A good deal of interest was abroad concerning the dog that bounded ashore when the ship struck, and more than a few members of the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, wanted to befriend the animal. To the general disappointment, however, it was not to be found.
At the height of the storm, near the hour when the Demeter had run aground, many of the inmates at Seward’s asylum grew violently restless, and their keepers employed a high-pressure water hose to subdue the most rebellious. For once Renfield was not among the malcontents—ignoring the outcries of his fellow patients in their cells, he remained, for the time being, seemingly content to cultivate in peace his multitude of small subhuman lives.
By midnight, the rain at Hillingham had almost entirely ceased, but great gusts of moaning wind still hurled clusters of ragged clouds across the sky, set trees dancing all across the park like grounds, and rattled windows.
At that hour Mina, roused by some gust or crash of weather louder than the rest—or perhaps by some more subtle cause—got out of her bed and, feeling instinctively uneasy, went into Lucy’s bedroom, which adjoined her own.
Nervously she whispered: “Lucy—are you all right?”
In the heavy darkness, the bed just in front of Mina was almost invisible.
She tried again, a little louder. “Lucy… ?”
Still no answer.
Moving forward, the young woman groped over and among the disarranged sheets and coverlet and pillows. The bed was certainly unoccupied, and the bedclothes felt cool; Lucy had evidently been out of them for some time.
Suddenly the octagonal window that gave on the terrace blew open, and the curtains were dancing. In the act of closing the window and fastening it again, Mina to her astonishment caught a glimpse, in one of the faint flashes of the now-receding storm, of Lucy’s small figure, unmistakable in her red nightgown, moving away from the house and already at a considerable distance, descending the broad low flight of steps that led to the family cemetery.
Darting quickly back to her own room, Mina hastily threw on some clothes over her own nightgown—then picked up a big, heavy shawl, for Lucy, and ran out to the rescue.
The wind continued wet and chill, still scouring patches of fog up from the river. Swift-flying clouds alternately hid and revealed the moon. The worried young woman had not very far to go in her search. There, unmistakable in a moment of bright moonlight, was Lucy again. She was seated on the familiar stone bench, but this time sprawled wantonly back upon it.
But it was a sight far more shocking that froze Mina in her tracks.
Writhing right over Lucy’s supine body, actually between her spread thighs, there crouched a black shape the size of a large man—though Mina in her shock and dread could not be certain whether the form she saw was that of man or beast. Above the intermittent wind a kind of howling, sighing outcry came from one of the figures on the bench. A sound as of a woman moaning in soft hopeless pain; either in pain, as Mina thought to herself in horror, or else—
Breaking whatever spell had for an instant held her back, Mina strode bravely forward. “Lucy! Luucyyy…
At the sound of her voice the dark form reared up frighteningly, turned, and looked at Mina. Or at least it seemed to her that its red eyes were looking directly at her, eyes so red and fiercely glowing that she wondered for an instant how she could have imagined that it was indeed a man.
And then a cloud covered the moon again, and in the darkness a man’s voice spoke directly to Mina, a voice so low as to be almost inaudible. The voice was saying something to her—no, it was entreating, no, commanding something of her—in a foreign tongue, using words Mina had never heard before, but yet could understand.
And the man’s voice spoke a name—Elisabeth.
Elisabeth, do not see me. A command, and it was obeyed—because Mina had just seen that which she did not wish to see…
… Only a moment later the moonlight, coming back, showed Lucy still sprawled on the bench, but quite alone. (And Mina thought to herself: Am I mad? Why do I have the feeling that a moment ago she was not alone? Yet there is no one with her!)
And a good thing, too, for Lucy’s nightdress, her only garment, was shamefully, obscenely disarranged. She was breathing in long, heavy gasps.
Mina, murmuring and crying in sympathy, hastened to her friend, first rearranging Lucy’s nightgown decently, then adding, for both warmth and propriety, the heavy shawl, which she fastened with a safety pin at her friend’s throat.
Removing her own shoes, she slipped them on the girl’s bare feet. Then she lifted Lucy, who was still moaning, only semiconscious, from the bench, got her on her feet, and began leading her back toward the house.
Halfway there, the girl in Mina’s arms stumbled and partially awakened.
As if in muffled terror, Lucy murmured: “His eyes… his eyes…”
“It’s all right.” Mina was trying to soothe her friend, and to keep her moving at the same time. “You were dreaming, dear. Walking in your sleep again. That’s all.”
Lucy moaned weakly. “Please don’t tell anyone—please. It would kill Mother.”
“I shan’t tell anyone.”
They were crossing the terrace now, treading the wet pavement among leaves and twigs ripped down by the storm. Ahead of them the familiar house loomed strangely in the foggy night.
“Lucy—who is Elisabeth? I have the feeling…” And an indescribably strange feeling it was, as if she, Mina, had very recently heard someone—someone she seemed to know very well—call her by that name.
“Mina?” Lucy was lost in confusion, obviously with no idea even of what the question was about.
“Never mind.” Mina led her briskly on. “Never mind. We must get you back to bed.”
It was no command this time, and therefore it went unheard. It was only a marveling sigh, uttered by the far traveler who watched from the cemetery, himself invisible in darkness and in rain.
EXCERPTS FROM LOG OF THE DEMETER
Varna to London
13 July. Passed Cape Matapan. Crew (five hands, two mates, cook) seemed dissatisfied about something. Seemed scared, but would not speak out.
14 July. Somewhat anxious about crew. Men all steady fellows who have sailed with me before. Mate could not make out what was wrong; they only told him there was something, and crossed themselves. Mate lost temper with one of them and struck him. Expected fierce quarrel, but all was quiet.
16 July. Mate reported in the morning that one of crew, Petrofsky, was missing. Could not account for it. Took larboard watch eight bells last night; was relieved by Abramoff, but did not go to bunk. Men more downcast than ever. All said they expected something of the kind, but would not say any more than that there was something aboard. Mate getting very impatient with them. Fear some trouble ahead.
17 July. One of the men, Olgaren, came to my cabin and in an awestruck way confided to me he thought there was a strange man aboard the ship. He said that in his watch he saw a tall, thin man, who was not like any of the crew, come up the companionway and go along the deck forward and disappear.
Later in the day I got together the whole crew and told them, as they evidently thought there was someone in the ship, we would search from stem to stern. I let mate take helm while the rest began thorough search, all keeping abreast, with lanterns. As there were only the big wooden boxes, there were no odd corners where a man could hide. Men much relieved when search over, and went back to work cheerfully.
22 July. Rough weather last three days, and all hands busy with sails. No time to be frightened. Men seem to have forgotten their dread. Mate cheerful again, and all on good terms. Passed Gibraltar and out through straits. All well.
24 July. There seems some doom over this ship. Already a hand short, and entering Bay of Biscay with wild weather ahead, and yet another man lost—disappeared. Like the first, he came off his watch and was not seen again. Men all in a panic, asking to have double watch, as they fear to be alone. Mate violent. Fear there will be some trouble, as either he or the men will do some violence.
28 July. Four days in hell, the wind a tempest. No sleep for anyone. Men all worn-out. Hardly know how to set a watch, since no one fit to go on. Second mate volunteered to steer and watch, and let men snatch a few hours’ sleep. Wind abating, seas still terrific.
29 July. Another tragedy. Had single watch tonight, as crew too tired to double. When morning watch came on deck could find no one except steersman. Raised outcry, and all came on deck. Thorough search, but no one Found. Are now without second mate, and crew in a panic. Mate and I agreed to go armed henceforth and wait for any sign of cause.