Burned At The Stake
Time-Line: Halloween Crossover story: X-Files/Hannibal. +Bump In The Night Halloween Crossover Challenge
Location: Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland.
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Files, this is written for fun not profit.
**Food descriptions come from Janice Poon, a food stylist for NBC Hannibal from her blog, "Feeding Hannibal"**
Scully stared at the projection screen in horror, it was nearly too grisly to comprehend. A woman had been burned at a stake, left in an isolated woods with only one leg and one arm still visible.
"What must this woman have gone through," Scully sighed.
Mulder flipped the switch on the projector and another image came to light. Written in her ashes visible enough to still be seen were the words, 'WITCH'.
"Someone is duplicating the Salem Witch trials, Mulder? Only this time in Baltimore?", Scully said, as Mulder watched her closely. "Satanic sacrifice, maybe? Meant to be disguised as a witch hunt? Or perhaps the perpetrator thinks she is in fact a witch and he see's himself as judge, jury and executioner?"
Mulder tapped a pencil against his lower lip and stared at the screen. He was unusually quiet and it unnerved her.
"Mulder?", she said, as a question laced with concern.
Mulder smiled in her direction. "Ever since her murder witnesses have claimed to see a woman appear and burst into flames."
Mulder pulled out the article from a corner store magazine and pointed to a drawn image of a burning witch.
Without batting an eye, Scully asked, "Are we assigned to this case?"
"Someone wants us on this case," Mulder said, handing her a slip of paper. "Someone sent this in my email."
"So are we investigating it?"
"That's the problem, it's already being investigated by the FBI," Mulder said.
"By who?", Scully said, growing concerned. Mulder was acting strangely. Instead of jumping up, ready to fly out the door to investigate a new X-Files, he was standing against the projection machine with a lost look on his face. "Mulder? By who?"
Mulder finally focused on Scully. "Jack Crawford and his new pet, Will Graham," he said, bitterly.
"Jack Crawford, the head of the Behavioral Science Unit, where you worked prior to starting the X-Files?", she said, crossing her arms in front of her.
"Yes, Jack knows me well."
"You were the golden boy, just as Will Graham is now," she said, matter of factually. "Let me guess, when you decided to leave to pursue the X-Files, he wasn't thrilled."
"He wasn't thrilled when I was there," Mulder said, shrugging his shoulders.
"Will Graham teaches at the academy," Scully said, standing directly in front of Mulder. "He suffers from anxiety, Asperger's and several other conditions," Scully stated. "I knew of him in passing when I worked at the academy," she sighed. "I hear he has a very unique way of visualizing the crime scene."
"I hear it's down right 'Spooky', yet no one ridicules him or calls him a freak!", Mulder scoffed. "I guess I already had that label."
"I guess chasing after little green men is worst in their eyes than having a mental challenge and seeing a crime scenes aura's." she said, locking eyes with Mulder.
Mulder shut off the projection machine. "No, I guess not."
"So, if it's already being investigated, why do you want us to investigate it, Mulder?"
"Because no one is investigating her appearances after-death, Scully!"
Scully shook her head and sighed.
"If we opened an X-Files, we'll need Skinner's back on this or Crawford could try to shut down our investigation, Scully."
"What reason do we have to investigate it, Mulder?",Scully questioned. "Scribbling witch into ashes doesn't make it an X-Files."
"Seeing an apparition of a Dead Witch is!", he smiled.
"Well, how do we investigate it without getting into trouble if there's already a team investigating her death?"
"We investigate it unofficially," he said, grabbing up his jacket. "We'll tell Skinner we're investigating an X-file and we'll report to him when we get the details."
Scully stepped in front of him. "Mulder, it'll be our asses on the line. I thought you said we needed Skinner to back us up? All it takes is for Director Jack Crawford or whoever is overseeing this to shut us down!"
"Are you in or out, Scully?", Mulder said, holding the door open.
Scully sighed heavily and exchanged glances with Mulder. "Fine," she said, grabbing up her jacket. "Unofficially, Mulder."
