1972, London, England, Elizabeth McDaid, aged 18, was working for the Times newspaper.
Elizabeth came from humble beginnings, in Simi Valley, USA. Her father, a farmer’s son, originally from Donegal, Ireland, and her mother, a seamstress, left the US for London in 1964 when Elizabeth was just ten years old.
Elizabeth was a quiet girl who felt that she didn’t belong in London and, throughout her school years, she was rather reserved. Her mother and father were private people and very protective of her.
Of course, she had friends but her parents didn’t allow Elizabeth to mingle outside of school. She had studied hard to get where she was today, and enjoyed her job, but it wasn’t enough. Elizabeth always felt there were bigger and better things that she could be doing, and she had a yearning to travel.
Elizabeth had this empty feeling and a recurring dream, or what she believed to be a dream, of her sitting on a swing and someone else on a swing next to her. Although she was aware that there was someone sitting on the other swing, she never did see a face.
Elizabeth missed her home in Simi Valley and so, one day, at dinner, she told her parents that she wanted to go back to Simi for a holiday to visit relatives. There was a look of shock on her parents’ faces and they immediately said no.
They told her that there were no relatives left in Simi, which Elizabeth found rather strange because she knew that her mother had been receiving letters from back home on a regular basis. However, Elizabeth dropped the subject when she realised that the thought of her going back there seemed to upset her parents.
Then, four years later, Elizabeth again decided to tell her parents that she was going back. An opportunity had arisen at work that would take her to Calabasas to cover a story in relation to the ‘Pumpkin Festival’. Elizabeth figured that, as she would be in the area, she may as well go back and relive some childhood memories.
Back in Simi, however, she realised exactly why her parents didn’t want her to return and, God knows, they tried hard to persuade her to decline the offer that her employers were so keen for her to accept.
Once in Simi, Elizabeth began to unravel the truth about why they had left. Should she stay or leave? How did her parents explain the unusual, yet bazaar, set of circumstances that led to them leaving the valley? And just who was sitting on the other swing?