Eastern Market Metro Station
The knot in Scullyâs stomach grew exponentially larger for every foot the escalator descended into the depths of the earth. As she took in the people around her, businessmen commuting to or from work, tourists off to take in the sights of the nationâs capital, a young twenty-something in a suit on her way downtown for a job interview, Scully couldnât contain the thought that they were sinking ever deeper into the bowels of Hell, and she wondered idly how her fellow travelers would react to the knowledge that the devil was waiting for them at the bottom, rather than a subway train. She hoped fervently that theyâd never have to find out.
Taking note of the fact that none of her fellow agents appeared to be in the vicinity as she reached the end of the escalator, she flipped open her badge and ID, presenting them to the Transit Policeman seated within the security kiosk. He immediately pointed off to her right and began directing her to a briefing currently being held in a meeting room on the other side of the station, but Scully could hear none of his words over the sound of her heart pounding furiously in her ears. There, no more than five feet beyond the security booth, was a door. Exactly where sheâd said it would be.
ââ¦and once you reach that hall, itâs the second door on your left.â It was only as he reached the end of his speech that the officer noticed his directions were falling on deaf ears.
Dragging her eyes away from the door, Scully gave the man what she hoped would pass as a reassuring smile. âActually, Iâd like to take a look around, if you donât mind.â
At his disinterested shrug, Scully headed for the door, only to be stopped by him a moment later. âMaâam? Thatâs only the supply room,â he told her.
âI know,â she nodded. âDo you have a flashlight I could borrow?â
He rummaged around for a moment before coming up with a sturdy black Maglight. âThere is an overhead light in there, you know,â he said, as he tested the batteries on the light.
âOk,â she said agreeably, and held out her hand. She hoped he wasnât waiting for an explanation, because he wasnât going to get one. She just wanted to get the flashlight and go find her partner before that briefing ended and the station was once again crawling with FBI agents.
Apparently the officer decided that the idiosyncrasies of this one agent after dealing with so many of them over the past day or two werenât all that interesting, and he surrendered the flashlight without another word. Turning his attention back to the stationâs security monitors, he missed the grimace that crossed her face as the smooth metal first made contact with her palm. Scully hurriedly headed once again for the door, tossing a quick âthanksâ over her shoulder.
Once she was inside the supply room, she leaned back against the door, eyes closed, and exhaled slowly. It had been unexpected, the sudden knowledge that Brown had used this very tool to knock her partner unconscious, and she could still feel the vibration in her hands that he must have felt as the heavy, steel flashlight had made contact with Mulderâs skull. It wasnât a pleasant sensation.
Finally satisfied that she could proceed without dropping the light, Scully moved toward the far end of the small room wondering how on earth there could be a door hidden here that every other person searching this room had thus far failed to find.
Approximately a ten foot by ten foot square, there didnât appear to be too many places for a hidden door to be found. The wall to her right held a tool cabinet no higher than four feet tall and three feet wide. No door. Stacked along the opposite wall were various janitorial supplies: a mop and bucket, boxes of paper towels and toilet tissue, bottles of glass cleaner and disinfecting bathroom cleaner, but no evidence of a door here either, hidden or otherwise, which left only one remaining wall.
The back wall was almost entirely obscured by a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit filled to capacity with boxes of supplies, most likely blank farecards for the ticket machines, video tapes for the security cameras, office supplies, and whatever else a Metro station would find it impossible to get through the day without.
Scully wondered idly how she could ever get the unit moved without pulling it over on top of herself. It looked pretty damn heavy. It didnât appear that unloading the supplies from it would be of much help either, because unlike most shelving units, this one didnât have the back cut out of it.
** Great. **
She walked to the left end of the monstrosity, trying to search the wall behind it for a door, but even the flashlight didnât cast enough light for her to see clearly. Frustrated, she gave the unit an experimental shove, and jumped in surprise when it actually moved a few inches. She crouched down for a closer inspection.
âIâll be damned. Itâs on hidden casters!â
With renewed determination, Scully managed to move one end of the supply-laden shelves far enough away from the wall to put an end to any speculation as to what may or may not be hidden there.
