Title: My Seven Dreams of Emily
Content Warning: This may seem so random at first, but remember it is a dream told in first person by Scully and it's supposed to be very vivid. Please let me know how this worked because it is very different from anything I've done, prose wise.
Summary: Mulder dreams of his own personal hell.
My First Dream
The light coming through the stained glass windows shifts unto my face in golds and greens and warms small patches of skin in the otherwise cool trap of this confessional.
I am on the wrong side.
The door slides open and the triangles cast over my face and obscure the tiny figure beyond. I can hear the breathing, feel the slight raise in temperature that tells me another person is in here with me.
This box of forgiveness strains with the knowledge of a legion of sins, pops and creaks on its well built foundation with the shuddering of damned offenses. It waits for one of us to speak, and as it waits, it takes in a deep breath.
"Forgive me, Mother, for I have sinned."
It is a small voice, a small commanding voice with clarity and reason beyond age or time.
It is Emily.
My breath hitches close to my lungs, my ribs catching on my attempt to speak, my hands fluttering to my throat.
The whimper comes to my throat before I can even recognize it is there, and it bubbles through the defenses of my steel armor, acid-like and quick.
"I forgive you, Emily. I forgive you."
"Don't you want to know my sin?"
Her voice is petulant, her words sly and soft, as if she is teasing me with some unattainable knowledge, knowing I will grab at it as surely as I grab for her.
"I don't care. I forgive you."
"You can't. You can't." she says and I managed to see a small glimpse of brown blonde hair and a sweater and I think it's too hot for a sweater.
"I do, I forgive you."
Her words are ignoring mine and they come forcefully, suddenly:
You can't. You can't.
I crumple to the side, digging my fingers through to the holes that separate us, the solid wood between us, the void of life between us.
"Emily, Emily." I whisper, knowing that soon she will be gone again.
"You can't. You can't."
"Take my fingers, Emily. Take my fingers."
I want to hold onto her, as if I could save her simply with a touch. My touch did not save her before. Why should it now?
"You can't." she says again and I shake.
I can't save her. I can't forgive. (Her, or Him, or Them, or Me).
I can't keep this all in.
"Please, Emily. Please."
I want to save her, I want to at least try. I want my baby girl.
"Oh God, don't take my baby girl."
The light shifts again and I glance out, expecting someone to be standing in the way of the sun, but there is still the window, and still the stillness.
I look back and Emily is gone.
"No," I shudder. "No, you can't. You can't."
But still, she is gone, and still the sun comes through the stained glass window and makes patches of green-gold warmth across my skin.
Everything is holding its breath.
"Sure you can, Emily. Just puff out your cheeks," he says.
My little girl stares at him as he demonstrates Mr. Potato Head and then gives her ghost smile.
Mulder looks up to me and rolls his eyes. "She's harder to get a laugh from than you."
I raise an eyebrow and gather Emily into my arms. She is stiff and frightened; I can tell she still does not know me. She has not lived with me like she should have. She does not know me as her mother.
I shiver as I feel shadows cross the sun, like the footsteps of Evil walking across my grave. Emily buries her head into my lap and seems to feel it too.
Mulder watches us.
The toy is abandoned on the wooden floor of the orphanage, its bright red lips and bulging white eyes looking garish and out of place for a child's companion.
There is no answer and Mulder stares at me for a long time, his eyes asking Is she dead?
I twitch, my hands hold tighter to my girl, tighter and tighter until she breaks and crumbles in my lap.
"You can't," Mulder says and begins to sweep up the pieces of my once-daughter.
I slap away his hands and cradle the jagged edges, hating him for trying to take her from me.
I glare at him, my eyes daring him to say it one more time, to refuse my motherhood once more, to deny my life its completion.
I crumble then, fall into the floor and hear the sounds of tinkling glass, as if I am the unicorn figurine in Laura's collection, my horn broken off in the attempt to impress someone. **
I can't put back these pieces, I can't find the glue that will hold them to each other, I can't find all the shards that once fit together.
