by Roland Michel Tremblay
Idea for a Film
This idea on the Net: www.themarginal.com/deadgirlssong.htm
Download a doc version: www.themarginal.com/deadgirlssong.doc
The Story in 100 words
A girl died in a fire with her two brothers in the past and again
in the present. As a ghost she lives a normal life amongst the
living who are unaware of her death. She sees reality as it was
in the past even though she lives in the present. Sometimes she
disappears without warning, she appears out of nowhere and at
times she can be seen in a weird state standing still with her
two brothers. She seems to have an agenda and the people close
to her have visions of her past until they figure out what is
going on and help her find peace.
Short Synopsis of Dead Girl’s Song
The long synopsis follows
I walk down a staircase made of rock at the end of a court yard,
I can see above a building with a platform in front of it with
a metal rail. Three kids dressed like in the past are standing
still on the platform in front of one of the apartments with a
strange look in their vacant eyes. They look at the sky mesmerized.
The police arrive at that point. They look at
me when they get out of the car, while I am pointing at the kids.
They finally realize that there are kids on the platform and they
see that a fire is underway in the apartment behind them. I knew
that once the firemen would reach the three kids inside, they
would disappear outside as they were ghosts of the ones dying
The girl died in the fire but comes back to live
a normal life in the world of the living. She finds some sort
of a boyfriend, she is singing and she gets a contract with a
big record company with the only song she wrote. The only problem
is that sometimes she disappears in front of people’s eyes.
She can also suddenly appear in weird circumstances in someone’s
office. She can be seen at times standing still with a horrifying
look in her eyes accompanied with her two dead brothers beside
Some people have visions when they see her like
that, they find themselves into her past and these events create
a puzzle to be solved, including the fire that she supposedly
survived. Once they have enough data, they find out she died in
the fire in 1797 with her brothers and some unfinished business
needs to be attended to so she can finally cross over peacefully
with her brothers. She needs to find the keys to the city that
she lost and give them to the mayor to finally move on.
Long Synopsis of Dead Girl’s
This story is happening in the city of York in England as it is
one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It can be adapted
to any other city if you wish as long as there is some sort of
interesting history attached to it (I am thinking of Québec
City in Canada which also has a wall around the old city, old
buildings and a gate at the entrance). Here are some links to
York and Micklegate Bar where most of the film is happening:
The beginning sees a young man called Charles
walking on the walls around the city of York until he reaches
Micklegate Bar, one of the big entrances to the medieval city
When he arrives close to the Micklegate Bar, he
sees a young girl named Sarah and two kids standing still, looking
at the sky mesmerized by some unknown event. They disappear as
he suddenly realizes that the gate is on fire. Inside the girl
and the kids are burning alive. He quickly gets inside in time
to save the girl who is rushed to the hospital in ambulance, unfortunately
he cannot save the two brothers. He sees her being taken away.
The same day we can see him dreaming of that girl
he saved inside the little bookstore he owns called Worm Holes
at 20 Bootham Street (this library exists and has a wonderful
atmosphere inside). Who is she? Is she all right? He discusses
this with his friend working for him and has just one wish, to
meet her again.
The next day he is walking in the Gardens near
York Minster, there are the walls of an old church from the 12th
century or something called St Mary’s Abbey. This is where
he will always go when he needs to find her after she disappears,
like if he needed to drag her back into reality so she could continue
to live with the living. Otherwise she lives at Micklegate Bar,
the place where she burnt and died, though he does not know that.
So the next day Charles meets Sarah in the gardens
near what remains of St Mary’s Abbey. She is very impressed
and in awe by the Abbey, she describes it as if it was still there
intact. Her friend remarks that yes, it must have looked like
that in those days, and he believes it is probably even more charming
now that only the walls remain. He finds that romantic. She does
not appear to understand what he means.
She invites him to her home, pleased to meet him
again. At Micklegate Bar you would have never thought there was
a fire, everything is still intact. He asks her how they were
able to clean everything and replace the furniture so quickly.
She is vague about this. She wants to sing him her song, her only
song. And it is a wonderful song, perhaps like Forever Young of
Alphaville or a song by Tori Amos. The words might need to be
changed slightly so it has a story related to the events of the
film. He is so impressed with the song that he wants to present
her to his friend, a record executive called Tony.
At the record company they are invited to sit
down and then she sings her song again. Tony is very impressed
and wants her to meet some musicians he knows. So they leave the
office. On the phone the executive producer calls someone and
says that he made a great discovery today via someone he knows
that frankly is quite annoying and would want to get rid of, but
something positive came out of him, this wonderful singer that
will make them a lot of money. When he hangs up the phone, Sarah
is in the office with him, looking disgusted by what she just
heard. When Tony looks again because he does not understand how
she could still be here, she is no longer there. He is shaken
and gets a drink to forget about this.
The friend working at the Worm Holes bookshop
is walking alone on the wall of the old city of York. He reaches
Micklegate Bar and sees a strange girl with her two brothers not
moving, all looking at the sky. When he gets closer, they disappear.
