Title: Releasing the Demon
Summary: Mulder and Scully investigate a strange object found at an archaelogical dig site.
Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me encouragement. Special thanks to Carol, Travillion and Debbie.
Dana Scully had received Mulder's note to meet him regarding a new case that might take them to Wyoming. She didn't mind traveling, but preferred cases where she could go home at night instead of a shabby motel room. Mulder was setting up the slide show as she entered the office.
"Just in time, Scully." Fox Mulder was holding up the last slide, making sure it would be inserted in the right direction. "Would you get the lights?"
"What do we have, Mulder?" She flipped the light switch off and took her regular position in front of the table that held the projector. She stood with her arms crossed and looked up at the blank, lighted wall. The first slide looked like an archeological dig site.
"This is southern Wyoming, just north of Dinosaur National Park in Colorado. The dig found a number of things, one, a full skeleton of an Allosaurus. A carnivorous dinosaur of the late Jurassic period. Forty feet in length and fifteen feet tall. Fossil remains had been found in the Park, but never before a full skeleton. It was quite a discovery." Mulder clicked for the next slide.
It showed two people standing next to what looked like a sheet of ice. "This is Frank Harmon and his assistant, Andrea Strauss, the two who made the discovery. They also found something else."
"Is that ice, Mulder?" Scully moved closer to study the image on the wall.
"That's what it is, Scully. Three feet thick, seven feet in diameter, found eight feet below the surface. They broke it pulling it out, but look at the edges, Scully. They're perfectly round. Smooth, like it came out of a jello mold." He waited for Scully to inspect the slide image before he clicked for the next one. A dead body.
"What happened, Mulder?" She looked at the image of the bloodied body on the wall. She couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman.
"Frank Harmon. And I don't know what happened. Three days ago Strauss found him in his lab like this. We still don't know how he was killed. The autopsy couldn't determine the weapon, the wounds were cuts but not clean. It was like they were torn open. But the cuts weren't the cause of death. Based on the look on his face, he might have been frightened to death. But more than that, the pathologist said most of his internal organs were frozen." He clicked to the next slide as Scully turned sharply to glance at him with a puzzled look.
Turning back, Scully saw the same lab in a broader view. It was in shambles, books strewn about, papers scattered everywhere, windows broken and furniture smashed. "Ok, Mulder, I'm intrigued, what do you think happened?"
"The area of the find apparently used to be a lake. Over the years the lake dried up, mountains formed and the area flourished. That's the only explanation they had for the ice, even though there was no other ice found within five miles of the surrounding area." He went to the next slide, avoiding her question. "This is what they found in it, Scully. A pyramid. One foot at the base and one foot in height. It was located in the exact center of the ice sheet, Scully."
"What is it, Mulder? You're not answering my question. What's it about?" She turned to face him.
"I don't know yet, but we leave this afternoon and meet with Andrea Strauss first thing in the morning." He handed her an airline ticket after he flipped the light switch back on.
Andi sat in her office, waiting. The FBI would arrive shortly. She couldn't bare to go into the lab again and certainly, she wouldn't go alone. A wave of nausea hit her and she hurried to the bathroom in the corner of her office. Frank had been more than a professor and a boss. They'd been together since college and over the past ten years have made a number of discoveries and accomplishments. They were close to settling down, getting married and having children, but Frank always had one more dig. He still appeared in her nightmares, dead, blood splattered all around him. She stood leaning over the sink, running cold water through her fingers. Andi took a wetted cloth and held it to her eyes and mouth and took a deep breath. The coolness of the cloth settled her a bit as she looked at herself in the mirror. Andi was thirty one but today she felt tired and old. The past ten years had been spent traveling around the country, sleeping in the outdoors at the dig sites. The dry wind and hot sun washing over her had turned her skin dry and dark tan. She touched her face, it needed moisture. The bags under her eyes had never looked darker. Her long dark blonde hair was also becoming dry and brittle. She picked up a clip and pulled her hair back, away from her face.
Frank had loved her long hair pulled back. Tears pooled in her eyes as she thought again of Frank. Andi remembered the last project. Frank had been so excited. The skeleton was something he felt had been there just waiting for him to find. He'd scouted that same area over a period of two years before finding the Allosaurus. But the pyramid intrigued him even more. He spent days in the lab with it, studying it, he couldn't figure it out. The ringing of her intercom startled her back to reality. She took one last look at herself in the mirror and went to answer her phone.
Scully and Mulder were escorted through the research center to the office of Andrea Strauss. They passed the laboratory they suspected belonged to Frank Harmon, the yellow police tape strapped across the doorway. She stood in the doorway, waiting for them, she wanted to get this over with. She smiled slightly as they approached.
"Andrea Strauss? I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder, this is Agent Dana Scully, I believe you're expecting us."
"Yes, please call me Andi. I suppose you want to see the lab?"
Mulder noticed her hesitation. "We'd like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind."
"Of course, please have a seat. Can I get you anything, coffee?"
"No, thank you, we're fine. Andi, can you tell us what you think happened?"
