He headed for the door, then went back and grabbed his cane. Hobbled quickly past the nurses' station and into the lobby. There was quite a crowd watching the fire, sirens getting close . . .
Someone opened the door and he caught an upset voice.
The burning van was down the street a bit, but police car and the guy in the suit were right in front of their main entrance.
Suit guy was waving his hands in the air. ". . . parked there making some calls and . . ."
The police man, looking a bit skeptical, said something.
"I can park anywhere I damn well please!" He threw his hands in the air and reached into an inside coat pocket . . . the police went for their guns . . . relaxed as he pulled out a square wallet, maybe, or badge?
The policeman peered, then rocked back on his heels. "Department of Superhuman Monitoring? Sir, we do not appreciate joke badges . . ."
Will didn't hear the rest, as he was retreating to the nurse's desk. Was there anything he needed to do here, maybe a leave note about Mr. Furnace being transferred to a skilled nursing home . . . He slipped into the chair and surveyed what was on the computer . . . multiple windows, reminders . . . a Death Certificate for William N. Furnace, with three red arrows marking spots to be filled in.
Date, time of death, cause of death.
Will typed in 21 September 2435, five twenty-three PM, and Stroke. Eyed the doctor's signature. He sure was sure I was dying. Hit the send button.
On the old fashioned note pad, he wrote "I have transferred Mr. Furnace to the Shady Oaks Hospice Care Facility." Scribbled something very close to the e-sig he'd just looked at.
Back in his room, he surveyed his closet and shook his head. Three changes of clothes, a pair of shoes.
He put on socks, his old man elastic waist blue jeans and a t-shirt. Shoes. Grabbed his suitcased computer, dropped the wheels and pulled out the handle. Towed it down the hall to the emergency exit. Fiddled the alarm, and marched off down the street, pulling the shabby suitcase behind him.
I think I remember the pickup spot for the Gambler's Special, leaves for Vegas every four hours.
Ernest D. Snead, AKA The Seeker, glared at the computer screen. "That is not an invalid number, it is an old one you stupid machine."
He grit his teeth and tried the public access. Registered a complaint.
Doctor Inferno blew up your DSMD survelliance van in front of my retirement home and escaped. Tell "Pretty Boy" Ray he's an incompetent jerk. Mr. Right Now. 2583^^T_rf$
He pushed the send button and growled at the stupid common room computer. I ought to have replaced my computer when it died last year. Not that it was much better than this one, and connected through the same "family safe" net connection.
Well, they'll either contact me, or they'll find themselves dealing with Doctor Inferno. Again.
I wonder if he somehow found a way to rejuvenate himself.
Well, he didn't look any different after he got back from Vegas, half dead. But he was walking better. If he's revived his superpowers, it's going to get bad.
Drat! I kind of liked being retired. And Will . . . was my friend.
He closed all his programs and backed away. I'll have lunch in the cafeteria, maybe pick up some gossip about Will. Some of it might have a scrap of relevance.
Darn it, Will, where are you? What are you doing?
At the age of most of the residents of Golden Sunshine Retirement Apartments and Care Center, someone dying or being moved to hospice care was too frequent an occurrence to cause much gossip. A nice big car fire, on the other hand . . . A DSMD surveillance van? Now that was interesting.
So, they've been keeping an eye on Will. I wonder for how long? Long term, you'd think they'd get a house. Or get someone on the staff.
Mike maybe? Or one of the nurses?
Speaking of whom, mike was approaching, frowning. "Mr. Snead, there are some people in the office who'd like to speak to you."
"Excellent. Let's go." Ernie rolled back from the table and Mike grabbed his handles and wheeled him off to the manager's office.
Earnie wasn't at all surprised to not see Mrs. Morgenstern there. Not too surprised that Mike stayed.
Sorry he didn't recognize either of the middle aged men frowning down on him.
But he was definitely shocked when the bigger one loomed over him with a predatory smile. "What are you up to, Doctor Inferno."
Then he started laughing. "No, you idiots. I'm The Seeker. Will is Inferno." He say back with a sigh. "Go find someone old enough to have worked with me or tried to stop him!"
Mike snorted. "What did you give Mr. Furnace, in Vegas? And what did you take from him, those three nights you sat up with him? Or were you just making sure he didn't talk to anyone before he died?"
Ernie looked at him in in disbelief. "No. I was sad that the only man who understood me, who I could talk with about things . . . who understood what it was like to live for centuries . . . was finally dying."
He looked at them in disbelief. Shook his head. "What you need to do is find out what really happened to him in Vegas. There must be a million security cameras there. Find out what he did. What he took. Because yesterday he kept forgetting his cane, forgetting to hobble."
The other middle-aged guy hissed. "Think you can get away with murder?"
"Mur . . . oh . . . I hadn't realized that someone died in that van yesterday. My condolences."
The loomer loomed a bit more. "We are talking about you murdering William Furnace."
Ernie blinked. "When did he die?"
"After he was sent off to the Hospice. He never made it there."
"Oh. Kay." Ernie held up a finger. "First thing is to find out who ordered him off. Second is to check face-to-face with that person and make sure it actually was ordered. Then you need to find out if it actually happened. And if some ambulance actually did pick him up here and if he did die enroute. And find out who's got the body. And find out who's body it is."
"Old man, you've watched too many stupid cop shows."