NEW: Fallen Cards (Part 2/4)
Chapter V: An Even Frost (Part 5 of 21)
by Euphrosyne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(As previously disclaimed--I *still* don't own most of these
characters or the basic premise.)
All comments--positive, negative, or otherwise--received with
much gratitude. I love mail, and respond to everything I get.
That's a hint <g> . . . don't make me beg.
Thanks for reading.
Chapter V: An Even Frost
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
W. Wordsworth, "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways"
Tuesday, November 25, 1997
New York City, NY
Katherine sat at her desk, and sighed. She couldn't
leave this case. She couldn't take this case.
The file before her had been one of Kara's.
She looked at the Kodak-colour faces of the children
and something within her rebelled. Two young girls, abused.
Starved, neglected, raped, you name it. Only three and six years
old, plump baby faces and fine white-blond hair stared out at
her from the pictures in the file. Except that their bodies were
marked in bruises and lines of blood. Beaten almost to death.
The older was comatose, and the younger . . . she would not
speak. Could not speak. Not a word.
Robinson, Chelsea Deborah and Robinson, Caitlin
Their parents had brought them in to Sibley Memorial
Hospital. A mother that wore sunglasses well after sunset and a
father that said the children fell in a playground.
The evidence from the police file had just come in
today with the photographs. She hated the visuals, they were so
much worse than just detachedly reading about the horror in an
impersonal manila file folder.
You don't have the time. You don't have the energy.
The deaths have started. You've got to get out.
She knew this as she knew the colour of the sky; she
just didn't know why.
Kara's death had left her uneasy, frightened. Alongside
grief had been fear: Kara had been young, and in good health,
yet died violently and the doctors had not been able to tender
any explanation for her death. Not knowing exacerbated the
The autopsy results had come back a week before, and
Kate had taken a look. According to the results Kara seemed in
perfect health, her death anomalous. Everything had been in
order, except for the birthmark.
A birthmark shaped like an apple. A largish birthmark
on her collarbone, a birthmark Kate knew Kara did not have.
She had shivered to see the photograph. There was
something about that image, that reddish blotch, that had
frightened her into leaving for an early lunch that day, that had
plagued her nights thereafter.
Then, this morning she had received a phone call. A
man's voice, a gruff voice which had spoken only one word: a
name, and then silence.
Disconcerted, she had hung up the phone abruptly, but
could not shake her uneasy feeling.
As the afternoon progressed, she came to a decision.
Perhaps neither event was enough for normal concern, but it was
enough for her. She was being warned.
She had learnt well not to question these obscure
warnings, or her own instincts. Paranoia to some, in her case it
was a life-preserving caution.
She'd talk to Mark. She'd beg to take the week off,
copy the file and take it home, and tell him that she'd still like to
take the file or at least assist when she returned. Make up some
convenient excuse for the sudden request for leave.
She wouldn't mention that she might not come back.
If she couldn't return she'd let him know though.
Somehow, because he deserved that much. And because he'd
have to reassign the case, and those two little girls deserved at
least that much.
Although, no matter how good the prosecutor was,
these kinds of cases--no witnesses, no real evidence, a
sympathetic and wealthy accused--were impossible to win.
Pointless. Depressing. Despite the circumstantial evidence,
practically unprovable in a court of law and even then, even on
the rare occasion a guilty verdict was obtained, a sentence that
could not possibly compensate for the atrocity of the crime.
Three cheers for the system.
She rose to pack away the file.
"Hey, Katie J. You wanted to see me?" Mark, in his
usual vaguely rumpled suit and ultra-boring tie, stuck his head
into her office, perpetually flirtatious grin in place, the one that
made the female--and part of the male--contingent of the office
sigh and pine dreamily. She was no more resistant than they,
and smiled in response. No matter how lousy her day--her
week--Mark could always make her smile.
She remembered arriving here, a little over four years
ago, fresh out of law school. Mark had made her feel welcome
when few others had, respected her despite her being his kid
sister's best friend. Already highly regarded in legal circles, he
had nevertheless taken the time to allow her to acclimatize, to
include her, to try to get to know her, ignoring and dismissing
her shy reserve and serious mien. For that alone she'd be forever
More surprisingly, she found as time went on that he
understood her. Aside from Kara, one of the very few who did.
He gave her space when she needed it, pushed her when she
needed that. Now that Kara was gone, she found she valued his
friendship more than she knew; had taken it for granted for too
long. She would miss him.
A few of the others had changed in attitude as she
gained their respect during the four years she'd been here; but
not most, and she found tbat this really did not bother her over
much. She preferred this, after all; preferred to be left alone,
given a wide berth. Preferred it both professionally and
personally. But Mark . . . Mark was a special case.
She allowed herself to look at him, for a moment,
knowing it might well be the last time. Looked at him in his
boringly well-cut navy suit, tall and broad-shouldered with
golden brown hair several shades lighter than her own rich
mahogany. His face was not overly handsome, but open and
pleasant. The thing that caught her eye, though, the first thing
she had noted when he walked into the room, his characteristic
broad smile in place, were his eyes. A young man, still a couple
years shy of forty, he already had deep laugh lines etched
around his eyes, more around his mouth. That was what she
wanted to know. Intense yet open, the combination drew her
"Do you have some time? It's kind of important."
He grinned playfully. "For you, my Kate, I have all the
time in the world."
New York City
Mulder drove straight from the airport to the address
scribbled in Frohike's distinctive scrawl. It took them, even
then, some time before they arrived in front of the dilapidated
apartment building in a relatively cheaper area of Manhattan.
Mulder loathed and despised rush hour in New York.
When they finally found the address, 272 Park Street,
Scully was dozing quietly in the passenger seat. He leaned over
and put a cool hand against her forehead. She flinched and
muttered incoherently but did not wake.
He frowned. Still too warm. He debated for a
moment with himself and then slipped out of the car quietly,
leaving her there.
He entered the building, flashing his badge at the
indifferent security guard, and walked up three flights of stairs
to stand in front of the door at the end of the hall. He knocked
but heard no corresponding movement or answer in reply. So
Mulder, with the guard's assistance, entered anyway, calling out,
observing the austerity of the living area, the lack of furnishings
and the minimalist possessions--almost like someone had just
moved in--or was just moving out. This apartment made his
own look absolutely cozy. But the information the Lone
Gunmen had provided said that the woman had lived here for the
past three years.
There were sounds coming from the inner room, and he
walked slowly towards it, stepping quietly into a bedroom
where a young woman in a charcoal suit was frantically stuffing
clothing into a small suitcase. She gasped and whirled as he
"Who are you?" The voice was suspicious, resentful:
scared. As she had every right to be--this was, after all, New
York, and he was a stranger in her apartment. She was actually
fairly calm, he thought, under the circumstances.
"I am Special Agent Mulder with the FBI. Ms.
"That's right." The voice was steady, but quick and
tense. "Can I ask why you're here?"
"I have reason, Ms. Jacobs, to believe you are in
danger. I am asking that you come with me. I believe you may
be connected to a serial murder case I am currently
"That's absurd." The woman did not quite sneer,
although fear was behind it. "I can't just leave--I have
"Nevertheless. And it seems that you were going
someplace anyway." He waved a hand at the suitcase.
The woman ignored the last comment. "Well, I thank
you for your concern, but still don't really know what you want
with me. I can't go anywhere right now."
There was some argument; the woman was belligerent
and untrusting. She seemed anxious and almost terrified of
going with him. But this was, after all, Mulder, and he had a
printout relegated to memory of every case she had ever
prosecuted over her past four year career--criminal prosecutions
were a matter of public record. He managed to make it sound
like she had cause to worry from either one or all of the felons
she'd been involved with over her current term with the D.A.
Obstinate though she was, she never stood a chance. In the end,
they went through proper procedures and channels--after all, the
woman was a lawyer--and moved her to a safehouse.
Upstate New York
Wednesday, November 26, 1997
Katherine sat in the armchair and willed her mind to go
blank. They'd arrived late last night, and the final paperwork
was sent through early this morning she'd been told. She had
been assured that she would receive a copy of all relevant
The house was not bad, as these places went. A small
wooden cabin in a remote, forested part of northern New York
state, it came complete with central heat, hot and cold running
water, and a modern bathroom with an enormous bathtub. As
well as three not too large bedrooms--although hers had a small
desk and an armchair--the cabin also had a fully equipped
kitchen and a spacious living room with a wood-burning
fireplace. No cable, unfortunately, but there was an old
television that picked up a couple of the local network channels.
There were even flowers--tiny blue-purple violets that still
bloomed, amazingly enough, in the sheltered area near the house
where a white stone bench sat and the furnace blast kept the
ground warm and frost-free even this late in November.
The male agent, Mulder, had arranged for this
safehouse on his own authority. He hadn't been able to get a
safehouse in the city, although Kate actually preferred the
isolated cabin when all was said and done. He hadn't been able
to get any replacement agents either, apparently, so she was
stuck with him for the week.
He had muttered something about her being safe
enough if she could stay until next Monday. She didn't think
she would ever be safe enough, but she supposed this was as
good a place as any for her to hide out until after the weekend,
and then she'd see. Despite her inital panic at his unexpected
entrance, for some reason she did not feel a true threat from him
and everything had seemed to check out. So far.
His partner, Scully, had come with him. Kate was not
quite sure why; in her experience two agents would not be
needed to protect a single person but he'd been very insistent
that his partner not return to D.C. Come to think of it, Agent
Scully had seemed a bit unwilling to stay here as well--in that,
Kate could empathize fully--not that either agent had confided
anything like that to her. But in the end Agent Scully had
agreed to stay, although as far as Agent Scully was concerned
Kate was merely another assignment, no more nor less. The
agent's every word and act, the very way she treated her charge
telegraphed these thoughts clearly.
Kate was content with that, though--it was
straightforward, direct, easy to deal with. A very distant, cordial
relationship. Simple. She liked that. The other agent, he was
more involved, more complicated, and Kate didn't like
complications. And for some reason--even though they shared
some common interests, it seemed--he really irritated her,
although she tried to hide it.
She had notified Mark about the protective custody.
The agents had told her it was tied into a current murder
investigation as well as a trial she had prosecuted three years
before and as her supervisor, she told them, Mark had the right
to know. At least that was the "official" explanation and that
was what she had also told Mark.
She knew Mark was worried about her; she also knew
not what to do about that. She had supposed, if she couldn't
really get away, she'd like at least one person to know her
general whereabouts even if she couldn't reveal her exact
location. And she found, when it came to the test, that she
trusted Mark, as much as she trusted anyone.
She'd tried her best to warn him. To ask without
telling. She hoped he'd be careful, that he'd be safe. Please,
Mark, be safe. She had almost considered asking the agents to
protect him as well. But that would've been extremely
suspicious and practically impossible. When it came right down
to it, Mark was in no more danger than anyone else. Even so,
she was afraid for him, and yet she could not have stayed.
