ARCHIVES: IMTP for the first two weeks, then whatewa,
Ephemeral, Gossamer, MTA, and any other site that has
received prior written permission. All others, please
contact the author
RATING: PG 17
CATEGORY: X-file VS9
KEYWORDS: MSA/R, Sk, M POV,
SUMMARY: Scully stands accused of murder.
DISCLAIMER: Mulder & Scully as well as all other
recognizable character references belong to Chris
Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Twentieth Century
Fox Television. They are used here without permission.
No copyright infringement is intended. Kenny ‘The Kid’
Andrews is the creation of Susan Proto and Vickie
Moseley and was released to consult on this case with
their permission. Other characters belong to the
THANKS: To Susan Proto and Vickie Moseley for Kenny. To
Laurie and Vickie for their beta and for their helpful
suggestions. To Tabula Raza for beta reading this
concoction. With comments like ‘[oh my god! he almost
killed Kenny! that bastard! sorry. couldn’t help it.
I’ll thwap myself]’, she made correcting this a lot
more fun. Thanks also to Brandon Ray who cooperated
with the continuity and the biggest bouquet to Susan
who, with her ‘slicin’ and dicin’, made this what it
is. What a wonderful team you all are.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: Parvor Nocturnus – Night terrors.
This was written as one of the episodes of Virtual Season 9.
Feedback always welcome! It’s the only recompense I
get for the work involved producing this.
The feeling of emptiness, of abandonment, was so
intense it took her breath away, contracting her lungs
with the pain, causing her heart to shrivel within her.
It was over now. She’d been stripped of everything,
everyone she’d ever had. The pain of it all, the horror
was almost too much for her to bear. The loss of
something so precious. That, which had been taken away
from her, could never be replaced, could never be
restored. She was alone, adrift, no one left to guide
her, to help her. She’d been here before, but she
couldn’t remember when, she couldn’t remember why, only
the anguish, only the agony.
She felt moisture on her face… it was tears, she felt
them as they coursed down her face.
Reaching out her hand in the darkness, she fumbled
around, needing physical contact with something,
anything. Her hand brushed against something solid-she
recognized her nightstand. Her mind focused itself on
finding the light switch.
By the light of the lamp she saw the blood. Blood on
her hands… blood all over her, it was everywhere. So
much blood. With incredulous eyes she looked down at
herself and felt bile rising in her throat. There was a
horrible, erratic thumping in her chest, as if a large
bird was trapped inside her ribcage and was beating
itself to death. Gasping, she lay in her bed, panting
with terror. She was trembling all over, drenched with
sweat. Long shadows, nightmare light. The sounds of
screams reverberated in her ears, rebounding off her
bedroom walls, finally bringing her to full consciousness.
It was her own voice she could hear, it was she who was
Then, Jeff was in the room with her, looking as shaken
as she felt. He was beside her using the phone, telling
her not to move, that everything would be all right.
With force of habit, Scully reached over to her
nightstand, and with trembling fingers picked up her
cell phone. She punched in a well memorized number. As
she waited for her call to be answered, she gazed
unbelievingly at the marks she’d left on the nightstand;
at the red smears that were now covering the number
pad on her cell phone. Trying to calm herself, she
remembered the words she’d said to her partner so
often. “Mulder. Mulder breathe, slowly, in… out… that’s
it. Take it easy now.”
She heard the voice on the other end of the phone
sleepily identifying himself and she began to speak.
“It’s Scully. You need to get down here now, there’s a
situation.” Her voice quavered as she continued,
“S-sir? I think I’m in need of your assistance.”
Saturday, very early morning
The chirping of his cell phone broke into his restless
sleep, bringing Mulder relief from that nameless thing
which wandered through his disturbed rest causing him
to wake drenched in sweat.
“Mulder.” He glanced at the alarm clock on the
nightstand, 6:02 a.m. He struggled to sit up and make
sense of where he was.
“Mulder, you’d better get over here right away.
There’s something damned weird going on.”
Mulder was surprised. He was used to his partner
calling him at this hour but his stomach cramped with
anxiety as he recognized his superior’s gravelly voice.
A feeling of dread rolled over him.
“Weird? How do you mean, weird? What’s happened? Where
Mulder was speechless for a second, incapable of
anything apart from trying to get air back into his
lungs and fighting the panic that threatened to
overtake him. Taking deep breaths, he forced the
question past his lips, disregarding any attempt at
protocol in the heat of the moment. “Skinner, is…is
she all right? He couldn’t trust his voice further.
“She’s safe Mulder, but you need to get over here at
once, something strange is going on.”
The reassurance Skinner gave as to Scully’s safety did
nothing to placate Mulder. Even as he yelled through
the phone, “Where are you?”, he was pulling on his
pants and pushing his sockless feet into his shoes.
Shit! Wrong one!
“Just get over to Scully’s apartment, ASAP.”
Mulder grabbed his badge and gun off the nightstand and
headed for the door, tee shirt and jacket in hand.
“Dammit! Car keys!”
Snatching them off the table, he ran out of the
apartment and down the stairs two at a time, to where
his car was parked; dressing as he went, the early
morning chill and his mounting apprehension causing a
shiver to run down his spine.
The roads were all but empty of traffic as he sped to
Scully’s apartment with little regard to speed limits
or traffic cops. He couldn’t help wondering why she
hadn’t phoned him. There must be a reason and that’s
what scared him.
Why hadn’t he insisted on staying over last night?
That was their usual arrangement for the weekends of
Mulder picked his way through the crowd of onlookers,
D.C. police and paramedics who were milling about the
hallway outside Scully’s apartment despite the early
“What the hell…!”
As Mulder approached the door, one of a pair of
officers standing outside the open door of Scully’s
home, stepped forward.
“Sir? Sir, I’m sorry but you can’t go in there.”
Mulder flashed his badge at him and addressed the
“I’m looking for Assistant Director Walter Skinner?”
“And you are?”
“Special agent Fox Mulder, FBI.”
“So, what’s the FBI’s interest in this?” The officer
addressed his colleague.
“She’s one of their own.”
Mulder decided that the sixty seconds standing there,
waiting for some sort of an acknowledgement from the
pair of officers was about forty-five too long,
Mulder threw them an irritated glance before he took
charge of the conversation. “Exactly what’s happened
“When we’ve figured it out sir; don’t worry, you’ll be
among the first to know.”
Mulder swept past them, too apprehensive to take note
of the officer’s sarcasm.
He felt the waves of dizziness and nausea sweep over
him as he caught sight of his partner. White as milk,
she sat on her once pristine sofa.
He felt a hand kindly but firmly push him down onto a
chair and heard Skinner’s reassuring voice over the
humming and buzzing in his ears.
“She’s okay, Mulder, she’s not hurt. It’s not her
blood, she’s *all right*.” Mulder took a couple of
deep breaths in an attempt to chase the threatening
“I’m okay now, just need a minute.” Mulder told his
superior breathlessly. His continued heavy breathing
must have convinced Skinner that he was
“Relax.” He felt Skinner’s hand firmly on the back of
his neck. “Relax, Mulder.” His breathing started to
calm. “Easy now, that’s it,” his boss’s concerned
voice both soothed and bothered him. This was all too
surreal, Mulder couldn’t help thinking.
As the dizziness receded, Mulder looked up at Skinner.
The AD was as impassive as ever, but there was a look
of strain and exhaustion about his eyes. He was a big,
powerful man, but right now, his broad shoulders were
slumped. Skinner sank down slowly into the chair next
to him, took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
“She doesn’t know what happened, she woke up in this
state,” The AD’s voice was tight. “And, uh…. It was
her neighbor Jeff Jackson who called this in. He was
rather shaken by it all. The local boys are still
questioning him,” he paused, looking uncomfortable,
his eyes settling on Scully for a moment before
meeting Mulder’s eyes again. Mulder read the
uncertainty in the AD’s eyes.
Mulder’s eyes locked on to Scully’s white, blood
spattered face. He saw her bewilderment and the lack
of comprehension in her eyes. Her gray flannel pajamas
were covered in blood, it looked like there was
gallons of it.
He dropped to his knees by the sofa and went to take
her hand in his. He couldn’t bear to see her like
“Stop, Mulder, don’t touch her!” Skinner’s warning
stopped him dead. Mulder’s eyes widened. For a moment
he stared at his superior uncomprehendingly. What was
going on here?
“This is all evidence. They’re saying this is a
possible homicide.” Skinner’s embarrassment as he
tried to explain was patently obvious.
Mulder just managed to restrain himself. Not believing
what he’d just heard, he turned to his superior for
“Who…? Who is saying?”
“The local boys.”
Skinner was looking bad. “Sir, are you all right?”
Mulder asked, Skinner was biting his lip as he nodded.
“What in God’s name happened here?” Mulder looked at
his partner, who appeared to be in some kind of
“We don’t know that yet, but we’re working on it.”
“Scully? Scully, can you hear me? Look at me. I’m here
now. It’s all gonna be okay now, everything’s going to
be fine” his soft tone of his voice belied his panic.
His arms ached to encircle his partner, to comfort
her, to take that bewildered look from her face.
Everything’s going to be fine, everything’s going to
be fine. The phrase kept going through his head like a
prayer, a mantra to chase his fear away.
She roused herself enough to answer her partner.
“Mulder…I’m…I’m perfectly fine.” Her fragile,
anxious voice contradicted the statement. Scully
shivered, Mulder was back on his knees in front of
“Yeah, I can see that.” Mulder had to ball his hands
to keep from touching her.
Then she stared directly into his eyes, her gaze
unbearably intense. “Mulder, I’m okay,” she murmured,
breaking the direct eye contact. Her voice wavered,
telling of the fear she insisted on denying. Her voice
quivered as she spoke again. “I don’t know what
happened, I woke up and I was covered in blood. I
can’t remember anything.”
“It’s gonna be okay, Scully, we’re here now.”
He saw her swallow hard before she nodded, then the
shivering started shaking her fragile-looking body.
“Sir?” Mulder turned to his superior. “Can’t we at
least cover her in a blanket? She’s in shock, just
look at her.” The look on his supervisor’s face
informed him that this couldn’t be an option.
Mulder paused and turned to address one of the
detectives on the scene. “Do you have any suspects?
Is there any sign of forced entry? There must be
evidence of an intruder of some kind.”
“No, we checked that one out. It appears that her door
was ajar when one of her neighbors heard her screams
and found her. *He* called 911. I’ve been in this
business along time now, I know the drill. We’re doing
a house-to-house on the tenants at the moment,” the
“I’m sorry detective, don’t mean to step on any toes.
I didn’t mean to imply….”
The last thing Mulder wanted to do was to antagonize
the locals, and he acknowledged he had a natural gift
for doing just that. Scully was the one who normally
held him in check, smoothed things over.
“Yeah, no problem, I appreciate what it’s like when a
colleague is involved.”
Skinner moved the man to the side so Mulder and his
partner could have a little privacy.
For a moment Mulder didn’t know how to start, what to
say, she looked so frail and lost. Her eyes had a shadowed
look, they seemed haunted by the same dark fear that
was in her voice. Just as a child might reach for its
security blanket in times of stress, Scully’s hand reached
up to her neck.
“Scully, are you hurt?” He asked gently. Guilt washed
over him. “I’m sorry Scully, I should have been here….”
“I’m all right Mulder, it-it’s not your fault….”
Mulder tried again. “Talk to me, Scully. Can you do
that?” She nodded her head.
Mulder took a long breath. “What happened, Scully?”
“I don’t know. I’ve no idea, no rational explanation.
I was so alone, so empty.”
She’d told him about her planned date before they’d
finished work yesterday. He tried that avenue first.
“Did you go to your friend’s bachelorette party? What
happened to you?”
“Mulder, I don’t know, I can’t remember.”
She paused for a moment to take a deep breath trying
to control the trembling. “I keep thinking in a minute
I’m gonna wake up and this all will have been a dream,
a terrible dream. I’m gonna wake up and phone you and
have you talk to me and tell me everything’s fine.
Tell me Mulder, tell me I’m just having a nightmare….
Tell me I’m asleep and this is just a bad dream. I’ve
had dreams before. Mulder, tell me you’ll be right over
and everything will be fine.”
The pleading in her voice was almost too much for him.
Mulder felt as if he’d betrayed her when he couldn’t
offer her the words of comfort she so desperately
This *wasn’t* a dream. There was nothing he could say
or do that would change that. He needed so much to
hold her, to reassure himself as much as her. It *was*
his fault. He should have insisted on being here for
her when she got home last night.
“I’m here now Scully, I’m not going to leave you.
We’ll sort this out together, I promise you. Just hang
in there. M-maybe you drank too much last night, maybe
it’s someone’s idea of a sick joke.”
A female officer interrupted them. “We’re going to
need your pajamas, Ms. Scully.”
Scully was beginning to look vague again.
“Ms. Scully, just change, no shower or bathing.”
“Scully?” She didn’t appear to hear him. Moving like a
sleepwalker, she went with the officer.
Later, Scully came out of her bedroom, her ashen
complexion more made prominent by the white police
issue overalls she dressed in. The smudges of blood
still on her face stood out in sharp contrast. Out of
the corner of his eye, Mulder could see Skinner
talking into a phone in low angry tones that carried
despite the man’s best efforts.
“This is absolutely inconceivable…Don’t you think
you’re jumping to conclusions, here….I don’t
care…yes, of course I realize the implications…due
process…. Fine. Do whatever you feel you have to
He glanced away from his partner, to where their
superior had just slammed down the phone, a look of
controlled fury on his face. Their eyes met and
Skinner came over to the agents, looking very
agitated, a gray tinge to his face.
“I’m sorry. Things have just gotten a damn sight
worse. A homicide’s just been called in. The body of a
male has turned up downtown. Seems he was
bludgeoned to death as he slept…they think…
someone’s trying to score brownie points.” Mulder was
surprised at the mask of quiet defeat Skinner was
Their superior was having great trouble coming to the
“They think you could be a suspect, Scully.”
Mulder looked at his partner, his face mirroring the
disbelief in hers.
Things happened so fast then. Before they knew what
had hit them, two officers were ready to escort Scully
down to the local P. D. for questioning.
As they led her out of the room she tried to turn
The note of panic in her voice nearly made him do
something desperate and only Skinner’s hold on his
shoulder stopped him rushing after her. “I’ll go with
her, I’ll see to it that she’s okay. Mulder? Mulder!
Damn it! Are you listening to me agent?” Skinner
Mulder tried to focus on his superior’s voice.
“You’re no good to her like this, Agent. You’re too
close to be objective. The scene’s been secured
downtown. I need you to get your butt down there and
find out what the hell is going on. Do you hear me?”
“But, that’s an order Agent. I’ll be in touch as soon
as I know anything.”
Mulder saw he was wasting his breath. There was a
moment of tense silence before Skinner eased his iron
grip on Mulder’s shoulder and turned to follow Scully
and the officers out.
Mulder stood in the center of the room that had become
a second home to him. For a moment, he felt too shell-
shocked to move. God! He’d nearly blown it then. Don’t
panic, he thought to himself. Don’t panic, Skinner’s
right, if you want to help Scully, you’ll have to keep
LOCATION OF THE CRIME SCENE
Downtown Washington, D.C.
Saturday, 10:20 a.m.
Yellow crime scene tape fluttered in the breeze,
cordoning off the site. Clumps of shocked neighbors
and curious passers-by distracted from Saturday
morning shopping stood around outside the building as
he parked the car and made his way to the entrance.
The building itself, although not run down, had a
slightly shabby look about it which was shared by so
many others in this neighborhood.
