Laslo Thaxton’s Revenge
by Debby Graham
Chapter 1 Arrival
Jean Paul Desmond sits behind his desk in his office. The phone rings and as he reaches for the receiver a chill runs through his body. Shaking it off, he picks up the receiver.
“This is Jean Paul Desmond, how may I help you?”
“Jean Paul I’m so worried.” Ada, Jean Paul’s cousin says.
“Ada what’s wrong?”
“What about Cort?”
“For the last two weeks I haven’t heard from him.”
“Ada, Cort is a grown man; you have to let him lead his own life.”
“You don’t understand, he’s been corresponding with a family in Collinwood Maine over property that will allow us to expand our textile industry. He was supposed to call in with his report on the property.”
“Ada it might have taken longer for Cort to settle the deal.”
“Jean Paul when I called the hotel he was staying at they said they had never heard of him and no person by that name had ever checked in.”
“Could you have called the wrong hotel?”
“No when he arrived he had called from there. The next morning I had to call to find out some information and the switchboard put me right through. Jean Paul I have a terrible feeling about this town.”
“Ada give me the number of the hotel.”
“It’s the Collinwood Inn.” She says then reads the telephone number to him.
“Thank you Ada. I’ll call you when I find out anything.”
“Thank you Jean Paul.’ Ada says then hangs up the receiver.
Jean Paul pushes the disconnect button then dials the number that Ada had given him. The phone rings and rings. Through the day Jean Paul tries the number a few more times but with no results. Before leaving his office he calls information and asks for the number of the Collinsport Inn in Collinsport, Maine. He is given a different number than Ada had given him. He dials the number.
“Collinsport Inn may I help you.” A man’s voice asks.
“Yes would you connect me with Cort Desmond’s room please.”
There is a long pause. “I’m sorry there is no guest checked in by that name.”
“Could you please double check?”
“I’m sorry sir.” The man says and the connection is broken.
Jean Paul pushes the button for Desmond Hall.
“Desmond Hall.” Ada says.
“Ada its Jean Paul, that number you gave me doesn’t exist.”
“Jean Paul that’s impossible.”
“I have the right number from information. When I called I received the same answer that they gave you.”
“Jean Paul now I really am frightened. I know something bad has happened to Cort.” She says with a sob.
“Ada calm down, Emily and I were planning on a weekend getaway. But I think we’ll start that weekend earlier like tomorrow. I’ll make the plane reservations now before I leave the office.”
“Thank you Jean Paul and please call me when you arrive in
“I’ll do that Ada, don’t worry; knowing Cort he’s probably found a girl and got side tracked.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“I know I am.”
“Goodbye Ada.” Jean Paul says then hangs up the receiver. He grabs his jacket and briefcase and walks out of his office.
Arriving home Jean Paul enters by the side French doors. “Emily.” He calls out.
Emily steps out of the den and walks over to him. “Hello darling.” She says as she puts her hands on his shoulders and kisses him.
Jean Paul pulls away.
“Jean Paul what’s wrong?”
“Hopefully nothing, how would you like to leave early tomorrow for our weekend?”
“But tomorrow is Wednesday. I don’t know if I can.”
“Can you cancel your classes for the next two days?”
“I’ve only been at the University for six months. As a new teacher I don’t know if I can.”
“Come to the den and I’ll explain.”
Emily follows him.
“I’ll contact the Dean and inform him that I have a family emergency.” Emily says then walks to the desk and lifts the receiver.
Emily sets down the receiver after speaking to the Dean. She glances at Jean Paul. “What do you really think is going on with
“We won’t know until we arrive in Collinsport.”
The next morning Jean Paul and Emily fly to Maine in the Desmond jet. Jean Paul rents a car and drives the rest of the way into
“Where should we start?” Emily asks.
“At the hotel where Cort was staying; but first how about some breakfast?” Jean Paul asks as he takes Emily’s arm and walks with her across the street to the Collinsport Inn. They enter the small café and find an empty table.
The waitress approaches them with a pad and pen in her hand. “Hello my name is Maggie, what can I get for you?”
“Emily?” Jean Paul asks looking at her.
“I’d like French toast and coffee.”
Maggie writes it down then glances at Jean Paul.
“Two fried eggs, toast, three slices of bacon and coffee.”
“I’ll bring the coffee right away.” Maggie says after writing the order. “Anything else?”
“Yes I’m looking for a young man that arrived in town two weeks ago. He’s my cousin, his name is Cort Desmond.”
“Desmond, are you Jean Paul Desmond?”
“Yes and this is my wife Emily.”
“Hello Mrs. Desmond.” Maggie says then looks back at Jean Paul. “I met your cousin when he arrived but I’m afraid I haven’t seen him in the last week. I thought that he had finished his business and went home.”
“You don’t happen to know where he was staying do you?” Emily asks.
“Here at the Collinsport Inn, it’s the only hotel in town.”
“Thank you Maggie.” Jean Paul says to her.
Maggie walks back to the counter and collects their food.
After they eat Jean Paul pays the bill and leaves a large tip on the table.
As they approach the door Maggie stops them. “I hope you find your cousin Mr. Desmond, Cort seemed upset about something and wanted to speak to some of the people at Collinwood.”
“Did he say who he wanted to speak to?”
“Yes my friend Victoria Winters and her charge David Collins.”
“Thank you Maggie.” Jean Paul says then takes Emily’s arm and walks with her out of the café.
They walk to the front of the Inn and Jean Paul holds the door for Emily. They approach the counter together.
“Can I help you?” A man asks from behind the counter, his name tag reads Richard.
“Yes we’re looking for my cousin Cort Desmond. We were told he checked in two weeks ago.”
“Yes that’s true but he checked out last week.”
“Did he say anything about going home?” Emily asks.
“I don’t question the guests on their destinations.”
“Thank you.” Jean Paul says as a chill runs through him and he turns away from the counter. He looks out the window to see a woman standing outside staring at him. Jean Paul rushes to the door.
“Jean Paul what’s wrong?” Emily calls out.
Jean Paul doesn’t answer and rushes outside. He glances down the street then looks the other way; the woman has disappeared. Walking back inside the Inn Jean Paul joins Emily. “Did you see her?”
“Who?” Emily asks.
“There was a woman watching us from outside.”
“I didn’t see anyone Jean Paul.”
Jean Paul looks at the man behind the counter.
The man seems nervous and has turned pale.
“Who was she?” Jean Paul asks.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The woman watching us from outside.”
“I didn’t see anybody.”
“Look she was wearing a long gown and had some type of veil over her head.”
“I’m sorry but you’re mistaken. Now if you’ll excuse me I have work to do.” Steven says as he walks away from the counter and enters a side door.
“Something sure frightened him.” Emily says.
Jean Paul turns away from the side door and looks at Emily.
“What do we do now?” Emily asks.
“Cort was doing business with a family named Collins. Our next stop will be the Collins mansion I believe it’s called Collinwood.”
Four weeks earlier; Collinwood.
“Mother that man is here again.” Carolyn says as she enters the Drawing Room. “Where did you say you met him?”
“In town.” Elizabeth Stoddard replies.
“In town? But you don’t usually leave the grounds.”
“Carolyn I make my own decisions; especially after what your father put me through.”
“What do you know about this man Laslo
“I’ve been lonely Carolyn, Mr. Thaxton and I go out for dinner, to the theater and he doesn’t ask for anything in return except for my company. He’s a widower and he’s only looking for companionship.”
The sound of someone knocking at the front door echoes through the room.
Elizabeth walks from the room into the foyer and opens the outside door.
“Elizabeth my dear are you ready?” Laslo Thaxton asks as he steps inside and kisses Elizabeth’s cheek.
“Let me get my coat and I’ll be right with you.” Elizabeth says then retrieves her coat from the hook near the door.
Laslo approaches her and helps her with the coat. He holds the door open, and walks with her to his car. He opens the door then closes it after she slides inside. After getting behind the wheel he turns towards her. “Is there anywhere special you would like to go to eat?”
“No I’ll let you decide tonight.”
“I was hoping that you would say that. I made reservations out of town, at the Quaint Little Inn.”
Elizabeth smiles at him. “It sounds lovely.”
Putting the car into gear Laslo leaves the grounds and heads out to the highway.
They arrive at the Inn. “Laslo when you called it a quaint little Inn I didn’t realize that was the Inns actual name.”
“I heard that the food is very good here.” Laslo says and steps from the car and opens Elizabeth’s door. They enter the restaurant and are seated. Laslo orders for them; after they finish their meal Laslo takes a small box from his pocket. “Elizabeth I have something for you as a thank you for keeping this lonely man company.” He opens the case to show her a black pendant surrounded by sparkling jewel chips.
“Laslo it’s lovely but I’m afraid I can’t accept it.”
“But why my dear?” He asks as he lifts the necklace from its dark red velvet bed.
