Eastern Market Metro Station
As the four agents approached the door at the end of the tunnel, they were met by the sound of squealing brakes. Unable to believe his ears, Chris Brentwell threw the door open in time to see a metro train skid to a stop a mere ten feet past where the agents stood.
So, unfortunately, did Mulder. No longer bound, he immediately began to struggle to gain his feet, despite the best attempts of the two agents who tried to hold him down. âDamn it, they were supposed to stop the trains! Scully!â
Not wanting to injure him further, the agents tried to reason with him, but nothing seemed to get through to him, and he continued to struggle, until a new voice entered the fray.
Mulder stopped fighting immediately and turned to look at Walter Skinner with anguished eyes. âSirâ¦Scullyâ¦â he gasped out.
âAgent Mulder, I assure you, we will find her,â the AD stated firmly. âBut you know how pissed sheâll be if you injure yourself further in the meantime. The ambulance should be here soon.â Mulder read the unspoken message in his bossâ eyes: Trust me. I care about her, too. Iâll find her for you. Nodding slowly, he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the chair, whispering, âOk.â
He approached the four agents who still stood at the door, staring in disbelief at the train.
âOk, people, thereâs a team working from the platform out this way, so I want you three to head east towards them until you meet up. One of you can talk to the conductor of that train and find out if he saw anything. Chris, you and I will head west. Any questions?â
âGod, Walter, if she went that way, thereâs no wayâ¦â Brentwell trailed off at the warning look from Skinner.
âWe donât know that, Agent Brentwell,â he said tightly. âNow, letâs go.â
Eastern Market Metro Station
Hysterical laughter bubbled from Dana Scullyâs throat as it slowly sunk in that she had somehow managed to avoid âdeath by pancakeâ. The breath that it seemed sheâd been holding for the past hour suddenly escaped in a huge rush of relief, only to be sucked back in again as she realized that perhaps the danger wasnât entirely over with yet. She could still feel the weight of Neidertâs hand on her arm. Sheâd survived, but so had the psycho. Although, it was strange that he hadnât made any attempt yet to get a better grip on her. Just that one hand. She supposed even crazy, bloodthirsty killers got a little bit freaked out when faced with the reality of their own mortality.
Without turning around, she jerked her arm experimentally, and wasnât surprised when Neidertâs hold didnât loosen. What was puzzling though, was the lack ofâ¦ substanceâ¦behind his grasp. The fingers gripping her bicep were firm, and yet, when she moved, they followed her movement without any of the resistance that one would expect to encounter when being restrained by another person. It was almost as ifâ¦
She turned her head and immediately confirmed her suspicions. Yes, indeed, it was Robert Neidertâs hand wrapped securely around her right bicep. His hand, and not much else. Apparently he hadnât been quite so lucky as she in regards to the train that theyâd encountered, and all that remained of him was the hand that was locked quite literally in a death grip around her own arm, along with a few inches of bloody forearm. Sickened, she pried the dead manâs fingers from her arm and backed as far away as she could in the tiny space when the severed stump fell to the ground at her feet. She gently toed the limb with her shoe until it fell from the alcove.
As the haze of adrenaline filtered slowly out of her blood, she became increasingly aware of the pain in her ankle, and sat down on the edge of the niche to wait. Above her, forgotten for the moment, was the emergency call box that had drawn her to this spot in the first place.
Eastern Market Metro Station
The two men carefully picked their way westward along the tracks in silence, neither one wanting to be the first to acknowledge the futility of their search, but the farther they ventured, the harder it became to deny the gruesome truth. Here and there along the walls and floor of the tunnel, their flashlights pointed out slick, shiny puddles of what appeared to be blood. Following the trail of logic which cruelly pointed out that if Brown had come this way, Scully most likely had as well, it was becoming more and more difficult to expect a positive outcome. Especially when the beams of their lights crossed overâ¦
âOh God,â groaned Brentwell, âIs thatâ¦?â
âItâs a leg,â confirmed Skinner tonelessly. âNot hers though. Itâs too long.â
âBut still, itâs obvious they came this way,â Brentwell began.
âNo,â said Skinner firmly. âWe keep looking until we find solid evidence.â He cringed at his own choice of words. âNothing less than that will satisfy Mulder.â
They continued on another twenty feet or so, hope dwindling farther and farther away with each pass of their flashlights over the increasingly bloody ground. Both men knew they were nearing the point of impact, and dreaded what they might find there.
As Brentwell stooped to investigate a particularly gory puddle of blood and assorted tissue at his feet, Skinner continued along the curve of the tunnel. So intent was he on searching for the scattered remains of his agent, that his flashlight passed over her slim, very much intact form twice before his brain was able to register what it was he was seeing.
She sat on the edge of a tiny nook in the wall, her head in her hands, her shoulders shaking in silent tears or laughter, he couldnât tell which. The faint blue light above her head lent her skin an otherworldly glow and he found himself thinking briefly that maybe she was only a figment of his imagination, some silent spectral apparition of her former earthly self, left behind to help them discover what had transpired in the final moments of her life. **Iâve been hanging around Mulder too long,** he thought.
âAgent Scully?â There was no response from the agent in front of him, but behind him Brentwell quickly rose to his feet and came forward.
âGod, I donât believe it!â he exclaimed.
Even when both men crouched in front of her, Scully still gave no indication that she was aware of their presence. The feel of her cold, clammy forehead beneath his fingers told Skinner why.
âSheâs in shock,â he said under his breath. Louder, he said, âAgent Scully, itâs Walter Skinner. Can you tell me if youâre hurt?â
Taking a hold of her chin, he gently forced her to raise her head and gasped aloud as she stared through him, unseeing. He shook her slightly, calling her name louder, and she blinked once, before her azure eyes slowly came into focus.
âDana?â he questioned softly.
Finally what he was asking seemed to sink in. She nodded slightly and said, âMy ankle hurts, butâ¦Iâ¦Iâm ok. Is Mulderâ¦?â
He couldnât help but chuckle. How typically Dana Scully. Sheâd nearly been hit by a train, and here she was worrying about her partner. âHeâll be fine. Although Iâm sure heâs nearly worked himself into a stroke by now, worrying about you. What do you say we go put his poor EMTs out of their misery?â
She allowed the agents to help her to her feet, and even consented to a supporting arm from Skinner, but she steadfastly refused to be carried. In his opinion, she still looked slightly shell-shocked, but considering the day sheâd had so far, he figured she was entitled. At least the glassy-eyed, blank stare sheâd been sporting when theyâd first found her was gone.
As the trio limped towards the tunnelâs exit, Skinner could no longer hold the question inside.
âScully, I know Iâll be reading all about it in your report Monday morning,â he said pointedly, âbut I have to know. What on earth possessed you to go after Brown with no weapon and no backup? What were you thinking?â
With a quick glance to the bracelet that was somehow miraculously still attached to her left wrist, she gave him the only answer she could.
âSir, you wouldnât believe me if I told you.â
End Chapter Eleven