Dracula The Un-Dead
I just recieved this book today to review, so while I read, here are a few things to whet your appetite: Dracula The Un-Dead
OCEANS OF LOVE, LUCY.
The inscription was the only thing Dr. Jack Seward could focus on as
he felt the darkness overtake him. In the darkness was peace, with no
harsh light to illuminate the tattered remains of his life. For years, he
had devoted himself to fighting back the darkness. Now he simply
Only at night could Seward find peace with the memory of Lucy. In
his dreams, he still felt her warm embrace. For a fleeting moment, he
could go back to London, to a happier era, when he found meaning
through his place in the world and his research. This was the life he had
wished to share with Lucy.
The early morning din of milk wagons, fishmongers’ carts, and
other merchant vehicles rattling hurriedly across the cobblestone streets
of Paris intruded on Seward’s dream and thrust him back into the harsh
present. Seward forced his eyes open. They stung worse than fresh
iodine on an open wound. As the cracked ceiling of the stale Parisian
flophouse room he had been renting came into focus, he reflected on
how much his life had changed. It saddened him to see all the muscle
tone he had lost. His bicep sagged, resembling one of those hand-sewn
muslin tea bags after it had just been removed from a teapot. The veins
on his arm were like rivers on a tattered map. He was a shadow of his
Seward prayed that death would come quickly. He had willed his
body to science, to be used in a classroom at his alma mater. He took
comfort from the fact that in death he would help to inspire future doctors
After a time, he remembered the watch, still nestled in his left hand.
He turned it over. Half past six! For an instant, panic overtook him.
Damn it to hell. He had overslept. Seward staggered to his feet. An
empty glass syringe rolled off the table and shattered on the grimy
wooden floor. A small, smoked brown bottle of morphine was about to
follow the fate of the syringe, but he quickly caught the precious liquid,
untying the leather belt from his left bicep with a practiced movement.
Normal circulation returned as he rolled down his sleeve and returned
the silver monogrammed cuff link to his frayed dress shirt. He buttoned
up his vest and slipped on his jacket. Wallingham & Sons were the finest
tailors in London. If his suit had been made by anyone else, it would
have disintegrated ten years ago. Vanity dies hard, Seward thought to
himself with a humorless chuckle.
He had to hurry if he still wanted to make the train. Where was that
address? He had put it in a safe place. Now, when he needed it, he could
not recall where exactly that was. He overturned the straw-filled mattress,
inspected the underside of the wobbly table, and peered under the
vegetable crates that served as dining chairs. He sifted through piles of
aged newspaper clippings. Their headlines spoke of Seward’s current
preoccupation: gruesome stories of Jack the Ripper. Autopsy photos of
the five known victims. Mutilated women posed, legs open, as if waiting
to accept their deranged killer. The Ripper was deemed a butcher of
women—but a butcher is more merciful to the animals he slaughters.
Seward had reread the autopsy notes countless times. Loose pages of his
theories and ideas written on scrap paper, torn cardboard, and unfolded
matchboxes fluttered around him like windblown leaves.
The sweat flowing from Seward’s brow began to sting his bloodshot
eyes. Damn, where had he put it? The Benefactor had taken enormous risks
to get him this information. Seward could not bear the thought of disappointing
the only person who still believed in him. Everyone else—the
Harkers, the Holmwoods—all thought he had taken leave of his senses.
If they could see this room, Seward knew, they would feel justified in that
belief. He scanned the crumbling plaster walls, which bore the evidence
of his morphine-induced rants, his wild insights handwritten in ink, coal,
wine, even his own blood. No madman would be so obvious. He was
certain that these writings would one day prove his sanity.
Amidst it all, there was a page torn from a book, stabbed into the wall
with a bone-handled bowie knife whose blade was stained with old blood.
The page featured a portrait of an elegant, raven-haired beauty. Beneath
the picture, an inscription: Countess Elizabeth Bathory circa 1582.
Of course, that’s where I hid it. He laughed at himself as he pulled the
knife out of the wall, seizing the page and turning it over. In his own
barely legible handwriting, he found the address of a villa in Marseilles.
Seward removed the cross, wooden stake, and garlic wreaths that hung
next to Bathory’s picture and scooped up a silver knife from the floor.
