Grave Consequences

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Title: Grave Consequences

Author: Girlie_girl7

Date:

Rating: PG

Category: Case file

Spoilers: Anything up to JS then AU

Disclaimer: They belong to Fox

Archive: VS 11 for two weeks then anywhere

Summary: M&S investigate a series of unexplained deaths in a small

mid-western town but it doesn’t end there.

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~ Grave Consequences ~

Teaser:

“Hey Milk, why don’t you pass me the ball?”

“What! You think I don’t want to win?”

Milk ran down to set up in the post-position under the basket. A

tall, sinewy, black athlete charged the hoop. Milk stepped into his

path and cut him off. The man driving for the basket flipped the

ball behind his back and cut to the left. He raced for the open

basket and easily tipped the ball over the rim.

“Chas!” Milk yelled, “I thought you were at the top of the key.”

“I was Milk, but he cut to your left. I can’t be coverin’ your

ass too,” the smaller, black athlete replied.

Milk pulled up his shirt to wipe the sweat from his brow. He

didn’t notice the small, redheaded woman clad in a soft, gray

sweater and snug jeans that had just appeared at the entrance to

the gym. She stood aside as two men walked past her, their stares

nearly resulting in them walking into the closed metal door, but

she didn’t notice. Her gaze fell upon the tall, lanky man whose

dark hair was plastered to his face as beads of sweat ran down his

muscular chest; the one they called Milk.

Milk stepped over the line and passed the ball in to Chas, who

immediately dribbled up the floor. He looked over at his playing

partner as he drove for the basket, but the man who had just

scored, cut off his path. He flipped the ball back out to Milk,

who caught it in mid-jump and shot, the ball rolled around the rim

and dropped in. The four men all bonded in an atmosphere filled

with vulgarities and laughter.

Milk eyed the redhead standing off to the side. He gave her a

bashful grin and a nod. He set up to guard his man, the player

took the ball, and Milk immediately slapped it away. He drove for

the bucket and lay in a fingertip roll. He leaned over to catch

his breath, as his buddy Chas slapped him on the back, and whooped

it up.

Milk called time and swaggered toward the redhead, the three other

players gave the woman a surreptitious glance. She didn’t notice

anything but the sweaty man crossing the floor, answering her large

grin with one of his own. “Hey Red, whuzz up?”

“Red?”

“Yeah, you know Scully, you need a nickname.”

“Oh really, Milk?”

Mulder chuckled, “Okay, okay.”

Scully leaned into him, “Besides Mulder, I like what you call me when

we’re alone, much better.”

Mulder raised his eyebrows at her, while he took a long drink from

his water bottle, then wiped his mouth off on the back of his hand.

“So is this a personal visit or professional?”

“Well, it’s professional but later I would like you to make it

personal.”

Mulder’s teammate spoke up, “Hey Milk, you gonna hit on the lady, or

you gonna play some B-ball?”

Mulder looked over Scully’s shoulder and snapped his head at the

guys. “So what’s up?” He said, looking down at her and taking

another swig from his bottle.

“Skinner has a case for us in Northern Indiana.”

“Not more Amish?” Mulder questioned.

“No, but not far from that area. There have been five deaths in a

small town and we’ve been asked to look into them.”

“Okay, let me kick some more ass and then I’ll meet you at your

place.” Mulder leaned into Scully, “Then we’ll get up-close and

personal.”

“You got it, Milk,” Scully smiled.

Mulder called for the ball just as Scully said; “Oh, and Mulder, the

only briefs we will be discussing at this meeting will be yours.”

Mulder turned to look at Scully just as the ball hit him in the back

of the head. Scully was shocked, and Mulder was stunned, until they

realized what had just happened. They both laughed as Scully slipped

through the door, but not before she overheard Chas say, “Hey Milk,

who’s da dime piece?”

To which Mulder replied, “That’s my girl. Now, are we just gonna

shoot the shit or play ball,” then he grabbed the ball and shot; it

sailed through the hoop. Chas patted Mulder on the back once more.

Scully smiled as she walked up the steps and out of the gym.

Act 1

Mulder and Scully were being sent to the Midwest to investigate a

series of strange deaths. The flight to Cavin, Indiana was

uneventful, with Scully pouring over stacks of information that

Skinner had given them just before they left. The case was baffling

and out of the league of the local police so help was requested from

the Indianapolis Division of the FBI, who then requested Mulder and

Scully look into the case.

Five people had died in this small Indiana town of 4,200. There

seemed to be no pattern to the deaths and they were seemingly

unrelated except in their strangeness. One victim had died of

injuries consistent with a dragging death but the man was found dead

in his bed. A woman appeared to have died during childbirth but she

hadn’t been pregnant. The third and fourth victims were an elderly

couple, who had suddenly died of diphtheria. The fifth victim was a

small boy who had died during his sleep, but the autopsy revealed the

child had died of whooping cough.

Scully finished reading over the stack of papers and put them back

into her briefcase then removed her glasses. “Mulder I know these

deaths are strange, but do you really think they’re murders?”

“Who said anything about murders?” Mulder said, as he stretched out

his legs in the always too crowded business class.

“So you don’t think they’re murders?”

“Actually, I’m more interested in ‘the what’ these people died from

than ‘the who’.” Mulder grabbed a file and flipped through it. “Did

you notice the cause of each death, Scully?”

“Yeah, they’re all different.”

“Yes, but they are all Old World deaths.”

“I’m sorry Mulder, but I’m not following you.”

“Scully, when was the last time you heard of someone in the U.S.

dying of diphtheria or whooping cough?”

“I know that was strange,” Scully said with a frown.

“The man who looked as if he had been dragged, might have fallen off

a horse. His ankle was broken, fitting the pattern of having his

foot caught in the stirrup and being dragged by the animal.”

Scully looked up at Mulder with a wide-eyed stare.

Mulder grinned, “What!”

Scully smirked, “After all this time, you never cease to amaze me.”

Mulder simply buckled up and waited for the plane to land at the Fort

Wayne Airport.

After they picked up the rental car, the agents made their way to

Cavin. The town was settled in 1835 by pioneers and trappers and at

one time was home to the largest Jewish Community of any town its

size east of the Mississippi River. The Jewish citizens had brought

prosperity to the small town and built grand, stately homes, one of

which had been turned into a bed and breakfast. Mulder pulled up in

front of a pink, Queen Anne mansion that was built in 1906.

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“Wow,” was all Scully could say, as she looked up at the towering

home.

“I thought you might enjoy getting away from those claustrophobic

motel rooms for a change.” Mulder smiled, then took their bags from

the trunk while Scully grabbed the notebooks and briefcases.

Their room was a turn-of-the-century bedroom with a high ceiling,

bowed windows and ornate walnut woodwork. The floor was polished

walnut, covered in aged oriental rugs.

Scully took one look at the room and smiled, “I think I could get use

to this.”

Mulder fell back onto the bed. “Scully, you would never be happy

here.” Scully stared at him with a puzzled look on her face. He sat

up, grabbed her, and pulled her down on the bed. “You would miss

your mom and my fish.”

Scully looked up at him, “Well, I have grown accustomed to taking

care of them.”

“Are you implying I don’t?”

“Mulder those fish get all excited when I enter your apartment.”

Mulder kissed her softly on the neck. “So do I, Scully.” She

giggled, as Mulder’s cell phone rang. With a groan they both got up.

It was the local police chief giving Mulder directions to his

station.

Within five minutes the two agents were entering the chief’s office.

It was housed in the city hall, along with the fire department, and

mayor’s office. Built in 1914 it was Italian Renaissance and Scully

loved its character; unlike the cinder block police agencies they

usually entered.

