Title: Genetic Appetite
Summary: Who would have guessed THIS villain was capable of having progeny?
It was late when Harry Drake arrived home. He waved to a neighbor who was still in the elevator, and tried to think of a good explanation to give his wife. "Nah, she wouldn't mind that I stopped for a beer with the guys in Advertising," he assured himself. "Even if it is well past 8:00."
As he opened the door he called out, "Helen, I'm home! Got caught up with the boys... " That was strange. His wife would have been right there with a well-prepared argument. Not a word. "Helen?" Drake ran frantically into the kitchen, then from the bathroom to the bedroom. "HELEN!!!" he cried. "Oh my God!"
At that time...
Mulder and Scully were attending a formal function in honor of the new Police Chief. Actually, they were in Annapolis to investigate a wave of mysterious disappearances that had turned out to be a wave of truant high school students pulling a practical joke on the city.
They were seated at a table for four with the new Chief and his wife.
"So, congratulations, Chief Baird. This is a better way to end our case than driving home in the rain," Scully said with a smile. The creases in the middle-aged man's brow revealed a lot of satisfaction as well as a lot of pain.
"Well, I am honored, and I'm glad you could be here with us tonight. I don't see why I need such heavy protection when I have almost the whole Annapolis Police Department right here. And call me Chuck."
Mulder smiled, glanced at Scully, and back at the Chief. "Still, the Bureau was asked here as a result of your new appointment, in light of your reputation as the underworld's least enthusiastic fan."
"True, but I think Grace can tell you we're pretty safe."
"Now don't say that," his wife warned him. Her brow, too, had furrows showing years of worry for her mate. Her blonde hair shimmered under the lights, and her blue eyes sparkled, but there was no mistaking her concern for her husband. "Shall we dance?"
"With pleasure, Grace."
As Baird and his wife danced, Scully wistfully looked on, and Mulder took a sip of wine. "This does beat driving home," he admitted. "Scully, would you care to... "
Just then, Mulder was approached by a waiter who whispered something, then left.
"Mulder? You were saying?" She was up to a little night out with dancing. *Why not?* she thought. *It's been ages since I've danced with anyone.*
Mulder held up his hand as his cell jingled. "Hold on to that thought, Scully. Mulder."
*So much for wining and dining," she thought. *Even if we are working.* Scully watched as Mulder's expression changed from serious to seriously alarmed. When the call concluded, she asked, "What's wrong, Mulder?"
"Would you care to join me at another crime scene?"
Scully rolled her eyes and grabbed her purse. "Of course. You lead, Mulder. But who's watching the Chief?"
"Rigby and Albert just drove in. Something tells me we're not going to like what we find."
Mulder and Scully arrived at the Drakes' apartment just as Helen Drake was being wheeled out in a body bag. They flashed their badges. Mulder began to guage the situation from the police detectives' investigation, as Scully sat beside Harry Drake, who was so shaken he was definitely in shock.
"Would you like to talk about it, Mr. Drake?"
The man wiped his eyes with a handkerchief. "We were going to be moving next week. Our own house. I wanted everything to be just right when the baby... " Drake fell into some serious sobbing. Scully could sense the pain he felt.
Scully patted the man's hand and stood. "Mulder? What's happened?"
Mulder led her away from the policemen, and whispered, "I didn't think this was possible, Scully. Her liver was torn out. Three months pregnant."
"But you saw Tooms die, Mulder! I saw the mess, and it can't be him!"
"Scully, let's not talk about it here. Make sure you get the Medical Examiner's file and take a look when they give the green light. I think..." Mulder rubbed his forehead. "I don't know what to think. They're calling Mr. Drake's sister to stay the night with him. It's late. I can download the Tooms files on my laptop. You don't suppose he had a brother or sister with the same tastes, do you?"
"Looks like another night in Annapolis, then. I'll call the PD and see if they have any more recent cases similar to this, and Mulder?"
"Get some sleep. And get those hands off of your hips. That's your 'I've-got-to-investigate-this-with-no-break' pose, and I won't have it. I'm on the case WITH you. And I know what I saw, and what you went through under that escalator."
"You know I can live without sleep..." Mulder shook his head. "Maybe he had a cousin... I know. Get sleep."
"Yes. I also know how wrapped up you get in these cases, and Tooms was especially hard on you. C'mon. I'll drive."
"It isn't that long a drive home, Scully... "
Scully was adamant. "We are staying." She knew she wasn't going to have a good night's sleep when Mulder started thinking aloud in the lobby of the apartment building.
"You don't suppose he... "
Scully's patience was wearing thin. "What? Don't suppose he what?"
"Mated. Well, it's not that impossible to believe, Scully. All beings have the urge to procreate. Maybe he could get through a date without eating."
SUPER 8 MOTEL ANNAPOLIS
To his own surprise, Mulder had actually slept for a couple of hours. His rest was short-lived, as images of escalators, yellow-eyed Eugene Victor Tooms, and bile ran through his head. He awoke sweating and terrified. As he splashed cold water on his face, and drank a full glass of water, the unthinkable entered his head.
