‘Is it possible, sir?’ my assistant gasped from the base of the stairs.

‘I did not believe it either, Hugo,’ I swept into the room. ‘But I have seen it with thine own eyes!’

‘Incredible,’ Hugo hissed. ‘They can still surprise us, then, even after so many years.’

‘Oh yes,’ I chuckled, ‘they can be quite… refreshing.’

We both burst into laughter. Somewhere in the world, thunder clapped. But not here – here it was the height of summer, the brightest of sunny days. The amount of UV radiation in the air… I shuddered at the thought.

‘Enough, Hugo!’ I snapped, cutting off his maniacal laugh. ‘We must get to work. Find me the secrets of this… this…’

Commercial window tinting company servicing Melbourne?’ Hugo suggested.

Do not interrupt me!’ I screeched, the very air blackening with the darkness of my speech.

‘Sorry, sir!’ he grovelled, immediately hitting the floor. ‘It won’t happen again!’

‘But also, yes. Do that,’ I nodded. ‘Good suggestion.’

I patted him on his shaking head as I slid past.

‘Wait,’ he called out to me before I could retreat downstairs for a nap. I turned without saying anything, eyebrow arched.

‘What if it’s a trick,’ he whispered. ‘You have many enemies.’

I frowned at the suggestion, but let it play out in my mind.

‘An interesting theory,’ I mused, rubbing my aching jaw. ‘How would they achieve such a feat?’

‘It could be an illusion,’ his eyes lost focus, as they always did when he was deep in thought. ‘To make you drop your guard!’

‘Some sort of… trick of the light?’ I pondered. ‘Designed to make me think it was an expertly applied window frosting. Melbourne has few artisans capable of such a charade.’

‘Then our search shall be quick,’ Hugo cackled, rubbing his knobbly hands together.

‘Indeed,’ I frowned. ‘See to it, pet.’

‘At once sir,’ he scraped himself along the flagstones as I – with a swish of my cape – retired downstairs for the evening.