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Category Archives: Mina

Mina broke off her engagement; she never felt Jonathan was heroic enough.

Mina

Mina sweeps past the forelock-tugging receptionist and into the dim office. “I want you to know that this isn’t film noir,” she says bluntly. “I am neither a waif nor a fatale and I will not fall for your tough exterior. I’m here because my best friend went missing from a locked room and the police have given up, and hiring a PI is my very last–”

He holds up a hand. She stops.

“I can solve your case,” purrs the detective. “In one hour and seventeen minutes I shall commence.”

“What happens then?” asks Mina.

“Sunset,” says Inspector Dracula.

Mina

“She escaped through an air vent,” says Inspector Dracula as they exit the elevator.

“Impossible,” says Mina flatly. “She’s too ill to move without a wheelchair and anyway, the cover screws on from the outside.”

“But hospital windows do not open.” Dracula politely allows a gurney to pass. “Security footage proves her door guard did not leave his post. She was not under the bed. If you will excuse me?”

He steps into Lucy’s former room and shuts the door in her face. Mina hesitates, then opens it again.

Dracula is recondensing. “Yes,” he says, “the vent is the only way.”

Mina

There’s a tapping sound from the window, the old brownstone settling, all six stories feeling their hundred years. Lucy helped her find this apartment, when things went bad with Jonathan, and stayed over a lot after her own breakups. Mina shuffles from the TV to the microwave, grabs a tea bag, fills a mug. Taps in two oh nine, her best friend’s birthday. Tap tap. Tap.

A tapping sound from the window.

Slowly, holding the blanket over her shoulders, Mina walks to it and slides it open.

“We must hurry,” says Inspector Dracula gravely, clinging like ivy to the outside wall.

Mina

“I didn’t think private investigators had cars like this,” says Mina. His receptionist is driving; they face each other in the back.

“The locked-room mystery,” Inspector Dracula muses, “is so important to fiction, and so rare in reality, that we must consider this scenario a deliberate recreation. The first detective story, by Poe, or Conan Doyle’s ‘Speckled Band…’ Carr’s The Hollow Man has perhaps the definitive overview, and indeed some of those conceits are more plausible than the book itself.”

“Which one involves the air vent?” asks Mina tartly.

“Oh, never mind that,” says Dracula, “your ‘guard’ has a twin.”

Mina

“Then it was the twin in the security footage,” says Mina, “while Lucy was being wheeled right out! We have to find–”

“They will have worked under an alias and disappeared,” says Dracula irritably, hustling her out of the car and into the hospital lobby. “I must ask your trust again when I say we gain nothing by pursuing clues. Clues exist to be obfuscated. Our pursuit must go backwards–to begin with, why was Miss Westenra hospitalized? Who was her physician?”

“I was,” says the doctor behind them, peering over his glasses. “Hello, Vlad.”

“Good evening, Abraham,” says Dracula gravely.

Mina

“You know perfectly well the nature of doctor-patient privilege, Vlad,” says Van Helsing. “But–”

“I have her power of attorney since she was declared missing,” says Mina. “Go ahead, doctor.”

Dracula looks at her sharply, then back to Van Helsing. “I would not want to compromise your professional ethics, Abraham.”

Van Helsing sighs. “It’s Ms. Murray’s discretion. In here, please.”

He gestures them into a file room and rummages through drawers. “Polycythemia vera,” he says, “a chronic condition. Simply put, the young lady produces too many erythrocytes; circulation is slowed, bruises come easily. Treatment of choice is–”

“Bleeding,” says Dracula.

Mina

“Power of attorney,” says Inspector Dracula, in the car.

“Lucy emancipated at sixteen,” says Mina shortly. “Her family is… well, put simply, I’m the only one she trusts. And I am the only one who’d go this far to find her.”

“I doubt that, but let us not needlessly multiply entities. You have added new strands to the web, new vertices; I must consider…” He frowns to himself, then sighs. “Forgive me. I forget the lateness of the hour. We will take you home.”

“No more urgent matters tonight?”

“No,” he says, “the men ransacking your apartment will have finished now.”

Mina

“And you knew this would happen!” says Mina, spinning, stumbling over books on the floor to stare at him. “You couldn’t call the police?”

“The police,” says Dracula, “long ago stopped taking my messages. I apologize, but you will find nothing missing.”

Mina barks a laugh. “You understand this reflects some suspicion on you! How important the great detective seems now–”

“I will apprehend the perpetrators shortly,” snaps Dracula. “By midnight tomorrow I will also have Miss Westenra. If you wish me to further find her true abductor, Miss Murray, I suggest you curtail your accusations.” With a bow, he’s gone.

Mina

But Dracula doesn’t contact her by midnight, or the midnight after that. Mina scowls at the flimsiness of honor for hire and goes about life as she has for weeks now: working, making tea, missing Lucy. Wondering.

Who’d kidnap her, and why? No ransom. No evidence. Resources to hire disappearing twins and turn her apartment upside down. Long arms, she thinks.

Resources. Long arms. Conspiracy.

She bursts into Dracula’s office the second time with a wild eye, not sure whether to accuse him or save him, but he’s not there: only a ragged man, giggling, eating a rat on his desk.

Mina

“Hello?” she says, derailed.

“Don’t worry!” hiccups the man. His voice is deeper than his giggle: almost a baritone, with the occasional squeak. “It’s not one of his!”

“His?” Mina wonders if she should call the police. For a detective? “His what?”

“His meaner things. His rat. His bat. His owl, moth, fox, wolf. I caught this one myself, downstairs, I only brought it for a snack in case I had to wait which I did, you see?”

Mina tries to determine whether it’s anti-feminist to faint now.

“If you’re waiting too,” he says reasonably, “the line starts behind me.”

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