Title: Clara's House
Author: C. L. Hutchins

Summary: The haunted home of a queen of the silent screen comes under scrutiny when declared a historical site, and it is Mulder and Scully who must investigate the numerous deaths which have occurred in the house's history.




Hartman House Meade, California Oct 29th 1929
23:42 pm

A dreary, steady drizzle soaked the house by the sea. The windows were soulless eyes, staring vacantly into the darkness of the California night. The clouds blotted out the stars.

Inside, three people sat a vigil by the bed of another star, one that was blazing it's way into eternity.

Clara Hartman, so young, so beautiful, was breathing her last. At age ten, she burned her way into the heart of America, taking the vaudeville stage by storm. By twenty, she had three silent movies, and a fortune which she proceeded to invest wisely. Soon, her wealth rivaled her beauty. By twenty nine, she had just made her first talkie, and the future looked brighter then ever.

Now, on the eve of All Hallows, she lay dying in the pretty little cape
cod she'd built on the edge of the California sea. The sad part was no one knew why.

Her priest was there, for she was a staunch catholic, not given to the excesses of her peers. Father Shaunessey, an Irishman of unshakable faith and pragmatism, had come up to be at her side lest she pass away. He counted rosary after nervous rosary for her quick recovery.

Frank Price, Clara's manager, intermittently paced and hovered, wringing his hands the whole while.

The third member of the vigil party was young Abigail, Clara's daughter.
She sat in a small rocking chair swaying back and forth calmly, as if in trance. There was no sound in the silent room save the breathing of dying Clara, and the repetitive sound of the rocking chair.

Abigail had been admonished to go to bed many times that evening but would not be moved from her little chair at the end of the bed.

The room sweltered with heat, and neither the night breeze or the rain was cooling it off.

The door opened behind them all and they turned, the spell broken by the sudden interruption. Dr. Krestfield entered looking wet and tired.

No one spoke as the doctor made his way to the side of the bed, the air
was a vacuum, sucking out all the sound except the breathing and the rocking. The rhythmic sounds filled the air, becoming louder and louder, maddeningly.

The doctor looked up, shook his head and nodded to the little girl. Price wiped his beading forehead, felt a moment of claustrophobia and push down the impulse to make the girl stop rocking.

"Abigail," the priest said in a whisper, "Time for bed."

The child didn't acknowledge him in any other way. Instead, she kept her eyes focused at some distant point ahead of her, and moved gently back and forth.

"Abigail," the priest repeated, and all at once, she stopped. The room fell deathly silent, like a tomb.

"It's over," Abigail said, and looked around at the men. Her words seemed to echo in the dead night.

"What is, honey?" the father asked, taking her hand.

"Mommy's gone."

Krestfield leaned over again and took Clara's pulse. His face fell.

He looked at his watch. It was midnight.


FBI Headquarters Oct 22nd 1995
14:07 pm

Agent Scully knew she could find him if she just thought about it right.
It was 2 o'clock, all the higher ups and official types would be coming back from luncheons and conferences. Mulder would be avoiding them.

His office would be the first place anyone would look, next, filing. He would be in neither of those place.

She knew if she dialed his cell phone or paged him, he would tell her
where he was. Yet she could give up this game she played with herself to keep her senses sharp.

So where would he be? Well, where is the last place you'd look for him.
The forensics lab? No, he'd been there last week. The gun range? No, she knew he hated the noise of the place.

It was a nice, autumn day, she thought looking out of the window. The running path. Near it, but not on it. Lurking in the trees like Bigfoot.

She walked determinedly to the running path, perusing the woods casually. If not for the conservative suit, she would have seemed for all the world a fairy princess in an enchanted glen caught in silent reflection.

A movement in the brush caught her eye and followed it like a hunter flushing game.

"Mulder?" she called. She paused. "Mulder?" She waited again. The name had become a litany to her. She had once figure out that she needed to say it 2.5 times before he would answer. "Mul..."

"Yeah, Scully," he called back. "Over here." The sound of his voice told her he was deep in thought about something.

"There you are. I finished the report. Would you like to read it or should I just forge your signature?"

"Does it matter?" he said. He didn't look up, but a grin curled his lip.

He was sitting at the top of a gentle rise, obscured from the running path by a copse of saplings. He held a file in his lap and was reading it while eating an apple. Beside him was his cell phone and a half eaten bag of sunflower seeds. He looked like God at the office.

She sat down beside him and reached for the file. "What's this?"

"A haunted house."

"Really?" she asked rhetorically.

"The house was built by a woman named Clara Hartman. She was a silent film star in the twenties. A very clever woman by all accounts. She was a staunch catholic who invested well and survived the crash of '29. Healthy, wealthy and beautiful. Then, later in '29, she just died. They called it melancholy which is early medical code for "we don't know".

"After her death, a family from Kensington, Mississippi bought the house
and lived in it for a while. They sold it in the sixties to a man who turned it into a bed and breakfast which is when the haunting reports begin. Eerie noises at night and two people fell down the stairs to their deaths. It was closed for a while, then purchased by a real estate developer who wanted to tear it down. He fell down the steps. Then, in '86. a family bought the property from a savings and loan. They said they felt uncomfortable there and had the house
blessed four times.. The forth time, the parish priest got so ill they had to take him to the hospital. He developed asthma and had to transfer to Arizona."

"What's our interest?"

"The house now belongs to the Historical sites registry. Miss Hartman entertained a lot, Hearst, Fitzgerald, and I think even a president are said to have stayed there. They've opened it as a museum..."

"So?"

"Three people have fallen down the stairs in the past three months for no reason."

Scully's eyes fell on the still photograph of Clara Hartman. "She was beautiful."

"Very. Long, red hair and big blue eyes. Her family was Irish Catholic, she was born Clara Muldoon. She was smart, too."

"Why, Mulder, you sound smitten..." she chided.

"When I was ten I stayed up all night to watch a movie of hers. It was an old silent, called "The Night of the Werewolf". When my folks found out they grounded me for life. Ya know, Scully, you look a little like her."

She smiled, and shook her head. Yet she could see the resemblance. The eyes, a little, you really had to look for it.

"The eyes, I think, same shape, and the cleft in your chin," he commented, as if reading her mind.

"So, California?" she said, changing the subject.

"California."




