The Reverend Julia Fenton stamped the last envelope and added it to the pile, leaning forward to switch off her PC. Another night gone, and home now to an empty house. Greg still out on shift, there'd be only the cat to keep her toes warm. She rose from her chair, stretched and yawned sleepily and crossed the room. She was just lifting her jacket from the hook on the back of the door when the phone rang.
Oh no, she thought, and suppressed a groan. Who's that this time? Don't I ever get to sleep? She debated leaving it, but the sound of the ring in the empty building was loud and urgent, echoing. She shivered and thought of accidents; of all the things that could take a cop's life on the graveyard shift. In daylight, especially when she and Greg were together, these things seemed very distant, but when the phone rang in the early hours it was hard not to think of all the things that could go wrong. It was probably just a distressed church-goer; Mrs Simms maybe, who apparently never slept, or Justine Barnett in another panic about her elderly father's health. Not Greg, not Greg at all.
She picked up and spoke, trying to keep the tiredness and ill-temper out of her voice; "Hello, this is Julia Fenton speaking."
"Julia!" Greg said, and Julia felt first relieved and then confused.
"Greg? Hey, are you ok?" He never called her at work, leaving texts if he couldn't get her at home. His voice sounded very clear, so he wasn't on his mobile and it was also very quiet so he couldn't be at the station, which always sounded to her like a riot in an asylum. "I was just about to go home," she said. "Are you home now? Did you want me to get something on the way?"
"So you're on your own?"
"Sure, why wouldn't I be? Even the cleaners have gone. What's the matter Greg, is something wrong?"
"Can you get home? You're leaving now? Julia, this is very important. Please leave now, don't speak to anyone. Anyone, you hear me? Just get in the car and get home and I'll meet you there. Half an hour. Ok?"
"Greg! What is this? There's something wrong! Are you hurt? What!" she demanded, feeling uncomfortable and shaken. Her heart was beating a little faster and she realized she was holding the phone very tight, her knuckles showing pale through the skin, her palm damp. "Please tell me!"
"I'll tell you all about it at home, I promise Jewel. Just get there as quick as you can.It's about an exorcism, one you did years ago."
"An exorcism? Greg!"
"I know! Look please just do what I'm asking without the debate. We can have that later if you really want. Please goddamit! Sorry."
"For the swearing or for the orders?" Julia asked and sighed. "Ok Greg, I was going home anyhow. I'll see you there in half an hour."
"Great! Stay safe Jewel," he said and hung up.
Julia looked around the room one last time and switched off the lights, pulling on her jacket as she walked. Exorcism? She took the long way round, through the body of the church itself and stopped to pick up a large crucifix and a few other things from beneath the altar. Just in case.