Forward Slash II Signature
>From the Indianapolis Star
April 13, 1998
HAS EAST COAST'S 'PRINCE
CHARMING' KILLER MOVED IN?
Fourth Body Found Near Downtown
Landmark Late Sunday Night
By Belinda Atkinson, Staff Writer
The body of 25 year old Jenna Becker was
found on Monument Circle last night, bringing the
total number of victims believed to have been
murdered by the "Prince Charming" killer to 14.
Becker, a paralegal for Conseco, was last seen alive
on Saturday evening by co-workers dropping her at
her Castleton home after spending the evening
dancing at downtown night spots.
Her body, discovered in the early hours of
Sunday morning by patrol officers, was wrapped in a
white sheet and left in plain view. Despite the heavy
foot and motor traffic through the monument area,
no witnesses have come forward to indicate that
they might have any information on when or how
Becker's body was placed at the landmark.
Becker is the fourth woman to be killed in
Indianapolis under such circumstances. Marianne
Hodgett's body was found by security guards in the
Pan-Am Plaza garden last Saturday after
disappearing from Circle Centre Mall; Tracey
Payne's body was discovered by a grounds keeper
on the front walk of the Children's Museum on
February 15th, and Azarine Clevenger's body was
found January 18th on the steps of the Scottish Rite
As in Becker's case, all were found wrapped
in white sheets, and left near local landmarks. Police
have refused to disclose details regarding the cases,
including the specific cause of death. Preliminary
reports indicate that they may have been poisoned.
IPD continues to deny that Becker's death,
and the three others bear striking similarities to
crimes committed by a serial killer in Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Maryland. However, an
anonymous source has revealed that a Task Force
made up of detectives from each state has been
formed and will be meeting in Indianapolis in the
next few days.
Spokesman for IPD, Lt. Tim Horty, is
saying as little as possible. His official comment on
the secrecy surrounding these murders was an
understated plea for maintained silence.
"These are very unusual crimes, and we
haven't ruled out any possibility. We'd like to keep a
low profile and investigate the deaths of these
women to our utmost ability before releasing
pertinent details to the public," he said in an
interview last week.
Indianapolis Police Department Homicide Unit
Tim Bayliss sat on the edge of a cluttered
desk, looking askance at his surroundings.
Unfamiliar territory was hostile territory, and this
poorly lit room on the 6th floor of the City-County
building was a lot of both. His mind jangled with an
excess of information and a great sense of purpose.
An idle comment to Giardello about a Task Force
had turned into a reality, bringing him and four other
detectives together in Indianapolis to put the "Prince
Charming Killer" in handcuffs. He winced at the
name Pittsburgh reporters had given the case- it
made the crimes seem almost flippant, but there was
nothing amusing to him about 14 dead women.
"Don't sit on my desk." Stalking into the
unit, Indianapolis Detective Khrystyne Taylor mock
slapped Bayliss' knee as she tossed several case
folders down. Bayliss slid to his feet, and stood
behind her, peering over her shoulder. She pushed
him back with her shoulder, then reached into her
drawer, retrieving a ragged pack of cigarettes.
He was tempted, but shook his head. "I'll
enjoy it by proxy. What's in the folders?"
"More crime scene photos," she replied.
Lighting her cigarette, she took a long drag as she
flipped a lock of hair out of her eyes.
On a very superficial level, she reminded him
of Howard; unruly hair, a clean, unpainted face,
pantsuits instead of power skirts. Personality-wise,
they were miles apart. Taylor seemed to have a chip
on her shoulder; she definitely had a mouth like a
longshoreman, and a distinct lack of tact for
anything and everything. Despite it all, her intensely
negative traits smoothed together into a polished
and strangely likeable individual.
Satisfied that her cigarette was going to stay
lit, she promptly laid it in the ashtray next to the
immolated remains of the last four she'd fired up and
never finished. She pulled the 8X10 black and white
photos out of the folder, fanning them out on her
"I don't envy you one bit, Bayliss," she said,
watching him finger through the photographs one by
"How's that," he asked, only half paying
attention. Turning one of the pictures over, he stared
at the Monument Circle crime scene.
"The ME is having a fucking fit. He's arguing
with Columbus' ME over body core temperatures,
Columbus is arguing with Pittsburgh over something
I can't even pronounce, and Baltimore is arguing
with all of them over god knows what. The labs
aren't back yet, the CSU results aren't back yet, and
that damned Belinda Atkinson can't go five minutes
without a call to see if I still have no comment. Oh,
and if I hear that blonde twit on Channel 13 call me
'Prince Charming's Detective Sleeping Beauty' one
more time, I'm gonna blow her damned head off.
The only thing keeping me relatively sane is the fact
that I'm not in charge."
"I have a couple of things in mind to calm
some of those problems, but I wanted to get
everyone together and discuss the options first."
Bayliss sounded more authoritative than he felt. He'd
been in Indianapolis for less than 24 hours, and the
task force already had problems. Michael Whitney,
the detective from Columbus, seethed with quiet
resentment. Bayliss could empathize with the man;
by virtue of the fact that he was in Indianapolis
instead of Columbus, he was admitting that he hadn't
been able to solve the murders that fell in his town.
It was hard to get along in a group where your
introduction was your failure.
Conversely, the detective from Pittsburgh,
Eric Sands, was a complete enigma. He generally
stood silently a few feet away from any discussion,
watching everything with sharp alert eyes. If he had
something to add, it was contributed with a quiet
interjection before falling silent again. Bayliss
couldn't decide whether he was just that quiet, or if
he was passively resisting the entire process.
Frank, fortunately, was still Frank, and
Taylor was as voluble as she was volatile. Bayliss
took some small comfort from the fact that he
understood three fifths of the team, even if he was
including himself in that percentage.
"I think we just need to find some common
ground, outside the fact that we're all working the
same case," Bayliss added, slipping the crime photos
back into their folder.
Taylor cackled, clapping him on the
shoulder. "If I were you, I'd just decide. Discussion
"There's nothing wrong with these
autopsies," Whitney shouted, pointing an accusing
finger at Bayliss. "If you want flawed findings, look
in your own backyard."
Bayliss held up his hands. "I'm not doubting
the expertise and ability of any of these MEs. All I'm
saying that perhaps we'd be better served if we had a
doctor working on this case, and this case alone."
"We've already got five people working this
case full time. We're already stepping all over each
other's shoes. How many more do we need?"
Casting a glance at Frank, Bayliss hoped he'd
step in and say something, anything. Much to his
chagrin, his partner looked utterly engrossed in his
morning hot-water-and-sugar. Taylor just smirked
from her desk, burning another cigarette into
oblivion. Detective Sands stood off to the side,
watching the conflict from a safe distance.
Steeling himself, Bayliss raised his eyebrows
and announced, "Just seven. Special Agents Dana
Scully and Fox Mulder will be joining us in a few
Whitney's eyes bulged open, and he dragged
a hand through his already frizzled hair. "Excuse me,
I think I misunderstood. I know you didn't just say
you gave this case to the FBI."
Bayliss nodded agreeably. "You'd be correct.
Dana Scully is a medical examiner with extensive
forensic and lab experience. Fox Mulder is a highly
skilled behavioral scientist specializing in serial
pathology. They'll be joining our team, not taking it
"This is unbelievable, just
unfuckingbelievable," Whitney muttered, making his
way toward the door. "I have to make a call, I'll be
"You can use my phone," Taylor offered
"I'll be right back," Whitney snapped,
flinging open the squad room door and heading
down the hallway.
"Guess room service pissed in his Cheerios
this morning," Sands said.
"You know, Tim," Frank started, putting a
hand on his partner's shoulder. "I look forward to
working with Dana again. She's sharp, organized, a
good asset to a team in dire need of continuity."
Bayliss stared at Frank, waiting for the
inevitable corollary statement. He wasn't
"But Mulder. Special Agent Mulder. . . why
do we need a shrink on this case, Tim? Don't we
have a profile already?"
Scrabbling through the disorganized piles,
Taylor whipped a green folder from the mess, and
waved it at Bayliss to punctuate Pembleton's
"A profiler working directly with the case
will give us insight," Bayliss said, half parroting
Giardello's explanation for Mulder's appearance in
Baltimore almost two months ago. "Fourteen
women are dead. We need all the help we can get."
He didn't bother mentioning that he planned
to plumb Mulder's expertise for ideas on how to
mesh the wildly differing personalities on the task
force into a diverse but single-minded entity.
Indianapolis International Airport
"It's been a while since I've had the
opportunity to work on a raving lunatic," Mulder
said. "I'm actually looking forward to it."
Scully stared at him with disbelief, shifting
her suitcase from one hand to the other to take the
keys from him. Catching a glimpse of her expression
as he signed a charge slip for their rental car, he
broke into a grin.
"I meant a normal, garden variety nut job,"
"And that's the technical term?"
"You bet it is."
They walked out of the rental office, heading
for the carport. While keeping up a comfortable line
of chatter with Scully, he tried to ignore the
gymnastics being performed by his stomach to the
beat of his pounding heart.
"I'll be glad to see Frank again," Scully said
as she unlocked the driver's side door and popped
the trunk. Mulder's face contorted through a myriad
of expressions, finally settling on a look of dazed
amusement. He'd heard her talking to Pembleton on
the phone occasionally since they'd returned from
Baltimore. Leave it to Scully to make a friend in a
completely different city.
"I'm sure he'll be much happier to see you
than me," he said, his limited experience with
Pembleton having been confined to an impromptu
A smile crossed her lips. "We'll both have
our own welcoming committee."
Mulder nodded, started to reply, then
thought better of it. Instead, he waited for her to
unlock his door as he stared into an angry grey sky.
2419 Delaware Street
And the daughter of any priest, if she profane
herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her
father: she shall be burnt with fire.
Then they shall bring out the damsel to the
door of her father's house, and the men of her city
shall stone her with stones that she die: because she
hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her
father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from
There shall be no whore of the daughters of
Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
No one paid much attention to the small,
effeminate man writing in chalk on his own back
porch. He was completely unremarkable, leaving
one with the impression that they'd seen someone
but with no real recollection of his features. He
stood, brushing the chalk dust from hands, then
walked down into the yard to grab a garden hose.
Washing away the words he'd just written, a look of
satisfaction settled on his bland features.
Indianapolis Police Department, Homicide Unit
"Detective Bayliss, Frank," Scully said
pleasantly, shaking both men's hands. "Good to see
you again, ignoring the circumstances."
"Dana," grinned Frank.
"How's the baby?"
Bayliss listened to Pembleton and Scully
exchange small talk, staring past them. Scully had
arrived alone, making Bayliss wonder if Mulder had
chosen not to come after all. Anxiety burned in the
pit of his stomach. He wanted Mulder to be there, to
help make some sense out of the group dynamic, but
more than that, he just wanted to see him again.
Trying to shake that particular thought from his
head, Bayliss opened the portable file cabinet to
retrieve the MEs' reports for Scully.
"So where should I start," Scully asked,
turning her attention back to the case.
Bayliss handed her several thick folders. "I
was hoping we could start at the beginning. There
have been questions raised on the validity of the
autopsy reports in some of the cases, and I wanted
you to look over the files to see if there are any
She nodded, looking down at the reports.
"I'll go ahead and get on that so I can brief Mulder
on the medical specifics of the case. I think he
already has some theories based on the files you sent
him, but he works better with all the facts at hand."
"Thank you," Bayliss murmured.
