Friday, November 18, 2011

Family Ties (Dark Shadows / WWE Crossover Fic) - Part 10

(In Professor Stokes home)

Barnabas sat and listened as the old man, Professor Stokes, talked..

"I suspected that Julia's serum would only be temporarily effective", he said. "She knew she was dying and was trying to rush the process."

"I understand all of that, Professor", Barnabas said. "But what do you think.... what am I to do now? Can you modify the serum and make it work again... or am I... am I destined to remain as one of the living dead forever?"

"Don't give up hope, Barnabas", Professor Stokes said. "Julia was so far ahead of her time and was a genius in so many ways. But the advancements in science and biochemistry just in the past few years, since her death, would have made a major difference."

"So does that mean...?", Barnabas asked.

"I've ran some tests on your blood and it's as we long theorized years ago. I can modify Julia's serum and make some adaptions so you will be able again to live as a normal man, in the daylight as well as the night, without any negative effects."

"That's wonderful, Professor", Barnabas said.

"But I have to warn you, Barnabas, that it's only temporary.", the Professor said.

"Temporary?", questioned Barnabas. "What do you mean?".

"Your body... and the strength of the vampiric curse that affects you, is far too powerful for any serum or scientific cure to provide more than a temporary cure. I can easily modify the serum and you'll be fine for a while. By my estimates, it should take your body roughly three-four months to build up an immunity against the serum again. And then, it will cease to be effective", the Professor explained.

"So I can only hope for temporary cures.. and to never be able to live as a real man again."

"For now, Barnabas, that seems to be the case. Our best option would be to find some way to remove the curse that originally turned you into a vampire. I remember that Angelique removed the curse at one point and you were cured."

"Yes, that did happen. And if it was possible, I'm sure that Angelique would remove the curse again. But we learned, at very nearly a great cost, that the curse and my vampirism is what is destined to be, and if she removes it, it's my family, the Collins family, that would suffer the consequences and cease to be. And I can not allow that to happen."

"I see. What about having others of a magical persuasion remove the curse?"

"From my research, I'm almost positive that the results would be the same as if Angelique removed it. If I'm cured by magic, then my family suffers the consequences", Barnabas said.

"What about a transference of the curse, as we did once before, with Adam?", Professor Stokes asked.

"Adam?", Barnabas muttered. "I haven't thought about him in so many years. That did work before, but Adam is dead. He died years ago."

"No, he didn't", Professor Stokes said. "He was presumed dead, but he survived. And he's still alive today."

"He's... alive?", Barnabas said. "But how... how is it possible?"

"He almost didn't survive the fire, but he managed to get out at the last second. And he was found by Carolyn. And she brought him to me."

"Carolyn? Of course. He considered her his only friend."

"We took care of him and nursed Adam back to health in secrecy. And then I sent him away... to an associate of mine in Kentucky. He swore to me he left that he would attempt to move on and would forever leave the Collins family in peace. He healed and changed and established a life for himself. And he's doing quite well these days."

"Did Julia know?", Barnabas asked.

"She suspected, but since she felt that Adam was a dead end and would be forever gone from our lives, she didn't press the issue."

"So Adam is in... Kentucky?", Barnabas asked.

"No, he was raised in Kentucky by an old friend of mine, an eccentric acquaintance named Precival Pringle III."

"That name seems familiar", Barnabas said.

"He's a fellow I met in college. He's a bit younger than I am, but we hit it off and became friends. He's one of the few people I felt could accept and help Adam... and help give him a real life and chance at existence."

"Is he still aive?", asked Barnabas. "And would he know how to find Adam?"

"He's still alive. That much I know. I get a christmas card from him every year. But I haven't spoken to him in years. I could call him perhaps, and see if he knows where Adam is."

"I think it's essential that you do", said Barnabas. "If that is the only chance we have to destroy this curse.... this taint from the Collins name."

"I'm postitively convinced that it is", Professor Stokes said. "I have Percy's phone number in my address book. I'll go call him now and see what I can learn."

Professor Stokes left the room to go find the phone number and call his old acquaintance while Barnabas sat quietly, staring at the wall, lost in thought.

