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Chapter Five

 

"A handful of misdemeanors in his teens and some traffic violations. That’s about as deep as Vicors’ criminal profile goes, I’m afraid." Gavin had a manila folder in his hand as he recited what little they were able to find on their one and only suspect, Luke Vicors.

The two agents sat at the table while Gavin chose to stand; Trisha had stepped out to check on the progress of the video evidence.

Gavin continued to rattle on about the personal life of their prime suspect. Luke Vicors was 32 years old and divorced. He’d been married all of seven months when he was twenty-eight. According to their records, his ex-wife was currently residing in California. The nature and cause of their divorce was still a mystery, but the officers had silently agreed that until they could uncover more on Luke, it wasn’t an issue.

Mulder was only half listening to Gavin reveal what they’d found. Unfortunately, try as he might, he couldn’t keep himself from noticing how tired his partner seemed this morning.

They’d both had their share of nightmares, it came with the job. But, this morning was the first time Scully felt the need to check on him after one of hers. He’d wanted her to tell him about it; knew that she felt she could. It was important that she open up about things like this to him. Any dream that bothered her so much that she needed to see him to make sure he was okay, concerned him and they needed to talk about it. The fact that she looked exhausted didn’t help matters either.

Scully chose that moment to try and suppress a yawn before reaching for her coffee and taking a cautious sip. Setting the cup aside, she looked up and caught Mulder looking at her. A wan smile passed over her lips, but she turned her attention almost immediately to Gavin, who was currently running a hand through his hair as he paced; waiting for Trisha to return.

The click of a door opening brought Mulder back into focus. Trisha walked in, a man with a television set on a roller followed behind her.

"Here it is," the man said. He plugged the TV in, turned the VCR on and popped the tape inside. Knowing his place in the investigation, he simply pressed play and let it roll. He left without a word.

Some static and snow played on the screen for a few seconds before it cut to a black and white picture. A timer ran in the corner, seconds ticking by as the time read 3:27am. Headlights could be seen reflecting off the buildings, but no cars were visible. The camera was focused on an alley. There was no activity for several more seconds, but moments after the time changed to 3:28am a woman came into view.

They identified her as Amanda Porter, the latest victim. She was clothed in a loose shirt and jeans, barefoot with mussed hair. And her coordination was a little off. She wasn’t stumbling quite like she was a drunk, however, which made the four officers wonder why she was in such a state.

Mulder approached the screen to take a closer look. He screwed his eyes at the picture and watched as the woman came face to face with one of the building walls. She stood there momentarily, just staring at it. Suddenly, she collapsed to the ground, her hands coming up to cover her face. Amanda brought her knees to her chest and started shaking her head, the semblance of a word leaving her lips. A minute later, her movements ceased and her body met the ground.

Lifeless.

Before anyone could say anything about what they’d just witnessed, Mulder was rewinding the tape to the frame where Amanda Porter had first come into view.

"Scully, come take a look at this," he said, not tearing his eyes away from the screen. He heard her scoot her chair away from the table and come up to stand beside him. He pressed rewind again.

"Look at her, Scully. If I’m not mistaken, it looks like, well, like she’s–-"

"Sleepwalking," she finished for him.

"Exactly."

The detectives moved up behind them, peeking between the two agents’ shoulders at the observation. A heavy sigh from Trisha could be heard, but Gavin remained silent.

Mulder switched off the TV and turned around to face his friend. "Things just got interesting," he quipped.

"I don’t understand, Mulder," Gavin finally spoke up. "That was the crime scene. That’s where we found her body. Are you trying to tell me that no one actually killed this woman? That she just keeled over? That nine other women just happened to die the same way?"

"I didn’t say anything, Gavin. In fact, you’re way off from what I was about to tell you."

Scully finally turned around to join in the conversation. She stood quietly, waiting. It was theory time.

"But, Mulder, the tape it–-"

"Badge, the tape just provided a lot more information than you realize. This woman was murdered all right, but not by any means you’re accustomed to."

