Snow Angels

Title: Snow Angels

Author: Theresa J

Email: theresacarol1013@yahoo.com

Category: X-file

Spoilers: None

Information: This was written for the VS11

Winter Special. Two weeks exclusively at the

VS11 site, then archiving permission is open.

Just let me know before you do!

Disclaimer: The X-files, Mulder, Scully and

Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen

Productions, etc, etc. I don’t own them, just

borrowing them for a while.

Feedback: Please and thank you!

theresacarol1013@yahoo.com

* * * * * * *

SNOW ANGELS

* * * * * * *

December 23, 2003

Edgefield Elementary School

4:15 p.m.

The snow was turning pink. Pink was Emma

Wellner’s favorite color, and the sinking sun

had made the world a warm, rosy tint despite the

cold. After a full day of sledding, Emma’s

waterproof pants were not so waterproof anymore.

She could feel the cold wetness beginning to

seep through to her knees, darker splotches

marking the pants where she kneeled too long in

the snow. A similar feeling was beginning to

make her butt numb. It was almost time to go

home.

But she wanted to do one more run. Most of the

other kids dragged their saucers and sleds up

the hill, leaving one more set of footprints as

they trudged up the already pock-marked slope to

meet their parents in the parking lot nearby.

The best place in town to go sledding on a snow

day was, ironically, at Emma’s school. Right by

the gym, there was a steep hill that bottomed

out into a fairly small field that wasn’t really

used for anything. Sometimes, during the last

weeks of school, Emma’s class would eat lunch

out in that field because it was too warm inside

on a mid-June day. It was lined with trees that

provided wonderful cool shade for picnics, as

well as creating a barrier to the soccer field

beyond. The middle-schoolers played there. It

would be another four years before she would be

attending that school.

Emma grasped the icy string attached to her

saucer through heavily insulated mittens, and

began her ascent to the top of the hill. She

smushed the red plastic saucer down into the

well-packed snow, already feeling round icy

chunks beginning to form beneath as evening came

on. This last run might be a bumpy ride.

As she was about to push off, she heard a car

horn. Behind her, off in the parking lot, was

her father waving through the window of their

station wagon. He pointed at his wrist,

pantomiming that it was time to go.

“One more, Dad!!” she yelled back to him.

He answered with an “okay” sign, then a stern

index finger indicating that this was the

absolute final trip down the hill.

She pushed off. It started off bumpy, as she’d

expected. So many kids sledding in one area

walking through established saucer tracks made

the slide down unpredictable. She hit a big bump

near to the bottom of the hill, and she glided

through the air.

She braced herself for the big thump when

gravity would pull her back down to the earth,

but she felt no hard landing. She continued to

skim across the snow, sprays of powder

glittering across her cheeks and lips. She kept

going and going, until she was travelling

through the copse of trees at the very edge of

the field. This must be the farthest any kid had

gone all day! And darn it, there was no one left

to see it!

The saucer spun and slowly came to a stop. Emma

now sat in the middle of the adjacent soccer

field, admiring the long single track behind her

that ran from her schoolyard, through the trees,

and ending in her present location. The snow

made a creaking noise as she shifted her weight

to get up.

No other kids had been here. The snow was a

wide, perfectly flat expanse of white. Emma felt

like she had found something special. This place

was secret, and she’d found it. Nobody else had

been here except her today.

As small children do, Emma imagined that she was

in a fantasyland for a few moments. This place

was all hers. She threw herself back onto the

powdery snow as if she were plunging back onto

the softest mattress. The thousands of

snowflakes beneath her were like feathers, cool

and light as she swung her arms up and down. She

felt as if she were flying into the darkness

above as the sky turned from pink to orange and

then the deep purplish blue of twilight.

Small pinpricks of light bled through the

darkness to form stars. One star, off to the

left became brighter. Emma knew from her

Columbus Day lessons a few months back that

sailors would use the North Star to guide

themselves across the ocean because it was the

brightest star in the sky. Emma guessed this

must be it.

She remained lying on the ground, swishing her

arms and legs through the snow. Then she

remembered her father, waiting for her in the

parking lot. Sighing heavily, Emma resigned

herself to getting up and going home, reluctant

to leave her secret place in the snow.

It was really dark now. Emma could barely see

the track she had left with her snow saucer, and

wondered if what little light there was from the

stars was enough to guide her through the trees

and up the hill to her waiting father.

A small niggle of worry began to grow inside

her, and she stumbled often as her gait became

faster. The saucer she dragged behind skipped

and bounced on the snow, slowing her down. When

she got to the trees, she couldn’t see anything

beyond the tree trunks. She didn’t even see any

headlights atop the hill she knew was not far

beyond. Where was her father? Now she *was*

scared.

