Title: Vacation At Hall Manor
Summary: Mulder and Scully enjoy a restful vacation at Hall Manor...or do they?
acknowledgments: This is for Vickie Moseley who encouraged me to write it and whose wonderful ideas helped make this story. And, as always, thanks for her splendid beta work. I also want to give a huge thanks to my Mom for all her fantastic help; she is my silent collaborator. Last, but not least, I want to thank Emmy, my biggest fan and best friend.
Feedback should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hall Manor Bed & Breakfast, Norwich CT
"I want to leave, Michelle. Now...please," begged Eric, obviously upset.
Michelle stared at him incredulously. "Leave? Why? I thought you were having a good time. It was your idea to come here in the first place."
"Yeah, I know...and I was having a good time until...until..."
He stalled before giving her the answer to the question. He knew it would not make her happy. "Her! I saw _her_ again!"
"Her who?" she queried, completely at a loss as to what he was talking about.
"The ghost! The ghost who lives here at Hall Manor."
Michelle rolled her eyes at his statement. "Please...you can't be serious. I thought you had given up on that."
"Michelle, I'm telling you she is real and I saw her...again.
This afternoon, while you were napping, she visited me in the den."
"And what did she have to say?" she asked him sarcastically.
Eric was dead serious as he looked at Michelle. "She said she loved me and that we'd be together soon. She said she'd take care of everything," he said in an even monotone voice.
"This is just your imagination. You've been spending all your free time listening to Mr. Chambers filling your head with all those ghost stories."
"What about the tree branch? My God Michelle, it could've killed you."
"The woods are old. Tree branches weaken from years of weather. They break. What do you want me to say? It was just poor timing on our part to be there when it broke. I don't _think_ it means anything."
"I think someone or something broke that branch as we walked underneath it." Michelle huffed unbelievingly at his statement.
Eric grabbed her hands in his own. "Please, Michelle," Eric begged, "I want to leave. We could drive to Mystic or even New Haven. We can find a nice place to spend the rest of our vacation. I'd feel so much better if we go. Please!"
She could see he was very upset by all of this, real or not. She didn't really want to leave this lovely place, but how could they enjoy their vacation when he was so distraught? "Well, we can't leave now, it's already 11:00. The owners are in bed, but we can leave first thing in the morning. Happy?"
Eric wrapped his arms around her pulling her into a tight hug.
She could feel his body trembling slightly in her arms. She had not realized how scared he was. "Yeah, I guess we have to wait until morning. But we leave first thing and head to the coast."
She gave him a quick peck on the lips. "Agreed. Now come on let's get to bed. I am dead on my feet," she said with a grin "Dammit, Michelle, that's not funny," he said angrily as he pushed her away.
She giggled lightly and held her hands up as if surrendering.
"I'm sorry. Geez, where is your sense of humor. I'll be glad when we leave. Hopefully, you will lighten up."
Michelle had fallen asleep almost immediately. He could hear her deep slow breathing. Eric had lay in bed replaying what the ghost had said to him. He was nervous about what she had meant. Finally, the sound of Michelle's breathing and his own exhaustion lulled him to sleep.
A few hours later, Michelle climbed out of bed. She walked out of the room and out of the house, as if she was in a trance. Her eyes were closed, but she had her hand out in front of her as if someone was leading her by the hand. She stumbled through the woods in her bare feet, following this unseen person. She was oblivious to the pain in her feet from stepping over such rough terrain.
When she arrived at the cliff, her hand dropped to her side and her eyes slowly opened. She looked around not knowing where she was or how she got there. She realized that she was at the cliffs at the back of the property. She was suddenly scared and turned to go back to the house, when she came face to face with the translucent vision of a woman.
Michelle stared unbelieving at the ghostly figure in front of her.
Her first thought was that Eric was right. The ghost moved forward toward Michelle and she took a step backward. The ghost moved forward again and Michelle retreated until she was balanced on the edge. The ghost stood directly in front of her.
She was paralyzed with fear.
The wind began to strengthen and gusted as it blew around the cliff edge. The form of the ghost began to change, as she seemed to solidify. "He is mine...I will not lose another lover," the ghost explained to her. The ghost continued to move forward as an extremely strong wind gust pushed Michelle back and she fell off the cliff to the rocks below.
Eric awakened suddenly, unsure of what had startled him. He quickly realized that Michelle was not in bed. Panicking, he got up to search for her. He noticed the ghost standing at the door to their room.
"It's all over, love. Now we can be together," the ghost said to him.
Terrified by what she meant, he rushed out of the room, calling out to his wife. He checked the bathroom, but it was empty. He ran downstairs crying out her name, but there was no answer.
He noticed that the front door was standing open and he knew where she was. He raced through the woods to the cliffs. He looked over the edge and there in the moonlight, lay Michelle's broken body on the rocks below. At that moment, his heart shattered. He dropped to his knees at the cliffs edge and wailed, "Noooooooo!"
En Route to Norwich CT
It had been quite a while since they had taken time off for a real vacation. The kind of vacation where you relax, sleep late, sight see, and eat too much; a _real_ vacation. They had been very busy lately and both needed some downtime. They didn't want to spend their time off in Washington. They needed to get out of the city.
They had decided to not go too far from home, but far enough to get away from everyone. Scully remembered when Mulder had suggested the Hall Manor Bed & Breakfast in Norwich, CT.
He was so excited.
"Scully!" yelled Mulder, "I found the perfect place. Check it out!"
"I'm warning you, Mulder. It better not be near any UFO hotspots, like those last two places."
"Scully, you wound me," he said as he placed his hand over his heart. "You'll like this one. I promise." He pulled her onto his lap, so that she could read the description on the screen.
She began reading the description and was pleasantly surprised.
It was an old house that had been built in the 1950's and transformed into a charming Bed & Breakfast in 1992. Large bedrooms, private baths, situated on 10 acres of wooded land along the Yantic River, complete with garden and walking trails. He was right, it sounded perfect. She continued to read with a widening smile. Half through the description, she stopped and her posture stiffened instantaneously.
She turned to glare at him, her smile gone. He had the good sense to duck his head. "Haunted?" she asked him. "Is that why you picked this particular place? Because it's haunted?'
"Ah come on, Scully. Why can't we stay in a haunted house for vacation? There won't be any UFOs."
She rolled her eyes dramatically. "Like ghosts are supposed to be better than UFOs?
"Look...there are lots of things to do in the immediate area, it'd be a great home base for exploring all parts of Connecticut, and...the best part is...it's haunted. It'll be fun. Please!" he pleaded as his lower lip jutted out giving her his best pout.
She could never deny him anything when he resorted to his patented pout . He looked like a little boy when he did that.
"Ok. _But_ I am _not_ spending my whole vacation ghost hunting and neither are you."
Now here it was two months later and they were on their way.
After the horrible winter storm the area received in January, they had been concerned they would be forced to cancel their vacation. Mulder had said they were going, even if they had to rent snowmobiles to get there. Luckily, that hadn't happened.
On the contrary, the weather was amazing; unseasonably warm for this time of year. The weather forecast was calling for the possibility of showers later in the week, but that wouldn't stop them. It was a perfect time to get away.
They had left DC early this morning and had stopped at some roadside diner in New Jersey for lunch. They crossed into the city limits of Norwich around 3:00, right on schedule.
They drove straight through the town, eager to get to their destination before they went on any excursions. They found the turnoff to Hall Manor without any problem. It was a small country road, barely wide enough to accommodate two cars at the same time. The road dipped down and crossed over a creek, before it rose up the hill, to disappear into the trees. The trees were bare due to winter and you could see some walking paths weaving throughout. The above average temperatures had melted all evidence of the terrible snowstorm that had occurred the previous month.
As the road continued to rise, they finally broke through the trees to see Hall Manor in the center of a large clearing completely surrounded by woods. It was a large well-cared-for stately Manor. It looked to be three stories or perhaps two stories with an attic. The lawns around the building were beautifully landscaped and a gazebo could be seen in the back in the middle of a garden, from the looks of which, in summer would be full of flowers and colorful bushes.
"Oh my God, Mulder, it is absolutely beautiful. I can understand why they don't have a lot of vacancies."
"Yeah, the pictures really don't do it justice. No wonder the ghost chose to live here," he quipped. She merely gave him a look that said she was not amused. "Ok, Ok. What do say we get checked in and go see the town?"
