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"Explain to me again why we're here," Special Agent Dana Scully
demanded, folding her arms across her chest and refusing to budge
until she received an explanation for what they were doing in
Disneyland, of all places.

Fox Mulder tried to keep a straight face, but hints of a little-boy
grin kept threatening to break free. "Scully, we have a report of
possible paranormal activity in the area."

"Mulder," she sighed, "this is a world-class amusement park with a
very famous haunted mansion – didn't it occur to you that maybe -
just maybe - someone's imagination got the better of them?"

"Scully, look at it this way...if the government wants to pay for us
to come into this beautiful park and look for signs of paranormal
activity...who are we to refuse orders like that? Besides, you never
know – maybe ol' Walt himself decided to get up out of his crypt!" he
concluded with a wide-eyed exuberance that he knew Dana had no
defense against.

"Mulder, that's an urban legend and you know it."

The arms were still folded, but there was a hint of laughter in her
voice and Mulder knew that he'd won.

"Come on," he said, grabbing her hand and dragging her towards the
gate, "I'll race you to Space Mountain!"

* * * *

"Oh, Walker, isn't this wonderful!" Alex Cahill exclaimed,
impulsively grabbing her fiancé's arm.

"Yes, Alex, it's wonderful," he said in a perfectly deadpan voice,
winking at Harm as Alex smacked him in the arm.

"This was a really great idea," Mac chimed in, "thanks for asking

"So, what do you guys want to ride first?" Harm asked.

"Big Thunder Mountain," Alex exclaimed.

"Space Mountain," Harm put in.

"Indiana Jones," Mac added.

"Small World," Walker voted. "What?" he asked as the others turned
to look at him.

"Small World?" Harm mouthed with raised eyebrow.

"Walk-er," Alex moaned.

"We're standing right in front of it, for one thing," Walker
explained patiently, "there's no line, for another, and besides, like
I told you...I'm afraid of the rides."

* * * *

"Major, when you said Trout was sendin' us to Disneyland, I though
you were jokin,'" Benny Ray Riddle observed as Matt pulled the
Suburban into a spot in the enormous parking lot.

"It's no joke, Benny Ray," Matt replied firmly. "This place is one
of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and with all
the children...well, if a terrorist did get loose in here, you'd be
looking at an absolute disaster."

"I hear ya, Boss," Benny Ray answered, "it's just that...strange
goin's on at an amusement park with a big ol' haunted house, just a
couple weeks before Halloween...don't that strike you as just a wee
bit suspicious?"

"Ours is not to reason why," Margo quoted.

"I know that poem, too and I don't like the way that line ends!"

"Come on, you two," Matt instructed, "we've got work to do!"

* * * *

"C'mon, Scully, what do you want to ride first?" Mulder asked his

Dana Scully shook her head. "Mulder, I thought we were supposed to
be investigating here?"

"That's right. We are investigating. And since we're investigating,
we have to be very thorough about it. And that means –"

"And that means we have to go on every ride?" Scully raised an
eyebrow as she continued his thought.

"You got it," Mulder replied happily.

"And Skinner really approved this?" Scully asked skeptically.

"Mm-hm. You know what a disaster it would be if there really was an
incident here."

"That's the only reason I'm going along with this."

Mulder rested his hand lightly on her shoulder. "Look, nobody really
thinks that anything is going to happen here...that's why we drew
this one."

Scully smiled slightly. "I think we drew this one because we
happened to be in the area. Although it does amaze me that someone
actually assigned us to an investigation in a place that isn't
infernally hot or cold or wet –"

"- or dry or foggy or filled with people shooting at us. So someone
screwed up in our favor for once. Let's just enjoy it."

His grin was infectious and Scully felt herself wavering. "Only if
we can go to the Haunted Mansion first," she said mischievously.

"There's ghosts in there, you know," Mulder warned teasingly.

"That's OK, Mulder...I'll hold your hand if you get scared."

* * * *

"That was some wild ride!" Harm commented as they climbed out of the
Big Thunder Mountain mine train.

Walker gave Alex a hand up to the platform, steadying her when she
swayed slightly on her feet. "Whoah! You OK? You were the one who
wanted to go on this crazy contraption in the first place!"

Alex caught her breath and smiled up at him. "That was great...let's
ride it again!"

* * * *


"Hey – Earth to Scully!" Mulder waved a hand in front of his
partner's face, trying to attract her attention.

Startled, she looked up and smiled a crooked little smile for him.
"I'm sorry, Mulder. What were you saying?"

"What's up? You've been very quiet all afternoon."

