I had always known that he was passionate, maybe even a little obsessive, about his work. I just never knew how far he was willing to go, or who he would sacrifice along the way. In retrospect I knew this day would come, the day that his mission would superseded our partnership. As a doctor I should have paid more attention to the signs of his encroaching madness. I just didn’t want to believe it.
What can I say? I was blinded by ambition, as was he. I was skeptical at first, but after all I’ve seen I started to believe his work, and eventually in him. I have always been wary of his unorthodox, and occasional illegal methods, but they did give results. Thinking about it now, after the fact, I can see everything so clearly. This should not have come as any great surprise. Although I have to admit that the betrayal still hurts.
God, it feels like my heart has been ripped out! Maybe it has, I can’t even find the will to move to find out. If it has I hope it can be found or at least one to replace it. On the other hand maybe I’m better off without it. Had I known how painful this would be I would have never followed him for so long. For some reason I still can’t believe that he turned on me. After all we’ve been though together I figured that I would be safe from his devices. I even went so far as to believe that we were friends.
I guess this is really my fault, I deserve this fate for putting so much trust and faith in a madman. His goal has always meant more to him than anything or anyone else. A man like him has no need for friends, only tools to get what he needs. I played that role so perfectly. I did everything he ever asked of me, even when it went against my better judgment. I hate to think of the endless hours of researching bizarre topics, countless autopsies, and other gory procedures I’ve participated in. Not to mention all the lying and covering up to the authorities that I’ve done for him. It’s a wonder that we haven’t both been arrested and had our licenses revoked.
The endless search for life’s secrets has finally consumed any reason that may have once resided in that brilliant mind of his. I just got in his way and became no longer a useful tool. Or maybe he had plans for me the whole time. It doesn’t really matter now. I hope that the pain drives me insane so I don’t have to live with it, and my thoughts, forever.
“What do you think, Scully?”
“What do you want me to think of it, Mulder? It was definitely a heart attack, it happens every day. The only question is why you wanted me to autopsy him. There’s nothing unusual here that would warrant our interest.”
“What if I told you that he’s been in this condition for over a week without any kind of tissue decomposition?”
“Please don’t tell me that you’re suggesting that he’s not quite dead.”
“Mulder, see that red tissue over on that scale.”
“That’s his heart, if he wasn’t dead when he came in here he is now.”
“So that twitching is normal.”
“It happens, just a chemical reaction between the last dying synapses causing a muscle contraction. Scientists have been making dead frog legs twitch for centuries. It does not mean that they have been bringing them back from the dead. There’s nothing here. Dead is dead, Mulder. And I can assure you that this man is dead. What was his name again?”
“Dr. Daniel Cain.”
Herbert West slinked into the autopsy bay at Quantico. Gaining access to the Federal medical center had not been difficult. After seeing how well hypnotic suggestion worked for the late Dr. Hill he had taken steps to pick up the technique. The feeble minded grave yard shift workers had even happily hand over the surveillance tapes. He confidently walked over to the morgue lockers knowing that he would not be disturbed this late at night. Finding the refrigerated drawer that he was after he slid it open.
“Oh Daniel, what have they done to you?” West asked the still twitching corpse.
When he didn’t get an answer West started to get to work. Taking a pair of surgical pliers he unceremoniously plucked out the thick metal staples that held the famed ‘Y’ incision closed. He had to make sure that all of Cain’s internal organs were intact before re-animating him, again. When West had Cain’s chest open he found that he had a longer night’s work ahead of him than he thought.
The woman that had performed Cain’s autopsy had done a hack job as far as West was concerned. There was no art involved, just a standard exam. She hadn’t even put everything back in its proper place. West started rearranging the vital organs and reattaching the veins and arteries.
“Damn Federal bitch.” West muttered when he found Cain’s heart cut up beyond repair.
She had obviously been looking for a reason behind Cain’s apparent heart failure. In doing so she had destroyed the organ for further use. It had been an inconvenience enough when her partner had Cain taken from Miskatonic Hospital in the first place. West wasn’t sure how the Agent had heard about the mysterious circumstances behind Cain’s death or why he cared.
Killing Cain the first time had been an accident. It had been dark and West had thought he was a prowler. How could he have known that Cain would have left Franchesca and come crawling back, eight years later, late one night?
In any case, Cain had been successfully re-animated. The body had been fresh and almost undamaged. West had thrown a vile of chemicals into front room that Cain had invited himself into. The white cloud that ensued had done the rest. When the air in the room cleared West had found the body of his ex-partner in scientific crimes on the floor. West had made some improvements to his reagent so the re-animation had been a complete success. That is until Cain had collapsed at his job at the hospital three months after his official death.
That had been a disaster. Unfortunately West had not been present when the accident had occurred. As for the morons on staff at the time they were barely qualified enough to prescribe aspirin, let alone deal with Dr. Cain’s condition. In the end they pronounced him dead, despite the twitching.
West would have stolen Cain’s body back. However, since a slew of body parts had ended up ‘missing’ lately the security on the morgue had been tripled. No one was allowed access to the bodies without at least one other doctor present. Usually West just used Cain as his witness, but of course that wouldn’t have worked in this case.
Agent Mulder had been attracted to the scene like a shark to a bleeding swimmer. What Dr. West’s medical degree couldn’t get him the Agent’s badge could: full access to the morgue. After viewing the ‘deceased’ Dr. Cain Agent Mulder declared that he wanted the body sent to Quantico so his partner could perform the autopsy. The autopsy had been delayed at West’s insistence. West had tried to stop the transaction by arguing that Federal Agents did not have the authority to perform medical autopsies. Agent Mulder had informed Dr. West that his partner was a doctor herself and perfectly capable.
“Ha!” West exclaimed to himself at the thought. “A perfectly capable quack.”
Fortunately for poor Dr. Cain his friend had been ready for the eventuality of finding him heartless. He pulled a plastic bag out of his deep lab coat pocket. Unwrapping a slimy heart from the bag he placed it carefully into Cain’s open chest.
“Well, Daniel, this is what you’ve always wanted. You and Megan are going to be together again.” West chuckled as he connected the well worn heart to the dead man. “Together heart and soul.”
“He’s gone.” Mulder announced.
“Who?” Scully inquired half heartedly.
“Who?” She asked again.
“The man you autopsied yesterday. He was stolen last night from the morgue, or he walked out. Either way he’s gone.”
Scully sighed. She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. “Mulder, please don’t tell me we’re going to pursue this. The man wasn’t even murdered. Are you sure the body wasn’t just misplaced? It has been known to happen from time to time.”
“I doubt that they would misplace a dead man and leave his heart behind. Not only that but it looked like some one had been using the equipment last night. You have to admit that’s a little strange, Scully.”
“Yes, Mulder, it’s strange, but I still fail to see what this has to do with us. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap. I just didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“Dead on your feet?” Mulder quipped.
“Will you at least grace me with your presence down at Quantico?”
