Title: Smoke Demon
Author's Note: If you're a fan of either FreakyLinks or The X-Files, then you'll notice a few of the clichés I used. This isn't exactly one of my best stories, after all, these two shows aren't the most easy to cross-over. Writing aside, if I may say, I do believe this is one of my better plots. I was greatly satisfied by it.
June 12; 10:45pm
A candle flickered out in the window coming through an open window. The smoke stemmed out and slowly grew into a creeping shadow. It crept around the moon light and down the stairs. A blood curdling scream rang out and all became silent.
June 15; 8:09pm
Mulder was sitting in his basement office scanning through a web-site when Scully came in and read over his shoulder.
"What's this," she asked.
"It's called a web-site," a superior tone in his voice. "It's a site about paranormal phenomena and events."
"FreakyLinks? Let me guess, you're the number one visitor."
"No, actually, this is the first time I've ever been to the site." He handed Scully a printed e-mail. "I got this from the guys who runs the site, Derek Barnes. He thinks I might be interested in a story he's working on."
"How did he know to contact you," she inquired.
"I helped his brother Adam with some occult research a while back."
"Smoke killing people," she said reading the e-mail." Oh, that's a new one. Maybe this a case for the Surgeon General."
He snatched the paper from her hand. "Five deaths due to inhaled smoke, and only one was a chronic smoker."
"Second hand smoking."
"Three were agoraphobia; they've never been around smokers."
"And their houses weren't on fire?"
He shook his head. "The only thing they had in common was that they had aroma-therapy candles."
"So? I use aroma-therapy candles."
"They all had them lit the night they were killed."
"Mulder, is there really any basis to this theory or story?"
Derek lay asleep with his head on the key board, X's scrolled across the screen. A loud knock woke him up. He sat up, starred at the computer screen and heard the knock again. He got up and answered the door.
"Yeah," he answered the tall man at the door.
He pulled out his badge. "I'm Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully," he pointed to the woman behind him.
"Oh, yeah, um, come in. Yeah, thanks for coming."
"Excuse me, Mr. Barnes," Scully said.
"Derek, on what grounds do you base this story of yours?"
"Um, on video footage?"
"You have video footage of these deaths?"
"Murders," Derek and Mulder both corrected.
"Kinda, I have footage on an attempted murder."
"Could we see it," Mulder asked.
"Sure." Derek led them to a computer and brought up a video still and pushed play. "Okay, I got this off the internet, a net-cam someone had on. See this candle? Watch, there, the wind blew it out. I checked the weather report that night, though, there was absolutely no wind strong enough to do that. Now watch the smoke. There, the smoke disappears and this shadow appears. Freaky huh?" Scully looked at him skeptically. "Okay, anyhoo-the shadow moves across the wall where someone's sitting, then someone opens the door, turns the light on, and the shadow disappears," Derek said, describing the rest of the video.
"Someone must have tampered with the film."
"No, uh-uh. It's streaming video, live feed. I watched this live."
"Excuse us," Scully said pulling Mulder off to the side. "Mulder, you don't really believe this kid, do you? I mean, look at the set-up he's got here. He's very capable of tampering with video. And what about the witness you said there was, is he it?"
Derek stood behind Scully and tapped her shoulder. "Hi, um, no, I'm not. My buddy Jason is with the witness."
"Then why don't we go meet Jason, Scully?"
"A dog!? Mulder, why didn't you tell me the witness was a dog?"
"Because you wouldn't have come with me on this case."
"Of course not! There is no case when your only witness is a dog. What am I doing here anyway?"
"Autopsy one of the victims."
"Oh kewl, the freakers would love to see an autopsy!"
"Hey man, watch the camera." Jason took the camera from Derek and zoomed in on Scully's agitated face.
"She turned to him. "Turn that thing off." Jason lowered the camera, but left it on. "Alright, I'll do the autopsy, but I doubt I'll find anything."
Scully started to cut and Jason fainted when blood started seeping out.
"Get him out of my way."
