The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire (Chapter IV.)

Lucy Westenra’s Diary. 2 October, 6 p.m. — I was troubled by an ominous dream about Mina today. Mina was sitting in her nightclothes on a bed alone when Count Dracula entered her room. The Count stared into her eyes the way he had looked into mine. Like Lothario eager for his latest conquest, he rushed to Mina and covered her with kisses on her cheeks, her lips — her neck. Caught in the throes of passion inspired by his mesmerism, Mina gave soft cries of pleasure. The pain was only a moment followed by ecstasy. Then the Count opened his shirt and scratched his chest with a long pointed nail so that his blood flowed in a thin line. He pulled her to him and she lapped it up eagerly like a kitten at a bowl of milk. I woke suddenly and bolted upright, bumping my head on the inside of my coffin lid. With a thought, I turned noncorporeal and left the dark, narrow box. I trembled from the memory and vividness of the nightmare for it made me recall what I had forgotten. I remembered how Dracula had come to me in Whitby. I do not know why I dreamed of Mina in my stead. Perhaps Jack with his knowledge of the workings of the mind would say I placed Mina in the dream for she had always been so protective of me as my schoolmistress. There were other changes as well. I was not on the bench near the abbey ruins at the graveyard in Whitby as I had been when the Count cursed me with his unclean blood. On the rough stone, he had taken my purity and replaced it with his foul essence. He visited many times after and I had longed terribly for him later, once he had made me into his creature. But I had not willingly given of myself to him in the beginning. With his mesmerizing eyes, he had a power over my will and had forced me to give that which was not his to receive. When I left my coffin, I expected to see Mr. Carnacki waiting for me, but he was not. I felt a pang of disappointment. After the nightmare I had just experienced, his friendly, honest face would have been a welcome sight. I glanced around my room at my Queen Anne chair, my writing desk and mirror stand in the corner, the bucolic oil paintings on the walls and coins on a pewter tray on top of the dresser. The sight brought back a memory from shortly before my illness and confinement to bed. I had been out shopping in Kensington and when I returned I had dropped the coins there. It had been a good day. I had bought two new dresses. They were to have been altered and sent over. I wonder if they ever arrived? After I had shopped, I had bought a berry tart at a bakery I loved on Church Street near Vicarage Gate. I could remember the taste of the tart, the sweet, thick, red juice bursting out of the crust with each bite. My room seemed so familiar and queerly unchanged — except for the absence of my bed — from when I had lived. But I take no comfort in my surroundings. The house is too quiet and I am alone. But stay, I hear Mr. Carnacki, Dr. Van Helsing and another gentleman walking up the drive now. I am glad of their arrival for a vague fear had begun to creep over me. 3 October, 2 a.m. — I feel so happy tonight! Considering my world at the moment is this small circle in my room, I have had a fairly social evening. Mr. Carnacki walked in shortly after 6 o’clock with two other gentlemen. Their friendliness chased away the dread of earlier. I recognized Dr. Van Helsing and Mr. Carnacki introduced the other man to me as Inspector Johnstone of Scotland Yard. As Mr. Carnacki went around the room lighting the lamps and candles, he apologized for not being there when I woke, but he had been out to dinner with Inspector Johnstone and they had met Professor Van Helsing at the front gates upon their return to Hillingham. Dr. Van Helsing said he could only stay briefly, but he had wanted to pass on news of the investigation to Mr. Carnacki. The Professor spoke kindly to me and he studied me from the other side of the circle. I hesitated briefly, but then asked the Professor if he knew if the children I had harmed had recovered. Before Dr. Van Helsing could answer, Inspector Johnstone said, "They are none the worse for what occurred, Miss Westenra. I have been to visit them and their families. The children of the neighborhood have even made a game of the ‘bloofer