Title: The Tale of Amber Creek
Author: Susan Proto
Rating: PG 13
Category: A little bit o’ angst, and believing the
Disclaimer: Special engagement for IMTP VS10,
Halloween special event. Sorry, CC, but we couldn’t
leave well enough alone, ya know? No profit is made from
Thanks Vickie for the beta.
Feedback to: STPteach@aol.com
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
En route to Amber Creek, WV
“I should be at the supermarket doing my last minute
Halloween candy shopping, Mulder.”
“Yeah, and I should be getting my Spidey costume out of the
dry cleaners,” he responded dryly, “but Skinner didn’t give
us much of a choice, now did he?”
Scully knew Mulder wanted no part of this case any more
than she did, but the modus operandi fell directly in their
“How much further?” he asked.
She pulled the map out and said it looked like the cross
street they were looking for was coming up shortly.
“Mulder, watch out!” cried out Scully.
He deftly pulled the car to the right and stopped quickly.
He then consciously made an effort to unclench his hands
from the steering wheel and to start breathing again.
“Geeze, where the hell did they come out from?” asked
The pair stared out at the two small children, the older
girl no more than ten years clutching the hand of the
younger boy, who couldn’t have been a day over four.
“What are they doing out here by themselves, Mulder,
especially given all of the crap that’s been going on here
the last week or so.”
“I don’t understand it either. They seem to be a day
early, too, don’t they?” he remarked as he noted the
costumes they both wore. Next, Mulder took note of the
dinginess of the youngsters’ costumes and the chalky pallor
of their faces. “Do you think they’re ill? Why else
wouldn’t the girl be in school?”
“Test run?” she responded. “They’re not carrying their
goodies bags, though.”
Scully felt something wasn’t quite right, but she had no
idea as to what was wrong. She almost mentioned her
concerns aloud, but instead shrugged as she watched the
small pair disappear down the street. “Where’d they go?”
Now it was Mulder’s turn to shrug in confusion. “Maybe we
should get going,” he said more to himself than to his
partner. “We’ll mention them to the sheriff.” He put the
car back into reverse, backed out onto the street, and then
shifted back into drive to head down the street.
“Here’s the sheriff’s office,” Scully pointed out. Mulder
held the door open for his partner, and placed a comforting
palm on the small of her back as he followed her into the
small, West Virginian office.
“Excuse me.” Scully spoke to an older, man who wore a too-
small uniform and was seated at an old, wooden desk. “I’m
Special Agent Dana Scully; this is my partner Agent Mulder,
and we’re looking for Sheriff Daly?”
“You’re looking at him.”
“Oh.” Scully waited for a moment or two when she realized
the slightly disheveled man wasn’t going to offer anymore
sage words. “Sheriff, we were asked to come here to check
out some suspicious kidnappings that occurred over the last
Scully wasn’t amused. She didn’t want to be there; she
wanted to be home, watching over the front of her first
floor window to be sure that the goblins of her
neighborhood didn’t attack it with eggs and toilet paper
during the infamous ‘Mischief Night’. “Sir, if we’re not
needed here, you might tell us now so we don’t waste
anymore of your or our time.”
“Didn’t say that, missy, now did I?”
“Now see here -”
“-Sheriff Daly,” Mulder cut in before Scully jumped over
the small gate that separated the inner from outer office
spaces, hauled off, and punched the old man’s lights out.
“Our superior, Assistant Director Walter Skinner,
instructed us to meet with you this afternoon. Now, if you
have any new information about this case that would
indicate our services are no longer needed, we’d appreciate
it if you told us now so we could all go home.”
“Excuse me?” Now it was Mulder’s turn to be a bit peeved.
“Sit. You got your orders from your boss, and now that
you’re in my jurisdiction, you get your orders from me.
Mulder wasn’t sure if he felt more amused over the
assumptions the old guy was making or pissed off – over the
assumptions the old guy was making. He glanced at Scully
and the expression on her face left no doubt as to how she
“Thank you, Sheriff,” he quickly said and prodded his
partner a little more forcefully than he would have thought
necessary toward the man’s desk. Scully took the seat that
sat beside the sheriff’s desk, while Mulder carried over an
additional chair. He sat and both agents waited in
anticipation of their counterpart’s next words.
They waited for what seemed an interminable amount of time.
Finally, she couldn’t stand it any longer, so Scully
demanded, “Sheriff, what are we doing here?”
“I’m not sure, missy.”