"Penny for your thoughts", a voice rang out, startling Barnabas.

"Hello, Miss Stokes", Barnabas said, as Lynn Stokes reentered the room.

"Please, call me Lynn. That is, if I may call you Barnabas?", she said.

"You saved my life earlier today", Barnabas said. "You may call me anything you'd like."

"Such a charmer", Lynn said. "I can see why Dr. Hoffman was so in love with you."

"Excuse me?", Barnabas said. "Julia was a brilliant woman, but her love was a mistake."

"She didn't think so", Lynn said. "When we had bonded enough to becomes friends and confidents, she spoke to me often... and you were indeed her favorite subject of conversation. She loved you."

"And I cared for her",Barnabas said. "But not in that way."

"I know. And she knew your heart belonged to Josette.. and Vickie Winters too.", Lynn spoke. "But that doesn't change how she felt about you."

"Then she was foolish and niave", Barnabas said.

Changing the subject, Barnabas asked, "So how about you, Miss Stokes. I don't recall of ever hearing of the Professor being married and I didn't know he had any children, expecially not one as lovely and charming as you. Might I inquire about that."

"Changing the subject? Oh well", Lynn said. "Dad, or Professor Stokes as you know him, had a brief fling back in the 70's with a young lady who worked here as his housekeeper. None months later, here I was. Simple as that."

"Nothing is ever that simple", Barnabas said. "Where have you been for all of these years? What happened to your mother?"

"Mom died a few years ago. She had left town after realizing she was pregnant with me and went back home to North Carolina. She didn't tell the Professor or anyone else. She, with the help of her parents, raised me alone. After she was killed in a car accident, I decided to try and discover who my father was. I used Mom's old diaries and a Private Detective to track down Professor Stokes. I confronted the Professor and after much talking, we decided that I should move up here to Maine and work for him to give us a chance to catch up on a lifetime. That was ten years ago and I've never been happier. My father turned out to be such a wonderful and great man."

"And how did you meet Julia?", Barnabas asked.

"By the time I arrived, Julia was obsessed with her experiments, which we now know involved trying to find a cure for you. My father was her only friend, it seemed. And as time went by, I was invited into that partnership and ended up as an assistant and friend to Dr. Hoffman. I think, in many ways, she viewed me as the daughter she never had."

"It's quite possible. Julia was always too busy with her work to worry about things such as marriage and chiildren while she was younger, and I think she may had have some major regrets as she turned older.", Barnabas said.

"So many people do that... become obsessed with their careers and other things and let life pass them by..." Lynn mutterd.

"I hope you're not that way?", Barnabas asked.

"No, I'm serious about my work and my responsibilities, but I like to experience life and have fun sometimes as well", Lynn said.

"That's good", said Barnabas.

"OK, I just spoke with Percy", the voice of Professor Stokes rang out as he entered the room, "and Adam is alive and well. He doesn't use the name Adam now. When he went to live with Percy and his family, he changed his name to Glen Jacob Pringle... and then later, dropped the last name and changed it to Glen Jacobs."

"Does your friend know where Adam is?", Barnabas asked.

"Oh yes", the Professor said. "Adam.... or Glen as he's called now, works in the world of professional wrestling... and goes by the name of Kane."

"Kane", said Lynn. "I watch him every week on the television. He's a big guy. And kind of crazy."

"So he's a... wrestler?", Barnabas asked.

"And the truly ironic thing is that he works for the WWE... and one of his bosses is Victoria Winters McMahon."

"VIckie? Does she know it's Adam?"

"I doubt it", Professor Stokes said. "And I'm not sure if he has realized that Miss Winters is the same person he met at Collinwood so many years ago. It's possible though."

"Do you think Vickie is in danger from Adam... or Glen Jacobs, as you say he's called now?", Barnabas asked.

"I doubt it", the Professor answered. "Unless he's been affected by your return."

"Do you think it's possible?", Barnabas asked.

"It's entirely possible. Your life forces were linked and such a link is a hard thing to ignore or break. While you were at rest for all those years, I'm sure that he's had no problems... but since you're returned..."

"Anything is possible and he might be a threat to us.. or Vickie", Barnabas said.

