By Gabrielle LawsonX-Files Epilogue
Audio copy: You can listen to this story on my podcast: There Are Three of Me. It is read in Ep41 S4E21. You can find There Are Three of Me on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and .
Disclaimer: X-Files is the property of Fox Television and this story is not intended in any way to infringe upon that copyright. The characters of Mulder and Scully, likewise, belong to Fox television. All other characters in this story, as well as the events of this story, are of my own creation and should not be copied by others without permission.
Three police cars were parked along the street. Their flashing lights cast blue and red reflections on the windows of the house. But their lights also cut the darkness, illuminating the curious outline of the windows and door. It seemed odd at first, but it was easily explained-and confirmed by the fact that the front door stood open wide. Mulder parked the car and then followed Scully up the sidewalk that evenly divided the neatly landscaped front yard.
A policeman, young, with pale skin and red hair beneath his cap, held up a hand to block their entry. Scully flashed her ID though, and he waved them through.
"Where?" Mulder asked.
"Shower," the officer replied. "Master bedroom, upstairs to the right."
Mulder led the way but paused half-way up the stairs. "Do you smell something, Scully?" he asked, with a playful glint in his eye.
"Mulder," Scully scolded. "They spent two hours airing out the house. There's no danger."
"Just asking," He continued up the stairs. There were more police in the bedroom. The lights in the room were turned off, probably for fear of fire hazard despite the airing of the house. Each of the officers in the room had high-powered flashlights, which gave enough light to see, even if they did throw multiple shadows across the walls and floor.
One man, in plain clothes, seemed to be in charge. He stood just in the doorway to the bathroom. "You the FBI?" he asked.
"Detective Goldberg?" Scully waited for a confirmation and then introduced herself. "Special Agents Scully and Mulder. We've read the report. It sounds fairly straightforward. I'm not sure why the FBI is involved."
"Ordinarily, I don't suppose you would be, Agent Scully," Goldberg replied. "But this isn't ordinarily." He tilted his head, gesturing that they should take a look in the shower.
Mulder went first. He stiffened, but blocked the view so that Scully couldn't see what the problem was. "Is that what I think it is?" he asked, stepping back.
Scully stepped forward as Goldberg nodded. The victim was indeed in the shower. He was sitting, eyes staring forward. His arm was propped up by fishing line, straight out and stiff, though his fingers had not retained their rigid form. And he was wearing a uniform. A uniform to go with the salute. Scully didn't know the rank, not being a student of history, but she could certainly guess its age. The sleeves were worn, the color faded. But the uniform was obviously carefully pressed, and the jackboots he was wearing reflected back Scully's own face watching from the door. All the pins and buttons were shined as well, including the two S's in the shape of lightning bolts that decorated his collar.
"He was a Nazi?" she asked, stepping back.
"SS," Goldberg answered. "Take a look at his name. Scharführer Heiler. Martin Heiler. Moved out here eleven years ago. He's been a quiet neighbor ever since. Yesterday, his neighbors noticed him putting plastic over all his windows. They called the SPCA at around 9 this evening when the heard the dog barking out back, figuring she's being neglected. The SPCA reported the gas."
"What kind of gas?" Mulder asked. He seemed intrigued, but Scully thought it looked like suicide despite the uniform. It wasn't a FBI matter. It didn't even sound like an X-File.
"You thinkin' maybe Zyklon B? No, it's natural," Goldberg shrugged. "Right from the oven. Took a while to fill up the house. My guess is his arm got tired, so he propped it up like that."
"He could have gotten the uniform from a surplus store," Scully suggested.
Goldberg nodded. "We had a few hours before we could even get in here. So I did some checking. Supposedly, he was born in Frankfurt, immigrated in '38, and retired from BMW before moving out here. But there's no immigration records for Martin Heiler from Frankfurt in '38 or any other year. Personally, I think there's a good possibility he's a war criminal."
"So you think he skipped Germany, and he's been hiding out in Topeka, Kansas?" Even Mulder sounded sceptical this time.
"It's been known to happen," Goldberg shot back. "Either way, the man is not who he said he was. And we found something in his pocket. Stephens."
The woman who had been examining the body, reached into the shower and pulled a small, plastic zip lock bag from the right breast pocket of Heiler's uniform. She handed it to Goldberg who handed it to Mulder. He even obliged by holding up his flashlight to illuminate it more clearly.
Mulder put on a pair of latex gloves before taking the bag which he held out so Scully could see. The bag contained a fine, dark gray powder. "What is it?"
"You're the FBI," Goldberg retorted. "Why don't you tell me? I worked narcotics for 7 years. Never seen anything like it."
"Any news on our SS, Scully?" Mulder asked as he removed his jacket.
"I had a lovely lunch," Scully replied. "Thank you."
Mulder smiled. "How was your lunch, Scully? And by the way, any news on our Nazi? Or rather, any new news?" There was a playful glint in his eye.
"Actually, yes." Scully stood up to hand Mulder a file. "He's not Heiler. Goldberg had the nametag analyzed. It's a fake. Special order."