The chief rose from behind his utilitarian desk. “Hello folks, you

must be the FBI Agents,” he said, extending his huge hand. “I’m

Chief William Grant.”

“I’m Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully,” Mulder said as they both

took seats across from the chief. They discussed the case and the

chief drove them to the site of each death. The family of the little

boy was still inconsolable and filled with questions; this shook

Scully to her core. She could sympathize with a family who had just

lost a child under unusual circumstances.

As they left, Mulder asked her if she was hungry. “I could use a

meal,” Scully replied. Mulder checked with the chief for a good

place to eat and he recommended Daniel’s Café. Mulder drove down the

maple-lined streets toward the business district.

Daniel’s Cafe was quiet with a few locals sitting at the counter.

Their arrival went largely unnoticed, except by the waitress and

Daniel, who was looking out the window that separated the kitchen

from the dining area.

Mulder slid into one side of a booth while Scully took the other.

The small diner was warm and they were seated next to a sunny window,

so Mulder stood up to remove his jacket. Scully had been with this

man for a decade now, and they have been intimate for several years,

but she still marveled at the look of him and blushed at the tiny

thrill that just taking off his suit jacket could give her. He was

aging well; few people would have guessed the toll his quests had

taken on him. Women still stopped and stared, and yet, he still took

no notice of it. How could a man so observant not notice this, but

Scully liked to think he saw no one but her standing before him.

Mulder rolled up the sleeves of his blue dress-shirt and loosened his

tie. The waitress came by with two glasses of ice water and two

menus. “How are you folks today?” she smiled.

“Just fine,” Mulder answered, and in the past two years he meant it.

Scully surveyed the menu and ordered a tuna salad on whole-wheat

toast along with a glass of iced tea, while Mulder ordered a

cheeseburger and fries. She wished he ate healthier, but with all

that he’d been through, the least of his worries was a greasy meal,

and she did cook heart-healthy for him at home.

The waitress placed their orders before them and Mulder dug into his

greasy burger and pretended not to see Scully stealing his fries.

“Scully, when we get back to the room, I want to make a few calls and

you can check in with Skinner.” They ate their meal, paid the bill,

and made their way back to the room.

Mulder made the calls he needed to and looked over the interviews

from earlier in the day. Scully got off the phone with Skinner and

asked, “Did you find anything new?”

“Maybe, the boy’s parents said he’d been to one of the city parks.”

Mulder retrieved the case file and opened it up; he ran his finger

down the page. “Here it is, Prentice Park,” he said, stabbing the

page with his finger. “And the man found dead in his bed took his

lunch break there, a co-worker reported.”

Scully looked skeptical, but had learned over the years to not simply

dismiss Mulder’s intuition. He was a remarkable profiler who could

piece together even the smallest fragment of information. She

thought back to all the stories her father had told her of the

British code breakers of World War Two, housed in Bletchley Park near

London; these men had a genius for cracking the German military

codes. Mulder would have fit right in.

Mulder, now deep in thought, picked up the files and headed for the

door. “Come on Scully, we’ve got some work to do.”

They had split up to cover more ground, with Scully talking to the

husband of the woman who appeared to have died during childbirth.

She, too, had been to the park, but it was the day before the boy and

the man found dead in bed had been there. Mulder found no one who

could place the elderly couple at the park, but he did find a pair of

men’s muddy boots inside the couples backdoor. He called Scully and

picked her up, then they headed for the City Park.

It was a small, tree filled park, not uncommon in those parts,

nestled in a residential area surrounded by older homes. Two city

streets bordered it, one on the east and one on the south side, with

an alley to the west, while a home stood next to it on the north

side. New playground equipment was scattered about, evidently the

park had recently been updated. A large stone stood at the entrance

inscribed with the name Nathaniel Prentice, a soldier who had served

in the Revolutionary War. The inscription on the stone stated that

after the war he drifted west and finally settled in Cavin. Mulder

noticed something else; this was not only a tribute to the man, it

was his grave marker.

“Hey Scully, come look at this.” She walked over to where Mulder was

bent down, reading the inscription.

“What is it?”

“Nathaniel Prentice is buried here.”

“So you think his ghost is attacking people?” Scully asked in a flat

tone. Years ago she would have scoffed at the prospect, but she had

seen too much to do that now.

Mulder looked at his partner and smiled; he knew he no longer had to

prove himself to her. Getting up, he placed his hand on the small of

her back, “Come on Scully, I want to do a little snooping.”

Once in the car Scully turned to him, “We could take soil samples and

send them in.”

Mulder flexed his fingers while he turned the steering wheel. “I

don’t think this is anything tangible, Scully. All the deaths are

too different to be the result of a pathogen.”

“So where do we start?”

“I’m not sure, but the one connecting factor seems to be the park.”

Scully glanced out her side window. “I wish the chief had contacted

us sooner. I would have liked to have gotten my hands on one of

those bodies before interment.”

“If it makes you happy, later tonight, you can get your hands on

mine,” Mulder said, raising his eyebrows. Scully gave him a sharp

look and blushed.

Mulder turned serious, “Scully, we can get a court order to open the

graves, but in deference to the family, I wouldn’t open the child’s

grave unless its absolutely necessary.”

“Let’s wait and see if we need to open any first,” Scully replied.

Mulder unlocked the door to their room and stepped aside to let

Scully in. She kicked off her shoes and took off her coat and

jacket, then pulled her blouse out of her skirt as she headed for the

bathroom.

Mulder tossed his coat on a chair and flopped down on the bed on his

hip. He still couldn’t get the idea out of his head, that these

deaths might have some connection to the park. He rolled across the

bed, picked up the phone, and dialed the chief’s number.

“Chief Grant.”

“Chief, this is Agent Mulder.”

“Oh, Agent, I was wondering how you two were doing?”

“We’ve been looking over the files and interviewing some of the next

of kin.”

“Anything new?”

“Maybe. Chief what can you tell me about Prentice Park?”

The chief thought for a moment and said, “Well, I know that a couple

of the victims had been there earlier in the day.”

“What do you know about the park itself?”

“It was named after Nathaniel Prentice, a Revolutionary War veteran,

but that was before my time,” the chief chuckled.

“Thanks chief,” Mulder said then added, “Do you have anyone in town

who might know more about the park?”

The chief paused for a moment and replied, “Why don’t you try our

public library.”

“That’s the building across from city hall, right.”

“Yeah, the building with the library book return out front.”

Mulder could picture the chief’s grin. “Thanks chief, I’ll check

that out.”

“Agent Mulder, you think this had anything to do with the park?”

“I’m not sure what, if any, connection there is, but don’t worry

about it right now, chief.” Mulder hung up the phone and turned to

find Scully going over the notes from several of the autopsies.

“Scully, wanna go to the library with me?”

“Why, do you have a book report due?”

Mulder walked over and leaned into her ear, “No, but I will let you

play footsies with me under the table.” Scully smiled up at him as

he pulled her off the bed and onto her feet.

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The library was only one street behind the bed and breakfast and four

blocks down. “One thing about investigating in a small town Scully,

not much driving to do,” Mulder said, as he pulled up to the library.

It sat on a beautiful, tree-covered piece of ground and was

Neoclassical Revival, built in 1908; the word Carnegie was still

visible above the door. The library had withstood the changes of

time; it was one of the few Carnegie libraries still in use. The

front glass door was accessed by a flight of steps; once inside

another flight led up to the first floor that emptied into a large

room with a high ceiling and a fireplace at either end. On the West

side of each fireplace were small, oak paneled reading rooms.

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The two Agents approached a middle-age man sitting behind a large

circular desk; his nameplate read ‘John’. He looked up and smiled.

