Tortured and Guilty
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This is my fic for Mollyrocket's Halloween challenge. http://forums.delphiforums.com/XF3F/messages?msg=267.1
Disclaimer: Actually, they *are* my characters. Except for Mulder.
Spoilers: Absolutely none
Summary: It's been six months....
She wished he wasn’t so tortured. But he was, and it was her fault. Or at least it felt like it. What has happened had been out of her hands, but it was still something that made her felt guilty, even if it was irrational. Tortured and guilty, a natural pair.
It’d been six months since the accident, but Eric still wouldn’t look her in the eyes. Sometimes she wondered if he even knew she was there; from the distance in his eyes it seemed likely that he didn’t. And he never spoke to her. Never. The silence was deafening. Some times he listened, but most of the time she could be talking to herself for all the reaction she got. That made her lonely. She shivered a lot for October.
The reason Eric blamed himself is that everyone else did. First the police officer at the scene of the accident, making Eric hop on one foot and say the alphabet backwards while the paramedics worked on her. Then her parents and sister at the hospital while the machines breathed for her. Finally the lawyer accusing him in court…but the judge hadn’t so he’d gotten to go home. But he was still haunted by the accusations, she could tell. Despite several attempts to point that out that she didn’t blame him, which should have been the opinion that carried the most weight, her reassurances fell on deaf ears.
She guessed that she understood, it had been horrible. Of course it hadn’t started out that way. Easter, that’s when it had been. Eric wasn’t close to his family, so they’d gone to spend the Sunday with her. She hated to admit it to herself, but it was almost a relief. None of those typical newlywed negotiations and hassles over the holidays for them.
So they’d spent the day at her parents house, laughing at the egg hunt the little ones engaged in, and having a delicious ham dinner. They’d had wine with their meal, and why not? Holidays with the family are times worth celebrating, and it had only been a glass each. Eric had been fine to drive, of course he had.
It had been rainy on the way home, and Eric agreed with her relief that the rain had held off long enough for the egg hunt to go off without a hitch. That’s how most of the drive home had been – chatting about the inconsequential. Then something had run out into the road in front of them, oh so briefly illuminated in the headlights, a dog Eric thought. He’d swerved to avoid it, but it was hard to maneuver in that slashing rain. There was a tree… A crash, the jaws of life, a confusing ambulance trip to the hospital… she tired not to think about it.
It seemed as though Eric was starting to get it out of his head too, maybe. At least he was showing an interest in decorating for Halloween, and that was progress. He had a collection of painted ceramic Halloween lamps that his mother had done for him when he was growing up, and he’d put them out, same as every year. He kept forgetting to turn on their lights, though, so she often did it for him. That made him jumpy for some reason, as though the mere lighting of tiny light bulbs had a greater significance to him than to her.
He reacted that way just now, when she touched the back of his neck to reassure him that she still loved him. He dove away from her hand, almost crashing into the jack o lantern that he’d carved and put out earlier that night for the amusement of the trick o treaters that had visited.
Eric's hand seemed to tremble as he reached for the phone. His other hand reached into his suit jacket, and he pulled out a scrape of paper with a phone number on it in his own writing. Staring at it for a minute, he dialed. A click on the line confirmed that someone was at the other end, despite the late hour. His voice shook a little as he spoke. " Hello? Is this agent Mulder? Someone gave me your number and told me you deal with cases of the paranormal. I…" He paused. " I think I’m being haunted."
Author's end notes: in a round about way inspired by Two Months by Oracle. This fic ends how I thought hers would but doesn't.