Ray stopped in front of Thomas' new room and knocked on the door. Marcus answered.
"I'm sorry, but Thomas is sleeping right now."
"Is he alright?"
Marcus looked back toward his sleeping son.
"I think so. As long as he stays calm and warm, he should be alright. I'll tell him you came by."
Ray nodded, "Thank you."
As Marcus shut the door Ray stood there for a moment, his hands in his pockets, thinking about his troubled friend.
There wasn't anything he could do for him now, so he turned and continued down the hall.
Ray turned to see his brother coming towards him.
"What do you want, Annie?"
"How is he?"
The two brothers began walking together.
Ray and Andrew noted Vic's t-shirt as they passed him in the hall.
Save a Horse, Ride a Mutant.
"Nice, huh? It's kinda' my philosophy..."
Ray grinned devilishly, "Mine too."
The brothers broke out laughing.
Thomas closed his eyes and drifted off in uneasy sleep. He dreamt of primordial cities of strange angles and geometric abnormalities. As he walked the strangely cobbled streets the scaled, serpentine inhabitants of these ophidian realms walked and slithered around him without the slightest indication that anything was amiss.
And why should they? He was one of them, after all.
Priests of Set arraigned in opulence slid silently down the broadways of the city, alchemists and wizards with robes emblazoned with arcane symbols carried eldritch devices to unseen laboratories. He stopped for a moment to watch children playing, a nice contrast to the cold darkness of the Setian priests. A thirty foot Man-Serpent, his beautiful, deep golden humanoid face framed by writhing serpentine locks as his heavy serpent's body slid across the smooth cobblestones passed him with barely a glance, intent on some inscrutable purpose.
Set was not the only Serpent Deity. There was Ishiti, goddess of snakes and ruler of the island of the dead, herself an enormous Woman-Serpent in avatar form, Yiggorum, a two-headed, bipedal god of hunger and magic. There were others as well, but Set was the creator god, The Father of Serpents. So, naturally he received (demanded) most of the devotion of his people.
Thomas stirred in his sleep, then awoke to his dark room. It was still snowing outside, and would be cold for months.
"Are you alright?"
Thomas turned to look at his father, then picked up his vocal projector and put it around his neck.
"Yes." He yawned and stretched, "I had another dream, about the Serpent People..."
"Maybe you should talk to Xavier about that. It could be a racial memory, or some kind of postcognition."
"Postcognition. The ability to see into the past... Another power that doesn't do much good." In fact, controlled postcognition could be very helpful in many ways, in everything from solving crimes to studying ancient cultures. But it didn't really help fight the likes of Magneto.
"A lot of people came by asking about you. You just missed Ray."
Thomas sighed, he wanted to be better already and get back to his friends and his life. He pulled himself out of bed and stretched, "I'm sick and tired of this crap. I can't take laying in this bed anymore. I'm going to go down and sit by the fire."
Logan took in the grisly scene with little emotion. He'd seen, and done, far worse to his own enemies.
Harpoon was dead. Pinned to a tree by one of his own signature weapons.
And Logan knew exactly who the killer was. The scent of funereal spices, linen and flesh aged to leather pointed directly to N'Kantu.
The Living Mummy had stated that he had been tasked by Anubis himself to gather evil souls for the god of the dead, and Logan didn't feel like confronting either a superhuman mummy or an ancient death god.
Harpoon was dead.
Several inmates were missing. They had escaped, but not without help.
The Reavers, of course, had fled using their own means, but the missing mutant prisoners... Xavier rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. He had no doubt that Magneto had taken advantage of the situation to recruit more Acolytes.
At least we were able to save the remaining staff, he thought wearily.
That was a victory in itself. Lives had been saved, both officers and inmates, and he couldn't complain about that.
He telepathically contacted everyone and readied for the return to the mansion.
Thomas took the news of Harpoon's death much better than Xavier had hoped. Instead of celebrating an enemy's grisly demise, he was merely relieved that the man would no longer be a threat to his family or anyone else's.
He was sitting in front of the roaring fire in the mansion's common room along with Slither and Todd. His father sat in a chair nearby while Ray and Andy took a nearby couch.
"So, he was the only prisoner killed?" Marcus asked quietly.
Marcus sighed, "Yes, though several officers were killed by prisoners."
"That is unfortunate. It's a thankless job, protecting us from the dangerous scum locked in such places."
Slither, himself a convict with a long history of prison time, snorted but said nothing. He had no love for law or law enforcement. He still had a long ways to go before he could be considered rehabilitated.
There wasn't much left to say about the incident.
Andrew was going to be riding home on Marcus' private plane the next day, and Thomas would be moving back into his own room again. While both Ray and Thomas were saddened to see their family members leaving, it would be nice to get back to some level of normalcy.
As normal as life could get at The Xavier Institute, anyway.
To be continued...
I'm so sorry this update has taken so long. I've thought about it every day, but I just couldn't get any ideas. I want to thank all of my loyal readers for sticking with me and for enjoying my crazy little story. Thank you!
Ishiti is a serpent goddess who appeared as both an ally and an enemy of Conan in the Marvel comics universe. First, she saved him from the venom of various serpents and one of her own traitorous worshippers. Later, they fought as he tried to steal back the soul of the very man who'd betrayed and tried to murder him, (the dead man's beautiful daughter had more to do with his quest than anything), slew many of her servants and apparently killed her when she tried to stop him, though creatures like that do not die so easily. In the end, the girl declared celibacy and Conan once again lost his chance to get laid.
Yiggorum was a serpent deity accidentally summoned by the villain Tyrannus, whom it promptly ate before being pushed back into it's own dimension by Doctor Strange. Tyrannus was trying to summon Set, but bungled it up.