“Can I help you folks?

Mulder spoke up. “I’m interested in finding some information on

Prentice Park.”

John put down the book he had been logging in and asked, “What do you

want to know?”

“I don’t know,” Mulder shrugged. “When was the park established?

Have there been any unusual occurrences there?”

John thought for a moment. “No, other than it’s named after Nathaniel

Prentice, the Revolutionary War vet.”

Mulder looked at Scully with his ‘I’ve heard this before’ look as

Scully bit down on her bottom lip and looked sympathetic.

“They did get new playground equipment, a local foundation paid for

it.”

“If I wanted to find more history on the park where would I start?”

Mulder inquired.

“You could start in the room to your left,” John said, motioning to

the little reading room next to the fireplace.

“Thanks,” Mulder said, as he and Scully headed for the room. Scully

grabbed Mulder’s arm and drew him up short. He turned to look down

at her. “Mulder, we’ve got dead bodies that you don’t seem the

least bit interested in. Don’t you think our investigation should

start there?”

“It did Scully. You looked over the autopsies, we looked at the

crime scene photos, and we’ve even talked to the victim’s families.

The next step would be to dig up some bodies.” Mulder stepped into

her and lowered his voice. “That’s what I’m trying to avoid. The

sooner we can wrap this up, the sooner we can get home.”

Scully knew he was right. They were not investigators of the normal;

they were called out on the weird, the baffling, and the unexplained.

Conventional police work had never solved those types of crimes.

Upon entering the small room, the agents found three walls of

bookshelves, filled with faded and worn books. The poor state of

their condition reflected their age. Both agents slipped off their

coats and jackets and began looking over the books. There were books

on the area in general and the town in particular, covering the early

settlers in the area as well as the arrival of the Jews, who settled

in the town some forty years later. They learned that the small town

once had been a very wealthy community that had dealt in banking and

real estate, but the books did not provide them with any more clues

than they had at the start of the day.

After spending several hours combing through the books, Mulder

stretched and grabbed his hands over his head. “Scully,” he puffed

out and brought his hands down, “what are we doing here?”

“I thought this was alternative investigating,” Scully quipped.

By now it was getting late in the day. “Scully let’s go back to the

room, then we can grab some dinner.”

“Sounds good to me,” Scully said, as she threw on her coat and began

to put the books away. She turned to find Mulder gone; he was headed

for the librarian.

“Can I help you sir?”

“I’d like to take a few of these books with me for the night.”

“Oh, that’s not possible. See, those are rare books, some, one of a

kind. We don’t allow them to leave the building, besides I doubt you

even have a library card.”

Mulder smiled and pulled out his ID, as Scully entered the room. He

flashed his badge, “I’m Special Agent Mulder and this is Special

Agent Scully, we’re with the FBI. Now don’t you think these books

will be safe with us?”

“I don’t know,” John hesitated, “I don’t trust the government.”

Mulder leaned across the desk, “Just between us, neither do I.”

Mulder and John both chuckled.

John led them to the room and with a nod said, “Go on, just have them

back tomorrow, so I don’t have any explaining to do.” Then he

paused, “You two are looking into those deaths?”

Mulder stood up with an armload of books. “Yeah, what do you think

they are?”

John just shrugged his shoulders. “Deaths.”

Mulder smiled at him and nodded his head toward Scully. “My partner

shares your thoughts.”

John let them out of the library and locked the door behind them; it

was past closing time.

Mulder unlocked the trunk and carefully placed the old books into it.

He looked up to find Scully standing there with a small pout on her

lips. “What’s the matter, Scully?”

“You didn’t play footsies with me, Mulder.”

Mulder closed the trunk lid and leered at his partner, “The night is

still young, Agent Scully.”

Mulder slid into the driver side of the car and Scully entered the

passenger’s. Putting the car into gear, he backed out onto the wide

street.

“So, what’s your take on this case now?” Scully said, as they headed

back to the bed and breakfast. Suddenly she realized they weren’t

headed for their room, “Mulder, you missed our turn!” Scully slumped

back into her seat, “Okay, where are we going?”

Years of experience had taught her that when he was onto something

his dogged determination took over. He couldn’t put it into words

for her, but she knew he was feeling something. It was times like

these that she was glad to be on the X Files with this man, the

excitement, the drive, and the relentlessness.

Scully glanced over at her partner; he was focused on nothing in

particular, a point in space. He sucked in his lower lip and ground

his knuckles against the steering wheel. She knew he was putting the

pieces together, but wasn’t quite there yet. He turned the car to

the left as gravel crunched under the tires. Scully looked out her

side window. “Mulder somehow I knew we would eventually end up in a

cemetery.”

Entering from the south, Mulder ignored Scully, as he drove back into

the tree-covered property. For a small town the cemetery was fairly

large. “People must be dying to get in here,” Mulder quipped while

Scully moaned at the old joke. They drove to the back of the

rectangular lot, turned down the next row, and continued on until

they reached the oldest section of the cemetery.

Mulder spotted two mausoleums along the back of the lot and drove

down the gravel road toward them. He put the car in park and both

agents crawled out. The sun was setting to their backs, the wind was

colder under the trees, and the ground had the same feel as any other

cemetery; soft and mushy underfoot.

The two mausoleums resembled little houses, and were made of

limestone with metal doors that contained cut-glass windows in the

upper half. Above the left mausoleum was the inscription ‘Meyer-

Jacobs’ while the other one had ‘Straus’ etched above the door.

Mulder peered into the Straus mausoleum. It contained two sarcophagi

suspended above two more on the floor. “Must be the graveyard

version of bunk beds,” Mulder joked. He stepped off the step, backed

up, and looked it over. “These people must have been some of the

wealthier citizens we read about.”

The section surrounding the mausoleums contained elaborate and

decorative stones with names like Jacob, Meir, Loeser and Rose on

them. Many of the stones were written in English on the front and

Hebrew on the back. Two strips of concrete ran down the length of

this section of the cemetery with two concentric concrete circles in

the middle of the strips.

“Scully, this is the section the Jews petitioned the cemetery board

for in the late 1800’s, to be used by the citizens of their faith.

The wealthy merchants and financiers must have put in their own road

with a car turnaround.

Scully looked it over and said, “It’s possible Mulder, but it’s too

narrow to drive on.”

Mulder walked over and leaned into her. “Not for a Model-T, Scully.”

She had to admit he was probably right.

“So what does this have to do with our case?”

“This section? Nothing.” Mulder said, as he left the Jewish Section

and began to read the surrounding stones. He and Scully moved from

stone to stone, as the sky grew darker.

“Mulder, most of these people died before their 40th birthday and

from the looks of it, there was a lot of infant mortality. Modern

medicine has prolonged our life expectancy.”

Mulder was hunched down in front of one of the stones as he glanced

up at Scully. “You’re a member of a noble profession,” he grinned.

Scully crossed her arms; “Well, noble or not, this is one doctor who

is hungry.”

Mulder got up and looked over at his partner with a smile, then took

a long sweeping look over the grounds. “Scully, did you notice

anything odd about this cemetery?”

“Odd. Odd how, Mulder?” she asked, slightly peeved, thinking back to

all the other cemeteries they had frequented in the past.

“Scully, do you remember that we read the town was settled in 1835 by

pioneers and the Jews arrived in 1857?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

Mulder scanned the horizon, “We’ve found the Jews, but where are the

pioneers? Not one person here was buried before 1857. That’s a span

of twenty-two years. So where are those people buried?” He paced

back and forth, looking over the vast cemetery as he continued, “The

Jews are here because they arrived in 1857, and the settlers are here

that died after 1857, but it’s like a whole generation of people went

missing. You said yourself, that people died at an early age, and

where are the infants?”

