* * *
MULDER: There are countless stories of twins
separated at birth who end up in the same occupation,
marrying the same kind of people, each naming their
-- The X-Files "AUBREY" (#2X12) Original Air Date:
* * *
Morning sunlight glistened off the reflecting pool,
transforming it into a long rectangular scroll of
indiscernible words. Flashing gold on white, it was
like a communique from God nestled in the burning
bush of Washington D.C.
At least, thats how Mulder always imagined it must
appear to Lincoln, sitting serenely upon his massive
throne, facing east.
Mulder leaned against one of the columns, casually
crossing one ankle over the other, and squinted. He
was trying to make out the textual message in the
shimmering, as he is wont to do every time he visits
the Lincoln Memorial. As usual, the epistle hidden in
the water eluded him. He and Samantha used to play
this game as children, making up
imaginary Pentateuchal directives during every visit
to the national mall. He smiled at the memory of some
of the more ridiculous mandates from heaven they
pretended to see.
It's a message to you, Fox: "Thou shalt let Sam watch
anything she wants on TV!"
"No, I think it is a message to you, buttmunch. Thou
shalt not annoy your brother with stupid shows!"
They had a penchant for engaging in odd pastimes. He
had never heard of anyone else playing such guessing
games, much less coming up with some of the
gloriously bizarre thoughts he and Samantha did. He
wondered idly if Samantha would have become a seeker
of unexplained truths, like he was now, if she hadn't
been taken. And for that matter, whether he would
have become one, but for her abduction. Are we
predestined to walk certain paths? Does anyone ever
really have a choice?
He shook his head to clear his thoughts.
An anonymous tip led him here at this hour. "Watch
for them. You will recognize them, Agent Mulder." He
looked around, but all he saw was a group of first
graders on a field trip, parents valiantly trying to
corral them like mustangs in the wild.
He turned back to contemplating messianic visions in
national monuments. In the depth of his reverie, the
sounds of the public gradually faded away. A hush
came over his world and hovered above him, blocking
out everything but remembered joys. Minutes, or maybe
hours later, the ruminations of a little boy pierced
through his protective fog.
A chill went down his spine as he overheard the kid
say, "Maybe it's in Braille, Dad."
"What makes you think that?" the father replied.
Instinctively, Mulder knew they were talking about
the message in the reflecting pool, and why it could
not be read. His mind raced with questions. Who were
they? Was it just a coincidence that they were
playing the same game he used to play with his
sister? What were the chances that someone else would
come up with such a strange thing to contemplate
He turned around quickly to look at the father and
son, but all he saw was a haze of white and gold
luminescence. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust
after staring at the reflecting pool for so long. As
his vision sharpened, he saw them holding hands,
their backs to him, facing the statue of Abraham
Lincoln. The boy was pointing to the president's
"See, his fingers are signing the letters A and L. I
learned 'bout it in school. I bet he could read
"Wow. That's pretty good. I like that theory, son."
They were smiling goofily at each other now, enjoying
the moment of epiphany.
"What does the mandate from heaven say?" Mulder stood
behind them and asked.
They didnt hear him at first, or probably thought he
was talking to someone else. He cleared his throat
and asked again.
"The epistle in the reflecting pool -- what does it
Slowly, father and son turned to look at Mulder. The
little boy caught Mulder's eye first. He had reddish
brown hair, a thick lower lip clasped between his
teeth, and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Mulder
thought he looked vaguely familiar.
Then Mulder raised his gaze to study the father, and
He was looking at what could only be his identical
twin or doppelganger. They wore their hair alike,
they had identical pairs of sunglasses hanging from
their pockets -- unworn here for fear of blocking out
a message from the heavens, and they each recognized
what the other was wearing as clothes hanging in
their closets at home. They even had on the same
wristwatch, Mulder noted.
The man took a step back in shock, pulling his child
with him. Mulder reached out an arm and said,
panicked, "Please wait."
"Who are you?" The man said, in a hushed whisper.
"My name is Fox Mulder. I am an FBI agent." He pulled
out his badge to prove it before asking, "Who are
"My name is Colin. Colin Hall."
Mulder felt a pang of empathy and indigestion upon
hearing the man's name. They broke the incredulous
stare into each others eyes when a woman with
straight red hair called out, distractedly, "Honey,
well be heading across the way with the rest of the
class in about five minutes, okay?"
Colin turned to say "OK" but she had already moved
on. Mulder's eyes bored into the back of the womans
petite frame. Her build and posture reminded him of -
-"That was my wife, Mindy. And this is our son,
William," Colin said, drawing Mulder's attention
Mulder looked down to see a huge gap-toothed smile
and an extended hand waiting to shake his.
"You can call me Waldo for short, like my Dad does."
