The Wilson Estate
02.35 p.m.

Mulder had drifted off, tried as he was after a night with no sleep, and when he woke up again, Scully wasn't next to him any more. Sitting up straight on the couch, he looked around the greenhouse with a frown. "Scully?" he called. "Scully?" He got up and went in search of his partner, feeling that the house had lost a lot of its eeriness.

The first place he went was into the kitchen. The door to the basement was closed and locked from the outside, which gave him enough of an indication that she hadn't gone down there. Whatever she should have gone down there for he didn't know. He trailed through the downstairs, trying to figure out why he felt so different. He couldn't quite get a grasp on it.

Not finding Scully anywhere downstairs, he went upstairs, moving gingerly due to his aching back and sore head. Looking down the corridor toward their rooms, he frowned. The destruction which had so clearly marked the corridor earlier was gone. "Scully?" Somehow, he couldn't get himself to raise his voice. To have her disappear again would be the worst thing that could happen right now. He didn't think he could handle being here alone, knowing that both Scully and Jezek had vanished in this house. He stopped in front of the door to Scully's room and was more than surprised to see that the door was intact and closed. Reaching out, he touched the wood and felt nothing out of the ordinary. Then he opened the door to the next room which had been his and stepped inside. Nothing wrong here. The connecting doors to both the other rooms were closed. Mulder grabbed the handle of the door to Jezek's room and opened it, stepping through with a feeling of unreality. Something was wrong with this picture and he couldn't for the life of him figure out what it was.

He turned his head, inspecting the room and then froze to the spot, the reason for this unreality-feeling hitting him like a ton of bricks. There was Jezek, sitting cross-legged on her bed, reading a book. She looked up and smiled. "Hi there," she said, then noted the look on his face. "What's up? You look like you've seen a ghost," she added, grinning at her own joke. "Not that it would be a difficult task in this mansion of creepiness."

Staring at her, he took a step toward the bed, unable to comprehend that she was here. "Tesla?" he asked her, not sure it could really be her.
"Yes?" she replied, looking up at him with a frown. "Fox, are you all right? You're not running a fever or something, are you?"

"No, not that I know of. Where have you been?" he wanted to know, completely ignoring that she was, once again, calling him by his first name despite his repeated requests for her not to.

"Been? What do you mean?" she wanted to know, her frown deepening. "I said I was going upstairs to read a book. Where else should I be?"

This made no sense to him whatsoever. Something was wrong here. Something so utterly wrong that he felt a little queasy due to it. "But... you were missing," he said after a moment.

Raising an eyebrow, the pretty blonde stared at him with a definite lack of comprehension. "I was?" she countered. "Since when?"

"Since yesterday morning. And... and... uhm... we looked for you everywhere and couldn't find you," he tried to explain, realizing how lame it sounded right now.

Closing the book, Jezek leaned her head to one side, inspecting his face thoughtfully. "Have you been into Wilson's liquor?" she asked with an almost overbearing smile. "Are you drunk, Fox? I thought you didn't drink?"

"I don't drink. I'm not drunk, Tesla. You were missing. You've been missing for more than twenty-four hours," he insisted.

"Why don't we ask Dana if I've been missing, okay?" she countered.

"That's just the thing, Scully's missing now. I can't find her anywhere," he said, sounding a little defiant. This was starting to bother him to no end. If there was one thing he had always been able to rely on, it had been his memory. Now he wasn't so sure.

"Missing? Well, then she's gone missing within the last ten minutes. Because I just talked to her. She said she'd left you down in the greenhouse, where you had fallen asleep on that comfy couch. So she wanted to take a nap herself," Jezek counted. "DANA?" she then called loudly. A door opened somewhere and Scully turned up in the doorway.

"Yeah?" she asked, looking like she had just woken up. She blinked, met Mulder's confused stare for a moment, then looked back at Jezek, yawning. "What is it?"

"Our Fox here has lost his marbles. He says we're both missing," Jezek said with a grin.