Scully moved from stone to stone, checking the dates in the dim

light. Finally she had to admit; “I don’t know Mulder, unless

there’s another cemetery in town.”

“Scully, this cemetery is huge! There are hundreds, if not thousands

of graves here,” Mulder acquiesced. “But I’ll check it out and see if

there is another one in the area. You might be right.”

Mulder headed back to the car with Scully at his side. He slid into

the driver side and turned the key in the ignition. “Wanna go back

to the room first or eat?”

“Eat,” Scully said.

Mulder pulled the car onto the road. “Scully, there’s a Chinese place

ahead, want to try it?”

“Chinese, in farm country?” Scully questioned.

“Farmers like Chinese food too, Scully,” Mulder teased her.

Scully returned the warm smile, as he pulled into the parking lot of

the China Dragon.

The restaurant was busy, but Mulder did find a booth in the back,

while Scully sat down opposite him. The place was small, but not

oppressively so. The walls were painted mint green with Chinese

murals adorning them. A tiny, dark-headed woman appeared at their

table with two glasses of water and two menus. Mulder settled on

peppered steak, while Scully ordering shrimp fried-rice. He excused

himself to use the restroom as Scully watched two small children

playing outside the window.

The tiny woman returned just as Mulder slid back into the booth. The

meal was served with egg-drop soup and Chinese tea. Heaping plates

were placed before the two agents. Mulder dug in and was soon sitting

in front of an empty plate. Scully ate what she could, and drank her

tea.

Mulder sat back against the booth with his arms splayed and his mind

working overtime.

“So Mulder, what’s the theory in that beautiful mind of yours?”

Mulder ran his tongue around his teeth before he spoke, “Scully, I

still wonder what the park has to do with these deaths.”

“Mulder, if you sincerely think the park has anything to do with

them, then we should close it off.”

“No, it’s not like that, Scully. You and I poked around there, and

we’re okay. I just feel there is some explanation for it.”

Mulder grabbed the bill from the table, and Scully scooted out of the

booth. He placed his hand on the small of her back, and ushered her

to the door.

They arrived back at the bed and breakfast just after dark. Scully

grabbed Mulder’s hand as they stepped onto the lobby. She pulled him

to the left, and he followed her to a wide over-stuffed sofa,

positioned just in front of an ornate fireplace with a roaring fire.

They sat down and Mulder stretched his arms across the back of the

sofa with his long legs out, crossed at the ankles. Scully toed off

her shoes and settled tight against him with her feet curled up under

her. He put his left arm over her shoulder and gently stroked her

arm as she wrapped it around his waist and laid her head on his

chest. She felt safe and far away from the pain of the past. She

hated to admit it, but she had always found comfort and security in

Mulder’s arms. She realized the warmth of the fire had triggered

this touch of melancholy; it was much like the feeling of the sitting

with her mother, when she was a little girl. Finally, Scully stood

up from the sofa and reached down to take Mulder’s hand. “Come on,

let’s go upstairs.”

They made it as far as the staircase when Mulder suddenly turned. “I

forgot the books, we have to return them tomorrow.” Scully waited by

the door while Mulder returned for them. They climbed the winding,

walnut stairs to the wide landing then she took the key and popped

the door open. Once inside, she dropped her shoes and cranked up the

heat, the room was cooler because of the wind blowing strong against

the north side of the old house. She looked out the bow window and

watched the bare limbs of the trees dance in the light of the

security lamp over the parking lot.

Mulder emerged from the bathroom and shrugged off his suit jacket;

Scully smiled and drew the blinds. He tossed his jacket on the foot

of the bed, under normal ‘at home’ conditions she would have

protested, but she sensed his mind was elsewhere, most likely on the

case. “Mulder, do you think we’ll find anything in these tonight?”

She asked, as she moved the pile of books from the bed.

“Scully, I still can’t get it out of my head. Where did all those

missing people go?”

With a start Scully said, “You don’t think this is an alien thing do

you?”

Before she could finish, Mulder bolted for the door. She knew he

wasn’t going far; his days of ditching her were over. She headed for

the bathroom, to shower and change into one of Mulder’s T-shirts.

Mulder arrived back at their room with news that he had talked to the

homeowner, Mr. Blue. Scully smirked, “Mr. Blue, who owns the pink

house.” The remark passed over Mulder. “He said there aren’t any

other cemeteries in town.”

Mulder paced the long, wide room as Scully threw back the blankets on

the bed. “Mulder, there are probably cemeteries outside of town,”

she sighed.

“There are, Scully, but the closest one is over five miles away.”

“Hmm, that would be a distance with the transportation available in

1835.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Mulder said. “So where did they go, they

didn’t just disappear.”

“We can check this out tomorrow, right now all I want to do is go to

sleep,” Scully said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. Mulder

walked over and pulled the blankets back farther; he grabbed her

ankles and swung her into bed, as she protested. He pulled the

blankets up to her waist, and turned to place a small mountain of

books on her lap. Scully slumped back against the headboard and

grabbed the books with a sigh. The sooner they got done, the sooner

she could get some sleep.

Mulder had been sitting in his dress pants and T-shirt, hunched over

a detailed book on the area in the 1800’s when Scully called out,

“Mulder, look at this.” She pushed back the blankets and crawled

down to the end of the bed and handed him a newspaper clipping.

It read: Notice of Vacation of Cemetery,

To whom it may concern:

The town of Cavin has decided to vacate the city

Cemetery. Notice is therefore given to the relatives

And friends of all persons interested in the

Re-interment of the dead bodies of the following

Individuals . . .

Mulder held out the clipping. “Scully there must be over one hundred

names on here. It’s signed, ‘H.M. Goodspeed, town clerk, Cavin,

Indiana. March 7,1888’. Dammit! It doesn’t say where the cemetery

is located.”

Scully yawned. Mulder grinned and put his hand on her cheek. “We

can do this tomorrow. Let’s get some sleep.”

“You’ll get no argument from me,” Scully sighed. She piled the books

onto the chair, while Mulder went to shower and change.

Mulder came out in his boxers, to find Scully lying on her side with

the blankets pulled up around her, he slid in beside her. He loved

her, not knowing for sure when he didn’t. She was brash, bright and

beautiful, and as for some yet unknown reason, she loved him too.

She had came into his life at a time when he had been living on the

edge, pissing people off, and generally making himself miserable.

She grounded him, gave him some credibility, and brought a sense of

order to his life. If there was such a thing as ordained fate, it

had to be them. He knew if she had not been assigned to him, there

was no way in hell they would have gotten together, Scully would have

never given him the time of day. They were opposite in temperament

but so opposite they were similar. Being partnered had allowed them

time to discover the real people behind the facades they both

displayed. He nuzzled his nose into her soft, auburn hair and let

his thoughts drift as sleep started to claim him. He heard a soft

mumble in his ear; “I love you Mulder.” He smiled and added his own

pledge, “I love you too, Scully.”

Act II

Morning dawned with Scully waking up to an empty bed. She knew where

Mulder would be; he’d be out running through the town. As much as he

loved the turn his life had taken with Scully, he still needed the

freedom running provided him, but now he had someone to run back to.

Dressing quickly Scully stopped to pick up the room, she then

ventured down the large staircase. Mrs. Blue greeted her at the

bottom, and offered her coffee and homemade sweet rolls. Mulder

walked in the front door, hot and sweaty, hair askew and puffing

softly. Scully liked ‘button down Mulder’ but she loved ‘scruffy

Mulder’. He grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her forehead.

“I’m a mess, be back down soon,” he said as he turned to climb the

stairs.

