You crashed by the gate
Captured my fate
My eyes couldn't see
I hardly breathed
I was down on my knees
- 1 -
The best thing about being able to control people, was forcing them to do things they would never do when in control.
The fun part of being almighty was being someone’s salvation – or someone’s hell.
And so he had decided that the best way to deal with the two FBI-agents that had crashed his party was to have them pay for it themselves. What better way to do that then to order the one he had under control to kill the woman he had worked with for so long? If she were to die, who better to kill her than the man she wanted to save?
In the seclusion of his quarters, Dominique looked at the man that had tried to screw it all up. He rested so comfortably and calm now. No one would say that he was able to bring such a disturbance to his people.
But he had done so, and now it was time to end it all.
- 2 -
The moment she woke up, she realized she was pinned to the ground. Was she dreaming? A humming sound surrounded her. It reminded her of the bees inside the dome they had discovered back in Texas. It sounded like danger – like a sound that would lead to her destruction.
But this sound was different. It sounded like a boiler that hadn’t been working for quite some time. The place she was at was dark and she could not see where she was. But she saw where the sound came from. It was a boiler and she was chained up beside it, attached to a pipe with her hands cuffed so low that her back ached from the way she was seated.
Her legs were chained too; she could hardly move them. There was barely any space for her limbs to move and she hurt all over. But at least they hadn’t covered her mouth with a dirty cloth. She could still breath normally.
She felt dizzy and numb and remembered something stinging her just before she passed out. She thought long and hard about what happened. She had left the driveway and had gotten into her car, taking the only lane that lead in and out of ‘Salvation Awaits’. She had her cell phone ready to call Skinner.
By the gates they had stopped her. Immediately a sense of danger overwhelmed her and she had felt the urge to simply drive through the gates and get out of there, despite the fact that she was forced to leave Mulder behind. On the other side of those gates at least she would be okay.
The guards had stopped her by the exit, tapping on the window. She hadn’t wanted to open at first, but they had closed the gates and she would have to do what they wanted.
‘What’s wrong?’ she had asked, trying not to show her fear.
The man hadn’t answered. Instead, with swift and fast moves he had shoved a needle in her upper left arm and instantly she had felt dizzy and passed out, her head dropping on the steering wheel. After that, it had all gone blank until she woke up here.
She must still be on the SA-premises. They couldn’t have transferred her for a long time without anyone noticing. It would be too dangerous for them. And she was still alive. At least then she still had a chance to get out of this place in one piece.
What time was it? She had no recollection. She couldn’t see whether it was light or dark outside. She wasn’t hungry. Then something seemed to shift inside the room. She could hear a shuffle, like a foot moving.
‘Who’s there?’ she asked with dry throat, trying to get her eyes to adjust to the darkness. ‘Talk to me.’
No answer came but she could clearly hear someone breathing. Whoever it was, he or she was locked up in here with her.
‘Answer me,’ she repeated, ‘talk to me!’
After a long time something moved again, and this time she could see a shadow moving through the room. She was terrified, not knowing who it was and defenceless against any attack.
Then a light switched on, and she blinked forcefully. The light was so strong it blinded her. She couldn’t keep her hand before her eyes. Tears sprung into them. Slowly she adjusted to the light.
‘Who’s there?’ she repeated and this time the figure of the man she had gotten to know so well appeared before her eyes. He looked down on her and knelt until his face was very close to her.
‘Mulder?’ she said surprised. ‘Mulder, are you okay?’
He didn’t answer her question. Instead, he just looked at her as if she was a stranger to him. He didn’t know her. He didn’t remember everything they had gone through together. He didn’t know she loved him more than anyone in the world. But he wasn’t the zombie he had been before either. There was a mixture of anger and even hatred in him.
‘Mulder, please talk to me. Tell me you know it’s me.’
He didn’t move, but then his calculated and slow movements were aimed at her. He seemed to be programmed to be here – to attack her and to kill her.
‘I know who you are,’ he finally said. ‘You came to take me away.’
‘Yes, I did,’ she said relieved. ‘You want to get out of here. You’re in danger.’
He shook his head. ‘Dominique said you were going to split us up. After all you did, you still had the nerve to come here to try and take this away from me.’
Scully’s look changed, realizing what was going on. ‘Mulder, listen to me. You are not meant to be here. You volunteered so you could get Vicky Moss out. Do you remember that? I don’t know what bullshit Dominique fed you, but they’re just that – lies. Remember who I am.’
‘I know exactly who you are. I’ve pulled a gun on you before and you talked me out of it then too. But this time I’m going to finish this. You deserve it.’
Desperately Scully pulled on her chains. ‘Did he tell you to kill me?’
‘You need to be removed.’
‘What did he use against me, Mulder?’ she asked. ‘Did he use our friendship? Did he tell you something about me?’ She stopped and thought. ‘Did he use your sister?’
Mulder’s moves seemed slow and unreal when he pulled out her gun. They had taken it from her body along with her badge, cell phone, wallet and the car keys. It was ready to kill. She stared into its barrel. He cocked the gun. She felt tears floating down her cheeks. She was so tired. She couldn’t handle this, but she needed to. She composed herself, staring forcefully at her partner.
‘He told you I killed your sister. Or did he say that I kept her away from you? What did he tell you?’
He shook his head. His eyes seemed sad when he said, ‘She’s dead. She’s been dead all this time. I’ve chased a hope that she might still be out there. I can’t do that anymore. I need to face reality now.’
‘And shooting me will help you deal with your past?’
‘I need to remove everyone that was a part of her search. You came here to destroy me, so now I have to destroy you. Dominique said so.’
‘Mulder, no –‘ she begged. ‘Remember. Try to figure this thing out. You’re drugged up. This is not you. Dominique has a way with words. Remember what happened in the past. Remember Robert Modell. He too controlled you but you overcame his influence.’
