This story begins just after the 1971 film ends. Thank you to Turrislucidus and Squirrela for their help and advice. I've re-written the first two chapters a little bit, just to keep it more in line with the film/book and there will be another chapter soon.
They had never been this high up before. The town almost looked beautiful from here, like a town in a storybook. You could see the river and the canal off in the distance. Even the freeway looked magical.
"Hold on, how do we get down?" Grandpa Joe asked suddenly, remembering where he was, "You do know how to land this thing, don't you?"
"How would I know how to land it? I've never even taken it out of the building until today," Mr Wonka replied with his usual nonchalance.
"What? But how will we... hang on, there's no steering wheel, how are you even..."
"Well, of course there's no steering wheel, my dear fellow, it's an elevator. What did you expect it to have?"
"But how will we get down?"
"Oh don't worry, the momentum will run out at some point and I'll just aim it for the ground. Now where did you say your house was?"
"Charlie, can you direct Mr Wonka please? I don't think I can look down any more," Grandpa Joe gasped, resting his head back against the glass and closing his eyes.
Mr Wonka turned to the panel of buttons on the wall, some of which had arrows on them. "Now, green button, or was it red?" he muttered. He pulled a lever which seemed to slow the Wonkavator a little and Charlie directed him in towards the house.
"Don't worry, Grandpa, we'll be safe. Mr Wonka will get us home safely," Charlie reassured him, taking his hand.
"I certainly don't feel safe," he replied, daring to open his eyes. They were slowing down, definitely, and he could feel the elevator descending but it was still too fast for his liking.
"But you enjoyed all the other stuff today, like the boat," Charlie insisted.
"Yes, but I know how a boat works. This is… I don't even know what this is…"
Suddenly it swooped down, brushing against the tops of trees.
"Learn to trust me, dear fellow," Mr Wonka's told him in that calm voice but somehow he still didn't feel reassured. He looked down. Their house was just below them now and he was still terrified they would crash through the roof, terrifying everyone. Goodness knows what it would do to George's heart; his own wasn't in great shape right now either.
In the end they landed with a bump in the Bucket's garden. Well, it was not a garden as such; more of a space for growing the cabbages that went into their soup, but it gave them a softer landing than they might have had somewhere else.
"We did it," Mr Wonka announced triumphantly,"My first flight and we did it."
"Solid ground, at last," Grandpa Joe gasped in relief.
Charlie helped his grandad out as the elevator and the two of them rushed into the house with Mr Wonka following.
Mrs Bucket heard the noise and ran outside to see her father in law and her son climbing out of some kind of glass contraption which had just crushed their cabbages. "What on earth…" she gasped as they ran up to her, greeting her warmly. And behind them was the most eccentric looking man she had ever seen, sweeping off his top hat and bowing low to her, apologising for his noisy arrival.
The next ten minutes were noisy and chaotic, with little hope of calming things down. It turned out that, just an hour after Charlie and Grandpa Joe had left for the factory Grandma Josephine had decided she was taking a leaf out of her husband's book and getting out of bed herself. It had taken time and effort, of course, but she had managed to walk around the room a few times and now she was sitting happily at the kitchen table, chopping up cabbages. And not long after that, the other two grandparents had eased themselves slowly and carefully into an upright position and managed to take a walk around the bed with their walking sticks, unable to believe what was happening after all these years. So there was a very joyful reunion for all the grandparents, who felt that the Golden Ticket had given them all a new lease of life.
In the midst of it all, Charlie was running around shouting introductions and telling everyone a rapid account of the day's events, breathlessly concluding with "And Mr Wonka's giving me the factory and we're all going to live there!", Mrs Bucket was trying to hastily tidy up while finding a chair for Mr Wonka to sit on and Grandpa George was repeating everything loudly to Grandma Georgina who was becoming a little deaf.
"Hold on, Charlie's going to live in the factory?" she was asking, amid all the noise.
Eventually Mrs Bucket got everyone to be quiet and Mr Wonka stood stood on an upturned box to try and address everyone together.
"My dear Bucket family!" he began, "Thank you for your wonderful welcome. As you can see, Charlie and Grandpa Joe are home safely from their tour of my factory. And there was another reason for my Golden Ticket competition, which I need to tell you about. For some years now I have been looking for an heir, someone who will run my beloved factory after I am gone." He paused dramatically, looking around at the little group and their tiny house. "And today I can tell you that I have found that heir; this wonderful, amazing child here. What Charlie told you is true. I'm giving him the factory." There were gasps as he said this but he held up his hands to appeal for calm. "And that's not all," he continued, smiling enigmatically. "I want all of you, Charlie included, to come and live with me in my factory, as soon as possible."
Straight away there were questions being shouted at him and everything had to be repeated to Grandma Georgina but eventually he got everyone's attention again and tried to calm their fears.
"I know there will be a lot of boring practical things to be taken care of but I will try to answer all your questions and help in any way I can. There is a house on the premises where my assistant Mr Wilkinson used to live – Charlie's met him already – and I think it will be perfect for you all. You won't have to live here any longer than necessary. In fact I'd like you all to come down there this evening and take a look at it. I think you'll like it."
Mrs Bucket made tea for everyone and they sat around talking amongst themselves about what this would involve and how they were going to move everything. They couldn't believe they were moving to a house, a real house, after all these years and that Charlie was going to inherit his own factory!
While the chatting was going on, Grandpa Joe couldn't help but look over at Mr Wonka, enjoying all the attention and charming his wife and Grandma Georgina. Who is he?, he kept wondering. We're going to live with him and we hardly know who he is.
