Dracula – 8 – Jonathan Harker’s Journal

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.

Later,

The words from my last entry were the truth, but now I am even more certain.

I am not afraid to sleep as long as the Count isn’t there. I have placed the crucifix over the head of my bed. It allows me to sleep without anxiety, so I will keep it there.

When the Count left, I went to my room. I waited for a while, until I couldn’t hear any more sounds, and I came out and went up the stone staircase that led to the room that faces the South.

As I looked out, there was some sense of freedom in the vast land (even though it is completely inaccessible to me). When I looked down at the dark courtyard, I felt that I was indeed in a prison. Even though it was the middle of the night, I wanted to go outside for some fresh air.

I’m beginning to feel the strain of this nocturnal sleep schedule. It’s destroying my nerve. I jump when I see my own shadow. I am imagining all sorts of horrible things. God knows that I have reason to be scared in this place.

I looked out over the beautiful land, bathed in soft yellow moonlight. I gazed for a long time. In the soft light, the distant hills seemed to melt. The shadows of the valleys looked like black velvet. The mere beauty seemed to cheer me up. I felt at peace while breathing in the air from the window.

I leaned out the window, and I saw something. A movement in another castle window caught my eye. One floor below my window, and somewhat to the left, was the window of the Count’s room (as I imagine from the order of the rooms in the castle).

The window that I was standing at was tall and deep. I leaned further out the window and looked out carefully.

What I saw was the Count’s head coming out of the window. I did not see his face, but I knew the man by his neck and the movement of his back and arms. In any case, I couldn’t mistake his hands because I’ve looked at them so many times.

At first, I watched him and I was somewhat amused. When you are a prisoner, even the simplest of things can amuse you.

But my feeling of amusement quickly changed to repulsion and terror. The man’s whole body slowly emerged from the window and began to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss. He crawled with his head facing the ground and feet facing the sky. His cloak spread out around him like great wings.

I didn’t believe my eyes at first. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight. I thought it was some weird effect of the shadows. But I kept looking, and it was no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, and I saw him projecting himself down the castle with great speed, just like a lizard climbing down a wall.

What kind of man is this? Or, what kind of creature? Is it a creature in the form of a human? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear—in awful fear—and there is no escape for me. I am surrounded by terrors that I don’t even want to imagine.

May 15th,

Once more, I have seen the Count go out in this lizard fashion. He moved downwards in a sidelong way, a few hundred feet down the wall and to the left. He vanished into some hole or window. When his head had disappeared, I leaned out to try to see more, but I couldn’t. The distance was too great for me to have a proper angle to see anything. I knew that he had left the castle now, and thought I could take the opportunity to explore more than I have before.

I went back to my room and got a lamp. I tried all the doors I passed, and they were all locked, as expected. I noticed that the locks looked comparatively new to the rest of the castle. I went back down the stone staircase that lead to the entrance hall. I realized that I could pull back all the bolts easily enough and unhook the great chains! I was hopeful for a moment, but I found that the door itself was locked and there was no key.

That key must be in the Count’s room. I will have to keep an eye on that room and wait for an opportunity where it is left unlocked. If that chance comes to me, I will get the key from his room and use it to escape from this castle.

I went on to thoroughly examine all of the stairs and passages of the castle and to try to open any doors. One or two small rooms near the entrance hall were open, but there was nothing to see in them except old furniture that was dusty and moth-eaten.

At last, however, I found one door at the top of the stairway which, though it seemed to be locked, moved when I put pressure on it. I pushed harder and found that it wasn’t really locked. The hinges on the door had fallen somewhat, so the bottom of the door rested tightly against the floor, causing resistance.

This was an opportunity which I might not have again, so I pushed as hard as I could, and with a lot of effort, I forced the door open enough to enter. I was now in an unfamiliar wing of the castle. From the rooms I stay in, this area was to the right and one floor down.

Looking out the windows, I could see that this suite of rooms lay along the south of the castle. The windows of the end room look out north west and should. On the west side, as well, there was a great cliff. The castle must be built right on the corner of a great rock structure. What a defense! Three sides of the castle are unreachable. Not even a bow or catapult could reach the windows of this castle. To the west, there was a great valley, and then, rising far away, there were jagged mountains.

This part of the castle must have been occupied by the ladies in the past. The furniture looked more comfortable than other furniture in the castle. The windows didn’t have curtains. The yellow moonlight flooded in through the diamond-shaped glass panes, which made the room look almost cheery. In this bright room, my lamp was hardly necessary but I was still glad to have it with me. Even in this room, I felt a strong sense of dread in my heart.

Still, it was better than staying alone in my room, or in the library or the dining room. I have come to hate those rooms, mostly because of the presence of the Count.

So I tried to calm myself and feel relaxed.

Now, here I am, sitting at a little oak table. Perhaps in the old time, some fair lady sat at this table to write, giggling and blushing over a poorly written love letter. I sit here now writing down everything that has happened up until this point.

This room has got me thinking about the old times, centuries before. It seems like the old times had powers or creatures that time cannot kill.

Published by Judy Shinohara

Hello! I’m Judy, living in Japan. I write fun stories for people who are studying English. I also teach English and study Japanese.

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