Author: Juxian Tang
Pairing: no pairing, no sex, just Luther Lee Boggs
Rating: R (adult topic)
Disclaimer: X-Files and all characters belong to Fox and no copyright
infringement is intended in this story
Spoilers: 1st season, Beyond the Sea.
Comments: The story is very episode-related. It is just a little reminder.
Luther Boggs is a prisoner in death row waiting for his execution who claims
to be able to hear the voices of alive and dead. He helps Mulder and Scully
to rescue a pair of kidnapped students but ends up in a gas chamber all the
Warning: no Mulder or Scully, some disturbing graphic images, adult topic
Summary: Luther Lee Boggs gets what he deserves.
Thanks: Lots and lots of thanks to Eggblue for the most helpful and delicate
beta and for the support I wouldn't be able to do without.
On my last night I woke up bleeding. I lay on my bunk with my eyes closed
- but where I had been, they were open and looking. And the things I saw were
so horrible that it was not tears that trickled from under my eyelids but
I got up and washed my face over the sink, the water running pink but in
the small light that was always on in my cell it seemed like dirt. I turned
away. There was the mirror above the sink and I didn't want to look at it. I
knew I would see them behind me if I looked. Standing and waiting.
Like if I didn't look, I wouldn't be able to know they were here.
"Does he want it to be over?" their voices were sing-song even
when they whispered - and no matter how I covered my ears, if I cried or
talked trying to muffle them, I still kept hearing them. "Does he want
it to be over at last?"
"No," I said. "No. I want to live."
They laughed. Their chuckles were tiny, derisive, so deliberately
tormenting - and they tormented me alright, no slip.
"But he will not live..." chanting. "We see Luther Boggs...
strapped into the chair... the crystals spill to the acid... his blood
doesn't give oxygen any more... he breathes but it doesn't work... his heart
I didn't want to listen to them. I got in the corner of the bunk, forehead
against my knees, shielding my eyes with my hair - but they still were there,
I still felt them.
"And then his soul is falling to the sea of fire... falling to burn
Stop it. I threw my head against the wall, biting my lip until I felt the
salty, soothing taste of my own blood. Make them shut up. They didn't shut
up. And they were liars. There would be no fire, I knew. No darkness, too. No
even getting back to the gas chamber again and again as I had told Scully.
It would be too easy to know what it would be. There would be...
something. Something unthinkable. Something they were showing me just minutes
ago - but I couldn't already say what it was. One couldn't put it into the
words, couldn't encompass it with one's mind.
I didn't want to go there.
"But you have to," she said. Her voice was gentle and strong -
the only one that could shush the others away. "It will not hurt. You
know it doesn't have to."
I opened my eyes and looked - and she was there, in the shadows - as I
used to see her, as she died - naked and famished and with her hair cropped
scull-close - but she was also as she must have been once - soft and gracious
and brave and warm - and her mournful eyes shining with sadness and
She was the kind one. The only one among them who was kind to me.
"I am afraid," I said.
"I know," she answered. "I have been, too."
I had seen it. I'd had enough nights to follow her and others where they
wanted me to go. She told me she must have not known she was going to die.
They said it would be a fumigation - she needed it after all those weeks in
the crowded barrack, didn't she? She believed them - for once they were kind
to her, not shouting, not hitting her as she walked into the huge underground
shelter with the windows stuffed up with the earth. There were many others
with her, too - and they all believed.
Only when the heavy door locked behind them and there was something
pouring from the holes in the ceiling, something that looked like blue round
candies but was not candies at all, they understood.
She told me some died at once - but some - those who struggled and covered
their noses and mouths - they went on longer. Only in the end, before the
door was unlocked again, were they all dead.
"Remember," she whispered. "Just breathe."
I knew; I would have to. It was going to depend on me - on my willingness
to finish it as soon as possible. Just a deep breath and I wouldn't feel it.
But if I held it, made slow intakes - I would make it go on for minutes,
would make it agony.
"We see him... banging his head on the back of the chair... his
fingernails are torn and bleeding, he is sticking them to the elbow-rests...
his eyes are leaking... his chest is on fire... a coward! He couldn't let it
be over quickly! And here he is dying in convulsions, for six, seven, eight
minutes... look at this, he is still alive, his heart is still beating!"
No. No. It wouldn't be like that. I got up again, shaking, fell on my
knees. To the bowl, sick. They laughed. They watched it. Those who were
supposed to watch me through the cameras didn't - there was nothing to expect
from me any more, nothing to watch me for. But those who were with me looked.
They liked it.
"Just breathe, huh... How about those who couldn't breathe?.. He
didn't give them a chance, you know... nothing to make it easier... to die
quicker... the cord cutting their throats... minute after minute... so
slowly... he made them look..."
Shut up! I hit the wall with my hand, once, twice. Hypocrites. They didn't
care about my family, about what I had done, what they had felt. They just
said it to get to me. They got to me.
"Some killers are projects of society. Some act out past
abuses," a new voice. A pleasant one - so smooth and educated. Made them
listen to it in a brief silence. "Boggs kills because he likes it."