Hartman House Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
09:45 AM

The door hardware was new, Mulder noted, maybe six months old. There was no wear on the brass but the key turned easily in the tumblers.

And the house faced the ocean, not the road which was queer until you
realized that the road was put in after the house was built. Clara Hartman came here to get away from it all.

Dust motes floated on the indirect light that reflected through mirrors
into the living room. The sun was still low in the east, the back of the house. They'd entered from in the front.

The place smelled of age and dust, like his grandmother's house in Massachusetts. He associated the smell with dying.

"I used to think it was ridiculous, too, Agent. The locals doddering on,
and all that, and maybe it is. But, I'll tell you, at night, no one stays here very long alone. It's like... Something is watching you," Mrs. Slocum prattled. He nodded, only half paying attention.

"Something?" Scully said from behind him, at the edge of his perception.

"Yes, someTHING. Something not quite human."

"Is there any wildlife in the area? Wolves, Mountain lions?" Mulder asked.

"Some deer, maybe, sea lions. But it isn't exactly like that." She stopped for a minute, grasping for the right words, then flicked on a switch, illuminating the room. "Something... malicious. No one stays here long after dark. Not alone."

"So the site is empty after dark?" Scully interjected.

"I live right across the street Agent, and this is a tiny community. Every
one knows everyone's business. And this place is a local interest. It's better guarded then Fort Knox. You couldn't get in here without being seen."

"What else do people say about this place, Mrs. Slocum," he asked, his eyes ferreting out every detail of the room.

"Oh, some of it's hooey, what with bleeding walls stories, but they do say
that on rainy October nights Clara Hartman stands at the window of the room she died in and looks out, balefully."

"That's very romantic," Scully interjected, and only someone who knew her well could have picked out the edge of sarcasm.

"It says in our files that Miss Hartman had a daughter. What can you tell us about her?" Mulder asked.

"My late sister Cornelia and Abigail were play friends. I think that's why
I got the job. Hum, she said that Clara married young, at twenty, to a man named Geoffery Koelher. He was a wonderful man and to all reports, she loved him more then life itself. She kept her stage name, of course. The studio bosses insisted. Pretty single women made more money in those days. Anyway, he died in
19 and 24, if I'm not mistaken. Abigail would have been two."

"What did he died of?"

"He fell down a flight of stairs. Clara was heart broken, took a year off
from work and just plain grieved. She never remarried, So, Abigail inherited her mother's fortune and went off to boarding school. I heard later that she married some banker from up, San Francisco. A May-September romance, he was older then her. After he died, she went to Europe and no one heard from her again."

"Is there any way to get in touch with her?" Scully asked.

"Abigail had a terrible life. She lost her father at two and her mother at eight. She was in the room when Poor Clara expired they say. Anyway, she was never very...stable. She was institutionalized several times in her life, depressive, poor thing. They looked for her, hoping she might come to the dedication ceremony, but couldn't find her. She might be dead."

"Thank-you, Mrs. Slocum. Do you mind if we have a look around?"

"Not at all, you just take you time. There will be hot coffee in about ten minutes in the kitchen if you'd like." And with that, she disappeared down the hallway into the sunny kitchen.

"What do you think?" He knew she would say that. He knew she was turning towards the wall to look at pictures of Clara Hartman from the sound of her footsteps and the sound of her voice.

"Maybe it's Clara's vengeful spirit returning from the grave, killing
people as her Geoffery died." He turned to face her as he finished the sentence. She chuckled mirthlessly and looked at him.

"Maybe it's a loose step," she retorted.

"Come on, Scully, isn't this just a little creepy?" he chided.

"Lets just say I can see why no one stays her at night. There could be a rational explanation."

"Then explain that," he said, his eyes rising over her shoulder as his
hand moved to point. There on the wall in a shaft of reflected sunlight was a clear message.

"Run away, Fox" it said.

He heard her draw her breath and felt her hand reach blindly for him, her fingers wrapping around his wrist.



The Hickory Pit Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
12:47 PM

The cole slaw was foul and she wondered how anyone who could make such wonderful ribs could miss so horribly on coleslaw.

"I told you you'd hate it," Mulder said, reacting to her grimace, "Too much sugar."

She swallowed hard to spite him. It was juvenile, she knew, but his grin could be so infuriating, especially with an "I told you so" tacked on.

He grinned at her reaction, then said, "So, are you convinced?"

"There are a few more tests I'd like to run, it could be anything."

He nodded and took another bite of the horrible cole slaw. "I'm going to call a guy I know at CSICOP, see if they have the case files on the house."

"CSICOP?" she asked.

"The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal."

"That's a mouthful." She smiled.
He grinned back. "I'm certain they have something on it. Can you run Abigail Koelher?"

"Already in progress. I'll wait for you at the house." It occurred to her
that she wanted to go back there, she was tired and it would be like going home after a hard day at the office.

"I thought you said the house was creepy?"

"Well. it is, but it's better then the hotel," she said almost believing it.

"Meet you there, then"


Hartman house Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
13:24 PM

"Mrs. Slocum?" she called as she stuck her head around the door. There was
no answer, so she let herself in. The sun was now coming in the front windows, illuminating the room with a rosy glow. It was quite cheerful.

She wondered idly what kinds of parties went on in this house. William Hearst might have had tea here with Fitzgerald and Zelda and Clara Bow. She could almost hear the tinkling of china, and John Barrymore's sultry voice filling the room with banter.

She moved to the stairs and ascended, still deep in her reveries. Men in evening jackets and women in beautiful gowns wandered up and down the stairs, giggling, talking. Someone sat on the landing, strumming a ukelele, singing popular tunes of the day. Why was it, she wondered, that parties always end up on the steps or in the kitchen?

She walked up the stairs and noticed that one of the dowels in the
banister was loose. She leaned down to check it and noticed that she could see the whole room from up here. The rails, though freshly painted, seemed worn, thinner in the middle. She reached out her hands and touched them. Little hands made this impression. Maybe Abigail sat here and watched the parties, dreaming of her own parties and lovely gowns.

There was a scream from upstairs.

Before her mind could react, her gun was in her hand and she was moving up the stairs in a crouch.

The air was still and musty, and somehow too hot. She entered the corridor with the bedrooms on it. Sweat beaded her brow and the utter silence wrapped around her like a blanket.

She turned into the first bedroom, gun leveled before her. An icy blast of
air hit her face, freezing the beads of perspiration, making her skin stand in goosebumps.

