It was past midnight in São Paulo.
My favorite anime song shattered the silence in my bedroom, abruptly interrupting my sleep. Without asking for permission, the strident phone ring jolted me awake from a pleasant dream. Annoyingly, it had only been a few hours since I had gone to bed, seeking respite after a long and monotonous day at my office.
Late-night calls usually meant bad news or, at best, a wrong number. Despite my anxiety and grumpy mood, I had to answer the call, regardless of the hour.
As I will reveal later, that midnight turned out to be one of those nights when it wasn't just a mistaken number.
The darkness enveloped my bedroom, with only the blue glow of the phone providing a faint source of light. I reached for the device on the small stand beside my bed without fumbling in the dark.
My partner, Voluptia, floated inches above the floor, seemingly undisturbed by the phone's noise. She should have looked alluring in her see-through pink lingerie, but the dim light prevented me from fully admiring her delicate figure. Even the phone's loud ring didn't disturb her slumber.
I couldn't help but feel envious of her ability to sleep so peacefully.
For a moment, I pondered the advantage of her succubus powers: the ability to transform into any desirable woman she wished and the capacity to shut herself off from space and time during her rest. But then, my thoughts drifted to our past together, the sacrifices she made to be with me, and the cost it entailed for both of us. I felt remorseful for being envious of her.
On the other hand, being a mere human, I'm easily disturbed. I stifled a yawn, silencing the melodic harmony that had woken me up, and answered the call.
I knew I could have ignored it, like many would have done with an unknown caller in the dead of the night. But my line of work demanded answering every call, no matter how late.
You see, I have a peculiar job - one that's difficult to explain to nonbelievers in the occult, those without true knowledge of the shades of good and evil. The best way to describe it is as a detective - a private investigator. Not the typical kind that catches cheating spouses or searches for missing persons, though. I don't deal with traditional crimes. My investigations involve things that most people fear: entities that go bump in the night, even in broad daylight.
I've dubbed myself the "Detective of the Supernatural," inspired by an Italian comic book. And before you think it's a show or fiction, let me assure you that what I do is a grim reality. Those dreadful things love to make our world their playground, and that's where I come in.
It might sound crazy to closed minds, but believe me, those things exist, and I've dealt with many of them.
But I don't work alone; I share my apartment with my partner, Voluptia. We live in a luxurious penthouse in the heart of São Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world. Our clients are wealthy, and they can afford to cover all my expenses and more. I've become quite famous in high society because I'm the only one they can rely on when those dreadful things come into play.
And did I mention my partner is a succubus? Yes, she is a demon, and like every succubus, she is stunningly beautiful.
I mean that quite literally, for her touch can be deadly...
You might think that living with a succubus makes her harmless, even good. But you'd be terribly wrong. She's dangerous, mortally dangerous. When her darker side, which we call Grotheske, takes control, her only desire is to drain the sexual energy from men, including me, to satiate her hunger. This act can absorb all the vital force that keeps the male alive, leaving them as lifeless shells with satisfied expressions.
To manage this, I use a charm spell with an amulet I always wear around my neck. The amulet provides her with an alternative source of nourishment, allowing me to seal the violent and insatiable sex-driven creature within her, leaving only the sweet and kind Voluptia.
Some might see this as a form of slavery, but she willingly chose to live this way, despising the idea of killing people.
However, there's a catch with the amulet: we cannot engage in any romantic or intimate acts, or the spell will weaken, and Grotheske will resurface. Though she doesn't desire to harm me, her true nature will compel her to do so. She loves to test the limits and tease me, making it hard to distinguish between Voluptia and Grotheske at times.
But let me get back to my story and talk about the call and its aftermath:
I suspected something strange was happening when I answered the phone due to the odd timing and my line of work. Yet, I was unprepared for the identity of the caller. It was a call from my past, from someone I once adored and who seemed to be in great despair. The urgency of her call, even at such a late hour, caught me off guard.
The voice on the other end was that of a young woman:
"Hello, can I speak to Mr. Roger Soares? It's urgent," the unknown woman's voice said.
"Hello, Detective Roger Soares speaking, how can I be of service?"
"Oh," she sounded shy at first but quickly composed herself. "Hello again, Mr. Roger. This is Sister Paula speaking. I'm sorry to call so late. Mother Superior, Mother Ana, urgently needs to speak with you."
The sound of that name transported me back in time, to when I lived in a foster home as an orphan in São Paulo. Sister Ana was the oldest sister there, taking care of all of us like our foster mother. She was kind yet stern when necessary, showing deep love for all the children and genuine dedication to each one of us.
The call made little sense: why would an elderly nun, likely in her seventies, want to speak to me, an ex-foster kid, almost a decade after our last encounter? And why was it so urgent and late at night?
"Mother Ana? Do you mean Sister Ana from the Saint George Home for foster kids?"
"Yes, that's how she said you would recognize her. Well, Mr. Roger, Sister Ana is now our Mother Superior, and she urgently wishes to speak with you," the woman explained.
"But why so late? Is she okay?"
"I can't reveal much over the phone. To be honest, even she doesn't know much. We're facing a delicate situation. All I can say for now is that something terrible has happened at our school, and we couldn't wait until morning to call for help. Dr. Rochard, a respected senior you previously assisted two years ago, gave us your number. I believe you remember the details of that case. He assured us that if you couldn't help, no one else could."
I did recall Dr. Rochard and the case she mentioned. It had been one of my first as a licensed detective, and solving it earned me the reputation I had today as a problem-solver of supernatural matters. The case involved a vengeful Arabian vampire, a Baital, targeting a group of medics. The media portrayed it as an act of vengeance, but only a few, like Dr. Rochard and myself, knew the deeper truth about the Baital. The doctor had been one of the few survivors who could tell the tale.
The woman on the phone continued, interrupting my thoughts about the past case:
"We're in a hurry and terrified. Mother Superior is desperate to talk to you. She'll explain everything when you arrive. But, Mr. Roger, this is a grave and sensitive situation. We need your utmost discretion about everything you see and hear here. We haven't informed the clergy or the police yet; we'll do that soon, but we wanted you here first before the details of this horror are leaked."
I reassured her that I would keep everything confidential and that I would head to them immediately. She sounded relieved, and I felt the responsibility of helping her and Mother Ana.
My mind raced, trying to understand the urgency and secrecy surrounding this case. What could be so critical that an elderly nun would call me, not just as an ex-foster kid, but as a supernatural investigator, and at this ungodly hour? She mentioned the Devil's work, and that enraged me.
"If any of those vile creatures threaten someone I care about, not only will I investigate and deal with them swiftly, but if they dare harm Mother Ana, they'll regret it," I thought to myself.
Voluptia, my partner, woke up from her subconscious state through our mental link. I informed her about the new case and the urgency of the situation.
"Honey, we have a fresh case, and I have a feeling this won't be an easy one..."