“Sheriff, I am Special Agent Dana Scully. I would
appreciate it if you would refer to me as Special Agent or
Agent Scully.” She paused, stared him right in the eyes,
and added, “I am neither your ‘missy’, nor do I plan on
ever being anybody’s ‘missy’. Do I make myself clear,
He returned her stare, never once flinching at the venomous
tone she’d used. “Yup. Loud and clear – missy.” He never
hesitated and continued, “Now, you want to know why you’ve
been hogtied to Amber Creek, West Virginia, or are we gonna
sit and debate titles and whatnot? By the way, the name’s
Henry. Sheriff Henry Daly, but nobody hardly ever calls me
Sheriff; don’t believe in high falutin’ titles ’round these
parts. Just Henry.”
“Well, then, just Mulder will do fine by me, Henry.”
Mulder stuck his hand out in order to try and make peace
with the man who was obviously used to doing things his way
and his way only. Henry took it and shook it with a firm
Both men turned to Scully in anticipation. She sighed; if
there was one thing she’d learned over the last ten years
it was that if you can’t beat the boys in their own club,
you’d better not be afraid to jump right in and join ’em.
“Call be Scully, Henry. That’s what he calls me,” she said
with a quick thumb point in her partner’s direction.
“Is that a fact?” asked Henry with a bemused expression.
“It is indeed,” responded Mulder. “Okay, Henry, what have
you got for us?”
“Well, it’s the damnedest thing. We’ve had five children
over the last week and a half go missing. Now, four of the
children were returned without so much as a scratch. They
were found sleeping soundly on their family’s front porch
in the early morning, twenty-four hours later.”
“And the other one?” interjected Scully. When it came to
abducted children, neither she nor Mulder had much
“Well, that’s the thing. She reappeared a little over
forty-eight hours later, but in bad shape.”
“How so?” asked Mulder, though he was pretty sure he
already knew the answer.
“She was unconscious. Matter of fact, she’s still
comatose. Trouble is the docs don’t seem to have a clue as
“I’d like to examine her; actually, I’d like to examine all
of the children – would you be able to arrange it?” asked
Scully of the sheriff.
“I’m not only an FBI agent, Henry, but I’m a medical
“Well, I’ll be damned.” He shook his head, muttered
something to the effect of what was the world coming to,
and said he’d make a phone call.
“We’re going to check into the motel while you make the
arrangements, if that’s all right with you,” said Mulder.
Upon seeing the old man nod in agreement, Mulder then said,
“Oh, by the way, Henry? There were a couple of kids that
were wandering around the streets in their Halloween
costumes just before we got here. Given the events of the
last week and a half, I really think they should be home
with their parents.”
“Sorry,” he apologized for the lack of information, “but
the girl was between eight and ten years, while the boy was
younger, closer to four years old. Strange though…”
“Yeah, well, when was the last time you saw a kid wear a
costume for the Flying Nun or a Pikachu?”
“I get the Flying Nun, but the hell is a Pikachu?” asked
“Pokemon character, Henry. C’mon, you don’t have any
grandkids that were into those cards a few years back?”
Henry grumbled, “Ain’t got no grandkids,” and waved the duo
off. Mulder shrugged and placed his hand in its usual spot
on the small of his partner’s back.
“C’mon, Scully, the Amber Creek Motel is calling our
Amber Creek Motel
They rented the two rooms, but dropped their suitcases into
just the one. “Okay, Mulder,” said Scully as she unpacked
her make-up case, “what’s your theory, as if I didn’t
“The first four kids are nice normal kids. The last child
is an abductee.”
Scully looked up at him and considered his words. Then,
without any hesitation, said, “I agree.”
Mulder looked at her with his jaw practically touching the
floor. “You’re kidding, right? This is some kind of
‘trick’ in honor of the holiday tomorrow?”
Scully smiled in response. “No, Mulder, I just happen to
agree with you. That’s why I want to examine the
hospitalized child and see what x-rays were taken. I can’t
imagine not finding a chip or two in them somewhere.”
Mulder nodded and said, “Why do you suppose the other kids
were returned unharmed?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll want to examine them as well. But
I figure we can save that for tomorrow.”
Once again Mulder nodded in agreement. The phone rang and
Mulder picked it up. “Thanks, Henry. We’ll meet you at
the hospital.” He hung up the phone and said, “The good
sheriff has arranged it with the hospital for us to speak
with the kid’s parents. He also said the hospital will
release her medical records, though he’s not sure about
whether you’ll actually be allowed to examine her.”