lady.’" He smiled sweetly in his gruff manner. He was a tall, broad-shouldered, middle-aged man. He held his hat in his right hand. The Inspector’s words relieved me for I had left one child close to death, having drunk too deeply of the toddler’s blood. The incident had thrilled and terrified me at the same time. As I felt the child’s body grow still in my arms, the pleasure of the blood flowing through my lips was replaced by a revulsion of my overwhelming desire to take the child’s life. "Inspector, welcome to my home," I said. I sat down and the gentlemen followed. "Would you like brandy or something else to drink or are you on duty?" "No, thank you, Miss. I am off duty for the evening, but I do not wish to trouble you," the Inspector said. "It is no trouble for me at all. Mr. Carnacki, would you please serve our guests?" As Mr. Carnacki left the room, I asked Professor Van Helsing of Mina and Jonathan. "They fare well," he answered. I missed them. They had brought such joy to my life. I thought of the many times I snuggled up to Mina and told her of Arthur and listened to her speak of her love of Jonathan. "Does Mina know I am here?" I asked. "She has not been told," Dr. Van Helsing replied. "Why not?" I asked. "I do not know how your friend would take the news," he said. "She grieves over your death. To know you remain a vampire would add to her suffering. Mina and her husband are both deeply troubled by his recent experience with the Un-Dead in Transylvania. You may not know this, but the shock of his experience nearly, how did he say, ‘unhinged’ his brain.’ Mein Gott! His hair has turned white from terror of the vampire." I looked down at my hands. My fingernails, no longer delicately curved as when I lived, were pointed, ugly talons. "I see," I whispered. "Little Miss, I do not mean to add to your sorrow," Dr. Van Helsing said, running his fingers through his gray hair. "You did not, Professor," I said. "I am glad for your visit." "Dear child, I wish I could stay," the Professor said. "But there is much work to do." He bowed to me, shook hands with the Inspector and walked out of the room as Mr. Carnacki returned with a tray holding the drinks. Mr. Carnacki followed Dr. Van Helsing to the front door to see him out. They spoke softly from a considerable distance away, but I heard them. "Do you have your report?" asked the Professor. "Here is a copy of my notes from my examinations of her," Mr. Carnacki told him. Dr. Van Helsing thanked him. "As you have said knowledge may be our most valuable weapon against the Count." "How goes the hunt?" Mr. Carnacki asked. "It goes well," the Professor answered. "Please do not tell the Inspector this. We have added burglary to our list of sins in the pursuit of the Count. We close in on him. We may catch him tonight!" "Good!" Mr. Carnacki said, with a fierceness that surprised me. "How is she?" Dr. Van Helsing asked. "She has behaved well," Mr. Carnacki said. "Remarkably so, considering." I began to smile to myself at this, but Dr. Van Helsing’s next words made it fade from my lips. "You must never forget what she is," he said. "To do so could mean worse than death. Do not let down your guard, for your sake and for hers." With that warning, the Professor said goodbye and I heard the door close. I glanced up and noticed Inspector Johnstone discretely observing me. Our eyes met and I know a guilty expression appeared on my face. Mother had often told me it was bad manners to listen to the conversations of others. The Inspector’s next words surprised me, however. "Miss Westenra, do you like to play cards?" "Cards?" I asked surprised. "Yes, Miss. Card games," he said. "I apologize if you find it objectionable. I thought we might play a few hands this evening as a way to pass the time." It also would free me from another night of Mr. Carnacki’s tests. "I would love to play Inspector," I said. The Inspector picked up the small table used by Mr. Carnacki as a desk and set it down across the circle, carefully avoiding the chalk-drawn marks. Mr. Carnacki walked into the room as the Inspector moved his chair over. "We were just about to play cards, Mr. Carnacki, if you’d care to join us." "Cards?" Mr. Carnacki seemed surprised and his brows gathered in thought. "I think it is a delightful idea," I added. A hint of a smile appeared