TITLE: The Dragon’s Wing
ARCHIVE: As You Wish
DISCLAIMER: 1013 and FOX own all the X-Files
No money changes hands.
SPOILER WARNING: Je Souhaite
CLASSIFICATION: Casefile, MSR
COMMENTS: Written for the IMadeThisProductions
To KEstabrook for special beta help,
encouragement and friendship.
To my Fabulous Monster for a wonderful,
thoughtful, and thorough beta job.
To Mimic. She probably doesn’t remember, but
she told me to write this.
And to VS10 for asking me.
SUMMARY: The secret behind a successful wish
is to be very specific. —Fox Mulder
Xxxxxx Teaser xxxxxX
Three Months Ago
Xian Ang clung to the branch of a mountain
pine six feet above the rushing
water. His five year-old daughter, Shen Kuo,
held tight to the wet branch above him.
For two weeks, rain hammered the parched soil
of Xian Ang’s farm. The long
drought caused the soil to pack hard, crack,
and turn to dust. The clouds opened so
fast that the water rolled on the top of the
soil instead of soaking into it, and last
night,his little house, unable to withstand
the onslaught, washed away. Xian’s farm was
destroyed. His work animals drowned, and all
his crops were swept away by the current.
“Higher! Little Bird, hurry!” Xian shouted up
to Shen Kuo. “The water rises!”
Shen Kuo grabbed the slippery branch overhead.
As she climbed up, the windwhipped her long,
black hair in front of her face. One hand held
onto the branch, andthe other hand batted the
wet strands away from her eyes. A sudden gust
of wind shoved the branch under her bare feet.
Her arms shot out, her small fingers searching
wildly for a twig or cone to hold her balance.
The wind howled again, and then pushed her
“Papa!” She screamed, slipping off the branch.
She reached into the air for him, but flew out
too far for Xian to catch. She disappeared
into the raging waterbelow.
“Shen Kuo! Shen Kuo!” he cried, his arm
outstretched. His tears mixed with the rain as
he quickly climbed down. Again and again, he
plunged his arms into the deep water, trying
to find her.
The rolling waters had folded around his
Little Bird, and carried her away.
That must have been what it wanted, for as
soon as Shen Kuo fell into the torrent, the
And the waters calmed.
Office of Shi Liang Wang, Esq.
Two Months Ago
San Francisco, California
Long time no see! How’s life treating you?
Still living the life of a well-paid G-
Man? Your office is still in the basement,
right? I’m writing because I received
something which is more your style than
mine. A distant cousin in China died recently.
Xian Ang, my cousin, lost his farm and
his family. The poor guy was so devastated
after his daughter drowned, that he killed
himself. The only possessions left of his
estate were a letter, and the item I’ve
enclosed. I know that you specialize in the
bizarre and unusual, and the fact that
you make a living at it still amazes me. But,
I thought you might want to take a look
into this, and see if this object really did
have anything to do with his death.
Xian wrote in his letter, that this item is a
talisman, a charmed object—the actual
translation of the Chinese word is somewhere
between the two. He said that
three wishes were bestowed upon this Dragon’s
Wing, and that he foolishly used one. That
wish destroyed his life.
You and I know that legends and superstitions
run wild in old countries,
but I’ve heard old Chinese sayings that make a
lot of sense. If you do look into this,
and find that the Dragon’s Wing had anything
to do with his death, let me know. After all,
he was a relative of mine.
Xian was a farmer, and his wish was for the
drought to end, so his daughter would
never experience hardship.
Be careful Fox, there are still two wishes
Shi the Guy, Esq.
Xxxxxx ACT ONE xxxxxX
X-Files Office, Wednesday afternoon
Basement of the Hoover Building
“Dr. Hiller has an irrefutable alibi for last
“Yes, Scully, and the Tuesday night before
that, and for the twenty-fifth of
last month. C’mon, nobody has that many
ironclad alibis. In fact, in my book, that
makes him even more suspicious.”
“More suspicious than what?” Scully paced as
she spoke. “Than not having an
alibi? Mulder, Dr. Harlan Hiller could not
have killed anyone last Saturday. Hundreds
of people saw him at the dedication of the new
Pediatric Neurology wing of Fairfax
Mulder sat at his desk with his hands clasped
behind his head. Scully stalked
back and forth, waving her hands. He liked how
she flushed when she was agitated, but
wasn’t about to let her get the upper hand. He
sat up, and tapped the desktop with
“I have Mrs. Edith Fleischmann who saw Dr.
Hiller inject something into Bertha
Witherspoon’s I.V. bag at the Chesapeake
Nursing and Assisted Living Center in
Baltimore. She died that same night.”
“Mulder, do I need to remind you that Edith
Fleischmann is eighty-seven years
“And Sadie Littlejohn reported that Dr. Hiller
examined her roommate, Lenore
Morrison, last Tuesday night in their hospital
room, right before Mrs. Morrison died.”
He pointed his finger at her. “Leo Formann
identified his own killer on the
night of the twenty-fifth. Right before he
died, he stated that Dr. Harlan Hiller
poisoned him. You say all these people are
making false ID’s, Scully? Why?”
She sat on the edge of his desk, looked down,
and said softly, “The more
things change, the more they stay the same.”
Mulder scrunched his forehead, “What do you
“You’re a difficult man. You know that?” She
sighed and looked up. “Passionate, stubborn,
wonderful in bed, but difficult.”
He eyed her warily for a moment then said,
“Well, that’s a new approach to an
She shook her head. “You said it once
yourself. We go through this
perfunctory song and dance. I think I’m right,
you know you’re right, and on and on it goes.”
Mulder got up. “Hey, I have an idea.” He bent
down, catching her eye. “Let’s
start over, and conduct an in-depth
investigation on Doctor Hiller.”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing now?” she asked.
“No, we’re taking bits and pieces of what we
think happened, and what we know
happened. We’re giving opinions, and making
decisions based on what I believe
versus what you believe.” He leaned against
the desk, next to her. “Remember what
they taught us in FBI school? When a string of
murders are committed, and the same
person’s name keeps coming up as a possible
suspect, we do a complete investigation on
him. What do you say?”
“You’re mocking me, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m not,” he said seriously. “There are
obviously things here that don’t
fit. Maybe he uses hallucinogens, maybe astral
projection, or has an accomplice, or, hell,
maybe an evil twin brother. Let’s just back up
a bit, and do some heavy digging on Dr.
Hiller, so we can do the song and dance
together.” He caught her eye again, and nodded
encouragingly. “The one thing you and I agree
on, Scully is that we have an
impossible scenario repeated three times.”
