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OTM sheildOUT OF THE MAINSTREAM

13-HAY

SCULLY'S CASE FILES

HAYWIRE.

from WETWIRED by Mat Beck,

2400 COURT MOTEL

BRADDOCK HEIGHTS, MARYLAND

APRIL 30, 8.25pm

The cheap security chain snapped easily as the door burst open. In the darkened, wreckage-strewn motel room, Mulder ignored the acrid tang of gunpowder and called Scullyís name twice. He aimed a powerful kick at the connecting door. As it sprang hard back on its hinges he used his body to check the recoil and tensed, prepared for anything. Ahead of him the rear door had been left wide-open to the street and, not knowing what to expect, he cautiously stepped through with weapon at the ready. Mulder looked for a sign of movement in the rain-washed street. There wasnít any.

Half sitting on the wet ground, hunched low and hidden from view behind the rear panel of a parked car, Scully turned to watch him. Breathless, wild-eyed and confused she hastily examined her gun. Six rounds out and it was empty. Alarmed, she patted herself down and found spare rounds in her jacket pocket but as she sprung the clip to load, she spilled them onto the ground. Hands shaking, she uncharacteristically fumbled over the simple operation and her inefficiently brought her to the verge of tears.

Finally managing to get the rounds in and the clip reinserted, Scully kept low, shifted closer to the rear of the car and got onto her knees. She shook her head. Her vision troubled her - it was almost impossible to see properly; the view kept shifting, dividing, fading in and out, and there was a constant, annoyingly loud crackling noise in her ears. She felt sick with fear. Why, Mulder, why?

Angered by his betrayal, Scullyís eyes narrowed into a cold, hard glare as she snapped off the safety, cocked the hammer and took aim. Her finger rested uneasily against the trigger guard.

Mulder stood on the back step and scanned the car park, his expression clearly conveyed his concern. Again he was faced with the realisation that Scully had simply disappeared, perhaps again by force. After a moment he blinked twice, turned aimlessly and went back inside. The door closed by itself.

Scully turned away, leaned heavily against the car and choked back tears. She let her arms drop as if the weapon suddenly weighed a ton. By her side the rental carsí yellow key tag beckoned. She grabbed it, scrambled into the vehicle, fired the engine and drove away fast without even looking back.

Scully just wanted to get out of there, get away, run, but she soon realised that using a car to do so had been a big mistake. The auditory and visual dysfunction continued to get worse in both intensity and duration. She felt strangely drunk and unco-ordinated; half knew that the car was wandering and weaving, but she didnít seem to care about it as she should have. As a result she took a corner much too wide and mounted the curb, the steering wheel jarred out of her hand for precious seconds. Panicky, she got hold again in time to just miss a fire hydrant only to scrape the gutter as a result. She struggled to right the car and it fish-tailed dangerously before straightening.

Her driving didnít improve and out of town things got worse, especially when the rain came again. Even on the high setting the wipers worked overtime to try and keep the windscreen clear. Because of the smeared distortion Scully misjudged a blind corner and cut it too narrowly, realised the error and took steps to correct it but was suddenly dazzled by the headlights of a truck. As the twin air horns warned her of the danger, she managed to avoid a collision and the heavy rig thundered by to ease into the corner, then disappeared from her view. However in the slipstream and the road muck thrown up by the 18 wheels Scully found herself fighting the car as it began to skid and slide and in her haste she oversteered.

Responding to this new problem only found her over-correcting into the opposite lock and everything she did, didnít work. Control was lost completely when the car hit a deep pool of water, aquaplaned and began to spin. Nevertheless she tried to jag-brake when the car slewed from the shoulder and onto the cleared reserve.

Scully felt something give as it crashed against a large fallen log; the front suspension? No time to consider, a shallow ditch loomed. The car entered it at speed and rocked from side to side alarmingly and she hoped to God it wouldnít flip. The car abruptly changed direction all by itself. The steering was useless, jammed tight and she had to place herself in the hands of providence, a mere passenger as the seemingly possessed thing headed unerringly towards a stand of tall pines. Gripping the steering wheel hard, Scully braced herself for the inescapable collision and watched it all with a morbid, detached, fascination. Fortunately the car missed a tree by inches on one side only to graze another before going through with an awful ripping sound of tearing metal. Finally the vehicle came to a halt thirty yards off the road in a tiny clearing amid the trees with its engine racing.

