THE AUTUMN PEOPLE
TITLE: The Autumn People
RATING: PG-13 for a few nasty words
CONTENT: X-File, Angst, MSR and a little MT
SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully encounter a touch of evil and do a little soul searching in the heartland of America.
FEEDBACK: Always welcomed.
DISCLAIMER: 1013 and FOX own these characters.
DISTRIBUTION: Exclusive to VS!2 for two weeks. Please send me an email if you would like to archive elsewhere.
INDIANA STATE ROUTE 45, 4:38PM
The constant droning of the tires had lulled her to sleep
miles ago. She wasn’t sure what had possessed Mulder to
leave the interstate for these quiet Indiana back roads but
she could only look at so many miles of open farmland
before boredom overtook her and she drifted off. She knew
he was upset, choosing the constant noise of the classic
rock station that he’d selected on the radio instead of
They’d come out here by invitation from a support group for
abductees, ‘alien abductees’ for whom Mulder had become
somewhat of an idol. When he couldn’t give them an answer
as to what he or the government were doing to stop the
invasion threat they all believed existed his golden imaged
had been forever tarnished.
Since the events of the last month they had tried to make a
life for themselves outside the X-Files. The fight still
raged on Capital Hill over the governments’ complicity in a
growing list of cover-ups but the policy of denial was
still in full force despite the equally growing number of
groups involved in blowing the whistle. The can of worms
Mulder had opened all those months ago was yet to make
anyone uncomfortable. Mulder’s credibility was beginning
to suffer, so much for public awareness.
And now these people who had experienced some of the same
frightening things she had, who only wanted someone to give
them faith that their voices would be heard had felt they’d
been let down by the very person they believed understood.
The Mulder she knew today was not that same impulsive,
driven, loner she had met all those years ago, demanding
answers by waving a gun and a badge. Dedicated as it were
to an endless search of truths he’d yet to find. He’d
grown up to face the stark reality that you didn’t always
get what you wanted and quite often it cost you more than
you gained. He’d come to realize that it wasn’t worth the
price. The heartache of the last ten years had brought
them together. They had each other but not much else and
somehow that seemed a hollow reward for all they had been
The decisions they’d made in the past few months had left
him in a melancholy mood. She knew he enjoyed spending
time with her and her family but she could always sense his
loss of self-direction. The idea of leaving the Bureau had
given him cause for thought. Torn between wanting to head
his career in another direction and finding a purpose for
continuing their work she knew he found it hard to get
motivated these days. He told everyone he was between
careers. The one he spent living off his inheritance and
the one where he actually did something for a living. She
knew how he felt; her emotions were spent. The sudden
cessation of motion brought her awake.
Opening her eyes to the late afternoon sunshine she looked
first at why they had come to a stop and then at Mulder who
seemed to be engrossed in the scene spread out before them.
He had pulled the car of on the shoulder of a two-lane
road. Perched as they were on the top of a slight rise the
field below them was filled with wilted vines and hundreds
of golden pumpkins. The sun made the cloud filled fall sky
dark and foreboding despite the warm hues of the turning
He sensed her awakening and tilted his head towards the
scene before them. “Will you look at that?”
“It’s a field of pumpkins Mulder,” she stated somewhat
annoyed, stretching to get the kinks out of her shoulders.
“Why have we stopped?”
Trying to lighten her mood he smiled slightly, “That’s got
to be the most sincere pumpkin patch I’ve ever seen.”
What did sincerity have to do with a field of pumpkins? It
was late afternoon, they were in the middle of nowhere USA
and she ached from having fallen asleep buckled into the
seat of yet another in a never ending supply of Ford
Taurus’. Is that all rental agencies furnished these days?
Angrily she let him have it. “What the hell are you
talking about?” It made him flinch.
“Geez, Scully, you’ve never seen THE GREAT PUMPKIN?”
Oh, please, she thought, some people never grow up. But
she decided to play along. “Please don’t tell me we’re
going to spend the night in that pumpkin patch waiting for
the Great Pumpkin?”
“I saw a sign for a Bed and Breakfast a few yards back,
it’s your choice.” He put the car in drive but didn’t take
his foot off the brake.
Some choice she thought to herself, but a bed and hot water
sounded much more appealing. Mulder could sleep in the
pumpkin patch if he wanted to. They do have hot water out
here don’t they? “Where are we?”
“You’re kidding right?”
“Come on, Scully, this is the heartland of America, the
stuff you miss flying by at 70 miles per hour on the
Interstate or soaring over at thirty-five thousand feet.”
“And we need to stop here because? If we’d stayed on the
Interstate we’d be in Indianapolis by now. Don’t we have a
flight to catch?” Even to her own ears she sounded bitchy.
“I cancelled our flight,” he stated too matter-of-factly
turning the wheel and giving the car a little gas. Damn,
how long had she been asleep? As he eased the car back
onto the road she took in the dreamy look he still seemed
to have. Almost like he’d been asleep too, or lost in his
own thoughts for all these miles.
“Mulder, what’s wrong?”
He turned, almost too suddenly, a defensive motion.
“Nothing!” he bit his lip when she flinched. “Not a damn
thing.” Then he reached over to pull her left hand into
his and let out a long sigh of frustration, then a gentle
smile curved his lip. “I seem to remember a conversation
in a car with you once before…something about stopping the
car. I thought we should stop.” Despite the caress he
placed on the back of her hand, he turned back to the road
just as quickly.
“If I remember correctly, that didn’t turn out too well.”
“Yeah, well, maybe it just wasn’t the right place or the
right time,” he said, pulling his hand away and gripping
the wheel a little too tightly. Time, something they never
seem to have enough of just for themselves. Giving the car
a little gas he eased it back onto the road, Scully settled
into her seat her gaze coming to rest on her partner. They
were still partners weren’t they? Their relationship had
grown so much over the past couple years but to define what
they now were to each other was almost impossible to
Less than a mile down the road a small sigh appeared
welcoming them to Needmore, Indiana. There was obviously
something needful in Mulder’s desire for them to stop here.
Whether it was fatigue, the futility of their situation or
a need for some personal redemption she wasn’t sure. What
she was sure of however, as the sun disappeared behind the
fall clouds was the sudden chill she felt as they headed
It occurred to them as they drove through the center of
town that they had driven though some sort of time warp and
ended up in the 1940’s. Needmore, Indiana had a small
village square surrounded on three sides by dated
brownstone store fronts. On the forth side sat a town hall
and what appeared to be a library. A couple of older
vehicles sat in front of a diner on the corner across from
the town hall. The cloudy evening made it all look that
much more depressing. “You said you saw a sign for a bed
“Yeah.” What he hadn’t told her was that the sign had been
so weathered it was hardly readable. “Right before I
pulled off the road, it said Main Street.”
“Well, there are no other streets Mulder. This has got to
be Main Street.”
Despite the well-kept appearance of the square, dry leaves
scurried down the street in bunches, gathering in empty
doorways, there were very few shoppers. Scully rolled down
her window at the site of a couple of gentlemen who had
emerged from the barber shop, complete with turning barber
pole as they came to an intersection. A blast of frigid
fall air gusted into the window surprising her. “Excuse
me,” the three men turned at the sound of her voice. “Can
you tell us where the…” she turned to Mulder. “What was
the name of the place, anyway?”
“Need More Rest, I think it said.”
She stared at him a moment in disbelief, should she scream
now and scare these poor gentlemen to death or do it in the
privacy of the car after she rolled the window back up?
Turning back to the gentlemen she casually asked, “Can you
tell us where the Need More Rest Bed and Breakfast is?”
Deciding she’d kill Mulder for this later.
“That’s Alice’s place,” the one man dressed in coveralls
and a barn jacket and leaning on a cane replied. Another
man in their party, an older gentlemen, stepped up to the
window of the car. He wore a three piece suit and as he
leaned into the window pulled a pocket watch from his vest
and popped it open. “It’s almost five, you’ll have to
hurry. She doesn’t take any guests after five o’clock.
The house is two blocks down on the right.”
“Thank you,” they both said in unison.
Mulder pulled away from the curb as Scully pushed the
button for the window enclosing them both in the warm of
the car. Two blocks from the square they came to a sign in
front of a huge gray Victorian home covered in white
gingerbread trim. The yard was full of whimsical yard art
and whirligigs. They pulled into the driveway and Mulder
cut the engine, leaning into Scully’s space as she turned
to take in the house before them. “Welcome to Wonderland,
“If the Queen of Hearts comes out that door Mulder, we’re
leaving.” He chuckled and popped the door. The wind
swirled and lifted his overcoat before he could wrap it
snugly around himself. He buttoned it quickly and came
around the car to accompany Scully up the stairs of the big
house. The huge porch looked much the same as the yard
did; filled with baskets of waning flowers and knick-
knacks. A swing at the end swayed with the stiff breeze.
Scully wrapped on the door as Mulder turned the knob to
find it unlocked. Bells jingled from the top of the door
as they both stepped into the foyer. “Hello,” Scully
The foyer extended into a hallway that appeared to reach
all the way to the back of the house. To their right was a
beautiful ornate staircase leading to the second floor. On
their left were French doors that led to a sitting room.
“Hello”, they both called this time but there was still no
reply. Mulder was about to make his way down the hallway
when they heard the jingle of a bell and someone stomping
their feet. An elderly woman’s voice echoed from the back
of the house. “Just a moment, I’ll be right in.”
A few moments later they were greeted by a collie mix dog
followed closely by a tall elderly woman in a long denim
dress. “Maggie, sit!” she commanded to the dog.
