Title: Of Priests and Beasts
Author: Alex W.
Rating: PG-13
Category: X-File/angst

I'd be very thankful it this story could be posted on the alt.tv.xfiles.creative too, since I don't get to post it there. I just like to say that I respect fan fantasies and dreams, but I'm getting really tired to see that 99% of the fan fiction is about Mulder and Scully having a romance. What about a little more imagination, folks? The X-Files universe has infinite possibilities.

Please treat my story kindly. It's my baby. I can take criticism, if it's of intelligent nature.

Note of the author: All the names of places in the city are fictional and pay homage to the authors of the comic book "Swamp Thing", as well as the names of the characters, except Mulder, Scully, Endore Chaney (first name comes from horror writer Guy Endore and second from actor Lon Chaney Jr.) and Magdalene.


Houma, Louisiana
6: 54 PM

A naked back is being whipped in the dark. If someone listens from outside, will definitely think it's some S & M practice. The victim's moans could be of pain or pleasure, like all moans. But the truth is quite different. The young priest Endore Chaney is at a special room of his house. He's wearing dark pants, his back naked and carved like a school desk. His defined body, sad eyes, precociously gray hair and square chin make him look more like some sort of blasé movie star than a priest. Endore whips himself with a whipstick until he bleeds and screams. The room is empty, except for a statue of Jesus Christ, surrounded by candles, right in front of him. The candles are shaken by the thin wind that comes through the window and the air that Endore dislocates with the whipstick. The window has iron bars and the door is a huge iron one, strongly locked. Outside, tree leaves dance in the wind and scream even louder, as if they begged him to stop. He prays, sad and afraid, of God, of destiny and, more than anything else, of himself.

"I beg you, Lord, forgive my sins and set me free from my burden. I am struggling to dedicate my life to your glory, but there are forces that even the holiest man cannot resist, much less a sinner like me. It's true that faith is born from pain, and with pain I shall proof my faith. I promise every possible sacrifice, I'll stand all the pain that is known of man if you bring peace to my soul"

Suddenly, there's light on his face, coming from the window. Endore stares at the statue for a microsecond, feeling an almost inhuman energy fill his body, and looks at the window. He gets scared. The light he sees is not from God, but from the full moon, that appears from behind a cloud.

"Oh, NO! GOD, please NO!

He looks at his hand. It's getting hairy and his nails are getting bigger in a slow and calm process. He shuts his eyes for a moment and when he opens them, they turn red.

"NOOOOOOOO!" he screams, or roars.

Christ "stares" at him with sad accusing eyes. Endore screams even more horribly during the transformation. It happens quite slowly. His whole body structure turns into canine. Some bones are shortened, other extended. The muscles of his members get thin and longer. He feels like one of his fingers is being pushed to inside. His nervous ramifications sense deeply and painfully the entire change. When it's done, the creature doesn't look like a biped humanoid monster; it's more like a real animal, a real wolf, but with scary red eyes. It howls wildly to the moon. The door resists a few attacks, but then the creature breaks it open.


FBI headquarters
Washington, DC

Mulder shows Scully some slides. They show half-devoured bodies. A woman followed by two men, all of them almost unidentifiable. The wounds concentrate on legs, arms, face and chest.

"Some desperate vegetarians abandoned their regular diet or some sort of really big and wild beast attacked these people. There were four attacks in the last two months in the peaceful city of Houma, Louisiana"

"Mulder, it scares the hell out of me just to imagine what you'd call a big and wild beast," says Scully, with a subtle boredom in her eyes.

"Well, guess what, the shapes of the bites and footprints indicate most certainly that a wolf did it.

"You don't mean...

"And I say more. There are no wolves and no zoo anywhere around this city, no circus came by recently, no animal was found during the several police tracking operations, the bites and footprints are much bigger than a normal wolf's and - that's my favorite part - all this happened in nights of full moon.

"A werewolf? - she asks, now with visible boredom.

"You don't look very impressed.

"Oh no, it's just that the cases you came up with these years were so weird that a werewolf, by comparison, looks pretty banal.

"You know, it's not your fault. Werewolves have been usually considered second class monsters these days. None of the popular books and movies about them is as important as Dracula or Frankenstein. In many fictional works they are simply pet animals for vampires.

"What a decadence, Mulder. So much work for a second class monster, a vampire's pet?

"Oh, but I'm extremely politically correct about these things, Scully. Werewolves were never second class monsters to me. In fact, they are first mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, written two thousand years ago, which is supposed to be the oldest fictional narrative ever. They are even in Homer's Odyssey, by the way. I believe it touches something deep in the collective unconscious, since their legend is popular in several cultures, from East Europe to Brazil. Or it's not just a legend.

"You know, if you were anyone else, I'd be really scared of this speech right now.

