“The Allegheny Spider” – An X-Files episode

river

Photo by Andrew Bertram on Unsplash

This episode is intended to be a monster-of-the-week stand alone for season 11.


COLD OPEN

INT. The DINING AREA of an upscale, tiny, inn-style Bed & Breakfast [INN]. Three of the five tables are occupied. Young newlyweds, YNW1 and YNW2 sit on the same side of one finishing their dessert. A man [PETE] making notes and reading while he eats sits at another. The third has a woman [JEANETTE, 30s, WHITE WOMAN] and man [NATHAN, 40s, WHITE MAN] sitting opposite each other on an obviously uncomfortable date.

 

NATHAN

I can’t understand why you’d take her side here.

 

JEANETTE

I’m not taking anyone’s side, I just think it’s kind of unfair-

 

NATHAN

Sure. She gets all the raises and promotions but I’m the one being unfair.

 

JEANETTE

But you said she laid a lot of the groundwork with the client that-

 

NATHAN

Groundwork isn’t closing, and closing is all that matters.

 

JEANETTE

Look, let’s just drop it. I don’t even know your boss, not like I can really weigh in on the office politics of it all without-

 

NATHAN

You don’t have to know her to believe me when I tell you she slept her way up. How else can you even explain it?

 

JEANETTE

I don’t know. Maybe the board preferred her management style.

 

NATHAN

And maybe you don’t know how the world works, sweet thing.

 

JEANETTE

I know this date is over.

 

JEANETTE backs up her chair and rises to leave.

 

NATHAN

And I know you’re at least twenty pounds heavier than your profile picture.

 

JEANETTE dumps a tumbler of water in his lap and walks through the MAIN ROOM and out. NATHAN storms past the lady innkeeper, [THERESA, 60s, BLACK WOMAN] and her large pet IGUANA and heads upstairs. The camera sweeps around the rest of the ground floor of the small inn filled with objects of distinction and the occasional exotic animal, some alive, some skeletal or taxidermied. A growled shout is heard from upstairs.

 

NATHAN

(offscreen, presumably leaning half out of the bathroom door)

And now, for a wonderful end to my evening, there’s NO HOT WATER! This place is a dump.

 

The door slams and plaster dust sprinkles down onto THERESA’s head. She stands with a less than tolerant smile and buckles a toolbelt she’s taken from inside her desk around her waist. She dons a headlamp flashlight and opens the door leading down into the basement. The camera follows her down to a cobwebby and terrifying old space containing an ancient looking boiler where she starts banging on pipes and turning valves, seemingly at random. A low chittering/scratching [SPIDER NOISE] starts and gets louder as the camera rises through the floors past PETE still working in the DINING AREA, past YNW1 and YNW2 making out in front of the fireplace in their room and up into NATHAN’s room just in time to see NATHAN yanked out through the window by a menacing shadow. He barely has time for a short scream.

 

CUT TO BLACK


 

MAIN TITLES


ACT I

 

EXT. MOONLIT NIGHT above a highway cutting through a forest. Heavy rain falling. ARIAL EWS reveals a police car’s lights bouncing color off a few stopped windshields at a roadblock set up at the mouth of a bridge. SLOW ZOOM IN (DOWN) gains momentum as it falls and rain splashes onto SCULLY’S face just as she’s rolling her window back up. She opens the makeup mirror to wipe off the rain and survey the damage while answering a call by touching a button on the steering wheel.

 

SCULLY

Hi Mulder, I was just about to call you. Bad news.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. NICE HOTEL ROOM. A BELLBOY walks out pocketing a tip and closing the door as MULDER flops onto the huge bed cradling his cell.

 

MULDER

Listen to my good news first. They bumped us up to the honeymoon suite when I explained the situation and flashed my badge. The bathtub is bigger than my kitchen.

 

CUT BACK TO:

 

INT. SCULLY’S CAR as she drives away from the flashing blue and red.

 

SCULLY

(sighing and rolling her eyes)

Be that as it may, Mulder, you’re going to have to muddle along without me, for tonight at least. The Allegheny’s gone over its banks North and South of me.

 

CONTINUES TO CROSS CUT BETWEEN THEM:

 

MULDER

And? Are you trying to impress me with river trivia?

 

SCULLY

The state police have closed bridges and several low lying roadways due to flash flooding. They’re afraid of massive mudslides. They won’t even guess when they’ll reopen them until it stops raining. I’m stuck.

 

MULDER

No, no, no, no, no. Tell them you have important FBI business, G lady. We are on a case. I need you.

 

SCULLY

You finding a body doesn’t mean there’s a case, Mulder. Or that you need me to drive through a flood to carve it up for you. Whether we like it or not, the roads between us are impassable.

 

She spies a discreet vacancy sign burning in the window of a Victorian Bed and Breakfast looking place.

 

SCULLY (cont.)

Yes! Look’s like I may have found some shelter. I’ll call you later with an update.

 

MULDER

But Scully…

 

He gets cut off when she disconnects and winces a little, glancing around with dismay at the room filled with romantic elements.

