The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
Methos was listening to the BBC on short-wave. There was
little else he could do. It was either fly and go nuts, or
fly and listen to the BBC.
A reporter with a Dutch accent was talking live from Amsterdam as he described what had just erupted. Acting on impulse, Methos scanned the other stations. Same thing in Esperanto and Dutch. He moved back to the BBC.
"It is absolute chaos here. For years, we
expected race riots or the rebirth of the Nazi
movement, but what we didn't expect was a riot
between Tyrsson and Odinsson.
"They are fighting everywhere. They are fighting
in the canals, in the buildings, on the streets,
and everywhere else a man could stand on two feet.
They're fighting with anything within reach...
clubs, guns, axes, and even chains.
"It's like the end of the world out here. The
city is burning. Even the canals are burning.
The very citizens of the city are destroying it
far more severely than any invading army could do.
Already, corpses litter the streets..."
* * *
Mulder and Skinner walked along a bad avenue, talking.
Mulder was frustrated and confused, but Skinner looked a lot
worse, as if he were a veteran returning from a war.
His disturbed look intensified. "So you're saying that according to Krycek, only immortals are supposed to be affected by these weapons?" Mulder nodded. "And the personalities are transferred by some kind of electric pulse?" Another nod.
Skinner stopped. "But I'm not an immortal."
"No. I died, but I was brought back to life by the doctors."
"Maybe they just finished up the job."
Skinner looked at the hammer with mounting apprehension. "It's impossible."
"The way I see it, we don't have any confirmation one way or another... except - "
Mulder took out his Swiss army knife. "Hold out your arm."
Skinner's face was full of suspicion, "What do you have in mind?"
"Just hold it out."
Skinner held out his arm, and before he could react, Mulder slashed it from elbow to wrist, about a centimeter deep. Rich blood flowed from it. "Damn it, Mulder! What did you do that for?"
Mulder spoke calmly, "Immortals heal quite rapidly. If you heal fast, then you're immortal -- if you don't then you're mortal. It's a much more convenient way to tell than by killing you to see if you come back."
Two minutes passed, and the arm didn't look like it was healing it all. "Damn it! Tear off some of your shirt. I need to wrap this up."
"My shirt?" Mulder clutched possessively at his white shirt, which he probably had in mass quantities back at home and in his hotel room.
"Yes!" snarled Skinner. "*You* cut my arm! Now rip off a few strips!"
Grumbling, Mulder took off his shirt, revealing his bruised and sweaty chest, rippling with lean muscles. It made an odd combination with the rest of his FBI attire. He ripped the shirt into a few strips, mumbling, "Might as well give you enough to do the job right."
The material was cotton, so it worked rather well as a bandage. Blends or polyester would have done a poorer job.
Mulder took it pretty lightly, "That scratches that theory."
"Do you have any other theories?" asked a sarcastic Skinner.
"You're an immortal waiting to happen?" asked Mulder in an almost hopeful tone.
Just then, a truck passed by. In the back sat five rowdy teenage girls, and all of them hooted loudly at Mulder. They were going by so fast that all Mulder could catch was something about 'chest', 'muscles', and 'all night'.
Skinner glared at Mulder, who was a little red-faced.
Mulder held up his hand, "What's that?"
"What's what?" Skinner still looked a little angry.
It was a roaring sound, and one that Mulder knew quite well. "I think we should find some higher ground."
"Because of that." Mulder pointed towards a single heterogeneous mass that turned a corner a few hundred feet away. It was a mob, the likes of which neither of them had ever seen before. It was an unfocused one, which was even worse.
"Let's get out of here!" snapped Skinner, running in the opposite direction.
"Back to the dwarves."
* * *
"Let us in!" Mulder and Skinner were pounding on the doors
to the dwarves' research lab, but nobody seemed to be answering.
The light from the torches and burning buildings seemed to be moving in their direction. Mulder looked scared, but Skinner was positively rattled. It wasn't just the riot that was on his mind.
Mulder kept on pounding on the door, while simultaneously looking for other practical options.
Skinner looked at the approaching mob with a growing feeling that something was falling into place. There was something within him that simply said, 'It is fitting.' What it was, he didn't know.
"Come on!" screamed Mulder, tugging at his arm. "We have to get out of here!"
Skinner looked at the hammer. "You go. I have something to take care of first."
He looked at Mulder, peace in his eyes at last. "I have to work out my relationship with this hammer. The only way I can explain it to you is that I'm going insane. I have been ever since we went to the Landing, and it's got something to do with this hammer. Can you understand what it's like to have peace after so much time? I don't know why, but everything seems... right. Right now. I have to find out why."
Mulder just stared at him. "All right." He turned around, as if he would walk away. At the last moment, he spun around, his punch aiming for Skinner's jaw. The trick didn't work, and Mulder was on the concrete, the consciousness knocked right out of him.
"Sorry about that, but you're not going to stop me." He dragged Mulder behind some trash cans. After a moment of thought, he wrote a quick note: "Sorry about that, but we all have things we need to do. I know you understand that, and if you claim not to, remember that bit about glass houses. In case you need it when you get back up, the time is now 9 PM, and the day is Thursday."
Skinner stood in the middle of the street as the aimless mob moved in his direction. He threw off his confining jacket and white shirt. The bare, muscled torso in combination with the war hammer, the baggy cotton pants, and the formal shoes were an odd combination, but not discordant. In a way, he even looked like a warrior of old times... but only in a way.
The look in his eyes was peaceful as it reached closer and closer... The sweaty fingers of his hands twitched a little, regripping the hammer handle.
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