Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes

Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes

Earth’s Survivors Rising From The Ashes continues to follow the survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. The small groups are growing, branching out in search of a new future. It chronicles their day to day struggles as well as their dreams as they search out new hope in their shattered world… Less
The end has come for most of the world’s population. Small groups of survivors are picking up the pieces… Learning to live again…
When the sun began to peek over the top of the ridge on the opposite shore of the Black river, everyone filed out to the two remaining trucks. It had been decided that Mike and Jan would stay behind while the others went in search of the stolen truck. They switched on and tested two sets of F.M. radios.
“The range is normally only about two miles or so, but it’s not like there’s anything to interfere with them anymore,” Tom said. “We’ll take three with us, and you keep the other here to monitor us, or if they come back here,” Tom finished.
“Do you think that’s a possibility?” Janet Dove asked.
“I doubt it, Dear,” Bob told her with a reassuring smile. “It’s just to be safe.”
Mike walked over to Candace. Her eyes met his. He kissed her softly, and her arms slipped around him.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, “I’ll be careful. And I’ll make sure they’re careful.” She kissed him and pulled back.
Mike stared at the face of the two way radio for a long second and then watched her get into the Suburban. Bob got into the front seat with her. Her eyes met his once more, and she smiled reassuringly, then started the Suburban and fell in behind Tom as he drove the big State truck out across the pavement.
Mike and Janet stood quietly as the two trucks drove away. Neither of them wanted to go back inside the cave. The sun was up and warming the old asphalt of the road where it passed in front of the cave, and what little snow remained was already beginning to melt.
“Left here,” The radio squawked. It sounded like Lydia.
“Behind you,” came an answer that sounded like Bob.
Mike shifted the 30-30 Deer rifle he held in one hand and thumbed off the strap that held his Nine Millimeter in his web holster. Janet Dove grimaced and then thumbed the safety off the shotgun she was holding. A short clip protruded from the base of the shotgun, just forward of the trigger. She had two more clips in a small pouch on her side, as well as a fully loaded Three Eighty in a tooled leather side holster she wore.
What must we look like, Mike thought. Aloud he said, “They’ll be fine.”
“Really?” Janet Dove asked. “I truly hope so. I truly do.”
~
The next twenty minutes went by slowly. Occasional squawks of directions came from the radio, and in the distance the sound of both trucks could still be heard. The silence broke all at once.
The radio squealed in Mike’s hand. One word jumped clearly from the static… “Jesus!”… Mike couldn’t tell from whom. A crashing sound accompanied it, and in the far distance gunfire erupted in the still, previously quiet morning air.
The squeal from the radio abruptly cut off and it fell back to low static. In the distance the sound of gunfire continued for what seemed like ten minutes, but was probably no more than thirty or forty seconds in reality. Mike keyed the radio, “Candace,” he screamed. “Candace?”
Gunfire broke out again in the distance. The fast… POP, POP, POP of semi automatic gunfire, but the sharp crack of a heavy rifle too. No answer came back over the radio. Janet Dove made a small strangled sound in the back of her throat and a low sob slipped from her mouth. “No, God, no,” she whispered.



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Settlement Earth series

EARTH’S SURVIVORS: SETTLEMENT EARTH BOOK ONE

Copyright 2009 W. W. Watson all rights reserved.

Cover Art © Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet

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ONE

High summer: Plague year one

Base Ostega

Northern Canada

1:00 am

The first quake had been minor, the last few had not. The big one was coming. The satellite links were down, but Doctor Alan Weber didn’t need to have a satellite link up to know that. He touched one hand to his head, the fingertips came away bloody. In any other circumstances he would be hurrying to get his head wound taken care of, but these were not just any circumstances. The entire world was ending and it was a miracle to him that he had made it through the complex above and down into the control room of the facility before it had been supposed to automatically lock down. His office was a shamble, but his secretary had met him in the hallway having ridden out the quakes in the supply room, between the tall rows of steel cabinets: Together they had made their way to the office.