She smiled, "Now _that_ sounds like a plan."
They parked in the small lot at the side of the house. Mulder snagged both their bags before Scully could take hers and hauled them up to the front door. Neither of them noticed the ghostly figure watching them from the attic window.
A bell chimed as they pushed open the front door and walked into the foyer. The house was warm and inviting. There was a wonderful smell of something being baked; cookies maybe, or bread. He put down their luggage and they both inspected the place that would be their home for the next few days. There were dark wood floors and straight ahead of them was a staircase made of the same dark wood that led to the second floor. The wall at the side of the staircase was covered in paintings and framed pictures. To their immediate left was what appeared to be a small office. It was complete with a beautiful Queen Anne reception desk and several high backed chairs. There was an antique grandfather clock chiming 3 o'clock just inside the entrance to the office. Beyond that, they could see the entrance to a much larger room. From what they could see, the walls were lined with bookshelves; probably a library. On the right, was a dining room. A large table that could seat at least ten was in the center. A matching china cabinet could be seen against the far wall and the room was lit by two brass chandeliers. As they were peering into the dining room, they saw an older woman with snow-white hair coming toward them. She had entered the room from the doorway on the far side, which obviously led to the kitchen. She wore a warm friendly smile and an apron, which she was diligently using to clean her hands. She looked like she could be anybody's grandmother.
"Oh my, I thought I heard the door chimes. Welcome, welcome. Let me guess...you must be Mr. and Mrs. Mulder."
Scully looked questioningly at Mulder with a raised eyebrow.
He responded with a shrug, indicating he didn't know where she got the idea they were married. "We're not married," corrected Scully.
"Yet!" he blurted out. "I'm Fox Mulder and this is Dana Scully.
You must be Mrs. Chambers."
"Oh, please, call me Mary, short for Meredith. No one around here calls me Mrs. Chambers. Let me get Maurice and we'll get you folks checked in." She turned to yell up the stairs, "Maury!" She turned back to address them, "He's always running around, fiddling with this and that. You're going to enjoy your stay here. As soon as you get settled in, come back down and have some coffee and fresh baked cookies." She leaned closer and whispered conspiratorially, "I don't want to brag, but my oatmeal cookies have won first place at the State Fair for three years in a row."
"Yummm...that sounds great, Mrs...." Scully stopped short at the woman's scowl. "I mean, Mary." The woman's scowl turned into a smile at Scully's correction.
They all turned to look in the direction of the staircase when heavy footsteps were heard descending from the second floor.
An older man wearing overalls and a worn Red Sox baseball cap was coming down the stairs towards them. Mulder, a confirmed Yankee fan, cringed slightly at the cap.
The man stepped onto the first floor. Mary reached out and grasped his arm, pulling him closer to the small group. "This is my husband, Maury Chambers, owner and handy man here at Hall Manor. Maury, this is Fox Mulder and Dana Scully."
"Oh well, it's nice to meet you young folks," he said as he removed his cap revealing a head of snow-white hair like Mary.
He wiped his hand on the leg of his overalls, before extending it towards Mulder, who gave it a firm shake. He then offered his hand to Scully, who likewise gave it a firm shake.
"Step over to the desk and we'll get you checked in." He motioned for them to accompany him to the office. "I'm sure you're tired from traveling and would like to relax." He looked through the reservation slips on the desk and found the one that bore Mulder's name. "Ah, here we are. Looks like we have you two in the "Blue" suite. It's the best room in the house. Kingsize bed, fireplace, private bath with a huge claw foot tub, cable TV/VCR, separate sitting room, and a double Jacuzzi." Scully's smile widened when he described the fireplace and the claw foot tub, and Mulder got excited about the cable TV, and they beamed when he mentioned the Jacuzzi.
"Breakfast is served from 6:30 - 10:00 every morning in the main dining room. Mary always puts out cookies and pastries with tea and coffee every afternoon. We have menus from all the local restaurants in the library. We can help with any reservations you might want to make for meals or local attractions. Just let us know. Here's keys to your room and to the front door. The other guests are all out right now, but you'll meet them later. We want your stay with us at the Hall Manor to be one you won't soon forget."
"Thank you so much, Mr. Chambers. I'm sure we will have a wonderful time." Scully grabbed Mulder's hand to lead him back to the foyer to gather their bags, but he didn't budge. She turned to see him address their host.
"Mr. Chambers...Maury...I read that the house is haunted. Is there any truth to that?"
"You bet it is, son. I've seen the ghost many times myself."
"Sure and I'm not the only one. Even Mary has seen her, but she likes to pretend it was something she ate or some other rubbish. I think she's just afraid to believe."
Mulder turned to look pointedly at Scully. "Sounds familiar."
"I usually see her in the attic window or out in the gardens. The rumor is that she tends to take a liking to some of the men that have stayed in this house. I guess it's lucky for me that I'm too old, because she's never bothered me. I've heard she can be quite possessive."
Scully looked at Mulder and saw he was mesmerized by what the man was saying. She herself was skeptical to say the least.
Mary entered the office, "For goodness sakes, Maury, you're not going on about the ghost are you?"
"The young man asked me. What was I supposed to say?" He turned back to Mulder, "Listen, if you want to know more, ask Wilma Starnes, the local librarian. She's been in this town all her life and knows everything about this house. If you're so inclined, there are boxes of stuff in the attic that have been there for years. You're more than welcome to look through them.
The door to the attic is at the top of the stairs on the right."
"Oh, enough about the ghosts. These folks are exhausted. Let's show them to their room, so they can relax and freshen up.
Come on, Dana, I'll show you to your room." She put her arm through Scully's arm and led her back through the foyer and up the stairs.
"Thanks for the information, Maury." Mulder grabbed their luggage and followed the ladies up the stairs. There was a hallway at the top of the stairs that went straight to the back of the house. There were doors on either side of the hallway that obviously led to the other rooms.
"The Blue suite is the second door on the left. You're just going to love this room. It's situated in the corner of the house, so you have views of the woods on one side and gardens on the other."
She opened the door and moved across the rooms to open the curtains. The room was instantly flooded with light. The rooms walls were covered in a light blue cloth, which matched the bedspread on the king size four poster bed. The room contained antique furniture like the mirrored dresser and more modern furniture like the entertainment center that housed the TV.
Mary went about pointing out the amenities. When she got to the TV, she held out the remote control, which Mulder was about to take, but Scully snagged before he had a chance. "I'll take that," she said as she glared at him. He gave her his best pout, but she just smiled and said, "You won't need it I have other plans for you." She gave her eyebrows a little waggle hoping he took the hint. He, of course, having a brilliant mind, had no trouble grasping the meaning of her statement. He smiled and returned the eye waggle, indicating he fully understood what she meant and he whole-heartedly agreed.
Mary could barely hear herself think with all this unspoken communication going on. She took this opportunity to make herself scarce. "Call me if you need anything. Anything at all."
She closed the door behind her as she left the room.
Mulder stepped forward and slipped his arms around her waist.
"So what are these _plans_ you have?"
She rose up on her toes and gave a quick kiss on his lips.
"You'll see," she said secretively, as she spun out of his arms and walked over to the window.
Mulder was not satisfied with her answer, so he joined her at the window. He again encircled her in his arms, nuzzling her neck.
"Can you give me a hint?" he whispered huskily.
"Isn't it just beautiful?" she commented as she looked out over the gardens. "Maybe we could come back in the spring when the gardens are full of color." There were small pathways that wove between the hedges and shrubs radiating from the gazebo in the center.
He was entranced by her neck and was not really paying attention to what she was saying. He heard the word beautiful and that got his attention. "Yes, you are," he mumbled against her skin.
"Mulder!" she said firmly. At the mention of his name, he stopped his assault on her neck.
"Yes?" he asked somewhat bewildered by her tone.
"I _said_ aren't the gardens beautiful."
He raised his head and looked out the window. "Yeah, Scully, they're gorgeous...simply gorgeous." He paused a moment and then returned his attention to her neck. "Now about those plans."
"Mulder, I'm hungry."
"Ohhh, me too, Scully," he groaned as he began kissing her neck in earnest.
She turned in his arms, so that she was facing him. "I mean food. I'm hungry for food. We haven't eaten since lunch and _you_ are going to need your energy. Let's get unpacked, head into town, and grab some dinner. Afterwards, we can come back here and I'll enlighten you concerning my plans."
