"The Gift" ~8x11~
(Dark and stormy night. A MAN is driving a car along a rural road. He stops in front of a house and gets out of the car. His casual clothes are already wet. Leaving the headlights on, he goes up to the front porch, small pistol in hand. On the front door is a circular symbol with a cross in the middle of it. The MAN goes into the house. Another man, PAUL HANGEMUHL, 30's, sees him enter. He recognizes the MAN.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Marie!
(His wife, MARIE HANGEMUHL, small and pale, red hair, dressed in a nightgown, also sees him. She is upset and pleads with the MAN.)
MARIE HANGEMUHL: No! Please!
(In a doorway, we see the shadow of a CREATURE. It is shaped like a man, but the features are distorted and the hair is long and unkempt. The MAN looks into the haunted eyes of the CREATURE, then fires three shots. The CREATURE falls to the floor. MARIE HANGEMUHL cries out in horror and runs to her husband's arms. He holds her as she sobs. The MAN goes back out of the house and gets into the still-running car. He sets the gun down on the seat next to him. For the first time, we see that it is MULDER. He stares at the gun for a moment, then looks up at the house sadly, and drives off again into the storm.)
(Day. DOGGETT is driving a Pennsylvania rental car, license 633-06M, along the rural road. He is remembering conversations that he had with SCULLY in the season premiere episodes Within/Without about the search for MULDER.)
FLASHBACK SCULLY: Mulder was dying... it's all right here. For a year he was going to doctors.
(SCULLY, her voice breaking, is showing a file to SKINNER.)
FLASHBACK SCULLY: There's a clear record of his decline.
(Present day shot of DOGGETT remembering.)
FLASHBACK DOGGETT: How well did you really know him? How far would Mulder go?
(He and SCULLY are talking in the office. SCULLY stares at hm.)
FLASHBACK SCULLY: How far would he go for what?
FLASHBACK DOGGETT: The truth... his truth.
(Present day. DOGGETT remembering.)
FLASHBACK DOGGETT: Whatever you and I may differ on...
(With SCULLY again.)
FLASHBACK DOGGETT: I'll find him, Agent Scully.
(SCULLY looks up at him from her hospital bed. It was after her collapse in Without.)
(Present day. DOGGETT, in his gray Dodge Stratus, passes a sign welcoming him to the town of Squamash, Pennsylvania. He pulls up in front of the Sheriff's office and goes up to the door. SHERIFF KURT FREY, a big good ole boy, around 40, watches DOGGETT suspiciously as he gets out of the car then goes to greet him.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: You must be Special Agent Doggett. I'm Sheriff Frey. Just call me Kurt.
(They shake hands.)
DOGGETT: I appreciate the help, Kurt.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Shame to have you drive all the way up here on a Saturday. Hate to say you're wasting your time.
DOGGETT: Not if you confirm what you told me before.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Yes, sir. Agent Mulder was here, all right... last spring.
(He opens a file cabinet.)
DOGGETT: You said on the phone Agent Mulder was investigating a missing woman, Marie Hangemuhl.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Well, she wasn't exactly missing. He wasn't exactly investigating, either.
DOGGETT: I'm not following you.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: It was a false report. Marie never even left the house. The only reason Agent Mulder found out about it was because Marie's sister got all excited about nothing. There. See for yourself.
(He hands DOGGETT a file.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Say, I've got some hot coffee and a danish here if you're interested.
DOGGETT: No, thanks.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: You know, if you don't mind me asking, Agent Doggett, what's your interest? I mean, I was actually surprised that one FBI agent gave this case a thought.
(SHERIFF KURT FREY pours himself a cup of coffee.)
DOGGETT: It's not so much the case as it is the agent. Agent Mulder disappeared last May.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Sorry to hear that. I still don't see what that has to do with us.
DOGGETT: Did Agent Mulder have a personal connection here-- something that might not be in your report?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: No, I don't think he'd ever been to Squamash before, as far as I know.
DOGGETT: I have cell phone records showing that Agent Mulder came back here the week before he disappeared.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: What for?
DOGGETT: That's what I want to know. It's my job to find him.
(Later there is a knock at the HANGEMUHL's door. PAUL HANGEMUHL answers it and sees SHERIFF KURT FREY and DOGGETT.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Kurt?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Paul, this is Agent Doggett from the FBI. He'd like to ask you and Marie some questions.
