Title: Monsters Vs Aliens
Summary: Mulder believes a series of animal attacks are more than they appear to be. When he runs into an old friend, Bobby Singer, who's also investigating the murders, he knows he's right.
Agent Dana Scully sat in the passenger seat of their rental car studying the file that Agent Fox Mulder had tossed at her before announcing they were headed to Beckley, West Virginia. The file was an overview of a half a dozen murders that had occurred over the past several months in the southeastern part of the state.
If Fox was interested in the case, that made it an X-File, but as far as Dana could tell, from the information in the file, the deaths had been attributed to wolves. Animal Control had speculated that the unusual attacks were due to an outbreak of rabies amongst the wolf population.
"I don't know, Mulder; there isn't much here to suggest an X-File," Dana said as she finished reading the last page. "Based on the coroner's notes, it's pretty clear that these people were killed by rabid animals; either wolves or maybe wild dogs."
"Did you read the part about how all the victims had their hearts ripped out?" Mulder asked as he gestured to the picture of the latest victim clipped to the top of the file.
"Yes, I did, and I have to repeat that this kind of frenzied damage is exactly what a rabid animal would do."
"But the rest of the body was relatively unharmed; as if the heart was all the killer came for. Like he needed it for some kind of ritual."
"It's possible that the animal was scared off before it could do more damage."
"Every time?" Mulder spared her a skeptical look before returning his gaze to the road in front of them.
Dana was reluctant to give into Mulder's wild theories without all the facts. She felt it was her responsibility to keep their investigations grounded in the possible no matter how improbable the evidence might seem at first.
But Mulder did have a point. The damage to the bodies was very specific and it was possible that, if the culprit was human, the killer had tried to make it look like an animal attack, specifically to hide his activities. Copies of the local police files were nice for the background information, but she really wanted to see the latest victim and confirm the cause of death herself.
Even if she was willing to believe it wasn't an animal, Dana still wasn't ready to concede it was an X-File. "Ok, so say this is a serial killer." She tried not to acknowledge Mulder's little snort of triumph at her perceived capitulation. "Removing the heart isn't such an unusual souvenir."
"Trust me. I just have a feeling there's more to this then a vanilla serial killer with a heart fetish."
It wasn't the first time she'd followed Fox down the rabbit hole based solely on his instinct and, she supposed, as long as she was his partner she would continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.
She smiled. "Well, I guess I can keep an open mind."
Fox returned her smile. "That's all I ask."
Mulder pulled the car to a stop in the parking lot of the Beckley police station. "Ready to go look at a dead body?" he said gleefully.
Mulder approached the woman behind the desk, already holding his badge up; beside him Scully did the same. "Good morning, Miss – " his eyes searched for a nameplate, "- Lovell. We're here about the Wilder case. We'll need access to the body, and eventually we'd like to talk to your lead investigator."
The woman looked up at the FBI badges and smirked. "How many of you feds are there on this case?"
Mulder frowned, but quickly covered his surprise as he spared a glance at Scully, who looked equally curious. "It crosses jurisdictions," he said casually. "Are the other agents still here?"
Given that the murders had been attributed to wild animals and had taken place over a three month period in different towns, he hadn't expected any regular FBI to aware that there even was a case. The evidence was not something that usually pinged with his federal associates. Mulder fervently believed that the victims were killed in some sort of ritual sacrifice indicating cult activities, or possibly something more sinister. In other words: definitely his kind of case.
Miss Lovell nodded. "One other agent," she corrected. "And he's already in the morgue talking with the coroner." She pointed to her left. "Take the elevator down to the basement and the morgue is at the opposite end of the hall."
"Thank you." Mulder pocketed his ID and tilted his head toward Scully indicating she should follow.
"Is it possible that someone, besides you, thinks this isn't just a series of random animal attacks?"
"Looks that way."
Mulder hated playing jurisdiction games and hoped the other agent wouldn't be a hard-nose about sharing the investigation.
Mulder pushed open the door to autopsy and took in the scene before him. The coroner had his back to them and was addressing a middle-aged man with slicked back grey hair, wearing an ill-fitting blue suit. The corpse lay on the examination table between the two.
The men looked up at the sound of their arrival.
"Agents Mulder and Scully," Mulder said as he and Dana stepped into the room. "I hope we're not intruding."
The other agent gave a gruff snort and addressed the coroner, "I think we'd like some privacy."
"Of course." The corner nodded. "If you need any more information, Agent Rumsfeld, just let me know," he said before making his exit out the back door of the room.
