I started this story in December of 2000. At the time I started the story, the date this chapter starts had no significance, and I have decided to let it stand, since it is a year before 9/11. And now I am in heaps o' trouble since I am not only using copyrighted print characters, but now I've stolen some copyrighted television characters as well! :) I am using the Mulder and Scully that I remember fondly from many seasons ago—he the truth-seeker, she the skeptic. Forgive my lack of knowledge about the inner workings of the FBI and please willfully suspend your disbelief if I make any glaring errors! Thanks!
Oh yeah, I know this gosh-darn black background is hard to read, but I just think it fits so perfectly with the X-Files theme that I've decided to torture you with it any way. Forgive me?:)
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FBI Field Office, New York,
Monday, September 11, 2000
Trixie Frayne sat in her office, scowling at the computer screen in front of her. As much as she loved her job at the FBI, she could definitely do without the paperwork involved. She chewed on the end of her pen, trying to decide how to diplomatically phrase "worthless, crack-smoking, drug-dealing, low-life, girlfriend-killing scumbag," when there was a knock on her office door, even though it was open. Since she had been lucky enough to move from a cubicle to an actual office, she routinely left the door open to feel closer to the pulse of the field office.
She looked up, happy for a respite from the dreaded paperwork, and smiled at the two strangers in business suits standing at her door. The woman of the pair looked very serious, while her male companion had a much more relaxed look about him yet still managed to look intense at the same time.
"May I help you?" Special Agent Frayne asked in her most professional voice.
The man spoke up. "Agent Frayne?" At Trixie's nod, the handsome thirty-something introduced himself. "I'm Agent Fox Mulder, and this is my partner, Agent Dana Scully." He nodded toward the redhead standing to his right.
"What can I do for you, Agents Mulder and Scully?" Trixie asked, curiosity seeping into her voice.
"We've flown up here from DC—" Agent Scully started to say, but Trixie interrupted.
"From Headquarters?" The young FBI agent didn't hide her surprise. In her 18 months at the FBI's New York field office, Trixie had never received visitors from the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC.
Agent Scully nodded. "There was a double homicide last Friday night involving two teenagers. The homicide took place in the woods surrounding Warren Grove, New Jersey."
"New Jersey? I'm afraid that's not under the jurisdiction of this office." The tone of Trixie's voice indicated that she didn't think it was under the jurisdiction of the two agents standing in front of her, either. "All of those cases are handled by the Newark office. Unless this Warren Grove is in Camden, Gloucester, or Salem counties. If that's the case, they handle that over in Philly."
Agent Mulder spoke up. "It's in Burlington County. We've already been to the Newark office and spoke to the agent in charge of the case, Rodrigo Taylor. He's willing to turn the case over to you, if you are willing to accept it." Trixie started to interrupt, but Mulder anticipated her question and continued. "We've already spoken with your AD. He's willing to let you take the case, if you so choose."
Trixie scrutinized the two agents standing before her. Mulder, she noted, was quite tall and thin, with a devil-may-care expression that she immediately found to her liking. He looked as though he might bend the rules, even break a few if he had to, in the pursuit of justice. His partner was about five foot four, just like Trixie herself, and had red hair that she kept in a short but stylish bob. Her green eyes were serious, matching her countenance.
"What are the facts of the case?" Trixie wanted to know, still wondering why an agent would voluntarily give up a case and why she herself was being approached. Field office leaders weren't thrilled with letting cases leave their jurisdiction unless absolutely necessary. How had these two agents from Washington convinced the folks in Newark?
Mulder handed the petite blonde the folder he held and waited while she opened it and stared at photographs of the crime scene. They were particularly gruesome, and Mulder noted with satisfaction that Agent Frayne was able to examine the photos without wincing. Trixie looked up at Mulder. "Two kids went hiking in the Jersey Pine Barrens and someone sliced them up. Surely this isn’t the first time this has ever happened. Why come from DC? Why involve me?"
Trixie didn't miss the slight-but-amused smile that played across Agent Scully's lips at her questions. She deduced that Scully shared her views but obviously trusted her partner enough to humor him thus far. Trixie forgot about Scully's enigmatic smile at Mulder's next words.
"Ever hear of the Jersey Devil?"