All main-line Comm links were down, probably because of the loss of the satellite systems. Underground back-up cable Comm: Down. The facility was in bad shape, and he was not kidding himself, there was no help on the way. No hope of reaching the surface and the worst was not yet here. He was probably lucky to have made it down the six floors to his office from where he had been. There was an automatic lock-down program that would shut down the entire facility within seconds of an attack or catastrophic event, it had failed somehow.

He laughed to himself, he had, had to lock it down manually once he had made his way in or else it would still be open to the world. He had blown up the two main entrances to the facility, sealing his own fate as he sealed it off from the world above.

He had spent the last several years here in the Canadian wilderness running the chemical countermeasure unit at the base. He had worked on a top secret virus designed to prolong human life in cases of extreme deprivation: Nuclear attack, war and other unlikely scenarios. He had spent the last two weeks working up to this event from his subterranean office complex. All wreckage now. Still, he had sent operatives out from here three days ago to do what they could to seed the virus: Following his final orders sent down through some now probably non-existent chain of command. He had heard absolutely nothing since, and believed that was because there was no one left in command any longer.

The virus was so secretive that no one beyond the base knew the true nature of it. Even the politicians that passed bills for funding while looking the other way had not truly known what they were funding. A couple of well placed dollars in the pocket could buy a great deal of silence.

Several Army bases had secretly been infected and studied. The commanders of the armed forces had, had no idea that anything was being tested on their men. The troops had done well, surviving their training with little food and water much better than they usually did, but over the next week nearly every bird in the area had died. Some side effect they had not been able to ferret out.

That virus build had also been crippled. It had a built in self destruct mechanism to kill the virus after a short amount of time. In fact that same version had been kept as an antidote for the newest version which had no such mechanism and would go on reinfecting indefinitely.

The entire virus design and its capabilities were top secret. Top secret. And usually Top Secret meant dozens of people knew, but this time it had meant that it really had been Top Secret. Withheld from the public, and even those in charge for years had known nothing of the true nature of the virus.

Last week had changed it all. Last week the news had come down from the finest scientific minds that an extinction event was about to take place. Up to ninety percent of the world population would likely be killed off as events unfolded. It was not a maybe, it was an absolute.

The public knew that there was a meteor on a near collision course with the Earth. They had paid off the best scientists to assure the public it would miss by several thousand miles. A lie, but they had found that even scientists were willing to look past facts if their own personal spin put a better story in the mix. A survivable story, and so some had spun their own stories without prodding. From there the internet had picked it up and run with it. From there the conspiracy theorists, and by the end of the week the meteor was survivable. The story that the meteor would destroy the planet was now a lie made up by commanders of the rebel alliance in the Middle East to take the focus off their actions, the public believed what it wanted to believe.

The truth was that the meteor might miss, barely, a near miss, but it wouldn’t matter because it would contribute to a natural chain of events that would make a meteor impact look like small change.

The big deal, the bigger than a meteor deal, was the earthquakes that had already started and would probably continue until most of the civilized world was dead or dying. Crumbled into ruin from super earthquakes and volcanic activity that had never been seen by modern civilization. And it had been predicted several times over by more than one group and hushed up quickly when it was uncovered. The governments had known. The conspiracy theorists had known. The public should have known, but they were too caught up in world events that seemed to be dragging them ever closer to a third world war to pay attention to a few voices crying in the wilderness. The public was happier watching television series about conspiracies rather than looking at the day to day truths about real conspiracies. The fact was that this was a natural course of events. It had happened before and it would happen again in some distant future.

In the end it hadn’t mattered. In the end the factual side of the event had begun to happen. The reality, Alan Weber liked to think of it. And fact was fact. You couldn’t dispute fact. You could spin it, and that was the way of the old world, spinning it, but the bare facts were just that: The bare facts.

