Title: Grave Consequences
Category: Case file
Spoilers: Anything up to JS then AU
Disclaimer: They belong to Fox
Archive: VS 11 for two weeks then anywhere
Summary: M&S investigate a series of unexplained deaths in a small
mid-western town but it doesn’t end there.
~ Grave Consequences ~
“Hey Milk, why don’t you pass me the ball?”
“What! You think I don’t want to win?”
Milk ran down to set up in the post-position under the basket. A
tall, sinewy, black athlete charged the hoop. Milk stepped into his
path and cut him off. The man driving for the basket flipped the
ball behind his back and cut to the left. He raced for the open
basket and easily tipped the ball over the rim.
“Chas!” Milk yelled, “I thought you were at the top of the key.”
“I was Milk, but he cut to your left. I can’t be coverin’ your
ass too,” the smaller, black athlete replied.
Milk pulled up his shirt to wipe the sweat from his brow. He
didn’t notice the small, redheaded woman clad in a soft, gray
sweater and snug jeans that had just appeared at the entrance to
the gym. She stood aside as two men walked past her, their stares
nearly resulting in them walking into the closed metal door, but
she didn’t notice. Her gaze fell upon the tall, lanky man whose
dark hair was plastered to his face as beads of sweat ran down his
muscular chest; the one they called Milk.
Milk stepped over the line and passed the ball in to Chas, who
immediately dribbled up the floor. He looked over at his playing
partner as he drove for the basket, but the man who had just
scored, cut off his path. He flipped the ball back out to Milk,
who caught it in mid-jump and shot, the ball rolled around the rim
and dropped in. The four men all bonded in an atmosphere filled
with vulgarities and laughter.
Milk eyed the redhead standing off to the side. He gave her a
bashful grin and a nod. He set up to guard his man, the player
took the ball, and Milk immediately slapped it away. He drove for
the bucket and lay in a fingertip roll. He leaned over to catch
his breath, as his buddy Chas slapped him on the back, and whooped
Milk called time and swaggered toward the redhead, the three other
players gave the woman a surreptitious glance. She didn’t notice
anything but the sweaty man crossing the floor, answering her large
grin with one of his own. “Hey Red, whuzz up?”
“Yeah, you know Scully, you need a nickname.”
“Oh really, Milk?”
Mulder chuckled, “Okay, okay.”
Scully leaned into him, “Besides Mulder, I like what you call me when
we’re alone, much better.”
Mulder raised his eyebrows at her, while he took a long drink from
his water bottle, then wiped his mouth off on the back of his hand.
“So is this a personal visit or professional?”
“Well, it’s professional but later I would like you to make it
Mulder’s teammate spoke up, “Hey Milk, you gonna hit on the lady, or
you gonna play some B-ball?”
Mulder looked over Scully’s shoulder and snapped his head at the
guys. “So what’s up?” He said, looking down at her and taking
another swig from his bottle.
“Skinner has a case for us in Northern Indiana.”
“Not more Amish?” Mulder questioned.
“No, but not far from that area. There have been five deaths in a
small town and we’ve been asked to look into them.”
“Okay, let me kick some more ass and then I’ll meet you at your
place.” Mulder leaned into Scully, “Then we’ll get up-close and
“You got it, Milk,” Scully smiled.
Mulder called for the ball just as Scully said; “Oh, and Mulder, the
only briefs we will be discussing at this meeting will be yours.”
Mulder turned to look at Scully just as the ball hit him in the back
of the head. Scully was shocked, and Mulder was stunned, until they
realized what had just happened. They both laughed as Scully slipped
through the door, but not before she overheard Chas say, “Hey Milk,
who’s da dime piece?”
To which Mulder replied, “That’s my girl. Now, are we just gonna
shoot the shit or play ball,” then he grabbed the ball and shot; it
sailed through the hoop. Chas patted Mulder on the back once more.
Scully smiled as she walked up the steps and out of the gym.
Mulder and Scully were being sent to the Midwest to investigate a
series of strange deaths. The flight to Cavin, Indiana was
uneventful, with Scully pouring over stacks of information that
Skinner had given them just before they left. The case was baffling
and out of the league of the local police so help was requested from
the Indianapolis Division of the FBI, who then requested Mulder and
Scully look into the case.
Five people had died in this small Indiana town of 4,200. There
seemed to be no pattern to the deaths and they were seemingly
unrelated except in their strangeness. One victim had died of
injuries consistent with a dragging death but the man was found dead
in his bed. A woman appeared to have died during childbirth but she
hadn’t been pregnant. The third and fourth victims were an elderly
couple, who had suddenly died of diphtheria. The fifth victim was a
small boy who had died during his sleep, but the autopsy revealed the
child had died of whooping cough.
Scully finished reading over the stack of papers and put them back
into her briefcase then removed her glasses. “Mulder I know these
deaths are strange, but do you really think they’re murders?”
“Who said anything about murders?” Mulder said, as he stretched out
his legs in the always too crowded business class.
“So you don’t think they’re murders?”
“Actually, I’m more interested in ‘the what’ these people died from
than ‘the who’.” Mulder grabbed a file and flipped through it. “Did
you notice the cause of each death, Scully?”
“Yeah, they’re all different.”
“Yes, but they are all Old World deaths.”
“I’m sorry Mulder, but I’m not following you.”
“Scully, when was the last time you heard of someone in the U.S.
dying of diphtheria or whooping cough?”
“I know that was strange,” Scully said with a frown.
“The man who looked as if he had been dragged, might have fallen off
a horse. His ankle was broken, fitting the pattern of having his
foot caught in the stirrup and being dragged by the animal.”
Scully looked up at Mulder with a wide-eyed stare.
Mulder grinned, “What!”
Scully smirked, “After all this time, you never cease to amaze me.”
Mulder simply buckled up and waited for the plane to land at the Fort
After they picked up the rental car, the agents made their way to
Cavin. The town was settled in 1835 by pioneers and trappers and at
one time was home to the largest Jewish Community of any town its
size east of the Mississippi River. The Jewish citizens had brought
prosperity to the small town and built grand, stately homes, one of
which had been turned into a bed and breakfast. Mulder pulled up in
front of a pink, Queen Anne mansion that was built in 1906.
“Wow,” was all Scully could say, as she looked up at the towering
“I thought you might enjoy getting away from those claustrophobic
motel rooms for a change.” Mulder smiled, then took their bags from
the trunk while Scully grabbed the notebooks and briefcases.
Their room was a turn-of-the-century bedroom with a high ceiling,
bowed windows and ornate walnut woodwork. The floor was polished
walnut, covered in aged oriental rugs.
Scully took one look at the room and smiled, “I think I could get use
Mulder fell back onto the bed. “Scully, you would never be happy
here.” Scully stared at him with a puzzled look on her face. He sat
up, grabbed her, and pulled her down on the bed. “You would miss
your mom and my fish.”
Scully looked up at him, “Well, I have grown accustomed to taking
care of them.”
“Are you implying I don’t?”
“Mulder those fish get all excited when I enter your apartment.”
Mulder kissed her softly on the neck. “So do I, Scully.” She
giggled, as Mulder’s cell phone rang. With a groan they both got up.
It was the local police chief giving Mulder directions to his
Within five minutes the two agents were entering the chief’s office.
It was housed in the city hall, along with the fire department, and
mayor’s office. Built in 1914 it was Italian Renaissance and Scully
loved its character; unlike the cinder block police agencies they
The chief rose from behind his utilitarian desk. “Hello folks, you
must be the FBI Agents,” he said, extending his huge hand. “I’m
Chief William Grant.”
“I’m Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully,” Mulder said as they both
took seats across from the chief. They discussed the case and the
chief drove them to the site of each death. The family of the little
boy was still inconsolable and filled with questions; this shook
Scully to her core. She could sympathize with a family who had just
lost a child under unusual circumstances.
As they left, Mulder asked her if she was hungry. “I could use a
meal,” Scully replied. Mulder checked with the chief for a good
place to eat and he recommended Daniel’s Café. Mulder drove down the
maple-lined streets toward the business district.
Daniel’s Cafe was quiet with a few locals sitting at the counter.
Their arrival went largely unnoticed, except by the waitress and
Daniel, who was looking out the window that separated the kitchen
from the dining area.
Mulder slid into one side of a booth while Scully took the other.
The small diner was warm and they were seated next to a sunny window,
so Mulder stood up to remove his jacket. Scully had been with this
man for a decade now, and they have been intimate for several years,
but she still marveled at the look of him and blushed at the tiny
thrill that just taking off his suit jacket could give her. He was
aging well; few people would have guessed the toll his quests had
taken on him. Women still stopped and stared, and yet, he still took
no notice of it. How could a man so observant not notice this, but
Scully liked to think he saw no one but her standing before him.
Mulder rolled up the sleeves of his blue dress-shirt and loosened his
tie. The waitress came by with two glasses of ice water and two
menus. “How are you folks today?” she smiled.
“Just fine,” Mulder answered, and in the past two years he meant it.
Scully surveyed the menu and ordered a tuna salad on whole-wheat
toast along with a glass of iced tea, while Mulder ordered a
cheeseburger and fries. She wished he ate healthier, but with all
that he’d been through, the least of his worries was a greasy meal,
and she did cook heart-healthy for him at home.
The waitress placed their orders before them and Mulder dug into his
greasy burger and pretended not to see Scully stealing his fries.
“Scully, when we get back to the room, I want to make a few calls and
you can check in with Skinner.” They ate their meal, paid the bill,
and made their way back to the room.
Mulder made the calls he needed to and looked over the interviews
from earlier in the day. Scully got off the phone with Skinner and
asked, “Did you find anything new?”
“Maybe, the boy’s parents said he’d been to one of the city parks.”
Mulder retrieved the case file and opened it up; he ran his finger
down the page. “Here it is, Prentice Park,” he said, stabbing the
page with his finger. “And the man found dead in his bed took his
lunch break there, a co-worker reported.”
Scully looked skeptical, but had learned over the years to not simply
dismiss Mulder’s intuition. He was a remarkable profiler who could
piece together even the smallest fragment of information. She
thought back to all the stories her father had told her of the
British code breakers of World War Two, housed in Bletchley Park near
London; these men had a genius for cracking the German military
codes. Mulder would have fit right in.
Mulder, now deep in thought, picked up the files and headed for the
door. “Come on Scully, we’ve got some work to do.”
They had split up to cover more ground, with Scully talking to the
husband of the woman who appeared to have died during childbirth.
She, too, had been to the park, but it was the day before the boy and
the man found dead in bed had been there. Mulder found no one who
could place the elderly couple at the park, but he did find a pair of
men’s muddy boots inside the couples backdoor. He called Scully and
picked her up, then they headed for the City Park.
It was a small, tree filled park, not uncommon in those parts,
nestled in a residential area surrounded by older homes. Two city
streets bordered it, one on the east and one on the south side, with
an alley to the west, while a home stood next to it on the north
side. New playground equipment was scattered about, evidently the
park had recently been updated. A large stone stood at the entrance
inscribed with the name Nathaniel Prentice, a soldier who had served
in the Revolutionary War. The inscription on the stone stated that
after the war he drifted west and finally settled in Cavin. Mulder
noticed something else; this was not only a tribute to the man, it
was his grave marker.
“Hey Scully, come look at this.” She walked over to where Mulder was
bent down, reading the inscription.
“What is it?”
“Nathaniel Prentice is buried here.”
“So you think his ghost is attacking people?” Scully asked in a flat
tone. Years ago she would have scoffed at the prospect, but she had
seen too much to do that now.
Mulder looked at his partner and smiled; he knew he no longer had to
prove himself to her. Getting up, he placed his hand on the small of
her back, “Come on Scully, I want to do a little snooping.”
Once in the car Scully turned to him, “We could take soil samples and
send them in.”
Mulder flexed his fingers while he turned the steering wheel. “I
don’t think this is anything tangible, Scully. All the deaths are
too different to be the result of a pathogen.”
“So where do we start?”
“I’m not sure, but the one connecting factor seems to be the park.”
Scully glanced out her side window. “I wish the chief had contacted
us sooner. I would have liked to have gotten my hands on one of
those bodies before interment.”
“If it makes you happy, later tonight, you can get your hands on
mine,” Mulder said, raising his eyebrows. Scully gave him a sharp
look and blushed.
Mulder turned serious, “Scully, we can get a court order to open the
graves, but in deference to the family, I wouldn’t open the child’s
grave unless its absolutely necessary.”
“Let’s wait and see if we need to open any first,” Scully replied.
Mulder unlocked the door to their room and stepped aside to let
Scully in. She kicked off her shoes and took off her coat and
jacket, then pulled her blouse out of her skirt as she headed for the
Mulder tossed his coat on a chair and flopped down on the bed on his
hip. He still couldn’t get the idea out of his head, that these
deaths might have some connection to the park. He rolled across the
bed, picked up the phone, and dialed the chief’s number.
“Chief, this is Agent Mulder.”
“Oh, Agent, I was wondering how you two were doing?”
“We’ve been looking over the files and interviewing some of the next
“Maybe. Chief what can you tell me about Prentice Park?”
The chief thought for a moment and said, “Well, I know that a couple
of the victims had been there earlier in the day.”
“What do you know about the park itself?”
“It was named after Nathaniel Prentice, a Revolutionary War veteran,
but that was before my time,” the chief chuckled.
“Thanks chief,” Mulder said then added, “Do you have anyone in town
who might know more about the park?”
The chief paused for a moment and replied, “Why don’t you try our
“That’s the building across from city hall, right.”
“Yeah, the building with the library book return out front.”
Mulder could picture the chief’s grin. “Thanks chief, I’ll check
“Agent Mulder, you think this had anything to do with the park?”
“I’m not sure what, if any, connection there is, but don’t worry
about it right now, chief.” Mulder hung up the phone and turned to
find Scully going over the notes from several of the autopsies.
“Scully, wanna go to the library with me?”
“Why, do you have a book report due?”
Mulder walked over and leaned into her ear, “No, but I will let you
play footsies with me under the table.” Scully smiled up at him as
he pulled her off the bed and onto her feet.
The library was only one street behind the bed and breakfast and four
blocks down. “One thing about investigating in a small town Scully,
not much driving to do,” Mulder said, as he pulled up to the library.
It sat on a beautiful, tree-covered piece of ground and was
Neoclassical Revival, built in 1908; the word Carnegie was still
visible above the door. The library had withstood the changes of
time; it was one of the few Carnegie libraries still in use. The
front glass door was accessed by a flight of steps; once inside
another flight led up to the first floor that emptied into a large
room with a high ceiling and a fireplace at either end. On the West
side of each fireplace were small, oak paneled reading rooms.
The two Agents approached a middle-age man sitting behind a large
circular desk; his nameplate read ‘John’. He looked up and smiled.
“Can I help you folks?
Mulder spoke up. “I’m interested in finding some information on
John put down the book he had been logging in and asked, “What do you
want to know?”
“I don’t know,” Mulder shrugged. “When was the park established?
Have there been any unusual occurrences there?”
John thought for a moment. “No, other than it’s named after Nathaniel
Prentice, the Revolutionary War vet.”
Mulder looked at Scully with his ‘I’ve heard this before’ look as
Scully bit down on her bottom lip and looked sympathetic.
“They did get new playground equipment, a local foundation paid for
“If I wanted to find more history on the park where would I start?”
“You could start in the room to your left,” John said, motioning to
the little reading room next to the fireplace.
“Thanks,” Mulder said, as he and Scully headed for the room. Scully
grabbed Mulder’s arm and drew him up short. He turned to look down
at her. “Mulder, we’ve got dead bodies that you don’t seem the
least bit interested in. Don’t you think our investigation should
“It did Scully. You looked over the autopsies, we looked at the
crime scene photos, and we’ve even talked to the victim’s families.
The next step would be to dig up some bodies.” Mulder stepped into
her and lowered his voice. “That’s what I’m trying to avoid. The
sooner we can wrap this up, the sooner we can get home.”
Scully knew he was right. They were not investigators of the normal;
they were called out on the weird, the baffling, and the unexplained.
Conventional police work had never solved those types of crimes.
Upon entering the small room, the agents found three walls of
bookshelves, filled with faded and worn books. The poor state of
their condition reflected their age. Both agents slipped off their
coats and jackets and began looking over the books. There were books
on the area in general and the town in particular, covering the early
settlers in the area as well as the arrival of the Jews, who settled
in the town some forty years later. They learned that the small town
once had been a very wealthy community that had dealt in banking and
real estate, but the books did not provide them with any more clues
than they had at the start of the day.
After spending several hours combing through the books, Mulder
stretched and grabbed his hands over his head. “Scully,” he puffed
out and brought his hands down, “what are we doing here?”
“I thought this was alternative investigating,” Scully quipped.
By now it was getting late in the day. “Scully let’s go back to the
room, then we can grab some dinner.”
“Sounds good to me,” Scully said, as she threw on her coat and began
to put the books away. She turned to find Mulder gone; he was headed
for the librarian.
“Can I help you sir?”
“I’d like to take a few of these books with me for the night.”
“Oh, that’s not possible. See, those are rare books, some, one of a
kind. We don’t allow them to leave the building, besides I doubt you
even have a library card.”
Mulder smiled and pulled out his ID, as Scully entered the room. He
flashed his badge, “I’m Special Agent Mulder and this is Special
Agent Scully, we’re with the FBI. Now don’t you think these books
will be safe with us?”
“I don’t know,” John hesitated, “I don’t trust the government.”
Mulder leaned across the desk, “Just between us, neither do I.”
Mulder and John both chuckled.
John led them to the room and with a nod said, “Go on, just have them
back tomorrow, so I don’t have any explaining to do.” Then he
paused, “You two are looking into those deaths?”
Mulder stood up with an armload of books. “Yeah, what do you think
John just shrugged his shoulders. “Deaths.”
Mulder smiled at him and nodded his head toward Scully. “My partner
shares your thoughts.”
John let them out of the library and locked the door behind them; it
was past closing time.
Mulder unlocked the trunk and carefully placed the old books into it.
He looked up to find Scully standing there with a small pout on her
lips. “What’s the matter, Scully?”
“You didn’t play footsies with me, Mulder.”
Mulder closed the trunk lid and leered at his partner, “The night is
still young, Agent Scully.”
Mulder slid into the driver side of the car and Scully entered the
passenger’s. Putting the car into gear, he backed out onto the wide
“So, what’s your take on this case now?” Scully said, as they headed
back to the bed and breakfast. Suddenly she realized they weren’t
headed for their room, “Mulder, you missed our turn!” Scully slumped
back into her seat, “Okay, where are we going?”
Years of experience had taught her that when he was onto something
his dogged determination took over. He couldn’t put it into words
for her, but she knew he was feeling something. It was times like
these that she was glad to be on the X Files with this man, the
excitement, the drive, and the relentlessness.
Scully glanced over at her partner; he was focused on nothing in
particular, a point in space. He sucked in his lower lip and ground
his knuckles against the steering wheel. She knew he was putting the
pieces together, but wasn’t quite there yet. He turned the car to
the left as gravel crunched under the tires. Scully looked out her
side window. “Mulder somehow I knew we would eventually end up in a
Entering from the south, Mulder ignored Scully, as he drove back into
the tree-covered property. For a small town the cemetery was fairly
large. “People must be dying to get in here,” Mulder quipped while
Scully moaned at the old joke. They drove to the back of the
rectangular lot, turned down the next row, and continued on until
they reached the oldest section of the cemetery.
Mulder spotted two mausoleums along the back of the lot and drove
down the gravel road toward them. He put the car in park and both
agents crawled out. The sun was setting to their backs, the wind was
colder under the trees, and the ground had the same feel as any other
cemetery; soft and mushy underfoot.
The two mausoleums resembled little houses, and were made of
limestone with metal doors that contained cut-glass windows in the
upper half. Above the left mausoleum was the inscription ‘Meyer-
Jacobs’ while the other one had ‘Straus’ etched above the door.
Mulder peered into the Straus mausoleum. It contained two sarcophagi
suspended above two more on the floor. “Must be the graveyard
version of bunk beds,” Mulder joked. He stepped off the step, backed
up, and looked it over. “These people must have been some of the
wealthier citizens we read about.”
The section surrounding the mausoleums contained elaborate and
decorative stones with names like Jacob, Meir, Loeser and Rose on
them. Many of the stones were written in English on the front and
Hebrew on the back. Two strips of concrete ran down the length of
this section of the cemetery with two concentric concrete circles in
the middle of the strips.
“Scully, this is the section the Jews petitioned the cemetery board
for in the late 1800’s, to be used by the citizens of their faith.
The wealthy merchants and financiers must have put in their own road
with a car turnaround.
Scully looked it over and said, “It’s possible Mulder, but it’s too
narrow to drive on.”
Mulder walked over and leaned into her. “Not for a Model-T, Scully.”
She had to admit he was probably right.
“So what does this have to do with our case?”
“This section? Nothing.” Mulder said, as he left the Jewish Section
and began to read the surrounding stones. He and Scully moved from
stone to stone, as the sky grew darker.
“Mulder, most of these people died before their 40th birthday and
from the looks of it, there was a lot of infant mortality. Modern
medicine has prolonged our life expectancy.”
Mulder was hunched down in front of one of the stones as he glanced
up at Scully. “You’re a member of a noble profession,” he grinned.
Scully crossed her arms; “Well, noble or not, this is one doctor who
Mulder got up and looked over at his partner with a smile, then took
a long sweeping look over the grounds. “Scully, did you notice
anything odd about this cemetery?”
“Odd. Odd how, Mulder?” she asked, slightly peeved, thinking back to
all the other cemeteries they had frequented in the past.
“Scully, do you remember that we read the town was settled in 1835 by
pioneers and the Jews arrived in 1857?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Mulder scanned the horizon, “We’ve found the Jews, but where are the
pioneers? Not one person here was buried before 1857. That’s a span
of twenty-two years. So where are those people buried?” He paced
back and forth, looking over the vast cemetery as he continued, “The
Jews are here because they arrived in 1857, and the settlers are here
that died after 1857, but it’s like a whole generation of people went
missing. You said yourself, that people died at an early age, and
where are the infants?”
Scully moved from stone to stone, checking the dates in the dim
light. Finally she had to admit; “I don’t know Mulder, unless
there’s another cemetery in town.”
“Scully, this cemetery is huge! There are hundreds, if not thousands
of graves here,” Mulder acquiesced. “But I’ll check it out and see if
there is another one in the area. You might be right.”
Mulder headed back to the car with Scully at his side. He slid into
the driver side and turned the key in the ignition. “Wanna go back
to the room first or eat?”
“Eat,” Scully said.
Mulder pulled the car onto the road. “Scully, there’s a Chinese place
ahead, want to try it?”
“Chinese, in farm country?” Scully questioned.
“Farmers like Chinese food too, Scully,” Mulder teased her.
Scully returned the warm smile, as he pulled into the parking lot of
the China Dragon.
The restaurant was busy, but Mulder did find a booth in the back,
while Scully sat down opposite him. The place was small, but not
oppressively so. The walls were painted mint green with Chinese
murals adorning them. A tiny, dark-headed woman appeared at their
table with two glasses of water and two menus. Mulder settled on
peppered steak, while Scully ordering shrimp fried-rice. He excused
himself to use the restroom as Scully watched two small children
playing outside the window.
The tiny woman returned just as Mulder slid back into the booth. The
meal was served with egg-drop soup and Chinese tea. Heaping plates
were placed before the two agents. Mulder dug in and was soon sitting
in front of an empty plate. Scully ate what she could, and drank her
Mulder sat back against the booth with his arms splayed and his mind
“So Mulder, what’s the theory in that beautiful mind of yours?”
Mulder ran his tongue around his teeth before he spoke, “Scully, I
still wonder what the park has to do with these deaths.”
“Mulder, if you sincerely think the park has anything to do with
them, then we should close it off.”
“No, it’s not like that, Scully. You and I poked around there, and
we’re okay. I just feel there is some explanation for it.”
Mulder grabbed the bill from the table, and Scully scooted out of the
booth. He placed his hand on the small of her back, and ushered her
to the door.
They arrived back at the bed and breakfast just after dark. Scully
grabbed Mulder’s hand as they stepped onto the lobby. She pulled him
to the left, and he followed her to a wide over-stuffed sofa,
positioned just in front of an ornate fireplace with a roaring fire.
They sat down and Mulder stretched his arms across the back of the
sofa with his long legs out, crossed at the ankles. Scully toed off
her shoes and settled tight against him with her feet curled up under
her. He put his left arm over her shoulder and gently stroked her
arm as she wrapped it around his waist and laid her head on his
chest. She felt safe and far away from the pain of the past. She
hated to admit it, but she had always found comfort and security in
Mulder’s arms. She realized the warmth of the fire had triggered
this touch of melancholy; it was much like the feeling of the sitting
with her mother, when she was a little girl. Finally, Scully stood
up from the sofa and reached down to take Mulder’s hand. “Come on,
let’s go upstairs.”
They made it as far as the staircase when Mulder suddenly turned. “I
forgot the books, we have to return them tomorrow.” Scully waited by
the door while Mulder returned for them. They climbed the winding,
walnut stairs to the wide landing then she took the key and popped
the door open. Once inside, she dropped her shoes and cranked up the
heat, the room was cooler because of the wind blowing strong against
the north side of the old house. She looked out the bow window and
watched the bare limbs of the trees dance in the light of the
security lamp over the parking lot.
Mulder emerged from the bathroom and shrugged off his suit jacket;
Scully smiled and drew the blinds. He tossed his jacket on the foot
of the bed, under normal ‘at home’ conditions she would have
protested, but she sensed his mind was elsewhere, most likely on the
case. “Mulder, do you think we’ll find anything in these tonight?”
She asked, as she moved the pile of books from the bed.
“Scully, I still can’t get it out of my head. Where did all those
missing people go?”
With a start Scully said, “You don’t think this is an alien thing do
Before she could finish, Mulder bolted for the door. She knew he
wasn’t going far; his days of ditching her were over. She headed for
the bathroom, to shower and change into one of Mulder’s T-shirts.
Mulder arrived back at their room with news that he had talked to the
homeowner, Mr. Blue. Scully smirked, “Mr. Blue, who owns the pink
house.” The remark passed over Mulder. “He said there aren’t any
other cemeteries in town.”
Mulder paced the long, wide room as Scully threw back the blankets on
the bed. “Mulder, there are probably cemeteries outside of town,”
“There are, Scully, but the closest one is over five miles away.”
“Hmm, that would be a distance with the transportation available in
“My thoughts exactly,” Mulder said. “So where did they go, they
didn’t just disappear.”
“We can check this out tomorrow, right now all I want to do is go to
sleep,” Scully said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. Mulder
walked over and pulled the blankets back farther; he grabbed her
ankles and swung her into bed, as she protested. He pulled the
blankets up to her waist, and turned to place a small mountain of
books on her lap. Scully slumped back against the headboard and
grabbed the books with a sigh. The sooner they got done, the sooner
she could get some sleep.
Mulder had been sitting in his dress pants and T-shirt, hunched over
a detailed book on the area in the 1800’s when Scully called out,
“Mulder, look at this.” She pushed back the blankets and crawled
down to the end of the bed and handed him a newspaper clipping.
It read: Notice of Vacation of Cemetery,
To whom it may concern:
The town of Cavin has decided to vacate the city
Cemetery. Notice is therefore given to the relatives
And friends of all persons interested in the
Re-interment of the dead bodies of the following
Individuals . . .
Mulder held out the clipping. “Scully there must be over one hundred
names on here. It’s signed, ‘H.M. Goodspeed, town clerk, Cavin,
Indiana. March 7,1888’. Dammit! It doesn’t say where the cemetery
Scully yawned. Mulder grinned and put his hand on her cheek. “We
can do this tomorrow. Let’s get some sleep.”
“You’ll get no argument from me,” Scully sighed. She piled the books
onto the chair, while Mulder went to shower and change.
Mulder came out in his boxers, to find Scully lying on her side with
the blankets pulled up around her, he slid in beside her. He loved
her, not knowing for sure when he didn’t. She was brash, bright and
beautiful, and as for some yet unknown reason, she loved him too.
She had came into his life at a time when he had been living on the
edge, pissing people off, and generally making himself miserable.
She grounded him, gave him some credibility, and brought a sense of
order to his life. If there was such a thing as ordained fate, it
had to be them. He knew if she had not been assigned to him, there
was no way in hell they would have gotten together, Scully would have
never given him the time of day. They were opposite in temperament
but so opposite they were similar. Being partnered had allowed them
time to discover the real people behind the facades they both
displayed. He nuzzled his nose into her soft, auburn hair and let
his thoughts drift as sleep started to claim him. He heard a soft
mumble in his ear; “I love you Mulder.” He smiled and added his own
pledge, “I love you too, Scully.”
Morning dawned with Scully waking up to an empty bed. She knew where
Mulder would be; he’d be out running through the town. As much as he
loved the turn his life had taken with Scully, he still needed the
freedom running provided him, but now he had someone to run back to.
Dressing quickly Scully stopped to pick up the room, she then
ventured down the large staircase. Mrs. Blue greeted her at the
bottom, and offered her coffee and homemade sweet rolls. Mulder
walked in the front door, hot and sweaty, hair askew and puffing
softly. Scully liked ‘button down Mulder’ but she loved ‘scruffy
Mulder’. He grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her forehead.
“I’m a mess, be back down soon,” he said as he turned to climb the
Mrs. Blue was seated at the large walnut dining table as Scully
wandered in with a mug of coffee in her hand. She smiled and pushed
the plate of pastries toward her. Scully smiled back and pulled out
a chair across from Mrs. Blue. She sat down and picked up a large
cinnamon roll from the plate, “Thanks.”
Mrs. Blue was a short, stocky woman with a hint of red still in her
hair and a jovial smile on her face. “You two been involved long?”
She said in the no-nonsense way people in those parts had.
Scully shifted in her chair and rubbed her hands on her napkin. “Is
it that obvious?”
“It is to me,” Mrs. Blue said with a chuckle.
“Umm, we’ve been together a little more than two yearS, but we have
been FBI partners for over ten years,” Scully said with a blush on
“And that doesn’t piss off the FBI?” Mrs. Blue asked.
Scully had to laugh at her directness but she liked it. “Actually
they frown on it, but Mulder takes on cases that seem too strange for
standard investigative efforts. I was assigned to assist him, and
our case solution rate is so high it allows us certain freedoms.”
“So you two get the cases no one else wants,” Mrs. Blue asked,
tearing off another piece of her cinnamon roll.
Scully grinned, “Something like that.” She looked around the room,
“You have a lovely home, Mrs. Blue.”
“We like it. I was a nurse for years in a big city and when I
retired I wanted to do something completely different. My husband
found this lovely old home and I knew what I wanted to do; open a bed
“So you still take care of people,” Scully laughed.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Mrs. Blue shared in the laughter.
Mulder came in the room, having showered and changed. He helped
himself to coffee and a roll, then sat down next to Scully.
She smiled up at him, “So what’s on the agenda today, partner?”
“I have to return my library books,” Mulder said, with a grin.
Mulder turned the car onto the wide Main Street but took a left after
going only a few blocks. Scully knew he was headed for the park
again. He pulled up in front of the park entrance and got out,
Scully followed suit and they walked the small park in silence.
Mulder paused on occasion to reach up and pluck at twigs from the
leafless trees and shrubs, deep in thought.
Scully brushed the snow off a small bench, sat down and spoke up.
“Mulder, have you noticed the houses around the park? All of them
are from the same architectural period, except the one to the north.
It appears to have been built at a much later time.”
Mulder surveyed the area. “Maybe an old house burnt down, or was
demolished, and a new one built.”
“Come on Scully, let’s get to the library. I think we can wrap this
“Either the answers are here, or it’s a coincidence, and we’re
wasting our time.”
The library was warm and quiet with a few people coming and going.
Mulder returned the books, while Scully went to the microfilm section
to read through old city newspapers. After several hours of reading
Scully took a break and found Mulder sitting on the floor in the rare
book room, his long legs were stretched out in front of him, and his
back was resting against a bookcase. He had shucked off his jacket
and tie, and rolled up his sleeves. He pulled on his bottom lip,
lost in thought in the book of deeds that he was reading.
Scully knew he was not yet ready to leave, so she pulled out several
old yearbooks and began to leaf through them. One of them from 1953
made her smile at the clothing the girls’ wore and the boys’ greasy
hair. She then spied a worn, ragged yearbook shoved back into the
corner of the shelf. She pulled out the fragile soft-backed book,
and dusted off the jacket to reveal it was a 1927 Cavin High School
yearbook. She gently opened the cover to find it filled with fancy
scrolled calligraphy. The first section had class photos of girls’
with bobbed hair and boys’ in knickers. The second section covered
the school sporting events, while the clubs and organizations came
next, then a section on the city itself. There were photos of the
few industries in town at that time and several articles on the
various retail businesses. Scully’s eyes grew wide; she found a page
on the park, Prentice Park! She read the page and reached behind her
to tap Mulder on the shoulder, “Mulder, look at this!”
Mulder got up stiffly and stretched out his lanky frame; he’d sat too
long on the floor. He leaned over Scully’s shoulder and read:
‘Prentice Park came in to being after the cemetery that had
been there for nearly fifty years had been abandoned. The lot
next to the cemetery had been set aside for a church that was
never built and later deeded over to the city. Later the land
was sold for housing. Relatives of those interred were
advised to remove their family members and re-inter them in
the new city cemetery, Oak Park. These bodies not removed
simply had the headstones laid down and dirt placed over
“That’s it! Mulder grinned as he thumped the page with his finger.
“Mulder, we’ve found the missing settler’s but what does that have to
do with these deaths?”
“Hear me out Scully,” Mulder said, as he pulled out a chair and sat
down next to her. “What if these people died from the same diseases
and accidents that killed those people buried in the park? Maybe
their spirits are seeking some form of revenge.”
Scully looked at Mulder knowing full well that he was serious. “Even
if that were true, why would they decide to act up now? The park has
been here for over 75 years.”
“I don’t know, maybe they finally got tired of being walked on, so to
speak. You saw the new playground equipment, maybe they just
couldn’t take the added traffic.”
Mulder scooped up the yearbook and left the room. He held it up.
“Hey John, can I barrow this for a few hours?”
John turned away, and put his hand in the air, “I didn’t see
anything.” He left the counter and disappeared into the backroom.
Scully gathered up Mulder’s pile of shed clothing and shook out his
jacket then handed it to him. He rolled down his shirtsleeves, but
left them unbuttoned, as he slung his jacket over his shoulder.
“Scully, this is the piece to the puzzle we’ve been looking for.”
Scully knew he was on a roll, and when he was, it was best to just go
along for the ride.
They wound their way back to Daniel’s Café, where Mulder ate a hardy
lunch of pan-fried chicken, and Scully picked at her salad. She
refused Mulder’s best effort to get her to eat. As they were leaving
the café, Scully asked Mulder to take her back to the room, while he
went on to see the chief.
Mulder thought it was a bit unusual for Scully not to want to
accompany him to explain his theory, but he sensed it was better to
just drop it, and talk to her later. He dropped her off at the bed
and breakfast and headed for the police department.
Chief Grant greeted him and offered him a chair. “So what brings you
here Agent Mulder?”
Mulder sat down and began to speak quietly to the chief. “Sir, are
you aware that Prentice Park was built over a cemetery; a burial
The chief leaned back in his chair and rubbed his chin with his
thumb, “No I didn’t, that comes as news to me. Are you sure?”
“Agent Scully has found the proof in this book.” Mulder shoved the
yearbook across the desk for the chief to read. “It states that the
park is built over an abandoned cemetery, when the larger Oak Park
Cemetery was established. Some of the bodies were moved, but most
The chief stared at Mulder, unsure of what he was hearing.
Mulder continued, “This would explain where the original settlers
disappeared to. It might also explain what happened to our victims.”
“How’s that?” the chief asked.
Mulder leaned back in his chair and ran his tongue across his bottom
lip. He knew the easy part was over; convincing the chief would be
the hardest part.
“Chief are you familiar with the spiritualism that Native Americans’
place on their burial grounds?”
The chief leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.
“They feel they’re sacred and are visited by the spirits of the
deceased.” Mulder couldn’t read the chiefs expression but was
wondering what his response would be. “If an ancient society can
believe it’s possible then why can’t we?”
The chief continued to stare at the ceiling then brought his eyes
down to Mulder, and stared at him. “You actually believe this, Agent
“Until it’s proven otherwise, yes, I do,” Mulder said, holding his
“So you think these spirits got pissed off and started attacking park
Mulder lowered his head and smiled, “Not attacking them;
transferring, transferring what brought about their deaths. Maybe
their cause of death can be inflicted upon others.”
The chief continued to stare at Mulder. “I’m not sayin’ you’re a
liar Agent Mulder, but I’d be more likely to believe this theory of
yours if Agent Scully were sitting here telling me the same thing.”
“Agent Scully isn’t feeling well, I dropped her back at the room,”
Mulder said, unsure himself, what, exactly, was bothering her. “Look
chief, can we at least do some digging and see if the tombstones are
there like the book says they will be.”
The chief eyed Mulder but finally smiled and said; “Okay I don’t
think doin’ a little pokin’ around would do any harm. Let me call
the street department and get a couple of guys up there with shovels.
Give me about an hour.”
As Mulder turned to leave, the chief was already on the phone to the
street department. Mulder liked the way things moved in a small
town, there wasn’t a lot of red tape to deal with. He drove back to
the bed and breakfast, having decided he would be more comfortable in
jeans rather than his usual FBI attire.
He found the door to their room locked so he slipped his key in and
turned the knob. The door opened but Scully was not there. He knew
she would want to be in on the dig, so he decided to change his
clothes while he waited for her return. Mulder loosened his tie and
pulled it from his neck. He headed for the bathroom but found
something on the other side of the door was preventing him from
opening it. He finally pushed it open and found Scully lying on the
floor in front of the tub; she was curled up in a near fetal
“Scully!” Mulder said as he bent down to cup her face in his hand.
She was burning up with beads of sweat breaking out on her forehead.
He checked her pulse and found it was racing. She was unresponsive
to his calling her name or to his touch.
Mulder ran to the door and yelled for Mrs. Blue, she appeared at the
bottom of the stairs. “Call an ambulance, my partner is sick!”
Mulder turned back to Scully, scooped her up and gently carried her
downstairs to the couch in the sitting room. He stroked the damp
hair away from her face as she briefly regained consciousness.
“Scully, what’s happening to you, I need to tell the medics.”
Scully was trying to focus on Mulder but having a hard time doing it.
“I’m not sure, but my throat hurts and I ache all over. Must be a
virus.” Her voice trailed off as she lost consciousness again.
Mrs. Blue was standing in the front yard waving the ambulance in.
Two paramedics jumped out, each one was carrying a kit, while the
driver was backing up to the door. A tall slim young man bounded up
the steps as the other medic helped the driver get out the stretcher.
The medic found Scully lying on the couch. “Excuse me sir,” he said
as he maneuvered around Mulder. He bent down and touched her face.
“What’s her name?”
“Scully, I mean, Dana,” Mulder mumbled, still in shock.
“Dana, that’s a nice name,” the medic replied, as he began to work on
Scully. He flashed a penlight in her eyes and listened to her heart.
“Pretty hair,” he said. Mulder was aware of the psychology behind
the medic’s ramblings, ‘keep the family calm with small talk, it
makes the job easier’.
The second medic and the driver brought in the stretcher. The tall,
slim medic finished taking Scully’s blood pressure and looked down at
her, “Brad, we got a load-and-go.” They gently lifted Scully onto
the stretcher, placed a blanket over her, and buckled her down.
Mulder turned to the driver, “Where are you taking her?”
“To Goshen General,” the driver said looking Mulder over. “You’re
not from around here are you?”
“No, no we’re not,” Mulder softly replied, feeling as if all the air
has been let out of him. Scully was taken down the steps and loaded
into the back of the ambulance.
Mrs. Blue grabbed Mulder by the arm; “I’ll take you to her son.”
“Thank you,” Mulder mumbled.
Scully was taken to a small community hospital some 13 miles west of
Cavin. By the time Mulder arrived and filled out the paperwork, she
had already been admitted and was being attended to.
Mulder hadn’t been allowed to see her, but he was introduced to a Dr.
Yoder who asked Mulder a series of questions regarding Scully’s
health. Mulder answered him but left out the part about the implant.
He did tell the doctor that no surgery was to be done on her without
his consent. The doctor gave him a strange look but didn’t question
him any further. Mulder knew there was no way in hell that they were
going to be allowed to removing that chip.
Leaning against the wall Mulder asked, “Do you have any idea what’s
wrong with Dana?”
The doctor looked over the top of his glasses and said, “It appears
to be a virus, but we just don’t know for sure yet.” With those few
words, he left to check on Scully.
Mulder pulled his cell phone out of his coat pocket and with shaking
fingers made a call, he hoped, he would never have to make. “Sir
it’s Mulder. . .”
Mulder closed his phone and noticed Mrs. Blue standing across the
hall from him. He walked over and clasped her hands. “Thank you,
for all your help.”
“No trouble at all, Agent Mulder.” She started to leave and turned
back to add, “I’m sure she’ll be just fine.”
“I hope so,” Mulder said through red-rimmed eyes.
Mulder paced outside the ICU as nurses and doctors came and went,
samples were taken, X-rays were given, and tests were run, but still
no news. A nurse took pity on him and brought him a cup of coffee.
One hour ran into four, and four ran into the evening.
Mulder was staring into space, shifting his weight from foot to foot,
when Dr. Yoder emerged from the ICU. “Mr. Mulder,” the doctor said,
startling him, “Dana, appears to be suffering from Spinal
Meningitis.” Mulder felt as if he’d just been kicked in the stomach.
The doctor continued, “She needs more care than we can give her here,
I’m having Agent Scully airlifted to Fort Wayne. It’s only a twenty
minute trip by air ambulance.”
Mulder numbly nodded his head and choked out, “Will she be okay?”
“We really don’t know at this point, Agent Mulder. She is very ill
but they will do all they can for her.” Dr. Yoder excused himself
and walked to the nurses’ station. Mulder couldn’t make out what he
was saying, but he was fairly certain it was about Scully.
Mulder now needed to get forty-five miles south to the hospital in
Fort Wayne. He called the local State Police Post, and explained his
situation, within minutes he found an Indiana State Police cruiser
waiting for him outside the hospital.
The trooper was years older than Mulder and very professional. He
pulled out into the darkness and sped south, changing highways
frequently. Mulder didn’t say much; he just listened to the
trooper’s radio crackle, when suddenly his cell phone rang, startling
“Mulder, it’s Skinner.”
“Where are you sir?”
We’re just landing in Fort Wayne. Where to now?”
Mulder sighed and rubbed his forehead, finally something was going
right. “Stay where you are sir, they’ve ‘coptered Scully to Fort
Wayne.” The trooper glanced over at Mulder, “Who’s that?”
Mulder looked over, “My AD at the FBI, he’s flown in with my
The trooper picked up the microphone on his radio, “This is 22-16, I
need a car to go to the Fort Wayne airport to pick up. . .” He
Mulder hurriedly said, “AD Walter Skinner.”
“AD Walter Skinner with the FBI, and he’ll have a woman with him.
They need transport to Parkview ASAP.”
The dispatcher responded, “Clear.”
Mulder relayed the message to Skinner and closed his phone. He
slumped back into the seat, only able to mutter, “Thanks.”
Mulder stared out the window as farms and homes zipped past. He
recalled Scully saying; “Don’t you just want to get out of the damn
car?” He had to smile; he loved her more now than he ever did
before, and before he loved her with every fiber in his being. His
thoughts ran wild; what if he lost her now, now that their
relationship has finally become intimate and solid. Now that they
had finally decided that they would always be together through the
good times and the bad. Why now! Mulder swallowed hard and continued
to look out the window.
The trooper pulled up in front of a tall, well-lit hospital. Mulder
stepped from the cruiser and stuck his head back in, “Thanks for
Just then the troopers radio came to life, there was a bad pile-up on
I-69. “You’re welcome, I’d better go and good luck,” the trooper
replied as he grabbed his microphone. Mulder closed the door as the
trooper pulled out into the night with his lights and siren on.
Mulder shuttered at the cold and pulled his coat a little tighter to
his body as he walked briskly into the hospital.
Scully was on the fourth floor in the ICU. Doctor Jacobs introduced
himself and filled Mulder in on her condition. She had received fine
care prior to her arrival at Parkview and was now being administered
high doses of antivirals as well as being treated for a high fever
but so far she wasn’t responding. She hadn’t regained consciousness
and they were giving her oxygen. Before Mulder could see her, he was
given a preventative inoculation against the disease. Finally he was
admitted to the ICU to see her but only for a few minutes.
Scully had hoses and tubes running in and out of her and a fever-
reducing blanket over her. Mulder gently held her hand between his
two larger ones, during their quiet times together Scully found
comfort in this small act. Now he just wanted to curl up next to her
A nurse pulled back the curtain that surrounded Scully’s bed. “Mr.
Mulder, there are some people out here to see you.” Mulder
disregarded the nurse standing there and kissed Scully’s cheek then
ran his thumb across her auburn lashes. He quietly slipped out of
the room to find Maggie and Skinner standing there. Mulder felt he
had to put on a good front, and tried to smile at the pair standing
before him, but he can’t hide his feelings and croaked out, “She’s
got Spinal Meningitis.”
Maggie gasped, “What, but how? She wasn’t exposed, was she?”
Mulder drew a blank stare; the pieces to the puzzle were finally
beginning to fall into place. He grabbed Maggie by the shoulder and
stepped around her. “I need to make a phone call.” He took out his
cell and walked to the end of the hallway where a large window
overlooked the sleeping city.
Mulder was overheard by Skinner to say, “I need to have Chief Grant
call me back at my cell phone as soon as possible, the number is 260-
555-9355, and I don’t care what ‘hour in the AM’ it is, this is an
emergency!” Mulder slammed his cell phone shut.
Skinner approached him. “What’s going on here, Agent?” He asked
sharply, as he trust his hands deep into his trench coat pockets.
“I can’t explain it right now sir, but if I can get the chief on the
line, I just might be able to help Scully.”
Skinner looked over at Maggie, who was hovering over her daughter.
“The State Trooper who brought us in said they have a family care
center attached to the hospital. I’m going to get Mrs. Scully
settled in there.”
“Thanks,” Mulder said, as he turned to look in at Scully. Maggie
left the ICU and approached him; without lifting his tear-filled eyes
he firmly said, “Scully will be fine. She has to be.”
Skinner returned to Mrs. Scully’s side. “I’ve made arrangements for
the night, we should go.” He took her by the arm and led her to the
Mulder turned to stare through the glass at Scully, just then his
cell phone rang. “Mulder.”
“Agent Mulder, how’s she doing?”
“How, how did you. . .” Mulder was surprised.
“Word travels fast in a small town.”
Mulder sighed and rubbed his forehead, “Not so good, I’m afraid.
Chief, how fast can you get an excavating team together?”
“Agent Mulder, your partner is very ill, shouldn’t you be worried
about her first?”
“I am.” Mulder knew the only person who would understand his motives
now lay gravely ill. “Chief, this just might save her life.”
“I’m not sure I understand?” The chief sighed, “but I’ll try to
rustle up a couple of guys.”
“I’ll meet you there in an hour.” Mulder closed his cell and quietly
walked in the ICU to Scully’s bed. He had seen her like this too
many times, so still, so quiet. If not for the constant beep of the
machines he would have thought she was dead. He held her warm hand,
she was still suffering from the fever, while he ran his fingers
across her forehead and down her jaw line avoiding all the tubes and
hoses. He knew what he had to do and it pained him; he had to leave
her to pursue what he hoped would be a cure for her, no matter how
far fetched others might think it to be. He flashed back to her
cancer, to a time when his motives had been questioned once before.
He softly kissed her warm cheek and slipped out of her room, glancing
back at her once more before he left.
Mulder called a cab and made his way back to Cavin. He arrived at
Prentice Park to find the chief, his deputy and two city workers
already there. They turned to look as the cab caught them in its
headlights. Mulder stepped from the car, knowing if his guess was
right that he was racing against time. Running up to Chief Grant,
Mulder yelled above the din of the backhoe, “What are they waiting
“For you tell them where to dig.”
“Anywhere,” Mulder shouted, “let’s get this show on the road.”
The chief motioned for the backhoe operator to begin digging while
the others looked on.
It was well past midnight when the first scoop of dirt was lifted
from the ground. Mulder ordered the backhoe driver to dig deeper.
By now they were attracting a crowd. The chief was right; word did
travel fast in a small town.
“They have to be here,” Mulder muttered as he subconsciously pulled
on his bottom lip, his hopes were fading with each scoop of dirt that
was brought up.
The chief approached Mulder, “Agent Mulder, I don’t mind helping out
with your investigation, but my men are beginning to question why
we’re here, at this spot, at this hour.” Just then the backhoe
operator yelled, “I’ve hit something!”
Mulder ran to the hole with the chief hot on his heels. He jumped in
and shined his flashlight on a smooth, white stone. He dug around
the stone with his hands to expose all of it. The stone was flat at
one end and curved at the other and over three feet in length. He
flipped the thin stone over, while the chief shined his flashlight
beam on it, revealing it to be engraved with the words ‘Susan
Higgins, 1874′. Mulder smiled as he wiped his sweat-covered forehead
on his coatsleeve. He lifted the stone up to the chief, whose only
words were, “Well, I’ll be damned.”
Mulder climbed out of the hole and instructed the backhoe operator to
dig deeper still. He turned to the chief, “I think we’ve found your
missing pioneers. Do you think you can arrange to get these people
“Agent Mulder, I think when the good town folk hear that their kids
have been playing on a graveyard, they will be more than happy to
Mulder attempted to brush the dirt and mud from his filthy coat.
“Chief, I would consider it a personal favor if you would move a
couple of the bodies right away.” He pulled his shirt cuffs down and
added, “I want them to know we mean business.”
“Who’s we?” The chief asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“Just make sure they get moved.” Mulder shouted as he turns to leave.
“Aren’t you gonna stick around, Agent Mulder?” The chief shouted
Mulder yelled back to the chief, “No sir, I have more important
things to tend to. Do you think I could get a lift to my car?”
A deputy dropped Mulder at the bed and breakfast, where he picked up
his car and headed back to Fort Wayne. The drive back was an anxious
one. Mulder knew no one but Scully would understand his motives. He
just hoped he could someday tell her. He had called Skinner but the
news was not good, there had been no change in her condition.
Back at the park, Chief Grant was true to his word. He made
arrangements to store the unearthed bodies at two local funeral
Mulder swung into the hospital parking lot and raced up the sidewalk.
The ride to the fourth floor seemed to take forever. He found
Skinner and Maggie outside the ICU. A despondent Maggie looked up.
Skinner approached Mulder who was still wearing the same filthy
clothes he had on yesterday. His hair was disheveled and his hands
and face were covered in grime; he looked worn out. Skinner blocked
his path to Maggie. “Agent Mulder!” Skinner could barely cover his
anger, “Where the hell have you been?”
“Out, sir,” was all Mulder said, trying to sidestep Skinner, but
Skinner was having none of it. He grabbed Mulder by the arm, “Look
Agent, your responsibility is here, to Agent Scully and to Maggie.”
“That’s exactly what I am doing, sir, taking responsibility,” Mulder
said, through clenched teeth. “Now get out of my way!” He couldn’t
look at Maggie; she must hate him for ditching her daughter once
again. He moved to the ICU door and looked in. Scully was lying
still and near death. Maybe he was wrong; maybe this conclusion was
too easy to jump to.
Maggie approached Mulder, and gently laid her hand on his forearm,
“Fox, Dana once told me she believed in you and trusted you. I want
you to know I feel the same.” She squeezed his arm. “I’m sure you
have done all you can.”
Mulder shed tears that left dirty trails down his face, “I’m not sure
this time it’s enough.”
Back at the park, Chief Grant had his men lifting the coffin
containing Susan Higgins’ remains from the ground. It was in such a
fragile state that it proved necessary to first shore up the bottom
with planking before the men could remove it.
At the hospital, Mulder turned back to face Maggie then went down the
hallway to clean up and compose himself. He took off his dirty coat
and dejectedly tossed it into the corner. He pumped the soap into
his dirty palms and rubbed and wrung his hands together trying to
squelch the frustration that was growing within him. He shut off the
water and shook off his hands then grabbed several paper towels and
ran water over them to wipe off his face. The man staring back at
him was not the same man from ten years earlier, he was harder,
edgier and no longer the wide-eyed agent he once was, but he did love
and the woman who now lay close to death loved him.
He looked up at the white spackled ceiling and prayed to Scully’s God
to spare her life. He had to laugh and shake his head, at least now
he had covered all the bases. He stiffly bent down and slowly picked
up his coat. He was needed elsewhere.
Upon returning he found Maggie and Skinner gone. He slipped into
Scully’s room, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He
pulled a chair up to Scully’s bedside and grasped her hand. No one,
no rules were going to keep him from her side from this point on he
thought as he rubbed his stubbled cheek across her hand.
Chief Grant stood by as the backhoe driver moved the lever, pulling
the straps tight. The driver pushed another lever forward to lift
the coffin from its resting-place for the first time in more than 125
years. The coffin was slowly lifted from the ground, the hearse
backed up, and it was slid inside. Once secured, the hearse pulled
away to deliver the remains of Susan Higgins to the Renner Funeral
Home, to await burial at Oak Park Cemetery.
Mulder clasped Scully’s hand tightly as he continued to rub it
against his cheek. Suddenly he felt her fingers coil and relax. He
was certain it was just reflexes taking over but her eyes were
fluttering and slowly opened. Mulder leaned in to nuzzle her neck,
“Scully, it’s me.”
He drew back just as she opened her mouth and softly moaned,
His face broke out into a large grin while he blinked back the tears;
He looked up to see her temperature was down and her vitals were
returning to normal. Scully’s eyes were closed but she managed to
say, “Mulder, what happened?”
He shook his head; “It doesn’t matter now. You get some sleep.” He
kissed her forehead and walked out of the ICU. He leaned against the
wall and sobbed.
The evacuation team continued to unearth bodies as daylight broke.
Mulder caught Maggie and Skinner at the elevator and gave them the
good news. The State Police had relayed the agent’s gear to the
hospital so Mulder found Maggie’s room and used it to shower, shave
and change his clothes. He had just tied his shoes when he became so
sleepy he had to lie down for just a few minutes but found he could
not sleep without Scully by his side.
Maggie and Skinner found Dana dozing, so they left her and returned
forty-five minutes later, to find her sitting up and free of all the
tubes except one IV. Scully was surprised to see them as they
entered her room. “Mom, what are you doing here?”
“How you feeling, honey?”
“Considering what the doctors’ tell me I’ve been through, I feel
Maggie clasped Dana’s hand; “I was so worried about you. Fox called
and we caught the next flight out.”
The door opened and in walked Mulder; Scully’s eyes caught his, to
them there was no one else in the room. His eyes were red-rimmed and
tired looking but he was the best thing Scully had ever seen. She
turned her head slightly and held out one hand. He took it and
squeezed it, as if to reaffirm that she was indeed still here. Tears
welled up in his eyes as a grin covered his face.
Skinner had his hands on his hips and was shuffling his feet as he
looked around the room with red-rimmed eyes. Maggie moved from her
daughters’ bed to stand next to him.
Mulder was no longer the one sitting in the hall as Scully celebrated
another victory over death, he now meant as much to her as her own
family. Maggie and Skinner slipped out the door unobserved by the
two people presently in each other’s arms.
Mulder brushed the hair away from Scully’s face and stared into her
huge, blue eyes. She smiled up at her partner, and as if reading her
thoughts, he said, “Scully, I think you were affected by the same
curse or transference, whatever you want to call it, as the other
Scully started to speak, “Mul. . .”
“How else can it be explained? You contracted an often-fatal disease
after a visit to the park, you didn’t respond to aggressive
treatments but the minute I had the first body moved, you recovered.”
Scully looked stunned. “You had them moved?” she softly asked.
Mulder moved from holding Scully to sitting up facing her. “I was
certain that you would die, I did what I had to do,” Mulder said,
trying to talk around the lump in his throat.
Scully leaned in to grasp him around the neck. “Thank you, I love
you,” is all she managed to whisper. Mulder moved in to kiss her
just as the doctor walked in. They looked at one another with slight
smiles and moved apart. Mulder slid off the bed as the doctor
approached Scully. He smiled down at his patient, “How are you
feeling, Agent Scully?”
“I’m fine,” Scully said, as she caught Mulder’s frown. “But a little
tired,” she quickly added.
“Well, I’ll think we’ll keep you one more night Dana, but your
recovery is remarkable. The aggressive use of anti-virals seems to
have brought about a complete turn around, with no side effects.
You’re one lucky woman, Dana.”
Scully looked at Mulder and simply replied; “I know that.”
Mulder waited for the doctor to leave; then leaned in to give Scully
a proper kiss. “I’ll be back later.” Scully nodded and fell asleep
before Mulder had left the room.
Skinner and Maggie stopped by Scully’s room on their way to the
airport. They were flying out immediately while Mulder was going to
fly back later with Scully. Maggie kissed her daughter and stroked
her hair as she fought back the tears.
The following day, Mulder loaded their luggage and gear into a cab
and was headed back into the hospital to get Scully, when his cell
phone rang. “Mulder.”
“Agent Mulder, this is Chief Grant, how is Agent Scully doing?”
“She’s being released, chief.”
“That’s great, glad to hear it.”
“Agent Mulder, I did a little checking yesterday, we had two deaths
in the county about four months ago from Spinal Meningitis and they
were both park visitors.”
“That’s interesting, chief.”
“Care to come back and do a little investigating with me, agent?”
“No thanks Chief, we’re headed home. Sounds like you’re on the right
track though, you’d make a good detective.”
“Don’t think so agent, I like it here.”
“Well, keep me informed.”
Mulder closed his phone and stuffed it into his pocket. Scully was
just being wheeled out, so he took her arm to help her into the cab
and thanked the hospital staff, before he crawled in beside her. He
put his arm around her thin frame and drew her close. He knew Scully
had seen too much not to believe his version of the truth.
Two days later. . .
Scully was padding around Mulder’s apartment in her robe and pajamas,
still too weak to return to work. He had insisted she stay with him
and she didn’t complain, in fact she was touched by his concern for
her. She walked over to the bookshelf that housed the aquarium. The
fish all crowded to the top of the tank in anticipation of being fed.
Scully grinned at the memory of Mulder’s comments then took the top
off the can of fish food and dropped a few flakes into the tank.
Scully looked in at the feeding frenzy and sighed, “Mulder was right,
I would miss you guys.” She then closed the top to the tank.
~ The End ~