Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 491 words.
Notes: An alternative take on what might have happened in Series 2, Episode 1. This is gen.
“I’ve seen your dark side, Tyler,” Gene said in a low voice, raising his cigarette to his lips. He studied me, his eyes cold and calculating. I shifted position, bringing my right leg over my left, trying to rearrange my mind by rearranging my body.
“We all have a darkness, Gene.”
Gene nodded assent. “Some more so than others.”
In that moment, I wanted to run. It was an urge that crept from the depths of my stomach, up to my heart, into my head, screaming.
“Well, you would know.”
I broke eye contact, couldn’t look at that gaze anymore. I smoothed my fingers over the indentations of the table. The wood was hard, comforting. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, dwelling in the sensation.
“Do you believe in monsters, Sam?”
His words snapped me out my reverie, back into the softly lit room.
“I thought you might.”
I blinked, dragging my arms across my chest, attempting to shield myself. Failing. Gene leaned back, turning on his number one interrogation technique – the art of saying and doing nothing. My throat constricted. As I looked at my hand, I could see it was shaking. My whole body was shaking. I couldn’t stop.
“I had to,” I said quietly, my voice sounding foreign to me. I couldn’t think of any other words to use. “I had to do it.”
Gene’s calm resolve faltered. A muscle in his left cheek twitched and the eyes which had been boring holes into me gazed up at the smoke swirling under the fluorescent light.
Finally, he spoke. “Because he was killing you. Thirty years in the future.”
I stared at the tape recorder sitting next to Gene, the lines and corrugations of the speaker fascinating me. Up. Down. Up. Down.
“Yes. Because he was killing me. It was self defence.”
Gene slammed his fist hard into the table. The sound reverberated around the room, shocking me into movement.
“Do you even listen to yourself, Sam?” he shouted, lurching forward. “You sound completely insane. You’ll be committed.”
I yelled in return. “It’s not insanity. It’s the truth.” My chest heaved. I leaned towards Gene. He reared back. My throat was thick with bile. “It’s the truth, Gene.”
“The only truth I know is that of the dead body down morgue with your name on it. And do you know what I think? I think you’re delighted.”
I shook my head, bringing my hands up to my eyes. “No, no, no. If I’d found another way, I never would have…” I stopped.
Gene supplied the blank. “Killed Crane?”
“No,” I said, “but he was killing me. I had no choice.”
Gene set his jaw and narrowed his eyes. “Do you know why you believe in monsters, Tyler?” Gene asked, his teeth bared. I concentrated on the uncertainty and nervous tone of his gesture as he pointed his finger at me. “It’s because you are one.”