‘Dominique is better. He’s a good man.’
‘No, he isn’t. You came here to expose him. He controls everyone that lives here. He’s no good. If you kill me now, you’ll never be able to forgive yourself. You’ll kill yourself too. You’ll die and he’ll get everything you worked for. Don’t let him do this to you! We’ve been through this before. You’ve aimed a gun at me before. You couldn’t do it then – you can’t do it now.’
Mulder seemed to hesitate but the gun was still aimed at her face. If he pulled the trigger now and lost control, they were dead. ‘There’s no other way,’ he said but his voice started to tremble. ‘I want to stay here.’
‘Why? Why do you want to stay? What has he told you that makes you do this?’
Mulder blinked his eyes, rubbing his eyelids with his left index finger. The gun swayed dangerously. ‘I have no reason to go back. Everything’s lost.’
‘You still have me. And your sister is still alive. I know she is.’
He looked estranged at her. ‘She’s dead. They found her body. He showed me – she’s dead.’
‘What did he show you, Mulder?’
‘A picture of a skeleton – a newspaper clipping. She’s dead. She’s been dead for twenty years. And he said that you knew and didn’t tell me.’
Scully shook her head, trying to ignore the pain in her limbs. ‘She has not been found, Mulder. Your search is still ongoing. Your quest here lies with Vicky Moss and Melissa. Do you remember Melissa, Mulder? She’s the reason you came here. You wanted to make up for her loss. Are you going to allow Vicky to go the same way as Melissa?’
Mulder stared at her, blinking his eyes. It was so damned difficult to figure out the truth. Dominique had told him she would say this. She would try to save her hide. But she sounded so believable. He startled as flashes from the past rushed through his mind. He remembered vaguely what they had done together. But Dominique had said she was a bitch that didn’t care for him. She had dumped him when the going got rough. She debunked his work. She was set in place to stop him from finding the truth.
Yet at the same time he remembered nearly kissing her and holding her in his arms before a bee stung her and he had been on the ice to find her. He remembered how she had been by his side several times when he was in trouble or ended up in hospital. He remembered her illness. How could he remember all of that when she meant nothing to him?
But the drugs prevented him from thinking straight. He was a zombie without a mind of his own. He lowered the gun and put it on the ground, kneeling down. He shook his head and hid his face, trying to figure it all out. He was so angry with himself for feeling this way!
‘Untie me, Mulder,’ Scully begged, rattling the shackles. ‘Find a key.’
They had given him the key. He was supposed to shoot her, unlock her and dump her body in the pond with a weight attached to her ankle. The water was deep enough to conceal her body for a while. He shivered when he realized he would have done just that.
Slowly he moved towards the boiler and took the key. He unchained her, and every move seemed too difficult to do. Finally she was loose. She grabbed his wrist and pulled him towards her, hugging him so dearly that every emotion seemed to come out. He held onto her as if she were his saviour.
He opened his mouth to speak but she put her fingers on his lips and said, ‘you’re not to blame. Let’s get out of here first and get you to a hospital.’
‘The others – I can’t leave them. Vicky –‘
‘We have to worry about them later. First we need to contact Skinner. He needs to get us out of here. They took my cell phone. But Skinner swore that he would raid this place if I didn’t contact him by five. What time is it?’
‘Don’t know – it’s getting dark.’ Mulder’s fingers moved slowly. He had to remember something – something important he had to tell Scully. Then he remembered. Slowly he took out the cell phone Vicky had given him and handed it to her. There was no connection from the boiler room. They had to call outside. But the guards were there. He put it back in his pocket.
‘I have an idea,’ Mulder whispered, forcing his mind to think straight. ‘You get out and call. Use front entrance. There’s another door to this place. Car is parked around near gate, keys in it. Vicky is waiting. Hiding. I stay. Tell them you’re dead and buy enough time for you to get out. They’ll believe me.’
‘No, you can’t do that. I’m not leaving without you! We’ve got my gun. We can handle them.’
‘No.’ Mulder shook his head. ‘There are six of them. We don’t stand a chance.
Scully grabbed her partner’s sleeve and pulled him towards her. But she saw he had not told her everything.
‘He’s killing them tonight, isn’t he?’ she asked. ‘Is he?’
‘Don’t know – heard him talk. He …’ Mulder frowned. ‘He said he was ending it tonight. Planned a big meeting in the dining room. Second floor. Last supper and then over. I’m part of it.’
‘No,’ Scully said, ‘you’re in no shape to do this. Please, Mulder. Come with me. If I have to, I’ll force you, I swear!’
Her partner stared at her long and nodded, hugging her again. She moved her head against his shoulder, feeling his grip. If it weren’t for the danger lurking outside, she would have been overjoyed. Mulder let go of her body, taking her face in his hands. He smiled. His moves were still very slow when he knelt down and picked up her gun from the floor.
She thought he was going to hand it to her. He acted as if he was. But a sharp pain hit her head as the barrel of the gun came in touch with her face, and she was knocked backwards. Without one word she stayed down, losing consciousness immediately. A small trickle of blood ran down her face.
Mulder knelt down beside her, caressed her face and stared at her form. ‘I’m sorry,’ he mumbled. He pulled the cell phone out of his pocket and put it into her jacket pocket. ‘I couldn’t let you go back with me. I know you want me to be okay but I came here to do something. I need to do it.’
He looked around, until he could find a sharp piece of glass lying on the dirty floor. He picked it up, pulled up the sleeve of his sweater and jabbed the glass in the flesh of his arm.
Mulder moaned as the sharp pain brought him back to his senses. Thick blood trickled down his arm. The agent felt dizzy as he knelt down beside his partner again and let the blood drip on the white shirt she wore under her black jacket. A stain appeared, large enough to have anyone believe she had been shot. He looked at it, ripped a piece of the back of her shirt and bandaged the wound on his arm with it.
