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

The couple arrived at Dover by boat-train from France, then proceeded by another train to London.

At Dover they had been greeted by a telegram from Van Helsing, bringing them the news, sad but not unexpected, of the almost simultaneous deaths of Lucy and her mother.

The professor also requested the Harkers to get in touch with him as soon as possible in London, where he had taken a room at the Berkeley Hotel.

On reaching London, the Harkers disembarked from their train at Victoria Station. Since Jonathan was still on convalescent leave, with pay, from his employer, they decided that they might as well stay at the Berkeley themselves.

As the couple, with their modest baggage, boarded a hansom cab, Mina was musing, as much to herself as to her new husband: “I can’t believe Lucy is gone… never to return to us. She was so full of life. How she must have suffered. Her life and mine were so different only a few months ago. All our hopes—our dreams—”

Harker, who had barely been acquainted with Lucy, commiserated with his wife, but meanwhile he was looking greedily out the window of the cab, drinking in the cheerfully strenuous life of London, rejoicing in his own successful return to the homelike sights and sounds of the metropolis, which, in recent months, he had more than once despaired of ever seeing again.

Amid the clamor, the ever-changing life of the familiar streets, he at last began truly to relax. This made the blow all the worse when, a few minutes later, with the hansom momentarily stalled in traffic, he got one of the worst shocks of his life.

He saw Dracula, unmistakably the Carpathian count, though now looking young and vital and dressed in modern Western garb. The figure of Dracula was standing under a street lamp and gazing arrogantly back at Harker in his cab.

Dracula, giving the impression that Harker’s presence was no surprise at all, favored his former prisoner with a knowing look, then deliberately turned away and entered a pub.

Harker tried to leap to his feet, but his worn nerves failed him for the moment and his knees buckled.

Mina caught him, tried to cradle him, stared with alarm at her husband’s eyes gone wild in terror and amazement.

“Jonathan? What is it?”

Harker pointed feverishly out the window as he stammered out his answer. “It—it is the man himself. The count. I s-saw him; he has grown young!”

Mina felt a cold chill at her heart. She looked out of the cab, which still had not moved, but whoever had so excited her husband had disappeared.

Harker was suddenly animated, his eyes and his voice once more lucid with purpose.

“Carfax!” he exclaimed, snapping his fingers. “The bastard’s there.”

“Carfax—the estate you sold him.”

Harker nodded. “One of them. Yes.” Hastily digging into his traveling bag, he pulled out a slim volume. It was the journal the young man had kept while a prisoner in Dracula’s castle, and which he had somehow managed to carry with him during his escape.

Feverishly Harker pressed the book into Mina’s hands.

He gazed at her pleadingly. “Up to now, my dear one, I have told you only the bare outline of events in that hellish place. Now I want you to read every word. You will understand… I pray you will…”

Her hands closed on the slim volume. “What are you going to do, Jonathan?”

“What I must!” And in the next moment Harker had jumped out of the cab and was moving, as swiftly as his cane and his limp would allow, in pursuit of Dracula.

Elbowing his way across the crowded pavement, Harker hurried into the pub, where he stood peering desperately through the smoky haze of the interior.

The traffic snarl was easing. Mina ordered the cabdriver to pull to the curb and wait, and when the man seemed disinclined to do so, she reinforced the command with a gift of coins.

Inside the pub, Harker caught sight of the man he sought at the last instant, just as Dracula was leaving the smoke-filled room by a different door. Once again forcing people out of his way, ignoring their protests, Harker followed.

Outside again, now in a foggy alley, he caught another tantalizing glimpse of the retreating count; a figure turning, smiling, almost beckoning to his pursuer.

Again Harker followed—for the moment rage and indignation were enough to overcome fear, and even common sense.

Suddenly the fog surrounding Harker was swirled by a whirlwind of force. The incredible figure of a bat, dark, gigantic, man-sized, exploded from the mist, hurling the man back.

Harker, falling hard on cobblestones and wall, was stunned.


In the depth of the September night, amid chill and fog, four men burdened with tools, weapons, and lanterns were stealthily entering the cemetery at Hillingham.

Van Helsing was of course the one who had instigated and organized this expedition, and he remained in charge, with Seward his tight-lipped and ill-informed assistant. The professor had chosen this dark hour in the hopes of avoiding observation by the servants and the potentially troublesome gossip that must inevitably follow.

Quincey Morris, as puzzled as ever about the exact nature of the enemy, but determined to stand by his friends, was walking beside the doubly bereaved Arthur Holmwood—who had now, upon the death of his father, inherited the title of Lord Godalming.

Both Quincey and Arthur were even more in the dark than Dr. Seward regarding the purpose of this foray, and both were coming along more or less reluctantly. Both had been horrified and mystified at Van Helsing’s claim that some vitally important task must be accomplished in the Westenra family mausoleum tonight.

The four men stayed in a tight group as they left the house by a side door and entered the section of the grounds where the Westenra family were interred. Once they were inside the borders of the graveyard, passing the headstones of distant cousins and family retainers, Van Helsing led them straight toward the imposing aboveground entrance of the old family crypt.

According to Lucy’s will, Arthur Holmwood had inherited all of the young woman’s property, including that which had been her mother’s; therefore Arthur was now armed with all the keys of the estate. Reluctantly, at an imperious signal from the old man and a confirming nod from Seward, Holmwood now opened the iron gates defending the vault in which for centuries members of the immediate family had been interred. The lock worked smoothly; it had been oiled for the double funeral only a few days ago.

Silently Van Helsing, who was carrying one of the lanterns, led his followers in, and down.

As he followed his mentor down the echoing stone stairs, Seward could remember with painful clarity how the tomb had looked in the daytime, at the burial of Lucy and her mother. Then the interior of the mausoleum, though wreathed with fresh flowers, had looked grim and gruesome enough. But now, in the light of the lanterns the men were carrying, the flowers were already beginning to hang lank and dead, their whites turning to rust and their greens to browns. Here the spider and the beetle had resumed their accustomed dominance; and time-discolored stone, and dust-encrusted mortar, and rusty, dank iron and tarnished brass, and clouded silver plating gave back the feeble glimmer of a candle. The effect, thought Seward, was more miserable and sordid than could have been imagined.

On reaching the vaulted underground mausoleum, Van Helsing went about his work systematically. Handing his lantern to another, he lighted a candle and held it so he could read the coffin plates. By these means he ascertained which coffin was Lucy’s. It rested in a kind of sarcophagus, under a lid of heavy stone, which, at his direction, the men soon moved aside.

Holmwood cleared his throat, a startling sound in the chill silence. Abruptly he said: “Must we desecrate Lucy’s grave? She died horribly enough—”

Van Helsing, having arranged several lights to his satisfaction, raised a hand. His manner was didactic, almost that of a professor lecturing. “If Miss Lucy is dead, we can do no wrong to her tonight. But, on the other hand, if she is not—”

At this suggestion Holmwood almost collapsed. “My God, what are you saying—has she been buried alive?”

The professor looked at him calmly enough. “I go no further than to say she is undead.”

Van Helsing gestured, and at his order Seward, and a moment later Quincey Morris, took up screwdrivers and began to undo the coffin’s outer sealing.

Arthur, looking on, was swiftly becoming an emotional wreck. ” ‘Undead’? What does that mean? Jack? Quincey?”

Quincey Morris only shook his head; he was determined at least to get to the bottom of things.

Holmwood continued his protest. “This is insanity! What did poor Lucy do that I should allow this desecration? She died horribly enough—”

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Categories: Saberhagen, Fred