From: spookycc []
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2000 12:04 PM
To:; spookycc
Subject: Innocents Lost - by spookycc & Fox's Vixen
Title: Innocents Lost
by spookycc and Fox's Vixen

Category: V, A, UST

Spoilers: "Grotesque," "Paper Hearts," "Sein Und Zeit," obscure reference to
"Closure." Ignores "the pregnancy" and even its possibility.

Rating: NC-17 for graphic imagery and disturbing content.

Dedication 1: Fox's Vixen dedicates her contribution to this piece of fanfic
to spookycc, her collaborator in things evil and best friend now and
forever. Special thanks to John Douglas, who served as mentor, teacher and
role model without even knowing.

Dedication 2: Spookycc dedicates her contribution to Fox's Vixen, soulmate
cyber and IRL. And to "girlassassin", a great Phile & friend for her support
and encouragement.

Warning: This is dark. Very dark. Contains very disturbing sexual acts,
deviance, torture, and just about every disgusting thing you've ever thought
of, and maybe a few things you've never thought of. If extreme sexual
perversion offends you, go no further. If you are troubled by extreme
violence against children, stop now. If you're the sort of person who reads
graphic fiction and then e-mails the authors saying how offended you are,
you might want to go away and not put yourself in the position of telling us
how much we've troubled you. This is disgusting, horrible stuff. We're not
kidding. REALLY! You have been told. We're not gonna tell you again. Faint
of heart, stay where you are - here be dragons. Sigh... you're going there
anyway, aren't you? Well, don't say you weren't warned.

Summary: Mulder's profiling skills are requested to help the FBI catch a
serial killer.

Disclaimer: They ain't ours, and we're not making any money on this, CC, so
please consider this the act of appreciation and admiration that it is, and
don't sue us.

Archive: Anywhere, as long as email and header info is attached.

Feedback: Sure, we love it! Most of this is collaborated, but in general
Vixen supplied background and wrote the killer - spooky
wrote the M & S (so blame me for the UST :)

OK, just to *really* cover our asses, one final warning: Graphic imagery and
disturbing content follows. If that upsets or offends you, please do NOT
read this!

*****Innocents Lost 1/1*****

I don't like surprises. I like sameness, order, routine, predictable and
controllable events flowing logically and naturally from one another,
everything according to plan. Which is why Guido, my boss down at The Hole
(which he thinks is a kick-ass funny name for a donut shop, the moron) did a
real head job on me today without even meaning to.

"Hey, Paulie," he says (I fucking hate it when people call me "Paulie"),
"Wanna come in the back when you're done getting that batch in the racks? I
got sumpin' I wanna run by you."

"Yeah, sure, Guido." You fat greasy wop bastard. So I take my time with the
donuts, making sure they're arranged just so, twelve in each row,
overlapping back to front, two rows of almond crunch next to two rows of
chocolate coconut. I put the creams in the next rack, orange next to lemon.
That way the powdered sugar from the creams, which are raised donuts,
doesn't get on the cake donuts. It's neater. I like to keep the citrus
together, too, and put the field berry varieties in a different rack. It's
attention to detail that makes the difference between a good worker and a
guy who just draws a paycheck. Then I wash my hands. I always wash my hands
before and after handling the donuts - sanitation is important when you're
handling food. When I eat donuts, I make sure they're ones that I've baked.
I figure goddam Guido probably picks his nose and lets it fall in the

I knock briefly on the office door, just a little formality to let Guido
know I'm there, and walk in without waiting for a response. Guido doesn't
get up (too much work heaving his lardy ass out of the chair), just waves me
in and says, "Siddown, Paulie." I pick up a half-empty box of crullers off
the one available chair and park it on top of a teetering mountain of
newspapers that are threatening to spill off a battered filing cabinet.
Guido's such a fucking slob, and his office is a pig sty, in sharp contrast
to the pristine conditions in the customer area. Conditions that are largely
the result of my efforts, I might add. Wish I had some Lysol to spray on the

I'm hoping to move things along quickly, since I've got to get another batch
down before my shift ends, so I say, "What can I do for you, Guido?"

He leans back in his chair (probably so he can see a little better over his
enormous gut), folds his ham-like hands together and cracks his knuckles.
Then he says, "I think it's maybe more what I can do for you, Paulie. You
been doin' a good job. Hell, you're the best worker I got, and I'd really
like to be givin' you more hours. So what I was thinkin' was that I got a
problem here. Every time the shift changes, we got people out there who
don't know what's goin' on. We got the 7 to 12 shift leavin', and the 12 to
5 not knowin' what the fuck's in inventory, how long the coffee's been
sittin' on the burner, that sorta shit, and then the 5 to 11 comes on and
it's the same fuckin' thing all over again. I was thinkin' maybe I could put
you on, say 10:30 to 6:30, so's you could be there when the shifts change,
and you could kinda like get their stupid asses organized. That way you
could have eight hours a day, full time. Whaddya think, Paulie?"

Shit! The last thing I want is a full-time job. I mean, this place isn't my
whole life. I've got other things to do. Important things. Jesus. A
promotion, and no reasonable way of turning it down. This is fucking me up,
and I need time to figure out what the hell to do. Better try to stall him.
"Um... let me think about it for a while, OK Guido?"

"Sure, Paulie, sure. Think on it for a few days. I could maybe even throw in
a small raise, say another quarter an hour?"

"Yeah, sure. I'll let you know, OK?"

I finish my shift mechanically, going through the motions, trying to soothe
my jangled nerves with routine. I clean up quickly and get the hell out of
the shop before Guido can corral me again.

I live just a couple of blocks away from The Hole. I planned it that way, so
I could walk to and from work. I don't use my car much. In fact, the less I
use it, the better. It's nothing that stands out, but there could come a
time when I don't want anyone pegging me as a guy who drives that particular
make and model.

My place isn't anything fancy. Third-story walk-up, bed-sitter, not in the
worst part of town, but not upscale either - it's a place where I can blend
in, keep to myself. It's cheap, and with the private entrance I don't have
to worry about running into other tenants in a hallway or anything like
that. I don't know anyone in the building, and I mean to keep it that way.

I grab my mail on the way in. Don't know why I bother - all I ever get is
stuff addressed to "Occupant." Which is just the way I like it. I toss it in
the trash.

The apartment is clean, but small and sparsely furnished. Bathroom on the
right just inside the entrance, little kitchenette off to the left opening
into a small room containing a battered sofa bed and end table, a lamp and a
set of bookshelves on which I keep my clothes and my meagre personal
effects. Disposable stuff mostly, in case I ever need to move quickly - I
can probably stuff everything I need in a couple of grocery bags and just

Have to think. I open the little bar fridge under the kitchen counter. Not
much in there. Some orange juice, a carton of milk just past the expiry
date, some cheese from the Mesozoic era, and a 6-pack of Bud. I grab a beer,
pull the tab, and drain it in a few swallows. Then I take out another and
pace the main room, back and forth, back and forth, like a caged animal.
What the fuck am I going to do? I don't want a promotion. Five hours a day
makes me enough money to keep this place, buy what little gas I need for the
car, and eat. I don't need any more than that. And I can't work 10:30 to
6:30. That's prime time for my other activities. I may have to quit. Find
another job. I'll probably have to move.

Shit. I just get settled into a nice pattern, a good routine, and whammo -

I thought I was through with all that when Maureen died. She was a great one
for surprises. Gave me a whole hell of a lot more of them than I needed or
wanted when I was growing up. Maureen was my mother, but she never let me
call her Mom or Mama or anything like that. She had me when she was sixteen,
and I don't think she liked feeling like she was old enough to be anyone's
mother, so it was always Maureen. Abortions were hard to get back then, and
besides, she was a good Catholic girl (at least until she took up with the
Pentecostals), otherwise I probably wouldn't even be here. I don't know who
my father was. All she ever said was as soon as he found out she was
pregnant, that was the last she ever saw of him.

Anyway, like I said, Maureen was a great one for surprises. Usually it was a
surprise new stepfather. Or an uncle. I don't know if she actually married
any of the stepfathers. They used to start out as uncles, and if they stuck
around long enough they got upgraded. Most of them were assholes. Somehow
she always found reasons to dump the ones who made too much money or didn't
get off on knocking her around, or knocking me around. I got my last name
from one of the stepfathers, though. I guess I must have been five or so,
and this one was around for a couple of years. He was a miserable, violent,
drunken son of a bitch, but Maureen liked his last name. See, Maureen
usually had a drink in one hand and a Bible in the other, and she gave me my
name, Paul, after one of the apostles. Stepdaddy's last name was Bishop, and
she really liked the religious tie-in, so she got my name legally changed to
Paul Bishop. He never adopted me, though. None of them ever wanted to.

