A/N: Hello, beautiful reviewers! This is based off of a Dark Shadows roleplaying game that I have created and am in charge of on MySpace. If you're interested in joining, please, by all means, do! It's free, and SO much fun! Since this site seems to eat away at links, all you have to do is mention your interest in your review and I'll be sure to get back to you ASAP! Thanks!

"Madame Foxworthy?"

Magnolia sighed, ceasing in brushing her shoulder-length chestnut locks as her personal maid entered her room and gave a brief curtsy.

"Beggin' your pardon, Miss", she apologized, "but I've brought in all of your books from the study, as requested."

"Oh! Well wonderful!", Magnolia exclaimed, suddenly terribly exuberant as she leapt up from her perch and rushed over to her maid in order to give her a gut-busting hug. "Thank you, Lavinya! I've been absolutely dying to catch up on my old books!"

Smiling, Lavinya gestured for the young heiress to follow her out into the hallway, the young woman absolutely delighted to find three large cardboard boxes filled to the brim with her old books.

"Oh, they're beautiful!" Magnolia breathed, dropping down and to her knees before ripping open the first box in order to find what treasures laid in waiting.

Upon noticing her mistress' bewildered gaze after unearthing the first book, however, Lavinya bent down at the waist so that she could now read the cover, questioning uneasily in response, "What is it, Madame Foxworthy? What's so unsettlin' about the history of the Collins family?"

Magnolia, however, didn't answer her right away, her voice seeming to have somehow deserted her as she raised her eyes to meet with her maid's and suddenly began to tremble. "Josette DuPres...", she whispered, her dark irises only magnifying in their intensity, "Josette...DuPres..."

"Madame Foxworthy," Lavinya gasped out, shivering, "you're scaring me! Please stop...please!"

Magnolia, however, did not desist in her aberrant chanting, her pupils glazing over a translucent blue color as she began to rock back and forth, all the while moaning, "Josette DuPres...Josette DuPres...Josette DuPres!"

In a flash, Lavinya backhanded her mistress, only to immediately regret it once Magnolia fainted and fell weakly into the sanction of her arms. "Madame Foxworthy!", she wailed, lightly patting her cheek. "Madame Foxworthy!"

Alas, it was no use. Magnolia was already too far out of reach...

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"Josette!" young David Collins called, cupping his hands over his mouth as he anxiously explored the dusty lengths of the Old House. "Josette!" he tried yet again, feeling pitifully crestfallen upon the sudden realization that his favorite apparition was nowhere to be found.

Cursing his rotten luck, David miserably plopped down onto one of the overstuffed high-back chairs, a heavy sigh escaping his lips as he glanced to his right and up toward Josette's portrait before smiling a gloomy smile.

Josette was his only friend, yet for some reason this fact did not seem to sadden him in the slightest. In fact, it was quite the opposite. He much preferred her to any live, breathing human being any day, and that was the Lord's truth. She at least listened to his 'nonsense', as his father put it, and didn't belittle him for being afraid of the dark or for finding spiders to be 'icky' like many of the girls that he knew.

In spite of David's tremendous affection for the ghost, he couldn't help but wonder if deep-down Josette really wasn't there and that his attention-starved conscious was making her up to please his innermost desires. He wanted a friend, yes, yet somehow none of the other children in Collinsport made him feel quite like Josette did.

And now...

Where was she?

Sulking, David finally slid off the chair and stood before her portrait, his frown even deepening in its intensity upon the sudden realization that it no longer smelled of jasmines...

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Beth Chavez frowned deeply to herself as she continued to dust the living space to the drawing room, her forehead creasing ever-so-slightly as she found herself wondering why on earth Mr. Collins had hired that 'Angelique Bouchard' character opposed to someone with more worthy qualifications. Yes, she was so far doing her job, and yes, she had been referred to Collinwood by a former recipient, but why her, of all people? Beth wasn't a natural when it came to judging other individuals, yet she definitely believed that there was more than met the eye with this shady new employee.

Just then, as if in answer to her unspoken questions, Beth found herself gazing upon none other than Angelique Bouchard, herself.

"Oh...Angelique", she greeted, shocked. "I've obviously got this room taken care of, but if you'd like me to refer you to another part of the mansion, I'd be more than happy to."