"Enlighten us, Agent Mulder, ‘cause I know you lost me," Trisha broke in.

"Well, right now I just have an idea, but . . .I think these women died in their sleep."

The two detectives’ brows bunched up in confusion, still completely lost. Scully stepped forward, having caught on to Mulder’s theory; sort of. She was about to say something when Mulder decided to press on. Good. She preferred him to come off crazy. It looked better on him.

Her partner began to walk around the room, reaching back into his memory. "Remember that movie back in, I don’t know, ‘83 or ‘84, with the psychics working for the government and they were entering people’s dreams?"

"Dreamscape," Scully provided, stepping closer to him. Mulder’s eyebrows shot up, conveying that he was impressed. Never mind the fact that the only reason she’d remembered the film was because she’d always been a closet fan of Dennis Quaid.

"Yeah, that one. I think that’s what’s happening here. I think someone, maybe Luke Vicors maybe not, is using their ability to get into these women’s dreams."

"Mulder . . ." Scully interrupted.

But before Mulder could say anything in defense, Gavin stepped forward. "Look, Foxy, I know this is what you do best, but you do realize that that’s crazy, don’t you? Not only do we not have anything to back it up, but that was a movie. Things like that don’t happen in real life. Not to mention, how would we prosecute?"

"Badge, you’ve heard about our cases. What we’ve faced working on the X-files. Movie producers would kill to make movies about the things that I’ve seen. We’ve seen." He looked at Scully with the correction. "I think there’s more fact than fiction to this idea. I think our UNSUB has discovered the possibilities in his gift and he’s using it to get away with murder."

The room fell silent. Scully stood to the side, her arms crossed across her chest, looking at the floor. Trisha was taking the whole thing in, not seeming to believe any of it it, but the idea apparently intrigued her. Gavin didn’t seem to know what to think.

"Mulder, let’s assume you’re right," Scully spoke up. "I mean, we have worked cases where a person is able to inflict their will on others–-Robert Modell comes to mind. What would be the motive here? Could these be some sort of mercy killings, releasing the victims from their grief?"

The others looked at her as Mulder responded, "It could be. But it could also be just because he or she can do, whatever it is they do, and these women are susceptible. I don’t really know. It’s too early to tell."

Scully bobbed her head once at his response.

"All I’m saying is that we need more facts to go on before we dive into this theory of yours," Gavin said softly.

"That’s fine." Mulder looked at Gavin, feigning a look of total acquiesce. His jaw was locked into place as he began to grind his teeth.

"Good." Gavin moved to the table and pulled out a sheet of paper from a folder. "We can start by going to Amanda’s funeral. We all know that, in most cases, the killer likes to make an appearance at his victim’s funerals. So far we haven’t had any luck spotting anyone suspicious, but you never know. We have time to grab something to eat before we have to be there." Gavin looked up from the paper at Mulder and added, "Look, man, I’m not completely disregarding your theory, but like I said, we’ve got to find something to go on before we can consider it as the *only* possible one."

This time Mulder didn’t say anything, he just offered a nod. Gavin collected everything from the table and headed for the door, his partner trailing close behind him. Scully turned to follow them but Mulder gently grabbed her elbow, bringing her to a halt. She turned to look at him.

"Were you able to get back to sleep last night?" The hardness in his face was gone and he asked the question softly; tenderly.

She paused a moment before responding. "Yes, I was. It was just a nightmare, Mulder. One of the perks of the job." She gave him a pat on the forearm before turning and making her exit.

Mulder stayed behind, watching her as she left. It was one thing to avoid talking about something personal like dreams and nightmares, but she’d just lied to him. He thought their conversation at Martha’s Breakfast Nook had helped her realize that telling him things, telling the truth, was nothing to be afraid of.

I guess I thought wrong, he told himself, and shut the door on his way out.

XxX

They decided to grab some hotdogs for a very early lunch from a street vendor on their way out of the station. The funeral was at 10:30.

