Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.d. Barker
Long before Jonathan Harker meets the Count during his stay in the Carpathian mountain estate of Vlad Dracul, Bram Stoker finds out about vampires as a child. In a fictionalized tale crafted by Stoker grandson, Dacre, who pens two books on his grandfather's famous vampire himself- both which are endorsed as official cannon.
In the Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker novel Dracul, which reads as an origin story to Dracula, Stoker writes about his grandfather's family in a fictional tale where they encountered their first vampires which inspired Bram to later write his tale.
While the Stoker family wasn't well off, they were doing better than other neighbors during the famine and were known to take in strangers that were down on their luck. One such woman appeared saying that she had previously been a governess and noticing the Stoker family had many children she offered her services for a few days. Nanna Ellen instead stayed for seven years through the birth of various children.
Bram was sickly from birth, making him one of Nanna Ellen's favorites in the household. He was never sure exactly what she did to heal him as he remembers a swirl of darkness and that she would occasionally taste his blood after he had taken ill and offer some of her own in return.
While the children of the family loved her, they noticed some particular things about their beloved governess that their parents seemed to overlook.
Taking special interest in Bram who was often too sickly to play outside or do chores with his siblings, he knew that Nanna Ellen had done something to heal him from his aliments when traditional medicine made him even weaker and closer to deaths door. Something about the exchange of his blood and then hers, then all he remembers is the darkness. But from that moment, Bram was stronger than he had ever been before.
Meals She Never Eats, A Bed Where She Never Sleeps
Beloved to the children, Nanna Ellen was particular.
She never took her meals in front of anyone and when she did it was only playing at eating as she moved the food around to make the appearance of having a meal. The children entered her room as Bram and sister Matilda became more suspicious of their friend finding her bed covered in a thick layer of dust.
Moving away the mattress, they found a box of dirt with squiggling worms instead with an imprint of her body.
The wash basin looked never used either, and the chamber pot was dusty.
The children tried to explain these things to their mother, but she never seemed to show any interest. Just as their parents never seemed to notice when Nanna Ellen's appearance changed day to day- sometimes appearing as an old woman with her flesh loose on her bones, others as a young woman that could even pass as a teenager.
Their mother and father never saw any of these things and the children were convinced after Nanna Ellen left one evening to go into the forest to follow her and see where she went.
Arriving at the remains of a castle, they followed her up the staircase to a room where other bodies lay in caskets of dirt as well with wriggling worms. One man wore a sparking diamond ring with the symbol of a dragon.
Nanna Ellen disappeared into the bog, only her hand remaining which seemed to reach towards them before exploding into insects.
The children raced home to tell their parents what happened and begged their father to search the castle but the people in the caskets of dirt where gone and Nanna Ellen never returned.
Begging their father to check out the remains of the castle, he found no source of the children's wild claims. People sleeping in boxes of soil with worms wriggling around them, body parts strewn about, Nanna Ellen disappearing into the bog only to never be seen again.
Since his exchanges with Nanna Ellen, Bram was never sick again.
He hadn't told anyone, especially his sister. He did still see Nanna Ellen on occasion in what seemed like vivid dreams. Matilda although the closest to Bram in the family just wouldn't understand after what they had experienced on that night in the remains of the castle.
Now grown up, Bram faces the new nightmare of a voice that calls to him and chases him through the darkness of the castle. Of mist that floats through the hallways and chases him to the tower with the lock on the outside of the door. He knows that it is the man with the walking stick that is making him have these delusions.
He hears the voice of Nanna Ellen among the wolves but he knows that she is not that one that will harm him.
He is linked to her after all this time and the exchange of blood.
Matilda has her own secret.
While studying abroad, she knows that she has seen Nanna Ellen watching her so she began to write letters not knowing where to address them. She writes to Nanna Ellen, not from fear but curiosity to find out if the things she things she experienced as a child are real.
Going to brother Thornley, now a doctor with his own sick wife that suffers from a strange illness leaving mysterious punctures on her body and a raving mind- Matilda and Bram tell him of their suspicions of Nanna Ellen. He finally believes recounting his own experience of bringing live chickens to her room with no explanation as to what she might be conducting in her room.
The siblings begin to see what they realize is the undead, and then finally Nanna Ellen herself.
But she is not the true enemy.
Thornley's wife Emily is fading fast. She is no more that the lunatics at the asylum where he works as a doctor but he believes that his wife will be healed. While she rambles and has strange puncture wounds that don't seem to ever heal, it is not until Emily is buried alive and found in a casket covered with crosses that "seem to be stabbing her" that he is faced with the awful truth of what plagues his bride.
Ghosts Of The Past
In another life, Nanna Ellen had loved a man. He was kind and fair and loved her too for sometime until he was transformed and taken away from her.
She locked in a tower by the Count, as he called himself wanting her to be his Countess though she refused his advances. Locked in a tower over looking town, Nanna Ellen could see her love out the window and longed for the life with him that she had been robbed of by Dracul.
Slowly she became the thing that imprisoned her.
Eventually she had escaped and realized that out of jealousy, Dracul had made sure to share the taint of his evil of the family of her love just to make sure that Nanna Ellen never forgot that he was still after her.
Finding a family with children, she passed herself off as a governess, believing that he would not look for her among mortals.
For seven years she managed to hide from him until a final showdown where she on the side of good with the Stoker children, hope to be rid of the monster Dracul forever.
Where It All Begins
Bram begins to write his novel, changing the name after events to Dracula, which he names his story about the vampire Count.
Visited by a woman named Mina, she remarks how she had a similar experience in which her beloved had escaped from a madman's castle where he was driven mad by the undead bringing the story full circle to the beginning of Dracula.
Told in a way that explains the origin of the famed character as a Bram Stoker really having contact with vampires, Dracul is a different type of experience than that of his grandfather's work but it fits so beautifully together it could be crafted by the same hand.
Dracul shares many of the details in Dracula making it hard to believe you are reading a novel in the same series so many years after the publication of the original. Dacre Stoker shares his grandfather's story in a way that seems extremely believable.
Dacre Stoker has also written Dracula The Undead, the official Stoker family declared sequel to Dracula.