Title: Abominable: A Mulder & Scully, Rocky & Bullwinkle Mystery (the complete version)
Author: Lola Vavoom
Written: March 2010
E-mail: ms.lola.vavoom@gmail.com
Distribution: Archive freely, kindly let me know where.
Rating: G Categories: Gen/Crossover with Rocky and Bullwinkle. You were expecting Buffy?
Keywords: Mulder, Scully, Bullwinkle, Rocky
Spoilers: None

Summary: Why I wrote this: Because the world has gone far too long without a Moose and Squirrel and Moose and Squirrel story.

"Abominable Snowman fur!"

"Goat hair."

"Abominable. Snowman. Fur."

"Let me see, Mulder."

He reached in and pulled the sample out of a tangled thicket and stuck his gloved hand in front of Scully's face. She surprised him by pulling down her scarf and taking a sniff.

"Sorry. This sample is ripe with eau de chevre."

Mulder tried not to roll his eyes -- and failed. "You know this because?"

"Petting zoo. Sunday outings after church. Lucy was always my first stop until she tried to eat the bow on my dress and slimed it. You never forget the smell of damp goat."

Mulder casually shook the sodden mess off his glove and threw a long leg over the snowmobile. "You coming?"

Scully hopped on behind and he restarted the engine. "Doesn't prove anything one way or the other," he muttered, but just loud enough for Scully to hear. He smiled when he felt her nod against his back.

Mulder kept smiling as he revved the engine and Scully tightened her grip. So he went even faster, skimming over pristine snowdrifts and banking around tree-obscuring corners to gradually ascend the mountain. Ice crystals prismed his goggles and he was quickly lifting one hand to wipe them off when a faint but echoing 'arooooo' proved to be one too many distractions. In less than a blink he was suddenly skidding into a tree and then, nothing.

One minute or an hour of nothings later Mulder woke suddenly, coughing as something tickled his face. He felt weightless before gradually settling into his body, listening with abstract interest to a high pitched voice hovering somewhere below his left ear.

"Be careful, Bullwinkle!"

"I'm doin' my best, Rock! This fella's a bit heavy. Too bad he's not smaller like this lady here."

"OK, but that tree is awfully close to..."

Crack! Mulder's head bounced off something hard and covered with bark. He felt a painful jolt run through his body.

"Oopsy daisy!" Said a low voice. "Good thing the big one here has a hard head!"

Mulder tried to open his mouth to speak, but couldn't. His face seemed to be pressed into a walking hairy rug. He hoped wherever they were going had heat, because his feet, even in heavy boots, were freezing. He imagined Scully's were, too. He could see her out of the corner of his eye, head hanging down over the shoulder of whatever it was that had hoisted the two of them out of the snow. He supposed he should be grateful, but it was a damn uncomfortable position. The creature's lurching walk wasn't doing much to help with Mulder's nausea. Probably from that crack in the head on the tree back there, Mulder thought. Trees. Whatever.

Mulder felt his eyes sliding shut. He struggled to keep them open but, little by little, they closed of their own accord.

He dreamed of his childhood self, cozy and mummy-like wrapped in blankets. Rising to the surface of his dream were thoughts of a comfortable leather sofa and lazy Saturday. But wasn't he dreaming still with eyes open? He must be. How else to explain a moose talking to a squirrel?  When the squirrel answered Mulder cleared his throat and sat up in bed.

"Look, Rock, he's awake!" The moose loomed closer and smiled. "I'm Bullwinkle J. Moose and it's nice to meet you.  This here," the moose gestured.

"Is me, Rocket J. Squirrel. You've got a bump on your noggin, would you like some ice? There's plenty outside."

"Landed on your thinking spot, looks like," Bullwinkle added.

Mulder shook his head and was surprised at how very fine he felt. If there was a bump he couldn't feel it. "Special Agent Mulder. I was with a woman, my partner." He looked at the other, empty rumpled bed.

"Special agent! Never had that kind of visitor here before and now we have two! Must mean something. And don't fret," Bullwinkle added, "Miss Scully's already awake and sittin' with her feet up, drinking some of my grannie's special Mooseberry tea. Like some?"

"Uh, sure." Mulder stood and walked to the next room, where Scully was curled in an easy chair before a small fireplace, steaming mug in hand. "How do you feel?"

Scully nodded solemnly. "I feel...all right. You?"