She hated this. She had never, not since she had
gained control over her own life, been in any kind of
confinement before. This was driving her insane, and what with
the new case and all, which was the only file she'd brought, she
was having an even harder time than usual keeping the
nightmares at bay. They were getting more vivid, and so she had
begun to avoid sleep altogether--which, considering her
tendency to insomnia, was not too difficult. She simply waited
until she was past exhaustion, at which point the hour or two
she got was absolutely dreamless.
The migraines during the day were getting worse and
more frequent; she'd been having them ever since the end of
October but they'd picked up since Kara's death. All in all, if
she didn't get an hour or two alone, without any protective
agents within the next mile, she would scream. Even the
familiar rhythms of work were less comforting, and combined
with the disturbing facts of the new case her concentration was
shot to hell--she had only managed to finish an initial review of
the file this evening. She felt as if her waking hours had
become a numbing haze of pain and exhaustion, and her nights
were of frustration and fear. She was hanging on by a thread,
and only sheer stubbornness prevented her from quitting the
She was not even entirely sure why she was here.
Certainly the reasons she had been given sounded preposterous,
and in any event did they really think she would be afraid of
some pathetic delusional killer now? A red flag alarm. She
couldn't think about it.
This was stupid. She should've slipped away. How
hard could it have been? But the agent had watched her
extremely closely, and Kate wasn't entirely sure she really could
have managed to escape him. And if she had, and he'd been
looking for her, how far could she really have gotten with an
open, officially sanctioned search on for her as well as the
Yet she did not feel that this Agent Mulder was part of
the threat, even though she did not trust any government agent
the barest iota. Although when he'd walked in, he'd looked so
like . . . she had been certain it was all over and she had been
found, and her heart had beat with the calm collected steadiness
of absolute dread.
Something had stopped her, though, from fleeing in
that bare second. He'd seemed sincere, harmless even, and
against her own better judgment she had listened to him, even
though he had spoken nonsense in the language and trappings of
logistics and authorization, stupidly believing that she did not
follow what he was saying and that she would blindly defer to
the power his badge supposedly commanded. She allowed
herself to trust that he was likely not a part of it, and that this
custody may well be necessary for some innocent enough reason
perceived in his own mind as well an answer to her more
imperative, and far more dire, situation. She had a feeling, and
she had long since been forced to trust her feelings, even when
she denied any talent she might possess.
She was just getting desperate, she supposed. She'd
have gone anywhere that promised safety. Even if it might not
be real. Considering her options.
As if she had ever been given a choice.
Scully, who'd been stuck with dinner detail that
evening--mostly consisting of heating up a couple of pre-
prepped meals, had sent Mulder away to find their charge and
more or less obediently Mulder had gone, realizing that while it
was a lot of fun for him to tease Scully, Scully did not feel
He found Katherine in her room; the door was open
and he took that as an invitation to enter. Barely asleep, she lay
curled into the armchair and Mulder marvelled that she could do
it. She was tall and slender, long limbs and long hair. Unlike
Scully, she was not small, but instead more lanky--or willowy,
or whatever--he thought awkwardly, strangely nervous around
this hostile young woman. Nervous enough that he was
resorting to editing his very thoughts.
Snap out of it, he told himself firmly--why should her
opinion matter more than that of anyone else? Yet, prickly as
she was, he felt a peculiar kinship to her. As if he needed to
look after her, as if he had to. Like a frightened child whom he
was entrusted to shield from harm.
You really are taking your job waaay too seriously, he
thought to himself. He reached out a hand to wake her.
And jerked back when her head whipped up and a
contemporaneous shudder racked her body, eyes unfocused and
fearful and fixed intensely on his face.
"Hey, I was just going to tell you dinner is ready,"
Mulder, surprised. He watched her eyes focus, and the sleep
fall away; saw coherence and rationality cloak the raw emotion
he had seen.
Control. And the vulnerable girl he had seen was once
again subsumed into the arrogant woman that he was paid to
They were eating dinner, and Scully had long since
given up even trying to make small talk with the woman. It was
just too difficult. Far easier to simply eat in silence, huddled
around the small coffee table in the living room. The one thing
the cabin didn't have was a dining area or table. Ah, well.
Mulder had also given up, but was feeling perverse this
day. Scully saw the warning signs. So he asked the woman
about her life. Her family. Her work.
Was answered, as usual, in unrevealing monosyllables.
Scully didn't think she'd ever met anyone so reserved and
secretive. Comparatively Mulder was like an open book.
"Well, according to my file," Mulder was saying,
his very best to be both polite and charming, "you also prosecute
a number of child abuse cases. That must be fairly rewarding.
How successful is your prosecution rate?"
Mulder, Mulder, Scully thought, someone really must
teach you the proper art of small talk.
Finally, the woman put down her fork and looked
directly at Mulder. "The very first case I did was in my second
year at the D.A.'s office, Mr. Mulder. What I thought was an
open and shut case; horrible tales of abuse, although we barely
had any hard evidence, just some revealing statements from the
child and the suspicions of psychiatrists. But then I met the
parents, and they seemed so nice I couldn't believe they would
do anything like what we were charging them with. They had a
dog, and he taught grade school, and they even had a white
picket fence, for God's sake. Even I, after having reviewed all
the evidence in the file, didn't believe that either of them was
capable of letting happen anything like what was supposed to
have happened. And the kid had no visible marks of abuse."
"Turns out we didn't have enough evidence. Criminal
charges of this kind rarely stick. The child didn't testify either,
not that it would've made any difference."
Kate looked at him, steadily, emotionlessly. But there
was a fire in her eyes, and they shone over-bright. "The civil
case for state wardship failed as well. And so they took the
child home, returned him to his parents. And they seemed
happy, and warm, and caring. I even met them later, to serve
them with the final judgment papers. And I told myself I had
done the right thing, that there was nothing more to be done,
that things really would work out, and so thinking I salved my
conscience. Told myself this because I wanted nothing more
that for it to be true."
"About a month later, the local paper ran a story on a
recent slaying. Seems the body of a child had been found,
murdered, in a ditch. The parents had not done it. But they
hadn't stopped it either. The details are not important." She
paused, and took a deep breath. "I remember reading the article,
and looking at the picture of the child; so bright, so full of life,
filled with the promise of childhood and the beauty of youth.
And I remember, gazing at that picture, thinking that I had
thought I had felt the strongest depths of loathing for another
human being that I could before, and thinking that it did not
even begin to compare to how I felt now. The pure,
unadulterated hatred I felt."
She looked directly at him. "Until that moment, I never
really knew how much I could hate. But I don't believe I have
never hated myself more." And so saying, Kate pushed her chair
back from the table, got up, and walked away.
Mulder had wandered into Scully's room, flinging
himself on her bed as she typed up an activity report. Her room
had a fire that crackled comfortingly as an accompaniment to the
quiet sound of her keyboard. He kind of liked being stuck here
with her, part of him thought: the only redeeming quality of this
He watched her, gratefully thinking that she really did
look better. But he thought he'd ask anyway. He still wished
they'd had a chance to visit Michael in Newark before coming
He stayed silent, however, waiting until she was
finished, when she saved her file and turned to him with a half-
smile. "Hey, Mulder, bored?"
"I hate this kind of thing--and the fact that this baby-
sitting detail has completely forestalled our investigation. Wish
we could have found someone else to do this, but it was hard
enough wrangling this much out of the local Bureau. If things
had been different, I might have just continued the investigation
and left her somewhere--motel or something--but she doesn't
really seem the type that would trust me solely based on my
credentials and the quality of my smile."
"No, it was hard enough to get her to agree to this--and
she never really agreed, not until all the i's were dotted and t's
crossed and she was left with little or no choice. She's even
more fond of procedure than I am."
Scully grinned crookedly at him, but he wasn't really
listening, staring off towards the lightly frost-patterned window.
She tried to draw him back to the conversation. "Reclusive, isn't
"At least the deaths have stopped. No more bodies
discovered with the mark, not in the past week. But why is she
so important?" He muttered this last under his breath and then
in a swift movement he sat up abruptly and changed the subject.
"How are you feeling?"
She made a face at him before answering. "Fine," he
looked at her and she amended, not wanting to disturb the
amicable mood, "much better. Tired of sitting." She smiled at
him fully and stretched before bringing the subject back to its
original topic. "So how is our reluctant guest?"
"I dunno, Scully. She doesn't seem to like me much."
His words were emotionless, seemingly indifferent; an
indication to the extent of his distress. For some reason
Katherine had taken a rather obvious antipathy towards him, not
that she was overly friendly towards Scully either. Nothing too
overt, she just avoided the both of them, but Mulder more than
Scully. And for some reason, Mulder was truly hurt about this
whole thing. Not that he seemed attracted to her, he just wanted
to know her. Like a mystery he needed to solve that was being
"Well, at least she has good taste." She relented,
because Mulder looked truly upset. "I think she's just making
you the focus of her anger over this situation. It's sometimes
easier to find someone to blame. You know that."
"I know, it's just that I haven't created this situation,
Scully. I wish I knew who had, or why. But I have no more
answers than she does, and I don't think she trusts that I don't
wish her harm. She watches me suspiciously, or hides in her
room when she can. She doesn't avoid you nearly as much."
"She doesn't exactly seek me out either, Mulder."
"Yeah, well, it's not the same." A lame response,
he knew it. Maybe he was just bored. No T.V., no new files,
and he'd already harassed Scully several times today . . . if the
deaths really had stopped, maybe it was over. His every instinct
denied this, but he didn't want to stay here indefinitely, and he
had no way to justify doing so--either to the Bureau or to Kate.
"Go to sleep, Mulder, I'm sure it'll be better in the
"You promise?" He looked at her lasciviously.
"Good night, Mulder." And with the firm tone and
quelling look, she stood and shooed him out of her room.
At the door, he paused. "Y'know, Scully, I think the
real problem is I don't trust *her*. What if this is another game
being played with us? Your . . .uh, nightmares, the photograph
of a woman too easy to find--what if the Consortium is just
toying with us again? Katherine is not what I expected . . . I
don't know. She knows too much. She's too smart, or
something. I'm just not sure what, yet."
"I don't think so Mulder." Scully's tone had also
become considering with a faint trace of reflected anxiety.
"There's too much about her that does fit, that makes me feel
that she's not a threat to us. If anything, I think she's just a pawn
here as well. She doesn't seem to have anything to do with this
scenario anyway; if you recall, she didn't exactly plan to come
"Watch your back."
"I always do, Mulder." She smiled. "It's late,
sleep. I'll see you in the morning."
"Count on it," he smirked, "it's your turn to
End of Part 5.
