Title- The Phantom
Summary- Mulder takes Scully on an assignment dealing with a ghost haunting a community recreation center.
Scully entered the office in an unfamiliar giddy manner. She swept in smelling of freesia and looking as though the 2 ton boulder that she had been carrying around for the past week had been lifted from her shoulder. As Scully seated herself in the swivel chair opposite her partner's desk, he detached his gaze from the blinking computer screen and greeted her with a friendly smile.
"What's the story morning glory?" he asked noticing her pleasant demeanor.
With a sigh of relief, she answered, "They're gone! They left for the airport at about 4 this morning, so my guess is that they're probably on the plane back to Philadelphia right now."
"You were waiting for them to leave even before they arrived. It's not like your cousin's children are juvenile delinquents."
"Save it Mulder. You haven't met Dan and Sara; they're rejects from Hell!"
Noticing Scully's tendency to say things she didn't actually mean, Mulder laughed inwardly. After a moment of exchanging glances, Mulder turned off his computer and flung a file at Scully.
"What is it today, Mulder? Giant birdmen? Flying jackals?" Scully asked sarcastically.
"So close yet so far away, Scully. Does the name Erica Saul sound familiar?" asked Mulder taking a seat on the corner of his desk.
Scully noticed Mulder's unusually elaborate tie but failed to comment on the little green men wearing shades. She couldn't resist a slight smirk though.
"Yeah, I read about her in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago. She was that 8 year-old drowning victim from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She was in the swimming pool at a recreation center, when she and a friend decided to have a contest to see who could hold their breath longest under water. Both went under..."
"And only one came up. They never found Erica."
"Alright. So, what's the case Mulder?" Scully asked impatiently as usual.
"I'm getting to that. They searched everywhere figuring that she hadn't actually drowned but slipped out of the pool while her friend was still under water."
"So, this could be a runaway or kidnapping situation."
"Not so fast. The police kept everyone at the pool for questioning, but nobody, not even her own mother who had kept a close eye on her the whole time, saw Erica leave. Here comes the spooky part. The night of her disappearance as the janitors were locking up, they heard noises: a child's laughter, the pitter-patter of small feet running around, water splashing. One of the men went to see if it was the lost girl who was in the swimming pool area and noticed little wet footprints and the water tossing back and forth as though somebody was in the pool. I guess he got the other janitors to come take a look, and one guy got too close to the edge. Luckily the other men pulled him out, because he couldn't swim. He claimed someone gripped his ankle and pulled him into the water. He had the bruise marks to prove it."
"Yet, nobody saw anyone or anything in the water." Scully said with disbelief.
"I think whatever was in the pool took on Erica Saul's identity to lure those men to the water."
"So, we're going to Cape Cod to see if some sort of ghost is haunting a YMCA."
After a brief silence, Mulder nodded his head with uncertainty and offered that it would be a scenic road trip.
It was about 7:45 P.M. when Mulder arrived at the recreation center. Scully had drifted to sleep in the passenger's seat at about the time they had reached the Sagamore Bridge. Mulder was tempted to wake his partner but decided to let her rest a little while longer. She appeared so peaceful, and Mulder knew the past week had been hectic dealing with her cousin's "hellish runts".
This was the first moment that Mulder had time to simply think to himself in a long while. He turned his attention on Scully and began to reflect back on all of the times he had dragged her along with him on some frivolous assignment. Obviously doubting Mulder's lack of rationality, she'd come up with her own scientific theories to their cases. Scully always kept Mulder grounded.
"Mulder, when did we get here? What time is it?" Scully asked wearily as she awoke.
"Oh, I was just about to wake you up. We haven't been here for long" Mulder lied. He checked his watch and said, "It's 8:13."
"What time do they close?"
Mulder sounded worn out, and Scully knew that this was undoubtedly a case just to keep them occupied.
"Alright let's go in before they lock all of the doors" Mulder said while getting out of the car.
Scully followed Mulder to the front of the building where they checked to see if the doors were unlocked, but they weren't. They began to check all of the entrances, and every one was latched.
br> "Dammit, Mulder how are we going to get in without breaking the law?" Scully asked disappointedly after trying the last door.
"This one's also locked?!" Mulder asked frustrated initially grabbing the handle.
The door suddenly opened. Scully laughed with the satisfaction of duping Mulder and exclaimed, "I had you!"
As Scully proceeded into the swimming pool area, a chill went up her spine. Out of everything she had seen or experienced while working on the X-Files (and that's including the Fluke Worm), ghosts were her worst fear. Suddenly realizing that she might be dealing with the spirit of a dead person, she subtly moved in Mulder's direction.
As they paced around the swimming pool searching for signs of a supernatural being, they began to hear tiny footsteps.
Scully turned around when she heard the familiar innocent voice.
"Emily?" Scully asked eyeing the room for her daughter.
Mulder turned to his partner to see a grief-stricken look on her face. This thing was using Emily as Scully's weakness.
"Dana, it's not Emily. Don't listen to it!"
"Mommy, come play in the water with me."
As the phantom entered the water, Scully followed close behind but stopped at the top step.
"No!" Mulder yelled out to Scully frantically running towards her.
Mulder reached out to snatch her from behind, but it was too late. Desperately trying to grab Scully's hand, he reached as far into the water as his arm could stretch. Mulder found no other way to save her than to jump in himself. Scully was struggling to separate herself from the being's grasp and attain air, but it was too powerful. Mulder quickly embraced her before they sunk to the bottom of the pool and detached her ankle from the phantom's grip. In an attempt to keep Scully from losing consciousness, he pressed his soft warm lips to her tender blue lips and gently blew oxygen into her weak lungs. When they reached the surface, Mulder wrapped his strong arm around Scully's waist and helped her out of the pool.
"Scully I'll be right back," Mulder said while assisting her into the passenger's seat of the car.
Mulder rushed back inside. Approaching the pool, he retrieved a small bottle of hydrochloric acid from the inside pocket of his coat.
"Here monster, monster, monster!" Mulder summoned the being.
To obtain a better look, he bent down close to the edge. All of a sudden, he felt something clutch his leg and tug. Mulder quickly but carefully unscrewed the cap of the bottle and threw it into the water. A long mournful cry sounded through the room and Mulder watched as the acid dissolved the being.