A/N: This is the first chapter in the sequel to 'Restoration' featuring Willie / Barnabas / Angelique and the OC Abigail. I do reference incidents in the prior installements, the first of which is 'The Beginning' followed by 'Restoration'. I do hope you enjoy! And I do not own Dark Shadows or any of their characters.
"Hell of a way to start out the New Year Martinez…what are we lookin' at - WHOA!"
"Joe about time you got here. Shit… you wreak of one of your hundred dollar an hour girlfriends."
"Jealous Martinez? Man what the hell happened in here? Wha…what's wrong with their eyes?"
"Not sure, we just got on the scene. Someone called in a disturbance …hey put that shit down! CSI is on its way, I'd like to try and not destroy any evidence if possible."
"Look at this place! How would you even know? There isn't a single space uncovered on the walls. Look at all this shit. How many stiffs?"
"Three dead and one survivor. They found him curled up in a ball and mumbling incoherently in the dumpster out in the alley. They have him in the ambulance and are checkin' him out."
"Can we at least turn that damn radio off? That static is driving me crazy."
"Don't touch anything! That includes the radio. Why don't you go make yourself useful and see if they are makin' any progress with the kid…and be careful, don't step in whatever that is on the floor."
The detective walked up the stairs and down the alleyway where the ambulance was sitting. It was after midnight and the streets were still noisy with New Year's Eve party goers.
"Hey, let me talk to the kid. He okay?"
"Hi Joe, I'm afraid he isn't making much sense, we've given him something to relax. Physically he seems to be alright. You on the other hand look like shit, nice shade of lipstick on you shirt."
"Yeah well I was kinda in the middle of somethin' when I got this call. Give me a minute with the kid will ya?"
Joe climbed into the ambulance and looked at the young man huddled on the gurney.
"What's your name kid? It's okay I'm not gonna bite ya. What's your name?"
"Vincent. How old are you Vincent…are those your friends in there?"
"19 and Y-eah. Yes sir."
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"NO! J-just leave me alone okay? C-can I go? I just want to go."
"Look Vincent you're eyes are bloodshot as hell and you have that ever popular 'I just smoked a joint' cologne on, there are 3 people laying dead down there and you were with 'em. That either makes you a witness or the one who did it. Come on, the quicker you tell me what happened the quicker we can both go."
"We-we were just playin' around. Thought it would be fun to spook each other so we came here, we told the woman we wanted to do a seance, we made up a story… told her we were lookin' to contact my sisters dead boyfriend."
"Your sister in there?"
"Y-yeah." The boy started crying. "It…she… it wasn't human."
"What wasn't human?"
"My sister started acting all funny and I thought she was jokin' around. But then she lunged at the fat lady asking questions. My sister kept asking who the girl was… the big lady told her that she wasn't welcome here and that she needed to go back where she came from."
"Where were you when this happened?"
"I – I was sitting on the couch. The girls were sitting on the floor. The woman made a circle around them with some kind of dirt or something".
"Something flew out of my sister and then into her friend. It…It looked like a woman…a ghost..It flew out right through her eyes! I – I screamed and ran out the door and up the stairs…I thought they would follow me."
"Okay…Okay kid calm down. Did you hear a name?"
"A-Abby. The fat lady screamed the name Abby. T-that's all I know, I ran and hid in the alley. I swear!"
"So you're sayin' you saw something fly out of your sister? What like a ghost?"
"You don't believe me-"
"Joe, come look at this." Joe hopped down from the ambulance and followed Martinez back into the shop.
"Shit…The kid said the same name. He said that the big one there screamed it as he ran from the room. Who the hell is Abby?" Both detectives stared up at Abby's name smeared in black across the ceiling.
"I don't know. I really don't want to go. Abby I'm no good with people."
"Willie they have asked us so many times! It's a New Year's Party! We will have fun."
"I don't know." Willie dragged his hand through his hair. "I-I don't do very good at parties."
"Willie they all want to get to know you better. They are tired of all my constant bragging." Abigail walked over to him and smiled sweetly. "You are such a wonderful man I want them to know you like I do."
"I-I don't know…"
"Pleeeaaaase? I won't leave your side for a minute I promise. I will stay right with you and if you want to leave we will leave." Abigail grabbed his face and kissed him softly on the cheek. She had not been to a party with friends for a long time and she desperately wanted to go.