"Good. Then let's go to good ol' Louisiana.


Constantine Cemetery
9: 46 AM

Burial ceremony for one of the werewolves' victims. There is a huge cross in front of them. There are several people and Mulder and Scully are among them. Priest Chaney holds a bible and makes his sermon, his eyes on the bible but his attention far from there.

"He was a decent man, a man who died in a way that was tragic and certainly looks stupid and senseless, but that we must seek to understand and accept as part of what God's wisdom - he gets very nervous; Mulder notices - has planned for us. This man may rest in good place at his side, for he was a man of pure heart, a man who said his prayers every night.

Endore rubs hardly his bible with his thumbs. Mulder talks in a low tone to the city's sheriff.

"Sheriff Moore, do you know the priest well?

"Father Endore Chaney? He came to this city just a few months ago - Mulder nods - and we've had a sort of a formal relationship. You know, he's not the kind of person you'll invite for a beer, and it's good, I think. This man really stands up for the morals that built his church. He's really vocal about being against sex before marriage, violence on TV and evolution theory in school, unlike even some of his fellow priests. That's why he lives a bit isolated - he points -, in a house close to the city limits, to stay as away as possible from mundane temptations. But of course to you very nineties big city people he must look like some fanatic.

"Oh, not me. I'm your typical nineties big city fanatic - Mulder jokes, staring at Scully.

"I wonder why he was acting that way ," says Scully, very serious.

"Yeah, I thought he was a little weird too, but you know, everybody's pretty scared with these awful deaths. He was in a few too many burials for a city this size the last few weeks.

"He was, wasn't he? - asks Mulder.

A girl in autumn-colored shirt, jeans, sneakers and a back bag, gets closer. She has a very peaceful beauty, almost of oriental nature, with dark and dense eyes and dark hair. She stares seriously at Mulder.

"He's a lonely man, pretty much like his associates, in fact.

"He has God at his side," says rudely the sheriff.

"Does he? - she asks with tender bitterness.

"Do you know him? - asks Mulder, with an almost subliminal smile.

"No, not really.

She leaves. Mulder stares at her for a while, but then he notices the priest is getting out too. The agent goes to talk to him. Scully follows her partner, a little annoyed.

"Hey, reverend! - he shows his badge - I'm special agent Fox Mulder from the FBI and this is agent Scully. We'd like to make you a few questions.

Endore tries to look normal, but he's visibly tensed.

"I don't know how I'd possibly help you. I didn't see anything and... you know, it was simply an animal attack. Why should it interest the FBI?

"Do you know something about werewolves? - asks Mulder, looking down a little while asking.

"Oh, you don't believe in these stupid rumors. It's... it's just a myth. A Folkloric tale.

"Like the devil?

"The devil lives in the heart of man," says Endore, now a little angry.

"Maybe the werewolf, too - interrupts Scully. - Some mentally ill people actually get to believe that they are wolves. They howl to the moon and everything. There's also a rare anomaly that makes the victim grow hair all over the bo...

"You people that exchanged faith for science have come to believe that the soul is nothing more than a lot of electrical and chemical impulses guided by the casualty of nature," says Endore, with a very studied conviction. But I... - he holds his bible hard - I still believe that the soul is an immortal transcendent power that owns free will and can be tempted by the devil. Only with strong faith and love for God our Lord - he holds it harder - it might be controlled and expelled. It...

Unexpectedly, a Rottweiller with a collar starts barking and groaning at the priest. His owner has to make an effort to hold him. Chaney stares scared at the animal for a little while.

"Hold it, boy! Hold it! C'mon! C'mon! I'm sorry, father Endore, don't know what's wrong with him.

"It's okay, it's okay. I'm fine.

Mulder holds back a smile.

"You know, father, that's what's so sad about the legend. They say that anyone can become a werewolf, even, as you put it yourself during the ceremony, the man of pure heart that says his prayers every night. According to some studies, you just have to drink from the same water that a wolf drank. In Europe, during the dark ages, people accused of becoming werewolves were victims of interrogatories and punishments as severe as those inflicted to presumed witches, which is awful if there have been innocent victims of the curse - Endore looks at him in a frightened way - and even more awful if werewolves don't exist.

"It was a long time ago and... well, this is all nonsense, anyway. You must have seen an awful lot of horror movies when you were a kid - Mulder nods, now smiling - and... I have nothing else to say to you. So...

"By the way, priest Chaney, I'm a catholic," says Scully, with a look that her partner learned to respect and even to fear. - So please don't think that faith in science always means absence of faith in God. I know we have electrical and chemical impulses, yes, but I also believe that somehow an immortal power lies under it.

"Right. I'm sorry. Excuse me.

He leaves. Scully turns angry to Mulder, that still stares at the priest.