“I guess it would be better than real work.”
“That’s the sprit, Scully.”
“How are you doing Dan?” West asked with clinical concern as he sped down the deserted highway back towards Arkham.
“I... I’m ‘oing to k... k.kill youu.” Cain slurred as thick trail of blood oozed out of the corner of his mouth.
“Here.” West handed him a handkerchief. He ignored the threat. “When I get you back to the lab I can fix that.”
“Why did I bring you back? Why wouldn’t I? All of our work has been to cheat death. Why would I back away now? Dan, we’ve done it, you are a complete success story! Well, except for that one little incident.” He added under his breath. “You just pushed yourself too hard.”
“A sucksess?” Cain repeated incredulously. He started to laugh, but his sarcastical merriment quickly degraded into screaming as the agony of his patched up insides racked through his system. He tried to glare at West but his eyes just rolled uncontrollably back into his head.
“Don’t worry about that, we’ll get some morphine in your system when we get back.” West paused for a second. “Think about it Dan, Megan’s heart is beating again... in your very own chest!”
“Meg?” Cain asked tenderly as he placed his hand over his heart. When his hand came in contact with the half opened ‘Y’ incision he cried out in pain again.
“That’s right. As for the pain you’re in you can thank the Federal Government for that. But don’t worry, I doubt they’ll bother us again. And if they do...”
“Don’t worry about it, Dan. I’ll take care of everything.”
Scully looked around the small autopsy bay with mild interest. The scene down at Quantico was just as Mulder described it. The only thing remaining of Dr. Cain was his heart, or what was left of it since it had been the focus of her autopsy. The bed of the metal locker that the corpse had been left on was a sticky, bloody mess. Upon closer examination Scully found numerous surgical staples strewn about in the thick congealing puddles of gore.
It made sense that someone had removed the staples to reopen the chest cavity. The question was why? Body snatchers rarely take the effort to leave parts behind. Then again snatchers were rarely brave, or stupid enough to break into the Federal morgue. Scully pulled the metal locker further out of the wall. The foot of the locker had an unusual greenish glow to it. At first she thought it was just a trick of the light. However, the glow seemed to be coming from a liquid on the table.
Snapping on a pair of latex gloves she swiped her fingers through the off coloured puddle. Out in the light it gave off almost the same brilliant glow that it had inside the locker. It was definitely not something that had come out of Dr. Cain or if it had it hadn’t been natural.
“Mulder, did you see this?” Scully held up her stained hand. Mulder gave her a blank stare. “Oh, sorry I forgot.” It had slipped her mind that Mulder was red-green colour blind. He wouldn’t see the liquid as anything different than blood or any other number of fluids. She walked over to the light switch and flicked it off.
“It’s glowing?” Mulder asked suddenly able to see at least the glowing cast if not the colour of the substance.
“And it’s green.” Scully added as she restored the lights.
“What do you think it is?”
“It could just be some sort of phosphorescence, many fungi produce their own light.”
“But how did it get in there?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it was already on the body and it just got a chance to grow.”
“Maybe it’s what let him walk out of here last night.”
“Mulder, Dr. Cain did not just walk out of here. Perhaps the thief was using this as an artificial light source.” Scully rubbed the glowing juice off the gloves with a cotton swab and placed it in a plastic bag. “We’ll see what the lab has to say about it before we hurt ourselves jumping to any conclusions.”
“Scully, you take all the fun out of guess-work. Speaking of which that’s about all we have to go on here. There are no finger prints, other than the heart nothing was left behind, no one remembers anyone coming in or out, and the surveillance tapes are missing from last night. He just slipped out into the dead of night.”
Scully sighed. Mulder could be difficult to work with at times. Once he got a theory he held on to it like a Pit Bull with his teeth in a mailman. She tilted her head back to work the kinks out of her neck. With the new angle Scully saw something she hadn’t noticed before. “We might have something to go on after all.”
“What cha got, Scully? Dazzle me.”
Scully rolled her eyes. She reached up and ejected the tape out of the recorder that was suspend above the autopsy table. She rattled the tape. “I left the recorder on last night. There might be something here. If not the sounds of Dr. Cain kicking his way out of his locker at least those of the thief.” Scully mocked.
“How long after you left till the tape would run out?”
“The recorder saves tape by being voice activated. It stops recording after thirty seconds of silence. There was still enough tape for it to be taping us just now, I noticed the red recording light.”
“Would the noise of someone opening the door set it off?”
“I’m surprised it’s that sensitive.” When Mulder saw her sidelong glance he grinned. “Scully?”
“All right, all right. I have it set to be highly sensitive because my voice doesn’t activate it on the normal setting...”
“From down there?” Mulder finished, mocking her height.
“In any case, it’s worth listening to.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Hold still!” West growled.
Cain’s tortured scream tore through the basement laboratory. He was stretched out on a metal table with Dr. West operating on his abdomen. Although the crypt had collapsed the basement was spared. It had taken rescue workers three hours to dig West out. They were shocked to find him alive. They had no way of knowing about West’s little ‘addiction’ to his own serum that had given him a bit of an edge.
Cain cried out again as West pulled a suture tighter. He was doing what he could to fix up Cain’s broken body. Cain convulsively jerked to the side causing an artery to snap. A graceful arc of blood splattered across West’s stiffly starched white shirt.
“What did I just say?” West snapped as he clamped a hemostat down on the spurting vessel. “If you don’t stay still this is going to take forever.”
“P...please H..h...herbert stop!” Cain pleaded weakly.
“I’m almost done, Dan” West lied.
The morphine hadn’t had the pain blocking affect that West had hoped. He feared knocking Cain out completely because he wasn’t sure if he’d wake up again. The new reagent under went a strange chemical reaction with a lot of anesthetics. So the work had to be done with Cain more or less awake. Right now West was just finishing up Cain’s abdominal cavity. The ‘Y’ incision had reopened on the way home and there had been some superficial damage.
West pulled the yellowish mesentery membrane back over the multicoloured coils of Cain’s quivering intestines. He secured the fleshy apron with a few stitches of cat gut. Cain continued to moan piteously. Picking up a spray bottle of diluted reagent West gave Cain’s open gut a squirting of the healing liquid. He was please with how well his reagent was developing. After seeing an ad, for Oil of Olay of all things, he thought of adding Alpha Hydroxy compounds. As a result the reagent now had a slight regenerating affect. The mesentery pulled its self a bit tighter and took on a healthier colour.
Once the protective membranous sheath was in place West pulled Cain’s taunt muscle back over his exposed stomach. Luckily the skin was still attached to the muscle, for the most part. Once the muscle and skin were in place West was able to start stitching Cain closed. Cain’s vocal protesting had been reduced to a low whimpering punctuated by the occasional grunt. West paid him no heed and used tiny cosmetic sutures to hide the autopsy scar as best he could.
“Nearly done, Dan” West reassured his friend. “Soon you’ll be as good as new, maybe better.”