“When we met I told you I didn’t want the kind of friendship that this necklace could lead to.”
“Couldn’t you consider it just what I am offering; a gift in friendship only and nothing more?”
“I’m afraid not
“It’s so pretty look at the way the colors glitter and shimmer.” Laslo says as he swings the pendant in front of her face.
As she watches it Elizabeth stares straight ahead.
“That’s right Elizabeth. I want you to accept this pendant. You want to accept it and you want more than friendship; we will become closer than just friends. You need me Elizabeth.”
“I need you.’ Elizabeth repeats.
“You have deep feelings for me.”
“I have deep feelings for you.” She repeats quietly.
“And you will wear my gift to you.”
“I’ll wear the gift.”
Laslo places the necklace around her neck. “Elizabeth when you look at the necklace you will remember the loving feeling you have for me.” Laslo snaps his fingers close to her face. “Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth looks around. “What happened?”
“You seemed in a daze after I gave you my gift.”
Elizabeth glances down and sees the necklace. “Oh Laslo it’s beautiful; I would be happy to accept it.” She says then leans across the table and kisses Laslo on the lips.
“I’m very happy you like it my dear. Are you ready to go?”
Elizabeth nods and Laslo comes to his feet, and then pulls the chair out for her. She stands and sets cash on the small tray that had been left at the table. “It’s my treat.”
“Thank you my dear.” Laslo says as they collect their coats.
They arrive back at Collinwood. Laslo walks her to the door, then takes her into his arms and kisses her.
“Goodnight Elizabeth.” He says as he pulls away.
“Goodnight Laslo.” Elizabeth says then steps inside the mansion closing the door behind her as Laslo walks to his car.
David Collins, Elizabeth’s nephew watches from his window as Laslo drives away.
Hearing her mother come inside Carolyn enters the foyer.
“Did you have a nice evening?”
“What?” Elizabeth asks seeming to be in a daze.
“Mother I asked if you had a nice evening."
“Yes a very nice evening.” She says as she hangs up her coat and faces her daughter.
“Is that a new necklace?”
“Necklace?” Elizabeth asks then glances down at the pendant as it reflects the light. “Yes my necklace; Laslo gave it to me. Carolyn I love Laslo Thaxton.” Elizabeth says dreamily then walks up the staircase.
“Mother, mother?” Carolyn calls out as she watches Elizabeth.
Elizabeth doesn’t answer as she walks to her room.
Two weeks ago.
Cort Desmond stands in the Drawing Room at Desmond Hall. He has just hung up the receiver of the phone as his mother Ada enters the room.
“Mother it seems that we have hit a snap in buying that property in
“Cort wouldn’t it be better to look elsewhere?”
“No, Brandt’s report shows this is the best location for the new plant and the price is reasonable.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“We’re waiting for Mrs. Elisabeth Stoddard’s signature on the papers. It’s funny, two weeks ago we were ready to close the deal then Mrs. Stoddard stopped all correspondence with us. I haven’t been able to contact her brother Roger Collins either. I think I better go see Mrs. Stoddard in person; so I booked a flight to Collinsport or I should say Bangor the nearest town with an airport. I’ll say goodnight Mother, I want to get an early start tomorrow morning.”
Cort kisses his mother’s cheek then walks out of the room.
Cort’s plane arrives in Bangor late in the afternoon. He rents a car and drives to Collinsport. Seeing the sign for The Collinsport Inn, Cort parks the car in the Inn’s parking lot. Entering the inn he approaches the counter.
“Hello can I help you.” A woman asks from behind the counter.
“Yes I have a reservation; the name is Cort Desmond.”
The woman opens the registration book and looks down the page. “Here it is, you’re in room eight.” She hands him a card. “Please fill this out.”
Cort fills out the card and hands it back. She hands him a key and Cort picks up his suitcase he had sat on the floor by his feet.
“Go down the hall and up the staircase and take a right.”
“Thank you.” Cort replies.
He follows the directions and enters his room and sits on the bed. He hears a light sound of tinkling music and glances around the room. He sees an envelope on the side table with his name on it. He opens it to find a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it he reads ‘Be careful’. He walks to the phone and picks up the receiver; he pushes the button for front desk.
“Hello front desk may I help you.”
“This is Cort Desmond in room eight. Was anyone in my room before I arrived?”
“No housekeeping cleaned the room before you put in the reservation. Why, is something wrong?”
“No I was wondering if anyone had come asking for me. I’m here in town on business.”
“No I don’t see any messages for you.”
“Thank you.” Cort says as he hangs up the receiver then glances at the note.
After he has unpacked his clothes Cort call information and has a call put through to Collinwood.
Victoria Winters walks into the drawing room at Collinwood as the phone begins to ring. She picks up the receiver. “Hello.”
“Is this Collinwood?” Cort asks.
“Hello my name is Cort Desmond; is Roger Collins or Elizabeth Stoddard in?”
“I’m sorry but neither of them are home. Can I take a message?”
“Will they be back soon?”
“I’m afraid Mr. Collins is out of town but Mrs. Stoddard will be here later this evening.”
“I’ll call back later.”
“Alright I’ll tell her to expect your call.” Vicky says then hangs up the receiver.
David Collins steps into the drawing room. “Vicky can we go out for our walk now.”
“Yes David, I need to get my coat first.”
“Yes.” Vicky says as she stops in the doorway and looks at David.
“That man on the phone just now; he’s in danger.”
“What do you mean?”
“Mr. Desmond is in danger.”
“Why would you say something like that?”
“I don’t know but we have to warn him.”
“And tell him what?” Vicky asks.
“To be careful.”
“Alright David if we see Mr. Desmond we’ll tell him. Now let’s go for that walk.” Vicky says as she walks from the room.
As darkness settles over Collinsport Cort again makes his phone call.
Elizabeth answers the phone as it rings at Collinwood.. “Hello Collinwood.”
“I’d like to speak to Elizabeth Stoddard please.” Cort says.
“This is her.”
“Hello Mrs. Stoddard this is Cort Desmond from Desmond Enterprises.”
“Mr. Desmond what can I do for you?” Elizabeth asks as she lifts the pendant and looks at it.
“I’m here in Collinsport. I thought I should come down and speak to you in person.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Desmond but you made the trip for nothing. We can’t do business.”
“I don’t understand.”
“My fiancé has told me about the way your family does business; the shady way you handle contracts and business dealings.”
“Mrs. Stoddard I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“The way you ruin your competitor with lying, cheating and stealing. And if that doesn’t work murder.”
“I don’t know where your fiancé got his information but nothing you said is true. Jean Paul Desmond the head of Desmond Enterprises is a fair and honest man. Would it be possible to arrange a meeting tomorrow morning with your lawyers?”
“Well I don’t know.” Elizabeth says as she releases the pendant.
“I’ll bring all the paperwork and you can have your lawyer look it over and check out Desmond Enterprises.”
“I’ll think about it and call you in the morning.” Elizabeth says then hangs up the receiver.
Laslo Thaxton stands next to her. “You did very well my dear.”
Later that night as David Collins sleeps he begins to dream. He steps into the Old House and glances at Josette’s portrait; it seems to glow.
A woman’s voice calls out. “David you must warn your Aunt Elizabeth about her new friend. He cannot be trusted, he is evil.”
“I have tried to tell her but she will not listen to me.”
“He has a power that will bring the evil one to Collinwood. She is coming to destroy the Collin’s family.”
“Who is coming?”
“A witch, she will help your Aunt’s friend and an innocent man will suffer.”
“How can I help?”
“If she doesn’t turn away she will be the cause of your death and your cousin Caroline.”
“No, no!” David cries out and sits up in his bed.
Vicky rushes into his room. “David what’s wrong?”
“Aunt Elizabeth is going to cause me and Caroline to die.” David sobs.
“David you were dreaming. You’re safe and so is Caroline.”
“No it wasn’t a dream. Josette told me.”
Vicky puts her arms around the trembling boy. “It’s alright David I’ll stay with you until you fall back asleep.”
“No I have to see Aunt Elizabeth right now!” He pulls away from Vicky and stands on the other side of the bed. He bolts from the room and runs down the staircase.
“David, David come back here.” Vicky says as she rushes after him.
David rushes into the drawing room as Vicky runs down the stairs.
The front door opens and Caroline enter to see Vicky stumble on the last step. “Vicky are you alright?”
“Yes but David isn’t.” She says gaining her balance as she steps off the staircase.
“What’s he done now?”
“He hasn’t done anything; he had a nightmare that really frightened him.”
“Where is he?”
“He ran in the drawing room.” Vicky says as she opens the door and enters the room followed by Caroline.
They see David in Elizabeth’s arms sobbing. “Mother what’s going on?” Caroline asks.
“I don’t know; David rushed into the room shaking and sobbing. I can’t get him to tell me what’s wrong.”
