Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997
Subject: F&TH 2: The Hunt
Well, here it is... the sequel to "The Fox and the Howned". This one is
kinda gross too. So, you've been warned.
This story is base on the charaters created and owned by Cris
Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. Used without permission and
no infringement is intended.
By K.D. Enriquez
Sarah Baxter strolled down a semi-deserted street, one block
Lincoln Avenue. She was oblivious to the lateness of the hour and the
descending darkness. She breathed in the fresh, but slightly polluted, DC
air, joyfully lost in her own happy thoughts.
Sarah had never considered herself very attractive. She was light haired
and lightly complected. Too lightly complected, her mother had often told
her. But, her looks didn't seem to matter to Jonathan. Her smile grew
broader as she fingered the still unfamiliar shape about her left ring
Jonathan had asked her to marry him tonight. Only a few hours ago, as a
matter of fact. She had said yes immediately and she'd stayed for dinner.
She would have stayed the night as well but, her mother would never approve.
Sarah had insisted that they not sleep together again until the honeymoon.
She wanted to make the attempt at propriety, least her mother ask.
Jonathan had agreed whole-hearted. He cared a great deal for Sarah's
mother and didn't want her to be hurt in anyway. Her mother, too, adored
Jonathan. She would just flip when Sarah told her. She smiled again and
tried not to run all the way home.
For some reason, Sarah wanted to keep this a secret for just a little
while longer. She didn't know why, after all, she felt she could hardly
wait to tell *somebody*. The urge grew into something unbearable and she
promised herself to tell the very first person she saw.
As she turned the corner, Sarah saw a well muscled, dark haired man
leaning against a building. She'd tell him. He'd be so happy for her. She
walked towards him, excitement nearly bursting out of her.
"Hello," she called to him cheerfully.
"Hiya," he replied, turning steel grey eyes and a welcoming smile in her
"I'm sorry, you must think I'm crazy, but I just need to tell somebody,"
she paused and upon his nod to continue she finished, "My name is Sarah and
I'm getting married!"
The man returned a warm smile, "That's just wonderful Sarah. I bet you're
She grinned with barely contained joy. Telling this stranger didn't feel
weird after all. She was glad she'd turned down Jonathan's offer to walk her
home. After all, he had to work early tomorrow and needed the rest. Anyway,
he'd have thought her insane to just walk up to someone she didn't know and
tell them something like that.
"I've never been married myself, but I can imagine the feeling. I'm sure
you'll be happy."
"Thank you," she bubbled.
He looked up and down the darkened, deserted street. "But you shouldn't
be out here by yourself. Let me walk you a little ways."
She smiled gratefully. "Thank you again Mr... I'm sorry, I didn't catch
The smile he turned on her was knowing. "Todd Howned."
Four Days Later
9 AM EST
Mulder sat at his desk and slowly closed his eyes. The
wouldn't stop" began to pound behind his eyes again. The aspirin he'd taken
an hour ago had worn off already and he fumbled in his jacket pocket for the
new bottle he'd bought yesterday.
He seemed to be going through aspirin rather quickly since he'd gotten out
of the hospital. The doctors had told him the skull fracture, that they said
was "mild", was healing. They said the headaches were normal and they'd go
away in about a week or so. Well, he thought, a week *has* gone by and the
only noticeable change is the third bottle of aspirin.
Disgusted, he popped open the bottle's lid and downed four tablets hoping
they'd kick in before Scully walked through the door. His temper was on a
short leash and lately, he hated to say, she'd just been getting on his
He leaned his elbows on top of his desk and began to massage his temples.
Even though the stitches had been removed, he could still feel the presence
of the fading scar above his right eye.
He shivered slightly as the memory of his ordeal with Todd Howned
resurfaced. Even though he couldn't remember everything during those two
days, the bits he did remember were of being beaten, drugged and
electrocuted. And the thought that Howned was still on the loose unnerved
him even more. Howned had just disappeared into the woodwork.
Mulder's head throbbed spitefully.
As he swallowed a fifth pill, for luck, Scully strode through the door.
The clicking of her practical heals on the floor echoed through his head
and Mulder felt the clamp on his temper loosen. She looked at him oddly as
he recapped the bottle.
"Still have that headache, Mulder?" She asked concerned.
His answer was a piercing stare that warned her to leave it alone.
"Maybe you should go back to the..." She began to offer before he cut her
off by slapping the top of his desk.
"I don't need a hospital," he snapped. He paused and took a deep breath.
"No, Mulder, it's alright. Just try to relax a little," she said
sympathetically. She could see from where she sat at her desk that he was
wound up tighter than she'd ever seen him before. "I'm going to get my
coffee... do you want any?"
The offer brought a weak but apologetic smile to his face. "Thanks, but
I really don't think caffeine would be good for my mood right now."
She smiled in return and headed out the door towards the Mr. Coffee.
As she poured her usual, coffee with cream and no sugar, she found herself
beginning to worry about Mulder, again. There were some days, she thought to
herself, that worrying about Mulder was her job instead of being his
partner. Not that she minded, after all, who'd worry about him if she
Ever since he'd been released from the hospital he'd been moody. Well,
moody for Mulder. His normally controlled anger seemed to have a free reign
on his personality. She'd been on the receiving end of that intense anger
on more than one occasion lately and she really wasn't comfortable about it.
Normally, she could take the brunt of somebody's anger but this was
different. This was Mulder.
