Bemis Police Station
07.10 p.m.

Sherif Michaelson had postponed calling the FBI again because he wanted to get it straight what he had to tell these people. Besides, he had spent most of the afternoon trying to get a hold of Mr. Wilson. Just to let him know what was going on out there. But the old man was nowhere to be found. Eventually, Michaelson found himself with no further excuses to push off the inevitable. Reluctantly, he picked up the phone and dialed the number, silently wishing that they had gone home already. No such luck. He was immediately transferred to Skinner, who demanded to know what was going on.

"Sir, we've been out there, checked out the surroundings and the house again and nobody's there. From what we could see, nobody's been there since Mr. Wilson left."

Skinner was silent for a moment, then sighed. "All right. First thing tomorrow morning, I'm going to come out there with a team. We're going to take a look at the house and you better get a hold of Mr. Wilson before then. Otherwise we'll have to break down the door."

Shaking his head with a weak smile, Michaelson closed his eyes. "Look, Assistant Director Skinner," he said, his tone of voice calm and explanatory. "I don't know how you do business in a big town like Washington, but where we don't go breaking down doors without notifying the owner first." A patch of silence followed that one. "Are you still there?"

"Yes, Sherif, I'm still here. I was just trying to find a fitting reply to that one." Skinner sounded angry. "As you well know, three of my agents have gone missing, and they're supposed to be in that house. If you don't get a hold of Mr. Wilson by tomorrow morning, I'll personally see to it that the house is taken apart bit by bit until we find out what the hell happened to my agents. Do I make myself clear?"

Michaelson was taken aback by the tone of the man and figured he had better play ball. He didn't want to end up without a job because he had stepped on some high-profile toes. "Sure thing. I'll see what I can do," he countered, sounding as timid as he felt.

"That's better. I will see you in the morning. Eight sharp." With that, the connection broke.

Michaelson leaned back on his chair and sighed again. "Feds," he mumbled, then decided to go home. There wasn't any more he could do and his wife was after all waiting for him.


The Wilson Estate
09.30 p.m.

The house was eerily quiet and dark since the sun had set. The only place where the full moon had any influence seemed to the be in the greenhouse where the three of them had settled in for the night. Scully had settled down on one of the mattresses that Jezek had insisted they bring down from upstairs along with blankets and pillows and most of their belongings.

Mulder had been awake briefly and she had managed to get him to take one of the pills she had found. It would lessen the pain and give him a better chance at getting some proper rest. With a broken arm and what she considered to be at least severely bruised ribs, he was bound to be aching. The swelling on his back hadn't gone down enough for her to stop worrying about that, either, and the gash on his forehead was lightly infected. She figured that it would be a day to remember if they could go on a case like this without him getting hurt in some way. Closing her eyes, she realized how tired she really was. Fatigued was more like it, she corrected herself silently. Jezek had more or less passed out immediately after having fought her stubborn hair for almost an hour. She had actually managed to look human by the time she had settled down for the night. With those thoughts rumbling around her head and an odd feeling in her guts, she finally slipped off to sleep.


February 19
Past midnight

Something woke him up. He couldn't quite get a grasp on it, though. The pill Scully had given him had knocked him clean out and it was making his otherwise clear thought-process rather muddled. Turning his head a little, he winced at the soreness of his body and the dull throb of his right arm. "Scully?" he whispered into the darkness. There was no reply. As his thoughts became clearer, he got the distinct impression that he was alone. And he had the bad feeling that he wasn't where he thought he should be. In the greenhouse. Holding his breath, he padded whatever he was lying on. It wasn't the couch. It was a bed. A quiet whimper escaped him as he struggled to sit up, his stubborn, aching muscles not wanting to play along without putting him through hell. He tried to see something but couldn't. There simply wasn't enough light. "Scully?" he called. The bed beneath him was moist to the touch. Licking his lips nervously, he raised his hand up and sniffed at it. The distinct scent of blood hit his nostrils. For a moment, he felt panic rise in him, thinking that it was his blood, but after he managed to calm himself down a little, he realized that although he was aching like never before, he didn't feel the depletion that blood loss always brought with it. "Shit," he mumbled, felt for the edge of the bed and heaved himself off it. With an effort that almost took his breath away, he got to his feet and fretfully wiped his hand on his pants. Orienting himself despite his lack of vision, he felt for the bed, then turned his back to it and walked straight ahead, his left hand stretched out, feeling for the door. He found it, too, but the texture of the door wasn't what he had expected. It was warm, pulsing, almost alive beneath his hand. Moaning in fear, he pulled his hand back and backed up again until he hit the edge of the bed and sat down painfully hard. Something touched his back and this time he had no trouble getting off the bed again. A hand had touched the small of his back and he was certain that it hadn't been the hand of an adult. Afraid that the spirits in this house would taunt him with his missing sister again, he tried to concentrate on where he could go. He found the wall behind the bed and felt along it to the connecting door. This door felt right, at least. Before he had a chance to try to doorhandle, it started to become lighter in the room. Blinking, he looked over at the now unfamiliar setting of the room. Three beds, all made for children, took up various positions in the room. The big bed was gone. Staring at the three figures in the beds, he frowned in confusion, hissing briefly at the pain from the cut on his forehead. Then it suddenly hit him. These were the Wilson children and they were about to get murdered. His eyes trailed over the children, the two girls and the boy, and he wished he could get out of the room. He had no desire to see the father kill these kids, even though the event was probably almost a hundred years old. It didn't make it any less frightening. And then the door to the corridor opened.

