Authors: Robert Eighteen-Bisang
Copyright Â© 2011 by Skyhorse Publishing
Images of Bram Stoker's manuscript copyright Â© 2011 The Rosenbach Museum and Library
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Skyhorse Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
Skyhorse Publishing books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion, corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales Department, Skyhorse Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018 or [email protected]
SkyhorseÂ® and Skyhorse PublishingÂ® are registered trademarks of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
, a Delaware corporation.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.
Printed in the United States of America
by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Richard Dalby
The first four chapters of
are narrated by Jonathan Harker, who introduces us to Transylvania, Count Dracula and the three vampire women in Dracula's castle. Our access to his diary informs us that vampires exist before the other major characters in the novel are aware of this. Our knowledge heightens the suspense as, one by one, Lucy, Mina, Seward, Morris and Holmwood (a.k.a. Lord Godalming) are forced to acknowledge that a supernatural force has invaded the mundane world. Their lives, indeed, their immortal souls, depend on their response.
In chapter eighteen, Professor Abraham Van Helsing calls the newly-formed vampire hunters together and informs them in broken English: “Take it, then, that the vampire, and the belief in his limitations and his cure, rest for the moment on the same base. For, let me tell you, he is known everywhere that men have been. In old Greece, in old Rome, he flourish in Germany all over, in France, in India, even in the Chermosese, and in China, so far from us in all ways, there even is he, and the peoples for him at this day. He have follow the wake of the berserker Icelander, the devil-begotten Hun, the Slav, the Saxon, the Magyar.”
The modern vampire is part of popular culture. Most children can tell you that “Dracula” is a vampire from “Transylvania” and recite bits and pieces about vampires' strengths and weaknesses. Whether they know it or not, most of their knowledge about vampires is based on the rules laid down by Bram Stoker's masterpiece in 1897.
As marvelous and important as
is, other writers have established different sets of rules by which their creations must live, hunt and die. Anne Rice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stephanie Meyers' Twilight Series have made important modifications to Bram Stoker's formula.
The stories in this book take place before Stoker's Count became the “King of the Vampires.” Most of the tales were written in or unfold in Victorian England, but some stories open in Australia, China, Germany, France, Portugal or the United States of America.
As readers move from tale to tale they will become literary vampire hunters who, like Van Helsing and company, must discover what a vampire is and how to control it as they turn the pages.
Let the hunt begin!
Pu Songling (a.k.a. P'u Sung-ling) [1640â1715] is best-known as the author of
Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio
Strange Tales from Liaozhai
). He spent most of his life as a private tutor in Zibo, in the province of Shadong. During this time, he collected almost five-hundred stories which were published posthumously in
Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio
Their content varies, and some of the stories are less than a page long. Pu borrowed many supernatural elements from folktales that blur the boundaries between the dream world and waking life. His tales about revenants, ghosts and fox womenâwho are often vampire-like vixensâhave inspired many Chinese films, including those by King Hu (
) and Ching Siu-tung (
A Chinese Ghost Story
) as well as the television series
Dark Tales II
There are several different versions of the following tale. Herbert Giles translated it as “The Resuscitated Corpse” in 1926, while John Minford titled it “Living Dead” when he chose it for Penguin Classics abridged edition of
George SouliÃ© de Morant (1878-1955) was a French scholar and diplomat who played a key role in introducing acupuncture to the West. “The Blood-Drinking Corpse” is taken from his
Strange Stories from the Lodge of Leisures
, which contains twentyfive stories. His translation was published by Constable in 1913 and reprinted by the Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston and New York.
“The Blood-Drinking Corpse” underscores the vampiric elements of the story.
ight was slowly falling in the narrow valley. On the winding path cut in the side of the hill about twenty mules were following each other, bending under their heavy load; the muleteers, being tired, did not cease to hurry forward their animals, abusing them with coarse voices.
Comfortably seated on mules with large pack-saddles, three men were going along at the same pace as the caravan of which they were the masters. Their thick dresses, their fur boots, and their red woollen hoods protected them from the cold wind of the mountain.
In the darkness, rendered thicker by a slight fog, the lights of a village were shining, and soon the mules, hurrying all together, jostling their loads, crowded before the only inn of the place.
The three travelers, happy to be able to rest, got down from their saddles when the innkeeper came out on the step of his door and excused himself, saying all his rooms were taken.
“I have still, it is true, a large hall the other side of the street, but it is only a barn, badly shut. I will show it to you.”
The merchants, disappointed, consulted each other with a look; but it was too late to continue their way; they followed their landlord.