Then he aimed the gun at the wall behind her and fired once. The bullet struck the wall. Pieces of plaster dropped on the floor. Mulder dropped the gun and lifted her up from the cold floor, taking her in his arms. Her slim and seemingly lifeless body dangled in his arms.
The back door to the boiler room opened and Dennis watched as he came out with her in his arms. She was white as a sheet. He glanced quickly at the blood on her chest and smiled. ‘Good work, Fox. Put her in the car. We’ll take her to the pond. We have to hurry, it’s getting late.’
Mulder moved carefully as he put the body in the backseat of the car. He blinked his eyes as he stared at her. She didn’t move. He had killed her. He really had killed her. He felt sick to his stomach. But he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
Dennis looked at him sceptic. ‘I’ll take care of her. Go to the house. Dominique awaits you in the dining room. They’re all waiting for you.’
Mulder nodded and slowly walked to the front of the house. Inside the main lobby, the other guard awaited him and guided him through the glass doors to the second floor, where they all sat in the dining room.
The agent looked at the expression on their faces and knew the end was near. By that time it was six p.m.
- 3 -
The car moved. That much she was aware of. Her resting place hobbled as they hit a rough patch. A nauseating headache struck her. She had to get out of here. What had happened to her?
Then she remembered. Her face felt numb where the gun had struck her. She was dazed, dizzy in fact. She remembered what her partner had done. And her chest felt strange – as if something stuck to it. There was blood all over the place. Was it hers? No, it couldn’t be!
She heard a cell phone go off. First she thought it was hers, but it belonged to the man driving her car. He talked briefly and hung up again. She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling of the car. Where was she?
Suddenly the vehicle stopped. He obviously thought she was unconscious or dead. He moved at ease, taking his time to light a cigarette first and smoke it as if he buried people every day. They were still inside the compound. She could tell. They were near the gates. The car had driven over the grass towards the pond where she would have found her last resting place.
Finally, while she was already feeling stiff in her efforts to lie deadly still, he opened the car door and started pulling on her legs. Quickly Scully shoved him in the guts, using the heels of her small leather boots. He shouted as he rolled over, protecting his stomach and abdomen as the pain struck him.
She was fast, using his surprise to attack him. She hit him twice more until he rolled on the floor. Then his hand grabbed the gun from the belt and pointed it at her. Twice in less than half an hour she stared into the barrel of a gun.
Then he simply went down for the count when a hard piece of wood struck him on the back of his head. Scully looked at Vicky Moss, holding the weapon in her hand.
‘Good work, Vicky,’ Scully said, taking the gun out of the guard’s hand. Quickly she glanced around. They were near the locked gates but there were no more guards. Everyone seemed to be at the house.
Something inside the water caught her glance. Different colours seemed to be playing with the last bit of sunlight.
‘Oh my god,’ Vickie mumbled, staring at the vague figure of a woman that lay in the pond.
Scully stared as well, turning the girl so she couldn’t see the body of Renata Lowe that lay pinned down on the bottom of the water.
The girl heaved and shook as she buried her face against Scully’s shoulder.
‘It’s okay,’ Scully said, caressing the girl’s hair. ‘It’s all right.’
Vickie’s wiped the tears from her face and composed herself. ‘We have to hurry,’ she whispered. ‘They’ll be missing me soon. We all got a warning to be in the house before six. Where’s Fox?’
‘He’s at the house,’ Scully sighed, focusing on the present.
‘They’re killing us all,’ Vicky said. ‘I told them no to go. I found a bottle with sedatives. They wouldn’t listen. They’re all under his influence. I have to go back in there!’
‘You can’t,’ Scully said, grabbing the girl by the arm and pulling her in the shadows of the trees. The car still stood there but there was nothing to be done about that right now. With a bit of luck Dominique wouldn’t notice it until they were out of sight.
Scully had difficulty thinking. She had to warn Skinner, but how? He had promised to be here by five if he didn’t hear from her. Then where was he?
The man on the grass moaned and reached for the back of his head.
‘Stay down,’ Scully said, aiming the gun at his face. ‘Where are they?’
‘Where are they?’ she repeated, pointing the gun at his face.
‘It’s too late,’ Dennis said with a grin. ‘They’re already dead. Dominique’s burning down the place.’
‘You’re a liar.’
Scully leaned over, feeling a weight in her pocket. She put her hand in and felt the mobile phone sticking out.
‘Damn it, Mulder,’ she whispered, dialling Skinner’s number she knew by heart. ‘Damn you!’
The moment her boss answered the phone, she heard several cars stop behind the gates. Skinner confirmed it was them. With relief Scully rushed towards the locked gate and watched when several FBI-agents stepped out of the cars.
‘It’s locked,’ Scully said, rattling the shackles. ‘I can’t get out and you can’t get in.’
Skinner put his hand through the bars and touched her shoulder. ‘Are you okay?’
‘I am,’ she nodded, ‘and so is Vicky –‘
‘Vicky?’ Skinner asked in surprise.
‘Yeah, she’s right –‘ Scully turned to see she was alone. Over the lawn the girl ran back to the building and closed the doors behind her. Now they were all inside the compound.
And the FBI was waiting on the outside.
- 4 -
‘Salvation,’ Dominique’s voice said hard. ‘Salvation is for the damned that live in this godforsaken world. But not for everyone. It’s forbidden for those who don’t show their regrets. It can not be given to anyone who doesn’t fear death.’
He stopped and looked around, catching all of their glances as they stood there, waiting for him to continue. Gretl stood beside him, staring at him in awe. Her eyes glanced through the room. They were all there – except for Vicky. No one had seemed to find the girl.
