Peak of Eternal Light (prop. n): A point in the solar system that is eternally bathed in sunlight, due to the celestial body's slight rotational tilt and position in relation to the sun as well as the altitude of the point.
A heavy stack of mail landed with a thump on Sally's desk, waking her abruptly from her mid-afternoon power nap. Her head jolted up, and she glared, wild-eyed, at Lestrade's tired visage.
"Those came in for you from Cornwall. Reports of a sea monster terrorizing the locals," he remarked casually. "Thought you could use a pick-me-up." The DI watched sympathetically as she scraped her fingers through her hair and grabbed at the papers. "Arthur giving you trouble again?"
At the mention of her seven year-old son, she winced. "He's been sick with a fever all damn week. I'd say he's fucking with me, but the poor boy can't even sleep at night, he's burning up. The medicine he's got is helping a bit, but not anywhere near fast enough for me. Girl's gotta get her beauty rest, you know." She huffed a little, flipping through the papers. "About time for something to show up."
Lestrade smirked. "You're telling me. I thought you were going to tear Sherlock's head off at the last crime scene."
She threw the papers down, snorting at him. "He struts around like he owns the damn place, Greg! I have half a mind to put his ass in line, tell him he's not the only consultant that works for Scotland Yard. And if he makes one more crack about me and Anderson, I will end him, I swear."
The silver-haired Di rolled his eyes and chuckled. "Yes, I know. Speaking of that, you're on call with him tonight. 'S that alright?"
"Yeah. H's on Arthur Duty tonight so I can manage." She turned back to the reports, noting the similarities in description. Reaching to her ear, she pulled a pen from its bridge and began marking down her insights in the margins.
"Good. Put that Oxford degree of yours to work, yeah?" He reached out to pat her shoulder, and she grinned, shooing him away.
Her phone buzzed a few minutes later, pulling her out of theorizing about the Cornish sea monster, and she picked it up, thumbing through to the new message.
Arthur's asking for you. –H
A warm flush of maternal love soaked her through to the bones. Despite spending all night up with her whining, feverish child, knowing that he was thinking of her brought a deep sense of contentment that nothing else reached: not searching for the Moñái in Paraguay, not holding a brick-bedecked skull of a possible vampire in her hands in Venice, not the reams of papers she had published in various paranormal journals. And hearing it from her partner – imaging the two of them lounging on her couch in their pyjamas and watching Lord of the Rings, as they did each time Arthur came down with the flu – sweetened the thought even more.
Tell him I'll be home late but I'll make him my special recipe chicken soup. –S
Will do. You got a package from Pembrokeshire today: that man who you helped exorcise a ghost sent you a copy of Waldo William's works. In Welsh. –H
She smiled, shaking her head. It hadn't even been a ghost, just a bought of temporal feedback from the 1740's. The trip had been a bit of a waste of time; she'd merely advised him to wait it out and keep a radio running with white noise in case it turned out to be an actual spirit, but the trip to the Welsh coast had been a nice break from the constant tedium of London.
For such a large city, there was very little work for the world's only supernatural consultant; most of the crimes committed were of the boring human variety. The past seven years of her career had involved resolving the occasional paranormal outbreak, completely overhauling Scotland Yard's organizational system, and researching folklore with the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at her alma mater, Oxford University. Any interruption of the intellectual stagnation that ensued from no actual cases to pursue was deeply welcome.
At this point, she wondered if all the ghosts and demons had left London for greener pastures; America, perhaps, anywhere more awful than the sanitized streets of the steadily gentrified city.
We could get Rosetta Stone for Arthur, maybe. Then he can read about his namesake in two languages instead of just one. –S
Next thing you know you'll be teaching him Old English ;) –H
Sally hummed softly as she pulled the Cornish report back toward her, setting her pen down and idly doodling on the surface. Likely enough, this 'sea monster' was another disappointing fluke: a tangle of seaweed, perhaps, or an especially large eel. Probably not a cryptid by any means. Still, it was nice to imagine that there was still work for her beyond festering in her tiny particleboard office and working through the backlog of missing persons reports in the vaults.
