Once upon a time, there lived a young woman named Emelia Cavanaugh. She grew up with her loving father, mother, and three sisters. Emelia was a surly tomboy known throughout the community, always finding ways to defy the social standards for "girl behavior." Her father seemed to be the only one who really understood her. Sadly, Mr. Cavanaugh died after a horse-riding accident. After three long years of mourning, Emelia's mother married another man. However, he was an unloving misogynist, who got a small disliking for Alice, but came to fully despise
Emelia. Her stepfather would shun and neglect the young girl, only acknowledging her existence to scold or insult her. His abusive nature kept her mother and timid sisters from interfering with his unfair treatment of Emelia, which made her feel extremely cut off from her family. She was practically a loner.
That is, until she was sixteen. That's when she met Randall M. Pace, the son and apprentice of a rich hatter. He was her age, with tangled black hair, green eyes, and a hatbox that he carried with him nearly all the time.(His strange habit,maybe? He was a hatter, after all.) She was surprised to find that this young man liked her tomboy persona, and enjoyed her company. They very soon became the best of friends, with Emelia sneaking out of her home almost every hour of every day to be with him. They would get into all sorts of mischief and frolic together For the first time in what felt like an eternity, she felt as if she finally had a man she could trust. Who she could run to. Who she could rely on for anything at all. They may not have had any romantic love between them, but they were certainly a perfect pair. Randall saw her as his whole world, and she saw him the same way. Years went by like this, with the two friends enjoying life with one another. They couldn't imagine the potential pain of being separated.
Well, that is exactly what almost happened. As those years did go by, The stepfather came to resent Emelia's running off and defiance even more. He finally decided that enough was enough. Now, all he wanted to do was get rid of the girl. He made arrangements to marry her off to a business partner, Mr. ?, who was in his forties at the time. He'd been lusting for Emelia for a long time now. Even worse, he was even more unloving and sexist than the stepfather. He wanted to make the tomboy into a silent, obedient housewife through means of abuse. Emelia found out about this, of course. She hated the idea of marriage, and thusly was disgusted that her stepfather intended to make her into someone's wife at all, let alone one who was decades older than her and so cruel. Unwilling to let herself be sent away to be paired such a man, she ran away to where Randall lived. She explained everything to him, and he and his father agreed to let her stay with them until she could find a solution to this dilemma.
Randall did his best to try and support and comfort his friend through this issue, but he and Emelia both knew the stepfather would find her eventually, and force her to marry Mr. ? against her will. Emelia assumed that the only solution was to run farther away, to move around the country as a traveling vagrant. She would never be found then. She promised Randall that she would try and visit him now and then, but that was not enough for him. The young hatter was heartbroken not only rarely seeing his companion anymore, but also at the thought of his long-time best friend suffering either of the two fates that threatened her: Marriage to an unfeeling, mean man, or being a runaway all her life.
Eventually he found what seemed like the only solution. It could severely damage his friendship with Emelia forever, but it he had no other choice. He confronted Emelia....and asked her to marry him. He explained to her that if she was already married to another man, she would never have to marry anyone else. And at least she would be a wife to someone she got along with trusted, and that she would never have to leave her best friend at all. Along with all that, Randall solemnly swore that he would care for Emelia and treat her fairly, as a good husband should. Seeing Randall's point of how this was the only way to save her, she heavy-heatedly agreed to marry him. Randall's father, luckily, was able to arrange the marriage rather easily with Emelia's stepfather. Deep down, he did not care who that little rat got married off to. He just wanted her out of his life for good. He figured he could just let Mr. ? marry Alice, as he didn't like her, either. However, Mr. ? was not so passive over this news. He was jealous that his former intended bride had been given to some hatter apprentice instead of him. If he could not have Emellia as his, NO ONE could......
The day of Randall and Emelia's wedding came at last. It was to be held in a local church on a foggy fall morning. As she was supposed to be preparing for the ceremony, Emelia snuck out to the nearby church cemetery to get some fresh air, and allow herself to fully get a mental grip on the whole ordeal. How could this be happening? Just months ago, her and Randall were having fun and playing like children, and now they were being forced into marriage. Although, she guessed it wasn't so bad. Her and Randall did have a strong bond, after all. What if they did not have to let their unity stop them from just being two pals? As this all passed through her head, Emelia did not see or hear Mr. ? sneaking up behind her with an axe....at first. She heard the rustle of his coat as he rose his arm to take a swing at her, giving her enough time to dodge the first blow. Emelia put up a good fight, but in the end received the blade of the axe carving into her heart. Mr. ? left momentarily to fetch supplies to use to hide Emelia's body, and that's when Randall found her dying in the grass. He held her and wept for her as she lost her life. Mr.? came back to find Randall, and now had to get rid of him for being a witness to his crime. Randall attacked Mr. ? out of rage and despair, which triggered the cold-hearted old man to kill him by decapitating him with the axe. He took the two corpses to dispose of them, hiding Randall's head in the very same hatbox that he carried around with him.
Randall and Emelia woke up beside each other in the cemetery, disoriented, uneasy, and confused. They noticed right away that something was not right...They were dead.
They were now ghosts. Not just any ghosts, but ghastly skeletal ones. They were so shocked and despaired, the didn't know what to do. For weeks, all they could do was stick together, comfort one another. Randall and Emelia eventually got over the shock of dying and manifesting as ghosts, and even realized the advantages to being in that state. Now, they could not be forced into marriage, they faced no threats from any cruel mortals, and best of all, now that they were immortal, they truly could never be separated. They could stay together for all eternity, and so that's what they did. The first years of afterlife were somewhat hectic, but third or fourth year of being deceased was when afterlife really became fun, with them being able to haunt the living and cause mischief without being caught or punished. Randall and Emelia actually started to think being dead was better than being alive. But, as if afterlife was not already good enough....something started to happen between the two ghosts. They had previously been fine with just being friends who had to get married, but as they stayed together for longer and longer, they began to fall in love. Not just a friendly love, the pair developed a romance. The skeletal groom and bride ,if you can believe it, began to feel like a real couple, which was a big part of their process of securing not only an enjoyable afterlife, but a whole new future for them both.
*There it is, guys! My backstory for HBG and BHB! Maybe later I'll try to write about how they brought their killer to justice and what happened to Alice.
Also I wrote Mr. ? as the evil suitor's name because i don't know what to call him yet. Please feeel free to suggest possible names!*
Hatbox Ghost, Beating heart bride(s) and Haunted Mansion belong to Disney
Special thanks to
for inspiring a majority of this storyline!