Summary: Mulder and Scully investigate vampires...maybe.
Just when I decided to bring the agents to my home state, CC decides to do the same thing! Weirdness. Quonochontaug is the beach community right next to mine, but as far as I know, there's no hospital there!
No romance in this one, though some might argue otherwise. You decide. In Avatar, Mulder said that a succubus *usually* appears as an old hag; well, not according to anything I've ever read on the topic, so I was inspired to write my own incubus/succubus story. All quotes/information presented are from various texts I have on the subject, which I'm not going to bother to reference here (but if you'd like to know for your own edification :-) - e me). Any comments can be directed to ke...@edgenet.net. Thanks!
No season 3 spoilers, though you may not get the Kevin Cryer reference if you haven't seen "Revelations".
*The following story is based on characters copyrighted by *Ten Thirteen Productions, created by The Man, Chris Carter, *and who are the property of the Fox network and are used *without permission. No infringement intended.
And the sons of god went unto the daughters of men
Mulder entered the office wearing a small, knowing smile. He sat down on the other side of the desk, locking his hands together and dropping them into his lap. He stared across the desk at his partner.
Scully was immediately suspicious. She waited for him to speak but he just sat there wearing that damn smile, the one that told her he was going to love watching her reaction to whatever he was about to tell her. Scully could feel her own lips threatening to curl into a smile to match his. "What?"
"What've you heard about the lovely state of Rhode Island, Scully?"
"Beaches, tennis, America's cup... why?"
"Well that's not all they're known for." He pulled two plane tickets from his inside breast pocket and threw them down on the desk in front of her.
Scully picked them up and examined them: two round trip tickets from National to Providence. A rental car agreement was attached to one of the stubs. "Where are we going?"
"Exeter, Rhode Island."
"And we're going there because...?"
The corner of his mouth curled into a mischievous smile. "Because they think they have themselves a little vampire problem."
As the co-pilot announced they were about to take off, Scully clipped her seat belt fastened and looked over at Mulder. "This is a short flight, Mulder. You better start filling me in now."
He turned his body to better face her. "Did you know that from the 1870's to the turn of the century there was a vampire panic in southern Rhode Island?"
"No, but is that so strange? The witch hunts, vampire scares, I'm sure most New England towns have some sort of lore surrounding such things in their history."
Mulder shook his head knowingly and flashed her a sideways glance. "Not like this. It was well known throughout the country as a hotbed of vampirism and in fact in the latter half of the 19th Century earned the title of "vampire capital of America."
Scully stared at him: where was this going?
"In 1883 a man named George Brown-"
"As in Brown University George Brown?"
"The very same. In 1883 his wife died of consumption. Over the course of the next few years, three of the six Brown children died of mysterious causes. Before any more of their children fell victim to this mysterious plague, Mr. Brown gathered family and friends to discuss the matter. After deciding that what they were dealing with was a case of vampirism, a small group of them went down to the local cemetery to exhume the bodies..." Mulder paused and studied her face with an amused smile; she was watching him intently: he had completely hooked her.
She stifled a half-annoyed smile, but she couldn't help it: she wanted to know. "And?"
"And, Mrs. Brown and two of the children were found to be decomposing rather nicely. But the third daughter, Mercy, her body appeared to be completely preserved."
Scully raised her eyebrows at him. "Preserved?"
Mulder nodded. "Her hair and nails had grown and her arteries were filled with fresh blood."
"That's not the only case, Scully. There are lots of stories just like that: a Mr. Stukeley-"
"Okay, but what does this have to do with why *we're* going there?"
"It seems that there may be a resurgence in the local vampire population. Over the past month there have been three attacks at a local inn."
"That's what the locals think. Three women, tourists, all who were staying at a local inn at different times were found in their beds in the morning in various states of shock."
"What do you mean shock?"
"Trauma. Post Traumatic Stress. Two of the women were catatonic, they couldn't get anything out of them. And the third was pretty much incoherent. She just kept muttering the same word over and over."
Scully raised her eyebrows expectantly at him.
Mulder shifted in his seat as he stared at the passing scenery. It seemed like hours since they'd pulled off the main road and they still hadn't arrived at their destination. In actuality, it hadn't been longer than forty minutes, but the unchanging rural scenery made the time drone by. Mulder looked over at Scully in the driver's seat. "Please, talk to me, Scully, or I'm gonna fall asleep again."
She smirked at the road in front of her. The silences they enjoyed were comfortable, they'd spent the entire flight discussing the case, and besides, they'd gotten to that point where there wasn't much about each other that they already didn't know. "Nice weather we're having...?" was her lame attempt.
Mulder passed a hand over his face as he stifled his own smile. "Right."
"I thought you said you could drive through the entire state in less than an hour?"
"Yeah, you can... if you stay on 95. These back roads-"
"Oh look-" Mulder followed her gaze to their right, "I think this is it."
They turned into the gravel driveway, small stones crackled and popped under the weight of the car as they pulled up to the old boarding house. Creeping vines and cracked stone could not camouflage the grand country manor this had once been. The encroaching forest surrounded the house and shaded the ground near its walls. It was a formidable presence in the bright light of day.
They exited the car and Mulder opened the trunk to pull out their suitcases. He looked up and watched Scully as she scanned the front of the property. "Nice digs."
Scully didn't turn around to face him. "I'll say."
Inside, they waited in the foyer for the manager as a sign on his door had instructed: back in five minutes. They took the opportunity to study their surroundings.
Strange, Scully thought, the outside had appeared so unassuming, but there was something dark, a damp coldness to the inside of the house that sent a shiver down her spine. She looked at Mulder uneasily.
He shrugged at her: what?
"This place gives me the creeps."
Taking a step closer, Mulder smiled down at her. "I don't know, Scully, can you define for me the scientific nature of the 'creeps'?"
