Title: Cerebral Sustenance
Author: Frances Hayman Smith
Finished: September 2001
Written for: I Made This Productions Virtual Season 9
Category: X-File, MT, MSR
Spoilers: Excelsis Dei, Fight The Future (movie), Agua Mala,
Biogenesis, The Sixth Extinction, Amor Fati
Summary: Mulder and Scully are sent to Dallas to explore the
deaths of several people with Alzheimer’s disease
and Down syndrome whose conditions improved
dramatically just before they died.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the X-Files (and all other
references to anything in the X-Files) belong to Chris
Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox. They do not
belong to me. Neither do M*A*S*H, MAPSCO, King of the
Hill, Winnie the Pooh, the Discovery Channel, Disney
World, or Animal Planet. They are used without
permission. No copyright infringement intended and
no money made. All those new people are the creation
of the author.
Distribution: IMTP until October 12, 2001, then it can go
elsewhere. Just keep my name with it and let me
know where it goes.
A Note on Terms and Spelling: In researching this story I discovered
that there are several accepted spellings for the syndrome
caused by the chromosomal abnormality Trisomy 21. Some people
prefer Down syndrome, others Downs syndrome, and still others
Down’s syndrome. It may seem like a small point, but I wanted
to get it right. The majority of my net research came up with
“Down syndrome” so that is what will be used in this story.
Screaming. He heard screaming coming from a warehouse. The old man
walked toward the worn gray building, listening. He looked up the dirty
gray walls, into the gray rolling clouds above and heard more screams,
painful screams. Surely someone’s being tortured in there, he thought.
He made his way to a grimy window, wiped off a small area and tried to
look in. What he saw was a big room with a few metal barrels and wooden
crates scattered around. He stood on tiptoe and wiped a larger area,
this time seeing a door on the far side of the room. He cocked his head
and noticed that the screaming had stopped. The door across the room
opened, and a handsome young man walked out mopping his face with a
handkerchief and breathing hard. The younger man stood for a moment,
shakily bracing himself on the doorknob, then walked out of the old man’s
sight. The old man sighed, shrugged, and backed away from the window to
resume his walk. He looked down and noticed that his slippers were
“Now why did I wear these slippers today?” he said to himself. “And
where am I anyway?” He fingered the laminated tag on a lanyard around
his neck, brought it up to his face, and saw the picture of a smiling
man looking back. He read the name and address under the photo.
“James Baylor, Preston Ridge Adult Care Facility.” He paused and
“Excuse me, sir. Are you lost?”
James Baylor turned around and saw the smiling face of the young man
he had seen through the window. “I, I think, so, son.” He held up
the tag. “I think this is where I’m supposed to be.”
The younger man looked at the tag. “You’re a long way from there,
Mr. Baylor. How did you get here?”
Baylor dropped the tag. “I remember getting on a bus, to go to my office.
I got off and just started walking. Seemed like a good day for a walk.”
He smiled and looked up at the rolling clouds. “Doesn’t seem like such
a good day for walking now, though.”
The younger man followed his gaze up. “I think you’re right there, sir.
Why don’t you come with me? We can get a cup of coffee and see about
getting you back to Preston Ridge. How’s that sound?”
“That sounds really good, son. Thank you.”
X X X X X
Mulder walked into the office balancing coffee, a bag of donuts, and
an armful of files. “Good morning, Scully!”
“My, my, aren’t we cheery this morning,” said Scully, eyebrow slightly
raised. “Looking forward to some vacation time?”
“Yes on both counts,” said Mulder, smiling brightly. He set his load
down on the desk then leaned in close to Scully. “You’re reason enough
to make anyone cheery, even without the prospect of time off.”
Scully blushed, but looked pleased. “Why, thank you, Mulder.” She
rose from her chair and sat on the corner of his desk. “But there
must be something else.”
Mulder held his hand over his chest. “Scully! That’s all the reason
I need,” he said in a slightly offended voice. “But, you’re right.
There is something else.”
“And that would be, what, exactly?”
“How does a long weekend in Florida sound?”
“Mulder, we’re NOT going looking for mothmen again, are we?”
“No, no, Scully! Strictly vacation. Soaking up sun on a beach, or
maybe we could visit the Happiest Place on Earth.”
“Really? Disney World?” said Scully, smiling broadly.
“Whatever you want, partner,” said Mulder, nearly matching her smile.
“We just have to make it until Thursday without getting into a big case.
I’ll call and make some arrangements this morning. Sooooo, what’ll it
be? Beach or The Mouse?”
“Umm, The Mouse, I think. I haven’t been there in years. What about
“Disney sounds good to me. I’ve never been there.”
“Never?” asked Scully.
“Never. I guess I just haven’t had a lot to be happy about until
lately. Didn’t think I’d really fit in there.”
Scully laid a hand on his arm, her eyes bright. “Oh, Mulder. We both
have a lot to be happy about now. I just know you’ll have the time
of your life.”
Mulder picked up her hand and placed a kiss in the palm. “Anytime
we’re together is the time of my life, Scully.”
They sat quietly looking at each other for a moment when the phone
began to ring. Still, they sat there.
“I guess we better answer that,” said Scully.
Mulder sighed. “Okay. But if this is a big, involved case, you’ll
Scully laughed as she picked up the phone. “Scully.”
“Agent Scully, this is Kim. A.D. Skinner would like to see you and
Agent Mulder in his office right away.”
“Do you know what it’s about?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t. But he doesn’t look angry, if that helps.”
Scully smiled. “It does, Kim. Thanks.”
Mulder looked at Scully. “Skinner want us in his office, right?”
“Yes, but according to Kim he doesn’t look angry.”
Mulder rose. “At least that’s something.” He took a sip of coffee.
“If he sends us to Timbuktu, Nowhere on a long, drawn out case, I might
just have to kill him.”
“Mulder!” said Scully as she whacked him on the arm. “You’ll have to
get in line behind me.”
X X X X X
A.D. SKINNER’S OFFICE
“Good morning, Agents,” said Skinner. When Mulder and Scully were
seated, he picked up a file. “I know both of you put in for some
vacation time, but we have something here that you need to look into.”
Mulder and Scully quickly exchanged looks before Skinner looked up.
“What is it, sir?” asked Scully.
“It’s a death. Actually several.”
“A serial killer?” asked Mulder.
“We don’t know. Four people have died in the Dallas area over the
last four months under somewhat similar circumstances. No connections
have been established between the victims. One was a confirmed case
of Alzheimer’s, two were suspect, at least before the autopsies, and one
young adult with Down Syndrome.”
“Two suspect?” asked Scully.
Skinner nodded. “All of the victims, except for the one confirmed
Alzheimer’s patient, were homeless people.” He handed her the files.
“The latest victim was the father of a neurologist.”
“Anna Jane Baylor,” said Scully. “I went to medical school with her.”
“Well, maybe that will help, Agent Scully. Mr. Baylor also had some
pretty highly placed friends who have requested our help. All the
information we have is in the files. You should get to Dallas as soon
“Thank you, sir,” said Scully as they rose to leave.
“Sorry to ruin your weekend,” said Skinner, smiling weakly.
They walked out of Skinner’s office, Scully’s head still down, looking
through the file.
“You know,” said Mulder, “I think he really was sorry to mess up our
“Hmm?” said Scully as Mulder steered her away from a wall, still
“Why don’t you wait until we get back to the office to read that.
I wouldn’t want you to fall down some stairs or impale someone with that
pen in your hand, Scully.”
“Oh, sorry, Mulder.” Scully closed the folder. “This could be
Mulder punched the button for the elevator. “Why do you say that?”
“Mr. Baylor experienced a dramatic improvement in his condition in the
weeks preceding his death.”
“That’s pretty rare, isn’t it?” asked Mulder.
“Yes. The usual course is a gradual decline over several years.
Sometimes people seem to stabilize at a certain level for a while and
they may have some days better than others, but they don’t improve this
They stepped off the elevator and navigated through the boxes and shelves
to their office.
“I wonder if someone was feeding him funny mushrooms,” said Mulder.
“Like at that nursing home we investigated several years ago?”
Mulder nodded. “The Excelsis Dei Convalescent Home.”
“I suppose we should make sure the victims are screened for ibotenic
acid,” said Scully, again flipping through the file. “But I doubt we’ll
find that.” She looked up. “I mean there haven’t been any ‘ghost
attacks’ reported in the area.”
“Have there?” Mulder grinned. “Something else for us to check out. I’ll
make our travel arrangements,” said Mulder.
Scully looked up quickly, eyebrows raised. “No seedy motels, Mulder.
It sounds like we may be talking to some rather influential people and I
don’t want to look, well -”
“Trashy? You don’t want to look trashy? I doubt we’ll be conducting
interviews at our hotel.”
“I was thinking more about what moths did to one of my suits at one of
‘your’ hotels,” said Scully, smiling.
Mulder sat at his desk, a pout forming on his face. “Okay, then, would
you like to approve my choice before I make the reservations?”
Scully looked thoughtful. “I think that will be acceptable.”
X X X X X
DALLAS POLICE AND COURTS BUILDING
Mulder held the door open for Scully as they walked into the Dallas
Police building. They introduced themselves and were directed to the
detective in charge.
“Detective Burns?” asked Mulder as they stepped into an office crammed
with folders, coffee cups, and photos.
A slightly disheveled, heavy man with thinning red brown hair rose from
the chair behind the cluttered desk and offered his hand. “Yes! And
you must be the FBI agents from Washington,” he said with a broad smile.
“Welcome to Texas.”
“Thank you Detective Burns,” said Mulder as he took the offered hand.
“I’m Special Agent Fox Mulder and this is my partner Special Agent
“A pleasure, ma’am,” said Burns as he took Scully’s hand gently, but
firmly. “And please, call me Frank.”
Mulder raised his eyebrows slightly and Frank laughed. “Yeah, Frank
Burns, just like on M*A*S*H. But I try not to be so irritating.”
Scully grinned again. “I can tell already you’re nothing like that
character. I’m sure we’ll all work together just fine.”
Frank sat heavily in his chair and motioned for them to sit as well.
“Well, I sure am glad to have some help on this one.” He propped his
elbow on the desk and rubbed at his jaw. “I didn’t even think this
was a case until Anna Jane contacted me.”
“Dr. Baylor contacted you?” asked Scully.
“Yes ma’am. She told me she thought there was something fishy about
her father’s death.”
“Sounds like you know Dr. Baylor,” said Mulder.
“Yes, sir. I met her about three years ago when one of my daughters
starting having headaches that turned out to be a brain tumor.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Mulder.
“No reason to be sorry,” said Frank. “Anna Jane, Dr. Baylor to me
then, took it out. It wasn’t cancer so she’s doing just fine now.”
“What made Dr. Baylor think there was something wrong in her father’s
death?” asked Scully.
“Jim Baylor was a healthy man, except for the Alzheimer’s disease.
He died pretty suddenly, with no previous sign of a problem. I know
that’s not too unusual for an older man, but it was the remarkable
improvement in the weeks before his death that really had her
“And then you connected it with the homeless people who had died, and
shown an improvement in their conditions prior to death?”
Frank nodded. “Yes. Ordinarily, I probably wouldn’t have even heard
about those deaths, but my wife and I do some volunteer work at a
couple of shelters in the area. We were at a volunteer meeting a month
or so ago and a couple of the shelter managers mentioned that they’d
seen some people with Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome show big
improvements. Then, a few weeks later, each of them were found
dead. There was no evidence at the time of foul play. But when
Anna Jane’s father died under similar circumstances, it just seemed
to be too much for a coincidence.”
“Have you found any other connections between these cases?” asked Mulder.
“Not too much. There were some similar things found at autopsy. I’ve
got copies of everything for you here somewhere.” He began rummaging
around on his desk. “Ah, here we go. Police and autopsy reports, and
what little I’ve gotten from interviews.” He handed the files to the
agents. “There’s another employee at Preston Ridge who’s been on
vacation that I still need to talk to.”
Scully immediately flipped to the autopsy reports. “Would it be
possible for us to talk with the medical examiner?”
“Yes, Agent Scully,” said Frank. “I believe he’s tied up this afternoon
in meetings. I talked to him this morning and he said he’d be in his
office in the morning if you want to talk to him then.”
“Great,” said Scully. “That’ll give me time to go through these in more
“That person at Preston Ridge I’ve been waiting on, ah,” Frank shuffled
through papers, “John Bowman, is due back at work at 10am tomorrow. I
figured you two would like to come along for that interview.”
“Yes, we would,” said Mulder. “Thanks.” He leafed through the files
for a moment. “You’ve talked to some of the people who knew the first
Frank nodded. “Didn’t get much. The only thing anybody really had to
say was how much better each of them seemed in the weeks preceding their
“No mention of anything else strange happening?” asked Mulder.
“Strange? Like what?”
“Ghosts, attacks by something unseen?”
“Um, no. Well, not anymore than usual anyway.”
Mulder sat up slightly and leaned toward Frank. “What do you mean, not
more than usual?”
“Agent Mulder, a lot of these people are into all kinds of drugs and
alcohol pretty heavily. Sometimes hallucinations get reported if a
cop is nearby, but it never amounts to anything. I mean, I’ve seen my
share of strange stuff, but I haven’t heard anything that would have any
bearing on this case.”
Mulder sat back, a bit deflated, rubbing his hand thoughtfully across
his mouth. “Nothing reported consistently by several people?”
