Finder's Keepers

Summary: Krycek escapes from the silo and is on the run, aided by a localwoman.

 

Gee, I've never written a disclaimer like this before. OK, Alex Krycekand CSM are characters belonging to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions, see?I'm just using them for fun; no copyright infringement is intended.

 

All other creativity is solely mine, y'hear? Do not post or distributewithout my express permission. These characters are completely fictional.No resemblance to any persons living, dead, undead, channeled, abducted,possessed or in suspended animation is intended.

 

Sorry, this is another "silo" story; it follows "Apocrypha".I wrote this in August of 1996, having been "inspired" by a reallyslow month at work. Don't tell my boss, OK? I purposely left out a lot ofexposition, background, and character insight. My intent was to make thisfeel like the show - what you see is what you get (without the soundtrack,unfortunately). I couldn't hold to that ideal completely, but I think Icame close. For the record, I think Krycek is an amoral loner who will takewhatever desperate measures are needed to keep his skin intact - and I likehim that way. Comments, criticisms, praise, nitpicks and flames may be sentto ccbailey@facstaff.wisc.edu.

 

 

Finder's Keepers

 

Stale air, tinged with the smell of scorched oil. Darkness. Silence -a heartbeat - such a warm, intimate sound in such a cold, impersonal space.The distant ceiling swallowed his earlier pleas and spat them back in eerie,mocking echoes. Now, the silence, though less comforting, is more conduciveto thought. He looks briefly at the gun, held loosely in his lap, closeshis eyes and leans his head back against the wall. Not yet. The heartbeatgrows louder, closer.

 

**************

A quiet town, and a quiet home. The sign on the mailbox says "Brennan/Trudell".In a night-lit room on the second floor, a woman sleeps restlessly in thesingle bed, curled up on her side. She is dreaming; her head tosses andher hands clutch the covers spasmodically. She cries out; the cry escalatesinto a screeching wail as she comes awake explosively, rising and strikingout with both arms at nothing and losing her balance, falling forward tocrouch hands-and-knees on the bed. Her eyes are wide and sightless, eachbreath a cry of fear. The door crashes open and she scrambles backwardsinto the headboard, throwing her arms up against the man who enters theroom.

 

"It's OK, Carrie, it's Mark, you're awake now, take it easy."He sits and pulls her to him; she moves with him, but remains sitting up,leaning forward, tense and drawn. He continues to reassure her she's OK,it was another dream. A second man enters with a large glass of water, whichshe grabs and gulps at, spilling some down her chin and neck, making smallnoises as she guzzles, not lowering the glass until she drinks it all. Onlythen does she relax, leaning her head wearily against Mark's chest. He handsthe glass back.

 

"Get another, Bob, I'll stay here." Bob exits quickly.

 

He strokes her hair and asks, "Is he still alive?" She nods."Can you find him yet?" She hesitates, shakes her head no, andfollows the movement with her body, turning into his shoulder as she startsto cry. He kisses her hair and holds her, gazing into the darkness. Shelistens to his heart beat.

 

**************

Darkness, but with the promise of light ahead. The harsh sound of quick,shallow breathing mixes with the rasp of movement against metal, muffledin the narrow passage. A sensation of turning a corner; ahead, a faint hazeof light. The point of view rises, crossing the barest outline of a man'supturned face, following a metal air shaft, turning to show an outline ofbright yellow, a square eclipse far above. The shape grows in size untilthe yellow has vanished and there is nothing but blackness.

 

**************

A richly sunlit coniferous forest is all around, with birds singing andsmall animals rustling in the underbrush. The point of view tilts down toshow a metal pyramid, raised somewhat off a concrete platform. A rain- anddebris- cover for an air shaft. Suddenly a dirty, white-knuckled hand appearsfrom beneath the cover and grips the edge tightly, feeling around the rim.A second hand appears opposite the first. Eight fingers trace the edgesof the cover, meeting at one end, then the other. They disappear; a momentof silence, then the cover vibrates with a rhythmic pounding. The forestis quieter now, and the pounding grows louder, punctuated by a man's voice:"Damn DAMN *DAMN*!"

 

**************

The bedroom is dark. In a large bed, Mark and Bob are sleeping spoon-fashion,legs curled into each other's. A heavy jacket is slung over a chair back,a badge on the lapel. A gunbelt coils on the seat of the chair. A woman'shoarse cry stirs them.

 

Mark swings his feet to the floor, checks the clock. "Fourth timethis week. This better be worth it..."

