Title: Night Marchers
Author: Paranoid Patty
Author's Page: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/93787/
Category: X-Files
Genre: Mystery/Supernatural
Completed: 07/31/2001
Rating: PG-13 for violence and language
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and all things X-files belongs solely to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox. I claim no credit for them. Classification: X-file and a hint of MSR

Summary: Mulder and Scully travel to the Aloha State to investigate a death that may be linked to the spirits of ancient Hawaiian Warriors


Nu'uanu Pali Lookout
Honolulu, Hawaii
12:39 AM
Saturday, October 16, 1999

A sudden, strong gust of wind hit Roy Tanaka from behind, making him stagger forward a few feet until he could regain his balance. An involuntary shiver ran through him; it was cool up here at the Pali Lookout, especially at night. Taking a sip of water from his bottle, he gazed down at the twinkling lights in the valley, then out toward the black water of Kaneohe Bay. The thousands upon thousands of stars were bright beacons in the dark sky, flickering softly. The whistling of the wind through the trees was like music to him; he loved to come here at night, when there was no one here but himself.

During the day, busloads of tourists would crowd the lookout, which was located on the Pali Cliffs. They would take pictures and read the illustrated signs that told of how King Kamehameha and his warriors forced their enemies off the cliff to meet their grisly death hundreds of feet below.

Roy breathed in the cool tropical air. He had lived on Oahu all his life, and this was his favorite spot on the whole island. Here, he could let his mind wander; lose himself in the simplicity and beauty of nature. He closed his eyes and sighed, then replaced the cap on his bottle and set it on the ground.

Suddenly, Roy heard footsteps in the darkness, though he couldn't tell from which direction they came. He turned, looking for whoever it was that had made them. He saw no one, only his car in the parking lot.

Memories of stories he had heard as a boy came to mind; the ghostly apparitions of the "Night Marchers"- spirits of long-dead Hawaiian warriors coming to take his life- made him smile. He didn't put much faith in those tales. It was just a legend, made up to frighten young children. *Relax,* he told himself. *It's only the wind.*

He stiffened. The footsteps had sounded again, this time definitely behind him, and he could hear voices, chanting in Hawaiian, accompanied by the beating of a lone drum. He could also see pale, flickering lights through the trees. That's when he saw it: a man, wearing a loincloth, a feathered cape, and a headdress. A small, round pendant hung from his neck. He was wielding a spear, with a hideously barbed tip. The man was about three yards in front of Roy, prodding Roy with his weapon. Roy backed up, until he was at the edge of the cliff. All that separated him from the gruesome drop to the valley floor was a waist-high concrete wall.

He looked in fear at the ancient Hawaiian warrior approaching him. He could see others now, at least twenty of them, coming through the dark trees toward him. The first one halted and raised his hand. The other warriors stopped in their tracks, pointing their weapons at Roy, lifting them into firing positions. The drumbeats grew louder. *Thump, thump.*

The leader dropped his hand and yelled out something in Hawaiian. The warriors flung their spears at Roy. All he could do was scream.


J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building
Washington, DC
7:43 AM
Monday, October 18

Special Agent Fox "Spooky" Mulder leaned back in his office chair, propping his feet up on his desk. His office, located in the basement of the FBI Building, was home to the X-files: a small section outside the Bureau mainstream that dealt with cases associated with the paranormal and the occult. This was his life's work, his passion. On a shelf behind him was an open jar of sunflower seeds. He reached into the container and grabbed a handful, then plopped one into his mouth. Spitting out the shell, Mulder picked up a manila folder sitting on the desk. Cracking another seed between his teeth, he opened the file, and read it for what had to be the fifth time that morning.

"Where are we going this time, Mulder?" A female voice suddenly asked him.

