“There’s someone at the window! Please God, there’s someone at the window!”
She was thrashing in her bed when I got into the room. My beautiful, gentle fiancée. She had been so sick the last few days, and now it seemed as though the fever was transitioning into hallucinations.
“My love! There’s nothing at the window but a tree branch! Look! I will open it for you,” I didn’t know what to do. My friends were in the drawing-room. I’m sure they were nervous and abashed at the noises coming from my dear loved one’s bed chambers, but there was nothing I could do about that. I had to just worry about my poor sick fiancée.
“NO! Stay clear of the window! I saw him! He was so pale, and terrible. His eyes were red, he looked at me, Jonathan. He looked right into me. I felt his gaze to my core. I feel so very cold!”
She was raving. I knew it to be nothing but fever dreams. I could clearly see there was nothing at the window. It was cold and windy though, and I thought maybe it would be wrong of me to introduce a chill into the room of someone so sick, by opening the window.
“Jonathan,” My friend Quincey called from the doorway.
He was a gruff man, but his demeanor was gentle towards me, almost apologetic. I could tell in his face that he didn’t expect my love to live through this terrible sickness.
“BEHIND HIM!” She screamed from the bed. She held up a pale emaciated hand that looked more like a claw and pointed at my friend. “MY GOD, THE TEETH!”
“Shhhhhh,” I said and stroked her hair. I felt tears well in my eyes, so I bent and kissed her hot forehead in an effort to hide my emotion.
“Sorry for intruding,” Quincey said. “But I called the doctor earlier. I know you said not to, but well, I couldn’t stand to sit by and do nothing. He’s here now and would like to see her.”
“Alright,” I wanted to berate him. Mina had such a terrible fear of doctors. I held my tongue. I knew what he had done was right.
“Please, let me through,” A gruff voice said.
“You see, my love? It was just the doctor. That was who was behind Quincey,” I said to her. Her eyes flittered back to the window, wide with horror. She pointed to the window. My lord, her nails were so long and ragged. How had I not noticed that?
“What is going on here?” The doctor said. Her face was weathered and brown. His beard was long and unruly and white as snow. His hair, buried under a stained brown hat, sprang to his shoulders with the same coarseness as his beard.
“She’s had a fever doctor. We don’t know why,” I said and looked at disgust to Quincey. How could he invite such a man here, knowing Mina’s fear of doctors? A regular doctor would be bad enough; this…unorthodox man…was so much worse.
“NO!” Mina screamed at the sight of him.
“Mina! It’s ok! He’s a doctor!” I tried to soothe her to no avail. Her eyes were locked on the window and her breath increased so rapidly that her chest began to heave.
“It’s far worse than I thought,” The doctor said. He turned to Quincy. “Quick! Get me as much garlic as you can.”
“IT’S TOO LATE!” Mina screamed. She scratched at me and her skin turned cold.
“Begone!” The doctor said while producing an old wooden cross and thrusting it in Mina’s face.
The window exploded inwards making the men in the room dive to the ground. I heard Mina moan and when I lifted my head a figure was bent over her. A large black cloak occluded their bodies.
“Quickly!” The doctor said, pulling a long wooden stake from his satchel.
The figure turned to me and hissed. Its visage will forever haunt my dreams. Its skin had the gray tones of slate, contrasted by bright splashes of blood from my poor Mina’s neck. Its eyes, as red as that blood, bore into me. It had two incisors, as long as coffin nails. It stared into my soul. I felt reality shift. It was death and, lord help me, I cannot help but think it was beautiful.
It was gone a moment later and so was my Mina. Dead. Her face returned to peace and beauty that it held before the sickness took hold of her.
The doctor told me that I had to cremate her body. He told me he was on the hunt for that creature and we must hunt it down. That we must kill it.
I prepared to cremate my Mina. But when I lay her down, I dreamed of her opening her eyes. I dreamed of her kissing me. I dreamed of her telling me everything was ok. That we could now be together forever. She kissed my neck and I felt death approach. It was beautiful.