"You know, Scully, if this guy lived during Freud's time, he'd have burned the poor doctor at the stake.

"Mulder, what were you suggesting? That the priest becomes a werewolf under the moonlight?

"I really wish I wasn't.


Hotel Totleben
5:34 PM.

Scully just leaves the bathroom, with a robe and a towel on her hair. Mulder looks at a map of the city. He points with his pen to the marks he did on the places of the attacks. All of them are close to the city limits, mostly in the swamp.

"Where did the sheriff said that the priest lived? - asks Mulder.

"Near the city limits, "to stay away from temptation" or pretty close, who knows. Why?

"All the attacks happened around the city limits, mostly the swamp.

"Where most obviously there'd be an animal attack. Why can't you think that it could be just a wolf, much bigger than the usual ones, that belongs to some unknown race or was victim of genetic mutation, and somehow came to be here? It's not the first time that wild animals appear in urban regions where they were not expected.

"The priest was right, you are a person of little faith - she smiles, looking down while dries her hair. - Now what did you think of him?

"In my medical opinion, he was clearly on the verge of something, but it looked a lot more like a nervous breakdown than lycanthropy. Since his beliefs are so rigid, it's possible that he's in a serious conflict with repressed feelings or something like that.

"You know, I think that in many ways you're right. And it scares me even more.


Endore Chaney's residence
6:29 P.M.

An almost mystically beautiful sunset at the horizon. Inside the house, noises of hammering. The priest nails wooden sticks on the windows, quickly, desperately. He does the same with the front door. He puts his cabinet and then his couch in front of the door. He sits on the couch for a moment, very scared and angry. Then looks at the statue of Christ, on a desk, which now has a small hole in the right eye. A black widow spider comes out of it. Endore sighs and looks down on the table. There is a small bottle of Prozac on it. He holds it, laughs nervously and throws it away. He takes his table and throws it on the wall. Sits on the couch again.

"Now what, my Lord? You Just have to tell me. Do I have to lock myself in a plumb box and be thrown to the bottom of the sea, maybe? Do I have to hit myself a hundred times and then put salt on the wounds? Just say what! - he sheds a silent tear - Do I have to KILL myself, GODDAMMIT?

He tries to stare at the statue but holds it back.

"I'm sorry, I'm very, very sorry, Lord.

Endore takes a deep breath.

"Is that what you want? Is that what it takes to save my soul and stop this abomination? - he stands up, trying to show acceptance of his destiny - Thy will be done.

Endore prepares a rope to hang himself. Quickly and strongly, he ties it to the ceiling's lamp, puts the chair under it, then he climbs the chair, puts the rope around his neck. He takes another deep breath, tries to contain his fear, whispers a brief prayer to himself, prepares and... he doesn't get the courage to do it. Starts crying.

"I'm sorry, Lord, I'm so sorry, I can't do it, I just can't do it.

He looks at the window. The full moon appears again.

"No PLEEEAASE!

He tights the rope around his neck and drops the chair, but then the transformation already begun. His neck gets bigger and stronger until the rope is ripped. He falls on the floor. If you listen from outside, first there is horrible howling coming from the house. Then it sounds like the furniture is being broken and/or thrown away. The door is pushed a couple of times and breaks open.

The monster walks through the swamp. It groans and walks calmly like a house dog. Its vision is black and white and a little distorted. But the creature listens to everything. All the noises, even the smallest bugs or an almost invisible drip of water that finds a mute explosion on a leaf, come to its knowledge. Suddenly, it listens to a distant human whisper and groans harder.

"The Lord is my shepherd...


Miss Bissete's residence
8:20 P.M.

Miss Bissete, a middle-aged woman, dressed conservatively, in gray, with a long skirt, prays hard in front of a Virgin Mary's image, her only stable relationship. She holds a crucifix and prays in a very low, practically inaudible tone, to human ears at least. She makes the signal of the cross and turns. The werewolf is outside the house, standing, as if it waited for her to finish. It's body can't be seen, but its red eyes shine in the dark, seen through the window. She points the crucifix at the monster, trembling, but trying to look brave and self-assured.

"I am prepared to you, Lucifer, and I fear nothing. My faith is my circle of protection. I...

The werewolf shatters the glass. She screams. The crucifix falls on the floor while the monster roars and attacks. Outside, a hand points a gun to the sky and shoots. It's Mulder. He runs to the house. The creature jumps quickly through the broken window. The agent shoots but the bullet hits the wall. The monster disappears into the woods. Mulder looks through the window and sighs with disappointment. Miss Bissete's corpse lies on the floor, partly devoured. The carotid hangs out, making a pool of blood. The face is unidentifiable, her left eyeball is almost separated from the body and looks big like a zombie's. Her right hand looks like it was trying to reach the crucifix. There are some muddy footprints and a lot of blood, some of it on the statue of Virgin Mary.