“Goodness, I was out in the yard and noticed your car in
the drive,” she apologized pushing up the sleeves of her
dark green sweater. “What can I do for you folks?”
“We’d like a room, actually, Mulder said. My name is Fox
Mulder; this is my–friend Dana Scully. I saw your sign
down the road.”
Alice’s hand flew to her chest, she seemed a little
flustered. “Oh, my, yes, I haven’t had any quests it quite
“If this in inconvenient for you,” Scully said. “We can be
on our way.”
The woman seemed to hesitate for a moment. Taking in their
smart attire, she was sure this couple was not just out for
a weekend drive. She had heard Mulder hesitate when he
mentioned his lady friend, like he wasn’t sure what to call
her and yet there was something in his voice, in the
hopeful way he had asked about the accommodations and
besides, Maggie seemed to sense this tired looking
gentleman was asking for more than a room for the night.
“Oh, no, no, I’m sorry, my name is Alice Halloway; you’re
very welcome to stay. Please, just give me a few minutes
to get a room ready.”
As she started up the stairs she turned to them once more.
“Will you want one or two rooms?”
“One will be fine,” Scully replied and Alice disappeared up
the stairs with Maggie close on her heels.
Scully stepped into the large sitting room as Mulder went
out to the car to get their bags. Glancing about the room
she decided they were definitely stuck in the forties. The
furnishings in the room were just as Victorian as the house
itself. Mulder wouldn’t be spending any time punching a TV
remote tonight, there was none. Everything in the room
looked perfect, like no one had used it for a very long
time. There wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere. Suddenly she
heard someone calling her name and walked back to the
hallway. “Miss Scully?” Alice called from the top of the
stairs. Scully approached the bottom of the beautiful
staircase and looked up. “I’m sorry; I was just admiring
your sitting room.”
“The room is ready if you’ll come up I’ll show you around.”
Mulder pulled their garment bags from the trunk of the car
and turned to go back into the house. He stopped abruptly
when he found himself face to face with a tall dark skinned
man with a neatly trimmed beard and sporting a black
waistcoat and tall hat. He had dark eyes and a mystical
quality to his voice when he spoke. “Mr. Mulder, my name
is Alvin Dark,” he said, extending his hand for Mulder to
shake. Mulder hesitated a moment as he felt the hairs on
his neck raise but put down his bag and shook Dark’s hand.
“I don’t believe we’ve met before Mr. Dark, how do you know
my name?” The handshake and the fact this man knew who he
was already made him feeling uneasy.
“I know everyone whose soul searches for redemption Mr.
Mulder hesitated before replying. “I’m not sure I know
what you mean?”
“Yes you do, you’ve been thinking about it all the way
here,” he handed Mulder a flyer; it was a small poster for
a carnival. “You’ve been thinking about all the choices
you’ve made that have brought you here. All your failures,
the hurt you have caused, the people you’ve lost; but most
of all you think of the things you wish could change if you
could. I see the desire in you Mr. Mulder, the desire for
a life free from these burdens. Remove the darkness from
your soul and free those around you. Come and be amazed.”
Mulder took the flyer from Dark’s hand, DARK’S PANDEMONIUM
FAIR. Welcome to my hell, he thought to himself. “You
have no idea what I’ve been thinking Mr. Dark,” his tone
aggravated by the audacity of the man’s words. Stuffing
the paper into his pocket, he bent down to pick up his bag.
When he straightened up again, Dark had disappeared.
Alice had given them the first room at the top of the
stairs. She had shown Scully the bath across the hall.
Since there were no other guests at the moment they had it
all to themselves. She heard the door jingle again
“We’re up here, Mulder.”
As she heard him climb the stairs she stepped out of the
room to take her bag from him. He looked weary but he
smiled when she greeted him and followed her back into
their room. He set his bag on the floor. “Maybe we should
have asked for two rooms.”
The room was no larger than your average bedroom. There
was a large bay window in the front filled with what
appeared to be yards of lacey curtains that draped onto a
window seat. A Queen Anne chair upholstered in some dark
green fabric sat to its right in front of a dark mahogany
wardrobe. There was a small dresser with a mirror and a
four poster double bed that Mulder imagined he would
probably hang off of by at least a foot.
“The bathroom is down the hall,” Scully replied
“Look, maybe this really was a bad idea, we should just
“Mulder, we can’t, Alice has been so accommodating. She
asked what you liked for breakfast.”
“Breakfast is a long way off, I don’t think I can wait that
long.” Mulder looked away from her and began to rummage
through his bag.
Scully came over to touch his arm. “Find something casual
to wear. Alice said that little diner we passed is open
until nine we can walk back and get something for dinner.
Just give me a minute in the bathroom.”
He reached up and brushed the hair back from her face.
“It’s cold out there. Are you sure you want to walk.”
Kissing his palm she pulled away. “We’re getting out of
the car, remember?”
Fifteen minutes later they had been ushered out the door
with a key and Alice’s instructions to tell Mil at the
diner that they were staying with her. The brisk wind made
them walk fast and in a few short minutes they were outside
the diner. Mulder paused for a moment when another of
Dark’s carnival posters pasted to a light pole caught his
eye. ‘Change all the things you could change if you
could…’ Dark’s eerie voice coming back to him. Yes, he’d
change a lot.
Scully had stopped a few yards up the sidewalk when she
realized she was walking alone. Turning around, he seemed
to be gazing into space. “You coming?”
“I thought we came here to eat?”
“Yeah,” Mulder answered distractedly. “I’m coming.”
Another poster appeared pasted to the back of the cash
register on the counter as they entered the diner. Inside
the tiny restaurant time seemed to stop. A few patrons who
were seated at the counter turned as they came in. Those
who were seated in the booths at the windows all looked
their way. They both felt very self-conscious.
“Mil, these folks are stayin with Alice, you fix them up
something nice,” a voice boomed from behind them and they
both turned to see one of the gentlemen they had asked
directions from earlier. Mulder nodded a thanks.
“Oh, yes, of course,” the busty woman from behind the
counter grabbed two menus out of the pocket by the register
and tugged Scully with Mulder following to an empty booth.
Small town grapevine, news evidently had traveled fast.
“It’s kinda late, but you folks pick out whatever you’d
like, it’s no trouble.”
Mulder looked up at the list of specials scrawled in chalk
on the board over the counter. “You still have some of the
“Oh, yes, town favorite,” Mil replied with a grin.
He glanced at Scully, “We’ll have two of those and some
coffee.” He handed her back the menus.
“That’ll just take a few minutes; I’ll get you some
The coffee came, warm and rich. Scully decided that if the
meatloaf tasted half as good as the coffee, she wouldn’t
mind eating it. Mulder was quite, deep lines under his
eyes told here how weary he was. At the moment he seemed
to be engrossed in something over her left shoulder. She
glanced in the direction he was looking but saw nothing
that would appear to have earned so much attention.
“Where are you, Mulder?”
His eyes came back to hers. “You like carnivals Scully?”
He gestured with his chin to whatever he’d been looking at
over her shoulder. When she turned again she saw the
poster he’d been studying. “What do you say we hang around
for a day?”
“Dr. Blockhead, Jim Jim the Dogfaced Boy, we went to a
carnival once Mulder.”
“No, actually we INVESTIGATED a carnival; we’ve never been
to one.” Their dinner appeared in front of them, two
heaping plates of meat and potatoes. Evidently Mil thought
they needed to be fattened up. Scully reflected back to
‘The Enigma’ and decided she wasn’t so sure she wanted to
know why. The meatloaf was delicious.
Mulder had cleaned both their plates and partaken in the
free pumpkin pie for desert as Scully sipped on another cup
of coffee. She hadn’t really thought about it but neither
of them had eaten since the continental breakfast at their
hotel that morning. At least traveling on their own dime
had meant better accommodations. Leaving the diner the
wind was at their back as they headed back to Alice’s.
They passed an antique store that Scully decided she
wouldn’t mind investigating in the morning, a dry goods
store and the barber shop. It was as if this little town
had been lost in time several decades ago. It was quaint
but it gave her the chills.
Other than complimenting Mil on the meatloaf and inquiring
about the pie Mulder hadn’t said much over dinner. He
still had that ‘lost in thought’ look she’d seen on him
when she’d awakened in the car that afternoon. She wished
he’d talk to her about what was on his mind. They walked
along in silence until she felt his fingers curl around
hers. “A real step back in time isn’t it?”
“It’s very quaint Mulder, but I think I like living in the
There was another carnival poster in the barber shop
window. Mulder stopped in front of it dropping her hand.
“What has you so obsessed with these carnival posters?”
“I don’t know just a feeling that it’s something more than
just fun and games.”
He pulled the copy of the poster Dark had given him from
his pocket handing it to Scully.
She took if from him and read the bold print, DARK’S
PANDEMONIUM FAIR. “Where did you get this?”
“Dark gave it to me.”
“This Dark, of Dark’s Pandemonium Fair?” She asked pointing
to the name in bold print.
Mulder stuffed his hands back into his pockets, kicked at
some leaves that had gathered at their feet. “Yeah, you
know, disorder, chaos, the land of demons. He handed it to
me outside Alice’s when I went out to get the bags.” He
was facing the wind and squinted when it bit into his
flesh. His hair blew it all directions. Scully, sensing
his discomfort, slid her arm through his and turned him
around back in the direction of Alice’s and began to walk.
“What did he say to you?”
He looked away from her, up the street in front of them,
“He just invited me to hell.”
