Dear Dr. Agonson

Dear Dr. Agonson

My thankful heart remembers last year, and with the closing of this, I consider our past summer and those few months, those too few months, in which I took advantage of your hospitality. I hope you also remember me; perhaps at night, alone in the dark, when some noise startles you awake, you may remember your old patient, Mr. Clown.

I have been on the lamb, as we criminals say, since drugging the staffroom’s coffee, but not, you may care to remember, from the authorities. No, you and I—you know the real reason I left. I had seen him again; he had gotten in. Your adopted veneer of a stoic skeptic could not be maintained;—I can see under masks.

All this is to remind you to watch out. He has not followed me; he may still be there, hiding in the shadows of your asylum, praying upon the confused and twisted minds which run it. Remember, Dracula had no interest in Renfield’s blood—it was Mrs. Harker he sought. The devil has left me alone—I have escaped—but what remains in your house?

I say all this to frighten you into action. Do not sleep this night without cleaning, without checking—prepare something. I understand: you are a man without a painted face; the public sees you. How could you be expected to go about with a wooden stake and a mallet, stalking the basement of that beautiful retreat you run?

Do not think of vampires in such a way. You proved to me yourself, they are not real. We know this, but we also know that they are real, deadly—you finally saw him; we saw him; I saw your face then. My mask is painted on, but there are other masks men wear. What is so hard for your sane mind to understand that here my invalid brain comprehends what you dare not?

He is not real; he has no body, no flesh. Yet being unreal, he has his affect, his whisper. My family is dead, seven children are dead, because I listened to his whispering. How many of your nurses will stop their ears? How many orderlies will find in their heads a stray thought—their own or his?—pulling them to some cruelty, to spill blood?

I know his ways. Consider, look over all your records. How many deaths since I left? The same? Another tack then: search your patients for his bite—ah, but he is clever, and what is one needle mark in a hospital. Do you not yet see? He has found a place where he is all but invisible. You must smoke him out.

I am more and more convinced: He has stopped chasing me; he has a greater prize.

I have been traveling alone, lately, and have stayed for the past week or so in a French speaking province of Canada. I will not tempt you with a name; I am not really in Canada, but you understand what I say. One day, perhaps.

Greet the Southside Strangler for me, and that nervous little man with the twitch (Remind him I will kill him one day). I will find a church when I post this, and I will kneel, I will pray. I am so sorry that when I came to your house in need he followed me. I had hoped, I think, to spare all of you my demons when I ran away. Now, all I can do is warn you. Consider that what goes up must come down, and going North, I may return.

I wish you the best of sleep,

Mr. Clown

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