Mulder looked up from the folder at the woman standing in front of his desk. She was about 5'3 in height, physically fit, with short red hair, and smartly dressed in a black business suit. This was Mulder's partner, Dana Scully. They had worked together for almost seven years now, and though she didn't share her partner's belief in the paranormal, Scully's scientific-based thinking and strict rationalism had saved Mulder's career, as well as his life, countless times in the past. In addition to being his best friend, Scully was the only person Mulder completely trusted. His eyes widened in mock surprise, and a grin slowly began to creep across his face.

"Oh, I think you'll like where we're going, Scully," he replied. "How about a nice, romantic vacation to beautiful Hawaii?"

Scully raised an eyebrow in obvious disbelief. "You're putting me on."

"No. It's all in the folder." Mulder handed the case file to her, and walked over to a slide projector on the far left wall and switched it on, revealing a picture of a man, who was clearly dead. Dark spots of blood stained his shirt, and his body was twisted in a way that looked as if he had fallen from a great height. Mulder pointed to the screen where the image was projected. "Roy Tanaka, age thirty-eight. See the way his body's twisted? He fell about 800 feet from a place called the Pali Lookout, located on the Pali Cliffs. It's a popular tourist spot. In 1795, King Kamehameha and his army fought a battle up there against Kalanikupule - Oahu's chief - and his forces. To win the fight, Kamehameha forced them off that very cliff to meet their doom at the bottom."

Mulder turned to Scully, who was looking over the case file. She glanced up from the folder when she realized her partner had stopped speaking. She saw the familiar, expectant gleam in his eye.

Wanting to stop him before he got too full of himself, Scully said, "He probably committed suicide. That's the most probable cause of death."

"Then how do you explain this?" Mulder pushed a button on the projector, and the picture changed. This time it showed Tanaka lying naked on a silver autopsy table. Deep puncture wounds, at least ten of them, dotted his upper chest and torso. Scully moved closer to the screen to get a better view.

"I don't know," she answered, still staring at the image. "They don't look like bullet holes. Looks like he was impaled by something, but I'm at a loss as to what it was."

"There are thirteen puncture wounds on his body, all going straight through. The autopsy results state that most likely he was shot with arrows or spears, though no evidence or traces of metal or wood were found in the wounds, and nothing was found at the crime scene." Mulder switched off the slide projector and walked over to his desk.

"Better pack your bathing suit and suntan lotion," he told his partner with a smile. "Our flight leaves in two hours. Our destination: 'Paradise'. I'll meet you at your place in an hour." Mulder picked up his jacket and briefcase, but not before grabbing another handful of sunflower seeds. Putting the seeds in his pant's pocket, he moved toward the door, saying jokingly, "Aloha, Scully."


Nu'uanu Pali Lookout
9:01 AM
Tuesday, October 19

Scully braced herself against the strong wind that blew against her; it was all she could do to prevent herself from toppling over. *Almost like being in a hurricane,* she thought. The thirty-five mile-per-hour and over winds were incredible. She looked to her right, where Mulder was standing, trying to steady himself; his tie whipped over his shoulder in the breeze.

"I don't know about the wind, but you sure get a great view up here," Mulder commented, almost yelling in order to be heard above the roaring wind. With some degree of difficulty, they trudged over to where a long yellow tape was stretched across the lookout. It read: Police Line: Do Not Cross. The two agents ducked under the barrier and headed to the edge of the cliff. Scully noticed a few large spots of dried blood against the concrete wall. Looking over the wall, she saw the green trees and foliage of the valley floor far below. She shuddered. "Must have been a pretty long drop," said Mulder, cautiously peering over the edge.

"Agent Mulder?" a young police officer jogged up to them. "You wanted to speak to me?"

"Yeah," Mulder replied, turning to face him. "What did you find when you examined this area?"

"Not much, besides a lot of blood," the officer told him. "The victim's car was found in the parking lot, and we also found a half-empty water bottle. That's about it." Mulder continued asking the officer a few questions, while Scully moved to a sign with a picture depicting the battle of the Pali Cliffs, with King Kamehameha and his army driving Kalanikupule's forces over the edge. *A pretty gruesome way to die,* she thought grimly to herself.