Scully flashed him a look before her eyes caught sight of a young man heading down the hallway toward them. He was thin and slight, missing most of the hair on his prematurely balding head. Both kindness and a certain unease came through his bespectacled blue eyes. "Agent's Mulder and Scully?"
Mulder nodded and extended his hand. "Yes." He shook the man's hand then motioned alternately to himself and Scully. "Fox Mulder... Dana Scully."
"I'm Stuart Redman, the curator of this historic home. I'm the one who contacted you. My cousin works for the Bureau -
receptionist. She told me about your reputation for handing... 'unusual' cases."
Mulder and Scully exchanged a look.
The man eyed them expectantly. "I'm so glad your here. The local authorities haven't been much help and this whole thing is scaring off the tourists. We haven't had a single guest since the last incident, and June is usually a busy month for us - not good for business, you know."
Mulder nodded at him. "No, no I don't imagine it would be."
"Well I hope you'll have better luck. Oh..." he reached into his pocket and pulled out two keys. "Agent Scully you'll be in the Rosebud Room, Agent Mulder in the Pansy Room. Second floor, Rosebud to your right, Pansy to your left. Now if you'll excuse me I have some calls to make, but you'll feel free to catch me if you have any questions?"
Mulder and Scully nodded and watched him head off into a nearby room with a small wooden sign over the door: "Management."
Mulder studied his key and leaned in to his partner. "I don't know, Scully, think I should be offended?"
Scully didn't seem to hear his joke, she turned and surveyed their surroundings. There was a heavy scent in the air that reminded her of old books and musty basements. And she couldn't shake that feeling she'd had when they'd first walked in. Above the entrance to the house was a old plaque. "Exeter House..." she muttered out loud, "more like Hell House."
"Yeah but they were dealing with ghosts."
"And that's better?"
He grinned back at her in response.
Scully opened the door to the Rosebud Room where she would be staying. It wasn't quite what she was expecting - it was fairly big, with high ceilings and two large French-style doors that opened onto a small balcony. It was brighter than she thought it would be - the early afternoon sun streamed through the small panes in the doors to her balcony and warmed the room. There was a large bed a few feet from the balcony door, an antique four poster. There was a small dressing table with a mirror and, just next to the bed, a massive armoire. A hint of a smile surfaced on her face... maybe this wasn't so bad after all. Scully flopped her suitcase onto the bed and opened the armoire. The large door creaked as she did, exposing inside a few empty shelves and wire hangers, and a long mirror on the back of the door. Scully stepped closer to the mirror and studied her face. There were dark circles under her eyes, her cheeks were pale; she really needed something good to eat, a long hot bath and a good night's sleep. She took her hands and wiped them over her face, as if the mere action could wipe away the weariness there, and turned back to her suitcase. She pulled a small stack of shirts out and turned back to the armoire. As she did, she caught Mulder's reflection in the mirror inside the door, standing quietly at a distance behind her, his hands in his trench coat pockets. He was staring at her intently. She spoke to his reflection. "You finished already?"
He didn't answer her.
"Mulder did you hear me?"
He continued to stare at her.
Scully turned around and her eyes widened at the sight of the empty room behind her. Mulder wasn't there. No one was. She turned quickly back to the mirror and the reflection was gone. She turned around once more and looked around the room. She was *sure* she had seen him. Had her eyes been playing tricks on her? She jumped at the sound of knocking at her door.
Mulder stepped in, and Scully noted he was still wearing his trench coat, just like he had been in the reflection. "Scully come take a look at this."
She rested her shirts on the shelf and looked at him uneasily. "Mulder you just weren't... you weren't in here were you?"
"What are you talking about?"
Scully waved her hand at him, now certain she had imagined it. "Nothing, never mind. What's going on?"
"I got the police report back on the last victim."
"Are you telling me your abandoning your vampire theory, Mulder?"
Mulder glanced at her as they sat at the kitchen table and went over the report. "Not necessarily. But the fact that there didn't appear to be any blood taken from the victims, and that there were no puncture wounds would seem enough for us to rethink our original theory."
Scully eyeballed him over the report: you mean *your* theory.
Smiling in response, Mulder pulled another palm full of sunflower seed out of the bag and, leaning back in his seat, rested his feet on the empty chair. "I wanna know what you think about all this, Scully."
"What I think is that even if there was a shred of evidence to support your vampire theory it still wouldn't explain why all the attacks were committed here in Exeter House. I mean why would a vampire return to the same location for all his victims? What is this place the vampire mini-mart?"
The corner of his mouth turned up at her. He worked on a seed as he thought over her words. He hadn't wanted to admit it to Scully, but she was right, there was something about the place that was eerie. He was starting to consider the possibility that maybe it wasn't something coming *to* the house, maybe it was the house itself... or something inside the house. "Scully, maybe we've had it wrong all along."
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe it's not vampires we're looking for at all... maybe it's ghosts."
"First vampires, now ghosts? What's next Mulder? Are you expecting to find Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory in the basement?"
"Well what do YOU think is going on here, Scully?"
"I don't know yet. But I'm more inclined to think it's a case of mass hysteria than a visit from Casper."
Mulder smirked at her and looked away. No use arguing with her when she was at this point.
"This place is a hundred years old. Who knows what could be decaying behind these wall that might induce some sort of hallucinogenic state?" Scully folded her arms in front of her as she sat back in her chair and looked down at the table. "I'm not saying that there's nothing here - all I'm saying is that maybe we shouldn't discount the possibility of a very real, flesh and blood perpetrator, or at the very least some kind of psychogenic phenomenon caused by an indigenous substance in the house or surrounding property."
Mulder leaned forward. "Right, Scully. A psychogenic phenomenon that leaves bruises," he said, sliding a photo of the one of the victim's wrists across the table to her.
Her expression was curious.