Mulder's emotions were always so tightly controlled that anyone who didn't
know him considered him cold. Scully had thought that herself when she'd
first met him. She had learned to see the subtle shifts of his emotions.
Now, she could read him like a book.
The first emotion she'd learned to see in him was his rage. It was always
there, bubbling just under the surface with an intensity that sometimes
frightened her. She had always wondered what would happen if his control on
that rage faltered.
Scully guessed that's what she was seeing now.
Mulder was in an emotionally weak state. Having survived two days of
torture, his control was slipping slowly away. Coming down off the
twenty-four hour high hadn't helped either.
Damn Howned anyway, she thought of the bastard that had caused this
misery. He'd wanted revenge and Scully figured that the torture he'd
inflicted on Mulder was just the beginning. According to the amount of
heroine that had been in Mulder's system when she'd finally found him,
Howned had most likely injected Mulder every three hours for at least a
day. The doctors had been right, he had suffered withdrawal after he'd
awakened in the hospital.
Between the withdrawal, the precautionary limit of painkillers, the head
injury and Mulder's dislike of hospitals in general, he'd been irritable
and just plain nasty for the past week. Added on, for good measure, was the
fact that he'd started taking a dangerous amount of aspirin. Scully knew
the head injury couldn't *still* hurt that badly unless the skull fracture
was worse than the doctors had originally thought. But, Scully was a doctor
too, and she'd seen the x-rays and CAT scans. She knew that it wasn't bad.
<I'll have to talk to Mom about this,> Scully thought. Even though she was
a doctor, it was unsettling to watch her friend falling apart like this. Her
mother would be able to help.
Promising herself a long phone call at lunch, Scully headed back to the
When she walked back through the door, Scully was shocked to find Mulder
poking gently at a package, brightly wrapped with Santa Claus paper, on his
desk with a pen. She stifled a grin. He was acting like the 'present' would
explode at the least movement. Then the thought occurred to her that it just
might. After all, who'd send Mulder a Christmas gift?
"Where did that come from?" She asked trying to distract him from whatever
thought was making him scowl.
He looked up and curiosity flooded his features. "You didn't send this?"
She shook her head.
"This was just delivered from the mail room," he started then held up a
tag. "It's from 'A friend'."
"So, who's it from?"
"Well... if you didn't send it, I don't know who did. You're the only
real friend I have..." his voice trailed off, distracted, and he bent to
scrutinize the package, missing the warm look that entered Scully's eyes.
"Maybe Mr. what's-his-name? Your contact?" Scully offered.
"I don't think so," Mulder answered coldly and picked up the rectangular
box that was about the size of a loaf of bread. He turned it in his hands
and felt something thump against the side.
"Well, it doesn't look like the Unibomber's work... Go ahead and open it."
"I dunno know," Mulder said warily, ignoring her attempt at levity. "Maybe
I should take it upstairs to forensics."
"If it *is* from your contact, Mulder, do you want those guys seeing it?"
A frustrated sound escaped him as Mulder began to slowly unwrap the 'gift'.
After removing the paper he was left with a plain brown cardboard box. He
stared at the package for several seconds before lifting the lid.
"Oh my God," he whispered in despair.
Sitting in the box was a severed left hand sealed in a Ziploc freezer bag.
Circling the third finger was a diamond ring. Attached to the baggy was a
small note which Scully carefully turned so she could read but did not
"'I know you've had a rough time lately so Sarah Baxter thought she'd
lend you a hand. -Merry Christmas, Todd'. Jesus, Mulder. It's Howned."
Mulder just shook his head, shocked, then buried his face in his hands.
11:35 AM EST
Scully followed Mulder up the steps to Sarah Baxter's
yesterday, Mulder had been quiet and withdrawn. A mixture of horror, fear
and guilt permanently graced his features. She'd tried to get him to talk
about it but he refused and remained silent.
Scully could understand his mood. She remembered the shear madness in
Howned's eyes the night he'd abducted Mulder and beaten him. She shivered
at the thought of what he'd done to Mulder after Howned had forced her out
of the car and driven to "The Huntsmen" bar.
The memory dissipated as Mulder knocked on the apartment door.
Sarah Baxter had been barely twenty years old and still lived with her
mother. The family had been notified the night before but there was only
the hand to identify. Sarah's fiance had recognized the ring as the one he'd
given her five days ago when he'd proposed. Jonathan Williams had been
unnaturally quiet through the whole process and the police had given him
the name of a good psychiatrist.
The forty-ish woman that answered the door was obviously Sarah's mother.
She was greying and rumpled from a sleepless night filled with grief. She
was dressed in jeans and a baggy flannel shirt.
"May I help you?" She asked while her voice wavered.
Mulder reached into his jacket and withdrew his ever present ID and
badge. "Janet Baxter?" Mulder began in an unemotional tone that could only
be learned by experience. "I'm Fox Mulder with the FBI. We're looking into
your daughter's disappearance. Could we ask you a couple of questions?"
She blinked at them, stunned, before motioning for them to enter. "I
didn't think the FBI handled kidnappings unless it went between states."
"Usually that's true," Mulder offered. "But this is a special case."
"You're the one who received her hand," she said with certainty as new
tears slid down her cheeks.
Mulder nodded silently as she lead them into a small living room with
mismatching furniture. Janet Baxter sat in a well worn but sturdy easy-chair.