He placed everything into a false bottom in his medical bag and covered
it all with standard medical supplies.
The train left the Gare de Lyon exactly on time. Seeing it pull away just
as he was paying for his ticket, Seward sprinted across the flood-stained
building to reach the chugging behemoth as it left the seventh bay door.
He managed to catch the last Pullman car and hoist himself on before
it had a chance to pick up speed. His heart surged with pride as he made
the daring leap. He had done this sort of thing in his youth with the
Texan Quincey P. Morris and his old friend Arthur Holmwood. Youth
was wasted on the young. Seward smiled to himself as he recalled the
reckless days of his innocence . . . and ignorance.
The doctor took a seat in the elaborate dining car as the train lumbered
southward. It wasn’t moving quickly enough. He glanced down at
his pocket watch; only five minutes had passed. Seward lamented that
he could no longer pass the time by writing in his journal, as he was
unable to afford the luxury of such a thing. They were not scheduled to
reach Marseilles for ten more hours. There, he would finally have the
evidence to prove his theories and show those who had shunned him
that he was not mad, that he had been right all along.
These were going to be the longest ten hours of Seward’s life.
“Billets, s’il vous plaît!”
Seward stared wide-eyed at the conductor standing over him with a
stern look of impatience.
“Forgive me,” Seward said. He handed the conductor his ticket,
adjusting his scarf to cover the torn breast pocket.
“You are British?” the conductor asked with a heavy French accent.
“A doctor?” The conductor nodded toward the medical bag between
Seward watched the conductor’s gray eyes catalogue the threadbare
person in front of him, the ill-fitting suit and well-worn shoes. He was
hardly the image of a respectable doctor. “I will see your bag, please.”
He handed over the bag, for it was not as if he had much choice in
the matter. The conductor methodically pulled out medical bottles, read
the labels, and dropped them back in with a clink. Seward knew what
the conductor was looking for and hoped he wouldn’t dig too deeply.
“Morphine,” announced the conductor in a voice so loud that other
passengers glanced over. He held up the brown bottle.
“I sometimes have to prescribe it as a sedative.”
“I will see your license, please.”
Seward searched his pockets. Over a month ago, the International
Opium Convention had been signed, prohibiting persons from importing,
selling, distributing, and exporting morphine without a medical
license. It took him so long to find it that by the time Seward finally
produced the license, the conductor was about to pull the cord to stop
the train. The conductor examined the paper, frowning, then turned his
steely eyes to the travel document. The United Kingdom was the first to
use photo identification on their passports. Since that picture had been
taken, Seward had lost a tremendous amount of weight. His hair was
now much grayer, his beard wild and untrimmed. The man in the train
bore little resemblance to the man in the photo.
“Why are you going to Marseilles, doctor?”
“I am treating a patient there.”
“What ails this patient?”
“He’s suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”
“Qu’est-ce que c’est?”
“It is a psychological instability causing the patient to inflict predatory,
autoerotic, antisocial, and parasitic control on those around them.
As well as—”
“Merci.” The conductor cut Seward off by handing him back his
papers and ticket with a deft flick. He turned and addressed only the
men at the next table. “Billets, s’il vous plaît.”
Jack Seward sighed. Replacing his papers in his jacket, he checked
the pocket watch again, a nervous habit. It seemed as if the interrogation
had lasted hours, but only another five minutes had passed. He
rolled down the fringed window shade to shield his eyes from the daylight
and reclined into the plush, burgundy upholstered seat.
Oceans of Love, Lucy.
He held the beloved watch close to his heart and closed his eyes to
It was a quarter century ago. Seward held the same watch up to the light
the better to read the inscription: “Oceans of love, Lucy.”
She was there. Alive. “You don’t like it,” she said, and pouted.
He couldn’t break his stare away from her green eyes, soft as a summer
meadow. Lucy had an odd idiosyncrasy of watching a speaker’s
mouth as if trying to taste the next word before it passed by his lips.
