Title: Hannah’s House
Archive: VS10. Others, please ask.
Summmary: A stormy night, a ghost story and herb tea.
Author’s Notes: Written for the VS10 Halloween Special.
* * *
East of Harleyville, VA
October 31, 2002 9:50 pm
The wipers beat furiously at torrents of icy rain,
losing ground with every swipe.
“Mulder, this is crazy. We need to stop somewhere until
this lets up.”
Mulder dropped his speed another five miles an hour and
risked a quick glance in her direction, taking in her
white-knuckled grip on the armrest. He nodded. “First
motel we see.”
Scully cranked the heater and huddled down into her
Fine time for the weather forecast to be right, Mulder
silently groused. Who knew?
“Up there. I see a light!” Scully pointed toward the
faint glow up ahead on the right.
Mulder squinted through the torrential downpour. “It
looks like a gas station.”
“I don’t care what it is, as long as we can get out of
this damn car.”
As they drew closer, they could see that it was indeed
a gas station. The area between the pumps and the white
stucco building was under a canopy. Mulder pulled under
it and stopped.
“I’ll see if there’s a motel nearby.” He got out and
stretched a bit, then went inside.
Scully watched him through the wide front windows as he
approached an older man sitting behind a desk. The man
stood up when Mulder entered.
She smiled at how easily she could tell what Mulder was
saying. If you tied his hands, she mused, the man
wouldn’t be able to talk. When he gestured toward the
car, his eyes met hers and he smiled. A moment later,
he came back to the car and got in.
“Back the way we came, two miles on the left. He says
its a bed and breakfast.”
It was no wonder they’d missed it earlier. A white
mailbox marked the entrance to a gravel lane that
curved for a good quarter mile through trees too
uniform in shape and height to be anything but an
orchard. It ended at a sprawling farmhouse the same
shade of gray as the mist that surrounded it.
“It looks like no one’s home.” Mulder undid his
seatbelt and opened his door. “Stay here. No sense both
of us getting wet.”
Scully shook her head. “I’d rather get wet than spend
one more minute in this car.”
They sprinted for the wide front porch. Carriage lights
on either side of the six-panel wood door snapped on as
they bounded up the steps. The door swung open under
An elderly woman smiled up at them. Her snow-white hair
was pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head,
and her eyes sparkled an amazing jade green in the
porch lights. “Good gracious, come in before you drown.
What on earth are you doing out in this weather?” She
stepped back to let them enter.
“On our way back to D.C. We were hoping you might have
a couple of rooms for the night.” Mulder was trying to
avoid dripping on the polished hardwood floor, with
The woman chuckled. “Six rooms, and not a one of them
taken.” She glanced down at the water falling in fat
drops from their clothes. “Wait here. I’ll get you some
towels.” She toddled off down the long hall that ran
from the front door to a room at the back of the house.
Mulder helped Scully peel out of her drenched coat and
hung it on the bentwood coat tree next to the door. He
was doing the same with his own when their hostess
returned with two fluffy towels.
“I’ve got a pot of water boiling for tea. Get dried off
and come join me in the kitchen. You can just leave
your keys on the hall table and I’ll send Ramey out for
Mulder dried his face, then rubbed at his hair until
the water quit running down his neck. Scully patted
wearily at her frizzing hair, looking drenched and
miserable. He put his arm around her and leaned down to
whisper in her ear. “Let’s go get some of that tea.”
A steep staircase occupied the right side of the hall,
climbing into the darkness on polished wood steps. A
half-circle table perched on three legs against the
wall on the left beneath an ornate mirror. Mulder put
the car keys there as they passed.
The kitchen was filled with the aromas of cinnamon tea
and spice cake. Its cream-colored walls were hung with
burnished copper pots and bunches of dried herbs that
seemed to dance in the flickering firelight. A huge
fieldstone hearth occupied the far corner of the room,
its crackling flames creating a timeless sense of home
and safety. Their hostess sat before it at the head of
a large plankwood table. She stood as they entered.
“Sit down.” She gestured to two chairs on the hearth
side of the table. “You’ll be warm and dry in a jiffy.
I’m Hannah Connolly. And you?”
Mulder introduced Scully and himself as they took their
seats. Hannah’s brows rose. “Federal agents? *Both* of
“Yes, is that a problem?” Scully’s face was serious,
but her eyes were twinkling.
