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Re: Strange Paradise Fan Fiction

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  • strangeparadiselibrary
    Hello folks! I don t usually write fanfic, but Mike s post here started me thinking, and I got this vignette stuck in my head. It s just a short little piece
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 10, 2005
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      Hello folks! I don't usually write fanfic, but Mike's post here
      started me thinking, and I got this vignette stuck in my head. It's
      just a short little piece that takes place directly after the end of
      the television series, and I'm posting it here in hopes of getting
      some feedback on how to revise it into an even stronger story. I hope
      you all enjoy it, but please let me know what you think, regardless of
      your reaction. Thanks! P.S. If you haven't watched the series all
      the way to the end yet, there are some minor spoilers here.

      PARADISE REGAINED
      a STRANGE PARADISE vignette by Curt Ladnier

      For the first time in an eternity, Jean Paul Desmond was a
      happy man. Safely ensconced in a comfortable bed with Emily, weaving
      languidly between consciousness and sleep after the first day of their
      life together as man and wife, Jean Paul was truly content. His vast
      riches had never brought him that, nor had his much envied
      aristocratic heritage. His noble birthright had spawned a waking
      nightmare, corrupting his first love, transforming her from a goddess
      to an abomination. His Mark of Death pronounced sentence on all those
      around him. But that was all over now, Jean Paul mused as he drew
      closer to the sleeping form of his new bride.
      Emily was everything that Erica wasn't. Where Erica was
      flamboyant and vivacious, Emily was bookish and subdued. Erica loved
      a life of parties, status and constant public attention. Emily wanted
      nothing more than to settle down quietly with her husband, to begin
      their new life together. And that suited Jean Paul perfectly. After
      their honeymoon, he would make arrangements for his subordinates to
      attend to the various family businesses, while he and Emily made their
      own home and tended to the business of making a family. The only
      curse he had to fear now was that of growing old and fat with the
      passing years. Jean Paul smiled beatifically in his half-sleep at the
      thought.
      The smell of smoke was his first clue that something was
      wrong. His eyes snapped open, adrenaline instantly awakening him at
      the thought of a fire. Blinking several times, he looked 'round the
      room for the source of the disturbing scent, but saw no evidence of
      smoke or flames. His concern had no chance to subside however, as a
      new shock gripped Jean Paul's soul. He saw that he was not in his
      honeymoon suite at all. He was gazing over the ruins of his once-
      luxurious bedroom on Maljardin!
      For some moments he sat, awestruck, in the smoke damaged
      wreckage that had once been his bed. It wasn't possible! A year
      earlier, Jean Paul set his own centuries-old home ablaze in order to
      rid himself of the murderous thing which was masquerading as his
      beloved Erica, and to purge the spirit of his evil ancestor, Jacques
      Eloi des Mondes, who seemed to have permeated every nook and cranny of
      the great chateau. That had been last year, and a lifetime ago. He
      hadn't as much as seen Maljardin since that day. How could he
      suddenly be looking over the still-smoldering aftermath of that tragic
      night?
      "Emily!" he cried abruptly, rousing himself from his stupor of
      confusion. "What ..." But a shock even more profound than he had yet
      experienced caused him to cut his question in mid utterance, and
      struggle only half successfully to stifle back a scream. Drawing
      aside the bedclothes in search of comfort in this moment of disturbing
      unreality, Jean Paul did not find the sleeping form of the woman who
      had so lovingly exchanged vows with him before God and witnesses less
      than twenty-four hours earlier. Rather, in bed at his side lay the
      badly charred and blackened corpse of a woman!
      She had probably been beautiful once - before the flames had
      ravaged her soft, defenseless body. Now she was nothing but a mass of
      red blisters, and blackened flesh, partially covered by the remains of
      an evening dress, the tatters of which had fused to her form in
      places. The smell, mingling with the scents of the ashes and burnt
      wood, was indescribable.
      Unabashed terror lifted jean Paul with a wild urge to fling
      himself blindly from the bed. In his haste to flee, he became
      entangled in the remnants of the ruined silk sheets and landed in a
      heap only a few feet away. Dazed, he sat there for a long time. The
      situation was incredible, utterly insane. And yet, here he was.
