Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 3:25 PM

Paranoid 2/2

Paranoid
By Humbuggie
humbuggie@sv-tales.com
© 2001-05-22
edited by Mori

Disclaimer and info in part 1.
Please read the full story at http://www.sv-tales.com


4

Grover's library wasn't big but held enough information on the old Victorian
houses to help Mulder further. Before long he sat behind three dusty books
that hadn't been opened for years. As the librarian told him, the last time
anyone had been interested was when Congresman Matthews had fallen down the
stairs of his vacationing home in Grover, breaking his neck. And that was
ten years ago.

Ten years, Mulder thought as he opened the guide and explored carefully all
the photos sometimes taken over three decades ago. The books weren't of much
interest anymore. The names in it were long gone. A lot of the houses had
been restored and sold for huge amounts.

Suddenly the agent stumbled on a black-and-white photo of the mansion that
was now inhabited by the Kerns. There was no doubt about it; this was the
house he had visited. The white walls were still as white, but the fences
and doors probably had different colours. There was no telling.

Mulder quickly reviewed what was written of the house. There wasn't much.
The house had been built in 1891, when the English family McKinsey came to
the United States to start anew. They left a family behind near London.

The McKinsey's stayed in the Grover-area until the late 1930's. Then
recession struck and they were forced to sell. The grandson of the original
McKinsey sold the house to a local family who moved in and lived there until
the early '60's.

That's as far as the guide went. There was no mention of any bizarre
happenings at 'Greenwood Cottage', for that was the name originally handled
by the McKinsey's. Mulder took a long shot by searching the Internet on the
name 'Greenwood Cottage' but came up empty-handed. All he could do was check
the other books. Those too didn't leave him any trace.

"You look disappointed," the librarian remarked as he paid for the use of
the books.

"I am a bit," Mulder said. "I was hoping to find more on the house I'm
looking into, but I couldn't find anything."

"What house might that be?" the librarian asked as she put away the money.
"I've lived in Grover all my life. There's nothing I don't know."

"The house used to be called 'Greenwood Cottage'."

The librarian smiled. "You should have said that immediately. My father used
to work for the Walsh family until they sold the house in '90. Wait a
minute - are you reporter? Everyone's been in town after Mrs. Kerns
disappeared. They all thought her husband did it but he was out of town. I
still think he hired someone to do it though."

Mulder smiled and leaned over from one conspirator to another. "What can you
tell me about that house?"

"Nothing much to say really. Beautiful Victorian style. It's been mentioned
in several guides. But they say it's haunted. I can't blame them after what
happened to Mrs. Walsh and her daughter."

"What did happen?" Mulder asked interested.

"Didn't they tell you? What newspaper do you work for anyway?"

"The Washington Post," Mulder said. "I'll be sure to mention your name in my
article as my reliable source."

The librarian blushed. "Would you really? Well, I suppose it can do no harm
really, can it? It's been so long. My father told me that the Walsh family
has been terribly cut up by the events and haven't been themselves since.
They live in Chicago now, you know. They couldn't bear stay here after what
people thought of them."

"Can you tell me what happened?"

The librarian looked around and then moved forward a bit so that she was
leaning closer to him. "Ellie Walsh disappeared just like that. But they say
she left with her lover. She had a lover, you know. One of the gardeners my
father used to work with. He was a young, handsome man. And she was
beautiful too and everyone knew the marriage was faltering. So she went to
bed with him and they say she was pregnant and that's why she left. But then
her daughter Danielle died too. She was only fourteen years old and oh so
bright. She had a very high IQ. She could do just about anything!"

"Who was that man she supposedly ran away with?" Mulder asked.

The woman smiled. "That's the best part. He came back after a few years and
bought the house, marrying another woman!"

"Matt Kerns?" Mulder asked in shock.

"That's right. He was only eighteen years old when Ellie Walsh disappeared.
He left for college and came back with another woman."

"Why wasn't the police informed about this?"

"Oh, but the local sheriff knew about it. No one could prove he was having
an affaire with his employer but they all believed the suspicions."

"Thank you," Mulder said with a smile as he put his hand on the librarian's.
"You've been very helpful."

"When is that article coming out?" she asked as he left.

"Next week," Mulder said, not turning around. "Be sure to check the
newspapers!"
As the doors closed behind him, the agent took a deep breath and blinked at
the strong sunlight in his eyes. It was time to get some things out in the
open.


5

The sheriff's surprise was great when Mulder entered the office.
"Agent Mulder," he said, "I didn't know you were up and about! What are you
doing here?"

"We need to talk, sheriff," Mulder said, glancing at the deputies that
looked strangely at him. "In your office, please."

Green knew better than to argue with an FBI-agent, even when that agent was
officially no longer on the case. He guided the man to another room where
they sat down together. Green offered him coffee, which he refused. It was
after six p.m. and some of the deputies were heading home.

A glance through the room revealed that Green had a wife and daughter and
loved them a lot. There were at least three photos of them on the desk.
There were a lot of files lying around. The place looked disorganized.

"Why didn't you tell me Matt Kerns was involved in another disappearance?"
Mulder started.

The sheriff stared at him in shock. "That's confidential. How -"

"I had a very interesting chat with the local librarian who told me all
about it. How dare you leave this piece of evidence behind? How dare you lie
to us about it?"

"I didn't lie," Green said hard. "I didn't think it was relevant."

"Why the hell not? A man is suspected of being involved in a woman's
disappearance. Ten years later the same thing happens! Are you going to wait
until this daughter dies too?"

"The Walsh girl and Jenny Kerns have got nothing to do with one another. All
of this has been a terrible coincidence. Matt Kerns wasn't in the state when
his wife died. He wasn't there when Mrs. Walsh disappeared. We questioned
him and he denied the affaire. We had nothing to go on. When he moved back,
he took a great risk. No one wanted him here but he managed to help us
forget the past. He had a daughter and wanted to move on. And so he did."

"How did he buy the house? Did he use an intermediate? I cannot imagine Mr.
Walsh selling the house to him."

"He bought it through an auction. There was no reason for Mr. Walsh to
question him."

"I cannot believe you didn't tell us," Mulder said hard. "This changes
everything, doesn't it?"

"Why?" Green said bitterly, "do you suddenly step back from your theory that
Jenny Kerns did it? I'm glad then that this at least has been changed. How
dare you come into my town and accuse a little girl of a murder? It was
absurd to begin with."

"Did you tell Matt Kerns he could file a complaint against me?" Mulder asked
as his head started to explode. He needed to rest a bit but right now he
couldn't afford it. He only had a little time left to find out the truth.

"That's even more absurd. Of course not!"

"Did you tell him to contact Assistant-Director Skinner?"

"He asked me who to contact, yes."

"And you gave him my boss' name?"

"Yes, I did," Green said. "I had to. I didn't do it to screw you around,
Agent Mulder. It was my obligated duty as a law-enforcement officer to
respond to the calls of one of the citizens of Grover. And to be honest, I
think it's a good thing you are going back to Washington. It's been a
mistake requesting the FBI's assistance once again. You should realize that
these people are not very happy with the way you've handled things. That
so-called substance you had me check out was nothing. Agent Scully told me
it couldn't be identified. It was scratches. It wasn't acid. It was nothing
but a long shot. Can you imagine how discontent the lab was?"

