J. Edgar Hoover Building
At the familiar sound of his partnerâs heels clicking on the tile floor, Mulder pulled his gaze away from the file he was reading to watch her approach. As they had every day this week, his eyes went to her wrist, surreptitiously checking for the owl bracelet. And as she in turn had done for the last three mornings, Scully pointedly ignored the disappointed look in his eyes when he discovered it wasnât there.
âAre you playing nice with the other agents, Mulder?â
Aggression was the key, she decided. Get him involved in a discussion about their newest case, and maybe, just maybe, he wouldnât comment on her lack of jewelry. She knew that further discussion of the past weekendâs events was inevitable; there was no way Mulder was going to let this one go, but she hoped to get at least a few more dayâs reprieve out of him. Whenever her thoughts drifted to the letter from Dorothy Williams, Scully got this sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, and she simply wasnât yet ready to try and figure out what it meant.
âWell, Agent Brentwell tried to take my Ken doll, so I had to pop him one, but other than thatâ¦â
His words trailed off and he simply looked at her for a moment. Before her arrival, he had decided that today was the day. They were going to have a conversation about her bracelet whether she wanted to or not. However, when faced with the look of apprehension in her eyes she was trying so hard not to let him see, he found himself granting her unspoken wish.
** Ok Scully, weâll play it your way. But as soon as this case is overâ¦ **
He gestured at the manila folder in her hand and let her off the hook.
âIs that the autopsy report on the latest victim?â
Slowly releasing the breath she hadnât even realized sheâd been holding, Scully gratefully accepted the opening her partner presented.
âYes, it is.â
She sat down at the small table Mulder was using as a temporary workspace and glanced around the VCS bullpen.
âWhere is Agent Brentwell? He should probably hear this too, since itâs his case and weâre just consulting. You didnât reallyâ¦?â
Mulder laughed at the semi-concerned look on his partnerâs face. âNo, I didnât really. He went to visit the Little Agentâs Room. He should be back any minute. Did you find anything?â
âNothing particularly helpful, Iâm afraid. I can give you the cause and time of death, but not much more than that. Find anything at the scene?â
âExactly what they found when the first three bodies were discovered â a whole lot of nothing.â
Mulderâs frustration with the case was evident. People were disappearing from various subway stations in the DC metropolitan area only to turn up dead exactly three days later at a different station. Each time there was no forensic evidence to be found, and no witnesses. Then, within twenty-four hours of the appearance of a body, another person would vanish from yet another metro station.
Mulder and Scully had joined the case on Monday at A.D. Skinnerâs request after Agent Brentwell and his team had failed to come up with any solid leads on the killer. There was nothing to suggest that it may be an X-file, but Skinner felt Mulderâs superior profiling skills might prove valuable to the investigation.
They had spent the better part of the week going over reports of the disappearances, combing crime scenes, checking and re-checking autopsy results only to come to the same conclusion as the VCS team. There simply was no evidence to be found.
Late Wednesday night, the call had come in that their fourth kidnap victim, missing since Sunday evening, was no longer outstanding.
âAh, Agent Scully. Please tell me you have good news. Your partner and I were just about to go looking for a nice brick wall to beat our heads against.â
Scully smiled a greeting at the older agent as he approached the table. Christopher Brentwell was one of the few people in the VCS who didnât appear to subscribe to the âSpooky and Mrs. Spookyâ attitude held by so many of his coworkers. At 45, heâd been with the FBI for nearly seventeen years, thirteen of those years spent working in Violent Crimes. Popular opinion said that he couldâve easily made Assistant Director five years ago, had he been so inclined, but Brentwell wanted no part of that. He was a good field agent with a decent solve rate and had no desire to join the race to see who could climb the ladder to the 5th floor the quickest. He was well aware of what most of the Bureau thought of these two, but in the few days heâd spent with them, Brentwell had found them to be intelligent, thorough, and insightful and he wasnât about to turn down good help because of a few rumors spread by small-minded people. Especially not on a case as tough as this one was turning out to be.
