Dracula – Part 13 – Dr. Seward’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.

Dr. Seward’s Journal

June 5,

The case of Renfield grows more interesting the more I get to understand the man. He has certain qualities that are very developed; selfishness, secrecy, and purpose. I wish I could understand what his purpose was. He seems to have some scheme of his own, but I can’t figure it out. His redeeming quality is a love of animals, though, he sometimes turns cruel. His pets are strange. Right now, his hobby is catching flies. He has such a large number of them right now that I had to protest. To my astonishment, he did not break out into a fury, as I expected, but took the matter seriously. He thought for a moment, and then said, “May I have three days? I shall clear them away.” Of course, I said that would be alright. I must watch him.

June 18,

He has moved on to spiders, and he has got several very big fellows in a box. He keeps feeding them with his flies. The number of flies has diminished quite a bit, even though he is using half of his daily lunch to attract more flies from outside.

July 1,

His spiders are now becoming as great a nuisance as his flies were. Today, I told him that he must get rid of them. He looked very sad at this, so I said that he must get rid of some of them, at least. He cheerfully accepted this, and I gave him three days just like before.

When I sat with him, he disgusted me so much. When a horrid fat fly buzzed into the room, he caught it, held it for a few moments between his finger and thumb, and, before I knew what he was going to do, put it in his mouth and ate it. I scolded him for it, but he argued quietly that it was very good and wholesome; that is was life—strong life—and it gave life to him.

This gave me an idea… or at least, the start of an idea. I must watch how he gets rid of his spiders. He evidently has some deep problem in his mind, because he keeps a little notebook and he is always jotting down something in it. Whole pages are filled with numbers. He generally starts with adding up single numbers again and again, and then adds more batches of numbers.

July 8,

The idea in my mind is still growing, but I can’t figure him out yet. There is a method in his madness. I’m sure I’ll be able to understand him soon. I kept away from Renfield for a few days so that I might notice if there were any changes when I came back. Things are the same as usual, except that he has gotten rid of some of his spiders and got a new one. He has managed to get a sparrow, and has already partially tamed it. The spiders have diminished, so I can guess how he is taming the sparrow. And of the spiders that do remain, they are well fed because he still uses his food to attract new flies.

July 19,

We are progressing. My friend now has a whole colony of sparrows, and his flies and spiders are almost gone. When I came in, he ran to me and said he wanted to ask me for a great favor—a very, very great favor. I asked him what it was, and he said, with a sort of rapture in his voice:

“A kitten. A nice, little, playful kitten. One that I can play with, and teach, and feed, and feed, and feed!” I was not surprised by this request because I had noticed how his pets were increasing in size, but I did not want to see his pretty family of tame sparrows wiped out in the same manner as the flies and the spiders. So, I said I would think about it. Then, I asked him if he would rather have a full-grown cat rather than a little kitten. His eagerness betrayed him as he answered:

“Oh, yes, I would like a cat! I only asked for a kitten because I didn’t think you would give me a cat.”

I told him that I was afraid it wouldn’t be possible to get a cat, but that I would try. His face fell, and I could see a warning of danger in it, because there was a sudden fierce, sidelong look of murder. The man is an undeveloped homicidal maniac. I will test him with his request and see what happens. Then, I will know more.

10 p.m.,

I have visiting him again and found him sulking in a corner. When I came in the room, he threw himself on his knees in front of me and begged me for a cat. He said that his salvation depended on it. It was firm, however, and told him that he could not have it. Then, without a word, he sat down again in the corner and began gnawing on his fingers. I will see him tomorrow in the early morning.

July 20,

I visited Renfield very early, before the attendant went on his rounds. I found him awake and humming a tune. He was spreading out his sugar, which he had saved from a previous meal, in the window, and was beginning his fly-catching again, cheerfully. I looked around for his birds, and not seeing them, I asked him where they were. He replied, without turning around, that they had all flown away. There were a few feathers around the room. On his pillow, there was a drop of blood. I said nothing and left, but I went and told the attendant to report to me if there were anything odd about him during the day.

11 a.m.,

The attendant has just came to tell me that Renfield has been very sick and has vomited a whole lot of feathers. “My belief is, doctor,” he said, “that he has eaten his birds, and that he just took them and ate them raw!”

11 p.m.,

I gave Renfield strong medicine to put him to sleep. I took away his notebook so that I could take a close look at it.

The idea that has been buzzing around in my brain is finally complete. My theory has been proved. This homicidal maniac is of a peculiar kind. I will have to invent a new classification for him. I will call him a “zoophagous” maniac. It means “life-eating.”

What he desires is to absorb as many lives as he can, and he has figured out how to achieve it in a cumulative way. He gave many flies to one spider, and many spiders to one bird, and then wanted a cat to eat the many birds. What would have been his later steps? I am tempted to continue on with this experiment. I could keep going if it led to a worthwhile discovery, but I would need a good reason to continue!

For example, just look at vivisection. People sneered at the thought of performing test surgeries on animals, but look at the results today!

Why not? I could advance science in its most difficult and vital aspect—the knowledge of the human brain. My discoveries could create a whole new branch of science. The discoveries of Burdon-Sanderson’s physiology or Ferrier’s brain-knowledge would be nothing compared to this.

If only there were a sufficient reason to continue the experiment! I mustn’t think too much about this, or I might be tempted to do something unreasonable. If I had a good reason, no one would be able to disapprove.

Look at how the man planned it all out. Lunatics always think in a different way. I wonder how many lives he would calculate a human to be worth, or if a human is only worth one life. He has calculated it all so accurately, and today, he began a new record. How many of us regular humans start a new journal page for each day of our lives in a notebook?

To me, today is worthy of starting a new record. This is a day to remember.

Oh, Lucy, Lucy. I cannot be angry with you. Nor can I be angry with my friend whose happiness is yours. But I must only wait on hopelessness and work. Work! Work!

If only I could have a strong will to work, like my poor homicidal patient. That would indeed be happiness.

Published by Judy Shinohara

Hello! I’m Judy, living in Osaka! I love teaching English to my students. In my free time, I enjoy simple gardening, reading and writing, art, and watching Netflix.

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