THE NEED MORE REST, 10:13 P.M.
By ten o’clock Mulder had paced for at least two miles back
and forth across their room. A man without a remote was a
restless thing. There wasn’t even anything he could get
comfortable sitting in and he obviously was no longer
tired. Visions of some things Scully could think of that
would tire him out came into her mind but neither of them
felt comfortable engaging in anything but a kiss within
Alice’s house. She tried desperately to read as he paced
but it was too distracting.
“Go for a run Mulder.” He stopped dead. Salvation.
She knew he had his sneaks, he’d worn them up to the diner
and she was sure there were some sweats in that bag of his
He stopped, his face brightening. “You don’t mind?”
“Change your clothes, take the key and just be careful of
His dress shirt flew off over his head. “I don’t think I
need to worry about traffic Scully.”
“Probably not, I just don’t want you to get side swiped by
Properly attired in his sweats he grabbed the key off the
dresser and sat down on the bed to tie it into the laces of
his right shoe. He leaned over and kissed her gently. “I
“I love you too, now go and close the door.”
When he got to the bottom of the stairs Alice was seated in
the sitting room working on something on her lap. He was
surprised to find her still up.
“Anything I can get for you Mr. Mulder?” She started to
put her lap work to the side.
Mulder came to stand in the archway of the room. “I’m just
going out for a run. Scully-Dana’s upstairs reading.”
“So late you go for a run?”
Mulder chuckled, yeah, sounds nuts doesn’t it he thought to
himself. Alice got up and followed him to the door. “Do
you suppose Dana would like a cup of tea? I don’t get much
chance to chat with anyone.”
Mulder thought for a moment, glanced to the top of the
stairs and dumbly mumbled, “Yeah, I suppose you could ask
Alice touched his arm, sensing there was something that was
preoccupying his thoughts. “You be careful, it’s dark out
there.” He smiled a thanks, turned and opened the door,
pulling it closed as he stepped onto the porch. He heard
her lock the door behind him.
Mulder stood at the top of the porch steps thinking only
what a fool he was standing out here in the cold and not up
snuggled with Scully in that tiny bed. Heavy clouds
covered the sky illuminated only slightly by distant
flashes of lightening. It seemed to have gotten colder or
maybe that was because he was out here alone.
He made his way down the steps, stretching when he hit the
walk and started off at a slow pace heading away from the
center of town. There were a few more blocks of houses
similar to Alice’s and then they started to thin out. As
he approached his jogging speed the homes had become larger
farm houses, the road lined with fences, the cold air made
his lungs burn. Off in the distance, across a field he
noticed a glow. It seemed to come from behind a line of
trees at the back of the field. Jumping the ditch along
the edge of the road he started to jog across the field,
oblivious to the darkness and the irregular footing he
stumbled several times. Scully would have his head if he
twisted an ankle or worse.
As he made his way closer to the tree line the faint sound
of what he swore was carrousel music made him slow to a
walk. He stopped at the tree line, trying to see through
them to what lay beyond in the adjacent field. His breath
came in frosty pants, the music grew louder. He could see
lights that appeared to outline an archway, maybe a Ferris
wheel and the tops of other attractions. He remembered
Dark, suddenly appearing behind him in Alice’s driveway
telling him to come and be amazed.
“Dana,” Scully heard her name followed by a light rapping
on the door to their room. “Dana, its Alice, would you
like some tea?” Scully closed her book; she hadn’t really
been able to concentrate on it since Mulder left. She’d
changed into some fleece herself and had dug the romance
novel Mulder had bought for her at the airport out of her
bag. Did he really think she read these things? Truth was
she did on occasion and he knew it. “Just a minute,” she
called, sliding off the high bed and padding across the
room to the door. She opened it to find Alice, dressed in
a flowery robe standing in the hallway.
“I hope I didn’t wake you.” Scully shook her head and
Alice smiled. “Your friend said you might like some tea.
I was wondering if you’d like to come down to the kitchen.”
Leave it Mulder to make her plans for her. Some things,
she had come to realize, would never change. “Yes, Mulder
always assumes I need tea before bed, that would be nice.”
“I’ll go down and put the kettle on, you come down when
you’re ready,” Alice said, reaching to pat her on the
shoulder in an understanding but not condescending way.
A few minutes later Scully wandered in to the large
kitchen. The kettle was already whistling and she could
smell baked apples. “I made some cobbler earlier, would
you like some?” Alice looked up from the pan she was
“You just have a seat dear,” Alice replied as she busied
herself with cutting the cobbler. “I don’t get much chance
to visit with outside folk. Maybe you can tell me what
it’s like in the real world.”
Scully sat down at the big oak table and soon found herself
digging into a slice of Alice’s cobbler. Alice didn’t want
to know about the real world. From Scully’s vantage point
over the past several years it had been a frightening place
full of secrets and lies that most people would find to
impossible to believe. What was real were people like
Alice, going about their everyday lives; sometimes she felt
as if she and Mulder were the ones not living in the real
“You two seem very professional. Where are you folks from
if you don’t mind me asking?”
Alice’s voice startled her from her thoughts. Scully
looked up and watched Alice as she poured their tea. She
looked like a woman who had spent her whole life in this
small town and it seemed to suit her just fine. “D.C.,
“My, you’re a long way from home. I can’t imagine you had
this in mind as your destination when you came out here.
We don’t get many tourists as you probably guessed. Alice
smiled gently at Scully and set the tea on the table.
“Cream and sugar?”
Scully stirred the condiments into her tea. “We came out
here through an invitation from a support group for
abductees. I’m a doctor, Mulder’s field is Psychology. We
um, sort of have this standing joke about being in the car
all the time and I think he sort of fell for your small
town on our way through and we decided to stop and get out
of the car.”
“Abductees? Oh my,” Alice made a motion with her hand and
chuckled. “For a moment there I thought you were talking
about those silly alien abduction stories you see on TV all
Scully looked across her tea cup at Alice. No, she would
not admit that was the reason they were here. She smiled,
“um no, not that type of abductee.”
“You two have been together a long time haven’t you?
You’re obviously very close but you’re not married?”
Scully smiled at the woman’s intuition. Not surprised by
the question. “No, we’re not married.” How do you explain
who you are to this gentle woman without giving away your
life story? “We’ve been through a lot. Life has a way of
eating you up if you try and take on more than your share
of the burden. I think we’re both ready to slow down a
little, maybe get a taste of this simpler life.”
Alice’s expression darkened a bit. “You know, most folks
who come through here think this is such a quaint place.
Like we’re all so much better off living a quiet life away
from the hectic world; like we’ve escaped into the past and
are content to stay there. This town has its secrets too
Dana. Would you like more tea?”
Before Scully could answer Alice had gotten up to retrieve
the kettle. “I’ve been the town librarian for almost
twenty-five years; seen a lot of things you wouldn’t think
happened in a place like this. As Alice poured more tea
she continued. “Most folks in a town like this spend their
whole life wishing they could be you.”
Scully looked a little surprised, if they knew, no one
would want to be her and Mulder. “What do you mean?”
“You know, thinking they could be better than they are.
Nellis Walker for instance, he walks around town in his
three-piece suit, owns the Dry Goods Store, always bragging
about how he’s gonna make all these investments. Don’t
know where the hell he thinks he gonna spend these riches
in a town like this. Big Jim Carter, he was going to play
for Notre Dame until an accident crippled him. He can
barely walk now but still talks about what a great player
he would have been. Then there’s Mil, the gal at the diner,
she was a gorgeous gal. Married Ron, always thought he was
God’s gift to women. I don’t know what made him buy that
damn diner. Mil’s spent her whole life on her feet waiting
on other folk, never had any family of her own.” Everybody
here wants to be something they’re not Miss Scully.”
“Do you have family Ms. Halloway?” Certainly this woman
hadn’t spent her whole life alone in this huge home.
Alice sighed, “Oh, my, Louis and I had four children. My
eldest died in Vietnam. The others have all gone out into
that hectic world of yours, I don’t hear from them much.”
“What about Louis?”
“Louis built me this beautiful home and gave me four
beautiful children but he always thought he hadn’t done
right by me for some reason. He was a dreamer, always
talking to me about the wonderful places he was going to
take me. He just never understood that I was happy right
hear with him. I lost him almost ten years ago-in an
Scully reached over and patted Alice’s arm. “I’m sorry.”
A distant rumble of thunder shook the house and she looked
up at the kitchen clock. It was well after eleven. She
felt Alice take her hand. “You take care of that man of
yours. Don’t let the darkness take him from you.”
DARK’S PANDEMONIUM FAIR
Mulder was amazed when he cleared the trees and saw what
was before him. A huge Ferris wheel lit up the night sky.
A banner welcoming him to DARK’S PANDEMONIUM FAIR was
stretched between two towers advertising attractions like
the Maze of Mirrors and the Temple of Temptation. The
carrousel music continued to play, drawing him towards it
in an almost hypnotic manner. The wind picked up as he
entered the grounds, the sound intensifying like the
wailing of a thousand souls, it gave him the chills and he
wished not for the first time that he was back in that bed
The music seemed to be coming from an enclosed tent just to
his left. As he parted the canvas he could see the
brightly lit carrousel. Four rows of exquisitely carved
horses continued all the way around and the whole carrousel
was trimmed in ornate brass. Dark stood at the controls in
the center and a man Mulder recognized from the diner, a
heavy set man who walked with a cane sat on one of the
outside horses. “Are you ready?” he heard Dark ask. The
man only nodded. Mulder watch in fascination as the
carrousel began to turn and then with puzzlement as he
realized it was turning counter-clockwise, backwards at an
increasingly more rapid speed. He continued to watch as
the horses, the man and Dark himself blurred into a sea of
color and noise. It made him dizzy and he clutched the
canvas of the tent to keep himself upright.
