Chapter 1

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard always checked her gun before she went to bed.

Other people had nightly rituals like brushing their teeth, listening to relaxing music or having a glass of milk before bed.

The matriarch of the Collins family however, slept more soundly knowing her shotgun was nearby and loaded incase she ever needed it.
That task done she changed into a long white nightgown, sat in front of the vanity and ran a brush through her hair.

The mirror showed bright blue eyes, long slightly curly blonde hair and fair skin that was still soft and smooth. The years had added a few lines around her eyes and mouth, but Elizabeth was still a very lovely woman.

Once she had finished brushing her hair she slid into bed and turned off the lamp on her bedside table.

She was just drifting off to sleep when she felt a draft of cold air. Her eyes opened and she sat up in bed. The window was open. She frowned. She could have sworn she had closed it before going to bed.
Slowly she walked over to window and looked out of it before sliding it shut. A glance around the room told her no one was there. She decided either she hasn't shut it… or she hadn't shut it properly… and it had blown open

Elizabeth got back into bed. She had barely closed her eyes when a hand slid over her mouth and the sickly smell of chloroform filled her nostrils.
She only got a vague impression of blonde hair and red lips before she sank into unconsciousness.

When Elizabeth started to come to she was lying in a most uncomfortable position, on what felt like leather. She tried moving her hands from behind her back but felt some kind of cord cutting into her wrists.

She groaned as her head throbbed dully and slowly opened her eyes

She was in a large room with white walls, a red carpet and red furniture. It had no windows and an underground feeling to it.

And to complete the ominous picture… sitting on the couch opposite was…
"Angelique" Elizabeth said, managing to inject a world of contempt into those 3 syllables.

"Oh good… you're awake" said Angie with a smirk, sitting back and putting her stiletto booted feet on the coffee table.
Elizabeth slowly sat up, giving the witch a glare that clearly wished her grievous bodily harm. "What on earth do you think you're doing dragging me here like this?" she said frostily.
"You're a smart woman Elizabeth… surely you can figure it out" Angelique purred.
Elizabeth frowned as the obvious answer came to mind. "You're going to use to get to Barnabas. Either as bait or leverage…" she said, disgust in her voice.
A grin curved Angelique's red lips. "That's right. So until I figure out which… consider yourself my guest" she said.
Elizabeth gave the witch a glare. "Guests usually have a room with windows… and can leave whenever they want" she said scathingly.
Angelique shrugged. "Guest. Prisoner. Call it what you want dear… you aren't going anywhere…"
"Do you feed your prisoners here? I'm starving…" Elizabeth said, crossing her arms across her chest.
The witch laughed. "I'll have the cook bring you down some breakfast soon. And if you want to dress… there are some clothes in the closet in the bedroom" she said, pointing to one of the two doors.
Elizabeth walked into the bedroom and opened the closet. All the clothing in it seemed to be short, low cut or otherwise skimpy.
"You actually expect me to wear this stuff?" Elizabeth asked incredulous, looking at Angelique, who was standing in the doorway.
The witch smirked. "Unless you want to stay in that nightdress…" she said, eyes sliding over the thin silk in a way that… had Angie been a man… Elizabeth would have said was decidedly lascivious.
She sighed and grabbed a slightly short, strappy, dark blue dress that appeared to be the most modest thing in the closet. Angie smirked and Elizabeth looked at her. "Are you going to watch me get changed?" she asked coolly.
Angie laughed and closed the door, leaving her in peace.
Elizabeth quickly changed into the dress, trying not to think about how Angelique had looked at her… and praying that Barnabas would come to rescue her soon.