Andi took a deep breath. "I don't really know. Frank got back from the site last Wednesday. He wanted to do some tests on the pyramid. He couldn't figure out what it was. He was puzzled by the material, the icy air surrounding it, the ice it was buried in. All of it fascinated him. He dropped everything else and went after it with a passion. I came back Thursday afternoon. I didn't see him, he called me at home and said he'd be in late. I was tired, not feeling well ever since the find, so I went to bed early. He wasn't back by the early morning on Friday, so I came here, looking for him." She stood and began to pace. Her hair was slipping out of the clip and she pushed it back behind her ear. "What I found ..... " Andi closed her eyes and shook her head.
"Andi, did Frank have any enemies? Anyone that was maybe jealous of his success?" Scully could see the pain on Andi's face.
Her voice wavered slightly. "Not that I know of. He was well liked and respected among his peers. I think he ..... " She tapered off.
"What Andi? What do you think happened to him?" Mulder stood to face her, looking deeply into her eyes. He saw fear amidst the pain. "What was the pyramid?"
She wiped the tears from her face and turned away from him. "I don't know what the pyramid was, is. The minute it broke free from the ice, I felt it. I don't know, I just felt something was wrong. I didn't want to have anything to do with it. To touch it was like touching fire and ice at the same time. It was so cold it burned. It emanated an icy cold. You could feel it in the air from five feet away. Frank had no trouble, though. He said the material was something he'd never seen before." Her voice was rising, the anger surfacing. "We argued about it before he brought it back. I wanted to leave it there, eight feet down." Andi took another deep breath. "You'll think I'm crazy, but I think someone or something buried it there for a good reason, it was never meant to be dug up. I think it has some sort of evil attached to it."
Mulder and Scully looked at each other. "Can we see the lab?" Mulder asked as he stood.
"Sure, it's just down the hall." They followed her out into the hallway. Andi slowed as they neared the lab door. When they reached it, she stood aside and allowed Mulder to remove the tape. "Do you mind if I don't go in?" She looked up at Mulder. Her voice wavered again. "I just don't think ... "
"It's all right, just don't leave the building yet. I may have a few more questions." They entered the laboratory. It was a large room with windows covering the back wall, such as a school room would have. A desk in one corner with shelves of books surrounding two of the other three walls. A large conference table sat in the middle of the room and the rest of the room looked like your average lab. Harmon had been found in the back left corner in front of a counter that housed shelving below and above it.
Mulder walked over to the counter first. He knelt down and inspected the area around the chalk outline. He picked up some of the scattered paper and read the few hand written notes, nothing that told him anything. The ink was smeared throughout the pages. The blood spots looked diluted. He stood and looked over at Scully who was going through Harmon's desk. "Does it look to you like everything in here was wet at one time or another, Scully?"
"Maybe the sprinklers went off. It definitely has been wet but it doesn't look like it was soaking wet. Just a light film maybe. What do you think it is?" Scully was puzzled.
Mulder was moving things from the counter top. "I don't know, Scully, but look what I found." He moved aside and Scully saw the pyramid. It was a solid black with a matte finish. Neither touched it for a moment, then Mulder turned it around slowly, sliding it along the counter. It was a metal, it felt heavy and it didn't appear to have any seams, like it was molded together. He saw a carved symbol at the top peak on all sides.
"What is it, Mulder?" Scully studied it closely.
Mulder just shook his head, then picked it up. It was very heavy. On the underside were more characters or symbols. "It almost looks like ancient Egyptian, Scully. But you don't want to know what I think yet." He grinned at her.
"Mulder, are you telling me you think this is alien?" She smiled back at him.
Andi was standing in the doorway when they found the pyramid and joined them. "Frank thought it was." Startled, they turned to face her. "That was our last argument. He was always a dreamer. He thought this was the find of the century. What is it, Agent Mulder?" Her eyes pleaded for answers.
"I think we need to take it and have it analyzed. Do you know if Professor Harmon kept any notes, any computer files maybe?" Mulder watched as Andi walked to a shelf and pulled out a few books. Behind them she retrieved a small strong box from which she took two computer disks.
"He was paranoid about his work, always thinking someone was watching. If he had anything, it would be on these." She handed them to Mulder. "When I found him, here," Andi sighed, "there was ice everywhere. That's why it seems damp. It melted quickly, before the police arrived. I guess that's why it wasn't in the report."
Mulder glanced at Scully again. They had entire conversations without ever saying a word. "Andi, you said you could feel a cold air surrounding this, it's not cold now, do you feel it now?"
Andi shook her head. "No, and I didn't feel it the morning I found Frank, either. He told me it was just because it had been in the ice for so long. But I didn't believe it. What ever was in that is gone now. I think Frank released it, I think it killed him!" Tears streamed down her face.
The entity moved about the masses, amazed at the number of people now walking this planet. No one saw it, it moved effortlessly, passing through the humans as if it were passing through water. They only felt a chill as they walked the streets. It had to find someone, it yearned to fill a need. The sacrifice days ago had felt good, but it wasn't enough. It'd been confined for far too long and to roam the world now, free, was almost more exhilarating than the killing. It also had to find a form, a body so that it may experience the human pleasures it had waited so long for.
