Title: the burning coals
Summary: Rebecca’s history (rewritten) is unearthed in Twin Peaks
Info: The Inside/Twin Peaks crossover. More of a mood piece than anything plotty. Rebecca/Audrey. PG-13. Written for prozacpark, for her birthday. Just over 1000 words.
Rebecca Locke has, very strategically, never heard of Twin Peaks, until now. She spends countless hours not thinking about that place. Rebecca Locke thinks, very intently, about murderers, and about, someday, purchasing a second sheet set so she won’t have to sit at the laundromat, waiting for her bed to dry, preparing for a sleep that rarely comes without the aid of small, prescribed pills.
Drugs, in this case, are the lesser of two evils.
Smooth wood, a leather chair, the glare of a computer screen: these are her daily companions. There are things she knows about her job at the FBI; the gore, the pain, the familiar rumble of Webb calling her into his office.
This time, he hands her two folders, and she knows one, immediately.
She opens up the musty case file, glancing down, briefly at a name that tinges something in her chest. Becky George. He is watching for a reaction. She looks into the face of the girl she no longer recognizes. Becky was born and raised just outside of a small, northern town, missing for eight months. There had been a fire, smoke damage in the girl’s lungs. The girl saved herself, they said, came right home, or didn’t, but came home all the same. Years later, she vanished again, but the circumstances were less mysterious.
She changed her name.
Rebecca remembers lighting the match that burned down the old hotel, her 11-year old fingers sure and steady around the thin stick of wood. His body was never found.
Her face is smooth as she hands back the well-worn manila and reaches for the second, smoother, newer, case file, one with addendum–tape recordings, and evidence bags. This one is thick, more than just the simple case of a missing girl. Where the hotel stood, a mill was erected. Taken, again, by arson. Twin Peaks is no longer a quiet town. It has witnessed two murders. Two women, wrapped in plastic. Messages conveyed by letters under fingernails. A brothel, across the northern border. They were young–not so young as little Becky–naked, cold.
Rebecca–Becky–sees his face.
One man died before an arrest could be made, another lost his mind. A notation references the tapes (she will listen to them all) and something supernatural at work. The agent working the case called it, the mystery, closed.
“Thoughts?” he asks, Webb, thoughtful in front of her, waiting for her to speak.
She has to go to this place that Becky still remembers. Where the trees grow taller than they should, and the air smells of pine needles and cherry pie.
“I can be ready in a few hours.” Sooner, she thinks, but stays safe, for once. She will pour over the artifacts of her past, embracing their scent.
She can feel, now, the cool half-circle ring against her neck, the encrusted diamonds pressing into her skin, and on the drive north, the shape starts to burn.
Though Agent Cooper considers his case solved, he greets Agent Locke at the post office, ready to caravan-guide her into town. “A pleasure to meet another in the service of our beloved country, Agent Locke.” He sticks out his hand, smiles.
She blinks at his enthusiasm. “Agent Cooper.” He’ll get a solid shake for that effort, but no smile in return. She saves her upturned lips for special occasions.
“I do hope you enjoyed the drive up. I myself found the scenery to be just breathtaking.” He is, apparently, undeterred.
“Would you mind taking me right to where the girl was found?”
“No interest in getting settled first? We’ve arranged for a great room for you. Same hotel where I’m staying. They’ve got room service!”
Somehow, she doubts this was any sort of come on. “The dump site, please. Of Laura Palmer.”
Shades of blue hit her eye at different angles, the sky undercut by dark water, sloshing in at a sluggish pace, catching on smooth stones, Rebecca’s feet tumbling over the rocks no matter how carefully she watched her footing. The spot was secluded, quiet. The lake pulled in, out. Repeated. Her mind buzzed full of words, noise.
“…and the body was arranged, Agent, like so,” the rocks scraped together where Agent Cooper maneuvered over them, his dress shoes ill-equipped to deal with the shape of the stones. She didn’t note him, keeping her watch on the horizon, but felt his presence behind her, a warm body on the cool shore. A block in the breeze.
She noticed, suddenly, the way his shadow melted into hers.
On the uphill walk to the Great Northern, she saw his face, ducking behind trees, his craggy fingers tapping Cooper’s smooth shoulder, his voice on the wind, whispering to her, saying “I can help you find her,” but each time she shook her head, closed her eyes and told herself he wasn’t real, she was remembering something, recovering something from the depths of memory, a ghost from her past, something that hadn’t been pulled to consciousness for years. And the scent of the air and the steps her feet took had recalled him to life.
“Audrey Horne.” Another handshake, this one firm and soft, at once. “I’ll be personally seeing to your needs.” Red lips, curled into a tight smile, not unkind. The color of fresh blood, pricked on a needle.
Rebecca started to decline, glancing towards Agent Cooper, but Ms Horne interjected. “I insist. Do let me know if you lack for anything, Agent Locke. I take my father’s business very seriously. And, as I’m sure Agent Cooper will tell you, I provided some help in the Palmer investigation. You may be surprised at what assistance I can provide.” It was said with a flicker of pride, but immediately followed by a wave of shyness, doubt, darkness behind her eyes. Audrey watched Rebecca through her eyelashes, her gaze curtained but still very aware. She could be a classic movie spy, Ms Audrey Horne could, catching good and bad with that look. Flies locked in her venus-fly-trap sight.
Rebecca concealed the chill up her thigh through her heart. “I promise to let you know, Ms Horne.”
She swallowed a sleeping pill with a glass of milk ordered from room service. It left a cool trail through her insides, soothing the visions of desperate girls. In the pictures, they look almost peaceful. She sees his rough hand, lovingly tucking them in. The ring glinting in the half-light.
A sharp rapping came at her window and, clothed in thermal pajamas, Rebecca rose from the double bed to see. She doesn’t panic, her breath doesn’t lift or twist in her lungs. The cloth stays warm around her body, clinging in the right places, tighter at the ankles and wrists. Practical. One knock and she slid her hand over her pistol (she has a gun, she has a safety), a second and her feet hit the smooth, wooden floor.
He is there, at her ground floor window, pressing a hand to the glass, breathing. The earth spins, faster. There is no truth in laws of gravity, of mass, of things.
They called him Bob, and he isn’t dead (though he should be, a thousand times). She will lift the panel of glass, wondering at his smile in the dark, use all of her strength to lift it, sit on the sill and look into his face, searching for something. The burns, like waves will wash against his hairline, but he will not mention them. He will tell her, again, about the ponies. He will touch her mouth.
A third knock, this time at the door. An owl cried her low sigh, whistling through the night air.
“Can I get you anything, Agent Locke?” The thick, female voice, from before. Audrey Horne sounded warm, like sugar.
Rebecca pressed herself against the solid oak, closing her eyes against the anchor, the gun at her side, safety on. She trusted, again, suddenly, in the strength of objects, in rules, in reality.
“Agent Locke?” The voice again, much nearer. Coming, as if, from the wood.
“Yes,” she whispered, turned briefly. The window was dark. Becky tore the plastic from around her face, Rebecca could breathe.