One of the officers stepped forward as Mulder
approached the house. The expression on his weary,
Hispanic face told Mulder that it had been a very
“Sorry, sir…” the cop began, but stopped when Mulder
produced his badge and identified himself. The officer
lifted the tape and Mulder ducked under. Mulder went
to introduce himself to the detective in charge,
knowing that he had to make nice with the locals.
“So, what have you got?” Mulder asked.
“Not a whole hell of a lot.”
“Any sign of a break-in?”
“The door was wide open when we got here, his
bedroom…well, look for yourself!”
In the spartan living room Mulder paused, looking
around, trying to gauge what sort of a man the victim
had been. He absorbed every detail of his
surroundings; the layout of the room, the ambiance or
in this case, the lack of it. There were half-empty
cartons from Chinese take out on the coffee table, a
couple of empty beer cans overturned on the floor
under the couch.
Mulder stepped through into Marcus Lowry’s bedroom.
The victim lay where he’d been fatally assaulted.
Mulder took in the exact placement of the body, the
carnage all around it. A few clothes and shoes were
scattered on the floor, just where they’d been
Mulder listened to the detective’s speculation. “Looks
like he was asleep when he was attacked. The guy never
stood a chance.”
A police photographer moved in front of them, busily
clicking away. The continued flashing of his camera
reminded Mulder that he had the beginnings of a
The blood-soaked body lay on the bed. Dressed in
t-shirt and boxers, the victim lay face down on the
bed, at least Mulder assumed that was the position;
there wasn’t a great deal left of the face or head to
be positive. The attack had been ferocious, the blood
spattering the wall behind the headboard. “Any
“We’re talking to the neighbors now. So far there’s
not a great deal to go on. No one saw anything, heard
anything. Oh, apart from one party animal. The guy
from down the hall was trying to make his way up the
stairs in the early hours and he swears something
brushed past him, it was too dark to see clearly in
the moonlight, but he got the impression it was a
woman. Seemed very confused when we tried to draw him
on that. Some witness huh? He was still so ‘out of it’
when we spoke to him, I doubt if he would have
recognized his own mother. Anyway there’s a security
camera down in the foyer, we’ll be checking that to see
if we can pick something up. As to suspects, I hear
they’re holding a woman in Georgetown. Lucky break or
what? It was probably a lover’s tiff or some such.”
Mulder felt nauseous. This was not the first time he’d
seen so much blood, or such horrendous injuries, it
was the fact that the police here seemed to feel that
the case was all done and dusted, and the perp already
in detention. He was glad he hadn’t let these schmucks
know his connection to Scully.
He went across to speak with the coroner. Forensics
was still working on cross-matching the blood stains;
the prints were being processed.
“This is all provisional of course. The initial exam
shows this was typical of a blunt force trauma attack.
There appears to have been eight or nine blows to the
head; cerebral contusions with bruising to the brain,
multiple skull fractures….The body had not yet
attained rigor mortis when we arrived at the scene.
I’d put the time of death between three and four this
morning,” the coroner told Mulder.
“When will you know for sure?”
“Probably later in the day, depending on how fast I
can get the autopsy done and the blood and other
samples processed. This being Saturday, things tend
to wind down a little. I’m running a toxicology screen
as well. He may well have been doped before he was
Mulder handed the coroner his card.
“Look, I’d appreciate if you could let me know…”
“Sure, no problem, I’ll call you as soon as I’ve got
anything, Agent Mulder.”
The detective in charge took over. Mulder recognized
several plainclothes officers from Homicide. “This is
how we’ll divide it. I want all phone messages
checked, his cell phone, the email anything that might
be of use. Interview any family, friends, work,
previous sexual partners. Watkins, you’ve started on
“Yes, sir, not much so far, other then the party-goer
who was a bit worse for drink and whatever. We’ve got
his statement already, such as it is. One of the
neighbors mentioned a club the victim hung out
“Griffiths, you and Pariet start checking on his
social activities; get down to that club and check it
out. Right, guys, let’s get this show on the road.”
Everywhere Mulder went he found detectives, cameras, a
rush of uniformed men, and the incessant cackle of
radios. He needed to be still. Mulder cleared his
throat. “Mind if I take a look around?” He asked the
officer in charge.
“Nope, help yourself.”
He started to explore the rest of the house. There
wasn’t much to see. The victim was obviously a
bachelor, living on his own. The state of the kitchen
and fridge was only marginally better than Mulder’s
own. A half-empty box of stale looking cereal in one
cabinet, the remains of a six pack of imported beer
and some moldy cheese in the fridge.
He moved into the small unremarkable bathroom,
containing only a small selection of masculine
toiletries, a razor left in the sink, a toothbrush and
a tube of paste which had been squeezed in the middle
and lay minus its cap on the edge of the tub. A wet
towel was thrown in a heap on the floor together with
dirty socks and a pair of boxers. The guy certainly
wasn’t very house proud.
Mulder walked back into the bedroom, his footsteps
loud and echoing on the wooden floor. He stood, almost
mesmerized, gazing at the bloody spot where the victim
had lain. Just then, one of the men examining the now
empty bed called out.
“Hey sir! look at this.” Using a pencil the cop carefully
lifted something off the sheet, something covered in blood,
something that glinted in the light as it swung to and fro
from the pencil.
Out of the corner of his eye, Mulder saw a small black
shape scoot into the corner behind the closet.
The sound of his cell phone distracted him.
FIRST DISTRICT POLICE PRECINCT
Saturday, 2:10 p.m.
Scully wanted Mulder present during her questioning,
Skinner’s call informed him. Mulder wasted no time
getting down there.
Her relief was evident as she glanced up at him when he
walked into the interview room. In those few seconds of
eye contact they managed to communicate their feelings.
Catching his eye Scully had questioned him with the
raise of her eyebrow. A barely perceptible shake of his
head confirmed that he was none the wiser now. With a
crease of her brows, she asked if he was okay. Even
now, when she was in such a position, the woman was
worrying about him. The smile in his eyes told her that
he was okay.
Scully leaned back in her seat and let out a breath
slowly. Mulder could see she was mentally preparing
herself for the coming ordeal. Awkwardly, he went to
stand by the wall next to where Skinner sat.
The detective in charge dictated into the recorder.
“Special Agent Fox Mulder has entered the interview
room, time…2:12 p.m.”
Seeing Scully dressed in prison orange overalls shook
Mulder, but at least she’d had a chance to shower.
“You up to this?” Skinner asked her.
Scully nodded. Looking at her haggard face, Mulder felt
concerned and duly so.
Detective Foster took over.
“Right. So, Ms. Scully, let’s go back to yesterday
Mulder was annoyed at how quickly they’d stripped her
of her title, no ‘Agent Scully’ or ‘Dr. Scully’, just
“I was invited to go to Jodie’s bachelorette party last
night.” His partner started to explain.
“Who’s Jodie?” she was interrupted.
“She’s my friend from med school. We’ve kept in touch
over the years. I-I went, but I decided to leave early,
I had work to do.
“And what time would that have been?”
“About eleven, I had a report to finish. I needed to
check it over. I wanted to get it out of the way. I was
finally done about one thirty. I was going to call my
partner to tell him I’d…”
“Isn’t that a bit unusual?”
Mulder could hear the tension in her voice. She
wouldn’t want to make their relationship public.
“Wasn’t it a little late?”
“No, Mulder is still up at that time.”
“And *did* you call him?”
“No. I decided it could wait. I felt too tired. I made
myself a mug of hot chocolate and went to bed.”
“And this morning when you awoke?” The second officer
demanded. She didn’t appear to have heard him.
“I had this dream… and then I woke up. You know how
sometimes you’re not quite sure if you’re awake or
asleep….I had this awful feeling of emptiness, of
loss. As if something very precious had been taken away
from me…. I felt moisture on my face… tears. I
reached out my hand to put the light on and there was
blood on my hands…blood all over me, everywhere…. I
must have screamed…. Next thing, Jeff Jackson was in
the room with me.” She paused to take a shuddering
“Who is Jeff Jackson?”
“He and his wife live across the hall. He’s a shift worker.
He must have called 911….I don’t understand. I was asleep,
I was asleep the whole night. I was sound asleep….”
“Why did you call AD Skinner and not your partner?”
Mulder felt himself especially attentive at hearing
that question; he wondered about that as well.
Scully, however, seemed surprised at the question. “I
don’t know, he’s my superior… I don’t know.”
One of the officers thrust a photograph at Scully.
Mulder had a quick look at the image of a man, but he
didn’t recognize him.
“Do you know this man, Ms. Scully?”
Scully frowned as she studied the photo. “Umm, no, I
don’t know him, but I have seen him… yesterday. I saw
him last night at the club where the party was held. We
spoke briefly as I waited for the waitress to get the
drink order. I didn’t get his name. Why?”
“What did you talk about?”
“It was just small talk, I was waiting for the drinks
and he was waiting for his girlfriend, Annelise, to
finish her shift. She was one of the waitresses.”
“So you talked long enough to find *that* out. What
was the name of the club?”
The detective’s tone of voice hardened. “This was
Marcus Lowry, The man whose blood you were covered in.
The preliminary tests have matched the blood found at
both scenes,” he informed her.
The SOB wasn’t going to spare his partner anything,
Mulder thought as he looked into her shocked face.
“Is this your cross and chain?”
“I-I don’t….” Scully’s fingers instinctively sought
the cross she’d always wore. Her fingers blundered
around her collarbones, seeking solace. Mulder saw her
fighting the emotions as it dawned on her that she no
longer wore the tiny cross and chain that had been such
an integral part of her life for so long.
“Can you explain how it came to be found at the scene?
Mulder saw her lip tremble, saw her bite it, and a tiny
bead of scarlet appeared.
Her eyes sought him out. “Oh, God, no….” How strange
it was that both he and Scully had spoken in unison,
Mulder thought later.
“Mulder, I swear….” The look of anguish in her eyes
almost finished him. He turned away, walking toward the
wall. He felt the pain across his knuckles and realized
he had punched the wall.
He swallowed hard. God help him, he wasn’t helping
Scully behaving like this. He thrust his hands deep
into his pants pockets, breathing deeply, knowing he
had to calm down if he was to be of any use to her. ‘I
want to believe’ stated the poster in their office. Yet
he knew her well enough, trusted her enough to believe
in her innocence despite the mounting evidence to the
contrary. His vision swam. He closed his eyes.
AD SKINNER’S OFFICE
Saturday, 6:04 p.m.
At the muffled “Come in.” Mulder turned the knob and
reluctantly pushed open the door.
“You requested to see me, Sir?”
“Yes, Mulder, I did,” he responded not unkindly.
“Thank you for coming so promptly. Please, take a
The AD turned from where he’d been standing by the
window, looking out through the white slatted blinds at
the Old Post Office Pavilion below. He gestured to the
chairs in front of his desk.
The AD looked ill at ease. Skinner took off his glasses
and rubbed his eyes. Mulder got the impression that
what ever was coming was going to be equally difficult
for both of them.
“Listen Mulder and listen good, we’re talking about a
federal agent who has been accused of murder. This
isn’t just going to peter out. This isn’t a case for
your crop circle or spoon-bending philosophies.”
At any other time, Mulder would have probably taken
issue with the AD over these remarks, but he realized
they were not said to censure him. Mulder could almost
taste the man’s frustration. “I need empirical proof,
scientific facts. The blood on Scully’s pajamas didn’t
appear there by translocation. And then there’s the
matter of what appears to be her cross and chain.”
“What are you implying, Sir?”
Skinner walked around his desk to sit in his chair.
He looked at Mulder rather narrowly before taking a sip
of his coffee. “I’m not implying anything, Mulder.
Under normal circumstances, Agent Scully is the
strongest person I know. But the fact is, given
Scully’s highly distressed state at present, if clumsy
or inappropriate psychological pressure is applied, it
could lead to a confession and she could admit to
Mulder tried to ignore the small, hard kernel of dread
that was forming in his gut. That’s what he was afraid
of too. He was surprised by the look of compassion on
his supervisor’s face. He’d seen the AD angry, sad,
scared, hurt, he’d seen him starved of companionship,
but never this, never as if he were physically hurting
for his agents.
And then it was gone and Skinner continued. “Mulder,
she’s vulnerable. We both know that Scully is wholly
incapable of this. But I’ve been down that road, I
remember what it’s like. I was lucky in that I had two good
agents on my side, who believed in my innocence and were
prepared to fight to prove it. Let’s see if we can do the same
for Agent Scully. All our energy must be put into proving this
to others. We need proof — cold, clinical, irrefutable proof.
We’ve got to find out what happened. This theory of amnesia,
do you believe it?”
“What’s not to believe?”
“It all seems fantastic, and yet…. Do you have any
Mulder let out a cracked laugh as the full implication
of the situation hit him. “What? You mean an X-File
explanation? For once in my life I’ve got no theories
to offer, no unsubstantiated leaps of logic. Nothing,
other than a gut feeling that she’s being set up, that
we’re being set up. All I can consider at the moment is
“Could this have been done while she was under the
influence of anything? She said she’d had a mug of
hot chocolate before going to bed, could that have been
doctored?” Skinner pondered.
“Let’s hope that just this one time she wasn’t fastidiously
“I’ll get someone over there immediately. No, not you,
Mulder. As far as this case is concerned we must be
like Caesar’s wife, seen to be squeaky clean. Before
you say anything Mulder, I *know*. Your paranoia must
be catching, but at this moment in time, I’m not sure
what we’re up against either.”
Skinner was on his agents’ side, Mulder reminded
himself. He decided not to belabor the point, but it
didn’t make the situation any easier to bear.
“Forensics has confirmed that the blood on her pajamas
matches that of the victim, the splatter pattern is
consistent with the ferocity of the attack. And they
recovered a baseball bat that just outside the building
which could well be the murder implement. They’re using
the FBI’s FINDER to check out the prints.
“Her necklace was found at the scene. The only
inconsistency, the only thing in her favor so far, is
Scully’s size. It would be extremely difficult for
someone of her stature to have the strength to inflict
so much damage. The angle is all wrong, too. I can’t
understand it… On the face of it, it’s an open and
“Mulder, go get some rest. It’s been a long, traumatic
day for us all. We need clear heads if we’re going to
“I can’t see myself getting much rest while Scully’s
stuck in some jail cell.”
“Mulder, You’re not listening to what I’m telling you.
I’m working on that, but for tonight, things have to
stay as they are. Get your ass into gear and go home,
get some rest. If you can’t sleep, I don’t suppose
anyone would be any the wiser if you discreetly looked
over some of the computer files on this.”
Mulder couldn’t believe his ears. For a moment he
wondered if he’d strayed into one of those parallel
universes that Scully always reckoned he was in.
Skinner suddenly looked ill at ease. He blinked and
looked away. “Goodnight, Agent.”
Mulder sighed. “Goodnight, Sir.”
Sunday 1:18 a.m.
He’d managed to access some of the files, but there was
nothing there that he didn’t already know. He sighed
and stretched, he felt as if he was stuck in one of
those Escher etchings, the ones where everything looks
normal, but when you look further, water is flowing up
hill although it appears to be cascading down. “Yeah,
one of those etchings just about summarizes things.”
Mulder let out a weary sigh.
Mulder wasn’t surprised at how tired he was. He didn’t
need a lot of sleep as a rule, but this last week, he’d
found it increasingly difficult to rest. Oh, he could
fall asleep all right, it’s just that he didn’t want to
stay asleep. Maybe it had something to do with his
recent experiences, but that was still too raw for him
to explore in any great depth. Maybe it was because he
was missing Scully’s presence in his bed during the
week; undoubtedly that had a lot to do with it.
