Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997
Subject: "Kicking the Habit II" by Gerry Hill

Disclaimer: This story is based on the characters and situations
created by Chris Carter, the Fox Network and Ten Thirteen
Productions. As such, the characters named are the property of
those entities and are used without permission, although no
copyright infringements are intended. The following work is for
the distribution and entertainment of fanfic members only. Any
further distribution of this work without the author's consent is
in violation of international law.

Classification: X, T, A, R Definitely MSR. They have had a
sexual relationship since the ending of "Kicking the Habit."

Rating: R (but not "hard" R), for violence, language, and sexual

Spoilers: Reference to "War of the Coprophages" and "Teliko."

Dedication: To Beth Ward (who is Australian but not an
arachnologist) for the use of her family's names; to Macspooky who
keeps me focused on the story and provides much-needed information;
to Danielle Culverson, always a friend who gives me support and
confidence; and to Yvonne Richards who could have written this damn
thing for me in half the time with half the grief.

NOTE: Reading "Kicking the Habit" first from the archives would
help you to understand references in this story to Mulder's
addiction and other past events, but is not absolutely necessary.
And if you're afraid of spiders, this story might bother you.
Also, I know a little about the medical, arthropod and drug-related
topics - just enough to be dangerous. I tried to stick with
factual info, but you might catch an inaccuracy or two if you're
knowledgeable on the subjects.

Summary: Mulder and Scully are given a case involving mysterious
deaths in the Washington, D. C. area. Agents Farris and Garcia
lend them a hand. Mulder must still deal with his addiction.
Takes place prior to Scully's cancer.


by Gerry Hill (

Sometime in the Near Future....

The darkness was absolute. Under normal circumstances she was not
a timid woman, but this was scaring the shit out of her. Fifteen
minutes ago she had been thrown into this small, pitch dark room
and other than a gossamer touch of something on her bare arm, no
one had done anything else to her. She got to her feet and moved
forward hesitantly, finally deciding to explore.

Almost immediately, she came into contact with a cobweb-like
substance, and frantically brushed and hit at it until it was
cleared away. Something scurried across her neck and shoulders.
She gave a startled gasp. Brushing all over with her hands, she
gradually began to calm down when she encountered nothing else.

She felt bare and vulnerable. The bra and panties she wore didn't
provide her with very much protection. Strangely enough, however,
it was being barefoot that bothered her the most in this dark
unknown area.

"I must have napped through the class at Quantico on how to handle
this kind of situation," she nervously joked to herself.

Exploring a little more, she touched the hard surface of what
seemed to be a wall. Severe pain suddenly shot through her
fingers. Then a second jolt of pain hit.

She wailed and shook her hand vigorously, feeling something small
dislodge and fall away. She was hysterical now, not knowing where
the thing had disappeared. She backed away from where she thought
it had gone, but a stab of agony on her bare ankle proved her
wrong. It clung to her and she was bitten twice more as she kicked
frantically to free herself from the horror.

She was already uncontrollably perspiring, and now she felt the
pain from her hand travel up her arm in a fiery wave. The muscles
in her face began twitching, and her heartbeat sped up. The small
object on her ankle fell away, but she almost didn't notice, as a
fit of vomiting hit her, along with painful muscle spasms.
Consciousness faded as she fell to the floor, and she dimly was
aware of a scurrying across her body again...

8:45 am, Present Day
Basement Office of Special Agent Fox Mulder
FBI Building

I was blaming my latest flare-up of twitchiness on boredom. No new
cases in over two weeks would have driven me up a wall under any
circumstances, but with the added factor of past narcotic
dependence, I couldn't seem to stop my craving for the release the
drug could have bestowed. It wasn't a continuous, conscious
desire...well, it *hadn't* been, but it was quickly turning into an
overwhelming presence in my body and brain.

I was sure that Scully knew what was going on, since one of the
ways I had been trying to distract myself this past week was to
have sex with her every chance I got. Hardly a fate worse than
death, and it worked most of the time, too. At least just before,
during and right after.

As a matter of fact, with the prolonged foreplay lately, I had set
a precedent that would be difficult to always match, or even
approach. At least she was glowing most of the time - she seemed
to grow more beautiful every day.

And that was the *only* thing that had kept me from fragmenting
into a million pieces...Dana Scully had become everything to me.

But that didn't keep the boredom completely at bay. She had to be
bored, too, but would never admit it. I was wishing that she would
go back upstairs for awhile so I could freak out in peace. God,
that sounded really whiney. She was aware that the addiction was
rearing its ugly head, and that the boredom was making it much
worse to deal with. I had caught her watching me several times
this morning and I finally slammed my fist onto the desk, making
her jump.

She looked up with those incredible eyes and her mouth parted
slightly. She watched my angry gaze flick over her body and that
was enough of a signal to turn her on. God, I wanted to take her
right then and there!

The ringing telephone effectively ended that pleasant thought. In
any event, we had made strict rules about our relationship; no
expression of any intimacy in the office or on the job. Now and
then a more intimate caress was initiated by one of us - usually me
- but never where anyone else had the most remote chance of
observing it. I usually caught hell about "breaking the rules"
then. And a recurring fantasy of mine had her reduced to a sexual
frenzy as we coupled right here on the desk...Mmmm, not only was
this distracting me from my boredom-related problems, but creating
another. I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair.

While she talked on the phone, my mind went back to the age-old
question - Why did this beautiful, strong, intelligent woman choose
to love *me*? I still couldn't quite believe it. I was such a
pain in the butt most of the time that I kept waiting for her to
get fed up, come to her senses and run as fast and as far from me
as she could. That possibility scared me so badly some nights that
I would just lie there and shake. At other times, it seemed that
I was *trying* to push her away from me, unable to stop hurting

We had come close to catastrophe several times. The latest had
been a hell of an argument about my going off to Pennsylvania
without letting her know about it. Words were said that really
hurt us both. She came over to my apartment that night but I
deliberately pushed her away with my coldness. She sat in a chair
with tear-swollen eyes and just stared, not knowing how to make it
right again.

That's when things got weird. I admit that what I did was
unforgivable and probably not too normal, but in my defense, I'd
had a couple of drinks before she showed up. Guess I could blame
it on that. And the fact that I knew she wasn't going to let me
close that night.

Anyway, I ignored her, put one of my porno tapes on the machine,
and stretched out on the couch in my sweatpants and watched the
action. With her eyes on me, I almost reverted to my old habits
but stopped my hand as it drifted toward my groin. I still had
some sense of shame, I suppose. I got up without a word and went
into the bathroom, shed the sweatpants and got into a hot shower.

My erection was throbbing. I caressed my balls, then ran my hand
up the shaft. I moaned with the sensation and then began stroking
in earnest. I brought myself close to orgasm but was startled when
the shower curtain was moved aside and Scully was standing there,
her words and my hand caught in mid-flight.

"Mulder, I'm sor...."

I saw that she was naked, having come to me in the mood to make up
in the nicest possible way. Instead, she turned abruptly, face
flushed, and moved toward the door.

Catching her by the waist before she could leave the bathroom, I
pulled her insistently but gently into the shower with me. I
possessed her lips and could have sworn there was electricity
pulsing through them that spread in an instant throughout our
bodies. The love we made then was the most intense of our

Afterwards, we came to an uneasy agreement that, if at all
possible, I would tell her when I needed to run off again. She and
I both knew the agreement was probably worthless, and I felt like
a real shit, but what can you do with a more-than-half insane
asshole like myself? I really expected to go off the deep end one
of these days, and I didn't like the thought that I might take
Scully with me.

The phone call came to an end and my attention returned to my
partner. It had been Skinner; we were wanted in his office
immediately to discuss a new case which probably was not an X File.
Damn. Well, I wouldn't turn down anything at that point. It would
give me relief from contemplating the meaning of life, anyway. And
just maybe keep my mind off the drug craving, a little voice added.

I followed Scully out to the elevator, which was empty when we got
into it at the basement level. At the main floor, however, it was
suddenly jam-packed with people. All I found to do was stare with
glazed eyes at the floor indicator over the door. I wondered if we
were going to stop at *every* floor - we had so far.

Then I was startled to feel a hand grabbing my left butt cheek. As
that fact registered, those trespassing fingers took a generous
pinch and were quickly withdrawn.

I could feel my eyes widen in surprise and shock. What the hell?!

The elevator was so crowded that it could have been any one of
three people, including...Scully. My eyes travelled down to my
left, taking in her vacant, bored expression. Hmmm. Then I looked
to my right, where Peni Jacobs, a 60-year old grandmother from
Accounting was tapping a toe impatiently. That left whoever was
right behind me. With my luck, it was probably be that hairy
little guy from the lab.

The elevator was coming to another of its interminable stops, and
I saw an opportunity to get a look at the pervert.

I turned slightly during a general shifting while several people
maneuvered to get out of the elevator. I found myself looking down
into Agent Karen Farris' amused blue eyes.

During the case that resulted in my drug addiction, she had saved
my life. Since then she had become a good friend, giving us a hand
with the X Files when things got too frantic. Because of the lull
in new cases, we hadn't seen much of her lately.

At that point, the elevator door opened on the AD's floor and
Farris followed us out.

She smiled at us, and Scully smiled back, asking, "So did you have
a summons from Skinner, too?"

"Yeah," she answered. "Don't know what it's about though."

While she and Scully were talking, I was looking at this petite
person with the blue eyes and fluffy blond hair, speculating
whether she could have pinched me, and why. She *was* giving me an
enigmatic little smile. What was going on here? That pinch had
felt extremely friendly. But she knew that Scully and I were

Scully must have finally taken pity on me, because she said, "It
was me, Mulder."

Now I *was* shocked. I told her, "You don't do things like that in
public, Scully!" Especially when there were "rules" involved.

She just chuckled and answered, "Well, I do now. It's your bad

I was still pondering this heretofore unrevealed side to my partner
when another thought occurred to me: I was more shocked that it
had been Scully than if it *had* been Karen Farris.

Then we were at Skinner's door, where his secretary waved us on in.

I was surprised to see Agent Garcia already seated in front of AD
Skinner's desk. I realized suddenly that I still didn't know
Garcia's first name despite our encounters on several cases. So as
I took a seat next to him, I leaned over and peered at his security
name tag, seeing a first name that appeared to be "Zorro." I
definitely would have to look further into *that*.

After the initial bullshit was over, Skinner handed me a file and
said, "Of the four murders in the Washington, D. C. area over the
past several months contained in that file, one of them caused an
uproar, and the Director has received a great deal of pressure to
get the whole thing resolved. She has personally asked that I
assign you and a team of agents with that end in mind. The last
victim was Jenny Conroy, the daughter of the Secretary of State."

I was halfway listening to Skinner as I thumbed through the papers
in the file, stopping to read now and then when something caught my
attention. I heard him tell Agent Scully to perform the autopsy on
Conroy and to review the other autopsy reports.

I heard my name again and re-focused my attention. "I want you,
Agent Mulder, to come up with a profile, as well as head up this
investigation, coordinating with local law enforcement. Agents
Farris and Garcia will pursue interviews with witnesses and expert
consultants, providing you with daily reports and information."

Then he was droning on about staying away from the media - big
surprise - but I tuned him out as I began reading about the spider
bites. My mind deep in the file, I was startled when Garcia's
elbow jabbed me on the arm, and I dragged my gaze up to Skinner's.

"Spiders," I commented, as if that explained everything. Scully,
bless her heart, knew about my fear of the little critters and
spoke up in concern, "What about spiders, Mulder?"

"Spider venom was found in the systems of all the victims, but no
spiders were found anywhere in the vicinity of the crimes," I
answered. I pursed my lips in thought, and saw Scully's gaze
intent on my mouth. Damn. Keeping our hands to ourselves is hard
enough, but these meaningful looks are going to give the game away.
So what did I do? I turned to look fully at her and gave her a
slow grin, letting her know that I knew what she was thinking.

I heard Skinner clear his throat, so I gave my first order on the
case. "OK, G-women, G-man, let's kick some spider butt."

As I got to my feet, closed the file, and led the way out of the
office, I saw AD Skinner shaking his head out of the corner of my
eye. He knew what was going on between me and my partner, but was
choosing to ignore it. I figured he would stay out of it as long
as we remained professional on the job.

As our group headed for the elevators, I told them, "Let's meet in
the conference room near Agent Garcia's office in an hour. It has
a copier, a fax machine, and lots of room to spread out. I'll try
intimidate Administration into letting us use it as a base of

Agent Farris nodded and gave a little wave as she took the stairs
down to her office. I'm sure I had a gleam in my eye when I turned
to Garcia and said, "Um, Agent *Zorro* Garcia? Interesting name."

Garcia didn't change expression, although I think the temperature
in his vicinity dropped thirty degrees.

"I don't use it." The imaginary door slammed in my face, narrowly
missing my nose. Ouch.

Not letting that reaction deter me, I foolishly commented, as we
waited for the elevator, "It's a unique name; you should use it."

Garcia rolled his eyes. "Yeah, just like you use *your* given
name, Fox."

I winced and said, "Touche'. What does 'Zorro' mean, anyway?"

Garcia looked embarrassed, then said, "Fox."

I thought he was using my hated name again, and I frowned, saying,
"Enough already."

"No, no. 'Zorro' means 'Fox' in Spanish."

I admit that I was struck speechless and could only stare at
Garcia, astonished that someone else in this world had seen fit to
name their son "Fox." Then I turned to an amused Scully,
commenting, "Now all we need is a German agent in the building
named 'Fuchs'." I deliberately mis-pronounced the word and she
tried to stifle a snicker at the way it sounded.

