Disclaimer: Dark Shadows is a Dan Curtis Production and not mine

Broken Paradise

In the pitch black night, Maggie Evans hypnotically made her way through the mist in Eagle Hill Cemetery in her long white nightgown. This was not the destination she normally goes to, but she didn't question her actions.

Someone was calling. Someone she desperately wanted to get to. She vaguely didn't know why she was being summoned, but any reasonable doubt was blocked in her mind.

Someone was calling, and Maggie needed to reach him. Passing by grave after grave, Maggie finally encountered a dark cloak figure eloquently waiting for her by a gravestone. The gravestone of Josette Collins. Maggie's hazy eyes and the cloak figure's dark ones somehow locked sharply through the curtain of mist.

"Very well, my dear," a familiar cultured voice cut through the mist. "Come closer."

Completely unquestioningly, Maggie glided her way through the mist to reach the now familiar haunted features of Barnabas Collins. Maggie came closer to him, and he grabbed her hands and pulled her closer. After Barnabas sized her up, he leaned into her neck and exposed his sharp fangs piercing into her soft silky skin. He lustily drink the sweet crimson of her blood.

The scene faded away from Maggie like the cemetery mist being drifted away by a breeze.

She next found herself lying straight on her back in a firm tight space. She found she now wore an antique wedding gown. She gazed up frantically to find Barnabas staring down on her with no emotion in his dark soulless eyes. Maggie glanced around from where she laid, and realized she was in a centuries-old mausoleum. Barnabas looked down on her, and slowly shut the lid on top of her, his evil eyes gleaming as he did so. Maggie gave out an ear-splitting scream, but no one heard her through the tight claustrophobic blackness.

When Willie Loomis entered Maggie's dark cell in the Old House's basement, Maggie frantically tossed and turned on the old cot she slept on. She was obviously suffering from a severe nightmare.

Willie urgently placed her tray of toast on top of a wooden crate, and came to her, trying to wake her up.

"Maggie," he gently called to her, lightly shaking her shoulders. "Maggie..."

Maggie shot up like a rocket, screaming frantically, nearly knocking into the hovering Willie. Her eyes were wide and filled with terror, her face was as pale as a ghost, and a cold sweat dripped down her brow. It was indeed a terrible nightmare she just suffered through, and Willie didn't need to guess on who she had the unfortunate dream about. Willie woke up that way himself when he gets them.

He lightly placed his hands back on her shoulders, and asked gently, "Ya alright?"

Maggie gave Willie a look that registered she acknowledged him, and stared around in her prison despairingly. Willie had an inkling Maggie was hoping to find herself back in the safety and comfort of her own bedroom at the Evans cottage, and not in a dark, dank, cobwebbed infested basement cell with him.

Maggie exhaled heavily, the haunted look in her dark eyes alluding to the fact that she was back to being a prisoner to a monster named Barnabas Collins. A monster who rested in his coffin in the next room. She may had emerged from a terrible nightmare, but Maggie also lived in a real life one.

She gave Willie a sorrowful look, and breathed, "He locked me in a coffin."

Willie flinched at those words. He rushed over to get her tray, desperately wanting to avoid sharing that horrific memory with her.

"Got your breakfast," he told her simply.

Even though it was morning, there was no evidence of that. The Old House basement didn't filter any natural sunlight. The whole area was dark and dreary, the way Barnabas liked it because it made it easier for him to rest comfortably during the day.

"Ya really should eat," Willie tried to encouraged Maggie.

He placed the tray on her lap on the cot. Maggie picked up a piece of toast off the plate with no comment. (Toast in that it was actually uncooked bread with cinnamon on it. The Old House didn't maintain any electricity, meaning no toaster for Willie to make the meal correctly.) After staring at it blankly, Maggie took a couple of nibbles off of it, and placed it back on the plate.

She returned the tray back to the servant.

"Oh, c'mon, eat more than that!" Willie protested heatedly. "Ya hardly ate yesterday and the day before that!"

"Yeah, well, when you're force to be here against your will, and is also force to be a bride to a creature of the night, you tend to lose your appetite," Maggie snipped.

