Summaries written by Debby Graham . The slide presentation is the work of Ron Janick.
Strange Paradise: Episode 96
Episode 96: Slideshow: http://tinyurl.com/yd3fdn
Raxl: "The end of night. The first winds of dawn, a promise of sunlight and yet Desmond Hall stands in darkness as if existing in shadows which daylight will never pierce. While below in the dark back streets of the village Jean Paul sees a bright hope he never thought could exist because under the curse of the Mark of Death he has come upon a vision."
Jean Paul stands and stares at the woman. "Erica! Erica are you real?" "Quite real, all too real." "Erica you're here." Jean Paul says touching her face. "It's true." "I'm here all right but I didn't expect such enthusiastic not to say a mysterious welcome." Jean Paul drops his hand. "Are you false or are you the real Erica?" "I'm not Erica at all. Who is Erica?" Jean Paul turns and steps away. "My wife. She's dead." "I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for your sake I'm not Erica." Jean Paul glances up. "NO! NO!" as the heartbeat starts pounding. "What is it?" the woman asks. Jean Paul glances back at her. "No I can't look at you. I can't." he says as he huddles against the building. Raxl rushes up to him from the side of the building. "Master its all most dawn. Just a little while now." Raxl says. As she looks around she sees the stranger. "You! Go back to your dwelling place in hell!" "Hell did you say? Well I don't dwell there. I'm on the road constantly, though hell
does seem a very close description of my life." Jean Paul glances at Raxl. "She isn't Erica." "Can you be sure?" Raxl asks as she grips Jean Paul's arm. "But you told me Erica is dead. Do I look dead?" she asks walking closer to Jean Paul and Raxl. "Raxl!" Jean Paul cries out in pain. "It's fading Master look." Jean Paul watches as the star fades away. "Yes." He glances at the woman. "Who are you?" "I'm Helena Raleigh actress of sorts. I got off the night train a short time ago. I must say this is one of the more dramatic towns I've been to. Ill be appearing here this week in the Desmondton Music Palace." she says pointing to the poster announcing the show behind her. "A romantic name indeed." Jean Paul glances down tiredly. "Are you sure you're all right?" Helena asks. "He's perfectly well. Good by Mademoiselle." Raxl says as she starts to lead Jean Paul away from the building. "Wait." Jean Paul says as he looks back at Helena. "Do you have a lodging here in
Desmondton?" "Well not yet." she says turning away from Jean Paul and Raxl. "I hear the hotel is very dreary." "It is." Jean Paul says as he walks towards Helena. "I hope you'll excuse this unexpected invitation but I live at Desmond Hall. The Manor house in the town and there's room for a house guest, especially a talented one." Helena looks at Jean Paul. "Compliments are entirely unnecessary. I've never refused an offer of luxury in my life. The invitation is accepted." she says as she takes his arm. As Jean Paul and Helena walk by as Raxl she watches them worriedly.
Agatha and Quito arrive back at Desmond Hall. They enter the foyer. "Home but for how long?" Agatha asks. "Quito you must light a fire, I am so cold." she says hugging her arms against her body. Quito follows her into the Drawing Room. "A nice warm fire, that's what we need." Agatha says as Quito kneels next to the fireplace. Quito starts a fire as Agatha wraps herself in a blanket and sits down. "You realize I almost died last night. Of course you do, it was you who almost killed me. I don't blame you Quito, I don't. Evil all of them, evil witches." Quito glances at Agatha then turns back to the fireplace. "Yes this is nice. Warm and safe, this is how it aught to be for me Quito. I was meant to live this way. Some wine! Yes Quito pour me some wine." Quito stands and walks to the table with the wine decanters. "Any kind as long as it is a pretty color. Something rosy. Is there anything rose colored?" Quito shows her a decanter. "Yes that one." Agatha says with a
smile. "Now I'll sit by the fire and sip it slowly like a lady." she says as Quito passes her a glass. "Would you like some Quito? Oh you better not. The servant shouldn't drink in front of the Lady." She takes a sip. "Very nice Quito." she says smiling at him. Quito nods. "Put some more logs on the fire." Quito kneels and adds more wood. "Listen to me carefully Quito. I learned a lot last night about all those people. About Mrs. Hatter, and Mr. Thaxton. They've been planning to do away with Jean Paul." Quito stands and angrily extends his hands. Agatha stands next to him. "No, no you mustn't act that way Quito, because this is our secret. And I'm going to take care of them in good time." Agatha says as she looks away from Quito. She turns back towards him. "And tell Mr. Desmond in good time, so you must tell no one. Make no sign that you know anything about this to anyone. Because we have a home now Quito you and me. And no one will dare throw us out ever again. Do you
