India, a heavyset man in a suit enters a crowded airport -- he is
going to America. Nearby is a beggar without legs, sitting on a
wheeled platform. The man gives the beggar a few coins, but the
beggar drops the coins. In the bathroom, the beggar comes in and
the man is violently pulled out of the stall, under the stall door.
Later, the man arrives in a Washington DC hotel room. The beggar's
wheeled platform is among his luggage. After the bellboy leaves,
the man sits on the bed and blood begins flowing from his body,
his eyes red.
Scully and Doggett arrive at the
hotel. The man was an importer from Minneapolis. Preliminary tests
show nothing. The maid found the body 20 minutes after the bellboy
left. One thing that the police missed the first time was a bloody
handprint that appears to be that of a child. Neither agent is ready
to believe that a child would be involved. At an elementary school
in Maryland, a principal interviews a man for a job as a custodian,
but viewers see that while the principal sees a European man, it
is actually the Indian beggar sitting in the chair. In the autopsy,
Scully finds massive abdominal tissue damage, but it's hard to tell
whether something went in or out of the abdomen. Doggett suggests
a drug smuggling connection, however it doesn't account for some
of Scully's findings. Several indicators show that the body had
been dead 24-36 hours when found, meaning he would have been dead
before leaving India.
At the school, several boys get
into a scuffle, including Trevor, who is in seventh grade and another
boy who is in sixth. (This boy is listed in the credits as the "Red-Headed
Boy.") The Red-Headed Boy's father, who is picking him up from school,
breaks up the scuffle. The beggar is nearby but people see him as
the custodian. Doggett finds a report from India that several days
earlier, another American businessman was found dead in India under
similar circumstances. Various documents show a 33-pound discrepancy
in body weights before and after death. Both victims were big men.
Scully asks what if whatever it is killed these men entered and
exited of its own free will, living inside the victims as a stowaway
of sorts. Doggett thinks the theory doesn't work. At night, the
Red- Headed Boy sees a reflection of the beggar in a mirror in his
bedroom. His dad tells him it wasn't real. The father goes downstairs
and settles in to watch TV, and the beggar is on the floor near
him. The Red-Headed Boy hears his father scream and goes downstairs
to check. The father is still sitting in the chair, not moving,
with his eyes red.
Scully and Doggett are at the Red-Headed
Boy 's house. The father is dead. The Red-Headed Boy tells Scully
that the person he saw was a "munchkin" -- a small person with no
legs. Doggett finds the same small handprints and evidence that
the person came in through a window. The father, however, has none
of the abdomen damage of the other victims. Only the red eyes, caused
by burst blood vessels, is similar. Scully does an autopsy and in
the pathology lab finds that the father's stomach has swelled to
a very large size. She dictates that she is doing an unauthorized
procedure -- and cuts into the distended abdomen. When she makes
the incision, a hand reaches out of the abdomen. Scully grabs her
gun, but whatever it was in the stomach has disappeared, leaving
blood and hand marks on the floor. She follows blood marks to a
storage closet. She sees nothing inside, but viewers see the beggar.
The principal reprimands the custodian
for being late for work. He gets out a wheeled pail for a mop, and
Trevor sees the custodian's body, lit from behind by a doorway.
The body is flickering. Scully and Doggett talk to Chuck Burkes,
who shows video he took in Indian in the 70s. Chuck can't figure
out what is going on with this case. He describes a secret order
of the occult having powers of the mind and the ability to manipulate
reality. One of these mystics could make you believe that you cannot
see him in a room, or disguise himself. Doggett asks and Chuck explains
that he runs the advanced imaging lab at the University of Maryland,
and says, "I dabble." Doggett isn't impressed. Trevor goes to the
home of the Red-Headed Boy. Although they squabbled earlier, Trevor
tells him. "I think I know who did it."
Chuck returns to the X-Files office
to talk with Scully. She says she is just trying to see this case
as Mulder would. The talk about the Indian mystics, who chuck says
are very religious. Murder would endanger their eternal souls. What
would cause them to break that faith? Maybe revenge? Scully shows
a report of an American chemical plant that released a small cloud
of gas six months ago. 118 people were killed. The father of one
victim of that disaster is listed in records as a holy man of the
beggar class. But if he is out for revenge, why is he killing the
people that he is killing?
Trevor walks down the street and
hears the sound of the casters on the beggar's platform, although
he can't see anyone. He runs home. His mother follows him into the
back yard and sees Trevor underwater in the swimming pool. She jumps
in and discovers that the body is the beggar. Scully and Doggett,
and other officials, are at Trevor's home. His mother is dead. As
she is taken away, Scully and Doggett talk by the pool. Doggett
doesn't know how the death fits into the case. It is close to another
death and the woman's eyes are red, Scully says. Doggett questions
Scully's methodology. She counters that there is a motive and a
pattern that they can find, but not if they are fighting each other.
Trevor comes home and claims that "the little man" was there and
The agents have the janitor in for
questioning, based on Trevor's report. Chuck arrives. Doggett tells
him that the man doesn't speak. Scully left after four hours of
trying to interrogate him. Chuck sets up a video camera because
he suspects that the man sitting there may not be as they see him.
The video camera shows that nobody is in the chair where they clearly
see the janitor. Doggett is befuddled, but realizes that if the
man is not there, he could be anywhere.
Scully returns to Trevor's home
because she has more questions for him. Doggett phones her cell
phone to ask her to return. It turns out that Trevor isn't home,
anyway. At the school at night, the principal sees the janitor.
He doesn't speak. Knowing that he had been called in for questioning,
the principal phones Scully. Trevor is at school watching the Janitor
and communicating with the Red-Headed Boy by radio. Trevor follows
the beggar and attempts to throw acid from a science storeroom on
the Beggar, but as soon as the bottle drops, the beggar is not there.
It doesn't work and the beggar is now chasing the Red- Headed Boy.
In a classroom, he can't get windows open to escape. Trevor is outside
the window and yells that he will get help. The beggar advances
on the Red-Headed Boy. Scully and the principal enter and can't
see the beggar, who has transformed into the appearance of Trevor.
The boy screams and pleads at Scully to shoot him. Scully can't
bring herself to shoot. Doggett drives up and hears shots. Rushing
into the classroom, he finds Scully and the principal with the dead
beggar on the floor.
Later, Scully is still disturbed.
Doggett sort of understands what happened. She shot a young boy.
Doggett says that the good news is that she was wrong and it only
appeared to be Trevor. Why did you shoot? Because of what the boy
saw. Scully says that in an instant she realized that it is what
Mulder would have seen or understood. She cries because she is not
capably of having as open a mind as Mulder. Doggett says this whole
thing doesn't make sense.
In the final scene of the episode,
we see the same beggar in the airport in India.