Scully closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. "We're missing, are we?" she then said, directing this to Mulder. "Do I look like I'm missing? Does Tesla look like she's missing? What is wrong with you? Nobody's missing. We're all here. Nothing's going on. Can I go back to sleep now?"

Staring at her with confusion printed on his face, he had the distinct sense that this was a dream. Or maybe the first part of it had been a dream? If so, he could definitely live with that. "I'm..." he began, but didn't know what to say. Instead, he dropped down on the edge of Jezek's bed, covered his face with both hands and rested his elbows on his knees. "I'm losing it," he mumbled.

Scully softened a little at seeing her partner so distressed. "What do you mean, you're losing it, Mulder? Why would you think that we were missing in the first place?" she wanted to know and squatted down in front of him, her hands on his knees.

With a heartfelt sigh, he removed his hands again and stared at her. "Because it was so real. It must have been a dream, though. I just..." He shook his head, afraid that his assumption was right. That he was losing his mind. Without thinking about what he was doing, he wrapped both hands around her face. "I lost you," he almost whispered.

Scully smiled a little. "Well, I'm not lost, Mulder. I'm right here. And I'm not going anywhere, okay?" she countered, reaching up to cover his hands with her own.

Shaking his head, he couldn't quite understand which reality was the right one. "I feel silly," he mumbled.

Jezek chuckled. "Don't. That's what we expect of you, after all. If you didn't live up to your reputation of being spooky, we'd start to worry," she said, wrapped her arms around him from behind and kissed the right side of his neck. "You look wasted, hon. Why don't you take a nap?" she added, leaning sideways to get a better look at his face.

"You do look tired," Scully consented. "We all need to relax a while. Let's all take some time out, okay?"

Pursing his lips, he finally managed to smile a little. "Okay," he said, grabbing Jezek's right arm with his right hand and Scully's with his left. "I'm glad it was only a dream. I'm glad nothing's wrong with you two. I couldn't stand it if it was true."

Scully smiled sweetly at him and Jezek planted another kiss on his neck. "Go to bed, Mulder. You're delirious," Jezek said with a grin and released him again.

He got up and wrapped an arm around Scully's shoulders. "I think I could sleep for about a year now," he finally confessed, grinning.

Closing the door to Jezek's room behind them, Scully turned a little and hugged him. "I don't know what this house is doing to you, Mulder, but it has me worried. I just think we should leave. As soon as possible," she said and pulled back a little.

"Yeah, I agree. Let's leave before it gets dark, okay?" he countered, wanting nothing more than to be gone, either. "This house needs something we don't have."

Scully frowned. "Like what?" she wanted to know.

"An exorcist," he replied with a wry smile and pushed her toward her door. "Go back to your nap. When we all feel more awake, we leave. We go home."

Smiling, she walked over to the door and glanced back at him. "Sounds good to me, Spooky," she said with a wink and closed the door behind her.

With a sigh which displayed his utter contentment at the way things were turning out, he dropped down on his bed and hissed in annoyance at the pain from his back. He reached up to scratch a sore spot on his forehead and froze at the sense of the wound there. Abruptly he sat up again, feeling cold all over. If he had the cut on his forehead, he had been hit on the head by the broken door. As a matter of fact, he felt rather dizzy and a little nauseous, indicating that he had a concussion. Looking around the room he was in, he got the bad feeling that what he had just experienced had been an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the ghosts or whatever the hell they were. Wincing at the mere prospect, he basically jumped off the bed and ripped the door to the next bed room open, closing his eyes in the process. Standing there for a second, he hoped to hear Scully's voice, asking him firmly what he was doing. But there was not a sound. Slowly, he opened his eyes and saw the broken door on the floor. It was the utmost test of strength to throw what he wanted the most at him and then rip it away again. Frantic now, he turned and ran back to the other door, opened it and stepped through. Nobody there. The room was as abandoned as it had been ever since Jezek vanished. Breathing hard, he fought to keep his hands from shaking too badly. "Oh God," he mumbled, opened the door to the corridor and raced toward the stairs. "SCULLY?" he yelled.

