Title: Things That Go Bump
Author: ML
Written: February 1, 2004
Email: msnsc21@aol.com
Feedback: always welcome
Distribution: Ephemeral, Gossamer, places that have archived me before -- just let me know. If you haven't archived me before, please drop me a line. I'll probably say yes.
Spoilers: nope
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully aren't mine. They mostly belong to David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, but Chris Carter created them, and Ten Thirteen and FOX own the rights. I mean no infringement, and I'm not making any profit from them.

Summary: A stakeout of sorts.

Notes at the end.

"Here we are, right on schedule...Scully, are you with me? Scully? Wakey, wakey, we're here."

"Mmmm...where's here?...Mulder, no--"

"No what?"

"Not another haunted house."

"Come on, Scully, it'll be fun. Ghoulies, ghosties, long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night. Chills and thrills."

"The only chills I get in places like these are from the drafts. And I'm not talking about drafts from the passage of some spirit, either."


"I prefer to think of myself as a realist."

"Hm...Hey Scully, did you ever read 'Usher II?'"

"Can't say that I have."

"It's a short story by Ray Bradbury. It's set in the future, a time of dark, dark despair--"

"I think you've told me this story before."

"Any similarity to any previous story is strictly coincidental."

"Or inherent to the style of the story teller."

"Ahem. As I was saying--"

"If I start snoring, let me know."

"Are you saying I bore you, Scully?"

"No, but the sound of your voice is very soothing."

"Nice save."

"Thank you."

"Now, where was I?"

"'It was a time of dark, dark despair...'"

"*Cough,* anyway, in this future time, all fiction is banned. Realism prevails. The imagination is outlawed. Except for one man, fighting against injustice the only way he knows how--"

"And how is that? By making up stories?"

"No, by building a haunted house."

"I guess I should have seen that coming..."

"Not just *any* haunted house, Scully, the mother of all haunted houses. A monstrous house, larger than life--"

"I get the picture. It was a big, scary house."

"Yeah. Patterned after the House of Usher as imagined by Edgar Allen Poe. The man stocks it with mechanical ghosts, fake rats with metal fleas, and all the other accouterments of Poe's stories. Then he invites the officials who are responsible for banning the books."

"And they shut him down."

"I thought you said you hadn't read the story. Anyway, he knows they're going to shut him down and destroy the house. But, he says, shouldn't they at least inspect it before they do? Where's the harm in that?"

"And they do?"

"And they do. And, one by one, these people are picked off, in various imaginative ways."

"Such as?"

I'm sure you've read 'The Cask of Amontillado' and 'The Masque of the Red Death?' How about 'The Pit and the Pendulum?'"

"Um hm."

"They never see it coming, because they've never read the books. And once he's dispatched his enemies, he destroys the house, reciting the last words of 'The Fall of the House of Usher' as it falls into a heap of rubble."

"So you're saying what really killed the people in the story is a lack of imagination?"

"Know your enemy, Scully. Though I've always seen the story as a tale of the triumph of the human spirit. Or for the spirits, imagined or not."

"Sort of a 'Rocky' for the diaphanous set?"

"Ooh, when you talk like that *I* get chills. Say it again, Scully."

"Don't be silly, Mulder. Stop looking at me like that!"

"Why, I do believe Agent Scully is blushing. No one could mistake *you* for a ghost with those roses in your cheeks."

"Mulder, stop it."

"What? Why?"

"Let's just go home. There's only one long-legged beastie I'm interested in, and he's sitting right next to me."

"Hey, I can tell when I'm being manipulated, Scully."

"Am I that transparent?"

"Practically diaphanous, to borrow your word."

"Just giving you a choice, G-Man: ghosts or me."

"No contest there, G-Woman. And I don't mean Ghost- Woman, either."

"I should hope not! Come on Mulder, let's go home. Instead of ghost-busting, we can explore your inner beastie."

"Is that what you call it?"

"I could think of some other things, too..."

"Race ya!"

"You're driving the only car, remember? We came together..."

"Oh yeah. Good, then we'll be sure to arrive together, too."

"Don't you mean, 'come,' Mulder?"


"Mulder, you have to start the car if we're going anywhere."

"Oh. Yeah. I got kind of distracted for a minute. You don't play fair, Scully."

"All's fair in love and war, Mulder. Let's go explore those things that go bump in the night."


Author's notes: This was written for The Haven's "Talk to Me" challenge for an all-dialogue vignette of around 600 words, using the following words:

Thanks for reading!

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