It was a feeling that oppressed the atmosphere just about everywhere in town, including inside small secluded cottage in the outlaying forest.
Ezrabette, the town mystic who relatively kept to herself in this old cottage paced in her living room. Her black cat cuddled on the corner of a sofa eyeing her master; back and forth back and forth, like the pendulum of grandfather clock ticking away the time.
Ezrabette's mind clung to dead man she brought back to life, and the story of the fire that killed her ancestor Marie Clotilde who was burned to death by the mentally unstable and jealous Judith Collins Trask. .
"You worry too much." An echoing voice said as a frosty breeze brushed Ezrabette's cheek.
"Show yourself." Ezrabette demanded as a cloudy and misty substance began to form just in front of her. It churned and swirled like an icy morning fog, grey and blue in color like ash. It continued to form slowly in clouds into the shape of a translucent woman who's eyes were missing but still seemed to have the ability to look deeply into a person's soul.
"Our journey is just beginning, you're the key to it's success." the ghost of Marie Clotilde answered now in full form to a disgruntled Ezrabette.
"I brought a man back to life, that goes beyond the laws of nature and against everything that I stand for in this realm. What I've done has defied everything that I believe in, in the name of something dark and evil! I not sure how I can live with myself after this." Ezrabette said as if confessing and pouring herself a glass of brown liquor that swirled in a small tumbler that clinked with ice.
Ezrabette's gift of speaking to those who have died was something she was always aware of since she was just a small girl. Her family had always know she was special, they called on her often because she was what they called: "open." She believed she was gifted these psychic abilities to offer good in people's lives even if she did make her living off of it.
This gift from god and nature helped her reach the dead in their family's time of need; by breaking these most powerful laws of nature the way she had by bringing Jason McGuire back from beyond the grave went directly in contrast to those believes and it was starting to weigh on her.
"Murder is against these laws too. I was killed and my child, your grandfather, taken from me never to know his true identity. This wrong needs to be made right or I can never reach the other side of the veil. You have done the right thing." Marie Clotilde said.
Ezrabette stepped forward, her eyes fixated on the spirit in front of her. She could see the fog that created her body swirl around as if a cloud in the shape of a woman was standing right in front of her. It was a fascinating vision, and she reached for her misty great-grandmother but her hands went through the smoky body as if there was nothing there. She could see her own hand inside Marie Clotilde's translucent chest. She gasped and turned around covering her eyes.
"I am real, this is not a dream." The spirit said, sensing Ezrabette had still yet to believe all this was happening.
"I just want to wake up from this. I just want this all to go away like it never happened!" Ezrabette said. She had always heard the spirits speak but never had she seen them, never had they materialized like this. It was a frightening sight.
"It will end....once my mission is complete." The echoing voice from the spirit replied.
"I can help you go to the other side without any of this, we wouldn't have to deal with any of the Collins family. They don't matter! I can help you!" Ezrabette exclaimed offering up a different way to end Marie Clotilde's ghostly suffering.
Marie Clotilde's empty eyes seemed to grow deeper like two pools of black water, just two black holes showing nothing on the other side. Her voice spoke again, this time forceful and deep.
"The days where alternatives are over, ma chere. I've spent an eternity waiting for this moment and it's time for it to happen. You'll do as I ask of you, or the consequences will be dire." The spirit replayed.
"What do you mean? What would you do?" Ezrabette said stepping backwards.
"For the rest of your days, no one you love will ever find happiness. No one you love will ever find peace. I will make sure that this curse rings true for all of your loved ones if this deed is not done according to my plans. I promise you this." The spirit warned.
"Instead of fixing things in a decent way, you'll continue with more pain and more suffering then? You're cruel. You'd continue Judith's pain through me." Ezrabette replied cynically.
"Hush!!!" The spirit said, her head tilted to one side as if listening for something. "Someone comes." She said again.
"Who?" Ezrabette said looking out of a side window facing the road.
"Margaret Evans....your friend. Your dearest friend who has found peace just these recent months." Marie Clotilde said snidely as Ezrabette slowly caught on to what the spirit was planning.
"Don't you hurt her, she's done nothing and has nothing to do with the Collins family!" Ezrabette said of her best friend.
"Hasn't she? Margaret's daughter is Collins by marriage, she has everything to do with them. She is your first test." Marie Clotilde said.