Garcia sighed in a superior way, as if to say "Simple pleasures for
simple people" and he held the protesting elevator door open for
us. As we passed him, I heard him mutter something about us being
the FBI version of the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, "except
with you guys, Mulder is Gracie and Scully's the straight man."

I shot him a stern look, but that just seemed to encourage him.

"I know," he said. "Do the one about when you wouldn't let Scully
sing in the band...Oh, wait a minute. That was 'I Love Lucy.'
Wrong show."

I ignored him. And remembered back to a time when I had stopped
near a doorway when I heard my name from within the room.
Listening for a moment, I realized that Garcia was defending my
methods to several agents. They were abusive in their attitude
toward my abilities to solve the case on which we were all working.
He had a backhanded way of defending my honor, though. After
declaring what a brilliant profiler I was, he said, "But I would
strangle him in a minute if I knew where to hide the body. And if
you like hospitals, work with Mulder and I guarantee that either he
or you will wind up in one during the case. So watch your backs,
boys." I had quietly moved out of earshot after that.

Thank God, we had finally arrived at the main floor. Garcia waved
as he left the elevator, saying, "Hasta luego, Zorro."

Scully chuckled as we also exited the elevator, saying, "He
deliberately tries to irritate you, Mulder. On the other hand, I
don't think you set out to irritate him; you just naturally drive
him crazy."

"Ha, ha. Hey, whose side are you on?"

"If you don't know that by now, Mulder...."

10:15 am
Conference Room, FBI Building

By the time our little group met again, we had gotten copies of the
case file made for everyone. They were distributed at the table,
and then a few minutes were spent in familiarizing themselves with
the contents.

Farris broke the ice by noting aloud that all the victims appeared
to have been dumped in the central D.C. area after being killed
elsewhere. She theorized that there was a single perp who had a
place where he/she could bring the victims, kill them, then dump
them out of his/her area. This might mean that the killer didn't
live close by, probably had a car or access to one, and looked
fairly ordinary, or they would have been noticed by now. She
thought it might be a man, since it isn't easy to haul around dead
weight, and most women didn't have the muscular strength for this
kind of lifting. Unless she were big and strong, and/or used a
hand cart. But no signs at any of the scenes suggested the use of
something in which to haul the victims.

I tented my fingers at my lips and leaned on my elbows, looking
with interest at Farris, but she had no more to say. I sat back in
my chair and looked at Scully.

She said, "Something isn't right about the spider venom. As far as
I know, there aren't any spiders in this country that can cause
death like this, nor any that can inject such a relatively large
amount of venom. You'll need to ask the experts about this. And
my autopsy may tell me more."

Agent Farris spoke up. "Maybe it's a large spider with more venom
than normal?" Then she sheepishly added, "Trained to kill on

Garcia snorted, sarcastically commenting, "Hey, it could happen!
'Godzilla the Spider,' one of Spooky's X-Files."

I flashed a warning look at him, but Garcia just shrugged and said,
"No offense."

Scully got us back on track when she said, "The cause of death
*does* appear to be spider venom at this point; muscular spasms and
contractions were followed by asphyxiation and cardiac arrest. At
least according to the autopsy reports. Specific spider species is
not noted in the file, which we will need to find out."

I smiled at Farris, saying, "Your theory isn't sounding so far-
fetched. Do you think the Yellow Pages will list this under
'Spider Trainers' and save us a lot of trouble?"

Garcia stretched back in his chair and noted in a bored tone,
"Probably some evil dude has just developed a new poison and it
looks like spider venom. I doubt you are going to find someone
with spiders on a leash, siccing them on people."

This was getting us nowhere. I said, "Whatever. Let's get busy on
this. I'll begin a preliminary profile based on the information in
the files, and will refine it once your initial input is received."

I turned to our temporarily assigned agents and instructed, "Garcia
and Farris, you need to get the interviews with the experts
accomplished first. You might check with American University and
with Georgetown. But I did a little computer work just before this
meeting, discovering that one of the foremost experts in
arachnology is Dr. Elizabeth Ward. And by a lucky fluke, she is
currently on loan here to Catholic University for four months, from
the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I think she's
originally from Australia."

Farris was busily making notes, while Garcia lazily watched.

Continuing, I said, "Agent Scully and I will probably run out to
the last crime scene, then do some computer information gathering,
and come back here for awhile this evening to get some paperwork
done. Her autopsy is scheduled for first thing in the morning.
We'll all meet back here at 1:00 PM tomorrow to coordinate and put
what we've learned together. Call me if something needs immediate
attention." I gave them my cel phone number.

"Anything else?" I asked, looking at each agent in turn. Receiving
no response, I got to my feet and the room quickly cleared. Scully
and I went back to the basement office before heading out.

Once we were alone with the door shut, I impulsively grabbed
Scully, wrapping my arms tightly around her, going against all the
mutual rules about maintaining professionalism during working

"Mmmmmpffff," came from somewhere under my chin, near my chest. I
rubbed my cheek against her hair, sighed, and murmured, "Scully,
you make me so happy." Then I released her, since her squirming
had become more pronounced.

Flushed and disheveled, she opened her mouth and I knew that I was
in for a royal chewing-out. But she surprised me with a radiant
smile instead. As she grabbed the strap of her soft leather
briefcase and walked toward the door, I heard her say, "I can't
fuss at you for that, I suppose; after all, I copped a feel in the
elevator. Let's go, Mulder." She threw a smart-ass look over her
shoulder at me.

I couldn't resist a solemn pat on her fanny as I caught up with
her, and heard her say, "Do we have to go over those rules again?"
But the smile was still in her voice, so I pushed my luck by
breathing in her ear, "No, I'll be good."

Thank God the elevator arrived then, as we were both getting into
this game and might never have made it to the crime scene.

(Continued in Part 2)


by Gerry Hill (

11:30 am
Jefferson Memorial

At least the crime scene wasn't far; the body had been left in the
shelter of some shrubs and trees behind the Jefferson Memorial. A
tourist had come across the victim yesterday morning, and the
screaming had brought a large crowd. Possible evidence had been
trampled as a result, making the yellow tape barrier an exercise in
futility by the D. C. Police.

There wasn't much for us to learn other than that it was a wonder
no one had come forward about seeing a body left in this very
public place, in full view of major roadways and pedestrian
traffic. It must have happened in the wee hours of the morning,
but there still would have been people around. And the US Park
Police Headquarters was just a short way south on the peninsula.

I'm afraid that I lost interest in this dead end and let Scully
deal with the officer still guarding the location. I wandered onto
the familiar steps leading to the Jefferson statue and looked out
over the tidal basin.

My sunglasses helped cut the glare a little bit, but I really
wanted to shed my tie and jacket in this stifling July heat and
humidity. Unreal. Now that I had finally gotten a case, I was
wishing we could change into shorts and go play.

I saw Scully trudging up the steps toward me, obviously feeling the
heat, too.

"Hey, Scully. Do you think that aliens might be responsible, and
that the spiders will be made of metal like the exoskeleton of the
cockroaches on that case with Doctor Bambi?"

I had to grin at her expression, and hastened to say, "I was only
kidding. You would be disappointed if I didn't try to posit an
alien connection to this case. Admit it."

She pursed her lips and sucked in a breath of air in exasperation,
which did interesting things to my concentration. She squinted out
over the
steps at the view and said, "Why doesn't the FBI allow
shorts and crop-tops in this heat, Mulder?"

I couldn't resist being a smart-ass. "Oooh, Agent Scully! I'm for
that, although I don't know how I would look in a crop-top." She
gave me the anticipated "do I know this fool?" look, which caused
me to continue babbling. "But this doesn't sound like your normal
professional self, making such an atypical suggestion. Besides, if
we were dressed like that, we would lose our aura of impressive
authority. The public might think we were only human and decide
they could get away with anything they wanted to do. It would be

"Hmmmm. I suppose," she commented absently, wiping a drop of sweat
from her brow that was threatening to run down into her eye. I
wondered if she knew how turned on I was just from watching her
routine, casual motions...probably not. "Let's go back or find
some shade," she added.

"It's lunchtime," I told her. "I'll treat you to a vegetarian

Before she could object, I went bounding down the steps toward a
mobile lunch stand over near the parking area. After I ordered our
lunch, I looked back and saw Scully wander down the steps and over
to a bench in the shade by the tidal pool. I noticed the relief in
her body language as she sat down.

After paying for the food, I loaded up and walked in Scully's
direction. I found myself thinking how beautiful she looked
sitting there, enjoying her surroundings for a change. A slight
breeze ruffled her hair as she idly watched some kids chase each
other across the grass.

I felt a sudden pang that I couldn't arrange for more of these
pleasant interludes for her; if she wasn't in an autopsy bay
cutting up a victim, she was putting up with my bullshit, or out in
another crappy motel room, trying to logically explain in a report
how a child was able to kill people with her mind.

Giving her the burrito with a grin and a flourish, I heard her say,
"Oh, lord, another Mulder special for lunch." She patted her flat
tummy and added, "I picked up a couple of pounds lately and I want
to at least keep from gaining more."

I refrained from telling her that a couple of pounds agreed with
her, since I knew she would ignore my opinion. I long ago realized
that women have their own idea of how much they should weigh and
resent being told differently.

I flopped down next to her on the bench, munching away on my lunch
concoction. I saw her suspiciously eyeing my gourmet delight, but
she obviously didn't want to know what all the stuff oozing from
the sides
of my tortilla was. Better to remain ignorant has always
been her motto when faced with what I eat.

We munched in companionable silence, people-watching and admiring
the view of the water and trees.

It again amazed me that two people with our strong personalities,
our generous streaks of stubbornness, and our totally different
approach to everything could possibly tolerate each other, much
less fall in love. Of one thing I was sure; thank God for her
Catholic upbringing. Hopefully, she wasn't going risk a mortal sin
by killing me when she finally got fed up with the constant
irritation I managed to provide in her life.

One recent argument about 'who forgot to bring a file along' on a
case in New York had lasted for two days. We had both known it was
stupid, but neither one of us had wanted to back down. I realized
now that it was a juvenile act of defiance, but I visited Marita
Covarrubias, on some lame pretext or another. I gave her my best
'I'm suffering so much can you help me?' look and damned if she
didn't give me a kiss that curled my toes. She smelled delicious
and fit so well in my arms...then I came to my senses, horrified at
what I was doing. I pushed her away and ran, hoping I hadn't lost
my UN contact by my actions. Or, more importantly, that I hadn't
lost Scully. Why did I have to keep re-discovering that I love her
more than life itself? How she came to return that love was beyond
my comprehension, and the fact constantly amazed and humbled me.

But Scully had known that something had happened. Maybe not what,
exactly, but she had known. I found my ass kicked out of the motel
room that night. She told me to think about what we had together
and if I was ready to lose it forever.

I thought about it, all right - all the way back on the shuttle
flight to D.C. that night. Yep, I ditched her. Didn't even tell
her that I was leaving. I suppose I was trying to assert my manly
sense of independence, but only wound up showing her what a true
dipshit I was.

That night, I came within a hair of falling off the deep end,
negating all the hard-won victories against the heroin addiction.
I actually walked over to a street corner where I knew some dealing
was going on, bought a packet, and was walking back to my apartment
with it. The stuff wound up scattered in the gutter from my
shaking hand. When I had forlornly re-entered the apartment, I
found Scully sitting on the couch, signs of weeping on her face,
and I knew with sudden clarity that she had become my strength and
the thread that bound me to sanity. Only she would be able to give
me the chance to have a life while I still could.

Basement, FBI Building
April 9, 1997, 12:45 pm

Scully finished the autopsy by 11:00 and she completed the report
during the lunch that I had provided from a nearby deli.

As I sat leaning back in my chair idly tapping a pencil against my
nose, she was placing the finishing touches on the concluding page.
I watched her for a few minutes, then mused aloud, "It's beyond me
how you can write about such a gruesome subject while eating a
sandwich, Scully."

"Practice, Mulder, practice," she absently murmured, not missing a
beat in her steady typing. Finally done, she hit "print" and sat
back in her chair.

The phone rang, and I grabbed the receiver absently, wondering what
the autopsy reports were going to tell me.

It was Garcia, and it was not good. After he told me what was up,
I asked him to meet us in the parking garage at my car right away.

I got up from my desk, telling Scully, "That was Garcia. Karen
Farris went out to see Dr. Ward at Catholic University this morning
while Garcia stopped by his office to gather the last of the
background information they needed. She was supposed to have met
him at the coffee shop around the corner an hour ago, to pool their
information before our meeting in..." I looked down at my watch.
"Five minutes. She didn't show up, hasn't answered her cel phone,
hasn't called in. The University doesn't know anything. Let's

I grabbed my suit coat and put it on as we left the office.

Garcia was waiting for us as we got off the elevator in the parking
garage. His usual inscrutability was marred with a worried frown.
I led the way to my car, where I got behind the wheel and Scully
took her accustomed place beside me. As Garcia slid into the back,
we heard him grumbling about not ever getting to ride in front.
Ignoring him as usual, I asked Scully to brief us on the autopsy on
our way to the University.

"All of the tests aren't back yet from the lab, so I can only give
you what was evident from my visual examination. I did some
reading on spiders, their venom, and the signs and symptoms of
envenomation before doing the autopsy."

"But if you believe you're going to find spider bites, you're going
to find spider bites..." drifted to my ears from the back seat. My
eyes met Garcia's in the rear-view mirror and he subsided with a
shrug. His idea of being funny didn't often coincide with mine.
Especially where it concerned Scully.

Ignoring our exchange, she was continuing. "There were several
kinds and sizes of insect bites on the body; I believe the bites
are from at least three species of spiders. One type, judging from
the skin condition found at the location of the bite, is probably
the Brown or Fiddle-Back Spider. What puzzles me is that they are
not normally aggressive. Also, the blister formations indicate
that she died from two to twelve hours after the initial bite,
since the distinctive skin lesions hadn't yet fully formed."