"There were bruises on the thighs as well."
Scully studied the photo. "Rape? So you *don't* think we're dealing with some kind of paranormal phenomenon."
He shook his head at her. "No, I didn't say that."
"Then what?" Remembering his earlier comment, she asked, "Ghosts? I thought you didn't believe in entity rape-"
"I don't know, Scully. I just don't know what's going on."
Scully held his gaze, and his eyes were clouded with consternation. She wondered if he could see the unease in hers.
Dusk was settling around the house and Mulder and Scully had retreated to their rooms for some down time before dinner. Scully had made the mistake of lying on her bed while she looked over the police reports and before she knew it she was drifting in and out of sleep in the ever darkening room. Somewhere in that hazy place between sleep and wake, she started to push herself to get up - it was almost time to meet Mulder downstairs for dinner. She buried her face deeper into the pillow; maybe just a few more minutes...
A sudden, sharp whisper at her ear startled her awake: "Dana- -"
She sat up and looked around the now dim, grey room. Reaching over to turn on a light, she surveyed the room once more. Just like earlier, she was alone, but she was certain she'd heard someone call her name... She remembered studying this in one of her undergrad psych courses - what did they call it? That's right: hypnogogic hallucinations, and if she remembered correctly, they were usually auditory. But what about what happened earlier? She was most certainly wide awake when that happened. Scully shook her head and got up off the bed; she'd seen one to many horror movies. Changing into jeans and a comfortable shirt, she headed out of the room and met Mulder as he was coming out of his. He was still dressed in his suit, but had foregone his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. His tie was loose around his neck and his hair was disheveled in the back. Scully smiled as she watched him turning to set the lock in his door before they started downstairs - it was obvious she wasn't the only one who had indulged in a few winks. "Get a lot of work done," she teased.
He turned around and smiled sheepishly back at her as they headed down the hall for the back staircase. "I don't know, Scully," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I couldn't keep my eyes open. Think I'm going to turn in early tonight, get a fresh start in the morning."
Scully stared at his back as they reached the bottom of the stairs and entered the kitchen: this wasn't like him. When he thought he was on to something, he was like a dog with a bone, and he would never let a little thing like fatigue stand in the way of working on an investigation. "What are you thinking?"
"This isn't making any sense. The pieces don't fit together. I think you could be right, Scully; that this is just a case of mass hysteria - maybe induced by ghost stories, or maybe just strange coincidence. Nothing I've heard, nothing I've seen in the latest police report would seem to suggest otherwise."
As they seated themselves at the table, a large, older woman with a friendly face and mischievous eyes approached, setting a picture of soda on the table for them. "Mass hysteria? Is that the best you can do?" Her beady brown eyes smiled at the two agents before she turned around to retrieve some glasses from the cupboard.
Mulder and Scully exchange a look, stifling there own smiles. Mulder looked up at her as she returned with their glasses and started pouring him some soda. "Why? You seen anything strange around here?"
"I've worked here for four years, and I've never seen anything out of the ordinary." She finished with the sodas and placed two plates of food in front of them.
Mulder glanced over at Scully, who raised her eyebrows at him: I told you so. He looked back at the woman.
"Not that you'd ever get me to spend the night here."
"Why?" Mulder leaned forward and rested an elbow on the table. "I thought you said you'd never seen anything out of the ordinary."
The woman wiped her hands on her apron and headed for the kitchen door. "Enjoy your dinner." She smiled and disappeared through the door.
Mulder paused as they stood at the bottom of the stairs several hours later. "You going up?"
"No you go ahead. I'm going to check out the library." It was late, they'd sat at the table long after they'd finished their meal discussing the case, but dinner hadn't sat well with her stomach and Scully decided she wanted to explore a little of the old house before she turned in. She'd spent a while in the music room earlier examining the old instruments that were displayed and the pictures of various ancestors who had owned them, and now wanted to head for the library: maybe she could find something to read.
"Night, Mulder." She watched him start up the stairs, then headed down the hall to the far end of the manor that housed the library. Dim lights along the wall did a poor job of illuminating the way, and she could only see several yards in front of her before the hallway was swallowed in darkness. She continued along, then slowed at the sound of footsteps behind her. She stopped and turned around. There were no other guest staying in the house, and Mr. Redman had turned in for the night, so that left... "Mulder?"
There was no response.
After several seconds of silence, she straightened and started down the hallway again... and there they were, the unmistakable sound of shoes coming against oak, heavy male footfalls trailing just behind her. Scully turned again and stared into the darkness. Nothing. She continued, picking up her pace down the hallway as the footfalls matched her step for step, and she silently reprimanded herself for leaving her weapon up in her room. She finally reached the door to the library and stepped into the dark room. She shut the door behind her and backed up a few feet, her eyes glued on the door. She reached for the lights and flipped them on, quickly scanning the room for something she could use as a weapon... she grabbed a large candelabra off a nearby table and held it over her shoulder like a baseball player ready to take a swing, and waited. The footsteps continued down the hall, growing louder and louder as they approached. Scully could here them coming up to the door... and then they stopped. After several seconds, she slowly approached the door, still holding the candelabra up with one hand, and reached for the knob. Summoning all her courage, she quickly pulled open the door. There was nothing there.
Scully let out the breath she'd been holding. Her imagination was starting to get the best of her... it wasn't hard to do in these surroundings. She smiled at her foolishness and closed the door again. She set the candelabra back in its place and started toward the far stack of shelves when the door opened suddenly behind her. Her eyes widened in fear and she whirled around to face whoever was coming into the room.
Mulder peeked his head in. "Hey Scully I-" He noticed her expression. "What's wrong?"
Her body visibly relaxed: she wasn't imagining things; there probably was quite an echo that old hallway. "It *is* you. What's up?"
"Can I borrow your headphones? I think mine have had it."