Mulder shrugged, then bent to her ear. "Folie a deux?"

Scully reached up and touched his head, looking confused. "I could swear there used to be a bump there. I checked you while you were asleep. You had a bump, but seemed to be all right."

"Have you figured out where we are?"

Scully gave a wry smile. "I interrogated Mr. -- ah -- Squirrel and he said we are in a small cottage on a mountain on the outskirts of a town I've never heard of called Frostbite Falls."

Mulder glanced out the window, watching fat flakes mantle already snow-laden trees. "We appear to be absent from civilization as we know it, Scully."

"We appear to be absent, period." Scully pasted on a smile.  "Here's your tea."

"It's ready," Rocky announced, carefully holding a steaming mug in both hands as Bullwinkle ambled behind. A sudden loud 'Arooooo' and Rocky glanced up at the moose.

"What's that?" Scully demanded.

"I think," Bullwinkle swallowed, "That is, we think, that is it might just be the Abominabibable Snowman."

"Don't worry," Rocky declared, "Nothing can bother us here in our home sweet home. Right?"

"If you say so," said Mulder, eyeing the window. Wood and glass. Looked pretty easy to break to him. Rocky pushed a mug of warm liquid into his hands. "Grannie's Mooseberry tea!" Rocky declared. There was another yowl from outside.

"Sounds like he's gettin' closer," murmured Bullwinkle as he peered out of the frame window.

"That's unusual," said the squirrel.

"Sure is, Rock," answered the moose.

"How so?" asked Scully.

"He usually stays high up in the mountains," answered Rocky. There was a loud explosion and Rocky jumped. "What's going on out there, Bullwinkle?"

"Lots of smoke, that's what!"

Scully was already on her way to the door with Rocky at her heels. Mulder struggled to get out of his chair.

"Mulder, don't even try. Stay where you are. You have a nasty bump on your head," Scully commanded.

"But I don't!" Mulder exclaimed, gently running his hand over his skull.

"Sit! Stay!" Scully commanded and narrowed her eyes. Mulder knew what *that* look meant.

"Fine. I'll stay here," Mulder grumbled.

Outside, on the horizon, a smoke cloud was dissipating. Rocky shaded his eyes with one forepaw. Scully looked at the smaller creature. Hand. The squirrel had hands. Sheesh.

Rocky shaded his eyes with one hand. "Help me out, Bullwinkle. I'll go investigate."

"OK, Rock," the moose scooped the squirrel up, cocked his arm back and threw him into the air. "Alley-oop!"

A voice boomed from overhead: "Propelled by Bullwinkle's mighty arm, our hero soars above the Frostbite Mountains to search for answers to the explosion. But to no avail. No one and nothing is in sight."

Scully peered at the sky,mouth hanging open. She wasn't sure which was more unbelievable, the squirrel flying through the air, or the voice coming from the clouds. She decided to tackle The Voice first. "Ah, Mr. Moose, who is that talking?"

"Oh that? That's The Narrator," said Bullwinkle matter of factly.

"Of course it is," mumbled Scully. She cleared her throat. "And how is it your friend, Mr. Squirrel, can fly?"

"Why, he's a flying squirrel of course!" said Bullwinkle.

"Of course he is," said Scully. "How silly of me."

A few moments later, Rocky landed lightly in the snow beside Bullwikle. The moose bent over and gave him a gentle pat on the head. "Nice flying, Rock. Too bad you didn't find anything."

"Well, that's the way it goes sometimes," piped the squirrel as the trio stepped back inside the cottage.

Mulder's eyes were wide. "Did you hear that?" He pointed to the ceiling. "Scully, tell me you heard that."

"I heard it."


"And it's 'The Narrator'." Scully picked up her Mooseberry tea and resolutely looked anywhere but at Mulder.

"The Narrator?"

"Don't worry, you'll get used to it," said Bullwinkle. "It comes in handy. Keeps the story moving along! Right, Rock?"

"You said it, Bullwinkle!"

Scully pressed her lips together. Mulder knew what *that* look meant, too.

Meanwhile, hidden from view in an ice cave at the tippy top of the Frostbite Mountains, a strikingly tall, thin, raven haired woman was giving her shorter moustachioed partner a piece of her mind.

"Your plan isn't working, Boris dahlink. Scary noises and big boom later moose and squirrel stay home. What happened to sense of adventure?"

