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The hanging clocks struck three. Stephen awoke with a start. Three police officers raised him roughly up onto his feet. The man had the blood of his brother and of his girl upon his hands.

"..... What the?! What's going on?"

The lead officer bagged the woodcutter's ax that dripped with blood.

The dismembered and decapitated bodies of Barbara and of Christopher were splayed about. Their remains bloodying the ballroom floor. The dead eyes of the two gazed upon his own two eyes.

"No! I didn't do this!"

"Right! That's what all you psychopaths say.....

We caught you with the murder weapon in your hands, and there blood is all over you....."

"..... The cameras?! You need to check the cameras!"

"We already did wise guy..... You were hacking at whoever came near you with the ax..... These two just happened to be in the way at the time....."

"No! That can't be! I didn't do this! You have to believe me!"

"Get this psychopath out of here!"

Lucienda signed the statement for the incident silently. The woman smiled wickedly on the last of the home invaders, as he is drug forcibly from her home. The pupils of here eyes as witnessed by him, they were red as blood.

Next years masquerade, there will be four new guests that will attend the dance. One unfortunate burglar that had been fed to the caretakers kenneled dogs. And three home invaders by the names of Barbara, Christopher, and Stephen.

For the one named Stephen, there will be a special place of recognition reserved for his expected arrival.

Lucienda, she sat behind the bar within the now cleansed ballroom. the hardwood floors replaced with tiles of marble stone.

Shadows of their former selves, family and friends now again gathered. Her mother and her father leading the new eve's interlude in ongoing preparations for the next dance.

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