"Is this Sarah?" Scully asked pointing at a photograph on an end table as
she and Mulder sank into a sofa whose looks belied its comfort.
"Yes... God rest her," Janet Baxter answered crossing herself.
Sarah had hair so light Scully was forced to wonder if Janet was really
her mother. Janet had the tell tale signs of Greek or Italian origins with
dark hair that was only slightly greying and darkly complected. The only
resemblance between Janet and Sarah was the high cheek bones and the
slender, imperialistic nose.
Janet noticed Scully's scrutiny and offered with a slight smile, "My
husband was Aryan. Why Sarah inherited his side of the gene pool I'll never
Mulder leaned forward, purposely ignoring the photograph. "Mr. Williams
said that he offered to walk her home that night?"
"Yes," she nodded. "But she refused his offer... He always offered to walk
her home at night but she always turned him down. She said he worried about
her too much and that because we only live a couple of blocks apart that
nothing could... ever..." Janet took a steadying breath before finishing,
"...ever... happen to her." She sniffled, "Jonathan is such a nice boy."
"Did Sarah have any distinguishing marks on her hands?" Mulder asked
getting to the point. The quicker the better, he thought. Since he'd entered
the apartment the room seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. The air had
seemed to turn stale. He knew what was happening and if he didn't want to
finish having the anxiety attack he needed to get out of there soon.
"What do you mean?"
"A birth mark or a tattoo, maybe?"
Janet thought for a moment. "No. No birth marks or tattoos."
"Could she have gotten a tattoo without you knowing?"
"No, she would never get a tattoo. She's a good Catholic girl and it's
a sin to mark the body with tattoos or piercing." She answered with
Mulder took a deep breath as he removed a Polaroid photo from his jacket.
He felt himself beginning to sweat. "What about this?" The picture was a
close up of one of Sarah Baxter's left fingers. "There's a mark on the pad
of the index finger. Do you recognize it?"
Janet closely eyed the small photo. "No, but it looks like a 'D'. Did
whoever took her do this?"
"That's the theory. Thank you Mrs. Baxter." Mulder quickly stood and made
a bee-line for the front door.
"We'll keep you informed," Scully added, distractedly as she moved to
"Are you alright, Mulder?" Scully asked outside.
Mulder took a deep, steadying breath. "Fine."
He met her gaze and he could tell that she didn't believe him by the way
she was eyeing him. Mulder felt himself growing angry. He seemed to be doing
a lot of that lately but it wasn't his fault. He couldn't help it. Why did
she have to jump all over him anyway? He thought to himself. He'd never
asked for her to butt into his life.
Mulder blinked, once, in slight confusion. Why was he thinking like that?
Scully was the best friend he'd ever had. No, he thought, 'friend' was too
shallow a word to describe what she was.
He felt the beginnings of the "migraine from Hell" clawing at the base of
his skull and he blindly fished out the aspirin from his pocket.
"Mulder," Scully said worriedly. "You just took some aspirin a little
while ago. It's dangerous to take more than two tablets every four hours..."
"You're not my doctor, Scully," he bit back and immediately regretted the
words. "I'm sorry... again," he added before she could speak. He glanced at
the half empty bottle in his hand before putting it back in his pocket. He
sighed and looked down the street towards the car. "Maybe I should go back
to the hospital and see Doctor Johnson."
Scully smiled, relieved. "I think maybe that would be a good idea."
3:54 PM EST
Scully unlocked her apartment door and glanced over at Mulder
who was half
standing and half slumping against the wall beside her. They'd gone to the
emergency room and Dr. Johnson had examined Mulder's head. Johnson had said
everything was fine and the fracture was healing well. Though, the spot
above his right eye, where the fracture was, would still be a little sore
to the touch.
For the pain, they'd given Mulder a little of everything with instructions
go home and to bed until tomorrow. So Scully had brought him to her place,
unwilling to leave him by himself in his current state. Besides, he didn't
like he wanted to be alone.
She couldn't blame him. The moron had gotten himself addicted to aspirin,
of all things. When the doctor had told them, Scully had rudely liberated
him of the bottle he'd had though he didn't give much of a fight.
Scully pushed open her door and allowed Mulder to proceed her inside,
albeit unsteadily. He made it as far as the couch and collapsed into the
cushions, quite willing to forget about the case, Howned and Sarah Baxter
for a few hours of drug induced sleep.
Five minutes later, Scully's mother knocked gently on the front door.
"Hi Mom," Scully greeted as she embraced her mother.
"Hi Hon. Where do you want this stuff?" Her mother answered gesturing to
the bags she held.
"Just there... on the chair, will be fine. And thanks for getting Mulder's
things for me."
"Well, what are mothers for?" She returned with a smile. "Now, where is
the poor guy?"
Scully smiled. Her mother was treating Mulder more and more like one of
her own kids. "He's the unceremonious heap on the sofa."
As her mother made her way to the couch, Scully went through the things
she'd brought for Mulder from his apartment. They included assorted
toiletries, a change of cloths as well as something to pass for pajamas.
She smiled at her mother's efforts and went into the living room.
"I hate to tell you this Ma, but Mulder usually just wears what he's got
on to bed."
Her mother looked up as she pulled off one of his shoes. "Well, the least
you could've done was to take his shoes off." She said changing the subject
as only mothers can. "Oh, I also brought over his mail. There was a package
for him that looks pretty important."
