Disclaimer: The characters contained in this story are the creative property of 1013 Productions and FOX Broadcasting and are used without their permission.
Title: The Last Abduction
Spoilers: Fallen Angel / Tempus Fugit / Max
Class: post ep
Summary: Sharon Graffia oversees the last journey of a well-
Written for the 15th Lyric Wheel, 'The One Song To Bring Them All and In The Darkness Bind Them'. All participants had to write a story inspired by the lyrics to I Can't Help But Wonder (Where I'm Bound) by Tom Paxton.
"He wrote hundreds, maybe even a thousand letters detailing his abduction experiences . . ." - 'Tempus Fugit'
"You should consider yourself the sole curator of the Max Fenig Rolling Multimedia Library and Archive, and you should probably get tax-exempt status as soon as you can." - 'Max'
With some hesitation, I return to my task, approaching my kitchen table piled high with papers of varying sizes. I take one quick glance over the semi-organized mess and wonder for the fifth time today just what the hell I've gotten myself into.
On this table is a journey of a man tortured in body and soul but never broken. He kept going forward, not just one foot in front of the other but at a marathon runner's pace, just egging you to keep up with him. It was an incredible ride, and I am just honored to have been a part of it, to have had first-hand knowledge of some of the events, but I'll be damned if I know how to make any sense out of this.
I've read most of these letters dozens, sometimes a hundred times. It's a clich to say that it feels like I am reading them for the very first time, but it's true. I am taken back to where I was when I first got them, sometimes not even realizing as I tore open the envelopes that they were from Max.
All that I have left of Max are these letters. I still have his trailer and the videos we made but, to me, these letters are the flesh-and-blood Max. In here are his nightmares and his hopes; here lay his hopelessness in resigning himself to the constant abductions and his strength in fighting back to become whole again. He knew his path could not change even when struggling to make it stop. What a hell that must have been for him.
He was constantly writing and would hold the letters until he could get to a larger city and then leave them in separate post offices in the hope that at least one of them would get to me. I have no idea if there were any that I did not receive, though Max was almost certain that some of the ones with the most damaging of information would be intercepted along the way. All I know is that there were days when I would get three or four letters all with the same area postmark, and they would all be from Max.
The paper varied from letter to letter. Lined notepad paper with ink smears gave way to white copy paper. Every so often there would be a slew of motel stationery that he must have been hoarding as they would come in from a variety of postmarks. When desperate, Max would write on the backside of fliers, some with staple marks and missing corners like he just tore them off of telephone poles or community bulletin boards.
A number of the letters are heavily creased, and I've placed them underneath some encyclopedias to smooth them out. Some others are water-stained or grease-marked from being scattered in a motel parking lot. I am so grateful that the FBI, or rather certain members of the FBI, knew the importance of these letters, not only personally to me but in helping to document a man's life.
Just by looking at the handwriting I can tell the tone of the letter. The tight lines with no slant and small loops and carefully chosen words usually meant that Max was heavily medicated and most likely in some hospital. Oddly enough, when the writing was wild and uneven and one paragraph spilled over several pages, that was when Max was at his most lucid, writing so fast to get everything down that was pouring out of his consciousness, afraid that if he stopped he would forget it all or maybe even that he might be taken again in mid-sentence.
Most of his letters were about his abductions, where he was or where he could remember where he was when he was taken and where he ended up, but they were mostly about what had been done to him and what they had told him when they were experimenting on him. I remember on more than one occasion where he had me videotape the scars and bruises after a return so that he could compare himself after another abduction to see if his recollections matched up with any new markings.
I've tried several times to sort the letters into some kind of pattern. I tried separating out the reminiscing of his childhood abductions from his adult ones, but he would sometimes confuse the two and I could never get the timeline straight.
I still don't understand what made him get on that plane when he knew that he might never make it home. I pleaded with him not to come back just yet, but I guess he knew that if he stayed put, they'd get him there. Max had a sixth sense about that - he knew when to move on, when people were asking too many questions about him. He joked that it was probably the only good side effect of his abductions. Even when he knew that he was running out of time, he called to make sure that I knew where he was and where he was going and if he didn't make it, then I was to go and find this Fox Mulder who had befriended him several years ago.
I want so much to get this done right, to present his letters to the world and make them wake up to all the dangers we face in the future - not from the aliens but from our own government. Max's last abduction was the aliens just trying to get their property back; it wasn't their fault that the military got everyone killed. But mostly, I want to be able to do this for Max. He sent me all these letters and entrusted me with his stories. Max's travels have ended up in my kitchen, and I have to make a home for them.
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