The dreams, although always very vague, had been
increasingly disturbing, making him waken with all the
symptoms of a full-blown panic attack. He hadn’t said
anything to Scully, not wanting her to make a fuss.
She’d had her own problems to work through and deal
Tonight, he lay down on his couch by the light of his
gurgling fish tank, his thoughts on his partner; how
scared she would be in that cell, how alone. He wanted
to hold her, comfort her, make her world right again.
Not being able to talk with her, hold her, comfort her
was killing him. Just leaving her there was inhuman.
Once he’d got over his initial feelings of…could it
be jealousy? He’d been glad that Scully had been with
it enough to have initially called their superior. She
*was* in deep trouble with this and him, being first on
the scene might have compromised things. Skinner was
right on that score, but it didn’t make things any
easier to accept.
He’d come to understand something over the last months,
this thing between them and Skinner… this cautious
trust. It was never spoken of but nevertheless Mulder
was sure it existed. Mulder wondered if they could ever
be friends; they were friends, the three of them, in a
strange, dysfunctional way. “Why spoil the habits of a
lifetime,” Mulder added under his breath. Though it
was a tentative sort of friendship, they owed Skinner
But now Mulder felt powerless. He needed to prove her
innocence, but for once, he didn’t know how. It was as
if all his investigative powers had deserted him just
when he needed them most.
There was more to all this, much more. Everything
dovetailed too smoothly, there was too much
coincidence. If he could find that one link, he had a
gut feeling that it would all lead to an explanation.
He had faith in her; he had faith in them both. The
remarkable thing about faith was that it wasn’t a
sudden flash from the heavens or an unexpected insight.
It was something that quietly sustained. “You can do
your worst, but you’ll never destroy her, never destroy
The gurgling of the pump and the flickering of the
muted TV gradually lulled him to sleep.
It was the scuffling shuffle that first alerted him,
the whispering. There was something or someone in the
room with him, he could make out a small, crouched form
near the corner of the room, he saw it approaching the
couch, black and threatening, growling and snarling
He tried to move, tried to reach for his gun, his heart
slamming against his rib cage. He was paralyzed. It was
as though he was being held down.
His heartbeat threatened to choke him. His fear was
such…he fought to move, to make a sound…. He heard
the screams reverberating in his ears, and realized
they were his. And then, he was free.
He froze, flattened against damp fabric, sweat beading
on his skin, face down, afraid to move. Afraid to even
breath, although his lungs were clamoring for oxygen.
What? Where? He rolled over and looked around in panic.
The big room with the muted TV and illuminated fish
tank was quiet, save for the gentle gurgling of the
He was on the couch and his living room was exactly as
it had been. There was nothing. No one but him in the
His attempt to sit up made the room shimmer and shake
around him, he sank back down sweat pouring from him.
Nauseous with the panic, he tried to catch his breath
and still his pounding heart.
He raked a hand through his hair, trying to gain
control. The dream again, over the last few nights it
had changed, mutated. It had become more explicit, more
It was no good, he wouldn’t sleep, didn’t want to sleep
again. He was an expert when it came to nightmares.
Hadn’t he had more than his fair share of them over the
years? The incidents with Modell, Pfaster, Schauz had
all caused him to wake up bathed in sweat. But this
one, this was turning out to be the granddaddy of them
It had just turned four in the morning and though still
trembling, he got up to shower and dress.
Sunday, 7:34 a.m.
Mulder had been seated in front of the computer screen
for several hours now and his spine was beginning to
protest. He’d read up on the case of a Toronto man who
had killed his mother-in-law while he was allegedly asleep. He
had pulled this, and many similar cases, off the net.
This sort of phenomenon seemed to be universal; there
were reported cases in the UK and in Australia.
Mulder swung idly on the back legs of his chair. It was
a habit that drove Scully to distraction. He felt a
smile pull across his face as momentarily he visualized
Scully’s face whenever he did this.
He was trying to rationalize the facts. In most of the
cases, the victim was in close proximity to the
perpetrator, room next door, down the hall. In one case
the victim lived in the adjoining house, but had left a
window open. In all the cases the victim had been well
known to the perp, as had been the location. There was
one a lot closer to home. Hadn’t Skinner been accused
of strangling Carina Sayles in similar circumstances a
few years back?
He swung back further, holding on to the desk with one
hand, he aimed and threw another sharpened, yellow
government issue pencil up at the acoustic tile ceiling
overhead. It neatly joined the other dozen or so
already up there. Strange how doing this helped him
In Scully’s case there were plenty of dissimilarities.
Scully had only met the victim for a very short time
and she’d met him at the club, not where he’d met his
end. How was she supposed to know where he lived? She
couldn’t even have easily looked the address up unless
she’d asked someone else his name. The most important
factor was that the distance between the apartments
involved a twenty-minute drive each way…over an
unfamiliar route. Interesting, but how to prove it? The
other factor that had him scared shitless was the
cross. Was it Scully’s? How did it get there?
He was going to have to see things from the point of
view of someone trying to prove her guilt; that was the
way to prove her innocence.
“How are you doing, Agent? I thought I’d find you down
here, even on a Sunday. Haven’t you got a home to go
Skinner’s voice startled him. Mulder jumped, the chair
wobbled backwards alarmingly, before crashing forwards
onto all its four legs, almost depositing Mulder in a
heap on the floor in the process. He’d been too
engrossed in his thoughts to hear the hum of the
elevator or the AD’s footsteps as he approached the
basement office of the X-Files division.
“H-how can I help you, Sir?”
Skinner had a smile on his face. “I thought I’d come
down to tell you the news, personally. I’ve managed to
persuade them to set bail for Scully.”
Mulder was out of his seat. His eyes widened. “When?”
“Now, the authorities recognize the evidence is still
circumstantial this point, so that’s why they’re
allowing Scully out on bail.”
“Sir, this great news, but…she’s in no state to be
left on her own,” Mulder hesitated.
“I agree with that assessment, Agent. That’s the
“The reason, Sir?”
“That’s the reason I offered her residence in my guest
room until this mess is sorted.” Mulder’s face
registered the surprise that Skinner expected.
“Mulder, I need you to investigate this case. If she
stayed with you, she’d be left alone most of the time
while you were off chasing any number of possible
leads, now wouldn’t she?”
Skinner paused for a moment to allow his reasoning to
sink in. Then, softly and with understanding, the AD
added, “I’ll keep her safe for you. I promise.”
Neither of them said anything for a moment. Mulder
glanced up, he didn’t know what to say. He trusted
Skinner to keep his word, to do his best…but it
rankled nevertheless. This should be his job, to take
care of his partner, but he also saw the truth in the A.D.’s
Scully needed someone to find the truth and he was heir
best bet at that point. Skinner would have to be the
one to stand guard, while he sought out the real
killer. The fact that Skinner recognized that before
he did was mildly surprising.
“Thank you, Sir,” he said after a moment. “I want you
to know I appreciate it.”
Skinner appeared to understand Mulder’s reticence in
agreeing to these arrangements without belaboring the
“It’s no trouble. I’m glad I could help out. I’ll see
what I can arrange Mulder, I understand that you feel
you’re in an untenable position. Our biggest problem is
going to get Scully to go along with this.”
Skinner paused for a moment, “Oh, umm, one other thing
Agent, go easy on the pencils, eh.”
FIRST DISTRICT POLICE STATION
Sunday, 3:12 p.m.
Both men went to ‘spring’ Scully later that day.
Mulder had persuaded Skinner to go to Scully’s
apartment with him, so that he could pack a bag for
her. He was worried about the effect coming back to her
home in the state it was still in, might have on his
Skinner was right in his prediction that Scully would be
furious over the arrangements, but the two men were
finally able to persuade her, albeit over many protests,
it was for the best.
It had taken an inordinate length of time to get
through the paperwork to release Scully. To Mulder, it
felt as though Skinner had to sign every damned form in
the place in triplicate. This was bureaucracy at its
best. He took this opportunity to lay all the facts on
the line for his partner.
“You all done being mad, Scully?” Mulder asked her
quietly, as they waited in a deserted corner for
Skinner to fetch them.
Smiling gratefully, if a little embarrassed, Scully
nodded “Yes.” The frown evaporated from Scully’s face
like mist before the sun. “I’m all done.”
Mulder breathed out a sigh of relief. “If you behave, I’ll
bring some bagel’s from Katz’s over tomorrow.” She
smiled at that. He knew in her opinion, the best bagels
on the planet came from the little hole in the wall shop
down the street from his apartment.
“Yeah, you’re on, Mulder.”
He massaged the bridge of his nose between his
thumb and forefinger. He was wiped out. The strain and
lack of sleep were beginning to get to him. He was
grateful that his partner could never stay mad at him
Finally Skinner reappeared. “We’re finished here, so we
can leave now,” Skinner said. “I think it’s probably
best if I help Scully get settled in her temporary
quarters while you get back to work, Agent.”
Giving Mulder a look of encouragement, Scully squeezed
his hand. “Just so you know…” she said just loud enough
for him to hear. After a few seconds staring at her, he
swallowed and nodded. Their hands trailed apart as he left
her side to get back to work.
It was time for some ferreting around at that club
Scully had been to.
THE TIEMPO CLUB
Sunday, 7:29 p.m.
It was still very early, relatively speaking, when he
got to the club. He ordered a drink and struck up a
conversation with one of the waitresses. News of Marcus
Lowry’s death had reached here, and Fleur, the waitress
who served him, although distressed, had quite a lot to
say on the matter.
Marcus was a popular regular there. Recently he’d been
seeing Annelise, one of the other girls who worked
here. In the course of the conversation, Fleur
confirmed that Annelise had been on the early shift
last Friday but that she wouldn’t be on duty until
later on tonight.
Since the club was almost empty, he offered to buy
Fleur a drink. He didn’t have to ask any questions, she
was very forthcoming. Mulder let her ramble on. He
learned a lot, but nothing that bore any obvious
connection to this whole mess.
A greater problem faced Mulder on his returned back to
the basement office the following day.
Monday, 7:40 a.m.
In the early morning mist the J. Edgar Hoover Building
looked like a great concrete cage as he drove in. The
area may well be the hub of tourist attractions, but at
this hour of the day it was still quiet. Making his way
down in the elevator to their basement office, Mulder’s
mind was going over yesterday’s events, and trying to
sort out how best he could serve Scully’s cause. He’d
left the promised bagels in the car, planning only to
check on his emails before going over to Skinner’s
He was surprised to see the door unlocked and ajar so
early in the morning. It couldn’t be Scully. Skinner?
No, he wouldn’t have let himself in like that. Mulder
was even more astounded to see a short, balding man
sitting at his desk rummaging through the papers and
files, which have been left on the desk in their usual
“What’s going on here?”
“Yes, and you are?”
“Special Agent Davis. I’ve been called up to coordinate
“What inquiry is that? I don’t know what it’s like
where you’re from, but last time I checked, breaking
into someone’s office was deemed to be invasion of
“Agent Mulder, we’re operating under guidelines laid
down by the Office of Professional Conduct.”
“And what has that to do with me?”
“I want you to make yourself available this afternoon.”
“Available for what?”
“A formal hearing regarding Agent Scully’s case to
assess and determine Agent Scully’s ability to continue
as a Special Agent in the FBI. We will be appointing
our own team of investigators to pursue any criminal
case, so there will be no further need for you to
investigate this case.”
“Why? In case I can prove her innocence?”
“We expect to see you at the hearing at five p.m.
sharp, Agent Mulder.”
Mulder was seething, he still could not believe what
he’d just heard. He stared at Davis’s back as he left the
office. The morning light was sober and pale as it
filtered through the tiny window close to he ceiling.
It made the room seem horribly quiet. He heard
the agent’s footsteps dying in the hallway.
For a moment everything felt faded, silent, and
dangerously calm. Mulder turned back to see what Agent
Davis had been examining on his desk. The sight that
met his eyes made him shake uncontrollably. There was a
black figure crouched in the corner of the room.
He shivered as he recognized the feeling of pure evil,
the thing from his dreams. He blinked, and all there
was on the chair was his black trench coat, just where
he’d carelessly thrown it yesterday, forgetting to take
it with him when he went home.
Was he losing it? He felt sure whatever ‘it’ was *had* been
there. He still felt the waves of evil. Their malevolence
gradually receded, but the stench of it left him
nauseous and trembling and feeling suddenly very cold.
And yet… how could that be? That was it! With one weird
thing after another, his nerves were shot to pieces. He’d
started imagining things. Impossible things.
With trembling hands he reached for the back of his
chair. He sank down onto its comfort, his head on his
icy hands, his irregular breathing rasped loud in the
stillness. He though of the dreams, his dreams…all
those layers of silence on silence. In his nightmares
he saw a presence. Were all the broken nights and the
strain of all this getting to him?
Shit! He needed help with this, someone to bounce ideas
off, someone with objectivity, someone with an open
mind, who thought like him, but his partner was in no
position to help, and Skinner…. Well even with the best
of intent, Skinner wasn’t a lateral thinker.
Then he remembered ‘the Kid’. He’d worked with Kenny
Andrews last fall on a case involving the systematic
murder of members of the clergy. Mulder had met up with
Kenny in Biloxi Mississippi, when he’d been seconded to
VCS to help the young profiler. The kid had his
intuitiveness, could see and feel things where other’s
Kenny was an up and coming profiler extraordinaire.
Mulder’s position in that case had been mainly to stop
Kenny from going in too deeply, and to show him the way
out once he’d crossed that line. ‘To be spooky, but not
lose his marbles’. It was a pity that in the course of
that case Mulder was the one who ‘lost it’ and had shot
the younger man at La Guardia airport. Knowing the
circumstances, Kenny had easily forgiven him, but would
he be willing to work with Mulder again?
Mulder considered various methods as to how to present
the issues to Agent Kenneth Andrews, and in the end he
decided that the straightforward approach was probably
the best. As he searched through to find Andrews’
number, he speculated that it wasn’t really surprising
that Kenny was so intuitive, so in tune with things.
The boy had inherited his spirituality both from his
Native American mother and his Irish father, and with a
combination like that….
When he put the call through asking if Andrews would
consider consulting on the case, he expected to have to
eat a lot of crow. He was amazed when Kenny, having
heard the problem, had simply said, yes. His only
proviso was that Mulder lay in a large supply of Coke,
but that had been a given anyway.
OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Monday, 5 p.m.
The hearing was every bit of the complete farce that
Mulder had expected it to be. They were ushered in
through a set of large double doors, where they found
an oval table around which several high-ranking members
of the FBI sat.
The men at the table leafed through thick folders. God
alone knew what they had in front of them. To Mulder it
seemed they had both of their histories dating back to
their very first day with the FBI. For long moments,
the only sound was rustling paper. It was unnerving in
Finally, one of the men spoke. “You are familiar with
the reason that this inquiry was called?” From that
point on, Scully hadn’t stood a snowball’s chance in hell.
She stood before three other agents apart from Davis. The
whole process lasted ten minutes from start to finish.
The final report had been written long before any of
them had stepped into the room. Do the math, Mulder.
Did you seriously expect anything else, he silently
They suspended her without pay pending investigation.
He felt for her as she handed over her badge and her
gun. Skinner tried to protect her as best he could. He
was all business, the efficient AD in charge. But in
this case his stance had gotten him nowhere, the whole
thing had been a forgone conclusion. As for himself,
Mulder hadn’t been allowed to get a word in edgewise.
He saw the gratitude in Scully’s eyes that they had
been there for her, and he felt her embarrassment at
them witnessing her humiliation at being censured in
Looking at Skinner, Mulder saw that the man felt for
her pain as much as he did.
