The evening was cold, frost lingered in the air of the small harbour in Whitby. People began to form a party as crew and equipment were loaded onto a small vessel. A fair lady in the party was being guided across the gangway by the gentle and supporting hand of the tall timid looking gentleman; neither of them appeared to have any involvement with the crew, passengers travelling in their own world with only eyes for each other. Abraham, the captain for this journey was stood on deck barking orders at the men carrying supplies, preparing to travel for months at a time.
Wilhelmina Murray Harker was stood looking out across the water towards the horizon, brows drawn together with stress as her skirts stirred in the breeze. Her fair hair was dull, having lost all of its shine despite it being the height of summer. Looking closely you could see darker circles under her hazel eyes, once kind but now just distant. Above her collar just below her chin you could see two small scars, an inch apart beginning to fade and turn white from pink. Her hand absently touched them gently as the tall gentleman approached her, making a concerted effort not to startle her with his appearance.
“Are you sure you should be doing this Mina” his tired grey blue eyes searching her face for any hint of regret.
“Jonathan, there is no other way to find him to end this misery. I cannot bear watching this eat away at you, whilst I stand back and he has all of the control” her voice was tender as she turned to face him. Her slim fingers brushed away a stray curl that fell into his eyes.
“I would not be doing this if I did not think myself capable or up to the task at hand. I never lied when I said I love you. I took a vow to love, honour, cherish and protect, forsaking all others
and holding only to you for-evermore, both in sickness and in health. I can use this link to locate and distract him long enough for Abraham and his men to rid the world of this demon forever. Only then can we be truly happy. Let me do this Jonathan, out of love, out of duty and for our future children.” Mina finished, a single tear tracking its way down the hollows of her cheek. She searched his eyes for a trace of understanding, her hand still lingering on his cheek. Taking her hand in both of his, Jonathan kissed it lightly as if she were made of the finest china before tucking it into the crook of his elbow, leading her towards the cabin as dusk crept upon them.
The voyage was long and the Harkers and Abraham Van Helsing remained in their quarters below deck, out of the prying eyes of the crew. Mina’s health seemed to deteriorate the further out to sea they became, appetite decreasing; cheek bones emphasised by her pale complexion.
Abraham’s firm knock echoed in the small corridor, muffled only by the footsteps of the men at work above them. A slender face peered around the door, revealing Jonathan’s slight frame once opened fully. Instead of waiting for an invitation, Van Helsing walked straight into the centre of the room before gazing upon Wilhelmina at the small dressing table to his right.
“How are you feeling Are you losing appetite yet” his deep voice rough and demanding. Without asking for permission he sat on the edge of the bed and took a notebook and pencil from his jacket, turning pages aggressively, as if it were the last thing he wanted to do.
“Mr Van Helsing that is no way to address my wife! I demand you apologise for your abrasiveness at once or you may take your leave.” Jonathan objected, his hand protectively perched on her shoulder. With a sudden jerk as if she were on fire, Mina swiped away his hand.
“And how dare you speak for me! Abraham, I do apologise for my husband’s behaviour it is quite brash and unforgivable to speak that way to a friend.” Before Jonathan could object she raised her hand to silence him, her slender fingers looking arthritic and frail with sudden weight loss. Standing, she moved over to gaze out of the window, far way from both men as much as their tiny room could provide.
“I’m not sleeping well and cannot seem to consume food unless it is a light broth.” her voice small, vanishing into the swell of the sea outside. “I worry if we do not arrive soon, we will never catch him”
“Mina, my love, you mustn’t talk this way. It is like you have already given up! You are the reason we are in this confounded predicament in the first place. You are the one that concocted this reckless plan to trek miles across the ocean to kill him and now you are just giving up! I am ashamed yo-”
“Jonathan Harker, leave this room at once. I will not have you talk in such a manner. It is one thing to be rude to a friend but to your wife, neither I nor the Lord himself can condone such behaviour” Abraham dismissed him, his hand pushing Jonathan towards the door by his chest.
“Mina, I do not know what has got into you but you are not the woman I met. It is as if you have lost all ability to love, you have changed. Are you hiding something? Do you regret marrying me” he pleaded from the doorway, the final image he saw was her eyes, an obsidian black glowering at him before the door closed in his face.
“Abraham, how can he not see? How can he not understand that I am doing all of this for him? All I want is the married life that we should be living but instead I am chasing down monsters and living a nightmare. I cannot ta-” Mina collapsed onto the chair tears falling into her cotton gown.
“Wilhelmina I implore you, please relax. If you do not lower your blood pressure you may have an apoplexy-” Van Helsing rushed to her side, trying to get her to look him in the eye.
“-take all of the blame, he was the one that visited that dreadful man’s lai-” Before she could finish her weight toppled forward, falling into Abraham’s arms before hitting the ground. Carrying her to the cot, he lay her gently down before calling for Jonathan. Mina remained in this state for three days without ever stirring from her dream like coma.