 

INT. The MAIN ROOM of the INN from the COLD OPEN. SCULLY has entered and is shaking off the wet near the door when THERESA comes from a back room with a large, fluffy towel for her.

 

THERESA

My word, it must still be coming down in buckets out there.

 

SCULLY

(blissfully drying her face with the towel now draped around her neck)

Yeah, it’s pretty bad. They’ve closed quite a few of the roads. I was surprised to see your sign. Do you really still have a room?

 

THERESA

One opened up unexpectedly this morning and I just finished setting it to rights less than an hour ago and flipped on the sign. You want it?

 

SCULLY

Yes, thanks.

(looks around smiling faintly)

This place is lovely. Been here long?

 

THERESA

(crossing to the neon window sign and flipping it dark)

Oh yes. I grew up here. My father built the inn, and the emporium he used to run next door, back when people used to do things like that for themselves.

 

THERESA turns to a built in secretary and gets out a large log book and some papers, setting them in front of SCULLY and handing her a pen. A large IGUANA sits on a stool near the secretary and blinks at SCULLY just when she thinks she’s figured out he’s stuffed.

 

THERESA (cont.)

We used to have a whole lot of VIP guests way back when. Ms. Nancy Sinatra herself slept in the room I’m giving you. But that was in the good old days. Now it’s just the occasional stranded traveler like yourself and a bunch of married men coming up here to cheat on their better halves away from prying eyes. As if I don’t live in the same town as they do and chat with their wives at the grocery.

 

THERESA laughs without malice, as if at the human condition and SCULLY joins her with a broad smile. THERESA takes the book back from SCULLY and reads her entry.

 

THERESA (cont.)

Dr. Dana Scully. Can I call you Dana?

 

SCULLY

Of course.

 

THERESA

(handing SCULLY a key with a numbered fob attached)

Well, Dana, I’m Theresa. I’d love to stand here and chat but I’ve got dinner on and I need to get back to the kitchen. I serve at six-thirty if you’re hungry for something. Don’t reopen the kitchen again until six-thirty a.m. tomorrow. Should I fix you up a plate?

 

SCULLY

Sure, Theresa.

 

THERESA

You need vegan or have any allergies?

 

SCULLY

Whatever you’re making should be just fine.

 

THERESA

Well if that ain’t a change of pace.

 

FAST CUTS MONTAGE of SCULLY unpacking a few select items and otherwise prepping her room for her stay.

 

INT. INN’s DINING AREA. The meal is set out at several of the tables pulled together, family style. THERESA and PETE are at opposite ends already eating when SCULLY enters and takes a seat between them. During the following dialogue they all pass and eat chicken, salad, bread, wine, water, coffee.

 

THERESA

Dana, welcome. This is Pete.

 

SCULLY

Hello.

 

PETE

(fork in one hand, paperback spread in the other, he grunts with his mouth full and barely makes eye contact)

 

THERESA

So, I hope the blue room’s all right for you. Have some chicken.

 

SCULLY

It’s lovely, thanks. With the storm and all I’m lucky not to

be sleeping in my car.

 

PETE

You would have found the motel 6 if you’d gone down the road five more minutes.

 

THERESA

And missed out on all our atmosphere.

 

PETE

And gotten hot water.

 

THERESA

I fixed it last night, Pete. Careful not to burn yourself.

 

SCULLY

I’m just grateful to be out of all that rain. You’re lucky to be up out of the floodplain. Does the river get this high very often?

 

THERESA

Happens enough that my daddy knew to build up on a hill.

 

PETE

Please, no more daddy stories. Next you’ll start in about your memoir.

 

THERESA

Of course, you’re right Pete. So Dana, you’re a doctor. Do you have a practice or are you not that kind?

 

SCULLY

I am a medical doctor, but no, I don’t have a practice. I work for the government, actually.

 

PETE

CDC?

 

SCULLY

Not usually, no. I’m FBI. Mostly just law enforcement consulting these days.

 

THERESA

How exciting. Do you carry a gun?

 

SCULLY

I do. It’s locked up in my trunk at the moment.

 

THERESA

What’s your specialty?

 

SCULLY

Forensic Pathology.

 

THERESA

Well now. That is interesting. I read a lot of murder mystery novels, so you just say the word if you want to talk shop. I’ll pick your brain for hours.

 

PETE

Doesn’t that sound like fun.

 

SCULLY

Nice of you to say, Theresa, but it’s not really all that interesting. Did he say you’re writing a memoir?

 

THERESA

I am. If you like personal histories I’d be happy to read some to you and get your opinion. It’s really an end of life exploration of intertwining life cycles as they–

 

She cuts off as SCULLY’s attention is focused on YNW1 and YNW2 entering holding hands and smooching, sitting opposite SCULLY wordlessly. They help themselves and each other to food without really even noticing that the other people at the table exist. THERESA and SCULLY share growing non-verbal amusement over their lovestruck behavior while PETE sits and munches, lost in the book he’s holding. THERESA half stands to introduce them and SCULLY notices her wince while holding a stitch in her side.

