Chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Aliens

Chapter 1 – Pride and Prejudice and Aliens – JAFF Mr. Darcy Book

Rough first draft.

It was a warm summer afternoon at Longbourn. The midday meal had just concluded, and the Bennet family was lingering at the dining table, savoring the last sips of tea and final bites of biscuits.

Mr. Bennet sat at the head of the table, observing his wife and five daughters over the top of the latest newspaper. He cleared his throat. “It seems Netherfield Park has been let at last,” he announced nonchalantly before returning his gaze to the paper.

Mrs. Bennet’s head jerked up. “Netherfield Park? To whom, my dear?”

“A Mr. Bingley, apparently,” replied Mr. Bennet, eyes still scanning the newsprint. “A wealthy gentleman from the north. He arrived in the neighborhood just yesterday.”

Mrs. Bennet clasped her hands in delight. “Bless me! A wealthy gentleman, you say? Oh, how wonderful!” She turned eagerly to her eldest daughter. “Jane, did you hear? Netherfield has been taken by a wealthy young bachelor! Why, he may be just the match for you!”

Jane blushed at her mother’s enthusiasm. “Mama, please. We know nothing of this gentleman.”

“But we soon shall!” trilled Mrs. Bennet. “Your father must visit Mr. Bingley immediately so we may meet him! I dare say he will be at the next assembly where you can dance with him! With your beauty, he is sure to fall desperately in love!”

Jane demurred, uncomfortable with her mother’s matchmaking speculations.

Mary, the middle Bennet daughter, glanced up smugly from her book. “Beauty is fleeting, Mama, and does not always equate to a successful match. One would do better to focus on cultivating virtue and wisdom.”

Mrs. Bennet waved a hand impatiently. “Posh! Your virtuous wisdom cannot save us from the hedgerows when your father dies. No, it is only wealthy gentlemen like this Mr. Bingley who can rescue your futures.”

Mr. Bennet rustled his paper. “My dear, must you discuss my impending doom before tea has fully settled?” he asked wryly.

“Oh, do not tease me so, Mr. Bennet,” his wife huffed. “You know very well the desperation of our situation. If you die before the girls are wed, we shall be turned out destitute!”

“Then I shall have to endeavor to cling tenaciously to life,” Mr. Bennet replied, eyes twinkling with humor over the top of the newspaper. “Although I may need added fortification to maintain such a hold. Lizzy, dear, would you be so kind as to pass your old father another biscuit?”

Elizabeth suppressed a smile as she handed her father the platter.

Mrs. Bennet was not amused by her husband’s jest. “This is no laughing matter!” she scolded. Turning back to Jane, she continued eagerly, “We must have your father call on this Mr. Bingley at once! Oh, how I long to make his acquaintance! He must be eager to choose a bride!”

Mr. Bennet folded his newspaper and set it aside, eyeing his still-agitated wife with a glint of amusement.

“Now, now, my dear,” he said soothingly. “There is no need for such fervor. We know nothing of this Mr. Bingley beyond the size of his pocketbook. For all we are aware, he may be an elderly gentleman, or a devoted bachelor with no intentions of taking a wife.”

Mrs. Bennet flushed. “Mr. Bennet! How can you say such things? Why must you always vex me so? Of course Mr. Bingley is looking for a bride! What else would bring a wealthy young man to settle in the countryside if not to find a wife?”

“Perhaps he simply desires a change of scenery,” Mr. Bennet suggested mildly. “I have heard the mills of the North can be rather dreary and polluted. Our verdant countryside may be just the thing to soothe his smoke-wearied lungs.”

“You take far too much pleasure in provoking me!” Mrs. Bennet huffed, rising from her chair in agitation. “Must you always make sport of such important matters? Our very future rests upon making a good match for one of the girls!”

Mr. Bennet regarded his wife with an amused glint in his eyes. “Then let us hope Mr. Bingley is not a devoted bachelor as I suggested,” he said lightly. “For as you say, our future felicity rests upon his marital ambitions.”

“Insufferable man! I vow you shall be the death of my poor nerves.” Mrs. Bennet huffed in annoyance while her daughters giggled at their father’s sarcasm.

“Nevertheless,” continued Mr. Bennet after finishing his biscuit, “I shall pay a call and discover the truth soon enough.” He folded his newspaper decisively. “We must give the poor gentleman fair warning that he and his fortune are doomed to fall prey to Longbourn the moment he sets foot in the neighborhood.”

Mrs. Bennet smiled triumphantly. “Oh, thank you, Mr. Bennet! I knew you would call on him! And you must take Jane so Mr. Bingley can see what a beautiful creature she is. Then, he will surely fall desperately in love, propose marriage, and our futures shall all be secured!”

Jane blushed deeper as her sisters smothered laughter.

“Have care, my dear,” said Mr. Bennet, rising from his chair. “Too much unbridled enthusiasm may doom poor Jane before she even meets the unfortunate gentleman. We must at least allow him to enjoy one assembly before descending upon him en masse to claim his fortune.” Chuckling to himself, he quit the room, leaving his wife and daughters to speculate wildly about the mysterious newcomer to their community.

After the last peals of laughter subsided and the conversation began to dwindle, the Bennet daughters, one by one, started to excuse themselves from the table. Elizabeth, sensing the momentary lull as an opportune time, joined her sisters in their departure, leaving their parents to exchange their usual banter.

As Elizabeth climbed the stairs, she heard hushed voices. Pausing, she recognized the tones of Hill, their housekeeper, along with John, the stablemaster. Curious as to what could be causing such furtive discussion below stairs, Elizabeth quietly moved closer to an open window where she could overhear without being observed.