“Sometimes this job isn’t fun.” She got off
the desk, and straightened her
skirt. “Three elderly patients are dead, and
the only suspect we have appears to be out of
the running. Dr. Hiller’s alibis look good,
but I admit, we need to know why his name was
mentioned each time someone died. And how
three people claimed to have seen him prior to
all three deaths. I know we can’t ignore the
witnesses. I just wish this job was
He looked at her and frowned.
“Not easier all the time,” she corrected.
“Just easier sometimes.”
“You know what *I* wish, Scully…” Mulder’s
voice trailed off. He whirled
around, and strode to his file cabinet.
“Damn! I didn’t mean to file this away; I just
didn’t want to lose it.” He pulled the drawer
open, and started flipping through the files
muttering, “I forgot all about this.”
Scully followed him.
“Is there something in there that’s going to
help us find a serial killer?”
She looked into the file drawer. “Or is it an
answer to a wish?”
“Neither. It’s something that wishes are made
on. Aha!” He reached into the
drawer, and carefully lifted out a folder.
“It’s a Dragon’s Wing. You said you had a
wish.” He gently touched a small, flattened
Ziploc bag stapled to the inside of the
manila folder. The Ziploc bag contained a red
and gold silk bag about four inches by four
inches. It was cinched with a thin, gold,
“What’s a Dragon’s Wing?” she asked as Mulder
handed her the letter from Shi
“Read this. A friend of mine from my Oxford
days sent it.”
Her eyes flickered as she read. “Have you
opened the bag?”
“No. Uh—not yet,” he smiled shyly. “Want to
She nodded, and reread the letter.
Mulder sat, and removed the small red and gold
bag from the baggie. Scully came
up behind him, reached over to put the letter
down, and placed her warm hand on
the back of his neck. He slipped two fingers
into the small silk bag, and gently removed
the Dragon’s Wing. It looked like a mummified
piece of a bat’s wing, except that it had
leather-like scales and pinfeathers. It was
about the size of a silver dollar, and
scorched black around its ragged edges.
“It’s not very impressive, is it?” Mulder
said, disappointed, and slid it back
into the bag.
“Surely there must be an old saying about
dangerous things coming in small
packages,” she said, massaging the nape of his
He leaned back, and tilted his chin up,
resting his head between her breasts.
“Well, you’re pretty dangerous…”
He pushed away from his desk, startling her
backwards a step. He stood and
circled around to pin her against his desk.
“Mulder, stop it,” she whispered just as the
“I’m not the only one who’s difficult.” He
sighed as he picked up the phone.
He listened for a minute, then rolled his
eyes. “Yep. Right.” Another pause,
then, “Right. Okay. Got’cha.” He gently placed
the handset back into its cradle,
went down to the floor on one knee, and yanked
the cord out of the wall. Pieces of the
faceplate flew as the phone line whipped
through the air.
“Problem?” Scully asked casually.
“Nope.” He looked at her. “Scully, you’re
right.” He wrapped the broken cord
around the phone. “Sometimes this job isn’t
“What was that about?” She picked up a piece
of faceplate, and put it on the
desk beside the dead telephone.
He stared at the mess on his desk. “You know,
Scully, there’s something inherently wrong
about cameras attached to traffic lights.”
“They tracked you down, eh?” She folded her
arms, and hiked her hip onto the
“Yeah, but it took some doing on their part.
The traffic cameras just take
pictures of the rear license plates. I wish I
could hire the guy at the car rental agency to
work for the FBI, and I wish…” Mulder looked
at the little silk bag and paused. “I wish…”
“What?” she asked.
“According to Shi, we have two wishes left in
this bag.” He picked up the bag,
and swung it around his index finger by the
thin gold cord.
“Mulder, your track record on wishes isn’t
very good. Maybe we should just
leave those wishes right where they are.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, surprised. “How
many times have you had three wishes granted
by a genie?”
“Well, I have more experience than you, and I
now know the correct way to phrase a
“We don’t even know if this really is a
charmed object,” she countered. “The
way I read Shi Wang’s letter, it wasn’t clear
whether his cousin’s wish was granted, or
whether it was a set of tragic coincidences.”
“But, I know the trick, Scully,” he said,
nodding at the Dragon’s Wing. “The
secret behind a successful wish is to be very
She shook her head. “I don’t know about you,
but except for a restful weekend
with my favorite partner,” she elbowed him
gently, “I have nothing to wish for.”
He turned, and studied her face for a moment.
“Then that’s what I’ll wish for.”
He grinned. “For the both of us.”
“Mulder, we’re working on a case. We can’t
take time out of our investigation.”
“You sound as if you believe that a little
piece of skin could grant my wish,”
Mulder teased. “Look, I met Shi L. Wang, Esq.
at Oxford. This was the guy who
short-sheeted my bed, put salt in the sugar
bowl, and did unmentionable things with my
toothbrush. We still keep in touch, and I
really like him, but I can only trust him as
far as I can throw him in a truck.”
“‘Throw him in a truck?'” She snorted, and
said, “I just don’t think we should
be playing with this now. We’re too busy.”
“All the more reason to try it now. You know
that we’re busy checking into Dr.
Hiller, so if we suddenly find ourselves in a
Mediterranean Spa, we’ll have proof that the
Dragon’s Wing works.”
He touched the little bag on the desk in front
of him. “Besides, if Shi isn’t
pulling my leg, and this really is a charmed
object.” He opened the bag, and gently finger
tweezed out the contents. “This is right up
our X-Files alley.”
She looked at the pitiful, charred piece of
flesh between his fingers and said,
“A weekend at a spa does sound nice.”
He lowered his voice and said, “I’ll rub warm
mud all over you, if you rub scented oil all
“Or vice versa,” she purred.
He smiled broadly. “You’re on!”
Putting his hand to his forehead, reminiscent
of Johnny Carson’s Karnack the
Magnificent, he said, “Just give me a minute
to phrase this correctly.”
He peeked up at Scully, who began tapping her
fingers against the edge of the
“Okay, okay, I think I have it,” he said,
clearing his desk.
Gently holding the fragile wing in front of
his lips, he took a breath.
“Here is my wish.” The wing was so light it
fluttered as he spoke.
“I wish for Dana Scully and I to be alone
together with no interruptions.
Allowed to do whatever things we want to do,
in total privacy.” He looked at her with an
evil grin, “And for Scully to be putty in my
“The end,” he said quickly.
“Putty in your hands?”