I could see his face, too, for a moment. Not as it had to be now, haggard,
unshaven and exhausted with pain as he lay in the hospital bed - but neat and
smiling unkindly over the printed pages of my file in his hands.
"Yeah... Right... Well said..." cheering him as he faded in the
shadows. He was alive - alive ones didn't stick around here for long, they
had things to do. Others stayed.
They wore me out; their endless chanting, the flickering of their shadows
in front of my eyes, the fleshless touches of their fingers. I wanted them to
go away. I sat on the floor with my face in my hands - but closing my eyes
didn't help me stop seeing them; the same as nothing helped me stop hearing.
"He knows... how to get rid of us, doesn't he?.. But he won't do
it... too scared... he fears it more than he hates us..."
Right. I knew. They would go if I let myself remember. They would leave me
to the worse demons than they could ever be. But I didn't want to remember. I
couldn't. I couldn't.
...I had tied their hands behind the backs of their chairs. These chairs
with the tall carved backs, you know - always had been there, as long I
remembered. At first there were three of us sitting in them - my mother, my
father and me. Then only two of us. Then Raymond, my stepfather, came. And
others - year after year more people - Kevin, Grace, Rachel, Sarah. I didn't
kill Sarah, she died herself, a long time ago. I hated them. I hated the
chairs and I hated the people. The chairs never changed. And the people lived
and died in them...
Enough? I raised my head slowly. There was no one around. Gone. As usual.
One moment they were there, mocking and ruthless and spiteful - and then they
were just gone - after they had done what they wanted. Made me think about
it. They knew there would be no way to lock these things into my head again
after I let them out.
I wailed softly, crawling to the bunk, curling, my hands in the warm place
between my legs, the softness of my cock against my palms so soothing. I stroked
myself there as I recalled - I knew there would be no hardness there, there
had not been ever since I was in that chamber. But at least I felt the warmth
and I felt the touch.
My mother had never touched me, even when I was a tiny kid. She thought it
would spoil me. Well, it didn't help, right? Something spoiled me all the
Mulder wrote in my profile I killed because I enjoyed the power it gave
me. Maybe, it was the power: when I made Raymond tie them and gag them. I
didn't need an accomplice - he did it himself because he was afraid to die. I
had the gun, you know; they didn't know I wouldn't shoot. They were all
afraid to die. They didn't know they would die all the same.
And it was not the gun I used.
Later, in prison, I looked at my hands and saw the deep traces the cord
left on my fingers. Not so deep as it left on the soft flesh of their
throats. Those traces haven't left my hands since then.
I killed Rachel first. She was the youngest; I rather liked her, you know.
I wanted to spare her. I didn't want her to have to look... when I did it to
the others. I didn't know she saw it all the same, even though not through
her eyes. I understood it when my soul parted with my body in the gas chamber
and I looked at it from above.
It was the only thing I felt sorry for - that she had to see.
I came up to her from behind, with the cord between my hands. She looked
at my reflection in the glass of the cupboard - and her eyes became so big
above her adhesive-tape-covered mouth. Later I looked how piss leaked over
her smooth legs in white panty-hose - and her face was blue and purple,
swollen under the mass of her dark hair - and there was no tenderness in her,
no dignity, nothing of my little sister left. And I knew it was how it would
be with the others. It was always like that. They became just ugly things
after they died.
All of them. Shiny sleek little puppies and wooly cats with their
bird-like frames, strong and gracious, into whose eyes I looked to get to
know death when I was a boy. I could never read death there. Fear and pain
and fey - but never death.
There was no death at all, I almost came to believe. You could die but you
wouldn't see it.
Only - you know - when I sat in the chair, that other time when they
brought me to die, and when it seemed to me I could already smell the gas and
I couldn't breathe - then I suddenly got to see death. And it was not at all
what I thought it would be.
* * *
The morning was the same as always: those little things one would do every
day - brushing teeth, shaving, combing. My hands almost didn't shake as I did
Scully came. So little time ago I had put so much of my hope on her. I
thought I would make a deal. She would make the deal for me, I believed I
didn't leave her any other choice. But on the night before the last they told
me that she hadn't done it. And later she came and lied flatly, just as they
had said she would.
An inexperienced little liar. She was no match to them. I knew she wanted
to say she believed me now - but she couldn't, could she? I told her to come
in the evening, I would let her hear him. There was pain and sadness fighting
in her sweet pale face.
She wouldn't come. As soon as she turned away to leave I knew it, even if
she didn't know it herself, if she thought she didn't make up her mind yet. I
knew I made a mistake - I shouldn't have tried to lure her into coming. I
didn't try to get anything, I only wanted her to be there. Maybe, if I just
asked - maybe, she would come then.
The long, long day. The hands of the clock crawled so slowly that I could
see the trace of them left on the dial-plate. Sometimes I almost wanted them
to go quicker. How could I want it? Every minute took a part of my life - and
yet there were too many of them.
At six they brought my dinner. It was not six - it was three minutes to
six - no more proximity in my life.