Chapter 6: Violets in the Rain
by Euphrosyne (email@example.com)
(*as previously rated and disclaimed)
All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
Chapter VI: Violets in The Rain
"What country, friends, is this?"
"This is Illyria, lady."
"And what should I do in Illyria?
My brother he is in Elysium.
Perchance he is not drowned. What think you, sailors?"
"It is perchance that you yourself were saved."
--Viola, Captain; "Twelfth Night"
Thursday, November 27, 1997
Katherine woke early, stiff and sore from a night spent
less in sleep and more in counting the hours until dawn. She
woke, considering her present situation.
Only me, she thought ruefully. Others worked for the
D.A. and grew old, had families, lived behind tall dense hedges.
She sat up and let the covers slip off, her exposed skin
quickly covering itself with goosebumps in the early morning
chill. It was eerily quiet, save for the low sound of the
television. Someone must have forgotten to turn it off.
She shook herself. This was truly horrific, she who
valued her privacy over everything forced to stay, here, in these
close quarters with not one but two others. She dragged her
body up and off the bed, shivering; the thin nightshirt provided
little protection against the icy draft.
On the bright side, the agents did not seem too
friendly, she thought. In fact, the female agent was a bit
standoffish. At least she did not try to converse unduly, and she
had an air of competence about her.
Kate could handle that. Kate admired that. She
*liked* to be left alone. Mark was the one person in the world
that she felt nearest to being comfortable with, now that Kara
was gone; and even with him she was fairly guarded. They got
along mostly because he understood this and gave her a lot of
space. Surprisingly, she missed Mark; she could not
communicate with him from here.
As for the male agent ... well, the guy was just strange
enough to be ignorable. She wondered about him though. He
was so ... she didn't know. Maybe, she brooded, he simply had
not learnt to hide his oddness, unlike herself. Maybe he hadn't
needed it to survive as badly as she. Maybe he just didn't care.
But that was a luxury unavailable to her. For someone who had
spent the remembrance of her life looking over her shoulder, not
to care could be worse than fatal.
She could relate to him better than the woman, though,
with her set life plans and her picture-perfect profile. Probably
grew up in the suburbs, Kate thought spitefully. She sighed.
Well, at least insomnia had one virtue; being the first
one up, she could use the bathroom first. She probably looked
truly disgusting; she needed no mirror to know of the dark
circles under her eyes, and her hair was one curling, tangled
mass. She thought about looking for a robe, but then decided to
forget it. There was no one awake yet anyway, and she honestly
did not have the energy to remember where it was packed.
She stumbled across the cold floorboards, barefoot.
Deep in her own thoughts, she did not notice the calculating
hazel eyes following her movements from the couch.
Sometimes she wished she could just live, without
always considering the consequences, without always having to
wonder what would happen. To take risks and laugh carelessly,
just once in a while. Maybe, someday, to trust another enough
not to have to do and be everything herself. But she didn't, and
she couldn't, and, she told herself, in that way lies more than
danger: there lies madness.
Trust only yourself; it was easier, safer, and regardless,
it had been made clear to her that she had no other choice.
Still, to have someone take care of her, just now and
again . . . she leaned back in the hot shower. It was nice to
Outside the bathroom, hooded eyes registered a
strange, distinctively dark club-shaped birthmark on the back of
Noted it, and mused.
Katherine sat on the stone bench, watching the little
flowers. They were so pretty, so perfect, full of life and hope.
Even now, even here. The other agent, Scully, dressed to go out
on a morning jog, came up to use the bench and began to do
some stretches in the frosted grass.
"The flowers. Can't you see them? Late violets are
"Oh." Grunting, Scully shifted further away from the
patch, clearly wondering about this decidedly odd woman.
"I used to love violets. We had a whole patch of them
in the yard when I was a kid."
"Really", replied Scully non-committally.
"Mmm." Katherine wondered why she was even talking
about this, and why, to begin with, she knew this at all. Most of
her childhood was a blur and she rarely remembered bits this
clearly. But this she remembered.
Remembered, and needed to tell.
"My brother hated violets."
"Uh-huh." Scully switched legs. "My brothers
wouldn't even know the difference." Neither would I, for that
matter, thought Scully. Despite first year botany--some things
just can't be taught.
"He said they were too whiny."
Amused, Scully had to ask. "Whiny?"
"They demanded too much, and gave too little. Wilted
and died not very long after they were cut. But I loved them;
their transience, their fragile perfection made them all the more
precious. Something just beyond my grasp, too difficult to
obtain. I always thought that if I just looked after them
properly, gave them the right temperature of water, the right
vase, then maybe, just maybe, they'd stay for a whole day. It
never happened, though, and soon I just learnt to leave well
Scully was done her stretching. "Tell Mulder I'll be
back in an hour, will you?"
"If I see him, I will."
And Scully jogged off.
After dinner, Scully announced that she was going for
a walk. It was late, and dark. Mulder had looked at her a
moment, assessing. "You're sure? You want company?"
"No, I'll be fine." She'd smiled reassuringly at
and he'd set aside his reservations.
Leaving him alone with Kate.
Awkwardly, they'd made coffee together and moved
into the main room where the fire still crackled. He'd wrapped
himself in an afghan, and she sat cross-legged at the hearth,
poking at the fire every now and again, watching it in
"When I was young one of our neighbour's houses
burned down", she said suddenly. "I watched it burn from my
window." She would not let herself refine upon how she knew
that. She only knew that it was true.
"I've always hated fire." From Mulder. An admission
he'd made to very few. She did not react.
He told her why.
Soon enough, they were actually having a
conversation, and she had relaxed enough in the presence of this
stranger, this very strange stranger, to feel comfortable. To let
go of a very few of her secrets. Free and easy. The walls had
been breached and she was not quite sure how to put them back
Not even sure if she wanted to.
He was telling her how TV helped him work, backing
it up with all kinds of doctored and obscure statistics.
Impossible man. It was too funny, though, and she could not
help it. She laughed at him. With him.
She laughed: a clear, carefree sound; laughed as she
had not done since she came. She laughed as she had not done,
in fact, for years. "Yeah, my brother used to do that too. Said it
helped him think. My parents didn't buy it though; they told
him if he needed TV to help him think then he was a lot less
intelligent than his instructors gave him credit for. And then he
used to come and bother me as a less obvious way to sulk." She
smiled in reminiscence; her dreams had become stronger as she
stayed here with little else to do, and the sense of her past with
them--helped by the fact that she wanted to believe in a family,
even one so long gone.
Although she knew they must--all of them, even the
boy--by now be dead: long gone, long buried, still it was hard
to accept when she had no proof of the fact except cold logic to
tell her it was so. And so she hoped. And although hope was
ultimately more painful, although hope killed you in degrees,
day by day, like some strange self-imposed torture, still hope
was so hard to destroy.
Hoped one day to find him, to learn his name, even
when the very thought brought yearning tears of the
impossibility of this knowledge to her eyes.
Sometimes, the pain was all you had left.
He was speaking.
"Hey, my parents used to tell me the same", Mulder's
eyes narrowed, "what did you say your brother's name was?"
Still smiling, she had not noticed the change in his
tone, although she now sobered. "He's dead. He died long ago,
when I was very young."
"Not your fault."
And there seemed nothing else to say to that.
Katherine sighed, threw off the covers, and got out of
bed to go and sit at the small writing table in her room. She had
gone to sleep far too early. But there seemed to be little else to
do, and she hadn't slept at all the night before. More to the
point, however, was escape: from herself, from him.
The conversation with that strange agent had unsettled
her for some reason she couldn't name. Unfortunately, escape is
not always successful.
Some nights it is better to cut your losses.
She sat for a moment before she retrieved the book
from the suitcase and even then stared at it for a time. A gift,
from Kara when they first met, now so long ago: a plain
A diary to collect her thoughts. Thin and battered, its
seams were coming apart; the only pages remaining were blank,
clean and pristine. Sometimes she wrote, sometimes not; never
less than thrice a week. A comfort, a relief, a source of
invaluable solace, the familiar act of writing within it was by
now almost necessary to her very survival.
Opening the front cover, she smoothed back ragged
edges so the book laid open at the first page. Quietly, the
scratching of steel nib on linen paper loud in the waning
moonlight, the flowing lines of ink there blending softly into the
forbidding dark, she wrote:
*They have put me in the witness protection program,
they say. Only until Monday and the trial of Edward
Heath, once again up for charges of murder and arson,
the very same charges that I, early in my career, failed
to put him away on . Only ten days away.
Expedited, they tell me, for the danger I am put in.
Edward Heath. As if I feared some petty felon. As if
any thing they could do could protect me. Do they not
I have the feeling that the others here, the man, who
rotates with the woman, they do know. A small part
only, yet enough to give them some idea. But they
court that danger and I cannot see why. They do not
understand it; in their pitiful naivete they think they
can somehow defeat it. How could they be so blind?
But I am too harsh; they do not, and hopefully will
never, know what I barely remember, see what I
sometimes glimpse. I pray to whatever God there be that
they, and all others like them, will not know. I would not
inflict such knowledge on any other. But I ramble
They are FBI, the ones who watch me, and I am not
sure if I can endure their scrutiny for much longer. They
are neither easy to ignore, nor are they comfortable.
They are simply there: in anger, in pain, in
awkwardness. And I cannot understand either of
The man is hard to fathom. As I said, he courts danger,
welcomes pain. And I do not know why any person
would choose, of their own free will, to do so when it is
not necessary. At the office, I avoided those like him
and gravitated instead to a couple of the junior
secretaries, whose lives consisted of the simple
pleasures of home and love and the latest hairstyle.
Simple, easy, bright with life. Not less important than
anything else, and perhaps more so.
He is so innocent--despite everything, you can tell.
Privileged upbringing, comfortable lifestyle--he wanted
physically for very little. A rich little schoolboy.
Creating problems for himself, tilting at windmills,
because he has so little else to occupy his time and
energy. Not understanding that when your problem
is survival, it consumes all you are. There is no
room for love, honour, duty, when every breath you
take is a blessing.
Believing that there is a truth, and that truth would
set him free.
The woman is easier, but I like her less. She seems hard
to reach, and slow to laughter. I do not think she ever
smiles. I realize that I have not been friendly either.
Beautiful, in her own way. Careful, methodical,
cautious. Like, and yet unlike the man, she
nevertheless seems like one who could change, and has
changed, and quieter than he.
They seem close, like two people who have spent
much time in the other's presence. He does not quite
understand her, and she tries to understand him, but they
believe in the other despite this. Respect of each other,
and trust--in word, in deed, in everything. It is nice to
see this, if a bit lonely for me, for they are very non-
inclusive. Three more days.*
Sighing, she closed the book, yawned, and crawled into
bed, feeling a little better. 10:42 p.m. Tucking her hand under
her neck, curled on her side, she tried again to sleep.