“I understand that; as long as we have access to her x-rays
and ability to take more pictures if necessary. We’ll see
about checking the other children’s records afterwards.”
She picked up her toiletry bag, and as she headed toward
the bathroom said, “I’m just going to freshen up. I’ll be
out in a few minutes.”
“Hey, wait a minute,” Mulder called out as he stepped up
and pulled her toward him. “You look fresh as a daisy to
me, Scully.” He leaned down and they both enjoyed the
tender kiss. Moments later, she pulled out of the embrace.
“Thank you, Mulder, but not everyone is nearly as blinded
by love as you are. Be out in a few.”
Mulder shrugged and decided to take advantage of the
available facilities in the vacant room next door. He
could use some ‘freshening up’ too.
Mountain View Hospital
Mr. and Mrs. Widgett were more than willing to cooperate if
it would give their little girl a better chance to recover.
They sat in the uncomfortable blue plastic hospital chairs,
and tried to answer the agents’ questions, but they seemed
to be coming up blank. Nothing unusual happened in the
last week that would warrant their child being taken.
After several more questions that seemed to lead nowhere,
Eileen Widgett tearfully blurted, “My god, Jacob, it’s just
like last time!”
“Last time?” echoed both Mulder and Scully in unison.
“Why, yes. Annie was missing for a day or so about six
months ago, but she wasn’t sick like she is now. I don’t
understand it. I just don’t understand it at all.” Eileen
broke down and began crying in earnest.
“Please, Mr. and Mrs. Widgett, I know this is difficult,
but you have to give us as much information as you can
remember about the last time. It may prove very
“Henry, you remember last time, don’t you?” asked Jacob
Widgett of the sheriff. “Hell, we had the hounds out
looking for her all over the town, and then the woods.”
Henry nodded in remembrance. “Yeah, I remember. She was
found a little over twenty-four hours later, under a tree,
sound asleep – a little cold maybe – but fine all the
“From where exactly did she go missing, Mrs. Widgett?”
“Doc Harrison’s office.”
“Six months ago or this week?” asked Scully.
“Well, we’d just finished getting her booster shot. The
day care center said she couldn’t come back until she was
up to date, so the doc squeezed us in for the last
“That was this week,” Scully confirmed.
“And what about six months ago?”
“Well, it was from the doc’s office then, too. Annie had
stepped on a piece of glass. She needed it cleaned out and
“What about the other children that were missing this week,
“What about ’em?”
“Where were they last seen before they’d disappeared?”
“Well, now that I think of it, I think they may have all
been at the doc’s office, too.”
“I think we’d better follow up on this, don’t you think?”
asked Mulder. Scully immediately nodded in agreement.
“Has any of them gone missing in the past like little
The sheriff stood with his hand under his chin, obviously
attempting to remember details that may have been
temporarily shelved to the recesses of his memory banks.
“No, Mulder, can’t recall any of them ever gone missing.
Jacob, do you remember if any of those other kids were
“Nope. Nope, this must have been their first time,”
Scully flinched a bit; something bothered her about Jacob’s
last statement, but she wasn’t sure exactly what it was.
“Well, I’d like to check Annie’s medical records and any x-
rays the hospital may have taken.” Then, as an
afterthought, Scully added, “And I’d like access to any
medical records and x-rays available on the other children
who had been missing recently.”
“Sure thing – Scully,” replied Henry with a bit of a
twinkle in his eye. “I’ll clear it with the Doc.”
Scully smiled. “Thanks, Henry.”
Henry saluted all that were present and then went to see
about making the arrangements for the medical records.
En route to Amber Creek Motel
“I know we should go check out that doctor, but you think
we can hold off until tomorrow? I’m starved. Ready to
grab a bite to eat?” asked Mulder.
“Yeah, me too – SHIT!”
“What’s wrong?” asked Scully.
“Look! Don’t you see them? Shit! What the hell are they
still doing out here all by themselves?”
Both agents were exasperated at seeing the two children
they’d nearly run over earlier in the day, once again out
alone and unsupervised.
“I don’t know, but it’s really starting to piss me off.
What’s the matter with their parents?”
“Maybe we should stop and drive them – Hey, where’d they
“They were just here, Scully.”
“I know that, Mulder.” They both craned their necks in an
attempt to locate the two children, but it was obviously to
no avail. “They just vanished.”