 

Bob snaps on the bedside lamp and reaches for his robe. "Go, Mark,I'll get the water..."

 

Mark goes to her room, to find a now-familiar scene: Carrie crouchedon the bed, gulping for air. He gathers her in his arms as before, but somethingis different. Her sobs are lighter somehow, less desperate. Bob comes inwith water and she drinks; halfway through the glass she begins to laugh.Mark asks, "What is it, honey?" She sits up, then stands, swayingslightly as she opens the top dresser drawer. Bob puts an arm around herto steady her as she pulls out a pair of socks.

 

"I found him."

 

The men look at each other behind her back. Dead silence.

 

**************

"Here, Mark, turn left here..." Screech! Tires squeal as theold Caprice pulls off the highway onto the logging road, the occupants notnoticing the bouncing. The woman is wearing a raincoat against the slightdrizzle spattering the windshield. She grips the dashboard, concentrating.Mark clutches the wheel with gloved hands, peering forward into the back-litforest.

 

"Here, he's here!" She's out of the car almost before it stops.Carrie's boots kick up pine needles as she skids around the car door. Sheruns a few steps then stops. Tilting her head back and squeezing her eyesshut, she presses her knuckles to her temples and turns slowly, concentrating.Her head snaps upright and her eyes fly open just as Mark slams the door.She sprints into the underbrush. Mark curses, fumbles with the flashlight,then follows cautiously. He pushes his way through; his breathing and theswishing foliage provide the soundtrack. Drops of condensation scatter inthe flashlight beam.

 

"Mark!" He swings the beam slightly left, following her cry.The patch of light lands on her downturned face, half-hidden by wild hair,as she turns the body of the man beneath her. As Mark nears, she turns tohim, hand still on his neck and grins. "He's alive."

 

Mark looks down on dark hair and stubble, pale damp skin and black leather.He shifts the light to trace the path of flattened foliage that is the wakeof his passage through the forest. She goes through the pockets of his jacketand finds....

 

"Oh, wow." She pulls out a .38 revolver. Mark takes it carefullyand pops the cylinder open with a practiced wrist. Carrie leans over tolook. "One bullet? No spent shells....hmmm." She turns her attentionback to the man. "Hoo, he *smells* like he's been locked up for a longtime. Got some black gunk all over his face, too." And his hands....

 

"Mark, look at his hands." She lifts an arm and he focusesthe light on it. Mark exclaims - his hand is bloody and bruised, two fingernailsare missing. "What happened to him?"

 

She starts to slide a hand under his neck. "That's not importantright now, he's alive. C'mon, we've got to get him to the hospital...."

 

SNAP! "Aah!" she cries out more in shock than in pain as theother bloody hand grabs her loose hair and pulls her down towards the woundedman's face. Eyes closed, he whispers to her, then releases her.

 

Mark pulls her away, to her feet, holding the flashlight like a weapon.She wipes absently at the bloody grease stain his hand left on her cheek.

 

"No, it's OK, I'm not hurt."

 

"What did he say?"

 

Her brows knit. "He said 'no hospital'." Their eyes meet, thenthey both look down at him. The flashlight illuminates the face of AlexKrycek.

 

**************

The hotel room is dark. The only illumination is provided by the television,silently broadcasting an old black-and-white. Keystone cops scurry maniacallyacross the screen, in contrast to the stagnant surroundings. A large chairis set before the television. A column of white smoke rises above the highback, curdling into a noxious mass before dissipating into the room. Theburbling ring of a cellular phone does not disturb the cloud.

 

Click. "Yes." A pause. "Good. Make sure he talks to no-one."A longer pause. "Not yet. She may still prove useful." Silenceagain. "I appreciate your concerns. I have my own to consider."An arm clad in a nondescript black suit-sleeve appears from the chair; itshand stubs out a cigarette next to its brothers in the ashtray, then glidesout of sight again. "I'm glad you agree." Click. There is a rasp,and the flare of a lighter reflects off the far wall. A moment later, astream of smoke flows towards the television, obscuring the tiny policefigures.

 

**************

The spare room would be quite cheerful if the curtains weren't drawn.Krycek is lying lifeless on a single bed against the far wall. A pinstripeof light where the curtain missed the window flows across his shoulder.Carrie brushes a still-damp lock of hair from his pale forehead. She walksto the door, watches him from the doorway for a moment, then pulls the doorshut and steps into the hallway to be met by Bob, looking worried. Theymove towards the kitchen.

 

"We should take him to the hospital right now."