understand Quito?" Quito nods. "We're safe together you and me because of what I know. So you will do as I tell you from now on." Agatha moves away from Quito. "First you must build a fire in my bedroom. Make sure it's nice and warm so I can sleep. Go now, hurry." Agatha points at the door. Quito walks away from Agatha. "And turn down my bed nicely. Servants are supposed to do that. Goodnight Quito." Quito bows to her then walks out of the room. "Oh its morning and my dress is ruined." Agatha says looking at herself. "Oh well there will be other dresses and other parties won't there, Jean Paul?" Agatha walks into the foyer and holds the blanket away from herself. "And I'll invite all the people I like and all the people I hate. And they'll envy me." "Agatha." "Good morning Cort." "Agatha I need your help." He says to her walking up to her. "And you'll have it because I'm back and I'm going to be here for quite some time. So I can help you and everyone." Agatha says
happily as she tightens the blanket around her and starts up the staircase. "It's about your friend. It's about Peter." "Oh him, you mustn't worry about Peter. He'll be surprised at all the friends I'm going to have, all the friends. Good night." "Agatha?" "Oh I know. It's morning not night at all. But I must sleep now so goodnight." Agatha turns and climbs the stairs. Cort turns away. "I must figure out who is going to save me from the wrath of the Serpent God, likely story." Cort walks into the Drawing Room He looks at the fireplace. "Fire this early in the morning, a variable bonfire. Well Agatha certainly has made a place for herself. At least she'll be warm while she's here." Ada walks into the room carrying a tea tray. "Cort? A fire in the Drawing Room at this time in the morning." She sets the tray down. "That's just what I was saying to myself." Cort says with his back to his mother. "I won't have it. Don't use that tone of voice with me." Ada says walking
over to him. Cort looks at her. "What's wrong dear Mother? These are the vocal cords that God gave me. Do you have anything against God and his goodness? Look all around you Mother. Look at all the things he's made." Cort takes his mother's arm. "Look, the trees. The grass and the sunshine." He says leading her to the window. "And Jean Paul coming up the driveway and that sunshine girl Raxl." Cort says grinning. "And a young lady, a very pretty young lady... "Erica." Ada whispers in shock as she puts her hand on Cort's sweater. "I've seen photographs of her. That is Erica his dead wife. Erica!" Cort looks at his mother then back out the window.
Holly is walking down the staircase as the front door opens. Holly turns towards the door. "Jean Paul you're up early. Good morning." she says giving him a kiss "I have some thing to tell you. Something..." She notices the woman behind Jean Paul. "Erica." Holly walks towards her. "Erica." "If you like. I'm an actress; I can be whatever you want me to be." Helena says touching Holly's cheek. "Miss Raleigh will be staying with us during her theatrical engagement in town. Raxl will you show her to her room." Raxl picks up Helena's suitcase. "Follow me." she says walking towards the stairs. "A delightful house Mr. Desmond. Right out of a turn of the century melodrama. I feel quite at home." She follows Raxl up the staircase. Jean Paul and Holly watch her as she leaves. "She looks so much like Erica." Holly says to Jean Paul. "I thought she was Erica, did you?" "At first, briefly." "I don't know if I should be happy or afraid." Jean Paul looks at Holly. "You never knew
the real Erica. You only knew a wicked intruder that had the body and face of Erica." "Jean Paul why did you ask Miss Raleigh to stay here?"
"Well she was a stranger in Desmondton and I thought it was only hospitable." He says as he walks away from Holly. Holly walks over to him. "And she looks like the wife you loved so much. Jean Paul you almost destroyed your own life trying to bring her back to life." "Holly try to forget the past. I'm trying to." "But you haven't." "No." "If Miss Raleigh makes you happy then I'm glad that she's here." Holly says then turns away. "I'm happy." Jean Paul smiles and walks over to her. "Then I'm happy for you." "You see Jean Paul I'm falling in love." "In love? Well lets see, the only eligible young man you've seen here at Desmond Hall is Cort." "No he isn't the only eligible young man." Holly says looking away from Jean Paul. "Who else?" "Your brother Philip." Holly says glancing at Jean Paul.