“Well, I find that hard to believe. We just lost them in
the bushes along side the road, that’s all.”
“Maybe.” Scully was beginning to feel some doubt.
Amber Creek Motel
Mulder stripped down to his boxers, griping about whether
he’d ever be able to get the ketchup stain out of his tie.
“It’s your fault, Scully. I don’t even like ketchup. I
put the ketchup on the French fries that you refuse to
order for yourself but think nothing of helping yourself to
when they’re in *my* plate.”
“Oh, stop complaining! You ate just as many fries as I
did, and with ketchup I might add.”
“Yeah, well I can live without ketchup, and if it weren’t
for you, I wouldn’t be facing a ten dollar dry cleaners
bill for a lousy silk -.”
The ringing phone cut off any further tirade of Mulder’s.
He picked it up and told Henry to hold on. “Scully, Henry
wants to talk to you.”
She walked over, took the phone, and said, “Hello.”
Mulder heard her monosyllabic responses and tried to guess
what was being said at the other end. When he heard his
partner end the conversation with Scully saying, “I’ll meet
you over at the hospital, Henry,” he figured Henry got her
access to the medical records of the other kids.
She hung up the phone and said, “Yes, I’m going to look at
the medical records, Karnack the Magnificent.” With that
she smiled and presented Mulder with a quick buss on the
lips. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“You don’t want company?”
“Not particularly, I think I’ll get through them faster on
my own. Why don’t you go for a run or something?”
“Gee, Scully, if I didn’t know any better I’d swear you
were trying to get rid of me,” he said with a forced pout
that fooled no one.
“Um, and given that you do know better, you know that’s
exactly what I’m doing!” She smiled. “So, are you going
for that run?”
“Yeah, I gotta get some of the kinks out from driving today
“Okay,” she responded, “now let’s try that farewell again,
and then I’m going, so I can get back here. Now, get come
here, partner.” Much to Mulder’s delight, Scully was a lot
more attentive this time.
Amber Creek Motel
Mulder changed into his sweats and running shoes, grabbed
his keycard, and set off for his run. It was dark, but he
knew if he stuck to the main road, the street lights would
garnish enough light for him to see and be seen. He also
figured it would be that much easier for him to find his
way back to the motel.
As he ran, he tried to clear his mind and just enjoy the
run. He would have succeeded, too, if it weren’t for the
fact that he saw the very same pair of children that had
been appearing and disappearing all day long.
“Hey! Hey, kids! Are you okay?” he called out.
Though he didn’t want to frighten them, he decided that
enough was enough, and Mulder was determined to talk to
them and find out where they lived. If for no other
reason, he wanted to find out what the hell their parents
were thinking by allowing them to move about by themselves
at all hours of the day and night.
He picked up his speed to keep up with the children who
seemed to be running unusually fast. Mulder wasn’t even
aware that he was no longer traveling on the main road.
Mountain View Hospital
Scully had the file of all five children that had been
abducted and returned that week. She noted the x-rays of
the children’s skulls, but did not observe any foreign
objects embedded in their skulls.
She checked out the medical reports for each of the
children, noting that a Dr. Harrison signed off on each of
the reports. His observations included nothing unusual in
the physical appearance of any of the children with the
exception of a slightly raised, swollen area on the back of
the neck, but stated there was no evidence of infection or
anything serious that needed to be followed up on.
“Sonofabitch!” she cried out.
“Now, Scully, does your mama know you use words like that?”
asked Henry as he walked into the small, borrowed office.
“Who do you think taught me them?” retorted the agent with
a wry grin.
“I can only imagine,” he said with a smirk. “Well, I’m not
here on a social call.”
Scully put the file down and looked at him, her expression
full of questions.
“Another one is missing.”
“Oh, no. Who?”
“Patty Ann Clarkson, six years old. Missing since around
six-thirty this evening.”
“Who reported her missing?” asked Scully.
“Her mama. Why?”
“They weren’t by some chance at Dr. Harrison’s office, were
“As a matter of fact, they were. Her mama had brought
Patty Ann in for a check up and went to use the privy.
When MaryBeth came to fetch the child from the waiting
room, the child was gone.”
“Gone,” Scully echoed.
Scully closed the file and lay it down on the table. “I
don’t think Dr. Harrison can wait till tomorrow, Henry.”
“Aw, you can’t be thinking that Doc Harrison’s had anything
to do with this, can you?”