"Sure. They're on my night stand."
Mulder nodded his thanks and started to turn around.
And suddenly, being alone down there in that old house struck her as the last place in the world she wanted to be. "Wait I'm coming with you."
"I thought you were looking for something to read."
"I changed my mind."
He had no idea. "Exhausted."
Mulder smiled as he turned around and started out of the room.
Scully froze and studied his back as they headed down the hall: he had changed into a T-shirt and jeans. Her eyes dropped quickly to his feet. Mulder was barefoot.
Scully stuck close to him as they headed back for the staircase. She cast an uneasy glance behind her. "Funny how your imagination runs wild with you in a place like this, isn't it?"
Mulder turned to look over his shoulder at her as they reached the staircase and started up.
Scully searched for some confirmation in his eyes that he knew what she was talking about, that maybe he'd been having strange things happen too... but there wasn't.
"Yeah I guess," he responded absently. "Anyway I was thinking we could try and question the victim's families again. I know the local authorities already spoke with them but I'd like to question them myself."
They reached the top of the stairs. "Sounds good."
Mulder followed her to her room and got the headphones before heading back to his. Scully watched him go. And as the door closed behind him, she hoped sleep would find her.
And it did... or so she thought. Scully was sleeping soundly when she became aware of a gentle breeze blowing over her skin. She stirred and started to drift back to sleep. Then, she felt something on her ankle... large and heavy, not like an insect, more like... a hand. It started moving up her leg, her thigh, leaving a tingling sensation in its wake and she could feel that something was on the bed with her. She started to feel so strange, her mind felt fuzzy, almost drugged, and a warmth was spreading through her body. She lifted her head slightly to see what was going on, and though her head felt thick with fog, she recognized who it was: Mulder, fully dressed in his suit and trench coat. She watched him in confusion as he continued to move up over her body until his face was just in front of hers. He leaned in close.
"What are you doing?" she whispered against his lips. The room was deafeningly silent; but his breath was unnaturally loud, as if it was coming through a stethoscope. She lay there motionless as he settled lightly on top of her and his hands started their journey over her skin. Her body started to respond; she couldn't stop the rising sensation despite the apprehension that rose to match it. He moved to kiss her neck, and she swallowed the small sound of pleasure that threatened to escape her throat as he did. She could feel a warm arousal spreading through her, but it was wrong... He pulled from her neck and looked down at her. She shook her head slowly as his face started to change; it almost appeared to be fading -
from Mulder to a dark, unrecognizable figure and back. "No..." and she couldn't tell if she was dreaming but it felt so real and what if it was? Her thoughts spun tempestuously.
"I know what you want..." he whispered, and the words were carried out on a fog of breath... and she realized suddenly that she was freezing, her body had broken out in goose flesh and she could see her own breath mingling with his. How could that be? The balcony doors were open and she could see the sheer white curtains billowing in the breeze out of her peripheral vision, but it was June. It couldn't be that cold. "You want this," he whispered.
"Yes," she breathed back, but even as she did her brows came together: was she dreaming? What was happening? He adjusted himself on top of her, she could feel him firm against her thigh, and she was struck by how cold he felt. Could you feel cold in your dream? She desperately tried to wake, but it was like trying to wade through a vast pool of tar. She opened her eyes, and the face was changing again, becoming paler, rounder; it was the face of a heavy man. And at his forehead, where his hairline should have been, there emerged two thick coils of bone that curled back into horns. Her breath caught in her throat - but then it was Mulder again. Or was it? His eyes were as black as coal and soulless. There was no love or kindness in those eyes, nothing remotely Mulder. There was nothing human in those eyes. "No!"
Scully sat upright in bed and reached for her weapon, holding it out in the darkness before her. The sweat soaked her night- shirt, her breath was coming in deep heavy gusts. She ran a hand through her hair and tried to calm her breathing. Without a doubt that had been one of the most vivid nightmares she could ever remember having; this case was really getting to her. She set her gun back on the night stand and leaned back against the headboard. No way she was going to sleep tonight. Getting up from bed, she slipped her jeans on and padded down towards Mulder's room, wondering if he were sleeping yet. She wrapped lightly on his door and opened it a crack. "Mulder?" She opened the door wider and looked into the room. It was completely dark except for a bright beam of moonlight bathing his bed. The sheets were pulled back and disheveled, and there was something off about them. "Mulder you in here?" Scully took a few more steps into the room, keeping her eyes glued on the bed with an increasing sense of dread. So focused was she on the strangeness of that bed that she wasn't aware of the door swinging silently back into place behind her. As she neared the bed, her breathing started to become short, and she slowly realized what it was: blood. His sheets were streaked with blood. She drew in a deep breath and turned around to run out of the room... and came face to face with the image from her dream -
Scully sat straight up in bed. Absolutely terrified from her double dream, she bolted off the bed and fled from the room. She didn't bother with her jeans, her gun, or with knocking on Mulder's door. She flew down the hallway and into his room, flipping the lights on and running to his bed. Mulder sat up startled and still half asleep, grabbing for his own weapon on the side table and displaying it around the room. The sudden light had virtually blinded him. He felt two small hands grip his arm and a familiar voice: "Mulder..."
His eyes slowly adjusted and he squinted at her. "Jesus, Scully I almost shot you!"
Scully stared at him. It had taken every ounce of her self control not to dive under the covers and cling to him. She still couldn't shake the cold chill of fear.
Seeing the terror in her eyes, Mulder's voice softened. "What's wrong, are you all right? What happened?"
"I thought there was someone in my room-"
"What?" He started to get up from the bed to investigate.
Scully grabbed his arm. "No - I thought there was someone, but..." and as she looked at him in the warm, comfortable light of his room, she suddenly felt very safe and secure... and completely ridiculous. Then, as they sat there looking at each other, images of him from her dream began to surface. She shifted uncomfortably on the bed and lowered her eyes. "But I guess I was wrong."
