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NEW YORK CITY
(Early evening. Inside a high rise office tower an elevator opens. A YOUNG WOMAN pushes her mail cart out of the elevator. When the wheels catch, she smiles her thanks as ALFRED FELLIG, mid sixties, helps her push it all the way out. She walks down the deserted hall delivering mail to several offices including Public Relations and Morgan Maxwell. At one point she looks back nervously and sees FELLIG watching her silently. He follows her on down the hall and back to the elevators. She punches the down arrow several times, then gets on quickly when the doors open. There are a few other people on the car. Just as the doors are almost closed, FELLIG stops them, and also gets on. FELLIG faces the reflective doors and we see that he sees all the other passengers in black and white. He pushes "17." They go down a floor, and FELLIG gets off to the YOUNG WOMAN's great relief. FELLIG turns and watches them as the doors close. As soon as the elevator starts down again, the lights begin flickering. There is a long pause, then there is the sound of tearing metal then of the snapping cable. The passengers scream as the elevator begins to freefall. FELLIG, who began running down the stairs as soon as he got off the doomed elevator, reaches the basement and gets out his camera. Emotionless, he watches the elevator doors shake and listens to the rushing wind and the screams of the passengers as the car hurtles downward and crashes before him. He begins snapping pictures as the doors crack open and a woman's arm limply falls out. Her fingers move once then fall still.)
(MULDER and SCULLY's desks in the FBI bullpen. Along with some other agents, they are both on their phones looking less than thrilled to be there. MULDER is playing with something. ?)
MALE AGENT: (on phone) Just a routine background check. Now, to the best of your knowledge has Mr. Wisnowski ever used any illegal drugs? Which illegal drugs?
MULDER: (on phone) Yeah, in the time that you worked with... Ms. Ermentrout did you find her to be a trustworthy person? (very bored) Punctual. Punctual is good.
SCULLY: (on phone) No, no, ma'am. This is just a routine background check. Mr... Mr. Garber is not in any legal trouble whatsoever. Yeah. Okay. Thanks for your time. (hangs up)
MULDER: (hand over the receiver) Hey, Scully maybe if we get really lucky next time they'll let us clean toilet bowls.
SCULLY: You ready to quit?
MULDER: No. That would make way too many people way too happy.
(SCULLY starts do dial another number, but stops and answers as the phone rings.)
SCULLY: Scully. (she listens) I'm on my way.
(SCULLY hangs up, then whispers to MULDER as she gets up from her desk.)
SCULLY: I've been called into Kersh's office.
(MULDER starts to get up. SCULLY stops him.)
SCULLY: (whisper) Just me.
MULDER: (surprised) Just you? (loudly calling out after her) Don't forget your toilet brush. (then quickly into the phone which he hadn't covered) No. No, ma'am, not you.
(KERSH's office. KERSH is looking at SCULLY's personnel file. SCULLY knocks at the door and enters. Another very young good-looking agent, PEYTON RITTER is with him.)
AD KERSH: Agent.
AD KERSH: Dana Scully, this is Agent Peyton Ritter with the Bureau's New York office.
SCULLY: (shaking his hand) Agent Ritter.
AGENT RITTER: Hi.
(RITTER looks nervously to KERSH.)
AD KERSH: Show her what you have.
AGENT RITTER: Uh, well, our office is currently updating its case filing system. While I was involved in this project-- scanning old crime scene photographs into the computer-- I came across this.
(He hands her a file containing a picture of a dead woman next to a clock.)
SCULLY: (reading) Margareta Stoller age 57, cause of death-- an overdose of Nitraz....
(SCULLY looks questioningly at RITTER and KERSH.)
AGENT RITTER: Take a look at when they found her.
SCULLY: (READING) A NEIGHBOR CALLED THE POLICE AT 11:14 p.m.
AGENT RITTER: So what's wrong with that picture?
SCULLY: The clock says that it's 45 minutes earlier. Well, a clock can be wrong.
AGENT RITTER: They certainly can. So, I checked the Post from the following day. These are straight from their photo files.
(Hands her more pictures of the same scene, but the clock shows a later time.)
SCULLY: Hmm. Almost an hour and a half later.
