Mortus Iterum

poster

Mortuus Iterum

VS13X05

Author: Skinfull

Rating: NC 17

Classification: Case file for VS 12…if it’s not too violent!

(or too big)

Spoilers: None…that I know of…

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, no harm.

Summary: Various murders are occurring in the DC area

with a hint of familiarity

to them.

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Mortuus Iterum (Dead Again)

By Skinfull

Scarborough Apartments

Washington.

After unpacking the TV and VCR, and pulling a few

cushions from one of the cardboard boxes that the

moving men had dropped on any flat surface they could

find, Sandra settled down to watch a movie with her

glass of wine. The story on the screen played out easily

before her but her eyes wandered around the room,

mentally decorating her new home and paying the

movie no attention.

Until a knock on the door dragged her back to reality.

She placed her glass on the windowsill and cautiously

went to the door. This was her first night in her new

apartment and she hadn’t met any of her neighbors yet,

so she wasn’t expecting a visitor.

“Hello?” she called out, reminding herself to get the spy

hole put in first thing in the morning. “Who is it?”

“I’m your neighbor. I live in apartment 7H. I saw you

moving in earlier and I just wanted to welcome you to

the building.” The voice was pleasant and friendly

enough and she felt like a fool for hesitating to open the

door, but something inside her wanted to keep it closed,

savor her first night alone, and enjoy the peace she had

been striving for. “I have a bottle of wine to welcome

you…but I’ll leave it out here.”

She heard the sound of the bottle being placed on the

floor against the door and the few steps of her new

neighbor walking away. Feeling silly, she shook away

her misgivings and opened the door.

“Hi. I’m Sandra Carson.” She extended her hand to his,

which he returned with a crooked smile.

“Hi. Welcome to the neighborhood.”

She let him in and he picked up the bottle of wine on his

way. His smile seemed genuine as he passed by her in

an aromatic wave of soap and mild aftershave.

“Let me get you a glass.”

“Thanks.” He opened the bottle of wine with the

corkscrew that was by her own drink and was ready to

pour by the time she rejoined him. “Did you have any

trouble moving your stuff in?”

“No. There wasn’t much to move anyway,” she laughed

self-consciously, scanning the room for open boxes that

might be displaying her meager belongings.

“You’re not from DC are you? Is that a mid western

accent I detect?” he queried, leaning on the sill as she

perched on the corner of a wooden box that held her

‘Pottery Barn’ collection.

“Yeah. I grew up in Ohio. Moved out here for my post

graduate degree.”

“Georgetown University?” he asked and she noticed his

dark brown eyes crinkled at the edges as he smiled.

“Yes. The degree is in microbiology but it’s boring, you

don’t want to get me started on that.” She laughed

again then saw the bag of groceries on the counter

that she forgot to put in the fridge. “I’ll be right back.”

In the kitchen she fumbled with the milk and eggs and

shoved them quickly into the fridge. She turned the

corner from the kitchen and stood in the doorway to

the living room as he approached with her drink in his

hand.

“It’s a lovely apartment you have.” He sipped at his wine

and walked towards the hallway that led to the bedroom

and bathroom. “Do you mind if I use your bathroom?”

“Not at all.”

When he was gone, she took the opportunity to make

the room a little more presentable. She draped some

throws over a pile of boxes and aligned the

cushions on the sofa. After a few minutes passed and he

didn’t return she became suspicious. She listened for the

sound of running faucets but heard nothing.

Venturing down the hall, she was about to call out his

name when she realized he hadn’t told her what it was

yet.

“Excuse me…are you okay?” she knocked lightly on the

closed bathroom door but there was no response.

“Hello?” the metal door handle was cold as she turned it

to open the door, …only to find the room empty.

Startled, she backed out of the room into the hall where

the only other door was the one to her bedroom.

She took two careful steps over to the door and slowly

pushed it open. It was too dark to make anything out,

but she needed to walk further into the room to reach

the light switch. With her feet barely past the doorframe

she stretched her hand along the wall and fumbled with

the switch, blinking away the intrusion as the light

covered the room.

He stood by the end of her bed, completely naked, his

clothes puddled in a heap by the open window and he

stood like he was in a trance, ready to jump.

“What the hell?” she mumbled as she backed away, her

thoughts swimming in confusion. “What are you doing?”

she yelled.

“I didn’t want to get any blood on my clothes.” He said

simply as if it was the obvious explanation for him

standing naked in her bedroom. He had taken her

robe off the chair by the bed and was pulling the cotton

belt free from it. After winding it around each hand in

tight loops, leaving a foot length hanging loose between

them, he walked towards her, snapping it soundlessly.

“Get the hell away from me!” she yelled, the power of

her legs coming back as she tried to run away but he

chased after her, grabbing hold of her around the

neck with her robe belt and dragged her backwards into

her bedroom. Her legs kicked and thrashed as she

struggled to get a foothold but he was too strong and

too tall. Her fingers scratched at her neck, pulling at the

taut skin to get hold of the ever tightening belt but it

was no use.

When he reached the bed he tossed her onto the bare

mattress and rolled her onto her back. She coughed and

wheezed when the release of his grip brought a

sudden surge of hot air into her lungs, but as he

fumbled with the tie on her sweats, the horror of the

situation came crashing down on her chest, crushing her

lungs and her ability to breathe.

“No, no please no!” she fought as he pulled her sweats

off over her knees and left them around her ankles,

trapping her feet with them. She kicked her legs wildly,

the instinct for survival still strong in her until his fist

came down in a crashing blow to her face, stunning her

into silence for a moment.

It was then that she noticed his face. It wasn’t the face

of the man she had let into her apartment. His eyes

shimmered black and cold, suddenly emerging green

instead of the chocolate brown she had noticed earlier.

His cheeks seemed to shake and move, his skin

tautening around his face and suddenly she was looking

into a face she had never seen before.

He held her still with one hand against her neck, pulling

her against him, and the other cutting off her air supply.

She soon became weak and surrounded by darkness.

Her face flushed with warmth as the trapped blood

flooded her cheeks.

She invited the darkness in when her only other option

was to see his face contort with rage.

The limpness of her lifeless body did nothing to distract

him as he focused on his raging need. Replacing the

cotton rope with his hands, he circled her neck and cried

out in pleasure as he slumped over her.

For a few moments he didn’t move, focusing on his

breaths that came fast and shallow. With a sigh he

rolled off her and stared up at the white peeling paint on

the ceiling. The neglect and disdain for the room

suddenly making him disgusted, and he jerked away

from her body.

Standing back he looked down at her pale skin, a stark

contrast to the dark mattress. Her body was slim but

with the curves he had so admired when he had

spied her moving in, now exposed in full glory before

him.

He felt the growing desire churn in his stomach again

and he stepped closer to touch her, but decided against

it. He dry washed his face, rubbing his hands

gingerly over his cheeks, pressing the heel of his palms

into his eyes. He felt the discomfort of his skin moving

again but shook it off. Crouching to his knees, he

fumbled through his clothes, searching the pockets of

his jeans. With his fingers finally curling around what he

was looking for he moved swiftly to the body and got to

work.

***

FBI Headquarters

Basement Office.

Dana Scully slowly ambled through the narrow hallway

and entered the office with a curved, knowing smile.

Friday at last, she thought with a sigh of

satisfaction. It had been a long, slow, and monotonous

week of paperwork and creative editing of Mulder’s

reports. His somewhat sketchy explanations of how

the last bureau issue car had been totalled needed a few

extra touches, and his receipts were all filed under

miscellaneous.

But finally Friday had arrived. Although no fanfare

greeted her this morning as she walked through the

building, she felt like she was walking through a parade.

Her heart beating excitedly at the prospect of a lazy

weekend, her smile a little brighter than normal, and

then there was the small apple Danish she’d treated

herself to when she bought her latte.

At her desk, she set the coffee down and next to it

carefully she placed her treat.

After shrugging her coat off and hanging it onto the

stand by the door she sat at the desk and ripped open

the deli paper bag. The bitter taste of the latte was

perfect with the sweet apple from her Danish. She

sighed contentedly with every bite, settling a little

deeper into her chair each time. There was only one

bite left when Mulder walked in, his expression

somewhat darker then her own.

He’d been gone before she had woken for some reason,

so she had anticipatedhis dark mood to greet her this

morning.

His jacket had already been shed and the sleeves of his

blue shirt rolled up past his elbows. Scully watched him

cross the room and scramble through the files

on his desk before finishing the Danish.

“Couldn’t sleep last night?” she asked, commenting on

the empty space he had left her to wake up to this

morning.

“I was sleeping fine until the sirens started,” he

muttered, his bad mood infecting his somber voice even

more.

“Sirens?” She pushed herself away from her chair and

walked over to where he still fumbled around his desk.

“There must have been a burglary in one of the houses

on our block. The alarm woke me then with the sirens

blaring and I couldn’t get back to sleep.”

“So you went for a run?” She had tripped over his

sweats that had been carelessly discarded on the

bathroom floor on her way to the shower.

“Yes but I was too riled up. So I came in to do some

work.” His voice was strained as he moved the heavy

monitor to get it out of his way.

“You should have woken me Mulder.” She reached out to

rest a hand on his back but he moved out of her reach.

He pulled out a thick manila folder from under his PC

monitor, leaving it lilting to the side. “What are you

looking for?”

“This.” He held it up and flicked through the pages until

he came to what he was looking for. Through squinted

dark eyes he glanced at his watch. “Skinner wants

to see us by the way.”

“A case?” her voice was an octave over her normal

timbre as her lazy weekend dissipated before her.

Goodbye Friday night bath, she mused, hello Saturday

morning in the airport, or a crappy motel in Nevada, or

the morgue.

“Maybe. Agent Daly asked me for consultation on a case

file yesterday and I had a look…but it seems my

services are not required…” his voice trailed off.

“What case?” He passed her the file folder as he rolled

his sleeves back down and fastened the cuffs.

“A woman was raped and beaten in her apartment. She

died during or prior to sexual assault and there were no

signs of forced entry.”

“Boyfriend, husband, ex?” Scully queried as she flipped

the page of the file over and started at the grotesque

picture of the victim. He guided her to the elevator

with a hand on her back as she quickly read over the

file.

“She was single. Just moved into the city. Didn’t know

anyone. Lived in an apartment building on the

northwest.”

“There is something else, Mulder. What is it? Why does

Skinner want to give us this case?”

“On the body they found…a note.”

“From the killer?”

“Of sorts…” He reached for the file and flicked through

the pages until he reached the end. “A quote. It was

carved into the victims forearm.”

“Carved?” Scully held up the file photo and examined

the picture more closely.

“How?”

“It’s not clear. The coroner thinks with a tattooing

needle but it’s too clean.”

“‘I did this not as a sex act . . . but out of hate for her,”

She read from the file, “It’s signed by Albert De Salvo?”

“The Boston strangler,” he answered her unspoken

question. “Alleged Boston Strangler. Depending on who

you ask.”

“A copy cat killer? After all these years?” she asked,

doubting what she read in the autopsy results preformed

by the M.E. on the victim.

“Insanity has no time constraints,” he replied tersely as

he preceded her through the hall to Skinner’s office.

AD Skinner sat behind his desk, his eyes fixed on the

pages before him. Without looking up to greet his two

agents, he gestured them towards the chairs before

him. They sat silently and waited for him to speak.

Slowly Skinner closed the file he had been reading and

looked up to face them fully. His fingers formed a

temple before his lips and he rested his thumbs under

his chin.

“I don’t have time to ask the careful questions, Mulder,

so I want you to tell me straight.” He pushed back on

his chair and stood, letting his hands find a

comfortable spot on his hips. “Why did Agent Daly send

this file to you? Without speaking to AD Larkin or

myself,” he added tersely, turning away from his agents

to take a deep breath.

“He called me yesterday morning and asked me to look

through it. Agent Scully was at the Coroners office filing

reports and I was at loose ends so we met and

discussed the case.”

“Simple as that?” Skinner barked, whipping his head

around to face Mulder.

“Yes sir.” Mulders voice was flat, his frown deep and his

eyes glazed over in thought.

“I’ve spoken to AD Larkin and he is adamant that you

have nothing to do with this case. Can you explain

that?”

“No sir.” Mulder shifted on his seat, meeting his boss’s

eyes for the first time, but it wasn’t enough to hide the

discomfort he was feeling.

“Why did Agent Daly circumvent the usual channels to

bring this case to you?”

“I don’t think it was like that sir, it wasn’t a conscious

decision to bypass AD Larkin. He asked me to look at it

and I did.”

“Have you prepared anything for the case?” Skinner

asked abruptly.

“I was working on a profile,” Mulder began feeling

Scully’s gaze burn into his cheek. “But I’ve only had the

case for one night. I would need more time. I

have nothing but conjecture.”

“You have no more time. AD Larkin is on his way up

here-”

Before Skinner could continue there was a light knock on

the door and Kim entered softly, AD Larkin on her heels.

He was one of the oldest Assistant Directors, somewhat

jaded with too many crimes and killers under his belt.

With thinning grey hair and a portly stomach, he strode

across the room determinedly, his eyes locking on

Mulder over the top of his half glasses.

He was wearing a fashionable dark navy suit with a pale

blue shirt and a plain black tie but it didn’t hide the

tiredness in his face or the anger in his eyes. As Kim

closed the door after her, AD Skinner invited Larkin

to sit down.

“No thanks. It’s simple, Mulder. Stay away.”

Larkin held his hand out, gesturing for the file in

Mulder’s hand. With only a quick glance in Skinner’s

direction where he confirmed the slight nod, Mulder

handed the file back.

“I have more than enough agents to handle this case,”

Larkin blurted out, flicking through the pages in the file

as if he were checking to make sure it was full. “I don’t

need your people making the situation any more

aggravated.”

“We would only offer the assistance required, but if you

feel like you don’t need it then fine.” Skinner’s lips were

pulled so thin Mulder could hardly see them as he

crossed his arms across his thick chest. “But you know

there are no better agents more qualified to tackle this

case then Agent Mulder and Agent Scully.”

“It’s not a damn X file Skinner!” Larkin roared angrily,

“You have no jurisdiction over this case.”

“Agent Mulder was consulted on this case.”

“Well consider him un-consulted.” Larkin shoved the file

under his arm and walked towards the door without

offering them a further glance.

***

Whitley Bed and Breakfast

Washington.

Out of all the rooms Michael Wilson was asked to clean

at the Whitley B&B, the basement was his favourite. The

room had one bare bulb hanging from the low

ceiling and only two small windows, whose light was

blocked by overgrown ivy.

But the task of sweeping and mopping the old stone

floor could be stretched out to last most of the day.

Not that anyone had asked him, he grumbled, but if

they wanted this house to look older by putting in the

old stone flooring, they could add more to the effect

by not asking him to mop it out as often. But he

preferred it to standing in the kitchen getting shouted at

by the chef, and he damn well wasn’t getting paid

enough to deal with the public.

Down here with only his iPod for company, he could

imagine he was someplace else and not worry about

mopping. So far this morning he had managed to stay

down in the chilled basement for almost two hours

before the heavy thud of the door startled him. Choosing

to ignore the faint voice he could hear calling him

though his earphones, Michael mopped vigorously at the

stone floor.

His head rocked back and forth with the rhythm of the

music, while his fingers danced over the handle of the

mop as if across the fret board of his guitar. He

daydreamed of the matte black Gibson he was saving up

for and that image alone

helped him push the mop around.

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“Michael!” he heard, the voice getting closer and

angrier, but he paid no attention but jumped back as the

heavy hand slapped the back of his shoulder.

“What the hell!” Michael yelled as he tugged the

earphones off his head and twirled around angrily.

“Christ, Jason, what ya do that for?”

“Kevin wants you up in the kitchen.” Jason smiled at his

visibly shaken friend.

“What for, I’m not finished mopping up down here.”

Michael argued indignantly as he swept his arm around

the small basement.

“He says the wedding party is finished with dinner and

he needs a hand washing dishes.”

“Alright,” he replaced his earphones and grabbed his

mop roughly. “I’ll be up there as soon I drain this mop

bucket.”

His voice rose over the music and he turned to reach for

the bucket. Jason thumped his back and raced back up

the stairs. Stumbling from the friendly but exuberant

thump, Michael tipped the bucket over and spilled its

contents on to the cream tilled floor.

“Shit!” he exclaimed as he reached for it and pulled it

back into place. The water spilled across the floor and he

chased it with his mop as best he could.

Without really caring, he banged the mop into a stack of

chairs and jumped back as they suddenly toppled to the

floor. “Crap,” he muttered, looking around to see if

Kevin, the hotel manager, had heard the clatter.

As quick as he could manage, he picked up the chairs

and started to stack them again. He hurried to get them

back into place before someone came looking for

him again, and pushed them up against the wall but

found their pathway blocked.

Hunching down onto all fours, he held his face to the

ground so he could look underneath, allowing him to see

a bundle stuck between the legs of the chair and

the wall.

With his arms outstretched and his chest flat on the cold

floor, he reached under and grabbed it. Pulling it out

roughly, he kicked it aside and slid the chairs back

into place. Grabbing his mop and bucket he turned to

walk away, but stopped suddenly as he noticed the dark

stains on his hands. The light was too dim to

recognise it for what it was, but the wet feeling on his

skin chilled him. He turned back to the chairs and slowly

walked over to the bundle he had kicked away so

carelessly only moments ago.

It was brown cloth and coarse like a potato sack, tied

several times around with blue twine. Looking closer,

Michael noticed the same stains on the cloth as were

on his hands as he reached out for it. It was heavy and

uneven and there was a strong unrecognizable smell

surrounding it, clinging to the rough cloth, so he

dropped it quickly on an old discarded table that hugged

the wall.

“Michael, you still down here?” Kevin yelled from the top

of the stairs. “C’mon, I need you up in the kitchen.”

“Kevin!” Michael called without taking his eyes off the

bundle. “You better get down here right away!”

