DISCLAIMER: X Files belongs to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Sanctuary to Damian Kindler, Stage 3 Media and a whole bunch of other talented people. Me, I just write stories.
SPOILERS: X Files – before Mulder’s abduction. Sanctuary - webisodes.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Straight out of Legend
It was the second time in a matter of days that whatever creature it was they were chasing had been spirited away from virtually under their noses. Mulder was in the hospital with concussion and eight stitches in a head wound received, he said, when this blonde leather clad chick had stepped out of nowhere and belted him over the head just as he was about to get the drop on the death eater ghoul possibly alien probably mutant creature they had been chasing through the sewers and maintenance tunnels that threaded under the city streets.
Despite his protests the hospital and Scully - had insisted that he be kept in at least overnight for observation. All Scully wanted to do was go back to her hotel room take the longest hottest shower she could manage and sleep the clock round.
Her evening didn't quite turn out like that.
She was walking towards her car when a woman stepped out of the shadows. "Is it Agent Scully or Doctor Scully?" she asked.
"Both. But I'm on government time so it had better be Agent Scully," Dana said. Her holster was snug on her hip she could have her gun out before this woman drew another breath. But she wasn't getting that kind of vibe.
"My name is Doctor Helen Magnus," the woman said. In the bright overhead light Dana could see that the woman had long dark hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She was also very beautiful. "I think we may be of assistance to each other." Suddenly there was a piece of card between her fingers. She proffered it towards Scully. "My card."
Scully reached to take it from her, glancing at it curiously. At first it appeared to be blank but then a name title and address appeared. "Sanctuary for All. Dr Helen Magnus MD. D.T.C.X.B"
Sanctuary She stared at the woman appraisingly. Frohike had told her once of this mysterious place called Sanctuary. If the Roswell aliens weren't at Area 51, Sanctuary was a good second bet. It was a legend amongst monster and alien hunters, the ghost of a rumour. Scully had put it down to just another tall tale. "How can the FBI help you, Dr Magnus."
"I believe it is I that can help you, Agent Scully. This creature you are chasing. I have some information about it that you may find useful to your investigation. If you are trying to catch it because you believe it is responsible for the recent spate of deaths then I fear you are under a misapprehension."
"I'm not the one 'under a misapprehension' Dr Magnus. I don't want to catch it. I want to kill it. This thing has killed fourteen people that we know of. It's only because its victims were down and outs and street kids that the city isn't in a flat panic about it already. From what we've seen, killing it is the only sure way of stopping it." She hadn't seen it but she had heard it in the darkness, the sound of its powerful jaws cracking the femur of its last victim as easily as if it had been a toothpick to get at the marrow inside would haunt her for some time.
"I beg to differ," Helen Magnus said. "I have some expertise in these things. Perhaps you would allow me to explain. My home is not too far away and my car and driver are waiting. He will bring you back here when our discussions are done."
'Yeah, lady, like I'm just going to walk out of here with you and get in your car,' Scully thought to herself. 'Who do you think I am Mulder?'. "Okay," she said. "But I'm armed, and I'm staying that way."
"Of course," Dr Magnus inclined her head. "These are dangerous times. You are a very sensible woman to take such precautions, Agent Scully."
Scully almost backed out when she saw the doctor's driver. Even sitting behind the wheel of the big black sedan car she could tell he was tall at least seven feet tall. A peaked cap shadowed his face, his jacket stretched tautly over the muscles in his shoulders and arms.
"Back to Sanctuary, please," Magnus said. There was a deep grunt in response.
The car started smoothly speeding through the darkening streets taking the route to the old city. The murders had started out there before spreading into more prosperous areas which, the world being organised the way it was, was when the authorities had started to take notice. The next-to-last murder had been the youngest son of one of the City's councilmen, taking an unfortunate walk on the wild side. The remains of his body had been found in an alley near to a storm drain.
Huge ornate ironwork gates opened silently as the car approached. The car continued up the drive towards the huge manor house. Scully had only seen buildings like this one in films. She began to wonder just exactly who this Dr Helen Magnus was.
"Welcome to Sanctuary Agent Scully," Helen smiled across at her. The driver got out and opened the door for her. For the first time Dana got a clear look at his face and drew back in alarm.
"Oh my god he's not human " Something else straight out of legend. Dana did not remember falling down any rabbit holes.
"Indeed I am not, Agent Scully," the huge hominid rumbled. "But do not fear, I am quite domesticated."
"He has been with me many years," Helen smiled. "I find his presence invaluable. Come inside, now. There are quite urgent matters afoot which we need to discuss."