"We can't know for sure", Professor Stokes cautioned. "But we need to find out. If we could talk to him and find out... perform some tests. I'm positive that he's may be the key to ending your curse and quite possibly the reason why your body is developing an immunity to Julia's serum. "

"We can't allow Vickie or anyone else to be in danger. Maybe I should confront Adam.. or Kane as he's known as now."

"No!", the Professor exclaimed. "Let me contact him first and speak to him. If he's experiencing any problems since your return, maybe we can all help each other."

"I doubt that Adam would be willing to help us", Barnabas said. "Our history was not a pleasant one... and he vowed to destroy both me and my family."

"But that was then. I'm sure that he's changed over the years. And it's quite possible that he too might be feeling the effects of your return to the world of the living", the Professor said.

"I hadn't thought of that, but you're entirely right", Barnabas said. "Our life forces are intertwined and linked. So with my returning as a vampire again, he may be suffering some side effects too as a result."

"But how do we find out", Lynn asked.

"We meet Adam... or Glen.. or Kane... whatever he prefers to be called and ask him.", the Professor said.

"But how do we get to him without arrousing his suspicions?", Lynn asked. "If he's as hostile to Barnabas and his family as you say... and if he's as deranged as he appears on TV sometimes, it will be dangerous and could easily cause more problems if he decides to not help us."

"You say he works for the WWE.... Vickie's company?", Barnabas asked. "If so, then I may be able to get to meet with him and approach him."

"How?", the Professor asked. "It's not safe for you.. he'd try and kill you on sight."

"It's far safer for me than either of you", Barnabas said. "And he has a life now. If I can convince him that I'm only wanting to talk. he may be willing to listen."

"But you can't be sure", Lynn said.

"I can't be sure of anything", Barnabas said. "But if the Professor feels that Adam is the key to ending this curse, I have to give it a try."

"So what are you going to do, Barnabas?", the Professor asked.

"I think I'm going on a trip", said Barnabas grimly.


After Professor Stokes had prepared the newer and more potent form of the serum and gave Barnabas enough to last several days, Barnabas left and headed back to Collinwood. Lynn turned to her father after Barnabas had said his farewells and spoke,

"Dad, can I ask you about something?"

"Of course, my dear", the Professor answered.

"Well, I've read your files on Barnabas of course, and I remember Dr. Hoffman... Julia very well. But I'm still kind of in the dark about how this 'Adam', fits into the picture. Or should I say 'Kane'."

"It's a long story", the Professor said to his daughter. "But I'll give you the short version. Adam was... is an artificial man.. a construct of human parts from various corpses, brought to life by Julia and Barnabas in an effort to cure Barnabas of his curse."

"An artificial man... ?", Lynn asked. "That's.... amazing."

"Yes", the Professor continued. "Julia was far ahead of her time and it.. he... was really an amazing creature."

"How did it.. he... happen", Lynn asked.

"Wel, based on the notes of a Doctor Victor Frankenstein... yes, the 'Dr. Frankenstein'.. he really existed", the Professor said. "Julia managed to get hold of some of his notebooks and diaries and came up with a theory to transfer Barnabas's 'vampire life-force' into an artificial body.. thus giving that body life and removing the curse from Barnabas."

"Amazing", Lynn said. "And did it work?"

"Yes, it did. Julia and Barnabas managed to construct a body, using parts from fresh corpses and then, using assorted chemical and scientific means, gave the creature, who they named Adam, the spark of life."

"Playing God.", Lynn thought out loud.

"Yes, that's how I saw it as well", her father said. "I was appalled when I first realized what they were doing.. had done, but I let my.. affection for Julia as well as my scientific curiousity overcome my repulsion and soon became their associate in this venture."

"What happened then?", Lynn asked.

"Well, at first, it was an amazing success. Barnabas was truly human again... with no seemingly ill effects to him. Adam, with the artificial life given to him by Barnabas's vampiric life force, was amazingly strong and impervious to pain... essentially immortal. But he was also quite mad at the time. And though he was very intelligent and a very quick learner. he was also extremely confused, alone and dangerous."

"Did he have brain damage?", Lynn asked.