Angelique sensed suspicion in Beth's demeanor and nervous greeting. She would have to calm her fears, she thought, but was unaware that her question would only increase Beth's uneasiness. "I've finished upstairs, Beth, but I was wondering why the door at the end of the hall is locked. Mr. Collins didn't give me a key, and I wanted to make sure I had everything covered before asking if Mrs. Johnson needs my help in the kitchen."

Beth gave her a curt smile. "Door at the end of the hall? Oh, don't pay it any mind...all that's behind that door is a bunch of old furniture collecting dust. If Mr. Collins wanted either of us to clean it, believe me, he would have given us the key." Absently rubbing her arm, she added meekly, "I assume that your suspicions of the West Wing have been quieted?"

Angelique's suspicions, to the contrary, had been awakened. Furniture should not be collecting dust in a mansion with a full staff to keep things in order. Angelique was now determined to uncover the secrets of the West Wing and find out what was being hidden beyond the dust.

"Certainly, Beth. If we've covered everything, I'll go ahead and join Mrs. Johnson in the kitchen. Is there anything I've missed? I do appreciate your help in showing me around and getting me familiar with our duties."

Beth smiled. "No, I think that about does it...if you need me, I'll be in the servant's quarters upstairs. Good day, Angelique."

Sending the blonde a perfunctory smile, Beth hiked up her skirts and clip-clopped off toward the double doors, never once stopping to look behind her due to the initial fear of what she'd find.

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As soon as Maggie entered the Blue Whale, she knew that she was immediately at home. Despite the nauseating cigarette smoke and the rather bland strains of music filtering throughout the atmosphere, she felt as if there were no other place in the world she'd rather be at that given moment; especially now that she was apparently in danger.

Spotting Joe over at their usual table, Maggie plastered a rather cheesy smile upon her dainty features, then waved in greeting. "Joe...hello!"

Locked in his own train of thoughts, Joe Haskell barely even heard Maggie's chipper greeting, but there was something about her voice that struck him like a much needed alarm clock. Looking up, he saw her and smiled in kind, waving her over. "There you are!"

He got up to greet her, wrapping his arms warmly around her slender waist. All the while, Maggie couldn't see the painfully worried expression painted across Joe's eyes and lips.

"Sorry I'm late!", the dark-haired beauty apologized, briefly pulling away from his embrace so that she could gaze into his warm hazel eyes. "I had to deal with certain shenanigans at the Collinsport Inn, but now that that's out of the way, I'm free to do whatever you're up to." Noting Joe's half-empty glass of gin and tonic on the checkered table she asked rather dispiritedly, "Mind if I have one, too? I think I could really use one after tonight's events."

Joe gave a silent signal to the waiter, who came over and took the order for the new round of drinks. This time, though, instead of a beer, Joe ordered himself a glass of water. He wanted to stay sober. Somehow now that Maggie was in the room he tensed up, feeling his inner knight kick in. Recently, because of the slew of attacks on the local women, he and Sam had been on their guard with Maggie. Her father, a poor but proficient painter serving as her sole living family member, was also up in arms about her roving about town by herself. But tonight, Joe was trying stay conscious of every last thing he was doing so as to properly escort her home; most especially to keep an eye out for any suspicious characters.

Another thing he had in mind was that tonight-- and maybe just for tonight-- he would hush his staunch vocal objections to her running around town like a dog off her leash. Because that's just what she was, in Joe's mind. He loved her. By God, he loved her! But when she was told to do one thing, she could be the most stubborn woman Joe had ever had the pleasure-- or the displeasure-- of meeting.

Maybe that was what attracted him to her so boldly. Then again, sometimes it was also (by contrast) what really brought out the worst in him. He hated to yell, and yet Maggie caused a lot of that yelling to surface. Not to say that it was one-sided, of course. Maggie was every bit the redhead she seemed, so much so that if you barked at her, she'd bark right back twice as loud.

"So, why don't you tell me more about your night?" He suggested calmly, holding his glass of water near his lips before bringing it up to them for a sip.

Maggie gave him a tight-lipped smile, yet it was noticeably forced. "My...night?" she reiterated, almost seeming as if she had somehow misunderstood the question. Finally seeming to have a good enough excuse, the dark-haired beauty laughed it off, then gave a slight shrug of the shoulders. "It was very ordinary, I suppose...with the exception of when this street urchin told me that I was in danger of a future addition to Collinwood. She was a strange girl, but completely harmless," she added, noticing the look in Joe's eyes. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't believe her, and you shouldn't, either."