Hannah blushed. “Oh, my no! Of course not! I’m just a
little surprised. You seem so… young.” She smiled
then quickly busied herself with the tea preparations.
She was using old-fashioned tea balls, filling each
with a mixture of crushed leaves spooned from a tin
box. When she poured the boiling water into the cups,
the aroma that wafted out was amazing.
Scully leaned over her cup and sniffed the steam with
her eyes closed in bliss. “What *is* this?”
Hannah finished pouring water in Mulder’s cup. “Smells
wonderful, doesn’t it?” She set the battered copper
teapot on a cast iron trivet in front of her, then sat
down in her chair with a little sigh. “It’s an herbal
concoction my grandmother taught me a very long time
ago. Good for digestion, calms the nerves.” She gave
Scully a wink. “Makes you dream of your one true love,
even if you haven’t met him yet.”
It was Scully’s turn to blush. She covered it quickly
with a question. “What kinds of herbs? It sounds as if
you’re using some that might be dangerous, if they
produce visions.” She sniffed at the steam again, this
time with narrowed eyes.
Hannah smiled. “Not visions, dear. Dreams. The herbs
are harmless: apple bark, chamomile, peppermint,
hawthorn, and bee balm. The magic is all in the way
they’re grown and harvested.”
Mulder perked up noticeably. “Magic?”
The woman turned to him. “I’ve always thought of it
that way.” Her eyes softened. “When I met my Joshua, I
knew he was the man I was supposed to spend my life
with. I’d been seeing his face in my dreams for years.”
She turned her head, staring into the flames for so
long that Scully reached out to touch her hand.
“Mrs. Connolly? Are you all right?” She shared a
worried look with Mulder.
Hannah turned back to Scully, her eyes bright with
unshed tears. “It’s *Miss* Connolly. Joshua died six
months before we were to be married.” She shook herself
slightly, smiling at both of them. “But you don’t want
to hear this. It’s ancient history.” She picked up her
cup and sipped, then nodded toward Scully’s cup. “Your
tea should be ready. Try it.”
The woman clearly wanted to change the subject, and
Mulder obliged her. “Is that an apple orchard out
“Yes, it is. My grandfather planted those trees himself
the year he built this house. They’ve been bearing ever
since.” She pointed to a basket on the counter, filled
to overflowing with perfect red globes. “They’re the
best apples you’ll ever taste. You should take some
with you when you leave.” Her gaze drifted back to the
flickering flames. “There is a legend about apples and
Halloween. My grandmother told me the story on a night
very much like this one, right here at this table.”
Mulder leaned forward and rested his arms on the table,
his interest piqued. “I’ve heard of it.”
Hannah looked back at him with surprise. “You have?”
“It’s a hobby of his,” Scully supplied with a tiny
“But I’d like to hear *your* version, if you don’t mind
telling us.” He dropped his voice to a soft rumble,
aimed directly at Scully. “Sounds like a perfect
A blue-white flash led a window-rattling thunderclap by
microseconds. As the sound rumbled past them into the
distance, the lights flickered briefly and went out.
Hannah sighed. “This happens every time there’s a
storm. I’ve got some kerosene lamps.” She started to
get up from her chair.
“Don’t worry about it right now.” Mulder waved a hand
toward the fireplace. “It makes a nice backdrop for
your ghost story.”
Hannah settled back into her chair and smiled at them
both. “I guess it *is* a ghost story of sorts.” She
looked back at the flames. “The legend comes from a
pagan harvest celebration that took place every October
31st. It held that the spirits of the dead walked the
earth on that night, looking for their loved ones. It
was tradition to leave offerings of food for the
spirits, to help sustain them on their journey. Apples
were especially favored. My grandfather always placed a
basket of his best out at the end of the drive for
anyone who might pass by, looking for home.” She was
quiet for a moment, then she turned to Mulder. “Is that
the legend you heard?”
“Yes, but you tell it much better.” He was touched by
her story, and it showed in his voice.
Hannah’s smile took years off her face. “You’re very
kind, Mr. Mulder.” She looked at Scully. “I’m so glad
you happened by tonight. I was hoping my son and his
family would be here, but…” She shook her head.
“Maybe next year.” She sat up straighter and glanced
around the room. “It looks like the lights will be off
for awhile. I’ve got some kerosene lamps in the
cupboard. Let’s get you settled in for the night.”
They climbed the dark stairs behind Hannah Connolly,
their shadows dancing over the walls in the lamplight.
