Anaemia

Anaemia

[Written by Caitlin Slaven (she/her)]

[Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash]

Dear M,

I arrived in Whitby yesterday afternoon, and I’m trying not to get too disappointed. This town is sweet and quaint; it has cobble stones and sail boats on the canal. It’s beautiful when the sun appears, and well suited to the frequenting British-seaside gloom. The train that brought me in, drew me through richly green woods, past houses with faces wrought through with flowering climbing plants and fields where sheep were hopping over shallow brooks. The sky was cloudless, all were in cheery spirits, and I thought to myself; please don’t let the entire trip be this un-Gothic.

My attic room is out of the center, so not only do I look out over the town and the sea, but also the abbey. It looks in through my bedroom window, grey, ragged, and beautiful, so it’s not all bad. In fact, it’s quite perfect; the ice cream sold down on the beach is delicious too.

Do you have any ideas about how I can woo him? I’ll obviously be sleeping with the window open, and I’m planning on wandering around the ruins of the abbey late at night. I’m so excited to finally be here, I’m finally going to meet him.

Take care and I’ll see you again soon,

With love,

L

Dear M,

To answer your question, no I haven’t read Dracula and that is quite deliberate. It would feel like an invasion of privacy, I want to meet and get to know him organically, and not assume things based on what people have written. Mystery is sexy.

Every night, I’ve been spending some time wandering the graveyard by the abbey. When I visited on my first morning here, I was absolutely devastated to learn that not only do you have to pay to go anywhere near the abbey itself, but it shuts at 5. I could have cried right there in the giftshop. I sat at the top of the 199 steps up to the ruins and had an ice cream to calm myself and recover. Thankfully, there was a high, coarse wind that disguised my red eyes and had me squinting and scowling in an appropriately mysterious, jaded way. There was even a black lurcher wandering around, making the sight even better.

I do hope he was somehow watching. Since then, I’ve been floating and bobbing about the town like a fisherman’s lure. It’s frustrating that I can’t know if he’s noticed me, but I guess I must be patient. I sit to read in the graveyard in the evenings and eat on the church steps in the lovely purple light of twilight that I know I look so good in. I will admit, I’m becoming endeared to the town. The old couple who own the Airbnb are so cute and paternal, always trying to feed me, telling me I’m too tall, too pale, too slight, like grandparents do.

I do miss you too, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the new flat. Send me pictures.

Take care and see you soon,

With love,

L

Dear M,

I started sleepwalking again; I thought I’d grown out of it. I woke up in a heap at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the attic, with the Airbnb hosts hurrying up the main stairwell, shouting. I’d already frightened them earlier that evening; I’d passed out on my way up. 

I’m okay now, just doubly banged up and sore and sick and tired. I don’t think it’s anything contagious, I’m just awfully lightheaded and pale, the bags under my eyes dark and ugly as hell. I think it’s best I just come home and get to the doctor. Maybe I’m anaemic. Besides, I’ve had no luck with Dracula…not a thing. 

I’ll wake up in the morning, tired no matter how long I sleep, with that fucking abbey looking in my window, motionless and, I must admit, empty. I’m so disappointed. I’m ill. I’m down. I think I’m disillusioned, and it might just be best for me to come home. I’ve been too tired the past few nights to even go to the graveyard, I dozed off in it a few nights ago and thought that might be a bit dangerous. You never know who’s about in these kinds of places. No vampires, no romance. I didn’t meet my love this time. But I am bringing you back some ‘Dracula delight’ fudge. I might have to eat some of it on the way though, to keep my blood sugar up. It’s medically necessitated.

I’ll see you soon,

With love,

L

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed this. I recall a couple of relatively recent Dracula films that looked at the biology of the blood and implications for Dracula and his victims. The title, the condition of the narrator and the clever nod at the end to the diabetic condition continue in that vein. The pun is intended. I never thought of this but I guess a diabetic person is preferable to the Count. So we are left in limbo, did our anemic and diabetic narrator meet Dracula after all and does he continue to control her. In other words this is a story that makes you think. This lettter technique reminded me of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood; it includes many witty letters throughout the novel. Well done, a short and thought provoking story.

  2. Great read. Can’t wait for the next instalment..

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