I am broken.
end *Author's Note: For those of you who were confused about the glass unicorn, it is from the play by Tennessee Williams called "The Glass Menagerie." In it, a girl named Laura has a collection of glass animals, one of them the unicorn, who she relates to because it is the odd one out and doesn't belong with the other horses. When a friend of her brother's comes to the house acting as a suitor, she shows him the unicorn and he accidentally breaks the horn off. But she is glad because now it won't feel so different. The friend tries to make her see her own beauty, her own original-ness, her own 'horn' that makes her a unicorn as something that is not a bad thing. (Okay, enough Jr. English) adios RM
I am in my house, but it is not anything I really own, yet it feels as if I do, and it is normal and all right.
I can see out the window, and there are birds squeaking in the chimney, begging for their mommas, and I can just about smell dinner cooking.
It is home, and yet it is missing something.
I run upstairs and find Mulder, asleep in a chair, his face serene, blank, more natural and childish than I have ever seen it before.
Something is wrong because this feels so wrong, so right, so wrong, so really Right.
Why am I not questioning how Mulder came to be here, in my house (his house) asleep in the chair?
Why am I afraid that something isn't right in our perfect world?
He wakes up slowly, bringing his hands to rub his eyes and he looks more like a four-year-old than a husband.
"Where is she?" I ask and my voice is shrill, biting, afraid.
"Where she always is."
As if we'd had Emily long enough to put her someplace to be her 'always' place.
But I run through the rooms and run through the tunnels that this house suddenly seems to grow and run through the trees that these wooden floors seem to sprout and run until I make it.
She's alseep in bed, turned in a soft way, eyes shut and face just as blank and serene as Mulder's was.
Only, I know that this time, she won't wake up.
I hear the echo of my cry coming from Mulder too and as I tremble forward into the bedroom, I can feel Mulder following.
My head lays down beside the still, so still body of my only child, wishing for an instance that I would feel her breath suddenly hot against my cheek.
Mulder reaches out and pulls back the sheets and I want to scream at him to leave her alone, to scream at him all the blame: he was here when she died, he was supposed to be taking care of her, he was asleep when he shouldn't have been.
I want to scream.
But I can't.
Emily is colder now, her face frozen in a mask of innocence, and I engrave every detail of her face into my mind, wishing I could sketch it out endlessly because I know that someone will take her from me.
I don't look at him, I don't choose to acknowledge him. He's too painful a reminder.
My eyes close and I feel the whisper of a need rise in me like flood waters.
"I want to have her back, Mulder."
"You can't," he whispers and I feel his hands on me, pulling me from her and I let him.
I let him.
There is nothing I can do.
There is nothing I can do.
"Have you accepted your grief?"
"Have you faith?"
"I can't accept my grief. I can't."
It is Father McCue, but it is not Father McCue, and he is watching me cry through the slits of the jail cell and it feels like confessional, and it feels like the time when I was in the hospital.
Either way, I am a prisoner.
I glance around the cold concrete blocked cell, feeling the eyes of a million other prisoners who have gone before me- here with me now, their anger and guilt seeping into me like a second skin.
I shut away these voices, the ones that say I am too old, too young, too hurt, too pained, too loving, too cold, too hot, too stone.
Mulder is the voice, in a different language every time, yet the same and I can understand it is him, and what he says, and I wish he didn't see me the way he sees me.
I want him to feel like he can make Mr. Potato Head faces at me if he wants. I want him to feel like he can pull me together with his arms and tell me that death is all right, that death is something you never get over, you only get with.
I shudder and Father McCue changes to Father, and he is frowning at me and whispering those late night AbFlexer commercial words that came to me when he was dying, right there in my chair.
"Daddy, I can't."
For I know what he is saying even though I can't hear his words. It is not "I'm proud of you," it is "Can you accept your grief?"
I couldn't even accept that my Ahab was dead, how will I accept the grief over my baby girl? My little girl that was made from me, stolen from me, raised away from me, finally found by me?
Oh, God. Oh God, oh God, ohGod ohGod......
Please, just make her go away. Make her go away. I don't want to see her anymore.....
"Let me go, Mommy. Please let me go."
"I can't baby, I can't."