She paused, then went on, "I'm not so sure about this next one, but
I believe that several bites were from a Black Widow. They are
small and clean, and the nearby muscles show signs of severe
muscular spasm."

I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with this subject-matter;
my mind insisted on presenting all sorts of spider-scenarios,
wherein I was the victim of dastardly, creepy, crawly *things*.
Scully picked up on this, since I noticed she was looking my way
after another pause in her synopsis.

She said, "The worst is yet to come, Mulder, so don't freak out on
me yet."

I raised my eyebrow in imitation of her favorite reaction, and
answered, "Do your worst. I can take it, being the big, macho man
I am."

Other than a saracastic "Hah," she refrained from comment. Then
she got back to the autopsy findings, giving me a last affectionate
glance you would direct at a four-year-old. "People don't normally
die from Black Widow and Brown Spider bites, unless the victim is
allergic to the venom; in that case, they would experience
anaphylactic shock. That wasn't evident, however, in these cases.
I really don't know what species of spider might have inflicted the
damage that probably killed this person.

"This third and unknown spider (or spiders, since there were
numerous bites) apparently attacked the victim, leaving large,
ragged bites in the flesh from the fangs. This indicates a much
larger spider than the other two. It is extremely aggressive, and
not afraid to attack something much bigger than itself. The venom
caused piloerection - don't get excited, Mulder; that's when your
hair stands on end - tachycardia and severe hypertension, with
vomiting, muscle spasms, raised intracranial pressure, airway
obstruction, and finally, heart failure. I believe that,
mercifully, the victim would have been unconscious before the final
painful minutes."

We sat in silence after she finished speaking, mentally processing
this horror. When Scully's cel phone rang, we all jumped slightly.

She listened for a moment, took a few notes, then thanked the
caller before disconnecting.

"It looks like I was right on the first two spiders, and the third
one is probably not indigenous to this country. The lab needs to
do some cross-checking first. They suspect the Sydney Funnel Web,
which is the most dangerous spider in Australia. They said that it
is 6 to 7 centimeters in size." To Garcia's blank look, she added,
"That's about 2-1/4 inches."

She consulted her notes, then continued, "It's black, ugly, with
massive fangs. The fangs are powerful enough to easily penetrate
a fingernail. The venom is highly toxic. This spider tends to
rear up on its hind legs, aggressively expose the fangs, firmly
grasp the victim and bite repeatedly."

Christ! And Skinner gave us this case to work? I had goose-bumps
everywhere after hearing Scully's report. We needed bug spray, not
bullets, for this one.

"At any rate," she said, "the primary toxic component is
atraxotoxin, which alone can cause all the symptoms found in this
victim. And the sheer volume of venom from so many bites will
ensure the victim's swift death. I've changed my thinking on the
time it took to expire; it would probably be the lower end of the
two-to-twelve hour period before the onset of death; two hours or
less to expiration.

"By the way, the volume of venom means that there definitely are
more than one or two funnel webs involved in each case. There is
an antivenom available in Australia. If in fact the tests indicate
this *is* the Sydney Funnel Web, the lab is faxing a request to the
Australian authorities. We can get the antivenom air expressed to
us for use in the event we have any more attacks, where the victim
is still alive."

Garcia nervously cleared his throat and asked, "But how could all
these spider types be thrown together without their killing each
other? Aren't they cannibalistic?"

"Well, I'm not an expert, but if they are fed sufficiently and only
set loose in a small area when a victim is exposed to them, I don't
suppose that would be a problem."

Garcia nodded and then turned his attention to the files he had
brought with him. Scully and I got into a spirited argument over
how to kill a big spider before it could bite - Scully opted for
stomping, and I held out for swatting, preferably with something
like a broom with a *very* long handle.

"Hey...hey!" Garcia was saying, trying to be heard over our
increasingly loud viewpoints. "I found something here. You said
that the spider is probably a species found only in Australia?
Well, the good Doctor Ward is originally from there and still has
family living in the Sydney area." That got our attention.

"OK, first of all, we have a spider expert relocating to Boston
from Australia. Secondly, around the same time that she
temporarily moves to the Washington, D. C. area, these deaths from
unusual spider activity begin - in the Washington, D. C. area. And
thirdly; one of the suspected spider species is native to the
Sydney, Australia area where this Australian still has family."

He looked expectantly at us. I eyed him from the mirror, and
Scully turned around in her seat to look thoughtfully at him.

"Why, Agent Garcia. You'll make a good FBI agent, yet," I told him
in a sarcastic tone.

With a straight face, he answered, "I already have; two, in fact."

It took a second to get what he had said, then I laughed, but
Scully looked as though she couldn't decide whether to frown in
disapproval or give in to the amusement she felt. She probably
didn't want to encourage his inappropriate - i.e. male - sense of

"With all the evidence," Garcia continued, "don't you think that
one of us should go to Dr. Ward's residence while the others hit
the university? We do have a missing colleague here. Could you
get a search warrant, Mulder?"

"It's all circumstantial, and there's nothing but speculation at
this point. Scully, why don't you call Skinner, fill him in on
this, and see if he can set the wheels in motion for securing a
warrant ASAP? Tell him we hope to have more for him to support the
request after this interview. We can go on to the residence if Dr.
Ward still looks good as a suspect after that."

Scully looked faintly surprised and said, "Why, Mulder, don't tell
me that my good influence is finally having an affect, and you're
beginning to do things by the book, now."

I flashed her a tight smile and told her the truth. "Hell, no, I
just wanted all of us together when I had to face those spiders."

There was a derisive snort from the direction of the back seat.
Scully shook her head and grabbed her cel phone, seeing what she
could do about the warrant.

Five minutes later, she disconnected and reported that Skinner was
fully supportive of our request for the warrant. He would contact
Judge DuPresque immediately, but warned us that we would probably
need to present a stronger case in order to get it issued. He also
agreed to ordering a general search for Agent Farris, putting a
description of the missing agent and of her vehicle out to the
Bureau and local authorities.

A few minutes later I saw the turn, and drove through the brown
traffic gates at the sign reading, "Catholic University of
America." I followed the road up a small hill to McMahon Hall,
where another helpful sign indicated that this building housed the
Admissions Office. I found a short-term parking space while Scully
went into the building to see where we could find Dr. Ward.

Since the car would have been sweltering in the sun, Garcia and I
stood in the shade of a nearby tree to wait for Scully. He was
uncharacteristically preoccupied, no doubt thinking about Agent

"You have to believe that she's all right," I ventured.

He didn't turn his head toward me and kept looking out over the
summertime quiet of the campus. Finally he darted a glance at me
from the corner of his eyes and said, "We shouldn't have split up.
That was my idea, thinking that we could cover more ground before
the meeting." He kicked the trunk of the tree and muttered,
"Shit!" Whether the expletive was from the pain in his foot or
from the frustration he was feeling, I wasn't sure, but it was
probably a bit of both.

I could easily sympathize with him over the guilt he was feeling.
I've had enough of that to last a lifetime.

Scully was halfway across the parking lot, walking toward our shady
spot. She stopped when I saw her and she motioned to us, then
pointed off to the northwest. We soon joined her and set off in
that direction.

"It's a couple of buildings farther down," she said. "They didn't
have room for her in the Arts and Sciences area in this building,
so they found a space somewhere else."

Garcia snorted, "Yeah, they probably didn't want the spider lady
and her little pets too close, and used that as an excuse to
isolate her."

Scully smiled at this and said, "Well, they did look uncomfortable
when I asked about Dr. Ward."

We were now on a sidewalk that led further into the campus. The
shaded walkway was welcome after the brutal July sun, and the tall
trees lining the path were a graceful accent to the well-maintained

As Scully turned and climbed the steps toward the entrance of an
old, gothic-looking five-story stone building, I found myself
admiring the motion of the rounded bottom she presented as she
mounted the stairs above me.

My erotic reverie was interrupted when I noticed that I wasn't the
only one entranced with the view.

"Better watch your step, Garcia, I snarled at him. "These old
stone stairs are in bad shape. You might slip up and hurt

Garcia wasn't totally thick-headed, and I could see that he got the
point immediately. He studiously turned his eyes to the steps he
was negotiating, but his body language was stiff with the promised
threat, "Later, Mulder." He didn't have to say a word.

Scully grabbed the first person she saw in the building, and they
were luckily able to direct us down the hall to the correct office.
And what an office! Goose bumps broke out on my skin immediately
as I saw all the specimens on the walls and counters. I
unenthusiastically joined Garcia, however, in inspecting the creepy
arthropods displayed everywhere; they were hard to avoid.

Scully knocked on an inner door and heard "Enter." I saw her
shiver as I intoned, "Said the spider to the fly." She took the
time to give me an exasperated look, and then jerked her hand back
from the doorknob when it was suddenly flung open.

A slender, tall, pretty brunette about Scully's age with brown eyes
was standing in the doorway. She was wearing a blue-gray suit and
a pale blue blouse with a short skirt, and her hair was pinned up
in soft curls. Hardly what I had been expecting. And one glance
at Garcia's wide-eyed look told me he felt the same.

Scully's eyebrow was at warning level, so I tried to appear
nonchalant as Dr. Ward strode forward to shake everyone's hands,
saying, "I'm Doctor Elizabeth Ward. And you are...?"

Scully introduced all of us, holding her ID so that Dr. Ward could
get a good look at it. She explained about the deaths and then
said, "Agent Farris was to have talked with you this morning. As
an arachnologist, we felt that you could offer some expert
assistance in resolving this case. However, Agent Farris
apparently didn't reach you, nor have we heard from her."

Dr. Ward agreed that she had not seen Agent Farris. "You three are
the first FBI agents I've ever met. What sort of questions was she
going to ask me?"

Scully said, "What is more important right now is that we locate
our missing colleague. If Agent Farris *had* come here to see you,
would she have talked with anyone else if you were away from your

"Sure. My part-time assistant, Emily. Em is here every weekday
morning for a couple of hours. I'll give her a call to see if she
saw the missing agent."

Dr. Ward picked up the telephone receiver just as Garcia jumped two
feet in fright. He had been standing near a window sill which held
several specimens, and one of them started to move. The huge
tarantula we both had thought to be dead - stuffed - whatever - was
slowly making its way along the wooden surface.

"Fuck! This thing's alive!"

(Continued in Part 3)


by Gerry Hill (

Scully, interested, went over to look at Monstro the Spider, while
I found myself in a split second on the opposite side of the room.
My instincts were still screaming "Run, you idiot!" That spider
was so big it should have had a license and registration from the
DMV. Successfully stifling the urge for further flight, however,
I tried to look suave and nonchalant. Of course Scully knew
exactly how I felt when she looked around to see where I had gone.
A sickly smile was all I could manage.

Dr. Ward had seen the problem and replaced the telephone receiver.
When she reached the window, she unceremoniously scooped up the
tarantula and held it on the palm of her hand. Afraid to look and
afraid *not* to look, I shivered when she ran a finger down its
back and crooned, "We'll go get us some nice grasshoppers to eat,
shall we, Spooks?"

Garcia had apparently overcome his initial shock, as he had moved
closer to get a look at the spider. She smiled at him and asked,
"Do you want to hold her?" But obviously his fascination didn't go
that far; he shook his head in response, slightly backing off
again. Shrugging as if to say it was his loss, she walked into the
inner office, rummaged around for a few minutes, then returned.

"Sorry about that, but Spooky was hungry." At the raised eyebrow
from Scully, she added, "I called her that since she does manage to
scare people, even though she's harmless."

I studiously ignored the smirks from Scully and Garcia.

"Well, let me give this another try."

Dr. Ward again picked up the telephone receiver and punched in a
number. After waiting through quite a few rings, she hung up with
a puzzled expression.

"She should be home." Dr. Ward explained, "Emily Ward is my
sister. She's helping me out as my assistant until the university
provides one. I returned to Australia to bring her here after Mum
and Dad died four months ago, and she's staying with me out at the
place I'm leasing."

I decided that it was time to see if Dr. Ward's professional
knowledge could help us with the case and, hopefully, with finding
Agent Farris.

"Maybe we should tell you exactly what is happening, Dr. Ward."

I briefly filled her in about the four deaths and then let Scully
supply the forensic details. When she mentioned the possibility of
the third species of spider being the Sydney Funnel Web, Dr. Ward
had gone pale.

"That's impossible. They are only found in Australia."

"Apparently that isn't the case. We're waiting for final lab
results, but they sounded pretty sure about this," Scully informed

Dr. Ward sat down in the chair at the small desk in the room, still
pale. "My parents both died from the bites of a Funnel Web," she
stated quietly.

That focused our attention. Scully asked, "What happened?'

"There must have been one or more in the bed that night, and they
were bitten rather severely. Since my Dad had a serious heart
condition, it did him in right away. My Mum had asthma and some
other problems, so the venom didn't take long to kill her, either.
My sister Emily found them and has never been quite right in the
head since then. I'm trying to keep her busy here, but she has
some very strange notions lately."

My interest was piqued and I asked, "Such as?"

"Well, do you know any Greek mythology?"

"Some," I replied. Scully knew that the subject is something I had
studied extensively in the past, but she kept silent.

Dr. Ward continued. "According to the ancient Greeks, spiders
first came into existence when an arrogant young girl called
Arachne challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest."

I said, "I remember that story. While Athena wove a tapestry
depicting the gods and goddesses in all their splendor, Arachne
wove one illustrating their romances. Furious over the perfection
of the girl's work, Athena tore it to shreds and Arachne hanged
herself in grief. Out of pity, however Athena loosened the rope,
turning it into a cobweb, and transformed Arachne into a spider,
condemned to weave forever as a warning to conceited mortals."

