It was a rainy day, and as the weather reports said over the radio, it'd be like that all through the week. Mulder didn't seem to care about the reports of tremendous thunderstorms that were about to rack the city and the ones around it, but Scully was rather dreary about the thought of being bundled up inside just staring out at the rain. She almost wished they'd send them on a case with no meaning somewhere just to enjoy some time without the rain. This would be Washington, D.C.'s second week of constant rain.
Scully watched Mulder hang up the phone and rid himself of A.D. Skinner and when Mulder spoke, her wish for a getaway was granted.
"So where are we going?" Scully asked, packing up her briefcase to go home and get ready to leave.
"Maine," he told her.
"Maine," she repeated in a whisper. She loved that state, maybe this time it'd bring her less grief then her last visit did. "What's in Maine?"
"A haunted house," he said trying to avoid eye contact with her.
"Oh, a haunted house," she mocked. "Says who?"
"I'll explain on the way," he said. "Go home and pack."
He was ready to get rid of her meddling questions for the moment. Mulder knew the possibility of something like that existing, he knew the likelihood of it showing it's pale chalky translucent self. He wasn't a total crackpot, he was just curious. He only drug Scully along for moral support - not that he was getting it.
Mulder met her at the airport an hour before their flight, each holding a carry on in their hands or over their shoulders. "Relax, take a seat," he pointed a rolled up magazine at the only empty seat at the gate. She took it of course, leaving Mulder standing in front of her as if he were actually speaking with her so he wouldn't feel so awkward.
"Mulder, we can go sit somewhere else, we've got an hour until it's time to leave," she suggested, looking up at him as he flipped through the Cosmopolitan magazine for nearly the 5th time. "You look awful silly reading a woman's magazine."
He looked down at her, made a joking face and closed the magazine, tossing it onto her lap. "Fine, I need something to eat anyway."
Scully gathered her things that she'd scattered around in her the seat and quickly caught up to Mulder who'd been heading north up the airport. They found a pizza place inside the airport for him to get something to eat.
"You getting anything?" he asked her as the cashier waited to ring up his bill.
"A diet coke," she told him as she stood by for him to finish ordering.
"You're not eating anything?" he looked puzzled.
"No," she told him.
"All right," he told her and turned to the cashier. "And two diet cokes please."
The taciturn woman behind the Formica counter punched in the orders and handed him his food. Scully was given her diet soda as they walked to a small wobbly, two person table nearby. "Thanks," she said.
"No problem," he said, beginning his food.
Scully found Mulder’s laptop cover which held pockets for other things such as papers and files, so she took a wild stab and guessed where the file would be. She got lucky and pulled out the beige folder and began reading. "Why are you so interested in this, Mulder?"
He looked up at her as if she shouldn't be asking him, "It's a haunted house, Scully."
"Yes, I see that," she said. "But why this particular one warrants us flying to Maine makes me wonder what's so important."
Mulder didn't want to admit that he was simply a lonely man, and that when he wasn't on a case, he did nothing but watch porno, old movies, or when congress was in session, watch the latest news. He would sit all alone in a dark apartment, no one calling, no one visiting nor anyone to visit. But out on a case, Scully was always there. He could walk over to her motel room and wake her up at 3AM just because he could.
"It's an X File, Scully, what more do you need?"
"Validity," she began. "Reasons, motives, answers to my questions. A good night's sleep perhaps..."
"Scully, you'll get a good night's sleep, promise," he smiled.
Scully remained examining the file as the plane took off. She felt sorry for Mulder who was leaning out into the aisle about to spill his guts onto the floor. Something in the pizza had made him sick and flight attendants wouldn't let him go into the bathroom while they were taxiing and taking off.
"Mulder?" Scully whispered as she placed the file in her bag. "Mulder? You should really stay out of the aisle." He looked at her, his face completely drained of color. "I can't take you anywhere," she whined as she pulled him from the aisle and closer to her.
"Do me a favor," she asked.
"Yeah, what's that?" his face showed frustration as he rubbed his head.
"Don't eat pizza around me again," she told him. "And if you throw up on me," she said as she pushed up the armrest to lay him down on her lap, "you're in serious trouble."
He nestled his head comfortably on her thin legs as she ran a tender hand through his thick, slick hair. She did all she could to comfort him and ease his stomach in effort to prevent him from throwing up on her newly dry cleaned clothes. Her soft, small hand found his face and rubbed it gently to coax him into a settling sleep.
It's not that she was embarrassed to have a man laying sickly over her lap, and not that they couldn't be mistaken as a couple, but she felt the awkwardness of not everyone staring, but no one caring. About 30 minutes into the flight, Scully woke herself from having dozed off to check on Mulder.