Mulder waited until the coroner was gone before breaking into a huge belly laugh. "Agent Rumsfeld? You do know that impersonating a federal officer is a crime?"
"Course I do, you idgit," Bobby barked before crossing the room to shake Mulder's hand, a huge smile on his face. "How ya doing, Spooky?"
When Bobby had found out about Mulder's nickname at the FBI, he'd adopted it immediately. When others called him that, Fox saw at as an insult, but when Bobby used it, it was kind of endearing – almost.
"Just fine, Bobby. It's great to see you again – "
"Mulder, is this man an FBI agent or not?" Dana asked, interrupting their enthusiastic reunion.
"He's - " Mulder hesitated. He didn't want to get Bobby in trouble for his little masquerade, but he knew that Dana might not understand, "- a consultant," he finished with a satisfied smirk. "They must have misheard you up in reception, right Bobby?"
"Consultant?" Her skepticism was apparent.
For his part, Bobby picked up immediately on what Mulder was trying to avoid and nodded. "That's right. FBI consultant and this ain't my first clambake."
"Special Agent Dana Scully - Bobby Singer," Mulder said by way of introduction. "Bobby has helped out on a few X-Files in the past; before your time." Turning to Bobby he continued, "Dana's been my partner for over a year now."
Bobby held out his hand, which Dana shook briskly. "So they've paired you up with this joker?" Bobby tossed a thumb in Mulder's direction. "Who'd you piss off at the bureau to land this gig?"
Dana couldn't help but chuckle. "I may never know. So you've been involved in some of Mulder's cases?"
"More like he gets in the middle of mine," Bobby said. "Fox and I crossed paths a few years back, and the big lug's been bothering me for insight ever since."
"It's odd that he's never mentioned you. Are you one of his conspiracy theorist friends?"
Bobby frowned, looking a little insulted. "Those people are fucking nuts. Aliens," he snorted, "I've been trying to explain to him that they don't exist, but Spooky here just won't let it go."
"Mulder, I think I like this guy."
Bobby smiled, a bit of his gruff exterior falling away. "I'm glad to see they finally gave Fox a partner with a brain."
"Funny guys, but let's get back to the case. You have a theory, Bobby?" He was relieved that Scully seemed to accept Bobby's presence, ignoring the possible illegalities associated with it. If the hunter was here, then Mulder had been correct in assuming these deaths were more than simple animal attacks.
Bobby walked back to the corpse, gesturing for them to follow. "You're right. I do have a theory, but tell me what you think."
Mulder smiled to himself. Bobby always did like being the smartest man in the room, and letting the older man play teacher was the way Fox had initially won his respect.
"I think I'll wait for Agent Scully's interpretation first."
Dana immediately pulled on some latex gloves and began examining the dead body of Mr. Charles Wilder.
At Bobby's unasked question, Mulder explained, "She's a medical doctor. Comes in handy for cases like these."
"It appears that the heart was ripped out just like the reports said." Scully leaned over the body trying to get a better indication of how the damage was inflicted. "See here, Mulder," she pointed to the edges of the gaping hole in the man's chest, "there's evidence of claw and teeth marks."
"I think the initial evaluation on the cause of death is correct. An animal could have done this."
"Check out the scratches on the victim's shoulder," Bobby said.
Dana manipulated the body to examine the marks Bobby indicated. After a moment, she looked up at him, confusion clear on her face.
"Something wrong, Scully?" Mulder asked, already knowing that there had to be because of the smug look on Bobby's face.
"It's just that – " she hesitated obviously trying to reconcile the idea of how she believed the man to have been killed with evidence that might suggest otherwise. "The spacing on the marks is too far apart to be a wolf or a dog, and there's indications – well - that the animal that made these scratches had – "
"Thumbs." She sighed. "But that's impossible given the obvious claw impressions."
"Could it be someone pretending to be a wolf?" Mulder suggested.
"Maybe." Dana returned to examining the chest wound. "The teeth marks indicate that the body was definitely gnawed on. I suppose cannibalism is a possibility, but some of these teeth marks definitely suggest wolf, not human."
"A person with a rabid wolf for a pet?" Mulder teased and Scully glared at him.
Bobby snickered as he listened to the agents toss theories back and forth
Frustrated, Agent Scully removed her gloves and pulled the chart from the end of the table. "There's no indication of rabies, but it doesn't mean the attacking animal didn't have it."
"Still believe this man was killed by a rabid wolf, Scully?"
Dana shook her head "I'm less convinced then I was, but without more evidence I couldn't say what might be capable of making all these different marks."
