Blood's a meager sacrifice; a most reasonable price for all the riches I am giving. – Dracula, the Musical

May fifteenth

Finally, those awful women had left, but with the marks of their teeth on his neck and both his wrists, and the loss of blood making him unable to move. Who were those demon women? What were they? They had fangs, like some wild animal…but he could not think clearly, his head was spinning.

And then the Count came, who surely must have known about this, who must have been involved in it somehow. Oh, how strange the events had been since he even began to travel to the Count's home! Perhaps the Count was the demon who had begun all this.

All doubts of that disappeared when he saw the Count clearly in the ray of moonlight that fell over them. Oh, God, the Count too had fangs as those women had! And his eyes…they were red! No human had red eyes…the Count was surely a demon. He was terrified suddenly, as he hadn't been even when those women began to bite him. If the Count took his blood as the women had, then he would surely die. No one could survive with that much blood loss, he was sure.

All his instincts screamed at him to flee, but Jonathan felt unable to move, and besides, he lay upon this stone – was it a tomb? He felt certain that if it was, it predicted his own fate, and this feeling only intensified as the Count moved closer to him, those horrible white fangs bared. But instead of biting him, the Count bit his own wrist. The blood began to flow freely, and confusion overwhelmed Jonathan, but also terror as the Count brought his wrist to Jonathan's lips and the blood began to pour into his mouth. He didn't know what was going on, what any of this meant, only that there was something terribly wrong, that this was a sign of something awful…

The Count did pull his wrist away from Jonathan's lips after a time, but almost immediately after he bit Jonathan in the neck again, just as those foul women had. He wanted to scream at the sudden pain, but with his previous blood loss, he lost consciousness almost immediately.

Mina Murray sat at the writing desk in her bedchamber, trying to write a letter to Jonathan. She knew she would never send it, for she would feel exceedingly foolish sending Jonathan a letter so full of her own petty troubles and discomforts, but she couldn't sleep, and she had to do something. And writing to Jonathan was a good way to practice the shorthand that he had taught her.

When her hand began to cramp, she put down her pen and gazed at the window. The moon was out, she noticed, and it cast more light than her sputtering candle did. She decided then to put out the candle, for wax cost money and they didn't have much of that. She moved to sit on the windowsill, so that the moonlight shone directly onto her paper.

There was a slight chill from the open window there, even though it was mid-May, but as she thought about closing it she noticed a strange mist right outside. It didn't seem to be anywhere but right outside her window, and it moved as though with a purpose. But this was not how such things were supposed to behave, and so she assumed it must be her eyes, tired and strained from writing in such dim light that made her believe she was seeing this.

But it appeared almost as if the mist was creeping in through the open window, and then inside the room. She felt it circle around her, and new that this must not be something she had imagined, for the mist felt icy against her skin.

Then it seemed to swirl in the center of the room, to solidify…surely she must be imagining this! For the mist seemed to change form, becoming a tall figure standing before her…

No, she was surely not imaging this, though how this man got into her bedchamber she had no idea. She fought the panic that threatened to overwhelm her, knowing that it would do her no good, and that, if this man was a robber, it could only hurt her to panic. "Who are you, and what are you doing in bedroom?" She asked, her voice shaking, but only slightly.

He didn't answer her question, but he extended a hand to her. "Miss Mina Murray, I am delighted to meet you." His voice was rich, an accent she recognized but had difficulty placing making each syllable heavy, sensual. The moonlight made his skin appear pale, deathly so, except for his lips, which were vividly red even in the dim light. And there was something that looked terribly like blood at the corner of his mouth…

She shuddered and drew back, pressing herself into the wall. She felt naked and vulnerable wearing only her nightgown, and she was now certain that this man – if he indeed was a man in truth and not some other being – meant no good will towards her. "What are you?" She whispered, her voice all but failing her. "You cannot be a human, for no human can…turn themselves into mist…if that is indeed what you did, and it was not merely my imagination playing tricks on me…"

He smiled, and his eyeteeth were pointed, making them look like fangs. "It is true that I am not human, and that most would call me a demon…and everything you believe you see now is just as it appears."

I am dreaming. I fell asleep while writing to Jonathan and I am dreaming about all of this. There are no green-eyed demons with seductive voices in my bedroom.

