In the first days after the convent massacre, I wanted someone to blame. I had not killed the beast, nor did I die a martyr. I cursed Mina. For her ignorance had forced me to sacrifice myself to the monster I hunted. Only later, long after resigning any religious beliefs, had I learned to forgive her, and realized how my incurable fascination had sealed my own fate. To come to this realization, I had to return to the beginning…
Agatha did not know which of the numerous and frequent howls during the night woke her, or why this one in particular had penetrated her subconscious where so many others had failed. But she suddenly woke to a halting carriage. She had no idea how long she had been asleep. Nor was she aware of the time and place.
The driver jumped off the wagon and started unloading her belongings.
Agatha stepped out of the carriage, confused. “Why have we stopped? The convent is up the hill, behind the forest.”
“This is as far as we go.” The driver responded without giving any other explanation for his words.
Agatha rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Why? Do you have a fear of nuns?”
“It is what they invited in. A survivor. There are never any survivors.” The driver shook his head before continuing. “I’m sorry, sister. But that place is no longer a sanctuary, it is cursed now.”
The driver’s daughter, a young gypsy girl, exited the carriage and pressed a potion into Agatha’s hands. “Bea asta. Va rog.”
Agatha did not understand the Romanian words, but no translation was needed to see the fear in the girl’s eyes.
“It will make your blood sour.” Her father explained as he straightened his jacket.
Agatha gave the driver her most reassuring smile. “I know what is out there, mister Andrei. But thank you for your concern.”
“El te va schimba.”
Mister Andrei beckoned his daughter to stop, but translated her words regardless. “He will change you.”
“The survivor in the convent?”
“Nu. Nu el. Strigoi.”
The driver looked around nervously before reluctantly doing his daughter’s bidding. “No. Not him. The Strigoi.”
“Nu mai pur.”
Mister Andrei hopped back onto his carriage after ordering his daughter to get inside. “He will…” Andrei sighed hopelessly as he gazed off into the distance, as though he could not quite bring himself to say the words. “She says you will no longer be pure.”
“Not to worry, mister Andrei. Tell your daughter I’m not as pure as I look.” Agatha remarked in a way that she hoped didn’t show how nervous she truly felt.
Born a granddaughter to the formidable vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, Agatha’s knowledge of the Nosferatu was extensive. Therefore, the threat she posed to their existence was more grave than most. She was far more dangerous to Count Dracula than the educated mister Harker could ever be.
However, many of her grandfather’s theories remained unproven. He died years ago, not long after his most unsuccessful, but most informative hunt. An adventure of which he wrote down every word in his diary, a journal Agatha treasured more than her own bible.
After 8 months of doing research in a silent convent in Holland, she’d expected a vampire hunt in Transylvania to be a welcome respite. At least, that’s how her day had started. Now, standing alone on a deserted forest road in the middle of the night, it was a different matter. She pulled her coat close and started up the hill.
Sister Agatha Van Helsing arrived at the convent in Transylvania at exactly 2 AM in the morning. It was dark, damp, and just cold enough to make one’s skin prickle.
Using the light of a nearby oil lamp, Agatha checked her pocket watch. Sunrise was hours away.
“I’m sister Agatha Van Helsing of the Dutch order of the silent sisters and I request entrance into the convent for official church business.”
Mother Superior approached the gate, squinting her eyes at Agatha. “What official church business?”
“I have come to speak with your guest, mister Jonathan Harker.”
“Who sent for you?” Mother Superior asked in disbelief. “And how did you learn about our visitor?”
“I wrote her.” Jonathan Harker’s fiancé, Mina Murray, stepped out from the shadows of the convent walls. “My father was well acquainted with the late mister Van Helsing. He told me if I ever found myself in a situation that reason could not explain, chances were that a Van Helsing could.”
As expected, Mother Superior immediately raised a hand as if to placate her. “We are quite capable of taking care of this ourselves.”
“My knowledge can-” Agatha tried to convince the woman of her value, but she was cut off by the wave of another hand.
“You will remain in our guest house and travel back at first light.” Mother Superior handed Agatha a key through the bars of the closed gate.
“Please let her help us. I want my Johny back.” Mina pleaded.