He smiled and scratched the back of his head. "Are you telling me the unshakable Dana Scully had a nightmare?"
She felt like a complete fool for coming to him like this over some stupid dream, and he wasn't going to go easy on her. But that was the least of her worries. "I don't want to stay here anymore, Mulder."
"Can't we take a motel room or something in the morning?"
"We can't stay anywhere else, Scully. This is where it happens. If we go somewhere else we risk missing the very thing we came here to see."
She watched him uneasily.
Mulder rested a hand on her shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. "It was just a nightmare." He smiled at her. "These places can be a little spooky."
Back in her room, Scully sat in her bed with the lights on. She was resting against the headboard, the cover and pillows bunched around her as she played with her cross and mulled over her thoughts. She couldn't ever remember dreaming about Mulder that way. Whatever attraction there was between them, at this point she was glad to keep things the way they were. But then it really wasn't even Mulder there in the dream, was it? And if it wasn't a dream? Who - or what -
was it? She had told Mulder that she believed God's hand could be witnessed. If she accepted that, shouldn't she also accept that the devil's could also be seen? She was a scientist, she knew that almost every facet of this universe has its opposite: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction... So if she believed in God's power and his ability to cause miracles, shouldn't she also believe in forces just as powerful with malevolent intentions? She turned her head to the side in frustration. Her eyes came to rest on her gun, lying on the night stand beside her, just within arm's reach. A weapon intended for the penetration of human flesh. And she never felt more helpless.
The following morning Scully showered early and dressed long before Mulder stirred. She put on the light-weight beige suit she knew would be comfortable in the summer heat and ate a quick bite before starting for the other end of the house; she wanted to get a start before Mulder came down. She didn't get as much time as she'd hoped.
Scully startled and turned around to face Mulder as he entered the library. She was standing in the center of the room, looking over a large book she had opened on the center table. There were stacks of other books scattered on its surface.
He smiled as he approached. "Miss Scarlet in the Library with the pen?" He came up along side her and looked down at her, then at her book.
Scully put her pen down on the table and looked away, feeling like she'd just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
"What's this?" He pulled the book closer. "An Encyclopedia of Angels?"
"Well I was just looking..." She didn't finish the sentence.
Mulder turned a few of the pages, the wheels turning in his head. He straightened and looked back down at her. "What are you thinking?"
"Nothing, let's not get carried away..." she looked up at him and could clearly read his eyes: he wanted her to be straight with him. She raised her eyebrows and brought her eyes away from his intense stare and back to the book. "I don't know, Mulder, I just think maybe were dealing with something we hadn't considered here."
"Like what, Scully?"
Damn him. His eyes taunted her mercilessly: he was going to make her say it. She stared at him for a long moment, not believing she was actually going to say the words. She brought her eyes back to the books. "Like... demons."
"I know it sounds crazy but-"
"Why would that sound crazy to me, Scully? I 'm the one who suggested Casper, remember," he teased. His face turned serious as something dawned on him. "Wait a minute..." he pulled one of the other books closer and started flipping through. "You know what a succubus is, right?"
"Yes, you told me about them. But I thought you said they appeared as hags."
"Not always, sometimes-" he stopped and looked at her questioningly, "how did you know that?"
"Oh, um... I think I read something in one of these books..." she answered vaguely.
"Well, some legends hold the succubus or its male counterpart the incubus can appear as young, sexually attractive beings. Here, listen to this: 'These demons, sometimes called Magistellus, or 'familiars', can assume either a male or a female shape, sometimes appearing as a full grown man, sometimes as a satyr. The same evil spirit may serve as a succubus to a man, or an incubus to a woman. It may not be impertinently inquired how demons or evil intelligences can not only assume human flesh but perform the peculiarly carnal act of coition'."
"Demons having sex with humans? For what purpose?"
"Procreation." He looked back down at the text and continued: "The Bible suggests that connection of this kind is possible and that children may be born from it, and that these offspring would be 'mighty men of old, the men of renown'. Though the incubus does not possess his own semen, he collects it from men while masquerading as succubi and preserves it for later use on one of his victims."
"Victims? These weren't mutual encounters?"
"Well it was widely believed that witches willingly participated in these couplings, but that theory's fallen along the wayside with a more enlightened knowledge of Wicca. Besides, in most cases the victims are unwilling. They're deceived. Here..." he slid the book in her direction and indicated a passage.
Scully read it out loud: "There are countless reports of the demon taking advantage of a person in a mediumistic trance or hypnotic sleep, playing on the urges and longing thoughts of those who eagerly seek them, as evidenced by the fact that many times the creature assumes the shape of some person who the victim secretly desires." The color drained from her face. Now there was absolutely no way she was going to be able to tell him about this. Scully pulled her eyes from the book.
Mulder took it from her and moved around the table to take a seat as he continued: "Sex with demons was invariably portrayed as unpleasant and painful, with the demon often reportedly having an icy phallus and a skin tone that was almost reptilian in texture. Incubi were especially attracted to women with beautiful hair, young virgins, chaste widows and all 'devout females'." Mulder pulled the text closer. "There's a passage from the Bible here: 'The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair and'-" glancing up at Scully as he read, he stopped mid-sentence, noticing her pallor. "What is it?"
She didn't meet his gaze. "So how do you get rid of something like that?"
Mulder looked back at the book and his finger drifted down the page. " 'The Church prescribes five ways to get rid of incubi and succubi: one, by making a sacramental confession; two, by making the sign of the cross; three, by reciting the Ave Maria; four, by moving to another house or town; and five, by excommunication of the demon by holy men'."
Mulder nodded as he looked to the side.
"What are you thinking?"
He looked back at her. "Gotta be a church around here, right?"
