Some days after Mina got the letter from Arthur, with the news of Lucy’s death, she had another letter. This was from Professor Van Helsing, a friend of Arthur’s. In it he wrote, ‘I know, from your letters to Lucy, that you were her dearest friend. I would very much like to meet you, to talk about the time when you were with Lucy at Whitby.’

So the Professor came to see us at our house, and we learnt the full story of poor Lucy’s terrible death. Then Mina gave Van Helsing my diary to read, and he learnt about my time at Castle Dracula. He was very excited.

‘Ah!’ he cried. ‘Now I begin to understand so many things! This Count Dracula – he was the vampire that killed poor Miss Lucy. Will you help us to find him?’

Of course, Mina and I agreed to help. When I saw Count Dracula in London, I was very afraid, but now I felt stronger because I had work to do.

We began at once. Mina went to stay with Jack Seward at his house, to tell him and Arthur all about the Count, and I went to Whitby. I wanted to find out about the coffins that were in the ship on the night of the storm – the ship that brought Count Dracula to England. After many questions, I learnt that the coffins were now in the Count’s house in London.

I hurried back to London and to Jack Seward’s house. When I told Van Helsing this news, he called us all together, and said, ‘Now the danger begins. I have learnt much about vampires from old books, and I know that they can come out only at night. During the day they are like dead bodies and must have a place to hide. I think that Count Dracula uses his coffins for his daytime hiding-places. If we can find him in a coffin, we can kill him. But let’s go to his house tonight. We’ll put holy bread in the coffins, and then the Count cannot get back into them. He’ll then have no place to hide during the day, and he will be weaker, and easier to fight when we find him.’

So that night Van Helsing, Jack, Arthur, and I went out together to the Count’s house. Mina, of course, did not come with us. I was afraid to leave her alone, but she said that there was more danger for us than for her.

Jack had some old keys with him, and with one of these we got into the house. It was old and dirty, and the smell of blood was everywhere. We walked through the cold, empty rooms and at last we found the coffins.

From his bag Van Helsing took some holy bread. ‘We must put a piece of this in each coffin,’ he said.

We worked hard. It took a long time to break open each coffin and put holy bread inside. We were just opening the last coffin when Van Helsing gave a cry. ‘We are too late! The Count is coming!’

We looked up from our work and saw Count Dracula. He came through the dark room like a black cloud. His angry face was white and his eyes burned like red fires. Van Helsing held out his gold cross, and the Count stopped. Afraid for our lives, we ran from the house.

‘Quick!’ cried Van Helsing. ‘We must get back! Now he has seen us, Mina may be in danger!’

My heart nearly stopped when I heard this. ‘Oh, Mina!’ I cried silently. ‘I cannot lose Mina!’

But when we got back to Jack’s house, everything was quiet. I ran upstairs. The bedroom door was locked. I called out to my friends. ‘Help me! Oh, help me!’

Together we broke down the door – and then my blood ran cold. A tall dark man was standing in the moonlight, by the window. In his arms he held my wife, my Mina! Her white nightdress had blood on it, and her face lay against Count Dracula. Blood dropped from his mouth, and he was holding Mina to him while she drank his blood!

I ran to her and tried to pull him away from her. Van Helsing ran at the Count and held up his gold cross.

When he saw the cross, Count Dracula moved back and dropped Mina’s body. She gave a terrible cry and fell across the bed. A cloud moved across the moon, and when the moon came from behind it, Count Dracula was not there.

‘Oh, Mina, my love!’ I cried. I took her in my arms. ‘What has happened? Tell us!’ I was wild with fear.

Mina shivered. ‘Don’t leave me!’ she cried. ‘Oh, please don’t leave me!’ Her facewas pale, and we could see two little wounds on her neck. She put her head in her hands and gave a long, terrible scream. ‘Stay with me!’ she cried.

And I held her in my arms until the first light of day showed in the east.

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