“What’s going on?”

“Come down!” Michael yelled out angrily and listened to

the heavy thudding footsteps of his boss approaching. “I

found something you should look at.”

Kevin stood annoyed behind him, his hands on his hips

and his brow furrowed angrily. “I have 45 guests out

there waiting for dessert, this better be good,”

he muttered in a low impatient voice.

“I found this, hidden behind the chairs.”

“What is it?”

“Dunno, but I think…I think it’s covered in blood.”

Michael held up both his hands showing the dark

staining on his skin. With careful, disgusted movements

he pulled at the twine to loosen the package and pulled

the sides apart.

The smell seemed to explode into the room like rotting

meat and his stomach lurched. The air in his mouth was

stale and hard to swallow but he wasn’t about to take a

breath, the stench growing sharper still, making them

both cover their mouths.

Kevin held his tie over his nose and mouth and gagged

as Michael pulled his tee-shirt collar up to cover his own.

Carefully reaching down with slow movements he

removed the last piece of cloth to reveal two human

feet, two hands, and another unrecognizable piece of

meat. The flesh and muscle were decaying and the

bones at the joints were jagged where they had been

sawed free from whoever the victim was. Blood stained

the cloth on the inside and had leaked heavily through

the material but it was obvious there was little of it left,

although neither of them could tell how long this grim

package had remained hidden where it had been

found.

Michael turned away and managed to crouch over the

mop bucket before his stomach protested the smell and

rejected the small breakfast he’d eaten earlier.

Looking down at his hands, he suddenly realized what

the dark stains were. His stomach lurched again as he

turned to see Kevin examining the dismembered

limbs closely. But as his boss turned to him, he saw a

revulsion that matched his own and then he noticed not

only the feet and the hands but also the size of

them. They were so much smaller than his own.

He looked down to his blood stained hands and

somehow, suddenly, his brain realized that the severed

limbs belonged to a child.

***

FBI Headquarters

Basement Office.

The remainder of the day at the office was muted with a

tremendous silence that seemed to suffocate them both.

She sat at her desk looking at him from the corner of

her eyes, but could offer him no more comfort than he

had already rejected.

Watching the clock flick past four o’ clock, Scully sat

back in her chair and sighed.

The idea of her bubble bath lingered in the back of her

mind but the black mood that Mulder was permeating

was stopping it from forming into a full notion.

“You want to know why AD Larkin hates me?” he said

suddenly, dropping his pencil onto his desk and dragging

his fingers loosely through his hair as he revived the

question she had brought up a moment ago.

“Yes,” she replied bluntly, focusing her eyes back on her

screen.

“It’s nothing really. Just a decaying hatred he has built

up for me over the years.”

He stood to rifle through his case files, but she saw the

movement as his offering of the proverbial olive branch.

“You’d think a man of his age would be trying to bury

the hatchet instead of keeping it festering.”

“Festering over what?” Turning on her chair, she faced

him fully, her interest peaked.

“It’s stupid…it’s nothing.” He shrugged it off but his

refusal to meet her eyes intrigued her. “He’ll be retiring

soon and I won’t have to deal with it anymore!” he

added.

“You make it sound like you stole his woman!” she said

laughing but stopped suddenly at the look on his face.

“Mulder?”

“There may have been a member of the fairer sex

involved…but I had no idea she was…with him.”

“I can’t believe this!” She tried to cover her smile with

her hand but it wasn’t working. “When did this happen?”

“A long, long time ago. My second year in the bureau.”

Mulder admitted with a slight blush. “He was a big man

on campus back then.”

“Was it his wife?”

“His wife? No Scully!” he laughed at the reposterousness

of the conversation but his mirth was cut off by the shrill

sound of the phone. He snapped it up from its cradle.

“Mulder.”

After a short one-sided conversation Mulder hung up

and grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair. “That

was Skinner. They found a new body. Looks like they

need us after all. Ready for an autopsy?” Scully stood

with him and followed him out to the stairwell without a

word.

At Quantico the Lab had already been set up and AD

Larkin met them in the lobby. His tie was missing and

the top two buttons from his shirt had been undone. His

face was clammy with a tinge of green lurking behind

the surface.

Scully walked in first and he extended his hand. She

shook it carefully, not missing the fact that he swiftly

put it back into his pocket as Mulder approached.

“It’s in here,” he said tersely, walking ahead into the lab

allowing the agents behind him to exchange curious

glances.

“It?” Mulder queried as they approached the large metal

table that had been draped with a blue tarp.

“Gender is indistinguishable at the moment.”

Beneath the coarse blue material she saw two feet,

hands and another piece of flesh she couldn’t recognise.

Turning the small delicate hand in her own, she was

physically sickened by the size of it. Having worked on

so many cases, so many bodies and corpses, she was

able to control the urge she suddenly felt to flee.

The tiny fingers that she imagined didn’t have the

strength to defend against attack; the small feet that

she thought had kicked out in vain only to fight a

losing battle. She gently placed the hand back onto the

table and carefully touched the small foot.

“The body, or rather dismembered limbs of the body

were found in the basement of a local Bed and

Breakfast,” Larkin sighed as he pinched the bridge of his

nose to dispel the impending headache.

“Has the rest been located?” Mulder asked, fearing the

answer he was about to hear.

“Partially. The skull and scapula bones were found

buried in a shallow grave behind the hotel.” Flicking

through more pages, he kept his eyes on the jumble of

words rather then the remains on the table.

“The body…” Scully couldn’t form the words to finish her

sentence.

“It was fed to the wedding guests.” Larkin said coolly,

leaving Mulder and Scully speechless, their mouths

agape.

“What?” Scully managed to choke out.

“It seems that a delivery of meat the hotel was

expecting was cancelled unbeknownst to the chef, who

arrived to work this morning to a fridge full of fresh

meat.” Larkin walked across the room to the stainless

steel counter where he had placed the file. He pulled out

the photos of the basement where the limbs had

been found, from the back and reluctantly passed them

to Mulder.

“Why would he bury the skull and save the feet and

hands?” Scully queried, trying hard to tamp down her

growing horror.

“Maybe he was saving them for another trip?” Larkin

suggested chancing a glance at the table but looking

away quickly.

“The chef accounts for 40 lbs of meat that was ingested

by the wedding party but even with the skull, scapula,

feet and hands there is still a considerable amount

missing.” Scully said mentally calculating it in her mind.

A hot, uncontrollable wave of fury washed over her,

boiling her blood and clouding her vision. Her trained

fingers ran over the roughly jagged edges from

where the foot had been severed when it caught her

eye.

“There is something written here…” She reached

overhead to fix the light and pulled it down closer to the

smoother flesh of the remains. Across the flat,

dismembered flesh, they tried to make out the small

black text.

“”He told me so often how good Human flesh was, I

made up my mind to taste it.”” She read aloud.

“Albert Fish,” Mulder said by her left ear.

“Who?” Larkin asked, stepping back as Mulder pulled on

some gloves and gingerly touched the writing. He

watched as Mulder examined the text as if he could

derive something of the writer from it.

“Albert Fish. He was a serial killer in the 1920’s. The

basis for the Hannibal Lector movies.”

“1920’s?” Larkin was clearly annoyed at Mulder’s

fractured thoughts.

“The last quote was from Albert De Salvo. He was active

during the 1970’s.”

“These remains are fresh. Core temperature is still

relatively high and decomposition has only just begun.

I’d estimate it in the last 25 – 20 hours.”

Scully pulled off her jacket and reached for the lab coat

that hung on the stand by the door.

“There are agents already going through recent reports

of missing children.”

Larkin said, stepping back to give her more room as she

donned headgear and a fresh pair of gloves. “We’re still

trying to identify the…the child.”

“This guy isn’t thinking about the victims. I don’t think

the victim is important.”

Mulder’s voice was low and Scully wasn’t sure if he

meant to say it aloud or not.

“Maybe not to you Mulder, but there’s a parent out there

who is missing her child-

” Larkin said tersely, almost eager to disagree with him.

“But you wouldn’t care about that,” he added coldly.

Scully instinctively knew that the comment had

nothing to do with this current case.

“It’s not about the child, or the lady in the apartment.

It’s about the killers. Albert De Salvo, Albert Fish.”

Mulder walked around the table as if he hadn’t heard

Larkin, peering closer at the severed limbs. “Ted Bundy,

Charles Manson…Jeffery Dahlmer…John Gacy…”

“Where the hell are you going with this Mulder?” Larkin

asked angrily, his face flush with the effort of remaining

calm.

“It seems to me that he isn’t interested in who he is

killing but more how he is committing these acts.”

“That doesn’t help us discover his identity.”

“No, not yet. But obviously he is trying to understand

some of the most notorious killers in history. Get into

their heads. Did you know that over 80% of all known

serial killers were at some point employed for some sort

of Law Enforcement?”

Scully tried to catch his eye. Tried to stop his diatribe

but it was no use; he was no longer seeing the room,

the autopsy lab or the other people with him. All he

was focused on was the body, what was left of it. The

decaying limbs, the severed foot, the plain black text.

“I think you were right about these.” Mulder pointed to

the limbs on the table.

“They weren’t buried with the skull because he was

saving them.”

“Saving them for what?” Larkin asked, not entirely

interested in Mulder’s reply.

“He said it himself here…He told me so often how good

Human flesh was, I made up my mind to taste it.””

Mulder stood up straight and fixed his eyes on Larkin’s

angry stare. “Maybe he was going to eat it.”

***

Georgetown University Library

Parking Lot.

Janice Smith juggled the heavy literature books in one

hand as she tried to locate her keys from her pocket

with the other. Finally her fingers brushed against the

cold metal of her car key and she tugged on it to free it

from her jeans pocket.

She winced at the scratching she could feel against her

thigh as the jagged metal dragged across the inside of

her pocket.

“Damn jeans, I knew they were too tight!” she muttered

under her breath as she reached her car and dumped

her books onto the roof. With both hands on the job

now, she pulled the keys out easily and quickly unlocked

the door. She hurriedly placed her books onto the back

seat, slipping out of her jacket and tossing it over

them.

Glancing behind her, she dispersed the familiar chill

down her spine that seemed to creep over her whenever

she walked though the parking lot alone. Only one

other car sat in the lot and she knew it belonged to the

librarian. Jumping into her old Nissan, she locked the

door behind her and let out a little breath.

“Home, James,” she breathed aloud as she turned the

key in the ignition and listened to her engine splutter to

life. The small car shuddered in protest as she

shoved the gear stick into reverse and pulled out of the

space. She had parked right outside the doors to the

library as usual, but it meant she had to travel the

length of the parking lot to get to the gate. With the

sidewalks lined with trees and tall bushes, she always

kept one eye on the road ahead and one eye on the

pathway.

“Too many horror movies, Janice!” she chastised herself

as she reached the gate in safety. She settled into her

seat and fumbled with the radio before checking

the traffic and slipping the car into drive. Then she saw

him.

Across the road with his leg in plaster up to his hip and a

pile of books spilled out on the sidewalk before him, she

recognized him from the library, having seen him

there many times before. They had exchanged smiles

and glances but no words had been uttered in the silent

sanctuary of the library.

He had balanced one of his crutches against the wall as

he tried to pick up his books, but even from across the

road Janice could tell he was having terrible trouble. She

glanced at her watch and saw it as nearing eleven thirty.

Jack would be waiting, she argued with herself but she

as watched his other crutch fall out from beneath him

she sighed in resignation.

Driving quickly across the double lane road, Janice rolled

her window down and smiled warmly.

“You look like you could do with a hand,” she said,

unlocking the door and slipping off her seatbelt. Slowly

he looked up and she saw his face red and sweaty

with his efforts. He smiled in recognition and stood up

fully.

“I’d prefer a foot but whatever you have to offer would

be great,”

Janice jumped out of the car and quickly gathered his

books. He passed her a backpack and she saw the

broken zip through which they had fallen.

clip_image005

“Do you have another bag?” she asked.

“No, but it’s okay. I’m getting the GUTS to Rosslyn

station.” He helped her bundle the books into the bag

and tried to hold it closed as best he could

“Rosslyn Station? That’s near Moore?”

“Yeah, just around the corner.”

“Let me give you a ride,” Janice said suddenly much to

her own surprise. “I’m going right by it.”

“No, I couldn’t do that,” he argued as he leaned back to

reach for his crutch. “I couldn’t impose.”

“Please, I can’t leave you struggling like this. It’s only a

few blocks.”

“Are you sure?” he looked warily at her car.

“It’s a tank!” she admitted, sensing his concern about

her car. “C’mon, get in.”

She took his book bag from him and walked around to

the passenger side.

Dumping his bag onto the back seat, she held the door

open for him and watched as he slowly made his way

around to the seat. She’d pushed it back as far as it

would go and he still had trouble fitting his cast in. But

eventually, and with only a little pain, he seemed

settled.

Janice hurried around to her own seat and was soon

buckled in next to him. She

noticed immediately how his aftershave filled the car

with that gorgeous

masculine smell. Soap, aftershave and men, was there a

better smell? She

queried silently, casting him a sideways glance.

She gunned the engine, as a form of reassurance that it

was still there and still

needed, before pulling carefully out onto the road.

Traffic around the university

was light at this time of night and it wasn’t long before

she saw the bright lights

of the metro station.

“That wasn’t too hard now was it?” she said smiling as

she pulled up near the

entrance.

“It was a lot easier then I thought!” he admitted,

shifting on his chair and facing

her as much as his cast would allow.

“Do you need a hand up into the station?” She was

looking out the window to the

large entrance where a row of steps led to the ticket

kiosk.

“No, that’s okay. I think I’ll be staying here.”

“Sorry?” she looked around to see him holding a small

gun in his hand. It was

nestled against his torso and out of view of passers-by,

but the barrel was

unmistakably aimed at her head. “…What?”

“I want you to drive.”

“Drive?” Her confusion was wild and she looked out to

the metro station again.

“Where?”

“Just start the car and drive. I’ll let you know where to.”

With shaking hands Janice pulled away from the curb

and drove straight on Moore

Street to Lynn Avenue, then continued north across the

river back towards the

university. It was all too soon that the familiar sights

had disappeared, taking

with them the small sense of hope she had been

burgeoning since this nightmare

began.

To her dismay they passed the university grounds and

turned west onto Benton

Street. He pointed towards the small garden park known

as White Haven parkway

and urged her to pull in silently. Janice killed the engine

and kept her hands on

the wheel. Her knuckles were white with tension as she

turned slowly to see him.

The hand holding the gun was lifted higher as he tugged

on his cast and to her

horror, she watched as it fell away from his leg.

“Get out of the car,” he said tersely. Pushing open his

own door he stepped out

and quickly came around to meet her. “Move!”

He grabbed her elbow and dragged her towards the

small park, pushing her

through the broken hedge and following her with a sneer

on his lips.

“What do you want?” Janice said suddenly finding the

need to fight, the need to

defend herself. “My boyfriend will be expecting me, he’ll

have called the police by

now!”

“Yeah, sure.” He pushed her further into the darkness

and she looked up to the

night sky. She could hear what little traffic there was on

the surrounding roads

but she doubted there was any hope that they would

hear her. “Over there!”

He pushed her towards a group of willow trees and

under the hanging branches.

In the darkness he threw her to the ground and twisted

her onto her back. She

looked up to him with glistening eyes as he put the gun

down and straddled her

across her thighs. She wanted to buck him away but she

was frozen in terror.

He smiled and ridiculously, she couldn’t help but notice

how nice and clean his

even white teeth were. A dimple appeared on his left

cheek and his eyes warmed,

but as his hands fumbled at his belt she started to cry.

“No! Please! You have to let me go!” she wailed.

“Please!”

She began beating her hands off his chest and twisting

beneath him but he

gripped her tightly with his knees and grabbed her

hands. He held them up over

her head, stretching his torso along hers as he did. His

nose brushed gently over

her mouth, her cheek, and across her eyes.

“Do you like it rough?” he whispered against her ear.

“Please…no,” she whimpered, her tears flowing over her

cheeks as she turned

away from him.

He sat up again still holding her hands over her head

and removed his belt. She

screwed her eyes tightly shut as she prepared for his

invasive touch but it never

came. He released her hands and sat further up her

torso, then lifted her head

and slipped the coarse brown leather belt around her

neck. He fed it through the

buckle and tightened it around her neck forcing her to

face forward.

She kept her eyes tightly shut to save herself from the

horrible image, but as he

tightened the belt they shot open wide with surprise. He

forced her hands to rest

alongside her body and pinned them there with his

knees.

As he tightened his belt, she gasped for air, watching his

smile deepen, darkening

his chocolate brown eyes and lighting his whole face up.

Then she watched

dumbly as his eyes turned a light shade of blue and his

cheeks puffed out. His

skin ruffled then smoothed out to make a different face.

Even his hair seemed to

change color to a sandy brown.

It all seemed so unreal until her lungs burned in pain

and begged for release. Her

legs kicked out fruitlessly and her mouth opened for the

scream that would never

come.

His eyes locked almost hypnotically with hers as he

tightened the belt further,

and one hand reached down to her abdomen to feel the

rapid beating of her heart

as her life fought the resistance.

Janice wanted to close her eyes, shut out the horror, but

for some reason she

couldn’t. She held them open gasping for the air she so

desperately wanted, until

finally the darkness overcame her.

***

Mulder & Scully’s Residence

Georgetown

The sound of the phone was enough to wake her. It took

a moment longer for her

to roll towards the bedside table where the cordless set

lay, but the ringing

stopped before she could reach it. But it was too late.

She was awake now and

she knew she wouldn’t get back to sleep. It was only

then that she realized she’d

woken to an empty bed again. Patting the pillow and the

bedclothes, she could

feel they were still warm.

Scully sat forward and pushed the duvet from her legs.

