Chapter 4

Dana Scully’s apartment

Mulder was late.

Thanks to a six-car pile-up on the Beltway, it had been nearly 10:30pm before the agents had made it back to DC from Stevensville. One look at his partner’s tired face had prompted Mulder to suggest that he drive Scully directly to her apartment rather than back to her own car, which was still in the parking garage at work. She had accepted only after extracting his promise that he would pick her up by eleven o’clock the next morning and take her to the Hoover building to collect the vehicle.

She had rescheduled Thursday’s canceled dinner with her mother for tonight, and had several errands to run beforehand. She didn’t mention it to Mulder, but one of the chores she intended to accomplish today was to replace the broken chain on her door. He had offered to fix it, being as he was the one responsible for breaking it in the first place, but Scully didn’t want to wait the week or two it might take Mulder to get around to the task, nor did she want to harp on him to get it done sooner. She didn’t really want her partner to know how much it bothered her not to have the chain there.

Intellectually, Scully realized that if someone wanted to gain access to her apartment, something as insignificant as a chain on her door wasn’t going to bar their way. If she hadn’t already been aware of that fact, the night before last would have proven it to her quite effectively. Mulder had broken in and been at her bedside before she’d even begun to stir.

It wasn’t meant to act as a hindrance to anyone determined to enter her apartment without permission, she had her gun for that; it was more of a … security blanket. She just felt better knowing it was there. It was ludicrous, she could admit that to herself, but the acknowledgment did absolutely nothing to lessen the comfort provided by those few thin links of metal. It was similar to the irrational sense of security some people derived from sleeping with their feet covered up, as if a thin layer of cotton were some sort of magical shield against any and all foot-grabbing boogeymen. It just made her rest easier. At least it would if her partner would ever show up…

A knock on the door interrupted any further thought on the subject.

Scully looked pointedly at her watch as she opened the door to admit her fellow agent, but he was ready for her.

“I know, I know, I’m late. But I have a good excuse this time, Scully.”

“What’s that Mulder? You had to stop on the way over to break up a global conspiracy? You were abducted by aliens who didn’t get the memo that they’re only supposed to keep you for nine minutes? Or did Elvis show up just as you were leaving your apartment and ask you to make him a peanut butter and banana sandwich?”

Her dry tone carried just a hint of amusement, and in response he affected the Mulder-patented Puppydog-Look No.49.

“Scully, you wound me. I would never try and use such lame excuses on you. Besides, Elvis couldn’t possibly show up at my door today. Everyone knows that on Saturday nights he calls the bingo numbers at the local Moose Lodge in Juneau, Alaska. Don’t you ever read the National Enquirer?”

He grinned and handed her a paper bag bearing the name of a local hardware store.

“I stopped to pick this up on my way over. I figured you’d want it sooner rather than later.”

A glance inside the bag revealed a new door-chain and all the required hardware. Sometimes Scully wondered if maybe Mulder knew her just a little too well.

“Let’s go get your car and then I’ll fix your door, Scully.”

She gave him a skeptical look. “Are you sure you know how to use a drill, Mulder?”

“Why Agent Scully, I’ll have you know that I am quite proficient in the use of many…tools.” She rolled her eyes at his suggestive tone and mock leer, turning to lock the deadbolt behind them as they left the apartment.

They were nearly to the Hoover building when the inquisition started, although they were not the questions that Scully had been expecting.

“So, Scully, where’d you get that owl bracelet?”

“I bought it at a small consignment shop.”

“Oh? When was that?”

She thought for a moment. “Wednesday…no, Thursday afternoon. I stopped after lunch to pick up my dry cleaning, and saw it in the shop window next door on my way back to the car. Funny thing was, I don’t remember seeing it there on my way in to the dry cleaners. They must’ve just put it out. I remember thinking that must mean it was meant for me.” She smiled slightly at the memory.

“I don’t recall seeing it on you after lunch on Thursday.”

“That’s because you never saw me after lunch, remember? You had an afternoon meeting with the VCS to present that profile you worked up for them, while I had the dubious honor of meeting with Skinner to go over last month’s expense report. By the way, he says that if you manage to lose or destroy one more gun this year, you’re going to have to make do with a plastic toy and a sign that says ‘BANG’.”

“Hey, that last one wasn’t my fault! I think it was abducted by aliens.”

“Yes, I believe you mentioned that in the report. Suffice it to say, Skinner was not amused.”

He shrugged his shoulders and gave her his best “well-what-can-you-do?” look. “Can I help it if the sense of humor gene is located on the hair follicle?”

