Sunday, April 20, 2014
I want this. I want the script, I want a video, I want more pictures. In the meantime, I'll just stick with this article (from director Brian Jucha's own website).
Who are these people? Why is that man bald? What is he wearing? Are those costumes really period?
Josette looks distracted.
Who are these people? Why is that man bald? What is he wearing? Are those costumes really period?
Josette looks distracted.
So once upon a time a lovely, lucky lady named Bobbi Woronko won Miss Polish America (I don't think that's a thing anymore). Her award? A spot on Dark Shadows, episode 632, and the opportunity to play a nurse attending Li'l Amy Jennings. Lucky, lucky lady. Plus she's adorable.
CHAPTER 108: The Plan
Voiceover by Joel Crothers: “The dead walk on the great estate of Collinwood, and elsewhere, in the town below it … as forces, strong as the tides and the ancient waves that crash against the shore, collide, come together, draw apart … for plans are being laid and schemes hatched … and on this night, two men face separate challenges … and for one of them, his long life may at last be drawing to an end.”
“Get out,” Chris said immediately. “Plus, you’re dead.”
“I should know.” Painful swallow. “I killed you.”
The man in front of him smiled his silky smooth smile and pushed his bangs back. His hair, Chris thought, was longer and curlier than he remembered. Suddenly he felt the surreal nature of this moment for the first time, but here he was: Joe Haskell, in the flesh. No, Chris thought, frowning, shaking his head, not Joe … Nathan. Goddamn, goddamn Nathan Forbes. “Stop shaking your head, baby. You did kill me,” Nathan purred. “And ate me too, as I recall. And not in the way I usually like.”
Chris refused to allow his all-too-readily-accessible wave of guilt to rise up and wash over him again. “Get,” he said instead, “out.”
“But I’ve been dying to see you,” Nathan said, pretty lips smirking, “if you’ll pardon the pun.”
There’s no Quentin here to save you this time, Chris thought grimly; he crossed his arms over his chest and tried to stand taller. Within him, the animal – or Animal, as Sebastian termed it; and thinking of Sebastian did allow the all-too-readily-accessible wave of guilt to rise up like bile – the Animal twisted and snarled, but was it snarling with anger, impatience, or … or something else?
I could let it out, Chris thought miserably; I could let it out right now and end this … end it again. Like before.
No. I can’t.
“You can’t do it,” Nathan said. “We both know it, Chrissy Sissy. You’ve been beating yourself up for months now, haven’t you, and all because of little ol’ me. It isn’t worth it, baby, because I’m here.” He laid one hand on Chris’ chest and, horribly, began to rub him in ever-growing concentric circles. “I’m real. I’m alive.”
Chris jerked away, and he felt his eye color change, felt the fangs just bristling under his gums. “Get away from me,” and his voice was a growl.
Nathan only seemed amused. “You think I didn’t figure this might happen?” He reached inside his shirt and revealed a tiny silver pentagram on a chain, then dangled it before Chris’ face. “Enchanted. In case you wondered. Our resident witch laid down the mojo for me. Works like a charm … or so I’m told. In case you’ve developed a tolerance to silver since last we met.”
“Resident witch?” Chris frowned. Don’t engage, the wiser part of him whispered urgently, that’s what wants, don’t engage, don’t engage. But it was impossible not to. He could feel Nathan beside him without looking at him, feel him like heat. “Cassandra Collins?”
“Not that old bag,” Nathan simpered, and waved a lazy hand through the air. “Nah, cuz, someone else on the down dark and dirty. They got big party plans, see, and I’m kinda like … like an ambassador I guess.”
“You.” Chris’ voice was dry, heavy with disbelief.
Nathan arched a perfect eyebrow. “You don’t believe me? I’m deeply hurt. I thought you of all people would want to understand what’s been happening around here. All this time travel, backward, forward, and sideways. All these dead people suddenly popping up willy nilly. What our Plan is.”
Chris scoffed. “You don’t have any idea. You sell yourself to the highest bidder. You always have.”
“Except when it comes to you.” Nathan was very close to him now, tried to put his arms around him, and Chris pulled away and stalked angrily toward the fireplace. He stared into the curling flames, even as they died away beneath his gaze. “Listen, baby, just listen. I loved you two centuries ago when you were Todd Jennings and I love you now. You came back to me. And I was allowed to come back to you – twice. Don’t you think that means something?”
“It means you’re a psychopath.”