"We can't identify the metal. It seems to be solid but we couldn't cut a section. Nothing could penetrate it. Until I ran the symbols through the computer. Look at this." Agent Pendrell had been standing in front of the pyramid, arms folded across his chest. They requested his assistance from AD Skinner and he graciously allowed Pendrell to fly to Wyoming. The locals had been baffled by the object and Mulder wanted someone he could trust. He knew Pendrell had a great deal of respect and admiration for Scully, he could be trusted. Pendrell moved to allow Scully to view the pyramid. He pointed along the line of hieroglyphics along the edges of the bottom panel. "I scanned the symbols and kept changing their order and when ... " He hesitated, waiting for the computer to sort. "this alignment came up, and by pressing the symbols in this order, the pyramid opened." They turned to look at it and one of the side panels slid upward as Pendrell ran his finger along the symbols.
Mulder leaned down to look into it. All he saw was darkness, empty black space. He picked it up and turned it over and over. He pushed slightly at the tip of the open side and it moved back into place. Once again it appeared seamless, solid. "Was anything in it?"
"No, it was empty. The sides are about an eighth of an inch thick. They seem to meld together when it closes. The key is in the symbols, but I can't find anything like them in any text. I've sent a copy to cryptology and I was going to send the pyramid down to metallurgy next, but I don't think they'll have much luck with it either. The information on Harmon's diskettes covered the Allosaurus find, nothing about the pyramid, but he did say the ice samples had properties within it that carbon dated several thousand years."
Mulder had handed it to Scully who returned it to the counter. "Keep us informed if you find out anything. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't let anyone handle this outside of your presence. Call us immediately."
Pendrell smiled. "Sure thing."
"Thanks, good work, Agent Pendrell." Scully smiled at him as she and Mulder left the lab. Pendrell returned her smile beaming. He was pleased to help Scully in any way and was especially excited that they had requested his help.
"Mulder, what it that thing? What are you thinking?" Scully was having trouble keeping up with Mulder's long paces as they made their way out of the building.
He slowed down a bit and let her reach his side. "I don't know what it is, Scully, but I think Harmon was killed for it, or because of it. "
"Have you given up on the concept of it being alien?" Scully grinned at him as he held the front door for her.
The glint in his eye told her no but he didn't have time to verbally answer as his cell phone began ringing. Scully waited patiently for Mulder to finish. "We have another death, Scully." He opened the car door for her. "A man in Cheyenne, same M.O. as Harmon. Complete with frozen internal organs. They found him early this morning and I asked that they keep him on ice, so to speak, till you could have a look at him."
They packed at the hotel and called Pendrell to let him know they'd be out of pocket for a time. Mulder had a gnawing feeling, he wanted to take the pyramid with him, but kept the opinion to himself. It was a six hour drive to Cheyenne and was close to ten already. They'd stay the night in town and drive back the next morning if no leads were available.
By 5:45 Scully was suited up and ready to perform the autopsy while Mulder talked with the local police. "He was a business man apparently on his way home from work last night. Wife said he had a late meeting and was working on a few reports. He called right before he left his office around midnight. Never made it home. We found him in the parking garage around four this morning." Detective Steven Barber updated Mulder on the events. "We received your notice on the M.O. yesterday and was quite shocked when this came up this morning. You going to let us in on what this is about?"
"I wish I knew, Detective. We had a similar case in southwest Wyoming four days ago. I was afraid since we hadn't had anything else in the same area, it might be moving."
"You think this is a serial killer? What kind of notices do you want us to post?"
Mulder thought about it for a moment. This guy was not going to buy what Mulder was selling and he had no other explanation. "I just don't know yet. I'd like to hear what my partner comes up with from the autopsy. In the mean time, we need to keep our eyes and ears open. That's all I can tell you now."
Lucy Ryan walked out of the mall and was headed to her car. She'd gotten most of her Christmas shopping out of the way. She'd taken off work to do exactly that. Most of her family was in California and she needed to get the packages on their way. The day was getting long and Lucy wanted to go home and just curl up under a blanket in front of the television. It had been a cold day and she just couldn't get warm enough.
It spotted her, followed her, studied her. She was the perfect specimen. It noticed the way other people looked at her. It could get what it needed through her. It passed through her several times, trying to get the feel of her. To make sure she was the one. It shared her body while she drove home. It liked it.
Lucy turned up the heat the minute she got home. She was so cold, she was shaking uncontrollably, her teeth chattering. The thermostat said seventy two, but she was still cold. She didn't bother with the television, she went right to bed. Crawled under the sheet, the blanket, the comforter and still shivered.
Now was the time, it took control of her body first, then her mind. Lucy was no longer Lucy, but an entity from a different place, a different time, a different world. It went to the closet and pulled out something that would draw attention. It learned quickly and by now, almost a week into this new time, it knew how things worked, how people worked. It wanted the power, the control. It was evil, it wanted death and destruction and chaos. An hour later, it went out into the night in search of trouble.
Mulder and Scully finished dinner and sat drinking coffee, talking about the events of this case. They were in the restaurant area attached to the motel. Next door was the bar and they could hear the music. Mulder watched through the window as a young woman got out of a car and walked toward the building. She was tall, long legged with long brown hair. She wore a skimpy red dress, no coat. She stared into his eyes through the window and smiled seductively as she passed by. It was as if she moved in slow motion, her body swaying with each step she took. He seemed mesmerized by her.
