The MCRT, Morlocks, MGH and Murder

Part 1: Chapter 10

Clay made it to LaGuardia Airport and met the two agents who had started out before he did – when he was telling Emma and Remy his plans. Agents Cecilia Reyes and Jacob Ghinesberg informed him that Sammy had not left the airport, or at least not through normal or legal means. He also had not booked a flight for anytime later that day. Clay, because he knew Sammy, figured the kid was overwhelmed at this point, and had decided to stay at the airport; after all, there was food and shelter.

To Reyes and Ghinesberg he said, “Check with the upper management. Tell them to make sure their employees know there is a missing child, and give them his picture. Also, explain he is not dangerous.”

“Where will you be?” Agent Reyes asked. She was not new to the game, had been recruited from the FBI’s Denver office for her superb work in a murder-suicide case there that involved a mutant who wanted to express his hate for humanity. With her thick, dark hair in a low ponytail that reached halfway down her back, and her tall and sturdy build, she often took command of anything she desired.

“Checking out the menus,” Clay replied, “It’s almost lunch time, after all.”

Reyes knew what he meant, but Ghinesberg, a new recruit, and one that Clay thought was a questionable choice, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and said, “I think we’ll have time for lunch afterwards, sir.”

“Sammy’s probably hungry now,” Reyes explained.

“Oh, right,” Ghinesberg said and swallowed hard, as if he thought he might be in trouble.

“Keep me posted,” Clay said, and headed towards the Chinese food booth.

Emma listened as Remy asked her what Sammy’s voicemail said. Lisa didn’t know exactly, she said, but he could listen to it.

There was a beep, and then twelve year old Sammy’s voice came on the line. “Hey mom, maybe we can have lunch today. I’m on the bus now, so will be there pretty soon. Love you.”

As Lisa once again broke down, because no one was telling her where Sammy was, Emma thought about the message. Sammy sounded normal, not exuberantly happy, and not depressed either. So, what could have happened from the time he left the message until he arrived at her house and decided to, as Lisa put it, ‘leave that stuff for her to see’.

Furthermore, according to Remy, or his head, rather, Jean had told him the scales were not all removed at the same time, but over a period of a week to two weeks. Enough time for the piece of flesh grotesquely attached to one of the scales to start to stink. But Sammy had not been home for that long. Had he carried the scales with him? And why, if he wasn’t feeling depressed yesterday?

It seemed obvious that he had been struggling with something over the past two weeks to cause his scale removal in the first place. She couldn’t think of another reason, anyways.

To Remy, she said, I want to see if Sammy has been receiving any counseling recently. And maybe someone should interview his roommate.

Remy thought back, Send either Anna Marie or Kurt to talk to the roommate. We’re getting nowhere here. Can I send her home?

Their reunion is important. It must be done here. Emma was adamant that this should happen in Sammy’s turf. It didn’t seem to matter what Remy said about it.

Then why don’t you hold her hand while she’s crying her eyes out? She could benefit from a psychologist, instead of an interrogator.

Emma had always been more of a forensic psychologist, someone who gave an analysis after something had happened, and not so much someone who listened to real time people’s problems. But, Remy was right, and honestly, she wanted a chance to talk to this woman anyways. To him, she said, Explain to her who I am, that I’ll help her through her grief or something.

Chinese booth, burger booth, a more upscale restaurant, and finally, the pizza place. He flashed his S.H.I.E.L.D. badge at the customers in line, which would send him to the front, though no one was happy about it. Suspicions of the government agencies ran high these days, and one woman glared at him and yanked her child close to her as if Clay might arrest either one of them right then and there.

The kid behind the counter, and Clay wondered if he were even out of high school, had a nametag that read ‘Chuck’. To the skinny, pimply faced kid, Clay said, “Good morning, Chuck. Have you seen this kid?” He slid over Sammy’s school picture.

Chuck glanced at the picture, then did a double take. In a nervous, and squeaky voice, he said, “No, sir. I would remember him if I did. I just got here. You should ask Bea. She’s been here since five.”

“And where can I find her?” Clay asked Chuck.

“Oh, she works in the kitchen. I’ll get her.” Chuck went behind the menu signs and less than ten seconds later, a short, pudgy woman that was closer to Clay’s age, came around the corner and wiped her hands on her apron.

“Can I help you, sir?” she asked, and Clay could hear the Bronx in her voice.

“Have you seen this kid?” he asked, showing the picture of Sammy to her.

“Come with me,” she said simply. She motioned that he should walk around the counter and to the kitchen with her.