âPlease donât,â she replied. âI spend enough time patching him up as it is.â The two agents shared a conspiratorial grin while Mulder rolled his eyes.
âAre you going to brief us on your autopsy findings, Agent Scully, or would you like to poke some more fun at the coordinationally-challenged?â
âIâd be more than happy to go over the pathology report with you, Agent Mulder, if youâre quite certain youâre finished rewriting the English language? Coordinationally?â
Brentwell saw the teasing looks that passed between the partners and couldnât help but wonder if at least one of the rumors heâd heard about these two might be true. ** If it is, ** he thought, ** more power to âem. **
Getting back to business, Scully opened up the folder containing her report and slid it across the table so that both men could see it easily. The first item in the file was a photo of the victim as he had first been discovered. Both agents looked away quickly, Mulder being the first to recover.
âWell, I guess spaghetti for lunch is out.â
âThis is Mr. John Jasen, age 26, found late last night at the East Falls Church metro station by a security guard. Mr. Jasen has been missing since approximately 2:00pm Sunday, his last known whereabouts being the Glenmont metro station where he was catching a ride home from a friendâs house.â
She indicated the crime scene picture.
âCause of death is exactly what it looks like gentlemen, excessive blood loss due to severe abdominal trauma. Mr. Jasen here was eviscerated with what appears to be a pair of pinking shears. In addition to being disemboweled, the victimâs arms and legs were covered with many less-severe contusions and cuts and he has a goose egg the size of Texas behind his left ear. That appears to be the oldest of the injuries, most likely meaning that the killer struck him from behind with a blunt object as a way of subduing him at the Glenmont station. The blow to the head as well as the cuts and bruises are the only injuries shared by all four victims.â
âDue to the marked absence of blood at the crime scene as well as the fact that an attempt at reconstructing his bowels showed that several feet of large intestine are as yet unaccounted for, it is my opinion that Mr. Jasen was murdered elsewhere and dumped at that station, the same as the other three victims. Based on the condition and level of decomposition of the body, I would estimate time of death to be between 10pm and midnight last night, which would mean that, as with our other victims, he was probably dead no more than an hour or two before he was dumped. Toxicology screens showed nothing out of the ordinary, and as of yet Iâve been unable to find any trace evidence. I had his clothing sent over to the fingerprint lab, but I doubt theyâll find any more from that than they did from the others. This guy is extremely careful not to leave anything behind. Soâ¦thatâs all Iâve got. Howâs the profile coming along?â
âOh, Iâve got a profile all right,â said Agent Brentwell. âIâd say weâre looking for a complete nut job. None of his victims share anything in common, he never kills the same way twice, and he has a thing for the subway. I mean, didnât they teach him in serial killerâs school that itâs not nice to fail to leave behind any evidence? We have four dead people here, one killed by poisoning, the second from a gunshot wound to the face, the third simply beaten to death, and the fourth had his stomach ripped open like a piÃ±ata. What kind of sense does that make?â
âHeâs crazy, yes, but heâs not stupid,â Mulder said softly.
He had that faraway look in his eyes that Scully recognized as the one he got when he was trying to solve a puzzle.
âThe subway stations, theyâre the key somehow. Heâs taunting us with them, knowing that we canât just close down the entire DC metro system. The fact that he can get in and out without anyone noticing indicates that heâs quite familiar with the terrain. More than likely he works or used to work there, probably as a security guard or maintenance worker. Someone that a lone commuter would have no reason to fear in a deserted train station. He probably already knows that we will figure this out, but by using a different station each time, and jumping around randomly from DC to Virginia to Maryland, he realizes that it will be quite difficult for us to find him out that way given the vast amount of people employed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.â
âBy keeping each victim for three days, and only killing them at the end, heâs probably acting out some past trauma, most likely from his own childhood. I think our best course of action for finding this creep is to continue with the background checks on the Metro workers, with a focus on any who may have been fired recently or who have exhibited violent tendencies. This isnât the first time heâs killed. In addition, we need to figure out his pattern. What makes him choose the stations that he does? We already know when heâll strike next, now we need to know where. If we can predict that, we should be able to get a team in there and grab him.â
Nearly eight hours later, Scully pushed her chair back from the table, stood up and stretched. Bleary-eyed from performing a 6am autopsy followed by endless hours studying maps of the cityâs subway system, she felt they were no closer to figuring out the killerâs pattern than they had been this morning. Her stomach chose that particular moment to remind her quite loudly that lunch had consisted of a five-minute raid on the third floor snack machines nearly six hours ago. She looked at her partner who had yet to look up from the map he had his nose buried in.