For the first time, Mulder got a clear view of Joshua Wilson, the man who had murdered his own children and cursed his wife to walk this house forever. The man looked mad. Tall, broad-shouldered, with a shock of black hair framing a gaunt, sharp-cut face with deep-lying, pale blue eyes, he stood there in the doorway, dressed in the garb of that time, with a hatchet in one hand. "Damned bastards," he growled and walked into the room, determined on killing the brats.

Mulder found himself clinging to the doorknob of the connecting door, frantically trying to open it. But it just wouldn't give. Joshua Wilson's ghost came to a stop and he turned his head to stare at the intruder. "Now you will witness true justice," he said, grinning hatefully. "And when I'm done with the brats, I'll come for you."

Staring into those eyes, Mulder was unable to move. This was definitely no ordinary haunting. Somehow, that man had become a demon. One very much aware of its surroundings.

"Thought me to be a ghost, did you?" Wilson asked mockingly. "Thought that bitch of a wife of mine could curse me?" He laughed. It was a hollow, frightening sound. "She's got no power. I cursed her to walk this house forever. Me, however, I chose it. Because then I could relive this night over and over again." With determination, the demon strode forward, raising the hatchet.

Mulder had slipped to the floor and was covering his head with his left arm, not wanting to see. But he could not close out the sounds. The first child made no sound. But the others were awaken by the cracking of the first one's scull and they screamed. One of the girls begged her father not to hurt her, her whimpering little voice cutting through Mulder with an intensity he had not thought possible.

After a moment, the third child finally stopped screaming. Mulder didn't dare look up. He knew what was coming and there was nothing he could do about it. He was frozen in fear. Paralyzed by the pain. He heard the footsteps approaching, then stop.

"Stop, you murderer." The female's voice rose in a high pitch.

Mulder dared to glance toward the door to the corridor and saw what he first thought was Jezek. But the dress didn't fit and there was something distinctly transparent about her.

"Haven't you killed enough, Joshua Wilson? Must you keep repeating your evil deeds and make the dead ashamed of you?" she screamed, raising both hands.

"Trollop," Wilson spat. "I'll be rid of you soon enough."

"Never. I will haunt this house forever. Just as you commanded." With the looks of a wild virago about her, she stepped forward. "You have killed my children. You will kill no more," she spat back, raised a hatchet of her own and buried it in the scull of her ghostly husband. Then her blue, blue eyes turned on Mulder. "Run while you still can. Get back to your friends. Stay in the greenhouse," she said frantically. "Go! Go!"

The door gave in as he pulled himself up again, his eyes on her. With a tremendous effort and the fear of dying spurring him on, he stumbled through Scully's former room and out into the corridor toward the main stairs. Wincing in pain, he hauled himself down the steps, not daring to look back. He was halfway down when a roar of anger rose from the room above. A roar so loud, the house trembled.

"For pity's sake, hurry," he heard the woman scream. "I can hold him no longer."

Scully and Jezek both woke with a start when the roar trembled through the house. One glance was enough to tell Scully that Mulder was once again in trouble. She was up and moving before she even had a clear idea about where to start. Then she heard a woman's voice screaming at someone to hurry.

"Entrance hall," Jezek yelled and ran out there. She was halfway up the stairs toward Mulder before Scully had reached the base of the stairs. Jezek took one look at the approaching whirlwind of hatred, grabbed Mulder and more or less hurdled them both down the stairs. They crashed into Scully, who by some miracle was able to keep them all on their feet.

"Greenhouse," Mulder gasped. "Get back to the greenhouse."

With their combined strength, they managed to get back to the greenhouse and slam the door on the approaching demon.

Mulder collapsed with a pained sigh onto the nearest mattress, scared out of his mind, fighting to regain control over his breathing. Jezek locked the door while Scully dropped down on her knees beside him, staring in obvious fear at her partner. He was covered in blood. "My God," she whispered. "How the hell did you get up there?"