Frank sat back, thinking. “Not that I can recall, but I can find some
of the guys who patrol that area. It’ll take some time to run ’em down,
though. Tomorrow okay?”
“That’d be fine. Thanks.”
“Anything else I can help you with today?” Frank looked at his watch.
“Don’t mean to rush you off, but I’ve got a departmental meeting in a
“There is one thing,” said Scully. “I’d really like to talk to Dr. Baylor.
We went to med school together but I haven’t seen her in years.”
“Sure thing, Agent Scully. I’ll call her and let her know you’re coming.
And I guess you’ll need some directions. Are you familiar with the
Scully grinned and looked over at Mulder. “We’ve been here before, but
it’s been a few years.”
Frank pulled a book off a shelf beside his desk and handed it to Mulder.
“‘Mapsco’. Don’t leave home without it.”
Mulder opened the book and looked at page after page of maps. “This is
the whole Dallas – Fort Worth area?”
“No, sir,” said Frank, “just the Dallas area. Fort Worth has a ‘Mapsco’
all it’s own.”
X X X X X
“Do you remember traffic being this bad when we were here before?” asked
a squinting Mulder.
“Yes, it was. Just as bad as D.C. in some areas,” said Scully, turning
the map book in her hand. “It should be the next street left, then the
third house on the right.”
Mulder nodded and soon turned the Lariat rental Taurus into the concrete
driveway of a brick two-story house. As they got out, he looked up and
down the street to see many similar houses, with similar lawns and
similar mailboxes, not to mention landscaping and fences. “Wow, ‘King
of the Hill’ is alive and well.”
“‘King of the Hill’, the animated show on Fox about a family that lives
in a neighborhood near Dallas, much like this one.”
Scully shook her head and closed the door.
“What?” asked Mulder in an injured tone.
Scully sighed and muttered something that sounded an awful lot like,
“Can’t take him anywhere,” to Mulder. They walked to the front door and
rang the bell. Scully cut another scathing look at Mulder. “What?” he
said again, a totally innocent look on his face. He was saved from
further reproach as the front door opened.
“Dana Scully? Is that really you?” asked the young blond woman who
opened the door.
Scully smiled broadly and stepped forward to hug her classmate.
“Anna, I’m so sorry about your father.”
Anna broke the embrace and motioned them in. “Thank you, Dana. It’s
been hard, but death always is.” She led them into a comfortable living
room. “Please, have a seat. Frank, um, Detective Burns, called and told
me you were on your way.”
“It really is good to see you, Anna. I just hate the circumstances.
How have you been doing?”
“Professionally, great. Busy practice, good partners, plenty of
patients. Personally, right now I’m pretty much a wreck. Mom died
about 7 years ago of a sudden heart attack. In many ways I’m glad she
never had to see Daddy in the last few years. But, as an only child, it
was tough for me to take care of him alone. Taking him to Preston Ridge
was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I know it was the right
thing, really the only thing I could do, but it still hurt.”
“How long was he there?” asked Mulder.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Anna,” said Scully. “This is my partner, Fox Mulder.”
Mulder reached across the coffee table and shook Anna’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, Fox.”
“Just Mulder,” he said, smiling.
“Nice to meet you, Mulder,” said Anna. “Now, you were asking how long
Daddy had been at Preston Ridge?” Mulder nodded. “He’d been there
about eight months when he died.”
“And he had shown remarkable improvement in the weeks before his
death?” asked Scully.
Anna nodded. “Yes. It was truly remarkable. For the last
three weeks, he was almost back to the Daddy I’d always known, and
then,” she paused and sighed, “they found him dead in his room. A
ruptured aneurysm of the abdominal aorta was what the autopsy showed.
But it also showed many small cerebral aneurysms. Dana, he didn’t
have any of the big risk factors for aneurysms.”
“They do happen sometimes without those,” said Scully.
“Yes, I know. I suppose I’m just trying to find a reason that I lost
him.” She shook her head and wiped at her eyes. “It’s just not fair.
He was doing so well. I need to know.”
“We’ll do all we can to help you find out,” said Scully.
“Had you noticed anything else different about him? Any people he
talked about that you didn’t know?” asked Mulder.
“One thing did kind of puzzle me. When he was doing so well I talked
to him about coming back here, to live with me. He wanted to stay at
Preston Ridge. He said the people there were really helping him. He
talked a lot about a man named Jeff that I think worked there.” She
looked down and smiled. “All that time I was torturing myself about
putting him there, but in the end, that’s where he wanted to stay, even
when he knew what was going on. I’m not sure if that makes me feel
better about Preston Ridge or worse about myself.”
“I’m sure he was just doing what he thought was best for both of you,”
said Scully. “He had to realize that the improvement was likely only
“I suppose,” said Anna. “But you didn’t see him, Dana. He was just
so, so -”
“Normal?” asked Mulder.
“No, more than just normal. He was vital, almost sparkling, if that
makes any sense. Even though his body was that of an older man, it was
as if his mind was soaring.” She took a deep breath and looked at Scully.
“I suppose it could have been something like a moment of final lucidity,
but that just doesn’t happen with Alzheimer’s, and not for several weeks.
As a neurologist, I don’t know what to think. As a daughter, I am
glad I had my father back, even if it was for just a little while.”
“Did Detective Burns tell you about the other people who died under
similar circumstances?” said Mulder.
Anna nodded. “Yes. He asked me some questions about whether Alzheimer’s
or Down syndrome patients ever improved dramatically. The answer of
course is ‘not usually’. But you can never say never or always in
“Did you know any of the other victims?”
“No. I even looked back through my records to see if any of them had
been my patients, but they weren’t.”
“Anna,” said Scully, “I know this is hard, but we may need to come back
and ask some more questions after we get into this. Is that all right?”
“Absolutely. I’d really like to know what happened to Daddy. If we
can find out what caused the improvements, it could revolutionize the
treatment of many neurological problems. People with all sorts of
things that limit comprehension and social interaction could really
X X X X X
TRAIL DUST STEAK HOUSE
“You’re awfully quiet,” said Scully as she watched Mulder chew his steak.
Mulder swallowed. “I was just thinking that we had to come all the
way to Texas to get a good steak.” He smiled and took another bite.
“And that I’m really glad I took my tie off before we came in.”
He looked around at all the ugly ties tacked to the walls around them.
They had been cut off people, with a pair of sheep shears, who were
wearing them when they came in.
“Yes, Mulder. It sure would be a pity for you to lose your Flying Toilets
“Now, Scully, that tie’s a classic! Lots of people have Flying Toasters,
but how many people have Flying Toilets?”
“Not many, I hope,” said Scully. “No, really, Mulder. I know that look.
What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking about what Anna said right before we left.”
“About finding the cause for her father’s improvement?”
Mulder nodded. “If there is a specific agent involved, it really could
improve a lot of people’s lives.”
“Or kill them. Don’t forget that all these people are dead, Mulder.”
“All the people we know about. Scully, there could be more people
who are better, but still very much alive. And I’d like to try to find
some of them.”
“If they exist,” said Scully.
Mulder nodded again. “Do you have any ideas right now about causative
Scully wiped her mouth with a napkin and sat back in the booth. “A
chemical compound or drug, environmental contaminant, viral infection -”
“What about an alien viral infection?”
Scully’s eyebrow lifted. “I hadn’t even thought of that, Mulder. It
would be a vastly different presentation of that kind of virus. What
we’ve seen so far really wouldn’t seem to support that.”
“Don’t discount them, Scully. We’ve seen many times before how they can
conduct experiments with no one the wiser.” He turned his attention back
to his steak. “Maybe they’ve found a way to control what happened to
me before they cut my head open.”
Before Scully could reply, Mulder’s cell phone rang. “Mulder.” He sat
for a moment and listened. “What’s the address?” He hastily scribbled
on a napkin on the table. “We’re on our way.”
“What’s going on?” asked Scully.
“That was Frank. They’ve found another body.”
X X X X X
Another alley. Frank looked around, then up at the sky, hoping that
they’d finish gathering evidence before the rain started. Thunder
rumbled through the alley again. He looked up as two people approached
“Agents,” said Frank. “Sorry I had to interrupt your dinner, but I
figured you’d want to see this.”
“What have we got here, Detective?” asked Mulder.
Frank motioned for the pair to follow him. “We had reports of a
disturbance in the area. Weren’t really sure if it was a mugging or
what. Turned out to be a one car accident.” He stopped and pointed
to a dark sedan with the front crunched up against a large dumpster.
“The horn blaring was the disturbance.”
“What does this have to do with our case?” asked Scully.
Frank smiled. “I’m glad you asked that, ’cause I’ve been asking myself
that for the past hour. I sure didn’t think a car accident went along
with everything else, but one of our astute observing officers found
some things that may link this to the other victims.”
“May?” asked Scully. “What is it?”
Frank nodded. “I’m getting to that. The driver, dead when the officer
found him, was identified as Joe Shaw, a pharmaceutical rep.”
“What company?” asked Mulder.
Frank looked pulled a pad out of his pocket. “Ah, Roush Pharmaceuticals.”
Mulder and Scully exchanged looks. Frank noticed. “Is that significant?”
“It might be,” said Scully. “Any indication of what happened?”
Frank nodded. “Looks like a pretty clear case of driving under the
influence. You can easily smell alcohol on the body. There was an open
bottle of vodka on the seat beside the driver and there’s a bar just
around the corner where he’d been drinking until the bartender refused to
serve him any more.”
“What connects him to our other victims?” asked Mulder.
“Well, it’s pretty circumstantial, and it may have nothing to do
with it,” said Frank as pulled open the front passenger door. There
were file folders scattered all over the place. “There’s a file here,
right on top, for Preston Ridge, the facility where James Baylor spent
the last few months of his life.” He picked up the file with a gloved
Scully snapped on gloves of her own and took the file. She looked
closely at the pages. “This seems to be a record of drugs and supplies
ordered from Roush for the facility.”
Frank picked up a piece of yellow paper in a bag of it’s own. “There
was this sticky note on the first page of the file.”
Mulder looked at it. “Jeff, warehouse at 5pm, enhancement trials update.”
“We’re looking into that now,” said Frank. “We’re checking out
warehouses in the general area, owners, uses, all that stuff. Should
have something on that sometime tomorrow. And we found something
else.” He picked up another evidence bag and showed it to the pair.
“It’s a broken vial. Still had a little brownish liquid in it, but
it looks like most of whatever was in there is gone.”
Scully took the bag. “We need to get an analysis on this right away.
And see if there’s any in the carpet on the seats. We need as much as
we can get to tell what this is.”
Mulder was still looking at the note. “Jeff, Jeff. Didn’t Dr. Baylor
Say something about a guy named Jeff? Her father talked about him.”
Scully handed the bag with the vial to a waiting forensics officer.
She turned to face Mulder. “Yes, she did. She said that she thought
it was someone who worked at Preston Ridge.”
“Another question to ask tomorrow morning,” said Frank. “I just wish I
knew this really had anything to do with the case you two got dragged
down here for.”
“Every piece of the puzzle is important,” said Mulder.
“Yeah, but is it the same puzzle, or a different one?” asked Frank.
Mulder smiled. “That’s why they pay us the big bucks, Frank. To
figure that out.”
X X X X X
GRAND KEMPENSKI HOTEL
Mulder yawned and stretched as they walked into the hotel room. He
turned around and looked at Scully. “Ok, does this past muster?” he
asked, motioning around the room.
Scully smiled and walked slowly around Mulder. “Well, it is better
than you usually do -”
“Aw, come on -”
Scully turned quickly and kissed Mulder. Her hands laced around the
back of his neck as he cupped the back of her head. Reluctantly, Scully
pulled back. “You did good, Mulder. Too bad I’m too tired to make good
use of the Jacuzzi tub tonight.”
“Maybe tomorrow?” asked Mulder hopefully.
“Maybe,” said Scully. “But right now, we better get some sleep. We’ve
got a full day ahead of us.”
Mulder sighed. “You’re right. You want the shower first?”
“Mulder, there is a shower in each room. We could actually shower at
the same time.”
Mulder lay down on the bed. “Now, that would be a nice shower.”
“Mulder!” said Scully. “You know what I mean.”
“It sure would be nice if we could quit wasting the taxpayers’ money
and just get one room. But, I know we can’t do that. Yet.”
“Not yet.” Scully sighed. “Anyway, I’m going to shower now.”
Mulder yawned. “Just don’t use up all the hot water.”
“I won’t,” said Scully, knowing from the sleepy quality in Mulder’s voice,
he’d be asleep before the water even warmed up.
X X X X X
Mulder sipped coffee as he watched Scully push a piece of cantaloupe
around her plate. Scully looked up to see him watching her.
“Eck, no. I can’t handle healthy food this early. Besides, I think
I had enough pancakes and bacon to last me for a while.”
“I noticed,” said Scully. “You do know that it’s entirely unfair that
you can eat all that food and still stay looking so good. If I ate that,
it would go straight to my thighs.”
“Scully, you’re beautiful, and you will always be beautiful,” said Mulder,
reaching across the table to hold Scully’s hand.
Scully blushed a little. “Thank you, Mulder.” She glanced down at her
watch. “We better get a move on. I need to talk to the medical examiner,
and we need to meet Frank to go to Preston Ridge this morning too.”
Mulder took the last drink of his coffee. “Why don’t I drop you off there.”
“Where are you going?”
“I thought I’d go to the shelter where the Down syndrome victim, Pamela
Parker, was found dead. See if anyone could tell me more about her.”
