Type: Case file - a little bit of MTA
Summary - Notes by agent Fox Mulder
Note: I discovered this story I had written years ago in a stack of old floppy discs and realized I had never posted it anywhere. So here you go.
Never before had I seen a real estate agent in Washington so eager to sell a place near Boston as that early Monday morning, the 13th of May. A bad number, a bad day, I could practically hear him think. I should have known he was selling Peter out, but my friend was so glad that he finally could buy a house, that I didn't want to spoil his fun.
We had seen pictures of a giant house near Cape Majesta - a small town near Boston, on the top of a hill, looking over the ocean. We saw a lightning tower from the back porch, and the scenery was so beautiful, that Peter couldn't keep his eyes from it. He passed the photo to Lindsey, as he enthusiastically exclaimed, "It's perfect, Mr. Gallagher. We would love to buy it." I wanted to slap my friend around and tell him not to look so damned eager. How could he possibly get a good deal when he already sold his eagerness out?
"Fine," Gallagher spoke calmly as he delivered a contract. "Sign here, here and here. Your down payment seems okay, so I don't see any more problems. I expect you to arrange everything with the bank from here on."
"Wait a minute," I came in the middle. "Peter, you haven't actually seen the house. Shouldn't you go up there first?' Peter looked dazed at me, and then at Scully who was still sitting near the door, where she had taken place as soon as we got in Gallagher's office. She looked at me as if to express, "This is your friend, Mulder. You sort it out." I had dragged her along because I could use her rationality to stop Peter from going nuts, and now she deserted me. I pulled a face and returned my focus on Peter.
With feverish eyes, Peter spoke, "what do you suggest should I do, Mulder? I want this house."
"Decide now, Mr. Mason," Gallagher interrupted us, throwing a hateful glance at me. He was making the deal of a lifetime and I was meddling in his affairs. "This house is extremely popular. I've got ten more buyers waiting outside. But I want you to have it. You seem nice folks. What do you think?'
Peter looked at Lindsey, and then again apologetically at me. "My family lived there for years, until my grandfather died and my father had to sell it. It rightfully belongs to me even though I have never seen it. It has always been that way. I'll take it, Mr. Gallagher."
"Fine." Impatiently Gallagher pointed at the 'X' again. "Sign here, please." And I saw Peter sign a contract for a house he had never seen. But he was happy, and so was Lindsey. And so I shut my mouth, and hoped for the best.
Gallagher didn't know how to get rid of us soon enough. As soon as the contract was signed and sealed, he muttered," Thank you. Excuse me now, I've got another appointment." And he practically pushed us out. Outside Peter grinned, while waving the keys:'Lindsey and I are leaving right now, Mulder. I don't know how to thank you."
"I didn't do a thing," I muttered, angry because I could not have stopped this ludicrous deal. "You did it all yourself, my friend. I hope you'll be happy at the Cape."
"You will come over soon, won't you?'
"How about right now?' I asked. "We've got a case in Boston, so we're not far away from the Cape. And I must admit, I am curious about the house."
"You can stay with us," Lindsey offered. "I'm sure we'll find some spare beds." I looked at Scully and waited for her reply. My partner raised her shoulders and muttered, "Sure, that would be great."
We agreed to go together that afternoon. We all went home to pack our bags. At the airport we took four tickets to Boston. I left a message at Skinner's office saying that we were on the 'Peterson case' and then we took off. Peter and Lindsey were excited. My old college-friend was extremely happy that his childhood dream had come true.
We rented a car. I drove. We passed several great houses, and every time I saw Peter's disappointment because it wasn't the house he had bought. The keys were lying in his hand. He fiddled with them. He could not remember anything of the few visits he had done as a toddler, just before his father had sold the house. He looked straight in front of him. Finally we drove up a hill. We saw several large villas.
And then, at the top, we saw it: Peter's dream house. That is to say: dream house? Jesus Christ, Gallagher had double-crossed him. This house was a ruin! There was nothing left but walls and a rooftop that needed fixing as soon as possible. The gardens hadn't been taken care of in years. It was a total disaster.
