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

A/N: The story starts towards the end of episode 255, where Sam Evans gave Barnabas his finished portrait, and Barnabas is being a real jerk to Maggie


"Sam, you better brace yourself."

"Well, what is it, Joe?"

At the Old House in the upstairs corridor, Maggie Evans was forced to listen to the loving and familiar voices of her father and boyfriend in the foyer down below. These were voices she hadn't heard in a long time, and was beginning to feel she would never hear again. But instead of having a warm and tearful reunion, Maggie's world was instead crumbling.

"The sheriff office found a body on the beach," Joe Haskell reported to Sam Evans in a choked voice. "They think it could be Maggie."

"Oh, no."

The sadness in Sam's voice shattered through Maggie. She would give anything to tear herself down that shabby staircase and proclaimed she was not that body on the beach. She was alive and ready to return to the Evans cottage. She would never leave there again. She desperately longed to be in the arms of her Pop and boyfriend, but was instead gagged and being roughly restrained by Willie Loomis, who was forced to make Maggie go through this hell under the orders of his cruel master who was also Maggie's captor.

"But it couldn't be Maggie." Sam said this more to himself than to Joe. He tried desperately to hang on to any last shred of hope.

"They said that the body is unrecognizable," Joe stated numbly. "But... it shares Maggie's build..." he trailed off, his voice choked with obvious sadness.

Maggie had experience some heartbreak in her young life, but nothing as painful as this. The pain and desperation clogging the voices of the two men she loved the most drained her from struggling against Willie's firm grasp. Every muscle in her body grew limb and numb. Salty tears streamed down her face.

Another voice cut through the air, a voice Maggie severely loathed and despised.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Evans," Barnabas Collins interjected gently. "I couldn't help but overhear. I am greatly sorry."

Her captor's false sympathy made Maggie's stomach ill. She continued to lose the will power to struggle against Willie's tight hold.

"Thank you, Mr. Collins." Sam heaved a deep sigh. "But I'm not quite ready to give up hope."

Maggie instinctively could tell by listening to his voice that he was fighting back tears.

"We better go, Sam," Joe said with the same numbness as before.

"Yeah," Sam agreed with great reluctance.

"I like to thank you for the portrait," Barnabas chimed in. "And you have my deepest of sympathy."

The monster's lies continued to make Maggie sick with revulsion.

Barnabas escorted the two men out of his front double doors. Maggie's heart tore in pieces as she heard the doors shut. Her Pop and boyfriend left without her. Alone, the vampire ascended up the staircase to reach his prisoner and his servant. The three file into the bedroom of Josette Collins, a woman Barnabas loved long ago, and who Barnabas wished to reclaim, even if it meant for Maggie to lose her mind. Willie led Maggie into the bedroom by holding on firmly to her arm. Barnabas removed the gag from her mouth. With tears of despair, Maggie leaned against Josette's canopy bed.

"Have you listen to that, my dear?" gloated Barnabas behind her shoulder. "They think you are dead."

"No," Maggie sobbed, refusing to look at him.

She grasped tightly to the bedpost.

"They'll go to that beach and identify that body as you," Barnabas continued persistently behind her.

Maggie felt hollow over his tortured words.

"Your father will mourn and drown his sorrows, but in time you will be nothing more than a distant memory, even to him."

"No," Maggie protested softly, her voice barely above a whisper.

"And then there's young Haskell," Barnabas went on.

"No," Maggie weepingly repeated, but the vampire unsurprisingly ignored her.

"Oh, he will mourn you for a time, as well. But then he'll meet a new girl. A girl he will love and marry."

"Stop," Maggie uttered, still leaning against the bedpost. She still refused to look at him.

"And you will be nothing but a shadow in his mind," Barnabas exclaimed behind her. "As far as the world is concerned, Maggie Evans is gone. She cease to exist. She should only be a fading memory in your mind."

At those words, a fiery resolve rose inside Maggie's chest. She boldly glared at her captor from the bed.

"I'll never stop being Maggie Evans!" she declared.

"Well, it will be a shame if you died," said Barnabas.

He went over to sit on the end of the bed, facing Maggie. Willie remained standing stiffly by the room's double doors.

"You can live so happily as my bride, Josette Collins," Barnabas said softly.

"I'll never be Josette Collins!" Maggie spat at him.

"Well, we shall see about that," Barnabas responded lightly. "I suggest you think about it for a while."

Barnabas got up from the bed and gave his servant an order.

"Willie, take her back downstairs."

Maggie gasped over those words, and cried, "You can't put me back in that room!"