 

THERESA

Dana, these are the Garzas. Recently married from what they’ve said.

 

YNW1 and YNW2

(nodding, waving and smiling at SCULLY while stuffing their faces)

 

SCULLY

Nice to meet you both.

 

THERESA

They’re staying the rest of the week then they’re off to the falls.

 

YNW1

(feeding a strawberry to YNW2)

Yeah, the falls, next Monday.

 

YNW2

(low key moaning eating the fruit)

So romantic.

 

YNW1

Theresa, you don’t mind if we take our plates to our room?

 

YNW1 and YNW2 are already pushing back their seats and piling their cutlery atop their food for easier carrying.

 

THERESA

Normally, I’d ask you to limit food items to the dining area but I think we’d better make an exception here.

 

YNW1 and YNW2 wave and mutter their thanks around bites of food and kissing as they head back upstairs. SCULLY and THERESA are laughing. PETE remains grouchy/oblivious. THERESA stands and begins to clear the meal wincing in pain again.

 

SCULLY

Not to pry, but I can tell you’re having kidney pain. Have you seen a doctor?

 

THERESA

Oh, honey, how sweet you are! I’ve seen all the doctors. Don’t you worry yourself now. Just go relax.

 

THERESA continues to clear and waves SCULLY away when she tries to help.

 

INT. A few lamps lit, SCULLY is a white robe on the bed in the inn’s BLUE ROOM, hair wet, phone in hand face timing with MULDER.

 

SCULLY

No, Mulder. I’m not enjoying this. I’m fresh out of a freezing cold shower.

 

MULDER

Don’t tease me Scully. I miss you enough already.

 

SCULLY

What do you think I could have done differently under the circumstances? I mean, it’s not like I can make it stop raining.

 

MULDER

I just feel like you could be taking this more seriously, I call you with–

 

SCULLY hears a spine tingling chittering/scratching [SPIDER NOISE] that’s loud enough to make her set MULDER down and get up to circle her room, ear stretched toward each wall.

 

MULDER (cont.)

–a real issue. And your inattention to the matter doesn’t reflect well on the seriousness with which–

 

SCULLY

(picking the phone back up)

Shhh, gotta go Mulder. There’s something I need to check out.

 

MULDER

But Scully–

 

SCULLY disconnects the call and tucks her phone into her bra under her pocketless robe and steps into white slippers. She follows the noise down a back flight of STAIRS, walks past the KITCHEN window, sill sporting several pill bottles, and ends up looking out the back door’s large window. Looking out she sees an odd shape, glowing lightly with a bright blue phosphorescence just inside the tree line at the back of the large yard. The movement is near a shed with a lit up motion sensor light. The rain has let up to a drizzle so she opens the door and heads toward it. When she flicks on her flashlight to see into the trees the shape goes dark and disappears from her field of vision. She walks the remaining yards to where the thing was and finds NATHAN [jerk from COLD OPEN]. Face frozen in a terrified grimace but drooling and twitching, seemingly alive but unaware.


ACT II

 

EXT. TRACKING SHOT follows SCULLY and SHERIFF BROWN [BLACK MAN, late 50s] from the INN’s FRONT PORCH to his squad car during the following. They get in as they continue speaking and he drives them away.

 

SCULLY

There are two other men in town in the same condition as this victim? The same puncture wounds?

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Yes, ma’am. Three if you count old Henry. But he wasn’t found like that. From what I gather he lost his marbles slowly. Would have been going on fifty years ago. They’re all at Shady Acres.

 

SCULLY

Well, I’m happy to take a quick look for you, Sheriff, but I’m hardly an expert in the kind of disorders you’re describing. I’m really just passing through and got caught by the flooding.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

I’m of the firm mind that getting another opinion never hurts and none of the docs here seem to be able to figure it out what could have done it. You do forensics for the FBI, for God’s sake. I’m lucky you’ll even look into it.

 

INT. The sterile white DAY ROOM of a nursing home. SCULLY and SHERIFF BROWN are off to one side speaking to the STAFF PHYSICIAN and reading through charts. The STAFF PHYSICIAN nods and walks away as the scene opens. The camera follows SCULLY finishing an examination of the last in a row of three men [OLD HENRY, ALFONZ MARKHAM and BRENT CHISOLM] in wheelchairs, one elderly, the other two around retirement age, who appear to be in vegetative states. SCULLY flashes a light in and out of BRENT’S eye to gauge pupil response and sees a flash of the same bright blue phosphorescent hue she’d seen near last night’s victim reflect momentarily from the back of his retina. She checks again and doesn’t see it. She quickly checks the other men’s eyes again, and sees nothing unusual.

 

SCULLY

(replacing the penlight and stepping back away from the patients)

Those files are everything from your end as well, Sheriff?

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Yeah. Just the two assault reports filed on the days that Markham and Chisolm were found. Pretty light on info, like I said. But it was a long time ago. Like I told you before, Old Henry went to seed over the course of a few years back when I was a just a little kid.

