2009-12-19: A Christmas Murder

Starring:

Gillian_V4icon.pngMatt_V4icon.pngCharlotte_V4icon.pngQuinn_V4icon.pngHelen_V4icon.pngRobin_V4icon.pngAlexandra_V4icon.pngMandy_V4icon.png

Date: December 19, 2009

Summary:

Christmas is the perfect time for gift-giving. Roof-Santa comes bearing presents!


"A Christmas Murder"

Mall, New York City

It's getting very close to Christmas, which means the last-minute shoppers are out in force today. Given the fact that it's a Saturday and a lot of people don't have work, the mall is the place to be. This one in particular is a favourite, with a multitude of stores of all types - including four department stores - a glass ceiling so that shoppers can always see the sky, and two - count 'em, two foodcourts. In fact, it is one of those food courts that Something is about to happen. Those with a talent for predicting the future would surely be able to feel something off about this place.

However, at the moment, the food court is full of Christmas cheer and Christmas irritation. People with far too many shopping bags are trying to sit by people who really don't want to be crowded out of their tables by holiday runoff. Of course, there's also people who enjoy all of this - the shopping, the crying babies, the ringing bell of the Salvation Army agent not too far away from the food. There's also something squeaking nearby as 'Christmas Elves' attempt to get those crying babies to look at the camera so they can get their picture taken with Santa. All in all, it's a madhouse.

—-

This is Charlotte Corday's refuge. She knows she shouldn't be here, but there are some things she can only get in America, like presents for the kids. Shopping in Germany is impossible. Everything's in German! And in England? They don't do it right. It needs to be like this. The irritation. The santa. The screaming kids. It's perfection, it's tradition, it's everything that Charlotte wants this Christmas to be. She's seated in the food court now, knees together, feet apart, a few bags at her feet and a purse on her lap as she eats, in scarf, gloves, and hat, an ice cream cone. Lick. Lick lick lick. It's too busy to be spotted by the government here, anyway.

—-

There's some people who aren't there for the shopping. Gillian can't shop like this even if she wanted to— she's here to watch people be morons. Sitting on some railing in the food court, she has a green Christmas hat on top of her dark brown hair, and a jacket that seems to be sparkling. Like some kind of vampire in the sunlight right out of that movie people seem to like to talk about. If she's here cause of a prediction of the future, or just here to watch the idiocy, she doesn't seem too bored. There's always something to make her think humanity is doomed.

—-

Parents down, presents mailed to them in New Orleans, pertinent uncles, aunts, and cousins taken care of in similar fashion; now all that's left is assorted shopping for the few close friends Alex has managed to make in New York. Even with that nearing completion (oh why did that business trip out of town have to be the few weeks leading up to Christmas?), and amidst the chaos in the mall, Alex decides it's time for a little coffee break. That'll do it, a little pick-me-up to get through the rest of the crowds and holiday shopping frenzy. Though she's shed the gloves, hat, and scarf, she wears the overcoat, having found it easier to wear than carry over an arm in this mess. Faithful suede snowboots with the fuzzy balls, jeans, and comfy sweater make up the rest of the casual ensemble.

—-

Robin is here with his mother, or that's the intent. He's split off from her for the moment, as he's stopped in the food court for a snack while she went to shop for him. He sits at one of the tables eating a slice of pizza, a shopping bag sitting beside his food, but his attention is on the crowds as he eats, watching people go about their business.

—-

Shopping for the holidays is always hectic. Helen is the type of person who finished her shopping all weeks ago and is in the midsts of wrapping them all up for the proper people. However Nathan, on the other hand, is nothing like that. He - instead - is the kind of person who doesn't realize he wants to get his mother something ridiculous like heated slippers or his brother a horrible tie so that the two will match. And since he has meetings all day and she is too nice to tell him "No, I won't go out and do your shopping for you, Nathan Petrelli, I have other work to do," she finds herself at a crowded mall looking through the directory to see where she may be able to find what she needs. A cellphone is nestled in the crook of her shoulder and ear and she's talking and multi-tasking.