"It's the only place for you to think," Barnabas insisted, acting as if he was being the most reasonable man in the world. "One thinks best in the atmosphere of solitude."

"Please, please, you can't put me back into that room! I'll go mad if I stay in that room!" Maggie desperately pleaded.

"Take her out of here, Willie," Barnabas ordered, ignoring his prisoner's plea. "The sight of her offends me."

Willie came up to the distress captive.

"Please," Maggie begged the servant.

"Don't argue with him, it's no use," Willie gently told her.

He silently led her out of the room's double doors, both feeling dejected. It was impossible to believe that a short hour ago, Maggie proclaimed this old and renovated Colonial bedroom as a paradise. At least it was in comparison to the dark dingy basement cell she'd been imprisoned in for the past couple of weeks. In addition to losing her family, Maggie also lost a soft comfortable environment in favor of the frightening shadows. It was all because Barnabas Collins refused to stop clinging to the past.

Alone in the soft candle litted feminine bedroom, Barnabas gazed up at the portrait of his beloved. He wondered if he would ever receive what he most desired.

Going down the hard musky steps, Willie led Maggie into the dark dungeon that was the basement of the Old House. Maggie wallowed in grief, while Willie felt incredibly numb and empty. An hour ago the servant sincerely felt he was finally making a genuine effort in getting Maggie out of her prison. Transferring her from the basement cell to Josette's bedroom seem like a good start.

Why does everything always take a cruel turn at the Old House?

The basement was as dark as night. It was eerily illuminated by some candles and a burning torch perch on the stone wall by the stairs. They came by the twin coffins, one for Barnabas to retire in at sunrise, and the other... well, the two ignored the second coffin. They both knew who Barnabas attended it for. It seem it wouldn't be much longer when that second coffin will receive an occupant.

Obedient to his master's orders, Willie unlocked and swung open the iron door, and placed Maggie into her cell. Once she made it safely to her cot, Willie wordlessly headed out the iron door.

"Willie, please, stay," Maggie pleaded to him, fresh tears streaming down her face. "I don't want to be alone."

"I can't, Barnabas needs me," Willie muttered, feeling dead inside.

But I need you, Maggie thought inwardly.

She pictured her Pop's face, and her heart continued to break over the harsh reality that she would never see him again. Worse of all, he would believe she was dead.

Maggie got off the cot, and tried to prevent Willie from leaving her. But the servant shut the door on her face. He briefly glimpse at her red teary face through the bars of the door.

He left her in her despair, his own conflicted heart breaking for her.

Upstairs in Josette's lonely bedroom, a mysterious waning light slightly engulfed the portrait of Barnabas' beloved above the marble fireplace mantle. The sudden white light dance along with the glow of the dim candle lights that was lit throughout the room. The incorporeal form morphs inside the portrait. It slowly got off its perch and gradually escape its way out of the painting.

It was walking and floating on air, closely inspecting the newly refurbished room with its soft blue colors. It carried the vivid memories of a lost time.

This phantom felt it was home again. It took the time to examine the freshly cut flowers Willie placed an hour earlier on the table in the center of the room. The phantom felt the flowers' life, scent, and beauty, and found it pleasantly familiar.

The phantom then spotted a beloved music box by the flowers' vase on the table. The phantom somehow got a grip on this item, and promptly floated out of the bedroom.

The phantom gave itself a tour throughout the manor, finding that many of the rooms were not as refurbish - or as beautiful - as Josette's bedroom. Much of the manor was dilapidated, decaying, and in shambles.

The incorporeal form floated its way down into the dark basement, where Maggie's heavy sobbing was clearly audible. The poor girl laid on her stomach on her cot, mourning the loss of her Pop and Joe. She was also heartbroken over Willie's refusal to stay with her, and her overall loneliness. She was terrified of what Barnabas could possibly do to her next.

A mysterious scent suddenly tickled Maggie's nose. A scent of floral perfume. Jasmine?

The scent made itself so prominently known, it filled up the cell. Maggie sense a presence in the cell with her. A presence she couldn't see, which startled her. She knew someone was there. Sharp tingling music cut through the silent air, causing Maggie to gasped in fright. Out of the blue, Josette's music box sat on top of the wooden crate by the end of the cot. The lid was open, playing music all by itself.

Maggie's eyes comically bulged. She was certain the music box was left in Josette's bedroom from earlier. How could it possibly get here? But with this music, and it's haunted stench of jasmine, and it's frightening unseen presence, Maggie realized who was here with her.

"Josette?" she breathed softly.

Next Chapter: The Ghost and the Servant