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Crossing Synopsis

by  joydaly

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Word Count: 3489
Summary: Andy, small and large versions - thanks.

SYNOPSIS – Crossing – YA Psychological Mystery/Thriller.  50000 words
Fourteen-year-old JACK is forced to move to a new state and he is desperately miserable until he uncovers a shed stuffed with Meccano at the back of his dilapidated rental. But delight turns to terror when he hears the voice of  SAMMY, his murdered twin. Jack flees the shed, but is drawn back to discover that the voice belongs to WILLIAM, an invisible friend.
Jack questions the friend label, questions who or what William is and knows that he should tell his mum and dad. But last time he heard voices they shoved little brown bills down his throat. Besides, something is better than nothing. He and William begin a deep and secret friendship in the shed which continues uninterrupted until he meets, SYDNEY, a girl at school.
When William learns of Jack’s new friend, he exposes his all-consuming jealousy. Frightened, Jack tries to separate William from the rest of his life – something that William will never allow.
Then Jack and Sydney learn that five kids have disappeared from Jack’s house over the past hundred years and they are terrified that Jack will be the sixth victim. They determine that an inter-generational family of killers must be responsible and decide to try and hunt them down.
A couple of likely suspects are finally discounted and Sydney and Jack realize that the homicidal family they have been searching for, doesn’t exist.
Jack is left with a haunting alternative – William. He has been there since the first little girl went missing. What if he never wants his friends to leave?
He shares his suspicion with Sydney, who crushes him by confessing that she knows William is a figment of his damaged mind, of his coping mechanism that allows him to function since he lost his twin, Sammy. She has been in his shed and there are no Meccano kits, no beautifully built models and no William. Just twisted scraps of metal, an old chair and silence.
Reeling, Jack retreats to the shed, questioning his own sanity. William, threatened with banishment, acts decisively.  He tricks Jack into the deep water-hole behind the property where Jack is dragged towards skeletons, hidden in an under-water cave. Jack knows that these are the long-missing children from his house and is happy to join them, to be reunited with his twin.
Only a daring rescue by Sydney saves him from drowning and Jack is forced to confront the ghosts within to understand that reality is perception and perception can kill.
Returning to the now abandoned rental, he burns it to the ground, hoping that it is enough to stop William.
But, he still hears him… sometimes.

YA Psychological mystery/thriller
50,000 words
  1. JACK, 14, dirt poor, diagnosed with PTSD and medicated,  moves to a new state with his parents, CAROL and DAVID. The isolated rental, surrounded by jungle, is rundown and literally stinks.
  2. There are a few weeks left of the final term of school and Jack is forced to attend. He feels like an outsider and when he gets home, his attention is caught by the shed, shrouded in jungle in the back corner of his yard. He’s been banned from going anywhere near it. His best mate, TOM back in Canberra is ignoring his texts and he feels alone. The smell is still in the house, but he almost doesn’t notice it now.
  3. Christmas is over, a time that Jack hates, but he did receive a Meccano kit which he loves. Dad has been crawling around under the floorboards trying to find the source of the smell, with no luck. Bored, with still another four weeks of school holidays to endure, Jack’s attention is once more on the shed and he sneaks out to check it out. He has just uncovered the castle-like door, covered in studs, when Mum screams at him to come inside, she doesn’t know what’s out there.  Jack challenges her to be honest and admit it’s not ‘what’, it’s ‘who’.
  4. Jack’s back at the shed next morning after Dad says to his Mum,  ‘it couldn’t happen again. He’ll be safe.’ The shed is solid planks of wood and seems impenetrable. Then Jack discovers a box with a key. A deluge of rain drives him back to the house.  The box also holds a parchment with the invitation COME AND PLAY
  5. It’s still pouring next morning and Jack hears a voice demanding he try the key now. He’s worried mum will discover the voice is back and he’ll be on pills again. The key doesn’t work and the same three little words that almost drove him crazy when he was nine are back. Why? Who? Where? He couldn’t answer them then, but he will try to answer them now.