Sometimes things would just get too ugly with whatever stepfather or uncle
was in the picture, and then she'd pack us up, wiping the tears out of her
blackened eyes, and saying "Surprise, Paulie! We're going to move to a brand
new apartment, and you'll be in a new school, and make all sorts of new
friends. Won't that be fun?"

Friends. Right. I didn't have her gift for making "friends." You could bet
that pretty soon there'd be another uncle. Sometimes he got promoted to
stepfather, but more often than not it would last a few months, and then
he'd beat her up a little too badly, and we'd be off again, to a new
apartment, and a new school where I knew I'd never last long enough to make
friends. Eventually it got so I didn't want friends anyway.

I do have fond memories of one uncle. Uncle Otis. He'll always hold a
special place in my heart, because before we moved because of him, he broke
Maureen's jaw. It was wired shut for a long time, and the bitch was taking
her meals through a straw and not talking. Best of all, she wasn't bringing
men home. The kind of men she used to pick up, she probably couldn't get if
she couldn't open her mouth wide enough, if you get my drift.

I finish my beer and park myself on the sofa-bed. I'm so goddam tense, I've
got to do something to unwind. Another beer? No. There are only four left,
not enough to get even a decent buzz, and it's just a few days short of
payday, so I've got no money to buy more.

Well, there's one thing that always works. I get up and take an ornately
carved box off the bookshelves. It's one of my few indulgences, the only
truly beautiful thing I own. Its hand-carved rosewood, about a foot long and
eight inches wide and high, lacquered to a warm glow, with tall-masted
sailing ships lovingly etched into the lid and a complex design of seashells
and grapevines trailing around the sides. I guess it's an odd combination,
grapevines and seashells, but it works. It's pretty. There's a tiny silver
lock in a delicately engraved hasp. The key is where I always keep it, on
the top shelf. I unlock the box and take out my treasures.

Photos first. Polaroids, since I can't exactly take this stuff to a one-hour
photo shop. I take them out one by one, remembering... remembering the good
times. I touch the images with my forefinger, lovingly trace the features.
So much beauty. So exquisite, so perfect. I feel myself growing hard.

Then the undergarments, in the bottom of the box. Lacy little bikini
heightens my excitement. I select a favorite pair, with pink flowers on a
white background, heavily stained.

I'm so hard now my jeans are about ready to burst open. I lower my fly
slowly, no need to rush, and take out my cock. I've got a hard-on as big as
the ones I used to get when I was a randy teenager with no other outlet than
my own hand. I stroke it gently, lightly. Don't want to come too fast. I run
a finger around the head, just teasing it with feather-light touches. I use
the panties to tickle my balls. Feels so good... I feel the stress and worry
go back into the far corners of my mind. I reach for the pictures, spread
out beside me on the sofa, and find the one that goes with the panties.

She was so beautiful - petite and fine-boned, long, straight hair like a
golden waterfall, sweet, soft skin and a ripe, full mouth, tiny pink
nipples... I wrap the panties around my swollen shaft and begin to jack off
in earnest, and it's almost like having her there with me, even though she's
long gone. I cry out her name as I come, hot bursts of semen splattering on
my stomach and chest, and then when it's over, I weep for a love so long
lost, even though it really was for the best.

Someday, I'll love someone that purely, that completely, that unselfishly
again. I pray that it will be soon.


Mulder sat impatiently in the Assistant Director's office, a quiet Scully at
his side. His fingers tapped his legs idly, his mind preoccupied. Why would
Skinner would pull them from their latest case, not yet solved, and request
their presence here?

Scully glanced at the pensive man beside her on the leather couch. He was
barely restrained from leaping off the seat in agitation. She had come to
know - to appreciate, and sometimes to dread - this aspect of her partner.
His bright eyes shone with intense interest, like a small child at the front
gate of an amusement park.

But the child had been pulled away by his authority figure, and now awaited
a fate that most certainly did not include the price of admission to that

She smiled a bit to herself, and shook her head slowly, in wonderment.

"What?" She turned to see Mulder meeting her gaze, eyes inquiring.

"Nothing. I was just thinking." Without being asked, she elaborated.
"...thinking about your... singlemindedness, I guess."

Mulder opened his mouth to reply, but was cut short by the buzzing intercom
on the AD's secretary's desk. Kimberly informed them that Skinner would see
them now. She wasn't smiling, Scully noted, and she seemed to avert her eyes
a bit, as they passed her desk. Scully decided this meeting probably would
not result in anything positive. Maybe just another reprimand...

"Agents, please sit down," Skinner was not smiling, either. Not that he
usually did when it came to Mulder and Scully. They sat in two seats they
were accustomed to occupying, directly in front of his desk.

"I'll come right to the point. I have a series of murders, dating back to
the winter of 1999, starting in the Midwest and culminating in a small town
in upstate New York." He held a file in front of him, as if afraid to open

Finally, he slid it, unopened, across the desk, and continued reading from a
small pad with his own scribbled notes on it.

Scully picked up the file and opened it. Her mouth twisted in a slight
grimace, one eyebrow raised. She closed the file and handed it to Mulder,
who flipped it open, with a questioning look in his eyes.

Skinner's voice made its way back into her head, as he continued talking.
"Local authorities were convinced it could be solved at their level. Small,
tourist town, they didn't want to blemish their reputation by letting this
get out to the media. They had no luck in finding the killer, so now they've
asked for our help. Or, more precisely, the mayor is a good friend of the
Director, and the Director has assured them of our cooperation.

Mulder had heard nothing that Skinner had said after Scully handed him the
file. Inside, atop various police reports and official forms and death
certificates, were numerous photos of bodies. Obviously victims of murders.
He knew immediately why Scully had handed him the file closed-mouthed.

The top photo was an 8x10 glossy of a young girl, perhaps 3 or 4 years old.
Blonde hair, freckled arms extending from the sleeve of a colorful party
dress. It had once been a flowered print dress, but now its pattern was
mingled with the dark red of blood that signified death. The newly-created
blood-red pattern was darker in many spots, obviously where multiple stab
wounds were located. In addition to many smaller incisions, there were
several major traumas. One in each shoulder, one near the groin area, a
larger splotch near the heart. These had been the fatal wounds, the ones
that led to the young girl's ultimate demise.

Mulder cast a look in Scully's direction, and found that, not surprisingly,
she had quickly regained her composure and was listening intently to
Skinner. He closed the file and turned his attention to the A.D. as well.

Skinner noted he had both his agents' attention again, and admired their
ability to absorb these horrific images and then return to reality. Hell,
he'd seen death, a *lot* of it, in 'Nam, but it was *nothing*, compared to
what these two had seen - and faced down - in their years together.

He continued from his notes, feeling the need to move on, to fill them in on
what he knew, to prepare them for what he was assigning them to.

"To date, twelve bodies have been recovered, all in the last 26 months.
There were never more than one or two bodies in any one area, so the police
in each of the towns were not aware of any connection until the last three
were found, in the same town in upstate New York. The local police finally
linked their discoveries to those in other towns over the past two years.
They used the VICAP database to determine the connection.

"They were all found in public places. One in a flower bed of the local
park, one in a locked locker at the bus depot. Homeless guy noticed the
smell and reported it to the station manager. One in a shopping cart in a
grocery store parking lot, one in the town square fountain." He sighed.
"There are more locations listed. All of them were clothed except for their
undergarments, which were not recovered. Eight girls, four boys. No common
ethnic background or income bracket. All were moved sometime after their
death, before they were found - there was not enough blood at the locations
where the bodies were found to account for the blood loss. All were stabbed
multiple times."

He paused for a moment, glancing up from his notes, and met his agents'
eyes, then took a deep breath and continued. "All were sexually assaulted
with foreign objects."

Scully was afraid she knew exactly what Skinner meant, but spoke up anyway.
"Foreign objects?"

Mulder answered, "Bottles... Tree limbs... whatever was immediately
available. Am I right, sir?"

Skinner affirmed Mulder's thoughts grimly. "You'll find the details in
there," he nodded at the file, still sitting in Mulder's lap. "Coroner said
he found semen *on* but not *in* any of the victims. Some on the clothes as
well. Police had a few leads, none of which went anywhere."

