The long fall shadows crept over the raw brick buildings. The crisp air hinted of burning wood and somewhere regular people, unconcerned with murder and crime, snuggled together. Soon across the city costumed beggars would cavort from door to door in their ancient ritual. It was Halloween. However the policemen outside stood detached. They did not seek the warmth and safety of home. The wind penetrated their exteriors but did not chill them. It passed through them and on. They were somber. This was not a holiday. One of their own had fallen and this was a night for redemption.
"I'm not particularly happy with the idea of using you as bait." Ronson said.
"I'm not, but it is the only lead we've got. He's here, somewhere. I think he's just over confident enough to make a move." Scully replied.
Scully noticed Ronson's grim expression.
"Look I'm armed and there's a dozen undercover officers inside. I've got the two way. It'll be fine."
A moment of silence passed between them.
"I don't want lose another man." Ronson insisted.
Jeff Burke was correct and the crowds were enormous. The line stretched past the numerous rows of expansive buildings. Every man was alert. Scully did her best to blend in with the excited teenagers. She dressed in khaki pants, a jeans shirt and her beige barn coat. She even pulled her hair back into a pony tail. Typically within the groups she adopted a follow position. However as the panicked girls reacted to the scares she was frequently jostled into the middle. On her fifth trip through the attraction her two way radio crackled. Scully side stepped behind a fake stone wall splattered with blood. It was difficult to hear beyond the music and sound effects. Scully pressed a free hand to her exposed ear.
"Scully." she said.
"We got him!"
"Really where? How?"
"About two miles from here at a gas station. He tried to use Beatrice Dorner's credit card. We're on the scene."
"Wait. That doesn't mean..."
"No. It's him. He had all the victim's IDs."
"Where are you? I'm coming there."
"Agent Scully, he confessed. We got him."
"Don't do anything. I'll be right there."
"Hello? Hello? Dammit."
She needed to get outside. She needed a clear channel. Her best route was a direct path through the attraction. Scully hurried past the teens oblivious to their screams. She stepped into the graveyard decorated with gray broken headstones. The room was cast in an erie blue light. On the opposite end of the yard the Grim Reaper waited. Behind a headstone one of the bodies groaned and Scully's eyes darted left. Officer Kluft rolled over covered in brown leaves. Scully remained casual. She eased her eyes upward focused on the figure ahead. She knew.
"Federal Officer! Don't move!" She shouted as she withdrew her weapon.
A flash of lightning bathed the cemetery in white light. The Grim Reaper rolled through the archway and disappeared. Scully leapt and fumbled for her radio. Static was the only reply. She kept her eyes riveted on the dark figure. Scenes blurred past as the he darted in front of her. Scully's heart pounded. She was not going to lose him again. Her temples throbbed. He vanished through the second crimson door. Scully ripped it open and flew down the hallway. A bank of fog quickly enveloped her. Her flashlight was useless. As she proceeded into the blackness a disturbing thought gnawed at her. The hallway was longer than it appeared. The grinding sound of the concrete wall was barely audible as it returned to it's original position. Agent Scully was separated from the rest of the house. Trapped the thick fog swirled around her.
"Sir? Federal Officer. There's nowhere to go. Show yourself." She shouted.
Scully blindly shuffled further into the passage. Concealed under a blanket of fog the black mound rose. Scully winced in pain. A needle pierced her ankle and the world faded.
Damp tile is a rude awakening. Scully felt as though she had fallen through two stories of steel branches. Her right arm cradled her head but the unforgiving tile offered little comfort to her aching body. The feeling was familiar. It harkened to her college days and lessons learned. A wild image her peers would find difficult to reconcile with her present persona. She groaned aloud and struggled to her knees. The weight of the drug lingered. She stood and her bare feet made contact with the cold tile. She reached for her missing weapon. The room was covered in white tile and the odor reinforced the clinical facade. It was empty save for a single bare bulb in the ceiling. The room measured five feet by five feet with a height of nine feet. Above the door a small metal vent circulated the stale air. Two pipes in the upper wall penetrated the tile and disappeared on the other side.
Scully tested every inch of her prison. The only access was a metal door. The humid atmosphere had wreaked havoc on the door but it's distressed condition belied it's strength. She tested it from various vantage points with no success. It resembled an industrial freezer door. It was smooth with no inside handle. Scully wedge her feet against the opposite wall and used her hands to work her way up toward the vent. Unfortunately the walls were too far apart. A few times she jumped but her five foot two frame fell short. Winded she sat to think.
"It's hard, isn't it?" A metal voice echoed through the ventilation system. It was modulated. Scully recognized the technological disguise.
"Yes." She answered.
"It doesn't have to be."
"Then let me go. I'm a Federal Agent."
"I know who you are Dana."
Scully stood. She listened and analyzed.
"How do you know my name?"
"I know all about you Dana."
"I doubt that."
"Dana Katherine Scully. You reside at 3170 W. 53 Rd. #35, Annapolis, Maryland. Father deceased. Mother, Margaret. You have a degree in Physics from the University of Maryland along with a medical degree. You did your residency in forensic pathology. I even know your badge number, JTT0331613. Shall I continue?"
"You could have gathered that information from anywhere. I'm not impressed."
"Who are you?" What do you want?"
"Ah, That would be telling."
"Did you kill Detective Tyler?"
"Yes. Unfortunate but I needed to continue my work."
"What work is that?"
"I help people. Mainly women."
"Is that what you did for Kelly Frank?"
"She committed suicide. Is that how you helped her?"
Scully was pleased. She had him on the defensive.
"No. That was her choice. That is all I do. I provide a choice."
"No. You kidnapped her, drugged her, tortured her then she killed herself."
"What about Danielle Simmons and Helen Croush? Did you help them too?"
"You drugged them."
"It was necessary to help them choose."
"A better life. They were living a lie just like you."
"I'm not living a lie."
"Ah, how hard it is to step away from the mask we wear."
"I'm not a liar. How about you? You're hiding. That makes you a liar too."
"I am here to help you."
"What if I I don't want your help."
A valve in the over head pipe erupted. In moments Scully was waist high in water. Her flesh tingled but she was grateful that the water was not cold. She floated and spied the vent. The level rose and Scully stretched and dug her fingers behind the frame. It moved. Scully planted her feet against the door and pulled. She splashed backward and watched the small vent zig zag to the floor.
Soaked Scully ambled through the opening and peered down the shaft. It was large and could easily accommodate her. She crawled on her hands and knees braced for the eventual rush of rising water. It never came. She shivered and the tingling increased. The effect rapidly accelerated into an itchy irritation. She crawled faster.