Author's Note: Hello readers. I hope you enjoy this story. Those of you who are here as a result of following an author alert – yes, this is something of a departure from my previous works. What can I say? I have rather diverse TV interests…
Disclaimer: I don't own Fringe or any of the established characters. If you don't recognise a character from the show, the chances are I've invented them.
Joe Walsh rose at sunrise on a dry, autumn day. He dressed in a red and blue checked flannel shirt and blue jeans before taking the elevator from the 5th floor of the Holiday Inn down to the lobby and entering the restaurant for breakfast. Walsh gave his name and room number to the attendant before being shown to a table. He ordered coffee and helped himself to a selection of the foodstuffs available from the self-service bar.
After eating his fill he went back to his room, donned his stout hiking boots, packed some essentials and prepared for the day ahead before returning to the 1st floor and leaving the building. He walked across the parking lot to his blue Charger, smiling slightly to himself at the thought of returning to it after having spent so many hours in it during this, his annual trip up from Illinois.
He got into the car, started the engine and headed north up route 7A past Kennedy Park before turning off the road to park up near his favourite trail. Walsh unloaded his hiking equipment, secured his backpack and began his walk up the scarcely-trodden path.
Walsh smiled as he looked around him, taking in the sweet air from the surrounding trees. He picked his camera from around his neck and began photographing the rich colours in the trees – resplendent in their red and golden foliage for mile after mile. The beauty and tranquillity of the area was always a surprise to him, even after years of coming here every autumn just to see it. Walsh gazed above and around him with an aura of child-like wonder filling the 47-year-old's mind. His eyes followed the wildlife (birds and some tree-dwelling squirrels) as the creatures continued their care-free existence in this unspoilt, natural, beautiful landscape. He took another deep breath and smiled, feeling as relaxed and at peace as the animals he had observed.
Suddenly, though, Walsh stumbled and crashed to the ground. The experienced hiker shook his head at the feeling of foolishness growing within him. He rolled onto his back (as best as he could with his pack there) and looked to see what he had tripped over. A surprised yelp met his lips when he saw what looked like a human hand and arm. Walsh scrambled to his feet and over to the limb. He peeled back the undergrowth to reveal a complete body of a woman, her face contorted in horror. But the real horror was to be found on Walsh's own features – the body was shiny and yellow in appearance and rock solid to the touch. It looked as if she had been caste from solid gold.