"It's possible that there was some brain damage. Maybe the brain they used for Adam had been diseased or injured in some way before it was transplanted into Adam's skull? I'm not sure. But something was definitely not right or sane about the man."

"Did anyone know about Adam?"

"No, they kept his presence secret and hid him away", the Professor said. "But Carolyn Collins, Elizabeth's then-teenage daughter, did discover Adam and helped him recover from injuries he suffered at the hands of Barnabas. In hindsight, I think she was his only real friend."

"Please continue", Lynn asked.

"Eventually Adam decided to rebel against his makers. He tried to kill Julia and Barnabas... and nearly succeeded. Barnabas and Julia managed to trap Adam in a burning house where they assumed he had perished."

"But he didn't perish, did he?", Lynn spoke.

"No", the Professor said. "He almost did, but managed to escape. I found him and hid him away.. away from Barnabas and Julia. I helped him recover his health. Barnabas began again to suffer the effects of the vampire curse, so he was positive that Adam was dead. And I allowed them to believe that. Once he was sufficentially recovered, I made arrangements for Adam to leave.. to go to stay with an old associate of mine, Percival Pringle. I made Adam swear to forever leave the Collins in peace... to forsake his hatred of Barnabas and Julia.. and to try and make a true life for himself. I could see his body healing and evolving and his intelligence was really quite amazing.. he could grasp almost any idea almost immediately. His brain was evolving and he was genius level... and he probably still is."

"This is really quite hard to believe and grasp", Lynn said.

"But it's all very true", Professor Stokes said. "I'll get my diary of that time for you to read. It's quite detailed."

"I'd appreciate that", Lynn said. "So do you really think that Adam might be feeling the effects of Barnabas's return from the grave?"

"It's quite possible", the Professor said. "While Barnabas laid dormant in his coffin for all of those years.. and while he was cured, I'd suspect that Adam was quite the picture of health. Probably amazing strength, coordination and near invincibility and resistance to pain and injury. With Barnabas back and cursed once more.. I'd expect that Adam is experiencing spells of weakness, possible disorientation and so forth. Their life forces are merged in a way that's hard to explain. And although I'd need to perform tests on both Adam and Barnabas together to be sure, I'm almost positive that if Barnabas remains a vampire, then Adam will become weaker. It's as if the dark nature of Barnabas's vampire soul can only exist in one body at a time. While Barnabas was human, Adam reaped the benefits without the nasty side-effect. But since Barnabas is back as one of the living dead, the soul is fractured and both men are in great danger and jeopardy."

"This is all so... confusing", Lynn said.

"I know it is", the Professor said. "But if I'm right, we have to cure Barnabas of the vampire curse or else both he and Adam will weaken. Adam will eventually die from lack of a soul and who knows who he may hurt or destroy in the process. And if doomed for eternity to be a vampire, after so many near-cures and temporary reprieves, I fear that Barnabas may go insane and truly become evil as he gives in to despair."

"And if he truly becomes evil and views the situation as hopeless.. or if Adam realizes what's happening and comes to Collins Port, none of us are safe. Not you or I? Not the Collins family. No one."

"So we must find a way to save Barnabas... and to save Adam as well. Our very survival may depend on it.", the Professor said.

"So what do we do next?", Lynn asked her father.

"I'm going to go lie down for a little while", the Professor said. "It's been quite a while since I've worked such long hours and re-creating and modifying Julia's serum for Barnabas has worn me out. I'd suggest that you do the same. I'll call Barnabas tonight and we can plan further what to do in regards to contacting Adam... or Kane as he's now known."

"I doubt that I'll be able to sleep", Lynn said.

"Please try", the Professor said. "And here.."

The Professor reached into his desk and pulled out an old notebook.. his journal from years ago...

"Something for you to read.. to learn in more details about Adam, Barnabas and the crisis we now face."

"Thank you Dad", Lynn said, giving her father a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll go read it in my room while I try to rest. Now, you go lay down as well and get some rest. I think we've got a lot of work ahead of us."

"I think so too", the Professor said. "I think so too."


In a small dressing room at the Meadowland Gardens in New Jersey, Kane was sitting on a bench with his head in his hands. '

"This pain in my head.. why won't it go away", Kane thought to himself.