"Have you ever heard of the Night Marchers, Scully?" Mulder asked, joining her. Scully frowned. "The Night Marchers?"

"Yeah. In the Hawaiian language, they're called 'Ka Huakai O Ka Po', meaning, the 'Marchers of the Night'. It's an old Hawaiian legend. When King Kamehameha," Mulder pointed him out in the painting, "arrived here to conquer Oahu, he met these guys." He indicated the people falling off the cliff. "He and his army chased them up into the mountains to this very spot, where he drove them off the cliff. "You told me that already," Scully said, giving him a bemused look.

"Yeah, I know," replied Mulder as they walked back to their rental car. "But according to popular belief, the spirits of these dead warriors are said to roam the mountainside and the valley. They call them the Night Marchers. That's why almost no one comes up here at night; supposedly, if the Night Marchers catch you, they'll kill you. If you happen to get in the way of a march, they say to strip yourself naked and prostrate yourself upon the ground. That way the Marchers won't see you. And judging from what happened to him, I guess Roy Tanaka didn't know what to do when he saw them. Either that, or he didn't believe." Mulder seemed to get more and more excited as he went on. "The locals also say that if you hear scratching at your door or window in the dead of night, not to open it, because those are the Night Marchers. There's more."

"I think I've heard enough," Scully told him, sighing. "Where'd you get this stuff, anyway?"

They reached the car. Mulder opened the door and got in; Scully did the same. He picked up a book lying on the dashboard and gave it to her.

"'Hawaii's Night Marchers: Fact or Fiction?'. I like the title, Mulder," she said dryly as her partner started the

car and pulled away from the parking lot.

~X~ As they were doing so, the agents failed to notice a man sitting in the front of the only car left in the lot. But he noticed them- he was watching them, monitoring their every move. The man reached down to touch the strange object hanging from his neck. The thing was hard and smooth,

obsidian in color. Its shape was round- oval, and in the center, carved in relief, was the image of a heart pierced by a spear. The man smiled to himself- it wouldn't be long now. ~X~ Scully rolled down her window. Looking out, she couldn't help but marvel at the lush, green scenery and the tall, sheer mountains surrounding them. The Pali Highway was one of the most scenic routes on the whole island. A small, distant waterfall out Mulder's window cascaded from a high

spot on the cliffs, falling downward and creating a blanket of mist. "Pretty nice," Mulder commented. "Yeah."

A disgusted look came across Mulder's face. "Scully, do you smell that?" he asked, wrinkling his nose. "It smells like... like..." Scully breathed in, and immediately recognized the odor. After years of being at murder sites and hospital morgues, she had encountered this scent numerous times; it was the distinct moldy, decaying smell of: "Dead bodies. It smells like dead bodies." Now it was her turn to be disgusted. Mulder glanced at Scully. "Well, it says in the book that people have frequently reported smelling something dead while driving along this road," he said. "Supposedly, it's the remains of the warriors forced off the cliff. They've found over 300 human skulls at the bottom." His partner begged to differ.

"Mulder, it's probably a dead animal." Yet Mulder refused to give up.

"You said yourself that it smelled like dead bodies."

"But I never said they were *human* bodies," replied Scully, her voice gaining conviction. "How much faith can you put in these local legends, Mulder? Do you seriously believe Hawaiian warriors murdered Roy Tanaka? Warriors who have been dead for over two hundred years?"

"I certainly don't deny the possibility. We've seen this kind of scenario before, Scully, in numerous cases."

"Yes, I know," she replied, exasperated. "And all of the suspects in those cases, I might add, and even some of the victims, were suffering from hallucinations or had some acute psychological disorder. Correct me if I'm wrong."

"No, I agree with you," Mulder said, nodding. "You're absolutely right. But I'm not ruling out the occult and the supernatural as a plausible cause of Tanaka's death. I think you know me better than that."