AGENT RITTER: Two different negatives, same photographer. (hands her FELLIG's file) The guy's name is Alfred Fellig. He's rattled around Manhattan for years. Apparently a stringer for the wire services and on-call guy for NYPD.
SCULLY: And you suspect this man Fellig? You think that Mrs. Stoller wasn't a suicide?
AGENT RITTER: This guy's into taking pictures, right? So I'm thinking, what if... what if he poisons this woman and gets his jollies by snapping a few of her dead body then winds up back in the same apartment an hour later, after Midtown North calls him over to do the job.
SCULLY: That's quite a theory.
AGENT RITTER: Yeah. Well, the thing of it is he might have done it on more than one occasion. Now, I sifted through probably 2,000 of his police photos. Now, these three have measurable solar shadows. And since we know the location in each case...
SCULLY: You can tell the time of day by the shadows.
AGENT RITTER: Right. And with it, these three are looking every bit as hinky.
SCULLY: (reading) You've got another suicide here a heart attack and a very obvious murder for which another man was convicted. There's no consistent MO.
AGENT RITTER: There's no consistent anything. I could sure use your help.
AD KERSH: (to RITTER) Agent, would you step outside, please.
AGENT RITTER: Sure.
(AGENT RITTER steps outside. KERSH closes the door and turns to SCULLY.)
AD KERSH: I would say he has a promising career ahead of him. So did you... at one time.
(SCULLY just looks at him with barely veiled hostility. )
AD KERSH: With your expertise in forensic pathology you would be a substantial asset to this investigation. I know it would provide more challenge to you than running background checks.
SCULLY: Agent Mulder and I will begin immediately.
AD KERSH: Agent Mulder's a lost cause. I'm taking the chance you're not. It's you and Ritter. Do not let me down.
(KERSH walks away. SCULLY sighs quietly and keeps her mouth tightly closed. )
PACIFIC STREET, BROOKLYN
(A city bus stops and a BLUE COLLAR WORKER, 50's, gets off. FELLIG watches him. The BLUE COLLAR WORKER is seen in black and white. BLUE COLLAR WORKER goes into his apartment. He is sweating, in pain. He sees FELLIG watching him through the window. Suddenly, the BLUE COLLAR WORKER grabs his arm in pain and falls to the floor in the throes of a heart attack. FELLIG enters the apartment and begins taking pictures of the dying man.)
(FBI bullpen. MULDER is looking at crime scene photos on his computer. SCULLY returns to her desk. MULDER doesn't look up.)
(SCULLY sees what he is looking at.)
SCULLY: What are you doing?
MULDER: Being nosy. (looking up at her wistfully) Eating my heart out. They're sending you on an X-File.
SCULLY: (packing up her briefcase) It's not an X-File.
MULDER: That's not what I'm reading. I'm thinking murder by telekinesis. I'm thinking maybe a shamanistic death touch. I'm thinking about the Muslim superstition that to photograph someone is to steal their soul.
SCULLY: Thank you. All very helpful.
MULDER: So they're splitting us up, huh?
SCULLY: This is a one-time thing.
MULDER: Who told you that? Obviously, if you do a good job they're not going to stick you back here.
(They look at each other. SCULLY sees AGENT RITTER enter the room.)
(SCULLY walks around MULDER and turns his monitor off as AGENT RITTER approaches them.)
AGENT RITTER: Agent Scully we're all set.
SCULLY: Peyton Ritter, this is Fox Mulder.
AGENT RITTER: It's a pleasure to meet you, Fox.
(MULDER doesn't rise from his chair as he looks intently at AGENT RITTER and shakes his hand.)
MULDER: (polite, but unenthusiastic) A pleasure to meet you, … Peyton.
SCULLY: We should get going.
AGENT RITTER: Off to New York.
(AGENT RITTER looks at MULDER again, then he and SCULLY leave. MULDER watches them go.)
15TH STREET PRECINCT, MANHATTAN
(SCULLY and AGENT RITTER hand FELLIG's file to a DESK SARGEANT sitting at a desk.)
AGENT RITTER: Alfred Fellig-- what can you tell us about him?
DESK SARGEANT: What's to tell? He's one of about 10,000 people in town who have an official license to piss people off.
SCULLY: Well, he sometimes doubles as a crime scene photographer for your precinct.