"Hey Kane", a voice rang out across the room. Kane looked up and it was Rey Mysterio walking across the room.

"What's up, dude? You looked a little shaky out there tonight in our match. Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm OK. Just a bad headache", Kane said.

"You want me to get the doctor for you", Rey asked? "Or you want some tylenol or something?"

"No, I"ll be OK", Kane said. "I think I just need some rest."

"OK Papi", Rey said. "But if you need anything, just holler."

"I will Rey.. and thanks".

Rey Mysterio just grinned and walked off towards the showers. Kane watched him walk away and put his head back down in his hands.

"What the hell is wrong with me?", Kane thought to himself. "I don't get headaches. I haven't been sick since I was still Ada.. that other person. And now, for the past several weeks, I've been sick, dizzy, weak... I just can't understand it."

Suddenly a name and face popped into Kane's head. He understood. Kane had a sudden realization. "He has to be back. That's the only possible answer. It has to be.... Barnabas Collins."

As Kane sat and pondered as to what he should do, the door to the locker room opened and Sgt. Slaughter stuck his head in.

"Hey Kane", Slaughter said. "When you get a moment, Vince wants to see you."

"Hey Sarge!", said Kane. "Any idea what Vince wants?"

"I'm not sure, but I think he wants to run some storylines by you."

"Tell him I'll be there in a couple of minutes... as soon as I finished getting dressed.", Kane said.

"Sure thing, Private!", Slaughter said as he pulled his head back out into the hallway and closed the door.

Kane smiled to himself. Slaughter could always make him laugh with that 'Private' nickname he liked to use. Kane quickly finished dressing and left the dressing room, heading down the hallway towards Vince's makeshift office that he had set up at the arena. As he walked by, he passed Layla, Santino Marella & Alex Riley standing and gossiping among themselves.

"So I heard that Linda and Vickie just left in the middle of the day and Vince was livid", Kane heard Santino say.

He turned and joined the group.

"What about Linda and Vickie?", Kane asked.

"As I was telling Alex and Layla", Santino said, "I was talking to Arn earlier and he said that Linda and Vickie took an early lunch and then hopped a plane to some small village in Maine. They left in the middle of the day and didn't tell anyone. And Vince was very upset."

"Why would they leave like that?", Alex Riley asked?

"I don't know", Santino said. "From what Linda's secretary told Arn, Vickie just had a bad preminition of some kind and had to go home. And Linda went with her."

"And they didn't tell Vince or anyone where they were going?", Layla asked.

"They apparantly saw Bradshaw while in the city having lunch and spoke to him, but they didn't call Vince or the office until they were already on their way to the airport."

"That's weird", Matt said. "Usually Linda and Vickie are both so by-the-book, taking off out of the blue just isn't like them."

"I know", Santino agreed. "Vince is usually the spontaneous one. And Linda and Vickie are the responsible ones."

"I'm sure that they had a good reason", Layla said. "Vince will be OK!"

"Did anyone hear exactly where they were going to?", Kane asked.

"Some small town in Maine, where Vickie used to live. I think it's called Collins Port?"

"Do you know where it is, Kane?", Alex asked.

"Yeah", Kane said. "I've been there before... a long, long time ago."

William Regal walked up and joined the group.

"There you are", he said to Layla. "I've been looking for you. We've got to get ready for our match against Daniel Bryan and Gail."

"Is it that late already?", Layla shrugged. "I'm sorry, but I lost track of time. We were just talking..."

"Gossiping, you mean", Regal smirked. "What a boorish waste of time that is."

"Come on now, Willie. You like to gossip too", Alex smiled.

"Unlike you commoners", Regal sneered, "I only talk about topics that actually matter."

"So what have you heard?", Santino asked.

"Guess what former diva was spotted down in Orlando with Kevin Nash?", Regal laughed.

"Who?', Layla asked.

As Regal started to spill the beans on some Diva's dalliance with Kevin Nash, Kane excused himself from the group. He still had to go see what Vince McMahon wanted and then to figure out what to do about his situation if he was right. What if Barnabas Collins had actually returned? It's the only reason Kane could think of why Vickie and Linda would go to Collins Port so quickly without a word to anyone. And if Barnabas had returned, what was he going to do about it?