"So Frank, are you buying the coffee this
morning?" Scully grinned.
(End Part One)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (2/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
Bayliss looked up to see Mulder standing at
the door to the homicide unit, hands stuffed in the
pockets of his trench coat. Bayliss was at once both
thrilled and uncomfortable to see him. He stood up,
and shook Mulder's hand.
"I'm glad you came," Bayliss said. "Please,
have a seat."
They didn't speak for a long moment, only
staring uneasily past one another. Sitting, Mulder
looked around the squad room. "It's awfully quiet in
here for a serial murder to be going on."
Tim nodded. "We've been cooling our heels
all morning. Indianapolis' CSU hasn't come back
with their results, and we don't have much to go on
"Where is everybody?"
"Frank and Scully are down in the coffee
shop going over medical reports. Whitney from
Columbus and Sands from Pittsburgh are building a
time line. Taylor was downstairs trying to borrow
street cops from Patrol for a canvass, but I have no
idea where she is now. I'm sitting here, going out of
Mulder looked at him questioningly, waiting
for an explanation.
"I think I'm in over my head," Tim admitted
quietly. "I'm having a hard time co-ordinating
everything that needs to happen on this case. We
can't even agree on a theory for this guy; he makes
women disappear and reappear like a Vegas
magician. No witnesses, almost no physical
evidence. . ."
"Hey, is this the big time effa bee eye
shrink?" Taylor walked in, smacking Bayliss lightly
on the shoulder. "Don't lean on my desk."
"I'm the 'shrink'," Mulder confirmed. "Fox
"Khrystyne Taylor. Welcome to Indy." To
Bayliss' surprise, she sounded almost pleasant.
"They'll give us fifteen," Taylor said, lighting
up. "But no overtime. The mucky mucks insist on
keeping this shit low priority, they don't want to
cause panic, they say, which is bullshit, but hey, I'm
just a murder police, what do I know about
Mulder marveled at the sheer number of
words Taylor could fit into a sentence. She lounged
comfortably in her chair, rolling her eyes at the
brass, her company, or both.
"Maybe I could talk to them," Bayliss
wondered out loud.
"I'll tell you what," Mulder said, standing up.
"I'm going to get a head start and review those case
files with Scully. I'll be back up in here in an hour or
so with a game plan, how does that sound?"
"Anything's better than sitting around here
with our thumbs up our asses," Taylor said
"Could I see you outside for a moment,
"I'll tell you right now what part of your
problem is," Mulder said, punching the elevator's
"What's that?" Bayliss stared at the floor, a
sense of dread filling him.
"You think you're out of your element, so
you're trying to be fair. Don't. It doesn't matter that
this is Indianapolis instead of Baltimore; consider
yourself the primary with a whole lot of secondaries.
You are in charge, you have to act like it. I'm not
saying you should be disrespectful, but you have to
be firm. Tell people, don't ask them. Decide, don't
With a ding, the elevator door opened, and
Mulder stepped in. He pressed the one on the
keypad, and stepped back. "And Tim?"
"It's good to see you again," he said as the
doors closed between them.
Conference Room 4, Indianapolis Police Department
"Okay," Bayliss said, standing at the head of
the table. "Agent Scully has a few things to say, then
Agent Mulder's going to give us our updated profile.
Based on his analysis, we're going to take what we
learn and break into three teams and retrace every
step of the Indianapolis murders. I'm going to
separate the existing partnerships because I want us
all to have a different perspective on these cases
than we usually might. Each team will be assigned
five patrol officers to help canvass. For now, I'm
going to continue to agree with IPD on keeping it
low profile and out of the papers. Every time the
press got hot, our guy has bolted, and I don't
particularly want him moving to another city. When
you speak to witnesses, identify yourself as law
enforcement only, and do not, I repeat, do not give
any statements to the press. We're here to catch a
murderer, not get our pictures in the paper."
Mulder quashed a smile at the newly forceful
Tim Bayliss. He watched everyone's expressions as
Bayliss spoke, carefully noting body language
reactions, and he decided that as long as Tim could
remain emphatic and goal oriented, these officers
would follow his lead.
"Okay," Scully said, smoothing her suit.
"First of all, I'd like to say that there have not been
any irreversible errors on the parts of your MEs.
They've all done very thorough and detailed
examinations, which has made my job a lot easier.
What I'm going to do now is go over the medical
facts in this case so that they're fresh in our minds
when we go out on the street."
Pulling out a large bundle of photos, laid
them in neat piles next to one another, making
fourteen in all.
"These are in chronological order," she said.
"Let's start from the top. None of these bodies show
outward signs of violence. There are no bruises,
contusions, entrance or exit wounds. Only one body,
that of Jenna Becker's, there, shows signs of defense
wounds. Taking a closer look, each woman's finger
and toenails were clipped very short, almost to the
quick. Becker's right index and middle fingernails
show perimortem stress, and are cut under the
quick. This would indicate that the nails on that hand
were broken off, perhaps in a struggle, then trimmed
"Next picture, a detailed examination of the
mouths. Their tongues were excised in a careful,
surgical manner, probably with an x-acto knife or
similar tool. Because of the double layer cutting, I
would rule out the use of a medical scalpel, which
would make a single, clean cut. There are signs of
hesitation on the walls of the mouth in the first two
victims, evidenced by these small scratches here, but
after that our killer seems to have gotten
comfortable with the practice.
"You'll also note the deep purple
discoloration of the gums, discoloration and erosion
of the throat, which brings us to the next point.
These women were poisoned with extremely high
doses of mercury. We also have some tearing in the
backs of their throat, suggesting the use of a hard
plastic or metal tube being used in an attempt to
administer the mercury directly into the
"Mercury causes an agonizing burning
sensation, nausea, vomiting, destruction of intestinal
mucosa, and finally, death. It can also manifest itself
as a reddish rash on the palms or soles of the feet.
Traces of succinylcholine were found in their tissue,
which was administered intramuscularly through an
injection on or near the buttocks in each case.
Succinylcholine is a surgical anesthesia; it works by
disabling the central nervous system. This drug
paralyzed our victims, but did not render them
unconscious. Every one of these women were awake
while their tongues were being cut out and their
stomachs filled with mercury.
"Body core temperatures taken at the scene
and factored against weather conditions suggest that
these women were dead less than eight hours when
they were dumped. A number of the women show
trace levels of alcohol, which is consistent with the
activities ascribed to them on the nights they
disappeared. None of them were close to legally
drunk, and probably weren't even tipsy. Everything
left is postmortem and has no real medical
significance, so I'll defer to Mulder to cover these
facts. Any questions?"
The room was deadly silent for a moment.
Scully hadn't told anyone in the room anything they
didn't already know, but having the facts laid out at
once made the horror seem even greater. Even
homicide cops are occasionally affected by their
cases, and Scully's matter of fact recitation jarred
their emotions. There were no questions; at least not
"If you would, Agent Mulder." Tim forced
the meeting along, glad that for the first time, the
task force seemed singularly involved on the same
Picking up his notebook, Mulder nodded.
"As Agent Scully said, the bodies exhibit
postmortem manipulation, so I'll get that out of the
way before I move on to the profile. Starting with
the condition of the bodies, all of them were
carefully washed, dried, and made up. Mascara on
the surface of the eyes, and cosmetic foundation
found in the nasal passages and cavities confirm that
this occurred after death. The vaginal openings were
also sewn closed after death, using a heavy gauge
carpet needle and canvas-type thread. The numbers
written on the napes of their necks were probably
written with his off hand, in this case, his right."
Mulder paused, turning over a page and
clearing his throat. "The way these women were
killed, and the rituals performed by the murderer
post mortem tell us a lot about the man we're
looking for. He is probably in his early thirties, no
more than 35. These crimes are too sophisticated
and organized for a first timer, he's had practice, but
too elaborate for someone to have been killing into
their late 30s and 40s. This is our killer's prime; he's
very good at what he does. He is Caucasian, very
slightly built, and is probably homosexual. The man
we're looking for doesn't look like a killer of
Whitney snorted, leaning back in his chair.
"How do you get that?"
"It's somewhat complicated, but here's the
short and sweet version," Mulder replied, leveling
his gaze directly at Whitney. "His victims are white,
so he's more than likely white. Serial killers very
rarely cross racial lines once they've decided what
kind of person to kill. He is male, because it's
virtually unheard of for women to exhibit the kind of
pathology necessary to commit serial crimes. These
murders exhibit an overemphasis on these women's
sexuality and femininity that is usually only seen in
males, regardless of their sexual orientation.
"He must be slightly built because the rage in
these cases is not manifested in physical force. These
women were not beaten into submission, they were
drugged. If he were capable of overpowering them,
he would have. Finally, he's homosexual because of
the intense fear and disgust we see in his ritual
regarding their genitalia. A heterosexual man who
hates women destroys the sex organs by rape and
mutilation, a homosexual man who hates women
erases or ignores their genitalia. By sewing the
mouth of the vagina closed, he's pretending it
doesn't exist anymore."
"Nice," Taylor muttered, leaning back in the
chair. She folded her hands behind her head, and
closed her eyes.
"Some other things we know about our
killer," Mulder continued. "Besides being little,
white, and gay, he's very smart and very familiar
with homicide investigations, he may even have a
conviction. The only time he betrays the exaggerated
femininity of his victims is in clipping their
fingernails. While long nails are a sign of femininity,
long nails also trap evidence. Since the only victim in
our series that shows any indication of struggling is
the last one, I'd guess that tissue evidence has been
used against him before.
"The washing of the bodies has a twofold
purpose. The first is to rid the corpses of the blood
and excrement in which they are covered after the
crime, and the second is to insure that any evidence
that he touched them is gone. We've found no hairs
and no fibers, so it's a reasonable assumption that
this man has shaved his body and probably works in
the nude. This means he has enough time and
privacy, so we're looking for someone who lives in a
house, not an apartment. He has a steady job,
probably in a medical setting; he's held this job for
quite some time, or participates in studies, giving
him the opportunity to go on the road.
"I believe he'll change his method very soon;
Becker's murder wasn't as precise as the others. She
had a chance and scratched him; he didn't
successfully subdue her. This is a good sign for us, it
means he's starting to become disorganized, but it's
bad news for Indianapolis. If we don't catch him, the
frequency of his crimes is going skyrocket. Until
now, he's kept a very steady pace, one or two
murders per month; Undeterred, I foresee another
murder before the end of this month."
"I have a question Agent Mulder,"
Pembleton interrupted, laying his pen on the table.
"What is the significance of the bodies being left at
landmarks, in plain sight? In some cases, the window
of opportunity to dump the corpse has been less than
Mulder nodded. "Some killers write letters,
some killers call newspapers, our killer leaves bodies
in important places. I believe he's doing two things;
taunting the police and begging for them to capture
him. Subconsciously, he wants to be caught and
"And do you have a theory on his amazing
ability to lure women from their homes and friends
without so much as a struggle?" Pembleton crossed
his arms over his chest, waiting. If Mulder was
going to present an oddball theory, it would have to
be now. Frank had to grudgingly admit that Mulder
seemed professional and educated to this point, but
he was still convinced this man was completely
"He doesn't look threatening, he probably
just asks them to come with him under some
pretense. It seems amazing to us because we don't
know how he did it yet. In the 1970s and early 80s,
police were baffled by Ted Bundy's seemingly
paranormal ability to abduct women from plain
sight; once while crossing a street, and in another
case, between floors in a Vail hotel. Later, we
learned he just smiled and asked for help, and the
women willingly accompanied him."