The bare facts were that the Yellowstone Caldera had erupted just a few hours before. The bare facts were that the earth quakes had begun all around the world, and although they were not so bad here at the northern tip of Canada, in other areas of the world, in the lower states, in foreign countries, third world countries, the bare facts of what was occurring were devastating: Millions dead, millions more would die before it was over, and this was nothing new. The government had evidence that this same event had happened many times in Earth’s history. This was nothing new at all, not even new to the human race. A similar event had killed off most of the human race some seventy-five thousand years before. The space race had been all about this knowledge. A rush to get off the planet and settle elsewhere on an older, more sedate planet before something that had already happened time and again happened once more.

The virus was an answer, help, solution, but Alan Weber was unsure how well the solution would work. It was, like everything else, a stop gap measure, and probably too little too late. And it was definitely flawed, but he had temporarily pushed that knowledge away in his mind. Even now as he sat and waited for the end, which would surely come, out in the world operatives were disbursing the virus that could save humanity.

He thought for a moment, “Or destroy humanity,” he added aloud.

There were no guarantees, and there was strong evidence to suggest the designer virus did its job a little too well. Designed to help prolong life, there were rumors that it could raise the dead. Some scientists who had worked with the virus in the now destroyed facility had nicknamed it Lazarus.

Alan had seen evidence to support the rumors that it could raise the dead, or the near dead for that matter. He had been present when a test subject that had been pronounced dead had come back. Weak, half crazy, but alive again.

As the hours and then days passed the subject had become stronger, seemed to be learning from the situation it was in. The decision had been made to kill it: Even that had been difficult to do. Even so, he knew that it was the only hope for society. There was nothing else. The military machine was dead. The American government was dead. The president, from reports he had read, assassinated by her own guards.

While most of America had tracked the meteorite that was supposed to miss earth from their living rooms, and had been side tracked by all the trouble in the Middle East, he had kept track of the real events that had even then been building beneath the Yellowstone caldera and many other places worldwide.

Yesterday the end had begun, and the end had come quickly. Satellites off line. Phone networks down. Power grids failed. Governments incommunicado or just gone. The Internet, down. The Meteorite had not missed Earth by much after all, and the gravitational pull from its mass had simply accelerated an already bad situation.

Dams burst. River flows reversed. Waters rising or dropping suddenly in many places. Huge tidal waves. Fires out of control. Whole cities suddenly gone. A river of lava flowing from Yellowstone. Civilization was not dead; not yet wiped out, but her back was broken.

In the small military base of Ostega that had rested above the defense facility near the shore of a former lake, the river waters that fed it had begun to rise: The chemical countermeasure unit, several levels below the base in the limestone cave structures that honeycombed the entire area, had begun to succumb to the rising river waters. By the time the surviving soldiers from above had splashed through the tunnels and into the underground facility, they had been walking through better than two feet of cold and muddy water. Shortly after that the pressure from the water had begun to collapse small sections of caves and tunnels below the base that fed the unit: That damage had been helped along by small after-shocks.

Alan Weber watched his monitor as a wall gave way and the main tunnel began to flood. It was only a matter of an hour at the most before the water found its way to him. He sighed and then relaxed back into his chair, reached down and pulled the lower file drawer open, and lifted out a partial bottle of scotch. He leaned forward and Bobbi Trevers cleared her throat in the silent observation room. Weber smiled and turned toward her.

“I suppose you have been watching, Bobbi?”

She only nodded.

He nodded back. “Share a drink with me?” He turned away, not waiting for her words of agreement. He heard her settle into a chair next to him as he pulled two plastic cups from the sleeve in the bottom drawer, left over from the Christmas party last year, and began to pour.

“I don’t usually agree to drinking on the job, but this is a different set of circumstances, isn’t it?” His eyes met her own as she nodded weakly.

“It’s almost over, isn’t it Doctor Weber?”

“I’m afraid so… Call me Alan, Bobbi… Is it okay that I call you Bobbi?” He finished pouring the scotch into the plastic cup. He had stopped at just an inch in the bottom, wondered why and then filled the cup half way instead.

North America

Far above the Earth, satellites continued to orbit importantly.

The north American continent lay sleeping far below. A wide inland sea had formed in the middle, fed by a huge river that stretched from the former Hudson bay to the middle of the continent. Small in places and easily crossed, no more than a river: Wide in other places as if it truly were a sea.

