IMTP VS8 Episode 23:
Art by Foxsong
Title: God's Country
Author: Joylynn Wing
Completed: December 2000
Category: MT, M/S Angst, MSR, X-File
Rating: R for language and violence
Spoilers: Slight references for Rain King
Summary: Mulder and Scully return to the woods once more in
order to investigate the disappearance of a family of three
Archive: IMTP for the first two weeks, then Xemplary,
Gossamer, and EMXC. Any others just give me an e-mail so
that I may visit.
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, Ten
Thirteen Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Television.
They are used here without permission. No copyright
infringement intended. Peter McCallister, Abner Milford,
and other unrecognizable characters belong to me.
Author's Notes: This was written for I Made This!
Productions as one of their episodes for Virtual Season 8.
IMTP can be found at http://www.i-made-this.com/.
Locations are real, although I have elaborated upon them
somewhat for fictional purposes. No disrespect is
Thanks: to the IMTP production staff, for allowing me to be
a part of such a wonderful project. To Pita and Trace, my
selfless and untiring betas: any glimmers of brilliance are
due to their combined talents, any mistakes are entirely
mine. To Cindy...I couldn't have done this without you.
Feedback: Are you kidding? Hit me baby...
~Set me alight
We'll punch a hole right through the night
Everyday the dreamers die
To see what's on the other side~
"In God's Country" by U2
May 12, 2001
It was the dead of night. A violent gust of wind slipped
through the snow-covered branches of the pine trees, the
ancient twisted limbs dancing in a macabre design. Just
below, the slight form of a young boy walked alone, his
eyes darting about to and fro.
Adam Saunders wasn't afraid of the dark.
Well -- not much anyway.
He was much too old for that. To be precise, he was
more afraid of the beasties and creepy crawlies, which
could skitter about him in the shifting shadows, sight
If given a choice, Adam would have remained in the nice,
warm and snug cocoon of his sleeping bag. Tucked safely
away in the musty-smelling folds of his tent. Instead, Adam
found himself traipsing about in the bitterly cold night --
his aching bladder screaming for release. His only
companion, a flashlight to ward off any ensuing enemies,
real or imagined.
He had never been camping during the spring. His adventures
had been limited to the summer and late fall. The wildlife
that would be out during that time would be totally
different from anything that he had ever experienced. Not
only that, but he had never camped in the mountains, let
alone on *the* mountain.
He had heard stories about it.
Stories told by old-timers as old as the hills themselves.
Stories so scary they could make your skin crawl. He had
been raised on them. Told that if he wasn't good, the
Oooglie Booglie would come and get him in the night. The only
thing that they would ever find of him was his blood
splashed angrily and thickly across the summit of Ragged
Of course his father had chuffed at all of the stories; had
even gone as far as to call them hogwash. As a tracker and
as a trapper, his father claimed that he knew everything
that walked in those woods. But Adam wasn't as quick to
discount them as his father was. The heart and imagination
of a child, the fertile fields of creativity.
With each step he took, a nursery rhyme that he had been
taught as a young boy haunted his thoughts...
-You'd better be good if you go out to play,
or the Oooglie Booglie will steal you away-
Suddenly, the loud sound of a branch cracking caught his
attention and he found himself standing as still as death.
As he struggled valiantly to quiet his noisy breaths, he
began to hear the faint sounds of branches rustling under
the still heavy cover of snow, even though there wasn't any
wind at that moment. Turning his head, he looked about, but
his eyes were useless. The flashlight just wasn't enough to
penetrate the dense darkness.
Suddenly, from just behind him, he heard the low growl of
something that he definitely didn't recognize. Something
big; Some *thing* that smelled like a backed up sewer on a
very hot day.
Adam Saunders then did the only thing that he could think
of at that moment.
He promptly began to run as if the devil himself was
chasing him, retracing the very same steps that he had
taken just moments before, his need to urinate long
Adrenaline surged through his veins; his heart pounded
fiercely within the tight confines of his young body.
He continued to run faster and faster, until his legs felt
as if they would fly off and his aching lungs burned like
As he neared the perimeter of the camp, he swore that he
could hear the footfalls of something following him,
something that seemed to have an enormous stride judging
from the time between sounds.
Reaching his tent, he pulled back the flap and with a leap
worthy of any Olympian, he thrust himself inside, landing
square on top of his brother Mark.
"Jesus!" was all that Adam could hear, as the figure
tucked neatly into the bag struggled to get out from under
Adam then launched himself into the back of the tent and
quickly dove under his sleeping bag, his arms and legs
trembling violently. "Mark!" he yelled, his mouth suddenly
dry. "There is something out there, it chased me!" he
screamed again, ignoring the intense throbbing in his
throat. He didn't care if he lost his voice. He didn't care
if he could never speak again because whatever *it* was, was
still out there. He couldn't hear *it* anymore per se but
the night sounds that he had heard earlier had now ceased.
He knew that wasn't good.
Adam closed his eyes and began to pray silently as he
snuggled further under his bag. "What the hell are you
talking about?" he could hear Mark mumble softly, his voice
full of impatience. "You just had a bad dream, that's all.
Get back into your sleeping bag and go back to sleep before
Dad hears you."
Adam let out a deep breath and watched the bag move
about, the heavy coating on the outside crinkling as
his brother presumably attempted to make himself
comfortable once more. He knew there was no way in hell
that *he* was going back to sleep and he was going to make
sure that Mark didn't either.
He had always known that his brother was a jerk. Mark had
never in his life gone out of his way to be supportive of
him. In fact, he had been at times down right mean to him
and Adam had never called him on it. He had allowed Mark to
treat him like a piece of crap and had never stopped him.
However, this was one time that Adam wasn't going to back
down. Not while 'it' was still out there.
Grabbing the corner of his bag, he tossed it to the side.
"I didn't have a dream," he yelled, as he grabbed Mark and
began to shake him like a rag doll. He was going to make
Mark listen, if he had to scramble his brains to do it. "I
really had to go pee so I went out. I tried to go where Dad
told us to go but...but...I heard something. Something
really big and it followed me back here."
"You're such a baby," Mark teased, as he pushed the young
boy away. "I told Dad not to bring you up here. I told him
and he wouldn't listen. Now when he hears about this he
Adam's eyes grew wide as he heard Mark's voice abruptly
stop. From outside the tent, he could just make out the
sounds of footfalls and of cracking snow pack. He
swallowed heavily as he watched Mark move closer to the
closed flaps and with a quivering hand, pull them back just
a few inches.
"Hey you!" Mark called out as he looked about outside.
"Whoever you are...you had better get the hell out of here
if you know what's good for you, before my Dad gets a hold
Both boys took a deep breath of relief as Robert, their
father, called out to them.
"What is going on out there? You're supposed to be
sleeping. Don't make me come out there and..." Their
father's words became as silent as the night that enveloped
the boys in its arms. In their place, the sounds of a
desperate struggle, accompanied by heavy breathing and the
ripping of cloth.
Suddenly the terrible sound of a scream filled the air.
The two boys sat there silently, as the minutes slowly
ticked by. Fear, thick and ominous like the snows that
covered the slopes about them, filled their hearts. Up
there -- in the spring -- they were all alone. No one to hear
their screams; no one to help them. If something had
happened to their dad, they were in this alone.
"Shush...d-d-do you h-h-hear anything?" Mark finally asked
nervously, as he brought his hear up to the tent.
"N-n-no," Adam replied as he brought his face further down
into his sack. "I'm scared, Mark." As he sat there, his
chest heaved in and out. He could feel his bladder spasm,
releasing his urine to soak into the rough material of his
"Me too," Mark answered. He slowly crawled over to the
younger boy, and looked him in the face. "Look, I'm going
to go out there and get Dad's rifle. You need to get on
that emergency radio and get help, just like Dad taught
"I don't know..."
"There isn't any time," Mark brought his hand down on
Adam's shoulder and squeezed it gently. "Dad needs us. He
is alone with *whatever* is out there. We are here alone!
We have to help him...and ourselves. Just remember, no
matter what happens, don't stop trying until you reach
With that, Mark made his way back to the door and crawled
outside, leaving Adam alone in the darkness. Reaching
behind himself, he grabbed the knapsack and rummaged around
inside of it. After a few moments, he found the short wave
radio and he pulled it out.
Adam wasn't a stupid boy; he knew that this wasn't going to
help in the least. He knew that the summit, on which they
had made base camp, was many, many hours from anywhere.
Even the ranger station that he was going to attempt to
contact was over 10 miles away, over very rough terrain.
His plaintive cry for help was to be a moot point. No one
would be there until at best midday.
