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Rating: R (violence)

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Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully and the Gunmen are the property of CC, 1013, etc. No infringement intended.

A/N: HUGE thanks to Char for the supersonic beta! Chocolate showers with cherries on top to you, Sweetie.


~ Prologue ~

Camden Pennsylvania
October 27, 1997

At first glance, the two-story, red brick house was
almost the exact replica of Scully’s dream home.
The location was ideal, settled on the outskirts of
a small town where the nearest neighbor could be
seen, yet not heard. Perfect, quaint little place
to raise a family. Ivy crept up the masonry,
stretching over the cream-colored shutters. It made
the outside of the huge house look cozy and
inviting. The landscaping was immaculate; little
blooming clusters of color dotting the lawn at
intervals, creating a harmonic lushness with the
pruned bushes and weeping willows. The cream-
colored, wraparound porch was a new addition, which
complimented the structure’s early 1800’s design.
Adirondack rocking chairs, stand-alone hammocks and
a small child’s table cluttered with coloring books
and crayons adorned the porch, speaking of the laid
back easiness of the family that lived there.

The place was so tranquil, so picture perfect.

Mulder and Scully let themselves inside using the
key they’d acquired from the local PD. The inside
was just as tasteful and comfortable as the
outside, with spacious rooms and cheerful decor.
The colors were warm, the antique furniture
mingling with contemporary; rugs lay out atop the
polished wooden floors. The overall effect was one
of well lived-in warmth, as if the house itself
were a living, breathing thing, welcoming the
agents with open arms.

This all changed the moment they stepped inside the

“Oh my God.”


~ Chapter One ~

At the Academy, they train you to deal with violent
crime scenes. You are taught to cope with the
psychological aspects of a case and focus on the
investigation with a rational, detached mind.

There are, however, certain cases that are so
appalling they remain in your memory forever.
Donnie Pfaster would never leave her, nor would the
faces — or hands — of his victims. The Peacock
family, their mother with her filthy rolling cart
beneath the bed, existing solely to propagate.

Scully was sure this would be no different from any
of those.

They took care walking into the kitchen, a brick
affair original to the structure. Marks drawn on
the floor indicated where the bodies had lain,
unusual, organic shapes necessary to encase the
large pools of blood surrounding the victims. These
same pools lay dried and brown on the floor.

“Why hasn’t the cleaning crew been out here?”
Scully asked.

“They were here two days ago.”

She cocked her head at him and gestured at the
blood-splattered cabinets, table and chairs. It
looked like a slasher film was in progress. “Why
hasn’t this all been cleaned then?”

“They, uh, didn’t stay. It seems that whatever
presence is in this house didn’t make them feel
exactly welcome.”

She rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, Mulder. I
still think there’s nothing supernatural about this
crime. People *do* murder other people every day,
you know, and there’s nothing paranormal about

He grimaced at the scene. “I don’t think a person
could be capable of this, Scully. Not alone and not
without leaving some trace of themselves behind.
The family didn’t just sit and wait their turn
while they watched the others die.”

“Well,” she said after a moment, “There’s not much
we can do in here since the bodies and evidence
have already been removed. I say we just shut the
door on this room and get on with

The investigation, as it were, was unconventional
to say the least. The special circumstances of the
case, namely the lack of evidence and the brutal
manner in which the family was dispatched, not to
mention the anomalies found within the bodies
themselves, had caught Mulder’s attention as soon
as he heard about it.

Mulder unloaded several black cases of video and
audio equipment, along with machines that measured
temperature changes, infrared heat and
electromagnetic fields. All were on loan from an
acquaintance of Mulder’s, a professor of
parapsychology who followed their work and offered
assistance any time it was needed. The Gunmen
supplemented the video and audio equipment.

Mulder set the seven camcorders up in seven
different places: the kitchen, the living room,
dining room, poolroom, upstairs hallway, sitting
room and at the mouth of the corridor leading to
the kitchen. In the meantime, Scully chose the
spare bedroom at the end of the hall upstairs and
settled herself into the bureau and adjoining
bathroom. With any luck, Mulder would figure out
they were wasting their time there and decide to
leave before the weekend.

She wasn’t holding her breath.