"You got a deal," he answered. He gave her a final squeeze and they turned away from the window to unpack their luggage.
They never noticed the ghostly vision watching from the gazebo in the garden.
They went into town and had a relaxing dinner at a small family-owned Italian restaurant, complete with checkered tablecloths and drip candles. Mulder had the lasagna, while Scully had a seafood pasta dish, and they both shared a bottle of red wine. By the time dinner was over, they were both very tired and very relaxed. They returned to the bed and breakfast and retired to the room. Scully enticed Mulder to join her in the claw footed tub and after a long and romantic soak, they crawled into bed, relaxed and sated, and fell right to sleep.
The next morning Mulder woke when the sunlight came streaming in their east-facing window. He was never much for sleeping late anyway; years of getting up early for work prevented that. He felt great. That had been the best night of sleep in years. It must have been the bed or the wine from last night or the soak or the company
He looked down at the mane of auburn hair that was resting against his right shoulder. That made his smile widen more.
He loved waking up with Scully in his arms. It was the perfect way to start every day.
He kissed her on the head. "Morning sunshine!
She rubbed her head against his shoulder and made a sound like a purr. Yes, she actually purred. "I'm so comfortable. Just five more minutes."
He tightened his arms around her sleep-warmed body. "Babe, we got things to do today. You know vacation things. We can't waste our time lying in bed all day. Come on, let's shake a leg."
She just rolled her eyes. Only Mulder would think lying in bed all day was a waste of a vacation. Some people would think that was the perfect vacation. "So, what's on the agenda for the day."
"First, breakfast. I'm starved."
"After that huge slice of lasagna last night? How can you be hungry?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, but I am. Maybe the vacation is making me hungry. Anyway, after breakfast, I thought we could explore the grounds, you know explore some of the trails. After that, we can head back into town. I want to go to the local library and have a chat with this Wilma."
She rose up on his chest, so she could look him in the eye. "All right, but we are not spending all day listening to ghost stories.
Thirty minutes tops."
"Scullleee," he whined, "that's barely enough time to make introductions. Two hours...please," he begged her with his puppy-dog eyes.
"Fine. Two hours it is, but after that you are taking me to the Slater Memorial Museum for at least two hours."
He frowned, "That's an art museum, isn't it?"
"Two hours? In an art museum? How can anyone even look at art for 15 minutes, let alone two hours?"
"It's up to you. Two hours in the library for two hours in the museum."
"I got it. You could go to the museum, while I go to the library?" he suggested hopefully.
"No way. We are on vacation and we are spending it together.
You are not ditching me for some librarian. I don't care how good her ghost stories are."
He thought about it a moment. "Fine. You win. Equal time in the library and art museum. Now let's get up, get dressed, and get a move on." He rolled her off of him and bounded from the bed, heading toward the bathroom.
Half an hour later, they walked into the dining room. The aroma Mulder had smelled from upstairs had grown exponentially until he was overwhelmed by it. He absentmindedly wiped has hand across his mouth, as he feared he had been drooling. Platters of fresh fruit and cheese, pitchers of juice, and a multitude of covered serving trays were on the bar. They started at the beginning where there was a stack of plates and made their way to the end. Scully filled her plate with fruits and snagged a container of yogurt. Mulder passed up the fruit and went straight for the covered serving trays.
Each one was filled with a breakfast dish. There were scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home-fried potatoes, pancakes, and more. He piled the food on his plate, regretfully stopping when it was filled to capacity. There was another couple already seated at the table, indulging in the feast before them.
Mulder and Scully took seats opposite the other couple.
"Good Morning," Scully said cheerfully.
The woman perked up at Scully's greeting, sensing the opportunity for conversation. "Morning," the woman answered with a warm smile on her face. "Did you two just get here? I don't believe we've seen you before."
"We arrived yesterday afternoon. I'm Dana and this is Mulder."
"Nice to meet you Dana...Mulder," she nodded in Mulder's direction. "We're Rob and Laura."
Mulder's head snapped up. "Petrie?" he inquired.
Rob snorted as if he had heard that before. "Tanner!"
"Never mind him. So have you guys been into town yet?"
Scully really didn't want to be having this conversation. She hadn't realized what she had started with her simple greeting.
"We did have dinner there last night, but it was dark, so we didn't see much. We're heading into town after breakfast."
"You _must_ go see the Slater art museum. It is fantastic."
Scully turned and pinned Mulder with a "I told you so" stare.
"Thanks, Laura. We definitely plan to visit there."
"Sorry, buddy," Rob said sympathetically, "What is it about women and art museums?"
Mulder started to respond, but thought of it and simply shrugged his shoulders noncommittally.
Laura continued, "There are plenty of other interesting sights to see in Norwich. You can pick up a visitor's guide in the office."
"You want juice, Scully?" Mulder asked, trying to rescue her from the conversation.
She smiled at him, silently thanking him for the overture.
"Sure. That would be great, but I'd kill for coffee," she answered. He couldn't help but chuckle at her statement. He knew how much she loved her coffee in the morning. As he was retrieving the juice, Mary came into the room with a steaming pot of coffee.
"Did I hear someone say they wanted coffee?" She must have overheard the conversation, because she headed straight for Scully and filled two cups.
Mulder brought the glasses of juice back to the table, setting one down in front of Scully. "Thanks, Mary, you are a lifesaver," he said, "You don't how dangerous she can be without her coffee in the morning."
Scully turned to pin Mulder with a stare. "Watch it, Mulder, I still haven't had any yet. I could crush you with my bare hands."
"Lands, you two are so funny," commented Mary and she moved around the table to the other couple, "Refill?" The other couple declined. They were obviously finishing up and getting ready to leave. "Did you two introduce yourselves to the new folks?" Everyone nodded that they had. "Good. You know, we want everyone here to feel like a part of the family."
" Listen, we gotta run. We're heading down to the Mohegan Sun casino to win a fortune," Rob said.
"Or lose our _ass_," Laura said contemptuously. It was obvious she was less than thrilled about visiting the Mohegan Sun.
"Come on," he pulled her toward the door. "It was nice to meet you folks." When they reached the door, he turned. "Oh, and Mulder? Enjoy that art museum," he added sarcastically.
"Look, I told you, I have it all worked out. I have a plan," he began to explain to Laura as they left the room.
"Hey, Scully, maybe we should visit the Mohegan Sun. I would love to win a fortune."
"You know, Mulder, the odds of winning big at a casino are..."
she began to explain.
"Please don't quote statistics. I was kidding!" he interrupted.
"Let's just eat, so we can get out of here."
After breakfast, they left the house through the back door, directly into the garden. The sun was shining and the temperature would rise quickly today. There was a light southerly wind that should bring in the warmer weather and perhaps, some rain showers later in the week.
They walked through the garden and entered the woods following one of the well-worn trails. It was beautiful in the woods. They walked along, hand-in-hand, deep within their own thoughts. They were comfortable in this silence; there was no need for conversation as they strolled. After about fifteen minutes, they left the woods and stepped into a clearing. There was a rail that ran along the edge of the clearing on the far side. As they neared the railing, a roaring could be heard, getting louder the closer they came to the rail.
When they reached the railing, they realized that it was separating them from a sheer drop-off. They leaned over the rail and could see the river rushing over the rocks below them.
"I guess this rail is for safety. Wouldn't want your guests to get a little too close to the edge," Mulder ventured, "that could be bad for business." He looked around the clearing for a moment, but seeing nothing of interest, he said, "Come on, let's get back and head into town."
"Besides, we got an art museum to visit. I for one can't wait," he added sarcastically. She responded with a smack to his arm.
By the time they made it into town, the library was closed for lunch. They decided to visit the museum first and then return to the library later that afternoon.
Mulder could never remember two hours passing so slowly.
How could anyone look at paintings and sculptures for two hours? He checked his watch every five minutes and the second the two hours were up, he let her know it.
"That's it! Two hours. Time to leave," Mulder happily exclaimed. Scully could swear she heard him add a 'Thank God," under his breath. She had said two hours and that was what he gave her, two hours; not a second more. He practically dragged her out of the museum to the car. Anyone could tell he was chomping at the bit to get back to the library.