Mulder was munching away at his hotdog, lathered in relish and mustard, while Gavin rattled on about something or other. Scully and Trisha were sitting on the steps of a cathedral; a dozen people scattered along the same steps either resting or having an early lunch themselves.

It was warmer than it had been the previous day, the sun shining with no objection from any clouds. Pigeons were already beginning to swarm the streets, picking at fallen crumbs and taking sips from puddles left over from the rain earlier that week. Sporadic honking filled the streets, mingling with the chatter of people rushing down the sidewalks.

"So are you going to do anything about it?" Scully heard Trisha ask.

She turned to look at her friend, who was just finishing up her hotdog, having stuffed the rest of it in her mouth.

"About what?" Scully asked, taking a drink from her Diet Coke.

Trisha rolled her eyes as she tried to chew and swallow as fast as she could. "You know . . . What we talked about in my kitchen? You and Mulder. This, um, thing between the two of you."

Oh yeah. That, Scully recalled.

Scully had just finished drying a plate when Trisha asked her to sit down to talk. Scully didn’t think much of it, just considered it a good time to get to know more about The Badger’s partner.

"What’s going on between you and Mulder?" Trisha asked, with no prelude.

Taken aback by the sudden question–-a personal question, at that–-Scully could only swallow in response. Gulp, really. Her heart sped up at the implication.

"Wh-what do you mean?" Scully stuttered out, knowing damn well what Trisha meant.

"Dana, please, you know exactly what I’m asking." Trisha was serious with the comment, but a smirk pulled at her lips. "Oh, and don’t tell me you’re the best of friends and that any thought of ravishing him senseless has never crossed your mind. I’m a woman, Dana. You two clearly have something going on."

Scully didn’t know what else to say. No one, not even Ellen, had ever attempted to dissect or analyze her relationship with Mulder. She figured she should be annoyed. Usually she would be. However, a part of her wanted to get it out in the open.

"Trisha," Scully started, hesitating only a fraction of a second. "I can tell you honestly that nothing is going on between Mulder and me."

Trisha started to object again, but Scully held up a halting hand, asking that she be allowed to press on.

"I’m not saying that the . . . feelings aren’t there. I’m just saying that nothing has been acted on. And to be quite honest, I think it could be a while before they are." Scully shrugged with the last comment, a wistful smile playing across her lips.

"So, there’s definitely something more than friendship," Trisha more stated than asked.

"Mmm," Scully hummed in agreement, a nod following the sound just in case the message wasn’t clear.

Trisha’s lips curved into a smile, which then transformed into a full-fledged grin. "I knew it. I knew it!" She then started to laugh, almost cackle.

Although Scully didn’t find the particular situation funny at all, the fact that Trisha was drawing some humor from it made Scully chuckle quietly.

Now, sitting on the steps of the peaceful, gothic cathedral that was surrounded by modern buildings and exhaust from taxis, Scully didn’t find the memory to be funny in the least. Especially since Trisha apparently wasn’t finished getting the facts.

"I told you, Trisha. It’s going to be a while before we can even consider moving in that direction."

"Have you told him you love him yet?"

"No, not in so many words. To say them, well, that would only complicate things. And I honestly think words would cheapen what we have. Anyway, he’s not ready for something like that." She let her gaze sweep over to where Mulder and Gavin were still talking. Gavin was laughing about something Mulder had just said and it made Scully smile along with him, just a little.

"He’s not ready or you’re not ready?" Trisha was leaning closer to Scully now, trying to keep the conversation away from prying ears.

"He’s not. I’m ready, Trisha. Or, at least, I’m closer to ready than he is." She sighed heavily. "He has a lot of things to sort out right now; I’d just be in the way. When he’s ready, he’ll tell me."

She hoped that was true. He’d spent the last twenty plus years of his life trying to sort through things and each day something else was added to the pile. Somewhere, deep inside, Scully wanted to believe that he would let her help him with that pile. Because she knew pieces of her were lost in it too.