DESK SARGEANT: Yeah, he comes in, snaps a picture. Keeps to himself.
SCULLY: There's not much in the way of personal information there.
DESK SARGEANT: There's not supposed to be. It's just a yearly renewal form.
SCULLY: Would you happen to know when the original background check was done?
(DESK SARGEANT shakes his head.)
(Later, SCULLY and AGENT RITTER are in a storage room going through old files.)
AGENT RITTER: Here he is again. Yearly renewal dating back to January, 1970 but still no original.
SCULLY: I think I've got it. 1964.
AGENT RITTER: Old-timer. Anything interesting?
(SCULLY looks curiously at the pictures of FELLIG on the renewal forms.)
AGENT RITTER: What you doing?
SCULLY: Take a look at this.
(SCULLY sorts through the papers. FELLIG's pictures on each of the renewal forms. He looks the same age, about sixty-five, on each. 1996, 1992, 1987, 1985, 1973, 1971, 1967, 1964)
SCULLY: 1996... '87...'73
AGENT RITTER: The guy's a regular Dick Clark. I don't know what to tell you, Dana. Other than the fact that this guy's always been a geezer, this is looking like a dead end.
JEROME AVENUE, THE BRONX
(A YOUNG MAN WITH LIGHT UP SNEAKERS is running down a dark street pursued by another man.)
YOUNG MAN WITH LIGHT UP SNEAKERS: Help! Help! Somebody call the police! Man, what do you want from me? Are you crazy?
(He rolls across a car's hood. The woman inside the car looks frightened and drives off quickly.)
YOUNG MAN WITH LIGHT UP SNEAKERS: Help! Help me, please! Come on lady, please! Help me! Man, what do you want from me, man? No! No no no no!
(YOUNG MAN WITH LIGHT UP SNEAKERS screams as the other man grabs him and stabs him to death, then takes his sneakers and runs off when he hears the sound of a camera flashing up above him. FELLIG comes down a fire escape staircase and begins taking pictures of the dead man. He turns to see the murderer, MALCOLM WIGGINS standing beside him holding a knife. WIGGINS stabs FELLIG in the back several times, then runs off with the camera. FELLIG' fingers move, then weakly reaches back and pulls the knife out of his back and leaves it on the pavement in a pool of blood and walks off.)
(Bronx crime scene. Next day. SCULLY and AGENT RITTER look at the bagged bloody knife.)
AGENT RITTER: The prints are Alfred Fellig's. Positive match right off his 1964 background check. I took the liberty of slipping them into the SAFIS database. First thing this morning, boom! Up they came.
SCULLY: You're thinking this was Fellig's work?
AGENT RITTER: It's a lock. The wound measurements match with the knife. I'd say he got pretty sloppy in his old age.
(SCULLY looks down at the large blood stain left by FELLIG's wounds.)
SCULLY: What's this?
AGENT RITTER: A whole lot of blood.
SCULLY: Yeah. I got that.
AGENT RITTER: It's pretty clear he took a second victim.
SCULLY: Where's the second body?
NY DETECTIVE: They found your boy.
AGENT RITTER: Fellig? Where?
NY DETECTIVE: Home watching TV. They're bringing him in now.
AGENT RITTER: Yes!
(SCULLY does not look convinced.)
(Interrogation room at 15th St. Precinct. AGENT RITTER is geekily getting the recording equipment ready. SCULLY watches him as she paces. She is unimpressed.)
AGENT RITTER: Check. Check. January 4, 11:36 a.m. 15th precinct, Manhattan. Agents present: Dana Scully and Peyton Ritter. Initial interview with...
(AGENT RITTER looks up as FELLIG enters the room.)
AGENT RITTER: Alfred Fellig.
(FELLIG sits at the table. He seems to be moving a little stiffly as if he is in pain. AGENT RITTER places the microphone very close to FELLIG. FELLIG gives AGENT RITTER an odd look.)
FELLIG: (leaning forward to speak into the microphone uncomfortably) Hello.
AGENT RITTER: (tough guy) You're a photographer. I've seen, uh... seen some of your work. You, uh... specialize in some pretty dark subject matter. (showing some of FELLIG's pictures) You're, uh... you're around death a lot. It must... it must fascinate you. (FELLIG stares at him, waiting.) Am I... boring you, Mr. Fellig?