The bedroom had a very cottage-y feel to it, with
Waverley-esque wallpaper and sage bedding with
throw pillows. An antique nightstand sat to the
left of the bed with a pitcher and basin that
looked older than she was. The curtains were light
and airy, with tones of rose and sage intermingling
in the tasteful print. Rugs on the polished wood
floor lent the room even more comfort. It was as
perfect as the rest of the house.

She was inspecting a wardrobe standing in the
corner when she heard it — the whispering. She
couldn’t make out any words, but it sounded like
two people in a heated argument. she told herself. She checked the hallway to see
if Mulder was messing around. It was empty, so she
went to the window to see of a tree branch was
scraping against the side of the house. The nearest
tree branch was several feet away. Finally, she
decided it had to be the pipes. Of *course* it was
the pipes. In a house that old, one was bound to
hear strange noises.

She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering from
the cold draft coming through the room and stepped
out to find her partner.


Mulder, as it happened, just reached the top of the
stairs when she left her bedroom. She tried not to
laugh at the ridiculously large camera around his
neck her mind
supplied. She fought back a grin and the new toy
attached to his hand.

“Staked out a room already?” he called out to her,
barely taking his eyes off the apparatus.

“What on Earth is *that*?”

“This one is called a Gaussmeter. It measures
electromagnetic fields. And this one,” he pulled
another instrument out of his pocket, “is an IR
thermometer. It measures infrared heat and locates
cool spots.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Mulder, you do realize
there are electromagnetic fields everywhere, right?
Not to mention the fact that there are going to be
cool spots all over the house, since it’s October
and the place is almost 200 years old.”



“So, which one is my room?”

“I guess it’s up to you. I took the only guest
room, but that still leaves the two girl’s bedrooms
and the master suite.”

He pulled a face. “Never was one for lavender. Or
unicorns, for that matter. Looks like I’m taking
the master.”

She followed him around for a few minutes while he
did a walk-through of the house with the two
monitors, commenting on the slightest changes and
writing them all down in a tiny notebook in his
other pocket. It didn’t take long before she lost
interest and went to explore the rest of the house
on her own.

It truly was an amazing house, and it couldn’t have
been more ‘her’ than if she’d chosen and decorated
it herself. she mused. On the other hand, she
could see where one’s imagination could get away
from them in this place. They hadn’t been there for
more than two hours before the creaks and groans of
house settling began to sound more like voices and
whispers. Couple this with the age of the house,
the murders and the fact that the nearest neighbor
was hundreds of yards away, and it was easy to see
where stories of a haunting could run rampant.

Scully herself wondered if she could stand to live
here alone, knowing what had happened here. Could
she cook, entertain, make tea in the same space
three-fourths of a family was brutally murdered?
Shivering at the thought, she admonished herself
for her irrational, yet all too human uneasiness.

~ Chapter Two ~

Scully tossed in her unfamiliar bed. Scenes
unfolded all around her, red and terrible and
teeming with screams:

Jonathan, Sabrina and Clarissa Talbot all standing
in the kitchen. The smell of burning sage fills the
air. Their mouths move, but no sound can be heard
over the rushing noise in Scully’s ears. The three
figures clasp hands, forming a circle. Rosaries
dangle from each joint pair; one made of rose
petals, one made of sandalwood. The newest one is
white, its young owner possessing it since First
Communion. They are precious little protection for
what they have unwittingly invoked.

Swirling, swirling. There’s more anger in this room
than Scully thought possible, more concentrated
malevolence than could be imagined. So much the
room seems to pulse red with it.

But no, it isn’t the house. It is the house, but
the red…the hot, screaming red…

It’s blood. And they’re dying.


She woke with a scream strangling in her throat, so
desperate to escape it felt like her heart was
going to explode. Sweating and panicked as she was,
she almost didn’t see the misty figure at the foot
of the bed, fading into the darkness of the room.


“It’s nothing,” she told herself. “It was just a
bad dream.”

Unbeknownst to her, three doors down, her partner
was having the exact same nightmare.


