Voodoo Dolls, File Cabinets, and Other Oddities in Life
Co-authored with Moonbeam
Written July 1998
Synopsis: Mulder and Scully meet up with Scully’s old flame in Florida to solve a crime involving voodoo. Based on a true story.
Spoilers: “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” “Christmas Carol,” “The Blessing Way,” “Paper Clip,” “Small Potatoes”
Disclaimer: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement is intended.
Orange Grove, Florida
Pierson gestured to the menu. “We’ll share your nachos grandes avec fromage.”
Scully raised an eyebrow in slight amusement. “What?”
“It’s the best place to eat in town. Did you expect it to be normal, what with all the shenanigans and goings-on.”
“I guess not.” She leaned her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her hands. “So. How have you been?”
“Pretty good. I’m sorry I didn’t keep in touch. Everything kind of spiraled around me after Mother died, and…”
“I know. I felt the same when my father passed away.”
“I heard about that through the grapevine. I’m sorry. And Missy, too?”
She nodded solemnly. “And Emily.”
“The daughter I never knew I had.” She sipped her water thoughtfully before pouring her heart out. When the nachos arrived, she had finished with only one tear. She was getting better.
“So your partner, uh, Mulder? Tell me about him.”
She rolled her eyes. “Well…where do I begin? He’s the most passionate, driven man I have ever met. His sister disappeared many years ago, and it has fueled his search for the truth.”
“I can’t say Stahl is very passionate, but he’ll have a two-thousand-page report on voodoo tomorrow morning. He’s extremely efficient.” He shoved another nacho into his mouth. “What’s this I hear about you being Mrs. Spooky? You didn’t get married and not tell me, did you, Dana?”
“No, that’s a little bureau joke. It’s an insult toward Mulder by way of me.”
“How did he get that nickname anyway? I heard something about extraterrestrials.”
“You heard correctly.”
“Do you believe him?”
“After what I’ve seen, I don’t disbelieve him. I’m his scientific anchor.” I owe you everything, Scully, and you owe me nothing. His words continuously echoed in her head. “Whether I’m a full-fledged believer or not is still leaning toward the negative.”
They chatted a little more before ordering dessert. Pierson told her about the last six years, finally ready to tell her what he had wanted to say the whole time. “Dana, I have to tell you that I—”
Scully’s cell phone rang, and she picked it up hastily. “Scully.”
“Scully, it’s me.”
“What do you want, Mulder?”
He sounded hurt. “Did I interrupt something?” When she didn’t answer, he continued. “I have an update on Mister Nowak. We found twenty-three dolls in his chest cavity along with various charms and powders. Agent Stahl is working on his voodoo report. Should be interesting. Where are you?”
“Nowhere. Thanks for the update. Bye.” She hung up. “I’m sorry. Mulder wanted to give me useless pieces of information that couldn’t wait another twenty minutes. What is it that you wanted to say?”
“Just…how much I’m glad to see you again.”
Coconut Bongo Motel
Orange Grove, Florida
Scully unlocked the door to her room and opened it, finding Mulder channel surfing on her bed. “What are you doing?”
He glanced up quickly. “Stay right there. You’re right in line with the cable wires, and I’m finally getting the Playboy Channel.”
She continued to walk, stopping only to turn off the television. “Go away, Mulder. I’m going to take a hot shower. I suggest that you, however, take a cold one.”
“Scully, I’m wounded! Hey, since you weren’t here, I had to eat at Big Bertha’s Roadside Diner across the street. Where were you?”
“I went out with Sam.”
“Sam, Sam, what is it about Sam?”
“We dated off and on for three years. No real commitment, but we always toyed with getting married.”
His heart nearly stopped. “What?”
“Academy days, Mulder. Find it surprising that I was in love?”
“No, I just… You never told me.”
“Diana Fowley and Phoebe Greene come to mind.”
“That’s an entirely different situation.”
“Situations. Plural, Mulder, and how are they different? For all I know, you were married to them, too.”
