Man's Best Friend

Chapter 2

FBI Headquarters - Thursday, 11:15 a.m.

Scully glared at her watch again. "Where the hell is he?" she fumed aloud. "Just how long does it take to drop a dog off at the animal shelter? If he thinks he's going to take half the day off and leave me with all this damn paperwork..."

This wasn't the first time her partner had found a reason to stay away from their office when he knew the expense accounts were due and a basket full of reports still remained to be typed and filed. She thought of giving him another fifteen minutes before calling but after ten seconds, she could no longer contain her curiosity. She picked up the phone and dialed his cellular number. All that greeted her were several rings followed by a recording suggesting that the number she was trying to reach was currently out of service. Scully slammed the receiver back down. He had probably turned it off. It wasn't the first time he had done that either. Scully recalled vividly one instance her partner had deliberately tuned her out. It was the night he met Bambi, the pretty entomologist who caught his eye during an investigation of invading cockroaches.

Perhaps this time he had encountered a pretty veterinarian while checking out an abnormal flea infestation. Of course, she could be wrong. The battery could be dead in his phone, the dog may have needed medical attention and Mulder was too preoccupied to give her a call. Scully preferred to give him the benefit of a doubt. Ever since her illness and miraculous recovery, he had shown her more consideration than he had in the past. Just the fact that he had called her earlier that morning to inform her that he would be late was proof of that. In the old days he would simply take off to parts unknown and leave her to worry what had become of him and hunt down clues he may have left behind. But since her close brush with death, he had taken to keeping her well informed of his whereabouts. Keeping that in mind, Scully pushed her anger back down and continued with the paperwork, knowing that Mulder would either be calling her soon or walking through the door with a darn good story to tell.

Back At The Train Yard - 12:22 p.m.

Mulder blinked his eyes several times to convince himself that he was actually seeing what was before him, which was absolutely nothing. Besides awaking with a case of the shivers, excruciating pain emanating from his left shoulder and the sensation that someone had dropped an anvil on his head, Mulder's world had become one of utter darkness. There was a chance that he'd suffered some damage to his optical nerve; perhaps some simple swelling that would easily heal with proper rest and treatment. He'd try not to worry about it for now. First, there was the monumental task of shifting himself into a more comfortable position. He lay in a twisted heap on a cold, smooth surface, his right arm beneath his torso, his legs bent and crossing each other, and his aching left arm twisted behind his back.

Gasping in agony at the effort, Mulder slowly forced himself up into an upright position. A new explosion of pain both in his head and shoulder nearly caused him to black out again. Cradling his injured arm close to his chest, he attempted to take a few deep breaths, but discovered a good reason not to. He recalled getting a couple of kicks to his ribs. He was left with an uncomfortable tightness in his chest which made taking deep breaths difficult to master. It probably signified either bruised or cracked ribs. Mulder loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar, then sat quietly for several minutes and waited for all his aches to settle to a more tolerable level.

He thought at first that his arm had been broken, but a very careful and tentative inspection informed him that he was suffering instead from a dislocated shoulder. He recalled that Mel Gibson had a dislocated shoulder in one of the "Lethal Weapon" movies. Mel had dislocated it on purpose to maneuver himself out of a straight jacket. He was also able to pop his shoulder back into position by banging it against a hard surface. Of course, that was only a movie and a contrived plot device. Although Mulder couldn't help but give the idea some thought, he took in consideration that Mel let out a pretty convincing scream when he slammed that shoulder against the side of a car door to reset it. No, the "Lethal Weapon" way was not the most desirable route to take.

Okay, next on the agenda was to figure out how to get out of his current dilemma. He mentally pushed the pain aside so he could concentrate on his predicament. It occurred to him that perhaps he wasn't suffering from blindness after all and that he just happened to be in a place with no light. His penlight was probably down here somewhere, he thought. He was about to conduct a search for it when his right hand brushed against his left wrist and he remembered what kind of watch he was wearing. His fingers fumbled about for a second or two, then a bright, green glow lit up the watch dial. He nearly cried with relief when he saw the faint illumination of his immediate surroundings.