As the carrousel began to slow he found himself watching in
horror as the image of the man became clearer. He was no
longer the aged, crippled man that Mulder has seen sitting
there earlier. In his place was a small boy, dressed in
When the horses came to a stop Dark approached the boy,
lifting him from the horse and placing him on the ground.
“There you are Jim. Did you enjoy the ride? I’m sure you
feel like you never have before.” He ruffled the boy’s
hair, looking up he stared straight at Mulder and they both
watched the boy run off into the carnival grounds.
Mulder’s instinct was to walk away but he found Dark’s
intense gaze held him in place until the man was once again
right in front of him. “I told you you would be amazed,
Mr. Mulder. Do you see what it can be like to be given a
second chance? You can have a whole new life Mr. Mulder,
free to make different choices than the ones which have
brought you here.”
“I don’t need another life Mr. Dark. I’m happy with the
one I have.” Mulder turned to leave but Dark grabbed his
arm and turned his hand over to place a ticket into his
“You say that Mr. Mulder but it is not what your heart
desires. You can ride whenever you like.”
Mulder pulled his arm away angrily. “Go to hell,” and
continued to walk away. As he neared the edge of the
carnival grounds he stopped, looking down at the ticket he
still clutched in his hand. He crushed it tightly but
couldn’t bring himself to toss it away. He finally stuffed
it into the pocket of this sweatshirt and began to run.
NEEDMORE BED AND BREAKFAST
Scully lay awake, listening to the distant rumbles of
thunder. Midnight had passed and still no Mulder. Certain
there were no dark conspiracies in this small town she was
beginning to wonder what ditch he had fallen into when she
heard the door jingle downstairs. The stairs creaked as he
climbed them quietly and shortly thereafter the water came
on and went off in the bathroom across the hall. The door
clicked open when he entered their room. She heard him pad
across the floor in his socks and then watched as he
stripped off his sweats in the dim light from the window.
He eased himself slowly down onto the bed and sat for a
minute collecting his thoughts. He sighed, “You’re awake,
Scully pulled the covers back motioning for him to join her
in the small bed. “Mulder, it’s after midnight, where were
“All this time?”
“Yeah, I guess–maybe trying to outrun my past.”
His answer startled her. He didn’t talk much about his
past anymore. Seeming to have come to terms with what had
happened to his family and himself some time ago he had
been focused on their future very much lately. Scully
pulled herself up, adjusting the thick pillow behind her.
“Mulder, something’s been bothering you since we got here,
talk to me.” He turned to her, lying himself down beside
her, fluffing the pillow behind his head and crossing his
arms behind it to raise himself up a bit.
“I don’t know,” he said bitterly shaking his head. “I just
keep thinking we’ve never finished what we started. All
these years of searching and gathering what evidence we
could have really amounted to nothing. Nobody cares.”
“There are people who care, Mulder.”
“No they don’t,” he said with disgust. “Truth is, people
don’t want to know the truth, they don’t want to know what
the government is capable of behind their backs, or what
could threaten their lives from,” he tipped his chin up,
“Elsewhere. They’re much happier living in complete
oblivion like these people here. I can’t think like that
Scully.” She lay down next to him, propping her head up
with her left hand. “Mulder, oblivion is not what it’s
cracked up to be. Small towns have problems too.”
He turned to look her straight in the eye. “Not global
ones Scully; not ones that can change the course of the
world. What are we supposed to do, just pretend we don’t
know what we know; do nothing about it?”
She’d seen this coming. This storm she’d seen brewing deep
inside him, a raging flood of emotions that needed to be
released. You might change the course of a river but you
can’t take away the force behind it. She could see the
conflicting forces gathering right behind his eyes and it
was beginning to frighten her. “Mulder, what do you
propose to do? I will not let you become an army of one.”
“I didn’t say that! I-I don’t know what I want to do.”
Enraged one minute and subdued the next he closed his eyes,
“I know what this has all cost us. I think about it all
the time and I know…” He turned to face her again, “I know
you do too. I’m tired of the fight but I can’t bring
myself to walk away from it.”
“It’ not just our fight…” speaking softly, trying to calm
him she reached out and touched his arm.
“Then find me someone else who gives a damn, Scully! He
was angry again suddenly. She pulled her hand from his
arm. “There is so much going on out there in the world.
So much we know will continue to go on without any way of
stopping it. I’m just having a really hard time wrapping
myself around the fact that we don’t seem to be in any
position to do anything about it.”
“Mulder, why do you insist on making this hell for
yourself? Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you’re
not the ONE who’s supposed to do something.”
He sighed, turning to face her. “You know me better than
that Scully, I never stop to think.” He turned back to
look up at the ceiling. “I am what I am, Scully. And if
there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live
in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
“Is that what our lives have become for you, purgatory?”
Realizing what she thought he’d implied he turned to her
suddenly, a look of astonishment on his face. “No! God, no
Scully, that’s not what I mean.” He pulled his hand from
behind his head, reaching over to caress her cheek. “Right
now I just have no sense of direction. I used to know
where I was headed, now, now-I have nothing to focus on.
It’s taken me years to make this hell, I’m just so very
thankful that you’re here to keep me from being lost to
She leaned over and kissed his forehead, that beautiful
mind, “maybe you weren’t running from your past, Mulder.
You were running towards our future.” He reached out to
her then with both arms, turning onto his side and wrapping
them around her as she turned to spoon against his chest,
his warmth enveloping her. Pulling her hands into his he
kissed the crown of her head, her temple, the side of her
cheek. “This is heaven here with you,” he whispered into
her ear. She turned her head, their mouths meeting in a
She woke to the sound of the door opening again. Mulder
stepped into the room, his hair wet, clothed in a tee shirt
and jeans. “I think Alice is making a buffet just for the
two of us, you better get moving before I eat it all.”
His somber mood from the night before seemed to have
improved. She watched him walk over to the window and
appraise the sky. It was still overcast from last night.
“How about we hang around, go check out that carnival?”
“You’re serious?” she said, unwinding herself from the
covers and dropping from the high bed onto the cold floor.
“You went out there last night didn’t you?”
He looked at her in surprise; maybe he should be
investigating her and not the eerie Mr. Dark. He shrugged
but wouldn’t deny it. “Looked like it might be fun, get
dressed,” he mumbled though the sweater he had pulled over
his head. “I’m going for coffee.” He kissed her and
headed out the door for the stairs and the unmistakable
smell of coffee brewing from the kitchen below.
Scully arrived in the kitchen to find Mulder helping
himself to a rather hefty stack of pancakes. There was a
big plate of sausages and a basket of muffins in the center
of the table. How many people did Alice think she was
feeding? “Coffee, Dana?” Alice turned from the stove when
she saw Scully enter the room. “You better make another
pot; she’s not coherent until she’s had at least two cups.
Mulder’s comment had gotten his stocking clad toes crushed
under Scully’s shoe as she seated herself across from him.
“Guess you haven’t had enough to wake up either.”
“More coffee, Fox?” He nodded and presented his half full
cup for a refill. Scully noted not for the first time how
Mulder had just sort of made himself at home here. She
still felt as if she were staying in someone’s home she
didn’t know. She wondered if it was the faint resemblance
that Alice had to Teena Mulder and that his subconscious
had found itself back in a home he hadn’t had for almost
“Will you two be heading for home today?” Alice sat down
and passed the bowl of eggs she’d just finished.
Mulder caught Scully’s eye before he replied. “Um, we were
hoping you wouldn’t mind guests for another night. We’d
kind of like to roam though town, maybe take in that
Alice seemed surprised. “Well there isn’t much of a town
to roam through, but you’re certainly welcome to stay.
Those carnivals are too shady for me, just a bunch of
gypsies out to take your money.”
Mulder chuckled between bites. He felt a lot more relaxed
than he had last night. The kitchen was warm and full of
wonderful breakfast smells. Maggie’s head had taken up
residence on his lap, her big brown eyes pleading for a
missed directed bite of sausage. He used his stocking clad
toes to tickle Scully’s calf. When she looked up at him he
winked at her. She was glad to see his mood from last
night had changed. “Seems like an odd time of year for a
carnival. Do they come here often this time of year?”
Alice dropped her fork; it clattered from the plate to the
floor. Flustered, she bent to pick it up but Mulder and
pushed his chair out and had already gotten to his feet,
bending down to pick it up. He touched her shoulder as she
waved her hands about. “My, I can be so clumsy sometimes.
They’re in the drawer to the right of the sink.”
Outfitted with a new utensil she looked from Mulder to
Scully. “There’s something very strange about the carnival
that comes here. I’ve kept track. They only come here
every twenty-five years and I swear it’s the same people.
It’s like they never age. But that couldn’t be could it?”
Mulder’s eyes flashed in Scully’s direction and she knew
the hunt was on. “You mean they always look the same each
“Well I certainly think so. Strange things happen when
they visit here. I don’t want you not to have fun, just be
careful.” She reached across her plate to pat Mulder’s
While Scully helped Alice clean up the kitchen Mulder went
off to find his shoes. He met her at the bottom of the
stairs with their jackets. “You want to walk or drive?”
