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Friday, 6 June 2014

Mina Harker First Three Chapters Sample

Hello Everyone,

Good news my debut book Mina Harker: The Curse of the Vampire will be available to buy from Amazon by the end of next week. Mina Harker will be available as an E-book to download to your kindle or computer first and then later on will also be available as a printed book. I will post an update and link to the book when everything is finalised but until then I'm going to give you a little sample to read...


Seven years had gone by since the night that Dracula became a lifted curse from within my soul. The night he died on our way back to London we felt that everything that we had been through was surely worth the wait of our lives together. Nothing on this earth could possibly ruin Jonathan’s perfect smile that night. We were both entirely happy, even though we had to travel to the edge of Hell and go through the flames on our way out, it was worth it. To finally be Jonathans wife and settle into our home was remarkable, it is all that I ever wished for. Though there was once a time when he thought himself too poor for me, now he just wanted to look after me and make sure that nothing else from hell or earth would harm me. I told Jonathan that my worst fear almost turned to reality when I nearly became a reflection of the evil that the Count possessed.
The night we reached London we conceived our first child: we named him Quincy after the brave Quincy Morris who didn’t make it through the flames, but not one day goes by without him in all of our hearts.  After the ordeal with the Count, I believe that Professor Van Helsing is pursuing a notion to separate the good and evil from a man; I believe the Count inspired him to do so, even though you couldn’t really call him a man. I have changed remarkably since that night: I am still the sweet and loving Mina I always was, but with an added realization and understanding of fact and fiction I have become a lot braver than I used to be. But lately over this last few weeks I have started to feel quite confused, and I fear that my mind cannot recognize fantasy from reality anymore. I have not told Jonathan about this as I do not want to worry him, although day by day I can feel myself losing my way and all of my light turning towards darkness. I do not know how to fight my way out from within the hold that the darkness has bestowed upon me.






Prologue

The monster lurked around me, jumping out from every dark angle of the room. A butcher, and what a butcher indeed for all he wants is my blood. All of my energy and life was being sucked right out of me. I feel so tired and drained and I became weaker as the seconds ticked by. Tick, tick, tick. I fell into a deep state of being, where everything is black and red. Black for the butcher and red for the blood that he takes. Deep feelings of horror rose upon me as three dark haired creatures suddenly crept around me. Side by side they stared at me with their evil faces, one much smaller than the other two but still as toxic.
            The monster came beside me and all that I could feel was the sharp sting of death. Blood spurted from within my veins and began to cover him and I could tell that he liked it. He was enjoying my agony, my death. Straight out of Hell he was sent as the rest. The beasts all began to prowl around my bed. I could feel the heat rise through my body like I was being possessed by a hundred burning candles. Am I in hell? I thought to myself. My blood began to boil and each of the natural beats of my heart started to fall further and further apart. I am on the verge of death surrounded by fire. My muscles began to swell up beneath my skin as blood dripped from the lining of my hair. Then suddenly with the next tick of the clock my heart stopped beating...
Red blood fell down the periphery of my half mortal neckline and as I was divided of my endless draining blood, I felt my entire body shiver with fear. I realized that my bloodline was now to become one of an immortal being. Blurred visions of horrific deaths then hit my eyes, and when I opened them all I could see was he, the vowed demon of the night staring upon me with eyes as red as tormented souls burning inside huge holes of encrusted flames.
‘Mina my love’, I heard him say inside my mind, as my hand fell through the remaining ashes of his existence…  