Just this once, she would wait until morning before she fed
the pages to the fire.
Scully had come back from her walk early to find
Mulder still sitting and staring into the fire. The heavens had
opened halfway through her stroll and consequently she'd been
drenched by the sudden downpour. She shivered and walked
over to the glow of the dying fire to warm herself, wringing out
her hair and holding her hands towards the meagre warmth.
She stuck a poker into the center of the fire, rekindling
a small flame. "It's really starting to come down out there.
"She went to bed. I think the effort of being civil
proved too much for her." The tone distracted.
"Sorry." He rubbed a hand over his eyes, and then
looked at her. Wordlessly he held out the afghan, and she
wrapped herself in it, coming over to sit beside him.
"I don't think she slept much last night. She seemed
tired." But Mulder wasn't paying attention to her words; half-
reclining on the couch, he seemed mesmerized by the dancing
In the distance she could hear the low rumble of
thunder, and then the more immediate sound of rain pounding
harder on the roof overhead.
The anniversary of Samantha's abduction. Today--
about this time, Scully realized. The grief of his heart. An old
grief, but just as fresh as it ever was, today. Scully wanted to
do something for him, she just wasn't sure what. Wasn't sure if
it would be welcomed even if she did.
He broke the silence first. "Well, Scully, I . . ."
And then they heard it. Sounds of thrashing and
Coming from Kate's bedroom.
Both of them froze and Scully pulled out her gun.
Mulder rolled off the couch, waving for silence. They moved
closer to the bedroom.
Then they heard the cries.
Thursday, November 27, 1997
She moved restlessly on the tiny bed, not by cause of
the lumpy mattress, and not by cause of the thin pillow. The
dream had returned, more vivid than ever. Again this time, she
heard him call, mangled sound of her name, and as before she
opened her mouth to call his name.
Replay, again, but she did not wake. Did not wake,
and in the self-aware part of her mind, cold fear shook her. She
could not endure the continuation of the dream, could not,
could not, omigod, oh please don't.
She called his name: the voice of memory, not
requiring thought of the sound she formed.
And the garbled sound cleared.
She called his name. "Fox, Fox, help me . . .", now
hearing the sound of her own voice, all the while watching the
fear in his eyes, watched him frozen in that same white light that
held her still.
Knowing to call was futile. Hopeless. Merely twisting
the knife deeper, yet still unable to stop the voice that called his
name, over and over. Her own voice.
Knowing that he could not help her, despite her wish.
Knowing he could not help her, though she did not doubt his
desire. Knowing to call hurt him, and she hated herself for it.
But all she could do was call, and so she did; over and
over, as she drifted slowly, helplessly away. Further and
further, and then the pain began, not sharp: but slow, and
steady, and with its own smouldering fire; until she could not
bear it, until blackness blurred his face as he watched and called
for her, until she screamed, high and panic-filled, incoherent,
and with her last effort she formed his name once again, the last
time, as the pain grew in intensity and . . . .
She woke. Woke in the safehouse room, bare and ugly
and safe. Woke to see him standing there, and for a second his
face bled into the memory of her dream, and she almost
screamed again. But he only stood still, with his partner, both
looking at her in horror, as she sat shivering in a cold sweat and
cotton nightshirt, freezing in the fire-heated room.
Looking at her as if she were the devil incarnate.
The woman visibly shocked and angry, and the man . . .
his face was a mask of inexpressible cold.
"What did you say."
Not a question, not ground out as it was in that tense,
low, barely controlled tone: not a question but a demand.
"I . . . I don't know . . . I was dreaming . . . I'm
sorry . . .
I didn't mean to wake you . . . I . . . " and she lifted one shaking
hand to rub at the tears rolling uncontrollably down her face,
closing her eyes against the pain in her head.
"Get a hold of yourself, Samantha," her mind
at her, "this is far too humiliating, even for you."
"Samantha?," the other half of her mind inquired,
even your middle name, for all it feels right, omigod, I can't even
remember my own name, I'm losing my mind, O
pleasepleaseplease make it all stop . . ." and she opened her eyes
and they were still there, and she was still in the hated little
room, rain beating harder against the window, and they were
still staring at her as you would a snake you wished to kill,
hatred and accusation apparent in their very stance, and she
couldn't take it, and her mind tensed, and flashed, and a
suppressed talent, so long unused but so carefully trained,
responded to instinct . . . .
She was across the room. In a blink, the bright of a
lightning flash. She wrenched the door open, as they stood
watching stunned, and she was running, blindly, through
another door, outside, and kept going, bare feet cutting on rocks
and stones; she slipped on the wet grass of the embankment,
kept going, mind blank, filled only with the need to escape, as
half her mind thought back to another, similar escape; nonono .
Her mind flashed again, and she was down the gravel
road, sprinting into the woods, can't go back, never again, they
know, they know, omigod, ogodogodogod . . . and she was in
the woods, in the dark and quiet, but it was neither dense
enough to hide her, nor open enough for her talent to take her
safely. She glanced around, sightlessly; mindless with terror,
half her mind screaming for calm, the other half to keep moving:
to stop was death, or worse, worse, worse, and she could not
bear worse, not again . . .
And now she was aware, as she heard the quiet sounds
of trees and wind as she slowed, on feet that bled freely and
slipped on unnamed softness, on leaves made slick by blood and
rain; became aware of bone-numbing exhaustion from the
unsparing exertion of a talent so rarely used, so draining of
energy; and she was shaking as with a deep chill, while the cold
November sleet bit relentlessly into soft bare skin and washed
over warm salt tears.
And in a small room in a rough cottage, a tall man
turned eyes full of fury, shock, and something else entirely
unidentifiable to a woman whose pale face reflected the same
bewilderment, covered over by deep concern and fear.
Both were still, and then the unidentifiable expression
in the man's hazel eyes grew, softening the other two, eclipsing
them in favour of hurt, and confusion, and anguish. And he
began to shake, and reached for his much smaller partner, so he
could bury his face in her hair as he cried helplessly, falling to
his knees on the floor, pulling her with him, while she wrapped
her arms around him and held him close.
Outside, near a small stone bench, the cruel rain pelted
down on a small patch of violets, ripping the flowers from the
stalk and pounding the single petals where they lay, until they
were shredded to pieces and the colour leeched slowly away.
To be continued . . . (just wanted to say that <g>).
End Part 6 of 21.
Chapter 7: Rosemary and Thyme ( Part 7/21)
by Euphrosyne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(*as previously rated and disclaime)
All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. BTW, if there is a part you are missing and
would like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter VII--Rosemary and Thyme
Remember me to the one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.
--Simon & Garfunkle "Scarborough Faire"
November 27, 1997
New York State
"I saw her Scully. I saw her, and she was only eight.
Still my little sister, just as I remembered her. But now this
woman . . . how can this be? How can it be?"
Although a dreadful certainty had grown in his mind,
and he knew very well that this could be truth, in spite of all
else. Wasn't that always the case?
He hated the nature of this kind of knowledge, the very
essence of all he searched for. Because it flew in the face of
everything known, and safe, and familiar. And although he
sought out this truth, sometimes . . . sometimes he'd rather he
Because in the end, knowledge was dangerous.
And because, in the end, he did not want the dark truth
"Mulder . . . it doesn't mean anything. You're staying
here to protect her, she's scared, and its only natural that she call
for you--logical, coherent, smart actually."
"Scully, she called my name. My *first* name, Scully.
I told her to call me Mulder. I don't even know if I told her my
first name. In fact, I know I didn't. Why would she call for
'Fox'? Why Scully? She looks like Sam. She even has the
birthmark, stretched out as it would be if she grew. It all fits. It
doesn't make sense any other way, not unless she's Samantha or
someone who's supposed to fool me into thinking that she's
Samantha. Either way, I need to know."
Scully did not say anything. Could not. What was
there to say? He was raving, but very coherently.
Then he sighed and crumpled for a moment. Looked at
Scully directly, raw and vulnerable. For just that instant, he let
her see beyond the mask.
"Why is this happening, Scully?"
"I don't know, Mulder, I don't."
Scully was having a hard time rationalizing, it all
seemed to add up, and the night had been so bizarre. She could
have sworn that Kate's distress was genuine, but then the woman
had . . . Scully didn't know anymore.
She wished it were easier. Her heart ached at seeing
him so hurt, and although she knew how much he wanted to
have found his sister, natural caution and fear for him would not
allow her to let him leap into a situation like this without at
least a warning.
But for now, it was past midnight, late November, and
raining hard sleet. And there was a young woman wandering
out there, somewhere, alone in the dark. A woman who was
under their protection.
"C'mon, Mulder, we have to go and find her. Let's
worry about the rest after, okay?" She stood and held out her
Time stood still for a moment. And then the moment
passed and Mulder looked up into her eyes. He nodded
acceptance and his expression hardened back into that of the
agent on duty. In control. He took her hand and rose to his
November 28, 1997
3:14 a.m. E.S.T.
"I think we've located MSAT1121. It's in an abandoned
cabin--" The messenger panted, out of breath. Another clone,
built for strength and little else. The group seated around the
table turned away from this invader of their sanctum, who
handed a folder to one man and then obediently withdrew as
"Are you sure? You've confirmed? After so long . . ."
"We have definitive proof." Three handwritten pages
were pulled from the folder.
The pages were dated, neatly, at the top: *November
"The New York Bureau is hopelessly disorganized; the
information was difficult to locate. It's in an official safehouse,
but one that should no longer be in active use. The papers were
mis-filed . . ."
"It appears that she is indeed the one. And she is
beginning to remember. An unfortunate situation, but one that
will be dealt with in due course."
"We think the other Mulder might be involved as
A younger voice, tentative yet smug.
"Young Fox Mulder? Again? I thought he had been
taken care of."
"Apparently not effectively."
One of the women glanced down the table, where a
hunched figure nervously tapped a cigarette against a carved
ashtray, and then quickly glanced away.
"That boy has got to learn to avoid trouble. It was
always his damning inclination."
"You should have killed him when you had the
"Yes, well, these things are what you go to confession
"Regretful that the assignment of SDK0223 didn't
work better. Pity it is so uncontrollable."
"Subject BDR0808 prematurely precipitated its
introduction to the second stage of the project, and I understand
that was the problem."
"At least BDR was terminated--it had the potential to
create greater problems, despite its lack of means. Clones are
far easier to control. Although our current rogue subject has no
such lack of talent, unfortunately."
"I take it you have located both of them?"
"Yes, they are together. We've just needed some time
to prepare the proper facilities. Now we are ready."
Somewhere in Northern New York State
In the forest, in the rain, the girl wandered: wet and
shivering, lost; alone. Eventually the rain had turned to soft
snow and then stopped entirely, but she kept trembling, cold
and ill. Although the sun had newly risen and the forest had
begun to warm a little, she could go no further. Past caring, she
sank down where she stood, at the foot of a tree, leant her head
back, and let herself relax into sleep.