“I thought we were getting out of the car?” she replied
smiling up at him. He opened the door, waving her through
but before he could follow her Alice stopped him with a
hand on his arm. “You keep your eye on that pretty thing,”
she nodded towards Scully. “You don’t want to loose her.”
Mulder smiled in acknowledgement but something about
Alice’s manner made him realize she was very serious.
After walking around the square and finding almost every
establishment closed for the day they ended up in front of
the antique store, “I had no idea something like a carnival
could shut down an entire town for a day,” Scully sounded
disappointed. Mulder slung his arm over her shoulder.
“Well everyone here obviously finds something about it
enticing; I suggest we go take a look.”
“You obviously find something about it enticing. Do I have
There was something about Dark’s carnival that had
attracted his attention. Something that played on his
thoughts since last evening and he definitely needed a
second look. This time however, he would have her there to
back him up. He reached for her hand and clasped it
tightly in his own. “No, you don’t.”
They stayed on the road instead of cutting across the field
as Mulder had done last night. A dirt lane appeared on the
left and they followed some other town folk down the lane
and then a short walk across the field brought them to the
As soon as they entered the carnival grounds Scully felt
uneasy. There was definitely something very strange about
this place. She could tell Mulder had sensed it too. He
had taken her hand as if to anchor himself to something
real, she squeezed his tightly indicting she too felt
apprehensive. They wandered through the crowd recognizing
several people from the diner the night before. Children
were playing games, several carried around oversized
stuffed animals they had won. A sudden commotion to their
right drew their attention to a booth with a money wheel.
The gentleman from the square, Mr. Walker was waving a
ticket with glee announcing himself the winner of the one-
thousand dollar prize. Mulder made a motion towards a ball
toss game but Scully stopped him. “I don’t need any
evidence of your youthful agility Mulder.”
“You spoil all my fun, you know that.” He looked
“It’s better to spoil the fun before it turns into
something I have to treat when you strain your arm.”
“I played right field Scully, there’s nothing wrong with my
“Three decades ago.”
“You really know how to hurt a guy, don’t you?”
“Me and the beast woman,” she smirked back at him.
His gaze then wandered to a large tent with a banner strung
across its entrance proclaiming it the home of “THE TEMPLE
OF TEMPTATION”. A dwarf stood outside accompanied by a
scantly clad young woman, performing some interesting
gyrations with her hips and bellybutton to the beat of some
mystical tune. “Bet you can’t you do that.” Mulder teased.
“Bet you I can’t either.”
“Gentlemen, gentlemen, come see the most beautiful women in
the world! Our Harem of Happiness dances for your
pleasure,” the dwarf chanted. Mulder and Scully watched
several men hover about the entrance looking suspiciously
like they didn’t want to be seen entering. Scully
recognized Ray from the diner as he brushed past the other
men and disappeared into the tent. Mulder caught him too.
“Should I follow him?”
“In your dreams,” Scully said, pulling him away from the
Mulder looked up; the Ferris wheel had come to a stop.
“How about a ride?” Scully followed his gaze, Mr. Walker,
now waving a hefty cigar was stepping onto the Ferris wheel
to share a car with a woman in a veiled hat. Mulder was
pulling her towards the Ferris wheel and she soon found
herself seated next to him in a car only a few sections
behind Mr. Walker and his friend. Scully was never a big
fan of Ferris wheels and she braced herself as the wheel
turned and they climbed higher. It was a beautiful view
from the top. Even in the gray afternoon the countryside
was ablaze in fall color. The fields around the town had
all been harvested leaving a patchwork of browns and
greens. Below them on the midway the town’s people milled
about; many of them lingering near one of the larger
attractions that she could not make out from this height.
Mulder took her hand again, “Relax,” he whispered gently as
the wheel turned, sending them up and then back down over
and over again Lightening flashed off in the distance. It
seems to be coming from the same direction as it had just
yesterday; a storm that forever seemed to linger on the
horizon. The top of this wheel was not where she wished to
be if that storm decided to come this way.
The wheel began to slow, coming to a stop as each car was
opened for the passengers to get off. Scully looked down,
watching as the riders jumped off and ran for another
attraction. The woman in the veiled hat that had been
riding with Mr. Walker stepped off alone. “Mulder,” Scully
pulled his attention to what she was seeing. “Where’s Mr.
Walker? I’m sure he got on with that woman.” They both
watched as she lifted Mr. Walker’s hat from the seat,
smiled and handed it to the ride attendant who acknowledged
her with a sadistic grin.
“Well if he got on, he had to have gotten off Scully,”
Mulder smirked at her. She didn’t think it was funny.
As they got off the ride Scully pulled Mulder aside.
“Mulder, I have a very bad feeling about this place.”
“What?” Mulder chuckled, more to ease his own suspicions
than hers. He took her hand again. “It’s a carnival Scully;
they’re supposed to be a little creepy. Come on, I think I
know a way to make you taller.”
The large attraction Scully had seen from the Ferris wheel
was the “MAGICAL MAZE OF MIRRORS.” They both stood for a
moment and watched people mimicking in front of the wavy
mirrors outside. Mulder stepped up to the shorter one and
had his image reflected back to him as wide as he was tall.
“Hey Scully, see what I’d look like if I was your size?”
She gave him a gentle shove and he pulled her in front of
the tall skinny mirror. Suddenly they were both the same
height. “See, now you’re more my type.” That got him a
punch in the shoulder, “I don’t type.”
Scully’s gaze drifted to the exit of the attraction. Mil,
the woman from the diner stood pale and dazed at the top of
the stairs. Stepping away from Mulder, Scully approached
the woman. “Mil? Mil, are you alright?” The woman looked
down at Scully when she heard her name, reaching up to
touch her face with a wistful look and then started down
the stairs. When she reached the bottom she smiled gently
and walked away.
Scully turned to look for Mulder; he was talking to a tall
man, dressed in a black waistcoat. He was almost Mulder’s
height with thick dark hair and a neatly trimmed beard. It
did not look like a pleasant conversation. As she started
back to where they were standing her reflection in one of
the mirrors caught her attention. She turned and gasped.
Her own reflection gazed back at her surrounded by her
sister, Melissa and both her brothers, Bill and Charlie;
smiling in a family portrait that would never be.
Mulder heard her and turned from his conversation,
“Scully?” She was white as a sheet, reaching out
hesitantly to the mirror, caressing the face of someone
only she could see. He turned his attention back to Dark.
Dark followed Mulder to Scully’s side. “This must be
Dana,” Dark said admiringly, reaching to caress her cheek.
Mulder bristled. “My, you are strikingly beautiful,” he
reached to take her hand, kissing the back of it gently.
“My name is Alvin Dark. I certainly hope you’re enjoying
my fair. You never know what mysteries of the heart you
may uncover here.” Scully shook his hand listlessly, still
in a daze from what she had seen in the mirror. Mulder
grabbed her shoulder to steady her. “Are you okay?” She
“No, she’s not okay,” Dark corrected. “She’s seen a
reflection of what could have been. Perhaps Miss Dana
would also like a ticket for the carrousel,” Dark
continued, pulling a ticket from his coat pocket and
offering it to Scully. “It can change your life.”
Mulder intercepted the ticket before Scully could take it,
snatching it from Dark’s hand angrily. “She doesn’t need
one of your damn tickets. Now leave her alone!” Grabbing
Scully’s hand he pulled her away from Dark, heading back
towards the entrance and away from the pandemonium. “She
is alone, Mr. Mulder!” Dark yelled after them.
As they reached the open field Scully grew tired of being
dragged and snatched at Mulder’s arm. “Mulder, stop!
What’s wrong with you?” She pried his fingers from her
wrist. “Let go of me!”
He whirled on her, spinning her around to face him and
planting is hands on her upper arms. “I don’t know! But
you were right; there is something very bad about this
place, Scully. Last night, I did come out here. He’s right
about the carrousel, it does change you. The crippled man
from town, I saw him get on the ride last night, it went
backwards, backwards in time, and when it was over, he was
a child again Scully; a healthy child.”
“Mulder, that’s crazy, it’s not possible!”
“Forget about the possibilities for once, Scully. I know
what I saw. Dark, I don’t know-he plays on the fearful
needs of the human heart, your heart’s desires. What did
you see in that mirror?” When she just starred at him he
shook her. “Tell me what you saw!” Snatching his hands
from her shoulders, she stepped away from him. Not wanting
to think about what she saw. “Who did you see-Bill? Who
else? Melissa? A family you won’t see again because of
your relationship with me.”
“Somehow he’s able to give people the life they thought
they wanted. Take you back, let you start over. That’s why
he gave you the ticket Scully, a ticket to a new life.”
When they got back to Alice’s’ they found Maggie lying on
the front porch. Her tail thumped against the aged wood as
they approached; a quick search of the house revealed that
Alice was no where in sight. “You don’t suppose she…”
Scully looked apprehensively at Mulder.
Mulder stopped to look at a photo of Alice and Louis
proudly displayed on the corner of the mantle. “What
happened to her husband? You said you two talked last
“She said he had an accident.”
“I’ll bet there have been a lot of ‘accidents’ in this
town,” he countered, opening the door. “Come on, there has
to be some town records somewhere.”
“Alice-Alice said she was the town librarian, maybe that’s
where she is.”
Their first stop had been the diner. A “CLOSED” sign hung
on the door. Scully tapped Mulder’s shoulder “Isn’t that
Mil?” she said pointing across to the square to where a
beautiful dark haired woman was leading a toe haired boy by
“Mil!” Mulder called out. The woman turned abruptly at the
sound of her name. Even from this distance they could both
see the change. She had to be 30 years younger in
appearance. The boy she was leading turned also. Mulder
recognized him as the boy he had seen step from the
carrousel the previous evening; the boy who had once been a
“Mulder, what’s going on?”