 Chapter One


This dream had now haunted me for longer than my life was ever worth. Do you not wish that if you could go back in time, you would reinvent every last second that slipped through your fingers? I always have, as I have always felt trapped and suffocated in the dreams of my past: to move on was my ultimate desire although seemingly impossible, so instead I had found myself trying to live within my agonizing fears and regrets.
       My name is Mina Harker, and yes you have probably heard of me from my eventful encounter with Prince Vlad: better known to you as the one and only Count Dracula. As in the earlier days of my existence I still live within London, holding onto dear memories of the past and whatever hopes remain for me, as my life has not exactly turned out the way that I had planned. The twenty first century is a major change but one that is easy to live by: my once grand accent has now faded to a mere commonly olden tone; my youth and beauty that once were is now just a distant vision of the past. My lack of human blood has been just enough to survive although my hair is now white and my skin aged with wrinkles, it has always been my own choice to live off the blood of leeches; I order them directly to my home via the internet as I try my best to fit into the new time-line of humanity. One thing that has changed on the outside is that people accept me now, and they do not think of me as a beast any longer as they did over a century ago. Instead, many mortals wish they were like me and, even though it is severely undeserved, they think of me as some kind of god like role model.
While evaluating my existence, I heard a mere tap at my front door, a quiet but forceful tap of a hand that rang around inside my eardrums like a church bell, as everything was much louder now than it used to be. With a strange, light headed feeling I preceded to the door, pulling it back from the hinges to see a shadowed figure of a man in black and strangely familiar looking. The stranger in my midst was very tall and his hair shimmered like black diamonds on a summer’s day. He was overly handsome with a fashionable appearance and stood out to me like a moth to light. His rugged facial features appealed to my darker nature. His scent was completely intoxicating like golden musk with a hint of Mediterranean spice. He looked at me and spoke with an air of honour in his masculine tone.
‘Hello’, the stranger said smiling.
I stood in awe, and began to find myself getting lost in his deep dark eyes until I pulled myself from this fantasy on his second speech.
‘You are Mrs. Harker, aren’t you?’ the stranger continued.
‘Yes, yes I am, and you are?’ I replied still gazing at this magnificent being.
‘I am Nathanial Shade, and I have travelled from the borders of Romania to ask your permission to interview you on your life as a vampire and how you came to be.’
In that instant I began to wonder why this man stood in my presence and most of all if he was telling me the truth: why would someone be this interested in me? But it was time for my meal now and my bloodlust for this stranger made it an easy way to kill. He was, of course, all the way from Europe, and might not have anyone at home waiting for him. It could be so easy, like taking candy from a baby - but no, I must not even think of such things. Refraining from draining my guest dry, in an instant motion I slammed the door shut in the dark strangers face as a large amount of confusion ran throughout my mind. I could feel myself changing and in that moment I stumbled and scraped my nails deep into the door as I ran inside. I swiftly made my way to the living room and using a prickly syringe to drain the blood from ten bitter leeches, and a tightly wound piece of elastic around my arm I injected the sweetly sour blood into my venomous system. I could feel the blood pounding through my veins making my whole body shake and pulsate with the warm feelings of satisfaction. As the blood began to settle and my vision became that of a human rather than a killer breed, I headed back towards the door and to my surprise Mr. Shade was still stood in the exact position that I left him in.
‘I apologize for the sudden vanishing act, I just…’ I tried to say as I stuttered nervously.
‘Felt a little... Shall we say hungry?’ he responded.
‘How did you guess?’
‘I have researched you well Mrs. Harker, there is nothing about you that could come of shock and suddenly be of surprise to me.’
I laughed.
‘You may come inside then Mr. Shade, if you are not frightened of me.’
‘Quite the contrary, Mrs. Harker.’
Mr. Shade looked deep into my eyes with a smirking expression crawling up the right side of his tanned cheek before slowly followed me inside. His fearless presence fascinated me. Firstly by knocking on a vampires door in the dark hours of the night and secondly that door being mine.
Nathanial stared around my gothic Victorian living room as if it was well known to him. My home of course was like a small fraction of myself, and my living room was decorated with blood red walls and black furniture pieces. My charcoal curtains sustain a feeling of majesty in my home and also are plenty thick enough to keep out all of the lights of the day.  You would think by now with all of the world’s technology that a cure would have been invented so that I could feel the warmth of the summer sunshine upon my face once more, but instead nothing. Nothing but eternal darkness, that is, but after over a hundred years, one gets used to this mere existence. My flooring is none other than marble and matches my Victorian marble table on which stands a great crystal candelabra that I keep as a reminder of the past. A decorative gothic crystal collection of Venetian masks surround the bare remains of the crimson walls.
‘Your home is beautiful Mrs. Harker.’
‘Thank you, would you like a drink at all?’ I responded.
‘I do not drink, at this time during the day’, Nathanial replied with a pause and with that he laid out a note book, a blue pen and a voice recording machine.
‘Are you ready to begin Mrs. Harker?’ he asked.
I nodded my head in response and he picked up the tape and his pen and spoke softly into the machine.
‘My name is Nathanial Shade and I am here with the infamous Mrs. Mina Harker on a quest to discover the unknown source of her powers and how Mina's curse of the vampire came to be’.
All of a sudden I began to feel the overwhelming fear of what questions my interviewer would ask of me and worse yet the dreaded answers that he would dredge up from my fatal past. He then proceeded to ask me what it felt like to be a vampire with which I simply responded:
‘This life was given to me by a monster, the very creator of this disease that runs throughout my cold body, but I now am what I am and I have learnt how to live with this without taking human lives. But of course it was never as easy as it has become, the lustful desires of the blood from within ones warm flesh is an imperative addiction, but I guess the start of my story comes from my second meeting with the dark lord, my creator.’
Nathanial then looked deep into my eyes as if he were analysing every one of my thoughts to find out whether my lips were insincere. I wondered if he then realised what I was thinking as he instantly turned away. He then stood up and started to circle my living room, taking short strides with an attractive air about his appearance. I felt my confused unconscious become one single thought and, as I opened my lips, my story began to unfold.  