While he was helping his daughter clear away the cups Mr Wonka tapped him on the shoulder. "Sorry to trouble you, Grandpa Joe, but could you come outside for a moment and help me get the Wonkavator on to the grass? I'll need to get it going again soon," he asked politely.
"Of course," he replied, following him outside. Charlie was busy telling the rest of the family about his day, having calmed down a little, and didn't notice.
"I'm not sure if I'll be much help," Grandpa Joe remarked as they looked at the elevator. It was not broken but it looked heavy and the underside was covered in soil, with cabbage leaves stuck to it.
"I realise that, but I had a feeling you wanted to talk to me," Mr Wonka replied casually.
"Well, yes…" he replied, upset that a virtual stranger had worked this out. "You see, Charlie is my grandson, my only grandson, and well, this is all… I'm not sure how to say this. No actually, I do. I've seen a lot of things today on that tour and I've seen.. well, a particular side to you. And now you're going to bring us all to the factory and I'm wondering… if we can trust you?"
"Of course you can trust me. That tour today, well, it's over now. Charlie has passed the test. Everything is going to be fine." The two of them somehow managed to move the elevator so that it was standing on the grass, although Mr Wonka did most of the work. Thankfully the soil could be brushed away fairly easily although none of the cabbages would be going into soup tonight.
"And there's… well, all this," Grandpa Joe continued after a while, indicating the contraption he had just been travelling in. "I just can't get my head around the things we've seen today. It feels like I was…well, in a different world, somehow."
"You never know, maybe you were… " Mr Wonka grinned.
"I mean.. you are human, aren't you?"
At this, Mr Wonka laughed. "Of course I'm human, as much as you, Charlie and the Oompa Loompas! Did you think you were being shown around by an oversized elf?"
"There were times when I wasn't really sure.."
"If you prick me do I not bleed?"
"I'm sure you do," he replied in bewilderment, not understanding the reference.
At that moment Charlie appeared at the door looking for them, which cut short their conversation but Mr Wonka noticed that Grandpa Joe was still looking at him.
"Believe me, if I was immortal I wouldn't be looking for an heir," he muttered to the older man as they headed back into the house.
Mrs Bucket was at the door, waiting for them. "Charlie, dear, can you help your grandma with the dishes, please? I need to talk to Mr Wonka,," she called into the house. They could hear Charlies' reply as Grandpa Joe slipped back inside.
"I'm sorry, I just need a word..." she began a little nervously. She could not yet believe that one of the most famous and reclusive men in the country was standing on her doorstep.
"Of course," he replied graciously, tipping his ridiculous top hat to her.
"I'm not sure if you caught my name earlier, amid all the chaos. I'm Esther Bucket, Charlie's mother."
"Enchanted to meet you," he replied smoothly, shaking her hand.
"I'm just wondering about… well, all of this really. It's very kind of you, of course, but I'm just a bit worried about Charlie. He's only eleven years old and this is all very overwhelming for me. You say you're giving him the factory? In other words…he'll be running it?" She tried not to let her nerves show but she was fidgeting with her wedding ring without realising it.
"Never fear, my dear Mrs Bucket. He won't be making any big decisions or anything like that. I still have to work out some of the details but essentially I'd like him to be my apprentice. I'll train him myself, showing him the things I do. He'll be following me around, learning about every area of the factory and doing a variety of jobs, just to get a feel of the place. And don't worry, I'll take very good care of him, I promise you."
"Thank you, it's just very sudden and…well, he seems enthusiastic about it himself, so that's good. It'll just take time. And then there's the matter of rent. We don't have much money, you see. I work in a laundry and Charlie does a paper round but it barely covers our rent here, never mind anywhere else."
"Rent? I won't hear of it. It's an employee's house, built on the premises, and seeing as Charlie will be an employee I won't take a cent from you. And hand in your notice at once, Charlie too. You'll never have to worry about these things again once you move in, I can assure you."
"Also, as you can see there are six of us and my parents and in-laws are quite elderly." She didn't want to be so negative but she had to ask about these things. Everything was so confusing right now and it didn't help that the person telling her this life changing news looked like he was on his way to a fancy dress party.
"And you are all welcome and all of you will be quite safe, never worry about that. And if there are more relatives hidden away in there, please bring them along too," he replied quietly, his gentle eyes reassuring her a little for the moment.
"No, just us, thankfully, and that's more than enough most of the time. And you are very kind to do this for Charlie, I don't know how to repay you."
By now, the grandparents were looking for her so she couldn't talk any more but she felt a little better. She had often dreamt of leaving that horrible laundry and now she could. It would be odd not having to work after all these years of little else but maybe she could get used to it.
There was no time to think about it any more for they had to plan their visit to the factory, the second trip that day for Charlie and Grandpa Joe. The other grandparents didn't feel up to all that walking so soon after getting out of bed so Grandpa Joe and Mrs Bucket walked down together while Charlie returned with Mr Wonka in the glass elevator. His grandad said he was never getting back in "that thing" as long as he lived but Charlie couldn't wait to try it again. After a few delays and a bit of confusion they arrived at the rusty looking side gate they'd been directed to where Mr Wonka met them along with Charlie, who already seemed more than comfortable in his surroundings. Once they were all inside Charlie took his mother's hand, excited to be showing her this amazing place.
"You were right, Mom, sometimes things really do get better," he whispered to her as they took their first steps towards their new home.