Hannah turned to the left at the top of the stairs and
stopped in front of an open door. “This is your room,
Miss Scully.” Hannah stepped into the room and held the
lamp high to chase back the darkness.
The centerpiece of the room was a four-poster bed with
an elaborately carved headboard. A nightstand next to
the bed and a dresser opposite it were of the same dark
wood. Braided rugs warmed the polished hardwood floors,
and heavy velvet drapes hung on either side of a bay
window. Scully’s suitcase sat on the rug next to the
“It’s lovely.” Scully went in, her own lamp revealing
more of the room as she walked. She stopped to finger
the handmade doilies on the dresser. “Did you crochet
The woman smiled and nodded. “A long time ago.”
She turned to Mulder. “Your room is the twin of this
one. It’s right next door. The bathroom is at the end
of the hall.” She turned back toward the door. “I’ll
turn in now myself, if you don’t need anything else.
Have a pleasant night.” She left without waiting for a
They watched the glow of her lamp dim as she moved down
the hall. Her footsteps headed down the stairs, then
faded into silence.
Scully and Mulder exchanged looks. Mulder shrugged.
“Maybe she sleeps in the kitchen?”
Scully smacked his arm lightly. “Mulder, she’ll hear
“You could be right. She’s pretty sharp for her age.”
He looked over at the bed and made a face. “Why are
antique beds so damn short?”
Scully raised an eyebrow and walked over to it, patting
the comforter before she sat down. “Yours may not be
this short, Mulder. Take a look.”
His mouth dropped open. “What do you mean, *my* bed?”
“You can’t sleep in here, Mulder. We’re the only guests
in the house. Don’t you think she’ll notice?” She
crossed her arms over her chest.
Mulder recognized the body language, but he wasn’t
ready to give in. “Scully, she’s downstairs. I promise
I’ll rumple my bed so she thinks I slept in it.” He
waggled his eyebrows. “Besides, it’s too cold to sleep
“It’s only one night, Mulder.” She stood up and wrapped
her arms around his waist. “I promise I’ll make it up
to you,” she whispered into his chest.
He pulled her against him and kissed the top of her
head. “If you’re trying to send me off to my room,
you’re using the wrong strategy.”
She pulled back and smiled up at him. “Just giving you
something to dream about.” She reached up and kissed
him lightly. “Now, go to bed. I’ll see you in the
morning.” She gave him a gentle shove toward the door.
He stopped at the door to give her a look that would
melt steel. “You know where I am if you get lonely.” He
ducked around the doorframe before she could grab a
pillow to brain him with.
She let Mulder have the bathroom first, knowing he’d
only be a few minutes. When she heard him come back to
his room, she picked up her toiletry bag and her lamp
and made her way down the long hall. The bathroom was
large and pristine white from floor to ceiling. Against
the far wall was the largest claw foot tub she had ever
seen. Easily big enough for two. The images that
thought conjured up kept her smiling all the way back
to her room.
Ten minutes later, she was cuddled up in sheets that
smelled of sunshine and a thick, soft comforter that
clung weightlessly to her every curve. The storm raging
outside made the room feel cozy and safe, lulling her
with every window-rattling gust. She snuggled into the
downy pillow and willed her exhausted body to sleep.
The sound that woke her sometime later seemed to come
from everywhere and nowhere, as elusive as the chirp of
a cricket in the dark. She’d been dreaming of Mulder.
The dream’s images were fading rapidly, but the awful
sense of loss that accompanied them seemed to grow with
every heartbeat. She wanted to get up and go to him, to
prove to herself that he was fine, but she couldn’t
The sound came again, soft and whispery like taffeta
skirts rustling as someone walked quickly down the hall
outside her door. And footsteps. Very soft. Someone
running on bare feet. When her doorknob rattled, she
sat bolt upright in the bed.
“Miss Connolly?” The knob rattled again, but there was
no response to her call.
Scully reached blindly for her gun. She’d left it on
the bedside table, but her searching fingers found
nothing but lace-doilied tabletop. The lamp she’d left
there was gone as well.
She listened for what seemed like many minutes, trying
to hear over the pounding of her own heart. It seemed
that whatever had been in the hall was gone. There was
nothing but the rasp of her own panicked breaths in the
It was a dream, she told herself. You thought you were
awake, but you were still dreaming. Spooky stories in
the middle of a storm on Halloween. That’s all it is.
