Survivor: A City of Heroes novel


Chapter 39 - "Paper Trail"

With Ezekiel Norman's fresh, new amended birth certificate in hand, Jon Smith returned to the Paragon City records office.

It took a couple of days off from work to do it, but he eventually managed to get the documents he wanted. As a family member, he now had the right to ask for those documents.

"Should we call you Zeke, now?" Blood Nut had asked, half-joking, half-serious.

Jon had considered the question seriously. "Blood, I only have the one memory. Everything else I remember, I'm Jon. Jon Smith. I guess I might as well just stay Jon Smith. It's all I know."

But it had raised an interesting conundrum. Legally, he was Jon Smith, and yet, legally, he had to prove that he was also Ezekiel Norman.

A lawyer with Hero Corps had suggested a solution; have Ezekiel Norman's name legally changed to Jon Smith. The final step had been to have Ezekiel's birth certificate amended to reflect the name change.

If anyone went looking for Ezekiel Norman in the future, they would be led directly back to Jon Smith.

The legal niceties taken care of, Jon was able to get birth records on his brother Samuel, Matthew, his father, and Sarah, his mother.

Rachel Torres had handed him another short police report: the report of Samuel's death.

It seemed that one Ezekiel Norman had called the police to report that his brother, Samuel, age ten, had been killed, beheaded, by madmen in an alley close to their home. The police had investigated, but there was nothing left in the alleyway but blood and some torn and bloody clothing, which Zeke Norman had identified as belonging to his brother. Back then, no one had ever heard the name of Dr. Vazhilok, the maniacal surgeon whose name would later become synonymous with zombies and bloody disappearances.

Death certificates on Matthew and Sarah Norman reported that the father had died only a few months before Sam, in an industrial accident at the King's Row factory where he worked, while his wife had died years before, of breast cancer.

On Matthew's death, the sixteen-year-old Ezekiel had applied through a lawyer to be declared an emancipated minor, and had managed to gain custody of his younger brother. Before the younger brother's death, Ezekiel and Samuel Norman had received a substantial payoff from their father's life insurance policy. Zeke Norman had been in the process of having a trust fund set up for his younger brother, when Sam was killed.

And there the paper trail stopped, as if sheared off with a knife. The trust fund papers were never completed, and sixteen-year-old Zeke Norman had dropped off the face of the earth.

There were no further records of Ezekiel Norman to be found anywhere.


Copyright, November 26, 2012