Real-Time Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula, as it was never meant to be read.


Forgot to mention
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New Dracula project home page is http://www.dracula-bites.com


The end approaches
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And just in time, Twitter released their List function, so I don't need to do any more summaries:

http://twitter.com/Realtimedracula/rtdcharacters

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Quincey's Journal, October 3
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Art is determined to find his father's "invitation" to Dracula. He claims it may be some sort of talisman to the vampire, allowing him to move more freely than he would otherwise. Honestly, I think Art just wants to destroy the evidence and protect his father's good name. But I'm a pal, so I went along with it.

We didn't find anything at Mile End or  Bermondsey, but we did have a hell of a lot of fun stuffing the boxes with dynamite and blowing them to pieces.

When we returned to the rest of the party, we found them waiting for Dracula's imminent arrival. There was a lot of waiting. When the bastard finally showed up he moved like hell on two feet, just barely escaping with his skin. Harker sliced clean through the bastard's shirt, spilling money and papers. Art and I followed, though the Count had already vanished, and searched his tracks. Luck, or similar, was on our side, and Art at long last found the letter. We hurried back to the others and found Van Helsing already burning Dracula's papers. Art slipped the letter into the fire while no one was looking.

If Art's right, we'll be rid of him now. At least on this soil.


Quincey's Journal -- Night of October 1
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I went to the Westenra tomb, though by the time I arrived I realized that following the instructions of a madman was a good indicator of being off one's own rocker. I shuddered as I entered, remembering the grisly things we'd seen and done there just a few nights ago. My general concern was that we'd botched the job and that Renfield was telling me to check on poor Lucy. The smell of decay emanating from the coffin indicated that we had not and that, while her soul was now pure and free, her body was just so much worm food. I paced around the tomb, but couldn't figure out what I was looking for.

I was about to leave when I saw an all-too-familiar white shape moving around the headstones outside. Was Lucy not in her coffin? Had we been duped? I hid in the shadows, a pointless gesture I know, and waited. As the form grew closer my heart froze, it was Lucy, her shape, her face, her hair--No, not her hair. This hair was darker and as she grew closer I realize that this wasn't Lucy, though they could have been sisters. Lucy, I knew, had no sisters and, my brain finally beginning to work, I realized the only other possibility.

The late Mrs. Westenra, now restored to youth and beauty, strode eerily into the tomb. She carried no prey with her, but her mouth and clothes were smeared with blood and her face was flushed. I tried not to make a move, but she sensed me nonetheless and pinned me to the wall, one hand firmly on my throat, holding me effortlessly. I hadn't even seen her move across the ten feet of space.

"The Texan?" she hissed. "Unexpected. I assumed young Arthur would be the one to try to find me."

I choked out a reply. She leaned in, licking her stained teeth as she did so. "What was that?" she mocked, coking an ear to my useless mouth. I grabbed the bowie knife from my belt and drove it as far as I could into her heart. She released her grip on me and staggered back. I thought I'd had her, but she just looked at the knife protruding from her chest and laughed.

"It takes more than a knife though the heart you--"

Her head jerked back with a bang and she collapsed on the floor. I looked to the entrance of the tomb and found Art standing, pistol in hand, looking as if he'd seen a ghost. Which, I suppose, he had.

"You always were a better shot than I," I joked. Art didn't respond, but ran past me to the vampire. I could see the bullet hole in her head, but it wasn't enough to stop her. She was pulling herself up as Art crashed into her, driving the knife through her flesh and into the stone floor. Only then did she stop moving.

He removed his own knife from his belt and, silently, began to hack away at the late Mrs. Westenra's neck. Once the spine was severed the body began to shrivel and shrink. Before my very eyes the daft old lady I had known returned.

Art stood, breathing heavily. He looked back at me and sighed. He clearly didn't want to explain himself, but knew he had no choice.

"Come on," he said, "I've got a carriage waiting."

#

I'm not much for word-for-word transcription, I'm sure Miss Mina could do a right accurate job of it, but I'll just stick with the gist.

Art doesn't know the whole story, only that at some point, more than 20 years ago, a group of English aristocracy and gentry, including Lord and Lady Godalming and Mr. and Mrs. Westenra, found themselves in Transylvania and were invited to the castle of a local count. What transpired there was never again spoken of, but now we know some of it. Mary Westenra was one of Dracula's first English victims, though she was rescued from his grasp 20 years ago. That, however, was not the worst of it.

After a heaving fit of crying, Art continued. His father had found out that he was dying long before he told Art, or anyone. The thought of death terrified him and so he took measures to procure the only means of evading it.

"He invited the bastard," Art spat. "Not only did he arrange for Hawkins to conduct the transaction, he actually invited that monster here." He grabbed me by the coat and pleaded, "You can tell no one, Quince. No one."

I probably shouldn't tell Art about this journal.

Letter from Ármin Vámbéry to Abraham Van Helsing
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Abraham,

You have yet no conception of the fear your words have struck in my heart. Sleep would be folly and I have too much to say to send via telegram. I write as fast as I can...

Let me start as near the beginning as I possibly can. Vlad Dracula was more than a mere warlord. Though he had no natural gifts for thaumaturgy, his occult training began at the Scholomance and, like his father, he was a member of the Order of the Dragon. This Order of Christendom, though, took its name & sigil from a far older Order--that of the Consuming Serpents, also known as the Dragon Eaters. The Dragon Eaters are a secretive, militaristic cadre of vampires. Some say their mission is to maintain secrecy about their kind, others say they are sworn enemies of all undead outside their ranks.

Vlad began his initiation into this order under the auspice of Halley's Comet in 1456. Like many Dragon Eaters he was "recruited" from the ranks of Eastern European nobility and warriors. His death was feigned and he joined their ranks as a "living" undead. This gives him many advantages over the others of his kind. Where sunlight would destroy the necromancy that maintains undeath, Vlad can become "mortal" again during the daylight hours and walk about as any man. I assume he does this rarely, for it puts him at greater risk of mundane harm. I have even heard that he ages as a normal man would and so the years may catch up to him.

Vlad spent centuries within the Order of the Dragon Eaters. But something happened, perhaps it was his penchant for the dramatic, his excessive cruelty, his methods of impalement, but he was ousted from the Order and cursed to be a prisoner in his home until such time as the Order deemed him worthy again. They used the vampires' inability to enter a home uninvited and amplified it. More, the very elements were rallied against him--no earth but his own would hold him, no living waters would let him pass. If what you have told me is true, than he has somehow managed to circumvent this curse.

You know the powers of the undead, Abraham, these he has in abundance. He is cunning and cruel. God help you.

Your friend,

Arminius

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