A very logical explanation, except that her body
refused to accept it. Her shaking hands were icy and
damp from an adrenaline rush that was still growing.
Every instinct was screaming at her.
Something’s happened to Mulder.
* * *
The bed was even shorter than Scully’s, he thought
darkly. And cold. He rolled over for the umpteenth
time, punched viciously at his hapless pillow and
ordered his mind to sleep.
An hour later, he gave up. His growling stomach heard
the siren call of carrot cake, and he pulled on his
jeans to answer it.
He had a flashlight in his suitcase, but there was
something appealing in the soft flicker of a kerosene
lamp. He felt around for the matches he’d seen on the
dresser. The sharp flare of the match turned to a
mellow glow as he touched it to the wick. He replaced
the glass chimney and headed out into the hall.
Scully’s door was standing open and her bed was empty.
He looked down the hall toward the bathroom. That door,
too, was open. He smiled. Great minds *do* think alike.
He continued on his mission, hoping Scully had saved
him some cake.
By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, he
knew his guess had been wrong. He could see that the
kitchen was dark, and his skin began to prickle with
alarm. He glanced back up the stairs, wondering if she
might have gone to another room. Maybe her bed was
uncomfortable and she’d found another. Even as he
entertained the thought, he knew it wasn’t true. She
would have come in with him.
He stood at the bottom of the stairs and ran the
possibilities. Scully certainly wasn’t out jogging in
the moonlight. Not in this weather. And she wasn’t in
the bathroom. So what did that leave? Their hostess
could have become ill. Scully was a much lighter
sleeper than he. Maybe she’d heard the woman cry out
and had come down to help her. Suddenly, that made
perfect sense to him Hannah’s bedroom must be somewhere
on the first floor. He set off to find it.
* * *
Scully found her robe at the foot of the bed and pulled
it on as she picked her way through the darkness. She
held both hands out in front of her, feeling for
something recognizable. A few steps away from the bed,
her fingers banged painfully into the dresser. She
shifted her direction slightly to the left. A few steps
more, and she bumped into the wall. She stopped, teeth
clenched in frustration as she tried to get a mental
picture of the room. The dresser was just to the left
of the door, she remembered. It was probably right in
front of her. She reached out. Her fingers encountered
wallpaper, then a doorframe. Down a few inches, and
they closed over her goal. With a sigh of relief, she
turned the knob and pulled the door open.
A rush of cool air washed over her, filled with a scent
she knew all too well. The sweetish, metallic tang of
blood was everywhere.
“Mulder!” She screamed his name as she felt her way
frantically along the wall, looking for his door as she
called for him, more certain with every heartbeat that
he was not going to answer.
* * *
He determined quickly that Scully was not in the
kitchen eating carrot cake in the dark. Nor was she, he
soon discovered, anywhere within the sound of his
voice. As he made his way through the rabbit maze that
was the first floor of Hannah Connolly’s house, he
called Scully’s name at ever-increasing volume. Doors
led to halls that led to more doors. Rooms opened onto
other rooms. He passed through parlors, sitting rooms,
a library, storage rooms. Even another kitchen. But no
first floor bedroom where Hannah Connolly might be
lying in need of assistance. And no sign of Scully.
Panic was beginning to overtake his ability to think.
He stuffed it down by force of sheer will as he opened
yet another door, and found himself back in the front
hallway where he’d started.
It took him a moment to recognize the sound that seemed
to echo from everywhere at once, raw and primal and
ragged with pain. He located the source an instant
before he recognized the sound. Upstairs. Scully.
Shock numbed his limbs… at least, that was his first
thought. It seemed that the harder he tried to move,
the heavier his body became. It was like swimming
through molasses, with Scully’s tortured screams
ringing in his ears.
With one final titanic effort, he threw himself
* * *
The wall disappeared under her hands and she fell
forward, thinking for an instant that she’d turned the
wrong way and was about to tumble down the stairs. Then
her hands and knees smacked into the floor hard enough
to make her teeth rattle. The impact stunned her for a
moment, until the reek of spilled blood assaulted her
sense and drove her to her feet.
“Mulder!” She’d never been in this room, and she had no
idea where the bed was. She did the only thing she
could think of: she followed the terrifying smell,
knowing she’d find him at its source. It didn’t take
Her knees hit the side of his bed, stopping her frantic
forward motion and pitching her forward into a soft,
wet mass. Her arms sank into it up to the elbows. As
she tried to push herself up, her fingers dutifully
telegraphed messages to her brain, identifying the
shapes under her hands. And she began to scream.