Opening ancient crypts and unearthing strange skeletons was good for a laugh, but she missed the early days of her career, where she chased after pale-skinned vampires in the forests of Ireland – her specialty – only ten years ago. There'd been no trace of anything for nearly three years now, certainly not anything worthy of her attention, so she kept moldering at Scotland Yard, kept accompanying Lestrade to crime scenes and hoping for even a whisper of something supernatural, something exciting, something new.
Don't tempt me, babe. Have you gotten to the Mines of Moria yet? He always gets nervous at that part. –S
There was a knock at her flimsy door, and she looked up, pushing back her tangle of tiny curls. "C'min!" she called, and the door opened slowly, an undulating 'oooooh!' emanating from behind its cheap surface. She rolled her eyes, finally pushing aside her papers and standing up.
"Anderson, it's not going to get any funnier the longer you keep doing it."
"One day it will!" The door finally flung all the way open to reveal the forensics expert, dressed smartly in a black sweater and matching trousers.
"Right, same as one day¸ Lestrade's attempt to get us to 'sympathize with our fellow officers' by sending detectives out on patrol will actually build morale."
The chestnut-haired officer laughed with her as she gathered her purse. He crooked his arm and bent slightly at the knee, pantomiming chivalry. "M'lady?"
"Oh, sod off," she responded playfully, shoving his arm aside. "Better not let my partner see you doing that!"
"She won't care and you know it."
"She's more man than you anyway," Sally shot back affectionately, ducking her head as they went through an especially low doorway on their way to the garage.
Babe, gotta go. Love you. Let me know if anything changes re:Arthur. –S
Anderson sighed, shrugging his shoulders. "Probably." He opened the passenger door for her, pretending to bow again, and she dunked his head with her hand before getting in, slamming the door shut and buckling up while he strolled over to the driver's seat.
Absolutely. Love you too. Stay safe. –H
The engine started with a satisfying purr, and they began their monthly obligatory patrol, a measure started by Lestrade to "incite camaraderie with other police units over shared struggles". Anderson and Donovan had been a natural pair for the exercise, both being relative misfits in their respective positions, and they'd become fast friends in the five years they'd been patrolling once a month together. Lestrade's plan likely wasn't even legal – it certainly flew in the face of all the protocol they'd read about the investigative units of the police force – but it also broke the drudgery of being cooped up in her office studying cryptozoological reports, so Donovan was content to let her superior's farce go unreported. Besides, it gave her time to take the piss out of Anderson for his poor paintball skills.
"You were shite last week," she laughed, slugging him in the arm playfully. "You were covered in her paint! Purple all over the damn place!"
"Yeah, and you looked like Cookie Monster, the amount of blue I tagged you with," he retorted, making a sharp turn.
"Oi, don't sta-STOP!"
The patrol car screeched to a stop, Sally jumping out before the wheels were done spinning. Anderson followed more slowly, pocketing the keys while his partner sprinted toward a prone figure on the ground.
The man was clearly dead; blood streamed from his nose, mixing with a small puddle of motor oil on the ground and staining his shirt a cherry red. His eyes were glazed over, the pupils entirely blown, and his face remained frozen in an expression of pure terror.
Sally hissed suddenly, scrabbling in her purse for gloves, and she looked up to Anderson, jabbing at the corpse's neck. "Look."
The forensic specialist crouched down, peering closely at the semicircle of pricks in the pallid flesh. "What the hell – are those human?"
His companion smiled sadly, pulling out a collection swab and carefully dabbing at the oozing blood. "Not quite, but close."
Anderson nodded, comprehension spreading across his face. "Ohhh. This is right up your alley, innit?"
"I'm afraid so." Straightening, she made a 'gimme' gesture toward the man, who handed over his walkie-talkie. "Vampire." As she clicked open the channel and relayed the information to Lestrade, she shot a look back to the body on the ground, cooling quickly in the chilly London night. "Greg. Got ourselves a vampire. Gotta love those; always something to look forward to."