 

SCULLY

(flipping back through their files)

There are more modern scans that might tell us something useful but I doubt their insurance will cover that kind of thing at this point.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Anything jump out at you Agent?

 

SCULLY

No, Sheriff. Other than what the doctors and detectives put together in their case files, there really aren’t any other leads that I see.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Well, you keep those for now. Go over them as you like. I’ll run you back to Theresa’s.

 

SCULLY

(they begin walking away to leave)

About that, Sheriff, how much longer is the bridge out? I’m supposed to be meeting my partner in New York.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

That roadblock’s down now, though that might change if the rain comes back up. Didn’t realize you were trying to get out tonight. I’ll make some calls up ahead on the highway and shoot you a message once I know they’ve opened it up all the way into New York.

 

SCULLY

Thanks Sheriff. He’s anxious for me to hurry up and get there.

 

INT. INN’S ENTRYWAY. THERESA is sewing what looks like curtains and YNW1 and YNW2 can barely be seen canoodling in the DINING AREA as a freshly rained on SCULLY enters and crosses to speak with THERESA.

 

THERESA

Dana, oh no, it’s raining again?

 

SCULLY

Yeah, it just started. Sheriff Brown said the bridge was open today so I need to get up there quick before the State Police call and close it again.

 

THERESA

Well, that’s too bad. I thought for sure you’d be stuck here another night so I made Beef Wellington.

 

SCULLY

Beef Wellington?

 

THERESA

Uh-huh. Crab stuffed mushrooms, and a cheesecake for dessert.

 

SCULLY

Cheesecake?

 

THERESA

Maybe just stay for dinner? Pete checked out a few hours ago. You can’t leave me alone with those two.

(eyes wide in mock terror, she jerks her head toward the couple [YNW1 and YNW2] making out in the DINING AREA)

 

SCULLY

(laughing)

Let me pack and check with the Sheriff about the bridge. It sounds delicious but my partner is waiting

for me.

 

THERESA

Right, your partner. She must be worried sick with you trapped here in the holler.

 

SCULLY

No, Mulder’s a man. We work together. Partners.

 

THERESA

Oh! English needs some new words. Sorry. So not partners, just partners. Got it.

 

SCULLY

Well…

 

SCULLY’s phone rings a number but no name. THERESA begins the process of feeding the large iguana a calla lily in the background of SCULLY’s call.

 

SCULLY

Scully.

(listens)

I see, Sheriff.

(listens)

I understand. Thank you.

(listens)

Yes, thank you for calling.

(disconnects)

 

SCULLY

So, the bridge is closed again.

 

THERESA

Let’s eat.

 

FLASHBACK – COLOR IS WASHED OUT OVERLAY (same tone as the spider’s phosphorescence). INT. INN’s MAIN ROOM. A scene involving a younger THERESA in tears. She and a younger BRENT [CHISOLM] argue vehemently and it seems like he ends their relationship.

 

SCULLY

(VO the last part of flashback)

Wait, Brent Chisolm?

 

THERESA

Yes.

 

SCULLY

The same man I examined today at Shady Acres?

 

INT. SCULLY’s phone vibrates to fully cut off the FLASHBACK SCENE and jump cut to stormy night outside the window over the kitchen sink. Freshly washed dishes cover the counter. SCULLY and THERESA sit at the island sipping wine. SCULLY checks the readout to see it’s MULDER calling. THERESA presses a large, obviously handbound tome from which she’s been reading to her chest.

 

SCULLY

Excuse me, Theresa. My partner calling. I really should get it.

 

THERESA

(closing the book)

Of course, Dana.

 

SCULLY stands and crosses to the kitchen window, reading a pill bottle label idly while answering, when she notices THERESA is listening she walks down a hallway towards a back set of stairs while speaking to MULDER.

 

SCULLY

Hey, Mulder.

 

CROSSCUT WITH:

 

INT. NIAGARA FALLS HONEYMOON SUITE. Close shots of MULDER lounging in a robe and facial treatment mask in a lovely corner with a breathtaking view of the falls.

 

MULDER

Hi, Scully. You almost here? Car sounds quiet.

 

SCULLY

No, Mulder. Look, I know I should have called but the locals here have me consulting on a case. I found a body, well, really an unresponsive man last night and the Sheriff has asked for my help with the investigation.

 

MULDER

Just because you found a body doesn’t mean there’s a case.

 

SCULLY

I know, I know. And now they’ve closed the bridge again this evening. I’m sorry.

 

MULDER

Of course, Scully. Finding an unresponsive man what else could you do but investigate?

 

SCULLY

C’mon Mulder, you know I’d be there if I could. How’s your case going? Any leads on the…

 

MULDER

The suspicious, strange and unidentifiable marks all over the body I found while on vacation, jogging through nature?

 

SCULLY

Yeah.

 

WS of MULDER reveals that two MASSEUSES stand behind him with tables set up. The room looks more lived in, fresh chocolate dipped strawberries wait on the kitchenette counter, the champagne sits unopened and waiting. He catches the eye of one of the MASSEUSES and shakes his head, giving her the wrap it up sign and they start packing up one of the tables.