“Henry, how can he not be a suspect?”
“Well, for one, he’d never put these parents through this.
He’s lived through it – twice!”
Scully’s expression was of sheer confusion. “How?”
“He lost his own little boy ’bout a year ago.”
“He was killed?”
“No, no. Kidnapped, but there was never no ransom, and we
never did find the body.”
“Oh, God. But you said he’s lived through it twice. What
did you mean?”
“He had a sister.”
Scully looked at the sheriff with her mouth slightly agape.
“Let’s go. Now.”
Mulder arrived at the front of the large, old Victorian
home and questioned momentarily where the hell he was. He
noted the paint peeling off of the gabled roof. The
floorboards on the wrap around porch were splintering and
in poor condition. It was probably once a showcase, but
now showed signs of true neglect. Moments went by before
he remembered that he’d found the place by following the
two children and wondered if the pair had entered the old,
He pushed at the entrance and felt it give way easily. He
came into the small entrance hall and was immediately
assaulted by the amount of clutter he saw all around him.
A large grandfather’s clock, showing the incorrect time of
course, stood on the wall directly opposite the front door.
He took a step and almost found himself on the floor, as he
tripped on one of several scatter rugs strewn about the
hardwood floors. Once he regained his balance, Mulder set
out to search for the children.
“Kids? Hey kids, are you here?”
He peeked into what was most likely the front parlor. The
plump, full pieces of furniture were almost inviting as
they contrasted well with the rich, dark colors of the
walls. Suddenly he saw a flash of white fabric poke out of
another entrance that led to another room.
He walked into the living room and almost whistled out loud
at the sight of the ornately decorated fireplace. Not
exactly his taste; he couldn’t help but wonder if it was
Scully! Scully was going to kill him if he didn’t let her
know where he was. He pulled out his cell phone, but
Mulder wasn’t able to get through. He looked around with
the hope of finding a phone in the house.
“Hello? Hello, is anybody home?”
When he entered the dining room area, he stopped short.
The two children stood there, holding hands, and were
“Who are you? Are you in trouble? If you need help, I can
They turned, took a couple of steps away from him, and then
“You want me to follow you, don’t you?” he asked
rhetorically. “Okay. Where you lead, I’ll follow.”
The children turned around again and walked quickly toward
the majestic wood staircase. Mulder followed, quickly
picking his hands up from the dust-laden banister. The
house was neglected both inside and out, and for some
reason that disturbed Mulder. He didn’t understand how a
regal house such as this could fall into such disarray.
The children stopped in front of a large wooden door that
was surrounded by pealing, floral wallpaper. They waited,
without moving, until Mulder stepped closer. Quickly they
stepped to the side, never breaking their clasped hands.
“Okay, I guess this is my stop, huh?” He looked at the
children for another second or two and then said, “Don’t
talk much, do you?” They remained quiet, which didn’t
surprise the agent. “Okay, I take it you want me to go on
in there, huh?”
The children merely waited, and Mulder took that as his cue
that he was to enter the room. He pushed the door open to
find a room decorated in a style so lush that even he was a
bit overwhelmed. The fireplace was white marble, which
stood out all the more against the heavy, brocade burgundy
colored draperies and matching bedspread.
It was what was on the bed that truly had Mulder
A small child, a little girl around the age of six, lay on
the bed either asleep or unconscious. Her ankles and
wrists were bound with heavy chord, like those used as
He turned around to speak with the children who led him
here, to see if they knew who she was, and how she got
there. But the pair was gone, as quickly as they’d appeared
they disappeared into the recesses of the large house.
Mulder walked up to small child, placed his fingers on her
neck, and quickly ascertained that the child was alive. He
looked around and wondered how she’d come to be here, but
soon decided it didn’t really matter at that point. Her
bound hands and feet left little doubt that she’d been
placed in harm’s way. His immediate task was to get the
child to safety, so he scooped her up in his arms and
proceeded to the door.
Little did he know his every move was being observed from
just outside of the door, so when Mulder took his first
step outside of the room, his head met with a very large,
and very heavy, iron fireplace shovel. The agent went down
in a heap, though he still clutched the small child in a
Scully and Henry appeared outside of the large house at the
edge of town and rang the doorbell in the hope of finding
Dr. Harrison at home. As they waited outside, Scully
asked, “How long has the doctor owned this house?”
“He inherited it. It was his parents’ and his
grandparents’ before that. The house has been in the
family for almost a hundred years.”