By 5:28 in the morning, it was obvious that Scully
wasn’t going to be getting back to sleep. She
groaned in frustration and sat up, deciding a dip
in the heated pool downstairs would be just the
thing to clear her muzzy head. Mulder should have
still been asleep, so there was little chance of
him walking into the poolroom to see her swimming
in a makeshift bikini of bra and panties. She
wrapped herself in a bath robe and headed

Scully looked up at the glass ceiling making up the
recent enclosure, noting the faintest light coming
through. The effect was like being in a greenhouse
— an exceptionally nice greenhouse, with the
clearest jewel of a swimming pool situated in the
middle and wicker furniture surrounding it.

Ignoring the video camera set up in one corner of
the room, she disrobed and made a clean dive into
the pool. The water was invigorating. She thought
about the dream, wondered what it meant, then
chided herself for being silly. It didn’t have to
*mean* anything — it was a dream; a product of
investigating this case, seeing the crime photos,
familiarizing herself with the facts relating to
the family and their deaths.

Just one more lap to go. She was almost finished,
contemplating the coroner’s notes she’d read on the
way up from DC as she swam when something from
beneath her pulled at her waist. Startled, she made
an instinctive gasp before being pulled under.

Blackness. That’s all she could comprehend. And the
tight, suffocating pain in her air-deprived lungs
as she twisted and flipped beneath the surface. It
still had her, holding her under. The pain in her
chest became so great, she thought it would explode
from the force of it. She tried to keep her head,
, but the longer she
went without air, the longer she felt the invisible
force tugging at her with unbelievable strength,
the more panicked she became.

And then, for no reason at all, it let her go.

She struggled to the edge of the pool and pulled
herself up with trembling arms. she thought. She
pulled her legs out of the water like it burned her
and grabbed her robe.

Scully left the room backwards, never letting her
eyes leave the pool. Not even a ripple betrayed its
calm now. It was as if the thing had turned to
glass. Shivering, she rushed out into the hall. Was
someone in there with her and she just didn’t know
it? It was possible — her thoughts were all over
the place and maybe she just wasn’t as observant as
she could’ve been. But who could be in the house
besides Mulder?

Mulder. No, she wouldn’t even think about it. It
was crazy! Mulder would never hurt her.

Regardless of her thoughts, or perhaps because of
them, she yelped when she came in contact with a
solid form in the hallway.

“Scully? What’s wrong?”

She backed away from her partner. “What?”

He stepped closer, a concerned look on his face. “I
asked what’s wrong? What happened?” He looked over
her shoulder in the direction she just came from.
She didn’t answer, just stood there shaking. she thought. Mulder’s eyes narrowed. “Did you just
come from the pool?”

She nodded.

“Was something in there with you?”

She shivered involuntarily. It was nothing, she
told herself. Lack of sleep and an imagination
fueled by ghost stories. She’d lost her
orientation, that’s all. Nothing more.

“No,” she answered in a cracking voice. Clearing her
throat, she forced her voice to sound normal. “I was
just swimming and got disoriented.”

He looked dubious. “Scully, it’s okay. You can tell

“Look, Mulder, I really need to take a shower and
get to the coroner’s office.”

He said nothing more, letting her pass without
comment. As soon as she was out of sight, he made
his way toward the poolroom.

~ Chapter Three ~

Scully pulled the surgical gloves off and sat on
the stool beside the last corpse, frowning. Before,
she’d hoped the ME on the case had made a mistake.
It just wasn’t likely that three healthy people of
varying ages could die of heart failure on the same
night at about the same time. The odds of it
happening were astronomical.

And yet, that’s exactly what it appeared happened.
Jonathan Talbot, aged 46, Sabrina Talbot, aged 42
and Clarissa Talbot, aged sixteen — all showed
signs of massive heart failure. It was astounding.
Scully was grateful the youngest of the Talbot
family, the six year-old named Megan, hadn’t been
present at the time of the murders.

She stood, head reeling from her discoveries, and
covered Clarissa’s mangled remains.


Mulder greeted her at the door later that night,
eyes flashing and hair in disarray. “Scully, you
have to see this.”

*Bang, bang, bang*

“How long has that been going on?” she asked.

He shook his head. “It started as soon as you
pulled into the driveway. Everything was quiet
while you were gone.”

He led her into the living room and instructed her
to sit down on the couch. “Watch this,” he said,
and his words were punctuated by the sound of
someone running upstairs. Mulder looked up at the
ceiling, then back at Scully. “I got this out of
the camcorder in the poolroom after you left.
Thought you might want to see for yourself.”