When her mind recovered from the temperature shock, she saw a woman
standing before her. It could be no one other then Clara Hartman, her eyes were the blue of robin's eggs sad. They were almost painful to look into. She mouthed something and reached out to Dana, pleading. Dana reached back, wanting more then anything to help this poor, trapped woman.

The cold was now almost unbearable, a shiver ran down her spine and she
heard in the back of her mind the distinct sound of ice breaking. She remembered it from her childhood. Walking on frozen puddles, listening to the ice crack under her feet. There was a deeper memory, a more frightening one attached to the sound. It mercifully didn't resurrect itself.

Then, after one of the stretched moments that seems to last eternity, in
which your mind works perfectly, calmly, catching all detail, ignoring the panic welling in your stomach, the woman vanished and Scully saw a long darkness speed towards her.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
15:25 PM

"Agent Scully?" She heard her name again, in a voice she recognized but couldn't place. She tried to find the source of the voice, but she was in total darkness.

"Scully, wake up. I know you can hear me so pretending to sleep won't
help." That was Mulder's voice. It was so real and strong it made her smile. She felt a tear, warm and salty trickle down her face.

If she could open her eyes, she would see him standing near her, concerned
but smiling. There was a moment of panic. She knew she probably could open her eyes, but wasn't sure she wanted to.

"Open your eyes, Scully." The voice was still mild, but there was a
distinct air of authority behind it. It reminded her of Sgt. McCormick, her PE instructor from Quantico. McCormick was a strong man whom Scully greatly admired, a surrogate father, almost. Mulder had to know that and she wondered if he were imitating the sound.

Her eyes fluttered open and the light hurt. She was lying on the bed in
the room, the white comforter soft and crisp beneath her, the feather pillow nestling her head reassuringly. She could see the dark wood of the bedpost out of the corner of her eye, a vivid contrast to the whiteness of everything around her.

"What happened?" she blurted. Mrs. Slocum was sitting beside her, a cool
cloth in her hand. She reached out for Mulder's hand unconsciously. Mrs. Slocum saw it and smiled knowingly. That irritate Scully. She drew her hand back from Mulder. His grip on her hand tightened and looked into her eyes, telling her with his own that it was ok, forget what she thinks, it isn't important. She understood the unspoken message. She kept hold of his hand.

"I was going to ask you." The wry smile crept to his mouth.

"I think I got over heated, I passed out." She suddenly remembered the
tortured visage of Clara Hartman, and her face sank. Mulder noted it, she noted him noting it.

"Mrs. Slocum, could you get her some water?" he asked quietly and Mrs.
Slocum nodded. She stood and hurried off, grateful for something to do with her hands.

"What?" he asked, the tone telling her not to skip details.

"I was walking around and I went upstairs I guess I got over heated."

"What did you see?" He astounded her again. She wondered briefly if maybe there was some psychic link between them and discarded it. Mulder had the observation powers of Sherlock Holmes and a good knowledge of her psyche. It was an educated guess. Of course, it also meant she was busted and might as well confess.

"I saw her."

"Clara?"

She hesitated for a moment, "Yes, she looked so sad and frightened. Tortured.

"Was the room cold?" he asked. She wondered how he knew.

"Yes, there was an icy draft from somewhere." He nodded "Why?"

"There's always an icy draft that accompanies spirit manifestations."

"Mulder..."

"Can you stand?" he cut her off without acknowledging her voice. She nodded, puzzled and he took her other hand, pulling her up.

She settled herself on her shaky legs and followed him to the stairs. Once at the top, he hesitated, turning to her.

"You ok?" he asked. She nodded. "Ok, where did you notice the heat?"

"Here on the stair. I was looking through the banisters. You can see the whole room from there. Then I thought I heard something."

"What?"

"A scream. I followed it back down the hall."

Still holding her hand, he took her back down the hall. A small dread manifested in her stomach, but she followed obediently.

"Where was the cold spot?"

She pointed just inside the doorway. The heat was still oppressive.

He dropped her hand and for a moment. She missed the human contact. He
took out a book of matches and struck one. The flame sputtered, danced for a second and then grew, holding it's head erect and unwavering.

"No breeze," he muttered. She wasn't exactly sure what he was thinking, but she knew she would hate it when it touched his lips.

"Maybe it was just a wind that's died down."

"You said it was icy. It doesn't get icy in California. At least not this far south."

"The air conditioner."

"Is this house air conditioned? It's 90 on the stairs."

"I got over heated, my body reacted violently, my cooling system went into overdrive. A tactile hallucination."

"Why are you so determined not to believe in this?" he asked, slightly irritated. It struck her wrong.

"Why are you so sure everything exists?" she sniped back.

Mrs. Slocum came up short in the doorway, water in hand.

"Am I interrupting something?"

"No," Mulder said flatly, taking the water from her and handing it to Scully. "Thank-you, Mrs. Slocum. Could you excuse us for a minute?" His irritation was bitten away at the quick. Scully flinched a bit.

"Of course. I'll be downstairs if you need anything." Her eyes said "Oh, lover's quarrel." She retreated down the stairs. There was silence as they listened to her footsteps on the stairs.

Scully took a deep breath, pushing away he anger. "Look, Mulder, I'm
sorry," she said and she meant it. She hated loosing her temper and wasn't sure why she had.

"Yeah, me too. It's just that this place is so creepy."

For some reason, the statement made her temper rise again. Why, she
wondered, was she always the one to apologize first. To give in. Why couldn't he say the words, damnit. And this was a beautiful place...

"I don't know, I kind of like it," she uttered, just to get the last word.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
16:00PM

The CSICOP reports had come in over the car fax and he sat at the kitchen table reading them. Scully was in the other room, he could hear her wandering and humming. She was still mad at him and he wasn't sure why. She never stayed mad at him for very long and he usually knew at least what he'd done. Now he was clueless. He figured she'd get over it soon.

"Maybe my charm is wearing thin?" He thought idly and then looked back
over the reports. It took all of his concentration. His mind kept wandering back to the argument. It was so odd. Mulder would be the first to admit he was a bit dysfunctional in the relationship department. He had dozens of acquaintances, but only one real friend. He understood why Scully did things. He didn't understand this at all. He focused on the reports.