Outside he wanted to either put his arms around her or
hit someone. In the end he did neither. Skinner pinned
him with his gaze, a silent warning not to compromise
his partner any further. It was like having a bucket of
iced water thrown over him. He had to learn to be
patient, to bide his time.
He shared with Skinner the news that Kenny Andrews had
agreed to help clear Scully. The A.D. appeared pleased
with this bit of news. He remembered the last time those
two had worked together.
“So, he’s back to active duty then. He must be either
very trusting or very foolish,” Skinner said with a dry
laugh, shaking his head.
“Neither — for a greenhorn he’s good. More than that, he’s
extraordinary. I explained the situation and he found it very
intriguing. Apart from that, he said he owes me a consult.
Though why he thinks *he* owes *me* is hard to understand.”
Monday, 11:29 p.m.
It wasn’t strictly ethical, but hell, they’d only suggested that
it wasn’t necessary for him to investigate the case. No one
ordered him to stop the investigation and certainly no one
ordered him to have no contact with his partner. There
certainly wasn’t anything wrong with him calling her. Mulder
needed to hear her voice.
She picked her cell phone up on the fourth ring.
“Yes, Scully,” she panted, her voice cracking.
“You’re slipping, Scully….Scully? You okay?”
There was a brief silence and then a unsettled sigh.
“Scully, are you still there?”
“Mulder…. I needed to hear you. I miss you.” He could
hear her labored breathing.
“What’s wrong? Scully? Have you been crying?” He could
still hear the hitch in her breathing. Wrong question,
she’d never admit to that. “For God’s sake, Scully, talk
to me. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Mulder. I was asleep, I was dreaming…”
“Asleep? It’s just barely eleven. Since when have you
gone to bed before the late news is off?” he asked, trying
to make a joke of it, but failing to hide his concern. “You sure
you’re okay?” He didn’t want to ask about her dream, but it
was obviously not a happy one. With all she’d been through
these last few days, it was hardly surprising.
“It’s been a long day, Mulder. One I don’t really care
to remember.” She trailed off.
As if that was an explanation, Mulder thought. He tried
to change the subject, lighten the atmosphere.
“How’s Skinner treating you?”
“It was good of him to offer, he’s laying a lot on the line
here, and I appreciate it…. It’s so good just to hear your
voice.” She paused for a moment. “Mulder, exactly why am
“Are we talking metaphysics here, Scully?” That was
always his line. It was an old answer to an old question, but
he knew it never failed to make her smile, and it did this time
too, he could hear it. It was the least he could do for her tonight.
“Skinner thought by your staying with him, it would ease my mind
so I could put all of my energy into investigating this case. And
I am, Scully. I’m going to find the killer, I promise.” He could hear
her relaxing as he talked to her.
“Hey Scully, you remember Kenny Andrews? I asked him to
come over so I could bounce ideas off him.”
“Who? Oh, you mean ‘the Kid’?” she responded with a smile in
“Yeah, him, we’ve done a deal. He should be arriving some time
tomorrow. It’s not a bad deal, a few six-packs of Coke in exchange
for support. Say, Scully, could this go down as bribery and
corruption?” He could really hear the smile in her voice now.
“You mean he’s forgiven you for taking pot shots at him?” There
was soft laugh.
“What’s to forgive? He, better than most, understood what happened
there. He’s a good guy. He wants to help and I can’t be seen to have
anything to do with any of the evidence. I need him to keep an eye on
things, to keep me in the loop.”
“Mm-hmm” Scully sounded more relaxed now, almost drowsy.
“Hey. G-woman, go to sleep now. I’m only on the other end of
“G’night, Mulder. And thanks.”
He smiled as he heard her yawn. “Catch you later.”
“Yeah, later,” Scully said.
Sleep was a long time coming to him that night. He
never doubted for a moment that Scully had been set up,
but why? And by whom? He worried about the way the
evidence was pointing; he’d have to see if the security
camera showed anything.
He missed her. Missed just being able to talk with her.
Missed her questioning him, “Do you have a theory?”
Missed being able to answer her with, “Me? I have
plenty of theories.” He missed having her refute them
in the dance that was solely their own. More than
anything, he missed the luxury of having her sleep in
He wasn’t conscious of having fallen asleep. All he
knew was that he was completely paralyzed. No, not
entirely, since he could breathe, he could see. He felt
the vibrations through his body, the pain in his spine.
He could hear the scrabbling getting louder, coming
nearer, neared to the bed. It was pulling on the bedclothes,
crawling up the bed. The sound was getting louder, more
He could make out the black shape in the moonlight that
broke through the gap in the blinds. It moved stealthily towards him,
panting. His heart pounded in his chest, threatening to suffocate
him. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t throw the weight off his
chest. He looked up and saw the creature looming over
him. As darkness overpowered him, he screamed and
screamed and screamed. And suddenly he was free.
Gradually the ringing in his ears stopped and the
vibrating pain eased. He tried to sit up, heart pounding,
slapping a blank wall for the light switch as he
shook from the horror. Strange shapes, unfamiliar
shadows, crowded horribly around him; nothing offered
any clue to his whereabouts, and for a few delirious
moments he wondered if he was dead.
Then he saw the flashing, demonic red of a digital
clock face. Absolute panic subsided as he saw the time,
two-thirty. In the streetlight that filtered through
the blind, he looked around the room, his room. The
bedroom was the same as ever, nothing out of place.
Yet he could still smell the rank scent of it. This was
more than a dream. The knowledge scared the shit out of
him. This wasn’t to do with the case.
These occurrences had started before…. Skinner!
Skinner had dreamt things once, and look where that had
ended. What was it he’d said? “There was a presence,
something or someone was in the room with me….”
Skinner had dreamt of an old crone, had thought he’d
seen her during the day.
Mulder shook his head, rejecting his own rationale.
Imagination was a creative tool. He employed it to
enhance his work, but never for total fabrication. “At
least not before now,” he muttered to himself. Was this
all more the effects of stress and sleeplessness than
he knew? Were his mind and perception so steeped in the
conspiracies and lies, that he could no longer distinguish
Did he want to consider the fantastic? He had once told
Scully to consider the fantastic when science failed;
but had he considered science at all? It worried him
that he turned to this so readily in an effort to make
sense of what was senseless. He got up and found his
clothes. He dressed as best he could while his hands
still shook then went out into the kitchen to get himself
some coffee. Another night’s sleep curtailed.
Tuesday, 6:45 a.m.
He was going through his old notes and files, pulling
up all he could on that incident five years ago, when
Skinner was going through the divorce with Sharon.
Then, his supervisor had been accused of murdering
He pulled up the name of the sleep clinic that had
treated Skinner. In the cold light of day, it seemed
very sensible to Mulder to not only check the place
out, but maybe check himself in. Maybe someone there
could explain his recurring dream to him, and
hopefully, rid him of it. “Do the science *first*
Mulder, then consider the fantastic. Scully would be
proud of you.”
The chirping of his cell phone interrupted his
“Mulder.” Out of sheer habit, he was expecting to hear
his partner’s voice. He leaned back in his chair, the
bones in his back crackling.
“Hey, Mulder. Kenny Andrews, here. How you doing, Man?
Did I wake you?”
“Oh, hi, Andrews. No, I’m working.” Mulder massaged
the back of his neck as he spoke to Kenny.
“You sound disappointed Mulder. Look, could you do me
a favor? My flight should be into National at 2:50 this
afternoon. Can you pick me up?”
“Yeah, no problem, I’ll wait for you at the gate.”
“That’ll be great. See you later.”
“Yeah, later. Oh, and thanks, Kid.”
Mulder wondered how he was going to explain all this to
the young profiler, especially as he himself couldn’t
get a handle on it.
BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL
SLEEP DISORDER CLINIC
Tuesday 10:30 a.m.
“Hi, Dr. Cardoso. We spoke on the phone. I’m Special
Agent Fox Mulder. Thank you for making time to see me
at such short notice.”
“It’s no problem, Mr. Mulder, this is a sort of slack
time for us here. Business doesn’t pick up till late
in this department,” he said with a wry grin. How may I
help you Mr. Mulder? What is it exactly that you’re
“It’s just Mulder. Um, I need to find out more about
sleep disorders, recurring dreams, especially nightmares,
that sort of thing.”
“Tell you what Mulder, I’ll give you a general rundown,
and you just tell me what else you need. Feel free to
ask about anything you don’t understand.”
She led Mulder over to a bank of monitor screens,
explaining as she went. She threw out terms like
‘parasomnia’ and the various types of sleep, such as
non-REM sleep and REM sleep. The doctor went into
detail about their differences. Finally, Dr. Cardosa
began to speak of an aspect of sleep that really caught
“There is a rare type of frightening phenomenon during
sleep which is not quite like a nightmare. It’s called
‘night terrors’ or ‘parvor nocturnus’. This is a severe sleep
disturbance, consisting of attacks of acute terror arising in
deep sleep without lucid dreaming. It’s accompanied by
violent body movements, extreme agitation, gasping, moaning,
screaming, sweating, confusion and in some cases, flight from
the bed or the room, destructive behaviour and aggression
directed towards objects or against themselves or other
persons. Wounds, fractures and lesions may occur in
consequence. Total or partial amnesia is symptomatic of
“Are there exceptions to this rule? Could the dreamer
have total recall of such dreams?
“Humm, I suppose there could be a possibility, but
I’ve never heard of a case to be honest.”
She moved over to a shelf and selected another video.
“Look, you can see with this young man. Here, the
dreamer wakes up screaming and still frightened; he is
covered with perspiration and is breathing rapidly. He
is terrified, but has no recollection of what has just
happened. Nightmares can be defined as long frightening
dreams that often awake the sleeper, which tend to be
more frequent during times of stress and change. In
contrast, night terrors are episodes of panic that may
cause the sleeper to suddenly sit up and shriek with
fear. Mostly they are instigated by over-tiredness or
“So I lose every which way,” Mulder muttered to
“Did you say something?”
“Em… sorry, no, just thinking aloud. I understand
about the two different scenarios, but is it possible
to experience a mixture of the two?”
“Yes there have been rare cases recorded. There have
been instances where the paralyzing effect has not
kicked in, and people have acted on their dreams,
sometimes with tragic consequences, but as I’ve said,
it’s most unusual.”
“And these nightmares, terrors, whatever, is it
possible to see them in your waking hours?”
“Mmm, it’s hard to say. I suppose given a high enough
level of stress. The mind is a strange thing.”
“How about shared dreams? Is that a possibility?”
“Ah, now, that’s a different matter. It’s a bit like
God really, whether you believe or not, each person has
a different picture in their heads. Shared idea,
It was almost 2 p.m. before he was finished at
Bethesda. He had just enough time to get over to
National Airport before Kenny’s plane landed. Driving
along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mulder
considered how much things had changed since he last
worked with Andrews. He was looking forward to seeing
him again, and having someone ground some of his ideas.
Without Scully’s calming influence, he was afraid that
some of his ideas were getting too ‘out there’ for his
Tuesday, 4:15 p.m.
Mulder hadn’t had any difficulty spotting Kenny in the
Arrivals area of the airport. With his mixed heritage,
his looks were both unusual and striking. His ink-
black, curly hair was longer now than when they had
first worked as a team. This, together with his light
copper skin, high cheekbones and angular nose,
contrasted sharply with his soft, sky-blue eyes.
Mulder explained the difficulties and constraints of
the case to Kenny as they drove from the airport. There
was a great deal to go on. Kenny wanted to see Marcus
Lowry’s apartment and Mulder decided to swing by there
on the way through. Seemed like Skinner must have done
some ground work, as no one questioned their right to
“Thanks for coming down, Andrews. You didn’t have to,
and I want you to know that I appreciate it. We both
do,” Mulder told Kenny as they moved through the
“It’s no trouble, Mulder, I’m only glad you think I can
be of help.”
In the now bare bedroom they paused. The body had of
course been removed, but the feel of death, the
coppery smell of blood was still very apparent in the
apartment. Even as they were looking at the crime
scene, Mulder looked out of a window and spotted a
pretty girl delivering flowers. She stopped to talk to
the officer stationed at the entrance to the building.
When later, they stopped to talk to the officer on duty
outside, they found out it was Annelise the waitress,
Lowry’s girlfriend. This was getting to be intriguing.
Tuesday, 7:20 p.m.
Mulder and Kenny caught up with Annelise at the Tiempo
Club later that evening. She was prepared and willing
to talk to them about Marcus. She didn’t seem as upset
as Mulder supposed she might be. The reason for this
became clearer as she spoke.
“He was a friend. This bunch here liked to tease me
that he was my boyfriend, but he was a friend, that’s
all. We did have a ‘thing’ going but that was for a
very short time and some time ago. He’d broken off with
his regular girlfriend and he’d been drinking. Well,
one thing led to another, but it was one time, fun
while it lasted. He came in here mostly for company I
suppose. And we used to sit and talk if it wasn’t busy.
He’d wait for me and take me home on the nights he was
in. I suppose that’s why most people assumed we were an
“So, why did you bring flowers to the apartment today?”
Kenny asked her.
“It just seemed the fitting thing to do. He was a
friend, and he didn’t have anyone else.”
“He had no family?”
“They were non-existent for all intents and purposes.”
“Last Friday, can you remember if Marcus spoke to
anyone else?” Mulder asked.
“Things were a bit hectic. Apart from the regular
Friday-nighters, there was a bachelorette party here.
It was all hands on deck here that night I can tell you. I did
see him talking briefly to a petite, redheaded woman.
Actually, she was really good looking. They chatted as
she waited for an order of drinks but that was it as
far as I know. I can’t say I remember seeing her again
“So what happened when you went off-duty?” Mulder
“What do you mean?”
“Didn’t Marcus see you home?” Kenny inquired.
“No, he got fed up waiting. The noise was getting to
him, he just said goodnight and split; said he’d call
me, but he never had a chance to….”
After they’d finished in the club, Mulder called
Skinner’s apartment. “Sir? Just finished talking to
Annelise. She’s corroborated what Scully told us, and
I’ve got Kenny Andrews here.”
Skinner interrupted. “The pair of you come over. I’d
appreciate a heads up before we go any further. We need
to trade notes and I’d like the chance to talk with
Kenny. Besides which, Scully needs cheering up.”
Skinner sounded almost grateful.
“Give us half an hour. We’ll bring some Chinese in with
“Yeah, do that. Scully will appreciate the visit.”
VIVA TOWER, CRYSTAL CITY, VIRGINIA
Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.
“Mulder, Andrews, come on in.” Mulder was surprised at
how pleased his boss seemed to see them.
“Did you have a good flight, Agent Andrews?” the AD
“Yes, Sir, it was fine, thank-you.”
“Good, good.” Skinner said, nodding. “Have you had time to
familiarize yourself with the case?”
Mulder was amazed. Making small talk was so unlike the
Skinner he knew so well, he almost sounded nervous.
Mulder immediately banished the idea. Skinner all but
grabbed the take out bags from them as they came in
through his door.
“Would you like a beer, Kenny? Come through to the
kitchen and give me a hand serving this up.”
Kenny started up the hallway. Mulder stood in the
hallway needing to see his partner, and wondering how
to go about it. “I need to….” He bit his lip, not
knowing how to go on.
Skinner hooked a thumb towards the other door. “Go
ahead, she’s in there,” he said, gently. Skinner was
cutting the pair of them some slack.
“Yeah, thanks.” Smiling gratefully, if a little embarrassed,
Mulder opened the door and stepped into the living room.