Scully donned blue scrubs and re-examined the already cataloged body parts, searching for anomalies that perhaps the coroner had missed. The arm was blackened from extreme heat but underneath the top layer of dead skin Scully could see a word etched into the flesh. She snapped a few photos and then moved on to the other remaining body part, the leg. There were no distinguishing features about the leg and so she quickly wrapped up her investigation.
Mulder stood outside the observation window waiting for Scully's initial conclusion. She waved for him to enter the autopsy bay. He covered his nose and reluctantly walked over to the table where Scully stood over the blackened burned body pieces. "I can confirm that this indeed belongs to a woman and after she had been burned, someone waited for her body to cool long enough to scratched the words, 'witch' into her arm, right here!", Scully said, pointing to the arm. "What a horrible way to die, Mulder and what a horrible thing to do to the body.."
"Truly," Mulder said, trying not to gag from the smell of burned flesh. "Whoever wanted her dead was passionate about killing her."
Scully looked into his eyes briefly before turning away.
"We don't even know who she is," Scully sighed. "First we need to find out if there's missing women between the ages 18 and 40 which is all I could determine," she said. "Whoever did this was sick, Mulder."
"Well, Scully," Mulder said, stepping away from the body parts. "I'll go check the databases to see if anyone has filed a missing persons report in the past week."
"Okay," she said, "I'll meet you at the local FBI office when I'm done."
Mulder nodded and quickly bolted through the doors leaving Scully all alone with the scorched fragments. She grabbed the camera and began to snap photos of the victim's right arm. "Whoever did this to you," she whispered. "We'll catch them and make them pay."
She turned and gasped, dropping her knife on the floor. In a pattern leading from the table where the arm and leg still lay were three outlined human feet made of ashes lead away from the table to the door where they disappeared. Scully grabbed the camera and began snapping the photos, afraid they might vanish as quickly as they had appeared. She then took several samples of the sand, locking it away to be later analyized. She knew that she and Mulder would be visiting the area where the victim had died and she could compare both samples of sand. Scully grabbed a broom and then swept up the remainder of the sand as she tried to contain herself. She was frightened but she kept her nerves in check and finished up her report before turning off the light and closing the doors of the autospy bay.
Baltimore FBI Headquarters:
Scully scanned the tops of the heads of the Baltimore field agents searching for Mulder as she walked past. She could see a few of the male agents were interested in her and so she smiled in their directions but moved through the crowd searching for her partner. Finally she spotted his tall lanky frame scrunched over a young FBI agent, his attention solely on the task in front of him.
"Mulder," she said, and instantly he turned in her direction, his attention now solely focused on her. "Oh hey, Scully. Did you bring the autopsy report?"
"I need to speak to you," she said, gesturing for him to step away from the other Agent who was assisting with their investigation.
Mulder stood up and followed her a few steps away. "Mulder, I can't believe I'm about to say this."
Mulder looked concerned. "What is it, Scully?"
She glanced up into his hazel orbs and sighed heavily. "After you left, Mulder...I turned around and there were footprints made of sand on the floor leading from the table to the door."
Mulder's interest was suddenly peaked as Scully handed him the photos.
"I know," she said.
"Well, we need to find our missing Witch."
"I'm still...", she said, crossing her arms in front of her. "Shaken up about it."
Using both hands, Mulder rubbed his hands up and down her arms. "It's okay," he said, soothingly. "Even though you're frightened...consider it her way of communicating with you."
"Communicating with me?", Scully said, alarmed.
"Yes!", he smiled. Scully's mouth gaped open as she stared at Mulder's soft bottom lip. He noticed but continued. "Maybe she knows we're trying to solve her murder, Scully."
She stared at him, searching his hazel orbs eyes and it calmed her. He continued to rub her arms and she was mesmerized at the warmth and sensations it caused her from his hands alone.
"Come with me," he said, placing his hand on his spot and guiding her back to where he had been sitting. A younger FBI agent was switching between tabs, searching the Missing Person's databases as well as the local Baltimore police reports for missing women within the past two weeks.
"So far," Agent Downing said, "There's just four leads. Two women are in their twenties missing from the local universities."