Linda McMahon and Victoria Winters McMahon arrived at Collinwood a little after eight and were immediately greeted by Lisa & David at the door.

"Welcome home, Vicky.. and you too Linda", Lisa said.

"Hiya teach!", David grinned at his former Governess as she sat down her bag.

"Still the charmer, aren't you David?", Vickie smiled.

Introductions of Linda to David were quickly made.

"So where is Elizabeth?", Vickie asked.

"I'm right here, my dear", came a voice from the stairway at the always elegant Elizabeth Collins made her way down the stairs.

Liz gave Vickie a hug and peck on the cheek and then turned to Linda..

"So you're Linda McMahon? We met at Lisa's wedding to David, but didn't have time to talk. It's so nice to finally meet you. Lisa and Vickie have both spoken so much about you.", said Elizabeth.

"And I've heard a lot about you as well", Linda told Liz as she shook her hand. "You're an amazing woman!"

"Thank you", said Elizabeth. "Please feel free to make yourself at home while you're here with Vickie. We consider Vickie family and as her sister-in-law, you're also family in my eyes."

"Thank you", said Linda. "But I won't be staying long. Just overnight, I assume to make sure Vickie is OK. Any longer than that and my husband, Vince, will freak out. He's like a small child sometimes and I have to be nearby to provide the adult supervision."

"Most men are like that!", Elizabeth agreed.

"Hey, I'm standing right here and listening", David Collins pouted.

"But not you, baby!", Lisa smiled at him.

Lisa took her husband by the shoulder and steered him into the study so the other ladies could be alone and talk. She shrugged her shoulders and smirked at her husband as they walked away.

"I saw that", David said.

"But I still love you", Lisa laughed as they walked into the other room.

As they walked away, Linda laughed at the antics of Lisa Moretti Collins.

"Ivory is still one of a kind", she said quietly.

"And we're very proud to have her in the family", Elizabeth agreed.

The three ladies stood in silence for a moment and then Vicky turned to Elizabeth.

"Where is Barnabas? I have to see him. I feel he's in danger. I need to see him now!"


After leaving Professor Stokes home, with a newer, more potent version of the serum safely tucked away in his cloak, Barnabas returned to the old house at Collinwood.

"Barnabas, you're back", Willie said. "Is everything OK?"

"I'm fine Willie... for now. Did you speak to Elizabeth? How did she react to our having to cancel our invitation to dinner?"

"Oh, Liz was OK. She sounded worried about you, but I just told her that you were not feeling well. She sent over some food for us both."

"That's fine", Barnabas said.

"Are you OK Barnabas?", Willie asked?

"For the time being. It seems that my.. condition... is even more powerful than Julia's serum."

"Oh no..", Willie said.

Barnabas turned and looked at Willie. The loyal servant and companion looked frightened.

"But Professor Stokes was able to increase the potency of the serum. It will continue to work for a while and things shall be as they have been."

Willie seemed to brighten up a bit at this revelation.

"So you can still go out in the daytime and stuff..."

"For now, Willie. Eventually, even this will fail, so I'll have to be extra careful. But the Professor and I are working on ways to get rid of the curse. And I won't give up without a fight. Better to go back to that coffin permanently than to be a creature that stalks the night and preys on the innocent again. I just won't allow that to happen."

"It won't happen again, Barnabas. It can't. You'll see", Willie agreed.

"I hope you're right Willie. I hope you're right."

"Oh, Barnabas.. I have to tell you. The housekeeper who brought the food from Liz.. she told me....", Willie stammered.

"What is it, Willie?", Barnabas asked.

"It's Vickie. She called Liz today. She's coming home tonight."

"Vickie? Tonight? Why Willie? Did the housekeeper tell you why?"

"No. She didn't know. She just said that Vickie called Liz earlier tonight.... must have been just after I spoke to Liz to cancel our dinner.. and Liz had Lisa go get two rooms ready."

"So she's not alone?", Barnabas asked.

"I don't think so. I can go over there and find out, if you'd like", Willie said.