“Pretty amazing for a small town like this, wouldn’t you
say?” remarked Scully.
“The Harrison family always had money. I think the
grandfather was a doctor. Think he was involved in some
kind of government research, as a matter of fact. I know
the father was. Doc Harrison’s done some work for them,
too, from what I understand. He don’t talk much about it,
though. Specially since his son went missing and his wife –
“She took her own life about six months after the child
went missing. I guess she just couldn’t deal with the
Scully nodded. She was now putting two and two together
and becoming more impatient as each second ticked away.
She had a bad feeling and knew the sooner she got inside,
“Sheriff, we need to get inside,” Scully declared. There
was no mistaking Scully’s tone; she was going inside
whether or not the sheriff agreed.
Apparently Henry wasn’t about to argue with the determined
agent, and was able to push open the front door with
relative ease. “Well, I guess we’ve just been invited in,
Scully.” The two quickly entered.
“Doc? Doc, you here?” called out Henry. He didn’t have a
search warrant, and didn’t want to appear to be crossing
any lines between legal and illegal. He justified his
entering the house in his own mind, but wondered if the
courts would agree. That was all the more reason he’d
hoped Dr. Harrison was inside to take him off the hook.
At that very moment they heard a loud thump, as if a heavy
object had fallen. Scully looked immediately toward the
stairs where she saw the mysterious pair of children
waiting at the bottom. Their eyes met and the children
immediately started ascending the stairs.
“Henry, upstairs!” Scully shouted as she drew her weapon.
“Easy there,” Henry warned. “It could have just been a box
“I don’t think so, Henry. Not according to those two.”
“Who?” he asked, obviously confused.
“The two children Mulder and I told you about. They were
right over there and ran up the stairs. I’m telling you,
Henry, something is terribly wrong!”
She ran to the staircase ending any further conversation.
Henry was right behind her, though he kept his gun
Upon reaching the top of the stairs, Scully saw Mulder
lying unconscious on the floor with blood pooling by his
head. “Mulder!” she cried out and knelt down to check his
pulse. It was strong, she thought with relief. Scully
patted his cheek gently in an attempt to rouse him.
“The girl…give me the girl…” he muttered as he came out
of his stupor.
“What girl, Mulder?”
“Scully?” he asked, as he realized it was his partner that
leaned over him and not his attacker.
“There was a little girl, tied up on the bed,” he said as
he pushed himself up in a sitting position. His head
pounded, but he became more alert.
“The little girl we saw earlier today – the one with the
boy?” she asked, confused.
“No, no, they’re the ones who led me here. No, this was
another little girl. Younger. Six years old, maybe?”
“Patty Anne!” shouted Henry. “Where is she now, Mulder?”
“I don’t know. I had her in my arms to get out of here; I
don’t know how she got here in the first place but I
figured it wasn’t because she wanted to be here. As I was
leaving the bedroom, I got clunked on the head with
something.” He looked around him and saw the brass
fireplace shovel lying nearby. “Most likely with that,” he
said as he pointed to the weapon. Better get prints.”
Scully nodded. Given that it was most likely Dr. Harrison
who took her, the question was where was Patty Ann now?
“Henry, where was the Widgett child found the first time
she was abducted?”
“In the forest, under a tree. Why?”
“That’s where he took Patty Ann,” she determined without
doubt. “He’s brought her as an offering.”
Mulder looked up at her quickly, too quickly. He winced
with the sudden movement, but he was definitely on her
wavelength. He just wasn’t sure why.
“Scully, care to share with the class in twenty words or
“Henry told me that Dr. Harrison’s son was kidnapped a
couple of years ago and never found.” Mulder shrugged. He
wasn’t sure why she’d conclude that the child was being
offered in a trade with alien abductors, though she never
said those exact words for Henry’s benefit.
Understanding his skepticism, she elaborated. “Henry told
me his grandfather and father both worked as scientists for
the government, Mulder. So did the doctor, as a matter of
fact. Oh, and there’s one other piece to the puzzle.”
Mulder looked at her in anticipation. He had a feeling he
wasn’t going to like what she had to add.
“Apparently this isn’t the first abduction the doctor has
experienced. His sister was taken when she was eight years
“Shit.” Mulder closed his eyes momentarily in sympathy for
the man’s plight, but he got over it quickly. Hardships
aside, there was no excuse to put other families through
the horror of losing a child.
“Let’s go find our perpetrator, kids,” he said, cringing a
bit as he stood.