 

"He said no hospitals." Carrie pulls a can down from a cabinetand opens it.

 

"What's he afraid of? What's wrong with the hospital?"

 

"Maybe he's a Christian scientist." She spoons brown goo intoa bowl.

 

"Yeah, and maybe he's an escaped convict!"

 

"Bob, you're worse than I am. He's not ordinary, I'll grant youthat. Now quiet, let him sleep." She places the bowl on the floor.A cat attacks it, purring.

 

"Why are you protecting him?" She ignores him and washes thecan out in the sink. "Look, we find ... you find this guy, bleeding,unconscious, lying out in the middle of nowhere, no ID, not even a walletor keys, he doesn't want to go to the authorities, and you think that'sOK?"

 

"NO!" She slams her hand down on the counter and turned toface him. "I don't think it's OK. I'm as freaked out as you are. Butc'mon, Mark's the deputy, not you. And you're my brother's lover, not mymother. He hasn't done anything to me, Mark hasn't heard anything at theoffice, so he's not likely in local trouble..."

 

"Oh, so he's not a local criminal, that makes him OK."

 

"Nothing about this is OK! You know what I - saw. Someone left himthere, no food, no water, no light. There's something very wrong about thiswhole thing, and I want to find out what."

 

"You can't save him, Carrie, he's not a puppy who needs keeping.He's been here, unconscious, for more than 8 hours. There could be somethingwrong..."

 

"There's nothing wrong with him, he's just sleeping." She driesher hands on the dishtowel hanging from the refrigerator door handle.

 

"How do you know? What if he's on drugs? What if someone comes lookingfor him?"

 

She looks sharply at Bob. "What if they do?" They lock eyes;he looks away. A moan interrupts them. She traces the sound with her eyes;Bob sighs. "We'll wait for Mark to come home, and talk about it then,OK?" Another moan, and Carrie goes down the hallway and through thedoor.

 

"You bet we will." Bob leans against the counter, hugging anarm to his chest. He lifts the other hand to his mouth; with a sharp crack,he bites a nail.

 

**************

Krycek is sitting up. He flinches at the sound of the door, and watchesCarrie warily as she crosses to the dresser by the closet. His hands arebandaged. She picks up the pitcher there and pours him a glass. He sitsup straighter, wincing, leaning out to her as she moves towards him. Hegrasps her hands around the glass and pulls them towards him, spilling onthe bedspread. She steadies his grip and slowly sits on the bed and movesthe glass towards him, allowing him to rest his head against the wall ashe drinks. He does not release her hands.

 

"Hey, you're making a mess. Slow down, there's plenty."

 

He ignores her. When the glass is empty, he urgently pushes it back ather, gasping faintly. While she concentrates on pouring, he cases the room,scanning from right to left, ending where she sits on the edge of the bed.She still needs to hold the glass for him, but he's calmer, pausing twiceas he drains the glass. He inspects her as she fills it again, emptyingthe pitcher. His gaze takes in her height, her youth, the work boots, theworn jeans and sweatshirt. Her hair is pulled back in an untidy ponytail,and she tucks a loose strand behind her ear as she hands the glass backto him. He balances it unsteadily, but manages not to drop it.

 

He takes a long pull, then pauses and stares into the water. "Thankyou." His voice is hoarse, but very sincere.

 

"You're welcome." She hesitates. He brings the glass to hislips and drains it. He notices and inspects his bandages, turning one handin the air before his eyes. Sighing, he holds the glass in his lap and leanshis head back against the headboard. She makes a false start at words, thensmiles down at her hands. "I can get more." She rises and leaves.

 

As she turns to go, his eyes widen when he sees the Crawford County Sheriff'slogo on her sweatshirt. She turns again to look at him as she pulls thedoor shut, smiling at him. He smiles back, a broad grin that disappearsas soon as the door is closed. He puts down the glass and tries to run hisfingers through his hair, stopping as he remembers his bandaged hands. Heleans back and lets his arms fall to his sides.

 

**************

Carrie closes the door behind her. Bob looks up expectantly from thekitchen. "What?" she asks him, somewhat scornfully. She goes tofill the pitcher.

 

Bob follows. "Did he tell you anything?"

 

At the sink. "I didn't ask."

 

"You didn't..."

 

"Look, he's still dehydrated. He's just woke up, he's probably disoriented.Give him time."

 

He takes her hand in both of his, pulling her towards him. She won'tmeet his eyes. "Carrie, what's gotten into you? Let's call Mark andhave him report the guy. You've worked with the sheriff's department before,it's not like they won't believe you..."