She slowly got off the bed

and padded around the room out to the hall, grabbing

one of her partner’s tee

shirts from the chair and slipping it over her head. From

the top of the stairs she

could hear Mulder’s muffled voice coming from the

kitchen. Slowly she made her

way downstairs and listened as his voice went quiet then

heard him coming

towards her.

Stopping two steps from the bottom, she placed her

hands on each side of the

stairs, watching as he approached. Delighted to see him

wearing only his black

boxers, she smiled at his ruffled bed-hair.

“Morning,” he said standing at the bottom of the stairs

and pulling her a step

closer, his hands on her bare thighs. His fingers brushed

the edges of her tee shirt

and he was thrilled to see that she wasn’t wearing any

underwear. “What has you

up so early, Agent Scully?”

She circled his neck and leaned against him as his hands

cupped her butt. “Early?

What time is it?” she asked as he kissed the bottom of

her neck.

“Quarter past five.”

“Five?” She pulled away from him and looked out

towards the window where the

sun was leisurely making it’s presence known. “Who was

calling at five in the

morning?”

“Skinner.” His hands moved up her back, pulling her

tighter against him, and he

felt the tension coil the muscles in her back across her

shoulders.

“Skinner?”

“Yeah.” Resigned to the fact that they had work to do,

Mulder slapped her

playfully then turned her round and followed her up the

stairs. “AD Larkin called

him and told him about another body.”

“Why did he call Skinner?” she asked as an after thought

as she went into the

bathroom and flipped on the shower, before pulling

towels from the closet.

“He may have accepted our help on this case but I don’t

think he’s ready yet to

ask for it outright.” Scully stepped into the shower and

quickly washed herself

down, lathering her hair with shampoo. With her eyes

closed and her fingers

knotted into her hair she didn’t see Mulder stepping in

behind her and only

realized he was there when his fingers replaced hers in

her hair.

“You never did explain to me why he hates you so

much.” She teased, tilting her

head back so he could reach her better.

“Didn’t I?” She realized he was stalling as he brought

her head under the warm

spray and rinsed it off.

“So? Aren’t you going to tell?” she asked as they

swapped positions and he stood

under the water.

“There is nothing to tell really.” He tilted his head back

and let the warm water

caress his face.

“I’ll find out sooner or later Mulder so you may as well

tell me now!” Stepping out

of the shower Scully draped a warm towel around

herself against the chill and

watched as he pretended he hadn’t heard her. He

lathered his hair with closed

eyes as she sat on the closed toilet and waited.

“You still here?” he jibed playfully when he turned off

the shower and stepped out

to grab his own towel.

“C’mon, Mulder!” her eyes sparkled as his cheeks

flushed and he knew it was a

loosing battle. “Sharing is caring!”

He laughed out loud, a raw chortle at her angelic

expression as he soaped his face

up with shaving cream. Standing in front of the mirror,

he could see her watching

him from the other side of the small bathroom, a

determined smile embracing her

lips and lighting her eyes.

It had been too long since he had seen her like that. Too

long since he had put

that expression on her face and, as he turned, his own

smile faded.

“I love you Scully,” he said suddenly serious, causing

her smile to falter for a

second, then it returned if somewhat faded.

“Don’t try to weasel out of this one Mulder,” she

chuckled, glancing at her watch

as she stood and walked towards the door. “Don’t make

me go Special Agent on

you!” she added over her shoulder as she went to their

room to dress.

By the time Mulder had finished shaving he heard Scully

puttering around in the

kitchen. No doubt making toast and coffee that she’d

force him to have. He

smiled, wondering how he would explain that he had

been up for ages and had

already eaten three of the bagels she was saving for

lunch.

Looping his tie around his neck he raced downstairs and

snatched a slice of

buttered wheat toast off her plate before she could offer

it.

“We have twenty minutes to get to Quantico,” he

informed her around a mouthful

of breakfast.

“We?” she queried, finishing off her last slice and putting

the plate into the sink.

“Well, I’ll drop you at Quantico.” He fixed his tie as they

walked through the

kitchen and took the coat she handed out.

“And you?”

“I’m going out to the precinct to meet Detective Brice

who called in the murder.”

***

14 Thomas Street

The dull grey of the computer screen was the only

illumination in the room. With

the heavy curtains drawn and all the windows shut, the

air was warm and stale

with the smell of rotting meat permeating every crevice.

But he didn’t even notice

it anymore. It was part of him. Part of what he had

created. The smell of victory,

he decided, chuckling to himself as he raised the cold

glass of milk to his lips.

He had been staring at the computer screen for so long

that the words had

become jumbled, insincere. After arriving home on such

a high last night, he got

immediately to writing, but that had been over eight

hours ago and the

adrenaline rush had worn off. He typed the last sentence

over and over again,

until the words held no meaning and he knew his train

of thought could not be

recaptured. He templed his fingers before him and

concentrated on the text he’d

written in an urge to recapture the feeling he had lost.

Then started to type again.

He was a handsome, charming, urbane and extrovert

graduate, who did charity

work and campaigned for the Republican Party in the

USA – Ted Bundy did not fit

the bill as a serial killer.

And that was his great advantage.

“You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You’re

looking into their eyes. A

person in that situation is God.”

God? Through the creation of life we can ourselves feel

godly but with death will it

be the same? Do I take the role of the almighty deity?

He read aloud what he had just typed and smiled.

Saving the word file, he pushed the chair away and

stood up with curling limbs as

he stretched the aches away. He lifted the now empty

glass from the desk and

brought it out to the sink where he rinsed and left it on

the sideboard to dry.

Checking the clock over the stove, he noticed he still

had another hour before

classes began so he strolled to the bathroom and started

the shower. Undressing

in the total darkness of his bedroom, he grabbed a towel

from the closet and

stepped into the steam filled room.

After thoroughly washing himself down he wrapped the

towel around his waist

and stood before the mirror to shave. Slowly and with

well-practiced ease he

pulled the straight razor across his cheeks until it was as

smooth as he desired.

He splashed warm water over his face and rubbed in the

moisturizer.

He took his time choosing his shirt and tie and finally

decided on the white shirt

with dark red tie. It contrasted wonderfully with the

black Jacket and trousers, he

thought as he carried his shoes downstairs. In the

kitchen he glanced at the

kettle as he tied his laces and decided against coffee.

Wanting a latte instead, he

thought he’d grab one on the way. Opening the fridge,

he tried to ignore the

rotten smell as he took a swig of milk from the carton

before grabbing his keys

and sauntering down the steps of his front door. The sun

was high and bright

today as he walked through the morning pedestrian

traffic.

On the corner of the block was the coffee shop he often

frequented. He no longer

had to ask for his order. As soon as the waitress spotted

him walking in she

prepared his latte and wrapped up a slice of marble

cake. He winked at her as he

handed over a few bills and told her, as usual, to keep

the change.

“Can I offer you a lift, sir?” He’d just stepped outside

into the light and was

blinded for a moment by the brilliance of the sun. The

words, the simple gesture

of kindness caused his heart to beat a rapid rhythm in

his chest. He held up his

hand to shade his eyes from the sun and spotted Carrie

Goldman in a sporty red

car by the curb. She watched him with a flirty smile as

her hair cascaded around

her face.” Professor Brown?” she purred when he didn’t

reply.

“Carrie, good morning,” he managed to say as he

deliberately slowed his

breathing and tried to ignore his heart’s lurch into his

stomach.

“I’m just on my way to the university. Can I offer you a

lift Professor?”

“No that’s ok. It’s only a couple of blocks. I’ll enjoy the

walk.”

“Your parents told you not to take lifts from strangers?”

she said laughing as she

started the engine smoothly and slipped on a pair of

sunglasses, not noticing that

he didn’t laugh with her as she pulled away from the

curb.

***

Washington DC Police Dept

Idaho Ave

“Suspect?” Mulder queried, his voice high with surprise

as they entered the exam

room next to an occupied interview room.

“No. He called us last night to report his girlfriend

missing.” Mulder looked

through the interview window to the young man who

was nervously sipping luke-

warm water from a plastic cup. “We told him to come by

this morning and file a

report.”

“He hasn’t officially identified the body?” Mulder asked,

looking through the

pictures in his hand of the crime scene that was

discovered early this morning.

“No, but as he was waiting at the reception area,

Detective Pearson was carrying

the evidence bag from the murder scene and he

recognized her belongings.”

Mulder closed his eyes and bit off a curse.

“Do you mind if I talk to him?” Mulder asked,

remembering to ask before barging

in and taking control of their investigation. He smiled

inwardly with the

knowledge of Scully’s influence and slipped the photos

back into the file folder on

the table.

“Not at all.”

Mulder nodded at Detective Brice and slipped out of the

room. He paused a

moment by the interview room door and took a breath.

As he opened the door the

young man looked up, his eyes red raw from the unshed

tears and his arms

hugged tightly to his body as if racked with a chill.

“Mr. Jack Douglas?” Mulder extended his hand and

waited for him to shake it. He

took a seat across from him and leaned forward,

interlocking his fingers before

him. “I am special Agent Fox Mulder from the FBI.”

“FBI? What the hell? FBI? Where is she? Why won’t they

tell me anything?” His

speech was slurred and rapid, quivering with the

emotion he was experiencing.

“When did you last see your girlfriend?” Mulder asked,

allowing him to take a

breath before answering.

“Last night.” Jack wrung his hands together then wiped

his palms on his jeans.

His eyes darted from Mulder to the large mirror that was

on the wall. “I got in

from work at seven and we chatted for five minutes

before she left.”

“Where did she go?”

“She always goes to the university library on Friday

nights. A study group.” He

gulped down the last of his drink.

“She attends one of the local universities?”

“Georgetown. She’s just finishing her degree in

Chemistry.”

“Do you know who is in that group with her?” Mulder

pulled a notepad from his

breast pocket and prepared to take the names down.

“Three of her class mates. Jerry Conway, Matt Wilson

and Kate Young.”

“What time does she usually return home?” Mulder

walked over to the dispenser

and poured himself and Jack more water.

“Usually around eleven but she has stayed as late as

1am, usually only if she has

an exam coming up. She was supposed to be home last

night though.”

“Why do you say that?”

“We had booked theatre tickets. For the late show. The

AMC was showing the Star

Wars triple bill starting at midnight.”

“When did you call the precinct?”

“A little after midnight. At first I was just mad at her for

forgetting, but I called

Matt’s place and he said they all left just before eleven

and that she was speaking

with the librarian.”

“So you began to worry?” Mulder inferred urging him to

continue to speak.

“I tried calling her cell but it kept going to that damn

voice mail.” He sipped his

drink and Mulder sympathetically watched as more tears

welled up. “I thought

maybe she had car trouble but I figured she would have

phoned or text

messaged. So I called the police. They said I had to wait

24 hours before I made

a report.” He sneered and rolled his eyes looking at the

mirror with contempt.

“So you came down first thing this morning?” Mulder

prompted.

“Yeah. I couldn’t sleep much so I was down here by five

this morning. They made

me wait a couple of hours and as I was waiting I saw a

cop carrying in Janice’s

backpack.”

“You are sure it was hers?”

“Yes. I made it. I’m a graphic designer,” he added at

Mulder’s quirked eyebrow.

“It has a design of a dragon on the back of it and some

Chinese writing on the

side.”

Mulder looked at the mirror and nodded. Within ten

seconds there was a light rap

on the door and it was immediately opened. Zip locked

in a large evidence bag

was a navy blue backpack; the dragon design just as

Jack had described on the

back. He pulled the bag closer and began to open the

evidence bag.

“I’m afraid we can’t let you do that. It is still being

processed,” Mulder said kindly,

placing his hand over Jack’s to stop him tearing open

the plastic barrier.

“Processed?” the expression of confusion on Jack’s face

was so innocent that

Mulder had to look away. He removed the bag from the

table and passed it back

to the officer who had carried it in, swallowing hard.

“This morning at four fifteen there was a female body

discovered at Whitehaven

Parkway.”

“A body?” Jack barely whispered as he slumped back in

his chair and Mulder

watched as the color physically drained from his face.

“The physical description matches that of Janice Smith.

Her car was found a few

blocks away.”

“Can… can.. I see her?” Jack’s tears fell loosely about his

face, streaming across

his cheeks and blurring his vision. His voice cracked as

he sat up and tried to

regain control of his emotions but Mulder could see he

was fighting a loosing

battle.

“Of course.” He patted his arm sympathetically, ” I’ll

arrange everything.”

The scraping sound of the chair disguised Jack’s sobs as

Mulder pushed away

from the table and left the room. Detective Brice was

waving at him to join him

from across the room.

“Agent Mulder, we might need your help with this one!”

Detective Brice said as he

held his hand over the mouthpiece of the phone and

lowered it from his angry

face.

“What’s that?” Mulder asked as he crossed the bullpen

towards him.

“Library security won’t release footage till we get a

warrant.” Brice handed him

the phone and Mulder took it with a grimace, wishing

immediately that Scully was

here to smooth out this stuff.

“Hello?”

“You need a warrant to get it, I don’t care,” Came the

terse reply from the other

end of the phone.

“This is Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI.”

“I don’t care if you are the goddamned Pope. Call me

when you get your

warrant.” To Mulder’s surprise the phone suddenly went

dead. With a bewildered

smile he passed the receiver back to Brice who was

shaking his head slowly.

“He said we should call back, with a warrant.”

“And with a few more choice words too I’m sure! What

an asshole.” Brice rolled

his eyes heavenwards.

“I’ll sort out the warrant and collect the footage. I want

to see if maybe the

librarian will remember Janice. Can you get someone to

call these three?

Apparently she was studying with them last night.” He

ripped out the page of his

notebook and handed it to Detective Brice.

“Sure. I’ll take Douglas to the morgue to officially

identify the body.”

“Okay. Will you call Agent Scully first to make sure she’s

ready for viewing?”

“No problem.”

***

Quantico Autopsy Lab

Dana Scully pulled the latex gloves off quickly and

tossed it aside. Rushing over

to the counter, she grabbed a notebook and pen and

hurried back to the cold

body on the slab. She pressed the record button on the

recorder again and

reached overhead to aim the light for a better view of

the text, before carefully

jotting it down.

“You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You’re

looking into their eyes. A

person in that situation is God!” she read aloud. “The

text is clearly written in a

soft text that appears to have been tattooed on with

great care. No residual

bleeding on the fresh wound either suggesting it was

post mortem. ” She turned

to find her phone when it began ringing and smiled as

she spotted his name on

the ID display.

“Mulder, how do you do it?”

“Pure skill mixed with raw unadulterated manly talent,”

came the quick reply.

“I was just about to ring you.” She said glancing down

at the page in her hand.

“You found something?” She could hear he was driving;

she hated talking on the

phone with him while he was driving.

“Yes. On her belt buckle I found some calcium sulphate

hemihydrate,

CaSO4*1/2H2O. According to the local police chief I

spoke to a moment ago there

were traces of it in her car too.”

“And that would be?”

“Plaster of Paris.”

“Did she have a broken bone?”

“Not according to her recent medical records.”

“What else?” He asked knowing she was holding more.

“Another quote,” she said, and then read it aloud for

him.

“Ted Bundy,” he came back immediately.

“Where are you going Mulder?” she asked finally,

realizing he was still driving.

“Back to the Hoover building. I need to get warrants to

secure video footage from

the university library. There is a young man coming to

identify the body soon.

Will she be ready?”

“Yes. I’m done here.” Scully glanced sadly over at the

body on the table and

mentally calculated the time she’d need to make her

ready for viewing.

“Okay I’ll pick you up on the way to the library.”

***

Georgetown University

The students filed out quickly, racing through the

corridors to make it to their

next lecture. Michael Brown watched them silently

making sure each student

dropped their report on his desk as they filed by. Most of

the girls cast hopeful

smiles in his direction but he paid them no heed,

watching the reports pile up

instead.

“Professor?” turning slowly to his right he saw Aimee

Traxler approaching his desk

rather sheepishly. She clutched her folder to her chest

and fixed her eyes on a

point on his cheek, refusing to make eye contact with

him. “Sir, I was wondering

if I could get an extension.”

“Extension?” He toyed with her, enjoying the way the

muscles in her face

scrunched up with nerves.

“I didn’t get time to finish my report. I’ve been working

so hard at the paper this

month that everything got away from me.” She knew

she was babbling now and

she tried to stop the flow of clumsy words that cascaded

from her dry mouth but

she couldn’t help it.

“Is my class too difficult for you Aimee?”

“No sir, it’s just the time-”

“You had no time put aside to do your report?”

“I had, sir, but the paper kept calling me about the

bodies they found in the city,

they needed articles on it and its my job, I need the

money to pay the rent.”

Aimee’s cheeks burned hot under the curious gazes of

her fellow students as they

watched her squirm.

“The report was due today. You have until 3pm to have

it on my desk. No later.”

“Sir!” Aimee began but he had gathered up the pile of

pages and turned to leave

the room.

“3PM Aimee. No later or you will fail my class. Now run

along.”

“Yes sir,” came her soft defeated reply.

Michael Brown stepped through the corridor, his face

clear of the thrill he was

feeling. He loved his job, the constant interaction with

students, and the mixture

of emotions of fear, happiness, joy and confusion that

emanated from the

students on a daily basis.

He stepped into his office and locked the door behind

him. Folding all the reports

he held, he neatly fit them into the trashcan before

sitting at his desk and

reaching for the red folder from the bottom drawer.

Slowly he opened it and flicked through the pages

towards the end. With an

orange highlight marker he ruled lines across a name on

the list — Ted Bundy,

then added yesterday’s date and a computer filename

after it.

***

Georgetown University Library

Scully climbed out of the car and took a deep breath of

fresh air into her lungs.

After being in the autopsy lab all morning she welcomed

the stinging breeze that

tickled her throat and wafted through her hair.

“This guy was on a major power trip this morning,”

Mulder said mockingly as he

fiddled with the warrant in his hand and pulled his badge

out of his pocket.

“He was within his right to demand a warrant, Mulder.”

“Maybe, but when its someone’s life, its annoying as

hell.”