 

MULDER

No, no leads.

 

SCULLY

Mulder, I said I was sorry. Have the medical examiner give me a call, better yet shoot me her email, I’ll–

 

SCULLY hears the chittering [SPIDER NOISE] faintly and gets momentarily distracted.

 

MULDER

You’ll?

 

SCULLY (cont.)

I’ll give her an itemized list of all the ‘conditions’ you’re secretly hoping–

 

SCULLY hears it [SPIDER NOISE] again and holds the phone away from her ear to better hear the sound.

 

MULDER

Scully? Are you there? What I really wanted was–

 

SCULLY

(hearing the sound conclusively and following the noise up the back staircase)

Mulder, listen. Something weird is going on here. I gotta check it out.

 

MULDER

But Scully!

 

SCULLY

Call you soon.

(she hangs up and pockets her phone, then draws her flashlight, other hand reaching for a gun that isn’t there)

Damn it.

 

SCULLY follows the noise up and up finally entering the ATTIC and switching on an overhead bulb. PETE lays in one corner, drooling on himself. SCULLY does a quick sweep of the small space and finding no threats turns her back on PETE’s body to call downstairs.

 

SCULLY

Theresa!

(waits a moment listening for a response)

Theresa! Call 9-1-1! I found Pete!

 

At her first shouted word, PETE’s body jerks upright into a sitting position as if in response to the aural stimulus. Just before SCULLY turns around PETE’s body slumps back down silently. SCULLY quirks an eyebrow wondering if PETE’s slightly altered orientation is just in her head then begins checking his vitals. THERESA’s head pops in on her phone with the police.


ACT III

 

EXT. SCULLY pulls into the winding driveway of the INN and parks next to the SHERIFF’s cruiser. The pink light of dawn is just hinting over a nearby hilltop. She looks very tired and rests her forehead against the steering wheel for a couple of breaths before sighing, grabbing her travel mug, and climbing out of her car to go in. She detours to the trunk to retrieve and holster her gun before heading inside.

 

INT. INN’s MAIN ROOM. SHERIFF BROWN and THERESA are in the middle of a heated discussion when SCULLY enters.

 

SCULLY

Sheriff, good to see you.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Agent Scully. You too. Hopefully you can help me convince this stubborn lady that it’s just not safe for her to stay here.

 

THERESA

(scowling)

Nonsense. No one and nothing is going to make me leave my home.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

But, Theresa, we’ve found two victims in two days.

 

SCULLY

It likely would be prudent to move out until the Sheriff can figure out what’s going on.

 

THERESA

No offense intended to either of you, Dana, but if they haven’t figured out what’s wrong with these guys anytime in the last few decades I don’t think you two are likely to stumble over the truth anytime soon. That young couple, the Garzas, already left days early because of all this. I can’t afford to lose any more revenue.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Be that as it may, Theresa, it’s just not safe. Not for you and not for Ms. Scully, here. What with the flooding and the goings on with that Hightower boy, I’m needed on other matters. You need to cancel any and all reservations then y’all need to move on up to the Motel 6.

 

THERESA

If some maniac is prowling around my home, turning healthy people into vegetables, I don’t see how emptying this place into a motel down the street is going to help. Wouldn’t he just follow us there? If he’s targeting us at all, I mean it has only ever been men–

 

SHERIFF BROWN

You’re missing my point.

 

THERESA

Are you saying that nice young deputy of yours, Wayne, that he didn’t do a thorough sweep of this place like you told him to?

 

SHERIFF BROWN

No, ma’am. I’m sure he did.

 

THERESA

Then clearly, AGENT Scully and I have nothing to fear from–

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Theresa!

 

THERESA

The woman has a gun, Merle, and no one’s even dead. We’ll be perfectly fine.

 

SCULLY

(rolls her eyes)

I don’t know about that. The wounds on all the afflicted men, their level of mental atrophy, pretty scary stuff. Plus, both the latest victims were covered in a so far unidentified filmy enzyme of some kind, and this last one had traces of some kind of webbing all over his legs.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Webbing? I don’t get it. Like spider webs? Then he definitely wasn’t attacked by some psycho?

 

SCULLY

I don’t really know, Sheriff. It’s all very strange certainly. There just aren’t spiders big enough to do the damage that’s been done to these men. And that webbing had tensile strength higher than natural webbing, it has to be artificial. I plan to do a bit more poking around on this today. Ring some doorbells. The hospital sent samples over to a local specialist. A biologist.

(SCULLY holds a business card up to show them.)

Dr. Edgar Cuthbert. He’s promised to have an initial analysis ready for me later this afternoon.

 

THERESA

You know, now that you’ve mentioned webbing it occurs to me that there might be a relevant passage in my memoir.

 

THERESA swivels to pick it up off a side table and plop in onto the counter in front of her.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

(barely under his breath)

Oh God, not the memoir.

 

THERESA

I heard that, Sheriff.

