Dracula – Part 17 – Mina Murray’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.

Same day, 11 pm,

Oh! I am tired! If writing in my journal wasn’t a habit, I wouldn’t open it tonight.

We had a lovely walk. Lucy, after a while, was in good spirits. Probably because some dear cows came nosing toward us when we passed a field close to the lighthouse. When they came close, it frightened us so much that we forgot everything else. Once we were a safe distance away, it felt like we had a fresh start to the day.

We had some tea at Robin Hood’s Bay in a sweet little old-fashioned inn. We sat next to a window that overlooked the seaweed-covered rocks. We ate so much that it would have shocked anyone watching us.

Then, we walked home, stopping many times to rest. Lucy was really tired, and we intended to go to bed as soon as we got home. However, a young bishop stopped by and Mrs. Westenra asked him to stay for supper. I think that the church needs to retrain its bishops with better manners so that they don’t accept invitations for dinner or so that they can notice when the women are getting tired.

Lucy is now asleep and breathing softly. She has more color in her cheeks than usual, and she looks so sweet. If Mr. Holmwood fell in love with her before, I wonder what he would say if he could she her now.

I’m so happy tonight because dear Lucy seems better. I really believe she is improving, and that her troubles with dreaming are over.

I would be perfectly happy if I knew where Jonathan was. God bless him and keep him safe.

August 11, 3 am,

Diary again. I can’t sleep now, so I might as well write. I am too agitated to sleep.

We had such a long adventure that I fell asleep as soon as I had closed my diary.

Suddenly, I was wide awake. I sat up with a horrible sense of fear and emptiness around me. The room was dark, so I could not see Lucy’s bed. I got up and felt around for her. The bed was empty. I lit a match and found that she was not in the room. The door was shut, but not locked, as I had left it.

I was afraid to wake up her mother, who has been feeling ill lately, so I threw on some clothes and got ready to look for her. As I was leaving the room, it struck me that the clothes she wore might give me some clue to her intention (even if it’s only her dreaming intention). A dressing gown would mean that she is in the house. A dress would mean that she is outside.

All of her dressing gowns and dresses were in their places. “Thank God,” I said to myself, “she can’t be far because she is only in her night gown.” I ran downstairs and looked in the sitting room. Not there! Then, I looked in all the other open rooms of the house, with an ever-growing fear in my heart. Finally, I came to the entrance door and found it open. It was not wide open, but the lock had not caught. The people of the house are careful to lock the door every night, so I feared that Lucy must have gone out in her night gown.

There was no time to think. I took a big, heavy shawl and ran out. The clock was striking one as I was in the Crescent, and there was not a soul in sight. I ran along the North Terrace, but I couldn’t see any sign of her. At the edge of the West Cliff above the pier, I looked across the harbor to the East Cliff in the hope (or in the fear) of seeing Lucy in our favorite seat. There was a bright full moon, with heavy, black clouds. For a moment or two, I could see nothing because the shadows of the clouds obscured St. Mary’s Church and all around it. Then, as the cloud passed, I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view. And as the narrow band of light, as sharp as a sword cutting through, the church and the churchyard became visible.

Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed. There, on our favorite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a snowy white figure. The cloud came back too quickly for me to see much, and the shadows shut out the light almost immediately. But it seemed to me that… I saw something dark standing behind the white figure, bending over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.

I did not wait to catch another glance. I flew down the steep steps to the pier and along by the fish market to the bridge, which was the only way to reach the East Cliff. The town seemed dead, because I couldn’t see a soul. I was glad for that because I didn’t want any witnesses of poor Lucy’s condition. As I ran, the time and distance seemed endless, and my knees trembled, and my breath became labored as I toiled up the endless steps to the abbey.

When I got almost to the top, I could see the seat and the white figure. There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the sitting white figure. I called in fright, “Lucy! Lucy!” and something raised a head. From where I was, I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes. Lucy did not answer. I ran on to the entrance of the churchyard. As I entered, the church was between me and the seat, and for a minute or so, I lost sight of her. When I came in view again, the cloud had passed, and the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I could see Lucy sitting with her head resting on the back of the seat.

She was alone, and there wasn’t a sign of any living thing around.

When I bent over her, I could see that she was still asleep. Her lips were parted, and she was breathing—not softly as usual, but in long, heavy gasps, as though striving to fill her lungs at every breath. As I came close, she put up her hand in her sleep and pulled the collar of her nightdress close around her neck. While she did that, she shuddered, as though she felt cold. I flung the warm shawl over her, and drew the edges tightly around her neck so that she didn’t catch a cold from the night air.

To keep the shawl tight around her, I used a big safety pin to close it. But I must have been clumsy in my anxiety and I think I pricked her with the pin, because after that, she kept putting her hand to her throat and moaning.

When I had her carefully wrapped up, I put my shoes on her bare feet and I began to wake her up very gently. At first, she did not respond, but gradually, she became more and more uneasy in her sleep, moaning and sighing. At last, as time was passing and I wished to get her home as quickly as possible, I shook her forcibly until she opened her eyes and awoke.

She did not seem surprised to see me. And of course, she did not realize where she was. Lucy always looks pretty when she wakes up, and even at such a time, when her body must have been chilled, and her mind appalled at waking up in a churchyard in her night gown, she did not lose her grace. She trembled a little, a clung to me. When I told her to come with me, she rose without saying a word, like an obedient child.

As we walked along, the gravel hurt my feet. Lucy noticed me wince. She stopped and insisted that I take back my shoes, but I would not. However, when we got to the pathway outside the churchyard, where there was a puddle of water, I dipped my feet in the mud so that it might look like I was wearing brown shoes. In the darkness, it might fool a passerby and let me avoid the embarrassment.

But we were quite lucky, and we got home without meeting a soul. Once, we saw a man who did not seem sober passing along a street in front of us, but we hid in a doorway until he had disappeared. My heart beat so loudly the whole time that I thought I might faint. I was filled with anxiety about Lucy, not only for her health, but also for her reputation in case this story became town gossip.

When we arrived back at the house, we washed our feet and said a prayer of thankfulness. I tucked her into bed. Before falling asleep, she asked—implored—me not to say a word to anyone, even her mother, about her sleep walking adventure. I hesitated to promise at first, but when I considered the state of her mother’s health, I decided it would be wiser to keep it a secret. I hope I did the right thing.

I have locked the door, and the key is tied to my wrist. Lucy is sleeping soundly, and the first light of dawn is coming in over the sea.

Same day, noon,

All goes well. Lucy slept until I woke her, and it seemed like she hadn’t even rolled over in her sleep. The adventure of the night hasn’t seemed to harm her. On the contrary, it has benefited her. She looks better this morning than she has for weeks.

I was sorry to notice that my clumsiness with the safety pin hurt her. Indeed, the skin of her throat was pierced. I must have pinched up a piece of loose skin in the pin because there are two little red points, and on the collar of her night dress, there was a drop of blood.

When I apologized for it, she laughed and petted me. She said she did not even feel it. Fortunately, the pin pricks are so tiny that they won’t leave a scar.

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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