"Nothing unusual about a few missing girls from a college per year," Scully said, matter of factually. "A serial rapist, a jealous boyfriend, a drunk frat kid, an older married professor," she said, as Mulder watched her. "Those are your typical suspects. "
"The third woman was in her thirties and the other in her forties."
"It IS unusual for women in their thirties and forties to just vanish. Typically it's because of a domestic altercation and the killer is a spouse, a lover," Scully said, glancing briefly at Mulder much to his surprise. Her cheeks colored pink."What were the circumstances?", she said, clearing her throat.
Agent Downing read from the screen."One appears to be a domestic abuse case and the other just vanished. No one saw her disappear. All of her belongings including her credit cards, keys and purse were all still in her home. Her car was parked outside of her home," he said, handing her a photo of a pretty dark haired woman in her early 40's. "No one noticed her gone."
"What about a spouse? A roommate? Children?"
He continued to read on from the screen. "She lived alone and she didn't have any children. She was in and out of mental facilities and so when she vanished, no one assumed it was foul play. She was known to dabble in the Occult. Ah, She see's a therapist. A Dr. Hannibal Lecter."
Scully glanced up to the Mulder. "We need to know if the therapist knew her whereabouts or if he assumed she relapsed and had a break down."
Scully leaned over Agent's Downing's shoulder. "I see no diagnosis stated. Perhaps she was schizophrenic or Bipolar..."
"My gut says, she's our Witch, Scully," Mulder said.
"Katie Williams," Scully sighed."Well we'll have to find the rest of her," she said, shaking her head. "You want to visit the crime scene first or her home?"
"The crime scene has been picked at, Scully by Crawford and his team." he said, looking off. They gathered all of her ashes and you've already autopsied the body parts that did remain. No, I want to visit where she lived. Talk to the neighbor's. See if she had any friends, relatives or a boyfriend that would visit her. I'm sure the neighbor's would know better than most," he said, grabbing his suit jacket.
Scully grabbed the victim's photo in her hand as Mulder placed his hand on his spot on her back and he guided her out of the Baltimore FBI field office. For a split second, Mulder's hand crept over to Scully's right side, squeezing slightly sending a jolt through her entire body. He had never done that before. Scully shot a look up at him and he yanked his hand away embarrassed as they approached their government issued car. Scully stepped into her side and waited until Mulder sat in his before she turned to him. She stared down at his hands. They were so strong, so large and fit over half of her back. If only she could feel that sensation again, she thought to herself. She turned away and stared out the window, her thoughts clouded as they pulled off heading into Baltimore City.
Mulder paused at the entrance to the Cul De Sac that lead to Katie Williams home. The Baltimore metro police were parked directly in front of the single story home along with several non-descript vans they recognized as FBI issued.
"Must be Jack Crawford...", Mulder said, distastefully.
Scully reached out and touched his hand. "You ready?"
"Yeah," he sighed.
Mulder and Scully walked up the walkway but were stopped by the local police. After flashing their badges they gained entry into the home, but were stopped by Jack Crawford, who stood inside the foyer of the massive home. Scully could see several others standing inside the home, outfitted with gloves and evidence bags, all but one man who stood alone.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Agent Fox Mulder," Jack Crawford beamed, a twinkle in his eye. "What are you doing here, Mulder? I've got a team here already. No one authorized you or your partner to be here."
"We're here unofficially, sir," Scully answered.
"Unofficially?", Jack said, looking at Scully and then into the eyes of Mulder. "So, I take it Walter Skinner doesn't know you're here in Baltimore, correct? Still disobeying the rules, I see, huh Mulder?"
Mulder had stopped in his tracks the moment he saw Jack Crawford. Scully was surprised at Mulder's reaction to the taller man, She could see the tightening of Mulder's jaw, the slight twitch of his mouth. He was unnerved by Jack Crawford's presence and she didn't know why. Mulder stared into the eyes of Jack Crawford for a long while until finally Scully cleared her throat bringing him back to the present.
"We're here to determine if this is an X-files case or not."
A hysterical chuckle came from the back of the room. Scully looked past the three others and she focused on the one she had seen, a small man with curly brown hair who immediately looked away from them. Will Graham.
Mulder's jaw tightened further and his eyes settled back onto Jack Crawford. "I won't impede your investigation if you don't impede ours."
