Author: KathyRunkle aka sablaine
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pairings: none, hints of conventional couple interests
Time Period: Season One, some time after Blind Date
Summary: Michael Guerin has disappeared and the only clue to his whereabouts is a photo the murderer left behind.
Monday April 3, 2000
I’m Liz parker and for weeks everyone in Roswell has been scared. No one comes to the CrashDown to eat because no one wants to leave their homes unless they have to. People walk to classes in pairs. Everyone looks around like there is a killer lurking behind every shadow. Because maybe there is. Because maybe the person that took the lives of seven people is going to come after them next.
Liz took the newspaper clipping and tucked it into her journal and shut it.
For seven weeks people had been disappearing, one each week. Always the victim was a male and always the victim had just gone through some personal tragedy – a death in the family, a financial loss, something. No body of any of the victims had been recovered and to date no evidence had turned up, except for a charred photograph of each of the victims. Each photo was found in a small, freshly dug fire pit and each fire pit was in a different location – in front of the library, in the elementary school playground, at the park… Obviously people assumed the worse.
The last victim was Michael Guerin. The only difference was that, this time, the photo that was left behind wasn’t burned. It smelled like smoke but it was entirely intact and perfect. Max and Isabel were scared that the FBI had kidnapped Michael and left the photo there to make it look like the killer had, but they also considered it possible that he really was dead.
The sheriff brought Liz in for questioning. In fact he brought in all of Michael’s friends for questioning. He showed them the photo.
Maria was first. Maria had sobbed and been hysterical (in fact she was inconsolable ever since) and had been unable to answer any of the sheriff’s questions.
Alex was second.
Max was third. Max had refused to cooperate, not that he knew anything anyway. He was scared for Michael and being questioned by the sheriff didn’t help him.
Isabel was next and that was when everything changed. When the sheriff showed her the photo she touched it and traced her fingers over Michael’s face. The photo rippled slightly and she felt herself pulled toward Michael. She couldn’t see him but she could feel his presence, and he must have felt hers too.
“Michael? You’re alive?”
“Isabel, you got to get me outta here.”
The sheriff called her name to get her attention and the sound of his voice pulled her away from Michael.
Max was waiting for Isabel when she got out of the sheriff’s office and Liz was there too because she was next up to see the sheriff. Isabel quickly told them what happened.
“We have to get that photograph.”
“I don’t know.”
Liz took her turn with the sheriff. She could not answer his questions either, but she did tell him that she did not think Michael was dead.
“What makes you say that?”
“I don’t know. I just, uh… I just don’t.”
Liz picked up the photo of Michael by the edges and studied it. When her fingers accidentally brushed the photo itself she gasped as a flash hit her. It was of Michael being attacked by another alien and him defending himself with his powers.
“I got a flash,” she tried to tell Max and Isabel when she got out from the sheriff’s office.
“That’s not possible.”
“You’re not one of us.”
“I know but…”
“It didn’t happen, Liz.”
In the week that follows, Max tried to keep Liz out of the picture, while still keeping an eye on her. The sheriff is watching us, he insisted. You should try to stay away from us.
Isabel had no luck dreamwalking Michael. Wherever he was, she couldn't even sense him. She was frustrated. She knew she needed the photo the sheriff had in his possession, but she and Max did not know how to obtain it.
Maria managed to overcome her hysterics after a few days and glued herself to Liz’s side, along with the ever-supportive Alex. “God, and to think I used to be afraid of him.”
“He’s not dead, Maria..”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yes, I do.”
Liz began to have nightly nightmares about Michael’s last moments. He had just finished taking out the trash for his foster father and was walking away from the dumpster when the alien approached him. The alien attacked and Michael raised his hand to defend himself. He felt the alien pulling on him, trying to absorb Michael’s life with his powers but Michael fought back. The trailer park around him wavered and began to disappear. As blackness enveloped him he thought he saw the other alien explode.
In desperation, Liz went back to the sheriff’s office.
“Liz? Hey, what are you doing here?”
She rubbed her hands nervously on her pants. “I, um… Ever since I saw the picture of Michael I’ve been having these nightmares.”
“Hey, I’m really sorry about that…”
“No. It’s so not your fault. You’re just doing your job.”
The sheriff sat next to Liz.
“I keep seeing him being attacked.”
The sheriff waited for her to continue.
“Um, this is going to sound really lame.”
“No, go on.”
“I keep seeing him being attacked by… by an a-… by a leprechaun.” She was going to say alien, but then changed her mind. She saw a St. Patrick’s Day poster up on the bulletin board that should have been taken down two weeks ago and said leprechaun instead.