There were no other cars in the parking lot when they arrived at the library. There was a small woman working behind the counter, completely engrossed with stamping books. They walked to the counter and tried to get her attention.
"Ahem...ma'am? Are you Wilma Starnes?"
She looked up from her books at his question. "Yes, I am.
How can I help you?"
"Mary Chambers suggested I speak with you about the history of Hall Manor."
Wilma's eyes widened at the mention of Hall Manor and then narrowed in suspicion. Hardly anyone ever asked about Hall Manor, especially strangers. "Who are you? You a ghosthunter?"
Mulder smiled at her accusation. "No ma'am. Actually we're FBI agents, but we're here on vacation. I'm just fascinated with the paranormal and was hoping to hear some more about Hall Manor and their ghost."
Wilma continued to stare at him, trying to determine if he was being truthful. She addressed Scully, "What about you, young lady? You interested in ghosts too?"
"That's his thing. As for myself, I don't believe in ghosts."
Wilma's voice became chilling, "You will. After you hear my story, you _will_ believe in ghosts." She motioned for them to follow her. "Come on, let's go to the office. It's a lot more comfortable and I just made some fresh coffee."
After everyone had a cup of coffee, they sat in the small cozy office. Mulder and Scully sat on the small sofa, while Wilma sat in the chair.
"So you want to hear about Hall Manor, do you?" Mulder nodded enthusiastically, as he leaned forward in his seat. "I was just a young woman when it happened. The Hall's, Julia and Albert, were the richest folks in town. They bought that land and had Hall Manor built in 1952. I'm not sure where they lived before they moved here. He was some kind of banker or something; I never knew exactly what he did for a living.
Anyway, his wife, Julia, was a hateful, shrew of a woman who only loved Albert's money and the stature that his wealth provided her. She was always spending time in Hartford or New York City; rarely spent time in the house. In 1964, a beautiful woman named Lucy Miller moved to Norwich and opened a small restaurant. Since Julia was rarely at home, Albert used to eat in her restaurant all the time. He would show up for dinner and stay until it closed. Albert fell in love with Lucy Miller. He decided to divorce his wife and marry Lucy.
When Julia found out, she refused to give her husband a divorce. When Albert told Lucy that they could not get married, Lucy killed herself in a fit of despair. She jumped from the cliff at the back of the Hall property to the rocks below in the Yantic River. Of course, the story was that Lucy decided to take her life if she couldn't have the man she loved, but everyone suspected that the wife had killed her; although it was never proven. Albert was distraught over the loss of his love and ultimately committed suicide a week later, by leaping from the same spot. Julia sold the property and moved to Hartford where she lived happily alone until she died in the late 80's."
Mulder was so mesmerized by the story, he hadn't noticed she had stopped, until Scully spoke up. "So who is supposed to haunting the house?"
"Why, it's Lucy Miller, my dear. Evidently, she feels that it is her house. It would have been, if she hadn't died."
"Have _you_ ever seen her?" Mulder asked the librarian.
"I've seen her a few times at the house. I go visit Mary every month or so and I've seen her in the gazebo several times. She seems to like the gazebo. Once I saw her on
Highway 2 between the Manor and town. I was driving home one night from a visit with Mary, when I noticed her walking down the shoulder of the road."
"You expect me to believe that you saw the ghost strolling down the road. Did you offer her a ride?" Scully asked sarcastically.
"You're being facetious, young lady. I know what I saw. And there's more."
"More?" Mulder asked.
"Tragedy has befallen many who have stayed in the house.
Three families have lived in the house since Julia Hall first sold it in 1967. The husband of the first family reported that he saw the ghost many times at the house. Most people didn't believe him, but a few did; the few that had seen her themselves. Two years later, the man's wife killed herself by jumping from the cliff. The man took his family and left the house immediately.
He never returned. A couple of years later, another couple bought the house. He and his wife said they both saw the ghost.
They thought it was neat that their house was haunted by a benevolent spirit. That is until, his wife was almost killed when a tree fell on her in the woods and crushed both her legs. She was in the hospital for several months and upon her release, the couple left town. The house stood vacant for several years, when a couple, with their two young daughters bought the house. They thought it was a perfect place to raise their family.
They had heard about the suicides and were not the least bit concerned. They got a great deal on the house. Everything seemed to be going well for the young family, when one night the husband called the sheriff's office. He said they needed help. When they arrived at the house, the front door was standing open. The man and his wife were missing, but they found the daughters asleep in their beds. They searched the house and the grounds. They finally found the broken bodies of the couple at the base of the cliff."
"And you think the ghost is responsible for the deaths?" Mulder asked when she finished the story.
"Yes, of course. Everyone does," Wilma answered him confidently.
"Mulder, this means nothing. Suicide is not uncommon among young families. Do you realize there were upwards of 33,000 suicides last year and that suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44?" Scully points out.
He turned to look at Scully. "Don't you find it the least bit convenient that the suicides all took place at that house? The _same_ place where Lucy Miller committed suicide or more probably was murdered 40 years ago."
"Yes, but that is all it is...a coincidence," Scully explains.
"What about the Chambers? Has anything ever happened to them?" she asked Wilma.
"Mary and Maurice Chambers have lived in this town as long as I have. Maury used to be a real-estate agent; a very successful real-estate agent. He was the one that sold Hall Manor each of the three times. Anyway, after the last family left, the house stood vacant for over ten years. When Maury decided to retire from real estate, he and Mary bought the place and decided to turn it into a Bed & Breakfast. They renovated the place and it opened for business in 1992."
"He says the ghost has never bothered him. I wonder why that is," Mulder pondered.
"Well," responded Wilma, "I have wondered about that too. I figured either he was too old, not her type, or she wasn't interested in anyone that lived in town. She has never bothered anyone who lives in the town, with the exception of the three families that lived in her house."
Mulder thought about Wilma's reasoning. "So, there hasn't been any more deaths since the last family lived there?" he asked her.
"Now, I didn't say that. Seems Lucy isn't interested in any of the men or women living in town, but she has taken an interest in some of the couples who have stayed at Hall Manor. There has been a string of strange injuries that seem to plague some of the guests at the Manor."
Scully heard the word _injuries_ and perked up Injuries and Mulder did not mix well. "What kind of injuries?"
"Most of them have been pretty minor; scratches, scrapes, a few broken bones. Mostly caused by things falling on people. Of course, there could be logical reasons for these things to fall, but most people think it's Lucy's doings."
"But, have there been any more deaths attributed to the ghost of Lucy Miller?" he restated his question to Wilma.
"Not officially, no," Wilma says as she shakes her head. She stops shaking her head and stares at Mulder, "but, like I said, most people think it's Lucy. There was a young couple named Andy and Sharon Sutten. They stayed at Hall Manor a year or two after it had opened for business. They had recently had some personal tragedy in their life and needed time to recover.
They had been there for about a month, when Andy came to see me and asked me about the ghost. He said he kept seeing her all the time. At first, he only saw her in the garden, but recently, he had started seeing her in the house, even in their room. He said she would talk to him and tell him that she wanted them to be lovers. Of course, Sharon thought he was seeing things.
Two days later, the bodies of Andy and Sharon were found at the base of the cliff behind Hall Manor. Their death was ruled a suicide and maybe it was. But, if that is true, there is something at Hall Manor that makes people want to kill themselves."
When Wilma finished her latest "ghost story," Scully decided to take the opportunity to try and make their escape before she could start another one. She looked at Mulder and could tell that he believed every word Wilma had said. She could tell from the expression on his face, that the wheels were turning in his mind. He was staring at nothing, absently rubbing his fingers across his jaw, obviously deep in thought. It was time to put an end to this.
"Well, that was very interesting Ms. Starnes," Scully said as she stood to leave. "Mulder? Are you ready to go?" When he didn't respond to her question, she figured he hadn't heard anything she had just said. He kept staring into space.
"Huh?" He looked up to see Scully was talking to him. "What?
Sorry, did you say something?"
"I _said_ it's time to go. Your two hours are up and we need to get going. Thanks for your time Ms. Starnes."
"Yeah, thanks for the information, Ms. Starnes."
"Please, call me Wilma," she corrected him with a smile.
"Ok, _Wilma_, thanks for the stories. They were extremely interesting. Perhaps, I could come back later and talk..."
Scully interrupted his statement by snagging his arm and pulling him toward the door.