Scully nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
“Dr. Wylie?” asked Scully as she stepped through the door to the medical
“Yes,” said a small thin man with a bushy gray handlebar mustache from
behind a desk. He pushed rimless glasses up his nose, rubbed a hand
across his balding head, “Oh, you must be Dr. Scully from the FBI.”
He stood and offered his hand to Scully.
“Yes, I’m Special Agent Dana Scully,” said Scully, sitting when he
motioned her to one of the chairs in front of his desk.
“Detective Burns tells me you’re here looking into James Baylor’s death,
as well as those of several homeless people.”
“That’s right. I looked over the autopsy reports and had some questions
“Ask away,” said Wylie, leaning back in his chair.
“On James Baylor, you determined the cause of death to be a ruptured
Wylie nodded. “Oh, yes. His abdomen was full of blood. The rupture
was really quite dramatic. Biggest one I’ve seen in a while.”
“Do you think he should have exhibited some sign of problem related to
this prior to his death?”
Wylie pursed his lips and looked thoughtful. “Hard to say. Most of
these cause at least some abdominal pain, but a lot of people dismiss it
as a GI ailment they already have, or, in the case of Alzheimer’s
patients like this, unless someone witnesses them in pain, they could
just forget about it.”
“What about the reported improvement in his Alzheimer’s in the weeks
preceding his death? Did you find anything to explain it?”
“No. His brain looked like that of most other Alzheimer’s patients,
although he didn’t seem to be as advanced as his history would have
led me to believe. Plus he had all those cerebral aneurysms. You
don’t often see so many in one person. It’s a wonder he didn’t
rupture one of those, too. Some of ’em were pretty big.”
“And you found no toxins or drugs in his system that shouldn’t have
“Nope. Of course, we didn’t even test for any of those until it was
connected to the other deaths. But when we did, we didn’t find anything
except medicines he was supposed to be taking.”
Scully nodded. “And nothing unusual in the other three victims?”
“Well, let’s see. One of ’em, the girl with Down syndrome had several
AVM’s in her brain.”
“Arterio-venous malformations?” asked Scully. “That’s an abnormal
collection of blood vessels that’s usually congenital, isn’t it?
“Yes, although sometimes they can result from trauma. One had
hemorrhaged quite a bit. She had pneumonia as well but the bleeding
in her brain was what killed her.”
“What about the other two?”
“Both had classic Alzheimer’s lesions, plus a bunch of cerebral
aneurysms and one had a huge basilar one. They each died when an
aneurysm ruptured. As I said, you usually don’t see that many aneurysms
in one person. To see it several times in just a few weeks, now,
that’s kinda strange.”
“Do you have any ideas why they could have developed so many?” asked
“No, ma’am, I sure don’t. But since all these people experienced great
improvements in their conditions otherwise, well, it just seems to me
they might be related.”
“Yes, it sure does seem that way.”
“I was talking to a neurologist buddy of mine yesterday about these cases,”
said Wylie. “He told me if we ran across anyone like that and they were
still alive he’d love to run ’em through some tests in his department.”
“I’m sure he would. A treatment that could improve patients’ symptoms
that dramatically would be quite a breakthrough.”
Wylie nodded enthusiastically. “You better believe it!”
“Just one more question about the victims,” said Scully. “Would it be
possible to test for ibotenic acid in each of them?”
“Sure. Mind me asking why?”
“My partner and I ran across a case several years ago where a number of
patients in a nursing home, some of whom had Alzheimer’s disease,
experienced dramatic improvement in their conditions. Ibotenic acid
may have been why.”
“Isn’t that found in some kinds of mushrooms?” asked Wylie.
“Yes, it is. And that turned out to be the source in this case. But
it caused, ah, other things to happen as well. Not like what we’re
seeing here, but -”
Wylie nodded. “You’re wondering if someone found a way to use it
without those side effects.”
“Exactly. Of course, taking into account that all these people are dead,
it seems that whatever is involved here has its own set of problems.”
Wylie chuckled. “I’d have to agree with you there, Dr. Scully.” He
shook his head. “Don’t mean to rush you, but I’ve got an autopsy waiting.
Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Is that the DUI drug rep from last night?”
Wylie flipped through some paperwork. “Um, yes, it is.”
“Mind if I watch?”
“Not a bit. An extra pair of experienced eyes and hands is always
X X X X X
SHELTER OF HOPE
Mulder closed the door of the rental car and walked to a door that read
“Shelter of Hope”. He opened the door and walked into a large room
filled with tables. People of all ages were scattered around the room.
Some people were eating, some talking, some drawing and painting. A
woman got up from one of the tables and walked toward him.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Mulder, pulling out his ID. “My name is Special Agent Fox
Mulder with the FBI. I’d like to talk to someone about Pamela Parker.
I believe she was a resident here for a while.”
The woman put her hand over her mouth then sighed. “Poor Pam. I’d be
happy to answer any questions you have.” She extended her hand. “I’m
one of the managers of this shelter. Mary Webb.”
Mulder shook her hand. “Nice to meet you, Ms. Webb.”
She motioned him to follow her into a small office. “Just Mary,” she
said. “Please have a seat.”
“Thank you,” said Mulder as he sat on one end of a rather worn couch.
“I take it you knew Miss Parker?”
Mary nodded. “Oh, yes. She’d been coming here off and on for about
two years. She was such a free soul. I believe she’d lived in a group
home for a while, and had spent much of her early childhood
institutionalized. Her mother surrendered her as an infant, so
she never had any family to watch out for her.” She smiled and shook
her head. “Pam was never good at following other people’s rules. She
liked to make her own. And she didn’t like to be confined. I guess
that’s why she drifted in and out as the mood struck her.”
“I understand that she had Down syndrome,” said Mulder.
“Yes, but she was quite high functioning. She held jobs in housekeeping
at hotels, worked at an animal shelter, even helped out in a library once.
She always got good recommendations from her employers, but she’d quit,
and move on to something else.”
“Did she like working in the library?”
“Oh, yes. She loved books, especially poetry. She didn’t always
understand the words, and she had trouble reading them herself sometimes.
I spent many an hour right here in this office reading to her.” She
paused and turned around in her chair to pull two small books off a
nearby shelf. “These were hers.” She handed them to Mulder.
“One is a book of poetry that I gave her. The other is one she wrote
her own poems and thoughts in. I haven’t had the heart to read any of
it since she died.”
Mulder took the books. He laid aside the well-worn copy of “Happy Poems”
and looked at the journal. Winnie the Pooh grabbing for a balloon graced
the cover, with the words “Pam’s Book” written in a childish scrawl across
the top. “Do you mind if I take a look?”
Mary shook her head. “Oh, no. Of course not.”
“Maaary. Mary where are you?” came a man’s voice from the other room.
Mary stood up and went to the door. “What is it Harold?”
“We need some more paper and paint and juice -”
“Alright, Harold. I’ll get it for you.” She looked back at Mulder.
“Will you excuse me for a moment?”
Mulder nodded and turned his attention back to Pam’s book. He flipped
through the pages and saw drawings, short poems, and some entries of
what appeared to be happenings on specific dates. He went to the end
and noticed that even though the writing was the same, the words were
more complex, the poems more abstract.
Mary returned in a few minutes. “I’m sorry about that, Agent Mulder,”
she said smiling.
“That’s alright,” said Mulder. “I don’t want to keep you from the
people who need you. But I do have a few more questions.”
“I’ll do my best to answer them,” said Mary.
“Were you the person who found Pam’s body?”
“Yes. She’d been fighting a cold for a couple of weeks and having bad
headaches.” Mary looked down at her hands. “She hated doctors and
every time I asked her about going to get some medicine for her cold, she
adamantly refused. They told me that when she died she had pneumonia. I
wish now I’d pushed harder for her to get some help.” She wiped at her
eyes. “Anyway, I went to wake her up one morning, and she was dead. She
was just lying there clutching her books.”
“Is there anyone she talked about that you didn’t know? Anything strange
that happened before she died?”
Mary wiped her eyes again. “You mean, besides her improvement?”
Mulder nodded. “And I’d like for you to tell me about her improvement.”
“I don’t recall her talking to me about anyone in particular. You might
want to talk to Harold out there,” she inclined her head out the door.
“He was one of her friends here. But the change in her was, was -”
“Yes, that’s it! It was as if so many things she’d struggled all her
life to understand were suddenly clear to her. She took great delight
in everyday things. Sometimes she would just sit and listen
to other people talk or watch birds and bugs outside.” Mary laughed.
“After she started getting better, she sat in front of the TV in the
big room here and dared anyone to change it from the Discovery channel.
She was like a sponge, just trying to absorb every bit of information
Mulder nodded. “Could I talk to Harold for a moment?”
“Sure. Let me get him.” Mary went out of the office and returned
with a balding middle-aged man wearing a bright orange T-shirt and
jeans pulled up too high. He appeared to be another Down syndrome
resident of the shelter. “Harold, this is Agent Mulder. He’s a
kind of police man, and he wants to ask you some questions about Pam.”
“Pam didn’t do anything wrong!” he said. “But she died.”
“I know, Harold. Pam didn’t do anything wrong, but we want to find out
more about why she died.”
“She was sick. Real sick.”
“Did she talk to you about that?”
Harold nodded. “She said her head hurt real bad a lot and she coughed
and coughed. Then she’d just cry it hurt so bad.”
“Did she tell you about anybody she had met that may have given her
Harold sat quietly and looked from Mulder to Mary. “She told me it
was a secret.”
“What was a secret, Harold?” asked Mulder.
Harold just shook his head and made a zipping motion over his mouth.
“Harold,” said Mary, “I think Pam wouldn’t mind you telling her
“Really?” asked Harold, looking intently at Mary.
“Really,” said Mary. “Tell us what Pam’s secret was.”
Harold looked back and forth between Mary and Mulder. “Well, I guess
if you think it’s ok, Mary.” Harold sighed and looked down at his hands.
“She told me there was this man who gave her pills that made her feel
“Do you know who it was?” asked Mulder.
Harold shook his head violently. “Oh, no! I told her not to talk
to that man! You shouldn’t take things from people you don’t know!
Pills can hurt you!”
“That’s right, Harold, they can. But Pam said they helped her?”
Harold nodded. “She said she could under, under-”
“Understand?” asked Mulder.
“Yeah, understand stuff better.”
“And you don’t know the man’s name, or where Pam went to get the pills?”
Harold shook his head again. “No, no. I didn’t want no pills from him!”
He stood up. “I gotta go now.” He walked out of the room.
Mary looked at Mulder. “Well, that’s the first I’ve heard about any
pills. But if Harold said he didn’t know who she got them from, I believe
“No pills were found in any of Pam’s belongings?” asked Mulder.
“No, nothing like that,” said Mary.
“Would you mind if I kept Pam’s book for a while. I’ll get it back to
“That would be fine. I want to help in any way I can,” said Mary.
“Do you think you can find out what happened?”
“We’re going to try,” said Mulder.
A middle-aged woman walked into Mary’s office as Mulder was getting up to
leave. “Mary, have you seen Jo Jo?” She stopped suddenly when she saw
Mulder. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were talking to someone.”
“That’s all right, Carol,” said Mary. “We were just finishing.” She turned
to Mulder. “Agent Mulder, this is Carol Pierce. She’s one of our
volunteers. Carol, this is Agent Mulder. He’s an FBI agent that’s looking
into Pam’s death.”
Carol extended her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Agent Mulder.”
Mulder shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, too. Did you know Pam?”
“Yes, I did. She was one of my son’s best friends. They really
seemed to have a connection.” She looked down and wiped at her eyes.
“Since Pam died, Jo Jo’s just been beside himself. He’s a handful
anyway, and he’d been doing so well. I suppose he still is, but it’s just
not the same.”
“Excuse me for asking, but does he have some sort of problem?” asked
“Yes,” said Carol. “He’s autistic. He’s been in all kinds of therapy
most of his life, but since we started coming here to help, he’s just,
blossomed. He’s talking more, he’s interacting better with other
people. He’s just a new person. He slipped back a little right after
Pam died, but now he seems to be making progress again.”
“Do you know why?” asked Mulder.
“No,” said Carol, “and frankly I don’t care. For the first time in his
life my son is able to communicate and participate easily. It’s like a
miracle. But right now, my miracle boy has wandered off. He may have
improved a lot, and he may technically be an adult, but he’s still my
“I haven’t seen him at all today,” said Mary.
Carol shook her head. “He must have taken off right after we got here.
I saw him talking to Harold and I just thought he would stay there. I
got busy in the kitchen and lost all track of time.”
“How long do you think he’s been gone?” asked Mulder.
“Oh, maybe thirty or forty-five minutes,” said Carol.
“I’ll help you look,” said Mary.
“I could give you a hand, if you’d like,” said Mulder. “Do you have
a photo of him?”
“Oh, thank you!” said Carol. She reached into her apron pocket and
removed a small purse. “I have a picture here that was taken about
a month ago.” She removed the photo and handed it to Mulder.
The photo showed a shy looking young man with brown hair sitting on
a porch. “Maybe we should start with Harold,” said Mulder. “You did say
Jo Jo was talking to him when you first got here, didn’t you?”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Carol.
They walked over to the table where Harold was happily painting. “Harold,
have you seen Jo Jo?” asked Carol.
Harold looked up and nodded. “He was here a little while ago.”
“Did he say if he was going anywhere?” asked Mary.
Harold shook his head. “No.” He went back to his painting.