“Oh Daniel, what have they done to you?” The scratchy tape questioned.
“That’s Dr. West.” Mulder stated recognizing the voice.
The pair were sitting in their own version of a basement laboratory listening to the autopsy tape. The tiny basement office could easily be declared a Federal Disaster Area. There were files, books, binders, pictures, a few articles of discarded clothing, and sun flower seeds covering almost every available surface. The only island of order in the sea of chaos was Scully’s desk which was immaculate in comparison.
“Well, that was easier than I though it would be.” Scully confessed. “Things are so rarely cut and dry around here. Just call up the Arkham police and have them pick Dr. West.”
“Damn Federal bitch.” The voice on the tape muttered.
Scully gave the tape player a quick murderous glare. “In fact I’ll call.”
“I can see you two will make great friends.” Mulder chuckled.
“Friends? If I have anything to say about it we’ll never meet.”
“I don’t think we should be so hasty to make an arrest.”
“Why not?” Scully instantly regretted the question. She braced herself for his other worldly response.
“Because I have a feeling that Dr. West is up to more than mere body snatching. Mysterious death seems to surround the good doctor. Back in ‘85 when I was just starting out on the X-files there was a massacre in Arkham that I briefly looked into.”
“The Miskatonic massacre.”
“That’s right, how...”
“I was in medical school at the time. It’s a small circle believe it or not. The Miskatonic massacre quickly became a kind of urban legend. People would tell the story to the new students before they went down to the morgue alone for the first time.”
“What do you know of the events?”
“I’m sure the facts were embellished several times before they reached my ears. But basically three psychopaths hid down in the Miskatonic morgue, disguised as corpses, and when the medical staff went down there they attacked, killing three and mutilating the rest of their morgue mates to the point where the resulting scene was a tangle of half decomposed body parts.” Scully told the tale with little enthusiasm. It was clear that even back in medical school she hadn’t believed in the scare tactic story.
“That’s part of the story. However the three held responsible all had death certificates in their names that were dated several days before the massacre, one even had a autopsy report filled out.”
“Paper work gets messed up at hospitals all the time.” Scully retorted. “Down in Jacksonville, Florida one man had the wrong foot amputated because his charts were mixed up with another patients. It’s not unreasonable that some doctor mixed up the morgue tags...”
“Ha! A perfectly capable quack.” The tape interrupted.
“Turn that thing off.” Scully snapped. When Mulder didn’t move to stop the tape she did it herself.
“There’s more.” Mulder continued trying not to laugh at Scully’s indignant expression. “The three suspects were never taken to trial due to the fact that they were incapacitatingly insane.”
“Imagine that.” Scully muttered.
“The only rational survivors were Daniel Cain and Herbert West who were medical students at the time. Among the dead was the Dean of Students, Halsey, the head professor, Dr. Hill, and the Dean’s daughter, Megan Halsey. The Dean and Dr. Hill were found in shreds on the floor along with the remains of about twenty corpses that were supposedly dead before the massacre and after which were no more than a gory puddle on the floor. Megan died violently in the arms of Mr. Cain in the ER about ten minutes after the events in the morgue. The autopsy reports concluded that she died of extreme shock augmented by substance abuse.”
“There was a high level of some sort of stimulant in her blood at the time of death.” Mulder clarified. “But the actual chemical she was abusing was never identified.”
“That makes sense, some what. It’s rare that people die of fear, but if she was already going into over dose the trauma could have easily pushed her heart over the edge. It was a terrible tragedy, Mulder, but I still don’t see what is overly mysterious about it or how it proves that Dr. West is up to more than body snatching.”
“I’m getting to that.” Mulder assured her with a bit of melodramatic flare. “Anyway, by the time I got through the red tape and got to Arkham the case had been closed and the local police were uninterested in having a rookie Agent reopening it. I never got to meet West or Cain, but I did get a look at the suspects. The instant I saw them I doubted that this was a premeditated attack. One was an elderly woman who looked more suited to knitting than participating in a murder spree. Another had a large incision running down his front starting at either shoulder and meeting at the chest that had been closed with staples.”
“That sounds like the ‘Y’ incision.” Scully interrupted.
“Right, and if I’m not mistaken it’s only used in autopsies. I always wanted to know more about the massacre, but I was hauled back to Washington for some mundane assignment. Frustrated that I had to give up one of my first X-files I continued to look into the two survivor’s pasts. There was nothing much to be said about Mr. Cain. However, Mr. West was kicked out of a medical school in Switzerland after the unusual death of his professor, Dr. Guber. Dr. Guber was doing research on death at the time. Herbert West had to be torn away from the professor’s twitching body. Police records in Switzerland are sketchy at best, but they state that West had been performing experiments on the dead body when the police arrived. No legal action was taken against West, but he did relocate to Miskatonic Medical School. The massacre happened just a few weeks after his arrival.”
“How did you come to hear of Dr. Cain recent death?” Scully was hoping if she could steer the conversation towards the events in the recent past that Mulder might get to the point of his story, before she reached retirement.
“Before I left I was able to make friends with one of the women in the local police force.”
“Friends?” Scully raised a skeptical eyebrow.
“In any case, Tina promised to notify me if anything else unusual happened at Miskatonic Hospital.”
“I take it Tina made it a point to call you.”
“About four years later she rang my office, the day after the massacre suspects escaped.”
“They violently broke through the observation glass and slew the late night ward staff. They then proceeded to the cemetery where Dr. West and Dr. Cain had taken up residence in the abandoned caretaker’s house. Apparently they had a bone to pick with the doctors. There a fight ensued in the crypt, which collapsed. Dr. Cain made it out with his girlfriend Franchesca, West was dug out three hours later. Only a few identifiable pieces of the three suspects were found. The rest of them was mixed up in the foot deep layer of human goo that the rescue workers claimed covered every available surface. Several workers even swear that the gory sludge quivered with almost a life of its own. I was dying to get back out to Arkham, but at the moment I was stuck on a surveillance assignment. Considering that I’d just chased off my sixth partner in five years, it was important that I stay on everybody’s good side.”
“You didn’t do a very good job of that. If I’m not mistaken I’m your eighth partner.” Scully commented when she thought that his monologue was finally over.
“You can’t say I haven’t tried my hardest to get rid of you.”
“True. Still, I don’t see what this has to do with bringing the dead back to life.”
“For just over a decade the Miskatonic Hospital has been having an unheard of number of body parts missing.”
“Whole corpses, limbs off bodies in the morgue, and such. I believe that these misplaced parts were what was lining the stones of the fallen crypt. I think that Dr. West has been performing experiments on humans in the field of re-animation and that the suspects were the failed results or the successful ones depending on how you look at it. That brings us to Dr. Daniel Cain. He started to work for Miskatonic Hospital about three months ago. A week ago he collapsed at during his shift. He appeared in all respects to be dead, except for the violent twitching.”