He pulled her up short. "Scully! What the hell are you doing?"
"Two hours. You promised. Remember?"
He remembered and she was right. He had promised two hours, no more. He turned back to address Wilma. "I'm sorry, we really have to go, but thanks again for your time."
"You're quite welcome young man," she said in response. Then her voice took on a serious tone. "You be careful out there at the Manor. You're just Lucy's type."
"What?" but Mulder didn't get a chance for a response, because Scully was dragging him out the door.
Once they were in the car, Mulder turned to ask Scully, "What do you think she meant by that last statement?"
"Nothing, Mulder. She was playing with you. It was obvious you believed everything she told you."
"Why wouldn't I? You do admit, it does sound like something funny is going on at Hall Manor."
Scully looked up at the ceiling of the car, as if she could find the answer there. After a moment, she returned to looking at him.
"You know, you never cease to amaze me. There always has to be _something_ going on. Perhaps, she tells these ghost stories to bolster the tourist trade. Look, I'm hungry. Let's grab something to eat and head back to the Manor. It's been a long day and I'm looking forward to a nice long soak in the tub.
Care to join me again?"
"Huh, yeah Scully, that sounds great," he answered her absently. She wasn't sure if he even knew what he was agreeing to.
That night, after Scully fell asleep, Mulder slipped out of bed and made his way to the attic. Mary had said there was a light switch inside the door at the foot of the stairs. He found it after only a few seconds of fumbling. The light from above lit the steps to the attic floor. The attic was full of stuff. There were boxes, trunks, luggage of varying sizes, old furniture covered in sheets, and an old dress dummy. The dress dummy startled him at first, thinking it might be the ghost.
He decided to investigate the boxes first. They were covered in dust. He opened the first box and found that it was full of old newspapers. He flipped through the papers, noting the dates, 2000, 1998, 1994. He pulled out the paper from 1994. The headline read "Out of Town Couple Found Dead". The story was about the Sutten's. Family members had said the couple was distraught over the unexplained death of their young daughter. They assumed that's why the couple killed themselves.
He opened the second box and found that it contained even older newspapers than the first. He flipped through the papers, noting the dates, 1984, 1979, 1976. He pulled out the paper from 1976. The headline read "Suicide Leap Claims 2 More Victims". He scanned the story. It was about the last family that lived in this house. It was just as Wilma had said.
He flipped through a few more papers, until he found one from 1967. The headline on this one read "Prominent Citizen Takes His Own Life ". The article was about the death of Albert Hall.
There was a picture of him and a woman on the front page. He was a handsome middle-aged man. The picture said the woman was his wife Julia. They didn't seem very happy with forced smiles. He thought it looked like a lot of the pictures of his parents. The story said there was a note found, where Albert confessed to being unable to live without Lucy and how he wanted to join her in death. His wife had sold everything and moved to Hartford.
The next paper was from a Week Earlier. The headline read "Local Woman Found Dead". There was a picture of a beautiful young woman on the front page. She had long flowing dark hair and a cheerful smile, that even encompassed her eyes. Her whole face seemed to smile in happiness. Not the kind of woman who you would expect to commit suicide. He was reading the article when he got a feeling that he was being watched. He looked around the room and spotted the dress dummy. He chuckled to himself, at how caught up he was getting. Still, the feeling was there, stronger now. He turned suddenly to look behind himself, where he saw the translucent vision of a woman with long dark hair. She was floating in the corner staring at him.
He stared at the ghostly apparition with his mouth agape. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He then realized that he did believe what he was seeing. At that moment, he was sure that this was the ghost of Lucy Miller.
"Who are you?" Mulder asked the ghost, although he had a pretty good idea already.
"My name is Lucy Miller and this is my house," she told him.
"Your house? I thought it belonged to Albert and Julia Hall?"
"It would have been my house...it should have been my house, but Albert's wife took care of that."
"How?" he asked curiously.
She floated out of the corner to the center of the room, so that she was only a few feet from Mulder. He could almost see straight through her. It was like looking through a puff of smoke.
"Julia had asked me to meet her at the Manor. She said she wanted to talk about Albert. It was just a ruse to get me there.
We walked the trails talking about Albert. She seemed so friendly to me. She didn't seem like the woman Albert had described. I should have heeded Albert's words. He said not to trust her."
"When we finally got to the cliff, she changed. She became hateful, saying she would never give up Albert's money; not to some tramp. She said she had one favor to ask of me."
"She said she wanted me to die! She pushed me off the cliff and I died on the rocks below. I remember my body floating up and I saw Julia run back to the house. Later that day, they discovered my body. Albert was heartbroken. I wanted to go to him, but I couldn't. He couldn't see me. Seven days later, I watched Albert jump from the same cliff. I thought I would see his soul then and we would be together, but I never saw it. I don't know what ever happened to him. After that, I moved into the house and I have been here ever since. Tell me your name."
"Mulder? That's a strange name. What is your last name?"
"That is my last name. My first name is Fox, but I prefer to be called Mulder."
"Fox! What a wonderful name. I love it," she said with the same smile as in the picture in the newspaper. Her whole face seemed to smile. "Why are you not afraid of me? The others were."
"I came here because of you. Well, partially. We're actually on vacation, but I was really hoping to see you." She seemed to brighten even further when he mentioned he had hoped to see her.
"Can I ask you something, Lucy?" When she nodded, he continued, "Did you have anything to do with the suicides?"
Her smile vanished. "I loved them, Fox, I really did. I had to do something."
"What do you mean? What did you do, Lucy?"
"I knew their wives wouldn't let them go; let us be together, as it was meant to be. I had to protect the men I loved, before their wives betrayed me...us. I had to get rid of them. I couldn't let them prevent us from being together."
"So you...killed them?" She nodded at his question. "But, how?"
"I tried to run them off, at first, but they just wouldn't take the hint. Eventually, I pushed them off the cliff, just like Julia had done to me. I figured if I got rid of them, the man I loved would stay with me and I wouldn't be lonely again.
Unfortunately, they were not what I thought they were. They either left or chose to join their wives. I have been looking for someone for almost 40 years. Someday, Fox, I will find the right man. One who will love me and stay with me forever."
She floated toward the door to the attic and turned to address him once more. "Perhaps, I already have." Before he could respond, she vanished.
Mulder couldn't believe he had sat and carried on a conversation with a ghost. Scully would never believe it. He thought about her final statement and wondered what she meant. Maybe she had already picked out another couple to harass. He and Scully should investigate the other couples staying here. Perhaps, they could prevent another so-called suicide.
He put the newspapers back in the boxes as he had found them.
He turned out the light and left the attic, returning to his room.
Scully was still sound asleep, so he slipped into the bed beside her. She immediately snuggled against him and he put his arms around her. He lay there thinking about what the ghost had said. Finally, sleep overcame him.
The next morning, he told Scully what had happened in the attic.
"Are you sure you didn't dream it, Mulder? I mean, after all of Wilma's ghost stories, perhaps it was just your imagination."
He was getting annoyed with her for always doubting him, but of course, why would he have expected her to believe him now.
She rarely believed in things, even when she saw them. She hadn't seen the ghost and even if she had, she would have explained it away.
"How would I know that the suicides were actually murders, if she hadn't told me?" he asked with irritation.
"And that proves what? Are you saying you believe that this _ghost_ pushed these people off the cliff?" He nodded.
"Mulder, only in movies are ghosts considered dangerous.
Even those who believe in ghosts feel the most they can do is move small objects and scare people."
"But, she confessed."
"So what if you saw a ghost and she confessed to murders. Are you going to reopen the case? Investigate the murders? Mulder, these suicides took place years ago. I know there is no statute of limitation on Murder, but it would be extremely tedious to track down the individuals and the evidence, if any, would be long gone. There is nothing you can do. Just drop it."
"She said she had found another man. We should talk to the couples staying here; it is probably one of them."
"No! Positively not! We are not going to question the other guests, to see if any of them are seeing visions of a ghost."
"No buts, Mulder!" she said loudly. She took a deep breath.
She didn't know how the conversation had turned into an argument, but she was going to stop it now. "Look, I'm sorry I shouted. We're on vacation. Can't we just enjoy ourselves and forget about the ghost? Please."