The rectory was large and stone, not unlike Exeter House, except the inside hinted nothing of the dark and musty dampness of that old house they were staying in. Scully felt safe and secure there, as she always had, ever since she was a little girl. There was something about a church that made her feel at peace, at home.
Mulder and Scully walked outside along a covered path along the far wall with Sister Anne Marie, an older, slight woman in her late 50's. The setting sun was warm against their faces as they walked. Mulder and Scully were surprised to learn that this had not been the first case of unusual activity at Exeter House. Several years before, similar incidents had incited a local priest to perform an exorcism on the place, and their hadn't been any further incidents... until now.
"Are you certain Father Thomas won't talk to us?" Mulder tried again.
"Oh it's not just you Agent Mulder. He won't talk to anyone. He never received permission to perform the initial exorcism in the first place. The church rarely grants such requests. The whole thing was quite an embarrassment to the parish. Father Thomas left somewhat disgraced."
"Well maybe if we talked to him directly, we could convince him-"
"You might be able to convince him if you could find him."
Mulder and Scully stared at her, their expressions curious.
"About a year after it happened he left the church. No one has heard from him since."
The agents exchanged a frustrated glance: they'd lost their best opportunity to find out more about what had happened in the previous attacks that might shed some light on their current case.
They continued to walk in silence. As they neared the end of the walkway, an elderly nun, seeming to come out of nowhere, approached Scully and leaned in close. Scully was taken aback; the woman was tiny, several inches shorter than Scully, but her large pop-eyes, her pointy nose and chin came within inches of Scully's face and disconcerted her. Unlike most of the sisters they'd seen since arriving, she was wearing the traditional habit.
Those huge eyes were wide. "You helped a little boy once."
Scully stared at her.
"I know he'd want me to give this to you." She pulled a necklace out of her pocket and placed it in Scully's hand.
Scully tried to give it back to her. "No, I can't, really..."
The woman curled her fingers around Scully's. "Take it."
The two nuns who had been walking with the older one came and gently backed her away. One of them smiled apologetically at Scully. "Please excuse Sister Elizabeth, she gets a little... enthusiastic at times."
"No, no that's okay." Scully kept her eyes on the woman as they walked away.
Sister Elizabeth looked over her shoulder as she was lead away. "That will only help you if you know him." She turned back and let herself be escorted inside toward the building. "Only if you know him..." she muttered to herself as they disappeared inside.
Scully looked down at the necklace the Sister had given her. It was odd-looking: a round, greyish stone amulet with a leather chain. Scully's brows came together as she looked at the object. No, she thought, it was more than odd-looking - it was downright ugly.
The following evening Mulder and Scully sat in the library pouring over anything they could find about demonology and exorcism. They were hoping that maybe if they learned more about the particular spirit in that house, they'd be better equipped to deal with it.
"There are hundreds of entries here, Mulder, this could take all night."
He didn't respond.
"Well I'm not going to last much longer. I'm beat."
"Are you going to tell me what happened, Scully?" he asked suddenly.
She looked up from her book. "What?"
Mulder stared at her. He hadn't seen anything particularly out of the ordinary since they got there, but something had definitely rattled Scully. She'd been acting strangely since soon after they'd arrived, and she'd backed down on her psychogenic substance theory with far too little persuasion than was typically the case. Scully did tend to have less trouble accepting these types of cases because of her religious convictions, but still... something was going on that she wasn't telling him. "You didn't know about these spirits sometimes appearing as a younger person by reading it in some passage, Scully," he stated flatly.
Their eyes held.
Mulder's voice softened. "What happened?"
"Nothing, Mulder. I told you."
"Scully that night you came into my room you were terrified. I've never seen you like that. Tell me what happened."
"I had a dream. A nightmare."
"And you think now that maybe it wasn't a dream," he pushed.
"No, of course not. It was a dream." She looked away, her eyes focused far off as she replayed the dream in her mind. "But it was so strange," she conceded, "so real... I thought this man came into my room..."
"What did he look like?"
She stared at him. She was going to have to be selective in the information she offered up. "I didn't see him well, the dream was fading in and out... he was pale, heavy. He was on the bed with me... trying to touch me. It felt so real." Once again her eyes focused far off as the images continued to come, then she snapped out of it and looked back at Mulder, shaking her head. "It was just scary, I really thought there was someone in my room."
"There was nothing else strange about the dream?"
She avoided his eyes. She couldn't tell him about the horns; she couldn't even be sure that's what they were. And there was no chance in hell she was going to tell him about the other face she'd seen. "No."
He continued to stare at her, knowing she wasn't being straight with him, but then, she probably wasn't being straight with herself either.
"But it did give me the idea... it reminded me of what you told me about succubi and incubi."
Mulder nodded at her, and their eyes held for a long second.
She cleared her throat. "We better get back to work."
"Right." He tapped his pencil lightly on the table, then turned the page of the text he'd been looking at and read out loud: "But the skeptics are happier in their singleness, happy that they do not, will not, realize the monstrous things that lie only just beneath the surface of our cracking civilization."
Scully looked up and stared at him.
Mulder stared back, and he could see her eyes were dark and troubled and he was sorry for letting himself get that last dig in. He got up and approached her, resting a hand comfortingly on her shoulder. "I'll finish up here. Why don't you get some sleep?"
She offered an appreciative smile and nodded.
Mulder toyed with her cross and smiled. "And don't forget your Hail Mary's."