He moved to her side, though she was not sure exactly how, for he did not seem to have taken a step. She froze, feeling unable to move as he reached out and ran a hand over her neck. His touch was as cold as ice, making her shiver but also thrilling her strangely. She wanted to pull away, a nearly managed to do so, to break out of this strange spell she felt as though she was under, but he spoke, his voice quiet. "Don't be afraid, my dear, I'm not going to hurt you…"

The sound of his voice stopped her from pulling away, and she closed her eyes and he lowered his mouth to her neck, kissing the exposed vein there…

The full realization of what was going on overcame her, and she pulled away, pulling the collar of her nightgown up to cover her neck. "Sir, I have a fiancée…I do not even know who you are…I do not know what kind of woman you think I am, but I simply cannot let you, whatever you are, come into my bedroom and do this…"

He laughed. "I doubt you would be so dedicated to your fiancée if you knew about his situation right now."

Her heart sank in her chest. "What do you know about Jonathan?"

His lips brushed against her ear as he whispered to her. "That at this very moment he is lying asleep dreaming of other women, and imagining them kissing every part of his body, and that he has completely forgotten about you, my dear."

She kept her voice as emotionless as she could, "I don't believe you."

"Believe what you like, but eventually you will have to come to terms with the fact that your beloved fiancée cares nothing about you."

The moonlight was still bright. She focused on that instead of looking at this horrible man – no, this demon of her imagination, who had come to make her doubt the one person who she could trust, the one thing in the world that she did not have to doubt. She was dreaming. She had to be. These were her own foolish doubts that were manifesting themselves in this. This was not real.

So lost was she in her attempt to convince herself that this was not real that she did not notice when he moved the collar of her nightgown aside, baring her throat again. "He doesn't matter anymore, my love, for you are mine now." He whispered, and then she felt a piercing pain and she felt herself growing weaker and weaker until she lost consciousness…

When Jonathan awoke, he was lying in some dark, enclosed space. He could barely move, for there seemed to be walls all around him. He reached up with both hands and pushed on the ceiling of whatever it was, and, to his surprise, it came off, almost as if it was the lid to something. He got out, and saw that what he had been lying in had been a coffin.

He nearly screamed. But as soon as he had gotten over his immediate terror, he began to observe his surroundings.

He was in the room that he had slept in for all the time he had been here. That at least hadn't changed. Someone had merely placed a coffin in the room and…put him in the coffin. He couldn't fathom why, and he didn't really want to think about it. And it was night, for he must have slept through the entire day

As he tried to put the thought of the coffin aside, he noticed that something was very different. His senses felt…stronger somehow. He could see, hear, feel everything so much more clearly. And when he looked down at his hands, they were so pale…

Suddenly the thought of everything that had happened last night rushed back at him. Had that awful exchange of blood he had been forced to go through done something to him? He hurried to the mirror in the bedroom to look at his reflection and assure himself that he was still the same person he had been the day before. But when he looked into the mirror, he could not see himself there.

This was bizarre, impossible. There was no such thing as someone who could not be seen in a mirror. But…was it not true that there were some demons that could not been in a mirror? And, last night, the Count, and those women…were they not demons? Oh God! What if they had somehow changed him into a demon like them? Had the fact that he'd given in, that he'd…enjoyed what those women had done to him meant that he was forever corrupted?

Tentatively, he reached up and touched his mouth. To his horror, there were fangs there, just as the Count and those women had. He was a demon now, wasn't he? Forever damned, a disgusting creature that apparently…drank blood.

The horror of the situation overcame him, and he ran from the room, flinging the door open and searching the corridors for a way out, for anything…He knew in some strange way where the Count was, and he angrily pushed open the door to the room where he knew this monster had to be.

He sat there, calmly, reading a book. And he looked several decades younger than he had the night before. This way, he looked handsome…though as evil as ever. "What the Hell have you done to me?" Jonathan practically screamed at the Count.

The Count barely even looked up. "I have Changed you into a vampire, one of the undead, as I am." His voice at least was unchanged; his accent was as always.

"A…vampire? The creature from Gothic novels?" This whole thing felt like a nightmare, and Jonathan was having difficulty believing it. His voice rose slightly as his words became more and more hysterical. "A creature who is not dead but not alive, a creature that needs blood to survive, who cannot stand sunlight?"

The Count did close his book then and looked at Jonathan. "Yes. You are that same being."

Jonathan was caught off guard by the complete calm with which the Count answered him. His next words, therefore became even more frantic. "But why? Why did you curse me like this?"

"I needed someone who I knew had to be loyal, who could aid me in my purposes and who would have no choice but to obey me. And, also, you intrigued me. I was curious to see how you would react to vampirism."

The mixture of horror, disbelief and anger that filled Jonathan at that moment made him want to do something unexpected, unlikely, violent. "You did this to me because you were curious? You damned me, separated me forever from everything I know, from my fiancée because you were curious?"

