Chapter 12

Touching a trembling hand to her temple, Leigh braced herself against the coldness of the brick building. What was wrong with her? What made her run? Why'd she suddenly feel as though she couldn't breathe, as though a powerful 'force' was trying to control her entire body? No, that was insane. The young woman shook her head trying to clear it. So many strange things have been happening to her lately. What was next? What?

Deciding the night was a complete failure, Leigh began to search for the keys in her bag, alarmed when a rough looking man reeking of booze and body odor staggered from the blackness of an alleyway. With a cry of fear, she sprinted down the wooden docks in a panic for despite his drunkenness, the man quickly caught up to her, hooting wildly as he clutched a handful of red hair that trailed behind her like a flag.

Her scalp on fire, her voice was a mixture of pain and terror. Terror of what was to come. "Let me go," she begged, "Please, let me go…" Suddenly she screamed, "Help someone! Richie! Wayne!" Immediately Leigh felt a heavy fist hit her jaw along with a vicious sweep to her calves, knocking her backward to the ground. She tried to roll away but the man was on her in an instant, pinning her down, his hips crushed against hers.

"You're not goin' anyplace, bitch," he hissed grinding himself nastily against her. "Least, not till I'm done …"

With a hand that stank of gasoline over her mouth, Leigh struggled valiantly, jerking and clawing until her meager strength dwindled away. No! Dear God! This can't be happening! As the man fumbled with the zipper of her pants she closed her eyes and prayed that it was over quickly. Suddenly a loud growl split the silence, the weight of the rapist's body torn violently from hers. A mixture of terror and relief flooded through her as she watched the man being hoisted into the air and viciously body slammed against the docks. Leigh nearly gagged at the blood spurting from the hole where his throat once was.

A tremor of shock ran through her. Looking up, she saw him in the gleam of the streetlight. Although he saved her from rape, Barnabas Collins murdered a man singlehandedly and she'd witnessed it. What was he going to…? Oh God! Fear spurred her into immediate action. Leigh flipped over and dashed off into the night. Run, her mind screamed. Run! She did quickly, frantically. If only she hadn't been looking behind her she would have been more aware of where she was going. As it was she ran into an immovable object. Knocked to the ground, she felt herself being lifted by the upper arms. The glow of the moon shining brilliantly overhead revealed familiar hazel eyes. Leigh heaved a sigh of relief. She was saved! "Mr. Loomis! Thank God! You have to help me!" The look on her face was now one of complete confusion as he held her, his fingers gripping about her flesh. "Please," she begged tearfully, casting a furtive glance over her shoulder. "Please… I must get away!"

"I can't." Willie shook his head sadly. "I wish I could..."

"But you don't understand," she quickly explained. "Barnabas Collins has just killed someone. He tore a man's throat out right in front of me!" Leigh flinched at the lack of reaction in the man's eyes. There was no surprise. Just a dull acceptance. Shocked, she tried to pry his fingers from her flesh, cringing at the sound of dry grass being trampled behind her. Dear God, he was so near. Twirling the girl about, Willie held a hand over her mouth to prevent her scream as the cloaked figure stepped closer. Terrified green orbs met a dark piercing gaze and Willie tried to harden his heart against the intense shudder rippling through her slim body without success.

Help her, Loomis! Only you can help her! Don't let her be his plaything… Let her go!

Distracted, the vampire's mind released hers to focus on his servant's defiant thoughts.

I strongly advise against it. I have already killed one man tonight; I will not hesitate to kill again. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are indispensable to me. I can find another servant by morning. You mean less than nothing. Do you understand?

The handyman nodded nearly dropping Leigh's suddenly limp body. Fear sapped her final crumb of strength and she now lay unconscious against him.

"Take her to the Old House, I shall be there soon…" Noting his hesitancy, Barnabas added, "…unless you wish to provide my nourishment this evening."

A dark chuckle met Willie's ears as he easily lifted the girl into the cab of his old pickup.

Yes, he shook his head. He was completely gutless.


Rich and Wayne burst through the door of the cottage, fearing the worst when she hadn't returned to the table.

"Hey Leigh... you here? Get the kitchen man, I'll check the bedroom."

They met up in the den.

"Nothing."

Rich pulled back the curtain looking out toward the empty jetty. "Yeah, dad's not back, either. Fuck man, where the hell can she be? We gotta find her."

"Where should we start?"

"The only place I can think of… the Old House."

Wayne's eyes nearly bulged out. "Ox, are you nuts?"

Rich shook his head. "I know. I'm freaking too but Leigh's been acting so crazy since she went to that place. She's changed. Besides, I don't know where else she can be."

Wayne couldn't help but think about the others who have been there and were now gone. "Do you think Loomis has something to do with it?"

"I don't know, but we'll find out." Opening a bureau drawer, Rich lifted out his dad's revolver. Double checking the cylinder, he headed for the door. "Come on."