"Dammit!

Mulder takes his cell phone, dials the number and waits.

"Scully, it's me!


1:18 A.M.

Mulder and Scully run through the swamp, holding their flashlights and guns. With them, the local police force. Their feet make unpleasant noises on the muddy ground. The simple noises of the police dogs, running and barking, are made scary by the circumstances. The flashlights search schizophrenically through the woods.

"Mulder, what were you doing there?

"I wish I'd say it was a premonition, but that was simply a house near enough the places of the other attacks on the map. I didn't have many leads and I couldn't sleep anyway so I took my chances. And I came to know that the priest's house is not far too.

"Aren't werewolves killed only with silver bullets? Why did it run from you?

"First, I'm not sure about the silver bullets thing. It could be simply some kind of literary element. Second, and fortunately, werewolves aren't so smart. They basically react to things instinctively, like any other animal. In fact, it's even hard to tell if they can be considered truly evil or simply like tigers on the loose.

"Mulder...

"Okay, I know I'm spooky. It's my nickname, remember?

"No, it's not that - she says, without looking directly at him. - It's just that... you know, sometimes I think I forget how lonely you are.

He stares seriously at her for a moment. Then steps on the mud.

"Damn, we're never gonna find it in this swamp. Not much room for footprints, isn't it?

Suddenly, a distant roar and the sound of some animal trotting on the water.

"Wait a minute. There.

"It was the police dogs.

"No it wasn't.

Mulder walks slowly to the source of the noise. He points his flashlight to the woods. The light searches the deep darkness, diminished only by the indifferent moonlight. The world becomes a horribly lonely place when it's this dark. For some moments, all there is to it is excruciating silence, then the ghostly whistle of the wind. You expect something to jump out of the dark at any minute, just like the ghost train, and get almost disappointed when nothing happens.

Suddenly, the flashlight discovers the face of a huge roaring... wolf. Mulder gets scared, points the gun and prepares to shoot.

"HEY! Hey, wait a minute, man!

A middle-aged bearded man with a long autumn-colored beard, slightly crazy but gentle eyes, a drunken smile and dressed for hunting, holding an old Winchester, holds the wolf in chains. The animal is angry.

"Take it easy, boy, take it easy.

Scully runs and gets to Mulder's side. She's nervous. He, visibly disappointed.

"Is this animal yours? - asks Scully.

"Sure it is, young lady. Good ol' Starr. Very nice boy - he pets the animal. -Oh, sorry. Alan Morrison, at your service.

"How come I never saw you before, Mr. Morrison? - asks the sheriff. - How did you get a big doggie like that here?

"I'm not from here. I lived in Arizona and met my buddy there. I moved a couple of months ago. I always live on the mountains and you know, sometimes it's pretty lonely up there. I mean, - he laughs - of course not THAT lonely. Guess I'm just one of these guys who are disappointed with civilization.

A marshal gets closer and sniffs a little.

"What's this smell, mister?

"Oh, nothing, I...

The marshal puts his hand on Morrison's pocket, quickly, and takes off a hemp cigarette.

"Very disappointed, isn't it?

The sheriff smiles.

"Mr. Morrison, you're under arrest for homicide, for taking illegal drugs, keeping illegally a wild animal in captivity and hunting without a license.

"What? HOMICIDE? What the hell..

"A wolf, just like yours, slaughtered several people the last few weeks. There's a really awful dead woman not very far from here.

The guards take Morrison. One of them takes his gun. The other one takes the wolf's chains. The animal roars.

"It's okay, Starr, it's okay.

They take them out. Mulder points nervously at them.

"That's not right. That was not the creature that I saw, Scully. It was much bigger than that.

Scully looks at a distant place, as if she was not listening.

"I was thinking about what the priest said. You know, about losing faith.

"What?

"What would you do if your faith betrays you, Mulder? I don't mean just the alien thing or even the monster thing, but something deeper. If you somehow come to the definitive conclusion that nothing is transcendent? No hell below us and above us only sky? What if someday you just decide you don't want to believe anymore?

"Wanna know something that really scared me when I was a kid? God.

"What?

"Yeah, I used to be told all the time how God sees everything you do, how He's always with you, how He punishes you if you're not a good boy, all that stuff. When you're a kid, these things sound pretty scary, because you take it literally, so it's like there is a ghost or something like that at your side all the time. So God was one of the monsters under my bed. It didn't make me an atheist, but no one convinces me that that creepy old man on the Cistine Chapel is a nice guy.

"It sounds funny, coming from you.

"Who knows, maybe I'm just still trying to avoid my punishment.

She smiles.