He waved a dismissive hand without looking away from the flames. “That’s too easy. I never wanted to hurt anybody. Not really. Millicent Collins was a means to an end. So was Nicholas Blair.”
Chris decided to ignore the woman’s name Nathan spoke with such ease, just as if Chris was supposed to know who she was.
Millicent Collins …
Hadn’t Carolyn mentioned her recently? After her experience a few weeks ago with the séance, hadn’t Carolyn told them all that she had actually become Millicent Collins for a few minutes, an ancestor from the late eighteenth century, seen through her eyes?
“She was mad. Oh, it was terrible, Chris. There was such tragedy in her eyes, such lunacy. Like she’d seen all these horrible truths and her poor mind couldn’t handle it.”
“Millicent Collins,” Chris whispered. Sudden understanding flooded him. “You were going to marry her, weren’t you.” Nathan stared at him impassively. Chris’ words grew harsher, sharper, more accusing. “And then do something horrifically, stereotypically gothic, I suppose. Did you drive her mad?”
“I tried,” Nathan said quietly. “I should say, I began the process. But I never succeeded. Never even managed to marry the poor thing. Your friend Barnabas saw to that.”
“Barnabas killed you,” Chris said slowly.
“’Fraid so. And then he drove Millicent mad. Sad story, I know. But true. Does that muddy the waters a bit?” he said, jeering suddenly. “Does that weaken your resolve just the tiniest bit? Maybe I’m not a monster.” Nathan reached out and put the tips of his fingers against Chris’ cheek. And Chris let him. His voice grew gentle, warmer. “Maybe I’m not after all.”
“You can say that all you want,” Chris said, pulling away, memories of their time together filling him like icy water. “Words, Nathan, nothing but words. You show me that you’re more than a monster, then maybe we’ll talk. What is this Plan you’re babbling about?”
Nathan hesitated, all his good humor seemingly evaporated. “We need you,” he said slowly. “All of you. Everyone at Collinwood. It’s time to let bygones be bygones. Water under the bridge and all that. We need you on our side.”
“Yes,” Nathan said immediately. “You’re a Collins, Christopher, and a powerful one. The Enemy needs you just as he needs everyone else in that house. Which means we need them too.”
“And who is ‘we’?”
“My friends. I handpicked them, you know,” Roxanne said, and slowly, lovingly, ran just the tip of the knife down Barnabas’ chest, slicing through his white-dress shirt and causing roses of blood to bloom on the cloth. “All of my friends. Part of the Plan. Because they have each been intimately connected to your people on the hill at one time or another.”
Barnabas couldn’t force his fangs to retract. “What is your Plan, Roxanne?”
“It’s marvelous, really,” she said, amused, tapping his forehead with the knife, “but … unfortunately … won’t involve you in the long run.”
“You’re going to kill me.”
“Of course!” She blinked at him with her enormous violet eyes filled with mock surprise. “But you had that figured out long ago, didn’t you.”
“But you need information from me first, of course..”
“Very good,” she said, smiling. “If I had a kewpie doll, I’d give it right to you.”
He glared at her.
“What’s really amusing,” she said, carving away at his chest with the knife, and each wound opened and wept dark blood and refused to close, refused to heal, “what’s really amusing is how you brought this all on yourself. I mean, that’s been your problem all along. All of you Collinses. Why, the Enemy itself is all your fault, will destroy the world because of you if we let it, if we let it, all because you Collins men cannot keep it in your goddamn pants. Quentin … you … Amadeus … Aidan … Isaac … all you filthy, filthy, foul Collins men.” She punctuated the last sentence by slamming the knife up to the hilt in the center of his chest, just missing the heart. He threw his head back and roared. “Just want to make sure you see my point,” Roxanne said, and grinned.
The figure inside the broken down house, as far as Julia could see, was made visible only by the light of one flickering candle, but she could make out his features easily enough, and her stomach cramped with equal parts fear and fury. Gerard Stiles, she wanted to growl, and gritted her teeth anyway, the disgusting beast who had nearly throttled her into oblivion almost fifty years from now, in a future Julia was trying desperately to change.
What is he doing? she wondered, and then suddenly she knew.
This particular house, she learned through her recent research, had once been called “Rose Cottage” by the occupants of Collinwood in the year 1840. Since then, terrible things had happened within its walls, naturally, and it fell, as seemingly happened to so many of these kinds of buildings on the great estate, into ruin and disrepair. And of course, Julia thought, Gerard himself was a part of those terrible things. Blood sacrifices and murders, demon worship, and the attempted summoning of an accursed ghost, at least, she remembered, according to the diary of novelist Flora Collins, who, after her year with her Maine relatives, never wrote another word.
