Title: All Hallow's Grave
Summary: On All Hallow's Eve, Mulder finds himself to be the centre of a situation that is not so much a case file but resembles nothing more than his eternal grave.
Author's notes: This little vignette/shortstory was written on All Hallow's Eve to amuse the readers who wanted to be amused. Happy Halloween, whoever and wherever you are.
"Mulder! Mulder! God.damn.it. Mulder. Open your eyes now and show me you're still alive in there. Jesus, Mulder. Come on. Don't leave me alone. I'm going crazy. Mulder, please. Oh god, please open your eyes and tell me you're okay. I can't do this on my own. Mulder, I'll go stir crazy. I -"
The one voice in this entire world that could probably wake me up from the dead, rang through to my inner ears but then was kept dangling somewhere between the abyss and reality. Its sharp tones were enough to stir something up inside of me, to tell me that I was in deep shit. Yet all I could do, was nothing.
I just lay there and did absolutely nothing. And her voice became sharper, more intense and horrified.
"Mulder, I am not kidding. If you don't get your butt off the ground now we are toast. Please, please." Hmm, toast? My stomach felt kind of hungry even though I sensed that this was not the kind of toast she was talking about. Yet the lower half of me felt like it hadn't eaten for ages. How could I be hungry at a time like this? I should be thinking of headaches and sore ankles and all the parts of my anatomy that could be hurt. Perhaps I should get up and do something useful, like get the hell out of here, wherever "here" was. I had no clue right now. I felt good the way I lay here.
Strangely enough I couldn't move an inch. My body had no control over itself. It wouldn't listen to my mind. There was nothing much I could do but be here.
I was lying face up in Scully's arms.
Underneath me the ground felt cold and sandy. Her lap was cold too, as if she'd been out in a winter's storm for ages. Her hands touched my cheeks and tried to wake me up. They were cold too. Jesus, it was freezing in here! This place felt as cold as a tomb. An eerie surrounding.
My body felt as if it had been beaten up by a hammer. Everything felt stiff and sore. I remembered falling. Always falling forward, as if nothing could stop me. It felt strange, unlike other cases where I lost the ability to stay alert. This was a real, physical fall down a flight of stairs. Not just any stairs, but stone, carved stairs that had been there for centuries. I remembered the strong wind that pulled my clothes, and the tripping over the branch of the Oak tree that someone planted here ages ago, and the inability of keeping myself straight, and then the fall.
Something was definitely wrong with this scene. Wherever we were, it sounded hollow, like the inside of a large, iron place. Like a vault. No, it was different. Even more hollow. Like the insides of a...grave.
A large, stone grave. A tomb. Something so large that it could keep two human beings inside its shell for eternity, until there was nothing left to do but go crazy and howl at the wolves. Oh god, it was a grave. I could scent the smell of death. The reek of eternal fear. The darkness of nothing. I could actually see the coffins in my mind's eye. Large, rotting coffins with bodies in them. It was like a horror movie, like Night of the Living Dead.
Oh god, and then I remembered.
I remembered the zombies. The nest. The darkness. The attacks. The falling. The cellar grave with the large staircase. The bite. They hurt me and then they shut the door. They locked us in and wanted to make us one of them.
My eyes flew open. I stared into Scully's. I could see her in the darkness. Her form, the shadows, her eyes. She had a flashlight and had put it on top of a coffin resting next to us, and its light shone on us. Other than that, it was very dark. There was nothing much more to see in here.
Her eyes were an unnatural blue, filled with worry and fear.
"Oh good, you're awake. Good. Jesus, Mulder. You got me worried. For a while there I was thinking -" She stopped embarrassed, unable to say the words that were buried in her mind.
And suddenly I knew what she was thinking. I was one of them. Or becoming one of them. They had bitten me in the ass. Literally. It hurt. It stung. It ached and itched. And here I was, ready to transform into a zombie. A living dead. A corpse. To join them in their zombie nest and forget about the apartment with the good TV and the porn channel and the good pizzas that were delivered by a man named Hootchie.
Zombies don't eat pizzas, do they? They eat human flesh. Devour it with their huge teeth and extended fangs that they need to ear off the meat. They live in the dark, crawl into graves and keep an eye out for those unwilling victims that are stupid enough to wander around their habitat.
My head still lay on Scully's lap and suddenly didn't feel so comfortable anymore. I felt warm, itchy, aching. This was not good. I tried to move but couldn't. My entire body felt numb. I couldn't move. Oh man, this was bad. "Easy," she warned me as she saw me struggle, "you fell down the stairs, remember? You're hurt. Your body is still in shock."
Shock, my ass! This was not shock but the living hell. This was All Hallow's Eve. Anything could happen at a time like this. Anything at all. Finally I could get myself to move. I lifted my head and looked away from her. I didn't want to look her in the eye right now and know she would not like what she was going to get.
"Don't tell me we are where I think we are?" I groaned as I finally managed to sit up somehow and move until I was up on my knees holding my head that felt like the largest egg in the world. She watched me intently.
"Oh brother. The grave?"