He said nothing, throwing her remote on the counter top next to the t.v. “I wish you would just be honest with me, Scully.”
She groaned angrily. “I am not having this conversation with you, Mulder. Go away.” She slammed the bathroom door behind her.
Green’s Funeral Home
The two figures stood by the grave, a soft rain trickling down their foreheads. Shovels lay nearby, ready for unearthing the ground.
“The FBI was here today.”
“I know. I heard.”
“They know about Nowak. What should we do?”
“There’s only one thing to do, Herman.” The first one shoved the garden tool into the moist earth. “Do you have the dolls?”
FBI field office
By the time Mulder arrived for the briefing, an unprecedented thirteen minutes early, Scully was already there. Apparently, she had gotten a ride from Mister Rico Suave after last night’s argument. When he walked into the conference room, Scully glared at him.
“Yes, Scully. I realized that I’ve done something terribly wrong, even though I don’t know what that is, and I would like to apologize for my calling you on your cell phone in the middle of something that I can only assume was important.”
Scully’s mouth dropped open in surprise. Was she talking to her partner or Eddie Van Blundht?
“Mulder, are you feeling okay?”
“Uh, just wondering. You don’t…seem…uh…normal.”
“You just seem different. Drop it.”
Scully walked over to Stahl’s desk. He was struggling with his SteelWorks Sports Model. “Okay, Stahl, what are we doing?”
“Well, I’m trying to open my brand new SteelWorks XL7316 Sports Model File Cabinet of the Millennium.”
She kicked it with her foot, and it sprung open. “There you go.”
“How’d you do that?”
“Hey, beats carrying around those damn keys!”
Stahl pulled out several thick pieces of paper. “Hey, Scully, you wanna sticker?”
Scully looked at the paper. They were various sheets of stickers, from Pooh to Sesame Street. She stood there, gawking in contempt, for a moment before replying, “Uh…no.” Something’s wrong here. Stoic Stahl and stickers?
Stahl shrugged and started decorating one of the random FBI folders lying around on his desk. Pierson strode up. “Hey, gang, anything new?”
“No, Sammy, not…yet…” She noticed Pierson kept looking toward the floor behind him. “What are you doing?”
“Will you be honest with me?”
“Does my butt look big to you? I mean, seriously. Does it?” He turned around, sticking out the piece of anatomy in question. “Well, what do you think?”
While Scully fumed over stupidity, Mulder answered the ringing telephone. “Hello, may I help you?”
“Do you work with Agent Pierson?” came a woman’s rich voice.
“Does he seem a little…strange to you? Do you think he’s acting kind of weird?”
“Who are you?”
“I’m Persephone, his fiancée.”
Suddenly, Mulder burst into joyous laughter, hanging up the phone. He began doing cartwheels. “Yea!”
Scully watched him as he circled the room. “Mulder…” she began in a sweet tone which quickly turned vicious. “What in the hell are you doing?”
“Guess what, guess what, guess what, guess what!” he cheered like a child. “Sam Pierson—Mister Rico Suave, Mister Almost-Six-Months—is engaged!” He flung out his arms and accidentally knocked over a pile of stickers on Stahl’s desk.
Stahl instantly began to bawl. “Why did you do that?” he whined, sobbing incessantly. He sat on the floor and began to kick and scream.
Scully sighed and began to think. Stahl was supposed to be stiff-lipped and all-business. Pierson knew he was gorgeous and didn’t bother with his looks. And Mulder was not often verbally sympathetic. She had to consider herself as well and came to the conclusion that she was having PMS symptoms at non-PMS times.
Something was definitely wrong.
Orange Grove Hospital
Orange Grove, Florida
“Well,” Dr. Braidwood began after thorough examinations of the four agents, “I can’t find anything wrong with you physically.”
Scully sighed, pointing to Stahl. “He’s still sniveling like a baby, and he’s not—will you please shut up?!?—like that at all. And look at me. I’m having the worst mood swings of my life.”
“Could you possibly be pregnant?”
She glared at him. “Don’t even go there.”