Gerard was chanting, Julia saw, waving his hands over that flickering candle flame. She leaned forward just enough to hear him, but she already knew the words. Hadn’t she heard them, over and over again, while she lay in her stupor after they all left Parallel Time?
“Emperor Lucifer, master of all the revolted spirits, I entreat thee to favor me in the adjuration which I address to thee …”
He lifted a bottle from the table before him, a beautiful antique wine decanter, and carefully, oh so carefully, he allowed a single drop of the liquid within to fall into the candle flame.
Her nose wrinkled. She knew what that liquid was.
“I beg thee, O Prince Beelzebub, to protect me in my undertaking. O Count Astaroth! Be propitious to me, and grant me the powers I require –”
“Let me at him,” a voice whispered beside her, and Julia jumped. But of course it was only Audrey.
“What are you doing here?” Julia growled in her own fiercest whisper.
“I followed you when you left the house,” the pretty little vampire said simply, and smiled. “Thought you might need a little protecting just in case anything goes bump in the night.” She cast her gaze through the window, and her smile faded. “And it’s a good thing I did too. That guy’s a killer. Believe me, I know.”
“We’re not here to fight him,” Julia said. “Actually, we shouldn’t be here at all – I shouldn’t. Barnabas is in trouble.”
The other woman’s face brightened. “Then you do need my help!”
Julia hesitated. “Possibly,” she said at last. Well, why not? she thought. The injections hadn’t taken complete effect yet, and obviously Audrey continued to exhibit her vampire powers. Perhaps they could be put to good use.
“Is Barnabas in there?”
“No,” Julia said. “I … I miscalculated. I thought he might be, that maybe Roxanne Drew had taken him here.”
“Roxanne,” Audrey said, and made a face.
“Her sister was a Collins in 1840,” Julia said, explaining as quickly as she could, because she had a dreadful, dreadful feeling that time was running out. “Roxanne was a guest at Collinwood from time to time, and sometimes, when visiting her sister Samantha, she stayed over for a night or two at Rose Cottage.”
“And this dump,” Audrey said, sniffing, “is Rose Cottage.”
“Yes,” Julia said, “but it seems that Roxanne isn’t the one holed up here after all.”
“It’s Gerard,” Audrey said, studying him through the window as he added another drop of blood to the candle flame before him. “And the Enemy.”
“He’s conducting a ritual,” Julia said, “and if I’ve done my occult homework well enough, I’ll bet you it’s designed to allow the Enemy to manifest corporeally.”
“English, please. Remember, Julia, I majored in accounting, not in …” She frowned. “… words.”
Julia tried her hardest not to roll her eyes. She means well, she reminded herself, just keep telling yourself that, she means well. “It means that, whatever little ritual Gerard is trying to accomplish, it will allow the Enemy to take on a body. Something physical.”
“Something physical,” Audrey said musingly. Her eyes gleamed. “Julia,” she said suddenly, “listen up. I got an idea.”
“And they brought you back,” Chris said, “so that you could convince me to help them.”
“That’s the idea,” Nathan said, hunting around. “Hey, you got any Scotch?”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” Chris growled, and rolled his eyes.
Nathan stopped his quest and blinked at him. “Scotch?”
“That you could convince me to do anything.” He strode firmly to the door. “I meant what I said, Nathan. Get out of my house. Now.”
“Christopher,” Nathan whined, “c’mon, you’re not being reasonable.”
“Must be the werewolf side of me,” Chris said. “It makes me all irrational. Either that, or you’re just an incredible asshole.”
“I haven’t even told you the whole Plan yet.”
“And that’s why I’m telling you to get the hell out,” Chris said, and actually threw open the door, “because here’s the thing, Nathan: I don’t think you know this so-called Plan.”
Nathan gaped at him, then closed his mouth. His eyes narrowed. “What makes you think that?”
“Why would someone like Roxanne Drew, who seems, for all intents and purposes, to be some kind of uber-powerful vampire, and thus must have at least a little more intelligence, entrust any real, any pertinent information with you? You’re little more than a lackey. The general doesn’t put the plan to win the war in the hands of a foot soldier. I never even finished college and I know that much.”
Nathan’s upper lip drew back from his teeth, canine-like. Then his arm lashed out. Chris caught it mid-wrist, then held it. They glared at each other.
