Workshop Wednesday

Dracula

After a long break (due to Action Adventure April as well as a touch of writer's block), we return wiuth the next chapter of Dracula. Finding the right place for the characters to move to was the trick -- I have to let the characters grow, but they also have to head towards their final positions. I know where I want everyone to end up, I have the last few scenes in my head, but getting them there has to be organic (thus the writer's block as I worked to resolve things). I think I've got the pieces lined up, so now it's time to start heading into the end game (however long that takes).

If you haven't already read the previous parts of this series, I'd recommend hitting that first before diving into this section.

Dracula: Part 5

FADE IN.

INT: CARFAX ABBEY, FOYER, MORNING.

MINA is walking through the hallway when the front doors open, pouring sunlight into the room, sunlight she then quickly dodges to avoid. LUCY, on the arm of QUINCEY, comes in laughing.

MINA:

Cousin, you seem positively giddy.

LUCY:

Oh, MINA! You're awake. We didn't expect you.

MINA:

Stealing QUINCEY away from me, are you?

LUCY:

Hahaha, no! He was just a dear and took me to church this morning.

MINA:

Church? I haven't been in some time.

LUCY:

I noticed. It's been a while for me, too, ever since I came here. I was feeling like I needed to go, just to feel that assurance and peace. QUINCEY was a doll and took me, as a gentleman.

QUINCEY bows to LUCY, then walks over to MINA who plants a kiss on his neck.

MINA:

I didn't know you went to church, my dear QUINCEY.

QUINCEY:

In my past. My father was a minister. I stopped going once I moved out.

MINA smiles.

MINA:

Well I'm glad you got that out of your system.

She turns to LUCY.

MINA:

What was so funny about the church?

LUCY:

Funny?

MINA:

You were as giddy as a school girl coming in.

QUINCEY:

I'm afraid that was my fault. I was regaling her with a tale of my time at university with ARTHUR and, well, the story got a little bawdy.

LUCY:

He was so embarrassed once he realized how inappropriate the story became it made me laugh. It was adorable.

MINA:

Adorable? Well now I am feeling a might bit jealous.

QUINCEY leans down and whispers in her ear. She smiles a devilish smile.

MINA:

Jealousy gone! LUCY, you have a lovely evening. We're going to bed.

And then she drags QUINCEY out of the room. LUCY stands there, giggling for a moment, then wanders off to the kitchens.

INT: CARFAX ABBEY, KITCHENS, MORNING.

LUCY wanders it to find DRACULA at the kitchen table, feet up, slowly and methodically gnawing on a chicken leg.

LUCY:

Oh, I'm sorry to bother you, Count. I don't mean to disturb you at breakfast.

DRACULA waves it away with the chicken bone.

DRACULA:

No, please, sit down and have some food. There's plenty, in larger varieties than I'd ever want to eat.

LUCY primly sits down and, from the pile of fruits and meats on the table, selects an orange. She sets about peeling it while DRACULA finishes his repast.

LUCY:

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen you in the kitchens, let alone for breakfast.

DRACULA:

As with your cousin, my business keeps me busy. But there was much activity in the house this morning, you and your friend coming in, I decided to grab a snack before bed.

LUCY:

Just meat? Would you like some fruit?

DRACULA:

No, but thank you. This isn't even my preferred meal but, occasionally, a bit of meat can suffice when it is juicy and tender.

LUCY:

What is your preferred meal?

DRACULA gives her a toothy smile.

DRACULA:

I'd rather talk about you. I know so little about you, it feels like your cousin actively tries to keep us apart. I fear you have all kinds of wicked stories about her.

LUCY:

Nothing bad! No!

DRACULA smiles.

DRACULA:

That's a pity. What about you and your family.

LUCY:

It's actually funny you should mention that because my father is coming into town soon. I don't know if you've been keeping up with the news but there's been an unusual outbreak of a wasting disease. People dying from lack of blood. He's been called in to assist in the investigation.

DRACULA:

Fascinating. He's an investigator?

LUCY:

A doctor. A specialist, really, of strange and unusual maladies. Although that's not how he'd put it.

DRACULA:

Oh?

LUCY:

He likes to say he's a quack. He studies the occult.