      Slowly, bit by bit, his traumatized brain began to allow him to
      process his impossible surroundings. The fear was still there, but
      Jean Paul managed to repress the panic. Losing control would
      certainly do him no good, and whether the estate was in ashes or not,
      he was still the master of Maljardin.
      A sudden impulse caused him to rise and return to the
      grotesque carcass on the bed, something he was almost certain he had
      glimpsed at the moment of his panic. Yes, even a cursory glance
      confirmed it. There, resting delicately around the dead woman's
      throat - actually seared into the flesh - was a locket. Erica's
      locket, which he had given her during happier days. A single tear
      crept down Jean Paul's cheek, despair battling with revulsion within
      his brain, as he realized that he had been lying next to the immolated
      remains of his dead first wife.
      Turning abruptly, he strode for the door. He had to leave
      this room before he lost his reason completely. The rest of the
      chateau was in the same state as the bedroom, ravaged by the inferno
      through which Jean Paul had meant to cleanse his home, to cleanse his
      soul. The main staircase was in dangerous condition, but navigable
      with extreme caution. Some little effort brought Jean Paul to the
      center of the great hall, barely recognizable now as the site where
      the blaze had started.
      He stood amid the ashes and smoldering remnants of familiar
      furniture, almost unable to take it all in. This room held ghosts for
      Jean Paul; so many people who had walked and talked here with him were
      now dead. Dead because, in the depths of grief, he had defied God.
      Alison, Dan, Vangie, and all the others - he had opened the deadly
      Pandora's Box which took their lives. Now his guests - his friends -
      whose single fervent wish had been to leave the island were permanent
      inhabitants of Maljardin.
      Had it really been only a year since the conflagration - since
      Jean Paul had lost consciousness on the steps before the chateau, to
      awaken days later and thousands of miles away? He had lived a
      lifetime since that night, returning to the home of his youth, making
      long-overdue connections with family members he had not seen in years
      and, of course, meeting Emily. Facing horrors, too. Jean Paul
      shuddered slightly at their recollection. The destruction of
      Maljardin had not purged the taint from his family's blood. Still, he
      had faced those demons too, and triumphed. How, then, was he here?
      And why?
      "Desmondton. Philip. The Mark of Death. Helena. The Key of
      Life. Emily." he mused vacantly. "Can it all have been some wildly
      vivid dream?"
      Scarcely had the words escaped his lips when a peal of
      raucous, mocking laughter assaulted Jean Paul's ears.
      "A dream? Oh, no, Jean Paul Desmond!" a sickeningly familiar
      voice thundered all around him, seemingly from everywhere at
      once. "And yet, these events do not exist."
      "You!" the exclamation escaped Jean Paul in a tight
      involuntary hiss which caused him momentary pain. Whirling to face
      the wall leading to the foyer, he beheld a sight which his reason told
      him couldn't possibly exist. There, untouched by smoke or flame,
      unscathed by any devastation, hung a wood-framed canvas. Its subject,
      executed in dark heavy oils, was a handsome if sinister man in
      cavalier dress whose appearance was strikingly similar to Jean Paul
      himself. The portrait of Jacques Eloi des Mondes! The contemptuous
      laughter continued to echo throughout the house.
      "I burned you," Jean Paul gasped dumbly. "I set the fire of
      the torch to your frame and watched it consume your damnable visage!"
      "Fire? Destroy me?" the disembodied voice would have sounded
      playful were it not for the sinister edge which sliced through each
      syllable. "The master whom I serve has a palace filled with the
      stuff. It will take more than flame to rid you of little old me."
      "You devil!" Jean Paul spat. "Why have you returned to torment
      me? The Desmond curse is lifted. You have no reason to plague us
      now."
      "Poor Jean Paul. You're confused," his ancestor
      laughed. "First you think you've been dreaming, and now you think
      you're a free man. Whatever shall we do with you?"
      "I've had enough of your mockeries to last me a lifetime,"
      returned Jean Paul, crossing the room, closer to the portrait. "Why
      have you brought me here? Where is Emily?"