“David it was just a dream.” Vicky says as she walks across the room and squats in front of David and Elizabeth.
Laslo is across the room pouring a glass of brandy.
Taking his glass he walks across the room and stands next to Elizabeth. “Mrs. Stoddard has an announcement to make.”
Elizabeth takes her right hand from David’s shoulder and grasps the pendant. She takes her eyes off of Laslo and glances at Caroline and Vicky. “I have agreed to become Mr. Thaxton’s wife.”
David jerks away from Elizabeth and steps away. He turns and looks at her. “No Aunt Elizabeth you can’t! He’s evil, a murderer.” David shouts.
“David apologize to Mr. Thaxton immediately.” Elizabeth says to him.
“I won’t! You can’t marry him; if you do we will all die!” David says then runs from the room.
“Mrs. Stoddard I’m so sorry. I’ll go after David and speak to him.” Vicky says.
Elizabeth nods her head. Vicky follows David from the room.
“Mother are you sure this is what you want; you’ve only know Mr. Thaxton for a short time.”
Elizabeth glances at the pendant. “”Yes I’m very sure.” She says quietly.
“Well congratulations to both of you. Now if you will excuse me I think I’ll go to my room.” Caroline glances at Laslo then walks out the door.
Laslo sets his glass down then walks to the drawing room door and closes it. He walks back to Elizabeth. “I’ll make you very happy dear. “He says then pulls Elizabeth into his arms.
Elizabeth stares past his shoulder.
Chapter 2 Witches’ Coven
The next day after the marriage announcement Laslo discovered that some old acquaintances lived near Collinsport. They were members of a witches’ coven from Desmondton. The Pruett’s had moved from Desmondton after the death of their daughter. When the coven had disbanded Waldo Travers had also moved and by a quirk of fate the author had moved into a cottage on the outskirts of
Laslo parks his rental car in the Pruett’s driveway. Stepping from the car he glances at the house. A curtain moves just a fraction. He approaches the door and knocks.
The door opens. “Mr. Thaxton, how did you find us?” Janet Pruett asks.
“I live in Collinsport now and saw your husband’s name in the paper for Banker of the Year. It wasn’t hard to find out your address. Is William in?”
“Yes, please come inside.” Janet says.
As Laslo enters the house William Pruett walks into the hallway. “Mr. Thaxton it is nice to see you again.” William says.
“Please call me
“Yes of course.” William replies then glances at his wife.
“Please get our guest a drink.”
“Yes dear. Coffee, tea or something else.”
“Coffee will be fine.” Laslo replies.
“Come into the sitting room.” William says as his wife walks to the kitchen. Laslo follows him into a side room.
“Please sit down.” William points to the sofa. Laslo takes a seat and William sits across from him as his wife carries in a tray with a coffee server, spoons, cups, cream and sugar.
She sets the tray on a coffee table and pours out the coffee.
“Please help yourself to the cream and sugar.” Janet tells
“Thank you but this is fine.” Laslo says as he lifts his cup and takes a sip.
“Did I hear you say you were living in Collinsport?” William asks.
“Yes I’ve become engaged to Mrs. Elizabeth Stoddard.”
“A fine family.” Janet says.
“Yes I think so.” Laslo says to her. “Now the reason I stopped by is we have a duty to our Master to start a new coven here in
“But there are only the two of us, three counting you.” William says.
“I’m afraid you’re wrong. Waldo moved into the area. I have already spoken to him, out first gathering is tonight.”
Janet looks at her husband.
“Where is this meeting to take place?” William asks.
“Waldo had bought a small cottage. We’ll meet there tonight.”
“Very well.” William replies.
Laslo gives them the directions to the cottage as he finishes his coffee. He stands. “Until tonight, now I must be on my way.”
“What time is the ceremony?” Janet asks as she shows him to the outside door.
“We will meet at ten o’clock.”
Janet nods her head. “Goodbye Mr.
“Goodbye Janet.” Laslo says then walks to his car.
As night settles over the land; the clock in Waldo’s cottage chimes ten o’clock. There is a tap on his door; Waldo opens it. “Mr. and Mrs. Pruett it is kind of you to join us.”
“Has Mr. Thaxton arrived yet?” William asks.
“Oh yes.” Waldo replies as he ushers them into the cottage and collects their coats and hands them a robe.
“Hello Mr. Thaxton.” Janet says.
“We are not formal here please call me
“Laslo.” William greets him.
“Now if everyone will find a seat.” Laslo says as they pull on the robes; he leads them to a table with four chairs. In the center of the table is a silver bowl surrounded by five black candles.
“Laslo we don’t have a Priestess.” Janet says as she takes a seat.
“I will appoint you our Priestess.” Laslo says.
Janet looks at her husband unhappily.
William and Waldo sit down.
“First we will prepare the chalice.” Laslo says as he walks to the fireplace and lifts a gold chalice from the mantle. He fills it with wine and places it in front of Janet then takes his seat.
Janet raises the chalice then placing it on the table in front of her; she pricks her finger and lets the drops of blood fall into the wine. Janet raises it then stand and places it in front of Waldo who is on her right. Waldo adds his blood and Janet takes it to the last two members where they also add their blood. Janet lifts the chalice then places it in the center of the candles next to the silver bowl.
“We will begin the ritual with you William.” Janet says.
William stands takes a candle and lights it; and returns it to the center of the table. The others take their turns lighting a candle.
“What about the fifth one?” Janet asks.
Laslo stands and lights it, the candle goes out. He tries again and the same thing happens. “We’ll proceed without it.”
“I will build the house.” Janet says and stands; she begins placing cards into the silver bowl building a house of cards. “This house, this house of fire we pledge to dwell in it forever.”
“Forever.” The others repeat.
Janet picks up a book of matches and begins to set the cards on fire. Flames shoot to the ceiling; Janet screams and jumps back knocking over her chair.
The others come to their feet as the flames die down.
“Look.” Janet says pointing at the black candles. The fifth one is lit.
“The fire from the cards must have ignited it.” Waldo says.
Lightning begins to flash outside and thunder rumbles. The door swings open; the outline of a woman is seen in the doorway dressed in a maroon robe. “Your Priestess has come to join you.” She says as she sweeps into the room. “My name is Angelique Bouchard.”
“Now see here.” Laslo says.
“Silence.” Angelique says.
The four members of the coven stare at her.
“You will take your seats.” Angelique tells them.
“No.” Laslo tells her.
Angelique turns and looks at the altar on the table. The candle flames shoot to the ceiling and the wine begins to boil over. She turns back to them. “Now do as I say.”
Janet, William and Waldo take their seats fearfully as Laslo looks at Angelique cunningly as he sits down.
Angelique approaches the table. The wine has stopped boiling and the candles flames have gone back down. She lifts the chalice and places it in front of her; then adds her blood to it. “Those who are with us remain with us and witness the final rite!” Angelique calls out.
The others stand and hold hands forming a circle. They raise their arms then they lower them. Releasing hands they all sit down. Angelique lifts the chalice and passes it to Laslo who is on her left. He takes a sip and passes it to the next person. After they have all drank from it Angelique places it back in the center of the candles.
“Spirits who attend us, our blood is now mingled. Let us know that you accept this new coven. Spirits of the damned cry out to us. Let us hear your voices.”
Moans and screams echo through the room.
“Signal that the ceremony is finished; give us a sign.” Angelique calls out.
Thunder rumbles as a wind blows through the room causing the candles to snuff out.
“It is done.” Angelique says.
Janet and William stand and walk into the hallway to collect their coats. They fold their robes and place them on a shelf. They walk back into the main room.
“Priestess we are your servants.” Janet says.
“Call upon us to do your bidding.” William tells
“Thank you both of you.”
William leads his wife from the cottage to their car.
Angelique looks at Waldo. “I take this house for myself. You will find other lodging.”
Angelique stares at him.
“Go with Mr. Thaxton tonight, you may collect your belongings in the morning.”
Waldo glares at her then walks to the door.
Laslo hands him the car keys. “I wish to speak to the Priestess privately.”
Without a word Waldo walks through the doorway.
“So you are the man who has integrated himself into the Collins family.”
“Yes, may I call you
Angelique gives a nod of her head.
Laslo places his hand on her shoulder.
Angelique shrugs it away. “You overstep your boundary Mr.
“I meant no disrespect Priestess. I would like to propose that we combine our powers and desires.
“For what purpose?”
“My meddling ex- step son is in Collinsport. He and his family have caused the disbandment of my cove in Desmondton. I ask for your help to punish him and his family.”
“I will talk to our Master and have an answer for you tomorrow when you drive Mr. Travers here to collect his possessions.”
“Thank you Priestess.” Laslo says and bows then walks out of the cottage.
The next morning Cort enters the Inn’s café. Maggie Evans is behind the counter. Cort finds a seat.
“What will you have?” Maggie asks.