She closed her eyes briefly and shook her head, trying to suppress a laugh. Sometimes it was best not to encourage him.

“So anyway, Scully, what kind of stones are those?”

She was confused for a moment until she realized he had returned to the subject of her bracelet.

“I’m not sure, Mulder, I forgot to ask. I’m sure they’re nothing valuable. I only paid twenty dollars for the thing. What’s your sudden fascination with my bracelet, anyway?”

His face a mask of innocence, he asked, “Whatever do you mean, Agent Scully?”

“Out with it Mulder, what’s with the game of Twenty Questions? I admit, I expected to be grilled this morning, but on the subject of what happened yesterday, not…wait a minute.” She gaped at him incredulously as the realization struck her. “You can’t be serious!”

He pulled into the parking slot next to her car and turned off the engine, his gaze level,
indicating that he was indeed serious.

“Were you wearing that bracelet when you went to bed Thursday night, Scully?”

“Mulder, this is ridiculous. My bracelet has absolutely nothing to do with…”

He cut her off. “Were you wearing it?”

“Yes, but that has nothing to do with anything.”

“It has everything to do with it, Scully. In all the excitement, I forgot to mention something to you yesterday. When I decided to wake you up in the car, I put my hand on your wrist to make you stop typing, and I encountered something unnaturally warm…almost hot, actually. It surprised me, and I jerked my hand back, and then looked to see what was causing the heat. It was your bracelet. The stones were glowing, Scully. I reached out and touched one, and it was warm. I looked back at the road for a second, and felt the stone grow cool under my fingers, and when I looked again, the glow was gone. Then a minute later, you woke up, and the rest is history.”

“Come on Mulder, the glow and the heat could’ve been caused by anything. We don’t know what kind of stones these are…maybe they simply possess some extremely refractive properties. And the warmth could’ve been caused by exposure to sunlight.”

“Scully, it was nearly 7 o’clock in the evening. The sun isn’t strong enough at that time of day to cause the kind of heat I felt. And at first, I thought the glow was probably a trick of the light too, but I did some research last night…”

She groaned. “Oh Mulder…”

“No, hear me out.”

He had expected her reluctance, so continued undaunted. “Scully, did you realize that nearly every culture around the world has some sort of superstition or folklore regarding owls, and that many of them revolve around clairvoyance?”

She sighed. “No, Mulder, I didn’t know that.”

He ignored the patronizing tone and continued. “Well, it’s true. It’s quite fascinating, actually. The ancient Greeks believed that the owl has a magical “inner light” that gives them night vision. Navajo legend states that men listen to the voice of the owl to know their future. The Ainu of Japan believe that the Eagle owl is a messenger of the gods and that the Screech owl warns against danger. In southern India the number of cries heard by an owl is said to foretell the future…one cry meaning impending death, two meaning success in anything started soon after, three meaning a woman would soon be married into the family, etc. Many cultures believe that the appearance or cry of an owl is a sign of approaching death – the Poles, the ancient Romans, the Apache Indians; they all have some mention of this in their folklore. But the most interesting legend I found, Scully, was the belief held by the Algerians.”

“And just what do the Algerians believe, Mulder?”

“The Algerians believe, Scully, that if you place the right eye of an Eagle owl in the hand of a sleeping woman, she will tell all.”


“What do you mean “and”? Scully! Look at your bracelet. It has not one, but seven owls on it. Seven owls in profile, with only the right eye visible. You have had this bracelet in your possession for two days now, during which time you have fallen asleep twice while wearing it and both times you have experienced a psychic event. If that’s not a case of the sleeping woman telling all, then I don’t know what is!”

“Mulder, I’ll admit it’s an interesting legend, but that’s all it is. Folklore.”

He stared at her. Did it have to hit her over the head? “What do you think caused it then?”

She broke his gaze to stare out the window. “I don’t know. I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that it happened in the first place, you know?”

He continued to watch her, looking expectant.

“I’m sorry Mulder, I don’t believe I have psychic jewelry. What more do you want
me to say?”

“Say you’ll come with me to that consignment shop to talk to the owner. Maybe we
can get a little background information.”

He could see her gearing up to refuse, and quickly continued.

“Humor me? Please?”

Scully knew that Mulder with a theory was like a dog with a bone – once he sank his teeth into it, there was no talking him out of it until he found another bone that tasted better. Or in this case, another theory.

She gave him directions to the consignment shop, hoping that talking to the owner of the shop would help him see how preposterous this particular theory was.