 Chapter Two


‘Quincy, dearest, stop running so fast, you will hurt yourself’, I shouted to my son before turning to my husband, ‘oh, Jonathan, whatever are we to do with our child, I cannot believe that he is seven years of age on the morrow, he is soon to become a stranger to his parents, is he not?’
‘Mina, my love, do not worry yourself with such visions, our life is now complete and no one will ever change this or do wrong to our family. Professor Van Helsing is soon to be on his way, he will arrive anytime between tonight and another three nights, but I hope he is in time for Quincy’s birthday as he also bares gifts for our boy’, said my husband smiling.
How I love Jonathan’s perfect glowing smile, he is the essence in which my heart lives.
‘Yes you are right as always my love. Do you think that we should ever try again? Maybe a girl this time and name her after Lucy. As I still believe a part of Mr. Morris’s kind soul entered our son when he died at the Counts hand, maybe the same would happen if I had a girl, maybe a piece of the Lucy I so dearly miss will be reborn,’ I questioned with excitement.
Jonathan then bowed on his knees and held me in his tight grasp, and I was overly content. Just to think those seven years earlier I almost lost my husband to the hand of my once loved sweet prince. For now I was truly happy and even though I still have the odd nightmares of Prince Vlad, the nightmares are always the same of our souls as one and me being condemned to Hell just as he was. My Quincy is the true angel of my essence, with a hint of Quincy Morris also connected to his spirit. Although in appearance, Quincy is the exact image of his father, with his handsome dark hair and ample eyes, but with all of the kindness of Jonathan and the late dear Quincy alike.  As each night progressed I often feared for my happiness as I still sometimes dreamt of the night that Jonathan was nearly taken from me. The night my soul was almost condemned to Hell for eternity, all at the hand of Prince Vladimir. Despite this, we visited Transylvania this summer, the bad memories that once were have now gladly vanished from that place and only silence is left to surround the castle that remains. Jonathan said it was almost impossible to believe that the things which we had seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears were living truths. I do agree with my husband but I still feel oddly uneasy at times. I feel that if anything would have happened to my husband that it would have been on my conscience for all of eternity as I was the one he desired after all. Night after night this was on my mind and then I would eventually drift off into a delicate peaceful slumber. Often enough I would turn to my right to relieve my fear by checking that Jonathan is still laid next to me.
The next morning I awoke to the sweet sounds of the sparrows in the tree tops. Jonathan was peacefully situated next to me within our drape hidden bed. I rose quietly to hear an unusual sound from below our bed chamber; I thought that maybe it was just our maid, Avery, but as I stepped out from my chamber I heard another sound. It was the sound of our Avery's voice as I expected, but then I heard another voice. As suspicions crossed my mind, the only name I could imagine was Professor Van Helsing as we knew that it would not be much longer until his much anticipated arrival. I briskly walked towards the top of the staircase and began to hear what almost sounded to be struggles of some kind. Suddenly I worried with a fear stricken mind that if not the professor then who was it?
‘Avery’, I called, ‘who are you talking to Avery?’
With no reply I rushed downstairs. When I reached the hallway Avery was standing at the door trying to clear a stranger from the entrance. As I swiftly proceed to the door and approached my fear I came face to face with a large bellied gypsy woman who stood savagely blocking the entrance with all of her might. Her hair was as black as a dark night’s sky, and her skin of a slightly darker complexion than my own. She seemed to have a naturally aggressive tone that weaved itself upon my home like an ancient curse. Her clothes were tatty and her hem frayed and covered six inch deep in mire. Then her mouth opened as she stared straight into my eyes and spoke.
‘You, you will be delivered from god and be damned forever. I condemn you to hell. I condemn you to live with your past. He is awake as I gave him life.  He wants your soul. He will destroy every piece of happiness that you denied him. He is coming I can feel him. He gives half immortality. This is all I asked of him. He gave me the gift. Now he wants your soul.’
As she stood violently glaring into my eyes her voice echoed within the labyrinth of my mind and I began to feel faint, as for the first time since the Count I was truly afraid for my future.
‘Who are you?’ I shouted forcefully.
The woman still stood aggressively staring me to the ground as if she was ready to attack at any moment.
‘She is crazy, Mrs. Harker, she is the very devil himself in disguise, I tried not to wake you, ma’am, and send her away but she would not move’, Avery pleaded.
Who did this strange tatty woman think she was, and more importantly who was she talking about. She then began to repeat the same forsaken words over and over again and I started to fear them.