Lindsey had tears in her eyes as she whispered, "Oh my god, Peter." And my friend bit his lip and tried to hide his disappointment. The car stopped in front of the house. I turned off the engine reluctantly. I wanted to drive off immediately again. Instead I turned to the back, looked at Peter. "It's better that we check into a hotel tonight, Peter."
"No, no ... we're staying right here. Mulder, I'm sorry. I didn't expect this. I'll bring you guys to a hotel in town, and we - well, I guess we are going to have a lot of work here."
"Don't be silly, Peter," Scully said - and at that time I could kiss her just for saying what she did - 'you're not staying here alone. Mulder and I are only expected in Boston tomorrow, so we've got a whole day ahead to clean this place up. Once we get a fire started in the living room, things will get better, I'm sure."
Lindsey looked hopeful at my partner, and agreed. "She's right, Peter. It'll turn out good, I know. Let's go inside." Peter used the key to open the front door. Inside fortunately things did look better, and just as Scully, I anticipated that a whole day's work would change a great deal.
"Alright," I said hopefully. "Let's start to work." We walked about the house, checking each room. The bedrooms were in pretty good state. We found old beds, but the mattresses were all right. The rooms were large and bright, and once the thick, dark curtains were opened, bright sunlight spread its wings.
Downstairs things however did turn out differently. The living room was a mess. It would cost us more than a day to clean this up. "It doesn't matter," Peter spoke. "We'll clean up what we can, burn the garbage, and make a fire. It's chilly here, don't you think?'
I walked up to the window, looked outside and saw the lightning house from the picture. "At least the view wasn't a lie." Peter stared at me for a second, and then started to laugh. His laughter was loud and clear. It relieved the pressure.
"Alright," Peter said once we got changed. "Mulder, you and I are driving into town to get some equipment and groceries."
"We will start upstairs," Lindsey answered, grabbing her husband's hands as she kissed him. It was very obvious to my partner and I that these two would have lived in a shack if it would have them stay together. "This is the house, isn't it?' Peter asked her anxiously. She smiled softly, as to agree. She did not say a word though.
I took the car keys, moved behind the wheel, and waited until Peter stepped in. As we left, I couldn't help but notice a few cats hanging around the house. They stared directly at us, waiting to see what we were doing. "You even got pets," I pointed out to Peter. He grinned. "Yeah, right."
I took the same road back into town. Majesta turned out to be a small town. Our car was noticed immediately once we drove in, and as we stepped out, we saw several faces turn our way. At the local grocery store we bought supplies and small equipment. At the counter the young woman looked up at us and asked, "Tourists?"
"No," Peter answered. "I bought a house here." Her eyes looked up in wonder as she asked," What house?"
"The one on top of the hill. The white one." Full of surprise she dropped everything she had in hands and repeated, "The white house?"
"Yeah," I spoke up. "Is there a problem?"
"No ... no ..." Hastily she put our groceries in bags, shoved the bags practically in my arms, and replied nervously, "Well, the previous couple said they were scared out of the house. They say it's a haunted house, you know."
"Right," Peter smiled. "Don't they say that of all houses?'
The girl smiled. "Good luck. You'll need it."
"Thanks," Peter grinned and pulled me with him. He obviously didn't understand anything, neither did I, but hey, I was used to stuff like this. For once - just this once though - I was hoping not to get involved in strange things. But again - once again - I got caught in the middle of it. I felt it as we stepped into the car, and drove back up the hill. I saw it when we saw the cats roaming around the house. There were more of them now. Not three, not four, but at least fifteen. Black, white, coloured, grey, ... all kinds, all sorts, roaming around that house.
Peter acted as if he didn't notice it. We got out. A cat walked up to him, and started to rub herself against his legs. He bent over, touched the cat, and walked on. She followed him inside. He kicked her back out.