Second Chances Consignment Shop
District of Columbia

At the sound of the electronic chime announcing the arrival of prospective customers, Ruth Baxter looked up from the ledger she was working on and smiled warmly at the two agents. The sixty-something shopkeeper had shoulder-length gray hair and sparkling green eyes. Still quite a striking woman, Scully was sure that in her youth, she must’ve been breathtaking.

“Good morning! You folks looking for anything in particular?” The woman rose from her
stool and rounded the front of the counter, smoothing her dress as she walked.

“I’ve just gotten in the most gorgeous matching antique wedding bands…”

She halted mid-pitch at the strangled sounds coming from Mulder. “Oh dear. Is he alright?” She glanced at Scully for reassurance.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine. Sunflower seed go down the wrong way, dear?” She smiled sweetly at her partner who was finally regaining his composure.

“No snookums, just got a little choked up by my overwhelming love for you,” he answered, with a devilish gleam in his eye.

Scully glared at him before returning her attention to the storekeeper. “Actually ma’am, we’re not…um…I mean, we wanted to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind.”

She withdrew her ID and flipped it open for the woman’s inspection. “I’m Dana Scully and this is my partner Fox Mulder. We’re with the FBI.”

Mulder presented his identification as well.

“The FBI! Oh dear. Have I done something wrong?” She shifted her gaze between the two agents, her eyes wide with worry.

“No ma’am, not at all. Like Agent Scully said, we only want to ask you some questions.” He grinned engagingly at her. “Do you own this store?”

“Yes sir. My name’s Ruth Baxter. I bought this place about five years ago.”

“Well, you certainly have a nice selection here. I’ve been in consignment shops before that look more like thrift stores. This place is very elegant. I’m seeing a lot of things that look to be antiques. Do you get many antiques on consignment?”

“I get a few. Most of the antiques I have though, I purchase myself through auctions or estate sales. It’s kind of a hobby of mine to restore old furniture…give it a ‘second chance’ if you will. Then I bring it in here and sell it. I’d say roughly half of my inventory is consignment and the other half consists of the treasures I’ve rescued and restored.”

She indicated an antique highchair nearby. “This is my latest addition. It was in pretty bad shape when I found it, but I think it turned out rather nicely.”

Mulder moved in for a closer look. “You did this yourself?” She nodded shyly at his incredulous tone.

“Amazing,” he said. “You do exquisite work, Ms. Baxter.”

The woman was blushing, actually blushing under Mulder’s praise. Scully was certain the poor woman was going to melt into a puddle at their feet any minute now. She decided it was time to move this investigation forward, so that Mulder would recognize the futility of it, and go fix her door.

“Ms. Baxter, I was in here a couple of days ago. Do you remember me?”

The woman studied the agent for several seconds before exclaiming, “I thought you looked familiar! You bought that pretty little owl bracelet, right? Is something wrong with it? Did you change your mind about it?”

“Oh no, not at all. I like it just fine. We were just hoping to get a little background information about it. Was that a piece you bought yourself, or was it on consignment for someone?”

“It was on consignment. In fact, I just mailed the check out yesterday.” Her mouth dropped open as a thought occurred to her. “Oh my, it wasn’t stolen, was it? I mean, she was a little…eccentric…but she seemed nice enough.”

“What do you mean by ‘eccentric’? What did she say? How did she act?” Mulder’s interest was piqued.

“Well, she just seemed a little odd, that’s all. She came rushing into the shop, muttering to herself about how unreliable the city bus system is, and that she hoped she wasn’t too late. Then she just stopped, and got this look on her face as if she were concentrating really hard on something. After about 30 seconds of this, I came forward and asked her if she was all right, if she needed any help with anything. She gave me a huge smile and said that she was just fine, that she wasn’t too late after all, and told me that she had a bracelet she’d like me to sell for her.”

“What did she mean by that? That she wasn’t too late after all? Did you have an appointment?”

Ruth shook her head. “That’s what was so strange. We didn’t have an appointment. In fact I had never spoken to this woman before in my life. And she couldn’t have been afraid that the store would be closing, because it was only just lunchtime.”

That last word echoed in Mulder’s mind, and he wondered at its significance. Lunchtime.
He thought for a moment, his mind replaying his conversation with Scully in the car, until the connection came to him.

“Ms. Baxter, do you remember what day that bracelet was brought in here?”

“Why yes, of course. It was early Thursday afternoon. I remember because it was the fastest turn around I think I’ve ever gotten on an item.” She smiled at Scully.