Swallowing hard, he tried to speak, but had to make the attempt a second time before he was able to say anything. "Don't know. I woke up upstairs."

"Are you hurt?" she demanded to know, gingerly touching his blood soaked sweater.

"No more than before. The bed I woke up on was covered in blood, though," he explained, then closed his eyes. "We'll be safe here," he added after having regained his breath.

"Says who?" Scully countered, sounding almost a little angry.

"You'll be safe here," a voice whispered. It came out of nowhere, an eerie distance to it.

Scully stared up at the ceiling for a moment, then blinked heavily. "Tess, could you hand me a glass of water and the pill bottle, please?" she said, looking over her shoulder at a stunned Jezek, completely ignoring the current events.

Jezek looked at her for a moment, then did as she was asked without comment. She didn't want to know where Scully got the stamina from to ignore something like this, but she admired her for it.

Mulder shook his head. "No," he mumbled. "No more pills."

"Shut up, Mulder, and take the pill. I don't care if I have to sit up all night and watch over you. But you're not going to suffer while we sleep. Got that?" Scully countered gruffly and more or less shoved the pill into his mouth. Pushing a hand behind his head, she lifted it up a bit and held the glass against his lips. He drank without comment, swallowing the pill. Now gently brushing a strand of hair away from his brow, she smiled weakly. "It'll be okay. I'm sure we'll get out of here tomorrow. And when we do, we won't look back. We'll get you to a hospital and get you fixed up. You'll be fine."

"Scully," he interrupted her, his tone of voice drowsy, "you're babbling."

"Sure. You're lying here, half dead, and accuse me of babbling," she grumbled and pulled a blanket over him. "Go to sleep. You need your rest."

Jezek dropped down on the couch. "Let's all get some rest," she countered. "Heaven knows we need it."

Scully nodded. "I'll take the couch. I'm smaller."

After a short while, both Jezek and Mulder were once again sleeping peacefully, but Scully found that she couldn't. Not that she wasn't tired. But the fact that Mulder had, in some odd manner, found his way upstairs without knowing how worried her. She decided to stay up and keep an eye on him.

The house around them wasn't exactly silent. Bumps and crashing sounds chased each other combined with moans and whimpers of undeterminable origin. The very structure of the building seemed to be moaning at regular intervals. Scully leaned her head on one side, listening intently to the sounds. What would life be like when this was all over, she wondered. The foundation of her life had been moved from the light into the shadows. Things she had previously taken for granted weren't such a sure thing any more. Things she had actually scoffed were suddenly not so ridiculous after all. Was this how Mulder lived every day of his life? Listening to the things that went bump in the night and imagining some frightening entity, which would devour your soul if you got too close to it? A shudder ran through her and she hugged herself in the chilly night. If that was life, then she preferred to view the world through tinted glasses. Looking down at her battered partner, she wondered about him. His view on the world was laughed at by most of his colleagues. As a matter of fact, Scully had met only few who shared his paranoid look on things. But maybe, just maybe, his idea of how things were was the right one. He might be one of the few who were granted a look at how things really were. Maybe he was not walking through life with tunnel vision, seeing only the exquisite, little things that pleased the eye and the mind. Maybe his horizon was a whole lot wider than anybody else's. Smiling a little, she sighed. And maybe he was just about as screwed up as a person could get. She briefly wondered if the right woman would change his outlook on things. If he had love in his life, maybe he wouldn't be so damned set on self-destruction.

A loud crash close to the door made her jerk. Sending a quick glance to her sleeping companions, she focused on the sounds out there and once again heard the sniffing. The thing from the basement, her greatest childhood fear, was once again stalking her. Heaving a deep breath, she closed her eyes, pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms tightly around them. "Go away," she whispered. "You're not real." At first it didn't help. Then, slowly, as she steadily convinced herself, the sounds out there became lower and fainter and eventually disappeared. Content that she still had a whole lot of control over her own mind, she smiled again. This place wasn't going to get the better of her.

With a resounding crash, something hit the door full force. Scully helplessly let out a yelp as the others jerked awake, Jezek with some confusion, Mulder in pain. "What was that?" Jezek wanted to know, closer to the door than either of them. Whatever it was, it hit again. The door shuddered in its frame, the wood creaking under the pressure put on it. Jezek, always seemingly in control, scrambled backward away from the door until she hit the couch Scully was sitting on and quickly climbed up on it. "What the hell is that?" she demanded loudly.

Scully slipped off the couch to join Mulder, not wanting him to feel vulnerable because he was on the floor and she and Jezek were on the couch. Helping him to sit up, she eased in behind him, giving him something to lean against. "Must be him," he mumbled, blinking heavily.