The state of Alabama had been divided in two along with most of the lower half of the former state of Florida. What resulted was the loss of the lower, southern half of the state. What remained now sat nearly forty miles out in a shallow bay that was quickly turning to sea: An island, the water surrounding it growing deeper as time moved on and the gulf reclaimed the land.

The upper north eastern section of the continent had already pulled apart and begun to drift. Although it was imperceptible, the two land masses were inching away from one another, and ultimately would be separated by a new ocean. And become separate, smaller continents.

The eastern end of the former United States, was also drifting away from the northern section of Canada. The massive earthquakes had also severed the state of Michigan, turning it into a virtual island.

Toward what had been the north, the St. Lawrence river basin had widened, pushing the land masses further apart. The Thousand Islands bridge spans had toppled, and slipped into the cold waters. The other bridges that had once spanned the mighty river had also succumbed as the river basin had split and pulled apart.

The new continent had severed her ties from Nova Scotia, as she had been pulled south and slightly east, to begin her journey. Only the province of New Brunswick, and a small portion of Quebec remained with the continent. The rest of Canada was severed from them by the wide and deep river, more like a huge lake in places, that surged from ocean to ocean.

Most of the north American continent was now in a sub-tropical climate as well. The poles had been displaced by the huge force of the multiple earthquakes and volcanic blasts which were still ongoing. The old polar caps were melting, and it would be thousands of years before they would once again re-form in their new locations.

The run-off from the melting ice would eventually reach the oceans and even more land mass would be sacrificed to the waves before the polar caps would be re-formed.

There were only thirteen full states left on the small continent. The two former provinces of Canada, one of which was only a small fragment. And parts of five former states, the largest being Florida.

Before the dawn, fires could be seen burning unchecked in many major cities, pushed with the help of freak winds the flames continued in all directions, occasionally fueled by chemical, and oil facilities, as well as numerous other flammable sources they encountered. The world began its fall.

New York

Johnny: October 29th

I am here in this farm house that Lana and I found a few weeks back. By myself. Lana is gone. I sat down here to write this story out before I am gone too. Maybe that sounds melodramatic, but it isn’t. I know exactly what my situation is.

We have been to Manhattan, outside of it, you can’t go in any longer, and we came from Los Angeles, so we know: It’s all gone, destroyed, there’s nothing left. Time to hold on to what is left for you. I had Lana… That was my something that was still left to me, but she’s gone now…

Lana… I knew they’d find out, Hell, they probably knew immediately in that slow purposeful way that things come to them. I can hear them out there ripping and tearing… They know. Yeah, they know, I know it as well as I know my name, John, Johnny Mother used to say. I… I get so goddamned distracted…. It’s working at me…

Bastards! If, only I could have… But it’s no good crying about it or wishing I had done this thing or that thing. I didn’t. I didn’t and I can’t go back and undo any of this, let alone the parts I did.

In August when the sun was so hot and the birds suddenly disappeared, and Lana came around for what was nearly the last time I hadn’t known a thing about this. Nothing. It’s late fall now and I know too much. Enough to wish it were August once again and I was living in ignorant bliss once more.

Lana: I didn’t want to do it. I told myself I would not do it and then I did it. Not bury her, that had to be done; I mean kill her. I told myself I wouldn’t kill her, and that’s a joke really. Really it is, because how do you kill something that is already dead?  No, I told myself that I wouldn’t cut her head off, put her in the ground upside down, drive a stake through her dead heart. Those are the things I told myself I wouldn’t do, couldn’t do, but I did them as best I could. I pushed the other things I thought; felt compelled to do, aside and did what I could for her.

The trouble is, did I do it right? It’s not like I have a goddamn manual to tell me how to do it. Does anybody? I doubt it, but I would say that it’s a safe bet that there are dozens of people in the world right now, people who have managed to stay alive, that could write that manual. I just don’t know them… I wish I did. And it won’t matter to me anyway. It’s a little too late, but I’ll write this anyway and maybe it can be a manual for someone else… You…

So the books say take their heads off. The books also say, for Vampires, put a stake in their heart, and older legends say turn them around, upside down in the grave. Isn’t a vampire a kind of Zombie? Isn’t it? Probably not exactly, precisely, but could it hurt to have done the stake thing just in case? To be sure? To put her at rest? I don’t think so.

