Title: Just Beyond Reach
Summary: Is there a connection between lost birds and a missing child?
"Matty, go blow out the jack o' lanterns and bring them up to the porch, or they will be smashed by morning," Paige Kenny called to her son from the bottom of the stairs.
"Just a sec, mom, I can't get my cape untied."
"Matt, do as your mom says, I 'll help you take off your costume after." Michael Kenny said as he stood in the front door with a purple teletubbie, also known as 5 year old Timmy.
Darth Vader came bounding down the stairs and out the door.
They were still standing in the hall when they heard the scream. Michael raced outside with Paige and Timmy right behind him. The pumpkin lay in pieces on the black topped driveway.
"Matty?" Paige called out, fear in her voice.
They paused to listen, praying to hear their sons giggling as he hid behind the garage delighted in giving his parents a Halloween scare. They listened and could hardly believe their ears.
Matt was crying, his voice growing fainter and fainter as he screamed for help, somewhere above them, in the cold , black sky. Than all was quiet.
Mulder sat on his desk facing the only door into his basement office. "Our office," he struggled with the thought. Not that he had minded sharing it for the last five or so years but he still thought of it as all his. Scully opened the door and stepped inside.
"Sorry Mulder, Agent Spender caught me in the hall and I just couldn't put him off about the Thomas case."
"How would you feel about a little side trip to Pennsylvania, this morning, Scully?" We'll be back before bedtime, I promise!"
Scully decided not to call him on it, Mulder's little day trips always ended up being much more.
"What's the case?" Scully asked
"I got a call last night from a Sheriff in McKees Rocks." Mulder fumbled with a stack of papers and managed to dump most of them on the floor.
"Here it is, Sheriff Gregg Forrest, seems they have a missing boy up there. He went out his parents front door last night after trick or treating and hasn't been seen since."
Scully bent over and retrieved the papers and neatly stacked them on his desk.
"Have they considered he may have ran away? Or wondered off in the dark? What does this have to do with the x files, Mulder?
"Come on, I'll fill you in on the way to the airport."
"His parents say he was out of their sight for maybe 3 or 4 minutes before the heard him scream. When the ran outside, they could hear him but couldn't see him. He was yelling for help and saying they got me over and over.
"Mulder, have you entertained the possibility that one of his parents killed him and had to come up with a story, like Susan Smith?"
"I guess it's possible but to say something snatched him from the sky? If that's the best they can come up with they should be in jail. Besides there has been documentation of this happening before. Oliver Larch, a seven year old from South Bend, Ind disappeared in almost the exact same way back in 1889, on Christmas Eve. And just a few weeks ago in western Pa 1,600 pigeons out of 1,800 disappeared during a race from Virginia to Allentown."
"Mulder, I don't see the connection between lost birds and a missing child?"
"Homing pigeons don't get lost Scully , they use the instinct to always make it back to their roosts. It's been a sport for centuries but usually only 5% of the birds don't return, this time it was 90%."
"Could have been weather related or they could have fallen prey to hawks ."
"The National weather Service all but ruled out the weather as a factor, and for birds of prey, there would have to have been at least 1,000 hawks and the pigeons would have scattered if attacked, they would have never gotten all 1,600."
"What are you saying Mulder, that something is sweeping up whole flocks of birds and little boys? For what purpose?"
"I 'm not sure but John Phillip Bessor put forth theories that UFO's were really meat eating atmospheric life forms or large space animals, according to him it explains the mysterious disappearances of people through out history. He also said that would explain why in July 1869 and other documented times blood and meat rained out of a clear sky... they were sloppy eaters."
Scully tried to listen to Mulder without rolling her eyes. It wasn't easy.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you but it's more likely a simple kidnapping or murder, his parents are distraught, who knows what they thought they heard during such a stressful situation."
12:10 Route 590 McKees Rocks, PA
Mulder pulled the rental car into a space in front of the Sheriff's office. As he and Scully go out Sheriff Forrest came out to greet them.
"Thanks for coming, I appreciate you taking the time to assist with this. I have to say I am at a complete loss to explain any of it." Sheriff Forrest said.
"Would you take us out to the house, Sheriff? We would like to interview the parents and see the crime scene."
"Well, Agent Mulder, I can get you out there but I don't think you will get far with any interviews."
Alarm bells went off in Scully's head. She turned back to the sheriff who was walking with Mulder.
"Are you suggesting that the Kenny's will refuse to corporate with the investigation?"