"I've notified the local PD that you'll be doing the autopsy on the last
body, found yesterday, Agent Scully." She nodded, her face grim.

And Agent Mulder, VCS has requested your profiling assistance." Mulder
nodded as well, his face unreadable.

"The local field office has interviews scheduled with the parents of the
victims. You'll be aiding in that task, as well."

"Any other information we have is in the file. Please... familiarize
yourself with it on the flight to New York. Kimberly has your tickets at her

He paused again, allowing the agents to stand. Mulder held the file as if it
was one of the bodies, wanting to detach himself from it.

"Catch this one." Skinner said unnecessarily, as they left his office. He
sat back in his chair and wished he'd taken his Uncle Wally's advice and
become a career miltary man. Surely there wouldn't be too many worse places
he could be deploying troops today...

I feel better now. A little more relaxed. The thing with Guido and his
damned promotion had me rattled, and then I got myself thinking about
Maureen, and that didn't help.

I'm cool now, though. Calm. I'm thinking about Maureen again, but it's not
stressing me like it did. I mean, it wasn't always bad times with her. She
drank a lot, sure, but maybe she had her reasons. For certain the uncles and
stepfathers didn't help. I think she was unhappy a lot of the time, and
maybe that's why she got tied in with the Pentecostals. She probably wanted
some meaning in her life, and I guess she was the type of person, since she
was religiously inclined already, to look for it in the deep, literal
meaning of the Bible. She was big on things like "spare the rod and spoil
the child," and so on, and I think she felt ashamed having me out of
wedlock, but in her own way, I think she came to love me.

I loved her too, even though she had her faults. I never could quite figure
out how she could reconcile her Bible-banging tendencies with her other
tendencies - the ones that led her to whore herself out to every worthless
man going and think he was going to be the one who would change our lives
for the better. Maybe it was dumb hope. Maybe in some way she just wanted to
be abused. She always said that heaven was our reward for hard times on
earth, so maybe she was subconsciously choosing men who'd give her enough
grief and misery in this life that she'd be at God's right hand come the
judgment. And maybe she drank just so she could numb the earthly pain a bit.

Hell, I should've been a shrink.

Anyway, I did love her. I remember she was pretty. So pretty. She likely
could have gotten a better class of men, but it never seemed to happen that
way. Maureen had the brownest eyes, just like big, deep soft puddles, so
lovely and laughing when they weren't swollen shut from the latest beating.
Or dark with anger when she'd strap me with her belt for peeing the bed.

"You're ten years old, Paulie!" she'd scream. "You know better! You're just
doing this to make me mad, as if I don't have enough to worry about! You're
going to stop it! [whack] Stop it! [whack] Stop it!" Thirty whacks, most of
the time. Thirty whacks for Judas's thirty pieces of silver. Maureen liked
her religious symbolism.

She did try, in her own way. She made sure I was clean and fed and went to
school. Well, at least she did when she wasn't on a bender or getting over a
beating, or both. Those times, I was on my own. But it wasn't too bad. If my
clothes were dirty, I could wash them in the sink and hang them over the
shower rod to dry. And I never went hungry. There were a lot of days when it
was just cereal and apple juice, because Maureen was so blasted or so hurt
she couldn't make meals, but I wasn't hungry. It's not like she really
neglected me, she just had her problems.

You might think, from what I've said before, calling her a bitch and saying
I was glad when Uncle Otis broke her jaw, that I hated Maureen. But I
didn't. I loved my mother very much. Well, OK, maybe I hated her too. It's
complicated. There were bad times, but it wasn't all bad. I could have lived
without the beatings and stuff like that, and I wish she'd had better
judgment when it came to men, but I did love her, and every so often she'd
do something special. Like take me for ice cream, just the two of us, no
stepfathers or uncles. And one time, I think I was around nine years old,
she got me a kitten.

I loved that kitten. It was just six weeks old, orange and white, and so
tiny it would fit cupped in my two hands. So helpless and dependent. Maureen
said it was mine, and the landlord said it was OK to have a cat, but I was
going to have to look after it and change its litter and so on. She wasn't
going to do it. I named the kitten Peaches, because at the time canned
peaches were my favorite food and the orange splotches on her fur were
almost the same color as peaches.

I'd come home every day, and feed Peaches, and then I'd take her into my
bedroom and pet her or throw little catnip toys for her. She was very
active. She could play rough, too, and I usually had scratches on my arms
and hands. Kittens are like that. They don't mean any harm, though.

Then one day I grabbed a toy from her a little too quickly, and she wrapped
her paws around my hand and bit me. I slammed her upside the head. I wasn't
mad, you understand, just reacting. She fell sideways, and just sort of laid
on the carpet beside my bed, with her head at a funny angle, sort of
twitching and spitting. I was a smart kid, and I knew right off I'd hurt her
pretty bad. I didn't know what to do. She looked like she was suffering. I
thought maybe I should try to think of some way to put her out of her pain,
but the more I watched, the more her pain became... well, interesting. So I
watched until she curled up in a little C-shape and stopped moving.

I'd killed her. I hadn't meant to, but I had done it just the same. I
figured I was in for deep shit if Maureen found out. Somehow I had to get
rid of Peaches.

I went to the closet where I kept my comic books, and took them out of their
box. Then I took the box and maybe half a dozen comics (not my favorite
ones) and I put the box on the floor. I tore the pages out of the comics,
crumpled them up and stuffed the box with them. Then I reached under my
pillow for the book of matches I kept there. Maureen didn't know about the
matches. She would have been mad if she'd known. But sometimes I just liked
to light a match, watch the flame, wait until it was almost to my fingers,
and then blow it out. And then I'd light another match, and another, and

I just didn't think about it. Didn't think about getting caught. Didn't
think about smoke, or maybe the fire getting out of control. I put Peaches
in the box on top of the crumpled-up comics, lit a match, and touched it to
the paper.

The flame burned quickly, and soon the box was just a container for flames.
Then the container burned out, and scraps of burning paper fell all over the
carpet, but Peaches wasn't burning much, wasn't going away, and there was
the smell of singed fur and carpet, and then Maureen burst into my bedroom.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing, you little bastard?" she screamed,
raining blows over my head and shoulders. "Are you trying to kill us all?"
She was stomping on the burning paper and cardboard, and then her foot came
down on Peaches, and she screamed and kicked Peaches away, and finally got
the fire out, and then she grabbed my kitten and began beating her against
the carpet, trying to extinguish the smoldering fur.

"What the hell were you trying to do, Paulie? Do you want to burn the whole
place down? What the fuck have you done to this poor cat? You want fire? You
want fire, you little bastard? I'll give you fire, and believe me, it will
be nothing like the lake of fire God will cast you into once you're dead!"
She threw Peaches aside and grabbed my right hand. "I'll give you fire, you
hellspawn!" Then she took her cigarette lighter from the pocket of her
slacks, flicked the wheel, and held the flame under my palm. "Twelve
seconds, Paulie!" she shrieked. "One second for each of the apostles!"

I passed out at some point, just drifted off, the smell of my own charred
flesh mingling with that of my kitten's scorched fur. I woke in the morning
with my hand loosely bandaged and throbbing. Maureen was passed out on the
couch in the living room.

At least I learned from it. I learned that like fire, death held its own
fascination. I learned that the next time I killed something or made a fire,
I'd better make damn good and sure I did it where I wasn't going to be


"Mulder, wake up! Mulder!"

Mulder awoke in a cold sweat, with Scully grasping his shoulders and shaking
them. He became more aware of his surroundings, noting the worried
expression on Scully's face and the open connecting door of their motel

"You were having another nightmare, Mulder. Are you ok?"

He nodded weakly, and let his head fall back on the pillows beneath it. He
concentrated on slowing his breathing, on letting go of the horrifying
images that plagued him whenever he shut his eyes lately.

Scully relaxed a bit as well, and pulled a chair up beside his bed. She ran
a hand softly through his hair, rubbed the back of his hand gently, trying
to ease the nightmare away.

If only it were that easy, Mulder thought to himself. Scully could bring him
back to reality and calm him down - she'd always had that gift - but he knew
that as soon as he closed his eyes again, the visions would return.

"Do you want to talk about it this time, Mulder?"

He shook his head once. It only made them all the more real to speak of them
when he was awake.

It had been less than a week since Skinner had assigned them this case, and
he'd had perhaps one night's total sleep in that time span. Thus far,
Scully's autopsy findings had been thorough but inconclusive, and his
profiling skills had not yet been able to paint a clear picture of the
serial killer they were tracking.