Something in the Count's expression changed at the mention of Mina, in some way that disturbed Jonathan greatly, but he couldn't think about that now. "To some extent. But no longer can you question my purposes in such things. You are my Fledgling, and therefore I have power over you. And as for Ms. Murray...I have purposes with her that you may not expect."

Added to everything else, this last statement hit Jonathan harder than it might have otherwise. "If you dare harm Mina…doing this to me was awful enough, but leave Mina alone..."

The Count's voice was cold. "We will speak of such things later. Right now you must feed. And then you will find that I have given you a gift by Changing you into what you are now."

He stood then, his black cloak swirling slightly dramatically as he left the room, expecting Jonathan to follow him. And Jonathan did, disbelief and shock etched into every line of his face. "Oh God…feed…oh, God…this can't be real…this monster…Mina, oh God…" He muttered under his breath.

When Mina woke up on the morning of May sixteenth, she was lying in her bed, as though it had all been a dream. She sighed with relief at that. It had all been some bizarre dream. With that certainty, she got dressed for the day. But as she was fixing her hair by the mirror, she noticed something on her neck. It almost appeared that there were…bite marks there. The memory of that dark haired man – if he could be called that, he was certainly not human – from last night returned, and the feeling of his teeth, sharp as fangs, in her neck.

She shuddered. It was a dream, that was all. As for the marks on her neck, they were mere coincidence. Probably they were insect bites. Certainly they were not remnants of a demon who had come into her room as mist and told her awful things about her fiancée. She nearly laughed at her own foolishness. She was known for being the practical one, not likely to lose herself in such fancies. Lucy would be more likely to think of such a thing.

Yes, she would focus on Lucy, she thought as she walked the short distance to the school where she worked. She would be visiting Lucy as soon as the term was over. Hopefully being with her friend would cause this uneasiness to dissolve.

But, for the entire day, the memory of that man from her dream haunted her. She was distracted, and strangely tired, and found it difficult to teach as clearly as she normally did. Even some of the children began to ask her if she was all right by the end of the day.

After all that, she was relieved when the day ended and she could go home. But when she had finished supper and all the work she needed to do, and was going to sit in bed reading, she left a candle. The memory of last night was inextricably connected to the image of the bright moonlight, and she didn't want that image in her mind tonight.

As she read, she continuously found herself reaching up to her neck and running her fingers over the marks there. She found it difficult to concentrate on the book, though, and she didn't even have to try for very long, for soon after she opened her book she noticed the candle beside her bed suddenly extinguishing, and apparently without a source.

This time, the moon was hidden behind clouds, and so the room was plunged into complete darkness. Her breathing quickened, and the events of last night – for in that moment she believed that they were real, with the panic that often comes of such occurrences – replayed themselves in her mind.

Then, as suddenly as the candle had gone out, she felt a cold hand on her shoulder. Its touch was icy, just as it had been last night…and she knew it had all be real. Terror filled her. She was in a pitch-black room with a man who was not a man at all – he was some sort of foul demon that drank blood and was not supposed to exist. A man who seemed to know something about Jonathan.

Somehow, though, the sound of his voice, which was strangely soothing even though she had heard it for the first time last night, comforted her. "Mina, relax…you are mine now. I am going to bring you to where you belong."

She could barely speak for terror and confusion, but she managed to. "What are you talking about? You cannot just claim me this way, as if I am an object! I do not even know who you are, or what you intend to do with me!"

He traced the hand on her shoulder down her arm in a caress. She still couldn't see him in the darkness. "I am Count Vlad Dracula."

The name hit her suddenly. She recognized it… "You're the one Jonathan went…to sell the house too." Jonathan had gone to the home of a demon! He could be dead even now, murdered by this creature who drank blood!

As if he could read her thoughts, the Count replied. "Mr. Harker is alive and well. However, if you do not do as I wish, it would be very easy for his current state of being to be changed…" She froze. "No, please, don't hurt Jonathan…"

If his voice comforted her, then his laughter did the opposite. It sent shivers down her spine, and not in a pleasurable way. "I believe I made myself quite clear, Mina. I will not harm Jonathan if you willingly do all I ask you to." She didn't want to accept the situation, still didn't even quite believe it, but she didn't seem to have a choice. With his hand still on her arm, she lowered her head. "What do you want me to do…Count?"

Despite the fact that she was to hate this man, she found herself succumbing to his voice. "I have chosen you as my own, as my consort, as I have done with no other in this century. I intend to bring you back to my home, and there to gift you with the powers that I have, including the eternal life which will allow you to be mine for all eternity."