...You know they had their dinner on the table in front of them when I
came to kill them; the same things my mother cooked year after year I hated
so much but they seemed not to mind eating them. When all was done I had
thought I would take something from the table and eat it - but I couldn't.
Not because of the smell - piss and shit - I felt it but it didn't bother me,
not so much. I just couldn't touch it...
It was strange to look now at the meal that I had chosen myself - knowing
that I would not be able to swallow a bit of it.
I knew they would be here when I looked up. They were. Rachel, Grace,
Kevin, my mother and Raymond. Looking at me. Silent. The only ones who came
and never talked to me. I hadn't let them talk then. They must have thought I
had gagged them because I was afraid they would scream - but the truth was I
didn't want them to talk to me.
Maybe, they would talk to me later. Maybe, it would be a part of my hell
that they would talk to me.
How solemn their eyes were. I turned away. I knew all the same they were
there. It had been like that with my family, too. They had tried not to look
when I was killing them. But they knew what I was doing. And they died. One
The minister came; his voice steady and calm, talking about love - as if
there was time to explain that to me. He didn't hear the other voices around
him - the same as he couldn't see my family standing at his side. Their faces
were so pale and calm and beautiful - not like they were when I had killed
them, not even like they were in life.
"He will not be calm... he will not be beautiful..." hissing -
as always. "Look at him... Luther Boggs is dead... ugly... his body is
blue and swollen... his corpse must be bleached... the people in masks and
protective suits handle him... he is dangerous... he can kill even after his
They had shown me this, too. They must have thought it would frighten me.
Well, right. It did.
It was a part of everything - to know what I would be when I wouldn't be
me any more - would become an ugly broken thing. Just as all of them in my
family had become - as I had made them.
And there would be no reward for me after that - no right to come and
expect something from someone as they expected from me. I knew it. Only the
long, long way. I wish I could explain it better, what it would be - but I
couldn't. I just knew.
"There will be the end of the way," she said. She was again with
me. I knew she wouldn't leave me to be alone with the others.
I closed my eyes. There were ashes burning under my eyelids - and there
were no more tears.
It's time. They put the cuffs and chains on me and I walked to the door. I
knew what I would see in the corridor. I had seen it before and I knew I
would see it again. I had begged for it not to happen, I would have prayed if
I knew the words. I came out and they were there. Standing, watching. Waiting
I couldn't go. Don't make me, please. I turned away - and the minister
behind me hailed the guards and they took me and walked me - two strong big
men. I went with them, feeling the warmth of their hands on my arms - as if
they were protecting me from what the others wanted to do. It was not that, I
knew, of course. But I had to believe it - or I would just slump there on the
I walked past two rows of the dead and they looked at me and whispered to
I couldn't hear what they said. But I didn't need to hear to understand.
They said what I got to know after I had walked this corridor to the gas
chamber the last time. They whispered death - that was all it was - fear and
pain and resignation - and nothing else to know about it, no other mystery.
There were many of them. Not only my family. Others I killed, Mulder knew
about them and I knew he knew but they were never proved - and now they were
all there, waiting for me. Together with those I didn't kill, those someone
else killed, something else killed. Something that was killing all around the
world. Something whose part I was.
And suddenly it all made sense for me. That they were here: my family -
and others who died everywhere, here and across the world, now and decades
ago. They were the one. I was going to become the one with them minutes
later, when my death would join the sea of death.
That's why the woman whose name I never got to know who died in the gas
chamber in Auschwitz fifty-two years ago came to me and followed me to my
There was something they knew. Something that death was only a part of. I
had looked at it during my last night, not knowing its name but somehow
knowing what it was - and seeing it made me weep blood. It was fed on death -
on every death, whatever brought it. They thought they were doing the justice
killing me - but in reality they just fed it, too.
I wish I could tell them about it. But there was nobody who would listen
to me now. Even Mulder wouldn't. I knew that he knew it, however. He had seen
it, too, looked at its dark face above him, when lying under the starry sky
with his blood spurting out of the wound. And with the same certainty as I
knew that that he knew it - I knew he wouldn't tell anyone about it.
We see Luther Boggs strapped into the chair... The cold touch of
phonendoscope on my chest - and then nobody touched me any more. They would
not touch me - not until I would not feel anything any more.
But I was not alone. In this room full of people, crowding around me, sad
and gloating, struggling for the last time to possess the body that was
almost the same dead as theirs were.
The shield went up. Scully was not there; but I had known that. And I
couldn't talk anyway. I knew too much - I couldn't tell them about it.
I looked up and saw the pale shapes of the faces through the dark glass -
the faces whose features I couldn't distinguish - and it didn't matter. Soon
I would see other faces. The voice of the minister was reading the only
prayer I had ever known. I heard the signal - and then I heard the liquid
slid into the pan softly. I heard the hiss as the potassium cyanide fell into
it and my head dropped. I wish I could use my hands to shut my ears from
Remember... just breathe.
I raised my head. I knew I had to. I knew what would happen if I didn't. I
didn't want it to hurt, to go on longer than it was necessary. But I couldn't
breathe. I couldn't.