"Mulder?" she nudged him. "Mulder, how are you feeling?"
He moaned indicating that he was no better. Scully rubbed his arm then ran her fingers through his hair again at another useless attempt to keep him from throwing up, "You can use the bathroom now if you feel like you need to throw up. We're in the air."
"Yeah," he managed to get out. Mulder pulled himself up with Scully's help and headed to the bathroom before the drink cart blocked the aisle.
Scully sat back against her chair and put her hand on her forehead, wondering what she was going to do with an ill partner. She removed her hand and peered out the window into the cumulus clouds to think. This was his case, and he knew the details that he hadn't told her. What was she expected to do? Solve the haunted house mystery without any answers first? She could do that from Washington! She could concoct reasons why they didn't need to fly out there, which she had planned to do, but Mulder didn't give her enough time before their flight.
Mulder returned in a few minutes and groggily plopped himself down in the bulkhead seat. Scully felt sympathy for him as she could tell that he'd lost his stomach contents. "Oh, Mulder," she whispered and got up to find a stewardess. She returned a moment later with a bottle of water. "Here, drink this," she handed it to him. "Go into the bathroom and rinse your mouth out."
Mulder wanted desperately to tease her about her concern, but he was getting worse and couldn't find the energy. Scully patiently waited for him to return, wondering what kind of medicine she had in her purse that would help him. She stood up and grabbed her purse from her bag in the overhead bin and returned to her seat. She fumbled through it and cursed herself for not bringing more medicine with her, being that she WAS a doctor.
Mulder staggered down the aisle and slumped into his seat. Scully pulled out a red labeled bottle and checked to see how much water Mulder had left.
"Here, take this," she told him, holding out 2 pills.
"What is it?" he asked, ready to take them.
Scully was hesitant to tell, but Mulder read the bottle before she could lie.
"Midol?" he looked at her with sheer confusion. "You want me to take Midol? I'm not suffering from PMS pains here, Scully."
She couldn't help but crack a smile and put the pills back in the bottle.
"What kind of doctor are you?" Mulder teased. "Won't that mess with my hormones as a male or something? Don't doctors carry an entire pharmacy in their purse? You've got to have something in there."
"No, nothing but Advil," she told him.
"Some doctor," he mumbled. "Can I have some of that?"
She dispensed it to him and watched him graciously swallow it down. "Now just try to get some rest. When we land I'm taking you straight to the motel."
"Uh, Scully," he said.
"There's something I forgot to tell you..."
Her face read "oh great" but said, "What?"
"We're not staying in a motel," he said.
"Oh so Skinner's stepped us up to HOTEL?"
"No," he replied. "We're staying in the house."
"We're staying in that house?" she said, appalled, lowering her voice. "We're staying in a house that's supposed to be haunted?"
"What's the matter, I thought you didn't believe in that stuff, Scully," he adjusted his body in the seat.
"I don't, but--"
"So what's the problem?" he asked, closing his eyes.
Scully let out a deep sigh, then pulled Mulder back down to her lap so he wouldn't be cranky for lack of sleep. "Thanks," he whispered to her.
They encountered more than minor turbulence as they flew into MORE rain, and Scully feared that the bumping would trigger Mulder's stomach and either make him throw up or wake up. He did neither.
When they landed, almost everyone had exited as Scully roused Mulder from his sleep. "Huh? Yeah, OK," he said as he saw everyone deplaning. He got up pretty well on his own and got their bags down.
They got their luggage from baggage claim and rented their typical Ford Taurus. "You feeling better?" Scully asked as she took the driver's seat.
"Yeah," he said. "Thanks."
"Good, now I can yell at you for NOT GETTING US A MOTEL!!" she raised her voice.
Mulder raised one eyebrow passively, "It adds to the effect of it, Scully."
"I don't need EFFECT, Mulder," she told him. "What I need are clean sheets and a working shower."
"Admit it," he looked at her, her head snapping his direction in return. "You're just scared."
"I am NOT scared, Mulder!" she said sternly.
He nodded as if in agreement, but refused to believe her. "All right, when you're sick, I'll get you a top notch room at a 5 star hotel in the middle of the city - but when I'm sick, I prefer a good ol' haunted house if I get the choice."
"I didn't give you a choice," she told him.
"Right, I know, but I'm not giving you a choice either," he responded.
Scully was nearly fuming, but she convinced herself to hold it in and that it's only for a little while.
"It's not that bad, Scully, you'd be surprised."
"Turn here," he told her as he looked at the directions he'd written down on a napkin.