(PAUL HANGEMUHL is not thrilled with the idea, but allows them to enter and calls to his wife.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Marie, can you come out here a minute?
(MARIE HANGEMUHL looks even smaller and paler than she did in the teaser. She has been washing dishes. She is in a sweater and skirt and looks tired and ill. PAUL HANGEMUHL is very protective of her.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: This is an FBI agent. He wants to ask us a few questions. (to DOGGETT) What's this all about?
DOGGETT: A colleague of mine, Fox Mulder, questioned you last spring.
PAUL HANGEMUHL: (defensive) Come on, Kurt. This again? Look, this was a personal matter that's been blown way out of proportion.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: He's not investigating you, Paul. He's investigating Agent Mulder.
DOGGETT: If you could tell me what you and Agent Mulder talked about…
(Flashback, either PAUL'S or DOGGETT seeing it through PAUL'S eyes: MULDER is talking to PAUL HANGEMUHL and MARIE HANGEMUHL. MULDER presses his fingers against the bridge of his nose as he asks the question. He looks as if he is in pain.)
MULDER: You told your sister you were going to disappear, Mrs. Hangemuhl. Tonight.
(SHERIFF KURT FREY is standing nest to the couch, his hands on his belt.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: I told you already. We had a fight, she was going to leave, not disappear.
MULDER: I'm talking to your wife.
(SHERIFF KURT FREY shifts uncomfortably. MULDER focuses on MARIE HANGEMUHL.)
MULDER: Mrs. Hangemuhl.
MARIE HANGEMUHL: (quietly) It's what he said. My sister lives out of state. I was going to go... I didn't want her to worry.
MULDER: You told your sister a story, a story you were afraid of?
PAUL HANGEMUHL: This is crazy. There is no crime here!
MULDER: I don't think you were going anywhere tonight, Mrs. Hangemuhl. I think someone or something was coming here. And I think maybe it still is.
(She doesn't look at MULDER.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: (angry) We had a fight. We patched things up and that was the end of it.
(Present day. DOGGETT approaches the HANGEMUHLS.)
DOGGETT: The Sheriff's report says that Agent Mulder spoke to you on Saturday, May 6th.
MARIE HANGEMUHL: (uncomfortable) Yeah, I-I guess so.
DOGGETT: Did you see Agent Mulder again that night?
(Flashback of MULDER firing the three shots into the creature.)
(Present day. PAUL HANGEMUHL takes a breath and speaks…)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: No, he never came back.
DOGGETT: According to his cell phone records, he did. To this area, anyway.
(They have no answer. DOGGETT notices a large medical machine against one wall.)
DOGGETT: What's that there? Is that a dialysis machine?
PAUL HANGEMUHL: My wife suffers from end-stage renal failure. She's a very sick woman.
(DOGGETT nods and looks down.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Anything else?
DOGGETT: One thing. This someone or something Agent Mulder said might be coming?
MARIE HANGEMUHL: I just told my sister I was afraid of the stories. That's all, I didn't mean...
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Let me ask you something, Agent Doggett. Was this Mulder guy sick? Sick in the head, I mean? Is that why you're checking into this?
DOGGETT: What stories, Mr. Hangemuhl?
PAUL HANGEMUHL: An Indian folk legend about a creature who lives out in the woods.
(They both look at MARIE HANGEMUHL.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: I've heard these stories since I was a kid. So your colleague twisted it into a theory that she was going to disappear, all right 'cause this creature was coming to eat her.
DOGGETT: Eat her?
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Alive.
(DOGGETT and SHERIFF KURT FREY head back outside to the SHERIFF's truck.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Like I said, Agent Doggett, I hate to waste your Saturday.
DOGGETT: The Hangemuhls own a gun, Kurt?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: No, I don't think so. Why?
DOGGETT: I saw three holes plastered over in their living room wall.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Gunshots?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: You want to go back and ask 'em?
(They get into the truck.)
(MULDER's apartment. DOGGETT uses a lockpick and enters the apartment and begins searching through drawers. A light coating of dust is on the desk and there are a few spiderwebs under the table. He feeds the fish way too much food. They seem to be doing quite well, despite MULDER's absence. Perhaps SCULLY comes over to nap every once in a while. He looks through books in athletic shoe boxes. MULDER has lots of umbrellas. No one has taken out the trash, however. DOGGETT sifts through it, finding nothing. Finally, he looks under the kitchen sink and pulls down a small pistol that was taped up underneath the basin.)