"Um..." he cleared his throat, "maybe this person was just worried about you." He made sure to maintain his soft and cool tone with these next words, "You've read the papers. You've heard about the string of murders that have hit the town. You're an independent girl, Maggie, and I know you like your freedom, but Eva, Sam, and myself are just looking out for you. How do you think we'd feel if you ended up being that lunatic's prey?"

God forbid he should lose her. They'd only been in a relationship for the past year or so, but he'd grown so attached to her and her father that he already felt like they were family.

A lump grew in his throat and he pushed away the gush of emotion strangling him and striving to force its way to the fore. Joe would never let himself cry, but for the past few nights, he had thought of the potentiality of Maggie becoming victim number five. The very idea was the reason why Sam didn't want to leave town in the first place. He made Joe promise he'd watch over her and was the first to agree on the idea of Maggie's moving in with him or vice versa. And from the looks of it, it seemed as if he would be moving in with her. That is, if she didn't rear her stubborn side tonight, as per usual.

As Maggie watched several unreadable emotions darken the contours of his face, she placed a hand over his own and gently began to rub his fingers. "I'm sorry, Joe, but those stories don't frighten me...if I were to heed everyone's warning I'd never be able to see the light of day, again! How do you expect me to live my life the way I want to if I'm constantly having to worry about something?" Noticing the reproachful look in his eyes, she suddenly withdrew her hand from his as if it were a poisonous tentacle. "Don't look at me that way, Joe," she warned, pausing in order to take a generous sip of her alcohol, "it makes me uncomfortable."

Going against his initial plan to stay collected, Joe was gradually allowing his protective nature to take the wheel.

He noticed her recoil, but only gave her hand a split second glimpse before his hazel eyes darted back up to hers. "Well what am I supposed to do...ignore all the signs? You're a woman, Maggie!" He pointed out sternly, "It's not safe for you to go roaming out at night." He looked away, pensive, "In fact, I can't even believe I let you out alone tonight." Those were the words he added lowly before realizing too late that he should have quit while he was ahead. Arguing with Maggie was like jumping into an ocean full of sharks. He knew he was in for it now.

"Can't believe you let me out, alone?" the dark-haired beauty reiterated, thoroughly insulted. "Joe, for once in your life, please get serious! How many years have we lived in Collinsport? Our whole lives, correct?" When he nodded, she continued, "And in those 25 years, have either of us had an encounter with a mugger or a murderer?" Again, he shook his head, so Maggie nodded in triumph. "There, you see? Case closed. Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must be returning to the cottage since it's apparently so unsafe. If there are any shady characters in particular that I should be looking out for, please, by all means, inform me of them now."

"Maggie, be reasonable!" Joe called, following after her before striding behind her to the wooden entrance stairway. "No, we haven't had cause to lock our doors in this town before
now, but are you nuts? Megan Foster worked at the toy shop just across the street from the diner and she was every bit as willing to walk home on her own as you are now. Where did that lead her?" Joe didn't wait for an answer, "She's dead now. You're so stubborn, you won't listen to reason!"

"Oh, let her go, you brute." Carrie, the only waitress on duty nudged Joe as she passed him by, "If anyone gives Mags the stink eye, you know she'll bark back."

Joe shot her a look, "Stay out of this, Carrie." Then he turned his attention back to Maggie once more. "Look, I didn't want to make a scene. Let me walk you home." He swiped his coat from the rack on the wall just to the right of them, "God forbid you should run into the likes of Jason Maguire or Willie Loomis-"

No sooner had he uttered the unpleasant words "Willie Loomis" did the entrance to the Blue Whale open to admit none other than Willie, himself. Willie paused, looking sick and disheveled. For a moment he froze there and then lowered his eyes, uncharacteristically unreceptive.

" 'scuse me..." He said, making his way past Maggie.

Inwardly shivering at the sudden contact, Maggie felt herself scooting closer to Joe, her dark eyes taking in the greasy young man as if she weren't sure where to place him in the scenario. She had to admit that she was a little shaken by his sudden appearance, yet she somehow felt that Joe was wrong about Willie; he didn't seem to be the harmful type. Odd, yes, but not murderous.