"Mulder," came her reply immediately and she turned up in the dining room doorway. "Where were you?" she added, taking a step toward the staircase. But then she froze, her eyes widening. "WATCH OUT," she screamed, pointing.

He didn't have time to turn around to see what was onto him before he received a powerful shove in the back which sent him reeling over the edge of the stairs. He lost his footing and tumbled down the stairs, landing face-down on his right arm with a sickening snap. He just barely contained a cry of pain, gasping for the air the fall had stolen. In an attempt to get a look at what had attacked him, he rolled over on his back and nearly passed out from the pain radiating through him from his right arm and side. Due to the excruciating pain from his arm, he hadn't noticed the ribs he had bruised. With an almost inhuman effort, he reached across himself with his left arm, grabbed the broken limb and pulled it up on his chest just when Scully reached him.

"Oh God," she whispered, staring down at him for a moment, then glanced up the stairs again. Whatever that shadow had been, it was gone again. She hadn't gotten a good look at it. The blurry outline of the thing had renewed her fear of the basement and what it contained. She knelt down beside her hurt partner, who gasped in pain when she helped him get back to his feet. With tears of frustration and fear rising in her eyes, she guided him back to the greenhouse and helped him ease down on the couch. The first thing she did was use her skills as a doctor and her imagination to wrap up his arm so he could at least release it. She went to the kitchen to get some dish towels and whatever else she could find and returned with a complexion close to the whiteness of the towels she had brought with her.

"What ... did you ... see?" he wanted to know, barely able to speak over the pain.

"Nothing," she countered and went about bandaging him up.

For the next half hour, he was too wrapped up in being in pain to worry about why she looked so scared. After she had bandaged his arm and put it in a sling around his neck, she had ordered him to lie down. Using a wrung-out wet dishtowel to cool his already burning brow, she finally settled down next to him, leaned back and closed her eyes for a moment. "It's trying to get out," she said. "I heard it sniffing at the door."

Mulder looked up at her, his expression pained, yet attentive. "What was it?" he wanted to know.

Scully's eyes were looking at something he couldn't see. Her expression was oddly placid. "The ... monster from the basement." Somehow, that made her laugh. It was a bitter, scared sound. "One of the places we stayed during my childhood, on base, had a basement. Most of these places don't have one. But this one did. And I was scared of it. I must have been about five or six at the time." She shook her head, needing to get this off her chest because she hoped that it would make that memory less threatening and thereby make that thing go away. "Anyway, Missy was always making fun of me because I didn't want to go down there when the lights were off. The switch was not working properly and ever so often, the lights didn't turn on. And my mom kept stuff down there. The washing machine was down there, too. I had a vivid imagination as kid. I ... believed that a monster was living down there. A big, scary monster. Not hairy or anything. I had a perfect mental picture of it. And that's what hunted me down into the basement earlier. That's what I heard sniffing around the basement door out there." Biting her lower lip, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry right then. "My childhood fears have come back to haunt me. This house knows what we're afraid of and it's using it against us," she added and closed her eyes. She hated saying it because she didn't believe. No, she corrected herself mentally, she didn't want to believe. But as things were, it was hard to ignore the certain truths of what she had just said herself. The house was an entity. And it knew what they feared.

Staring at her, Mulder couldn't really believe what she was saying. She was actually claiming to have seen a figment of her imagination. "Yeah," he whispered. "And we still have to find a way to get out of here before either of us gets killed."

She nodded. "That's right. This whole thing is insane. Wilson said that there were two ghosts. Male and female. If the female is after me and the male is after you, that makes him a whole lot less imaginative than her. On the other hand he's a lot more violent that she is." Shaking her head again, she looked down at him. "You know, in the beginning when we started working together, I was inclined to agree with the others. That you were slightly nuts. But now I know you're not. Now I know that your view on the world is the right one." Wrapping her arms around herself, she looked up at the ceiling with a shudder. "That's one scary view you've got on this world," she added.