"Yes, that's it. You *do* know your mythology. My sister has
identified with Arachne and will sit weaving her version of a
spider web using silk thread and a viscous substance of some sort.
It's quite disturbing, and I attribute this behavior to the manner
of our parent's deaths. I've managed to find a good therapist here
for her, and he's optimistic about her full recovery. Luckily she
can function quite well in social situations, which is why I put
her to work here."

As a psychologist, even though not in practice, it wouldn't be
professional of me to tell her that her sister sounded like a real
nutcase, so I settled on looking sympathetic and asked, "Would you
take us to your home right away? We need to find your sister as
soon as possible, especially since you can't reach her by phone."

With something like fear showing in her eyes, Dr. Ward agreed and
went to retrieve her purse and keys.

Garcia moved closer to us and quietly said, "I can see that you
suspect the batty sister, but how did she smuggle the spiders into
the country through customs? I doubt that a boxful of big, ugly,
deadly spiders would escape their attention."

Scully just gave a negative shake of her head, but I was running
different possibilities through my mind when Dr. Ward returned. We
left the building without discussing it further.

I went to get the car while Dr. Ward retrieved her jeep from a
different lot. When I returned to pick up Scully, Garcia was
already sitting with Dr. Ward in her vehicle, having a nice chat.
Chalk one up for Garcia.

The minute Scully had her seat belt fastened, she turned to look at
me and asked, "I take it that you do realize Dr. Ward may just be
spinning us a tall story in order to lure us to her place for
nefarious purposes? She herself may be the killer."

I gave her an offended look. "Scully, I'm way ahead of you, there.
Besides, this will get us inside the place much faster than waiting
for the warrant."

"True. But let's be extra careful. This whole thing gives me a
bad feeling, and not just from the spiders."

"Is this the real Dana Scully, getting 'vibes' about a case?"

She wouldn't dignify that with a response, so I sighed, turned the
key in the ignition and pulled out behind the jeep to follow Dr.
Ward home. It didn't take long, since the residence that she was
leasing was located just a mile or so from the university. It was
situated in a group of large, older homes with surprisingly
sizeable lots.

We drove through an opening in a tall hedge and up a long drive.
I guessed there were at least four acres to the place, with massive
oaks in a small grove at the back portion. A guest house stood
nestled in the oaks, while the main house was nearer the front of
the property. An old brick shed stood off to one side of the guest
house. The rest of the area consisted of well-tended lawn.

We followed Dr. Ward's jeep down the driveway, around the main
house, and pulled up next to the guest house at the back of the

I turned off the engine and sat there a second. Scully was right.
I was getting a bad feeling about this whole thing, too. I was
either developing a latent psychic ability or my nerves were just
shot from the creepy crawly aspects of the case. Probably the
latter, since I was still consciously having to stop myself from
scratching my wrists and hands nervously, remembering the

Once we were all gathered in the driveway Dr. Ward said, "This is
where Emily is staying; I thought she might like the privacy back
here. We get together in the main house for meals in the evening
and generally keep each other company until 10:00 pm or so, when
Emily usually returns here to go to bed. I don't see her car, so
she's probably not around."

I said that Dr. Ward and I would go look at the shed while Scully
and Garcia checked the house. "Remember, though, we're not just
looking for Dr. Ward's sister; be alert for spiders."

I could see Scully's reluctance to separate from me. I felt a
brief twinge of irritation that she felt I couldn't handle dealing
with spiders, that I would scream and run if I even saw a web. My
fear wouldn't interfere with the conduct of the case, and she
should realize at least that about me.

I followed Dr. Ward along the brick path toward the shed, asking
her, "What do you keep in the shed?"

I realized that her height nearly matched my own when she looked
over her shoulder and met my eyes. I was so used to Scully's
diminutive stature that it took getting used to. When she spoke,
I would find my eyes go to her chest level first, then correct for
the difference in height. I'm sure she thought I was ogling her
breasts. Well, maybe I was, but not intentionally. Much.

She was saying, "Please call me Beth. And there isn't much in
there now. I understand that it used to store garden and lawn
tools but the university has a service now that takes care of the

I nodded absently while my eyes scanned the deep shade underneath
the nearby heavy growth of oak trees. I couldn't get over a sudden
vague feeling that I was under observation. But I saw nothing and
re-focused on the shed which was now directly in front of us.


My feeling of an underlying "wrongness" persisted as I tried the
door of the small house and found it unlocked. I took my gun from
its holster and shoved the door open, calling out, "Emily Ward!
We're federal agents! Come out with your hands in the air!" That
was a little harsh, but I didn't know what we might be facing here,
and I was not about to start taking chances.

Nothing happened, so I moved cautiously into the murky interior
with Garcia right behind me. Various darker masses were sofas,
chairs and other furniture, but a gauzy film seemed to hang in the
air, making it more difficult to see. Since it was bright daylight
outside I decided to go to a curtained window, pull the fabric
aside, and let in some sunshine.

However, when I moved forward I was instantly entangled in a
gossamer, sticky web that had been hanging from floor to ceiling
height. The adrenalin surged through my body. I immediately knew
what I had encountered and couldn't control my panic. With my mind
filled with the image of those horrible Funnel Web spiders
attacking, injecting their deadly venom, I cried out in horror and
swung both arms madly through the air as I fell to the floor.

I forgot everything in my heart-thudding anxiety to get free of the
horrible gauzy embrace. I realized later that Garcia hadn't
encountered the web and at first couldn't figure out what was going
on. It must have seemed to him that I had somehow been attacked,
although he couldn't have seen much in the poor light.

In any event, he got the lights turned on and the first thing I
could register in my panic were his strong arms helping me to my
feet. He scraped away some of the sticky film while constantly
reassuring me, "Shhh, it's OK, it's only silk thread and something
sticky. No spiders. It'll be OK; calm down."

Gradually the words got through; I was able to breathe properly
again, and stop my frenzied movements. Garcia helped me get the
worst of the gauzy mess out of my hair and off my body, but some of
it stubbornly clung here and there.

We were able to take in our surroundings then, and saw more of the
giant webs hanging from the ceiling and walls. They were too large
and extensive to be from a real spider, we both realized. Dr. Ward
had said that, as part of her sister's breakdown, she had been
making webs. No kidding, I thought.

Now that I had some control over my emotions, I felt embarrassed.
I had really lost it there, and Mulder was supposed to be the one
who was so afraid of spiders. I was angry at myself, but was able
to quickly gather any remaining dignity together.

"I'm all right now, thank you. I'll take the rest of this floor;
you go on upstairs."

I knew that Garcia could read the determination in my face, so he
acquiesced without an argument. He looked back at me a couple of
times as he went to the stairway, finally leaving me alone to
finish the ground floor search when he cautiously climbed the

With the lights on I was able to avoid the worst of the webs. I
made my way cautiously through the house, checking in closets and
in dark spaces that could harbor the poisonous creatures.


When we reached the shed I found a heavy wooden bar across the door
and no other lock. Strange. You would think there would be a
padlock to keep people from stealing whatever might be stored
inside; not something to keep whatever was inside from getting out.

I didn't like the situation and pulled my weapon. I eased the
2"x4" bar from its brackets and pulled the door open a few inches.
It was tight against the concrete pad that extended outward, and
was difficult to open easily. I gave it a hard yank and it swung
to about three quarters of the way open before refusing to move any

There were no windows so the room was dim, but I could see well
enough to spot the body on the floor.

I re-holstered my gun as I quickly moved to the body, where I knelt
down on one knee. I could detect a very weak pulse in her neck.
The body was that of a woman, dressed only in bra and panties. As
I hit the speed dial on my cel phone, I turned the injured woman's
head gently in my direction and recognized Karen Farris.

"Scully, I found Farris. She's here in the shed, in bad shape.
Call 911 and then get over here. Maybe you can do something for
her...shit - she stopped breathing!" I threw the phone aside and
began CPR.

Scully was there at my side in about a minute. I gasped, "The air
isn't getting to her lungs...something's blocking it."

Scully's hand probed around Farris' throat, her eyes roving over
the body for signs of the problem. Even in the dim light we could
both see ragged puncture marks at her wrist, arm, and one of her
ankles. Her muscles were involuntarily twitching and spasming.
The spider venom had caused Farris' throat to swell and the airway
was blocked.

Dr. Ward announced from somewhere behind us, "I don't see any
spiders in here - they're good at hiding, though."

Ah! An insightful professional opinion.

Scully was asking for my pocketknife, but I had lost it a few
months ago and hadn't yet bought a replacement.

She pulled out her cel phone, punched in Garcia's number, and told
him, "I'm in the shed. Farris is here, badly injured. Bring a
knife to the shed, and some sort of tube for an airway. Emergency

I said, "It's been a little over two minutes since she stopped
breathing already. Can you fix this in time?"

"She'll be OK if Garcia gets here quickly enough. Could you roll
your coat up and place it under her shoulders? It's the best
position for this procedure."

We heard the pounding of Garcia's feet outside and then he burst
through the doorway. A knife handle was placed in Scully's
upturned palm as he muttered, "I held the blade in the gas flame on
the stove for a few seconds to sterilize it." He also held a
narrow plastic bottle, from which he had hastily lopped off the

Scully noted the size of the makeshift tube he held and, using the
fingers of her left hand to locate the V notch in Farris' throat,
made a vertical incision. At that point, I found it much more
fascinating to look at the floor and study the bumps and valleys of
the uneven concrete slab. Watching her dissect a dead body was bad
enough, but a still-living Agent Farris....

I suddenly remembered that the spiders could be anywhere in the
room and I could feel the perspiration output increase a few
notches. I found myself eyeing the dark areas under the old dusty
shelves on the far wall.

This was probably what had happened to the other victims; trapped
in a small, dark area where the spiders were released to do their
dirty work. Then, once the victims were dead, the killer somehow
rounded up the spiders and hauled the body away. I made a mental
note to have the crime scene investigators look for indications
that more than one attack might have taken place here.

I glanced back at the impromptu operation and saw that the towels
Garcia had brought and placed around Farris' shoulders were soaked
in blood. The tube had apparently done its job however, and was
allowing her to breathe, thank God. I got to my feet and walked
out the door, leaving Garcia to finish assisting Scully; he seemed
to be unfazed by the whole thing. But what *were* those streaky
white things in Scully's hair and suit? Guess I'd find out later.

I made a quick call to the D.C. Police Department to report what
was going on. While being transferred to homicide, I was keeping
an eye on Dr. Ward, who was pacing back and forth on the guest
house porch. Earlier in the shed, she had said something about
watching for the paramedics to arrive. But I wasn't so sure that
Beth Ward wasn't the one responsible for the spider attacks. I
intended to have someone keep an eye on her until the case was
solved, one way or the other.

Call completed, I was disconnecting when the emergency vehicle
swung into the driveway from the street. I waved them toward the
shed and they quickly covered the distance.

Garcia emerged a few minutes later, approaching me with a weary
expression on his face. He had blood on his shirt sleeves and was
carrying what looked like my creased and bloody coat. When he
reached me, he said, "As a psychologist, you might want to see what
we found in the guest house."

We walked toward the porch where Beth Ward had stopped pacing and
was sitting on a wicker chair. As we passed her, Garcia tossed my
ruined coat onto the vacant chair next to her, eliciting a
startled, "Oh."

I made my own startled sound when I walked in through the front
door, but it sounded more like, "Shit!" The webs were moving
slightly from the faint breeze coming in through the door, giving
them a quiet menace that chilled my soul. I jerked my head from
side to side, making sure there were no lurking spiders waiting to
jump out at me. Of course I realized that this must have been
painstakingly crafted by the mentally disturbed Australian (either
the doctor or her sister), but that didn't stop my nervousness.

Garcia shoved a plastic evidence bag under my nose. It contained
some irregular-shaped object but it was too close to my eyes to
focus on it at first.

"This was under Agent Farris' shoulder on the floor. It looks as
though she may have killed it while thrashing around."

I drew in a sharp breath when I understood what the bag held. The
dead spider was *big* and much too close for comfort, dead *or*

Garcia's almost-sneer shook me out of my queasiness and I made a
show of inspecting the creature through the plastic. The spider
was ghastly; black, with a hairy segmented body, and eight long
legs. Its fangs seemed huge. I shuddered and started to hand the
evidence bag over to Garcia, when it was abruptly snatched from my

Beth Ward had come in behind us and was studying the specimen she
now held. "It's Atrax Robustus, all right. The Sydney Funnel Web
spider, female, its venom deadly to humans but for some reason
harmless to toads, cats and rabbits."

Garcia gave her a curious look, took the evidence bag from her
hands and returned it to his pocket. "We'll let the lab check this
out," he commented.

She turned her steady gaze on me and said, "They're taking Agent
Farris to George Washington University Hospital. Agent Scully will
go with her and call you later."

Her calm appearance faltered, however, when she looked around the
room at the evidence of her sister's mania. "I haven't been back
here since she moved in. I had no idea she was *this*...obsessed."
She shuddered.

A sudden feeling of impending disaster washed over me, made all the
worse by not getting a clear idea of the nature of this
catastrophe. I shook it off with a brusque, "I'm going to stay
here awhile to deal with the police investigation and to do some
more investigating myself. I still want to look over the main
house." I turned to Garcia and added, "I need to talk with you
privately." Garcia raised an eyebrow but didn't comment.

We left Dr. Ward at the guest house as I snagged my coat from the
porch and walked over the graveled driveway to my car. I threw the
ruined coat into the back seat and said to Garcia, "I would like
for you to go back to the bureau; take my car. You need to do more
research on Dr. Ward's family. Talk directly to the local
authorities near their home. Find out the circumstances of her
parents' deaths, if there really is a sister, is she still alive,
did she emigrate to the states, and every bit of gossip you can
pick up. Run a more in-depth computer search. Call me when you
have something useful."