Scully sighed, finally yielding, at least for now. But in her mind, she firmly believed that another human being, not a ghost, had murdered Tanaka.

~X~

Queen Kapiolani Hotel Honolulu, Hawaii 12:36 AM "Nice digs," Mulder said as he flopped onto his queen-size bed with his suit and shoes still on him. The hotel room was small, yet it had much to offer: a kitchenette, a bathroom with a very nice bathtub, not to mention an awesome view of Diamond Head, a seven-hundred foot ancient volcano. Mulder was glad he and Scully had paid the little extra to stay here, otherwise they'd now be in a cheap, low-budget motel in downtown Waikiki, compliments of the FBI.

Kicking off his shoes, Mulder sighed, and closed his eyes in contentment, thankful to have a few hours to himself. He opened his eyes, and began to reach for the television remote, then stopped. *Why not go for a swim?* he thought. He got up from the bed and went into the bathroom to change into his swim trunks.

When he emerged, he found Scully sitting on the bed, waiting for him. She indicated to an open door next to the kitchen. "They gave us adjoining rooms," she said. She took in his towel and swim shorts, and asked, "You going swimming?"

"Yeah. It was a long flight, and I'm hot." His partner picked up a folder lying next to her on the bed, and waggled it in the air. "What's that?"

"Roy Tanaka's toxicology report. Guess what they found in his system." Mulder shrugged.

"What?"

"They discovered traces of LSD," said Scully. Mulder threw up his hands in defense.

"Okay, okay, I know what you're getting at. The guy was experiencing hallucinations. But how do you explain the puncture wounds on the body?"

"Let's take things one at a time," Scully said, avoiding the question. "Most likely Tanaka contracted the drug through the water he was drinking. The manufacturer of the water is called Big Kahuna Water Company. I've also arranged for the water found in the bottle to be tested for LSD. We should know the results within a few hours. But for now, I say we go down to the Big Kahuna bottling plant and find out what's going on."

Mulder sighed, and headed back into the bathroom to change into his business suit. "So much for going to the beach."


Big Kahuna Bottling Plant
105 Ilamoku St.
1:25 PM

"We're Agents Mulder and Scully, with the FBI." Fox Mulder's voice was cool and confident as he and his partner flashed their ID's to the security guard stationed at the front desk of the Big Kahuna bottling plant. At the sight of the badges, the guard immediately became wary.

"What can I do for you?" he asked cautiously.

"We'd like to speak with the supervisor," replied Scully.

"Uh, okay, sure. No problem." The guard picked up the phone on the desk and pressed a number. After a brief conversation with the person on the other end, he hung up and told the agents, "His office is right down the hall, second door to the left."

"Thank you." Mulder and Scully walked down the hallway until they came to a door with a sign that read: Ted Ahua, Head Supervisor.

Scully reached out to knock on the door. A voice inside replied, "Come in." The two agents opened the door and stepped inside. The office itself was big, but sparsely furnished; a desk, three nondescript chairs, and a single picture hanging on the wall was all that the room contained.

Scully was surprised that the picture - when she got a good look at it - was the same as the one she had seen earlier that day at the Pali Lookout.

The man sitting behind the desk rose as they walked in. "Hello, I'm Ted Ahua," he said, shaking the agents' hands. Judging from his dark copper skin and white hair, Scully figured he was most likely Hawaiian. A small black pendant hung from his neck, with the image of a heart pierced by a spear in the center. Though she was curious about it, Scully refrained form asking him what it was.

Mulder reached inside his coat and pulled out his badge and ID. "We're with the FBI, investigating a murder recently committed, and would like to ask you a few questions."

Ahua gave him a bewildered look. "Have I done anything wrong?"

"No, Mr. Ahua," said Scully. "The man murdered was named Roy Tanaka. He was found dead at the foot of the Pali Cliffs, just below the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. Traces of LSD were found in his system, and we found a half-empty water bottle at the crime scene."

"And?" Ahua asked, mildly annoyed.