"No, no, I know Jessie, I need to be firmer with him. But, he's all confused and he did so well in the interview, I don't want to hurt his confidence. No, I'm not a doormat. And, no! I am not just a yes woman, either! I told him his outfit was terrible yesterday and made him change it. You haven't seen him plaid in any pictures yet, have you? That's what I thought."

—-

Quinn wanders into the mall. She's a woman, well, perhaps without a purpose, unless cruising the mall is a purpose. But she does look, so far, in a pretty good mood in her navy casual suit. (About as casual as she gets.)

—-

It seems like Santa's coming a little early this year! Granted, most people aren't exactly looking up at the moment, so it'd be hard to spot the person walking across the dirty skylights. The sounds of the massive number of people would drown out the slight crackling noise that such an endeavor creates, as spiderweb patterns spread out in ever-growing lines across one pane of glass.

A moment later, the feet have gone, though old caked dust and dirt flitters down from the ceiling and onto the people enjoying their meals. That might be the first hint that something's about to go very wrong.

The second hint is the ear-splitting crash that follows. It's not only glass that rains down onto the tables, though, it's— well, it's someone. Thankfully, through some Christmas miracle, the victim doesn't land on anyone, but does end up right in the middle of a table. His eyes are wide and wild, still showing life, but not for long. Patterns have been etched into his skin - it seems that perhaps they've been burned there by fire - or acid. Either way, they trace an ugly picture of what happened to him before he was thrown through the glass roof. It's not those injuries that kill him, though. That honour belongs to the fall, and the horrible internal injuries he received when he hit the table.

—-

The body lands right in front of Charlotte, her tongue paused half-out of her mouth to lick the ice cream. She closed her eyes as glass and other bits fell around her, but as she opens them, among the dust, there is the dead body laying right in front of her. She just sits for a moment, large, doe-brown eyes staring madly at the thing. She isn't quite sure what to do, while people are running and screaming about her. In truth, she should be more worried than she is. Instead? She just looks up. In case there's more comming. "Matt?!" She calls, among all the ruckuss. Maybe he'll know what all this is about, but she's just…she's just going to sit right here a second.

—-

"Holy crap," Gillian states, looking up at the crashing glass and the body that falls through the skylight, before looking up at where it fell from. There's not exactly fear or panic, but she does look rather surprised. When she was watching humanity with doubt that it deserved to live, she didn't expect Santa to drop a dying man down in the people who squabble over prices and presents and stupid wailing children. When she jumps down from her seat, there's some bits of glass around where she sat. None have blood on them, though they look like they might have hit her. Not so, though.

—-

Quinn goes into what is her standard panic mode. Which means she pushes up against the nearest wall and blends in. Literally. Without intending to, she goes into chameleon mode, literally taking on the tone and texture of the wall, while she takes the time to figure out what's going on.

—-

Robin jumps and then ducks as the glass comes raining down, shielding his head. As soon as he sees the fallen body, though, he blinks and swears, jumping to his feet quickly. He seems to be frozen then, staring at the body with wide eyes.

—-

No more bodies fall through the ceiling, thankfully. The only thing there - very briefly - is a person… Who quickly disappears a moment later. Gone.

Meanwhile, in the mall, people are going crazy. Since when do bodies just fall right out of thin air!? Parents shield the eyes of their kids, while other people lose their lunch as a growing crimson stain spreads out from under the victim. Other people seem inclined to get closer to the trouble, either to see what happened, or to see if they can help.

—-

Matt (still on the lam, and thus still sporting a passable brown dye job) is at the water fountain near the restrooms when the glass breaks, his back turned at first. "The hell?" he says out loud, turning around and instinctively starting to run forward— just in time to see the victim land, a good bit further away than even a sprinter could have hoped to run in time. Suspecting the worst, he dashes forward anyway, one hand taking Charlotte's and giving it a quick squeeze (yes, he's here now) while the other checks for a pulse. To no avail.

"Dammit!" he mutters, balling his free hand up into a fist and slamming it down onto the nearest table. Which is dusted with little fragments of glass. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Forcing his way through the pain - soon to become much worse - he extends his senses outward, taking in the thoughts of everyone nearby. Where's that one inner voice that wasn't just taken by surprise?