Taking Joe by the arm, she asked in a hushed whisper, "What do you suppose that brute wants? I heard Mrs. Stoddard's doing everything in her power to get Jason to kick him out of Collinsport...unfortunately, it seems she's done a pretty terrible job of it."

Joe put an arm in between Willie and Maggie as Willie wedged past them.

"I don't know. But whatever he's up to, it can't be good for the Collins'." Joe returned his stare back to Maggie just as Willie sat down at the bar, his head low to its surface. "So, do you want to take me up on that offer to walk you home, now?" Joe cast a quick, wary glance back at Willie, high on the alert just in case he tried something.

Maggie knew that she should have said yes; really, she should have, but something deep inside her kept her feet rooted firmly to the ground. "No, that's alright...you go ahead. I think I'd like to talk to Carrie and have one last nightcap." Readjusting the strap to her purse upon her shoulder, the dark-haired beauty gave the bar a sideways glance, then leaned up to give Joe a quick peck on the cheek. Bestowing him with a winning smile, she added lightly, "Don't worry about me, alright? If push comes to shove, I'll have Carrie walk me home."

Joe's eyes wisped to over Carrie, who was languidly pushing herself from table to table with the tray of six drinks she held in her hand. He wanted to argue to Maggie that the safest route was to his car and straight home, but Carrie, too, had a car parked right near the heavily lit entrance. What also crossed Joe's mind was that this could benefit both women.
There was safety in numbers. This was what he had to remind himself over and over
before he finally relented.

He also relented because he didn't want to cheese off Maggie any further.

Putting his hands on her shoulders and giving her a cautionary gaze, he said to her, "Alright. You win." This time he allowed the smallest of smiles to crease his lips, "I'll go. You go home with Carrie. Though, I don't know what's worse," He said as he pulled away slowly and made way for the exit with his first jovial smile of the night, "Getting strangled by a maniac or having to spend an evening with Carrie."

When he reached the outside of the Blue Whale, he paused and the smile disappeared completely. "Stay safe, Maggie." He said lowly, hopefully. And then he strode to his car across the way.

As soon as Joe had left, Maggie found herself standing there in utter disbelief. He had actually let her stay; how she had managed to convince him she wasn't sure, yet she found that she harbored no complaints.

Shooting a smile over toward Carrie, Maggie found herself sashaying over toward the bar, completely disregarding Willie Loomis' presence as she leaned in against the lacquered top and tapped at the surface. "Care to join me for a nightcap, Carrie? You look like you've had a busy day."

Carrie gave her a crooked smile. "You think the pack of boozers'll give me a break in between knocking 'em back and giving me catcalls?" She laughed, "Give me a quick
second and I'll be right with you."

Though she was fatigued from her frizzy black hair to her chubby little toes, Carrie Moss was always looking on the brighter side of life; even when she was about to pass out, whether it be in her nice comfy bed of plush comforters or right there on the puke-stained hard wood floor. But she always had a sort of twinkle in her eye, whatever be the case.

She hurried over to the back of the room where a lone insignificant figure draped himself over the table. He dragged an arm outward as Carrie brought him his drink and snatched it from her grasp.

With the empty tray in hand, Carrie came back to where Maggie was.

"Carter, I think I'm gonna pass out if I have to swish back and forth like that again. Mind giving me a 10 minute break?" She whined as she replaced the tray back underneath the bar.

Carter was busily filling Willie Loomis' glass with a frothy drink. It looked like it took his all to cast her a glance, and when he did, he didn't look all too pleased.

"No, you're the only one on duty!" He said, slapping the beer down before a startled Willie.

Willie jolted upward and looked around him like a galvanized rat. He was shaking from head to toe and sweating as if he were in an oven. Finally looking back at his beer, he hunched his shoulders over and sheepishly accepted the drink.

"Fine." Carrie shrugged. "10 minutes it is. Come on, Maggie. Let's sit on the other side away from the racket." She punctuated that last word as she threw an acrid glance in the way of the bulbous Carter Moss.

On the way to their table, Carrie complained, "He thinks just because he's my older brother that he can be such an asshole! If I weren't so nice, I'd stick it to 'im real good!"