She met his gaze and waited for Mulder to share his theory. He always appreciated the fact that, while Scully was skeptical about the supernatural nature of many of their cases, she was also willing to give his theories equal weight.
"Bobby?" Mulder prompted. "You ready to share with the class?"
"The answer's right there, Fox, just say it."
Sometimes he hated when Bobby went all Yoda on him, but it was part of the man's charm to be slightly annoying.
"A person with wolf-like qualities," Mulder mused aloud as he studied the body, and then a wide smile broke across his face as all the clues clicked into place. "Oh you're kidding me? Seriously?" Mulder looked at Bobby who just nodded.
"What, Mulder?" Dana asked, clearly annoyed at being left out of the boy's club.
Mulder held out a hand indicating that Bobby should do the honors. Maybe Scully would believe them if the explanation didn't come from him.
"It's a werewolf," Bobby deadpanned. "The killer is a werewolf. They typically hunt during the three nights of the full moon. If we don't get him tonight, we'll have to wait until next month."
Agent Scully shifted her gaze between the two men before addressing Bobby, "You don't believe aliens exist, but you believe this man was killed by a werewolf."
Bobby chuckled. "Fox knows how I feel about his whole 'aliens walk among us' schtick, but I've killed a few werewolves in my time. Trust me, I know they exist."
Dana followed Mulder to the door of the shabby motel. After Bobby had announced that they were looking for a werewolf, he suggested that they meet up at his temporary lodgings, where he had more information on the case.
Scully knocked on the door and Bobby answered almost immediately. He'd changed from the suit into jeans and a flannel shirt. With his well-worn cap pulled low on his head, Bobby looked more like a trucker than an FBI consultant.
"Watch the salt lines, will ya," he said as he ushered them into the room
Dana looked down to see a thin line of the condiment on the motel room rug. "Care to explain?"
"Not really," Bobby quipped.
Switching her inquiry to Mulder, he simply mouthed 'later' and Dana decided it was best to let it go. Initially she'd thought that Bobby seemed like a sensible guy, now she wasn't so sure.
She crossed the threshold and sat in the chair at the small table while Mulder plopped onto the bed.
"You two don't really believe that a werewolf killed those people?" At the serious look Mulder shot her, she chuckled, "Of course you do."
"Think about it, Scully." Mulder held up a hand and began ticking off his supporting evidence. "One – the murders were committed in conjunction with the lunar cycle; two – you said yourself that the wounds were caused by a wolf like creature; three – only the hearts were taken. According to Bobby, that's a classic werewolf signature."
"Listen to yourself, Mulder. 'Classic werewolf signature'." She shook her head. Dana had seen a lot of unusual phenomena since she'd started working the X-Files cases, but she still hadn't gotten used to some of Mulder's more outlandish theories. "A more likely explanation is congenital erythropoietic porphyria. It's rare, but the symptoms include mutation of the nose, ears, eyelids, and fingers along with an excess of body hair. An unbalanced person with the condition might believe themselves to be a werewolf and feel tied to certain behaviors during the full moon."
"Isn't porphyria the Vampire disease?" Mulder asked.
"It's been called that, but the condition was also thought to give rise to the werewolf legends."
Bobby chuckled. "You've got a real smart skeptic on your hands, Fox. I respect that, but," he turned to address Dana. "this ain't some dog faced boy we're chasing. If you keep trying to fit that square peg in a round hole, you're gonna get killed on this hunt."
"Hunt?" Dana was concerned by what the use of that word implied. "You don't plan to kill this person - if that's what it turns out to be." The slip in her thinking made her realize that she was starting to believe that the killer was human, but, she definitely wasn't willing to take the leap all the way to werewolf.
"I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but there's no cure for lycanthropy except this."
Bobby laid a handful of bullets on the table along with two hand guns as he sat down in the chair opposite Dana.
Mulder stood and walked over to grab one of the bullets. "Silver? So that part of the legend is true."
"I've come up against these creatures before. They're vicious, quick, and even with silver bullets, they're hard to bring down. You gotta get 'em right through the heart or they just keep coming."
"Mulder, if it is a person who committed these murders, we can't just kill him. We have to arrest him." Dana was concerned that they were planning on crossing a line and she wasn't prepared to support that. "Besides you still don't know who this 'person' is."
Bobby smiled and pushed a newspaper that had been lying on the table toward Scully. "While you two were busy lollygagging at the police station, I confirmed a theory I had about our werewolf."
Mulder snatched up the paper and began reading the article that Bobby had circled in the police blotter. "Local man, James Caldwell, was found wandering naked in the woods by early morning hikers – " Mulder stopped. "You think this nudist is our werewolf?"
