TITLE: 360 Maple Grove
SUMMARY: A present-day case causes Scully to remember a childhood experience with an apparition of evil.
Author's Notes: I got the idea for this fic when I suddenly realized that Scully has an unusually strong reaction to ghosts. Consider "Elegy" and "The Ghost Who Stole Christmas". (Honestly, has she *ever* screamed like that?? :)) Well....that got my wheels turning, and this is what churned out. Also, this fic was featured as Episode Four for Season Two of the XFVS.
RivaStar Productions Presents......
The constant leak of the faucet had roused a light sleeping Dana Scully from her fitful rest. She slapped the kitchen light on as she padded into the room, bare feet chilling on the cold linoleum.
Scully's eyes squinted against the brightness as she irritably twisted the faucet off. /You know you're having a bad night when a leaky faucet wakes you up/ she thought ruefully.
Pushing back her copper hair, she leaned tiredly against the sink, allowing her eyes to close for a moment. Sighing, she attempted to banish the knotted feeling around her stomach. She knew it was left over from a dream......if only she could remember the dream. Then she would have an easier time banishing this uneasiness she had woken with.
Inexplicably, an icy breeze blew over her shoulders, causing goose bumps to erupt over her pale skin. It felt like a breath, like a whisper. Scully gasped and stood aright suddenly, her heart lurching into overdrive for reasons she didn't pretend to understand. Eyes darted around, searching for the source of the draft as she moved into the living room.
-There- A window was open.
Scully crossed to it carefully, her body already tensing to defense readiness.
The screen was still shut and locked tight, undamaged by anything resembling an intruder. Scully's muscles wilted with relief as she shut the window's glass pane, remembering how she had opened the window earlier that evening.
That's all it was. Her own carelessness, nothing more.
Even so, the feeling of foreboding did not go away, tightening her stomach until long after she had gone to sleep.
Dana Scully's sensible heels made a prim clicking sound as they walked down the short hallway to the office. The door at the end of the hall was open, so she knew Mulder must already be there. But what was unusual was the lack of noise coming *from* the office. Usually Mulder was fairly active in the mornings, shifting papers and generally making enough noise Scully could usually hear him from the hall when she arrived.
But instead it was eerily quiet. Scully knew that that only meant one thing...Mulder was engrossed in a new case. She resisted the urge to sigh. Perhaps it was a good thing she was late this morning.
Her suspicions were confirmed as she entered to find Mulder leaning back in his chair, so totally absorbed in the file he held he didn't even notice her come in.
"Mulder?" Her voice stretched across the room, questioning.
He looked up quickly, eyes blinking from behind his reading glasses. "Scully!" His voice sounded surprised. "I wasn't expecting you here so..." He trailed off and looked at his watch. "Oh. It's *not* early," he muttered, mostly to himself. His eyes swung back up to hers and he gave her a semi-sheepish smile. "Lost track of time."
Scully raised an eyebrow just fractionally. "I see. So what is it?"
"What's what?" Mulder asked.
"The new case," Scully said simply. She motioned to the folder in his hand, holding her hand out for it.
"Who says it's a new case?" Mulder asked mysteriously, withholding the file from her. "It could be just a old X-Files I pulled out to read."
"Yeah, and I suppose it must be an UFO file, because you sure lost time over it," Scully said, a touch sarcastically, but there was humor in her voice. "Come on Mulder. I know you too well." She presented her hand again, palm up. "Hand it over."
He smiled tightly and handed her the file. "Touché." He admitted. "It is new. Although I have to warn you." The last part was said abruptly as his hand moved to stay Scully's opening of the folder. "It's not a nice one."
Scully's eyes looked into Mulder's questioningly, her hand frozen on the folder. It was rare for him to warn her about the contents of a file. *Very* rare. Over their time in the X-Files, they had seen some of the most gruesome things one could encounter. For Mulder to warn her of something now, she knew it *must* be bad.
Steeling herself, she flipped open the folder.
Her first reaction to the pictures contained within the file felt like something akin to a punch in the gut. "Oh my go..." Her oath trailed off in a slight gasp.
Mulder nodded grimly. "Lisa Adderson, age eight. According to witnesses she apparently threw herself into the family fireplace one day. Died on the scene from complications resulting from 4th and 5th degree burns all over her body, but that hasn't been confirmed because the body has not yet been autopsied."
"Why not?" Scully asked, tearing her eyes away from the grisly photo.
"No one sees a reason to at this point. The family was having a housewarming at the time of the incident. There were over half a dozen witnesses. It seems pretty straight forward." He paused. "The only question no one seems to answer; is why'd she do it?"
Scully turned her attention back to the folder momentarily, only to quickly shut it at the sight of the photos. "And that's what we have to answer." It wasn't a question.
Mulder nodded. "I'd like to get started on this today." He told her carefully. "How soon can you be ready to go?"
Scully looked back up at him, slightly alarmed at his sudden proclamation. "Where are we *going* Mulder? You forgot to mention that."
"Oh. Virginia. Outskirts of Norfolk I think. A place called Banner Hill." Mulder walked around where Scully was standing and pulled his jacket off the chair where he had draped it. "Listen, Scully, my G-car's in the shop. Can we take yours?"
"Sure," Scully responded absently, trying to remember why "Banner Hill" sounded so familiar.
"Great. You'll pick me up in a hour or so then?"
"An hour or...!" Scully trailed off, squelching the frustration that had welled up. "Fine. I'll pick you up."
"You're sure?" Mulder asked, wary of the exasperated tone in her voice.
"Yeah, m' sure." Scully dismissed him. "Go on." Getting ready in an hour would be no problem. Lord knows, she had often packed in *much* less than that. It was just that it hadn't been long since the ordeal with Mulder's fever...but if he felt up to plunging into another case so quickly, then she supposed she could as well.
"Thanks, Scully." Mulder said sincerely. Scully watched with a musing expression as he left the office. She should have known that he wouldn't take reprieve. Mulder thrived on challenge.
Turning to pick up her slim briefcase, Scully slipped the case file inside the front pocket. They would have a long drive to Virginia; she could review the case on the way there.
And hopefully remember where she had heard the words "Banner Hill."
Scully's car purred to a stop outside Mulder's apartment, sun glancing off its silver roof. Mulder was already standing on the pavement outside the apartments, suitcase in hand.
(So eager) Scully thought, smiling slightly to herself and reaching down to pop the trunk. She wondered when the last time was she had seen him like this. So ready and willing to take on a challenge, so enthusiastic about a case. It must have been forever. She was glad of it. Mulder in a good mood was *much* easier to deal with than "Brooding" Mulder.
Now if only she could shake her own sense of foreboding about the case. Scully eyed the folder sitting in the passenger seat as she opened the door and stepped out of the car. /Banner Hill/ The name echoed eerily in her mind.
"I take it this means I get to drive?" Mulder's voice near her ear caused her to jump. He had already placed his suitcase in the trunk, and was standing next to her on the other side of the open door.
"Sure," Scully said quickly, trying to regain her composure. She moved out of the way, and headed around the car to click open the passenger door.
"Hey, Scully? Are you okay?" Mulder's voice stopped her short. She looked over the car hood at him.
"Fine, Mulder." She assured him. "Why do you ask?"
"You seem distracted," he said.
"I'm fine, really." Scully repeated, ducking into the car and settling herself into the passenger seat.