(flipping open to a section about a third of the way in, then scanning through a couple of pages to find the section she wanted)

Ahhh, here we are.

 

CUT TO:

 

FLASHBACK. WASHED OUT, BLUE TINT OVERLAY. INT. EMPORIUM is dimly lit and half filled with cheap looking antiques with bright sale stickers and lots of boxes. ‘Going Out of Business’ sale signs abound. YOUNG THERESA (12) is arguing with her step-father (OLD HENRY, but not aged). She looks sad and withdrawn while he is cruel and physically domineering. YOUNG THERESA spies a huge and terrifying spider appear slowly and menacingly out from under an antique bed behind HENRY. It turns its head back and forth between the humans then cocks its head and bares its fangs, making the chittering sound [SPIDER NOISE] at HENRY. YOUNG THERESA shakes her head no in wide-eyed terror.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. INN. CONT. SCENE BEFORE FLASHBACK. SHERIFF BROWN’s phone rings FUNKYTOWN and he silences it after checking the display.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

Great, that’s Wayne. Damn Hightower kid just punched out the 2nd string Q.B.. Sorry you saw a scary spider when you were young, Theresa, but I gotta go.

 

THERESA

But Sheriff, the Allegheny is not just any spider.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

That’s just an old wives tale to keep kids away from riverbanks, and you know it. I grew up here too, Theresa. Ms. Scully, please see that this one gets up to the motel 6, and you right behind her once you’ve done your thing today and spoken to your biologist.

 

SCULLY

It’d go a lot faster if you could spare a deputy for me.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

I appreciate your help, Agent, really I do, but if I can’t spare a guy to babysit her–

 

THERESA

Hey!

 

SHERIFF BROWN

I sure can’t pull one off flood duty to help you on this. Sorry.

 

SCULLY

I understand.

 

SHERIFF BROWN

So, if you’ll let me know what you find after your extremely unofficial investigation later today, I’d appreciate it. And clearly, I can’t force you to go, Theresa, but I’d really consider it a favor if you’d listen for once and move out for a while until we can get some Staties to come in and find our bad guy.

 

THERESA

No.

(waving and shutting him out onto the porch)

Goodbye!

 

FAST CUTS MONTAGE of Scully prepping to go back out -shower, coffee, oatmeal- right into her knocking on doors, finding people at work, trudging through the green hills behind the inn, flashlighting through the closed up emporium’s creepy stuff in jars, reexamining the nursing home old dudes.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM with NATHAN in one bed and PETE in the other. SCULLY finishes up an exam of PETE and moves back over to begin an exam of NATHAN. When she gets close enough to him, NATHAN’s jerks fully upright and his arms pincer together as if to clamp onto SCULLY, though his eyes stay vacant and shine with a hint of phosphorescence. SCULLY dodges the pincer move, and reflexively punches NATHAN dead in the face. His comatose body falls back onto the bed and SCULLY looks around wide eyed, not sure what to make of what just happened or her automatic violent response. Her phone beeps and she answers.

 

SCULLY

(speaking on autopilot, still staring wide-eyed at NATHAN)

Agent Scully.

(pause)

Yes, of course Mrs. Markham. Yes, I’d love to talk to you about Alfonz. I have another appointment soon, but I’ll have some time after. I’ll be there soon, thank you for calling.

 

SCULLY packs up her bag and leaves shaking her head and muttering to herself.

 

SCULLY

(muttering)

..no way..

(muttering)

..need coffee..

(muttering)

..tired..

(muttering)

..Spooky..

 

INT. College professor’s HOME OFFICE/LAB. A smug looking man [DR. CUTHBERT] wearing a jacket with elbow patches sits at a high desk perched on a swiveling stool.

 

DR. CUTHBERT

There are no spiders that do that.

 

SCULLY

But what if–

 

DR. CUTHBERT

Nope. Not only do no spiders display all the behaviors you describe, but even the most massive spider alive can’t disable anything larger than a small rat or bird. And those are tropical, nothing like that lives here in the Pennsylvania hills.

 

SCULLY

But you just said that both the enzyme and webbing are natural and are from–

 

DR. CUTHBERT

An arachnid species of undetermined origin. Sure. But I didn’t say there’s a man-eating spider on the loose. That’s a crazy leap.

 

SCULLY

(pinching the bridge of her nose for a second)

Isn’t it a possibility that–

 

DR. CUTHBERT

(laughing)

It’s possible that aliens are running around squirting people with synthetic spider enzymes, but not real likely. I’d still place higher odds on that than a gigantic spider whose very existence would go against the laws of physics.

 

SCULLY regards him wordlessly for a beat.

 

DR. CUTHBERT

(not reading her vibe)

So, if uh, you’re free tonight we could meet up later and get a drink.

 

SCULLY

Why in the world would we need to-? Oh. You mean like a date.

 

DR. CUTHBERT smiles and nods.

 

SCULLY

Oh. Well, you see,

(she pretends her phone vibrated and grabs for it to check the display)

Yep, it’s my partner. Sorry, gotta get this.