It was quite possibly the worst case he had ever been a part of. Gargoyles
and demons aside, this perp killed kids, Young children, who should have
been riding bikes or rollerblading, were conconsigned to early graves
because of this sick bastard. Mulder stifled a slight tremor as he recalled
vividly the descriptions of how the children had been killed.

He became aware of Scully's voice again. Soft, concerned. She still held his
right hand in both of hers. She was the only one who knew how these cases
affected him. No one else knew. No one else even *cared*. They just pinned
their hopes on "Spooky" Mulder. He found himself thanking a God he didn't
believe in for the thousandth time for sending him Scully.

"Mulder," her voice calmed him, anchored him. "Are you sure you're alright?"

Mulder took a deep breath. "Yeah. Thanks, Scully."

A vivid image flashed behind his eyelids and he shook his head, at first
willing it away, but then grasping onto it. Scully felt his hand tighten
within hers.

"What? Mulder, what is it?"

"I dunno. A quick glimpse of something. Maybe nothing." His hazel eyes
betrayed his attempt to remain calm. He was onto something.

Scully knew as much. "Tell me. Mulder, let me help. I know your nightmares
are giving you insights into this case. Otherwise I'd have you in the local
hospital, sedated. I should do that *anyway*."

"For the last time, Scully, no," Mulder insisted. "I need to get inside this
guy's head."

Scully sighed. How many times had she heard *that* before?

The truth was, she wanted Mulder inside this guy's head, too, if that was
the only way to catch him. The innocent lives lost weighed on Scully.
Children always tugged at her heart, especially since she knew she could
never have any of her own.

But she still knew the terrible pain that this profiling inflicted on
Mulder. She'd seen him almost surrender himself to madness on the case his
old mentor, Bill Patterson, had requested his help on.   He'd solved the
case, all right. But at what cost? She still couldn't go past old D.C.
buildings without glancing up to see the menacing shapes leering down at
her. It was... well, it was "spooky".

"OK," she acquiesced. "Tell me what you saw."

Mulder paused, seemingly grasping for the vision that was now gone. His eyes
glazed over a bit, then closed, and Scully could see that he was allowing
the images to play out again..... his hand tensed within hers...

She always comes. I never have to wait long. Strip malls, convenience
stores, downtown streets... she comes. Grabs her purse off the front seat of
her station wagon or mini-van, checks her lipstick in the rear-view mirror,
maybe reaches into her bag and pulls out a cylinder or little pot to touch
up her makeup, and then turns to the innocent one in the back seat, safely
strapped into the rear-facing child seat. "Mommy will just be a minute," she
says. She exits the car, rolls the windows down a bit. Wouldn't want the
child we're leaving unattended to be too warm, would we?

A minute.

Long enough.

Long enough for me to see her. Long enough for me to get out of my car.
Nondescript, 1990 Tempo. Hundreds of them around. Thousands, maybe.
Certainly not a car anyone would remember. It's what I can afford, this
Tempo. Hell, I work in a donut shop, and with what they pay, even with
overtime, I'm lucky to be able to have wheels at all. But even if I had a
better job, even if I could afford a better car, I think I'd still keep this
beater. It's inconspicuous, unobtrusive, so ordinary it just blends into the
landscape, which is exactly how I want it. I have important work to do, and
it's work I can't do if I'm noticed.

I wait. Count the beats of my heart until she's inside the mall, or the
convenience store, or blending into sidewalk traffic.

Then I move. I wander casually over to her car. Assess the age of the child.
If I think it's older than five, I move on. Usually too late then, for my
purposes. Newborns are no good either. They have to be old enough to
understand, old enough to feel. Two to five is about right.

If it's a younger child, I just grab and go. With an older child, I walk
slowly up to the window. I peek in and go, "Hi! I haven't seen you in a long
time. Do you remember me?"

The child usually shakes his or her head slowly. Of course he doesn't
remember me. She's never seen me before. But she thinks he's supposed to
remember, so she struggles for recognition. "My name is Paul," I say.
"Remember? Your mommy's friend?" By this time she's usually nodding.

"Your Mommy wants me to take you to her in the mall," I say. I unhook the
car seat, take the little one's hand, and usually just lead her off.

Sometimes she says, "But my mommy says not to go with strangers..."

And I say, "But I'm not a stranger, I'm your mommy's friend. I'm Paul. And
besides, your mommy doesn't feel well, and she's in the mall, and she needs
you with her."

That generally works. Then I lead her to my car. She usually protests, wants
to know why we're not going into the mall, and I tell her, "Your mommy is in
another mall just a block over, and it will be easier to get there in my
car." Sometimes the kid wonders how mommy got to another mall so fast, but
most of the time kids that young don't have much of a grasp of time, so it
works out just fine.

The bait is set, the trap is sprung, and nine times out of ten she just gets
in the car with me.

The other times, the times when they scream, I just shake my head
indulgently at anyone who happens to look and say, "Spoiled rotten, and I
guess it's my own fault." Most of the time people smile or look disgusted.
Either way, I always, always, get away with the child. And no one remembers
me. Me, or the car.

I take her home with me. And then I give her something to scream about.


The door to the conference room opened, and everyone looked up. A grim field
agent stood before them.

"There's been another kidnapping," he informed them. "A little girl, several
hours ago."

He laid a file down on the table, and the other agents gathered around.

"Where did this happen?" Mulder asked.

"Local park. Mother is frantic, of course. We got a color on the car, we're
pretty sure it's our man, but no one saw which way he headed."

Mutterings and curses filled the room. The agents skimmed the file, looking
at the photo and background of the child. Looking for anything that might

No one - no one except Scully - noticed when Mulder stood and walked to a
quiet corner of the room. He stood with his back to the other agents,
shaking his head slowly, talking only to himself.

Scully gave him a few moments, then walked over and stood behind him.

"He's near the park, Scully. He didn't take her far."

Scully knew by now not to question how he made these leaps - they were
"Mulder", and she accepted them, and him.

"Where? Where would he take her?"

"The other murder sites were further from the kidnap scenes than this one
will be. The others were taken in residential neighborhoods or strip malls,
small commercial areas."

He turned and looked directly at Scully. "This little girl may not have two
days, Scully. I don't think he's gonna wait that long this time."

Scully looked down, then back up to meet his gaze. "Where? Where do we


Addie Sparks. Her name, her photo, played on Mulder's subconscious like the
images of Samantha that had haunted him for over twenty years. He sat in a
living room that had once been brightened by the presence of a child now
lost. Lost not to John Lee Roche, but to the serial killer they now tracked.

They were questioning the parents of one the victims, hoping to glean any
information that could be relevant to their case... They'd been in this
couple's home for only a short while, but the child's absence was almost
palpable, at least to Mulder.

Gradually, Scully's voice filtered into his consciousness. Soft, gentle, as
often it was toward him. Now it was addressing the parents of a young boy
who had been found months before, just recently linked to the man they

"Mr. and Mrs. Gleason, I hope you can help us. We're doing everything we can
to find the man who took your son." Scully was quietly probing for any any
information they might have.

"Had you seen anyone you didn't know that seemed to be spending a lot of
time near your home? Or perhaps a car that you saw too often for it to be
coincidence, before Jesse was-"

"Stop it!" The still-grieving husband ushered his screaming wife toward the
kitchen, but she paused in the doorway. "We've answered all these questions
already! Why do you have to keep bringing them up? It won't bring our son

"Mrs. Gleason, I know how you must feel-"

"No you don't! How could you know?!" Tears filled the woman's eyes, but her
voice was firm. "Please leave our house now." She followed her husband into
the kitchen and left the agents alone.

Mulder noticed the tightening of Scully's jaw, the conscious blinking to
stop unwanted tears. She exhaled a deep sigh and bit her lower lip, her head

Scully knew only too well how these parents felt.

Standing behind the couch where she sat, Mulder placed a hand gently on her
shoulder. She rose, and they were preparing to leave when Mr. Gleason
reappeared from the kitchen. "Wait!" He beckoned them back.

Mulder unconsciously shielded Scully physically, as if that could protect
her from the feelings now buffeting her.

"Something you said," Mr. Gleason went on. "About a car? I'd never thought
about if before, but there *was* a car I wasn't familiar with that I saw
several times in the week before Jesse-"

"Can you describe it?" Mulder's voice was soft but to-the-point.

"It was pale blue, like robin egg blue, I think."

"Do you know what make of car it was, Mr. Gleason?" Mulder pushed a bit.