The dream was strange, unfamiliar--neither the terror
of before, nor the calm of happiness. Just different. Almost,
but not quite, recognizable, and thereby unsettling.
"Child, your hand is shaking. The mark is there, do
not deny it. And the time is near."
She was above, and watching. She watched herself,
below: she stood in a bright, barren room.
Herself in this room, and another. A man, with a face
of wrinkled lines and eyes of slated blue. Serious eyes, but not
unkind. Serious words, but not unwise. He was holding one of
her hands, and was grasping the other wrist, so that her palm lay
between them, face up. The girl--well, guess she should stop
thinking of herself as a girl--woman--*herself* and not herself,
shivered in response to the words.
To her own voice.
"It is a hand, no more nor less. I have no power over
events, so do not tax me with this. It is not mine. Have I not
enough to worry about? Have I not endured enough?" And the
standing girl, whose name was also Samantha, roughly pulled
her hands away.
Katherine ached with shared sorrow and sympathy.
For the pain in the voice was her own, and she had the feeling,
had had the feeling, that it was indeed herself who stood in the
room. Echoes of carefully locked memories, remnants of a
better forgotten past.
"Child. You know better than this. This is why for
twenty years we blocked both talent and memory, so that you
would only recall when there was need. To protect you. But
they have not let us wait. I regret this truly. I do not tell you to
burden you, and had this been mine own choice, none of you
would have to undergo this. But neither of us have the choice,
and so we must continue. Protest merely wastes energy and
breath, and is an ill-afforded indulgence. I merely teach, and
instruct, and inform. The decision, the act, has ever been your
own. Soon you must choose; you can delay no further."
"Indeed", and this last was said quietly, almost to
himself, "delay has already cost us too dearly."
Watching, Katherine sighed: in chagrin, in remorse.
For indeed she had been trained better than that, knew better
than that, and self-pity is always unbecoming. Doing so
betrayed all that had been sacrificed for her, all that she was.
Still, she couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of anger, rage
that she should have to do this, that the burden was, and always
would be, ultimately hers alone. Annoyance and resignation,
but only to cover the fear that would overwhelm if
acknowledged. Calm acceptance had never been her way, she
thought with a pang, not like--*oh Deirdre*.
Deirdre had been younger than she. And so in love.
Just like her namesake of so long ago.
Deirdre, whom she had known as Kara.
Queen of Sorrows.
But for all of that, Kara had not heeded the warnings.
Chosen, instead, to ignore.
So Kara was no more, and the task fell to her. To do
what she could, in the best way she was able. To think on "what
if's" and "perhaps" was a futile and self-defeating endeavour.
But, oh, she wished . . .
"Look to others for aid. There are those that can help
"The two government agents? Is that who you mean?"
She laughed derisively: a harsh, brief sound in this unforgiving,
"Child", he sighed, "you are too quick to
judge. It has
ever been your way." And something in the way he admonished
her made Katherine's cheeks burn in shame.
"Nevertheless, someone was dispatched to protect
And Kate wondered who it could be. Not the agents,
then. Someone else.
Someone she could trust? Maybe.
"Now, my child", the man in the ivory robes said,
The girl's face reflected terror. "No! Not yet. I am not
ready . . . " But already everything was changing, whirling, and
Katherine lost her sense of orientation; felt confused,
disembodied in a way she had not yet felt, and the only thing to
focus on was the face of the man, the man with the slate eyes
turning now to darkest blue. Eyes filled with deepest regret,
and most warm compassion . . .
And the girl once known as Samantha woke, shivering,
with tears in her own eyes and a silent cry in her throat. And
the words came, whispered, lingering: echoing in the forest
leaves. "You must choose; the time for delay is past. Choose."
She looked up, through the trees, to see the sun
shining high in the sky.
And made a decision. Standing, she began to walk.
Retracing, in heavy footfalls of quiet dread, the quick steps
made in a flight of panic.
"It should have been extinguished the first time. Half
the reason it was returned at all was because you argued so
vehemently for the exception. Three years, you said, give it
three years. You stated then, and I quote, 'It is of no further use
at present but still holds promise.' Despite our policy, we made
the exception--for the first time since the project had begun,
may I add--and that has jeopardized us all." The high-pitched
voice, shaded with anger.
A puff of cigarette smoke and an unfathomable
countenance in answer.
"You were wrong, and we pay for your mistakes.
However, since this is the case, there is no reason we cannot
still use it in some way before it is eliminated. Because of the
anomaly of the situation, it has provided some interesting
results--particularly lately as we have not needed to be so
circumspect. Since it has been marked for destruction by the
end of the year, we are provided with a certain freedom."
Another voice, soft tenor, barely mollifying.
A throat was cleared. A light alto voice spoke;
wondering, considering. Analyzing. "Can I ask, in the initial
stages of the project, why did you not take the boy as well?
Surely you could have found some use for him to justify the
resources involved in an abduction? Or termination."
A loud sigh. "Well, you are new to the project. We
had considered it, and decided against at the time."
A throat was cleared. "I have often thought on that. At
the time, we decided we needed to keep one in the house for
control--both scientifically and politically. We like to have a
control subject, whenever possible. As she was younger, and as
girls usually have more talent, we chose her. It was just our
luck--she had far more talent than we had dreamed. Seems Bill
was smarter than we thought--he hid it well. Poor Bill."
"Bill Mulder", a raspy baritone, "Mr. Mulder
shall we say, participate wholeheartedly in the project. We later
found that he had become completely paranoid about his
children; had them tested every other month. Not quite
Munchausen by Proxy, but close--even though he had good
reason. And we needed insurance. We asked him to choose.
One child to keep for himself, one to give for us. Told him it
was one or both."
"And so he did. He chose to keep Fox. Naturally,
therefore, we planned to take Fox--we only wanted to know
which child, if any, he preferred. And so the arrangements were
"Yes, I've been reading the reports. Twelve is rather
old--we've been taking them far younger, now." The alto, young
The heavy baritone continued the interrupted brief, the
cultured tone unheeding. "But then we realized. Samantha was
his joy, his laughter. Fox was his firstborn, the one he hoped
would carry on--almost as he has, although not quite in this
manner. So which is more cruel to take, light or hope? Light,
naturally. Without light, hope just twists the blade." The tone
gentle, contemplative; trailing off.
A cough, and a husky voice attempted nervously to
"It was typical of Bill, actually. He loved both his
children, but for different reasons, of course. Yet he chose to
let go the one that, if taken, would hurt him more--typical
Mulder. Basically, when Bill chose, he did our work for us--all
we had to do was trust his choice. That's the interesting thing
about the Mulders--they're so naively honest--they live the truth.
*Their* truth, of course, but a truth nonetheless."
The self-assured alto interrupted.
"You must have realized he had an ulterior motive. I
think he hoped Samantha's power could prevent the abduction
somehow--of course he was wrong. An untrained child, no
matter how talented . . . although it would have been worse for
the boy. To that extent Mr. Mulder was correct. Regardless, it
certainly didn't take us long to discover the extent of Samantha's
talent, or the many beautiful possibilities she presented."
"She was one of the more successful of the 'K'
division." The clear soprano, accented.
The heavy baritone resumed. "It was not so easy; he
had made plans to hide the child from us. We had not meant to
take her so soon, wanted to wait until the spring. But
sometimes plans must change, and we try to remain as flexible
as possible to allow for such contingencies." He paused.
"Although the subsequent loss of such a large segment of our
"The coup was greatly disruptive to our work," the
The speaker fell silent, seemingly lost in thought. A
man at the far end raised an eyebrow, and a rasping voice
hastend to explain. "At the time, of course, we had not known
about any of that. The abduction served its purpose, besides
providing us with an extraordinarily valuable piece of new
The man paused to tap out his cigarette, then shook
herself and continued the tale. "Afterwards Bill began to resent
Fox, even as he loved his son and hated himself. The child fell
into a fever after we took the girl, you know. For a year Bill
dragged him around from hospital to hospital, had the poor
child subjected to all kinds of tests, scared to death that we had
harmed his son as well--despite, might I add, our assurances to
the contrary. Guilt had begun to eat away at Bill. Misdirected
guilt can be a powerful thing."
"Well, you had given the boy some powerful
suppressants. Some of the inmates we experimented on died
from less. You were fortunate really, at the time, that the boy
survived." The crisp alto: critical while desperately smug.
A gracious nod was granted to acknowledged the
comment. "You were instrumental in perfecting much of our
technique. It is why you have been invited into our circle." The
cultured voice not quite condescending, remindful.
"And the child did not sustain permanent damage. We
kept our word", chimed in the tenor with an unrepentant smirk
directed against the quelling gaze of the speaker.
"The problem with Bill Mulder began around this time.
His marriage fell apart, and he sent young Fox away to school in
Boston. That was when we started to realize just how important
Fox was to the project, and not just to the experiment."
"Mere mortality," agreed the soprano, "because
thought he really had chosen Fox over his daughter, even as Fox
became his only reason in life--his pride, his meaning, his only
object of love--over his wife, over the work he forced himself to
do, over himself. The perfect pawn: Fox was all he had left to
"He practically lost Fox anyway, though;" an
interjected rasp accompanied by the sound of a tapping
cigarette. "Bill was, I'm afraid, terribly hard on the boy--both
before and even more so after. And of course sons never react
well to these situations--Fox, especially, being part of our initial
subject group, was also quite bright. The combination of love
and resentment and impossible expectation . . . after all that
trauma . . . difficult for a child so sensitive."
"Incidentally, that was when we found out Bill was the
leak--it was finding out about his kids that put him over the
edge--he had been terribly subtle, once. And we were left
sitting in the catbird seat, knowing that to lose Fox would ruin
Bill entirely, and knowing he knew it. Knowing too that he
wanted to remain in the project, if only for word of his child.
Aside from the fear we inspired, he would not personally allow
himself to leave, if only as some perverse self-imposed sentence;
the carrot dangling that he could somehow change past events,
find some inconceivable remedy."
"But we've all made sacrifices for the project. The
Mulders could not understand, and that was to be their lesson.
They were lucky--we gave them almost two decades--time to
have children, to raise them. Anne and I hadn't nearly so long. I
gave her up, far before we could even consider having children--
Rachael never forgave me that either. But Anne, had she a
choice, would have understood. She was so giving, my
beautiful Anne. So compliant." A considering drag on the
"For sisters, they were very unalike."
"Well, the Taylors always were an odd sort."
"Yes, the Mulder child was one of our greatest losses--
she was lost less than two years into the project. Not even
completely trained, and in fact proving exceptionally resistant.
