“What the fuck Coulson? You didn’t tell me this was a circus site,” Clint demanded from his location in the rafters of the warehouse.
”What do you mean it’s a circus?”
“I mean it’s an off season housing location for a circus. There are tractor trailers with side show trailers, I see the rigging and poles for a big top tent and caravan trailers for the freaks and headliners,” he observed, moving around so he could see everything that was in the building. Hearing a sound he, hooked a line to his harness and zipped down the line into a dark corner. Staying in the shadows, he peeked into containers and peeked into trailers. Bloodied bodies starting to bloat littered the floors or every trailer he looked into. He peered behind curtains he knew separated the animals and kept them safe from the coming and goings. The caretaker’s body, gun in hand, laid just inside the entrance. Animal remains lay in the cages and corrals. Slipping between the bars he walked over and stroked the neck of one of the white horses, stained with blood. He fought back the anger, disgust and sorrow as he checked every animal, praying for even one to be alive.
“Just a minute sir,” he stated, knowing his tone of voice and the fact he was using his professional voice, would tip Coulson off something was up. The last cage held rare leopards. He knew most circuses didn’t use leopards, let alone rare cloud leopards. The last body he touched was warmer than normal and he gave it a gentle shove to see if it reacted more. The relief at seeing the small body move, caused him to gasp.
“All people are dead. All animals but one small leopard are dead. I’m coming out with the cub,” he stated, pulling a blanket from next to the cage and wrapping the cub up in the blanket and strapping it to his body. He moved back around to his line and went back up and along the catwalk. Leaving the same way he came in. He could hear the clicks from the private channel he shared with Coulson to the open channel. Coulson was instructing the teams to breach and deal with the victims and search for any evidence of why the circus had been hit.
He had to keep it together for now. Later when he could contact his friends who handle exotic animals to take the cub he’d let himself feel. He tapped on the back door of the van and opened the door to see Coulson with the analysts observing the camera feeds of the insertion teams.
“What do you have there?” Coulson asked
“A leopard cub,” he answered, moving the blanket enough for Coulson to see the spotted body of the cub. He knew the cub would remain calm while it was bundled in the blanket and warm. “I need to get out and get it some food.”
“You can’t leave it here.”
“Then someone needs to go to the store for me. Now,” he wasn’t going to take any shit from the junior agents sitting watching the monitors.
“Give me the cub and go get what you need. Try not to break into too many stores, knowing that at two in the morning there wasn’t going to be too many places open,” Coulson instructed.
He gave Coulson a ‘who me’ look and handed the cub over to Coulson with a couple quick instructions. Casing the business round this place in the preceding weeks hand told him where there was a farm store and a grocery store. He slipped into the farm store, grabbed the various things he’d need left a note and a hundred dollar bill on the counter and slipped back out before walking into a grocery store to pick up the final ingredient he needed. When he slipped back into the van, he stopped and smiled. Coulson had the cub unwrapped and was gently rubbing down the fur murmuring to the cub. He didn’t know which was more priceless the look on Coulson’s face or the look on the cub’s while it was tame it had a look of almost adoration on its face at being shown affection and gentleness. Quickly he mixed up the formula and handed the bottle to Coulson to feed the baby since the cub already trusted him. ‘Baby’ could would be able to wait another day to get back to New York and have his friends take her.