Mulder sat in bed flipping through the text he'd borrowed from the library. He'd been fighting off sleep with every fiber, and finally decided to bring up the book to get through as much as he could before he fell asleep. He sat against the head board, the covers halfway up his bare chest, propping the book up on his stomach. He'd barely made it through the A's when his eyelids grew heavy and he started to fade. The words were blurring as his eyes skimmed the entries: Ayida... Aynia... Azariel... Azazel... Mulder sat up suddenly, abruptly awakened by something in that last entry that caught his eye. He read the passage:
Azazel. Bible, Old Testament. An evil spirit or demon, a scapegoat. In some religious folklore Azazel is credited with being one of the angels who came down from heaven to have intercourse with the daughters of men, teaching men witchcraft and warfare. He has been described as a "Cherub Tall" who holds the glittering staff of fallen angels; a fat, naked man with horns who was often pictured with a goat.
Mulder let the book fall against his chest and considered the entry. It was too coincidental that Scully should mention seeing a heavy man in her dream and reading an entry where the demon was described in the same manner... or was it? There could be others - he'd only been through the A's. He set the book on the night table and turned off the light. He'd go through the rest tomorrow, just to make sure. But if his suspicions were right, at least they had a place to start. They could contact the DC office in the morning and get Archives to fax them any information they could on this particular subject. Mulder closed his eyes and the image of the demon from the drawing in the book flashed in his mind. And then he could understand clearly why Scully had come tearing into his room that night.
Mulder woke with a start. Someone was in his room. He turned his head quickly to the side and saw that Scully was kneeling by his bed, her hands resting gently on his arm. She looked so small, even for her. The moonlight illuminated her frame and enhanced the colors of her face: the paleness of her skin, the blue of her eyes, the crimson of her lips and hair. They conversed in whispers. "Scully?"
"What's wrong? Did you have another nightmare?"
She nodded slowly at him.
Mulder stared at her. There was something strange about her face, a lack of any emotion that left her looking like a pale reflection of the person that was his partner and friend.
She reached for the sheet and lifted it. "Can I come in here with you?"
"What?" His body tensed as she slid in next to him and brought her face close.
"I'm scared. Will you hold me?"
"Scully..." Was she sleep walking? Or was he dreaming? He felt so strange... She moved on top of him, her bare legs sliding against his, and his arms came around her. "I don't think this is a good idea..."
She responded by starting a steady stream of light kisses along his lips.
A warm desire spread through his body and he fought it every step of the way, but in spite of his best efforts, as if by reflex alone, his hands slowly caressed her back through the slippery fabric of her nightshirt. He wondered if he really was dreaming, and hoped to God he was because he was starting not to care.
She kissed him deeply, and it was the strangest sensation: it was erotic, arousing, her mouth was soft and wet... but cold, like she had only seconds before had an ice cube in her mouth. The desire rose in him and he let his hands move over her body unheeded. She sat up, straddling him, and her head arched back slightly in pleasure. But when she lowered her face to look at him, those blue eyes that should have been luminescent in the moonlight were black, completely black, as if her pupils had dilated and eclipsed the entire eye. "Wha-"
Mulder woke abruptly from sleep, soaking in his own sweat. He sat up and ran a hand back over his hair, then across his chest. Something wasn't right... He moved his hand into the moonlight, and saw that it wasn't sweat that was covering him, but blood. He bolted from the bed and looked down at his chest, which was also stained with the sticky liquid. Where was it coming from? And then something shimmering in the moonlight caught his eye. He approached the bed and leaned in close: Scully's cross was lying among the bloodied sheets. "NO!" Mulder took a few steps backward in terror, knocking over a table behind him and almost landing on the floor. When he looked back at the bed, there was no blood, no necklace. Mulder shook his head quickly and rubbed his eyes. What the hell was going on? Had he been sleep walking? Probably... but the dream had left him with the overwhelming urge to go check on Scully. He pulled his jeans on and then put on a T-shirt before heading into the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face. He ran his hands under the water, then over his face, then back over his hair. He turned off the water and reached for a towel. He caught his reflection in the mirror above the sink and did a double-take at what he saw there: blood, everywhere, covering his hands, his face, the once crisp white towel. Mulder stumbled back until he came up against the far wall and his hand groped for the light. His fingers found the switch and flipped it on. And as soon as the light came, the blood was gone again. Mulder's breathing slowed. But something was wrong. Very wrong. He ran for Scully's room.
Since that first night Scully had been left to sleep undisturbed. But not tonight. Once again she stirred in sleep as she had the distinct impression something was on the bed with her. No, she thought, not again...
Mulder slowed as he arrived at Scully's door and listened intently. It was quiet. Maybe Scully was right, maybe your imagination did run wild with you in a place like this. Whatever they thought they might be dealing with, he really hadn't seen anything that out of the ordinary. He had had a nightmare, that's all. And now here he was about to burst into her room because of some dream; the very thing he'd teased her for. He turned and took a few steps away, then stopped and looked back at the door. Hesitating, he turned once more and headed back for his room.
She couldn't stop it this time, couldn't wake herself up. The panic washed over her as she felt a weight come down on top of her, suffocating her, and her thoughts turned to that necklace... before she went to bed she had stared at it for the longest time, telling herself she was being ridiculous, but ultimately she had reached for it, slipping it over her head to sleep with - just in case. So much for that.
Mulder stopped as he reached his door. He could not shake that feeling. "Damn it!" he whispered to himself and he turned and once more headed back for Scully's room. He arrived at her door and quickly opened it. It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the darkness so he could barely make it out... but there was movement from the bed, he could hear the hushed rustle of bedcovers; and it looked like something was under the sheet with her. Mulder flipped on the lights and as he did the sheet flew off the end of the bed.
Scully blinked as her eyes adjusted to the light, she appeared dazed and disoriented. She turned her head in the direction of the door, still half asleep. "Mulder?"
"Scully are you all right?"
She didn't respond, and after a moment Mulder slowly approached the bed. Scully was lying on her back with her arms up and out to the side, her hands resting near her head. She stared at him, and her eyes were foggy with confusion.