She had such a lust for life. Her smile could bring warmth to the coldest
heart. As she sat on the bench in the garden that spring day, Seward
marveled at how the sunlight illuminated the loose strands of red hair
that danced in the breeze, haloing her face. The scent of fresh lilacs
mixed with the salty sea air of Whitby Harbor. In the years since,
whenever he smelled lilacs, he would remember this beautiful, bitter
“I can only conclude,” Seward said, clearing his throat before his
voice had a chance to break, “since you wrote on the gift card ‘Dearest
Friend’ rather than ‘Fiancé,’ that you have chosen not to accept my pro
posal of marriage.”
Lucy looked away, her eyes moistening. The silence spoke volumes.
“I thought it best that you hear it from me,” Lucy finally sighed. “I
have consented to wed Arthur.”
Arthur had been Jack Seward’s friend since they were lads. Seward
loved him like a brother, yet always envied how easily everything came
to Arthur. He was handsome and rich, and had never in his life known
worry or struggle. Or heartbreak.
“I see.” Seward’s voice sounded like a squeak in his ears.
“I do love you,” Lucy whispered. “But . . .”
“But not as much as much as you love Arthur.” Of course he could
not compete with the wealthy Arthur Holmwood, nor was he as dashing
as Lucy’s other suitor, the Texan Quincey P. Morris.
“Forgive me,” he went on in a softer tone, suddenly afraid he’d hurt
her. “I forgot my place.”
Lucy reached out and patted his hand, as one would a beloved pet. “I
will always be here.”
Back in the present, he stirred in his sleep. If he could just see the
beauty in Lucy’s eyes . . . The last time he had gazed into them, that
terrible night in the mausoleum, he had seen nothing but pain and torment.
The memory of Lucy’s dying screams still seared Seward’s brain.
After leaving the train, Seward walked in a torrential downpour through
Marseilles’s labyrinth of white buildings and cursed his timing. Of
course, his quest brought him to the French Riviera in March, the only
He slogged farther inland, glancing back to see Fort Saint-Jean
standing like a stone sentinel in the indigo harbor. Then he turned about
to study the Provençal city, which had been built around a 2,600-year-old
village. Artifacts of the city’s Greek and Roman founders were found
throughout the streets. Seward lamented that he was in this picturesque
haven for such a sinister purpose. Though it would not be the first time
malevolence had made its presence felt here: Over the last century, this
seaside town had been marred by plague and pirates.
Seward stopped. Looming in front of him was a typical two-story
Mediterranean villa with large wooden shutters and wrought-iron bars
on the windows. The winter moon peering through the rain clouds cast
a spectral glow on the traditional white walls. The roof was covered in
red terra-cotta tiles that reminded him of some of the old Spanish houses
he had seen when he visited Quincey P. Morris in Texas so many years
ago. It created a decidedly foreboding ambience, even unwelcoming, for
an ornate villa on the French Riviera. It appeared entirely devoid of life.
His heart sank at the thought that he might be too late. Seward looked
again at the address.
This was it.
Suddenly, he heard the thunderous approach of a horse-drawn carriage
splashing along the cobblestones. He ducked into a vineyard across
from the building. There were no grapes on the dripping, weblike
branches. A black carriage with ornate gold trim sailed up the hill,
pulled by two glistening black mares. The animals drew to a stop without
a command. Seward looked up and, to his surprise, saw there was no
driver. How was that possible?
A strapping figure emerged from the carriage. The mares nipped at
each other and squealed, necks arched. Then, again to Seward’s amazement,
they moved off, in perfect step, with no coachman to direct them.
The figure held a walking stick aloft with one black-gloved hand, and
dipped into a pocket with the other for a key, then stopped suddenly as
if becoming aware of something.
“Damn,” Seward muttered to himself.
The person at the door cocked his head, almost as if he heard Seward’s
voice through the rain, and turned slowly toward the vineyard. Seward
felt waves of panic and adrenaline wash over him but managed to hold
his breath. The gloved hand reached up to the brim of the velvet top hat
and Seward choked back a gasp as he saw the top hat removed to reveal
sensuous locks of black hair cascading onto the figure’s shoulders.
His mind reeled. It is she! The Benefactor had been right.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory stood at the doorway of the villa, looking
exactly as she had in the portrait painted over three hundred years
(Posted with permission from the publisher)
To find out more about this book, you can go to the website www.draculatheundead.com
View the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJJCiQ6GgI0