Gretl stared at the others in the room. Dennis wasn’t there either. She turned and focused on what Dominique was saying.
‘Salvation is not what I give to everyone. I have selected all of you very carefully. You came to me with your fears and angers and I helped you deal with your pasts. You were happy here.’
Most of them nodded in agreement. Others just stood still and listened.
‘Be afraid. It’s a natural reaction for what will happen next. But you will pass on from this world to the next without pain. I will take care of you all as I have done since the day you moved into this shelter. Now the time has come to abandon this house and move on to the next life. That will be your salvation – the freedom I have promised you when you came here.’
Dominique glanced outside, as the night was about to fall again. It still became so dark so quick. Then he saw the car standing on the lawn. It was the vehicle of the female FBI-agent Dennis was supposed to dump in the pond. Why was the car still standing there?
His eyes glared towards the gates. There was someone standing in front of the gates and several people standing behind it. They were trying to get in. And someone was running over the lawn towards the building.
He looked at Gretl, still staring at him in awe. She would resolve this by herself. He leaned forward and whispered something in her ear, sending her out of the room. She nodded and left without questioning him.
‘Salvation is your ultimate price,’ he continued, not once forgetting what he was saying to them. ‘I will lead you to the new world in a blaze of fire and smoke, to make this world remember you. You will have no fear or pain because you will be saved. Sit down, please. All of you.’
Dominique looked straight into Mulder’s eyes. The agent looked back numb.
Mulder stared back, not giving away the memories he had from Melissa’s death two years ago. They were memories that were forced back upon him because of these events. Back then he had been too late to rescue her. But now he could help the others.
He had killed Scully, but at least he could help the others. Right now, he could just remember one thing: The woman he had held in his arms less than an hour before. He had killed her, even though parts of his mind said that he had saved her. The sharp pain in his arm where he had cut himself told him so.
Dominique’s voice was soft and gentle when he handed a small cup with a sedative to everyone. They would not die in pain. They never did.
‘Drink this and the new world will come for you.’
They drank obedient. At their last supper they had all received an extra pill to keep them calm. They were all out there, not able to resist his wishes. They were his little slaves. He could do whatever he wanted with them. Mulder emptied the cup in his mouth and lay down with the rest of them, closing his eyes.
The guards left the room. Dominique watched as his little toys slept and stepped over their bodies. He stopped at the FBI-agent and smiled. Mulder was his biggest triumph. He had even killed his best friend. If he could make an FBI-agent do that, he could make anyone do anything.
With the gasoline tank in his hands, the cult leader prepared for his final descent.
- 5 -
Vicky quickly found what she was looking for in the security’s office. There were only two keys to the gate. Dominique had one of them, but the guards always kept one in this room. She grabbed it and left the small office, hearing footsteps rush down the stairs.
A few moments later she came eye to eye with Gretl.
‘What are you doing, Vicky?’ the woman asked. ‘You were supposed to be with the others.’
‘I’m coming right up,’ Vicky said calmly, ‘I just had to do something else –‘
Gretl smiled. ‘You haven’t been taking your little pills, have you?’
‘Neither have you.’
‘I persuaded Dominique to take me with him. I figured him out quite early. But you weren’t part of the plan.’
‘Are you jealous?’ Vicky asked. ‘You know he likes me more than you.’
‘That’s a goddamn lie.’
‘You know it’s true. Why else would he give me a room next to his?’
Gretl stepped forward and hit Vicky’s left hand hard, sending the key over the stone floor. They both stared at it. ‘Do you think he’ll still love you when he finds out about your betrayal?’
Vicky couldn’t be put off. ‘It’s over,’ she said softly. ‘The Feds are right outside, ready to arrest him. It’s over.’
‘You’re doing this for that FBI-agent, aren’t you?’ Gretl said, unexpectedly grabbing Vickie’s hair in an attempt to bring the girl down to the floor. Vickie screamed and fought back, clutching her fingernails in Gretl’s skin.
The women screamed and struggled for life as they fought out their battle on the cold, stone floor. Vickie was the stronger of them, grabbing Gretl’s hair and knocking the back of her head on the floor. Gretl stayed down for the count as a trickle of blood escaped her skull.
‘Good,’ Vickie moaned, crawling on hands and knees towards the key. She was exhausted but there was no time to waste. From the stairs she heard more footsteps coming down. Quickly she hurried out, running for her life and the lives of her friends towards the gates, where the FBI was attempting to break the chains.
A few moments later the gates were opened, and the FBI could enter the compound. By that time all the doors were locked and closed with bars.
- 6 -
With paramedics working on Scully and Vickie, Skinner stared worried at the building. Agent Wilkes had taken over, ready to negotiate with Dominique.
‘Are you okay?’ Skinner asked worried, taking in the pale features and blood on her shirt.
‘I’m fine,’ she said, pulling the white shirt. ‘This isn’t mine.’
Skinner stared at her in surprise as she explained what had happened. ‘I think Mulder used his own blood to make them believe I was dead,’ she grinned painfully. ‘He was so determined to stop this that he didn’t want me involved. I’ve never seen him like this, sir.’
‘He might have saved your life,’ Skinner said, ‘but he won’t be able to save all of the others, unless he stops Dominique by hand. He doesn’t have a weapon and in the state he is right now, I doubt that he’s strong enough to fight off anyone.’
‘At this moment, he’s capable of doing anything, sir,’ Scully said, sliding out of the backseat of the car she had been sitting in while they took care of the cut on her face. ‘He’s so determined to bring this to an end. He’s reliving the entire event with Melissa again. Only, this time he’s working from the inside. I believe he doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore.’
Vickie glanced at the female agent, feeling guilty for the entire event. If she had been reasonable enough to talk to her mother about this, none of this would have happened.