‘He wants your soul.’
‘He wants your soul.’
‘He wants your soul.’
This phrase kept on repeating in my head over and over, driving me to exhaustion and stressful headaches. I felt as if this strange woman had cursed me, feeding me to the dogs of Hades, and in that moment my whole body went numb and I felt a sudden spark of weakness enter my body as I hit the ground with a high force.
When I woke up I sighed with the relief that it was all a terrible dream, the strange woman did not exist and the incident never even happened. For this would have been easier if only it was true but it was not. The woman did exist and threatened me in my very own home; my sanctuary and the place I felt most safe was no more. I looked around my bedroom chamber to see Jonathan sat beside me with pain and torment in his eyes, and I guessed that he could only be imagining what had just happened to me.
‘Mina, my love, what happened?’
Should I tell Jonathan the truth, I thought, and confine him to this dreadful nightmare of this woman speaking horrible nonsense. If it was all a manifestation of lies then I could not put my dear Jonathan in this mental state once more and remind him of the past that we so carefully eradicated from our minds, so I made my choice.
‘My love, I am perfectly fine, please do not trouble yourself, I just could not breathe in this corset and with the intense heat of this day I could not help feeling a little faint.’
‘Are you sure, Mina, I can send for the doctor.’
‘No I am perfectly content. You should be calling the carriage around as I am not sure that Wiltshire will wait much longer for your presence,’ I said with a smile creeping into the edge of my mouth.
‘Well alright then if you're sure? I believe you my dear Mina, and yes I guess I had better be off to work then, but only if you are sure that you are well?’
‘I promise, just as I promised that I will love you always my dear Jonathan.’
‘Alright, well I guess that I will be on my way then. I will be gone no longer than a week, goodbye for now, my Mina.’ He knelt down and kissed me on the top of my head.
‘I love you Jonathan.’
I felt as if I had to admit my love for my husband in fear that anything could happen if the gypsy woman told the truth, but I soon wondered, as I could not know for sure. But then again there was a way that I could. As Jonathan left on his journey to Wiltshire, Avery entered my chamber.
‘Are you feeling much better now Mrs. Harker?’
I nodded my head slightly.
‘I got rid of that dreadful woman, ma‘am, just after you collapsed I got rid of her, shoed her away from the door with a sweeping brush, ma’am.’
‘Thank you, Avery, now tell me what exactly did she say to you before my appearance,’ I asked.
‘She just babbled nonsense, ma‘am, I think she is a little on the mad side, ma’am,’ replied Avery.
As I nodded, Avery proceeded to leave my room but then she stopped, turning to me and glancing into my eyes before leaving. I felt as uneasy as ever now. Could the gypsy have been talking about the darkness I fear or was she just a wild woman off the street that had somehow found out my past and come here in the hope of frightening me.
That night I had the most terrible nightmare of all: Prince Vlad was alive, awoken from within his restful ashes, and there stood a witch of great majesty chanting alongside of him. I was standing on the rocks beneath Castle Dracula. That was when he found me: he looked deep into my eyes and then sank his sharp razor like bite into the depths of my neck and the pain was as excruciating as it once was long ago.
I awoke from my restless slumber breathless with the distress that the nightmare had caused me. I had too many nightmares of the Count but this one was different: in this dream I could smell the suffering in my blood, I could feel the weakness in which I acted from my hypnotic state, the horror was more lucid to me in this dream and, oh, how I feared him.
It was then that I heard a tap against my chamber door. My heart began to beat faster and faster as if it was going to rip right out of my chest. For all I could imagine was that it was him, Prince Vlad, coming back from the dead to haunt me. I walked little by little towards my chamber door and as the taps increased I felt as if I was going to collapse for I could see my death was minutes away. In that very moment my whole life began to flash before my eyes. But as I got closer and gradually opened my chamber door my heart sunk back into its rightful place, for it was only my dearest Quincy.
 ‘Mother,’ he said caringly.
‘Oh, darling, you gave me a scare but I am glad you came to me, I missed you,’ I said softly.
‘Mother I could not sleep. There was a shadow inside my room and I was scared,’ said my little piece of heaven.
I was devastated by the fact that I only felt safe when Jonathan was around, I felt as if nothing could ever harm me, but now he had gone away I couldn’t help but panic. I took hold of Quincy’s hand and walked along the side of my son slowly, until we reached his chamber. I opened the door with my terror filled heart, still hand in hand with my dear Quincy. My hands began to feel clammy and shake profoundly as I slowly stepped inside.
        

