The Prisoner (1967)Fanfic
By Auburn Red
I do not own these characters. I don't have that good of an imagination. :D Instead, they belong to George Markestein, Patrick McGoohan, and Everyman Limited. This is more of a friendship/surrogate family fic not slash. If you want to interpret as such, that's fine with me.
The man approached his sitting room warily, pacing back and forth. He tensed as he was about to open the curtains. He looked around. The room, the furniture were his. This was his home, his life now. He escaped. Why did he feel so nervous each time? How many times did he check the corners, the walls to discern whether there was a microphone hidden? How many times did he walk down a street, constantly on his guard if the person behind him wasn't one of them-or just a passer-by ? How many nights was he filled with the terror that he feared would never end? His heart clenched as he paused. Only one way to find out if I am in that damned Village, he thought as he pulled the curtains open. The Irish coast and the rolling hills soothed his agitated mind. The butler appeared next to him, with that psychic sense that he always possessed of what his employer needed. He nodded thanks as he accepted the black whiskey. It had been a year since he escaped from the Village and the fear was still there, the everpresent fear that either they would find him and bring him back or that he was still there and this was too good to be true; another of their tricks. What was their plan? Were they still looking for him? Would his mind ever be free?
It had been an eventful year. He returned to his London house long enough to speak out against his former superiors about the matter of conscience that led to his resignation. He didn't stay. He barely stayed a month. It was too confining, too cramped, and he was tired of always being on guard in the city. So, he packed his things, took his Lotus 7, severed ties with his fiancee, Janet and the few other friends that he had, and retreated to the peaceful County Leitrim countryside of his childhood. He sometimes went to the small town nearby. Most of the people that he had grown up with had either passed away or moved from the town, so he knew no one who would remember him. The locals paid him no mind. True, they thought that he was an odd 'un, but mostly they just thought he was an eccentric English bachelor, a recluse, just an out-of-towner who wanted to move to an easier pace. They didn't know the half of it.
He hardly entertained visitors, the most frequent being the former Number 2. He had retained his original post as an MP and his former identity as Sir Horace Grade, only this time he had a new mission: to speak out against the deplorable uses of the Village. Though Horace laughed, drank, and entertained dignitaries , the man occasionally caught the wide-eyed fearful stare in his friend, the same one that he often had. The fear that one day, they will find them and return them to the Village. As for the man, he left behind both his former identities, as the agent and as the Prisoner, No. 6. Instead he retained his given name and lived under a new surname: John Edward.
John placed the whiskey on the tray as the butler left."Thank you, Angel," He smiled. He had given the Butler the name of Angel, because he seemed to appear and disappear whenever he was needed. Did Angel have those fears? If so, he never showed it. John leaned against the window and saw a figure walk, or rather bounce down the road. Even though he was far from his vision, the shape of the body, the dancing steps were all too familiar. He didn't have too look closely to see who it was. Almost by instinct, the figure came closer towards John's front porch and knocked. The former agent nodded at his butler to let the visitor inside. Angel opened the door as the young man once known as Number 48 danced into the house singing as always, "Oh hear the word of the Lord!"
"Did you know that I lived here?" John asked, hospitable but also wary.
"No, man, I was just passing through hoping for a sit-down or a bed. Imagine my surprise to learn my fellow ex-inmate lives here" the young man replied."Even itchy feet need to rest for a bit." John pointed at the sofa in an invitation for the young man to sit. The young man dropped the backpack that he had been carrying and sank down on the sofa as though he waited his whole life to be seated. He accepted the drink from Angel and gobbled it down.
"Easy now, you'll make yourself sick,"John wryly quipped. "Now young man," John began, but then stopped. "I can't call you Young Man forever. What is your name?"
The kid shrugged. "I've got lots of names. Everywhere I go, I get a new one."
"What's your favorite name?" John asked patronizingly.
The young man hesitated. "Someone I kn…knew called me Lexi."
"Alright, Lexi," John answered. "You may call me, John. You can sleep in the guest room, it's upstairs to the right. The washroom is right across from the bedroom. You may stop as long as you like, but do be careful. I have some things that I would prefer not to be broken and or stolen. Are there any questions?"
"Yeah, can I call you Dad?" Lexi asked playfully.
"Not if you expect an answer," John quipped.
John glanced at his friend. Lexi was still dressed in the same ruffled shirt, long overcoat, and top hat. The bell still hung around his neck. His hair had grown a little longer to his shoulders, but that wasn't the only difference. While leaving the Village, Lexi possessed a cocky demeanour with all of that mania, a defiance and strength despite or perhaps because of the madness. Now, that defiance was replaced by a nervous frantic energy. The kid's eyes darted around checking the walls and his legs twitched as though he fought the urge to get up and leave.