I felt sore and hurt. Oh god, if I was going to turn into a zombie, would I die a horrible, hurtful death first? Would I see the light and would my soul then leave my body and leave an empty shell that would somehow become an evil entity and bite Scully in the ass and turn her around as well? Oh god no. Please, no. I couldn't do that to her, could I?
But would ZombieMulder have a choice? No, he wouldn't. He would destroy her.
I crawled away from her.
"Hey, where are you going?" she said hurt.
"Erm, I don't know."
"Get back here. There is nothing you can do for now. We're stuck."
"Am I going to live?"
She smiled. "You are alive. Be happy for it. You made quite a fall."
"You don't have a mirror by any chance?"
"A flashlight, will that do?"
"Shine it in my face, will you?"
"I want to know what I look like."
She did as I asked and shone the light over me for a brief moment before straying it towards the rest of this place. I closed my eyes tired. The light hurt a wee bit.
"What can you see?" I asked groaning.
"Coffins, Mulder. All filled with people that died ages ago. Me doesn't like this place, you know. I want to get out. I've tried to crawl over those creepy critters that walk about here and find a way out, but I couldn't. I've pushed and shoved against the door and nothing worked.
It's the middle of the night so no one is going to hear us scream."
"Do you want to scream, Scully?" I asked fearfully, afraid she had already seen the change in me that I wanted to deny. This could not happen, could it? The last thing I wanted to do is end up as a living dead.
"You bet your life I want to! I want to get the hell out of this place, Mulder. It gives me the jitters."
"I'm here to protect you."
She laughed. "Ha. You're not even capable of standing up straight. What are you going to do then?"
"Erm, I don't know. Beat the crap out of the zombies?"
She looked strangely at me, flashing her flashlight straight into my eyes. I chose to ignore the coffins all around us and the look on her face that spoke of fear. Oh god, how and why in the world did I ever get myself into this? And how the hell were we going to get out?
I felt very hot now, burning up, really. Was this the foretoken for death? I had never died before. Or, not that serious anyhow. I mean, I hadn't really been dead before, had I? I mean, not really. Not like this. So how would I know what it felt like to die a painful, slow death?
"Scully, erm, I have to ask you something."
She shoved closer, holding up the light. Was she really afraid of me or was that just in my mind?
"I was bitten, wasn't I? I had to be."
She hesitated. "I don't -"
"Scully, you must have seen it. That thing, it was so close to me. It touched me, and I felt it, and -"
"I heard you scream and shout and curse but I didn't see it, Mulder. I lost track of you up until the point you fell in here. They were close, Mulder. And I can't - I mean, I can't explain how they - or why they - would hurt us."
"It was a nest, Scully, just like I said. They live around here."
"You know what I mean. Shit, Scully. I am going to become one of them, aren't I? I can feel it now. My teeth are changing, aren't they? I'm growing fangs."
"I thought only werewolves grew fangs."
"And zombies too."
"Not in the Michael Jackson video."
"Yeah well Michael Jackson looked fake even then."
"That was a mask, Mulder."
"Besides, you don't grow fangs. You're normal. Up until now."
"Oh hell. Scully, it's crawling with spiders around here. Look!"
Scully's flashlight instantly went down to our feet, and there they were. Dozens and dozens of little spiders crawling all over the place. Scully girlie screamed when they approached her - fortunately leather clad - feet.
"Shoo, shoo!" she yelled and created a dust cloud with the tip of her left high heel. They dazed and rushed off. I had still been on my knees but now I was up, dancing on my feet. I felt dizzy, exhausted and still very warm.
"Easy," she warned me and grasped me.
I brushed her off me. "Don't touch me. I might already be dead."
"You sure look alive to me. Mulder, you're still very much here, you know. And even so, if you are dead, I will chop your head off. I promise you that."
"Oh thank you. How would you do that exactly?"
"I'll run all my bullets through your brain and then find some sort of weapon, like an axe or something and chop off your head with it. The dead you, that is."
"And where are you going to find a hatch?"
"An axe. I don't know. Hopefully someone will hear my screams before it comes to that, right? Mulder, don't look at me like that. You'll be fine. You weren't bitten, okay? It's all in your head."
"Really? Then take a look at my ass and see the sting. Scully, I felt the bite! It felt terrible."
"Oh don't be such a baby. You'll live, I'm sure."
"There's more to this place than just spiders. Look: bugs."
"Yep, they love to eat the corpses. Do you know you can establish one's death by determining the larva and age of the bugs?"
"Thanks for that gruesome detail. I gather you watch CSI?"
"So do you. It's like the learning channel, Mulder. Now sit down again before you collapse. You look like hell."
"Like death, you mean." I sat down and touched my teeth. "I am really certain my fangs are becoming larger."
"They are not and you are not growing horns either."
"That's for demons, not for zombies."
"I'm sorry. It's been a while since I've last read up in my "Zombie for Dummy's" manual. Now, let's find a way out of here, shall we? I don't fancy a night sleeping in a coffin with Mrs. Brown who died in 1765. This place does scare the shit out of me."
I watched Scully go up the slippery stairs. She tried to open the door at least ten times but it didn't give in. I felt tired and just sank on the floor next to the coffin of Eliza Wood, daughter of whoever.
