This is for Catherine Rosenbaum,
my spirit sister and friend.
She’s always believed….
And, as always, for Sara Jo.
Many of the things I have seen have challenged my faith and my belief in an ordered universe, but this uncertainty has only strengthened my need to know, to understand, to apply reason to those things which seem to defy it.
—Dana Scully, The X-Files
ANGELS AND DEMONS
The devil is an angel, too.
—Miguel de Unamuno
April 1, 1979, 7:29 P.M.
“I want to believe,” said Dana Scully.
Melissa Scully looked at her sister. Dana sat a few feet away, red hair tangled by the wind, blue eyes fixed on the darkening sky. Above the canopy of leaves, the first stars of a brand-new April were igniting. The waxing crescent moon was low, slicing its way into the steeple of the empty church across the street. Deep in the tall grass, a lone cricket chirped, calling for others who were not yet born.
“Believe in what?” asked Melissa. She twisted a curl of her own auburn hair around one finger.
“Everything,” said Dana. She sat with her knees up, arms wrapped around her shins, cheek on one knee. “The stuff you keep talking about. The stuff Gran always talks about.” She shrugged. “All of it.”
“So,” said Melissa, giving her own shrug, “believe. What’s stopping you?”
Dana said nothing for a long time, and the cricket was the only sound. Twilight’s last fires were burning out, and the streaks of red and gold and lavender that had been painted across the sky were thickening to the uniform color of a rotting plum. Dark, purple, and ugly. A tidal wave of storm clouds was rolling in from the southeast, and there was the smell of seawater and ozone on the breeze. Although it was unseasonably warm for early spring, the storm was pushing cold and damp air ahead of it.
When Dana finally spoke, her voice was soft, distant, more like she was talking to herself than to Melissa. “Because I don’t know if they’re actually visions or only dreams.”
“Maybe they’re the same thing.”
Dana cut her a look. “Really? ’Cause last week I dreamed that Bo from Dukes of Hazzard picked me up at school and we went driving in that stupid car of his and then we made out like crazy in the church parking lot.”
“You never made out with anyone.”
“That’s my point. And when I do … if I do … are you going to sit there and tell me it’ll be with some grown-up guy on a TV show? He’s old. He’s like twenty or something, so it would be illegal, too. You can’t tell me I’m seeing my own future.”
Melissa laughed. “Okay, so maybe not all dreams are prophecies, but some are. And sometimes those dreams are really important.”
“How do you know that?” Dana asked.
“Everyone knows that. Dreams—okay, some dreams—are our inner eyes opening to the possibilities of the infinite.”
Dana sighed. “You always say stuff like that.”
They sat and watched the bruise-colored sky turn black. Way off to the south there was a flash of lightning that veined the inside of the coming storm clouds. Thunder muttered far away. The first breezes came spiraling out of the night, whipping at the leaves and lifting the corners of their blanket. Melissa closed her eyes and leaned into the wind, smiling as it caressed her face.
The wind faded slowly and then it was still again, except for the lonely cricket, which was beginning to sound desperate.
“Maybe if you tell me what the dream was about,” said Melissa, turning to glance at Dana, “then I could help you figure out whether it was a dream or a vision.”
Dana shook her head.
“Oh, come on … you’ve been in a mood all day long. It’s clearly bothering you, so why not tell me?”
High above, somewhere in the dark, invisible against the sky, they heard the sudden flap of wings and the lonely, plaintive call of a crow. Dana shivered.
Melissa reached out and put her hand on her sister’s arm. Dana’s skin was covered with goose bumps. “Jeez, you want to go in and get a sweater?”
“I’m not cold,” said Dana.
Dana finally said, “I dreamed … I saw … something bad.”
Her voice was small. It was younger than her fifteen years. Melissa moved closer and put her arm around Dana’s shoulders.
“What did you see?” she asked.
Dana turned to her, and the moonlight revealed two pale lines on her cheeks. Silver tear tracks that ran crookedly from eyes to chin.
“I dreamed I saw the devil.”
Outside Scully Residence 10:07 P.M.