"Mulder!" Scully called to him for a third time before he turned away from the window. He was not one to ogle any woman in that manner regardless of how attractive. "What's with you?"
"I'm sorry, Scully, what were you saying?" He turned two shades of red when he met Scully's eyes.
She had to grin. It was not like him, but it was funny to watch him squirm. "I said, what do you want to do next, although, now I don't think I want to know."
He grinned and lowered his gaze. "What ever is killing has moved this far, Scully. It'll either move again or we'll have another death right here."
"Mulder, don't you mean 'whoever'?"
"I mean 'what' ever, Scully. I think Andi was right. What ever was in that pyramid is out and loose. It was in the ground for hundreds or thousands or maybe millions of years. We don't know what it is or where it came from. Maybe it's a life form that crashed from a meteor thousands of years ago. The symbols looked Egyptian, maybe they discovered it and locked it away." Mulder turned dead serious. "I'm worried about how we're going to find it."
"Mulder, that's impossible. There's no evidence to support that. Even if that pyramid dates back that far, there is no way any life form could've survived thousands of years locked up in it."
"Scully, how do you explain the internal organs being frozen?" Mulder challenged her.
She sighed and looked into his eyes. She felt defeated. "I can't. Yet." She thought she saw the corner of his mouth turn slightly upward.
A commotion next door in the bar interrupted their discussion. Mulder went through the door first. It took him a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Two men were fighting in the corner, the woman in red was standing aside.
She saw Mulder as he walked through the door. This was a man worth the challenge, not the two neanderthals struggling in the corner. She reached up and with her nails, dug into her shoulder, running them down her arm. Making three deep scratches, blood seeping out.
Mulder broke up the fight rather easily, two drunks fighting over a beautiful woman. He turned to the woman. "Are you all right, Miss? "
She smiled at him, holding her arm. "I think so. Thank you."
Mulder was instantly taken by her large brown eyes, her full red lips, he didn't know why he was behaving in this manner. He was behaving like a school boy with a crush. Lucky for him, Scully wasn't far behind. She took the woman by the other arm and sat her down at a table. She was startled at how cold the woman's skin was. The bartender brought over a pitcher of water and a clean rag and Scully set about cleaning the wounds.
She took the cloth from Scully. "I can do this. I'll be fine, thank you." She smiled briefly at Scully and looked around for Mulder. He was talking to the two drunken cowboys. She had to find another way to get to him. She watched as Scully walked over to him. She wondered who this redhead was. She would have to get rid of her.
When Mulder turned back to the woman, she was gone. He looked around the room but she wasn't there. He felt a pang of relief for some reason he wasn't quite sure of. They let the two cowboys off the hook with the promise of paying for damages and went back to the restaurant to pay their own bill. They decided to call it a night, they'd pick it up again in the morning.
It watched them leave the restaurant and walk over to the motel. Their rooms were side by side and they each entered their respective doors. It waited until the lights went out. They went out in the woman's room first. The light in the man's room dimmed and what was left was flickering. It walked up to the door a half an hour later and listened. It seemed he'd left the television on, at least that's what it thought it was. It knocked lightly, not wanting to wake up the man's partner. A voice came from the other side of the door.
"Who is it?" His voice was deep and soft.
"I need your help." It tried to sound like a body in trouble. "Please." It added a tone of urgency.
Mulder opened the door and stepped back to allow the woman to enter. He felt a chill as she walked by him. He didn't know why he was doing this, it was not at all like him. He couldn't help himself, it was as if she had some spell over him. He glanced at her arms as she passed, the wounds were no longer there. A puzzled look swept his face as his eyes locked with hers. He wore his jeans but was bare chested. She circled him, fingers lightly touching his chest, arms and back. Eyes never leaving his. Her fingers were like icicles tickling his skin. "Who are you?" She smiled at him, not answering. He tried again. "What do you want?" He tried fighting the feeling. He could feel himself succumbing to her touches.
She gently pushed him backward, to the bed. He sat on the edge of the bed when he could move back no more. She stood over him, straddling him, hands still caressing his shoulders, his chest and his back. She reached down and took his face in her hands. Leaning down to kiss him, he whispered, "No". She grinned evilly as he leaned into her, placing his hands on her waist, sliding them upward as she kissed him. He fell back to lay on the bed, pulling her with him. She broke away and sat over him, straddling his hips, her dress slid up over her thighs. She ground herself into him and heard him moan as his hands made their way up her thighs. She leaned down and took his wrists, pinning them to his side as she kissed him again.
This is what it had wanted, needed, yearned for. Sex was another form of power, it would experience it, then kill him and move on to another. Each time drawing more and more power. In the human's body, it had to kill by conventional methods, only when it transformed itself to it's natural state could it kill with the mind. Something about being in the human body took some of it's power away. But it needed the body to have the things these humans have, the feelings. It had to be careful also because it could be harmed while in a human's body, using the human's life resources.