Chapter Three

As I proceeded to the door I felt a horrifying chill creep down the centre lining of my spine. With one large breath I swung the door open only to see the black shadowed effects haunting the back wall from a large tree that stood outside Quincy’s window. With a sigh of relief I smiled at my sweet son.
‘My sweet angel it is only a tree you see, there are no monsters in here I can assure you, now come on let’s put you back to bed, darling.’
‘Mother can I sleep with you tonight please,’ Quincy pleaded sweetly and I nodded in response and held him in my arms.
Quincy slept branched under my arms all night. I watched as he drifted off into a deep relaxed sleep until shortly after I drifted off myself.
I awoke during the middle of the night to a terrible shifty shuttling noise coming from downstairs. I wondered if it could be Avery making a late night cup of tea or snack but the noises became more startling and were then followed by a high pitched scream. The scream was from Avery’s lips I could tell as I had known her many years as her father was my parent’s old butler. Avery was a little girl as was I when we met and a great possession to my family: I had promised my parents that if they had died before I was married then I would take on Avery as a house maid and keep her from the poor house. The only time I have ever heard Avery scream was when she cut her hand open chopping vegetables as she cannot stand the foul sight or irony smell of blood.
When I made it to the bottom of the stairs, all I could hear was rustling from the back of the house. I picked up an illuminated candle and walked slowly towards the kitchen, lighting my way with the small smidges of fire from the burning ivory wax.
‘Shhhhh,’ I heard as I got closer to the entrance of the kitchen. I could hear light chanting and in that instant I ran towards the ghastly sound. I had guessed the exact identity of this late night intruder before I picked up a basin from a nearby work surface in the kitchen and rapidly, with great force brought the basin down on the gypsy’s skull.
As she lay flat and unconscious completely breathless on the floor I checked for her pulse to clarify that I had not murdered this foul intruder. Avery stood in shock panting heavily.
‘Avery, are you alright? Did she hurt you?’ I asked with worry.
‘Thank you for coming to my aid, ma’am, I was scared that you would not wake: the witch tried to drain my energy with a powerful invoking spell of some kind. We misread this woman ,ma’am, she is not only a gypsy but a Mistress of the damned, and a dark sorcerer of some degree.’
I stood in silence and remembered the words that burned into my subconscious mind earlier that day.
‘He wants your soul.’
I now understood what I could not before. Just as he had within all of my nightmares, the prince of my past could regain his strengths from the blood of three innocents after his body had been manifested from the grave he laid in, and with this he could return to the monster of his former existence. Dracula, the blood sucking demonic spore of hell.
Everything suddenly made sense, this woman, or should I say witch, must have performed a great spell that had brought him back from the grave where his remains rested. I understood that to restore his powers she would need to bring Prince Vladimir one of the innocents blood from someone who lives with me so that he can see through their eyes into my new home, and then come back for me and my family just as I had always feared.
‘I cannot let this happen,’ I said, profusely shaking.
‘What will happen ma’am,’ Avery asked.
‘Avery I must go away on a journey. I want you to promise to take good care of my Quincy if anything is to happen to Jonathan and I… I will need to send an urgent letter to my husband of this encounter. Avery, can you bring my paper and ink?’
‘But what about the witch, ma’am, what if she attacks you?’
‘It is alright, I will keep a sharp eye on her. Please hurry back Avery.’
As Avery left to fetch my paper and ink I felt a deep loneliness standing over the semi unconscious body of the gypsy sorcerer. Her body began to twitch and she suddenly thrust herself into the air and struck me with a powerful force. Before I could grab anything to defend myself the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor being cradled in Avery’s arms.
‘Ma’am, are you well? She escaped, the witch escaped and by the looks of it she has taken some of your blood with her.’
The gypsy had left transfusion tubes hanging from the veins of both of my arms and neck. I felt so weak in that moment like a possessive demon had come and drained three quarters of life from my soul. I was as cold as a winter’s day and still all I could think about was making my journey to Transylvania. I felt it was in my destiny to go to Prince Vladimir’s castle and try to stop this curse seeping into our universe from the dark realm once again. For I know that if my once loved sweet prince still loved me as once before then he cannot be so hard to defeat, as I have forgotten the shape of his face now. Seven years prior I would think it seemingly impossible.
