I have returned! Here's the next chapter. Thanks so much for being so kind and patient!


Seward rolled down his sleeve again, having said what he needed to say on the subject. There was a new, pressing dilemma, which hopefully wouldn't lend itself to his wild addiction. "You mean to tell me, then, that you've run into trouble again as we did before?"

Harker traced the scar that ran his jawline with him thumb. The scar was a trophy won in Transylvania, first examined as a fresh wound in a convent in Bistritz. It had been made agonizing by bruising, too, due to blunt trauma. A shard of anything cuts deep after a long fall. "Strange trouble, like before."

"Is it truly so? I'd like to know now, you see, honest and up front, for if we need Van Helsing, I'll not tarry here anymore. I'll go to Cardiff myself and fetch him."

"Don't get ahead of yourself, Jack. I've come here on suspicion alone." Jonathan's fidgeting hands rested on the back of a dark walnut chair. The wood was cool to the touch and a nervous comfort to the poor man. He glanced up at Seward, who felt like an awful host.

"Terribly sorry, Jonathan. It's been so long. Please sit down."

"Thank you."

"Now, in God's name, will you tell me what you've come to say? You implied just a moment ago that you might stay with me. You're very welcome here, but have you left Mina alone when you say the unholy danger is upon us again?"

"I couldn't stay with Mina anymore. I pray that she might understand and that she'll forgive me in time, but it was all I could do to save her. The danger is within me, Jack, I couldn't expose her to it! It pulses and writhes in my brain. Some animal is taking me over, and I can't help myself any longer. I'll do what I must to shield my wife and child."

Seward took off his spectacles and folded them, placing them on the desk in front of him. "And you believe that Renfield is to blame for this? That's impossible. He died a different man, he would never do anything to harm you."

"That's what I can't understand. You have to help me." His eyes flickered back and forth. He watched out the window, he studied the floor. Eye contact had suddenly become difficult.

"My dear friend, what can I do?"

"I'm taking a risk, Jack," Jonathan said, glancing up into the doctor's face nervously. "I haven't come here to discuss this with you."

"Just a moment, Jonathan." Seward laughed aloud. "If not, then why are you here?" His face fell upon seeing the solemnness of his companion.
"I must beg your confidentiality. Promise that Mina will never know."

Seward nodded. "I give my word."

"I've come to commit myself."