Ezrabette heard the sound from Maggie's car slowly pulling up in her rocky driveway. She reached over in side drawer to a table and quickly took a drink of her dark liquor she had hidden there and looked over at the spirit without eyes standing in her living room, she worried that if she didn't do what Marie Clotilde wanted, Maggie would again begin to feel the terrible wrath of the supernatural that had plagued her life for so many years.
Ezrabette remembered how Maggie suffered so much pain from her past that she faked her death hid away at Windcliff Sanitarium for 30 years just to rid herself of it all.
It was a horrible place to be put in, do the right thing and deny Marie Clotilde her revenge and curse your closest friend and all she loved to a lifetime of pain and suffering, or do as Marie Clotilde wished and curse another set of friends to unknown horrors.
But Maggie had suffered enough and was now in a good place; Ezrabette's choice was clear.
"What do you want me to do?" The town mystic asked of her dead great-grandmother.
"The mistress of Collinwood, Carolyn Stoddard-Thorne, is slowly being drawn into madness, she'll need a confidant, so to speak, to help her through these days. Plant the name Dr. Jonathon Silva in Maggie Evans' mind. Jonathon will help this woman through ...to end of her life." The apparition ordered as she quickly disappeared into the walls as if she had never been there at all.
Ezrabette stood in the center of her living room almost in a trans. Her eyes were closed. Her lips parted allowing a small amount of air creep in.
A knock on her door broke this trans.
"Bette? You home, hon? Its Maggie!......Bette?" Maggie said from the outside.
Ezrabette shook her head as if to shake water from her ears and took a deep breath. She flattened the crease in her pants and at the same time wiped her sweaty palms then walked over to the door and opened it with a great big grin.
"Hi love! Come in! Come in!" She said as Maggie smiled back.
"You're in a great mood. That storm didn't take too much out of you did it?" Maggie said noticing Ezrabette looking around the room as if she were looking for someone else. "You ok?" She added.
"Sure! Yes, have a seat." Ezrabette said, her voice sounding strained.
"I just wanted to come and check on you. I wasn't sure how well this old house held up with all that rain. They say more is coming, you know, if you ever need to you can come stay out the cottage." Maggie said offering her family home.
"Oh, it's fine, everything is fine." Ezrabette answered shortly.
Maggie could tell something wasn't quite right about her good friend, but she knew that often times Ezrabette's work seeped into her own life, she'd grow distant and distraught. Managing the lives of the living and the dead was exhausting and a lot of times overwhelming. Ezrabette's physic abilities were a draining experience that Maggie had witnessed first hand, it was something she knew would be brushed off if she worried too much.
"Well you look as tired as I feel, last night was quite distressing for everyone. You should see Carolyn!" Maggie said speaking of her other friend.
"Carolyn?" Ezrabette questioned, the name perking her interest when she realized Carolyn was also the mistress of Collinwood--the person Marie Clotilde had mentioned in her plot.
"I spent the night at the Mansion because it was just too rainy to drive home, you know how these old streets can flood, so as I'm sitting there getting ready for bed all this commotion comes up. Now, let me tell you, I've been around Collinwood practically all my life, I've seen commotion but this time it was really jarring. I haven't seen Carolyn this manic in a very long time." Maggie said.
"What was wrong with her?" Ezrabette carefully inquired.
"You won't believe it---she thought she saw Barnabas standing in the rain outside The Old House. We all know he's gone. We saw him vaporize. We saw him go...it's insane. I feel so bad for her." Maggie said, her voice turning from gossipy tone to concern.
This was her window of opportunity. Ezrabette could feel the blue icy fog of Marie Clotilde creep into her mind reminding her of her task, it was now or never.
"You know, I have a friend that could probably help her, I mean if she really needs it, and I think it sounds like she does." Ezrabette said softy, each word coming out of her mouth a red hot lie.
"A friend?" Maggie asked.
"A psychiatrist. He's fantastic. I'll give him a call and send him over to Collinwood, he'll work wonders for her. I promise." Ezrabette said, her smile tense and forged.
"Bette! You're the best! You really are. The family would be so grateful. But I think Siobhan is going to take care of that, I mean that's what she does." Maggie said reminding Ezrabette that David's new girlfriend was the cheif psychiatrist at Windcliff.
"No!! No...Carolyn has to meet with my friend. Trust me, just one session, on the house." Ezrabette insisted.
Maggie saw Ezrabette's eyes, she was breathing shallow, with a look of panic on her face and instead of continuing the awkward pushy conversation Maggie let it go.
"Ok, ok. No problem. Send him over later today, I'll call David on the way home and let him know." Maggie said with her feelings of concern now bleeding from Carolyn to also Ezrabette.