Willie looked at her astonished. He hadn't seen her acting gutsy like this since... Barnabas entered their lives.

"Ya gotta eat," Willie persisted. "There's still gotta be a chance for ya."

"I'm inclined to disagree, Willie," Maggie huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

"What? Why?" Willie cocked his head. He looked down on her a little sadly.

"Willie, you won't let me escape!" Maggie glared up at him with dark eyes.

"Ya know why I can't let ya do that!" Willie retorted heatedly.

Maggie's sharp glare soften. She knew Barnabas had a strong mental hold on him. For a time, he had a strong mental grip on her.

Willie chided himself for being so weak. He wish he could get himself out of his master's hold like Maggie did. He wish Maggie could just find a way to escape from this damn house of horrors.

Maggie gave Willie a look resigning that it was pointless to be angry at him. She heaved a deep sigh and gaze downward.

Willie looked at her a little hopefully, and asked, "Will ya finish your breakfast now?"

Maggie turned her chocolate brown gaze up at him, and murmured, "If only we could leave this place together."

"Ya know just as well as I do that Barnabas won't let us leave this house together," Willie said matter-of-factly.

"I mean to leave Collinsport," Maggie clarified.

"Leave... Collinsport..." Willie stammered. "But will ya miss your father... and..." he hesitated slightly. "... and Joe?" he finished lamely.

"I think it hardly matters anymore," Maggie said somberly. "I'll never see my friends and family again. Not as long as that monster is still living."

Willie looked at her a little sadly again as she cast her own sad gaze down on her lap. Willie didn't know what to say to encourage her to keep going on. He did managed to convinced her to eat a little more of her uncooked toast. She took a little more bites off of it, just to appease him if nothing else, and he took her tray. He left her in her cell to tend to his other chores, feeling like a complete and utter failure.

Over at the Great House of Collinwood, scrupulous con man Jason Maguire felt both victorious and like a million bucks. Indeed, those were comfortable soft slippers he wore on his feet. His silk pajamas were also quite stylish. But nothing could surpass his smoking jacket, which became his favorite lounging outfit in this historic house. Add the cigar he just lit, and Jason felt every bit as sunny as the rays streaming through the kitchen window.

Life is truly paradise.

All he needed now was some strong Irish coffee.

Mrs. Johnson hurried her way into the kitchen, heading toward the refrigerator. Jason smiled brightly over her presence, and said, "Ah, Mrs. Johnson. Good mornin'."

"Oh, good morning," the maid replied distractedly, not looking at him.

She pulled out two large carton of eggs and some sausage, and shut the cool refrigerator door.

"Don't bother with that," Jason exclaimed from the table, puffing his cigar. "I would like some pancakes for breakfast if you may."

Mrs. Johnson placed the sausage and the two carton of eggs on the counter by the stove, and informed the unwanted house guest, "Mrs. Stoddard gave me specific orders to make eggs, sausage, and toast for breakfast."

"Mrs. Johnson, surely you are aware that Mrs. Stoddard will soon become Mrs. McGuire," Jason exclaimed levelly. "That will make me the master of the household."

After pulling out a sauce pan from one of the cupboards, Mrs. Johnson faced the Irish con man hotly, firmly gripping the sauce pan's handle as she did so.

"Mrs. Stoddard is the mistress of Collinwood, and I follow her orders!" she declared loyally.

"Yeah, but she will soon marry me," Jason countered.

"It wouldn't make any difference if she's marrying Bugsy Siegel!" Mrs. Johnson retorted. "I follow her orders."

Jason grinned slightly, clearly annoyed.

"Ever the loyal servant," he commented.

Mrs. Johnson shrugged slightly.

"She's been good to me," she insisted.

She went back to the stove and began her task of cracking and heating the eggs, and cooking the sausage. In no time, the aroma from the cooking began pleasantly filling the kitchen.

Puffing his cigar, Jason shrugged off his quarrel with the housemaid. His influence on this house would be ingrained soon. He just needed time.

"No matter," he said lightly with a shrug. "Considerin' Liz and I will soon become man and wife, I'm really needin' to come up with a perfect pet name for her."