Mulder was moaning as the woman reached to caress him through his jeans. With one hand still running across his body, the other reached for the knife in the purse that still hung on her shoulder. She held the knife in her hand as she pushed herself against him again. With her free hand, she reached for his hand and placed it on her breast. His other hand instinctively followed. Something was wrong, her skin should have been warm to the touch, but it was ice cold. He felt himself getting colder, feeling numb.
Scully was dreaming. Mulder was in danger again. She had to get to him first, to warn him, but she couldn't get the door to open. She pushed and pushed, then tried shooting the lock off, but still she was unable to get through. Suddenly the door was no longer there, she could see Mulder. She could see the woman from the bar standing over him, a bloodied knife in her hand. Mulder was dead.
Scully awoke with a start. The door that adjoined their rooms was ajar. They always left it open a bit so that either could seek the other when sleep became the enemy. She heard Mulder moan. She grabbed her gun off the nightstand and headed for the door. She gently pushed the door open. The light from the television mixed with the light coming in from outside lit the room enough for Scully to see what was happening. She wasn't sure what she was seeing. For a moment she felt embarrassment, rage, jealousy and fear all at once.
Then she saw the light glint off the blade of the knife and stepped into the room. "Freeze! Drop the knife!" She stood in a crouched stance with her gun in front clutched with both hands. The woman didn't move, her head tilted slightly toward Scully. "I said drop the knife! Get off of him, back away slowly!" The woman moved slowly, the knife still in her hand.
It was angry, this woman had spoiled it's fun. But it had to exit this body now, before the redhead pulled the trigger. It would have another chance, it wouldn't kill these two now. These two had more power between them than it had felt with any other human. It wanted another turn. The hand let go of the knife.
Scully saw the knife drop onto the floor and relaxed her trigger finger just slightly. The room was freezing, she hadn't noticed it before. It was getting colder rapidly and as she watched, the woman fell to the floor in front of her. She suddenly felt a force move through her, chilling her to the bone as it passed. She could almost see the force, a white mist or fog and just as suddenly it disappeared and the chill was no longer there. She ran to the woman on the floor and found a slight pulse but her body was cold and damp and Scully feared hypothermia. Next she went to Mulder. "Mulder, can you hear me? It's Scully, are you all right?" She checked his pulse and it was normal if not a bit rapid. He felt chilled but not near as icy as the woman.
"Scully? What .... what happened?" Mulder sat up, dazed, confused. He straightened himself and moved to the end of the bed.
Scully was calling for 911 as she spoke to him. She held up the knife. "I thought you could tell me, Mulder. Do you know this woman? Do you remember letting her in?"
"Isn't she the woman from the bar, earlier? I don't remember." He shook his head and put on a shirt to warm him.
"Mulder, she was all over you, you don't remember anything?" She took the spread from the bed and covered the woman. Her pulse was almost nonexistent.
"I remember a knock on the door, I thought it was you, but it wasn't. I .... It was like watching myself from a distance. I .... I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything. It was me, yet it wasn't." Mulder spoke softly, still a little confused.
Scully ran to the bathroom to run the hot water, she needed to get the woman warm, it was hypothermia and she didn't know how long the ambulance would be. She soaked towels in the hot water and laid them over the spread covering the woman. The steam rising from her body made the room eerie.
Mulder didn't move, he just sat on the end of the bed wrapped in a blanket from the other bed. The ambulance arrived and he watched as Scully conversed with the medtechs. They took away the woman and checked his vitals. He was fine, just still dazed and confused, but slowly coming to. "Scully, it was here."
"Mulder." Scully sighed and sat next to him.
"You saw it, Scully. You had to have seen it."
She didn't respond for a moment, she had seen something. She tried to tell herself that it was steam formed from the warmth of the room combining with the cold from the outside. But she wasn't sure. "I don't know what I saw, Mulder."
"We have to get the pyramid here. It's some sort of prison for it, a cage or something."
"Mulder, this is not a genie to be put in a bottle. You just can't .. .." She hesitated.
"Can't what, Scully? Contain it? I thought you didn't believe 'it' existed. I'm going to call Pendrell, have him drive on over. It's here and I think we have a chance to stop it." He reached for the phone.
It was angry and needed a release. It found one. It found two actually. The two drunks from the bar earlier were coming out when the ambulance arrived. It followed them to their truck. It waited patiently till they stopped at the first home. One of the men got out of the truck and went in. It followed him. It teased him for a while, rushing through him. Chilling him over and over before the first strike. The cowboy felt cold first, then something pushed him. He turned around, nothing was there. It shoved him again. The man looked around nervously, he didn't know what was happening. Then it tore at him, ripping a tear in his upper arm. The man was stunned. He looked at his arm as if it wasn't hurt, as if this was a dream. It struck again, this time hitting him in the face. A gash opened up on his cheek, sending the man flying back and onto the ground. Then it wasn't playing anymore. The man screamed and fought the invisible force as it tore him to shreds.
Scully had two autopsies to perform, the woman who had been in Mulder's room and the cowboy from the night before. They'd gotten the call shortly after breakfast. The body was in the same condition as Harmon's and the most recent death.
