Sunday, October 28, 2012

Of Vampires, Ghouls and Frankenstorm

In my most fevered dreams I'm a kid again. I'm 10-years-old and I'm trick or treating even if it wasn't the done thing back in Britain when we never answered the door to such ruffians.

I climb the steep steps of a Georgian house. Neat pumpkins filled with candles line the way. Their faces smile at me. Even the ghosts are limp, neat and benign. There's an expensive SUV in the drive and the owner chairs the local PTA and is on the Civic League. She wears floral dresses.



"Sandy will give you lots of candy," says Mom. Sandy is a model citizen. Sure enough she opens the door with a wide smile on her face. "My don't you look cute in your vampire outfit."

She reaches down to give me a big generous mitt (Romney) full of candy and then a strange thing happens. Sandy punches me hard in the face and I lose consciousness.

When I come round I'm on a beach and a wind is howling and the lunatic white breakers are stampeding over each other to reach me. I am pinned to the beach, unable to move, the sand cutting into my fingers. Then I turn to the channels and the social networks and I realize this nightmare equates to reality. People are posting pictures of homes falling into the sea in Rodanthe and the hurricane hasn't even arrived yet.



By the minute my picture postcard is being ripped to shreds. The Gothic nature of the time is being mixed up outside in a ghastly witches' cauldron of rain. I see the storm now through the tatted remnants of the faux spiders webs I placed on the house; every so often a crazy voice from the bodiless plastic head in the window looks out at Frankenstorm and cackles a soliloquy about the ruination of her party dress.

I had been preoccupied with the Gothic nature of things of late. Classic novels are free on my Kindle leading me to start reading Bram Stoker's Dracula, something I have been meaning to do since being enthralled by the 1992 film, and not just because it starred Winona Rider and Sadie Frost as well as Sir Anthony and Gary Oldman in a single move (OK we can gloss over Keanu Reeves).

Dracula is strangely encapsulating because it made vampires dangerously sexy many years before Twilight came along. I'm probably late to the genre having only read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein a few years ago. Shelley is the superior writer but Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula is surely superior to Branagh's version of Frankenstein a couple of years later.

"I busied myself to think of a story, which would speak to the myserious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror. One to make the reader dread to look around, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart," wrote Shelley.

As I write this the full force of nature is stirring in darkness of the back garden. Trees are straining and Frankenstorm is booming across the roof tops. There are devilish things happening in far away places and the storm is already wrecking lives and shaking loose minds.



Still we are in denial that we can curb the powers of the supernatural. In Dracula the ship the Demeter, runs aground during a terrible tempest off Whitby. By the time she hits the storm her crew has been driven to madness, death and drowning by a dark presence. Only her captain is on board, dead and lashed to the wheel.

As Lucy Westerna wastes away and becomes pale and ill from loss of blood, they place garlic around her bed. But her mother removes the foul smelling flowers. We don't want to believe the worst; we rationalise the power of the supernatural. But it's out there in the howling night.

I hope all my east coast friends stay safe tonight.

15 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, David. Please stay safe. I'm worried sick about you (and all my other friends on the East Coast). I'm hoping this entire thing has just been blown out of proportion and the storm isn't as bad as we all expected.

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    1. aw thanks Jen - I seem to be still alive, thi, albeit brain dead after numbing these days of rain with alcohol..

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  2. I hope you and yours stay safe tonight, David.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Thx Robyn - you too, although it would be concerning if it hit the west coast x

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  3. We're riding it out...so far so good but it's still early yet. My trucker fiance' made sure he was in NJ by last night so that he could get his trailer loaded first thing this morning. He texted that he's already headed north and has made it safely across the Tappan Zee Bridge. I wish he could come home but he said he doesn't want to leave his truck in this wind.

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    1. Yikes - hope you guys are OK JoJo - looks worse up there than down here..

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  4. I'm watching it on Google Crisis Map. Looks devastating!

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    1. hmm not a day for a picnic in the park Sarah :)

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  5. I love how this came around. :-) It's been a while since I've been here -- I'd forgotten how much I enjoy your writing!

    Pearl

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  6. I'm with Pearl. You bent it back and around and I enjoy that.

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    1. thanx Deborah - the storm wasn't bad here, now I feel like a woos for being dramatic, although it was bad elsewhere I guess.

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  7. The thing about Dracula, David, is that in the book, he's not sexy at all. (And I'm all about finding the sexy in inappropriate places.) I think it was Lugosi's portrayal which turned the tide in that direction. Too, Oldman's Dracula was so grotesque and camp that I found myself more turned on by Hopkins' Van Helsing! ;)
    Mina's Resurrection Blogfest!

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  8. lol - I loved Hopkins in that role; the guy is the best. sheesh I guess Resurrection Blogfest must be approaching fast Mina

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  9. Awooo! Love this, David. You may have found your genre, eh? Glad you made it whole through the tempest. Now, will you give Ann Rice a go? ;)

    (Btw- I was down my the RI coastline yesterday--homes really did get sucked right into the ocean. Spooky.)

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