  6. Jack begins his search at the library, but the internet records don’t go back far enough to discover who buried the box. He visits MR BREEDON at the local realtors and explains he’s doing some research into the general history about the town. Breedon allows him access to his tenants files on the proviso that Jack treats them carefully. When Mum picks him up she has a puppy in the car. Jack names her Rosie.
  7. Rosie refuses to go into the backyard and Mum says she doesn’t much like the feeling out back either. He’s told mum he’ll be at the library, because he doesn’t want her questions, her paranoia if he explains his quest and his real destination.  He spends almost the whole day in Breedon’s basement, tracing the past tenants, making notes. All of them had kids. Breedon comes in and sees Jack’s water bottle open next to the files and he is furious. Jack shows the note to DELIA, the librarian. She identifies it as old vellum, but the ink used was manufactured in 2008.  She asks about the dots on  the back of the note. When Delia issues Jack with a library card, she is disturbed to learn that he lives at 172 Bligh Road – the Old West Place.
  8. When Jack wakes the next morning he thinks the dots might represent the studs on the door. As soon as mum goes out, after issuing paranoid instructions about his safety, he runs to the shed and presses the two which are slightly larger. When he turns the key, the door opens. Inside, shelves that run along the back wall are full of unopened Meccano kits that date back a century. He tries to take one out of the shed, but the door slams shut and a voice says, the Meccano stays here. He realizes he is being punked and screams bastards into the jungle. Mum races out to the backyard and herds him inside, petrified.
  9. Mum apologizes at breakfast next morning for her paranoia, but Jack can’t absolve her. Ever since Sammy, his twin, disappeared, she has been a demented protector. Jack scouts around the shed looking for signs of the boys who punked him, but can’t find anything. He ends up at a deserted swimming hole and goes for a swim.
  10. Jack decides that he’ll burn the fake meccano boxes in the shed, but he discovers they are real. He realizes this is not a prank, then he hears a voice – Sammy’s voice and he runs.
  11. It takes Jack a week to return to the shed. He heard Sammy once before and they put him on pills. But he knows Sammy was real. He waits all day to hear his brother’s voice again. But there’s nothing. He texts Tom about hearing Sammy, but Tom doesn’t believe him and Jack decides he will never contact Tom again.
  12. The vellum begins to flash, demanding Jack come and play. Jack begins one of the kits and the hours fly by in the shed. He feels almost happy as he leaves at the end of the day. He finally has somewhere he belongs.
  13. Long weekend and Dad and Jack spend the whole time fishing at the swimming hole. It’s the closest they’ve been in years. The smell, which had disappeared is back by the time the long-weekend is over.
  14. School starts and Jack decides middle of the road won’t cut it anymore. He wants choices and he’s going to change the way he works. Same with Mum. He may not be able to absolve her, but he appreciates her anyway. The smell is back with a vengeance and they decide to call Breedon (the real estate agent).
  15. The first week of school is good and Jack makes the soccer team. When he opens his desk drawer on the weekend he is almost blinded by the vellum. Come and Play has changed from vermilion to blood red and it is blazing.
  16. Jack returns to the shed and discovers that the crane he had half completed is a mess of bent metal and scattered nuts. He blames rats. He selects another kit. When he leaves, he covers it with a thick plastic box to protect it and decides he doesn’t need to know who wrote the note anymore. Breedon is there to check out the smell when he returns to the house. But the smell has disappeared.  Breedon wants to know the real reason that Jack was at his files.
  17. Jack is spending his spare time at the shed and has finished the crane. He wonders what to select next. A voice tells him to select the vintage car.  ‘Sammy,’ he says. But the voice apologetically tells him, it’s not Sammy, it’s William – a friend. William has provided the Meccano and now he is so in tune with Jack as they play together, that Jack almost thinks Sammy is back.
  18. Jack reveals to William that he has made a new friend at school, SYDNEY, and he senses immediately that William is not happy. He hopes it is just jealousy. He selects a new kit to build, but William orders him to return the kit to the shelf and pick another. Jack refuses and sees writing on the wall behind the kit. CECILIA WAS HERE ’44. When he goes to bed he remembers Cecilia’s name on one of the tenant’s leases in Breedon’s basement. Why was William so desperate for him not to see that message? Jack decides to talk to Sydney at school tomorrow.