Scully felt all the color drain from her face. "Where?"
"It's at the bottom of the bag. Why? What's wrong?"
Scully practically ran to the other room and fished out the package. It
looked almost identical to the 'gift' Mulder had received yesterday and
Scully didn't have to guess what was in it.
"Dana?" Her mother asked.
"Mom, can you stay here for a while and keep an eye on Mulder? I need to
take this down to the office."
"Sure, you know I can. But, what's this all about?"
"It deals with a case and I really can't tell you anything about it right
now. Can you just stay here until he wakes up?"
Mrs. Scully simply nodded and handed Dana her coat as she went out the
7:20 AM EST
Mulder awoke groggy and disoriented. He recognized Scully's
couch as he
sat up and ran a hand through his hair. He felt much better than he had
yesterday and a little surprised that he felt no signs of a headache. He
yawned as he stood and heard something clank in the kitchen.
"I know you're awake in there," he recognized Scully's mother's voice.
"So, for once in your life, come and eat breakfast."
He smiled slightly and made his way to Scully's modest kitchen. "I eat
breakfast every morning." He answered in mild protest.
"I've heard what you eat." She replied.
He sank heavily into a chair at the table, yawned and asked, almost as an
after thought, "Where's Scully?"
"Dana's not here."
"And...?" he added as he took a sip of the coffee she placed in front of
"She said she was going to the office, but that was yesterday. You got a
package in the mail that I brought over with me and she took it with her."
"What?" He said in disbelief as the click of the front door opening
sounded through the apartment.
He watched Scully enter the kitchen looking as if, for a change, she'd
been the one up all night. She set her briefcase lightly on the table and
withdrew a manila envelope from its depths. She held it for a few seconds
as if she were deciding whether or not to give it to him.
"So, how are you feeling today Mulder?" She asked setting the envelope on
the table. He'd looked relaxed when she first had entered the kitchen but he
was beginning to knot up. He was beginning to look as if she'd just put a
poisonous snake in front of him.
He met her eyes and replied warily, "I was feeling pretty good." He was
half eager and half afraid to see the contents of the curse she'd set on the
table. "How 'bout you just tell me so I don't have to look in that?"
"Okay. I'm assuming that Mom told you about bringing over your mail," she
glanced at her mother.
"We were just getting to that, Hon." Margaret said as she poured three
glasses of orange juice.
"Well," Scully continued. "I took it to the forensics guys and let them
open it. There was an ear in a Ziploc freezer bag along with a note..."
"The left ear?" Mulder interrupted as he reached over, unable to resist,
and removed the contents of the envelope.
"Yes and it had a gold earring through the lobe..." She'd long since given
up asking him how he'd figured things out so quickly.
"What letter?" Mulder glanced through the pages seeing the answer before
she said it.
"' I '. And the note says, 'The Hunt has begun...'"
"'...so keep an ear to the ground.'" Mulder finished reading from the
report. He set the papers on the table and glanced at Scully. "So, did you
figure out who the ear belongs to?"
She shook her head. "No, but the DNA results should be back by this
afternoon. There's a couple of possibilities."
Mulder began to get to his feet. "We should get going then..." he started.
"Huh uh," both Scullys answered in unison.
"I've been up all night." Dana added. "I'm not like you, Mulder. I'm going
"And you," Margaret said to Mulder with a tone of finality, "are going to
sit back down and finish your breakfast."
Todd Howned stood behind the row of waist high shrubs with an
clipper. The clipper vibrated gently in his hands as he ran it along the
tops of the plants being sure to cut them evenly. It was tedious work but
he liked it. Being a grounds-keeper was better than the interior of the
Greenside Institution and he had no plans on going back.
The thought of the 'Doctors' there asking him mundane questions about how
he felt and what he thought he should do with his unresolved anger made him
sick. The only unresolved anger he had was being taken away from his Hunt.
He had missed it so much during the time he was locked away that he had
cried. He had sworn that he would get even with the people responsible for
taking away his happiness.
He'd promised himself that he'd start with the two FBI agents who'd
arrested him. The only thing was that Reggie Pardue was dead. That was too
bad, because Todd had wanted Pardue to try and hunt him. This was the fun
part... luring in the prey. He'd gotten even with the Fox but since Pardue
was dead, Todd had been forced to let the Fox live.
According to his original plan, he was going to leave the Fox for Pardue
to find though he'd be missing a few 'parts' that Todd was later going to
mail to Pardue. But, since the man was dead, Todd had been forced to let the
Fox go so the Hunt could go on. Also, he had to pick other prey off the
streets for his plan to work.
Though Todd was unhappy at having to let the Fox live, he had found it
more stimulating having to hunt down other prey to lure in his primary prey.
He was glad that the Hunt was turning out even better than he had originally
planned. He'd have his revenge.
Todd turned the clipper in his hands to shape the sides of the shrubs. He
had to make the place look good. There was going to be a party tonight. He'd
be able to find his next prey here.
He smiled, happily contented.
(continued prt. 2)
The Hunt prt. 2
by. K.D. Enriquez
4:00 PM EST
FBI Forensics Lab
The bread box sized package sat on the lab table. Mulder gazed
at the plain paper that covered it's surface. His address was written both
as the 'To' destination and as the return address. It's postage had been
paid and, according to the post office, dropped into a public mailbox. The
package had been shipped from a different branch of the Federal Postal
Service than the other two and Mulder had received it when he'd gone home
He'd called Scully en route to the office but Mrs. Scully had told him
that she'd still been asleep. He had been tempted to ask her to wake Scully
and then thought better of it and just left a message. He would wait for her
before the lab guys opened it. He didn't want to face this by himself.