“I thought I already explained that to you. Where’s the connection, Mulder?”
“Dr. Cain had lived with Dr. West until the night when the suspects escaped. Afterwards he disappeared for eight years. Three months ago he moved back in with Dr. West into the old caretaker’s house and took up working for Miskatonic Hospital again. At that point the number of missing corpses skyrocketed to the point where they heightened their security around the morgue. A week ago he mysteriously collapses dead at work, twitching.”
“You mention that already.” Scully was getting tired of his way of meandering to the point. This had already taken up more of her mortality than she felt was warranted.
“There was a Lieutenant, Chapman, who worked on the original case. He made several reports on the twitching of all the corpuses at the massacre exhibited. He also noted the fact that all the bodies from that night showed no signs of decay, even months after the fact. Just like Cain’s body. Tina said that Chapman kept working on the case long after it was closed due to the fact that his dead wife was one of the suspects. Parts of his body were also found in the dilapidated crypt.”
“So you think Dr. West murdered Chapman because he got to close to his unauthorized experiments?”
“Not only that, but I think he succeed in bringing a number of people back from the dead. Including his friend Dr. Cain.”
“I get the feeling from this long story that I’m going to find myself on a plane to Arkham at any moment.” Scully sighed.
“I’ve already got the authorization.” Mulder agreed flashing her a boyish grin.
“Think I see the problem.” West muttered more to himself than to Cain. “The re-animation process wasn’t complete in the skeletal structure. As a result the body is not properly replacing the red blood cells. That’s what’s causing the bruising and embolisms.”
Cain hissed in pain as West pressed one of the bruises to get a better look at it. They were using a diluted form of the reagent injected directly under the skin to heal the dark marks. The embolisms were a little harder to deal with. Basically Cain had to tell him where they were and then West physically removed them. Luckily they weren’t too numerous. However, it was a losing battle. Cain would wake up the next morning with just as many sore spots and mysterious aches.
Dr. West stood back for a moment. He furrowed his brow in concentration. Moving over to the computer that was set in the far corner of the basement he connected to the Internet. The eerie blue tint of the screen reflected off his heavy rimmed glasses. After dialing up three times to get a connection and spitting a few choice words at AOL he finally got access to the vast information that the web had to offer.
“W’at are ‘ou looking fo’?” Cain slurred. His vocal cords had been severely damaged during his last re-animation. West had told him not to scream so much, but Cain had been in no condition to listen at the time.
“I’ve got an idea.” West replied vaguely.
Most of West’s concentration was centered on the multi coloured drawing he’d brought up on the screen. From where Cain was it just looked like a big blob. He wasn’t as bright as he used to be. As a doctor he should have immediately identified it as a protein complex. The program West was working with allowed him to rotate the three dimensional glob that dominated the monitor. He moved the object around and studied it from every possible angle.
“Wha’ dat?” Cain was getting extremely frustrated with his new accent. He briefly wondered if he’d have to learn sign language to avoid embarrassment.
“It’s a graphic of Hemoglobin. This area in red is the prosthetic Heme group that allows the erythrocytes, red blood cells, to pick up oxygen and deliver it to the myoglobin receptors in the cells.” West explained as if he’d made everything perfectly clear. He punched up a few more buttons and changed the picture to a colourful flat representation of just the Heme group. “Beautiful isn’t it? A delicate lattice work of carbon, nitrogen, iron, and amino acids. It’s one of the bodies most simplistic yet hardest working chemical reactions.”
“Annd?” Cain asked not quite seeing what his friend did.
“If I can get this Heme group onto the molecular structure of the re-animation reagent, with a few other minor adjustments, I can make an artificial blood. The reagent blood would be far superior to the systems natural blood cells. Since the reagent already has a regenerating affect the blood would also have this property. It could fix injuries as it flowed through the system.” West spoke quickly. He was starting to flush with the exhilaration of scientific discovery. There was no way this could fail.
“Can ‘ou ‘ealy doo dat?” That wasn’t exactly what Cain had wanted to say, but that’s what his questions boiled down to.
“It’s so simple that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. I bet that it could be accomplished in a few hours. All I need is an excess of the Heme group proteins. Producing it from human blood would be a little risky right now. However, I’m guessing that bovine erythrocytes would be just as efficient and no one would ask question.”
“Bovine.” West corrected. “Cow blood.”
“Sounds ‘isky.” Cain hesitated.
“Science is always risky Dan. But all risk can be avoided granted that you do the proper testing.”
“’esting?” Cain did not like the sound of that.
“Experimentation is the only path to finding the truth.” West replied poetically. “All we need is someone to test it on. I’d hate to risk using it on you first.” West lied. He thought to himself that Dan’s twice re-animated body might tamper with his results.
As if on cue the upstairs door bell buzzed. For the first time West wasn’t irritated by the distraction. Instructing Cain to stay put he went up stairs to see who the fates had delivered to him. Opening the door a Cheshire Cat grin spread uncontrollably across his face.
“Good Afternoon,” West greeted “Agent Mulder, and...”
“Agent Scully.” The woman provided curtly. “We have a few questions we’d like to ask you Dr. West.”
“By all means. Please, come in.”
Mulder’s attention wandered around the ancient living room. Everything reeked of age, decay, and rubbing alcohol. Scully was asking Dr. West the standard run of questions. For now they were avoiding accusing Dr. West directly. Mulder listened half heartedly to the interigation. He knew on sight that they would never get a vocal confession out of the scientist. Dr. West’s black eyes glittered with all the shrewdness of a weasel. Mulder had the feeling that Dr. West was going to learn more about them then they would of him by the time this preliminary interview was over.
More than anything Mulder wanted to get a look around the house. He hesitated to get a warrant to search the house though. West obviously had strong ties with the local police. There was no way that he could constantly get out investigation without knowing someone. Even after the Lieutenant’s body had been found in the crypt there had been no serious questions asked. If Mulder went ahead with the warrant it would take a few days to process. He was willing to bet that West would hear about it and make sure he did a little spring cleaning for the authorities.
So he contented himself with watching the doctor. There was very little that Mulder could learn about West by looking at him. As a professional psychological profiler he could usually glean a lot about a person’s character by simply observing them. However, West had a certain professional detachment that made it hard to see what he was actually thinking. Dr. West answered Scully’s questions in a cool, calm manour. He made certain not to say a word more than necessary and he always worked around the questions he didn’t want to answer with the poetic grace of a politician. If he was lying, and Mulder was positive that he was, then he was extremely good at it.
Something caught Mulder’s eye as West continued talking. West made it a point to keep direct eye contact with Scully. However, when she broke contact West’s eyes would quickly scan her figure. Mulder was used to the men, and a few of the women, checking out his partner, some a little more lustfully than others. West’s gaze wasn’t like that. He didn’t seem to be taking in her aesthetic qualities. It looked like he was taking measurements, ascertaining health, making calculations, etc.. Mulder could almost see the medical thoughts flicking across the man’s intelligent black eyes behind his thick glasses.
