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SECRET AGENDAS YVONNE NAVARRO MARSHEILA ROCKWELL BRYAN THOMAS SCHMIDT JADE SHAMES LUCY A. SNYDER WESTON OCHSE

SECRET AGENDAS

JIM BEARD RYAN CADY KATE CORCINO LAUREN A. FORRY JOHN GILSTRAP LOIS H. GRESH JOE HARRIS NANCY HOLDER GEORGE IVANOFF ANDY MANGELS JEFFREY MARIOTTE

The truth is still out there! FBI Special Agents DANA SCULLY and FOX MULDER go hunting in the shadows for dangerous truths in this new collection of original never-before-published tales of The X-Files. Edited by New York Times best seller and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winner Jonathan Maberry.

$19.99 • WWW.IDWPUBLISHING.COM


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X-FILES ANTHOLOGY, VOL. 3: SECRET AGENDAS. SEPTEMBER 2016. FIRST PRINTING. The X-Files is ™ & © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Editorial offices: 2765 Truxtun Road, San Diego, CA 92106. The IDW logo is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental. With the exception of artwork used for review purposes, none of the contents of this publication may be reprinted without the permission of Idea and Design Works, LLC. Printed in Canada. IDW Publishing does not read or accept unsolicited submissions of ideas, stories, or artwork. Ted Adams, CEO & Publisher Greg Goldstein, President & COO Robbie Robbins, EVP/Sr. Graphic Artist Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief Matthew Ruzicka, CPA, Chief Financial Officer Alan Payne, VP of Sales Dirk Wood, VP of Marketing Lorelei Bunjes, VP of Digital Services Jeff Webber, VP of Licensing, Digital and Subsidiary Rights Jerry Bennington, VP of New Product Development For international rights, contact licensing@idwpublishing.com


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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY JAIL MANASSAS, VIRGINIA 18th OCTOBER, 2000

yron Simms didn’t look like a murderer to me. He didn’t look like he was fifteen, either. His sheet said he was five-nine and 135, but since he was shackled to his seat, I couldn’t attest to his height. While he might have weighed 135 pounds when he was arrested, I’d have bet real money that he hadn’t been eating well during his incarceration. His skin might have been applied directly to the bones of his face, and the only bit of color below the hairline of his shaved scalp were two stripes of brown eyebrows and the glow of impossibly green eyes. His battleship gray zippered jumpsuit hung from his shoulders like ugly drapes. I sat across from him separated only by the width of the crappy green metal table that no doubt had been bolted to the floor since well before the kid was born. I wanted to see how long he could tolerate the quiet. At one point the toe of my shoe bumped the toe of his issued plastic shower shoes and he jumped. He made brief eye contact then looked down and apologized. With his ankles shackled, he didn’t have many options where to place his feet. I had asked his keepers to free his limbs for the purpose of my interview, but they refused on the grounds that he was too dangerous. Contrary to the standard TV tropes, my FBI badge had no power to trump local police authority. “Why are you staring at me?” Byron asked, breaking the silence after nearly four minutes. “I’m observing,” I said. “Not staring.” “It’s creepy. Who are you, anyway?”

B

1


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THE X-FILES: SECRET AGENDAS

“My name is Fox Mulder,” I said. “The lady behind me is Dana Scully. We’re with the FBI.” Byron shifted his eyes to my partner. “Hi,” he said. Scully raised her hand in a wave that made her look shy. We’d agreed ahead of time that I would handle the interview. Her role was to be the yin to my yang when it came time to evaluate the lessons to be learned from the forthcoming discussion. “Who’s on the other side of the mirror?” The one-way mirror in interview rooms was one of the tropes television got right. “I can’t say for sure,” I said. “Some deputies, I would imagine. If it’s important to you, I can find out.” “Doesn’t matter.” “Are you all right?” Scully asked. She stepped away from her corner and approached. “You don’t look well.” Byron nearly jumped clear from his suit as Scully placed her hands on either side of his face. “Do you have a fever?” Scully was the only person I’ve ever known who graduated from medical school with honors only to walk away from a guaranteed fat bank account to carry a badge and chase bad guys. There were far less expensive avenues to the Bureau. Byron protested for the first second or two, but then settled down. I think he felt comforted by a kind touch. The fact that Scully was easy to look at probably didn’t hurt. “I don’t think I’m sick,” Byron said. “Have you been eating?” “I try,” Byron said. “But everything tastes like sawdust. I hate this place.” I recognized the opportunity to let him vent about the evils of the facility that was likely to become both his high school and retirement home, but I didn’t want to go there. It was hard enough seeing the wreckage of a childhood. I had no desire to explore what it felt like. “Is he okay, Scully?” “No fever,” she said. “But I don’t like his color.” She left him and came back around to my side of the table, where she settled into a buttbreaking metal chair that matched the one I was sitting in. “Been a while since I’ve seen the sun,” Byron said. “How long ago were you arrested?” I asked. I knew the answer, of course—just as I knew the answers to most of the questions I was about 2