Derek handed Mulder the camera and drug Jason to the wall.
Scully described what she was doing to them and her recorder. "Alright, I'm going to cut open the lungs." As she did smoke started to rise.
"Dude, are you gettin' this," Derek asked Mulder.
He nodded. "Um, Scully, should that be happening?"
"No, even a person who died of smoke inhalation wouldn't still have smoke in their lungs. It would have evaporated by now." She moved around to look at something and Mulder zoomed in. "Oh my [goodness]."
"What is that," Derek asked. Scully was holding up something like string that was charred.
"Veins," she answered.
"Still think there's no case," Mulder asked.
"How do you classify a death like this?"
"The official report of smoke inhalation. The unofficial is an X-File," Mulder answered Derek.
"Um, excuse me, but who are you," Chloe asked upon finding Mulder in her house.
"Agent Fox Mulder. I'm here with Derek."
"Ah, so Derek is the cause of the invasion of my privacy once again. what are you doing here?"
"Oh, hey, Chloe," Derek said. "He's helping with the Smoke Demon."
"Oh, yeah, the candle monster thingey, right?"
"Yeah. We're gonna use you as bait."
"Use me as--No you aren't! Derek, I have to insist you leave me out of this."
"I'd use Lan, but she's out of town."
"I'll be sure to remind her how lucky she is, then," Chloe said ushering Derek and Mulder toward the door.
"Aw, some on Chloe," Derek protested. "Think of al the lives we could save with your help."
"Derek--fine, but I swear; if you get me killed...I-I'll come back and haunt your miserable life."
Derek smiled real big and hugged Chloe. "Aw, thanks. I'll look forward to that."
"Derek!" Derek ran outside to his van.
"Is he always that excited," Mulder asked.
"He throws a party when a fly lands on the wall," she exaggerated.
Derek came back with a box full of candles. "Okay, we've gotta set these up all over the living room. we'll light them at dark and have a camera running."
"How are you planning on stopping this thing?"
Mulder held up a jar. "It's air tight, sure to hold anything."
Scully sat on her hotel bed reading. She'd refused to have anything more to do with the 'Smoke Demon'.
She was glad she had brought an aroma-therapy candle. Now she could relax a while without disturbance.
Putting her book down she leaned back against the wall. She took a deep breath, grateful for some peace and quiet.
Somewhere between dreams and wakefulness, she felt a cool breeze begin to blow. Although she knew the windows were all closed she thought nothing of it.
She only opened her eyes after she felt she was no longer alone. The clock said it was a quarter after twelve.
"Mulder?" Scully thought maybe he had come in wanting something for his 'stake out'.
The intruder became motionless now that she was aware of it. She slowly pulled her gun from under her pillow.
"Who are you," she asked turning on the lamp. "Show yourself. I don't want any trouble." She got up and looked around, making her way to the bathroom. "Come out of there!" When no one came out she aimed her gun and flipped the light switch; it was empty. Maybe she was just imagining it.
She turned around and a huge shadow like man stood in front of her. She pulled her gun up and fired it. The bullet went straight the creature and hit the wall.
The door burst open and Mulder ran in, holding his gun on the creature.
"No, don't shoot!" Scully shouted.
The shadow turned and looked at Mulder, then lunged at Scully.
Mulder searched his pockets frantically as Scully screamed helplessly. He pulled out a cigarette lighter and held it up to a sprinkler. The fire alarm sounded and the sprinkler activated. The shadow disintegrated in the shower and Scully gasped for air.
"Scully, are you alright," Mulder asked helping her up.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Oh, awesome!" Derek said excitedly, holding his video camera up.
Scully hadn't realized he had come in with Mulder, or that he had taped what had just happened.
"How did you know that things was here?"
"Wild guess," Mulder answered. "It never showed up at Chloe's, so I assumed this thing didn't like an audience. Also, I remembered seeing you unpack a candle."
"This thing is dangerous, Mulder. How are we going to stop it?"