“...as Agent Mulder here already knows.” West concluded.
Mulder snapped to attention. He’d only heard the last part of the conversation and he’d briefly noted that it had included him. Now he’d have to do some fast thinking to make up for the fact that he didn’t have any idea what the two doctors were taking about. Since no one had asked him a direct question he decided that the best tactic was to keep silent. Suddenly Mulder found himself under the same scrutiny that West had just directed towards Scully. Now there was no doubt in Mulder’s mind that there was a world of scheming going on behind the doctor’s glassy orbs. West’s analytical stare flashed to an expectant look.
“Is that true Mulder?” Scully prompted.
“Uh, yeah, sure.” Mulder improvised.
Scully closed her eyes so that Dr. West wouldn’t see her frustration. She realized now that her partner hadn’t been paying attention. She scolded herself for not knowing sooner. From experience Scully knew that Mulder was only quiet when he wasn’t interested in what was going on. Sometimes having Mulder around was like having a child: just when she thought he had himself under control he would do something to prove to her that he didn’t. This was his case and he was already letting her do all the actual work.
“Thank you for your time, Dr. West.” Scully stated signifying that as far as she was concerned the interview was over. “We’ll get in touch with you if we need anything else. Here’s my card, if you think of anything else relating to the disappearance of Dr. Cain’s body just call.”
“Of course.” West replied politely taking the white business card. “It seems everyone is having difficulty taking care of their dead these days.”
“I’m sure some of us are better at it than others.” Mulder tried baiting West into slipping, but the secretive man just smiled and showed the two Agents to the door.
“Have a pleasant stay in Arkham.” Dr. West called to the retreating pair.
“We didn’t say we were staying.” Mulder countered. At least he hoped Scully hadn’t said they were.
“I assumed that if I was get in touch with Agent Scully that you two would be staying in the area, at least for a few days. You know, just in case someone pops up.” West hated this polite banter, but he wanted to make sure to pique Agent Mulder’s curiosity enough to bring him and his partner back.
“We’ll be in town for only a day or two.” Scully answered to keep Mulder and West from bantering as she got into the passenger side of the rental car.
It was clear to West that the female Agent did not want to be here in the first place. However he was willing to bet that she’d follow her partner anywhere. Whether she did it out of loyalty or love West really didn’t care. He just wanted to make sure that he’d be able to use them both. They would make perfect test subjects for his new serum. The fact that they were direct opposite, at least in the physical sense, would give him a wide range of results. Being Federal Agents they would both have to posses a strong will to live or else they would have lost heart in their dangerous careers long ago. It was important that his test subjects have a strong will, things worked out better that way.
It was risky killing off two Feds. Considering that touching them was practically a Federal offense. However, if everything went according to theory no one would ever know. From what he’d seen it wouldn’t be hard to get them back into the house. If he played his cards right he might even be able to get them to break in giving him just cause to attack. West could see that Agent Mulder was the type to break the rules. Even as the Agent had been sitting there West could feel his desire to investigate the house. He’d have to keep a close eye on the police station in case a warrant was issued. West knew that Tina would keep him informed. Even though he hadn’t ‘talked’ to her for a while he knew she’d be more than happy to help.
“Slut.” West muttered distastefully.
It had been late when Mulder and Scully had left so they’d decided to find a hotel. Scully knew there was no way she was getting Mulder out of here this evening. At least by calling it a night she had a chance at getting some sleep. Mulder had no intention of resting. He was planning to spend most of the evening going over the old case files looking for anything that he might have missed before.
Meanwhile Dr. West was mimicking Mulder’s idea of working all night. However he wasn’t bothering with old material. He had a new creation to work on. The local abattoir had been more than happy to sell him fifty gallons of fresh sheep’s blood, which he decided would be better than a cow blood derivative. He didn’t know very much about farm animals, but considering the fact that right now sheep are used to make human insulin he assumed that they must have a closer blood type. Just as West had predicted the butcher hadn’t asked any questions. For all he cared the doctor was going to use it in a Satanic ritual, all the slaughter house cared about was the money.
Armed with the necessary means to attaining the precious Heme group West went to work. While he toiled over the microscope and chemicals Cain paced back and forth behind him. His pacing was made all the more irritating by the fact that he didn’t walk very well these days. His foot steps shuffled noisily across the stone floor. Finally he voiced his thoughts about what West was doing. Cain had always been against the murdering portion of their work. West assured him that this wasn’t going to be murder. If anything it would be its opposite. With this new serum anyone he used it on would have the capacity to live forever.
Cain still protested the senseless suffering of the two Agents. West reminded him who was responsible for the agony he was in. It had been the female Agent that had sliced and diced him with such mutilating efficiency. West had been surprised when Cain actually got angry. He’d always been such a pacifist in life, it was gratifying to see that he’d gotten some spine in death. When Cain’s rambling had turned towards the topic of revenge West had to smile. Turning back to his work he was no longer disturbed by Cain’s clumsy pacing.
Just before dawn in the darkest point of the night Dr. West completed his artificial blood. The new liquid shone crimson with the same mysterious inner light that the original serum radiated. Its red colour was due to the iron in the Heme group that gave it its oxygen carrying powers. He was going to alert Cain of the success, but the re-animated man had long since curled up on the floor to sleep like a loyal dog. Since everything was ready for the first test West decided to go ahead with it. Like all great experiments the first subject would be animal.
Picking up a white lab rat West euthanized it with his heart attack inducing compound. Once the animal was dead he careful removed its blood. Hooking up a tiny IV to the rat he pumped its circulatory system full of his new serum. For a few minutes nothing happened. After ten minutes West got impatient with the retched creature. Then he realized that the blood couldn’t work if the heart wasn’t circulating it. Once a shot of the original green reagent was injected into the creatures heart it started to thrash about and then leapt up off the desk and scurried off into the decaying walls.
Unlike most of his other re-animated subjects the rat didn’t show nearly the level of violent behaviour that they had displayed. This was due to some of the other changes he’d made over the past eight years. Still when he re-animated humans the transition from death to life tended to involve an awful lot of convulsing and struggling. He briefly made note to think about how to fix that. Right now, however, his mind was reeling with the possibilities of his new reagent.
“Or should I say Re-Agent?” West allowed himself to chuckle briefly.
Scully got up early the next morning no more rested than when she’d gone to bed. All night there had been a kind of scuttling noise coming from inside the walls. It was almost as if they were alive with mice or rats. However the idea that that quantity of rats could be in the wall was ridiculous. Still the seemingly source less noise had done an excellent job at keeping her awake.
When she met Mulder she guessed that he hadn’t slept well either. However, that was nothing new. Scully couldn’t remember a time when she’d seen him well rested. When she asked him if the noise had kept him awake he’d had no idea what she was talking about. She decided against explaining.
