Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dracula and A Walk in the Park

I've been rereading the Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, since it's been several years since my first reading. I've been enjoying it and its creepiness but especially Stoker's vivid detail in his describing the atmosphere and environment as the characters write their journals and letters. I'm at the part where Mina Murray awaits word on Jonathan Harker's whereabouts since she hasn't heard from him in weeks and the last letter she received didn't seem natural, so she's a little worried. She's in Whitby with her friend Lucy Westenra, and been worrying about her as well and her worsening habit of sleepwalking. I read Mina's journal entry of the pasted-in newspaper article describing the arrival of the mysterious ship the Demeter.

The arrival of the ship was preceded by hot, humid weather, with the heavy still air typical of a very humid summer day. Stoker's description of the weather and the August day before the wild, fast moving storm broke out along with the hazy mist over the harbor impressed me so much that it caused me to have a creepy feeling when I took a walk in the park the next day after work.

The park was as colorful as usual on a summer day, but the heat and humidity was oppressive and as I walked I realized it was really similar to Stoker's description of Whitby except it was still light out during my walk. I was also inland so there wasn't a harbor, but there was a small beach on a pond. I experienced that strange silence that the heavy oppressive air causes, which was helped by the absence of the usual crowds. Maybe it was too hot for some people or maybe I was there later in the day than usual and the beach was closed for the day.

Anyway, as I walked along I was noticing the strange quiet and thinking how it was like the book when a dog started barking in the distance to my east. Then it was answered by a couple of dogs from my west. A minute later all the dogs were quiet and all I heard was the insects buzzing in the brush and I got the creepiest sensation of being followed, but I had just turned a corner on the path and knew I was alone. The creepy feeling persisted and I had the strong urge to check behind me. Finally, I just had to look and all I saw following me was my shadow!

When I realized the only thing following me was my own shadow, the creepy feeling went away. It helped that a little further on up the path I ran into a few families walking which broke the silence and helped me feel less alone. Stoker strikes again!

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