Liz gave a weak smile and nodded her head in embarrassment. “Yeah.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “I was wondering if I could see the picture again… you know, so, um… so that I can see that what I’m dreaming about is wrong.”
The sheriff took her back to his office and showed her the photo again.
She picked it up by its edges and studied it.
Her lips parted in surprise and her heart began to race. In the background were the park’s trash bins. Michael’s hand was raised and from his hand to the corner of the picture the photo looked over-exposed or whited out. Anyone else would have probably assumed the white part was glare but Liz knew what it was. It was power from Michael, because Michael had been engaged in battle.
She brushed her fingers over the photo and more of the scene flashed to her.
“See any leprechauns?” the Sheriff asked, pulling her back.
She smiled a bit and said no.
But as she left she saw him studying the photograph more closely.
Kyle tried to be nice to Liz. “Hey, Dad told me you went to see him about Michael.”
“He’s not dead, Kyle, just missing.”
“Liz, no one else has been found.”
“I know, but this is different.”
“I don’t know. I just know.”
Max overheard and when Kyle walked away, he confronted her, nicely. “You went to see the sheriff again?”
“I needed to see the picture.”
“You shouldn’t have done that that.”
“It’s just a picture, Max.”
“It’s not just a picture. Isabel got pulled into the dream plane because of it. This could be…”
Liz bit her lip.
He touched her hair. “I don’t want you involved, Liz. It’s not safe for you. It’s not normal.”
He walked away sadly.
To his back, Liz said: “But I don’t want normal.”
Liz went out to the trailer park and walked to the back where the trash cans were. It startled her when the sheriff appeared.
“I had a closer look at the picture after you left.” He studied her while she stood there nervously. “These were in the background.” He pointed to the trash bins.
Her eyes were drawn to the melted metal on the front of one of them.
“You want to tell me about that leprechaun you’ve been dreaming about?”
Liz stood rooted to the spot.
“Come on, Liz. You help me, maybe we’ll find Michael and get a killer behind bars.”
Liz licked her lip and made a split second decision. “I think the killer’s dead. At least in my dream it seemed like he died.”
“I don’t know.”
“You scared to tell me?”
“Does it have something to do with this?” He pointed to the melted spot on the trash bins and Liz nodded. “It must have been pretty hot to melt this.”
Liz nodded again. “They were fighting. Here. The a-… the, uh, the leprechaun was, um… It was like he was casting a spell on Michael and Michael was fighting back. I don’t think he expected Michael to fight back.”
“Then what happened?”
“I’m not sure. I mean, that part of my dream doesn’t make sense. There was a flash of light and… and everything went black for Michael, but right at the last minute when things were going black, it seemed like something happened to the… the leprechaun, like maybe he got killed. But I’m not sure.”
“It’s okay, Liz.”
“Can I, um…?” She pointed to the trash bin.
The sheriff nodded and she went over to the bins. She examined the burned area. The melted metal had hardened in strange wave-like shapes and the blue paint was gone. She looked down at the dirt, at the last place Michael stood, and then back up at the melted area.
Slowly she raised her fingers to touch it, but as soon as she did she was hit by another flash. The alien had his hand out like Michael and a glowing beam of power was shot at Michael, pulling at him, and in the alien’s other hand was a blank photograph.
Liz gasped and felt the sheriff pull her away from the trash bin.
She pointed a few yards away where the dirt seemed to reflect light like water. “The le- leprechaun was standing right there.”
They walked to the spot and examined it. The dirt where the alien had been standing was not dirt anymore. It was solid and dark and looked like a large, flat, glass plate.
“You’re a science whiz, Miss Parker. Know anything that can turn dirt into glass?”
In the evening the sheriff stopped by on his way home from work to pick up some food. The CrashDown was packed.
He sat at the counter.
Liz went to attend to him. She took his order and turned to put it into the order window, then filled a soda for him and brought it back.
“We’re going to find him.”
“I don’t know if that’s possible.”
“You still think he’s alive?”
Liz nodded, her antenna bobbing on her head.
“Then we’ll find him. I promise.”
Liz checked on her other tables, including Max and Isabel’s table. Max and Isabel had been watching her. “What does the sheriff want?” Max asked.
“He just wants to eat, Max.”
“Did he ask you about Michael?”
Liz hesitated, looked over at the sheriff who was watching her and then back at Max and Isabel. “I got another flash from the photo.”
“That’s not possible.”
“I know it’s not supposed to be.”
“What’d you see, Liz?” Isabel asked.
“Michael. By the trash bins at the park where he lives. He was attacked by a, uh… a Czechoslovakian.”
“What?” Isabel asked.
“I went there.”
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Max said.