She should have been terminated, like all the failed trainees, but
she just had so much promise and so we hesitated. This was the
problem. She'd been half-trained, but the final months of
training are the most difficult. The last few months break the
subject's control, giving it over to us. But she would not break--
somewhat, but not wholly. And for it to work, we need all of
the subject to be ours."
"You see, the final training of the subject usually
involves breaking all ties with self, with the past, with memory
or sense of ego."
"We were not as skilled then as we are now,
unfortunately, and she was rather old. It has worked out far
better with our current subject. It destroyed the adoptive family
"DAEM0327 is a hybrid, though--and therefore a
"Not by much, however. We used mostly human
genetic material--it was just enough of a hybrid to enhance
ability and accelerate growth."
"Well, in any case, it did not work with MSAT1121
despite our best efforts. We worked on the sibling bond first
and it proved stronger than we thought. Initially we did minor
aversion therapy to build the required hatred and antipathy. She
was quite strong, though--seems she practically hero-
worshipped the boy. Then we tried to get her to send him the
"To make him believe he had killed her."
"It didn't work, unfortunately. He too had talent,
although much less and latent. He blocked the dreams,
screamed for a week, and then made himself ill."
Another of the men sniffed, examining his perfectly
filed fingernails. "A most uncooperative child. The backlash
nearly destroyed our subject. And by the time it recovered from
that first attempt, the coup was staged and twenty of our
brightest subjects were gone, trained to hide from us." A faint
trace of peevishness.
The speaker mused for a minute, lost in thought. "Yes,
well. I am very pleased that you have found her."
New York City
"Hi, Deb, this is Mark. Listen, sorry to call you so
early but something's come up and I won't be coming in today. I
may not be back by Monday either--if I'm not, reschedule my
appointments for Tuesday and I'll call you Monday evening to
let you know what's happening. Sorry to drop this on you, but it
can't be helped."
"No problem, Mark--is there anything I can do?"
"No, it's all taken care of. I'll let you know more
Deb hung up the phone, sighing happily. It was great
to work for someone like Mark. He was so considerate. And he
wasn't hard on the eyes, either, she thought with a sly smile.
She frowned. She hoped everything was okay, though-
-Mark hadn't in fact been around much all week--but after all,
his sister had just died.
Even so, he still came and worked; that Kate chick
hadn't even bothered to come in at all this week. Guess she
thought she was special or something.
Poor John. At least Mark called her; John didn't even
know Kate was taking the week off until he was dealing with
several irate clients and missed appointments that he hadn't
known when to re-book. What a nightmare. Kate had to be the
worst person to work for--she didn't know how John put up with
it. In fact, in the end it was *Mark* who'd informed John that
Kate was taking the week off.
Hmm, if Mark didn't come in on Monday maybe she'd
leave early and go shopping.
Buttoning her blouse, she turned to the calendar.
Really, if Mark wasn't going to be in today, there was no reason
she had to be there all day either, once all the appointments
were rescheduled . . . and she didn't feel like doing extra work
for the other lawyers. More to the point, she thought
defensively, it was practically December, and she had a lot of
stuff to buy before Christmas.
Northern New York State
They didn't find Katherine until almost sunset; a
pathetic, shivering heap on the forest floor. She didn't seem to
be aware of their arrival. Mulder found her first and approached
carefully, walking softly and slowly so as not to startle her. She
was incoherent and delirious, eyes closed, muttering to herself.
His heart constricted as he heard her words.
"Fox", she said, pale and trembling from hypothermia
and exposure, "I'm so sorry." Mulder was stunned, even as he
motioned for Scully to come, crouching down to soothe her,
telling her to be quiet while his mind worked frantically to think
of the right words to say. Sorry? For what? What had she
She was still murmuring. "Didn't mean to, you know,
didn't want to go, didn't want to . . . hated to leave you, all alone
. . . we were going to run away together . . . far away . . . so sorry
. . ."
Mulder's heart ached for his sister. His beautiful,
intuitive little sister. She had been stronger than him in some
ways, and so easy to hurt in others. She had always pretended
better than him, was all. Only an act. And she had become so
good at it. What had she been going through for the past
Then Scully was standing beside him, her shadow
falling darkly over the woman on the ground. He reached out a
hand to touch her cheek, to comfort her, to help her to rise;
jerking his hand back as Kate--*Samantha's*--head jerked up
and she opened her mouth to scream.
Scully immediately crouched down, going into full
doctor-mode. "Katherine. Can you hear me? You're suffering
from exposure. We have to get you back to the cabin where it's
warm and dry. It's not that far. Can you walk? Good. Come
on, I'll help you up. Here you go." Scully slipped an arm
around the taller woman, helping her to stand.
Mulder watched passively, helplessly, while Katherine
obediently stood on Scully's instructions, as docile as a small
child. Scully began to turn Katherine towards Mulder so that he
could help support her, but as soon as Kate saw Mulder she
shrank reflexively back from him.
Mulder could not stop the instant rush of pain that
flashed across his face, a flash that Scully saw. But she did not
react, merely indicated that he should pick up her flashlight and
And so he did, trailing slowly and quietly after the two
women in the darkening gloom of the autumn wood.
End Part 7 of 21.
Chapter 8: Kingdom by the Sea (Part 8 of 21)
by Euphrosyne (email@example.com)
(*as previously rated and disclaimed)
All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. BTW, if there is a part you are missing and
would like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter VIII--Kingdom by the Sea
*I* was a child, and *she* was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea . . .
--Edgar Allen Poe, "Annabel Lee"
Upstate New York
November 29, 1997
They had settled Sam--or Kate, or whoever she was,
God, he didn't even know--on the couch, pumped full of aspirin
and liquids. Scully had handled Kate, and so Mulder had built
up the fire as asked and had let her do her thing. An exhausted
Scully had assured him Kate would be all right for the night and
had gone to bed a half hour ago with Mulder's blessing--she'd
been better, here, but he still wanted her to take it easy and the
last couple of days had been anything but. A frantic search in
freezing rain was not very conducive to convalescence, in his
medically untrained opinion.
The cabin was silent now, with only the muffled
sounds of night--soft breathing, wind and gentle rain, the
occasional bird or animal--to be heard. He looked across the
room at the young woman lying on the couch, brow slightly
furrowed. Shocked at first, he was now sure in his mind that he
had found her, more and more sure with every minute.
*Samantha.* Who now called herself Kate, and who
seemed to have little or no recollection of him beyond her
He sighed. What the hell was he supposed to do now?
He had spent his entire life looking for her, and here she was.
But this was not the sweet baby sister he remembered; no, this
was a grown woman, successful and lovely and haunted by her
own pain. She might have loved him, once, but now . . . it was
quite possible that she wanted nothing more than to forget the
past and the family she had once known.
It might even be easier to let her do so.
But she was almost everything he had hoped Samantha
would be, and finding her gave him a peace he hadn't known
he'd lost. Could he just let her go again?
He sighed and decided to try to sleep. Maybe, just
maybe, his mother's words would hold true and this time, things
really would be better in the morning.
November 30, 1997
Mulder ran, heavily, through the woods; not caring
where he was going, not caring where he'd been. Crashing
loudly over dead twigs and leaves, moving branches impatiently
from his path.
Mulder remembered his family before Samantha was
gone. When his mother would swing him and his sister around,
and his father would sit in the background and smile tolerantly
at them all. When his mother was cheerful, and her eyes were
filled with energy and mirth. When he and Sam would fidget at
the dinner table until his mother screamed at them, and then
they would both exchange mutual grins of wickedness.
After she was gone, everything changed. Had, in fact,
been changing that entire year. His father had rarely been home
that year, and his mother had become far quieter. She laughed
less, and more often than not her voice had that edge in it that
the Mulder kids knew not to try. Sam and he had become
closer, spending more time together, asking their parents for
less. Had begun trying, in the way of children as they sensed
the tension, to keep out of the way as much as possible.
After Sam was taken, Mulder changed too. He had
been a popular child at school: he had been on several sports
teams and, although somewhat unsettled in class, he was the
delight of his mischief-loving schoolmates and his grades were
fairly strong. After, when he was released from the hospital,
treated for a high fever, he barely spoke. His friends drifted
away, not understanding; although a few of them had tried.
A scream no other could hear. A silent scream that
echoed, over and over, in his mind.
The first time he was asked to tell what happened;
when they asked him to tell: at first he did.
Before his father had looked at him with contempt, and
his mother with disappointment. Then, he had said nothing.
Only that she was gone. Nothing.
Nothing to the police, who had looked at him with
suspicion. Nothing to the doctors, who had looked at him with
sorrow. Nothing to the therapists, who had looked at him with
pity. Instinct and experience told him he would not be believed,
and he could do without their disbelief. Was, in fact, terrified
of their disbelief.
His friends soon took to open mockery, and that not
His parents, on the other hand, barely spoke to him at
He could not have known, had never known, that his
parents' contempt and disappointment was directed at
themselves, not their child.
Even worse, he was petrified that perhaps he had been
wrong, that his memory *was* in some way flawed. In all
honesty, he could barely believe the story himself. Especially
as, if Sam had just drifted out a window, why hadn't he stopped
There had been one other time he had told, one other
person he had ventured to trust: a young, kindly nurse at the
hospital, whose name had been Beth. He had told her,
haltingly; told her everything the day before he left. Desperately
wanting to be believed, terribly afraid he wouldn't be.
When he was finished, Beth had gently asked him
why: if that were true, then why? Children do not float out of
windows. If his sister had merely floated away, why hadn't he
A simple question. Not disbelieving, not cruel, simply
pointing out the logical gap.
But he couldn't figure out why he hadn't. Maybe he'd
remembered wrongly, suggested Beth, because maybe he was
scared of whoever took Sam. Or maybe Sam ran away? After
all, the two of them had been fighting.
Except he knew that Sam hadn't run away, and he
hadn't let her. Had he?
The one thing he *could* remember was Sam's voice:
clear and vivid and haunting, calling his name.
Begging for his help. Help he had not given.
Yet Beth's words sounded so reasonable, so believable.
So he began to convince himself that he did, indeed, remember
wrongly. That someone had climbed in the window at night and
taken Sam, and he had given her away because he was angry
In his darker moments, he remembered long ago
wishing, petulantly, that his ultra-bratty younger sister *would*
go away so that he could have the satisfaction of telling her he
did not particularly care--it was a fantasy he'd often had,
especially when he'd fought with her.
He remembered, that night, fighting with her, and
wishing, and then . . . after that, everything was a blur of
fantastic events, and so he must be remembering wrongly,
It must have been his fault.
Even though in his angry daydreams, she'd always
returned, shame-faced and sorry. That was the best part.
Only the nightmares disputed their words--Beth's, the
doctors', the therapists'--but then again, he never could
remember the dreams clearly when he woke, screaming, in his
He stopped having them in his later teens, and they
didn't recur until he left home for Oxford.