“Daddy!” she yelled out toward nothing. “Daddy,

come find me! I’m lost!”

She turned back toward the soccer field in

panic, and saw the North Star glittering above

the horizon. Could the North Star help her find

her way?

The thought had barely crossed her mind when the

light from what Emma thought was the North Star

grew brighter. She blinked at it, thinking that

the tears blurring her eyes were just playing

tricks on her.

But the light grew, and grew — brighter and

brighter. And then it began to move towards her.

“Daaaaaaddeeeeee!”

*****

December 26, 2003

Wellner household

3:40 p.m.

“She came back, Scully. She was taken the day

before Christmas Eve, and she came back in time

to go to midnight mass with her family and open

presents beside the tree.”

Scully gazed through the kitchen pass-through

window into the Wellner’s living room where Emma

dozed in front of the television, hugging the

new Care Bear she’d gotten yesterday morning.

“Mulder, the girl looks fine to me. She’s home

safe, unharmed and enjoying her Christmas

vacation. Whatever happened here is over.” Her

voice was barely above a whisper, kept low so as

not to attract attention from Emma or her

parents, who sat nervously just on the other

side of the wall.

“But she saw a LIGHT in the sky!” Mulder

countered, emphasizing “light” a little too

loudly.

Scully shushed him silently and touched his arm.

She checked through the window again to see if

anyone had become alarmed. No one had moved, but

Scully was almost positive she could feel the

air becoming electric with tension.

She stood up straight to her full height and

pulled him closer to her. Now she was

whispering, “We have their statements. The

parents told us their story and Emma told us

hers. Now we have to take it from here. They

can’t help us any further.”

Mulder’s cheeks sucked in, tightening the skin

in rebellion against his inner turmoil.

Scully’s hand squeezed his arm tighter, a silent

response that said, ‘I know you’re excited, but

we should leave.’

He nodded and moved past her to thank the

Wellner family, and to leave his card with cell

phone number in case they ever wanted to reach

him.

“Merry Christmas,” Scully said with a polite

smile as the Wellners closed the door behind

them.

The smell of flavorful wood smoke from chimneys

filled the crisp December air. Dried salt

pellets crunched beneath the agents’ feet on the

path as they walked back to their car. The snow

from three days ago had not melted yet, and the

few icy patches left from inefficient shoveling

made Scully glad she was wearing boots with

treads on the soles.

“I want to go see this soccer field,” Mulder

commented to the air. He was watching the sky

for clouds. The weather report had called for

more snow this weekend.

“What do you expect to find?”

“I don’t know yet. Something. Tracks, maybe.

Other markings in the snow, or signs of

radiation left over on the trees. The usual.” He

was extremely nonchalant about his statements,

almost as if he were trying to play it off as

not a big deal.

“Mulder.”

He inhaled deeply one last time, memorizing the

smell of the air before they had to climb into

the musty pine-scented car, then turned to

finally give his attention to Scully. He raised

his eyebrows in question.

“So what is this, just your normal run-of-the

mill alien abduction? Is that what you think

this is?”

Mulder shrugged.

“A minute ago you were dying to pick that little

girl’s brain for any inkling that it could have

been an abduction. Now its ‘I don’t know?'” She

raised her own eyebrows back at him, but hers

were more incredulous than questioning.

“Yes, okay? I do think this was an alien

abduction, or I hope it is.” He leaned his butt

on the trunk of the car, shoving his hands into

his pockets.

“‘I don’t know,'” he continued, “because it’s

extremely random. Nothing else has happened

surrounding Emma’s disappearance. No sightings

have been reported. She is a little girl, and

she could have just run away for a night, or she

could have hidden out at a friend’s house. There

are a million possibilities. My big question is,

if Mr. Wellner was less than 200 yards away from

his daughter that evening, why didn’t he see

this enormous light or hear his own child’s

scream?”

“And why,” Scully added, following his train of

thought, “is Emma completely at peace? She says

she doesn’t remember any time lapse, but she’s

not afraid of anything either — no paranoia

like we usually see. Do you find that strange?”

Mulder looked down at her, then back toward the

Wellner’s front porch, decked with multi-colored

lights and a big fresh wreath hanging on the

door.

“Yes, I do.”

*****

December 26, 2003

Edgefield Elementary School

4:06 p.m.

There was a bitter wind at the top of the hill

next to Edgefield Elementary School. Not a sign

of one sledder was out today. Mulder imagined

they’d all been instructed to come home, or were

playing video games in warm cozy family rooms.

