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Ghostbusting by Maidenjedi
Summary: "To go tramping around a supposedly haunted house on Halloween? Sounds pretty ludicrous to me." Jeff Spender, Diana Fowley, casefile, humor.

TITLE: Ghostbusting
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
RATING: PG-13
ARCHIVE: List archives, otherwise please ask.
KEYWORDS: Fowley, Spender
SPOILERS: None, really.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, thank you very much.
SUMMARY: "To go tramping around a supposedly
haunted house on Halloween? Sounds pretty
ludicrous to me."

***

For the Halloween Challenge. I went over 1000 words,
though.

Author's Notes at the end.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*


"Are you sure this isn't just some kind of joke,
Agent Fowley?"

Jeff was looking down at the file on his desk,
his nose wrinkled and mouth pursed. Diana sighed
heavily. Three months in this office, and he
still didn't get it.

"I'm positive, Agent Spender. Reports of paranormal
phenomena come through this office all the time.
It's partly why we're here."

"To go tramping around a supposedly haunted house on
Halloween? Sounds pretty ludicrous to me."

She hated it when he said ludicrous.

"What do the reports say?"

"Oh, slasher movie stuff. Some kids going up to this
old house on Halloween, they don't all come back.
Police searched the premises and found nothing. This
was thirty years ago, the standard urban legend.
Bloody Mary, that kind of thing."

"And?"

"Residents complaining of odd noises, what sounds like
human screaming."

"Could be screaming, Agent Spender. Could be kids
thinking they'll be funny. How'd this end up at the
Bureau?"

"Well, cops didn't want it. They've been
investigating similar claims for about ten years and
nothing new ever comes up. One of them had heard of
Mulder's work and sent it over."

"And that's ludicrous to you?"

He looked agitated. "Well, yes. They obviously
thought it'd be funny to watch Spooky Mulder try to
unravel this 'mystery'."

"Why the ironic tone?"

"There's no mystery! Just kids playing pranks. I'm
not going ghostbusting in the guise of doing a real
investigation."

She picked up the file. "Says here that at least one
teenager has died each year for the last ten years,
all on Halloween, and none of the bodies have been
found."

He snorted. "Runaways."

"Or murders."

"No evidence. No bodies. This is ludicrous!"

That word again.

"Why? This is a perfectly legitimate investigation,
it fits the criteria for this office. Unsolved.
Maybe paranormal."

"Yeah, well, this is why Mulder has that reputation."

"No, Agent Spender," she walked over and grabbed the
file off his anally neat desk. "Agent Mulder has
that reputation because he wants to believe. Remain
the skeptic, and you might climb the ladder yet."

Diana turned sharply and walked out of the room.
Jeff stared after her for a second, then followed,
having to take bigger steps to catch up to her.

----------------

It was getting dark by the time they got to the
house at 4213 Ridgemont.

"Skinner couldn't have been serious about this."

Diana didn't bother replying, but gave her partner
a piercing glare that shut his mouth.

They got out of the car and climbed the small hill
that led to the Victorian house. The building had
long been in need of paint, and the wood was rotting
on the porch and around the windows. A chill in the
air added to the mood, and Diana thought some Danny
Elfman music would complete it.

The stairs creaked under her feet, and the door was
locked. Jeff tried knocking.

"Nobody lives here, Agent Spender."

"Yeah," he said. He was distracted, listening for
some sign of life. He knocked again, and Diana bit
back a venomous comment on his investigative skills.

"Try the knob."

"Right." He reached for the knob, but the door opened
first, swinging out of his reach.

"What the heck?" Jeff squeaked, jumping back.

A loud meow made Diana laugh. "It was a cat,
Spender."

He scowled and walked in ahead of her, hand on his
holster. She chuckled again, under her breath.

They walked around the ground floor, careful not to
make too much noise in case there were lurking
pranksters. Diana thought Jeff might have been right,
nothing to this case but urban legend, but she'd
studied parapsychology for too long to mistake the
sudden drop in temperature for just a freak draft.

"Agent Fowley? You still here?"

She stared around the room, what might have served as
a dining room at one point but just collected dust
now.
Diana was certain she felt something, something
waiting
to lure her to a clue.

"Still here, Spender."

She felt it before she saw it. A trick of the light,
Jeff would say derisively, but there was no mistaking
the shape of a woman, staring at Diana as if it wanted
to talk.

A genuine haunted house, she thought. Not just shades

of lives past.

Jeff came into the room and shivered. "Is there an
open window in here?" He caught the look of wonder on
Diana's face. "What?"

She pointed. The image faded, and Diana blinked.

"I don't see anything."

"We need to look around more. Turn on the lights."

There was no electricity in the house, so Diana
volunteered to get their flashlights. She dug around
in the trunk and came up empty-handed. So much for
Boy Scout Spender always being prepared.

Later she wouldn't know if it was the moaning sound of
the wind or just plain intuition that had her running
back up to the house. She didn't hear him screaming
until she got to the porch.

"Agent Spender?"

Another scream, coming from upstairs.

She sprinted up the stairs, cursing her high heels
when her left foot broke through the wood. Stuck for
the moment, she shouted, "Agent Spender! Are you
alright?"

The cat mewled loudly from the top of the stairs, but
Jeff didn't answer.

"Jeffrey!"

Silence.

Diana got her foot loose and took off her shoes before
going on. She took out her gun and stalked around the
hall corner, the cat following her closely.

Jeff stood staring into a room, his face white and
hands shaking, his weapon clenched in his fist.

"Agent Spender? What is it?"

He pointed with his free hand.

"Look."

She looked.

On the mirror, traced in what looked like old blood,
were
the words "Bloody Mary". A very decayed body lay
heaped on the floor, its skeletal face grinning up at
them. Blood stains streaked the walls, the tub, and
the sink.

But what had frightened Jeff Spender was not the
gruesome remains, but the specter staring at him
and not reflected in mirror at all.

While they stood looking at the scene, the bathroom
door slammed shut.

Jeff jumped and screamed, covering his mouth this
time.

Diana just stared at the door. The cat hissed and ran
back down the stairs.

She wondered if the cat didn't have the right idea,
but
she was too annoyed with her partner to do anything
about it.

"Do you have a pocket flashlight?" The house was dark
as pitch.

"N..no."

"Okay. We need to get forensics out here, we need to
report this. Let's get out of here, shall we?" Diana
tried to sound soothing, but mostly she was too pissed
off.

They went downstairs and Jeff made for the door.

It didn't open.

"What?" Diana pushed at it. Locked, or stuck.

They took turns kicking it. Despite both of them
being
in prime physical condition as per F.B.I. standards,
the door stayed locked and intact.

Diana studied her partner's shaking profile. It was
going to be a long night.

----------------------------

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is where the story ends, at
least
for now. I intended to just write a 500 word blurb
where Diana plays a Halloween prank on her skeptical
partner, and have her call him a "twitchy little
ferret" (I'm dying to use that one in a Spender
story), but this came out instead. What happens next?
If you know, by all means, write it. This was just a
little Halloween treat for the Wives at the Harem.

Feedback or criticism welcome at texgoddess@yahoo.com