CSICOP went over the place with a fine toothed comb and found no explanation for the phenomena. They had taken most of the plumbing apart, sonagraphed the walls, called in an exterminator and tested for radon.

Their report stated that there was a cold spot in the room upstairs, where Scully passed out and Clara Hartman died. There was a mention of one investigator who thought he saw patterns in the light, but couldn't make out anything comprehensible.

At night, spectronometers went nuts with electrical activity. An electrician was called in, the house was deemed sound.

The tune Scully was humming was itching at the back of his mind. He
looked up to ask her what it was when he stopped cold. In front of him, there was a message in the reflection on the wall.

"Window, Go- listen," it said. He rose obediently and moved to the window in front of him. His senses went into overdrive.

He saw a car, and old Bentley, driving down the road away from the house.

He got the plate number.

Hartman House Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
19:17 PM

He held the NCIC report in his hand, scanning it quickly. The paper was still warm in his hand from the fax machine.

"What have you got?" Scully asked from behind him.

"Abigail Koelher," he offered.

"Hun? Did you find her?"

"She found us. Her car was outside. I got the plate number. I'm going to
see if she's at the motel. A Bentley should be out of place in the parking lot." He edged his voice with good humor and watched her face out of the corner of his eye to see if it softened. The professional mask didn't crack. "Ah, worth and try." He thought. "You coming?"

"No, I'm staying here, I think. It'll be dark soon and I want to see if I can feel this presence."

"Could just be suggestion," he offered. If looks could kill, he'd be meat on a stick. "I meant..."

"It's ok, Mulder," she said, finally softening. "I'm sorry, I'm just edgy. Go on, I'll tell you what I find. Come back for me when your done."

He nodded and chewed on his lip for a minute. "I'm sorry. I know I'm a fanatic..."

"Careful Mulder, you're starting to sound sensitive. Next thing you know,
you could be getting in touch with your feelings and weeping openly in public." she said, and smiled faintly. He rolled his eyes and touched her shoulder.

"Sorry." He wanted to say something witty, but there was nothing to say.

"Go on." She touched his shoulder and he went out to his car.

Sleepy Time Motel Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
19:45 PM

He found the car easily enough, and a flash of a badge got him the room number. Now, he was knocking on the door of room 16. His palms were sweating.

The door was opened by an oriental man in a black Chauffeur's uniform.

he said nothing, but watched Mulder, sizing him up.

"Agent Mulder, FBI. Is Abigail Koelher here?"

The man's body posture suddenly changed, became defensive.

"It's alright, Mr.Kwai, Mr. Mulder is expected. Let him in." The voice was slightly weak with age, but still melodic and sweet. He moved past Kwai and saw her.

When she was younger, she'd had her mother's looks. The eyes were the same, blue as the Med.

She sat in her chair with impossible bearing, and, though she couldn't be more then 5"2', she seemed a giant, filling the room with dignity. She sat straight in the chair, her head high and regal. She wore a black dress and pearls at the neck that she touched lightly. Her silver hair was pulled back in a tight bun, giving her a severe look.

"Please, have a seat," she offered flatly. She made a grandiose gesture to
a chair and dismissed Kwai with a wave of her hand. He moved out the door almost without thinking. "So, what can I do for you, Mr. Mulder?"

"I'm investigating the phenomena at your mother's house. What can you tell me?"

"That place is evil." She hesitated to see how he took this and apparently approved of his reaction. "When Father was alive, it was a wonderful place, always sunny and quiet. After Father died, the quiet turned into silence. Mother felt it. She filled the house with people, beautiful, intelligent people. But it never quite filled the void in her life. She was very sad, to my recollection. And I recall a great deal.

"Mine was not a typical childhood. I saw things. They say you remember
best things connected with strong emotions, and all my childhood was like that. Mother was an actress, always on stage, always demanding strong emotions of people.

"Being a child, I was excluded from a great deal. I remember the evil came
in about 1928. It came through the door like a visitor, sat down and made itself at home. I saw it. She felt it.

"There was some problem. I remember mother was very upset. Whispered conversations about "the man". Barrymore saying he would protect us from the scoundrel. Some altercation. She was very upset. Then, one day, it all changed. Mother seemed relieved, I assumed the man had stopped... whatever he was doing. But just after that, the evil came in. Mother became nervous and snappish. She had never been so before, not even when Father died. She was always so consoling and attentive.

"Then, she got sick. I could see the evil at her bedside, day and night,
and finally he took her hand and they went away. And the silence went with them. For a while. It's like the air in the house is dead, do you feel it?"

"Yes, Too quiet. Stale."

"Exactly. I don't know much about the evil, Mr. Mulder, but I do know
this. He pulls away what you love most. He uses your best qualities to get in, your compassion, your love, your goodness, hoping you'll fall back on your baser instincts. Then, it has you. The soul understands, a little bit, what the eye cannot see and tries to protect itself. It thinks love won't help, so it uses hate. It seduces, rather then terrifying. Do you understand?"

"No, I'm not sure I do."

"But you will. The evil wants something from you, Mr. Mulder, may have already taken it. You must take it back, or loose it forever."

"I don't..."

"But you will. I'm an old woman, Mr. Mulder, and very tired. I have
nothing more for you. Except, maybe these two things. I think the man actually died in 1928, it would have been in the autumn. And you have an ally you can't see."

She leaned heavily back in her chair, like an oracle, falling out of trance. "I'll be leaving in the morning, Mr. Mulder. I wish there was more."

He stood, feeling the dismissal in her voice, and moved to the door.

"Would you send Mr. Kwai back in." He turned to her and nodded, leaving the room lost in thought.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 24th 1995
20:04 PM

Scully wiped her eyes tiredly and looked at her watch again. Maybe it was mass hallucination, Dana'd been here alone for an hour and felt nothing. She wished Mulder would get back. She was very tired. Her mind set to wandering again.

With the lighting and period furniture, it was easy to imagine it was 1925 again. The house was silent, there was a faint chirping, like a cicada or cricket, and the ticking of the grandfather clock. It was restful. She leaned back on the couch and put her feet up.

She looked up, heard keys in the hasp and thought it was Mulder. Instead, the door opened and there was a man, dark haired and slender. He was very handsome, she noted, in a sort of Rudolph Valentino way. He had a sweet smile curling, ever so slightly under a pencil thin mustache.

"Hello?" she asked.