Mrs. Blue was seated at the large walnut dining table as Scully

wandered in with a mug of coffee in her hand. She smiled and pushed

the plate of pastries toward her. Scully smiled back and pulled out

a chair across from Mrs. Blue. She sat down and picked up a large

cinnamon roll from the plate, “Thanks.”

Mrs. Blue was a short, stocky woman with a hint of red still in her

hair and a jovial smile on her face. “You two been involved long?”

She said in the no-nonsense way people in those parts had.

Scully shifted in her chair and rubbed her hands on her napkin. “Is

it that obvious?”

“It is to me,” Mrs. Blue said with a chuckle.

“Umm, we’ve been together a little more than two yearS, but we have

been FBI partners for over ten years,” Scully said with a blush on

her face.

“And that doesn’t piss off the FBI?” Mrs. Blue asked.

Scully had to laugh at her directness but she liked it. “Actually

they frown on it, but Mulder takes on cases that seem too strange for

standard investigative efforts. I was assigned to assist him, and

our case solution rate is so high it allows us certain freedoms.”

“So you two get the cases no one else wants,” Mrs. Blue asked,

tearing off another piece of her cinnamon roll.

Scully grinned, “Something like that.” She looked around the room,

“You have a lovely home, Mrs. Blue.”

“We like it. I was a nurse for years in a big city and when I

retired I wanted to do something completely different. My husband

found this lovely old home and I knew what I wanted to do; open a bed

and breakfast.”

“So you still take care of people,” Scully laughed.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Mrs. Blue shared in the laughter.

Mulder came in the room, having showered and changed. He helped

himself to coffee and a roll, then sat down next to Scully.

She smiled up at him, “So what’s on the agenda today, partner?”

“I have to return my library books,” Mulder said, with a grin.

Mulder turned the car onto the wide Main Street but took a left after

going only a few blocks. Scully knew he was headed for the park

again. He pulled up in front of the park entrance and got out,

Scully followed suit and they walked the small park in silence.

Mulder paused on occasion to reach up and pluck at twigs from the

leafless trees and shrubs, deep in thought.

Scully brushed the snow off a small bench, sat down and spoke up.

“Mulder, have you noticed the houses around the park? All of them

are from the same architectural period, except the one to the north.

It appears to have been built at a much later time.”

Mulder surveyed the area. “Maybe an old house burnt down, or was

demolished, and a new one built.”

“Could be.”

“Come on Scully, let’s get to the library. I think we can wrap this

up today.”

“How so?”

“Either the answers are here, or it’s a coincidence, and we’re

wasting our time.”

The library was warm and quiet with a few people coming and going.

Mulder returned the books, while Scully went to the microfilm section

to read through old city newspapers. After several hours of reading

Scully took a break and found Mulder sitting on the floor in the rare

book room, his long legs were stretched out in front of him, and his

back was resting against a bookcase. He had shucked off his jacket

and tie, and rolled up his sleeves. He pulled on his bottom lip,

lost in thought in the book of deeds that he was reading.

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Scully knew he was not yet ready to leave, so she pulled out several

old yearbooks and began to leaf through them. One of them from 1953

made her smile at the clothing the girls’ wore and the boys’ greasy

hair. She then spied a worn, ragged yearbook shoved back into the

corner of the shelf. She pulled out the fragile soft-backed book,

and dusted off the jacket to reveal it was a 1927 Cavin High School

yearbook. She gently opened the cover to find it filled with fancy

scrolled calligraphy. The first section had class photos of girls’

with bobbed hair and boys’ in knickers. The second section covered

the school sporting events, while the clubs and organizations came

next, then a section on the city itself. There were photos of the

few industries in town at that time and several articles on the

various retail businesses. Scully’s eyes grew wide; she found a page

on the park, Prentice Park! She read the page and reached behind her

to tap Mulder on the shoulder, “Mulder, look at this!”

Mulder got up stiffly and stretched out his lanky frame; he’d sat too

long on the floor. He leaned over Scully’s shoulder and read:

‘Prentice Park came in to being after the cemetery that had

been there for nearly fifty years had been abandoned. The lot

next to the cemetery had been set aside for a church that was

never built and later deeded over to the city. Later the land

was sold for housing. Relatives of those interred were

advised to remove their family members and re-inter them in

the new city cemetery, Oak Park. These bodies not removed

simply had the headstones laid down and dirt placed over

them.’

“That’s it! Mulder grinned as he thumped the page with his finger.

“Mulder, we’ve found the missing settler’s but what does that have to

do with these deaths?”

“Hear me out Scully,” Mulder said, as he pulled out a chair and sat

down next to her. “What if these people died from the same diseases

and accidents that killed those people buried in the park? Maybe

their spirits are seeking some form of revenge.”

Scully looked at Mulder knowing full well that he was serious. “Even

if that were true, why would they decide to act up now? The park has

been here for over 75 years.”

“I don’t know, maybe they finally got tired of being walked on, so to

speak. You saw the new playground equipment, maybe they just

couldn’t take the added traffic.”

Mulder scooped up the yearbook and left the room. He held it up.

“Hey John, can I barrow this for a few hours?”

John turned away, and put his hand in the air, “I didn’t see

anything.” He left the counter and disappeared into the backroom.

Scully gathered up Mulder’s pile of shed clothing and shook out his

jacket then handed it to him. He rolled down his shirtsleeves, but

left them unbuttoned, as he slung his jacket over his shoulder.

“Scully, this is the piece to the puzzle we’ve been looking for.”

Scully knew he was on a roll, and when he was, it was best to just go

along for the ride.

They wound their way back to Daniel’s Café, where Mulder ate a hardy

lunch of pan-fried chicken, and Scully picked at her salad. She

refused Mulder’s best effort to get her to eat. As they were leaving

the café, Scully asked Mulder to take her back to the room, while he

went on to see the chief.

Mulder thought it was a bit unusual for Scully not to want to

accompany him to explain his theory, but he sensed it was better to

just drop it, and talk to her later. He dropped her off at the bed

and breakfast and headed for the police department.

Chief Grant greeted him and offered him a chair. “So what brings you

here Agent Mulder?”

Mulder sat down and began to speak quietly to the chief. “Sir, are

you aware that Prentice Park was built over a cemetery; a burial

ground?”

The chief leaned back in his chair and rubbed his chin with his

thumb, “No I didn’t, that comes as news to me. Are you sure?”

“Agent Scully has found the proof in this book.” Mulder shoved the

yearbook across the desk for the chief to read. “It states that the

park is built over an abandoned cemetery, when the larger Oak Park

Cemetery was established. Some of the bodies were moved, but most

were not.”

The chief stared at Mulder, unsure of what he was hearing.

Mulder continued, “This would explain where the original settlers

disappeared to. It might also explain what happened to our victims.”

“How’s that?” the chief asked.

Mulder leaned back in his chair and ran his tongue across his bottom

lip. He knew the easy part was over; convincing the chief would be

the hardest part.

“Chief are you familiar with the spiritualism that Native Americans’

place on their burial grounds?”

The chief leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.

“They feel they’re sacred and are visited by the spirits of the

deceased.” Mulder couldn’t read the chiefs expression but was

wondering what his response would be. “If an ancient society can

believe it’s possible then why can’t we?”

The chief continued to stare at the ceiling then brought his eyes

down to Mulder, and stared at him. “You actually believe this, Agent

Mulder?”

“Until it’s proven otherwise, yes, I do,” Mulder said, holding his

ground.

“So you think these spirits got pissed off and started attacking park

visitors?”

Mulder lowered his head and smiled, “Not attacking them;

transferring, transferring what brought about their deaths. Maybe

their cause of death can be inflicted upon others.”