Garcia held his hand out, palm up, and I realized that he needed
the car keys. Handing them over, I backed away and watched him
drive off the property. The emergency vehicle followed him out,
and I had a fleeting glimpse of Scully's face through the window as
they passed. I fervently hoped that they would be able to save
Karen - I owed her my own life.

Knowing that the police would be arriving any second, I walked
toward the main house to see what I could find before having to
trip over the local authorities. I seriously doubted that there
would be anything to find, sister or spiders, but you never knew.
I noted that Dr. Ward was sitting down on the porch steps at the
guest house, and figured it would be all right to leave her for a
few minutes. I could check through the windows now and then,
keeping an eye on her.

I entered the house and gradually made my way toward the back
windows as I looked around. When I got there, I pulled a curtain
aside, peering out to make sure the doctor was still sitting on the
steps before continuing my search. But I saw with surprise that
the steps and porch were now empty and she was nowhere in sight.

As I turned away from the window intent on locating the doctor, I
caught a movement in the corner of my eye, just as a tremendous
blow caught me solidly on the side of the head. I dropped to the
floor semi-conscious, seeing a tall figure in white standing over
me. Everything was blurry, but I could see the next blow coming,
and then I lost myself in an explosion of pain.

(Continued in Part 4)


by Gerry Hill (

3:47 PM
George Washington University Hospital


I ached with weariness. Agent Farris was settled in ICU for the
time being after going through surgery to properly correct and
complete the tracheotomy procedure. They also had her on Diazepam,
an atropine IV, gastric drainage, and they were trying to control
the hypertension.

I had made sure that everyone at the hospital was clear on just
what was causing Karen Farris' medical problems and what the common
treatment might be. We thought we had lost her when her heart shut
down just as we entered the hospital, but an intern and a couple of
nurses were able to revive her. I called the FBI lab to find out
how long it would take to get the antivenom from Australia, and was
told it was on a plane but wouldn't arrive until 10:30 AM tomorrow
at Dulles.

Damn, that would be too late. I had to hope that we could bring
Farris back without the benefit of the immunoglobulin.

I was near the emergency room at the administrative desk filling
out what must have been the tenth form in twenty minutes when a
gurney went by in a hurry, containing...Mulder?!! I dropped the
pen with the form and turned to stare in shock.

Recovering my senses, I caught up with the gurney and accompanied
it into an elevator. I could see that his clothes had been cut
away and a hospital blanket covered him from the collarbones down.
He had taken a bad blow to the side of his head; it was still
bleeding slightly. He was breathing in short gasps, but he was

Even knowing how prone this exasperating man was to finding
trouble, I was still having a hard time understanding what could
have happened so quickly to put him in such a critical condition.

"I'm Doctor Dana Scully," I informed the man and woman who were
accompanying my partner. I showed them my ID and asked what they
could tell me about his condition.

The woman said, "I'm Doctor Kay Maxwell and this is Karl Fuchs, an
intern from Germany." I looked in surprise at the pleasant young
man with
the name of Fox, and got a hesitant "hi" and brief
handshake in return.

"He hasn't regained consciousness," Dr. Maxwell continued. "He
definitely has a concussion; we don't know how extensive yet.
There are several cracked ribs, and two are broken. We're about to
put him on a respirator to help him with his breathing. He's taken
a lot of heavy blows to his body, and it isn't certain whether
there's any internal bleeding. His left ulna is broken, but it's
a clean break; the shoulder may have some damage, too. We're
running some tests in a few minutes and will immobilize the arm and

The elevator halted, the door slid slowly open, and they pushed the
gurney out into the hallway. I stayed with the group, asking,
"What have you given him so far?"

"Morphine. After we know more about his condition, I'll probably
prescribe a stronger dose. He's going to be in terrible pain when
he wakes up."

"Oh, God. Not narcotics," I thought. Aloud, I asked the doctor,
"Could I speak with you for just one second?" We moved a few feet
away from the gurney and spoke in low tones.

"Please don't give him any more opiate for the pain." At the
doctor's raised eyebrow, I reluctantly said, "It's not in his
records, but he was an unwilling recipient of heavy doses of
narcotics in the past. When he was removed from that situation, he
completely broke away from the drug. Until now."

The doctor began to make a note on her clipboard, but I reached out
to lay my hand over hers. Our eyes met as I asked, "Please...don't
make a permanent record of this. It would mean his career. If you
don't give him any more narcotics, he'll be all right. Give him a
non-opiate analgesic. Even though it won't be as strong, he would
rather deal with the pain than go through what he had to last

Thank God this doctor was human and could empathize with the
situation. She said, "All right. We should be able to address the
pain with a non-opiate. But you do realize that the morphine
already in his system will cause problems of withdrawal if he was
thoroughly addicted?" At my nod, she dropped the subject and we
returned to the task of seeing how extensive the damage had been to
Mulder's mistreated body this time.

8:00 PM
GWU Hospital


I was dreaming that I was under water, lazily floating along with
the currents. Then, almost imperceptibly, I began sinking farther
and farther down into the darkening depths, the weight of all that
water constricting my chest, making it painful to breathe through
the scuba gear I wore. It was getting darker and darker and more
painful as I sank steadily deeper. I struggled, feebly trying to
reverse my descent and rise toward the surface, but the weight was
too much for me.

My eyes snapped open. I was suddenly completely awake, but aware
that the pain still crushed my chest, seared my arm, and was
ripping my head apart. I realized there was something in my
throat, preventing me from calling out when I tried to speak. I
fought a gag reflex, trying not to lose it altogether.

Before I could fully give in to the increasing terror, a more
primitive fear was pushing its way to the forefront of my mind.
Since awakening, I had gradually become aware of something moving
on my body. My lower leg, to be specific. I knew what the object
felt like, but my mind shut out the thought to maintain the sanity
to which I still clung. Then I realized there was more than one
moving object on my leg; there were at least two.

I fleetingly thought that this might be a hallucination brought on
by the drug withdrawal. Or maybe from a worsening of my
arachnaphobia because of the case we were investigating. Or both.
Oh, God, who am I fooling? I couldn't pretend this wasn't real, as
desirable as that idea might be...

My monitors were reacting to my heightening panic; I could hear
their agitated beeps and alarms. They were probably throwing out
readings which would alarm any nurse, if one were around.

It seemed that perspiration was running from every pore as I felt
several small bodies tentatively creeping up my leg. They were on
my thigh now, and moving still higher.

I was too terrified to move, but felt a tremor in my muscles. It
was just a matter of time before they developed into spasms. I had
felt the same thing during drug withdrawal. And if the muscles
spasmed, it was probable that the...let's face it, I thought...Oh,
Christ, those huge butt-ugly, vicious spiders would probably

One stopped near my groin and another was headed across my stomach.
The almost imperceptible tremors were increasing now, and I had no
control over them.

I could hear two nurses coming up the hall in this direction,
talking about some "new blonde bimbo" on their shift. I prayed
they would look in on me and see what was happening here.

The second spider had reached my chest. The other was apparently
content to check out my groin a little closer. Christ! My mind
went to gibbering mode when the first muscle spasm hit.

A nurse chose that moment to check on me; she walked up to the bed,
laid her hand next to my arm and was apparently looking at the out-
of-whack readings on the monitors. She didn't see the swift attack
coming. I saw the spider bury its fangs into her wrist, then
withdraw to bite her again. She staggered back, carrying the
spider with her.

I knew she had encountered the one that had been marching across my
chest; the other was still somewhere down south, doing God knew
what. I didn't know that you could whimper with a tube down your
windpipe, but I was managing.

The shrieks of the nurse brought others running, and the spider was
dealt with by a very brave orderly. He grabbed the now-hysterical
nurse by her arm to steady it, and then dislodged the spider with
a blow from the edge of a metal tray. When it fell to the floor,
he stomped it.

There were cheers and a doctor showed up to see the group excitedly
talking about this strange and frightening event, but no one was
noticing me at all. And it hadn't occurred to any of them that
there might be another spider lurking in the room. They were busy
tending to the injured nurse, before taking her away for treatment.

I was nearly to the point of a heart attack, because the remaining
spider had apparently decided that it was outnumbered and moved
swiftly across my lower abdomen, seeking refuge between my right
arm and my body. That wrist was held captive with restraints, so
I couldn't have moved even had I dared. Holding as still as death
itself, I had no idea why I wasn't actually dead of fright yet. I
was beyond terror now as I felt the little bastard nestle even
farther into the shelter my body provided.

Suddenly a voice I knew so well rang out over the hubbub,
exclaiming incredulously, "What the *hell*...??!!" She was there
at my side then, looking with concern at the monitors.

I knew that my inner nightmare had to be reflected in the my eyes.
Scully was soothingly saying, "It'll be OK, Mulder; they killed

My now nearly incoherent mind abruptly remembered the time that I
had managed to tell Scully that a killer was behind her by using
only my eyes, so I desperately tried it once more.

I darted my eyes toward the side, then back to her face, then over
again to the hidden spider, and back to her again.

This time she caught on instantly and cautiously moved around the
foot of the bed. Searching for any signs of something wrong, I
knew she had caught sight of something when her eyes zeroed in on
the area where I felt the slightly moving lump. The ends of
several furry little legs must have been visible.

Scully drew an unsteady breath and I could see that she was
frantically trying to think what to do. For starters, she had to
get everyone out of the room, and she set about doing that, falling
back on both her doctor and FBI status. Then she dimmed the lights
and told me something that I definitely did not want to hear.

She brushed a lock of hair from my forehead and touched my cheek
gently. "Mulder, the only way I can see to kill it and keep it
from biting you is to lure it out. That's why I chased everyone
out of here and turned the lights down. We have to wait for it to
venture out again, where I can safely get to it." I wondered if
she could see my sanity trickle away at the thought of facing this

She left me alone with my horror while she apparently got a broom
from somewhere. I could hear her asking everyone to stay clear of
the room while she dealt with the problem. Then she settled down
to wait over near my right side. With the last of my strength I
prayed that her strategy would work, and soon.

It was a *long* couple of hours. I shifted from rigid fear to
fighting a bout of trembling, and at last to a withdrawal to the
dark corners of my mind, away from this unbearable situation. I
had been so terrified for so long that I must have been almost

Then I was jerked into semi-awareness as I felt some movement on my
hand. "Don't move, don't move, don't fucking move or you're dead,"
kept running through my mind, but I wanted to scream myself sick at
the feel of the light tickling touch of its eight furry legs as the
spider crossed my hand and paused on top of my thumb.

I could feel the slight weight of its body along the length of my
thumb, as well as the tiny motions it made. I had passed the
mindless panic stage and was well into the kind of horror that had
been known to actually stop a heart from beating.

I thought I heard Scully calling something to me about knocking it
off with the broom, and then a rough scratchiness swept across my
abdomen and hand, apparently taking the spider with it. My
rigidly-held hand trembled and shook with the released tension, but
I knew the thing was still down there somewhere. It wasn't over


As I swatted the spider off of Mulder's hand I became aware of
someone entering the room behind me. I ignored the potential
distraction and followed the spider to where it had landed on the
floor in a relatively clear area. It seemed to flatten itself
against the floor as though it were crouching to spring at me, or
it could have just been assuming a defensive posture. In any
event, the spider's motivations were a moot point a few seconds
later because Garcia grabbed the broom from my hands, brought it up
and over his head, then slammed it down with considerable force on
the furry menace.

He lifted the broom slightly and turned it, but we didn't see the
expected mangled mass on the floor; instead, the still spry
creature was charging up the broom handle, already close to
reaching his hand.

Garcia gave a yelp and hastily dropped the broom, which dislodged
the spider. Before it could re-group and continue its attack, I
lifted my foot, took quick aim, and stomped the hell out of the
little bastard. I was disgusted with the mess on my shoe, then
realized that I had just squashed a nearly two and a half inch
killer spider. I shook off the queasiness, however, and walked
over to Mulder.

Given the situation, I was careful to avoid touching him as I
approached his tensed figure. I caught his wide, darting gaze with
as steady a look as I could muster. "It's all over, Mulder. Try
to relax if you can. Your monitors are going wild here. I know it
was a horrible ordeal, but we'll make damn sure no more of those
creatures get within a mile of you."

It didn't look as though he were calming down, however. He was
still perspiring heavily, his eyes were not focusing on my face,
and tremors continually ran through his muscles.

"Hang on, Mulder. I'm not leaving, but I need to get you some
help." I pressed the nurse's call button and waited for someone to
respond. I didn't even want to think about all the trauma Mulder
was dealing with here. He had to be feeling withdrawal symptoms
from the morphine, his arm and ribs must be killing him, and no
telling what was going on with the concussion - probably
excruciating headaches at the very least. And then having to
confront the deadly spiders when he was so afraid of even a small
house spider...

I turned a furious look on Garcia and tightly said, "We need to
have a little discussion later, like why the hell did you
interfere? I had things under control."

He looked embarrassed at first, then a bit sullen. "I just thought
I could hit it harder than you, and I have a longer reach. Also,
I was
thinking of Karen know that she might not make
it..." he paused, finally turning away, muttering, "Sorry."

Since I was so concerned for Mulder I may have been a little harsh
with Garcia. He has proven himself an excellent FBI agent over and
over again, as well as someone we were gradually learning to trust.

When he turned back to me I said, "I didn't mean to jump all over
you. I'm sorry, too."

He nodded and said, as if nothing had occurred, "The staff called
the cops after the attack on the nurse, and I was holding them off
down the hall while we took care of it. I'll go tell them what's

He gingerly scooped the spider remains into a plastic evidence bag
with a tongue depressor from a drawer, and was leaving the room
when I saw that Mulder was beginning to convulse and gag.