Scully slammed the gear lever into park, switched everything off and sat still, panting. The near-miss had frightened the life out of her. She felt strained from the effort, exhausted and shaking, yet thankful that somehow the airbag hadnít been triggered, an experience she wasnít keen to repeat. As she sat there trying to recover the drizzle turned into a downpour, large drops splattered the car and beat against the windshield. In the pitch black of night she leaned forward over the steering wheel, closed her eyes and moaned in despair.

 

MAY 1, 10.05am

Morning found the car literally boxed in and hopelessly bogged. Inside, Scully was asleep. As the sunís glare broached the clearing it intensified through the windscreen to shine directly onto her face and finally forced her awake. She didnít want to open her eyes at first and waited until the fuzziness cleared. She found she was leaning against the door with her head between the headrest and the window. Although over the years she had learned to sleep just about anywhere, this time she was stiff and sore with a terrible headache and a painful crick in her neck. She was freezing and her hands and feet were numb. Reluctant to move, knowing how much it would hurt, she gingerly eased back onto the seat and waited to see if this would improve her condition. She did get some relief but had to ride out the uncomfortable tingling as the feeling returned to her limbs. The clock told her it was 10.13 but it seemed unimportant.

What was important was that the angle and situation of the car told her it would be of no further use. She closed her eyes to try to regather her wits, only to shiver uncontrollably for a time. Finally she decided to move, to abandon the car, but the driverís side door wouldnít open, so she had to climb over to the passengerís side to get out. Crisp, clean air greeted her, heavily laced with the scent of pine and wet earth. Dew still lay in the shadows. The ground itself was soft and soggy after the previous nightís rain and her heels sank in several inches as she stepped out of the car. She tried to balance herself with hands on the fender as she squeezed past a tree to examine the front of the vehicle. Her suspicions were quickly confirmed. The car was going nowhere. With a soured, annoyed expression she walked with difficulty away from the wreck.

Scully kept out of sight of the highway, screening herself by using the densely wooded forest. The soft ground, tall grass and fallen timber made walking awkward and tiring and had half decided to make her way back onto the road when a State Police car cruised by. Immediately there came a rush of relief at the sight, then despair as she saw that the cruiser was too far away from her, but all this was instantly replaced by an overwhelming dread. She didnít know who she could trust. Suddenly she worried that she had been seen and felt her heart actually palpitate. Her worst fears were realised when the patrol car slowed and pulled off the road then reversed several yards. Scully took cover behind a tree and held her breath. A patrolman got out of the passengerís side and stood with his hands on his hips as he scanned the woods. Scully got lower but kept an eye on him as she unholstered her weapon. After a moment, with a puzzled frown, the patrolman got back into the vehicle and it pulled away. Scully let her breath out and dropped her head into the crook of her arm in relief.

Two miles and an hour and a half later an isolated roadside diner came into view. By this time Scully was exhausted, hurting and less inclined to take care. Even so, sorely tested from hard earned experience she walked into Mackís Truck Stop cautiously. Hungry to the point of sickness and terribly footsore she took a booth seat well away from the main windows.

Furtively, suspiciously, from behind the menu she checked out all the people in the place looking for uniforms and government-cut suits until the waitress blocked her vision. Scully quickly ordered coffee and toast, uncertain she would be able to keep anything more substantial down.

The coffee tasted good, the toast not so but it she ate it anyway to fill the hole. As she ate she noticed there was a bus terminal several yards from the driveway into the forecourt and she watched as a coach pulled in to pick up passengers. At one end of the counter there was a travel display with a brochure stand containing what looked like schedules for Andersí Trailer Tours and Commuter Coaches. She took one and studied it. There was a bus for D.C. at 1pm. She had enough money to buy a ticket.

In the washroom Scully tidied herself as best she could and then walked back to order more coffee. She sat back down to wait for the bus and began to watch the cable news on the television set mounted on the wall.

The bus was several minutes late. Scully stood back from the little group of passengers. Without any kind of luggage and despite a forced air of nonchalance, she felt conspicuous and conscious of the others. There was laughter, boisterous talk and the embraces of family and friends, fond memories recalled of short visits and coffee shared from thermos flasks. It grew heavily on her how lonely she felt, but thoughts of Mulder only brought the threat of tears.