“Our cinnamon rolls were baked fresh this morning. Would you like one?”
“Okay.” Cort answers.
Maggie pours a cup of coffee and places a roll on a plate. She sets them in front of Cort. “You’re new in town.”
Cort smiles. “I’m here on business, my name is Cort Desmond.”
“Well hello Cort Desmond.”
Cort glances at her name tag. “And you’re Maggie.”
“It’s nice to meet you Maggie.” Cort says then takes a bite of the roll. “Wow, this is good!”
“I thought you would like it.”
“Maggie do you know a family named Collins?”
“Yes their governess is one of my best friends. Why?”
“As I said I’m here on business and for some reason Mrs. Stoddard won’t see or speak to me. All I need is her signature to conclude our business deal. Her brother faxed everything to the office and I just need her signature.”
“Desmond; it just occurred to me that I’ve heard that name. Are you related to a Jean Paul Desmond?”
“Yes he’s my cousin.”
“Wow you’re part of the multi-millionaire
“Were no different than anyone else with or without money.”
“I doubt that very much Mr. Desmond.”
“Please call me
“Alright Cort; is there anything I can do to help.”
“Yes to contact the Collins family.”
“You said you know their governess.”
“Her name is Victoria Winters.”
“How could she help?” Cort asks.
“I don’t know but Vicky said there was something strange going on at Collinwood.”
“In what way?”
“She didn’t say, but I’ll tell you what; I’ll call Vicky and see if she will speak to you.”
“Thank you.” Cort says as he finishes the roll and coffee. He pays the bill and leaves a large tip.
Later that day the phone rings in Cort’s room. He picks it up on the third ring. “This is Cort Desmond.”
“Hello Mr. Desmond this is Victoria Winters. Maggie Evans asked me to contact you.”
“Yes Miss Winters, I’m here in town to finalize a contract with your Employer. But for some reason Mrs. Stoddard isn’t available to me.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what I can do to help.”
“Mrs. Stoddard’s brother Roger Collins has forwarded all the paperwork and all I need is Mrs. Stoddard’s signature.”
“Couldn’t you send it by messenger?”
“I tried that but the papers were returned unsigned.”
“I still don’t understand what you think I can do.”
“If you can get me into Collinwood to meet Mrs. Stoddard I think I can clear this up.”
“How can I help?”
“If you invite me as your guest when Mrs. Stoddard is home, maybe I can see her.”
“Mrs. Stoddard isn’t seeing anyone since she became engaged.”
“It seems that this fiancé is making a lot of decisions for your employer.”
“Yes, but there’s something not right about their relationship. My charge David Collins is frightened by him.”
“He might feel that he will be pushed away.”
“No this fear is more like terror.”
“Children sometimes ove- react when change comes into their lives.”
“I don’t think that’s it. Mr. Thaxton hasn’t done anything to David to cause this fear.
“What did you say?”
“What name did you just say?”
“Laslo Thaxton.” Cort asks.
“Yes I think that’s his first name.”
“Miss Winters the boy has a good reason to be frightened.”
“I know Mr. Thaxton very well and the man is bad news.”
“I don’t understand.”
“When can I speak to David?”
“I don’t know; but I thought you had to meet with Mrs. Stoddard.”
“This is more important.”
“Well David and I will be in town tomorrow after lunch, to do some shopping.”
“That’s good; I’ll meet you in the café around three o’clock. I’ll treat David to an ice cream soda.”
“Alright we’ll meet you tomorrow Mr. Desmond.”
“Please call me
“Okay Cort and you may call me Vicky.”
“Good night.” Vicky repeats and hangs up the receiver.
“Well now I know where you slithered off to Laslo.” Cort says as he sets down the receiver.
The same morning that Cort was speaking to Maggie at the café Laslo with Waldo as his passenger was driving to the cottage. After the car is parked in the driveway Waldo glances at Laslo.
“This is my house; she has no right to take it.”
“Beware my friend this witch is not like Irene Hatter.”
“But she is the coven’s Priestess.”
“Mrs. Hatter enjoyed playing the role of our Priestess. What I sense about this witch is she is not playing games; she is true evil.”
“How do you know she is evil?”
“Are you forgetting the way that she arrived?”
“Laslo it had to be some kind of trick.”
“We shall see Waldo we shall see.” Laslo says as he steps from the car.
“Welcome Mr. Thaxton, Mr. Travers.” Angelique says as she stands in the doorway while Laslo and Waldo approach the cottage. “Please come inside.”
“Thank you Priestess.” Waldo says as he follows Laslo inside.
“Please call me Angelique.” She says as she closes the door behind them and leads them to the main room.
“Would either of you like a cup of coffee or tea?”
“Nothing for me, I better go pack.” Waldo says as Laslo sits down.
Angelique looks at him. “Yes do that.”
Waldo glares at her then walks from the room.
“He doesn’t seem like a very happy man.” Angelique says as she turns to Laslo with a smile on her face.
“Laslo glances at the doorway. “Now that Waldo is busy have you reached a decision?”
“Yes I’ve decided I will help you Mr.
“I thought you were going to call me
“All right Laslo, but I need a favor in return.”
“What is it?”
“I came back for one reason only. An old acquaintance of mine is back at Collinwood.”
“Collinwood has no visitors.” Laslo says to her.
“She’s not quite a visitor.”
“The only women at Collinwood are my fiancée Elizabeth Stoddard, her daughter Caroline and the governess Victoria Winters. There is also the housekeeper Mrs. Johnson who is away visiting relatives.”
Angelique smiles. “I would like to meet your fiancé.”
“Is that the favor you ask?”
“Oh no dear Laslo that is only the beginning.”
Waldo joins them with two suitcases in his hands. “The cottage came furnished; I hope you will be comfortable Priestess.”
“I’m sure I will be Me. Travers.”
Laslo finishes his coffee then stands. “Goodbye Angelique we will speak again.”
“Goodbye Laslo, Mr. Travers.” Angelique says as she stands with them near the outside door.
“Goodbye Priestess.” Waldo says then follows Laslo to the car.
After closing the door Angelique walks back to the main room and approaches a small table where she has set up her altar. She lights the five black candles. The table begins to shake. “You can’t save them
Josette.” Angelique says as the candles burn brighter.
“You mustn’t do this Angelique.” Josette’s voice calls out.
“The Collins family will suffer and die.” Angelique says as she lifts a small doll from under a cloth near the altar.
“Please Angelique if you cared about me at all please stop.”
“I never cared about you Josette; only what I could get from you.”
“I will find a way to stop you.”
“There is nothing you can do; your powers are weak Josette.” Angelique says then passes her hand over the candle flames. “Lucifer you are my Prince, I follow your command. Drive her spirit from this room. Send Josette Collins back to the grave.”
Thunder rumbles outside and the candles blow out. The room is silent.
Cort falls asleep and begins to dream. He is walking through a dark place almost like a cave; he begins to suffocate like he’s been buried alive as the room begins to shrink. There is chanting far away and he hears a serpent’s hiss close to him. “No!” Cort screams.
“No, no!” Cort cries out as he wakes. He quiets down and listens when he hears the sound of music far away. He glances around his room and sees a woman’s shape appearing near his bed.
Cort scrambles from the bed and backs against a wall. “Who are you? What do you want?” Cort shouts.
Tears stream down the face of the woman. “I tried to warn you, because of you there will be death.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It may not be too late if you go away now.”
“I cannot, a family is in danger because of an acquaintance of my family.”
“You cannot help them.” She says then disappears.
“Wait, please wait.” Cort calls out but he is alone.
It’s after ten at night as the phone rings in Lazlo’s room. He picks up the receiver. “Hello.”
“Mr. Thaxton, I will help you with your problem tonight. Come to the cottage before midnight and I will need a photo of your step-son.”
“He’s my ex-step son, and I’ll be there. Will the others be coming?”
“Yes and we have a new member joining us to complete the coven. He’s the night clerk at the Collinwood Inn. He’s off tonight.”
“That will be helpful. I’ll be at the cottage in a half hour.” Laslo says then hangs up the receiver.
Laslo arrives a little after eleven o’clock to find the cars of the other members in the driveway. He steps from his car and walks to the cottage; Angelique stands in the doorway. Laslo follows her inside and glances at the other people in the main room.
“Hello Laslo.” Waldo says as he carries in the goblet filled with wine.
In the center of the room there is a table with six chairs arranged around it. Waldo places the golden goblet in the center of the table with the black candles and silver bowl. Laslo steps to the coat rack and hangs up his coat and slips on his robe.
“Everyone take your seats.” Angelique says.
They find their seats as the new member sits on the sofa.
“Before we begin I would like you to meet Richard Stevens. Some of you might know him from the Collinsport Inn. Richard, come before me.” Angelique says.
Richard stands and walks across the room, he stands in front of Angelique.