Maggie's antennas were up...something was amiss.
At the Collinwood estate, the family tried to make sense of everything that happened during the storm. Carolyn's sudden breakdown in the middle of the rain was shocking to them all. She was always the strong one. She was always the member of the family that everyone saw as their rock. And now, something had stirred her emotions, something had caused her to break in a way that very uncharacteristic of her. No one knew what to do.
Felling refreshed after a long trip back from London, David's ex-wife Kimberly found herself in the drawing room alone with his new girlfriend Dr. Siobhan Morgan, a woman who's pedigree was as old as walls of The Old House, that small detail was left out of her introduction to Kim.
"Good morning." Siobhan said as Kim walked into the room.
"Hi." Kim answered shortly, pouring herself a cup of coffee from a small coffee bar the housekeeper had set up.
"David said you'd had a long trip back from Europe and that you'd stayed the night. I don't really know why he felt like he had to let me know. It doesn't bother me that you're here." Siobhan said confidently.
"Well that's very big of you, thank you." Kim said, her lips tight with a snob's bite. "Where is David?" She continued.
"Upstairs checking on Carolyn. Maggie just called and said that a friend of her's is sending over a psychiatrist to check up on her." Siobhan replied.
"From Windcliff?" Kim asked.
"No, he doesn't work for me, I've never heard of him. Someone from out of town I guess." Siobhan said looking down at her news paper slipping into the conversation that she was the new head of Windcliff, the position Kim's late sister Joanna once had.
"I don't understand. Work for you?" Kim questioned.
"Oh, I'm a doctor and the new head of Windcliff." Siobhan answered.
"So, you're a doctor. How did you meet David? You know he used to be a patient there. He's had a lot of mental health issues over the years." Kim said attempting to drop a bomb.
Siobhan noticed Kim's snarkiness. It was obvious she had issues with Siobhan being in the mansion and being with David. This wasn't exactly the Brady Bunch, the jealousy was palpable.
"I know." Siobhan said with a grin. "Listen, Kim, David has been very honest with me about everything. I know why he was at Windcliff, I know that your sister was my predecessor, and I know that she died there violently. I know everything. What David and I have decided is that staying open and honest with each other is how good relationships last. Lord knows he deserves that." Siobhan said, sending back her own snarky remark.
"Well isn't that good. I'm happy for you. I really am, and David too. You know I don't see what the big discomfort is for me being here." Kim replied.
"Oh! There isn't any! I told you that." Siobhan retorted.
"Good. And besides, I'm not here for David. The University of Maine reached out to me while I was in London and they have some experimental tests they'd like to me handle.
"That's right, David mentioned you were a doctor too." Siobhan said with a kind smile.
"It was so good to get to know you better, really, but if you don't mind I have a thousand things to catch up on." Kim said, smiling back reluctantly as she headed to the rooms that that Julia Hoffman once used as laboratory.
She opened the office door, the smell was the same from the first time she took over Julia's office: old books and old leather. She quickly flicked the desk light on the shined a green light from it's tinted glass shade. Her blood was boiling. Her mind was in a jealous and angry cycle that kept seeing Siobhan's face smirking with delight. She could hear her rival's voice over and over again saying how comfortable she was to have Kim in the house no matter what history she and David had.
"She can't do this to me. He can't do this to me." Kim said as she sat at her desk chair. "I want my family back." She added.
Kim began to feel helpless. She had returned to Collinsport in hopes that she could salvage whatever love, whatever happiness, whatever emotion she could from David and get her family back together. It was her dream. She had atoned for all her past sins from cheating on David years ago with Victor Reed to wrongly imprisoning David at Windcliff for 2 decades, how could she let another woman stand in her way? She shook the thoughts from her mind and stood up and began to read over the forms she received from the University of Main on her new research project.
The forms listed several different plants that needed to be tested. They were all going to be delivered that day for her to run the tests in part to find out if these newly discovered plants could be used as alternative medications for cancer patients. As she was reading about one of the several plants on their way to her, she saw something very interesting.
It was a plant called the Folha Dormente, or the Sleeping leaf. It came from the far reaches of the amazonian rain forest. As she contained to read it's active ingredients and what it did to people and their pain, she realized how powerful it was.
"Foilha Dromente, consists of powerful proteins that when extracted and incorporated into the human blood stream in low doses can help the releif of pain in some patients. The amount of the dose is important, if taken too much, the potent protiens could render the patient incapacitated to the point of near death. Breathing shallows and the body falls into a death like coma."