‘The more reason to get him out of there,’ Skinner said. ‘If what Vickie says is true, that place is going to hell right now.’
Dennis could be heard laughing from the backseat of one of the vehicles. He looked at them challengingly and shouted, ‘It’s too late! They’re all burning in hell by now!’
Scully and Skinner stared in shock at the building as the first flames burst out of the windows on the second floor, while outside, the FBI was still attempting to move in.
- 7 -
Dominique walked over to the ready-to-use gasoline tanks. He started spreading the liquid over the room, pouring it in between his victims. The he caught a shadow behind him. Quickly he turned around, staring at Mulder who looked at him and pulled the gasoline tank from his hands.
‘You lied,’ Dominique said matter-of-fact. ‘I could have known you would only pretend.’
‘I can’t let you do this,’ Mulder said weak, knowing he had no defence but his hands. ‘You’ve gone too far.’
‘Why did you come here?’ Dominique asked. ‘You never wanted salvation, did you?’
‘I came here for Vicky Moss and these other people that you have taken in. They don’t deserve to be here.’
‘I gave them happiness.’
‘You gave them drugs. You fed them lies. They don’t know what you’re like. They believed what your drug-induced words claim.’
Dominique sighed deeply, stretching out his hand towards the agent. ‘Don’t you know by now that I want the best for you?’
‘The best?’ Mulder laughed. ‘Killing the woman I love – was that for the best?’
‘You volunteered to come here. You must suffer the risks.’
‘I didn’t ask to be drugged.’
‘No, you asked to be killed. Anyone who comes here under false pretences needs to die. Just like your partner. You did kill her didn’t you? You do remember that?’
‘I didn’t kill her. She’s still alive.’
‘She’s dead, Fox. Remember? Her blood was all over you.’
‘No, I set it up,’ Mulder said confused. ‘She’s alive and well. She waits for me outside, with the FBI. It was all a set-up. I’m still an FBI-agent. I need to arrest you. I have to.’
‘You don’t have to do anything. You can give in to the sleep and slumber of happiness. I know you’re still out there somewhere, where I want you to be.’
‘No,’ Mulder shook his head. He seemed to move too slowly, still under the influence of the drugs fed to him. He wanted it to end, yes. This slumber. The daze he was in right now. This wasn’t him. This person with the pale face and the dark eyes was not who he really was.
Dominique stared at him for a few moments. Then he said: ’I’m sorry you feel this way Fox. You can arrest me now, but you know I’ll be a free man some day. I know you won’t harm me. I gave you a bit of peace. You can’t harm me because I haven’t harmed you.’
‘You drugged me!’
‘You took those pills voluntarily.’
‘I will do what I can, what lies in my power.’ Mulder’s thoughts seemed to return to him. He wanted to reach instinctively for his gun, but couldn’t. It wasn’t there. How was he supposed to stop this when there was nothing he had to defend himself with?
They both heard more cars all stopping outside of those stonewalls. They were here to help Mulder. Scully must still be alive! Mulder glanced outside the window, staring at the cars that came towards the building and the men rushing out. They were here to help them.
Mulder laughed as the realization struck him that it was just a matter of moments now.
Dominique cursed, losing his posture and dropped the canister on the floor.
‘It’s over,’ Mulder repeated softly. ‘If you’re lucky, you can still live through this. But don’t you dare put this place on fire.’
‘I have to. They expect me to kill them.’
Mulder smiled, standing aside as one by one the members of ‘Salvation Awaits’ got up and looked at Dominique in anger. Dominique held his breath as he stared at them, one by one getting up.
‘I don’t think that’s what they had in mind, Dominique,’ Mulder said.
The women left the room first, walking down the wooden stairs, ignoring Dominique who stood dazed in the room. Then the men left until there was just the two of them.
‘How?’ Dominique asked in fear.
‘Ask Vickie. She switched drugs. And they all played along.’
‘But Gretl –‘
‘I’m betting she didn’t know. Let’s go down, Dominique.’
Surprised and startled Dominique walked before Mulder out the room. Suddenly something hard struck Mulder in the back of the neck, sending him down for the count. Dominique turned, looking at Gretl who held a gun in her hands.
‘Where are they?’
‘They’re downstairs,’ she said with a heavy voice. ‘We can still do this, Dominique. We can, I know it!’
‘Torch the place,’ he ordered. ‘Make sure he stays in here. I want him to burn to death.’
Gretl smiled and kissed her lover hungrily on the lips, as he walked halfway down the stairs and glanced at his members who were attempting to open the doors from the inside, while the FBI was attempting to do the same from the outside.
At that time a loud noise could be heard from above, and before anyone knew what was happening, the building was on fire.
- 8 -
‘Get them out!’ Skinner barked his commands but the firemen didn’t need to be told what to do. Twenty-three very scared people – mostly women and a few men – were trying to force their way out, but the doors were locked and barred. No one seemed to have a key and the iron doors were too heavy to be forced open.
Screams and cries were heard from the inside. They became louder when everything seemed to catch fire.
Suddenly the doors gave way, being forced open by the weight of several panicking members. They all came rushing out, coughing and sucking in the fresh air.
Scully ran towards the building only to be stopped by a fireman. ‘My partner’s in there!’ she shouted.
‘It’s too late. The place is going to hell. I can’t let you go in there.’
‘You have to find him,’ she insisted. ‘You can’t just walk away and let him die!’
‘Are you sure he’s in there?’
‘Yeah, I am.’
From aside she heard a female voice say, ‘He was right after us with Dominique. They’re both gone.’
‘Gretl’s gone too,’ Vickie said.
‘I saw Gretl,’ another woman added. She was running upstairs when we were all downstairs trying to open the doors. ‘I don’t know where she is!’
‘Mulder’s in trouble,’ Scully said to Skinner. ‘I can feel it.’