Scully looked up at Mulder in the now bright room and started to realize that she was no longer dreaming. She tried to get up but found she could not move. She gasped and looked down as she felt something moving up her legs, her eyes widened as the edge of her nightshirt inched up the slightest bit.
Mulder knelt on the bed and watched with fascination as her nightshirt moved, as if some invisible hands had slipped beneath it.
Once more Scully tried to get up, and this time Mulder watched as the skin around her wrist suddenly depressed itself as if something were holding it down. His breath escaped him and he instinctively backed off the bed, away from whatever it was.
Her eyes were wide in terror. "Mulder what's happening?!"
Pulling himself together, Mulder got back on the bed, kneeling beside her. He waved his hands in the air in front of her; he couldn't feel or see anything, yet he knew something was there. He tried to wrap an arm around her waist to pull her from the bed, when a powerful blast of cold hit his chest like a wrecking ball and sent him right off the bed and on to the floor.
Scully looked over at him in shock as he emerged from the side of the bed, stunned and scared. "Mulder!"
Getting back on the bed, Mulder this time positioned himself up by her head. He slipped his hands under her shoulders, hooking his arms around them and maneuvering until he was successful in prying her upper half off the bed. Then her back was against his chest, and, having a better grip, he pulled her back with as much force as he could exert without hurting her in the process, but it wasn't enough.
Scully kicked her legs out in front of her; though she could not see anything, she could feel a tight, steely grip on her ankles.
Mulder held on to her for dear life; maybe he couldn't free her, but there was no way he was going to let go of her either. He was not about to sit there and watch this happen to her. His mind grasped for something to do, some way to get it off her. Looking down over her front, and his eyes came to rest on that amulet the elderly nun had given her... and he remembered the old woman's words. His mind worked quickly. Could it be that simple?
The fear was rising in her as Scully realized this thing was not going to let go. Mulder's arms were tight around her, and she was quite sure he wasn't about to let go either, and she began to wonder if she would come out of this in one piece. And then, Mulder suddenly spoke, startling her...
The single word he uttered sounding almost like a question: "Azazel."
The room fell silent for a long second, deafeningly silent, and both Mulder and Scully's ears were left ringing. Scully could feel that she was free from her invisible captor. Then, they watched mesmerized as a thin, black smoke suddenly materialized and hung in the air before them.
"What is it?" Scully breathed.
Her question went unanswered as Mulder stared at it, his mouth slightly open. Scully could hear him breathing unevenly at her ear.
The dark cloud started drifting towards her and Scully backed further into Mulder's chest. They both watched as the cloud seemed steadily drawn to the amulet she was wearing, twisting and writhing in apparent resistance, then disappeared into it. Scully looked down at the thing around her neck and she could not have been more scared if she looked down and saw a tarantula there on her chest.
Mulder quickly grabbed the necklace and, snapping it off her neck, threw it on to the floor. It skidded across the hard wood surface and came to rest in front of the door. They both stared at it; the air around them was cool, but their body temperatures were soaring as they sat there on the bed breathing heavily.
"What happened, Mulder?" Her voice sounded small and far away.
Mulder responded by shaking his head slowly.
After a moment, Scully got up from the bed and headed for the armoire. She opened it, and after pulling her suitcase from under the bed, started hastily stuffing her clothes into it.
Mulder turned to look at her. "What are you doing?"
"I'm not staying another second in this place, Mulder."
"Scully it's all right, I think it's gone. Didn't you see? It was pulled into that charm; I think it's trapped there. I was reading in one of those books-"
"Well, I'll take your word for it, but I'm not going to stand around and wait to see if you're wrong."
"We should stay and make sure."
"No, Mulder, we should take that thing, get out of here and destroy it!" She motioned toward the door as she spoke, but when she glanced toward it, she did a double-take - there was no necklace on the floor. "What..." she surveyed the floor, and Mulder got on his hands and knees on the bed and scanned the floor with her. She looked back at Mulder. "What happened where is it?" She looked at the floor again, as if to assure herself it was really gone. "Did you take it?"
Mulder kept staring at the empty space on the floor. He shook his head slowly and looked back at Scully. He held her gaze. "I'll get my things."
The plane's engine droned on but did little to quiet Scully's thoughts. She glanced over at Mulder. They hadn't been in the air ten minutes and he was sleeping soundly. Scully brought her gaze back out the window. She still wondered if she'd hallucinated the whole thing, that she and Mulder had experienced some sort of shared psychosis induced by an unseen substance somewhere inside the house as she had initially proposed... but she was having a hard time convincing herself of that. They had stayed on at a local motel for another week, but no further incidents were reported. Two days after they'd left, a young couple visiting from Germany came to stay at Exeter House and as far as they knew they hadn't experienced anything unusual. Mulder seemed confident that whatever had been there was gone. But what *was* it? She had said once that she feared that God was speaking and that no one was listening. If that were true, were they leaving themselves open to forces of darkness, be they in the form of evil spirits or cigarette-smoking malefactors? And if so, was humankind doomed to end in the apocalyptic predictions she'd learned about ever since she was a little girl?
Once more she turned to watch Mulder as he slept. No, there were still good people out there; people who would pursue the truth not for greed or power but because it was right. People like Mulder. She hesitated, then leaned in slowly until her head came to rest against his shoulder.
Somewhere in his dream state, Mulder was drawn to a warm and sweet-smelling head next to him, and shifted to rest his cheek against it.
Closing her eyes, Scully tried to find sleep, but the thoughts continued to stir in her mind. Mulder needed to pursue his truths, his beliefs, but Scully just accepted hers. Maybe that was the difference between them, the difference between belief and faith. Mulder had the belief that there were truths out there that needed to be found, whose existence had to be proved, and Scully had the faith that some things just existed, that they needed no explanation, no verification. But did those differences really matter? She didn't think so, because the most important thing they both had faith in: their trust in each other.