“Something wicked, Scully, come on!” He grabbed her hand
and they headed for the library.
NEEDMORE TOWN LIBRARY
The building had been open and dimly lit when they arrived
but there was no sign of anyone within its walls. Large
wooden tables with reading lamps filled the main aisle. A
set of stairs ascended to the second floor. They walked
slowing through the first floor shelves filled with neatly
filed fiction and children’s stories. Mulder’s eyes
searched frantically for any type of reference material.
Scully wished Alice had been here to help them. Without
her it had taken some time to find what they were looking
for on the upstairs level.
After an hour of searching the town records neither of them
had come up with a solid lead as to what they had
witnessed. Mulder could tell Scully was still shaken by
what had transpired at the carnival. The sight of Mil and
the boy on the square had only added to her apprehension.
He could tell her mind was miles away. Dark had touched
her deeply with his deception. He had no idea she ached
this way. He pulled another book from the shelves, a hand
written journal. Returning to the table where Scully sat,
he began to read. “Listen to this,” he said aloud, drawing
her attention. “1928, There has been more ill fortune
since the autumn people have arrived, these traveling
people who come to destroy others by granting their heart’s
desires as has been the cause of the devil since God
created the world. Old folks talk of such a carnival
visiting many years past when they themselves were young.
Each visit is followed by a most unusual storm and a
promise of their return again another autumn”
A sudden burst of wind whipped the pages from Mulder’s
fingertips startling them both. Looking up, Dark stood in
the doorway of the library. “I knew I’d find you here,
reading of other men’s dreams,” he said as he carefully
climbed the stairs to where he and Scully sat.
“Scully, run,” Mulder whispered to her. When she didn’t
move he grabbed her arm tightly, “Damn it, hide!”
Scully pulled away from him, saw his wordless plea and
disappeared behind the library shelves.
The door blew shut behind him as he reached the top of the
stairs. “That’s all you have isn’t it, Mr. Mulder, your
dreams.” He came to stand next to Mulder who still sat
holding the journal in front of him. “She has dreams too
you know. Dreams you’ve taken from her. Dreams of a happy
family life, of children and nieces and nephews, I can give
you your dreams Dana, I know you’re here.” Dark surveyed
the shelves with is eyes trying to determine where Scully
had hidden herself. He was certain he could draw her out
with his words. “You still dream to experience motherhood;
of times spent with your brothers and sister. Quiet times
with family and friends away from this life you’ve chosen
to live. I can give you that other life Dana; I can give
you that child and more.” He turned back to Mulder.
Mulder stood up, face to face with Dark, still holding the
journal he’d been reading. “I know who you are. You’re
these autumn people; you feed off the misfortune of
“Yes, and we are hungry again and the torments of men call
us to feed on the pain and
despair in men’s hearts.” Dark began to circle the table,
his eyes canvassing the rows of books, looking for Scully.
“I see it in yours as I’ve already told you. I hear
middle-aged men like you groan with the despair of what
they cannot accomplish. We suck the misery from them,
always looking for more.” He came to stand before Mulder
again, snatching the book from his grasp. “This book won’t
help you, tell me where she is and I can turn the years
back for you. Take you back to that moment when your life
changed forever; make it so it never happened.”
Mulder stared defiantly at Dark but said nothing. Dark
accepted the challenge.
“Twelve,” Dark ripped a page from the journal, crumpling it
and tossing it to the floor. “You sit there frozen in fear
as your own sister is taken away. It destroyed the family;
none of you were ever the same.”
Dark began to stalk the library aisle. “Twenty-eight,”
Dark ripped another page from the book, again crumpling it
as trash and throwing it to the floor. “As a young agent
you make a serious miscalculation regarding your suspect.
Another agent dies. He had a family Mr. Mulder, a wife and
Scully watched from her hiding place as Mulder’s face
flinched with each page Dark ripped from the journal;
baring his life before him in a wicked game of ‘This Is
Your Life’. He was not responsible for this and she was
about to put a stop to it.
“Mulder! Don’t listen to this!”
Dark turned, hardly surprised to have flushed her out. He
walked behind the shelves and grabbed her arm, dragging her
to where Mulder could see her. “And this, perhaps your
deepest regret, what you have taken from her. Thirty-
three,” rip, Dark tossed another page away. “Your
obsession with a lunatic leads to Dana’s abduction. She’s
gone for three months. It’s changed her life forever, Mr.
Mulder. Your father, Dana’s sister…
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Scully seethed
at him. Mulder never moved.
“I most certainly do, and so do you. Look at him, a
middle-aged man who cowers in his past. He has no future
for you. Thirty-four,” Dark ripped another page, “Lucy
Householder. Rip, “Thirty-five, Melissa Ephesian, Max
Fenig.” Rip, Dark stood before Mulder. “Thirty-six, Ester
Nairn, Emily Sim.”
Scully stood horrified behind Dark. “Stop this now,” she
Rip, “Thirty-six, Patrick Crump, Jeffrey Spender, Karen
Berquist, a young woman named Pam; shall I go on? How many
others did you enlist in this cause of yours? All
causalities of war Mr. Mulder, your war, were the answers
really that important to you?”
Mulder stood facing Dark, unable to speak. to the truth of
Dark’s words. Dark continued to taunt him. “Thirty-eight;
a woman you once loved, Diana Fowley; Amber Lynn LaPierre,
your own mother; she called you didn’t she? You never
called her back. And now Dana’s brother.” Dark threw the
book on the floor, “You fool, you see now what drew me to
you? You heart is full of despair,” Dark then reached to
place his palm against Mulder’s chest. “You couldn’t save
any of them could you? I feel your heart beat while theirs
does not. Do you want to know what it feels like to die?
Feel your heart slow, your breath still?”
Mulder’s face grew ashen, sweat broke out across his
forehead, he stumbled back and slid down the shelf behind
him until he was slumped on the floor. Dark turned to
Scully handing her a ticket, like the one he had tried to
give her earlier. When she resisted he forced it into her
hand, grabbing her wrist. “You can have a life Dana, the
life you dream of. Join me. I can give you what he can
Scully tried to pull away but Dark turned them around to
face a woman she hadn’t noticed standing in the shadows.
Scully recognized her as the woman from the Ferris wheel
only now she was dressed in black, her face covered lightly
with a black veil. “Give him a taste of his future so he
will remember it when it comes.”
Scully watched the woman approach Mulder. There was a
scent of smoke and she could see Mulder begin to perspire
again, his breath grew rapid and he began to grimace in
pain. Clutching his left arm, he slid down on to the
floor. The woman stooped before him, her hand caressing
his chest. He gasped for breath, his breathing growing
shallow and then stilled, his face frozen in a deathly
expression, his eyes lifeless. A heart attack, she
recognized the symptoms.
“Stop this!” She tried again to wrestle herself from
Dark pulled her too him, “Come with me,” he whispered in
Mulder felt himself being shaken gently. The pain had
subsided but he lay exhausted on the floor of the library.
When he opened his eyes, Alice was kneeling at his side.
“Oh thank God, I thought the darkness had taken you.” She
helped him to a sitting position against the shelf behind
him, he breathed deeply trying to catch his breath, he felt
light headed. He had never felt pain like that before.
“Dark took her Mr. Mulder, she’s not here,” Alice replied
Mulder crawled onto his knees and struggled to stand with
the help of the library table where he and Scully had been
seated. Alice grabbed his arm to steady him. “Don’t let
the darkness take your life from you Fox. They feed on the
darkness; you must not let them see it in you. Dana loves
you very much, that’s all you need.”
He stood for several minutes just testing his lungs waiting
for the dizziness to go away, his strength to come back.
When he felt like he could walk he headed for the door,
Dark had taken Scully and he knew where they were headed.
He stopped and turned to Alice, “Thank you.”
By the time he reached the other side of the square he’d
managed a brisk walk. When he hit the road that passed
Alice’s house he was at a steady jog. The wind whipped his
hair. A sudden burst of lightening streaked across the sky
followed by an ominous rumble of thunder. The clouds
billowed angrily above him. Mulder broke into a dead run.
He took the route he’d used the first night, cutting across
the field, his chest burning from the cold air. On the
other side of the woods the carnival came into view.
Lightening flashed again illuminating the field
momentarily; a light rain had begun to fall. Mulder came
to a halt when he reached the entrance. The carnival now
seemed deserted except for the midway lights which still
blazed a welcome that seemed only for him.
The dwarf Mulder had seen hacking for the harem girls stood
at the entrance to the maze of mirrors. At Mulder’s
cautious approach he waved his hand as if beckoning Mulder
to enter. “Where’s Dark?” he demanded. The dwarf only
motioned again for him to enter.
Mulder walked cautiously into the maze, his palms extended
in front of him as he headed down the corridor.
Reflections of himself looked back at him at every turn.
He heard Scully cry out, “Mulder!” her cry echoing off into
nothing. He quickened his pace and soon found himself in a
room full of mirrors, Dark’s liquid voice startling him.
“Looking in my mirrors for another chance Mr. Mulder? Would
you know it if you found it?”
“Is that what people find in here, second chances? You know
what I’m looking for Dark! Where is she?” He could hear
the wind outside as it battered the tent around him.
Thunder continued to roll. The storm was getting closer.
He circled the room but soon found there was no way out.