A gust of wind kicked up and Scully hissed

through her teeth at the chill. She fumbled in

her pockets for gloves and quickly pulled them

onto her frozen fingers.

“Come on and jump on my back, little lady! You

know, ‘I’m the fastest belly-whoppah in the

Northern Hemisphere!'” Mulder quoted from an old

Frosty the Snowman cartoon.

Scully looked him up and down, judging his

capacity as a “belly-whopper.”

“I think we have enough daylight left to walk

it, cowboy.”

They began their descent, taking careful note of

the sleigh tracks and footprints. Most of the

prints ended at the bottom of the hill clumped

in short arcs where children must have jumped up

at the end of their rides, to run back up the

hill immediately. Past that, the snow was

completely flat, interrupted only by a small

track left by a rabbit or where icicles had

fallen from the tree branches.

They studied the entire field, but only found

their own tracks in the snow as they doubled-

back to their original spot.

“Do you not notice something here, Scully?”

“Yup,” she said, scrutinizing the snow as if she

could invoke Emma’s trail into existence. Then

she blinked against another gust of wind, eyes

tearing from the icy air as she looked to Mulder

for their next move.

“Let’s take a trip over to the soccer field.”

Navigating through the trees was easier than

they had expected. There were several small

trails that cut through the trees for easy

access to both fields. Still, there were no

signs of footprints.

The sun was close to setting at this hour, and

the ground was painted with cool blue shadows

and warm pink streaks of sunlight. Upon emerging

from the trees they found the soccer field to be

a pure, untainted expanse of snow, just as Emma

had a few days ago. They remained at the edge,

unwilling to destroy the beauty of it.

“Nothing,” Mulder stated.

“Wait…” Scully squinted her eyes at the

setting sun, the narrow rays extremely harsh and

bright right before sinking below the horizon.

The edges of the clouds seemed afire with bright

pink light. And on the perfect, smooth surface

of the snow before them, similar vibrant lines

began to glow with just the right angle of the

sunlight.

They both gasped.

In the center of the field were small, about

four-foot long impressions. The edges of the

impressions, the outlines of the holes in the

snow, blazed as if they were edged in delicate

neon lights. They were the shapes left behind by

small children who had made snow angels.

“There were more of them?” Mulder asked.

After a brief moment, her mouth working

noiselessly as she counted, Scully answered.

“There are twelve of them.”

“Magic numbers from the Bible?”

Scully stood silent, staring out at the

impossible landscape.

“Twelve apostles, 12,000 from each tribe of

Israel, the woman with twelve stars on her crown

facing the dragon…” Mulder rattled off

factoids, theorizing out loud, excited that this

might be some kind of communication from the

stars.

“Mulder, please stop,” she said, her breath

nearly taken away. She only half-listened to her

partner, trying desperately to avoid falling

into an intellectual discussion over Catholicism

while facing a completely inexplicable *natural*

anomaly. “It might not be… *that.*”

Mulder inhaled to begin his argument against

her, but stopped himself. He watched her staring

at the field, the moisture dappling her lashes.

It wasn’t just the cold that was making her eyes

tearful. Perhaps it was the influence of the

Christmas season. Perhaps he had gone too far,

too quickly for Scully to handle the idea.

He shut his mouth tightly, took her hand and

squeezed it in reassurance. She looked up into

his eyes, understanding apparent in them.

“You ready to go take a look?” He asked.

She nodded in reply.

They both took the first step together, the

slightest crunch breaking the thin icy coating

atop the snow and the silence.

And the snow angels disappeared.

“No!” Mulder exclaimed in a desperate raspy

whisper.

He let go of Scully’s hand and ran toward the

center of the field where the impressions had

been. The snow kicked up behind him as he

crashed through the six inches of powder,

completely destroying the unblemished landscape.

Scully lagged behind at a slower pace, but

followed him nonetheless.

“You saw them, didn’t you, Scully?” He turned in

place, searching the snow. Then kneeling down,

he skimmed his hand over the white surface,

hoping to feel what he could not see. His hand

became pink and wet from sifting the snow

through his fingers too long.

Then a gloved hand touched his arm. He got up in

response, facing Scully with a thousand

questions in his head. He fought to pin down

just one, and finally realized that they all

were the same question.

“Why?”

“I don’t know,” she answered lamely, noticing

the mess of footprints they’d left behind them.

The moment was lost. “Maybe we were only meant

to have a glimpse of it.”

Mulder huffed, dissatisfied with that answer. He

could, however, not think of a better one

himself. He looked around them, then.

“Never thought a soccer field could be so

magical.” He returned his gaze toward Scully,

her face solemn, but alive with the frost making

her cheeks a mottled pink. “It is beautiful,

isn’t it?”