The chief continued to stare at Mulder. “I’m not sayin’ you’re a

liar Agent Mulder, but I’d be more likely to believe this theory of

yours if Agent Scully were sitting here telling me the same thing.”

“Agent Scully isn’t feeling well, I dropped her back at the room,”

Mulder said, unsure himself, what, exactly, was bothering her. “Look

chief, can we at least do some digging and see if the tombstones are

there like the book says they will be.”

The chief eyed Mulder but finally smiled and said; “Okay I don’t

think doin’ a little pokin’ around would do any harm. Let me call

the street department and get a couple of guys up there with shovels.

Give me about an hour.”

As Mulder turned to leave, the chief was already on the phone to the

street department. Mulder liked the way things moved in a small

town, there wasn’t a lot of red tape to deal with. He drove back to

the bed and breakfast, having decided he would be more comfortable in

jeans rather than his usual FBI attire.

He found the door to their room locked so he slipped his key in and

turned the knob. The door opened but Scully was not there. He knew

she would want to be in on the dig, so he decided to change his

clothes while he waited for her return. Mulder loosened his tie and

pulled it from his neck. He headed for the bathroom but found

something on the other side of the door was preventing him from

opening it. He finally pushed it open and found Scully lying on the

floor in front of the tub; she was curled up in a near fetal

position.

“Scully!” Mulder said as he bent down to cup her face in his hand.

She was burning up with beads of sweat breaking out on her forehead.

He checked her pulse and found it was racing. She was unresponsive

to his calling her name or to his touch.

Mulder ran to the door and yelled for Mrs. Blue, she appeared at the

bottom of the stairs. “Call an ambulance, my partner is sick!”

Mulder turned back to Scully, scooped her up and gently carried her

downstairs to the couch in the sitting room. He stroked the damp

hair away from her face as she briefly regained consciousness.

“Scully, what’s happening to you, I need to tell the medics.”

Scully was trying to focus on Mulder but having a hard time doing it.

“I’m not sure, but my throat hurts and I ache all over. Must be a

virus.” Her voice trailed off as she lost consciousness again.

Mrs. Blue was standing in the front yard waving the ambulance in.

Two paramedics jumped out, each one was carrying a kit, while the

driver was backing up to the door. A tall slim young man bounded up

the steps as the other medic helped the driver get out the stretcher.

The medic found Scully lying on the couch. “Excuse me sir,” he said

as he maneuvered around Mulder. He bent down and touched her face.

“What’s her name?”

“Scully, I mean, Dana,” Mulder mumbled, still in shock.

“Dana, that’s a nice name,” the medic replied, as he began to work on

Scully. He flashed a penlight in her eyes and listened to her heart.

“Pretty hair,” he said. Mulder was aware of the psychology behind

the medic’s ramblings, ‘keep the family calm with small talk, it

makes the job easier’.

The second medic and the driver brought in the stretcher. The tall,

slim medic finished taking Scully’s blood pressure and looked down at

her, “Brad, we got a load-and-go.” They gently lifted Scully onto

the stretcher, placed a blanket over her, and buckled her down.

Mulder turned to the driver, “Where are you taking her?”

“To Goshen General,” the driver said looking Mulder over. “You’re

not from around here are you?”

“No, no we’re not,” Mulder softly replied, feeling as if all the air

has been let out of him. Scully was taken down the steps and loaded

into the back of the ambulance.

Mrs. Blue grabbed Mulder by the arm; “I’ll take you to her son.”

“Thank you,” Mulder mumbled.

Scully was taken to a small community hospital some 13 miles west of

Cavin. By the time Mulder arrived and filled out the paperwork, she

had already been admitted and was being attended to.

Mulder hadn’t been allowed to see her, but he was introduced to a Dr.

Yoder who asked Mulder a series of questions regarding Scully’s

health. Mulder answered him but left out the part about the implant.

He did tell the doctor that no surgery was to be done on her without

his consent. The doctor gave him a strange look but didn’t question

him any further. Mulder knew there was no way in hell that they were

going to be allowed to removing that chip.

Leaning against the wall Mulder asked, “Do you have any idea what’s

wrong with Dana?”

The doctor looked over the top of his glasses and said, “It appears

to be a virus, but we just don’t know for sure yet.” With those few

words, he left to check on Scully.

Mulder pulled his cell phone out of his coat pocket and with shaking

fingers made a call, he hoped, he would never have to make. “Sir

it’s Mulder. . .”

Mulder closed his phone and noticed Mrs. Blue standing across the

hall from him. He walked over and clasped her hands. “Thank you,

for all your help.”

“No trouble at all, Agent Mulder.” She started to leave and turned

back to add, “I’m sure she’ll be just fine.”

“I hope so,” Mulder said through red-rimmed eyes.

Mulder paced outside the ICU as nurses and doctors came and went,

samples were taken, X-rays were given, and tests were run, but still

no news. A nurse took pity on him and brought him a cup of coffee.

One hour ran into four, and four ran into the evening.

Mulder was staring into space, shifting his weight from foot to foot,

when Dr. Yoder emerged from the ICU. “Mr. Mulder,” the doctor said,

startling him, “Dana, appears to be suffering from Spinal

Meningitis.” Mulder felt as if he’d just been kicked in the stomach.

The doctor continued, “She needs more care than we can give her here,

I’m having Agent Scully airlifted to Fort Wayne. It’s only a twenty

minute trip by air ambulance.”

Mulder numbly nodded his head and choked out, “Will she be okay?”

“We really don’t know at this point, Agent Mulder. She is very ill

but they will do all they can for her.” Dr. Yoder excused himself

and walked to the nurses’ station. Mulder couldn’t make out what he

was saying, but he was fairly certain it was about Scully.

Mulder now needed to get forty-five miles south to the hospital in

Fort Wayne. He called the local State Police Post, and explained his

situation, within minutes he found an Indiana State Police cruiser

waiting for him outside the hospital.

The trooper was years older than Mulder and very professional. He

pulled out into the darkness and sped south, changing highways

frequently. Mulder didn’t say much; he just listened to the

trooper’s radio crackle, when suddenly his cell phone rang, startling

him.

“Mulder.”

“Mulder, it’s Skinner.”

“Where are you sir?”

We’re just landing in Fort Wayne. Where to now?”

Mulder sighed and rubbed his forehead, finally something was going

right. “Stay where you are sir, they’ve ‘coptered Scully to Fort

Wayne.” The trooper glanced over at Mulder, “Who’s that?”

Mulder looked over, “My AD at the FBI, he’s flown in with my

partner’s mother.”

The trooper picked up the microphone on his radio, “This is 22-16, I

need a car to go to the Fort Wayne airport to pick up. . .” He

paused.

Mulder hurriedly said, “AD Walter Skinner.”

“AD Walter Skinner with the FBI, and he’ll have a woman with him.

They need transport to Parkview ASAP.”

The dispatcher responded, “Clear.”

Mulder relayed the message to Skinner and closed his phone. He

slumped back into the seat, only able to mutter, “Thanks.”

Mulder stared out the window as farms and homes zipped past. He

recalled Scully saying; “Don’t you just want to get out of the damn

car?” He had to smile; he loved her more now than he ever did

before, and before he loved her with every fiber in his being. His

thoughts ran wild; what if he lost her now, now that their

relationship has finally become intimate and solid. Now that they

had finally decided that they would always be together through the

good times and the bad. Why now! Mulder swallowed hard and continued

to look out the window.

The trooper pulled up in front of a tall, well-lit hospital. Mulder

stepped from the cruiser and stuck his head back in, “Thanks for

everything.”