"One phone call, Mulder, and you won't have an investigation to work!", Jack threatened.
Mulder stared harshly at the taller man. "Sorry that I'm not your golden boy," he sneered. "We all couldn't be puppets lead around by our leashes!", he yelled.
Will glanced up in the direction of both Mulder and Scully. "Nice personal shot, Agent Mulder," Will smiled. "Too bad it doesn't really bother me. I'm aware of my shortcomings. My imperfections are what help me to solve cases. And I'm no puppet for any man."
Mulder looked past Jack to Will standing a few yards. "Well, just be fair warned," Mulder spoke directly to Will. "When you do walk away, be prepared to have him sabotage your career," he said, turning to look back at Jack Crawford.
Crawford chuckled. "I didn't have to do that, Mulder. You did that on your own...what with looking for flying saucers!"
Mulder shook his head, tired of the harassment.
"You were the best profiler we had!"
"Oh save me the bullshit!", Mulder screamed.
"And what, you're jealous that Will is now doing what you didn't have the balls to do?"
"Move out of my way, Crawford!", Mulder said. "Agent Scully and I are going to actually solve this case!"
Scully glanced at the rest of the team. She only recognized Will Graham from her days teaching at the Academy. Beside him was an Asian woman, and two other men who looked curiously back at her.
"Fine," Will said. "If you think you could do any better than I can..."
Mulder cut him off. "With your psychic mumble-jumble?", he sneered.
"Well," Will spoke. "I thought you believed in that sort of thing, Agent Mulder."
"True psychic's not psychotic's on the verge of a nervous breakdown being used like a puppet by Jack Crawford!", Mulder said pushing through the others and walking straight up to Will Graham, looking down into his eyes.
Will Graham laughed, avoiding his gaze."So what's your take on this case?"
"Did you know that people are reporting seeing her? That she appears and bursts into flames?"
The room erupted into laughter, all except Mulder and Scully.
"I think we'll continue with our investigation," Will said, dismissively.
"You've been warned," Mulder whispered. "I was you, Will Graham. Save yourself and go back to teaching before you're just another casualty."
Mulder turned and headed up the stairs leading to the second floor leaving Scully alone. Scully could see Will staring at her as if he recognized her. Scully could feel the intensity from her fellow agents as all eyes rested on her. She turned from Willl Graham and followed Mulder up the stairs.
"Mulder, what was that?", she questioned.
"It doesn't matter," he said, slapping on latex gloves and pulling out the dresser drawers examining each bit of clothing, searching for anything that would lead him to figuring out what had happened to Katie Williams. The presence of the other FBI agents had verified that she was the victim, he just needed a motive and to find evidence.
"So you just ditch me! Left me down there by myself!"
Mulder sighed and then turned toward her, placing a heavy hand on her arm. "Sorry, Scully. I just needed to get out of there."
"So, Crawford was what..."
"It doesn't matter,", he said, looking into her eyes and tucking a curl behind her ear. "Let's just search around so we can get out of here."
She nodded. "Okay," she said.
They searched around and Mulder dropped to his knees and looked under the bed. "Hey Scully...look at this. I think we had an X-Files like this once."
Scully pushed the linens out of her line of sight and she nodded. "Witchcraft and Satanism."
"Let's get a photo of this. "
"A photo of what?", Beverly asked, ducking in the room with them.
Scully turned to see the Asian woman wearing a black leather jacket.
Mulder rolled his eyes. "Do you mind?"
"You intruded in on our investigation, Mulder, so I'm intruding on yours," she said, kneeling next to Scully and Mulder and staring at the scratches in the wood floor. "Let's move the bed over."
Mulder shot a look at Scully and then stood up and with Beverly's help, they scooted the bed over.
"Nice," Beverly remarked. "Scratched with a sharp object. Three symbols. What does it mean?"
"It's for protection," Mulder announced. "And power."
Beverly sighed. "Umm huh," she said, snapping photos of the intricately carved eye in a triangle.
"These are Pentagrams," Scully asked.
"Yes, it is," Mulder said. "But the two of these are from Witchcraft while this one here is a Satanic symbol," Mulder said, looking at the last symbol. "It's a Satanic Star."