      "Emily ... Erica ... Erica ... Emily ... Why are you always
      imploring me regarding the women in your life?" sneered Jacques. "Not
      that I would mind having either one of them in my bedchamber. Or
      both."
      "Enough!" Jean Paul shrieked at the spirit whom he thought he
      had banished forever. "Why am I here?"
      "We've brought you back where you belong," Jacques stated
      simply, "and I even placed you back into bed with your darling Erica.
      Isn't that what you begged me for all those months?"
      "Monster!" Jean Paul retorted. "How could I have ever been so
      deluded as to desire help from you, even when I was blinded by grief?"
      Jacques' only answer was another rolling laugh, but the pause
      gave Jean Paul a moment to regain a fraction of his composure.
      "Besides," he told the portrait dispassionately, "it doesn't
      matter why you've brought me here. Your prank is no more than an
      inconvenience. The Desmond curse is broken, and you no longer have
      any hold over me. I'll leave this island, return to my wife, and
      never think of this wretched place again."
      Jacques' laughter deepened, grew even more intense.
      "You still don't understand, do you, dear kinsman?" the spirit
      chided. "There is nothing to return to."
      "What mendacity are you spouting now?" Jean Paul demanded.
      "It's true," Jacques' voice assured him, assuming a tone of
      mock injury. "A few moments ago you asked me about your precious
      Emily. I should say that right about now she is determinedly
      journeying toward Desmondton, a letter from Philip Desmond inviting
      her to make full use of his family's library tucked safely in her
      handbag."
      "Has insanity final taken complete hold of you?" Jean Paul
      asked his ancestor, bewildered. "You're speaking of things that
      happened last year, after my arrival at Desmond Hall."
      "Now, Now, Jean Paul. What is time?" the spirit asked
      enigmatically. "In my current state, having spent hundreds of years
      imprisoned by an effigy, time means little to me. And to a man such
      as you, who is eternally touched with the Mark of Death, it means
      NOTHING AT ALL."
      "Enough of your riddles! Explain yourself."
      "The matter is simply this, my foolish fellow: for better or
      for worse, we are both Desmonds, and both men who have pledged
      ourselves to a darker power. For the master to whom we are both
      bound, time is meaningless, a child's plaything to be manipulated - or
      discarded - at his whim."
      "But the curse is ended!" Jean Paul insisted. "We laid it to
      rest in Desmond Hall. I would never have married Emily, otherwise."
      "Which is exactly why you are here now," Jacques
      concluded. "Dear fellow, you took and oath. Pledged a bond. The One
      we serve will not release you form that, despite your foolish notions
      to the contrary. Yes, you and your friends at our ancestral home did
      manage to break the curse, to eradicate the Mark. You found your
      happiness with your woman, and that is why He has brought you back
      here, wiped your slate clean."
      "What ..." was all that Jean Paul could manage.
      "You will never be free," Jacques repeated simply. "Certainly,
      you can leave this island. Go to Desmondton again if you wish.
      Perhaps events will play themselves out in the same fashion again, or
      perhaps not, but one thing is certain. Should you ever manage to
      dispel the curse, to find peace, you will assuredly find yourself
      right back here to begin the cycle anew. Time and again."
      "No escape ..." Jean Paul heard a tiny voice which was his own
      pitifully mumble, as the horror of Jacques' words gave flight to his
      reason.
      "so you see, truly, wherever you choose to run, Jean Paul
      Desmond, whatever you do, your curse will follow you," Jacques Eloi
      des Mondes pronounced. "And Life will be, for you, always a strange
      paradise."

      --- In strangeparadise2@yahoogroups.com, "mikeatwost"
      <mikeatwost@y...> wrote:
      > Has anyone here ever considered writing their own "Strange Paradise"
      > stories? I know it's been 35 years since the series ended, so if
      > anyone's interested, it probably wouldn't hurt to come up with a
      > timeline detailing any events post-July 22, 1970, such as Jean Paul
      and
      > Emily's marriage (they had yet to marry when the series ended), and
      the
      > other Desmonds today.
      >
      > I think this thread will get your creative juices flowing.
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