Disclaimer: Everyone mentioned herein belongs to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox Productions. No money was made and none will be.
Author's Notes: Written for the After the Fact archive. If you liked this trip down Memory Lane, let me know. XScout@hotmail.com
Memories of Nothing
I'm still shaking.
In the darkness of a shuttered room with only thin slices of light cutting across the carpet from the blinds, I sit, sweating in the cold night. Torn from sleep that was anything but restful with such abrupt force, the adrenaline surging through my veins has left me with tremors.
There was a new element to the dream this time. It always begins the same - Sam and I are in the living room playing Stratego, the television playing in the background. We argue about what to watch and I utter those fateful words: 'Get out of my life!' And she does. Walls rattle, lights flash, and a high pitched scream calls my name. But this time as I watched my sister float out the window I didn't go for my father's gun on top of the bookshelf. I instead tried to go after her, running as fast as my feet would move but I didn't seem to get any closer.
It was then that I realized that I was being held back by someone. Looking down at my arms I saw cold dead fingers wrapped around my biceps, clinging to me with an iron grip caused by rigor mortis. A backward glance revealed the open mouth of Jorge, face frozen in a silent scream of terror. The wind howled and garbled noises roared, mechanical words and nature's fury drowning out every other sound. Then one small cry rose above the torrent, a child's cry for help as she called to her brother. But I still couldn't move. Skeletal hands clawed at me and wide terrified eyes stared out from the intensifying red glow. Death, lights, and screaming. Screaming over and over...
Shaking my head as though it would miraculously dislodge the images from my infallible memory, I laugh at the inane action. My memory. What a cruel and twisted thing it is. I can remember every last question from my final exam of Freshman English with Mrs. Jellison but I can't remember the most important event of my life. Most of my life is something I can look back on and see crystal clear as though I was watching reruns on the television. It was useful when I was in school, as all I had to do was read my books through once and then be able to call it to mind letter by letter. I didn't have to take notes and I could recite speeches with little effort. It was even useful in a nonacademic venue. My success as a profiler with the Violent Crimes Section was largely due to my ability to remember every tiny detail from every single report pertaining to the UNSUB I was working on. It seemed like magic to some because they couldn't understand how I could know what I did. Yes, I admit that instinct and some indefinable quality I would rather leave unnamed also played a large part in my profiling, but it wouldn't have come together without my memory.
But the Fates played a trick on me, giving me something that would have otherwise been a gift. There is a short period in my life that I cannot remember a single second of. I remember with perfect clarity my parents leaving for the Galbrath's house, my mom kissing my forehead and reminding me not to stay up too late watching TV, my father giving me a stern look and telling me to watch after my sister because I was the man of the house whenever he was out. The door closes behind them and then.... A big white blank. Recollection picks up again in the hospital, where I had been admitted with catatonia weeks earlier. Every time I try to recall what happened in between those two points simply leaves my with a headache and an annoying stinging in my eyes. Hypnotic regression may have uncovered some of those lost memories but I am well aware of the inaccuracy of hypnosis. I do have a Ph.D. is psychology, you know, even though I don't go by 'Doctor'. To this day I still ponder over whether or not I did the right thing in going to Dr. Verber.
Yes, I have something that may be a memory of what happened the night Samantha was taken. Yes, I have something to build upon and can now work towards the more tangible goal of finding her. And yes, I now have vivid nightmares about bright lights, shadowy figures, and screaming. A half-remembered vision of something that may or may not have happened taunts me at night and sometimes during the day if something I see reminds me of it. Flashbacks are something I've had to deal with all my life due to my memory, but I learned early on how to accept them and then push them aside so they don't interfere with reality.
Oh, I believe without a doubt that she was taken by aliens, don't get me wrong. Before I ever went to Verber I remembered a bright light and a presence in the room, my instincts telling me that the presence was not a human one. While in the VCS I dreamt of all sorts of ends to my sister's life, the serial killers and rapists I was profiling featuring prominently. Memory, imagination, and that indefinable quality all mingling together to wake me in the middle of the night with a raw throat and damp sheets.
At least my couch doesn't have sheets so I don't have to lay fresh ones down and cold sweat dries fast on leather. I knew this was coming but I was so exhausted that I decided to let my body rest at least a few hours instead of fighting to stay awake in order to avoid the nightmares. The last few days have been long ones that left my muscles aching, my mind whirling, and my emotions adrift. Hiking through jungles, being thrown against machines by an unearthly wind, and racing dangerously down slopes in a beat up ORV coupled with hopes of evidence of 'Contact' will do that to a person.
Evidence of Contact was on that reel of tape, I know it was. I swear my eardrums hurt, listening so hard to that tape of silence, straining to hear even the slightest recording of what I knew had happened. But there was nothing. That is always what I end up with. Nothing.
Yes, I told Scully that I still had myself and that I still had her. She is the one constant in my life, even though the X-Files have been closed, and I appreciate all that she has done and continues to do for me. Without her constant e-mails and phone calls asking me anything from how I'm doing to advice on a case she's working on, I don't think I would have stayed with the Bureau. I would have tucked my tail between my legs and quit. But she kept me here, gave me strength and a shoulder to lean on. And just yesterday I discovered that I have a new ally, though I never figured AD Skinner for the type. So now I have a friend, an ally, and myself.
But it isn't enough. Because I have no answers, no proof, and no sister. Because my memory of that night is just like that reel of tape sitting in a dark, smoke-filled room. Blank.
Yet the need to fill that blank emptiness is what has driven me on all these years, kept me going despite the scorn of my colleagues and the continuous attempts to stop my inquiries by that unnamed nefarious government organization. After the debacle at Ellen's Air Force base I realized that the blankness of that night so long ago was engineered, not a manifestation of my brain trying to protect me from trauma. And in that lies the irony.
They gave me this hole that I crave to erase, this emptiness that I will never cease striving to fill. It is my memories that drive me on. My memories of nothing.