In the wake of Dracula’s rage, Jonathan dies and Lucy disappears.
Mina is not sure which causes her more grief: the sight of her fiance, lifeless, with his throat ripped open and clothes soaked in blood, his hands clasping at the gaping wound in vain was shocking enough, something to haunt her dreams even now, three years later… But her best friend vanishing without a trace, a single sign, is possibly even more excruciating: after years and years of spending their waking moments together, Mina feels the acute pain of Lucy’s absence every day, only realizing all too late how much Lucy meant to her - so much more than Jonathan.
But Mina does not wallow in her sorrow for long: she sets to work. She can thank Lady Jayne for taking her under her wings and training her - an unlikely alliance, Mina has to think, but one that gives her new purpose nevertheless: to hunt, to protect and to avenge, herself just as much as the hundreds before her who fell prey to the dark menace of Dracula and his offsprings. She does not enter the ranks of the Order, nor aligns herself with them, but they leave her in peace, perhaps more out of respect for Jonathan than for her, and at times even aid her in her missions. It is from the Order that she learns one summer that there have been reports of a female vampire abroad, crossing from Dover to Calais and making her way down to the south. Mina packs her bags, gets on the first train from London and throws herself into the hunt.
By all reports, the vampire has the form of a young woman and the bodies she has dropped along her bloody path indicate that she only targets men, often petty criminals. Mina finds it intriguing that the monster does not even pass through Paris, let alone stay in the city: blending in and ravaging the populace is infinitely easier in such a metropolis, but her target seems to prefer the coastline: Calais, Le Havre, Nantes, La Rochelle and Rochefort all have to suffer her presence for a week or two before she finally makes a nest for herself in the Gironde. By the time Mina arrives in the small beach town where the vampire has taken residence, three men are reported to be missing, one found with bite marks on his throat and his body drained of blood, and there are rumours of a ghost haunting the newly rebuilt church of the town, aptly named Notre-Dame-de-la-fin-des-Terres. Mina takes grim satisfaction in the hope that this place will be the end of the vampire’s world.
It doesn’t take too much to convince the authorities and the local clergyman to allow her to handle the case and get access to the church if she so needs: the gendarmes who have seen the bite marks on the vampire’s last victim are more than happy to let the strange Englishwoman handle the menace.
Much to her chagrin, Mina isn't able to find the vampire’s lair. It must be a cunning one, managing to keep her tracks so well hidden in such a small place, but Mina doesn’t let it get to her too much: she maps out the church anyways, and after two days of reconnaissance, prepares to stake out her prey down in the crypts.
The vampire is not keen to show itself - four or five hours pass after sunset without a sight of any malicious spirit, and Mina gets bored and restless, her limbs numb from the unnatural stillness she’s forcing herself to hold. But just as she’s about to stand to stretch her legs, a breeze blows through the hall, and suddenly, a slender, pale shadow of a woman is standing in the crypt, marvelling at a statue, her light blonde hair is gleaming in the faint moonlight. Mina feels her lips curling into a victorious smile and slowly, carefully, she raises her crossbow, aims, and pulls the trigger.
Something goes wrong. Maybe the vampire could hear the thrumming of the bow, maybe Mina made some small noise, maybe the creature picked up her scent, or maybe, it was just fate, but as Mina fires, the vampire spins around and stares at the spot where her huntress is hiding, and Mina has the first opportunity in three years to see Lucy Westenra’s lovely face again, just as the arrow she shot hits her square in the chest and knocks her to the ground.
Mina stands deadly still, as if she were made of stone. She doesn’t want to believe it. She cannot believe it. But then a low moan escapes Lucy’s mouth and she stirs on the floor and in a heartbeat Mina drops her crossbow and moves, rushing to Lucy. She must have moved in the last second, Mina realizes, because the arrow has not struck he through the heart; the only reason why she’s still alive when Mina kneels down next to her and draws her head into her lap, cupping her face. The vampire - her friend, her best friend, has a shadow of a smile on her lips, and she leans into Mina’s touch, her skin deadly cold.
“My…” she coughs, her lips now tainted with blood dark as ink. “My dearest Mina. I was not expecting to see you.”
Mina doesn’t realize that she’s crying until her tears fall down on Lucy’s face and her friend winces and tries to reach up to cup her face.
“Please, don’t cry” Lucy pleads with her, her voice hoarse, almost a whisper. “I’m glad it was you. And that I am finished here, of all places.”
Something finally hits Mina then, something she forgot in the heat of the hunt: that the little town of Soulac-sur-Mer has hosted the two of them before, for five years in a row, before she got involved with and then engaged to Jonathan. But he is far from Mina’s mind now: as she strokes Lucy’s hair, gently pushing her locks out of her face, all she can think about is how much Lucy loved the sea and sunbathing at the beach, how they would stroll arm in arm on the coast all evening, watching the sun go down, and Lucy she curled up under the covers and clung to Mina whenever a storm rolled in from the ocean. Her face must look calmer now, the reminiscing temporarily making her forget the pain of the present, because Lucy smiles at her once again.
“Live a happier life, Mina. You deserve better than…” she coughs again, this time longer, and she struggles for a minute to form another word. “Than all this. Promise m-“
She shudders and her body turns rigid, her already deadly pale skin now ashen in colour. Mina knows what it means - she’s seen it happen enough times, but she doesn’t want to acknowledge it now.
“Lucy?” Mina whispers, even though she knows it’s pointless. “Lucy!” This time she yells, and tears are streaming down her face again as she leans forward to wrap her arms around Lucy’s shoulders, cradling her body, and she doesn’t know how long it takes for her to stop sobbing hysterically, wipe her face as she finally collects herself and gently lay Lucy down on the floor again and pressing a small kiss to her forehead.
As her calmness and determination return, they do so with deadly assurance, and Mina knows exactly what she wants to do - what she needs to do. She always carries a little vial with her, a substance created with the help of Lady Jayne, quick and painless, to ensure that she may never be turned into one of the monsters that she’s bent on destroying. She hoped before that the day where she would have to use it would not come for a very long time but now, with Lucy’s body lying limp on the floor beside her, living for even another minute seems like an unbearable burden. Mina opens the vial and empties it quickly, downing its contains with one gulp, her lips twitching at the slightly bitter taste, and she lies down, right by Lucy’s side, taking Lucy’s hand, now ice-cold, in her own, just like she would before.
“Forgive me, dearest” she whispers. Her vision blurs and she burrows closer to Lucy’s body, resting her head on her shoulder. If it weren’t for the smell of blood and the deadly coldness and stillness of her friend, this would feel like a return to the good old days when they would fall asleep in each other’s arms. It occurs to her, before her eyelids become too heavy to lift, that this is much like going to sleep, only there will be no waking from this slumber.