This was impossible. Impossible and terrifying. The mere thought of spending eternity like that…her voice was shaky as she spoke. "If you want to make me your…whore, if you want to use me for your own pleasure while threatening my fiancée's life, then do not make me have to bear that shame for eternity." Knowing what he intended to do with her, the feeling of him running his hand through her hair brought tears to her eyes, but she didn't pull away and tried to blink the tears away.

"I do not believe you understand. I intend to make you my consort, I intend to spend the coming centuries with you at my side, my companion. Though I certainly will take advantage of your beauty, that is not the only reason I chose you."

She whispered. "Why then? I'm not even beautiful. Why did you come to curse me with this?"

He began caressing her cheek, and she felt her breath catch in her throat at that combined with his voice. "I heard from your husband of your intelligence, and I saw your picture, which he carries around with him. You may not be beautiful by society's standards, but you have a beauty nevertheless. And when I came to watch you, as I was intrigued by you, I saw in you a spark of something, something I rarely see in anyone, and never in mortals. I wanted, needed to posses that, to preserve it for eternity in a state beyond death. And it is clear that you deserve that darkness to, that you cannot reach your potential in the squalid realm of humanity."

No one, not even Jonathan, especially not Jonathan, had ever said such things to her. She had never wanted them to. And now she would not let herself be charmed by flattering. But perhaps, she thought desperately, and it was a sign of her hysteria that the thought made her want to laugh, it would be better for her if she did be seduced by these words. It could make this…eternity with him more tolerable.

But as it was, she merely nodded, tears still lingering in her eyes. "May I at least have time to consider this?" His voice was cold then, and did not soothe her at all. "No. I am bringing you to my home tonight."

She drew breath in sharply. "Tonight?" To be stolen away tonight from all that she knew? To never see Lucy again, or… "Will I be able to see Jonathan in this…new life?"

He laughed again. "Oh, my dear, you will most certainly be able to see Jonathan. But you will learn about that later. Now, we must leave. It is a long way to Transylvania."

Before she could completely absorb this last statement, she felt his fangs pierce her neck for the second time, and felt him lift her in his arms before losing consciousness.

Jonathan knelt on the floor of his bedroom, his head in his hands. His hands were bloody, and so that blood was becoming smeared in his hair, but he hardly noticed. All he could think about what the fact that he had just killed a young man. That he was a murderer. That he had drunk the blood of another human being until they were dead. And he would have to do this every night for eternity.

He heard footsteps in the hallway, and reluctantly he stood, opening the door to look outside. It was the Count, carrying some woman whose dark brown hair obscured her face. Her nightgown was falling off one shoulder, clearly showing two marks, apparently from being bitten, on her neck. Probably some woman he seduced and brought her to finish off.

But her hair was the exact shade of Mina's…Sadly he thought of how he could never see Mina again, not as he was now. He wouldn't want this whole world of blood and pain to affect her. He had completely forgotten that the Count had mentioned her earlier.

Mina awoke to find herself in a room she had never seen before. But, indeed, everything about it seemed far more luxurious than anything she had known before, even in Lucy's home. The blankets on the bed were of a rich, heavy fabric that she must be much warmer than the thin sheets at home. Red canopies were hung around the bed, and though they bothered her somehow – they felt too extravagant, and sinful in some way – she had to admit that they were beautiful. The wood on all the furniture in the room was of a dark wood, and was intricately carved.

A dress was laid out for her wear, in a shade the color of dried blood that made her shudder. In fact, it was the same color as the red stains she found on her nightgown, that she knew, with a shudder, must be blood. With that realization, she quickly changed out of it.

But the red dress made her blush as soon as she put it on. She rarely wore red in the first place; it was too eye catching for her. And this dress was even worse, with a neckline almost too low to be acceptable anywhere but a brothel. The dress also only came down to a bit below her knees, and as there were no petticoats laid out with the dress, a wide expanse of her legs was left bare. Neither was a corset put there, leaving her feeling almost naked in only that obscene dress. But she supposed it did not matter, not really, if that awful demon was to be the only one seeing her. If Jonathan were to see her like this…she wouldn't be able to stand it.

The door to the room was locked, but there was food left in the room for her, as well as a book that seemed to be about the Undead. She began reading the book as she ate, and it soon became clear that this was that man – Vlad, that was his name – was. And intended to turn her into. As the realization of that overcame her, Mina could do nothing but lie crying on the bed. Two days ago, the thought of anything of this sort had never entered her mind. Her only worry had been being lonely without Jonathan, and the amount of work she had to do before the term ended and she could go see Lucy. Now she was locked in a room somewhere in Transylvania, wearing a dress she would have been ashamed to wear anywhere else, waiting for the sun to set and the man who imprisoned her here to return to turn her into a monster who would be damned for eternity.

