This is the dark tale of Count Dracula, told through chilling journal entries. It starts with Jonathan Harker’s visit to the Count’s castle.
At first, I thought I was being silly to write such detailed journals of my experiences, but now I am glad that I have written everything down. There is something so strange about this place and it makes me feel uneasy. I wish I were safely out of this place. I wish I had never come at all!
Perhaps, if there were someone here to talk to, I could bear it, but I only have the Count to talk to. The Count! I fear that I am the only living soul within this castle.
Let me write this a plainly as possible, with no exaggerations or poetic style. I must make sure that my imagination is not taking over my mind. Let me write this at once.
I only slept a few hours when I went to bed. When I felt that I could not sleep any more, I got up. I used my pocket mirror and was just beginning to shave. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I heard the Count’s voice saying to me, “Good morning.” I jumped because I was amazed that I had not seen him coming, even though the reflection of my mirror showed the whole room behind me. When I jumped, I had accidentally cut myself with my razor, but I didn’t notice it right away. When I returned the Count’s greeting, I looked back into the mirror to understand how I had missed him. But there was no mistake. The man who was standing right behind my shoulder did not appear in the mirror. I only saw a reflection of myself and the entire room. This was shocking, and on top of everything else that I had experienced, it made me feel very uneasy.
It was then that I noticed that I was bleeding, and the blood was trickling over my chin. I put down my razor to look for a tissue or something. When the Count saw my face, his eyes blazed with a demonic fury. He suddenly tried to grab at my throat. I staggered back, and his hand touched the beads of my necklace that held the crucifix. His face immediately went back to normal. The expression of fury was so quick that I doubted that I had even seen it.
“Take care,” he said, “take care not to cut yourself. It is more dangerous than you think.” Then he grabbed the small mirror and said, “And this is the thing that has made you cut yourself. Mirrors are foul. They only increase men’s vanity. Throw it out!”
He opened the heavy window with one hand and flung the mirror out. It shattered into a thousand pieces on the stones of the courtyard far below. Then he left the room without saying another word.
It is very annoying to shave without a mirror. I am forced to try to find my reflection on my metal watch case.
When I went into the dining room, breakfast was prepared, but I could not find the Count anywhere. So I ate breakfast alone. It is strange that I haven’t seen the Count eat or drink yet. He must be a very picky man! After breakfast, I did a little exploring in the castle. I found a room that faces south. The view was magnificent, and from where I stood, I could see everything. The castle is on the very edge of a terrible cliff. If I threw a stone from the window, it would fall a thousand feet without hitting the ground! As far as the eye can reach, there is a sea of green tree tops. Here and there are rivers, which look like silver threads through the forest.
But I don’t have the heart to describe beauty. My heart is very uneasy. After I saw this view, I continued exploring further. Doors, doors, doors everywhere. All of them are locked and bolted. Except for the windows, there is no exit from this castle.
This castle is an absolute prison. And I am a prisoner!
May 8th (continued),
When I realized that I was a prisoner, a wild feeling came over me. I rushed up and down the stairs, trying to open every door and peering out of every window I could find.
After a little time, my helplessness overpowered all other feelings. I went insane. I felt like a rat caught in a trap.
However, when I realized that there was nothing I could do, I sat down quietly—as quietly as I have ever done anything in my life. I began to think about what to do next.
And I am still thinking. I haven’t been able to come up with any ideas.
There is only one thing that I am certain of: I can’t let the Count know my plans.
It is certain that he knows well that I am imprisoned. He is the prison master! He must have his own motives, and he would only deceive me if I trusted him.
So as far as I can see, my only plan will be to keep my knowledge and my fears to myself. And, to keep my eyes open.
There are only two possibilities. Either I am being deceived by my own mind, or I am in desperate trouble. If the latter is true, then I need to use every bit of my brain to get myself out of here.
As soon as I made my resolution, I heard the great door below shut, and I knew that the Count had returned. He didn’t come to the library right away, so I cautiously went into my room. I was surprised to see him already there, making my bed.
This was odd, but it only confirmed what I had suspected all along: there were no servants in the house.
Later, I saw him cleaning again. I peered between the crack of the door and saw him setting the table in the dining room. If he does all these menial tasks by himself, that proves that there are no other servants.
This really scared me because if there is no one else in the castle, then it must have been the Count himself who was the driver of the coach that brought me here. This is a terrible thought. If it’s true, then that means he can control the wolves by simply holding up his hand.
Was that why all the people at Bistritz and all the people on the coach were fearful for me? Was that why they gave me the crucifix, the garlic, the wild rose, and the mountain ash? Bless that good, good woman who put this crucifix necklace around my neck! This crucifix is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. I wonder if there is some sort of magical essence in the necklace.
Anyway, I must find out as much as I can about Count Dracula. I need to understand. Tonight, he will surely want to talk all night. I will try to turn the conversation so that he talks about himself. I must be very careful, however, not to make him suspicious.