torch, November 1997
flambeau@strangeplaces.net

Disclaimer: The X-Files weren't my idea. Writing this story was. Another 500-word challenge story — this time slightly less than 500 words instead of slightly more. As the title indicates, this is the first in a little series I'm planning. Do not archive this story without permission.

Awakenings I : Narrow solitudes

Despite what people think about me, I don't approve of blatant stupidity, much less deliberate, blatant stupidity. But sometimes it seems better to be stupid than to be alone.

So here I am.

Faint gray light is seeping in through the blinds. I've been awake since well before dawn, lying here in the bed I wondered for years why I'd bought, tangled in sheets and pillows, arms and legs, dreams and desires, longings and regrets. Usually I can't fall asleep at night until I've somehow exhausted myself, watching videos, reading back issues of the Lone Gunman, making long, pointless, late-night calls to Scully. Last night exhaustion came much faster, but my body can't get used to more than four or five hours' sleep.

Last night. These nights... It isn't always like this. I still sleep on my couch most of the time, and there's no extra toothbrush in the bathroom. Sometimes I can almost make myself believe that these nights don't exist. They come so rarely, and the invasion of their sweet paradox is too complete; perfect, insane, brilliant, wrong, irresistible.

This one was no different. A gentle tap on the door, I opened it, and there we were. No words, not one word spoken before we attacked each other. I ripped his shirt beyond repair, even assuming he knows how to sew, which I doubt. His teeth drew blood from my shoulder. I'll carry the mark for days, a disquieting reminder that these moments are not out of time, however much it may seem that way in the dark when we take each other, possess each other, burn together in a silence only punctuated by screams and whimpers.

The neighbors probably know.

It's a choice I make, to open the door, to let him in. I could refuse. I could. But there are so many nights when the choice isn't given to me that I can't say no when he does come. It's too late to pretend I don't want him, has been too late since the first time, when he came to me hungry and vicious and eager to hurt and be hurt.

It's a choice I make, to be stupid, rather than to be alone. And yet I'm lying here, awake, touching his body, wondering where the rest of him is. If I wake him up now, we can fuck again before I have to get out of bed and go to work. I can sit there, sore and tired, and rejoice in her immaculate presence and feel his hands all over me, all over again. Sometimes I think it shows. Sometimes I don't care.

"Alex." His mouth is soft in sleep, only in sleep. "Alex! I want you, Alex. Wake up."

I want to be stupid, Alex. I don't want to be alone.

* * *

Awakenings II

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