* * *
He was fighting to free himself, struggling against an
invisible force that held his limbs fast. And then he
was falling, with no way to brace himself for the
“MULDER!” Scully’s terrified shriek and his own jarring
contact with the floor occurred simultaneously. There
was a blinding light, and another bloodcurdling scream.
And a… blanket? He slammed his eyes shut for a
moment, then opened them cautiously to the sight of his
own big feet tangled in a blanket that trailed off of
the bed. His feet were still on the bed. The rest of
him was on the floor next to it.
Daylight streamed in the window.
“MULDER!” He freed himself from the tangled bedclothes
and staggered to his feet, still buzzing with the
adrenaline rush from his dream.
“Scully!” He sprinted for her room.
* * *
She couldn’t get up. She was buried to her elbows in
his open chest and she couldn’t get up. Nothing worse.
There’s nothing worse than this. And suddenly, it was
He was crying out for her, struggling beneath her. His
hands trying to push her away, to make her stop hurting
him. Grabbing her shoulders. Shaking her.
“SCULLY! WAKE UP!”
She opened her eyes. Mulder’s face hovered inches from
her own, his eyes as wild as hers must be.
“Scully, are you awake?”
She shut her eyes tightly for a moment, then opened
them. He was still there. The room was filled with
light and he was still there, hanging on to her
shoulders for dear life.
She sat up so quickly that they bumped heads, then
grabbed him around the neck with both arms and buried
her face against him. It took a moment for her to
realize that he was shaking as badly as she was. When
the nightmare finally began to loosen its grip on her
nervous system, she pulled back to look at him.
“Oh my God, Mulder. I’ve never had such a horrible
nightmare. I must have scared the hell out of you.” She
looked more closely, then reached up to touch the livid
bruise on his cheekbone. “Mulder? What happened?”
He sat back on the bed and ran a shaky hand through his
hair. “I think we had matching nightmares.” He touched
his cheek gingerly. “I fell out of bed trying to get in
Matching nightmares. The tea. “I *knew* it! Mulder, we
were drugged! Sweet little old lady, my ass. I want to
talk to her. Now!” She kicked free of the covers and
swung her legs over the side. Before her feet hit the
floor, a male voice bellowed up the stairs.
“This is Sheriff Wilkes of the Harleyville Police. You
have one minute to come out of there with your hands
Mulder bowed his head and groaned. “She must have heard
you screaming and thought I was up here murdering you.”
He walked to the door and bellowed right back. “I’m
coming out.” He glanced back at Scully. “Stay here.
I’ll tell them what happened while you get dressed.”
His t-shirt and sweatpants was a good deal more
presentable than her silk chemise and tap pants, she
had to admit. “I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
“Take your time. This might take a little explaining.”
“Play nice with the locals, Mulder.”
He rolled his eyes and went out the door.
Scully pulled on the jeans and sweater she’d worn the
night before, then took her toiletry bag down to the
bathroom. She emerged fifteen minutes later with clean
teeth and almost-presentable hair, ready to face the
When she reached the lower hall, she could see Mulder
standing in the kitchen. He looked up and smiled at her
approach, then turned toward someone she couldn’t see
from her vantage point. “My partner’s here.” He
gestured in her direction as she entered the room. She
turned to her right, expecting to see Hannah Connolly.
Seated at the table were a man, a woman and two small
children. Sheriff Wilkes stood protectively at their
backs, eyeing the two FBI agents with obvious
suspicion. Hannah was nowhere to be seen.
“Agent Scully, I’d like to hear your version of the
events of last night.” The sheriff waved her to a seat
at the table. Mulder remained standing where he was.
Halfway through her monologue, Sheriff Wilkes began to
frown. When she related what Hannah had told them about
her Joshua, the woman began to weep silently. Scully
glanced back at Mulder, who seemed unaccountably
pleased. “We went to our rooms sometime after midnight,
I think.” Here, she faltered a bit. The last thing she
wanted to do was describe her nightmare. “Then… I had
a bad dream. I must have cried out, because my partner
came to my aid. He woke me up, and then we heard you
calling to us.”
No one spoke right away. The sheriff looked at Mulder,
and his frown deepened. “If you weren’t with the
FBI…” He let that thought die. “I want you both to
stop by my office before you leave the county. Mr. and
Mrs. Bradley have agreed to let the matter drop, being
that there’s no harm done to the property. You’ll pay
them for the night’s lodging, of course.”