“Richard Stevens you come before the Dark Master. Do you pledge yourself to do his will only?”
“Yes.” Richard answers.
Angelique turns to the table and picks up the goblet of wine and raises it above her head. She sets it down and pricks her finger letting drops of her blood drip into the wine. She again lifts it and places it in front of Laslo.
Each member adds their blood and Angelique lifts the goblet then places it in the center of the candles.
“You may begin Laslo.” Angelique says.
Laslo lights the first candle and puts it back in place. The others light their candles leaving the fifth one unlit.
Angelique picks it up and faces Richard; she hands it to him. “Light the candle and place it with the others.
Richard lights it off of Laslo’s candle and sets it down.
“Now take your seat.”
Richard sits on the right side of Angelique’s chair.
Angelique then sits.
“Join hands.” Angelique tells them.
They clasp hands.
“Spirits of the night hear us!” Angelique calls out. “Those that dwell in the darkness hear us!”
“Hear us.” The others repeat.
“Let us know you hear us; give us a sign!” Angelique says.
A wind blows through the room and the logs in the fireplace ignite.
“Witness our ritual!” Angelique says as she stands.
The others also come to their feet still holding hands.
They raise their arms then release hands and sit down; all except Angelique and Richard.
Angelique picks up the candle that Richard had lit and hands it to him. “Repeat after me; I will join with the powers of darkness.”
Richard repeats the words.
“I will close and complete the circle.”
Again Richard repeats the words.
“Accept me and claim me throughout eternity.”
“Accept me and claim me throughout eternity.” Richard repeats.
Angelique takes the candle from Richard and sets it down. She lifts the goblet. “Drink and drain the wine.”
Richard takes the goblet and drinks the contents.
Angelique takes the goblet from him and sets it down in the center of the candles. “Spirits who attend us, our blood is now mingled with this young mans. Let us know that you accept him. Let us hear your voices in approval.”
Screams and moans echo through the room. Thunder rumbles outside and the candles blow out.
“It is done, he is one of us.” Laslo says.
Angelique signals for Richard to take his seat. She again lights the candles after Richard sits. “Laslo has asked the coven for their help to destroy the person that brought the destruction of your first coven in Desmondton.”
“And who would that be?” Waldo asks.
“Cort Desmond.” Angelique answers.
The members from the Desmondton coven glance at each other.
“Brother Laslo did you bring the photograph?” Angelique asks.
“I have a small photo cut from a newspaper that I was able to find.”
“Richard did you collect a personal item from Cort Desmonds room?” Angelique asks.
“Yes Priestess.” Richard says as he takes a handkerchief from under his robe. He opens it to show strands of hair.
Angelique places the photo in the silver bowl that sits in the center of the table then walks across the room and brings a small box back to the table. She opens it and lifts out a small doll. “Give me the handkerchief.” Angelique lifts the strands of hair and wraps them around the head and neck of the doll. She places the doll on top of the picture.
“Brother Laslo what is the charge against this man.” Angelique asks.
“Cort Desmond betrayed the coven. He turned against the Master. Because of his betrayal we had to take refuge away from our homes.”
“And what is his punishment?” Angelique asks.
The table shakes and thunder rumbles.
“Banishment.” Laslo says.
“Banishment.” The others repeat.
“Then so be it.” Angelique calls out. “I call upon the powers of darkness to punish your betrayer. Cort Desmond must be banished to the Netherworld.
Thunder grows louder and lightning flashes outside. The cottage begins to shake.
Richard glances at the table. “Look.”
The bowl is covered by smoke. When it lifts the doll is gone and the picture is in flames.
“It is done.” Angelique says then blows out the candles.
As she walks with the others to the door she stops Richard. “Richard I need you to go back to the Inn.
Change the registration book to show that Cort Desmond checked out before six a.m.
“Will he really be gone?”
“Yes. Also collect his personal items and put them in storage.”
“Yes Priestess.” Richard says then joins the others to collect his coat.
As Laslo steps outside Angelique stops him and calls him back inside.
“I’d like a word with you before you go.”
“Of course Angelique.” Laslo says and walks back to the main room.
“I’ve granted your request; I expect you now to show your gratitude by bringing Elizabeth Stoddard to me.”
“In two days she is coming to town with me. I will bring her then.”
“I will be waiting for you. Goodnight Laslo.” Angelique says as she walks with him to the outside door.
Midnight approaches and Cort tosses and turns in his sleep. Thunder rumbles outside the Inn. A dark fog seeps under his door covering his bed. As the fog lifts Cort is gone.
Chapter 3 Josette
The morning that Jean Paul and Emily arrive in Collinsport, Laslo drives to Collinwood. He parks in front of the mansion and walks to the front door.
David watches him from his bedroom window. The sound of tinkling music sounds in his room. “Josette is that you?”
“Yes David.” Josette says as she materializes in the room.
“That man is here.” David says and begins to get upset.
“You must stop your aunt before she sees him. You must get the pendant from her.”
“Pendant, what pendant?”
“The pendant that Laslo Thaxton gave to her. Now go to Elizabeth before she leaves her room.”
David rushes from his room. “Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Elizabeth!” He calls out as he rushes to Elizabeth’s bedroom.
Elizabeth is standing near her dressing table, she turns.
“David what’s the matter?”
David sees the black pendant necklace on his Aunt’s dresser. He looks at her. “I was just checking to see if you were up yet. He again glances at the necklace.
“As you can see David I’m dressed and ready for breakfast.”
David slides over to the dressing table and wraps his hand around the chain as Elizabeth steps towards the door.
“David what are you doing?”
“What have you got behind your back?” Elizabeth asks as she walks back to David’s side.
David drops the necklace and it falls to the ground. “I must have bumped it.” David says as he kneels down to pick it up.
Elizabeth picks it up before David can get it.
“Aunt Elizabeth don’t touch it; it’s evil!” David cries out.
“David it’s just a necklace. Now go downstairs and get your breakfast. Miss Winters is already downstairs.
The sound of someone knocking at the front door is heard faintly in the room.
“But Aunt Elizabeth.”
“Please go David.”
Walking to the door David glances back at his aunt as she picks up the pendant. She places it around her neck and the sun reflects off of the jewels.
David runs down the stairs, glances at the outside door and enters the kitchen.
Elizabeth walks down the staircase, then opens the outside door. “Hello Laslo.”
“Good morning dear. Since we were going to town I thought you would enjoy having breakfast at the Café.”
“That sounds wonderful; let me get my coat.”
Laslo steps inside. “Here let me help you.” Laslo holds the coat while Elizabeth slips it on. “Now if you’re ready.” He says as he walks her to his car. He closes the passenger door after Elizabeth slides inside. Laslo walks around the car then gets behind the wheel.
David sits at the table as Vicky sets a plate with toast, eggs and bacon in front of him.
“I’m not hungry.” David says.
“David with Mrs. Johnson out of town you will have to settle for my cooking.”
“It’s not that Vicky.”
“Then what is it?”
“Josette warned me about Aunt Elizabeth’s necklace.”
“What about it?”
“That man gave it to her and its evil.”
“David that man is your aunt’s fiancé.”
“No Vicky he doesn’t love Aunt Elizabeth; he’s here to cause our deaths.”
“David please let’s not go into that again.”
There is a knock at the front door.
“I’ll get it.” David says and hops up.
“No you won’t; now sit and eat.”
David sits and stares at his plate.
“David it’s not that bad.” Vicky says then walks from the room.
She approaches the door as someone knocks again. She swings open the door to see a man and woman standing outside.
“Is Mrs. Elizabeth Stoddard in?”
“No I’m afraid she went to town.”
“My name is Jean Paul Desmond and this is my wife Emily.”
“Are you related to Cort Desmond?”
“Yes he’s my cousin.”
“Please come inside. My name is Victoria Winters.”
“Miss Winters you are just the person we need to speak to.” Emily says as they follow Vicky to the Drawing Room.
“Please make yourself comfortable.”
Jean Paul and Emily sit on the sofa; Vicky sits across from them.
“You said you wanted to speak to me.”
“Yes a waitress at the café said we should speak to you.” Jean Paul says.
“My cousin arrived in your town two weeks ago and now he’s disappeared.”
“You’re talking about Cort Desmond.”
“David and I were supposed to meet your cousin on the morning he checked out. When we arrived, Richard who works the night shift at the Inn said Mr. Desmond checked out before six a.m.”
“So you never really saw Cort?” Emily asks.
“No. Would of either of you like a cup of tea or coffee?”
“No thank you.” Jean Paul says and glances at Emily.
Emily shakes her head no.
“What did you want to see my cousin about?” Jean Paul asks.
“It wasn’t me but David.”
“The child that you take care of?” Emily asks.
“But why would David want to see Cort?” Jean Paul asks.
“I’m afraid it was the other way around. Your cousin wanted to speak to David.”
