Title: Canticle

Author: CeilidhO

Summary: Four years after the capture of serial killer George Hoffman, Mulder and Scully's new life together is shattered when an unexpected visitor sweeps them into a new case, more terrifying and deadly than either could have imagined. (Sequel to "Disciple")

Disclaimer: Chris Carter and 1013 own the rights to Mulder, Scully, and all characters and concepts from the series. I, however, am the proud owner of all characters and situations I invented myself. All mine…

- - - -

Salt Lake City, Utah
June 30, 2003
2:04 am

The People magazine was open on the card table, the glossy pages rippled and gleaming in the faint glow from the streetlamps outside the third floor window. The room was cast in liquid shadow, the corners as dark as the blackest velvet, the rest of the space shifting orange and grey with the advent and retreat of passing headlights. They swept around the room like a searchlight as the cars rumbled past, but somehow the corners remained veiled and pitch dark. There was a small shift of motion in the farthest corner, but it was soon still.

From its perch on the low table, the magazine trumpeted: UTAH KILLER CAUGHT: HIS OWN SON THE ONLY SURVIVOR! Underneath, in slightly less abrasive tones, it read: George Hoffman wreaked havoc on the Four Corners states for nearly six years. Now, his only surviving victim, his own 9-year-old son, tells us his story.

The magazine went on to recount, in some detail, the life of one Judas Laurence Hoffman, the only child of George and Miriam: about his parents divorce, his mother's death four years ago, being raised by the kindly neighbors. It told, in the kind of hushed glee that only gossip mongerers can muster, of how, three weeks earlier, his father had gained custody of the small boy at the height of his killing spree, and planned to make Judas his final victim.

The opposite page featured small school photographs of each of the other eleven victims, and glossy photos of the ambulance loading Judas in, lit by harsh flashbulb, two exhausted looking FBI agents emerging from the dark warehouse behind the swirl of fluorescent activity in the foreground.

The story continued after that, with more lurid photos and monstrosities of violence described in breathless detail, but the boy in the corner had grown too sickened after the third page and had left the article sprawled where he had left it.

He had found the magazine in the back of his new foster parents linen closet, bought with the titillation of celebrity and hidden with the nausea and shame that follows. The recognition of the reality of the small boy's torments had buried the People in the darkness of the back shelves, but his restless despair had found it again, dragged it up to the shadow of his room, and read it with mounting horror as the night crept in. The hours after he had shoved away the pages had been filled with stillness and sickness and his desperate loneliness and fear. Midnight had come and gone, but he had barely noticed the passage of time, marking it only by the flashing swing of headlights across the far walls.

He stirred again, and suddenly a thin, pale hand slipped out into the shifting light. It flicked the thick page of the magazine to a typically blurry photo of a man in his early fifties, with a strong nose and piercing black eyes topped with obsidian dark hair. The caption decreed: The killer in front of his Salt Lake City home, an unassuming house in a good neighborhood. A delicate finger stroked the image, captivated by the man trapped inside it. A moan crept out from the darkness.


The black corner jumped with the wrenching sob of the object within. It let out a sharp cry as the sudden movement tore at the stitches that held together the delicate flesh of its back, that bound the slashed canyons of his bloody wings.

In the infinite night of the lonely foster home, Judas Hoffman cried and cried until his hands dripped tears like blood, until the room echoed back the desperate sorrow of his screams, until he dried out his throat and his heart and his lungs, until he felt himself shrivel up and pucker together like the scars that rent his body.

He cried and cried until he faded deep into unconsciousness, and into the pitiless world of nightmares.

- - - - - - - - - - -

A/N: Hey all! The final installment in this series is now at hand. I'd love to know what you think, and if you're still interested in this storyline/ series. In other words, please review! (And next chapter, we rejoin our valiant heroes, Mulder and Scully!)

The River is on hold, because it's really pissing me off and I want it to be perfect. So this is to tide you over until I can fix it.

Thanks, Ceilidh