The smell of coffee came towards us as soon as we got in. Surprised I noticed that the living room had been given a touch of home. Scully and Lindsey had pulled two sofas against the fire. In the fireplace chunks of wood were waiting to be burnt. The curtains were opened. We saw cats on the bench. "Did you see all those cats?' Lindsey asked. "What is going on here? Did everyone drop off their pet here or what?"
"We're not going to feed them," Peter said. "They would cost us our entire budget." Lindsey smiled. "They'll take off soon now that someone lives here again."
I looked outside, and caught a glimpse of the sun, disappearing behind clouds. "We'd better get some work done. That sky doesn't look too promising. There's going be a storm tonight."
"Great," Peter muttered angrily. "That's all we need." Scully and I went upstairs, while the others started downstairs. In the first bedroom, while cleaning up the mess with my partner, I thanked her. Covered with a year-old dust, she looked up and rubbed her nose, leaving black spots on it. "What for?"
"You didn't have to do this. You hardly know these people."
"Well, I didn't have anything better to do, and of course I couldn't resist your invitation." I smiled. "Thanks anyway."
Together we got three bedrooms in order before the evening fell. Then thunder rolled from the sky, and we were just in time to close up the place. Lindsey and Peter had created a fire downstairs. Somehow - without electricity or comfort Lindsey had managed to cook a great meal. We spent it in front of the fireplace, while the flames threw strange images against the walls.
Scully could hardly keep her eyes open. She lent against me, desperately trying to keep her attention. "Come on, Scully," I said. "Let's go." I pulled her up, and she smiled apologizing to the others. "Good night," Peter spoke, "See you in the morning. Don't let the bedbugs bite." We looked at each other and started to laugh at the same time, remembering a night a long time ago, surrounded by circus people.
I slept like a baby that night, covered in warm sheets and blankets. The wind threw itself against the outer wall, but it didn't keep me awake. In fact, I was enjoying the sound.
However, the next morning, the noise of two cars woke me up. Opening the curtains I saw Peter standing on the porch, talking with three men. I dressed quickly and walked down. Lindsey and Scully were probably still sleeping. "No!' I heard Peter say. "This house is not for sale. I just bought it."
"You don't seem to understand, sir," the man in grey suit responded. "You couldn't have bought it. The state demands it. It's ours. It's going to be put down to the ground. Senator Wilkinson is building a house here."
"No," Peter repeated. "No way. My family lived here for centuries. It's mine. I have the lease here."
"We'll get you out, sir," the other man spoke in a non-threatening way. "One way or another."
"What's going here ?' I asked. "Butt out," the man in the grey suit spoke. "I'm a Federal Agent," I replied. "Should you threaten this man, it could become a Federal offense. I suggest you watch your words, sir."
"What is your name?"
"Special Agent Fox Mulder."
"You are going to be reported by your superiors. Do you know who I work for?"
"Yes, I do. You have just mentioned the senator's name. And I can assure you you're not the only one with connections in the Senate. So why don't you just get in your car and drive home, sir. Before things get out of hand."
"Come on," the man in the blue suit said. "Let's go." As they stepped in, one of the cats jumped at his arm, and scratched his fingers. "Ahh!' The blue-suited man kicked the animal away. We saw his hand bleed. I couldn't help but smirk. The cat walked slowly towards me, and started throwing herself against my legs as if to show me she helped me. I bent down and picked her up. She curled up.
"Good on ya, girl," I whispered. She flew out of my arms and walked to the house, where she took a spot on the porch. Suddenly, as I turned around to the house, I noticed the strangeness of those cats. There were more of them now - about twenty, thirty, and they had taken place all around the house, as if to watch it.
"Peter?' I said to my friend who was looking at the leaving cars. "Who has lived here before you?"
"I don't know. A couple. They moved."
"And before that?"
"My grandfather. I never quite knew hem. My father had a fight with him when he was twenty. He moved out. My father never forgave him. That's why he ordered to sell the house after his death. Come, Mulder."
He took me inside, where we looked at some old paintings on the wall of Peter's family. "This house was built in 1790," Peter explained not without any pride. "I'm proud it finally came back into the family. This time it's going to stay here." I hoped so, for him. But somehow I knew the worries weren't over. He could deny the existence of the men in the cars, but they would come back. I knew it.