Arkham was a dark little place. Everything seemed to be coated in a layer of gray. It would seem that colour was illegal. Even the people who lived here seemed to be infused with a dull quality. They walked around like they were weary from the oppression of suffering a bad economy for too long. It wasn’t as if there was a booming tourist trade here.
It was clear to Scully that merriment was also strictly forbidden here. Even the children, of which there were very few of, sulked around in the shadows. Even though she was wearing her usual black and white and Mulder a charcoal suite they still stuck out as obvious strangers. It was like walking through a black and white movie from the thirties and being the only actors from the Technicolor age.
Their first stop was the house of Dr. Graves, former head of the Miskatonic Hospital pathology lab. He had been in charge of the massacre remains for several years. However upon meeting Dr. Graves they found him barely coherent. He just kept rambling about how ‘the head’ had heard his lecture in Zurich. Mulder was intrigued that the doctor was talking about the very city in Switzerland that West had been evicted from. However, that was all they could get out of the insane man. His wife politely asked them to leave when the doctor started obsessing about the living head.
The police were not much more help. West had already gotten to Tina. She was more than willing to help both men. Until she met Scully that is. Once Tina found herself in competition for Fox’s attention she had quickly decided to side with Herbert. Besides there was a better chance that Herbert would stick around.
By mid afternoon Scully was all for hopping on the next plane back to Washington. She was sure that paper work was piling up on her desk while she was sight seeing in some Godforsaken town that had dripped right off the pages of some cheesy horror novel. Mulder wasn’t about to be so easily discouraged, but he knew that he couldn’t keep Scully here forever or even forty-eight more hours. However, to his advantage the next flight wasn’t until the next morning.
Lying awake late that night Scully listened to the ‘rats’ scurrying behind the thin hotel walls. Her blood flashed to ice when the night air was pierced by the sound of a car engine starting. “He wouldn’t...” Scully muttered to herself. Getting up out of bed she got to the window just in time to see Mulder pulling out of the small parking lot. “He would.” She sighed. “Damn it, Mulder.”
Scully did not think that Dr. Herbert West was bringing things back from the dead, but she did believe that he was perfectly capable of killing something or in this case someone. She knew that Mulder was perfectly capable of taking care of himself, most of the time. However she still felt that he was going to get them both in trouble, for trespassing if nothing else. The last thing she wanted was to sit through another one of Skinner’s lectures about professional conduct.
While she was waiting for a taxi Scully decided it would be wise to change out of her pajamas. Pulling on a pair of black slacks, a white blouse, and a black jacket she felt ready to get back to the job that had become her whole life. Without even debating on whether or not to bring her gun she snapped it into its holster at her hip and grabbed a flashlight for good measure. Finally the taxi arrived despite the late hour. She had been fearful at first that this run down town wouldn’t have any taxies available.
“Arkham Cemetery.” Scully instructed as she got into the back seat of the dingy cab.
“Now what’s a pretty young thing like you want with the Cemetery this late at night? Huh? It’s dangerous out there, lots of predator and believe me when I say that. After all this is Arkham: Ground Zero for weird stuff.” The taxi driver rambled condescendingly.
Scully did not have time for the male chauvinist. She reached into her jacket and after briefly considering going for her gun she went for her ID instead. She opened the thin black wallet and flashed her badge at the driver.
“Arkham Cemetery, now.”
Mulder left the car just outside the cemetery gates and proceeded the rest of the way on foot. Armed with a weapon and a flashlight as well he made his way quickly through the crumbling remains of the cemetery’s tombstones. The caretaker’s house was pitch black except for the single light that blazed in the tiny basement window. Looking in through the window he found a vast laboratory. He had no way of knowing that this was the first time that the shades had been drawn. Ignorant to any danger Mulder fell for the bait.
Finding a way into the basement was another matter. His shoulders were far to broad to fit through the tiny widow even if it hadn’t been protected with a layer of glass. Walking around to collapsed crypt he found a possible point of entrance. The basement wasn’t fully underground anymore because the crypt had created a pit that had never been filled in. The basement wall that was now exposed to the air was constructed of crumbling brick. Furthermore there was an obvious place in the wall where the bricks had been removed and replaced to serve as a secret entrance to the crypt when it was still standing.
It didn’t take Mulder long to create a hole in the wall big enough to allow him to pass through. The only obstacle was a large metal filing cabinet, but it was easily pushed aside. Once inside Mulder replaced the filing cabinet so that if he was forced to hide the intrusion wouldn’t be instantaneously spotted.
“Charming.” Mulder commented as he looked around at the medical equipment.
In the middle of the dank room was a metal examination table that had been fitted with leather straps for wrists and ankles. Just to the side of the table was a meat hook that was suspended from the ceiling by a chain. The hook’s height could easily be adjusted by an automatic winch that it was attached to. Mulder decided that ‘kinky’ was a better word than ‘charming’ to describe the doctor’s set up.
A thick silver coloured door that dominated one wall caught Mulder’s attention. He carefully opened it trying not to make any noise. However, the door had some sort of seal on it that made a crackling sound when he pried it open. Mulder stared in horror at the contents hidden behind the metal freezer door. He unconsciously retrieved his weapon and unclicked the safety. Hanging from hooks set in the cold metal ceiling were six frozen cadavers. Their eyes had been frosted over so they started at him through pure white orbs. The distorted faces of the dead men and women were more than enough evidence for Mulder. It also gave him good reason to leave, as quickly as possible. He was sure that at least a few of these people hadn’t simply been snatched from morgue lockers.
Backing up slowly Mulder almost jumped out of his skin when he bumped into a cat. The cat protested vocally to the harsh treatment. Mulder swung his gun around and aimed it at the tiny animal. He relaxed a bit upon seeing the innocent creature. However after taking a slightly closer look he discovered that the animal was a vast collection of feline parts. Each section had its own fur colour and length. Even its hideous tail was from several diffrent animals, with the fur of a long haired cat on the tip that gave it a lion like appearance.
Inspecting the feline monstrosity Mulder didn’t even notice Dr. West emerging from the shadows of the far corner. West pulled a vile of white liquid out of his pocket along with a handkerchief. Without informing the Agent of his presents West shattered the glass vile at Mulder’s feet. A white cloud quickly diffused up from the broken pieces.
Mulder spun around and aimed vaguely in West’s direction. West remained where he was standing, calmly protecting his lungs from the vapour with the handkerchief. When the harsh smelling chemical reached Mulder’s face he reared back.
“Scully!” Mulder cried out instinctively. “Scul...”
An icy hand seized Mulder’s heart cutting his cry for help short. The sharp pain that lanced down his left arm quickly brought him to his knees on the slimly floor. He could feel the cold that originated in his heart spreading through his system as it was shut down. Mulder’s labouring lungs finally gave up their vain struggle to provide his body with air. There was no sense supplying oxygen to the blood if it was no longer circulating.