(End Part Two)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (3/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: email@example.com
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
Home of Jerri Ritcey
"I've really told you everything I know," Jerri
said, tapping her foot nervously. "We went dancing,
we dropped her off around two, and we never saw
"Miss Ritcey," Taylor said gently. "I know
this is upsetting for you, and I know you feel you've
answered these questions a hundred times, but it's
very important for us to make absolutely sure of
everything we can. Now, you said you went to the
501, and then World Mardi Gras that night. Are you
sure you didn't see anyone from the first bar at the
Mulder watched Taylor with unmasked
surprise. This couldn't be the same woman who'd
smacked Bayliss away from her desk, and cursed the
brass in IPD with increasingly vile language on the
ride over. Somewhere between closing the car door,
and walking inside Miss Ritcey's home, Detective
Khrystyne Taylor had turned into a consummate
Bayliss and Taylor took turns guiding Jerri
through the events of her last night with Jenna
Becker. Covering everything from state of mind to
number of drinks, the answers all came out the same
as the first time Taylor had interviewed her.
"We took her home, and that's the last time
we saw her," Jerri said sadly, staring down at her
"One last thing and then we can leave,
okay?" Bayliss closed their discussion swiftly. "Did
you actually see Miss Becker go into her house
when you dropped her off?"
Jerri's mouth opened and closed several
times before she answered. "No sir," she said,
ashamed. "We just let her out at the curb and left."
"Goddamn it," Taylor hissed, slapping her
hands on the steering wheel. She pulled onto the
highway, jerking the car through minute spaces in
traffic until she found herself in the far left lane.
"Why didn't I ask that question? How the hell did I
miss that? I wonder what the fuck else I missed,
"Hey, calm down," Bayliss said, clutching
the handle of the door. "It's not a big deal, it just
gives us a window of opportunity. It doesn't make
or break the case."
She glared at Bayliss from the corner of her
eye. "It does matter, it was a mistake."
"I've been meaning to ask you," Mulder cut
in. "Four women are dead in your city alone, but
they only put one detective on this case. They don't
want you talking to the press, they don't want to
give you any back up or support. . . what's going
A cold laugh bubbled out from Taylor's lips.
"They want me out, and they think by piling on the
shit, I'll leave gracefully. I investigated, arrested and
testified against two dirty cops. Ever since then, I've
been on my own. I refuse to give them the
satisfaction of quitting; if they want my ass out,
they'll have to fire me."
The Children's Museum
"I can't tell you how upsetting this all is," Dr.
Fornelli said, walking with Pembleton and Scully
though the lobby of the museum. "The volunteer
who found the body hasn't been back since, parents
are afraid to bring their children here. . . "
"We know it's distressing, but we want to
make absolutely certain that nothing was missed at
the crime scene. I assure you, we'll be very discrete."
Dr. Fornelli shook his head. "Actually, I'm
glad you stopped by. I've called downtown several
times, but no one's ever returned my call. The
janitors found something. . . unusual in the
bathrooms, and we thought the police should know.
What took so long?"
Scully exchanged a confused glance with
Pembleton. "There's been a lot of ground to cover in
this case. What have you found?"
"Well, we've kept it closed off in case it was
important." Dr. Fornelli opened the door of the
men's restroom, holding it open for Pembleton and
Scully. "In the stalls. . . someone wrote on the
"Graffiti in the first degree," Pembleton
joked under his breath. Scully held back a smile as
she stepped into the first stall.
"Wait a minute," she said seriously, pointing
down at the bottom edge of the wall. "Look."
"219, 2221, 2317," Pembleton read. The
numbers were written in black marker in an unsteady
hand. "Those are the same numbers on our victims'
"It looks like the same handwriting, too."
"It's written in every one of the stalls," Dr.
Fornelli said. "I'm sorry, I don't know when."
"We need to get the CSU in here," Frank
"You said you'd be discrete!"
Scully pursed her lips. "Dr. Fornelli, we need
to dust for prints and take pictures of the writing. If
you can think of a discrete way to do that, I'll be
more than willing to listen."
Pan Am Plaza
Whitney and Sands watched the plaza
security guard shoo a pair of teenagers away from
the fountain, then return to a folding lawn chair
situated at the far end of the garden. They walked
over, pulling out their badges.
"I'm Detective Whitney, this is Detective
Sands. We wanted to go over some questions with
you regarding the body of Marianne Hodgett."
The guard sighed. "I already got an official
reprimand for leaving my post that night. Are you
guys trying to get me fired, or what?"
"No sir, we're not," Sands said smoothly.
"We just wondered if you had remembered anything
more about that night."
"I done told you all I know. I got up to go to
the crapper, and when I came back, the body was
there. I didn't see nothing, I didn't hear nothing."
"And you didn't move or touch the body?"
"I moved the sheet," the guard said
defensively. "I didn't know what it was. When I saw
it was a girl, I called it in and left her alone."
Whitney raised an eyebrow. "You didn't
check to see if she was breathing?"
"I could tell she wasn't breathing."
"Cause her chest didn't move. If she was
alive, I would have known it. I already answered
Sands started to ask another, but was
drowned out by the sound of a sandblaster. He
turned to place the source of the noise, then leaned
over to the security guard. "What's that?"
"Buncha numbers some idiot wrote on the
mural. They're sanding it off."
A look of realization washed over Sands'
face, and he rushed toward the man with the
sandblaster. Tapping him on the shoulder, the
worker turned the blaster off. Whitney caught up
with Sands and stared forlornly at the half-
obliterated numbers on the wall.
Conference Room 4
"So he's going back after he dumps the body,
specifically to write these numbers. We've already
called 219-222-1237 and gotten an invalid number.
As far as anyone can tell, it's not a substitution code.
They don't correlate to dates, addresses, or times, so
what the hell are they?"
Bayliss took a slice of pizza, and walked in
front of the crime scene display. It had been a
productive day, he decided. They now knew that the
killer returned to his dumping area to memorialize
his crime, and he hoped some of the prints
Pembleton and Scully had lifted from the museum
bathroom would come back with hits. In a way, the
progress was somewhat frustrating; it hadn't
occurred to any of the people involved on the case
to go back and read the walls days or weeks after
the bodies had been found.
"Maybe it's nothing," Sands suggested,
loosening his tie. "Maybe it's deliberately designed to
throw us off the track."
Pembleton shook his head, swallowing the
last piece of his pepperoni and cheese. "Why would
our perp risk being seen twice in the same area to
leave a red herring? It has to mean something."
"Hey maybe. . . .no, that's too easy," Taylor
said, shaking her head. "Maybe they're bible verses,
you know, like James 3:16?"
"That's John," Pembleton corrected. "John
3:16, 'For God so loved the world. . . '"
"Well if they are bible verses," Mulder said,
crossing his legs. "Which books? There are two
testaments to choose from, and 66 different books in
Scully looked over at Mulder with a half
smile on her face. "I had no idea you were such a
"I'm full of all sorts of surprises."
"The only way to find out for sure is to get a
bible and look," Whitney said, stealing one of
Taylor's cigarettes and tucking it behind his ear.
"No, I'm looking at the 21:9s, you're looking
at the 2:19s."
"Well shit, I'm already up to Joshua."
"Too bad, I'm up to Ruth."
"Is that any way to talk in front of a Bible?"
"Oh, you can just fuck off."
Four lists with 66 entries on each list. It had
taken them nearly five hours to compile all of the
appropriate verses from the bible, and now they
stared at the sheets in silence.
"Now we just have to find the common
thread," Pembleton said none too eagerly.
"We could always go to the bars our victims
frequented before their deaths." Sands suggested,
squeezing his cramped writing hand. "Maybe the
bartenders saw them talking to someone that they've
"My head is killing me, I think I'll just stay
here and sift through these." Taylor said, pushing
her chair back to stand up.
Bayliss nodded, and picked up his notebook.
"Okay, Whitney, Sands, you two check out Ike and
Jonesy's. Frank, you and Dana can cover the Circle
Center bars, World Mardi Gras and Gators. Mulder
and I will go over to the 501. We'll meet back here
in two hours, okay?"
Coats were gathered, and everyone headed
for the elevators in a small mob of police. Bayliss
reached into his pocket, then realized he'd left his
notebook on the conference room table. When he
went back in, Taylor looked up from the bible
verses, and cracked a huge smile. Bayliss glanced at
her, raising an eyebrow.
Taylor laughed as he picked up his
notebook. "Have fun at the 501."
"Elevator," Scully called from the hallway.
Bayliss stopped himself at the doorway and turned
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh you'll find out," Taylor grinned, and
flashed him a thumbs up.
For a moment, Mulder and Bayliss weren't
sure that they'd found the right place. Except for a
very large, very dangerous looking bouncer standing
on the street corner in front of the door, the 501 had
every appearance of being a package liquor store. Its
windows had been replaced by plywood, painted the
same color as the exterior of the building, but it was
patently clear that neither had been painted recently.
As they walked across the street, the muffled sounds
of techno music filtered out into the night air.
Mulder and Bayliss pulled out their badges,
and introduced themselves to the bouncer.
"Where's your warrant," he asked,
Bayliss just looked confused. "Why do we
need a warrant? We just want to ask the bartender a
couple of questions about the girl who was
murdered last Saturday. Her friends said that they
came here for a while."
The bouncer's face relaxed. "Oh. Go on in,
then. Johnny was on last weekend, but he's working
the gift shop upstairs tonight."
Mulder thanked the bouncer, then opened
the door. There was very little light in the bar, only a
few naked red and blue bulbs hanging from ceiling
fans. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw
the dark shapes of people dancing, playing pool, and
making out against the wall. Squinting, he realized
that there were no women, anywhere.
He turned to look at Bayliss, and saw a
mirror of his own startled expression. As they tried
to get their bearings, a man wearing only a pair of
leather chaps and a long string of pearls approached
"Little overdressed, aren't you?"
"We're here on business." Mulder covered
one ear to filter out some of the blaring music.
"Where's the gift shop?"
"Go through there, and to the left. It's right
up the stairs."
"Thank you," Bayliss said, unthinkingly
tightening his tie.
The man leaned over to Mulder. "Is he
taken, because I'd like to buy him a drink."
Mulder smiled apologetically. "He's all mine,
"Lucky bastard," he replied, and melted back
into the crowd.
"He wanted to buy you a drink," Mulder said
as they trudged up the narrow staircase.
"What did you tell him?"
"That you were taken."
Bayliss looked over his shoulder, staring
down at Mulder. "You told him I was taken?"
Mulder shrugged. "Did you want me to tell
him you were looking? Because if you really want
that drink, I bet we can find him again."
"Thanks anyway. This place is a little too
weird for me."
"Haven't you ever been to a leather bar?"
Bayliss stopped dead in his tracks and turned
around. "As a matter of fact, yes, I have, but I have
never been to a gay leather bar, so I'm a little out of
"Well, you have one up on me, then."
Mulder pushed his way past Bayliss and continued
up the stairs. "I've never been to one at all."
(End Part Three)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (4/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
"Hi, we're looking for Johnny?"
An older man with a full white beard and
very little hair held out his hand from behind the
glass counter. "I'm Johnny, how can I help you?"
"This is Detective Bayliss, I'm Fox Mulder. I
understand you were working the bar downstairs
Bayliss examined the T-shirts hanging on the
walls, and the knick knacks on the shelves as Mulder
spoke to Johnny.