FELLIG: Ask me a question already.
AGENT RITTER: All right. I want to know how you always happen to be Johnny-on-the-spot every time somebody dies. You're always there to take the picture. How does that happen?
FELLIG: I have a... a nose for news.
SCULLY: (taking over) Mr. Fellig your fingerprints were found on a murder weapon at a crime scene. Could you give us a full accounting of your activities last night?
FELLIG: The Bronx. I was on the job. Saw some jibone stealing a kid's tennis shoes. He chased me. Ran off.
AGENT RITTER: He ran off? Some... unidentified murderer.
FELLIG: I guess I could identify him.
SCULLY: Your fingerprints were found on the knife. How did they get there?
(FELLIG murmurs uncomfortably.)
FELLIG: He left the knife behind. I guess I touched it... briefly.
SCULLY: Why would you do that? Were you injured Mr. Fellig? You seem to be in pain. Were you attacked? We found other blood at the crime scene and, when we have it tested I'm wondering if we're going to learn that it's yours.
FELLIG: I got cut some.
SCULLY: May we see?
(FELLIG stands and pulls his shirt off.)
SCULLY: May I help you?
(She pulls his bloodstained undershirt up showing several almost healed stab wounds on his upper back. AGENT RITTER opens the door and calls to one of the officers outside the door.)
AGENT RITTER: Hey. Hey, take Mr. Fellig to get his blood drawn. Photograph his back, too.
(The officers escort FELLIG out of the room.)
AGENT RITTER: (to SCULLY, confrontational) Hey, I'm confused. I thought we were trying to bust this guy not look for reasons to let him go.
SCULLY: (calmly) I thought we were looking for the truth.
(AGENT RITTER leaves the room.)
(Later, out in the main part of the station, SCULLY's cell phone rings.)
SCULLY: (on phone) Scully.
MULDER: (on phone, disguising his voice Thurston Howellishly - very cute) Hi. My name is Fox Mulder. We used to sit next to each other at the FBI.
(They both smile. SCULLY sighs.)
MULDER: (on phone, normal voice) How's your X-File coming?
SCULLY: (on phone) Mulder, it's not... (waits for AGENT RITTER to step away) We haven't made much headway. We arrested Alfred Fellig and we just released him.
MULDER: (on phone) You can't hold him? What about the stabbing?
SCULLY: (on phone) How do you know about that?
MULDER: I told you I'm nosy. Why are you letting him go?
SCULLY: (on phone) Well, we were able to pull another set of prints off of the knife. They belong to a convicted murderer by the name of Malcolm Wiggins.
(MULDER types WIGGENS name into his computer and pulls up WIGGEN's criminal file.)
SCULLY: (on phone) That and the fact that Fellig's blood was found all over the crime scene tells me that his story checks out. At least that particular story, anyway.
MULDER: (on phone) But you still think Fellig's a murderer, huh?
SCULLY: (on phone) I don't know what to think. (looks up as FELLIG passes her) He's, uh... unusual.
MULDER: (on phone) As in he, uh, plugs up like a cork when you stab him?
(MULDER is looking at an image of FELLIG's stabbed back on his monitor.)
SCULLY: (on phone) Mulder, where are you getting this stuff?
MULDER: (on phone) Well, young man Ritter has been sending progress reports to Kersh. My computer may have inadvertently intercepted a few of those. He's got nice things to say about you, though... mostly. Why don't you let me do a little background check on Fellig for you.
SCULLY: (on phone) Mulder...
MULDER: (on phone) Come on. It's, you know... it's what I do now. I'm getting good at it.
DEAN STREET, BROOKLYN
(Stakeout. AGENT RITTER is sitting in a car watching FELLIG's apartment. SCULLY opens the passenger door and gets in.)
SCULLY: I'm parked around the block.
(Hands him her keys.)
AGENT RITTER: Fellig's asleep. I haven't seen him move in over four hours. (sarcastically) Have a lovely evening.
(AGENT RITTER gets out and leaves. SCULLY slides over to the driver's side and looks through some more crime scene photos. She glances up at one of FELLIG's darkened windows and hears then sees him taking pictures of her. She sighs.)
(A few minutes later, inside the building. SCULLY knocks at FELLIG's door.)