"My brother is..." "Gone, missing. Jean Paul it doesn't matter. His spirit appears to me, talks to me." "Holly?" Jean Paul stares at her. "Don't tell me I'm foolish to think it. Try pretending I didn't know him, that I didn't like him. But I do love him."
"A spirit, a ghost?" "Oh it doesn't matter what ever he is. I want to be with him as much as I can." Holly says turning away from Jean Paul. Jean Paul stares at her in shock. "I'm happy when I'm with him. And when I'm not with him I'm happy because I can look forward to seeing him again. Isn't that love?" "It's also dangerous. What if my brother is dead?" Jean Paul asks as he walks up to Holly.
"It doesn't matter. If he would just appear to me and speak to me, if he cares for me." "Holly I understand listen believe me I do but you can't allow this to happen. You can't let this go on. I loved someone who had died and the results from that love caused everyone I knew almost total disaster and many of those I loved died. And I wound up cursed for the rest of my life." "Philip doesn't hate anyone, he doesn't curse anyone. He only wants to be saved." "How Holly? Through you?" "He loves me. I'm sure of that." Holly tells Jean Paul angrily. "Well how do you fulfill this love? Do you go to him, is that how it ends?" Holly turns away. "I don't want to think about it." "You must think about it Holly." "No!" She turns back towards Jean Paul. "This is the only time I've been in love with anyone and I won't let anyone spoil it! Philip will find a way, he will." "Is it really love" Jean Paul asks angrily. "Yes!" "Or are you flirting with disaster?" "Oh you're a
fine one to talk to me about that. Look at yourself! You suffered enough with Erica but you're still looking for her. You still love her. Why else do you think you brought that actress into this house! You want her to play Erica for you!" Holly tells him then runs from the foyer. Jean Paul takes off his coat as Raxl walks down the staircase. "The visitor is in the Red Damask bedroom." Raxl says to him. "Thank you Raxl. Did she say when she would be down?" "She did not Master." Jean Paul turns and walks towards Raxl. "Raxl I know you don't approve of this but I'm trying to bring about good things for a change." "Is that what you are doing Master?" "Yes I've been under the command of the Mark of Death. I've been forced once more to kill. But this time instead of death I've tried to bring kindness towards a woman I almost killed. Because she looked like..." "Your dead wife. Watch yourself very carefully Master. We do not know who this Helena Raleigh is." "An actress
on tour." Jean Paul tells her. "When has a theatrical troupe ever visited Desmondton? And why was the lady alone?" "Well the rest of her company is down at the theater and will be there tonight." "I have only one last word. "Beware!" Helena stands at the top of the staircase. "What a marvelous line. Beware, in deep and somber tones. Oh I adore your house Mr. Desmond. In fact I adore it so much I shan't go to the theater tonight." She says as she walks down the staircase. "I'll skip this performance." Helena says giving Jean Paul her hand. Jean Paul kisses it and smiles at her. "Will there be anything else Master?" "No thank you Raxl, you may go." Raxl bows and leaves the room.
Jean Paul hasn't taken his eyes off of Helena. "Miss Raleigh I have no intention with interfering with your professional life but I don't want to be the cause of your missing a performance. Especially if you deprive your audience when they should see you." "Youre being too kind Mr. Desmond. But then you haven't seen me perform. Perhaps I'm not depriving the audience at all." she says as she walks across the room. "Oh I'm sure you give very excellent performances."