The monster walks through the swamp, very tired. The meat it devoured feels a little nauseous, like usually. From the dark, it stares scared at something. The sun begins to rise. The monster howls sadly. His transformation into human starts. The creature moans and sheds tears while its body trembles, swirls, and changes. It's almost as pitiful as watching a dying housedog. When it's over, Endore is naked, in fetal position, with tears in his eyes too. He sees the dry dusty blood on his hands, under the fingernails and takes a little more out of his mouth with the back of the left hand. He rubs the blood on his own face and cries.

Endore crawls, naked, and pulls his house's broken door to get home. The sun shines behind him. He gets to the bathroom, then throws up several times in the toilet seat. Endore stares at the vomit for quite a while, trying to figure out something human, something with an immortal soul and a heart in that homogeneous organic wet dust. He washes the blood stain out of his mouth, face, hands and under the fingernails. Avoids to look at the mirror. Opens the bathroom's closet and drops down a lot of medicine bottles. In his bedroom, Endore covers his nudity with a blanket. Suddenly, it looks like a pretty pointless thing to do. He starts laughing sadly and lies on the bed. A little later, wearing black pants, he whispers his prayers in the room where he tried to contain himself. The sun shines through the bars of the window. He makes the cross sign.

In the swamp, the woman who called Endore a lonely man practices tai-chi. Her movements are perfect and she feels the chili breeze of the morning on her face. She listens to a distant car that crosses the road and seems to lose her concentration. Now she looks upset.


Endore's Residence
7: 21 A.M.

Mulder and Scully's car arrives and stops in front of Endore's house.

"I can't wait to see what you're gonna say... - Scully starts to joke until she sees the broken door.

"I'm glad if there's enough of him to listen.

They take their guns and get slowly into the house. Everything's pretty quiet. The pieces of broken furniture are all over the living room. The couch is broken in two pieces and ripped, with little pieces of spume jumping softly out of it in the wind. The statue of Christ is now decapitated, which gives Scully the creeps.

"Father Chaney? HEY! - screams Mulder, trying to take the picture of Miss Bissete out of his mind.

They get into the bathroom. Endore lies in the bathtub, asleep, with an expression that could be confounded with peace. It's full of water and there is blood coming out of his wrists.

"OH MY GOD! - screams Scully, while she puts her gun down.

Endore wakes up on his bed. There are bandages with blood spots on his wrists. Scully is sitting on the bed and stares sadly and mercifully at him. She holds his left hand Mulder is standing up, in front of the bed.

"Hello, reverend. I think God didn't want you there right now. You lost blood, but we got to stop it in time. Fortunately you didn't take sleeping pills.

"I didn't need it, I was completely exhausted. But yes, I don't think He wants me there. I still wasn't punished enough.

"What I think is that you are punishing yourself more than anyone else - gently says Scully, holding his hand with her both ones now.

"So it'll never be enough. Agent Scully, since you seem to be interested in psychology, would you like to know what is my most frequent dream?

"Sure.

"I'm in some kind of dark long hallway. I have the strong sensation that something horrible, something that I can't see, is coming for me from the corner of the hallway. I run as hard as I can but I just can't move. The thing doesn't reach me, but I can't get away either. Then I realize its horrible shiny red eyes in the dark. So I turn my eyes and... and I see a mirror. And I realize that these eyes are mine. I realize that that thing... is me. I stop running. But then the thing catches me and slaughters my body. And I wake up covered with sweat, with my heart trying to make his way out of my chest.

She touches gently his gray hair, smiles and turns to Mulder.

"Mulder, can I talk to you for a minute?

They walk out of the bedroom

"Mulder, this man certainly needs help, but not the one that you're thinking.

"Scully, did you notice that the front door, with all the wooden sticks, was broken from the inside? These marks belong for sure to an animal's claws. And that empty room with bars at the window and iron door which, by the way, is broken from the inside too?! If he's not a werewolf, what is he, the Incredible Hulk?

Endore appears at the door.

"Who died last night?

Mulder and Scully stare at each other.


City Morgue
2:42 P.M.

Mulder, Scully and Endore get into morgue with an employee. He shows the bed, covered with a sheet, where Miss Bissete's corpse lies.

Would you leave us alone for a moment, please? - asks Mulder, showing his badge.

"Sure.

He leaves the room.

"Well... - Mulder says while he pulls a little the sheet.

"It's Miss Bissete, I think - Endore has a flashback of the attack; her scream echoes in his mind - It's a little distorted but I think it's her. Middle-aged woman. Dark hair. Long dress. I think the worst wounds were on the left arm, throat and face.

Mulder pulls the sheet and takes a look. He nods.

"Father Chaney, I don't want to make fun of you after all the pain you've gone through, but if you were possessed by this supernatural force, how comes you remember all that? - asks Scully.