"...death like coma?" Kim read out loud. "Death like." She repeated. An idea slipped into her creative dark brain.
She quickly ran over to her lap top and opened it up. She clicked into a series of email passwords and scanned. She opened an email that read
TO: DR. KIMBERLY COLLINS
FROM: THE UNIVERSITY OF MAIN, SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
She opened it to read the delivery time of her new project, she looked up at the clock and grinned. Her plants would arrive soon. Just a few hours.
"Well, I've seen that grin before, nothing ever good comes from you when you grin like that." Kim and David's son Caleb joked from the door.
"Oh Caleb!!" Kim said rushing over to her son leaving the papers on her desk.
They made small talk, he welcomed her back and she smiled and kissed his cheek. There was always a warmth between them even though his childhood was mainly memories of her rushing off to different places around the world for work.
"You're always working." Caleb said, his childhood sadness seeping through.
"You know how I am. Can't keep still." She said.
"What's this?" He asked picking up the papers to read.
"Oh just some things I have to take care of for the University. Nothing major." Kim said taking the papers from his hand. "Listen, let's go up stairs, I wanna see that grandson of mine!" Kim said changing the subject.
She flicked the lights off in her office leaving the papers describing the plant on her desk. It wouldn't be long until she had the real leaf in her hands to begin what she hoped was the first step on getting David and her whole family back and Siobhan out of the way. Forever.
****Upstairs, Carolyn was recuperating from her night out in the storm running after the phantom she swore was Barnabas Collins. David had spent the morning in her company making sure she had her breakfast and kept warm in her bed. Carolyn's mind had quickly returned to her regular self, she was in bed pouting at the notion from her family not to move an inch.
"This is completely unnecessary, David, really." Carolyn said dusting off the top of her comforter. ''
"Well maybe if you'd been a good girl last night and not had us all out in the storm running after you, I would agree, but here were are." David said, pouring his older cousin a glass of orange juice.
"You still don't believe what I saw last night do you? You don't believe I saw Barnabas outside The Old House. I swear to you, I wouldn't lie about that." Carolyn said frustrated with her situation.
"Don't put words in my mouth, I never said I didn't believe you,. I believe you saw what you saw, but Powell and I didn't see it. Carolyn, in the past two years you've had so many things happen to you. Its only been a few months since Alex left to London and, well, we think that maybe you're under a lot of stress. That's why I think it's a good idea you see the doctor Maggie's friend is setting you up with later." David explained.
"Why can't I see Siobhan?" Carolyn questioned.
"Maggie says Ezrabette really trusts this doctor. What's the worst that could happen?" David said patting his cousin on her head purposely trying to annoy her as a younger cousin would.
What David and Carolyn didn't know was that the doctor that was on his way to see Carolyn was deep in a revenge plot orchestrated by the vengeful spirit Marie Clotilde. Jason McGuire had been risen from the dead, and taunted Carolyn the night before in the storm and now was set to arrive at Collinwood, the scene of some of his most infamous schemes to not only to complete the destruction of the Collins family for Marie Clotilde, but also to get his own set of revenge on everyone who wronged him 50 years ago.
His craving for cruelty had not dulled while he slept in his cold, cement lined grave in the depths of the secret room at the Collins family mausoleum where Barnabas and Willie Loomis buried him. He was truly a vicious monster that only wanted to take from everyone around him no matter what the cost. The Collins family especially.
There was no love lost between Jason and Carolyn when they first knew each other, her hatred for the man the blackmailed her mother into almost marrying him went to the bone. She would never forgive him for the lies he told about the so-told murder of her father that never was. But this Jason, or Jonathon Silva as he would be called, would be disguised thanks to the special charm Ezrabette had bewitched that changed his face and body for all who looked at him.
To Ezrabette and the spirit, this was the dead body of Jason McGuire, to the rest of the world, the new man was the handsome Dr. Jonathon Silva.
The door bell rang, Powell pulled the large wooden door and standing there was the doctor. His smile beamed like two strings of white pearls. His face perfect and chiseled.
"Hello there. I'm here to see Mrs. Throne." Jonathon asked of Powell.
"She's resting." Powell said in a stern voice, unhappy with the whole situation.
"Is she? Well I was asked to come by to see her. No one mentioned she'd be asleep." Jonathon replied trying to peek into the mansion as a frosty breeze from the still damp outdoors blew in. "Usually by this time people welcome in the doctor who's making the house calls." he joked as Powell moved aside.