“I put that bracelet in the display window about ten minutes after I received it, and five minutes later, you came in and bought it.”

“Yeah Scully, it was meant for you, remember?” Mulder grinned at his partner, and she could practically see his fangs sink deeper into the bone, relishing the flavor. He wasn’t letting go of this one anytime soon.

She was also pretty sure of where they would be going next.

Mulder didn’t disappoint her. “Would you happen to have the woman’s name and address, Ms. Baxter? We really need to speak with her.”

At the woman’s hesitance, Scully spoke up. “Ma’am, you’re not in any trouble here. There’s no evidence that the bracelet might have been stolen. We really just want to talk to the previous owner.”

Visibly relaxing, Ruth walked behind the counter and found the proper entry in her records. As she wrote down the information, she remarked, “You’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of you.”

Scully moved over to the counter. “What do you mean? Where does she live?”

“Her name is Dorothy Williams, and she lives in Towson, Maryland. I remember remarking on the fact that certainly there must be some nice consignment shops up in Baltimore that would’ve been much closer to her home, and her answer was rather cryptic. She said, ‘Yes, but none of them are next door to this dry cleaner.’”

Mulder took the paper from her. “Thank you very much, Ms. Baxter. You’ve been extremely helpful. You ready, Scully?”

Ruth smiled at the two agents and followed them to the door. “If you have any other questions, you know where to reach me.”

Mulder turned back to her. “Actually, there is one more thing. Do you happen to know what kind of stones these are?”

He indicated the bracelet on Scully’s wrist, which she promptly held up for inspection.

“Oh yes, those are moonstones.”

She addressed the female agent. “You know, you really got a great deal on that bracelet. The silver alone is worth the twenty dollars that you paid. When you factor in the moonstones, it’s worth three times that much.”

“Then why did you only charge me twenty dollars?”

“Well, when I sell something on consignment, the actual seller of the item determines the price. If they’re not sure of what to ask, I help them out with it, but the final decision is up to them. I actually suggested that she charge fifty dollars for it, but she was adamant. She said something strange like ‘No, she would never spend that much on such a frivolous thing for herself. She’s much too practical for that.’ It was almost as if she thought she knew who was going to buy it.” Ruth laughed to herself.

“Maybe she knew you were coming,” she joked. “She made me promise that I’d put the bracelet in the window as soon as she left.”

If Scully had held out any hopes of Mulder abandoning his theory about her bracelet, she knew now that it just wasn’t going to happen. She could see the wheels turning in his head as he factored in the information given to them by the storekeeper, and it only served to brighten the gleam in his eye.

They both thanked the woman for her time and turned once again to leave the shop. Scully felt Mulder’s hand on the small of her back as he guided her through the door.

“Hey Scully, did you know that moonstones are frequently used in meditation and are
believed to facilitate clairvoyance?”

She sighed. It was going to be a long afternoon.

Dorothy Williams’ residence
Towson, Maryland

Scully’s knock was answered by a woman in her fifties wearing a black suit. She looked
as if she’d recently been crying.

“Yes? Can I help you?”

“Ma’am I’m Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully, we’re with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Are you Dorothy Williams?”

Sadness filled her brown eyes and she blinked rapidly several times to hold back the tears that suddenly threatened. “No sir, I’m her sister, Katherine Brown. Dorothy moved in here with me a few years ago after she lost her husband. Is there some kind of trouble?”

“We’re not on an official investigation. We just wanted to ask her a couple of questions. Is she here?”

“No, she’s…my sister passed away early yesterday morning. She had a…a ruptured aneurysm.”

Her voice broke on the last word and a few stray tears escaped before she regained control of her emotions. “I’m sorry. It was just so sudden. I’m still in shock, I think.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for. We’re the ones intruding here.” Scully reached out with her left hand and gave the grieving woman’s arm a sympathetic squeeze. “We’re very sorry for your loss, Ms. Brown.”

“Come on Mulder, let’s go.”

Scully turned to her partner, and missed the way the woman’s eyes widened at the sight of the bracelet on her wrist.

“Did you say your name was Scully? Dana Scully?”

Scully was confused. “Yes, it is. How did you know my first name? I don’t remember either of us mentioning it.”

She shot a questioning glance at her partner, who shook his head. Both looked to the woman with curiosity.

“I have something for you. From my sister. Just a moment.”

She disappeared into the house, only to return seconds later with an envelope in her hand, which she gave to Scully. The name “Dana Scully” was written on the front in precise handwriting.