Skinner’s furniture was dark wood – a desk, bookcases.
All very pristine. Mulder remembered the curved balcony
that this room led out on to. The white railings were just
visible in the dark night outside, as was the panorama of
the lights of Crystal City and its surroundings.
He turned his head to the center of the room. Scully
was on the sofa, her face ran a gamut of expressions as
she looked up and saw who it was that had come in.
He opened his arms to her and she was in them, clinging
to him as if her very life depended on it.
“Oh, Scully. I’ve missed you.”
Normally she’d never allow this anywhere outside their
homes. He wasn’t sure if she would now, but he needed
to hold her. Though she was not one for public
demonstrations of affection, now was different. For a
moment, she was silent and burrowed against him. He
held her close, savoring the feel of her in his arms,
while inhaling her fragrance.
“Just hold me, Mulder, that’s all I need.”
He dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “Always,
Scully, always. It’ll be okay. We’ll sort this thing
“I wish I could believe that. I’m really trying, Mulder.”
“You *do* trust me on this?”
“The Kid’s here to give us a hand. Another few days….
She lifted her fingers to his mouth. “Shh, Mulder,
don’t say anything. This is enough for now.” Her
fingers stroked his face. “You’re a good man Mulder.”
There was a discreet coughing outside the door, and
they sprang apart as Skinner and Kenny walked in
bearing filled plates.
“Look Scully, matching crockery.” Mulder said in mock
amazement, trying to ease her embarrassment and his
own. Scully couldn’t help the smile.
“Agents? The joke?”
“‘Fraid you’ll have to excuse my partner, Sir, he’s got
no finesse. Or matching plates,” she added, grinning.
“Scully?” Mulder whined, managing a theatrical puzzled
look. “Have I got *any* plates?”
The ice was broken. They spent the next few hours
eating, talking, making plans and going over what
they’d come up with so far. Mulder didn’t say anything
at all to anyone about his nightmares. No point
worrying Scully, she had problems enough of her own.
That Scully got on well with Kenny made Mulder glad.
Some of Kenny’s tales brought a smile to her lips.
Mulder looked at the twenty-five year old agent, and
wondered if he’d really ever looked as young and
guileless as Kenny looked now. He must be getting old,
someone had once said that was how you knew — when
policemen started looking as if they were still in high
school. He couldn’t help the smile that pulled at his
Mulder and Skinner, and Scully to a lesser extent,
filled Kenny in on all their non-findings. Mulder
noticed how their boss’s eyes kept roaming over to
where he and Scully sat next to each other on the sofa.
Being in each other’s presence was an unexpected bonus,
they shouldn’t have touched each other but
nevertheless, every now and then their hands would meet
on the no-man’s-land between them, and their fingers
would twine. Mulder was surprised to see an indulgent
smile on the older man’s face.
Skinner surprised them with the information that the
video tapes from Lowry’s building showed nothing at
all, literally. At the time they assumed the attack was
taking place there must have been some sort of an
electrical disturbance. The video film merely displayed
a ‘snow’ effect.
Later, Mulder went out to the kitchen with Skinner to
help bring in the coffee.
“By the way, Sir, thanks for easing Kenny in. I thought
we’d have grief at the crime scene, but the local PD
was expecting him.”
“It’s the least I could do in the circumstances,
“Truthfully, Sir, how’s she doing? I, umm….”
“I understand. She’s restless. She didn’t sleep very well
last night either. I suspect Scully’s never been one to enjoy
being cooped up with nothing to do. Hopefully this won’t be
for much longer. She’s even started cleaning the place.”
Mulder felt his eyes rolling upwards and a grin
threatened to split his face. “Yes, *that* can be quite
trying,” he said nodding in sympathy.
They all knew this time out of time was over. They had
to get back to dealing with the realities.
When it was time for them to leave, Skinner took Kenny
out with him, giving Mulder and Scully a few moments on
their own to say goodbye.
“Skinner’s getting very thoughtful in his old age,
don’t you agree?” Scully asked softly.
“Mmm. Yes, he’s definitely mellowing.” Mulder hugged
her fiercely to him. Her arms wound around his waist as
he gently tilted her face up to his and kissed her
softly on the mouth. He traced a path over her cheeks
with his fingers and, while still cupping her face in
his hands. Finally, he closed her eyes with his
“Hold that thought, Scully,” he whispered and then
dropped a kiss on the tip of her nose as an
afterthought. Breathing unsteadily, he eased back from
Scully stood in the center of the room, her arms
wrapped around herself, her eyes tightly shut as he
Wednesday, 12:15 a.m.
No matter how hard he tried, the thoughts of Scully
couldn’t hold his demons at bay. Her words kept running
through his head over and over like stuck record.
“I had this dream… awake or asleep…. I had this
awful feeling of emptiness, of loss as if something
very precious had been taken away from me….”
In deference to Kenny, who was now softly snoring in
the bedroom, Mulder didn’t switch his TV on. It had
been a very long day for the fledging profiler, and he
didn’t have Mulder’s odd inner body clock.
Mulder squirmed around on the couch, trying to make
himself comfortable. He was physically and mentally
exhausted. He’d kept a front up during the evening for
Scully’s sake. Now alone, in the semidarkness, he
wished more than anything, for a restful few hours;
that and her in his arms. But then, the two things were
A soft swishing sound in the corner of the room caught
his attention, like cloth dragged along the floor. A
patter, as if there was a mouse or a rat in the corner.
The scrabbling got louder, coming nearer, a small dark
shape, or was it a shadow, flitted around the room,
first here, then over there. It seemed to grow in
intensity, in darkness. He couldn’t judge now if it
were just a shadow, or a growing shape with illogically
no shadow at all. Could it be an animal. Part of his
brain was questioning this statement. What would an
animal be doing in his apartment? How can a black
object increase in darkness? He could make out the
He started to get up to investigate, but his legs felt
leaden. He couldn’t stir. He was unable to move at all,
not even his head. He could see the shape only when it
flitted across his field of vision, getting nearer and
neared to the couch. Fear spiraled, clutching at his
throat, his ragged breath felt icy against his lips.
Something was pulling on the blanket, the shifting
weight moved up the cushions, crawling up toward him.
The sound was getting louder, more intense, more
His heart pounded in his chest, threatening to
suffocate him. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t throw the
weight off his chest. Its fists against his shoulders,
it held him down. He saw the misshapen face looming
over him, its breath rancid, coming in gasps that
scorched his cheek, made his stomach turn. The pressure
around his neck, squeezing, throttling, the misshapen
fingers, clawing at his throat. His eyes threatened to
pop from their sockets.
Darkness overpowered him, the breath sucked out of him.
Scully! Oblivion threatened to crush him and he fought
the malevolence with all the strength he had left in
him. He felt his fist connecting with something, then
he heard the grunt of pain in the darkness, followed by
In the semidarkness he saw the shape again, scuttling
with a crab-like gait. Mulder twisted around on the
couch to try to reach his gun. It was all around him,
he could sense it, smell it, taste it. This presence
was evil personified. It made his gut heave.
An arm closed around his wrist like a vise, dragging
him back. The body that held him down was solid,
heavier than before. Suddenly it rolled and a light
“Dammit, Mulder! Wake up! Ya gotta wake up!” Kenny
Kenny’s frustration evaporated as he saw Mulder’s
helpless panic. Seeing Kenny standing to the side of
him, nursing a bloody nose brought Mulder back to the
“Kenny? Shit, I’m sorry.”
“I heard you screaming and came in to see what the
matter was. So, it seems all I ever do is get
assaulted for my troubles. Jeez, Mulder,” he said, with
a rueful smile, “I’d hate to be your enemy, if this is how
you treat your friends.”
Kenny looked at his former mentor. Mulder felt the
terror receding, gradually ebbing away but apprehension
still lingered, even now with the light on.
Kenny instinctively seemed to know. “Wanna talk about
“Nah…yes…I don’t know. It’s only some damn fool
nightmare. Been overdoing it, that’s all.”
“Yeah, like I believe you. Look, Mulder, it’s ‘Spooky,
Junior’ you’re talking to here, so cut the crap and
talk. What did you dream? Something was here. I thought
it was you when I first came in…but there was
something else in here, I swear….I felt it, it gave
me the creeps. It’s cold in here!” Kenny shivered.
“Leave it, Kenny, we’re both overreacting. I’ve been
under a lot of strain recently, and you’re ready to
drop with fatigue. Not very good witness material,
either of us.”
But Mulder knew better than to try to BS his friend, so
he explained what he’d been experiencing over the past
“So you mean that this started *before* your partner’s
“Yeah, a couple of days before, but it was never as bad
as this. It’s escalating. It seems so real… It scares
the living daylights out of me.” Mulder couldn’t help
the shudder that shook him.
Kenny took a long look at the older man. “Hey, Mulder,
What have you done to your neck? You’ve got scratches
all around your throat.”
Mulder’s fingers went up to touch the sore area. They
came away spotted with blood.
It took a while for them to clean themselves up and try
to fix the damage Mulder had done to Kenny’s nose. It
was sometime later before they managed to settle back
into their respective sleeping quarters.
WEDNESDAY, 3:46 a.m.
In the hours before dawn Mulder woke from a deep sleep.
He saw the room was still dark, and shuffled back until
he felt the back of the couch comfortably press against
the small of his back. He did not know why he had
awakened until the phone rang a second time, startling
him back into consciousness. He fumbled in the semi-
dark to find the instrument.
“This had better be important,” he snarled into the
“It is. I’m sorry to wake you.” Mulder recognized
Walter Skinner’s voice. He also recognized the deadly
urgency in his tone. He sat on the edge of the couch
and rubbed a hand over his rough chin.
“What’s wrong? His tone became concerned. Silence
hummed over the line, broken by intermittent static.
“There’s a problem,” Skinner said, breaking the
“What problem? Scully?” Mulder’s hand gripped the
receiver so tightly the plastic nearly cracked.
“Scully’s fine, she’s asleep.”
“So what’s happened? What do you want me to do?”
“I need for you and Agent Andrews to get over here,
now. There’s been a development.”
“Just get over here, I can’t discuss this over the
“We’re on our way,” he told his superior.
VIVA TOWER, CRYSTAL CITY, VIRGINIA
Wednesday, 4:30 a.m.
The AD was waiting for them at the door when they
arrived. Skinner looked hard at the agents as they
entered. Almost imperceptibly his piecing gaze shifted
from Mulder to Kenny and back to Mulder. Skinner let
out a sigh, a questioning look on his face. He eyes
never left Mulder.
“You look like hell, Mulder,” Skinner said as he led
them into his living room.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Having trouble sleeping?”
“Try not sleeping at all.”
“Hmm. You and Andrews had a disagreement?”
Skinner looked pointedly at Kenny’s swollen face and
then at Mulder’s neck.
“You know the Bureau’s policy on agents brawling?”
“It’s not what you think, Sir.”
“I sincerely hope not, Agent.”
“I was dreaming, Kenny came in to see what the noise
was about, and I’m afraid I overreacted.”
Skinner appeared to have lost interest in that
conversation. They entered the room.
“Please, take a seat. Would you like coffee? I’ve just
Mulder took a sip of his coffee as he sat on the couch.
He used the movement to surreptitiously glance at his
companions who sat on dark wood chairs at the side of
him. Skinner looked as though he’d got dressed in a
hurry and Kenny… well, the Kid just looked tired, bruised,
“So, Sir, what’s come up? You said when you called,
there’d been a development. Is Scully finally off the
“No, I’m afraid things look as if they’re escalating.”
Skinner unhooked his eye glasses and polished them
vigorously on the edge of his white t-shirt. For some
reason, this action always made Mulder anxious. He’d
learned that the man only ever did this when he felt
stressed. It was almost as if his superior was buying
time, trying to find the right words. Skinner’s eyes
without the glasses were blind, unwavering and
“Escalating? How so?” Mulder asked.
“Annelise Gates, the girl you interviewed yesterday.”
“Dead? How…? Why…?”
“She died under the wheels of the 11:50 Metro train on
her way home at the end of her shift tonight. Thank
your lucky stars that you had Kenny with you when you
interviewed her. It could have looked bad as the prime
suspect’s partner being the last to see her alive.
“The local police force is covering the station,
interviewing the witnesses. The platform was crowded.
That was the last train out; a lot of people were
trying to get home. At the moment the opinion seems
evenly split between her jumping and being pushed. Get
yourselves down there and see what else you can pick
The telephone at Skinner’s elbow rang. As he listened,
his face was grave, his comments terse. When the
receiver clattered back into position, he addressed the
men who waited.
“We might have a break. They’re looking to see if the
security cameras picked anything up.”
Kenny and Mulder turned to leave.
“You’re a good agent, Mulder- trust your instincts. But
Mulder, for the sake of us all, especially your
partner, keep a low profile. We don’t need any more
attention focused on us. Am I making myself clear?”
“Crystal.” Mulder paused for moment. “Umm, I was
thinking about what you said earlier. Would you do
something for me?” Mulder ground to a halt, unsure how
to phrase his request.
“You need me to do something,” Skinner prompted with
surprising patience given the circumstances.
“Uhm…yeah…er…would you to give this to Scully
when she wakes up…it may cheer her up.”
Mulder took out a small rectangular package, wrapped in
a green plastic sack out of his coat pocket and held it
out to Skinner.
Skinner’s face softened as much as it could as he
“I’ll see to it that she gets it, Mulder.”
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
VIDEO PROCESSING DEPT.
Wednesday, 8:45 a.m.
They’d returned from the train station with little more
information than they’d arrived with. But it seemed
they’d finally caught a break. The incident was
recorded on camera, but the images were not as clear as
they would have liked. The two agents were on their way
to see Mulder’s technician friend to see if he could
improve on the imaging.
“Hey, Danny, long time no see. We really need the
favor. Wonder if you could help us out on this.”
Mulder handed over the video cassette. Danny had
managed to create miracles on previous occasions,
especially that time Scully had been abducted. He was a
whiz with computers, digital enhancement, the works. If
anyone could pull clear pictures off this, Danny would
be the guy to do it.
“Look, guys, this may take an hour or two, I’ll need
to get this freeze-framed, enlarged, whatever. The pair
of you look bushed, why don’t you go get yourselves
cleaned up, grab something to eat. I’ll call your cell
phone just as soon as I’ve got anything.”
“Yeah, right. What’s it gonna cost us this time?”
“The Redskins are playing at the Jack Kent Cook
Stadium in two weeks time, I could sure use a couple of
prime tickets for that.”
“Okay Danny, you’re on, but for that, this had better
Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.
His phone rang in the living room just as Mulder and
Kenny stepped through the door. Mulder moved swiftly
across the room to get to the phone before the machine
“Right here, Scully.”
“I just wanted to say thanks. I appreciated the loan.”
“You’re welcome, Scully.” It always amazed Mulder how
even just the sound of his partner’s voice could lighten his
“You shouldn’t have done it, Mulder, but thank you. I
know how much that video means to you. I mean,
Caddyshack *is* your favorite, along with some of those
videos that aren’t yours.”
He grinned before answering her. “I didn’t think you’d
appreciate *those* ones. I just thought…. Thinking about it,
I’m too tired to remember what I thought, other than it seemed
like a good idea at the time.” All of a sudden he felt a little shy.
He changed the subject. “How you doing, Scully?”
“Other than being bored and going stir crazy? I think
I’m doing just fine. How much daytime TV can a person
watch before finally flipping out? You know, I’d even be
happy to do some expense reports right now.”
“Mmm. Things are *that* bad, are they?”
“Yeah, even flukemen are beginning to be appealing.
