What would you think about asking Superman to help with the investigation?
Sighing deeply, Clark buried his head in the pillow and tried to ignore the overwhelming scent of dust that flooded his senses when he wrapped his arms tighter around it. The last time he had done this – flat on his back with a pillow smashed to his head – he was ten years old and trying to figure out why he could hear the cash register for the General Store two and a half miles away. It didn’t really work then, and considering that his mind was one place he could never hide from, it certainly didn’t work now. Lois’ hesitant voice still lingered, her concern clear. It had been a month since Richard had been missing, and it was obvious that she was desperate. Journalism kidnappings didn’t last very long. With no word from any terrorist group or organization, it was hard to believe he was still alive.
Not that he would ever tell Lois that. She was smart enough to have realized that already.
Frustration gnawed at him again. He had seen several potentially strong pieces of evidence in Tony Anderson’s apartment with absolutely no way of telling the investigators without giving himself away. The only thing that had been confirmed was that Tony Anderson was indeed involved in the kidnapping of Richard White. One small fingerprint, found on the inside of the boot taken in for forensics, matched the prints on the seaplane.
“General procedure is to bring in detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department to join with the case,” Officer Meliene had told him back at the police station. Clark was half-listening to him, watching as everything gathered from the apartment was taken into another room. “If we find anything else, I’ll be sure to let you know, but unfortunately, your part in this case is over. At least until we have something concrete to tell you.”
Clark lifted the pillow from his head, staring at the dark ceiling of his apartment. He had returned from the station earlier that evening. He had closed the curtains just enough so that he could walk around his small bedroom apartment with his glasses off and tie undone, the brilliant blue of his Superman uniform peeking out between his collar. It had been an emotional mind game ever since, just as it was that day at the Planet weeks ago. He had told himself then that Superman would not be a part of this investigation, but now he had trouble seeing how that was a good decision. Unless the CID did extreme investigation in Tony Anderson’s apartment, there was no way any officer in England could see what he did – if they could at all, without his help.
He buried his face in his hands. This shouldn’t be this hard. Superman was always there to help Lois when she needed him. He’s helped Richard once before. He’s never gone in-depth to help with a kidnapping. So many things could come out wrong with this. Richard could be found alive, yes, but how many calls would the Planet get from angry widows wondering why Superman couldn’t help them?
It was a no-win situation. He knew that. Helping as Superman would stir controversy, but the chances of finding Richard, dead or alive, would be greater. The chances of finding him faster…
What would you think about asking Superman to help with the investigation?
Lois, I think Superman would help anyone in general. But for the mother of his little boy? I have little doubt he’d search the world for you.
Regardless that it’s Richard?
Clark lifted his head out of his hands and stared out the window. It was still early evening, so there was a great chance Meliene was still awake. Reaching into his vest pocket for his wallet, he pulled out the business card and reached for his cell phone. As the steady ring pulsed in his ear, the other hand was busy undoing the buttons of his vest and shirt. I’m sorry, father. The rules are always different when it comes to family. I would do the same for mom. Richard is just as much a part of my family as Lois is.
“G-good evening, Officer Meliene? Sorry to call you a little late, but I thought you’d like to know I got in contact with S-Superman, and he said he’s willing to help with the case…”
Officer Meliene could undoubtedly say that, in his nineteen years of working with the London Met, he had never met more of an imposing and friendly person as Superman.
The tall, broad-shouldered figure looked very out of place standing in the middle of the forensics building, the dull gray of the walls outmatched by the bright colors of his uniform. He seemed to take everything in, patiently waiting as Meliene led him through several corridors and offices before reaching a small room that held all of the evidence gathered from the case. Superman was several inches taller than him, he noted, when he opened the door for his guest and ushered him in. The jingle of his keys, hooked to a belt loop on his pants, was suddenly deafening as he walked to a table in the middle of the room.
“I’ve gathered what little we’ve got as far as paper work is concerned, but I asked the CID to gather everything from this case and put it here. As you can see, there isn’t a lot, but our involvement in this case has been minimal at this point.”
Superman nodded. “Mr. Kent was gracious enough to inform me of what he knows of the case so far. He said that a team was sent to this Tony Anderson’s apartment?”
“Yes sir,” Meliene tapped a few plastic bags. “Here are some of the things we brought back from there. A fingerprint on the boot matched fingerprints on record in the States. That’s where the CID became involved. General procedure.”
“So I was told.” Superman seemed to stare intently at the boot. “The fingerprint does match what I found on the seaplane.”
