“Of course, you all think that I’m mad, but I’m going to use that to my advantage.”
February the 17th.
I got the strangest feeling today, just before Father left the gatehouse on his early morning rounds. Father kissed me on the top of my head and told me to be a good girl, as he does every morning, and then suddenly I became aware that there was some kind of presence in the room. I could see a great, winged bird, sitting by the fireplace, and it was humming a tune.
The music was sweet and gentle, and it seemed familiar, like it was a song that I’d heard many times, a long time ago. The bird was very beautiful; it seemed to shine with the brightest light I’d ever seen, in a thousand shades of yellow and orange, tinged with red.
The feeling only lasted for a few moments, and then it was gone. They rarely stay for very long, and most of them are nice, like the bird. I didn’t say anything to Father about it, because I know that he worries, sometimes.
February the 19th.
I went to Collinwood today, with the letter that Gabriel gave to me last night. He asked me to bring it to Mrs. Collins the first thing in the morning, as soon as the sun came up. I wasn’t sure why he wanted me to deliver a message to the house where he lives, but the Collins family has been so kind to Father and me, letting us live in the gatehouse, so I’m always happy to help them, if I can.
I think that Gabriel had something on his mind, when I saw him. Or in his mind. It was cinnamon brown, and when I looked at it, it snarled at me like an angry dog, so I didn’t say anything to Gabriel about it. I hope that was the right thing to do.
After I delivered Gabriel’s note to Mrs. Collins, I left her and Morgan and went upstairs to visit with Melanie, who’s feeling so much better after her illness. It was nice to sit with her, and chat for a while. But then I got the strangest feeling that Morgan needed me, for some reason, and that he wanted to talk to me.
I went downstairs, and Morgan did want to speak with me, about Gabriel. It seems that they were trying to find out where Gabriel was, and he wanted to know if I could help.
Morgan said that he’d heard about my strange powers. People have been saying that about me ever since I helped Mr. Stiles find Nellie McManus, last fall. I get embarrassed when people talk about that, because I didn’t really help very much; Mr. Stiles was the one who found her head, and most of the body. All that I did was lead them to Otis Greene’s antique shop, and the golden mask that he used during the ceremonies.
Morgan asked me to take Gabriel’s letter and concentrate on it, and see if I knew where Gabriel was. I did get something from it, but I don’t think that I was very helpful. I saw trees, near a stream, and a rope bridge, and Gabriel was standing there, staring at the bridge.
Morgan and Mrs. Collins argued about where the bridge was, which made me uncomfortable. Morgan found a picture that showed a rope bridge over Biddleford Creek, but Mrs. Collins said that was a stone bridge now; there hasn’t been a rope bridge there for years.
I felt bad about not helping very much, but then I got the feeling that Gabriel would find Morgan, soon, and that seemed to make them feel better. I didn’t say anything about the knife and the fire and the sword and all of the blood that I saw, because I thought maybe it was like the rope bridge again, and I didn’t want them to be disappointed.
February the 21st.
Father and I went to church today, and after the service, he talked for a while with Mordecai Grimes. While they were talking, I got the strangest feeling about Mr. Grimes: I could see all of his cows standing in a row, each of them feeding from the same trough, and then I watched each of them fall over, one by one, as if they were poisoned. I shuddered, and I thought about telling Mr. Grimes what I saw, but I didn’t want to interrupt his conversation with Father.
Then I saw Samantha Drew, and she stopped to talk to me. Samantha lived at Collinwood for a long time, taking care of Mr. Justin Collins. She left the estate after Mr. Collins died a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know where she’d gone.
Samantha said that she was living in town now, in her brother Randall’s home. I asked if she misses Collinwood, and she said that she doesn’t, at all. She cared about old Mr. Collins, and was very sad that he’d died, but she’d spent ten years taking care of him, and ten years was more than enough time to spend in Collinwood.
And then I could see her, walking on a road — not the Samantha that was in front of me, but another Samantha, in my mind. It was a busy road, with many people passing back and forth, but she found a path that split away from the main road. I could see her walking on that path by herself, and it wasn’t an easy journey. Sometimes it was lonely, and sometimes she stumbled, and had to right herself. But she found purpose on that path, and love, and contentment.
I told Samantha what I saw, and tears sprang into her eyes. I was worried that I’d upset her, but she clasped my hands in hers, and she thanked me. She said that she’s been thinking about moving to a city, like Bangor, or Boston, and seeing if she could find a new kind of life there. What I’d said made her feel more confident, about the decisions that she had to make. She said that she hoped we could be friends.
February the 22nd.
Tonight, I was reading my book, when I got the feeling that Quentin Collins was outside, coming to the gatehouse to see me. I got up and opened the door to let him in, and he said that he was just about to knock. “I know,” I told him, and I said it was good to see him.
Quentin looked puzzled, as he came into the room. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I realize that I must have surprised him, answering the door before he knocked. This has been happening to me more and more, and I’m not sure what to think about it.
When it happens, it seems quite natural. If I’d been looking out the window and seen him approach the house, then naturally I would go and open the door for him; it would be the polite and friendly thing to do. So when I sensed him approaching — not with my eyes through the window, but in some other way, in my mind — then I got up, to welcome him in.