"Big Kahuna Water was the label printed on the bottle. We assume that he contracted the drug through drinking the water. We should know for certain anytime now." At that moment, Scully's cell phone rang. "Excuse me," she said, and went out into the hall to take the call. A few minutes later, she returned, saying, "The water test came back - they found LSD."

"Are you saying that I was involved?" Ahua exclaimed. "I haven't done anything to anyone, much less kill a person!

You have no right to accuse me!" Mulder put a hand out.

"Hold on a minute, sir. We're not accusing you of anything. We just want to ask you a few questions."

By now Ahua was red with anger. He started swearing and muttering curses. Mulder could see that they wouldn't get anything out of him, at least not today. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Ahua. We're sorry to bother you." He turned and headed toward the door, Scully following him.

Once outside, Scully asked, "What was that about?"

Mulder shrugged. "I don't know, but there's something he's not telling us." He glanced down the hallway. "Come on.

We're not finished yet."

They began walking down the hall, Mulder glancing at every door they passed, until he stopped at one that read: Records. He tried the door, surprised to find that it was unlocked.

When he and Scully stepped inside, they found a room filled with dozens and dozens of filing cabinets stacked wall to ceiling, each in order according to years and months. Mulder strolled up to a cabinet marked 1999, and pulled out the drawer labeled SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER.

"Mulder, what are you doing?" said Scully, peering over his shoulder.

"Looking for... Looking for... Ummmm..." Mulder's voice trailed off as he thumbed through the files, pulling one out marked OCTOBER SHIPMENTS. He opened it and began to scan the page, and then pointed to a line, saying, "Look at this Scully." Scully craned her neck to see what her partner was pointing to. Her eyes widened at what she read:

Big Kahuna Shipments: October 1999

Number of Bottles      Date Shipped      Destination

1200                       10/1/99             Kailua

1000                       10/4/99             Waianae

1300                       10/5/99             Waikiki

500                         10/7/99             Waipahu

1600                       10/8/99             Pearl City

1300                        10/11/99           Haleiwa

1500*                     10/13/99           Aiea

1100                       10/14/99           Nanakuli

1800                       10/15/99           Honolulu

* LSD contaminate found. Shipped by order of Head Supervisor

Ted Ahua.

"Mulder, over 1500 bottles were contaminated - it appears *deliberately* contaminated, with LSD. You're right. Ahua's our smoking gun. Should we go back and arrest him?"

"No. Let's wait. I want to monitor this guy - see what does."

Scully nodded, though she did not relish the idea of sitting in a hot, stuffy car the rest of the afternoon, and probably a good portion of the night. *I'm definitely going to the beach when this is all over,* she told herself.

~X~

After the agents had left his office, Ted Ahua picked up his phone and dialed the front desk. "Are they gone?" he asked

the guard. "Good. And the records room was unlocked, so that they could get in? Yes, very good. Are you are sure they

found the right files? Good, good. You have done well. Do not forget- the ceremony is tonight. We already have the two

victims, or will have soon. The sacrifice must be made tonight. Be there." Ahua hung up the phone, and leaned back

in his chair, smiling in contentment. All he had to do now was wait.

**

Big Kahuna Bottling Plant

10:43 PM

Mulder's head drooped down to his chest, only to shoot back up in an effort to stay awake. Rubbing his eyes, he turned to look at Scully, dozing softly in the passenger seat next to him. The remains of a Chinese take-out dinner were strewn across the floor of the car. Sighing deeply, Mulder glanced out the rearview mirror toward the bottling plant. *This has got to be the longest stakeout I've ever been on,* he thought wearily. After nine hours, two fast-food meals, and seven different radio stations, they agents had seen nothing; Ted Ahua hadn't left the building. Mulder started drumming his fingers on the armrest of his seat, never taking his eyes off the door to the plant. Suddenly, it opened, and a man stepped outside, his face silhouetted by the streetlights. He began slowly walking in the direction of the only other car on the street.