"I have fragments of its memory. Well, the nights I don't have that dream I described you, it's usually when the faces of the dead come to visit me. Do you know how a werewolf thinks? It's funny. You don't think with words. It's just pictures, smells - a lot of smells -, tastes... You know, it's oddly funny to have these memories in black and white. It's like a part of your life is some old horror movie.


Endore's residence
5:25 P.M.

Endore shows the agents the room where he tried to hide himself. It's full of marks from his claws and a little blood.

"This is where I foolishly tried to protect myself. It looks like the more you try to hold the beast, the worst it gets.

"You know, my partner doesn't believe in werewolves," says Mulder.

"Why should her? - He laughs nervously. Mulder and Scully smile without enthusiasm. - Does it make life actually any better to believe in these things? - Endore takes a pill of Prozac, trembling. - What do you think of a man that experienced something that shouldn't exist in nature, probably something mystic, and that's exactly why he doesn't know if He still has faith in God?

"Father Chaney," says Scully, holding her crucifix - I'm a person that abandoned the church and struggled to find answers in science. Even though I still strongly believe in finding the truth with its methods, I also look for something beyond it. I certainly have experienced many things of a strange nature, that both tested my faith in science and in a higher power. I didn't find all the answers but I never lost the faith to look for them.

"Listen, I'm not a theologist, much less a philosopher," says Mulder, with a sad smile. - I have beliefs that I've been defending for many years and I lost much more than I gained for doing it. There were many situations in which I or other people were dominated by forces out of our control. But still, without these beliefs, I don't think that my life would make any sense.

Endore nods. Then he stares for a moment at his blood-stained whipstick. He gets tensed. Makes some vague gesture, like he's going to say something, but then simply takes the whipstick, drops to his knees and starts whipping his own face, wildly, in front of the agents. Mulder and Scully try to hold his arms.

"FORGIVE ME! FORGIVE ME LORD! FORGIVE ME PLEASE!

"NO, REVEREND! - screams Mulder. - DON'T! STOP IT! It's not this way! It's not what he wants!

"And how do you know what the hell He wants?

Endore stops. Mulder and Scully let him go.

"Father, maybe you should stop with this medication," says Scully. - You'd be having some side effect.

"Now what I want to know is not if I'm just loosing my mind or if a supernatural force controls me, but if God or nature or whatever really cares about me, about the person that I truly want to be. I never wanted any of this. I don't want to hurt people.

He sheds silent tears for a little while. Scully puts her hand on his shoulder and smiles. He looks at her, very seriously.

"You scientists and believers tell me one thing. How comes that your brain senses instinctively something as good or bad? I mean, these things seem to be only abstractions, nothing seems to be inherently good or bad in nature. So how does your brain naturally interprets a lot of things as pleasant or painful, attractive or repulsive? How do these things work?

Mulder and Scully smile, a little embarrassed, and don't say anything.

"You know, everything I've wanted to be sure of is that there is a clear way to be good, that you can simply choose to be good and that you get rewarded for that. Am I asking too much?

Outside, the tai-chi practicing woman stares sadly at Endore's house. She walks to it. Takes a 38-caliber gun out of her back bag.

The woman gets into the room, holding the gun inside her bag. Mulder and Scully notice her and the hand in the bag, surprised and suspicious. Endore is not paying attention.

"Hi, Endore.

"What? Oh, Magdalene?

"Awfully long time, wasn't it?

Endore steps ahead to talk to her but she takes the gun out of the bag and points at him. Almost automatically Mulder and Scully take their guns and point at her.

"PUT THAT GUN DOWN! - Screams Scully.

Magdalene tries to point the gun at three of them at the same time, desperate.

"NO! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I'M DOING THIS FOR HIM!

"Magdalene, please...

"Forgive me, Endore. I know you will. I... I still love you.

For a moment, that seems eternal, Magdalene, Mulder and Scully look at each other, holding their guns. Magdalene sweats. Scully's just at a hesitation second away from shooting her. Suddenly, Endore raises his arms. Magdalene looks at him and aims him directly, quickly, and starts to pull the trigger. He shows her his wrists. She puts the gun down a little.

"Look at this, Magdalene. I'm going to hell anyway, and soon. But don't come with me. Please.

She puts the gun down, starts crying, holds and kisses him real hard. Mulder and Scully put their guns down too and a relief feeling invades them. Then Magdalene let's go of Endore and stares at him.

"I had our child.

Blood sees to disappear from Endore's face.

Endore's hand is against the window, his head down. Magdalene tries to talk to him.

"I swear, Endore, the kid is okay. He's already two years old and there's nothing wrong with him. He's perfectly normal.

"As normal as the son of a werewolf priest can be - jokes Mulder.