* * *
Mulder took the small hand in his. An exuberant
greeting pumped his arm up and down. Waldo tilted his
head slightly, peering up at him with an inquisitive
expression. The boy turned toward his dad without
peeling his wide-eyed gaze away from Mulder.
"What's an epistle?" he asked quietly over his
"Well," Colin replied, shoving his hands into his
pockets, "it's a form of communication. A letter from
God, you could say."
"Oh." The boy nodded earnestly and turned to face
Mulder again. "I can tell you what it says,
Mister." He took one step toward the reflecting pool
before he paused, operant conditioning reminding him
to respect his elders.
"May I show him, Dad? Please?"
Colin blinked, divesting himself of his stunned
countenance, and glanced down at his annoyingly
familiar watch. He raised his eyebrows for emphasis,
causing furrows to appear on his forehead as he
addressed his son. Mulder felt almost offended that
this man had stolen his favorite expression.
"Okay. We'd better hurry, though. If we miss the
tour again, Ill be in deep trouble with your mother."
Mulder gave the man a knowingly sympathetic look,
allowing one corner of his mouth to suggest the hint
of a smile.
"All right!" Waldo exclaimed. He bolted away for a
few strides before twisting around and prompting
Mulder to follow with a waving gesture. The men
shrugged at each other simultaneously, appearing as
reflections escaped from a mirror. Mulder turned and
followed the boy's path to the edge of the aqueous
missive, Colin following at a respectful distance.
The surface rippled, reverberating with a sudden
breath from the sky. Mulder knelt down next to the
boy, who leaned out over the water with his elbows
braced against the stone perimeter. He propped his
chin upon balled fists and focused his attention on
the shallow pool.
"Have you ever just sat and watched the patterns? We
do that sometimes. It's fun."
"Yes," Mulder replied. He could not prevent his
thoughts from returning to the memories of Samantha,
and he could almost feel her kneeling beside him. A
shiver ran through his body.
The boy looked up at him.
"You can stare at it all day, but that's not the way
to find the answer. I finally figured it out." A
large, infectious grin spread across his freckled
face. Mulder attempted to smother suddenly desolate
feelings with a reassuring smile. Waldo resumed his
contemplative study of the water. Mulder was afraid
that his small infraction had disturbed the boy,
suspecting that children always sense the true
feelings of an adult.
"Can you show me, please?"
"Sure. The trick is to let it come to you, just like
Dad taught me to fish."
Mulder watched in astonishment as the boy closed his
eyes and sat still for a moment, as if in prayer.
Then, a small hand reached out slowly, and lightly
brushed the glassy surface. The breeze stirred the
waters again and bore the gifts of rhythmic lapping
sounds and a chlorine scent. The boy froze in place,
his auburn hair ruffled by invisible fingers. The
thin layer of clouds overhead gradually dissipated
with the wind, and a bright lucency danced on the
undulating waves. Tiny eddies surrounded the boy's
fingers as they jerked slightly. The grin reemerged,
but Waldo's eyes remained closed. Mulder watched the
subtle domes of the boy's irises as they darted back
and forth beneath his eyelids. His innocent,
carefree face angled upward, soaking in the warmth of
"Don't you want to try it?" Upon hearing no instant
reply, the boy opened his eyes and looked at Mulder
expectantly. "Here." Waldo reached over, grabbing
Mulder's left hand with both of his own, and guided
it out to the water.
Mulder suddenly started to feel ridiculous. What on
Earth had he been thinking? Had he allowed the
sorrow and insecurity cultivated upon Sam's
disappearance to grow so uncontrollably that he must
now rely on a stranger's child to show him the
secrets of the universe?
"Now close your eyes and wait," the boy instructed.
Mulder emitted a small sigh, but he obliged. The
pool was surprisingly cold, and his first instinct
was to withdraw his hand. The boy released him, and
the loss of contact seemed stunning. The sounds of
the mall subsided and left him in solitude, with only
the rough stone and silky water to affirm his
existence. He felt the air caress his face, and tiny
swells rolled against his fingertips. The warmth of
the sun cradled him in its arms, and, for a moment,
he did indeed feel at peace. He suddenly wished he
could stay right here and never leave.
Mulder felt something brush against his hand. A few
moments later, it happened again, only he swore it
felt like something actually passed through it. A
strange, electric jolt traveled up his arm, and his
fingers jerked. The wind echoed in his ears and
carried a pleasant, familiar scent. The hairs on the
back of his neck stood up, and a warm, ethereal puff
tickled his ear. A barely-discernible sound
followed, and he strained to hear, willing his body
as quiet as a cathedral. He turned to look at Waldo,
who was staring at him silently with Scully's big
"It said to tell you this, Mister." He took a deep
breath and raised his little eyebrows.
"Don't be surprised when she names him William."
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The X-Files and related entities belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox.