Demonic Perfection

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Title: Demonic Perfection

Author: Caroline McKenna

Summary: Perfection is highly overrated.

Archive: Two weeks exclusive on VS 11’s website.

After that, anywhere.

Disclaimer: They don’t belong to me. The end.

Feedback: YES!

Email: cmckenna1121@yahoo.com

Acknowledgements: To my wonderful betas: TJ, Vickie

and Sally. I love

you all.

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TEASER:

UNKNOWN LOCATION

JANUARY 25, 2:36 AM

Rage: violent, explosive anger; furious intensity as

in a storm or disease, a burning desire or passion; a

fit of anger.

Mr. Webster had no idea what he was talking about

when he wrote the dictionary. Rage was more than a

two-dimensional assemblage of words on paper. It was

an entity in itself, something that had form and

intelligence, and hate. So much hate. Rage carried a

life of its own, and a meaning not known until

experienced.

But he knows. He knows because he redefined the term.

With every minute that goes by, his fury grows,

waiting to be unleashed on an unfortunate passer-by.

Then again, it never was a passer-by. It couldn’t be.

That wasn’t how fate wanted it.

The iridescent moonlight shone through the window,

dulled by the dust covering the old tainted glass.

Her blood mirrored the sliver of silver lighting. The

stream of liquid reached for him, curling its finger

and drawing him closer, lusting for him, begging for

his touch. He dipped his middle finger into the pool

of sanguine fluid on the dark hardwood. Lifting his

finger to his lips, he stuck his tongue out and

tasted life for the first time.

It was ethereal, utterly exquisite. The metallic

sweetness clung to him, to his tongue, his lips, his

teeth. As much as he fought, the urge was too strong

to resist, for anyone. God couldn’t resist this kind

of enticement, angels couldn’t defy their want, so

why should he?

He allowed the temptation to feed on itself, on his

need. Waves of euphoria crashed over him. He smiled,

his pearly whites taunting her, telling her of his

victory. She was his victory, his conquest.

The voices who still had the gall to speak to him

told him not to, that what he was doing was wrong.

They pleaded with him to stop, but he wouldn’t, he

never would. His conscience had never bothered him;

he had never listened to those little voices, who,

each time they spoke, resembled the voice of his

victim. But what the voices didn’t understand was

that the woman lying motionless before him, her naked

body splayed across the floor, drenched in her own

blood, was not a victim.

She was there to be saved. Saved by him.

Grunting, he picked up the lifeless body, tossing it

over his shoulder, startled by the weight of it, and

carried it to the Sanctuary. Setting her down

carefully, he positioned four black tapers, one at

the north end of the sanctuary, one at the south, and

a candle at both east and west. He took a matchbook

from his pocket and attempted to light the candles.

Striking the match head to the friction tape proved

fruitless the first two times he tried it. On the

third time, the match burst to life, and he watched,

mesmerized by the way the blue and yellow of the

flame intertwined, dancing like a ballerina on the

New York stage.

Quickly, he lit the northern candle, as well as the

other three before the fire would engulf his thick

fingers as well as the match that fed it. The dark

room, now illuminated by candles, still whispered to

him. He was not done.

He crept out of the room, taking each step as though

it may be his last. For all he knew, it could be.

The eerie, nonexistent lighting of the next room

would have frightened him ten years before, but not

now, and not ever again. Blindly lifting a solitary

rose from its vase, he pricked his finger on a

needle-thin thorn. He moved to the small sink,

stumbling over a table leg on his way, and washed

away his own blood.

Returning to her, he wove the rose together with one

already present in the room. The work was painstaking

and meticulous, in order to achieve even an imperfect

perfection, but he didn’t care. He would weave

thousands of roses together if it would purify her.

And it would. It always had.

Once he had finished his task, he delicately placed

the ring of roses on top of her golden head.

Appraising his own work, he smiled. She was

beautiful, a fairy tale princess, waiting for her

prince to ride in on his white steed, ready to save

her and then make her his own. The sight in front of

him enchanted his eyes, and enlarged his heart. He

was her prince, her savior, her Lord.

Taking his eyes off her, his sight fell upon the

instrument. Two jagged wooden beams, full of

splinters that had been put together by the craftiest

of carpenters, someone who knew his trade better than

the back of his hand. Smiling a saintly smile, he

hoisted her up again, and moved closer until they

were inside the Sanctuary. Laying her body on the

wood, he took out a nail and began to work.

* * * * *

* *

The road wept silently beneath her feet, crying out

to her soundless ears. Her Nike’s hit the pavement

with the rhythmic beat, heard only by her, who could

hear nothing of any importance. The cold September

air nipped bitterly at her nose, putting a pink tinge

in her freckled cheeks, and a fresh determination to

run in her heart. It was the only inspiration she

needed to crank it up a notch and pump her legs a

little harder, move her feet a little faster, get her

heart rate up a little more.

The frost had permeated through the soil beside the

path, killing all but the heartiest of shrubbery. The

weather in Maine was always brutal, always ten

degrees colder than the rest of the world. Joanna

still didn’t know why she bothered trying to jog. But

she did, every morning before work; she headed out to

the wooded trails behind her suburban home, in

jogging shoes and sweats, prepared to run.

This morning, though, she was all but prepared. She

had woken nearly an hour late, after battling with

the “Snooze” button on her alarm clock at least three

times. Her hair had been thrown into a messy

ponytail, locks of chestnut brown falling down around

her face, clinging to her cheeks and neck, which were

now drenched with sweat. After running for more than

an hour, Joanna was ready to pass out from

exhaustion, but something pushed her onward. Some

unknown, unidentifiable source whispering in her ear,

kept telling her to put one foot in front of the

other. With ground eating strides, she approached the

structure.

The house looked like something out of the Blair

Witch Project. Its rotting boards and dusty windows,

not only gave her the willies, but an insurmountable

urge to clean it top to bottom until it shined like

brass. Rarely did she pass it, the house didn’t cross

her normal path, but today she hadn’t taken the same

trail she usually did. Just looking for a change of

scenery, she supposed, not giving much though to her

change of routine.

Yet, today, the house held a different sense of

foreboding, one Joanna was not familiar with. The

inside seemed darker, the outside more dilapidated

than the week before. Faintly, she could see the

outline of something inside, through the grimy window

and brown burlap curtain. Curiosity taking hold of

willpower, she jogged lethargically down the snowy

bank towards the building.

Even though Joanna knew that the house was old and

abandoned, she knocked on the front door. Unsure of

why she felt so nervous and a little mystified by the

chill running up and down her spine, she opened the

door, listening to it creak on hinges that badly

needed to be oiled. A brown mouse scurried by her

feet, causing her to jump a foot in the air.

But she didn’t scream.

As the front door opened, a rush of unpleasant smells

greeted her. The musty air enclosed in the cottage

carried with it something she wouldn’t have been able

to identify years before. A smell that, before she

had been diagnosed with cancer, was as unfamiliar to

her as snow was to Florida. Now, though, it seemed to

be an everyday fragrance. Nosebleed after innumerable

nosebleed had taught her the scent of blood.

Before her lay a sight that would be burned into her

nightmares for the rest of her life, and yet, it was

almost beautiful. Nailed into the arms of a cross

were a woman’s hands, and her feet were nailed to the

bottom. Blood dripped from her scalp, where a crown

of thorns sat, digging into her pale flesh, and the

gash in her side seemed to grow bigger as Joanna

stared at it. The crucifixion.

Devoid of emotion, she approached the sacrifice,

unaware of the barren cross and the man awaiting her,

wine goblet in hand, and a malicious grin on his

face.

* * * * *

* *

ACT I

FBI BUILDING

JANUARY 26, 1:27 PM

BASEMENT OFFICE

It had started out as a bad hair day and went

downhill from there. It was like the book she read to

her nephew. Dana Scully and the Terrible, Horrible,

No Good, Very Bad Day. Then again, if she had been

writing it, there would have been several more

adjectives piled on top of the list, not all of them

appropriate for the ears of a five-year-old.

Oh, it wasn’t all that bad, she supposed. Nobody had

died, Mulder hadn’t been shot recently, and she

hadn’t looked out her window and seen aliens taking

over the planet. All in all, her day had been free of

turmoil, just a quiet day in the office, filing

paperwork. But, it gave her time to think, which was

not always a good thing.

“Hey, Scully, we’ve got a new case,” Mulder said,

breezing through the door, two Subway sandwiches in

his right hand, and a manila file folder tucked

safely under his arm. He smiled casually at her, and

dropped the file folder in front of her. It landed

with a loud *plop* on the desk, and the wind caused

by its fall from grace triggered several other papers

to plunge to the floor.

Looking up at the ceiling before bending down to pick

them up, Scully briefly thanked God for giving her

something to do, even if it was a case to work on.

The whole morning she had sat at her partner’s desk,

wondering why the aspects of the everyday life in

which she once longed for, now seemed so monotonous,

so mundane, that any desire she had ever had for such

a life had vanished. She could no longer picture

herself living in the country, with a white picket

fence, a husband, two children, and a Norwegian Elk

Hound named Heinrich. And though living with Mulder

was as close to bliss as she could get, Scully was

having a little bit of trouble adjusting. It was so .

. .different. His junk littered her apartment, more

so than when they weren’t living together. When the

first stack of his clothes piled up in her laundry

room, she got a vision of herself at 95, up to her

ears in Mulder’s boxers. That vision quickly

dissolved, however, in favor of the image of Mulder

*in* boxers. Then Mulder without boxers. And then

Scully stopped doing the laundry.

Of course, the advantages of living together far

outweighed the disadvantages, at least so far, and

Scully was enjoying the convenience of having him

right where she could reach him. The first two weeks

had been like a dream. Going to work with him in the

morning, working with him all day, going home with

him in the afternoon, and falling asleep in his arms.

Still, such closeness frightened her. Where would she

go when she needed privacy? Almost since the day she

met him, Scully had used her apartment as her solace

when things went bad or when she needed space. It was

*her* place, her hideaway, and though she had begun

to share it with Mulder in the two years since they

had become physically intimate, she wasn’t sure she

was completely ready to give up her apartment and

therefore the privacy that went with it. Scully

worried that spending every minute of the day

together would ruin the wonderful romance she and

Mulder shared. Then again, she reasoned, she had

known the man for eleven years and her love for him

had never diminished, it had only grown and

flourished.

“Here’s your sandwich. Ham and tomato on rye,” he

handed her the wrapped sub and opened the folder on

the desk in front of her. Scully shook her head,

clearing it of her thoughts.

“Thanks,” Smiling at Mulder, Scully accepted her

lunch, unwrapped it and took a bite. Turning her

attention to the case presented to her, she asked

with a mouth full of bread, “Mulder, what’s this?”

“What’s it look like, Scully? It’s a case,” Pulling

up a chair beside her, Mulder peered over her

shoulder to look at the material in front of them,

and elaborated, “In the past five weeks, the police

have found nine women murdered in northern Maine.”

“And?”

“All nine have been crucified, nailed to a cross. The

first three, Paula Jenkins, Elizabeth Forrester, and

Gabriella Hathaway were found in Lewiston, just south

of Augusta, Maine. Hidden by the thick forest, the

police didn’t find the bodies until three days after

the murders had been committed,” he paused, tearing

off a piece of Scully’s sandwich and popping it into

his mouth, chewing exaggeratedly.

“Hey! Get your own!” she protested, “So the three

women were crucified together?”

“Yeah. There’s no apparent connection between the

victims. They were completely different. The first

was an actress, the second a prostitute, and the

third, an accountant. They were all from different

parts of the city, and one of them was visiting from

Chicago. One was married, one single, and one

divorced. There was no common person associated with

any of them.”

“I assume that the married or divorced women’s

husbands were checked out?” Scully asked, taking

another bite of her food.

“Of course. That was the first thing they did, apart

from running over the crime scene. All men are clear.

Hell, Elizabeth Forrester’s husband was up for the

Pulitzer Prize in literature this year. The police

can’t make heads or tails of it. So they called us,

due to our expertise in the paranormal and the fact

that they weren’t getting anywhere.”

“What’s your theory, Mulder?”

Feigning both shock and sorrow, he replied, “Me? A

theory? Who says I always have a theory? I’m

offended.”

Giving him ‘the eyebrow’ and an accusatory glare,

Scully waited for him to clarify.

“Okay,” Mulder relented, “Have you ever seen the

movie Dogma, Scully?”

“No, Mulder, I haven’t, and to be perfectly clear so

not to inspire one of your ‘guy movie’ nights, I

wouldn’t want to.”

“Anyway,” he said pointedly, “considering the manner

in which these women died, I believe this has

something to do with a fallen angel. An angel, not

fit for heaven, that was sent back to earth to earn

his way back. Kind of like in ‘All Dogs Go to

heaven’. Call it a hunch, call it intuition,

whatever. I think we should look into it.” Mulder

unwrapped the sandwich he had bought for himself and

bit off a piece. He chewed it slowly, a bit

disappointed. He had asked the woman at Subway for

extra lettuce and she had given him extra onion

instead.

“Reaching a little, Mulder? And if there are any

onions on that sandwich, your mouth is coming nowhere

near mine,” she teased.

“Sure. Fine. Whatever…” he said, “I’m serious, here,

Scully. There is evidence to support my theory.” She

shot him a skeptical eyebrow and turned back to her

sandwich.

“So what makes you jump to a fallen angel, why not

demonic possession or something like that?” she

asked.

“There was a witness to the first set of murders, an

old woman who was out walking her dog. She told the

police that she had seen a man standing near a

crucifix, only it wasn’t exactly a man. She claimed

that he had wings. Coincidentally, she died of a drug

overdose two days later.”

“And?”

“And, there was a case nearly identical to this one

back in 1967. A dozen murders, all victims crucified.

The murderer was shot, but the cop that shot him said

that there was something odd about him. Same thing,

wings and a halo. You see, generally speaking, fallen

angels are souls that don’t belong in heaven, and

they are kicked out, so to speak. Once on earth

again, these creatures have to earn there way into

either heaven or hell. My theory is that this guy was

too evil to sing with the angels so he’s doing

something so demonic that he’ll be sleeping with the

devil as soon as he’s done. Limbo’s a nasty place,

Scully. This guy would rather be in hell than

somewhere in the middle. The file is in my suitcase,

I think. You can look at it later,” Mulder reached

for her sandwich greedily, but Scully pulled it away

before he came within two inches of the bread and

meat.

“C’mon, Scully! Can’t I have just one bite? Yours has

more lettuce on it than mine does.”

“No,” Scully said, drawing the sandwich closer to her

chest, as if to emphasize her point.

“Fine,” Mulder pouted mockingly. On an afterthought

he added, “Bunnykins.”

“Mulder!” Scully hollered, slapping her lover upside

the head, “Don’t you dare ‘Bunnykins’ me again, or

you’ll be sleeping on the couch for a week!” Her

laughter, which was so rare, filled the small office,

bouncing off of the poster-covered walls.

“I miss my couch.” Mulder pouted heavily, sticking

his lower lip out at his partner. Not able to resist

the temptation, Scully leaned in and kissed him.

“Would you prefer your couch or my bed?” she asked

coyly after pulling away from him.

“Do I even need to answer that? And as much as I’d

like to pursue this topic,” Mulder cleared his

throat, “we have to get packing. We leave early

tomorrow morning for Maine. Grab your mittens,

Scully, it’s supposed to be chilly.”

“Mulderrrr…” she groaned. Maine sounded so cold and

Scully hated cold. Canada was cold. Antarctica was

cold. Alaska was cold.

“Well, it’s better than sitting around here, filling

out expense reports,” he rationalized.

“Point taken,” Scully agreed. The thought of making

love in front of a nice warm fireplace didn’t sound

too bad either. “What time do we leave?”

* * * * *

* *

LEWISTON, MAINE

JANUARY 27, 3:16 PM

“This is serious, agents,” police chief, Mark Briggs

said gravely as Mulder and Scully walked into the

police station. He was a man of forty or so, with

gray beginning to pepper his dark brown hair and

mustache. His slitty eyes caused him to wear an ever-

present mask of suspicion. Thick, dark eyebrows

accentuated the fact that his deep blue orbs were too

sunk in and too close together. Scully didn’t know

what to think of him.

It had taken them a while to find the station. The

old building was hidden amidst a cluster of

newfangled homes. The pale brick building should have

stood out among stainless white siding but for some

odd reason, it didn’t. They had passed by more than

once, each time looking past it. The station was one

of the oldest buildings in the small town; it had

been there since the founding. Its age alone added an

air of creepiness to the already ghostly

architecture.

A large black thunderhead hovered over it, like an

ominous signal to those in the town. The fog

surrounding the structure never let up, and never

moved from its position blanketing the police

station. Two of the front windows were boarded up,

but Mulder had been able to see the broken glass

behind the wood. Kids with baseballs, he suspected.

“How serious, Chief?” Scully asked, approaching the

huddle of officers. She counted six of them.

“A local jogger just found another set of bodies.

Three women crucified. Lorraine Krause, Christina

McIntosh and Joanna Marguleis. We’re doing background

checks on them right now.”

A young, skinny man walked up to the chief and handed

him a stack of papers. “Thank you, Jerry,” he said,

dismissing the boy.

“Joanna was in advertising, Lorraine was unemployed,

and Christina was a jazz singer, very popular and

very talented. Two were married, and one engaged.

That’s all we’ve found out as of yet,” Briggs said

gruffly, after looking through the information.

“Have your men been out to the crime scene yet?”

Mulder asked, immediately curious. He needed more to

substantiate his story than the ‘hunch’ he told

Scully he was going on. He knew this killer would

have left a mark.

“Yes. I had a team out earlier this morning to gather

evidence.”

“Could we go and check it out?” Mulder asked.

“Sure, I’ll send a couple of men with you if you need

assistance.” Briggs glanced at his officers who

nodded, though somewhat reluctantly with grumbles of

protest. It wasn’t uncommon that the police didn’t

like the FBI butting into their cases.

“We would,” he said, looking to Scully, who confirmed

his request with a strained smile.

“Okay. This is Detective David Garris, he’ll show you

to the scene. It isn’t far from here, and within

walking distance,” pointing out the man next to him,

a sandy haired boy of no more than thirty. He was

short for a man, only 5’6″ or 5’7″ and by no means

muscular. Garris’ lanky form and angelic face didn’t

lend itself to the stereotypical cop image. Then

again, stereotypes were highly overrated, Scully

thought, looking at Mulder’s equally lanky form.

“Hello, Detective. Garris,” Scully said politely,

jabbing Mulder in the ribs and encouraging him to do

the same. He uttered a greeting, more interested in

the trail of officers leaving the room.

“Good morning, Agent… What did you say your name

was?” He scanned over her with his eyes, as if

committing her appearance to memory. Scully shifted

on her feet. His scrutiny was making her

uncomfortable.

“Scully,” she replied shortly, moving closer to

Mulder who’s cologne was a relief from the stench

coming from the other officer. Much to her delight,

Mulder glared menacingly at him.

“Nice to meet you, Agent Scully.” He stuck out his

hand for Scully to shake. As politely as she could,

she ignored his outstretched palm. The attention of a

stranger was the last thing she needed. “You sure are

pretty for an FBI agent. Some of them sure are dogs.”

Scully sighed.

Mulder cleared his throat loudly, tipping his head

towards the door. Scully hoped Garris got the hint.

“Let’s go,” Garris said, leading the agents out the

door and into the cold Maine air.

* * * * *

* *

Scully could definitely see why they had been forced

to hike the two and a half miles instead of taking a

car. The house in which the bodies were found was in

the middle of an especially rocky forest. Pine and

birch trees, bare of leaves, towered above them as

they walked, reaching for the heavens, touching the

clouds.

Media hounds surrounded the house, crowding in every

corner, trying to get a glimpse of the interior. None

had seen it before: their serial killer had used it.

He seemed to always find a new place to have his fun.

Begging for a story, the reporters approached the

group of law enforcement officers, who uttered one

“no comment” after another. It didn’t really surprise

Scully, however, that they had bothered to trek all

the way from the interstate to dig for scraps of

information.

Separated from the police, she and Mulder pushed past

bustling reporters and photographers and made their

way into the ramshackle house.

Looking around the room, a chill ran down Scully’s

spine. Person or angel, whatever was killing these

women was one sadistic bastard. She had dealt with

her share of evil, but this was something different,

something she had never seen or ever wanted to.

The large, slow burning candles that had been on

their last shreds of life were blown out by one of

the cops and the gray curls of smoke filled the room.

It reminded Scully all too much of Cancerman. She

recoiled at the thought.

“Any fingerprints?” Mulder asked to the room.

“No fingerprints,” a young woman told them. “The

forensics crew’s just packing up. They didn’t find

anything.”

“Look at this, Mulder,” Scully said.

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On the floor beside the now unoccupied crosses, she

noticed an angel, the size of her palm, drawn in

blood. Strange. Crouching down, she called for

Mulder, who had been across the room talking to the

forensics team. He joined her in examining the mark.

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“I’m going to get a sample of this, to run a DNA test

against all the victims. Most likely, the blood is

from one of the. . .”

“Do all the tests you want, Scully, but I can already

tell you that this isn’t the victim’s blood.”

“How do you know that, Mulder?” Scully asked, cocking

an eyebrow suspiciously.

“The same mark was found at all the other crime

scenes,” he said.

Scully was peeved. Why had he kept this from her? It

probably wasn’t intentional, she reasoned, but it

still irritated her.

“The blood,” he continued, apparently oblivious to

her furrowed brow, “is not fully human.”

Garris chose that moment to come up behind them,

bending over Scully’s shoulder, “Find anything

interesting?” he asked.

“Not really,” Scully said.

Disregarding Garris, Scully pulled Mulder aside and

hissed, “What is this blood thing, and Mulder, why

didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought the file was in my suitcase,” he said. “I

was wrong. It’s not a big deal.”

She sighed, lowering her head, part in frustration

and part in distress. “But you still knew, Mulder.

You read the file, you knew about something as

critically important as this, and you still didn’t

tell me.”

“What’s the problem, Scully?” The edge in his voice

did not go unnoticed. He must be getting peeved. She

didn’t care.

“Never mind, Mulder,” she said crisply, walking back

to the crime scene. She crouched down and scraped up

some of the blood they had been examining, putting it

in a plastic bag and sealing it tightly. “Why don’t

you go interview some of the victim’s neighbors,

friends, relatives, while I do the autopsies

When she was in professional mode there was no room

for anger. Consequently, to rid her of the irritation

burning inside her she turned on “Special Agent

Scully, MD” and turned off Dana. It was Dana that was

upset at Mulder’s lie of omission. Agent Scully just

wanted to solve the case. Dana wasn’t sure what she

wanted.

Scully walked away from her partner and joined the

rest of the police team.

ACT II

A flash of red, seen out of the corner of his eye. So

tempting. So enticing. He knew at that moment he

wanted her. She was the one, the only one worthy of

him. The Pure One, she who could deliver the rest

from a hell-bound eternity. Unlike the others, she

had none of the sins.

She was perfect.

He watched her walk through the forest, brushing

aside branches and stepping over the tree roots that

had whispered to her, been so determined to trip her,

to bring her to her downfall. But they didn’t fool

her. Nothing could fool her. Perfection.

She would follow him willingly, without a fight, he

knew she would. She would because she knew who she

was, what she was. The sacrificial lamb, the Pure

One, she would give her soul for the lives of the

others. Hell would no longer wait for the deadly

sinners of the human race. All because of her.

He saw her smile at her companion, a beautiful toothy

smile that stretched all the way up to her

crystalline blue eyes. So alluring. So desirable. The

smile of a saint, of one sent to free him from his

bonds.

Perfection.

She would die above the others, a solitary

crucifixion, not subject to the humiliation the

twelve before her had endured. Her death would be a

dignified one, since it was her sacrifice that would

save him. Everyone would get what they wanted. The

sinners would not rot in the fiery pits of hell,

sitting next to Satan himself, but he would.

Perfection.

LEWISTON, MAINE

4:57 PM

“Perfect,” Mulder said, his voice constricted and

sarcastic. “Just wonderful.”

“Something wrong, Agent Mulder?” asked Becky

Langstrom, one of the cops assigned to the case and

more specifically, to follow the fed and make sure he

didn’t get into trouble.

“No, I’m fine,” he said, mocking Scully.

She was angry at him, for a reason she wouldn’t

disclose. He hadn’t told her about the blood symbol,

big deal. He didn’t see why she was so angry.

Apparently, it was big enough for her to suggest she

do the autopsy alone, while he interview the victims’

friends and family. Of course, he was never really

much help while Scully was slicing and dicing, but he

usually felt welcome to drop by.

Lorraine Krause lived closest to the crime scene, so

Mulder had decided to start with her and work his way

down the list.

“Should we get going, Agent Mulder?” Detective

Langstrom said over her shoulder. She was five feet

ahead of him, walking up the driveway of a yellow

suburban home.

“Yeah. Go ahead, Detective. This will go faster if we

split up, so you take that house, and I’ll take this

one.” He motioned to the house next door.

Treading across the snow covered lawn with no regard

to politeness, Mulder approached the home, leaving a

track of footprints in the snow. Normally, he would

use the sidewalk, but Mulder just wasn’t in the mood.

He hated it when Scully was mad at him. She didn’t

even have a real reason. Or, at least, not much of

one.

The exterior of the house had recently been repainted

a shockingly bright white, which struck Mulder as

odd. They were in the middle of Maine’s harsh winter,

and the house looked like it had been painted the

previous week.

He knocked on the door and impatiently waited for an

answer. Pounding again on the door, Mulder could hear

slow and cautious footsteps coming from inside. “Open

up,” he hollered, “FBI. I want to ask you a couple of

questions.”

The lock clicked and the door opened just enough for

an elderly man to stick his head out the door. “I

don’t wanna buy nothing!”

Sighing, Mulder pulled out his badge and held it up

for the man to see, “FBI.”

“Free pie? Why by all means, come in! Trixie, we’ve

got company!” he hollered. He ushered Mulder in and

left him out in the hall while he fetched his wife.

Reappearing, he said to Mulder, “Have a seat. Give

Trixie the pie and she’ll warm it up in the oven.”

“Sir, I’m afraid you misheard me. I said FBI, not

pie.”

“You sure?” the old man asked, wrinkling his nose,

which looked more like a beak than anything.

“Positive.”

A woman toddled into the room, having heard the

conversation, put her hands on her broad hips and

glared fiercely at the man.

Holding out a small piece of flesh colored plastic,

she spoke. “Arthur, here’s your hearing aid. You

forgot to put it in *again* this morning. You do that

one more time, mister, and I’m going to flush it down

the toilet and you’ll never be able to hear again.”

She immediately reminded Mulder of Scully.

“Well at least I wouldn’t have to listen to you nag!”

Grabbing the hearing aid and quietly excusing

himself, Arthur left the room.

“I’m sorry about him, dearie. He’s so absent minded

sometimes. A lot of the time lately. Now, who did you

say you were?” The older woman sat beside him on the

old, torn sofa, peering over horn-rimmed glasses to

look at him. Mulder was sure she was assessing him

and determining that he needed fattening up.

“My name is Fox Mulder, and I’m an agent with the

FBI. I’d like to ask you and your husband a couple of

quick questions about your neighbor, Lorraine

Krause.”

Letting the woman take her time with the question, he

glanced around the room. It wasn’t much to look at.

The shaggy beige carpet seemed to be shedding, and

the brown throw rug covering it looked like it hadn’t

been vacuumed in months. There was too much furniture

in the front room, to the point where there was

hardly room to walk. The oak china cabinet had seen a

better day. Scattered around the room were

knickknacks of all sorts. On one of the end tables

sat a wooden doll that looked Russian and a Spanish

sombrero decorated the top of the medium sized

television.

“Oh yes, we were so sorry to hear about Lori.” Trixie

said finally, turning her gaze to her lap, where her

hands were folded calmly.

“How do you know about Lori? The bodies were just

found.”

“Oh, it’s a small town, honey, you know how fast news

travels.” She smiled softly at him.

Reentering the room, Arthur agreed, “Yeah. It was

such a shame. Things like that shouldn’t happen.”

Mulder agreed, “They shouldn’t, but they do.” He

paused, watching the man who had seated himself in a

chair on the left side of the room and the woman next

to him. “How well did you know Lorraine?”

“I’ve known her since the day she was born,”

commented Trixie softly.

Mulder could see the tears forming in her green eyes,

even though she tried desperately to hide them.

“What kind of person was she?”

“She was a nice girl,” said Arthur, “but about as

sharp as a sack of wet mice.” Mulder had to hold in a

chuckle. Trixie frowned at her husband’s disrespect.

“Pardon him,” she said to Mulder, “his manners aren’t

what they used to be.” The comment was directed more

to Arthur than to him and he smiled. “Lori was…

Lori was a sweet child. She went through a lot of

hard times, with Greg and all.”

“Greg?” Mulder asked, trying to glean all possible

information from the old couple.

“Her ex-husband. He beat her something awful. I don’t

know why they got married in the first place. She was

awed by him, but he. . .I don’t think Greg ever liked

Lori. You could hear them arguing from here and they

lived three houses down. Lori bought the house she

grew up in, isn’t that sweet? Greg just hated women,

I think. Do you want something to drink? Or eat? I

just made brownies.”

Mulder continued to ask the couple questions about

Lori; had she been acting strangely, who she had been

seen with recently, etc. But after three brownies

and two glasses of lemonade, Mulder had gained

nothing except a full stomach and the scattered

musings of the elderly. The couple had provided

little information.

Except for Greg.

What could be up with him? Did he have an alibi? He

sure didn’t seem to be a very nice person, that much

was for sure. He beat her. But did he have the hatred

in him to kill her? He would run the idea past Scully

and then dig up whatever information he could find on

Greg and pay the man a visit.

Without another word, Mulder let himself out the

front door and walked through the snow to the next

house.

RICE COUNTY MORGUE

11:38 PM

The last autopsy. Scully sighed, thankful. After

standing for six hours, digging through dead people,

her feet hurt and she smelled like death.

Perfume de Formaldehyde. Very attractive.

Covering Joanna Marguleis’ corpse with a sheet, she

grimaced at the young woman’s still visible wounds.

Even after seeing the things she had in the course of

her years with the FBI and with Mulder, she had never

seen anything as gruesome as this. Well, not recently

anyway.

Twelve women total, all with similar wounds: spikes

through the hands and feet, a crown of thorns on the

head and a gash on the left side. The killer was

mimicking the crucifixion, that much was obvious. But

what was the significance of it?

Biblically, numbers always had a heavy magnitude.

Seven days of creation. Forty days and forty nights

of rain while Noah sailed his boat. Three parts to

one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three days

between the crucifixion and the Resurrection. Forty

days that Jesus spent in the desert, being tempted by

Satan. Twelve Apostles.

That thought stuck to her. Twelve women, twelve

apostles. Could it be? With this kind of case, there

was no such thing as coincidence. She shook her head.

There had to be another, more plausible explanation.

Murderers typically fit into two categories;

organized and unorganized. She and Mulder, as well as

the rest of the Maine PD were dealing with the most

deadly kind, a highly organized, highly intelligent

maniac. He left no evidence, no fingerprints, no

fibers, only blood which the police had yet to trace.

Not only was their guy smart, he was ruthless too.

That did not make for a good combination. There was

no telling the lengths this man would go to get off.

And yet, Scully had her doubts. Would he stop, since

there are only twelve apostles- thirteen if he

counted the one who replaced Judas? Or would he

attempt to rewrite the Bible and make it fourteen?

Or fifteen, if he kept going by groups of three?

Whatever he chose, he would keep to his own set of

rules, Scully was sure of that. This person was no

longer playing by those of society. His rules were

now far more superior than any the law could have

dreamed up. His were the laws of life and death.

She was also sure that whatever he did would have a

Biblical meaning. It was in his programming.

Forgetting her anger at Mulder, Scully pulled out her

cell phone and pressed number one on her speed dial.

“Mulder,” came her answer after two rings. He sounded

tired, worn out. She guessed he was back at the

hotel, shoes kicked off, relaxing in front of the

television.

“Mulder, it’s me. I have a theory.” She needed to be

quick, because the quicker she got off the phone, the

sooner she could clean her autopsy tools and then get

back to the hotel. The sooner she got back to the

hotel the sooner she could sleep.

“Let’s hear it, Scully,” Mulder urged without

hesitation.

“I think we might be looking for a woman. Before you

say anything, hear me out, Mulder. This person is

replaying the crucifixion, detail by detail. Hell,

she even did the Last Supper. It’s confirmed, Mulder,

those women died from some kind of poison in the wine

she gave them. All the injuries on the body were post

mortem.”

“Just like the other victims,” he said.

“Yeah,” she said somewhat distractedly, “But the only

difference is the women.”

“What?” Mulder asked. This theory of hers was

possibly more out there than some of his. Serial

killers were rarely women, especially with a crime of

this brutality. Even hoisting the victims to the

cross must have taken tremendous strength, strength

that a woman would not possess.

“Twelve women, twelve apostles. Our killer is

producing a female version of Christ’s death. Women’s

rights, almost.”

Mulder thought for a moment. “It makes sense. A lot

of sense actually,” his voice had gone from drowsy to

attentive in the two minutes they had been speaking.

Scully could hear the shuffle of papers in the

background.

“I just have to clean up a little, and then I’ll head

back to the hotel so we can discuss this in person.

My cell phone bill was too high last month. I’d like

to keep it down.,” Holding the phone to her ear with

her shoulder, Scully picked up her scalpel and walked

over to the steel sink and turned on the water,

watching the cold stream flow softly to the sinks’

base.

“Just hurry up. I’ll be waiting, and so will that

big, comfy, hotel bed. . .” he said suggestively,

bringing a smile to Scully’s face. Hanging up without

saying goodbye came as second nature to her now. It

should, after ten years of practice.

Ten years. She wondered how that was Biblically

significant.

* * * * *

* *

GEORGIA STAR HOTEL

LEWISTON, MAINE

1:03 AM

He hated waiting. Never a patient person, Mulder

really hated it now. He wanted her home, period. No

questions asked. At least she hadn’t seemed angry

anymore. Sometimes, he figured, people just needed

their space. This was one of those times for Scully.

He needed to accept that she didn’t have to be around

him twenty-four-seven.

Moments later, the door opened slowly, and a very

tired looking Scully walked through it. Though she

had changed from her scrubs, her work clothes looked

wrinkled and worn, not a look he normally saw in

Scully. Her mussed hair fell in her face adding to

the natural look her messy clothes gave her.

She smiled exhaustedly at him. “Hi, Mulder.”

“Hey,” he got up and enfolded her small body in his

arms like he had been doing it his entire life, “Are

you okay?”

“Yeah,” her voice was muffled by his chest, but

Mulder could still make out her words. Wrapping her

arms around his waist, she continued, “Got a call

from Briggs on my way here.”

Pulling back slightly, he looked into her eyes, “Did

you?”

She stepped out of his embrace and shuffled over to

the bed, sitting down on the flower-print mattresses’

firm corner. “He told one of his guys to examine that

blood, since I was in the autopsy bay all day. Like

you said, the blood was inconsistent with the human

genome pattern, although it does show resemblance.

Briggs said that his guy, a veteran biologist, had

never seen anything like it before.” She shook her

head. As much as she trusted Briggs’ judgment, Scully

wanted to check the blood for herself.

“Same as the others,” he paused, looking at his

pensive partner as she fingered her delicate gold

cross necklace. Her head hung low, her eyes focused

on the tiny object between the pads of her fingers.

Mulder was sure she hadn’t heard a word of his last

comment. “I know I haven’t been completely truthful

with you Scully, but you don’t need to pout.” She

didn’t answer him nor did she respond to his teasing.

In another attempt to win back his partner’s good

graces, he pulled out a deep red rose.

“I’m sorry for being such an ass. I, uh… I stopped by

the florist on the way here.”

Scully accepted his gift graciously, looked at him

and smiled. “You mean you didn’t steal it from an old

man with a broken. . . something?” Her smile quickly

faded. With the rose in one hand, she put the other

to her necklace once more.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Scully? I know this case

kind of hits home for you.”

“I’ll be fine Mulder.”

“You’ll be fine, but you’re not fine now?” he asked,

noticing her slip of the lip.

“I don’t know.” Looking at the rose he had given her,

Scully held it up to eye level and spun it around

with her fingers. “Ouch!” she exclaimed as one of the

razor sharp thorns pricked her index finger. A small

dot of bright red blood appeared on the pad of her

finger and Scully quickly grabbed a Kleenex and wiped

it off. Her forehead wrinkled, and she was apparently

deep in thought. She looked up at him. “Mulder, why

is there both good and evil in a person? I mean, why

can a rose, such a beautiful thing do something that

can hurt so much?”

“The thorns are for the rose to protect itself. You

know that as well as I do. To your more prevalent

question, I don’t think the answer can ever really be

known.”

“Mulder, I don’t even know what I’m asking! I mean, I

know we’ve asked this a million times, but where is

the line drawn between good and evil? And when that

line is crossed, who allows the good to be used for

an evil purpose? Does that at all make sense?” She

laid down on the bed, and closed her eyes in

contemplation.

Mulder took a position next to her and propped his

head up with a pillow. “Kind of. You want to know if

there’s any good in this guy- or girl- and if there

is, you want to know what put it there amidst all the

evil. You want to know why there is both good and

evil in the world, why God allows it.”

“Mulder, you amaze me. How you got that message out

of what I just said is a mystery to me,” she smiled

and allowed his arm to snake around her waist,

pulling her close. “So how did your part of the

investigation go? Any new information?”

“Not really. At one point, I thought I had a lead,

but it fizzled out. I spoke to Christina’s sister,

who had nothing but good to say about her. Apparently

they had just had a huge fight and I think it just

hit her that she’s not going to see her sister again,

never going to be able to make amends. The woman was

in tears from the moment I walked in the door.”

Mulder’s heart sunk a little upon hearing his own

words. He had long since dealt with his sister’s

death, or so he told himself. Sometimes, though, it

still hurt. It always would, he knew that. The pain

had become part of who he was.

Scully tightened her arms around him, snuggling

closer to his body. “So, no new facts?”

“None.” She was holding him so tight. She rarely did

that unless they were making love, “Are you sure

you’re okay with this case? I know your religion is

very important to you and I don’t want you to. . .”

She cut him off, “Mulder, I’m fine. Yeah, I mean, it

makes it a little more challenging, but. . .”

“. . . you love a challenge,” Mulder finished for

her with a smile, knowing that he had taken the words

right out of her mouth.

Scully yawned. “Stop doing that.”

“Doing what?” he asked innocently.

“That reading my mind, completing my sentence thing

that you do,” she replied sleepily. Mulder knew she

would drift off any minute.

“But I was right, wasn’t I Scully?”

“Yes, Mulder,” she said, “You’re always right.” And

she was asleep.

LEWISTON POLICE STATION

LEWSITON, MAINE

1:34 AM

David Garris sat at his desk, munching on the

chocolate frosted donut that his wife, Becky, had

brought in for him earlier. At her insistence, he

promised to be home before dawn. On an everyday

basis, David wasn’t home until 7 a.m., and then he

would sleep for a couple of hours and go back to

work. The life of a hard-working cop was hell on the

wives.

He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to rid

himself of the migraine that had been tormenting him

for the past hour.

“Jerry, grab me an aspirin, will you?” he mumbled to

the other cop on duty.

Jerry Markenton, who had every drug and painkiller

ever made stashed in his desk, opened the front

drawer and dug out a bottle of Ibuprofen. “Here. Keep

it. You’re always asking me for some. What’s with all

those headaches you get anyway?”

David shrugged it off, “I don’t know. I started

getting them sometime last year, around the time I

took the job here. Stress of the job, crying baby at

home, Becky’s pregnant again, that kind of thing I

guess. I swear that woman is as fertile as the Amazon

rainforest. And she wonders why I’m at work so much,”

he grinned cockily. “If she only knew.”

“Only knew what, Dave?” Dave remained silent, “You

cheating on her?”

Again no words were spoken from the angelic face next

to him.

“Who’s the other girl?” Jerry asked, slouching in his

seat and throwing his feet up on the desk assuming he

was right. For someone who kept a better medical

supply than most hospitals in his work desk drawer,

Jerry was surprisingly relaxed.

“She’s beautiful. Absolutely perfect.”

OUTSIDE

LEWISTON, MAINE

6:18 AM

Perfect.

She was perfect. Perfection comes in many shapes and

forms, but hers was the ideal. She was pure.

She lay, cuddling with her lover, her hair spread

like thick, beautiful blood over the pillow. Her body

was still dressed in dark clothing that looked like

what she had worn earlier in the day. He couldn’t

quite tell, due to the grime on the hotel windows. He

needed to remind personnel that, although it was

winter, the windows still get dirty and need to be

washed.

He hated dirty people. People who kept things dirty,

who didn’t know how to wash windows. But he hated

people who were dirty more than anything. People who

were dirty outside were abhorrent, but people who

were dirty on the inside deserved to die. God had

sent him to do that job, fulfill his word. Ezekiel

chapter eighteen, verse twenty told him exactly what

he was to do. “The soul who sins shall die.”

They had sinned, the twelve women before the Pure

One. Their sins had ruined them: pride, lust, greed.

They deserved to die, but as soon as the woman in the

window became his sacrifice, they would all live an

eternal life, and he would finally be able to revel

in his eternal death.

The Pure One. The woman with the hair as red as the

fires of hell. His only hope.

Though the bitter cold nipped at the tips of his ears

and stung his face, he could not take his eyes off

her. She twisted and turned, violently thrashing in

her sleep. The man sleeping beside her woke up

quickly and tenderly put a hand to her face.

Act II

POLICE STATION

THE NEXT MORNING

The rain dripped gently down the window, a solitary

drop caressing the sleek glass of the police

department window. Gathered in the room were law

enforcement officers and officials from all over the

state. The killer who the media had dubbed Father

Death was the news story of the century in Maine, and

the cop that caught him would gobble up their fifteen

minutes of fame. Mulder shook his head; half the men

in the room had never dealt with a serial killer, and

the other half would probably let him get away if he

seemed the least bit “nice.” Furthermore, he wasn’t

entirely convinced that the string of murders was the

handy-work of your run-of-the-mill serial killer.

As much as Mulder tried to shake his gut instinct

that a fallen angel was behind the killings, he

couldn’t. What Scully had said made perfect sense. A

deranged, homicidal, lunatic was behind everything.

Of course. But he still couldn’t shake the feeling

that it was something more.

It poked at him like a really annoying stick that

seemed to just get bigger. Scully had explained away

the bulk of the case, but one thing in particular

bothered him, the blood.

That morning, Scully herself had gone to the lab and

determined that the blood found at the crime scene

was not human. It had no nucleus, but was not any

identifiable type of prokaryote. The cell in itself

was far too structured to be the one-celled organism

he had read about in high school. They had either

discovered a new type of species that had just

happened to have killed twelve women, or it was

indeed, a fallen angel like he originally suspected.

Before taking the case, Mulder had read that when a

person becomes an angel, the human trait is taken out

of them so that they become immortal. When the angel

is dropped, the DNA is not replaced as a mark of the

person’s sin.

His cell phone rang in his pocket, snapping Mulder

out of his reverie.

“Mulder,” he answered, pressing the phone to his ear

and stepping away from the huddle of officers.

“Agent Mulder? This is Trixie McGavin. You came to my

house yesterday.”

He smiled, recalling the kindly old woman that he had

spoken to the previous day.

“What can I do for you, Trixie?”

“Could you and your partner come to my house? I may

have some information about Lori.”

Had he mentioned Scully in his conversation with the

old woman? He didn’t think so, but his memory seemed

to be failing. It didn’t matter, really.

Glancing around the room, he gave Trixie an answer,

“I’ll call Scully and then call you back.” Pressing

the end button, he pressed the number one on his

speed-dial.

“Scully,” she answered.

“I just got a call from Trixe, one of the people I

interviewed yesterday, and she wants us to go to her

house. She says she has new information about one of

the victims. Are you almost done with that blood?” he

asked hurriedly.

“Yeah, I’m almost done. What is the rest of the task

force doing?”

Shit. He was hoping she wouldn’t ask him that.

“They’re running through the federal and local

records again, trying out your woman theory.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be helping them, Mulder?”

“Yeah, but. . .”

“No buts, Mulder. I’ll go listen to what this lady

has to say, while you stay and research. Where does

she live again?” Scully asked.

***

Reluctantly, Mulder gave her the address. “Six

Larkspur Lane. It’s a white house.”

“Thanks, Mulder,” she said, hanging up. The man was

incorrigible. He didn’t know how to sit down and

work. Scully would bet her life that, while she did

some extensive studies on the blood they found, he

had spent the last hour and a half staring out the

window, watching it rain. It was amazing that he had

gotten through Oxford, with his lack of tolerance for

busy work. He probably figured that the paperwork was

tedious and wouldn’t produce results. And maybe he

was right. . .

Already in the car, Scully made the left turn onto

Larkspur and found the white home on the corner.

Standing out front in hiking boots, a lavender skirt

that stretched down below her knees, and a white

blouse stood a woman of seventy or so.

Pulling to the side of the road, Scully rolled down

the passenger window, “Trixie McGavin?”

“That’s me. I assume you’re Ms. Scully,” she said,

smiling.

“I am.” Scully unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the

door before Trixie stopped her.

“Agent Scully, I’d rather go someplace else to talk.

I don’t feel completely. . . safe, here,” she looked

around, her eyes darting from place to place.

“Get in, then,” Scully closed her door, unlocked the

passenger seat door, and buckled her seatbelt again.

Slowly, Trixie stepped into the Taurus and slammed

the door. “Lets go.”

“Where am I going, Ms. McGavin?” Scully pulled into

the street, the rubber of her tires squeaking on the

wet pavement.

“Call me Trixie, and I’ll tell you where to go. Just

take a right up here,” she pointed to the

intersection in which Scully had just come from.

“Do you want to go to the police station and talk?”

Scully asked, taking the turn.

“No. You’ll see when we get there.”

They sat in silence, save for the vague directions of

Trixie. She’d point ahead of them and say, “Turn

there.” Scully soon got tired of guessing what street

‘there’ was.

“Okay, dearie, turn right into the parking lot,”

Trixie said, a smile on her face. The woman, it

seemed, never stopped smiling.

Scully did as she was told and pulled into the

parking lot.

“Here, let me help you, Ms. McGavin,” Scully said,

helping the old woman out of the low roofed car.

“Thank you, dearie. Oh! I forgot to mention. We’re

meeting someone here, someone who can explain all

this much better than I can,” she said, her voice

sugary sweet.

Scully nodded as they walked around to the front of

the building. The gargantuan structure stood above

her, the grandest church she had ever seen. Its solid

red brick contrasted beautifully to the white

overhang, and a white cross stood on top.

“Come on dearie. I doubt anyone is here. The

congregation sent Father Timothy to Jamaica for his

fiftieth anniversary of ordination. The night

watchman comes by in the evenings, though. Go on,

inside with you,” Trixie urged, pulling out a silver

key and opening the door for her.

Walking in, still in partial awe, Scully was unaware

of the man standing behind her.

“Good day, Ms. Scully,” David Garris said. Scully

turned around, surprised at the voice.

In front of her stood a tall man, all dressed in

white. Holding a baseball bat. Bringing the bat back,

he swung with all his might, at Scully’s head.

Making contact, her unconscious body fell to the

ground with a loud *thud.*

“Good day, indeed,” said Trixie with a smile on her

face.

* * * * *

* *

As soon as she opened her eyes, he knew. He knew she

was awake and that the gorgeous blue orbs that had

haunted his dreams were once again viewing the world.

He tore himself away from the candles that he had

been placing in a pentagram around the cross. She

would look so beautiful in the candlelight. It would

bounce off her glossy auburn hair, giving it the

golden hue that only angels possessed. Her eyes would

sparkle with both fear and excitement as the ritual

was performed.

His thoughts were interrupted by her voice, so

beautiful and eloquent, with wonderful diction.

“Where the hell am I?” Before he could answer her

question, the old woman reappeared and spoke to her.

“Silly, dear. You know where you are.” She then

turned to him, “It’s time, David.”

He nodded, agreeing with her. It was, indeed, time.

He had waited too long for his prize, too long to

receive the one thing he truly wanted.

“Hurry up, don’t dawdle,” Trixie instructed him, with

a smile. As soon as he saw the white of her dentures

he wanted to rip the smile off her face. She always

thought she was above him, above everyone else. She

thought that her own perfection was in reach. Turning

back to the redhead, the grin returned to his face.

She hadn’t said a word since her original comment.

She would make a picturesque orator, standing tall at

a podium and uttering words of sheer importance. She

would wear a black skirt, short enough to show a

tantalizing piece of leg and a white blouse with

three buttons undone so he could see the shadow of

her cleavage. The portrait of professionalism.

“David!” his mother hollered, “start the preparation

for the Ceremony now!” The evil in her eyes was so

evident that it glittered more beautiful than the

gates of hell when it would welcome them into its

depths.

With a sigh, he spoke the words that so many

generations before him had done. The Latin came

naturally to him, flowing from his tongue like the

smoothest silk. He barely felt it appear, but knew

that the silver halo rested over his head. He

despised it, longing for the freedom that only he

could provide. With the help of her, though, he’d

make it. She was everything. She was elegant,

stunning, intelligent. She was the key.

He moved to the Sanctuary, and carefully set out four

stakes and a sledgehammer beside the vacant altar. It

had to be flawless. He took a step back, examined his

work and grunted disgustedly. He straightened one of

the stakes and then the other until they were in a

perfect line, like tin soldiers in “The Nutcracker.”

“Let me go!” Her protest was loud and he smiled. All

the more fun to watch her die.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Miss Scully,” he said,

his voice a deep baritone. “You see, in order for

mother and I to complete our task, you must die.”

“Your task?” He knew she was only trying to delay the

time until her death, but he was willing to oblige

her.

“Hell awaits us. We killed the other twelve because

they were sinners, because they were filthy and

deserved to die. We will kill you because you are

their opposite.” He turned his back to her and faced

the cross. “You are perfect.”

* * * * *

* *

Mulder sighed. They were getting precisely nowhere.

All the females that they looked at were too young,

too old, or too kind. None of them fit the profile

that the Bureau’s team of investigators had put

together from their files.

His thoughts traveled to Scully, as they always did.

He knew this was a tough case for her.

The computer screen stared blankly at him, daring him

to touch it, to use its intelligence to his

advantage. Mulder knew what he wanted to do, but he

didn’t want to seem like the “jealous boyfriend.” He

didn’t like David. To be more specific, he didn’t

like the way David looked at Scully. The combination

of adoration and hunger in the cop’s eyes when his

petite partner was in the room unnerved Mulder

greatly.