They walked through the main doors and Scully stood

back a little as Mulder

slapped the warrant purposefully on the reception desk

and held his badge out to

the baffled looking receptionist.

“Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI. I’m here to

collect the video footage from

your CCTV cameras.”

“You’ll need to speak to Kip, let me call him.” With

trembling fingers she dialed

through to the security office and spoke quickly. After

replacing the receiver she

looked up to Mulder and nodded. “He is on his way

down.”

Mulder turned to Scully and took a few steps closer.

Kip. He mouthed soundlessly in her direction, and then

rolled his eyes.

“People in glass houses…Fox!” she replied and he

grinned.

Just then a small door to the left of the entrance opened

quickly and a small stout

man with receding hairline and an expanding waistline

marched over to them.

Mulder held his badge out stiffly and handed him the

warrant.

“We need to collect the footage immediately. Any

hesitation on your part will

result in immediate arrest.”

“This way.” Kip stiffly led them through the door and

into the security hub where

a bank of televisions covered one wall.

“Can we see the footage from last night?”

“What time?”

“From 10 pm to 4 am,” Scully butted in and leaned

forward, resting her hands on

the console to get a closer look.

The footage whizzed by and at precisely 11.24 the

unmistakable figure of Janice

Smith left the library and hurried to her car. Scully

watched the monitor as the

body she had been examining all morning was brought

to life on the grainy black

and white screen. She was seen unlocking her car

getting in and driving off the

scene towards the gateway.

“Nothing. You?” Mulder asked.

“No.”

“Do you have anything from a different angle?”

“No sir, we cover the door and the grounds, but nothing

else on the entrance.”

“I need that tape.”

Kip ejected the tape and passed it over to Mulder with a

crooked smile.

“Sorry about earlier but we get a lot of crank calls from

the students.”

Mulder grudgingly grunted his acceptance then left,

Scully smiling in his wake

before following him quickly. She found him leaning

against the tall reception

desk speaking softly with the librarian.

“She was in here last night with four students. Left at

about 11.30. Do you recall

her?”

“No, I’m afraid not.” The librarian was visibly shaken

and Scully appreciated the

soft tones Mulder took with her, easing her through his

questions. “Has something

happened?”

“We’re just tracing her whereabouts. So you don’t

remember her?”

“I’m afraid we get so many students in this time of year.

With thesis studies and

exams on…” her voice trailed off and Mulder slipped his

card across the marble

surface.

“Well, if anything comes back to you, let me know.”

“I will.”

Mulder smiled and turned to walk out the large double

doors. However, instead of

climbing into the car, Mulder walked away from the

building towards the entrance

at the road.

“Mulder?”

“If she made it to her car safely, then how did he get in

her car?” he mused aloud

to no one in particular. “The plaster was in her car so he

must have been in it

before the murder. If it was afterwards he would have

driven the car further

away.”

Scully followed him and they both walked the short

distance to the gateway.

Across the road they spotted the bus stop and little else.

The buildings were

mainly residential with little or no security measures in

place.

“You know Ted Bundy used to have a fake cast. He

would put it on his leg and

pretend to be injured to lure women into his car, under

the guise of helping him.”

“You think that’s what he did?”

“We saw her get into her car. She made it. There was no

delay when she got in

that would indicate someone was waiting for her in the

backseat.” He watched the

traffic for a break then raced over to the bus shelter,

Scully in tow. “It’s possible

he was waiting here for her.”

“Mulder, maybe in the 70’s you’d stop to help a stranger

but not nowadays.”

“Maybe he was someone she knew. Maybe that’s why

she stopped.” Stooping low

on the ground he spotted two white marks that looked

like chalk on the pavement

“See this?”

Scully rubbed her fingers across them and brushed the

tips of her fingers against

each other. She glanced up at Mulder with a knowing

look, then took a tissue

from her pocket and brushed it roughly over the

markings. As she slipped the

tissue into a concealed evidence bag, Mulder pulled out

his cell phone and called

for a crime scene unit.

***

FBI Headquarters

Sitting in the meeting room, Mulder swiveled gently

from side to side on his chair

watching the door and waiting for Agent Larkin to make

his entrance. Next to him

Scully was reading over her autopsy report, knowing she

would be asked to go

over it aloud, dumbing it down for non-medically trained

agents.

“Do you think this is for my benefit?” he asked softly,

leaning towards her and

resting his elbows and forearms on the table.

“Don’t be so hedonistic,” she said without looking up.

“He is trying to make an

entrance, assert his authority. But I don’t think it is

purely for your benefit.”

“Maybe not,” Mulder conceded, leaning back on his chair

to swivel some more.

Just then the door swung open admitting AD Larkin’s

confident gait. He had shed

his jacket and had rolled his sleeves up past his elbows

but his tie remained

securely fastened to his collar.

“Okay, what have we got? Autopsy, Agent Scully?” he

said as he crossed the

room to the top of the table, his eyes focusing on the

sheets of paper in his hand.

He offered no one a look and barely gave the impression

he was listening.

“Janice Smith died of asphyxiation. She was strangled

with a leather belt with a

steel buckle. I found bruising on her torso and abrasions

on her hands to suggest

that she was restrained with her arms by her side.

Possible he straddled her while

choking her.” Scully spoke loudly and clearly, looking

straight at AD Larkin.

“Any text on her body?” Larkin asked glancing up at her

over the rim of his

glasses.

“Yes sir. A Ted Bundy quote. “‘You feel the last bit of

breath leaving their body.

You’re looking into their eyes. A person in that situation

is God.”” Scully let her

words sink in before continuing. “Also on her belt and in

her car I found traces of

calcium sulphate hemihydrate .” She saw the bewildered

looks on the agent’s

faces then added, “Plaster of Paris.”

“Ted Bundy used fake leg casts,” Agent Daly supplied.

“We obtained the security footage from the University

Library this morning and

confirmed Janice Smith left at 11.24pm. She got into her

car and drove away

from university property safely,” Mulder spoke up.

“However, across the street at a bus stop Agent Mulder

found traces of calcium

sulphate on the pavement. We called a CSI unit

immediately.”

“On the scene?” AD Larkin looked over to Agent Jones

who was heading up the

CSI Unit.

“We found the calcium sulphate but little else. Cigarette

butts and hair samples

we took are being processed for prints and DNA but it

was a public bus stop, so

there is no guarantee they belong to our perp.”

“We interviewed several drivers from different bus

routes who would have been at

the bus stop between 10:30 and 12 and some of them

remember seeing a man

on crutches.” Agent Holwel added. He pulled from his

folder a picture and passed

copies around the room.

“Approx. 6 foot 2, 170 pounds. Light brown hair well

trimmed and well dressed.

He had his left leg in a cast from hip to ankle and was

carrying a backpack of

books. He didn’t get on or off any of the buses and was

leaning against the wall.”

“He was spotted at 10:20 by a bus driver named

Damien Wright but wasn’t there

at 10:10 when Maggie Marks drove by.”

Mulder stared down at the picture before him. There was

nothing remarkable

about this man. No distinguishable scars or marks on his

face that would make

him easily noticeable. His eyes were open wide and

Mulder stared into them

intensely, wondering what made him do the things he

did.

“So what’s next?” AD Larkin asked the room.

“I’m meeting with Detective Brice in half an hour. He

was interviewing her study

partners,” Mulder offered.

“We are waiting for results to come back on the prints

and DNA.”

“Okay then. Get to it.” Larkin stood up and watched as

the agents gathered their

files and left the room. “Agent Mulder, a word.”

Mulder cast Scully a wary glance before turning back to

the table. He dropped his

files on the table but refused to sit down. When the last

Agent had left the room

and closed the door behind him leaving them alone, AD

Larkin slowly took his

glasses off and folded them into his breast pocket.

“If you ever go over my head to authorize a warrant and

a CS Unit again, I will

have you busted down so quickly….” Larkin ground out

angrily, his hands spread

out on the table before him and his eyes boring into

Mulder’s.

“Sir?” Mulder faltered.

“You continuously try to undermine my authority and I

won’t have it. Once more

Mulder…just try it again and you’ll regret it.”

Larkin stood stiffly and stalked from the room, leaving

Mulder staring

dumbfounded after him. He leaned back against the

table and watched as Scully

re-entered the room.

“What was all that about?”

“He just wanted to chew me a new one for getting a

warrant for the video footage

and calling the CS unit without his authorization. A job

he should have done but

didn’t. ”

“What?” Scully said surprised, leaning back next to him.

“He’s just not going to let it go.”

“Let what go Mulder. What did you do? Why does he

hate you?”

Mulder looked over to her and knew it was time to tell

her. Regardless of how

embarrassing it would be.

“Okay. I’ll tell you on the way to the precinct.”

Mulder led the way silently to the car and pulled out into

the midday traffic

without uttering a word. Scully let him drive a couple

more blocks before turning

to face him.

“Well?”

“Huh?” he said in mock confusion glancing at her

sideways.

“Tell me, Mulder. Spill.”

“Okay.” He pulled up at a red traffic light and drummed

his fingers rhythmlessly

on the steering wheel. “It happened years ago.”

“Yeah, yeah, I heard this bit…second year in the

bureau…what happened?” she

teased, smiling at his obvious discomfort.

“It was at the Directors Christmas Ball. Back when I was

still out to impress and

attended those god awful events.”

Scully laughed, knowing his disdain for those nights

now.

“I attended with a friend of mine from the academy but

she quickly hooked up

and left me to fend for myself.”

“Poor you.”

“I know! Well, I was at the bar, I started talking to a

woman and she actually fell

for my clumsy attempt at conversation. We laughed and

talked for a while then I

asked her to dance. I’m not sure why. It must have

been the whiskey talking.”

Behind them a car beeped them to move with the traffic

and Mulder slipped the

car into gear and took off. He concentrated on driving

for a while longer then

continued talking.

“We pretty much danced for most of the night and as

everything was rolling up to

an end, I felt a finger tap my shoulder.”

“AD Larkin?” Scully guessed.

“Agent Larkin at the time…wondering if he might spend

some time with his

date…”

Scully covered her mouth with her hand in mock shock.

“Right in the middle of the dance floor,” Mulder said,

“She started to explain how

she had attended the ball with him only as a friend and

now wanted me to escort

her home.”

“Oh Mulder!”

“Needless to say AD Larkin was livid. To his credit he

didn’t do anything further

that night but ever since he has had it out for me.”

“And you and this mystery heart breaker?” Scully

inquired teasingly, “did you

make it worth her while?”

“I never kiss and tell Scully!”

Scully laughed sensing there was more to that story

than he was letting on. More

to the mystery woman than he was willing to reveal but

she didn’t push, Mulder

looked embarrassed enough. Even more surprising was

the childish grudge of a

grown man like Larkin.

***

Fort Totten Park

Michael Brown watched from the back of the crowds. His

eyes scanned the room

for the long silky blonde hair he craved. He could

already feel the silky strands

between his fingers and he felt himself hardening at the

prospect of making it

real. Thankful for the cover of darkness as he ambled

through the park, he

worked his way through the crowd that had gathered for

the midnight concert by

the local orchestra.

The music was soulful as it drifted through the still night

air. Most people had

brought blankets to sit on but some hovered near the

back, content to listen to

the sounds while standing. The carefully executed

performance across the grand

piano stalled even Michael’s thoughts as he halted a

moment to immerse himself

in the haunting music.

Then he saw her.

She sat alone on a red and blue checkered blanket with

tasseled endings. Spread

out on it next to her was some music sheets and

notebooks that she scribbled

things down whenever the mood struck her.

Michael circled slowly around her in a wide perimeter to

get a better view. From

the front he could see the pale complexion of her

beautifully clear skin. Her eyes

he couldn’t make out but decided to examine them

closer when he got the

chance. Her hands moved fluidly along the music sheets

as she noted down the

sounds that drifted over her, the riffs that touched her

and the thoughts they

provoked.

Perfect, Michael thought, wondering how he would sit

next to her, strike up the

conversation and get her alone. Then with a sinking

heart, he watched as another

man approached her. With two glasses of wine in his

hands, he crouched beside

her and proffered one glass towards her. He couldn’t

hear their words but from

the surprised expression on her face it wasn’t an

expected intrusion. She declined

his offer of the glass of wine and gestured towards the

work she was doing,

before smiling warmly at him as he turned and left.

Michael wasn’t sure if he was glad that she was still

alone or worried now that he

might get the same reaction. For a moment longer he

watched the crowd, then as

the couple that were sitting next to him rose to get

some more wine from a

vendor behind them an idea struck him.

Quickly he gathered up their blanket and walked away

from the crowds. Back at

his car, he took a notebook and a pencil from the glove

box and folded the

blanket carefully under his arm. Shedding his coat, he

loosened his shirt collar

and tie and made his way back to the park in a

seemingly random route. When he

approached her from behind, he avoided all contact with

her and secured a spot

on the grass to the left and just in front of her.

Laying the blanket out before him, he took the notebook

out and started to line

the pages with the five recognizable lines for music

notation. When he had the

page fully lined, he summoned up all the musical lessons

he could remember and

started to take note of the melodies that played around

him.

He had filled the first page and was beginning to line the

second page when her

voice called out to him softly.

“Excuse me?” He ignored it the first time and

concentrated on lining his page as

best he could, delighting in her persistence. “Excuse

me?”

“Me? Were you talking to me?” he half turned to her

inquiringly.

“I see you are taking note of the music.”

“Trying to. I forgot my music note book, so I’m trying to

make do.”

“I can give you some sheets if you’d like.” He turned

fully towards her with an

easy smile and watched as she pulled out some pages of

her notebook and

handed them out to him.

“Thank you, that would be great.”

“No problem. Nothing worse then the homemade music

bars!”

“I’m Joe by the way.” He took the pages and held out

his hand.

“Stephanie.”

Feeling he was near her limit of intrusion he smiled

warmly at her and turned

back to his work, hoping she wouldn’t want to compare

notes at the end.

When the orchestra had finished playing and the crowds

began to slowly

dissipate, Michael took his time gathering up his things.

He couldn’t help but

notice that she was stalling too.

“Beautiful, wasn’t it?” he ventured as he folded his

blanket clumsily.

“Yes. They played a lovely rendition of Brandenburg’s

concerto.”

“Quite.”

“Do you play?” she asked.

“I play piano and dabble in violin but I wouldn’t say it is

suitable for human

consumption.” He laughed and she smiled with him.

“You? Do you play?”

“I used to play violin with the national orchestra in New

York but not anymore.”

Without realizing it, they began to walk away from the

park towards the bank of

cars near the entrance. Michael deliberately slowed their

pace hoping the crowds

would be lessened by the time they got there.

“Oh? Why not?”

“I was in a car accident a couple of years ago. Broke my

hand and severed my

nerves.” Her voice was steady as she spoke but he

caught the glint of regret in

her eyes.

As they crossed the parking lot, she fumbled in her

pocket for her keys and

opened the driver’s door.

“It was a pleasure talking with you, Joe.”

“And you.” He watched as she climbed in and buckled

her seatbelt, then

screamed inside with triumph as she rolled the window

down.

“Is your car here?”

“No, I’m staying in a hotel a couple of blocks away. The

Plaza.”

“Can I offer you a lift?”

“No, that’s okay I couldn’t impose.”

“It’s no problem. It’s the least I can do for a fellow

music lover.”

He climbed in beside her and smiled as she drove off.

She parked across the road

from the hotel and accepted his offer of a nightcap in

the hotel bar. They claimed

two comfy seats near the back of the room and sat close

sipping wine and talking

softly. The bar staff topped up their drinks without being

asked and soon

Stephanie was surprised to see the creeping rays of

daylight color the city streets

outside.

“Oh my, it’s late.”

“Or early,” Michael added, moving his hand from her

knee, where it had rested

most of the night, to her cheek.

“I better go,” she said softly but made no move to do

so.

“Stay,” he whispered, kissing her cheek where his

fingers had just stroked. “Stay

with me.”

One arm snaked around her shoulders pulling her closer

and the other crept up

her knee to her thigh and circled her waist. She slid

easily onto his lap sitting

sideways with her head on his shoulder. He bent slowly

and kissed her warmly.

His mouth was warm and wet against her lips and she

sighed into the kiss,

parting her lips for him and allowing him to kiss her

deeper.

“Will you come upstairs to my room?” he asked in

between the butterfly kisses

trailing her neck as his lips covered as much of her skin

as he dared in this semi

public area.

“Yes,” she panted.

He slid her off his lap onto her feet and followed her

closely. Taking her hand, he

led her through the empty bar and lobby to an elevator

off the lobby. Once the

door closed, offering them more privacy than they had

all night, he pressed her to

the elevator wall and pushed his body against her.

She couldn’t help the desire that coursed through her as

he squeezed her breast

through her blouse, nipped at her ear lobe, and licked

her neck in small teasing

strokes. The elevator ride was all too short to the fifth

floor. He all but pulled her

out of the confines and along the hall to his room.

Once inside, all the resolve disappeared as they hungrily

shed clothes. His shirt

and tie fell next to her skirt and blouse. Her underwear

came off so easily, the

silky material slipping against her satin skin to the floor

in a luxurious puddle.

“Joe,” she breathed softly.

“Shhh,” he urged as he dropped the rest of his clothes

and peeled off his socks.

“Don’t say it. I’m not used to the passion you bring out

in me. I’ve never done

anything like this before.”

“Me neither.”

He knew they were the words she wanted to hear. The

words she longed for, of

reassurance.

***

Plaza Hotel

Detective Brice paced the floor of the ornate lobby until

he spotted Mulder and

Scully walking in. After shaking their hands, he gestured

for them to follow him.

They all took the elevator to the fifth floor where a

smaller lobby greeted them.

There was no receptionist at this one, only a phone, a

fire extinguisher, and

several shelves of towels and pillows for guests’ use.

Also to the left of the

elevator were two doors marked with the familiar male

and female signs for

restrooms.