They can come out during the daylight, you know. I thought they wouldn’t be able to. Every goddamn movie I ever saw, starting with the Night Of The Living Dead said they couldn’t. You could get some relief. You could get some shit done. And you could if it were true, but it’s not. They rarely come out in the daylight, that’s the truth. It’s hard for them, tough somehow, but they can. It won’t kill them. They aren’t weaker than they are at night. They just don’t like the daylight. They don’t like it. And don’t you think writing that made me a little paranoid? Thinking it over once more? It did. I got up and checked the windows. Nothing I can see, but they’re out there. They’re right out there in the barn. Sleeping in the sweet hay up in the haymow. I know it, so it doesn’t matter whether I can see them. I can hear them and I know where the rest of them are. And I know they know what I did and they’ll come tonight. They’ll come tonight because I’m afraid of the night. Not them, me.  And they goddamn well know it! They know it! They think. They see. Did you think they were stupid? Blind? Running on empty? Well you’re the fool then. Listen to me, they’re not. They’re not and thinking they are will get you dead quick. And what about me? How will I feel tonight? What will I think about it then?

Zombies: I thought Haiti, horror flicks…? What else is there? Dead people come back to life, or raised from the dead to be made into slaves. Those are the two things I knew and nothing else. Well, it’s wrong, completely wrong. No, I can’t tell you how they come to be Zombies initially, but I can tell you that the bite of a Zombie will make you a Zombie. The movies got that much right.

I can’t tell you why they haunt the fields across from this house. Why they have taken up residence in the old barn, but I can tell you that it might be you they come for next and if they do you goddamn well better realize that everything you thought you knew is bullshit. See, Lana didn’t believe it and look what happened to her! Lana… Lana: I know, I know I didn’t tell you about her, but I will. That’s the whole point of writing this down before they get me too.

See, in a little while I’m thinking I might just walk out the kitchen door and right out to the barn. I’ll leave this here on the kitchen table. For you, whoever you are, who happened along into this kitchen.

Goddamn Zombies. Ever lovin’ Bastards! …

I am losing control, I know I am, but…

Anyway, it was August. Hot. Hotter they said than it had been in recorded time. I was not here in this kitchen in rural New York someplace, I was in L.A., outside the city up in the hills, a little farm. There was no wind. No rain. Seemed like no air to breath. Global Warming they said. Maybe… Changes coming, they said. Oh yeah, changes were coming. Changes right there on that wind, probably…

It was on a Tuesday. I went to get the mail and there were six or seven dead crows by the box. I thought, Those goddamn Clark boys have been shooting their B.B guns again! So I resolved to call old man Clark and give him a piece of my mind, except I forgot. That happens to all of us: It’s not unusual. I remembered about four o’clock the next morning when I got up. Well, I told myself, Mail comes at ten, I’ll get that and then I’ll call up and have that talk…


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W. Watson & Lindsey Rivers



Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book One by W. W. Watson The first quake had been minor, the last few had not. The big one was coming, but Doctor Alan Weber didn’t need to have a satellite link up to know that.

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Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Two by W. W. Watson The cop took Ben’s gun and dropped it into the blue duffel bag. He took Ed’s bundle of cash when he searched him, whistling as he did…

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Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Three by W. W. Watson Most days he didn’t think of his old life, but when he did it wasn’t with regrets. The hardest thing of all had been shooting Nikki…

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Settlement Earth series

Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth By W W Watson Lindsey Rivers

The end has come. In an effort to help, the government has destroyed most of humanity. The few survivors are on their own… Looking for others… Trying to avoid the dead… Free Previews… https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/7285


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book1:

“It will kill you well enough,” Alice said as if reading his thoughts. “It’s a bad world. You need another shooter. Who knows what you’re going to run into.” She met Johnny’s eyes… #Crime https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360313


