(Foreword: The short story below, "Bleeding Hearts and Dry Bones of the Churchyard" (the title is from a line in Bram Stoker's "Dracula") is a tale I wrote for an anthology about Steampunk and vampires sometime during the spring of 2011, that I never submitted because I did not finish it before the imposed deadline. Naturally, Paris and its World Fair duringthe late nineteenth century, all of the airships there, along with Eiffel Tower and industrialism, were my inspirations, as well as its catacombs, gargoyles and cemeteries. Vlad Dracula the Impaler, the real Count, or "Voivode", and his brother, Radu the Handsome, served as models for the villains, of course, not to mention the original "Dracula" novel written by Bram Stoker and its effect on me and the rest of the world. So, turn down the lights, put on your brass goggles, gas up the old airship jalopy, and let's blast the creepy undead vermin to fucking smithereens with our steamguns-they friggin' deserve it!)
BLEEDING HEARTS AND DRY BONES OF THE CHURCHYARD
"The dead travel fast."-Bram Stoker, "Dracula"
Jonathan Harker's Journal: 4 May, Paris-We have pursued the minions of Count Dracula as they retreated from his castle in Transylvania in defeat, when my dear, blessed friend, the Texan Quincy Morris, dispatched the evil vampyre with a bowie knife. Unfortunately, Quincy suffered a stabbing blow from this stuggle, and expired shortly thereafter. We secretly followed the Gypsy leiter-wagon caravan all the way across the Continent, finally cornering the majority of the undead here in the grand city of Paris, France. The Professor informed us about most of the demons' nests around Paris and its surrounding arrondisements and chateaus. Prof. Van Helsing also intimated to me that the vampire quarter of Paris, mainly around the Latin Quarter, have been practically destroyed.
I was most relieved by this information, even though we were almost flying down the populous avenues in that miraculous contraption-the steam-powered horseless carriage I rode in with Van Helsing this afternoon. Never would I have imagined such an extraordinary machine possible, or even dreamt I would be propelled down the Champ Elysees in one at such a high rate of speed! Astounding, and indeed I was amazed as well be the blooming science of Paris, the crystalline Grand Palais, the dirigibles buoyed in mid-air, and all the wondrous exhibits here the likes of which only Da Vinci himself could have concieved, and yet these modern marvels are here and real and on display for the commonest of men such as myself to see. Walking past the Opera, hot air balloons filled the sky. Bizet's "March of the Toreadors" and Debussy's "Reverie" spilled from the maisons and concert halls, and such incredible architectural wonders abound. Unthinkable it is that all these wonders are sullied by the presence of such vile monsters!
Van Helsing also reported on the discovery of thirteen bodies impaled in front of the Notre Dame cathedral this morning, hoisted on stakes in the manner of the Impaler. "A forest of the impaled," he said, "even here in this city of polite society." Below them, carved into an adjacent wall, was this: "We will have our revenge on you, Herr Van Helsing!" Abraham advised me of a peculiar sighting one of the passersby had last night, of how he had seen some of the stone gargoyles and grotesques moving of their own accord atop the cathedral, as well as sundry odd shadow figures leaping about the flying buttresses. Whether this is the work of the Count himself, or the remainder of his brethen, it is not known to us-nevertheless, we intend to burn these atrocious demons on fiery pits of coal!
Shall say to whomever may be reading the lines herein I am not terrified by these horrific murders? I shan't, for even now I look out my window on the City of Lights and shudder at the suspiscion of the lurking devils outside. Can I impart to the reader of these journals my sheer dread and lack of proper rest and solace? Nonetheless, I will not be twarted in my pursuit of true happiness with my new bride, Mina, the love of my life and keeper of my heart, and with our little Quincy, our new son and my newest reason to reach for the stars-