“Mulder, you’re in no shape to go anywhere. You are most
definitely concussed,” warned Scully but knowing there was
no way Mulder was going to allow him self to remain behind.
“And I promise to have my head checked as soon as we find
the child and bring Dr. Harrison to justice, Scully.”
Scully agreed begrudgingly and led her partner toward the
staircase. Mulder stopped suddenly.
“What about the kids?” he asked.
“What kids?” asked Henry with frustration. The two agents
kept talking about a pair of kids but he didn’t have any
clue as to whom they were referring.
“Mulder, I don’t think we have to worry about the children
anymore,” said Scully softly.
“Why do you say that?”
“I think they’ve finally gone home.” His expression was
one big question mark until it suddenly dawned on him what
“You mean -?”
“-Yes,” she said cryptically. “They did what they had to
do, and now they’ve been called home.”
“Damn, I can’t believe I didn’t realize it before,”
“I wish to hell I knew what you two are talking about,”
said a very frustrated sheriff.
“Don’t worry about it, Henry. Let’s go find Patty Ann,”
He was right where they expected to find him. He’d laid
the child out on the ground, just beneath the very tree
little Annie Widgett had been found.
Mulder had visions of déjà vu, as he’d watched the doctor
begging the stars and the moon to take the child and return
his son. Mulder wasn’t sure how to react; he alternately
wanted to beat the pulp out of the man for willingly
placing a small child in danger while at the same time,
feeling the man’s pain, he wanted to offer words of
He didn’t do either. He merely walked up to the now
distraught, defeated man, announced that he was with the
FBI, and read him his Miranda rights as he cuffed him.
Scully had immediately knelt down to check on the child,
who was apparently heavily drugged, but none the worse for
Henry picked the child up and led everyone back to the car.
Scully sat up front with the child on her lap, while Mulder
sat in the back with the doctor. He mumbled incoherently,
over and over, alternately apologizing to Brian and to
Theresa. Mulder assumed the doc’s apologies were directed
toward his son and sister’s memories.
Mulder allowed himself to feel a modicum of sympathy for
the guy. After all, he could remember a day when he
considered, though it was only for a split second, trading
someone for his own sister.
True to Mulder’s promise, he went to the hospital to have
his head checked out. He did indeed suffer from a mild
concussion, but given that Scully was well-versed on the
symptoms of concussions, the ER doctor on duty decided she
was just as capable of administering head checks as the
Patty Anne checked out fine, too, though it was decided
that she would stay overnight for observation. They wanted
to be sure there were no side effects from the drug Dr.
Harrison had administered.
Henry drove the agents back to the motel.
“Thanks for the lift, Henry,” said Mulder.
“Thanks for solving the case,” replied Henry. “Still can’t
believe it was Doc Harrison.” The older man shook his head
“I guess grief makes some people do crazy things,” Mulder
“Yes, not all people, right, Mulder?” asked Scully. She
smiled, as she knew Mulder would know immediately what she
was getting at.
“No, Scully, not all people. Some of us have partners that
help keep the crazies at bay.” He returned her smile.
Henry, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue as to what
they meant, so he decided to bid his good night. “If you
just stop by in the morning to sign off on the report,
you’ll still be able to make it home for Halloween tomorrow
“That’s right,” murmured Scully and then added, “I still
have to buy candy, or there’s going to be a whole lot of
tricks going on outside my door.”
“We’ll make that our first stop before we get home, okay?”
Henry looked at the two, wondered if there was something
more going on than he’d first assumed, and then decided it
didn’t make a whole lot of difference if there were. They
solved his case, and it was time to go home. Besides, he’d
already bought his candy for tomorrow night, and there was
a milky way just calling his name.
“See you in the morning, folks. Good night.”
Mulder and Scully walked into the room. When Mulder sat on
the bed, Scully reminded him that she was going to have to
do neuro checks every couple of hours or so.
“Oh joy,” he replied dryly. Then a sudden gleam came to
“What?” she asked in response to his sudden mood change.
“Scully, remember what tonight is?”
“The night before Halloween.”
“Yes, and the other name for it is…?” he probed.
“Mischief Night,” she responded, and immediately caught the
reason behind his more upbeat mood. “Mulder, you have a
“Yeah, can you think of a better way to check my reactions?
C’mon, Scully, let’s be mischievous!”
And so they did. And Mulder’s reactions were just fine,
thank you very much.