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Jack’s Naughty Bits: Bram Stoker, Dracula

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Jack's Naughty Bits

Under normal circumstances, being alone in a room with three nymphomaniacal hotties is not an unwelcome condition. Rum thing, then, when you happen to be in Transylvania, and the bite marks they want to leave on your neck are not the garden-variety hickey. But welcome to the world of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, by which I mean Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, not the schmaltzy film of same name that gave Keanu Reeves another chance to see how little emotion he could convey on the silver screen.

    
Films rarely live up to the books they are based on, but Coppola’s Dracula film was a pointedly bad case (it seems that when the film includes the author’s name in the title it’s doomed: take lovely Leo in the production they felt the need to call William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Oh, you mean that Romeo and Juliet!). But it’s an easy thing to criticize celluloid adaptations, and a healthy, generous brain has to find ways to be more constructive. So I will only say that the Dracula that you can carry to the beach is a wonderfully scary, sexy, surprising book. It’s a shame, in a sense, that horror fiction is now such a low-brow, glossy paperback genre (despite Steven King’s prolific brilliance), for Stoker’s achievement holds up against the best of his fin-de-siècle peers. Dracula might be scary, but it’s also literature par excellence.

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From Dracula by Bram Stoker


I suppose I must have fallen asleep; I hope so, but I fear, for all that followed was startlingly real — so real that now, sitting here in the broad, full sunlight of the morning, I cannot in the least believe that it was all sleep.

    
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came into it; I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, for, though the moonlight was behind them, they threw no shadow on the floor. They came close to me and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together. Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great, wavy masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mina’s eyes and cause her pain; but it is the truth. They whispered together, and then they all three laughed — such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of water-glasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on. One said:

    
“Go on! You are first, and we shall follow; yours is the right to begin.” The other added:

    
“He is young and strong; there are kisses for us all.” I lay quiet, looking out under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.

    
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The fair girl went on her knees, and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed about to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer — nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the supersensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited — waited with beating heart.

    
But at that instant another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning. I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant’s power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell-fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires; the thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back; it was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper, seemed to cut through the air and then ring round the room as he said:

    
“How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me!”