Another impact broke the lock and the door slammed against the wall. Just outside the door, they saw what appeared to be a genuine monster. Short, stocky, fat, green, with a huge maw full of razor sharp teeth. It had small, piercing, red pig's eyes. A long tongue lolled in and out of the maw and a long naked tail whipped back and forth behind it. It's long arms ended in four-fingered hands with inch-long claws bigger than any predator's walking the Earth. It didn't move, just stood there and stared in at them with hatred emanating from it in waves.

Mulder knew immediately what it was and that it couldn't reach them. Glancing up at Scully, he couldn't help a small smile. "Boy, you sure... have a hell... of an imagination, Scully. I never suspected," he told her, his breathing a little labored.

Scully looked down at him for a second, suddenly seeing the funny side of this. It felt almost as if someone had flipped a switch in her brain. Raising her eyes to meet those of the monster which had haunted her dreams for years, she started laughing. "He's ugly," she countered, unable to stop laughing again.

The creature in the doorway dissolved into nothing.  Scully's realization that her greatest fear was unfounded had made the being obsolete and thereby removed the threat. And she knew that she could thank Mulder for that insight. If he had not made that sarcastic remark, she might never have realized that it actually was funny to be afraid of something that looked so much like a cartoon figure.

Jezek looked over at her, her expression disclosing her confusion. "That's funny?" she wanted to know. "A damned monster more or less tears down the door and that's funny?"

"Don't you see?" Scully countered, serious again. "That... thing was a childhood fear of mine. Something I had conjured up because I had never gotten over it. Whatever you're afraid of, this house will use against you." The laughter was all gone now.

Mulder closed his eyes, wishing that he could disembody his fears as easily. He suspected that there were other things that Scully was afraid of which would not be as easy to expel, but for now, they had their triumph.

Jezek's eyes narrowed. "So, it will make your fears come true?" she wanted to know as she got off the couch and quickly closed the door again, leaning her back against it. Scully nodded. For a long moment, Jezek said nothing, then a quiet "uh-oh" escaped her.

Both Mulder and Scully could not help but notice the odd tone to her voice and both stared at her. "Uh-oh?" Scully asked. "What do you mean, uh-oh?"

"Just uh-oh. That's a bad thing, right?" Jezek wanted to know, giving Scully a half smile.

Scully nodded. "Yes, that's a bad thing. What are you afraid of?" she wanted to know. "I mean, Mulder has already faced his fears. And I've faced mine. What are you afraid of?"

Jezek frowned, giving that some thought for a minute. "Uhm..." she said, looking a little surprised. "Nothing, really. Nothing I can put a finger on, anyway."

"Weren't you afraid of something as a child? Like darkness? Or monsters? Something like that?" Scully asked.

Jezek stared back at her, her expression unreadable. "No," she finally countered, suddenly very curt, not wanting to disclose to Scully that she'd had her share of childhood fears.

Scully glanced down at Mulder, who was leaning more heavily against her, and noticed that he had either fallen asleep or passed out. "Everybody is afraid of something," she countered, looking up to stare at Jezek again. "Everybody has fears." Eyeing the other woman cautiously, Scully briefly wondered about something. It was ridiculous, but she would love to know how Jezek would react to it. As it were, they knew very little about Jezek's past. It was an undiscovered country since Jezek never spoke about it and they had never asked. "You were a kid, weren't you?" she asked, half joking. Jezek blinked, focused briefly on her, then looked away. Typical guilty behavior. "Everybody has had a childhood, Tess," Scully insisted, a little nervous now.

"I'm not everybody," Jezek replied. "Now, could we please leave it alone? I don't want to talk about it." In general, Jezek had always felt that her childhood was best left forgotten. In an attempt to do so, she had subconsciously blocked out anything from her childhood and her ex-husband's rape of her had only increased the invisible fortress raised around her.

Not wanting to accept the obvious implications of Jezek's statement, Scully eased her sleeping partner down on the mattress and got up. "Did you have an accident as a child? Something that caused amnesia?"

Jezek focused on her again, something slightly hostile about her for a second. Then she sighed deeply. "Just... forget about it, okay, Dana? I really don't want to talk about it." Turning her head a little, she listened to the now quiet house. "We've got to concentrate on getting out of this dump before it kills him," she added, nodding toward Mulder.

Scully put a hand on his shoulder, almost a little protectively, and nodded. "All right. But one day you tell me, okay?"

Jezek just stared back at her, not making any promises at first. "If we don't get out of here tomorrow, I'll tell you all about it. Because, if we don't make it out of here by tomorrow, we're all going to end up dead." With those words, she dropped down on the floor, her back still against the door, her arms folded defensively over her chest. "Life's a bitch," she mumbled, then grinned joylessly. "And then you die."

"Good night, Tess," Scully countered. Instead of going back to the couch, she settled down next to Mulder and wrapped her arms around him, wanting to know where he was at all times.