Mrs. Johnson paid him no attention. Her back was turned to him as she cooked the eggs, sausage, and started the toast.

"Somethin' light and feathery," Jason decided, as he rubbed his chin and puffed his cigar in thought. "Dove? No. Canary? Nah." He shook his head at those suggestions. "Ah! Parakeet. That will be my special pet name for Liz."

"I wouldn't call me that if I were you, Jason," cut in a matronly voice.

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard entered the kitchen wearing a black dress. The way she looked at Jason, one would assumed she would be more suited as a velvet black raven as opposed of the small harmless birds Jason named off.

"Good morning, Mrs. Stoddard," Mrs. Johnson chimed in from the stove, slightly looking over her shoulder to glimpse at the mistress of Collinwood.

"Good morning, Mrs. Johnson," Elizabeth replied earnestly from the doorway.

Jason got up from the table and placed the most charmingly fake smile he could muster up. He approached his not-so-blushing-bride-to-be, and whipped out a bouquet of brightly colorful fake flowers from the inside pocket of his smoking jacket. The kind of flowers that a cheap black tuxedo wearing magician could've conjured up.

"Good mornin', Liz," Jason said in a fake cheery voice.

Elizabeth eyed the fake colorful flowers quizzically, causing Jason to clarified, "I just thought since you hate it when I give you actual flowers..."

"I rather greatly appreciate it if you don't patronize me, Jason," Elizabeth cut him off in a firm but respectable no-nonsense tone. "We both know what this engagement is really about."

"Yeah, the kind involving two locked doors between the honeymoon suite," Mrs. Johnson snorted, her back still turned on them as she continued cooking the breakfast.

Jason sneered at the maid, but Elizabeth merely ignored her.

"Come, let's sit at the table, Jason," said the matriarch. "And don't try to blackmail me in front of Carolyn and David."

Jason smirked as he watched the wealthy black widow sat herself down at the kitchen table. It was moments like these in which Jason faintly understood why his conniving mate Paul Stoddard married this lass. But it was also moments like these in which Jason needed to get the better hand.

By late afternoon, Willie found himself stumbling upon a luxurious rarity; some extra free time for himself. He managed to finish some errands in town early when he realized he had some time to spare before returning to the home responsible for draining his soul and haunting his nightmares.

He found himself sitting at the bar at the Blue Whale. The shabby dive didn't filled up much during this time of day. The scent was always an odd mixture of salty sea breeze, nicotine and booze. Willie stared down at his glass of beer sitting on the bar counter, which he yet to touch.

His mind was numb. A monster that only rise at night, and an innocent prisoner were waiting for him in a practically condemned and unlivable house. He couldn't allowed himself to enjoy his drink even if he wanted to. Severe tremors coursed through his body as he continued numbly staring at his untouched drink.

Willie became aware of the music pouring out of the jukebox. Some generic guitar tune. Willie always wondered why the music at this joint was always so limited. Why didn't they ever play anything from the likes of Jimi Hendrix or the Yardbirds like so many other joints he visited when he was an aimless drifter?

But that was not important.

From the corner of his eye, a sad sight hauntingly guilt and plagued him: Sam Evans was drowning his sorrows at the end of the bar.

Willie tried not to stare at the older man. Indeed, Willie sensed his heartbreak. He used to snicker at what a pathetic boozer Mr. Evans was, and how Maggie used to have to haul him back home to the Evans cottage.

But that was then. Now he was a slave to Barnabas Collins. Since then, Willie became cursed with empathy. He tried not to cling to the treacherous thought of reuniting Mr. Evans with his daughter. But the more he thought about it, the more he became slightly hopeful of that becoming a possibility.

"Ah, Willie," came that thickly familiar brogue.

Jason sat himself down next to the young man at the bar. He wore a dark double-breasted suit, with a red tie, and a cologne so musky, it was every bit as potent as the salty air, nicotine, and booze reeking the air. Willie noted his former friend's taste had become much more high-end since he started blackmailing Mrs. Stoddard. All the while, Willie remained in his jeans and windbreaker.