"Well," Trisha said, her gaze focusing on a lamp post, a faraway look in her eyes, "Don’t wait too long, Dana. Take it from someone who knows. Sometimes letting them–-people you love—-carry on without you and not letting them know the truth, can only push them further away." She turned to look at the agent turned friend beside her, tears outlining her almond-shaped eyes.

Trisha wiped at the tears and sniffled. "Damn allergies," she muttered. When her hand dropped from her face, she’d pasted on a smile.

"Alright, ladies, let’s head on out," Gavin bellowed as the two male officers approached their better halves.

The women crumpled up their trash and stood up from the stone steps, tossing the cans and napkins in a nearby garbage can. They joined their partners and the four officers began to push their way through the cluster of New York citizens.

XxX

NYPD

2:07pm

While the two detectives went over their progress with the chief and faxed the agents’ progress reports to A.D. Skinner for them, Mulder and Scully sat in the briefing room from earlier that day sorting through pictures.

One pile was photos taken from the funeral; the other was screen shots that the forensic team had printed from the tape they had viewed only hours before. Mulder profiled the screen shots; Scully dissected the funeral shots. The benefit of their labors was negligible.

"Scully?" called Mulder, having grown tired of analyzing the same pictures over and over.

"Hm?" she replied, a magnifying class in one hand, one of the photos in the other.

"Who was your role-model when you were growing up?" The levity of the question was not lost on Scully.

"What do you mean, Mulder?" She didn’t tear her eyes away from the 5X7 piece of possible evidence.

"I mean, when you were asked to write a five hundred word essay about your hero in school, who did you write about?"

Scully lay the picture and magnifier down on the table, seriously considering the question. Reaching back into her life before The X-Files, before medical school, she slowly began to remember who her idol had been. The memory made her smile, but it wasn’t long before she started to feel a bit sheepish about it.

"Spill it," he commanded light-heartedly.

"Well, there’s who I actually wrote about and who I really admired but never really told anyone." He nodded for her to continue. "I always wrote about Eleanor Roosevelt or Madame Curie or a balance between the two. I mean, that’s who people expected me to write about and it’s not like I didn’t admire them, but it wasn’t the truth." She’d started to fidget with her fingers, absently picking at her nails.

"What was the truth, Scully?"

"You really want to know?" She looked up at him, her eyes twinkling a little, grateful for him being interested in this hidden part of her.

"Of course." A slight pull of his lips helped her press on.

A deep breath and, "Mary Tyler Moore. Or, to be exact, Mary Richards."

"Really?"

"Yes, really." She almost thought he would let her leave it at that, but he urged her to continue with his eyes. And before she knew it, she couldn’t stop talking. "She was so, I don’t know, carefree. I wanted to be able to throw my hat in the air and smile, not caring that everyone was staring. I wanted to throw bad parties and have a big wooden capital ‘D’ hanging on my wall. I wanted a quirky neighbor named Rhoda. Actually, I had one of those for about a month when we lived in North Carolina. Her name was Patty, though, and she lacked the Bronx accent. Everybody loved Mary," she added, wistfully.

Mulder was grinning, even though a part of him was sad for his partner. Sad that she felt people wouldn’t accept this side of her. And although she wouldn’t say it out loud, it was obvious that she saw herself as the exact opposite of this fictional character created by an actress of the same name.

"I had a huge crush on Mary," he said. "I think I even had a bit of a crush on Murray, too."

That brought on a chuckle from Scully and, for a moment, she showed her teeth as she smiled.

Unable to stop himself, Mulder not-so-jokingly said, "Just so you know, Scully, you can turn my world on with your smile."

The smile slowly faded from her face as she began to examine the comment and how serious he had meant for it to sound. Before she could analyze it any more, Mulder began to tunelessly sing:

"And you can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. Well, it’s you girl and you should know it. With each glance and every little movement you show it . . ."

And although she was trying to keep from laughing, she chimed in with him, quietly singing–-or more so rhythmically speaking--along as he went into the chorus.

