Title: All the King’s Men
Author: Vickie Moseley
Written for Virtual Season 11 Halloween Special
Category: V, X, MSR
Archive: Two weeks exclusive property of VS 11, then
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully are the property of
1013 Productions and 20th Century FOX. Fort de
Chartres is the property of the state of Illinois,
managed by the Historical Preservation Agency.
Prairie du Rocher is a real town along the
Mississippi River in Illinois.
Please see notes at end.
Merci beaucoup to all the dear readers who have stuck
by us these past three years. We hope to dish up a
great season for you this year.
Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the King’s Men
by Vickie Moseley
Prairie du Rocher, Illinois
October 31, 2003
The dark blue Ford Taurus pulled down the gravel
road, coming to a stop at the edge of a field of
corn. The moon shone brightly over the field, until
a cloud covered it for the length of a breath, only
to scuttle away.
“Mulder, is _this_ what you meant by ‘let’s go check
out the sights’?” Scully asked with more than a
little annoyance in her voice. They had just
finished up a particularly dissatisfying team
building conference in St. Louis, just across the
river. Since their plane didn’t leave from Lambert
International Airport until the next day, Scully had
envisioned a night on Laclades Landing by the river,
sampling some of St. Louis’ finer restaurants, maybe
even catching the Blues play hockey at the Savvis
Center. Much to her dismay, Mulder took the rental
car out of the hotel parking lot away from Downtown
St. Louis and across the mighty Mississippi and
south, into the boonies.
“Mulder, is this private property?” she asked,
glancing around the deserted landscape. A stand of
trees bordered the field directly to the north, the
gravel road bordered it to the west. To their backs,
Scully could almost hear the rush of water that was
the longest river in North America. If she
concentrated, she could smell the moisture coming on
the autumn wind.
Mulder was sucking on a sunflower seed, which he
absently spit out the open car window. “County road,
Scully. Albeit slightly less developed than we’re
used to back east, but pretty pragmatic when you
figure the only vehicles to travel this way are
combines and equipped with tractor tires.”
“OK, so you’ve now shown me that you have at least a
passing knowledge of agricultural implements.
Mulder, what the hell are we doing here?” she asked
He smiled at her, his expression just visible in the
light of the dashboard. “A picnic?” he offered and
jumped out of the car, striding purposefully to the
trunk where he withdrew a hamper, a camp light and an
She got out of the car slowly, closing the door
against a gust of wind. Leaves from trees she
couldn’t even see in the dark skittered over the hood
of the car and danced near her face before chasing
each other through the skeletal stalks of corn.
Mulder was walking away from the car, next to the
field. He finally settled not far from the trees,
which, in the light of Mulder’s lamp, Scully could
now see were a mixture of maple and oak. She watched
him spread the blanket out on the dry grass, brushing
off a couple of leaves that clung stubbornly to the
fabric. He settled down on the blanket on his knees,
opened up the picnic hamper and started taking out an
assortment of containers.
“Where did you . . .”
“The hotel offers ‘tailgate packages’,” he announced
proudly as he fished around and pulled out a bottle
of wine and couple of plastic glasses. “You’ll have
to excuse the screw cap on the wine. I thought about
getting something more expensive, but figured a
corkscrew would be too cumbersome out here.”
Scully shook her head and after a few minutes sat
down on the blanket next to him. She picked up a
container and opened it, discovering chicken salad on
a tomato. A second container held a roast beef
sandwich on marble rye bread. Mulder elbowed her arm
and she looked up to find him handing her a glass of
wine. “Eat up, Scully. The show should start soon.”
He handed her a fork and she balanced the wine glass
on a level spot near her foot. Taking a bite of the
chicken salad she smiled. It was quite good, with
walnuts and grapes, an indulgence she rarely got for
herself, but one her partner of 10 years knew was a
secret craving. “This is really good,” she told him,
just to let him know he was at least partially
forgiven. They ate in silence for a few minutes,
Mulder polishing off the roast beef in his usual ‘eat
it before it eats you’ manner. He was sipping his
wine when she put her fork inside the Styrofoam
container and placed both in the hamper. “So, what’s
for dessert?” she asked.
In the glow of the camp light, he leaned forward and
captured her lips in a sweet, heady kiss. Not one to
let him get the upper hand, Scully ardently returned
the kiss. A gust of wind came up again and caused
her to shiver, breaking the spell.
“Here, bundle up. It shouldn’t be long now,” Mulder
told her, taking off his jacket and wrapping it
around her shoulders. The day had been warm, but the
temperature had dropped and she wasn’t prepared for a
picnic in the moonlight.
“You keep talking about this ‘show’, Mulder. What,
exactly, are we here to see? Isn’t this the part in
the movie where the children of the corn come out
carrying scythes and kill the two young lovers?”
“I don’t think I saw that one, Scully. Was that
Children of the Corn III or IV?” he shot back, but
finally set down his glass, a sure sign that he was
about to embark on a Mulder story. “Do you know that
we’re sitting on a part of history here, Scully?”
“Do tell? Of course, find me a square inch of land
in this country that isn’t a part of history, Mulder,
but please, go on with your story.”
He shook his head and muttered something that sounded
amazingly like ‘damned skeptic’, but flashed her a
smile and continued. “Right down this road,” he
said, pointing south along the line of corn, “is Fort
de Chartres. It was one of the first forts along the
Mississippi. King Louis the XV built it in 1756,
back when this land was held by the French. Did you
know that many of the names of the towns and streets
in St. Louis come from the French, Scully?”