“Harold,” said Mulder, “did Jo Jo say anything to you?”
Harold nodded again and smiled. “He said my painting was pretty.”
Mulder smiled. “Did he say anything else?”
Harold sat for a moment, thinking. “Oh, yeah. He said his head hurt, and
he was gonna go look for his Mommy.”
Carol looked worried. “He didn’t find me, Harold. Where was he going to
look? Did he say?”
Harold shook his head again. “No.” He turned back to his paints.
Mulder looked up at Carol. “Any idea where he might have gone?”
Carol bit her lip, worry evident in her face. “I told him I was going
to be in the kitchen today. The only time I wasn’t was when I took the
garbage out. And he didn’t tell me he had a headache. He’s had a few
pretty bad ones lately. He used to have them a lot, but they got better,
until the last few weeks. I never would have come in today if I’d known
“How about if we split up and look around here first,” said Mulder. “He’s
probably still in the building.”
“I sure hope so,” said Carol.
Mulder began opening doors as Mary talked to other people in the room, and
Carol looked in the sleeping areas. He looked in a few offices and a
a linen closet with no result when he noticed a door at the end of the hall
that was slightly open. He pushed on it carefully and walked into a
dark room. “Jo Jo? Are you in here?” There was no response. He
found a light switch near the door and flipped it on. The room was full
of old furniture and cleaning equipment. He looked quickly around and
was about to leave when he saw a splash of color in the back corner. He
pushed through the stuff in the room so that he could get a closer look.
It was a red high-top shoe similar to the ones he’d worn when he played
basketball in junior high. He leaned over to pick it up but his hand
never reached the shoe. In the corner beside the shoe, lay Jo Jo. He
was curled into a ball with his hands over his head. Mulder carefully
approached him. “Jo Jo?” He didn’t move. Mulder knelt beside him and
reached for his arm. When he touched it, it fell and Jo Jo began to
fall with it. Mulder caught him and tried to push him back into the
corner. Jo Jo was dead.
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
“Well, Dr. Scully,” said Dr. Wylie, “I think we’ve got a pretty clear
case of traumatic death here.” He pointed at the open abdomen in front of
him. “Ruptured his spleen and damaged his liver when he hit the steering
“Not to mention what the windshield did to his head,” said Scully.
“Would you mind still running toxicology and -”
Wylie nodded. “And we’ll check for ibotenic acid too. ‘Course his
blood alcohol level will probably be through the roof.”
Scully’s cell phone chirped in her pocket. She stripped off her
gloves and backed away from the table to answer it. “Scully.”
“Hey Scully,” said Mulder, “you about done slicin’ and dicin’?”
Scully smiled. “I think so. That drug rep apparently died from
injuries he suffered in the accident. They’ll run toxicology,
too, but -”
“It doesn’t look like he was murdered,” supplied Mulder.
“Right. Did you find anything?”
“Yep. Another body,” said Mulder. “And a journal kept by Pam.
According to one of her friends, she was getting pills from someone.”
“Wait, wait,” said Scully. “Did you say another body?”
“Yes, I did. It was the son of a volunteer here. Scully, he was
autistic, and he’d gotten a lot better. Sound familiar?”
“Yes, it sure does,” said Scully. “Did I hear you say something about
“Yes, ma’am, you did. But none were found in Pam’s belongings and the
mother of this latest apparent victim doesn’t think her son was taking
anything he wasn’t supposed to. Feel like doing another autopsy?”
“Send it on. Maybe we can get some answers now that we have some
idea what we’re looking for.”
“So you found some connections?”
“All of these people had massive hemorrhages and aneurysms. Whatever
this stuff is, it must weaken blood vessels, especially in the brain.”
“The body should be there soon. They just took it away and are cleaning
things up here.”
“Are you on your way here?”
“Yes, ma’am. I don’t think I’m going to get much else out of the mother
right now and Frank said he’d meet us at Preston Ridge in about an
hour. Hopefully, we’ll make it there by then.”
“Better call him and make it two if you want me to do this autopsy,” said
Scully. “And don’t worry, Mulder. I’ll read the map and navigate for you.”
Mulder chuckled. “Thank you, Scully. I knew there was a reason we
make such a good team.”
X X X X X
PRESTON RIDGE ADULT CARE FACILITY
“Mornin’ Agents,” said Frank brightly. He was standing in front of a
clean two story brick building holding a cup of coffee.
Mulder and Scully walked up the sidewalk past well-manicured lawns and
heavily mulched flowerbeds. “Good morning, Frank,” said Scully.
“Findin’ your way around okay?”
Mulder nodded. “Thanks to the ‘Mapsco’. It’s been a really big help.”
“Don’t mention it,” said Frank. He pushed the glass door open and
motioned the agents in. “That was bad about Jo Jo this morning. I bet
poor Carol’s beside herself right now.”
“Do you know her?” asked Mulder.
Frank nodded. “Met her at volunteer meetings. That boy was her life,
Agent Mulder. I sure hope we can find out what happened to him.
Did y’all find anything else this morning?”
“Yes,” said Scully. “The drug rep died of injuries sustained in the
accident, and Mulder found out that one of the victims had been getting
pills from someone to make her better.”
“Really,” said Frank. “Well, providing it wasn’t your usual kind of
feel good pills, we may have something to go on. No clue where she
got ’em, I suppose?”
“No, afraid not,” said Mulder.
“What about Jo Jo, Agent Scully? What did you find?”
“He had hemorrhaging AVM’s in his brain, like Pam did.”
“What are AVM’s?” asked Frank.
“They’re abnormal collections of blood vessels. When they are present,
they are commonly found in the brain. Most of the time the person
is born with them. Sometimes a penetrating trauma like a gunshot
wound can result in an arterio-venous fistula, but it’s different. Not
a true AVM.”
“So, it was something he was born with?”
“Possibly. But they’re not all that common. I just can’t help thinking
that two people who knew each other and died in the same manner – that’s
just too much coincidence. What about that broken vial from last night?”
asked Scully. “Any results yet?”
Frank shook his head. “Not yet. There wasn’t much there and we didn’t get
anything else useable off the seats or carpet. It was all pretty much
soaked in vodka.”
“Maybe we can find out something else here,” said Mulder.
“Let’s hope so,” said Frank. He directed them to a reception desk in the
lobby. A distinguished looking silver haired woman looked up as they
approached. “Mable, how are you today?”
Mable smiled. “Why Frank Burns, you old devil. What are you doing
“Business, I’m afraid.” He turned to Mulder and Scully. “Mable, I’d
like you to meet Special Agents Mulder and Scully. These fine people
are from the FBI and have come all the way from Washington to give me
“Well, it’s nice to meet you both,” said Mable. “I suppose this is
about Mr. Baylor?”
Frank nodded. “Yes, it is.”
Mable shook her head. “He was such a wonderful man, even when the
Alzheimer’s had him strong in its grip.”
Frank nodded. “He was that. I was wondering if we could talk to
John Bowman. I believe he was due back today from vacation.”
Mable looked down at a chart in front of her. “Um, yes, he’s here.
He’s in the recreation room at the moment. You can go on through.
You know the way don’t you, Frank?”
Frank smiled. “I think I remember. Straight down the hall, then
Frank led the way down the hallway and into a large room with tables,
a television, couches, and a piano. At one end of the room a still life
of fruit and wine was set up with several people painting the scene. A
younger man with longish brown hair was helping one lady and had his
back to the door. When he stood up, Frank cleared his throat. The man
walked over to them, a friendly smile on his face.
“Good morning. May I help you?”
“John Bowman?” asked Frank.
“Yes,” said John.
Frank pulled out his ID, as did Mulder and Scully. “I’m Detective Frank
Burns from the Dallas Police Department, and these are Special Agents
Mulder and Scully of the FBI. We’d like to talk to you about James
“Certainly,” said John. “Just give me a minute to let the class know
I’m leaving.” He walked to the still life and looked at the people
who were painting. “Ladies and gentlemen, I need to step out for a few
minutes, so you just go on with what you’re doing.”
A small gray haired lady raised her hand. “John, can you help me for
just a minute before you go?”
John looked at Frank and shrugged. “Sure Bea, what do you need?” He
squatted beside the lady.
Mulder looked around the room and noticed a man who had been watching
television turn slightly around to look at them. He smiled at the man.
The man smiled back and motioned for Mulder to come over.
“Are you really from the FBI?” asked the man.
“Yes, sir, we are,” said Mulder.
“I heard that other man askin’ John about James Baylor.”
“He did. We’re helping him look into Mr. Baylor’s death,” said Mulder.
“Did you know Mr. Baylor, Mister -”
“Adams, Chester Adams,” said the man, offering Mulder his hand.
“Yes, I knew Jim. He was one of my best friends in this place.”
Mulder shook the man’s hand. “You don’t like it here?”
Chester motioned for Mulder to sit down. “Nah, I like it fine here.
Just miss having my own place. Jim sure made it nicer though. We
talked about all kinds of stuff. ‘Course, a lot of times, Jim
wouldn’t remember what we’d talked about the day before, but he was
a grand guy. Good friend.”
Mulder glanced up at Scully and with a look, let her know he’d stay here
while they interviewed John Bowman. “Mr. Adams, do you recall anything
strange happening in the weeks before Mr. Baylor died?” He watched
Scully and Frank go out of the room following Bowman.
“You mean besides him getting better?”
“Yes. Did any people come around you didn’t know? Was Mr. Baylor
taking any pills other than his prescribed medication?”
“I don’t know about pills, Mr. Mulder. We all take so many that an
extra one could get thrown into my own pile and I might not notice it,”
he chuckled. “Jim mostly just had his daughter coming to see him. A
few times people he used to work with came. And then there was that
young fellow, ah, what was his name?” Adams screwed up his face then
shook his head. “Ah, I don’t remember. Heck, maybe I never even knew.”
“Was he a friend, relative, co-worker?” asked Mulder.
“Don’t know. He’d just come and sit and talk to Jim. Come to think
of it, that was about the time Jim started getting so much better.”
“Do you remember what he looked like?”
Adams nodded. “He was, oh, about 30, 35, short real curly blond hair.
Fair skinned, dressed nice. Sometimes he was wearin’ a suit, sometimes
not, but neat all the same. Real friendly. Jim always seemed to enjoy
“Did you see his car?”
“No, sir. I’m afraid not. Always just saw Jim sittin’ with him.
Introduced myself once, and he was real polite.” Adams paused. “Maybe
I did hear his name. Seems like it was Josh, or Jeff, or Gene. Somethin’
Mulder nodded, thinking of the note they’d found in the drug rep’s car.
“So, Mr. Baylor didn’t talk about him?”
“No. He was pretty tight lipped about stuff most of the time. He
seemed a little upset or something that time I introduced myself.” He
shook his head. “But Jim wasn’t always quite all there. You know,
Mulder nodded. “Anything else you can think of?”
Adams sat thinking for a moment. “Yeah, there is. A week or so
before Jim died I saw him doubled over in his room, like he was in
terrible pain. I asked him what was wrong and he just kept saying he
was fine. When the pain let up, he made me swear not to tell anyone
about it. He said his health was his own business.”
“So he never told anybody about it either? Never tried to see what had
caused the pain?”
“Nope. I asked him about it again the next day and he said he was sure
it was just somethin’ he’d eaten. And that he was so happy to have his
mind back.” Adams paused. “That was after he’d gotten a lot better.
I remember him saying several times how he’d rather have his wits about
him, even if he was in pain, than to live in the fog the Alzheimer’s
X X X X X
“Please, have a seat.” Bowman motioned Frank and Scully to chairs in
front of his desk. “What would you like to know about Mr. Baylor?”
“Did you know him well?” asked Scully.
Bowman nodded. “Pretty well. He participated in activities when he
was able. He seemed to enjoy painting, and he was pretty good at it.
He told me many times that he wished he’d discovered painting when
he was younger.”
“Did he have a lot of paintings?” asked Frank.
“Yes, quite a few. I believe his daughter has them all now.” Bowman
paused. “Mable told me that she displayed some of them at his wake. I
really hate that I missed his funeral.”
“You were on vacation when he died?” asked Frank.
“Yes. Visiting some family and friends out in New Mexico. Most of the
time I was up in the mountains near Ruidoso, so my cell phone didn’t
work. I didn’t hear about his death until I called in a couple of
“Mr. Bowman, do you know of any strange things that happened to
Mr. Baylor while he was here?” asked Scully.
“No, not that I can recall. Although, he did give us quite a scare
several weeks ago.”
“He wandered off for a few hours one day. We believe he got mixed
in with a crowd gathered out front to go to a mall. When the bus
arrived to take the group on the mall outing, he didn’t get on. As
near as we can figure, he walked down the street to a DART bus stop.”
“DART?” asked Scully.
“Dallas Area Rapid Transit,” said Frank. “So, he got on a bus?”
Bowman nodded. “That’s what the man who brought him back told us.
By that time, Mr. Baylor couldn’t quite remember.”
“You’re lucky someone brought him back safely,” said Frank.
“Yes,” said Bowman. “We all were. As a rule, we keep up with our
residents quite well, but people are unpredictable. Especially
those with Alzheimer’s.”
“Did his daughter know about this incident?” asked Scully.
“Oh, of course,” said Bowman. “I told her myself. I remember her
saying that he had done things like that a number of times before he came
here. We were all just so happy to see him back, safe and sound.”
“Who brought him back?” asked Frank.