“…never seen anything like it before last night,” John was saying in a lowered voice.

“Well it fair gave me a fright when I caught sight of it!” Hill replied. “Thought perhaps I was seeing things at first. But then it kept happening – those bright lights streaking through the sky, almost like…well, I know it sounds foolish, but shooting stars in reverse!”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened in surprise. She peered out the window but could only see the empty stableyard below.

John grunted in agreement. “Aye, and that peculiar glow that would flare up afterwards. Brighter than any full moon I ever saw. Unnatural, I tell you.”

“Do you suppose it could be some sort of sign or omen?” Hill asked anxiously.

“I cannot claim to know, but I have lived my whole life in Hertfordshire and never witnessed the like.” John sounded unnerved. “Let us hope we do not see those strange lights again tonight.”

Elizabeth drew back from the window, her thoughts swirling. Bright lights and glows in the night sky? She had not observed any unusual sights last night herself. But now her curiosity was piqued. What could her servants have witnessed that was so beyond their experience or understanding? She determined she would keep watch this evening and discover if there was any truth to their strange accounts.

With quickened steps, she continued on to her bedchamber, her original intention of fetching a book quite forgotten in light of this new mystery.


A heavy air of anticipation mingled with a whisper of anxiety infused Lady Lucas’s drawing room, typically a beacon of conviviality in Meryton. Even the grand grandfather clock standing sentinel near the mantle seemed to tick with a more pronounced, foreboding rhythm this particular evening. Candlelight flickered across faces both familiar and newly arrived, casting elongated shadows that danced upon the walls like specters of the gossip that had been haunting the halls of Hertfordshire since the unusual celestial events began to occur.

“Have you heard about the newcomers renting Netherfield Park?” Charlotte Lucas whispered to Elizabeth as they waited in line at the refreshment table. “Some think they might have something to do with these unusual celestial events.”

Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. “Indeed? I was under the impression Mr. Bingley was simply a wealthy gentleman seeking more fashionable society than the north country could provide.”

“So I thought as well,” Charlotte said. “Yet my father informed us he has only just inherited his fortune. Quite mysterious, don’t you think?”

“Mysterious fortunes do not a celestial anomaly make, Charlotte,” Elizabeth laughed. Still, she had to admit the timing did seem odd…

Her attention was drawn by an outburst of giggles from a group of young ladies clustered near the hearth. In their midst stood a handsome gentleman in regimentals, regaling them with an animated tale.

“The newly arrived Mr. Wickham seems to be making fast friends,” Elizabeth remarked. For all the speculation surrounding the Bingley party, this Mr. Wickham appeared to be integrated seamlessly into Hertfordshire society already.

Charlotte followed her gaze. “Perhaps. Though I confess the gossip surrounding our new neighbors does not overly concern me. I am simply pleased at the prospect of fresh society and new acquaintances.” She gave Elizabeth a meaningful look. “And I daresay I am not alone in such sentiments.”

Elizabeth felt her cheeks grow warm. However unsettled the community felt by recent events, most shared Charlotte’s appreciation for diverting society. And if the neighborhood’s most eligible newcomers should happen to take an interest in her or her sisters, well…that would be a happy accident indeed.

Elizabeth felt a tremor ripple beneath her feet, the glasses on the nearby table rattling ever so slightly. She glanced around but no one else seemed to have noticed, absorbed in lively chatter and new acquaintances. But Elizabeth was certain she had felt something odd, a faint tremor that caused the glasses to shake.

“Did you feel that?” she murmured to Charlotte, her dark eyes flickering with unease.

Charlotte blinked in surprise, having noticed nothing amidst the gaiety surrounding them. “Feel what?”

“I thought…” Elizabeth trailed off, seeing no signs of disturbance around her. Perhaps it had just been her imagination.

She took a deep breath, determined not to let idle speculation detract from the event at hand. “Come, you simply must tell me more of our mysterious new neighbors from Netherfield! I confess I am all anticipation to make their acquaintance on the morrow.”

Charlotte smiled indulgently at her friend’s lively curiosity but obliged, sharing what details she could glean from the dinner her father hosted earlier that week where the Netherfield party had been present…

As the two friends spoke in hushed tones, the flickering candles dimmed for a breath, casting the room in momentary shadow before resuming their steady glow. But amidst the buzz of lively conversation, no one else seemed to take note of the odd occurrence.

Yes, I really am writing this! I was inspired in a fit of madness when the UAP were flying over Montana and Canada last year.

When the Netherfield party arrives to take up residence in the long-empty Netherfield Hall, rumors swirl that the estate is haunted. Skeptical Elizabeth Bennet laughs off the ghost stories, until a series of eerie events forces her and the aloof Mr. Darcy to confront the possibility of restless spirits stalking the halls.

As bizarre occurrences plague the old house, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are drawn together in the search for answers. Battling fears and prejudices, they forge an unlikely alliance that blossoms into mutual understanding and possibly something more. But not everyone is happy to welcome this connection.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy overcome the mysterious workings of Netherfield before their hopes for happiness are extinguished? Set during the Christmas season, Halloween JAFF puts a spooky twist on Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice characters in this suspenseful tale of ghostly happenings, romance, and the power of courage and love conquering all.

Pride and Prejudice and Phantasms is a slow burn romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet that is over 65,000 words and features hijinks, lighthearted spookiness, a flustered Caroline Bingley and happily ever after for ODC.