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Two The air lock cycled on and six soldiers stepped into the airlock. Johns tensed, waiting for the door to their space to cycle on, but it didn’t. “You think they will outright kill us,” Kohlson asked? …  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360317


Earth’s Survivors Settlement Earth: Book Three A thin line of blood ran away from the wrist that had been encircled by the tie. Whether from the sharp metal she had used to escape the zip-tie, or the zip-tie itself she could not tell… #ApocalypticFiction https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/360319



 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

DRACULA

A Mystery Story

by Bram Stoker – 1897 edition

Edited by Dell Sweet © Copyright 2018.

This book is in the public domain


How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made manifest in the

reading of them. All needless matters have been eliminated, so that a history

almost at variance with the possibilities of latter-day belief may stand forth

as simple fact. There is throughout no statement of past things wherein

memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given

from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

CHAPTER

 

1  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

2  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

3  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

4  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

5  Letter From Miss Mina Murray To Miss Lucy Westenra

6  Mina Murray’s Journal

7  Cutting From “The Dailygraph”, 8 August

8  Mina Murray’s Journal

9  Letter, Mina Harker To Lucy Westenra

10  Letter, Dr. Seward To Hon. Arthur Holmwood

11  Lucy Westenra’s Diary

12  Dr. Seward’s Diary

13  Dr. Seward’s Diary

14  Mina Harker’s Journal

15  Dr. Seward’s Diary

16  Dr. Seward’s Diary

17  Dr. Seward’s Diary

18  Dr. Seward’s Diary

19  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

20  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

21  Dr. Seward’s Diary

22  Jonathan Harker’s Journal

23  Dr. Seward’s Diary

24  Dr. Seward’s Phonograph Diary

25  Dr. Seward’s Diary

26  Dr. Seward’s Diary

27  Mina Harker’s Journal

 


CHAPTER 1

 

 

Jonathan Harker’s Journal

 

(Kept in shorthand)

 

3 May. Bistritz.–Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at

Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was

an hour late.  Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse

which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through

the streets.  I feared to go very far from the station, as we had

arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.

 

The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the

East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is

here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish

rule.

 

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh.

Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale.  I had for dinner,

or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which

was very good but thirsty.  (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the

waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was

a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the

Carpathians.

 

I found my smattering of German very useful here, indeed, I don’t know

how I should be able to get on without it.

 

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the

British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the

library regarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some

foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance

in dealing with a nobleman of that country.

 

 

I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the

country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia,

and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the

wildest and least known portions of Europe.

 

I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality

of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to

compare with our own Ordnance Survey Maps; but I found that Bistritz,

the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place.  I

shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when

I talk over my travels with Mina.

 

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct

nationalities:  Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs,

who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and

Szekelys in the East and North.  I am going among the latter, who

claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns.  This may be so, for

when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they

found the Huns settled in it.

 

I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the

horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of

imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.  (Mem.,

I must ask the Count all about them.)

 

I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had

all sorts of queer dreams.  There was a dog howling all night under my

window, which may have had something to do with it; or it may have

been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe,

and was still thirsty.  Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the

continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping

soundly then.

 

I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize

flour which they said was “mamaliga”, and egg-plant stuffed with

forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call “impletata”. (Mem.,

get recipe for this also.)

 

I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight,

or rather it ought to have done so, for after rushing to the station

at 7:30 I had to sit in the carriage for more than an hour before we

began to move.

 

It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are

the trains.  What ought they to be in China?

 

All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full of

beauty of every kind.  Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on the

top of steep hills such as we see in old missals; sometimes we ran by

rivers and streams which seemed from the wide stony margin on each

side of them to be subject to great floods.  It takes a lot of water,

and running strong, to sweep the outside edge of a river clear.

 

At every station there were groups of people, sometimes crowds, and in

all sorts of attire.  Some of them were just like the peasants at home

or those I saw coming through France and Germany, with short jackets,

and round hats, and home-made trousers; but others were very

picturesque.

