Jonathan's Bad Day
(Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker's Dracula)
By Ira Taborn
Jonathan Harker blinked when he got out of his carriage and saw the home of his client. As a real-estate attorney, his firm would send Jonathan to different places to help clients with legal issues they would have while buying or moving to new properties. Many of the firm's clients were from other countries. Of course Jonathan would never accept another client from Romania, however he had finally recovered enough from the Dracula incident that he was willing to travel to other countries, in this case Germany. Sadly, this new found self-esteem was quickly annihilated as Jonathan looked upon his latest client’s home, though the term ‘home’ would probably imply the wrong line of thought. The more proper term would be a manor, or maybe a castle. Of course, the last time Jonathan visited a client who lived in a castle, his wife’s friend had a stake hammered into her heart by her fiancé, he had to break into his clients house and soak everything with water (he was still paying the damages), and the client in question wound up cremated. Obviously another trip to a castle was not in his best interests.
Turning around so that he could go back, Jonathan noticed there was no carriage. Apparently the carriage driver wasn’t paid for a round trip and since the place probably gave the driver the willies as well, he left as soon as possible, This meant two things. First, Jonathan was standing alone in the dark cold winter night. Second, he was stuck there. This second point could have been proven wrong if any other carriages patrolled this area, looking for anyone willing to pay to get out of the area after being abandoned by a fellow carriage driver suffering from the willies. While a lovely thought, this was unlikely judging by the speed that the driver had left. Taking a deep breath, Jonathan grabbed his dirty luggage (which apparently had been tossed hastily from the carriage) and walked towards the castle.
When he finally got to the door, Jonathan looked and stared at the castle. It was huge. It was so large that it demanded to be the center of attention. But no matter how much attention it demanded, it could do nothing to draw Jonathan's attention from the sound of a hunting-rifle being cocked. Jonathan looked toward the sound in horror and saw a gun being aimed at him as a young man looked at him and said with blunt tone, “Who are you and why are you here?”
“I-I-I’m Jonathan Harker and I’m h-h-here on b-b-business,” Jonathan sputtered the best he could.
Looking at him for a few more seconds, the man uncocked the rifle and then strapped it to his back. He extended his hand with a smile and said, “Sorry about that, but the nearby villagers have been causing trouble.”
Jonathan took his hand and shook it. “That’s fine,” he said. However he thought, Dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into?
After they finished shaking hands, the man motioned to the door of the castle. “Come on, I’ll take you inside. Oh, and before I forget, my name is Vincent.”
As Vincent led him to the castle, Jonathan was lost in his own thoughts. What am I doing? I should be running away. I know my firm would get mad and may even fire me if I skip out on a client, but if this turns out like Dracula -- What am I thinking? Dracula is dead and I can’t allow his memory to make me so nervous. And besides, not every castle owner in Europe has made a pack with Satan, so there’s nothing to -- What is that?!?
Getting to the door, Vincent had rang the bell while Jonathan was standing lost in his thoughts. The doorbell wasn’t what caused Jonathan to snap out of his reverie, what did was what answered the door. When the door opened, Jonathan saw a horribly deformed man. He was a short man with a hunch back with little hair and covered in warts. Some of his fingers where longer than others and while one of his eyes was smaller then it should have been, the other was much larger, almost as if to compensate for the size difference.
Vincent frowned when he saw him and said; “Thanks for letting us in, Igor.”
Igor dutifully answered, “I was ordered by the master to do it, as he wishes to see the guest now.”
Vincent looked as if he was going to respond to Igor, but instead turned to Jonathan, said goodnight, and walked away. Igor then turned around and led Jonathan down a long dark musty corridor. Jonathan, being the curious person he was, asked where Vincent went and Igor simply replied, “Vincent sleeps in a small house nearby. While he eats with the master on nights with a full moon, he eats at the house all other days.”
Jonathan, not liking the sound of that, was about to make a comment when Igor said they had arrived. Jonathan walked into what he assumed to be a dinning hall and took the seat Igor walked him to. Sitting down, Jonathan looked across the table at a middle-aged looking man and said, “Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?”
The man looked at Jonathan and smiled, “Correct, I am Victor Frankenstein. It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Harker. I know you are here for business, but please eat and make yourself at home.”
Then Dr. Frankenstein smiled a smile that reminded Jonathan Harker of an old client. A client who also owned a castle. And the only thought Jonathan Harker could muster was, This isn’t good.