He didn't have a reply for that one. It was a bit painful to think that she had to stare a ghost in the eye before she actually believed it existed. But on the other hand, he couldn't blame her for clinging to the picture of a perfect world. He would like to do that himself. He just couldn't.


Outside the Wilson Estate
03.35 p.m.

Sherif Michaelson and Officer Jackson got out of the police cruiser and looked up at the house. There was something forbidding about it. Although the house looked very ordinary at first glance, it took on an eerie, heavy atmosphere if one looked at it for any longer than that.

"I sure don't like this place, sir," Jackson said, his tone of voice timid.

Michaelson nodded. He didn't much care for the place either. Although he in general was inclined to believe that ghosts was something other people imagined because they were scared, he wasn't able to ignore the definitely hostile atmosphere surrounding this house. "Well, let's go up and knock," he said after a moment and went up to the front door. He hammered his fist against it a few times. "Hello?" he hollered. "Anybody home?"


Inside the Wilson Estate

Scully shot up from the couch, staring toward the doorway leading into the house. "Somebody's at the door," she said, her tone breathless. "I'll go check."

"NO," Mulder almost snapped, struggling to sit up. "None of us goes anywhere alone in this place. It's trying to break us apart, Scully." He winced at the pain from his arm and chest, but finally managed to sit up anyway.
Scully stared at him for a second, the looked toward the doorway again when there was another pounding on the front door. "Mulder, you're in no condition to go walking around anywhere. Just stay here. I'll be right back," she insisted.

"No. You're not going out there alone, Scully," he countered stubbornly.

Uncertain of what to do, she eventually grabbed his outstretched hand and helped him to his feet. "Well, come on, then. We don't want them to leave again," she said and guided him toward the doorway.


Outside the Wilson Estate

Jackson shuffled his feet, sending nervous glances toward the basement windows. "Sir, nobody's here. Don't you think they would have reacted by now?"

Michaelson sighed. "Okay, we go around back. We'll just take a look and if there's no sign of them... well, then we'll just have to go back to town and call that Assistant Director and tell him his agents have obviously gone AWOL."

Jackson nodded, more afraid of the house than he cared to admit. "Right."

Together, the two men circled around the house to the garden doors and peeked inside.


Inside the Wilson Estate

When they reached the mouth of the corridor leading to the front door, Scully stopped. "You stay here. You're in no condition for this," she told Mulder and released him. "Just stay here. I'll be right back," she insisted when she saw the opposition in his expression.

Too tired to argue, and too much in pain to move much more, he nodded and eased his back up against the wall. However much he wanted to close his eyes, he kept them open so he could keep an eye on Scully as she walked briskly toward the front door.

Grabbing the doorhandle, she pulled at the heavy door. It didn't budge. "Hello?" she yelled. There was no sound from out there. Slapping a flat hand against the door a few times, she hoped to attract the attention of whoever was out there.

Mulder watched her for a moment, then suddenly froze. Swallowing hard, he slowly turned his head to look back into the entrance hall. An icy breeze had touched him. What he saw now was a blurry outline of something coming down the stairs. It was impossible to tell what it was supposed to be. "Scully," he almost whispered. Running the tip of his tongue over his suddenly very dry lips, he stared at the apparition as it came to a stop at the foot of the stairs. An ear-splitting scream followed that, which naturally caused Scully to turned around and stare toward the entrance hall. Mulder waved her over, cautioning her to be quiet.


Outside the Wilson Estate

Michaelson sighed heavily. "Right. Nobody's here. Let's go back home," he said, turning around to face Jackson. "You know, we could break down the door, but I'm not keen on doing that without Mr. Wilson's permission. And I doubt he would give it anyway. He was pissed enough as it were that we sent him the FBI and not an exorcist. Let's just find out what the feds want to do about this." Padding Jackson on the shoulder, he started back toward the cruiser.