Trixie stared at him. Could this man actually be implying that the mythical Jersey Devil had murdered the two kids? She decided to have a little fun. "Sure, they're the current Stanley Cup champions. I managed to get tickets to one of the games of the Finals. You a hockey fan?"
Mulder looked amused, and Scully wasn't quite successful in hiding her smile as she turned away.
"I do like hockey, but I'm talking about the alleged beast that causes havoc around New Jersey and the surrounding area every few decades," Mulder explained.
Trixie looked at Scully to see her reaction to her partner’s words. The redheaded agent met Trixie's stare evenly, and Trixie was not able to ascertain what Scully thought about her partner’s theory.
"Sure I've heard of it. I grew up around here," Trixie explained.
"But you don't believe in it?" Mulder persisted.
"Are you trying to tell me that you think a mythical creature killed these two kids?" The blonde agent's voice was filled with incredulity.
"Agent Frayne, I'm simply asking if you believe in it."
"No, I don't," Trixie stated bluntly.
Mulder's next statement threw her off. "But you do believe in the sasquatch."
Trixie's eyes narrowed as she looked at the two agents standing before her. She wondered if she was being set up for something. Mulder hadn't asked her if she believed in the sasquatch—he had stated it as fact.
"What does a sasquatch have to do with anything?" Trixie's voice sounded defensive, even to her own ears, as she avoided answering the agent’s “question” directly.
"With the facts of this case? Nothing. With my choice of liaison field agents? Everything," Mulder said cryptically.
Trixie looked to Scully for help. "I have a lot of paperwork to get done, and it’s already after seven. I'd like to get home to my husband sometime before Easter, so can we cut to the chase?"
Scully nodded, apparently happy to take over from her partner. "The two victims were Campbell Smith, seventeen years old, and Kenneth Butler, also seventeen. Apparently, some of their friends dared them to spend Friday night at some abandoned cabin back in the woods. They were to take a camcorder to prove they had done it. Each had told their parents that they were spending the night at the other's house. At four p.m. Saturday, Mr. and Mrs. Butler became worried when their son hadn’t returned from his friend's house. They called Mrs. Smith and learned that she had been about to call them to find out where her son was. The parents then called some of the boys' friends, but they all denied any knowledge of their whereabouts. Apparently, they were afraid they were going to get in trouble.
"Finally, Mrs. Smith called her son's girlfriend, Jennifer Belarius, sixteen. Jennifer became quite upset and immediately confessed what the boys had been up to."
Trixie spoke up. "Did you get the names of the boys who put them up to this?"
Scully nodded. "According to Miss Belarius, there were five boys hanging around after school that day teasing each other. In addition to the two victims, Jeffrey Shaw, eighteen, Brandon McKenzie, seventeen, and Ryan Jordan, sixteen, were all present. It was Shaw who made up the dare."
”Have you done a background check into any of the other three? If they orchestrated the dare, maybe they orchestrated the murders," Trixie stated, still trying to figure out why she was being dragged into this investigation. She hated to think that teenagers could be responsible for the brutal murders she had seen in graphic detail in the file, but after being with the Bureau for more than four years now, she knew it was possible.
"McKenzie and Jordan seem to be completely clean. Shaw, however, got into some trouble his sophomore year of high school and was held back a year. That's why he's older than the rest," Mulder put in.
"What kind of trouble?" the blonde agent questioned.
Scully and Mulder exchanged glances, and Scully answered. "At his old school in Illinois, he set up an abandoned house with some gadgets to make it appear haunted. He tricked a couple of his fellow students into staying overnight. He terrified them to the point that one of the students actually had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for several months. Shaw was expelled from school. He became so notorious in the small town that his parents decided to move to New Jersey, where they had grown up. He started his sophomore year over in Warren Grove."
Trixie snorted. "There you go. You have a teenager who gets his jollies scaring the bejesus out of his friends. He got off on the fact that he sent some kid to a mental hospital a few years ago, so now he decides to go one better—send his 'buddies' to the morgue."
Mulder shook his head. "I don't think that's what we have here. This kid's been clean since it happened. Plus, by all accounts, he was very remorseful after the incident. I think we're dealing with something else entirely here."
Trixie looked at him skeptically. "The Jersey Devil?" she asked in a mocking tone.