‘Avery, can you remember the evil that once struck my dear husband and tried to claim me for itself? It was the same evil that took my best friend Lucy and our dear friend Quincy’s life.’
‘Why yes, ma’am, it was the creature disguised as man, was it not, ma’am?’
‘Yes, Avery, and now I fear once more for my own and my family’s safety: will you write down every word that I speak in a letter to my husband, Avery? It is a matter of importance and afterwards I will need help collecting a few things together, for I will start my journey at dawn and Mr. Van Helsing is to arrive shortly. Will you please tell him that Jonathan is away on business for a few nights and pass on this note to him.’
I had written the note the night I returned to London seven years ago in fear of this moment becoming reality. The note read:
Dear Professor,
He is back. I will end this but in case I do not return please kill him once and for all, rid the world of all his kind I beg you. For you are the only one who has any ability to defeat Dracula.
Your dear friend,
Mina
Avery looked at me caringly and started to write down every word that I wanted to pass on to Jonathan. I could see the pain in her eyes for my loss of blood and general weakness. I knew that she worried that I would not be strong enough to go through with the journey. Avery probably thought that I would collapse and die on the way and that is why I asked her to send for the doctor and assist me by donating a little of her young healthy blood into my weak body. Only then could I function again with enough strength to wipe the disease clear from the face of the earth once and for all.
The doctor came immediately when he heard of my sudden loss of blood and had no difficulties in transferring some of Avery’s blood into my veins. Shortly after I felt myself starting to regain strength and read the letter that Avery had written to my husband before I urgently sent it out.
Dear Jonathan,
I bear terrible news. The past that we so blatantly tried to forget has come back to haunt us once more. Today, before my blackout, a woman came to our home and she told me of Prince Vladimir’s return through her own sorcery. I did not believe this woman until she returned tonight, attacking me and stealing some of my blood. I dreamt he would return and later regain strength with the blood of three innocents and as my soul was never truly damned I am still classed as an innocent. My dream has now become a premonition and I fear if I do not stop what was started seven years ago then he will rule the world and humanity will exist as nothing more than slaves to the darkness that lies beyond the light of our lives.
As you read this letter I will be travelling to his castle in Transylvania. I wanted you to know that I love you, Jonathan. You and Quincy are the light of my life and in order to defeat the darkness I must leave you both behind.
I blame myself for the past as if I wasn’t struck by his charm none of this would have ever happened. I want you to know this in case anything, god forbid, should happen to me. Then at least you know that you are the only and last thing that I shall think of.
I do not want you to come looking for me at the castle as it was my mistake and so I should be the one to stop this. If anything were to happen please take Quincy and run as far as you both can. Do not seek revenge as your lives are more important to me than anything.
Forever yours,
Mina.
Avery began to pack a few of my things together, for my journey would be long and usually a woman like myself would not travel so far without the company of her husband, but in this case I insisted. As she did this, I went upstairs to Quincy and stroked his forehead and lightly kissed him on the cheek, whispering into his ear.
‘May god protect you, my sweet angel, I love you very much.’
I was then ready to leave for what would be the longest and most regrettable journey of my life.
‘Avery, would you keep a close eye on my dear Quincy until Jonathan returns? That woman who came here today did make sense in her own way and I fear for my Quincy. I will be gone for a while so please do not wait for me if you sense any danger, take Quincy to a safe place.’
As I spoke, I imagined my safe return and walking back into Jonathan’s arms.
I planned to go to the counts lair in Transylvania to see for myself if the rumour was not just a rumour but the truth. If the woman was not talking nonsense and she had brought him back through magic then I would find him-and I would kill him.
Chapter Four