Finally, with a loud venting of airbrakes the large silver and blue streamlined coach pulled in. Scully didnít wait for anyone else. She took her seat at the back while her fellow passengers said their goodbyes and boarded. Fully ten minutes later the bus pulled away and eased back onto the highway. Scully folded her arms tightly and put her head back. A single tear escaped the corner of her eye and she quickly, angrily, flicked it off her cheek with a finger. Eventually she began to doze before falling into a troubled sleep.

 

GEORGETOWN, WASHINGTON DC

MAY 1, 6.30pm

Despite the cold, Scully felt flushed as she maintained a brisk pace through the darkened streets. She was uncertain where to go or even what the hell she was doing until she thought of home. Not her apartment, she wasnít safe there; no, Ďhomeí, her motherís house where she instinctively knew there was refuge and safety. She also realised that it was dangerous to be on the streets alone, not from the criminal element, she was armed and could handle herself, but from the unknown, faceless enemy it was impossible to recognise and who seemed determined to kill her. Scully searched for a taxi, bus, anything - desperation began to rear its ugly head.

A police car eased into the curb and stopped alongside her. Somewhat startled Scully paused and hesitated, aware that the two policemen were eyeing her intently. The officer in the passenger seat leaned out of the window. "Maíam?"

Scully stopped, tensed, with arms tightly by her side, and avoided eye contact. "Yes?"

"These streets arenít the safest at night. Do you need to be walking?"

The excuse came to her instantly. "My car broke down."

He nodded, "Can we contact the auto club or give you a lift to a gas station?"

She shook her head immediately. "My motherís house is not far from her."

The officer indicated the back seat. "We could take you."

Scully almost baulked. "No. No, thatís not necessary. Itís all right, really."

The policemanís eyes narrowed. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Iím fine. Two minutes walk."

He didnít seem too happy with her refusal, but he couldnít very well force her into the car. Finally he touched his cap peak. "Then take care. Good evening."

By the time Scully approached the two-story house, her legs were heavy and she was short of breath. With the last vestiges of energy she got to the door, then realised the porch light was on and that told her that her mother wasnít home. She had a key, but she didnít have her keys, her phone or her wallet, only the carelessly discarded last few dollars she had in her pocket and her gun. She knew the house had a good, state of the art alarm system which her mother set religiously and breaking in would only cause more trouble.

With a sigh of anxious despair, Scully put her hands to the door as if to try to use brute strength to push it open and cursed aloud when it wouldnít budge. She collapsed against it and started to cry like a child - there was no one else she could turn to.

Hearing the phone ring from the inside, Scully suddenly drew back, hands outstretched, realising that under the light she was a perfect target. She turned, scanned the dark street with wild eyes and darted off the porch to seek the safety of the shadows.

An hour later Margaret Scully returned home. Just as she closed the front door there came a heavy insistent banging and she turned to open it. Her daughter, ghostly white and dishevelled, stood on the step.

"Dana?"

Scully pushed past her mother without saying a word, found herself in the living room and paused, hugging herself and shivering.

"Dana, whatís wrong?"

"MomÖ" her eyes were red and watery.

"Youíre freezing. Here, put this on." She removed her own overcoat and helped her into it then rubbed her shoulders to warm her. "Fox has been looking for you. Dana, whatís wrong? I went to your apartmentÖ"

Scullyís eyes flared and she pulled away. "No, no! He mustnít find me!" she turned away. Maggie was at a loss to understand the confusion and concerned for her daughterís obvious fear.

"Dana, whatís wrong?" her tone was motherly, but demanding. She took Scully by the arms, swung her about to face her directly and searched her eyes for an answer.

"Heís trying to kill me!"

"What?" Maggie couldnít keep the shock from her voice.

"Please, Mom, you have to help me." Scully took her motherís hands.

The telephone rang, breaking Maggieís concentration. It rang a second and third time, but as she moved to walk into the hall Scully clamped a strong hand onto her forearm.

"Donít answer it." Scullyís eyes narrowed and Maggie actually felt a stab of coldness from her daughter. She turned to pull away, the grip tightened painfully. "Donít answer it!"