When Scully saw the rental car parked outside the cemetery gates she had the driver let her out. After learning she was a Federal Agent he’d kept his mouth pretty much shut. He did give her one last word of warning about the crazy doctor that lived there. When he asked if she wanted him to wait for her for a ride home she declined. If everything went according to plan Mulder would be driving her home, straight to Washington if she had it her way.
Making her way to the darkened caretaker’s house she watched her step on the broken headstone. Scully stopped short when a giant spider got in her path. When it didn’t move she risked shining the flashlight on the horrid insect. Scully would have dropped the flashlight in surprise if she hadn’t gripped it in fear first. The monstrosity that was held captive in the halo of light stared back at her with its three goggle eyes. Each eye had a different colour: blue, brown, and green. They looked like human eyes that had been stripped from their sockets. Its eight legs were like that of a spider’s except for their pinkish flesh colour.
Slack jawed Scully and the monster continued to stare at each other in a stalemate. It was hard to tell who was more frightened by the chance encounter. Finally Scully shook her head to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating. When she looked again the unholy animal had disappeared. Scully was able to convince herself that the creature had in all actuality just been an insect.
Still shaken a bit from the nocturnal meeting Scully stepped up to the house. The lighted window that Mulder had looked through had its shades drawn once again. As far as Scully could see the whole house was either asleep or deserted.
“Mulder?” She hissed quietly.
She repeated the call a few times. When she didn’t get a response she drew her weapon and stepped right up to the front door. She was not about to waste her time sneaking about. She knew Mulder was here somewhere and she planed to retrieve him and leave. Scully felt very secure in her ability to deal with the resident doctor. She unlocked the gun’s safety and tested the door.
The front door had been left unlocked. Scully didn’t think it unusual, often times in the smaller towns people leave their doors unlocked all the time. Scully invited herself into the poorly lit living room. She didn’t dare call for Mulder inside until she knew exactly what the situation was. The noise of a cat being stepped on rang out from down stairs. Scully mentally reined in her breathing to get herself under control. She was usually pretty calm during any situation and she’d certainly been in worse positions. However, something about the still air in the dilapidated house unsettled her.
Keeping the flashlight in one hand and her gun in the other out in front of her Scully cautiously made her way down the rickety stairs. At the bottom of the stair well was a heavy set green wooden door that looked like it had taken more than one beating. She was about to open the door when she heard a tiny stone hit the floor behind her.
Whirling around she aimed the gun and the glare of the flashlight directly into Dr. Daniel Cain’s startled face. Scully recognized the man instantaneously and back a little further away. She rationalized that the doctor could have a twin brother. Still she cocked her gun and kept it trained on his heart.
“Who are you?” Scully demanded. “Where’s Mulder?”
“H...help mee.” Cain stammered.
Scully relaxed half a fraction. There was no way of knowing that this man wasn’t another of Dr. West’s innocent victims. He took a step closer but he stopped when he saw Scully tense back up. When Scully heard the glass shatter on the far side of the door she almost shot Cain out of a simple nervous reaction.
“Scully!” Mulder’s cry came though the door. “Scul...”
Mulder’s cut off call for help momentarily distracted Scully. She turned to face the door. It was all the opening Cain needed. He rushed up behind her and forcibly thrust Scully into the closed door. A gun shot rang out in the tiny stair well room and the door splintered where the hot lead embedded its self into the wood. The re-animated Cain was a bit stronger than he remembered being in life. As a result Scully had been easily knocked senseless by the blow. Cain looked down remorsefully at the unconscious woman. It was too late to turn back now. A cut at her temple slowly bled its accusation of him assaulting her.
“We’re an awful lot a like you and I.” Cain remarked even though he knew she couldn’t hear him. “We could have been normal. Neither one of us would be here today if it weren’t for the madmen in our lives.”
Scully slowly surfaced to the conscious world from the black haze that had enveloped her. She still wasn’t quite sure what had happened. The last thing she remembered was seeing Dr. Cain, but that didn’t make much sense to her now. She knew he was dead. After experimentally opening her eyes she welded them shut against the wave of nausea that the action induced. Once she got her stomach back under control Scully concentrated on her other senses before trying out her sight again.
The sensation that consumed most of her attention was the intense throbbing in her wrists that were positioned above her head. Trying to move them was impossible and only served to sharpen the pain. Yanking against the binding despite the discomfort brought about a shocking revelation concerning her orientation. Scully had assumed that she was lying on her back. The gentle swaying that her struggling produced informed her that she was actually suspended. Testing her footing she could just make contact with the cold, wet floor with the balls of her bare feet. She kept contact with the floor in a desperate attempt to releive some of the pressure off her wrists.
For the first time she noticed the sounds of someone else roaming about the room clanking glass ware as they worked. Jolted into full awareness by the sudden realization of her dire situation Scully gasped a lung full of dank basement air. The other person took notice of her and came closer. Scully snapped open her eyes in spite of the danger of nausea.
“West!” She hissed.
“Good morning Dr. Scully.” West’s saccharine voice mocked.
“Let me go!” Scully demanded. “You can’t do this, I’m a Federal Agent!”
“Not for long.” West retorted nonchalantly.
Producing a pen light from his immaculately starched shirt West shone the thin beam across Scully’s terrified aqua eyes. “Well, you don’t have a concussion. I was worried about tissue damage from the blow, but it all seems to be superficial.” He half heartedly tried to stop the sluggish hemorrhaging at her temple.
“Mulder!” Scully cried desperately.
“He’s dead,” West replied calmly “for the time being.”
“What?!” Scully asked incredulously. “Mulder! Help!”
“I told you,” West moved out of her line of vision “Agent Mulder is dead.”
Scully stared with disbelief at her partner who was lying on a metal table a few feet away. Mulder had been striped to the waist, stretched out on his back, and secured to the table by his wrists and ankles. He didn’t have any signs of external injury or abuse. However, his jaw was slack with a thin line of pink foam running from the corner of his mouth. Scully confirmed the unthinkable by the glazed look that veiled Mulder’s once bright green eyes.
“Mulder...” Scully whispered.
“Don’t worry Agent Scully, I plan to restore your partner to you.” West assured his captive.
“Please, just let me go.” Scully pleaded in a defeated tone. Her eyes turned bright with unshed tears that her professional side was trying to restrain. “You can’t do this to us, you’re not going to get away with it. Don’t make things any worse, let me down.”
“All in good time, Miss. Scully.”
West walked around to the other side of the metal table that Mulder’s inert body was laying on. He stooped down and picked up a pail off the floor. Struggling against its weight West dragged the bucket over to the large sink. The tears that Scully had been successfully keeping at bay spilt down her cheeks as she watched the deranged doctor unceremoniously dump Mulder’s congealing blood down the drain. A few delicate tendrils of steam rose from the sink basin signifying to Scully that her partner hadn’t been dead very long.
“You can’t do this to me.” Scully insisted through her tears. She’d long lost the feeling in her hands that had been tingling when she first woken up. However, her bound wrists were burning with the pain of having to supporting her weight. “At least let me down.”