Taking the microphone into his hand, and bringing it to his
mouth, Adam turned the power on and the faint greenish
light illuminated the dark corners of the tent. In a voice
as soft as he could manage, as he struggled to hold back
his tears, he said, "Mayday...mayday...this is an
emergency. Urgent assistance needed at Walker's Summit."
As his mouth continued to plead for assistance, his
thoughts were thousands of miles away in prayer. The
Oooglie Booglie had finally came for him and his family and
that was all that mattered. Now all that stood between him
and certain death was God, that same God that he had prayed
to every night.
...Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff they comfort me...
May 14, 2001
J. Edgar Hoover Building
The slow but steady count of the clock did little to quell
Mulder's steadily growing enthusiasm. As he sat there
reclined in his quite uncomfortable chair with his feet
perched precariously upon his desk, he found himself
literally shaking from excitement. He had been that way
ever since reading the morning's news on the Internet.
At first, the headlines about the mysterious disappearances
of a family of three in Maine hadn't made that much of an
impression. He had just glanced at it while on his way to
the sports page. He had very little time before Scully was
to return from forensics and he knew that if she
caught him once again slacking off while he was *supposed* to
be finishing their expense reports, she would shoot him
This time, however, it wouldn't be in the shoulder.
But after Scully had called, telling him that she was to be
out of the office longer than anticipated, he had come back
to it. The article spoke of an intense manhunt that was
being conducted to find Robert Saunders and his two sons,
Mike and Adam. The only leads; a garbled short wave radio
plea for help, speaking of something called the Oooglie
Booglie, the sound of gunshots in the background during the
transmission and one very torn up, bloodied campsite.
Although the authorities claimed that they were at a loss
as to what was going on: Mulder wasn't. In fact, he was far
from it. His photographic memory supplied him with a file
-- which he had seen several months earlier -- describing a
similar incident that had happened a few years back.
An incident claimed, by locals, to have been perpetrated by
a hairy man-beast: a bigfoot.
From the moment that he had seen it, Mulder knew that it
was too good to pass up. Within minutes, he had filled out
the necessary requisitions and had contacted Skinner. Now
all that was left was to tell *Scully* about it.
However, he knew that it was easier said than done. He only
hoped that she gave him enough time to lay it all out for
"I've got the forensics report on the Webber case," the
honey over gravel words startled him just enough to nearly
topple him to the floor. Recovering quickly, he reached
over and enlarged the window on the screen before him.
"Mulder, don't tell me that you have spent the whole
morning just sitting there." Scully chuckled softly, as she
leaned against the door jam. As she brought her hand up to
rest on her hip, the line of her jacket accentuated the
vast expanse of leg revealed by her shorter than usual skirt.
"Please, Scully..." Mulder took in the free show as he
leaned back in his chair. He gestured towards the screen
with his hand, a grin plastered across his face. "How
could you honestly think so *little* of me? In fact, I
have been hard at work doing research and I think that I
may have found our next case."
Scully slowly walked around to the side of the desk, her
heels thudding softly on carpet below. Putting her hand on
his shoulder, she leaned over and began to read the screen
before him. "Mulderrrr -- you've *got* to be kidding!"
"Now, Scully," Mulder admonished softly, as he turned to
face her, brought up his arms and crossed them in front of
his chest. He then looked her straight in the eyes and gave
her his best deadpan expression. "Have you ever known me
Mulder's voice was cut off with the first noticeable twitch
of her brow.
"Don't answer that," Mulder then continued, "I assure you
that I am very serious."
Mulder watched as Scully sat down on the edge of the desk
next to him. "Come on, Mulder. How does a family
disappearing out in the middle of the woods become an X-
"When it just so happens to have some connection with an
old Native American story that has over the years become a
well known local urban legend," Mulder retorted, as he
picked up the file that he had readied earlier and handed
it to her.
Always the hard sell, Mulder had learned years ago to never
approach her without some viable documentation.
It paid to be prepared.
Scully flipped it open and began to quickly peruse it.
After a few moments the look of typical Scully skepticism
changed to wide-eyed wonder.
"Now that I have your attention, Scully."
"Can the attitude, Mulder, " Scully said as she dropped it
back on the desk and stood up, smoothing down the wrinkles
of her skirt. "Please, just give me the *abbreviated*
"If you insist, Scully." Mulder leaned back and brought his
hands behind his head.
"Ragged Mountain, where the Saunders family disappeared, is
a mountain deep in the heart of Passamaquoddy tribal lands.
The mountain itself is believed to be one of their most
sacred of burial sites. The Passamaquoddy legend states
that when the white man moved into the area and began to
explore, trespassing on forbidden soil, a tribal elder had
a dream in which the sky god told him that an Żm'tchutch‚kw
or spirit would be sent to protect the earthly remains of
their ancient ancestors."
"It wasn't long after that that the first sighting of the
apiktchi'lu-uski'tap or the Piscataquis Skunk Ape aka
Bigfoot took place. Local sociologists believe that was how
the legend of the Oooglie Booglie was born. It is said that
if you are caught out after dark, you better have hope that
you have been good. If you haven't, the Oooglie Booglie
will come and get you."
Scully groaned, as she rolled her eyes. "Mulder, that
story sounds like a variation on a dozen or so others that
I have heard over the years designed to scare the living
daylights out of kids in order to keep them in line."
"Ah, Scully..." Mulder leered at her as he waggled his
brows suggestively, "I can just see you right now...scaling
down from your bedroom window, some lust-crazed teenager
waiting below with visions of doing the horizontal mambo
"Why Mulder," Scully then leaned over and dropped her mouth
right next to his ear, the tiny puffs of air escaping
causing him to shiver noticeably. "It's funny that you
would mention it. I was just following that specific
scenario that I, as a very young and impressionable
teenager, lost my innocence to a much older boy."
With those very words, Mulder's hands fell down back to his
sides, as his jaw fell to his chest. Of all of the things
that he had expected her to say, that had never crossed his
Visions of his straight-laced partner as a teenager, being
seduced by an upperclassman, filled his mind and suddenly
Mulder found the room to be getting a little too warm for
his liking. He could feel the beads of sweat sliding slowly
between his shoulder blades, enhancing the steadily
increasing beating of his heart.
When he had lost control of this situation, he wasn't
sure but he knew that he needed to get it back and fast.
Otherwise, he might be tempted to say, or worse, do,
something that they both might regret.
He had convinced himself years ago that he would know when
the time would be right to act on his feelings for her. He
knew that if he waited long enough, she would let him know
when she was ready.
From what he had seen until now, she wasn't. So he needed
to behave himself until it was.
"I had you big time," Scully said, as she grinned knowingly
and stepped back from him, a most smug look creeping across
"You had nothing..." Mulder retorted curtly, as he quickly
stood up. He then turned himself away from her and dropped
his flushed face from her view, lest he embarrass himself
more than he already had.
"So do you have any solid evidence other than these
folktales?" Scully trailed her fingers across the top of
the desk and to Mulder she was clearly enjoying herself too
much to be willing to give up the game. To him it seemed
that the years that she had spent with him had taught her
how to play in the big leagues.
He was going to have to do his homework to keep up with her.
"Since you ask..." Eager to get as far away from this
conversation as possible, Mulder took a deep breath, hoping
to center his thoughts.
"Over the past 10 years alone, there have been five
documented missing persons cases. The sheriff's department
however, believes that the numbers are considerably higher:
since oftentimes hunters and hikers from out of state go up
there without telling others. They have managed to keep
most of these earlier incidences out of the media since
tourism is a big draw in that particular area and they feel
that these occurrences are the result of a serial killer at
work as opposed to our Oooglie Booglie."
Mulder quickly shoved the file into his briefcase, as he
looked as his watch. "Now, I have taken the liberty of
booking us an early flight out of Dulles to Boston. From
there, we'll take a puddle jumper to Bangor. Our flight
leaves at 5:45 am."
Risking a quick glance at her face, Mulder realized that
she was less than convinced.
"Come on, Scully," Mulder offered her a bright smile as he
brought his hand down to its familiar place in the middle
of her back and then began to walk her to the door. "It'll
be a nice little trip to the woods."
"Need I remind you, Mulder," Scully muttered, "that most of
our *other* little trips have required medical attention or
quarantine?" The look on her face told Mulder that she was
clearly not amused.
"But Scully," Mulder pleaded, "This time will be different,
I promise!" An evil grin swept across his face as he leaned
over and whispered in her ear, "maybe we will even get
lucky and it will snow sleeping bags!"
Scully dropped her face from view as she walked quickly
towards the elevator. However, her hasty retreat hadn't
hidden from her ever-observant partner the beginnings of a
"Gotcha big time," Mulder thought smugly to himself as he
locked the office door.
May 14, 2001
Unnamed private logging road
"The map says to turn right at the intersection, Mulder."
Scully shook her head as she leaned back into her seat, the
map that she had been carefully following for hours still
held tightly in her hands.