"Oh, God! Mulder, hold on!" I turned and screamed to Garcia, "Get
someone in here, now!"

He ran into the hallway, yelling for help. He returned in seconds
with two nurses reluctantly following him. Seeing their
hesitation, he held up the evidence bag and said, "We killed it.
No more spiders."

That got them moving quicker. As they reached the bed I told them,
"He's convulsing. You have to get the respirator out, now! He's
trying to vomit and he'll choke to death."

I stood back and let them work, while Garcia hovered out of the way
at the door, looking concerned. Two large men in sports coats were
standing just behind him, trying to see what was going on. I
assumed they were the D. C. detectives Garcia had mentioned.

I saw that the nurses wanted me farther out of their way, so I
joined Garcia at the door, saying, "I don't know whether this is
being caused by his concussion, or if it's withdr..." I abruptly
stopped speaking when I realized what I had almost said.

Garcia glanced inquiringly at me, then turned his attention back to
Mulder's ordeal when he saw that no explanation was forthcoming.
I was thinking that no one knew about Mulder's addiction except
Skinner, Farris, myself, and now the doctor who was treating
Mulder. And the bastards who had forcibly addicted him, of course.
I still had a score to settle with Jakes and his cohorts.

The nurses finally got Mulder settled and had called the doctor to
prescribe something for the pain and nausea, as well as a sedative
or muscle relaxant. Dr. Maxwell had gone home for the night and
her backup said he would be there in a few minutes to check on
Mulder and to review the charts.

Meanwhile, I had gone into the hall to talk with the police, and
then Garcia and I checked on Farris. She was still in a bad way,
but fighting the effects of the venom in her body.

"Garcia, would you line up someone trustworthy and have them meet
the plane in the morning to take possession of the antivenom? And
what did you find out about Dr. Ward's family?"

"There's a sister, all right, and the parents did die just as Dr.
Ward described. The local authorities thought the sister was weird
in the head, and not just after the parents died, either. As a
matter of fact, the whole family was regarded as strange. I
couldn't get anything specific out of them, but they'll check with
the neighbors and call me later."

"What about Dr. Ward?"

"She's at her house with several cops keeping an eye on the place.
We have no evidence that she's involved in this, but I don't like
leaving her on the loose."

I nodded and then noticed his hesitation.

"What?" I asked.

"I was wondering; does *every* case of yours result in Mulder and
at least one other agent landing in the hospital? I used to tease
him about that, but now I'm beginning to believe that it's true."

The smile I gave him must have looked as weary as I felt. "No, not
*every* case. Although I'll admit that it happens more often than
I would like."

"Well, I'm watching *my* back." He gave a small wave and went back
to work.

When I returned to Mulder's room, a doctor was leaving it. I
quickly moved to block his way.

"Excuse me. Where is Dr. Maxwell, who are you, and what have you
done for this patient?" I backed up my inquiry by displaying my
FBI identification, then added, "I'm Agent Mulder's partner and a
forensic pathologist."

The very tall, very muscular black doctor looked down at me from
his considerable height and rumbled in a deep voice, "Dr. Maxwell
went home for some much-needed rest after being on-duty for 24
hours straight. I am Dr. Mark Jerome. I won't take offense at
your abrasive demands, since you are probably worried about your

I just kept silent, steadily maintaining eye contact, waiting.

Dr. Jerome continued, "I've read Mr. Mulder's chart and had his
chest taped for the injured ribs, given him something for the pain
and nausea, hooked him up to a blood pressure monitor and he's
being fed oxygen. It is critical that he get some rest and maybe
his vitals will be reading more normally. I don't like the blood
pressure or the oxygen level in his blood, and the concussion may
have caused more damage than originally suspected, given the nausea
and near-convulsions."

I still suspected that the nausea and convulsive conditions were
symptoms of withdrawal and not of the concussion, but held my
tongue on that subject until I could gather more information.

"What did you give him for the pain?"

He must have read the intensity in my eyes, as he hesitated
slightly before replying, "He'd had an initial dose of morphine,
which had worn off. I gave him a larger dose; I felt that it was
the best thing for him, under the circumstances."

I closed my eyes briefly, then murmured, "How could you? Didn't
Dr. Maxwell leave a note about that?"

"As a matter of fact, she did recommend that I prescribe a non-
opiate, but I read his chart and felt that he needed the stronger
and more effective morphine. Is there a problem?"

I could only shake my head. I doubted that he would be as
understanding as Dr. Maxwell if told Mulder's problem, and the more
who knew about it, the more likely the story would get out to those
who could hurt him with it.

Thanking him, I went to Mulder's side. He was taking short
breaths, but his body was more relaxed. The tremors were gone, and
his face looked peaceful. I was grateful that he was finally
resting, but knew that the more morphine he received now, the more
difficult it would be later to escape its clutches.

(Continued in Part 5)


by Gerry Hill (

2:30 AM
GWU Hospital

Deep contentment with no pain, worries or fears...the drug coursed
through my body, holding me in thrall. Oh, God, I had missed this.
I couldn't see going back to the excuse of a life I had been
leading without ending that life itself. This was where I wanted -
no, *needed* - to stay.

I was vaguely aware that Scully slumbered in a nearby chair, a
blanket covering her small figure. She was the only good memory
from my life on which I could maintain a tenuous grasp, but even
the thought of her was fading, being replaced by the almost
orgasmic pleasure the drug provided.

My eyes were closed and I thought I could feel small fingers
running through my hair, soothing me, and a child's voice saying,
"Fox, everything will be all right." Peace filled my soul. Time
flowed through me as I savored this cessation of reality, vaguely
willing this state of non-being to go on forever.

Some time later I found that I was idly admiring the lightning
flashes which intermittently lit up the room, as a ferocious
thunderstorm drifted through. During one particularly bright flash
I saw a tall figure standing at my bedside. It took a moment, but
then I recognized her as Dr. Ward. Beth. In my state of mind, I
simply accepted it as a natural event with no surprise or fear
involved. Normally, I would probably have jumped a foot in the air
to see a prime suspect in a murder case at such an advantage over
my helpless body.

She placed her hand over mine as I murmured, "So, you're back to
finish me off?" I had no fear whatsoever, and wasn't even curious
to hear her answer.

She sadly shook her head. "No, Agent Mulder. I'm here to make
sure that you *don't* die."

I nodded as though I knew what was going on, which I didn't. A
smile tugged at my lips to think that someone cared about my life,
one way or the other. There wasn't exactly a long line forming.

She patted my hand again and said, "I need to tell you something.
Emily brought those spiders into the country by placing each one in
a small container with air holes. These were sewn onto the front
of her long skirt, on the reverse side. She wore it on the plane
and through customs, with no problem. She told me she couldn't
bear to leave her 'pets' behind."

That *did* get through my euphoria for a second, to think of having
all those spiders in my lap during a flight, even if they *were* in

"When did you find that out? And how did you get in here?"
Scully's voice visibly startled Dr. Ward; she apparently had
thought that my partner was asleep. Or maybe she just hadn't
noticed her, since she had been completely under the blanket.

When my eyes moved in Scully's direction, I saw that she was
holding her weapon casually; the dark gun was outlined clearly
against the stark white of the blanket.

"I found out tonight. Emily came through the woods and got into
the house without the detectives seeing her. She told me
everything, including the fact that she let loose two Funnel Webs
earlier in this room, hoping to kill the both of you." Looking
over at Scully, she added, "As far as getting into here is
concerned, I just waited for the policeman down the hall to go into
the men's room and I walked right in."

I was having trouble following all this, but the fact that the
guard screwed up registered in my sluggish brain. And knowing
Scully, she undoubtedly was picturing hanging the offending guard
from the hospital roof by his balls.

"Where is your sister Emily now? You realize that we have to take
her into custody. She needs help, and we certainly don't want any
other murders."

Dr. Ward nodded at Scully, saying, "I know that she'll have to be
locked away. It hurts to think of my sister as being completely
mad, but I don't want more people killed just because I couldn't
face up to what needs to be done." A sudden flash of lightning
highlighted the grief and sadness in her face.

The secret smile that stole across her face as she turned away must
have truly been a hallucination, a product of my euphoric state.

"I'll take you to her, Agent Scully. I locked her in the attic of
my house."

Scully shoved the blanket aside, re-holstered her weapon and moved
over to me. "Do you think you could stay out of trouble while I go
take care of this, Mulder?"

Too "out of it" for much scintillating repartee, I settled for the
automatic innuendo. "I don't know, Scully...I might make a pass at
one of the nurses - I hear there's a new blonde bimbo on the night
shift." Dammit, I could feel my words slurring just a little bit.

Her eyes narrowed. "You thought those *spiders* were bad, Mulder,
wait until I catch you fooling around!" Scully glanced back to see
that Dr. Ward had left the room, then gave me a hasty kiss that
landed partly on my eyebrow, partly on the bridge of my nose, and
partly on the corner of my eye. She paused, gazing into my dilated
eyes, then leaned over and properly pressed her lips to mine.

"I'll be back soon. With the help of a couple of cops, I'll slap
some cuffs on her and get this damned case over with," she

"Oooh, Rambo Scully; my favorite fantasy."

She made an exasperated sound and left the room.


I found Dr. Ward in the hall and told her, "I'm going to check in
Agent Farris' room. Garcia may still be around and he wouldn't
want to miss this."

Sure enough, Garcia was very uncomfortably bent into unnatural
angles in a chair far too small for anything but sitting bolt
upright. He was snoring, and it was a contest as to whether the
storm raging outside was louder than the racket he was making.

Agent Farris had not regained consciousness, but a glance at the
monitors told me that she was holding on.

I put my hand on Garcia's shoulder and shook it slightly. No
response. I shook harder, and still no reaction. "Agent Garcia!"
I called, and jostled his arm even harder.

That finally did it, and I let him gather his wits first before
telling him what was about to happen.

Bleary-eyed, he got to his feet, checked on Agent Farris, and then
followed us out of the room.

3:10 AM
Dr. Ward's residence


Scully, Detective Romero, and Officer Chan went into the main house
to arrest Emily Ward. I complained about being left out of the
excitement, but did as Scully asked, which was to watch from the
exterior in case something went wrong. I kept an eye on the upper
story windows, pacing around the house from front to back to front
again. Dr. Ward was supposed to stay in the police car, out on the

On one of my trips toward the back of the house, movement of
something white in the wooded area caught my eye. It had stopped
raining, but it was very dark, especially in the trees. I found
that it was impossible to focus on whatever it had been. Probably
an owl.

I was uneasy, feeling strongly that it had not been a bird, but a
person. I was torn between staying at the main house as Scully had
requested, and going after whoever was lurking around the guest
house and shed.

Finally making up my mind, I ran toward the grove of trees. Of
course, there was no one in sight when I got there.

Standing very still in the darkness, I could hear nothing but the
rustling leaves and some distant thunder. It was much darker in
the grove than it was out on the lawn. The trees were very large
and provided excellent concealment to anyone wanting to hide. I
had my gun out as I cautiously searched the area.

There was a sudden creaking sound from the direction of the shed.

"This is like a bad movie," I thought, and shuddered. I turned
toward the sound, but couldn't see the shed from my location. I
reluctantly moved in that direction. Having no intention of
battling killer spiders, I kept swiveling my head, alert for any

The shed was only ten feet away now, and I could just make out that
the door was shut tight with the bar across it. I could have sworn
that the sound I had heard had been the creak of the shed door
swinging open or closed.

Another sound came from behind the door, and it sounded like
someone thrashing around, with a moan now and then.

I approached it cautiously, putting my gun back into its holster so
I could lift the bar. I jumped in surprise when my name was
suddenly spoken from somewhere behind me. I drew my weapon again,
whirled around, and saw Dr. Ward about three feet away.

It was dark enough so that her expression was difficult to see.

"What are you doing, Dr. Ward?" I asked warily.

"Nothing more than obtaining justice."

I was puzzled, but felt a sense of urgency. Someone in the shed
was in trouble. "Move over here and take the bar from the door."

"I'm afraid I won't do that."

"Why not?"

There was a pause, and she quietly said, "You wouldn't like what's
in there."

I could feel the hairs at the base of my neck prickle.

"Can't you tell me what this is all about?"

A sigh, then a voice thick with tears said, "If you open the door,
you might release some of the twenty assorted deadly spiders which
are currently free in that room." Another pause. "And justice is
being served on my sister; it's too late to help her."

I felt ill.

I realized that Elizabeth Ward must have locked her sister in with
the very spiders that Emily Ward had used as weapons against all
those victims. My instinct was to open the door and see if I could
help her, but knew that would invite disaster. I couldn't let
those venomous spiders loose out here, not to mention the
probability that I would get bitten myself.

At that point, Scully and her police partners approached, not
having found anyone in the house. Officer Chan led the way with a
powerful flashlight as they picked their way over the soggy ground.
I quickly filled them in on what was happening, and the dilemma it

Scully turned to Dr. Ward and asked gently, but urgently, "You're
the expert; what can we use to spray into that shed to kill the
spiders? Do you have anything at all?"

Dr. Ward was silent for a long moment, then turned and walked
rapidly toward the back of the main house. Scully and I followed
her to a latticed gate which led under the deck at the point where
it joined the house. We helped her haul out a sprayer with a hose
attachment and quickly poured insecticide from a plastic gallon jug
into it.

I hauled the contraption down to the shed. With the help of Chan's
flashlight, we checked around the small structure and found that
the only opening was a small hole the size of a brick up under the
eave. It was covered with a fine wire mesh.

Scully disappeared when she saw how high the vent was from the
ground, and soon returned with a wooden step stool from the porch
of the guest house.