The two talked into the evening. Lexi had regaled his travels to his older friend. "Up down, East West, North, South. I've gone everywhere, seen just about everyone. I never stayed, just seen it all. Can't stop." His voice quieted almost wearily. His eyes drooped. "I won't stop, I don't want to stop, but I can't go any further, not tonight."
Lexi's voice became softer and his whole posture had sagged. He fingered the rim of his glass and began to sing sadly, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child/Sometimes I feel like a motherless child/Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone/A long way from home." He continued to sing slowly and absently altering the phrase to "Sometimes I feel like a fatherless child" or "Sometimes I feel like a brotherless child," his voice cracked as he sang about the brother like he was fighting off tears. He yawned at the last verse, exhausted. He reclined on the sofa, slowly like he carried the whole world.
John rose to place the glasses on the tray. Angel nodded and removed the drinks. John was about to say more to his guest, when he saw that Lexi had fallen fast asleep on the sofa. John smiled thinly and walked over to the body. He removed Lexi's top hat and placed it on the nearby table. He then took out the ornamental blanket that lay over the back of the sofa and draped it carefully over the sleeping young man.
"We want information, information…information!"
"I am not a number, I am a person!" "6 of one, half a dozen of the other!"
"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own!"
"6 for 2! 6 for 2! 6 for 2!"
"Many happy returns."
"Questions are a burden to others, answers a prison to oneself."
"You still have an independent mind, there are very few of us left."
"Du mosst amboss oder Hammer sein."
Why did you resign?"
The voices and faces surrounded No. 6. He could feel the presence of the Number 2s or Number 1, that phantom him. They surrounded him in a tight circle taunted him! He struggled as a scream that was not his own filled the room. He fought the presences, ready to shoot his way out if need be. The scream was surrounded the entire room. Number 6 fought against his assailants with fists, words, struggling to be unbroken and remember who he was…remember…
John rose from his bed his hand resting on his throbbing aching head. The dream was over and he was lying in his own bedroom. He sighed. "Begone in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, begone," he recited remembering the chants that priests did to exorcise the demons. Of course this time, the demons were more sinister, more internal. The scream broke John from his dour thoughts, the same scream that bled into his dream. Startled, John sprang from his bed and ran towards the sitting room where Lexi had slept.
Rather than disturb the young man, John earlier allowed Lexi to sleep on the sofa. He wasn't sleeping now. Instead Lexi had a cutting knife in his hand and aimed it at some imaginary assailant. Lexi dodged and pointed the knife as though he were in the middle of a fight. He drew back and aimed again in a one-sided ballet. "Please don't take my life/I have two little children and a very lovely wife," Lexi chanted hypnotically.
"Lexi," John approached the young man and spoke gently and firmly."It's just a dream, there is nothing there." He tapped his young friend on the shoulder. Lexi drew back as if he had bitten. Then, he pointed the knife at John.
"Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer/ came down on his head!," Lexi chanted. John stepped back as Lexi stepped forward. "Clang! Clang! Maxwell's silver hammer/Made sure that he was dead."
"You may do that if you like," John said evenly. "But, I am not one of them. Just as before. Trust me." Lexi hesitated and John slowly approached the young man. Lexi stepped back in surprise and screamed. He ran towards the older man, but John grabbed his wrist. The knife fell from the boy's hand onto the floor. Seizing the opportunity, John punched Lexi. Surprised, he fell backwards and shook his head awake from his trance.
Lexi looked at John as if seeing him for the first time. "I thought I was there," he breathed. "I was still there. I keep running so they don't find me, but they always do."
John nodded. "I know, I understand," he said. He held the young man by the hand and the shoulder and lowered him back on the sofa. "I understand, but they won't find you not here, not now, not ever. Don't let them." The two caught their breaths in silence just staring in the darkness of the sitting room. John sat on a nearby chair close enough to hold onto the young man, but not close enough to invade his personal space.
"Do you know why, I came with you?" Lexi asked. "You ever wonder why you?" John kept a firm grip on the kid's hand but gave no answer. "You remembered who you were. No one else did, they were happy, stupidly happy there. He never… He didn't want to. I did, but everything became tangled up sometimes. Sometimes it became too hard to remember. But you remembered."
John nodded. It was a struggle for him each day. In fact the only thing that kept him going in the Village was the thought that as long as he remembered that he was a person, that he had a life outside that they could never break him. The moonlight shone through the window illuminating the faces of the two men each locked in their internal struggles to escape the memories. "He didn't want to?" John inquired. "Who's he?"