"He was not a priest then. And... and that's not the point anyway. The point is...

"Who knows, Magdalene? Who really knows how this damn thing manifests? It's not measles, for Chrissakes!

"How did it happen to you? - asks Mulder.

"How? It's really simple, in fact. It happened when I was born. Do you believe that I was born on Christmas' Eve?

"Oh Jesus Christ!"

"What, Mulder?" asks Scully. "What's wrong?"

"Ironic as it may sound, being born on Christmas' eve is considered one of the ways by which someone might become a werewolf."

Endore stares confused at Mulder for a moment, than starts to gaggle hysterically.

"Father..." says Scully.

"Of course I don't remember that, but just imagine the look in the eyes of a mother that finds out something like that. Mental or physical deficiency, life of crime, maybe even a cold heart is easier to accept than the unexplainable, the unspeakable.

"Thirty years ago, Endore's mother walks to his cradle. She looks at it with a smile and then gets terrified. The sound that comes from it is still childish and innocent, but not human. Its eyes are closed, it shakes arms and legs like a baby and wants the comfort that only a mother's arms are able to offer, but now she screams and trembles and holds her crucifix and feels something nauseous in her guts."

"What was she doing when she first saw that?" narrates Endore. "Maybe she just wanted to watch me sleep, to listen to my breathing. But the most unbelievable is that she somehow found it in herself to love such an abomination."

"Endore's mother locks quickly the door of his bedroom. She stands against the door, kisses her crucifix, makes the cross sign and puts her hands on her ears. A howling that sounds a little like crying comes from inside. This ritual lasted for years until one day she is taking her kid to the bedroom and suddenly begins to feel a strong pain in her left arm."

"Mom, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, sweetheart, nothing. Get in, get in."

She gets to the door, but when she's about to shut it, her heart condition gets worse and she falls on the floor. Animal noises begin to be heard from the bedroom while she is dying and desperately still raising her hand, still trying to shut the door. It's just a few inches away, like something that falls in a hole and you don't reach it because your shoulder got stuck. When the werewolf gets out, it comes close to the woman, the red eyes shining in the dark and... all it does is to smell her body, already dead. It howls sadly to the moon.

"What scares me the most is that my last memory of her is not the picture of her face, but the smell of her dead body - remembers Endore. - After that, I spent a long time living away from the other people. I was in forests, living naked, long nails, long hair, long beard, the whole stuff. That was the first time I actually felt somewhat in peace with what I was. I was allowed to live by the rules of that world. But still, I lived alone."

Magdalene stares tender at him and interrupts his narration.

"It was when I first met him. I'm an easy rider type so of course I loved to walk in the forest. But, as much a hippie as I am, I got really surprised by seeing a hairy naked guy running to me.

"And I was surprised by how naturally she reacted to me. It was really easy to notice that there was some kind of, okay, chemistry between us.

"I brought him home and gave him, a more, hmm, civilized looking."

A few days after that, they make wild love. He penetrates her as if he was going to die without it, but still gently.

"He was basically a kind man and, when we made love, I was able to feel this great energy he had, this electricity, this urge for life. However, there was also this unexplained melancholy in his eyes. He refused to tell me about his past and I accepted. I enjoyed that mystery around him. But things really begun to get weird when our first full moon was about to come and he made up this travel he needed to do alone, without questions. First, I pretended to believe him. But I actually didn't and I followed him. I was, I don't know, afraid that he wanted his old life back, or that he had a horrible hidden life, anything."

She walks with her back bag through the forest. Clouds cover the full moon and suddenly things get completely dark. Was Magdalene a cosmopolitan type, not used to night being actually dark, she'd drop and have her clothes ripped every five seconds, but she holds her flashlight and knows what to do.

Suddenly, she listens to howling and gets stuck. It's not the howling itself that scares her, Magdalene is used to handle with wild animals. It's something subliminal, in the tone of the howling, a timbre she's heard before that resonates and echoes forever in the cathedral behind her eyes. She doesn't know where to run to. Her ears are too concentrated on that timbre to figure out where the sound is coming from, but she knows it's getting louder.

"I had a vision that made me curse my own sanity," says Magdalene, almost weeping. - I was paralyzed, don't know if for fear or some strange form of recognition. I stared at that thing for a million years and it... and it..."

The werewolf gets away.

"I was never sure if it was a conscious act, but the truth is that I hadn't seen Endore since that day, almost three years ago. It was until I knew about the deaths in Houma and I saw who the priest was."

"I tried to find myself in compassion, in the wild, in love, in God and in death," says Endore. Don't think there is much left. Magdalene, when did you find out that you were pregnant?"

"A little after you went away. But I couldn't abort that child, I was not sure about nothing. It was the only part of you that I still had. And it's a lovely child, I swear."

