‘The Vampyre Hunter: Excuse Me is that a Stake in Your Pocket.’
Dr Seward to Prof. Van Helsing
Dear Professor. Thank you very much for your letter detailing your trip to America. Despite one or two grotesqueries you had to witness I am glad you had an exceptional four days in the western commonwealth nonetheless.
The asylum is at its usual running. No real cases of great importance, not since Renfield. But there is one patient I seem to find an interest in that I have difficulty to explain. A Miss Estelle Spellows. She is not your typical mental case of schizophrenia, not like Renfield, but one who has interludes of day dreaming, chattering to herself under her breath as well as out loud conversations on her own. But I do not believe she is speaking to a vampire as there is no apparent friend of the imagination with her. Sometimes she even goes so far as bellowing lewd and lascivious language at the top of her voice, even in mid conversation. There has not been any violence from her, she always maintains a friendly rapport in my presence. If it was not for the delightful and curious content of discussion that I have with her, I would have written to Dr Tourette my contact in France for special submission into his clinic.
I must also impart a technique I have now introduced to my hospital that is also conducive to my star patient Miss Spellows. That is arts and crafts. I have found that giving patients the means to express themselves, little they rant and rave and attack my staff. I find it cuts down on the use of drugs that is very beneficial on our funds. I also find it to be quite the scientific experiment and exploration when we have painting and drawing classes. To see what these poor souls have locked deep inside them truly introduces a mystery of another kind. But the true mystery that fetches my undivided curiosity is within Miss Spellows.
You see Professor, she shows me a great mind for her age of 23 years. Quite the scientific erudition she has so it seems, but her ideas appear farfetched that she convinces herself are right and ultimately true. This is where we find our problems with her. As so did the outside world before her father interned her to us. If we do not agree with her she seems to slump in a bout of melancholy and dwell on this problem. And after so long of contemplation she will openly strip herself naked and masturbate without any due consideration for her company. Even for this she has a scientific explanation to my amazement. She believes that such a “simple” act will cure her affliction and shield her soul from those who will not see the way as she puts it. And despite her extraordinary scientific mind, her art is filled with nudes and pornography. And I must say she is quite the objective artist in this field despite her not having any formal training in the arts.
It has been too long my friend. I will have to see if I can get some time off my work here at the asylum and venture to Amsterdam. Perhaps visit one of your lectures at the Academy of Science?
Dr John Seward.
Telegram from Prof. Van Helsing to Dr. Seward
Dear friend John [stop] thank you for your immediate reply to my letter [stop] I have just been landed an obligation of utmost importance [stop] I will correspond with you properly soon as possible [stop].
Dr. Seward’s Diary
30th March- I was taken aback with an unusual telegram received by my old friend Professor Van Helsing in Amsterdam. The suddenness of its brief content to inform me he had “an obligation of Utmost Importance” and the telegram method deemed it to be of an hurried response to my last letter. I wonder whether this was of one of his latest eccentricities has he seem to do a lot of arbitrary actions of late. I suspect his opium addiction in this. Of course I will stand by and await his correspondence as he has promised.
31st March- I had an easy day at the asylum today as it was a beautiful summers day for the first time after a very bitter winter. I even allowed some of our patients out into the asylum’s garden. It was delightful to see them happy in the sunshine as though they had been locked up indefinitely for many years. The pinnacle moment of the day was spent with my most important patient Miss Spellows. We engaged in a pleasant conversation about the light after dark in reference to the seasons as she is a very observant individual with life around her. I even had my orderly Mr Roberts to bring tea and cake to the portico of the garden.
With Miss Spellows I notice how she has an attractive vibrance, more so in the rays of the sun. In many respects she reminds me of my much loved late Lucy even though Miss Spellows has waves upon waves of raven hair. My eyes found it uneasy to not take this beautiful spectacle for granted as she is my patient. I wonder whether this delicate flower noticed me looking at her. Especially the moment she accidentally dribbled tea down the top of her gown that snaked its way into the deep cleft of her wan cleavage. But I managed to make myself look less when she went into a sudden passion, crying out a certain unspeakable Dutch ’F’ word in public at her mishap. Ravings I am now used to with Miss Spellows. And always she immediately settles down and takes control of herself. I at this moment offer her a napkin which she will take with grace and decorum. And I not realising it, takes a glance to her bosom once more as she feeds the napkin between her breasts as though swabbing a gun barrel. Oh my. And so the conversation is resumed.
Letter from Prof. Van Helsing to Dr Seward.
Dear Friend John.
My apologies for the inherent delay of corresponding with you appropriately in response to your last letter. Not long after reading it I received a visitor at my house who demanded an audience very sternly that would command my attention. Consequently I immediately packed my travel case and medical bag and made for the train station with said individual. I am now in Marseilles awaiting a steamer to Sicily.
Dr. Seward’s Diary.
April 3rd. I received yet another random and rushed message from Professor Van Helsing, this time by letter. He tells me he is in Marseilles awaiting for a ship to Sicily. For the life of me what is this man doing now? Has he been appointed another exorcism? I do pray he would inform me in more detail as I do find this very frustrating as I am very concerned for his health and welfare. And now he is receiving commissions from strangers on his door step that to me spells certain trouble. If only he would confide in with me on his travels first. Pray god he is safe as I do have a bad feeling with this.
Cutting from “The Observer” April 4th
(Loosely placed in Dr Seward’s diary)
A reporter of the “Sicilia Vitae”, the exclusive paper of Sicily, sent The Observer a story of unique mystery. It has been reported that a Zeppelin Airship, “The Ophiliac”, drifted in to Sicilian air-space from the east with no sign of crew nor captain on board. It drifted freely into a lavender plantation on the outskirts of Bronte, a town on the edge of the Mountains of Nebrodi and was immediately moored by local farmers. Authorities identified the airship being a private merchant owned by the Don of Palermo. Despite its absence of crew there was one survivor found hiding in her cabin. The passenger’s name is Pietra Enna, the daughter of Don Sandra Augustus of Palermo himself. Italian authorities are perturbed and somewhat baffled with this strange discovery. The ship has been docked in Palermo for immediate investigation and Miss Pietra Enna is under the care of the Don’s household.
Dr Seward’s diary
April 4th. My heart leaped today in finding this report in “The Observer” about a ghost airship discovered in Sicily with no sign of its crew on board. This immediately reminded me of two or three things that injected a certain dread into my heart and made my soul shudder. First of all it reminded me of the Professor’s last letter and his mention of waiting in Marseille for a ship to Sicily. Secondly it reminded me of our most profound expedition involving “The Count”. Remembering how that all transpired from the merchant ship “The Demeter” that ran aground off the shore of Whitby with no sign of its crew but one body tied to the cox-wheel.
Of course, with this case of “The Ophiliac“, we have one survivor, from what I can guess is a passenger from her background and where she was found. I am beginning to wonder whether the good Professor has embarked on this case in Sicily. And so the question arises, was The Ophiliac overran by a vampire?
I do feel overwhelmed by restlessness. I am wanting to go to Sicily myself and seek out the Professor, see how he is going about this case, if this is the true reason of his departure. But my wisdom would tell me it would be a fruitless venture as evidence is minimal. In any case it would be wise to await any further news from the professor and attend to my obligations at the asylum. Especially with Miss Spellows and her extraordinary conversations. I would not like to miss anything of her general output.