Scully spent the days after her encounter with Petey from Appalachia thinking about the doll he used to take her sight. It’s a full week before she looks up the name of an occult bookstore in DC in the yellow pages and another before she goes, shaking the rain off her coat as she enters the musty shop. She refuses to tell Mulder.
The shop reminded her of Melissa and the thought twists in her chest. She’d nearly retreated when a brunette woman named Tree ducks out through a doorway of hanging beads, greeting Scully with an enthusiastic hello. “I’m Tree,” she said, holding out both of her hands in greeting. Scully couldn’t help but find the name appropriate given the woman’s willowy frame and bark colored hair. “Welcome in. What can I do for you?”
Scully licked her lips, uncertain of how precisely to begin. Without meeting Tree’s eyes, she explained her interest as best she could.
“I recently discovered folk magic. And I want to know more.” Tree ushered Scully to a corner of the shop adorned with candles and small books.
“I know exactly what you mean,” she started, pulling a few smaller booklets off the shelves. “Here’s some stuff to introduce you,” she said, pushing them across the cloth-covered table. “For you, I think you might also like some of the literature on healing. Right?” Scully’s eyes caught Tree’s in thinly veiled surprise.
“Why do you say that?”
“Healer’s energy. Right? I just feel it really strongly.” Tree shrugged.
Scully nodded. “I’d like to see that material.”
“Great!” Her eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled, pulling a few books down from a high shelf and spreading them in front of Scully in a small presentation. “That one is my favorite,” she said, pointing to a volume with abstract palm lines across the heather cover. “It’s about learning to harness the healing power within yourself. I think you’d like it.”
Scully didn’t reach for it, instead pointing toward the crystals and stones set up at the back of the table. “What would I use those for?”
“Energies. It’s actually all very simple. It’s energy, intention, and connection. We all have power, you know? It’s about finding power in yourself, and recognizing power in other things. Then you just have to decide what to do with it.”
“What do you do with it?” Scully asked.
“I just grow my garden.”
“Well, why isn’t it?” Tree smiles. “Things grow for me,” she shrugs. “Thats all I really want from myself. To grow some greens. Some herbs. It makes me happy.” Scully nods.
“I want this book,” she said, holding up the grey book with abstract cover, “and the healing stones. And that,” she said, pointing to a large booklet of charts hanging on the wall.
“Ok,” Tree smiles again with the crinkling corners. “How about some tarot cards? My treat.”
“Ok. Those too. I’ll pay. I’m a federal employee. I shouldn’t accept gifts.”
“Not even from friends?” Tree asked, marking the ledger book she extracted from her pocket.
“We’re not friends,” Scully replied, extracting her pocketbook from her purse.
“Not even just for the federal government?”
Scully paused. Maybe Tree (and Mulder) were right.
“Ok. For the federal government, we can be friends.” Tree grinned and handed her a deck of green and gold cards adorned with decorative ferns, along with the rest of her purchases. Scully balanced them against her body as she finished writing out the check, sliding it across the table to Tree, who simply smiled.
“I’m glad you came it today. I think you’ll be happy with what you find.”
Scully nodded her head for what felt like the hundredth time without knowing what to say in response, painfully aware of how out of place she looked in her navy pant suit and gold cross. Tree smiled at her, utterly serene and Scully wonders if her bliss is chemically or spiritual.
If Scully felt out of place in the magic shop, she felt especially so in her living room, looking at the things that were inexplicably now hers. Her chest tightened with the anxiousness that came from seeing the manifestations of her uncertainty laid bare. This was insane. She was insane. Led into a folie a deux by her own strapping, incredible, insane Mulder. Madness.
Her fingers ran over the loose ends of the pages on the book laid out in front of her. What if it was true? What if these were the extreme possibilities she had been seeking out? Light and energy had always excited her, even as a student. It enthralled her, taking up so much of her own interest as to become central to her undergraduate thesis. She thumbed through the pages, still resting on the table top. What if?