"What's this about," Johnny asked, a little
"Last Saturday, a young woman was in here
with a few friends. Her name was Jenna Becker, and
she was murdered. We were wondering if remember
Johnny breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh that. I
remember her all right. We don't usually have a lot
of female customers, you know."
"Did she cause any trouble, bring attention to
herself in any way? I mean, besides, just being
Johnny shook his head. "No, not really. She
and her friends danced for a while, had a drink or
two, then left."
Bayliss walked over to the counter, and laid
a pin on the glass. He reached into his pocket and
pulled out his wallet. "You didn't notice any strange
writing on the walls here after that, did you?"
Taking the money, and giving Bayliss his
change, Johnny shook his head. "No weirder than
usual. Hey, sorry about the cold shoulder, we've
been raided four times in the last three months just
because the cops wanted to bust some heads. I didn't
know you were family."
World Mardi Gras
"What a place to spend the last evening of
your life," Pembleton said disdainfully, rubbing his
Scully nodded, winding her way through the
crush of bodies between the door and the bar.
Pembleton stared around him, mentally cursing the
dance music and the flashing lights, then dove into
the fray after Scully. When he caught up, she was
already at the bar questioning the bartender.
"I said, did you see this woman last week,"
she repeated, raising her voice over the music.
The bartender looked at the photograph,
blanching. "Hey, isn't this the girl who got killed?"
"Yes, Mr. Hall," she said, frustrated. "Did
you see her last Friday night?"
"I don't know. . . I think I should get my
Frank leaned over the bar, glaring through
the man. "Did you see this woman or not?"
"We have a lot of people come through
here," the bartender waffled.
"Listen, I don't know why you're lying to us,
but we'll be happy to take you downtown to answer
our questions if you don't cooperate." Frank wore an
easy, jarring smile.
Hall gritted his teeth, looking around. "Yes,
she came in here last Friday night. We got into a
fight, and she left with her friends."
Surprised, Scully pulled out her notes and
scanned them in the irregular light. "Were you
working that night?"
"Yes," he hissed. "She came in here to bust
my balls over a pair of earrings she left at my place. I
told her to get the fuck out, I was trying to work.
She threw a drink on me, then she left."
"Detective Taylor was told that someone
else was on duty that night," Scully said
suspiciously. "Can you explain the discrepancy?"
"Listen, I knew it would look bad that we
got in a fight, and then she turned up dead. It wasn't
a big lie." Hall looked as if he might vomit at any
Pembleton looked around. "Where is your
"In the office, down the hall. . . why?"
"I'm afraid you're going to have to come with
us after all," Scully filled in for Frank.
Homicide Unit Interrogation 1
"Frankly, Brad," Pembleton enunciated. "I
don't believe you. You lied about being on duty, you
lied about knowing her, then you lied about fighting
with her, and you don't have an alibi. Now I think
you're lying about killing her."
Hall seemed to shrink in his chair. "I really,
really didn't kill her. I loved her! Why would I kill
"That's the most popular reason of all,"
Scully said evenly.
"The classic motive," Frank added. "A cliche
even. I just don't understand why you did the things
to her body that you did."
"What do you mean?" Hall sat up straight, a
horrified look on his face. "I didn't do anything to
her body! I didn't kill her!"
"Can you believe a little pantywaist like this
could do that, Scully?" Frank switched gears,
standing over Brad and touching his long hair. "I
mean, he doesn't really look like the passionate sort,
"No, not really," Scully said, taking a step
back. "Not passionate at all."
"What did you argue about," Frank asked
rhetorically. "She found another lover? Someone
with the passion she desired, she needed? She
embarrassed you in front of your friends, didn't she?
Came into the bar with her new, virile boyfriend and
paraded him right under your nose, and that made
you mad, didn't it? Made you so mad you wanted to
show her, wanted to show her that you could be like
that too, so you. . ."
"Yes, it made me mad!" Tears streamed
down Brad's face, but his voice was vehement. "But
I didn't kill her, damn it! I did not kill her!"
Pembleton shut the door of the interrogation
room behind him, then leaned against it. He looked
back over his shoulder at the crying, broken man
alone with his thoughts, then sighed at Scully.
"Everybody lies," Scully said.
"Yes indeed, everybody lies." Frank smiled
brilliantly. "Think he's suffered enough?"
"Let's go cut him loose, he's learned his
Conference Room 4
"Any luck on the bible verses," Bayliss
asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"I'm getting rid of the ones that don't make
sense at all, laundry lists of begats, descriptions of
scenery," Taylor said. "I'll be done soon."
"What about this Hall guy?"
"The manager of the bar confirmed his alibi
for the first 13 murders," Pembleton said wearily.
"He's not our guy."
"What about Ike and Jonesy's, Whitney?"
"Bartender doesn't even remember her, and
no writing on the walls."
"Well," Bayliss said, standing up. "I think
that's about all we can do tonight. We have five
patrol units on the Circle watching for our guy to
come back and leave his signature, so I think we
should wrap it up, and start fresh again in the
"What about the church," Mulder said.
"Nobody checked the church today."
"I'm not going to wake a priest up in the
middle of the night," Bayliss said, cursing his
oversight. "Someone can go down there in the
"I'll go," Pembleton said simply. He
exchanged glances with his partner, and Bayliss
understood him completely.
"Good idea, Frank. Anything else? New
business, old business? Good. Let's go."
Hyatt Regency Room 412
"Sure," Mulder said, kicking off his shoes.
"Have you ever been to a leather bar, Scully?"
She stared at her partner as she opened the
bottle of brandy. "I can't say that I have."
"It's . . . enlightening."
"In what way?"
He groped for the right words, but came up
with nothing. "It just is."
"Have you talked to Tim?"
"I did nothing all day but talk to Tim."
"You know that's not what I mean."
"I am not having this conversation," he
laughed. "Where's my drink, woman?"
"Keep that up, and you're going to wear it,"
she smiled, handing it to him.
"Sometimes, I wonder if it was real."
"I thought we weren't having this
"It was real," she confirmed.
"You think so?"
"It's awkward." Laying back on the bed, he
put his glass on his chest.
"Well, Mulder, what did you expect?"
"I didn't expect anything."
"Then you won't be disappointed."
"You're very wise, Dana Scully."
"Yes, I know," she grinned, and finished her
drink. "I'm going to bed."
"Can I come?"
"Don't you think you have enough
He laughed. "I had to try."
Hyatt Regency Lounge
"I think she likes you," Frank said into his
club soda. Sitting in the over polished hotel bar, he
felt miles away from the real world. He should be in
Baltimore, catching bodies by day, sleeping next to
his wife by night. Instead, he was in the middle of
nowhere drinking flat club soda with his increasingly
"She doesn't like me," Tim said, swirling the
dregs of his beer in the bottom of the glass.
"I think she does. She goes out of her way to
touch you, she stays late to play with Bible verses
for you. If you ask me, it's love."
Bayliss looked over at Frank. "She slaps me,
Frank, she doesn't touch me."
"And I think you like her, too."
"What is this, junior high? Do you want to
slip her a note, 'Do you like Detective Bayliss, check
yes or no'?"
Shaking his head, Frank put down his glass.
"Of course not. I just didn't want you to miss . . . ah.
. . an opportunity."
"Why would you think I like her?"
"Why does she slap you, Tim?"
"Because I sit on her desk."
"You need to be told more than once to not
sit on someone's desk? Of course not, you're a smart
man. You continue to do it so she'll continue to have
reason to touch you."
"You're out of your mind."
"Am I? I don't think so."
"Well I do think so," Tim sighed, signaling
for another beer. "I think you're bored. You miss
your desk, you miss Mary, you miss the kids, and
rather than concentrate on that loneliness, you're
trying to live vicariously through me."
"Vicariously." Pembleton rolled the word on
"Notice the lack of denial."
"You don't have anything I want, Bayliss."
"Yeah, I love you too, Frank."
"There's something going on I don't know
about," Pembleton announced, pushing his stool
back from the bar.
"I don't know what you mean," Bayliss said,
implicitly implying that he didn't care, either.
"I think you do, Tim. And I'll find out, not
because I want to invade your privacy or live
vicariously through you, but because you're my
partner, and partners shouldn't have secrets."
"I think we covered this before, Frank."
"Secrets," Frank hissed. "I'll find out."
"You don't want to know."
"I'll find out."
"You'll regret it."
"Probably. I'm constantly mortified by your
darkness, Tim, but it's like a car accident. I don't
want to look, but I can't stop myself."
"That's the lousiest cliche I've heard all day."
"Cliches are cliches for a reason." Frank
dropped several dollar bills on the bar, and started
away. "I'm going to go call my wife."
"There shall be no whore of the daughters of
Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel." Taylor
raised her coffee mug to Pembleton and Bayliss as
they entered the squad room. Bayliss raised an
eyebrow at her, wondering just what she was
"The Bible verses," she said, adjusting her
shoulder holster. "I narrowed it down to the three I
think are most likely. Wanna see?"
Handing a sheet of paper to Bayliss, Taylor
patted him on the shoulder. "I'm going to buy
danish, want some?"
"No, thanks," he replied, distracted.
"No danish for you, Tim?" Pembleton started
as soon as Taylor was out of earshot.
"Whores," Bayliss said.
"That's not a very nice thing to say about a
"The quotes, Frank," Bayliss sighed with
exasperation. "They're all about punishment for
The doors of the squad swung open. Mulder
and Scully walked in together, good-naturedly
arguing over which pastry bag belonged to whom.
"Danish," Mulder offered, holding out the
bag to Frank and Tim. Frank looked over at his
partner, and started to laugh.
Scottish Rite Cathedral
"I was hoping you wouldn't come," Father
Byrne said sadly, folding his hands.
"Why is that?" Pembleton looked confused
as he walked into the main hall. Scully trailed behind
them, quietly admiring the stained glass and dark
"The numbers you are looking for are
written on the wall of the confessional." Father
Byrne led the way, opening the confessional door.
"Right down there, underneath the window."
Scully leaned down and examined the wall. It
smelled of lemon oil, and with her heart sinking, she
touched it. Pulling her finger away, she saw the clear
imprint on the surface. They wouldn't be taking any
old prints away from here. She looked up at the
priest. "You said you were hoping we wouldn't
With a shameful nod, the father looked
away. "Are you Christians?"
Pembleton and Scully answered "yes"
"You understand the concept of privilege."
Frank's eyebrows shot up. "Are you saying
you spoke to this murderer?"
The priest shrugged. "Where are the
numbers written, Detective Pembleton?"
"He came to you as his confessor," Scully
"You understand," Father Byrne said, "I am
as horrified by these crimes as anyone. I wish he had
never come to me, and I wish I could help you. . .
but when I am in the confessional, I am not a man, I
am speaking for God. In God's eyes, if he is faithful,
then he is forgiven. I can't break this man's word
Defeat rested heavily on Frank's shoulders.
Taking Father Byrne in would incite the press into a
frenzy, a furor in the police department, and rage in
the religious community. In the end, the priest was
right, he probably couldn't be compelled to tell them
what he knew.
"Father Byrne," Scully said finally, "You
understand that we are law enforcement officers,
and it's our job to solve these murders before anyone
is hurt. Your communications with this man were
privilege, and we understand that. What we don't
understand is why you told us. We would have
never known, and we could have lived without
Father Byrne touched Scully's shoulder
lightly. "Because it's killing me, Agent Scully. The
blood of his victims stains me, too. Sometimes the
confessor needs to confess."