"Are you sure you're okay," Chloe asked Scully, handing her a cup of hot tea.
"yes, I'm fine, thank you."
"I'm sorry Derek got you two involved. He's hyper and just doesn't think about what he's doing."
"That's alright. I'm used to that with Mulder. He's reckless and doesn't think of other's safety."
"Yeah, sounds just like Derek. I don't know how many times he's almost gotten me killed."
Scully smiled knowingly. "Thank you for letting me stay here."
Mulder sat on Derek's couch staring at Scully's candle. "How does it work?"
"Like pure evil," Jason said. "You can't stop it and you can't explain it."
"Thank you for your input, Mr. Preacher-Man," Derek said sarcastically. "I can't find anything about it on-line. There's other cases that match these, but there's no historical, mythological, or Biblical references that I can find. This thing is new in the past few decades. It's MO appears every three years for six months, then disappears again. No one has bothered to follow up on the deaths other than to call them mysterious."
"Where did it first show up," Mulder asked.
"Um, first murder was in Batten Rouge, Louisiana, in August of '91. Carl Sanderhoff died in his house in a freak fire started from his ceremonial candles."
"Isn't that a different MO," Jason asked puzzled.
"Yeah," Mulder answered. "But it was still connected some how. His house burnt to ashes with him in it, but the only part of him burnt was his lungs."
Derek looked from his computer screen to Mulder, "How'd you know that?"
"I worked that case for two months. I couldn't find any crucial evidence and they shut the investigation down."
"That's not the only weird thing," Derek said. "the killing spree was off schedule. Other murders happened after that in March seven months later and lasted six months, then it didn't surface till three years later. The first was Carl's cousin Andrew that was killed. He's looking for a host," Derek exclaimed.
"The guy had ceremonial candles, which can only mean he was into voodoo. He killed his cousin thinking a blood relation would hold his soul. Everybody knows that after a spirit becomes tangible it later has to regenerate, that's the three years."
"And the aroma-therapy candles," Mulder said catching on, "Is the closest to ceremonial candles that tons of people use."
"Yeah, and we just used plain candles at Chloe's."
Scully opened the door and was greeted by boxes of candles. "Mulder?"
"Yep," he said coming in with Derek and Jason behind him. "We're here to mess with some voodoo."
"Voodoo," Chloe asked coming in to the living room. "No way! I don't want you putting on some kind of voodoo curse in my house."
"We're not," Derek assured her. "We're gonna end some."
"So how are we going to stop Carl when he shows up?"
Mulder held up his air-tight jar, only this time it had a small garter snake in it. "He wants a host, so we'll give him one."
"How do you plan on catching him, tho?"
Derek and Mulder looked at each other. "Trust us?"
Chloe sighed exasperated. "Anyone want some popcorn?"
"Sure, I'll help," Scully volunteered.
Several minutes later they came back with bowls of popcorn. "You know, I was thinking, maybe we should only use one candle. That was-" Scully tapped Chloe on the shoulder. "What?" She looked around. All but one candle had been blown out by a non-existent wind.
Mulder was holding his jar while Derek and Jason both held cameras.
A light breeze caused the last candle to flicker, then go out. The smoke rose slowly and started to form. Mulder uncapped the jar and held it over the smoke. It floated inside and he capped it. The snake started to jump around.
"Looks like we found a compatible host," he said.
"Alright! Here, lemme see it," Derek took the jar and held it up to the camera. "I know a guy who does some voodoo. I'll let him have this and un-do what ever Carl did."
"What's that," Scully asked Mulder as she came into their basement office.
"Derek e-mailed us some pictures of Carl." He handed her the print-outs. "He said his friend un-did the curse and killed the snake. And the Gunmen are begging him for an exclusive interview. Apparently they're upset with me for not involving them." He noticed Scully holding something behind her back. "What's that?"
She handed him a wrapped box. "Think of it as an extra early Christmas present."
He unwrapped and opened the box, it was an aroma-therapy candle.
"I thought maybe it would help you relax some."
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