at the corners of Mr. Carnacki’s mouth. "I want to develop some of the photographic plates I have taken of you. If you’ll give me a moment to get the process started I will be right with you." We played for hours and as we played Inspector Johnstone told the most amusing anecdotes about the colorful characters he had either arrested or suspected of various sordid crimes. One tale involved a drunken burglar who had entered a neighbor’s home and stolen food. The Inspector had easily caught the thief, who angrily demanded to know who had informed on him. The Inspector pointed to the bag of flour, which had a small tear and had poured out an easy trail to follow. Mr. Carnacki and I broke into laughter, though whether it was more from the tale or from the Inspector’s laughter-filled telling of it, I cannot say. Mr. Carnacki had a wind-up timer with him and when it chimed he would jump up and run into his photographic dark room. About 1 o’clock, Mr. Carnacki said he had some final work with his photographic negatives and Inspector Johnstone set the cards aside, saying he would take a walk around the grounds. I was left alone so I decided to write about tonight’s events in my diary. It has been a long time since I’ve had such a happy entry to record! Mr. Carnacki’s story — continued. "I woke at midday, ate the sandwiches Lord Godalming’s man had left me, and set to work compiling the data I had collected into a presentable report for Professor Van Helsing. "The emptiness of the house weighed on me as the afternoon grew and I nearly jumped when I heard Inspector Johnstone’s knock at the front door. I had not realized how the time had passed. I put on my coat and we went to our usual pub. Johnstone had something on his mind and was quiet, but I was glad for his company. "As the Inspector and I walked back to Hillingham, he told me that he intended, with my consent, to meet Miss Westenra and to help guard her in an unofficial capacity that night. ‘I have a hunch you might need me,’ he said without explaining. "I told him I thought that it splendid of him to offer and that I had been given authority by Lord Godalming to recompense him. Inspector Johnstone said, in as straightforward a manner as possible, that he would gladly offer his services without pay, but the extra income would please his wife. "When we neared the gated entrance to Hillingham, I spotted Lord Godalming’s carriage with his family’s coat of arms on the doors across the street. "Lord Godalming was not in sight, but the Professor walked up to us. I explained to Van Helsing my acceptance of the Inspector’s offer to help. Van Helsing said he wanted to see Miss Westenra and to obtain my report on vampires from my study of her. "We went inside and I turned up the lights. Miss Westenra was already out of her coffin. "She and Van Helsing spoke briefly then he told her goodbye. I followed the Professor to the door and gave him my report. "When I went back to the room, Inspector Johnstone had set up a table to play card games with Miss Westenra. It reminded me of the times I had seen police constables and their prisoners playing cards through cell bars as if they were old chums. I joined them and as we played I realized Johnstone was subtly using the opportunity to study Miss Westenra in his own way. "When we finished, I went to hang the photographic images I had developed during the night to dry from a line and then I joined the Inspector outside as he patrolled the estate. The stars sparkled in the sky. "‘What do you make of her?’ I asked. "‘She’s a rare one,’ he said as we walked in the dark near the stone wall surrounding the property. ‘And not just because she’s a vampire.’ "He stopped. ‘Are you armed?’ "I told him that my revolver was in my bedroom. He told me to carry the gun with me at all times. "‘You suspect something?’ I asked. "‘I followed Lord Godalming today before I came here,’ the Inspector replied. ‘I had a suspicion he and his friends would be going after the one who did this to Miss Lucy. They are finding the Count’s hideouts.’ "‘And Count Dracula will be on the run,’ I said. ‘Van Helsing told me they were closing in on him. If the Count looks to hide with Miss Westenra he will see her coffin is missing. He may try to find her. It is not by chance you decided to return here tonight.’ "‘No, it is not,’ he said. ‘Go arm yourself and stay inside with her. I will keep watch out here.’ "I did as he ordered, feeling beastly for leaving him alone outside with such a dreadful watch, but torn by my duty to guard Miss Westenra. "I went inside to fetch my revolver. As I passed the open doorway to her room, I saw Miss Westenra writing in her diary. She was smiling. Not wishing to disturb her, I walked on and pulled open the drawer where the revolver lay on top of my dark gray trousers. I opened the cylinder to make certain it was fully loaded, slid my holster over my shoulder and attached the sheathed dagger to the leather shoulder strap. I put my jacket back on to hide the weapons. "A sharpened, wooden stake rolled to the back of the drawer. I pulled it out and thought of Van Helsing’s warning. If she chose to escape with the Count, would I be able to do my duty to protect others from her? I reflected for sometime then I hid the stake in the back of my jacket. "I entered Miss Westenra’s bedroom. She had closed her diary and had opened Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. She glanced up from the novel. ‘Thank you for introducing me to Inspector Johnstone,’ she said. "‘I am glad you like him.’ I sat down at my table across the barrier, careful not to disturb the marks on the floor. "Lucy looked at the paperwork that I had in my hands. ‘Do not tell me you intend more tests this evening,’ she said, her lower lip curled into a pout and her forehead puckered with thought. "‘No, Miss Westenra,’ I said. ‘I thought I would catch up on my paperwork. I gave a copy of my preliminary notes to Dr. Van Helsing, but I want to write out fuller documentation whilst it is fresh in my mind. If you do not mind, I will keep you company in here.’ "‘That is not necessary,’ she said. ‘My fright from the other night is gone. But you may stay if you wish.’ "I thanked her and began to write, but found it difficult to concentrate. I tried to listen for any hint of a disturbance outside. "I had intended to spend the time examining the photographs once they had dried, but I wanted to remain in Miss Westenra’s room should Johnstone’s suspicions prove correct. My pen recorded the minutiae of my tests. I kept my eyes on my paperwork to avoid looking at her. "Time slowed as it has a way of doing when you wait for something that may never come to pass. I heard the rustle of pages as she read the book, the occasional shifting of her body on the chair. "I kept my eyes focused straight ahead, but my mind wandered. Would I be able to slay her if necessary? I had never killed anyone before. It did not matter that she already was dead. She had become someone sitting near me in a room, reading a novel I had picked out for her. Nevertheless, if I allowed her to escape, any murders she committed, any horrors she inflicted would be on my head because I had not stopped her. "‘Mr. Carnacki, is something wrong?’ she asked. ‘You seem to be troubled.’ "Lost in my thoughts, I had not realized I had stopped writing. I looked down at the column of numbers in front of me. ‘Miss Westenra, do you realize you could have an amazing career as a circus strongman?’ I asked with as light a tone as I could muster. ‘Your physical strength is astonishing.’ "Her forehead furrowed with a mock frown. She said, in a diabolically sweet tone, ‘Work for a circus? Certainly not! Mr. Carnacki, could you imagine me in one of those terribly revealing costumes worn by circus performers?’ "A gruff voice outside interrupted my reply: ‘Halt! In the name of the law.’ I heard a thud like a carpetbeater striking a rug then Inspector Johnstone came flying through the window, spraying shattered glass across the room. "Even before Johnstone landed on the floor, I bolted up, kicking my chair back out of my way and drawing the revolver from my holster. "A tall man with white skin and dark eyes stepped through. I recognized him from a description Professor Van Helsing had given me: Count Dracula. I noticed the Count’s footsteps on the broken glass shards did not make a sound. I pulled the trigger, aiming at dried bloodstains on his white dress shirt where his heart would have been if he had one. A small hole appeared in the cloth, but he continued forward, his eyes a red glow and a smirk on his lips. "Dracula gaze went to Miss Westenra with the