The man only shook his head. "I'm sorry. It was a four-door, I think. I
never noticed what kind of car it was. It wasn't a Chevy - I'm a Chevy
man... It was old."

Mulder jotted the information down. "Thank you. Thank you for your help."

The man nodded meekly, and Mulder and Scully walked with quickening strides
to their Lariat rental...

Mulder and Scully sat quietly, poring over files that other police
departments had sent over to the field office. Motor vehicle reports had
been included, and the office was abuzz with people comparing information
and working at compiling a short-list. The man they were looking for had
quite possibly been released from a psychiatric facility within the last two
years, and that information was being taken into account, as well...

Scully glanced over at her partner. He was quiet. *Too* quiet.

Not that Mulder ever said a lot anyway, not on this type of case, but she
knew he was blaming himself for not catching this guy yet.

The young girl who'd been kidnapped less than two days ago had been found
only that morning, dead, on the steps of the elementary school building.
Mulder had been right - their killer wasn't sticking to form any more, and
the victim hadn't had two days left for them to find her before she was

Of course, without even thinking about it, Mulder had added that weight to
the guilt he carried with him on a daily basis. Samantha, his father's
death, her own abduction, her sister's death. Scully thought it a wonder
that this brooding man *ever* smiled at all, with all the self-imposed
weight he carried.

Her thoughts were interrupted by one of the local field agents.

"Agents?" he began as they turned their heads at the sound. "We've got
something we need you to see."

"Another one?" asked Mulder, dreading the reply.

"No. But definitely a connection. A past victim.... Just come with me, ok?"

They pulled up outside the gates of the local cemetery. Stone angels spread
their wings in front of them, inviting the agents to step within their gated
iron fences. The local field agent led them on foot across the spongy
ground, the grass matting under the weight of their strides. They crossed
under a yellow police line tape, and he stopped and pointed. Then he
promptly turned and walked back the way they had come.

Mulder and Scully exchanged a glance, and walked a few yards to a recently
unearthed grave. Beside it lay a small form, covered by a plastic body-bag.
They'd been informed en route that the landscaper at the cemetery had
noticed the uneven earth, where a body had apparently been dug up and then
returned to its grave.

The local field office had called out an excavation team, and they had
unearthed the body again, and laid it beside the grave, awaiting removal to
the morgue for full examination.

Mulder knelt by the still form, his face a mask. Scully crouched beside him,
and reached down to pull the body bag away. She was a veteran of many
autopsies, many more crime scenes, yet they never got any easier. Especially
not when the victim was a child. What had happened here?

Scully pulled the bag back just a bit, exposing the dead child's face. Brown
hair matted the child's head, from all the rain, no doubt, and her eyes were
closed, as though in sleep. Her mouth was distended, and from the creases in
the embalmer's make-up, Scully knew the mouth had been stretched
post-mortem. Apparently post-interment as well. Slipping on a latex glove,
she slipped a finger into the mouth, but pulled it back out quickly when
fluid began to run from the sides of the child's lips.

Bile rose in Scully's throat as she realized what the fluid was. She turned
to look at her partner, who still knelt, expressionless, beside her.

Scully pulled the bag the rest of the way down the torso, and left it
blanketing the child's legs. The colorful skirt the child had been buried in
was hiked up around her chest, leaving the area beneath it exposed. Taking a
deep breath, then wishing she hadn't, Scully realized she didn't need any
further examination to determine what had happened here. She did it anyway
because it was her job.  She swallowed a bitter taste in her throat and
turned to Mulder.

He was gone. She'd been so revolted by what she had discovered that she
hadn't realized he no longer knelt beside her.

Hastily slipping the body-bag back up to cover the small victim, she glanced
around, and slid off her latex glove - it fell to the ground unnoticed. She
saw movement in the bushes to her left, about ten feet in the opposite
direction as their car, then heard the unmistakable sound of retching.

Several hurried strides took her to her partner, who was once again in a
kneeling position, behind a small stand of shrubbery. His head hung low over
the manicured grass, and his wracking coughs now brought up only bile.

She slid to the ground beside him and ran a hand gently over the taut
muscles in his back, feeling him relax a bit under her fingers. His rasping
coughs slowed, then stopped, and he breathed raggedly. Scully handed him a
kleenex she'd found buried in her coat pocket, and he sat back on his
haunches and wiped ineffectually at his face.

Scully's mind flashed back briefly to the night after Mulder had learned -
from her - that his mother was dead. She held him now as she had then, her
face against the back of his neck, whispering softly, grateful for the
greenery that hid them from the view of the other agents and the local
police. Eventually he looked at her, nodded, and they both regained their
footing, and traversed the distance back to the cemetery entrance.


I was fifteen when I discovered my lifeıs work. I started pretty young, I
suppose. The first one was just a baby. It was New Yearsı Eve, so I was
pretty certain Maureen would be on an even worse piss-up than usual. I
didnıt really feel like being around her, so I wangled a babysitting gig for
a couple down the hall from us, hoping Maureen would be passed out by the
time I got home. I wasnıt really planning on killing the kid, but once it
settled down for the night, and was sleeping peacefully (I say ³it² because
I canıt remember if it was a boy or a girl), I started wondering what it
would feel like to just make it stop breathing. I donıt suppose I thought
about it too long. Iıve always been the sort of guy who makes a decision and
then sticks with it.

I guess I could have used a pillow, but that seemed so impersonal. So I put
my palm down over the kidıs nose and mouth, and pressed down very gently. I
didnıt want to leave any bruises. It didnıt take long, and there wasnıt much
of a struggle. Once I figured it was dead, I poked it a bit with my finger
just to make sure. Then I pulled the little sheet and blanket up under its
chin, and left it looking for all the world like it was just sleeping. Which
is what I told its parents when they came home - that the baby was sleeping.
I guess they couldnıt have been very good parents, since they didnıt even
check on it. They found it dead in the morning. Probably better off that
way, with parents like that.

Anyway, there was an autopsy, but the kid was too young for it to reveal the
true cause of death. Apparently when their lungs are that small, the coroner
canıt pinpoint suffocation. It was ruled a crib death, so I was off the

That was the first one, but it didnıt count. It was more of an experiment,
really, but it led me to thinking about my future; about what I wanted to do
with my life. I thought about how Iıd likely saved that kid from a rotten
existence with parents who didnıt care. And I started thinking about how
there were probably a lot of kids destined for rotten existences, and how
there only hope really was the possibility of a reward in heaven.

Maureen always said you had to go through a lot of pain to get to heaven.
You had to suffer in this life to get your reward after death. So I started
thinking that maybe I could sort of help kids along. If I killed them, and
made sure they suffered a whole lot before they died, Iıd be kind of
compressing all kinds of pain and misery into a relatively short period of
time, and theyıd go straight to heaven.

Thatıs why the first one didnıt count. As deaths go, that one was pretty

Anyway, it was quite a while before I killed another kid. But I figured I
had my life mapped out.

It was a turning point. The first of many. The second big thing happened
when I was 16. Maureen died. Her most recent fuck, Uncle Jackson, is still,
as far as I know, on death row down in Florida, launching appeal after
appeal trying to avoid his date with Olı Sparky. The judge who sentenced him
said it was one of the most brutal crimes heıd ever had to deal with -
Maureen was stabbed to death and then raped with a broken beer bottle. When
the cops found the body, the beer bottle was still lodged in her worn-out

I ended up in foster care. None of the homes worked out. Iıd start a fire,
or kill a dog or some stupid thing and my foster parents would get all bent
out of shape and Iıd end up getting shipped off again. Itıs kind of a wonder
I never ended up in juvie, but some bleeding heart social worker always
saved my ass since Iıd had such a hard life.

Once I turned 17, I started moving. Up the coast and through the midwest,
then finally back east, ending up here. I worked along the way. Both in
paying jobs, and in my chosen career. I did good work in both, too. The
non-paying job was a labor of love. Iıd find kids who seemed to be neglected
or uncared for, and Iıd save them.

Thereıs a record of every one. The pictures, and the underwear. That way, if
I got discouraged, if I went through a period where I didnıt seem to be
working hard enough, had a difficult time finding kids, I could open up my
treasure box and have those reminders that I was doing a pretty kick-ass
job. In fact, I was doing a job most people likely wouldnıt have the stomach
for. Youıve got to be creative, and patient, and slow to inflict the kind of
pain on a kid that would let them into heaven that early in life.