His rigid posture softened. He held out his arms and she walked into them. "I'm sorry too," he said as he wrapped his arms around her. "Let's forget about the ghost and head down to Mystic like we'd originally planned."
They ran into Maury as they were leaving. He seemed to be his usually cheery self. "Where are you two headed today?"
Scully fielded this question. "We're headed down to Mystic."
Maury's smile disappeared. "Why? What's wrong?"
"It looks like the weather is starting to turn. It's started drizzling and we're supposed to get a lot of rain over the next day or two. You folks be careful."
Scully nodded and started to leave, but Mulder hung back a moment. "Hey, Maury, have any of your guests reported seeing the ghost recently?"
"Mulder..," Scully warned.
"You said I couldn't question the guests. You didn't say anything about the owner." He turned back to the owner.
"What about it?"
He shook his head. "Not that I know of. Why? Have you seen her?" Mulder shrugged noncommittally. "Well, you stay away from her, Mr. Mulder. She's nothing but trouble."
Scully grabbed his arm and pulled him out the front door. The skies were overcast and there was a light mist falling. They left the property and headed south on Highway 2 toward Mystic.
Neither one said anything after they left the Manor. The silence was making him nervous.
"I'm sorry I mentioned it to Mr. Chambers. No foul. Come on, don't be mad at me."
"Under one condition. You will not mention the ghost for the rest of the day."
"You got a deal. Scout's honor." He mimicked the pledge by holding up two fingers.
When his eyes returned to the road, there was someone standing in the middle of it. He slammed on his brakes and turned the wheel to the left to avoid the person. The mist had made the roads slick. The tires lost traction and the car began to spin toward the shoulder of the road. Unable to control the car, it came to an abrupt stop when it sideswiped a tree a few feet off the road surface. Mulder's last thought before he lost consciousness was that the person in the road had been Lucy Miller.
He awoke to someone calling his name. It was Scully. She had unbuckled her seatbelt and moved next to him in the front seat.
"Mulder? Are you okay? Where are you hurt?"
"My head and my left side." He looked around trying to get his bearings. The driver side window was smashed. Probably why his head was pounding. Right outside his door was a tree, which is obviously what stopped the car. "What about you Scully? You hurt?"
"I think my wrist may be sprained. Mulder, what happened?"
"Didn't you see her?"
"Lucy Miller. She was standing in the middle of the road. I thought it was a person at first, but it was her. You didn't see her?"
"All I saw was the scenery fly by as we spun out of control."
"Well she was there Scully. I saw her. She was standing right there in the middle of the road," he repeated angrily.
Before they could say more, a car pulled onto the shoulder of the road ahead of them. A man wearing a slicker got out and ran back to their car, banging on the passenger window. Scully rolled down the window with her good right hand.
"Are you folks all right?"
"Yes, we're fine," she replied. "Well, nothing life-threatening."
"You two just sit tight. I've already called the police."
"Did you see what happened?" Mulder asked the stranger.
"Nope, sure didn't. Sorry. I was just driving by when I saw your car smashed up against this tree."
Sirens could be heard in the distance. Within minutes, a police car and an ambulance pulled up. The EMT's helped them out of the car and checked them out in the back of the ambulance.
They confirmed that Scully's wrist was probably sprained, but it should be x-rayed to be sure. Mulder definitely needed to be checked for a concussion due to his head injury. The scratches on his face and neck were no longer bleeding, so they left them for the hospital to clean.
The police officer stepped to the back of the ambulance to ask them what had happened. "I'm Officer Rains. Can I get your names."
Mulder took the lead answering his questions. "Fox Mulder and Dana Scully."
The police officer wrote their names on his report. "Address?"
"We actually live in DC, but here on vacation, staying at Hall Manor."
He added this to his report. "Can you tell me what happened?"
Mulder looked at Scully and saw the look on her face that pleaded with him not to mention the ghost.
"There was something...a small animal...in the road. When I swerved to miss it, I lost control on the wet pavement and hit the tree," Mulder said.
"That happens. There are a lot of animals in this area." He looked up to address the EMT. "You going to take them to the hospital?"
"Yeah. They need to be examined by a doctor."
"Fine." He turned back to Mulder. "We'll get your car towed into town. I'll come by the hospital to finish your statement and let you know where you can find your car."
The ambulance took them to the Emergency Room at Backus Hospital. They were there for a couple of hours. Scully's left wrist had been x-rayed and it was only sprained. Her wrist was placed in a splint and she was given a sling to keep it elevated.
Mulder had a sizable lump on the side of his head where it had hit the window. Since he had lost consciousness, a CT scan of the head was indicated. It turned out negative and neurologically he was normal. There were bits of glass in his hair and a few embedded in his neck and cheek. None of the scratches required stitches, so the nurse cleaned them and applied an antibiotic cream. His left shoulder, arm, and hip were bruised from where they hit the door at impact. He would be sore, but other than that, there was nothing to be done.
The doctor gave them both a prescription for a pain reliever in case they were uncomfortable. The nurse gave them their discharge orders and they left the Trauma Room together.
When they entered the Emergency Room waiting room, they saw the police officer from the accident. He was sitting in one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs that seemed to be standard issue for a waiting room. He stood as they approached.
"Mr. Mulder, Ms Scully, how are you feeling?"
"I believe we'll live; albeit painfully for the next few days," Mulder said with a strained smile.
"Do you mind if we sit here and finish your statement? After that, I'll give you folks a ride back to Hall Manor. You'll probably want to rest for the rest of the day. Maury can probably give you ride into town tomorrow to take care of your car. Which, by the way, was towed to Norwich Ford on North Main."
"Mulder, why don't you finish with Officer Rains and I'll run to the hospital pharmacy to get this prescription filled. I _know_ will be needing it later."
Mulder answered, as Officer Rains asked questions and transcribed his answers onto the accident report form. They were just finishing up the report, when Scully came back from the pharmacy.
"Come on. Let's get you folks back to the Manor, so you can get some rest. You both look very tired." He would get no arguments from them.
It had begun to rain a little harder. No longer the light mist they had experienced earlier. Twenty minutes later they turned off onto the drive to the Manor. As they crossed over the creek, the officer noticed the water was higher. He commented on how it would most likely flood if the rain kept up much longer. They really weren't listening to what he was saying. They were thinking about how much they wanted to lie down and sleep.
The officer pulled up to the front of the Manor and let them off.
He said he would call to check on them tomorrow. Before they made it to the top of the steps, the front door was thrown open startling them. Mary was standing there wearing a very worried look.
"Oh my God, you two look terrible. Come in, come in.
Jerry...Officer Rains, called and told me what happened. Are you two okay?"
"We're better than our car," said Mulder. "Perhaps, Maury could drive us into town to tomorrow to check on it. We need to make arrangements to get a loaner."
"Sure, that won't be any problem. Can I get you anything?
"No thanks, Mary," Scully said, "we just need to get some rest."
"Of course. If you need anything, you let me know," Mary offered. "You two come down later if you feel like it and I'll make you up some dinner."
"Thanks, we just might do that," replied Mulder. They made their way up the stairs to their room. Mulder couldn't help but let a few groans slip through as his left hip protested the climbing.
Scully removed her clothes, slipped into her pajamas, and crawled into bed. Mulder stripped down to his boxers. His left side was beginning to turn several shades of purple. She asked him to get her a glass of water so she could take the pain pills and suggested he do the same. He usually didn't like to indulge in pain medication, but he had a feeling he would not be able to sleep without it.
He crawled into bed next to her. Soon the pills took effect and they were both sound asleep.
Mulder was standing in the clearing between the woods and the cliffs. Scully was standing at the edge of the cliff in her pajamas. Floating between them, was the ghostly vision of Lucy Miller. They were talking, but he could not hear what they were saying. Scully's expression was one of anger. He realized that the wind had suddenly picked up. He started running towards them. Lucy moved closer to Scully. Mulder was scared and ran as fast as he could, but he seemed to be running in slow motion. Lucy moved again and Scully fell backwards off the cliff. He screamed her name and suddenly his legs closed the distance in record time. When he got to the cliff's edge, he looked down and saw her broken body on the rocks below. He was sure she was dead. He was brokenhearted. What would he do without her? He heard a noise behind him and turned to see the ghost of Lucy Miller.
"You killed her!" Mulder said angrily
"It's over, Fox. Now we can be together...forever," she told him soothingly.