"Okay," he sighed. "That helps."

He looked up at the ceiling, just barely able to make out the hatch which he had been tossed through. It seemed unbearably far away, but he knew it would get no closer with him just sitting there. But first, he loosened his necktie further and shoved it upwards until it circled his head and covered the stinging gash opened up behind his left ear. He carefully wrapped and tucked in the ends of the tie to create a bandage. He then proceeded to remove his belt from his waistband, secure the ends, then drape it around his neck to use as a sling to help keep his injured shoulder immobile. The simple motions took a lot out of him and he was panting hard by the time he had finished. He had to take a few moments to rest before continuing. Once he felt ready to proceed, he slowly rose to his feet. Dizziness struck and he reached out with his right hand, hoping to find a perch to steady himself. Thankfully, he met with the smooth, curved wall of the tank and held himself still until the dizzy spell passed.

After a moment, he was able to try again. He stood up straight, then turned on the tiny light on his watch again. Lifting his eyes towards the sealed exit, he tried to calculate the distance he now needed to cover. He glumly realized that he wouldn't be able to reach the hatch without at least a two-foot leap into the air. If the hatch was not locked, he could push it open with his first jump. He'd need to make a second one to grab the edge of the opening and pull himself up. He'd done his share of one-handed chin-ups, but that had been when he was in top form. He wasn't sure he could manage it in his present condition, but if he wanted out, he'd have to give it his best try.

He took one last look at his target before releasing the tiny light- giving button on his watch. He then took a few preparatory breaths and finally made a stab at leaping up to slap his open palm against the closed hatch door. It turned out to be locked, and he only succeeded in further aggravating his injuries. As he landed, his legs buckled and he sank to his knees, trying desperately to catch his breath and pacify his screaming shoulder. He could tell now that gaining his freedom was not going to be a simple task. The other thought to cross his mind was that Scully was going to kill him.

FBI Headquarters - 3:15 p.m.

Mulder still had not reported in. Scully tried his cell phone again, then his home number but still had no luck in reaching him. She used the computer's phone book to get numbers to contact all the animal hospitals and shelters in Mulder's neighborhood and general area. No one had seen or heard of her partner or the animal he was with. As a last resort, Scully put a call in to the Lone Gunmen. Her hopes that perhaps he had been recently in touch with them were quickly doused. None of them had heard from him but they vowed to put feelers out in case he had been drawn into some covert operation.

Scully decided to go check out Mulder's apartment. Perhaps he had never even left home, but if that was the case, it could mean he had possibly fallen victim to illness, accident or worse. As Scully found a place to park in front of Mulder's building, she noted the absence of his car in the area. So, he had left home, or at least his car had. She needed to check out his apartment anyway. Perhaps she could discover a crumb of a clue as to what may have happened to him. As she was about to enter the main entrance, she caught sight of a white blur out the corner of her eye. She turned to get a better look and was pounced upon and nearly knocked over, by a huge, furred beast. She stood petrified for a few moments as a pair of large, white paws pressed against her upper chest, and rows of big, sharp teeth loomed close to her face. When a wet tongue gently licked at her chin, she finally realized that she was not about to be eaten alive.

She reached a gloved hand up and timidly petted the dog's head. "Good dog," she spoke to it, keeping her voice level and non- threatening. "Down, boy. Down."

The animal gave her one final kiss, then dropped down to all fours. Scully released a relieved sigh, her heart no longer racing. Thinking back to Mulder's description, she realized that this was the dog he had been trying to help get back home.

"You must be Pooh."

He reacted to the sound of his name by offering his paw to shake. Scully stooped down and reciprocated the gesture, then lightly stroked his back. "Hi, big guy. How are you? What happened, huh? Did my partner ditch you too?"