She had been in Maine for less than a day and already she
wasn't having any fun: so much for a nice little trip to
The commuter flight from Boston to Bangor had been a
frequent flier's worst nightmare; too many people crammed
into too small of a space. To make things worse, Mulder
could barely fit into his own space and thus had sprawled
out all over her. He complained that she drooled? She ended
up having to change into a new blouse in the Ladies room at
the airport due to his prodigious amounts of slobber.
"The sheriff who contacted me told me to turn left,"
Mulder replied, as he took a deep breath and continued to
squint out the window at the swirling snow, trying to keep
himself on the road.
When they had planned their little trip, they hadn't
thought about one possibility. Even though it was late
spring in Maine, snow wasn't completely out of the picture,
"At the intersection?" Scully sighed and lifted the map up
once again, the folds of the paper falling onto her legs.
As the navigator on this assignment, Scully had taken the
time the night before to call AAA and get specific
instructions as to how get there since the Bureau wasn't
always up to date on travel information. But even with her
forethought, things were not going exactly according to
"Yes," Mulder replied, as he began to softly thrum his
fingers impatiently on the steering wheel in time with the
steady rhythm of the wipers.
Once they had gotten off of the plane at Bangor, they had
rented a car for the long drive to Harmony. At first it
hadn't been hard, I-95 wasn't difficult to find. However,
since getting off at Millinocket, it had been a
challenge. Since it was spring, construction was well
underway to fix winter-damaged roads.
Construction meant detours. Even on private logging roads.
It seems that Harmony wasn't the little town that Scully
first had pictured. According to the map, it was located on
one of the arms of Chamberlain Lake and it wasn't even a
town at all. Harmony was literally a settlement for
loggers, hunters, trappers, and campers in the town of T 10
"But the map says..." Scully tossed the useless piece of
paper down on her lap as she blew a stray lock of hair out
of her face and tucked it behind her ear. Things seemed to
be going from bad to worse in a hurry as her stomach began
to growl softly. "I think that we're lost, Mulder."
It may be the Vacation State to some, but to Scully it was
quickly becoming hell.
"We're not lost, Scully." Mulder leaned forward and tried
to wipe away some of the condensation. However his effort
was futile, since all that he was succeeding on doing was
making his visibility worse. Even with the defrosters set
on high, their exhaled moisture was freezing solid on the
windows. "It's just that all *this* looks the same," Mulder
continued as he waved a free hand about quite dramatically.
He was right, at least about that much. The landscape, at
least what they could see of it until now, was rows upon
rows of evergreens, covered heavily in a thick blanket of
Scully glared over at her partner, her eyes burning a hole
into the side of his head. "Face it, Mulder, we're lost.
Hopelessly, irrevocably lost."
Even though she respected him more than any other person
that she had ever known, there were some times that she
wished she could just reach over and shake some sense into
him. For an Oxford-educated man, he could be awfully dense
when he chose to be.
From the map she could tell that they were somewhere near
Ripogenus, a small supply and logging stop. Ripogenus was
located about halfway between Millinocket and Harmony. Even
after traveling most of the morning and afternoon, they
still had a long ways to go.
"What do you think?" Scully heard him ask as she watched
him bring his hand up to his head and run his fingers
through his hair. A familiar act that she associated with
him thinking and usually thought nothing of, for some
reason *now* seemed to be doing things for her
that she would rather not think about.
"About being lost?" Scully answered in a tight,
uncharacteristically high voice and she quickly brought her
gaze back down to the map as she felt a bright blush
threaten to creep across her face. She only hoped that he
didn't catch it. Otherwise, Mulder would not let her hear
the end of it.
"About the family, Scully." Mulder grinned knowingly, as he
gestured to her briefcase located on the floor near her
feet. "I assume that you have read the file that I gave
"Yes and I'm not sure," Scully replied nonchalantly, as she
crossed her feet in front of her and shifted her weight
about in the seat. After sitting for as long as she had,
her bottom was beginning to go numb. "I must admit that you
do plead a compelling case. However, isn't it more
plausible that they did disappear at the hands of some
unknown human assailant than this..."
"Apiktchi'lu-uski'tap?" Mulder interrupted as he grinned
even wider and waggled his brows.
"This whatever...running amok," Scully replied, as she
arched a brow. She could tell from the look on his face
that he was having way too much fun with this and she
planned not to give him any more ammunition. It was still a
long drive to Harmony.
"Amok, Scully?" Mulder's brows shot to the top of his
forehead, and his mouth fell open. He then leaned over
and brought his lips to Scully's ear, the gentle puffs of
air from his lips causing her to shiver. "Have I ever told
you how very turned on I get when I hear you talk like
"Shut up, Mulder." Scully rolled her eyes in mock
revulsion, as she looked back out the window. She only
hoped that they reached Harmony before her patience and
self-control wore out. Otherwise, he might just have more to
deal with than he even realized.
Howard's General Store
"Agent Mulder...Agent Scully...here is the information that
you requested about the case."
Forest Ranger John Reilly held out a large manila
file and dropped it down on the table in front of him.
Leaning back in the chair, he brought his hands up behind his
head as he stretched his legs out.
When Mulder and Scully had finally gotten to Harmony, it
was late afternoon. They had just had enough time to check
into their cabin before they had to meet with the local
authorities. Since there were no county offices in this
neck of the woods, they had ended up in the back room of
the general store.
Mulder took a quick glance out the small window behind the
ranger and he could see that it had finally stopped
snowing. The thick, swirling clouds of snow were now
replaced with bright sunshine. The sun was just starting to
creep into the small room, its gentle fingers caressing the
boxes and shelves that surrounded the three of them.
Considering the long hike that they had ahead of them in
the morning, the storm breaking was a good sign.
Mulder then leaned over and grabbed the file, bringing it
back over to his lap.
"According to the report, the distress call came in on
short wave radio, at 1 a.m. The ranger in charge of
the station had been out most of the day and night dealing
with a poaching problem, so the radio had been on voice
record. The boy identified himself as being Adam Saunders
and that he and his family were in trouble."
"The recording goes on for several minutes, the boy
apparently not aware that he had gotten through at all.
Much of it is too garbled to understand; the battery on
their radio must have been running low. However, we were
able to make out that his father had been attacked by
something and that his brother went out to see if he could
find him. Just seconds before the transmission stops we
hear Adam scream, followed by several gunshots. He breaks
down, mumbling something about the Oooglie Booglie and then
there is nothing but silence."
Reaching forward, John picked up his coffee and took a
careful sip. The steam curled around his large face, which
was set off by a small fringe of hair. "I've heard the tape
myself, I'm not just going by the transcripts and I must
admit that even after all of my years of service, I've
never been so...so...affected by something. I'm not ashamed
to say that it sent chills up my spine."
Mulder turned his head and glanced over at Scully and from
the furrow of her brow and the twinkle in her eye; he could
see that she was hooked. Although she had razzed him quite
a bit about this case, he knew that once push came to
shove, she would be there right beside him. She was there,
just as he was, to learn the truth. In whatever shape or
form that it might present itself.
Even after finding out the truth about Samantha, they were
both still as driven to find it.
"And the photos...now they are another story."
Mulder opened the file and turned it slightly so that
Scully could see them and he could see what Ranger Reilly
was talking about. The scene had been literally bathed in
blood. Whatever had attacked the Saunders had been quite
thorough because nothing at the site had been left intact.
Mulder and Scully studied them silently for a moment as the
ranger continued to speak.
"I know that 'the powers that be' believe that a serial
killer has been at work for years but I personally don't
think that any human could do that. Those survivalists are
a strange lot I must admit, but from what I have seen and
heard, they aren't homicidal. The majority are just war
vets, many of them retired or discharged from the services,
that are just trying to get away."
"What do you think, Scully?" Mulder asked, as he pointed to
the tattered remains of the tents.
"I'm not sure, Mulder," Scully replied, as she leaned over
further to get a closer look. "The disarray at the site
could indicate the work of a disorganized mind
however...now I can't say for sure without seeing them
personally, but from what I can see here, the slashes more
closely resemble some sort of animal claw marks as opposed
to some man made implement."
Ranger Reilly nodded and leaned forward towards the two agents.
"Now I have managed to contact one of the rangers
originally dispatched to the scene but he will not be
arriving until later tonight. As soon as he does get here I
will send him over to you. He will be the one accompanying
you up the mountain but I must warn you that he thinks it
is an utter waste of time. He feels that the taxpayers' dollars could be
put to better use sending more law enforcement up in the
surrounding areas to track down the UNSUB and not paying for
two FBI agents to look for the Oooglie Booglie."
"Thank you for all of your help, Ranger Reilly. We really
do appreciate it." Scully smiled as she stood up and picked
her coat up off of the chair beside her.