“As added proof that the Dragon’s Wing works.”
He said innocently.
She stood, took a deep breath, and headed for
the door. “Well, I don’t feel very putty-ish
“Give it time!” he called after her. ‘And a
few bottles of wine,’ he thought.
Mulder opened the bag to replace the Dragon’s
Wing. His eyes widened. A piece
of flesh had broken off, fluttered to his
desk, and crumbled.
The remaining wing was now half the original
Xxxxxx ACT TWO xxxxxX
X-Files Office, Thursday, noon
Basement of the Hoover Building
“When I was in FBI school, they said that an
‘investigation’ was a detailed
inquiry or systematic examination of the case
at hand.” Scully placed her palms on his
desk, bent down, and said, “I have an
appointment with Dr. Hiller in an hour at
Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore to
fulfill the ‘inquiry’ part of the
“Are you sure you’re not feeling even a little
pliable right now?” Mulder asked, as he
riffled through invoices with photographs of
his rear bumper attached. “Don’t
you have the slightest urge to fan me or feed
“I thought I was pretty pliable last night,”
she said, pulling a chair close to
He looked at her and smiled. “Why, yes. Yes
you were. And more descriptive
than usual.” He lowered his voice. “I like it
when you talk to me like that.”
She leaned in, and whispered, “Why don’t you
come to Baltimore to interview
Dr. Hiller with me? I’m leaving now.”
Mulder chuckled, and tore a check from his
checkbook. “I thought he worked at
Fairfax Mercy Hospital in DC.”
“No, not any more. He still has personal and
professional acquaintances there,
though.” She leaned back. “Now, he’s on staff
at Union Memorial, a good hospital in a
nice part of Baltimore. He’s a doctor of
internal medicine, and specializes in
“Geriatrics is old people, right?” Mulder
asked, licking an envelope.
Scully sighed. “Geriatrics is the branch of
medicine that deals with diagnosing, and
treating diseases and problems of the
“Like I said, ‘old people.’ Hey, don’t get me
wrong, Scully. I like old people. I hope to
be one someday.” He stopped and stared at her,
then said, “You and I will make
a cute old couple some day, don’t you think?”
Her face and neck flushed. She stood, cleared
her throat, and said, “I’m leaving.”
“Okay, okay I’m coming. But Scully…?”
He held up a stack of envelopes. “How ’bout
Union Memorial Hospital
1:15 PM, Thursday afternoon
Mulder lowered his head, and tucked his hands
deep into the pockets of his long, black
coat. It was windy and unseasonably chilly.
The dark, heavy clouds blotted
the sun, and rumbled in the distance. Scully
combed her fingers through her windblown hair
as they walked up to the information desk of
Union Memorial Hospital.
“Good afternoon. I’m Agent Scully, and this is
Agent Mulder. We have an appointment
with Dr. Harlan Hiller.” Scully showed her
badge, and received a Visitor’s
pass in return.
“He’s expecting you.” The elderly receptionist
smiled politely as she handed
Mulder his pass. “I have a note from Dr.
Hiller asking me to page him when you arrived.
You can go straight up, and he’ll meet you
They followed her directions to Dr. Hiller’s
office, and before Mulder knocked
on the door, Scully said, “The doctor’s being
“Maybe his evil twin isn’t so cooperative,” he
retorted, as he knocked.
The door swung open and Mulder was met by the
bright, brown eyes of Dr. Harlan
Hiller. Laugh lines and crows feet creased
high into his cheeks. He beamed a
wide gap-toothed smile highlighted by large,
“Come in! Welcome!” He stepped aside. “I
believe you are the first FBI agents I’ve ever
Dr. Hiller was three inches taller and, maybe,
five pounds heavier than Scully.
His black hair was cropped so close, that his
scalp shone through. ‘Dr. Hiller’ was
embroidered above the left breast pocket of
his lab coat, and the white material
accentuated his black skin.
“Dr. Hiller, I’m Agent Scully, and this is
Agent Mulder. Thank you for meeting
with us today.” She offered her hand, and he
shook it vigorously.
“Not a problem—not a problem.” Dr. Hiller took
Mulder’s hand, and shook it
just as enthusiastically. “So nice to meet
you, agents. Please, we can all sit over
here.” He gestured to his desk.
Mulder pulled an office chair over to the desk
while Scully moved a chair to his right.
Dr. Hiller took his own chair from behind his
desk, and moved it to the side, so he could
face the agents directly. He obviously did not
need the security a large desk
“Now, how can I help you?” Dr. Hiller sat with
his hands on his thighs, and leaned
forward. His eyes were still bright, but he
spoke seriously. “Because I really hope I
“We’re investigating the deaths of three of
your patients,” Scully began.
“Yes, I know. If I’m not mistaken, the
deceased are Bertha Witherspoon, Lenore
Morrison, and Leo Formann.”
“Agent Scully, you probably know that Mrs.
Morrison and Mr. Formann were my
patients when I was on staff at Fairfax Mercy.
However, after I left, Dr.Robert Spellman
took over most of my caseload.” He looked up
shyly. “I—uh—I’ve already been questioned
The questioning during a murder investigation,
made most people indignant,
whether they were guilty or not, but Doctor
Hiller’s apologetic tone surprised Mulder.
Perhaps the doctor didn’t realize how close he
was to becoming a murder suspect.
“I know you’ve been interviewed, Doctor, and
thank you for indulging us,”
Mulder said. “But there’s one aspect in all
these deaths that is puzzling. You were seen
attending to these patients right before they
“Is that what the witnesses said? That I was
seen treating all these patients
before they passed?” Hiller asked, amazed.
“Leo Formann identified you himself, right
before he died,” Mulder said.
“But I only saw one of them.” Hiller’s eyes
darted from Mulder to Scully.
“Which one?” she asked, looking over to
“Why, Bertha Witherspoon, of course. She was
admitted to Union Memorial two
months ago, right around the time I joined the
staff. When she was discharged to the
Chesapeake Nursing and Assisted Living Center,
she asked if I would continue to treat her.
I arranged it myself.”
The doctor had a whiff of an accent. Mulder
couldn’t tell if it was West Indian, South
African, or The Bronx.
“Dr. Hiller,” Scully asked, “What were you
doing for Mrs. Witherspoon?”
“Her potassium level was down, so I ordered
some to be injected into her IV.
It’s a common procedure. The nursing staff was
busy helping a patient two doors down,
so I added the medication to her IV bag
instead of waiting for one of them. I noted
it in the chart so that the dosage wouldn’t be
“How did you feel when Mrs. Witherspoon died?”
