Thanks to the weird sleep schedule I’ve fallen into since becoming unemployed, I learned the other day that you can watch episodes of the X-files on TNT from 2-6:00 am some nights (or rather, mornings). Now, I’ll admit, I was a little late to the X-files game – I didn’t start watching the show until after I’d seen the movie, which came out between seasons 5 and 6…but once I started, I was hooked. My fascination stemmed in part from the weird nature of the cases, the rest from David Duchovny’s portrayal of Agent Fox Mulder (yes, smart IS sexy!). When FX began to show reruns of the series, I was able to watch all of the episodes from the beginning, until I was caught up.
One day, while surfing the ‘net, I discovered the wonderful (and sometimes slightly disturbing) world of Fan Fiction. There were entire websites out there devoted solely to X-files-character-based stories written by fans of the show. Some of these stories were amazingly well-written, while others made you wonder if the writer had ever even heard of the X-files (or spell check, or a dictionary, or the English language). It was after reading one of these painfully bad stories that I found myself thinking, “Geez, I could do better than that!” I opened up Word, and started typing what I thought was going to be a short story. Exactly 1 year to the day later, Nocturnal Perception was finished – all 181 pages of it.
In a shameless act of self-promotion, I thought I would post that story here. If nothing else, it will give me blog material for a couple of weeks! For those of you who are unenlightened, the X-files was about FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who mainly investigated cases of a paranormal nature. Mulder was a believer in all things paranormal – he even believed that his own sister had been abducted by aliens when they were children – while Scully was trained as a doctor and a scientist, and therefore, slightly more skeptical. Scully was initially paired with Mulder to work on these “X-Files” by the higher-ups in the hopes that she would debunk his work and discredit Mulder, but, unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen.
So here you have it….Nocturnal Perception, by Jennifer M. Green. I hope you like it!
Fox MulderÃ¢Â€Â™s apartment
Mulder was suddenly propelled into wakefulness by the shrill ring of a telephone. He sat up on his couch, groping around in the darkness for the offensive object. As his hand settled on the receiver, his eyes went automatically to the green glow of the VCR. **3:15 am. Who would be calling at this hour? **, he thought fuzzily, as he lifted the phone from its cradle and gave his trademark greeting.
There was no answer, but he could hear the soft sounds of breathing in the background.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHello?Ã¢Â€Â� Then, in an unexpected flash of intuition, Ã¢Â€ÂœScully?Ã¢Â€Â�
There was still no response from the caller, and Mulder could feel the first twinges of panic at the edge of his consciousness. He couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t understand the reasoning behind his sudden irrational fear. ** ItÃ¢Â€Â™s a prank call, thatÃ¢Â€Â™s all. People get them all the time. Just some kids screwing around with the phone. ** But even as he thought these things, trying desperately to convince himself to calm down, he was equally convinced that this wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t a simple prank call. He suddenly knew without a doubt that it was his partner on the other end of the line. He had no idea from where this certainty came. He just knew.
Ã¢Â€ÂœDamn it, Scully, answer me. Are you all right?Ã¢Â€Â� His overactive imagination was beginning to kick in, eagerly supplying him with dozens of possible scenarios that could have prompted a phone call at this hour. He remembered another phone call from her, long ago now, a message on his answering machine that had marked the beginning of a three-month nightmare. Duane Barry was long dead, he knew, but the world was full of psychos. An image of Scully lying on the floor, phone clutched in her hand, unable to call out for help due to the fact that her throat had been slashed popped unbidden into his mind. The mental picture was so vivid; he could almost smell the coppery scent of her blood as it seeped from her body, forming a rapidly growing pool on the floor around her. He was off the couch and halfway to the door before he realized she had finally spoken.
Ã¢Â€ÂœMulder, she needs your help. You have to help her.Ã¢Â€Â� Although the voice was hushed, barely above a whisper, it was unmistakably Scully, and he felt a surge of overwhelming relief rush through him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœJeez Scully, you scared the hell out of me.Ã¢Â€Â� It hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t yet dawned on him exactly what sheÃ¢Â€Â™d said, just that she had spoken. Her throat wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t cut. She was ok. He chuckled softly to himself. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou know that hyperactive imagination you always accuse me of having? Well, it just went into overdrive. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s going to take me an hour to come down from this adrenaline rush.Ã¢Â€Â� He sank heavily back down onto the couch.
Ã¢Â€ÂœMulder, there isnÃ¢Â€Â™t much time. You have to hurry. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s going to kill her.Ã¢Â€Â� Her voice sounded strange, still soft and curiously flat, considering the message it was currently conveying. And this time the actual words penetrated his brain.
Ã¢Â€ÂœScully? Where are you? Are you all right? WhoÃ¢Â€Â™s going to kill who? Did someone break into your apartment? Is someone there with you?Ã¢Â€Â� His mind was instantly racing again, his panic back in full force, when the inane thought that he probably shouldÃ¢Â€Â™ve said Ã¢Â€ÂœwhomÃ¢Â€Â� instead of Ã¢Â€ÂœwhoÃ¢Â€Â� crossed his mind. **Jesus, IÃ¢Â€Â™m either having the strangest dream of my life, or something very bad is happening to my partner, and here I am giving myself a damned grammar lesson! **
She continued as if he hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t spoken, still in that same toneless voice, Ã¢Â€ÂœThereÃ¢Â€Â™s an abandoned building down on Taylor Avenue, it used to be a bakery. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s right across the street from the post office. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s where he is. HeÃ¢Â€Â™s going to drag her into that building, rape her, and then kill her. He has a gun, Mulder, youÃ¢Â€Â™ll see that, but he also has a knife strapped to his right ankle. Hurry Mulder, youÃ¢Â€Â™ve only got about fifteen minutes.Ã¢Â€Â�
A thousand questions crossed his mind in the next instant. **What the hell is going on here? Why arenÃ¢Â€Â™t you at home, safe and sound in your bed, Scully? What are you doing staking out a rapist at three in the morning? When exactly did I fall down the rabbit hole, anyway? ** But all he said was, Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™ll be right there, Scully, ok? DonÃ¢Â€Â™t try to take this guy by yourself. IÃ¢Â€Â™ll be right there.Ã¢Â€Â�
Ã¢Â€ÂœDonÃ¢Â€Â™t forget the knife, Mulder. Remember the knife.Ã¢Â€Â�
Mulder heard a gentle click, and the connection was lost. Looking at the clock, he was shocked to realize it was only 3:17. He felt as if it had been hours since the telephone had awakened him, but in reality, the call had lasted less than three minutes. He shook himself and went in search of his shoes and a pair of jeans to throw on over the boxers heÃ¢Â€Â™d been wearing.
Once dressed, he headed for the door, grabbing his gun on the way. Scully had said he had fifteen minutes, and the location she had named was a good ten minutes away.
Chapter 1 to be continued….(if anyone is actually interested in reading it!)