"The woman's been identified as Lucy Ryan, a secretary for a law firm here in Cheyenne. Her friends and coworkers describe her as sweet, shy, reserved. She wouldn't have acted the way she was acting." Mulder stood back, away from the metal table where the young woman lay, Scully finishing up.
"People are not always what they seem, Mulder. She may have had them fooled. A lot of women act differently in a seductive situation, a way they might not want their friends to know about." She was standing at the sink, washing the blood from her arms.
"Anyone I know, Scully? I need names." He grinned.
Scully gave him one of her famous looks and continued. "It certainly isn't cause to believe she was 'possessed', Mulder."
"How do you explain the coldness, the frozen body parts?" He moved towards her, hands gesturing as he spoke.
"Mulder, you saw how she was dressed, it is winter, you know. I believe you've heard of hypothermia? I know it's a stretch and I've never seen it like this before, but I believe it's possible." She stood in front of him, arms crossed.
"What about the cowboy?"
"Barry Matthews. Well, in my opinion he died of a heart attack. His wounds were serious but not deadly by themselves. They have the other man. Daniel Williams, in custody. Questioning him about the fight in the bar. He's the suspect for the moment."
"I know, I spoke to him." Mulder held the door open for Scully as they left the autopsy bay. "I don't think he had anything to do with it. He told us he dropped Matthews off around midnight and went on home. He'd sobered up a bit after their fight, said they fought a lot. But it was just good natured disagreements." He raised an eyebrow. "What is the official cause, Scully?"
"Like I said, Mulder, heart attack. Cardiac arrest."
"Did he have a history of heart problems? What condition were the other organs in?"
"The lungs, liver, kidneys all had signs of extreme cold, Mulder. But I have no doubt whatsoever he died because his heart failed." Scully stopped in the hallway and looked at him as if he were challenging her decision, her skills.
He nodded, still deep in thought. She could tell by the look on his face that something was making it's way from his brain to his mouth. "Where do we look now, Mulder?"
"I don't know. Do you think it will come after me again?" He studied her. He knew this was a loaded question. She didn't believe, or at least he didn't think she believed.
Scully thought about it. She had seen something. She had felt something. If she expressed this to Mulder though she'd be abandoning everything she held sacred. She had to remain the skeptic. Scully had seen a lot of things in her four years with Mulder and the X-Files. She couldn't totally disregard what she had felt. She looked up and smiled at him. "I don't know, Mulder. I'm not convinced this is what you think it is."
"Ok, Scully. I think we need to be careful, though. Someone or something is killing these people and could've killed me last night. You stopped it, it might go after you next." They began walking again, out the door and to their car. "Pendrell should be here shortly, he's meeting us at the motel. Why don't we go back, have lunch and wait on him. We can talk about it some more while we wait. "
It found another body. A man this time. He was getting out of the car at the same motel it had been at last night. He was of average height with curly reddish hair. It entered the body fast, knocking the man off his feet and knocking the breath out of him. Two other humans came up to the man to help him back on his feet.
"Pendrell? Are you all right?" Scully asked as she and Mulder helped him up. They were sitting in the diner and saw Pendrell drive up. As soon as he stepped out of the car he fell back onto the ground. As if he had fainted. When he didn't get up right away, they ran out to help him.
Pendrell stood up and brushed himself off. The entity was surprised that this man knew these two humans. It smiled. It was closer than it imagined it could get. It could toy with these two and choose it's time well. He smiled broadly at Scully. "I'm fine, thanks." It knew somehow that this human preferred the female.
Mulder and Scully stared at each other, then at Pendrell as he walked into the diner leaving them outside. "What's with him?" Scully asked.
Mulder just grinned and motioned Scully to follow. Pendrell was seated when they entered. He stood when they walked over and put out his hand for Scully to sit on the inside of the booth. She hesitantly sat down and Pendrell, ignoring Mulder completely, sat next to her. Mulder, still grinning, sat across from them. "Did you bring it?" Pendrell was smiling at Scully, not paying any attention to Mulder. But Mulder noticed Scully was acting strangely. She was looking at Pendrell, not smiling, but staring into his eyes as if she couldn't look away. "Excuse me!" He spoke louder.
Startled, Scully looked over at Mulder and Pendrell turned his way also. "If I'm not interrupting, did you bring the pyramid?" Mulder spoke rather harshly at Pendrell and glanced at Scully.
It was startled. The pyramid! It was one of the few things that it feared. The pyramid had imprisoned it for thousands of years. If it were near the pyramid in it's original form when the pyramid was opened, it was sucked into it. It would remain in the pyramid until it was opened again. When it first came to this world, its enemies had helped the humans capture it and taught them how to detain it. Its enemies couldn't kill it, it would have to be in a human body and they were too soft, they couldn't kill a human. It wasn't going to be captured again.
"Agent Pendrell?" Mulder watched him. Something was wrong. Pendrell wasn't at all himself and Mulder suddenly felt a chill. A coldness he had felt the night before. If that thing were in Pendrell, then Pendrell would soon be a dead man. Mulder had to do something. He glanced at Scully. She was in a trance, not moving, only looking at Pendrell. Her eyes were half open as if she were falling asleep. He jumped back when Pendrell stood quickly. He glared at Mulder and turned to walk away.