Scully asked. Mulder shot her
a look, but she was focused on Hiller.
The doctor leaned back, and folded his arms.
His calm, lilting voice answered,
“Agent Scully, death isn’t something I feel
bad or good about. The truth is: if you
live, you die. However, because of my work, I
feel I’m on intimate terms with Death, and I
don’t fear it. I believe that we are powerless
when our time truly comes. Bertha’s time had
“Why did you become a physician if you feel
that Medical Science is powerless
to help?” Scully bristled.
“I didn’t say we couldn’t help. But, when God
has made His decision, all we
can do is ease the suffering, and help quiet
the fear. We can make the transition from
this life to the next easier for our loved
ones. Older folk know this, and most of the
time, all they want is a hand to hold when
they say good-bye.”
Dr. Hiller leaned forward, and smiled. “That’s
why I study gerontology. This population
has no romantic notions about immortality.
Death is expected, and I’m happy to
help when their time comes.”
“How do you help them?” Mulder stared into Dr.
“With comfort measures only. Let nature take
its course, and see that there’s
no unnecessary medical interference.” Hiller
“How do you define ‘unnecessary,’ Dr Hiller?”
Mulder asked pointedly.
“I don’t define ‘unnecessary,’ Agent Mulder.”
He smiled, sat back, and crossed
his legs. “My patients do.”
“We didn’t ask him about Leo Formann and
Lenore Morrison,” Scully complained.
“Yes we did, and he said he was only there for
Bertha Witherspoon, but he didn’t say he
killed her.” He turned and pointed at her. “I
think you owe Edith Fleischmann
an apology, by the way.”
“Bertha’s roommate, I know.” She sighed. “I
have to check into the Doctor’s
alibi again, for that night.”
“Yeah, I seem to remember something about it
“It must have been a mix-up on the time.” She
waved her hand dismissively.
“What made you run out of there so fast?”
“I didn’t run out of there.” Mulder put his
arm around her shoulders, and
hurried her along. “Dr. Hiller wasn’t going to
confess to euthanasia. So, now we have
some digging to do.”
“You heard him, Scully. He likes to help old
people out with their suffering.
Be there for
them at the end.”
“I wish you’d stop calling our aged
population, ‘old people.'” She walked
quickly and deliberately; her lips pressed
together. She stopped suddenly. “While I agree
that there’s a time to let people die with
dignity, his cavalier attitude toward his
“Pissed you off, didn’t he.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t want to get into a
discussion with him about morality and
the Hippocratic Oath. I was already close to
becoming righteously indignant.” She
smiled depreciatingly. “Besides, it wouldn’t
“Well, while you were making appointments as
your part of the inquiry, I was
gathering information.” He took her elbow, and
guided her across the street to their
car. “It seems that the good doctor pays
monthly rent on several storage facilities in
the Baltimore area. Maybe he moved here for a
reason.” He opened the driver’s side door for
“Why? To be closer to his junk? Mulder, people
rent those so they don’t have
to throw away Aunt Colleen’s quilt, Aunt
Mitzi’s bear rug, or Aunt Maureen’s rocking
chair.” She slammed the door, and put the key
in the ignition.
He scooted into the passenger’s seat. “You
have a lot of aunts.”
“Yes, I do. That’s how I know what storage
units are for, because I rent one.”
“I didn’t know that. Is it heated? Maybe we
could set up a warm mud bath in
it for the week-end.” He patted his shirt
pocket; “I even brought the Dragon’s Wing, in
case we wanted to use that last wish.”
“You brought it with you?”
He nodded, and patted his pocket again.
Scully shook her head and continued, “Well,
mine isn’t climate controlled, but some units
“I don’t know about you, but I think that even
for a doctor, seven large garage
units are excessive.” He reached under the
seat, and pulled out a street map.
She paused, “Yeah, that is excessive.”
“I’ve got a list of them.” He opened a small
notebook, and thumbed through the
The sky darkened. Lightning flashed and
thunder cracked, but no rain fell.
“That was right on cue,” Scully said, looking
out the window. “Sounds like
it’s time to go. Where’s the first unit?”
“A little south of the main city, in
Brooklyn.” He opened the map, and ran his
finger down through the streets.
“It seems that a lot of big cities have
Brooklyns.” She backed the Taurus away
from the curb.
“Let’s see what Dr. Hiller has in this one.”
U Store It, Public Storage, Thursday, 3:00 PM
East Patapsco Avenue, Brooklyn
Baltimore City, Maryland
“I’m sure that in FBI school, they said
something about obtaining search
warrants, and avoiding breaking and entering,”
Scully said, glancing around the “U Store It”
public storage on East Patapsco Avenue.
“Really? I must have been absent that day.”
Mulder fiddled with a ring of lock picks.
“Were you absent the day they showed you how
to use those, too?”
Mulder looked closely at the picks. Even
though it was only three o’clock in
the afternoon, the purple-black clouds
darkened the sky so completely that the
streetlights kicked on.
The “U Store It” was a self-serve facility
made up of several long lines of
large garage-door units. No security guard was
on duty when they’d driven through the front
gates, so they hadn’t had to show their badges
or answer any questions. The building
they wanted was well hidden from the street,
so Scully had quickly driven around to the
back, and parked in front of Unit #527.
Mulder finally held up his chosen pick.
“If you women would start using bobby pins
again, it would make breaking and
entering a lot less complicated.” Mulder slid
the pick into the padlock and jiggled it
gently. The tumblers clicked, and the lock
popped open. He removed the lock, and opened
the hasp that secured the door. Holding the
lock high in the air, he raised his other
arm, and took a bow.
Scully looked at the padlock skeptically, and
said, “Either Dr. Hiller isn’t too concerned
about what’s in here, or you’re one hell of a
He flipped the shackle around his finger and
smiled. “It’s always good to have
other employment options available.”
Mulder put the lock down, grasped the garage-
door handle, and tugged.
“Jesus, what’s this door made of? Lead? Gimme
a hand here, Scully.”
Scully wedged her fingers between his, and, at
his nod, they both pulled. The
door opened up a foot. They readjusted their
stances and heaved again. It took two
more strong pulls and a push, to completely
raise the heavy metal door.
Thunder clapped in the background as they
stood in the open doorway of the
storage unit. A musty, mildew odor wafted out.
Mulder snaked his hand inside, and patted the
wall until he found a light switch. Dim light
from a single bulb illuminated the
dust lying on the paint tarps covering Dr.
Hiller’s personal possessions.