He placed his hands on the keyboard, waking the

computer from its sleep. Before he knew what he was

doing, Mulder had the FBI database at his fingertips.

Glancing over his shoulder to make sure no one was

watching him, he typed in ‘David Garris’ and waited

for his laptop to pull up the search results. He was

simply making sure Scully was safe, right?

Nothing. Thinking that the lack of information was a

bit strange, Mulder hit a couple of seemingly random

keys in a trick the Lone Gunmen had taught him to

reveal any encoded information.

A picture of Garris immediately appeared on the

screen. His blonde hair was perfectly combed, his

teeth a pearly white. Next to his picture listed

general information: name, date of birth, hair color,

eye color, height, weight. Mulder skipped to the good

part, the stuff he really wanted to know.

Under felonies, there was a list of four items. A

couple of felonies, a shoplifting charge that had

been dropped. As he scrolled down, the last item

caught his attention. Garris had once been a suspect

in the rape and murder of a young man in 1991, but

was dropped as a suspect when evidence suggested the

murder to be the work of serial killer Jeffrey

Dahmer.

Mulder quickly returned to the top of the page,

interested in getting more information on the

investigation. Before he clicked out of the window,

something caught his eye.

Date of Death: June 19, 2001.

He looked again. David couldn’t be dead. Mulder had

seen the man only hours ago. He dug up the full file

on Garris, and found the one thing he was looking for

but didn’t expect. A death certificate. It made

sense. Too much sense.

“Briggs? I think I’ve found something.”

“What is it, Mulder? A suspect?” Briggs crossed the

room to stand behind Mulder as he stared at the

document on the computer screen.

“Possibly. Sir, this is a death certificate for David

Garris, one of your officers.”

* * * * *

* *

“You don’t understand! You tell me it’s wrong to kill

people, to kill women, but you have never experienced

what I have. You haven’t been beaten by your mother

until you felt like you were within inches of death.

You don’t know the pain that women can cause, the

pain that the women I killed had already caused to

the world. Ms. Scully, those women deserved to be

punished. You are perfect, so you will die for them.

You are the Christ,” he grinned at Scully, who was

terrified. This man had killed twelve women without

the bat of an eyelash. He was pure evil, and yet she

pitied him. She sympathized with him over his

childhood and how it must have affected his life.

“David, are you dilly-dallying in there?” came a

voice from one of the churches’ wings. Trixie stepped

out of the marble wing behind the altar.

Scully’s eyes went wide in terror as she realized it.

They really were going to crucify her. Where was

Mulder? He must have figured out something by now,

right?

“You idiot,” the old woman’s voice was harsher,

crisper as she glared at the man standing beside her,

“Pull up your halo. You know very well that you can’t

perform the Ceremony without it,” Scully glanced up

to Trixie’s head. Atop it, a golden halo floated

innocently. One appeared over David’s head as well.

How these evil people received such a mark of God’s

love was beyond her. Just the thought frightened her.

Someone “up there” had made a mistake in who he

admitted into heaven. What if that mistake was made

again?

She shook her head, trying to rid herself of the

thoughts that clouded her judgment. Crazy people

tended to do crazy things, but a hoax like this

seemed to be too much. David Garris wasn’t God, as

much as he thought otherwise. He was nothing but a

sorry man with a sorry past, looking for attention.

With a wave of his hand, a full goblet of wine

appeared on the pew beside Scully’s chair. The

poison. They were going to poison her first.

She wasn’t sure if that was a relief or not.

As he approached her with the glass, the only thing

running through Scully’s mind was the thought of

Mulder. She would be leaving him, once the cool wine

passed through the hollow of her throat.

The sun would no longer shine through her window

after a night of glorious lovemaking. She wouldn’t

look up from a stack of paperwork to see his face

smiling down on her from his desk across their

basement office. No more silly fights over silly

issues. No more defending him against Skinner about

the cell phone he lost the month before.

Nothing. There would be nothing left of him except

whatever faint memories God let her take with her to

heaven. Nothing. Moisture rose to Scully’s eyes at

that realization and her vision was blurred. Now,

instead of a clear picture, she could only make out

two glowing figures and her own salty tears.

“No! Damn it David, you know better than to bring out

the wine for the Pure One! She is the shepherd, and

must not die like a sheep. She needs to bear the pain

of the people. She dies on the cross,” Trixie

snapped, crossing the room swiftly and knocking the

glass to the floor. After decking him hard in the

jaw, she turned to Scully. “Now, go get it,” she

instructed her son, “You know I can’t lift as much

weight as I used to.”

* * * * *

* *

“It says here,” Mulder examined the document, “that

David died around three months ago. He was shot in

the head.”

“That’s impossible,” Jerry stated as if the fact were

plain as day, “I’ve worked with this man since he

started working here. He’s very much alive.”

“Not according to this,” Mulder said, “According to

the official statement, he was killed by his mother

on June 19 of last year.”

“His mom knocked him off?” one of the other cops

shouted. “That’s a hoot!”

Mulder’s face paled considerably upon further

inspection, “No, it’s not. His mother is Trixie

McGavin.”

The room shut up. Everyone kept quiet. They all knew

who the little redheaded agent was with and they all

knew that Mulder cared very much about her. Then they

all began laughing loudly again.

“That’s insane, Mulder. We see this guy every day.

The certificate must be forged, a practical joke or

something. There’s no way we’ve been working with a

dead guy for the last year,” Briggs said, a huge grin

on his face. He looked to the other cops in the room

who all smiled and laughed.

“Spooky!” an officer with platinum blonde hair

standing in the corner shouted, sending everyone else

into another chorus of laughter.

“The last year?” Mulder asked, rehashing Briggs’

statement. “When did he sign on?”

“Last September, I think. He transferred here from

Montana,” said Jerry quietly, a look of enlightenment

crossing his face.

“He’s been dead since June,” Mulder repeated, letting

the information sink in.

“Briggs, get the car. Now! We don’t have any time to

waste!” his heart hammering in his chest, Mulder

raced out the door, followed by Mark Briggs.

Mulder prayed that they wouldn’t be too late.

* * * * *

* *

It just lay there. On the ground. Scully vaguely

remembered reading somewhere that crucifixion

couldn’t be done upright, but to see it in action

sent ice-water through her veins. The cross,

threatening in it’s magnificence, looked up at her.

Each splinter of wood looked like a separate menacing

beam.

“Almost ready, Agent Scully,” Trixie said, smiling at

her, “You won’t have to wait much longer.”

* * * * *

* *

“Where the hell would they take her, Mulder?” Briggs

asked, jamming on the accelerator as they rocketed

out of the parking lot.

“I don’t know. Give me a minute to think.”

“Well which way do I go?”

“Just keep going straight.” He paused, “Briggs, what

was the date of the first killing?”

“August tenth,” he replied, running the car through a

stoplight as oncoming traffic honked loudly at him.

Mulder took a moment to calculate, “Forty days.

Everything in the Bible is forty days,” he said. “I

know where they are.”

“What? How? Where?” he asked.

“Turn left here,” Briggs cut a sharp left, and for a

moment, Mulder thought the car would spin out of

control, but it stayed on track.

“Where are we going, Mulder?” Briggs asked, putting

on a little more gas. He knew how important it was

they find Agent Scully while she was still alive. If

they did so, they would catch their killer, and he

would get a hefty raise.

“Where’s the biggest church in town?”

“The Church of Christ the King. It’s the only one,”

Briggs answered. “Why, Mulder? All the other crimes

were committed in the middle of the woods.”

“Because,” he explained, “Scully’s the thirteenth.

They have the twelve apostles and her. The Jesus

Christ. They won’t take her to the same place as they

killed the others, she’s above them. She’s sacred.

Their future depends on her,” Briggs barely heard him

whisper, “My future depends on her.”

Mulder wouldn’t let himself think of the

possibilities. Of what could happen if he didn’t

reach her in time. There would be nothing. Absolutely

nothing. He’d rather have an angry Scully than no

Scully at all. He’d rather die than live without her.

He would die, if she left him.

An unfamiliar rage filled him, sweeping through his

body like the Black Plague through Europe. Anger at

David, anger at Trixie, anger at himself, and anger

at Scully.

The last thought struck through his heart as its

meaning ran true. He was furious at Scully for

leaving him all alone. He wanted to scream, to open

his mouth and howl his anger at her. Though she had

promised not to countless times, she had left him,

and this time it might be for good.

The future depended on whether Dana Scully lived or

died.

* * * * *

* *

“It’s time,” Trixie said to David, eyeing Scully. She

smiled maliciously at her son, then turned her gaze

to the agent strapped to the chair.