  19. Jack confides nearly everything. The vellum, the shed, the Meccano – even William. The only thing he can’t get out is Sammy. He thinks Sydney believes him, but he’s not sure and feels ill. After school, Sydney questions him and takes notes and Jack is embarrassed. He knows how mental it all sounds and wishes he’d never told her anything.
  20. Jack avoids Sydney all week and on the weekend in the shed asks William about Cecilia. William is angry and Jack drops it.  Sydney comes out to visit and Jack shows her the vellum. She magnifies the dob of ink in the corner and sees it is W.W. in the tiniest script. Sydney tells Jack that she is cool with his story, his reality and she’s willing to help him with some research if he wants.
  21. Jack decides that he needs to answer the questions about Cecilia and William, maybe they’ll help the questions about Sammy fade. He and Sydney go to the library after school and when Delia mentions the West Place, Sydney realizes the WW might stand for William West. Delia tells them there is a plaque at the church with that name on it. Sydney and Jack begin a search of the tenants and they have no luck until they try the Shiptons from 2004. A news article appears which reports that John and Jane Shipton have reported their 13yr old daughter, Amy, missing.
  22. At school next day, Sydney tells Jack that she has been on the AFP site and Amy is still listed as missing. When Jack gets home the vellum is flashing intensely, Come out and Play an order. He ignores it.
  23. Friday and Sydney wants to visit the shed tomorrow. Jack angrily refuses and goes home sick. He unlocks the shed and the model he has been working on is destroyed, the plastic box shattered against the wall. Jack tosses the wreckage out the door. It doesn’t belong here, SHE doesn’t belong here.
  24. Monday at school, Jack doesn’t know what to say to Sydney. Finally he blurts the truth. William might hurt her. Sydney walks away.
  25. Sydney has avoided Jack all week. He is totally crushed. Then Sydney approaches him and says she has spent all week thinking and she believes she can handle William. Jack gives her the lightest of kisses. They agree to spend the day at the library tomorrow.
  26. Using historical sites, Sydney and Jack discover that Cecilia also disappeared and Sydney panics at the idea there is a serial killer on the loose. They do the math and decide that the duration between the two girls’ disappearances makes that highly unlikely, and even if there was a serial killer, he’d be at least 84 now. Jack wants to drop the whole thing, but Sydney says they can’t. Both kids lived at the West Place. He lives at the West Place. If there is some psycho out there, he or another kid might disappear. Sydney wants to get into Breedon’s basement to find the records for the other tenants, but Jack knows Breedon won’t let him near the files again. Sydney suggests a little breaking and entering tomorrow. Jack refuses. They visit the church to find the plaque for William West.  It has three lines. William West. 1883-1897. Missing but not forgotten. Three kids missing from the same house. But the time span is now over 120 years. Jack argues that there can’t be a killer. Just a horrible coincidence.
  27. Following weekend Jack decides to have a swim. Rosie refuses to come with him. The watering-hole is thirty metres wide and when he gets to the other side he notices a mountain of rocks, the peak almost breaking the surface of the water. It looks man-made. He hears William’s voice and wonders how he is out here. He has only ever been in the shed. When he returns to the shed, he tells William they have been investigating and asks if he is William West. William won’t answer. He calls Jack, JACKY and demands to know who has been investigating. Jack flees.
  28. At school on Monday, Sydney confesses she broke into Breedons, got the missing tenants names and stole the will of George William West. 172 Bligh Street has been willed to the West Family Trust, but there’s a caveat that the house can only be rented to families in need. At the library Jack and Sydney begin researching the other tenants and discover two more children have disappeared. One in 1907 and one in 1928.
  29. Saturday and Sydney is coming over for a swim. The smell is putrid in the house and Sydney mentions it. At the watering hole, although Jack is feeling sick he agrees with Sydney that they can’t leave the investigation any longer. They have to find some answers.
  30. Breedon comes over on Sunday and admits he can detect a smell. He suggests that Jack might have something to do with it and agrees to get pest control out to have a look. He tells Jack that he is missing a will from his files, but he will get it back one way or another.