I turn and there she is, sitting on my prison cell bed, her brightness beating the greyness of the room, her baby cheeks thick with her words.
I have to hold her. I have to touch her once more.
I have to feel this flesh of my flesh one more time before she is gone.
I grasp her, I hold her tightly, clasping her shoulders in a too tight hug.
"Mommy, please let me go."
As I sit here in this cell, her words are the key to get me out, but I do not take them, I do not take them.
Oh, God, help me. I do not take them. I can't.
I love her.
I have to hear her say Mommy again; I have to hear her voice trembling with child sounds; I have to hold her like this and feel her cornsilk hair and touch her chubby round fingers.
"Let me go, Mommy."
My words are choked, wrung hollowly from my chest.
We make Kool-Aid together every Friday because her face is beautiful when she's having fun, and also because Kool-Aid at least gets her to drink water.
The television is on in the other room and she listens with half an ear as Big Bird complains about Oscar again, managing to work in the number of the day four times; I'm impressed. Scripting must be very good today.
She glances at me and suddenly I realize.
My stomach drops out, flips over, and shoots up to my mouth.
Oh God, this isn't real.
I panic, turn away blindly, waiting for my body to catch on that I want to wake up now ... *I want to wake up now. **
"Mommy, can we put in more sugar?"
I nod absently, then suddenly, I have to know what kind of Kool-Aid this is. I have to remember every detail of this dream.
The sugar sifts into the bottom of the smiling Kool-Aid man pitcher and sends grains of it scattering across the counter.
"Oops," she says and giggles over at me.
My hand clamps over my mouth to keep my stomach down.
I can't look. I can't look.
The water bubbling, almost frothing as I fill it up.
The way it is still clear, not yet the pink of Kool-Aid, the color drained of life as the sugar coats the bottom.
I press the plastic spoon into her hand and bite my lip, lifitng her up to stir the pitcher.
She is a comforting heaviness in my arms, as if she is mine and meant to be there.
She teeters on my knee as I prop her up against the counter, her blonde brown hair falling forward as she peers into the depths of drink.
"It's still clear!"
Her child-joy makes me tremble and I nod wordlessly, watching.
She sticks out her tongue and dips the spoon in, then begins to twirl it, taking her time with the job. My arms grow weak from lifting, my leg shaky from her weight. She leans forward and I have a panicky feeling that I am going to *drop* her.
The moment leaves and she's still in my embrace and I crush the sickness into a small ball of pain that I can bounce relentlessly later.
As she stirs, the sugar drifts and the Kool-Aid mix rises and flows with the eddies of water and sugar, and suddenly life and color have come back.
She gasps with delight and looks back at me.
Her look of pure delight and love knock me over and I stumble, reeling as she clutches onto me.
Oh, God, don't make me give her back. Don't make me give her back.
I can't see this and be okay again. I can't know this wonderful feeling of completeness and not want it.
I can't love her and not hurt because she's gone.
"Mommy? I want down."
I'm still holding to her tightly, as if my arms can prevent her from leaving me.
"Mommy. Let me go."
These words are a slap.
A stinging, tearful backhand across the face.
I drop her, skittering away.
She looks up at me and her face is hurt, her body crumpled on the ground.
"Mommy. Mommy, you hurt me."
Oh God, I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to, Emily.
I rush to her, arms opening to her, face pressing into her shoulder, grabbing her up into me, wishing I could enjoy her touch without the knowledge that she will be gone from me when I wake.
The warmth of her small blood and bones knitted into this chubby package of antics and playfulness. The small fingers with their small nails handling mud pies and dolls and forks and my love. The smell of yesterday's bath and fresh ozone like she is lightning incarnate. Her soft, peach fuzz skin on the tips of my fingers and the way her small nose crinkles when she smiles at me- these are the things I have forogtten.
"It's okay to cry, Mommy," she says and one small finger raises to my cheek and traces an imaginary path down to my lips.
"It's okay to cry."
And so I do.
The golden cross leaps at me in the mirror, as if it is the white rabbit beckoning me into the Wonderland of faith that only I can fall down.