“The sheriff was there.”
Max seemed startled. “What?”
“The trash cans. They were in the background of the photo. The um… the trashcan by where Michael was standing? It’s melted. And where the Czechoslovakian was? The ground was changed into glass.”
“Valenti saw this?”
“What’d you tell him?”
“I didn’t tell him anything.”
Isabel looked at her brother. “We need to go there.”
“Yeah. Let’s go.”
“You know, just… don’t rush out of here," Liz said. "It’ll look suspicious.”
Liz checked on a couple more tables before going back to the order window to get the sheriff’s dinner. She put it in a to-go bag and brought it to him with his bill. He paid her cash.
He stood, picked up his order, and looked at her. He gestured ever so slightly with his head toward Max and Isabel. “They gonna go out to the trailer park?”
Liz hesitated and then nodded.
“Will you let me know if they find anything?”
Liz hesitated again.
“Anything that would help,” the sheriff redefined.
Liz nodded again.
“Do you feel the energy?” Isabel asked as they approached the site in the morning.
“Liz, was right. It happened here.”
“Right here. No wonder she got a flash. Whatever happened was so powerful even a human could feel it.”
“The sheriff didn’t get a flash.”
“Maybe he just didn’t say anything.”
They explored the small area without touching anything. They found the melted trash can where Michael was standing and the glassy ground where the other alien was.
“Let’s see if we can get flashes.” Isabel took a position near the trash and Max stood near the glass. “We touch them at the same time.”
“The same time?” Isabel asked. “Wouldn’t it be better if we did it one at a time in case something happens? Or maybe we could both take turns touching each area and…”
“I want to try this first. There’s still so much energy here, maybe we’ll get joint flashes if we do this together.”
Max bent down and held his hand over the glass plate and Isabel held her hand near the trashcan. “On the count of 3.”
"One,” Max counted.
“Two,” Isabel said.
“Three,” they spoke together. They both placed their hands on the spots at the same time. Flashes hit them hard and fast.
“Hello, Michael.” A man stood in front of him with a strange glow around his body. He smiled but his smile was cold.
“Who are you? How do you know my name?”
“I’ve been watching you and now I’ve come to help. I’m going to take you away from your suffering.”
“Isn’t it a little late for social services to be out?”
“I’m not from social services.”
“Whatever.” Michael started to move away from the man when he was hit by a blast of power. The power threw him back against the trash bins.
Immediately Michael raised his hand and fired back a shot at the man.
The man did not expect that and was unprepared. Just like Michael he flew back from where he stood and landed on the ground, the light around him flickering. He looked at Michael, who had risen by then. “You’re one of us,” he said in surprise.
The man stood but Michael had his hand out, ready.
The man made no move to attack, instead just taking a small photo from his pocket. He turned it toward Michael. “Do you see this? This is how I’m going to help you.”
“You killed the others.” The realization dawned on Michael.
“They’re not suffering anymore.” He took a step toward Michael. “And neither will you.”
Michael blasted him with all the power he could muster but the man was prepared and returned the hit with a volley of power of his own. They stood locked in a fiery exchange.
Michael could feel what the man was trying to do; he felt his life force being pulled from him. But he could also feel the man weakening.
Then, somehow, their powers locked together. Blinding light flashed all around them. Michael pushed the last of his power at the man in an effort to destroy him and, as blackness enveloped him, he felt an explosion of power around him.
“Oh, god,” Isabel said. “Liz was right.”
“Where did they go?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see.”
“We’ve got to find him, Is.”
“We need the photograph.”
Liz was talking to Alex and Maria by her locker, bringing them up to speed, when Max came up next to her. “We need to talk.”
“Whatever you have to say can be said to us too,” Alex told him.
“Fine. Isabel and I went to the trailer park. We got the same flashes you did.”
“So it’s true,” Maria said.
“What are we going to do?” Alex asked.
“You’re not going to do anything. Liz is," Max answered. Then, turning to Liz, he said: "We need the picture Sheriff Valenti has.”
“You think he’ll give it to me?”
“You seem to have built a rapport with him.”
Liz entered Valenti’s office.
“Did they find anything?”
“No, but, uh… I need a favor.”
The five teens gathered at the Evan’s in Max’s bedroom.
“So, you’re going to dreamwalk him?” Maria asked.
“I’m going to try,” Isabel said.
“We don’t know what else to do," Max added.
“What should the rest of us do?” Alex asked.
“Just stay back and give Isabel some room,” Max told him.
Isabel went over to Max’s bed and laid down on it. “I need the picture.”
“Oh.” Liz took it out of her purse and brought it to Isabel.
“Did you get any flashes this time?”