"Yeah?", Scully answered. "So did she graduate from witchcraft to Satanism?"
"Looks like," he sighed. " The Satanic Star is used in rituals, it's the main symbol representing Satanism."
"So, did she gain power? Is that why people are seeing her now or is she upset about being murdered?," Beverly interrupted. "You did say people are seeing her, right?"
Scully glanced at Beverly but she continued to snap photos.
"I don't know the answer to that," Mulder said.
Beverly stared back at them both. "Let's look around and see if there's proof that Katie Williams had crossed over from witchcraft into Satanism."
Scully sighed and then began to carefully to search around the room. She spotted something she had missed. "Mulder, look..."
Mulder walked over to Scully. He stared at the pill bottle in her hand. "It's Clozapine. It's a pretty strong anti-psychotic drug that was once banned but later reintroduced to the U.S. It's typically only prescribed to those who aren't responding to any other drugs. It has some pretty serious side effects, Mulder. Her doctor...a Dr. Hannibal Lecter didn't prescribe this lightly."
"Hannibal was the doctor?", Beverly said, snatching the pill out of Scully's hand.
Scully's eyebrows raised and Mulder could tell she was about to blow and so he placed his hand on her arm and mouthed, 'Calm down' to her. She stared into his hazel eyes and immediately relaxed.
"I know Hannibal," Beverly added.
"You do?", Mulder asked.
"He works with Will Graham. He's a well respected Psychiatrist here in Baltimore."
"So, he's a crackpot!", Mulder joked.
Scully's eyebrows rose. Mulder's smile diminshed. He knew she was reminding him that he too was a Psychologist.
Beverly seemed amused as she stared at the two other agents who were having a silent conversation as if the only two people that existed in the world were them. "Do you want his address and phone number?"
Mulder sighed."That would be helpful."
Beverly with a sly smile answered. "Well, Jack is a regular guest at his home and Will is his patient. You could ask either of them, save yourself a few extra steps..."
Mulder rolled his eyes and stepped out into the hall.
Scully smiled a curt smile at Beverly and then joined her partner out in the hallway.
"Let's get out of here, Scully."
Mulder and Scully walked back down the steps. Will Graham spotted Mulder and Scully but his eyes wandered away from him. Scully noted that he was severely impaired Aspergers though he was obviously functioning. Scully noted that Will Graham was unable to maintain eye contact for long and he seemed to distance himself from the others. Her attention though seemed to return to her partner and his needs.
Jack stood with his hands crossed. "Find anything? Perhaps she flew to that spot in the woods and lit the fire herself...drew WITCH into her own ashes. Perhaps the reason she's appearing is because it's close to Halloween! Is that a reasonable hypothesis, Agent Mulder?"
Scully placed a hand on his arm as Mulder glared.
"Katie Williams was a patient of Dr. Lecter," Beverly said, standing on the steps behind them.
"Oh really?", Jack smiled, wickedly. "Well, tell Hannibal hello when you see him. And let him know we'll be there as soon as we wrap up here."
"Come on, Mulder," Scully said in a soft voice she knew Mulder responded to.
He glanced down and locked eyes with Scully and then walked on with Scully hot on his heels.
Mulder stopped mid-stride and turned to face Will Graham.
Scully looked at him with curiosity. It was unusual, she knew, for him to approach someone having the problems he had. He wasn't completely unsocial but he seemed uncomfortable around others enough that it was noticeable.
"Dr. Lecter isn't home right now," Will said, as he looked at Mulder's tie. "He's at his therapist."
"Dr. Lecter has a therapist?", Scully said, surprised.
"Psychiatrist often need to seek therapy," Mulder added.
"What's his therapists' name?", Scully said, calmly so as to not startle Will Graham.
"Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier," Will answered as he looked above her head staring at her red hair. He shoved a piece of paper into Scully's hand.
She looked at the paper and looked up as Will Graham walked away. She opened the paper and noticed the address scribbled in what looked like chicken scratch. She looked back at Will as he disappeared into the home and Mulder tugged on her arm. She turned and walked with him to the car, heading towards the home of Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier.
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