—-

First the body comes crashing down, then so does Alex's fresh coffee. There's that shatter of glass, then the long fall down from the skylights; plenty of time to look up from putting the lid on her cup to see the body plummeting down from the ceiling. The hot beverage falls into a puddle at her floor, splattering boots, pants, and folks around her alike. "Oh my God!" she pretty much squeals out. But what does she do? The people around the body seem to be frozen, and maybe rightly so. But valor soon gets the better of Alex as she starts to head toward the body, eventually crunching over glass. She is a doctor afterall (not the right kind, but…still).

—-

Someone has to do it, because there has been a surprising lack of noise since the crash. People are looking up and wailing, and it's Helen who decides to remedy that. She screams when the glass shatters and the man's body falls onto a table. She's far enough away to not have to worry about being cut by the glass. There's not 'Oh my God's' or anything more coherent from her. She stares for a long while as Jessie on the other end of the phone frantically attempts to find out what's going on. Her hands shake and she stares at the dead man in the center of the room. "I…I…I have to call you back Jessie! A man! A man just—-I'll call you back!" she says into her phone in a squeak. Punching in 9-1-1 immediately, she waits for someone to pick up.

—-

"I think we should go," Charlotte decides, still just staring at the body. She's a little shocked, to say the least. "Matt, don't hurt your hand I….I just think we should go. There will be cops soon. And….we don't…." She's rising now, ice cream tossed aside, reaching around Matt's shoulder to pull him away from the body.

—-

"I'm gonna kick Raf's ass for getting me involved in this shit," Gillian mutters under her breath, a voice that doesn't quite seem normal. There's a mind that's actually not there that's there— something's definitely out of place with her, Matt. But… She moves, to get into a group of people that are stampeding. It isn't difficult, especially since they run right through her as if she isn't there. It blends in well, though.

After a few seconds of 'blending in', she vanishes, reappearing on the roof of the building, looking different. No longer wearing anything fancy or glittery, she's dressed in drab clothes, with blonde hair, and an indisguishable face. Okay, what the hell happened here.

—-

For Matt, the voice is very rapidly becoming more distant. It's quiet, almost calculating. Calm. Not possessed of the madness that someone who's just thrown a person through glass would normally have. It's a female voice, but other than that, there are no clues about the identity.

Emergency calls start rolling in from many, many sources. Granted, some people are using their cellphones to take pictures of the gruesome scene… But others are calling for help. One call even comes from an untracable source - the operators are unable to pinpoint its exact location. It doesn't matter, though, since they can figure out what mall this is happening in within the first five or six calls. Help is on the way, even if it's too late for the man who fell through the roof.

There is no person for Gillian to see. Whoever committed this is long gone - somehow. There are footprints leading through the snow, though it seems as if whoever made them took the time to ensure that they appear to go in at least six different directions. Any doubling back was carefully executed so that the real tracks would be hard to find.

There are clues up here, though, like the signs of a struggle… And blood standing out blindingly in the white snow. Someone's taken the time to use it to write 'YOU WON'T CATCH ME AGAIN' with said blood, in letters large enough for a helicoptor to be able to read from above.

—-

Quinn has the time, and breathing space, to take a very close look around. Observation is part of her bread and butter, but this chaos still reveals no answers yet.

—-

Muscling folks out of the way as best she can (no easy task a woman so petite), Alex manages to get as close as she can, maybe even up to Charlotte's table. Analytical mind kicks into gear as she looks up first, seeing if he lines up vertically with the hole, or if there seems to be a little bit of a horzontal motion. Whether it was a jump, push, or fall, she's got little idea just from looking. Those strange marks or burns on his body seem to be the big clue, however. "Excuse me…pardon me…" she says, pushing her way forward a little more, wanting to see what the body says all over it. "Mon Dieu…" she says in a whisper, getting a peek.

—-

Matt doesn't respond to Charlotte right away - his eyes are distant, unfocused. He gets a couple of interesting impressions, yes, but he also gets a lot of people who are loudly thinking pretty much the same things they're shouting. All at once, he snaps out of it, pressing his fingers to his temples as he doubles over in recoil. "No good," he says, saving the full story for later when they're in private. "All right, let's go."