"It's not that bad, Scully?" she repeated to him as they turned down a dirt road off the beaten path.
They drove over fallen tree branches and crunching dead leaves and through the mud. "Keep going, it's down here a ways."
They drove in silence for a few more minutes until they pulled up to a large Victorian style house that sat on the cliffs looking out over the sea. It was stunning and remarkably beautiful - beautiful enough to take Scully's breath away. She gazed to the top of it and took note of the widow's walk looking out of the sea. She knew how depressing that might have been for the women back then, and with her father having been in the Navy it bothered her that if they'd lived just a few decades back they'd go through that widow ritual.
"You should learn to trust me, Scully," Mulder said, standing over the edge of a cliff where the water splashed heavily up against the stationary rocks.
"Yeah," she whispered, dazed at the thick blanket of fog that hugged the sea.
It wasn't raining, but it was extremely overcast which kept the possibility of it close.
"This is the Angel of the Sea," Mulder explained. "They tried to turn it into a famous bed and breakfast once, but the state denied them permission."
"Do I dare ask what's haunting it?" Scully asked.
"Who, Scully," Mulder corrected her. "WHO. You've been around me too long."
"I'll say," she muttered.
"ANYWAY," he said having heard her. "An entire family. About a hundred years ago, Captain Luke Franklin had this home built for his lovely wife Clara. In this home they had 5 children, from oldest to youngest, Ty, Claire, Zachary, Shane, and Victoria. The only one that lived into adulthood was Shane."
"What happened to the others?" Scully was being reeled in like her father was telling her an old tale of the sea, a legend that no one could prove nor dare to, but let the ghosts haunt the old home. Mulder took advantage of this.
"Well, Ty followed in his father's footsteps and was drafted to the Navy at 17. He and his father ended up caught in a war-zone and the boat sank. That was the last trip Mrs. Franklin made on that widow's watch. Claire died at 12 of Tuberculosis, as did Victoria at 7 months. Shane and Zachary were the only kids left now, so as you can imagine Mrs. Franklin wasn't a very happy woman. Shane and Zachary were sitting out by these cliffs when they were 15 and 16, and when Zachary went to get up a loose patch of earth crumbled and he fell down to the sea below."
"And Shane...?" Scully was gripped by this story, it was almost as if her father had even once told her before about it.
"Shane grew into a handsome man and left home for med school after completing college. His mother jumped off the widow's watch the day he moved out."
"My God," Scully said.
"Shane moved on and found himself a pretty wife named Celeste. They married and had their first child in 1940. They were trampled by a stampede of wild mustangs in 1965 when their daughter was 25. In 1968 her daughter married and had a child the same year and kept her last name. Her only child, a son named Shane after her father, grew up and married in 1992. He became a Captain in the Navy and went missing in 1994 when his wife Cory had their first child, a daughter named Belle. And they're living not too far from here, actually, about 25 minutes."
Scully let out a deep sigh and was about to speak when Mulder continued.
"Cory was well aware of her husbands family history and the house was left to her in his will. Some people wanted to buy it and turn it into the most famous bed and breakfast around by keeping everything new - using the things to cook meals as the people cooked back then, and only using the things in the house. Keeping the same sheets, all that nonsense. Cory refused to sell it so it was obviously denied by the state," Mulder explained. "Though Cory doesn't want to live in the house as her husband did for fear of a curse. She's not paranoid, and she usually pays no never mind to those things, but she says she values her life and her daughter's life too much."
"OK, so..." Scully looked around a bit, "who reported the house as being haunted?"
"What?" Scully was shocked. "The little girl, uh, Belle. How old is she, 5?"
"5 and a half, Scully," he replied. "And yes. Her mother maintains the place when she can, and the daughter comes with her and tells her mom that she sees people. She says that she sees a lady in a white flowing dress with long dark hair, and other people. But no one's ever in the house. Belle says that they're not like real people. They look like real people, but you can see through them."
"After almost 6 months of this SAME thing, Cory contacted the FBI, and here we are," Mulder said.
"And why aren't we staying in town?" Scully asked.
"I thought you'd like it here," he gave her a wide grin and headed for the house.
"Mulder!" she called. "Shouldn't we go interview the woman?"
He turned around and said, "Let's get settled in first."
He was teasing her, taunting her, pushing her to her limits, and she knew very well that's what Mulder was doing, but she followed along anyway.
"Why are we sharing a room, Mulder?" Scully asked. "This was about to be turned into a bed and breakfast, don't tell me there's a room shortage."
"I thought you'd be more comfortable this way, it's not a motel, Scully," he told her. "It's a haunted house. There's plenty of room in here. At least we're not sharing beds."
