Date: January 13th, 2021.
Time: 7:08 AM.
Location: Dollar Tree, 2244 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
Rayner made a small tsking
sound as he perused the rows upon rows of canned foods, snacks, and sweets. Doing his best not to give in to the urge to go on a massive spending spree and only buy what he came for, as everything in the place was a dollar. Sighing, he reached out and took a can of baked beans from the shelf, dropping it into the basket hanging on his arm, before moving towards one of the horizontal pathways separating the rows of aisles from each other. Just as he exited the aisle he was on, however, a clean-shaven, dark-skinned man wearing a waist-length cream-colored coat, a white undershirt beneath that, brown pants, and a pair of tan loafers walked up to him, beckoning him to stop with a quick wave of his hand.
Heeding his request, Rayner stopped and turned to face the man fully, his basket swinging awkwardly as he did so. Furrowing his brow slightly, Rayner watched as the man reached into his coat and pulled out a leather holder that he proceeded to flip open, revealing a gold-tinted badge inside, engraved with the letters NYPD and the word detective in large white block print. Upon seeing that, Rayner made the equivalent of a mental nod, glad to see that his assumptions had been proven correct.
"Is there something I can help you with officer?" He asked, keeping his voice steady to avoid giving the detective any more reason than he may already have for being suspicious of him.
The man nodded as he closed the leather badge holder and slid it back into his coat pocket. "Yes as a matter of fact. There is." He said, extending his right hand towards Rayner for a shake. "But first, introductions are in order. My name is Victor Morton. I'm a detective working with the New York Police Department to help solve that little... " incident"
down in Prospect Park."
Rayner nodded, taking the man's hand and giving it a small, yet firm, shake before releasing it.
"I've put together a list of people who we know have interacted with miss Roberts over the days leading up to her death, and you're one of em. Now don't worry, it's nothing too serious, just something that lets me question and eliminate the most likely suspects now rather than later when the chances of the perpetrator slipping by us increase. You know how it is." Detective Morton explained, stuffing his hands into his coat pockets with a slight shrug.
Rayner nodded again. He knew exactly how it was from various forms of media, as inaccurate as those could be at times, as well as different articles on the internet. It was only logical to question those who had interacted with Ara the most over the days leading up to her murder after all, and he did have many phone/text messages with her during that time. So naturally, all they had to do was check her phone records to see he had chatted with her last. Though their conversations never mentioned the park or anything remotely related to it, so he was safe as far as that was concerned.
"Yeah, I do." He said, letting the basket handle slide down his arm and into his palm to alleviate how much it cut into his arm. "I guess you want to ask me some questions about our conversations right?"
"Indeed I do." Victor replied, flashing Rayner a friendly smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "First things first, however, where were you on the night of January the eighth?"
"I was at home in my apartment for most of the evening, but I did go out to grab a cup of coffee at a nearby Starbucks and used the free WiFi there for a bit before going back to my building." He replied, keeping his gaze locked with the detectives.
Victor nodded, taking note of his response before moving onto his next inquiry. "I see. So you were nowhere near the park when the incident was thought to have occurred?"
"Hmm. Alright. Now, about your conversations with each other..." He said, casting a sideways glance at Rayner. "You seemed to be quite... close. At least when it came to personal details anyway."
"Well of course. We met at a local library and, both of us being metahumans and all, we gradually got to know each other quite well during that time." Rayner responded, shrugging slightly. "It was simply a case of common ground. That's all."
"Wait... you're both metahumans?" He asked, tilting his head to the left slightly.
"Well you see, miss Roberts body was found with third-degree burns. We haven't released any info to the public yet, but we believe it to be the work of a metahuman with electricity-based powers given the fact that there was no way miss Roberts could have been struck by lightning on that night." Victor explained, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "Tell me, what kind of power do you have?"
Rayner froze up for a bit. He hadn't meant to let that fact slip out, but there hadn't been any real way around it. Any other explanation would have been too weak. Too easily picked apart. Not all was lost though. He could still find a way to make this work to his advantage. All he had to do was think and...
"I can heal myself." He answered, clearing his throat slightly as he managed to regain his former stride.
"So you have a healing factor then?" Victor asked, leaning back a bit, as though he wasn't entirely convinced of Rayner's statement.
"Yeah. Want a demonstration?"
Victor opened his mouth to speak, as though he were about to say yes, but closed it a few seconds later as he gave the store around them a glance.
"Nah, that's alright. Don't want to disturb the peace after all. And I think that a grown man cutting off and then regrowing a limb would cause some panic." He said, taking his hands out of his pockets and raising them in front of his face with a small shrug as he took a step back.
Rayner shrugged. "Suit yourself."
"Eh, anyway-" Victor said, casting a glance at his watch before returning his attention to Rayner. "-thank you for your time, sir. I'll let you know if we find anything else out. I'm sure you want whoever did this caught as much as we do."
And with that, Victor turned around and walked away, leaving Rayner standing by himself, basket in hand, at the center of the aisle.
Rayner's eyes narrowed into slits as he watched Victor leave before tightening his grip on the basket and continuing his search through the store for the items he needed. That had been close, especially when he almost froze, but he'd made it through in the end. As long as he could keep this up, they wouldn't find out that it was him. Though... there was one thing about the whole encounter that was still bothering him, but he couldn't quite place it until he consciously forced himself to remember every detail of the conversation. That's when he recalled hearing a consistent background melody coming from the man. One which he hadn't notice when talking with him. Only now did he remember it. His curiosity piqued, Rayner recalled the theme and delved into its varying complexities before coming to a startling realization.
His new detective friend was a metahuman like himself.
And he had the power to visualize any information he collected. A very useful power indeed, as well as one that explained why he didn't write down anything he'd learned during their conversation.
He simply hadn't needed to.
Smiling to himself, Rayner took a mental note of Victor's power as he walked up to the register and paid for his items. Grabbing the plastic bag the cashier had placed them in, he strode out the door and into the sunlit world beyond, thinking about how to get his hands on that ability.