“We only allow pure sisters into this convent. Visitors stay in the guest cottage, unless, like mister Harker, they are in need of medical care.”
Agatha mustered up the best fake-smile she could under the circumstances. “I’m just as pure as you, Mother Superior.”
“I know who you are, sister Agatha Van Helsing. Your reputation proceeds you. And you may be pure of body but you certainly are not pure of mind.” Mother Superior sighed. “You are pride, sister Agatha. A mortal sin. And your obsession with the undead has already tainted your soul and your belief in God.”
“Gluttony is also a sin.” Agatha felt the urge to bite off her own tongue. She shouldn’t have said that. Commenting on Mother Superior’s curves was not going to get her into the convent any faster.
“The eyes of a saint and the tong of the Devil.” Mother Superior shook her head. “I advise you to bend the knee and make yourself humble in the face of God. Pray that he forgives you for your many transgressions, sister Agatha.”
“I go down on my knees every day, mother superior. And I choose not to do it for anyone else but God, the same as you.”
“We don’t accept any vulgarity here, sister Agatha.” A quick intake of breath followed. “And going on your knees for a God you do not believe in is blasphemy. Surrendering to a higher power might not be in your nature, but I think God has something else to say about that.”
“Agatha knows better than most what suffering the undead can bring about.” Mina said firmly, her voice mild, but holding no room for debate. “I trust her with my life. And if you still want my contribution, you will too.”
A muscle was still twitching in the Mother Superior’s jaw, but she said nothing this time, drawing her coat further around her and readjusting her veil. “In that case, I’ll have a room prepared for you.” She started for the door before turning around and giving Agatha a wry smile. “It’s such a nasty business, isn’t it? Vampires.”
And that was the end of it. Agatha was allowed to occupy a room in the convent. And the following day she gained permission to speak with mister Harker.
• • •
Jonathan’s eyes held that same weariness Agatha’s grandfather did in the end, his voice holding a note of sorrow as he spoke, as his words confirmed many of her grandfather’s theories.
“And so you are here to investigate the symptoms of this strange disease sweeping the continent, and to determine who might be transmitting it and how?”
“Yes.” Agatha kept her eyes on her papers as she spoke. She wondered how many others she had fooled with this lie. A necessary evil. Because as soon as the truth was spoken, witnesses either lost all belief in her, wanting a rational explanation that made them sleep again at night. Or they started to panic, in which case it became exceedingly more difficult to uncover the truth.
“And if you can trace the path of the disease, you hope to end it?”
Now she looked up. “Exactly.”
“And your grandfather was a famous surgeon? Who taught you everything?”
“Precisely.” Agatha confirmed strongly.
Church bells tolled as the hours passed. Jonathan Harker asked Agatha to fetch him some food only once, otherwise, he didn’t so much as glance in her direction, so immersed was he in his story.
Before long, the heavy wooden doors of the convent began to groan as her fellow nuns took to their beds for the night.
• • •
Visitors were rare at the convent, and those standing naked behind its gate were rarer still. Agatha watched the visitor look up at the building through the glare of the moonlight as wolf howls filled the courtyard and bats swarmed over the convent roof. Dracula. With his authoritative stance, he brought with him the air of immortality, air she was eager to breathe. Agatha dropped her stack of papers, ordered Jonathan to stay put, and raced downstairs, terrified that one of her sisters would invite him in.
Agatha ran into the courtyard to find it empty, except for mother superior and a very naked man standing behind the gate.
“Would you mind?” Agatha pointed at the bats as she addressed the Count. “They are a little noisy.”
He turned, offering a broad, generous grin in return for her attempt at a joke. A moment later the bats had all disappeared.
“Stop!” Mother Superior warned as Agatha stepped forward to unlock the gate.
“These railings cannot hold him. This fence is not what stops him from entering.” The smell of blood and death wafted from Dracula’s body as Agatha advanced on him, yet his posture was immaculate. “He could easily tear this gate apart with his bare hands.”
“I could tear your legs apart.” Dracula approached the now open gate imposingly, raising himself up to his full height.
“Not from there you can’t.”
He laughed. So did she.