"Love is all around no need to waste it, you can have a town, why don’t you take it? You’re gonna make it after all," the duet, more or less, sang.

"Bring it home," Mulder said.

"You’re gonna make it after all," they finished. Mulder was unleashing a full belly laugh while Scully covered her face with one hand, quiet laughter breaking through between her fingers.

"You two do realize that I can never watch syndicated episodes of Mary Tyler Moore again without hearing your murdered rendition of that song, right?"

The two partners startled, turning to see Gavin standing at the door, Trisha close behind. He was trying to hide a smile, doing his best to deliver the joke as seriously as possible. After only a few seconds, a guffaw broke through.

Scully looked to Mulder, somewhat embarrassed, while Mulder looked at her, encouraging her with his eyes to just enjoy the moment.

"Nothing like a little Paul Williams in exchange for Three Dog Night," he quipped, directly at Scully. Her face softened, showing her appreciation.

The detectives sensed an inside joke and left it at that. They walked the rest of the way into the room and took seats at the small conference table, where they began to discuss the photos and talking about their findings. Findings that were, invariably, non-existent, though they weren’t open to admit it.

XxX

They were cleaning up the table, organizing the folders, when Mulder paused to say something.

"By the way," he started, "you might like to know I talked to Mrs. Porter today at the funeral."

"Why?" Gavin asked, straightening up and turning his attention full on to Mulder.

Looking like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Mulder hesitated a moment before answering. "I had to test a theory." He heard Scully sigh at that and the sound forced him to fight a smile.

"Well," he continued. "While searching the crowd of people for suspicious characters, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that only a select few of these women were found outside their homes while the others were discovered in their beds. I decided to see if any particular, um, sleeping habits had anything to do with it."

Gavin was standing with his arms folded over his chest, waiting for the punch-line.

"After the funeral, I pulled Mrs. Porter aside. I offered my condolences, but said that I needed to ask her one more question. She simply said she’d do anything to find out what happened to her daughter. All I asked her was if Amanda had a history of sleepwalking. You know what she said?"

No one said it, but he could read the silent "what?" on everyone’s faces.

"Yes. She was more prone to it as a child, but it wasn’t unlike her to fall back on the old habit if she had a restless night. They’d find her on the living room rug or in a closet, most of the time. Never had she ventured outside her home."

Gavin and Trisha exchanged glances, but Scully just stared at him. And he couldn’t help but read the expression on her face as a mix between frustration and pride.

"So, I’m guessing you’re going to want us to question the families or friends of Laurie Borden and Jolene Valencia," Gavin finally said, already reaching for his coat.

Mulder smiled at him and said, "You read my mind."

 

XxX

We Belong to the Stars

9:16pm

"Back as you promised," Leslie welcomed. "Jacob’s with someone right now, but I suspect it won’t be long."

"Thanks, Leslie," Mulder said.

"Where are Detective Neely and Detective Menzel, if you don’t mind me asking?" Leslie was trying to make casual conversation. It was obvious she’d been bored before their arrival. A game of Tetris was paused on her computer screen and she’d been doodling on a piece of paper.

"They had a few things to take care of, so we came without them," Scully provided, opening a magazine and flipping through the pages, not paying much attention to the contents.

At around 9:30, Leslie excused herself to check on Jacob’s status. Three minutes later, she returned, Jacob close behind with his client. The elderly woman thanked him profusely before stepping out the door.

"You must be the FBI agents everyone is all a buzz about," Jacob said by way of greeting. He approached them, shaking their hands. "We can go in the back if you like."

Not saying a word, the two agents followed Jacob, turning to enter the last room on the left down the hallway. Walking into the room, Scully couldn’t help but think she’d seen Jacob before. It’s possible she’d spotted him in passing, but unlikely that he would be so prevalent in her memory. Jacob allowed them to take a seat before doing so himself. He was tall, a few inches shorter than Mulder, with brown hair and brown eyes. His hair was long enough so that his bangs swept across his forehead, half covering his eyebrows. He had an ever present crooked smile and a square jaw. She’d seen men that looked exactly like him several instances in her life. Scully filed his familiar face away in her mind, promising to think more on it later.