—-

Robin's attention, after a few moments of staring at the grisly scene, moves up to the window that broke above, looking for any clue up there what might have happened. He picks up his shopping bag but leaves his meal, as he steps a little closer to where the man landed, but eyes still up.

—-

"Wait, Matt, the presents." Charlotte cannot afford to buy new ones. She pulls away from the man, reaching down to collect the bags. "Okay go, before we get caught in a picture, go go go." She starts pushing him with her elbow, getting one last look at the body. "Bathrooms, closet, something."

—-

Helen isn't one of those people who want to get closer to see all the bloody gore. The lines are jammed with people attempting to do the same thing as she is, but she's too stubborn to do anything else. She's content to stay back and attempt to talk to a 9-1-1 operator, even if she's one of hundreds of people doing the same thing. She remains right where she is, thinking that she may just fall over if she attempted to walk either forwards or backwards. Finally, she looks up where the man fell, curious as to why anyone was up there at all. Her hands continue to shake.

—-

Quinn pushes away from the wall, keeping her camouflage on as she walks toward the center of the chaos. She moves carefully around the crowds, as her abilities only affect eyes, not the other senses.

—-

It's not too long before police arrive on the scene - minutes, really. For what sounds to either be a suicide or a homicide, they don't waste any time at all arriving. There's talk of 'getting these people out of here' and notifying shoppers in other parts of the mall that the stores are now closed, and that they need to proceed to the nearest exits.

As the man on the table shifts as people run past, something can be seen sticking out of his shirt pocket. A piece of paper with writing on it.

—-

Footprints going in multiple directions, big writing on the roof. Not good, this. Gillian's form doesn't leave additional evidence like footprints behind in the snow— her feet seem to leave nothing at all behind. Cause they're not even there. They're miles and miles away. Not that it matters. A curious glance is given around, then one up above. She'd slipped on this indistiguishable face for a reason— it looks plain and average, and like no one at all. Though there might be some poor farmgirl in Kansas that it looks like! Who knows.

It didn't take too long before she decides to follow one of the trails. Picking one at random. Especially with the police arriving. A short walk, then she'll disappear.

—-

Matt nods to Charlotte, keeping his head down and grabbing the one bag furthest from her. A momentary pause - there was one more thing that didn't quite click right - but it pretty clearly wasn't the killer, so they don't have time for it right—

Wait, what was that? Not a suicide note, surely; could just be a parking receipt for all he knows, but years on the force have left him with an instinct to be thorough with the evidence. Stupid dyslexia. Stupid sense of obligation to let the uniformed cops see it, too. "Read this and put it back!" he whispers to Charlotte, pressing it into her hand before ducking into the flow of the crowd himself, heading back toward the bathrooms.

—-

Robin, once he notices the police presence, which really is the instant the radio back that they've arrived, starts to make his way quickly out of the crowd, turning his attention once again to a more pressing matter… trying to find his mother before they're all kicked out of the mall.

—-

Police showing up…that's good, if nothing else. And, well, she won't be able to finish her shopping here today. Heck, she might not even get out of here today, not before answering a bunch of police questions, if that's how they want to play it. That's her civic duty though, so she's willing to do it. The food court clearing out, Alex is free to step back from the body a bit, clutching her coffee-splattered, letting the cops in to do her job.

—-

Wait, what? Charlotte suddenly finds a peice of paper in her hands. She reads it, opening it low agianst her body before slipping it back into the man's pocket with scrambling, nervous hands. It's a scramble, and she tries to be unconspicuous, but she's looking over her shoulder, turning to run toward the bathrooms after him. Not wanting to look like they're together, but wanting to find him and get him gone as much as she wants to get gone. and then rip him one for stealing from the dead!

—-

Tampering with evidence? Just what Mandy wanted. Someone, after all, should see the note that she left for them all.

Since escaping from the train that one night, she's been lying low for awhile, plotting, planning, and she's finally come up with something that really worked. The best part is, she's learned from her past mistakes, and this time, she's untouchable. She will not be taken alive.

As evidenced by the note so read by Charlotte, which simply says 'Run, run, run, as fast as you can.'

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