Mulder? Skinner told me about Annelise. I’m getting
a bad feeling about this. And yes, I know that’s usually
your department, but just be careful, ‘kay? I can’t be there
to cover your back. I-I wish there was something I could
do. Being confined is doing my head in and Skinner is so
organized that there isn’t anything for me to do. I even
thought I’d help out a little by cleaning up a bit, but I get the
impression I’m beginning to drive the guy nuts.”
“I’ll be careful, I promise. I’m even gonna have breakfast and
a rest before I get back to the grindstone, how about that,
hmm? As to flukemen, I’ll see what I can find for you.” He heard
her laugh. “Gotta go, Scully. Talk to you later.”
After he and Kenny had eaten, Mulder showered. He was
dragging a razor around his face when the call came
through on his cell.
“Danny here, I’ve got it looking as good as it gets. Come over
and take a look.”
VIDEO PROCESSING DEPT.
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
“I have to admit, usually at this point in the investigation,
I’m a little more secure in what it is that we’re supposed to
be investigating. I’m hoping you’ll be able to throw some
light on all of this, Danny.”
“I’ve done the best I can with this, boss. It’s freeze-
framed, digitally enhanced, blown up, slowed down. You
name it, I’ve done it. Here, let me show you.”
Danny ran the video via the computer onto a large
“Look, there she is, the train comes in, she lunges
forward; she’s down.”
“Let’s see that again. Look, look just there. That shadow.
See? It seems to move towards Annelise. Just before she
goes into the lunge, it recedes. Just there! Do you see what
Danny ran the clip over a few times. Kenny shivered.
“Hey, Kid? You cold?”
“No, just felt like someone walked over my grave. Guess it’s
the lack of sleep getting to me that’s making me jumpy. It’s no
“Danny, can you blow this up further, slow it down some
“Comin’ right up, Mulder.”
He fiddled with the settings, muttering to himself.
“What do *you* think happened, Mulder? Did she jump,
or was she pushed?” Kenny inquired.
Danny was finally finished with the adjustments.
“Jeez!” Mulder couldn’t believe what he was seeing
“Run that again!” He all but shouted at the technician.
“Look, Kenny, are my eyes deceiving me? Do I think I
see what I think I see?
At this magnification and speed, the shadow had
materialized into a shape, a familiar shape, a shape
that haunted him in his nightmares night after night.
They could clearly see it approaching Annelise, just as
the train was drawing level with her, they could see
her propelled forward by the black draped form, before
it turned and retreated.
“Christ!” gasped Kenny. “I don’t believe this! What the
hell is that?”
“She was pushed! It pushed Annelise under the goddamned
train! It’s out and out murder! Kenny that’s what I keep seeing,
at night. That’s the thing, the crone. Shit! Kenny I can’t get my
head around this.”
“Mulder? Hey, are you okay, you’re as white as a sheet.”
Mulder ignored him.
“Danny, can you print off a hard copy of that image for me?”
“Sure thing, Mulder. Do you want me to record the clip at this
speed and magnification?”
“Is that possible?”
“For you, Mulder, anything.”
Mulder managed to get the AD on his private line and
explained to Skinner what Danny had found.
“Sir? Listen, you’ve just got to get down here and see
this. You’re not gonna believe it. I barely can. I think this
case has just graduated from plain homicide to an X-File.
Please get over here and take a look for yourself.”
As they waited for Skinner to come down, Kenny asked
Mulder quietly, “Have you told anyone about your dreams?”
“Nah. It’s not like anyone else would believe me.”
Wednesday, 10:15 p.m.
Mulder lay on his couch. Kenny had already hit the sack. Ahh,
these youngsters, they just haven’t got the stamina, he thought,
It had been an extremely busy afternoon and evening. In the
light of the new evidence, strange as it was, a lot of things
had been re-examined. Suddenly Mulder wasn’t quite the persona
non grata he’d been before. It’s nice to know I’m so highly regarded,
he thought to himself. He had no illusions as to the reason for his
suddenly elevated status. All this had deepened the mystery further,
but at least they couldn’t try to lay the blame for Annelise’s death on
Scully. This in turn put a different slant on the original killing.
He and Kenny had done a lot of legwork during the
afternoon, revisiting the various locations. Signing
and resigning for various bits of evidence. There was
one surprise for them when they went back to Lowry’s
apartment. Mulder had overlooked it before as it didn’t
seem to have any bearing on the case at the time. In he
living room there was a framed etching on the wall. The
print, when it caught his eye, stopped Mulder dead in
Kenny looked up at the print. “Henry Fusili, 18th
Century Italian painter. One of my professors of
psychology was very heavily into art. I remember having
to listen to his lectures. He’d illustrate much of his
lessons with various paintings. This was one of his
favorites. He had this theory that this showed our
subconscious fears. The demon, crone, whatever that is
sitting on the young woman’s chest is a presentiment of
death. See how the girl appears either unconscious or
dead? He said it was fear that caused such dreams.”
He looked over at Mulder who was feeling physically
sick. It must have showed.
“Mulder? Is something wrong?”
“I’m not sure I’m awake.”
“You think this is a dream?”
“That’s it, Kenny. This is what I see in my dreams, it’s what I
*feel*. But it’s evil, Kenny, pure evil. Why do I keep seeing it?
Why me? There are too many coincidences, but I can’t see
what my connection to all this is. I feel that somehow it knows
me. I feel as though it’s stalking me.”
Kenny hadn’t known what to say to that, but his face
had told Mulder all he needed to know — he was finally
Now, as he lay on his couch trying to rest, Mulder
thought back to the incident with Skinner years back.
There was a woman in his dreams too, an ancient elder,
a crone; but strangely enough that one had seemed oddly
protective of the man. Maybe he should talk to Skinner
about this, but he couldn’t see his boss opening up
enough to discuss this with him.
There was nothing protective about the images that
haunted Mulder’s nights and intruded into his days.
This was pure malevolence, something he was sure would
enjoy taking his life if he let his guard slip.
He left the desk light on. It softly illuminated his
living room, chasing his fears away. Maybe tonight he
would be able to rest.
Mulder shot up on the couch, the air was filled with
Scully’s cries, cries of pure terror. His heart raced,
and it took him a moment to grasp where he was. He was
in his living room, lying on his couch in an uncomfortable
position. Scully wasn’t here, Scully was safe in Skinner’s
The darkness hovering over Scully was just a dream, a
figment of his imagination. The light was still on, and for a few
seconds he lay motionless, trying to recapture the moments
just before he’d woken up. He rubbed the waffle pattern the
cushion had left on his cheek.
As he remembered, his breathing accelerated. Scully was
in danger. He could feel her panic, so close, so close.
Mulder wasn’t sure what had happened. The sense of
dread that had come over him steadily grew. Something
was desperately wrong. He *had* to get to her. He got
up and quietly started to pull his clothes on.
His cell phone sounded. He picked it up after the first
“Sorry to wake you.”
“Scully? Is she all right? I dreamed….”
“My God,” breathed the A.D. “That’s impossible!” For a
moment Skinner seemed to stunned to continue, then he
appeared to think better of it. “How…? Y-you’d better
get over here Mulder. She needs you, and you’re the
only one she’s likely to listen to.”
“I’ll explain when you get here, she’s safe, but she’s
very upset.” Skinner sounded distressed too. This more
than anything else troubled Mulder.
“I’m on my way.”
He stopped for only long enough to leave a note for
Thursday, 2:10 a.m.
As Mulder squinted against the glare of the headlights
as he drove along the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway
toward Skinner’s apartment, he couldn’t help worrying.
Worrying? Shit, he was frantic. He looked down and saw
his hands, white knuckled on the steering wheel. He
hadn’t even noticed the speed he was doing until he
looked at the gauges to see the speedometer wavered
between 85 and 90. What was he doing, he chided
himself. He eased his foot off the gas a little and
slowed down. All he needed now was a run in with the
For once his good fortune held. Luckily, at this time
of night there was not much traffic. He pulled off the
JD Highway in front of Skinner’s glassy tower building.
It took him minutes to park the car and like forever to
get up to the AD’s front door. An uncharacteristically
flustered Skinner opened the door to him, dressed in
pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. Mulder could see
something was seriously wrong. Skinner’s jaw was so
tight, Mulder could almost see him grinding his teeth.
There was a scratch mark on his cheek; the one on his
arm was oozing slightly.
“Mulder, she’s through there.” Relief was evident on
“Sir, what the hell happened here?” Mulder saw Skinner’s
Sig Sauer lying on the small table in the hallway. “Are you
okay, Sir? You don’t look too well.”
“I just can’t stop shaking. I must have been in a deep
sleep, when I heard her screaming. My first thought
was that there was an intruder, I drew my weapon
automatically. She was standing outside my bedroom, it
was dark and she just screamed, and then something
brushed past me, black, soft. I felt…I-I can’t
describe *what* I felt. Danger, revulsion?” Skinner
paused to catch his breath.
“Scully was totally out of it. She didn’t seem to
recognize me or know where she was. That’s when I
called you, Mulder. She’s calmer now. At first, when I
tried to lead her back to her room, she just went for
me. She fought me, she was afraid of me. Then she sort
of sagged and crumpled. I had to carry her back to her
bed. She’s been whimpering in the corner ever since. I
don’t understand what happened here…. I don’t know
what to do. She doesn’t seem to know me.”
Mulder was shocked to see the fatigue and anxiety
evident in his boss’s body posture, and for once he
didn’t try to mask it by assuming the A.D. mantle.
Mulder could see how very uncomfortable Skinner was
with the situation. Was there something he wasn’t
telling Mulder? He kept fiddling with his eyeglasses,
taking them off to polish on his t-shirt, before
replacing them again only to remove them to rub his
“Uh, I need to see her, I need to talk to her…”
“It’s okay, Mulder, do what you need to do. I’ll leave
the two of you alone. She’ll be better with you. To be
honest she scared the shit out of me.” This admission
in itself was enough to push Mulder’s anxiety a few
“Look, if you need anything, you know where the kitchen
is, just make yourself at home. I’ll make myself scarce.
I’ll most likely only upset her again if she sees me again
tonight. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Mulder could have sworn his boss added “Good luck.”
Outside her room, Mulder ran a hand through his hair
And tried to work out what had happened here. Scully
was rarely out of control, practically unflappable, as
was their boss. Whatever had taken place here tonight
had really shaken them both up.
Softly he tapped on the door. Not waiting for an
answer, he went in. He was stunned by the state of his
partner. She was huddled up, cringing in the corner of
the bed but at least the whimpering had stopped.
“Hey, Scully. I’m here now. It’s going to be all
right.” He tried to keep his voice quiet and
She nodded as she recognized him, but her quivering
lower lip and tear-filled eyes told him that she didn’t
yet share his believe that every thing would be okay.
He knelt beside her, by the side of the bed and tucked
an errant strand of hair behind her ear.
“Feel like talking, Scully?”
She didn’t answer him at first. He saw the lone tear
break free and trail down her cheek. She shook her
There would be plenty of time later for talk,
explanations. At this moment, all Scully really needed
was to be held. He couldn’t deny her that. He moved
over onto the bed and gathered her trembling form into
his arms. At first she resisted his touch, almost as if
she were afraid of him, then slowly, slowly the tension
in her eased.
He sat down, pulling her gently towards him and rocked
her. He wasn’t sure which of them needed this contact
more. He could feel all tension leaving him as he
buried his nose in her hair and inhaled. He didn’t know
how long they sat like that. Finally she moved in his
arms, pulling away.
“You’re going to be okay,” he assured. He was loath to
let her go, but she needed her space, needed to put the
veneer of composure around herself. It was just the way
“Yeah, I’m just…I’m just going to take a shower and
then, well, try to sleep.”
He looked down at her upset face, but wasn’t surprised
at her denial of the situation, they were masters of it
after all.. “Scully, let me in, let me help you.”
But it was as if she hadn’t heard nor wanted to hear.
He decided not to pursue this tonight.
“You want something hot to drink, Scully?”
She nodded. “Thanks, Mulder.”
“Always… you know that.” He smiled at her as he headed toward
“Easy, Scully. Relax. It was just a dream.” His fingers
gently stroked her cheek, bringing warming blood back
to the icy flesh. Still swimming towards consciousness,
she turned towards his comforting touch. After an age
she opened her eyes.
Mulder sat on her bed wearing only his jeans, his eyes
red from lack of sleep. He pulled her into in his arms.
It had just turned four when the sound of her voice
roused him out of the heavy dreamless sleep he’d been
in. He’d rushed in from the couch in the living room,
glad she hadn’t woken Skinner up. She continued to
whimper, trapped in her dreams. “C’mon, Scully, it’s
okay, I have you now.”
She pulled him tighter to herself. She began to shake,
her teeth chattering.
“Can you tell me, Scully? Tell me what’s upsetting
Slowly she shook her head against his chest. She was
well and truly spooked, but she wasn’t ready to share
with him, and he couldn’t, wouldn’t push her.
“I’m not u-usually like this,” she murmured. “I’m always so g-good
at …at coping, but this…” She broke off, her gaze clinging to his.
“S-sorry. This isn’t your problem.”
“You’re okay. It’s okay,” Mulder repeated over and over as he rocked
her slowly in his arms. “You’re safe, now, I’m here, and it *is* my
problem. I won’t let anything hurt you.”
“Don’t go,” she pleaded.
“I won’t leave you, ever,” Mulder answered. He
hesitated, then loosened his hold slightly so he could
scoot underneath the blankets next to her. She clung on
“Shh, It’s okay, it’s okay. Come on, put your head
down, you need to sleep.”
“I saw it Mulder,” she whispered. “I saw the blood, it
was everywhere. I-I think I was g-gonna hurt S-
Skinner.” This disclosure sent an involuntary shiver
through him, compounding the chaos that reigned in his
“Shh, Scully it was a dream, it was only a bad dream,
He gathered her close to him, the soft cotton of her
pajamas brushed against his skin. Right, this felt so
right, the feel of her against his body. He lowered his
mouth to her and felt her hands move into his hair,
pressing him closer to herself. “I need to hold you,
Scully, to touch you.”
“I need you too Mulder, but Skinner… we can’t… not
here…” she began to edge away from him.
Mulder shifted, then lifted her, leaning her back
against his chest, trapping her between his spread
“Shh, ” he said nuzzling her neck. “Let me touch you
Scully, let me hold you, please. Let me make you feel
better.” His hand trailed down to the waistband of her
green plaid pajamas and she made a soft mewing sound.
He let his fingers roam over her, caressing, reassuring.
She jerked as if startled. It was so good touching her.
For now this was enough for him. His mouth on hers
absorbed the little sounds she was making. And still he
held her, enjoying the weight of her as she covered him
like a blanket.
Finally she craned her head so she could see his face.
He smiled up at her.
“Go to sleep, Scully,” he ordered in a gruff voice.
“I’ll keep the nightmares away.”
She smiled. “Mmm.”
Mulder lay on his back, one arm flung across his face,
grateful for the darkness. Scully’s cheek was a gentle
weight on his shoulder, as she lay against him. He
breathed in, filling his lungs, aware of the faint
musky rose scent of her body, that delicious womanly
scent that was intrinsically Scully. Strangely, he felt
it shroud him, protect him. Maybe she could keep him
safe too, keep *his* nightmares at bay.
He started worrying about what had happened before he
got there, what she’d seen. There was no way she could
have killed Lowry. And what had spooked Skinner? Did he
believe himself in danger from Scully? How did it all
fit together? That was the mystery.
He wasn’t leaving her alone tonight. To hell with
precedence and protocol, and if it came to that, to
hell with Skinner. Let the Bureau do its worst. His
last coherent thought was, together they would be safe.