(she grabs her bag and shoulders it while fake answering her phone)

Hey, Mulder. Yeah. It’s a dead end here as well.

 

SCULLY nods and smiles to CUTHBERT as she pulls on her raingear and hood and heads out a door into a rectangle of rainy day.

 

EXT. Same doorway shot as during earlier montage of SCULLY knocking on doors. MRS. MARKHAM, an elderly woman, answers and ushers SCULLY into the dining room. She already has coffee service set out and they sit.

 

SCULLY

Thank you for seeing me ma’am. I’ll try to keep this brief.

 

MRS. MARKHAM

No problem, Agent Scully. You said in your message that it’s about Alfonz so I’m happy to talk to you, but I can’t possibly think of anything I can say that might help. After all, he’s been like that going on thirty years now.

 

SCULLY

I’m just assisting the Sheriff by trying to pin down anything that might have been missed all that time ago. You know that two more men have been found in the last couple of days in the same condition as Alfonz?

 

MRS. MARKHAM

I’d heard rumors that something happened up at the inn but I didn’t know what to lend any credence to.

(shaking her head and looking off into the distance)

Two men you say?

 

SCULLY

(nodding)

M-hmm.

 

MRS. MARKHAM

And they were?

(wiggling her eyebrows)

 

SCULLY regards her silently for a beat.

 

MRS. MARKHAM

Special friends?

 

SCULLY

Special friends? Oh, no ma’am. They weren’t gay, if that’s what you mean. Well, I suppose I don’t really know their orientations but they weren’t a couple.

 

MRS. MARKHAM

(visibly relaxing with Scully’s words)

Oh, good. I always wondered if I’d done the right thing by not mentioning… Well, it can’t possibly be relevant.

 

SCULLY

What is it ma’am?

 

MRS. MARKHAM

Well, the only thing I never told the other officers. I was worried that maybe they wouldn’t investigate the whole thing if they knew. It was a different time you understand.

 

SCULLY

Mrs. Markham?

 

MRS. MARKHAM

Well, my one consolation about Alfonz’s condition is at least they keep him in the home with his friend Brent.

 

SCULLY

I don’t…

 

MRS. MARKHAM

His special friend Brent.

 

SCULLY

Ohhhh!

 

MRS. MARKHAM

Yes. I didn’t bring it up at the time, because how could it possibly be relevant? And the other boy’s parents, the Chisolms, were just beside themselves already. It was clear they didn’t know about Brent. They thought he was engaged to Theresa, you know, from up at the inn. But I knew how it really was between them. My Alfonz didn’t hide from me. He adored Brent. So, his old mother rests easier knowing that at least he gets to live with his love, even if they are both…

(she sighs sadly)

like that.

 

SCULLY

Thank you for telling me.

 

MRS. MARKHAM

What can it hurt now? I’m just glad those new victims weren’t that way. I’d have felt just terrible. Even so, is it some kind of copycat crime? That’s what always happens on my shows.

 

SCULLY shakes her head.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. INN’s MAIN ROOM. SCULLY returns and not finding THERESA spies her Memoir on a table near the IGUANA. Yawning while crossing to it she flips to an early part of the book.

 

CUT TO:

 

FLASHBACK. LIGHT BLUE COLOR OVERLAY. INT. EMPORIUM open for business while YOUNG THERESA plays with a large spider, unseen by the adults in a back corner. Her real father conducts business in the foreground while YOUNG THERESA has the spider doing tricks. It ends with YOUNG THERESA giving it a live parakeet to kill.


ACT IV

 

EXT. INN’S FRONT PORCH. SCULLY comes out of the front door gulping air, pulling out her phone, calling MULDER.

 

SCULLY

Mulder, it’s me.

 

CROSSCUT WITH:

 

INT. TIGHT SHOT of MULDER sitting in an AIRPORT. A LAPTOP is open on his lap.

 

MULDER

Hey, Scully.

 

SCULLY

There’s another victim and it looks like someone’s trying to pull some kind of elaborate spider hoax. Maybe my innkeeper.

 

MULDER

I miss you too.

 

SCULLY

I found this one too, and I haven’t slept, really slept in days.

 

MULDER

How could you when you keep finding bodies?

 

SCULLY

They’re not even dead, just gone. As if a spider wrapped them up in preposterously strong webbing, sucked the life out of them, and then disappeared.

 

MULDER

Any skinny teenagers hanging around shooting too good to be true pictures for the local paper?

 

SCULLY

I’ve already eliminated Peter Parker as a suspect, Mulder. Now I’m on to the Allegheny Spider.

MULDER

Ooooh, I know about the Allegheny spider.

 

SCULLY

Of course you do. Is it huge, big enough to bring down an adult human, and phosphorescent?

 

MULDER

How much sleep did you say you’ve had?

 

SCULLY

Not nearly enough for any of this. What do you know about it, Mulder?

