Separation Anxiety 3/7

Separation Anxiety
Written October 1998
Rated PG-13
Synopsis: Mulder and Scully are separated but find themselves working on a similar case…and falling in love.

Disclaimer: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement is intended. Some of the characters and situations are my own.


Key West, Florida
Day 2
11:30 A.M. EST

Mulder was already online, ordering Scully a surprise with his credit card, when her email appeared in his mailbox. He opened it excitedly.

Mulder–what do you make of this? D.S.

He downloaded the attached file. A strange image appeared on the screen. It appeared to be someone’s stomach, which had a unique crimson blotch near the navel. He read the notes beneath it: Appears to be a birth mark, a bit too prominent in color but not entirely unheard of. When cut, it did not bleed. Thoughts?

“Hey, Mulder, they’ve got a case for us.” His new partner Aaron Primrose handed him a manila folder. “It’s spooky.” The man smiled slightly, his cinnamon-colored moustache rising with the upturn of his lips. His thinning hair was generally unruly, pressing itself firmly to his head. His navy blue suit fit his slightly overweight frame.

He opened the file. “‘Ellen Kero, 33. Fell into a nest of water moccasins.’ Spooky?”

“Yeah. Take a look at the photo.”

The woman’s mangled body had obvious fang marks all over her limbs and face. “Where was this nest?”

“In a lake known as Alligator Alley. Weird.”

“Why?”

“No one goes to Alligator Alley. It’s much too dangerous. Besides, Ellen Kero was hydrophobic. The woman hated water.”

“Hmm.” He studied the coroner’s initial photographs. Something caught his eye. He brought the picture closer to his face. On the woman’s shoulder was a very familiar-looking red blotch.

***

Spokane, Washington
Day 2
8:02 P.M. PST

Scully continued typing even after her phone began ringing. She was completely engrossed in her findings on Rita Udelle. Or lack thereof. There was no explanation as to how the blind woman managed to get into her neighbor’s car and start to drive.

Stevens look at her after the fourth ring. “You gonna answer that?”

Irritated, she picked it up. “Scully.”

“Devil’s mark.”

“Huh?”

“The red spot on your victim.” It was obviously Mulder, and she felt herself ease up. “It’s what’s known as the devil’s mark or witches’ mark.”

“Witches’ mark?”

“Yeah. The devil often places a red or blue mark upon each of the witches so he can easily identify them. It is known not to bleed and, when pierced, not to give the witch any pain.”

“Of course we can’t test that theory because she’s already dead.”

“But it didn’t bleed.”

“Right. I’m sure if we reexamined that portion of her skin, we’d find a lack of blood vessels near the surface or something of the sort.”

“The same mark was found on a woman here in Key West.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah. I emailed you the information.”

It was like old times again. Mulder threw some crazy, paranormal idea on the table, and Scully did her best to refute it.

“I’m sure about this, Scully.”

“Okay. I’ll get right on it.” Her voice was almost flat, monotone. “The truth is…this is weird.”

“How so?”

“My victim Rita Udelle was completely blind. Yet somehow she got in a car and drove into a tour bus.”

“If I was blind, I’d probably drive into something, too.”

She chuckled, thankful for his touch of humor. “Probably, but don’t you think you would have hit something between your home and the bus that crossed the road five miles later?”

“Five miles?”

“Yeah. Weird, huh?”

“That is.”

“What about your witch?”

“Ellen Kero. Took a dip at Alligator Alley, swam right into a nest of water moccasins. A tragic death, especially for a woman so hydrophobic that she had to be on medication to do dishes.”

“What?”

“You heard me. I won’t even tell you what they had to do to get her in the shower.”

“Two witches, strange deaths.”

“It can only mean one thing.”

“And what’s that?”

“I do not have a clue, but when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.” He sighed deeply. “How’s the weather there cause it’s hotter than Hell down here.”

She made a satisfactory noise deep in her throat. “Nice. In the late 60s. Comfortable.”

“Don’t rub my nose in it. I had no choice in my relocation.”

“Grouch.”

“It’s the heat.”

“It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”

“You’re acting strangely. What were you up to when I called?”

“Writing my report. Pretty difficult since there’s a substantial lack of information.”

“You gonna write about the devil’s mark?”

“And be Mrs. Spooky this early in my career? No, I think I’ll wait a while.”

“Besides, you can’t be Mrs. Spooky until I propose.”

She smiled. “I’d better get this report done and check your email.”

“You’re on a cell phone. You can check your email at the same time.”

“Yeah, but if I keep talking to you, I’ll miss you even more.”

“I really wish I could be there with you.”

“Me, too. Only 28 days now.”

He chuckled softly. “I’ll talk to you later.”

She heard the connection click in her ear. Why did I do that? I miss him already. She logged onto the Internet and opened Mulder’s mail. The photographs of the deceased were very graphic. Death by multiple snakes was never a pretty sight. She found a close-up of the red spot–the devil’s mark–on the woman’s shoulder. It did look similar to that on Rita Udelle’s stomach. That can’t be a coincidence. But she had no other way to explain it.

The next message’s subject was ‘I knew I’d miss you–from me.’ It piqued her curiosity, so she opened the letter. ‘Guess what!!’ it read. ‘You have received an animated greeting card from me.’ She clicked on the hyperlink, positive that the ‘me’ in question was actually Mulder. Only he could be vague and still get the message across.

The card loaded quickly, a blue background filling the screen. Text began to appear. At the top of the card, letters scrolled in at random, eventually spelling ‘to my angel.’ She smiled and began to read the poem.

I knew I’d miss you.
When you care about someone
as much as I do about you,
being apart
is a hard thing
to get used to.

I thought I’d handle it
just fine…
and that I’d be happy
just to keep you on my mind.
But it isn’t always that easy…

Sometimes the one that that would
please me the most…is simply
seeing you.

I knew that I’d miss you.

I just didn’t know
I’d miss you
as much as I do.

Scully forced herself to exhale, swallowing over the lump in her throat. A tear slipped down her cheek. In large letters beneath the poem was ‘I miss my angel.’

She thought the message was done. She hadn’t even noticed the midi composition playing softly in the background. She wiped beneath her eyes and scrolled down farther. A strand of numbers appeared, and she had to look at them multiple times, convinced her eyes were playing tricks on her. The numbers remained fixated in place, beneath ‘I miss my angel’ and above ‘me.’

4 5683 968.

Telephone code for ‘I love you.’

She continued to stare in disbelief.

‘I love you.’

“Oh…” she whispered, covering her mouth to prevent an outburst. “Oh, I love you, too.”

End of Part 3

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