"Since we seem to be the topic of conversation around here, I’m sure you’ve heard why we need to ask you a few questions," Scully began.

"Yeah, something to do with a murder case, I think, and our business cards being part of the evidence."

"The only evidence, really," Scully corrected. Aside from the videos, the cards were the only current clue that were leading them anywhere.

"Right."

Mulder opened a manila folder and laid its contents out on the table. "Jacob, instead of asking the same questions we covered with your co-workers, I just want you to tell me if you recognize any of these women."

The pictures Jacob examined were all the most recent photos that they’d been able to obtain from family members or friends. Most of them were of the Kodak moment genre, few professional head shots.

"Um," Jacob picked up a few pictures, studying them intently. "A few look familiar and I know that two of them came in here several times to see me."

"Which ones?" Mulder asked.

"These two," Jacob pointed to the photos of Amanda Porter and Jennifer Wilkes, "were regulars of mine. And these three," moving to point out Torrence Martinez, Mary Howard and Laurie Borden, "I know I’ve seen around here. The others, I’m just not sure about."

With an affirmative tilt of the head, Mulder scooped up all of the pictures and placed them back into the folder. "How long have you been working here?" he asked as he closed the manila flaps.

"Six years, sir. I moved here from Lake Tahoe and helped Carmen establish the business, actually."

"So I gather you know Luke Vicors pretty well," Scully stated.

"Better than most, I’d say. We’re not only co-workers here, Agent Mulder and Scully, we’re friends who share a sacred bond."

"Then you’d know his capabilities; what he will and will not do," said Mulder.

Scully saw Jacob hesitate a moment, whether or not it was because he was hiding something or that he felt he was caught off guard, she wasn’t sure. She knew Mulder caught it too and that he was already analyzing the man in front of them.

"If you’re trying to suggest that Luke is responsible for anything as serious as murder, then you’re mistaken. I know him well enough to know that he would never commit such a crime against the human race. We’re here to help people, not hurt them. To guide them along the path, not destroy it."

Exchanging glances, Mulder and Scully decided to leave it at that.

"Here’s my card," Mulder pulled one from his wallet and handed it to Jacob, "if you happen to think of anything that you think could help us, call the number at the bottom. What was your last name?"

"Hines," said Jacob, skimming over the card. He led the agents to the front door and said goodnight. Scully could feel him studying them as they walked away and it unnerved her.

And what unnerved her more was the fact that she knew Jacob Hines was hiding something.

XxX

Room 225

It was dark again and so cold. And although she couldn’t see him this time, she felt his presence and she knew he was the reason for the chill.

She couldn’t tell where she was. It seemed so empty, like she was trapped in a hollow place with nowhere to turn. She brought her arms to encircle her own chest, holding in as much warmth as she could.

Suddenly, the outline of a figure could be seen approaching. She felt her heart begin to race.

It was him and she wanted to run. But where? She didn’t even know where she was, much less if there was anywhere to run to. Without thinking she took a step back and the sound of her heel hitting the ground echoed around her.

"Starbuck?" she heard a deep voice asked. It was from the man coming toward her. It was Ahab.

"Daddy?"

As if a spotlight had been flicked on them, they were in a circle of light. It was Ahab, dressed in his fatigues and walking proud. Unable to help herself, she threw her arms around his neck.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, his arms hugging her against him.

She pulled away and stared at him a moment before saying, "I don’t know. I don’t even know where here is."

He didn’t bother to answer the question she was asking with that statement. Instead, he offered her his arm and began to escort her about. Slowly the mysterious place illuminated, but no color surrounded them. He began to lead her through a maze, twisting and turning corner after corner.

"Where are we going?"

He didn’t answer.

On their final turn, they entered a room. A woman lay in a hospital bed, wires and tubes running in and out of her. At first, Scully thought it was herself, but the bandaged head said otherwise.