Mulder looked back to Scully. He took her hand and reached over to touch her face. "Scully?" He snapped his fingers. "Scully?" She was coming to as he pulled her out of the booth. Pendrell was almost to the car as they made their way to the door.
"What Mulder? What happened? Where is he going?"
"It has him, Scully. He'll be dead if we can't help him now." Mulder pulled his gun and aimed at Pendrell.
"Mulder no!" Scully pulled his arm down as the gun went off. He was aiming for the shoulder, the same area where Scully had once put a bullet in him. They both looked as Pendrell turned toward them. As Pendrell fell to the ground, they saw a white mist rise from him. It lingered for a moment then leapt toward them. They both felt the cold as it passed through them and disappeared.
Mulder reached Pendrell first and turned him over. He was unconscious but his pulse seemed normal. Scully knelt down and checked. "His pulse is slow, his skin is ice cold, Mulder. We need to get him to a hospital, fast."
They put Pendrell in the car and took off for the nearest medical facility. The waitress at the diner told them where to go. Thirty minutes later, Pendrell was covered in hot packs. Scully was watching his vitals and Mulder was standing back against the wall. He thought of how close this had come. If he hadn't been there, Scully and Pendrell would probably be dead. They had to catch this thing, whatever it was.
Scully walked over to him, looked up once and then looked at the ground. He was leaning against the wall with his arms across his chest. "He's going to be fine, Mulder. He wasn't exposed for very long apparently. It was like being in a freezer for long while. He'll be Ok and awake in a few hours." She looked up at him again. "Thanks."
Mulder smiled. "You really thought I was going to kill him." It wasn't a question.
"I don't know what I thought, Mulder. I don't remember much." Scully turned slightly red and leaned back against the wall next to Mulder.
"I know how you feel," he said out of the corner of his mouth. "The pyramid is the key, Scully. He was afraid of it, I could see it in his eyes."
"Whose eyes, Mulder? Pendrell's? What are we dealing with here?" Her voice rose as she took a few steps away from him.
"You saw it, Scully. It's some sort of living entity. I don't know where it came from or what it is, but it's alive and it's killing and it's going to keep killing unless we stop it." He became animated, pacing, gesturing. "And we're going to have to have the pyramid to do it." He was quiet again, waiting for Scully to respond.
She didn't move. She couldn't look at him. To admit to him that she believed was something she just couldn't do. But she couldn't deny it either. To her it seemed like forever before she raised her head and nodded.
They went through the trunk of Pendrell's rent car and found the pyramid along with records that were in Pendrell's briefcase. Mulder read the notes in the motel room. "Scully, Pendrell found out what the symbols are. They are similar to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. According to his notes the order of the symbols roughly translate to 'release the demon'. It says here that Pendrell noticed a sort of vacuum when the object is first opened. He did a test. He released a few gasses into the air, mostly carbon and ammonia, and opened the pyramid. It sucked the gasses in like a vacuum and it closed immediately on it's own."
"How are we going to find it? And more importantly, how are we going to explain this to Skinner? What am I supposed to put in my report?" She sighed. "Look, I'm going to go next door and change and I'll call and check in on Pendrell. Why don't you order up something for dinner. I'll take a sandwich or a salad. I'll be right back."
Mulder nodded, his mind was on the notes. He heard her go through the adjoining door. A few moments later he felt a sudden chill.
These humans knew of the pyramid and maybe how it worked. It had to destroy them. It was befuddled. It could only die while in a human body and it could only be captured while in it's original form. It could move on, but these two were smart, they would keep coming. It had to take the offense and destroy them first. It waited around the hotel, looking for the right opportunity. They were in the man's room. It glided toward the door and eased through it. The female was not here. It entered the male's body quickly.
Mulder felt the entity enter his body. The cold was sudden and forceful, like being in the snow without clothes. Before his mind could register what was happening, the entity had control. It stood and walked over to the adjoining door and went through. Scully was half dressed, she was changing into jeans and a tee shirt.
"Mulder, do you mind?" She quickly pulled her tee shirt on and was reaching for her jeans when the cold hit her. She stopped and looked up at Mulder. "Mulder? Mulder, answer me."
"Hi, Scully." It walked over to her, standing as close as she would allow. He put his hands on her shoulders and slid them down her arms. His eyes roaming over her body.
She shivered, his hands were cold. She was cold. She could feel herself succumbing to the numbness. That's what it was, it wasn't a spell, her mind was becoming numb from the cold. She had to fight it, she moved back a step, away from him.
"Scully, don't pull away. I want you. I need you." He reached out for her and moved toward her again. His voice was soft and distressed.
She stepped back. "Don't. Don't come near me." She was so cold, she looked around for something she could use. The pyramid was in the other room. She had to get it. Scully skirted around him quickly, but not quick enough.
He reached out and grabbed her arm. "Don't run from me, Scully. I need you. You need me too, I can feel it." It wanted to play with her first, then it would kill her.