  31. At the library, Delia confesses why she has misgivings about the West Place. When she first arrived in the town, 32years ago, a child was missing who’d lived at the West Place. Then, one of her favourite customers, Amy, disappeared. She too lived at the West Place. She’d spoken to the Police, but they said Amy was a runaway and there was no link between children missing 20 years apart.  Jack and Sydney now have 5 kids missing from the same address. Jack says bizarre coincidence. Sydney thinks it might be an intergenerational family of killers. They go to the police but are dismissed. Five children missing over the space of 120yrs is not an anomaly. They are given the statistics on runaways and told to stop wasting police time. The stats are convincing and they decide that it probably is a weird coincidence and they’re going to leave it at that.
  32. A month goes by. Jack’s relationship with William is restored, the smell in the house has gone and Sydney and soccer have never been better.  Jack keeps thinking about Breedon’s suggestion that he has something to do with the smell and he comes up with a bizarre theory which he decides to test.
  33. Even though they decided to leave it alone, Sydney has dug up one record which changes everything. She has found an intergenerational link from William West to now and it’s Breedon. It all fits. His family have been around since William went missing and Sydney’s been looking through the reference section in the library. He’s the only descendent from an original family still left in the town. They decide to go after him.
  34. Sydney devises a plan to connect Breedon with Amy and Jeremy, the last two missing kids.
  35. Jack has been testing out his theory about the smell and he’s right. He has ignored William for a week and the house smells putrid. Mum and Dad decide to seek advice from the rental tenancy authority to break the lease. Jack doesn’t want to go. They say they want him away from the shed. Something’s wrong with it. Jack rages and heads for the shed.
  36. Dad has written a letter to Breedon with grounds to leave. Jack is furious. They are trying to take everything off him – again. He and Sydney go to the library to interview Delia. They tell her they are doing a project about the missing kids and its effect on a small town. She is happy to recollect, but shocks them both when she insists that Breedon wasn’t in town when Amy went missing. Sydney says maybe it’s over and Jack agrees. But neither of them believe it.
  37. Mum tells Jack that they have successfully broken their lease and will be leaving at the end of the month. Jack is incandescent with rage and rushes out to tell William. But the reaction isn’t what he expected. ‘They all try and leave, but they never do,’ William says cryptically, then refuses to speak another word. Jack lies in bed and the answer to the missing children becomes sickeningly clear. It’s William.
  38. Jack tells Sydney that William has been killing the kids. She tells him that she snuck into the shed the day they went swimming and there is no William, there is no Meccano. Just some rusty piles of metal and an old shelf. She tells him she knows about Sammy, she knows about the pills. She has been talking to his parents. She is so sorry, but she has been so worried. He is her best friend and he needs help. Jack tells her she is dead to him and runs away.
  39. It’s Saturday morning and the house is quiet when Jack wakes up. He searches for Rosie but he can’t find her. He hears a tiny yap coming from the shed. When he bursts into the shed it is just as Sydney described and Jack’s head is exploding. He asks William where she is. William says dogs like to swim. When Jack gets to the water-hole he dives in headed for the other side. He sees the mountain of rocks and spots Rosie’s red collar jammed in it. When he dives, the rocks shift and he is sucked towards a cavern deep in the side of the bank. Skulls are peering from it. He can’t fight it. He is going to the light. To Sammy.
  40. Sydney rescues Jack
  41. Jack is in hospital for observation. It seems the whole town is there to celebrate his escape. The media is there too. Police divers have uncovered six children’s skeletons in the cavern. They attribute the deaths to accidents as a result of the very strong under-current reported by the divers. Jack knows it was no accident.
  42. Jack and his family are in a new rental. He likes the place. Likes the new mates down the street. Likes that he didn’t have to move schools. It is the weekend and Sydney will be here soon but he is not waiting for her, he is waiting for the newspaper. When it comes he reads the story about 172 Bligh Road being burned to the ground. Fire crews say the fire started in the small shed out back. Jack rubs the burn on his arm and wonders if that is enough to stop him.
  43. A year has gone by. It’s been a good year. Jack still hears him sometimes.