THURSDAY, 7:15 a.m.
It was the smell of fresh coffee and toasted cinnamon
and raisin bagels that woke him up. He looked down at
Scully, still peacefully asleep in his arms. Had last
night really happened, or was it just a dream?
He moved to slide out of the bed. He’d compromised his
partner enough as it was. What they did in their own
time was their own business and he wasn’t ashamed of
it, but this was Skinner’s home. He might be their
friend, but Mulder didn’t want to put their superior in
an untenable position.
As he got up, Scully opened her eyes. Although she
still looked a little dazed, the look of fear had gone
from her face. He grazed his knuckles gently across her
“It’s all right, Scully, I’m just going to the kitchen,
Skinner seems to be in breakfast mode.”
Stepping into the kitchen, he knew that there was no
way that Skinner couldn’t know where Mulder had spent
“It’s okay, Mulder, this is all strictly off the record.” The older
man tried to put him at ease, and Mulder couldn’t quite contain
the sigh of relief. He could have sworn he heard his superior say,
“Last night never happened, Agent Mulder.”
Skinner’s remark surprised him. There was something
different about their boss this morning. Although he
seemed very understanding, he also seemed ill at ease,
nervous somehow. “Sir, about last night, before I got
here, exactly what happened?”
Mulder was taken aback at Walter Skinner’s reaction.
The man turned pale.
“If you don’t mind, Mulder, I’d rather not discuss the
matter at this time. I need to get it straight in my
head first.” Walter Skinner hesitated. “I think the
pair of you need to talk, Mulder. Scully will find it a
lot easier if I’m not here. I’m going into the office
to catch up on the paperwork and there are a number of
reports I need to review. I should be done by late
“Thank you, Sir. I appreciate everything you’re doing
for Scully, for us.”
“It’s the least I can do for friends, Mulder.”
Mulder felt strangely touched by that remark. For just a
moment there, Skinner had seemed both very alone and
envious at the same time. This lack of sleep was definitely
getting to Mulder’s thinking patterns.
Skinner had already left the apartment by the time Scully came
into the kitchen.
“Come and eat, Scully, and then we need to talk.”
Scully drank her coffee but only toyed with the bagels. Mulder
understood how difficult this was going to be for them both.
“Come on, Scully, you trust me don’t you? Tell me about
the dream last night. What did you see? What happened
that frightened Skinner?”
“How do you know that, Mulder?”
“It was something you said last night, that and
Skinner’s reaction to all this. I’ve…umm, I’ve looked
into it recently. I’ve been in contact with Dr. Cardoso
at the Bethesda Sleep Clinic. Do you remember? They
helped us when Skinner was having sleep problems.”
“You think that’s what my problem is? That I’m likely
to…. That I…. Is that why Skinner isn’t here this
morning? God, the one thing I *do* remember from last
night was the look of fear on his face. Jesus…”
“Scully, it’s not….”
“Last night Mulder, last night I woke up outside Skinner’s
room. It’s been playing through my head, over and over….
Was I going to do to him what I must have done to Marcus
Lowry? Or was I going to take his life some other way?
Was that why he was so scared, Mulder? Was it all a bad
dream, or did I really do that to Marcus? I can’t remember… but
I saw the photos. Am I capable of doing something like that to a
total stranger? Mulder, my necklace was found in his bed.”
Mulder heard the rising panic in her voice. “I didn’t
know him, Mulder, I don’t know where he lived. How
He came around the table and took hold of her. She was
“Scully? Calm down. I can’t believe you’re saying this;
that you’re even considering going down that path.
Skinner doesn’t believe you’re capable of anything like
that. I certainly don’t.”
“That’s just the point. I feel I’m on borrowed time,
waiting for something dreadful to happen.”
“I’d have said the worst has already happened.”
“Am I crazy, Mulder? Are you afraid of me?”
“I’m afraid of where you’re going with this, but no, I
could never fear you. I trust you with my life.”
“Even after you saw Marcus, even after what might have
happened last night?”
“I trust you with my life. I always have, and I always
will, no matter what.”
She pulled away from him.
“I need to try to make some sense of all this, Mulder.
I think I want to check myself into that sleep clinic.
Would you take me over there, will you do that for me?”
“Scully, you didn’t do it; you couldn’t do it. It’s not
in your nature.”
“Please Mulder, I need to do this. I need to know.”
He couldn’t deny her this. He could never deny her
BETHESDA SLEEP DISORDER CLINIC
Dr. Cardoso’s office
Thursday, 11:28 a.m.
Skinner had been all for the idea and it had taken
surprisingly little time to get Scully an appointment.
Mulder couldn’t help wondering what strings had been
She asked Mulder to come in with her to see the
doctor. He moved to sit next to her as the procedure was
explained to them.
“After consultation with, and comprehensive evaluation
by a sleep specialist, each patient is diagnosed and he
appropriate therapy is determined. As part of the
consultation and evaluation, a sleep study may be
performed during a period of one or two nights. You
understand, Dr. Scully, that hospitalization is not
“I think I’d rather the tests be done here.” Mulder
surreptitiously took Scully’s hand and gave it an
encouraging squeeze. She did not pull away.
“That’s not a problem, Dr. Scully, we can accommodate
you on that. Overnight tests are completed by 7 am.
During a sleep study, you will be monitored by
painless, non-invasive technology.”
Dr. Cardoso took them both to see one of the suites
where the testing would take place.
“Apart from the recordings of all the monitors that the
patient is attached to during the test, we also keep a
video record of the patient. The actual observation
booth is situated a little up the hall, away from the
suites where the patients stay. It lessens the chance
of patients being disturbed by the comings and goings
of the technicians. There is continuous monitoring of
course, but most patients prefer this setup. It’s not
quite as if we were in the room with them.” She smiled.
“A sleep test, the polysomnogram, simultaneously
records heart rate, brain waves, breathing, oxygenation
and eye and leg movements. As you can see, this suite is
state-of-the-art. Treatment for sleep disorders may
include a prescription for a device to aid the
patient’s breathing while sleeping, medication or light
therapy as well as neuropsychiatric interventions,
including biofeedback. Don’t worry, none of that is as
daunting as it sounds. If indicated, referral to, or
consultations with other specialists might be
recommended to aid in diagnosis and treatment.”
The doctor smiled at them, “Is there a problem with any
Scully even managed a weak smile as she shook her head.
Scully was to report back by half past eight that
evening. It would give the doctor and the technician a
chance to run preliminary tests and get her ‘wired up’.
Now that it was all set up, she relaxed a little.
“Do you mind if I come with you, Scully? I can sit with
the technician in the observation booth. It won’t be
the first time I’ve watched you sleep, and at least
this time you won’t be drooling all over my shoulder,”
he quipped, and was glad to see a corresponding smile
on her lips.
“Never let it be said that I’d deprive you of scintillating
“Well,” he tried giving her his best leer. “There’s only reruns on
TV for the next few nights. There isn’t even a decent game
“Oh, well Mulder, that *definitely* settles it then, doesn’t it.”
“Well, if watching you sleep becomes too tedious, I could
always catch up on writing some of those reports.”
“What, and run the risk of giving our superior a heart attack?”
BETHESDA SLEEP DISORDER CLINIC
Friday, 3:30 a.m.
Scully settled for the night, and judging by the monitors and
viewing screen, she was enjoying normal restful sleep.
Mulder found it very soothing, watching his partner
sleep. It gave him plenty of opportunity to sit and
As he repeatedly turned the events over in his mind,
he began to realize that nothing was as clear to him as
the fact of his own confusion. He thought he knew what
he’d seen, what he’d experienced. But now, seeing how
deeply these revelations had affected his partner… he
wasn’t sure what to think. His normally ordered, precise
mind was in total chaos.
This case was really bugging him, so many anomalies.
Had it been anyone else but Scully involved it would
have been pretty much open and shut, but regardless of
how things appeared, this couldn’t possibly be so here.
He knew his partner too well. Mulder chewed his lip as
he considered the possibilities. How had the blood got
onto her pajamas? There was no way she could have
traveled the distance between the two buildings — could
there? No, he wasn’t even going to entertain that theory.
But if it hadn’t been her, then who?
His own dreams worried him. He couldn’t work out why
they had started when they had. Were they some sort of
a portent, or just the figment of his overactive, exhausted
mind. He’d always accepted that evil existed per se, but
the idea of a struggle between the forces of good and evil
fitted better between the lines of some gothic novel than
into his life.
Men were good, men were evil, evil thoughts, evil
deeds. Yet he’d never really considered either good or
evil as being a creature in its own right, a being
self contained, self motivated. Up till now, he had
come face to face with an entity that threatened to
take over his entire being, but this creature was self-
contained. It seemed now to be behind much of what
they’d seen in their work on the X-Files.
Blowing out a frustrated breath, Mulder muttered.
“There’s something I’m not getting. Something’s
missing…. Why her, why me? Is there a link, and if
so what is it?” He cast his mind back to a week before
when they were working on their last case. What was it
she’d said about God choosing his own tools?
With her bias towards scientific proof and logical
explanations, he was surprised in the past at her
ready acceptance of the concept of evil. He would have
expected her to shy away from this exotic idea, that it
would make the scientist in her uncomfortable. But
then, she believed in God. You had to have good if you
were to have bad; it was just the way things worked.
To Scully it had been so simple, there was something
out there, trying to make her do things, had maybe made
her do things, waiting to get her. It terrified her,
but she was prepared to go down that path to try to
discover more, to resolve the problem. She had the
belief. He on the other hand was so much in denial that
sometimes he feared he’d never ever extract his head
Their roles here had been reversed, she the believer,
he the skeptic. He had seen it, felt it, smelled it,
yet part of his mind was still trying to rationalize
it, to find reasons, to find excuses. He felt that
somehow his dreams and what Scully had been
experiencing were somehow connected, but how? That was
the big question.
Shit, it was way too late at night to be going into
self-analysis and psychology. What wouldn’t he give for
a night’s uninterrupted sleep? Last night’s rest,
although short, was the most he’d had for days. There
was something about just being with Scully, she always
chased his demons away.
He must have dozed off then. Seven o’clock came, and
the smell of the technicians coffee woke him, ending
He’d take her back to Skinner’s and then go on home to
try to catch some sleep during the day. Somehow that
felt safer than trying to sleep in the dark. He was
going to have to try to talk to Kenny. The Kid was open
minded enough not to shoot him down in flames as he
tried to work a theory out.
BETHESDA SLEEP DISORDER CLINIC
Saturday, 1:15 a.m.
Kenny had insisted he come to keep Mulder company
tonight, although Mulder could see that the guy was
bushed. “Look, Kenny, much as I appreciate the show of
solidarity, you’ll be a lot more use to me tomorrow if
you’re not asleep on your feet.”
He finally persuaded Kenny to stretch out on a bench in
the hallway outside Scully’s room. Only Mulder’s
promise to wake him, should the need arise, finally
persuaded Kenny to rest.
It had been one of the longest weeks in Mulder’s life.
He spent some time in the observation booth, talking
with the technician on duty. George recounted some of
the funny and bizarre things he’d seen here while on
duty. It helped to pass the time.
Saturday night here, unlike other medical departments,
tended to be very quiet; in fact Scully was the only
one in tonight. It looked like another routine night.
The sound effects of the monitors got to be irritating,
and after a while George turned the audio off. The
visual would alert them to any thing.
By two-thirty, the technician had gone for a break,
promising to bring Mulder back a coffee when he
“Not that the coffee here is anything to write home
about, but at least it’s hot and wet, with enough
caffeine to jump-start a truck on a cold morning. A cup
of *that* in you and there’s no chance of you nodding
off.” He laughed as he left the booth.
Mulder sat on his own, watching the screens as various
CCTV cameras panned both Scully’s room and other areas
of the department. He could see Kenny asleep in the
hallway. Mulder thought he really should tell Andrews
to go to bed. The monitors were recording Scully’s
vitals, her brain wave patterns, eye movement. At least
she was getting some rest, Mulder thought enviously.
Maybe he should call it a night too. She was safe
enough here with all the hi-tech surrounding her.
He must have dropped off himself for a minute or two,
when George Hanover’s gasp woke him up.
“Jeez, she’s moved, she’s gone. Look at the printout on
that monitor! She was into an episode. Where the hell
With that, George was flipping through all the cameras,
trying to get a fix on where she might have strayed. As
he did so, he activated the Security measures. On the
monitor, Mulder saw the room Scully had been in was now
empty. The leads that had not so long ago been
attached to her lay scattered.
“Yeah, looks like we’ve got a walker…” George
continued flipping through the monitors. “There. Is
that her? Looks like someone’s just left the building
by the fire exit at the end of the hall, I can see a
shadow moving away.”
Mulder could see his young disciple still asleep on the
bench outside her room. Scully must have walked right
past him as he slept.
Mulder called Kenny on his cell phone, and grabbing his
coat, moved to get after Scully.
Kenny had gotten a head start over him as he was nearer
that exit. By the time Mulder arrived at the bench,
Andrews was already gone. Mulder stepped out of the
fire exit door onto the sidewalk into the chilly night
air. He turned and surveyed the empty streets. At
quarter to three in the morning, not much moved.
Where the hell was Kenny? And why the hell had he
himself chosen that moment to doze off, Mulder riled.
He stood for a moment looking around trying to work out
which way she might have gone. He found it hard to
believe that this could have happened. He saw a
movement to the left, someway up the street.
Was that her? He decided to chance it and broke into a
run to try to catch up with her. Should he call out to
her? He’d heard somewhere that it was dangerous to wake
up a ‘walker’ abruptly. Hopefully Kenny was somewhere
close by, and between them they could head her off.
Shit! She was going to cross the street. Scully was
moving slowly. She seemed to be oblivious to her
surroundings and to the cold. She paused for a moment
under a street lamp.
He ran hard to catch up with her, but it was as if he
was running through deep, sticky mud. Everything was
in slow motion and taken on a dreamlike quality. For a
moment he thought he might have been dreaming, and then
he prayed that he was.
Mulder knew what was going to happen even as he heard
the revving of an engine and saw the car bearing down
towards her. He knew before its headlights pinioned her
in their glare and realized that there was nothing on
this earth he could do to prevent the tragedy that was
about to unfold.
He called out a warning that was too late. Like a film
in slow motion, clip by silent clip, Scully teetered on
the edge of the sidewalk, her bare toes curling over he
curb. Then it cut to the speeding vehicle as it bore
down towards her.
“Scully! Scully, for God’s sake, STOP!”
For a split second he thought she’d heard him, thought
she’d understood. She shook her head as though coming
out of a dream. He saw her startled look, her
expression frozen in shock that was drawn in stark
relief by the unrelenting blaze of light. Her
realization, too late, of the inevitability of what was
about to happen. Then he saw the black shadow, as it
appeared to enclose her like a cloak, to propel her
forward straight into the path of the oncoming SUV.
“No, Scully! NO!”
In the beam of the headlights, he saw the terror in her
face, saw her tumbling like a rag doll; then a black
shape launched itself into the beam of light knocking
Scully out of the path of the wheels, followed by the
sounds he never forget. The squeal of brakes, the
scream, the sickening thud of soft body contacting hard
metal and the sound of splintering glass seemed to be
amplified out of all proportion, as it shattered the
quiet of the night.
Finally he was able to move, the thick cloying feeling
had gone. He raced down the street to her. His cry
distorted with anguish
Lights flashed on in the building across the street,
faces appeared in windows.
“Scully! Oh my God! Scully.”