"How've you been?" asked Jason jovially.

"Workin' for Mr. Collins," Willie answered him meekly. "Ya know that."

"Why you're tremblin' so, Willie?" Jason eyed him narrowly. "I haven't seen you actin' like this since you returned from bein' missin' for days."

"I'm not..." Willie trailed off.

Deciding to abandon his drink, Willie shakily got up, and said, "I gotta get back to Mr. Collins."

Jason sharply grabbed him by the wrist, and demanded, "Sit back down, Willie. You haven't touched your drink, and you have time to spare for an old friend."

Willie glimpse at the demanding look in Jason's eyes, and sensing no way to get himself out of this, he reluctantly sat himself back down on his bar stool. As Jason order himself a drink to the bartender, Willie spare another glance at the heartbreaking form of Sam Evans drowning his sorrows.

"Life is funny, isn't it, Willie?" said Jason, as he took a swig of his newly arrived drink. "Here we are livin' completely different lives on the richest estate in Collinsport. I am gettin' married, while you perform odds and ends for an eccentric old sod."

"What I do ain't none of your business," Willie told him evenly. "I keep tellin' ya..."

"I don't get ya, Willie," Jason interjected. "'Course, I haven't for a while now." He shrugged.

"Things change," Willie insisted solemnly, glancing down at his untouched drink.

"Yes like I gettin' married." Jason smiled smugly, oblivious to his former friend's melancholy mood.

He took another gulp of his drink. He sighed contentedly, and declared, "Once I become the master of the household, I'll be able to import from some of the finest brewers all the way from Singapore to Dublin."

Willie gaped at the con artist dubiously, and scoff.

"That is still goin' on?"

"Marriage is a beautiful thing, Willie," Jason quipped with another gulp of his drink.

Willie shook his head. He never really had a high view of marriage. He recently associated that most holy of unions with the repulsive sight of two coffins lying together side by side. The vision of the pale motionless Maggie resting in the coffin Willie was forced to create for her made him sick to his stomach. He shook himself out of that morbid vision, and then realized Jason was saying something.

"I got the lap of luxury on the tip of my fingers, Willie. No more cold showers or sleepin' on flea bitten beds."

Since working for Barnabas, Willie received nothing but cold showers, coupled with faulty plumbing, and sleeping on a dirty scratchy mattress that was at one time a haven for bugs and dust for at least two centuries. Willie intensely cleansed the mattress, but a scratchy uncomfortable mattress is a scratchy uncomfortable matress. Suffice to say, Willie didn't exactly share in Jason's reverie over the sweet life on the Collinwood estate.

Jason ordered himself another drink, and told his former friend, "I'll give ya one more chance Willie to share in this paradise with me. I still consider ya a friend, and I'm a very givin' man."

Willie snicker at that last comment.

"Jason, how long d'you think this will go on?"

"As long as I want it to, Willie." Jason flash out one of his arrogant grins. "I got the upper hand on Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, and she knows it."

There was a time Willie would have admired Jason for this. The two went on many voyages together, and performed many schemes and scams. When Jason informed him he'd blackmailed his way into Collinwood, it was a dream come true. Willie knew once he stepped foot on those grounds his life would forever change. It did. Just not in the way he thought it would.

Willie's own greed and arrogance brought him to a ruthless mercy of a vampire. He sensed Jason's own greed and arrogance would bring him to his own inevitable doom.

"Jason, why can't you see this is gonna blow up in your face?" Willie asked him frankly.

"This is me, Willie." Jason pointed his thumb to his chest. "You know I can handle myself."

"I still can't believe Mrs. Stoddard agreed to marry ya," Willie muttered.

"Ya better believe it," Jason said proudly.

Down the bar, Willie glimpse at Joe Haskell hauling the tipsy Sam Evans off his bar stool. The fisherman carefully led the inebriated artist out of the tavern, presumably heading back for the Evans cottage. Willie's heart fell and he didn't know why. He had vague thoughts of reuniting Maggie with her father. He somehow felt that idea was literally being dragged away from him.

"I don't know what Barnabas Collins got on ya, Willie, but I don't like it," said Jason.