‘Dominique wanted to torch the dining room on the second floor,’ the first woman said. ‘They must still be there.’
‘Is there another way in?’ Skinner asked.
‘Not that I know of,’ Vickie said in despair. ‘We always used to main stairs.’
‘We can’t take them now – they’re on fire,’ the fireman added. ‘We can’t use the windows – they’re all barred. He’s trapped in there, unless we find another way in.’
Scully stared in shock as the flames cracked the windows and burst out. If Mulder was in there, their chances were limited.
But she knew he was there. She could feel it. Please Mulder, she prayed, try to get out. You have to find your way out. Then the firemen prepared to enter the building to find him. Scully bit her lip, wondering why it took so long for them to go in.
She suddenly realized they had already given up on Mulder.
‘There’s a passageway,’ a man behind them said. Scully turned and saw a blonde man in his forties that came forward. ‘I was there for two months. I saw Dominique use it once. I don’t know where it leads to, but I know it’s there.’
‘Can you help me get there?’ Scully asked urgently.
‘I don’t know,’ the man said. ‘I don’t know how to get in there from the outside. I was there once – or wait –‘
The man stopped as if he remembered something. ‘There was something that didn’t add up. Dennis. He used to manage to be from one side to the main building to the other side of the second building in a very short time. He couldn’t have done that without taking a shortcut.’
‘Are you saying there might be several passages in that building?’ Scully asked.
‘That could be,’ Skinner said. ‘This is a building that survived the Civil War. Lots of buildings back then had passageways and secret hideouts. Perhaps that was Dominique’s plan all along. Burn down the main building and use the passageways to a hideout.’
‘But that would mean he’s a got a safe house right on this compound,’ Scully exclaimed. ‘If we find that, we might still have a chance to get Mulder out.’
‘We might even have a better chance if Mulder figures this out for himself,’ Skinner said.
But they all knew the chance of that happening was slim.
- 9 -
Mulder woke up coughing, pushing himself against the far wall. The room was on fire! The gasoline Dominique had spread all over the floor did its work. Flames surrounded him.
Mulder stared in shock as he kept a hand before his face and tried to not inhale the smoke. Crawling over the floor on hands and knees he touched the walls until he reached the doors that were threatened by the flames. The stone floor was getting hot under his touch.
Mulder pulled himself up against the wall, trying to push open the door. It was locked tight. In despair he stared at the windows but knew he couldn’t get out through there. The bars prevented it from happening.
There had to be a way out – there had to be some way of escaping this. He couldn’t just die like this. He got up, slumping towards the other set of doors that lead to the kitchen. There, in the large old-fashioned kitchen, he was trapped.
He sank down against the refrigerator, staring in front of him. If no one came for him, it would be over. But then, he saw something that looked like a doorknob against the outer wall. He got up and pulled the very small knob, painted in the same colour as the walls.
Suddenly he stood in another dark space, just behind the wall. And an old, creaking wooden step, lead downwards.
- 10 -
‘We found something!’ a voice on the other side of the cell phone cried out, luring Skinner, Scully and a few agents into the woods behind the house that had seemingly never been explored. They had to cut their way through the branches and bushes to get there, but then suddenly a small door carved into a rock appeared. It was so small and covered by rocks and branches that one could have easily missed it. But it was there.
‘This must be it,’ Skinner said who had called the Bureau to order old maps from the Henderson Institute before it became Durant’s property. They hadn’t been able to wait for those maps with flames already bursting out of the first and second floor.
Right now they had no way of knowing if Mulder was still trapped in there, but Scully claimed he was still alive. She would sense it if he weren’t, she claimed.
The old door gave in instantly, allowing the agents free access to a dark, damp cave that hadn’t been used for quite some time. But the cave didn’t stop. Instead it led to another small tunnel behind it. ‘Get flash lights,’ Skinner ordered, taking charge. ‘Hurry!’
The agents slowly made their way in, careful not to trip over the rocks and branches that lay on the floor. Scully wanted to get things moving but had to be patient, walking after Skinner as they made their way to perhaps the hideout of Dominique Durant.
- 11 -
The wooden stairs led downwards. Mulder had locked the door behind him. Behind the bricks he could feel the heat of the flames. Soon enough this side of the building too would go up in flames. He stumbled downwards, holding onto the staircase as he moved.
Suddenly the stairs stopped and crossed paths with another staircase that led him further down in the darkness. And suddenly he was standing on the ground in utter darkness. He was in some sort of tunnel leading him to a place unknown. He had no way of returning.
In the far distance he could spot a light. There would be the end – one way or another. And he knew the light brought him straight to Dominique.
He walked forward, touching the cold wall with his hand. He seemed to be underground. And the light came closer.
- 12 -
Dominique heard the sounds first in their shelter that was meant to keep them save for a few days until no one would look for them any longer. There were sounds on both sides of the walls, coming from behind the two different doors that lead to the cave he had found by accident.
The small cave held nothing more than a table and a few chairs, but there was some light coming in from above – through small holes carved out of the rocky underground. Inside they worked with flashlights. In it were his three most loyal people. Dennis should have been there too, but the FBI had arrested him.
‘Quickly, shut down the lights,’ he whispered, signing the others to do what he said. The flashlights went out, leaving them in silence. To his left, Dominique heard noises and voices.
‘Here’s a door of some sort,’ a dark male voice said. ‘Try to open it.’
Dominique knew it would be over the moment they got this door open. He could not get back to towards the house, even though burning to death sounded better than another prison sentence. He had already been there and was not planning on coming back.
Just one flashlight remained on. He could hear them banging on the door, destroying the silence that had been inside the hideout for some seconds. He sighed deeply. After all he had done, it had come to this point.