It was a warning she couldnít ignore, and Maggie didnít challenge her daughter; she had never seen her like this before. She wasnít herself. The rings finally stopped.

Scullyís expression lost its severity, she frowned deeply and took her hand away. "Itís him!" With that she sat on the couch, hugged herself again and, lost in a world of her own, rocked back and forth. Maggie sat beside her, reached for her, but Scullyís body language warned her that she didnít want to be touched.

Dana

"Dana, tell me whatís wrong."

"Mulder, itís Mulder." She wasnít making much sense. Scully looked at her mother pleadingly, then creased her face in pain. She put her hands to her ears. The crackling had suddenly increased. "Please make it stop!"

There came a loud knock on the door, another and then staccato tapping with the knocker. Lost in pain, Scully didnít seem to hear it. Maggie guessed who was at the door and got up to check.

Anxious, concerned, Mulder again tapped the knocker. He knew Mrs Scully was home; there was a light on and movement inside. The porch light snapped on and the door opened partly, Mrs Scully was obviously defensive.

"Mrs Scully, is she here?"

"Ah, no."

Mulderís eyes narrowed. "You havenít been answering your phone," he said in a voice that told her he didnít believe her.

"Well, when I hear from her Iíll call you, okay?" Mrs Scully was clearly being abruptly dismissive.

"I need to see her." He pushed past her.

"Fox, please go away!"

"Iím sorry -" Mulder found himself in the living room, turned to look through to the dining room but Scully was nowhere to be seen. He swung back to Mrs Scully. "Where is she?" he asked then reacted immediately to movement on his left. Scully emerged from the corner of the dining room with her gun raised. Maggie was shocked by the sight.

"Dana, put the gun down!"

"Iím here to help you, Scully." Mulder spoke quickly, acutely aware of the gun pointed at him.

"I told you Mom, heís here to kill me." Scullyís eyes kept shifting from her mother to Mulder; nerves kept her swaying on her feet.

"Iím on your side, you know that." Mulder tried to reason with her.

Maggie walked over to stand by Mulderís side. "Put it down, Dana."

Mulder attempted to explain. "Scully, listen to me very carefully. You donít know it but youíre sick, with the same thing that drove those other people to murder. Whatever you may think may be happening -" he made the mistake of walking towards her.

"Just step back!" Scully warned him as she cocked the hammer.

Again Maggie moved to Mulderís side. "Dana, youíre not yourself. Heís telling you the truth."

"Itís not the truth, Mom. Heís lied to me from the beginning. He never trusted me." Tears welled in her eyes.

Mulder shook his head slightly. "Scully, youíre the only one I trust." He spoke the words with simple honesty.

She wasnít listening. "Youíre in on it. Youíre one of them. Youíre one of the people who abducted me. You put that thing in my neck! You killed my sister!" The tears filled her eyes, the gun wavered slightly and then became rock steady.

Maggie saw the Mulder was equally horrified and they both knew that whatever he might say would only inflame the situation. Maggie took over. "Thatís not true, Dana."

"It is!"

Maggie moved in front of Mulder, shielding him from the gun. "I want you to listen to me."

Scully became panicky. "Mom, just get out of the way!" she pleaded with her mother, taking a hand from the gun, but it was quickly replaced.

"You trust me, donít you?" Maggie moved forward. "You know that I would never hurt you. That I wouldnít let anybody hurt you. Thatís why you came here, isnít it? Youíre safe here. Put the gun down, Dana." Maggie continued toward her daughter, all the while keeping herself between

Mulder and the gun. Distressed, Scully hesitated, shaking, close to break down.

"Put it down. Put it down."

Finally, as her mother took her in hand, Scully eased the gun back. Maggie comforted her daughter, embraced her. Mulder could do nothing. Scully suddenly collapsed, crying on her motherís shoulder. Maggie struggled to hold her daughter up and they went down together. Maggie forced back her own tears and looked over at Mulder. He understood immediately. As much as he wanted to help there was nothing he could do. He mouthed the word Ďhospitalí and placed his fist to his ear to tell her that he would ring for an ambulance. Maggie nodded and smiled through her tears.

Mulder looked at Scully crying in her motherís arms and his heart went out to her. He was even more determined to get to the bottom of this and find those responsible. This time it was personal. Very personal.

--end of file--

C L Goodwin 1998

 

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