Subject: Arrived in Transylvania
My Dear Mina,
I’ve made it safely to the Count’s castle. The lack of infrastructure in this region is mind-boggling—there isn’t a single paved road for the last third of the trip, let alone a railway. The train left me as close as the Bistritz and I stayed the night at a hotel before taking a carriage (an actual, horse-drawn carriage!) into the mountains. The scenery was beautiful, and the food hasn’t been half bad either. Google a recipe for “paprika hendl” when you get a chance; the serving I had was quite flavorful, if a tad dry. But I digress.
The ride was fine until night fell, when I transferred to a different carriage for the rest of the trip. There was something a little off about the driver. He literally threw my bags from the first carriage into his—and I didn’t pack lightly, by any stretch—and nearly did the same to me when I didn’t immediately board. I couldn’t quite tell since the sun was down and I was distracted by incessantly howling wolves, but I swear that we passed the same rocks and dead trees at least fifty times. After a while, I started seeing these weird, blue flames every now and then. The driver got out to check one out, and I definitely saw the flame through him for a split second. Nothing came of it, but I’m still a little on edge.
The Count’s got a screw or two loose as well, I think. For starters, it took him forever to actually answer when I knocked. When he finally opened the door, he just stood there staring at me like some kind of psycho until I walked in, and then he practically crushed my hand in a freaking cold handshake. I’m not entirely convinced that he wasn’t that last driver all along. He talked for a minute with a kinda stilted, foreign accent, then led me into the dining room and interrogated me about the trip while I ate. He was polite enough, I suppose, but I still get a weird vibe from the way he looks at me. My bedroom is locked, far as I’m aware, so there’s that. Regardless, I hope this isn’t what all my clients end up like. Looking forward to seeing you as soon as this is wrapped up, I hope you haven’t been too worried.