âCome on Mulder, itâs time for dinner. Weâve been at this all day.â
âItâs here somewhere, Scully. Thereâs got to be a pattern.â
âMulder, we need a break. If we havenât found it by now, weâre not going to anytime soon. Letâs go get something to eat, get some sleep. Then we can look at it with a fresh perspective in the morning. Brentwell has people working around the clock on those background checks, and theyâve beefed up security at all the subway stations for tonight. Thereâs not much else we can do at this point. If they find anything, theyâll call us, Iâm sure.â
Something in her voice made him look up at last, and he saw the weariness in her face.
âListen Scully, you look exhausted. Why donât you go on home, eat some dinner, and get some rest?â
She started to protest, and he cut her off. âI promise, just a few more minutes, and Iâll go too, ok?â
âYouâd better Mulder, because Iâm going to call that phone when I get home, and if you answer it, youâre going to be in big trouble.â
She pointed to the telephone sitting on the corner of the table, half buried under maps and notes.
âAnd donât just sit there and listen to it ring, pretending youâre not still here either, because Iâll know.â
âAnd just how could you possibly know that, Agent Scully?â
âOh, donât you worry, Mulder, I have my ways. Goodnight.â
She smiled mysteriously and left.
âIâm sure you do Scully, but I also know youâre too chicken to use them,â he said to himself, thinking of a certain silver bracelet. He sighed loudly and gathered up his notes. He may have promised to go home, but he certainly didnât promise not to take the work with him.
Fox Mulderâs apartment
Never let it be said that Fox Mulder wasnât one to follow doctorâs orders. He had left the Hoover building a scant ten minutes after his partner and driven straight home so as not to miss the inevitable phone call.
âMulderâ¦ Yes Scully, Iâm homeâ¦Yes Scully, my dinner is on itâs way even as we speakâ¦No Scully, I wonât stay up all night long going over the case file that you know I brought home with meâ¦Hey Scully, has anyone ever told you that youâre sexy when youâre being bossy?â
He smiled at the resounding click that followed, and hung up the phone.
Twenty minutes and two slices of pizza later, he was pawing through the notes and maps, searching once again for the connection that continued to elude him.
âThere has to be something here that weâve missed. He is picking these particular train stations for a reason. I just know it. Oh great. Now Iâm talking to myself. Now, whereâs that list I made of the crime scenes?â
He rummaged through the pile of papers on the table until he found the one he needed. It was a single sheet of yellow, lined, legal paper on which heâd written the pertinent information from each of the murders:
Virginia Square-GMU Station â 05/16/00 â 6th stop orange line (VA)
â Allison Broomall taken
Arlington Cemetery â 05/19/00â 9th stop blue line (VA)
â Allison Broomall found â poison
Eisenhower Ave. â 05/20/00 â 20th stop blue/19th stop orange (DC)
â Mary Packman taken
Navy Yard Station â 05/23/00 â 15th stop green line (DC)
â Mary Packman found â gunshot
New Carrollton Station â 05/24/00 â last stop orange line (MD)
â Nancy Wright taken
College Park Station â 05/27/00 â 2nd stop green line (MD)
â Nancy Wright found â beaten
Glenmont Station â 05/28/00 â last stop red line (MD)
â John Jasen taken
East Falls Church Station â 05/31/00 â 4th stop orange line (VA)
â John Jasen found â eviscerated
Mulder just couldnât figure it out. There didnât seem to be any particular pattern to the stop numbers he selected, the state they were located in, or the subway line on which they ran.