I had a revelation one day. Iıd done my eleventh kid. Started thinking about
how one more would be one for each of the apostles. And then I started
thinking about Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane, and I knew, just knew, how
many I had to do to guarantee my own salvation, to be right with God.

Iım almost there, too. But I donıt really plan to retire. Iım not in it for
myself, although it is good knowing that my place in Godıs kingdom will soon
be assured. Iım doing it for the children, and there are so many souls yet
to be saved. I figure Iıll keep working until Iım too old and infirm to
carry on. Maybe then I could take a kid to keep - someone to train so he
could carry on my lifeıs work once Iım gone.

Iıll keep on going as long as I can. Iıve had a pretty stellar career so far
- Iım only 22, and if I live long enough I could be bigger than Gacy. In
numbers, I mean - I have no respect for Gacy. He was just a fucking perv, in
it for the sex, and Iım glad they gassed him or jabbed him or whatever they
did to him. He just wanted to get his rocks off, didnıt have a higher
purpose like I have.

Not that Iıve never fucked them, though. But I donıt do it while theyıre
alive. Thatıs just fucking sick, raping a child. I go back, sometimes. Not
to the place where I left them - I leave them in pretty obvious places,
because I want them found and decently buried. One time I left a kid in a
flower garden in a public park, and somehow no one happened upon it. I ended
up having to ³find² it myself. The cops, of course, were clueless. Never did
catch on to the fact that I was the one who put it there in the first place.

Iım digressing. Like I said, I didnıt go back to the place I left them. Iıd
always wait until they were decently buried. Iıd go to the cemetery at
night, dig up the grave, open the little box, and use the corpse to get off.
Itıs not like it mattered - their spirits were with God, and what was
happening to their bodies couldnıt hurt them any more. It was just a way of
remembering the good work Iıd done, and giving myself an orgasm at the same
time. You get tired of your own hand once in a while - familiarity breeding
contempt and all that. Sometimes you find surprises in a gassy little cunt
or asshole that you donıt get when youıre fucking your own fist.

Iıve had to give that up lately, though. Since Iıve been working a lot in
one place, the cops have been staking out the graveyards.


They were close. Mulder could feel it. He only hoped they were close enough
to ug to prevent the next death.

Ponderous hours of leafing through mugbooks while the other agents ran the
profile through the VICAP system looking for possible matches had resulted
in a short-list. Mulder held the list of three names in his hand, glancing
at it distractedly while trying to drive.

A car horn broke his concentration, followed immediately by a soft curse
from Scully as he corrected his steering.

"Jeeezus, Mulder, watch what you're doing. We can't help anyone if you wrap
our car around a tree." Her tone was anything but accusatory. It was soft,
gentle, worried.

Mulder flicked her an apologetic glance, and handed her the list.

They agents had split up the list of names at the field office. He and
Scully were headed to The Hole, a donut shop in a not-too-touristy area of
the small town. They didn't have a current address for their "suspect", but
they *did* have a place of employment to check out. And each pair of agents
had a vehicle description to attempt a match on. Light blue four-door sedan,
not-too-new. BMV records were woefully inadequate, since they had no make or
model on the car.

Mulder pulled into a too-small parking space in front of the shop, and they
entered the store. A rusty bell rang over the front door, and in response, a
young man came out of a door that led, apparently, to the bakery and

"Can I help you?" he asked disinterestedly.

Mulder shook his head. "Thanks - I'm watching my figure. Is Paul Bishop

The kid made a face. "Naw, he gets off at 3 o'clock."

"Is the manager around? We'd like to talk to him."

"Sure, I'll get him." He stepped to the door behind him and yelled "Guido!
Some suits here to see you!"

Mulder exchanged glances with Scully, as the door opened to reveal a man who
apparently sampled too much of his own cooking. A thin smile was pasted to
his chubby face, and his stained workshirt was plastered to his chest and
belly with sweat.

"How can I help you?" he asked.

Mulder flashed his badge. "Agents Mulder and Scully, FBI. Sir, can we speak
to you in private?" He nodded at the pimple-faced counter help, clearly
trying to "overhear" what was being said.

Guido flushed, or at least what passed for a flush on his pudgy already-pink
cheeks. "Sure, sure. Come with me."

He led them behind the counter, through the door to the bakery, and through
another door to a dank, cluttered office. He looked apologetic that he
couldn't offer them a seat, since there was only one chair that was
uncovered by files, newspapers or donuts.


"Guido, that's my name. What can I do for you? Am I in some kind of-"

"Not at all, sir," Scully interjected. "We're looking for an employee of
yours, and we were wondering if you have his correct address, and if we
could speak to you about him."

Guido sighed in relief, and his paunch sunk lower over his belt. "Sure, I'd
be happy to help. Who are you looking for?"

Mulder flipped a 3x5 picture so the plump man could see it. "Paul Bishop."

Guido nodded. "Yeah, he's worked for me for a few months now."

"What can you tell us about him?"

"Well, he keeps to himself, but he's a good worker," Guido responded. "He's
always on time, and he never takes too long on his breaks."

Mulder sighed, and mentally rolled his eyes. It sounded like they'd asked
for a job reference.

"Anything else, Mr-"

"Guido. No, not really. He really likes to prep the counter, you know?"

Mulder and Scully wore expressions that indicated they did *not* know...

"He likes to arrange the donuts neatly, *just* so, in the racks. He's really
picky about it. Each kind has to be in its own row, you know? Not touching
any other donuts. If I interrupt him while he's setting the display up, he
gets all flaky on me. No donut pun intended."

Mulder's eyes darkened a bit, as Guido went on. "You know, a funny thing
about Paul. He's more responsible than the younger kids I got working here,
and I know everyone always needs more money, so I offered him this position,
see? He'd be my assistant manager, cover the shift changes, that kinda
thing. More bucks, too. I thought he'd jump at the chance, but he said he'd
think about it, and next time I asked about it, he said he hadn't decided
yet. That's kinda weird, don't you think? I think maybe he's got another job
he ain't tellin' me about."

Mulder thought that perhaps Guido was right, in a way. Kind of like being in
the right church, but the wrong pew.. "Could we have his home address,
please? Maybe a telephone number?"

Guido pulled an index card from a cheap recipe box, and Scully copied down
the information, trying not to make a show of wiping the grease from her
hand after she gave the card back.

"Thank you, sir. Is this address far from here?"

"Nope - just head straight up Fillmore to the corner, then turn right on
Calhoun. I think he's a coupla blocks down. He said he lives in a walk-up.
Is Paul in some kinda trouble?"

"We don't know. Um - Do you know what kind of car Paul drives?"

Guido nodded. "Yeah, but he don't drive it much. Only when the weather's
bad. It's a Ford. One of those cheap ones that they think look more
expensive. It's light blue, I think. Probably eight, ten years old. I

Scully added this to her note. "Thank you, Mr.-"

"Guido. You're welcome." He led them to the door, and watched as they drove
away from the curb. Then he stuck a stubby hand into the display case and
skewered a chocolate glazed with sprinkles. In two bites it was gone, and he
headed back to his office.

"What do you think, Mulder?" Scully asked as soon as they were moving. "Is
this our guy?"

"He could be. He *sounds* like our guy, but from what I read in the files,
so did the other two men on the list."

"There's Calhoun Street - "

Mulder pulled the car around the corner, slowed when he'd driven a block.
Scully pointed at a large, Victorian-style house, obviously chopped up into
several apartments given the eight power metres on the side of the building
. The building must have been divided, and then divided again by a
money-hungry landlord, because there were two front doors and two sets of
stairs running up the back of the building.

"Car's not around," Mulder said. " Let's check it out. Meet you in the

Mulder ran easily up the left staircase while Scully took the right,
travelling quickly despite the chunky heels she favored - a small nod to
vanity for a diminutive woman trying to achieve an appearance of height in a
severe black suit.

They hit the third floor with its separate entrances at roughly the same
time. Glanced at the windows and without speaking each rejected the frilly
curtains and the  dried flower wreath on the door marked 303, and positioned
themselves outside the undecorated, uncurtained door marked 301.

They knocked on the door, not really expecting an answer, and not receiving
one. Mulder cast a sideward glance at Scully, and pulled a pick from his
wallet. She gave him a mildly worried look, but it wasn't like this was the
*first* time Mulder had disregarded proper procedure.

The door opened to reveal a small, sparsely furnished flat. Neat and
uncluttered. "Functional" was the word that popped into Mulder's head. But
was the owner "dysfunctional" enough to be their killer?