My journey was long and tiring and seemed almost like a lifetime until I finally reached Transylvania.
‘Thank you,’ I said to a gentleman who helped me out of the carriage.
‘You will have to take another carriage ten miles north to reach the castle you desire, miss,’ said the gentleman.
As I turned to say thank you once again, the carriage had disappeared and disturbingly in its place appeared another. A carriage of royal class. It was black and gold, decorated with cherubs and thorns, a true piece of beauty, but I recognized this carriage, I had seen it back in England once before, but where? That’s when it dawned on me that the carriage belonged to the Wiltshire estate in England. The exact place where Jonathan had gone on his work away trip.
Suddenly out of the darkness a horseman appeared and asked where I was going. The moment I mentioned Prince Vladimir’s castle he told me of a man he had dropped off there a few hours before. I could only suspect this mystery man to be my husband and fear surrounded me like a blanket of death.
The horseman helped me into the carriage and closed the door behind me gently, whilst I was stunned with the shock of Jonathan’s disregard for his safety, for if anything was to happen to the two of us then what would happen to our dear child. Quincy would be without both a mother and father and that I could never forgive. 
As we turned onto the castle grounds I was filled with the fear of the Count, and three questions rolled around inside my head:
What were his plans now?
What became of him after his death?
And, more importantly, what will he do to me if he finds me first?
These three questions frightened me to the very brim of terror. All that I could imagine was my once sweet prince travelling into the unknown alone, and what that could have done to him? What if he was a greater, more powerful being than before? What if I could not defeat him? But after running all of these questions around in my mind over and over again I reminded myself why I was here and I spoke quietly to remind myself.
‘I am here to kill this dark creature of the night and send him back into the bowels of hell, the very place he rose from.’
With too many thoughts running through my mind I hadn’t noticed that I was finally here. The carriage then stopped and I could feel the air  growing colder like the gleaming ice around an arctic puddle.
I stepped out from within my safe carriage and waved thanks to my escort as he rode off into the gloomy distance. It was then that the fear crept up on me again, as I could feel my blood heating up and forcing through my veins like rapid waters congested with high-speed cascades.
I took in one deep breathe of the icy air and made my way to the entrance of the castle gates. The castle was not quite as I remembered it to be although I was not in its midst for too long all those years ago. It looked more overwhelming and grand to me then. But that was when I was only half myself, I remembered.
***
‘And so I carried on my journey,’ I explained to the eager eared Mr. Shade.
‘This is quite a story, Mrs. Harker, an extraordinary tale, I find myself hypnotized by it,’ Nathanial confessed.
‘Well I better not carry on in that case, as that is only the start of my story, and I feel you will disintegrate into a million tiny pieces if I carry on, for I confess that much has not yet been told Mr. Shade.’
‘Oh I think I can handle it’, he replied smiling.
‘Right then, now where was I, oh yes I entered the castle gates and searched for an unsuspecting entrance...’
***
I searched around for the best possible way into the castle without been noticed. As I came to the front entrance I fell over a stack of small black gleaming rocks and I hit the ground with complete force, and knocked myself unconscious.
I later woke up when the sun had returned to hiding and the blackness of the sky had returned. My forehead was stained with blood which gave me terrifying flash backs from my past. I then decided that it was time. It was time to pull myself from the ground I lay on to continue my search for the Count who I was so eager to destroy since I knew he had Jonathan somewhere in the castles chambers.
At that moment I noticed a gap at the lower part of the left castle tower wall. It wasn’t too big but I was certain if I folded my dress inwards then I could just manage to squeeze through the hole. As I made it through the increasingly tight entrance, I thought to myself with such pride that surely if I had gotten this far then there was hope for me still. Hope that I would find Jonathan and we would return home to Quincy and never have another fear in the world, because my biggest threat of happiness would be dead for all of eternity and could never return to destroy me and my family again.