Mulder took her cue and stood up also. Even though Mulder
was exhausted, they still had a great deal to do before
they settled down for the night. They still needed to get
their equipment together for the trip. But, first things
first and although there were no real restaurants in
Harmony, he had noticed that just down the street was a
nice little diner which he heard served great hamburgers.
"No thanks are necessary, Agent Scully. I'm always glad to
help a fellow officer." Ranger Reilly grabbed his parka and
draped it over his arm. He then checked the safety on his
sidearm. "Before you go," he reached into his uniform
pocket and grabbed a small piece of paper, "I have the name
of someone that you might want to talk to."
"Now, none of the locals that I have spoken to recently
actually believe the serial killer angle. They believe that
the Oooglie Booglie did it. And they ought to know; they
know these woods like the back of their hand. One such
local lives just outside of Harmony. He has lived here all
of his life and he knows just about everyone and
Abner Milford's Cabin
"Agents Mulder and Scully, to see an Abner Milford?"
Mulder pulled his coat collar tightly around his neck, as
he shivered violently. Night was still hours away, yet a
bitter wind was already settling in, blowing the still
falling snow into a frenzied dance.
The sheriff had been right; Abner did live a very simple
life. They were standing on the porch of a small cabin,
about 10 by 10 square. From underneath the roughly cut
shingles that covered the entire building, the uneven
surface of pine logs peered through.
As with most of the structures they had seen until now, the
use of windows was minimal: usually one or two in the main
living area, but nothing more. The locals built realizing
that there wasn't a single window in existence that would
stand up to the harsh cold. In this case, Abner's cabin
didn't even have a single one.
Mulder's mind analyzed the obvious implications; without
any windows, Abner would be effectively cut off from the
outside world. Just as his choice of profession - a trapper--
would indicate, he would by necessity, be a loner.
Preferring the solace of oneness to the comfort of others.
Mulder knew what it was like to feel like that. He had
lived most of his life, shunning the outside world for his
search for the truth: for his quest.
What would his life had been like, if she hadn't come into
it? Mulder didn't even want to go there. Not now, not ever.
On the practical side, he realized there was definitely
more than just energy conservation in mind. There was only
one way out and one way in. Without windows, you would be
very protected. A fortress, built in the middle of nowhere,
designed to keep everything out.
Mulder reached over and knocked again, his knuckles
stinging painfully from rapping on the hard wood. They had
been waiting outside for several minutes and until now the
only indication that anyone was even home was the beaten-up
old pickup truck just across the barren clearing.
"Whatcha lookin' for him fer?" a male voice, soft and
suspicious, finally replied hesitantly from behind the closed
From about them, the soft murmurings of trees, mixed with
the howling of the wind and the resulting din made it
difficult for them to hear much of anything.
"We are trying to find out more information on the
Piscataquis Skunk Ape," Scully answered back loudly, as she
stepped forward, the reddish gold of her hair whipping
about her wind chapped face. "We were told that if we
needed any information at all, Abner Milford would be the
man to contact."
As the door swung inwards, a bright light from inside
temporarily blinded them, and as their eyes finally
adjusted they saw a shabbily-dressed, small man in his
sixties. "Why didn't ya say so in the first place? Come on
in," he offered as he gestured for them to come in.
As the agents walked in they realized that the sparseness
of Abner's landscaping was certainly not indicative of the
The cabin itself was packed full of stuff. From floor to
ceiling were stacked mildewed and dirty boxes of various
sizes and colors. So many boxes, in fact, that small
walkways cluttered with old newspapers and dirty clothes
had been created to get from one side to the other.
The man shrugged and offered a weak smile, revealing broken
and yellowed teeth. "Sorry to roll you over like that, but
'round these parts yous' learn that it pays to never be too
careful. It's been my experience that yous' can't trust
Mulder turned to Scully, his hazel eyes meeting her blue,
as if to say; "You could say that again.:
"So is Mr. Milford here?" Mulder looked about, noting that
other than a small closet to the back, built in one of the
corners, what they saw was what they got. The floor was
made of roughhewn planks, the walls of some material that
could be at best described as "unknown" and the whole thing
was lit up by what couldn't be more than a 60-watt bulb
hanging from the middle of the ceiling.
All and all, not exactly the Marriott.
"Oh," the man smiled sheepishly, "yer speakin' to him."
Moving over to his left, the man began to throw dirty
clothes, blankets and various other things on the floor.
As he did this, a thick cloud of dust drifted into the air
and dimmed the light further. In a few moments, a small and
very dog-eared sofa came into view.
"Have a seat," he said as he stepped over to one side and
sat down on a wooden crate. And then, nodding over towards
Scully, he continued. "Sorry about the accommodations
little lady, but we don't have much call for comforts out
here in the sticks."
Mulder wasn't sure about Scully, but comfort was the last
thing on his mind. Safety was his first, since the old
piece of furniture looked more like a health hazard than
anything else. Just looking at the ratty, flea-infested
upholstery alone scared the hell out of him.
But since they needed his cooperation, they knew that they
couldn't afford to offend him. So both of them sat down,
their combined weight making it moan in protest.
"So what do ya need to know?"
"We are here investigating the mysterious disappearance of
the Saunders family on Ragged Mountain," Mulder heard
Scully say, as she tried to inconspicuously move herself to
the edge of the cushions.
As Mulder watched Scully wiggle about, wrinkling her nose
and sniffing loudly as she settled herself, Mulder
struggled not to smile. He immediately knew what was
bothering her and he found himself enjoying it immensely.
Not that it wasn't bothering him at all: for God's sake how
He wasn't dead: but for Scully, which normally worked over corpses
without flinching, it was quite amusing.
But it wasn't an ordinary odor.
That smell was enough to kill a horse. A mixture of rancid
body odor, dirty clothes, and rotting garbage mixed with
the odor of kerosene, making the air around them noxious.
Road kill had nothing on it.
Even though he knew that he shouldn't, the acute distress
that Scully was suffering from was just too hard for his
MulderDevil to ignore. Scully was the ultimate neat freak
and he knew that this had to be killing her. The last time
something anything remotely like this had happened, she had
showered for two hours and scrubbed herself until she
was raw. Even after all of that, she had walked around for
days, literally sniffing herself as she went.
It had been quite a sight.
"T'aint nothing mysterious about it," Abner answered,
oblivious to his guests plight. "I heard all 'bout it
when I went down to the general store a few days past and
from what I hear the Oooglie Booglie got 'em."
Leaning back on his crate against a cardboard box, he put
his hands behind his head. "Tis a pity...such a nice young
family; their pa a trapper of the finest caliber. Never got
the chance to meet him but word gets 'round. Can't think
of why it would go after them for, other than the
government had been surveying land on the southern slopes
fer a week before."
"It being Apiktchi'lu-uski'tap?" Mulder flashed a smug
smile at Scully for the look she had given him off his
words. However, from the queasy look on her face, Mulder
felt a sudden twinge of guilt. As much as he would like to
stay and partake of Abner's hospitality for a while longer,
he needed to get her out of there before she needed more
than just a breath of fresh air.
"Yup, that's what the local Native Americans call 'em," Abner
replied as he ran his dirty hands through his greasy hair.
He took a deep breath and looked off into nowhere, for a
moment as if in thought.
"Oooglie Booglie, Bigfoot, Skunk Ape or that. From what
they tell me, it isn't exactly their tongue, more MicMaq
than anything else, but they still use it anyways. The
Oooglie Booglie kills the adults ya know, and keeps the
youngin's fer its own, teachin' them to live off of and
respect the land."
"Have you yourself ever seen anything?" Mulder heard Scully
ask softly, her voice nasal and scratchy and he risked
another quick glance at her. Her color was starting to come
back but the look in her eyes told him that he was going to
pay for his earlier amusement.
So much for a quiet evening.
"Yeah, you could say that," he nodded. "I've been trapping
in these parts for nearly all my years and I must admit
that 'though I have never seen him exactly, I have
experienced some pretty strange things."
Leaning forward, his eyes grew wide as he continued. "I've
found tracks that I don't recognize as being any animal
from 'round here. I've also heard a cry, a cry so loud and
so awful, it would make your hair stand on end. It did
mine. I have found carcasses of big game, bear and alike,
ripped apart like a rag doll. You have to realize that out
here there are miles and miles of unexplored territory. Us
old timers have a name for it, God's country. God only
knows what creeps about in the shadows, when the sun goes
Abner stood up and slowly walked over to the door.
"In all of my time up here, I have never been out after
dark for very long. And when I was, I was armed. I suggest
that you do the same, for your sake. God's country don't
take kindly to strangers."