As the mysterious person drew nearer, Mulder realized that it was Ahua. He reached over to gently shake his partner. Scully's eyes opened groggily.

"What time is it?" she yawned.

"Almost eleven. Look who it is." Mulder indicated to Ahua.

Now wide-awake, Scully leaned forward in her seat. "Working late," she commented.

"Yeah," replied Mulder, fastening his seat belt. "Let's see where he's going."

They waited as Ahua pulled out of the parking lot, then Mulder started the car. He let a few cars go between them and Ahua, so as not to look suspicious. They followed him for about ten minutes on the H-1 highway, until he turned onto an exit, with the sign above it stating: Pali Highway.

"I wonder where he's going," Mulder said dryly.

The two agents drove on in silence, knowing very well where Ted Ahua would lead them.

~X~

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

11:21 PM

"There they are- through the trees." Mulder passed the binoculars to Scully. The agents were lying on a small hillock, about fifty yards from the lookout, closely observing a small fire, which was barely visible through the thick vegetation. Putting them up to her eyes, Scully could make out a group of about twenty men gathered around the fire, Ahua among them, all dressed in the garb of Hawaiian warriors. A haunting, monotonous chant arose from them, their voices lifting up into the night sky.

"Looks like a ritual of some sort," Scully said, lowering the binoculars, only to look into them again. "Is it a cult?"

"It has to be, but I've never heard of anything like this before," Mulder replied, shaking his head. "They're all wearing that same black pendant Ahua had around his neck, but I don't recognize the symbol."

"Speaking of Ahua, I don't see him." Scully put down the binoculars and gave her partner an anxious look. "And he was there just a minute ago. Where'd he go?"

"I'm right here," a malignant voice behind them replied.

The agents whirled, reaching for their guns, but found three very-sharp spear shafts pointed right at their faces.

Ahua manifested out of the darkness, wearing a feathered cape and headdress, smiling viciously. Two other cult members, also wielding spears, accompanied him. "They have arrived," he told his brethren. "Prepare the victims for the sacrificial ritual." With that, Ahua turned and headed back into the trees.

Mulder and Scully were yanked roughly to their feet by the men. The guards threw the agents' weapons into the bushes. They were forced to walk with their arms upon their heads, constantly prodded by lances, into the fire clearing. As the two captives entered, the cultists gathered there immediately stopped chanting, and stared at them with blank, expressionless faces. The warriors led them to the center, stripped them of their jackets, and undid the first few buttons of their shirts.

Scully, doing all she could to hold back the panic that was welling up inside of her, lifted her head and shut her eyes, saying a silent prayer. She felt someone press against her arm, and opened her eyes to see whom it was. It was Mulder, sweat streaming down his face; even he was nervous. Silently, he reached down and took her hand in his, giving it a tight squeeze. Scully swallowed hard and smiled briefly.

Ahua appeared, carrying a small wooden bowl filled with a red liquid. He stopped before them, saying, "My ancestors told me you would come. They instructed me on how I would lure you here, so that you could become an offering to them. They have chosen you."

That's when it hit Scully. The LSD, all the contaminated bottles at the plant- it was all staged. Even the traces they found in Roy Tanaka? She thought. How? Turning her head, she looked at her partner's shocked expression, and saw that he had come to the same conclusion as well. Ahua continued.

"We have monitored you very carefully, ever since you arrived on the island, making sure you followed our leads. Indeed, you two will be the perfect sacrifice to our forefathers."

"Why us?" Mulder asked, mustering his courage.

Ahua smiled. "Why ask a question to which you already know the answer?" he replied. With that, he dipped his hand in the dish, and began to paint Mulder and Scully's faces, then their necks, with the red dye. " 'In the names of our fathers, we mark you as our own,' " he recited, finishing his task.

To the agents' horror, the red dye had the familiar, metallic odor of blood; Scully felt an uncontrollable urge to vomit.