He pressed play. The first few seconds of lead were
nothing but the room itself. When she saw herself
enter the room, take off her robe and dive in, she
still saw nothing out of the ordinary. Half-
expecting some flirty comment about her choice of
swimwear, she glanced over at him.

His face was grave.

After about three minutes of watching herself swim,
Scully started to wonder what it was she was
supposed to see. The tape didn’t disappoint;
suddenly, there were tiny orbs of light flitting
lazily around the poolroom. She swam on, oblivious
to her visitors.

“That can’t be what it looks like,” she breathed
out. “It’s impossible. A trick of the light.”

The number of orbs increased, moved around as if
agitated. Then, she watched herself go under. She
stayed below the surface for what seemed like
forever, but it was a short time compared to how it
felt to experience it.

“It’s real, Scully,” he said in answer to her
denial. “I went in to take the tape out and replace
it with a new one. While I was there, I took some
readings. They were off the chart. Didn’t you
notice the room was freezing? The foul odor?”

She shook her head. “It’s impossible.” She didn’t
sound so convinced this time.

They were silent a moment. “What did you find out?”
he asked.

She sighed. “They were a mess, Mulder. I’m more
inclined to think they died of blood loss from the
numerous gashes in their bodies, but I can’t deny
the ME’s original findings were accurate.”

“Their hearts?”

She nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m
not even sure *what* to think. There has to be some
sort of rational explan—” She was cut off by the
sound of banging on the walls, followed by furious
whispers coming from nowhere. A family picture flew
off the wall, the glass scattering across the wood


He crossed the room and stood next to her, eyes
narrowed. “Just be still,” he whispered to her.

“Daaay-naaa,” a voice in an obscene imitation of
her sister’s wailed above them. “Helllp meee.” This
was followed by an evil cackling, still in a
disgusting parody of Melissa’s sweet voice.

Scully shook hard, tears welling in her eyes. How
could it know about Missy? “What the hell *is* this
thing, Mulder?”

He wrapped his arms around her possessively,
glaring up at the ceiling.

“Get your stuff, Scully,” he ground out. “We’re
getting out of here.”

Another cackle. Scully trembled uncontrollably;
Mulder guided her up the stairs as fast as they
could climb. The air seemed to thin and grow colder
with each step. When they reached the top, Mulder
turned to face his shaken partner. “You go on and
pack. I’ll meet you in five minutes.”

“Mulder don’t!”

“It’ll be faster. I have all that equipment–”

“No,” she said flatly.

He searched her face; saw her wide, haunted eyes.
He’d never seen her so terrified. “Okay. But we
need to hurry.” She gave him a half-hearted snort
as if to say, “Are you kidding me?”

They started down the hall, trying to ignore the
chill in the air settling itself deep inside their
bones. With no other warning, doors began slamming
shut up and down the corridor, one at a time.

It knew they were leaving.

“Mulder?” Scully gripped his arm.

“Just keep going, Scully,” he said. She wasn’t
comforted by the uncertainty in his voice. They
reached the darkened doorway to her room, the sweet
guest room with its floral wallpaper and sage-
colored sheets. She liked it so much just
yesterday. The fact that this was the only door
left standing open was not lost on either of them.
They looked at the open room, then at each other.

Something wasn’t right.

Before anyone could comment, she felt strong arms
wrench her away from Mulder, the same strong
invisible force that had pulled her under the water
this morning. It threw her into the room and
slammed the door behind her.

“Scully!” Mulder yanked at the door, pounding into
it, doing anything to try to get it open.

“No. *No!*” he heard her shout. And then, there was
nothing but the sound of her screams. It was worse
than a nightmare. He bellowed her name again,
throwing all of his weight against the door.

Inside, it swirled around her, striking at her from
all sides. She was powerless against it; all she
could do was guard her face from the attack as best
she could. Wet trails chilling on her cheeks and
forehead told her she wasn’t doing such a great
job. Slicing, ripping, scratching. It seemed the
torment would never end.

And then just as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

She rolled into a ball on the floor, breath
hitching in pain and terror. How could any of this
happen? Tears streaked down her face, mingling with
fresh blood. Two days ago, she’d laughed at
Mulder’s crazy ghost theory. Then again, two days
ago this sort of thing was a scientific
impossibility in her world. Her body shook with the
force of her tears. Somewhere in the back of her
mind she realized she was even more vulnerable in
this position.