“Yes,” she said, “It is.”

He leaned in, and brushed her cheek with the

backs of his fingers. She smiled at that. It was

a radiant smile that seemed to make her face

glow. Mulder fancied that she was actually

filling herself up with light, just for him. He

could see every hair on her head, every faint

freckle on her nose, every eyelash.

But it was getting dark. The sun had set the

moment they’d walked onto the field. How could

he be seeing all this detail? He realized then,

that there *was* more light. He saw Scully’s

eyes move a fraction of a millimeter away from

his face, just to his left. His reflection shone

in her irises, outlined by a light that glowed

behind him.

By the time Mulder turned to see the light, it

was all over.

****

“What was that, Scully?”

She didn’t answer right away.

“What was that?” Mulder asked again.

She shook her head, doubtful of her answer

before she even said it. “It was what Emma saw.

I don’t know how else to explain it.”

“That’s it? But we didn’t even… That can’t be.

There has to be more than this!”

He stood with his hands on his hips, his face

turned up to watch the stars come out above.

They shone with an extra brilliance since the

moon had not risen yet. “What is it that’s out

there? What was this all about?”

“Mulder.”

She put her arm around his waist and her head

into the little crook between his chest and

shoulder. He took one hand off his hip and

instead used it to cradle Scully’s shoulders.

“Can we just let this one go?” she said in a

quiet, but not timid voice.

Mulder expected himself to argue with the

decision. He would normally have been determined

to come back the next day and see if it would

happen again. An encounter such as this,

something that could have been an encounter with

extra-terrestrials was too good to miss. But he

found himself accepting Scully’s suggestion. He

thought that it was right.

“Yeah,” he said, “okay.”

They made their way back, stepping in the tracks

they had already made in the snow. As they

approached the trees they noticed blue, red and

white lights flashing at the top of the hill

near Edgefield Elementary. The local police had

surrounded their car, and were shining

floodlights down the hill.

Mulder and Scully had to shield the blinding

light as they ran up the slope, curious to find

out what had happened. There were way too many

police cars for it to be a simple parking

violation.

“What seems to be the problem, officer,” Mulder

asked the nearest man in uniform who held a

megaphone in one hand, and reached for his

holster with the other. Mulder lifted his hands

up in reaction to the officer’s movements.

“What are you doing here? We’re conducting a

search for–” The officer cut his sentence

abruptly and grabbed the flashlight, instead of

his gun from the holster. He shone it into

Mulder’s face. “It’s you!”

“It’s me?”

The officer moved the light to Scully’s face,

causing her to squint. “And it’s you, too!”

Mulder looked at Scully, and she looked back at

him. He went to pull his ID out of his pocked

and began to introduce himself. “I’m agent–”

“Fox Mulder and Dana Scully,” the officer

finished for him.

“I didn’t know we had become celebrities in this

town,” Mulder quipped.

The officer put down his flashlight. “We were

called in to begin a search party for you two

last night by an Assistant Director Walter

Skinner. When he couldn’t reach you on your cell

phones or at the motel you had checked into, he

sent out a search party.”

The space between Mulder’s eyebrows contracted

as he filtered this information. “But we’d only

spoken to him this morning.”

“According to A.D. Skinner, you’d spoken to him

two days ago. He’d expected you to report in

yesterday.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We’ve been looking for you since Saturday

morning, Agent Mulder.”

“Wait a minute,” Scully interjected. “What’s

today?”

“Sunday, the 28th.”

Scully glanced down at her watch, at the little

box that showed the date where the “3” would

have been. “Mulder, he’s right.” It was also

8:12 at night.

The officer left the two agents to go gather up

his men. They heard him call out toward the

field with his megaphone, “It’s all over, boys!

We found them!”

After promising the officer that they’d meet him

at the police station to fill out some

paperwork, Mulder and Scully sat in their car,

waiting for it to warm up. They were not

surprised that it took some time, nor that they

had to brush a few inches of snow off the

windshield that wasnÕt there when they had left

it. There was snow forecasted for this weekend,

after all.

The headlights illuminated the tree branches

ahead, the pine scent from the air freshener

became stronger as the hot air from the car’s

heater made it warm.

At length, Mulder asked, “What did we see here,

Scully?”

“I don’t know Mulder. Maybe a little piece of

heaven on earth.”

He grasped her hand gently before pulling the

car into reverse. “Well, if I was lucky enough

to share it with you, then I can accept that

explanation.”

They drove away from the schoolyard, and headed

straight for DC. They didn’t stop by the police

station, nor did they stop by the Wellners, or

their motel. This was one case they both

realized they had to leave behind.

*****

The End

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