"Mulder, didn't you tell me once that you were some sort of
a guide?" Scully walked out of their cabin's small bathroom,
her face scrubbed pink, her hair slicked back. She pulled
the damp towel from her shoulders and hung it over the
towel rack. "I don't see that you have made any progress
since I was last out here."
Mulder leaned back on his heels and ran his hand over the
top of his head in obvious frustration. His face was
streaked with black, and in spite of the coolness of the
cabin, sweat beaded the top of his hairline. "Very funny,
Scully," Mulder growled. "Do you think that you could do
Scully walked quickly up behind him and smoothed down the
dark brown spikes. "Let me give it a try."
Mulder moved to the side, as Scully knelt down in front of
the woodstove. Leaning over, she rearranged the paper over
the logs, glad for the little diversion.
After their little conference with Mr. Milford, Scully had
felt less than fresh. She swore that she could still smell
that stench on her, even as they drove back into town.
Dinner had been less than pleasant also. It seems that the
diner had never heard of a salad, or anything healthy at
all for that matter. Between the hamburger swimming in
grease and the reek that clung to her like a wet swimsuit,
she couldn't eat a bite. The only highpoints of her
evening: a hot shower and getting to share a bed with
It seemed, along with offering less than palatable cuisine,
Harmony also had very limited accommodations for out of
The local postmaster owned a couple of cabins, both with
double beds. However one had been already rented out to a
couple of honeymooners, so Mulder and Scully had to settle
for the one left.
Not that Scully was complaining. It wasn't the first time
they had bunked together. After the sky rained that cow in
Kroner, they had cohabitated. Scully had to admit to
herself that it had been nice finally sharing a bed with
someone after all of those years. When she had awakened the
next morning, she had found herself covered with her very
own Mulder-blanket. It had been a little bit of heaven.
However, she would not share that bit of information with
him. She would never hear the end of it.
As it was, Mulder had been making lewd suggestions about it
all evening during dinner. It had gotten so bad, that she
had even considered sleeping on the floor, just to get back
at him. However, after a few moments of contemplation, the
thought of a cold hard floor just didn't have the curb
appeal that it once did.
Besides, hogging the blankets sounded much more effective
at making her point.
After getting the wood just like her father had shown her
as a young girl, Scully grabbed the lighter, and voila,
"I guess that it just needed a woman's touch, Mulder."
As she turned back to him, his sidelong glance told her
that he was a bit more than disappointed. Even when Mulder
was being at his most annoying, his need to please her was
most endearing. "Mulder." Scully put her hand on his upper
arm and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Don't worry, I don't
think you any less of a man. In fact, your persistence was
"Sweet, Scully? Gee, thanks." Mulder grinned, straightening
his back and legs until he was standing upright and looking
down into her eyes. "I *was* trying more for romantic but I
guess sweet will have to do."
"Romantic, Mulder?" Scully asked as she raised her hand up
for a lift.
"You never know," he murmured softly as took her hand. In
an instant, she was on her feet, standing directly in front
of him. "You might get lucky."
If ever there was a more perfect time to kiss him, it was
then. The tension in the room was thicker than the steam
still pouring out of the bathroom.
The sound of knocking interrupted the moment, and the two
stepped away from one another, dropping their gazes to the
"Now, I know that I didn't order any take out." Mulder
grumbled, his voice registering the disappointment that he
was clearly feeling.
He walked quickly across the small room, Scully tracking
his every movement. She knew the feeling well, but at the
same time she was glad that they hadn't. There would be
plenty of time for that later. Now, while on the job,
wasn't the best of times.
"Who is it?" Mulder asked, as he stood in front of the
door. Even out there in the middle of nowhere, Mulder's
infamous paranoia was at full alert.
"Ranger Peter McCallister -- I am here to see an Agent
Mulder or an Agent Scully?" A deep bass voice answered, its
volume filling the room, even with the door still shut.
Mulder reached over and opened the door, a stiff cold
breeze filling the cabin instantly. At six foot six and
well over 275 pounds, McCallister nearly took up the whole
doorframe as he stepped forward.
As Mulder quickly shut the door, McCallister's bright blue
eyes darted about, taking in with a curious intensity the
garish bright floral bedspread, and the large pile of
hiking equipment that nearly filled the other side of the
room. But his eyes grew wide and his brow furrowed in
curiosity as he noticed the woman with wet hair, dressed in
midnight blue silk nightclothes.
"If I'm interrupting something..."
"Agent Mulder and I were just preparing for tomorrow
morning, Ranger McCallister. I assure you that you weren't
interrupting anything." Scully stepped over, apparently not
flustered in the least, to the double bed, and began to
sort the scattered papers that were strewn about upon it.
"Agent Scully?" McCallister replied, "I must say that you
are not exactly what I expected."
"How so?" Mulder inquired, as he stepped up between the two
of them, the look on his face clearly displayed his
amusement at the situation.
"A man?" Scully countered, as she pulled her firearm off of
the nightstand and placed it with the clothes that she had
set out earlier for the morning. From the way that
McCallister's eyes grew as wide as saucers, she knew that
she was getting to him. Obviously, he wasn't a man that
appreciated the benefits of women being in the field.
By the time she finished with him, he would see things a
"As you can see, McCallister, Agent Scully is all woman,"
Mulder interjected, his grin even wider. "And probably the
best damn shot that you will ever meet."
Scully shot him a look that could freeze boiling water, her
ire up even more. Mulder would pay for the first half of
that statement. The second half she would let slip, since
he was only telling the truth.
"I see you have all of the equipment that you will need for
our little expedition," McCallister nodded over towards
their gear. " You'd better turn in early, we have a long
drive and an even longer hike ahead of us. I'm staying at a
friend's, just down the way. I'll be here to get you at
4:30, so make sure that you're ready."
McCallister stepped back towards the door and added,
"Agent Scully, pardon me for being so blunt but...are you
sure that you're up to this?" He shrugged and shoved his
hands into his pocket, embarrassment tinting his fair skin
pink. "I wasn't kidding when I said it was a long hike. I
don't want anyone holding us back."
"I assure you that I am up to anything that you dish out."
Scully put her hands on her hips and arched a brow. Would
this man ever quit? You would think that she was used to
such testosterone-induced behavior, but she wasn't. She had
worked too hard for too long to let it go.
With a nod, McCallister opened the door and left, leaving
Mulder and Scully standing there with the most incredulous
looks on their faces.
Mulder was the first to break the silence. He walked the
few steps over to the bed and sat down on the edge, the
mattress sagging threateningly under his weight. "Speaking
of being up, Scully. We haven't had the chance to discuss
this but -- there's only one bed. If you want, I could..."
He nodded over to the floor nearest her, a slight blush
passing across his features.
Scully smiled as she reached over and fluffed up the
pillows. Looking over at him, she tilted her head.
"Mulder -- there's plenty of room -- and we're both adults.
Besides, I don't want to listen to you complain all
tomorrow about how stiff your back is."
"Are you coming on to me, Scully?" Mulder leaned back and
waggled his brows suggestively.
"If I ever decided to come on to you Mulder, you'd know
If Mulder's jaw hadn't been attached to his face, it would
have fallen to the floor.
With a yawn of false boredom, Scully walked by him with a
smug look. She stepped up to the hiking equipment they had
rented and began to check her pack, as he continued to
watch her, still in shock. Oh yeah, he was going to pay
all right...he was going to pay big time.
May 15, 2001
"It isn't much further. It should be just up beyond that
ridge." Peter McCallister huffed as he continued to trudge
up the steep snow-covered trail.
It was late afternoon, the sun casting shadows on the rocky
outcroppings that surrounded the trail. Evergreens, painted
white by the season, were sprinkled about here and there,
providing some protection from the relentless gusts.
As they made their way to base camp, the agents followed
their seemingly driven guide: Mulder just behind, with
Scully bringing up the rear. Mulder would have preferred to
lag behind, just so that he could keep a close eye out for
whatever had attacked the Saunders. However, given the
current situation, he decided that the danger Scully posed
to the ranger's life was more imminent a problem.
They weren't there yet, so his life was still worth saving.
The ranger had driven them relentlessly, only stopping for
brief respites. Even with all of the running that Mulder
did, he found himself more than a little tired and a whole
lot sore. But Scully, all five foot plus of her, had lived
up to her promise to take anything that he could dish out.
She had marched just as relentlessly, throwing McCallister
looks that Mulder knew were certain death, the whole way.
The conflict had begun when they had first started their
long trek to the summit. McCallister had made the mistake
of being chivalrous by offering to carry Scully's pack for
her. It had gone downhill, so to speak, from there.
Now from what he had seen, Scully could have used the help.
Her pack was filled with an equal amount of the equipment,
she had insisted upon it. So when his had started to bother
him, he knew that she must have felt just as bad, if not
worse. It was only logical, given the height and weight
difference, but Mulder wasn't about to offer anything than
just a smile. He knew better than that. He valued his life
and livelihood much too much.