"I'm sure they were upset," Mulder said. "I haven't been happy with it
either. But I am telling you this, Sheriff Green. ZoŽ Kerns has been buried
inside that house. Either you're with me or against me. If you're with me,
you will be finding out tonight where. You will not rest until you find out
the perfect hiding place inside 'Greenwood Cottage'. Even if I go back to
Washington in the morning without the answers, you are going to get those to
me. ZoŽ Kerns deserves that much."

Sheriff Green calmed down as he watched the pale FBI-agent who seemed to
sway on his feet as he got up to leave. "Are you alright, Agent Mulder?" he
asked worried.

"I'll be okay," Mulder said, not glancing back at the sheriff as he leaned
heavily against the door. "I'll see you later."

"Will you be going back?"

"In the morning," Mulder said softly. "In the morning ..."

"I'm sorry, Agent Mulder," Green said before the other man closed the door.

"So am I," Mulder said. "So am I."

Mulder left the sheriff's office and walked back to the hotel on foot. He
was so tired he could just drop on the spot and sleep. The darkness was
slowly setting in. Mulder shivered as he realized he was cold in his jacket.
There was going to be a storm tonight. One could already feel it build up.

The streetlights were slowly being lit. The scene changed as several folks
were lighting their living rooms and kitchens as well. Mulder didn't pay
attention. He just wanted to get back to the hotel and sleep.

His cell phone went off. He picked up believing it would be Scully.
"Yeah?" he said.

"Agent Mulder, it's Jenny Kerns," a young voice said. "I need to speak with
you."

"Do we still have anything to say, Jenny?" Mulder couldn't help but ask.

There was a silence and then the voice continued. She sounded frightened.
"Please, Agent Mulder. I want to talk to you about my mother. I think I know
where she is."

"Are you at home alone?"

"Yes, I am. Dad's gone. He's not coming back soon. I'm afraid, Agent
Mulder."

"I'll be right over," Mulder said as he hung up and looked down Main Street.
The hotel was just five minutes away but he had a feeling of urgency over
him. He called Scully's cell phone but she didn't pick up. Finally her
voicemail jumped on and he left a message, telling her he was heading over
to the Kerns' residence.


6

When Mulder walked back down the street towards the lovely lane where
'Greenwood Cottage' had been standing for over a hundred years, a car
entered Grover and stopped in front of the sheriff's department.

Sheriff Green still sat quietly behind his desk, recalling Mulder's
arguments as a bald man knocked on his door, raised his badge and said, "I'm
Assistant-Director Skinner. I'm trying to locate my agents. Can you help
me?"

Sheriff Green nodded.


7

The door of 'Greenwood Cottage' stood invitingly open. Mulder knocked on its
post and looked inside the large hallway. Before him stood Jenny.

When he stepped forward, the door closed with a bang behind him, trapping
him. Mulder looked around frightened and realized too late he had been set
up.

The next moment he lay unconscious on the floor as thick trickles of blood
found their way down his face.

To be continued .

--


Part Three


1

"Agent Scully, open the door!"

It took Scully a long time to realize that the voice she heard wasn't coming
from the deepest of her dreams but from outside the room. And even then, it
didn't sound as if someone was banging on the door of this room.

Sleepy she moved up and about, opening the door with difficulty. As she
looked at the room besides hers, she realized in a shock that it was Skinner
trying to get her to open the door to the room where she was supposed to be
staying. The hotel manager stood beside him.

"Sir?" she asked sleepy, causing Skinner to look aside. In his eyes rested
curiosity and anger, and at the same time a realization. He was wondering
what she was doing in Mulder's room.

"Agent Scully," he said, moving closer to her. "What's going on? Where's
Mulder?"

It took Scully another couple of minutes to realize she had been sleeping
for hours in Mulder's room and her partner hadn't checked in. Vaguely she
remembered their argument earlier in the afternoon. He had taken of to
investigate the history of the house. And she had simply fallen asleep on
his bed.

"I don't know," she said. "I wasn't feeling well."

"You?" Skinner asked curiously. "I thought Mulder was the one ending up in
the ER?"

"That's right, sir," Scully attempted to explain, "but he was feeling better
and we were planning on heading back."

"In the morning, right?" Skinner frowned. "I thought as much."

"Is that why you are here, sir? To check up on us?" Scully felt a stint of
anger bottling up.

"I know you, Agent Scully," Skinner said, not even attempting to explain his
actions. "No, I'll correct that. I know Agent Mulder. Let's just say that
I've come over to make sure you two are heading home. Plus, I want to talk
to Mr. Kerns in person and tell him he shouldn't bother suing the FBI. This
investigation has happened legally."

"So you came to defend us?"

"If you want to call it that. Now, where's Mulder?"

"I don't know." Scully glanced around until she realized her cell phone was
still in her room. She had dropped everything there when she had come over
earlier to talk to Mulder. "Let me see if I can track him down," she said,
locking Mulder's room and guiding Skinner to hers.

Her cell phone started ringing as soon as they got in. It was her voicemail
warning her there was a message. "Damn it," Scully frowned as she listened.
"Mulder's gone to the Kerns' house. He's been contacted by Jenny Kerns."

Scully hung up and looked at Skinner. "Sir, I don't know how to tell you
this but I've got a bad feeling. I shouldn't have fallen asleep but I - I
was so tired. I didn't know what happened. Mulder's in trouble. I can feel
it."

"When isn't he in trouble?" Skinner mumbled but he was sorry about his words
when he watched Scully's serious face. She was very worried. He could tell
by the way she grabbed her things and above all made sure her gun was
strapped on carefully.

"Please, sir. Now is not the time to argue," she said. "We just have to get
Mulder out of there."

Skinner nodded and said, "Let's go then. I'll drive. You guide the way."

Scully felt grateful for Skinner's presence and absence of questions as they
hurried through the hallway towards the car. She couldn't explain it but she
knew somehow her partner was in trouble. She could feel it in her bones.

Outside the lightening struck for the very first time, knocking out every
light in town.

2

"Jenny?" Mulder asked, approaching the girl. She still stood moving less in
the middle of the room. She seemed hypnotized.

"Don't bother asking her questions," a voice from the top of the stairs
said. Mulder looked up and saw Matt Kerns' face. The artificial light
lighted his eyes. "She hasn't been feeling well."

"She called me," Mulder said. "Do you know why?"

"No. She was surprised when I came back." Matt Kerns walked down the stairs
and touched his daughter's face. The girl looked up at her father. She still
seemed in trance. He touched her chin and smiled.

Suddenly the lights flickered and the earth seemed to move underneath their
feet. Mulder grabbed the dresser in the hallway and held on tight to stay on
his feet. Kerns let go of his daughter, dropping hard on hands and knees.
The girl too seemed to fall. She sank through her knees and rested on the
floor. "What the hell -!" Kerns muttered as every light in the house
flickered once again. But they stayed on for now.

"It's the storm," Mulder said. "Lightening."
He didn't believe his own words. Something in the house was alive - making
it shake like this. It was that thing that had created this entire
situation. Perhaps it was the devil impersonated. One of the lights went
out. It became darker in the room.