I finally stepped inside the castle, blocking out the cold air from the mist outside. I looked around to find myself inside the hollowness of a long hall way. I was surrounded by mature, grimy cobwebbed stones covered in microscopic fractures that looked as if the whole wall was about to collapse on top of me. I could feel the warmth from inside the castle walls and smell a sweet aroma that was like a cocktail of the finest spices. I then started to hear the fowl, piercing cries of wolves.
‘Wolves!’ I cried aloud in fear.
It cannot be, I thought. The so called ‘children of the night’ that Jonathan had earlier explained to me from his bound prison days here.
Suddenly, a wolf climbed into the entrance not far from where I stood. I stood frozen not knowing whether to stay standing still or to run, run as fast and as far as I possibly could. The beast stared right at me and started to steadily manoeuvre its large broad legs towards me, snarling at me as if I was a tasty dish. I then made a decision that I would take my chances and run. Just as I slowly turned around to make my escape I endured a full on face to face encounter with another beast. I turned east and then west to find another two by each side. I was trapped and I had no idea of how I could possibly escape. I started to feel cold and shiver with the feelings that death was close by leaning into my soul. I then began to imagine my very own death in these beasts’ eyes that glared upon me with a shield of defence. Could I possibly escape if I tried? Or would the nights spawn devour me as tonight’s supper?
I took one deep breath as a noise came from outside the castle walls and all four beasts stood eagerly waiting for me to move, I then took one small step backwards and ran. I ran as fast as any person would to defend their life. The beasts were not far behind me as I ran for my life. They came faster and faster, one almost sank his teeth within the hem of my dress just scraping the edge of my ankle. That’s when I noticed a door. A secret door that I climbed halfway through as the leading wolf of the pack grabbed hold of my ankle with its razor sharp bite. My ankle was bleeding and almost tearing at the seams when I heard an all too familiar voice.
It was the voice of my husband.
‘Jonathan,’ I shouted.
I could now barely hear his whispers as he called out my name with struggle. My first immediate thought was that he was hurt and the Count had kidnapped Jonathan once again. I kicked the beast in its snout with strong force and, struggling, I pulled myself through the secret opening and slammed the door behind me.
In the first five minutes I struggled to stand with the recurring pain of my ankle, and when I finally managed to keep my balance I walked on little by little dragging my tattered ankle behind me.
‘Mina,’ I heard his whisper again.
‘Jonathan, Jonathan!’ I screamed, ‘I am coming Jonathan’.
The pain from my ankle was now excruciating but I had to find Jonathan: I would not leave him here for the Count to finish him off.
‘Mina!’ his voice suddenly seemed louder, and closer.
I moved as fast as I could, stumbling to the ground every two minutes due to my weakened state. I turned speedily around the corners and made my way up a long, magnificent staircase with a crimson velvet carpet centred on each step.
‘Mina,’ he whispered again, his voice was now as clear to me as the sun dominating a summer sky.
‘Jonathan, I am almost here Jonathan!’ I cried.
Tears started to fill my eyes, for I could not imagine what he had gone through under the Counts forceful hand. The Count must have captured Jonathan on his arrival. The pain and panic this caused me was not a shock but any more surprises from my once sweet prince would send me to a mental state, I was sure.
I was now reaching the top of the grand staircase and I could make out a closed chamber door to my left. My first instincts were that in this room my husband was kept prisoner. I hurried towards the door only to find that it was jammed shut. I pushed with all of my might hoping that the door would come loose and lead me to my husband but it barely budged and I started to wear myself out. I became tired and tears started to roll down my burned up cheeks.
‘Jonathan, can you hear me, if you can hear me I promise I will get you out of here, do you hear me I will not leave you here!’ I screamed.
‘Mina,’ I heard in an echoed voice as the door creaked open and I rushed straight inside without any cares apart from for my husband’s safety.
The door crashed vigorously behind me as I turned to escape for my dear Jonathan was nowhere in sight. The tears that rolled down my cheeks were freed from their liquid form and replaced with crystal like droplets, for in the place of my husband stood a ghost.
A ghost that haunted every memory of my past.

 Thanks for reading,

Louise Lake.

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