Pooh trotted away towards a large evergreen bush, dug around near its base, then came back to Scully with something in his mouth. Scully reached down and took the man's black, leather glove the dog offered her. She easily recognized it as one of Mulder's. She wanted to ask the animal where he had gotten it, but knew she'd be wasting her breath. Then she happened to notice some dark splotches on Pooh's white fur. Upon closer examination, Scully realized that she was looking at dried blood, and that it didn't belong to the pooch. She stood, considering the possibilities. Only two came to mind. One was that her partner had been injured in an accident of some kind and Pooh was perhaps doing an imitation of Lassie getting help for little Timmy who's trapped in the well. Her second guess was more insidious. It could be that the sweet, innocent-looking face in front of her had an evil side to him. Scully had heard of cases where dogs had been conditioned to attack and kill with a simple word or sound. They could be completely docile until the cue to kill was given.

Scully carefully looked about the area to see if she could spot someone watching her. If Mulder had stepped into some insipid trap, she could be the next victim. Seeing no obvious signs of surveillance, she took out her phone and made a call to Animal Control. She informed them that she had a possible vicious dog on her hands and requested an immediate pickup. When she was told that a truck would be by in about fifteen minutes, Scully studied the passive animal, trying to decide what to do with it while she waited. She needed to be able to keep it from running away and she still needed to check out Mulder's apartment. She placed her right hand on her holster and unstrapped her gun, preparing it for easy access should the dog suddenly turn violent. She then, gently tugged on the dog's collar to get it to go with her into the building.

She chose to use the stairs instead of the elevator. It would be just her luck if the dog had been trained to attack by the sound of an elevator's 'Ding.' She made it to Mulder's apartment without incident and after quickly taking a sample of the dried blood from the dog's coat, she escorted it into the bathroom and closed the door. Releasing a deep sigh over her accomplishments thus far, Scully began to look around the apartment, trying to spot anything out of the ordinary. She checked Mulder's two phone messages, one being from her and the other from Frohike, both trying to ascertain his whereabouts. She moved on to his computer to see if he'd left her any messages. When she didn't find any, she snooped through his e-mail, then the leftover files in the browser cache that showed the places he had last visited on the internet. She wasn't surprised to find that he'd been surfing through the adult sites and a couple of UFO sites, but according to the dates, that had been three days ago.

There seemed to be no other choice but to start calling the hospitals to see if he had been admitted. This wasn't the first time she had to do this and she had the numbers already programmed into her cell phone. She went down the list systematically, giving her partner's name, then inquiring about any dog bite victims or John Doe's fitting his description. No one fitting Mulder's description could be found but one dog bite victim had shown up at the Georgetown emergency room. His name was given as Victor Moore, but he was too young and much too short to be her partner.

Scully's next step was to put out an APB for Mulder's car. She hated to have to inform Skinner that her partner had gone missing, but she knew that he had come to trust in her instincts in these matters. She wasn't sure herself how she knew that Mulder had somehow gotten himself into serious trouble once again. She just knew she had to go with her gut feelings and do everything possible to find him, fast.

Train Yard - 7:42 p.m.

Mulder's abandoned car had been spotted by police cruising in the area. A detailed search of the nearby warehouse and the surrounding grounds was launched as soon as Scully arrived. After giving out instructions, Scully turned her attentions to Mulder's car, checking the interior for blood, but finding none. She did, however, notice a number of thick, white hairs on the back seat and a couple in the front seat that let her know that the dog had indeed been traveling with him. But there was nothing to indicate an attack took place inside the car. Scully got out and aimed her high-powered flashlight towards the ground, hoping to find a trail of footprints, but the surface was mostly gravel. Instead of moving into the warehouse to search, she chose to go to the rear of the building near the railroad tracks.


It was faint. Very faint, and he thought at first that he had dreamed it. He forced himself to shake off his sleep and held his breath as he listened intently.

"Agent Fox Muld-d-de-r-r-r!"

"Scully," he whispered. "Here... I'm in here."

Her voice grew slightly louder as she began to move in his direction. Mulder knew he had to make some noise to be heard. He yelled out her name and his location, and banged his fist several times against the wall of the car. It sounded loud to him and he waited to see if she had heard.

She probably would have heard him if not for the noisy, static calls from police radios, the loud whirling from the approaching helicopter called in to aid with its search lights and the rumblings of nearby train engines. Still, her instincts were leading her straight towards him until a female agent ran up to her excitedly.