Scully was still awake, in her pajamas, and reading old files, birth records, and crime reports from 1903, 1933, 1963 and 1993 on her laptop. She made brief notes as she searched through the documents, and just as she was yawning, there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to Mulder, wrapped in his bathrobe. He was clearly in emotional shock.
"Mulder, it's after 2:30. What's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost."
Mulder sat in the chair in Scully's room and stared at the papers and laptop on the bed. "I dreamed about a ghost. The last time I ever saw Tooms. Then I thought, maybe he did procreate, Scully. Check for any reports of women raped around the times he went out for fresh liver. Then look at the births."
"I'm right ahead of you, Mulder. Please, try to relax. One rape linked to one birth in 1933. A teenager by the name of Elsie Adams gave birth in an abandoned warehouse on Valley Road in 1933. The warehouse is long gone, and Elsie Adams raised an apparently healthy little girl. Jenny Adams left her mother's home on Annapolis St. at the age of 16. The mother died in 1946."
"Cause of death?"
Scully hesitated. "Well, are you sure you want to know?" When Mulder just glared straight at her, she gave him the rest of the story. "She was bludgeoned to death, and traces of what looked to be human liver were found on the floor of her kitchen. The house where they were living is on Sparks Street, vacant since then. There were several other liver extractions, but none were linked to Eugene Tooms as he was apparently in hibernation at the time. Police believed the only possible suspect would have to have been Tooms, but he had vanished. No one... ever... No one ever thought he could have fathered a child."
"Apparently father and daughter were out of sync, Scully." He couldn't believe what he had heard.
"I would say so. Look, I wasn't about to go knock on your door with all of this," Scully said softly. "Why don't you go back and try to get some rest?"
"We're going to that house in the morning, Scully. Hopefully, we can put this cycle to an end. Do you think there could be any more little Tooms children in the family tree?" Mulder didn't want to think about the possibilities, and he didn't like the fact that he'd just scared his partner tremendously. One look at her face told him how she was dealing with the matter. She was just as bothered by it as he was.
Scully was horrified by the prospect. "Let's hope not. I'll double check city archives. I'm due at the morgue at 9:00. Go on, try to get some sleep. When I finish at the morgue we'll investigate the Adams house."
"And probably find... "
245 SPARKS STREET
The boards creaked on the dusty, weather-worn porch. Old clay flowerpots sat lifelessly along the railing and on the window sills. Not surprisingly, the front door to the house was open. Hallway walls, livingroom walls wore grafitti from the sixties to present, advertising peace, love, rock groups and gang symbols.
"Home sweet home." Mulder mumbled.
"Kind of makes you wonder, Mulder. Does she live here?" Scully peered around the corner of the livingroom, into the dusty kitchen.
"Were any of these artists her victims?" Mulder looked at the peace signs, wondering how such a symbol could possibly grace the walls of a Tooms. "My bet is, there's a nest here somewhere."
"No kidding." Scully pointed at a stack of old newspapers in the corner of the kitchen. "Basement, attic, bedrooms. Anywhere there's bound to be one. Unless she's gone modern and upgraded to a new model."
"That's my type of remark, Scully. For all we know, the nest could be under the kitchen cupboards."
As they searched the premises upstairs, Mulder's cell rang. "Mulder. You're sure? Scully will be right there."
"Two for the price of one. An elderly couple from across town. The M.E. has them now."
"Well, I see no signs that anyone has been here in years, Mulder. So, what's the count now? Three? Five?"
"Well, get down there, then. I'm hoping it's NOT five. I'm going to see if any of the neighbors have seen any activity around the house. You take the car. I can grab a taxi."
"No, Mulder. You've already encountered the father. You need me to cover you. The morgue will just have to wait. Let's take a look upstairs again, and in the basement."
"The M.E. can wait, Mulder. Which first? Attic or basement?"
"Lead the way."
Scully chose the basement, as it was cooler, damper and more likely the better choice for hibernation. There were traces of two old nests, almost powder. "These are so old, Mulder. Since the basement would be her choice for nesting, I see no reason she would abandon it. Unless... "
"Unless she chose to move," Mulder finished Scully's thought.
"Yeah. I'm only guessing, but chances are slim she moved to the attic. Too dry and hot spring, summer and fall."
"Well, let's go to the Medical Examiner's Office. The PD can tell us where they found the victims, and maybe we can find something to lead us to Jenny Adams. If Eugene Tooms' habits were inherited, chances are she needs only two more meals, and we have to prevent that, or try."
"You've come across this type of thing before, Agent Scully?"
Scully had donned her scrubs and was going over the bodies with the Medical Examiner. "Would you mind taking dental impressions around the wounds?"
The doctor looked at her questionningly. "Dental impressions?" The ebony haired man almost laughed. You're kidding me, right?"
