Dracula - Chapter 2 - Escape
I slept till late in the day, and when I had dressed myself, I went into the dining room where I saw that a cold breakfast had been laid out for me. There was a card on the table on which was written --
„I have to be absent for a while. Do not wait for me. D.”
Some time after I had finished my meal, I looked about for something to read and found a sort of library. Here I found a large number of English books, magazines and newspapers.
While I was looking at them, the door opened, and the Count entered. „I am glad you found your way in here, for I am sure there is much that will interest you. These books have told me much about my new home in England. Now come and tell me of London and of the house which you have found for me.”
„The estate is called Carfax,” I told him as we sat down to business. „The house there is very large with only a few windows high up. It is close to an old church, and there are not many houses nearby, one being a private lunatic asylum.” The Count seemed very pleased with the house, and after supper, which again he did not eat, he stayed with me and asked many questions until morning.
When I got up, I hung my shaving glass by the window and was just beginning to shave, when suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard the Count’s voice saying, „Good morning.” I was startled for I had not seen him come in, and what’s more there was no reflection of him in the mirror!
I must have cut myself when the Count surprised me, for I noticed there was blood on my chin. When the Count saw my face, something happened which I really hadn’t expected. His eyes began to burn with anger, and he suddenly tried to grab my throat. I drew away, and his hand touched the crucifix which I still had around my neck. Immediately there was a change in him, and the anger passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there.
„Take care how you cut yourself,” he said. „It is more dangerous than you think in this country.” Then, grabbing the shaving glass, he opened the window, threw it out and left without a word.
Last night I went up the stone stairs to where I could look out the window towards the South. As I leaned from the window I noticed something moving on a floor below me where I supposed the Count’s room would be. I watched in disbelief as the Count slowly came out of the window and began to crawl just like a lizard down the castle wall with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, but as I kept looking, I realised it was not.
Once more I have seen the Count go out in his lizard fashion. After he had gone, I thought of using the opportunity to explore the castle more and maybe to get out of this nightmarish place. I went down the stone stairs to the hall where I had entered originally and found the door was locked! I feel the castle is a prison, and I am a prisoner! I went on to try other doors and passages, and, at last, I found one which was unlocked. When I entered, I noticed that the furniture was more comfortable than any I had seen.
There was a horrible loneliness in the place, which chilled my heart, but it was still better than living alone in the rooms which I had come to hate. I began to feel tired, so I lay down on a couch near the corner, and I suppose I must have fallen asleep.
I thought that I must be dreaming when I saw three young ladies appear in the moonlight opposite me. Two were dark with eyes that seemed to be almost red in the moonlight. The other was fair with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me. They whispered together, and then the fair girl advanced and bent over me. She licked her lips like an animal, and I could see her sharp white teeth in the moonlight. Lower and lower went her head until I could feel the soft touch of her lips and the two sharp teeth on my throat. I closed my eyes and waited.
But just then the Count entered the room. As my eyes opened, I saw his strong hand grasp the neck of the fair woman and throw her violently from him. In a voice which seemed to cut through the air he said:
„How dare you touch him when I had forbidden it? This man belongs to me! When I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go!”
„Are we to have nothing tonight?” said one of them as she pointed to a bag which the Count had thrown upon the floor. He nodded his head, and one of the women jumped forward and opened it. I thought I heard the sound of a small child coming from the bag as the women closed round it. Then the horror overcame me, and I fainted.
Later, I awoke in my own bed. The Count must have carried me here. As I look round this room, I realise that I am safer here than anywhere else, for nothing can be more terrifying than those awful women who are waiting to suck my blood.
A band of gypsies came to the castle a few days ago and are staying in the courtyard. They have been working tirelessly somewhere deep in the castle, for I have heard the sound of digging. This morning I heard the sound of whips and horses’ feet coming up the path beyond the courtyard. I hurried to the window and saw two large wagons containing great, square boxes drive into the yard . I tried calling to them, thinking this may be my chance to escape, but nothing would make them even look at me.
When morning came, a wild desire took me to find the key to the front door and escape. I decided to try and climb out the window and down the wall to the Count’s window. I did not feel dizzy even though the height was great, and in no time I found myself standing outside the window. I climbed through and looked around for the Count, but the room was empty.
In one corner of the room there was a heavy door which led through a stone corridor then down a circular stairway. At the bottom there was a dark, tunnel-like passage which stank so badly I had to cover my nose. At last I found myself in an old ruined chapel. The ground had recently been dug over, and the earth placed in the great wooden boxes brought by the gypsies. Here I made a terrifying discovery.
There, in one of the boxes, of which there were fifty in all, lay the Count! His white hair and moustache were changed to dark grey, and his mouth was red with fresh blood, which dripped from the corners of his mouth and ran down his chin and neck. He was either dead or asleep, I could not say which, for his eyes were open, but there was no sign of movement, no breath, no beating of the heart.
I shook as I leaned over to search him, but I couldn’t find the key. Then I stopped and looked at the Count. A terrible desire came upon me to rid the world of such a monster. I grabbed a spade, which the workmen had been using to fill the boxes, and struck at his hateful face. But as I did so, the head turned, and the eyes fell upon me. The sight seemed to paralyse me, and the spade fell from my hand. Just then I heard the sound of gypsies coming towards the chapel. With a last look around and at the box which contained the evil body, I ran from the place.
After I had reached the Count’s room, I heard a sound in the passage below of many feet and the crash of the boxes being loaded onto the wagons. The gypsies were leaving. I shall not remain alone in the castle with those horrible women. I shall try to climb down the castle wall further than I have yet attempted and, hopefully, find a way from this hellish place. And then away home to Mina! I must get away from this cursed land, where the devil and his children still walk with earthly feet!
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