“Did Miss Evans say why?” Emily asks.
“Yes it was something to do with my employer’s fiancé.”
“I don’t understand.” Jean Paul says.
“Neither do I.” Vicky tells him.
“Well we won’t take up anymore of your time; thank you Miss Winters.” Jean Paul says and stands.
Vicky and Emily come to their feet. Vicky leads them to the foyer.
“Well goodbye.” Vicky says as she stands in front of the outside door.
“Mr. Desmond, wait!” David shouts from the kitchen. He rushes into the foyer. “You can’t leave; that man is going to destroy my family. He’s already made your cousin disappear.”
“What man?” Emily asks.
“My aunt’s fiancé Laslo Thaxton.” David says to her.
“Laslo Thaxton.” Jean Paul says looking at David.
“Oh no.” Emily says.
“Do you know Mr. Thaxton?” Vicky asks.
“Oh yes Mr. Thaxton and I are old acquaintances.” Jean Paul says to her.
“You know that he is evil.” David says.
“Darkness and evil see, to accompany Mr. Thaxton.” Jean Paul says.
“What can we do to stop him?” Vicky asks.
“First we have to discover what he is up to.” Jean Paul says.
“Jean Paul do you think Laslo has anything to do with Cort’s disappearance?” Emily asks.
“If he did may God have mercy on him because I won’t.”
Laslo leads Elizabeth from the café and to his car after they finish breakfast. “How would you like to accompany me while I visit a friend?”
“No I really don’t have the time today Laslo.”
Elizabeth I was hoping you could put off your shopping and business at the Collins office for a few hours. I promise we’ll come back into town after our visit.” Laslo says as he stares into her eyes.
“All right I’ll go with you.”
“Thank you my dear.” He says as Elizabeth climbs into the car and Laslo closes the door behind her. He walks around the car and slides behind the wheel.
Laslo parks in the driveway of the cottage. They walk to the door where Angelique waits for them.
“Elizabeth this is my friend Angelique.”
“And you must be Elizabeth Stoddard.” Angelique says
“Laslo has told me about your engagement. Please come inside, I just started a fresh pot of coffee or would you prefer tea?” Angelique asks as she leads the way to the main room.
“Coffee will be fine.” Laslo says as he sits on the sofa next to Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth?” Angelique asks.
“Coffee.” Elizabeth says as she stares at Angelique.
“Is there something wrong?” Angelique asks.
“No but I think I’ve seen you before.”
“It’s possible, I do get around.” Angelique says then walks into the kitchen area.
Angelique carries out filled cups of coffee with a cream pitcher and sugar bowl on a tray. Walking back to the kitchen she carries out a basket with small muffins and napkins. She places it next to the tray. “Please help yourself.”
They serve themselves and talk about how small the town of Collinsport is for shopping and entertainment.
As they finish eating Laslo looks at Elizabeth. “Elizabeth my dear, Angelique would like you to do something for her.”
“What is it?” Elizabeth asks as Angelique comes to her feet and walks to the fireplace.
Angelique lifts a velvet cloth from the mantel of the fireplace. She carries it over to Elizabeth. “I want you to kill your nephew David Collins and your daughter Caroline.” She says as she unwraps the jewel handled dagger hidden in the cloth.
Elizabeth jumps to her feet. “Is this some king of sick joke? “ She says angrily.
“Oh no Elizabeth this is no joke. I put a curse on one of your ancestors for destroying my dreams and then my life. I thought the Collins family would also cease to exist but you continue to survive. I will still have my revenge against the Collins family through you. With the death of the youngest members of your family and your suicide your brother will turn to me.”
“You’re insane. Laslo take me away from here.”
Laslo stands and walks to Angelique’s side.
“Now take the dagger Elizabeth.” Angelique says.
“No wait.” Laslo says.
“I will not be stopped!” Angelique says angrily.
Elizabeth bolts to the door and runs outside.
Laslo rushes to the door.
“Wait Laslo she’ll come back; she won’t be able to resist.” Angelique says as she walks to the fireplace and takes a doll out of a box on the mantel. Walking back to the sofa she picks up the napkin that Elizabeth had used and wraps it around the doll. She lights the black candles and raises the doll above the flames. “Elizabeth Collins Stoddard I command that you come to me. I call upon the Master to grant me the power to control this woman!”
Laslo had walked back into the main room when he hears a sound at the door. He turns to see Elizabeth standing in the doorway.
“Come inside.” Angelique says.
Elizabeth steps into the main room.
Angelique turns away from the candles still holding the doll. “As long as this doll is in my possession you will obey me.”
“Tell her to sit down. I have something that she has to sign.” Laslo says to Angelique as he takes a folded document from his pocket.
“What is it?” Angelique asks.
“Her will, as her husband she will leave all her worldly possessions to me after her death.”
“Elizabeth I want you to sit down and do as Laslo tells you.”
Elizabeth walks across the room and sits on the sofa.
Laslo moves the coffee tray to a side table. He opens the document and places it in front of Elizabeth, then taking a pen from inside his coat and hands it to her.
“Elizabeth sign your name at the bottom, sign your last name as Thaxton.”
Elizabeth does as she is told.
Collecting the document Laslo takes a second one from inside his jacket and sets it in front of Elizabeth. “This is a marriage certificate. A friend of mine in the court house has filled it out for us and it just needs your signature.”
Elizabeth signs where Laslo points.
“Now at the bottom you must sign your new name, Elizabeth Thaxton.”
Again Elizabeth follows directions.
Laslo collects the document. “Thank you my dear, I’m sorry our marriage will be so short.
A tear rolls down Elizabeth’s cheek.
“Don’t weep my dear; it will all be over soon.” Laslo says then kisses her cheek. “Now I must take this to my friend so he can process it.” He glances at Angelique.
“I’ll be back for Elizabeth in an hour. Will that give you enough time?”
“Yes more than enough.”
Laslo walks out of the cottage to his car.
Angelique turns to Elizabeth and plucks a strand of hair from Elizabeth’s head.. She winds it around the doll’s neck. “Can you hear me Elizabeth?”
“Tonight when everyone is asleep you will take this dagger to your daughter’s room.” She picks up the dagger and sets it in Elizabeth’s hand. “You will plunge it into Caroline’s chest, through the heart. You will then go to your nephew David’s room and do the same thing to him. When both are dead you will walk out of the mansion and go to Widows Hill where you will throw yourself over the edge.”
“Please I don’t want to do this.” Elizabeth says quietly as tears run down her face; she drops the dagger.
Angelique picks it up and sets it on the table then walks across the room to collect a black candle, places it on the table in front of Elizabeth. She lights it and raises the doll above the flame. “You cannot fight me Elizabeth. I call upon the fires of hell and darkness to come to me.”
Heat sweeps through the room as thunder rumbles outside. The room darkens. “”You will obey me Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.” She says then lowers the doll as the candle blows out.
“I will obey.” Elizabeth says.
“When the clock strikes three, you will take the dagger from under your pillow where you will hide it.”
“I will take the dagger.” Elizabeth repeats.
“And what will you do with it?” Angelique asks.
“I must kill Caroline and David.”
“That’s right Elizabeth you must kill them. And then what must you do.”
“Leave the mansion, I must walk to Widows Hill and jump to the rocks below.”
“That’s right Elizabeth.” Angelique says as she picks up the candle and places it back on the fireplace and sets the doll back in the box. She collects the tray and takes the coffee cups to the kitchen where she pours fresh coffee and adds the cream and sugar to the cups that had it. She brings the tray back to the main room and sets it down as Laslo enters the cottage.
Laslo sits next to Elizabeth and takes another black pendant from his pocket and swings it in front of Elizabeth’s face. “Congratulations my dear you are now Mrs. Laslo Thaxton, and look at the beautiful wedding gift that Miss Bouchard has given us.” He lifts the dagger and shows it to her. “But we must keep the news of our marriage a secret for now. I want you to take the gift home with you.”
“Now we must finish our coffee and be on our way.”
Laslo snaps his fingers and places the pendant in his pocket.
Elizabeth glances around in bewilderment.
“As I said we must finish our coffee.” Laslo says.
“I’m afraid I don’t feel well. I’m sorry Angelique, Laslo can you take me home.”
“Of course my dear.”
Angelique walks with them to the door. “I want to congratulate both of you on your marriage.”
“Thank you for your beautiful gift.” Elizabeth says holding the velvet wrapped dagger.
“You’re welcome Elizabeth , and goodbye.” Angelique says.
“Goodbye.” Elizabeth says.
“Come my dear.” Laslo says as he takes Elizabeth by the arm and leads her to his car.
Cort opens his eyes to darkness and find himself on a cold and damp floor. He pushes himself to his feet. “Hey can anyone hear me!” he shouts then his voice echoes back to him.