“Of course,” Mulder agreed happily. His mood was
nothing, if not inappropriate. She shot him a look,
which he blissfully ignored. “Come on, Scully. We need
to pack up.” He bounded off without waiting for her
Scully turned back to the Sheriff with a question on
her lips, then thought better of it. She settled for a
polite nod, then went to catch up with Mulder.
When she reached her room, he was in it, packing her
suitcase. His own sat next to hers on the bed. How he’d
managed to dress and pack in the time it took her to
climb the stairs, she had no idea. She also had no clue
why he found this situation so entertaining.
“Mulder, what the hell is going on?” She nudged him out
of the way and began straightening out the mess he’d
been making of her carefully packed clothes.
He stepped back and grinned at her. “Scully, we’ve just
spent Halloween night in the middle of an X file.”
She whirled on him. “I hardly think a pair of tea-
induced nightmares quite qualifies.” That insufferable
grin was getting on her already-frayed nerves. “Mulder,
what aren’t you telling me?”
“I’ll tell you in the car.” And with that, he was out
She stared at the door for a moment, then picked up her
suitcase and trudged after him.
She found him in the kitchen, waiting for a receipt for
the night’s lodging. The sheriff had apparently left.
Mr. Bradley finished writing, tore off the receipt and
handed it to her partner. “I’m sorry for all the
trouble,” Bradley said, surprising the hell out of
Mulder smiled. “Not at all. I understand completely.”
He looked at Scully. “We both do.” He shook hands with
the man, then hustled Scully out of the house before
she could voice the questions he obviously read in her
She waited until they reached the main road. “Mulder–”
“–what the hell is going on? I’m about to tell you.”
He paused dramatically until she was ready to smack
him. “Hannah Connolly died in 1934.” He looked at her,
waiting for a reaction for much longer than she felt
was safe, considering his position behind the wheel of
a moving car.
She searched for a snappy response. None was
“She died of pneumonia in 1934, at the age of 98. Mrs.
Bradley is her great-great-granddaughter. And Ramey,”
another pregnant pause, “was Hannah’s younger brother.
He died ten years after she did, in the room I slept in
last night. Mrs. Bradley nearly fell out of her chair
when I mentioned his name. This isn’t the first time
they’ve come to visit, by the way. It’s just the first
time they’ve rented out rooms.” He chuckled at his own
“A ghost made tea for us.”
“And carried our luggage.”
“Mulder…” It wasn’t even remotely possible. And
“Scully, you saw her. You talked to her. You had tea
with her. You can call Mr. Bradley when we get back and
ask him.” He was practically giddy with delight. “A
woman who’s been dead for 68 years told us a ghost
story on Halloween. In the middle of a thunderstorm.”
“And gave us nightmares with hallucinogenic tea.” Just
thinking about the dream was enough to give her chills.
It obviously had the same effect on her partner. His
mood darkened so quickly that she almost felt guilty
for bursting such a glowing bubble.
“What did you dream, Scully?”
“I don’t remember much of it.” She looked out the
window, grounding herself. The truth was, she
remembered far too much. “What did *you* dream?”
He kept his eyes on the road, his hands clenched on the
steering wheel. “I couldn’t find you, but I could hear
you screaming for me.” He took a shaky breath, then
looked back at her. His smile was a little wobbly.
“Pretty much the same one I always have.” She smiled
back, and he brightened. “Next time you think about
kicking me out of your bed, remember how I could have
shortened that nightmare if I’d been right next to you
instead of down the hall.”
He had a point, but then he often did. She directed her
comments to dashboard, hiding her smile. “Next time I
spend a holiday with you, I’m bringing an exorcist.”
She expected one of his patented smart-ass comebacks,
but instead found herself thrown forward against the
shoulder harness as Mulder brought the car to a
screeching halt in the middle of the road.
“What the hell are you–” She whipped her head around
and found him staring open-mouthed at something off to
his left. She followed his gaze. And blinked. “Mulder,
that can’t be the same gas station.” Weeds grew tall
through cracks in the asphalt. The canopy over the
pumps was gone. A weathered sign out front advertised
the building– what was left of it– for sale.
He turned to look at her, lips pressed together in an
attempt to smother the grin she could see in his eyes.
“Do you suppose the attendant is still in there doing
his crossword puzzle?”
“Drive, Mulder. Just drive.”