Mulder reached for his flashlight and shone it down the hall. Kerns got up.
His daughter stayed on the floor.
"Come on, Jenny," Matt said, trying to lift her up. The girl didn't respond.
Her eyes were fixed on the stairs. She seemed to see something they didn't.

"She's not well," Mulder said. "We should get her out of here."

"My daughter is just fine."

Mulder knew there was no way he could argue with this man. He didn't seem to
understand what was going on. How could he when he closed his eyes against
that which made this house a hell to his daughter?

The girl now looked at her father, focusing on him. There was a bond between
the two of them no one could break. Mulder didn't like the way they glared
at one another. Quickly he stepped between the two so that their eyes
couldn't meet any longer. He knelt down, shaking the girl gently. "Jenny,
listen to my voice. Try to concentrate. We need to get you to a doctor.
You're not well."

A soft wind blew through the hallway. It brushed through Mulder's hair. The
agent rose up and looked around. There was nothing to see. He turned to
speak to Kerns again. Then, out of the blue, something hard hit him over the
head, sending him against the small table with the Chinese vase ZoŽ Kerns
had selected so carefully. It was the only piece she had bought for the
hallway during the ten years she had lived in the house.

The agent fell to the floor, pulling the table with him. The vase broke in
hundreds of large and small pieces. They covered the floor all about and
fell on his hair and rest of his body. The last thing Mulder remembered was
falling face down as a strong, sharp pain to the side of his head sent him
into oblivion.


3

The earth seemed to move again. Mulder didn't dare open his eyes, feeling
nauseated and downright bad. He was lying on cold tiles, still face down.
But his hands were tied behind his back. He couldn't move them. The rope cut
into his wrists.

He lay uncomfortable, tasting his own blood that had trickled to the side of
his mouth. When he opened and licked his dry lips, he tasted that strange
flavour of thick blood. The side of his head felt numb; his cheek sticky.
The pain he had felt before was nothing compared to this. He could barely
think straight. In fact, thinking was out of the question right now. It just
made him feel worse.

He wanted to sleep again - to forget every sorrow and worry in the world -
but that wasn't allowed. The sharp pain to the side of his head and temple
stopped him from passing out again. He wasn't grateful for it.

Finally he did open his eyes, afraid for what he would see. He saw tiles
underneath him. The pattern on them made him dizzy again. It took a long
time for him to realize he was still lying in the hallway of the Kerns'
residence. And there was that strange pattern on the floor like he had seen
before. Only this pattern seemed new and was all around him. He couldn't
remember it being there the last time he walked down the hall.

And his cell phone went off in his pocket. No one lifted it out and answered
it. It didn't bring anyone back to the hallway to see what the noise was
about.

For a while he thought he was alone in the house. There was nothing but
silence. But he wasn't. He could hear footsteps somewhere behind him, in the
small storage room behind the kitchen. The kitchen door stood wide open. He
realized Matt Kerns was probably there.

He tried to move. His legs weren't tied together. Slowly he brought his head
up, instantly closing his eyes again as he rested his head against the cool
wall. He felt feverish and sick. It took all he had in him to resist the
urge to puke his guts out. He left marks of blood on the wall where he
rested his head. Beneath him were spots of blood as well. But he couldn't
care less.

He had to get out of here. But how, when his legs couldn't even carry him
for two steps? He couldn't manage on his own terms. He needed help.
Suddenly, right in front of him, a banging shook him up. He heard a voice
call out his name. In the back of his mind the memory to his partner
returned. She was only inches away from him!

He opened his mouth to speak but couldn't utter a single word. He wasn't
gagged. Yet his mind couldn't persuade his vocal cords to produce a sound.
All the time the banging just continued.

He tried to get on his feet without using his hands. But the moment his
weary mind told his feet and legs to act, he simply slumped forward, nearly
hitting the wooden front door in the process. Fatigued he stayed down, his
body heaving as he rested on those cold tiles once again. His mind simply
wouldn't function anymore. The blow to his head had the equivalent of a
hammer cracking his skull.

Scully, he thought as he listened to her voice behind that door. The banging
stopped. He heard footsteps. Then he just remained on the floor until
darkness finally came again to take him away.

To be continued .
--

Paranoid
By Humbuggie
humbuggie@sv-tales.com
© 2001-05-22
edited by Mori

Disclaimer and info in part 1.
Please read the full story at http://www.sv-tales.com



4

Skinner watched his female agent as she continued to bang on the door,
desperately trying to get someone to open it for them. But the door wouldn't
open. And the house remained dark. "You're sure Mulder is in there?" Skinner
asked. "Couldn't he have gone somewhere else?"

"That's what the voicemail said," Scully insisted. "He has to be in there."

"Then we'll break in." Skinner walked to the side of the house, trying to
catch a glimpse of what was going on in there. All he could see was
darkness. There wasn't a single light burning in that house. Yet he could
spot a flickering of what appeared to be a candle.

"Sir, we need a search warrant," Scully said. "We can't go in that house
without a valuable reason. If we catch Matt Kerns in the act, every court in
this country will set him free without the correct legal actions."

"You know we can't do that right now," Skinner responded seriously. "Not
before we know for a fact he's in there, Scully. No judge would allow it
unless it was a very urgent matter."

"This is an urgent matter. My partner's in there."

"We don't have proof that he's in any immediate danger. This is a victim's
house, not a suspect's residence."

"Both victim and suspect live in that house, sir. Doesn't that give us the
valid reasons we need for a warrant?"

"Is that what you believe, Agent Scully?" her boss said formal, trying to
get her to realize that she should go against everything she believed in to
save her partner. But she didn't need persuasion. Now all the pieces
cluttered inside that scientific mind of hers came together and formed the
puzzle she had been looking for.

Her eyes focused on her boss. Her voice sounded firm and serious when she
said, "Yes, sir. I believe that Jenny Kerns is a killer. Officially I have
no reason to doubt my partner's theory."

"Then that is what we'll use. I'll contact HQ and tell them what we need. We
can't go in that house with the warrant, but I can get it over the phone.
The formalities will have to come later."  To support his words, Skinner
reached for his cell phone and called Washington. It was after eight but it
cost him no effort to speak with the right person.

Scully had walked to the back of the house, trying to find an open door. The
kitchen curtains were closed too. But the flickering of light she had seen
before was now in this room. The people inside the house had moved. They
were still moving back to forth.

Suddenly the curtains were pulled back and in the night Scully saw a face
looking straight back at her. It was Matt Kerns. His mocking eyes challenged
her. And behind him, on the floor, lay her partner. It only took a second
for her to burn that image in her mind just before the curtain closed once
again. The body lying on the kitchen floor bled and didn't move.

"Sir!" she said, getting Skinner's attention. The Assistant-Director got off
the phone and stood beside her, trying to look inside. The curtains were
already closed again. Instinctively Scully reached for her gun. Angry with
herself for waiting for the official warrant, she moved her arm and elbow to
break the window. She knew that she couldn't get in from this side. The
French living room windows were much larger.

"We've got the warrant," Skinner said. "They're faxing it to Sheriff Green
right now. He'll be here soon."

"I don't care," Scully said hard, rushing to the tall window. "Mulder's
hurt. He could already be dead! That's all the warrant I need."