 

MULDER

If I’m not mistaken they’re only present in written records of verbal histories. They were jumpers, and they ate a ton. They were supposed to be excellent barn spiders ‘cause they could catch and eat rats. No physical samples. But google says blue/green and shiny. Parents used the legend of them to keep children away from flooded river banks.

 

SCULLY

But not real? Just legend.

 

MULDER

Well, legendary. Certainly not man eaters, not even in the wildest stories. Though I guess the little kids they snatched into the river were never heard from again. I always hoped they were real.

 

SCULLY

I’m trying to figure out the best way to call the local Sheriff and tell him my theory.

 

MULDER

Your elaborate spider hoax theory?

 

SCULLY

He’s going to think I’m nuts, Mulder. And he doesn’t have the resources available to do anything about any of this anyway.

 

MULDER

(laughing at her tone)

Sounds like you should email him your report. Hightail it home, get some real sleep in your own bed. We’re too old for this shit.

 

SCULLY

But what about your case, Mulder? I thought you needed me to sort things out with the body?

 

MULDER

Don’t bother, Scully. The ME did a few more tests and she and I seem to be on the same page now. I’ll have it all sewn up in time for work Monday morning.

 

SCULLY

You sure?

 

MULDER

Of course, Scully. Go home.

 

SCULLY

I’m going to wrap up a few details here and head back then. If you’re sure you don’t need me.

 

MULDER

No, Scully. I got it. You just-

 

SCULLY hears the chittering sound [SPIDER NOISE] and hangs up on MULDER again. SCULLY draws her gun and heads inside. Following the noise she checks through the main floor fast and heads upstairs. Her floor is just empty rooms. Up once more and she enters the last room, THERESA’s. THERESA glistening with gel like enzyme, unmoving and bound tightly to the bed with webs. SCULLY leans in to check her pulse and realizes that THERESA is barely alive.

 

THERESA

(smiling but extremely weak)

Dana, you weren’t supposed to come in here.

 

Chittering [SPIDER NOISE] sounds at its loudest volume yet.

 

THERESA (cont.)

Run.

 

Webbing shoots out from under the bed and yanks SCULLY down to bang her head on the floor and drop unconscious. Still on the bedroom floor, wrapped up and partially paralyzed, SCULLY reopens groggy eyes to see YNW1 & YNW2 webbed up underneath THERESA’s bed. They are clearly very dead and also glistening with the enzyme. The spider, body the size of a dinner platter with legs spanning the whole bed, hangs upside down under the bed, body pulsating slower and slower with the phosphorescence. It makes one final chittering sound and the light goes out. The next rhythmic pulse happens in hundreds of tiny bodies inside the mattress. SCULLY’s eyes bug tf out. A high pitched multitude of the chittering sound erupts from the babies as they hatch out and through all the bodies [YNW1, YNW2, THERESA & SPIDER MOM] eating huge sections of them as they burst forth. As the babies pour down to the floor around and over SCULLY on their way out of the door, one crawls onto her face. ECU of it trying to bite into her only to not be able to penetrate her skin. A few more bite at her ankles but she is quickly regaining her strength and crushes the ones by her feet as she breaks a few more bonds of gross spider silk. SCULLY stomps on and kills every one she sees on her way outside. The sun is setting but hundreds of birds swoop out of the sky to scoop up the spider babies and eat them. Tons fall into the rushing river to be gobbled up by fish. SCULLY has no idea where the rest went or how to hunt them and blinks her unbelievably tired eyes.

 

FAST CUT MONTAGE shows SCULLY calling law enforcement, making coffee, calling exterminators, packing her stuff, taking pics of THERESA’s memoir before the deputy bagged it, driving out of town and heading south for home.


ACT V

 

INT. SCULLY’s LIVING ROOM. NIGHT. SCULLY let’s herself in only to find MULDER on the couch eating popcorn. He pauses basketball on the DVR and gets up as if to hug her.

 

MULDER

I got your messages.

(gesturing into the kitchen)

There’s stew in the crockpot.

 

SCULLY

You came over and cooked for me? I thought you were still in Niagara Falls?

 

MULDER

No way. I threw one of your freezer meals on to heat up a few hours ago. Bought the bread, salad, and wine. After the weekend you had I wanted to baby you a little. You hungry?

 

SCULLY

Maybe in a little bit. How about you watch some more of your game and I’ll do that thing you like?

 

MULDER

Yay!

 

MULDER sits and starts the game back up while SCULLY plops an end pillow in his lap and lays down so he can play with her hair. They both sigh with contentment just being close to each other. She’s asleep almost instantly.

 

INT. NIGHT. THERESA’S BEDROOM. Surrounded by white suited exterminators spraying ducts, the SHERIFF dislodges what’s left of the huge spider husk from under THERESA’s bed with a crowbar. The camera tracks down through the floor to show more exterminators, policemen bagging the memoir and taping off the INN’s front door. Down further still and into a crawl space behind the hot water heater in the basement. One of the babies is feebly crawling along before it freezes, goes dark and half hides. A few seconds later it springs out to scissor pincer a tiny mouse and feed off it, its phosphorescence lighting up the horrific scene.

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