"Oh, good." Mulder responded, sitting down in the driver's seat as well. He clicked his seatbelt into place and then looked over at Scully. "Then I can have the keys, right?" His voice was laced with teasing.
Scully looked down at her hand in surprise to find her keys stilled clutched inside her first. Mentally kicking herself for being so unaware, she sheepishly handed the keys to Mulder. He chuckled good-naturedly and started the car, pulling them out of the parking lot and onto the road.
Scully fingered the manila file folder she now held on her lap. He was right...she *was* distracted. There was something about this case that bothered her, and she wasn't sure why. They hadn't even *begun* their investigation yet!
Maybe that was it. Maybe her uneasiness was stemming from the fact that she hadn't reviewed the case. (Yes,) she thought (that has to be it.)
Scully fingered the folder again, inexplicably reluctant to open it. Finally, she settled back into her seat and flipped the folder open, bypassing the horrific pictures and going straight to the facts file.
/Victim's Name: Lisa Adderson, Age: 8, Legal Guardians: (parents) Michael and Kelly Adderson. Home Address: 360 Maple Grove, Banner Hill, Virginia.../
Her eyes skimmed over the words expertly, taking in everything.
/Victim pronounced dead at 6:45 EST of 4th and 5th degree burns to the.../
Suddenly, Scully stopped, her subconscious catching up with her. (Wait! What was that address again?) Her eyes flicked back up to the top of the page.
/Home Address: 360 Maple Grove, Banner Hill.../
Scully held her breath. (Maple Grove...360 Maple Grove...)
And slowly, the memories came......
June 14th, 1973
Nine-year-old Dana Katherine Scully sat on the moving truck ramp and stared forlornly at the impassive house that loomed in front of her. Her sandaled shoes scraped against the metal ramp as she leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees and cupping her chin in her hands.
"Dana-honey?" Her mother's voice sounded from behind her. Dana turned to see Maggie Scully with her arms full of moving box. "What's wrong Dana? Aren't you going to help carry in your toys? You haven't even seen your new room yet." Maggie smiled at her daughter. Dana did not smile back.
Maggie sighed, setting down the moving box and faced her youngest daughter. "Come on, Dana. Let's see a little cheer okay? This is a new adventure for us."
"I don't like the house." Dana said stubbornly, sliding down the ramp so her sandaled feet hit the pavement. "It's creepy."
"It's not creepy." Maggie insisted. "It's just old. But it's really beautiful inside. You even get your own room."
"I miss the Johanssons. And Rebecca."
Maggie sighed, pushing her dark hair back on her forehead. "I know you do, baby. But it's not forever. We're only going to be here for a little while your daddy helps the people at the Norfolk Base, just a year or so. Then we're going back to Miramar, okay?"
Dana's lips pursed for a moment as she considered this. "Well...okay." She stood up and put her hands in her jean pockets. "And I don't have to share a room with Melissa, right?"
"Right." Her mother smiled. "This house was donated to the navy a long time ago, so it's bigger than the ones the navy has to build. So you all get your own rooms."
A tiny smile blossomed on Dana's face.
Maggie smiled back. "Now, will you help unpack? We have a lot of work to do, and your daddy wants everything ship-shape by dark."
"Do you think if I hurry, Daddy will read me the next chapter of "Moby Dick"?"
"I'm sure he will." Maggie hefted the box up onto her hip. "Now get going."
Dana nodded at her mother, and trotted off to pick up a box of toys sitting in the driveway. As she picked up the toys, she noticed a group of about three kids on the sidewalk, intently scrutinizing her. The oldest boy looked to be about 11 years old, and was perched on a "Red Flyer" bike. There was a younger boy beside him, and a blonde girl that looked about Dana's age. Their expressions were curious, and a bit...apprehensive.
Dana didn't like the way they were looking at her. But she wasn't going to let them know she was nervous. "Hi," Her voice rang out strong. "I'm Dana. We're moving in. Who are you?"
"I'm Simon." The little boy piped up, but then fell into silence as he received a glare from the older boy.
The blonde girl was looking at Dana with wide eyes, seemingly shocked at her pronouncement. "You're not moving in *there* are you?" She asked.
"Yes...why?" The nervousness was starting to creep into Dana's voice. Why were these kids acting so weird? Hadn't they ever seen anyone "move in" before at Banner Hill?
The blonde girl just gasped, and took a step backward. The older boy sneered at Dana. "Don't you know?" He said.
"Know what?" Dana asked challengingly. She didn't like this older boy. He seemed like a bully.
"You house." The boy nodded in its direction. "It's haunted."
Haunted? "That's silly." Dana stuck out her chin. "It can't be, 'cause there's no such thing as ghosts." This boy was only trying to scare her. She had known boys like him before...not the least of which being her brother, Billy.
"Think what you want." The older boy sniffed with an air of superiority. "You'll see. Nobody's lived there for years, 'cause every one knows there's a ghost there."
"I wouldn't live there if you paid me a million dollars." The blonde girl breathed.
"But there's no such thing as ghosts." Dana protested.
"Come on Aggie, Simon," The older boy ignored Dana and sat up on his bike and began riding down the street. "We're not sticking around here."
Dana watched as the trio of children headed off down the street. She felt disappointed and hurt at their cold attitude. The house was haunted?
It couldn't be.
But as she picked up her moving box and headed up the creaky old porch steps, her stomach had what Melissa called "butterflies".
"I'm Agent Mulder, this is my partner Agent Scully. We're looking for Sheriff Cowell."
"Yeah," The young-looking deputy's eyes scanned Scully a second time before turning to look at Mulder. "This about the Adderson case?"
Mulder nodded, obviously unimpressed with the younger man. "Yes, and we'd like to speak with *Sheriff Cowell* about it, if you don't mind."
"Real sad about that little girl." The deputy continued, ignoring Mulder completely and turning back to Scully, blatantly eyeing her. "Not sure why the FBI was called in though. It wasn't a kidnapping."
"Yes, we read the files." Mulder's voice sounded a bit peeved. Scully turned to her partner, a reprimanding and calming look in her eyes.
Mulder took the hint. "Look, is the sheriff here?" He asked pointedly.
"Nope." The deputy drawled. "Already went home for the evening."
This time, even Scully looked exasperated. Both Agents were tired and sweaty from having been on the road the whole day and had hoped to get something accomplished -however small- that evening to make up for the grueling road trip. However, it didn't look that that was going to happen.
"Thank you." Mulder said tersely. "Here's my cell number. Please have the sheriff call us as soon as he comes in tomorrow."
"Sure thing." The deputy nodded.
Mulder gave the man a tight, completely insincere smile before turning around and leading Scully out the door.
Once they were outside, Mulder muttered something under his breath about "Jerk-off kids,"
"At least he gave us a good place to eat, Mulder," Scully said, gesturing to the homey diner across the street. Mulder muttered something else, but nodded, and the annoyance cleared from his expression a bit.
"Besides," Scully added. "You have to admit it's a bit late to expect the sheriff to be here." She smiled slightly, looking off into the darkening sky. "Not everyone can keep our hours, you know. Most people have families that expect them home around dinner time."
Mulder glanced over at Scully, a quip poised on his lips. But it died as both agents heard a man's voice call out to them.