"No, I sorry if I gave that impression, it's just Mrs. Kenny has been sedated since the incident, I don't know how much help she will be."
"Sedated?" Mulder asked.
"Paige says she can hear him screaming for her, so the doctor thought it was for the best . Come on, you can follow me out to their place."
The trio stood on the doorstep, freezing in the wind, for what seemed like an eternity before the front door was opened. Scully wasn't surprised to see a priest at the Kenny's home, but she was taken back by how young he looked. Most Catholic priests were much older by Scully's experience. The seminaries were not as full as they once had been, the order of priesthood not calling many men in their twenties.
"Sheriff, is there anything new?" The priest asked before they had even stepped into the hallway.
"No, Father Declan, I'm sorry. Father, I would like you to meet Agents Mulder and Scully of the FBI, I called them out here to help find Matt."
"Hello, I wish we were meeting under different circumstances", said the priest as he shook hands with Mulder and Scully.
Michael Kenny stepped into the room from the kitchen and offered the occupants a weak smile. Scully had seen that look before, on her mother after Melissa passed away and in the mirror after Emily's funeral. A pain only a parent could understand, a loss so total it felt as if it would never disappear. In a way it never would, if the Kenny's didn't get some answer as to the fate of their son. Mulder motioned to her and walked to the hall.
" I'm going back into town and get some rooms for the night, you stay here and interview Mr. Kenny and try to get Mrs. Kenny to at least meet with you for a few minutes."
"Mulder, I'm not sure the Kenny's will tell me anything that they haven't told the sheriff"
"I know but go through it with them once or twice just see if their stories stay the same, I'll call Skinner and tell him it will be a few days."
Mulder slipped out the door before Scully could respond. She turned and walked back to the living room and saw Father Declan praying the rosary with Michael. She looked out the window while adding her silent voice to those of the distraught father and priest.
Mulder stepped out of the Comity Inn and was about to get in to the car when his cell phone rang.
"Mulder, where are you?" Scully sounded out of breath
"I'm on my way back to the Kenny's, why?"
"Meet me at the hospital, Paige Kenny just shot herself, I have to go Mulder, the paramedics are leaving, I 'll get a ride with Sherriff Forrest."
Mulder arrived at the hospital first and waited for the ambulance. Scully got out of the police car and headed for Mulder.
"I was speaking with Mr. Kenny when we heard the shot, he rode with Paige in the ambulance and Sheriff Forest drove me and Timmy, he's pretty shook up."
Mulder looked to the car and saw the little boy, he walked over and opened the door. He reached in and picked him up and carried him over to the hospital entrance. Scully followed behind. Mulder was speaking in a hushed voice to the boy and Scully couldn't make out most of it but the boy nodded to Mulder's questions and they disappeared around the corner. When they reappeared Timmy was clutching a coke and a teddy bear from the gift shop whose t-shirt read "I was born at Darby Medical Center". Mulder settled down on a chair with Timmy on his lap and Scully joined them. Soon the boy fell asleep Scully pried the soda can from his hand and Mulder laid him down on the chairs, covering him with his coat. They walked over to where the sheriff was on the telephone.
"Okay, just keep it quiet till you get here," he said
He hung up and turned to the agents. His face filled with thinly disguised hope.
"Two hunters just called one of my deputies, say they found a boy in the woods about the same age as Matt, they are on the way here.
Michael Kenny came from the emergency room and went to his sleeping son. He smoothed Tim's tussled hair and kissed his forehead. He sat back in the chair and stared at nothing. Two doctors came out and spoke to him and left again. He looked back to Timmy and got up to stand with the others.
"They say she's not going to make it, what was she thinking? Jesus, what am I going to do? This can't be happening."
Sheriff Forrest took Michael by the arm and lead him into a corner, Scully looked to Mulder for some sort of an explanation. He looked at her expecting the same.
In the emergency room, doctors in room 4 worked to stabilize Paige Kenny for surgery. The bullet had entered her skull and was lodged in her brain. The nurse placed the mask on Paige's face and the anesthesiologist started the gas.
In room 7 doctors cut off the cape of Matt's Darth Vader costume and covered him in warmed blankets, starting IV's and trying to bring him out of the hypothermia-induced coma he was in. He wasn't responding to any of the stimulus that the nurse tried. The doctor ordered some blood tests and a nurse got the vials ready.
Outside the hospital Father Declan lips moved in prayer, for the mother, for the boy and for the battle about to be fought for their souls.