Willie sat in the kitchen clutching a cup of coffee. He was uncomfortable and tugged at the collar of his button up shirt, he undid the top button hoping that no one would see it beneath the new tie that Abigail had bought him. He had run his hand through his hair a thousand times and thought by now he must look a mess and they hadn't even left yet. His eyes then focused on Abigail entering the room.
"Oh wow Abby…you look beautiful." Abigail twirled around the kitchen and Willie could tell she was brimming with excitement. He hadn't realized until now how much she had given up for him and how much she must have missed it.
"Willie you look so serious. It will be fun you'll see." Abigail reached her hand over and with her fingers combed his blonde sweeps over. "You look handsome." She grabbed his hand and kissed it.
When they arrived at the party Abigail was instantly embraced by smiling friends, some of whom Willie recognized but most he had never seen before.
"So this is the mysterious Willie." A short woman emerged from the crowd and made a deliberate beeline towards them. Willie looked at her and he couldn't help think about how unattractive she was, mostly due to the scowl she was wearing. With eyes that were far too big for her face she stared him down and he began to squirm. Abigail squeezed his hand tight and answered.
"Yes, this is Willie. Willie I would like you to meet Stacey, we went to school together."
Willie kept one hand firmly in his pocket and the other safely wrapped around Abigail's hand.
"Nice to meet you."
They stood there awkwardly as the woman continued to look at him, eying him up, surveying him as if she was attempting to find some hideous flaw beneath his skin.
"And when did you two meet? I heard you got married." Her voice was smug.
"Yes, we met over a year ago, on a job site. We were married only a few months ago."
"It certainly was a shock about Nick. We all thought that you two would be married. You should have seen him when you left. Devastated… It was heartbreaking really. I don't remember seeing you at his funeral and I see your tastes have turned away from the tall dark and handsome type?"
Willie could sense Abigail's tension and he himself was irritated with this little round woman in front of them. Somewhere from deep down he managed to speak before Abigail had a chance to.
"Well… Amy is it? It certainly has been a real joy meeting you. You have a lovely evening." Willie grabbed Abigail's hand and pulled her away across the room. The grin on Abigail's face was ear to ear.
"You did that on purpose, calling her the wrong name."
"Yes. I don't like her."
"I don't like her either. She had a terrible crush on Nick while we dated. She is dreadful."
The rest of the evening unfolded without any more encounters. There were a few mentions of Nick but Willie expected that. Abigail reconnected with old friends and stood by Willie's side never once leaving him. He listened and watched her, occasionally joining in on the conversations. He was happy to see her having such a good time but the crowd was getting overwhelming and he needed some air.
"Um…Excuse me, Abby I am going to step outside for a minute. Will you be okay?" She looked into his eyes and knew instantly he needed a minute alone.
"Yes of course. Don't be long…"
Willie turned and walked outside to the deserted balcony. The cold temperatures weren't very inviting for the party goers in their slinky dresses. He stood there overlooking the city, the streets howling with cars and distant sirens, gently putting him into a trance. His mind drifted to his days at sea, so different from where he was now. A fantasy of taking Abigail out on the ocean brought a smile to his face and he wondered if she would ever want to go. His thoughts were abruptly interrupted when a hand grabbed his shoulder. He spun around to see Abigail's closest friend. Erin was sweet girl whom he had seen many times before and he was comfortable with her.
"Willie…Abigail needs you. She isn't feeling well."
"What's wrong?" He barely finished getting the words out before he was pushing through the door back into the whirlwind of the party.
Erin chased after him. "Willie she's this way…" She grabbed his arm and they rushed to the corner of the ballroom, Abigail was leaning against the wall holding a champagne glass, her eyes were distant and staring into nothingness.
"Abby…what? What is it?" She dropped her glass to the ground as the party began to spin around her and pulled her hands up to her ears. Willie pulled her to the chairs sitting her down and holding her tightly next to him. "Abby…"
"Everyone grab a glass! It's almost time…" A voice boomed over the crowd.
"Something is wrong…Willie I have a terrible feeling. D-Did you hear that screaming? Someone screaming my name… I-I don't know. I can't explain it…" She could have sworn someone screamed her name into her ear.
Erin and Willie exchanged concerned expressions.
The countdown rang around them and at the stroke of midnight the noise makers and horns exploded and engulfed the room.
"Willie I don't feel well … can we go?" The sounds were overwhelming and dread filled Abigail's stomach and swelled in her chest.