"And you tried to kill the kid's father," says Mulder.

"The greatest proof of love I ever received," says Endore. He looks at the window and sees unset coming. - I don't stand any of this anymore. Listen to me, carefully, agents. I want you to handcuff me to this window. When I start to become that thing, I want you to shoot me, understand? Just shoot me."

"You can't be serious!" says Scully.

Mulder takes his handcuffs and gets Endore locked to the window.

"Mulder, what the hell are you... "

Mulder takes his gun and prepares it. "Now let's wait."

"So you're really considering the possibility to kill him."

"Scully, If he AND she are just crazy, we're gonna find out pretty soon."

"Please get out of the room, all of you," says Endore, without looking directly at them. "I don't want you to take the risk of getting hurt."

Magdalene touches his chin, rubs it gently with the thumb and kisses him.

"You'd have so much to live for."

"Maybe you're simply born from the right dust or the wrong dust. If it's the wrong dust, you're destined to hell, no matter how much you fight to get to heaven."

They hold. Mulder and Scully leave the room. Suddenly, Magdalene shuts the iron door with the broken lock. What Mulder and Scully hadn't noticed is that there are small bars nailed on the door to lock it with a wooden stick standing aside. Magdalene takes the stick and fits it between the bars and the door. Mulder knocks hardly at the door.

"Magdalene, what are you doing?"

"I need a moment alone with him, please."

"Don't you DO that!" says Endore. "The moonlight is about to show."

"I'll wait."

"Are you crazy?"

"We're twin souls, Endore. We'll always be."

"Who'll take care of the kid?

"We'll all be like one."

"What? How..."

He stares at the sky. It's the full moon.

"NOOO!"

The transformation begins again. His hand starts to become a paw and pushes the handcuff. Outside, Mulder kicks the door.

"MAGDALENE, HE'S CHANGING!"

"I know what I'm doing. Just give me a minute."

The creature breaks the handcuff. It completes the transformation. They stare at each other.

"You're still there, Endore, aren't you? Somehow, you're still there."

Mulder puts his ears against the door. Magdalene points her hand to the monster. The creature groans. She gets a little closer. Suddenly, Endore attacks her with the paw. She steps back and against the wall.

"MAGDALENE!"

"I'm okay, I'm okay. Trust me."

She stares at her bleeding hand. She looks at the moon and closes her eyes. Her transformation begins. The monster groans but steps back a little. Outside, Mulder listens, surprised, trying not to believe in what is going on..

"Magdalene?"

She finishes the transformation. She becomes a perfect female version of Endore, but her eyes are white. When moonlight shines on them, they reflect the light and look even scarier. The creatures stare at each other, groaning. Then they start walking around each other. Mulder kicks the door real hard, three times, and breaks it open. He aims his gun at the creatures. Scully gets astonished. Mulder thinks about Endore and Magdalene and takes a breath deep before shooting them dead.

But he gets to notice that the animals are quiet. The simple vision of their eyes and teeth are enough to change the rhythm of his heartbeat and a voice inside his head is begging for him to shoot, but they're not groaning at him nor moving, nothing. Slowly, he put his gun down. Then the werewolves just walk away. He lets them go. Scully, desperate, aims her gun but Mulder makes a "put it down" gesture with his hand.

"Mulder...." says Scully, almost whispering.

"It's okay, Scully. It's okay."

The animals run to the woods and the swamp. Mulder puts his hand on Scully's shoulder and squeezes it kindly.

"It... it could be some illusion... some trick," says Scully, confused. "We... we actually didn't see..."

Mulder nods and stares at her eyes.

"Whatever it is, Scully, I think we're not gonna see people being attacked again. I think that what made Endore dangerous was not the beast that he was, but the beast that he was not allowed to be. When the monster killed people, it was probably a way for Endore to manifest unconsciously his own anger, frustration and loneliness, as a man and ... as an animal."

"If.. if that's right, do you really believe that something like that might... work? Will their kid be adopted or what? Do you think that they won't kill when their instincts and needs be screaming for that? That they won't be hunted and killed? This entire city wants the monster dead."

"Probably. But maybe all lovers and outsiders were made to be martyrs. That's what built Christianism, after all."

Scully nods, sadly.

"Tell me, Scully. Who is right about our nature? The priest? The beast?"

"Well, I don't think that whipping yourself is the best way to make you a better person, but I think all of us want to believe that we are more than things that are born, develop, procreate and die.

"But are we, really?

"'With those who are possessed with such melancholy humor, they imagine themselves to be transformed into wolves'."

"What?"

"To be honest, it was something I once read about werewolves."

Endore and Magdalene howl sadly and tender to the moon. It resonates and echoes forever. Eventually, it'll catch the attention of the citizens and make it easier for the police to find them.

The END

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