"I think I can handle myself alone, Mulder," she sad.
"Fine, if that's what you want," he gathered his suitcases. "Then I'll just go right across the hall."
When they settled themselves in, they got in their sky blue car and drove to the Franklin's home. They approached the door under and umbrella and knocked loudly to be heard over the pouring rain. They waited for a moment, then the door opened slowly and when they expected an adult, they had to lower their eye level to a small girl, Belle, with tons of curly brown hair and her Sunday dress on.
"Hi, you must be Belle," Scully said getting a nod in response. "Is your mommy home?"
She nodded again and ran to get her mother.
The blonde woman came to the door wiping off her hands on a kitchen towel and waited for the agents to say something after she said, "Can I help you?"
"Mrs. Franklin?" they pulled out their badges, "we're agents Mulder and this is agent Scully. We're here about your call to the FBI about your husbands house being haunted. You were aware we were coming?"
"Oh yes, I didn't think that's who you were, sorry, come on in," she let them in and closed the door behind her.
"We need you to tell us exactly what your daughter says she sees when she goes over there," Mulder requested as they sat down.
"She tells me there is a woman walking up the stairs, to the widow's watch, and she looks like she's going to jump, and she does, but she disappears. Then she says she hears a baby crying and when she goes into the old nursery with me she says she sees it. When we're outside, she says she sees a little boy playing on the cliffs and he slips and disappears. Then there's a girl who follows behind her she says. She tells me that she plays with her, they play dolls and things like that," Cory explained.
"She plays with the girl she saw?" Scully wanted to clarify.
"Yes, she says that she plays with these old dolls that are really dusty."
"Do you have an OLD family album by chance? One of your husbands family," Mulder asked.
"Yeah, I do somewhere," the slender woman stood up to examine the things on the bookshelves. After a minute of searching, she pulled one out that had recently been dusted. "Here," she handed it to Mulder.
He looked at it, "Can we get Belle to take a look at these?"
Scully was afraid Mulder was moving too fast for the young woman in front of him. But surprisingly, Cory agreed and called Belle from the bottom of the stairs. When Belle came down she'd changed herself into a sweater and a pair of jeans on her own.
"Belle," Mulder asked in his most child-identifying voice possible. "Will you tell us if any of these people in these pictures are who you see at your dad's house?"
The little girl seemed far from scared - perhaps she was thinking of the one girl as her friend, not all the others who floated around killing themselves and slipping off rocky cliffs. Mulder opened the first page and it revealed a woman sitting solemnly with her husband who didn't look too much happier.
"Have you seen those people before?" Mulder asked.
"Yes," replied the little girl. "I saw her jump off that thing at the top of the house."
"What about that man?"
"No, not in the house," she began. "But I saw him walking up to the house on the water."
Scully looked at Mulder as if she were asking that he not do this to the girl, but he flipped the thick page anyway. "What about them? Do you see any of them?"
"That's my friend!! Her, right there!" the girl was overwhelmed with the excitement of her friend on the page.
"Do you know her name?" Mulder asked.
"No, she doesn't talk," she responded. "He falls off the cliffs all the time, and her, she cries ALL the time. Never seen those other two boys though."
"Why doesn't your mom see these people?" Mulder questioned the girl as she stared at the pictures.
"She's never in the same room," Belle said casually. "I'm sure she could if she was with me."
"So you think I could see these people if I were in the room with them?" he asked her.
"Yeah, why not?" she said, flipping through the book.
"All right, thanks Mrs. Franklin," Mulder shook her hand and the two agents left.
"What were you doing?" Scully asked rather appalled.
"You had no idea how that little girl would have reacted to seeing those pictures, you could have scared her to death, Mulder," Scully scolded.
"But I didn't, Scully," he said. "She's fine. I don't think she thinks they're real people, or she would be scared of the kid falling off the cliffs."
Mulder shot her a coy smile and got into the driver's side of the car. He started the engine and patiently waited for Scully to get in on her side. Why she felt she needed to stand in the rain to think for a moment when he had the umbrella, he couldn't figure out. He tapped the window with his knuckles and broke her of her trance.
He backed out of the driveway and threw the car in forward and began the drive back to the house. Mulder could see Scully fiddling with her hair out of the corner of his eye, so he turned for a moment. "That's what thinking in the rain will get you."
She gave him an annoyed look so he directed his attention to the road once again. They pulled up to the "Angel of the Sea" and parked their car in the general vicinity that they had before. The night was beginning to fall and the beautiful colors of pollution filled the sky.
Mulder sat at a table in the dining room that had once been formal, but he'd turned it into his own personal study while Scully took a fine toothed comb through the kitchen.