“Going through menopause?”
She resisted the urge to slap him. “No,” she answered stiffly. She glared at Stahl across the room, who was begging a nurse for a lollypop. “Will you shut up?”
“Don’t yell at me, mean lady. It’s not my fault that you don’t like lollypops and suckers.”
Braidwood paused in thought. “Well, I suppose—”
“What?” Pierson asked. “Suppose anything because I swear this zit on my chin is getting bigger by the minute.”
Braidwood sighed. “I suppose that all this might have something to do with Green’s Funeral Home. My nephew Randy is the groundskeeper and said something strange went on there last night.”
“Like what?” Scully asked.
“I wanna go home,” Stahl whined. Scully looked at him.
“Bite me.” She turned back to the doctor.
“Voodoo,” was his answer. The boom of thunder outside was almost deafening.
“Voodoo?” Mulder repeated. “Doctor, can we borrow your lab? Come on, Scully. I need you to do some examining for me.”
“Mulder, this is not the time nor the place—”
“Not that. At least not now.”
Rolling her eyes, she pushed him in the direction of the lab.
“I still don’t see why we’re here.”
Mulder pulled a piece of a chocolate chip cookie out of his pocket. “I want you to examine this.”
“Any ingredients that aren’t in Grandma’s recipe.”
“Arsenic, chlorine, rat poison, the usual. Get cracking, G-woman.”
Mulder waited for Scully in the lobby. Pierson had left for his fiancée, by way of the day care for Stahl, to try on his entire closet for an outfit that didn’t make him look as large from behind.
Scully emerged from the laboratory. “Mulder, you were right. The cookie was laced with arsenic and another powder that I myself couldn’t identify. However, one of the other technicians told me it was a popular drug found in voodoo communities.”
“Such as this one.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “I say we go have a talk with Randy.”
Green’s Funeral Home
Orange Grove, Florida
Randy Braidwood took the weed whacker to the hedges, Metallica screaming in his ears via headphones. Not paying attention, he sliced a big hole into the bushes. “Aw, man!” He removed his headphones and turned off the machine. “Damn tool. The boss’ll be pissed!”
Mulder and Scully walked up behind him. “We’re looking for Randy Braidwood.”
“Aw, dude, look, the whacker just went bzz and ate those bushes for breakfast.”
“Yeah, but dude, it wasn’t my fault, okay? I was…never…here.”
“You are Randy, aren’t you?” Scully asked.
“Damn straight I’m horny!” He laughed out loud. “That’s the little joke I have for my name. That’s what Randy means in England, you know. I learned that from ‘She-wolf of London.’ It used to rerun on the Sci-Fi Channel. Did you ever see it? It was so cool, man, it—”
“So you are?” Scully interrupted angrily.
“Yeah, I’m Randy. Who are you?”
“I’m Special Agent Scully, this is Agent Mulder. We’re—”
“What, he’s not special?”
“—with the FBI,” she continued undaunted. “We understand that you saw something here last night.”
“Oh, right, the voodoo dudes.”
“Voodoo dudes?” Mulder repeated with a smile. “Can you tell us about them?”
“That’s where they buried the other dolls. There’s like five of them or something. I don’t know; I can’t count.”
Scully raised an eyebrow as Mulder asked the next question. “Could you show us where this grave is?”
“Yeah, dudes. Follow me.” He led them to a plainly marked site. ” ‘Here lies Gus Reid. He liked to smoke weed.’ ” He chuckled. “Just a little something I made up.”
Mulder knelt down. “This has been recently recovered.” Thunder rolled overhead. “Looks like a storm is brewing.”
“Yeah, man, anytime those freaky weird dudes bury stuff, it storms. Come to think of it, I have to go to my basement, get out the old water pump. Wonder if it works. Let’s go find out. See you feds later.” He dashed off in the opposite direction.
“I miss him already.” Mulder watched him walk away as Scully examined the fresh grave. “So what do you think?”