"No," Skinner said, stopping her before she could break the window. His hand
lay on her arm. Scully opened her mouth to protest angrily, but then stepped
aside when she realized her boss was going to break the window with the
force she didn't have.

"Step aside," Skinner simply said. Scully took a safe spot behind her boss
and covered her face with her jacket as he destroyed the window with the
elbow of his right arm. Splinters of glass burst all over the living room.
Both of them knocked in the remaining pieces of glass that stuck to the
posts and crawled inside. Skinner helped his agent over the windowsill and
followed.

It was freezing cold in the living room. Scully got a chill as she stood
there between the furniture that seemed as cold and dead as the rest of the
place. Both doors that lead to adjoining rooms were closed and locked.
Frustrated Scully knocked on the wood.

"Mulder's better at picking locks," she muttered apologetic as she knelt to
fiddle with the lock of the left door that lead to the kitchen. Skinner was
trying to open the other door. But they might as well have saved themselves
the trouble of breaking and entering. There was no way they could get
through to the other rooms. The doors - like the rest of the house - were of
excellent quality. Built to last.

"Keep on trying," Skinner said as he crawled back out of the window. "I'm
going to try the back door. There has to be a way of forcing to open that
kitchen door."

"What about that warrant, sir?" Scully asked, turning her face so he could
see it.

"The hell with it," Skinner mumbled as he pulled out his gun for protection.
Scully concentrated on the lock again and tried to pick it open. Every
second counted. That coldness she had felt before was back. She hated this
very spot. But she had no time to deal with emotions. She had to find Mulder
before whatever killed ZoŽ Kerns would kill him too.


5

Soft noises woke him up for the second time. He moaned softly as he opened
his eyes. There were other tiles this time supporting his head and face. He
had been moved. He was lying on a black-and-white floor he recognized. He
was in the kitchen.

He heard noises nearby but couldn't make them out. His hands were still tied
but they seemed looser this time. Someone had tried to free him. He could
tell by the way the ropes were strapped around his wrists. It had to be
Jenny. She was trying to protect him against her father! He could move his
wrists slightly. But the rope still rubbed painfully around the skin and it
hurt just trying to free him.

His head burst. The bleeding had stopped but his entire right cheek felt
sticky and numb. He knew he probably had a major cut on his temple and side
of the head. Great, he thought, another concussion to add to the list.

Someone knelt beside him. He tried to look up but couldn't from the position
he was lying in. Then strong hands moved him unexpectedly gently so that he
finally got to rest his back and head against one of the large cupboards. He
felt like crap. Nausea crept up again. He had to force back the urge to
vomit. He closed his eyes, trying to get a grip on reality.

Only then did he realize Matt Kerns was looking straight at him. ZoŽ's
husband looked at him in contempt as if he was worth nothing. "You," Mulder
managed to utter. "It was you all along."

Kerns only smiled. "Of course it was me. Did you truly expect my daughter,
Agent Mulder?"

"You weren't here when she died."

"I was. And I wasn't."

"You sold your soul to the devil, didn't you?" Mulder whispered. "In
exchange for your daughter's brilliance, you made a pledge."

Matt Kerns couldn't help but laugh now that his intentions were explained
with such simplicity. It sounded so easy when someone else said it, yet when
he thought it over so many years ago, he had needed a lot of time to
comprehend the consequences.

"I guess that's what you could call it," he finally agreed. "If only life
were this simple, Agent Mulder. You could place us all in small cubicles and
put stamps on us."

"You killed ZoŽ."

"How are you going to prove that? I wasn't in town. I wasn't a suspect to
begin with."

"You killed the other one too." Mulder blinked his eyelids furiously, trying
to make sense of it all. He felt warm and cold at the same time. His skin
felt damp. He didn't know how to deal with the pain but shock had settled in
and took away a bit of it. He shivered.

Kerns' glance changed. He knew the agent knew now. "You did, didn't you?"
Mulder whispered hoarsely. "You killed Ellie Walsh as well. Why, Matt? Was
that a part of the deal? To destroy human life in exchange for what you
want?"

"Don't we all pay prices for what should rightfully be ours?"

"Whom are you paying it to? The devil?"

"There's no such thing as the devil, Agent Mulder," Kerns laughed. "It's all
inside of us. We're all worshippers of certain causes. My cause happens to
be my own welfare. That, and the welfare of the ones I love. Sacrifices
needed to be made. Give and take, that's how it works."

"This is different," Mulder muttered. "Help me make sense of it."

Kerns eyes seemed dreamy when he finally spoke. "My daughter is
extraordinary, Agent Mulder. But my wife wouldn't see that. She was afraid
of Jenny. She didn't realize that what my daughter had was unique. That what
I have is just as brilliant. She couldn't grasp the reality. I had to make
the sacrifice in order to make my daughter even more special."

"That's not why she was killed, is it?"

"Who says she's dead?"

"You know she is. Just tell me where you buried her."

Kerns' eyes focused on the floor and the tiles that lay there. Mulder's eyes
glanced downwards. Suddenly he blinked, staring at the tiles that seemed to
change colour somehow. For an instant - just a second - he thought he saw a
woman's face woven in those tiles. The black spots that seemed so ordinary
and senseless before became one image. The agent tried to crawl back, to
move away from the floor as the spots seemed to move.

Furiously the agent blinked his eyelids, trying to make sense of it.

"You buried her in this house, didn't you?"

"It wasn't my fault," Kerns said, getting up. "You should understand that
much. I didn't make this happen. They did."

"Who?"

"The women. They were afraid of their daughters, yet I gave them all they
wanted to have. I made their children extraordinary. I gave them all they
wanted in exchange for their trust in me."

"Danielle Walsh couldn't have been your daughter," Mulder whispered. "You
were too young."

Kerns laughed. "You still don't understand it, do you Agent Mulder? I didn't
fuck Ellie Walsh. I fucked her daughter!"

"What-?" Mulder asked, trying desperately to get on his feet. He couldn't
believe what he was hearing. The ground seemed to move again.

"I fucked Danielle Walsh when she was thirteen years old, but she wanted me
to, Agent Mulder. She was in love with me. I offered her what she wanted and
told her she was going to have to pay a price. She wanted to be
extraordinary. I gave it to her. And her mother was the price. She couldn't
live with it afterwards and killed herself. She was too weak."

"And so you went out looking for someone that would be strong enough?"
Mulder whispered.

"Who better than my own daughter?" Matt Kerns smiled. "She would have all my
qualities and more. I chose the perfect woman to bare my daughter. I raised
her in this house to become better than all of us. My wife was her guardian.
She took care of my daughter."

"Yet you killed her."

Kerns' eyes shifted nervously. "That wasn't my intention. At least, not
yet."

"Who is it that you worship then?" Mulder asked, trying to stay awake. His
eyes seemed to close automatically but he wasn't going to slip away. Talking
was all he could right now. He had to talk his way out.

"The ones that give me what I want."

"Is your daughter possessed?"

Kerns laughed. "I guess so."

"By whom?"

"They live in this house. When I need them, they show up. They make her
bright. They make her play the piano. They make sure she's extraordinary. I
discovered them when I worked here, years ago. They connected with me and I
made a pact."

"Your daughter's talents in exchange for human sacrifice." Mulder swallowed
the lump in his throat as his wrists kept on working on the ropes that
slashed the skin off his hands.