"We're in trouble, Eliza," I muttered.
"Let's just wait until morning, Mulder. Someone's bound to find us."
"It's Halloween, Scully. Everyone will be out trick or treating until eternity, and we'll be stuck in here until we die of hunger and famish, or from zombie bites."
Scully walked down the stairs and sat on the edge of Eliza's coffin, oblivious to the whereabouts of her behind.
"Mulder, I cannot believe you dragged me into this. I do not believe in zombies alright? I came here because your childish enthusiasm once again got the better of you, and I knew I should have kept a better eye out for you. Instead of saving your ass during your tripping over that branch and falling straight into this cellar tomb and bumping down the stairs, I found myself trapped in with you thanks to the no-doubt very strong wind that shut this door. Very nice indeed. Nothing you can do about it now, but here we are. Let's stop whining about zombies and anything that is out of the ordinary and find ourselves a way out of here, okay? If needs be you can rest your achy head on my lap all night. Just relax and stop being such a baby."
I moved forward and strained my neck. "Touch my face. Do I not feel warm, Agent Scully?"
Her hand touched my skin. Instantly she looked at me. "Very. You are feverish, I would say."
"Now, how can I be feverish if I have not been bitten by a zombie?"
"You know? You should lower your pants and let me take a look at your ass."
"Uh uh. You got your chance earlier. Now forget it. My fangs are growing and I'll make a zombie out of you in about two hours or so." Sulking I returned to my stack on the ground, but she was faster than I was. Before I know it, she was groping my right buttock and staring at what-no-doubt-in-my-mind-was my zombie-bitten hiney.
"Mulder, that's not a zombiebite," she exclaimed. "It's a bite alright, but I'd put my money on a spider. You've been spiderloved on your way down the stairs. No doubt by one or several of the many thingies crawling on the floor here."
Her flashlight lit the floor again and she knelt down to take a closer look. Not at my ass thank you very much, but at the creepy spiders on the floor. I took the advantage of pulling up my pants and regaining some dignity.
"I don't know this species," she frowned. "I'd call them the tomb spider for now, but lord knows what they are. You need medical care. I don't know how sick you could become. Some spiders can really scare the hell out of you."
I stared at her. And then I touched my fangs again. "No fangs?" I drooled, sending little slivers of spit on the ground.
"Nothing of the sort."
"Aren't you happy now?"
"But I felt them, Scully. I saw them. They hurt me."
"Your zombies did no such thing. In fact, who says they were zombies? They might have been trick or treaters playing catch me if you can."
"Oh." I felt embarrassed.
"We still need to get you to a hospital. Let me try that door one more time."
Her clicking high heel made way to the top of the stairs. She started groping the door, trying to manhandle it. And then she held her breath in frustration. "Nothing."
"Don't worry about it. We'll be fine."
"No, we won't be. Not until I know what is crawling in your blood right now. You are bitten and it could be bad. Let me see if I can - Hang on."
Suddenly I heard her anguished scream. "Scully!" I crawled up and tried to rush towards her, only to find her grabbing something and pushing it. And the door opened. And there was the midnight full moon that conveniently shone on the world and its Halloween-lovers.
"What the hell -?" I asked.
"The handle was on the other side."
This time she was the embarrassed one. "Oh."
She clicked back down the stairs and helped me up, and we moved outside, in the cold fresh outdoor New Orleans Graveyard air. "I'm alive!" I yelled.
And she laughed.
We stopped suddenly, because before us stood a stack of zombies. Or is that a nest? They didn't move. And I noticed the make-up job done on them. Oh great. Oh hell.
I leaned heavily into Scully as we stared at the nest that I had chased like a freak only a few hours before. I couldn't blame it on drugs or booze.
"Are you alright?" A small girlish voice came out of the group and Scully's flashlight shone on the face of a young girl, all wrapped up and made up like a genuine zombie. Michael Jackson, eat your heart out.
"Yeah we are," Scully spoke coolly. "And who might you be?"
"Katie Mitchell, ma'am. I live down the road. We were - you know - just fooling around. We didn't mean any harm. I went to fetch my dad. He was coming over. We couldn't get the grave to open from the outside. There was a handle stuck or something. You aren't hurt or anything, are you? We were very scared. Thought you were zombies or something. Real ones, I mean. You looked like them."
"We are FBI-agents," I quipped dryly.
"Oh. Oh well, we thought -"
Scully stared at me, and I stared at her, and suddenly I couldn't help but burst into laughter. I laughed and laughed until I couldn't laugh anymore. She held me tight and her first giggle became a spontaneous combustion of sheer joy. Oh god, I have never laughed this much in my entire adult life.
"We still have to get you to hospital," Scully finally hiccupped, as the fathers of several of the children standing before us rushed towards us to aid. They stared at us as if we were madmen.
"Bite me," I retorted. "I'm going home."
"Up yours, Mulder. I run the shots here."
She still held onto me as we limped our way out of the New Orleans cemetery, while the strong wind pulled at our clothes and the zombie-nest-inhabitants followed at a short distance, knowing they would get hell in the morning from their respective human parents.
You can bite me alright, Scully. I wouldn't mind!