Mulder still had no idea how Howned had escaped from the maximum security
facility at Greenside. The officials there had still thought he'd been
locked in his 'room' and hadn't known that Howned had abducted and assaulted
a federal agent.
Mulder's thoughts were interrupted as his cellular phone shrilled in his
"Mulder," he answered and then sighed as the FBI central operator told him
that Assistant Director Skinner was looking for him. "Yeah, look... I'm
really busy right now and I'll beep him later, alright?" He then
disconnected the conversation.
It wasn't that he didn't like Skinner, they'd come to a sort of
understanding in the last couple of weeks, but he didn't want to face
Skinner's questions right at the moment. Questions that he had no answers
for. Plus, until Mulder *had* answers, the inevitable conversation would
only frustrate them both.
The door to the lab opened and Scully came into the room. She glanced
around seeing the nondescript package on the table, an assorted group of
forensic agents sharing coffee and jokes that'd make any feminist shudder
and Mulder who was staring hatefully at the object on the table.
"...and so the guy says, 'Your mother... I thought she was *my* mother.'"
She heard Agent Moorcock say before the group of guys broke into laughter.
"Hey, you guys just waiting for me?" Scully said loud enough to announce
"Yeah," Mulder said breaking out of his reverie. "I found this in my
mailbox this afternoon." He added pointing at the box on the table.
"Well, we can get started now," Agent Moorcock put in as he crossed the
room. "Any bets on what's in it?"
Moorcock took out a knife-like letter opener and began to cut away at the
packing paper around the box. He then cut at the tape that sealed the
Beside her, Scully felt Mulder tense. She could tell that he really didn't
want to find out what part Howned had sent him out of twisted revenge.
"Let me," Mulder said coming to a decision and stepping forward quickly.
"It is addressed to me and we wouldn't want to break any federal laws."
Moorcock grinned and stepped aside as Mulder reached for the lid. He
lifted it open and slowly removed the Styrofoam packing material to revel a
Ziploc freezer bag. Mulder lifted the bag out to see a severed left foot
with a note stapled to the baggy.
"'The game is afoot'." Mulder read out loud. He turned the body part in
his hands, searching.
Scully moved to his side and watched as he turned the bottom to face up.
"There," she said seeing what he was looking for.
He nodded in agreement at the letter 'O' tattooed on the heel. He turned
to Moorcock, "Find out who this belongs to."
"Sure thing. Also, the DNA tests came back on the ear. It belongs to a
woman named Justine Stasheff who's been missing for six days." Moorcock
answered handing Mulder an in-office envelope.
"Thanks," Mulder said as he took the envelope and turned to leave.
Scully followed him out the door. Silence fell between them as they made
their way back to the basement office. She was quite comfortable with the
silence. It was obvious that Mulder didn't feel like talking and, in truth,
there was nothing to discuss.
As they approached the office door, a thought occurred to her. "Do you
want to question her family?"
He shook his head. "There's no need."
Mulder stopped in front of the office door. Scully watched him as he
scanned up and down the door's height. She saw his muscles tense and he
reached back to rest his right hand on the grip of his weapon. The look he
tossed in her direction told her everything she needed to know. Someone was
in the office and it was someone who didn't belong there.
Mulder flung the door open and quickly entered the room to see a man of
about twenty gazing at the photographs on the walls. He kept his hand on his
weapon as the young man turned to face him.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" Mulder asked seeing the 'Visitor'
badge clipped to the man's T-shirt.
There was a sadness in his eyes as he looked from Mulder to Scully and
back again. "My name's Jonathan Williams. I'm... I was Sarah Baxter's
Jonathan Williams sat across from Mulder at his desk while Scully was in
a nearby chair. After offering their condolences and a seat, Williams hadn't
said a word. Scully looked at Mulder and could tell he was becoming
impatient. She glanced back at Williams and admitted that Sarah would've
been a lucky girl.
Jonathan Williams had jet black hair but the bluest eyes Scully had ever
seen in her life. He barely reached six feet in height and was dressed in
black denim jeans and a plain white T-shirt. There were dark circles under
his eyes and the faintest scent of alcohol clung to him.
"What can we do for you, Mr. Williams?" Mulder asked, his patience at its
"I want to know if you caught the bastard yet." He replied flatly.
Mulder sighed, sympathetic to the man's grief. "No, not yet. But we will."
Williams met Mulder's steady gaze."I heard somebody else is dead now too."
It wasn't a question.
"That's true," Mulder glanced at Scully. "How'd you hear that? We didn't
tell the press."
He laughed. "Man, this is D.C. I got connections."
"Who doesn't?" Scully asked barely audible.
"What are the letters on the... parts?" He demanded sounding slightly
"I can't tell you that," Mulder answered.
Williams stood and placed his hands on the top of the desk and leaned
menacingly towards Mulder. "I know the first one is a 'D'. Sarah's mother
told me. Now, you tell me what the other ones are!"
Mulder also stood, "Look, I'm very sorry about Sarah but, for your sake,
I hope you're not trying to intimidate me, Jon. I can't tell you. It's
against the law." Anger had begun to creep into his voice and his eyes
Jonathan turned away angrily and stalked towards the door. "That's fine.