“The body was found at 11:03 am today, by another

guest.” He opened the door

to the female restrooms and stood before the middle

stall. The door had been

removed off its hinges and was leaning against a

different wall. The entrance was

blocked off by yellow police tape.

From her pocket Scully pulled out a pair of latex gloves,

slipping them on easily.

Mulder held up the tape for her to step under and she

crouched low over the

body.

The body was completely naked, twisted and contorted

around the toilet. The

ligature marks on her neck was unmistakable, so much

that Scully could make

out the individual finger marks.

“According to the night staff she arrived with a

registered guest, Joseph Toucan,

at about 1 AM. They went into the hotel bar and stayed

there till about 4. By that

time they had gotten real pally, if ya know what I

mean.”

Mulder turned towards the opening door to see AD

Larkin stride in.

“The receptionist has ID’d the photo fit as Joseph

Toucan. But all research points

to that as an alias.” Larkin’s words were loud and

hurried, his anger at being so

close, bubbling to the surface over the calm exterior of

his FBI persona.

“Do we have an ID for her?” Mulder asked reaching to

lift the tape for Scully to

step out.

“Hotel surveillance has them walking in from across the

street. There is a car out

there that they might have arrived in. We’re running the

plates right now.”

“She died from asphyxiation. He placed his hands

around her neck, both hands,

strong and brutal. There are eight finger marks around

the back of her neck and

two thumbs on the front at her larynx. But she hasn’t

been dead that long. It

couldn’t be more then a couple of hours.”

“Any text like the other victims?”

Scully looked carefully over the body again and on the

inside of her thigh she

found the small black lettering.

“For me a corpse has a beauty and dignity which a living

body could never hold . .

. there is a peace about death that soothes me” She

read aloud.

Just then the cell that was clipped to Brice’s belt

crackled to life startling them all.

“Brice here, what is it?”

“We ran the plates and found the owner.”

“Wait a sec…” Brice switched the phone over to speaker.

“Okay go ahead.”

“Stephanie Adams. The license picture is of a female,

five foot eight. 120 lbs.

Blonde, brown eyes.”

Brice looked up to Scully who was nodding slowly in

confirmation of the

description.

“Lock up that car, don’t let anyone get near it.”

Mulder was already out the door; he skipped past the

elevator and raced down

the stairs. He had made it across the street and was

already leaning into the car

when Scully and Larkin crossed the road behind him.

“Mulder, don’t contaminate that scene. I have the CS

unit on the way and I don’t

want to waste any time tracing DNA from your god

damned hair!” Larkin yelled at

him.

Mulder ignored him and continued to check the contents

of the car, his trained

eyes scanning quickly over the discarded letters and

pages until they fell across

the leaflet that rested on the dashboard.

“Midnight Concert by Washington Orchestra at Fort

Totten Park,” he read aloud,

pulling himself out of the car and standing up straight

next to Scully. “This was

last night. If she didn’t arrive at this hotel until after one

then maybe she met him

here.”

“That’s about 9 blocks away,” Scully said, already pulling

the keys out of her

pocket and backing away.

“Let’s go,” Mulder walked away and stopped only when

Larkin grabbed his arm.

Silence bristled between them and the tension crackled,

but Larkin nodded slowly

and released him.

***

Fort Totten Park

The park was deserted with only a few remnants that

the concert ever happened.

Scattered flyers advertising the concert, discarded food

wrappers and other

detritus, with two park rangers cleaning it all up.

The car lot was empty and Mulder ran across the grass

to the nearest ranger to

speak to him. He produced his badge and held it up.

“Fox Mulder, FBI.” From the inside his jacket he

retrieved a folded copy of the

photo fit sketch and a grainy photo from a security

camera and passed it to the

ranger. “Did you see this man here this morning?”

“Yes I did!” He watched as Scully joined them and

flashed her badge.

“Where?”

“He came in through the north gate and got into a car

over there. Then he drove

off…looked to be in a real hurry too.”

“You’re sure it was him?” Scully asked.

“Yes. I noticed the car when I got in this morning, only

one here. He looked kind

of odd too, troubled. I like to people watch. Interesting

hobby, that’s why I

remembered.”

“What time was that?”

“About eight thirty. We like to get this park real clean

before anyone else gets

here. And with the concert on last night we knew the

place would be a mess. His

car really caught my eye, ya know. It was a vintage.”

“What make?” Scully asked, opening her notebook.

“1967 Ford Mustang, midnight blue.”

“Did you get the license?”

“Yes.” He watched both agents as Scully jotted the

license plate down and smiled

her gratitude. They exchanged glances and seemed to

have a whole conversation

without uttering a word. “What’s all this about?”

“Thank you for your time.” Scully cut in as they backed

away and raced over to

their Taurus. Mulder was already revving the engine and

spinning out of the park

while she dialed Larkin’s number. She quickly relayed all

the information they had

and waited on the line as he barked orders in the

background at the crew who

stood around him. She heard him shout at two agents to

locate the owner of the

Mustang and bring him into the local precinct, then he

came back to her to tell

her the body of Stephanie Adams was en route to

Quantico.

***

14 Thomas Street

Michael Brown latched the door behind him and rested

his back against it. His

breathing was heavy and labored as he moved through

the room and raced into

the bathroom. In the mirror he watched as his face

contorted back to his own

familiar features and laughed. A deep throaty laugh that

gurgled up from the pit

of his stomach and shook his shoulders.

He could still feel the pressure of her neck, the thrill

from the feel of her pulse

beneath his fingers and he stared down at them in

astonishment, unclenching

them from the fists they had been during his

transformation. Crossing the room

to where he kept his PC, he booted it up and began

typing.

‘John Reginald Halliday Christie was a typical

“repressed” lust killer who could

achieve satisfaction only through rape, murder, and

probably necrophilia.

Christie’s motives were sexual; he admitted strangling

one of his victims during

intercourse. He related how he had invited women to the

house and having got

them partly drunk, sat them in a deck chair, where he

rendered them unconscious

with domestic coal gas. He then strangled and raped

them.’

Michel leaned back on his chair as he typed, reliving the

moment over and over in

his mind, then slowly the Cheshire grin spread across his

lips like a slash from a

blade.

“For me a corpse has a beauty and dignity which a living

body could never hold . .

. there is a peace about death that soothes me.”

He interlocked his fingers at the back of his head and

sighed satisfactorily. The

words flew out of him in a way he had never

experienced. Never before had the

passages for his writing been so succinct and accurate.

Never before had he felt

the rejuvenation of life course through his body like a

river.

Ever mindful of his work, he saved it and closed the file.

As the sensations began

to fade he went over to the fridge and selected the bag

of meat he’d was saving.

Saving for moments like these, moments when he

needed to feel it and maintain

that precious high for a little longer, a littler stronger.

The pan was already on the stove, greased and dirty

from the last use. He

thought of cleaning up a bit but decided against it. When

the oil was at boiling

point he dropped the meat into the pan and stood back

as it splashed up hot

sparks of fat.

He knew it wouldn’t be long now. He knew he’d been

sloppy and careless, but

that was the way it had been done. Bundy, Christie and

Fish, they all left hair,

DNA, semen and other evidence behind. His dissertation

wouldn’t be valid if he

had cut corners, changed the routines.

He grabbed the TV remote and switched it on. Flicking

through the various

channels until he found the news, he waited. Waited for

the report he knew was

coming.

His meat feast was almost done when the newsflash

appeared. The picture of the

muted newscaster suddenly changed to the onsite

reporter who stood across from

the Plaza hotel. Michael turned up the volume and

waited in anticipation for the

bulletin.

“The body was found in the public restrooms on the fifth

floor. Police have yet to

release any information on the victim until next of kin

can be contacted but we

have Special Agent Mulder from the FBI with us.”

The camera panned to the left where Mulder stood, a

grim expression on his face.

In his hands he held a small file and Michael stared at it,

the smile on his face

widening. Absently he stirred the meat in the pan and

inhaled the delicious aroma

of cooked flesh.

“We have gathered considerable evidence today.”

Mulder admitted vaguely as the

newscaster asked more questions.

Michael turned back to the stove and forked the meat

onto a plate. Moving across

the room he perched himself on the edge of the couch

and took a bite of his meal.

It was medium rare, and he loved the pattern the blood

had left on the plate,

mesmerizing him as though an ethereal message was

held within the gruesome

image.

He observed Mulder as he spoke with clear confident

tones, the agent avoiding

eye contact with the camera, instead addressing the

interviewer. More questions

were fired at him but Mulder offered little or no

information, opting instead to

excuse himself from the interview.

The reporter continued speaking into the camera but

Michael’s eyes moved with

Mulder who had moved with large strides into the

background to converse with a

small red headed woman who he assumed was another

agent. Michael smiled,

chewing on his next odious mouthful.

She’s perfect. It won’t be long now, he thought.

***

The Plaza

The garage of the plaza was strewn with SWAT

members and CSI Agents. AD

Larkin was standing over the table upon which a map of

DC was spread out.

Scully stood with Detective Brice at the doorway and

turned as Mulder

approached, offering him a sympathetic smile.

“What have you got?” Mulder asked Brice, nodding at

the pages he was showing

Scully.

“We’ve run the plates and turned up a name and

address. Michael Brown 14

Thomas Street.”

“Professor Michael Brown? Professor in psychology at

Georgetown University?”

Scully said then added, “SWAT Team is ready, and AD

Larkin wants to speak with

you,” Scully told her partner as she fixed on her bullet

proof vest, slipping her suit

jacket over it.

Mulder accepted the vest she handed him and carried it

with him as he crossed

the room to where Larkin was barking out last minute

orders to the SWAT

members standing around waiting.

“This has to go smoothly, quickly and without any

screwups.” Mulder cringed at

the stereotypical moral boost but made no comment.

The desired effect seemed

to be working as the SWAT members fanned out to their

various units.

“Sir?” Mulder said as he pulled off his jacket and draped

it on the back of a chair.

“Agent Scully said you wanted to speak with me?”

“Yes, I need you to go back to the Hoover building and

copy this warrant.” Larkin

held out the folded page and waited for Mulder to take

it.

“Sir?” Mulder’s fingers stalled over the Velcro strap he

was fastening.

“Judge Waterman failed to provide us with enough

copies.” Larkin sneered

smugly, watching the battle of reactions play out on

Mulder’s face.

“But sir the-”

“Agent Mulder, are you disobeying my direct order?”

Larkin stood up a bit

straighter and spoke loud enough to be sure to be

overheard by other agents.

“No Sir,” Mulder said firmly after a moment’s hesitation.

He took the warrant with

a tight smile and walked back to Scully, angrily tugging

his vest off on the way.

“Mulder, you have to put the vest on.”

“No I don’t.” he dropped it onto the chair beside them.

“I’m not going on the

raid.”

“What?”

“AD Larkin wants me to go back to the Hoover building

to sort out this warrant.”

Before Scully could ask any more questions, Larkin

called for attention from the

entire room. He barked out the orders to each team

leader and stressed the

importance of this raid. Mulder stood at the back of the

room watching with

growing anger. When the time came the men and

woman all poured into the

waiting vans. Scully followed Brice to the police car and

shot a look back at

Mulder. His eyes were sad, underlying worry making

them bright. She nodded her

assertion to his silent plea to keep safe then shut the

door and buckled up.

The garage cleared so quickly that Mulder found himself

standing in the swirl of

dust the vans kicked up in their wake, his feet glued to

the floor and his anger

palpable.

***

14 Thomas Street

Michael stripped down to his boxer shorts and raced

through the hall to the fire

escape. He hurried down the metal stairs and ignored

the sharp pains in his bare

feet as he pushed on to the floor below him. The fire

door was stuck and he

roughly shoved his shoulder against it. Finally on the

third attempt he managed

to swing it open, bashing it against the wall inside.

Moving quietly through the hall he counted the doors

down to Apartment 7. He

took a moment to smooth out his hair and slow his

breathing before knocking

carefully on the door.

“Who is it?” came the frail reply.

“Mrs. Leeson? It’s me, Professor Brown. I seem to have

locked myself out of my

apartment. I know you have the set of skeleton keys.”

“Michael? Is that you?”

He waited as the shuffling footfalls came closer to the

door. The latch on the door

rattled as she released the chain. Michael braced himself

for the push and

watched as the door handle moved. With all the force he

could muster he pushed

himself off the opposite wall and rammed into the door.

With a scream Mrs. Leeson fell back from the door,

smashing her head against

the wall behind her and falling to the floor. Michael

rushed in after her and

slammed the door shut behind him. He dragged her

dazed body to the bedroom

and laid her out on the bed. She struggled to come to

for a moment but then

passed out.

Michael went back to the door and waited.

***

Outside the unmarked vans screeched to a halt on the

curb and all the agents

poured out. Scully followed the lead team into the

building as the others secured

the surrounding area. The vest she was wearing

constricted her breathing but it

offered her the comfort she needed to continue. She

followed the orders of the

team leader and hugged the wall to the elevator. With

her gun outstretched she

covered the hallway as the other agents got into place.

They raced up to the first floor in a well-trained fluid

execution and held position

at the bottom of the stairway to the second floor. They

had all studied the layout

of the building on the way over here so everyone tensed

as they started the

ascension towards Brown’s apartment.

Scully covered the stairway again as the various agents

silently stepped up into

position. She waited for her signal to go and moved

swiftly and silently when it

was her turn. Radio silence was kept throughout the

maneuver, the team relying

solely on hand gestures and trained instinct.

As they curled around the apartment, Agent Smith stood

to the side and gestured

for the battering ram to be readied. He slammed his fist

against the peeling paint

and called out.

“FBI, open up.”

After a few seconds when no reply came Smith stood

aside and watched as two

agents rammed the door open and let the SWAT team

barge in. The room swam

in pandemonium as the agents cleared out the small

apartment.

“Living room, Clear!”

“Bedroom, Clear!”

“Kitchen, Clear!” Came the quick replies as they swept

through the apartment.

Scully stepped aside as they went through the quick

process and followed them

through at the end. The first thing that hit was the foul

stench that clung to the

air. She coughed and covered her mouth with the back

of her hand as she

stepped further into the apartment.

“No one here,” Smith relayed to her. He pulled the radio

from his pocket and

called to the other teams to report in.

Scully checked slowly through the room; trying

desperately to ignore the

disgusting odor , she switched her trained eyes on her

surroundings. She noticed

the PC with the empty shell where his hard drive should

be, the plate of half

eaten food on the floor beside the couch. With her latex

gloves in place she bent

closer to it and touched it. It still felt warm.

Her mind reeled in horror as her eyes studied the meat.

The curved bite marks,

the sharp rips where his teeth had cut into the flesh and

the pink of the half

cooked meat.

It wasn’t meat, she realized suddenly, it was human

flesh.

Fighting revulsion as she put it back down she stepped

back and found herself in

the small kitchenette. The smell was stronger now as

Scully forced her legs to

step further into the room. It seemed to be permeating

outwards from the fridge.

With her mind screaming in protest, Scully pulled the

fridge open and swallowed

back the taste of bile that exploded into her throat. Each

shelf was packed full

with bags and bags of unrecognizable meat. The bags

were tied loosely and Scully

could make out the rotting flesh from the groundswell of

smell they were

creating, infested with maggots and lying in pools of

congealed blood.

She slammed the fridge door shut and stepped out of

the kitchen. In the living

room Agent Smith was rearranging the other teams to

start a search of the

building. They all seemed to be oblivious to the stench.

No one made a comment

about it or covered their mouths. Smith asked Scully to

team with Agent Bryson

and told them to start on the first floor.

The relative fresh air in the hallway was a welcome

relief. She took a few lungfuls

as they descended the stairs to the first floor. She

noticed that Bryson looked a

little green around the edges too and smiled.

As they approached the first door Scully pulled her gun

free from it’s holster and

held it rigidly by her side. Bryson crossed the door and

nodded to her that he was

ready.

He lifted a fist to the door and knocked on it heavily.

“FBI OPEN UP!” he called

out. It opened partially and Scully glanced to see a small

elderly man peering

fearfully through the gap.

“Sir, can we come in?” she asked, showing him her

badge. With trembling fingers

he opened the door and stepped aside as the two agents

swept through his small

apartment. They spoke quietly as they walked carefully

through the apartment,

then left when they were satisfied it was secure.

“Thank you sir. Lock the door after us,” Bryson said as

they stepped back into the

hallway. “One down eleven to go.”

***

Michael Brown watched the distorted figures of the two

agents as they entered

the apartment across the hall. Through the peephole he

could make out more

then just the periphery. His body tensed as they came

back into the hall and

stepped over to the door. Scully seemed to glare

through the peephole and stare

right at him but he knew that was impossible. With the

kitchen knife held firmly

in his hand he stepped back from the door and braced

himself against the wall.

The heavy thumping of the agents at the door startled

him even though he was

expecting it. Blood roared through his head and made

his hands tremble. He

forced them to still as the agents knocked again.

Mentally he counted to three then took in a deep breath.

He held it in, burning his

lungs and causing his eyes to water as he waited for

them to burst through the

door. As if on cue, Agent Bryson smashed through the

door and held it open for

Scully to race in. She held her gun up and walked trough

the hallway into the

living room. She checked the kitchen and bathroom and

then stepped into the

bedroom.

Spying the elderly woman on the bed, she raced over to

check her pulse. It was

weak and thready. The blood stained the pillow behind

her head and her

breathing was shallow. Scully took the cell phone out of

her pocket and called

Detective Brice.

“Brice,” he said, answering the call on the first ring.

“Brice, this is Agent Scully. I’m in a first floor apartment

with Agent Bryson. I

have a woman hurt and needs medical attention.”

“Which number?”

“Apt 7”

“Okay, they are on the way.”

As she hung up the phone she could hear him calling out

orders to the medical

squad that were standing by.