“Oh my God. Scully.” Mulder’s voice sounded a
thousand miles away. She was vaguely aware of him
pulling her into his arms, warm arms, safe arms,
rocking her in the cold darkness. How could they be
warm? She wondered if she herself would ever be
warm again.

“It’ll never let us leave,” she mumbled in a shaky
voice that sounded foreign to her ears. “It’ll
never let us go.”

“Shh,” he said, still rocking her. He stretched up
to the nightstand and flipped on the lamp,
upsetting their position for a moment. The room was
bathed in golden light. He twisted back to their
original arrangement and brushed her hair away from
her face. “Look at me for a minute.”

She did. And her bottom lip trembled seeing the
look on his face. “That bad?” she asked.

Fury flashed in his eyes. “I’ve read about cases
like this, but I never thought… Jesus, Scully.”
Cuts and scratches littered her face and arms. Her
clothes were ripped in places, blood from the
shallow abrasions coloring the fabric. He gathered
her into a tight embrace.

All was silent. They wondered how long it would

It was Mulder who moved first. “Hey,” he probed
gently. “Go ahead and grab your stuff. We can’t
stay here.”

She nodded and stood on shaky legs. He watched as
she threw clothes and toiletries into the suitcase
in a haphazard fashion, even leaving some things
behind in her wake. He picked up those items and
tossed them in.

“That’s the last of it,” she announced and shut the

“Good. Let’s go.”

She followed him down the hall, noting that he
passed by his own room. “What about your–”

“Forget it. There’s nothing in that room that
matters to me.” He was already wearing his favorite
Knicks t-shirt, but would gladly have left it
behind if it were still in his bag. Clothes could
be bought again. There was no way he was subjecting
either of them to this house of horrors for another
moment — not after it almost killed Scully.

Investigation be damned.

“We’ll still have to gather the equipment, Mulder.
You might as well go back and get your things.”

The EM meter, such a constant companion to him now,
felt heavy in his pocket. It was to be all he would
take with him. “To hell with the equipment,” he
growled. “I’ll replace it.”

But when they reached the door, it was locked shut.
From the inside. They yanked and wriggled the
handle, but nothing budged. Mulder threw a chair
against the windowpanes lining the front door. The
chair’s leg broke off; the windows remained intact.
Desperately, they attempted to smash every window
in the front of the house.

Scully rammed a statuette against the last window
they hadn’t tried. It wasn’t working. She pummeled
the window, each blow weaker than the last. All the
emotions she’d been holding inside, all the
desperate need to deny what was really going on,
all the failure, failing Mulder, failing herself —
they broke inside her. Melissa. It knew about

She stopped. Then she hit the ground hard, dropping
the statuette to the ground as she went. It didn’t
exist anymore. “It won’t let us leave,” she said in
a broken whisper.

He turned around so she couldn’t see his face.
“No,” he said.

“Do they do this, Mulder?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard of anything

What else was there to say?

~ * ~

“I think I know why there’s so much concentrated,
psychic activity in the kitchen,” he said, idly
flipping a small, leather book back and forth in
his hands.

Scully sat up on the floor. “Why?”

“It’s all the blood. It’s attracted to it. I think
it’s drawing strength from it.”

The thought made her stomach flip. “Do you think
it’s a coincidence that the family was murdered in
the kitchen?”

He thought about it a moment. “I wish I could say
it was, but I don’t think so.”

“What’s that in your hand?”

“Not sure. I haven’t had a chance to look at

“Where’d it come from?”

“I tracked some energy from the kitchen to the
dining room just before you got back. Once I got
there, the energy just seemed to — hover — over a
small chest in there. I looked inside and found
this, but all that noise started up again and I was
distracted, so I put it in my pocket.” He scowled.
“I don’t like that this thing acts up around you.
It’s like it’s attaching itself to you or something.”