"You agents Mulder and Scully?" A tall, muscular man in a white shirt and slacks was moving across the parking lot toward them.
"Yes," Mulder said cautiously. "And you are?" "Sheriff Cowell." The man held out a beefy hand. "Your Assistant Director told me you two would be arriving tonight. Thought I better go by the station once more this evening to see if you'd come here first."
"Yes," Scully replied. "We'd like to see your evidence photos and notes before going over to the house ourselves."
"No problem." The sheriff grunted as the trio walked back toward the building. "Our photographer scoured every inch of that old house. I think he thought he was on a frigging' tour instead of the scene of a little girl's murder." The sheriff's voice had a dark tone to it.
"You believe it was a murder?" Mulder jumped in before Scully could ask the question herself.
"Well," The sheriff had a guarded look on his face. He sighed. "I don't really know. It sure doesn't *look* like someone pushed her in there. The parents and the other guests were just in the other room when in happened. She hadn't been left alone for more than 3 minutes. There was no sign of struggle," The sheriff waved at his deputy as he led Mulder and Scully into his office. "Look," he said, crossing to his chair and sitting down heavily in it. "I just can't believe a little girl like Lisa Adderson would commit voluntary suicide. I believe someone made her do it. So, yes, in a round about way, you could say I think it was murder."
Scully watched Mulder nod slowly, and she could almost *hear* the gears in his brain starting to turn.
The sheriff reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a large evidence photo album. "You'll want to go question the parents tomorrow, I take it," He commented as he opened up to the first page.
Immediately, Scully felt her teeth set on edge. When she had recognized the address in the file on the way there, she had told herself it wasn't the same house, it couldn't be, it was just too much of a coincidence. But there it was. Staring her in the face. The large, sweeping Victorian farmhouse style unmistakable.
"Scully?" Mulder's voice beside her caused her to start. "What is it?"
"Nothing, Mulder," Scully said in a hurried, business like tone, adverting her gaze from his least he see the turmoil boiling inside her.
As the sheriff turned the pages of the evidence album, more of the house was revealed, and Scully became convinced that this was, indeed, the same house she had lived in for a short two months as a child. A period of her life she had successfully tried to block out of her memory. That is, successful until now.
Even as Mulder and the sheriff discussed, Scully only half-listened, feeling the taste of old fear rise in her throat.
(But fear of what?) She asked herself. (Do you even remember?)
And for the first time in her life, she wished she could.
//Dear Diary- Sorry I haven't written in such a long time. Well, we moved! I don't think I like the new place, but at least I get my own room and it's not so full of Missy's girly pink stuff (yuck!) But I still miss Ritchie and Becca and all my other friends. But mom says we won't be here long. The house is really old, and it's got lots of pretty stained glass on the windows and stuff. Daddy says that it was given to the navy and we are lucky to get it while he works at the Norfolk Base on Hampton roads. There are some cool things about it I guess. Like for instance there's a basement, and there is a room inside the basement that is all locked up. It's got a huge padlock on it, and no one knows where the key is. The guy who showed us the house says it's always been that way. But that can't be, cause *someone* had to *put* the padlock on there, so that mean someone sometime had to know what was inside. It makes me curious...//
Dana put down her pen for a moment as she pulled the quilt tighter around her legs, and tilted the lamp closer to her bed to see better. Tiny goosebumps began to break out on her arms as she again picked up her pen. Dana hurried to finish writing her journal entry, anticipating diving under the warm covers when she was done.
"...dana..." A sound like a puff of breath on the wind.
"Yeah, Missy?" Dana looked at her door, expecting her sister to come in.
No one did.
"Missy, what? I'm already in bed." Dana called a bit louder this time.
"Yeah, so am I!" Her 11-year-old sister's annoyed voice came from two doors down. "Hush up banana-breath! I didn't call you!"
Dana pouted a bit at her older sister's derision, but felt a tiny trickle of apprehension snake down her back. If Missy hadn't called her, who had?
Dana whirled, around to stare at the other side of the room, heart pounding. It came from the left this time. She was sure of it.
A bookshelf full of books and stuffed animals. A toy box. Shadows. Nothing more.
Maybe she hadn't heard it at all. She wasn't sure anymore.
She jumped and let out a little gasp as her door swung open, flooding light into her room.
"Did I surprise you?" Her mother asked, a confused look on her face and she walked into the room, shutting the door behind her.
Dana relaxed visibly. She twirled a finger through her red curls. "A little. Did you call me mom?"
"No honey, I didn't call you." Maggie responded. "I was just coming up to say your prayer with you."
"Oh, okay." Dana's voice sounded small as she scooted under the cover and slid her hand across the comforter into Maggie's larger one.
"Watch thou, dear Lord," Maggie's voice was calm and soothing as she began the familiar prayer she used to bless her children at night. "With those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep."
Dana squeezed her mother's hand, a peace settling over her as she listened to her mother's comforting voice. "Tend thy sick ones, O Lord Christ, rest thy weary ones. Bless thy dying ones. Shield they joyous ones. And all for thy love's sake. Amen."
"Amen." Dana's voice rejoined with her mother.
Maggie smiled and leaned over to kiss her daughter's forehead. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." She chanted as she leaned over to shut off the lamp. "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus..."
"Hail Mary, Mother of God." Dana continued the prayer in a small-girl voice that was rapidly becoming sleepy. "Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death..."
"Amen." Maggie finished up for her daughter. "Goodnight, Dana." She said quietly from where she stood by the door.
"Goodnight, mom." Dana said with a yawn. Maggie smiled and shut the door softly.
Dana rolled over, and snuggled into her comforter, allowing her eyes to drift shut.
She was bolt upright in a second. "Missy, stop it!" She called out in a scared voice that she tried to keep steady. "Stop it, I know it's you."
A tinny laugh sounded in the dark, like a whisper. A laugh that did not sound like Missy at all.
"Stop it!" Dana said again, but fear was choking her words. (I won't be a baby and run to mom and dad...I won't be a baby...) She repeated the thought like a mantra.
Eyes wide, Dana dove under the covers, curling up into a tiny ball. "Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee." She began to whisper the traditional chant over and over, stopping her ears and refusing to listen to the figments of her imagination.
"Hail Mary, Full of Grace..."
Until the voice no longer called. And she fell asleep.
"So what do you think, Scully?" Mulder asked as the pair walked into Scully's hotel room. "Lisa Adderson's parents. Involved or not involved?"
"Not involved," Scully said flatly. "That was genuine grief and shock we saw this afternoon Mulder."
"I agree." Mulder said solemnly, setting down the bag of doughnuts and coffee on the small hotel table. "Beautiful stained glass in some of the windows though. Do you suppose the Addersons had those put in?" He commented opened up the bag and took a long breath of the heavenly smell wafting from it. "Ah...Scully you know how to pick the pastries." He smiled at her.
"If that's a compliment, I accept." Scully smiled slightly back as him, hoping he wouldn't notice that the smile did not extend to her eyes.
"Scully is something wrong?" Mulder asked. (Darn that unspoken communication,) Scully thought angrily.
"Other than the obvious?" Scully said a tad harshly, hoping to defer his interrogation.
"Yes, other than the obvious." Mulder shot back, calling her bluff. "I agree this is a horrible case Scully. Nightmarish in fact. But we deal with this sort of thing all the time, and you aren't like this."