 

"I know but finding missing children and stolen Buicks is one thing;this guy's different. He's in trouble."

 

He releases her hand and turns to lean on the counter, looking out thewindow. "Carrie, this is none of our business. If you think he's introuble, then maybe he is, but why should we get involved? Let the law handlethis, that's what they're for."

 

"Have I been wrong before? Remember the molester down in Burley,everyone thought he was sweeter than Mr. Rogers?" She grips Bob's armand forces him to look at her. "Let me handle this, OK?" She takesthe pitcher and walks out of the kitchen.

 

Bob watches her walk away. He goes to the cordless phone on the wall,dials a number. "Yeah, Deputy Mark Brennan, please." He cups thereceiver against his cheek as he leans over and opens the bottom drawerby the sink. Taking a holstered revolver out, he checks the load, snapsthe cylinder shut, and replaces the gun. He flicks a glance at the wallclock, muttering "Can't wait 'til Mark gets home."

 

**************

Krycek is leaning against the wall by the window, peering out from betweenthe curtains when Carrie opens the door. He's wearing a dark t-shirt severalsizes too big and boxer shorts. He holds the glass out as she enters. Shefills it and returns it. He drinks, then turns and sits heavily on the bottomcorner of the bed, smiling at her as if remembering the courtesy too late.He barely meets her glance as she stands next to him. "How are youfeeling?"

 

"Fine."

 

"Good." She shifts to sit on the chair at the foot of the bed,facing him. "Now tell me the truth." He winces at her tone, butdoesn't respond. "How do you really feel?" She waits.

 

He sighs but does not meet her eyes. "Where are my clothes?"

 

"There, in the closet. The jeans were a loss; I put an old pairof mine in there, I think they'll do for you, you're not that tall. Untilwe can get you back where you belong." He looks away. "You werein pretty bad shape when we brought you in last night. Wanna talk aboutit?"

 

He stares at the wall, but his body shudders slightly. "No."

 

"What's your name? Do you need to use the phone? Tell...whoeverthat you're OK?"

 

He looks away. "No."

 

"Don't talk much, do you." He doesn't respond. "OK, atleast tell me your name?"

 

He makes a tired smirk, still not meeting her eyes. "Bill Davis."

 

"Don't give me that!" He looks up at her, surprised. "That'sa pretty lame pseudonym, y'know? You think I don't know trouble when I seeit? You think I didn't notice that gun you've got in your jacket? You didn'tmess those hands up playing pinball, bucko. Now there are three people inthis house who helped pull your fat from the fire, and we all have a rightto know who the hell you are and what you're doing here, and if we're introuble because of it! Now talk."

 

His turn to be angry. "Hey, lady..."

 

"Carrie."

 

He barely pauses. "Hey, Carrie, I didn't ask you..." He stops."I don't want to be here, OK? Just give me my shoes..."

 

"You didn't want to be there, either."

 

His head comes up like a startled deer's.

 

"Why were you down there?" She leans towards him, arms on knees."You didn't just fall into an old well or something. Did someone...youknow, put you there? How did you get out by yourself?"

 

He lunges forward onto his knees, skidding on the hardwood floor, grabbingher arms with red-bandaged hands - they both wince from the pain - "Howdo you know about that!"

 

She's pinned in the chair and can only pull her head back, frightened."I saw it. In a dream."

 

He shakes her harder. "Bullshit! How would you know, if this wasn'ta setup?!"

 

The sound of tires on gravel comes from the front of the house. Krycekstaggers to his feet, breathing hard, and crosses to the window, pullingher with him. He keeps a grip on her arm while he pulls the curtain back.Out the window, a Crawford County squad car is pulling into the driveway."Oh *shit*..." He backs up into Carrie, and they fall to the bed.He lands on his hands and rolls to the floor, but rather than sprint fromthe room he curls up with a cry, holding his hands tightly against himself.Carrie drops to her knees beside him, lifting him up. He twists and grabsher by the shoulders, trying to use her as leverage to gain his feet buthis outburst has drained the strength from him; too weak to stand, he fallsacross her lap. She holds him close. "No, it's OK, you're safe, that'smy brother, you're OK, hey, slow down, easy now." Bob opens the doorand Krycek leans backwards, feet pedaling against the floor as he triesto put Carrie between himself and this new stranger. "Back off, Bob,he's threatened enough...!"