"Agent Scully, we've found something!"

Scully turned and trotted off with the other agent away from the train cars and away from her partner's pathetic, muffled plea for help. She was led to an area where a set of tire tracks was found alongside a man's bloodied and torn trench coat. Scully instantly recognized the coat as that of her missing partner. Her suspicions that he had been attacked by the dog appeared substantiated. Blood was found in sparse amounts on the ground all around where the coat lay. The signs that another vehicle had been in the immediate area indicated that perhaps someone had found Mulder and carted him off somewhere. She could only hope that someone had recently dropped him off at the nearest hospital. She'd have to make another round of calls. Even though she had left a message to be contacted should her partner or someone fitting his description show up later, she didn't trust that the message would be passed on during a shift change.

"Let's get pictures of this area, then bag the coat," Scully instructed her fellow agents. "I've got some things to check out."

He no longer heard her voice, and he feared that she hadn't heard him. His hand was sore from slamming it against the hard, stainless steel surface and his voice hoarse from yelling her name, but she hadn't heard. He hung his head dejectedly. The dizziness returned and he was short of breath. He was right on the edge of passing out again.

"Scully," he whimpered. "Don't leave me here. Please..."

As he leaned back trying to catch his breath, Mulder found himself equating his predicament with the residents that lived on the tiny speck of dust in Dr. Seuss' "Horton Hears a Who." Scully was his Horton. If anyone could hear him, she would. All he needed to do was give one large, ear-shattering yell, which he did. "Scul-l-l-l-l-ly- ly-ly-ly!" he screamed her name at the top of his lungs, causing his chest to tighten with pain and his head to pound fiercely. But it was worth the effort, he thought. She had to have heard him. Panting hard, he laid back and rested, waiting for her to throw open the hatch and haul him out, knowing that he couldn't repeat himself if his life depended on it, not that it didn't.

As Scully reached her car, she thought she heard someone calling to her. She looked around to see if anyone was trying to grab her attention, but the half-dozen men and women divided between the bloodied coat and Mulder's car, seemed to be otherwise occupied searching for clues and collecting evidence. She listened intently for a moment for any kind of follow-up, but the helicopter circling above and a train whistle blasting nearby made her think that she had only imagined hearing her name mixed in with all the surrounding chaos. Then again...

"Agent Scully?" a male voice called out to her from behind.

She turned to face the black officer approaching her. Noting the nameplate on the man's jacket, she responded, "Yes, Officer Garret. Have you found something?"

"No, ma'am. And I don't know if this has any relevance, but sometimes it's the little things, you know."

"Yes, I know," she offered him a weak smile. "What is it, Officer?"

"Well, it's just that I happened to see Agent Mulder this morning around eight-thirty. He was passing by the Broward Academy, where a reported kidnapping was being investigated. I was keeping the traffic moving and he rolled down his window to ask me what all the brouhaha was all about."

"What did you tell him?"

"That it was probably just some rich kid running away or trying to get attention from her parents."

"Then what happened?"

"Nothing really. I asked him if the FBI was getting involved and he said it looked like we had enough manpower already. Then he wished me luck and drove on."

"And did he have a dog with him?"

"Yeah, he did. It was a beautiful animal, just kind of lounging real relaxed on the back seat. I was kind of impressed with it. My dog goes bunkers when I put him in the car."

"Anything else you can think of?"

"Well, just one thing. He said that he was going to take the dog to the animal shelter around the corner. Even asked me for directions. I told him he needed to turn left at the corner. But I noticed when he stopped at the intersection, he kind of sat there for a while, then he made a right turn instead of a left, like he suddenly changed his mind about taking the dog to the shelter. That's the last I saw of him."

"Thank you. That might be of some help."

The young man tipped his hat then went to join his coworkers.