"You see they have visitors, Natasha?" Boris complained. "Adventure taking back seat to tea drinking. Next time moose go to store I make sure he gets 'grandpa' brand instead."

"Grandpa brand?"

Boris chuckled. "The kind with skull and crossbones powder mixed in. In the meantime," he opened a hand drawn map, which included a rough sketch of Bullwinkle and Rocky's cottage and a big red 'x' inked directly beneath, "if Fearless Leader is right..."

"Of course he is dahlink."

Boris glanced around nervously and raised his voice. "Since Fearless Leader is always right, there is secret stash of Platinomium right below moose and squirrel house!"

He began pacing, then slapped his head and smiled.

"You got new plan?" Natasha was eager. The ice cave was cold.

"I always got plan. You know how to sew?"

A short time later, armed with scissors, needle, thread, and a bolt of furry white fabric, Boris's plan began to take shape. Teeth clenched around her cigarette holder, Natasha held up the mysterious oversized garment, then removed her high heels and stepped, grimacing, into a pair of thick furry boots.

"Look at bottom of boots, kiddo."

Natasha glanced at the tread. "Ooh, perfect."

Boris held up his battered switchblade. "I reshape them to look like footprints. Moose and squirrel can't tell us from snow monster. When monster come, they'll run!"

"One thing, Boris. What if they don't run away?"

Boris held up a utility belt, complete with a large club and several grenades. "Who said monster can't be high tech?"

Natasha shrugged. "Makes sense to me. You ready for disguise?"

Boris nodded. And with a prowess which earned her a gold in the combined weightlifting/gymnastics competition at the Pottsylvania Spy Training Academy, Natasha hoisted Boris on her shoulders and draped the snow monster costume over them before snapping the lethal utility belt at the 'monster's' waist.

Boris began to cough. "Natasha! You forget to put out cigarette!" Smoke was pouring from the 'monster's' ears.

"Sorry, dahlink," said Natasha. She quickly ejected the cigarette from its long, black holder.

The makeshift costume was a horrid sight. Eight-and-three- quarters feet tall of fur and weaponry, sure to chill the heart of any moose, squirrel, or other woodland creature they happened to run across.

The cottage was warm, the company was cheerful -- though decidedly odd -- and Mulder and Scully were dozing in matching floral armchairs when they were interrupted by a loud knock on the door.

"Must be the postman with our daily delivery of fan mail," Rocky declared.

Scully raised an eyebrow, and Rocky smiled modestly.

Suddenly The Narrator intoned: "But unbelievable as it may seem, Rocky was wrong."

Rocky stared at the sky. "Hey, wait a minute!"

Bullwinkle walked to the door. "I'll get it, Rock!" he said and flung the door open. Outside there was a small, brightly wrapped package, tied with a festive green bow.

"Gee, looks like instead of fan mail, someone sent us a present." Bullwinkle reached down to pick it up. "Must be a clock. It's ticking." He shook the box.

"Don't break it, Bullwinkle!" cried Rocky.

"Uh-oh. I musta done something. It's started to beep," the moose frowned at the box and jiggled it some more.

Mulder wasted no time. In one movement he rose from his chair, grabbed the package from Bullwinkle and ran outside. Using all his strength, he heaved the package as far as he could. Running back inside, he pulled the door tightly behind him. "Duck!" he yelled.

Scully hit the floor, pulling Rocky down with her. Mulder tackled the moose and a loud explosion rocked the little cottage.

A voice from overhead exclaimed: "Stay tuned for our next episode: 'Boom Goes the Weasel, or,Tick Tock, Rocky's Splot.'"

"Hey, now cut that out! I'm not splot!" said Rocky looking up.

"So when exactly does this 'next episode' start?" asked Mulder from his position on the floor.

"Pretty much right away," answered Bullwinkle, untangling himself and standing up. "We're not unionized. We don't get breaks."

"Everyone all right?" asked Scully.

"Me and Rocky are right as rain, Miss Scully!" said Bullwinkle.

"I think I have a splinter in my forehead," said Mulder.

Scully sighed - and borrowed a pair of tweezers from the obliging squirrel.

Bullwinkle scratched an ear, apparently deep in thought. "On the one hand," he intoned, "That package was mighty suspicious. One the other hand, It could have been a mistake. Exploding clocks DO happen."

"Only here," Scully muttered.

"On the third hand," Bullwinkle continued and then stopped.