Scully sat down quickly in the opposing chair, and pulled her coffee and pastry out of the bag before Mulder had a chance to hand them to her.
"Come on Scully, spill." Mulder said gently. "Ever since we got here you've been on edge. Not to mention so distracted it's distracting *me*. What's wrong?" She looked away from him, so he leaned forward to touch her arm. "You can talk to me."
Scully blew out a sigh, visibly caving in. She turned back to face him, her hands holding both sides of her Styrofoam coffee cup, thumbs fidgeting with the rim. "I-" Scully stopped. How was she supposed to explain this Mulder? ('Yes, Mulder, I lived here as a child, and I'm afraid of this place, although I don't quite remember why.') It even sounded silly when she said it to herself.
"Scully?" Mulder prompted. Her eyes swung up to meet his, hazel contacting with blue.
"I know that house, Mulder," Scully said firmly, albeit reluctantly. "I, I think I lived there for a time as a child." She shook her head. "No, I *know* I lived there as a child."
"Is that all?" Mulder sounded a bit dubious.
"And I remember not liking the place." Scully scraped her nails down the side of her coffee cup, avoiding his eyes again. "And being very relieved when we left. We were only there a short while." She looked back up at him, her blue eyes clear. "I must be feeling some sort of childhood-memory induced anxiety."
"You must be." Mulder said, sounding unconvinced.
"It's nothing really. I should just ignore it," Scully said resolutely, silently insinuating the matter should be closed.
"Are you sure?" Mulder asked, a slight worry line creasing his brow. "Maybe you should try to remember what hurt you, so you can deal with it."
"No, I shouldn't!" Scully insisted, sitting back in her chair as she unconsciously drew away from him. "It's nothing, Mulder." She insisted, the concern he was directing at her in waves suddenly becoming incredibly irritating. "I shouldn't be letting some silly issue I had in the past interfere with my work!"
"But it is." Mulder reminded her gently. "If you took some time off to work things out, I wouldn't mind." "You wouldn't-" Scully repeated, trailing off, unbelieving. How dare he be so pompous...declaring he "wouldn't mind" if she took off work. As if this damn case belonged to him, and she was only along for the ride.
"Mulder; out," Scully said in a steely voice, standing up.
"Wha-?!" Mulder gaped at her for a moment.
"You heard me. *Go.*"
Mulder stood up, still looking at her unbelieving.
"If I need to "work this out", I'll do so," Scully said in a tightly controlled voice. "But I'll do so on my *own* time in my own way. I don't need your concern or your pity."
"Scully, I only-"
"Just go, Mulder." Her voice was suddenly tired. "I need to be alone."
"O-okay." Hurt reflected in Mulder's eyes as he turned toward the door to their adjoining rooms, leaving his coffee and doughnut alone and forgotten on the tabletop.
"And for God's sake, Mulder, stop looking like such a whipped puppy-dog!" Scully hissed under her breath as the connecting door shut.
Silence reigned in Scully's room. She let out a bitter sigh and dropped onto the foot of the bed, abruptly feeling sorry for dismissing him so harshly.
(Why do I do things like that? Why am I so angry?)
/You get angry when you're afraid/ A voice inside her said softly.
(oh shut up) Scully told the voice irritably. (I am not afraid.)
"I wish we understood as well, Mrs. Adderson. But at this point we can't come to any other conclusion...."
Scully heard Sheriff Cowell's voice echoing out of his office as she walked past the deputy's desk. Smoothing down her business-like skirt, she walked into the Sheriff's office, and took her place beside Mulder in the back of the room.
"You're late," Mulder whispered without looking at her. She could still hear the traces of hurt from last night in his voice.
Scully didn't respond.
"The county Sheriff's supervisor was down here yesterday. He wants the Adderson case closed." Mulder told her in a soft voice as the Sheriff continued his attempt to explain the situation to the Adderson's.
"Why?" Scully asked, feeling a sudden and bizarre mixture of relief and fear. If the case was closed they could go home. But there was another sense that told her they couldn't go. Not yet.
"He says it's creating too much of a local sensation. He doesn't want this to turn into the next JonBenet Ramsey." Mulder shifted uncomfortably. "We can't quit now, Scully. Something's telling me that we're about the stumble upon something big...if we just keep pushing."
"...No!" The pained voice of Kelly Adderson broke out. "This isn't right! Something *happened* to Lisa that night! My-" Mrs. Adderson's voice broke. "My daughter did not kill herself!"
"We believe you Mrs. Adderson," Mulder's voice suddenly broke in as he stepped forward. "And I believe the sheriff wants to continue the investigation as well."
"Yes." Sheriff Cowell interjected. "You should know, I do! Kelly, Michael." He looked at both parents. "It's just that the lack of evidence or leads is holding us back! If I had something, *anything* to go on, I could make an excuse to the superintendent..."
"There is a investigative avenue we haven't taken yet..." Scully unexpectedly pronounced in a quiet voice.
All eyes turned toward her.
Mulder blinked once, thoroughly surprised by her offer, but not showing it. "Agent Scully is a qualified pathologist." Mulder said, overcoming his astonishment quickly and picking up immediately on what she was suggesting. "Perhaps if the body is examined, new evidence can be found."
"Evidence of *what* though?" Michael Adderson, who had been near silent through the entire meeting, spoke up. "What are you looking for?"
Scully's eyes found her way to Mulder's. (Yes, Mulder...) She thought silently. (I know you have a theory, why aren't you saying anything?)
Mulder's eye connected with hers in return. "We're not sure. But we'll know when we find it."
"Subject 360 is Caucasian female, age eight. Pronounced dead on April 27th, 2000. Apparent cause of death; fourth and fifth degree burns on torso, head..." Scully paused, holding the small recorded in her hand. She stared at the little girl's body stretched out on the cold metal table before her. "...Nearly all body surfaces."
Scully exhaled slightly, and tucked her short red hair behind her ears, snapping a mask over her mouth. She carefully set the micro-recorder on the surgical tool table. "I will now begin the surface examination." She announced in a calm voice that belied her inner turbulence.
"Surface examination reveals usually severe damage to tissues and organ trauma for the time period body was exposed to flame." Scully kept up her running commentary as she continued to intently scrutinize the tragedy before her. "I don't understand how the body could have possibly sustained this much damage from a common fire-" She suddenly broke off as her examination brought her across the girl's hands. The was a odd symmetry to the burn pattern on the girl's palm...
Scully looked closer, tilting the light to give her better observation. "Oh my G-" She breathed, breaking off suddenly, a breath escaping from her mouth, but no words. A pattern, burned black in the charred flesh of Lisa Adderson's palm. It almost looked like a flower, but clearly wasn't. Three sixes, arranged in a triad.
A shiver ran down Scully's back.
Although she could not readily admit it, something told her she had just found the evidence they were looking for.
Dana was up late. She knew she wasn't supposed to be, but the Hardy Boys mystery story she held in her hands was too enthralling to put down.
Her fingers clutched the edge of the book as she eyes raced along the page, eagerly gobbling up every word as the story moved before her. She was half way through the chapter eight when she noticed it.
Silently, a shadow fell across the pages of the book. It almost looked like a flower, but was too sinuous, too sinister. The shape of three sixes in the form of a triad.
Startled, Dana looked over at her lamp quickly. There was nothing obstructing the constant flow of light.