Scully had never been anywhere quite like it. The living quarters of the mansion were something out of Victorian England, heavy dark wood furniture, Tiffany lamps and family photographs but the basement area It was a hive of the most modern technology. She gazed into each habitat in turn, in silence, listening to Dr Magnus's description, her easy interaction with those of her denizens who were capable of human speech. Like many before her she suspected she was captivated by the 'mermaid' who gazed at her unblinking for a long moment before disappearing into the gloom of her huge tank with a sinuous swish of her tail.
"You are wondering I suppose if it is a creature like one of these that is committing the murders. You are wondering if I have given it sanctuary or even worse, colluded some way in the murders."
Scully saw no reason to beat about the bush. "Yes," she said. "At the last murder site we saw something crouched beside the body, something that had been feeding on the corpse. Mulder gave it chase but it got away. It was 'protected' by a woman."
"That would be me," a voice said. Dana turned to see a young blonde woman dressed in black leather just as Mulder had described. "If you could apologise to your partner on my behalf, Agent Scully. I didn't mean to hit him quite so hard. But he was very persistent."
"This is my daughter, Ashley," Helen said, the young woman pecking her on the cheek. "Ashley, meet Agent Scully. She's a medical doctor as well as an FBI agent."
"Just your type then, mother" Ashley grinned. Helen Magnus frowned at her daughter. "Just so as you know, I'm meeting Ernie later. He's got a line on some night-sights that are military grade. Could be just what we need to keep up with this guy. Don't wait up, okay?"
Helen closed her eyes in a very 'mom' expression. "Just be careful, Ashley."
"I always am, mother," Ashley nodded towards Dana. "Good to meet you, Agent Scully."
"May I offer you a cup of tea, Agent Scully," Helen Magnus said. "I feel it's high time I offered you an explanation for everything that's been happening the last few weeks."
Big Foot was also the butler as well as the chauffeur. His huge hands handled the delicate china with ease.
"I originally trained as a medical doctor," Helen Magnus began her explanation. "In London. However instead of entering general practice I specialised in unusual cases. My father had already founded a clinic for so-called 'incurables' the original 'Sanctuary'. Our researches had established that alongside the human 'norm' as I suppose you would call it, there are a myriad other subtypes and other intelligent creatures. Some are examples of spontaneous evolution in recent times accelerated by chemical or radiation contamination. Others have lived alongside humans for a very long time, often relegated to being creatures of myth. Like the mermaid and Big Foot."
"What does this have to do with the murderer we're chasing? Are you saying that there is a race of cannibals out there that you are protecting?"
"I am not protecting them as such though I would if they requested it of me. Sanctuary for all is not an empty motto. The Corvus aren't strictly cannibals as their genus split from our own very early on. But they do relish human flesh when they can get it. They are however carrion eaters. They do not kill, they scavenge. Your serial killer is utilising them to muddy his trail."
"So what you're saying is that our murderer is a human. What we saw what you're protecting these Corvus creatures - are the clean up squad?"
"Indeed," Helen smiled. "Your killer is obviously aware of the Corvus and their habits. An extended family group have been living in the sewers and cellars of the old city for over a hundred years as there are in many other cities around the world. Few living people encounter them and most do not believe what they have seen."
"Okay, so the creature we saw wasn't the killer. What do you know about the real killer?" Dana asked.
"I can't help you there. It's not my field," Helen said. Scully couldn't quite pinpoint it but she was sure Helen wasn't telling her the whole truth. "Please believe me, Agent Scully; I'd help you if I could. It's in my interests to co-operate with the authorities after all. I don't exist above the law."
"The last body we found hadn't been too badly chewed," Dana said. "Hopefully the post mortem will show that the man was dead before the depredation. That will go some way to verify your story."
"Then I will let you get back to your task," Helen smiled. "My man will drive you back to the hospital. Again, extend my apologies to Agent Mulder. As she said, Ashley can get a little enthusiastic about her work."
The car was waiting outside the front door, the gates at the bottom of the driveway already swinging open.
"It has been a rare pleasure, Agent Scully," Dr Magnus smiled and to Dana's surprise, laid a hand on her shoulder and leaned in to kiss her cheek. "I do hope we meet again one day."
"So do I, Dr Magnus. This is a very " she glanced up at her 'ride' "intriguing place." 'And you are one intriguing woman.'
The car door was open. Her visit was obviously over. Helen Magnus stepped back and Scully got into the car. The drive back to the hospital was silent even though Scully was brimming with questions for her escort she really didn't want to push her luck.
She was dropped off exactly where she had been picked up. The car drove off before she had chance to say anything else. So many questions and a body in the morgue that would hopefully provide some answers. Reinvigorated, Scully headed back into the hospital.
In the lift on the way down to the basement, where as usual the morgue was housed Scully remembered the business card Helen Magnus had handed her. She took the rectangle of stiff card out of her pocket and was not entirely surprised to find that it was blank.
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