She finished the book quickly, though it soon became stained with her tears as she imagined having to live off human blood every night and never being able to see the sunlight. And always the image of Vlad Dracula in her mind, terrifying and thrilling her.

No one came to her room all day, neither to bring more food, nor to speak to her. By the time the sunset came, she was quite hungry from having only one, rather minimal meal that day, and beginning to wonder if she had just been left here forever. But soon after the sun had set, the door opened, and Count Vlad Dracula entered.

She froze, not sure how to react. He spoke as if this was a completely ordinary situation. "Good evening, Mina. I trust everything has been serviceable?" She nodded, not sure what to say.

When she not speak, he spoke again, a command in his voice this time. "My dear, please stand. I would like to look at you." She wasn't used to being treated like an object, and she didn't like it, but she supposed that was what she was. She had given herself to him so that Jonathan wouldn't be harmed. It was up to him to do as he pleased with her.

She stood, though hesitantly, her head lowered, unable to meet his vivid green eyes. But he lifted her chin with an icy fingertip, forcing her to look at him. And then he leaned in to kiss her.

Her kisses with Jonathan had always been chaste, proper for two young fiancées. This was different, dark and sinful and heady and filled with passion. When it ends she is left gasping for breath as though she has forgotten to while kissing him. At her reaction he smiles. "You see what I can give you?" He whispered to her. "You will have an eternity at my side, and do you not think you could fall in love with me in all that time, and far more deeply than you ever could with Jonathan? It would be pure bliss for us both, Mina. You would be my companion, my favored one, always at my side."

She finally found her voice; her words slow, in some ways more to herself than to him. "This seems so unreal…like a dream…and in dreams there is not such thing as guilt or infidelity…no such thing as sin…" She looked straight into his eyes. "Even if this is a dream, then I know that…when I am around you I feel something completely different from what I feel around Jonathan…" She hated herself for her words, knew they were wrong, were awful, but she was telling the truth, and she would be with him for eternity. Wasn't she allowed to enjoy that somehow? But still her words were choked, hesitant. "Your voice, your touch…thrill me…I do not, cannot believe this is love, but perhaps…in two hundred years it could be so." She takes a deep breath before speaking again. "So take me. Make me yours. Bind me to your for eternity, and if this is a dream then I will simply awake and need not feel guilt."

She heard him whisper, "Yes…" before she lost herself in the touch of his hands against her skin.

The next night, too, Jonathan woke in the coffin as if he was waking from a nightmare, and felt despair upon the realization that it was real. Sighing, he got out of the coffin and got dressed, noticing how out of place the plain black coffin looked in the room, which was rather luxurious.

He tried to distract himself from the reality of what he was by wandering around the castle. He could distract himself for a while in the library, but eventually the nagging sensation of hunger that made blood seem very appealing made that impossible. It was only intensified by the fact that he could tell somehow that there was a living mortal in the castle. It was probably that girl the Count brought back the night before, he was sure, and he apparently had not killed her yet.

The three vampire women – he still did not know their names – came at one point, fawning over him as they had with the Count the night before, and flirting. But they disgusted him, with their obscenely low bodices and coquettish words. He imagined how he had enjoyed even the sensation of them taking his blood two nights ago and felt even more sickened. Thank God Mina would never have to know that. So he sent them away, and, surprisingly, they actually listened to him.

Soon after they left, the presence of the mortal suddenly disappeared. Well, it didn't quite disappear, but it changed…all he knew was that there was no longer a mortal in the castle. He wished he could ignore the hunger forever, but it was becoming painful, and he also needed, with a strange urgency, to know what had happened to that mortal.

And so again he went searching for the Count, following that connection with him that he now knew existed because he was the Count's Fledgling. He came to a room with the door ajar, and a light on inside. He pushed the door open and entered without hesitation.

What he saw there filled him with horror. On a bed, with the canopies pulled back, lay…Mina, practically covered in blood, her body only barely covered by a sheet. And sitting beside where she lay was the Count, his shirt open, practically covered in blood as well. He was stroking her cheek gently, and she was smiling at him.

Jonathan put a hand against the doorframe to brace himself, for otherwise he would have surely fallen down. "Oh, God…" He whispered, unable to believe what he was seeing.

At seeing Jonathan, Mina's self control disappeared, and she wept, the guilt of what she had just done overwhelming her as did the realization of what Jonathan was now, which came from seeing him with fangs.

And Count Vlad Dracula merely smiled calmly, observing the two former mortals that he had ruined and made his.