She sat down at the farthest table from the bar, which had a view of the front of the establishment just to their left. Once she plopped herself down, she looked grateful, kicking off her heels and smiling. "So, what's the haps tonight? I saw you and Joe duke it out. Is there trouble in paradise?"

Maggie gave her a tight-lipped smile. "I suppose you could say that...Joe's all up in arms over those girls in the papers. The way he acts it's as if he thinks I'm number one on the hit list!"

Frowning to herself, Maggie traced her finger along one of the red squares on the checkered tablecloth, muttering, "I'll tell ya, Carrie...you have no idea how lucky you are. You don't have an overprotective father and boyfriend breathing down your neck every two seconds...the way things are going right now I'm afraid Joe might even start insisting on escorting me to the bathroom!"

Carrie gave a whoop of a laugh. "Guys don't understand us girls. No one's bossing me around. I go where I wanna go, when I wanna go there. I could be going to hell and back and it's still up to me! I basically I take life by the seat of its pants and do whatever the heck I want. And you know what? I have fun! There's no way I'm gonna sit in my house like a crotchety old convalescent-" That was a new word she learned from a book she'd read the other night, "-worrying that everyone's out to get me. It's just not worth it! I wanna go places! I wanna go to Germany and France and visit the Eiffel Tower and... and all that stuff..." She trailed off, "You know what I'm saying?" She looked over at Willie, "Take that bloke over there. He looks about ready to die. But when he first came in here... boy, the stories he told me," she said, painting on a devilish and knowing grin.

Maggie leaned forward in her seat, now considerably intrigued. "Stories? What kind of stories?" She had tried not to sound so eager, but inwardly kicked herself since she knew how blatant her tone had been.

Her initial curiosity had stemmed ever since Jason McGuire and Willie had come to town, so she figured that any dirt she could get her hands on would either quiet or inflame her already nagging fear that there was some sort of conspiracy going on.

Carrie dropped her foot with a thud, her eyes sizing up the sallow Willie Loomis like a wolf with a piece of meat nearby. "He's not half bad. But he is a lech, I've gotta tell ya. He's a drifter, you know that much, right?" She waited for Maggie to respond, then, "There's more than meets the eye about him. He told me some stories that would make you squint. Stories like..." She had to think, "like about the time he stole this mayor's car. Told them he was the valet and made off like a thief in the night." She laughed, "He also said something about that old Jason. Whoo, Jason's a charmer, too. Too bad he's also very 'man-IP-u-la-tive' ." She said, stressing every syllable sensuously, "You know he's had Willie do a lot of the dirty work for him? Willie even went to prison for him after a b&a job and Jason didn't take none of the rap! It's incredible! Oh! And there was the time Willie introduced Jason's sister to his sheets." Here she let out a boisterous laugh, but kept her voice low so as not to let Willie hear.

Carrie then realized who she was with and held her tongue. Not everyone cared to hear what went on in other peoples' bedrooms. Not as much as she did, at least. Maggie just didn't seem like the type and Carrie thought to respect that. "Wow. But that's a tale so far out of your style it's not funny." She laughed in spite of herself.

Despite it not even having been her business that had just been spilt, Maggie felt her cheeks reddening to a delicate rosy hue, her eyes straying toward the loner in question before asking softly, "He's that...involved, is he? I assumed he was mentally ill...perhaps some sort of personality disorder? After all, I'd hardly consider him to be at the top of my list for dinner party guests." Pausing in order to take a sip of her alcohol, she added rather tartly, "And who are you to say what's in and out of my style? I may be a virgin, but I think I can handle a few raunchy stories every now and then."

What she had just uttered was completely off-base and she knew it, yet somehow she felt as if she needed to prove herself beyond the stereotypes.

"Who am I!" Carrie laughed, pointing to herself, "The girl with most of the answers, that's who! You'd be surprised at what you hear in this place if you stick around long enough. Everyone's got a secret that's bound to come out sooner or later. And if you ask me-"

Carter called her just then, telling her to get back to work. She cast an unpleasant snarl in his direction, rose from the table and then continued what she was saying to Maggie as she stepped back into her heels, "-If you ask me, that man over there's got something to hide."

She excused herself and then went back on her shift, once again dragging herself back to the counter.

Maggie opened her mouth to speak, then immediately closed it in defeat. In times like these she found that things were better left unsaid.