Missy.

They approached the bed, standing over the dying body.

"That should’ve been you," her father said, grimly.

Her head popped up to stare at him in disbelief. He continued to stare at her fallen sister, even when a strangled "what?" escaped her throat.

"You chose this life, Starbuck. This should have been your consequence, not hers."

"Why are you saying this, Dad?" She turned him to look at her. "Dad? Tell me, please," she begged.

He refused to answer her plea. Looking at Missy one last time, he tore from Scully and walked to the door. One last look conveyed the one emotion she’d dreaded her father ever feeling towards her: disappointment.

As he left the room, she felt the darkness begin to surround her again. She tilted her head to look down at her sister, only to discover the bed was empty.

She had to get out of here.

Once she stepped out of the room, however, she was met with a graveyard. Not again, she silently cried. She began to weave in and out of the headstones, awaiting the moment that she would stumble upon her own grave once more.

And then she saw him, bathed in shadows and standing in the middle of the large cemetery. He didn’t move, just stood their studying her. He didn’t bother to lead her anywhere.

"You could have saved them," she heard someone say behind her.

She turned to find Missy, walking to her in a flowing, flowered dress, her hair down and brushing against her shoulders.

"These people," Missy said, motioning with one hand to indicate the graves, "may still be alive if you’d just stuck with your first choice. If you’d just stuck with medicine."

All Scully could think was that this didn’t sound like her sister at all. Missy had been the only one 100% behind her decision to join the FBI. Why would she being saying this?

"I’ve saved lives with the job I do now, Missy. I’ve made a difference," she said with conviction.

A huff was what left Missy in return, before she added, "Is it all worth it, Dana? Losing everything you worked for? Losing me? Losing Emily? Almost losing yourself? Is that what you wanted?"

God, she couldn’t be hearing this. Not from Melissa. She turned her face away from her sister’s prying eyes, only to see that the man remained where he’d been before, watching them.

There had to be a way out of here.

Scully switched her attention back to her sister. She was gone. Scully swept her eyes over the area, desperate to find her sister. Her eyes landed on the man again and she saw he was moving. He was walking to her.

Her heart began to beat so hard she thought it would burst through her chest. She turned away from him and began to walk away. At first she tried to take long strides, but she found herself jogging. The labyrinth appeared once more and she began to weave through it, fast and determined.

She didn’t dare look back.

An opening appeared and she sped up to reach it. However, the only place the light led to was the edge of a cliff. Below her, water crashed against rocks. She looked behind her to see the man growing closer to her and she was faced with a decision.

Thinking about it only a moment, she propelled herself off the cliff and could fill the mist hit her as she descended towards the water.

The impact of her body hitting the waves jolted her upright from her slumber. She was soaked in sweat and she could feel her heart still beating fast and furious.

She dry washed her hands over her face then threw the covers off her body, making for the bathroom. Turning the cold tap on in the shower, she stripped and jumped under the beads of water.

Thinking back on everything in her dream–her father, her sister, the cemetery filled with people whom she could have saved–-she felt tears begin to well in her eyes.

Her body shook uncontrollably as the racking sobs took over, causing her throat to tighten. Slowly she sat down in the bathtub, allowing the water to beat her mercilessly as she brought her knees to her chest, cradling them.

XxX

When she was able to feel again, two hours later, she dried her body and dressed in a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. She was quiet opening the door to her hotel room, careful not to disturb her hopefully sleeping partner only a room away.

The small convenience shop the hotel offered carried all of the necessities a traveler might need. Scully scanned the shelves, finding her savior on the last one, next to Alka-Seltzer and Tylenol.

Back in her hotel room, she filled the complimentary plastic cup with cold water from the sink and then sat down on the toilet seat. Taking a deep breath, she let three pills slide from the container into her palm, weighing their power.

Scully tossed the tablets into her mouth and she chased them down with the clear liquid in the cup.

It was like pouring night into a glass, the chilled darkness flowing through her breakable body, smothering the light she once knew.