No more grief-stricken a homecoming could be contemplated. My James has been returned to me, but he is not as he was. They say that it is a relapse of the malaria; all night he tosses and shrieks, crying as a baby. Dr. Haas has returned to the house as well, to nurse him, as the least of my reserves have been exhausted. I do not have heart enough to face the grotesque invalid he has become.
I experience only horror in his presence, and find solace nowhere. His fevered face, alternately flushed a leprous white or flooded a sickly purple-black, contrasts horribly with his simple night-shirt. His scorching brow oppresses his sunken eyes, constantly rolling and staring with mesmeric intensity. He is no longer my husband; he is a dervish snake charmer, seething with asp's venom.
Most frightening to relate are the feces. Oh, my sweet friend, I hardly dare confide! They are as bizarre and unnatural as his appearance- blooming with a loathsome nameless colour, contortioned into fantastic twirls and loops, they come night and day, unbidden and unwonted. He does not take food, yet still they come, pearlescent, soft, indescribable. It is as though his own soul was trying to escape, bit by bit.
Since his return, my husband has recognized me only once. My back was turned, preparing the quinine purgative which is constantly administered. I felt a terrible creeping sensation, and an unnameable thrill shot through me. When I turned towards the bed, James had risen. His hands clawed desperately at the air before him, and he called my name with a strange and shattered tongue-
"`Lizabeth!", he cried, "`Izabeth!"
The force of his diseased stare bore irresistibly through me, as a blazing salamander would pierce the navel of a Siamese mutineer. Dr. Haas discovered my unconscious form not half an hour later; I have not returned to the sick-room.
I once was defended by the knowledge that my husband fearlessly strode the continents, invincible to harm. Now my illusions are shattered, and it seems as if he might never recover. My dreams have returned, worse than ever before. Night after night I am trapped in a miasmal jungle grove, frozen in paralytic fit, unable even to shut my eyes or move the smallest toe. I feel unbearably oppressed, crushed in the grip of some invisible anaconda, and a terrible anticipation waxes within me. It is then that scores of vampire bats descend from the darkness to feast on my blood, sucking at my most tender parts- my throat, eyes, earlobes and ankles.
I cry out, suddenly able to act, and my cry is answered by an animal roar from the jungle. And then it is my secret friend who leaps into the glade. It is his hairy, calloused hands which slap away disgusting birds, and his guttural cries which seem to drive them back to the darkness. And then all the fury leaves his uneven countenance, and he tends to me gently, sucking the poison from every wound.
I have told Mad. Blataslavsky of my nightmares, but she only dismisses them as James once would have, and says that I have been reading too many Irish fantasies. I hate her for that. Mr. Stoker understands the soul of the English woman more deeply than any dissipated Ibernian playwright should. His genius transcends race, as does the genius of my companion in the garden. If only he would come to me!
Sweet Diary, I am hesitant to write more. I found my letters disturbed this morning. I could not stand betrayal by you, my most faithful friend. But I must ask and wonder, what now will become of little Albert? Fatherless and tormented, each morning I pray to find him gone. Why does my savior not take him? What keeps him from the house?