Dr. West ignored her request. He rolled an IV stand over to Mulder’s corpse. On the metal stand swung a large IV bag filled with his new glowing red reagent. He stuck a thick needle into a vein in Mulder’s cyanic blue arm. Setting the drip to the appropriate speed he made note of all the measurements and reactions in a small black notebook with a pencil. After the artificial blood was in the dead man’s system West planed to fully re-animate him with a dose of original reagent to the heart.
“Leave him alone!” Scully snarled.
Looking over at the suspended woman West found her condition worsening. Her exertion and fear were causing her skin to glisten with sweat and the crying was making her breath ragged. West was waiting for her body to start quivering with adrenaline. He wanted to remove as much of the corticoids and adrenaline from her system as possible before re-animating. Torturing her was just a test to see if the re-animation process could be made a less violent by the removal of the steroids. West figured that if he drained her tissues of their energy reserves now then the re-animated body would be too tired to fight.
West wished that Cain would come downstairs and help him. However, Cain had too much compassion in his newly replaced feminine heart to stomach the necessary experiments. However, he still planed to benefit from testing that he left West to perform.
These two were proving to be the perfect lab rats. It was like receiving a Government grant, and Dr. West intended to take full advantage of this opportunity. As far as West was concerned there was no room for mercy in science. Suddenly Mulder’s body went into a fit of premature convulsions.
“Oh God, Mulder.” Scully whimpered.
She bowed her head to block out the scene of her dead partner spasmodically arching his back. Shielding her eyes didn’t save her ears from the animalistic shriek that tore through the room and reverberated off the crumbling basement walls. Triggered by the traumatic noise her already nervous stomach was pitched into a fit of dry heaves. The sharp sting of bile at the back of her throat was almost a welcome distraction. She knew that the muscle contractions and the vocalization were just the result of a chemical reaction that Dr. West was inducing, and not a sign of life.
Even so the cry of agony had seemed so genuine. Scully shuddered to think that Mulder might still be alive and aware of whatever tortures West was subjecting him to. Suddenly remembering the pail she actually took comfort in the fact that West had drained out her partner’s blood. Knowing Mulder was dead and believing she was about to share his fate Scully finally gave in. She just wanted the experience over with as quickly, and painlessly as possible. Mulder cried out again informing her of the long road ahead.
West adjusted the speed of the glowing IV drip and the body settled down. When he looked back over to the woman he smiled. She had gone completely limp, no longer even trying to support her weight on her feet. Her frame shook in trembling waves from a combination of adrenaline and hysterical sobbing. With a clinical detachment West walked over to the plaintively moaning female with the bloody bucket. He was going to try a new method of euthanasia to see how it affected re-animation. Instead of inducing a heat attack and then removing the blood he was simply going to drain the life directly out of the unlucky Agent. Bending down he placed the pail at her dangling feet.
Risking further injury to her wrists Scully used her last reserve of strength to bring her knees up into West’s spectacled face. West yelped in pain and reeled back. After composing himself he calmly picked up a large gauge needle and fixed a thin rubber tube to the end of it. He didn’t fear walking back up to Scully. She no longer shook from tears, only from the agony her attack had renewed. Blood oozed from her abraded wrists and down her arms staining the lapel of her white blouse.
West almost pitied her for a moment. He had to admit that she’d acted uncommonly brave. At no point had she started screaming earnestly. West was pleased that he hadn’t had to use his contingency plan if she had reacted vocally to her situation. He didn’t want to damage the delicate skin around her mouth with the harshly sticky duct tape. Luckily enough he felt he wouldn’t have to. He also had a feeling that she would have an extremely strong will to survive. It seemed strange, but a person’s will to live had a great affect on their reaction to the reagent.
West tangled his hand into Scully’s bright red hair and used the purchase to pull her head back. He briefly checked her pulse with the tips of his fingers through the latex gloves he wore. Under the skin her pulse fluttered like a butterfly’s wing. Scully swallowed convulsively as he sunk the needle into the ivory plane of her exposed throat. The liquid that flowed through the tube put the tint of her hair to shame with its crimson hue. Scully moaned piteously as her natural life slipped out of her throat and dripped noisily into the metallic pail.
“P...please, don’t do t..t.this to me.”
“This is your report Agents?” Assistant Director Skinner questioned.
“Yes Sir.” Scully replied.
“And so this Arkham lead was...”
“...a dead end.” Mulder finished.
Scully sighed, she still had trouble believing that she was sitting here in Skinner office. She had an even harder time believing that Mulder was right next to her. He had been dead, she was sure of it. Looking over to confirm his presence she studied him for a second while he continued to try and explain the events in Arkham. Whatever Dr. West had done it had apparently brought him, and herself back from the dead.
Mulder was a little worse for the wear. His joints ached constantly and his reflexes were a bit slow. Mulder would smile bravely when she asked him how he was holding up, but she could see that the unrelenting pain was quickly dispiriting her partner. Dr. West promised that Mulder would feel better than new after a ‘blood’ transfusion or two.
He also promised that both of them would suffer excruciating deaths if they didn’t come back once a month to get their artificial blood replaced. If that was true then in affect Herbert West now owned them -if they wanted to stay alive that is. He had already made it clear that he was going to start using their badges as a means to get fresh subjects and chemicals from Quantico and any other facilities they might have access to.
Scully had been surrounded by death for most of her life. She’d even made a career out of it. Even so it had always remained her greatest fear. Over the years she’d learn not to think about the inevitable. Secretly she wanted to avoid it, but as a scientist she knew it came to all creatures. Now that West was threatening her with immortality she realized she should have watched her step at the wishing well.
When Scully had woken up she’d thought she’d suffered nothing more than a bad dream. Mulder was standing over her gently smoothing down her ruffled hair. At first she had been glad to see him living and breathing. When an ironically sad smile spread across his face she had quickly become apprehensive. Scully could read more in his expression than she wanted too. For some reason she had suddenly known that it hadn’t been her subconscious imagination that had tortured her the previous night.
The first sensation she’d noticed was the hard, cold metal table she was laying on. Then she became aware of the stiffness that seemed to permeate her every cell. Scully’s re-animation had been the most successful of Dr. West’s endeavors to date. After a few hours of moving around she’d regained her flexibility. In fact the morning after she felt better than she ever had in life. Even the bruises that she felt should encircle her wrists were gone along with the mark at her temple. Of course that wasn’t the point, she was still dead and now subject to the whims of a mad scientist.
Scully had run Mulder’s and her own blood through the crime lab numerous times as an unidentifiable substance found at a random crime scene. Even though ever test came back inconclusive, and she could see the red fluid that came from her veins glow, she still couldn’t believe they had come back from the dead. However, all the evidence she had pointed towards exactly that. Now they were the X-file, and God help them if anyone found out. Scully would never forget the first words Mulder had said after she’d regained consciousness:
“Welcome back to life, Scully.”