Mulder was reading as he was listening. "But all the other insignia is authentic."
"Yes. I had the Holocaust Museum's librarian check out the name Martin Heiler of the SS. Heiler turns up. Auschwitz."
"But the badge was a fake." Mulder flipped forward in the file.
Scully nodded. "Heiler disappeared in 1943."
"Disappeared?" Mulder apparently found the page he was looking for. "Reported missing when he didn't report for his shift with one of the work kommandos. March 24, 1943. Never heard from again." He looked up from the folder. "Why would he pick Kansas?"
"He didn't. But Hartmuth Fischer did." Scully returned. "Born Freistadt, Missouri in 1922. Moved to Chicago in '46. Started with BMW in the sixties. Retired at 55 and disappeared."
"Wanna go to Freistadt for dinner, Scully?" Mulder asked. "I hear they make a great weisswurst."
"No, thank you, Mulder. I've got paperwork to do."
"I found Hartmuth Fischer of Freistadt, Missouri, born 1922, Scully."
Scully tucked the phone under her ear and held it with her shoulder while she looked for the file in her briefcase. "Found him? Found him where?"
"The cemetery across from the restaurant," Mulder responded. "And the weisswurst was wonderful, not to mention the Bavarian bread."
"The cemetery?" Scully found the file on Fischer-or Heiler-and flipped it open. "When did he die?"
"Zweiundzwanzig Juni neunzehn hundert zweiundzwanzig."
It took Scully a minute to work out the numbers. "1922? Maybe he was Heiler, under an alias. Falsified records."
"Possible, but what was he doing for three years?" Mulder asked. "Fischer only shows up again in 1946, Chicago. What was he doing those three years if he was Heiler? The Nazis were still riding fairly high in '43. They didn't get driven out of Auschwitz until '45 and Heiler had a clean record." And then he added, "By SS standards."
"So we still don't know who he is."
"I think I got a handle on that. See about that powder, will ya, Scully? I'll fill you in in the morning."
Mulder dropped the file onto Scully's desk. "Immigration and Naturalization. If he wasn't born here, he had to get into the country somehow."
Scully leaned back on her desk and crossed her arms. "So who is he?"
"Probably, one Herr Helmuth Fischer, born in Frankfurt 1922. Immigrated in 1946. Disappeared later that year."
"Hartmuth Fischer. He wasn't too creative, was he?" Scully commented.
"He didn't need to be, because Fischer's his real name."
"But Fischer died as an infant."
"Hartmuth Fischer did. Helmuth Fischer did not. He really was born in Frankfurt. They were cousins. Hartmuth's parents emigrated from Germany in 1918. The rest of the family stayed behind. Detective Goldberg found some old letters. Helmuth's parents kept in touch."
"So who is Helmuth, that he needed an alias?"
"Helmuth Fischer was SS. Also at Auschwitz, like our boy Heiler. Only he was there until 1945. Attached to the Sonderkommando, he reported enthusiastically for duty and never called in sick."
Sonderkommando. Scully may not have been a historian, but she did know what that meant. The gas chambers. "What a guy."
"A real übermensch," Mulder added sarcastically.
"So, what, did he feel guilty after 50 years and decide to gas himself?" Scully asked, putting the pieces to the puzzle together.
Mulder shrugged. "Looks that way. But that doesn't explain the powder. That's your job."
Scully's eyes dropped to her desk where the small packet of powder lay. "I sent samples to three different labs, and none of them can identify the substance. It's not ash. It's not sand. It's not organic. It's not mineral. It doesn't match any known substance."
Mulder grinned. "I didn't think it would," he said, "but I wanted to give you a chance."
"So you know what it is?"
"Then how did you know I couldn't identify it?"
"Because I looked up SS reports from Auschwitz for March 24, 1943."
"The day Heiler disappeared." Scully was getting a little impatient. "And you found what?"
"Nothing." His grin widened. "But Detective Goldberg did find some personal letters among Fischer's things, as I said. They were in German, of course. One in particular was written on March 25, 1943."
"The day after Heiler disappeared."
Mulder nodded. "Also right after the opening of the first new crematorium in Birkenau, the one Fischer worked with. He wrote to his wife telling her of a strange event. It seems, on the day before, Heiler took a prisoner into the anteroom of the gas chamber just as an Aktion was about to begin. Another SS, a woman, followed him in and shooed all the Sonderkommando inmates away. When the other SS finally got the door open, the SS who was supposed to drop the Zyklon B was unconscious. Heiler and the woman were nowhere to be seen. And there was a strange dark gray powder covering the floor and clothing at one end of the room. It had even dusted the walls and ceiling. That's where the packet came from. He sent it to her in the letter. Strangely enough, they never found that prisoner either."
"What are you saying, Mulder?" Scully shook her head. "Did they spontaneously combust?"
"Then that would be ash, wouldn't it?" Mulder calmly returned. "Or at least organic. It's neither. According to your labs, it's not of this earth."
Scully rejected that idea. "They didn't say that."
Mulder winked. "Not in so many words."