SCULLY: Mr. Fellig, open up, please!
(He lets her in. She holds out the photo of the dead woman next to the clock that AGENT RITTER first showed to her in KERSH's office.)
SCULLY: Explain this.
SCULLY: You took that photo an hour before police arrived. You then purposely covered up that fact by photographing the scene again.
FELLIG: I don't think I remember that one.
SCULLY: You have, Mr. Fellig, a long and uncanny history of being the first person at the scene of a death. You also have a history of covering up that fact. Why?
FELLIG: Am I under arrest again?
SCULLY: Are you a murderer?
(He shakes his head slowly.)
SCULLY: Well, then explain yourself, sir. Because, I promise you until you do, you will not get a moment's peace.
(FELLIG sighs and picks up his camera bag.)
FELLIG: You want to take a ride with me? You come with me. I'll show you.
(An hour later. SCULLY and FELLIG are driving in his car in a bad section of the city.)
SCULLY: It's been an hour. Are we going to drive around all night?
FELLIG: Yeah. This is it. This is what I do. Looking for the shot.
SCULLY: What shot?
FELLIG: The shot.
(He stops the car near a prostitute.)
FELLIG: Her. She's about to die.
SCULLY: What... what are you talking about?
FELLIG: It could happen in the next minute, in the next hour but it'll happen. It's as plain as day.
SCULLY: Look, Mr... Fellig, I don't know what you're planning but nobody here is going to die.
FELLIG: (getting his camera ready) I'm not planning anything. I'm just here to tell you what's going to happen.
SCULLY: (disbelieving) That … that woman right there is going to be murdered?
FELLIG: I didn't say "murdered." She's a smoker. She might die of lung cancer. The "how" is always a surprise. I... I just always know "when."
SCULLY: You want me to believe that?
(A man comes up to the HOOKER and begins hassling her.)
HOOKER: Get out of my face. Get off me!
(FELLIG turns on his camera. SCULLY gets out of the car and runs up to the HOOKER and the man who is arguing with her. She grabs the guy and pushes him to the ground and handcuffs him.)
SCULLY: FBI! Don't move!
HOOKER HASSLER: Damn, man! Where'd you come from?
SCULLY: Shut up! Get down! Back up!
HOOKER: (taunting) You're not such a big man now!
(SCULLY takes a gun from the man and looks over at FELLIG who is snapping pictures.)
HOOKER HASSLER: That gun ain't mine, Red.
(SCULLY backhands him in disgust. Not hard. An "I'd hit you a lot harder if I wouldn't get in trouble, you scumbag" slap.)
SCULLY: (to HOOKER) You all right?
HOOKER: I'm out of here.
(The HOOKER steps off the curb and is immediately hit and killed by a very large truck. SCULLY stares in shock at the dead woman under the truck as FELLIG drives off.)
(NEXT MORNING. 8:00. Precinct station. AGENT RITTER angrily runs up to SCULLY who is processing the HOOKER HASSLER. SCULLY looks dirty and exhausted.)
AGENT RITTER: Dana, what the hell is going on?
SCULLY: Assault and possession of an unregistered handgun. I'll be with you in a minute.
AGENT RITTER: Why didn't you call me sooner?
SCULLY: I apologize.
AGENT RITTER: What, you blew off the surveillance?
(SCULLY keeps her mouth tightly closed and leads him into a private room.)
SCULLY: No offense, but the surveillance was blown before I got there.
AGENT RITTER: So, wait, wait-- you blew off the surveillance and what, took a little joyride with him?
SCULLY: I confronted Fellig. I questioned him further about his involvement in the deaths that he photographed. Is that okay with you?
AGENT RITTER: What did he say?
SCULLY: He said that he can tell when people are about to die. Look, if New York passes a Good Samaritan law we might be able to nail him on that but other than that, I doubt we're going to get him for murder.
AGENT RITTER: Wrong. Let me show you something.
(He leaves the room. She hesitates a moment then follows him into an observation room. Through the one way glass they see WIGGINS, the man who killed the KID WITH THE LIGHT UP SNEAKERS.)
AGENT RITTER: They picked up Mr. Wiggins last night. Now, he says that it was Fellig who killed that kid in the alley, not him. He said he just happened along and he had to fight for his life.