Liz shook her head.
Isabel held out her hand for the photo and Liz gave it to her.
As Isabel touched the photo to take it from Liz, they both gasped as Isabel was immediately pulled into the dream plane, bringing Liz with her.
Everything around them appeared very white.
Michael was there, also dressed in white.
“Michael!” Liz and Isabel cried together. They both rushed at him and engulfed him in a double embrace.
“Thank god,” Isabel says.
“God had nothing to do with it,” Michael said. “It was that freak over there. He’s an alien.”
The girls looked to see the man from the flashes, but there – wherever there was – he seemed unable to hold onto his human shape. His body fluctuated, sometimes looking like a grey alien with large black eyes and sometimes like the man.
“His powers don’t work here.”
“Where is here?” Isabel asks.
“Photograph,” the alien said.
“I know. That’s how we contacted you. I dreamwalked you with the photo.”
“You didn’t dreamwalk me. I’m inside the photo.”
“I don’t understand,” Isabel said.
“You mean…” Liz began.
“Yeah,” Michael agreed.
“How?” Liz asked.
“What are you talking about?" Isabel wanted to know.
“The alien pulled me inside the photo.”
“Then he’s the…”
“Snapshot killer,” Michael finished.
“Oh my god. Michael we’ve got to get you out of here," Isabel said.
“Liz!!” Maria yelled.
Liz and Isabel were locked like statues together, each one holding onto a part of the photograph. Liz had been pulled into the dream plane with Isabel.
“It’s okay, Maria. Isabel will take care of her.”
“How can you say it’s okay? She’s not an alien!”
“Maria, keep it down,” Max ordered. “If my mom comes home from shopping and hears you…”
“Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.”
“Maria!” Alex reached out and shook his friend. “Stay with me here. You have to calm down… for Liz’s sake.”
“For Liz’s sake. I can do that.” She pulled out her Grief Relief, uncapped it and waved it under her nose, inhaling deeply.
Isabel and Liz both let out the breath they were holding as they plunged back into the real world. Isabel let go of the photo as Liz wrapped her arms tight around Isabel’s frame. Isabel clung to Liz, then when they released one another, she said: “Max, we need the healing stones.”
They gathered in the cave.
They formed a circle, with Max and Isabel each holding a healing stone. Liz and Isabel each held onto a corner of the photograph with one hand. Isabel held a healing stone in her other hand. Alex laid his hand over the healing stone and held onto Max’s hand with his other. Max held one stone in his other hand and Maria laid her hand over the top of it. Then with her other hand, she held Liz’s hand. They all concentrated on Michael, just on Michael.
The white place appeared before them and Michael and the ever-changing alien were there.
“Michael!” Maria cried.
“Don’t break the circle!” Max ordered.
Michael walked over to the group. He took one last look at the alien.
The alien reached out a hand as if he wanted to joined them.
Michael turned and laid his hand on top of Liz and Maria’s and they made a quick grab for him, letting him into their circle.
They reappeared in the cave with Michael in tow.
“Oh my god, Michael,” Isabel cried.
Everyone gathered around Michael and hugged him.
“Glad to have you back, man.”
“It’s good to be back.”
“Why didn’t the alien try to stop us?” Maria asked.
“He’s a parasite. He takes the life energy from other people to stay alive and covers his tracks by trapping them in photographs.”
“Then he burns the photographs so there is no evidence of what he’s done,” Liz surmised.
“Why’d he get so sloppy?” Alex asked. “I mean the photos weren’t all the way burned. Didn’t he think someone would figure it out?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t exactly chatting it up with the guy.”
“Did he hurt you?” Isabel asks. “When you were in there… did he, you know…?”
“I’m fine, Isabel. When our powers exploded and pulled us both into the photo, he took the most damage. He was too injured to hurt me.”
Max lit a fire in the middle of the cave with his powers. It crackled and made strange shadows dance on the walls.
The teens looked at each other silently.
“You sure about this?” Max asked.
“Yeah,” Michael said. He took the photo, which then only had the face of the alien on it, and threw it into the flickering flames. It smoldered for a moment before catching fire. There was a small poof as it went up in smoke.
“What are we going to tell the sheriff?” Maria asked.
Liz and Michael looked at each other.
Liz and Michael each sat in a chair in the sheriff’s office, facing the sheriff.
“So, you don’t remember anything?” the sheriff asked.
Michael shook his head.
“And you lost the photo?” he asked Liz.
“I’m sorry,” she answered.
“And the leprechaun?”
“Dead,” Michael answered.
“I see.” Valenti looked both kids over. Then he crossed his arms over his desk and leaned forward. “You wanna tell me the real story?”