“Bryson! Get in here!” she called out as she noticed the

woman’s breathing was

faltering. “Bryson!” Scully called out then looked up as

the bedroom door opened

slowly. Instead of Bryson standing in the doorway it was

another SWAT member.

“Get over here! Where is Bryson?” Scully shouted out

pulling him down beside her

where she knelt at the bed. “Hold this!” Scully pressed

his hands onto the cloth

that was pressed against the lady’s head wound. “Keep

pressure on it.”

“Bryson’s gone back.”

“Do you have a radio on you? Call Agent Smith.” Scully

pressed her fingers

against the woman’s neck to feel for a pulse but there

was nothing.

“No I don’t.”

“Shit, I’m losing her,” Scully pressed her ear to the

lady’s chest and listened to

the faint breaths.

Mrs. Leeson stirred on the bed rolling away from the

intrusive hands that tried to

help her. Her eyes flittered open and she spotted him.

Michael Brown leaning over her. His smile was curved

and cold as it spread across

his face.

“No…nnnoo,” she murmured trying to get away. Two

strong hands held her down

by her shoulders as she turned to see a small red haired

woman standing over

her. The stranger’s voice was soft and gentle as she

spoke but the fear she felt

building inside stole the comforting words from her as

she spotted her evil tenant

rising.

“We’re here to help. Can you tell me what happened?”

Scully asked trying to draw

the elderly woman’s attention.

“No!” Mrs. Leeson called out, staring wildly at something

over Scully’s shoulder.

She flinched as Michael lifted his gun over his head.

Scully turned to see what

was scaring her and came face to face with the butt of

the gun as it smashed into

her temple.

***

FBI HEADQUARTERS

Mulder walked past Kimberly without a word and stalked

into Skinner’s office. The

words he was ready to spew out in anger died on the tip

of his tongue as he faced

an empty room.

He swirled around on his heel and faced a bemused Kim

who stood leaning on the

doorjamb.

“Where’s AD Skinner? I need to talk to him.” Mulder

ground out trying to hold

back his anger.

“He’s gone looking for you. Where is your cell phone

Agent Mulder?”

“It’s…” he patted down his pockets but didn’t find it. “It’s

in the back of a police

car.” Kim quirked her eyebrow at that admission.

“Where did Skinner go….I.. ?”

Mulder asked but before he could finish his question the

phone rang and Kim

reached over the desk to answer it.

“AD Skinner’s office.”

Mulder waited patiently for the call to end and watched

as Kim’s face turned

ashen. Her eyes slowly turned towards him and fixed

him with such a look of

sympathy and suddenly he knew that call was for him.

His heart lurched into his

throat as he stared at Kim holding the receiver out to

him, his pulse roaring in his

ears. Everything moved in slow motion, his mind

clammed up with a dense fog;

his hands grasped the phone without realizing it and

pressed it to his ears. It was

hard to form words over the lack of breath.

“Hello?”

“Agent Mulder.” It was AD Larkin. “I was calling for

Skinner.”

“What happened?” Even his own voice seemed to be

coming from somewhere

else.

“He got away.” Larkin sighed shakily into the phone and

Mulder instinctively knew

he had more to add. “He’s taken a hostage.”

This time Mulder felt the blood drain from his own face.

Without listening for

more, Mulder handed back the phone and raced out of

the room.

He sprinted through the corridor to the FBI garage and

was fumbling in his pocket

for his keys when he heard a familiar voice calling his

name. Turning, he saw

Skinner running towards him.

“Mulder! Wait!”

Mulder tugged the right key free and unlocked the car.

He gunned the engine and

was surprised to see Skinner jumping into the passenger

seat beside him.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” Skinner

shouted pulling on his belt as

Mulder careened out of the garage and onto the street.

“Mulder!”

Mulder ignored him and focused on the traffic. Weaving

in and out of the cars

took more concentration than his mind was prepared to

offer.

“Mulder! You won’t get near this case. You’re too close.”

“Too close?” Mulder scoffed.

“She is going to be okay,” Skinner offered but Mulder

made no reaction.

“The area is surrounded with over fifty SWAT members.

They won’t be going far.”

Mulder reached over Skinner and grabbed the cell phone

out of the glove box. The

spare that Scully insisted he carry. Thanking God she

had forced him to keep one

in the car he dialed an old familiar number from

memory.

“It’s not the geography I’m worried about.” He pressed

harder on the accelerator

and sped through the streets, ignoring Skinner’s white

knuckled grip on the

dashboard as he waited for a reply.

“Lone gunmen.”

“Frohike, I need you to get some info for me.”

“Mulder! Stranger! You missed the best session-”

“Frohike, listen!” Mulder’s urgency bit through the

banter.

“What is it?”

“Professor Michael Brown. Professor in psychology at

Georgetown University.”

“What do you want on this guy?”

“Everything. I’ll call you in one hour.” As Mulder held the

phone away from his

face to press the end call button, he heard Frohike’s

protests.

At the apartment block he screeched to a halt and raced

through the throng of

onlookers to the perimeter. He flashed his badge at the

agent on duty, who lifted

the tape for him, allowing him to enter. Mulder found AD

Larkin immediately and

grabbed his shoulder, twisting him around.

“What the hell happened?” he shouted in Larkin’s face

before other agents pulled

him away.

“Agent Mulder!” Skinner came up behind him and

brushed the restraining agents

away.

AD Larkin straightened his jacket and turned to face

Mulder.

“Get him out of here!” he said coolly and quietly, staring

Mulder straight in the

eye.

“I should have been here! You bastard!” Mulder went to

lunge for him again but

the grip of Skinner’s strong arms held him back and

turned him away. With the

aid of the burly AD, Mulder was forcibly removed from

the crime scene and back

towards his car.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” Skinner

barked, his fury plain in the

tone of his voice as he pushed Mulder against the door

of the car. Mulder didn’t

reply and concentrated only on his ragged breathing.

“Do you want to get fired?

Is that what you’re after?”

“I have to find her.” Mulder’s heartrending whisper cut

through Skinner’s anger

like a raw wind. “I should have been with her!”

“What the hell happened? Why weren’t you on the

raid?” Skinner asked looking

over his shoulder angrily, checking to make sure Larkin

was still across the road.

“AD Larkin,” Mulder bit out the name with contempt,

“sent me back to the Hoover

building to sort out the warrant.” He moved his feet,

shifting his weight from side

to side as he glared across at Larkin.

“Agent Mulder, I’ll deal with him. I want you to go

home. I want you away from

this crime scene and out of harm’s way while we deal

with this situation. Do I

make myself clear?”

“Sir-!” Mulder started to argue but the sting of

disappointment in Skinner’s eyes

crumbled his words to dust.

“I know what you’re thinking, Mulder, but you’ll only

make it worse. Get out of

here and I’ll call you with any new developments.”

Without offering him the

solace Mulder begrudgingly expected, Skinner turned

and walked away.

Mulder let his head fall back onto the roof of the car with

a soft thud. He closed

his eyes from the glare of the morning sky but her

image burned there tauntingly.

“Agent Mulder? You okay?”

Mulder looked up to see Detective Brice approaching

slowly.

“Been better.” He straightened up away from the car

and pulled the drivers door

open.

“She called me.” It took a moment for Brice’s words to

sink in.

“What?”

“She called me to get a medical team up to an

apartment. They found someone

who had been injured.”

“They?” Mulder asked realizing he was stuck in

monosyllabic mode.

“She was working with Agent Bryson.” Detective Brice

stepped closer and placed

his hands on the hood of the car as if he needed the

help to stand.

“Bryson?”

“She called for medical assistance. But when we got up

there she was gone.”

“Where was Bryson?”

“They found him dead. He had been stabbed through the

neck. Didn’t have a

chance. Also…”

“What?” Mulder urged. Could this get any worse?

“His uniform was gone. Brown had taken his uniform.”

“That must be how he got close enough to take her.”

Mulder muttered aloud, his

mind clicking into overdrive as he started to fit the

pieces together. Clues he

didn’t realize he had, corners he didn’t know he’d

turned. He reached into the car

and grabbed the cell again and hit the redial button.

Brice looked on in confusion

as Mulder got into the passenger seat and urged him to

jump in to the driver’s.

“Frohike, what have you got?” Mulder snapped on his

seatbelt and pointed west.

“Nothing. This guy is clean. He has an alert on his record

that was put on this

morning but I’m guessing that was why you were calling

me.”

“Yeah. You have nothing for me.”

“Nothing. He has been working at Georgetown

University for the past four years.

Exemplary record, had papers published and is

considered a brilliant mind in the

criminal psychologist field.”

“What papers?” Mulder asked and turned to Brice. “Go

to Georgetown University.”

“In 1998 he published ‘Criminal Serial Killers and the

Forces that guide them’,

‘The mind of the Sane Serial Killer’ in 2001, He goes off

the map then for a while

and emerges early last year attempting to publish

another paper entitled ‘Genetic

Killers’ in which he claimed loftily to have broken the

genetic code of the mass

murderer.”

“Jesus, how did he move from psychology to genetics?”

“Well, there was a four year gap.”

“Long enough to study genetic biology and break the

gene code?” Mulder said

skeptically.

“No. His paper was never published and he resumed his

position at the

university.”

“Seems he was doing more there than just teaching

classes.”

“Mulder, I’ll keep looking but it doesn’t look too

promising.”

“Okay Frohike. Let me know if you find anything.”

Mulder hung up the phone and slipped it into the inside

pocket on his jacket. He

rubbed his shoulders off the seat back and glanced at

Brice.

“If he was an employee at the university of Georgetown

then why didn’t his finger

prints come up with a match for the ones we inserted

into the database?” Brice

asked suddenly, with his head cocked to the side and his

frown deep. “All

educational employees have background checks and

prints taken.”

The question stumped Mulder, and he paused a moment

in thought before

snatching his phone again and quickly dialing a number.

“Gerry, it’s Fox Mulder,” he said as soon as he heard the

call clicking into place.

“What can I do for you?”

“The prints you ran for me? What level search did you

use?”

“A level four. All records including state and military as

far as security clearance

will allow.”

“Does the system check for prints if the record belongs

to a deceased criminal?”

Brice looked over at Mulder at his strange question but

quickly turned his eyes

back to the road.

“No. The system was designed to move all prints

belonging to the deceased to a

separate folder. It needs to be searched separately.”

“Will you run the prints again?” Mulder asked, his heart

lurching a beat with the

adrenaline boost that usually came with one of his

spooky leaps as it coursed

through his body. “Run all the prints we lifted from all

the scenes and check them

against the records we have dating back as far as

1900’s.”

There was a an incredulous pause, a sigh and then…

“Okay, I’ll get it started

right away.”

“Call me as soon as you find something…anything…no

matter …”

“No matter how weird…I know, Mulder. You got it. I’ll

call you.”

“What are you thinking?” Brice asked as he pulled the

car up outside the

university hall and looked over to Mulder.

“What if…what if the reason we didn’t find a match for

his prints was because his

prints kept changing.”

“Changing?” Brice looked over skeptically but followed

Mulder’s lead as he jumped

out of the car and over to the University Reception.

“With each crime scene we found a lot of prints, but

none of them linked the

separate scenes. The only thing that linked the bodies

were the quotes.”

Mulder stalled a moment to scan the board of directory.

He spotted the name

Prof. M. Brown and noted the room number. Racing

through the hall with Brice on

his heel, he hurried into an elevator and repeatedly

stabbed the button for the

third floor in his urgency.

“But fingerprints are…they are unchangeable, Mulder!

It’s not like you can

produce new ones. If anything, he had an accomplice.”

Mulder looked over to Brice and briefly thought of

explaining his theory, but

decided against it. When the elevator doors started to

open he rushed forwards,

exiting at the first opportunity. Brice raced after him,

but they both pulled up

short as they turned the corner and spotted the two

Agents on guard duty outside

Brown’s office.

“Agent Mulder,” one of them said as he approached. “We

were told to expect to

see you.”

“Excuse me,” Mulder said as he sidestepped around him,

but the guard put a

hand on his chest.

“We have orders not to let you in here.”

“Sorry?” Mulder looked up.

“AD Larkin called and left orders.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?” Mulder’s anger flared as he

started to argue but the

Agent on duty looked away. “He is impeding this

investigation.”

“It is our understanding that you have been taken off

this case,” the larger Agent

muttered sneakily.

“Taken off active duty even?” the other one added.

Brice chose that moment to step in and move Mulder

aside.

“I am still on this case. And I’m pretty damn sure the

bureau doesn’t want a

territory war with the local police department.”

“This is an active Federal bureau case. You have no

jurisdiction here.”

“Okay, I’ll call my department head and relay that

Agent…what’s your name?”

“Agent Rankson.”

“Agent Rankson has actively stopped my investigation

citing local jurisdiction as

the reason.” Brice started to turn but the other Agents

swapped uneasy glances.

“Okay, we can let you in but not him.”

Brice looked over to Mulder, silently urging him not to

argue. He knew the local

Agents were well within their rights to deny him entry,

given their orders. The

door was opened for him and he entered, the larger of

the Agents on guard duty

followed him in and held the door wide open, conceding

Mulder the option of

watching.

Brice ran his eyes over the office and scanned the row

upon row of files and

folders.

“Has this room been processed yet?” he asked as he

snapped on a pair of latex

gloves.

“No. CSU is on the way.”

“Brice, the PC,” Mulder called from the doorway. “Check

the latest files.”

The PC was in standby mode and took only seconds to

restart. The screen

flickered and on came the prompt for a password.

“It’s looking for a password,” he said as he searched the

desk for a trinket or

photo that might give him a clue to the password. But it

was clear of personal

items. No family pictures, no snow globes or memorable

charms from vacations,

just file after file of psychological research.

Brice was trying more possible words but to no avail

when Mulder called out.

“Plenary!” Brice looked up to Mulder who was pointing at

a leaflet on the notice

board across the window. Pinned to it was a small black

and gold lettered

invitation for Prof Brown to attend the annual Plenary

Award Ceremony in Ohio.

Brice hurriedly tapped it in and was surprised when the

screen flickered to a

Windows desktop. He scanned through the icons

displayed there but saw nothing

out of the ordinary. Through Windows Explorer he

accessed the recent documents

but again there was nothing of note that jumped out at

him. Recent emails to and

from other members of faculty gave no clues and the

recycle bin was empty.

“Nothing!” he called out to Mulder without looking back

to him. From the doorway

Mulder’s eyes scanned the room but there didn’t seem

to be anything out of the

ordinary. Filing cabinets lined the walls in an orderly

fashion. On the wall was

some strange artwork Mulder recognized but couldn’t

place. The large oak desk

was covered and neatly arranged with notes and folders.

“Did you check the trash can?” Mulder called out but

Brice shook his head. It was

empty. Brice leaned down in front of the desk and pulled

out the drawers.

Thrusting his hands into the jumble of stuff inside, he

quickly searched through

them all until he came to the bottom drawer.

“It’s locked,” he said before bracing himself and roughly

pulling on it. The drawer

flew open and in it rested a red folder. Brice yanked it

out and rested it on the

desk. On the spine of the folder in small concise letters

read “Psychology Thesis:

Inside the Mind of a Killer”

Mulder went to take a step in but the Agent guarding the

door held him back for a

moment. He hesitated, looking between Mulder and the

folder before removing

his hand from his chest and letting Mulder pass.

Brice opened the folder and flicked past the index to the

first page. Before him

was a list of names on a printed Excel sheet. After each

name were dates and

computer file names and through each line were

highlighted rule marks, crossing

each one out in turn.

All but one.

***

Darkness…

Location unknown.

Dana Sully woke to the stale stench of car fumes. The

smell forced it’s way into

her airways making her cough. Her body screamed in

protest as the sudden jolt of

pain shot down from her temple. Holding as still as she

could, she closed her eyes

tight and slowed her panicked breathing. As she became

more aware of her

surroundings she realized she was in the trunk of a car.

Oh god, not again?

Judging from the bumps and way she was being tossed

about, she guessed they

were traveling at a high speed. Minimal light seeped in

through the gap left by

the missing left tail light but it wasn’t enough to see

much of anything. She felt

her hands bound tightly behind her back and her feet

had been taped together

with what she guessed was duct tape. She deliberately

pressed her back to the

floor of the trunk and felt her empty holster folding

against her spine.

Damn.

Determined not to focus on the negative, she took a

deep breath and started to

worm her hands away from their bindings. She could

feel the thin twine rubbing

her skin raw but it was a pain she welcomed. At the

same time she blew hard on

the tape across her lips, wetting her lips and trying to

create a gap. Eventually

she managed to wet it enough to loosen the glue that

fastened it to her skin.

Trying to ignore the stale smell and the rough texture of

the trunk carpet, Scully

rubbed her face along it to try to catch the seam of the

tape.

It was loosening; she realized in delight and kept

rubbing it.

Eventually the glue gave way and she managed to peel

a corner off. With her

mouth and tongue she loosened the rest and peeled it

away with her shoulder.

Determined now and with the victory of the tape

removal boosting her, she pulled

harder on the rope that held her hands in place.

Just then the car stopped.

She froze. A front car door opened and she could hear

footsteps across the soft

gravel to the rear of the car. Frantically she yanked on

her hands and pulled

harder. But it was no use the knots were too tight.

Please don’t let history repeat

itself… please, her mind railed in panic.

A key fumbled in the trunk lock. The sound of it clicking

open before the lid was

lifted and the bright sunlight burst in, blinding her. She

turned away from the

light and held her eyes closed.

“Well, well, you’ve been busy.” The voice was familiar.

“C’mon, out you go.”

With two strong hands hooked under her arms, he lifted

her out of the trunk and

rested her carefully on the ground below. Scully blinked

away the water in her

eyes as they became adjusted to the light. She noticed a

small red brick house

across the wide yard with a taller shed behind it.

It was a farm, she realized. Through squinted eyes, she

took in the plush green

land that rolled away behind the buildings and the lack

of other residences in the

area.