"Three hands, Bullwinkle?" Rocky asked. "What are you thinking?"

Bullwinkle scratched his ear again and then shrugged. "I can't say cause I don't know. But our visitors are Special Agents and that sounds special so maybe they can think of something!"

The forest duo turned and stared eagerly at the agents. Mulder glanced at Scully, searching for clarity and finding that tell-tale wrinkle above her eye which meant confusion. Or determination. Or some kind of held-in emotion that was certain to eventually reveal itself. So he started.

"We look for three things when investigating a crime." He held up his fingers and ticked them off one by one. "Motive, method, and opportunity. Is there a person or persons who would have reason to do you harm?"

"Gee, I don't think so," Rocky said. "What do you think Bullwinkle?"

No answer. Bullwinkle was gazing into space, smiling, so Rocky patted his knee. "Uh, Bullwinkle, what do you think?"

Bullwinkle blinked. "Sorry, Rock, I was remembering that time we were in a pie eating contest. I got first place and you got second, right little feller?"

Rocky grinned. "Right. And you were thinking about pies because?"

"My pies are the envy of Frostbite Falls, if I do say so myself. Would someone want to steal one of our pies?"

"Sorry, Bullwinkle," Rocky said, "We haven't made any pies lately."

"You're right, Rock, there is that. No, can't think of any reason. It's true we do seem to fall into trouble now and again, though it's not of our own making. Or our own pie making either!"

Mulder, suddenly craving a big slice of sweet potato pie, shook his head to focus. "Right. No motive that we've yet discovered. Scully?"

"You're doing fine, Mulder."

"Opportunity is obvious. Your isolated location would easily allow for the access and circumstances to enable an attack. Which leaves us with method. Our perp is someone who knows how to create explosives and is stealthy enough to leave such an explosive right on your doorstep."

"Burp?" Bullwinkle said. "I didn't hear anyone doin' that."

"That's perp," Scully explained, "short for perpetrator." Noticing that Bullwinkle still looked puzzled, she amended, "the bad guy."

Bullwinkle shook his head. "Well why didn't you say so!"

Rocky asked, "What should we do, Mr. Mulder?"

"Let's get those woollies on and go outside to look for clues. You with me, Scully?"

"Makes sense, Mulder. As much as anything does at the moment."

They stepped outside on the porch and Scully tried to lock the door. Not even a simple latch. She shook her head, catching up with the rest as they stared solemnly at the snow. Solemn, that is, until Mulder looked up with a huge smile and declared, "Look at this!"

There, in the center of a pitter-patter of squirrel tracks overlaid with Mulder's size thirteens and the moose's huge prints, was a clear impression. An impression that looked suspiciously like that of an upright, bipedal entity able to easily traverse its snowy environment. An impression that Scully had never in a million years expected to find.

"The Abominable Snowman," Mulder breathed.

"The Abominabibable Snowman?" Bullwinkle echoed.

"Let's not jump to conclusions."

"Scully, it's obviously a fresh and unmistakable print of the Abominable Snowman! What else could it possibly be?"

Scully answered, "We'll need to test and analyze. For instance, this is a big footprint. Bigger than Mr. Moose's. Agreed?"

"Yes, Scully, that's because it's from an A-Bom-Min-A-Ble Snow-Man," Mulder over enunciated.

"But Mulder, look at the depth of the print. It's not nearly as deep as Mr. Moose's footprint. For a creature that's reported to be quite large, you'd think it would weigh enough to make a much deeper print than this one."

"Spoil Sport," Mulder said then shook his head and declared, "Come on boys, let's go catch us a snowman!"

The trio strode parallel to the tracks and quickly entered the Frostbite Falls Forest, Scully following slowly behind.

"Natasha! Big boom not kill Moose and Squirrel!" Boris threw down his binoculars in disgust. They were situated on a ridge overlooking the valley where Rocky and Bullwinkle's snug cottage sat.

"There, there, Dahlink," said Natasha. "Next time, we'll get them." She picked up the discarded binoculars. "I see that they go into the forest. Perhaps the monster should make another appearance?"

"Good idea, Natasha. We'll scare the dickens out of them!" Boris declared.

The Narrator suddenly summarized: "And so the dastardly duo hot footed it back to the cave where they had hidden their costume."