“I don’t recall his name,” said Bowman. “It should be on file in the
main office. I think he came to visit Mr. Baylor several times after
“Do you remember what he looked like?” asked Frank.
“Mid thirties, fair skin, curly blond hair, nice suit,” said Bowman.
“I can have them look up the report in the main office if you’d like.”
“Yes, please,” said Scully. “I have one more question. Do you know
if he was taking any medication?”
“Of course he was. There should be a list in his records. All
medications are administered to residents on schedule. So many here
would forget to take it or not take the right amount. Our nurses and
aides make sure everyone here gets what they need at the appropriate times.”
“So Mr. Baylor wasn’t taking any extra supplements or vitamins?”
“Even vitamins are handled by our nursing staff. As I said, it
should all be in his records.” He turned and picked up the phone.
“I’ll call the office and have them pull that incident report. You
can look at it on your way out.”
“Just one more question,” said Frank. “Do you have an employee here who
may have worked with Mr. Baylor named Jeff?”
“No,” said Bowman. “I don’t know of anyone with that name who works
“Thank you, Mr. Bowman,” said Scully. “If we have any more questions,
we’ll let you know.”
X X X X X
Mulder was still talking with Mr. Adams when Scully and Frank trailed
Bowman into the room.
“Pretty lady,” said Adams. “Is she your wife?”
Mulder smiled. “No, she’s not my wife. She’s my partner.”
“Judging from the look in your eyes, son, I’d say she really is your
partner. Take good care of her.” Adams wiped his face with a
handkerchief. “Lord knows, I miss my wife. Best partner a man could
ask for. You take care of yours, now, son.”
“Oh, I plan to do that for a long time, Mr. Adams.” They shook hands
and Mulder walked across the room to the door where Scully and Frank
stood. “Find out anything?”
“Maybe,” said Scully. “We need to pick up a report on the way out.
What about you?”
“Maybe,” said Mulder.
They briefed each other on the interviews as they walked back to
“So, the visitor Mr. Adams talked about could be the ‘Jeff’ that
Anna told us about, and is probably the same man who brought him back
when he wandered away that day,” said Mulder.
“Probably,” said Scully. “Let’s just hope the report gives his name
As they approached Mable’s desk, she got up and waved some papers.
“I have the report you want right here. One of the girls in the office
brought a copy over a minute ago.”
“Wow, that was fast,” said Frank as he took the papers. “Y’all wouldn’t
want to come work down at the police department, would ya’?”
Mable blushed and laughed. “Aw, Frank! You know I couldn’t leave these
nice people here.”
Frank laughed and nodded. “Thanks again, Mable.” He flipped through
the pages as they walked to the door. “Name here is Jeff Smith. Home
address is in Plano.”
Mulder looked over Frank’s shoulder after they exited the building.
“There’s that name again. Is there a phone number?”
“Yep, here it is,” said Frank, pointing to a number.
Mulder quickly dialed the number on his cell phone. He waited for a
moment before he punched a button and put the phone away. “It’s not
a working number.”
“Ten to one the address is bogus too,” said Scully. “And probably
“One way to find out,” said Frank. “I’ll call in and run a check
on Jeff Smith.”
“We can ride by the address,” said Mulder.
“Then, I want to go back and talk to Anna again. Maybe she knows
something more about this guy,” said Scully.
“I’ll call y’all when I find anything out. Could take some time, though.
I bet there are at least 100 Jeff Smiths in the Dallas area.”
“Oh, Frank, one more thing,” said Mulder. “Did you ever talk to any
of the officers that patrol areas where some of the victims were found?”
“Sure did. They didn’t remember anything stranger than usual for that
area. No ghosts, ghouls, or zombies sited,” he laughed and waved at the
pair as he got into his car.
They got into the car and Scully opened the “MAPSCO”. She quickly found
the street they were looking for and they headed for Plano. Forty-five
minutes and several construction zones later, they arrived only to find
a park. Mulder pulled the car over and they sat looking at children
playing on a nearby soccer field while a buxom young woman jogged past
with a pair of sleek red Doberman pinschers.
“Nice,” said Mulder.
“Mulder, you’d better consider your next words carefully.”
“What? I was just going to say nice dogs. Now, you can’t tell me those
weren’t nice looking dogs, Scully.”
“Since when did you become a dog expert, Mulder?”
“You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate good looking dogs,” said
Mulder, “although I have been watching some of the dog shows on Animal
“Yeah, right,” snorted Scully. She looked around again. “I don’t think
this is Jeff Smith’s house.”
“Not unless he likes living in the open,” said Mulder. “Why don’t we go
talk to Anna again.”
Scully called Anna while Mulder drove slowly through the crowd of mini
vans and SUVs discharging more kids in soccer uniforms.
Around the corner behind them, a fair skinned man with curly blond hair
jogged along the sidewalk. The woman with the dogs waved to him from
the tree where she’d stopped to rest. “Hi, Jeff!”
X X X X X
DR. ANNA JANE BAYLOR’S HOUSE
“Anna, I’m sorry to disturb you again,” said Scully. She and Mulder
stepped into Anna’s living room.
“It’s fine, Dana,” said Anna. “I told you I’d help in any way I could.
So, what can I do for you today?”
“We were at Preston Ridge earlier. John Bowman told us about an incident
when your father wandered away.”
“Oh, yes. That was scary. But at least I didn’t have to look for him
alone, like I did when he was living here with me. We were just so
lucky that man brought him back.”
“Did you meet him?” asked Mulder.
“No, I didn’t. I was on my way to Preston Ridge when they called and
told me Daddy was back. By the time I got there, the man was gone
and Daddy was pretty fuzzy about what had happened. The only thing he
remembered was that he had been trying to get to work and got lost.”
“Do you know if this man ever visited your father after that?”
“I don’t think so. At least, not that Daddy mentioned.”
“Anna, we asked about an employee named Jeff. There isn’t one,”
said Mulder. “Do you think he could be the man that found your
father and brought him back?”
Anna sat on the couch in thoughtful silence for a moment. “I don’t
know. I suppose it’s possible. From the way Daddy talked about
him helping so much, I just assumed it was someone who worked there.”
“Did he say how Jeff helped him?” asked Scully.
“Not specifically. I guess that’s why I thought it was someone who
worked at Preston Ridge.”
“Mr. Bowman also told us that your father painted a lot while he was
there,” said Mulder.
Anna nodded. “Yes, he did. And he was pretty good. I’ve got his
“Would you mind if we looked at them?” asked Mulder.
“No, of course not,” said Anna. She led them up the stairs to a
bedroom. “This was Daddy’s room when he lived here. I put all of his
things in here. I suppose I’ll have to go through everything sometime
soon.” She motioned to the far side of the bed. “The paintings are
Mulder and Scully moved to the stack of canvases and rolls of paper.
They saw several still-lifes similar to the one they’d seen earlier in
the day, some landscapes, and a few people. “Do you know all of these
people?” asked Mulder.
“Most of them. Some are residents at Preston Ridge, some are family, and
I think one is of a staff member.”
“Was it someone you know?” asked Scully.
“No. I guess that’s why I assumed it was a staff member.”
“Could you show us that one?” asked Mulder.
“Sure.” Anna picked through the paintings until she found it. “Here
it is.” A man with curly blond hair smiled up at them from the canvas.
Mulder and Scully looked at each other. “Jeff?” asked Mulder.
Scully raised her eyebrow and looked at Anna. “You’re sure you don’t
know who this is?”
“Quite sure,” said Anna. “Do you think he could have had something
to do with Daddy’s death?”
“We don’t know yet. Do you mind if we hang on to this for a while?”
“Be my guest,” said Anna.
X X X X X
DALLAS POLICE and COURTS BUILDING
“Well, well, if it isn’t my two favorite FBI agents,” said Frank as
Mulder and Scully entered his office. “Was the address bogus?”
“It was a park,” said Scully. “Did you find anything about Mr. Jeff
“Not at that address, obviously. I was wrong about the number of
Jeff Smiths. It was a hundred and seven, not a hundred. So far we’ve
found a couple with police records, but nothing earth shattering.
One’s a small time crook; the other had one arrest for indecent exposure.
Seems he mooned his girlfriend at the wrong time.”
“Those don’t sound like the kind of man we’d be looking for,” said
Mulder. “I was thinking more along the lines of a doctor, a chemist,
or some sort of biomedical scientist. If he is giving out some drug
that causes people with brain problems to get better, he’s got to have
some way of formulating and making it.”
“Not necessarily, Mulder,” said Scully. “Lots of people make all kinds
of drugs in kitchens and bathrooms. They’re just following a recipe
someone else came up with.”
“I don’t think this guy is like that,” said Mulder.
“Well, the name is probably not his real name anyway,” said Frank.
“I think the Jeff part might be right,” said Mulder. “That name
just seems to keep popping up.”
“Yeah, but with the descriptions we got at Preston Ridge, we could
bring in a whole bunch of people.”
“How about a picture?” asked Mulder.
“You’ve got a picture of this guy? Why didn’t you say so?”
“Well, it’s a painting actually, and we don’t know for sure it’s him.
But it’s a place to start,” said Scully.
“What about the warehouses? Anything on that yet?” asked Mulder.
“Well, we’re running down ownership on lots of warehouses and empty
“Any Jeff’s in the bunch?” asked Mulder.
Frank looked down his list. “There are a few. I suppose we could
concentrate on those.”
“Look for someone with a medical or science background,” said Mulder.
“A doctor, or pharmacist, or chemist -”
Frank nodded. “I get the picture. And speaking of pictures, what
about that painting?”
“Right here,” said Mulder. He propped the canvas on Frank’s desk.
“Could we get a picture of this? I’d like to take it back out to
Preston Ridge and see if anyone recognizes him.”
“Mulder,” said Scully, “I really need to go talk to the ME again, see
if any strange substances have turned up in our victims.”
“I’ll drop you off there, and go on to Preston Ridge. I’ll be back to
pick you up when you’re done.”
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
“Yes, Dr. Scully. Nice to see you again.”
“You too, Dr. Wylie. Have you gotten any more results on foreign
substances in any of the victims?”
“Yes. I was just about to call you. We found something resembling
ibotenic acid in the blood of all the victims. And there seems to be
more to it. We’ve got people working on that now.”
“Great!” said Scully. “Mind if I look over the reports?”
“Not at all,” said Wylie. He handed her a small stack of folders.
“Make yourself at home here. I’ve got to go back down to the morgue.
If you need me or any other information, just check with my assistant
out front.” He turned to leave, then stepped back into the room. “One
more thing. The lab wasn’t able to determine what the substance was
that was found in the vial of our DUI victim’s car. There was too much
vodka mixed in with it. Sorry.”
“I was afraid of that,” said Scully.
Dr. Wylie shrugged. “We’ll just have to keep on looking.” He walked
out of the office.
Scully opened the top folder and began reading. All five bodies showed
some level of these compounds, along with other things as yet
unidentified. The levels had been measured in blood, but she wondered
if the amount in the brain might be even higher. She stepped out of
Dr. Wylie’s office.
“Excuse me,” she said to the man sitting at a computer.
“Yes, Dr. Scully,” said the man. “What can I do for you?”
Scully looked at the nameplate on his desk. “Justin?” He nodded.
“Justin, could you tell me where the lab area is? I’d like to see
about running some other samples. And I have some ideas of other
things to test for.”
“Sure thing.” He removed a small map from a file on his desk.
“Okay, here we are, and here’s the lab. Just go down the hall and -”
Scully looked closely at the map. “It’s near the autopsy bay
“Yep,” said Justin.
“I think I can find it. Thanks,” said Scully.
X X X X X
PRESTON RIDGE ADULT CARE FACILITY
Mulder knocked on the door to Mr. Adams’ room.
“Come in,” said a voice from inside.
Mulder walked in and saw Mr. Adams sitting in a chair in front of a
television. “Mr. Adams?”
“Agent Mulder, please come in,” he attempted to stand up.
Mulder motioned him to remain seated. “I didn’t want to disturb you,
but I need to ask you another question.”
“Sure. What is it?
Mulder removed the photo of the painting he’d carried in his suit pocket.
“Do you recognize this man?”
Mr. Adams pushed his glasses up his nose and peered closely at the photo.
“Well, it looks like that fellow that visited Jim. Mind you, I only
saw him a few times, and mostly from a distance, but it looks like him to
me. Was that one of Jim’s paintings?”
“Yes, it’s a photograph of one his paintings.”
“You think that man did something to Jim, don’t you Agent Mulder?”
“We think it’s possible. If you can think of anything else about him, it
would be very helpful.” He handed one of his cards to Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams shook his head. “Nothing else comes to mind right now, but if
I think of anything I’ll let ya’ know.” He looked closely at the photo
again. “It just burns me up how some people take advantage of other
“Me too,” said Mulder. “That one of the reasons I do what I do.”
“I guess it would be.”
Mulder next looked up John Bowman, to see if he recognized the man in
the painting. He told Mulder he thought he’d seen the man, but couldn’t
be sure where. Mable, the receptionist, also confirmed that she’d seen
him and that he had visited Mr. Baylor. He was on his way out the front
door when his cell phone rang.
“Mulder,” he answered.
“Agent Mulder, this is Frank Burns. I’ve got some information on a couple
of warehouses. A Jeff Maxin owns one. He’s a doctor. He inherited the
place from his grandfather who was in the import-export business years
ago. The warehouse hasn’t really been used for much in years, but he
still pays taxes and insurance on it.”