He was on his knees, a finger at her pulse. He was
grateful beyond measure for the telltale signs of life.
The beat against his fingertips was thready, but all he
cared about was that it was there at all. With the
stench of oil and gas rising around him, he forced
himself to look for the worst.
She lay so still as he knelt down beside her on the
asphalt, the light of the headlights accentuating her
pallor, clearly showed the small cut that marred her
temple. His fingers automatically went to tuck the
stray strand of hair behind her ear.
Short of more abrasions and contusions, his careful,
fearful search found nothing. No trails of blood warned
of cranial injury, no arteries spurted, no veins
trickled. There were no bones twisted at odd angles.
Her breathing was slow but not labored.
“Scully.” He hardly recognized the anguished whisper as
his own voice.
Mulder pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and
As he covered Scully with this coat, the driver of the
SUV approached them.
“I’m sorry, God, I’m *so* sorry. I didn’t see her; she
just fell out in front of me. I tried to brake, I
swear….” He turned away gagging, only to throw up in
the gutter a few yards away from them.
To be honest, Mulder wasn’t concentrating about the
driver who’d done this to Scully, he was far too
concerned about how still she was, how pale.
“Scully, please be all right. Hold on, please, just
hold on, help’s coming. Hang on, Scully.” Tentatively
he stroked her face. He wanted so badly to hold her,
but didn’t dare move her in case he made her injuries
He heard her sob even as he wondered what he should
“Hush Scully, I’m here, it’s gonna be okay. The
ambulance is on its way. Hang on, they’ll be here in a
minute. No! Don’t move!” he gasped, as she tried to
grasp his hand. His fingers trailed across her
“Gentle,” she murmured. Her gaze was blurring, her
lashes fluttering. “An angel.”
She was making no sense to him. His only thought was
that she was lapsing into confused gibberish. There was
no reason, nor time to think differently as she moaned
softly against his palm. Shock. She was shivering. He
gently pulled his coat closer around her trembling
body. “Hush, Scully, help’s coming.”
“Mulder…what happened? I saw a bright light,
falling…then something cannoned into me, pushed me
out of the way. Mulder…I felt the hand of an ang…”
Her voice shuddered on the sob.
“No, you were pushed. Right under the wheels of that SUV.
I saw it, Scully. I stood frozen, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t help
you. There was nothing I could do to stop it.”
There was a faint, weak moan from the darkness beyond
the range of the headlights. Mulder turned to
investigate and pulled his penlight out of his pocket.
The sight that his eyes beheld froze him.
“Mulder… what is it, Mulder?” He heard his partner’s
voice cut through his horror of the sight illuminated
by the faint, narrow beam of light.
The kid’s crumpled, bloodied body lay in a heap on the
asphalt, his arm and leg at unusual angles.
“Mulder, is he all right?”
“I don’t know, Scully, I don’t think so. Christ, what have
He turned to see Scully struggling to sit up.
“But I’m a …”
“Don’t move Scully please,” he begged her. “We don’t
know how badly you’re hurt.”
The sense of what he said must have overridden the
doctor instincts in her. “Take the coat Mulder, he
needs it more than I do….”
Mulder couldn’t remember when he’d prayed so hard
before in his life. Please let the paramedics be quick,
please let them both be okay.
Someone came out of the building carrying blankets.
They covered Kenny over to keep him warm.
“You okay?” a voice asked.
Mulder felt himself led back to the curb. As the
adrenaline rush dissipated, he felt his legs crumbling
beneath him. Someone made him sit down next to Scully,
pushing his head down between his knees before they
wrapped a blanket around him too. The movement made him
feel light-headed. Then reaction set in, he was shaking
like leaf. The deepening chill of shock, racked him
from head to toe.
He had to fight this, he had to be strong for them.
They needed him. He had to let their boss know what had
happened. He took his cell phone out again and dialed
“Sir? Sir, you’d better get down here, there’s been an
accident…yeah, it’s looking pretty bad. Scully’s
hurt, but the k-kid…. I-I don’t know…no…. Gotta
go, Sir. I can hear the siren, so the paramedics are on
Then he turned away to heave and part company with his
last meal, and some of the fear went away with it.
BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL
Saturday, 4:46 a.m.
Skinner and Mulder has been pacing the hallways for the
past few hours. The doctor had taken his own sweet time
checking her out. God, how long could a set of x-rays take?
That Scully hadn’t been killed or at least severely maimed
was thanks to the hand of fate in the guise of Agent Kenneth
They could only presume that, somehow, in the extra few
moments head start Kenny had over Mulder, he’d circled around
and was approaching from the other side of the street. Had he not
positioned himself where he had, Scully’s injuries would have
amounted to a great deal more than grazes, contusions, sprained
ankle and slight concussion that the doctor finally confirmed she’d
She was resting at the moment, best let her sleep the
nurse had told them. Skinner was surprised that Mulder
did not insist upon seeing his partner no matter what.
When he mentioned this to Mulder, he’d replied that at
least they knew that Scully was safe and not in pain,
“Kenny, on the other hand….” Mulder hadn’t been able
No, their biggest worry was Kenny. In the best case
scenario he’d suffered a broken arm and leg. In the
worse…. He was still in surgery and there was nobody
there who was prepared to commit themselves to any sort
of opinion at all. Mulder wasn’t sure if that was in
spite of or because of the A.D.’s presence. No amount of
badge waving would elicit any further information. The
waiting was killing them both. Neither of them knew
what to do. In the end Skinner took matters into his
“Come on, Mulder, let’s get some coffee into you, you
look like shit.”
“With all due respect, Sir…”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before; now move it,
Mulder was too tired to argue. The two of them nursed
bad hospital coffee as they sat in hard hospital chairs
waiting for word on Kenny.
Saturday 5:32 AM
He got back to his apartment by a confused, circular
route and fell onto his couch without taking off his
coat or his shoes. The lights were on and he felt
weirdly exposed and vulnerable, but he didn’t want to
turn them off. The couch seemed to be rocking a little,
like a raft, and he kept one foot on the floor to
Then he fell asleep and slept soundly for a couple of
hours until he was awakened by a knock on the door.
Seized with fresh panic, he fought to sit up in the
tangle of his coat, as the knocking became more
insistent. Then Mulder hear Skinner’s voice calling his
name. He momentarily lay back on the cushion, so
relieved he felt like laughing.
“Are you okay?” Skinner asked once he gained entry. Upon
seeing the younger man’s nod, the A.D. said, “Come on,
BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL
Saturday, 8:29 AM
Both Mulder and Skinner knew that when hospital
authorities put you in a private room to break the news
to you, that news is usually of the worst kind. Mulder,
having seen Kenny at the site of the accident, had no
illusions about how seriously hurt his friend might
have been. Now, as they stood in the center of the
antiseptic room, they were both growing increasingly
concerned that the young agent might not survive.
Mulder was mentally preparing himself to hear the worst
when a doctor stepped in to join them.
The list of injuries was horrific. Apart from head
injuries, Kenny suffered a bad break to his femur, his
left arm, and his nose. There was also damage to his
“He must be the luckiest man alive,” the doctor said,
“It was touch and go for a while. It’s as though
someone up there is looking out for him.”
BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL
Saturday, 9:20 AM
As Mulder sat by Scully’s bedside, he marveled on the
nature of love and friendship. They were in a
relationship, but when was the last time he’d said
those words to her and told her how much she meant to
“Mulder?” Scully’s voice echoed around the small
hospital room, bringing him back to the present.
“Who else were you expecting?” Mulder tried to joke.
He went over to sit on the side of her bed and grasped
her hand in both of his, so relieved that he had her
back safe and sound. “How are you feeling partner?
You had me scared back there.”
“Don’t worry Mulder, I had *myself* scared back there.
How’s?…Is Kenny?…T-They wouldn’t tell me, Mulder.
Did-did he get through the surgery?”
“Kenny’s one tough agent, although I can’t see him ever
wanting to work with me again. He was *so* lucky.
The doctors said it was almost as if he were protected,
you know. At first they suspected skull fractures,
major internal trauma, the works.
“He looked real bad when they brought him in. He got
away with a broken arm, leg, and pelvis, as well as some
minor head injuries, which included a broken nose. His
poor nose certainly took a beating on this case. His
condition is serious, but the prognosis is good. He had
a good team working on him.”
Mulder turned her hand over in his and appeared to find
the lines on her palm extremely fascinating.
“Scully, umm…Do you remember what happened out there?
It’s just that what I think I saw and what you said
just after you got hurt, well umm…there are
differences. I was following you, Scully. I just could
never seem to catch up. I saw you poised on the edge of
that curb with the SUV coming directly towards you.
“The driver seemed to be traveling too fast, but I
found out later the poor guy was going the speed limit;
it just seemed too fast. From where I stood, you
seemed to still be a safe distance away, but then
suddenly you were covered by blackness, and I saw you
being hurtled towards the vehicle. You didn’t step out,
you were pushed with a great deal of force.”
Mulder could hardly bear to go on. The memory was too
painful. He’d stood by impotently watching his partner
face death, and he couldn’t move nor do anything to
“And then you seemed to fall backwards towards the
curb, and the next thing I see is Kenny lying badly
injured in the street. I saw it all, Scully, I just
don’t understand it.”
He felt her cover his hand with her own, gently
stroking with her thumb. He finally looked up at her.
“What happened, Scully? Do you remember? I need to
know. You said something strange back there….”
“I remember,” she began hesitantly, “seeing lights to
the left of me, and as their intensity grew, I felt
myself falling. But at the same time, I kept hearing
my name being called, yet it seemed so far away….
And then I looked up and the car was just there. I knew
that was it, that I would never see you again. It made
me feel very sad, but there didn’t seem to be any
urgency to anything, like everything was happening in
“Then I felt it on me. There was a bright white light
and a black shape, not horrifying like before, not evil
at all, but sort of warm and good like a gentle hand.
For a moment I thought I saw an ange_, I-I thought I
saw something. But then suddenly I felt pain as the
car slammed into me, and I was falling backwards. I
must have hit my head as I landed.
“Mulder, it was Kenny who saved my life. He saved my
life and came so close to-to losing his own.”
As Mulder pulled her into his arms and held her close,
he rested his head on her hair. He acknowledged to
himself how close again he’d been to losing her. Thank
God for Kenny. The kid was almost like a gift from
God. He couldn’t stop the self-deprecating smile.
Scully must have felt it, for she pulled away to look
“Mulder? What is it?”
“I don’t know how I even entertain the thought,
Scully. Guardian angels?”
But she didn’t laugh, didn’t even smile. Perhaps that’s
where he needed to look. In a strength beyond his own.
To a source higher than Scully’s science or his logic.
To a source of faith, grace and power. But was he ready
for such a journey? Scully had invited him to join her.
The very notion was difficult for him to comprehend.
Scully had been traveling that path for a long time
now, although she was loath to admit it either to
herself or to him.
He saw it in her eyes now, heard it in her voice and
felt it in her touch. She, unlike him, had no problem
with the idea. Maybe it was this faith of hers that
protected her, them, that ultimately kept them both
safe, even in the greatest of perils. He could see
where her hope stemmed from.
“What happened to you, Mulder?” her voice was soft as
she asked him after a while.
He was silent for a moment, not wanting to revisit his
experiences of the past week for the moment. He settled
down next to her on the bed, shivering a little at the
thought. Scully pulled him back into her arms, he was
thankful that she was still here to be able to do it.
He took a long breath. “I don’t know where to start,
where to go with this. We owe Kenny a great debt,
Scully. And Skinner, he’s a better friend to us than
we’ll ever know.”
“I know that,” which surprised him.
He had to tell her, had to explain about the dreams
he’d been having, but he needed time. This was as near
as he could go at the moment.
There was a soft knock at the door and Skinner walked
in interrupting what Mulder was about to say.
“I think we need to clear up some lose ends here, Agent
“What do you mean?”
“Jeff Jackson has just been in to see me. He’s been
feeling very bad about something.”
“Jeff?” Scully was puzzled.
“Yeah, something he didn’t say when he was first
interviewed. He was in shock at the time; he thought he
was hallucinating. Later he kept quiet because he
didn’t know what he’d seen or what he’d imagined. He
didn’t think it was important, but it kept niggling at
him, till he had to do something about it.”
“I don’t understand,” Scully said. “Where is this
“It’s something that he believes he saw, believes he
felt when he came into your room.”
“The black shadow, the presence,” Mulder filled in.
“Mulder? Sir? What are you talking about?”
Mulder went on as if she hadn’t spoken. It all came
out; his nightmares, the black shape he thought he saw,
no, that he *knew* he saw during the day and when Kenny
was at his side during the night.
“It’s over, Scully. Somehow this ties in with everything
else. I don’t know how or why, but I can’t feel that
feeling of dread any longer.”
For once both Scully and Skinner didn’t refute his
theory, didn’t ask for scientific proof to back what
he’d told them.
Later, when they stopped by the precinct station, they
were both surprised to learn that Scully was now
officially off the hook. The blood on her pajamas was
not the perfect match as was thought at first, further
DNA testing had shown that the two samples were not a
match. There were no fingerprints on the assault
Both Mulder and Skinner looked perplexed, and the
officer on duty looked extremely embarrassed and
uncomfortable as he explained that it had been a rookie
who’d run the fingerprints through the FINDER.
He apologized profusely for the mistake.
There was a ton of paperwork to fill in. The only thing
about it that made Mulder smile the was that
Skinner had more than his fair share of it to do.
BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL
A week later.
All three of then came in to visit with Kenny. His
recovery rate had astounded both the doctors and his
friends alike. Although he would be out of action for a
few months yet, his predicted stay in hospital was now
down to three weeks.
Kenny could remember nothing after seeing Scully
teetering on the edge of the curb. But he *did*
remember what happened immediately before. He
remembered the wizen face of the black crone as she
appeared behind Scully.
“I must be the luckiest man alive. I still can’t
remember exactly what happened or how- maybe it’s just
as well,” Kenny confided to Mulder.
Mulder smiled when he saw Andrews blushing as Scully
placed a kiss on his cheek.
“Thank you, Kenny.” There was nothing else she could
“You’re welcome, Dana. I’m glad I was there.”
Mulder came over to him and shook his good hand. “I’ll
always owe you one, pal, you know that, don’t you?
Though I’m sorry you got hurt again, you’re a good man
to have on a team, and I’m proud to have worked with
Kenny smiled as he said, “Remind me to up my insurance
if I ever work with you again, Mulder. In fact next
time, email me first, and I’ll make sure I head off in
the opposite direction. Besides, I don’t think Kerry
would ever okay another team-up.”
All of the agents remembered fondly Kenny’s long time
girlfriend. “No, I don’t suppose she would, but if
there’s ever an emergency, you just let me speak with
her, okay?” Scully assured them confidently.
Skinner spoke up. “There’s no getting away from it,
Kenny. You’re a hero. I’ve made recommendations that
your bravery be rewarded in a fitting manner. Your
contribution to this extraordinary case will be noted
in your files.” Kenny, as seen by the color of his
face, was more embarrassed then ever.
A nurse pecked at the glass.
Mulder smiled. “We’ve got to go. Guess they just don’t
respect credentials around here. They just throw you
out when the time’s up. See you later, Kid. Take care,
you hear me?”
As they went out to the car, Scully stopped and touched
the tiny cross around her neck. “Mulder, I didn’t lose
this at the club. I still had it around my neck when I
undressed that night.”
“How can you be so sure Scully?”
“Because a thread from my shirt caught in the chain and
I had a job to untangle it.”
So. What did you think?
‘I have spread my dreams under your feet;
tread softly for you tread on my dreams.’