 

Bob obviously wants to intervene. "Go!" she shouts, and heexits quickly, closing the door after himself. Krycek stops struggling,but pins her arms against her sides with his own. "Who are you!"

 

"Let me go." She is sitting very still in his embrace.

 

"You're setting me up!"

 

"I *found* you, dammit, if it weren't for me you'd be coyote baitright now! If I wanted you dead I would've left you there! That car is Mark's,he's my brother, dammit, he's not going to hurt you, he hasn't told anyoneyou're here. Really, we're the only three who know about you, no one's goingto find you here. I'm the one who found you, you're OK now, you're safehere." Her voice is soothing as she works her arms out from under his."C'mon, let's get you back into bed, you're in no shape to play Twisteryet."

 

He looks down at himself, seeing the bruises on his arms, the scratchedlegs. He sags back against the side of the bed, legs sliding out to layon the floor. "Why are you helping me?"

 

Smiling awkwardly, she rubs her arms where he grabbed her. I guess youhave an honest face." She kneels next to him and gets her arms underhis, lifting him awkwardly, then rising one foot at a time to stand andhaul him up to sit on the bed. He pulls the quilt up over his legs as shetakes the glass over by the door and pours him more water. She hands itto him.

 

"I'll be back in a few minutes, OK? Just relax - you're safe fornow."

 

As soon as the door clicks shut, he sighs, saying to the ceiling, "Iwish I could believe that." He pulls himself upright, leaning his elbowheavily against the bedside table. Walking his forearms along the wall,he opens the closet door and pulls out a pair of jeans. And his leatherjacket.

 

**************

"What are you doing home, Mark?" she demands as she entersthe kitchen.

 

"We have to talk about him, Carrie." Mark is in his deputy'suniform. He leans a hip against the counter and holds his coffee in bothhands. Bob stands near him, not touching him. He bites a fingernail, loudly.

 

"Damn straight we do, Mark." She pulls out a kitchen chairfrom the dinette set in the far corner and turns it backwards, straddlingthe seat and leaning her arms against the backrest as she sits. "Idon't know what's going on, but this guy is in some serious trouble."

 

"Carrie, you've gotten in way above your head now, girl. This isnone of our concern. These people..."

 

"These people? What people?"

 

"These people," he repeats, louder, "are way out of yourclass. Now that trick of yours has been a benefit to this community, butthis is way out of hand."

 

Her face has acquired a look of total disbelief. "My trick? Do youthink I just pull it out for parties? Do you think I like losing sleep tofind the Jacobson's dog?"

 

"Carrie, helping the people you live and work with is one thing.This guy is completely different."

 

She leans towards him across the seat back, her face hard. "How?"

 

"I've made a few phone calls, this guy is a dangerous fugitive..."

 

Her eyes widen. "You ratted on him." She says it like she doesn'twant to believe it. Mark looks uncomfortable.

 

"Carrie, you didn't hear what they said about this guy..."

 

"Didn't hear what who said about him? What the hell kind of gameis this, anyway?" She runs her hands over her hair, smoothing backthe wisps. "I don't believe this, you ratted on him. I told him hewas safe, and you're giving him away like a Crackerjack prize!"

 

"Now dammit, you listen to me!" Mark's face is red as he slamsthe coffeecup on the counter. Bob bites another fingernail. "That manis a dangerous criminal! He's killed more people than you care to thinkabout!"

 

"So now you've killed him," she whispers. She's in shock, staringat the floor. "This is unreal." Suddenly she raises her head tohim. "What are they going to do to him now?"

 

"That's not our concern..."

 

"Not our concern? It should be everybody's concern! This is notdue process! They didn't just put him in jail, they didn't execute him."He looks away. "They buried him alive, Mark!! Is that justice? Is thatin the Crawford County Sheriff's Handbook? To let him die of thirst, alone,in the dark? You didn't see that, Mark, you didn't feel what they put himthrough! I did! You wouldn't do that to a dog, Mark, and you're going tolet them haul him away."

 

"And you didn't hear what this guy's done! I came home as soon asI heard because I want him out of this house! He's dangerous, and I don'tcare what you believe, you are not going to harbor that fugitive in thishome!"

 

She gets up abruptly, swinging the chair violently into place at thetable. Mark stands straighter, concerned.

 

"Where are you going?"

 

She crosses the room towards him. "You don't want him here, fine.I'm going to get him out of here."

 

"Now wait, Carrie," he moves to block the door.

 

"Get out of my way, Mark." Her tone is soft, but deadly.