Leave it to Mulder to turn something so mundane like dropping a dog off at a shelter into an adventure. Scully seated herself behind the wheel of her car and started the engine. As she began to drive off, she found herself speaking aloud. "Where the hell are you, Mulder?" she groaned wearily. She hated it when he played hide and seek. She was always it, always the one doing the seeking. Well, there was that one time when someone hid her against her will and Mulder tried unsuccessfully for months to find her. Looking at it that way, it was probably best that she be the one doing the seeking. Searching for Mulder was no picnic but she stood a better chance at finding him than the other way around. "Okay, Mulder, we'll play this game one last time."

FBI Headquarters - Friday, 9:18 a.m.

"Agent Scully?"

Scully lifted her head from Mulder's desk at the sound of her name. She was more than just a little embarrassed at having A.D. Skinner catch her sleeping on the job. She stole a quick glance at her watch and figured she'd only been asleep for about fifteen minutes. She straightened up in her chair and swiped the hair back from her eyes.

"Sir, I was just resting my eyes for a moment. Has there been any news yet about Agent Mulder?"

"No. Doesn't look like you've gotten much sleep."

"No, not much. I was going over the forensic reports on Agent Mulder's... case."

Skinner grabbed a nearby chair and sat down across the desk from her. "What have you found so far?" he inquired.

"Well, for one thing, most of the blood found on the coat does not belong to Mulder."


"There was a small amount of blood found on the collar that tested positive as coming from Agent Mulder, but the majority of the blood belongs to someone else. It matches the blood found on the dog."

"So it would seem that the dog attacked whomever attacked Agent Mulder?"

"Yes, sir, it would seem so. Judging from the condition of the coat, the suspect used it to help ward off the dog's attack. There was one dog bite victim reported yesterday. I have a pretty good description of the suspect, but the name and address he used were bogus and after receiving treatment, he walked out of the emergency ward without a doctor's release. A couple of witnesses from the hospital will be coming in to look through mug shots. Hopefully, he has a record and we'll be better able to find him."

"What about the dog? Still unable to contact its owner?"

"Still no answer by phone. I plan to stop by the residence today and check it out. In the meantime the dog will remain at the animal shelter."

"It's a shame he can't talk," Skinner mused aloud.


"The dog is the only witness, Agent Scully. He knows what happened to Agent Mulder."

The idea struck them both at the same time. They exchanged hopeful glances, then both jumped from their seats. Within an hour, Skinner was parking his car at the railroad yard in the same place Mulder's car had been found the night before. Scully took charge of the dog, opening the back door and grabbing the end of its leash as she coaxed it out of the car. She took Mulder's lost glove from her coat pocket and waved it under the dog's snout to give it a scent. She had no idea what would happen if anything, but so far it was the only available method of finding her partner.

"Okay, Pooh. Go find, Mulder. Go find the other glove."

Without hesitation, the dog headed towards the rear of the warehouse. Scully had to run to keep up with its forceful tugging on the leash. Skinner ran alongside, adding his hand to the leash when it seemed that the animal might break free from Scully's hold. The dog made a stop in the area where the coat had been found, then turned and headed towards the train tracks. Pooh led them to the first row of tracks and stopped in the center of them. He turned to his right, then lifted his head and sniffed the air in that direction. He looked up at Scully as if to ask her if she smelled what he did.

"Dead end, huh?" said Skinner. "Well, it was worth a try."

"There was a train here," said Scully, looking up and down the now empty track.


"There was a freight train parked here last night. Now it's gone."

"You think Agent Mulder was on that train?"

Scully looked down at the dog which had begun to tug hard on its leash. "Dammit! I thought I heard someone calling me last night. But there was so much noise going on... It was Mulder. I'm sure it was him."

The ring on the dog's collar that held the leash in place, suddenly snapped off and the dog was making a mad dash down the track. "Pooh!" Scully yelled after it "Come back!"

Skinner quickly let loose with a shrill whistle that got the dog's attention. It stopped and turned sideways on the track, looking back at the two humans bidding him to return. He glanced back towards the direction he had been running as if trying to choose between the two options. It didn't take long for him to make up his mind, and soon he was a white speck disappearing down an endless track.


Copyright © 2019 · All Rights Reserved · Fran Glass