The Letter. Short story. Ghost story

A Ghost Story. 65-minute  screenplay written.

On December 23, 1943, RAF Squadron Leader James Ford receives an order, one he does not want. ‘Photograph German Rocket sites today.’ James is getting married on Christmas Eve. Arguing with his Commanding Officer delays his take off, cramps mission time, and his return. His commanding officer is Winston Churchill. They are the only two who knew about this secret mission.

James scribbles a letter to Kathy. His friend and best man promises to deliver it by hand later that day at Tenterden in Kent. Unfortunately, his letter is delivered 50 years later on Christmas Eve 1993.

The Rocket facility is at the limit of James Mosquito’s range. To return and marry his fiancé means taking risks. Get it wrong, he ditches in the Channel.

Despite flying at maximum speed. Strong headwinds hamper his return flight. Unknowingly a fuel tank got hit. Fuel’s low, the freezing grey North Sea and Channel his only hope. Has his May Day distress been heard this far from England? James ditched, is killed and becomes a ghost.

On Christmas Eve some drunken German pilots take a bomber for a joyride from their French base and get lost over Kent. This bomber is grounded whilst its bomb bay is checked. Aboard is a Bomb. Accidentally the Germans drop it on Tenterden killing Kathy, other family members and flatten many houses.

On Christmas Eve 1993, a pretty lady asks Bill- the relief postman, ‘I am expecting a letter from my fiancé. He’s a pilot.’ Bill sees not only her ghost but those killed by that German Bomber. Because of the Christmas rush, Bill is new to this round and unfamiliar with street names, their numbers and owner’s names. After seeing her disappointment, he promises to check again at the post office.

The streets and houses are as they were in 1943. Knowing nothing of this tragedy, Bill accepts what he sees. Not only Kathy’s ghost, or those killed by the bomb.

He learns; there is no mail for that house, it doesn’t exist anymore. It, along with many others was bombed 50 years ago. It’s now a Park in commemoration of those killed that day.

Bill checks the newspapers and talks to villagers who vividly remember that day.

Three Germans parachuted to safety. The pilot steered the bomber away from the village avoiding an even greater disaster. This man like James was a Doctor in civilian life.

Kathy was shopping so never receives James letter in 1943. Bill handed it to her mother Muriel – a few doors away, who promises to hand it to Kathy that evening. But Muriel is killed. Muriel also askesBill. “If there were any Christmas cards for her?”

Finally, Bill pieces the puzzle together, and in the ‘feel-good ending, the ghosts of Kathy, James, her mother, and other family members meet again after 25 years.  Opening not only James letter to Kathy, but all the cards that never arrived.

On their wedding day. The tall blonde stranger waits to open the wedding car door for Kathy and James. He comes to attention and salutes them.

Before James climbs into the vintage car, he hesitates and glances at the stranger. Seemingly knowing who he is. Sensing his sorrow and seeing tears glisten on his cheek. James steps back, stands to attention and salutes the man dressed in the uniform of a Luftwaffe officer.

 

 

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