I think he stabbed me twice.
It occurred right after a late dinner meeting in a small bar, and I was walking through a wooded lot to my car. It's safer to park away from the area, in case I run into trouble. This time, though, trouble ran into me.
I wasn't armed when it happened, because I made an agreement before the meeting. My contact didn't trust me. Imagine that.
So when the two muggers came after me in the lot, I was helpless.
One stood behind me and ripped off my leather jacket while the other plunged the knife into my chest. Twice. Perhaps three times. I can't be sure. When they stole the jacket the prosthesis went with it, and they broke my right collarbone. He wrenched my arm so far behind my back that I heard the snap. I'm lying here on my back with my head propped against something, but I can't sit up to check my wounds because of my shoulder.
Ironic, wouldn't you say? I've survived countless attempts on my life, and they stab me for my leather jacket. One of those random acts of violence they talk about. Live by the sword, right? The rats I've learned to imitate seem to grin at me as they scurry across my widening pool of blood.
It's almost dusk; the sun bathes the buildings and trees with a rose-colored light. Lying here, I try to remember when I've ever really watched a sunset. It's beautiful.
I can hear my heart racing, and with some effort I touch my face. The skin is cool and clammy, an obvious sign of shock. My breathing is labored, but I can't prop myself up to release the pressure in my chest. I brush a hand over my lips, and I can see the bright red froth that's stuck to my fingertips. Hemothorax. There's blood in the chest cavity, which is why I'm foaming at the mouth and coughing up blood. The mugger must have nicked an artery when the blade entered my chest.
I'm having trouble catching my breath. No doubt the lung is partially deflated...I think that sound I hear is my own ragged attempts at breathing.
I've learned much in this business of dirty deals and double-crosses. This includes more sights of dead men and gory wounds than most people have ever seen, which also means I understand how the body works.
I know I'm dying.
The thought panicks me, actually. I've come close, but I've never been this afraid. Worked my way out of worse situations than this, you know. Alex Krycek is a survivor.
God, I'm so cold.
The sun's rays are brushing the tips of the leaves in the wooded lot. It was hot today, and now that the sun is going down, I can smell the scents around me. I cough again, the frothy blood spraying my already-soaked shirt. I hear myself wheezing and gurgling.
Then I smell it.
The strong, sweet fragrance of honeysuckle. I can hardly breathe, but I can smell that glorious scent wafting across me. It brings back memories of my mother.
I was small when she died, so I can only recall small things. The sound of her singing to me when I was sick with pneumonia. The faded apron she wore when she cooked our meals. And honeysuckle.
Mama and I would sit on the fire escape of our apartment overlooking a lot much like the one I'm lying in now. In the summer, the smell of honeysuckle growing wild was stronger than the sweaty city. It was our time together, and she would tell me folk tales in Russian while we watched the neighborhood grow quiet. Then Mama would rub my hair and coax me to bed. I never wanted to sleep, wishing I could stay with her a little longer to smell the sweet blossoms. But she would kiss me and always tell me the honeysuckle would be there when I woke up, and so would she.
I glance down at my shaking hand and notice the fingernails are turning blue. I'm not getting enough oxygen. I think. I'm losing focus in my struggle to remain conscious. My mind wanders; I can't concentrate. The red pool beneath me is soaking into the dirt, so I can't tell how fast I'm losing blood.
I try to cry out, but I'm so weak I can do nothing. I'm having trouble preventing the blood in my throat from drowning me.
A breeze passes over me, and I catch that wonderful smell again.
I miss my Mama.
I wonder if she would love me if she knew the type of man I've become. Would she hate me? Those that condemn me do so because they don't understand my motivations. But would she understand, or would she believe I've simply fallen too far into the abyss? Am I hopeless? Are my motivations worth everything I've done? Has the evil I face constantly consumed me? She would probably hate me, like everyone else in my life. *That's* become *my* Truth. Mulder searches for his, but mine has always been easy to find.
My Truth: I'm alone.
And I'm lost.
I drifted off for a moment there, because when I focus my eyes again I see her.
She's standing before me just as I remember her. Her hair is swept up in a bun with wisps hanging from her temples, and the green eyes I inherited stare down at me.
"Shhh," she says quietly. "Can you smell the honeysuckle?"
I can. I can smell it overwhelming me. I barely taste the blood in my throat anymore.
"It hurts, Mama."
"Can you smell it, Alyosha? Isn't it beautiful?"
I feel her hands in my hair, and she's whispering.
"Close your eyes for me. It's time to sleep."
"I'm alone again, Mama. I don't want to be alone through this. Don't leave me...please, don't leave me."
Her hands brush across my face, and my breathing steadies. I'm not as cold as I was because she's holding me.
"I'm here, Alyosha. I won't leave you. Now close your eyes."
My eyes slide shut, calming me. My heart is slowing at the sound of her voice. I want to ask the question. I don't, but she seems to know and answers it.
"You're not evil, Alexei. You're human."
She smooths my hair when she says it. "It's time to go to sleep, My Alyosha."
My eyes open once more. "But I want to stay with you a little longer, Mama. I can still smell the honeysuckle."
She cradles my head and kisses my lips. "The honeysuckle will be here when you wake up, and so will I."
I relax and close my eyes. Her arms close around me, holding me as my heart and breathing slow. She leans down and whispers, "You're my son. I could never hate you."
I smile because I'm not alone anymore, and Mama rocks me to sleep.