She looked back at the pages of her book. There was nothing there either; not anymore at least.
Dana felt a chill down her back and the pure adrenaline beginning to pump through her young veins. (Not the voice again...please God, not the voice again...) It was a wordless prayer.
"Dana Katherine Scully!" Her mother's voice interjected sharply from outside. Maggie Scully opened the door to her youngest daughter's bedroom, scowling furiously. "It's past nine, young lady! Get your light off!
"But mom, I..."
"No buts." Maggie said in a tone that said she was indeed the wife of a navy captain. "Right now, Dana."
"But mom..." Dana was starting to get a cold sweat all over her body. "Can't I just leave my light on this once?" Her eyes darted around the room nervously. Should she tell her mother about the voice? No, no she couldn't. That was baby stuff. Besides...ghosts weren't real.
"*No*, Dana, you may not!" Her mother said firmly, not noticing her daughter's fear filled eyes. "You need to get to sleep. We have a big day tomorrow."
"Oh-Okay." Dana squeaked, defeated by her own pride. Swiftly, before she could change her mind, she clicked off the lamp switch. The only light now shone from the doorway her mother stood in. "G-goodnight mom."
"Goodnight, Dana." Maggie leaned back out of the room and shuts the door.
The room was plunged into darkness. Dana's eyes flitted back and forth across the shadows, turning to look at the other end of the room.
A girl was standing there, as pale as moonlight, glowing out of the dark with an eerie translucence and a peculiar smile. Her old-fashioned dress hung to her knees and she stood there, staring.
Her mother was back in the room in an instant, all concern and motherly hugs. Dana clung to her, but found herself unable to say what was wrong. When asked, she said she didn't remember what scared her.
But she did. She could never forget that smile.
"Scully, it's me."
"Mulder. Where are you?" Scully leaned the cell phone against her shoulder as she ripped off her latex gloves and dropped them morgue bathroom sink.
"On my way to pick you up." Mulder's voice came in slightly scratchy, as though he had the car window down. "Did you find anything?"
"Yes," Scully said in a quiet voice. Then louder, "I did find something. Mulder, how close are you?"
"I'm just turning into the parking lot, Scully."
"Good. I'll meet you out there." Scully punched the off button on her cell phone and stripped off the sanitary blue smock. Her hands shook as she dropped the smock in a nearby receptacle and quickly walked out to the parking lot.
Mulder was waiting for her. He leaned across to open the passenger door from the inside. Scully ducked inside the car, and put her seatbelt on. She blew out a sigh. Relief? She wasn't sure.
"Scully?" Mulder's voice was hesitant as they pulled out of the parking lot. "You said you found something."
"Yes." Scully admitted. "Mulder, there's something I need to say first though."
He was silent, but the subtle tension of his body told her she had his full attention.
"I-" Scully hesitated and then plunged on in a rush. "Mulder, I'm sorry about what I said last night."
Mulder began to protest, but Scully cut him off.
"No. I don't want you to take any of the blame." She looked over at him, and he met her eyes for a split second before turning his eyes back to the road. "You were right. Something about that house is affecting me. Had affected me, in my childhood." She looked out the window. "I found a symbol burned into Lisa Adderson's palm. A symbol I've seen before."
Scully could sense the sudden shock wave roll off Mulder. His eyes darted to her. "Where?"
"As a child," Scully said hesitantly. "When we lived in that house." Her voice dropped an octave, until he could barely hear her over the rush of the car's engine. "Something happened to me then, Mulder, something that frightened me. But..." She trailed off. "I can't remember what."
Mulder was silent for a moment. Then, without warning, he made a sharp turn in the road. "We're going back to the Adderson's." He declared. "What did you say that symbol looked like?"
Mulder and Scully stopped the car in front of the Victorian farmhouse and got out, glancing around for sight of the Adderson's car.
"They aren't home." Mulder reported, after he had climbed onto the deck and rung the doorbell.
Scully wasn't listening. She stood stock-still on the edge of the Adderson's lawn, her attention riveted to something beyond the other side of the house.
"Scully?" Mulder asked, jogging down the porch steps. "Scully, what is it."
"Water," Scully said in a hushed voice.
Confused, Mulder listened. Indeed, the sound of a river echoed up from the quarter acre or so that extended the Adderson's back yard.
Without speaking, Scully began walking in the direction of the river, instinctively following a small, worn path that cut across the over grown portion of the back yard. Perplexed, Mulder followed.
The twisting path swooped down a small hill. It flattened out into a little valley, displaying a stony riverbank encircled by trees, and a small but fast-flowing river.
Scully walked up to a group of trees, paused as if uncertain, and then stopped in front of one of them.
Mulder caught up with her, a bit winded. He looked at the tree Scully was staring at, and what he saw there sent a shiver to his bones.
The symbol Scully had described to him was carved into the bark, freshly cut but with deep scars behind it, as though the same symbol had been engraved there many times.
"Scully." Mulder stared at his partner. "How did you know this was here?"
For a moment, she did not turn around. When she did, her face was ashen.
"I don't know."
2:30 PM July 12th, 1973
Dana was lonely.
She sat outside in the backyard, drawing circles in the dirt with a stick. Her mother had sent her outside a few moments before with the admonition that she needed some sunshine, and "for pity's sake to stop looking so glum."
Well, she was in the sunshine, but even that did nothing to brighten her outlook.
Everyday she lived in fear. The voice and the girl had not come to her in days, yet she always felt its presence, hovering around on the air. The only time she had peace was when the family left the house to go to mass or on outings.
A rustle in the grass caught Dana's attention. She looked up. Nothing seemed to be there.
Again, the sound came, this time from behind her. Dana spun around, her breath coming in short, quick gasps. (she's here, she's here) Her mind spun.
/...Dana!/ The name was like a bullet shot through her mind.
Dana turned back around as though someone had grabbed her and yanked. The little girl stood in the grass, her ghostly dress rolling in a wind that was not there.
/...come.../ The command ended in a carefree giggle that echoed through her brain.
She took a step forward.
/come Dana, Dana come.../ The girlish voice continued as the apparition turned and began skipping down the path to the river.
It was as if she no longer had control of her own body. Her feet began following the little girl as if by their own will; her own fearful commands to run, to hide, strangely muted.
The little girl stopped by the stream and turned to look at Dana who was stumbling down the hillside after her. The specter gazed at her with an unchanging stoic expression, and blinked three times. The child-like laughter reverberated through Dana's thoughts once more.
Abruptly, the girl-ghost turned to a nearby tree and drew an old butcher knife from her pocket. Dana watched in mute horror as she drew a symbol on the tree, scratching over an old scar where the symbol had been drawn once before, long ago. The girl turned to face Dana.
/go into the river/
The command was unstoppable. The sound of the rushing water seemed to multiply and fill Dana's ears. The rushing water, swiftly rushing...she took a step toward it.
And felt a hand touch her shoulder.
In a dizzying, spinning rush of sensation, the power held over her vanished. She turned away from the river and turned back to see who had touched her.
A little boy stood there, gazing at her with a mournful expression. He wore knickers and a brown cap, and his hair and clothing seemed to float, as though under water.
He blinked at her once, and disappeared.
And Dana was alone.
With a sob she collapsed to the ground, but all it took was one look at the water to send her stumbling to her feet. Scraping her knee in her haste, she ran back to the house as fast as her nine-year-old legs could carry her.