Pembleton coughed, shaking his head. "We'll
need you to come downtown and make an official
statement of privilege, for the record."
As they stepped into the bright sunlight, a
swarm of reporters converged on them. Scully and
Pembleton linked arms with the priest, and fought
their way down to the car. Their voices converged
to a chatter reminiscent of a flock of magpies.
"Is Father Byrne a suspect in the Prince
"Absolutely not," Pembleton snapped,
opening the back door of their car and pushing the
"Is he a witness? Where are you taking him?"
"No comment," Scully said, jumping into the
(End Part Four)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (5/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: email@example.com
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
2419 Delaware Street
"At this time, it is still unclear as to whether
Father Byrne was taken into custody this morning in
connection to the Prince Charming murders. He was
released shortly before noon, and has refused to
comment. In other news. . ."
The little man turned off the television, then
threw the remote against the wall. Stalking into the
kitchen, he cursed under his breath. His whey skin
slowly turned a splotchy purple color as his anger
grew. Suddenly, a cold calm came over him. He
smiled malevolently to himself, making a plan.
Bayliss picked up the phone as he finished
off the last of his lunch. Struggling to swallow and
clear his voice, he managed to choke out, "Bayliss,
"Detective Bayliss, this is Belinda Atkinson,"
a female voice on the other line said. The named
sounded familiar, and he tried place it, when she
gave him the answer. "I work for the Indianapolis
"I have no comment," he said, rolling his
"Detective Bayliss, I just need confirmation.
I've been informed that the Prince Charming killer
has been cutting the tongues out of his victims and
sewing their genitals shut. Is this true?"
Bayliss' eyes bulged. He motioned violently
for someone else to pick up the phone. Sands lifted
the receiver, and put the phone to his ear.
"I'm sorry," Bayliss said. "Could you repeat
"I've been informed that the Prince Charming
killer has been cutting the tongues out of his victims
and sewing their genitals closed. Is this true?"
Sands shook his head.
"I don't know where you got your
information," Bayliss waffled.
"The killer sent a letter by messenger to our
offices," Belinda said. "We just wanted confirmation
that this was true before we printed it this evening."
"If you believe it's evidence, you're required
by law to turn it over to us."
"Mmhmmmm. Can you confirm this
information, Detective Bayliss? I have a deadline."
"Why don't you come down here, with the
letter, and we'll see what we can work out."
"I'll take your silence as a confirmation,
Bayliss started to protest but the line went
dead. He slammed the phone down, and kicked at
the desk. Looking around, he jerked the coat off the
back of his chair and stuffed his arms into the
"Where the hell is Mulder?"
The Indianapolis Star
"Well we would have sent it over to you,"
Belinda Atkinson said airily, handing the letter to
Bayliss. "Did you come over to give me an
Bayliss scowled. "I came over here to
retrieve the letter, and to ask you not to publish
some of those details."
"Dream on, buddy," Belinda said, standing
up. "You can either give me a comment, or you can
leave. This isn't a poker table, and even if it were,
you don't have anything to bet."
Bayliss looked over at Mulder, waiting for
him to step in.
"Miss Atkinson," Mulder said smoothly.
"We'll be happy to give you a statement, but you
must understand. If you publish everything in this
letter, every disturbed individual in this city will call
and confess. By the time we finish sorting through
them all, the real killer will have probably already
murdered someone else."
Belinda put her hands on her hips. "That's
not my problem."
"I can have you subpoenaed as a material
witness," Bayliss threatened. "Then you wouldn't
have a story at all."
"A material witness for what? You have no
suspect. You've made no arrests. You don't even
know which page you're on. If you want to threaten
someone, I highly suggest you try someone else,
because it's not going to be me. If you have no
comment, then get the hell out of my office."
"You listen to me," Bayliss hissed.
Belinda ignored him, picking up the phone.
Putting a hand on Bayliss' shoulder, Mulder
tried to pull him away. "Come on, Bayliss."
"If another woman dies, it's on you," Bayliss
shouted. "It's on you!"
"Taylor, what the fuck is going on in here?"
Taylor cringed at her superior's oily voice.
Lt. Edmonds stood at the end of the homicide
squad, buttoning and unbuttoning his ill fitting suit
jacket. He stared at the chaos in the squad room;
every phone ringing itself off the hook, every
available ear pressed against a receiver. Detectives
shouted, threw post-it pads to one another, and
cursed under their breaths. This was the most action
IPD Homicide had seen in months.
"The killer talked to the Star, the Star
printed an exclusive, and now every freako and dink
in the Central Indiana area is calling to confess."
Taylor crossed her arms over her chest. In
approximately two seconds, he was going to rip her
head off and hand it to her; she did her best to
appear apathetic about the prospect.
Crossing the room more quickly than she
thought possible, he jabbed a pointed finger into her
sternum. "This is bullshit, total bullshit, and it's your
ass." She could smell gyros on his breath as he
yelled into her face. "We got more than one murder
case, if you hadn't noticed, but the fucking
department is too busy taking phone messages for
you to solve 'em."
She took a step back. "I didn't tell them to
answer the phone, Lieutenant."
Edmonds took a long look around, surveying
the faces of his detectives. "Where's the rest of your
merry men? The only person from your little task
force I see is you."
"CSU, print lab, Eiteljorg Museum and the
"Well you gather their happy asses up and
put them in Con 4. One hour."
Conference Room 4
"You have two days to wrap this shit up,"
Edmonds said without preface. He glared with piggy
eyes at the collected group of detectives, waving his
finger for emphasis. "My squad room looks like
someone murdered a bus full of school kids this
morning, not four broads over a week ago."
"With all due respect," Bayliss began.
"Fuck respect," Edmonds snarled. "Two
days. I don't give a shit, one way or the other, but in
two days, Indianapolis will no longer be hosting the
Prince Charming Task Force. Solve it, don't solve it,
but in two days, you're out. Is that clear?"
"This is the most physical evidence we've
had in any of these cases," Scully said reasonably.
"Given time, we will solve these murders. We all
know this isn't an instant process."
"You, don't even talk to me. These are Indy
murders, you're out of your territory. I'm done
talking, I ain't staying in here to hold your hands.
Two days, period."
Edmonds stalked out of the room, slamming
the door behind him. There was a long,
uncomfortable silence as they stared around the
room at one another. Two days to solve a string of
murders that had gone on for over a year, and every
single piece of evidence they had being displayed on
the evening news.
"We can do this," Pembleton said. He looked
at their faces, one by one, waiting for someone to
disagree. "Pick it up, Tim. What now?"
Bayliss shook his head, sorting out his
thoughts. With a deep sigh, he stood up, closed his
eyes, and jumped in.
WTHR Anchor Desk
"Police tonight are asking your help to solve
a string of grisly serial murders known as The Prince
Charming Killings. Joining us with a description of
the suspect and new information on these chilling
crimes is Special Agent Fox Mulder from the FBI
and Detective Bayliss from the Baltimore Homicide
Unit. Agent Mulder?"
The Monument Circle
"Did you see who wrote these numbers,"
Taylor asked anxiously, pointing at the steps. Two
pale faced teenagers shook their heads nervously,
staring at the brigade of police officers surrounding
them. "You're absolutely sure? No doubt in your
She waited impatiently for them to tell the
truth. They had been the only people on the steps for
the previous half hour, and the numbers hadn't been
there before they arrived. Taylor grew more angry
as they continued to silently deny knowledge.
Neither one of them fit the profile, but if they didn't
cough up an answer, she was going to jack them up
for the crimes anyway. She grabbed the girl's arm.
"You, come with me. Whitney, take the
Whitney nodded, leading him away from his
girlfriend. As they moved farther apart, the couple
strained to see one another.
"Listen kid, we don't care if you wrote them
down, we just want to know why," he said
soothingly, glancing up to catch sight of a news van
pulling to a stop nearby. "Those reporters are going
to splash your face all over the news if you don't
hurry up and tell me, and I'm going to let them."
"God, my mom will kill me," the kid
breathed, staring down at his feet.
Twenty feet away, Taylor was still trying to
reason with the girl. "We need to know who wrote
those numbers, kid. It is literally a matter of life and
"I don't know anything," she said stubbornly.
"That's a lie, and we both know it."
"I don't know anything."
Whitney waved his arms at Taylor. "Got it!"
Taylor smiled coldly at the girl. "Don't know
IPD Crime Lab
"No, they're great prints," the technician
said. "They just don't match anyone. We checked
"So what you're saying is, if we bring you the
hand, we have a positive ID." Pembleton quirked his
jaw to the side, looking at the neat rows of cards on
the table before him.
"That's exactly what I'm saying."
"That's still good news, Frank." Dana put her
hand on his shoulder.
"I have better news, though," the tech
offered, shifting his magnifying loops. He shifted
through some papers, and pulled out a bound
notebook. "Quantico ran the tests on the carpet
thread again, and lucky for you, it's not as common
as we thought. It's hemp, specifically 'Nature's Own'.
It's only sold through catalogue."
A slow smile snaked across Frank's face. "A
thousand blessings on your house."
2419 Delaware Street
Stuffing clothing into a suitcase, the little
man cast occasional glances at the television. He felt
as if Mulder and Bayliss were staring directly at him
from the screen, whispering his name. It certainly
seemed as if they had everything but his name.
Fibers, eye witnesses, fingerprints. . . for a brief
moment, he wondered if they were bluffing.
Stopping, he stared at the newscast for a moment,
decided that no matter how false their evidence
might be, scrutiny was too high for him to risk
staying. He turned back to his packing, only half
listening to the rest of the special report.
"This man probably has a very low IQ, he
may even border on functional retardation. We
suspect he may even have an accomplice, being
unable to commit these crimes on his own. . ."
The little man's head snapped up at the
words, and he threw his road map on the floor with
'Challenge set,' he thought to himself.
Bayliss pulled his coat more tightly around
him, shielding himself against the cold wind as they
headed toward their car. Unlocking the driver's side
door, he stared across the roof at Mulder.
"If this works. . . if he kills someone else for
us to catch him, it's ours."
Mulder shook his head. "No one makes him
kill but himself."
Sliding behind the wheel, Bayliss dug the
keys from his pocket. Hesitating, he put the key into
the ignition, but didn't turn it.
"It makes us accomplices."
With a sigh, Mulder fastened his seatbelt.
"Tim, he's going to kill anyway. He'll kill until he
dies or we catch him. It's unfortunate, and it's
depressing, but that's just the way it is. The only
thing we did was hopefully make him less careful.
It's all a question of guilt. Can you live with one
more woman dead, or would you prefer fourteen?"
"None. I'd like none."
"That's not an option."
Bayliss started the car, and pulled out of the
lot. "It should be an option. I shouldn't be, we
shouldn't be deciding when someone dies. I'm
supposed to stand over a body I never expected to
find, not plant one."
"There are a lot of things that shouldn't be.
You get used to it."
"I never got used to it," Tim said. "Never.
When the phone rings, I expect the worst, I even
learned to make jokes about it, but I've never gotten
used to it. I don't understand how anyone can. Frank
can. Munch can. Hell, even Kellerman can, but not
me. Me, I'm left at the end of the day with an empty
apartment and a head full of questions I can't
answer, and I wonder why. I'm where I wanted to
be, so why is it so damned hard for me?"
"Because they're you."
"You never learned to make the distinction.