“Mulder, I think maybe we’ve both overreacted

“Are you *kidding*? Do you think you almost drowned
yourself? Do you think all these disturbances the
neighbors have reported –these murders — are
imagined? Everything was fine until you got back,
Scully. It’s like your presence provokes the damn

She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Look, I don’t
know any more than you do, okay? I just want to go

He reached out to touch her hand. “I know.” After a
few moments of silence, save for the distant
rattles and bangs in the house, he spoke again.
“It’s a journal.”

He held the book up for her inspection, opened to
the first page.

Written in a clear, tight hand were the words,
‘Journal of Sabrina Talbot’.

He turned the page and read aloud.

~ Chapter Four ~

~July 16, 1997 (3:21 PM)~

I’ve never kept a journal before, not even as a
teenager. Jonathan seems to think it’ll calm my
nerves and help put things in perspective.
I don’t think he believes that these things are
happening. How could he? He’s off at work all day
while I’m at home dealing with — whatever this is.
I have no doubt by “putting things in perspective,”
he means that I’ll look back on what I’ve written
on these pages and feel ridiculous. Overreacting.

I wonder what he’ll say when he sees the plates in
the kitchen, standing on end by themselves on the

~July 24th (7:43 AM)~

Restless night last night. Whispers in my ears the
entire evening, ceasing only when I got out of bed.
Jonathan slept like a log, unaffected.

~(11:36 AM)~

Cleaning upstairs bathroom when whispers and
giggling began again, this time sounding further
away. I decided to follow the sound. Led me to the
spare bedroom at the end of the hall, which hasn’t
been touched other than the occasional airing since
Aunt Chloe stayed two summers ago. Door stuck, but
several loud voices carrying on behind it. It
sounded like a party was going on — I could even
swear I heard the tinkling of glasses.

Writing this in the cafĂ© in town. Won’t go back
into the house until after I pick Clarie up from

~July 30th (5:08 PM)~

Things have become quiet. Perhaps whatever this
thing is has moved on, or become dormant. Either
way, I’m determined to find out whatever I can
about this house. We’ve lived here for eight years
— this is the only home Meg has ever known. Why the
sudden disturbances after eight years of peace?
More importantly, why has it stopped now?

I can’t shake the feeling that it’s only waiting,
crouching in the shadows. Watching us. I doubt
we’ve seen the last of it.

~August 13th (2:43 AM)~

Nearly two weeks of silence, and now this! I don’t
care what Jonathan says; there is something in this
house. Meg only just went back to sleep, and it was
no easy task. I would’ve moved her into our
bedroom, but Jonathan wouldn’t have it. The door is
open — hers is too. It’s the best I can do.

I woke up hearing her screams coming from her room
and ran down the hall. Her window was pulled all
the way open — something I would never allow, not
during a storm like this — and the curtains were
whipping in and out of the room. She was
hysterical, talking about a lady in her room. She
said the lady tickled her awake, then ripped her
covers off and laughed at her. When I asked her
where the lady was now, she just sobbed.

Jonathan, in his infinite wisdom, declared that it
was just a dream when I told him about it and
rolled back over to sleep. I wish *I* could sleep.

~August 23rd (3:54 PM)~

Banging and chatter worse than ever, especially in
the kitchen. I’ve done some research on the house
and found out some interesting things. The house
was originally built in 1806. An older man built it
and brought his new wife to live there. It was
passed down within the family until most of it
burned down in 1923. Only the kitchen, the room
above it and the servant’s staircase remained. The
property was sold and the new owners brought it
back to its original state with the addition of the

I’m not sure what this means, but it seems odd that
the kitchen is the coldest room in the house, and
the place where most of the disturbances started
and occur. The spare room where I heard the ‘party’
is above the kitchen.

(8:21 PM)

Decided to eat out when knife kept flying out of my
hand while trying to cut chicken.

~September 4th (8:01 AM)~

No one in this house has rested well in over three
weeks. Meg has been crying every night about the
lady. She’s taken to tucking her in after I leave
the room then yanking her covers off and tickling
her again. I never catch her, but Meg is terrified
to sleep in her room. We let her sleep with us the
past few nights, but she fights sleep as long as

Jonathan claims something brushed against him in
the shower yesterday — several times. He said it
was like someone was in there with him, touching
him. He thought it was me at first, then opened his
eyes and no one was there. I was in town, at the
grocery store.

Clarie hears the voices all the time now, and says
she’s missing things in her room. She blamed Meg at
first and began locking her door, until she started
losing things the moment she put them down and
turned her back.