"Scully?" The hotel door muffled Mulder's voice.
"Just a minute, Mulder!" Scully called, wrapping a towel around her hair as she struggled to button up her shirt with the other hand. Mulder was a bit surprised to see Scully so haphazard when she opened the door. He struggled to keep his eyes from dropping down to where the last three buttons of her shirt were still open.
"I wanted to come tell you that I'm going to walk over to the local library this morning." Mulder stated a bit unsteadily as Scully leaned down to retrieve her shoes from under the hotel bed.
"Why?" Scully asked, still partially upside down, fishing for her shoes.
"Well," Mulder looked at the generic picture hanging over Scully's bed with great interest. "I heard that the library is quite extensive -a community pride really- and records the history of the town in some detail. I thought maybe I could find something. It's not far, just a couple of blocks from here."
"That's-" Scully righted herself, shoes in tow. "That's a good idea, Mulder." Her voice was suddenly hesitant.
"Nothing really." She sat down on the corner of the bed with a sigh. "I'm just starting to feel like this is a dead end case."
"What?" Mulder pulled up a chair and sat down across from her, disbelief in his voice.
Scully looked uncomfortable. "Well, Mulder you have to admit our so-called "leads" are pretty shaky. Basically all they are based on is some remnant of a disassociative childhood fear I had about this place."
"Scully, what about that symbol?" Mulder asked her, leaning forward.
"I don't know I saw it as a child! Maybe I didn't!" Scully said defensively. She sighed, putting a hand to her forehead. "Maybe I'm just losing my mind."
Mulder frowned but said nothing, fearful of her anger at his worry. "You have to admit that the symbol *is* evidence of some type, whether it relates to your childhood experience at the house or not."
"You're right." Scully sounded weary. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"No," Mulder shook his head as he stood up. "No, you hang out here for awhile. Relax a little; maybe use the fax machine at the hotel concierge to send the autopsy files and stuff back to the office."
"Okay." Scully conceded. "Call me if you find something."
"Always." Mulder smiled. "See you later this afternoon."
Scully stabbed her fork into her salad and reached across the table to scoop up the cell phone lying beside her jacket.
"Scully." She announced into the phone.
"Ms. Scully." The voice of Mrs. Adderson came in softly over the cell phone. "Can you please come out to my house?"
Scully gave a puzzled look and quickly snatch up the remote to turn down the episode of "Due South" playing on the hotel television. "I'm sorry, what was that Mrs. Adderson?"
"There is something you need to see." Mrs. Adderson's voice was cryptic. "Please come Dana."
Scully looked at the cell phone for a moment. (Hm. That's odd.) She thought, standing up and slipping her jacket on.
Briefly, she thought about calling Mulder, but then rejected it. (It's probably nothing,) She thought. (If Mrs. Adderson *does* have new information, I'll call him then)
A short car ride later, Scully turned the corner on to the all-too familiar Maple Grove Lane. Her lips tightened into a small line as her stomach suddenly tightened. (Maybe I should call Mulder...) That was when she realized she didn't have her cell phone.
(Shoot, shoot, shoot) Scully mentally kicked herself. Tightening her grip on the steering wheel, she attempted to reassure herself. (The mother just wants to talk. I can handle this, no big deal) She scoffed at herself a bit. (After all, it's not like I need Mulder *all* the time.)
Scully was surprised to see Cowell standing outside as she pulled up to the Adderson residence. "Sheriff?" She exited her car and walked across the lawn toward him. "Did Mrs. Adderson call you as well?"
"Sure did." The Sheriff looked as puzzled as Scully felt. "But it doesn't look like the Addersons are home."
Scully frowned. "You knocked?"
"Mm-hm." The sheriff nodded. "Think we should go in anyway?"
"Mrs. Adderson sounded a bit strange when she called me." Scully narrowed her eyes a bit, staring at the front door with its ornate stained glass. "I don't think we have a choice."
4:30 PM July 21st, 1973
"Ready or not, here I come!!" Charlie Scully's voice echoed through the house.
Dana's breath quickened as she attempted to speed up her steps on the narrow stairs while quieting them at the same time. (Just a few more steps...)
With a tiny huff of triumph, Dana reached the top of the stairs and the door to the attic.
The entryway was tiny, as though sized for a child, and Dana had known from earlier explorations that -unlike the room in the basement- it was not locked. And although it was dusty, it was not a creepy place. For one thing, it had lights.
(There's no way Charlie's gonna find me up here) Dana pulled the door open carefully, so as not to make a noise her younger brother might hear.
The small room had a slanted ceiling, due to the tilt of the roof, and a small window at the far end. White light shone through it, cascading through the dust motes that danced in the air.
Dana held her breath, pushing back her copper-red hair. It looked magical. Her fingers found the light switch, and she carefully shut the door behind her.
The light illuminated cardboard boxes in the corners, a plastic record player, and a black and white rocking horse. Dana was fascinated. Moving slowly so as not to make too much noise, she began to look through the boxes as one discovering treasures. Old records, cheap vases, dusty books. It was better than the library!
That was when she noticed something that made her forget about the hide-and-seek game.
It sat in the far corner by the window, hidden in shadow and dust. The trunk was obviously old and well worn, but beautiful; it's mahogany wood still shone under layers of grime. It was just the kind that held amazing secrets in all the movies.
Dana moved toward it, enraptured. Before she knew it she had lifted the lid and peered inside, awed at what she saw.
A wedding dress, yellow with age, folded carefully at the bottom. A pair of kid boots, straight out of "Anne of Green Gables" resting beside them. A tiny box of old letters, addressed in wispy handwriting.
But what caught her attention was the picture.
The simple silver frame it rested in spoke of another place and time. The picture it's self was black and white, grainy and cracked at the edge with age. But the faces staring out from it were clear, as though reaching across time and space.
An elegant lady hung on the arm of a handsome man. Both were smiling, their costuming denote some amount of wealth. Each had a hand on a prettily dressed girl who stood between them. The girl, who did not smile, but stared impassively at the camera.
The girl...the girl...
Dana's head spun as she dropped the picture like a hot coal, her hand tingling.
(She is evil) The voice reverberated through her mind as if it had been spoken. Dana whirled around.
The little boy from the river stood before her.
(She is evil...you mustn't listen to her) The boy's lips moved, but the words were inside her own head. (She wants to hurt you...like she hurt me)
Suddenly, Dana thoughts were assaulted with a thousand foreign senses. She recoiled, covering her ears and squeezing her eyes shut in an attempt block them out, but it did nothing.
//Drowning! Drowning!// //Momma, Annie, save me! I can't breathe!// //A little girl with a evil smile, clutching suspenders pulls down, down...into the rushing, rushing water...// //can't see, can't breathe// //rushing, rushing...PAIN!//
And Dana was suddenly thrown free of the vision, crumpling to the ground, sobbing and shaking. "Leave me alone!" She shrieked.
But the boy was already gone.
Fox Mulder sat at the library table; a bag on sunflower seeds in one hand, and flipped through a large book of community newspaper pages with the other. His eyes intently scanned the headlines, alert for any clues as to what events may have played out in 360 Maple Grove's murky past.
As far as theories went, Mulder had, until now, shocked himself by not having one. But as he gathered information in the tranquil library, his thoughts on the matter were becoming increasingly disquieted.