SCULLY: A convicted murderer half Fellig's age.
AGENT RITTER: He said he would have come in on his own but he said he was afraid we wouldn't have believed him.
SCULLY: He's right. Tell me, Ritter, did he have any help concocting that story?
AGENT RITTER: (defensive) Look, Fellig is a murderer. Whether or not he did this specific one, I don't care-- not if it buys me a few days in the box with him.
SCULLY: No judge is going to issue a warrant based on this.
AGENT RITTER: No, no, no. I know the judge. We'll have it by noon.
(SCULLY stares at him, then turns away.)
AGENT RITTER: You know, Kersh warned me about you.
SCULLY: Uh, he did?
AGENT RITTER: Yeah-- you and your partner. God knows his reputation precedes him so I guess I should have seen this coming. You muck up my case, and Kersh'll hear about it. Are we clear, Dana?
SCULLY: (coldly correcting him) Scully.
(Her cell phone rings.)
SCULLY: And we're done with this conversation.
(AGENT RITTER leaves. SCULLY answers her phone.)
SCULLY: (on phone) Yeah?
MULDER: (on phone) Hey, Scully, uh, how's that X-File coming? And before you tell me that it's not an X-File...
SCULLY: (on phone) It is.
MULDER: (on phone) What happened?
SCULLY: (on phone) Alfred Fellig seems to know an awful lot about death.
MULDER: (on phone) Oh, yeah? Well, that's not surprising, given that he's reached the ripe old age of 149.
SCULLY: (on phone) Excuse me?
MULDER: (on phone) I did a little low-tech background check on him. This stuff is so old that they don't even keep it on record on the computer but Alfred Fellig doesn't exist before 1964 but one Henry Strand does. He applied for a press pass from the Jersey City police in 1939 at the age of 53. His prints match Fellig's.
SCULLY: (on phone) But Mulder, that must be some kind of a mistake.
MULDER: (on phone) You think? Because this Henry Strand does not exist before 1939. However, one L.H. Rice is on record as having sat for the New York State civil service exam. Now, the records don't show whether he passed or not but his thumbprint? Fellig's. Want to know what L.H. Rice's birthday is? April 4, 1849. I'm not good at math, but I'm figuring that's a whole lot of candles on the cake.
SCULLY: (on phone) I have spent time with this man and-and he can't be more than 65 years old.
MULDER: (on phone) I-I think that's what he wants you to think. Now we're talking about a guy for whom the phrase "life in prison" carries some seriously weighty connotations. I think you should get to him before he vanishes and becomes someone else.
(Day. FENNIG walks up to his apartment building and sighs as he passes SCULLY who turns and follows him up to his rooms. He places his camera bag down beside the police scanner.)
SCULLY: You are going to be arrested, Mr. Fellig, in two hours, charged with murder, and this time you won't be able to just change your name.
FELLIG: I showed you what I do last night. I just take the pictures.
SCULLY: What you showed me was a contemptible lack of compassion for another human being. You showed me that you profit off of people's deaths. Now, why shouldn't you go to prison?
FELLIG: What, do you want me to cry for them? You want me to make like I feel sorry for them? I don't. Lucky bastards. Every one of them.
FELLIG: I'm just there to get the shot. I don't take those people. He does.
SCULLY: Who's he?
(FELLIG goes behind a hanging blanket to a darkroom area. After a moment, SCULLY follows. FELLIG turns on a small light and shows her a picture of a dead girl with a blurred image above her.)
FELLIG: That's him. He's the one who takes them.
SCULLY: You're saying that this is a photograph of Death itself?
FELLIG: It's a glimpse, just a glimpse. It's closer than I've gotten in... well, I-I can't even count the years.
SCULLY: And this is the shot that you spoke of-- this is... what you try and get?
SCULLY: Mr. Fellig, I know... that you know more about photography than I do but this is just a lens flare.
FELLIG: You're right. I do know more about photography than you do.
SCULLY: (sighs) Okay, I mean... mmm … for the sake of argument... why bother? I mean, why... why take a picture of Death?
FELLIG: So I can look into his face. So I can die. Pills don't work. Razors... (shows SCULLY his scarred wrists) … gas... bridges--- I can't tell you how many bridges I've jumped off of. All I get is wet. I got left behind. I don't want to be here anymore. I can't even remember a time when I did. And... this... this is all I know... to do.