“That sounds promising,” said Mulder. “What’s the other one?”
“An old building owned by a Jeffery Stevens. He was a biochemist, but
is retired. He bought the place a couple of years ago and has filed
permits for renovation, but no work has been done yet.”
“Also promising. Any other information on these two men?”
“Both men live within a 10 mile area of that park that ‘Jeff Smith’
gave for an address, and both men are fair skinned and blond.”
“Any resemblance to the painting?”
“Some on both accounts. Maxin has curly hair, but Stevens’ eye color
matches the painting. Stevens is older than Maxin, but only by 8
years. They both have facial hair in the DMV photos, and the painting
“Well, at least we’ve got a couple of good leads,” said Mulder.
“And I sure am glad,” said Frank. “Look, I’ve got yet another meeting
to go to. How about we meet up later and go check these guys and
the buildings out.”
“Sounds good to me. Could you give me those addresses? It may take
me a little while to figure out where they are in the ‘MAPSCO’.”
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
Scully sat at a lab bench while waiting for the latest batch of
results. She’d had a few ideas about what the compound found in
James Baylor and all the other victims might be. They were testing for
these things now, but the waiting was hard. She was looking over more
paper work when her cell phone rang.
“Agent Scully, this is Frank Burns.”
“Hello, Frank. Any news?”
“Well, that’s what I called to ask you.”
“They’re still running tests, but we have some ideas. It may be
tomorrow before we know much. What about you? Anything on the
“Yes. I talked to your partner a little while ago and told him about
two possible places and people. I thought we’d ride by the buildings
and try to run down the people a little later.”
“Sounds good,” said Scully. “I’ll call Mulder and have him pick me
“No hurry,” said Frank. “I’ve got a couple of things to take care
of here before I can go.”
“We’ll meet you at your office in a bit then.”
“Great. I sure am glad you two came down. I don’t think I’d have made
this much progress on my own.”
Scully smiled. “I’m glad we could help, Frank.” She ended the call,
then hit the speed dial for Mulder’s phone. It rang several times
before going to voice mail. She frowned and waited for the beep.
“Mulder, it’s me. Call me as soon as you get this. You better not
have lost this phone, or turned it off. I bet the battery ran down.
Just call me, OK?”
She shook her head, wondering if he’d ever remember to charge his phone
at night. Maybe she’d just have to start fishing it out of his pocket
and putting in on the charger herself. A sly smile crept across her
lips. Fishing it out of his pocket might be a fun start to the
X X X X X
SOMEWHERE IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS
Mulder stopped at a red light and took the opportunity to look at
the ‘MAPSCO’ again. He made a right turn then began looking for the
warehouse. He drove past it, looking carefully. “Looks like nobody’s
home,” he said to himself. He drove down the street further and found
a small pay parking lot. He jammed money in the slot numbered with the
place he’d parked the car and walked back toward the warehouse. He
fumbled in his jacket for his phone and punched the speed dial
number for Scully. Nothing happened. He stopped and looked at
the phone. It was dead. He sighed and put the phone back in his
pocket. He’d just look around for a few minutes and go pick up Scully.
There would probably be nothing to see here anyway. It wasn’t like he
was ditching her or anything; he was just doing his job. He walked
first to a door sporting a chain and padlock.
“Well, I guess I won’t be getting in that way.”
Mulder looked carefully at the door, then continued around the building.
It was a dull gray color, matching the clouds that had rolled over
downtown in the last half hour. Thunder rumbled and a flash of
lightening reflected in a window. Mulder looked up, promising himself
he’d just take a quick look in the window, then leave before he got wet.
He stepped up to the window and saw where a small area had been rubbed
clean. Well, maybe not clean, but cleaner than the rest of the window.
He wiped it with his hand and looked inside. He saw things that should
be in a warehouse like barrels, crates, and boxes. He was about to step
back when he noticed light coming under a door on the far side of the
room. He was looking closer when a bone-chilling shriek caused him to
stand very still. He continued to stand there, watching and listening
when he saw the door open and a man with curly blond hair step out.
“Jeff, I presume,” said Mulder softly. He watched as the man walked
across the warehouse floor to another doorway. Mulder quickly stepped
back from the window and walked around the corner just in time to see
the man coming out.
“Dr. Jeff Maxin?” he asked.
The man looked up at Mulder as he was locking the door. “Yes.”
“Dr. Maxin, I’m Special Agent Fox Mulder of the FBI.” He removed his
ID from his pocket and showed it to Maxin. “Could I ask you a few
“What’s this about?” asked Maxin.
“I’m helping the Dallas Police investigate some deaths of people in
this area, and I’d like to ask you if you’ve seen anything unusual.”
“Oh, well,” said Maxin, “I’m not really here that much. I’ve got a
little apartment set up inside and just come here to get away. I’m
sure you know how it is. You just need a little space to yourself
Mulder nodded. “Yes, everyone does now and again.”
“Is this about those homeless people they’ve found dead?”
“Yes, it is,” said Mulder. Large drops of rain hit the concrete all
around them as thunder shook the small window beside the door. “Could
we go inside to continue this?”
Maxin stood still for a moment then shook his head. “Oh, of course.”
He unlocked the door and opened it, motioning for Mulder to go in ahead
“Nice place you’ve got here,” said Mulder turning around to take in the
“I inherited it from my grandfather several years ago. Never quite
knew what to do with it, so I decided to make it into my personal
retreat. Not the best area of town for relaxing, but I may eventually
remodel the whole thing into a place to live.” He watched Mulder look
around. “What exactly do you want to know Agent, ah -?”
“Mulder,” said Mulder. “I suppose you read about the deaths in the
“Yes. It’s quite sad. People living and dying on the streets like
that.” He shook his head and looked sympathetic.
“So, you didn’t know any of them?”
“Me, oh, I don’t think so. I may have seen them around, but I never
really paid that much attention.”
“What about James Baylor. Did you know him?” asked Mulder.
“No, that name’s not familiar.”
“Then, could you tell me why Mr. Baylor painted a portrait of you?” He
showed Maxin the photo of the painting.
Maxin looked at the photo closely. “I guess it does look something like
me.” He stepped back. “I have no idea why he painted it. Perhaps this
person knows someone who looks like me.”
Mulder pocketed the photo. “Would you mind if I take a look around
Dr. Maxin?” He began to stroll away from the door.
Maxin followed him. “What you see is it, Mr. Mulder. Just a dusty old
warehouse no longer in use.”
“What’s in these barrels and crates?”
“Didn’t you say you had an apartment here?” Maxin nodded. “Where is
Maxin pointed at the door that Mulder had seen through the window
earlier. As Mulder took a step toward it, Maxin gasped and clutched his
head. He stumbled back into a crate and sat on it.
“Are you all right, Dr. Maxin?” asked Mulder.
Maxin swallowed hard and took a few deep breaths, still holding his head.
“Migraine. I get terrible migraines.”
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
“I have some medication in the apartment.” He stood up, and with shaking
hands fumbled through his keys. He stood and moved slowly to the door.
After a couple of attempts, he got the key in the lock and opened the
door. He walked in, followed closely by Mulder. “I’ll just get my
medication out of the kitchen.”
Mulder watched him walk into a small kitchen and open the cupboard beside
the sink. He walked further into the small room observing the comfortable
furniture, television, DVD player, and complete stereo surround sound.
“Nice set up you’ve got here.”
Maxin emerged from the kitchen still holding a glass of water.
“Thank you. As I said, it’s my little retreat. I was watching some
horror movie just before I left. The screams are quite realistic with
Mulder nodded. “I’ll bet.” He wandered around the room. “What’s
through that door?” asked Mulder, pointing to a closed door.
“Bedroom, bathroom. Nothing special.”
Mulder moved toward the door, but Maxin stepped in front of him. “It’s
a private area, Mr. Mulder.”
“I was just going to use your bathroom, unless you have something to
hide.” He pushed past Maxin and opened the door. Inside he saw an
elaborate lab set up. “Interesting bathroom you have here,” said Mulder.
Maxin took his hand out of his pocket and before Mulder could turn
around, he jammed a needle into his arm.
Mulder stumbled back holding his arm. “What did you do to me?”
“I told you this was a private area, Mr. Mulder.”
Mulder lurched away from Maxin, knocking over a row of glass beakers
on the lab counter. “Is this where you decide how smart to make
someone? Who has to die to gain knowledge?”
“Oh, now that’s not fair Mr. Mulder,” said Maxin, slowly following as
Mulder moved away from him. “My goal is to help people know their full
mental potential. Most of us only use a small portion of our brains
but I suspect you use a bit more than a lot of people.”
Mulder looked around. Maxin stood between him and the door to the
apartment but he saw another door and bolted for it. He swung the
door open and stumbled into another small room. The light was low but
he was able to see a human shape on a cot. He bent down to get a closer
look and realized that the shape was covered head to toe with a white
sheet. He turned around as Maxin blocked the light from the lab.
“What did you do?” Mulder growled. “Is this one of your test subjects?
One of your lab rats?” He tried to stand up straight but dizziness
washed over him and he grabbed for the edge of the cot.
“That is one of my friends. A friend with some problems that I was
able to help.”
“Help? Looks to me like you killed your friend.” Mulder took a deep
breath, trying to focus on Maxin.
“It is unfortunate that he died, but I can assure you that I did not
kill him. He just couldn’t take the pain.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Mulder, groggy now and trying to
keep Maxin in sight.
“There’s a trade off for great intellect and insight, Agent Mulder.
This man’s body just couldn’t bear that cost any more.”
“Death seems like a big price to me.” Mulder’s vision blurred and he
sank to the floor.
“You shouldn’t have opened that door. But don’t worry, you won’t
remember any of this.”
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
Scully was getting worried. That Mulder sense that she’d developed over
the years was sending shivers up her spine. She looked at her cell phone
one more time to make sure it was working and nearly dropped it when it
rang. She took a deep breath and without even looking at the display
answered it. “Mulder, you had better be on your way here.”
“Ah, Agent Scully, it’s Frank.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve been expecting Mulder to call.”
“So have I,” said Frank. “I thought you’d both be here by now. I tried
his phone, but all I got was voice mail.”
“Me too,” said Scully. “His phone battery probably died. But he still
should have been here by now.”
“Yeah, even if traffic was slow. You don’t think he could have gone to
check out any of these buildings, do you?” asked Frank.
“Did you give him the addresses?”
“Yes,” said Frank. “He said he wanted to try to figure out where they
Scully sighed. “He probably did go to one of them on his own. Would
you mind picking me up here?”
“Sure thing. Then we’ll see if we can figure out where he is.”
X X X X X
Dr. Jeff Maxin watched Mulder closely as he lay on a cot in his lab.
Something was wrong. He should have been coming out of it by now. He
had thought he’d just incapacitate him for a few minutes then get him
out of the warehouse. When the agent woke up, he’d have no idea what
had happened in the half hour or so before he’d stumbled onto the lab.
He had no wish to harm the man. After all, he was a doctor and had
taken an oath to help people. That’s just what he intended to do –
to continue doing. But he still had work to do on the brain enhancing
drug. He had to refine it. He’d been hoping to get more support from
Roush Pharmaceuticals, but that lush of a rep had to go and kill
himself in a car accident. He checked Mulder’s pulse and opened his
eyelids. What was wrong? Mulder’s respiration was shallow. He put an
oxygen mask on Mulder’s face.
“This shouldn’t be happening,” Maxin said to himself. He pushed
equipment over to the cot and began pasting electrodes all over Mulder’s
head. “Let’s just see what’s going on inside here.” Maxin watched the
display on the machine closely. “No, no, this is all wrong. You can’t
be in a coma, Agent Mulder. Not from a sedative.”
Maxin stood up and paced back and forth. He knew he had to get the agent
out of there, that others probably knew where he had gone. He picked up
a bottle from a shelf and withdrew some of the amber liquid inside.
“I guess you’ll just have to be another test subject, Mr. Mulder.”
X X X X X
DALLAS COUNTY MORGUE
Scully stood in front of the building, trying to stay out of the rain.
Frank Burns pulled his car to the curb and opened the door, motioning
Scully to get in. Scully sprinted through the rain and into the car,
wishing that she had an umbrella.
“Nasty weather!” said Frank as Scully wiped at the water running off her
face. “Sure wish it could’ve held off for a few hours.”
“Any news on Mulder?” asked Scully.
Frank shook his head. “Afraid not. I’ve got officers checking out the
residences of the two men I told Mulder about. We’ll check out the
warehouse and the other empty building.” He handed Scully the file of
information. “I thought we’d go to the building owned by Jeffery
Stevens first. It’s closer.”
Scully nodded. “Let’s go.”
The rain slowed the already congested traffic, but they made it to the
building relatively quickly. They got out into the blowing rain and
ran for the shelter of the building. Frank knocked on the front door
as Scully rubbed the glass of a front window and looked in. No one
came to the door. Frank stepped beside Scully and looked in too.
“Doesn’t look like anyone’s been in there in a while,” said Frank.
Scully nodded. “Let’s go around back and see if there’s another way
“Okay, but at least take my umbrella. My hair takes a lot less time
Scully smiled and took the umbrella. “Thanks, Frank. How about if I
go around one way and you go the other. We’ll meet in the back.”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Frank.