“Where am I?” He whispers while turning in a circle. The darkness is all around him. “Help!” Cort shouts as he begins to panic. “Help , please someone help me!”
A white light flickers and a woman begins to materialize.
“Don’t be afraid help is on the way.”
“Where am I?”
“What do you mean lost?”
“I cannot explain what this place is because I do not know. But a witch banished you here.”
“Yes she made a pact with your step father Laslo Thaxton.”
“He’s my ex-step-father.”
“Without the witches help he could not harm
“Can you get me out of here?”
“No I don’t have enough power; but your cousin Jean Paul Desmond can summon someone who has. Now I must build up my strength ito get a message to your cousin.”
“Wait, who are you?”
“My name is Josette Collins.” She says then fades away.
Vicky looks at David then turns to Jean Paul and Emily. “Please let’s go back to the drawing room where we will be more comfortable.”
They follow Vicky into the drawing room and sit down.
“What do you think happened to Cort?” Vicky asks.
“If he didn’t check out, the night desk clerk lied and there is a good chance that he knows something.” Jean Paul answers.
Vicky sits quietly staring into the flames of the fireplace.
“Cort is lost between realities.” Vicky says quietly.
“What?” Jean Paul asks.
“He is trapped and if he is not rescued before morning he can never return.”
“Miss Winters what are you talking about?” Emily asks.
“She’s not Vicky it’s Josette.” David says.
“Josette?” Jean Paul asks.
“Yes.” David says then walks over to the bookcase and pulls out a thick book. He flips through the pages and shows a photo to Jean Paul and Emily.
“That’s the woman I saw outside the inn’s window; when we were questioning the deskman.” Jean Paul says.
“You mean her ghost.” David says.
“Ghost?” Jean Paul asks then looks at Vicky. “Is your name Josette?”
“Can you help us?” Emily asks.
“No but there is someone who can; the person that helped you before.”
Emily looks at Jean Paul. “Is it Philip Desmond?” Emily asks.
“No.” Josette answers.
“Are you talking about Julian Desmond?” Jean Paul asks.
“But how?” Jean Paul asks.
“Before he left he promised to come if he was needed.”
“Yes I remember.” Jean Paul says.
“Then you must call for him.”
“That I do not know. But you must do it soon.” Josette says then Vicky collapses.
“Vicky!” David cries out and rushes to her side.
Jean Paul helps her sit back. “Emily get me a glass of brandy.” He says pointing at a side table.
Emily pours the drink and carries it to Jean Paul.
Jean Paul puts it to Vicky’s lips and pours a small amount into her mouth.
Vicky swallows and begins to cough as she begins to wake up. “What happened?” Vicky asks as she looks around the room.
“Here take another sip.” Jean Paul says as he
raises the glass.
Vicky takes the glass from him and takes a sip.
“Do you remember what happened?” Jean Paul asks?”.
“I was sitting and the fire caught my attention then I became dizzy.”
Emily glances over at the fireplace. “There is no fire.”
Vicky glances across the room. “I don’t understand.”
“I do, Josette had to speak to us somehow.” David says.
“Jean Paul how did you contact Julian before?” Emily asks.
“I didn’t he just arrived late one night.”
“Maybe if you try calling him.” Emily says.
Jean Paul closes his eyes and silently calls out to Julian.
A sound of a clock ticking echoes around the room.
“What’s that?” Vicky asks as she glances around.
“I think I know.” Emily says.
Jean Paul glanced down at the table as it begins to shimmer; a pocket watch begins to appear.
Jean Paul picks it up.
“Where did that come from?” David asks.
“A distant ancestor sent it to us.” Jean Paul says.
“And this will help Cort?” Vicky asks.
“If anything can it would be this watch.” Emily says.
Jean Paul grips the chain and the watch swings.
Cort cries out as the sound of a clock ticking fills the darkness.
“Cort can you hear me?” Jean Paul’s voice calls out to him.
“Jean Paul, Jean Paul help me.”
“I am Cort and so is Julian.”
“Yes it’s his sound that you are hearing. Cort follow that sound.”
“Jean Paul it’s so dark.”
“Cort you must follow the sound and it will lead you out.”
The sound moves to the left, Cort follows it.
“That’s right Cort keep following it.” Jean Paul says.
“Jean Paul I can see light.”
“Keep going Cort; don’t look back or the doorway will close.”
“It is a doorway Jean Paul.”
“Step through it Cort.”
Cort does and finds himself back in his room at the Collinsport Inn.
“Jean Paul where are you?”
“I’m at Collinwood and Emily is with me.”
“Thank you Jean Paul. I feel so tired.” Cort says as he stumbles to the bed and falls asleep as exhaustion comes over him.
Jean Paul lowers the watch.
“Is he safe?” Emily asks.
“Yes he’s back at the Collinwood Inn.”
“How do you know?” Vicky asks.
“I was able to see him and guide him out using the watch.”
“Thank God.” Vicky says.
“And Julian.” Emily adds.
“Don’t forget Josette.” David says to them.
“What do we do now?” Emily asks.
“First we’ll check on Cort then go speak to Laslo.”
Chapter 4 Confrontations
Laslo brings Elizabeth back to Collinwood later in the evening. They enter the mansion to find the Drawing Room empty.
“Well my dear do you want to wake everyone and give them the good news?” Laslo asks.
“Yes our marriage.”
Elizabeth glances at her left hand.
“Don’t you remember, the wedding bands won’t be ready until tomorrow.”
“Oh yes.” Elizabeth says and glances around in confusion.
“What is it my dear.”
“I forgot the wedding gift from your friend.”
“You mean this.” Laslo says and hands her the cloth wrapped dagger.
“Yes Laslo, we should retire.”
“My dear I thought we agreed to keep our marriage a secret for today. I shall sleep at the Inn tonight.
Tomorrow I shall move in with you when we announce our marriage.”
“Thank you Laslo I think that would be best.” Elizabeth says and steps into his arms. They kiss and Laslo pulls back.
“Goodnight my dear.” Laslo says as he steps to the door.
“Goodnight Laslo.” Elizabethan says as she follows him to the outside door.
Laslo walks out of the mansion and to his car.
Elizabeth walks to her room and un-wraps the dagger, and places it under her pillow. She changes into a nightgown, lies down in her bed and falls asleep.
The clock strikes three and Elizabeth’s eyes open; she slides the dagger out from under her pillow as she comes to her feet. Leaving her room she enters Caroline’s room to find Caroline’s bed empty. Elizabeth turns from the bed and walks out of the room towards David’s room.
Vicky is sleeping when a voice calls out her name. Vicky opens her eyes, sits up and glances around the room.
“Go to David now, he needs you.”
“Josette is it you?”
“Go to David now!” The voice shouts.
Vicky scrambles from her bed and rushes out of her room.
Crossing the hallway she enters David’s room.
Elizabeth stands next to David’s sleeping form and raises the dagger. Tears are running down her face.
“Mrs. Stoddard no!” Vicky cries out and rushes to Elizabeth and grabs her wrist.
As they struggle David wakes. “Aunt Elizabeth, Vicky what are you doing?”
“David get out of here, run!” Vicky shouts.
David rolls off the bed and bolts out of the room.
Elizabeth stops struggling and releases the dagger.
Vicky releases her wrist. “Mrs. Stoddard what’s wrong with you?”
Without saying a word Elizabeth turns and walks out of the room.
Vicky follows her as she walks down the staircase then walks outside.
“Mrs. Stoddard wait.” Vicky calls out but stops at the outside door when she hears David behind her. Vicky turns and looks at him. “David call the Collinsport inn and ask for Jean Paul Desmond and tell him what has happened.” Vicky says as she grabs her shoes and a coat.
“Vicky what’s going on?” David asks.
“I don’t know but your Aunt is outside and I have to find her.” Vicky says then rushes outside after Elizabeth.
Vicky sees her on the path to Widows Hill. “Mrs. Stoddard please stop!” Vicky shouts then begins to run after her.
As Elizabeth reaches the top Vicky catches up with her.
“Please Mrs. Stoddard come back to Collinwood with me.”
Elizabeth turns towards her. “I have failed now I must end it.”
“End what, please Mrs. Stoddard come back with me.”
“No I can’t let her win.” Elizabeth says with tears running down her face.
A shimmering form appears behind the two women near the edge of the cliff. “Elizabeth she will not win. I give you my promise.” The woman says to her.
Elizabeth turns and looks at her. “Who are you?”
“Josette Collins, now you need to go back to Collinwood with Miss Winters and wait for Mr. Desmond.”
“No his cousin; he can help you.”
“You don’t understand, no one can help me.” Elizabeth says as she steps closer to the edge of the cliff.
Josette reaches out and touches Elizabeth’s shoulder.
Elizabeth collapses to the ground unconscious.
“Mrs. Stoddard, Vicky Winters can you hear me!” A man’s voice shouts.