Boris scowled. "Voice getting annoying. Make us sound like criminals! Dastardly, bah! We are just doing our job, Mr. Voice!" He shook his fist at the sky then turned to Natasha. "Maybe we are asking Mr. Big to make Voice stop?"

Natasha sighed. "Even Mr. Big can't make The Voice stop."

"On the other hand, here we are at the cave already! Voice can be useful sometimes. Now, to frighten pants off those four!" Boris made his way into the cave's cold, grey light, laughing diabolically.

Bullwinkle trudged through the snow, head down, following the Abominabibable Snowman tracks. The wind had picked up and it was getting colder. Snow blew into his face, making it difficult to see. Bullwinkle's antlers were cold and the tracks seemed to be going on forever, circling around and confusing him. He sighed and turned to his flying friend. "Where do you suppose we are, Rock?"

"We're right in the middle of nowhere, Bullwinkle."

Bullwinkle nodded. "That's lucky, I thought we were lost."

"I think it's time to consider dropping this for the evening," Scully said. "It's going to be dark soon. We need to find a way out of the woods before that."

Rocky nodded. "Miss Scully is right. We can come back tomorrow."

Just as Mulder opened his mouth to protest, there was a crashing sound from a nearby thicket and a vicious growl filled the air.

"Look, Rock! It's the Abominabibable Snowman!" Bullwinkle pointed at the stand of gorse bushes. "I see it! Oooooo, it looks mean."

Indeed, the Abominable did look mean. It was taller than the moose himself. A dark scowl crossed its face and it brandished a lethal looking spiked club. A snarl issued forth from its mouth.

"Huh," said Bullwinkle. "I thought the Abominabibable Snowman went 'arooooooooooooo!' not 'grrrrrrr!'"

Rocky's eyes widened as the figure snarled more loudly and approached them. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it's time we skedaddled!"

"That's seems reasonable," said Mulder. "Scully?"


The four companions backed away from the creature in unison, then turned and ran.

"Hahahahahaha! Look at them go, Natasha! I think we are best monster ever!" Boris said gleefully.

"Of course, Dahlink," said Natasha from the bottom half of the costume. "But I'm getting cold. Let's get back to the cave, ditch costume and get out of snow."

"Hold on, leg of suit is stuck on bush," said Boris looking down.

Natasha reached with one costumed hand and pulled the branch away. "Okey dokey. Let's go."

"Mulder, we are not going back to find your lucky key chain. It's cold, it's getting dark and that... *thing* might be back there."

"But Scully, I've had that key chain since I was ten!"

"Fine. Whatever. Let's make this fast," Scully said and marched off into the direction from whence they came.

"'Whence they came', Scully? Isn't that a bit formal?" Mulder hurried to catch up to her.

Scully frowned. "How did you..."

Mulder pointed. "It's back there a few lines. Plain as day."

Scully followed Mulder's finger. "Good Lord. How on earth? Nevermind. I don't want to know. Listen, Mulder, we're in the middle of nowhere, looking for an imaginary creature in pretend land, it's getting dark, it's cold and your being picky about semantics?"

A cry from ahead diverted their attention. "Mr. Mulder! I think I found you're lucky key chain!" Rocky held up a pair of dice hanging from a key ring in the gathering gloom.

"Yes!" said Mulder and jogged to where Rocky stood. "My lucky dice. Thanks."

"You're welcome, Mr. Mulder. I'm always happy to help," piped the squirrel.

Mulder pocketed his key chain and looked around. "Seems our Abominable has disappeared." He walked over to the thicket and bent down. "Hey, Scully, take a look at this." Mulder straightened and held out a thatch of fur. "Anything strike you as odd?"

Scully examined the matted sample. "Well, it's not the same shade of white as we saw on that clump earlier. And," she held it up to her nose. "It smells like... smoke. Cigarette smoke."

"Yup. Seem odd to you?"

"You mean does it seem odd to me that a fictitious creature would be smoking cigarettes?"

Mulder made a face and ploughed on. "Does the consistency of the fur seem wrong to you? More like it's from a stuffed toy than something living?"

"Now that you mention it, yes, Mulder, it does."

"I think this bears further investigation," said Mulder.

"Maybe that cave up there will help. These here tracks coming from the bushes lead right to it!" Bullwinkle was pointing up at a dark opening on the side of the steep mountain.

"Might as well check it out," said Scully, sounding resigned, and began to trudge up the narrow and almost vertical icy path.