 

He puts his hands on her shoulders, shaking his head. "I'm not goingto let you..."

 

CRACK! She sucker-punches him, left-handed, and ducks under his arm ashe lands against the doorjamb. Dazed, he grabs for her; she shoves her shoulderinto his chest and slams him into the doorway again. She turns the corner,and makes towards the room where Krycek is.

 

There's a crash from the left as the front door of the house flies open.Two figures in black, masked and armed, appear from the opening from theliving room. They each grab one of her arms and slam her backwards intothe wall. More figures enter the hallway, twisting and gesturing as theyspread cautiously throughout the house. She struggles for a moment, wispsof hair falling into her wide eyes. "Mark!" The man to her rightholds a pistol to her head and loudly clicks the safety off. She shuts up.

 

Mark appears in the doorway, Bob hovering anxiously behind his shoulder.He doesn't appear surprise to see them as he rubs his chin ruefully, thennotices the gun.

 

"Get that thing away from her!" He walks over and reaches forthe pistol. "I said..."

 

The man to her left, closer to him, reaches with one straight arm andsweeps him into the wall, pushing a pistol in his face. Mark's hand reachesfor his own gun, but stops before he can draw it. Bob starts violently,jumping backwards to collide with another commando. Footsteps pound up thestairs to the second floor.

 

A voice comes from the living room. "Bring them in here."

 

Carrie, then Mark are shoved into the living room. Bob follows, handsby his shoulders, shying away from the weapons pointed at him. Carrie collapsesinto an easy chair, head in hands. Mark glances at her, but she doesn'tlook up. He switches his attention to the young man seated on the sofa.He is lounging back, completely at ease, dressed in a smart suit and wearingmirrored sunglasses.

 

"What the hell is this!" Mark demands. "This was not partof our agreement, pointing guns at me and my family!"

 

"It's standard practice in securing a potentially hostile environment.You're in law enforcement, you know that. It was for your own protection."

 

"You didn't need to come here." He glances significantly athis sister and lowers his voice. "I was going to bring him to you..."Carrie moans into her hands.

 

"We couldn't risk him escaping, Deputy Brennan. Surely you understand."The sound of heavy steps rattles the ceiling.

 

A masked commando appears in the doorway. "The house is clear, sir.No sign of him."

 

The smart young man's face falls momentarily, then recovers. "Youhave your orders. Search the neighborhood. Discreetly." He smiles atCarrie. "He can't have gotten far." He looks back at the commando."Escort the young lady to the car. We're leaving."

 

"What?!" Bob and Mark exclaim simultaneously. "You can'tdo this," Mark continues. "She found him for you, isn't that enough?"

 

The black-clad figure nods, slings his rifle over his shoulder and walksto where Carrie is seated. Behind them, a whistle code is heard.

 

Carrie laughs bitterly. "You can't involve me 'just a little', bigbrother. This is an all-or-nothing game. Am I right?" she asks theman now gripping her left arm and pulling her to her feet. "Shit, Idon't even know what's going on and I know that." Without responding,the military man pushes her through the open front door and levers her aheadof him into the waiting unmarked sedan. Another gets into the rear seat,sandwiching Carrie between them. Commandos are streaming out of the houseand into the van parked behind the sedan.

 

Mark follows, shouting over the shoulder of the man in the suit, "Damnyou, call your superior, he said nothing about this! I want to talk to himright away!" Ignoring him completely, the agent gets into the passengerseat of the sedan as the last commando crosses to the driver's seat. Allfour car doors slam in unison.

 

Mark runs into the house and grabs the cordless phone from the kitchenwall. Running back to the front porch, he dials a number and presses thephone to his ear. Bob comes up to stand beside him. The phone rings, faintly.Mark turns, muttering, clinging to the phone, and watches the sedan andthe van turn the corner a block away. The phone rings endlessly as Bob andMark are left alone on the front steps of a quiet small-town home.

 

**************

A shadowed urban alleyway at night, city sounds in the background. Krycekleans against a dumpster, breathing hard and glancing in all directions.Satisfied that he is alone at last, he painfully pulls the revolver fromhis jacket and opens the cylinder with still-bandaged hands. Six bullets?He looks puzzled for a moment, staring blankly into space, then smiles grimlyand replaces the gun in his pocket. "That's two I owe you, Carrie."Casting an elongated shadow behind him, he walks away, into the darknessof the alley.

 

Then he begins to run.

 

* FINIS *

 

ccbailey@facstaff.wisc.edu