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“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.”


A thud, and a sudden knife in the corkboard, and a cool voice behind her: “What have I told you about showing up here?”

The rat-eating man hisses, then bounds out the open window.

“If I look down onto the street,” asks Mina carefully, “I won’t see anything, will I?”

“You’re quick,” says the newcomer, and ambles up to retrieve his knife. “Next time I may not chase him off. He knows more than he ought to…”

“I don’t believe we were ever introduced,” says Mina.

“Quincey Morris,” says Dracula’s receptionist, “and Miss Murray, I think I need your help.”


“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.”


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.


“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.


“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.”


“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.


“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.


“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.”


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.