//In 1949, not one but *four* children are born stillborn to the Everton's during their 12 year tenure in the house. Finally, Rachel Everton leaves her husband after claiming the house is haunted by ghosts, causing a town scandal. Lieu. Daniel Everton remarries a young pregnant widow. Within a month the new wife takes an overdose of aspirin, killing not only herself, but also her infant child. Lieutenant Everson resigns his commission with the Navy and leaves town, donating the house to the use of Norfolk Naval Base.
//In 1922, the river by the house claims the life of one James McClintok. The young boy known as "Jamie" was only 7 years old, and his family had barely been in the house 5 months. The grief drives the mother to an early grave and the older sister, Anna, is institutionalized for "mad ravings". The investigation is not closed for years, and becomes the all-consuming focus of the father, Miles McClintok.
As Mulder pulled file after file of newspaper and town records off the shelves, pieces begin to fall into place and a hypotheses began to form. (Poltergeist?) Mulder mused, cracking another sunflower seed. Possibly. But the nature of the murders and the advent of the symbol were out of character for a poltergeist. And something was telling him there was more at work here than your average disgruntled spirit. Every article he read having to do with the house sent chills down his spine.
But so far, he had no hint of origin. And if it was a poltergeist, the origin was key. He had to find it. But he was running out of information.
He climbed out of his chair and laid out the last book of town records. This book dated back as far as the foundation of the town. If he didn't find something here, he wouldn't find it.
He continued to scan the book, slipping off his glasses to rub his eyes occasionally. After nearly 3 hours of reading they had begun to ache, but Mulder was determined.
The years flew past before his eyes...1910...1907...1903... ...1900... 1890's
//A stained glass worker, Philip Kent, becomes unexpectedly rich by inheritance. He builds a lavish farmhouse for his wife Cecilia on the outskirts of the newly formed township of Banner Hill. But because of a childhood illness, Cecilia cannot have children. Meanwhile, across town in Norfolk, a young girl appears outside the orphan asylum. No one knows where she comes from, and she only says her name is Hesper. Two months later she is adopted by the Kents. Soon after it is noted the Kents have almost completely dropped out of sight. Mr. Kent's business suffers, and the whole town wonders at the couple's seemingly bizarre behavior. It comes a shock to the tiny community when Cecilia and Philip Kent are found gruesomely murdered in their home. Catherine Baymer, Mrs. Kent's sister, comes to stay with the young Hesper. The little girl appears to be in shock, and hardly ever speaks to anyone. The family dog, however, expresses his grief in a different way. He becomes "mad" and dangerous, especially around the little girl. One day, grim headlines splash the news across the 1899 Banner Hill Times: "Girl Savagely Murdered By Family Dog". Ms. Baymer buries Hesper, and has the dog put down. She sells the house, and returns home to Boston. The house is not occupied for the next 20 years.
Mulder felt his blood freeze. This was the origin; it had to be. But Mulder had an eerie certainty that this was no ordinary poltergeist. Something deeper was at work here, something far more evil.
His hand strayed to his jacket pocket, scooping his cell phone out as he closed the record book. Standing up he quickly punched the speed dial.
Mulder heard the receiver pick up, but instead of the usual business-like "Scully.", there was silence on the line.
//No.// A light, giggly voice answered in a pale, far-away tone. //Dana came to visit me...// A laugh floated over the phone, //So she can't talk right now...//
About 5 minutes later...
Anne Pennington was on her way home from work when the desperate-looking man with the badge nearly ran out in front of her car. She slammed on the breaks, barely coming to a full stop before he yanked her door open. "Agent Mulder, FBI!" His voice was loud and a bit panicked. "I don't mean to alarm you, but I need to commandeer your vehicle."
The woman was startled to say the least. But the frantic look in the man's eyes called to her to react quickly. "Where do you need to go?" She tightened her grip on the steering wheel.
The relief he projected was almost tangible. He was in the car with the door shut in a heartbeat. "360 Maple Grove," he said breathlessly.
Tires burned the pavement as the car shot forward.
6:15 PM July 31st, 1973
"Billy, pass the potatoes please." Melissa Scully said politely, under the watchful eye of her mother.
Billy Scully passed the potatoes to his sister, making sure to stick out an impudent tongue when Margaret Scully wasn't looking. Which, of course, his 11-year-old sister heartily returned.
"Missy, Junior," William Scully, senior, rumbled from his place at the head of the table. "Tongues belong inside the mouth."
"Dad," Billy Scully whined. "I told you not to call me junior anymore."
William Scully impassively ignored his son, turning his attention to his uncharacteristically silent youngest daughter. "Aren't you hungry Starbuck?" He asked gently.
Dana glanced around from her slouched position in the chair. "Not really," She said. There was a wary, almost paranoid look in her eyes.
William Scully looked across the table at his wife, a question in his eyes. Maggie Scully simply shrugged.
"Well..." Captain Scully started off slowly. "I've got some big news tonight," He said, looking around at his family. "The project was called off due to lack of funding today."
"Oh, Bill!" Margaret looked slightly alarmed.
"No, no, it's okay Maggie." William assured her. "My request for a early transfer back to Miramar has already been accepted. We'll be moving back to California in a couple of weeks."
General cheers greeting the news. All the children had found it somewhat difficult to fit in, and were glad to be returning to their old friends. But one voice was silent.
"What's wrong, Dana?" Maggie asked with some alarm, looking at her suddenly pale daughter. "Aren't you happy to be going back?"
"Home..." Dana voice was a tiny whisper, her eyes glassy, almost in shock. "We're going home."
She wobbled slightly in her chair, and then shocked the entire family by fainting dead away.
The lock on the front of the Adderson's door splintered under the heavy impact of Mulder's foot as he crashed into the entryway, gun drawn.
Silence met him.
The house was still, the only noise coming from the ticking of the clock in the corner. Moving cautiously, he walked across the entryway and into the living room, bringing his gun to bear as he did so.
Still nothing. The elegant couches and coffee table were still innocently arranged as they were when Mulder and Scully had been there the other day. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except for the fiery impression of danger that was pulsing through Mulder's mind.
Suddenly Mulder heard a faint groan coming from behind him. Spinning around, he headed toward the sound, following it into the kitchen at the back of the house.
Sheriff Cowell lay on the kitchen's wood floor, holding his bleeding head with one hand, and attempting to rise with the other. Broken glass from a smashed lamp was strewn across the floor.
Mulder rushed to the man's side, helping him to his knees. "Where's Scully?" He demanded immediately.
Sheriff Cowell dragged himself to his feet and looked around in confusion. "I- I don't know." His face was ashen. "...There was this girl and...and then everything went black!"
Mulder looked around at the debris grimly. From the pattern of the broken glass it looked as though the lamp had hit the Sheriff in the back of the head. "Where's Scully!?!" Mulder demanded again, almost shaking the man this time.
"I told you I don't know!" The big man nearly recoiled from Mulder's frenetic grasp. "She was here, but we spilt...she left. She was...going downstairs, I think."
"Where?" Mulder asked.
Sheriff Cowell simply pointed a shaking hand toward an open door in the next room. Beyond it, a staircase plunged into a darkened basement.
Mulder let go of the man's arm as the sheriff sunk into a chair. Moving quickly but silently, Mulder walked through the basement door and headed down into the shadowy room.