"No, it's getting late", Barnabas said. "I'll go over there myself first thing in the morning. To see Vickie and to assure Elizabeth that everything is ok."

"Don't you want to see Miss Vickie?", Willie asked.

"Of course I do", Barnabas said. "But I want to make sure this serum works.. and that I'm no danger to her or anyone else. And the morning would be better. Yes, the morning."

"So what are you going to do tonight, Barnabas?", WIllie asked.

"I'm going to go over Julia's old notes again... and do some research to see what I can learn.. to end this curse once and for all."

"Can I help?", Willie asked?

"No Willie. It's late, so why don't you just go to bed and get some rest. It's been a long day."

"Are you sure, Barnabas?", Willie asked.

"I'm sure. I need to be alone for a while anyhow... I need to think.. and remember."

"OK Barnabas, but if you need anything.. anything at all... just call and I'll be here", Willie said.

"I know. I will. And thank you Willie.. for being so loyal a servant..a confident.. and a friend."

"A... friend?"

Willie felt a single tear running down his face. In all of their long relationship, this was the first time he could ever remember Barnabas referring to him as a "friend".

"Thank you, Barnabas!", Willie said quietly.

"Go get some rest Willie. Have a good night.", Barnabas said cooly.

"OK Barnabas", Willie said. "I'll see you in the morning."

"In the morning then", Barnabas said.

Barnabas watched as Willie left the room and listened to him head upstairs to his room. His mood turned serious and somber as he moved into his chair next to the burning fireplace and took a seat.

"Victoria, why are you here.. now?", Barnabas wondered. "And what am I... are we going to to to end this terrible curse?"


"Where is Barnabas? I have to see him. I feel he's in danger. I need to see him now!"

Elizabeth could sense the panic and stress in Vickie's voice.

"I'm assuming he's over at the old house", Liz said. "Both he and Willie were supposed to come to dinner earlier tonight, but Willie called and cancelled. He said something about Barnabas wasn't feeling well. I sent some food over earlier for both of them."

"Barnabas never gets sick", Vickie said quietly. "Did WIllie go into any details?"'

"No, but I could tell he was nervous... you remember how Willie gets that stammer when he's nervous?", Liz said.

Victoria nodded. She remembered very well.

"So Barnabas should be at the old house?", she said. "I'll walk over there immediately. I have to see him."

"No", Liz said. "It's late and not safe to be walking in the woods at night."

"I know it's late, but Barnabas..."

"What I'd suggest is to wait until the morning. If I know Barnabas.. and how well the spread of gossip works in this household", Liz smiled, 'I'm sure that Barnabas already knows you're coming in tonight. And I expect we'll be seeing him first thing in the morning."

"But I have to go.. I don't want to wait..", Vickie said.

"Or", LIz continued.. "Since I know how stubborn you can be and are going to go to the old house anyhow, take my car and drive over there. It's safer than walking."

"Are you sure?", Vickie said.

"I'm sure", said Elizabeth.

Vickie turned to her sister-in-law, Linda McMahon, who had stood there quietly listening and taking all of this in.

"Linda, I'm sorry to have dragged you here and now I've got to abandon you for a time. I have to see Barnabas... alone."

"I understand", Linda said with a smile. "I'd like to stay and talk to Elizabeth for a while anyhow if it's OK with her.. and I have some work to do as well."

"Work?", Vickie questioned.

"I brought my laptop", Linda said. "I never leave home without it. And also, I think I should call Vince and let him know where we are and what's going on."

"Oh yes, Vince is probably pulling his hair out", Vickie agreed.

"So you go do what you have to do Vickie", Linda said.

Linda turned to Elizabeth. "Can I borrow your phone for a moment?"

"Of course", Elizabeth said.

Handing Vickie some keys from a pocket in her dress, Elizabeth led Linda away and into an office off the main hallway. Vickie gripped the keys tightly in her hands and headed towards the garage where she knew Liz kept her car parked.

"Still an old station wagon" Vickie laughed to herself as she entered the garage. "Some things never change."

In just a matter of seconds, Vickie backed out of the garage and was headed down the old dirt road towards the old house.

"Ready or not Barnabas, here I come."

TBC...???? (It's Up To You)

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