Scully wandered into the kitchen and opened the tiny refrigerator under the
counter. A few cans of beer, a carton of orange juice. Nothing interesting.
She backtracked and went into the miniscule bathroom. Opening medicine
cabinets, checking under the sink. Nothing that leapt out at her there,
either. She returned to watch Mulder as he paced the living room, getting a
feel for the place. Probably getting a feel for the occupant, too, she
thought with a mental shudder.

She joined him in the cramped living area, glancing from one side of the
room to the other. Nothing out of place. That didn't seem to surprise
Mulder. Scully read the titles of the few books in the bookcase, not
noticing as Mulder stopped in front of the couch.

She sensed, rather than heard, Mulder release a long breath, and turned to
face him. He looked up, and met her eyes for a moment, and then looked back
down at the couch again. She followed his gaze, wondering what he was seeing
- or sensing.

His eyes thoughtful, Mulder reached down almost idly with one hand and
touched the couch, then looked back at Scully and shook his head. He
followed her gaze back to the bookcase. His glance fell on an ornate box
within the walls of the bookcase, nestled within the clothes and other
personal effects, out of place in the spartan surroundings.

Mulder pulled the box from the shelf and held it as if memorizing its
details. It was locked. His fingers trailed almost reverently over the ships
etched in its handsome lid.

Mulder didn't even look for a key - the pick worked quite easily on such a
tiny lock as this. It was barely sturdier than the cheap little locks on
children's diaries....

<<Children's diaries.... Samantha... He willed the memories away - don't go
there now. No time for the distraction.>>

When he opened the lid, he took a quick breath, and released it slowly. The
polaroids were on top. Glancing at them, he felt he knew these children. In
a way, he did.

Scully slipped on a latex glove and pulled the photos from the box. Resting
beneath them were ... children's undergarments. Lovingly folded and placed
within the ornate box.

Shaking his head to clear it, Mulder motioned for Scully to put the photos
back in the box. "We *have* to find this guy." He shut the lid, and started
toward the door, box in hand.

"Mulder," Scully began. "You can't take that. We can't use it - you know
that. Not if the search was-"

"I'm not taking it as evidence, Scully," Mulder interrupted. "I just want to
fuck with him. Like he's fucking with us."

They returned to the car with Paul's treasures in hand.

Scully pulled out her cellphone and called the SAC, informing them of their
findings. She gave him the address, and read off the description of Paul's
vehicle. They settled in to surveil the site. They'd been on-duty for too
many hours, Scully knew, but Mulder had this "feeling" that Paul would be
back. For his things. The box that now sat in the trunk of their rental...

Scully tapped Mulder's arm as a light blue car pulled up in front of the
apartment building. She prepared to get out of the car, but Mulder's hand
stopped her. They didn't want to "spook" Paul if he only came home to gather
some things and he had no child with him as he exited the car. They had to
wait... Scully tapped open her cell phone and called the hostage team, in
case they'd be needed, and the dog-handler that the field office had


This has been the day from hell. Guido on me about that promotion thing,
then a fucking bus-load of people from a day-care demanding coffee and
donuts and donuts and donuts and all my neatly arranged product just getting
messed up and falling into the wrong trays and parents sitting their fucking
snotty-nosed sprog on my counter. Fuck! I bet if you put a puppy up there
theyıd scream blue murder, but kids in their shitty little diapers sitting
next to the food, hey, thatıs fine!

I need peace, sanctuary, the quiet of my own apartment. I slip the key in
the lock and walk in, taking my mail as I go. Nothing in the mail as usual.
Good. Good. Something stable, something sane, Iıll just take my day-olds,
the ones Guido lets me take free of charge when the shift changes, and maybe
Iıll open up a can of soup to have with them and just sit on my sofa-bed and
relax and ...


Itıs gone.

The box. Itıs gone. Someoneıs been here. It sits there all the time, ALL THE
FUCKING TIME, and now itıs gone! Thereıs a big empty space on the shelf. No
dust outlining the missing box, Iım clean and I keep things dusted, but the
box is gone.

I know itıs gone because I KNOW WHERE I FUCKING KEEP IT!

Someone found the box. Whoever it is, theyıll open it. Theyıll know. Theyıll
call the fucking cops. Maybe it is the fucking cops. Maybe the cops found

Iım one short. Just one. I wanted to work for so much longer, but I need
this one. I need this one, or all my work is for nothing; Iıll be damned.
God wonıt accept ³I did my best.² God wants results. I have to give him
results. Heıs an angry god, a jealous god, he wants what he wants, he *is*.
³I am that I am,² he said. Heıs going to be so pissed off at me if I donıt

I have to find a kid. I have to. I donıt have time. Downstairs. The welfare
mother. I saw her move in just a month ago. Sure, why not? Stupid bitch,
breeding and breeding and never really caring, just another kid to bring in
another cheque. Gotta go.  I donıt need to lock the door - theyıll be back,
they know.

Outside. Downstairs. In the front door and down the hall. Cheap locks here.
Cheap doors. Iıll just break it in.

The apartment's a mess and the bitch is screaming. ³What the hell? Who are
you? What do you think you're doing?" She's got three kids. One practically
a newborn so it's no good. A toddler in diapers - he'd be better for my
purpose, but he's not immediately visible, so I settle for the little girl.
She's probably around five, playing with her legos on the none-too-clean
carpet. She'll do. I grab her by the arm, and she's already wailing.

The welfare slut has managed to hoist her ass out of the La-Z-Boy knockoff
where she's been lounging, probably watching soaps, and she's starting
toward me, bawling like the cow she is, "What the fuck are you doing? Let go
of my baby!"

I want her to shut up so let go of the kid long enough to hit her on the
temple, hard, with my fist, and she falls. I grab the kid. Take off.

Need to find a place, somewhere close by. I donıt need to hide anymore, Iım
so close, I wonıt be able to continue my work but at least I can do this
last one. This last child. I can save this one, the last one I need to save.

I have to do it, and I have to do it quickly. In the alley, behind my
apartment, then. Not the best place, but you do what you have to do...


A scream sent a chill through Mulder and Scully, and they leaped from the
car and flew around the side of the building, toward the sound.

Mulder rounded the corner first, and froze in his tracks. Finally, face to
face with the man he felt heıd come to know more intimately than heıd like,
first as the UNSUB, then later as the suspect, and finally as the perp. The
serial killer. Pure evil personified in one man named Paul Bishop.

Bishop stood rigidly, at guard, with his arm around a childıs neck, a knife
in his hand, not sideways against the little oneıs throat, but pointed
directly at the jugular vein, ready to deliver a killing blow. A little
girl, no more than five. Sheıd been crying but now the tracks of her tears
were dried on her face; her eyes were fixed and staring. The child was in
shock. But not hurt. Not yet.

Mulder motioned for the men behind him to stay where they were. Scully
pulled out her cell phone, ready to alert the SWAT team to what was going
on. A panel van pulled up and a heavy-set man emerged, opened the rear doors
and released four dogs. Big dogs. Two Rottweilers, something that obviously
had a lot of Doberman in it as well as some other heavy breed, and a Samoyed
with cold blue eyes. They were off-leash and obviously superbly trained,
aligning themselves next to the handler, two on each side. The man
approached Mulder quietly, from behind. The dogs maintained their positions
at his side. "You Agent Mulder?" he asked.

Mulder glanced over his shoulder and nodded, then returned his gaze to the

"Then youıre the guy in charge. Ron Watters. Iım the dogmaster."

Mulder nodded, never taking his eyes off Bishop. ³Good. Just stand by for
now, OK?²

Scully watched her partner. Mulder stood stock-still, his body betraying no
trace of the intense emotion he must be feeling. He wasnıt moving, and he
looked almost relaxed.

"Paul," Mulder said softly. The perp made eye contact, but didnıt move. One
quick gesture, and the child would be dead. "Paul, my name is Fox Mulder.
Iım here to help you."

The perpıs eyes flicked back and forth wildly. He yanked his arm up hard
around the childıs neck, and she began to wail. "You shut the fuck up, you
snotty little brat!" he shouted, and the wails subsided into snuffling sobs.
Then he turned his attention to Mulder. "Youıre a cop, and I donıt need your
help. Iıve got it all under control!"

"Iım with the FBI, Paul," Mulder said carefully. "Iım just here to talk to
you, OK? I know something about what youıve been doing and why youıve been
doing it. I understand. Thatıs why the police asked me to talk to you."

"Youıve got a fucking gun!" Paul screamed. "They didnıt bring you here to
talk to me, they brought you here to kill me, and I guess you can do it if
you donıt mind her going first!"