The hall that was shown to them was big enough and closed at the end by a curtain. Their luggage was brought; the bedclothes rolled on the pack-saddles were spread out, as usual, on planks and trestles.
The meal was served in the general sitting-room, in the midst of noise, laughing, and movementâsmoking rice, vegetables preserved in vinegar, and lukewarm wine served in small cups. Then everyone went to bed; the lights were put out and profound silence prevailed in the sleeping village.
However, towards the hour of the Rat, a sensation of cold and uneasiness awoke one of the three travelers named Wang Fou, Happiness-of-the-kings. He turned in his bed, but the snoring of his two companions annoyed him; he could not get to sleep. Again, seeing that his rest was finished, he got up, relit the lamp which was out, took a book from his baggage, and stretched himself out again. But if he could not sleep, it was just as impossible to read. In spite of himself, his eyes quitted the columns of letters laid out in lines and searched into the darkness that the feeble light did not contrive to break through.
A growing terror froze him. He would have liked to awaken him companions, but the fear of being made fun of prevented him.
By dint of looking, he at last saw a slight movement shake the big curtain which closed the room. There came from behind a crackling of wood being broken. Then a long, painful threatening silence began again.
The merchant felt his flesh thrill; he was filled with horror, in spite of his efforts to be reasonable.
He had put aside his book, and, the coverlet drawn up to his nose, he fixed his enlarged eyes on the shadowy corners at the end of the room.
The side of the curtain was lifted; a pale hand held the folds. The stuff, thus raised, permitted a being to pass, whose form, hardly distinct, seemed penetrated by the shadow.
Happiness-of-kings would have liked to scream; his contracted throat allowed no sound to escape. Motionless and speechless, he followed with his horrified look the slow movement of the apparition which approached.
He, little by little, recognized the silhouette of a female, seen by her short quilted dress and her long narrow jacket. Behind the body he perceived the curtain again moving.
The spectre, in the meantime bending over the bed of one of the sleeping travelers, appeared to give him a long kiss.
Then it went towards the couch of the second merchant. Happiness-of-kings distinctly saw the pale figure, the eyes, from which a red flame was shining, and sharp teeth, half-exposed in a ferocious smile, which opened and shut by turns on the throat of the sleeper.
A start disturbed the body under the cover, then all stopped: the spectre was drinking in long draughts.
Happiness-of-kings, seeing that his turn was coming, had just strength enough to pull the coverlet over his head. He heard grumblings; a freezing breath penetrated through the wadded material.
The paroxysm of terror gave the merchant full possession of his strength; with a convulsive movement he threw his coverlet on the apparition, jumped out of his bed, and, yelling like a wild beast, he ran as far as the door and flew away in the night.
Still running, he felt the freezing breath in his back, he heard the furious growlings of the spectre.
The prolonged howling of the unhappy man filled the narrow street and awoke all the sleepers in their beds, but none of them moved; they hid themselves farther and farther under their coverlets. These inhuman cries meant nothing good for those who should have been bold enough to go outside.
The bewildered fugitive crossed the village, going faster and faster. Arriving at the last houses, he was only a few feet in advance and felt himself fainting.
The road at the extremity of the village was bordered with narrow fields shaded with big trees. The instinct of a hunted animal drove on the distracted merchant; he made a brisk turn to the right, then to the left, and threw himself behind the knotted trunk of a huge chestnut-tree.The freezing hand already touched his shoulder; he felt senseless.
In the morning, in broad daylight, two men who came to plough in this same field were surprised to perceive against the tree a white form, and, on the ground, a man stretched out. This fact coming after the howling in the night appeared strange to them; they turned back and went to find the Chief of the Elders. When they returned, the greater part of the inhabitants of the village followed them.
They approached and found that the form against the tree was the corpse of a young woman, her nails buried in the bark; from her mouth a stream of blood had flowed and stained her white silk jacket. A shudder of horror shook the lookers-on: the Chief of the Elders recognized his daughter dead for the last six months whose coffin was placed in a barn, waiting for the burial, a favorable day to be fixed by the astrologers.
The innkeeper recognized one of his guests in the man stretched on the ground, whom no care could revive.
They returned in haste to find out in what condition the coffin was: the door of the barn was still open. They went in; a coverlet was thrown on the ground near the entrance; on two beds the great sun lit up the hollow and greenish aspect of the corpses whose blood had been emptied. Behind the drawn curtain the coffin was found open. The corpse of the young woman evidently had not lost its inferior soul, the vital breath. Like all beings deprived of conscience and reason, her ferocity was eager for blood.