âWell Monty,â she said softly, âI believe Iâll take whatâs behind door number 2.â
Office of the Lone Gunmen
âFrohike, sit down already, will you? Youâre making me nervous!â exclaimed Langley.
Ignoring his friend, the older man continued pacing the perimeter of the room like a caged animal. âSheâs gonna get herself killed. We need to call someone,â he said, more to himself than anyone else.
âAgent Scully asked us not to,â Byers answered. âSheâs a trained federal agent, Frohike. She can take care of herself.â
âYeah, well, sheâs not acting like a federal agent at the moment. Sheâs acting likeâ¦actually, sheâs acting just like Mulder. And you know how pissed off she gets when he runs off without telling anyone!â
He changed direction suddenly, making a beeline for the telephone. âIâm calling Skinner. Whatâs the number for the FBIâ¦switchboard?â His train of thought was interrupted by a single sheet of folded-up paper tucked under the edge of the telephone, his name written across it in feminine handwriting. He picked it up, trying to remember if it had been there hours earlier, when theyâd called Tom Strickland, and decided that it had not. Curious, he unfolded the paper, and gasped at its contents.
If you call the switchboard, theyâll never put you through. Try this number
instead. (202) 555-5719.
âWhat the? How did she know?â he whispered to himself. He dialed the number before handing the paper over to Byers and Langley.
As the phone rang once, twice, three times, he watched his two friends exchange incredulous looks. Convinced that no one was going to answer, Frohike moved to hang up when a gravelly male voice boomed over the line.
Assistant Director Walter Skinnerâs Office
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Only the soft scratching of a pencil on paper and the occasional interjection of a harshly barked question interrupted the quiet of the room.
âWhere?â A location was hastily scribbled down.
âUmmhmm. How long ago?â
He balanced the phone to his ear with his left shoulder, freeing the hand not busy writing to rub at his temples. Scully was getting to be as bad as Mulder. Worse even. At least with Mulder, this kind of behavior was expected. Satisfied he had all the necessary information, he dropped the pencil and leaned back in his chair.
âMay I ask how you came by this information?â he questioned.
He grew impatient as the informant hemmed and hawed on the other end of the line. âFine. Never mind. Iâll just ask Agent Scully after Iâve finished wringing her neck.â
Hanging up the phone, he ignored the intercom on his desk in favor of the direct approach.
âKim!â he bellowed to his secretary. âI need Chris Brentwell on the phone right away!â
Eastern Market Metro Station
Leaving behind her suit jacket and weapon, Scully took a deep breath, passed quickly through the surprisingly heavy door, and closed it behind her with a dull thud. She stood quietly in the absolute darkness, listening intently for any indication that she was not alone.
After several moments of hearing nothing more than the occasional rumbling of a passing train in a nearby active tunnel, she switched on the flashlight. Despite the lack of any other illumination, the beam was bright enough for her to discern the hexagonal terra-cotta tiles beneath her feet as well as the waffle-like concrete slabs that made up the curved walls and ceiling â dÃ©cor that was typical Metro station design, as well as an exact match to what she could remember from her dream. A shiver passed through her that had less to do with being jacketless in the cool air of this subterranean hallway than it did with the overwhelming sense of dÃ©jÃ vu that she felt at this revelation. She had been here before. Mulder was here now. The knowledge that her partner was nearby prompted her feet into action.
Moving cautiously down the length of the tunnel, Scully was careful to keep the beam of the flashlight trained only far enough in front of her to ensure she didnât trip over anything. Apparently the decision to halt construction on this particular part of the station had been an abrupt one â the ground was littered with piles of unused tiles, broken pieces of concrete blocks, abandoned sawhorses, buckets of long-ago hardened grout, and various other types of building-related trash. A twenty-foot-long piece of machinery appearing to be a section of escalator lay along the left side of the wall, indicating that despite the tunnelâs incompletion it had at one point at least been used for storage. The thick layer of grime and dust covering the escalator, however, signified that that point had been quite some time in the past. Now the tunnel held the musty air of long-time unuse, and had Scully not known better, she would have sworn that itâs very existence had been completely forgotten. Unfortunately though, she could think of one person who was well aware of this passage and its possible uses.