There is no more confessional, no more prison, no more house with Mulder, or Kool-Aid with Emily.
There is just me.
Me and this thing shinging like new pennies in my fist.
I clasp it tightly and turn it over, inspecting the small work, the chain, the way the cross piece smoothly gives over to the base. It is a study in perfection, in faith, and I fear that my selfish perfection has decided faith to be unattainable.
The woman in the mirror shudders back and makes an ugly grimace, her still-too-thin body giving up images of sticking out ribs or bony elbows.
I watch the woman in the mirror. Her eyes regard me carefully, studying every curve of my former glory, every sallow impression of my former cancer, every shape of my former faith.
Her waist is too small, her eyes too narrowed, her lips too strained, her face too pale. She is disdaining of me and she is disdaining of the world.
I see visions behind the mirror.
I see Emily running for her and being brushed aside.
I see Mulder reaching for her and being coldly refused.
I see sadness enveloping her and fury making love to her. I see anger seducing her skin and depression paying homage to her hips. I see nervousness sneaking into her hands and bitterness between her breasts.
I see Emily dying.
I see Mulder dying.
I see her dying.
I close my eyes and breathe again. The visions disappear and the blackness of the world in my head refocuses into nothingness.
I trace the curve of my lips, the swell of my stomach, the expanse of my thighs. Everything is there. Everything is fuller here, in my mind. Everything is right and beautiful and in control about me. Emily is here with me, and Mulder, and my father and mother, and sister and brothers.
I open my eyes and the woman in the mirror is me again.
She is holding onto her faith with a hand that will not let go.
I lift up the cross and clasp it around my neck.
It rests against my skin and warms with my blood.
In the mirror, I am me again.
There is the sea stretching before me with its waves of women that caress the men of the shore. They whisper intoxicating things that make the men slide out to them before they realize and are sucked into the tides, forever displaced.
I can see the brightness of the sun mirrored in the sand and it is so brilliant that I turn back to the ocean, letting its endlessness calm me.
The sea has always been my anchor.
The sea has always been my lover, pushing me into heights unknown and pulling me into its embrace.
I called the waves women, but the sea is a man, and that is odd, but I cannot explain it too well.
I feel a gentle tug at my arm and there is Emily, my precious little girl.
She smiles in the sun and her face is reddened and freckled, just as am I sure mine is too.
I think this is California. I like California's beaches, when they aren't populated that is.
Emily takes me to a sandy hill, the grass struggling to grow through the heat and salt to a better plane. She sits and I pull her into my arms as we wait.
I know we wait for someone important, but I do not know who and I begin to grow restless.
Emily plays in the sand with her fingers, letting the sand dribble out slowly like a time keeper. She moves her toes around in it, smiling a private smile as the sand flows around her.
She looks up and places a finger to my lips, silencing me. I kiss her sandy small finger and smile.
The sun gets hotter, brighter, more intense and I shade my eyes.
That isn't the sun.
Silence greets me and it is terrible and absolute, as if nature itself is in awe of the creature before us.
It is glowing, but glowing is such a weak word for the brilliance of its shine. Beaming is more like it. It has a glistening face that shifts even as I try to focus on it.
I'm not afraid of it this time.
Emily scrambles up from my lap and reaches out.
I sit, letting her go and knowing that this time, it is the right thing to do.
The light reaches for her and begins encompassing her tiny frame. I know she is still there, but she is clothed in white and I cannot see her.
She turns her small head and I see her eyes as she speaks.
"Thank you for letting me go, Mommy."
I can't watch this anymore, though.
The sky darkens as I turn my head, even though the sun is still shining, that is how bright this angel is.
I sigh as I feel the whisper of a daughter's last kiss upon my cheek.
I swallow tightly past my sorrow and open my eyes again.
"Mulder!" I yelp as his face floats before me.
"It's okay," he says and his arms reach out to me just as the angel's did for Emily.
I am biting my lip to keep these tears away, but like Emily, I am trusting this being. I am trusting this man.
I fall into him and let my tears come, like waves upon the shore.
For once, I am proud of what he sees when he looks at me.