The narrator suddenly intoned: "So our fearless foursome made their way up the mountain. What will they find in the cave? Join us for our next episode: The Diceman Cometh, or Howroooooo Do You Do?"

Mulder looked up. "Is it me, or are these the lamest puns I've ever heard?"

"Aw, that's nothin'," said Bullwinkle. "Once we had an episode called 'The Three Moosketeers'."

"Here we are!" piped Rocky.

"That was conveniently fast,' Scully remarked.

As the group carefully stepped from the narrow path to the cave's entrance, Scully stooped down and lifted a lipstick- smeared cigarette butt into the air. She shook her head and Mulder, certain that a smirk was coming, avoided her eyes. They crept deeper into the cave, following voices raised in what sounded like an argument. Two voices coming from the same horrendous creature?

The huge monster towering over the intruders seemed to be doing some kind of dance, arms and head gesticulating wildly.

"Oof, dahlink, stop!"

"Is stuck. Can't unzip up here."

Two things happened at once. Mulder led his group into the Abominable Snowman's line of sight and the creature froze before straightening, the fierceness of its demeanor emphasized with an ear-splitting 'Grrrrrrr!'

Bullwinkle stepped in front of Rocky and raised his fists. "Okay, cold and ugly, put 'em up!"

"Hoo-boy," the Abominable Snowman muttered.

Mulder said, "You, uh, speak English?"

"No!" shouted the Snowman and pulled a grenade from the belt at his waist. The creature rolled it toward the group before bending almost double and scrabbling into an inky tunnel at the back.

Scully shouted, "Run!"

Bullwinkle grabbed Rocky and Mulder pulled Scully's arm and they ran pell-mell through the cave's entrance. A loud 'KA-BOOM!' split the air and they rolled and tumbled through the snow, landing askew on the path.

Snow clung to antlers, shoulders, faces, and knees. The foursome slowly stood, looking like upright fairy cakes liberally drizzled with icing. And as they began to dust each other off Mulder silently reflected on his good fortune in being alive instead of dead at the hands of a mythical creature. A mythical creature with unexpected and confusing attributes.

The Narrator cheerfully intoned: "And so we come to the end of another fun-filled episode."

Bullwinkle shook his head. "You know, Rock, that Narrator sure has some funny ideas about fun."

"You said it, Bullwinkle," Rocky agreed.

Mulder bit back laughter and glanced at Scully, who appeared to be smiling in spite of herself. They started back to the cottage. But as he turned to place a companionable hand on her back, Mulder lost his footing on the narrow mountain path, windmilling his arms wildly as he tried to stay upright. Scully grabbed for him and began tumbling after.

They both careened out of control - down, down, down into the woods - only halting as they crashed into a tree. And then silence.

'Arooooo. Arooooooooo.' The howl wavered and echoed inside Mulder's skull until, suddenly, he was awake. He sat upright as the world swam into focus, clutching his head with one hand while using the other to support himself as he turned to search for Scully. In what some would call a miracle and others the purest luck, Scully appeared to be unscratched as she lay cushioned on a snowbank, yawning and stretching before blinking awake.

"Scully, are you all right?"

Scully hopped up and looked around. "What happened? Tree jump out at you?"


"You okay, Mulder? I think you hit your head when you dented that tree with the snowmobile."

The gash in the tree was undeniable, as was the snowmobile parked next to them with a long scrape on the hood. As to what had happened before - his thoughts were in a jumble. He was quickly sorting through them when an 'arooo' filled the air.

"Scully, hear that? It's the Abominable Snowman! Or at least, I thought it was. When we found him." Mulder stopped, confused.

Scully shivered. "It's the wind, that's all. Keys? You appear to be more or less lucid so let's get out of the cold. I'll drive this thing, and when we get back I'll brew you a nice cup of tea to go with your semi-weekly head examination."

Mulder grimaced. "No more tea. Never."

Scully raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

He carefully climbed behind as Scully turned on the snowmobile and began to wind them sedately back down the mountain. Plenty of time to think, if only his thinking didn't resemble an old cartoon winding crazily through a projector's bent and jerky sprockets.

Plenty of time to observe, which was how he found himself staring at a receding line of large tracks from some kind of upright creature, bare toes outlined and impressed deeply into the snow. Mulder almost pointed them out knowing that, believing or not, Scully would follow the evidence.

But today? Mulder decided he didn't want to go there after all.


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