I'll find the bastard myself. Justice *will* be served." He disappeared out
"Mulder, don't," Scully said as Mulder moved to follow. "He's upset and
probably a little intoxicated."
Mulder sighed, "Just one more problem to deal with." As he sat back down
at the desk he remembered that Skinner wanted to talk to him so he pulled
out his cellular phone and dialed Skinner's pager number.
6:30 PM EST
Assistant Director Walter S. Skinner entered Mulder's office
knocking and startled the two agents who were busily pouring through case
files. He smiled as Agent Scully gasped startled and then frowned as he
noticed Mulder had reached for his weapon. Then he saw Mulder relax though
he hadn't gotten the gun completely out of its holster.
"Sorry to page you so late," Mulder offered."I didn't know you were busy."
Skinner looked down at himself still dressed in black tie. "No... don't
worry. Actually, you did me a favor. I'm not too fond of these kinds of
functions. I prefer beer and peanuts to wine and caviar."
"So, what did you want to see me for? I can't be in trouble... I haven't
"Yet." Skinner added with a straight face.
Mulder returned a sarcastic grin.
"Actually, I wanted an update on this case you're working on."
Mulder stared blankly at him for a second. "Now, I *am* sorry I pulled
you away from where-ever."
Skinner shook his head. "No, you gave me an excuse to leave." He moved to
sit in a chair and began to remove assorted junk from his front pockets
including: two hotel keys, three phone numbers, a cocktail napkin and
eighty-six cents in change. He shook his head again. "It's unbelievable
what you can pick up at functions like this in D.C."
Mulder picked up the cocktail napkin. In the right hand corner were the
words: "The Diogenes Club". He glanced up at his boss with a
semi-respectfully disappointed look.
"You go to this place?" Mulder asked incredulously. He had disapproved
of the place when he'd heard it was opening. The Diogenes Club was just
another of the snotty, elitist, society clubs.
"No," Skinner replied. "There's a birthday party for Senator Hathoway
tonight. And, since he helped get more funding for the Bureau, my
attendance was required. So, as I said, you did me a favor."
Mulder nodded and began to fill Skinner in on the case so far. The body
parts in the mail, the letters and the notes.
"Do you have any ideas on where he is?" Skinner finally asked.
Mulder looked at his shoes, disappointment clear on his face. "No, but
he's telling me."
5:15 PM EST
Mulder sat at his desk staring intently at the photo of the
part that he'd received earlier in the day. It was a tongue with the letter
'G' tattooed on the surface. The note had said, "The taste of revenge is
He shook his head tiredly. He knew Howned was spelling out where he was
hiding. Mulder also knew that Howned was trying to lure him into a trap.
What is a hunt without the prey? Mulder just hoped that he could turn the
tables on Howned and make the hunter the hunted.
Mulder laid the pictures of the other body parts on the desk to join the
tongue. He put them in a row in the order the parts had been received. The
first was the left hand of Sarah Baxter and the letter 'D'. The second was
the left ear of Justine Stasheff and the letter 'I'. The third was the left
foot of a young woman named Valerie Jones, 33 from Baltimore, with the
letter 'O' on the bottom of the heel. Finally the tongue and the letter
'G'. Mulder was sure they'd find that the tongue belonged to a woman who
had recently disappeared.
Mulder stared at the letters and wondered if Howned might have scrambled
whatever it was that he was spelling out. He tried rearranging the order.
The only word that made any sense was DOGI, a shortened spelling of doggy.
Which could mean 'Fox', Mulder thought to himself.
But, Mulder was convinced that Howned was telling him where he was. That
Howned really wanted Mulder to *find* him instead of telling Mulder the
object of the Hunt.
He sighed and gave into the realization that Howned hadn't yet sent him
all the letters. He didn't want to get his mail tomorrow, he knew he'd be
getting more than the bill for his rent. What would he get anyway? The right
foot? The right hand? Probably the foot, he answered to himself.
As he put the letters back in their original order, Scully entered the
office with a sheet of paper. "The latest victim's name was Charlette
Black, an eighteen-year-old senior at Jefferson High School. She's been
missing since she ran away from home four weeks ago."
Mulder leaned back in his chair and stared even more intently at the
letters on his desk. "I should've killed him when I had the chance," he
whispered remembering the day he'd arrested Howned.
His stomach turned at the memory of Howned standing over the partially
dismembered body of six-year-old Jennifer Mason. The stench of boiling flesh
wafted from the pots cooking on the stove. Mulder had been frozen in shock,
staring into the eyes of a complete madman. He had watched as Howned had
eaten a piece of the girl's raw flesh and then asked if he could cook some
before they took him to jail.
Mulder had wanted to shoot him then. To put the man out of his misery
because it was cruel for someone so completely sick to live. It would've
been euthanasia, not murder.
Scully watched him silently from where she stood. She watched the anger
in his eyes turn to an almost homicidal hatred and then finally to a look
of pity. She could tell what he was thinking.
After a moment of silence, Scully spoke. "Come on, Mulder. It's quitin'
time and my mother is expecting you for dinner."
He looked up from his desk with a ghost of a smile on his lips. "She is?"
Scully returned the smile.