You and me both.

"Seriously, come back to the Big House," Jason implored him. "I'll give ya the jewels ya always wanted."


Unexpectedly, Willie's thoughts turned to a titillating memory. Maggie Evans, garbbed in Josette's ghostly white wedding gown and veil, offered him a diamond encrusted necklace. Willie remembered how those sparkling diamonds made the other Collins family jewels look like cheap plastic kids toys found on the bottom of Cracker Jack boxes by comparison.

Equally enticing were Maggie's shiny manipulative eyes. To Willie, Maggie's bribery of him to betrayed his master for freedom and the thing he lust after most was practically the same as a seduction.

His first resistance to her were feeble.

Barnabas' mental hold on his servant was crushingly strong. But the glistening bauble, and the insisted gleam in the eyes of the vampire bride had torn through both Willie's personal reserve and his loyalty to his master. Maggie had him practically nibbling on the palm of her hand, like a kitten being lured to catnip.

But the next thing Willie knew, a thundering heartbeat pierced through his head.

The enticing thought of freedom was thrown violently out the window. His master's life was in danger! He needed to protect him! And all of this was because he was nearly seduced to freedom. How brutal would his punishment be if his master found out he nearly betrayed him? Through his panic, Willie spilled his drink all over the bar counter. With that, Willie found himself back at the Blue Whale.

As the bartender wiped Willie's mess with a wet table cloth with no comment, Jason sneered at his former friend.

"Oh, Willie," he growled irritably as he paid for his drinks.

He got up and left the tavern. Willie, too, also got up to exit. It was time to returned to the Old House.

The brilliant golden sun set over Widows Hill, as the violent waves crash against the rocky shores below. After a long day of handling tedious business affairs over the phone, Elizabeth ghostly made her way down one of the eerie corridors in one of the upper levels of Collinwood manor.

The setting sun created stretching deepening shadows coming off the frames of the long windows and portraits of the Collins family ancestors adorning the walls. The stretching shadows on the stone floors and gothic walls made Elizabeth think of prison bars. That was what Collinwood became to her for the past eighteen years due to a skeleton buried in the basement.

Those years were very disheartening times for Elizabeth, not only because she committed an unthinkable violent act in a moment of rage and betrayal, but she had to keep that secret literally buried and hidden. But her accomplice Jason had to waltz right back into her life, and blackmail his way into her wealth and family.

Elizabeth felt as if the imposing stretching shadows were closing in on her. Like it was somehow locking her up in a cell. She glanced through one of the long windows, and saw the crashing waves from a distance. Elizabeth thought she heard a faint cry coming from the shore. A faint sorrowful cry calling out her name.

Elizabeth blink. Her thoughts suddenly turned to Victoria Winters.

The reclusive matriarch found herself internally grateful for the governess in the past several days. Vicki was the only one Elizabeth confided in over her sinful act of being a murderess, and what her engagement with Jason McGuire was truly about.

Vicki became an understanding supporter and friend to Elizabeth during this trying time. She bravely agreed to harbor the older woman's secret.

One of these days, Elizabeth figured, if things somehow become right, (though Elizabeth didn't know if such a thing was truly possible,) she would reveal to Victoria Winters the answers she desperately seek. If such a day would come, Elizabeth hoped it would be the happiest day in both of their lives. Vicki had grown to be such a lovely daughter. Maybe someday Elizabeth would make it right for her.

Finally leaving the spooky corridor, Elizabeth descended her way down to the bottom floor. Passing the foyer, the matriarch came upon a contemptible sight; Jason, smoking a cigar in his beloved smoking jacket, was playing cards with Elizabeth's young nephew, David Collins. The two played over the small table in the center of the drawing room.

"Why do you wear your pajamas all the time?" David asked the older man curiously across the table, sitting on his knees on the floor.

The boy referred to his soon-to-be uncle's smoking jacket.

Jason chuckled humorously from his seat on the couch.

"It's not pajamas, lad," he explained to the boy. "It's somethin' I slip on after a hard day."

"But I don't see you do anything," remarked David.