(Day. SHERIFF KURT FREY supervises as a backhoe digs up a section of grass in a cemetery. PAUL HANGEMUHL pulls up and runs over to SHERIFF KURT FREY. He sounds hopeful.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Kurt, they told me you were out here. I just can't believe it. Is it true?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: That's what I'm here to find out.
(The backhoe continues uncovering the grassy area. In the process, it disturbs a circle of white stones with a cross in the middle that had been laid over the area.)
FIREARMS TOOLMARK UNIT
(DOGGETT is looking at the results on the tests that were run on the gun that he found under MULDER's sink. SKINNER enters.)
DOGGETT: Were you aware Mulder carried a second weapon, a Walther PPK?
SKINNER: Yeah, in an ankle holster.
DOGGETT: I found it hidden under his sink. The clip was three rounds shy.
SKINNER: What's this about?
DOGGETT: Three shots were fired in a house where Mulder investigated a case last May. He never filed a report on the case or the discharge of his weapon. Do you know any reason why?
SKINNER: If Mulder did these things, he would've reported them.
DOGGETT: Mulder submitted case reports, all right but they indicate he was here in Washington on days his cell phone records prove he was in Pennsylvania.
SKINNER: Are you calling Mulder a liar?
DOGGETT: (pointing to the computer screen) This is the muzzle of Mulder's pistol. You see that there?
SKINNER: It's blowback.
DOGGETT: Macrospatter of dried blood in a semi-circular pattern. Which indicates Mulder fired close-range at something or someone.
SKINNER: I've heard enough.
(SKINNER starts to leave he room in disgust.)
DOGGETT: Where are you going?
SKINNER: It's where you're going, Agent Doggett. You're trying to build a case that what? Mulder killed a man and then made himself disappear? That's not what happened. I told you before, he was abducted. I saw it!
DOGGETT: Agent Mulder signed falsified case reports.
SKINNER: (angry) Oh, come on, John, this isn't about Mulder, it's about you! Your career. You give the FBI a narrative for Mulder's disappearance, you're off the X-Files and back on the fast-track to the directorship.
DOGGETT: I'm just trying to find the truth.
SKINNER: You want the truth? Then ask Agent Scully!
DOGGETT: I can't do that.
SKINNER: Why not?
DOGGETT: Because she... she signed those case reports, too.
(SKINNER looks at the file.)
SKINNER: You take that story to OPR, the accusation alone could cost Scully her job.
DOGGETT: I'm not taking it to OPR. I'm taking it to you.
(Night. Several cars and trucks, including that of SHERIFF KURT FREY, pull up outside an old cabin. Men get out of the vehicles along with several hunting dogs. The dogs bark.)
DOG OWNER: Hold back.
(The MEN line up with their dogs in front of the house.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: We're giving you two minutes to bring it outside! Then we're coming in to get it!
(A WOMAN, dressed simply, her blonde hair tied in a ponytail comes out of the house, her arms crossed.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Where is it?
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: It's dead. You know that. Dead and buried.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: It's here. We've come for it.
PAUL HANGEMUHL: You lied to us!
(Everyone looks over into the woods next to the house. The CREATURE, moaning desperately, runs past. The men and dogs chase it. It stumbles. They catch it in a net and carry it back to the trucks. It moans in fear and agony. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN pleads with them.)
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: Please, don't! Don't do this! Don't do this to him!
(They ignore her and load it into the back of an enclosed truck.)
SQUAMASH SHERIFF'S STATION
(DOGGETT and SKINNER, sans tie, enter the station.)
DOGGETT: Sheriff Frey.
(SHERIFF KURT FREY enters from another door.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Back again?
DOGGETT: This is Assistant Director Skinner. We drove up when we couldn't reach you on the phone.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Yeah, sorry about that. I went hunting and turned off my radio. So. You find something?
DOGGETT: You might say that.
SKINNER: You filed this death certificate at the county seat, Sheriff. We're hoping you might be able to tell us something about it.
(SKINNER hands SHERIFF KURT FREY a paper.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Yeah. Yeah, last spring. An unidentified transient. Local woman found the body in the woods.