His parents changed too, after Samantha was taken.
His father came home even more rarely, working longer and
longer hours. His mother never laughed afterwards, and if she
ever did, it had a note in it that belied joy. She rarely spoke
with him anymore, except to tell him what to do, or only when
something was wrong, and he missed her. The only thing she
wanted from him was for him to tell her what had happened that
night, the truth he had not told the police; but he had nothing
more to say to her.
As for the rest, his doubts and suspicions . . . his
mother was the last person to whom he could reveal his shame.
And so he could not give her that either. In time, her voice
developed a bitter tone, and he began to try harder and harder to
please her, knowing he never could. His parents divorced
shortly after Sam's disappearance.
After the divorce, his mother reverted to her maiden
name, and had tried to build a new life for herself and her young
son. Tried, suddenly, to talk to him but he, not understanding,
uncomfortable with the abrupt change, withdrew, and one night
a fourteen-year-old Fox openly revolted. Made everyone call
him Mulder, not Fox, and refused to write his surname as Taylor
on anything. By high school he had immersed himself in a
remotely rebellious phase--his grades dropped, he skipped
school constantly, even smoked a little. It didn't make much of
a difference, though--his father yelled at him on visits, and by
that time his mother had became lost in a world of shades and
shadows. He tried not to care.
His mother never stopped calling him Fox.
Eventually he realized the effort was not worth the
result. His entire family had fallen apart, and what did it really
matter, now, what they, or anyone thought of him?
He did well in university, and received a scholarship
for graduate work. He remembered his mother laughing: a
genuine, pre-Samantha laugh, when he was accepted at Oxford.
It was one of his most cherished memories.
Before she died, Rachael Mulder, as much as he was
loathe to admit it, lived only in a world of memories she had
worked for years to forget.
All she had left, yet all she wanted to rid herself of.
And again, he had been helpless to do anything about it.
He'd found Samantha, but, as always, it was too late.
Selfish, Mulder, he thought--selfish, because she's
returned and you are still dissatisfied.
But he still wished he'd found her earlier.
And, the ugly, ugly thought--a thought he hated
himself for--he wished she were different.
A twig snapped under his foot, and a branch slapped
him across the face, surely leaving an ugly welt.
He kept running. He ran, because he could not sleep.
He ran, because he dared not do otherwise.
Back at the safehouse cabin
"Mulder. Mulder." An insistent voice.
"What?" he asked groggily, rubbing sleep and foul
visions from his eyes. He moved his neck--God, that hurt. Must
remember not to make a habit of sleeping on chairs.
"Did you sleep out here all night?"
"Um . . . no?" He sat up straighter, keeping his
low so as not to wake the woman on the sofa.
"Mulder . . . "
"Sorry ... if I say ten Hail Scullys will you be
She looked at him. Whoops, that did not go over well.
He peered at her through hazy eyes. Why did she
always look so impeccably, freshly-pressed? Couldn't she ever
look less than FBI pamphlet-perfect? It was annoying, to say
the least. Made him look bad. It was a struggle just to keep up.
She ran a light finger across his cheek and he shivered.
"That's a nasty looking mark, Mulder. What happened?"
"Nothing, it's fine. Ran into a tree." He jerked his
head away from her touch.
She sighed. "You know, Mulder, you're worse than . .
. than . . . I can't even think of anything that remotely compares
"Why, Scully, are you saying I'm incomparable?"
She reached out a hand to pull him to his feet,
conspicuously overlooking his remark. "Go shower, Mulder,
we'd better leave soon. If this woman is Samantha, we should
go and run tests, make sure. And I think it would be well if she
saw a doctor, just to check her out, give her some vitamins,
something. Skinner called this morning; we're wasting our time
here anyway. The deaths have stopped, although there was one
more found after we left--a Conrad Murray, 26, and a student at
"Notice, Scully, how all of them have names that start
with C or K?"
"Point being, Mulder?"
"As well, a lot of them have been in foster care, or
"It's just coincidence, Mulder. Or a serial killer with a
fixation. Mr. Murray was the last. He had been dead a while
when they found him. No family, and he lived alone, so it took
a while for anyone to notice him missing. He'd been away on
vacation, and was apparently notorious for skipping class, but
when he didn't show up for an exam, people started looking. In
any case, since the Murray death, no other bodies have been
She just looked at him, and the protest died in his
"It's over, Mulder. And the trial, which she was never
in serious danger for anyway, starts next Monday. We'll go to
D.C., do a DNA sample, and get her off to New York in plenty
of time. She can stay at Quantico for a few nights."
"Or with me."
"If, Mulder--if she's your sister, if she wants to. *If*
you trust her."
"Well, *do* you trust her? I'm not so sure I do. For
God's sake, Mulder, she's not even the right age!" She sighed.
"Look, we don't know anything yet. No," she held up a
forestalling hand, "don't even try. I haven't yet had any coffee,
and I don't want to discuss it. Get ready, and we'll deal with
whatever when it occurs."
He had given her photographs. Photographs of a little
girl with dark plaited hair, of a boy with hair just as dark. A
boy with hazel eyes.
Her mind flashed back.
Fragment of a dream.
Kate looked again at the photographs. Looked at them,
took a breath, and tried again to deny. Although the evidence
was so clear, and it felt so right. But she didn't want this.
Looked at the pictures of the house, of the cottage, of
the couple and of the children.
Of herself, as a child. An intense little girl with a
serious young face and two long dark braids on either side.
She was too young to have been this child. She
remembered not having a family. She remembered her own
voice talking to another about the past, telling them she did not
remember, being told her name was Katherine Grayson. She
remembered, at sixteen, running away from the institutions,
telling anyone who asked that she was twenty, later changing
her name to Jacobs. Katherine Sarah Jacobs, because it was a
pure name: good. Loving and beloved.
But sometimes . . .
The pictures, the pictures told another story. Showed a
little girl of about eight or nine; a little girl: herself. Or was it?
Was her entire life a lie?
To believe that once, once she had been called
Samantha Anne, and had had a life filled with everything she
could ever want: a privileged, perfect childhood that truly
belonged in a picture book of fairy-tales. A life that she
occasionally dreamt; a life she could no longer believe in. A life
that over the years, began to mist into a mythical subconscious,
so that by the time she turned thirteen, she was no longer sure
whether she actually ever lived it or merely wished that it were
She used to tell others it was so. She remembered . . .
the group home. Ten children, various ages, sitting, sharing
tales. Her own voice, spinning a tale. The others would gather
to listen to her tale: rapt attention. It was a tale that every child
there wished were true, a tale they all wanted to believe. A tale
no less fantastic than those in faerie-stories and fantasy novels.
A life she did not truly believe in, a life that nightmare
"As for myself, I once had an arrogantly amazing older
brother, a vivacious, fun-loving mother, a father with a deep
voice and strong hands. I had a home on a beautiful seashore,
and a family that went on vacations in the mountains. Parents
who loved me, and a brother who teased me carefully, whose
face fell in concern when I cried, who commiserated with me
when I got in trouble. Well, when we got in trouble. I had a
way of embroiling him in my escapades, and, being a few years
older, he had a way of working out my wild ideas so that we
could attempt to carry them out. We were always caught, but it
was fun while it lasted." The child's face grinned at the
recollection, and answering smiles were reflected in the faces of
And the unspoken corollary, "They are coming to get
me. And when they find me, I'm going home."
Sometimes, more often than not, she'd had nightmares
about her time before, and although in her waking moments she
could never clearly remember these dreams, on occasion she
would wake, her face wet, her thoughts confused. Vague
memories of her beautiful laughing mother a silent ghost; her
strong father a frightening, angry monster; the adored, all-
knowing brother a pathetically weeping heap whom she could
not help, could not protect. But these faint images faded with
the light, with awareness, with conscious thought. She held on
to the memory of a perfect lovely life, because, more and more,
it was all she had.
But even when she grasped it, she knew, in her heart,
that it was only a fantasy. But now . . .
A dream, or a memory? Katherine did not know the
answer. Still. She looked at the last photograph. The boy and
the girl, on a beach. Smiling at the camera.
As if everything in the universe was, and would always
End of Part 8.
Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 19:54:42 -0500 (EST)
From: Euphrosyne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: NEW: Fallen Cards (Part 9/21)
Chapter 9: Where Shadows Lie (Part 9/21)
by Euphrosyne (email@example.com)
(*as previously rated and disclaimed)
All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter IX--Where Shadows Lie*
-- A simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
--William Wordsworth (S. Coleridge), "We Are Seven"
*from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
Monday, December 1, 1997
Two persons in white coats stood in front of a one-way
glass, observing the bound and screaming child.
"How is the subject progressing?" The man had to
raise his voice over the cries emanating from the speaker.
Bending, he peered intently at the monitors which carefully
measured and regulated temperature, humidity, and several other
factors within the room containing the convulsing girl.
The woman turned down the speaker before answering,
and the piercing sound faded behind the soundproof glass.
"Quite well, in fact. Its control is increasing; we have
kept its companion in stasis. This model shows far more
promise than any previously. In fact, this particular subject has
been instrumental in eliminating several of the rogues, and soon
will be quite a useful tool on its own."
"Hmph. Quite an unassuming little thing, isn't it?"
"Yes, and that is what makes it all the more effective.
It is unique, there is only one other similar. Each has been
custom-made--first time we've tried this--we crossed it with
some of the tailored DNA and used one of the second stage
subjects for the main material. "
"Really. Very interesting--which?"
"For this subject ... I can't remember--we had to store
the material for a while, as I recall. We weren't quite ready for
the process--we had used one of the other subjects to assist--
BDR0808, as I recall--and it erroneously brought the subject to
us early. As a result, we had to work prematurely, and the
original subject was almost destroyed, which would have been a
pity, although it seems that they had intended such. I had hoped
to preserve it for later use, and was saddened to learn that it was
not to exist past the initial testing. However, I was informed
that it did survive, had I any further use for it, and arrangements
are being made in that quarter. We've been quite pleased with
the success of this derivative. It was unfortunate that we were
only able to obtain such few derivative subjects at the time--
although, with the time frame and lack of preparation, we were
fairly lucky to get even the one. Perhaps this time--I have been
given freedom to do as I will, provided at the end of the year it is
"So what have you done with the original?"
"I am unsure of its present location--I had asked for it
to be brought back for final tests--I like to run a full battery at
the three-year mark, if the subject still lives--and indicated that
afterwards it should be slated for termination, as per usual.
After the tests are completed, the subjects don't usually last long
anyway. They've brought it in a few times, but I still have some
tests outstanding before it can be terminated. Doesn't matter--
my job is to merely requisition the subject, whether or not it is
provided is not my concern. I do not deal with the procurement
aspect, you know."
