* * *
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 child Waldo.
-- The X-Files "AUBREY"
(#2X12) Original Air Date: 01/06/95
* * *
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 communiqué 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
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.
Its 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
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
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.
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 here?
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 hands.
"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 say?"
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.
raised his gaze to study the father, and froze.
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 you?"
"My name is Colin. Colin
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 Mulders
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 shoulder.
"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?
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.
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."
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 the sun.
"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 Scullys big blue
"It said to tell you this,
Mister." He took a deep breath and raised his little eyebrows.
surprised when she names him William."
* * *