DRACULA chokes on his meat.

DRACULA:

What?

LUCY:

It's his hobby. Silly really, I know. He used to regale MINA and I about tales of ancient monsters, fiends that lived in the dark of night. MINA was enthralled by the stories of werewolves and mummies and vampires. Silly trifles.

DRACULA:

And he's coming here?

LUCY:

Well not here to the house, although I'm sure he'll visit. He's staying at the university to head their research program while the malady is ongoing.

DRACULA stares at her. She gets a worried look on her face.

LUCY:

Did I say something wrong? He's really a sweet man, if a tad eccentric.

DRACULA:

No. No, no. You're fine. Just, I realized I have business I must attend to. If you'll excuse me.

DRACULA quickly gets up and leaves the room. LUCY stares after him for a moment, then goes back to her orange.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT: UNIVERSITY MORGUE, AFTERNOON.

We see ABRAHAM studying bodies, looking at their limbs, searching for wounds. A DETECTIVE comes into the mogue, spots ABRAHAM, and moves over.

DETECTIVE:

Excuse me, sir, but you aren't supposed to be here.

ABRAHAM:

To the contrary, good sir. I am DR. ABRAHAM VAN HELSING.

He speaks with a faint German accent and clicks his heels when introducing himself, bowing his head slightly in greeting.

ABRAHAM:

The university called on me to study these bodies. The wasting disease is spreading, as you well know, and these kinds of maladies are my specialty.

The DETECTIVE looks leery as ABRAHAM goes back to manhandling the body.

DETECTIVE:

Let me get you a mask at least so you don't breathe the miasma.

ABRAHAM waves him away.

ABRAHAM:

I assure you I will not contract this disease by breathing the air around the bodies. In fact, I don't think it's a disease at all.

The DETECTIVE looks shocked.

DETECTIVE:

I have been assured, sir-

ABRAHAM looks up and smiles.

ABRAHAM:

Doctor, if you would be so kind.

DETECTIVE:

Doctor. Others in your field assured me that it was a terrible disease.

ABRAHAM:

Oh, there is a malady, to be sure, but it isn't spread by a disease. No, this is the work of a creature, or creatures.

DETECTIVE:

Bacteria?

ABRAHAM laughs.

ABRAHAM:

I supposed, in a way. A better term would be parasites.

DETECTIVE:

And you come to this conclusion...

ABRAHAM shifts part of a sheet to grab an arm, pulling it out and showing it to the DETECTIVE.

ABRAHAM:

You see this arm? No blood pooling on the backside of the body from where it lay and the blood coagulated.

DETECTIVE:

Yes, because the disease destroyed the blood.

ABRAHAM:

Poppycock. The blood simply doesn't disappear, the fluids must go somewhere. No, this blood was drained, from a wound.

DETECTIVE:

Like... a leech...?

ABRAHAM:

A very large one, I would think. This is enough blood to cause any normal leech or tick to explode. I would take an army of leeches coating this body to drain a victim like that, but we only have a single set of wounds.

ABRAHAM points to the victim's neck where two pock marks reside.

DETECTIVE:

The pock marks. Yes, a signature of the disease. It's led to many a noble lady to wear a scarf around her neck for fear of getting the infection somehow.

ABRAHAM:

They aren't pock marks. They're wounds. This victim was drained from their neck.

The DETECTIVE looks even more confused, and worried.

ABRAHAM:

This is the work of a man... more or less.

DETECTIVE:

You don't mean-

ABRAHAM sighs.

ABRAHAM:

Not the Ripper, or any of his copies. Quite a different being. But one that can be caught.

DETECTIVE:

You have some idea of whom?

ABRAHAM:

I might. Let be do a little more research. I do have thoughts. Once I know more we will have to chat, DETECTIVE.

ABRAHAM looks down at his watch.

ABRAHAM:

But tonight I have dinner with my daughter and I'm already running behind schedule.

DETECTIVE:

But what do we do about this killer tonight?

ABRAHAM thinks for a moment.

ABRAHAM:

Encourage people to stay indoors at night. If you can organize men to patrol the streets to keep the citizens at home, do so. And have your men travel in pairs; the last thing we want is for one of them to fall prey to this killer.