“Mulder, look.” Scully pointed down. A jumble
of footprints were scattered over the dusty
Mulder edged in front of her and walked in.
“Funny. The tarp coverings aren’t
disturbed, but it looks like someone’s been in
“The footprints look like they’re a few weeks
old, but it’s hard to tell,” Scully said,
stepping into the storage room behind him.
“This room looks like it goes way back there.”
Mulder pulled a small flashlight from his
pocket, and clicked it on. The storage room
was crowded to the ceiling with tarp-covered
“It looks like all his stuff is covered up,
like he’s getting ready to paint
the place.” He turned to her. “Why would he
want to paint in here?”
The small beam showed footprints continuing
into the darkness. He swung the beam of
light around on the floor, then on the tarp in
front of him. He leaned over,
and with his left hand, gripped the heavy
fabric and lifted.
Fat raindrops smacked against the tin roof,
filling the room with a loud, wet
“Mulder, what is it?” Scully stepped in
further to avoid the spray of the
pelting rain, while keeping surveillance on
the parking lot.
“What do you make of these?” Mulder pulled the
tarp back revealing rows of neatly
stacked black boxes. He pulled another cloth
away, uncovering more stacks of identical
black boxes. “There are hundreds of them in
He lifted one. The box was seamless heavy
plastic with no obvious opening. It
was rectangular, shorter and wider than a
large shoebox. He turned it over in his
hands, and was surprised at how heavy it was.
He figured it weighed around five or six
pounds. There was a small metal plate stuck to
the short side of the box. It read:
Mulder picked up another box and read the
plate: PNS—12/18-2/00. He walked
back, and handed it to Scully.
“What is this?” he asked.
“Mulder,” she said slowly, “You said that Dr.
Hiller pays rent on seven units like this
“Well, we’ve just broken into his own private
columbarium. These boxes are used in a
morgue or at a cemetery to hold cremains: the
remains of cremated individuals.”
“Holy shit,” Mulder whispered. “You mean, each
of these boxes was once a— a
“That’s right. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
Scully said grimly.
“There’s so many of them.” Mulder tried to
swallow, but his tongue was too dry. A
moment ago, the boxes were oddities. Now they
were someone’s dearly departed.
Someone’s friend or father. Someone’s sister.
“Now we know what Dr. Hiller has in this unit,
and in maybe six more storage units as
well. The plaques probably are initials and
dates. See, on this one, 12/18-2/00?” Scully
turned the box where he could see. “It could
mean December, 1918, to February, 2000.
This person with the initials ‘PNS’ was just
over 81 years old when he or she died.”
Mulder looked around at the tall mounds, and
started tearing down the tarps. He was
mindful not to jostle the boxes too much.
“You’re right.” She stared wide-eyed at the
dozens of stacks of black boxes
he’d uncovered. “There are hundreds of them.”
Mulder peered into the blackness of the
storage unit. “I’m going further back
into the room, I think there’s something else
in here.” He aimed his flashlight, and
took a step. He heard Scully say, “I’m going
out to the car; my phone doesn’t work in here.
We need to find a way to break in legally…”
She ducked her head out into the rain.
Lightning struck and thunder crashed in a
deafening roar. The storage room lit
up with a brilliant flash just as the heavy
metal door slipped its moor. The force of the
slamming door flung Scully back into the room.
The light faded out as Mulder heard her head
smack the concrete floor.
His little beam wavered as it found her. Her
eyes were closed, and blood ran
down her face, pooling on the floor.
“God, Scully, please…” he whispered
fiercely, “Talk to me. C’mon, talk to
me.” He knelt next to her on the hard floor,
and felt her pulse. Her heartbeat was strong,
but she was breathing in short, shallow gasps.
“Don’t do this, Scully. Come on, please
open your eyes.”
The thunder stilled, and the rain dissipated;
the room was deathly quiet. Mulder charged
over to the door, and strained to lift it. It
Pounding his fists against the door, he
shouted, “Help, somebody!” He yelled
louder. “We need help in here! Help!”
His voice echoed among the ashes of the dead.
Lowering himself to the floor, he gently
shifted Scully into his lap. She lay still and
silent, her warm blood soaking into his shirt.
“Scully, please wake up…please, Scully…”
He rocked her gently, softly repeating her
name. Her arm flopped, and her head lolled as
he swayed. No one had seen them enter,
and they were far back from the street. They
were isolated, totally alone together.
And Scully was putty in his hands.
Xxxxxx ACT THREE xxxxxX
“U Store It”—Unit #527
East Patapsco Avenue
Brooklyn section of Baltimore
Late Thursday afternoon
“…and then he told me to get my skinny ass
off the court or he’d call my mother. What
did he think I was? A kid? He didn’t scare me,
though, Scully, I mean, I was
almost eighteen…” Mulder’s voice drifted off
as he planted a kiss on the top of her
head. “C’mon, Scully,” he whispered into her
hair, rocking her gently. “You say we
never talk enough. I’m all ears now.”
The ceiling light bulb fluttered on,
suggesting that the transformer, blown out
by the lightning, was back in business. Mulder
looked around. He had stacked the
black boxes carefully, so he could lean
against them as Scully reclined in his lap. He
looked at his watch, and ran his hand through
his hair before hugging her to his chest. It
had been the longest half-hour of his life.
However, her head had stopped bleeding, and
her breathing was deep and steady.
“Why won’t you wake up? What can I do?” He
squeezed his eyes shut. “You have
to tell me, Scully.” He resumed his gentle
“Have to…keep going…” Scully mumbled.
Mulder held his breath. “Scully?”
“I said…keep going.” She took a slow breath.
“I like to hear…” She stirred in
his arms, and opened her eyes. “… about your
skinny seventeen year-old ass.” She smiled
“Oh, God, Scully. Scully…” Letting out his
breath, he gently kissed her
cheeks. He looked at her face, and smiled in
relief. “I said I was almost eighteen.”
“Almost eighteen is seventeen.” She sat up
slowly, and held her head. “Oh my God.”
“Take it easy. Slow and easy.” He rubbed his
hands softly up and down her arms.
“Look at your shirt,” she said, patting the
bloodstains. “It’s a mess.” She
tilted her head back against his chest, and
closed her eyes.
“You have to stay awake, Scully.” He moved her
out of his lap, leaned her against the
boxes, and stood up. “You bumped your head
pretty hard.” He offered her his
hand. “Try and stand up, okay?”
She sighed, and held out her hands. He took
them, and helped her to her feet.
She wobbled, and he held her arms to steady
her. “How bad does it look?” she asked.