He ground his fists against his tired eyes and sighed deeply. Maybe Scully was right and a fresh perspective was all heâ¦
There it was. He stared at the paper in front of him wondering how on earth he had missed it before.
âIâll be damned. Could it be that easy?â He picked up a pen and began to write, and when he was finished, his suspicions were confirmed. âThis is it. This has got to be it. Whereâs the damned map?!?â
Dana Scullyâs apartment
After adjusting the temperature, Dana Scully set the plug in her bathtub and proceeded to add a generous amount of scented bubble bath to the rising water. Breathing in the sweet fragrance of apricots, she found herself willing the tub to fill faster. A nice long soak in a hot bath was just what this particular doctor prescribed to work out some of the stiffness that came with sitting in a hard wooden chair looking at maps all day.
Once the water level was to her liking, she turned off the taps and wandered into the living room to put on some background music. That was when she noticed the blinking message light on her answering machine.
With some trepidation, and a longing glance towards the bathroom, she reached out and pressed the button that would play back her messages.
âHey Scully, itâs me.â
**Well, surprise, surprise. **
âLook, you canât accuse me of ditching you this time, because I tried your cellphone too.â
** Oh no, Mulder. What have you done now? **
âI just wanted to let you know, I think I may have figured out the pattern. Iâm heading down to the Eastern Market station to check things out. Iâll give you a call later and let you know if I find anything.â
She stared blankly at the machine as the message ended and the tape began to rewind itself. When the hell had he called? Sheâd just spoken to him barely forty-five minutes ago.
She checked her cellphone, and sure enough, there was one missed call at 8:30pm. He mustâve called when sheâd run out to check the mail. Normally that particular trip could be accomplished in less than two minutes, but this evening sheâd been accosted by the overly-hormonal 21-year-old from down the hall wanting to know where âthat scrumptious guy that you work withâ was.
** Well Candy, or Muffy, or whatever your name is, heâs probably off getting himself injured right about now, thank you very much. **
She hit the number that would speed dial his cellphone and waited.
** Well, at least he had the presence of mind to tell me where he was going for once. **
After four rings, Scully was not the least bit surprised to hear that the Cellular One customer she was trying to reach was either experiencing technical difficulties or had turned off his phone.
** Heaven forbid Mulder would try recharging the battery every once in awhile. **
She sighed softly before dialing information to request the phone number to the Eastern Market metro stationâs security office. Her bathwater would remain deliciously warm and bubbly for the moment, but she could practically hear tiny little bubbles bursting by the thousands all the way in the bathroom.
âEastern Market, Security.â
âThis is Special Agent Dana Scully with the FBI. With whom am I speaking?â
âThis is Stuart Brown maâam, Iâm the Officer in Charge at this station tonight. How may I help you?â
âOfficer Brown, are you aware of the FBIâs ongoing investigation in regards to certain incidents occurring in various subway stations?â
âYes maâam, in fact, weâve doubled the number of Transit Police at each station to try and prevent those incidents from happening again.â
âGood. Well, my partner, Agent Mulder is on his way down to your station right now. He has reason to believe that Eastern Market may be our suspectâs next stop. Please alert your men to be especially diligent tonight. Thereâs a possibility that the man weâre looking for may be a Metro employee.â
âIâve had that same thought myself, Agent Scully. Donât worry, weâll be on the lookout for this psycho, and for your partner too.â
âThank you, Officer Brown. The FBI appreciates your assistance. Just one more thing. When my partner turns up, could you let him know that I need to speak with him? I havenât been able to reach him on his cellphone.â
âNo problem. If heâs a typical guy, he probably forgot to recharge the battery. Iâll let him know youâre looking for him.â
âIâd appreciate that. Goodnight.â
Stuart Brown hung up the phone quietly and gave the still form at his feet a hard kick to the ribs.
âYour partner wants you to call her.â
End Chapter Five