DETECTIVE:

Yes, Doctor. That's wise.

ABRAHAM then rushes out.

INT: CARFAX ABBEY, FOYER, EVENING.

SFX: Door knocking.

At the sound of someone at the door QUINCEY comes into the foyer, opening the door to allow ABRAHAM in.

QUINCEY:

Good evening. QUINCEY MORRIS, and you must be-

LUCY comes rushing in, his skirt swishing as she runs.

LUCY:

FATHER!

ABRAHAM sets his case down and grabs LUCY in a big, friendly hug.

ABRAHAM:

My dear LUCY. Good to see you. Your mother and I were surprised when you decided to stay here for these last few weeks. We had assumed this would be a short visit.

LUCY nods and smiles.

LUCY:

I know, father, but MINA has been such a lovely host, and London is so interesting. It's been such a flurry of adventure.

At the sound of her name MINA comes in.

MINA:

Uncle. A pleasure to have you. Welcome to the home of COUNT DRACULA, our host for this evening. Tonight we are all his guests and be bids you welcome.

ABRAHAM looks around.

ABRAHAM:

And where is this mysterious Count?

MINA turns and head towards the dining room, leading the group deeper into the house.

MINA:

Away on business, I'm afraid. That is why I stay on here, in fact. He is so often away on business that he needs someone in London to take care of his estate and handle his local affairs. It does keep me ever so busy.

INT: CARFAX ABBEY, FORMAL DINING ROOM, EVENING.

MINA, LUCY, QUINCEY, and ABRAHAM come into the room. ARTHUR and SEWARD are already in the dining room, with ARTHUR directing a servant while SEWARD sips on a glass of wine at the table. SEWARD rises from the table and both come over as MINA and her group come in.

MINA:

Uncle, let me introduce ARTHUR HOLMWOOD, Lord of the Goldaming estates. And this is JOHN SEWARD, a doctor and friends with ARTHUR and QUINCEY, whom you have already met.

ABRAHAM shakes hands with each of the men.

ABRAHAM:

A fine trio of gentlemen. Are you all courting my niece.

The men all look awkwardly at each other. MINA smiles and turns to the servant.

MINA:

Fetch the first course.

INT: CARFAX ABBEY, FORMAL DINING ROOM, EVENING, LATER.

All the dinner guests are seated around the table, talking and laughing.

ABRAHAM:

And you told that story to my daughter?

QUINCEY:

In fairness, sir, it is a funny story.

LUCY:

(a touch angry) In fairness I'm not a child!

ABRAHAM laughs.

ABRAHAM:

Of course, dear. I must adapt with the times. I am a touch old fashioned, I fear.

SEWARD:

So, Doctor, MINA has told us that your are in our fair city investigating the wasting disease?

ABRAHAM:

Yes. Matters such as this are my specialty.

MINA looks up inquisitive, but doesn't say much.

SEWARD:

You've seen many afflictions like this disease?

ABRAHAM:

I think it would be more accurate to say I've studied this matter repeatedly. My suspicions are that the underlying cause is always the same.

SEWARD:

Fascinating. So you know how to treat it?

ABRAHAM:

I... have my suspicions. Sadly I am generally called in after the fact, when an outbreak like this has come and gone and all I am left with are theories. This is the first time I've been called in during an outbreak.

SEWARD:

If you don't mind my asking, what do you think is the cause?

ABRAHAM:

Well-

At this point DRACULA comes swooping into the room, a bottle of wine and a dozen roses in his arms.

DRACULA:

Ah, my esteemed guests! I hope you are having a lovely evening.

Everyone rises to this feet upon his entrance.

MINA:

(with some confusion and a touch of anger) Count! We didn't expect you this evening.

DRACULA:

Yes, well some of my business concluded early and I thought I would come back to my home and see how my guests were fairing.

ABRAHAM clicks his heels and does his half-bow.

ABRAHAM:

Count, I am DR. ABRAHAM VAN HELSING. Thank you for allowing me into your home.

DRACULA sets the wine and roses on the table and comes over to the doctor.

DRACULA:

Of course. It is my pleasure to have such an esteemed guest in my manor. Your daughter and niece have said many great things about you.