Just then the troopers radio came to life, there was a bad pile-up on

I-69. “You’re welcome, I’d better go and good luck,” the trooper

replied as he grabbed his microphone. Mulder closed the door as the

trooper pulled out into the night with his lights and siren on.

Mulder shuttered at the cold and pulled his coat a little tighter to

his body as he walked briskly into the hospital.

Scully was on the fourth floor in the ICU. Doctor Jacobs introduced

himself and filled Mulder in on her condition. She had received fine

care prior to her arrival at Parkview and was now being administered

high doses of antivirals as well as being treated for a high fever

but so far she wasn’t responding. She hadn’t regained consciousness

and they were giving her oxygen. Before Mulder could see her, he was

given a preventative inoculation against the disease. Finally he was

admitted to the ICU to see her but only for a few minutes.

Scully had hoses and tubes running in and out of her and a fever-

reducing blanket over her. Mulder gently held her hand between his

two larger ones, during their quiet times together Scully found

comfort in this small act. Now he just wanted to curl up next to her

and cry.

A nurse pulled back the curtain that surrounded Scully’s bed. “Mr.

Mulder, there are some people out here to see you.” Mulder

disregarded the nurse standing there and kissed Scully’s cheek then

ran his thumb across her auburn lashes. He quietly slipped out of

the room to find Maggie and Skinner standing there. Mulder felt he

had to put on a good front, and tried to smile at the pair standing

before him, but he can’t hide his feelings and croaked out, “She’s

got Spinal Meningitis.”

Maggie gasped, “What, but how? She wasn’t exposed, was she?”

Mulder drew a blank stare; the pieces to the puzzle were finally

beginning to fall into place. He grabbed Maggie by the shoulder and

stepped around her. “I need to make a phone call.” He took out his

cell and walked to the end of the hallway where a large window

overlooked the sleeping city.

Mulder was overheard by Skinner to say, “I need to have Chief Grant

call me back at my cell phone as soon as possible, the number is 260-

555-9355, and I don’t care what ‘hour in the AM’ it is, this is an

emergency!” Mulder slammed his cell phone shut.

Skinner approached him. “What’s going on here, Agent?” He asked

sharply, as he trust his hands deep into his trench coat pockets.

“I can’t explain it right now sir, but if I can get the chief on the

line, I just might be able to help Scully.”

Skinner looked over at Maggie, who was hovering over her daughter.

“The State Trooper who brought us in said they have a family care

center attached to the hospital. I’m going to get Mrs. Scully

settled in there.”

“Thanks,” Mulder said, as he turned to look in at Scully. Maggie

left the ICU and approached him; without lifting his tear-filled eyes

he firmly said, “Scully will be fine. She has to be.”

Skinner returned to Mrs. Scully’s side. “I’ve made arrangements for

the night, we should go.” He took her by the arm and led her to the

elevators.

Mulder turned to stare through the glass at Scully, just then his

cell phone rang. “Mulder.”

“Agent Mulder, how’s she doing?”

“How, how did you. . .” Mulder was surprised.

“Word travels fast in a small town.”

Mulder sighed and rubbed his forehead, “Not so good, I’m afraid.

Chief, how fast can you get an excavating team together?”

“Agent Mulder, your partner is very ill, shouldn’t you be worried

about her first?”

“I am.” Mulder knew the only person who would understand his motives

now lay gravely ill. “Chief, this just might save her life.”

“I’m not sure I understand?” The chief sighed, “but I’ll try to

rustle up a couple of guys.”

“I’ll meet you there in an hour.” Mulder closed his cell and quietly

walked in the ICU to Scully’s bed. He had seen her like this too

many times, so still, so quiet. If not for the constant beep of the

machines he would have thought she was dead. He held her warm hand,

she was still suffering from the fever, while he ran his fingers

across her forehead and down her jaw line avoiding all the tubes and

hoses. He knew what he had to do and it pained him; he had to leave

her to pursue what he hoped would be a cure for her, no matter how

far fetched others might think it to be. He flashed back to her

cancer, to a time when his motives had been questioned once before.

He softly kissed her warm cheek and slipped out of her room, glancing

back at her once more before he left.

Mulder called a cab and made his way back to Cavin. He arrived at

Prentice Park to find the chief, his deputy and two city workers

already there. They turned to look as the cab caught them in its

headlights. Mulder stepped from the car, knowing if his guess was

right that he was racing against time. Running up to Chief Grant,

Mulder yelled above the din of the backhoe, “What are they waiting

for, chief?”

“For you tell them where to dig.”

“Anywhere,” Mulder shouted, “let’s get this show on the road.”

The chief motioned for the backhoe operator to begin digging while

the others looked on.

It was well past midnight when the first scoop of dirt was lifted

from the ground. Mulder ordered the backhoe driver to dig deeper.

By now they were attracting a crowd. The chief was right; word did

travel fast in a small town.

“They have to be here,” Mulder muttered as he subconsciously pulled

on his bottom lip, his hopes were fading with each scoop of dirt that

was brought up.

The chief approached Mulder, “Agent Mulder, I don’t mind helping out

with your investigation, but my men are beginning to question why

we’re here, at this spot, at this hour.” Just then the backhoe

operator yelled, “I’ve hit something!”

Mulder ran to the hole with the chief hot on his heels. He jumped in

and shined his flashlight on a smooth, white stone. He dug around

the stone with his hands to expose all of it. The stone was flat at

one end and curved at the other and over three feet in length. He

flipped the thin stone over, while the chief shined his flashlight

beam on it, revealing it to be engraved with the words ‘Susan

Higgins, 1874′. Mulder smiled as he wiped his sweat-covered forehead

on his coatsleeve. He lifted the stone up to the chief, whose only

words were, “Well, I’ll be damned.”

Mulder climbed out of the hole and instructed the backhoe operator to

dig deeper still. He turned to the chief, “I think we’ve found your

missing pioneers. Do you think you can arrange to get these people

moved?”

“Agent Mulder, I think when the good town folk hear that their kids

have been playing on a graveyard, they will be more than happy to

move them.”

Mulder attempted to brush the dirt and mud from his filthy coat.

“Chief, I would consider it a personal favor if you would move a

couple of the bodies right away.” He pulled his shirt cuffs down and

added, “I want them to know we mean business.”

“Who’s we?” The chief asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Just make sure they get moved.” Mulder shouted as he turns to leave.

“Aren’t you gonna stick around, Agent Mulder?” The chief shouted

back.

Mulder yelled back to the chief, “No sir, I have more important

things to tend to. Do you think I could get a lift to my car?”

A deputy dropped Mulder at the bed and breakfast, where he picked up

his car and headed back to Fort Wayne. The drive back was an anxious

one. Mulder knew no one but Scully would understand his motives. He

just hoped he could someday tell her. He had called Skinner but the

news was not good, there had been no change in her condition.

Back at the park, Chief Grant was true to his word. He made

arrangements to store the unearthed bodies at two local funeral

homes.

Mulder swung into the hospital parking lot and raced up the sidewalk.

The ride to the fourth floor seemed to take forever. He found

Skinner and Maggie outside the ICU. A despondent Maggie looked up.

Skinner approached Mulder who was still wearing the same filthy

clothes he had on yesterday. His hair was disheveled and his hands

and face were covered in grime; he looked worn out. Skinner blocked

his path to Maggie. “Agent Mulder!” Skinner could barely cover his

anger, “Where the hell have you been?”

“Out, sir,” was all Mulder said, trying to sidestep Skinner, but

Skinner was having none of it. He grabbed Mulder by the arm, “Look

Agent, your responsibility is here, to Agent Scully and to Maggie.”