“Oh! S-so you do remember everything you see!” Meliene suddenly felt foolish for making such a proclamation out loud. Superman turned to him with a slightly raised eyebrow. “Uh, you’ll have to forgive me, Superman. I never thought I’d have the chance to work with you, uh, like this. I remember that article that Miss Lane wrote. The title escapes me, but I believe you said you fought for the ‘American way.’ It’s…” Meliene could feel the blush creep up his ears. He did remember the title, but he didn’t think he could say it in front of Superman without angering him somehow. He stretched out his hand. “It’s an honor to be able to work with you, sir.”
Superman’s grin was genuine. He shook the offered hand, and Meliene marveled at how one with such strength could contain it so. “The ‘American way’ should never have implied to be limited to the American shores. It’s an honor for me to be invited to work with the fine people of the London Met.”
He turned back to the table, deep in thought. Meliene stared at the evidence as well, but his thoughts were far from what was on the table. Wait until I tell Angela about this. She’ll never believe it!
“You said that everything here,” Superman forced him out of his momentary hero-worship and back to the situation at hand. “It all came from Tony Anderson’s apartment?”
“That’s right, sir. A team and Mr. Kent went out earlier today and checked it out.” An idea suddenly struck him. “However, with your particular skills, I see no reason not to let you look at the apartment yourself. Perhaps you’ll be able to find something there that the human eye and forensics itself can’t.”
Superman shook his head. “It’s not that forensics wouldn’t be able to see it. It’s knowing where to look. There are lots of little things that people wouldn’t know to look at. If it’s all right with you, Officer, I’d like to see the apartment.”
Meliene reached for his cell phone. “Should I call someone from forensics to come with us?”
“Later. Time is of the essence, sir. Should we discover something, you can send someone in then. I want to see if I can find anything that would help us move forward.”
Meliene could say, without any doubt in his mind, that he never thought he’d ever see another human being float before.
Granted, Superman wasn’t a human being, but his strong resemblance to mankind was making all of this a little unnerving. He had been instructed to stay in the door frame while Superman scanned the apartment with his incredible vision, floating upright just a few inches above the floor. He seemed angry as he let his eyes roam the apartment, looking everywhere from the kitchenette to the living room, finally making his way to the bedroom. Meliene knew that’s where the largest pieces of evidence had come from. He shifted impatiently from foot to foot, waiting to hear any kind of permission to enter the apartment.
“Officer? Sorry to keep you waiting. Could you step in here, please?”
Meliene entered the bedroom moments later. Superman was still floating above the floor, but he was frozen above one particular spot. “The London Met doesn’t have regulation footwear, do they?”
“Uh, n-no, Superman, they don’t. Most wear some kind of boot, though. Easier to run in considering the conditions of the city. Have you found something?”
Superman swept his cape up in one arm, then knelt to the floor – as much as floating above ground would allow one to kneel. He reached out a hand to one spot on the floor. “There’s a boot print here and several others scattered across the room.” He pointed to another spot. “This one here is all-too familiar. Mr. Kent has been wearing the same type of shoe for as long as I’ve been helping him and Miss Lane with investigations.” He barely touched another spot on the floor. “This one, though… the design of the sole makes me think that it’s a much more expensive shoe. Certainly not something Tony Anderson would be able to afford.” Superman squinted his eyes until they were two small slits on his face. “What color is Mr. Anderson’s hair?”
“Red. A very rust kind of color.”
“And Mr. Kent told me that there were several other apartments that had apparently been tampered with? Like someone had cleaned the evidence?”
Meliene’s eyes widened. “Superman…?”
“There’s a very small hair here. Buzz cut length. Definitely not red.” There seemed to be a puzzle clearing up in Superman’s mind. His eyes looked around the rest of the room. “If I could have your permission to see the other apartments, there’s a chance I could find something to give you an idea of who’s been leading the London Met astray.”
“And Mr. White?”
There was a small spark of relief in Superman’s eyes. “If I can find the same shoeprint in any of the other apartments, I’m pretty sure they’ll lead me to Mr. White.”
Meliene pulled out a pen and paper, furiously scribbling addresses as he spoke. “I’ll send in a team to see if they can get these shoe prints you can see. Here are the addresses of all the other apartments we’ve searched before. I’ll worry about who’s been covering tracks. You go after Mr. White.”
Before he could say anything else, Superman had the note snatched out of his hand and flew, faster than he could see, out the window. Meliene stood baffled for a moment, smiling at the curtains that still fluttered in his wake. “You know how to reach me if you find anything.” He said to the empty air. Just as he pulled out his phone and began dialing a number, Superman returned once again. His face held a plethora of emotions: relief, excitement, and complete dread.
“Officer Meliene, I have your evidence, but this is something I think the London Met needs to do.” Suddenly, a slight twinkle was in his eye. “I believe I know where Richard is.”