Shaken he goes back to the bookshop to tell Charles. In the bookshop
they both compare notes, as they both saw the same thing, Charles
on the night of the fire. That girl looks a lot like Sarah. They
agree that there is something weird about this melancholic girl.
Days pass in the bookstore without any news from
Sarah. Charles goes again and again to find her but there is no
answer at the Micklegate Bar. He goes back to the Abbey and there
she appears from behind the wall in the ruins. She appears surprised
when he comes inside the ruins by a crack in the wall, she had
not seen him until he was inside the ruins. He invites her to
walk away, but she can only get out by the main door, or what
used to be the main door. He invites her to a restaurant but she
refuses to enter as she reckons she cannot get in that place (it
is a new building). The second restaurant is in an old building
that existed at the time she was alive and that was acceptable,
she was willing to come even though she is not hungry or thirsty.
So he takes a pint and she sits in front of him with sadness in
They talk about who she is, she remains vague
in her answers. We can detect a second meaning to everything she
says that could be adapted as if it was all happening in the past,
in the history of York. She talks of Kings and Queens, chivalry,
her two bothers, her father in charge of Micklegate Bar.
Here is her story as written on the website of
Micklegate Bar. There is also a photo of her mannequin that is
in the museum of Micklegate Bar:
“Sarah, daughter of the York Gatekeeper
in 1797, lost the keys to Micklegate Bar whilst playing as a child.
Her father was fired from his post, and the keys were never found
until Sarah was old and grey. Dying before telling anyone of the
keys' whereabouts, her Ghost now haunts Micklegate Bar desperately
searching for the keys. Did you feel that cold touch on your shoulder
and see the shadow out of the corner of your eye?” Her name
was Sarah Brocklebank.
More on this website, and obviously Sarah’s
unfinished business is to find the key to the city which she will
reveal as the story goes along:
“Even the city walls are not exempt from
hauntings, as Micklegate Bar is home to the ghost of Sarah Brocklebank,
daughter of Thomas the gatekeeper. At the end of the 18th century
she lost the keys to the city whilst playing a game, and as a
result her father lost his job. He never spoke to her again. Sarah
became obsessed with finding the keys and spent her life searching,
until, as an old lady, she finally remembered where they were.
She burst in to the Lord Mayor’s parlour to tell him, but
dropped dead before she spoke. Visitors to the Bar Museum feel
her cold touch and see a small shadow flitting about, crying softly.”
So Sarah tells her friend that he needs to find
the keys to the city for her and bring them back to the mayor.
Simple enough, though he does not really understand why. He is
willing to help but when he asks her where the keys are, she once
again disappears in front of his eyes.
In the office of the record executive, Tony is
very apologetic to Charles that he dismissed as an annoyance to
someone on the phone. He wishes to tell him that even though he
said those things, he did not mean it. When Charles is perplexed
for this confession, the executive tells him that after they left
his friend Sarah was there listening to the conversation. Charles
tells Tony that it is impossible as they left together and she
never left his sight. Anyway, Tony tells him to go and meet this
band that afternoon so they can record the song.
Charles walks once again near the Abbey where
he always finds Sarah when she is nowhere to be found. Sure enough
she is there waiting for him and together they go and meet the
band. The recording studio is in old building, so it is OK for
her to get in. They record the song and they leave.
Outside he asks her why she always appears near
the Abbey and never appears to be home at Micklegate Bar. She
does not know. He surmised that perhaps the keys are somewhere
in the ruins of the Abbey. So they go together to the ruins and
she points to him where the keys are. They go to the mayor’s
office and give him the lost keys. At first the mayor does not
understand the significance of those keys but then he seems to
remember something. He opens a book about the story of the missing
keys in 1797 and cannot believe his eyes when he sees the keys
in front of him. There are drawings of the keys and of Sarah Brocklebank.
There are both astonished and look at her trying to decide if
it is her or not, perhaps a descendant? Well, the mayor intends
to throw a party to celebrate this event and our friend suggests
that the song which is about those keys and events should be played
at the party.
The night of the party Sarah gets ready to sing
her song on the main stage. The mayor is doing a speech about
the lost keys to the city while Sarah tells her friend Charles
that she will no longer be able to see him, that now she is ready
to move on. She thanks him, tells him that she loves him very
much and she goes and sings her song. After the song she goes
backstage to the other side of Charles and disappears for good
without anyone noticing. When she is called back to the stage
by the mayor, she does not reappear and the movie ends with our
friend crying of joy and saying to the sky that he hopes she will
be happy wherever she is now. Strangely enough, after she disappeared,
the keys are nowhere to be found, they are lost again!
Roland Michel Tremblay
44E The Grove, Isleworth, Middlesex, London, TW7 4JF, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 8847 5586 Mobile: +44 (0)794 127 1010
Main Contact/Webmaster: Roland Michel Tremblay
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