7:00 PM EST
Mulder sat on the plush sofa in Margaret Scully's living room,
propped on the coffee table and staring at the screen of the television
set. He wasn't paying attention to the old episode of _War of the Worlds_
that was airing on the SciFi Channel, his mind was still shifting and
rearranging four letters.
Margaret Scully turned to her daughter with a worried frown. "Is he okay?"
"In the physical sense." Dana paused. "He's working." She shrugged.
"Oh," her mother replied as she turned down the heat on the chicken.
"How's Bill? I haven't spoken with him in a while." Dana asked of her
"About the same," her mother smiled then turned as she heard the front
door open. "There's Melissa."
Dana smiled and met her sister in the hall. "Hi Melissa."
"Dana," Her older sister smiled. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," she answered taking Melissa's coat.
The three of them returned to the kitchen. They chatted about the goings
on at respective works while the vegetables heated.
Mulder entered the kitchen and took a seat at the table. He
felt out of
place like he always did whenever he accepted Mrs. Scully's dinner
invitations. He just didn't feel like he had the right to intrude on
Scully's family. He always felt as if he were 'mooching' off of Mrs.
Scully's generosity but he didn't dare refuse to come.
To make things worse, Melissa was here too. He hadn't seen her since the
day in the hospital after Scully had come out of the coma. He didn't know
what she thought of him. He didn't really want to know because Mulder knew
he'd made a bad first impression with her.
So, Mulder said nothing as he lowered into the chair. The chicken smelled
good, but it brought back memories of Todd Howned and those letters. His
mind drifted again and he didn't care that the three women were now staring
D,I,O,G... the letters were familiar. Mulder knew he'd seen them somewhere
but he couldn't remember where. He knew that he knew what they meant.
He looked down at the plate of food in front of him. He should probably
start eating before they asked what was wrong with him.
He picked up his fork and his eyes settled on the napkin underneath.
Dana watched him worriedly. She saw the distracted, frustrated glaze over
his eyes. He had the 'look'. The one that she had described to him once as
the look were he'd forgotten his keys and was trying to get back into the
house. He was onto something, she knew, but he didn't quite have a grasp on
it yet. The answers were just out of his reach.
Her sister and her mother were watching him now as well, though it didn't
look as if Mulder cared or noticed. Dana wondered if they were as fascinated
as she was to watch Mulder think.
As he reached for a fork, she saw the 'light' click on. His jaw dropped
almost imperceptibly, his eyes turned more brown than green and he grew so
still that Dana didn't think he was breathing.
He met her gaze slowly. "I... I know where he is," he said in a whisper.
"Where?" she asked quitely in return as if afraid he may forget if she
spoke too loudly.
He stood suddenly. "Where's my coat?" He asked and bolted to the hall.
Dana looked first at her mother then at her sister, half shocked that
Mulder had departed so swiftly. Then she too jumped to her feet and followed
him out to the hallway where he was already halfway out the door, his coat
She grabbed her own topcoat from the closet and raced to keep up. She
barely got the car door shut as Mulder pulled away from the curb.
Neither noticed the car that was parked behind them start to follow.
Mulder turned a corner at a speed that would awe any Indy 500
He floored the gas pedal pushing the car toward the Anacostia Freeway.
"Mulder, where are we going?" Scully said as she clutched the door handle.
"'The Diogenes Club'," he answered. "That's what Howned has been spelling.
"Are you sure?" She asked knowing the question was redundant. "How many
places start with those four letters?"
"The Diogenes Club is a society club. They go yachting, fishing, clay
pigeon shooting and... fox hunting." He continued in a logical tone as he
pulled onto the freeway.
"Sounds plausible to me," Scully replied.
Fifteen minutes later, Mulder pulled to a stop in front of the main
building of the Diogenes Club. An expansive building of four stories, it
looked more like a mansion than a society club. Even in the dark, Mulder
could tell that the lawns were immaculately kept.
"Mulder, don't we need a search warrant?" Scully asked trying to slow him
down a little.
He shook his head, "Not if they allow us when we ask."
As they walked through the front doors, the car that had been tailing
them, unnoticed, parked behind them. The driver, looking older than his
years, stepped from the vehicle. His hand reached under his coat, reassuring
him that the 9mm he bought the morning before was still there.
Mulder approached the stuffy looking man at the reception desk. If Mulder
didn't know better, he'd say the man pulled a second job as the matrede at
the expensive French restaurant near the Mall.
The man put up a hand to stop them. Mulder pulled out his ID. "We're with
the FBI. We have reason to believe that there is a wanted felon hiding
somewhere on these grounds. May we have permission to search the premises
and surrounding area?"
The man blinked at him in shock and confusion before replying, "I will
have to check with my superior, first."
Mulder nodded. "We'll wait."
The man turned a picked up a phone. After a short conversation the man
turned to address them. "Go right ahead."
Mulder pulled out Todd Howned's mug shot. "Have you seen this guy?"
Scully glanced at Mulder in disbelief. She hadn't realized he'd brought
the case file with him to dinner.
The man looked closely at the photo. "Yes. That's one of the groundkeepers.
He should be in the employee house." He pulled out a map of the grounds that
showed an eighteen hole golf course, tennis courts, docks and stables.
"Here, near the docks. You can use one of the jeeps to get out there."
"Thank you," Mulder said taking both the offered keys and the map. He
turned in the indicated direction to the garage with Scully on his heels.