ABRAHAM:

They are too kind.

DRACULA:

Your accent, it's faint but German, yes?

ABRAHAM:

Indeed, sir.

DRACULA:

From the Carlsbad area, yes?

ABRAHAM:

Oh yes. I grew up there. Remarkable that you could pick that out.

DRACULA:

I... spent some time in the region once.

ABRAHAM:

When was that?

MINA:

Oh, uncle, don't bore the count with stories of the old country. Let's have dessert instead.

DRACULA:

Actually, if I can borrow your niece for a time, there is some other business in town we both should attend to.

MINA:

There is?

DRACULA turns to her and gives her a look.

DRACULA:

Yes.

MINA:

Sorry. I didn't realize that was tonight.

ABRAHAM:

Well, if you must go. It really has been a lovely evening.

DRACULA smiles.

DRACULA:

Stay, please. I brought wine. Enjoy it with the dessert course, be entertained by LUCY who already feels like family here. Please. Continue to be my guest for tonight. MINA?

MINA nods.

MINA:

Yes, let's go attend to matters.

DRACULA and MINA leave as the rest of the guests sit back down to enjoy the next course.

INT: DRACULA'S CARRIAGE, NIGHT.

The quiet is tense inside the carriage as DRACULA and MINA sit there, swaying in the rocking as the carriage moves.

MINA:

You shouldn't have-

DRACULA:

You think to tell me what I should do? You who brought a vampire hunter into my estate?

MINA:

He's my uncle!

DRACULA:

I heard all he was talking about. He knows.

MINA:

He suspects but he doesn't know. And her certainly doesn't know about us. I could have found out more if you hadn't barged in. I doubt my uncle is a threat.

DRACULA:

He's not your uncle. He's not your family.

MINA:

How could you say such a thing!

DRACULA turns and stare at her, the light gleaming in his eyes like a cat.

DRACULA:

We are not human. We no longer share their lineage. This is what I have been trying to tell you. We are different. Better. Evolved! You need to stop playing with them as if you exist in the same world. The girl, the old man, your lovers, none of them are your equals. They are playthings. Food. Grist for the worms.

MINA looks shocked.

MINA:

I'm still me, inside.

DRACULA laughs, a cruel laugh.

DRACULA:

The MINA you remember died that night in my castle. That MINA would have done anything for her fiance, wanted to spend eternity with him, died for him. You aren't her.

MINA:

Stop it!

DRACULA:

You're someone new. A beast. An enchantress. I gave you my true power so I might have someone like me, but you waste it trifling away in a past life with mortal concerns.

MINA:

I've found my true self, who I always wanted to be.

DRACULA:

That girl is dead and you need to realize it. You aren't her and that's what make you special but you have to embrace it. You live in society when you should be above it. You feed on your flock without killing. You keep one foot in each world. Let go of old desires, old ties to the world. Become a goddess.

MINA turns away, but DRACULA grabs her face and turns her back to him.

DRACULA:

You are perfection, ageless and eternal. My beauty.

He brings her face to his and they kiss. Soon MINA becomes passionate and the two embrace before it goes further. She climbs atop, he loosens her bodice. They begin to have sex, and then DRACULA plunges his fangs into her throat and she reciprocates. They feed, and screw, getting more and more frenetic. She releases his neck and screams out as she orgasms, then collapses atop him. He pets her face while they both come down, sweaty, with a touch of blood in their eyes.

DRACULA:

It could be like that, every time, if you'd be with me instead of your flock.

MINA looks up and DRACULA smiles at her, a bit of his long teeth showing. The carriage slows down.

DRACULA:

Make yourself presentable. We must feed. It is time for your to embrace your beast.

FADE OUT.

End of Part 5:

One thing a few readers have noted was that Mina came across as a bit more of a villain on page that she sounded in my head. It was clear to me she wasn't as bad as Dracula; she didn't kill her flock, didn't turn them into vampires, and didn't allow Dracula to touch her family. In my head that made her better (of not necessarily "good"), so I felt like I had to comment on that here. Whether she falls from grace in the next few chapters or not is the real question.

Carlsbad is the town near Dracula's castle in classic Hammer films. I liked being able to reference that.