"And what a talent it is," Kerns said. "She killed my wife, Agent Mulder.
She alone did it. She didn't get what she wanted and her mother paid for it.
She summoned the spirits and told them she wanted to get rid of her mother."

A sudden cold entered the room. The agent shivered as Kerns looked down and
smiled, "They're waiting to collect you. But you shouldn't worry. It doesn't
hurt."

The room seemed darker than it was before as strong forces entered it. Kerns
reached for Mulder's arm and supported him by his elbow, lifting him up.
Mulder would have dropped if the man hadn't supported him. "I'll take you
downstairs, Agent Mulder. It will be over soon."

Mulder's feet tripped as he refused to go with Kerns. But the man held a
strong grip on him and forced him to leave the kitchen. Just as he did, a
hard banging was heard against the backdoor and Mulder could sense another
presence in the room - a human presence.

"Mulder!" he heard a male voice shout. He heard Skinner's voice. The
Assistant-Director could see him as he broke one of the small windows and
forced his hand through it, pushing the curtain aside.

"Skinner," Mulder muttered before unseen forces slammed the door shut behind
the two men. Kerns held him loose, not expecting the agent to fight. But
with effort Mulder pulled his wrists loose from the ropes as blood formed a
pattern on the floor. With all the might he had in him, the agent shoved
Kerns aside. Kerns fell against the wall, muttering a curse as he did.

Instead of being dragged through the hallway towards an early grave as Kerns
had planned, Mulder dropped on hands and knees and crawled up the stairs.

It seemed as if several forces were trying to stop him. He could hear soft,
whispering voices inside his head. He blinked furiously and moved forward
fanatically, knowing he needed to buy some time. He crawled inside the room
with Kerns right behind him. Before his killer could come in, Mulder slammed
the door in his face, locking it with his last strength.

Tired the agent remained seated, leaning heavily against the door as Kerns
banged on it, asking him politely to open. Mulder didn't respond but
listened as Kerns whispered, "You're a pain in the ass, Agent Mulder. It's
no use to fight. Just go with it and let it happen. You'll save yourself a
lot of pain. They'll come for you. Locked doors won't stop them."

Finally Kerns turned and left. Mulder could hear his footsteps as he walked
down the stairs.  Mulder stayed alone in the room where ZoŽ Kerns had sought
refuge. It hadn't helped her much. Mulder couldn't help but wonder what her
last actions had been.

With effort the agent got up, swaying towards the window. He looked outside
and saw Skinner, still trying to unlock the backdoor that lead straight into
the kitchen. He knew Scully had to be near the house somewhere too. He
needed to warn her to stay away! Whatever it was that lived here wouldn't
make a difference choosing its victims.

"Skinner -" he muttered as he sunk down against the wall, biting his lip in
frustration as his wrists ached. He grabbed his right hand that hurt the
most and stared at the torn skin.  Both hands bled. He used his painful
hands to move up and about, knowing how little time he had left.

"Gotta warn Scully-" He moved to the window again and tried to force it
open. It wouldn't give in. He would have to break the glass. But then what?
The window was small and didn't lead to a fire escape. He would have to
jump. All he could do was let his body slide to the ground floor and hope he
wouldn't break a leg. On top of all the rest that would probably be
considered a minor injury, he thought bitterly.

Suddenly the room seemed to move again. Mulder froze as something scratched
the door. Shadows moved behind those doors. He looked around for something
to defend himself with. The next moment the same shadows moved inside the
room. They came from the floor. There were lots of them, all representing
the danger that lived in this house.

Mulder stared in shock at the shadows that became forms. They had human
faces. They had human hands. But when they touched him, all he could feel
was that horrible coldness. They were here to kill him and there was nothing
he could do.

At first he thought he was dreaming the whole thing when the shadows moved
about him, paralysing him. But he felt their cold hands when they touched
him and their dead faces were the greatest horror he had ever seen. There
were no emotions in their deadly faces. They formed bodies that weren't
bodies at all. He had never seen anything like it.

And when their cold hands stretched out their shadowy fingers towards him,
grabbing him to pull him down with them, he screamed.

To be continued .
--

Paranoid
By Humbuggie
humbuggie@sv-tales.com
© 2001-05-22
edited by Mori

Disclaimer and info in part 1.
Please read the full story at http://www.sv-tales.com


6

Suddenly the door flew open. Scully looked up in surprise, never expecting
it to be happen anymore. She stepped forward into the dark kitchen where her
partner had been. She saw the traces of blood on the floor. There was blood
everywhere. At least it seemed that way.

He was gone now. A scream coming from upstairs shook her up. She recognized
Mulder's voice.

"Scully!" she heard shout. She turned and saw Skinner banging on the
backdoor with the small windows and the lock that wouldn't give in. He had
broken one of the windows. Quickly she unlocked it and let her boss in.

"Mulder's upstairs," she said.

"I saw him. Where the hell is that sheriff? We need help!"

"We can't wait for Green," Scully replied as she rushed towards the
staircase that lead to the bedrooms. There was movement of light and shadows
behind the master bedroom. The door was locked. "Not again," Scully said,
banging as hard as she could with her foot against the door. Suddenly the
movement of shadows stopped. It became very quiet inside the bedroom as if
no one was there.

"Mulder!" she shouted, knocking with her flat hand on the door. "Open the
door!"

"Look," Skinner said, pointing at the floor. A strange range of black spots
appeared at their feet.

"Don't step on them," Scully said, "I don't know what the hell that is." She
shivered as a sense of cold wind brushed passed her face. It felt like
someone had placed an ice-cold hand on her.

Skinner moved aside and tried to use his strength and weight to force the
door open. At last the door cracked and gave in.  The wooden door burst open
and banged against the wall. In shock both stared at Mulder's form lying
next to the bed. He was out cold.

Scully moved forward in fear, expecting the worst. Her fingers touched her
partner's throat and then his chest. "Is he-?" Skinner started, not wanting
to hear the answer.

"No, he's breathing," she said relieved. Her partner didn't move or respond
to her touch. He just lay there as if in a coma. There were scratches all
over his face, arms, wrists and ankles. His wrists were bleeding from rope
burns. He looked deadly pale yet she could feel a high fever running up. The
side of his head was one bloody mess. He had taken a hard blow to the
temple.

"We have to get him to a hospital," she said. "He's in very bad shape. Call
the paramedics."

Skinner got on his cell phone, cursing as he put it back in his pocket. "No
network. That blasted storm must have screwed up things."

"Try the regular phone."

Skinner tried to get a dial tone only to hang up in frustration. "Nothing."

"Let's get him out of here ourselves then. We don't have much time."

"Can we risk moving him?"

"We have to," she said. "Can you help me, sir?"

Skinner was already kneeling down, lifting Mulder's form from the ground.
With Scully's help he was able to put one firm arm under Mulder's limp body,
supporting him as if his agent were weightless. Scully took the other side,
trying to carry as much weight as she could. Skinner took most of it upon
him.

As they turned, Scully saw Matt Kerns inside the room. The man looked at
them in disgust for a few seconds, then moved and shut the door, locking
them in from the outside. Even though Skinner had busted the door, the lock
still held.