It’s like I have a new set of eyes, looking out a new kind of window, and instead of seeing what’s happening now, they’re showing me what will happen, in the future. But what happens if I look through these new eyes so much that I stop seeing what’s in front of me?
What happens in my future? That’s the thing that I’m wondering about. I can see what’s ahead for Samantha, and Quentin. But what do I become?
Quentin came to ask me about someone I’d never heard of before, a man named James Forsythe. He asked me to just concentrate on the name, which I’d never done before.
I could sense that Morgan wanted to talk to me, that Samantha was thinking about her future, that Quentin was coming towards the gatehouse. I could hold Gabriel’s letter, and concentrate on where he was. But I’ve never gotten a vision before, just from thinking about a name.
But Quentin said that it was important for everyone on the estate, so I tried, and it came so easily. I looked ahead, and I said the name three times: James Forsythe… James Forsythe… James Forsythe…
And I could see him. I could see where he was, what he was doing. I told Quentin that the man was young and handsome, and lived at Collinwood. I said that he was walking with a woman that he loved, and that she loved him too, but she was sad, because she belonged to someone else.
That was something very new.
Quentin told me the name of a man, who I’d never met or even heard of, and within a minute, I knew what he looked like, where he lived, and how he felt.
And then, when that feeling passed, I had another — I suddenly realized that James Forsythe is here, now, somewhere near Collinwood. I don’t know how, or what it means, but he’s still here, and I don’t know if he’s alive or dead.
Quentin said, “I’ll tell you all about it in due time. Thank you very much.” And then he turned and rushed out of the cottage. He went so fast that he didn’t even close the door behind him.
I’m very happy to help Quentin, and the Collins family. I really am. I’m so grateful to them, for taking us in, after what happened to Mother, and the fire.
I try not to think about that very much, because it makes me sad. I suppose everyone feels that way, when they lose someone that’s so important to them.
Mother could see the future, too. She told me that she could. But she could only see one thing, for her, and maybe for me, too.
All she could see was fire.
February the 23rd.
I don’t know why I wrote that, yesterday. I don’t even remember Mother, not really; she died when I was very little, and what I remember about her is mostly from Father’s stories.
Something is happening, very quickly. A week ago, I’d never even tried to have a vision, on purpose; I had only done it when Mr. Stiles was helping me. But now I’m having them all the time.
How could I speak to Samantha, the way that I had? How could I know anything about James Forsythe? Why do I feel a presence outside, in the woods, watching me?
What kind of song is it singing?
February the 24th.
Daphne came to the cottage today, with more questions, more visions. I saw something terrible, and dark. I don’t really understand it.
It’s the third time this week, that someone from Collinwood has asked me to look into the future. The Collins family has been so kind to Father and me, letting us live in the gatehouse, so I’m always happy to help them, if I can.
But there is something in the woods, and there is something in the cellar.
February the 25th.
I went into the cellar today. I told Father that I was just tidying up, but I know that there is something down there.
I found an old dusty book, and something fell from one of the pages. It was a letter, addressed to a man named James Forsythe.
I waited until I knew that Quentin had left Collinwood. I wanted to bring the letter to him, but I didn’t want to be there when he opened it. I just wanted to drop it off, and let him look at it on his own.
But Morgan was there, and he wanted to see the letter. He opened it, and he read it, and then he asked me to touch it, and it burst into flames.
The letter burned, right in front of me, and the flames called to me, and I was frightened, and I was homesick.
February the 28th.
Father and I went to church today, and the reverend gave a sermon that was just for me. Everyone else heard him talk about the importance of good works, and sacrifice. I’ve heard him give that sermon many times before, sometimes two weeks in a row.
But I heard him talk about Adam and Eve, and the first sin. And God made Eve from the rib of Adam, and Eve was weak and loosed the raven on the world, and the raven was called sin.
Daphne said that she’s going to marry Bramwell. I said that’s wonderful, congratulations, but then she asked me for a vision. They keep asking me.
And the raven was called sin.
I saw Bramwell, and he was so sad, and he was standing by a grave, and the gravestone said Daphne Harridge Collins. I didn’t want to tell her. I told her that I couldn’t see what the gravestone said. She said that she didn’t believe me. If they don’t believe me, then why do they ask me to do it again, and again?
And the Lord visited Eve with the curse, and the curse was the curse of Christ’s blood.
I saw Samantha walking on her own path, and she was so brave, and so beautiful. And she knew purpose, because she was walking away from Collinwood. I wish I could walk with her. I could walk away from this house, away from Father and Mother and the Collins family, I could run away, with Samantha Drew and Miranda Du Val, and live in some other place.
Away from the fire, and the blood.
March the 3rd.
James Forsythe came to the house today, dressed in another man’s skin. I don’t know why I was so surprised.
I sat down, and I didn’t move. He tried to talk to me, but I was no longer there to listen. I was thinking of a rope bridge, that could take me away from this place.
Tomorrow: Other People’s Problems.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In act 1, when Catherine tells Melanie and Julia that Morgan claims that isn’t his name, he turns to pose in a spot that’s just a step too far forward. His face catches the light, but his body is in shadow.
At the very start of act 2, someone clears their throat.
Catherine tells Julia, “He locked me in the door — in the room, when my back was turned!”
Tomorrow: Other People’s Problems.
— Danny Horn