“That’s exactly what I am doing, sir, taking responsibility,” Mulder

said, through clenched teeth. “Now get out of my way!” He couldn’t

look at Maggie; she must hate him for ditching her daughter once

again. He moved to the ICU door and looked in. Scully was lying

still and near death. Maybe he was wrong; maybe this conclusion was

too easy to jump to.

Maggie approached Mulder, and gently laid her hand on his forearm,

“Fox, Dana once told me she believed in you and trusted you. I want

you to know I feel the same.” She squeezed his arm. “I’m sure you

have done all you can.”

Mulder shed tears that left dirty trails down his face, “I’m not sure

this time it’s enough.”

Back at the park, Chief Grant had his men lifting the coffin

containing Susan Higgins’ remains from the ground. It was in such a

fragile state that it proved necessary to first shore up the bottom

with planking before the men could remove it.

At the hospital, Mulder turned back to face Maggie then went down the

hallway to clean up and compose himself. He took off his dirty coat

and dejectedly tossed it into the corner. He pumped the soap into

his dirty palms and rubbed and wrung his hands together trying to

squelch the frustration that was growing within him. He shut off the

water and shook off his hands then grabbed several paper towels and

ran water over them to wipe off his face. The man staring back at

him was not the same man from ten years earlier, he was harder,

edgier and no longer the wide-eyed agent he once was, but he did love

and the woman who now lay close to death loved him.

He looked up at the white spackled ceiling and prayed to Scully’s God

to spare her life. He had to laugh and shake his head, at least now

he had covered all the bases. He stiffly bent down and slowly picked

up his coat. He was needed elsewhere.

Upon returning he found Maggie and Skinner gone. He slipped into

Scully’s room, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He

pulled a chair up to Scully’s bedside and grasped her hand. No one,

no rules were going to keep him from her side from this point on he

thought as he rubbed his stubbled cheek across her hand.

Chief Grant stood by as the backhoe driver moved the lever, pulling

the straps tight. The driver pushed another lever forward to lift

the coffin from its resting-place for the first time in more than 125

years. The coffin was slowly lifted from the ground, the hearse

backed up, and it was slid inside. Once secured, the hearse pulled

away to deliver the remains of Susan Higgins to the Renner Funeral

Home, to await burial at Oak Park Cemetery.

Mulder clasped Scully’s hand tightly as he continued to rub it

against his cheek. Suddenly he felt her fingers coil and relax. He

was certain it was just reflexes taking over but her eyes were

fluttering and slowly opened. Mulder leaned in to nuzzle her neck,

“Scully, it’s me.”

He drew back just as she opened her mouth and softly moaned,

“Mulder.”

His face broke out into a large grin while he blinked back the tears;

“I’m here.”

He looked up to see her temperature was down and her vitals were

returning to normal. Scully’s eyes were closed but she managed to

say, “Mulder, what happened?”

He shook his head; “It doesn’t matter now. You get some sleep.” He

kissed her forehead and walked out of the ICU. He leaned against the

wall and sobbed.

The evacuation team continued to unearth bodies as daylight broke.

Mulder caught Maggie and Skinner at the elevator and gave them the

good news. The State Police had relayed the agent’s gear to the

hospital so Mulder found Maggie’s room and used it to shower, shave

and change his clothes. He had just tied his shoes when he became so

sleepy he had to lie down for just a few minutes but found he could

not sleep without Scully by his side.

Maggie and Skinner found Dana dozing, so they left her and returned

forty-five minutes later, to find her sitting up and free of all the

tubes except one IV. Scully was surprised to see them as they

entered her room. “Mom, what are you doing here?”

“How you feeling, honey?”

“Considering what the doctors’ tell me I’ve been through, I feel

good.”

Maggie clasped Dana’s hand; “I was so worried about you. Fox called

and we caught the next flight out.”

The door opened and in walked Mulder; Scully’s eyes caught his, to

them there was no one else in the room. His eyes were red-rimmed and

tired looking but he was the best thing Scully had ever seen. She

turned her head slightly and held out one hand. He took it and

squeezed it, as if to reaffirm that she was indeed still here. Tears

welled up in his eyes as a grin covered his face.

Skinner had his hands on his hips and was shuffling his feet as he

looked around the room with red-rimmed eyes. Maggie moved from her

daughters’ bed to stand next to him.

Mulder was no longer the one sitting in the hall as Scully celebrated

another victory over death, he now meant as much to her as her own

family. Maggie and Skinner slipped out the door unobserved by the

two people presently in each other’s arms.

Mulder brushed the hair away from Scully’s face and stared into her

huge, blue eyes. She smiled up at her partner, and as if reading her

thoughts, he said, “Scully, I think you were affected by the same

curse or transference, whatever you want to call it, as the other

victims were.”

Scully started to speak, “Mul. . .”

“How else can it be explained? You contracted an often-fatal disease

after a visit to the park, you didn’t respond to aggressive

treatments but the minute I had the first body moved, you recovered.”

Scully looked stunned. “You had them moved?” she softly asked.

Mulder moved from holding Scully to sitting up facing her. “I was

certain that you would die, I did what I had to do,” Mulder said,

trying to talk around the lump in his throat.

Scully leaned in to grasp him around the neck. “Thank you, I love

you,” is all she managed to whisper. Mulder moved in to kiss her

just as the doctor walked in. They looked at one another with slight

smiles and moved apart. Mulder slid off the bed as the doctor

approached Scully. He smiled down at his patient, “How are you

feeling, Agent Scully?”

“I’m fine,” Scully said, as she caught Mulder’s frown. “But a little

tired,” she quickly added.

“Well, I’ll think we’ll keep you one more night Dana, but your

recovery is remarkable. The aggressive use of anti-virals seems to

have brought about a complete turn around, with no side effects.

You’re one lucky woman, Dana.”

Scully looked at Mulder and simply replied; “I know that.”

Mulder waited for the doctor to leave; then leaned in to give Scully

a proper kiss. “I’ll be back later.” Scully nodded and fell asleep

before Mulder had left the room.

Skinner and Maggie stopped by Scully’s room on their way to the

airport. They were flying out immediately while Mulder was going to

fly back later with Scully. Maggie kissed her daughter and stroked

her hair as she fought back the tears.

The following day, Mulder loaded their luggage and gear into a cab

and was headed back into the hospital to get Scully, when his cell

phone rang. “Mulder.”

“Agent Mulder, this is Chief Grant, how is Agent Scully doing?”

“She’s being released, chief.”

“That’s great, glad to hear it.”

“Me too.”

“Agent Mulder, I did a little checking yesterday, we had two deaths

in the county about four months ago from Spinal Meningitis and they

were both park visitors.”

“That’s interesting, chief.”

“Care to come back and do a little investigating with me, agent?”

“No thanks Chief, we’re headed home. Sounds like you’re on the right

track though, you’d make a good detective.”

“Don’t think so agent, I like it here.”

“Well, keep me informed.”

“I will.”

Mulder closed his phone and stuffed it into his pocket. Scully was

just being wheeled out, so he took her arm to help her into the cab

and thanked the hospital staff, before he crawled in beside her. He

put his arm around her thin frame and drew her close. He knew Scully

had seen too much not to believe his version of the truth.

Epilogue

Two days later. . .

Scully was padding around Mulder’s apartment in her robe and pajamas,

still too weak to return to work. He had insisted she stay with him

and she didn’t complain, in fact she was touched by his concern for

her. She walked over to the bookshelf that housed the aquarium. The

fish all crowded to the top of the tank in anticipation of being fed.

Scully grinned at the memory of Mulder’s comments then took the top

off the can of fish food and dropped a few flakes into the tank.

Scully looked in at the feeding frenzy and sighed, “Mulder was right,

I would miss you guys.” She then closed the top to the tank.

~ The End ~

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