"What are we supposed to eat?" he heard her holler.
He didn't intend to respond, nor did he intend to eat, but she approached him and asked him again. "I don't know, Scully. I didn't really think about it," he told her, returning to his work.
"Maybe you don't feel the need to eat, but I'm starving over here. I've gotta eat," she whined.
"Order a pizza then," he said knowing Scully wouldn't be able to figure out how to work the old fashioned phone that wasn't even up and working anymore.
"How?" she asked.
"Use your cell phone," he said, not taking his eyes off of his file. Scully gave an "oh" look, and began searching for her cell phone as Mulder mumbled, "and your head..."
He could hear Scully dialing, then raising her voice to be heard over the static, "Hi, no, hi. Yeah, I'd like to order a pizza," she yelled.
Scully stepped into the room where Mulder was interrupting him again, asking, "What do you want on your pizza?"
"Since when do you care?" he asked, frustrated to have been removed from his work again.
"Oh, right," she responded, ordering a plain pizza.
She continued to blow the order-takers eardrums apart until the order was finished, then she hung up the phone, taking a seat across the table from Mulder.
"Is something wrong?" she asked.
"No, I'm just trying to concentrate," he told her without making eye contact.
Scully glared at him, then said, "Looks like my PMS symptoms switched from me to you."
"Yeah, and you inherited any ounce of stupidity I had during the switch," Mulder replied.
She was tempted to throw something at him, but she held back and got up instead. She waited impatiently for her pizza to arrive, tapping her feet and pacing back and forth as if she were counting on it to continue living. Mulder could hear her tapping in the dining room from the foyer and yelled, "Would you relax? It'll be here soon enough!"
Scully was so antsy, Mulder couldn't help but think, . When the pizza finally arrived, Scully acted like she didn't really even want it. Mulder gratefully ate what she didn't not knowing he was that hungry.
"That was my pizza, Mulder," she whined, then got up. "I'm tired, I'm getting ready for bed."
"Yeah, OK," he said dismissing her statement.
Her hormones were parading around her mind like the Thanksgiving Macy's Day Parade and frankly it was making Mulder wonder what he'd be dealing with for the next few days. Scully came walking down in her almost oversized cotton pajama's and thick robe, tying the knot as she approached the table where Mulder was still working vigilantly.
"I thought you were going to bed?" he asked still looking at the photos he had laying out in front of him.
"I am," she told him.
"So go," he tried shooing her away.
"When?" he asked trying to rid of her.
"Are you trying to get rid of me?" she asked.
"What's it look like?" he replied.
"Fine," she said, standing up. "Goodnight, Mulder. I'll see you in the morning."
"Night," he responded. "Sleep tight...don't let the bed bugs bite."
She turned around with a sarcastic smile and began her way to the stairs.
Mulder turned in himself only 45 minutes later but didn't start to fall asleep for another couple of hours. Just as he began to drift, he heard a knock at his door and then the squeak of the rusty hinges as it began to push open. He bolted up and out of his sleep suspecting something of the paranormal to be slipping its presence through his door, but all he saw was a red haired woman in a white robe.
"What is it, Scully?" he asked.
She was back to her normal self as she said, "Mulder there's something in my room."
"A ghost?" he mocked. "You don't believe in ghosts, Scully."
"I didn't say that," she said, approaching his bed.
"Then what are you saying?"
"I don't know, but there's someone in my room," she sat down on the edge of his bed.
"Did you see them?" he asked.
"No," she said. "It sounded like a baby crying."
"You are sleeping in the nursery, Scully."
"No, Mulder," she said firmly. "There is not a ghost of a dead baby in my room."
"Well then who is it, Scully? Certainly not your kid begging for a late night feeding," he pointed out.
"Maybe it's just me thinking about this...I don't know."
"Thinking about what?" he quizzed.
"Nothing, Mulder. It's nothing," she responded.
"Thinking about how you want kids? Your hormones seem to be really out of whack lately," he told her.
"What?" she was stunned by his audacity.
"You've been so MOODY lately, I've had to make numerous trips to the drug store for your feminine problems."
"What? No you haven't!"
"Yeah, Scully," he corrected her. "I've had to slip liquid PMS medicine in your drinks lately you've been so weird."
"I can't believe that!" she put her hands on her hips.
"Your hormones piss me off, Scully. What else am I supposed to do? You've got the most out of control hormones of anyone I've ever met, did you know that?" he explained.
Scully had no idea what to say, she couldn't find the words to respond to him with. "Well, I'm sorry."
"It's OK," he told her. "That stuff I bought last time works miracles."
