I fucked up. I thought the next few entries would be short ones about the Demeter and not some long-ass shit with Mina. Crap! I was busy being stressed about work, paying rent, and making memories in real life.

Well time for a deluxe entry. Sorry in advance.

August 1st:

The crew is stuck in fog and can’t find land. Our captain notes that the mate, who up until now has been a firm and upright asshole, is now completely demoralized. The rest of the crew are terrified and appear to be accepting their fate. The captain notes that they are Russian, while the mate is from Romania. Maybe he’s realized what they’re in for.

Meanwhile, on land, Mina talks about bringing Lucy to meet with her elderly friend and the two men who keep him company. She calls him a “Sir Oracle,” which apparently means exactly what it sounds—he’s the wise man prophet type—except that he’s also an asshole and a bully.

Mina doesn’t even start a new paragraph when she realizes Lucy is there.

Lucy was looking sweetly pretty in her white lawn frock; she has got a beautiful colour since she has been here. I noticed that the old men did not lose any time in coming up and sitting near her when we sat down. She is so sweet with old people; I think they all fell in love with her on the spot.

I bet this is how Dracula would write about Jonathan.

Mina writes down a long legend that the old man tells her, entirely in his dialect, which seems like it would take more time to write. Stoker is really messing with my suspension of disbelief here. Let me see if I can figure it out.

“Ghosts, ghouls, etc are just to scare women and babies. It’s all invented by assholes who want people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. They aren’t happy spreading lies on the pulpit or papers; they’ll go as far as to engrave those lies on people’s tombstones. The graveyard has many headstones that claim to mark a body that isn’t there, or a memory long gone. On the day of judgement they’ll rise from the sea and try to take their headstones with them as proof that they were special, even as the stone slips from their slimy wet hands.”

This reminds me that I mentioned a little while ago that we had some flooding here and four people went missing, swept from their cars. They’ve all been found now and none survived. It’s really fucking depressing. The last one was discovered very far from where they were last seen. At least in this case, the victims will be with their stones. (The government still refuses to say this is about global warming though.)

Mina argues that surely some tombstones tell the truth. Mr Swales’s dialect is extremely difficult here, even Mina struggles. I’m not even going to try.

Now look you here; you come here a stranger, an’ you see this kirk-garth. […] And you consate that all these steans be aboon folk that be happed here, snod an’ snog? […] Then that be just where the lie comes in. Why, there be scores of these lay-beds that be toom as old Dun’s ‘bacca-box on Friday night.”


Tell me again how pretty Lucy is instead.

Mr. Swales says (I think) that lots of people died at sea and certainly they don’t rest below their tombstones. 

Do ye think that all these men will have to make a rush to Whitby when the trumpet sounds? I have me antherums aboot it! 

Is he Canadian?

Actually I stopped here because I looked up “antherums,” which is a fascinating dialect term, meaning “foolish or moody doubts or misgivings, or reasons for not doing something.”

I love that there’s a word for this.

Mina questions why the poor would come back for their tombstones. Mr Swales counters by asking what the tombstones are for. Mina guesses they’re for the family. Swales invites the girls to read another tombstone for a man who committed suicide to the despair of his mother. Swales tells them the real story: that the two hated each other and he committed suicide so she couldn’t get a life insurance payout on his life.

Lucy is depressed that her favorite spot to sit is apparently above a suicide victim and Mr. Swales comforts her by saying she has nothing to worry about before all the tombstones go out to sea on their own.

The old men go home and Mina and Lucy sit, hands-in-hands, and talk about marriage. Afterward, Mina comes to sulk alone, having gotten no letters from Jonathan.

August 2nd, the captain and the mate meet on the deck of the Demeter after hearing someone’s cry. Another member of the crew is gone.

August 3rd, Demeter captain goes to take his turn steering and finds no one at the wheel. He calls for the mate who looks shook in his PJs and the captain worries that he’s lost his mind. The mate says he saw capital-I It and stabbed it but the knife went through It like air, but It is in the holds and he will find It after going through the boxes one by one. He abandons the captain to steering and goes into the ship with tools and a lantern. The captain thinks he’s out of his mind and that the boxes, full of clay, will be fine if he opens them, so cap leaves the mate to it and steers into the fog.

A page break and the captain says he heard a scream from below that scared the shit out of him. The mate bursts from the hold in hysterics, saying that the only safe place is the sea, and the captain should come too. He then tosses himself into the ocean and the captain realizes that the mate himself must have killed everyone before throwing himself overboard. The captain cannot believe he’s going to have to answer for this bullshit when he gets to port, whenever that is.

Flash across the water to Whitby, Mina laments that another week has passed with no word from Jonathan. Instead of talking about how hot Lucy is, she mentions Lucy’s sleepwalking, and how “even in her sleep she seems to be watching me.”

There was a lot of fun and symbolic symmetry with Jonathan’s writing and Mina’s along with Dr. Seward’s. I feel like the attempt to do the same with Mina and the captain is just a bust and doesn’t do it at all. I felt like when Dracula Daily made this choice, it wasn’t a great one, but I feel a little vindicated now that the two don’t line up very elegantly on anything aside from dates, and maybe that people die at sea. I hope we can get more themes that vibe soon.

August 4th and we’re back to the Demeter. This bit is terrifying. I love it.

I dared not go below, I dared not leave the helm; so here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the night I saw It—Him! God forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard. It was better to die like a man; to die like a sailor in blue water no man can object. But I am captain, and I must not leave my ship.

Hours and hours stuck to the wheel and on the boat, in the mist, you see a man you’ve never seen before. You’ve been on this boat for weeks, your crew disappearing one by one, and now a man who should not be here. I imagine your brain says there’s a person there, your mind rules out the possibility, and then he moves, showing you the truth as a shadow in the fog. He is real.

The captain plans to tie his hands to the wheel and try to tie Dracula with him, but first he’ll put these letters in a bottle and hope for the best. He is exhausted and might not be able to do much good.

God and the Blessed Virgin and the saints help a poor ignorant soul trying to do his duty.

This captain is cool. I wish he had a name. And also maybe a love affair with the mate.

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