We worked hard until noon. Scully and I had agreed on leaving around three, since our appointment in town was at six. Right after lunch we decided to investigate the rest of Peter's property. We ended up at a small private graveyard, about two hundred feet from the house. It was old. The last man buried here, was Peter's grandfather. We saw an old tombstone, and a crypt, with unlocked door.
Words above the door were spelled out, Even in death we protect our family. Peter opened it. It was a cold and chilly place, with stacked coffins. Lindsey did not feel comfortable and grasped her husband's arm. "I'm scared, Peter. Let's head back." As he closed the iron door, we saw several cats sitting on the tombstones. They were watching us. And the sky turned dark again. Before we reached the house, it started raining again. Inside, it was nice and warm, but outside it was cold, despite the time of year. Very soon Scully and I came to realize we were trapped. We could not head for Boston, and had no other option than to stay one more night. We could not reach anyone to notify them. The cell phones did not work; neither did the regular phones.
That night we would spend at the house again. This time I didn't sleep steady. My instincts told me I had to be cautious, ready to handle any problem. And problems were coming.
In the middle of the night I heard a noise. A car. It stopped in front of the house. I got out of bed, grabbed my gun, and walked up to the window. I saw torches. Jesus Christ, I thought, they were going to burn down the house! I ran out, knocked on Scully's door and yelled, "Scully! Get up! Get up!' She heard me immediately, and opened the door. "There are intruders," I warned her. "Get the others."
I ran downstairs, opened the door and stared right into the eyes of the man who came to kill us. They were wearing masks. I pointed my gun at the first one and cried out," Drop the flashlight!'
One of the others seemed to reach for a gun. I looked at him. From the corner of my eye I saw something coming towards me from the side. I reacted too late. I felt something hit me behind the ear. I fell down dazed and dropped the gun as I cried out. Then the object came down on me again, but this time several cats jumped on my attacker, and clawed at him. He yelled. I saw the bandage on his hand from a previous attack. He cried out for help as he ran to his car, got behind the wheel, and hardly waited for the others.
The cats jumped on them now, somehow protecting me as they clawed at my attackers. For a few moments I saw stars but the pain quickly subsided. I crawled up as they ran to their cars and took off.
"Mulder." Scully was by my side. I looked at her, wondering why she was so late to come to my rescue, only to figure out it had taken a mere few seconds for all of this to happen. "I'm fine," I grinned painfully. She touched the sore spot and seemed to be satisfied with my self-diagnoses.
"What the hell is going on here?' Peter ran out of the house barefoot, staring at the lights of the vehicles who took off.. "Who are those guys?"
"They definitely are eager to get rid of you, Peter." I looked at him, fearing for his safety. "They wanted to burn the place down. I guess they really want this house badly. Scully and I will try to find out what is going on here."
"I'll go into town first thing in the morning," Scully proposed. "I'll get the police down here. This is obviously a local matter that has been lingering about for some time."
"We'll stay here but you have to take Lindsey with you," Peter proposed, "someone has to guard the house."
It's unnecessary to say we didn't get any sleep that night. In the early morning hours Scully and Lindsey left. Peter and I stayed behind alone. He looked tired and agitated. I had a splitting headache. "Look," I proposed. "Why don't you get some rest? I'll keep watch until they get back. Just go upstairs and get some sleep."
It didn't take much persuasion to get him upstairs. I heard him close the door, walked up to the porch and looked at the guarding cats. Why were they here? What was going on? Somehow I knew that the history of this house was related to those animals, and that they were not strays after all.
I sat down with the gun in my hands, and watched. I saw shadows near the graveyard. I got up, walked down the porch and walked slowly towards them, with my gun pointed in front of me. "Federal Agent!' I cried out. There were two of them. They were just standing there, waiting. I stood still and ordered, "'Put your hands up, right now!"
"Stay calm, agent Mulder," the man with the scratched face and hands said. "We came to talk this time."
"Yeah, right," I said. "Keep them up."