She resisted the temptation to smack the living daylights out of him, but she need him to investigate her room since her investigation went no where. "OK, but would you just please come check out my room so we can both go back to sleep?"
Mulder let out a deep sigh then removed the covers. He was in nothing but his t-shirt, boxers and socks as he padded out of his room on the noisy hardwood floors. He casually sauntered across the hall to Scully room and peeked in. He walked around and looked in closets and under the bed finding nothing but dusty clothes and rattled-out baby toys.
"Scully, there's nothing here," he told her. "You're hearing things."
"I am NOT hearing things, Mulder, I heard it as clear as a bell," she replied.
"What exactly did you hear?" he inquired.
"I TOLD you exactly what I heard. I heard a baby crying," she was getting overly frustrated with the fact that he was acting like the skeptic this time.
"Scully, I don't know what to say. Unless you saw the baby I can't do anything. It's just your hormones going again," he turned around to walk out the door. "Sleep tight."
She closed the door behind him and said with a pout, "It's not my hormones."
Again, just as Mulder was about to nod off, Scully came storming in his room, "I'm not sleeping in there. There's something in there."
"SomeTHING or someONE, Scully?" he cracked a smile.
"SomeONE, Mulder," Scully came back. "If you don't believe me you sleep in there and let it keep you up! But otherwise I'm staying in here tonight."
"I told you that you should have to start off with," he responded. "You should start listening to me, Scully."
"Don't start," she said, slipping under the covers of the adjacent bed.
Mulder covered himself up with the thin sheets and finally managed to fall asleep no thanks to Scully readjusting herself on the thick, lumpy mattress parallel to him.
The next morning Mulder was up just as early as Scully was, ready for a new day and new discoveries. "I think we should go pick up the kid and bring her back here, see what she sees," Mulder suggested with too much enthusiasm for Scully's liking. She felt like she was suffering from a minor hangover after her "hormones" calmed down.
"Mulder," Scully said astonished. "I don't think that's what we need to do. If these things exist as she says they do, we don't need her to point them out."
"Maybe she's the only one who can see them," he suggested.
"When then how do you explain what I heard last night?" she retorted.
"Are you saying you believe in these ghosts?" Mulder lit up like a radiant Christmas tree at the possibility.
"No," she came back immediately. "I am most CERTAINLY not saying that...."
"Than what are you saying?"
"I don't know!" she was discombobulated beyond comprehension. "Fine, let's go get the kid, then, I don't care!"
They drove through more thick sheets of fog feeling as if it would rain any moment. They pulled up to the Franklin's residence for the second time in as many days and approached their large French doors. Cory answered the door this time instead of her daughter and invited the agents in upon seeing them. "What can I do for you?" she asked as they stood in the foyer.
Scully decided that she should be the one to ask the woman for her daughter temporarily being a woman herself, "Mrs. Franklin, we're not finding anything so far, and we feel that Belle should come with us in order to get the ball rolling on this case. Otherwise we're at a dead end."
Cory nodded and moved to the end of the stairs to call her daughter down. "Belle! Come here!"
The girl was down almost the second that her mother called for her sporting a fitted t-shirt and a pair of jeans and waiting for someone to ask or tell her something. "These people want you to go with them to Daddy's house for a little while, will you go?"
"Sure," she shrugged with a bounce of passiveness.
"You might want to get a change of clothes and anything else you might need," Mulder reminded her, sending her running up the stairs.
It was only a matter of time before Belle was back down the stairs and hugging her mother goodbye. They took her outside into the fog and watched her get in the back seat of the economy sized rental Ford Taurus. The drove fairly slowly through the thicket of white fog to the Angel of the Sea. When they pulled up to it, Belle seemed comfortable in her surroundings as she approached the door.
"This was my daddy's house," she told the agents as she walked to the front door. "He said it was pretty, but he'd never want to live there again. He says this is why we have no family."
"He told you that?" Scully asked.
"Yeah, but he went to Heaven a little while after," she walked into the grand foyer.
Scully looked at Mulder as if in disbelief that the child remembered what her dad told her. Belle put her duffel bag down by the stairs and headed to the back of the house and stood out on a large immaculate balcony that looked out over the cliffs and the sea lapping violently against the rocks raised in the sea. She raised her hand to wave out to the ocean, promoting Mulder to ask, "Who are you waving at?"
"That man out there," she told him. "He seems a bit grumpy, he never waves back."
Belle turned around and walked back inside sitting herself down on a plush couch left behind by the family.
"There was a man out there?" Scully asked her as she sat down in a poet's chair across from the sofa.
"Yeah, he's got a white beard, he's wearing a uniform. Like my daddy's," she spoke as she backed herself up on the stripped seat. "It's that old man in that picture book you showed me."