"NO!" he yelled at her. "I love Scully. I could never love anyone else but Scully. She was my heart and soul and now she is dead."
Lucy's expression turned angry. "I thought you were different, but you're like all the others. I thought you loved me...loved me like Albert. I thought you were the one, but I was wrong."
The ghostly vision transformed into a hideous creature and she let loose a terrifying scream. A huge gust of wind suddenly blew and pushed Mulder over the edge of the cliff.
"Nooooooo," Mulder screamed.
Scully awakened at the sound of his scream. She turned to see him sitting up in bed, drenched in sweat. His eyes were wide and frightened.
"Mulder. Are you okay?" she asked as she ran her hand up and down his arm in a soothing motion. He nodded, but didn't look at her. "Did you have a bad dream?" He flinched at the mention of the dream, but he again nodded. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"No!" was the first verbal response he had given since he had awakened. "I don't want to talk about it. I'm fine." He rolled onto his side facing away from Scully. She watched him for a few moments, but decided he would talk about it when he was ready. She lay back down and was soon asleep. Mulder lay there with his eyes wide open. There was no way he was going back to sleep.
Scully awoke sometime later that afternoon when she realized she was all alone in the bed. She sat up and saw Mulder sitting on the couch in the sitting room off the main bedroom. He was wearing his jeans and a worried expression on his face.
"Mulder? What are you doing up? Couldn't you sleep?" A shake of his head was his only acknowledgment to her questions. "Is it because of your dream?"
He turned his head to look at her. "I had a dream about Lucy.
She pushed you off the cliff."
"Mulder, you just had a bad dream and that's quite understandable."
"Oh yeah, why is that?"
"Think about it. You've been inundated with ghost stories over the last few days and you're exhausted. Add to that the effect of the painkillers. It's little doubt that's what caused your nightmare."
She always had an explanation for everything. "It was _not_ the drugs or the ghost stories," he firmly stated. "I believe it was a warning."
"Yes, Scully, a warning." He was becoming flustered. Why must he always defend his theories? He tried to calm himself before he continued. "Look, I told you she said she had found another man, right? Well, I think that man is me."
"Dammit, I have seen her," Mulder shouted, leaping to his feet.
He moaned at the pain that caused his hip. He brushed off the pain and continued, "She told me that she killed those women, so she could be together with the men. I believe she means to do you harm...like all the other women."
"Calm down, Mulder." He rolled his eyes at her attempt to change the subject. "Let's just say that is true. What do you want us to do?"
"Leave," he said flatly.
"Yes, leave. We can drive down to Mystic and get a hotel."
"Drive? How can we do that without a car?"
"We can get the Chambers to drive us into town. We can stay at the Marriott tonight and get a car in the morning. I just don't want to stay _here_ another night."
She could see he was upset and arguing with him only made him more upset. She couldn't believe in the terrorizing ghost theory, but Mulder did and if leaving this place would ease him mind, then she would do it.
"Fine. We can leave."
He stared at her as if he wasn't sure he had heard her right.
"Really?" She nodded. He visibly relaxed. "Oh, thank you.
I'll go ask the Chambers to drive us into town. You pack. Oh, wait! I'll ask them to drive us into town and then _I_ will pack.
You just sit there." He raced out the door before she could respond.
He ran downstairs to track down the Chambers. In his haste, he had forgotten to put on his shoes and a shirt. He was in too big of a hurry to turn back. He found Maury at his desk in the office.
He stepped into the doorway and shouted, "Maury!"
Maury was startled by the sudden intrusion. He turned and saw Mulder standing there in his jeans. His bruises were really starting to stand out on his skin. He suddenly became worried.
"Mr. Mulder? Is everything all right?"
"Yeah...well, no...Maury, could you drive Scully and me into town?" He didn't want to tell him about his nightmare.
"Yeah, now. How about it?"
"Well, son, I wish I could." Mulder's face fell. "It has been raining all afternoon and the creek has overflowed its banks and flooded the road. I'm afraid we're stuck here until the rain stops. Why is it so important you get into town tonight? You don't need the doctor again, do you?"
"No," he answered in a defeated voice, "we're just fine. Thanks anyway."
Mulder slowly ascended the steps to the second floor and returned to their room. When he entered, Scully knew something was wrong. "What's wrong?"
"The rain has flooded the road. We can't leave until the water recedes."
"Well, that's it. I guess we will have to stay until morning."
"No. We can't stay here."
"What do you suggest? We could swim across the creek and hike into town," she suggested sarcastically.
He slumped heavily onto the couch in the sitting room. "Of course not."
"Then I suggest you calm down and try to relax. Hopefully we can leave first thing in the morning."
He knew she was right, but that didn't mean he had to like it.
He would try to relax, but he knew that would be impossible.
At least he would try not to get on her nerves.
They sat in silence for a while, each deep within their own thoughts. Mulder thought that if they couldn't leave, then they should be around other people. They should go down stairs with the other guests, or at least, where the Chambers were.
She started at the break in the silence. "Yeah?"
"I'm starved. Let's go see what Mary has to eat."
She thought about it a minute and decided that she was hungry too. They hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and it was now evening time. "Sounds good. I'm hungry too. Let's get dressed and head down stairs."
Mulder jumped and moved to the dresser to fish out socks and a t-shirt. He was so relieved that she had agreed to go downstairs.
He didn't want them to be alone.
Mary was so happy to see them coming down the stairs. She ran up and grabbed both their arms and pulled them toward the kitchen. The kitchen was warm and inviting. She ushered them to the small table in the corner and beckoned them to sit.
"Can I get you something to drink? I got some fresh-brewed iced tea?"
"Oh yeah, Mary, that sounds great," Mulder replied.
She got two large glasses from the cupboard. She filled them with ice and tea and placed them on the table before them. "I bet you two are hungry. Let me fix you something for dinner. I could make you a couple of club sandwiches, complete with fresh sliced turkey, cheese, crisp bacon, on toasted bread, with a side of my fresh potato salad. How does that sound?"
Mulder was salivating from her description. "That sounds great. I can practically taste it from your description alone.
You should do commercials." She laughed at his assessment of her persuasive speech.
They sat there at the table sipping their tea as Mary moved about the kitchen preparing them dinner. She made it seem so effortless. She kept up a nonsensical one-sided conversation the entire time. Mulder even began to relax in the warmth and safety of her kitchen. Within fifteen minutes she placed a sandwich in front of each of them and they dug in with gusto.
They hadn't realized until now how hungry they were.
After eating she urged them to go into the library with the other guests. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace and its golden light bounced off the walls. They sat on the cozy loveseat in front of the fire away from the others. He could almost forget about Lucy when he was this happy and felt so safe, but he knew she was there...just waiting for the right time.
A big yawn escaped from Scully as she stretched. He could tell that sitting here was going to put her to sleep and then they would have to go back to their room.
He glanced around the room trying to find a reason to stay here, when he noticed the pile of games. "Hey, Monopoly! Come on, Scully, let's play a game."
"Oh, Mulder, aren't you tired?"
'We slept all afternoon. Oh please, just one game?"
Mary came in with a pot of coffee and a plate of cookies.
"Anybody want a snack?" She placed the tray on the table in front of them.
"Yes!" Mulder blurted out. Perfect. Coffee would keep them awake. He poured her a cup of coffee and then snatched the game from the shelf. "How about it?"
"Okay. One game only."
He set the game up and they played, while they drank coffee and munched on oatmeal cookies. The game lasted for a couple of hours and Scully's yawning was becoming more and more frequent. Mulder was feeling more and more guilty. It was obvious, that Scully was beyond tired and he needed to put her to bed. He couldn't keep her down here all night.
She let out another jaw-cracking yawn and he took action.
"Okay, that's it, Scully. I concede defeat. Time for bed. You can barely keep your eyes open." She didn't argue, she was exhausted. "Let me put this stuff away and we'll go up to our room."
She changed into her pajamas and crawled into bed. Mulder got her a glass of water so she could take her pain medicine. She watched him as he put the glass back in the bathroom, retrieved his gun from the dresser, and then made himself comfortable on the sofa in the sitting room. She stared at him until she realized that he planned to stay there.
"What are you doing? Aren't you coming to bed?"
"Nah, I'm not tired."
"Who are you kidding? You were yawning as much as I was downstairs. Mulder, you need to rest."