Bobby nodded. "The latest victim was his neighbor and he moved to the area less than a month ago. Before that he lived in Hinton."
"Where the first murders took place?"
Bobby nodded. "Yep. That ain't no coincidence in my book. I'm also willing to bet there's another victim in those woods from his hunt last night. It just ain't been found yet."
"If you so sure there's another victim, we need to find that body. There might be trace evidence to tie it to Caldwell."
"No time," Bobby said. "We need to get on this Caldwell guy before he kills again."
"Then we should bring him in for questioning and get the police looking for this seventh victim. He can't hurt anyone tonight if he's in police custody"
"We can't bring him in, Scully," Mulder said. "What do we do when he turns all hairy in the middle of the police station?"
"Well I'm not going to just let you shoot him on a theory – and a crazy one at that."
"You two finished?" Bobby snapped. "Because we don't have long until moonrise. I'm heading over to take care of Caldwell, with or without you guys, and I ain't about to arrest him." The hunter stood, a hint of challenge in his eyes.
"I'm in," Mulder said ignoring the incredulous looks Dana was sending his way.
"Good." Bobby let a ghost of a smile cross his face. "You're an idgit, but I could use the help."
Mulder chuckled. "You're not the first to think so. What's your plan?"
"We stake out Caldwell's house and the minute the wolf leaves for his nightly hunt, we take him out. Pretty straightforward."
Dana stared at Bobby; she couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Mulder, you can't approve of killing this man?"
"Sorry, Scully. If the guy is a werewolf then we have no choice, because according to the legend, there's no way to break the curse." Before Scully could protest, Mulder raised a hand to cut her off. "Look, if the guy's not a werewolf, than all we did was spend a boring the night watching the grass grow. No harm in that, right?"
"This is crazy," Dana mumbled as she shook her head before huffing out her agreement, "All right Mulder, one night on stakeout and then we talk to the guy in the morning."
Smiling, Mulder handed her one of the guns from the table and a handful of silver bullets. "Welcome to the darkside, Scully."
Mulder pulled the car to a stop behind Bobby's Chevelle. They'd parked across the street from James Caldwell's small ranch home. Their target's car was in the driveway, and several lights were on at the back of the house. Mulder examined the wooded neighborhood; the houses were of a simple colonial or ranch style, and most of them were set well back in the midst of soaring birch trees. The lack of streetlights and sidewalk, along with the undisturbed forest that lined many of the backyards, gave the area a feeling of isolation.
A tap on the window pulled Mulder from his musing.
"Saw some movement inside, so the guy's definitely home," Bobby said as Mulder rolled down the window
"I saw that too."
Bobby leaned in to hand Mulder a two-way radio. "Best way to keep in touch."
Mulder took the device and then gestured toward the trees in the backyard. "Easy access to the woods where Caldwell was found wandering this morning," Mulder noted.
Bobby nodded in agreement. "He didn't stray too far from home to find potential victims."
"Moonrise is in about twenty." Mulder looked at his watch. "You want to go in and talk to the guy first?"
Bobby snorted and Mulder could hear the unspoken 'idgit' in the sound.
"I agree. We should talk to him first," Scully said.
"Ain't no point in getting friendly with a rabid dog if ya just gotta put it down."
"But – " Scully began.
Bobby ignored her as he addressed Mulder. "I'll circle around the back and set up at the tree line while you and Scully stay out front. Caldwell could set out on his hunt anytime after the moon's up; be ready."
Before Mulder could protest the arrangement, Bobby took off around the house, his progress hidden from the neighbors by the gathering gloom and the shadows of the large trees.
"I know I said I'd wait until morning, but I think we should talk to Caldwell now." Scully reached for the door handle.
Fox leaned over and covered her hand, pulling it back from the latch. "Let's just wait. I promise if sunrise comes and there's no werewolf, you can interrogate the guy, but until then, there's no harm in doing this Bobby's way."
"No harm! He might shoot an innocent man."
"Only if the guy's hairy and tries to rip out his heart."
"Not funny, Mulder."
"It wasn't meant to be."
Mulder and Scully fell into silence, the argument set aside once again as they settled in to watch the house.
"He's got two windows open on the first floor," Mulder noted. "I'm betting that's how he'll leave the house."
"What? Werewolves don't use the front door?" Scully teased.
Before Mulder could respond, a plaintive howl sounded from the direction of the Caldwell home.
