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Saturday Review with the Count
By Robert Penner
Friday, July 23, 2010
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Dracula is interviewed after many years of loneliness and fading powers.
A Saturday Review with the Count
By Robert Penner 2010
Entry Saturday Early 0130 February 15, 1920
Darkness shrouds me like a thick wool blanket. I yearn for the romance of a younger time although I don’t feel a day over twenty five. Yet, feelings are an illusion. Too long have I sat here in darkness. Too long have a spent the nights alone. The cold air hugs my body and chills my bones. I somehow like that deathly chill. It makes me feel alive. My tongue is weakened because the lack of conversation has made it so. I would love to court the young flesh of a woman once again. To smell her hair, her smooth skin, the taste would drive me crazy. How did I become so hated? Why has the world shunned me into the darkness my soul feels?
Candle flames flicker casting my shadow onto the tall drapes. I slowly walk over to the window and gaze out onto the street below. The lampposts dance their light casting its dim bright upon the passing, the living. I often wonder where these crazy people are going this time of night. How do they live their meaningless mechanical existence? Their top hats, long black trench coats are just a fad that will soon fade away. Those silly people, is there not one that I can befriend? Not one that will see me for what I am, for who I am? Enough of them I say “Let the cold consume their bodies.” As I walk away from the window to my table I gently drag my slender boney fingers across the top. The dust floats upward and stains my pale fingertips. Has it been that long since I last called this place home? Ah, yes I remember, I remember being away for a time, but has it really been that long? By the looks of the place I might have been gone for years, for decades or longer. I remember being in a place much much warmer. A smile spreads across my face as I recall the fond memories of such a place where I had my fill. The people were so lively, vibrant, and beautiful. The long ocean journeys were a bit tiresome, but all in all it was worth the misery, worth the starvation. I never felt the pit of my stomach until I was on those ships. The tossing of the waves took me up and down, side to side and there were only a few that could bring me comfort. I held out as long as I could, but no amount of patience would keep the inevitable. The fill did not bring me pleasure but it did sustain me from insanity. Never mind all that, I smile because that land, that new world brought me so much joy. I met people, lots of people, and of course very beautiful women. I cannot even count the recollection of such a fine creation. If I could I would make them all my bride. Unfortunately not all would have me. Many I tired to persuade, but not many could comprehend the kind of life they would have or the kind of being they would become. I remember this one young girl, no, young woman. Her long blond hair reminded me of the sun and the danger such brightness would befall me. I had the damnedest of a time trying to court that sassy woman. She was like a springtime flower protected by a swarm of bees. I had the hardest time getting through to her, but oh how sweet her nectar. I will never forget her. After a time of excitement, my boredom took me to great and wonderful places throughout that magnificent land. I went places I only dreamed about, only read about in books, places no one has ever laid pen to paper indeed I was a spoiled soul. No matter how good you have it there is no place like home. Time after time and again and again I always end up here. I love my home, the cold concrete walls and the comforts I find within. I never get enough of my library. I work so hard to never run out of modern works of art and history that keep my knowledge full and satisfied. Even with all this knowledge it doesn’t really change who I am. My shadow is all I can see of myself. What would I give to see just a glimpse, to see what others see of me? What are they that are so afraid? What are those that cannot resist me? Am I handsome, loathsome, or is it my personality that captivates the interest of the willing. Over the centuries I used to be alone in this castle, but progress has brought the living so close. I remember the days when the beast would answer my beckon and obey my every command, but long gone are those days. The living has overcome their fear of the fang. “I’ll be damned they killed them all off.” I don’t hear their cry at the full moon any longer. Sadness fills my heart as I think of the days gone by.
“Enough of this sulking, I have a big day tomorrow I must get some rest for my strength cannot keep me all night any longer.”
Entry Saturday Morning 0800 February 15, 1920
Morning comes too quickly, I feel as if I slept only a minute yet six hours passed. Today I have an interview with an inquisitive visitor from England. She has requested by letter that she speak with me about my castle and the life I live inside. At first I decided not to do the interview because it is so hard for me to open up anymore. I grow so weak these days and my bones are catching up with my age. I feel fine, but I can see in my hands and in my feet that I am aging. The life blood that used to keep my skin young and my hair smooth has changed and I don’t get the same benefits from it as I used to. For a moment I did decline to see her, but as I thought about it I thought that maybe, just maybe she might do me a favor. Yes, she might provide me some answers as to why their blood does not satisfy me with the same healing powers of youth as it once did.
