Last Pose of Summer, The

by Pattie

Title: The Last Pose of Summer

Author: Pattie

Summary: Mulder goes through the family album, and recalls his last summer with Samantha. He does this too often to himself.

Archive: Gossamer, Ephemeral, Spooky Awards. No others without asking first, please. I keep these at my website: www.trish59ontario.tripod.com/

Disclaimer: If I owned Mulder and Scully, my name would be Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions would be my company, and Fox Studios would be the home of those film reels. Since I am not him, I make no money and intend no copyright infringement.

Author's Note: Written for the Nursery Files Lazy, Hazy Summer Days challenge (kids' photo based story).

Sometimes, I dream of her and that fateful night I couldn't wrest her from her abductors. Then I berate myself for the umpteenth time about blaming my barely adolescent self for not having seen and heard the events that led to that incident.

When I'm alone, tired after another out-of-town red herring or casefile, I come home, throw my things down, and take the photo album from my desk drawer. The phone messages can wait. The Gunmen with their new project can wait. My email box with its overflow spam can wait. I open the album and try to remember where I came from, who I was before she disappeared, and what it was like to be that boy who once worried only about the summer's end, why the fish wouldn't bite, and why my parents were arguing during the best time of the year: cottage time.

My eyes often stay glued to the pictures of Samantha and me just being kids. We run free, chasing each other around the grass, climbing trees, playing hide-and-seek with meighboring cottagers' kids, and them my gaze goes fuzzy. I drift to a place where there are no forms, badges, files. folders or bogeymen. The summer when I was 11 and Samantha was 7.

That summer, the air was pleasantly warm, and the occasional afternoon thunderstorms often broke any humidity that had come our way. Young as we were, we ran straight back outside chase each other through the grass, climb trees, imitate animals, (I was always the monkey),and sometimes discover a rainbow. Our parents were sensible enough not to take us there if there was a predicted hurricane wending its way up the coast.

Sometimes that particular yea, the last summer together, we'd lie in the grass and tell each other what we saw in the cotton-like puffy clouds.

"I see The Enterprise*," I would say. "With photon torpedos fired away."

"You and Star Trek*," Samantha would laugh. "I see a bunny with a kitty cat."

"Bunny? You mean a rabbit," I'd say. "Over there's a fire-breathing dragon... " And we would do this for hours if we could have.

One August afternoon, when Mom had us out here while my Dad was working some unknown place, I swore I saw the face of Dad's best friend, with smoke coming out of his mouth as usual. Then, the clouds seemed to add horns to his head. I didn't dare tell Samantha I saw that. "I see a man with a cigarette, and a fire extinguisher is shootin' out at him but good," I said. I remember thinking how nasty I must have sounded to Samantha.

"That's so rude, Fox! Besides, I see an angel. Maybe my guardian angel, or yours, or Mommie's. Maybe even little Jeffy's."

"Jeffy? Oh geez, Sam. He's a baby! Anyway, he makes me feel like something creepy's going on."

"You are a crazy brother!" Samantha's face was red with rage. She threw a stone at me, and I ducked. It hit a tree.

Maybe that day was a portent of things to come. Maybe that cloud formation and it's image was hinting at a truth I wasn't ready for.

I look at the last picture from that summer. She's in a paisley sundress with those tie up straps, with yellow flip-flops on her feet standing beside me in the wildflower garden at Chepachet, Rhode Island. That was truly one of the best summers we had, and the last one I had with her. I wipe tears before they hit the protective plastic in the album, close the damn thing and put it back in the desk drawer.

Why I do this to myself beats me. Pardon me, I beat myself as a result of all the guilt I still carry for letting her be taken.

Perhaps some day the self-punishment will end, as I either find her, or find out what happened to her.

Pattie



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