Now more than halfway down the tunnel, she was able to make out the nearly indiscernible sound of voices. Estimating herself to be no more than three hundred feet away, she found she still couldnât make out any of their words, and marveled at the incredible amount of insulation that must have been used in these tunnels. It was amazing to her that the very thing used to make a more comfortable subway experience for its passengers had also allowed this maniac to murder four of them with impunity.
Scully stopped dead in her tracks as without warning her mind filled with images of a laughing Brown, encouraging the man she had autopsied, John Jasen, to âgo ahead, call for help, scream as loud as you want.â The poor man yelled himself hoarse, encouraged by the sounds of the passing trains, so close, just a few feet away, right on the other side of that wall, and full of peopleâ¦people who never once heard his pleas for help, his cries of terror, or his screams of pain as Brown fell upon him at last with those scissors.
Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, she willed the gruesome images away, and when she opened them once again, she sighed with relief at the dark, deserted tunnel before her. She didnât know if what sheâd just experienced was her imagination at work, or a memory from her dream, but it really didnât matter. That was not going to happen to Mulder, she determined. Her partner would not die alone at the hands of this madman while just a few feet away sat two hundred people blissfully unaware of his predicament. She would see to that.
She moved faster now, suddenly desperate to single out Mulderâs voice from the muffled tones reaching her through the darkness, needing to hear that she wasnât already too late. The tunnel began a gentle curve to the right ahead of her and she plunged forward, not slowing until she was finally able to recognize two distinct voices, one of them weak and full of pain, yet unmistakably Mulder. Scully felt a moment of relief at hearing that her partner was alive and conscious until she drew near enough to actually hear what he was saying. Then it was all she could do not to gasp out loud.
âSo, what do you think of this, G-man?â As Brown taunted Mulder, Scully could practically see the maniacal grin in his voice.
âI think you should put the lighter away,â Mulder returned. âDidnât your mother ever teach you not to play with fire? You might get burned.â
Scully was close enough now to hear the slight tremor in his voice. Mulder was scared. Not that she blamed him a bit, but Mulder never seemed to fear for himself, only for her when she was in danger. The fact that he was frightened now told her that he had given up any hope of getting out of here alive.
âHa,â Brown snorted, âMy dear old mom didnât stick around long enough to teach me much of anything. But donât worry, I donât need that bitch to tell me that the only one about to get burnt is you.â He laughed, and the sound of it made Scullyâs blood run cold.
**Keep him talking Mulder**, she thought. **Iâm almost there.** She could see the faint flickering ahead of the single candle that had been present in her dream. Switching off the flashlight, she set it quietly on the ground, pausing for a moment to allow her eyes to readjust. She thought about carrying it with her as a possible weapon, but dismissed the notion after a momentâs consideration. At the very least, Brown would have Mulderâs gun, and what good would a flashlight do her then? It was better just to leave it behind and keep both hands free, she decided.
Almost as if he had heard her silent entreaty, Mulder spoke again.
âHow old were you when your mom left?â
There was another awful bark of laughter from Brown. âDid I say she left?â he inquired mildly. âMy old man killed her when I was four.â
âThat must have been tough, losing your mother at such a young age,â Mulder said
Scully was as near as she could get to the pair without giving away her location, thankful for the curve in the tunnel that had allowed her to get this close without being seen. Risking a quick glance around the corner, she saw Brown move up into Mulderâs face, his eyes shining with rage. They were no more than twenty feet away from her.
âYou shut up!â he screamed. âYou donât know a damned thing about my pitiful excuse
for a mother. She never did me any favors. The booze wouldâve killed her if dad hadnât.â
âWhy do you hate her so much?â Mulder asked quietly. âBecause she couldnât protect you from him?â
âThatâs it!â Brown yelled, putting the lighter directly in front of Mulderâs nose. âThis little therapy session is now over, G-man. I hope you like it hot.â With a flick of his thumb he lit the flame, bringing it slowly, tauntingly towards the hair on the uninjured side of Mulderâs head.
Hoping to God she wasnât about to get them both killed, Scully decided it was now or never. She quickly rounded the curve in the tunnel, stopping about fifteen feet away from the two men.
End Chapter Nine