"What on earth is going on here?!" Elizabeth demanded.

She stood stiffly by the wide open double door entrance of the room. She was appalled by the sight of David holding up playing cards.

"Hi, aunt Elizabeth," David greeted her in his usual cheery innocent manner. "Jason is teaching me to play poker."

Elizabeth cast a narrow look at Jason's direction.

"And Mrs. Johnson is cookin' up a real Irish delicacy for supper," Jason filled in, ignoring his fiancee's murderous glare. "Meat and potatoes."

"Does that sound good aunt Elizabeth," David said ecstatically.

"And, oh... Carolyn is out," Jason added. "Ridin' off with that motorcyclist knight of hers."

"He talks funny," David said, frowning. "And smells funny, too."

Elizabeth squeezed shut her eyes over those words. Her daughter with her deceased husband, Carolyn Stoddard, who constantly rebels and flee from stability and responsibility, was starting to wear thin. But Elizabeth wasn't blind on why her daughter was seeing this beatnik. Carolyn deeply hated Jason and didn't want her mother to marry him. Elizabeth couldn't possibly blame her for hating Jason. After all, Elizabeth hated Jason herself.

But she couldn't understand why Carolyn was constantly doing these juvenile acts to spite her. Why could she be reasonable like Vicki? Yet, Carolyn was blissfully oblivious to the true nature of her father's disappearance.

"I don't get why Carolyn wants to marry that guy so much," David told Jason.

"David, I want you to go find Miss Winters, and go over the week's lesson plans with her before dinner," Elizabeth ordered.

"But we went over that already," David pouted.

"Well, Miss Winters decided to add some things," Elizabeth persisted. "Go and discuss that with her, and wash up before dinner."

"Okay," David grumbled as he got off the floor.

He placed the playing cards on top of the table, and passed his aunt on his way out of the drawing room. Once he headed upstairs, Elizabeth shut the double doors of the drawing room, and turned her icy cold glare on the Irishman.

The con man flash his broad arrogant grin.

"Good lad that David," Jason said breezily. "Though it is very odd that most of his friends are ghosts."

"Who do you think you are teaching a young boy how to play poker!" Elizabeth spat seethingly.

"Well, Willie and I aren't exactly friends anymore." Jason shrugged sheepishly.

"David will not be your own personal replacement for Willie Loomis!" Elizabeth shot at him.

Even though Willie seemingly changed his ways considerably since working for her cousin Barnabas, Elizabeth didn't trust it. She would never forget what a vulgar punk Willie was when he arrived in Collinsport, and how he brazenly accosted her two daughters under this very roof. No, Willie was a piece of dirt in Elizabeth's eyes, and she would never forgive Jason for bringing him here. Especially when Carolyn had to actually pull out her uncle's revolver to ward him off that one time.

"Oh, come on, Liz," Jason whined childishly. "David's father is always ignorin' him, and between you, Carolyn, Mrs. Johnson, and the governess, the poor lad hardly has any male friends. To my understandin,' even his ghosts are girls."

"David's upbringing is none of your concern!" Elizabeth countered.

"Why not?" Jason argued reasonably. "We're practically family."

"That's not what our situation is, and you know it." Elizabeth gave Jason another narrow look.

She suddenly paused.

"What?" Jason looked at her uncertainly.

"I didn't order Mrs. Johnson to make meat and potatoes for dinner," Elizabeth exclaimed thoughtfully.

Jason flash her with that arrogant grin of his again. "Liz, you need to understand that once we are wed, I'll become the master of the household. And I would think you of all people would know I have my ways of gettin' what I want."

With one last cocky grin, Jason stick his cigar back into his mouth. He cockily strolled his way out of the drawing room, leaving his bride-to-be fuming.

Elizabeth clench her fists by her sides, and began to wonder if that grave in the basement wouldn't mind another occupant. But her conscience was plagued enough as it is. On the one hand, since Jason started blackmailing his way into her life, Collinwood had become more and more of a prison. Elizabeth didn't even remembered the last time it felt like a home.

That evening at the Old House was emotionally agonizing for Willie. Barnabas visited Maggie in her cell, who obediently play Josette's music box to appease her captor.