Suddenly coming to the conclusion that it was high time she left, anyway, the young woman turned toward the bar in order to express her regrets about leaving without a proper good-bye, only to then spot the tiny splotches of blood on Willie's right coat sleeve.

Trembling, she tried to choke out a signal to Carrie in order to get her attention, only to release a pathetic little squeak, instead.

What had happened? Was Willie Loomis a murderer?

Carrie had just been to the bar retrieving another order when she caught Maggie's alarming expression. She furrowed her brow and screwed up her lips in curiosity, then mouthed the word "What?". It was a gesture that went unnoticed by the darkly contemplative Willie Loomis.

Far too frightened to respond aloud in case Willie were to notice what was going on behind him, Maggie made a rather blatant gesture toward the young man's arm, her head cocking along with her actions in such a manner that she looked terribly awkward. In any normal case scenario Maggie would have laughed at herself, but this was clearly not one of those times.

Willie, though out of it for the most part, was not oblivious to the gesturing
behind him. Weakly he turned his head and was about to say something when
Carrie called him to her attention.

"Hey, you must have been roughed up pretty badly," She said, not even
trying to conceal the fact that her eyes were now fixed to a bandage on his wrist,
"Have you seen a doc about that?"

"It's nothin'." Willie hurriedly covered it up.

"Well, I'm no doc myself, but can't that get infec-"

"I said it's nothin'!" he barked.

Carrie's eyebrows rose. "Okay, sheesh! Just have a little bitta sympathy for me," she groused, her anger obviously heightened. "Don't bleed all over the bar, alright?"

On that sour note, she fled over to Maggie, tugging her to a remote corner of the bar for more privacy. Again, Willie was not oblivious to this, covering his wound with his jacket even
further. Did they know? What if they found out? His paranoia was rising but he didn't know what to do right now. On one side he had this extreme paranoia that they were going to find out-- if they didn't know already. And on the other side, barring him from doing anything, was this crippling fear of the thing that gave him the wound on his arm in the first place.

'Just one more drink,' he thought to himself, 'Just one more and I'll leave. Anything to take away the memory of that thing.'

At the same time, on the other side of the bar, Carrie was saying to Maggie, "I think he's seriously hurt. Isn't he usually all over the place by now? He used to be like a circus animal, but now look at him! He looks about ready to keel over!"

Maggie nodded, yet she couldn't help but shiver upon noticing Willie taking furtive glances back in their direction. "I think he knows we're talking about him, Carrie...what if he gets any ideas? He might've murdered someone, for all we know!"

Taking the curly-haired brunette by the arm, she added in a harsh whisper, "I think someone should take him back to Collinwood...Jason McGuire should be able to take care of him until we can get a doctor."

Carrie raised a finely shaped dark brow and gave Maggie a look that suggested she was off her rocker. Then, after a moments thought, she too wondered if it were possible that this Willie Loomis-- stranger in a strange town-- had done a little nocturnal hunting, thus causing the wound on his hand. What if he was the one who'd committed the recent murders?

"I don't know..." Carrie said, trying to alleviate her elevating fear, "He looks like he's dying there all over the bar. I don't think he's up to anything but passing out in a few minutes. If anyone's probably to blame over the recent murders, I'd say it's that Jason Maguire..."

Just then, another person entered the Blue Whale. He had a charismatic air about him, a booming Irish accented voice and he was headed straight for the weakened Willie Loomis.

"Speak of the devil" Carrie said lowly.

Glancing toward the grinning man with the mischievously twinkling eyes, Maggie couldn't help but feel her guard go up. "Good evening, Mr. Maguire", she found herself greeting nonetheless, forcing a tired smile to cross her lips as she nodded politely in his direction. "We were just talking about you...Carrie and I, that is. Your friend over there seems to be in need of some serious medical attention. I was actually just about to offer him a lift over to Collinwood since we were afraid he wouldn't make it ten feet into town."

Jason had been looking for Willie all night, worried that the fool had gotten desperate and broken into something. Willie had been acting very strange and secretive the past few days and Jason had been meaning to get to the bottom of it, but when he finally did it always seemed as if Willie were drunk or getting close to it. Instead of getting straight to the target, however, he suddenly found himself held up by the Evans girl.

"Good evenin' to you too, lass. I've been looking for Willie myself, actually, and if you don't mind, I'll be the one seeing and judging if he needs help..." Jason said giving the women a smile and polite nod.