Mulder looked nonplussed at her attitude. He grinned and shrugged. "If the talons fit…"
"Has the ME done an autopsy on the bodies yet?" Trixie asked, ignoring his comment as Scully shot him a look of reproach.
"Actually, Agent Scully is also a licensed MD. She performed the autopsy today. That's why we've arrived here so late. But your reputation precedes you. We figured you would be working late."
"What did you find, Agent Scully?" Agent Frayne ignored what she considered pandering on the part of Agent Mulder.
"The cause of death on both victims appeared to be acute blood loss from the jugular following an asymmetrical slash across the throat. All in all, there were more than 70 slashes across each of the bodies—74 on Campbell Smith, and 78 on Kenny Butler."
"What kind of a blade did the weapon appear to be?"
Scully looked uncomfortable for a moment. "It didn't appear to be a blade at all," she admitted, glancing at her partner, whose faced bore the slightest hint of a smug expression.
"What was it then?" Trixie prodded, having no patience for the whatever dynamic it was that the partners from DC shared.
"The slashes appeared to be in a pattern that would be consistent with sharp claws of some sort," Scully admitted.
"Talons?" Trixie asked incredulously and then looked at Mulder accusingly.
"Possibly," Scully confirmed, looking slightly uncomfortable.
Trixie looked the other female agent in the eye. "Agent Scully, do you think that the Jersey Devil killed these boys?"
The redhead paused for a moment. "I think that there are some instances in which it may appear that unknown forces are at work, but I do prefer to try to exhaust all scientific possibilities before looking elsewhere for answers."
"Occam's Razor?" Trixie asked, referring to the tenet of science that proclaimed the simplest answer was usually the best.
Scully allowed herself to smile. "When you hear hoof beats think horses, not zebras."
"Have you interviewed any of the students yet?"
"No, we’re visiting Warren Grove High School tomorrow to interview the four students who were present for the conversation that lead to the two boys to spend the night at that cabin," Scully told her. "We were hoping you would accompany us."
"Will you take the case, Agent Frayne?" Mulder asked suddenly, looking at her with those intense eyes, and Trixie almost found herself mesmerized.
Should she take this case? It did intrigue her, and the prospect of working with Agents Mulder and Scully was not unpleasant—they seemed interesting, at the very least. She was finishing up a case right now, expecting to turn in the final report before she left for the evening. The few cases she had on her desk right now were not of the highest priority. Plus, her AD had already given his permission for her to work on this case.
"Yes," she said firmly, her clear blue eyes locking with Mulder's intense hazel ones. "I will help you with this case."
She wasn't sure she liked the triumphant look that appeared in Mulder's eyes at her acceptance, but there was no backing out now.
She and the two visiting agents made plans to meet the following morning at eight o’clock in front of Warren Grove High School. After the agents had gone, Trixie phoned her husband in Sleepyside, saying she had been detained and promising to be on the next train home. She finished her report for her AD and was about to shut down her computer when a thought struck her. She fired up the FBI database and soon found the information she was looking for.
Spooky Mulder, eh? She thought as she read the words on the computer screen before her. Apparently Agent Mulder had a reputation for handling cases deemed "unsolvable" by the FBI. His belief in the unknown and somewhat unorthodox methods when working on a case had earned him the nickname of "Spooky" from his peers. Evidently, he believed he had witnessed his younger sister's abduction by aliens when he was eleven years old and had been on a paranormal quest ever since. His cases involved alien abductions, poltergeists, mutants, evolutionary anomalies, and even alleged vampires, among other paranormal phenomena.
Suddenly, his knowledge of her sasquatch sighting made sense to the young agent. As a matter of fact, her sasquatch sighting seemed tame compared to what she was reading in his file. Trixie narrowed her eyes as she had a sudden thought.
He sought me out. I will definitely have to keep an eye out for this man's motives.
It was then that she realized she felt it. That intangible, but very real, sensation that told her she was off on another adventure. She smiled in anticipation at the thought.
Special Agent Trixie Frayne then realized the time, and knowing that she needed to hurry to make the next train as she had promised Jim she would, she turned off her computer, shut off the lights in her office, and headed home to her husband at Ten Acres.
One last note: I don't know if you can really get that much information on other FBI Agents from the real FBI database, but when you are playing the X-Files computer game you can from their FBI database, so that's good enough for me! *g*
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