"Scully?" Mulder glanced at her, his eyes twinkling with
mischief. "Is it just me or do you smell the unmistakeable
essence of manly man?"
"I do smell something, Mulder and for some reason I have
this overwhelming urge to look down at my leg."
Mulder watched a bead of sweat trail past her arched brow
to go down Scully's cheek and fall down into the neckline
of her jacket. He then turned away from her and looked at
the trail ahead, never wishing so much in his life to be a
simple bead of sweat.
As they finally made it up past the ridge, the trio came
around a small grove of bushes, and as they passed it, to
their left they saw what they had come all this way to see.
"This is it," McCallister gestured widely with his hand as
he let out a deep breath in relief. "I'm not sure what you
hope to find, but it is all yours."
Surrounded by thick, tangled pines and other evergreens,
the summit itself was a large clearing, dotted by the
occasional boulder. On the side nearest them, a ledge of
heavy granite delineated where the cliffs were. The snow
pack was deep, and very much intact at this altitude,
partially obscuring what would have been without a doubt a
more uneven terrain.
"Thank you," Mulder offered sincerely, noticing the look of
relief that Scully was trying hard to hide. Although not
one of the highest elevations in Maine, Ragged Mountain was
still high enough to wind the heartiest of hikers. The air
was thin and although the climb wasn't for the most part
overly steep, it did take a bit of adjusting to.
"The Saunders pitched their site over to the far left, just
across the clearing. That particular corner, due to the way
that the wind blows up here, is a natural windbreak. There
would be less of a wind chill, the snow would be less deep,
and any fire would blow away from the site. You can't
really see it from here, but if you go through a small
break in the trees over on that side, you come to another,
much larger clearing. That'll be where we are staying for
Nodding at each other in understanding, Mulder and Scully
began to walk slowly over to where McCallister had told
them the site had been. As they got closer, they began to
notice that the snow pack was quite matted down due to the
numerous wind blown footprints that were scattered about.
But as they finally reached their intended destination,
that wasn't all they noticed. "Oh my God..." Scully's eyes
grew wide, and her breath hitched as she slipped off her
pack and dropped it to the side. She turned slightly to
look back at Mulder, who then walked up to stand beside
"I guess that the cleaning lady hasn't been by here yet,"
Mulder quipped at her expression, as he wiped the sweat off
Spread about before them, covering most of the area that
would have been the Saunder's site, were large splashes and
splatters of blood. The stains, once tinged red, were now
almost a black color from exposure. As they looked about in
horror, they could make out bits and pieces of material
clinging desperately to the branches of evergreens too high
for investigators to get to.
"We tried to gather as much of the evidence as we could
after we had finally got here," McCallister said, as he
walked up from behind them. "However, I must admit that we
weren't prepared for what we had found."
"As you know from the crime scene logs and from the
reports out of Augusta: Adam's, Mark's and their father's
blood types were positively identified. However, there were
some anomalous drops that were also found that didn't match
to any of the victims' blood types. Further study proved
inconclusive...they just didn't match anything on file."
"Inconclusive?" Mulder parroted as he turned to face the
ranger. "Wouldn't that in itself point to the fact that the
Oooglie Booglie or Pictiquatis Skunk Ape might be involved,
given the history of sightings in the area."
"You are jumping to conclusions," Mc Callister replied
angrily, as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his
snow pants and looked at the ground, as if to avoid eye
contact. "None of those sightings were ever substantiated
and besides those samples were flawed."
Before Mulder could reply, Scully reached over and placed
her hand on his forearm, the warmth of her touch radiating
throughout him, even through the heavy weight nylon of his
jacket. "He's right, Mulder," her blue eyes searching his,
"they don't in themselves prove a thing. After being
exposed to the elements and to God knows what else
overnight, they have to be viewed with a high degree of
"What about the bone fragments and the pieces of human
liver that were found at the scene?" Mulder finally
queried, as he finally caught McCallister's eyes. From the
look on McCallister's face, one could tell that he did
indeed know what Mulder was talking about. "Lab tests done
on those samples indicated the presence of digestive
enzymes found in saliva and that DNA couldn't be
matched to any known animal on file."
"Where did you get that information?" McCallister
swallowed nervously as he narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
"I know that wasn't in the file provided to you."
"I have my sources, Ranger McCallister." Mulder replied
smugly off of his look. With a wink and a grin at Scully,
he then began to walk slowly about the site, his eyes not
really focusing on anything in particular.
Since the Bigfoot wasn't human, he couldn't profile it the
same way that he would an UNSUB. However, where the
creature lived and what he had done to the Saunders had
been enough to get him thinking. Why would this particular
creature be attacking people, seemingly unprovoked? From
most other reported sightings, the encounters although
frightening, were benign in nature. In fact wildlife, with some
exceptions, though unpredictable, would avoid human contact
at all costs. It would not under any circumstances seek it
What then set this creature apart from the others?
"It'll be getting dark soon," McCallister growled softly,
as he picked his pack up and slung it over his shoulder.
His fair features were twisted in a particularly
unattractive scowl and his shoulders slumped. "While you
guys go and chase phantoms, I'll go and get us settled in
for the night."
With that he made his way quickly over to the path that
would take him through the trees, the snow crunching loudly
under his feet. Mulder and Scully stood silently for a
moment, watching him intently until he was out of sight.
"I'm really beginning to not like that man, Scully."
Mulder stated and that garnered him an arched brow, as he
slipped off his pack and rolled the tension out of his
shoulders. McCallister was right about one thing, it was
late and they had a scant few hours before they lost what
light they had. The longer they waited, the colder the
trail would be.
The rangers had been thorough, Mulder was sure of that.
There was very little left at the scene. But they hadn't
really known what to look for. That gave them the
"Really? I would have never guessed." Scully grinned
knowingly at Mulder, as she leaned over and opened her
pack, obviously eager to get to work.
Mulder found his eyes wandering over Scully's backside and
he shook his head, trying to focus his meandering thoughts
back on the task at hand. He knew that McCallister,
although incredibly annoying, was not going to keep him
from investigating this thoroughly. He owed that much to
the Saunders and to all of the others that this creature
Mulder couldn't bring them back, but maybe he could stop it
from happening again.
"I'll take first watch...with our killer still on the
loose, its better to be safe than sorry." McCallister
mumbled into his chest, obviously still angry, as he poked
mindlessly at the logs of the fire. Having cleared a small
area of snow, he had piled rocks of various sizes on top of
one another. Then on top of that, he had made a roaring
"I'll go next, Scully." Mulder offered as he took the last
bite out of his sandwich. "I have this feeling that I will
not be getting much sleep tonight."
Scully knew the feeling. By the time they had finished
their cursory investigation of the site, the sun had set to
a full moon, the night clear and cold.
Mulder and Scully then had made their way to base camp, and
after getting themselves unpacked, had the challenging job
of pitching their tent in the ever increasing winds that
buffeted the mountain.
After they had set up quarters, the agents had sat down to
a tense and hasty dinner of soup and sandwiches.
All and all, not exactly conducive to relaxation.
"Not a problem, Mulder," Scully sighed. "I doubt that I
will be either so I guess that I'll be doing the field
reports tonight. Just make sure you let me know when it is
"May I ask you a question?" McCallister asked pointedly,
as he leaned back and searched faces intently. "What are
you folks hoping to find? It certainly can't be the
Saunders! After all of this time, if any of them survived
the attack to begin with, they would be long dead. They
couldn't have survived long against the elements or
predators without gear."
"We are hoping to find the truth, whatever it is." Scully
heard as Mulder stood up and put his hands on his hips, the
hostility nearly visible.
At this rate she knew they would probably kill one another
off before the Bigfoot even had a chance to get them.
Scully watched as McCallister stood up, his anger-filled
eyes flashing brightly in the soft light of the fire. "The
truth," he emphasized, "is that a wacko is stalking people
out here, not a Bigfoot. I can't believe that my tax
dollars are being spent on this nonsense."
Mulder took one step forward, his eyes nearly black and for
a fleeting moment it looked as if all of the emotions that
had been stirring deep within were about to blow up all
over the side of the mountain. Scully felt her heart start
pounding and she found herself clearing her throat very
loudly, as if to get their attention.
"I'll see you later, Scully." Mulder reassured her, his
eyes now a soft and fathomless hazel. He walked a little
too closely past her, his arm brushing her shoulder. " I'm
going to go lie down before I do something that I know I
will not regret," she heard him whisper, his low notes
sending a shiver down her stiff spine.