Usually it was his tactic to stay and chat it up with fine young lasses but he still needed to talk to Willie first to asses whatever damages his protégé may have incurred upon himself.

"He'll be needing it when I through with him." Jason added lowly to himself as he approached Willie at the bar. "Willie! So this is where you've been hiding yourself eh?"

Jason clapped a hand on Willie's shoulder and began to turn the man around when he noted how shaken and weak he seemed to be.

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Outside the Blue Whale within the darkened shadows of a building a nameless whore fell quietly into the dark waters. Her body drained of blood and her neck broken, she floated lifelessly to the bottom. The man, one Barnabas Collins, watched her body disappear into the
water. He didn't even know the woman's name, just that she was a 'Lady of the Night' and that she took all her secrets to her watery grave below.

Barnabas smiled and breathed in the night air, rejoicing in his freedom from that long and dark prison that had been his coffin. Long had been that tormented night of famine, an unnatural thirst that grew with each passing year that he stayed locked within his tomb. It had felt as if he had been born again into the world, once again seeing light, hearing sound and smelling... blood. The need for it had been overwhelming and he had taken the fool who had opened his coffin. Luckily Barnabas had had enough restraint not to drain the man dry as he had the woman he had just killed.

Barnabas knew his new servant was mere yards away in the Blue Whale since he could smell the man's fear and sweat. Barnabas had also glimpsed a woman through the
glass of the Blue Whale, a woman whose very visage tugged at his cold black heart. Another obsession was awakening beneath his breast and he knew then that must have her; he
must know her, for she was the very image of his dear Josette. Of this he was sure, for it couldn't be anyone other than his lost love...

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"Ah now Willie, you look paler then a ghost... What's wrong with ya boy?" Jason asked Willie looking, puzzled at the man's condition and noticing the blonde trying to cover something up on his arm.

"Willie, what's wrong with you? You can tell me." Jason said, putting on that fatherly look that he used to give his friend to lower his guard.

"Uh...Jason" Maggie suddenly horned in, are you absolutely sure that Willie doesn't need to see a doctor? Really, it's no trouble at all...I could phone Dr. Woodard, if you'd like. He's looks absolutely ghastly!"

Not really paying mind to the girl, Willie weakly emitted a mere two words to Jason, "Nothin's wrong with me. I'm fine. Just leave me alone." He said this sedately, yet still all the more weakly.

"No, Willie" Jason argued sternly, shaking his head. "You don't look fine at all!" Reaching forward he then grabbed Willie's arm to reveal the shabby bandage covering an obvious wound. "What's this, Willie? Cut yourself shaving have you?" Jason demanded sarcastically.

"Just leave me alone, Jason" Willie whined, pulling his arm away.

"Um, perhaps you really should leave him alone, Mr. Maguire" Maggie finally decided to offer, suddenly taking pity on the young man as she noticed how he clearly wanted nothing more than to be away from all the customers in the Blue Whale. "Just take him back to Collinwood, alright? I can call you a cab."

"No need, missy" Jason assured her before casually tipping his hat and placing it back on his head. "We were just about to head there ourselves...weren't we, Willie?"

The blonde said nothing, silently admiring the lacquered bar top with his lifeless and sunken dark eyes.

Taking this as an affirmation Jason grabbed Willie by the arm and pulled him up from the bar, bidding cheerily, "Farewell, you lovely lasses - take care-a yourselves, alright?"

"You, too" Maggie returned, quirking an eyebrow as the loud Irishman practically dragged poor Willie out of the Blue Whale and into the dark streets of Collinsport. Absently rubbing her arm she then turned to Carrie, announcing softly, "I'd better leave, as well...do you need any help closing up?"

The brunette immediately shook her head before bending over Willie's spot with a rag. "Nope...just need to clean up the blood."

Wincing, Maggie nodded, clutching her purse between her bone-white fingers before rushing toward the exit as fast as her long legs would carry her.

A/N: Welp, that's CH 1. :) Hopefully you guys enjoyed it as much as we loved writing it! Again, this was created by the role-playing game I've made, so if you'd like to join, you're more than welcome. :D Just tell me in your review and I'll help you get started!

Special thanks to DJ, Scott, MirandaDuval, and ThethirdUncle37 for working with me in this chapter! ;)

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