"Yes of course…" Willie pulled Abigail into him and supported her as they walked through the crowded room of people kissing and singing.
"Willie please call me and let me know how she is? Do you want me to come with?" Erin was now joined by her fiancé.
"No…no…I have her." Willie smiled at the two of them. "Please go back to the party. She just needs some rest. I'll have her call you tomorrow"
"Feeling better?" Willie handed Abigail a cup of tea but she waved it away as she curled up on the couch with the soft blanket wrapped tight around her.
"Please come sit by me." Abigail pleaded in a quiet voice. Willie immediately obliged and sat down next to her pulling her into his lap.
"Abby honey, are you okay?" He stroked her hair and held her tight. "What happened?"
"I'm okay…I-I don't know what happened. I just had a terrible feeling, I heard someone scream my name. Something terrible has happened." Abigail shook her head disgusted with herself. God Abby you are just being silly. She looked at him and could see the concern in his face and tried to shake off the feelings and change the subject.
"Did you enjoy the party?"
"It was better than I thought it would be until the end. Honey are ya sure you're okay?"
"I- I must have just gotten overwhelmed, maybe a little too much to drink combined with the heat in that room."
"Come on let's go to bed, you look beautiful and exhausted." He bent down and picked her up and carried her to bed.
Barnabas sat in the great room reading his father's diary for quite possibly the thousandth time. He knew much of it by heart now. He looked down at his watch, it was almost midnight and he rested his head back against the chair looking up and noticing the chip on the underside of the fireplace mantel. He remembered the night he first noticed it and what he did to Willie that night. It was an unwelcome thought and he tried to shake it, but his thoughts drifted from that night to the day that Willie left the house for good with Abigail.
Barnabas remembered watching Willie stand in the small bedroom looking around as he was getting ready to pack. Willie opened several drawers and then threw the duffel bag on the bed.
"Nothing in here's mine."
He walked past Barnabas with only the clothes on his back. Willie didn't want anything to do with the old house and that included the clothes that Barnabas had picked out and purchased for him. Those clothes were not his, just reminders of the horrific things that happened in that house. It was then that Barnabas understood that Willie truly didn't have a single thing in the world, except for Abigail, and she was the only thing that Willie needed.
Willie walked out on the front porch and waited for Abigail to pick him up. Barnabas attempted to reach out to Willie, stiff apologies flowing but Willie had no patience for it. He stood there as long as he could listening to Barnabas go on and on about the curse and how the things he had done were done by the monster not by the man. Willie stood there until he could no longer stay silent. He turned and looked at Barnabas.
"Look Willie I was…" Barnabas started again but Willie stopped him.
"N-No.. You Look!" Willie pulled up the back of his shirt revealing a horrific crisscross of scars.
"And here…" He then pulled up the other side of his shirt revealing the black and blue marks and welts that he had been given only a few days before. Willie started to tremble in anger.
"And how can we forget these…" Willie pulled the front of his shirt up revealing more scars that were given to him in the first few months of being with Barnabas. Anger that had been swallowed for so long was starting to make its escape again.
"Oh…and my favorite ones…" Then Willie pushed back both his sleeves revealing old scars and new wounds that ran around his wrists as well as what remained of the puncture marks.
"These…these were done to a man. I will have them forever as a reminder, I-I'm sorry Barnabas but if it's forgiveness you're lookin' for I don't have it to give. I regret that night I opened the coffin, I am remorseful for sinkin' so low as to rob a grave. But what I got in return was far worse than anythin' any man deserves. What you did to me…all those nights locked up in that room in the dark, or in the cell, I don't even know how many beatings there were…" Abigail reached over and grabbed Willie's hand, Willie was so distraught that he didn't even notice that she had arrived. Willie turned and looked at her and squeezed her hand and then looked back at Barnabas. "What you did to her…"
"Willie let's go…come on…" She tugged at his hand and he turned his back to Barnabas and they walked away from the house. Abigail turned one last time. "Goodbye Mr. Collins. Good luck to you."
With that they got in the car and pulled away leaving Barnabas alone.
Barnabas opened his eyes and returned to the present leaving the thoughts of Willie behind. He looked around the empty room and now regretted not joining his family for their New Year's Party. Barnabas stood up and looked out the front window when a wind tore through the room. Barnabas spun around and watched as each candle's flame went out, one by one, until the room went completely dark.
"Barnabas…I'm home." A haunting voice wrapped around his head. "I will see you soon, it is time so set things right…"