"Lovely lady. It is my great honor," he said, again, gently. His eyes narrowed a little, giving him a man of the world expression. It was almost rakish, but still pleasant.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Christian. Christian Tomlinson." He bowed very theatrically. "You look so tired, why don't you sleep."

"Do you work in the house?"

"You could say that. Don't ask too many question, I don't have much time. I've been watching your friend, what's his name? Mulder?"

"Yes, what about Mulder?"

"Mr. Mulder has a problem. Maybe you can help him." She was concerned now, sat up and faced the man.

"What, where is he?"

"So you do have feelings for him? I thought so. He's a handsome man..."

"Not like that, he's my partner." It was important to her that he understand, though she wasn't sure why.

"More I think. A friend, perhaps. Please, I didn't mean to insuate." She nodded. "Mr. Mulder is obsessed. I know, I was once obsessed. But he isn't obsessed with something he can possess."

"What are you talking about?"

"Your Mr. Mulder, he's looking for something. He is a seeker after
knowledge. If your goal is to love a woman, or get a job, you have the job to keep your mind occupied when the pursuit ends. Have you ever read El Dorado?"

"In college, I think."

"Mr Mulder is searching for El Dorado. An answer, a place where he can put
his fears to rest. Do you know the problem with perfection?" She shook her head, grave dread rising in her stomach.

"It's boring. When you live your life in pursuit of something, once you
get it, there's nothing left of your life. What will Mulder do, when he has his answers?"

"I don't..."

"He'll fade away, like a rose left without water for too long. He'll die,
at least on the inside. There's nothing to him but the pursuit, and when it is done, there will be nothing."

She suddenly felt so uncomfortable, so frightened. "Who are you, how did
you get in here? What do you want?" It was a reflex, the anger, the questions. It was an interrogation and she knew it. She heard the fear and anger lace her voice with acid.

He smiled, stood, bowed again.

"It has been enchanting, Miss Scully. Until we meet again?" He took her
hand and kissed it with icy lips. She jerked her hand away and snapped awake.

"Scully, you alright? Wake up." Mulder was leaning over her, checking her pulse.

"Yeah, I just had a bad dream."

"What happened to your hand? It looks like a burn." He took her hand, and looked at the back of it.

There, in a burn, was the shape of a kiss.


The Alison Cafe Meade, California Oct 25th 1994
09:28 AM

"You feeling better?" he asked. She nodded, but it was obvious she didn't.
She hadn't slept any better then him last night. He had been haunted by the old woman's words and tossed all night. He wondered who was haunting her.

"I talked to Abigail last night. She's odd," he said. Her eyebrow raised and she smiled at him impishly.

"As compared to?" she said, in a low, poking voice.

"Ha,ha," he said sarcastically, but the joke was really needed and he appreciated it. "She says the house is evil."

"I didn't feel anything, Mulder. I think it's group hysteria."

"But you did dream. What was it?"

The look on her face said that she didn't want to tell him.

"I dreamed about you," she blurted, Then looked bewildered, as if she didn't know why she'd said that. "I'm... sorry," she stammered, blushing furiously.

"Was I that bad?" he thought, but caught his tongue before it formed the words. "What did you dream about me?"

He watched her face. Something was going on in her head, something
unusual. Her face fought with itself for a while and he wished he could climb into her head and see the struggle. Telling him finally won out and she cleared her throat, took a sip of coffee.

"Not really about you, per say. You weren't there. I dreamed about a man. I don't remember his name, thought I'm sure he told me. You know how dreams are. He was tall and slender. dark haired, brown eyes. A mustache. I think there was a mole on his cheek, but it could just be my memory.

"But I remember what he said. he asked me what you would do when you found what you were looking for. Talked about obsession." She stopped, took another sip of coffee and waited for the words to clear the air. then, "What did you find?"

"Apparently, shortly before her death, Clara Hartman had some kind of
trouble with a man. Then, he died. Abigail says that's when the evil came. She said it entered through the front door and just stayed. Then her mother took sick. she said the evil took her mother's hand and took her away."

Scully looked like she was going to be sick. "Mulder. The man in my dream, he came in through the front door."

"Look, we're both tired. It was probably some manifestation of your sub- conscious..."

"Who are you and what have you done with Fox Mulder?" She grinned impishly, thought it looked forced.

"He was kidnapped by aliens. I'm his clone. He's doing Vegas with Elvis, even as we speak." They both grinned.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 25th 1995
11:50AM

Scully was going over Pathology reports. She didn't know what was wrong
with her. She was the skeptic and she was letting this get to her. There were explanations, she just had to find them. She'd already gone through the CSICOP reports and Hartman House's long history.

Mulder was off chasing the unknown man who terrified Clara Hartman in her life. There was nothing about him in any of the reports they had. He'd gone to LA to look him up.

She looked at her fourth cup of coffee and sighed. She was tired and the caffeine wasn't helping. "I'm gonna sleep like the dead tonight." She thought and caught her breath. "Like a log" her consciousness corrected. Better.

She looked over the various names of Forensic Pathologists in the records, Bridger, Sellman, Cants. All good competent people. Bad, incompetent people didn't work for the Bureau.

It seemed to all these collective minds that all these people had simply fallen down the stairs and broken their necks. The only anomaly seemed to be that they fell within weeks of each other on the same staircase.

Ahe looked closer. Their necks. Something there. She compared the diagrams, and felt a chill of realization. All the breaks in the neck were identical. The bones broke in exactly the same way, in exactly the same place.

She dropped the reports and rummaged through the other paper spread on the table beside her. She found it. Geoffery Koehler's autopsy.

The same break. The same place.

The same fall, over and over again, replayed with different victims.


Wm. Toddson Residence Los Angeles, California Oct 25th 1995
11:32 AM

"So you were a fan of Clara's?" Mr. Toddson asked as he got up from his chaise lounge around the pool. "Hey, Frank, take a break."

The man who had answered the door nodded and went back in the house.

"She was a babe, man. One of those people who takes over a room by
entering it. Every man in Hollywood courted her, and she turned 'em all down. She played the ingenue, but she wasn't. Ever. Woman had a mind like a steel trap. She had this dignity and elegance about her, some called her the ice queen behind her back.