“Up we go .” He lifted her up again, this time holding her

close to his body, one

arm behind her back and supporting her head as the

other lifted the crook of her

knees, as if wanting to protect her more then harm her.

It was then she

recognized the uniform he was wearing. The black SWAT

combat trousers with

heavy combat boots, a black tee shirt and bullet-proof

vest. Across the name tag

over the Velcro fastening was the name Bryson.

“Who are you?” Her voice sounded dry and scratchy as

he carried her across the

stone yard towards the small house. “What did you do to

Agent Bryson?”

“Who am I?” he laughed, a deep smoky laugh.

“Professor Michael Brown. And

you?”

“You still have a chance to get out of this,” she said

ignoring his question.

“Get out of this? And ruin all my hard work?” With his

elbow extended he pressed

it against the front door and pushed it open.

Inside the house was a large living room. It seemed to

be the only room in the

house Scully noted, as she spied the fold up bed packed

in beside the fireplace.

Another wall was lined with kitchen cabinets, a fridge

and a sink, and then next to

the front door was a small table with two seats.

Gently and with the utmost care, Michael laid Scully

down on the rug in front of

the fireplace.

“What are you doing?” Scully struggled to sit up but he

leaned over and pushed

her back down again, her back against the floor. He held

her shoulders down for

an instant.

“I just have one more chapter to write.” His eyes

flickered with something

incomprehensible when he spoke, as though it was the

most everyday thing.

Perfect conviction in his words. He opened one of the

kitchen cabinets and pulled

out a small laptop. He booted it up and set it on the

table by the window.

“Chapter?”

“Final chapter. Law Enforcement…or rather the

resistance thereof.” He seemed

oblivious to her presence for a moment as he booted his

PC and accessed the

desired files.

“You’re writing a book?” Scully asked, trying to recall

her hostage negotiation

rules. Number One, gain his trust…or just keep him busy

so he doesn’t kill me,

she thought.

“A book?” He laughed again, this time it was harsh. “No,

books are for people who

can’t think. This is a thesis.”

Scully saw the gleam in his eye, heard the pride in his

voice as he conversed

about it, and knew that he would need no more

prompting to reveal more. She

was right.

“Inside the Mind of a Killer. The intellectually perfect

paper. My paper. It’s going

to be so pertinent as a resource to understanding the

criminal mind. From child to

sexual predator, to cannibalistic killing, the final

fascinating chapter is the

confrontation with law enforcement.”

“So instead of researching the material you decided to

act it out? Study your own

reactions thus knowing precisely the mind of a killer?”

“Very good. It’ll be a benchmark of publication for

everything that follows.”

Michael tapped a few more keys on his laptop then

checked the progress and

turned to face her. “Did you ever hear of the name

Mathew Nicholson?” he asked

her almost nonchalantly.

“No.” she concentrated on worming her wrists out of the

knots as best she could

without drawing his attention.

“Mathew Nicholson was the son of a local Sheriff back in

the 1800’s. He grew up

in this very house. His father was as corrupt as they

come, taking bribes, framing

people for murder, and generally causing more trouble

than the criminals

themselves.” Michael stood up and went over to the

kitchen sink where he poured

out a glass of water for himself. Retaking his seat back

at the table he continued

to talk.

“So Mathew grew up in this environment where it was

okay to hurt people, kill

them even to get what you want. Can you imagine what

that does to a kid?”

He paused as if waiting for a reply but Scully offered him

none.

“He first killed when he was twelve. It was a deputy

from his father’s own

precinct. The story goes that the boy caught the deputy

stealing from his father

and tried to blackmail him. When the deputy dismissed

the boy’s attempt he was

stabbed fifteen times in the stomach His throat was

slashed and his fingers were

cut off.”

Scully’s eyes widened and she stared back at Michael.

Her hands stopped their

wriggling as she focused on his words, realizing

suddenly this was a prophecy of

what was about to happen to her.

“At twelve he commits murder. Knowingly and willingly

taking another person’s

life. It didn’t end there. He moved through the sheriff’s

office killing anyone who

dared defy him, and by the time he was sixteen he had

slaughtered the other

twelve deputies.”

Michael approached Scully and lifted her head.

Supporting her at the neck he let

her sip from the glass he had filled from a tap on the

sink, letting take her fill of

water, before gently replacing her head onto the rug.

“It was on a stormy night in June that he committed his

last and most heinous

crime.” He stood up over her and looked down. The

dimming daylight casting

threatening shadows onto his face, while his voice

washed over her with a lilting

yet confident tone. “While his father slept, he crept into

his room,” Michael said

lowering his voice to a whisper, moving over her. Slowly

he came down to her

face level and knelt over her.

“He stood over the bed and doused a cloth with ether.

Holding it over his father’s

mouth he waited for it to take effect. Then with a small

knife he sliced his father’s

belly open.” Michael dragged the top of his fingers

across her stomach mimicking

the slicing motion, making her flinch, both from his

touch and his fetid breath.

“Next he attacked the legs, sawing them off from just

below the knee, the arms

were severed from above the elbow. He bound the

wounds so the bleeding was

slowed but left his father’s belly open. Then he waited

for the ether to wear off.

He sat by his father’s bed and watched as he came to.”

Scully gasped in horror at the image he created as his

fingers touched her elbows

and knees. Lifting her shirt out of her pants, he exposed

her belly and ran his flat

palm across her trembling skin.

“Still suffering from the effects of the ether and no doubt

the loss of blood his

father didn’t realize what had happened. As he came to,

there was a knock at the

door. The story goes that Mathew stood to slash his

father’s throat but before he

could finish the job, one of the Sheriff’s deputies walked

in, saw what had

happened and shot Mathew before he could kill his

father.”

Michael paused; his breathing was ragged and labored

as he spoke this time,

breaking his words as he panted. He sat back on his

heels and let his hand linger

on her exposed belly. His eyes watched the play of his

fingers moving across her

pale soft skin. He seemed to be elsewhere, his mind was

scattered and his eyes

glazed over.

Scully lay on her back still, trying to keep her breath

from stuttering with fear.

She summoned up all her control; knowing she would

need that. Her eyes facing

the ceiling, her mind raced through the possibilities of

getting out of there alive.

Without her noticing it, the room had darkened

considerably as low-level storm

clouds blocked the sun. A cool breeze wafted in through

the open window. She

watched as he stood to close it, and then stepped over

her as if she were a

sleeping dog to light the fire.

Michael left the lights off, preferring the eerie light from

the flickering flames. It

would be a strong storm like this that could kill his

remote connection to the PC at

his office, so he watched the progress bar on the screen,

willing it to complete the

download of his unfinished paper to his laptop.

Scully wormed her body back away from the fire and

closer to the table, small

movements that he didn’t appear to notice. From her

vantage point on the floor

she could see the screen. Guessing what would happen

when he was finished

working on his laptop she was dismayed to see it

crawling past 90%.

Closing her eyes for a moment, she slowed down her

breathing and tried to calm

her racing mind. When she opened them he was

standing over her, watching her

with a soft expression on his face. She flinched as he

bent lower and knelt beside

her.

“Don’t be afraid,” he hushed, speaking softly as he

reached over to brush her hair

out of her face. Looking up to his features, Scully

watched in horror as his skin

rippled and changed before her eyes.

His cheeks tightened and became gaunt and his hairline

receded back at the top

of his forehead creating a widows peak of hair in the

middle, shortening and

turning a bright blonde color. Scully shut her eyes

tightly, hoping the

hallucination would disappear when she opened them

but instead it had settled.

His eyes were a dark rich blue now instead of brown.

She stared back into the

face of a teenager.

***

Highway 341

After reading the name Mathew Nicholson on the file,

Mulder called Frohike and

asked him to do an immediate search for an address.

Frohike came up with

nothing and for twenty agonizing minutes they waited.

Finally when it rang, Mulder pounced on his cell phone.

Frohike spelled out an

address that Mulder didn’t recognise but Detective Brice

knew immediately.

Brice raced out to the car and jumped in. Without

checking to see if Mulder had

joined him, he shoved the gear into drive and took off

through the university

campus at breakneck speed. Luckily, Mulder had

anticipated his dash and had

made it into the car in time. Thanking Frohike, he pulled

his belt on and glanced

over at Brice who was pulling frantically at the police

band CB receiver.

“10-17 This is Detective Brice Car 4-2-3-Bravo-Delta on

route to Front Royal. I

need immediate backup. Repeat immediate back up.

Over.”

“This is Precinct 42. What seems to be the situation?

Over.”

“I am in pursuit of a Murder suspect who we believe to

be at Whitmore Farm in

Front Royal. Over.”

“Okay sir, we’ll get them out there ASAP. ETA 14

minutes. Over.”

“10-4. Over and out.” Brice tossed the CB radio back

towards the console, not

caring if it sat in place or not. It was then that Mulder’s

phone cut through the

silence, making him jump.

“Mulder,” he barked immediately without looking at the

caller ID.

“Agent Mulder,” It was Skinner. “Where are you?”

“Sir, I was just about to call you. We know where he is.

We know where he’s

taking her.”

“You have an address?”

“A place called Whitmore farm. It’s in Front Royal.”

“Okay, I’ll get a team out there.” Skinner pushed on

with the next question

Mulder was dreading. “Where are you?”

“We are about 4 miles east of Front Royal. 2 minutes

away from the farm.”

“Jesus Mulder!” He heard Skinner cursing under his

breath. “You are trying to get

fired! If AD Larkin knew you were-”

“If AD Larkin let me do my job in the first place and

watch my partner’s back I

wouldn’t be in this situation!” Mulder countered and

Skinner had no argument. He

knew Mulder had been treated unfairly but a direct order

from an Assistant

Director wasn’t something any Agent should dismiss.

“Sir, he has her and he is

going to kill her if we don’t stop him. We need

immediate back up out here.”

“I know, Mulder,” Skinner’s voice softened for a moment

then all of a sudden he

was back to all business and harsh commands. “I’ll have

the SWAT chopper there

ASAP. Don’t go in and don’t attempt to engage the

suspect. Wait on the

boundaries of the land for the tactical support to get

there. Hear me?”

“Yes sir.”

“I mean it, Mulder.”

“Yes sir.”

As Mulder ended the call and quickly replayed the info to

Brice, his phone trilled

again, coming to life in his hand as it rang loudly.

“Mulder.”

“Agent Mulder, it’s Gerry in forensics.”

“You found something,” Mulder prompted.

“Yes. I found a match for four sets of prints.” Gerry

spoke lowly as if afraid he

might be overheard.

“One match for four sets?”

“No…four matches.” Gerry coughed nervously. “Four

matches, one from each

crime scene.”

“Who?”

“The first scene we uncovered was at the apartments on

the southeast. Those

prints aligned perfectly…100% perfectly,” he repeated

for emphasis. ” And get

this… to a set that was taken from Albert De Salvo in

1936.”

Mulder let the words hang between them, not wanting to

interrupt he urged Gerry

to continue silently.

“The second set was lifted off of the rope that bound the

body parts at Whitley

House. They matched up to prints taken from Albert Fish

in 1903.”

“And the third?”

“This will blow your socks off, the third we lifted off the

inside of the victims car.”

“Ted Bundy?” Mulder guessed, the sinking feeling in his

stomach churning up a

storm.

“…Well…Yes.”

“And the fourth?”

“None other than John Reginald Christie. Arrested in

1953.”

“Okay, thanks Gerry.”

He turned to Brice and thought of explaining his theory;

his thoughts on how

Michael Brown had escaped capture for so long, but it

seemed fruitless now and

precious time was running out. It didn’t matter how he

had done it or who might

believe him. All that mattered now was finding him and

finding Scully. Before she

became his next victim of design.

At the farm border, Detective Brice killed the siren and

pulled the car to a slow

stop off to the side of the road. The small dirt road was

lined with shoulder high

embankments and a trail of long rye grass ran down the

center of it.

From the trunk Brice pulled out two rifles, tossing one to

Mulder and a pair of

binoculars, plus a box of rounds. He lifted the trunk

carpet to reveal a second

compartment that housed the bullet-proof vests. He

slipped his on easily then

passed a second to Mulder. Checking his equipment and

running a quick glance

over Mulder’s, Brice walked halfway up the embankment

and peered through the

binoculars.

“I see the farm.” He passed the binoculars to Mulder

who came up alongside him

“See the car?”

“Ford Mustang. Classic American wheels. It’s his car.

Lets get a closer look.”

“Aren’t we supposed to wait?” Brice followed Mulder who

scrambled over the

embankment and crouched low as he ran through the

scattering of trees to follow

the taller agent.

“I’m not waiting for him to kill her.” Mulder hissed, his

eyes resolute.

***

Whitmore Farm

Scully closed her eyes and tried desperately to close her

lungs. But it was no use.

Her instinct to survive overpowered her better instincts

not to breathe.

Michael crouched over her, his feet planted on either

side of her head as he

watched her squirm. The rag he had doused with ether

was pressed carefully

against her mouth, covering her nose as well. At first

she struggled, but with his

restraining hand on her shoulder he held her in place

and waited for the ether to

take effect.

Her lungs burned with the need for oxygen and she had

to give in. Slowly she

took in a shallow breath, inhaling the bare minimum but

as the sweet smell of the

toxin washed over her, the muscles she was controlling

so strictly suddenly

relaxed, leaving her airways wide open. The ether swam

through her nasal

pathway and saturated her lungs. As she began to lose

consciousness she

mentally prepared herself for the effect of the ether.

“(CH3CH2)2O,” she murmured. “Molar mass: 74.12

g/mole; Boiling point: 34.5

degrees Celsius…sweet vitriol.”

Michael watched in awe as she fought the strength of

the ether until she finally

succumbed to the gas and passed out. He checked his

watch and knew he didn’t

have much time. Tossing the doused rag aside, he sat

her up and removed the

twine that bound her hands. Seeing the raw bleeding

skin where she had tried to

squirm free, he felt a pang of regret for her discomfort

but it quickly dissipated as

his excitement grew.

Mulder pressed his back to the front wheel of the

Mustang and took a few deep-

steadying breaths. The rifle felt cumbersome and heavy

in his hands compared to

the sig saur he was used to, and the vest was stiff

against his ribs. Silently he

cursed Larkin again for his ill made order to remove him

from this case.

Something he planned to address officially or unofficially

depending on the

outcome here.

Brice arrived beside him and peered over the hood of

the car. The house looked

empty but the tell tale smoke that rose from the

chimneystack clued them

otherwise.

Silently, Mulder signaled for Brice to wait where he was

and he braced himself on

the loose gravel as he ran stealthily towards the house.

Brice waited for the signal

then raced over to another window. Crouched below the

sill they both took deep

breaths before peering in.

Michael slowly removed the tape from her ankles and

laid her limp legs back onto

the floor. He had removed her blouse and vest and had

angled her arms out from

her body. After tossing the balled up tie aside he gently

removed her shoes and

reached up to undo her pants.

Her small figure yielded easily under his strong hands as

he lifted her hips to pull

away her pants.

Mulder took a deep breath and slowly moved over the

sill to peer inside. The

room was dark, but by the flickering light of the fire he

could make out the dark

shadows in the center of the floor. Scully’s almost

naked, unconscious form was

sprawled out while Brown stood over her carefully

folding her clothes.

The serial killer turned away from Scully to place her

folded clothes onto the table

but out of the corner of his eye he caught the movement

by the sill.

Surreptitiously, he slid a gun out of his jacket that hung

on the chair in front of

him, and turned his back to the window. Hiding the gun

from prying eyes, he

cocked it and braced himself.

It was too early for interruption, he wasn’t quite ready.

He clamped his teeth

down on his lower lip and spun around just as Mulder

peered over the sill again.

Michael squeezed the trigger and the shot rang out

loudly in the small confined

room.

With a yell Mulder fell back and Brice jumped up. He

swung his rifle into position

and aimed it through the small window. But Michael was

too quick. His gun was

already aimed and the trigger already pulled.

Brice jerked back as if he were on a wire and lay

motionless on the gravel. The

storm clouds that had been threatening to break all day

shuddered in the sky and

shattered what was left of the cool evening. Rain fell

harsh and sudden, washing

rivulets of blood across the gravel where the fallen man

lay.

Creeping over by the window Michael clutched his gun to

his side, ready to shoot

again. The sky had darkened enough to block his view

but he could still make out

the fallen figure of a cop. Looking left and right for the

other figure Michael was

surprised to see nothing.

Quickly, he backed away from the window. Crouching

lower, he bent beside

Scully’s still body and glanced at her, as if checking that

she was still there.

Outside in the pounding rain, Mulder secured his hand

over the small bullet hole

that pierced the skin over his left shoulder. It caught his

flesh and ripped straight

through the muscle and out the other side. Shit

Brice…Cop killer bullets, his mind

twisted as the pain almost floored him. He could feel

tricking blood elsewhere

lower down on his chest. No time to think about his own

well-being. He just

hoped his blood and breath would hold out long enough

for him to save Scully.

He ripped of the sleeve of his shirt and balled up the thin

cloth to press it harder

and against the other hole he could feel just above his

sternum. Somehow how

he had managed to roll away from the house and

flattened his body against the

wall around the corner.

Peering around he watched Brice lying still in the

pounding rain. He willed himself

to move and blinked past the heavy drops that hit his

face. In the distance, he

could barely make out the sounds of choppers

approaching over the roar of blood

in his ears and his labored breathing.

Not close enough, he murmured, his chest heaving.

Mulder dropped the rifle and pulled his own FBI issue

gun from its holster.

Michael rubbed his sweaty forehead with the sleeve of

his shirt and fumbled

through the kitchen. For the first time since he had

started his plan, he felt like he

was losing control. So many conflicting thoughts raced

through his mind but he

resisted the urge to lunge for his laptop to record them

all.

Finally his fingers curled around the edge of the knife he

was searching for. With

razor sharp serrated edges the stainless steel blade was

perfect. He pressed his

fingers to his captive’s carotid pulse. It was a slow but

strong pulse, just as he

hoped for.