“Here, feel.” He guided her fingertips to the
jagged cut at her hairline.
She winced as she probed. “It’s not bad, just
a couple of stitches, maybe. The door must
have hit me before I fell. Heads and scalps
always bleed a lot.” She gingerly
touched the bump on the back of her head, and
looked at him blearily. She sat back down on
a stack of boxes and said, “It’s not as bad as
“Are you going to be all right?” he asked
She gave a wan smile. “After four or five
Tylenol, I will.”
“You scared me.” He leaned over and looked
into her eyes.
“I’m sorry.” Her bloodshot eyes were alert,
and both pupils matched in size.
Mulder knew that with a head injury, matching
pupils was a good thing.
“Don’t do it again.” His breathing evened out
as his heart finally started beating
Mulder straightened up, stretched his arms
high over his head, and turned to
the door. Reaching down and curling his
fingers around the handle, he yanked up hard.
The door was welded to the ground. He backed
up and kicked it.
He kicked it again. And again and again,
growling at it with each impact.
“Mulder!” Scully stood unsteadily. “It’s okay,
we’ll figure something out.”
“Goddamit! I couldn’t get it open. You were
lying on the floor, bleeding to
death for all I knew, and I couldn’t get
the…” He kicked again. “…fucking door
Thunder rumbled on the other side.
“Someone will see our car,” she said using
Mulder’s arm for balance. “Storage
lots have security guards that make rounds.
It’s too bad that we’ll be caught warrant-
less, but, eventually we will be found.” She
staggered over to the tumble of boxes.
Rubbing her temples, she sat down next to JVS
“Hey, Mulder.” She hefted the box and rubbed
the date with her thumb. “Read
off some of the dates on those boxes.”
“Why?” He sent one last half-hearted kick into
“Just the first dates. Like on this one where
it says 5/09.”
Mulder sighed and looked at her. She sat
staring at the black box, fingering the
engraved numbers. Blood smeared down the right
side of her face and neck, caking in her
hair. A large purple bruise extended from her
hairline to her eye, and accompanied the
angry gash in her scalp. Her favorite cream-
colored silk blouse was ruined. If she wanted
him to, he would read dates to her all night
He looked for the numbers.
“Let’s see—okay.” He scanned the row in front
of him and read aloud. “10/12, 3/21, uh
let me wipe this off, 4/19…”
“Okay, that’s enough.” She pointed at the
boxes. “Mulder, did you notice…?”
“Yeah, they’re all old people. I mean, like,
really old people.”
She sighed and shook her head. “Mulder, they
were people who lived long lives.
Dr. Hiller was a geriatric specialist. I
wonder if these were some of his patients
want his ‘unnecessary medical interference’.”
“If they were, he certainly has quite a
collection of them. Maybe they still
owed him money, and he wasn’t going to let
them go until they paid in full. Wait!” He
fumbled for his flashlight. “I thought there
was something else back there.”
Loud splashes of rain pelted down, and thunder
echoed loudly in the little room.
Mulder picked his way through the mausoleum
until he got to the back. He
turned and saw Scully watching him in the dim
light. ‘Yep, she’s gonna have a real
shiner,’ he thought as he pulled down the last
A large, black granite slab leaned against the
back wall. He ran his hand across the dusty,
cold stone, feeling its smooth, polished
“What is it?” she asked.
“It’s a big, flat rock.” He ran the flashlight
beam across the front and sides. “It looks
like a big grave marker, but it doesn’t have
anything engraved on it.” He looked at
the stacks of ashes and said, “Of course, I
may not have thought of a grave marker under
“So what are we looking at here, Mulder?” She
squinted up at him as he approached. “A
doctor who either kills his patients, or let’s
them die. Then, has them cremated, and hides
them here. What for? And where were these
people’s relatives,” she gestured
to the stacks around them, “when he did this?”
“Maybe they didn’t have relatives. Maybe he
was taking care of them.” He sat
on the floor cross-legged at her feet, gently
moved a box out of his way, and stared
up at her.
“Maybe.” She looked down at him. He reached up
to brush her hair off her bruised cheek. “I’m
going to have a black eye, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, I was just thinking that.” He smiled
sympathetically. “I guess you can read my
mind, huh?” He cleared his throat, and took a
deep breath. “I owe you an apology.”
“For what? Noticing my black eye?” She smiled,
and ran her fingers through his hair.
“No. For the wish. I really thought I had the
technique down. But I blew it.”
Still stroking his hair, she asked softly,
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I wanted us to be alone together.” He quoted,
“‘Alone together with no interruptions.
Allowed to do whatever things we want to do,
in total privacy.’ And I wanted
you to be putty in my hands.” He drew a shaky
breath. “For the last half-hour, you were
absolutely at my mercy.”
“Mulder, you’re not blaming all this on that?”
She tapped his shirt pocket holding the
“The wish came true, Scully. I’m just glad
you’re still alive.” He took her
hand, kissed it, and held it to his chest.
She was smiling at him, her eyes glittering in
the soft light. “What?” he repeated grinning.
“I can’t…” Her expression grew thoughtful.
“I can’t explain how you make me feel when
you talk about reading minds and making
wishes.” She leaned down and smiled
softly. “You remind me that there’s still
wonder and magic in the world. Every day you
show me there’s at least one person who hasn’t
become too jaded to see the mysteries around
us. No matter how long I live, as long as I’m
with you, I’ll never grow old.”
He blinked several times. “And you make me
believe in miracles.”
Scully’s smile widened, so Mulder caught some
of her teeth when he leaned in and kissed
“You know, Mulder, you only make confessions
like this when the witnesses are
unable to testify.” She handed him CAO—10/21-
He studied the black boxes stacked to the
ceiling, and for the first time, he
shuddered. “Hey, Scully?”
“You wouldn’t do this, would you?” He shook
“Cremating is an efficient, and cost effective
method of interment. The Catholic Church
no longer forbids it, and some of the urns
I’ve seen are very pretty.” She ruffled his
hair, and patted his head.
“No. I mean, to me. You wouldn’t let this
happen to me, would you?” He gripped her
hand. Suddenly, her answer was profoundly
“No,” she whispered. “I would never let that
“You promise?” He stared at her intently.
“Yes. I promise.”
He nodded, and her eyes misted over.
The thunder clapped, then crashed. Scully
covered her ears, and Mulder jumped to his
“Damn! That was close. It shook the whole
room!” He took a few steps over to the
door. “When are the security people going to
notice we’ve broken in?”