"Yes, of course."
"As for subject DAEM0327, we are planning to send it
back out into the community with an alternate foster family.
The Greys; seems appropriate."
The other man grimaced. "Cute. Clones, then. But I
thought this had already been set up?"
"Well, it was sent out a few years ago, we aged it at
one year and had it adopted, through somewhat regular
channels, in New York. We paired it with another of the
experimental subjects--one of our genetic experiments--that was
turning out to be a failure. We think the others had gotten a
hold of it, perhaps. This time we'll have more control."
"That was the test, wasn't it?"
"Yes, and it performed well--some initial resistance,
but it responded well to the aversion therapy and persuasion--
chemical therapy was not even required. Pity about the other
subject, but it was not doing very well and was due to be
terminated. We were using it as the control, for a while, but it
was starting to throw off its training."
"Which was that?"
"Oh, that was subject DCR0617--it was one of the
more recent of the genetic experiments, derived from one of the
failures of years ago."
"A rogue?" The man was startled.
"Yes, but they felt the genetic material was exceptional
enough to justify storage. I had reservations, but no one would
listen. Rogues rarely have successful derivatives."
"And you had no problems with this one?"
"Some, there is no way to prevent it, but nothing like
with the Eve series. This one is far more advanced than that
crude model. And, in the end some freedom of mind is also
necessary in order to maintain the deception. At this stage
though, the subjects can be unpredictable--and this subject is
not yet three years old . . ."
"But it looks just as old as my four year old."
"Tessa's already four?"
"Yes, Tess'll be five in January--she's in kindergarten
now." The man grunted and cleared his throat, uncomfortable
discussing his family in this place, removed from all vestige of
humanity, especially with this pale, shallow-eyed scientist.
Terrible things could happen if the Syndicate began to
pay attention to your children.
But the scientist was more concerned with her
experiment. "Let me show you what we have done here--as I
indicated, we have been very pleased with our success . . . oh,
just let me stop this for a minute . . ."
The woman turned a switch, causing the child's body to
jerk once and then lay still. Satisfied, the two observers
prepared to leave as the child stopped screaming, opening dull
blue eyes in the unnatural silence.
And Anais lay there after they had left, lay absolutely
quiet and still as she stared despairingly at the cold uncaring
glass: barred glass that showed her nothing other than a broken
reflection of her own image.
Katherine woke in an uncomfortable bed. She didn't
remember where she was, or why she was there. She only knew
that she was cold, and weak, and ached all over. Then
realization flooded back. She opened her eyes, and he was
there, looking down at her.
"Mark?" He's alive! was her first relieved thought.
And pleasure at his presence; she felt joy and relief and comfort
to see him--it scared her, a little, she hadn't realized that she
needed him that much. But--how?
"Can't I leave you alone for a minute?" he teased,
concern shadowing his smile.
"What are you doing here?"
"I heard you needed some help."
"How did you know I was here?"
"I always know where you are--it's my job." He
grinned playfully at her.
But a dreadful suspicion had begun to plant itself in
her mind, and the well-loved smile had begun to assume sinister
connotations. How had he found her--and why? Where were
the FBI agents? He had always kept tabs on her--and she didn't
know very much about him, when she really thought about it. In
fact, no one did--it had been a bit of an office joke that he was
such a mystery. Oh God.
Panic rose to gorge itself in her throat, and she dug her
nails into the palm of her hand. But she was too weak to escape
and had few resources left with which to fight him. She was
He was yelling at her.
"Katherine! Kate! Listen to me! Don't! I'm the one!
Look! I have the mark! I'm the one!" And he held out his hand
to her, where a card bearing a faint pentagram glowed blue-grey
upon his palm.
"Lord in the night", she whispered. "You know.
know." Panic was in her eyes, he held out a hand to forestall
flight and sighed. When had this become so complicated? He
hadn't meant to tell her like this.
"Yes, I know. I've known for a while--I was assigned
to protect you for the last few years. Unfortunately,
circumstances have conspired against us." Again that
irresistibly crooked smile, and she relaxed a very little. "But
we'll talk about that later, shall we? I think you need something
warm and something medicinal, and we'll sort out the details
later. All right?"
She could not agree--everything was happening too
But then, she had never been given a choice.
Upper West Side, NYC
She woke this time on a familiar couch, warm and
comfortable but not at peace. She could not stop remembering.
Katherine closed her eyes against the memory. A past
she had tried to forget.
She had been picked up, seventeen years ago, from the
streets of Queen's Jamaica Heights, lost and shivering in a thin
cotton shift. Turned in by one of the wealthy housewives of the
area, a woman who both pitied the pale, scrawny-looking child
and who was simultaneously appalled and revolted at this
reminder of lower-class humanity cluttering up her street. She
had called social services, and the child welfare authorities had
picked her up. She remembered that the woman had given her a
cookie with a condescending smile on her face, clearly feeling
proud of herself while relieved to have someone else to blame
for the plight of this child.
She had not even been able to recall her own name.
Confused, dazed, she had sat silently through questions and
reassurances and medical proddings. But she had a tag around
her wrist, a tag declaring her to be Katherine Anne Grayson,
aged 12. A thin, miserable looking child, though tall for her
stated age. They had put her in foster care.
For over two years she had surreptitiously begged on
inner city streets; forced by foster parents who treated her, and
the two other children in their care--sickly Robert, about her
own age, and little Patrick--as commodities and servants.
Flashback, to a time of survival and necessity.
"A dollar for my invalid brother? A dollar, please, sir?
How about you, miss?"
The men who rushed by without stopping, the women
who shook their heads in irritation. But Katherine dreaded,
more than pride, the consequences if she were to go home
"Why not miss? Such a good cause."
Robert was far wiser than I, she thought. He told me,
once, that he never dared to wish for more than he had.
She had been more foolish. In her earliest memories,
she thought that if she dreamt of something long enough,
wished hard enough; if she could just believe, then everything
bad would go away. She had loved fairy tales, finding in them
hope. But nothing ever changed, and eventually, it hurt too
much to hope. Hurt too much to believe in anything but the
bleakness surrounding her, the struggle that was her daily
She eventually learned to appreciate the little things: a
loaf of fresh, warm bread, bought covertly for fifty cents at a
grocer's sale; a smile from one of the well-dressed, rushing
people on Fifth Avenue; Robert's laugh on a good day when the
pain faded. In more she dared not believe. Sometimes it
frustrated her, but usually she was simply grateful to keep the
nightmares at bay.
And she no longer wished for what she could not have.
Robert, who had died within the year.
That was the first foster home. Eventually, with
Robert's death, the truth was discovered and the placement
The next one was better, a rich, elderly couple whose
own children had grown up and moved across country and
abroad. The Jacobs.
Katherine remembered, at fourteen, wishing just a little
that she really could have been their daughter. That placement
had lasted a couple of years, until the wife had a heart-attack
and had to go to the hospital. The husband could not cope, and
she had been moved again. Mrs. Jacobs' name had been Sarah,
said lovingly over and over by the man who waited at her
bedside day in and day out.
She had visited the elderly Sarah only twice until
another home could be arranged. It made her teeth ache to see
love and devotion like that: the waste of it all, as the woman in
the bed slipped slowly and slowly away.
The realization that such love would never be directed
When she was sixteen, Katherine ran away from the
group home and never looked back.
She changed her name, turning her back on both
childhood and forgotten past. And she had vowed then never to
think of them again.
"Well, they've returned."
"That should make matters easier."
"Yes, indeed. We are initiating phase one of the test
within the hour. We cannot locate MSAT1121, however. But
her absence fits in well with our plans."
Papers shuffled and chairs shifted before the room
became once again dark and silent, save for the garish red glow
against the obsidian depths of the ash tray.
Upper West Side, NYC
"I'm sorry, Kate."
"You have no right, no right at all! You can't . . .
She could not seem to control her anger. She didn't care about
his reasons; she was tired of being used.
"We are all sorry you had to find out like this, Kate.
That we need to do this at all. But it was necessary." He looked
at her. "How much do you remember?"
She tried to relax, to calm down. There was no time
Mark, this was Mark. She trusted him, she did. There
was no question. She just did.
She swallowed and spoke. "Enough. Not all, but
enough. I--" and she took a breath, "I remember Deirdre."
Deirdre, whom she had later known as Kara.
"Yes, well." And she told him about a dark November
wood and the vision that she saw there.
"There is more. Ben and Jimmy are both gone--as well
as young Caroline."
And Katherine closed her eyes against the tears as
Mark told her all of it. For the child, who They had named
Caroline Rachael--a sick play on her mother's name, had been
partly hers. Her genetic makeup; as close to a daughter as was
possible for her now. So much promise, so much hope.
But Ben had hoped to salvage the last child, Anais,
and that had been his downfall. Anais Evadne Margaret
Davidson, as she now was, had been too far gone--was too much
theirs to ever be a child again. An engineered creation, there
was little to salvage in the first place. She was a pawn, a tool:
Even her name, Anais Evadne: an uncertain sacrifice.
Tragically, completely, and utterly theirs. Anais, for
all she looked like a baby girl, was deadly dangerous. And Kate
was assigned to destroy her.
"I have a note from Deirdre. It may give you strength,
it may not. But she wrote it for you, for this contingency. She
knew, as she always did. Here. I'm sorry, I can't stay. I must go,
it is too dangerous for me to be here. Tell those agents that you
should leave too--you've been in one place too long. I'll join
you later, as soon as I am able. And Kate?"
"Good luck." And in moments he was gone with
merely a warm draft to mark his passing.
Kate unfolded the note.
*Kate, if you are reading this, it means that time has
caught me up and I did not tell you what you should have
known. But although I appeared young, I was in fact older than
you by many years. I regret that it must fall to you to do this,
although I am not sure as I write what it exactly it will be that
you'll be asked to do. I only remember, years ago, when I was
*I felt that it was too long, but at the same time I was
strangely ready. Too long, too much denial. I am here as I write
this, preparing to prosecute the murder of a teenaged boy, a boy
I could have saved, had I only cared enough to do so. And the
deaths weighed upon my conscience, a conscience I had in so
many months, so many years, barely deigned to acknowledge.
But I can hide no longer; I can not stop thinking of my mistakes:
I have so little else to fill my days. Long since have I refused to
face what I see, if only because refusing to see was easier. And
if I was grateful for the first, I was both frightened and enraged
by the other. I thought that I could almost have been happy.*
*However in the end, although I did not believe it at
the time, I was happy, later. I was, Samantha, and so will you
Far too cryptic to understand. But then she heard his
voice then, faint and distant. "See, Kate? It is hard for us all,
but I believe in you. You'll be fine. It all will."
She could hear the smile in his voice and, in some
small way, was reassured.
End Part 9 of 21.