Scully looked from her partner to Katherine, perplexed. “I don’t understand. How did your sister know that I would come here? I’ve never met her.”

“My sister knew a lot of things.” Katherine smiled sadly. “That bracelet you’re wearing was a gift from our maternal grandmother. She was a phenomenal woman and we were very close to her despite our geographical distances. She was born in Algeria, and lived her entire life there, so we only got to see her a handful of times, whenever our parents could save up the money for us all to vacation there. Only one time in my life can I ever remember her making the trip here. On my sister’s sixteenth birthday, she came to visit and presented my sister with that bracelet. She said that it had to be done in person, so that she could be certain that Dorothy understood the importance of the gift. My grandmother could see things, you see, and very soon after receiving that bracelet, so could my sister. That visit was the last one we ever had with our grandmother.”

Mulder was clearly entranced by the tale. “When did she die?”

“Two days after she returned to Algeria. She went to bed that night, and never woke up.”

“Do you think she knew she was going to die? That she came here to pass on her gift before that happened?”

“I think it’s possible, yes. I know that’s what my sister believed.” She smiled kindly at Scully.

“And now she’s passed it on to you, dear. I can see in your eyes that you don’t believe any of this. That’s all right. I didn’t believe my sister at first, either.”

Scully moved to unfasten the bracelet from her wrist. “All I know is, if this is some kind of family heirloom, then you should have it back.”

She was stopped by Katherine’s hand over her own. “No dear, my sister wanted you to have it. I’m sure she had good reasons for that. Read her letter. Maybe it will help you to understand.”

She excused herself, telling the agents that she had many preparations to take care of before the funeral the next day. As she turned to reenter the house, Mulder stopped her.

“I’m sorry Ms. Brown, I just have one more question. What time yesterday morning did your sister die?”

“She woke me up at 2:30 in the morning telling me that her stomach hurt. She was trying not to frighten me, but I could tell she was in serious pain. I called an ambulance, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead at 3:15am Friday morning.”

Dana Scully’s apartment

Mulder stepped back a few paces from the door and admired his handiwork. Rather than installing another chain, he had opted for the slightly more secure solid bar version that they saw in so many of the hotels and motels they stayed in. Flush against the door, it would be a little more difficult to rip from the frame, and the bar itself would be much harder to cut through than the thin chain links.

He wasn’t deluding himself that it would provide any sort of protection against the more determined intruders. Like professional car thieves who could bypass whatever you threw at them and steal your car within thirty seconds, there were individuals out there who knew their way around every home security measure known to man and would find a simple door chain laughable. Scully was as aware of this fact as he, Mulder was certain. It just made her feel better to know it was there, although never in a million years would she admit that to him.

Satisfied that the door would meet with his partner’s approval, Mulder sat down at the dining room table and took a long swallow of the iced tea Scully had poured for him before going to get ready for dinner with her mother. As he returned the glass to the table, his eyes fell on the letter. After reading through it once herself, she had read it aloud to him in the car as he drove, but he took the opportunity now to see with his own eyes the written words that took the coincidental incidents of the last two days and made them seem no longer quite so happenstance.


May 25, 2000

Dear Miss Scully,

First off, let me apologize for all the subterfuge in getting the bracelet to you. If I thought that you would have accepted it, I would have brought it to you directly, but we both know you would have dismissed me as a crazy old woman had I come to you spouting a story about a bracelet that holds powers of clairvoyance. By now, you have witnessed this phenomenon yourself not once, but twice, and yet you still doubt the truth. I can only hope that when the time comes, you will be able to overcome your doubts, or at least put them aside as you did yesterday with that evil man. If not, I fear that someone you care about very much won’t turn out to be as lucky as little Katie Harris.
I know you have many questions, and unfortunately I don’t have enough time left to answer them all. I know that by the time you read this letter I will be gone, although it is not for me to know how this will happen. All that I can tell you is that I dreamed of you, and that you are meant to be the next owner of the bracelet. That is how it works, you see. In your dreams. In the beginning, what you see in your sleep will only come to you in bits and pieces, broken fragments of a forgotten dream. Eventually you learn to bring the knowledge back with you to the waking world. I have spent my life trying to use this knowledge to help others whenever I could, and I sense that it will be the same with you.
There is a darkness on your horizon, Dana, and someone you love will be lost to you. I can only pray that when the wolf comes to call, you remember that there is a way to find the answers you seek.