 

The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were

very clumsy about the waist.  They had all full white sleeves of some

kind or other, and most of them had big belts with a lot of strips of

something fluttering from them like the dresses in a ballet, but of

course there were petticoats under them.

 

The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian

than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white

trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly

a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails.  They wore high boots,

with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and

heavy black moustaches.  They are very picturesque, but do not look

prepossessing.  On the stage they would be set down at once as some

old Oriental band of brigands.  They are, however, I am told, very

harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion.

 

It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is

a very interesting old place.  Being practically on the frontier–for

the Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina–it has had a very stormy

existence, and it certainly shows marks of it.  Fifty years ago a

series of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on five

separate occasions.  At the very beginning of the seventeenth century

it underwent a siege of three weeks and lost 13,000 people, the

casualties of war proper being assisted by famine and disease.

 

Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I

found, to my great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of

course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country.

 

I was evidently expected, for when I got near the door I faced a

cheery-looking elderly woman in the usual peasant dress–white

undergarment with a long double apron, front, and back, of coloured

stuff fitting almost too tight for modesty.  When I came close she

bowed and said, “The Herr Englishman?”

 

“Yes,” I said, “Jonathan Harker.”

 

She smiled, and gave some message to an elderly man in white

shirtsleeves, who had followed her to the door.

 

He went, but immediately returned with a letter:

 

“My friend.–Welcome to the Carpathians.  I am anxiously expecting

you.  Sleep well tonight.  At three tomorrow the diligence will

start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you.  At the Borgo

Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me.  I trust

that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you

will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.–Your friend, Dracula.”

 

 

4 May–I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count,

directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on

making inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and

pretended that he could not understand my German.

 

This could not be true, because up to then he had understood it

perfectly; at least, he answered my questions exactly as if he did.

 

He and his wife, the old lady who had received me, looked at each

other in a frightened sort of way.  He mumbled out that the money had

been sent in a letter, and that was all he knew.  When I asked him if

he knew Count Dracula, and could tell me anything of his castle, both

he and his wife crossed themselves, and, saying that they knew nothing

at all, simply refused to speak further.  It was so near the time of

starting that I had no time to ask anyone else, for it was all very

mysterious and not by any means comforting.

 

Just before I was leaving, the old lady came up to my room and said in

a hysterical way:  “Must you go?  Oh!  Young Herr, must you go?”  She

was in such an excited state that she seemed to have lost her grip of

what German she knew, and mixed it all up with some other language

which I did not know at all.  I was just able to follow her by asking

many questions.  When I told her that I must go at once, and that I

was engaged on important business, she asked again:

 

“Do you know what day it is?”  I answered that it was the fourth of

May.  She shook her head as she said again:

 

“Oh, yes!  I know that!  I know that, but do you know what day it is?”

 

On my saying that I did not understand, she went on:

 

“It is the eve of St. George’s Day.  Do you not know that tonight,

when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will

have full sway?  Do you know where you are going, and what you are

going to?”  She was in such evident distress that I tried to comfort

her, but without effect.  Finally, she went down on her knees and

implored me not to go; at least to wait a day or two before starting.

 

It was all very ridiculous but I did not feel comfortable.  However,

there was business to be done, and I could allow nothing to interfere

with it.

 

I tried to raise her up, and said, as gravely as I could, that I

thanked her, but my duty was imperative, and that I must go.

 

She then rose and dried her eyes, and taking a crucifix from her neck

offered it to me.

 

I did not know what to do, for, as an English Churchman, I have been

taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it

seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such

a state of mind.

 

She saw, I suppose, the doubt in my face, for she put the rosary round

my neck and said, “For your mother’s sake,” and went out of the room.

 

I am writing up this part of the diary whilst I am waiting for the

coach, which is, of course, late; and the crucifix is still round my

neck.

 

Whether it is the old lady’s fear, or the many ghostly traditions of

this place, or the crucifix itself, I do not know, but I am not

feeling nearly as easy in my mind as usual.

 

If this book should ever reach Mina before I do, let it bring my

goodbye.  Here comes the coach! …


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