“These are the mirrors of darkness, Mr. Mulder. They lead
men to ruin. I’m sure I can find one for you.”
In the mirror in front of him Mulder saw the image of Ray
from the diner surrounded by the dancing girls, laughing as
they lavished him with touches. Suddenly Dark’s voice
haunted him from beyond. “This is the mirror of incredible
loves never to be found.”
In the next mirror Mulder saw Mr. Walker, still dressed in
his three piece suit, waving the money he’d won in the
game. “This is the mirror of riches beyond wishes, never
to be spent.”
The image changed again. This time the image of Jim Carter
appeared. A football tucked under his arm, leaning on a
cane. “This is the mirror of greatness and fame,” the
image changed to the small boy Mulder had seen Dark lift
from the back of the carrousel horse. “A game hero no
“And this,” Mulder turned to another mirror. “This is the
mirror of pride and vanity where the war of time is fought
and lost.” An elder Mil, laughing with customers at the
diner appeared before him changing suddenly to a beautiful
but terribly frightened young woman.
“Ah, and the mirror of regret,” Mulder watched as his own
image appear in the mirror before him. “I believe this one
suits you Mr. Mulder.”
“Fox! Fox!” Mulder turned around; in the mirror behind
him he saw a reflection of himself, thirty years ago.
Samantha was there reaching out to him in desperation.
“NO!” With one swift movement Mulder thrust his fist
through the glass, shattering it and the images into
hundreds of tiny shards.
“Mulder! I need your help!” Mulder turned again, seeing
his reflection as a much younger man. Scully, her hand
outstretched to him. “NO!” Again he thrust his fist
through the glass shattering the images. Blood dripped
from his clenched fist. As he uncurled his fingers he
could see the splinters of glass imbedded in them.
“Fox, call me when you get back.” His mother’s voice came
from behind him. He turned reluctantly to find himself
face to face with himself, his mother’s image speaking to
him on the phone. He froze.
“You’re a failure of a man Mr. Mulder. The answers have
always been there for you. You just never took the time to
listen to what those around you were trying to tell you.
You never gave them a chance. Let me give Dana another
chance. I’m going to give her the life she wants, a life
with her family around her, the life you’ve taken from
“NO!” Mulder reached through his mother’s image in the
glass before him once again sending shards of glass flying
in all directions. His hand grasped that of another and he
pulled hard; pulling Alice through the glass and into his
“Fox! Oh thank God, you’re all right.” Mulder stood for a
moment in utter confusion. “You’re hurt.” Looking down,
his right hand was now covered in blood. Alice had begun
to fuss over it with her apron; there was no time to attend
to it now. He grabbed Alice by the shoulders. “Where did
he take her?” The poor woman was shaking. “I don’t know.”
The melodic rhythm of carrousel music filled the silence.
“The carrousel!” Mulder was gone in an instant. Fighting
his way out of the mirror maze he was hit by the tremendous
force of the wind which had gained in intensity. Rain
pelted him as he made his way across the midway to the tent
that held the carrousel. Lightening arched across the sky.
Inside he found Scully perched on one of the magnificent
horses, Dark at the controls, the carrousel beginning its
movement back into time. Lightening flashed again, closer
this time, sending a loud burst of thunder that shook
everything about him.
“Scully! No!” Mulder ran around the platform of the ride
as she spun away from him. Suddenly there was a tremendous
flash; arcs of electricity flew down from the center of the
tent and across the brass poles that held each of the
horses. Mulder could see Scully’s whole body lurch and
then she fell from the horse to the platform to the ground.
The carrousel itself lurched grinding to a stop and then
suddenly changing direction, beginning to spin in a
clockwise direction. Another bolt of lightening arced its
way down through the tent. Dark had attempted to cross the
platform but the second bolt had dropped him. He fought
desperately to crawl from beneath the hooves of the horses
as the carrousel spun faster.
“No! God, No!” Mulder had reached Scully. She lay
lifeless. He dropped to her side, scooped her up into his
arms, brushing her hair from her face with his bloody hand.
“Scully, Scully-come on”, he urged tapping her cheek
softly. “Come on, I need you.” When he got no response he
turned angrily towards the carrousel, “Damn you Dark! You
can’t have her!” Angry tears brimmed in his eyes.
Suddenly someone was trying to pry her from his grasp.
Gentle hands pulled his away from her. “No, Fox, you must
not let them feed on the darkness. Be happy!”
Mulder looked up, shocked by the idea. “I can’t. Not
without her-never without her.” The same gentle hands that
had taken Scully from him were wiping his tears from his
face, twisting his cheeks into some resemblance of a smile.
“Don’t let them take her, son.” Alice was pulling him to
his feet, taking his hands and pulling him along in some
sort of macabre dance. “Rejoice in your love, there is so
much more you need to do with your life. Your goodness
will prevail. Laugh with me Fox!”
Behind them the carrousel continued to spin, arcs of
electricity jumped from one horse to another lighting up
the tent in an eerie blue light. Dark, aged and motionless
lay under the horses. Mulder looked at Alice, her eyes
pleading with him to join her. “Dance, Fox, laugh with
Mulder stumbled along with her, her light heartedness
beginning to pull him away from the sorrow he had felt.
They danced about as the wind tore at the tent, laughing at
each other and how ridiculous they must appear. A movement
at his feet brought Mulder to a stop. Scully had rolled
onto her side and was attempting to sit up. Mulder dropped
to her side to help her, glancing up at Alice with a look
of utter amazement. He pulled Scully too him, wrapping her
in a fierce embrace. “Come on, we have to get out of
here!” Alice was pulling them both to their feet. The
wind had become a steady roar, ripping the tent and
whipping their clothes.
Outside the tent the carnival was being torn a part by the
wind. A huge funnel cloud had appeared and was now bearing
down on them. Glass shattered, wood splintered and canvas
was ripped to shreds. They bolted for the exit, stopping
momentarily to view the chaos. When the huge banner over
the entrance began to give way Alice yelled for them to
run. Mulder grabbed Scully’s hand pulling her along as he
followed Alice across the field. Bits of debris flew about
them. Mulder could swear it wasn’t the wind he heard but
the hideous moaning of the souls Dark had taken with him.
When they reached the tree line the three of them turned as
the remains of the carnival were sucked up into the vortex
of the funnel. It spun in place for several minutes and
then it too was sucked back up into the cloud from which it
had come. A peaceful silence fell over the empty field.
NEEDMORE BED & BREAKFAST 6:17 P.M.
None of them said a word as they made their way back to
the bed & breakfast. The late afternoon sun had broken
though the clouds sending its warm rays down from the
heavens and bathing the town in a glow of new found hope.
Standing in the yard they all let it warm them. Coming
back to herself Scully realized she still clutched Mulder’s
hand tightly, a very sticky hand. Looking down she gasped
when she saw the cuts and drying blood that coated his hand
and wrist. “Oh, Mulder, what have you done to yourself
He looked down as he felt her drawing his hand up to
examine the damage. He winced as she began to poke about
at the cuts. “I think I shattered a few images of myself
I’d like to forget.”
“This looks like glass, this has to be cleaned up,” she
wouldn’t look at him.
Alice stepped up and patted her shoulder, “Bring him in the
house; I’m sure I have what you need.”
They followed Alice up the steps but Mulder stopped her
before she got to the door, “Scully wait.” Alice went on
“Mulder you’re hurt.” Still not looking at him she grabbed
the handle to the screen door pulling it open until
Mulder’s left hand slammed against it above her head. “So
“Neither of us if fine, Scully,” he touched her chin,
raising it to make her look at him. Her lip trembled but
she stood her ground. “Okay, we’re not fine, but can we
please have this conversation after I’ve stopped you from
bleeding all over this poor woman’s porch!”
She was right, his hand throbbed. He pulled the screen
door open and followed her into the house.
In the kitchen they found Alice, laying out some first aid
supplies on the table. She looked up as they walked in.
“I’ve patched up a few boys in my day,” she said smiling
gently at Mulder and patting him on the arm. “But I think
you’re better off in her hands.” Winking at Scully before
she quietly left them alone.
Mulder watched as Scully transformed into doctor mode,
pulling his jacket from his shoulders and pushing the
sleeve of his sweater up past his elbow. He followed her
to the sink where she gently began to wash the blood away;
gritting his teeth as she examined the cuts again under the
light over the sink. “You still have glass in some of
these Mulder, some of these should be stitched,” she
observed in a very clinical tone.
“I doubt Alice has any cat-gut Scully, just butterfly
“That will leave scars, Mulder.”
“It’s not like I don’t already have some of those.”
Her eyes flashed to meet his but she said nothing, patting
his hand dry, she motioned to the table, “Sit!”
As Mulder sat down Scully opened a bottle of peroxide,
moistening a cotton ball she began to dab at the cuts.
“Geez,” Mulder hissed.
“Mulder I’m sorry, these have to be cleaned. I have to get
the glass out.”
“Yeah-yeah, I know, ow!”
The doctor mode was keeping her mind from what had happened
over the past few days. Mulder could see she was
struggling to keep working; her mind reeling with the
implications of what Dark had said to him, what he had
implied about Scully. She finally spoke. “What happened
out there Mulder?
“I don’t know. A visit from the devil’s own, sent to tempt
the souls of men?”
“But you stopped them, Mulder.”
No he hadn’t. What had happened out there had nothing to
do with his intervention as far as he could see. Something
else and driven the devil away. Something he refused to
believe in and only others had faith in. “I didn’t stop
them, Scully,” he whispered softly.