SKINNER: You got no suspects? No motive?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: No, why?
DOGGETT: You get a lot of shootings around here? That why you failed to mention this one, Kurt?
SHERIFF KURT FREY: What are you insinuating?
DOGGETT: The body was found dumped outside this woman's cabin on Sunday, May 7-- the morning after Mulder saw the Hangemuhls.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Okay, so I didn't make the connection. So what?
DOGGETT: Three rounds were missing from Mulder's weapon.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: So Mulder came back to town to kill this man and now the Hangemuhls are lying about it. Maybe I am, too.
DOGGETT: Pretty much.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: This theory is even nuttier than the one Agent Mulder came to town with. Where's the evidence?
DOGGETT: Where's the body buried?
(Night. SKINNER and DOGGETT arrive at a really creepy graveyard. They pull out their flashlights and begin looking around.)
SKINNER: You're on pretty shaky ground here, Agent Doggett.
DOGGETT: Something happened here that night.
SKINNER: But you're forgetting one thing-- Fox Mulder wouldn't do this.
DOGGETT: Look, somebody shot this man. Somebody fired Mulder's weapon and Mulder was here that night.
SKINNER: And you trying to prove that Mulder's a murderer is going to help you find him?
DOGGETT: Maybe he's not. I'm not saying that he did this. Not yet. But he was here for a reason and then he disappeared.
SKINNER: Why would these people, people he'd never met before try to cover it up?
DOGGETT: That's the question, yeah.
(DOGGETT shines his light into an empty grave. He jumps in. SKINNER kneels at the edge of the hole and fingers the earth.)
SKINNER: Earth is fresh.
DOGGETT: Sheriff must've dug it up this afternoon after I left.
SKINNER: What would he want with the body?
DOGGETT: I don't know that he found it.
(DOGGETT sees a rough hole in the bottom of the open casket and a tunnel under it.)
DOGGETT: Looks like there's another way out.
SKINNER: Are you telling me the man inside that casket did this?
DOGGETT: Looks pretty deep. A man doesn't get shot three times and then tunnel out of his own grave.
SKINNER: The Sheriff said this transient was unidentified, right?
(DOGGETT climbs out of the hole.)
DOGGETT: That's right.
SKINNER: Then why'd somebody leave these on top of his grave?
(They both shine their flashlight on what remains of the circle/cross of white stones over the grave.)
(Night. PAUL HANGEMUHL is on his front porch with a bucket of dead bloody chicken parts. Using part of the dismembered chicken, he finishes drawing the circle/cross symbol in chicken blood on his front door. SHERIFF KURT FREY pulls up and comes up onto the porch.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: We've got to move fast.
PAUL HANGEMUHL: She's not ready yet.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Then she better get ready.
(SHERIFF KURT FREY goes into the house. PAUL HANGEMUHL looks uncomfortable, but follows.)
(PAUL HANGEMUHL stands behind MARIE HANGEMUHL as she slowly sets her wedding ring set on the dresser. She is dressed in her nightgown.)
MARIE HANGEMUHL: I can't do this.
(He puts his hands on her shoulders comfortingly.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: You've got to do this. We don't have another choice.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: Paul?
(They turn to look at him.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: (gently) Marie.
(Outside, a car approaches. MARIE HANGEMUHL breathing gets heavier. She is frightened. She turns to her husband who holds her and kisses her on the forehead.)
(Outside, a man walks around to the back of a cage in his truck. Through the grill of the cage, we see the CREATURE breathing heavily. He sounds as frightened as MARIE HANGEMUHL.)
(Inside the house from several feet away, we see PAUL HANGEMUHL gently help his wife remove her nightgown and lower her nude body to the floor. Her face is streaked with tears. They kiss tenderly.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: (voice breaking) I'll be waiting for you.
(She gives a weak smile and nods. She is scared, he is reluctant to leave her.)
(Outside, SHERIFF KURT FREY cocks his gun as he approaches the rear of the cage. He opens the door. The CREATURE slowly appears from the darkness.)
(Inside the house, MARIE HANGEMUHL lies sobbing quietly on the floor. The sobs increase as she realizes that the CREATURE is coming near. She sees his face and cries out.)
MARIE HANGEMUHL: No!