"Kerns!" Scully shouted, letting go of her partner. Skinner stayed put
supporting the unconscious agent. Scully tried to force the lock open again
by pulling the handle but it stayed shut. They were locked in tight.

Shadows moved from behind the door. The coldness returned. The room became
darker than it already was. All that lit it was Scully's flashlight. Scully
pointed it at the floor and watched as shadows came up from the floor. And
for one long second she thought she saw the shape of a face. "We have to get
out of here now," she repeated. "I don't know what the hell that is but I'm
not going to wait around for it."

They moved backwards. Skinner gently placed Mulder on the bed, supporting
his head with a soft pillow. The agent didn't move an inch. "Try to get him
to wake up," the AD ordered as he walked to the window. With all the force
he had in him he forced the window up and looked outside. The ground floor
wasn't far away but they would never make it with an unconscious Mulder.

Scully touched her partner's face, tapping him on the cheek. "Mulder," she
whispered gently, "I need you to wake up. Can you do that? Mulder, we have
to get out of here! We need you."

Her partner moved slightly. His lips seemed to open and close as if he was
saying something. Instinctively he brought his hand to his head, moaning as
he opened his eyelids. In the darkness it wasn't difficult to see that he
was in very bad shape and needed time to concentrate.

"Mulder, it's me," his partner said relieved, grasping his hand. "Try to
relax. You're hurt."

"Where -?" Mulder started, automatically assuming he was in safety by now.
But he wasn't. In the darkness he recognized the dreaded bedroom. When that
realization struck him, he fought off Scully's grip. "No, we have to -
they're here. You don't know what it's like -"

"You'll be fine," Scully said softly, trying to calm him down. There was a
fear in his eyes she felt in her heart. They were in big trouble and they
all knew it. "Skinner's here too. We'll get you out. But we need your help -
your cooperation."

"No - don't understand. They're after me. You're in trouble too. It's me
they want. I can't risk -"

"Not without you," Skinner said as he returned from the open window and made
sure his agent looked at him. Mulder relaxed a bit when he saw his bosses'
confidence and sighed as he relaxed. "It's one big screw up."

Skinner caught Scully's glance. She nodded and stroked her partner's hair
soothingly, whispering, "Just relax, Mulder. Try to stay awake. Can you do
that for me?"

Mulder nodded. She moved away from the bed towards the window where her boss
glanced at the man on the bed and seriously spoke, "We have to go through
the window. There's no other way. The door is locked. We can't get it open.
And even if we do, it's a hell down there."

"Mulder won't make it."

"I'll jump out and find a ladder or something to move him. There's a
gardener's shack back there. There's bound to be tools and equipment."

"No," Mulder whispered from the bed. "You go," pointing to Scully.

"No, Mulder," his partner said. "You need me."

"You're lighter than Skinner. Less chance to break." Mulder leaned back as
he licked his lips. "Skinner stays here to protect me."

"He's right," Skinner said.

Scully frowned but didn't object. Skinner helped Mulder to sit up. The agent
closed his eyes and groaned. Every move seemed to hurt. Scully turned
towards her partner and forced him to look at her. "I won't desert you, I
swear. I'll get help."

He attempted to smile. "Of course you won't. You still have to tell me ...
I'm not paranoid."

She smiled and stroked his face. Skinner left Mulder on the bed and helped
her to slide out of the window. The ground floor lurked underneath her. All
she had to do was slide out and try to land on her feet without too much
damage.

Skinner held on to her wrists, helping her to slip out of the window. In the
distance they could hear sirens. Help was coming. The sheriff was nearly
there. Suddenly the entire house seemed to shake again. In the shock Skinner
lost his balance and his grip on her wrists, dropping Scully before she was
prepared to break the fall.

The female agent crashed down on the concrete path underneath the window. A
sickening snap broke her left ankle. She cried out with pain as she landed
on her behind, immediately reaching for her ankle in an attempt to sooth the
pain.

"Scully!" Skinner yelled, trying to see how bad the damage was. "Are you
okay? Talk to us!" In the dark night he couldn't see her. She was a shadow
amongst shadows.

"My ankle," she groaned, biting her lip. Tears sprung in her eyes, as she
was unable to stand up on her feet.

Scully crawled on the ground, trying to find something that she could use to
support her bodyweight with. There was no way she could stand up straight
now. She couldn't find a ladder and help her friends.

She crawled up, supporting herself against the wall. "I'm fine," she
uttered, hard enough for Skinner to hear. "I think my ankle might be broken
but I'm okay. I can manage."

"Can you get help?"

"I don't think so." A sharp pain shot through her ankle, sending her
groaning against the wall. She could hardly stand up straight, let alone
find help. Furious with herself she realized that she was of no use to them.

"Go to the sheriff. Tell them where we are and get the fire department here
to break down those damn doors!" Skinner yelled. Suddenly Scully saw her
boss turn and shout, "What the hell -" before the window closed with a snap
and both men were trapped inside.

"Skinner!" Scully shouted from the ground, trying to catch a glimpse.
"Skinner ... Mulder, answer me!"

No answer came from the bedroom on the first floor. The window stayed shut.
Scully cursed and limped as fast as she could to the front of the house
where several cars stopped. At the end she was almost crawling.

Before the house several cars had stopped. Men in uniform got out and rushed
towards the porch. Scully moved from the side, getting Green's attention as
he hurried towards her.

"Agent Scully," Sheriff Green said as he approached her and grabbed a hold
on her before she could drop on the spot, "what's going on?"

"It's Mulder and Skinner," she said, "Mulder got trapped inside that house
and Skinner's in there with him. Mulder is in bad shape. You need to break
down those doors. They can't get out."

Sheriff Green didn't understand why two strong men couldn't get out. Scully
paled as she limped towards one of the cars, supported by the sheriff. She
was obviously in a lot of pain. The onset of shock was visible.

"Mulder's hurt," she whispered again, sinking down on the backseat of the
sheriff's car. The sheriff turned towards one of his men and ordered to call
the paramedics and fire department. Outside the cell phones worked.

Scully grabbed the sleeve of the sheriff's uniform and pulled him closer.
"There's something in that house," she mumbled. "Mulder was right. They're
trapped in there with Matt Kerns. I think he's the one."

"Calm down, Agent Scully," the sheriff said friendly as he tried to relax
her. The agent's face paled even more. Green could see she was in terrible
pain and ready to pass out at any time. Her ankle was swollen. A piece of
the bone stuck out, protruding the skin. It looked like a clean break. He
knelt down, ordering one of his deputies to get the first-aid kit out of the
car. Improvising he tried to help the agent all he could.

When he set her ankle temporarily, Scully groaned and closed her eyes. A few
seconds later, she passed out. One of the deputies stayed with her and
covered her with a blanket, making sure she was warm enough until the
paramedics got to the scene.

Green walked over to the front door and rang the doorbell. It seemed like a
normal thing to do. In the back of his mind he couldn't grasp that someone
would keep two FBI-agents trapped inside. A couple of deputies walked around
the back and noticed the crashed French windows of the living room. The
doors that gave access to the kitchen and living area were locked once more.

Green walked into the living room shivering. It was freezing cold in the
room. It felt like the wind slit right through his clothes. He turned,
imagining someone watching him inside this dark room. But all he saw was the
reflection of his own flashlight in the mirror above the dresser.