SCULLY: You know I don't believe you.
FELLIG: Yes, you do. That's why you're here.
(SCULLY looks at the pictures again. One is very old. A dead woman from the 1920's. Signature at the bottom is Louis Brady Photography, 1928 or 1925.)
SCULLY: How is it you know when people are about to die?
FELLIG: Oh... You chase it long enough you pick it up.
SCULLY: Excuse me.
(SCULLY steps out into the hall. She is very tense and nervous. She dials her cell phone. MULDER picks up in the middle of the first ring.)
MULDER: (on phone) Mulder.
SCULLY: (on phone, very quietly) Mulder, it's me.
MULDER: (on phone) Hi.
SCULLY: (on phone) Those other two names that you said that Fellig went by-- Strand and Rice...?
MULDER: (on phone) Yeah. Henry Srand and L.H. rice.
SCULLY: (on phone) What about Louis Brady?
MULDER: (on phone) Uh, no, but there's a... there's, like, a big gap before 1939.
SCULLY: (on phone) Will you check it out for me?
MULDER: (on phone) Absolutely, yeah.
(FELLIG is in the doorway listening.)
SCULLY: (on phone) I'm sticking here to make sure he doesn't bolt. Louis Brady, Mulder. Tell me what you find out.
(SCULLY hangs up and goes back into the darkroom.)
SCULLY: Mr. Fellig?
(FELLIG bumps into her.)
FELLIG: Oops. Excuse me. I have some film out. Hold on a second.
(He turns off her cell phone, which he just stole from her pocket, and places it on a shelf then turns the light back on.)
(MULDER finds an old file on LOUIS BRADY. He is a murderer from the 1920's. Case # 50-0026. It was never closed.)
(In New York, AGENT RITTER is driving. His cell phone rings.)
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) Ritter.
(MULDER is at his desk quickly stuffing files into a case.)
MULDER: (on phone) Agent Ritter, it's Agent Mulder. Is Agent Scully there with you?
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) No, she's not. Nobody seems to able to find her.
MULDER: (on phone) Me neither, and D.C. Cellular says her phone is turned off.
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) What can I do for you, Agent?
MULDER: (on phone) Well, you can find her for me.
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) Listen, Agent Mulder, I'm on my way to arrest Alfred Fellig.
MULDER: (on phone) Good, because that's where I think she is. And you were right, Fellig is a murderer. Under the name of Louis Brady, he suffocated two patients in a Connecticut hospital. He says he meant to catch up with death. One year into his prison sentence he walked off a work detail. The manhunt never officially ceased.
(MULDER is leaving the office.)
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) When was this?
MULDER: (on phone) 1929.
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa-- when?
MULDER: (on phone) Look, Ritter, don't sweat the math. It's him. Just get there and find Agent Scully.
AGENT RITTER: (on phone) All right. I'm on it.
(FELLIG's darkroom. SCULLY watches as FELLIG works with some film.)
SCULLY: You know, most people want to live forever.
FELLIG: Most people are idiots. Which is one of the reasons I don't.
SCULLY: I think you're wrong. How can you have too much life? There's too much to learn, to experience.
FELLIG: 75 years... is enough. Take my word for it. You live forever, sooner or later you start to think about the big thing you're missing and that everybody else gets to find out about but you.
SCULLY: What about love?
FELLIG: What, does that last forever? 40 years ago I drove down to the city hall, down to the hall of records... record archives, whatever they call it. I wanted to look up my wife. It ... bothered me I couldn't remember her name. Love lasts... 75 years, if you're lucky. You don't want to be around when it's gone.
(Looks back at SCULLY, then quickly looks at her again in surprise. She is very tired, rolling her head as if to relieve a cramp in her neck. He sees her in black and white.)
FELLIG: Count your blessings.
(She looks up at him curiously.)
SCULLY: Why are you this way? I mean, if this is true give me something in the way of proof... help me find some science that I can hang this on.
(FELLIG is loading his camera.)
FELLIG: It has nothing to do with science. Someone took my place.
SCULLY: Took your place?