I stood on the stool, punched a hole in the mesh with my pocket
knife - which I had begun carrying after the emergency tracheotomy
- and inserted the hose through the hole. I glanced at Scully and
asked, "Won't this hurt a human, too, if they're breathing a lot of

"Well it won't be *good* for them, but it beats the alternative,"
she remarked.

After I had sprayed all the insecticide into the shed, we waited
for a few minutes, then Detective Romero lifted the bar from the
door. No one was in a particular hurry to take the next step, so
Dr. Ward strode forward and pulled it open. She knew the door
would stick, so she gave it an extra hard tug.

We couldn't see anything because it was so dark, but when Officer
Chan illuminated the scene, there was more than one sharp intake of

A young woman lay very still, her eyes open and staring in horror,
and it was evident that she was dead. Her chest was unmoving and
there was no reaction to the half a dozen spiders writhing in their
final death throes on her body. The flashlight moved and picked up
other small bodies scattered around the shed floor. They were all
either dead or dying.

The light moved back to the victim's face and I saw it then...this
woman was more than a sister to Dr. Ward; she was her identical

Detective Romero, hands shaking, called for a crime unit and
ambulance on his cel phone. I turned to Dr. Ward, but she had
moved past me into the shed. She stood near the opposite wall, and
the light picked up the tracks of tears on her cheeks. And in the
edges of that beam of light, there was a tiny movement just above
her head at the vent.

I grabbed the flashlight from Officer Chan and aimed it toward the
movement. Apparently a Funnel Web had escaped the worst of the
spray by staying on the small ledge by the vent, and was on its way
down to Dr. Ward's shoulder. I opened my mouth to warn her to
move, but the spider moved faster and plunged its fangs into the
side of her throat as soon as it landed on her shoulder.

She let out a shriek and tried to push it off, but the thing
scurried across the top of her chest to sink its fangs into the
soft area between the collarbone and her neck on that side. She
fell to her knees and I was finally able to rake the spider off
with a swipe of my shoe. I was careful to quickly pull my leg back
so it couldn't fasten itself to my ankle.

The damned thing was lightning fast and had disappeared under an
empty shelf, taking refuge in the dark under the low shelter. Fed
up with this shit, I first helped to move Dr. Ward outside, and
then I went back out and retrieved the spraying gear. I primed it
with insecticide, went back into the shed, and sprayed under the
shelves and in the corners thoroughly. Then I shot some spray all
over the rest of the interior for good measure. I shut and barred
the door behind me when I was done, then went over to the torn vent
in the wall and sprayed it, too.

When I rejoined the team, I found that the EMTs were attending to
Dr. Ward, and Scully was motioning for me to step aside for a
second with her. We moved into the trees a few feet, and she said,
"I don't think that's Dr. Ward."

All I could come out with was a brilliant, "Huh?" but then I
remembered - twins!

"Before she lost consciousness, she was calling 'Beth' over and
over to come help her. I believe that this woman is Emily Ward,
and she locked her sister in with the spiders to kill her, too.
Emily knew that her sister was going to turn her over to us; she
probably told her as much. And that settled Dr. Ward's fate."

I looked at my watch. "It's still six hours before the antivenom
arrives, and seven hours before it can be administered to anyone.
It's beginning to look as though the stuff will show up too late to
help Farris, the nurse, or Emily here."

Scully's comforting hand rested on my forearm. I raised my head
and connected with those stunning eyes of hers, as she said, "I
think we'll be able to pull them all through; the hospital staff is
becoming something of an authority on this kind of injury lately."
She smiled encouragingly at me and walked back into the midst of
the activity. That bastard Mulder didn't know how lucky he was,
having her as his partner and friend. And I had better not let my
mind go wandering in that direction.

6:30 AM

Daylight had come and we still weren't done at the crime scene.
Finally at 6:30, after three take-out coffees and a lot of
repetitive crap, I accepted a cop's offer to drop me off at my
apartment on his way back to the police station.

I needed at least a short rest, a shower, a shave, and a change of
clothes. I also needed to check with Agent Donato to make sure he
knew where to bring the antivenom when he picked it up at the
airport in a few hours.

When I told Scully what I was up to, she decided that the shower
and a change of clothes sounded pretty good. So she took off for
her own place around the same time that I left.

The instant I stepped into my apartment, a certainty that I had
made a big mistake engulfed me. My weariness had allowed my usual
cautious nature to zone out, and it would probably be the last time
I would have the chance to be so stupid. Someone's gun was shoved
hard against the back of my neck and my own weapon was yanked out
of the holster at my hip.

When a second man strolled out of my kitchen and into the living
room, I immediately recognized him as one of the most wanted men by
the FBI, and wondered what the hell he would be doing here. I had
never worked any cases against the man, but was well aware of his

"Jakes!" I exclaimed.

The man seemed pleased that he had been recognized.

"Yeah, I'm Jimmy Jakes. Nice to meetcha." And he slammed his fist
into my gut, doubling me over. The pain was tremendous, but what
was worse, I couldn't catch my breath. After struggling to breathe
for what seemed like forever, I was finally able to gasp in some
blessed oxygen. The guy with the gun held on to my collar, or I
would have fallen to the floor.

Jakes was talking again, and I tried to catch what he said.

"We gave that fuckin' Mulder a habit to choke a horse, and then
find out he's tap dancing around cute as you please again, while
I'm having to hide out like a common criminal. Makes me wanna

I blinked. Gave Mulder a habit? Was he talking about drugs, or
was this just some street slang I wasn't up on?

"Where is that fibbie fag? I get into town, go to his place and
then to that doctor partner's of his, and no one's around. Then I
try that other agent's place...what's her name...Farris, and
*she's* not there. Lucky her brother comes by right then, and we
beat the crap out of him to get the info that she's working with
you. Garcia. And that she's in a hospital, but by then he's out
cold and we don't know which one."

He grabbed me by my hair and roughly yanked my head back. He put
his gun barrel under my chin and pleasantly asked, "So, where's

I gave him nothing; not even a change in expression. The gun
jabbing under my chin was extremely painful, but it helped keep me
focused. Then I felt hands dipping into my coat and pants pockets.
The goon behind me came up with my notebook.

Shit. I had jotted down the hospital's name, address and phone
numbers when I found out where they would be taking Farris. Shit,
shit, shit.

I wanted to try and break away, but with a gun under my chin and
another somewhere at my back, there was no way I could avoid
getting shot.

Jakes was opening the small notebook and looking for the latest
entries with one hand and soon found what he wanted.

"GWU, huh? Well, I have a feeling that the hospital will be losing
a few patients soon. Sonny here will escort you. I have other
more important business to deal with."

For the first time I got a good luck at "Sonny" and didn't much
like what I saw. He was a good six feet six inches tall and built
like a football linebacker. He held his gun firmly and kept his
eyes on mine.

"Why do you need me - you know where to go," I managed to ask as
Sonny shifted his gun to my shoulder and shoved me toward the door.

"What are you...stupid? You can get us through whatever security
they've got around there. Now move!"

We parted company with Jakes at the sidewalk out front. He walked
around the corner and disappeared. Sonny and I, however, were
apparently going to ride in style. The goon unlocked a Mercedes
sedan that was parked on the street half a block away. While
activating the remote control on the key holder he carried to
unlock the car, he kept his weapon aimed directly at me, partially
concealed by his suit jacket.

Sonny made me drive. "Don't brake suddenly, don't speed up
suddenly, don't try *anything*, or I'll put a bullet hole the size
of my fist through you. Just go to GWU and don't give me any
trouble. I have no patience or sense of humor, you understand?"

Given the tone of voice and the tightness of his finger on the
trigger of the gun, I decided to do what he wanted for now, and see
if there was an opening later where I could take this guy down.
Hopefully, before he could get to Mulder, Scully and Farris.

(Continued in Part 6)


by Gerry Hill (


When I reached my apartment after leaving the crime scene at Dr.
Ward's property, I called the hospital to check up on Farris' and
Mulder's conditions. After getting nowhere with various
administrative people and nurses, I reached a harassed-sounding
woman who verified that Farris was holding her own; no better and
no worse. Mulder, on the other hand, was apparently causing quite
a ruckus. No longer drowsy and compliant from the morphine, he was
not being cooperative in the least with the hospital staff.

"In what way?" I asked, closing my eyes.

"You name it. Just now, Sara, barely out of her teens and a really
sweet nurse who is always very calm and caring, came rushing out of
his room after trying to give him a sponge bath. She was nearly in
tears and said, 'To hell with that bastard. He can stay sweaty and
stink up the whole damned hospital for all I care.' Before this,
I've *never* heard her utter one swear word."

"Is Agent Mulder in pain?"

"I would expect so, but the doctor hasn't prescribed anything more
for that." Her tone clearly stated her disapproval.

"Good," I said. "Don't do anything and I'll be there in about
forty-five minutes."

When I walked into Mulder's room later, I tried to stand up
straight and not look as weary as I felt. I immediately heard the
harsh, shallow breaths he was taking as I approached his bed. The
morphine had worn off some time ago, and his ribs were obviously
paining him. I noted his monitor readings as I moved to his side.
Looking down at him, my heartbeat slightly quickened when I saw how
pale and forlorn his perspiration-covered face appeared.

His eyes actually changed color when he saw me. They had been a
bleak gray, and then suddenly they went dark. I had seen this
phenomenon only a couple of times, and it always captivated me.

"Scully. You're safe. I was worried about you." His words were
halting as he tried not to breathe too deeply.

I gave him a smile, leaned down and placed a tender kiss on his
mouth. He responded for a second, then had to turn his head to
gasp in another breath.

Drawing back slightly, I asked, "Is it getting pretty bad?"

He started to say no, then relented, admitting, "Yeah."

"I'll see about a non-narcotic for the pain, OK?"

His dark eyes seemed to engulf me, to tell me of how frightened he
was, of not having the relief of the morphine. He would be facing
the naked exposure of his soul once more, of dealing with screaming
nerves, muscles which wouldn't obey his commands, intense physical
distress, and a deep despair that even I wouldn't be able to

I saw all of this in those expressive eyes and felt like weeping.
He had already been through so much; it wasn't fair.

I managed to whisper, "Don't worry, Mulder. You can do this, and
I'll be here for you."

He closed his eyes briefly. When they opened again, they were
glistening with tears. One broke away and trickled down his cheek.

"Oh, Mulder," I said, and brushed the tear aside with my fingers.
I felt close to tears myself, but knew that would not be what he
needed to see right now. "I'll be back in a few minutes. I'm
going to see about getting something for the pain."


My whispered name held me to his side.

"I can't do this again." The anguish was unbearable in his face.

My breath caught in my throat and I couldn't bring myself to tell
him once again that everything would be all right. Instead, I
leaned over and touched my cheek to his, trying to transfer my love
and encouragement through the contact.

When I moved back and looked at him again, his expression had
closed and I couldn't read it any more. That scared me.

"Mulder? I love you. Stay with me?"

The anguish flooded his eyes once more and he whispered, "I'll try.
I love you, too."

My relief was expressed in the form of a huge smile, which was
answered a little more tentatively by his.

"I'll be right back, Mulder." As I reached the door, I turned and
called back to him, "And I'm going to have someone give you a
sponge bath. You *really* need it!" I ignored the answering moan,
walked out into the hallway out of his sight, then had to lean up
against the wall for support when my wobbly legs nearly gave out.
My harsh sob was stifled into my hand, then I forced myself to
stand upright and continue down the hall.


Lying there in mental and physical pain, I felt so sick of all the
self-pity and despair in which I had been wallowing. I had to get
a grip on things, if not for my own sake, then for Scully's.
....if only I really cared anymore....

I had reached the point where giving in to the craving for the
release that drugs could bring had become a very seductive choice.
Facing the pains of withdrawal, of the ugliness I faced in my daily
existence, my own shortcomings, the guilt for so many things - - I
just couldn't do it anymore. Scully would have said that my
thinking was being influenced by the drugs and the withdrawal, but
I wasn't so sure.

I was supposed to be intelligent, so why couldn't I rationalize on
the side of the angels? But it has always been whatever is in that
dark, bottomless pit that drew me, until I wondered if I had always
been insane, the madness lurking just below the surface.

God! Fighting against this overwhelming sense of desolation was
almost more than I could take; despair was all I felt now. Was my
life so hard that I would give it up without more of a struggle?
I had managed to withstand so much before this...

I bit back a scream as a vicious muscle spasm grabbed my lower back
and traveled down my legs. It had taken me by surprise - usually
I could sense them coming. The pain took my breath away and I
resorted to panting rapidly just to get some air into my lungs.

After an eternity the spasm dissipated and I lay limp and
exhausted. But I should have known better than to enjoy a respite;
life abruptly got a whole lot worse.

Several people entered my room and walked over to my bed. I had to
consciously focus on the faces, and recognized Garcia quickly
enough. The big guy with him was God, it was Jakes'
flunky! No way I could forget that he helped beat me unconscious
when they snatched me right off the street and then proceeded to
hold me down while being injected with that crap...And when he had
raped Ginni... Please, let him be under Garcia's custody. My
stomach tightened in alarm, however, upon registering the sneer on
my nemesis' face and the paleness of the FBI agent's complexion.

The man grinned down at me in an unpleasant way and slapped the
side of my chest with his gun. Right over the broken ribs. With
no medication, the pain left me semi-conscious after a bout of
unbelievable agony. The only reason I didn't scream my voice
hoarse was that I couldn't take a decent breath to do so.

Through the waves of incredible pain I heard him saying something,
but it wasn't coming through clearly. His large rough hand cupped
my chin and turned my face toward his.

"I *said*, 'Where's your partner?'"

