7 September, sundown
My dearest Margrijt,
Alas, everything looks as though my premonition was correct. Had you but seen her, you would know. She had about her that same … I will not, I cannot go through it again. I told John I needed to come back here for some books, but now I sit safely in my study I feel the greatest reluctance to return to London. I locked the door so as not to be disturbed. But, I ask you, who should disturb me here? I am fooling no one. Nothing but ghosts in this house.
I have found the passage I was looking for. It is almost exactly as I remembered. I have not mentioned the dreaded word to them – hardly dare, in fact, to think it in my own mind.
I lit only the small lamp by my desk, not bothering with the rest. But the very spill of light on these pages turns the back of the room into something veiled, something biding its time. The skin on my neck tingles with the awareness of dark space behind me while my eyes are drawn time and again to the fell word.
Vampire. There, I have written it. Oh, Margrijt, I cannot return to London. Please do not expect it of me. But you do, of course. And rightly so. Just as you did all those years ago. If we could but go back and make up for our omissions.
Lucy Westenra is alive yet. That which I fear may not come to pass. Not during my lifetime, that is.
What a coward you married, my dearest. Do you curse my name every day? I think you do. I can hear you in my dreams.
And she is beautiful, oh so beautiful. Every line, every curve, the skin like ivory and those deep eyes seeming to promise … You would assume an old man like me did not think about such things. But maybe we do not grow old enough for that. Or, at any rate, I am not that old. Though I feel old. So many lonely years. Lonelier for having known your love. And though I would not have missed it, would indeed be the poorer without it, I could, for your sake – and Maarten’s – wish we had never met.
I can see the sky lighten in the east. Almost time to return to the station, and no decision made. What shall I do? Ah, but I hear you telling me to go, fly, back to her side. To keep her alive with every ounce of skill at my disposal. This time without fail. You are right, dearest. Now as you were then. I will go and not fail. I pray to God I will not.