"Bust that door," Green ordered, thinking of the search warrant that rested
in his pocket. If what the FBI-agents claimed was true, he had enough reason
to break down the doors. And if what he had sensed when he went over Matt
Kerns' statements over and over again that night was correct, he had enough
reason to believe Kerns was indeed a murderer.

But how had he done it? Perhaps Green would never know. But at least he
would try to find out.


7

Skinner felt something tug the sleeve of his jacket. It took him time and
effort to realize that it was a human hand trying to wake him up. He moved
his head and looked up. His glass had fallen down and lay beside him. They
were broken.

"What --?" he asked, hoping that someone would finish his question. A young
girl with the face of an angel tried to get him to move. Her eyes were
filled with tears.

"They took your friend," she said. "Your friend's gone."

Skinner remembered what had happened with difficulty.  It had started with
that strange, cold wind that set sudden fear throughout his system. For the
first time in his life he was afraid. He hadn't felt this way when he got
shot in Vietnam, and later on in Washington. Those attacks had happen too
quickly.

Now he had seen it coming.

The soft wind had been the first sign. With fear in his eyes, the same fear
that Mulder felt, Skinner had stared at the shadows that returned to take
them away. This time they would not escape. They couldn't run or hide. And
the window had closed by itself, locking them in on both sides.

"No," Mulder had whispered as the shadows tugged him by the arms. The agent
had moved away from the bed, gripping the windowsill. Both men had tried to
lift up the window but they couldn't manage. Then Skinner felt something
touch his skin and as his body was lifted in the air and thrown against the
dresser, he lost all sense of being. He had remained down while his glasses
fell off his face and cracked, dropping beside his body.

"Help me up," Skinner mumbled as the girl tugged his sleeve once again,
trying to get him to come back to reality.

The girl moved without protest. She didn't budge when Skinner grabbed her by
the arms and said, "Where's Mulder?" She only pointed towards the stairs
behind the now open door.

To be continued .
--

Paranoid
By Humbuggie
humbuggie@sv-tales.com
© 2001-05-22
edited by Mori

Disclaimer and info in part 1.
Please read the full story at http://www.sv-tales.com


8

Skinner hadn't seen how Mulder had suddenly relaxed, staring into the face
of death that came in the form of a black and destructive shadow. His
weightless body had moved up as the shadows surrounded him, sending his mind
into oblivion.

Skinner didn't know that Mulder had given up all resistance when his mind
was being told that no one would be there to help him. But the voices inside
his head told him there were no fear, no pain. There was only oblivion.

His weightless body was brought down the stairs. He let himself slide. Then
a cold chill made him look up and he saw the door he didn't even know was
there. It opened and closed behind him. No one could see it from the outside
for it was hidden in the woodwork where it remained, long forgotten.

Mulder came back to his senses as - in the darkness of the hidden basement -
fear struck him. In the corner of the basement a few wooden boards were
removed. The sand was dug out, leaving a hole big enough to bury a man.
Mulder started to struggle when he realized that this would become his
grave. He startled even more when he saw a freshly dug grave beside it.
ZoŽ's grave.

"No," he said as the struggle for life began. He was pushed forward towards
the grave, struggling against the invisible forces that lived in this house.
He saw several faces now that all seemed to belong to one of those shadows.
They were the ones Matt Kerns had sold his soul to.

Kerns stood in the doorway looking at him. He didn't speak a word. He just
stood there and watched as Mulder was forced to accept his fate.

Mulder felt his strength slip away. He knew he couldn't hold on much longer.
It would be over soon. His eyes closed as he was lifted from the floor and
turned. He was paralysed. Numb. Waiting for death. He felt his mind slip
away and believed it would be forever.

The shadows disappeared as the agent lay down in his grave. Kerns stepped
forward and picked up the shovel that stood against the wall. He looked down
at Mulder lying in the grave. The agent's eyes were closed.

"Stop it right there," a sharp voice said, breaking the silence. Jenny's
father turned around and smiled as he raised his hands. Skinner held a gun
on him. The man swayed on his feet, but he still kept a gun on Matt Kerns.

Behind him stood Jenny. She stared at her father.

"It's too late," Matt said, nodding at the agent in the grave. He threw the
shovel aside and laughed. "He's dead."

Skinner held his gun on Kerns, turning slightly to the girl. "Jenny, open
the doors and let the others in."

Jenny didn't move. She just stood there. "Jenny," Skinner repeated, "listens
to me. Do as I say."

The girl's eyes were focused on her father. She turned as if she wanted to
flee the room. Matt Kerns looked at her. The girl looked back. There was no
way she could escape her father's grip. Skinner shook her, trying to get her
to listen to him but she wouldn't. She just stayed where she was.

Kerns moved forward, his hands in the air. "What are you going to do? Are
you going to shoot me? If so, just do it. Get it over with! But when I die,
you'll never be able to help him." Kerns nodded at Mulder lying in the pit.
"He won't live unless I say so."

Skinner hesitated. Kerns looked very confident. If he were correct, how
would he manage to get help and have a hold on Kerns at the same time? Then
the problem was resolved for him as footsteps walked down the old, creaky
steps and several men walked into the room.

With relief Skinner watched as Sheriff Green moved forward and put cuffs on
Kerns. The AD lowered his gun and barked, "Get paramedics in here. I've got
an agent down." The Assistant-Director ignored the pain in his own head as
he slid on his knees and reached inside the grave, trying to get his agent's
pulse. He was no doctor but he could tell when someone was breathing or not.
And Mulder still breathed, even though that was nearly undetectable.

"Mulder, talk to me," he said as several deputies knelt down beside him.
With gathered force the men lifted Mulder out of the grave and placed him on
the sand beside it. He was non-responsive. Paramedics hurried down the
steps, cluttering the damp cellar. Everyone moved up and about.

The sheriff brought Kerns outside. His daughter moved with them. She was
still not talking. Her eyes were still fixed on her father's. Kerns started
laughing like a madman. Green thought for a second he had lost his mind. But
the man sounded very sane when he spoke to his daughter, ordering her to
shut up.

"We're losing him," Skinner heard the paramedics say. The AD looked about to
find Scully but she was nowhere in sight. One of the deputies told him she
was in the ambulance waiting to bring her to the hospital with a broken
ankle. She had just regained consciousness but wasn't able to walk inside
the house with the others.

Skinner heard them mutter. Mulder was dying and no one knew why. His vital
signs were weak. His body was not responding to any stimuli. "We have to
transfer him now or he's going to die on the spot," the second paramedic
said.

"Sheriff, take a look at this," another deputy said as he got the sheriff's
attention. Skinner didn't pay notice. The AD watched as the paramedics
inserted a drip with fluids. The deep gash at his temple was temporarily
bandaged. Then the agent was strapped on a stretcher and carefully lifted up
the steps. Outside he was moved inside the ambulance next to Scully.

Skinner felt a hand on his upper arm and looked aside when someone placed a
blanket over him. Outside, with all the flickering lights and several cars,
he shivered. He looked at the house and then at Mulder as they worked on
saving his life.

Kerns still stood there and watched the ambulance. Skinner knew he was the
only one who could save his agent. Somehow there was a connection between
all of it. It didn't make any sense yet this man held the key to the agent's
life.