“I agree,” David said, moving towards Scully. His

strides seemed to swallow the ground, each footstep

bringing Scully closer to her death.

“Look, you don’t have to do this,” she reasoned, “I’m

not perfect, believe me. You can ask anyone, I’m far

from perfect.”

“We do have to do this, Ms. Scully.”

“No, no you don’t. It’s in your power to decide what

you do. This is a choice, Mr. Garris. You can make

the choice to walk away right now. It’s your choice,”

she hoped she didn’t sound too pathetic, too leading.

“You’re wrong. It’s not my choice. This, Ms. Scully

is the choice of the Lord. I am merely fulfilling his

wishes.”

He knelt down and took her foot in his hand. Scully

watched him intently as he removed the heeled shoes

from her feet, left foot first, then the right.

Inhaling deeply, he removed her socks, left first,

then right. He was stripping her naked and there was

nothing Scully could do about it.

“Get on the ground,” he ordered as Trixie watched.

She gave him an approving smile, and then it hit

Scully. This was the woman, the mother who beat him

when he did wrong. This was the horrid, abusive woman

who had created a serial killer. He just wanted her

approval.

“How am I supposed to do that?” she asked pointedly.

Her bounds held tight. On the pew next to her chair

lay her gun which he had taken when she was still

unconscious. Picking it up, he aimed it at her.

Untying the ropes and setting down the gun, he said,

“If you run, I shoot you. Don’t think it would be a

more pleasant way to die, either, Ms. Scully. If you

run, I’ll shoot you in the leg, and then you’ll be

put on the cross.” He finished straightening out the

rigging on her chair, and Scully felt it loosen.

Convinced that it would be easier to let him have his

way, she lay down on the floor in the isle between

two rows of pews, so he would have easier access to

her clothing.

* * * * *

* *

Weaving gently. Red rose. So beautiful. So elegant.

So desirable. He wove the two delicately, the

intricate stems of the flower stimulating his hunger.

If the killing of sinners had been an aphrodisiac, he

couldn’t imagine what the killing of the Pure One

would be.

Her naked body writhed under the ties, trying

desperately and unsuccessfully to escape. She had

tried to offer him logical reasons not to kill her.

It was enough to make him want to shoot her right

then and there. But he couldn’t. She was the One to

be sacrificed by means of the cross. She was the only

one.

“Here you go, Ms. Scully,” he said, peeking over his

shoulder at his mother. She was smiling, pleased with

his actions.

He pressed the crown of thorns into her skin and

watched, engrossed as the thorns pricked her and

small red drops of blood appeared on her fair skin.

She did not scream, nor did she show any pain on her

face. In that way, she was like the others. They were

too dead to do any of those things.

* * * * *

* *

Trying not to cringe at the pain, Scully looked up

into the eyes of a madman, whose wings shadowed his

face, and knew she was going to die a painful death.

She could feel the blood trickling down her cheeks,

and for one moment, no longer believed in God. If He

really did exist, how could He allow this mockery?

How could He let her suffer? Hadn’t she paid His

price already? She had paid for more in the course of

the last eleven years.

“Come on, he said, up you go,” He lifted her body

which provided little struggle, over his shoulder,

and carried Scully to the altar where he had set up

the cross. Only two wooden beams, it held more power

than most people. Noticing that it was crooked, David

kicked the left side of the cross until it stood

straight.

“Let me tell you one thing,” Scully said as he pinned

her naked back to the two wooden beams that lay on

the ground, “I sympathize with you for whatever

happened to make you this way, David, I really do,

but that does not make what you are doing right. You

are a rotten, filthy excuse for a human being and

when it comes down to final judgment, may you rot in

hell,” she hissed.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” he said, approaching

them, grinning like an idiot.

“Leave her alone!” Mulder hollered, running through

the side door of the church. He tackled David,

knocking the large nail out of his hand and sending

it rolling across the floor. David swung at him

madly, almost to the point of flailing. Filled with

rage, Mulder’s fists took on a life of their own,

matching each punch that David threw at him.

David flipped him over, pinning Mulder to the floor.

As much as he struggled to rise, neither his arms nor

his legs could free him. When he had first seen the

man currently atop him, Mulder had considered him

small and almost weak, but now that apparently wasn’t

the case. He thought of Scully, the image he had been

confronted with as he charged into the church. Scully

ready to be sacrificed. Filled with a new adrenaline

rush, Mulder flipped David over. He could see the

panic in the man’s eyes as the agent drew his gun.

After briefly considering shooting the bastard,

Mulder brought his gun up above his head and swung it

down, hitting the butt against David’s head, knocking

him out.

Mulder stood and rushed to the cross. He quickly

untied the ropes that imprisoned Scully’s wrists and

ankles, thankful that she was still alive.

“Are you okay, Scully?” He held her face mere inches

from his, searching her features for any sign of pain

or distress.

“I am now,” she replied, but he could see her body

trembling. He took her into his arms. A moment of

solitude in a time of chaos. She grounded him; just

knowing that she was safe, alive and breathing eased

some of the panic he had felt upon entering. She

always had that affect on him; she kept his head from

staying too high up in the clouds. She challenged his

theories, pushed him to be the best that he could.

She completed him.

Releasing her, Mulder took off his jacket and wrapped

it around her, concealing her naked body. She smiled

up at him in thanks.

“Oh, you’re so happy now, aren’t you? Got your little

girlfriend back. Well, I’m not done with her yet.”

Mulder quickly turned around to face the barrel of

Scully’s gun. Trixie held it tightly, her finger on

the trigger, ready to pull it if Mulder moved another

muscle. His heart beat accelerated and the adrenaline

once again pumped through his veins. Scully was going

to die. They both were.

“Run, Scully,” he whispered. She shook her head.

“No, Mulder, I won’t leave you.”

“I’ll be fine. Go get backup.”

With one last look, Scully took off. At the same

moment, Mulder jumped Trixie, trying to grab the gun

from her hand. She no longer had her finger on the

trigger and he wanted to keep it that way.

The pain ricocheted through his whole left leg, and

the blood immediately started to trickle from the

wound in his left inner thigh. Green and yellow spots

appeared magically in front of his eyes, nearly

blinding his vision. His leg throbbed, pins and

needles shooting through him.

Through his own blurred tears, Mulder watched with

amazement as Dave rose from his position on the

ground. The man was supposed to be knocked out. He

walked to his mother and put his arms around her.

Then he kissed her cheek and Mulder knew. The kiss of

Judas. Dave had failed to take Scully’s life so he

had to settle for the only other “perfect” person in

his demented mind. His mother.

Mulder watched passively as Dave picked up the small

woman, who kicked and screamed for all she was worth.

He could see it in her eyes. She knew what would

happen to her. She calmed, the howling no longer

coming from her mouth. He threw her arms over the

sturdy branches of the cross and he grabbed the

nails.

She was perfect.

EPILOGUE

SCULLY’S APARTMENT

February 2, 10:23 AM

He was home, finally, after four days of

hospitalization. Four days of hard, hospital beds. Of

hospital JELLO that made him sick. Four days of pure

torture. At least Scully had been with him. After she

had been thoroughly checked out, she hadn’t left his

side.

Mulder limped into her living room, with Scully

leading the way to turn on lights so he didn’t trip

on anything.

“Good to be home?” she asked, taking his arm and

steadying him.

“Wonderful,” he replied. They sat on the couch, still

holding hands, “You know, Scully, I think that was

the only time I wasn’t happy to see you naked.”

Scully laughed, reminding him how much he loved that

laugh. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

Her face fell and they sat in pensive silence, Mulder

watching her think.

“Mulder,” she began, struggling with words, “Who

determines our final placement? Who decides whether

we go to heaven or hell? How often do you think they

make mistakes?”

“Not very often, Scully,” he responded, pulling her

into his arms. “And you can take your time realizing

that, I’m not counting the days. The only days I

count are the ones that tell me how long we’ve been

together.”

“Thanks, Mulder. Those are the only days that matter

anyway.”

“I know,” he said, stroking her hair lightly. Scully

shuddered a little. It was all too similar to what

David had done to her only days before. “How are you

doing, Scully?”

“I’m fine, Mulder,” she replied, devoid of emotion.

After thinking a moment, she spoke again, “No, I’m

not fine, Mulder.” He pulled her body closer to his.

“I’m not fine. That whole experience… it scared me.

And it challenged me. And it hurt me, but I came out

of it alive. That’s what counts, I suppose. My

beliefs aren’t totally intact, but I think. . . I

think they’ll mend.”

“That’s good, Scully.”

“It is, Mulder.”

the end

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