They set off in opposite directions. Scully rounded the corner of the
building and saw a side entrance. She ran to the covered entry and tried
the door. It was locked. She peered into a window in the door and saw
only a dusty hallway. She sighed and tried to wipe rainwater off of her
face again. Her Mulder alarm was really going off now and her heart beat
faster. She just knew that he’d gotten himself into trouble, again. She
looked out into the pouring rain then sprinted to the next corner. Frank
waved to her from a doorway at the rear of the building as she approached
“This door’s locked too,” said Frank. “It really doesn’t look like
anyone’s been in this building recently.”
Scully nodded. “There’s a side entrance that was locked and looked
“On to the warehouse?” asked Frank.
“Yes, and quickly. I have a bad feeling,” said Scully.
Frank nodded. “I know what you mean.”
They made their way back to the car and tried to shake off some of
the rain. Frank’s radio crackled to life and Frank answered it.
Scully listened as Frank was informed that the officers had talked
to Jeffery Stevens but could not locate Jeff Maxin.
Frank looked over at Scully. “10-4. Please dispatch two units to
the Maxin warehouse,” and he gave the dispatcher the address. “I’ll
meet them there. Do not enter the building until I arrive. Repeat,
do not enter the building until I arrive.”
X X X X X
Maxin stood over Mulder, monitoring him impatiently. “Come on, now,
Mr. Mulder. That should have given you quite a jump start.” He peeled
back Mulder’s eyelids again. “Come on!” he shouted. Maxin stalked away
from the cot shaking his head. He walked back to the shelf and picked up
the bottle of amber liquid again. He inserted a needle into the bottle,
intent on drawing more out when he heard a rustling noise. He turned to
see Mulder moving slightly on the cot. He set the bottle down and went
back to check Mulder again. When he tried to look at Mulder’s eyes, a
hand weakly tried to brush him away.
“Go ‘way, Scully. Jus’ let me sleep,” Mulder mumbled.
“Oh, no, Mr. Mulder. You can’t go back to sleep, now. It’s time to
leave,” said Maxin.
Mulder opened his eyes and squinted at Maxin. “Where are we goin’?”
Maxin slipped an arm around Mulder’s shoulders. “Now don’t worry about
that. Just come along.”
Mulder shook his head as Maxin pulled him up. “Who, who are you? An’
“Come on, now, we need to go.”
“Where are we goin’?” asked Mulder again, this time a little clearer.
Maxin half dragged Mulder from the lab into the apartment. He leaned
Mulder against the wall as he opened the door into the warehouse.
X X X X X
Scully wiped fog off the car window and looked into a parking lot as
they approached the warehouse. “There’s Mulder’s car!”
“Are you sure?” asked Frank.
“Pretty sure. It’s a Lariat rental car, same make and model as the one
“Well, I guess that means he’s probably here.” Frank spotted two Dallas
Police cars at the curb beside the warehouse and parked behind one. One
of the officers approached the car as Frank got out. “See anything?”
The officer shook his head. “The door in the front is chained shut, but
we did find another entrance on the side.”
“Great,” said Frank. “Agent Scully and I will go in first. You come
in behind, okay?”
Frank and Scully approached the door with guns drawn. Frank motioned
one of the officers to open the door then he and Scully sprang through.
They stopped and looked at barrels and crates. Frank pointed at
a closed door across the room. Just as they started moving toward the
door, it opened. They held still for a moment as a man with curly
blond hair came out dragging Mulder.
“Hold it right there!” said Scully gun pointed at Maxin. “Let him go!”
Maxin immediately let go of Mulder, and he slumped onto the floor.
“Move away from him slowly,” said Frank, gun also aimed at Maxin. He
motioned for the officers to come in. Maxin backed away from Mulder
as the officers rushed in and grabbed him.
“Hey!” said Maxin. “Leave me alone! I’ve done nothing wrong. I
Scully put her gun away and ran to Mulder’s side. “Mulder, can
you hear me?”
“Scully, ‘s that you?” Mulder said thickly.
“Yeah, Mulder, it’s me. Are you okay?”
Mulder yawned. “I’m jus’ so tired.”
Scully looked up at Frank. “Call an ambulance.”
“Is he okay?” asked Frank.
“I don’t know. He doesn’t appear to be bleeding anywhere.” She ran
her hands down his arms.
“Ow!” shouted Mulder. “That hurts!” He clutched his arm. “Ya’ didn’
haf ta hurt me!”
“It’s okay, Mulder,” soothed Scully. “Let me look at it.” Frank
helped her sit Mulder up and she took off his coat then rolled up his
shirtsleeve. “There’s a bruise and what looks like a puncture wound.”
She got up and walked over to Maxin. “What did you give him?” Maxin
looked away. “Answer me!” shouted Scully.
“He’s fine,” said Maxin.
Scully grabbed his shirtfront. “I asked you what you gave him!”
Maxin stared back at Scully silently. She let go of his shirt and
went back to Mulder. “Frank, would you sit with him here? I need
to find out what he was given.”
Frank nodded and Scully walked into the open door of the apartment,
then into the lab. She searched the shelves and saw several bottles
of sedatives, a large bottle of capsules that was not labeled and a
vial of amber liquid. She turned around and saw a rumpled cot with
several discarded syringes nearby. She picked up the syringes and
put them into a plastic bag that she’d found on the counter then
walked back into the warehouse. She handed the bag to Frank and
turned to Maxin.
“Are you Jeff Maxin?” she asked. He nodded. “Jeff Maxin, you have
the right to remain silent -”
“Am I being arrested?” asked a surprised Maxin.
“Yes,” said Scully coldly.
“On what charge?”
“Suspicion of murder and assault of a federal officer for a start,”
said Scully. She finished reading him his rights as the ambulance
X X X X X
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Scully sat beside Mulder’s bed, watching him sleep. She sighed and sat
back in her chair, relieved that he seemed to be okay. Analysis of the
syringes she found detected Versed, a powerful sedative, in one, and the
substance they had found in the victims in the other. Mulder’s blood
had shown both of these. The doctors had recommended that Mulder be
hospitalized until he slept off the effects of the Versed. Scully
wanted him kept here until they determined exactly what the other
substance was and how it might affect him. She knew she’d have a fight
on her hands once he woke up, but she would insist.
Mulder stirred then opened his eyes. He saw Scully smiling at him and
smiled back. “Hey, Scully,” he croaked.
“Hey, yourself, Mulder.” She leaned over and kissed him gently.
“Mmmm. What’d I do to deserve that?”
“You woke up,” said Scully.
Mulder looked around. “I’m in a hospital?”
“Yes, you are. Do you remember what happened?”
Mulder frowned. “I remember talking to Mr. Adams about the painting,
and then, um, it’s all fuzzy and mixed up.”
Scully sat down on the bed and held Mulder’s hand. “You did something
Scully smiled. “Yes, again. You went to check out a warehouse, alone,
with a dead cell phone. Jeff Maxin attacked you.”
“What’d he do?”
“Apparently he injected you with Versed.”
“That’s, um, a sedative or something, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Then he gave you some of the same substance we found in the
Mulder tried to sit up straighter. “Why? Why did he give me that?”
Scully shook her head. “I have no idea. He’s in custody now. I had
planned to go down and question him as soon as I knew you were all
Mulder nodded and pushed the covers off his legs.
“Just what do you think you’re doing, Mulder?” asked Scully.
“Getting up. It’s going to be hard to question Maxin from here.”
He swung his legs around.
Scully got up to stand beside him. “Mulder, you’re in no shape to get
out of this bed. You’ve had a pretty big dose of Versed plus the other
substance. We have no idea what effect that might have on you.”
Mulder looked Scully in the eyes. “Scully, you just said yourself that
I’m all right.”
“I said no such thing, Mulder. What I said was that I was going to
question Maxin as soon as I knew you were all right. I’m still here.”
“I feel fine. Sleepy, yes, but fine.”
The door to Mulder’s room opened and Anna walked in. “Well, I see
you’re awake now,” she said.
“Awake and trying to leave,” said Scully as she frowned at her
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” said Anna. “You’re bound
to still be feeling the effects of the sedation. And, I was hoping you
could help me out with something.”
“What’s that?” asked Mulder suspiciously.
“I’d like to run some tests.”
“Oh, no. I’m fine. Just fine, thank you. If one of you will hand
me my pants, I’ll be on my way. We have an investigation to finish.”
“Mulder, listen to what she has to say,” said Scully.
Mulder looked from Anna to Scully. He sighed and sat back in the bed.
“Okay, I’ll listen, but I make no promises about staying here.”
Anna stepped forward. “Mulder, this is a big opportunity for us. You’ve
been given a drug that seems to greatly enhance or perhaps even restore
brain function. We need to find out what’s happening in you right now.”
“But I feel completely normal,” said Mulder. “I’ve had no brilliant
insights, made no great discoveries, heck, I can’t even remember what
happened to me.”
“That’s probably due to the Versed, Mulder,” said Scully. “People who
get it usually don’t remember it.”
“Mulder, please. Let me run a few tests and see what’s going on in that
head of yours. It could help a lot of people,” said Anna.
Mulder looked closely from Anna to Scully. “You really think it might?”
“It could, Mulder. You told me yourself that this could improve a lot
of people’s lives. How about it? Will you help?”
Mulder lay back on the bed again. “Okay, okay. You’ve ganged up on me,
used my own words against me, and talked me into it. On one condition.”
“What’s that?” asked Scully.
“That you go now and question Maxin. I don’t want anything to happen
to him before we can find out more about what he was doing.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay with you?” asked Scully.
X X X X X
LEW STERRETT JUSTICE CENTER
“Dr. Maxin, my name is Special Agent Dana Scully. I will be questioning
you regarding your attack on Special Agent Fox Mulder a few hours ago.”
Maxin nodded. “He is all right now, isn’t he?”
“He seems to be. Dr. Maxin, we need to know exactly what happened.”
“I’m not a bad man, Agent Scully. I just want to help people.”
“So you tried to help Agent Mulder by sedating him, then giving him some
Maxin shook his head. “You’ve got it wrong. All of you. I never
wanted to hurt anyone. I just wanted to help.”
“You keep saying that, Dr. Maxin. What, exactly did you do?”
Maxin looked down at his cuffed hands. “Agent Scully, have you ever
seen a brilliant person ravaged by disease? A disease that robs them of
the thing that makes them who they are? Have you?”
“If you’re talking about Alzheimer’s disease, yes, I have.”
“My father was a neurologist. He was a wonderful doctor and father.
He saw people every day whose minds were dim and getting dimmer with
each passing day. He wanted to find some way to help those people regain
what they’d lost, and in some cases, what they never had.”
“That’s quite an admirable goal, Dr. Maxin, but what does that have to do
with what you’ve been doing?”
“Everything! Don’t you see? He did it!”
“I don’t understand. What did he do?”
“He came up with a drug that gives the brain a boost but he was never
able to test it on human subjects. Except for me. I’ve been taking some
form of it for the last several years. You see, Agent Scully, I’m a man
of quite average intelligence, but with this drug, I could continue my
father’s work. I just wish he’d had the chance to try it himself, before
he died. You see he had Alzheimer’s disease, too.”
“Are you telling me that you’ve been testing an unapproved substance
on human subjects?”
“With consent, of course, but yes.”
“With consent of people who were not able to understand what you were
asking of them!” said Scully.
“Perhaps, at first, but when they could understand, they all wanted to
continue the treatments.”
“Until they died.”
Maxin shook his head. “It is unfortunate that some of my subjects died,
but they all died of natural causes. Agent Scully, I am not a killer.
I am a doctor. I help people. And I’d be able to help many more if the
drug company I’ve been talking to will back my father’s discovery. If
only that representative had not killed himself with alcohol, we might
already be on our way. Besides, not all of my subjects are dead. I’m
“There are other people who have been receiving this drug?”
Maxin nodded. “Oh, yes. Including Agent Mulder.”
“And we’re back to Agent Mulder,” said Scully. “What happened? He
discovered your little lab, didn’t he. So you drugged him!”
“I only wanted to subdue him so that I could take him out of my lab.”
“So you injected him with Versed?”
Maxin nodded. “Quite a safe drug. One I’ve used many times. But he
didn’t react well to it.”
“What happened?” asked Scully.
“He didn’t wake up. He was, in fact, comatose. It is a possible, if
“So, instead of calling for help, you gave him your drug?”
“Yes. It had the desired effect.”
“Are you aware that your ‘wonder drug’ may cause vascular abnormalities?
Abnormal vessel growth and weakening of arteries?”
“I think you’re mistaken,” said Maxin smugly.
“I don’t think I am,” said Scully. “Ruptured cerebral and aortic aneurysms
killed three of your victims. Two more died when AVM’s hemorrhaged.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t care what you believe. You have been killing people in the so-
called name of science, but it stops here.”
X X X X X
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Mulder pulled on his pants and was looking for his shirt when a wave
of dizziness washed over him. He slid into a chair and closed his
eyes, willing the dizziness to pass. After a moment he opened his eyes
and found that the room wasn’t moving anymore. He let out a big sigh
and rubbed his temples. A headache was building that reminded him a
little of what had happened when he’d seen that rubbing from the alien
spacecraft, but at least he wasn’t hearing any voices. He sat back in
chair and stretched his back, realizing that he ached all over. The
places where Maxin had injected him and where the IV had been were
hurting more than anything like that had ever hurt him in the past.
He knew he was all right because Anna had just told him that all of his
tests were normal, but he couldn’t help wondering what Maxin’s drug
might really do. He knew Scully would be wondering the same thing.
But he was fine. Really.
Scully walked into the room.
“Have you already finished questioning Maxin?” asked Mulder.