Tears streamed down Lexi's face. "I didn't come there alone, you know. No mum, no dad,orphan. But I had a big brother. " John sighed at the young man's recitation. He had a feeling who Lexi's brother was. "We used to get hit a lot, but Kenty looked after me. I looked after him. We had each other, all we had. He was my family." He was overcome with tears and John gripped the young man's hand tighter. "Can't you do what you're told, he always said. No, I says, I won't do anything not for them not for you. I ain't your brother here, he says, you're number 48 and I am number 8. He died in the Village, suicide, they said. Murder, I says."
John recalled in his mind the other young man, the one who resembled his friend so strongly. He was the young man who created the hallucination of Harmony, the western town and strangled the woman that he knew as Kathy. He remembered the kid's last stand: "You ain't gonna do it, Judge. You ain't gonna hit me no more, no more no more!" He wasn't sure what to say to Lexi to ease the grief that he felt.
"I knew your brother," John answered. "He was involved in an attempt to extract information from me and he jumped. In a way, I was instrumental in his suicide."
John expected the young man to be vengedul, but instead his expression softened. He looked out the window at the pleasant night. "He died long ago. Real smart, he was. They took that from him. Everything he did was theirs. Took his soul, his mind.I didn't know him. He was dead before he ever knew you. You felt that didn't you?" John nodded recalling the friends that he had made in the Village that had either died or had been broken by their sadistic tricks. Lexi continued. "For him, I run so they don't take me. They won't take me, like they did him. But I can't hide. I can't run fast enough, they catch up to me. The road's been my home for years, but they find me even there."
He rose to leave, but John held him down once again grabbing onto Lexi's hand. "The most important thing to remember is that you are free. . You escaped them, we all did. Now, you have to free yourself." That's good advice, John thought sardonically, maybe I should remember it. "You can't be brought back, if you don't allow yourself to be. You are stronger than they are, even in your mind, especially in your mind."
Lexi wiped the tears from his eyes. "Free myself? What if they catch me?" His brown eyes shone like a small child who was still afraid of the monsters in the dark. Besides unbridled rebellion, John knew that the other earmark of youth was a fragile vulnerability, a child-like idealism that needed to be assured that despite the bad things that everything would be alright.
A smile spread across John's face. "We escaped them once. We could do it again," he said with his usual swagger. His voice softened,"Also, know this. I promise you that you will have someone to run towards, even when you can't go any farther." Lexi grinned that cocky smug grin that he had before and John helped him to rise. "Now come now, this can't be a comfortable place to sleep. I'll take you to the guest room." He led the exhausted young man slowly upstairs and to the room.
Lexi lay down on the comfy mattress and wrapped the blankets up to his chin. He yawned relaxed and still. He smiled as John stood up and just about exited the room. "Nighty-night, Daddy John," Lexi said miscievously.
Despite his earlier words, John chuckled. "Good-night, Lexi." As he closed the door, he heard the young man singing "Motherless Child," but the tone was different. It was lighter and more hopeful as if he really sang, "Sometimes, I do not feel like a motherless child."
For the first time in a long time, John Edward had a peaceful sleep and no nightmares. When, he awoke the next morning, he threw back the curtains, without another thought than that it was a nice day.
The title and the song that Lexi sings, "Motherless Child" is a spiritual from the slavery days in which children were seperated from their parents. Some have taken the song to be a metaphorical one to be a spiritual seperation. Many musicians have recorded versions of it and have added lyrics. My personal favorite version is by John Legend.
The names of the characters are tributes to their late actors in one way or another. I decided to avoid the "Is No. 6 John Drake" debate but allowed his given name to be, John. His assumed surname, Edward is a reference to McGoohan's other famous role, Edward De Longshanks, the king in Braveheart. No. 2's real name, Sir Horace Grade, is a reference to Leo McKern's famous role, Horace Rumploe in Rumpole of the Baily. The last name, Grade is a tribute to Lew Grade, the executive producer of The Prisoner. Of course, Angel and Lexi's names are variations of their actor's names, Angelo Muscat and Alexis Kanner respectively. In another fanfic that I am slowly working on, we find out that Lexi's full name is Alexis Owen and his brother's was Kenneth Owen. Besides solidifying the tribute to Kanner, their last name Owen is a reference to Robert Owen, a Welshman who founded a utopian sect in Indiana called wait for it, yes, New Harmony!
John's childhood home, County Leitrim, Ireland was also Patrick McGoohan's childhood home.
In his stance against the nightmares of the Village, Lexi quotes two songs, "Stagger Lee" and The Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."