"One tries Mr. Desmond. But you have no idea how dreary it is traveling from town to town from one grimy theater to the next. Life upon the wicked stage is not so wicked Mr. Desmond it's dreary. Anyway I have an understudy panting to take over my role so let's forget all about it." She says as she walks back towards Jean Paul. "Now show me around Desmond Hall will you kind sir." Jean Paul nods and smiles as he takes her arm "What ever you ask." Helena stops and looks at him. "Do you mean that? Really mean that? What ever I ask?" "Well yes I do." Jean Paul says with a smile as he laughs. "Why are you laughing?" Helena asks with a smile. "I don't know. It's just as if she said it." "Erica?" "Yes I'm sorry. Does that offend you?" "Not at all Mr. Desmond. Not at all." Jean Paul leads her into the Drawing Room. Cort stands as they walk in. "Jean Paul good morning." Ada says. "We could say what a surprise but you see it isn't a surprise after all. You see we saw
you coming up the drive. Mother's been waiting very patiently for you to meet us." Cort says to Jean Paul. "Miss Raleigh I'd like you to meet Mrs. Thaxton, my cousin and her son Cort." Helena steps forward and shakes Ada's hand. "Mrs. Thaxton. Cort." she says as she walks over to him.
"How do you do." Cort says kissing her hand. "Oh what did you say your name was?" Ada asks. "Miss Raleigh, Helena Raleigh." Jean Paul answers. "My mother thinks you're a reincarnation from the dead." Cort says to Helena. "Cort." Ada says. "Oh that's all right Mrs. Thaxton. It seems to be my one claim to fame at Desmond hall. That I resemble Erica." "Oh very much. I've seen photographs of her." Ada tells Helena. "Oh then you've never met Erica." "No." "It wasn't long after we were married when Erica..." Jean Paul starts to say as he walks over to the couch. Ada jumps up. "Would you like some tea?" "Very much." Helena tells her. Ada rushes around the couch to the tea service. "Who sent you here?" Cort asks. Helena laughs and sits down. "What a strange question."
"Well you'll find me a very strange young man." Jean Paul sits next to Helena. "Yes it's one of his points of style." "You haven't answered my question." Cort says as he walks over to the couch. "Cort that's enough." Ada tells him. "Miss Raleigh is an actress with a traveling company." Jean Paul says to Cort. "So you traveled here resembling the lost love of the owner of the Manor House. What a very extraordinary billing." "Isn't it." Helena says looking at Cort. "Now that's all I'm going to take Cort." Ada says walking around the couch. "It isn't Miss Raleighs fault." "That I resemble Erica? No I don't find it a fault at all." Helena says looking at Jean Paul. "As long as it pleases Mr. Desmond." "It pleases me very much." Jean Paul says with a smile. "Very well then. I feel quite at home and not at all disturbed that you ask strange questions." Helena says to Cort. "You're free to ask them anytime." Cort turns and walks out of the room. Helena stands. "May I
pour you a cup of tea Mr. Desmond?" Jean Paul nods then smiles at her. One lump or two?"
Raxl looks out the window and turns and looks at Quito. "You must stay here Quito. In this room until I return. The Master is out walking showing the view of the cliffs to the visitor." Raxl says as she starts to walk across the room. Quito grabs her arm and shakes his head. "No Quito. You must stay here until the Master comes to you. You are in great danger here at Desmond Hall. Has anyone seen you since your return? Mr. Thaxton or his wife?" Quito shakes his head no. "Or young Master Cort?" Quito again shakes his head no. "Only me?" Quito nods. "Oh that is good. We must ask the Master what we must do. There are people here that would turn you over to the police for crimes that you did not commit." Quito walks away from Raxl. "Oh I wonder if you should stay in this house? Wait here and without any noise." Raxl says as she opens the door. Jean Paul is standing on the other side of the door. "Master?" Jean Paul glances across the room. "Quito. Raxl what's the
matter?" "Master he has things to tell you. But he does not know how." "Well there is no danger here. You're safe now." Quito signs with his hands then points at Jean Paul. "Quito thinks you are in mortal danger Master, not himself." Quito nods. "Well danger from what? Can you show me a sign Quito, any sign." Jean Paul asks. Quito crosses his fingers using both hands so they form a sign. "Witchcraft Master." Quito points towards the floor. "Here. He knows that you are being threatened by a witch here at Desmond Hall. A witch can be beautiful, smiling and take on the appearance of someone else. While all the time her purpose is death." Jean Paul glances away.
Ron, the Dogfather & Bella, the Beagle -- Miss July 2007
Bella's Dogster link: http://www.dogster.com/?430581
DS Festival Photos: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ronbellajanick/album
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