“It’s an incredible story — incredible and horrible!”
There’s a rap at the door, interrupting Laura’s fireside reverie. Laura Collins has been living in the cottage on the Collinwood estate for two months now, periodically ensorcelling people, as she prepares to enter the furnace with her son, and char for all eternity. Laura has a vivid interior life.
But the rap, as I said. She glides to the door, and finds a Dartmouth professor in glasses and turtleneck, standing at the threshold.
“Mrs. Collins?” he inquires, and Laura says yes.
“I’m Peter Guthrie. I’ve been wanting to meet you.”
“I was just thinking about you,” she smiles, quietly. “Wondering what you’d be like.”
And now I can see what you’re like, she thinks. Oh, well. You can’t win them all.
Continue reading Episode 949: The Last Days of the Guthrie Brothers
“I don’t understand any of it — or maybe I’m afraid to.”
She had these golden yellow protuberances all over her head, that was the first thing I noticed about her.
I mean, it’s called hair, obviously I know that now, but I was only three weeks old, and I didn’t know all the words for human components yet. I just liked the way that they fell around her face, these tiny tendrils, golden and moist, like she’d dominated a thousand jaundiced worms and made them cling to her head, shaking and sweeping every time she moved, always dancing, sighing in ecstasy at their chance to serve her. She looked like the queen of clotted fluids, empress of all the seeping things that pool in clumps. But she wasn’t, obviously. Not yet.
Continue reading Episode 945: My Sweet, Sweet Moves
“I’m not just a little boy in every room in this house!”
Right now, I’m writing these words, and right now, you’re reading them, and those cannot possibly be the same “right now,” and so there is a time distortion in everything that we know about each other.
On Dark Shadows, it’s January 1970. For me, at the moment, it’s September 2016. For you, it’s some impossible-to-predict time in the future — a couple hundred of you today, and a couple thousand of you this week, and then who knows how many, in the long tail of tomorrows to come.
Continue reading Episode 927: A Limited Number of Tomorrows
“Barnabas never ceases to be exciting.”
My husband opens the doors to the drawing room, and finds me deep in thought, puzzling over an old book. I’m reading carefully, and transcribing some of the more difficult passages.
As he makes his way to the drinks cabinet, he asks, “Is that for the blog?” I tell him it is, and I show him the cover. He asks why I’m writing about this now, and I say that the book just came out.
“But that looks old,” he says.
“Yeah, it just came out.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m in January 1970. This was published in December 1969.”
“Oh, I see,” he says. “You were meanwhiling.” This is why our marriage works.
Continue reading Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience
“You gotta keep your bodies off each other, unless you intend love.”
Barnabas Collins has been brainwashed by cosmic horrors from beyond the mind, who are employing him as a kind of unpaid Faustian process server. Paul Stoddard has just learned that he made a bet with a baby twenty years ago, and lost. Young David Collins has shoplifted himself into a growing army of imaginary snake worshippers.
And to make matters worse, over the weekend, the 1960s ended, which is kind of a bummer.
Continue reading Episode 901: Sympathy for the Devil
“Why did you come out here at this hour, and why are you wearing that gown?”
As you know, I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially when they’ve gone to a lot of trouble and they’re only trying to help, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a ghost successfully deliver a coherent warning to anybody. Either they moan a person’s name and nothing else, or they issue a bunch of unheralded pronouns and don’t explain the context. They put all this spectral energy into piercing the veil between the living and the not, but when they get through, it turns out they haven’t really figured out their messaging.
The current example is even more baffling than usual. Kitty Hampshire — known Josette lookalike and alleged reincarnation — finds a note in her bechamber that says, “Know yourself. Be who you must be.” Then she hears the hypnotic chimes of a music box, which direct her to a vintage gown hidden in the cedar chest. Putting it on, the damsel in this dress drifts down the stairs, and out to the cliffs atop Widow’s Hill, a popular nightspot for the young and doomed. This is all standard practice for gothic heroines who are gradually becoming aware that they’re somebody else.
Arriving at the rendezvous point, Kitty finds the specter of Jeremiah Collins, who was shot in the face a hundred years ago. “YOU MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE!” he bellows. “LEAVE COLLINWOOD, AND NEVER RETURN! IF YOU STAY — HE WILL KILL YOU!”
So Kitty just stands there, and screams her head off. And Jeremiah, honestly, what did you think was going to happen? You’re an undead creature with an untreated head wound. You are scary. That is a thing that you are now; you need to recognize that, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Continue reading Episode 862: Z-Jay
“She’s got doom and disaster written all over her face!”
Edward Collins finds an unconscious stranger, just outside his front door. It’s a woman, with a strange hairstyle and an unfamiliar style of dress. He helps her to her feet, but she’s groggy and unsteady. Edward brings her inside, and she looks around like she’s in a daze, squinting and blinking as if she’s never seen the inside of a house before.
She’s docile, at least — clearly not a danger to anyone — and he’s able to lead her into the drawing room, and park her on the couch. Slumping in her seat, she stares at Edward, a puzzled look on her face.
“Can you hear me?” he asks, patiently. “Can you understand what I’m saying?” She just looks at him. He persists. “Why did you come here?” No reply. “Who are you?” Still not receiving.
At a loss, Edward cries, “Where have you come from?”
She squints up at him, and says, “I don’t know, man. I mean, where does anybody come from?”
Continue reading Episode 837: The Trip
“It is my fervent hope that this letter will somehow survive time.”
Meanwhile, on Dark Shadows: Eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has been time traveling for almost a year now, in one direction or another. He’s been slipping back and forth through the centuries, popping his consciousness in and out of his own body and sticking post-it notes all over his five hundred year diary. At this point, I think we’re up to three simultaneous Barnabi, but I’m not an expert at counting Draculas.
Continue reading Episode 835: Meanwhile, in the Future
“I will tell you an old gypsy saying. Walk fast, and the Devil will overtake you. Walk slow, and misfortune will catch you!”
How to Not Catch a Vampire, lesson one: In order to not catch a vampire, you have to not think like a vampire.
Continue reading Episode 781: The Hunt
“I know what the evil force wants you to do next.”
March 6, 1897. Evening.
Village of Collinsport, docks.
Sophie Baker — white female, mid 30s. Discovered in storage area behind the Blue Whale. Severe wounds to the neck, drained of blood. Dead, but still super drunk somehow. Eyes had a haunted look, as if they had stared into a subterranean chasm that would destroy us all. Officers advised to be on the lookout for a metaphor for the lust and greed that drives the exploitation of the lower classes.
Continue reading Episode 777: All Points