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SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND

to ask—but you learn a lot from letting people tell their own stories. How prone they are to lying, for example. “May twenty-third. What was that, five months ago?” “Close,” I said. “I bet it feels longer.” His face contorted into an expression that said, “Duh.” “When was the first time you were arrested?” I asked. The green eyes flashed surprise. Clearly, I wasn’t supposed to know about the other arrests. I explained, “Juvie records don’t stay sealed after you murder a kid.” “I didn’t murder anybody,” Byron snapped. “I didn’t do anything.” “What about that first time?” I asked. “Your first arrest.” He looked offended. “I didn’t kill anybody then, either. Nobody even accused me of killing anybody.” “But you messed him up pretty good,” I said. “You remember Paulie Brenner, don’t you?” “He threw my lunch on the floor.” “And you beat him unconscious. You broke his nose and your own hand.” Byron shifted his eyes. “He stole my lunch.” That time, the words were barely a mumble. “What about Jason Howe?” I asked. Jason was the victim of a fight that occurred six weeks after his tangle with Paulie Brenner. “Jason Howe had to spend the night in the hospital.” No eye contact. “I only pushed him,” he said. “He hit his head when he fell. Not really my fault.” I looked to Scully and she shook her head. This was not the time for a lesson in the finer points of the law. I had to agree. “Why did you push him?” The kid remained silent. “Byron?” His eyes rolled up to meet mine and they were red. “What difference does it make?” It made a huge difference, but it was too soon to tell him that, and it was for sure too soon to tell him why. “Humor me,” I said. “Jason is settled action. Nothing you say can bring that back to life.” “He was being rude to a girl,” Byron said. “Which girl?” I prodded. 3


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THE X-FILES: SECRET AGENDAS

“I thought you read the reports.” I noted with interest that the discussion of the girl made him many times more uncomfortable than his discussion of trashed lunches. “As before,” I said. “Humor me. Please.” Byron took his time. A lot of it. “Her name was Barbara Burris,” he said. I had to struggle to hear him, but I didn’t ask him to raise his voice. “Was she your girlfriend?” I asked. He blushed, his cheeks and ears turning the color of ripe apples. He didn’t want to answer, but I waited him out. “She was pretty,” he said after forever. “And she was nice to me. I liked her. But I don’t think she knew it.” “I bet she did after you defended her honor,” Scully said. That drew a brighter blush. Praise seemed to embarrass him more than the questions. He remained silent. I’d given him a chance to sing his own praises, but after fifteen seconds, I declared that window to be closed. “All right, Byron,” I said. “I’m going to put all of my cards on the table here. You might not know this, but it’s a big deal to have the FBI involved in your case. You’ve been accused of murder, but murder is a local crime, to be prosecuted by the state in which it occurred. The FBI is a federal investigation unit, which means we think that your case is bigger than the locals think it is.” Byron re-engaged with those eyes. “So, that means I go to federal prison instead of state prison?” “Or maybe no prison at all,” I said. The room warmed up by five degrees. Literally. I could feel the atmosphere surrounding the kid grow warmer. I don’t know if that’s because it did or because of my special perceptual gifts. Either way, I knew that Byron Simms was feeling a sense of possibility that he hadn’t felt before. But he didn’t overcommit. Instead, he just waited for me to clarify. After so few months in the system, he was already learning some of its finer points. “Tell me about Lee Twitchell,” I said. Byron drilled me with his eyes. I explained, “Hearing you tell the story gives me a glimpse into you. If you tell the truth, that’s all good for you.” “I’ve been telling the truth since I got in here,” Byron said. “It hasn’t done squat for me.” 4


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SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND

“But I haven’t been here, have I?” I said. “Why do you care?” “Because I do.” It was the God’s honest truth. “Now please tell me what happened back in March. Tell me about Lee Twitchell.” He glared, and I got it. He’d already told this story six ways from Sunday, to heaven knew how many different iterations of doubters, and to date, no one had believed him. I was the one who might, but it was too early for him to know that. Byron settled himself with a deep breath. “We were walking down the path next to the battlefield,” he began. “I’m sorry,” I interrupted. “I need you to start the story earlier than that. The battlefield is nearly a mile from your house. A mile and a quarter from Lee’s.” “We were just wandering,” Byron said. “You’re fifteen,” I said, interrupting him. Interruptions and the frustrations they caused were great tactics for flushing out lies. “Why were you hanging out with a thirteen-year-old to begin with?” “It’s not what you’re thinking,” he said. His eyes showed the first signs of anger. Warning bell. “What am I thinking?” “What they all think,” he said with a circular motion of his head. I sensed that was a surrogate to waving his arms. “I’m not stupid. Psycho docs don’t ask about pedophilic fantasies without telling you what they’re really thinking.” “And what did you tell the doctor?” I asked. “N one of your business,” he fired back. “She asked if I masturbated, for God’s sake.” He shot a look to Scully, as if to prove that he wasn’t intimidated by her. “I told her that I’m fifteen. What did she think?” I couldn’t help but smile. If only the world could somehow tap into the energy of adolescents while they were alone. Con Edison would go out of business. “Lee is my friend. I don’t have many of them. Haven’t you ever been walking somewhere, talking about stuff, and before you knew it you were farther away than you thought? We were where we were.” “No,” I said. “I’ve never done that.” I’d committed myself to telling the truth, and there it was. “I don’t understand how anyone could find themselves a mile from their home and not know that they were in a place that maybe they shouldn’t be.” 5

X-Files Anthology Vol. 3: Secret Agendas  

The truth is still out there! FBI Special Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder go hunting in the shadows for dangerous truths in this new colle...

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