Entry Saturday Night 2100 February 15, 1920
The interview today was interesting. I was left with great perplexity in my thinking. Did I do the right thing? Did I ask the right questions? Did I do my best to find out all that I could? Let me think for a moment as it is getting late. I am suffering from a headache and feel rather weak. The day seemed to run quite fast and I am having a little trouble remembering the events clearly. I remember the morning hours quite well though. I first entered the library full of books and periodicals of modern day present and yesterday’s past. At first I was distracted by the air of the room. The dank dingy smell brought a peculiar taste to my mouth. An imposing chill ran up my spine. I cannot recall if that was fear or the draft of the cold air that drifted up my skirt. The host was genuinely gracious and humble. He offered me a chair by the fire that did very little to bring warmth. I reckon the stone walls did more to keep the cold in than to let a fire dissipate its natural element. I sat down and sat up straight using my best posture and professional form. He walked over slowly and towered over me. He offered his hand and I instinctively took it. He bent over and kissed my wrist saying, “Welcome to my humble abode.” I must admit I was surprised and blushed. I’m not sure what it was, but I felt lost within myself when I gazed in his deep dark eyes. He paced the room telling me stories from a time that I’m not sure I would even recognize if I were there in person. He seemed a little contrite for something I could not figure out. After a time of listening, watching, I remembered that I was there to interview but it was I who was interviewed instead. He asked me questions of the outside world and why did we on the outside look at him with such disdain. For a while I began to wonder if he was a doctor by trade. He rambled on about the purity of human blood and how today it is less pure. He talked in detail about the anatomy and physiology of it. I could not wrap my mind around it. There were moments when I saw tears stream down his pale cheeks. He was indeed pale. Unusually as a matter of fact, his lips had almost no color at all. His long gray hair looked dry and in need of a washing. My legs felt the tingling and I needed to stand up. I remember thinking that it would be rude to do so, but I could not help it as I sat for several hours without moving an inch. As I stood up the blood flow to my legs began to rush and I lost the ability to put weight on them. Maybe it was the way I sat with my legs crossed? I remember buckling over and his rush to my aide. He wrapped his arms around me and kept me from falling. The pain in my legs, as intense as it was, was nothing to the chill I felt when I saw his face next to mine. That is all I remember. I awoke in a bed down the hall from the library room. A warm blanket covered me. I was fully clothed and my notepad lay on the night stand next to the bed. I sat up and looked around frightened and shocked. I quickly got out of bed and grabbed my notepad. Before I could think he mysteriously appeared in front of me. “Are you alright?” he asked. “I apologize if I have put a fright in you, but it is you who put a fright in me. You see after your interview and a fine interview it was, you fainted on your way out. I wasn’t sure what to do so I brought you here to let you rest awhile. I summoned a doctor he should arrive her shortly.” I stepped back for a moment and looked at his rosy red lips. I promptly assured him that I was alright and needed to get going. What a strange day indeed. He insists I asked all the right questions, but I do not remember doing so, and my notepad remains empty.
Entry Saturday Late 2355 February 15, 1920
I woke up from my sleep screaming and short of breath. The very act of yelling out loud brought profound exhaustion that I cannot ever recall having before in my life. I sipped some water from a glass on my nightstand trying to regain my very breath. I removed my bed covers and dangled my legs over the bedside. My air came back slowly and I remember him, the Count who haunts my dreams. I fear that this man I will never forget. I cannot stop thinking about him. He haunts my mind to the point of paranoia. I dreamt that I was back at his castle awaking from my faint, and instead of his pale white lips they were red with blood dripping down from the corners of his mouth. My heart attempts to beat faster but it is struggling to beat at all. As I write this I feel extremely weak and light headed. I notice that my bedroom window is open. I am sure I did not open it. The wind gently moves the curtains inward. I am scared and full of fear. I regret going to that mans home. I regret looking into his beady eyes. Something is strange about the way I feel. I took my hand mirror and looked at my face in its reflection. I have seemed to have lost my complexion. Now it is I who look deathly pale. I fear that this just might be my end. As I rubbed my neck I felt two small bumps on my neck. I tilted the mirror for a look and noticed the blood dripping from them. I feel him calling me. I cannot resist. I must go.
Short story based on the character created by Bram Stoker.
©Robert Penner 2010
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