"Perhaps you should return another time?" Powell suggested.
"Nonsense!" David's voice said from the top of the stairs. "Carolyn is fine, she's expecting the doctor, Powell."
"I was only concerned with---" Powell began before being interrupted by David.
"I know, old man, don't worry. I'll make sure Carolyn is fine. Doctor, please follow me up stairs." David said patting Powells shoulder.
As they walked down the long corridors toward Carolyn's room, Jonathon remembered his many years in Collinwood. The schemes, the plots everything he almost had when he lived there as Jason McGuire. This was his second chance, if he could get his hands on everything he wanted this time, he would live out the rest of his un-dead life happy and free. But the key was to work on Carolyn. She had to be the only one to give him what he wanted, and by doing so, he'd also finally fulfill Marie Clotilde's revenge. In the end, Jonathon would have the Collins fortune, and Carolyn would be dead, an easy eye-for-an-eye.
"It smells the same." Jonathon said to himself softly, but loud enough that David heard.
"I'm sorry?" David said stopping in the center of the hall. "What smells the same?" He asked confused.
"Oh, Uhh....the same as my own...uh...old family home. We have a mansion similar in size." Jonathon said stammering to cover his tracks.
David smiled, knowing Jonathon was lying but didn't really have the time or patience to dig further as they were just about to walk into Carolyn's room.
"Hi, Carolyn, Dr. Silva is here. Dr. Silva, this is my cousin Carolyn Stoddard-Thorne.
Jonathon's eyes twinkled at the site of Carolyn. He hadn't seen her since she was a young woman of 20. Her hair was still the color of golden sun, her eyes still blue as a wild Maine sea, her skin still as pale and fresh as it was 50 years ago. He walked over to her and grabbed her hand and lifted it from the bed to kiss it.
"It is my very sincere pleasure Mrs. Thorne." Jonathon said.
"Likewise Dr. Silva." Carolyn said feeling awkward.
"I'll leave you to it." David said as he left the room.
"I hear there was an incident last night. What would you like to tell me about it?" Jonathon said knowing full well what had happened as he was the cause.
"You mean no one has told you?" Carolyn questioned.
"I'd like to hear it from you?" Jonathon said.
Carolyn sighed deep and breathy, frustrated she had to one more time tell this story. She knew people were worried about her mental state, but this, to her, happened and was all true.
"It doesn't make sense to me, but then at the same time it does. I know what I saw, I know who I saw but as soon as I got to the edge of that cliff, he was gone and then all of a sudden I was on the floor right at the edge, I could have fallen off, I almost feel as if I wanted to fall off. Like I was being led to jump." Carolyn explained confused about the last moments on the cliff.
Jonathon grinned. He pulled a note pad from his bag and started to write down everything she said even though he had no intention of really helping her. He was, in fact going to hurt her. Carolyn was a victim of his own scheme to drive her mad enough to fall off the edge of Widow's Hill. His first attempt failed, but his next one may finally prove to be a success. He just had to gain her trust.
"I want you to know that whatever happens here in our meetings, I will make sure that your wishes are understood, and taken into account to all that it will concern. Do you understand that?" Jonathon asked.
Carolyn opened her mouth to speak but stopped herself from answering right away. She thought about what he was saying, and in a way she didn't understand it, but she looked into this handsome face, his kind brown eyes, his sweet grin.
"Yes. I understand." She said.
"Good. We're going to make you better Carolyn. We really are. And when you are, you'll be free as a bird. You'll see." Jonathon said, his grin still plastered across his face with a devilish plan for Carolyn still hidden behind it.
Later that cold morning grew into a gloomy and overcast afternoon. Standing in Founder's Square park in front of a giant copper statue of Isaac Collins, the founder of Collinsport that had turned greened with age and the touch of the salty sea air, was the new Collins family governess Sasha Beaufort on a walk with baby Canan Collins.
Her mysterious past had caught the attention of the baby's detective mother Kat. Canan, too, had grown so fond of his new governess. He looked at her like she was someone that he had know since the day he was born, she too quickly knew all his quirks as if she had been around this baby before.
As the two played near the statue, a man, with dark black hair, pale blue eyes watched from across the park as he sat and read the paper on a bench. He folded the paper and stared over at the young governess and smirked.
Like Sasha, who took to Collinsport and her new job like a duck to water, this new mysterious man was no stranger to the things of this town. He had just arrived the night before on the same train as Kimberly, he was ready to connect the dots of his own life, and Sasha would be his foot in the door.