The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995

Chapter 14

Nick felt nothing but pain. There was so much pain that he didn't even know where it was hurting. He couldn't see, and he was pretty sure that he couldn't hear. What he thought was noise could have been the sounds of his own mind.

"Nicholas." The voice that boomed throughout the remnant of his conscious mind was... Provencal. Not Parisian French, that was for certain. He knew that it should be significant for some reason, but he didn't know why. "Nicholas. Wake up."

He opened up his eyes, finding himself in a hospital. He stared at a doctor with a white coat and notepad. She was a young woman without a touch of gray in her hair. //She must have been a quite a remarkable woman to become a doctor at such a young age.// In his state, a great many thoughts went through his mind. Even the most trivial thoughts seemed important.

She leaned closer to him, inspecting his eyes. "I see you are awake." Her accent was the same Provencal accent that he heard in that limbo.

"Nat?" he asked weakly.

"Don't worry," she smiled. "Dr. Lambert is recovering in another room. She just got a nick, forgive the pun." She smiled even wider, then her face became solemn. "You, on the other hand are in a much graver situation, and I feel that I must be brutally honest with you."

That was when Nick noticed that he had several IV tubes hooked into his arm and a plastic tube attached to his privates. He looked at the doctor in confusion, and she took a seat next to his bed. "You have diabetes. But it's not that simple. For some reason, over the last ten hours, your body has suddenly stopped producing insulin. Although we have never seen that happen before, we're not shocked. We're shocked because your body destroys any and all insulin that we inject into the body." She looked at him straight in the eye, "If a miracle doesn't happen, you will die in anywhere from one day to a week."

Nick stared at the ceiling, in total shock. He heard every word she said, but it wasn't registering.

The doctor nodded with pity, "If you need any help, just ring the buzzer."

A memory sprang to Nick's mind then: "Don't eat or drink anything for a day and a night."

Nick's nerves snapped tight as a sudden realization dawned. He hadn't followed Janette's directions for his 'cure.' //My god, what have I done??//

* * *

LaCroix was slumping against a pillar, barely able to stay in control. He was drunk. Drunk on blood. Drunk on the experiences that flooded through his mind. He screamed as a million images, voices, tastes, smells, and feelings fought for dominance. While he was slumped against the pillar, he was also fighting Indian rebels, sticking Tracy in the trunk of a car he didn't own, and making a deal in a smoke-filled warehouse. The taste of gin hung in his mouth, as did the smell of gin.

Vachon was looking at him with fear, while Tracy merely looked on with confusion. For some reason, Vachon threw Tracy out of the way as LaCroix tensed and howled in agony. He supposed he must have been screaming, but he didn't know what he was saying. He did know that he was smashing around chairs and ripping pews from the foundation.

Eventually, the foreign sensations ceased trying to invade his mind, but the absorbed memories remained. He stood in the middle of wreckage, and saw Vachon standing cautiously about twenty feet away, a sharpened spike in his hand.

"It's over," whispered LaCroix. "Don't worry. I don't bite. Drop it!!" Vachon reluctantly lowered it to the ground.

LaCroix was still breathing heavily, and stared up near the roof. "Every time I think I have learned everything, that I know everything, there is something that humbles me."

Vachon knew better than to ask. He waited.

"I have seen into the Irishman's memories. From his eyes, I see the faces of the Invisible Ones." His eyes were wide. "I have also seen their faces with my own eyes, and I didn't know them for what they were. For three years, I saw him come and go, and I never saw what lay beneath his skin."

Vachon raised his eyebrows.

"His name is Schanke. He was Nick's partner until the time you were introduced to us. We were all led to believe that he'd died, but some deaths are less permanent than others." A rage seemed to fill LaCroix' eyes, "I will *not* allow him or any other of his kind to bring harm to my children!"

LaCroix turned around furiously, looking around for some kind of exit, but he knew there would be none until sundown.

"Calm down," soothed Vachon. "There's nothing you can do for a few hours at least. Calm down and fill me in. Maybe there's something I can do to help."

LaCroix looked at Vachon skeptically, and looked away. "Schanke was assigned to watch the vampires in Toronto." He snorted. "There could be no better way to learn about vampires than to have one for a partner. All this time, and he assessed us. He learned our strengths and weaknesses... When he felt he had enough information and wanted to leave in a fashion that none of us would question, he found a disturbed individual and 'suggested' that he start blowing things up."

He looked upwards. "Voodoo indeed. Even he didn't understand why he did it. When he sang that song, he was crying for help, and none of us knew what he was really trying to say."

"Hold it!" Vachon held up his hands. "Why would Schanke have done this? He *died* in that crash!"

LaCroix shook his head, "They never found his body. No body, no corpse."

"Oh. I forgot."

"But when I find him, he's going to wish he *had* died in that crash."

* * *

Scully rode silently in the limo for one minute too long. "Where are we going? What are we hunting?"

"That's fair." He zipped open the back of the seat in front of him, pulling out a folder file. Inside were several blown-up black-and-whites.

Scully inspected them closely. They were shots made with a telescopic lens. It was of a woman that she had seen only once. "Good God! Mulder's not going to like this one bit!"

Mr. X nodded. "That's why we're handling this ourselves..." He breathed in deeply. "She's one of the Invisible Ones, but not only that, she's quite evil and has some pretty horrible plans in store. She has to die, and we're the ones who have to do it. Mulder can't ever know what's going to happen tonight. He can't ever know."

Scully shook her head, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. "Samantha an Invisible One... How did it happen?"

"You remember your excursion into that vault in West Virginia? All the files with the samples?" Scully nodded wordlessly. "You also remember that Mulder was originally slated to be 'tested', but it was switched." Scully nodded. "It wasn't switched."

"That doesn't make any sense! How can it be switched and not switched?"

"Names were switched, but Mulder never had a sister. It was all faked. His 'sister' was an adopted girl that his father intended to use for a very cold purpose. He wanted to spare his son, but he couldn't openly pull his son out. So he played a shell trick. Mulder was spared, but at a high cost...

"Mulder's memories were completely false. And because of that, he's torn apart a neat little covering that's protected the status quo for decades."

"What do you mean by 'false'?"

"Mulder was blindfolded and pumped with so many drugs that he wouldn't see what really happened that night. His father encouraged it because he'd rather his son believed that 'aliens' took his 'sister' away, than know the colder truth: that his very own father handed her over, screaming and crying.

"Two of Halscombe's men took her away in a taxpayer limo, and she was never heard of again. Naturally, there would be inquiries, but it would cover his trail if he had a son who would insist that aliens took her away. It made investigators laugh and say, 'Sorry I asked.'"

Scully leaned back, her headache threatening to incapacitate her once more. "Do you have any other surprises for me?"

"You're not going to like this."

"Show it to me."

What she saw made her want to throw up, but she kept it down. It showed Samantha standing over Melissa's freshly-dug grave, handing over a bundle of cash to Halscombe, who also stood over it. In the next picture, they poured a bottle of wine over the grave together, kissing passionately.

"Does this mean that Halscombe deliberately had my sister murdered? That it wasn't an accident?" Scully could barely keep her tone level.

"Maybe, or maybe not. What it does mean is that they certainly thought it was a good thing."

Scully didn't know whether he was talking about the murder or the kiss. She shuddered at the thought. //The guy is slime! The crime is its own punishment!//

* * * *

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