With his hand splayed out on a towel she had picked up a
pair of tweezers, her hand shaking above his. He reached
out with his left to still it. “Scully,” she froze in his
grasp. “Scully, I’m okay,” he said softly. Her eyes
finally came up to meet his quickly filling with tears.
She dropped the tweezers and wrapped her arms around his
neck, her head against his shoulder. “Oh, Mulder, none of
those things Dark said to you were true,” she lifted her
head to look him in the eye. “You know that, don’t you?
You’re not responsible for any of those lives.”
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions?”
His arms came around her, rubbing her back with his good
hand. He whispered into her ear, “I am responsible for
yours. I know how I’ve hurt you.”
She pulled back suddenly at his reply. “No, Mulder, we’ve
had this conversation before but you don’t seem to listen.
When I met you all those years ago I knew I was in trouble.
The good looks, that cocky attitude…”
“You thought I was good looking?”
His comment brought a welcome gentle smile back to her
face. “Will you just listen-that propensity you had for
always being one step ahead of me, it was so aggravating at
times I wanted nothing more than to prove you wrong. But
then I started to see the man behind those hazel eyes, his
pain and his passion, his incredible mind. You’ve taught
me so much Mulder, you let me do the investigating even
though you knew what I’d find-and then somewhere along the
line I fell in love with you and this search of yours and
now nothing can change how I feel. The X-Files are my job
too. The decision to stay with them-and you has always
Mulder huffed, “I seem to remember a moment in my apartment
when I practically begged you not to quit and you begged me
not to make you stay. You’ve lost so much Scully; you
can’t tell me you haven’t thought about what Dark offered
She hesitated a moment, “I don’t think about it, Mulder it
hurts too much. I know how it feels Mulder, I miss my
sister dearly and now Bill-and I don’t understand Charlie.”
“The truth, Scully,” he pleaded.
She knew what he wanted and after all these years, how
could she give him anything but? She picked up a cotton
ball and began to dab at his hand again. He flinched.
“Scully, please don’t do that,” he winced as she continued.
Finally grabbing her hand again, ‘It hurts like hell. If I
didn’t know you better I’d think you were trying to hurt me
She threw the cotton ball on the table. “Okay, I DO think
about it. I used to dream about it. After I lost Emily I
used to think about what was taken from me and what I could
never have again. I think about it every time you make love
to me, about what I can never give you.”
“All I need is you Scully,” Mulder tried to comfort her.
“This isn’t about what you need Mulder. Don’t you see?
Dark, the autumn people, they fed off our individual pain.
What we want but will never have. He gave you a ticket too
didn’t he?” Mulder nodded.
“Why didn’t you use it, ride that carrousel back to your
childhood and live your life over again? I know you’ve come
to terms with your loses but you can’t tell me you weren’t
tempted by the offer. What kept you from escaping this
purgatory you think you’ve made for yourself?”
“You,” he said simply. She saw the sincerity in his eyes.
“I didn’t want too,” was all he could let escape his dry
“You didn’t want to forget that you’ve lost your family?”
“NO!” Mulder shouted at her angrily, how dare she suggest
that. “I mean, yes, I’d give anything to forget what’s
happened to me, to my family to you. But I don’t want to
forget them and I can’t forget you.” He laced his fingers
though hers, his eyes tired and regretful.
“Then you’ve answered your own question, Mulder. Don’t you
see? Even if Dark could have given me my heart’s desire, I
wouldn’t want it. Not without you.”
He acted as if he was about to say something but she
silenced him with a finger to his lips. “Can you imagine
us, the happy family, 2.5 kids, the dog, and the mini van?
The holiday picnic with your family and mine, lots of
nieces and nephews, Bill actually liking you?” She’s
smiled as she’d said it but he saw the truth in her words,
it wasn’t them. He whispered an honest “no”.
“These past ten years, everything we’ve been though
together, as hard and as frightening as it’s been, we’ve
been there for each other. All the pain and the hurt; it’s
bonded us together with a strength only others can imagine.
It’s made us who we are, brought us here to this place in
our lives. These people, Mil, Mr. Walker, Jim Carter, all
the others Dark gave a second chance too. They haven’t
gained anything. Like you say, what they’ve given up is so
much more important.”
Mulder shook his head slowly, “I don’t follow you.”
“All their memories, all their life experiences, everything
they’ve ever done and everyone they’ve ever loved.
Everything that made them who there were, is gone.
Mulder,” she reached over, running her fingers across his
scalp. “You have the most amazing mind.”
He shook her off. “It’s a curse, Scully.”
“No Mulder, it isn’t. That memory of yours, to be able to
call up all those moments that are important to you, live
them again in your mind. If you didn’t want to keep those
memories, you would have used your ticket, erased them from
your life and began a new one. All those people, they’re
starting over but they’re not the same person they were
before. I don’t want to loose myself; I didn’t want to
loose you. That’s what frightened me more than anything.”
“We are but the sum of our memories,” Mulder said with a
sad smile. “The good ones and the bad.”
“But I wouldn’t change any of them, I told you that a long
time ago,” Scully replied smiling back to him.
“Even that fluke man thing?”
She didn’t answer, picking up the tweezers again and
spreading his fingers so she could pull the glass shards
from his hand. Mulder gritted his teeth turning serious
again. “Don’t give up on your dreams, Scully.”
What was he trying to say to her? There was no answer to
that one dream and the pain of trying to find one was not
something she chose to pursue. They had each other and a
future-somewhere. She looked up to find his gaze fixed on
hers a question in his eyes. “This is our life Mulder. I
won’t give up not as long as you don’t. That expression of
yours, a dream is an answer to a question we haven’t
learned how to ask, if we stop dreaming, then who will ask
He knew exactly where she was taking this. Asking him for
a commitment about their future; about whether they’d spend
the rest of their careers or perhaps their lives in this
endless pursuit of the truth. He sighed, “It’s not worth
“The truth, Mulder.”
He clenched the side of the table with his other hand as
she went back to her impromptu surgery. “I’m just so damn
tired of loosing Scully.”
“Maybe it’s not about winning or loosing, Mulder, it’s how
you play the game.”
“You can’t play the game when the rules keep changing all
the time, when you don’t have enough pieces. This is so
much bigger than just us, Scully.”
“Maybe that’s the problem, we just need more pieces.”
What was she telling him?
“Don’t give up on your dreams either, Mulder. You will
find a way.”
They sat in silence as she dabbed at the cuts again and
then spread some antibiotic ointment over them; butter-
flying a couple of the deeper ones and then wrapping his
hand in several layers of gauze. She patted his hand when
she’d finished and started to get up from the table.
Mulder stopped her, “Where do we go from here, Scully?”
She looked down into his questioning eyes. “Back on the
road and home.”
The following morning Alice made them breakfast again.
Mulder had called and gotten them a flight back to D.C. for
late that afternoon. Sitting around the breakfast table in
the warm kitchen had brought back good memories for him.
Back to a time when life was easy and free of the threats
that surrounded them today. They were times worth
remembering, memories that gave him cause to look toward
the future with a new determination to find that other way.
By ten they had the car packed. Scully had cleaned and
rebandaged Mulder’s hand and now they stood on the porch to
say their goodbyes. Alice handed Scully a paper sack.
“It’s the rest of the cobbler from the other night, thought
you might like it for a snack along the way.” Scully gave
her a gentle hug. “Thank you so much, take care of
yourself.” She broke the embrace and stepped away, down
the stairs and towards the car.
Mulder stood for a moment, “I don’t know what to say to
thank you.” Alice smiled, “Life is a long journey, Fox,
full of rights and wrongs. I sense that in your mind you
think you’ve made a lot of wrong choices but in your heart
you’ve always done the right thing. It has never failed
you. You are a good man.” He wrapped his arms around her,
giving her a gentle hug and kissing her lightly on the
cheek. She pulled back and patted his arm. “Next time you
get tired and need another rest, you just come back here to
Needmore.” Mulder chucked and stepped away, heading down
the steps and joining Scully in the car.
They headed back through town. Both the diner and the dry
goods store were closed but the square was filled with
people enjoying the autumn sun. Scully turned to Mulder.
He sat in the passenger seat gazing out through the
windshield, his mind somewhere else. They had talked into
the night, coming to some sort of conclusions about their
life back in D.C., about juggling work and taking time for
themselves. In some sense they had been given a second
chance themselves only they still had all their memories to
take with them. Scully smiled to herself, whether it was
fate, destiny or just bad luck here they were back in the
car again; where this journey would lead them, only time
AUTHOR’S NOTES: Thanks to Ray Bradbury whose story
Something Wicked This Way Comes gave me the idea for this
piece. Special thanks to my beta and best ebuddie, Chris
whose home is back in Indiana. This story is dedicated to
her as a special thank you for being my only friend who
understands the addiction. You Milton fans will remember
Pandemonium as Milton’s name for the capitol of hell in
PARADISE LOST. A little note on my spelling of the word
“carrousel”, Webster only spells it with one “r”, I’ve
given it two in remembrance of the wonderful carrousel
which stood in EUCLID BEACH PARK on the east side of
Cleveland, Ohio until 1969. For what ever reason, the
owners of the park, the Humphrey’s, chose to use two “r’s”.
When the park closed the ride was sold at auction and
disappeared from Cleveland. Over the past several years a
group of enthusiastic citizens located and purchased most
of the horses and are currently working to restore the ride
itself and bring it back to Cleveland. There really is a
Needmore, Indiana though I’m sure it is nothing like my
fictional rendition. There’s a quote from STAR TREK in