Chapter One: A Taste Of Darkness

May 1st

2:17 a.m.

The beams of two flashlights cut swaths of illumination down the utilitarian shades of the corridor.

"Seriously, I think the wiring in this place has PMS. You ever notice the damn thing shorts out just about this time every month?"

"That's called 'government spending', my friend. This whole place was built on Uncle Sam's dime, and she's got an attitude."

As they passed by door after door, a face peered through the small high-set window in one of them, observing the two men as they walked past. "Ness." he stated matter-of-factly.

The beams swung up and pinned themselves on his face. "'Scuse me?"

"I decided the lady needs a name. I WAS thinking about something classical, like The-All-Powerful-Supreme-Bringer-Of-Night. Then I realized that we'd need something more modern if we're gonna to name a goddess of power-outages. I like Barbara, but I just can't see calling a deity 'Babs'. Then it struck me!" He stepped back from the window for a moment to gesture grandly. "She's the bringer of darkNESS in a place of madNESS... hence, "Ness"!"

The taller of the two orderlies sighed and stepped away as the other rolled his eyes melodramatically. "Murdock, go back to bed. It's the middle of the freaking night. The power'll come back on in a few minutes."

"Killjoys." He turned away from the window and then changed his mind mid-step.

"Have you thought about leaving her offerings? Something to placate her?"

He pretended to ponder deeply.

"How about some AA batteries on a plate or an old power cord with ketchup on it?" He glanced left-and-right down the hallway suspiciously, ducked down from the window, and pushed at the small flap near the bottom of the door, bringing his face close to stage-whisper conspiratorially, "All-powerful beings LOVE ketchup."

"Go. To. Sleep."

"But it's DARK in here! What if the monsters come out from under my bed?

"Murdock, there's no monsters under your bed."

"How d'you know? Have you looked?"

"I don't need to look."

"Well, of course YOU don't need to look, YOU'RE not the one sleeping on top of monsters."


The flap clanked shut and the face reappeared at the window.

"And they smell of goat cheese. Really OLD goat cheese."

A few paces down the hallway, the other orderly began to snicker.

"I swear there's no monsters under your bed... we just fumigated for monsters on Tuesday."

Murdock pasted a relieved grin on his face. "Really?"

"Yup. They came in while everyone was at dinner and took care of this whole wing. Guaranteed for six months. No monsters."

"Oh, that's great. That's really great. Thanks guys!"

"No problem. Now get some sleep."

He tossed off a salute. "Okie dokey, Muchacho. I'm on it!"

He sprinted away from the door and took a flying leap, landing belly first on his mattress as the two men lowered their flashlights and continued down the hallway.

Flipping onto his back, he chuckled to himself in the inky blackness.

"Gotta love night shift." he whispered to a spot on the floor. "At least some of THEM are fun. Think they're a little bit looney, myself, spending their nights babysitting the likes of us... but at least they play along. During the day everyone's just SO uptight. Maybe they need counseling."

He winced slightly as the lights in the hallway suddenly came to life, flickering and then steadying with little ticks.

"There, ya see? All it took was someone mentioning a little bitty ritual sacrifice and all's well."

He pulled a blanket over himself and smiled at the empty space he'd been conversing with. "Night Billy."

As he stared at the ceiling he smirked.

"Night Ness."

His only answer was the hum of the flourescent lighting in the hallway.

Stay tuned after the commercial break to see Murdock hunt up a tasty batch of batteries, ponder the significance of possessed pagers, skirt security, take in a little night air, and start to wonder if maybe there really is something lurking in the shadows of the VA.

Author's Notes:

Yup, here's the boring stuff, feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter (once it's up), I promise, I won't be offended.
Standard disclaimer. You're all smart enough to know that the A-Team doesn't belong to me... if it did, you'd all suddenly become my best friends and invite me over for tea every Thursday.
This fic is going to be very Murdock-centric, taking place almost exclusively during the times in-between missions when he's confined the the dreary existence of the VA hospital and looking for ways to keep himself amused. I will be focusing on both the lighter side AND darker side of living in an institution, so be prepared for a few roller-coaster moments.
My interpretation of Murdock is that he IS a little bit off his rocker... but is so intelligent and imaginative (and occasionally bored) that he plays it up to the extreme just to keep himself amused and to keep the darker aspects of life at bay. I think the thing I loved most about Dwight Schultz's portrayal of the character is that he was never bad crazy, just FUN crazy!
Next chapter we're going to see his neighbor at the VA, Leo Behl, who is referenced in the episode "Timber!" as being infamous for his ability to fit an entire jar of peanut butter in his mouth, lid and all, so that should be interesting.
There IS going to be an OC eventually... so please, I beg you, if she turns into a Mary Sue, PLEASE smack some sense back into me.
Feel free to leave constructive critisicm (spelling/grammatical errors, continuity problems, just plain out-of-character-ness, and so forth), but if all you're going to say is 'this sucks', then please click that little 'x' in the top right corner of your screen and find something more to your liking. There's plenty of fic out there for everyone.
Thanks for reading (and reviewing! *bats eyes*) and hopefully I'll be back soon with the next installment!