"No. You see this wound on Mrs. Abercrombie's abdomen. It's not from any scalpel, knife or other sharp object."
"So, someone gnawed their way in to get the liver. Is that what you're suggesting?"
"Yes. To answer your first question, yes. We've seen similar cases. Granted, they were probably before you graduated, but just trust me on this one."
"Well, if the blood work-ups are any indication, whoever bit open her husband is dying."
"Mr. Abercrombie was suffering from heart failure. Apparently, his bloodstream was full of digoxin, and a lot of it."
Just then, Mulder walked into the examining room. "Scully. Take a look at this note."
She glanced at the personalized stationery of one Daniel Abercrombie. " 'Dear Anne, by the time you read this note I will have gone to rest. My illness has been a strain on you and I cannot bear-- cannot bear to see you suffering the burden--' A suicide note." Tears welled up in Scully's eyes. "Mulder, the man did indeed commit suicide. Apparently, if Tooms' daughter ingested enough of the drug in Mr. Abercrombie's liver, there may be no fourth and fifth victims."
That news was an eye-opener for the M.E. "Say what? Wasn't there a Tooms case a few years back?"
"Yes," Mulder informed him. "!993, 1994. But if this woman's metabolism is somehow different than the average, perhaps she's still out there."
"And we'd better get moving," Scully quickly said. She removed her scrubs and goggles and followed Mulder out of the building. "Maybe if we're lucky, we can at least get some supper."
812 MIDDLEBROOK LANE
There were two cruisers and four officers still at the '60's style house sandwiched between two parking lots. It was, after all, the industrial district.
An officer met them at the door. He was young, barely out of the Police Academy, and his skin had that grey tinge that just cried out nausea. "You must be Agents Mulder and Scully. Officer Anderson."
Scully saw the fear in the man's eyes. "Yes. Can you tell us how the police became involved here?"
"There were screams heard by some kids riding their bikes. One of them used the Abercrombies' phone to dial 9-1-1. The wife was screaming, and when we arrived, there they were. Forensics is finger printing the place, but we think it's the same perp who killed the other victims in this manner." Anderson was not looking well. "If you'll excuse me... " The officer ran into the powder room off of the kitchen and slammed the door.
Mulder looked around the livingroom, where the bodies had been found. Scully took a look at the front door. There was a mail slot. "Mulder? Take a look at this."
Mulder waved one of the policemen over to the door. "How far is this place from the old soap factory site?"
"About half a mile. There's an abandoned gas station on that site now. Why?"
"Just a hunch. Thanks." Then, Mulder whispered to Scully, "My guess is she went back instinctively to her old stomping grounds."
"Her new nest? But how-- ?"
"Your guess is as good as mine. Let's get going."
BIG FRED'S GARAGE
Mulder stopped the car just across the street from the left side of the gas station. There were two pump platforms, each with two rusting pumps, apparently devastated by vandalism. Oil stained the pavement all the way up to the pay window. Windows in the repair bays had been shattered, and the front of the building was charred from the bottom upwards, but the place could still shelter anyone who could get in through the door.
Mulder drew his gun. "You check the bathrooms; I'll try the front.
"I have my gun. Don't worry. The moment she grabs you, I'll be there."
"Yeah. That's cute, Mulder. May as well get it over with." As Mulder made his way into the front of the station, Scully tried the washroom doors. Both were open, and showed no signs of having been recently occupied. In fact, they were both lacking even fixtures. As she walked to the back of the building, the image of slimy, green-yellow smear marks on the front wall of the station flashed through her mind. Things she had seen but had overlooked. She could have kicked herself. "Mulder!"
As Mulder looked around the repair bays and then ventured back to the cash register, a long, human arm stretched out to grab his left leg, Beneath the counter was a yellow-eyed, brunette woman who could barely grasp the Agent's leg. She did manage to floor him, and as she was dragging Mulder into her cubby hole, Mulder fired a couple of shots. He missed the woman, and Scully ran into the place in time to see the long arm let go, and slink beneath the counter. Mulder wrestled his leg free.
"Mulder? Are you all right?"
"Yeah. Just a bit bruised."
"Come out of there!" Scully demanded, gun at the ready.
"She's dead, Scully. Look."
Scully bent down to see the lifeless remains of one Jenny Adams. She felt for a carotid pulse. "Yes. She is. Time of death, 3:11 pm. Likely cause: Digoxin poisoning. Ready to go for a late lunch, Mulder?"
Mulder stood and dusted himself off. "I think given the circumstances, we should just call in the local police, and finish the file, Scully. Maybe a late supper."
"You're sure you're all right?"
"Yeah, Scully. I can walk. As for the thought that there could be others out there, just like her mother, just like her... "
"Mulder, I think you need some rest. I doubt there's any remote possibility... "
"Really, Scully? Can you honestly say you never think of it?"
"I must confess, I really don't know. All I know is, life goes on. We can't drive ourselves crazy wondering if every strange creature we encounter has relatives. We move on, Mulder. We have to."