Welcome To The Harem
Morality Play by Pollyanna
Summary: Two wounded women talk about the men in their lives. One Son missing scene. PG.
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 05:30:59 -0500
Subject: Morality Play (1/1) by Pollyanna
Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the television
program "The X Files" are the creations and property of Chris
Carter, Fox Broadcasting, and Ten-Thirteen Productions, and have
been used without permission. No copyright infringement is
Title: Morality Play
E-mail address: email@example.com
Spoilers: One Son
Summary: Two wounded women talk about the men in their lives.
Notes: This was written for the X-Files Lyric Wheel. If you
would be interested in joining in a future wheel then have a
look at http://www.tifling.demon.co.uk/wheel/wheel.htm
The lyrics I was given were "What Would Happen' by Meredith
Brooks and can be found with the version of the story at the
Wheel Archive. Thanks as always to Spooky who reins in my
tendency to be too English even though I still use UK spelling.
The blinking lights and small mechanical sounds of medical
facilities had become familiar to Cassandra over the years.
Sometimes they had given her something to focus on when the pain
became too sharp. At other times their patterns served as
objects to count when the boredom threatened to drive her out of
her mind. More recently they had become the measured
counterpoint to her thoughts of death. Irony had never been one
of her strong points, but she did manage a wry smile at the
paradox of her headlong quest for death, at the moment when she
had never been in better health. So many of the constants in her
life had changed into their opposites in a topsy-turvy alchemy
that changed gold to lead.
Suddenly there was a noise which did not match the antiseptic
surroundings. A scurry amidst the shadows that made her think of
rats, and her mind swiftly visualised other less terrestrial
scavengers. "Who's there?" she quavered, not really sure if she
wanted to be answered or not. Her voice seemed to echo loudly
against the metal walls.
"Shh! They mustn't find me here." A figure emerged from the dark
corner of the room, hunched and faltering in a white hospital
gown. As it moved into the light she could see it was a woman
with drab hair and gaunt features.
"Who are you?" she asked. Looking at the haggard woman before
her, she almost felt tempted to say, 'What are you?' and it was
if the woman heard the unspoken question.
"One of their experiments." But then, as if recalling something
from some long unused part of her brain, she said, "My name is
"I know. I saw them bring you in. I've seen files about you.
You're the first aren't you?" The woman had looked up and
studied her in fascination for a moment, but then looked at the
floor again as if she could avoid being noticed if her eyes were
Cassandra wondered if the dawning sympathy she felt for the
wretch in front of her had been misplaced. "How did you know
Marita answered, "I used to work for them. Followed their
orders. Told Mulder what he wanted to know. Found out things.
Tried not to get killed. I used to have information." The last
was said with a hint of pride and she straightened a little,
before shrinking down again. "But it didn't save me in the end.
I was used for their tests."
"Are you a hybrid too?"
"No. They were testing a vaccine on me. It was successful so
they don't really need me any longer. They just keep me around
for samples and trot me out as an exhibit now and then." The
anger which had briefly animated her voice changed to
resignation. "It doesn't matter if you work for them or how
loyal you are. They'll use you all the same."
Marita was standing near enough now that Cassandra could reach
out and hold one of her hands. It felt cold and dry, as brittle
as a handful of fallen leaves.
"I was married to one of them. Spender. His ring on my finger
and it meant nothing compared to his great plan. He would make
any sacrifice for the cause. Such a moral, moral man." She was
surprised at how satisfying the bitterness felt. It warmed her
like the burn of whisky on a cold winter's evening.
"I met a man once who I thought was moral," said Marita
wistfully. "A good man trapped by their lies. I was looking for
information. Information is valuable, you know?" She glanced up
at Cassandra fleetingly as if seeking her approval, so Cassandra
nodded and squeezed her hand gently. "We met in a hospital ward
surrounded by dying children, dying as part of the plan. He was
horrified by them and for the first time, through his eyes, I
really saw the shadows in which I existed. Just for a moment I
wished it could all have been different, that I could have been
innocent of all the intrigue. I imagined us meeting at some
party; he would take me home and kiss me, and I would melt into
him and be safe and warm." She was looking off into the distance
and Cassandra suspected that this dream had not been confined to
that one reckless moment but had been taken out and savoured
through the dark days. She could sympathise with that. Her own
dreams had kept her company over the years, her only loyal
companions. But in the end she had seen clearly, and it seemed
that Marita also knew when to face the cold light of day as she
continued. "Even as I thought it, I knew it was impossible. We'd
both left innocence behind a long time ago. I asked him to tell
the truth but he wasn't strong enough to break free, not then."
"Sometimes, even for the strongest, or for those we love the
most, it's difficult. My son, Jeffrey, he's a good boy." She
paused for a moment wondering if she had ever told him that. Had
she thanked him for his care when she was ill? Praised him for
how hard he had worked to get through college? "He tried so hard
to do what was right, but he could never protect me, never even
find the strength to believe me."
This time it was Marita who offered silent comfort. Her other
hand came up so that Cassandra's was cradled between hers. For
the first time their eyes met and held as they offered
understanding, the only gift that was still theirs to give.
After a while Marita realised that her freedom of movement
offered the chance of more generosity and asked, "Is there
anything you want?"
"Kill me." Cassandra knew even as she asked that she would be
refused and grieved at breaking the fragile bond between them,
but she had to take every chance.
"I can't. If they find out it was me, they'll kill me too and I
want to live. I'm sorry." She looked down again, ashamed of her
own cowardice, unable to meet Cassandra's eyes.
"It's all right. Perhaps you could find me something to drink?"
suggested Cassandra, offering a small task that could be
managed. Marita searched for a few moments and then came back
with a cup of water and a straw. She helped Cassandra to sit up
as far as possible against the restraints and held the cup so
she could drink from the straw. The water tasted good, clean and
fresh against her throat as it trickled down. She finished the
cup and made a gurgling noise with the straw, making them both
giggle and then glance nervously towards the door hoping no one
had heard them.
"Some more?" asked Marita.
"Yes please. I hadn't realised how thirsty I was." She finished
a second cup and then lay back. A voice sounded in the corridor
outside and Marita began to edge back into the shadows.
"I'd better go. If they found me ... "
"Yes. They'll be coming to fetch me soon. Good luck. I hope you
get away." She wanted to say more, about dreams coming true and
happiness in the years to come but her own existence killed
those hopes stillborn.
"Good luck to you too. I hope ... " But Marita could not say the
Marita watched and listened. She shut her ears against the cries
for help and cowered in a corner as Spender came and went. There
was nothing she could do but hide and wait. Then another man
came, the son, distraught and saddened by the empty room, and
she knew what to do. She had information and information was
"Please help me ... "