Jackson nodded, gratefully following his boss back to the car.


Inside the Wilson Estate

The scream was followed by another, this one outraged, hateful. "You bastard." The words were very clear, the voice definitely female. "You stinking bastard. I'll get you for this."

Another outline appeared at the top of the stairs. The one already downstairs turned in one swift movement. "You got what was coming to you, you wore," a man's voice roared. "You and your little bastards. None of those brats were mine. All bred in sin. Now they reside in Hell where they belong."

The female uttered a horrendous scream, full of hatred and vengeance. "You killed my children. Your own flesh and blood," she screamed.

Scully was pressing up against Mulder, watching the scene with wide eyes. None of them heard the engine of the car outside. The spectacle before them was a distraction. Mulder wrapped his arm around her although every movement was a pain. She was scared stiff by what she was seeing and he knew how it affected people when they became believers. He had seen it happen before.

"Not mine," the male ghost countered angrily. "Never mine. They were bred in sin. And you will rot in this house with their corpses. You will never leave here." The curse was made, laid upon a woman who's children had been slaughtered in their beds by their own father.

The female ghost screamed in rage and took two steps down. "And nor will you, you murderer. You will burn in Hell for all eternity. You will walk the rooms of this house until it comes down around your ears. I curse you, Joshua Wilson. I curse you."

As abruptly as they had appeared, they vanished again. For a long while, the two Federal Agents didn't move. Then Mulder closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. "Well," he sighed. "At least now we know why this place is haunted. They cursed each other to haunt this place until it ends."

Scully blinked. This had to be a joke. A dream, perhaps. A... ! She shook her head. No, no dream. She had seen it. She had heard it. For the first time in her life, she couldn't push the incident aside. Because she had seen it. And it was making a believer out of her. "You need to lie down," she finally said, sounding discouraged.

"What about whoever knocked on the door?" Mulder countered, not thinking too clearly.

"They're gone, Mulder. If they were ever there. These two ghosts made certain we were distracted long enough for them to leave."

They were heading back toward the greenhouse when a door slamming upstairs made them both stop and glance wearily up toward the first floor landing. "Fucking house." The voice was unmistakable. Although sounding rather shaken and a little raw, it was Jezek. "God damned death trap," she went on cursing while they heard her footsteps approaching down the corridor toward the stairs.

Scully looked up at Mulder, who in turn looked anything but happy, and frowned. "What?" she wanted to know.

"I've seen her once before. Before I was pushed down the stairs. For a moment there I thought everything was back to normal. You were both upstairs. There were no signs of destruction. Then you both vanished again," he told her, sounding slightly incoherent, his eyes never leaving the first floor landing.

Then Jezek came into view at the top of the stairs. She stopped short, obviously disoriented, then let her eyes drift down and caught sight of her partners. "Hi, guys," she said, sounding tired. She was a mess. Her clothes were in shreds, her hair ruffed up to a point where it would take her days to get through it with a brush. Her face and neck were covered with scratches and bruises and the dark patches under her eyes proved her fatigue. She slowly came down the stairs, walking carefully as if it was a painful procedure.

Scully, still holding onto Mulder, stared at her in disbelief. "Where the hell have you been, Tess? We've been worried sick about you."

Jezek shrugged and winced at the pain it caused her. "I have no idea. All I know is I suddenly find myself in this... closet or whatever the hell it was and I have no idea how I got there or why the hell I feel like I've been run over by a steam-roller." Her eyes focused on Mulder. "What the hell happened to you?"

"I was pushed down the stairs. Broke my arm," he countered obviously in much more pain than he should be.

"Then why the hell are you both still here?" Jezek countered, looking from one to the other.

"We can't get out," Scully told her. "We've tried for... two days now."

Something about what Scully had just said made Jezek start. "I've been gone for two days?" she asked, staring at Scully in wonder. "Where the hell have I been for the past two days?"