At Ahua's command, four cult members stepped forward from the crowd, each gripping a lit torch, and took hold of the two agents, walking them out of the clearing. Ahua preceded them as they began to march, chanting softly in Hawaiian. One by one, the rest of the brethren followed, taking up the chant. The slow and solemn procession advanced up the mountainside.

~X~

Mulder didn't know how far he had walked, or how long it had been- all he knew was the weariness of his strained muscles. Sweat plastered his clothes to his body, mixing with the blood on his face, running into his eyes and mouth. He glanced behind him to see how Scully was faring, and judging by the exhausted look on her face, he figured she was having a worse time of it than he was. She stumbled, and he made a move to go back and help her, but the two warriors who acted as guards prevented him from doing so. He sighed in resignation and turned his head forward, toward their gruesome fate.

~X~

The procession halted about halfway up the mountain, in a small clearing. Mulder and Scully collapsed on the ground, gasping for air. Ahua approached them, and at a signal from him, two cultists pulled the agents up off the soil, and marched them to the edge of the clearing, to where a long, wide slab of granite lay on its side. Mulder limped on his right leg; he had sprained it on the long trek, while Scully clutched her left arm, her face a mask of pain. When they reached the rock, the warriors made them lie down upon it. Then they were bound hand and foot with rough twine. Thunder rumbled in the distance, and a soft rain began to fall, washing away the blood from the agents' faces.

Mulder closed his eyes, and for a brief moment, the only sound he heard was that of his own breath. He felt strangely at peace, as if in a dream. But the quiet was disrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps. Opening his eyes, Mulder saw Ahua standing over him, holding a long, curved knife in his hands.

"Our fathers have chosen you to be an offering to them," he spoke aloud. The group of followers turned their heads toward their leader. "May they be appeased." With that, Ahua began, a slow, ominous chant.

Mulder's attention was diverted from Ahua's mantra to the trees behind him; flickering lights- hundreds of them- were visible through the dark branches. To his amazement - and horror - pale, ethereal figures appeared through the gloom, slowly approaching the rock where he and Scully were bound. The ghostly apparitions were garbed in loincloths and headdresses similar to that of the cultists'. Their faces, pictures of nobleness, mixed with sorrow, were those of warriors. These were the ancestors, Mulder realized, that Ahua and his followers worshipped with the utmost respect and passion. They encircled the rock, silent spectators to the agents' imminent death. Lightning tore through the heavens, soon followed by a boom of thunder; the storm was nearing them.

"Great ancestors!" Ahua called. "We offer you a living sacrifice, so you may reign forever!" He raised the dagger high above his head, ready to drive it into the agents' unprotected chests. "Your will be done!"

Mulder turned his head and shut his eyes, ready to succumb to his death, but the knife never came down; at that moment, a brilliant streak of lightning flashed, striking Ahua. He staggered backwards, and then fell to the ground, with the knife at his side. The cult leader twitched then was still. Mulder opened his eyes. The ghosts were gone.

A loud cry arose from the congregation as they looked in horror at their fallen chieftain. "The gods are angry!" one of them shouted.

"Ahua has defied our fathers!" cried another. "Look! His punishment is death!" With that, the cultists scattered in every direction, leaving Mulder and Scully alone, still bound to the altar.

The agents breathed a sigh of relief, and stared at one another in shock, neither one speaking. Finally, Mulder shifted, trying to free himself from his bonds. He found a sharp edge on the rock, and began to saw away at the rope on his right wrist. When he had finished with himself, he turned to help his partner. It wasn't until they were both free and standing on solid ground that they spoke.

"Are you all right, Scully?" Mulder reached out to gingerly touch her injured arm. She nodded wearily, and then indicated to Mulder's right leg.

"Can you walk?" she asked. Mulder tried, and winced in pain. Scully put her good arm around his shoulder for support. "Here. Lean on me."

Together, they slowly began their long descent down the mountain, not once looking back.