Mulder looked at Scully, then she asked, "Then why didn't we see him?"
"You didn't?" the girl was stunned.
"No," replied Scully.
"But he was right there," Belle frantically stood up and ran to the balcony again, Mulder and Scully trailing behind. "See! He's right there! He's always there, he walks but he doesn't move."
Mulder and Scully peered out into the vast fog laying softly over the ocean to find a man in a Navy Captain's uniform and couldn't locate anyone, not even a ship. "Belle," Scully looked down. "There's no one out there."
"Yes there is! He's right there!" she panicked. "Why can't you see him?!"
They took her inside as she pointed repeatedly at the man standing between the sea and fog. "Why don't we get something to eat?" Scully suggested.
Belle remained silent noting the change in subject and watched Scully look around for food, "There's no food here, you know," the child chimed in. "Whenever mom and me are here for a long time we have to go out or order it."
Scully nodded then cocked her head to the side indicating that she and Mulder should get up and they'd go somewhere to eat. When they returned Mulder began working on his files again and Belle wandered through the house in sections her mother had told her to stay away from. She slid some sliding doors open wide that opened up to a room of shining hardwood floors and paintings of famous ships and navy men. Bookshelves lined the perimeter of the immaculate room with a large crystal chandelier hanging down from the middle. A fire place sat straight across the room with burnt logs still inside and ashes scattered at the bottom. A constructed model of a large ship with sails sat on the mantel with a tarnished brass plate holding it's illegible name.
This was a room that the men of the family used to smoke their cigars and drink their brandy no doubt. It was a room that once sparkled with elegant beauty but was now hidden but dust and cobwebs. She entered the room fully and examined the names of the books on the shelves, "Moby Dick"; "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea", and many other titles by authors that she'd heard were classics. They would have been new in the era this house lived in. She felt a breeze blow through and heard Scully calling her name so she rushed out of the room leaving the doors open.
"Yes?" she called as she ran down a hallway.
"We're getting ready to go to bed, so you should too," Scully told her as she made her way up the stairs.
"K," she responded following her upstairs with her small bag. "What room am I sleeping in?"
"Any one you want," Scully looked back. "Just try to pick one close to ours."
30 Minutes later, they were all ready and eager to get to bed. Belle had chosen to stay in the room Scully abandoned to stay in Scully’s old room, and although Scully had her reservations on letting her sleep in there, she figured the child seemed more stable then herself about the house.
At 3:34AM, Belle found herself sitting up in bed having heard music. She got up and left her room quietly as not to wake Mulder and Scully from their sleep - they had guns. She ever so swiftly made her way down the long, tall, winding staircase to the first floor. The musical noise grew louder in her small ears, so she followed the vibrations the sound gave off. She found herself in front of a door that lead to a room she was never allowed to explore, and in hearing the music she was too curious not to disobey her mother that once.
She twisted the knob and pulled then stepping inside. She walked down a long corridor with high ceilings and walls with columns decorated in Victorian molding. She reached the end and found herself standing on a balcony, gripping brass railing as she looked out over a crowd of transparent people that glittered in the night as they came from the walls and floated to the floor with their dancing partners in hand. The music was playing loudly through the ball room, echoing in her ears.
Belle looked to either side of her and saw that the blood red carpet she stood on lead, in both directions, to an embracing arms staircase with railing the same golden brass color that she'd been holding. She took the right staircase down and gazed around at the dancing people, most men in navy uniforms dancing with their spouses in their elegant gowns.
Suddenly, the music stopped and everyone dancing came to an abrupt halt all starring at a family in the middle. A tall, sturdy man, a beautiful wife, and 5 children surrounding them. A baby was in the woman's arms as she wrapped her free arm around a young blonde boy. The father stood in front of a young girl with curly brown hair who stood next to a shorter boy. And finally, a growing young man stood next to the Captain in his brand new sailor's uniform.
Belle recognized this family that stared eerily back at her just as she eyed them. The more she looked at them, the creepier they became. The oldest boy and the captain went blue in the face and looked as if submerged in liquid; the mother looked battered and bloody; the 2 girls' mouths began to bleed profusely whereas a one of the younger boys skull cracked and bled among many other cuts on his body; yet the last boy grew into a man and a woman appeared next to him, seemingly both normal until imprints of hooves appeared on their transperant bodies.
Being young, her eyebrows raised in fear then she darted up the red carpeted stairs. Her hair flew wildly behind her as she dashed down the long hall and through the heavy wooden doors. She found her way through winding cooridors to the mail circle of the house where she knew how to find the stairs that lead to the 2nd floor and to her bedroom. She got to the top and scrambled down the hallway to Scully and Mulder's room, no longer able to avoid rousing them from their slumber.