His grip was icy cold. She fought to stay in control of herself. He jerked her close to him and kissed her hard. He was strong, she struggled slightly. His touch, his kiss was not Mulder. She closed her eyes and felt herself falling. His lips moved from her mouth to her neck. They were cold, she could feel his hands on her body. Moving up and down her back, her arms. He reached to remove her tee shirt. She stilled herself long enough to make him think he had her, then she said a silent 'sorry, Mulder' and kneed him hard. When he bent over she struck him again bringing her knee up hard. It went down and she ran to the other room. She found his gun on the nightstand and reached for the pyramid. She pressed all but the last symbol and waited for it come into the room.
It stood in the doorway and watched her. It liked this body, he was strong, he recovered quickly. It felt the pain this female had inflicted but with a little more time and a lot more power to accumulate, it wouldn't feel pain any longer. All it needed was time.
Scully pointed the gun. She would have to shoot Mulder again. Would it release the entity? She just didn't know, but she had to do something. Mulder would surely die if he stayed exposed to this thing for very long. "Let him go! Now!"
It smiled. "You need me, you won't kill me. You can't live with out me."
Scully took a step forward and lifted the gun higher. The look on his face was so smug. It was so sure she wouldn't shoot. She whispered. "I'm sorry, Mulder." And she pulled the trigger.
The round went through his shoulder and he fell to the ground. She watched the entity rise from his body. She heard it scream as it lingered over Mulder's form. Scully quickly pressed the last symbol and the pyramid opened. The scream became louder and even more shrill as the mist flew toward the pyramid with a gale force. It passed her as it was sucked into the pyramid and then the pyramid closed.
It was suddenly still, quiet. She was breathing heavily as she ran to Mulder. His pulse was slow. She went to the phone and called for an ambulance. Then she began running hot water for the hot packs to place on his body. By the time the ambulance came, his body temperature was warming a bit. Scully checked his shoulder, it was a clean pass, the bullet missed the old scar by less than a half an inch. She breathed a sigh of relief.
She sat next to the hospital bed and waited for him to awaken. This was a familiar place for her. She could count the times she sat waiting on two hands. She leaned over and placed her forehead on her hands as they held his arm.
Scully heard the door open and turned to see Pendrell walk in. "Hi."
"How's he doing?" He stood next to her chair and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"He'll be fine. His condition is stable. The bullet went clean through. He'll be sore for a while but it didn't do any other damage. His internal condition wasn't any worse than yours. He'll be Ok." She nodded as she spoke, trying to convince herself. She was a medical doctor, she knew he would be fine, but until he could speak to her, she would worry about him.
"Why don't I go down and get you some coffee. I'll get something for you to eat, too."
"Thanks, I appreciate it." She smiled at him. She knew Pendrell had a crush on her. He was nice and she really liked him, but her heart belonged to Mulder. Always would.
Scully sat back in the chair and closed her eyes. She hadn't gotten much sleep from the night before. She leaned forward again when she heard him stir. She smiled when he opened his eyes and turned to her. "Hi!"
He smiled and started to lift his head, he moaned. "What happened?"
"You're all right. You were shot in the shoulder. It was a clean wound, you'll be fine." She didn't want to tell him who shot him.
Pendrell walked in with two coffees and a bag with danish. "Hi, Mulder. Glad to see you awake. I think Agent Scully was worried about you." He handed a coffee to Scully and sat the bag down. He took a position by the window.
"What's going on Scully. What happened to the entity?"
She helped him sit up a bit and gave him a glass with water. "It's in the pyramid, Mulder."
"Who shot me?"
Scully looked over at Pendrell, who smiled. "I did."
"Again!? What did I do this time?" He knew it had to have been Scully. She had probably saved his life doing so.
Scully thought of his actions that night and decided to only tell him the main details. "It was in you Mulder and I knew it would leave if you were incapacitated."
"Where's the pyramid now?" Mulder grinned at her.
"It's back at the motel," Scully answered.
Pendrell stepped forward. "No it's not."
"What do you mean, it's not? I left it there, I deliberately hid it. " Scully was getting nervous.
"It's not there. They came and got it. I saw the badges."
"Who, who were they?" Mulder asked almost simultaneous with Scully.
"I got a call from Washington, they sent down four agents to pick it up. They were pretty high in rank. They really did a number on the room, I wouldn't have told them where it was even if I knew. I thought you knew, I was sure they would've called you first. I'm sorry Agent Scully." Pendrell had never felt as bad as he did at that moment.
"It's all right. They would've gotten it sooner or later."
"Damn it, Scully. What are they thinking? If they let that thing loose." He couldn't finish, he raised his hand and ran it through his hair. "They don't know what they've got, Scully."
A man walks through the underground storage facility at the pentagon. He's carrying a box about a foot tall and a foot wide. He's wearing gloves as the box has a coat of ice covering it. The isles are close together and stand at least nine feet in height. He stops at an area that has three other boxes of similar size and places the box on the shelf next to the others. He notices the icy build up within three feet surrounding the boxes. Icicles hang from the bottom of the shelf above it and below it. He studies the icicle in front of him and reaches up to snap it off. He turns to leave, it's so cold here. He walks back to the exit and closes and locks the door. He stands outside the door for a moment and lights a cigarette, then he goes on his way.