(But she stays still and sobs some more. The CREATURE kneels down beside her. His eyes are painful and haunted. He dislocates his jaw, spittle dripping from his mouth. She screams in horror as he bites her neck. Blood spatters her face and she screams as he begins eating her alive. In the adjoining room, only feet away, wincing in shared pain at her cries, PAUL HANGEMUHL is praying softly.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Our father, who art in heaven... hallowed be thy name...
(MARIE HANGEMUHL continues screaming as her body is consumed by the CREATURE. The CREATURE's mouth is full of blood and flesh.)
(Later, DOGGETT and SKINNER arrive at the HANGEMUHL's house. PAUL HANGEMUHL answers the door, a towel in hand. He is alone and exhausted.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: What is it now?
DOGGETT: Mind if we come in?
(They enter without waiting for answer.)
PAUL HANGEMUHL: What do you think you're doing?
DOGGETT: Looking for the Sheriff. He was here, wasn't he?
PAUL HANGEMUHL: Look, I've had a long day and I want to go to bed, so if you don't mind...
DOGGETT: Agent Mulder came back here that night and shot a man in this room. You know why, and so does your wife.
PAUL HANGEMUHL: I want you guys out of my house, now. Hey, did you hear me?!
(SKINNER looks at the floor.)
SKINNER: Mr. Hangemuhl, we'd like to speak with your wife. Where is she?
DOGGETT: Where is she, Mr. Hangemuhl?
(PAUL HANGEMUHL doesn't answer.)
DOGGETT: Something happened here and I'm going to figure out what it is.
SKINNER: Agent Doggett.
(SKINNER holds up a corner of the rug showing some blood pooled beneath it.)
DOGGETT: Looks like you missed a spot, Mr. Hangemuhl.
(A dirt basement floor. The CREATURE is groaning in pain and vomiting up a pale substance into a vaguely human shape. CarriK has GenderBender and Kindred flashbacks from Season One.)
(Later that night. SHERIFF KURT FREY has arrived at the HANGEMUHL's house and crime scene procedures are underway. DOGGETT stands motionless beside his car. He is having a series of flashbacks of wet MULDER arriving at the house, entering and seeing PAUL HANGEMUHL and MARIE HANGEMUHL, then firing at the CREATURE. SKINNER, coming out of the house, interrupts the flashback series.)
SKINNER: Agent Doggett.
DOGGETT: Hangemuhl says his wife must've coughed up the blood. He insists he didn't harm her.
SKINNER: Of course he says that.
DOGGETT: Maybe he didn't.
SKINNER: What are you talking about?
DOGGETT: You said it before, Mulder wouldn't do this-- shoot a man in cold blood. Unless he was trying to protect Mrs. Hangemuhl.
SKINNER: From who?
DOGGETT: From the man that's supposed to be buried in that coffin.
SKINNER: The county police found something you ought to look at.
(SKINNER leads DOGGETT up to the porch where a TECHNICIAN is working on the front door.)
SKINNER: Mr. Hangemuhl must've just used water to clean this.
(SKINNER accepts a UV light from the TECHNICIAN.)
SKINNER: Thank you. Otherwise... we might not have found it.
(SKINNER shines the UV light on the door revealing the image of the circle/cross symbol.)
SKINNER: Look familiar?
(SKINNER and DOGGETT have established a link to the LONE GUNMEN over a laptop with a camera. WETLEGKIK gives a beautiful description of the scene: "The Lone Gunmen in their jammies and skivvies talking to Doggett and Skinner via notebook computer on a high speed, broadcast quality, full-color, full-duplex, wireless Internet DS-3 digital connection. In Squamash, Pennsylvania. Uh huh. Sure. Fine. Whatever. It looked like electricity was considered to be a luxury in that town." CarriK's Husband just sort of sputtered, "Yeah, right." Anyway, the GUNMEN are dressed very casually in bathrobes, etc. and look tired.)
BYERS: We learned what we could. This is somewhat short notice, of course.
FROHIKE: And a little outside our area of expertise.
LANGLY: Plus the fact we were sleeping.
DOGGETT: You wearing pants, Langly?
(Sheepishly, LANGLY, ducks out of the range of the camera.)
SKINNER: We don't have much time. What did you find?
FROHIKE: Thought you'd never ask, big guy.
(FROHIKE types commands into another computer that brings up the circle/cross symbol.)
BYERS: The pattern you described to us is most likely a medicine wheel. It's a symbol for healing usually associated with North American shaman.