A yawn slipped past his defenses. "No, really. I think I've gotten my second wind. I'm just going to sit here and...watch TV." He jumped up, flipped on the TV, and grabbed the remote. He couldn't tell her he was waiting up in case Lucy made an appearance. She would have laughed at him.
"Fine. Suit yourself, but I'm going to sleep." She turned off the bedside lamp, rolled over facing away from the TV, and was soon asleep.
He sat there on the couch, with his gun in his right hand, absently switching channels with his left, watching Scully sleep.
He was really tired. That nap this afternoon had been anything but restful, but he would not let himself fall asleep. Scully may not believe that she was in danger, but he did and he would not let the ghost get to Scully.
A few hours later he felt the call of nature. It must have been all the coffee he drank trying to stay awake. He didn't want to take his eyes off of Scully, even for a few minutes, so he waited, but by 3:00am, he couldn't stand it. He decided he would run to the bathroom and back...maybe a minute...two at the most...he would hurry.
He ran into the bathroom and relieved himself.
Moments after he left the room, Scully rose from the bed and headed for the door. She had her hand in front of her as if she was being led by someone. She was being led by Lucy Miller out of the house. In her mind, Mulder was leading her and she was following. They left the house through the front door and walked across the yard and disappeared into the woods.
Just as he was finishing his business and was prepared to return to the room, Lucy Miller appeared in the bathroom. She was hovering at the open door. "Don't worry," she said, "I'll take care of everything. We will be together now." She vanished and the door slammed shut in his face.
He panicked and grabbed the knob to open the door, but it was locked. He pulled and pulled, but it would not budge. He banged on the door shouting Scully's name. Nothing. He looked for something to break the door with...nothing. He was terrified now, banging on the door, yelling for help. He screamed for Lucy not to hurt Scully, tears were streaming down his face. He tried throwing his body against the door, which only bruised his other shoulder.
Suddenly, the door was flung open and he was face to face with the Chambers who were standing there in shock.
"Where is Scully?" he yelled, as he raced past them into the room. The bed was empty. She was gone.
"Mr. Mulder! What's wrong?"
He didn't stop to answer them, but rushed past them, down the stairs. The front door was standing wide open. He knew where Scully had gone. He raced out the front door, through the woods, towards the cliffs. It was still pouring down rain and the wind was blowing. The trails were slick from the rain and he slipped several times as he ran over the trails.
When he entered the clearing, he saw Scully standing by the edge of the cliff looking down at the rushing river. The ghostly vision of Lucy Miller was hovering between her and Mulder.
Scully was soaked; her hair plastered to her head.
"SCULLY!!" he screamed.
She seemed to snap out of her trance. She turned towards the sound of her name and came face to face with the ghost of Lucy Miller. Mulder yelled for her to run and again began to run towards them.
"He is mine," Lucy told her as she moved closer to Scully.
Scully was backed up the edge and could not move back any further. She steadied herself and confronted the ghost. "No!
He is _mine_. I will not let him go," she said in a firm steady voice.
At first, Lucy's expression turned to one of disbelief. No one had ever attempted to challenge her before. Who was this woman, who tried to stop her from taking what was hers. At this thought, her face turned angry and the wind started to blow harder.
Mulder noticed that the wind had picked up. He ran even faster.
When he was near Lucy, he took a flying leap. He tried to tackle her before she could push Scully over the cliff, only he had forgotten she was an apparition. He flew right through the vision. Wildly he tried to grab at something to stop his flight.
His hands made contact with the rail, which slowed him down.
As the rail slowed him down, he was spun back and slammed into the side of the cliff. The railing was wet and he could not hang on. His fingers slid off the wet rail and he slid down the cliff face. He flailed his arms, trying to grab hold of anything.
He finally came to a thudding stop on an outcropping of rock about twenty feet below. He managed to snatch a handful of roots before he could slide off the ledge into the river below.
He could hear the deafening roar of the Yantic River as it rushed over the rocks; any white-water rafter's dream. He realized that he had stopped short of being crushed to death on the rocks below or being swept away in the treacherous river current. He also noticed that the gusting wind had stopped and that the rain had slowed to a steady drizzle.
It took him a moment to get his bearings, when he suddenly remembered Scully. Where was she? Was she okay?
"SCULLY!!" he called her name over and over, but there was no answer. He had to get back up there. He began to look for a way.
As soon as Mulder went over the side of the cliff, the world seemed to stop. The expression on Lucy's face instantly changed to one of shock and then slowly melted into one of sadness. Finally, the gusting wind dissipated and the ghost of Lucy Miller vanished. Scully stood there stunned for a moment, unable to comprehend what had just happened.
Suddenly, she remembered seeing Mulder fall off the cliff. She ran to the cliff's edge and looked over. She couldn't see anything, but she could hear the roar of the rushing Yantic River below.
She called out his name over and over, but there was no answer.
She came to the realization that he might be gone. He obviously fell into the river and was being rushed downstream by the mighty current. He might still be alive, that was if he hadn't been crushed on the rocks below. At that moment her heart broke.
Scully didn't know what had just happened, other than seeing Mulder fly off the cliff. Was that real? Did she really confront the ghost of Lucy Miller? Was this a dream? Was she sleepwalking? She was so confused. At that moment, the Chambers burst through the trees into the clearing.
Mary Chambers rushed to wrap her arms around Scully. "Oh, my dear. Are you all right? Where is Mr. Mulder?"
Scully buried her head into Mary's shoulder and cried. "He went off the cliff. Oh my God, I saw him go over the cliff."
"I should call the sheriff. He needs to get a Search and Rescue team to check the river downstream," Maury reasoned.
Meanwhile, Mulder had managed to inch his way along the outcropping about twenty-five feet around the edge of the cliff.
Here the cliff was not quite as sheer and there seemed to be much more vegetation. Using the vegetation, he managed to pull himself up the face of the cliff and over the edge. His arms were trembling from the effort and he was exhausted, but he had to find out what had happened to Scully. He noticed several people in the darkness about thirty feet way. He could hear that one of the voices was Scully's
"Come on child... _you_ need to get out of this rain. We need to let Maury call the authorities and get them to check the river." Scully didn't want to leave the cliffs, but she knew they needed to form a search party, even if it was only to retrieve Mulder's body.
Oh God, now she was hearing things. She looked up and saw Mulder coming toward her. At first, she was sure this was a continuation of this nightmare, but he looked so solid...so real.
When he got close to them, he asked, "Hey, Scully, what happened to the ghost?"
She stared at him, having trouble believing it was really him.
That he hadn't gone over the cliff. That he wasn't dead. Scully threw her arms around his neck and kissed his face.
"Mmmm...missed me huh?" She burst into laughter. Tears of joy mixed with her previous tears of anguish.
"All right you two," Mary interrupted, "you can continue this reunion back at the Manor." She marched off into the woods.
Mulder and Scully gazed at each other, both had been convinced they would never see each other again. After a moment of unspoken communication, they broke into huge smiles, and then headed off in Mary's direction, arm in arm.
From the Journal of Fox Mulder
What makes a soul not want to leave this earthly plane, even after death. Lucy Miller would not let herself leave. She was looking for something she felt was robbed from her...Love. She felt her logic was perfect, however, it was flawed. She didn't expect that these men, once rid of their loved ones, wouldn't want to spend eternity with her. She had not even considered it a possibility. How bad can one want love, to sabotage another's relationship to get it?
Scully cannot be convinced of what really happened, insisting that she was not attacked by the apparition of Lucy Miller. She blames it on the pain medication that she and I were taking for our injuries. I don't know if she really believes that, but that is the only way she can explain it without admitting she had a paranormal experience.
As for me, I believe that even though she disappeared after our confrontation on the cliff, she still haunts Hall Manor, waiting for her next victim. I can only hope that someday she will choose to move on and perhaps, be reunited with Albert Hall.
Scully and I have decided to spend the last two days of our vacation at the Mohegan Sun casino at Maury's insistence. He knows the manager there and arranged for a limo to pick us up at the Manor the following morning. At Maury's request, they put us up in one of their best suites. At one point, I wanted nothing more than to be all alone with Scully, but we're still pretty bruised and sore. Now, I'm enjoying the feeling of safety being lost in the crowds. Who knows, maybe I will even win a new car at the slots.