"But Clara Hartman was a saint. She do anything in the world
for you. Course, that was if you were her friend. Her enemies didn't last to long in this town, if you know what I mean. Parts dried up, friends took a step back. Clara was an iron fist in a velvet glove. And subtle. You always knew where the ax fell from, but you couldn't prove it. She hung out with my father. This was back before the big studio bosses. Remember Lawrence Kirkland?"

"No, I can't say as I do."

"Nobody does. Kid had real talent. Did three real good movies. Crossed
Clara, suddenly, no one would talk to him. He was a little jerk, honestly. There was a rumor at the time that he raped one of Clara's friends. They were both drunk, you know how it is. Young and beautiful and stupid. I think he became a Real Estate developer in Georgia. Every body called him the next Barrymore. Then, he couldn't get arrested. All this is from my father's lips. He'd tell me this stuff when I was a kid. They were his friends."

Mulder smiled, timing it just perfectly.

"What do you know about Clara's death?"

"Hum, I was just a kid, but I always wondered about that. Clara had some kind of a tado with a guy, what was his name? Wait, I got something about it here. An article my father wrote and never published. Clara asked him not to. He was a gossip columnist for years. Until, 1960, when his heart gave out." He strode into the house, more like a man of 45 then a man of 65. His silver hair beaded with sweat, and his breath became a little more hoarse, but those were the only signs of age.

He rummaged through a roll top desk for a minute and Mulder looked around
at the well appointed room. There was no California tacky here, the furniture was all Art Deco, nice pieces, comfortable looking. On the walls were framed covers from Tattler, with Betty Grable and Rock Hudson. There was an autographed copy of the James Dean cover.

"Here," he said, suddenly. "Here it is. I don't know why I keep this stuff. I guess it's all I've ever had, you know?"

Mulder nodded and took the piece of paper.

His eyes moved over the paper quickly.

"Hello, Faithful readers... The scoop is... Christian Tomlinson, a young
actor is in very much amour with America's sweet heart. Tomlinson, a strapping young thing had been seen in Miss Hartman's company many times. But there may be trouble in Paradise. Last week, at Stan Rosenthal's party, Miss Hartman was heard screaming at the young man, telling him to leave her alone.. What could this be? Maybe the attraction isn't mutual? After all, Clara is almost always seen in the company of established men..."

"Today, they'd call the guy a stalker. He sent her presents, followed her around, made grand declarations. When that didn't work, he started sneaking in her house, stealing things and the letter's turned threatening. I think I got some of them, somewhere. My old man kept everything.

"Clara tried everything. No one would talk to Tomlinson, and I think he
got beat up a number of times by over-zealous friends. I doubt Clara knew. She never used violence. She thought it was base. Clara's mother worked two jobs to make her daughter a lady. Clara took those finishing classes and stuff. Voice training, acting lessons, the whole nine yards. Clara acted like an Aristocrat, though her parents were potato farmers, just off the boat. She bought 'em a nice house in New York, so nobody'd see 'em."

"I see. What happened to Mr. Tomlinson?" Correcting the old man's train of thought.

"There was a mistake. Really, it had to be an accident."

"What happened?"

"He got Appendicitis. The doctor at the emergency room misdiagnosed and he
died when it ruptured. He'd gone home to visit his family, in Michigan. We heard about it when they came to get his things. Clara wasn't a murderer, and if she was, she'd have made it a lot quicker then that."

"You liked her?"

"Hell, I never really met her. I was only five when she died. But my
father did. He was the kind a guy who called 'em like he saw 'em. And he loved Clara Hartman. I told you, every guy in hollywood wanted her. Even the happily married ones." Some memory was conjured up in the old man's mind and he looked very melancholy.

"Thank you, Mr. Toddson. You've been very helpful.

"Do me a favor, would you?" Mulder nodded. "Clara wasn't a murderer. I'd hate to see her painted that way, even in some "Eyes only" file..."

"That won't happen." and he smiled. The man returned the gesture, gratefully. "Why does it matter?"

"My dad worshipped her. and I worshipped him. Just doesn't seem right, you know? Honor among thieves, I guess."

Mulder nodded again. He wasn't sure he did understand, but it did seem important.

His cell phone rang. He excused himself and flipped the phone on as he brought it to his ear.

"Mulder," he said.

"Mulder, it's Scully. I think I found something you might find
interesting. All the deaths, they were exactly the same. The bruising patterns were identical."

"So?"

"Come on, Mulder, What are the odds? Bruising patterns are as individual fingerprints. You'd have to work at this."

"So, it's like a replay of Koelher's death?"

"Yes," she said thoughtfully. "Like a replay."

"I'll be back in a few hours. I got a connector flight to San Francisco
then an hour in the car. Hey, the guy in your dream, was his name Christian?"

She stopped. "Yes, Christian Tomlinson. Yes."

"He was a stalker. He stalked Clara. Scully, go back to the motel, would you?"

"Why? There's a rational exp..."

He suddenly felt a flare of panic and anger run down his back. "Look, I don't want to discuss Jungian group consciousness, I want you out of that house."

"Look, don't yell at me. Who do you think you are?!"

A cold thought crept over him and he breathed deeply.

"The soul understands a little and tried to protect itself... I know, but you will. It's taking something from you Mr. Mulder..."

"Scully, I'm sorry... Scully..." But the line was dead.

He dialed back quickly but she didn't answer.

"Agent, I found some of Clara's letters from Christian. Here, take them. Keep them. Time I let go of some of this junk, anyway. Your a fan, right?"

"An admirer. Fan is short for fanatic." He turned determinedly and headed for his car.



Hartman House Meade, California Oct 25th 1995
12:00AM

The phone quit ringing. She couldn't talk to him right now.

She was crying and she knew it. She hated to cry, it was hard enough for a woman in the FBI. You had to be twice the man anyone around you was. And crying was just not acceptable. Nor was feeling lonely, isolated, empty.

But she did, and she also felt tired and very sorry for herself. She just wanted to sleep and upstairs was that big, comfortable bed. She ascended the stairs.

Once in the room, she drew the drapes The sun was coming in. It was
too bright, to cheerful. She lay down, took a deep breath. The room grew cold, but it was too much effort to slide under the covers. And there might be a tour group. There weren't many people who came through here, but a few.

She opened her eyes again, and Christian was standing there. His eyes were
wet with tears, too. She tried to speak, but he moved to her quickly, almost to quickly. There was a surreal quality to everything. There was a sound, on the edge of her perception.