“You amuse me. That is a rare thing in a human, especially a nun.” Dracula looked over his shoulder, back at Agatha. “But you are not a nun, I think. Something else… something more, perhaps.”
There was an uncomfortable silence. Agatha wanted to respond but the Count eventually continued.
“Wait, don’t tell me. I love surprises. And when I come in, and believe me, I will come in, I want to discover this myself.”
At this, Agatha frowned.
“I will rip your sisters apart, and ladies… I will take my time. One should never rush a nun.”
The cruelty in his voice made Agatha frantic, and the promise of violence that she knew he would deliver if ever given the chance, made her breast heave like that of a trapped deer.
“But when I take you…” Dracula’s eyes flowed over Agatha’s body, drifting downward. “Will you also bleed for me?”
Agatha involuntarily pressed her legs together. At her distress, Dracula merely smiled, his lip curling to reveal an ivory fang.
“Perhaps.” Agatha’s face grew hot, the word had escaped her lips before common sense could censor it.
“Is it a convent tradition to greet guests with such an audience?” Dracula asked as the courtyard slowly filled with nuns.
“You’re a far more interesting visitor than they normally get here.” Agatha explained, looking back at the nuns who exposed the wooden stakes hidden under their robes.
“And you are rather well informed about me, Agatha.” he said, a playful tone returning to his voice.
“I am, and no one is going to invite you in, Count.”
Dracula offered her a devious smile. “I only need one.”
He smiled wider, and Agatha found herself mesmerized by the sight of Dracula’s teeth and fangs. Predator, her mind supplied. As if she would ever be likely to forget.
“Who is weakest?” Dracula’s tongue grazed the sharp points of his fangs.
Agatha pulled out a kitchen knife and dragged it across her hand without making a sound.
“What in God’s name are you doing, sister Agatha.” Mother Superior demanded in disbelief.
“Showing him who is weakest.” Agatha held her palm out and open as she walked towards Dracula, allowing the blood to drip onto the damp pavement from the middle of the courtyard to the gate.
A low, feral sound ripped its way down the alley as Agatha reached her target.
Agatha did not react, though it took everything to fight the animal instincts telling her to run for her life.
“You are nothing more than an addict. A beast, who considers himself a man but loses all self-control at the sight of blood.” Agatha waved her arm, intentionally splashing some of her blood onto Dracula’s face. “Blood makes you lose focus, it clouds your mind, dulls your senses, and subdues your intelligence, making you an extremely dangerous predator, but no more difficult to kill or trap than a shark or a lion.” Agatha brought her arm down slowly, keeping the hand open so that the smell of fresh blood would stay strong in Dracula’s nose.
“Do you think it wise to provoke me?”
“Yes.” Agatha hadn’t even realized she’d said it out loud until Dracula and Mother Superior both turned to look at her, Mother Superior out of concern, Dracula out of peaked curiosity.
The count liked his lips, swallowing the last of Agatha’s blood. “For a moment I thought you were clever, sister Agatha Van Helsing.”
The words hung in the air. Van Helsing. Agatha searched his eyes for more. Dracula held her gaze for several moments.
“But giving me your blood was your first mistake.”
The hunter in Agatha found it fascinating. The rest of her found it fucking terrifying.
“On the contrary Count Dracula. This has been a most interesting experiment, and you have been an unaware, but most helpful, test subject.” Agatha wiped the knife on her robe, causing everyone to look at her with the same confused expression.
She never told Dracula her last name, nor did Mother Superior use it in his presence.
“I want to thank you for confirming my theory that memories are indeed stored in the blood.”
She had half expected him to protest, but it didn’t matter. This encounter had left her with more information than she ever could have hoped for.
• • •
During the night they came, the screams of her sisters, waking Agatha from slumber. Someone had invited Dracula in.
Agatha rushed upstairs and found Mina shaking in a corner. They moved quickly through the rain, crossing the wide courtyard, scrambling over the bloodied remains of dead sisters, swallowing against the urge to vomit.
Descending through a tower, they kept climbing down, heading towards the basement through some tight passageways, lighting the way with a candle.
Outside, a woman screamed again, a terrified shriek. The nun shouted desperately as if some beast had started eating her alive.