~X~

J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building

Washington, DC

9:36 PM

Three days later

It was an exhausted Agent Mulder that sat in the basement of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building that evening, typing up his report, his partner already long-gone for the night, her left arm in a sling. As for him, a pair of crutches was propped up against the desk. They had arrived in DC early

that morning, bruised and tired. He stopped typing and stared out into space, silently recounting the events of the past few days after their near fatal encounter with Ahua and his followers.

Once the agents reached the parking lot of the Pali Lookout, which wasn't until early the next morning, they immediately called for the paramedics. They were rushed to Queen's Medical Center, where they were attended to and treated: Scully with a slight fracture to her left arm, and Mulder with a sprained ankle. The weary pair spent the rest of the day filling out police reports and answering questions asked by skeptic detectives. Mulder had kept silent about the ghosts he had seen up on the mountain.

It was only just before their flight that they had finally found time to relax.

Mulder closed his eyes, contemplating what he and Scully had said that day.

~X~

"We never did get a chance to go to the beach," Scully told her partner as they sat together on a couch in the main lobby of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, waiting for their luggage.

"Look at it this way," replied Mulder. "We saw a part of Hawaiian culture that not many tourists get to experience."

"Not that they would want to, anyway." Mulder shrugged.

"I guess we were one of the lucky ones," he said. Scully smiled grimly, rubbing her injured arm.

"Lucky in the sense that we got out of there alive."

Mulder looked intently at his partner and said, "Scully, I saw something up there that night." She gave him concerned look. "What?"

"I saw them - the Night Marchers. They were gathered around the stone."

"Mulder, you were exhausted - we both were. You were hallucinating." Mulder shook his head.

"No, Scully, I know what I saw. They were the ones whom Ahua and his followers worshipped."

Scully sighed, not bothering to argue further with her partner. Both agents turned at the approach of a bellhop carrying their belongings.

"What did Ahua mean when he told you that you knew why we were chosen?" asked Scully, standing up. Mulder shook his head.

"I don't know." He grabbed his crutches, using them to pull himself up from the couch. "But one thing's for sure," he said as he tipped the kid, "this definitely isn't the Hawaii you read about in the tour books."

"I'll agree with you on that one," Scully replied.

~X~

Coming back to the present, Mulder rubbed his eyes, then continued typing:

'...From the way they were dressed and the ceremony they performed, I can safely say that the cult Agent Scully and I encountered was hostile and prone to human sacrifices, of which we almost became victims. The followers worship their ancestors- ancient Hawaiian warriors, who were defeated by Kamehameha, in 1795.

Following the death of their leader, Ted Ahua- whose body, I may add, has yet to be found- the cult members fled the scene, and no meetings or gatherings have since been reported. This leads me to believe that the sect has either dispersed or died out. Also, the 1500 bottles of contaminated Big Kahuna Water have yet to be accounted for, and no cases of LSD contaminations have been reported.

How many other organizations like this are out there? Hundreds? Thousands? In truth, there have always been cults that have worshipped their forefathers, such as the ancient Aztecs, the Incas, and the Egyptians. They have been around since time began, though now they are smaller and not as widespread as they once were.

What separates them from us? They live in the past, in a time where golden gods and living sacrifices reigned supreme. We live in the present, and worship the great, silicon-gilded gods of the future, offering them billions and billions of dollars of taxpayers' money- what's so different about that? We are all the same, we just happen to see and do things differently than they. The question is: who has their priorities straight? Them or us?'

Mulder moved the cursor to the PRINT icon and clicked on it, leaning back in his chair as the printer went to work. Once finished, he shut down the computer and laid his report on the desk. He stood up and reached for his crutches, and then hobbled over to the office door, where he put on his coat. Turning off the lights, Mulder turned and opened the door, closing it behind him as he left the room.

A small sliver of moonlight shone through the basement window, falling upon a small, black object hanging on the office wall. It glittered in the darkness, and in the center of the pendant, was the uncanny image of a heart, pierced by a spear.

END

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