As she watched Mulder kneel down and crawl into their tent,
heated memories of waking up beside him earlier that
morning surfaced, her face nearly buried into the strong
curve of his shoulder, and she quickly turned away. "You
seem like a reasonable woman, Agent Scully," she heard
McCallister say, "why do you stay with that nutcase?
If she weren't such a reasonable woman, and if she didn't
have to fill out all of the paperwork to justify it, she
would have dropped him right then and there.
"Because he isn't afraid to look for the truth, wherever
those answers might be," she answered, pleased with her
self-restraint. Her father would have been proud. Turning
to join Mulder, she added, just for good measure, "That is a
lot more than I can say for you, McCallister. From what I
can see, your head is so far up your ass that you can't see
straight. Good night, Ranger McCallister."
May 15, 2001
Peter McCallister had always wanted to be a forest
ranger, even for as far back as he could remember. As a
young, energetic child, he had spent countless hours
exploring the woods behind his house. With his trusty
flashlight and his dog Bow, he had gotten to know every
nook and cranny.
He was familiar with the lay of the land so if there truly
was some strange beast stalking about these woods, his
woods, he would know about it, wouldn't he?
As Peter stared silently into the fire, he found himself
taking deep, cleansing breaths as he tried to rid himself
of the anger that he felt. As his breathing finally started
to slow, he allowed his eyes to follow the glowing golden
embers that were rising in the air. The tiny specks of
light drifted ever skyward and they twinkled like the stars
that sat deeply in the clear night sky.
What had attacked the Saunders, he wasn't sure, but he knew
that it wasn't the skunk ape. *Superstitious hogwash,* he
thought, as he stretched his legs out. He himself had been
raised on the nursery rhyme, just like the other children
of his town had been.
-You'd better be good if you go out to play,
or the Oooglie Booglie will steal you away-
He had to admit that as a child it had scared him enough
not to venture out after dark.
As an adult, however, it was just another childhood memory.
As he took one long last look over at the tent where the
agents slept, he made up his mind to end this travesty.
When the sun came up, he would do his duty and lead them on
one last survey of the area. When that was concluded
however, they were going to pack up and get the hell off of
the mountain. There would be nothing left to do, nothing
left to see.
A bright grin flashed across his face, replacing the sour
one that had previously been there.
*Take that you fibbies...*
Suddenly, the cracking of frozen snow and the sound of
heavy footfalls stirred him from his musings.
Standing up quickly, he pulled his rifle from the ground
and removed the safety. He knew the sounds of all of the
wildlife that lived within the borders of Maine and that
definitely wasn't one he recognized.
*Aha, so you have returned. Big mistake...whoever or
whatever you are. I'm here and there is no way you're
Leaning over, he grabbed his pack and pulled out a
flashlight. For a brief moment as he stood up, the thought
of waking the agents up crossed his mind, but just as
quickly as it had come, it was gone. He didn't need them or
their help. He would do this on his own. He would prove to
them and to everyone that the Oooglie Booglie was just
another tall tale.
Mulder unzipped the flap of the tent and pushed it open,
the fresh yet bitter night air replacing the warm, stale
air of his brief sleep. Pulling on his jacket, he turned
his head and took a long last look at his partner. From
where he was kneeling, all he could see was the bright
flash of her hair illuminated by the firelight and the slow
rise and fall of her chest.
The hike had taken a lot more out of her than she would
admit. After only minutes of joining him, while she had
been writing up their field notes, she had fallen asleep
right on top of them.
Although Mulder hadn't wanted to disturb her, he had no
choice. The night was cold and the clothes that she had
been wearing under her jacket wouldn't be enough. So he had
ended up waking her and with a little assistance from him
she had crawled sleepily into her bag, mumbling something
akin to "...oh, brother..." as he had zipped her in.
With nothing to do and exhaustion tugging at his attention,
he then had crawled into his own bag and in moments had
drifted off. However, it hadn't been long before the sound
of footsteps had called him back. He had then spent several
hours going over the field notes, until he couldn't write
As he crawled out and closed the flap behind him, he
remembered when he had last heard her utter those words. In
a hospital, in what seemed a lifetime ago, he had told her
that he loved her. It hadn't been drug induced, it hadn't
been as a result of a head injury. It had been borne of his
Mulder looked over at the fire, the once dancing flames now
a small flicker. Where McCallister had been sitting, now
only his backpack remained, the contents strewn haphazardly
about in the snow. "Oh, shit..." Mulder muttered as he
instinctively drew his gun.
McCallister might be an ass but he wouldn't just leave his
watch. Mulder knew that in spite of their differences, he
was too much of a professional to do that.
Mulder reached into his pocket, as he held the gun in the
other hand and pulled out his flashlight. After turning it
on, the cold of the plastic already cutting into the palm
of his hand, he moved the beam about, hoping for any clue
as to which direction to go.
After a moment, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a
fairly fresh set of tracks. They moved across the clearing,
and faded into the trail that Mulder knew went further up
Mulder knew that he should wake Scully up since it was
standard operating procedure to have back up, but he
Instead, he took a deep breath uttered a silent word of
apology and headed out to follow McCallister's trail.
As Mulder made his way on the uneven terrain, he tried
desperately to keep his balance. During the day, the sun had
melted some of the snow and the result was less than
desirable. To his right, he could just make out the steep
incline that flowed back into the valley. To his left, a
dense wall of snow dressed trees. All about him, silence
floated about, and he swore that he could hear a pin drop a
After a few moments of picking his way along, the trail
flattened out and cut off sharply to his left. Just ahead,
he could make out some movement, and he quickly tucked
himself behind a tall pine. Placing his back flat against
the rough bark, Mulder peeked around the corner to take a
He studied the area carefully and after a few moments came
out from behind the tree trunk. The movement that he had
seen was apparently the swaying of some branches, caught
momentarily in the wind. "I really need to get a hold of
myself," he chuckled softly, as he stepped back on the trail.
From behind him, Mulder heard the cracking of a twig and he
spun around quickly, his gun held tightly. "McCallister?"
Mulder whispered as his eyes darted about, searching the
distance as his ears tried desperately to hear anything
Suddenly, an intense pain pierced his skull and a bright
light flashed before his eyes. Mulder tried to grab for a
nearby tree, as a surge of dizziness hit him like a truck.
However, the tree wasn't close enough and he fell down onto
the cold snow, his breath hitching with every beat of his
Mulder couldn't see a thing, and the ringing in his ears
was downright painful, but he still lifted his gun in a
blind attempt to protect himself. However he felt something
hit his arm, and then something warm and wet trickling down
his side. As the darkness claimed his consciousness,
Mulder's last thoughts spoke silently in the night...
-You'd better be good if you go out to play,
or the Oooglie Booglie will steal you away-
"Mulder, what the hell do you think that you were doing?"
Scully whispered softly to herself and rolled her eyes as
she made her way along the upper trail. Anger flowed
through every inch of her body and she knew that when she
found him, he would regret for the rest of his natural life
ever pulling such a stunt.
The sun was just starting to clear the horizon, the
oranges, reds and pinks of the newly born day chasing away
the night sky.
It hadn't been Mulder or McCallister that had awakened her
from her sleep as she had expected. It had been the calls
of some distant birds.
It hadn't taken her long to find out where the two men had
gone and so here she was, trying to save his ass again.
With each and every step Scully took, a dull ache ran down
the back of her legs. It seems that the hike from the day
before -- carrying a pack that could have easily weighed 75
pounds -- had bothered her Sciatic nerve. With the way that
she felt, she had no clue as to how she would hike back out
Maybe she could make Mulder carry her out for his penance.
A small smile crept across her lips but it was quickly
replaced with a grimace. As good as that sounded, she would
never let anyone, let alone a man do that. Not while she
was conscious, anyway.
Just ahead, Scully noted a dark shape, outlined against the
white of the snow. Even from were she was, she could tell it
was Mulder. She would recognize that jacket a mile away.
Ignoring her back, she dropped behind some bushes and
pulled out her gun. As much as she wanted to go to him, she
needed to make sure that the area was secure.
After a few moments of careful observation, she realized
that they were alone, so she carefully made her way over to
him and dropped to her knees, her gun still clutched
tightly in her hand.
Furrowing her brow in concentration, Scully quickly
examined him, as she kept her gun at a ready position.
Mulder was lying on his side, his eyes closed and his
cheek burrowed into the snow. From his arm, a great deal
of blood had oozed from a very sizeable gash and had
stained the ground beneath him. As she reached for his
wrist and took his pulse, she noted that his pulse was
Fighting the tears in her eyes that were threatening to
fall, Scully whispered softly. "Hold on Mulder, I'm going
to get you out of here."
How? She wasn't sure. But she would think of something. She
was nothing if not resourceful.
But first she needed to stop the bleeding. The kit was back
at the site so Scully reached down and unzipped her jacket.