Banging his fists on the door, he yelled,
“Hello! Hello! We’re stealing stuff
in here. Come arrest us!”
“Well, at least we’re warm and dry,” she
“Stop being optimistic. I’m getting hungry.”
He thought about kicking the
door again, but stopped. “You know, Scully? It
*is* warm in here.”
“I know. I’m glad.”
“I thought that this wasn’t a climate-
controlled unit,” he said, searching the
walls for a thermostat.
“Then it should be getting cooler in here,
with evening approaching and the
rain cooling everything off.” He paced back
and forth in front of the closed door.
She considered a minute. “Maybe it is heated,
because it’s definitely nice and
warm in here.”
“What’s on the other side of the wall behind
the big, flat rock?” he asked.
“There’s another garage unit like this one.
Two strips of units back to back, I think.
Mulder walked back to the granite slab and
touched the wall behind it.
“Scully, the wall is hot.” He pointed his
flashlight at the ceiling. Smoke curled in the
“Oh shit.” He rushed back to her. “We gotta
get out of here. Now!”
Scully stood slowly, and carefully moved to
the door. “Come on, Mulder. We
opened it once, we can open it again.”
“Scully, you shouldn’t…” He knew that the
door was glued to the floor, but he
said, “Okay, let’s do it.”
They both squatted and grabbed the rung.
“Ready?” He waited for her nod. “Okay, on
three. One, two, three!” They
heaved up hard on the handle.
The temperature rose several degrees, and
smoke filled the room. The door
remained locked down tight.
Scully slumped to the floor, held her head,
and moaned softly. “Let’s…let’s try it
Trying to keep the panic from his voice he
said, “It’s not going to open.” He
joined her on the floor, where there was less
“We have to find a way out,” she said looking
through the haze.
Mulder smiled sadly. “I’m open to any and all
Scully paused, narrowed her eyes, and said, “I
just made you a promise, and I’m not backing
out on it.”
She reached for him, and he opened his arms to
her. But instead of embracing him, she
opened his shirt pocket, and removed the red
and gold silk bag.
“Now, Scully? Miracles and wishes?” She backed
up; her silhouette was all he could see
through the thick, gray smoke.
The red bag fell to the floor, and he squinted
up at her. Scully held something between
Looking directly at the Dragon’s Wing, she
gasped, “Get us out of here before
“Scully,” he coughed. “You have to be…more
specific than that.” He coughed
again, and waved his hand in a futile attempt
to clear the smoke away from his face.
The searing heat would soon melt them away,
and his final wish was to be in her
arms when it did. He inched toward her
inadvertently bracing his hand against the
hot metal wall. He cried out, and pulled his
scorched hand back. His palm and fingers
bubbled with second-degree burns.
“Well, I’m cooking now!” He held up his hand,
for her to see.
The door popped open, and rose two feet, three
feet, all the way up until it clicked
Mulder grabbed Scully off the floor, and
bolted out, into the rain. Both drew
in huge lungfuls of air as they got into their
car. Sirens wailed in the distance.
Thick, foul-smelling smoke poured out of Unit
# 527. The unit behind it was in full flame,
and the surrounding structures groaned,
buckling from the heat.
Seconds later, flames roared out of the open
door, and the unit crashed in a
heap of fire and black smoke. The blaze
consumed the remaining units, and one by one,
they folded in on themselves; leaving twisted
hunks of misshapen metal. The resulting
bonfire shot streams of orange flames high
into the air. The inferno ate its way through
old furniture, portraits of dead relatives,
and hundreds and hundreds of boxes of old
people’s ashes, crackling and popping as it
The heat quickly encroached on their car.
Mulder backed up, one handed, and
drove around to the front.
Fire trucks screamed, and barreled through the
gates; tires skidding as they
sped around back, but the lightning had done
its damage. The entire strip was
unrecognizable, fully ablaze, and engulfed in
thick, sooty smoke.
Mulder turned to his partner who stared
through the windshield, transfixed.
“Ashes to ashes,” she said without moving.
“Dust to dust,” he agreed.
Xxxxxx EPILOGUE xxxxxX
Apartment 42, Friday evening
“Here, look at me again.”
Scully shifted in Mulder’s arms, opened her
eyes, and tried to look annoyed.
“I was dozing.” She stretched her arms over
her head. “It’s been over twenty-four hours;
you can stop checking now.”
“I promised the ER doctor that I’d look into
your eyes every two hours.” He carefully
shifted his right leg, and brushed her bruised
face with his good hand. “I keep
my promises, too, you know.”
Even though it was well past the seven hours
the doctor had suggested, Mulder
was still pleased that her pupils matched.
After the collapse of storage units, Mulder
had rushed them to Harbor Hospital
a few blocks away from the U Store It.
Grabbing Scully by her shirtsleeve, he had
dragged his bruised and wheezing partner into
the emergency room. The nurse had taken one
look at this limping man, covered in
bloodstains, filling out the admission forms
with his left hand cradled protectively
against his chest, and booked him a room, too.
Scully had misdiagnosed herself, but not by
much. She sustained a mild concussion, and
required five small stitches at the hairline.
Even though she suffered through
a couple of coughing fits, the heat and smoke
had not damaged her lungs. Her forehead,
right eye, and right cheek down to her chin
were a striking shade of purple. Her left eye
was lavender, with the promise of a deeper
shade to follow.
The ER doctor wanted to admit her overnight
for observation, but Mulder had
promised to keep a close eye on her. And he
knew that she wanted to keep her good eye
on him, too. Mulder’s left palm, fingers, and
thumb received first and second degree
burns. He had braced his hand against the hot
metal wall, and pushed his weight into it,
before recoiling. It hurt like a son-of-bitch.
But the surprise came when the nurse removed
his socks and shoes. His enthusiastic door
kicking had broken two toes on his right foot.
The doctor splinted them together, and sent
Mulder home in a walking boot. Broken toes
hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, too.
They were still sooty when they left the
hospital, so, by unspoken agreement,
they went to Mulder’s apartment to recuperate.
An hour after that, he sat clean and
sweet-smelling, with his injured foot propped
on the coffee table and his left hand elevated
on the arm of his sofa. His right hand held
the remote, and his arm was draped around
Scully’s shoulder as she snored softly, and
drooled on his chest. He clicked on ESPN,
certain that he was the happiest man alive.
A day later, he checked her pupils again. An
old black-and-white movie was playing in the
“You hungry, Scully?”
“No, I’m not, but do you want me to make you
something?” She was trying to
wake up without moving her sore head.