"That's what we would like to know," Mulder countered, then tightened his grip on Scully's shoulder. "I need to lie down," he whispered hoarsely.

Jezek was by his other side immediately. "You look like it, too," she told him and helped Scully get him back to the greenhouse and the couch. After making sure he was as comfortable as he could be, Scully decided that she was going to search for some kind of medication. Wilson was an old man with a failing health. There had to be something around.

"You stay with Mulder. I want to know where both of you are," she said to Jezek.

"No chance, honey. I'm not letting you walk around this ghost ship on your own," Jezek countered stubbornly. "Besides, I need to find some clothes before I loose whatever dignity I have left," she added with a sheepish grin.

Scully glanced at Mulder, who had more or less passed out from the pain, and sighed. "This seems to be the safest place in the house. I guess we can leave him alone here for a bit," she finally said, grabbed Jezek's arm and headed out toward the entrance hall again.

Upstairs, Jezek stared at her reflection in the mirror of the master bath room, appalled by the way she looked. Scully stood behind her with her back to Jezek, rooting through the medicine cabinet. "I look like I've been through a meat grinder," Jezek said after a moment, without success trying to run her hands through her hair. "Damn this place," she added in a low tone of voice.

"Don't say that. This place has been damned enough. If you start putting curses on it, Tess, then we'll never get out of here," Scully replied and picked up a pill bottle. She studied the label for a moment, then nodded. "This ought to do it," she mumbled and turned around to face Jezek.

The other woman stared at her with obvious surprise. "This place has been cursed?" she asked. "How do you know that?"

Scully sighed deeply. "The ghosts put on a show for us to distract us from someone who came knocking on the door. Skinner probably got worried and sent the local police force out to check on us. I just hope that's not the end of it. If they don't come back, we're screwed."

"Eloquent as ever, my dear," Jezek countered, removed what was left of her sweater and put on a new one she had picked up from her room. "But I get your point. I don't think Skinner will back down, though. He's not the type," she added thoughtfully, then hissed when she tried to get out of what was left of her jeans. "Damn, I hurt all over."

Scully stared in shock at the other woman's bruised thighs when she finally managed to wiggle out of the remains of her jeans. Jezek stared down herself for a moment, then slowly raised her head to look at Scully. "If I didn't know better I'd say that these bruises look like..." she began, but trailed off, looking very uneasy all of a sudden. To confirm or deny her suspicion, she pulled her sweater up again and took a closer look at her bruised torso as well. "Jesus," she mumbled, staring at her reflection in the mirror. "This can't be happening."

Scully put a hand on her shoulder, staring at the reflection of Jezek's battered body. "Do you feel like..." she began, but was unable to finish. Saying it out loud would make it so much more real.

Jezek took a moment to analyze how she felt, then shook her head. "No, I don't. I just feel as if I've been beaten up with a baseball bat," she finally countered. "Which is bad enough, mind you," she added. Ignoring the latent implications of her state, she pulled her sweater back down and pulled her new jeans on, stuck her feet into her sneakers and smiled at Scully. "Come on. Let's rejoin our friend Mulder before something decides to take another swing at him."

Scully wished she hadn't said that because Jezek's words were followed by a loud noise from downstairs. Both women were out of the bathroom and running toward the stairs before the noise had died down. Scully raced down the stairs, taking two steps at a time, her only concern that Mulder might be in trouble. She skittered across the floor and headed toward the greenhouse. Whatever the sound had been, she didn't care about it. The only thing that mattered was Mulder.

Jezek was hot on her heels, not wanting to be left behind. She frowned briefly at how elegantly Scully managed to avoid the fallen grandfather clock. She sped up when a cold breeze touched the back of her neck. She was determined on getting out of this place as fast as possible.

Scully cleared the doorway to the greenhouse and came to stop, breathing heavily. Mulder was still there, asleep on the couch. With a sigh, she dropped down into a crouch.

"It was the clock. One of the spooks tipped over the clock," Jezek told her, leaning against the door frame. "I think we should try to get the hell out of here."