When you see a body on the ground, you don't see
them, you see yourself. Who did they love? What
will they miss? What would have happened? Those
things you want to know about them, they're
questions you want answered for yourself. You just
forget that you have the chance to find out, so they
"I was just talking here, Mulder, just talking.
I wasn't looking for you to profile me."
Mulder shook his head. "It's what I am."
"Funny you should say that. Why do you
think you spend your career investigating things you
can't ever really prove and making guesses about
what strangers are like?"
Stiffening, Mulder checked his seatbelt, and
looked out of the window. "I was just talking.
Everyone's a stranger, everything is a secret."
They were silent as they drove back toward
the City County building, Bayliss navigating
carefully through the multiple one way streets.
Mulder glanced over at Tim, trying to divine his
thoughts, listening to the other man tick his tongue
against his teeth.
"I never told Frank."
"I wouldn't have told Scully. She saw me
with you in the hospital."
"So you keep secrets."
"Yes I do."
"Why do you?"
"Some things crawl and ache in your heart so
much that saying them out loud would make them
too much to bear."
"Makes them real," Mulder mused. "Given
enough silence, a secret can cease to exist."
Bayliss shook his head. "No, it can't."
"It sounded good, though."
"Yes, it did."
(End Part Five)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (6/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
"We have a sketch artist working with two
witnesses right now, we should have a drawing real
soon," Taylor said, meeting Bayliss and Mulder at
the elevator door. "Nature's Own is faxing us a list
of customers in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Columbus
and Indianapolis, and we have clean fingerprints for
Bayliss' face lit up. "We have a witness?"
"Don't get too excited. The guy paid two
teenagers to write his numbers on Monument Circle.
It's circumstantial at best, but it's better than
anything else we got."
"I see a ray of hope," Bayliss grinned.
Taylor pulled the squad doors opened. "Oh,
and you missed Pembleton and Scully dressing some
idiot down in interrogation."
The squad room was still busier than ever,
filled with smoke and loud voices. Scully,
Pembleton, Sands and Whitney huddled over one
desk, ignoring the phones ringing around them.
Sands jabbed his finger on the desk, smiling widely
as he talked. Bayliss raised an eyebrow at their
animation. Tim looked over at Taylor for an
"He's been like that ever since we got the
witnesses," Taylor shrugged.
Conference Room 4
"Okay," Bayliss said, passing out copies of
the sketch artist's handiwork. "Frank, I want you and
Dana to go back to the Scottish Rite. I realize that
Father Byrne has privilege, but try anyway. Taylor,
you, Whitney and Sands cover all the bars Becker
went to before she disappeared. Mulder and I will
talk to the Becker witnesses, then come back and
canvas the Circle area. We have 36 hours left, let's
Mulder stared down at the bundle of papers
in his hands, sharp line-drawn eyes staring back from
an angular, almost elven face. The face didn't look
much like a killer's, but he reminded himself that
they never did. Lost in thought, he memorized the
drawing, from the neatly cut hair to the tilted lower
lip. Scully pulled him out of his reverie, tapping him
on the arm.
"Yeah." He shook his head, clearing his
He nodded, finding a smile. "Have fun in the
box with Pembleton?"
Scully grinned. "Absolutely."
Father Byrne's Apartment
"Detective Pembleton, Agent Scully. . . I
hadn't expected to see you again."
Father Byrne wiped his hands on a towel,
then hung it on the side of the sink. He leaned
against the counter wearily, then turned back to the
task of putting away dishes.
"I have a few questions," Pembleton said
softly, pulling a sketch from his coat pocket. "Have
you ever seen this man in the cathedral?"
Glancing from the corner of his eye, Father
Byrne considered the question and the drawing.
"Have you ever seen this man near the
There was a long pause. Pembleton was
doing his best to avoid the real query, 'Is this the
man who confessed to you.' He just hoped that
Father Byrne would go along. He was under no
obligation to cooperate, but Frank suspected his
guilty conscience might work to their advantage.
"Have you ever spoken to this man?"
Father Byrne nodded silently, dropping
silverware into a drawer.
"If I asked you anything further about your
conversations with this man, would the answers be
Scully bowed her head penitently. "Thank
Father Byrne looked her over, then smiled
tightly. "You know the way out, I'm sure."
Home of Jerri Ritcey
"I don't recognize him, sorry." Jerri crossed
her arms across her chest, shaking her head for
"You're absolutely sure?"
"One hundred percent, I've never seen this
Dr. Fornelli's Office
"We have so many people coming through
on a daily basis. . . "
"Could you take a closer look?"
"I'm sorry, I don't recognize him."
Office of the Director of the Eiteljorg Museum
"No, I've never seen him."
The Pan-Am Plaza
"He doesn't look at all familiar."
World Mardi Gras
"I've seen him in here a couple of times, but I
didn't see him last week."
"Do you know his name?"
"Yeah right, I have time to learn everyone's
"Where's Detective Bayliss?"
"Also interviewing possible witnesses, sir. I
assure you, we're all working together on this."
"What were your names again?"
"Detective Sands and Detective Whitney,
"Yeah, I've seen him. We call him John the
"John the Baptist?"
"Yeah. He always carries a Bible, and he's
into watersports. It's funny to us, anyway."
"Do you know his real name?"
"Sorry. Do you think anyone else here might
"Ask Tony down in the restaurant."
"I think his first name is Rick, but I don't
know for sure. I only went out with him once."
"Do you know where he lives?"
"Around here, probably. I met him here, we
walked to the restaurant, and afterwards, he walked
home. I don't know anything else."
"Trust me, if I knew more, I'd tell you. I am
2437 Delaware Street
Bayliss knocked on the door again, a little
louder this time. He realized it was getting late, and
people didn't care much for opening their doors to
strangers after dark, but they only had a few houses
to go and he wanted to get it over with. He looked
over at the next house, watching Mulder question a
tiny, antediluvian woman. By the way Mulder leaned
over her, flashing his winning smile, Bayliss knew he
was flirting any information she had right out of her.
As he pondered the approach, the front door to the
house he was standing at swung open, and he was
met by a very large, very angry looking man with a
Stumbling back a few steps, Bayliss held up
his hands. "I'm a police officer, I just want to ask
you if you recognize . . . "
"Get off my porch."
Bayliss reached into his pocket, and pulled
out the sketch. "Please, just put down the gun. All I
want to know is if you know this man."
Lowering the shotgun, the man stared at the
drawing. "He's a faggot."
Bayliss' eyes widened. "You recognize him?"
"Yeah, he's a fucking faggot Bible thumper.
That don't go together if you ask me."
Swallowing a sense of bitter unease, Bayliss
pressed on. "Where have you seen this man? Do you
know his name?"
"I don't talk to faggots," the man sneered.
"But he lives down the street. We been trying to
convince him to move. I got kids, you know. I don't
want no faggot getting hold of them."
"It's the white house, right down there," the
man pointed. "Hey, why're you asking? What's he
"We just want to ask him a few questions.
Thank you for your cooperation, sir."
"That's police talk for wantin' to arrest
somebody. I hope you find him, we don't need his
2419 Delaware Street
"No one's answering," Mulder said finally, as
Bayliss tried to peer into filthy windows. "We'll have
to get a warrant."
"It's ten thirty," Bayliss complained. "We'll
have to get some judge out of bed, and 'some guy
said' isn't exactly evidence."
"I don't see that we have much choice at this
point. Let's talk to everyone else first, maybe they
have something to add to the pile."
"Pile is about right," Tim muttered.
Judge Madeline Smith's Office
"I realize it's late, thank you for coming in,
your honor." Bayliss stood respectfully on the
defendant side of the judge's desk, his coat folded
over his crossed hands. Taylor shifted from foot to
foot next to him, infinitely uncomfortable. Judge
Smith liked to have fifteen pounds of evidence and
10 eye witnesses to grant a warrant; she'd tried to
tell Tim that, but he brushed it aside. It didn't really
matter though, Judge Smith was the only one who'd
answered the call.
"It's not midnight yet, it's not late. What can
I do for you?"
"We need a warrant." Bayliss smiled
sheepishly, his voice low and soft. He pinned the
judge in his puppy-dog gaze. "Just a line of sight
warrant, nothing big."
Judge Smith half smiled. "So little to ask,
and what do you have to offer me, Detective
"I have," Bayliss said seductively, "I have
four eye witnesses, a name, an address, and
Raising an eyebrow, Judge Smith stood up,
stuffing her hands in her pants pockets. "Really?
"Two witnesses who confirm that our
suspect paid them to write his signature where he
last dropped a body. One witness to whom our
suspect confessed. One witness who places the
suspect in the same bar our last victim visited before
she was murdered."
"Why does this sound too good to be true?"
The judge peered skeptically over her glasses. "Tell
me the part I won't like."
"We only have a first name. We don't have
the confession because it's privileged. The
fingerprints won't match anything until we have a
hand to put them with. We can connect our suspect
only to locations and aftermath, not the actual
crime." Tim smiled winningly, expertly concealing
"Well, you certainly have courage," Judge
Smith said coldly. "But I have to wonder why
Detective Taylor allowed you to pull me away from
my busy home schedule. Certainly she knew my
standards for granting a warrant."
Before Bayliss could reply, Taylor stepped
forward. "You've always been fair in the past, your
honor. I know we haven't met your usual standard
for burden, but I believed you'd consider the special
circumstances in this case."
"You're a very bad liar, detective." Judge
Smith pulled open a desk drawer. "You're a very bad
liar, indeed. I suggest you survey the location and
come back to me when you have enough evidence
for a warrant. No matter how high profile a case is, I
will not be overturned for ignoring due process.
Good night, detectives."
Bayliss and Taylor gave their good nights,
and filtered out into the hallway. They headed for
the elevator, staring at their feet as they walked.
"I'm sorry," Bayliss said finally.
"We hadda try." Taylor shrugged unhappily.
"Would have helped if his name had been on that
"So we stake out his house."
"Wanna get laid?"
Bayliss turned and stared at Taylor.
She smirked. "Nothing. Let's go share the
bad news, shall we?"
(End Part Six)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (7/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: email@example.com
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
Corner of Delaware and South Street
"I hate stake outs," Pembleton groused,
unwrapping a sandwich and laying it on the napkin
in his lap. "Human beings were not designed to
spend 12 hours sitting in the same place."
"We weren't designed to do a lot of the
things we do," Dana agreed, pouring a packet of
sugar into her iced tea. She glanced up over the
dashboard, keeping an eye on the house they were
watching. So far, no one had gone in or out, and the
windows were dark.
"There was a time when I would have
enjoyed this," Frank admitted. "But those days are
long gone, long gone. Now I just want to arrest
someone and go home."
"Little jaded there, Frank?"
"No, a lot. I've been thinking about retiring."
Scully's eyes widened. "Really? That
"Why would that surprise you? I have a wife,
two children, and a pension due me. We could move
to Washington and be closer to Mary's parents." He
made a face. "Or we could move back to New York
and live in a real city."
"It surprises me because I can't imagine what
you would do besides being a cop."
Frank laughed softly, playing with his
sandwich. "I can't either, but I'm sure I could find
something. I have many talents."
"Have you told Bayliss this?"
"Of course not. I can't stand listening to him
mewl and whine."
"You'll miss him," she said confidently.
"I most certainly will not," Frank snorted. "It
will be a pleasure to spend days, even weeks,
without being dragged into the passion play he calls
a life. No more arguments over sandwiches
forgotten, no more long discussions on the merits of
playing hearts, no more battles over good dog
names. It will be a pleasure, Dana, a pleasure I can't
begin to explain."