FROHIKE: Now, the circle represents the continuum between life and death. The journey is separated by two roads, one for happiness, one for sorrow.
BYERS: Lakota Indians teach that all these elements-- life, death, sorrow, happiness-- are all one. But it takes an enlightened mind to see it.
DOGGETT: Why paint it on a door, or mark it on a grave?
(LANGLY enters again zipping up a newly-donned pair of pants.)
LANGLY: Well-- that's the part that takes some conjecture there, Agent Dogbird.
BYERS: We don't know what Mulder was doing out there.
FROHIKE: But legends date back hundreds of years of a sin-catcher shaman also known as a soul eater.
DOGGETT: A soul eater?
LANGLY: They minister to the sick-- legend has it they consume their illnesses.
BYERS: The symbol might be placed on a grave as a sign of respect. Or on a door as a summons.
SKINNER: A summons for what?
BYERS: To indicate a sick person lives there, someone in need of the creature's healing gift.
DOGGETT: Thanks for your help, boys.
LANGLY: (sarcastically) Yeah, you're welcome.
(LANGLY shuts off the connection.)
(DOGGETT closes the laptop.)
DOGGETT: Marie Hangemuhl suffered from a kidney disease.
SKINNER: Agent Doggett?
DOGGETT: That wasn't a transient buried in that grave.
(DOGGETT gets into the car and drives away.)
(DOGGETT knocks at the door of the BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN. She answers. He shows his badge.)
DOGGETT: Sorry to disturb you at this hour, ma'am. I'm Agent Doggett with the FBI. May I come in?
(She lets him in. A fire is burning in the hearth.)
DOGGETT: The Sheriff's report last May said you found a body in the woods out here.
(She doesn't answer.)
DOGGETT: Look, the people of this town are keeping a secret about that body-- about who it is. There was an FBI agent who came here because he believed that it was some kind of a "soul eater."
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: Maybe it is.
DOGGETT: You believe it, too. You put those stones on top of his grave.
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: The things you're asking about-- they've been this way for hundreds of years. You can't change them.
DOGGETT: A colleague of mine came here to try and kill this thing last spring. I believe he was trying to protect a woman named Marie Hangemuhl. I need your help.
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: You've got it all backward.
(DOGGETT turns at the sound of thumping below them. He looks up at the BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN who is nervous, but says nothing. DOGGETT flips up a corner of the rug exposing a trap door. He opens the door, readies his gun and flashlight, and descends the dirt stairs. He sees a naked female figure in a human sized indentation on the dirt floor. She is covered in slimy goo. He wipes the goo from her mouth and nose and she gasps in a breath and her eyes open. It is MARIE HANGEMUHL.)
DOGGETT: I'm going to get you out of here.
(DOGGETT has wrapped MARIE HANGEMUHL in his overcoat. He carries her out of the house to his car. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN watches from the window.)
(Hospital room. MARIE HANGEMUHL is in the bed. DOGGETT watches through the window as PAUL HANGEMUHL puts the wedding ring set back her finger. She beams and giggles happily. SKINNER enters the hall behind DOGGETT.)
SKINNER: Agent Doggett. How is she?
DOGGETT: She feels fine, you believe that? The doctor says Mrs. Hangemuhl's kidneys have spontaneously healed. She's a healthy woman.
(SKINNER looks confused. DOGGETT glances back in the room.)
DOGGETT: Explain that.
SKINNER: You're going to have to explain it. The Sheriff's waiting to take your statement.
DOGGETT: The Sheriff knows. He's known all along. So's her husband.
SKINNER: Known what?
DOGGETT: That this soul eater took her to cure her. I thought Mulder shot this man to protect Marie Hangemuhl. But it wasn't her he was trying to protect.
(DOGGETT heads out of the room.)
SKINNER: Where are you going?
DOGGETT: Something happened here. It just wasn't what we thought.
(Night. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN watches as DOGGETT pulls up in front of her house and enters. She is sitting in front of the fire.)
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: To understand what this thing is you have to understand what it can do-- its gift. People hate it because they need it. It looks the way it does because of their sickness.
(He sits beside her.)
DOGGETT: You care for this man.
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: Someone always has.
DOGGETT: Because you believe it? That it can cure people's sickness?
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: Not cure. Consume.
