The Fire Inside
by Sandrine Shaw

Smile. Nod. Always polite, always friendly. No sign betraying that you're feeling anything but happiness to be back and thankfulness towards the people that made your return possible.

It must tear you up inside, to smile into the faces of the very men who are responsible for your ruined existence.

When I close my eyes, I can see the girl you once were. Long brown curls, the deepest eyes of hazel that speak of innocence and happiness, the smile of a girl who is a stranger to death and loss and violence. All her hopes and dreams she still believes that one day, they'll come true. She doesn't know anything but the love and trust she finds with her friends and her family. And then, one day, everything changes. Betrayed by the one man she trusted beyond anything, her dreams shattered, her life becoming an endless torrent of experiments and pain. I know how you feel, can tell of the bitterness, the hate, the wish for revenge bottled up inside of you. I know you because I am the same.

When I look at you, I see myself, my own destroyed hopes and shattered beliefs. I remember the boy I used to be, so similar to the girl who was once Samantha Mulder, and when I look into the mirror to see the man I have become, it pains me to see my reflection.

Do you feel the same? Do you hate yourself sometimes, knowing that you're playing into their hands - a tool, a pawn, a weapon even in the hands of the same men whose ruthless actions brought you here in the first place? I know you hate them, can see it in your eyes when you carry out their orders.

What's the driving force behind you that makes you keep up with everything, endure all they're dishing out? Hate? The need for revenge? The hope to expose the horrible truth? Or simply the knowledge that it's the easiest way - working for them instead of against them?

Sometimes, I wonder if there's a reason behind everything. If there's a sense in all the fighting, all the enduring, all the trying - all the failing. We've seen so much in our lives, you and I - so much pain, so much death, so much unspeakable terror, and there are times when I wonder whether there's something to justify the suffering. Whether it's ... you know, worth it.

And sometimes, I am afraid the answer would be 'no'.

You, on the other hand, seem to be free from those doubts. Almost ... at ease with yourself and the cold, cruel world around you. I wish I could share you imperturbable faith and your firm belief that there will be an end that could be considered if not happy, then at least acceptable.

Why? Where do you get that from?

I don't get how someone who has been through all the hurt and pain, all the horror and the suffering you have experienced, can still be so unshaken, and have such a will to carry on. Still has such a will to live, to nod and smile at them all the while aware of what they have done to you.

Because in the end, I'm nothing like you. I don't have your power of will, your strength to fight and your hope. But as much as I envy you for it, I know that it's as much a burden as it is a gift.

I hope that one day, the future will prove you right, and me wrong. That one day, good will defy evil, light will shine through the darkness and the world as it now exists will go on turning.

Yet, I don't think it will.