FELLIG: I don't know her name. I don't think I ever knew it. I had yellow fever way the hell back then when it killed half of New York. Washington Square Park was a common grave they had so many bodies. They'd bury them shallow. They wrapped them in-in yellow sheets and the yellow sheets would stick up through the mud. I was in a city-run contagion ward. I was out of my head with fever... out of my mind. And I saw him-- saw Death. Wish I had had a camera then. At first, I... just saw him out of the corner of my eye. Then he got bolder and he started flitting around the room and he'd take this person and he'd take that person and I never saw his face. I didn't want to see his face. I figured if I saw it, he'd take me, too.
SCULLY: But he didn't.
FELLIG: No. There was a nurse. She did the best she could. Back then, medical science was... they couldn't find their ass with both hands-- they still can't-- but she did the best she could. She sat with me, held my hand and I was on my deathbed and he came for me. I didn't look at him. I closed my eyes and turned my head. I didn't tell her not to look at him. I wanted her to look at him... I wanted her to look at him instead of me. And then I came to and the fever broke. They were carrying her out wrapped up in a yellow sheet. Since that time I realized you got to be careful what you wish for. I missed my chance. You're very lucky, you know that?
SCULLY: What do you mean? (no answer) Wait a minute. Say what's on your mind. You mean lucky like the others? You want me to believe that I'm about to die?
FELLIG: I just want to take the picture.
SCULLY: You took my picture. You took my picture last night. Is this why?
FELLIG: No, that was different.
SCULLY: I'm not going to die! (he turns on the camera) Turn that off.
(SCULLY grabs his arm and they struggle as she pulls him to a table.)
SCULLY: Turn it off right now! Put it down!
FELLIG: There is nothing to be done for it.
(She handcuffs him to the table, looks at her watch, then frantically searches her pockets for her missing phone.)
SCULLY: You took my phone. Why?
FELLIG: Please, just give me a chance.
SCULLY: What don't you want me to know?
FELLIG: He's coming….
SCULLY: What don't you want me to know!?
FELLIG: He's coming and you should just make your peace.
SCULLY: Shut up!
(The front door crashes open.)
FELLIG: He's here.
(SCULLY shields her eyes as in slow motion the darkroom blanket is lifted and a figure steps in, gun raised. FELLIG raises his camera. The gun fires, shattering the camera lens and going on through FELLIG who falls to the floor. SCULLY stares straight ahead in shock at AGENT RITTER who is still holding the gun.)
AGENT RITTER: Agent?
(He sees the bullet wound in her stomach and runs to her as she slides to the floor leaving a smear of blood on the wall behind her.)
AGENT RITTER: (almost crying) Oh, god. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no...
(He presses his fingers against the wound, then against her neck to check her pulse. Blood is now everywhere. He dials his phone with shaking hands.)
AGENT RITTER: Come on... Come on... Dammit!
(AGENT RITTER runs out and yells down the hall leaving FELLIG and SCULLY alone.)
AGENT RITTER: We need some help in here!
(FELLIG takes off the shattered, bloody camera and picks up a smaller camera and gets ready to take a picture of SCULLY as she dies. He looks at her through the lens for a moment, then puts down the camera and takes her hand. Blood is now trickling from her mouth.)
FELLIG: (gentle) Do you see him? Do you see him? Don't look. Close your eyes.
(Still in black and white, SCULLY's eyes slowly drift close. He looks down at their clasped hands. His arm slowly fades into black and white, hers goes back to color. He looks up in awe at the bright light and everything fades away.)
NYU MEDICAL CENTER
ONE WEEK LATER
(MULDER stands outside SCULLY's hospital room watching AGENT RITTER talk to her. AGENT RITTER comes out of the room.)
MULDER: (flatly) You're a lucky man.
(AGENT RITTER, having no response, walks away. MULDER enters SCULLY's room, smiles warmly, and takes her hand for a very intimate handhold. )
MULDER: Coroner's report came back on Fellig. Says he died of a single gunshot wound. That's all it said. (sits on the bed beside her) Well, I, uh... talked to your doctor and... he says you're doing great. You're making the fastest recovery he's ever seen.
SCULLY: Yeah, Mulder, I don't even know how I entertained the thought. People don't live forever.
MULDER: No, no, I-I... I think he would have. I-I just think that … that death only looks for you... once you seek its opposite.
(They look at each other for a long moment.)