Now, for a terrible moment, all Agatha could see were the funerals. And every time she closed her eyes, she saw… the bloody convent walls, her sisters begging for their lives, the ensuing chaos as it looked like she was about to lose her life too… just as he had promised.
The touch of Mina’s hand slipping into hers eased her back to the present, and she squeezed it as she turned back to her research.
“He will find us?”
“Yes, he will.”
“But he will not be able to enter the circle?”
“I can’t imagine he could. Not unless invited in.” She saw Mina’s head tilt towards her for a moment as if to ask something before deciding against it.
They had found sanctuary in the basement of the convent where Agatha had kept all her research. Crosses, holy water and sacramental bread scattered on the floor in the form of a circle created a barrier intended to keep the Devil out.
“Don’t worry.” Extracting her hand from Mina’s, Agatha reached for the potion in her bag and handed it to her friend.
“What is it?”
There was no use wasting time wondering how Dracula had gotten inside. No matter how or why it had happened, it meant only one thing: Agatha had failed.
As her grandfather had discovered many years ago, not much seemed to injure him, except sunlight, which was in short supply at the moment. The sacramental bread was their final illusion of security, potentially the only thing standing between their safety and death, or a fate worse than dead. She hoped it was enough.
Only moments later Mina Murray invited Jonathan Harker into the sacred circle, even though he was the one who had invited Dracula in. And when Harker started to rip off his own face, revealing Dracula underneath, Mina hadn’t stopped screaming.
“Hush child, it is only me.” Dracula said in a matter of greeting as he dipped his head towards Mina.
He’s playing with us, Agatha realized with a dull ache. To Dracula this was all a game. A game he was sure he’d already won. Agatha strained her neck trying to scan the room inconspicuously, hoping to locate her weapons or the kitchen knife she left on the table earlier.
“It will all be over soon.” The Count promised darkly. “I have worked up quite an appetite. Luckily, there are two of you.”
“Under no circumstances are there two of us.” Agatha grabbed the kitchen knife, pushing it against her neck. “Take Mina and lose me.”
Dracula looked at her with a face devoid of expression. “I think I will take the both of you.”
“I think not. You might be fast, but if you even move an inch, I will slit my throat and be dead before my body hits the floor.” To bolster her claim she forced the knife into her flesh, breaking the skin and making it bleed, removing even the tiniest bit of doubt that she was lying.
“You would die to save this terrified child?”
This is all my fault, Agatha thought bitterly, pressing the knife even harder against her neck, trying to keep the tears at bay. She should never have come here, should never have toyed with him. At least, she could spare Mina this fate. Better her soul than Mina’s.
“Yes. There is a nobler purpose to my life than simply prolonging it.” Agatha surprised herself at how quickly the words came from her mouth. “Settle for her, or take me and learn something.”
“But I have already learned something.” Dracula slid his tongue slowly over his lips, savouring the moment before continuing. “I do not want your blood, Agatha. I want you to bend the knee.”
Agatha, caught off guard by the words, blushed as the offer sank in. Of course she remembered her conversation with Mother Superior about surrendering to a higher power, but she doubted severely that this was what the Mother meant.
“I told you it was a mistake to give me your blood.” Dracula’s eyes remained fixed on her, travelling over her body deliberately.
It certainly had been a mistake. How could she have known that so many memories could be retrieved from a few drops of blood. So many mistakes. She had promised Mina to keep the monster out, and here the monster stood before them, smirking.
Agatha might as well give him some struggle. Remind him that Dracula may be an immortal, but she had a kill count too. Might as well remind him that she was a Van Helsing.
“You will give Mina your mark.” Agatha swallowed thickly, throat suddenly burning. “It will prevent you from hunting her… after...”
“After I had you.” Dracula interrupted teasingly. “I do love a good chase. But usually before copulation, not after.”
He leaned back just far enough to raise one pale hand towards Mina, using his fingernail to make a shallow cut just above his wrist. Then, once a small trickle of blood began to flow, he nudged his wrist down, gently but firmly pressing Mina’s mouth against his skin so that his blood landed on her tongue.