All I could do was stare at him. He must have thought I was scared
to death since he couldn't have missed the tremors running through
my body, but it was just the good old withdrawal symptoms making
themselves known.

Suddenly I heard someone come into the room and Scully's voice was
saying, "You're in luck, Mulder. Sara can give you a bath..." She
stopped dead, a tray of medication and a syringe in her hands, when
she saw the visitors.

I was certain that the gunman would kill all of us now. But Garcia
had to be carrying a load of guilt about having brought him here
and would be making a move any second, if I knew the man as well as
I thought. So I grabbed the hand that held the gun with all my
strength, hoping someone could do something before he got free.

With no change in expression, Jakes' hired gun coldly pulled the
trigger on the weapon, nearly breaking my eardrum and sending a
bullet into the wall past Garcia. But I continued to desperately
hang onto his hand, even though the gun was turning toward my face
and his other fist was ramming into my ribs. Red streaks of agony
set my chest on fire.

Through the searing pain in my chest and blurred vision I could see
that Scully had apparently dropped the tray she had been carrying
and had tugged Garcia out of the way. She was tightly gripping her
gun out in front of her body, her black skirt riding up on her
thighs from the crouched stance, her eyes blazing with fire, and
her mouth set with determination. I was stricken with the sight of
this lethal beauty.

"Get away from him, you son of a bitch! Drop the weapon!"
Scully's voice alone would have reduced me to a quivering mass, but
not this guy. He stupidly yanked the gun out of my grasp and swung
it toward Scully, despite the fact that her gun was pointed right
at him. I could hear footsteps running this way in the corridor,
but knew this would all be over before help arrived.

Scully's round slammed him back against the monitors on that side
of the bed. Several connections were ripped off of me when he fell
to the floor, and I could see blood splashed on the wall and

But he wasn't dead yet. He was out of my line of sight, but I
could hear him swearing and moving around. Then Garcia kicked at
something and the fallen weapon went skittering across the floor
out of the fallen man's reach.

"He works for Jakes," Garcia informed Scully.

I could see her eyes change as that fact took hold. Scully moved
slowly around the bed and stood with her weapon trained on him.

"Mulder," she said in a strangely flat voice. "Is this one of the
men who abducted you and fed you drugs?" I hesitantly nodded.

Then it suddenly dawned on me that she intended to finish the job
and shoot him where he lay. All the fear of possibly losing me and
the anger at Jakes' for making that a real threat was there to read
in the hatred and determination in her eyes, the set of her jaw,
and in the way she held her body. But most importantly, I could
see her finger tightening on the trigger. Oh, God, Scully. Oh,

"Scully," I whispered. "Don't."

For a second I thought she hadn't heard me; didn't want to hear me.
Then after what seemed eons there was an infinitesimal relaxation
of the muscles of her body and the gun sagged slightly. And I
could breathe again.

The cops from my guard detail took over then, while Scully and
Garcia explained what the hell was going on. Medical staff and law
enforcement people began filling the room. Someone eventually
thought to set me up in another location, primarily in deference to
my delicate condition, but also to get rid of the deadwood and
allow more room to work.

Once settled in a room down the hall, I demanded morphine from the
next nurse I saw. She checked my chart, disappeared for ten
minutes, returned with a syringe, and I was injected with lovely
oblivion. As easy as that. I'm sorry, Scully.


It took a while to get clear of all the reports, explanations,
phone calls and mass confusion. When I finally was able to find
Mulder, he was off in la-la land again, dammit. I didn't know who
was responsible this time for the opiate, but I suspected that the
culprit was lying right there in that hospital bed.

Garcia had decided to retrieve the antivenom himself from the
airport to make sure nothing would go wrong. He had left a few
minutes ago, and I decided to stay with Mulder. We had to talk,
and soon. He was in a dangerous place in his mind, and it was
scaring me to death.

The thought of my own compulsion to murder an unarmed man earlier
had been shoved back into a dark corner of my mind. I didn't
really want to go there to examine this major lapse in what I
believed to be right. But neither did I feel particularly guilty
about wanted to rid ourselves at least one asshole responsible for
so much of Mulder's grief and pain. I would have been on a role,
then and probably would have gone after the cigarette-smoking man
next. Rambo Scully, indeed.

With lack of sleep overriding my other concerns I must have finally
dozed off in the chair. When I opened my eyes, Mulder was staring
into them, as if he had willed them to open. Maybe he had, as his
gaze was intense enough.

I gave him a smile and decided to begin easy and work up to hard.

"Do you want to know what happened with the spider case?"

"Sure," came floating disinterestedly my way.

"Emily Ward *had* been killing people; she's as crazy as a bedbug.
She would lock them into that shed after releasing several
varieties of spiders, then take the body somewhere in her car and
dump it. It was just luck that no one ever caught her at it."

I told him what had occurred when Garcia and I had gone out to Dr.
Ward's house with the D.C. policemen. I explained that Emily
impersonated her sister Beth both here at the hospital and later at
the house, where she planned to kill her sister, making us believe
that the dead sister was Emily.

"She was counting on just a slap on the wrists after the dust
settled. With the law no longer breathing down her neck, she could
get organized and disappear. Then she would begin the murders once
more. But she didn't figure that one of her own spiders would live
to take their revenge on her."

"So Dr. Ward is dead. What about Emily; is she still alive?"

"Last I heard, she's doing quite a lot better than the nurse who
had been bitten, which makes me wonder if she hadn't suffered such
bites before, and had built up a small amount of immunity. I have
no idea whether that would be possible or not. The antivenom is
due to arrive any minute now, thank God. I think the stuff should
still be able to help Farris and the nurse get through this."

He was quiet for a moment, then, obviously trying to muster up
interest, asked, "What about the spiders? How did she deal with

"They were gathered up each time, then released again when she had
a victim. She had learned to handle them to avoid being bitten
over the years, although I still think she wasn't able to
completely avoid it. Australian authorities now believe that she
was responsible for her parents' deaths, too."

I had lost him. His mind had decided that was enough Scully for
the day and had gone on to another world of its own. And I knew it
was time to throw everything onto the table in a last attempt to
salvage his life - no, *our* life. This was going to be terrible
but I didn't know how else to get through to him.

"Mulder." No response. I got to my feet and stood next to his
bed, then leaned over and whispered, "Garcia and I are lovers."

And he was back. His eyes focused on mine in a nano-second,
startled and agitated.

"What!?" he choked out.

Gathering my courage to hurt this man some more, a man I loved more
than life itself, I added, "He...likes to take me from behind."

His hand shot out and clutched my wrist in a crushing grip.

"That wasn't funny," he snarled.

"Do you see me laughing," I replied, devastated that I was doing

Gathering my courage, I said, "We did it in the car earlier, coming
back from the Ward place. I gave him a blow job that was..."

A strangled sob from his throat finally stopped me, and I lost all
of my resolve. I had to turn my head away to avoid that stricken

And saw Garcia standing in the hall talking with someone,
apparently just returned from delivering the antivenom.

I went to the door and called to him. He immediately dropped the
conversation and came over to me. Without thinking about how I
might hurt Garcia by doing this, I put my arms around his neck,
pressed my body against his, pulled his head down and kissed him on
the lips. I could feel his body go rigid for a moment, then his
mouth was savaging mine. One hand was cupping the back of my head
and the other drifted down my side, to slide over my rear end.

There was an enraged roar from behind me, and I shoved against
Garcia's chest, afraid Mulder would hurt himself trying to kill us

I whispered, "I'll explain later. Please go."

Looking completely bewildered he backed out into the hall again,
and I closed the door to the room. But not before I saw the
bewilderment change to anger. I turned to Mulder, who was lying
unmoving on the disheveled bed, staring at the ceiling, his chest
heaving with the short, agonized breaths he was taking.

Had I gone too far?

When I reached his side, I said, "There. How does it feel to see
someone you love slip away from you when it doesn't have to be that
way?" Not a twitch.

"We love each other, yet you're willing to die a slow death with
that damned drug, and ditch me. You're even willing to take a
quick death, aren't you, making the leaving that much faster?
Well, how does it feel now when *I'm* the one with the potential
for ditching *you*?"

His tear-streaked face turned to me and he said what I hadn't
wanted to hear, "Get the hell out, Scully. Just...go."

It seemed that the lesson I tried to teach him got lost in the
overriding pain of my apparent betrayal.

A wave of fear washed over me at the thought I might have lost him
forever through my stupid head game.

The words came tumbling out of my mouth in a race against the
closing gates in his mind. "Mulder, you stupid son of a bitch, I
lied. I love you and I lied so I wouldn't lose you. There's
nothing going on with Garcia except his confusion with my actions
just now. I love you enough that I tried to show you how it would
be if *I* left you, hoping to make you see what you were doing to
me." My voice rose higher and became more desperate when I didn't
see any change at all in his hateful expression.

"Mulder! Aren't you listening to me?! I admit it wasn't one of my
better ideas, but please don't do this!"

He turned his head away, clearly dismissing me.

Time that I got nasty again.

"You're using this as an excuse to distance me, to justify what
you're trying to do to yourself. Well, that makes you a real shit,
you know that? Blaming me for your own selfishness and weakness."

As a psychologist, surely he was getting the big picture, here.
The question, though, is whether or not he *wanted* to get the big
picture, and then whether or not he *wanted* to do anything about

"Please go away." The emotionless voice chilled me to the bone.
Should I scream, beat on his body to get a reaction? No. He had
made up his mind and nothing I could do would penetrate the
seamless wall that was shutting me out. Knowing Mulder, he was
probably re-playing that charming little charade between myself and
Garcia from a few minutes ago.

I went to the door and locked it. I returned to his side and began
talking, falling back into "professional" mode.

"You can't escape withdrawal symptoms under Methadone detox if you
go through the process fairly quickly. On the other hand, if you
take it slowly you don't have too many withdrawal problems, but it
takes forever."

No sign he was listening, but I knew he was. My tone of voice
would have alerted him that something serious was coming.

"In order for morphine and other opiates to produce their effect,
they must attach to small areas in the brain and nervous system
called receptor sites. There is a drug called naltrexone that
blocks the opiates from attaching to these sites. If you were to
take it now, it would knock the morphine off the receptor sites and
put you into withdrawal instantly. The narcotic goes into the
circulation system and is expelled with the urine."

Still no response. "There is another way to do this painlessly.
Skinner will be here this evening to take us to a place in Virginia
where they won't know your identity. He says he can guarantee
anonymity so this doesn't get into any records. They'll put you
under general anesthesia, give you the dose, let withdrawal take
place - usually over four hours or so - while you are under the
anesthetic. Afterwards, with no withdrawal to worry about, you can
concentrate on the goal of staying clean. It will cost you $2500
from your own pocket for this procedure; that's for the doctor,
anesthesiologist, operating room, an overnight stay, food and the

I sat there in silence, hoping for some reaction.

It was quiet for so long that I jumped slightly when he cleared his
throat and said, "I'm pretty much a selfish prick, aren't I?" He
turned his head to look at me with sorrowful eyes.

My lopsided smile and "Well..." made him wince, and I hastened to
reassure him. "Only once in awhile, Mulder. And I'm perfect with
no faults at all, so we balance each other out."

His widened eyes and incredulous expression made me laugh.

He said, "OK, I'll take the treatment. But then I get to strangle
Garcia just on general principles."

Saying a silent prayer of thanks, I moved over to his side and
caressed his cheek with my hand, silently thanking him for
understanding and giving himself a chance.

I couldn't help wondering, though, where I would be drawing the
line with him in the future. His emotional insecurity played hell
with our relationship as he constantly tested its boundaries.
Loving Mulder was like jumping off a cliff every day; you never
knew when there would be a one-foot distance to the next level
down, or a mile-long drop to the rocks below.

Later I found Garcia in Farris' room. He avoided looking at me,
and I didn't blame him for that at all. Farris was awake and doing
better, with a prognosis for a full recovery.

I didn't want to tire her and only talked for a few minutes. At
least, I did the talking; she was still recovering from the
tracheotomy and was using a notepad on which to write from time to

"So, you all saw me in my underwear?" After I read the scratched-
out note on the paper, I looked at her face. Her eyes were
twinkling so I knew she wasn't too upset.

"Yeah," Garcia leered. "Wanna see the polaroids?"

Always so diplomatic.

When I left, I tugged at his arm, and he reluctantly came out into
the hall with me.

"You literally saved Mulder's life back there, and I wanted you to
know that. He was going to let himself die, but seeing me with you
snapped him out of it just far enough to give me a handle on
things. He'll be OK now."

Garcia had been looking at the floor, and now glanced up out of the
corners of his eyes at me. "So Jakes did get him hooked?"

Sighing, I said, "Yeah. We've managed to keep it off his record up
to this point, but this hospital stay not only got him back on
narcotics, but I've had a hell of a time keeping it secret."

Nodding, I could see that he realized Mulder would be out on his
ass in a second if the Bureau had an inkling of what was going on.

"I'm so sorry I threw myself at you like that, but I needed
something for him to focus on and that did it, only too well."

He smiled at last and asked, "So every time he's being an asshole
-which is about every hour or so - do I get to continue where we
left off?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"If you can get past Mulder, you're welcome to try," I said with a
wink, surprising the hell out of both of us.


The nurse eventually recovered with the help of the antivenom. As
did Emily, who is in the State of Virginia facility for the
criminally insane. I doubt she will ever get out. I'll give you
one guess what I found her keeping as a pet when I visited her
after the trial...

Jakes is still at large...

Mulder's treatment got him away from withdrawal as promised, and
all we had to do was deal with the craving that remained. Which
wasn't so bad, since he had gotten the idea that sex was the cure
for the problem. I pointed out that sex itself could become an
addiction in its own right. Somehow, that idea didn't bother him
at all.