“Wake up, Mina! Wake up!”
Mina heard the watery voice as if from a great height and after much concentration was able to lift her heavy eyelids and wake from what had been a very deep sleep.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” Mina asked, her mouth and throat felt extremely dry.
Looking worriedly at his girlfriend, Jonathan sat down on the couch next to her, “You fell asleep again. I’m starting to get worried about you. Are you coming down with something ,you think?” he asked, placing a hand on her forehead.
Stretching and working her stiff neck, Mina blinked away the last dregs of sleep before answering, “I don’t think so. I don’t feel sick… I don’t even remember feeling tired”. Sitting up a little, Mina asked, “How long was I asleep?”.
“About two hours. And this is your third nap today… it’s already nine o’clock at night,” Jonathan replied after checking the green glow of the digital clock on the stove.
“Really?” Mina couldn’t imagine why she was sleeping so much. She wasn’t stressed, she didn’t feel sick or run down, actually she was feeling quite good, save for the mysterious napping habit she seemed to have developed.
“Maybe we should run through anything that has changed in your routine since this napping business started up,” Jonathan said in that oh-so-scientific way he sometimes used when confronted with a problem that needed sorting out.
Thinking that wasn’t the worst idea she’d ever heard, Mina began listing any recent habits she had picked up in the two weeks since the naps began. “OK, let’s see… I started drinking kefir every morning, I started a journal a week ago, we’ve stopped letting Roxie get up on the couch (Mina flashed Jonathan a look of contempt… she was still not happy about this new rule which kept her lap dog off of her lap), hmmm… what else has changed,” she looked around their apartment as if something on the shelves or bookshelves would jog her memory. Thinking of something, Mina added, “And I started reading Dracula for my book club”.
Mina and Jonathan exchanged a meaningful look. “You don’t really think it could be the book, do you?” Mina was the first to speak.
“I don’t know, but each time you fell asleep today you were reading that book. Come to think of it, each time I noticed you asleep over the last few days that book was somewhere nearby,” Jonathan looked as if the wheels had really begun to spin. “Where did you say you got that book?” he asked with growing suspicion.
“I got it from that little used book shop up on De Ville Avenue,” Mina said as she looked at the book in question, the menacing paperback eyes of the Count staring back at her from the front cover.
A look of alarm crossed Jonathan’s features. “Mina, there is no book store on De Ville Avenue. I bike up that street every day on the way to work and there has never been a book store anywhere near De Ville,” he said calmly as he looked more intently at the book in her hand.
As he was speaking, Mina, with trancelike movements, opened the book to the last page she had read and almost before she realized what she was doing, she began to read.
“Mina! Oh come on, not again, Mina!!!”
Jolting awake, Mina took one look at Jonathan and knew she had fallen asleep again. Tossing the wretched book to the floor, Mina put her hand to her head and in a voice coated with fear said, “That must be it! That book, there’s something evil about that book… we have to get it out of the house”.
Jonathan was one step ahead of her and with the speed of someone possessed he plucked the book off of the carpet where it had been discarded and disappeared through the door. Returning several minutes later, Jonathan assured Mina that the book was gone and would never bother them again.
“Hey Jess! Look what I found!” Tommy yelled from inside the dumpster.
“What is it?” Jess, his girlfriend and fellow dumpster diver called back as she scanned the quiet apartment complex.
Popping his head up over the brim of the dumpster Tommy tossed something over before climbing out. Picking up his find and brushing it off, Tommy walked to where Jess was waiting and taking the mini LED flashlight from his mouth said, “Can you believe what some people throw out? Look at this, a perfectly good copy of Dracula. Is this awesome or what?”. Tommy had always been a bit of a vampire nut.
“I don’t know, Tommy. There’s something kinda weird about this book,” Jess responded as she looked over the yellowed paperback as if it was days-old roadkill.
“Ah get over it Jess, it’s just a book. What could a little old book do anyway?” Tommy said as he tossed the book in the backseat of their beat-up Mazda. Looking at his still worried girlfriend Tommy tried to reassure her and continued, “Besides, you’ve been looking for a book to read before bed. Maybe it will help you fall asleep”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: For the last several days I have been determined to finish a book I started quite a while ago, yep you guessed it… Dracula. The book is actually quite good, but the language can be difficult to muddle through at times so the reading has been slow going to say the least. I’m starting to suspect I may never finish this thing, despite only having 27 or so pages left. Inevitably, as I begin to read a thick sleepiness soon overtakes me and before you know it, I’m out. It has happened for the last three days in a row… including this evening. I’m starting to think this book is cursed… that or I’m making up some of the sleep I lose due to being awakened every four hours each night for the past month because a certain wolfdog needs to go potty… guess the true reason for my strange napping habits will always be a mystery.
TWO: Some of the other habits Mina picked up refer to some of my own daily habits, like drinking Kefir each morning (it’s awesome you should try it). The other habit of not letting the dog on the couch refers to a new rule in the house that is taking some time for me to get used to… still isn’t sitting well with me, to be honest. Basically, we are retraining Joey, my mini doxie so that he doesn’t think he is ‘top dog’ in the house (which he totally thinks he is). This is to help Zorro better acclimate (the wolfdog) into our little family, and despite missing my little guy curled up in my lap, I have to admit that it is helping things with Zorro.
THREE: The names Mina and Jonathan refer to two of the main characters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a husband and wife team that are assisting the infamous Van Helsing in his pursuit of the father of all vampires.
FOUR: The dumpster-diving character, Tommy, is an ode to a certain someone… he knows who he is.
Love & Squirrels.