She scurried over to Scully's bed and shook her gently, "Ms. Scully...Ms. Scully, please wake up."
Scully moaned and turned over to face Belle who was urgently nudging her.
"Ms. Scully please wake up!" she said just above a whisper.
"What is it?" she asked suddenly alert. "Is something wrong?"
"There are people," she said. "Lots of them! They're all downstairs dancing!"
The girl was clearly petrified so Scully sat up immediately, "Where, show me where they are."
Belle took her hand and seemingly drug her out of bed as she called for Mulder to awaken. They ran down the hall and back to the place where Belle had seen the figures dancing gracefully and of course they couldn't see anything when they got there - only Belle.
"See! Don't you seem them?" she asked as she leaned over the shining brass rail pointing. "They're all down there, can't you see them?"
Mulder and Scully's eyes combed the immense ball room but saw no one.
"Please! They're there! I promise! They're all down there!"
Mulder and Scully leaned over the balcony that Belle was and looked once again trying to find ANYTHING. "No, I don't see anything," Scully looked at Belle in sorrow.
"But they're there! Right there! There's that family we saw in that book! Right down there! They're all looking up at us!"
"Are you sure you see them?" Scully asked.
"YES! But they're not normal, they're messed up. All beat up and blue and they look weird, but they're all there!"
Mulder and Scully back away from the balcony as the suffering child began to cry while still leaning over the edge. Suddenly the balcony disappeared - it didn't just fall off or tip, it vanished into thin air - and it would have sent Belle plummiting to her death if Mulder hadn't caught her left index finger.
Out of anxious nervousness, Mulder and Belle's hands were both sweaty and slippery, and just as Scully brushed the girl's hand with her own she fell.
"Belle!" Scully and Mulder screamed in unison.
Just as they closed their eyes and expected to hear a thud, they heard the wind blow loudly then lights pop on showing people dancing on air as if they were air themselves. They all looked like royalty as they spun to the ground, dancing every so gracefully. They looked in a terrified type of awe, wondering where Belle was and why she hadn't hit the ground. They looked through the people dancing and finally found a group of people of all ages standing in a group, and recognized each and everyone from the pictures they'd been studying. The family stared back at them for a moment before turning around and walking towards a large wall with a giant mural painted across the whole thing.
Scully was utterly speechless as Mulder stared in awe. Just before the family disappeared behind the wall, a blond slender woman turned around to them and waved - she looked uncannily like Cory, the same features and everything. Mulder and Scully exchanged shocked glances and when they looked back at the ball room the music was gone and the see-through doll-like figures had disappeared with the Franklin family.
Now that every ghostly configuration that once occupied the dance floor disappeared they could see Belle lying limply and lifelessly on her back and her head rolled over to the side. The agents raced down both sides of the stairs and rushed to the girl's side, but when they got there, there was nothing they could do. Scully lifted her head to look sorrowfully at Mulder, then as he met her gaze she closed her eyes and lowered it again.
They made a call to the local police and waited until they got to the scene to take Belle away before they went over to Cory's.
They thought they were through with seeing "ghosts" or the umbra's of the phantom family, but as they walked outside to get in their car parked close to the edge of the cliff, Scully said, "Do you see that?"
Mulder took his eyes of his keys opening the lock and looked out into the lifting fog. What he and Scully couldn't deny seeing was the entire family walking in a horizontal row in their gowns and tuxedos away from the Angel of the Sea.
When the arrived at the dark house they parked recklessly and bolted for the door. When no one answered to their repeated knocks and endless rings of the doorbell, they took it upon themselves to enter.
They searched around the house with a fine tooth comb and found nothing until they came upon the dining room. There was an empty latter, so Mulder and Scully walked over to it as it was behind the table and blocking the view of anything beneath it. When the floor below the latter came into full view they saw what they'd dreaded since seeing the apparition at the Angel of the Sea house - Cory lie on the floor with a gash across her forehead. The blood swarmed around in her hair and seeped into the light colored carpet.
One the plane back, Scully was still unsure what to think about the situation, and Mulder respected her enough to leave her be.
"I still don't understand," she said out of no where as they passed over New York City in the plane.
"Don't understand what?" he turned his head.
"Why when Belle fell that we saw what she'd been seeing."
Mulder felt as if it were some kind of transferance through death, Belle having touched them both before falling to her doom and in essence sending her visions to them. But he couldn't bring himself to put that upon Scully, so he said, "I don't know. Whatever it is, it's over."