"Sh. It's only a dream," he whispered, and kissed her gently. His lips
were soft, his breath sweet. He stroked her hair, ran a finger down her cheek.
"Don't talk, it's ok. I know how you feel. It's so lonely, isn't it. You long to hear the laughter of your children, not to sleep alone every night, to feel someone move beside you under the covers, to hold you, whisper your name dreamily. Someone real."

"Yes," she cried openly and he held her to him, coddling her, breathing in her ear.

"Dana, you're so beautiful. So lonely, and that's a shame. I love you. I've been watching you. I understand. Your a passionate woman, Dana, and you need a passionate man." He hesitated for a second, then, "Would you like to dance?"

She smiled and nodded. She hadn't danced with anyone in a long time. Her tiredness left her, and his arms were warm and solid, he held, her played with her hair. It was sweet and innocent. It was only a dream.

He was humming in her ear.

"What is that song?" she asked. She'd been hearing it her mind for days.

"It called, "Have you ever seen a dream walking?" He took a deep breath,
put his lips close to her ear and sang " Have you ever seen a dream, walking, well I have." It made her smile.

"You know, sometimes a dream is better then reality. And it can be as
real. Forever, like this, you and I, here. I love you, Dana, I've waited for you for years. Eternity." He bit his lower lip, looked at the floor. It was a wonderful gesture. "May I kiss you?"

She nodded and he did, he leaned forward, and kissed her, gently, sweetly.

She heard Mulder's voice very far away and her ire returned.

"Ignore him, dear. Stay with me."

And she wanted to.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 25th 1995
15:15PM

"Scully!" he yelled as he walked in the house. Mrs. Slocum came out of her office and looked at him.

"She's sleeping, upstairs, wha..." He pushed past her and walked toward the stairs.

He glanced sideways, another message in the light playing off the mirrors.

"Quickly, almost gone." It said.

"Clara?" he called.

The message became indistinct then reappeared "Give him to me." it read. He nodded and took the stairs, two by two.

"So, your a doctor," Christian whispered into her ear. "It takes a compassionate person to give up so much of their lives for others. I thought about being a doctor. But the stage called to me."

"What was it like? Hollywood, I mean," she asked, sitting on the edge of
the bed, playing with the rose he'd given her. He was next to her, she could feel his breath on her cheek.

"Amazing. The street were lined with gold. The women were beautiful, the
men Gallant. It was a dream, really. Cars were new and they could go 60 whole miles an hour, some of them." He stood and moved as he talked, the whole thing a performance. He wheeled and gestured and smiled. She could watch him for hours. She felt slightly drunk, more the a little dreamlike herself.

"The world has changed, hasn't it. Your cell phones and fax machines.
Sixty miles an hour isn't anything any more, is it?" She shrugged and twirled the rose. "Maybe I don't fit in it anymore. Useless, a dinosaur." He seemed so melancholy. She stood and put her arms around him. It was a dream, after all, and what could a dream hurt.

"Don't be sad, Dana. The world is a funny place." He touched her hair seductively, kissed her again. "I'm falling in love. They call me a fool for giving my heart so easily. But other men have given blood and life for less. I couldn't believe it when you walked in. I've been listening to Slocum babble endlessly for so long. I've been so lonely, so trapped in this place. I think you've set me Free, Dana."

"I'm glad, where will you go?" she asked, and realized she didn't want him to.

"I don't know, wherever dreams go." He looked down for a minute, "I wish you could go with me. Now that I've found you, I can't bear the thought of loosing you."

"I can't come with you," she said.

"Sure you could, it would be easy. And we could be together forever. I can't imagine there's a heaven without you."

She giggled like a school girl, and kissed him.

"What about Mulder, and my family?"

"Mulder has his quest, and your family, well, they'll miss you, but
they'll know your happy. Isn't that what counts? We could go see your mother, tell her. You can talk to people if your a dream."

"I don't know..."

"Dana, isn't it wonderful here, us, together?"

"Well, yes, but..."

"Then what's the problem. I love you..."

"Scully, wake up." He shook her again, but there was no response.

"He's stealing something from you, something you love. You must take it back, or lose it forever." The voice in his head nagged.

His anger grew, and his desperation.

"He uses your best qualities against you, hoping you'll fall to your baser instincts." Clara used the word base. Apparently a lot. He took out the letters and untied them.

"Dear Clara,
"Have you ever seen a dream walking?' Well, I have, and it's you." Those words, so familiar. It was a song. The song Scully had been humming. "I want you, forever. To own you, and I will. Someday, somehow."

He tossed the letter to the floor and read through a few more. Always the song started the letter.

What is my best quality? he wondered, dropping the rest of the letters. He looked at her.

It was a bad time for soul searching, he couldn't think of a single good quality about him.

"Careful, Mulder, your starting to sound sensitive." He heard her say in his mind.

He leaned over on impulse and took her hand.

"Hey, Scully, Can you hear me? I hope so."

She saw Mulder, standing in the doorway.

"Can you hear me?"

"I hear you," she replied.

"I hear you," she said aloud. He felt relief. Across from him, on the wall was another message from the Ally he didn't know he had.

"Draw him out." There was a power in the air, almost palatable.

"Hi, how are you?' he asked, trying to maintain the facade of calm. She wasn't awake, but he could talk to her.

"I'm fine. Christian says he loves me and wants me to go with him."

"Are you going?"

"Well, It's tempting"

"Well, it's tempting," She smiled and took Christian's hand. He smiled back.

"So, how long have you known this guy?"

"Eternity," Christian whispered.

"Stop. Not very long, but he's wonderful."

"I'm sure he is. Look, before you make up your mind, I want you to know something. At risk of sounding sensitive, I need you. Your the only friend I've got, Scully, and you keep me sane. And I need you." He wiped his eyes, pushed back the emotions that rarely stirred in him. "Hey. I'd like to meet him, before you decide. You know, give him the seal of approval." She could see him, his eyes wet, the heroic effort to keep it together.

"Oh, Mulder." She turned to go to him, but Christian gripped her hand tightly. His face had taken on a slightly maniacal glare and it scared her. Something in the back of her mind told her that this wasn't a dream and the consequences were fatal.

Then she heard the thing on the edge of her consciousness. That sound of breaking ice again. It dragged a scene from her sub-conscious, one she had buried.