Scully half smiled, remembering the agony
they shared standing in front of the Cartwright
Mansion, neither knowing if their partners would
walk out or be carried out on a gurney. Pembleton
could talk all night, but he'd never convince her that
he didn't care about Bayliss.
"I still don't understand your unnatural
devotion to Mulder."
She laughed to herself. "He's my partner,
Frank. Where he goes, I go."
"If I tried to follow Bayliss, I would go
insane. He goes through these phases, completely
incomprehensible to anyone but him. He went out
on a date with one of our witnesses a few months
ago; and while that in itself is odd, this witness was a
man. A man, Dana. I've known Tim Bayliss for six
years now, and never once has he shown that he was
anything but heterosexual. He was uncomfortable
around gay men less than three years ago on a case,
but now, now he's going off on dates with them. No,
I can't follow Bayliss. I don't even understand
Bayliss. I sincerely doubt Bayliss understands
At that moment, Scully realized that Tim
hadn't told Frank anything about the time he'd spent
with Mulder in that mansion. An uncomfortable knot
formed in her stomach, and she took a long sip of
Corner of Delaware and Merrill Street
After sorting out whose food was where,
Mulder and Bayliss sat silently in the car, watching
the house. The night noises of an inner city
neighborhood were a backdrop symphony; animals
in trash cans performed percussion, an old woman
screaming at errant grandchildren was the melody.
Mulder folded and unfolded the foil around
his gyro, trying to decide whether to bother with the
cucumber sauce. He furtively looked over at Bayliss,
then back down at his dinner. If he'd been with
Scully, he wouldn't be able to shut up. Instead, he
was sitting there silently, playing with a sandwich he
didn't really want, and wishing he weren't noticing
the soft, clean scent of Bayliss' cologne. Willing
himself to pay attention to the surveillance, Mulder
ignored the warmth crawling across his skin.
"You know," Bayliss started, "Times like
this, I miss smoking."
Mulder nodded, glad for the conversation.
"Good way to pass time."
"I mean, I'm glad I quit. I feel much better, I
have more energy, but there's something comforting
about waiting with a cigarette in your hand."
"Sunflower seeds," Mulder said, picking at
his sandwich. "Almost as good, and they won't kill
you unless you choke."
"Really. Sunflower seeds?"
Bayliss shook his head. "See, sunflower
seeds, though, they're so much work. You have to
peel them, you have to keep hold of them. A
cigarette though, just light. It floats in your hand,
there's no effort to it."
"You could eat the shells."
"Some people do it. I don't. I find comfort in
a pile of seedless husks."
Tim laughed quietly. "That sounds
Smiling wryly, Mulder ate one of the
tomatoes from his gyro. "In the end, everything can
"Yes, absolutely everything."
Rising to the challenge, Bayliss smiled and
thought for a moment. "Asparagus."
"That's too easy. It's a phallic symbol."
"Okay, okay, I can see that." He paused.
"The return to the womb."
"Infantile oral fixation."
"Mother Theresa," Bayliss smiled, laying
down his psychoanalytic trump card.
"The pleasure principle."
Tim pushed the straw back into his drink and
stared at Mulder. "The pleasure principle? We're
talking about a nun here."
"I know that. The pleasure principle is the
concept that people do good because it makes them
feel good, and they don't stop because they require
escalating positive acts to maintain their level of
happiness. It only relates to sexual pleasure if that's
the manifestation which one chooses to pursue."
"So what you're saying is that Mother
Theresa worked her entire life for the indigent and
downtrodden so she wouldn't see diminishing
returns on her goodness high?"
Mulder shook his head. "I never said that."
"That's exactly what you said."
"No," Mulder argued. "I said that everything
can be boiled down to a Freudian motivation. I
didn't say it was right."
"Huh." Bayliss adjusted his glasses, and
leaned against the headrest. "The pleasure principle."
2420 Delaware Street
Home of Mary Ann Kubistawieky
"Do you all want some coffee or
Whitney looked up at their impromptu
hostess, handing the binoculars to Sands. "It's not
"No trouble, I reckon, I always make coffee
when the police come."
Sands raised his eyebrows. "This has
happened more than once?"
"Well, when they come to take Bobby, I
made coffee," she nodded, rolling her eyes back as if
trying to visually locate other dates in her memory.
"Then when they come to take John, he's my
youngest, made coffee then too. S'comforting, hot
Whitney exchanged an incredulous glance
with Sands. "Sure, sure then. Coffee would be nice."
They watched Mrs. Kubistawieky limp into
the kitchen, then heard the sound of water running
into a metal container.
"So the feller who lives across the street,
what's he into? It must be pretty bad for y'all to be
sitting in my living room watching his house. When
Johnny got sent up for growing pot in the basement,
they just come right in and took him. Warn't nothing
"We just want to ask him a few questions,
"He carries on something odd," Mrs.
Kubistawieky offered. "Writing on his porch in chalk
and washing it off, burning trash in his backyard;
that's illegal in city limits, you know. They gave Old
Johnny, may his soul rest in peace, a 40 dollar ticket
for burning trash in our backyard. Milk? Sugar?"
Taylor walked up one side of the street and
down the other, muttering under her breath. She and
four patrol officers were standing various posts
along Delaware, waiting for their suspect to arrive.
With a sigh, she dug her hands into her pockets,
looking for her cigarettes. Instead, she found two
lighters, a book of matches, and a clear, cat's eye
marble. She contemplated the marble before tossing
it on the broken sidewalk. It rolled a few feet, then
was trapped in a fissure.
Rechecking her pockets, she found four
cents and an empty gum wrapper. She scowled, then
crossed the street again.
Corner of Delaware and South Street
The walkie talkie in Scully's lap hissed and
sputtered to life.
"I don't have any fucking cigarettes."
Taylor's voice crackled over the small speaker.
"That," Frank announced, "Is the saddest
thing I've heard all day."
"She never smokes them anyway, she just
"Yes, but it's comforting to know it's there, if
you want one."
"You used to smoke?" Scully shook her
head. "Of course you did."
Frank raised an eyebrow. "What do you
mean, of course I did?"
"Most cops smoke," Scully explained
"As a matter of fact, I did smoke. I smoked
all day long; fragrant plumes of burning tobacco
surrounded me in a shroud of planned
"Yes, longing to set a weed on fire and to
inhale the noxious waste thereof."
"When you put it that way, it sounds
"It is ridiculous."
"So what is your vice, Agent Scully?"
She shrugged. "I don't have any."
Pembleton considered her for a moment,
then began to laugh. "You must have one. Everyone
has one. It doesn't even have to be bad for you,
though it's a much more effective vice if it is. So
come on, what's your secret vice, Dana?"
She mulled over the notion for a moment.
"What kind of vice is that?"
"My kind," she grinned. "Two cups of milk,
a package of white powder in tupperware, shake,
and five minutes later, a delightful green pudding."
"Green. Your vice is green pudding."
"What color did you expect it to be?"
"They dye them red. In their natural state,
pistachios are green."
"I know that," Frank sniped. "But if they dye
the nuts, why not the pudding?"
"They do dye it. They just dye it green."
"Now that's ridiculous."
"But delicious right from the container."
"And this is your vice."
"Yes indeed," Scully said, stretching her
"You need to get out more."
Union Station Parking Garage
Yelena Galifi walked into the parking
garage, clutching her keys between her fingers. It
always made her nervous to be the last one out, but
she paid close attention to her surroundings, and
walked confidently. Her self defense teacher had
congratulated her on her vigilance at the end of her
course, and when she got scared, she thought about
Over the echoes of her footsteps, she could
hear someone muttering, followed by the sound of
keys hitting concrete. As she rounded the post, she
saw a feminine looking man in a leg cast, trying to
retrieve his keys from underneath an old car. He
looked on the verge of tears when he noticed her,
but only nodded and turned back to his task.
"Can I help you?" Yelena was surprised to
hear herself speak, but squelched her inner alarm.
Even at a distance, she could tell she was bigger
than this man, and he hadn't even asked for her help.
A bad guy would have approached her, she decided.
"I dropped my keys," he said in a surprisingly
female voice. It wasn't just a stereotypical "gay lisp,"
but virtually indistinguishable from a woman's voice.
"I can't get down there to get after them."
With a nod, Yelena walked over,
surreptitiously uncapping the mace in her jacket
pocket. "I'll get them, but could you stand over
The man nodded through a forced smile,
brushing his scattered blonde locks from his eyes.
He hobbled away slightly, thanking her effusively for
her help. Yelena knelt down, looking under the car
for the keys. They were further under there than she
expected. Putting her own keys down, she braced
herself with one hand and reached with the other.
Scrabbling for a few moments, she finally snagged
the key ring. As she started to pull herself up, she
felt a sharp pain in her hip. She fell to the ground,
her face hitting the pavement with a crack she heard,
but didn't feel.
(End Part Seven)
Title:Forward Slash II: Signature (8/8)
Author: Saundra Mitchell
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating: R (Adult Situations, Language)
Corner of Delaware and Merrill Street
"Why did you call us in?"
Tim looked over at Mulder wearily. "What
are you talking about?"
Examining his hands, Mulder didn't look up.
"Scully and me. Why did you call us in? There's a
field office in Indianapolis. Baltimore too."
Shrugging, Bayliss removed his glasses and
squeezed the bridge of his nose, hiding a pained
expression. "I knew we could work together. I knew
you wouldn't try to claim jurisdiction."
Mulder stared out the window. "You're not
answering my question."
"Then what are you asking, Mulder? You're
starting to get on my nerves."
"I can write a profile from Washington.
Scully can examine autopsy notes from
Washington." Mulder stopped, suddenly aware that
his heart was racing. He wanted to ask the question,
but he wasn't sure he wanted the answer. Closing his
eyes, he took a breath and pressed on. "Why did you
want us in Indianapolis?"
Bayliss inhaled through his front teeth,
making a sharp hissing noise. Squinting, he looked
over at Mulder, opening his mouth to answer, then
closing it again. He was suddenly very aware of
Mulder's presence and he caught himself staring at
the strong curve of his jaw. Shaking his head,
Bayliss turned his attention back to the surveillance.
Sighing, Mulder slumped in defeat. "What
time is it?"
"Because I wanted to see you again, okay?
It's been two months, and we haven't spoken to one
another. Hell, Dana's been up to see Frank and Mary
four times now, but we haven't even spoken. I
guess. . . I guess I just wanted to see if you'd come."
They fell quiet again, staring straight ahead.
The edges of the windows were starting to cloud,
and Mulder realized the sounds of the city had
dwindled to nothing. He took a deep breath, and
shifted in his seat to adjust for a discomfort that
wasn't at all physical. Without turning, Mulder raised
a hand tentatively and laid it across one of Tim's.
2420 Delaware Street
Home of Mary Ann Kubistawieky
"I'm gonna turn in, gentlemen," Mary Ann
said, prying herself out of an ancient recliner.
"There's coffee in the pot, if you want some. Don't
worry about locking the doors when you leave. It
don't lock anyway."
Corner of Delaware and South Street
"Hey, a car," Scully said, trying to twist the
kinks out of her back as she watched it turn down
"It's slowing down." Pembleton picked up
the walkie talkie, and closed the microphone.
"Taylor, incoming. Late 70s Malibu, identify?"
