Key Stage: KS2/3 E; Age 8+
Lexile Measure: 790L
Author/Editor: Retold by Mike Stocks
It was the dead of night. Jonathan Harker sat bolt upright in bed and screamed “No-oooo!” His brow was covered in sweat, his heart beat furiously, and he was so scared that he didn’t know where he was. Then, slowly, it all came back to him – he was at an inn in Transylvania, one of the wildest, least-known parts of Europe. “What a creepy dream,” he thought. “Those horrible wolves. And that huge bat which wrapped its wings around me. . .” He shuddered.
Next morning he received a letter.
My dear friend,
Welcome to Transylvania. I am particularly looking forward to meeting you in the flesh.
I have arranged for you to travel by the afternoon stagecoach to the Borgo Pass, where my carriage will bring you to my castle.
As Jonathan was getting ready to leave, the landlady surprised him by coming to his room, and pleading desperately with him not to go.
“But it’s my job as a lawyer,” he explained, feeling slightly embarrassed. “I’ve organized all the legal details of the Count’s new house in London, and I need to explain to him how. . . Oh! Please don’t be upset.”
“Tonight,” whispered the old lady, “all the evil in the world will be let loose. You will be at the mercy of forces you never dreamed existed. You must not go!”
“Did you have nightmares as well?” Jonathan joked, trying to make light of the situation. “I did. First this gigantic bat wrapped its slimy wings around me, then as I screamed in terror it sank its teeth into my. . . Are you alright?”
The old lady was moaning and gasping in horror, making him regret being so flippant. So when she held out in her hand a chain with a cross on it, he looked at her solemnly.
“For the sake of your soul,” she begged, “always wear this crucifix.”
“I will,” he said in a quiet voice.
When the other passengers on the stagecoach found out where Jonathan was going, they stared at him in astonishment. Then they started whispering in Transylvanian and Jonathan heard some words that he knew: pokol and vrolok. The first word meant hell, and the second. . . Jonathan shivered. It meant vampire. But he told himself that such fears were merely absurd superstitions. When he met the Count, it would be interesting to discuss them.
Even though the roads were rough, winding and dangerous, the driver seemed to be in a frantic hurry. Jonathan watched the countryside flash past, a landscape of steep hills, green forests and sudden spectacular views of craggy mountains. When it started to get dark, the driver urged his horses to go even faster, and the stagecoach swayed and rocked like a boat on a stormy sea. They entered the Borgo Pass at a full gallop, then the driver pulled hard on the reins and the carriage lurched to a halt. Jonathan was glad they had arrived – the other passengers were starting to get on his nerves. Half the time they were whispering that his soul was in eternal peril, and the rest of the time they kept trying to press cloves of garlic into his hand. Why? thought Jonathan, as he secretly dropped yet another clove out of the window.
Dracula from the Story by Bram Stoker
I zoomed through this brilliant book as I dared myself to turn the next page. I liked the book because it is full of fantastic drama. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot which kept me on the edge of my seat.
Connor Moore, 17th April 2010
It's really the best horror story which captures the vileness of the vampires so well that this remains the top of all horrors.
Annika Jane Emerson, 8th February 2010
Dracula by Bram Stoker Was An Amazing Book I just loved it so much I'm totaly in to vampires and everything like that so once again I totally loved this book!
Mollie, 5th February 2010