“I think names of towns like Creve Coeur, Frontenac
and St. Louis itself that sort of gave it away,
Mulder. But don’t let me stop the story,” she
encouraged with a wave of her hand.
“Show off,” he muttered. “Anyway, as I was saying,
Louis the XV commissioned the fort. It was essential
to the fur trade that came down the Missouri to St.
Louis and down the Ohio to the Mississippi, then
further down the river to New Orleans, another major
French holding, and eventually, the civilized world,
which was considerably east of this river,” he
“Some might be so bold as to say it still is,” she
He faked a silent laugh.
“Mulder, the show?” she prodded.
“I’m getting to that,” he told her patiently. “So,
the French had this fort. And one day, one of the
king’s emissaries turned up dead, murdered,
presumably by a disgruntled resident of the fort.
The murderer was never apprehended, but the
townspeople were more concerned about what to do with
the body of a prominent person so far away from the
Court in Paris. A delegation made the trek to
Kaskaskia, the site of the regional government, later
to become Illinois’ first capitol, to determine what
they should do.”
“I’m definitely getting the ‘historic’ part of this
story, Mulder, but it still doesn’t answer my
question. Why are _we_ here?”
“So, it’s said that every year that Halloween falls
on a Friday, and there’s a full moon, you can see . .
At that very moment, a dark cloud obliterated the
moon and a strong gust of wind blew up and knocked
the camp light over, causing it to turn off, plunging
them both in darkness. Mulder instinctively reached
for his gun, Scully coming up with hers almost at the
same time. Both agents peered anxiously into the
near pitch-black darkness.
As suddenly as the moon had vanished, it reappeared.
Scully blinked as her eyes adjusted to the light.
Then, off in the distance, coming down the far side
of the gravel road, she saw them. Horses, at least
two dozen of them. The riders were in tandem, as if
on parade. But no sound came from the hoofs, only
the sound of the wind and the unsettling brush of
leaves on the tall grasses. As the horsemen drew
closer, they turned and headed into the cornfield
across the road, but the corn didn’t part in their
Soon, wagons came into view, and the two agents sat
in stunned silence. Then Mulder began a whispered
count. “Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two . .
.” Scully thought her heart could be heard a mile
away when the last wagon came into sight and she
heard him breathlessly murmur “Forty!”
And then they were alone. The horsemen, the wagons,
all disappeared into the corn. The wind howled
through the trees and rattled the stalks like bones
as the chill and something else tore at their veins.
Scully shivered, as much from what she’d seen as from
the sudden drop to near freezing temperatures.
Mulder was scrambling to toss objects in the hamper,
tugging at the blanket before she’d come back to
herself enough to rise. He hooked the hamper on his
arm, grabbed the light with one hand and her arm with
the other and hurried back up the road to the waiting
rental car. Tossing the hamper and light haphazardly
in the backseat, Mulder tore open the door and Scully
crawled through to the passenger side, too shaken to
walk around the car to her own door. Mulder crawled
in after her, jammed the key in the ignition and to a
peel of gravel, they sped off down the road.
The lights of Prairie du Rocher were fading behind
them, and the Mississippi River Bridge was coming
into view before Scully found her voice. “Mulder,
what the hell did we just see back there?” she
“I didn’t think we’d see it, Scully. Honest, it’s
been years, several years, since the last reported
sighting. I figured it would just make a really cool
spooky way to spend Halloween,” he panted.
“Was that what I think it was?” she asked, shaking
her head in disbelief.
“That was the King’s emissary’s funeral procession,
Scully,” Mulder said firmly. “It’s been viewed in
the past, as I said, but mostly in the late 1800s.
It was seen a couple of times in the 20th Century,
but just once in the past 20 years.” He pulled the
car onto the bridge and Scully was relieved to see
that even at that late hour, there was traffic
crossing the river.
“So, if you didn’t think we’d see it, why on earth
did you drag me all the way out there?” she asked,
struggling to get the muscles in her back to relax.
After being tense for so long, they were screaming
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 11 years,
Scully, it’s that when I’m with you, spooky shit
happens.” He gave her a grin in the dim light of the
“Actually, Mulder, I think _you’re_ the spooky
magnet,” she said with a sigh, forcing herself to
relax into her seat. For a while they just drove,
the sound of the tires on the bridge reassuring them
that they were safely in the 21st Century. Scully
thought back to the cornfield and the funeral
procession and shivered again, but this time, it
carried a delicious tingle.
Reaching over, she clutched his hand where it picked
at the fabric of his pants. Slowly, she rubbed her
thumb across his knuckles, eliciting a smile from his
“What?” he asked, glancing over at her before turning
his attention back to the road.
“Where are you taking me next Halloween?” she asked
His smile grew brighter. “Have you ever heard of the
ghost woman of Paris, Missouri, Scully?”
Author’s notes: Inspiration for this story was found
in the book _Haunted Heartland_ by Beth Scott and
Michael Norman, Published by Barnes and Nobles Books.
It is based on real sightings of the funeral
procession near Fort de Chartres along the
Mississippi River in Illinois. The actual
processional is seen at midnight on July 4 in years
where the 4th falls on a Friday and there is a full
moon. I moved the date to Halloween because it just
seemed more suited there. The last acknowledged
sighting (and the one recorded) of the funeral
procession was in 1986. The town of Prairie du
Rocher almost joined the provincial capitol of
Kaskaskia at the bottom of the Mississippi River
during the 500-year flood in 1993. The townspeople
and a lot of sandbags saved the town. Fortunately,
the cool heads at the Illinois Historical
Preservation Agency saved the Fort and its contents
from destruction by the floodwaters.