I must go now, I have a bus to catch…

Dorothy Williams


Mulder finished reading just as his partner reentered the room, her red hair still slightly damp from her recent shower. She ignored the letter in his hand and moved past him to the door, opening and closing it a few times to test out the new hardware.

“Wow Mulder, this looks good. If you ever get sick of the FBI, you can always get yourself a job as a carpenter.” When he failed to respond, she turned to look at him, the grin fading slowly from her face as he regarded her silently.

“What?” She was beginning to feel self-conscious under his intense scrutiny.

His eyes traveled slowly over her slight form, taking in the simple gold studs in her ears, the ever-present cross at her throat, her casual, white, short-sleeved sweater, black jeans, and black low-heeled boots before stopping to rest pointedly on her wrist. Her bare wrist.

“Where’s your bracelet, Scully?” His tone was calm, conversational, but when she looked him in the eye, she could see the disappointment there. It immediately put her on the defensive.

“I took it off,” she answered succinctly.

“I can see that. Why’d you take it off?”

There was only a slight hesitation before she replied. “I haven’t had time to get the clasp fixed yet. I don’t want to lose it.”


She blinked in surprise at his comment. Mulder rarely used profanity unless he was seriously angry about something.

“Excuse me?”

“Bullshit, Scully. That loose clasp has nothing to do with the reason you aren’t wearing the bracelet. Not one damn thing.”

No longer making any attempts to hide his exasperation, he stared at her, eyes flashing, daring her to refute his statement. The staredown continued for a moment, until Scully looked away.

“Look Mulder, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m late for my mother’s.” She picked her purse and keys up from the table and headed back toward the door.

“That’s right, Scully. Do what you do best. Just pretend it’s not there, and maybe it will go away. I thought you said you believed this time.”

She stopped in her tracks halfway to the door and whirled to face him. His anger was infectious, causing her own ire to stir.

“Yes, I said I believed that somehow I knew things about that man Gallant that I had no way of knowing. But do I believe that my bracelet told me? No, Mulder, I don’t!”

She was shouting now. “There is absolutely no evidence to support that insane theory. It’s ludicrous!”

Mulder was ready to throttle her. “How much more evidence do you need, Scully? You have had two psychic episodes in the two days that you’ve owned that bracelet. I personally saw the thing light up like a Christmas tree while you were in the middle of the second such episode. And now, we have right here a letter written specifically to you by the previous owner of the bracelet, a woman whom you have never met before I might add, and in this letter she speaks of things that didn’t even happen until after she had died of a ruptured aneurysm! What more do you need, Scully?”

He noted the way she stood, arms crossed stiffly in front of her, jaw clenched, refusing to meet his eyes, and thought to himself that something wasn’t adding up. Scully usually held her end of an argument in the same way she did everything else – honestly and directly. She had no qualms about looking you dead in the face while she filled you in on exactly how wrong you were. The fact that she couldn’t bring herself to make eye contact with him now was very telling.

“You want to know what I think, Scully?” The look she gave, when she finally looked at him, was pure belligerence. It told him that no, she really didn’t want to hear his thoughts on the matter, but at the same time, was resigned to the fact that he would tell her regardless. A typical Scully defense mechanism. In fact, Mulder was now certain that her entire angry outburst was nothing more than a front for her to hide behind.

“I think that you’re afraid to believe. You know that your bracelet is the cause, but if you admit that to yourself or to me, then you’d be forced to acknowledge that there is no scientific explanation for it. And for some reason, that scares the hell out of you, doesn’t it?”

There was a brief flash of surprise in her eyes that let him know he’d hit the nail on the head before she covered it with a glare. “It’s a superstition, Mulder. You’re basing all of this on some old Algerian folk legend and the words of a dead woman. It doesn’t prove anything.”

Her words this time were quiet, almost hesitant, and he wondered which one of them she was trying to convince.

“What is it that you’re so afraid of, Scully?” His voice was gentler now, all the anger having drained out of him upon the realization of her fear.

She looked at him for a long moment, trying to think of a satisfactory answer. How could she be expected to tell him what she was afraid of, when she didn’t know herself? All she knew was the feeling of dread that had come over her when she read the letter and that feeling had yet to completely fade. She gave him the most honest response she could think of. “I don’t know,” she whispered.

Well, at least she wasn’t denying it, which was something. Mulder knew that her fear, whatever it was based on, was something she would have to deal with herself. He couldn’t snap his fingers and magically make her get over it. He handed her the letter and turned to go.

“Tell your mom I said hello,” he said quietly, and closed the door behind him.

End Chapter Four

Leave a Comment