“Nope.” He clicked the remote, and the screen
“What then?” She yawned, closed her eyes and
snuggled down into him.
“While you were dozing, I made a bunch phone
calls to the office, and—to a few
other places. Pulled a few strings.” He patted
her hair and leaned over to put the
remote on the coffee table.
“Well, it might interest you to know that
after we spoke with Dr. Hiller
yesterday, he left the country.”
She opened her eyes and sat up. “What?”
“Yep, he was informed of a family emergency,
and immediately booked a flight to
his native country. He flew out late last
“You are kidding me, right?” She turned so she
could look him in the eye.
“I’m not. Due to the lack of solid damning
evidence tying him to the deaths of
his former patients, and because of the good
domestic relations enjoyed between the United
States and his country, no warrant will be
issued to extradite Dr. Hiller from
“What…what about the ashes? What about the
other storage units?” Her voice raised an
“Yes, about those. Dr. Hiller was very
forthcoming, after we tracked him down
this morning. He had no knowledge whatsoever
about any ashes, and denied that he
currently rented the now defunct Unit #527 at
the U Store It.”
As he spoke, Mulder tried one-handed, to curl
a few strands of her hair around
his little finger. “The storage company can’t
find Dr. Hiller’s original rental agreement. I
had a faxed copy, dated two years ago, but the
doctor said he no longer rented it.”
“So who did rent it?”
“I guess we’re not sure. Maybe after the smoke
clears, I’ll ask the U Store It
guys to check again. They probably won’t be
too interested in looking into it,
She stared at him, and very slowly shook her
head. “And the other six units?”
“Furniture, Scully, but not quite what you
thought. Dr. Hiller gave us
permission to look inside his storage rooms.
Each of them held different styles of
furniture. He explained that he liked to
redecorate—got tired of the same scheme—so
every few months he’d hire a moving company to
switch out his furniture. One unit had an Art
Nouveau motif, one had Japanese and Asian
overtones, and another had an Ultra-
Contemporary Swedish élan, etcetera. By the
way, his house on Gibson Island is currently
decorated in Modern Victorian.”
“Want one more unbelievable thing for today?”
he asked softly.
“There’s *more*? Boy, Mulder, I go to sleep
for a few hours and you wrap it all up?”
“Quite an institution, that FBI school, huh?”
He carefully moved his sore hand
onto a pillow in his lap, so he could turn
toward her. “One more thing, if you want
to hear it.”
“Okay,” she sighed. “I want to hear it.”
“Remember Leo Formann, the man who claimed
that Dr. Hiller poisoned him, and
Sadie Littlejohn, the elderly patient who
identified Dr. Hiller as ‘examining’ her
roommate, Lenore Morrison before Mrs. Morrison
“Yes, of course.”
“Mr. Formann is dead, he was eighty-one. And
now, so is Mrs. Littlejohn. She
passed away unexpectedly this morning. There’s
nobody left to identify Dr. Hiller.”
He paused to swallow before continuing. “Mrs.
Littlejohn lived to be eighty-five years
old, and had no relatives listed, and no one
entrusted to…” A lump unexpectedly formed in
his throat, and he looked away.
“Mulder,” she said softly, “if you want, I’ll
call the hospital and make sure that her body
is claimed for burial.”
He nodded silently. Even though he didn’t know
Mrs. Littlejohn, he didn’t want
her to end up as unclaimed ashes in a black
“I—uh—I have an impossible thing, too,” she
He cleared his throat, swiped at his nose, and
said, “Shoot.” It was hard to
tell with all the bruising, but Mulder thought
she was blushing.
“If anyone asks me how we got out of that
storage garage, my official answer,
and the one I may actually believe, is that
the heat loosened the joints, and caused
the metal door to expand and break free of the
door frame. It popped out of the door jamb,
thus allowing the door to open.”
“Except that the hot doorframe would have
expanded along with the hot door,
squeezing the door more firmly closed,” Mulder
said, picking a piece of imaginary lint
“Different metals expand at different rates.”
“Touché!” He raised his good hand. “Or, as the
kids say, ‘true dat.'” He curled his hand
around her waist. He wasn’t buying it for a
minute, and doubted that she was either.
“That’s the explanation I would give if just
‘anyone’ asked me,” she hedged.
“But if you asked me what I really thought…”
He cut her off. “Okay, so, how did we escape
that pressure cooker?” He nodded
once. “There, I just asked you.”
She squirmed, and was definitely flushed pink
under the purple. He waited for her to answer.
“I was pretty desperate. I mean we were both
“I noticed that.”
Scully worked her lips and attempted to form
the words. Mulder remained
politely silent, watching her struggle. She
clamped her mouth shut, tilted her chin
defiantly, and glared at him.
“Sorry, Scully. How ’bout I make it easy for
you? I mean, when it comes to
wishes. I’m your boy.” He kissed the top of
her head. “Besides, it won’t sound so crazy
to you if I say it.”
“No, I’ll tell it.” She sighed in resignation.
“I took that piece of paper-thin dragon tissue
out of your pocket, held it up, and made a
wish. After you shouted that you were
‘cooking,’ the Dragon’s Wing dissolved in my
hand, and the door opened. Now the
Dragon’s Wing was very fragile, and the heat
was pretty intense…”
“But since this is ‘me’ you’re telling…” he
poked her with his fingers.
“I didn’t believe it would work, but you did.
Don’t you see, Mulder? Faith is
believing.” She paused for words. “Faith is
when you believe in something with all your
heart, without needing logical proof or
Scully lowered her voice, but she didn’t turn
away. Her eyes were shining when
she said, “Something did save us, yesterday.
It was your belief in wonder, wishes, and
the power of charmed objects. I never would
have wished on a piece of dead flesh without
you believing it would work.”
He smiled crookedly. “Ahh, it probably
wouldn’t have worked for me anyway.”
He pushed stray red strands away from her
eyes. “I would have been too specific.”
With one arm, he hugged her warmly, and
scooted as close to her as he could,
thoroughly convinced now that he was the
happiest man alive.
She snuggled back into him, and handed him the
remote. He aimed the clicker, but didn’t press
Lowering his hand, he cocked his head to the
side then dipped it to catch her
eye. “Hey, Scully, something you said made me
realize that my fondest wish has been
granted. Something I’ve wanted my whole life.”
Her brows knitted together. “What’s that?”
He lowered his voice. “I have always wanted,”
he leaned down, and kissed her
tenderly, “to believe.”
This was a tip o’ the pen to W. W. Jacobs
short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” One
place to read it online is here:
After 100 years, it’s still a spooky story!