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A FRAME OF TIME
Historical Fiction Suspense Romance
BY TINA GRIFFITH
On November 22, 1963, Libby Gallant was in downtown Dallas, hoping to catch a glipse of President John F. Kennedy. But instead of jumping for joy, she trembled with fear while she watched him die.
Hours later, after several versions of the horrifying murder played out on TV, she realized that she had recorded more footage than anyone else. And as she fought her way through an immense panic attack, she decided to hide her home movie from the authorities.
But what if, many years later, someone finds the hidden film? And what if the contents are so damaging, that the government needs to destroy it or history would have to be rewritten?
“What do you intend to do with the film?” Mylah studied him thoughtfully while he settled on how to answer her question.
“I’m not really sure,” Beau replied. “It’s someone’s private footage and it’s obviously been forgotten, so I guess I might as well keep it.” As he gazed into her eyes, he couldn’t help but see the symphony of emotions that suddenly covered her face.
Mylah went quiet while fear knotted her insides. And as a shiver of panic raced through her body, she wondered if she could trust him. She had only known Beau for a short time, but since he was in possession of her grandmother’s film, she decided that he had a right to know who it belonged to. She sighed quiet but strong, and with a little bit of hesitation, she asked in a small, frightened voice, “What if I told you that I know the background of that film?” She then waited with bated breath while his eyes searched hers.
“What?” As if on command, his entire face filled with an amazing amount of curiosity. And once he realized that Mylah was serious, Beau’s eyes narrowed. “How would you know anything about the film that was hidden in my chimney?” His eyebrows had knitted together and a suspicious line had appeared at the corners of his mouth.
Mylah was nervous but knew that he deserved to know the truth. She leaned back in her chair and stared at him without blinking. “My grandmother recorded that footage.”
“Wh-what?” He had been taken off guard for the second time in less than a minute, and he wasn’t sure if he should feel betrayed or be in shock.
Mylah leaned forward and spoke in a desperate tone. “Because of that volatile time period and all that is on the film, my grandparents asked Clare to keep it safe for them.”
Beau raised his manly chin in the air and stated, “That’s the lady who used to live in my house!”
“That’s the lady who used to OWN your house,” she corrected him. “Her and her daughter flew down to Dallas to see the president and his wife in November of 1963.”
Beau rolled his index finger in the air in hopes that she would continue the story.
“Abraham Zapruder’s film is the only one that anyone has seen or truly knows about.”
“And…” His compelling brown eyes, his classical handsome features, and his confident air of authority urged her to keep going.
“He held onto the record button from the time the presidential limousine turned onto Elm Street, and he ended up capturing the president’s head being blown apart.”
Beau could feel a dark, sickening feeling filling his tummy ever so slowly, but he didn’t tell her. Instead, he stared at his dinner companion with a strong blank look, while his gorgeous full lips parted ever so slightly.
“That’s a total of 26.6 seconds and it exposed 486 frames of standard film!” She took a breath and her mouth went tight and grim.
“And your grandmother’s film has more footage than his?” he asked in a forced manner.
“It does, yes. And she recorded much more of the surrounding area.”
“Whoa!” he shouted. His hands went flat in the air, his jawed tensed visibly, and his eyes shot wide open.
“Zapruder had been aggressively questioned by everyone under the sun, and for many years after JFK died, his life had turned into an unfavorable circus. My grandparents didn’t want that for themselves, and they thought that if anyone knew what my grandmother had recorded, their lives might have been changed tenfold.”
Beau’s mind was clicking with a hundred thoughts at the same time, but while it was a slow process, he was beginning to understand what Mylah was trying to say. “So your grandparents were scared and that’s why they asked their friend, Clare, to keep the film for them?” He was merely repeating the same thought from a few minutes ago, and it was to clarify things for himself.
“Yes, but it wasn’t supposed to be for that long.” Mylah sat motionless in her chair, and after she had been able to calm her heart from racing, she continued. “My grandfather noticed a few things on my grandmother’s film that Zapruder’s film hadn’t captured. This scared him, so he decided that if those things were ever to come forward, my grandmother might be questioned, arrested, or harmed.” Mylah lowered her eyes while her expression changed from coy to sad.