Finally Nathan began to grin again. “That’s my boy,” he said, his chest heaving beneath the tight Mickey Mouse tee-shirt he wore, the same one, Chris belatedly remembered, that he wore the night a year ago when he first appeared at Chris’ door in the Collinsport Inn, the same tee-shirt that ended up on the floor next to Chris’ bed when Joe had … when Nathan had …
Chris relaxed his grip, and in that moment Nathan leaned forward and pressed his mouth firmly against Chris’, nudging it, opening it, and his tongue invaded Chris’ mouth, and Chris didn’t think, didn’t stop him, didn’t stop his own tongue from questing out, from meeting Nathan’s …
“Goddamn it,” Chris snarled, and shoved Nathan backward, but he was grinning, still grinning.
“Goodnight, Chrissy Sissy,” Nathan said as he strolled out the door. “See you around.”
Chris stood where he was, by the fireplace, his hands locked into tight fists he couldn’t quite seem to relax. His eyes burned, with tears or with the werewolf’s rage, he wasn’t sure. He was quaking, and he couldn’t seem to stop.
Nathan hadn’t closed the door behind him. Wiping at his eyes, finally forcing himself to move, Chris crossed the room toward the door, then recoiled as it was pushed open. Had Nathan returned so soon? He felt his eyes lightening, felt his teeth lengthening …
“You should keep the door closed, babe,” Sebastian said, kicking it shut with his heel; both his hands were occupied, Chris saw as relief descended over him and the Animal retreated, holding a bag of groceries and another containing a bottle of wine. “It’s freezing in here.” He stopped suddenly, and squinted as Chris through the darkness. “What’s the matter? Something’s wrong.” He set the bags down quickly on the coffee table and put his hands on Chris’ shoulders and looked deeply into his eyes. “Tell me what happened.”
As he laid his head against Sebastian’s shoulder and allowed the other man to wrap him in his very big arms, Chris was tempted, briefly, to say nothing, to brush it off, to not mention Nathan at all. Sebastian didn’t know about any of that, any of that shameful bullshit, of the things they had done, of the awful things he had let Nathan do to him, the awful things he had done to Nathan, beasts, he thought, we were beasts; but it’s Sebastian, Chris thought, and looked up and held his breath and then carefully, very carefully said, “I think,” licking his lips, “I think we have a problem.”
“Sonofabitch,” Nathan said conversationally to no one. But he was cold. Since Roxanne and Count Petofi had magicked him back from the great beyond, he realized he was still adjusting (re-adjusting?) to life on the mortal plane. And this included things like cold autumn nights while he wore only a skimpy little tee-shirt.
My nipples are hard from the cold, he thought as noticed just then, and grinned in the act of admiring them. Too bad Chrissy Sissy couldn’t see them. Something about my nipples just drives him wild.
“You unfortunate narcissist,” a woman said sadly from behind him; in that moment he was struck by a burst of energy that stung like a bitch and knocked him down in the bargain, tumbling him along the road until he stopped, dizzy and aching. He looked up blearily, and there they were, his new “friends”: Danielle Roget, Edith Collins, and Tom Jennings. Edith was shaking her head sadly, disgustedly. “Concerned only with yourself, your petty problems, your feelings. Don’t you know you could ruin this for everyone?”
“But it’s fun,” Nathan croaked.
Tom glared. “You will see my big brother when we say you can see him,” he hissed through his fangs.
“You,” Nathan said grandly, standing and dusting himself off, “are not the boss of me.”
“We’ll see about that,” Tom said, baring his enormous fangs and taking a step forward, reaching with claws grown long and sharp. “I can make it hurt, baby boy; you have no idea. You will be my slave if I want you to be. I have no great love for you; I’ll make you wish you were never –”
“Enough,” Edith thundered. Her eyes flared obsidian, and Tom and Nathan flew apart, and she hadn’t moved a muscle.
“Bon,” Danielle whispered. Her admiration for Edith Collins grew with every passing moment.
“We are returning to Seaview,” Edith said. Her eyes continued to crackle black with dark energy. “Roxanne has need of us.”
“Screw her,” Nathan said clearly.
Danielle cuffed him upside the head. “Watch your tongue, boy,” she said evenly. “You are speaking to a lady.”
“Listen to me, Nathan,” Edith said. She took hold of his chin and squeezed it painfully. “Roxanne brought you back. She brought us all back. We owe her a great debt. And after she finishes with the Collins family, we will be rewarded. She will allow us to destroy them, have no doubt. Until then, you will behave. Stay in line. Otherwise …” And she shrugged. Above them, the air shivered and screamed; a passing owl exploded into a burst of red meat and feathers that floated gracefully to the ground.
