Somewhere inside me, I felt a huge scream welling up. I was so scared. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. It was that dark.

Suddenly, a hand was laid on mine, a stone cold, bony hand. I cried out and an arm took me by the waist and supported me.

No matter how hard I struggled, he wouldn't let go. Finally I gave up the attempt to free myself from the iron grip. I went limp.

When I stopped fighting, he gently pulled me to a sort of blue-lit lantern. I saw his eyes cutting through the darkness, cold and without pity. The rest of his body was lost in shadow.

I made one last attempt to scream, my body went rigid and I opened my mouth. It was my only chance.

Quickly, the shadow clapped his hand over my mouth, and gently whispered, "Shh... I won't hurt you... You're all right, nothing to fear," His hand was cold and bony and it had the essence of death hovering around it.

And I fainted away.

When I woke up, I was on the ground. I was on the knee of the man, and I had a damp piece of cloth over my head. My head was burning, and my throat was dry.

I made no attempt to push the hand that held the cloth of my forehead away. The water felt nice and cool.

"Th-thank you..." I managed to shudder.

The man's only answer was a sigh, a sigh of tired relief.

The man helped me off the ground. I felt a little dizzy still, so I stumbled a bit. The man kept me from falling. He grabbed a nearby candlestick, and took my hand and began to lead me down a dark, twisted stairwell. He kept turning back to me, as if checking to see if I was still under the cordial.

My eyes slowly became used to the darkness, and soon I percieved black shapes in the darkness. Gargoyles. Black, cold, hideous gargoyles were fastened to the wall. Some of them had their tongues lolling out of a mouth of craggy, sharp teeth. A few had burning eyes and sharp, hooked beaks like griffons. I I shivered and huddled closer to the shadow.

At this point, I began to wonder if this was the ghost. And I began to wonder if I was the ghost's prisoner. I never really believed in the ghost, not until the accidents started to climax, when I turned nineteen.

The shadow turned back to me. "Stay close to the candles," he warned. 'The staircase can be treacherous."

I thought I recognized the voice, but I couldn't be sure, because as soon as he turned to me, he turned back.

Before I knew it, I percieved a white shape next to the shadow. A breath of hot air welcomed my face with a gleeful nicker. It was a beautiful white stallion, most probably Cesar, the horse that went missing a couple months ago. I used to feed him sugar-cubes after every opera practice.

"Oh... You've been here?" I petted Cesar's muzzle. The great animal shook and nuzzled me.

The man lifted me onto Cesar, and we were off again. The man led Cesar down a wide hallway. There were candles all around us, providing a weak, shuddering light that cast twisting shadows on the walls. I shivered.

Soon after, I sensed a moistness in the air. Cesar sensed it, as well, because his pace quickened and he seemed more restless.

"Steady," the man ordered Cesar. We came to a stop. I saw a vast glassy lake, mist swirling over the surface of the water. A little boat was fastened to the wharf.

The man lifted me off Cesar and set me in the boat. I began to panic. I have a fear of boats, and I always think I'll fall off. My lungs began to work overtime, and my heart pounded so hard I thought it would burst out of my chest.

The man must have noticed my fear, because he sent Cesar back down the hallway, jumped into the boat, siezed the oars, and with a powerful row, we were on the lake. Too late for turning back. His eyes, under the mask, never left me after that. I think he feared I would jump into the water.

I grasped the edges of the boat and squeezed hard. I didn't know where this was going, but I had a very bad feeling about it.

There were more gargoyles surrounding us, this time some sort of devices that, if you got too close, would open their mouths and spurt out flaming sparks. I squeezed my eyes shut the remainder of the ride.

Soon, I felt a gentle bump from the front of the boat. I opened my eyes and saw that we had ported on a little stretch of land.