‘We can defend ourselves,’ Gretl besides him whispered, pointing at the guns that lay on the table. He looked aside, smiling at her. He wasn’t planning on making a bloodbath. He had always sworn to himself that he would go out the way he wanted to go – not enforced by others.
He turned towards her and kissed her softly on the lips, taking her face in between his hands. She had always been a favourite of his – and the only one loyal to his every need.
‘I love you, Gretl,’ he whispered softly in her ear. Then his hands twisted and snapped her neck with a strong move. Her eyes startled in shock and surprise when he killed her. He kissed her again before placing her gently on the ground.
The other two guards looked at him and picked up the guns from the table. They were ready to defend him at all cost but he knew it would have no use. ‘It’s over,’ he said, staring at them as he tried to force their attention to him. ‘We know what we have to do.’
They looked at him and nodded. They all had sworn the same vow. Prison was no option. The pulled guns were not aimed at the door before them. Instead they were directed at their heads. Dominique watched as they shot themselves, their bodies dropping before him on the ground. A single bullet ended his dreams. Now all that was left, was the awaited death.
‘Open that door!’ from the other side of the firm door was shouted. ‘Open it!’
Dominique lifted the third gun from the table. At that exact moment, the other door opened. Mulder stood before him. The agent leaned heavily against the wall. He had made it out of the house somehow – finding the passage that Dominique had discovered by chance.
What irony of fate that it should all end with the two of them in the same room. For one the sounds behind that door would mean rescue and freedom. For the other one it would mean the end. Dominique smiled and pulled the key out of the second door, breaking it in half.
‘They’ll never get you out in time,’ he said with a smile, aiming the gun at the agent. ‘I wanted a slow death for you, Fox. After all you did to me, you deserved it.’
‘You did it all to yourself. Why don’t you just shoot yourself and get it over with?’ Mulder said. ‘You owe me that much.’
‘I don’t think so. Sit down, Fox.’
‘No. If you want to kill me, just do it. I’m tired of your games.’
‘Not a chance.’
Dominique shot over Mulder’s head, missing him by a few inches. Mulder could hear the deafening pounding as the bullet hit rock. The banging on the door behind Dominique stayed persistent. Mulder knew they would never be able to get in without a key. And the one Dominique had thrown away had been broken in two.
Mulder sat down quietly on one of the chairs. His lungs seemed to burn like crazy. He had trouble breathing in deeply. He knew he needed medical attention soon or he wouldn’t survive, no matter what Dominique did next.
He leaned forward on the table, resting his head on his hand. Right now he needed just about anything just to stay awake. He should have known Dominique would not commit suicide before the others, but he had thought they were all dead.
Dominique raised his gun and aimed it at Mulder’s torso. ‘Where do you want it?’ the man asked. ‘Head or chest?’
‘None of them if I can choose.’
A hard thump behind them startled Dominique. Desperately Mulder moved forward, taking the chair and table with him as he threw himself against Dominique. The two men rolled over the stone floor. Instantly Dominique was on top of Mulder, pulling back his head with the side of his hand. The two fought for the gun.
Dominique lost it when Mulder was able to kick it out of his hand. The weapon rolled over the floor and ended up against the side of the table. Dominique kicked Mulder twice, hitting his head against the cold floor.
Dazed Mulder stayed on the floor as Dominique crawled over the floor to fetch the gun. The agent stretched out his hand, feeling something hard against the sole of his foot. With a difficult gesture he kicked out his shoe, sending the remaining key over the floor until he could reach for it.
Dominique grabbed the gun and aimed it at Mulder, shooting at him for the second time. The bullet impacted right beside the door. Pieces of rock dropped, one of them scratching the agent’s hand in its fall. Mulder moaned, forcing the key in the lock.
‘Who is there?’ he heard a familiar male voice shout from the other side. ‘Mulder - ?’
‘Gun!’ Mulder moaned, unlocking and pulling the door.
For a few seconds Dominique stared in shock at the men literally dropping into the room. Before he could literally move, two shots ended his life – sending him on the cold floor. The man dropped like a log, staring into oblivion. The gun was still lying in his hand.
Skinner and Scully moved into the room, staring at the rummaged small shelter. On the other side of the door lay Scully’s partner, heaving as he rested his head against the cold wall.
‘Mulder,’ she said, kneeling down. ‘Mulder, it’s me.’
He looked up, not expecting her to be there. But she was. She was alive and well and came looking for him.
‘Hey,’ he said with a faint smile. ‘Didn’t I tell you to crash this party a bit earlier?’
‘How could I when the party-animal was missing?’ she smiled back, supporting his neck with her hand. Her worried look towards Skinner said enough.
‘Let’s get you out of here, partner,’ she said gently. ‘It’s over now.’
Mulder didn’t give her an answer.
- 13 -
‘He’s resting comfortably now,’ the attending doctor said as he closed the door to the semi-guarded room behind him. ‘But he needs a lot of rest. We’ve found a huge amount of drugs in his system varying from sedatives to homeopathic products to legalised drugs. It’s a miracle he was even able to get out of there on his own. I’m not even talking about the cuts and bruises yet. He just needs to heal. His body has been through a lot.
Scully couldn’t help but smile as she glanced through the window and saw her resting partner. ‘That’s Mulder,’ she said. ‘Wild horses couldn’t bring him down.’
The doctor nodded. ‘It’s going to be a while before he wakes up. Why don’t you get some rest yourself? Don’t forget your partner gave you a mild concussion.’
‘It was worth it,’ Scully said to Skinner’s surprise, who had expected a sharp answer. ‘But I’m staying, sir. If you don’t mind, that is. Could you please check up on the others?’
‘I will,’ Skinner said. ‘Did you know that Dominique’s bank account statements has been found? They managed to save some of the paperwork he had left in his office. He wouldn’t have made it out of the country even if he had lived. He left too much evidence.’