The blood would prevent Dracula from tracing her. As of now, Mina was neither mortal nor immortal. She was in transition. If Dracula drank from her, or killed her, she would become a vampire. Agatha sincerely doubted that was Dracula’s intention. If he kept his word, Mina would become mortal again in a few days. Time enough for her to run, and get to safety.
“You are certainly well informed about me. I wonder who taught you?” Dracula looked at her and smiled, already knowing the answer to his own question.
All Agatha could do was stare, heart pounding in anticipation of what came next, and skin hot beneath her several layers of clothes.
Dracula licked his lips and parted them, just enough to show the tips of his fangs as he ordered Mina to leave. She obeyed instantly, not even sparing Agatha a second glance.
“Now…” He paused, hypnotic voice falling silent for a moment. “A deal is a deal, even with me.”
As soon as Agatha dropped the knife, Dracula advanced on her, she felt all the hairs on the back of her neck stand up and she pressed herself against the table. Despite her overwhelming fear, or perhaps because of it, Agatha couldn’t move as the count approached her, pushing her half on the table and forcing her legs apart.
He slid his strong thighs between Agatha’s legs, and even through her garments she felt his hard cock brushing against her body.
There was a predator between her legs and she couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything other than try to anticipate when his body would invade hers and Dracula would begin to take whatever it was he had come for.
Dracula’s nails dug into her clothes, tearing the fabric, exposing her breasts. Instantly, a flush spread over her pale cheeks. No man had ever looked upon her naked body. And long ago, Agatha vowed no man would ever hold that kind of power over her. In this moment, she realized she should have been more specific in those vows, they should’ve included dead men as well.
Dracula met her gaze before tipping his head down and brushing his lips over her right nipple. A soft flick of his tongue sent a shiver across Agatha’s skin.
His lips travelled downward as he abruptly reached under her robe and tore it to pieces. Conclusively, he removed her veil, releasing her long brown hair from captivity.
In moments, Dracula’s arms were around her, holding her close against the coldness of his body as his lips pressed against the nape of her neck.
“What are you waiting for? Do you need instructions?” The words were out before she realized that antagonizing an immortal was a really bad idea. But what was the point? Dracula had already won. And she wanted this to be over, done.
Dracula laughed, lowly, against Agatha’s skin. “Do not rush me, Agatha Van Helsing, it will not work in your favour, and do not question me, for you do not know me, or my intentions.” He whispered. “Then again, you know me better than most, and that is difficult… for I am ancient… eternal.”
Agatha smirked at him. “The earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.”
As punishment, Dracula slammed his hips upward, pulling Agatha down in the same motion. Agatha shivered as Dracula moved even closer, forcing his manhood between her legs. His strong hold on her body was already leaving bruises, but at least she could give back something as she dug her nails into Dracula’s biceps.
As a response, his hand slipped into her underwear and began rubbing her clit with slow and tender motions, liberating her juices.
In a matter of seconds, he removed her undergarments completely, and when Agatha started realizing what came next, it was already too late.
For an instant there was pain when his cock sank into her, but the pain almost instantly morphed into a fiery pleasure that she was completely unprepared for.
“Do you understand now, Agatha? You can have this, have me, for all eternity.”
In retrospect, she should have realized it sooner, Agatha thought, pinned to an ancient table with Dracula buried deep inside her. The Count had planned this, that much was abundantly clear. This was not an attack, not a crime of opportunity. It was a trap. Dracula had come for her, not for Jonathan.
“We can go anywhere, nowhere, do anything, do nothing.”
Agatha struggled, it was a natural response, trying to grab a handful of thigh, hair, anything, but Dracula’s hands were on her back and hips, trying to penetrate even deeper as the blood of her broken hymen dripped onto the convent floor.
“All you have to do is say yes.”
Dracula opened her up slowly, and Agatha couldn’t help but moan as his lips, teeth and fingers made quick work of her remaining struggle. He was oddly, surprisingly gentle.
Teeth grazed her body everywhere, giving both pain and pleasure. In her mind, she saw herself nude and glowing, his body lit in dark flames and shadow. Unwillingly, Agatha lost it seconds later, coming into the welcoming warmth.