She pulled out her cellular and called for backup as they got in the jeep
and headed for the docks.
Night had completely fallen when the jeep came to a stop
employee house. Mulder stepped out of the vehicle slowly, drawing his gun
and looking warily at the lighted windows of the building. Howned was in
there and he could probably see them right now.
Scully came around the car to stand next to him, her weapon also at the
ready. "What do you want to do, Mulder? Backup won't be here for a few more
"He could be sneaking out the back as we speak, Scully," was his response.
"I figured you'd say that," She replied with a small smile.
He grinned in return, "I'll take the back and I promise not to hurt
"Yeah, and I'll believe that when this is over." Scully said as she
cautiously approached the front door.
Mulder gave her a mock salute before he slipped around the side of the
building and made his way to the back. The moon had risen shedding a ghostly
light on the water from the Potomac only a short distance away. Adrenalin
began to pump excitedly through his system causing his breathing to shorten
and come out as white puffs in the December chill.
As Mulder turned the corner to the rear of the house, he could see the
light that shone over the back door and the shadow cast by the man trying to
Mulder raised his gun, recognizing the man who had tormented him for the
past three weeks. "Howned!" He shouted, "Freeze, FBI!"
Todd quickly turned and met Mulder's gaze. An evil grin spread across his
face before he took off into the darkness.
"Scully!" Mulder called as he gave chase.
He could see Howned a good distance ahead of him. To far to attempt a
reliable shot without risking Howned escaping. Even with the moonlight, it
was too dark. Mulder would lose him if he got to far ahead. "Howned, stop!"
Mulder called knowing Howned wouldn't but FBI training had taken over.
He heard Howned start to laugh. He laughed one of those demented giggles
that sent chills up Mulder's spine. "For once the Fox chases the Howned,"
the voice ahead of him goaded. "'Run, run as fast as you can. You can't
catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!'"
Mulder looked to see where Howned was going and realized they were headed
for the docks along the Potomac River. Howned probably had a boat stashed
there. He pushed his legs to move faster. If Howned got to a boat, he'd be
gone. His blood pounded in his ears and the sound of his feet changed pitch
as the ground turned into the wooden planking of the dock.
Still moving at full speed, Mulder raised his weapon and fired.
Twenty yards ahead of him, Howned went down.
Mulder slowed as he approached. Howned was laying on the wooden surface of
the dock and he sat up slowly, holding his shoulder. He looked at Mulder in
shock as Mulder stopped a safe distance away.
"Nice shot," Howned gasped, out of breath and in pain.
"...Don't... move.." Mulder returned, trying to catch his breath. "You're
A distinct look of terror entered Howned's eyes, "I'm not going back.
"Oh, yes you are. I'm going to see to it that they lock you so far inside
the Greenside Institution that you'll never see the light of day." Mulder
growled, the dark part of his soul enjoying the chance to torment Todd in
return. "Now, stand slowly with your back to me, hands behind your head."
Howned meekly complied, too terrified to do otherwise.
Suddenly, Mulder heard a familiar voice behind him yell in anger and
hatred. "That's not Justice! This is Justice you sick Son-of-Bitch!"
Mulder dove to the ground as the repeated bark of a 9mm filled the night.
He rolled, bringing his own weapon to bare on the form of Jonathan Williams
standing on shore a few feet away. Training again took over as he fired
three quick bursts.
Williams dropped, still pulling the trigger though the distinctive
clicking of a spent clip echoed over the water.
Mulder glanced back over his shoulder at Howned. A peaceful smile had
etched itself on his face as he staggered backwards and off the end of the
dock into the water.
11:45 PM EST
The Diogenes Club
on the shore of the Potomac River
The Potomac river glowed eriely from the flood lamps that lit
The red and blue strobbing lights from the Rescue Dive teams out on the
water gave the scene a sense of finality. Every few minutes, a figure would
break the surface of the water, the light from shore reflecting off the neon
wetsuit as they gave the thumbs down signal.
Mulder stood on the end of the dock in the same place he'd been standing
for the last three hours. Unable to turn around and face the white sheet
that covered the body still laying on the shore where it'd fallen. Unable
to face his guilt.
He heard the various police and FBI officials taking notes and photographs
of the scene. He heard them discussing his actions. He heard them all
agreeing that he'd done the right thing. He had a duty to protect the public
and he had a duty to protect the guilty. He was justified in firing upon
Jonathan Williams. He was justified in Williams' death.
He closed his eyes as another figure surfaced out on the water and gave
another thumbs down. Mulder doubted they'd find anything. Howned had
probably been taken out to sea with the current by now. For some reason,
that fact gave him no solace.
He heard someone approach him from behind and knew who it was.
"You alright, Mulder?" Scully asked stopping to stand beside him.
He met her concerned gazed with a stony one of his own. "Why wouldn't
She glanced behind her at the form being put into a bodybag by the newly
arrived coroner. Mulder quickly returned his gaze to the water.
"It was the right thing to do..." she started.
"Only one person deserved to die tonight, Scully, and it wasn't Jonathan
Williams." He turned to look at her again. "I know it was the right thing."
He added softly.
Scully gestured out at the water with her chin. "They haven't found
"No, and it looks like they're ready to call it a night." As he spoke the
words, they could see the divers starting to be pulled from the water.
"Well, at least he's gone," Scully offered trying to pull Mulder out of
his dark mood.
He sighed, "I sure hope so."