Taylor leaned against a car nonchalantly,
waiting for the car to get closer. Staring up through
her bangs, she focused on the driver's side of the
windshield, waiting for him to come into view.
When he did, her heart quickened, and she touched
the microphone on her shirt.
"It's him. Going in."
Reaching into her jacket, Taylor unfastened
the thumb break on her holster, ready to pull her gun
if necessary. She waited until the man shut the car
off and opened his door before walking swiftly
across the street toward him.
"Excuse me, sir, Indianapolis Police, could
you step away from the car, please?"
The little blonde man stared at her, fixed to
his spot. He half raised his hands, but said nothing.
Touching the mike button with her left hand,
she continued her cautious approach. "Come in."
Three seconds later, Sands and Whitney
appeared from Mrs. Kubistawieky's house, and
unmarked Caprices pulled up on either side. The
four patrol officers assigned to the watch appeared
out of nowhere, as if they had just faded back into
Taylor ordered their suspect up against the
car. Without a word, the man assumed the proper
position to be frisked, but said nothing. She patted
him down, stopping at his jacket pocket.
"I'm going to put my hand in your pocket.
Am I going to find a needle in there?"
The man shook his head, still silent.
"Gimme your flashlight," she said to one of
the patrol officers. He produced a pen light and
handed it to her. Peering down into the suspect's
pocket, she found an orange syringe cap, and a small
rubber topped bottle. "I need some gloves, and a
bag. What's your name, bucky?"
When he didn't reply, she reached into his
back pocket and pulled out his wallet. She tossed it
to Bayliss, then took the latex glove offered to her
by Scully. Snapping it onto her hand, she reached
into the pocket, and pulled out the bottle.
"His name's Richard Ward and he has a
nurse's license in here," Bayliss said.
"Well, Richard Ward," Taylor said, thrusting
the bottle under his nose. "What's this?"
Before he had the opportunity to say nothing
yet again, the detectives present heard a muffled
moaning coming from inside the car. Taylor's eyes
widened, and she pulled the cuffs from the back of
her pants. Snapping them in place on Rick's wrists,
she reached into his other pocket and pulled out his
car keys. Handing them over to Bayliss, she quietly
recited the Miranda warning to Rick.
"Do you understand your rights as I have
explained them to you?"
He nodded in response, his eyes riveted to
the police officers opening his trunk. When he heard
the gasp, he closed his eyes, smiling to himself.
Homicide Unit Interrogation 1
Mulder and Scully stood silently behind the
one way glass, watching Pembleton and Bayliss
trying to crack Rick Ward from his silence. Whitney
and Sands were still at the house on Delaware
Street, and Taylor was downstairs doing a rush on
their suspect's prints. At this point, the two federal
agents had nothing to do but watch.
"Do you want a lawyer? Something to
drink?" Bayliss stood over Rick, nodding his head
encouragingly. Rick just shook his head, and stared
straight forward. He hadn't said a word since they'd
pulled him out of the car.
"Why're you smiling," Frank asked, tapping
his manicured fingers on the table. "You've had that
stupid smile on your face for an hour. What do you
have to smile about? You're a failure, Rick. Yelena
Galifi is sitting in a hospital bed right now, telling a
police officer everything she knows. We have your
fingerprints, and later on, we'll have every damned
thing in your house laid out in evidence control. So
why're you smiling? Hm? Are you stupid?
In response, the tight-lipped smile widened.
Rick ran his hands through his hair nervously, his
eyes darting from Bayliss to Pembleton, and back to
Tim sat next to Rick, presenting a
comforting front. "You know, Frank, I learned
something very interesting today. Very interesting
"What's that, Tim?"
"The pleasure principle."
"The pleasure principle?"
"Yes, Frank, the pleasure principle." Tim
looked seriously at Pembleton. "See, sometimes
people find out that doing something makes them
feel good. It could be, I dunno, rubbing their bellies
with liniment, or accidentally hurting someone.
Anyway, it makes them feel good, and we all want
to feel good right?"
"I know I do."
"Of course you do. We all do. So anyway,
these people start to do it on purpose, you know,
whatever makes them feel good, so they don't feel
bad. They just want to feel better, so their ritual,
their vice, if you will, becomes an obsession. It's
completely out of their hands. They can't help it, not
at all, even if they wanted to. They're forced,
psychologically, to keep going."
"That's very interesting, Tim. But after a
while, a little bit of liniment isn't good enough
anymore, is it?"
Bayliss put his arm around Rick's shoulder,
leaning across the table. "That's right, Frank. Hey,
you're good at this psychology stuff. Turns out, that
they have to do it bigger, better, to get the same
good feelings. It's an addiction. Nobody's fault, an
addiction; just like drugs or liquor."
Rick started to shake, then a wheezing
snicker issued from him. Bayliss sat back, staring at
"First you're smiling, then you're laughing.
What's wrong with you, boy?"
For the first time, Rick's smile faltered, then
faded altogether. Tim and Frank were surprised at
the sudden change of demeanor, but stunned when
their suspect began to talk.
"I know how this works," Rick said in a
Bayliss stared, but Frank managed to keep
his veneer of cold disinterest.
"You think you speak for the dead. You all
do," Rick continued. "But you don't. I can. I do. My
mother said all I needed was a good woman. Is
fourteen enough? This interview is over now. I want
Conference Room 4
"I examined him," Scully said as she walked
into the conference room, her face pale.
"And?" Taylor crossed her arms over her
"It would appear," she began, glancing over
at Mulder for support. "It would appear he cut out
his own tongue and somehow grafted in one of his
victim's. For all intents and purposes, this man
shouldn't be able to speak at all."
"And yet he can," Pembleton said skeptically,
staring at Mulder as if his very presence had caused
"I suggest we keep that little tidbit out of the
newspapers," Bayliss sighed. "The world will find
out soon enough at his trial."
"Have we heard from Whitney and Sands,"
Taylor asked softly.
"They're still pulling evidence from his
house," Mulder answered. "So far, we have hemp
thread, syringes, several bottles of succinylcholine. .
The five sat quietly, overwhelmed by
exhaustion. Now that they had the killer in custody,
the letdown was immense. They looked at the pile of
folders in the center of the table. They had worked
20 hour days doing it, but they had caught their
murderer. Breaking the stillness, Lt. Edmonds burst
into the conference room, his jowly face beet red.
"Taylor," he barked.
She stood up, clutching the table for support.
"Your suspect's dead. He hung himself in
"Oh god," she croaked.
"In my office, now."
Bayliss and Mulder sat at Taylor's desk,
waiting for her to reappear. Scully and Pembleton
had gone off in search of a Chinese restaurant still
open for take out at that late hour. Around them,
things seemed almost normal in the unit; detectives
taking phone calls for ordinary murders, the pace no
faster than the bodies fell.
When the door opened on the unit, Mulder
and Bayliss stood up immediately to greet a somber
Taylor. She brushed past them, and started throwing
the contents of her desk into an empty paper box.
"What happened," Bayliss asked, putting a
hand on her shoulder.
"I was irresponsible in the processing of our
suspect," she said, biting out each word.
"Consequently, four states' attorneys are bent the
fuck out of shape, and I'm the last in the line of
goats. Hi ho, Taylor away."
"You got fired?" Mulder stared at Taylor
"Just like that," Bayliss questioned. "No
inquiry, no hearing?"
"I was already on discretionary probation for
insubordination. They've been waiting for an excuse
to fire me. They got one." She threw the last of her
things into the box and picked it up. "Well
gentlemen, it was a pleasure working with you."
Mulder glanced over at Bayliss. "Wait, Frank
and Scully are getting Chinese, they'll be back in a
few minutes. Why don't we wait for them, then we
can get a drink?"
Taylor shook her head, walking toward the
door. "I was asked to vacate the premises
immediately. Thanks anyway, though."
"We can at least walk you down," Bayliss
said, starting after her.
"No." Taylor backed against the door,
opening it. "I mean, no thanks. I just want to go
home. I'll see y'around."
Hyatt Regency Room 412
Mulder stared at the ceiling tiles, making
patterns where none existed. He'd been trying to
sleep for nearly two hours, failing miserably. Despite
her unspoken desire to be alone, he, Bayliss, Scully
and Pembleton had tried to track Taylor down. She
had either chosen to ignore their knocks at her door,
or she hadn't actually gone home. What should have
been a night of celebration had become a joyless
acknowledgment of a job done. Left with a sour
twist in his stomach, Mulder had retired early to
catch a nap before he boarded the plane back to
There was a soft tap on his door, and he
sighed as he rolled out of bed. Adjusting his boxers,
he opened the door, expecting to see Scully standing
"Hi," Tim said uneasily, trying to ignore the
fact that Mulder was one pair of shorts shy of nude.
Mulder dragged a hand through his hair.
"Can I come in?"
"Yeah," he replied abruptly, pulling the door
open a little further. Tim stepped inside, looking
around the room. "It's nice. I had to share a room
"I'm sorry." Mulder shut the door, trying to
figure out what to do with his hands. Normally, he'd
put them in his coat pockets. "One of the advantages
of having a female partner."
"I guess so."
"We finally found Taylor," Tim said
haltingly. "Well, she found us, really."
"Yeah, she came into the bar we were at, but
she was already drunk. We ended up taking her
"I'd be drunk too."
"It sucks what happened to her. I wish we
could do something. Anything."
"I know what you mean."
"I just hope she's okay. All alone, I mean."
"So anyway, I figured you'd be leaving
today, and I didn't know if I'd get a chance to say
good bye," Bayliss said finally, stepping toward the
"You're not going back?"
"No, not yet. I have to finish some
paperwork, do a couple of press conferences. I'll
probably be here a couple more days."
They stood only a few feet apart, stumbling
for the right words. Eventually, Bayliss sighed to
himself. "It's late, I'd better go."
Mulder nodded imperceptibly, his hand
resting on the door handle. He wanted to stop him,
but he didn't know how.
Tim took a step forward, now only inches
from Mulder, gripping the back of his neck as he
stared at the floral patterned carpet. He hovered
there, not daring to look up, but unwilling to leave.
He was the one who'd wanted to see Mulder again,
to find out if there was anything there, and now he
was on the verge of leaving without finding out. He
reached and touched Mulder on the shoulder,
drawing a jagged breath. In an instant, he had
decided to ignore his apprehensions.
They leaned forward at the same moment, all
hesitation gone. The hand that had rested on
Mulder's shoulder stole up, twining itself in his
tousled hair. Pressed against the door, Mulder
leaned harder into the kiss, helplessly overwhelmed
by the sensation of Bayliss' body against his.
He had thought about this, lying alone in his
Washington apartment; thought about being Bayliss'
arms again, their tongues intertwined as their hands
scrabbled to touch familiar but separate bodies. A
soft moan bubbled in Mulder's throat as Tim gently
bit his lower lip, the hand in his hair tightening in
gentle, erotic pain.
Finally Tim pulled away, keeping his eyes
closed, and his forehead against Mulder's. They
exhaled together, sharp breaths of passion slowly
growing longer and more controlled. Mulder half
opened his eyes then licked his lips, pulling Bayliss
closer. The last time, he could see nothing in the
oppressive dark, now he could see the soft curve of
Tim's eyelashes, the tremble of his lips in the
awkward moment when something would be
For the first time in his life, Mulder
completely understood finding beauty in another
man. In his low, honeyed voice, he whispered one
word, his arms tightening around the other man's
(End of Part Eight)