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"I shall not fear to sleep in any place where he is not."

*

It seemed logical to hang the crucifix over his bed. The nights of wakefulness and pleasant conversation with his host were, after all, a thing of the past. The host had turned captor, and Jonathan now spent his nighttime hours keeping to his room. He did not require the Count's warnings to see the wisdom in that. He missed the weight of the rosary in his pocket, but it seemed wisest, most inherently reasonable, to be sure that it stayed in the place where he was most vulnerable most often. He could not avoid sleep, no matter how much he would have liked to do so, and the crucifix was the only defense he could muster during his hours of unconsciousness.

It was only a matter of days before he forgot it was there. The human brain is a remarkably adaptable organ; terror cannot be sustained at a fever pitch. The mind adjusts, and the fear becomes a hum in the background, brought to the forefront only when directly appealed to. So it was that Jonathan became careless, that he forgot the crucifix and scorned the Count's edict in favor of mounting what little rebellion he still had available to him.

So it was that he learnt the true extent of the dangers in the castle.

*

"I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will."

*

There were no mirrors in the castle. At no point did Jonathan forget how the only one had been lost. He wondered at himself for not seeing the significance of the event at the time, for allowing himself to be persuaded that the Count's reaction to his blood was - what? A trick of the light? A brief moment's illusion brought on by insufficient sleep? Something insubstantial, from which he had been distracted over annoyance at losing his shaving glass and being reduced to shaving himself by feel. Had the Count charmed him so much, that this was the only thing of note he could find in the incident?

*

"This man belongs to me!"

*

It was tempting, when he awoke that morning, to believe that he had dreamed the previous night's events. Not so long ago (though it seems so very long ago), the very thought of such depravity coming from the depths of his own mind would have been a source of horror, but now it was the most appealing of a grim and limited range of options.

But Jonathan knew better than to repeat the cavalier response to the loss of his shaving glass, to ignore the details that told a different story. He wrote it all down, as he had become accustomed to doing, and did not spare himself from facing unflinchingly the existence of the women, the remembered sensation of lips and teeth on his throat, the Count's enraged intervention.

Of one thing I am glad: if it was that the Count carried me here and undressed me, he must have been hurried in his task, for my pockets are intact.

And is it not after all the duty of a host to see to his guest's comfort, heedless of inconveniences to himself?

(The crucifix hung in its place over the head of Jonathan's bed.)

*

"I know now the span of my life. God help me!"

*

Jonathan did not write in his diary every day. It was the one link he had to hope and sanity. He could not risk its discovery.

And there were days when writing was not a relief, but a torment, when every word on the page reaffirmed his captivity and made each moment seem more real than it had done when he had lived it.

After he wrote the letters the Count required of him, with their revealing dates, Jonathan did not so much as open his diary for a week and a half.

*

Jonathan became adept at shaving without the aid of a glass, eyes closed to increase the sensitivity of his fingertips as they crept ahead of the razor over his chin, his cheek, the skin of his throat. He took great care not to cut himself again. He could not be assured of his solitude.

*

"I passed to my room and went to bed and, strange to say, slept without dreaming."

*

Every scrap of paper in Jonathan's room disappeared, save for the diary he kept always on his person. He did not write in it for two weeks.

(If, during that time, he he found an . . . irregularity in the skin over his pulse as he shaved, what of it? He has never had call to memorize the feel of his own skin, why shouldn't it seem new to him? Why shouldn't he find something one day that he had missed the day before?

The capacity of the human brain to adapt to its circumstances is boundless, and the crucifix and its lesson were gathering dust at the head of Jonathan's bed.)

*

"Tonight is mine. Tomorrow night, tomorrow night is yours!"

*

The diary was worth its weight in gold after Jonathan escaped, for the brain fever so addled his memory that without it, he could not have pieced a final account together, and would not have trusted it if he had. The fever elaborated upon everything, piling embroideries upon events that were fantastical enough on their own. He would not have thought it possible, but reading the diary through once he was well enough to do so soothed his mind, for the fever dreams were frequently hideous in their detail. He was comforted especially that he had overcome his own reticence to write of his encounter with the three women as clearly as he could; though it still hurt him to think of Mina reading it, its existence set his memory to rights and told him with no room for doubt that the sensation memory that had most frequently occurred in his illness was but a fabrication, a manifestation of his fears. Nothing had terrified him more during his captivity than the idea of being fed upon. He would have preferred even the wolves to that. It made sense, then, that in the midst of fever, he should dream over and over of teeth piercing his throat, of lethargy overtaking him as the blood was drawn from his veins.

*

"I slept till just before the dawn, and when I woke threw myself on my knees, for I determined that if Death came he should find me ready."