"I donıt want to kill you, Paul. Do you mind me calling you Paul? Look, Iım
here to make sure no one dies." Mulder grinned self-deprecatingly. "Paul,
itıs FBI issue. They gave it to me and they expect me to carry it. But if it
makes you feel more comfortable, I can put it down. Iım going to reach for
the gun now, Paul, and Iım going to put it on the ground. OK?" Mulder
withdrew the gun from his holster, dropped it and carefully kicked it away
across the gravel, out of his reach - but still out of the killerıs reach as

"See, Paul?" Mulder spoke softly, soothingly. "Iım not armed. Letıs talk."

Paul seemed to calm a bit, but didnıt relax his hold on the girl. "Talk," he
said bitterly. "What is there to talk about?"

"You donıt want to hurt her, Paul. I know that. You care about the children.
You left them where theyıd be found. You wanted them to have decent burials.
You have your reasons for what you do, and I want to understand them. Help
me understand, Paul."

"I have to save her! Shouldnıt that be obvious? Her mother left her alone -
she was doomed to a life of pain and unhappiness with a mother who didnıt
care about her. Iım taking away the pain."

"No, Paul," Mulder said softly. "You stab children to death. Over and over
you stab them. How does that save them from pain?"

"The path to heaven is paved with pain!" Paul shouted. "The more pain now,
the quicker the path to heaven. She wonıt have to suffer for long, and she
wonıt have to suffer for years on earth with a rotten, neglectful bitch of a
mother. Iıll give her the pain she needs to go directly to Godıs right hand.
And when her beautiful soul is in heaven, sheıll thank me for the earthly
pain that sent her there. She has to be saved!" It was as though he felt it
should be obvious to everyone there that what he intended to do *must* be
done. The knife glittered in the sun, held in the hand not around the child.

"No, Paul. Not like this." Mulder spoke softly, trying not to antagonize the
man. "Let her go. Let us take her back to her mother. Sheıs a good mother,
Paul, and she doesnıt deserve to lose her child like this."

"Her mother canıt save her. I can."

Mulder sighed. Scully could see the sag of his shoulders from behind him,
although she doubted that the killer noticed. To the deranged man holding
the child hostage, Mulder looked upright and relaxed.

"Paul. Put the knife down. Please. Sheıs frightened. Look, I'm trying to
understand about the pain, but itıs hard for me to talk to you when sheıs
that scared." Scared wasnıt even the operative word. The child was nearly
comatose with fear. "Paul," Mulder continued. "I know you were hurt very
badly when you were a child. Your mother hurt you. Burned you and beat you.
But she was trying to save you, wasnıt she? And thatıs what you want to do.
You want to save these children, send them on the right path to God, the way
your mother saved you."

The killer threw his head back and laughed. Laughed long, loud and
maniacally. "Saved me?" Paul spat. "Saved me? That stupid bitch couldnıt
even save her own sorry ass."

"I know your stepfather killed her," Mulder said quietly. "But she raised
you in the word of the Lord. She saved you."

"*I* killed her, you dumbass fucking piece of shit! *I* killed her. She
caught me jerking off and she beat the living crap out of me. She actually
thought that crap about Œhe who maketh a whore of his hand and spilleth good
seed upon the groundı was from the fucking Bible! She was too fucking dumb
to even know that was a parody and the cops were too fucking dumb to know I
was the one who killed her! I couldnıt take it any more, so I got a fucking
steak knife and killed her while she was passed out drunk in her bed. I
stabbed her about forty fucking times just to be sure she was dead. Donıt
you get it, Agent Mulder? She didnıt *live* long enough to save me. If sheıd
lived long enough sheıd have killed me eventually and sent me straight to
God, but I didnıt have the fucking guts to wait for her to do it. So now I
have to save myself. I have to. And do you know how Iım doing it?"

Mulder lost his composure. "Scully," he said woodenly. "I got it wrong. I
got it so wrong."

Mulderıs partner placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Easy, Mulder,"
she whispered. "You can still make this work."

He wanted to reach up, touch her hand, take the comfort, but he was afraid
the movement might further unhinge the deranged man before him. He mentally
gathered himself, and said, "Tell me about it, Paul."

"How many do you know about, Agent Mulder? Do you know that sheıs number

33. Mulder thought for a minute, and then made a leap. So many more than
heıd believed. "33. Christ was 33 when he was crucified. Are you saying that
saving 33 children is your path to heaven? Paul, where are the others? Will
you tell me about them?"

"You know your Bible, Agent Mulder," Paul laughed, yanking his arm up under
the little girlıs throat again. "Hereıs something else for you. Do you know
this quote? Itıs from my namesake, the apostle Paul. ŒFor I am now ready to
be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good
fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, with the Lord,
the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto
all of them that also love him appearing.

"Do you know that one? Itıs from Second Timothy, chapter 4, verses 6-7. Do
you know it?"

Mulder struggled to process what heıd just heard. At the same time, from
behind him, he heard the Ron Watters speak, running the names of his dogs
together so they were almost one - "Sophie-Ada-Tyson-SnoPup, go and hold."

As a unit, the dogs moved in. One in front, one on each side, and the fourth
waiting in case Bishop moved away from the wall.

Mulder gathered himself. He hadnıt expected the handler to move until he
gave the order, but now that it was done, he had to work with it. "Paul! Put
the knife down and heıll call off the dogs. You canıt fight them all off."
Not that the killer was in any real danger. Mulder had worked with dog
handlers before and it was more intimidation than anything - they were
trained to hold, not to attack. But Paul didnıt know that.

As it happened, Paul didnıt care. "Do you think I give a flying fuck, Agent
Mulder?" he shrieked. "Sheıs number 33 - sheıs going to die! Iım going to
save her and then Iım going to take my rightful place in heaven!"

"Paul, no! Put the knife down; it doesnıt have to end this way!"

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies -" Paul
screamed, and raised the knife.

"Sophie-Ada-Tyson-SnoPup! Take him!"

They came in low and fast. Startled, Paul lowered his arm and raised his
head. The child was low, on almost the same level as the dogs. A very small
window of opportunity had just opened. A clean shot. Over the head of the
child, over the dogs, one clean shot...

Scully stepped forward, assumed the stance, and raised her gun.

"Scully, no."

She turned to her partner, and a look passed between them. One of those
looks that so often passed for spoken communication. She swallowed hard,
and lowered the gun.

The sounds... oh, god, the sounds...  Snarls. Crunching. Soft growls.
Cracking of bone. Screams and whimpers rising to a crescendo, and then

With difficulty, Scully managed to hold down her gorge, retain her control.

Then there was only slurping, licking, quiet lapping. Scully raised her head
to look again at her partner. Mulder was standing quietly, hands at his
sides, expression unfathomable. Then she stared incredulously at the dog
handler.  "They were supposed to hold, not..."

The handler had tears raining down his craggy cheeks "Yeah," he said. "They
were trained that way. And then one time I lost a hostage, and decided it
wasnıt going to happen that way again.  Look, Iım a Christian, and when I
heard the quote I knew what he was going to do." He wiped away the tears and
said, "Babies, back."

Three of the dogs returned and sat calmly beside their handler, traces of
blood and flesh spotting their muzzles. One of the Rotties, now calm and
quiet, remained at the scene of the carnage, the now sobbing child's face
buried in the softness of its neck.

Wordlessly, Scully handed her Sig Sauer to her partner. Then she strode
purposefully past, around, and through the pieces of Paul Bishop that
littered the alley, and gently pried the child's arms away from the dog,
murmuring words of comfort. Dimly, as if from a great distance, she heard
Ron Watters say, "It's OK now, Tyson."

The child cradled in her arms, she walked back toward Mulder and the dog
handler. "Just how the hell," she asked, "are we going to justify this?"

Mulder spoke softly, yet firmly. "The dogs were holding. Bishop went nuts,
and then the dogs lost it. You couldn't get a clear shot at the dogs without
endangering either the child or the perp. That's how it went down."

Ron Watters spoke up. "I saw the whole thing.  It happened just like Agent
Mulder says. Anyone says different, well, they werenıt here.²

The three stood for a few seconds in silent complicity. Then Mulder threw an
arm around his partner's shoulder and nodded toward the dog handler. He spared a
glance at the young girl in Scully's arms, and took the child in his own.
"C'mon, Scully," he said, "We've got a report to file."


Feedback - We'd love some!  We worked a long time on this collaborative fic, and haven't heard much.