She tried her best to act the part of the proper prim noblewoman of Barnabas' dreams. But it was obvious Maggie would not let go of her own identity. She once again recoiled when Barnabas placed one of his affectionate cold dead kisses on her hand. Needless to say, the master of the Old House was bitterly disappointed by the lack of progress in the creation of his bride.

He warned his prisoner she better become Josette... or die.

Afterward, he left her in her dark cell alone. Once his master left the basement, Willie heard Maggie's bitter sobs coming out behind the barred iron door of her cell. His numb heart went out to her.

No matter how much he didn't want it to be true, Willie knew Maggie Evans' time on this earth would soon come to an end.

He heard his master's harsh call, and Willie went to serve him. He performed the tedious house chores Barnabas assigned him. Aside from the broken hearted despair Willie carried for Maggie, and the verbal insults Barnabas flung at him from time to time, Willie was thankful Barnabas at least didn't performed an act of violence against him and Maggie that night. Even if he did wind up at the receiving end of his master's wolf-head cane, the ache in Willie's heart was the one pain that remain prominent since the fateful night he opened that coffin.

After trimming some branches on the grounds of the Old House, a sweaty and disheveled Willie collapse on his small bed in his tiny dark bedroom. Early morning light faintly filter through his dusty curtain window. His master should be retiring into his coffin soon.

Willie rested on his cursed mattress, but did not fall into slumber. Sleep would only bring him nightmares on what his life had become since becoming Barnabas' slave. When dawn finally arrived, and Willie was certain his master retired into his coffin, Willie creaked his way down into the basement. He passed his way by the repulsive twin coffins, and peered through the bars of the iron door of Maggie's cell. The poor girl tossed and turned on her cot in her sleep again, obviously being haunted by a nightmare.

Once again, Willie had an inkling of what that nightmare was about.

Maggie shot up on her cot, half screaming. Her eyes were wide and filled with terror, and a cold sweat dripped down her brow. She realized she was back in her prison, and out of her terrifying dream world.

"It's alright, Maggie," Willie murmured through the bars. "It was only a dream."

"Willie?" Maggie uttered in a small voice, exhaling heavily, staring around.

She realized the servant was looking in on her through the bars behind the iron door. She got up from her cot, and tentatively came up to the door.

"He wants to kill me, I just know it," she murmured.

She placed her hands on the bars, giving the servant a heartbreaking sad look. Through the bars, Willie gently clasp her hands with his. He didn't know what to say to her. He was growing tired of constantly telling her she might have a chance, and feeding her with empty hope. He considered telling her he saw her father at the Blue Whale, but feared the news of her father becoming even more of a sad lush would only put Maggie in even more despair. It still pained Willie that he didn't somehow reunite them.

The feel of Maggie's tender cold hands in his caused Willie to ache with great longing. His sudden provocative thought of memory of Maggie and the shimmering diamond necklace he experienced at the Blue Whale made him hot and bothered. But it also scared him straight when the pulsing sound of Barnabas' heartbeat intervened, and he was reminded where his place was at, and who his loyalty belonged to.

Willie was soberly aware that a girl like Maggie would ever be his. But he couldn't stop his heart for going out to her over the hell he and Barnabas put her through.

Still clutching her cold hands through the bars with the even colder and harder iron door between them, Willie remained at a loss on what to say to console her. He wasn't for sure how long he could keep her alive.

Before he could say or do anything, Maggie suddenly spoke, surprising him.

"I don't know why Josette loved that music box so much, but someone needed to tell her it sounds like an ice cream truck."

Maggie scoffed at her own words.

Willie faintly chuckled, mesmerized by her dry sense of humor. After all this mental torture and abuse, Maggie's snarky spirit still somehow lived on. Willie didn't know how long it would last, but he relish it.

He gave her hands a warm squeeze.

The two remain standing where they were; being brutally victimize by a cruel vampire, and a cold heavy door between them.

Willie wished he could somehow offer Maggie something. Something of greater paradise than Josette's bedroom. Or even something Jason told him about.