The girls are doing poorly in school. Meg’s teacher
called me in day before yesterday to tell me she
falls asleep in class. Clarie is scatterbrained;
three of her teachers also let me know her grades
are slipping and she’s falling asleep in class.

The banging and chattering noise in this house is
unbelievable. I’ve called Father LeCompt in to
bless the house.

~September 6th (7:48 PM)

Things were remarkably quiet while Father LeCompt
was here. It was twice as bad after he left. Smell
of roses filled the air for the first hour or so
after the blessing, then a foul odor I can’t even

~September 20th (2:10 PM)~

This thing seems to be focusing on Clarie now. She
can’t sleep for all the activity going on in her
room. Things are moving in front of our very eyes
now. Today, her glass was knocked out of her hand
at breakfast. This is a common occurrence now.
Whatever it is, I think it’s tired of being subtle.
Yes, that was sarcasm. I’ve found it rather
comforting lately.

The girls are becoming even more withdrawn, grades
slipping further. Meg now wets the bed every night.

~September 22nd (9:32 PM)~

Just left Clarie’s room. We were nearly finished
with her homecoming preparations when something
slapped her hard across the face. The bright red
mark still hasn’t faded. She’s so upset that she
has decided not to go to the dance after all.
Jonathan told her date she wasn’t feeling well,
said the boy looked dejected, but understood.

I could swear the house was laughing at us. It
wasn’t anything I could hear, but I felt it. Why is
it trying to hurt my baby? What the hell does it
want from us?

(11:00 PM)

Have spent the last hour arguing with Jonathan
about what to do. The shouting seemed to rile this
— spirit, for lack of a better term — up. Banging
and voices increased — it seemed to be happy.

~September 24th (10:24 AM)~

Clarie was tripped and took a tumble down the
stairs on her way to school this morning.
Thankfully wasn’t hurt, just very rattled. It’s
clear the malicious intent is entirely focused on
her now. I took her to Jackie’s house to rest and
called in her absence at the school. Jackie called
within minutes of my getting in the door at
suspiciously quiet home to tell me about a racket
like the house was falling to pieces that started
ever since I left. It must’ve followed Clarie
there. Poor little Meg is scared for her sister,
but has told me that the lady in her room now
visits her when her father and I are asleep.

Very concerned about this malevolence directed
toward Clarie. I checked out some books at the
library and did some research on the Internet on
poltergeists and other real-life disturbances. I
refuse — *refuse* — to even think for a moment
that she’s doing this to herself through some sort
of psychokinetic, teenage angst. It’s ridiculous in
the extreme, not to mention a flawed theory
considering the fact that this thing made itself
known to me long before bothering the rest of my

~October 10th (3:30 PM)~

Noise almost constant now and attacks on Clarie and
now Jonathan becoming frequently more violent.
Request for exorcism from the church laughed at.
“It just isn’t done anymore,” Father LeCompt says.
“This isn’t the Dark Ages, Mrs. Talbot.”

He suddenly has quite the busy schedule, and no
longer has time to counsel my family or come in for
another blessing. I’m afraid we’ll have to do this
on our own.

~October 21st (12:37 PM)~

Studied as much on the subject of exorcism as could
get my hands on. Many sources suggest that Clarie,
as a subject of spirit’s attentions, should be
present. She insists on being there anyway — wants
to be a part of banishing this thing. I sent Meg
away to Jackie’s house until we’re sure it’s gone
for good.

After a simple house blessing, we’ll gather in the
kitchen for the ritual. I’m scared as hell, but it
must be done. Just hope to God involving Clarie in
this isn’t a dangerous mistake.


There were no entries after that.

~ Chapter Five ~

“My God,” Scully croaked out.

Mulder’s face looked drained. “She must’ve been
pretty desperate. Exorcisms are nothing to play
around with.” He shook his head. “She should’ve
known the consequences.”

“What consequences?”

“More often than not, they do nothing but anger the
spirits they’re meant to drive out. Telling them to
leave because ‘Christ compels them’ pisses them off

Something in Scully’s mind clicked. “You know, I
had a strange dream last night about the Talbots.”

Mulder straightened up. “You did?”