“For now. He’s safely behind bars. I wanted to come check on you.”
Mulder leaned over and picked up his shoes. “I’m fine, Scully.
Just like I tried to tell you.”
“He’s right, Dana,” said Anna as she entered the room. “All the scans
were within the normal range.”
Mulder smiled. “That’s me. Mr. Normal.” He looked at Scully. “Can
we go now? I’ve got a few questions I’d like to ask Dr. Maxin myself.”
“Do you really think he’s okay now, Anna?” asked Scully. “You didn’t
find any evidence of aneurysms?”
“No, Dana. We didn’t find anything. Now get out of here,” said Anna.
She smiled and handed Mulder his discharge papers.
Mulder smiled broadly and got to his feet. He held the papers to his
chest. “I’d like to thank the academy for this award.” Scully hit him
on the arm. “Ow!” It was a standard response when she playfully
whacked him, but this time it had really hurt.
“We’ll be leaving now,” said Scully. As she helped Mulder gather the
rest of his things, the phone rang.
“I’ll get that,” said Mulder, still rubbing his arm. “Mulder.” He
paused. “What? When? Are they bringing him here? Okay, we’ll be
there as soon as we can.” He hung up the phone.
“What happened?” asked Scully.
“That was Frank. Another prisoner attacked Maxin. They’re taking him
to different hospital.”
X X X X X
“Over here,” shouted Frank from the ER waiting area as Mulder and
Scully walked in.
“What happened Frank?” asked Scully.
“Maxin had a run in with another prisoner. The officer who was there
said some words were exchanged, then the guy decked Maxin.”
“That’s it. At first Maxin just seemed dazed then he started wailing
like he was in horrible pain. I know that getting hit in the face
hurts, but this guy was going overboard.”
“If he was acting, why was he brought here?” asked Mulder.
“That’s just it, Mulder. He wasn’t acting. He was really in agony.
They were trying to settle him down when he started going into shock.”
Mulder looked at Scully. “Is it possible for someone to die of pain?”
Scully raised her eyebrow. “Well, I suppose that the pain response
could trigger other things, maybe even shock.”
“So it is possible?”
“Maybe, but not probable. Mulder, being hit in the face wouldn’t cause
that level of pain.”
“What if something made Maxin more sensitive to pain?”
Scully looked closely at Mulder. “Are you saying that Maxin’s drug
causes increased sensitivity to pain?”
“It could. Scully, when I talked to Chester Adams about James Baylor
he told me that he’d seen him doubled over in pain. When Adams asked
him what was wrong, he just blew it off and told him not to tell anyone.
He said that he’d rather live in pain than live in the Alzheimer’s fog.”
“Mulder that pain was probably from the aneurysm. They often cause
“And what about Pam Parker, one of the other victims? She was in a lot
of pain as well and refused to seek help. Scully, don’t you see, it’s
as if they both knew that the pain was part of their new awareness.”
Scully shook her head. “Mulder -”
A nurse approached Frank. “Detective, the doctor wanted me to tell you
that your prisoner is stable now, if you’d like to see him.”
Frank, Mulder, and Scully got up. “Yes, please.”
Then nurse led them down a hallway into a treatment area. Jeff Maxin
lay on the bed with his arm handcuffed to the bedrail. He did not
open his eyes. A doctor stood next to the bed with a chart in his hand.
“Yes,” said Frank, extending his hand. “This is Agent Mulder and Agent
Scully.” He motioned toward the pair. “What’s happening here, Doc?”
“His nose is broken and he has some contusions on his face, but that’s
“Why was he in so much pain?” asked Mulder.
“I don’t know. But he did show all the signs of someone with a massive
trauma. At first we thought he was acting, but he wasn’t. It took some
pretty powerful drugs to calm him down.”
“Tranquilizers?” asked Scully.
“Pain meds,” said the doctor. “He’ll probably be out for a while.
I suppose he’ll be moved to the secure ward?”
“Yeah,” said Frank. “Will he be okay there?”
The doctor took another look at Maxin’s record then set it down. “I
don’t see why not.”
“I’d like to stay with him,” said Scully.
“I’m staying too,” said Mulder.
An orderly arrived a few minutes later with a uniformed police officer.
They all escorted Maxin to his new room.
“I have to hit the road, guys. We still need to clean up at the
warehouse. It sure looked like there was a lot to go through there,”
“Be sure to get all his notes and computer files,” said Scully. “This
could still be quite a medical breakthrough.”
“Will do, Agent Scully.”
The agents sat in silence for a few minutes after Frank left.
“You don’t think the drug is responsible for Maxin’s reaction, do you,
“I don’t know Mulder. I do know that messing around with brain
chemistry and function could have undesirable effects. I suppose
“It is possible,” said a weak voice from the bed.
The agents stood next to the bed. “What is possible?” asked Scully.
“Pain. Severe pain. But most of my subjects were willing to endure
the pain if it meant they could be, enlightened. Even I have been
through a lot of pain. Migraine headaches can be quite debilitating
under normal circumstances, but what I suffered was agony.”
“Was it worth it?” asked Mulder.
“Oh, yes. A few hours of pain was not too high a price for genius
intellect. I’d do it again.”
“Well, you won’t have that opportunity, Dr. Maxin,” said Scully.
“Everything in your lab is being confiscated as we speak.”
“Perhaps someone else can carry on the work,” said Maxin. He put
his hand to his head and gasped.
“Dr. Maxin,” said Scully, “what’s wrong?”
Maxin’s hand dropped and his body seemed to go slack. He slumped further
into bed as his eyes rolled back.
“Mulder, get some help!”
Mulder rushed to the door. “We need some help in here!” He went back
to Scully’s side. “What’s happening to him?”
“I don’t know,” said Scully. She opened one of Maxin’s eyes. “This
pupil’s dilated, eye’s bloodshot.” She opened the other one. “This
one’s not. Mulder, I think he’s just ruptured an aneurysm.”
The door burst open and a crowd of doctors and nurses rushed in. “He’s
not breathing!” said one nurse. They immediately set to work on him,
but he did not respond. After a grueling half hour, the doctor
pronounced him dead. Scully talked with the doctor and made arrangements
for an autopsy to be done. They walked out of Maxin’s room just as Frank
stepped off the elevator.
“That’s a question we seem to be asking a lot,” said Mulder.
“Maxin’s dead,” said Scully.
“What? How? He was only hit in the face for goodness sake!”
“It looks like he may have had a cerebral aneurysm that ruptured,” said
Scully. “We’ll know more after the autopsy.”
“Did you already get the warehouse cleaned out?” asked Mulder.
“The warehouse was cleaned out, all right, but not by us.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that a bunch of people claiming to be a forensics crew dismissed
the officers who were watching the warehouse. When the real forensics
crew arrived, all they found was a whole lot of nothing.”
“Do you have any clue as to who might have done this?” asked Scully.
Frank shook his head. “I was kinda hoping you guys might.”
“I have some ideas, Frank, but nothing I could ever prove.” Mulder
turned to Scully. “They did it again. Ripped all the evidence away
“Mulder, it could have been anyone. It could have even been Roush.”
“Exactly,” said Mulder.
X X X X X
THE GRAND KEMPENSKI HOTEL RESTAURANT
“What, no pancakes?” asked Scully after the waitress had taken their
orders. “Mulder are you feeling all right? Tell me the truth.”
Mulder sighed. “I’m just not hungry this morning. Besides, you’re
always telling me I should eat healthier.”
“I don’t really call coffee and a donut ‘healthy’ Mulder.” Scully sat
back in the booth. “You look tired, Mulder. Maybe you should go back
to your room and rest while I finish up with Frank this morning.”
“I’m okay, Scully. Really.” She frowned at him. “Okay, okay. I am
tired. I just couldn’t get comfortable last night so I didn’t sleep
“And what?” he asked. Scully continued to frown at him. “And my head
“Is that all?” asked Scully.
“Yeah,” said Mulder. “That’s all. I’m tired and sore, but would you
expect any less knowing what happened to me yesterday?”
Scully looked closely at her partner. “I suppose not. But, Mulder, I
really need to know if something’s wrong. We don’t know exactly what
Maxin gave you or what it might do. You will tell me, won’t you?”
“Scully, I’m fine. Anna told you that last night. Maybe I’m sore
because of that exaggerated pain thing Maxin talked about, but that’s
all, Scully. Really.” And he hoped it was.
X X X X X
DALLAS POLICE AND COURTS BUILDING
“Well, if it isn’t my FBI friends. Come on in,” said Frank.
“Have a seat.”
“We just wanted to finish up with this case before we headed back
to D.C.” said Mulder. “Have you found anything else in the warehouse
or who it was that cleaned everything out?”
“Not a thing, I’m sorry to say. Looks like the only evidence we have
of Dr. Maxin’s brain enhancing drug was in the syringe that he injected
you with. And we wouldn’t have even had that if Agent Scully hadn’t
picked it up.”
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to do a very good analysis. I doubt
anyone will be able to reconstruct the compound. At least not yet, but
it will provide a good starting point for further research,” said Scully.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” said Frank. “Your boss, A.D. Skinner called
this morning. Seems he couldn’t get either one of you on your cell
phones last night, so he wanted to leave a message.”
“What did he say?” asked Mulder cautiously.
“He said to tell you that if you wanted to go ahead with your vacation
plans, you could just email or fax your reports in to him and leave
“Wow,” said Scully.
“Double wow,” said Mulder.
Frank smiled. “He sure sounds like a nice guy.”
“He is,” said Scully. “And we’ve got a report to finish so we can start
our vacation. Right, Agent Mulder?”
“Oh, right, Agent Scully. Right!” said Mulder. “Frank, do you have a
place I can plug in a laptop?”
X X X X X
Mulder stood at the cart, waiting for lemonade. He shielded his eyes
and looked around watching happy people walk and talk all around him.
Today he was one of the happy people. He took off his sunglasses and
rubbed his eyes. He’d have been happier still without this headache.
He knew he should have bought a hat on Main Street because if he had a
hat that would cut down on some of the glare that was surely causing
this headache. He put his sunglasses back on and looked back at
the bench where Scully sat. She certainly seemed to be having a good
time and so was he. He’d never imagined a theme park could be this fun.
Well, except for maybe the ‘Tiki Birds’ and ‘It’s a Small World’. Those
were just a bit too, uh, sappy. But ‘The Haunted Mansion’ and ‘Peter
Pan’s Flight’, and of course ‘Splash Mountain’, those were fun. And
they still had so much left to do. He got the lemonades, popped a
couple of aspirin into his mouth, took a drink, and walked back toward
Scully sat back on the bench in the warm sun and sighed. It was so good
to relax. She was still concerned about what affects Maxin’s mystery
drug might have on Mulder, but he seemed to be doing quite well now.
She watched as he brought back two large lemonades for them and
plopped down beside her.
“Ah, Scully, this is the life. I’m beginning to see why Arthur
Dales retired to Florida.”
“Mulder, he retired to a trailer park, not Disney World.”
Mulder shrugged. “Still, the weather is nice here.”
“Except when there are hurricanes.”
“There is that,” said Mulder. He took a long drink of his lemonade.
“So, what do you want to do next, Scully? The ‘ExtraTERRORestrial
Alien Encounter’? ‘Space Mountain’?”
“Again, Mulder? I was thinking maybe we could find some lunch.
I’m getting hungry.”
Mulder pulled a map out of his pocket. “It says there’s a place to get
something to eat near ‘Space Mountain’. Let’s ride those two things -”
“Again,” said Scully.
“Again,” said Mulder, “then you can get something to eat.”
“Aren’t you hungry, too?” asked Scully. “You only had a piece of toast
and coffee for breakfast. That was hours ago.”
“What can I say?” said Mulder. “I guess I’m just too excited being in
the Happiest Place on Earth.” He took Scully’s hand and pulled her off
the bench. “Besides, I was thinking I might try to talk to someone
about the ‘Alien Encounter’. I think we could give them some pointers.”
Special thanks to the crew at IMTP. Without your invitation to submit
a pitch, I probably would never have written this. And to my sister,
Erin, for doing the artwork and trailer, to my husband, Len, for his
technical (and other!)support. And to Vickie Moseley for her help and
wonderful suggestions. I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
The inspiration for this story was an article in THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
on February 12, 2001. The title is “Pumping It Up – Efforts to boost
mental performance raise sticky ethics issues” by Sue Goetinck Ambrose.
I am not a neurologist (I’m a veterinarian), so I made up effects that
this mythical drug could have. However, DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit),
Baylor University Medical Center, Parkland Hospital, the Dallas Police
and Courts Building, the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, the Grand Kempenski
Hotel, and Trail Dust Steak House are real places/entities. And yes,
they really do cut ties off of people who wear them into the Trail Dust,
with the patron’s permission. The patron gets a free drink in exchange
for the tie as well as applause from everyone else. It’s really quite a
production. And my husband does actually have a Flying Toilets tie.
Some of you may also remember that Parkland Hospital was where JFK was
taken after he was shot.
I used my husband’s knowledge and the “Mapsco” to find everything! (As a
resident of the DFW area, I can tell you that these books of maps are a
MUST if you want to get anywhere. I only wish you could get daily updates
My apologies to anyone who knows a lot about Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s
Disease, and autism for any misrepresentation or inaccuracy. My
information came mostly from the web. I have very little personal
experience with any of these problems.
All inaccuracies are my own fault.
Frances Hayman Smith (email@example.com)