Things have been a little on the boring side ever since I came to this world. Well, boring compared to my old life anyway. I used to run with a couple of superpowered teams. My first gig in this universe was my old standby of driving a taxi. Even when sitting in traffic, and experiencing other people’s road rage on a daily basis, it was never quite as exciting as battling it out with a bad guy. My power, however isn’t very useful in a fight. So, I’ve stayed out of all of the superpower business. Somehow, I even managed to keep myself out of that whole Civil War mess.
Still, I felt like my power was going to waste. My old pal Dane, the Black Knight in case you didn’t know, suggested that I become a private eye, specializing in finding things thought to be lost when a loved one passes away. I don’t always see eye to eye with him on everything, but he was right about this one. Not only does it let me use my powers, but I make pretty good money doing it. There’s also a sense of satisfaction when I’m able to find what the client is looking for. If I’m able to give them something from a deceased loved one, it helps bring a little closure for both the client and the person who passed away.
The things I’m asked to find fall into two categories. The first is sentimental, a personal object that reminds them of the person that they lost. The second is monetary, money or jewelry that the person had stashed away somewhere.
At first, this case seemed like both.
There was something unsettling about this place. I didn’t know if it was because I had never been in a closed restaurant before or something else. All I knew is that I didn’t like it here.
“Mr. Martin,” she said, breaking my uneasy thoughts.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I was trying to get a feel for this place. What did you say?”
“I asked if you had any questions for me.”
“Right,” I mumbled, turning my attention back to her. “Ms. McKenzie…”
“No need to be formal. Call me Amanda.”
I wanted to point out that she had started the formality by calling me Mr. Martin, but I held it back. “I’d like start by saying I’m sorry that you lost your father. Was this place special to him?”
“Very. He owned this place and was here just about every night.”
“And what is it of your father’s that you’re wanting me to find?”
“Any and all documents that have to do with this restaurant: recipes, supply lists, financial records. Things like that. None of it was kept in the safe deposit box along with his will.”
“Shouldn’t things like that be on his computer?”
“My father didn’t trust computers. He said that they get hacked too easily. Everything in the restaurant was done on paper.”
“I’ll see what I can do for you, Amanda. Now, is anyone else in the restaurant right now?”
“No. The chefs won’t be in for another hour or so to start their prep work. We’re all alone.”
That last sentence was said in a way that was very inviting. Because being dead puts a serious hurt on any romances I might have, I wear my appearance altering ring as if it were a wedding band to try to prevent situations like this. Before I died, I would’ve loved being hit on by Amanda. She was an attractive girl, somewhere in her college years. Nowadays it is just a nuisance.
“Good,” I said, making a show of playing with my ‘wedding’ ring. “Could you please leave as well? I need some time to look the place. Just give me ten minutes.”
If she was offended by my refusal, she didn’t show it. “How exactly are you going to find anything in ten minutes,” she asked instead.
“I can’t tell you that,” I replied. “The secret of my success will stay with me.”
She shrugged her shoulders and began walking towards the front door behind me. As soon as she passed me, the uneasy feeling I’ve had since I got here exploded in my stomach. It began radiating upward, so much so that I had trouble breathing for a few seconds. It was then that I realized that the feeling wasn’t coming from this place. It was coming from Amanda herself.
Now, it doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while my powers will flare up like this. It only happens when I’m in the presence of somebody who is going to die soon.
My powers won’t tell me exactly when, but given the intensity of the feeling, it was going to be soon. Very soon. Amanda reeked of death.