Holding his gun tensely, Mulder observed the near-empty basement with its solid concrete floor. His ragged breath seemed deafeningly loud in the unnatural stillness.
His eyes scanned the area; coming to rest on a tiny door in the corner of the room, light streaming out of it.
"Scully?" He called softly, as if the uncanny quiet extended to him as well.
He reached the door and quickly moved inside, gun at the ready.
A burst of color and light dazzled his eyes for a moment. When they cleared, Mulder could see the incredible workshop that lay before him. All manner of stained glass windows and trinkets littered the room, glowingly lit by a bright kerosene lamp.
But Mulder's eyes were focused solely on the person seated in the middle of the room.
"Scully!" He moved toward her, his voice coming out in a rush, relief flooding it. "Scully, what are you..."
He stopped when he saw her eyes. They were transfixed, looking forward as though into another dimension. She remained as still as stone, unheeding of his words.
"Scully," His approached her slowly now, his voice careful. "Scully, can you hear me?" He reached out with his left hand to touch her shoulder.
Without warning, Scully's arm shot out, slamming into Mulder with an inhumane strength, throwing him to the ground and sending his gun careening out of his grasp as though it had been physically wrenched.
"NO!!" Scully screamed in a voice that was not her own. The voice was deep and throaty, but accompanied by a wordless shrieking that filled the air and caused the glass around her to tremble. "YOU CAN'T HAVE HER!!! SHE'S MINE!!"
Mulder stared in utter horror as Scully's blue eyes flashed a blood red, growing intensely in shade as the horrible shrieking sound increased.
One of the intricate stained glass windows was ripped from it's place on a shelf and flew across the room as if of its own accord, smashing into the ground next to Mulder as he swiftly rolled out of the way.
"Sheriff COWELL!!" Mulder screamed. "Get down here! Call for backup!!"
"NO!!!!!" The unearthly voice shrieked. "She's MINE, she's MINE!!!"
Mulder attempted to rise to his feet, but a vase was ripped from the workbench and smashed into is back, knocking him to the ground and causing several tiny shards of glass to lodge themselves in Mulder's neck.
Wincing in pain, he rolled into a corner, hoping to avoid at least part of the onslaught, and to figure out what the heck he was going to do.
Sheriff Cowell thundered into the room, gun drawn, and barely missed a window fresco of a blue bird that flew at his head.
"Jesus Christ," The sheriff breathed, crouching beside Mulder, his attention fixated on Scully.
"I don't think He has anything to do with this," Mulder shot back at the man.
Scully's head fell backward, a laugh coughing up from the depth of her vocal chords. Her eyes blazed crimson, and power seemed to be massing around her form as though a tangible entity.
As the sheriff watched in terror, Mulder's eyes caught sight of something else.
In the back of the room, propped against the wall on a large workbench, was a window made of a greenish glass. It was large, perhaps larger than all the others. But that was not what captured Mulder's attention. It was the peculiar design arraigned in the glass. A design that had become much too familiar over the past few days. A sinuous design, almost like a flower, but not quite; three sixes formed in a triad.
And it was glowing.
Not just glowing from the light of the blazing kerosene lamp, but with a light of it's own, a light that seemed to posses the glass from the inside out.
Mulder's eyes cast about desperately. Suddenly they found what they searched. On a small bench not five feet away lay a heavy hammer. Mulder's body tensed, knowing what he had to do. Time seemed to slow, a second stretching out into eternity. Mulder sprinted for the hammer, his fist closing around it even as he dodged another telekinetic missile. Darting past Scully he ran to the back of the room.
Scully's body whipped around, blazing eyes following him. "NOOO!!!!" The word melded into a speechless cry of rage as Mulder slammed the hammer into the glass with all his strength; shattering it into a thousand pieces, as it hit the floor with a tremendous crash.
Scully's body jerked as though electrocuted. Mulder held his breath. Her eyes cleared, returning to blue. They met Mulder's for a brief moment before rolling back into her head as she collapsed to the floor.
About an hour later...
When Kelly and Michael Adderson returned home, their house was crawling with police officers.
Agent Fox Mulder sat on the cot outside the ambulance, holding a bandaged hand carefully in his lap. His other hand was entwined with his partner's, who lay on another cot next to him. Sheriff Cowell stood a few steps away, getting the small cuts he had sustained bandaged by the EMT.
Michel Adderson approached them, his wife close behind him. "What's going on?" He demanded, obviously shaken to find all the commotion around him.
"Calm down, Mr. Adderson," Sheriff Cowell said. "We can explain." He assured him, immediately wondering how the heck he was supposed to do *that*.
"Sir, can you please turn around?" The EMT requested, a bit annoyed with the Adderson's sudden interruption.
"I think my wife and I have had enough of police tape blocking our door!" Mr. Adderson said angrily, his voice cracking a bit. He turned to the two FBI agents. "What happened??"
Scully sat up slowly as she turned her attention to the Adderson's. Mulder looked at Scully with concern for a moment before turning to the Adderson's. "I'm not exactly sure, but it *may* have been a poltergeist or some type of demon." Mulder deadpanned. "In any case, I recommend you move."
As Michael Adderson stood flabbergasted at Mulder's pronouncement, an unexpected whimper escaped his wife's lips. All three people looked at Kelly Adderson as her hands flew to her mouth. "Oh, Michael." She gasped. "My dreams! My dreams about that evil girl!" Scully turned her wide blue eyes on Mulder, who didn't look surprised. Michael Adderson spun back at the two, his eyes narrow and fuming. "See what you've done?" He put an arm around his wife. "Now, honey, you know those dream were just..."
"Don't count on it." Mulder muttered, receiving a glare from the man.
"I don't care." Kelly Adderson pushed away from her husband. "I'm never going in that cursed house again." She declared.
Michael let out a disgusted growl and marched to his car where he pulled out a manila folder from a bag in the front. He marched back to the group.
"We had gone into Norfolk to try and sell the house back to the previous owners. They refused." He sighed bitterly. "I don't want to go back in that place anymore than my wife does."
Mr. Adderson turned to Scully. "Agent Scully, you seem like a sensible person." He shot a look at Mulder. "Here." He handed Scully the folder. "It's the deed and papers for the house. Take it."
"Sir-" Scully began to protest, but he cut her off.
"I don't care what you do with it. I don't care anymore. I've lost my daughter..." His eyes filled with unshed tears. "This isn't worth it anymore. I just want to be done with the whole thing."
Scully glanced at Mulder, who shrugged.
"Please," Mr. Adderson implored her.
Scully wordlessly accepted the documents.
Three Days Later
Scully stood on the other side of the safety line, arms crossed over her hips as she watched the wreaking ball take its first swing at the old Victorian farmhouse.
Mulder approached from behind her, handing her a hard hat as he put his own on and stood beside her.
They stood like that in silence for a while, observing as the old house was torn down, the walls ripping as it slowly collapsed on itself.
Mulder glanced over at Scully, watching her face as it stared at the deconstruction with a stony expression.
"Vindication?" he asked.
"No." She looked at him, shaking her head slightly. "Just justice, I think." She paused. "Some things Mulder," Her gaze turned back to the house. "...Need to die."
Mulder pursed his lips, nodding once. "Come on," He put his hand on the small of her back as he led her back to the car. "Let's go home."