She nodded, looking at the window. “Yeah. It was,
uh…pretty gruesome, actually. They were standing in
the kitchen with rosaries in their hands when this
tremendous hatred filled the room. I’ve never
sensed anything so angry before in my life.”

Mulder uttered a curse. “It’s the house.”


“It’s the house! It’s the house, Scully! It’s — I don’t know —
*communicating* with us somehow. I had the same
dream last night. It ended with all of them sliced to
ribbons on the stone floor, right? It was so vivid. I
couldn’t sleep afterwards, so I got up to check on the
equipment. I was on my way to the poolroom when
I ran into you.” He ran both hands through his hair and
laughed. “How else would I find this journal? How else
would I know to be in that corridor just when you
needed me? I was *led* by it!”

“Are you trying to suggest that there is something in this
house that’s trying to *help* us, Mulder? Because
forgive me, but I don’t see anything benevolent here.”
She gestured at her scratched arm.

“No,” he replied, face grave. “I don’t think there’s
anything good here. But I do think it likes to play with
people. That it does nothing that doesn’t benefit itself.”

The entire foundation seemed to groan beneath them.
Scully clutched Mulder’s arm. “Should we try the doors
and windows again?”

He nodded and they both got up. Working their way
from the sitting room to the living room, they
tried every window again, but to no avail. Mulder
stood before the front door, hand poised over the
handle. He looked at Scully.

“What do you want to bet this is still locked?” He
turned the knob.

“Scully! It’s open!”

She ran to join him, smiling with relief. “Oh,
thank God.”

But her relief was short lived. As soon as she got
near the door, it slammed with enough force to
rattle the walls, taking Mulder with it.

“No,” she said, stunned. “No! Let us *go*!” she
pounded on the door, screaming now. “Let us go!”

The house responded with a series of creaks and
groans. “Scully,” Mulder said quietly, eyes on the
staircase opposite the door. “Scully, you have to
calm down.” She sobbed, still pounding and
demanding the door to open. He pulled her into a
tight embrace. “Scully, you have to calm down!”

Her hysterics subsided, but her eyes grew wide as
she listened to the house. Somewhere deep within,
came the sound of breaking glass. From where they
stood, pools of light could be seen from several
different rooms. One by one, each of these pools
were extinguished with the *pop* of blown light
bulbs. The sounds of creaking increased, but they
were nothing, *nothing* compared to the terrible
wailing that now filled the air.

Both agents stepped away from the door, standing
back-to-back in the instinctive pose they’d been
taught at the Academy. Objects flew from the
tables, from the shelves to break against the
opposite walls. Footsteps pounded to and fro above
them as if someone were running across the
floorboards. The air became chilly and smelled of
sulfur with an undertone of something much worse,
something dead and rotting and evil. They were

The door banged open, taking some plaster from the
wall with it. Mulder and Scully turned quickly to
see what was happening, then turned to each other
in disbelief. Was it letting them go? Or was this
another one of its tricks? Deciding to take their
chances, they both started toward the door when a
strong force pushed one of them from behind, then
another, sending them tumbling over the porch and
down the stairs.

The door slammed shut again. The house was

As they retreated, Scully thought she understood
what Sabrina Talbot meant when she said she sensed
the house was laughing at her family. She sensed
the very same.

~ Epilogue ~

…Furthermore, there is no scientific explanation
for the events that took place on the days of
October 27th – 28th, 1997, nor for the sudden means
of escape. Agent Mulder returned the following
week to fulfill his obligations to the case without
my direct assistance, as he felt my safety was at
risk. Despite my protestations, a small team of
paranormal investigative researchers accompanied
him instead. All attempts to recover the data left
behind proved futile, as all evidence had been
tampered with, erased and otherwise compromised.
Further investigation was unsuccessful due to the
investigative team’s extreme discomfort and
equipment failure. Agent Mulder felt a
responsibility to the safety of future inhabitants
to request the property be destroyed. The house has
since been declared an historical landmark by the
Camden Historical Preservation Society, and
therefore exempt from any petitions to tear it
down. The house is now up for sale.

There have been no more reports of noises coming
from the Talbot’s estate. Agent Mulder asserts that
it’s merely lying dormant, waiting for its next

Case # X-816973 remains unsolved.

~ The End ~