DOGGETT: Mulder came to see you last year. Not to save Marie Hangemuhl. To save himself.
(Flashback of MULDER lying passively naked on the rug in front of the fire. He is looking up at the CREATURE in curiosity and fear. The CREATURE is gasping, sad and in pain.)
DOGGETT: Mulder was dying, but he kept it a secret. He had an undiagnosed brain disease. He was a sick man, desperate to find a cure.
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: They all are.
(Flashback. MULDER watches in fearful pity as the CREATURE dislocates its jaw.)
DOGGETT: (realizing) Mulder didn't do it.
(DOGGETT rises and sits closer to her.)
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: Agent Mulder saw how it suffered. He saw it in its eyes. I knew what needed to be done. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
DOGGETT: Mulder killed it.
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: He couldn't bear to add to its pain.
DOGGETT: So he came back here that night to take its pain away.
(Flashback of MULDER shooting the CREATURE.)
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: They buried it. It wanted to die. It still does, but it can't. All these months I've kept it here in secret. But now that they know it's back it'll keep suffering.
(They both look up at the CREATURE who is in the room with them, whimpering softly. DOGGETT escorts the CREATURE gently outside and helps it into the backseat of his car. He looks at it a moment, then closes the door. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN watches passively from the window of her house. SHERIFF KURT FREY and others drive up, blocking DOGGETT's car. They are armed with guns.)
DOGGETT: Sheriff, as a federal officer I'm asking you and your men to get out of my way.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: You can't take it, Agent Doggett. It belongs to us.
DOGGETT: This is a man. He doesn't belong to anybody.
SHERIFF KURT FREY: We have sick people. Sick people who need what it has. We're taking it. You're free to go.
DOGGETT: No, sir. I'm driving this man out of here.
(DOGGETT turns his back on the men and heads back to his car. Gunshot. DOGGETT falls face forward to the ground. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN screams. SHERIFF KURT FREY turns DOGGETT's dead body over. Leaves and dirt are stuck to the bloody exit wound in the front of his chest. A MAN, PAUL HANGEMUHL? looks into the back of DOGGETT's car.)
(The backseat of the car is empty. The CREATURE has escaped.)
SHERIFF KURT FREY: It'll come back. It always does.
(Night. SHERIFF KURT FREY and the others shovel dirt onto DOGGETT, whose dead body is lying in a shallow grave. The BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN watches as the trucks drive away one by one.)
(It is as if we are in a thick, bloody, viscous fluid. We see the CREATURE chewing. GROANING. CUT TO: DOGGETT lying naked on a dirt floor, covered in thick slime. His hand moves as he wakes up. He sees the BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN leaning over the body of the CREATURE in the dirt basement nearby. He rises and goes to kneel beside her. The CREATURE is dead.)
BLONDE RUSTIC WOMAN: (on the verge of tears) All these years we didn't know what it could do. It took your death. You freed it.
(SlimyDOGGETT looks at her.)
(Late. DOGGETT is sitting at the computer in the X-Files office. His hands hover over the keyboard, but don't know what to type for his case report. SKINNER enters.)
DOGGETT: A.D. Skinner, you're here late.
SKINNER: So are you.
DOGGETT: I wanted to finish my case report before Agent Scully comes in tomorrow morning.
SKINNER: Have you?
DOGGETT: I don't even know where to begin or how to explain it. Only thing I do know is is I'm no closer to finding Mulder now than when I started this thing.
SKINNER: You got inside of his head, Agent Doggett. You understood why Mulder did something I wouldn't have thought him capable of doing. You want some free advice? Don't write that report. You turn that in you open up a world of trouble for Agent Scully. And yourself.
DOGGETT: She didn't know anything about this, sir. Of that I'm certain.
[CARRIK: Good boy! Already learning to protect Scully.]
SKINNER: How many months will be lost proving that? How much damage done to her good name? And Mulder's? And to yours? For what?
DOGGETT: The truth.
(SKINNER looks at a piece of paper with the circle/cross symbol on it.)
SKINNER: You and I both know what happened out there, Agent Doggett. No one else needs to.
(SKINNER hands the paper to DOGGETT and leaves. DOGGETT looks at the symbol a moment, then lowers it. Across the office behind the other desk MULDER stands in the shadows, watching him. DOGGETT stares at him. MULDER is there for another moment, then is not there.)