They had their hands in the air as they approached me. I took two steps off the porch. The next moment something hard hit me in the neck. I fell. Hands pushed me down to the ground but they shouldn't have. I felt dizzy. The headache had subsided into numbness. "Get rid of him," the man in the blue suit spoke.
They pulled me up and dragged me along. I couldn't move. I heard the noise of an opening, iron door. Then the ground slipped away under me, and I rolled down steps. I ended up on the floor, in darkness, flooding in it.
The sound of dropping water woke me up. I was alone in the dark and cold. As I tried to get up, my head was banging like hell. I tried to reach out. Jesus, where was I? I felt cold stones, wood - old, dead wood - iron. I saw small beams of light through iron. I was inside the crypt.
I waited until my eyes adjusted on the darkness, before I crawled up and moved towards the steps, and tried the door. It was closed. They must have blocked it with something. "Hey!' I yelled. "Let me out!' I banged on the door, but no one heard me. I turned around, staring in the darkness. I heard rats. For a second I started to panic. I didn't like this utter darkness.
"Scully - Scully!' I cried out her name, knowing she could not possibly hear me. I could have been here forever. It could have been days after the fact. But I was certain that it had only been an hour or so. I remembered Peter, resting inside the house. He was in grave danger. Damn it, I had to get out!
"Scully! Scully!!" I threw myself against the door. It wouldn't budge. I tried again. The fourth time, while my entire body was hurting, the door suddenly gave in. I fell forwarded, landed on the ground between tombstones, and crawled up. The house was too quiet. The world turned black again.
Raindrops fell. Cats were all around me. They touched me, as if to get me to the house. I ran. My gun. It was still on the ground, just outside the graveyard. I picked it up and ran to the house. Their cars were still standing there. A car came towards us. Scully and Lindsey. As I reached the porch, they stepped out.
"Mulder!' Scully ran towards me, spotting the blood on in my neck and on the back of my head. "Mulder, what's happened?"
"They came back," I spoke almost breathlessly. I pushed open the front door. Cats were alone around the house. They ran upstairs. I heard laughter up there. I ran up the stairs. Shouting. I pushed open Peter's bedroom door, just in time to see how they held him, ready to push him out of the window.
The blue-suited man turned around, saw me, reacted rather surprised. Then everything changed. In a whirl of colours the world around us changed. The cats. They were everywhere, but they didn't attack. They changed with the colours of the world. We saw them - me, and Scully and Lindsey who witnessed the whole thing.
Peter, surrounded by enemies. The three attackers. And myself. We saw the cats change into ghosts. Ghosts from the past. Ghosts, dressed in old-fashioned clothes of centuries past. Faces we recognized. Peter's family. They all changed, and surrounded their enemies.
A man - a ghost - spoke to us without saying a word. A voice in our heads silently whispered, "this house is ours. Kindly leave us alone. The blue-suited man grabbed Peters arm even more firmly. The next moment invisible forces drove him out of the window. He smashed against the stone platform.
I pointed my gun at the other men, "Let him go - unless you want to die alongside your friend."
My words weren't even necessary anymore. They let him go. Peter smiled softly, did a step forward and stared at his family. His grandfather nodded, as he spoke up, "this house is ours to keep. We've driven away the others, but you belong here. You can't leave like your father did. This is your inheritance."
"I won't," Peter vowed.
The old man nodded approvingly.
As the storm passed, the ghosts passed as well, as if nothing ever happened. Scully was in shock and disbelief, and asked several times, "Mulder, what we just saw - It was real, wasn't it?"
I smiled. "Yeah, Scully, it was real."
"Unbelievable." She walked downstairs, while a police car drove up the lane, to pick up the mess.
Needless to say senator Wilkinson never got his hands on the territory he so desired.
Peter and Lindsey? I think you could consider them safe, surrounded by the ghosts of Peter's family. The next time Scully and I were in Boston, we visited them. I couldn't help but smile when I saw the dozens of cans of cat food standing in a cupboard. Peter's family was a hungry one...