He walked over to Matt and spoke softly as he said, "If you have one ounce
of humanity in you, you should help Mulder."

"No can do," Kerns grinned. "I've made my choice."

Skinner felt like hitting the man, breaking his nose and mutilating his face
for the rest of his life. Kerns just laughed when he spotted the AD's urge
to hurt him. Challenging he turned his face towards the AD. "Just arrest me
now," he mocked. "Just book me. I'll be out of there in no time and I'll
take my daughter and run. You'll never stop me. You can burn down that house
and release all the monsters and freaks that live in there, and you'll never
be safe again."

Kerns turned towards his daughter and smiled. "We're murderers, she and I.
But we have what we want."

The girl's eyes changed colour after her father spoke those words to her.
She blinked her eyes, escaping the trance she was brought in. The entity
that made her feel like this was gone. She was herself again, for one long,
delicious moment. And she made her choice not to go on like this anymore.

Suddenly the girl made a run for it. "Hey!" a voice cried out behind Skinner
as the ten-year-old ran and ran until she crossed the street and a moving
car lifted her body and carried her to the skies. During that long second
between hitting the car and ending up on the concrete road, Jenny Kerns felt
happier than she had ever done in her life.

She would see her mother again and forget that she was responsible for her
death. She could forget about all the times those horrible entities entered
her body and made her someone else, changing her into a being of the
paranormal. She was a child again when she died. And when she closed her
eyes, she knew that she was the connection and that that connection had now
been broken.

The ones that rushed to her side came too late. But Jenny Kerns lay peaceful
on the concrete, her face lifted towards the heavens. Her last thought
before she died was that death would give her the peace life had never done.

A few feet away Matt Kerns sunk through his knees and cried.

Suddenly the hands reviving Mulder stopped. "He's moving!" the paramedic
said, staring in surprise at the body on the stretcher. Scully moved as fast
as her broken ankle allowed her to and touched Mulder's face.

Her partner stared surprised at her, wondering why she was crying.

Skinner watched from a foot away as Scully touched Mulder's face. Only then
did he hear that there were at least fifteen bodies buried underneath the
wooden boards. They had uncovered a mass grave.

To be concluded .
--

Paranoid
By Humbuggie
humbuggie@sv-tales.com
© 2001-05-22
edited by Mori

Disclaimer and info in part 1.
Please read the full story at http://www.sv-tales.com


9

"I don't understand," Mulder said. His voice sounded soft and seemed broken.
His throat felt thirsty all the time, as if someone had forced sand in it.
Scully sat down as comfortably as she could on the side of the bed. She
hated the crutches she carried with her all the time now but knew she
couldn't last a minute without them.

"The bodies that we found were buried there between a range of approximately
ten years. The oldest one was no doubt that of Ellie Walsh. Her cloths and
jewlery have positively identified her. It's going to take some time to find
out who the others were."

"Were they all women?"

"No. There were three men amongst them. From what we can tell they were all
pretty young. They probably didn't come from this area. The FBI and
sheriff's department are working together to match the descriptions of the
clothing with those of missing persons, last seen in this area. But we can
be sure that Matt Kerns took people that wouldn't be easily missed."

"My god," Mulder whispered. "He's been sacrificing people all this time to
make his daughter into something that she never wanted to become. How she
must feel right now... I cannot imagine what it must have been like for
her!"

"Mulder, there's something I need to tell you," Scully said, lowering her
head. She hadn't told him yet. During the transfer to the hospital he had
been incoherent and confused. He hardly knew where he was or what had
happened to him. She could be grateful for that little bit of sanctity his
mind had granted him. Now she knew she had to tell him.

"I already know," Mulder said softly. "She's dead, isn't she?"

"Yes, she is."

He looked down and stared at his injured hands. The bandages around his
wrists showed evidence of the ordeal. His fingers and lower arms had been
scratched. When he made his way to the bathroom that morning for the first
time in two days, he had glared at his own mirror image. He hardly
recognized himself in it. Who was that pale man with the eyes of a stranger?
And why couldn't he remember all the details of what had happened?

"How did you know?" Scully asked gently.

"I felt it. The moment she died, I lived. I nearly died, didn't I? In that
ambulance. I remember seeing your face. You were crying. You never cry
unless it's serious. So I must have nearly died. I just put all the facts as
I knew them together and came up with that conclusion."

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I'm so sorry that I didn't believe you in the first
place."

Her partner smiled weakly. "I'm sorry that I didn't act sooner. I should
have seen it coming. I didn't realize Matt was behind it all. He seemed very
protective over his daughter. I didn't think anything was wrong with that."

She placed her hand on his. "She gave her life for you, Mulder. I'm sure of
it. The moment she ran away, it was like she knew she had that connection.
She might have killed her mother, but she made a mends. In the end she knew
what was right and wrong and choose the right path."

"By killing herself?"

"By stopping that which her father had started. He created this hell for her
and she stopped it. She never wanted to be that prodigy, Mulder. But her
father wanted her to be perfect, just like he was."

"He wasn't brilliant, Scully."

Scully slid off the bed and sat down in the chair, supporting her aching
foot. "He's locked up for psychiatric evaluation. First tests have shown his
IQ is above 200. They've never seen a mind like his. It's like he knows
everything. I think he used that travelling salesman-job as a cover, Mulder.
He probably picked up possible victims on his trips, somehow luring them to
his house. They might have come over for a visit and they became human
sacrifice for him and his daughter. In meantime he covered up that he too
was a brilliant man."

"Has he told them why? Or how?"

"He refuses to speak about that. But I've handed in my report and requested
for that house to be thoroughly examined. The fact alone that the sheriff's
department and our own FBI couldn't detect that hidden door might show that
there are more hidden cellars down there. Who knows what we might find."

"And those entities?"

"We cannot prove that. The sheriff has refused to state that in his report.
He has reported that Matt Kerns tried to kill us, using everything in his
power to do so. That's it."

"I'm going to examine that house, Scully. I need to find out what lives in
there."

"You can't, Mulder. The case is closed."

"But the house will still be explored."

"Not by the FBI. For us we have solved the case of a serial killer we didn't
even know existed. We have no reason to go back to Grover."

"So the case is closed?" Mulder asked reluctantly. "Just like that?"

"Just like that," Scully confirmed, knowing her partner wouldn't agree with
it. She recognized that stubborn look all too well. But she wasn't going to
let him go back there. It had nearly cost all of their lives before. She
wasn't ready for a second challenge with whatever lived in there. And she
would make damned sure Mulder wasn't ready for it either, even if she had to
lock him up herself this time.

"You were right about one thing though," she said.

"What's that?"

"You were not being paranoid."

Mulder looked back at her in surprise, reading the admittance in her eyes.
His heart sank yet his spirits lifted as he touched her hand. Having her
tell him he was right was worth more to him than anything in the world. For
that, he was even ready to give up on a haunted house.

"So, when will they let me out of here so I can push your wheelchair?" he
asked with a grin.

"I'm going to push yours first, Mulder."

"Fat chance."

Scully stuck out her tongue and grinned.


- The End -
--
Happy is the heart of him who writes; he is young each day." --
Ptahotpe, c. 2350 B.C.

Find San's Columns and The X-Files at http://www.sv-tales.com

DD's Free !