Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Fred Saberhagen & James V. Heart

30 July. Rejoice we are nearing England. Weather fine, all sails set. Retired worn-out, slept soundly, awakened by mate telling me both man of watch and steersman missing. Only self and mate and two hands left to work ship.

1 August. Two days of fog, and not a sail sighted. Had hoped when in the English Channel to be able to signal for help or get in somewhere. Not having power to work sails, have to run before wind. Dare not lower, as could not raise them again.

Mate now more demoralized than either of men. Men are beyond fear, working stolidly and patiently, with minds made up to worst.

2 August, midnight. Woke up from few minutes’ sleep by cry, seemingly outside my port. Rushed on deck, could see nothing in fog, ran against mate. Tells me heard cry and ran, but no sign of man on watch. One more gone. We may be in Straits of Dover or even in North Sea. Only God can guide us in this fog, which seems to move with us; and God seems to have deserted us.

3 August. At midnight went to relieve man at wheel, but when I got to it found no one there. I dared not leave it, so shouted for the mate.

After a few seconds he rushed up on deck. I greatly fear his reason has given way. He came close to me and whispered hoarsely: “It is here! On watch last night I saw it, like a man, tall, thin, ghastly pale, I crept behind it, and gave it my knife; but the knife went through it, empty as the air.

“But it is here, and I’ll find it. In the hold perhaps, in one of those boxes. I’ll unscrew them one by one. You work the helm.” And with a warning look, and his finger on his lip, he went below.

There was springing up a choppy wind, and I could not leave the helm. I saw the mate come out on deck again with a tool chest and a lantern, and go down the forward hatchway. He is stark raving mad, and no use my trying to stop him. He can’t hurt those big boxes, they are invoiced as clay, and to pull them about is as harmless a thing as he can do. So here I stay, and mind the helm, and write these notes. I can only trust in God, and wait till the fog clears…

It is nearly all over now. Just as I was beginning to hope the mate would come out calmer, there came up the hatchway a scream, and up on the deck he came as if shot from a gun.

“Save me! Save me!” he cried, and looked around on the blanket of fog. His horror turned to despair, and in a steady voice he said: “You better come, too, Captain, before it is too late. He is there, but the sea will save me from him!” Before I could say a word, he sprang on the bulwark and threw himself into the sea.

I suppose I know the secret now. It was this madman who got rid of the men one by one, and now he has followed them himself. God help me!

4 August. Still fog, which sunrise cannot pierce. I dared not go below, I dared not leave the helm. So here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the night I saw it—him! God forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard Better to die like a man, to die like a sailor in blue water, no one can object. But I am captain, and must not leave my ship. I shall tie my hands to the wheel when my strength begins to fail, and with them tie that which he—it!—dares not touch. If we are wrecked, mayhap this bottle may be found, and those who find it may understand…


On the day after Lucy’s latest sleepwalking escapade, Mina ordered a carriage—trains were readily available, but her wealthy friends insisted on being generous in such matters—and went into town. In the smoke and clamor and excitement of the city Mina endeavored to distract herself from her continued worry about Jonathan as well as her new concern for Lucy. She also took the opportunity to make a few essential purchases.

On Piccadilly and the Strand newsboys were loudly hawking papers: SUDDENEST AND GREATEST STORM ON RECORD STRIKES ENGLAND—ESCAPED WOLF FROM ZOO STILL AT LARGE—But their shouts scarcely distracted the young woman at all.

The day was only moderately foggy, for London; but even had the weather been perfectly clear, Mina would have given little thought to her immediate surroundings.

Thus it was that for several hours she had no idea that she was being followed.

Heavy feeding, during the voyage and afterward, had restored to him the outward appearance of youth, as he had known it would. And today he had a strong wish to appear young; for today, after more than four hundred years of separation, he would at last, if the fates were kind, once more stand face-to-face with Elisabeth. …

The visitor to London who followed Mina without her knowledge was dressed in the height of fashion, including an elegant top hat, but before the day was far advanced he wished he had chosen headwear with a broader brim to go with his fashionable dark glasses. The fact was that he required a certain amount of protection against even this foggy northern variety of daylight.

To move thus, wincing at occasional direct sunbeams, through the unfamiliar streets of a large, modern city, was a new experience for him, but today he gave the adventure only incidental attention. His urgent desire was to approach this particular young woman openly by day, and in a manner impeccably civilized, if not strictly correct according to the local social codes.

A thousand wild hopes, incoherent and fantastic, churned in the visitor’s heart. Hopes that were based on a woman’s face glimpsed only in a photograph, and then once more, directly, in recent time—seen only very briefly, and at night, and by sheer miraculous chance—but then, could there be, really, truly, any such thing as sheer chance in the affairs of star-crossed men and women?

There she went, crossing the Strand… With an effortlessness born of centuries of experience the hunter stalked his quarry among the crowds.

At last, having deftly maneuvered himself into a position in the moving throng where she would be able to see him clearly, he murmured, almost inaudibly: “My love… see me now.”

And somehow, as tense and preoccupied as Mina Murray was, in the midst of her concentration upon her worries and her errands, the message was silently conveyed.

Her eyes met the unfamiliar gaze of her pursuer—he was just, at that moment, removing his dark glasses—and like any well-bred young woman of her time and place she immediately looked away.

But then something compelled Mina to glance again at the well-dressed, youthful-looking man, his glossy brown hair hanging to his shoulders.

Disturbed more deeply than the incident seemed to warrant, she broke off eye contact—this time, as she thought, for good—and entered an apothecary shop.

Impatiently Dracula crossed the street to look in through the shop window, avoiding the common obstacles of pedestrian traffic by movement at speeds and in ways available to no ordinary human.

None of the many people who hurried past along the pavement, intent upon their own affairs, took notice of these movements, nor did they observe that the window did not reflect the young man’s image; it only mirrored, rather faintly, the newspaper he was holding, with its front-page stories about the storm and the escaped wolf.

Inside the shop, Mina was concentrating for the moment upon her purchase of a bottle of laudanum—the tincture of opium and alcohol, commonly available, might be just what Lucy needed to fight the tendency toward sleepwalking; and Mina’s own worries about Jonathan were keeping her awake nights, too.

As Mina emerged from the shop the one who had been following, staring at her hungrily, able to hear her soft voice even through the thick glass window—that one intercepted her, his sudden immediate presence startling her so much that she dropped the bottle.

Swiftly and gracefully he caught the fragile glass out of the air. Politely he held it out.

“My humblest apologies,” he murmured, in his lightly accented English—not nearly so accented as it had been a few months past. “I am recently arrived from abroad and do not know your city. Is a beautiful lady permitted to give a lost soul directions?”

Mina put out her hand, on the verge of accepting the bottle, then hesitated absently; her eyes were probing at the figure before her, puzzled by some hint of familiarity… but the first command he had given her—Do not see me!—had been strong enough to make it—almost—impossible to overcome.

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Categories: Saberhagen, Fred