She stood up. “Mulder, yesterday while we visited the good doctor Minster, I noticed something on the floor. It looked like a small doll.”
“I don’t know, but I’m interested in what’s inside this grave.” She fetched some shovels. “Come on. Dig.”
“We don’t have a warrant.”
“Warrant? What’s a warrant?”
He grinned. “I like your thinking.”
An hour later
Scully stood in the pouring rain with her jacket off, wearing only her white blouse and slacks. Mulder leaned against a tree, staring at the four voodoo dolls they had found in the coffin of Gus Reid. He was particularly interested in the one that bore his name.
“Do you think it’s a very good likeness?” he asked, holding it up. “I think the hair is all wrong.”
“This is no time for vanity, Mulder. We need to call Sam about our findings before Doctor Minster finds us digging up his cemetery.”
“Too late, Agent Scully,” a haunting voice boomed. “Would you like me to call the police and have them arrest you for illegal unearthing of a gravesite or would you like to follow me?”
Scully threw down her shovel. “Call the police.”
“I don’t think so. You’d like it much better in jail, and I have such things planned for you! I’ve made tea and cookies. Freshly baked, peanut butter chocolate chip.”
Mulder took Scully’s arm and followed Minster. “Could you give that recipe to me? I’d love to kill some people, too.”
“So you discovered the secret ingredient: arsenic.”
“And a voodoo powder,” Scully added. “Do you practice faithfully?”
“You’re about to find out.” He ushered them into the building. “White blouse, Agent Scully. Not a good idea in a rainstorm.”
She put her arms around her, and Mulder was gracious enough to offer his jacket. “What do you want?”
“Just to carry out my religion without the government getting involved. Well, with the exception of a few government officials.”
A gorgeous brunette stepped out of the shadows. “Herman, you didn’t tell me we had guests.” She wore a tight red spandex dress that clung to every possible curve.
Mulder frowned. That voice… “Do I know you?”
“Vaguely.” She smiled with her blood red lips. “I’m Persephone.”
Scully swallowed, glaring in her partner’s direction. “Another one of your girls, Mulder?”
“On the contrary. Pierson’s girl.”
She frowned at him. “What?”
“This is Pierson’s fiancée.”
Persephone watched as Scully’s mouth dropped in horror. “That’s right, Agent Scully. It appears we have something in common.” She whispered in her ear, “Do you call him Special Sammy, too?”
“So where is Pierson?” Mulder asked. “Or have you killed him?”
“No,” she sighed. “I left him at home. He was going through his winter wardrobe when I slipped out.”
Minster laughed sinisterly. “Persephone, please take them to the guest room while we decide their fate.”
“Come on; follow me,” she said in a strangely chipper voice. “And remember, if you don’t follow the rules of the game, you’ll be killed.”
They followed obediently to a back room beyond the scarlet velvet curtains, beyond the office, beyond the cookie-scented kitchen, to a bedroom that looked as if it came out of a Holiday Inn.
“Here you go, enjoy your brief stay at Green’s Funeral Home, also known as the House of Death. By the way, if you want a quick and painless death, eat the mint on your pillow. If you want to wait for us, I’m sure Herman will come up with some elaborate plan.” She waved. “Ta.”
Scully raised an eyebrow. “There is something severely wrong with this place.”
“You just now realized that?”
She folded her arms across her chest. “So now what do we do?”
“Hey, wanna see if they have a Bible?”
“Mulder, this is no time to be finding your religion.”
“No. Remember when Frohike was telling us about the hidden cameras in hotel room Bibles? Well, let’s see if he’s right.”
“These people practice voodoo! They wouldn’t have a—” She watched him open the drawer and pull out the book. “Okay, so they do have a Bible.” While Mulder searched for hidden devices, Scully examined the remaining contents of the drawer. “Mulder, take a look at this.” She held up a doll that had Herman Minster’s name across the chest. “What do you think the point of this is?”
“I don’t know; maybe he likes pain.”
“I wonder…” She pulled a bobby pin out of her hair. She stabbed it into the doll’s leg. A scream could be heard across the building. “It works.”