fervor of long-absent lover. He spoke English with just the slightest trace of a foreign accent. ‘I visited your crypt, but you were not there, my little flower,’ the Count said, giving no notice to me as I fired two more rounds at him. "The bang of the gun blocked out her answer. Her eyes blazed as the Count stopped at the barrier on the floor. ‘We shall leave this land together,’ he told her. "Dracula looked at the ‘Defensive Circle’ with disdain. ‘I shall wash this away with his blood and then you may feed on the other,’ he said. "The Count walked with slow, deliberate steps to the Inspector, who struggled to rise like a punch-drunk boxer. "Lucy turned to me and from the expression of pure hatred on her pale, voluptuous face I knew I was doomed. No heroic thoughts — no cowardly ones either — went through my mind, just the certainty I would die in moments. "Behind her, the Count bent over Johnstone. I pulled the kukri from the sheath and reached behind my back for the stake and prepared to charge. "Miss Westenra stood close to me, her face like a lioness in mid-roar with her long white fangs sticking out. "I would at least die on my feet fighting, I thought as I began to dash around the barrier to the Count. "But faster than a bolt of lightning, Miss Westenra grabbed the card table, spun and slammed it down on Count Dracula. "The table cracked and Dracula howled in anger as the blow knocked him across the room. "‘You bastard!’ she screamed savagely. ‘You raped me! You killed my mother! You killed me!’ Miss Westenra seized her desk and hurled it across the room. In a flash, Dracula metamorphosed into floating, fleck-filled smoke. The desk passed through his noncorporeal form and crashed into the wall with the force of an explosion. "Suddenly a bulldog-sized bat appeared in the Count’s place and flew out through the shattered window. I fired at Dracula again and again as he darted away into the fading twilight. "I rushed to Johnstone and helped the Inspector to his feet. Thick red blood gushed from a cut across his left cheek, running down his face and neck and onto his coat. "With a sluggish gesture, he waved me off. ‘See to the lady,’ said he, gasping for breath. ‘The window.’ "‘Instantly, I knew what he meant. I ran to the butler’s closet where I knew a toolbox with hammer and nails to be. "When I returned, the Inspector leaned against a wall. Miss Westenra stared into the distance, a haunted, forlorn look in her eyes. I nailed the thick curtain to the broken window frame to block out the coming dawn. "The following silence sounded as loud as the hammering of the nails. "I began to speak, but the sight of her gave me pause. She did not tremble with unrequited rage or tears. Inexplicably, her quietness was even more chilling than her earlier ferocity. "I paused, uncertain of what to say or do. Moments passed until Miss Westenra spoke. ‘I would like to be alone,’ she said tonelessly. Johnstone straightened and caught my eye. "‘Yes, Miss Westenra,’ I said. Johnstone and I left her room and closed the door behind us. "The Inspector placed a handkerchief against his cheek to staunch the flow of blood that had dripped onto the floor. "‘I believe he cracked my ribs,’ he said. ‘Thank the good Lord for her intervention or the vampire would have killed me.’ "‘We need to take you to a doctor,’ I said. "‘There is no time,’ the Inspector said. ‘We must get after him.’ "‘The sun is rising and Dracula will go to ground,’ I told the Inspector. ‘We must at least get that cut dealt with or you will lose too much blood.’ "‘Right,’ he said. ‘We can go to the station and the police surgeon can stitch me up.’ "I kept the pace slow as I could tell he was in considerable pain. When we finally hailed a hansom, the Inspector sat back in the seat and closed his eyes. "‘At headquarters, please let me do the talking,’ the Inspector told me. ‘I would rather leave out the supernatural. Rather, we are working for Lord Godalming, who as trustee of the estate, hired us to guard it because he feared a burglary. The story is true enough in its way.’ "I nodded in agreement. The Inspector told me how he had seen a giant bat flying in the night sky. The bat landed in the tree and in the next instant the Inspector saw a pair of red eyes staring down at him. It took him a moment to see the figure in the dark when the vampire swooped down and struck him, knocking him through the window with one blow. "‘We were lucky he did not kill us,’ I said, offering my apologies to the Inspector because I had not taken countless precautions against Dracula’s return. ‘I had feared placing strands of garlic throughout the house would affect Miss Westenra.’ "‘Mr. Carnacki, I will tell you what my old sergeant always told me. He’d say, "It is better to be lucky than good." And what he meant by it was no matter how thorough you are, how careful you are, it may never be enough so that’s why we need luck on our side. We survived to fight another day. The next time we face Count Dracula we will be wiser and better prepared.’ "We arrived at headquarters and I paid the driver. In a moment, we were inside Scotland Yard and in a small, white medical room. The police surgeon, a gray-haired individual with spectacles, motioned for the Inspector to lay down on a metal table. With experienced hands, he washed the blood away and began to stitch up Johnstone’s wound. As the surgeon worked, a sergeant and a plain-clothed detective pushed their way through a ring of constables looking at the door. "‘Well, Johnstone, looks like you ran into a bit of trouble,’ the older, civilian dressed man said. "Johnstone gave a half salute and grinned. ‘Not as bad as it looks, sir. You should see the other man. He looks dead.’ "‘In custody, is he?’ the official asked. "‘Afraid not, sir,’ the Inspector replied. ‘But I’ve got a line on him.’ "‘A foxhound like you will track your quarry down, I’m sure,’ the Sergeant said, then added with a grin, ‘But what is an old dog like you running with a young pup?’ "‘This is Thomas Carnacki, a private detective,’ Inspector Johnstone answered. ‘Lord Godalming hired us to do private guard work for him. His Lordship is trustee for a recently vacated house and he had cause for worry that a burglar might attempt something. He was correct, but Mr. Carnacki and I managed to chase the miscreant away. Mr. Carnacki, this is Chief Inspector James, Sergeant Doyle and Dr. Howard.’ "Johnstone winced as the needlework on his cheek continued. "‘Sorry,’ Dr. Howard said. "‘Think nothing of it,’ Johnstone said. "‘I don’t want any unnecessary rough stuff when you apprehend your man,’ the Chief Inspector said. "‘No, sir,’ Johnstone said. "‘Good man,’ James said. ‘I mentioned it less for your benefit and more for these others standing behind us instead of walking their beats as they should be.’ He turned and the police constables behind him, reminded of their duty, dashed away. "Dr. Howard finished with stitching the Inspector’s face and placed a bandage over his work. He poked the Inspector’s rib cage and Johnstone grimaced. "‘You’ve broken some ribs,’ the Doctor said at the conclusion of his examination. ‘Take your coat and shirt off and I’ll wrap you up.’ "The two police officials and I stepped out of the room and down the hall to the lobby. A desk sergeant sat nearby, filling out paperwork. A man sat on a bench against the wall, a sullen look on his face. "‘I’ve heard of you, Mr. Carnacki,’ the Chief Inspector said. ‘You investigate so-called haunted houses.’ "‘I take any work I can find, sir.’ "‘So what did the burglar look like?’ James asked. "‘Tall, 6-feet-2, thin build. Prominent cheek bones. Narrow chin. Wore black clothes with kid gloves. Eyes dark. Pale complexion. Mustache.’ "The Sergeant took notes and asked, ‘Any distinguishing marks?’ "‘A small scar on his forehead,’ I added. Chief Inspector James asked me to describe the events. I told him it happened so quickly that I could not be certain. Johnstone had been on watch outside and I was inside when I heard a shout. By the time I arrived, the figure was fleeing and I went to Johnstone’s aid instead of giving chase. "‘I should have pursued the burglar, but he fairly flew away,’ I said. "‘Not like Johnstone to let someone escape from him,’ the Chief Inspector said. "The Inspector stepped into the hall. ‘I heard that. None of us are as young as we once were.’ "‘That is certain,’ James said. ‘What is your next step? I should send you home until you’ve recovered, but I don’t want people who bash our inspectors to get away with it.’ "‘I’ve thought of a couple of possibilities,’ Johnstone said. ‘I believe my suspect may try to leave by ship. He’s from foreign parts. With your permission, I’d like a patrol launch placed at my disposal for later today.’ "‘Good man. Sergeant, write up the necessary orders,’ the Chief Inspector said. "With the papers in hand, we left Scotland Yard and stepped into a carriage. ‘So what is our next step, Inspector?’ I asked. "‘Breakfast and tea,’ he said. "We went to Johnstone’s apartment, a small, tidy place on Carthusian Street in the working class neighborhood of Smithfield. He and his wife spoke briefly as I stood at the entrance. Mrs. Elizabeth Johnstone greeted me, though I could see she was worried for her husband. As Mrs. Johnstone cooked, the Inspector introduced me to his two children, a young girl of 10 and a boy of seven." "After a breakfast of eggs and sausages and toast, Mrs. Johnstone took the children to a neighbor’s. The Inspector led me to the parlor and ordered me to nap on the sofa, saying we had a lot of work to do in the afternoon and evening. "I protested, but my own weariness was too much of an argument for his position. I lay down and I heard Mrs. Johnstone return. Moments after taking off my shoes, I fell into a deep sleep. "Too soon, a hand shook me by the shoulder. ‘Come, Mr. Carnacki, it is time to hunt our quarry,’ the Inspector said. "I went to the sink, splashed water in my face and combed my fingers through my hair. The Inspector, his wife and I took seats at the kitchen table. "‘Here’s how I see it,’ the Inspector told me. ‘The Count asked Miss Westenra to leave the country with him. With Lord Godalming and his friends hot on his trail, the Count is looking for a ship that leaves either today or tomorrow. He’ll also want a ship that is going to his part of the world. That should narrow our search on the Docks significantly.’ "I nodded in agreement. ‘Should we notify Lord Godalming?’ "The Inspector looked up at the ceiling as he leaned back in his chair and thrummed his fingers on the table. He paused for some time before answering. ‘I do not think so,’ he said. ‘I have never liked vigilantism no matter how justified. I understand and sympathize with Lord Godalming’s position and I have turned a blind eye to his burglaries in hunting for the Count. I have come close to crossing a line in this case, but so far I have not, at least to my way of thinking. Besides, Dr. Van Helsing, Lord Godalming and the others are smart men. They will catch the Count soon enough without our help. And I wholeheartedly pray they do once they are outside of England.’ "‘But this is an evil monster and not some ordinary criminal!’ I said. "‘Many criminals are monsters,’ he replied. ‘They may be human, but their crimes are no less horrific than the Count’s.’ "‘Are we going to arrest him then?’ I asked. "‘That would be difficult for many reasons,’ Johnstone said. ‘Even if we could capture him, what crime would we charge him?’ "‘The murder of Miss Westenra,’ I answered. "‘I looked up her death certificate,’ he said. ‘Dr. Seward attributed the death to a disease of an unknown nature. If Dracula was charged and brought to trial, his solicitor could ask for an exhumation of Miss Westenra’s body. That would be an interesting sight.’ "‘What about Mrs. Westenra?’ "‘Heart failure caused by an escaped London Zoo wolf crashing through her window,’ the Inspector said. "‘The men on the ship, Demeter?’ I said. "‘An argument could be made against whether that occurred in England’s jurisdiction since it happened on a Russian ship at sea,’ he answered. ‘Besides, there are no witnesses to place the Count on the ship.’ "‘But are these not arguments in favor of the vigilante?’ I asked. "He nodded. ‘That is why I will wish Lord Godalming and his friends good hunting in their pursuit of the Count outside of England,’ Johnstone said. ‘The law is more than a set of rules. It is the sinew that holds society together. The law cannot be cast aside as a matter of convenience to those whose job it is to uphold it. See here, I have given Lord Godalming considerable leeway, but I will not actively participate in his quest for vengeance. Do you understand?’ "I sighed for he was absolutely correct. ‘I do. What do we do then?’ "‘We find Count Dracula and question him,’ the Inspector said. ‘What troubles me most is why he really came to England.


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