Danielle giggled and clapped.
Nathan watched, gawping. Finally, he bowed his head. Goddamn witches, he thought, and wanted to cry; his eyes burned with sullen tears, but he would be goddamned if he would let them fall. Goddamn witches and goddamn warlocks, think they’re so big.
He’d show them. He’d show them all.
“Come on now, Mr. Forbes,” Edith said, and put a gentle hand on his shoulder. Her voice sounded kind, and her eyes were blue again. They sparkled with mirth. “I’m not so bad, I promise. So long as you remember that we’re all on the same side, everything will be hunky dory.” She began to lead him down the lane that led, inevitably, to Seaview. “Come along. Our mistress awaits.”
Sure, Nathan thought bitterly, casting furious glances at Danielle Roget and Tom Jennings, sure, we’re all on one side.
And these bastards will know it all soon.
“And that’s the problem,” Roxanne said. “It’s you. This is all your fault. If you hadn’t crossed over into that other world, the one your foolish Professor insists on calling Parallel Time, I wouldn’t be here. I would never have been called back to this place, and you, Mr. Collins, would be in a much happier, much healthier position.” She etched a little cross above Barnabas’ right nipple, wrinkling her nose as acrid black smoke rose from the wound. “For awhile, anyway. Because without me, the world will end, and that would be your fault as well.”
“Kill me,” Barnabas groaned. “Kill me.”
“Not yet,” Roxanne said, and added three more smoking crosses beside the first one. “You have to understand your part in all this before I grant you that mercy. And I have to understand your friend Julia Hoffman.”
Barnabas bared his fangs. “Leave Julia out of this.”
“Would that I could,” Roxanne purred. “Unfortunately, Dr. Hoffman holds a rather large piece of this puzzle that not even I understand, and that’s saying a lot. I’m very, very versed in occult arts, as I’m sure you’re beginning to realize. The fact that I can’t quite grasp how Dr. Hoffman made her way to the future – and how she came back, alive, that is – infuriates me. I don’t like to feel infuriated, Mr. Collins. Not even a little bit.”
“My … my place?” he croaked.
“Ah yes,” Roxanne said and heaved a sad sigh. “Self-involved as always. Just like the rest of your family. Which, as I was saying, is the problem. Your incredible ability to think only about yourself, what you want, what you need, and the rest of the world can go hang. Do you remember,” she said, idly dangling the dagger just above his right eye, “that conversation you had with the Roxanne of that other world? The one you call Parallel Time?”
“Yes,” Barnabas said, hesitating momentarily. He couldn’t take his eye off the blade. The cuts, he thought, the cuts don’t heal …
“Good,” Roxanne said. “So do I. She’s me, after all, or a version of me. Or I’m a version of her. It’s hard to tell sometimes. Because, as she told you – and she was right, by the way – the events that happen in this world reverberate in that world, but the reverse is true as well, and that’s why you’re in the mess you’re in right now. You crossed over into that world seeking your precious Victoria Winters. Inevitably you interfered with Angelique Collins’ plans, which caused her to kill the Roxanne of her world. That death caused me to return to Collinsport, to discover the Enemy’s plan, and to form my own Plan to combat it.” She smiled, satisfied. “There. Doesn’t that all make much more sense now?”
“You … you are not working for the Enemy.”
“Good heavens!” Roxanne said in mock-shock, clutching a hand to her breast. “Do I look like an idiot? Think carefully before you answer that.” She ran her other hand through her red hair, cut into a fashionable shag. “The Enemy seeks to bring about the end of the world. It is, at its core, a demon, and a very powerful demon as far as demons go. It was summoned into this world to bring about its end as we know it, to create on this plane a glorious paradise for others of its kind. A hell on earth, you understand. Now, as it happens, I like this world. I like it just the way it is. And the Enemy, being a demon, has become rather … ambitious. It doesn’t simply seek to destroy this world, Mr. Collins, and this is why I could just kill you right now.
“It seeks to end all the worlds.
“And it needs you.
“It needs your family.”
She smiled, revealing her fangs.
“And that,” she said, and suddenly, ferociously, drove the Dagger of Ereshkigal directly into Barnabas’ right eye, continuing to speak sweetly over his shrieks of agony, “is why I’m going to kill you.”
TO BE CONTINUED ...