The thermal that she was wearing was made of heavy cotton
and she knew that it would do the job for now. As she
pulled at the hem, she saw some movement behind a cluster
of trees about 50 feet away and to her left.
"Freeze! Federal Agent...put your hands up in the air!"
Scully called out loudly, as she brought her firearm up in
line sight: rear and front, her finger lying on the
trigger. From where she was, she couldn't get a good look
at it. The trees were thick and provided more than enough
cover. All that she *did* know was that whatever it was,
was pretty damn big and it smelled horrible.
So much for the Oooglie Booglie being just a legend.
In spite of the freezing cold, she felt sweat drip down her
forehead. This was one game she didn't want to play. If
only it would move out far enough for her to get a clean
All of a sudden, the shadow let out an inhuman cry and
began to thunder through the trees, right at them. Aiming
her sights at the movement, Scully pulled the trigger.
From behind the bramble, she could hear it scream again as
it turned around and headed off into another direction.
Scully let out a deep breath and allowed her gun arm to
fall to her lap. Whatever it was, she had hit it. They were
out of danger for the moment; the authorities could track
it down later. Her first priority was getting Mulder the
medical attention that he needed, before he bled to death.
Three miles east of Clarkston Ranger Station
Being sick was one of Mulder's least favorite things.
One would think that with all of the hospitalizations that
he had had over the years that he would have gotten used to
it by then, but he hadn't.
As Mulder attempted to pull himself upright, trying to
take his weight off of Scully's shoulders, he really didn't
*know* what end was up. Everything was swirling in a
hellish haze and he was completely lost.
All that he did know was that his head hurt like hell and
that he really needed to puke.
Although Scully had told him that it was only a couple of
miles down Ragged Mountain to an unmanned seasonal ranger
station, Mulder wasn't so sure *how* he was going to make it.
He had felt like crap when they had first started and now he felt
When he had woken up and had found himself back at base
camp, Scully had filled him in as best she could on what
had happened. She had explained how she had shot the
creature and how she had literally dragged him back to
their camp. The bandage on his arm, and the lump on his
head had told him the rest.
They both knew that he couldn't make the hike back to the
road. That wasn't an option. The two-way radio that
McCallister had when they had first hiked up to the
mountain wasn't one either. Scully had searched the camp
high and low. It wasn't there. McCallister must have had it
on him when he had gone out presumably after that thing.
So that was why they were there, on one of the many hunting
trails cutting through those woods, making their way to
where they knew that they could call for help.
However, the trek hadn't been easy. Between losing so much
blood and his vision swimming about him, he could barely
stand, let alone walk. His legs felt weak and his knees
felt awkward. Add to that the unevenness of the trail and
the incline of the slope and you would have a *certain*
recipe for disaster. Therefore, to keep him from killing
himself, Scully was walking beside him, his arm around her
shoulders, as she essentially held him up on his feet.
Mulder could feel the warmth of the sun caressing his
unshaven cheeks and he lifted his head further to thaw
himself out. Even with his less-than-perfect vision at the
moment, he could tell that it was an absolutely beautiful
day. Up on Ragged Mountain there had still been quite a bit
of snow, however down here in the valley it was just about
melted. From high atop the trees above, Mulder could hear
the first birds of spring calling out to the lands about
"Are you still with me, Mulder?" Scully asked as she nudged
him gently with her elbow.
"I feel like hell," Mulder stumbled as he felt another wave
of dizziness rush through him. He could feel her slight
body holding him up, supporting him just as she always did.
She was his rock, his anchor in the tumultuous seas of his
life. If he had no reason to believe in God before, he did
now. He had ever since she had come into his life. "I hope
that you got the number of that truck that hit me."
"Actually, I didn't." Scully murmured, as she took a deep
breath. Mulder could hear the exhaustion dripping from
every syllable she uttered. He glanced down at her and
flashed her the best smile that he could. He could tell
from the look on her face that she was worried about him
and although he couldn't quite tell her not to in so many
words -- he knew that the smile would help.
"I've had enough of our little adventure, Mulder," Scully
grinned in return as she pulled the pack slung over her
other shoulder closer to herself. "Let's get the hell out
of here, nature boy."
"Bring it on, Scully. Bring it on..." Mulder whispered, as
looked at the trail before them. Whatever the road ahead
had in store for them for the future, he knew that they
could handle it together.
May 16, 2001
Eastern Maine Medical Center
Scully looked through the window of Mulder's room, as she
stood in the hallway. Sunlight poured in from the window
across the room and it gently caressed the man lying in the
bed, surrounded by medical equipment and tubes. Even from
where she was she could see the pastiness of his skin and
the dark circles that sat heavily under his eyes.
She steeled her aching back and stepped into the room, her
shoes clicking softly against the tiles of the floor as she
walked over to him. Taking his limp hand in hers, she
squeezed it gently and she realized that it was still cool
to the touch, even after his transfusions.
As tears filled her eyes once again, she saw his lashes
flutter open, revealing his familiar hazel eyes.
"How are you feeling?" Scully asked, as she sat gently on
the bed next to him.
"Better than I was," she heard him reply.
"Sorry I wasn't here sooner, Mulder. They needed me to help
coordinate the search since I was the only one that could
show them where we were."
"It's OK," fell like rain off his chapped lips. She felt
him shift about slightly in bed, turning himself so that he
could face her. "Have they found the creature yet?"
"The apiktchi'lu-uski'tap?" Scully offered, as she smiled
"Whatever..." Mulder wheezed weakly, brought his hand up to
rest on her thigh.
"They are still searching for it. They've had the scent
dogs out several times, but they keep losing the trail. At
the point on the trail where I shot that thing, they found
a great deal of blood and numerous footprints. They also
found, for lack of a better term, what appears to be a
nest. There they found more blood, bits of bone, hair and
more footprints -- three different sets-- to be exact. From
the variation in sizes, I would guess a family."
"That's why it attacked us in broad daylight," Mulder mused
out loud. "We came too close to their home. McCallister
must have also -- speaking of McCallister..."
"No they haven't," Scully shook her head, "and we both know
that they won't. We found some more of his personal items
and a hell of a lot more blood but that is all," Scully
felt him snuggle the side of his face into her thigh, and
she couldn't help but smile. This was her best friend and
he was going to be ok. That was all she needed, to set her
mind at ease.
"I'm sorry," she heard him say and she arched a brow off
"For what? What have you done?" Scully reached over and
traced the upper line of his lips, his flesh branding a
trail of fire into her thoughts and her body. Her mind
screamed for her to stop, for her to stop treading in such
dangerous waters. In reward for all of its begging, she
ignored it. This was right. They were right.
"I'm sorry for dragging you into this. I'm sorry that I
didn't leave well enough alone."
"Mulder, you never leave well enough alone." Scully
chuckled as she leaned over and brushed her lips across
his. From beneath her, she could feel his lips move in
response, and she deepened the kiss further. Reluctant to
pull away from him, but knowing that they could go no
further for now, she sat back up and shot him a smile,
teeth and all.
"I'm here because I want to be, Mulder. I wouldn't want to
be anywhere else." Giving into her thoughts, she leaned
over and kissed him once again, her lips saying what her
heart couldn't now.
"Thank you, Scully." Scully saw him smile weakly and his
eyes close, as he drifted back off into sleep. Reaching
over, she lovingly smoothed down his mussed hair. She would
say what she was feeling *soon*. She promised herself and
him, very soon.
It was snowing.
Not the heavy, let's go skiing kind of snow that one would
usually see mid-season. It was the flirty, lacy kind of
snow that heralded *change* -- a change that was yet to
*That* snow was the snow that *he* was watching as he sat
silently on a ledge, overlooking Walker's Summit.
Since the sun was coming up, he knew that he had precious
little time to survey his quickly vanishing territory. In
the distance, he could hear the droning buzz of the loggers
as they cleared the dense forests below in the name of
*They* were the reason why he had moved his family from the
warmer, more fertile lands further south, up to these dense
forests so many, many moons ago.
When he and his family had first come here, it had been a
flourishing community. But over time, as with all things,
it changed. The walking death had settled in and slowly,
one by one, the others had vanished. They too had traveled,
as once he did, looking for somewhere else to call their
His family was all that was left.
He had tried to stay behind. He had tried to take back the
land and make it his own but he had failed. Nature had
found two *someones* more fit than he to walk these lands.
With a couple of swings of his powerful legs, he stood up: a
dark shadow with even darker eyes. His right arm useless,
hanging limply at his side.
It was no longer safe there. He had his mate and offspring
to protect and nothing was going to stop him. By next moon,
they would travel once again. Following those whom had gone
before them. For now, however, he would rest. Rest cradled
safely by the arms of his Mother Earth.
Only to walk the night as *his* others fed.
Only to face the walking death known as man.