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Mina

“The Case of the Missing Detective,” murmurs Mina. She’s sitting in the front seat of Dracula’s car this time, next to Quincey. She likes it a lot better.

“It was the night he told you he’d have your friend the next day,” says Quincey. “He was wagering with himself, and I think he bet too much. He’s got some astounding talents, see, but also some peculiar vulnerabilities, and–forgive me–I don’t think he aimed to disappoint.”

“So he’s in trouble? Maybe the same trouble as Lucy?”

Quincey nods.

“Well,” says Mina briskly, “if so, that should save us some time.”

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

“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

“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

“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

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.

Lucy

They make love in the morning, for a change, ten o’clock sunlight fluid on Lucy’s back as she arches and rolls. He makes her pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse, afterward, and she tears the top sheet from his page-a-day calendar: June 87th.

“I’m afraid,” he tells her in the shower.

“Why, baby?”

“Nothing lasts forever. Even this, and when it finally ends…”

“Just live for today.” Lucy smiles, and kisses his chest. “It’ll last as long as it needs to.”

“Yeah.” He pulls her close. “Yeah.”

Meanwhile in Australia, Cliff shivers, and chatters out cuss words, and kicks his frozen horse.

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