She opened up the door to the tiny manager’s office and there was Sammy, asleep on the floor, on top of his winter coat. Bea talked much quieter now, out of respect, “Early morning janitor found him in the bathroom. I told him I’d see to it he went home.”

There was an empty muffin wrapper and an empty bottle of orange juice. Bea noticed Clay noticing it. “Short kid like that needs all the nutrients he can get,” she replied and that Bronx accent softened.

“Thank you, Bea,” Clay said. “I’ll take him off your hands.”

She wasn’t quite ready to leave, and continued with, “He’s no trouble. It’s all in the eyes, you know. He’s the same as any other kid.”

Clay wouldn’t tell her that he’d seen some kids with snake eyes or other reptilian-type eyes that made it hard to see the humanity in the kid. He also wouldn’t tell her that some of the mutant kids had no sense of civilization and acted much more like animals. Sammy, at least, with his big eyes and small stature elicited a response in people that was more similar to how a person feels when they look at a stray dog or cat. They easily feel sorry for him. To Bea, though, he simply nodded his head, as if to convey he felt exactly the same way as she did. For the most part, anyways, he did.

Her voice was different now, almost protective, and a bit pained as she said, “Got one just like him at home.”

For the eight years prior to him serving for S.H.I.E.L.D., Clay had worked first for the US military and also as a militant consultant for the FBI. Both were desk jobs that taught him there were other things to be carried in your utility belt other than his beloved guns and ammo. For people like Bea who needed his help, but not his guns. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his card and handed it to her. “Give me a call, and I’ll connect you to someone at The Xavier Institute. And if you’re interested, I will personally give you and your child a tour of the place.”

She smiled, her eyes watering, Clay suspected it was the first time she had told someone about her child. She tucked the card into her pocket. “Thank you, Agent Quartermain,” she replied, having read his name off the card, and then left the room, closing the door behind her.

Clay bent down and gently shook Sammy’s shoulder. He was probably the size of an eight year old, and it led to fights with kids he could never win against and endless tormenting. Clay knew boys could be rough if you weren’t as big or as strong as they were. It was something Bridget never would understand when he would be nervous before every one of his son’s annual physicals. She would shake her head and laugh when he would pace and wring his hands. But, he had needed the reassurance that his boys would not get the same torment that boys like Sammy, boys that were different, received at the hands of others.

Sammy opened those large fish eyes and was taken aback at who was crouched next to him. “Clay?” he questioned, as if he were dreaming. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my second job,” he said, with a smile.

Sammy laughed just a little. A good sign. But, it faded fast as reality set in. He never saw Clay unless he or his mom were in trouble. “I’ve got to go home now, huh?”

“Well, you can’t stay here, son,” Clay reminded him. “Though I think Bea might keep feeding you.” He stood up and Sammy did, too. “How about we get some pizza to go?”

Remy again went through the motions and handed her some tissues. She took them gratefully, and said, “I must look a mess.”

He didn’t feel like being funny or charming, so he said nothing, ignoring that his manners dictated otherwise.

Lisa clenched her hands tightly over the soggy tissues. “I should have answered the phone. I should have been there for him.”

He didn’t ask if it was because she knew what was going on in her son’s life. And he didn’t tell her that yes, she should have. He fought off a sneeze and said, “I’ve set up an appointment for you with a psychologist.”

Lisa’s eyes widened. “I don’t need a shrink.”

She was teetering towards angry, and Remy didn’t want to push her further. Sometimes, he wondered if she was bipolar. “You need to talk with someone who is qualified to help you deal with what’s going on with Sammy. Until we know more, this waiting period will be hard to get through. Just give her a chance. She’s very good.”

Lisa shook her head; and Remy realized she was scared. He suspected it was because she knew a shrink wouldn’t let her off the hook as easily. They would be harder to deceive.

“You won’t have to lie down on a couch and tell her all your problems. You’ll have lunch, and you’ll talk, that’s all.” Emma hadn’t been planning on a lunch date with Lisa, and Remy had done that on purpose. He knew she’d be scrolling through her phone to find the quickest delivery.

Lisa acquiesced, with a small nod. “Maybe it would be nice to talk to someone.” She was trusting him, which he should not take lightly, and never did.

Remy’s phone buzzed then, and he was happy to be finished with this conversation. “I have to take this.”

“Is it about my Sammy?” she asked, with enough hope in her voice to break his heart.

It was Clay, so yes, it was. But, Remy said, because he had to, “No. It isn’t. But, don’t worry, none of us have given up.”

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