Truth is subjective, especially on silver screens. Everyone is an actor with a role to play, a story to tell. Sitting in the theater chair yet another movie about the monstrous Dracula had been released, funny how my story has been told for decades and yet each adaptation is less truthful than the last. Honestly, the most faithful would have been the one released in 1992. The actor that portrayed me, I had to do a double-take and make sure I had not accidentally exposed myself on screen. But the story was ever still in more favor of the heroes rather than the villains. Surely, they cannot keep portraying Mina Harker as a damsel in distress – she was anything but that. She wanted to flee Jonathan for me, and yet the times would not allow it. Then there was Lucy Westenra, the film had it show that I appeared as a dog to her? No, farthest thing from the truth.
Then again, truth is subjective. And sometimes, the fantasy must sell more than the truth.
As I brace myself for yet another story in which I “die” and Van Helsing prevails, a woman dressed all in black and lace comes to sit next to me. Sporting Halloween fangs and her hair slicked back, she looks over and smiles.
“A little dressed up for the movies, don’t you think?” She asks, looking down at the three-piece suit I had chosen.
New era, I wanted to look sharper. The Victorian men had it best, to look proper and dignified. I laugh quietly at her question, “Ah, yes, I didn’t know the dress code for this event was Halloween costumes.”
She laughs, “I’ve always been a fan of Dracula, there’s just something mystical about his story.”
“Ah, you think so?”
“Yes! I wish that there was a better film out there that was about him,” She explains before taking a piece of popcorn from her bucket, “Luke Evans was an amazing choice but, I do not think it was ever confirmed that Stoker used Vlad the Impaler as inspiration. Just made up some Count and made him a vampire.”
That was always something that intrigued me, that I had to have come from Vlad the Impaler. I came into existence a little bit after his death in 1476. But my family was of nobility, but we were in no way related to the former Voivode.
A woman had come onto our land, and she had been reported only to come out at night and young women in the village where we lived had started turning up dead, drained of blood. There was a hunting party established to hunt her down and stop her, I led the charge myself. Vampires were the nightmare that the movies fail to establish sometimes. Anyone could be one, and they did not always stay in cemeteries. Sometimes they took up residence in your towns, villages, cities in general. She had attacked us in the woods surrounding, tearing my men into shreds. Limbs surrounded me soon enough. I was the only one left.
“I think I will choose you.” She spoke like an angel, fresh from the battle.
Fearful, I didn’t speak instead I just took the gift she presented me. Her blood tasted like honeyed wine, and I grew addicted, desperate to consume more. She shoved me away with the force of ten men, her face didn’t match the angelic tone of her voice. Looming over me, practically floating, I felt something in my body start to boil. Convulsing on the ground as she watched like a hawk. This was the transformation; my mortal body was dying and to answer the question; I saw no pearly white gates and I saw no anger from the Lord above. Nor did I see the pit of Hell below me. Instead, I floated in a purgatory. Waiting for my soul to be ripped back to earth, trapped in my corpse for all of time.
That’s a moment that the movies will never show.
As I laid dying on the forest floor with my angel lying next to me, it was almost dawn by the time that everything was said and done. Her long claws stroked my cheek with such fragility, her dark hair fell over her face as she smiled in amazement.
“I will teach you everything I know.”
Sight and sound have never been so lively, the colors of the morning sky were brighter. Not the simple orange and blue hues. The suns rays were a stretch of gold, reaching across the dawn and over me and my angel. Until the burning set in. Not like before as I died in her watch.
“Come now, if we stay any longer – you won’t get to experience your new life.”
Following my angel through the forest and into a cave, I swallowed hard. My throat feeling dry, as if I hadn’t drunk anything for weeks. My angel laughs softly to herself as she leans back the opposite wall, out of the sun’s reach, “Your thirsty, once it gets darker again, I’ll take you to feed properly.”
“You mean attacking poor village girls again.”
She smiles, “You’ll understand why they’re so much better than a common rat.”
Currently, the woman next to me blathered on and on about her love for vampires. She reminded me of the few women I’ve encountered that live for the lore and the myth surrounding vampires. I wonder if nowadays it is because we are portrayed as the perfect fantasy, undying and will love you endlessly. That is such a strong word, love. A vampire loving a human is such an odd concept but not unheard of. Plenty of vampires I’ve met have had human companions and others, still only prefer the stalk and grab method.
“It is a shame he dies in the end though,” She says sighing, “You’d think that after God knows how long he lived unbothered, he would’ve survived the group.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “Maybe he was tired, or he had a trick up his sleeve.”
She laughs just as the theater starts to darken, the screen starts to show footage of the dos and don’ts of the proper cinema-watching experience. Dancing popcorn and drinks, along with an array of other snacks trailing behind. Settling comfortably into my seat. The woman shakes her head.
“There was no way he could survive being staked in the heart, that’s what is supposed to kill vampires, right?” She asked, her brow raised,
“He didn’t live for so long without learning a few tricks,” I said with a smile, “However, that is just a theory or an idea, I suppose.”
Putting a finger to my lips, she settles in her seat. Something in her face told me she was bothered, her heart racing in her ears just a tad bit. Amused, the beginning of the film started to play with Johnathan Harker, packing his things and excited for his trip to Transylvania. Now, the man always amused me, and I would’ve considered him a friend if he had just accepted the eccentric lifestyle I lived. I would not have judged him for his odd practices.