Crawling on his knees away from her head and along her

body, he carefully lined

the knife up against her leg. Bracing the left limb with

one hand, Michael rested

the serrated edge of the blade against her skin, and

drew it back, slicing it open.

Mulder crept along the outside wall, pressing his back to

the jagged bricks.

Ignoring the pain in his shoulder, he tightened his grip

on the gun and crouched

by the door. Noticing it wasn’t locked by the way it

rattled in the stiff wind, he

slowly pushed it open, wincing at the creak it made.

Pausing for a moment,

Mulder took a breath to holdback the searing pain that

ripped through his

shoulder and carefully peered around he edge of the

wooden door.

And found himself looking into the barrel of a gun.

“C’mon in.” Michael stepped back to give Mulder the

room he needed to crawl

further into the room. “You’re a little early but that’s

okay.”

Nudging him with the gun Michael urged Mulder across

the room towards the

table that sat in the corner by the window. On the floor

Mulder saw the blood

pouring freely from the open wound that sliced across

his partner’s shin just

below her kneecap. He felt sick to the core. He wanted

to run over to her, cover

her up, take her so far away, but the persistent gun that

prodded his wounded

shoulder told him otherwise.

“What are you doing to her?” Mulder asked through

gritted teeth, the sting in his

shoulder racing down his arm and across his back,

sending shots of electric pain

to his skull.

“Get comfortable, and watch.”

Thoughtless of his wound Michael bound Mulder’s arms

around the leg of the

table. He smiled at the Agent’s discomfort and made his

way back to Scully’s side,

setting the gun down he grabbed the knife off the rug.

She moaned.

“Wait! No!” Mulder called as he saw Michael grab the

knife again and brace

Scully’s leg. “Don’t!”

He watched as Scully’s head fell to the side and her lips

parted. She took in a

slow breath and released it. With a soft barely audible

moan she moved her head

again.

“Sorry, you’re not part of this script,” Michael said

without looking up. “You don’t

get to interfere.”

He took a tighter hold of her leg and realigned the knife

to match up with the

slice he had already made.

“You fucking son of a bitch!” Mulder pushed his shoulder

against the underside of

the table and lifted it off the ground before throwing

himself towards Michael. The

table flew up and Mulder managed to loop his hands

under the leg. With his

wrists free but still bound he charged at him, trying to

dodge the knife that was

now aimed at his heart.

Michael turned to face Mulder’s charge and braced

himself on the ground before

lunging up, swinging the long blade in his wake. With a

guttural roar he slammed

his fist into Mulder’s shoulder and followed it through

with his other hand to stab

the furious agent in his side, but Mulder jerked away

from the knife, causing it to

only graze his skin painfully.

Mulder’s bound wrists smashed into the side of Michael’s

face causing it to

shimmer and change. Mulder stared at his hair as a

streak of it, about an inch

wide, turned brown from his forehead to the nape of his

neck. His cheeks rippled

as if facing a strong wind.

Michael smiled at Mulder’s shocked expression and drew

the knife back to stab

him again.

The thudding sound of the chopper blades cut through

the howling wind.

Mulder lifted his arms to block the knife but Michael was

too quick. The knife

slipped into his left side, slicing through skin and muscle

as if it was butter.

“AARRGGHH!” Mulder yelled out in pain, throwing his

head back, he gnashed his

teeth together and felt his head swimming. His eyes

rolled back into his head and

he fell limply onto the floor.

Michael stood back, panting and weary. He looked over

to Scully who was

becoming more and more lucid. She moaned as her

head moved. Her eyes

blinked rapidly, shaking off the effects of the ether, she

tried to lift her head but

found it too heavy.

The killer rushed over and slammed her head back

against the floor, stunning her

for a moment. He turned back to her knee grabbing it

roughly this time. His blood

curdled and boiled though his body as the need for

urgency increased.

Scully moaned in protest as he straddled her feet,

holding her still while he

groped for the knife that lay just out of his reach. Scully

watched in horror, his

fingers touching the blade but unable to grab it. She

found her body heavy and

unresponsive to the fighting urges she had. Even her

throat was constricted and

raw.

“Stop moving!” Michael yelled out, his anger inflaming

as she tried to squirm out

from under him. Her fingers scraped the carpet, inching

ever closer to the knife.

Behind him she could see Mulder lying still and lifeless

on the floor, a pool of

blood seeping out ominously wider and wider beneath

him.

Seeping is good, Scully thought groggily, seeping means

his heart is still

pumping…for now.

The sound of the helicopter was louder than the wind

and the windows rattled

harder than before. Outside the leaves danced heartily,

pattering against the

windows in a swirl of dust and pebbles.

Scully felt stronger now as her hand moved up from her

side, slowly, as if through

water. She grabbed the front of her assailant’s shirt and

tried to push him away.

But it was no use.

The heavy sound of footsteps raced across the pebbles

outside and Michael felt

his plan falling apart before his eyes.

“NOOOOOO!” he yelled out, slamming his fist down into

Scully’s face with

desperate fury and lunging once more for the knife. His

fingers finally curled

around it as the door flew open. Ignoring the men that

poured in behind him,

Michael grabbed the knife with both hands and raised it

up high up above his

head, aiming for the center of Scully’s chest.

She stared up in horror as his face shimmered again; his

cheeks rippling as if

they were alive, his features changed and his face took

on a whole different

identity. The faces of five different men stared back at

her. It swirled and rippled

like a lake in winter and Michael felt a burst of energy

that exploded in his chest

and he started to laugh, a manic uncontrolled laugh that

tore into her ears.

“Put down the weapon!”

“FREEZE!”

The two SWAT members that charged into the room

shouted demands

simultaneously, but Michael ignored them all. Without a

glance back, a roar

erupted out from the pit of his stomach as he swung the

knife down in a smooth

arc.

Scully’s eyes watched the knife fly towards her, the

blade glinting in the firelight

but before it could pierce her chest the gunshots rang

out. One bullet hit Brown in

the upper chest and the other cut through his shoulder,

embedding itself in the

plaster wall over the fireplace. The force of the bullets

impacted the trajectory of

the blade, which clattered harmlessly to the ground from

the now dead hand of

its owner.

Michael fell limply over her body his blood pouring freely

over her chest, but with

no strength left to move him Scully had to wait for the

SWAT members to remove

his dead weight him.

As they eased him off her and placed him carefully onto

the rug beside her, Scully

shakily sat up and grabbed her blouse from the chair.

With trembling fingers and

a pounding headache Scully managed to crawl over to

where Mulder’s lifeless

form lay.

“Get an EMT over here now!” she yelled but was unsure

of how loud her voice

was, it seemed thunderous in her head.

She ripped open his shirt and fumbled her shaky hands

down his side to the

massive stab wound. Without the right equipment Scully

needed to improvise.

She pressed her ear to his right side of his chest and

listened to the shallow

sounds of his lung inflating. But when she pressed it to

his left side there was

nothing.

Holding her own breath, she listened again but still,

nothing.

Just then the EMT’s arrived. Scully scrambled to her

feet, oblivious to her state of

undress and explained to them how he’d been injured.

Trying to stand, she felt

light-headed and tired, but before it could wash over her

fully a strong pair of

arms encased her shoulders. As the darkness swam over

her, engulfing her mind

she looked up into Skinner’s concerned face.

***

Howard University Hospital

Walter Skinner stood at the hospital desk waiting for the

nurse to turn to him.

She had steadfastly ignored him and his badge for the

past ten minutes and he

was quickly running out of patience.

“Skinner!”

He turned on his heel surprised at the casual use of his

name, even more so when

he spotted AD Larkin marching up to him.

“Your report?” Larkin demanded crisply.

“Sorry?” Skinner’s face started to turn red as his eyes

narrowed and he turned to

face Larkin full on, annoyance radiating from every pore.

“As agent in charge of the raid on Whitmore Farm, I will

be expecting your

report.”

“My report,” Skinner said with barely controlled anger,

“will be sent in when all

aspects of the raid have been cleared up and I’ve done a

little side investigation

of my own.”

“Now we have a dead suspect-”

“A dead suspect?” Skinner roared cutting into Larkin’s

tirade. “You wouldn’t even

be near him if it wasn’t for Detective Brice and Agent

Mulder.”

“And I don’t want this case to roll over because a few

people delayed reports,”

Larkin continued as if Skinner had never spoken.

“Listen to me, Larkin,” Skinner took a step closer to him

and lowered his head. “I

know exactly how you treated Agent Mulder on this

case, I know how you abused

your position-”

“I did no such thing!”

“-to satisfy your own personal vendetta. Now because of

Agent Mulder, I have a

good Agent recovering instead of lying dead on a slab in

the morgue!” Skinner’s

low growl grew in intensity as he spoke and his face

reddened.

Larkin stammered for a moment, knowing he was

beaten, he opened his mouth to

say something but clamped it closed instead.

“So I am about to go and check on their well-being but

first I want you the hell

out of here. The case is yours, the claim is yours. Take

it.” Skinner turned his

back on Larkin and slammed his badge onto the

reception desk.

The nurse who had watched the altercation with interest

looked up at him,

startled.

“What can I do for you sir?”

“The room for Dana Scully please, and be quick about

it.”

Scully woke slowly and naturally curled over onto her

side, her arm groping for

Mulder’s familiar warmth. But instead a sharp sting in

her leg that shot across her

shin woke her suddenly, fully. It was then she became

aware of the overly

starched sheets and pillows, the medicinal smell that

permeated the air and the

small friendly nurse that stood at the end of her bed.

“Good morning Ms. Scully,” the nurse reassured, smiling

wider as she approached

the head of the bed, Scully’s chart in her hand. “How are

you feeling today?”

“Today?” Scully almost squeaked as she looked around,

finding the window with

the slowly rising sun creeping over the buildings outside.

“Mulder! Oh my god,

how’s Mulder!” she cried suddenly, pulling the

bedclothes off her legs to get out.

“Careful now!” the nurse admonished her, grabbing her

and pulling her back onto

the bed.

“Agent Scully?”

They looked up to see AD Skinner standing at the door.

He let it close softly

behind him as Scully was pushed back against the

pillows and covered with

bedclothes gruffly by the nurse, who was no longer

smiling.

“Sir?” Scully asked trying to sit up but the nurse was

firm. “How is he?”

“He seems to be doing fine now. It was touch and go for

a while. Got hit by cop

killer bullet in the shoulder, knife wound in the chest.

He must have hard bones;

his sternum stopped the deadly path of the knife but it

glanced off and punctured

a lung. Still, how it never killed him I don’t know.

“I want to see him.”

Scully brushed the nurse’s busy hands away and sat up.

With a little effort she

threw the sheets off her legs and swung them over the

side of the bed. It was

then she noticed the thick bandage over her left knee

and halfway down her shin.

“What happened?” Gingerly she reached out and

prodded the bandage, feeling

the tingling sting across her leg.

“You don’t remember?” Skinner asked tentatively

glancing at the nurse who

quietly left the room to get the doctor.

“No sir, it’s all a bit blurry.” She looked up and waited

for him to fill her in on the

gaps.

“Your leg was…cut. Some ligament damage but nothing

major. Doc says you’re to

stay off it for a couple of weeks.”

“And Mulder?” She reached out for the crutches that

rested against the wall

behind him. Skinner passed them to her and watched as

she slid off the bed,

resting her weight on the two cumbersome sticks.

“He lost a lot of blood in addition to the damage to his

lung. He was more than

lucky. I’d say he used up another of his nine lives.”

Skinner walked alongside her

slowly, surprised at how agile she was on the crutches.

They made their way through the halls into the surgical

department where

Skinner led the way to a private room near the end of

the hallway. Falling heavily

into a chair, tired and weary, Scully rested the crutches

onto the ground at her

feet and reached over to take Mulder’s hand. Here they

were again. She fought

back the tears that suddenly threatened. He looked so

pale.

Skinner watched the silent exchange with a sinking

heart. It was all too often he

found himself in this position, with either or even both of

his agents too close to

death’s door. He watched as Scully’s delicate fingers

brushed Mulder’s limp hand

but Mulder made no response. She limped to the end of

the bed and picked up

his chart to study his medications.

“What happened with Brown?” she asked wearily without

looking up from Mulder’s

sleeping figure as she replaced the chart in its holder.

Skinner hesitated. “He was brought to the ER. He

sustained two gunshot wounds,

one of which perforated the aorta.”

“He’s dead.” Her voice was flat.

“Yes. It was called several hours ago.”

“His face…what about his face?” she asked closing her

eyes at the sight of his

rippling features.

“Sorry?” Skinner stepped closer.

“His face was…different. It moved.” She spoke slowly,

afraid to air her thoughts

without the opportunity to review them, to filter them

into a report she could

present.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean. A folder from

his office implicates him in

every single murder including two we hadn’t uncovered

yet.”

Scully, tired of standing, weary from the effort, closed

her eyes and shook her

head. She felt Skinner’s heavy hand on her shoulder and

the gentle squeeze of

reassurance he offered her.

“Get some rest Dana,” he said and when she had

opened her eyes he was gone.

Claiming her seat by his bed Scully took her lover’s hand

again and watched his

bandaged chest rise and fall with the slow careful

movements of sleep.

“We’re here again, Mulder.” She glanced around his

body at the heart monitor,

the tubes and EKG pads that snaked their way out from

under his dressings, and

the nasal oxygen cannula that circled his face.

“Sometimes I think you just fake

these injuries so you can get some time off.”

Scully wiped the rogue tears that stained her pale face

with the back of her hand

and squeezed his hand again. She stilled and held her

breath when his fingers

squeezed back.

With a gasp she turned her watery gaze up to his face

and watched as his eyes

flickered open. With a groan of pain as she leant too

hard on her leg, Scully stood

up from the chair and leaned down closer to his head.

“Mulder?” she cooed softly, brushing his hair with shaky

fingers. His eyes were

closed again but she could see them moving beneath

the lids. “Hey.”

“Scully?” his voice croaked out into the room, silent

except for the beeping of the

EKG.

“I’m here,” she said as the moved her head into his line

of sight. “Hey.”

“Are you okay…your leg,” he whispered, panting and

breathless.

“Shhh Mulder, I’m okay. Just a scratch,” she said with a

smile, wiping more tears

away.

“Brown?” he croaked, trying to ignore the crushing pain

as he spoke.

“He’s dead,” she said simply, no sign of sorrow or regret

tingeing her voice.

“His face Scully…did you see his face?” Mulder implored

sending himself into a fit

of coughing.

Which one? Scully thought silently but said nothing. At

her silence Mulder turned

his head slightly to face her.

“You did see it, didn’t you?” he coughed again, the heart

monitor flaring in alarm

as Scully shushed him. She reached over his head and

pressed the call button for

the nurse.

“Mulder, calm down, it’s okay. I’m here and I’m not

leaving. You sleep. Heal.” She

pressed his shoulder back as he tried to sit up.

The door swung open and the room filled with two

nurses and the on call doctor

rushed in. One nurse gently led Scully over to the chair

and then joined the

others at Mulder’s bedside. They thoroughly checked his

wounds and vitals and

asked him loads of questions before becoming satisfied

with his condition. The

nurses’ left and the doctor smiled over at Scully.

“You’ll be fine Mr. Mulder. You just need plenty of rest

and some TLC from this

nice partner of yours.” He winked at him and walked

back to the door and stood

there for a moment. “No water just yet, I’ll send in some

ice chips for you.”

“Okay,” Scully said with a smile when she caught

Mulder’s face as he let his

tongue loll out over his lip.

“Yummy, Ice chips. My favorite.” Mulder quipped when

the doctor had left, then

added “You saw, didn’t you?”

“Saw what?” she asked non- committally.

“Oh c’mon Scully, I saw it too. His fingers prints, we ran

them against the old

database …..and came up with four matches.”

“Four matches?” Scully said confused.

“The folder we found in the office, it details everything

that he used to feel during

the murder…including the invigorating rush he felt as his

face changed.” Mulder

coughed again and Scully rested a hand on his chest as

she waited with him for

the painful spasms to pass.

“Mulder, shush,” she soothed. “He dead. And there

won’t be an autopsy.”

“Then we’ll make them authorize one! Contact Skinner!”

“But there is enough evidence-”

“Forget about the evidence Scully! What about the

truth?” he coughed again and

sat up slightly but the pain was too much, pushing him

back down onto the soft

bed. “What about finding out how he manipulated his

own fingerprints, his own

skin, and changed his hair color at will!”

“Mulder, it’s over. Relax,” she pacified him but her

gentle words only riled him

further. “There was a mix up at the morgue. The body

was cremated.” She

knew that would only upset him and she was correct.

“No, Scully, it can’t be.” He urged her with his eyes, the

only part of him that

wasn’t aching.

“It is over, Mulder. It has to be,” she said more sternly

than she expected then

added with a whisper, “Besides, I couldn’t look at his

face anymore.”

Mulder looked over to her wet face and tear filled eyes.

For the first time since he

woke up in the sterile room he noticed the blue green

hue that tainted her pale

skin. The bruised swollen side of her cheek was raw and

looked sore.

Gently he reached up and cupped her cheek. With his

thumb under her chin, he

turned her to face him fully and looked deeply into her

sad distant eyes.

“Hey,” he said softly, urging her closer. “Hey, look at

me.” Her eyes fluttered open

and she bit back a sob. “Come here.”

Mulder opened his arms and pulled her into a tight

embrace. Carefully but with a

jolt of pain through his chest, he managed to shift over

onto the bed, making

room for her to climb up beside him. Curled up by his

side, she let go of the fear.

Her arm draped over his chest and gripped his shoulder

and he held her close and

kissed her hair.

“It’s over now. I love you,” he whispered, his lips

tickling her skin as he spoke

against her forehead. “Now it’s over.

And she whispered, “Love you too.”

The End.

Skinfull

June 2005. ©

62

Mortuus Iterum by Skinfull

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