“We could have fun with this, Scully.”
“Not now, Mulder. We have to get out of here.”
The door flew open, and a bleeding Minster stormed inside. “It’s time.”
“I don’t think so.” Scully jammed the pin into the shoulder and watched their captor fall over in pain. As he rolled on the floor, Mulder led Scully over the body and into the lobby.
Persephone looked up at them. “What are you doing?”
“We found Minster’s little doll,” Mulder informed her. “Thinking of taking over the business?”
She smiled at him. “You’d be surprised how well it pays. The money from the burials and the money from those interested in having dolls placed inside the dead.”
He looked nauseous. “You’re under arrest, Miss…Persephone.”
Later that evening
The four agents sat in a circular booth, feeling more like normal. They were quietly thinking about their ‘alter egos.’
Stahl held his head in his hands. I did not have stickers, I did not have stickers.
Pierson, grieving over the loss of his fiancée, was also worried about how to get all of his clothes back in his closet.
Scully was glad to be less moody but wished Mulder was still sensitive.
Mulder, on the other hand, was overjoyed that Scully and Mister Rico Suave were not going to get together, momentarily forgetting that he had arrested Pierson’s fiancée.
Pierson looked at Scully. “So when do you and Mulder leave, Dana?”
“Tomorrow morning. We still have one night at the glorious Coconut Bongo Motel.”
“Sans the Playboy Channel,” Mulder muttered under his breath. “Maybe I’ll hide out in Scully’s bathroom.”
“I heard that, Mulder,” she replied equally as quiet, sipping her vino rouge.
Mulder shrugged. “I still don’t understand why everyone has a brand new SteelWorks XL7316 Sports Model File Cabinet of the Millennium.”
“Don’t you know, Mulder?” Pierson asked. “It’s made especially for law enforcement agencies.”
“Yes. That’s probably how you got yours so cheaply.”
He sighed. “I’m sorry about your fiancée.”
Pierson shrugged. “We always did seem to have too much in common. We kind of rushed into the engagement. I wish I had thought it over. Like we did, Dana.”
Mulder quickly changed the subject. “I wonder how many other bodies had dolls in them.”
“We’ve retrieved the names of the families and are asking if the bodies can be unearthed then given a proper burial,” Scully answered.
“So, Scully,” her partner began, given her a curious glance, “do you finally believe in voodoo dolls?”
“It’s something I can’t explain.”
“Yeah, I figured it’d be something like that.”
Stahl held up his margarita. “I’d like to toast to our latest case. To voodoo dolls.”
“And severed hands,” Pierson added.
“To hotel Bibles, which led to the discovery of Minster’s voodoo doll,” mentioned Scully.
“And, last but not least,” Mulder grinned, “to extraterrestrials.”
They looked at him strangely.
They shrugged and clinked their glasses together. “Cheers.”
Florida State Prison
Two months later
Persephone tossed a sultry smile to the young man bringing her dinner. “Hi, there.”
“Hi,” he answered shyly, making sure no wardens were nearby. He could get in trouble if he was caught speaking to the prisoners. This one was too gorgeous to ignore.
“There is absolutely nothing to do in this silly little cell. Could you possibly get me a sewing needle?”
“We aren’t allowed to give sharp objects to inmates,” he said apologetically. “If you want to do some sewing, I might be able to procure an embroidery needle.”
“Really? Oh, that would be wonderful. I have some old fabric and thread, but the warden wouldn’t give me a needle.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” he whispered, smiling softly. He returned several moments later as promised.
“Oh, thank you so much!” She grinned. “I am forever in your debt.”
“So, uh…what do you sew?”
“Dolls,” she responded. “Would you like me to make one for you? It could be a very good likeness. I’ll even put your name on the doll’s shirt…if you’d be kind enough to tell me what it is.”
He hesitated slightly. “Darien. Darien Mitchell. With two ls.”
“Darien Mitchell.” A sinister smile crept upon her lips as she began to make the doll.