“Mr. Desmond we’re over here.” Vicky shouts back.
Jean Paul and Emily rush up the path. “Vicky what happened?” Jean Paul asks as he glances at Vicky; then kneels next to Elizabeth.
“Mrs. Stoddard seemed to be under some kind of spell; she tried to kill David then herself.”
“Jean Paul we need to get Mrs. Stoddard back to the house; she isn’t dressed for this weather.” Emily says to him.
Jean Paul takes off his coat and wraps Elizabeth in it and picks her up. He follows Vicky back to the mansion.
David is standing in the doorway and backs up as Jean Paul enters carrying Elizabeth inside. “Is Aunt Elizabeth alright?” David asks.
“She’ll be fine.” Emily says as she follows Jean Paul into the drawing room as Vicky leads the way. David follows them.
Jean Paul places Elizabeth on the sofa. “Vicky could you pour a glass of brandy for Mrs. Stoddard.”
Vicky rushes to the side table and pours the drink; she hands it to Jean Paul.
Jean Paul puts the rim of the glass to Elizabeth’s mouth and pours a little into her mouth.
Elizabeth swallows and begins to cough. She opens her eyes and pushes the glass away. “What Happened?”
“You don’t know.” Jean Paul asks.
“No.” She glances at the others then back to Jean Paul.
“Who are you?”
“Jean Paul Desmond and this is my wife Emily; your nephew called us.”
“David called you; I don’t understand.”
Jean Paul notices the pendant. “Where did you get that necklace?”
“My fiancé or I should say my husband gave it to me.”
Jean Paul reaches to the back of her neck and takes the pendant off of her.
“What are you doing?”
“Mr. Thaxton’s gifts bring evil to those around the person that accepts it.” Jean Paul says and drops the pendant to the floor and smashes it with his foot.
“Oh my God, what have I done?” Elizabeth cries out and covers her face with her hands.
“Aunt Elizabeth are you really married to Mr. Thaxton?” David asks.
“I don’t know, I remember signing some papers but it was like it was a dream.”
“Don’t worry Mrs. Stoddard; I’ll make sure Laslo Thaxton releases you from your marriage contracts.”
“Thank you Mr. Desmond. Oh no I just remembered… Where is Caroline, is she alright?”
“Don’t worry Mrs. Stoddard she spent the night at a girt friend’s house.” Vicky says.
“What did Laslo want you to do?” Emily asks.
“It wasn’t Laslo; it was a woman. She wanted me to kill Caroline, David then myself.”
“What woman?” Jean Paul asks.
“Angelique Bouchard.” A voice says from across the room.
“Josette.” David says as he turns around.
“Yes David. Don’t worry about the witch; her time on earth is over.” Josette says and in her hand is the dagger from the floor in David’s room. “Elizabeth remembers the promise I gave to you.” She says then disappears.
“Vicky would you help Mrs. Stoddard to her room. David stay with your Aunt.” Jean Paul says.
“Where are you going?” Elizabeth asks.
“To confront Laslo but first I have to wake Cort. He needs to accompany me. Emily I think you should stay here.”
“No Jean Paul you might need my help.”
“You can help more by staying with here and watching over Mrs. Stoddard.”
Elizabeth begins to sob.
“All right jean Paul.” Emily says as she helps Vicky get Elizabeth to her feet. She hands Jean Paul back his coat as they throw a blanket over Elizabeth’s shoulders.
“No!” Angelique screams as she watches Elizabeth climb the staircase at Collinwood accompanied by Victoria Winters and Emily Desmond in the flame of the black candle. “I will not be stopped!” Angelique lifts the doll from the fireplace mantel and raises it above the flame.
The doll is wrenched from her grasp. Angelique watches as it disappears.
“Who dares to interfere?” Angelique shouts in anger.
The air in the room shimmers and Josette appears.
“Josette Collins, you cannot stop me!”
“Is that so Angelique?” Josette says as a wind blows through the room. Josette reaches out towards Angelique.
“No do not touch me.”
“I will not allow you to destroy my family.”
“No one can stop not even you Josette.”
“You will be defeated.”
“My powers are greater than yours.” Angelique says.
“Not this time Angelique. By using Laslo Thaxton you have brought destruction upon yourself.”
“Laslo Thaxton means nothing to me.”
“But you tried to destroy a member of a family protected by a powerful spirit.”
“You talk in riddles Josette, I fear no member of the Desmond family.”
“Is that so?” A man’s voice says from across the room.
Angelique turns to see an older man standing across the room from her. “Who are you?”
“My name is Victoire Le’Conte Des Mondes but I am known as Julian Desmond.”
“And you think that I fear you?”
The sound of a clock ticking fills the room. “Your powers are gone Angelique.” Julian says to her.
“No it’s not possible.”
“It is, and as a fitting punishment you will roam the grounds of Collinwood as a cat catching the rats and mice.”
“No please!” Angelique cries out as the ticking grows louder. She covers her ear with the palms of her hands.
“Or should I banish you to the hell from which you came? I will leave it to Josette since it is her family you tried to destroy.”
“Josette please help me; we were once friends.” Angelique says as she turns to Josette.
“We were never friends Angelique. I have made my choice.”
Flames surround Angelique and she begins to scream.
Her body disappears.
“Is she gone forever?” Josette asks Julian.
“Nothing is forever.”
“Thank you Msieu Le’Conte Des Mondes.”
Julian bows to her then disappears.
Before leaving Collinwood Jean Paul finds out which room Laslo is staying in. He knocks on the door and is accompanied by Cort who stands on the side of the doorway.
The door opens as Laslo pulls on a robe. “Do you know what time it is?” He says angrily.
“Yes its five o’clock.” Jan Paul says to him.
“Jean Paul Desmond.”
“What do you want?”
“I’ve been told you’ve been up to your old tricks.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Laslo says and tries to close the door in Jean Paul’s face.
Jean Paul catches the edge and pushes it back; then he steps inside.”
“You can’t come in here. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“If that’s true, why do you seem frightened?”
“I’m not frightened of you or anyone else.”
Cort steps into the doorway.
“How did you…” Laslo begins to say.
“Escape.” Cort asks.
“Yes, no I mean…”
“So it is true, you are up to your old tricks.” Jean Paul says to him.
“It wasn’t me, it was the witch Angelique.”
“Blaming others for your evil; Laslo I thought you learned your lesson at Desmond Hall?” Jean Paul says to him.
“And you ignored my advice.”
“What advice? You and your family made me leave town.”
“Do you remember this Laslo?” Jean Paul asks as he reaches into his pocket and takes out Julian’s watch.
“No, no take it away!” Laslo cries out as he backs away.
“You should have listened to me Laslo; now we have to decide what to do with you.”
“Let me go Jean Paul. I promise that I will go away and never bother your family again.”
“Not this time Laslo; the owner of this watch has already decided your fate.”
The sound of a clock ticking is heard through the room.
Laslo makes a run for the door. The door slams shut before he can get out.
“You will take Cort’s place in the darkness.” Julian’s voice calls out.
Fog envelopes Laslo and when it dissolves Laslo is gone.
The watch in Jean Paul’s hand also disappears.
“Let’s hope that’s the last we see of Laslo.” Cort tells Jean Paul.
“We can only hope. Now we need to go to Collinwood and pick up Emily.”
“But first I need to call home and let my mother know I am safe.”
“I’ll check us out of the inn while you make that call.”
Cort and Jean Paul arrive at Collinwood around seven. Emily meets them at the door. “Is everything alright?”
“We don’t have to worry about Laslo Thaxton.” Jean Paul says to her.
“He’s not dead is he?”
“No Laslo went on a very long trip.” Cort says.
“I’ll explain later.” Jean Paul says as Emily looks at him.
“Mr. Desmond?” A voice calls from the top of the staircase.
They turn and look up the stairs as Elizabeth comes down and joins them.
“I’m so sorry about the confusion over the property.” She says to Cort. “Do I know you?” Elizabeth asks Jean Paul.
“Elizabeth this is my husband Jean Paul Desmond. He just arrived to accompany Cort and myself home especially when Cort wasn’t able to get your signature on the papers.” Emily says.
“I’m so sorry that you had to come to Collinsport. I think the virus I picked up has made me forgetful.”
Cort glances at Jean Paul.
Jean Paul shakes his head.
“If you will meet me at the office later this morning I will have the papers ready for you.” Elizabeth says to Cort.
“That would be great Mrs. Stoddard. Goodbye and I’ll stop by your office after we have breakfast.” Cort says.
“Goodbye.” She says then looks at jean Paul and Emily.
“Goodbye, I have the oddest feeling that I should thank you.”
“Goodbye Mrs. Stoddard.” They both reply then follow Cort out the door.
“She doesn’t remember anything does she?” Cort asks.
Emily shakes her head no.
“Maybe it’s better that way.” Jean Paul says as they climb into the car.
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