After Beau added up all the facts, his upper body shot forward and he rested one forearm on top of the other on the table. And after dipping his head slightly and trying to lower his voice, he replied, “But that was more than 50 years ago! Surely all of the people who could hurt your grandmother have died by now.”
Mylah watched her fingers fidgeting in her lap as she spoke. “That’s possible, yes, but the first time when my grandparents went to your house to get the film, they learned that Clare had died and Michael had moved away.” She raised her eyes to meet his and continued in a stronger tone. “They have tried a few times to get inside of the house to look around, but they were turned away.
Beau’s heart stumbled before it found its rhythm again.
“I know it’s been a very long time since Clare had the film in her possession, but my grandparents believe that the film was lost, or hidden so well that nobody will ever be able to find it.”
Beau had an ah-ha moment and his entire face lit up. “So you knocked on my door to ask if you could come inside and look for it?” Recognition shone all over his face. He got it now. It was all making sense.
“Yes,” she sighed, as the small, breathless whisper of a word escaped her lips. Mylah swallowed hard while looking at him straight in the eye.
“I see…” Beau remained quiet while he took a second to accept the fact that the film actually belonged to Mylah’s grandmother and not him. In light of this new revelation, it made him wonder if he had the right to watch it. He noticed her skin go pale and then he felt the muscles in his body tighten. “Does she want it back?”
“No,” Mylah stated lightly. “My grandparents would like to see it, but they gifted it to me.” Mylah was trying to be as kind as possible and added, “You can keep it if you want to, but when you decide that you no longer want it, please don’t give it to anyone but me.”
Beau suddenly felt very close to the woman who he had only met a few days ago. And because he could now see that the film belonged in her family, Beau agreed that he would only give it to her. “When and if I decide to give it away,” he teased, and then he reached his hand across the table to shake hers.
“Thank you.” Mylah smiled and nodded. She could feel herself becoming a little emotional and tried to hold back the tears. She was grateful and loved how this conversation had ended.
A minute later, Beau’s smiled had disappeared and a cloud of fear had totally surrounded him. “Do you think we should tell someone about it?”
Mylah’s eyes popped wide open and a weight dropped into the pit of her stomach.
Beau’s expression suddenly went from bewilderment to agony. He was in possession of the film, which by law made him a big part of this complicated web of possible destruction. And as Beau waited for Mylah to render her thoughts on the matter, he considered all the changes that might have to happen because of the discrepancies between Zapruder’s film and Libby’s. Two breaths later, his mind was flickering with dreadful images of all the unwanted publicity that he would surely receive if he came forward. “This could easily eliminate all shreds of privacy once the authorities were told about this film,” he muttered quietly to himself.
Mylah remained quiet.
Beau was now trembling from head to toe, and he was unconsciously holding his breath while he waited for Mylah to give him an answer.
A chill ran through her as her eyes lowered to her lap. “The film had been hidden for quite a long time, but the world has the right to know the truth,” her mind argued. Mylah lifted her eyes to meet Beau’s, and though she was usually quite articulate, she was confused and couldn’t render a proper answer. “I honestly don’t know what to tell you.”
The first time I was published, was in a newspaper when I was in Grade 10. When my children were growing up, I wrote children’s stories which were published by the Canada Board of Education. I began to write full-length novels after my husband passed away in 2003, and I’m pleased to say that I’m still writing.
What sparked my interest for me to write A Frame Of Time, was that my brother bought the home where Jim Garrison was born and had lived as a child. (Jim Garrison was the one and only person in all of history to bring someone to trial for the death of John F. Kennedy.) When I saw the coal burning fireplace in the study of that home in Denison, I put JFK and J.G. together and knew I had to write a story about that awful time period in the 60’s. I included JFK’s affairs, Bobby Kennedy’s death and his involvement with Marilyn Monroe, and the conspiracies surrounding the government and why they did what they did back then. I also intertwined two beautiful love stories that begin on page one and end on the last page – 56 years after this story begins.
Links to Tina’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:
Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/3TqYkzK
Contact Tina Ruiz: email@example.com
Thanks, Tina, for sharing your books with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!