"That's coming from inside the house. I'm sure of it," he said as he exited the car. Scully circled around to stand beside him as they waited expectantly for some other sign that the howl had been real.
The radio in Mulder's pocket crackled. "I've got some movement in the windows," came Bobby's muffled voice. "Get back here."
Mulder sprinted around the side of the house, gun at the ready; he could sense Scully following him. There was a crash of glass, and low growling followed by another howl that sent shivers down Mulder's spine. Sweeping his flashlight across the back yard, he illuminated the source of the disturbance.
"Oh my God!" Scully's disbelief faded away. "He really isn't human."
Mulder didn't respond; he was busy absorbing the sight in front of him. The creature looked nothing like the werewolves in old monster movies. It was more like a hairy human than a wolf, but the fangs, claws and translucent blue eyes were completely unnatural.
The werewolf hesitated, momentarily blinded by the light Mulder was shining in its eyes. It growled again and charged loping on all fours right at them. Mulder fired and hoped that Scully would do the same. His shot went wide as the creature zagged across the backyard. He fired again, and this time he heard the report of his partner's gun. A bullet tore through the creature's forearm, but the werewolf didn't slow its approach.
His next attempt went wide when the werewolf leaped sideways as if anticipating the shot. Mulder had a flash of insight that it was going to rip him to shreds before he could kill it. Another shot rang out and the creature dropped, skidding to a halt at Mulder's feet. He looked up to see Bobby, gun still smoking in his hand.
"Told you to aim for the heart."
"Not as easy as it sounds," Mulder said, trying to defend his poor shooting before adding, "Thanks – you know – for saving my life."
Scully quietly echoed Mulder's gratitude. She was still staring at the werewolf and Fox knew she was trying to make all the pieces fit with the science she lived by.
"Can't deprive the FBI of its only decent agents," Bobby huffed as he stalked over to the creature. Kicking it onto its back, he put another bullet directly into its heart. "Just to be sure," he explained when he noticed Mulder's raised eyebrow.
Scully was knelt down to get a better look at the body. "This is amazing." She lifted the creature's claw and then gasped as it transformed back into a normal looking human hand. She watched, mesmerized, as all traces of the werewolf faded revealing a slightly balding middle-aged man. "What just happened?"
"He's James Caldwell again now that he's been freed of the curse," Bobby explained.
"Bobby, maybe you better go," Mulder said. "Dana and I will handle the local police. Someone had to have reported those shots and besides we'll need to close the case with an 'official FBI version' of events."
Bobby nodded. "She gonna be ok?" He watched as Dana continued to examine the body."
"She will be when she figures out how the transformation took place."
"Won't find one."
"I'm sure there's a logical explanation," Dana said as she stood to face Bobby.
The hunter smiled. "Well if you do, maybe there'll be a way to save these poor bastards without putting them down." He reached out his hand and Dana shook it. "Nice working with you, Agent Scully."
She smiled. "It's been educational."
"Spooky," Bobby quipped as he switched his attention to Mulder.
He tilted his head toward Dana. "You two make a good team even if neither of you can shoot straight."
Mulder laughed as he shook Bobby's hand. "Let's meet for a beer later and I'll fill you in on the wrap up."
"Well then, let's have two."
"Two it is."
Bobby nodded his farewell and took off toward his car just as the distant wail of police sirens split the night.
Mulder made his way into the smoky bar and spotted Bobby sitting in a far booth. He slid onto the bench as the hunter pushed a beer across the table.
"Any trouble with the locals?"
"Nope. A couple of FBI agents solve their case with minimum effort from them." Mulder took a swig from the bottle. "They were all smiles."
"They found that other victim, by the way, and Scully's pretty sure they'll be able to link some of the trace evidence from that body to Caldwell."
"Well, I guess that's something." Bobby glanced back to the front door. "Agent Scully not joining us?"
"She's still playing with the werewolf; performing a full autopsy. She'll be there all night until she finds a natural cause for what she saw."
Bobby laughed as he shook his head. "Still a skeptic even after a year working with you and all she's seen."
"I'm bringing her around," Mulder laughed. "Her mind is open, but she's not a true believer yet."
"You aren't trying to get her to buy into your crazy alien theories?"
"They're not any crazier than a werewolf in small town West Virginia."
Bobby snorted. "I got enough things to keep me busy on this planet. I don't need aliens mucking up the works."
"I'll tell you what, Bobby. I'll stay away from the vampires and ghosts and you leave the aliens to me. Deal?" Mulder raised his beer toward his friend.
Bobby smiled and clinked his bottle against Mulder's. "Deal."
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