Now maybe stealing the infant was just a tad too far. He was a quiet, pious man compared to how other films portrayed him as a man who was not wholeheartedly aware of his surroundings. He learned quite quickly what I was, which was a relief given I wasn’t trying to hide it very much. It was rather obvious that I was far from mortal, but Johnathan’s reaction amused me. Had to keep him for longer than I wanted to. Just to push how far he’ll go before he breaks.
“Harker seems like a massive idiot,” My seat-partner whispered, “walking into certain doom like this.”
“He was ambitious, I suppose.”
She eyes me strangely again before resuming her focus on the film, eating from her popcorn occasionally. The movie moved forward to Johnathan’s arrival, I was looking forward to this part as the actor was supposed to look exactly what they believe me to look like and of course, I was disappointed by the outcome. Never did I look like an old, withering man. Gracefully de-aging myself into at least, a proper age. A living corpse was far from my actual appearance because how could I go out of the castle looking decrepit if I was searching for victims?
Maybe next time that Hollywood decides to make another film about me, I’ll go to them myself. Give a few pointers that bastard, Stoker, failed to mention.
Watching myself on screen, although it was not really me. It felt like I can remember it all so clearly again as if it had just happened which in retrospect, it was only a hundred-twenty-five years ago but then again, who is really keeping count nowadays? As the film continued, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the extra parts such as the wives attacking Harker. That never happened at all, I do not know where the idea comes from, but Harker smelled like rotten fish to them. They never once had any interest in him.
Now the wives, did I care for them? Of course, I did, just as much as my angel had cared for me when I was learning the brand-new world around me. But it was also tedious at times when their appetites desired for something more than a peasant here and there. And that was a taxing thing to take care of because it would be peasant one minute and then an infant the next. It was hard moving around the village, and then gauging it to where I’d be back before sunrise and not burn into a crisp in the process.
God, watching this film and pointing out all the inaccuracies does make me feel a tad nostalgic.
Mina probably had to have been the love of my life, compared to my wives that is, she had fired something in me that I was sure was long gone. Maybe it was because she reminded me of my angel, or what I imagined she’d look like if she were human. The fragility of her, enticed me and I had to be around her more. Learning she was engaged to Harker, only made me wonder how such a match could be forged. The two could not have been so different from one another and then the standard for love in that era was so, boring. No passion, no drive. Nothing. Only settling, and Mina was far from the type to simply settle on the contrary for how people viewed her.
She was something more human than I could ever be, or even pass to be. Loving her was the most alive I felt since my death, she was the only suitable light in my world of darkness and hiding. I tried giving her the same gift that my angel bestowed upon me. But the results…
Well, that is how so many depictions of my death have come to be.
Harker and his men, aided by the aging Abraham Van Helsing. Not a moment of peace could be had in my life as I spent my time hunted by them. Helsing, I had known from a previous time. He was a medical student then and was already so bothered with the ravages of time. Desperate for my gift as well so he could continue to advance science. The way the films portray him as a pious man who only wants to do good for the sake of humanity is always so rich to me.
Because at one point he was at my doorstep, begging for immortality.
He was without a doubt, a righteous man but only for science and for his own advances. He didn’t want to wither away and die naturally. Still remember when he cornered me in my own home, he had followed me from the Netherlands all the way to Transylvania. He was a young man then, but I couldn’t give away my gift. Not to him, this angered Abraham and it led to a fight that he left with a limp in his right leg.
“The way those two act…” My partner says next to me, “almost like they knew each other before.”
I chuckle quietly, “It does seem that way, does it?”
Then it came to the part of my alleged death, see – as said before, I have lived way too long to go quietly or as horribly. A slight of hand gesture and only pure imagination that they think they’ve defeated me for good. It was almost comical, as I hid in the shadows. Watching them cheer and celebrate my supposed death. I took the chance to slip away, not scream and die as the movies portrayed me to do.
At the end of the film, they celebrate and mourn the loss of that cowboy – Quincy. The big bad monster is dead in their efforts to fix Mina and stop the madness once and for all. How heroic of them, to face the monster that they thought they vanquished. Sighing, the trip down memory lane was needed. These days, I’ve started to forget who I am in terms of what I was. I was the vampire that terrorized London, I had control over Transylvania. I was Dracula, not the Impaler that many assumed that I was.
For I was in fact, way more than that. Ruler of the modern-day vampires all over the world for it is me and my angel, that we have created countless bloodlines. Ensured that no matter how many Van Helsings of the world exist, there will always be another Dracula. Security in our future that we will always prevail from the shadows of this world no matter the time.
“Well, that was… something.” My partner says as she rose from her seat, fixing her dress and fangs, “Care to grab a drink with me?”
I smiled, “Yes, absolutely.”
“Is wine, okay?”
I shake my head, “I don’t drink… wine.”
She laughs, “Ha, funny, no seriously – is it okay? Or should we get something different?”
“You go, and I’ll follow.”
She nods and leaves the theatre. Quietly, trailing after her and through the parking lot to her car. Getting into the passenger seat, she sighs and looks over at me with a kind face, “So, are you hungry too?”
My fangs burned through my gums as I gave her a wide smile before lunging forward, my fangs buried into her throat as she screamed. Slowly it died as she did, her blood tasted too sweet. Sickly, polluting sweet. Limp in my arms as I pulled away, leaving her to slouch in her driver’s seat. Slipping out of the car, I moved with speed away from the theatre before shifting and flying off into the moonlight.
About the author
Anne Rice once said, “To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”
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