Scully looked up at her. "How? We've tried everything. We've tried breaking every window in the house. It doesn't work. We can't get out. Who or whatever these ghosts are, they won't let us leave."

"I don't care how," Jezek countered a little aggressively. "We better think of a way, though. One of us is bound to bite the dust if this keeps up. And I think I know who. Although Mrs. Wilson died under that chandelier, Dana, the female ghost hasn't proven to be as vindictive as the male."

Staring up at her, Scully tried to figure out if Jezek was repressing memories of what had happened to her or if she was honest. "Hasn't she?" she asked.

Jezek shook her head. "I'm not sure what happened, Dana, but I haven't been raped. I should know. I've been there," she said, her tone of voice slightly cold. "And this is not how it feels. I've been beaten up and that could as easily have been the male ghost as the female." Shaking her head again, she closed her eyes for a moment. "Or entity. Or whatever the hell you want to call these two apparitions."

Scully stared up at her for a long moment, now fully aware why Jezek was the way she was. Her care-free behavior, her love for her nickname, her ability to handle any given situation with a grin. It all had root in the fact that she had been raped and that nothing she had experienced since had been able to overshadow that event. "Who did it?" she wanted to know.

Jezek sat down on the floor, looking a little annoyed. "My ex. He got pissed when I left him. So pissed that he beat the crap out of me and raped me just for good measure. Nothing ever happened about it, though. The police told me to take my stories elsewhere and since then, I haven't had the greatest respect for law enforcement." A cynical smile spread over her lips. "Rather funny, considering that I used to be a cop and I'm now working for the FBI. I used to have great faith in this lunatic asylum we call the government. It's all a fucking joke, though. A charade."

Scully was appalled. "He went free?" she wanted to know, sounding slightly angry. Jezek's reaction to that, however, surprised her. She grinned.

"No, he didn't. After he was done I attacked him. He ended up in the hospital and eventually died of his injuries. I was let off the hook because I acted in self-defense. Didn't get any compensation, but I got everything I wanted out of that case. The bastard died without his pecker," she said, folding her arms over her chest.

The more she learned about Jezek, the less Scully understood her. For a moment there, she had thought that she knew exactly where Jezek came from. But obviously the rape had not been as traumatic for her as it in general was for other women.

At seeing her expression, Jezek grinned broadly. "Don't worry. I didn't bite it off. I was just wearing pretty heavy work boots and for some reason he couldn't stand being kicked by them," she said, then sighed, growing serious. "I know how I sound, Dana. Believe me, I know. But I can't help feeling some kind of sick, perverted joy over the way he went. I wasn't the first he did that to. I wouldn't have been the last. At least I did my bit to prevent any other woman from suffering under him. He kicked the crap out of me for not getting dinner ready on time. He kicked the crap out of me whenever I didn't dress the way he wanted me to. I was so low, I was dirt. I was less than dirt. I had no self-esteem. When I finally made up my mind to leave, I was scared shitless that he would find out before I managed to get out. But of course he did. And then he kicked the crap out of me once more. The beatings I could take. To just think that I would be out of there after he was done helped me get through that. But then he raped me. And that set me off. I don't know what happened. I stopped being timid right then and there. I hated him and only him. I know that not all men are like him and I've had tons of fun with other guys since. But I'm never getting married again. The appeal of that worthless little ceremony has paled considerably. It's not because I compare being married to being beaten up and treated like a doormat. It just reminds me too much of him. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself. I don't wanna be tied down. That's all there is to it."

Scully nodded and settled down on the floor, glancing out at the darkening sky. "I dare say you got your revenge, huh?" she countered and glanced back at Jezek. "I think we should stay here tonight. This does seem like the safest place in the house."

Jezek smiled a little. "Sure thing," she replied and glanced around. "Maybe you and I should go get some blankets or something. Just so we don't have to lie on the floor and our friend Mulder here doesn't get the chills tonight. He's in pretty bad shape," she countered.