‘I don’t care,’ Scully said. ‘I’m glad he’s dead.’
Skinner glanced at her hard eyes when she spoke but he couldn’t blame her for saying something that was far beyond her professional duty. After all his agents had endured, who would have wanted a positive ending with a danger like that resting in prison until someone was stupid enough to let him out again?
Skinner walked with the doctor towards the temporarily created waiting room where all twenty-three followers were being checked out. Every blood exam showed that they had been fed drugs for quite some time. All of them would have to stay for a day or two and rest up. What would happen to them afterwards remained to be seen.
Scully sat in the room and took a seat, waiting patiently next to her partner as her fingers rubbed the bandage on her temple. He had knocked her over the head this time. He’d never done that before. But she knew that he had saved her life, and in a way he had also saved all the others.
If he hadn’t given hope to Vicky Moss, she wouldn’t have switched the drugs and they would have had twenty-three casualties instead of the four they had now.
Scully remembered so clearly what ran through her mind when they heard the shots. She had actually believed her partner was dead, that Dominique had shot him. Instead, Mulder had saved himself by holding onto a key he had found days before. Despite the drug-induced haze her partner had lived in, he had pulled through at the end.
She glanced over all the tubes and wires that had been attached to her partner. The drugs were wearing off slowly. Thank god Dominique had indeed chosen a homeopathic drug to sedate his people. If he hadn’t, they would all have to go through rehab.
A soft knock on the door took her out of her thoughts. ‘Yes?’ Scully said, moving up from her chair. Two women came in and looked at her. Vicky Moss and her mother stood there and seemed worried. ‘How is Fox?’ the girl asked, looking at her partner who did seem very much out of it with his pale face and the respirator that breathed for him.
‘He’s going to be fine,’ Scully said. ‘I owe you so much. I don’t know how to thank you.’
‘No,’ Vickie said. ‘I almost just gave in, but Fox told me I wasn’t a quitter and shouldn’t even consider giving up. He was like a father to me.’
She looked aside shy to her mother, but Elaine didn’t seem to mind. There was a sense of relief on her face that said enough.
Scully smiled and moved forward, placing her arms around Vicky’s body. ‘For once that stubborn streak in you has saved you. But next time, don’t you think you should be talking to your mother first before you act crazy?’
The girl smiled and looked at her mother. ‘Let’s just say that we’re giving it another go. We’ll what happens from there.’
Scully nodded. ‘That’s all I’m asking.’
The girl nodded and suddenly smiled. ‘I think someone’s trying to talk to you.’
Scully looked around surprised, staring at her partner who was moving his head slightly and lifting his hand as if to pull out the respirator himself.
‘No, Mulder,’ she said, returning her attention to her partner, ‘you’re on a respirator. It’s breathing for you for now. You need to give it a go.’ She put her hand on the side of his face. ‘Just close your eyes and think of something else. It’s over. You’re okay.’
Mulder glanced at her with the strange look she had seen before. He was recognizing her, yet at the same time he was afraid of something.
‘What is it?’ she asked. ‘What’s wrong?’
His body started fighting the tube in his throat. She sighed and turned around, asking Elaine Moss to fetch a doctor. A few moments later the tube was pulled out of his throat. Her partner coughed and closed his eyes in despair, angry with himself that he was so tired still.
But he had to ask it. He pulled his partner closer to him and whispered something in her ear that only she could hear. Then a smile broke on her face and she whispered back, ‘No, Mulder, I’m not a ghost. I’m very much alive.’
She leaned over and kissed her partner gently on the forehead, and he closed his eyes as she did. He was asleep before the nurse could attach an oxygen tube. She turned and saw Skinner standing in the room. Her boss seemed to be touched by what had happened. She nodded gratefully. Without his support and help, they wouldn’t have gotten her partner out.
When he led her out of the room to get some rest, she didn’t protest this time, knowing that her partner was sleeping peacefully as well.
But resting on the couch they had offered her in one of the family rooms with the comforting thought that Skinner was watching her partner, she came to the startling realization that he had really believed he had killed her. And that somehow in his mind, he had convinced himself he had murdered her.
- Epilogue -
He couldn’t keep his eyes from the burned-down building. The entire place had gone to hell. The only things standing were a number of brick walls. Only parts of the staircase still stood, as a sign that some things were built to last.
All evidence of the hideout was gone. The place where Dominique and the others were killed had vanished under debris and rocks. They’d had difficulty digging out the bodies.
‘I don’t know what happened to me,’ Mulder spoke softly, for the first time discussing the events with Scully. ‘I lost control over everything. It was so strange, Scully. I never want to be there again.’
‘But you didn’t loose control,’ she said. ‘In fact, with that amount of drugs in the system, anyone else would have died. But you didn’t. You pulled through. You saved them, Mulder. That’s what matters. Melissa’s death has not been repeated. Isn’t that what you wanted to do?’
‘I pulled a gun on you, Scully.’
‘So?’ she said with a smile, ‘you’ve done that before. I shot you once remember? Let’s say we’re even now.’
He looked aside. For the first time since he woke up she saw a sense of relief in the way he acted and spoke. Then he turned his back on the burned building and said, ‘Let’s get out of here, Scully.’ He offered her a hand and she accepted it, walking back to the car with him.
‘How about a pizza?’ she asked, opening the car door for him. She watched as he got in on the passenger seat, refusing to look at the building any longer. She got in the driver’s seat and started the engine. She too did not look at what was left of ‘Salvation Awaits’ any longer.
‘Pizza sounds just great,’ he answered. ‘Who’s buying?’
‘You are. According to FBI-standards you’re a rich guy.’
‘But Dominique stole all my fake money.’
‘So you’re broke again?’
‘Okay, I’m buying,’ she said, as she drove the car to the highway, back to the city without seclusion.