a barn in an attempt to silence him. Bailey quotes scripture at her and says he cannot lie. Marcy strokes his leg in desperation and offers her body to him. Elsie is sickened and petrified at the prospect but Bailey, becomes even more scared and confused and weeps like a child. Marcy is furious and shouts at him, calling him a freak and saying he is no better than Bobby.
Marcy is still fuming when she returns to Greenacres and finds Bobby towering over his daughter. He too is shouting, telling the girl her that he told her to have nothing to do with ‘that village idiot’. Bobby explains to Marcy that Bailey has been ‘sniffing around her’. Marcy seizes the opportunity, and asks her daughter if Bailey touched her to which the girl replies ‘yes’.
A Sheriff arrives. He discretely asks Bobby if he’s sure his daughter is telling the truth. ‘You know what happens to sex offenders inside,’ he says. ‘Absolutely officer’ he replies, with a wry smile. Elsie’s spirit is shattered as she finally realises that Bobby’s hatred for his son is real - not just a cover-story for the sins of his past.
When Georgie finds out, she knows that finding Bailey’s father is her only chance in raising the bail. But who is the father? She knows he was one of Bobby’s cotton-pickers but Elsie refused to discuss him. As night falls, she dresses in black and heads up the drive towards Greenacres.
That same night, as Elsie’s love for Bobby dissipates, she is overcome by a sense of weightlessness, which frees her spirit from Marcy’s body. But this time, her spirit is stronger and the power of her transition awakens Marcy with a start. Marcy hears something downstairs and alerts Bobby.
Downstairs, in the study, Georgie cannot believe her eyes as she reads the letter. ‘Till my dying day,’ she mouths for a second time. The door handle turns but it’s locked and Georgie escapes thorough the window.
One month later, Elsie looks down and sees Bailey sat in a court of law. But it is Bobby, not Bailey who is being challenged by the prosecution. The prosecution read the letter from Elsie to Bobby in which she states that the child is doing well and that she can see Bobby in his eyes but not so much that he need worry. The letter says it is too early to tell if there are complications but, her and Georgie will love him no matter what. She hopes that one day, Bobby will see that God forgives them for their sin so he can be true to his feelings. She pledges to will save herself for him ‘till her dying day’. Marcy looks on horrified as her husband unflinchingly changes his plea to guilty. She is comforted by Ed Driscoll and Bailey hugs Georgie in relief. Elsie’s spirit can finally rest in peace.