It was Pennsylvania and she was visiting relatives, She couldn't have been
more then ten. They went skating. She was never much of a skater, but she could stay up. Her cousin, Lauren, was an angel on the ice, born to it. She had been skating along, watching Lauren in envy, not paying attention...

She heard the cracking of the ice beneath her feet. Felt it rattle her
bones and felt a yelp of terror escape her lips. There were screams of adults, her mother calling her name with desperation and true fear in the words. The ice was splitting, slowly, painfully and she was frozen with fear. She went into the water, it was cold and she felt her heart stop, for just a second.

Then, some amount of time later, she couldn't tell how long, hands lifting her out of the water, an embrace. It was her father.

The ice was cracking around Scully now.

"Is that possible? Can I get a look at the guy?" Mulder asked. His voice seemed so real, like hands pulling her from the water.

"Why?" she asked, forcing a smile to her face.

"I'm curious about this guy. Your don't generally fall in love at first sight and I was just wondering..."

"Can you?" she asked Christian, biting her lip flirtatiously.

"I don't know..." He frowned.

"Well, I couldn't run away with someone Mulder didn't approve of."

"Alright, but then you come with me."

She shrugged, smiled brightly. She secretly prayed that Mulder had a plan.

There was a shimmer beside Scully's sleeping form, Mrs. Slocum passed
clean out. Mulder caught her and lowered her to the floor. When he looked back up, there was Christian, tall and solid.

"She's mine," he hissed.

"I don't think so," Mulder said.

"I'll kill you for her," Christian said and smiled evilly. He didn't move,
but Mulder felt something impact with the back of his head. There was a blinding pain and a bone shaking thud. He felt blood course down his neck. He turned, a picture frame from the wall lay on the floor.

He heard a sound behind him and ducked in time to avoid collision with the mirror from the dresser. It shattered against the wall.

"Clara!" Mulder called.

An Icy wind struck him from behind and he turned and saw her manifest. It was quick and she looked very angry. It was a cold anger, psychopathic.

He wondered if he'd made a tactical error.

"There you are," Christian said. "I've been looking everywhere for you.

"I've learned something in seventy years. Hiding from you is easy."

"Yeah, well, I don't need you anymore. So shove off."

"Come on, Christian. You know it's me you want. I know your just trying to
make me jealous. Well, it worked." She was flirting, throwing everything she had at him. There was a coy smile, a seductive walk, a shake of the long, red hair.

"Really?" He seemed astounded "What happened to "I hate you?"

"You always were clueless about women, Christian." She vamp walked across the room towards him, her arms outstretched."

"What are you up to, woman?" Christian was cautious, moved back a second too late. When she touched him, he howled with pain.

"How dare you. How dare you appear as me to this girl, How could you kill all those people, Push all those people down the stairs? Seventy years of torture, Christian. And I only have a few seconds to pay you back." She growled. His howling grew deeper, the pain seemed to deepen and intensify. Mulder almost felt sorry for him. Her touch seemed to draw the solidity out of him. A wind kicked up slowly, Swirling, moving faster and faster. Mulder lost his feet and
hit his head on the rail of the bed. He clawed his way up furiously, pulling himself to the side of the bed just in time to see them both vanish from existence. Then, the
room fell absolutely silent.


Scully awoke, sat up.

"Mulder?" she said.

"It's ok. You fell asleep," he offered, tiredly.

"I must have, I needed it. I feel better. Oh, my God! What happened to your head?" And she began to check him out.


Hartman House Meade, California Oct 25th 1995
17:02pm

She had bandaged his head and was now imploring him to go to the doctor.

"I'll be fine, Scully, How's Mrs. Slocum?"

"Fine, she fainted. I'm going to suggest they get air conditioning in this place. That probably why people fall, they faint from the heat on the stairs.

The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he turned. Mr. Kwai was in the doorway, holding an envelope.

"Mr. Mulder?" he said, and handed Mulder the envelope, then turned silently and left the room.

Mulder opened it with Scully looking on curiously.

"Mother says thank you." The note read, and he smiled.

"What does it mean?"

"I don't know," he whispered but his smiled said he did.

"Come on," he said and rose. He moved into the corridor and began down the steps.. Suddenly, his heel caught on something and he felt himself pitch down the stairs. His mind told him all was lost, then soft hands grabbed him, righted him.

Mulder?" Scully called out from behind him and grabbed his shoulder.

"I'm fine, just lost my balance."

"You could have killed yourself."

"No, I don't think so," he said and continued down the stairs.


Private journal of F. Mulder written Oct 31st 1995 23:50pm

Our ancestors believed that on this night, the dark and forgotten things,
the loved ones laid to rest and the Fairfolk roamed the land. This was their one night to wander in the world of men.

Is it possible that a young man, twisted by desire, managed to find some foothold in the House in Meade, California? Some way to cheat death and have what he wanted most?

And in return, was he cheated? She learned to hide from him, and then to defeat him. Clara Hartman was a woman of great strength.

Scully doesn't remember any of it. I think it's Trauma amnesia. She
doesn't remember Christian Tomlinson, or the things I said to her. Maybe it's best that way. She can't believe, because to believe is to give up her reality, and that's just to much to ask of anyone.

Christian Tomlinson died of October 27th, 1929. It was a ruptured
appendicitis and infection. But the events we lived through occurred before the original dates, before the power of Samhain came to apex. This is very uncommon in a spirit manifestation. So I ask myself why, over and over again, and I can't help but come back to the only evidence that makes sense.

Scully looks a little bit like Clara, and I look a little like Tomlinson. Did they see some symmetry in this? Possibly. That and that we, through our previous investigations, have opened our minds a little bit more then most people.

There is a theory that humans can't see things to far removed from their reality. A ghost just doesn't belong in a comfortable parlor by the sea shore, so people discount it, the mind edits and insulates. But the safety of reality doesn't exist for me. And the edges of Scully's reality are slowly cracking. Our minds don't edit like everyone else's.

"The soul realizes, a little bit, what the eye cannot see and tries to protect itself."

Maybe it's synchronicity that we happened upon that place and the truth that lay there.

I did realize something, though. Somehow, Scully grounds me. Just a little. I need that.

Nietche said, "When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back into
you." To open oneself to the realms of possibility as I do is dangerous. You can fall into the abyss. I understand, Abigail.

But the truth is still out there.

END

END
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