"It's nothing, I'm just overtired, I think."

"No, really – you've been acting weird...ever since we went through
the Haunted Mansion." An eager grin lit Mulder's features. "Scully,
don't tell me that place actually got to you?"

She shook her head. "I'm tired, Mulder, not crazy."

"FBI agents hanging out in Disneyland - either they're crazy or I
am," Matt Shepherd teased.

"Major Shepherd, Ms. Vincent, Mister Riddle," Mulder greeted them
each in turn. "What brings you to this lovely corner of the world?"

"Actually, Agent Mulder, I think they call this one the 'land' – the
'world' is in Florida," Benny Ray observed.

"I stand corrected, Mister Riddle," Mulder replied dryly.

"Hey, I thought the convention ended three days ago!" Harm called
cheerfully as he spotted the group across the patio.

"I hope you're not all here on business," Mac added more soberly.

"We're...just checking some things out," Matt hedged.

"I think some people's imaginations just got the better of them,"
Margo said with a rather forced laugh.

"I ain't seen nothin' to worry about...'cept for the prices in the
gift shops," Benny Ray observed.

Matt glanced at Margo out of the corner of his eye. He would have
expected her to be more vociferous in her denials that there was
anything even remotely worth investigating here, but she'd been
strangely quiet ever since...ever since they'd gone through the
Haunted Mansion, actually. He'd felt her shivering beside him in the
'Doombuggy,' but he'd just chalked that up to a combination of
air-conditioning and a skimpy shorts set and used it as an excuse to
wrap his arm around her.

"So you are here on business," Harm concluded.

"That's classified," Matt joked, "I could tell you – "

"But then you'd have to kill us," Harm chuckled.

"Aw, hell...I don't see the harm in tellin' 'em," Benny Ray
protested. "We been all over this park and we ain't seen nothin'

Margo rolled her eyes. "Except for the – "

"Haunted house?" Scully finished.

"Yeah," Margo agreed warily.

"Not you too!" Mulder exclaimed in exasperation.

Walker finally put down his sandwich and looked around the table at
his companions. "What are you people talking about?" he demanded.

"Go ahead and say it," Scully told her partner acidly.

Fox Mulder's grin threatened to split his face in two. He tried
unsuccessfully to school his features into some semblance of
sobriety. "It seems my esteemed colleague was spooked by something
in the Haunted Mansion," he explained. "Am I to assume that Ms.
Vincent had a similar experience?"

"Something like that!" Matt laughed.

"Oh, I don't know...I was probably imagining things," Margo muttered,

Harm finally took pity on her. "Hey, these people make movies, you
know – and they're very good at their jobs – you're supposed to be
scared in there!"

"I know, but it just...felt...different," Margo struggled to explain.

"Well, why don't we settle this?" Alex suggested. "Let's all go
through the Haunted Mansion again."

* * * *

Margo shivered as the 'stretch room' began its descent.

"You seein' ghosts already?" Benny Ray teased.

"I'm cold," Margo replied tartly.

The sniper's response was to slip both arms around her in a warm hug.
"Better?" he whispered into her ear.

"I'm warmer…I'm not better," she clarified, elbowing him away as the
door opened and they were directed out of the chamber.

Dana Scully's eyes tracked nervously from side to side as they
proceeded toward the loading area. Mulder noticed and touched her
arm lightly. "I'm surprised at you," he whispered. "We've both been
inside real haunted houses and this doesn't feel the same at all."

"What about you, Alex?" Walker asked as he ushered her into their
Doombuggie. "Are you 'sensing' anything?"

"No, but I'd still like you to put your arm around me."

Chuckling, Walker complied. None of them noticed that the attendants
seemed to be closing the ride down for the day.

They boarded the ride and began their eerie journey into the bowels
of the Haunted Mansion, passing through the conservatory and a long
corridor full of doors. Eventually, they entered a gallery that
overlooked a grand ballroom.

"Oh, Walker!" Alex exclaimed delightedly, leaning against his arm as
she watched the waltzing ghosts below.

Her voice carried to the car behind, where Benny Ray, Matt and Margo
were seated. "Any boogey men tried to get ya yet?" Benny Ray teased.

Margo elbowed him in the ribs and he subsided back into his own

Matt dipped his head slightly to whisper in her ear, "See? It's just
a ride...everything's fine."

At that moment, the ride ground to a halt. Seconds later, a recorded
voice was heard. "Do not be alarmed. Playful spirits have..."

"What's going on?" Scully asked quietly as the voice continued to
assure them that their journey would resume momentarily.

"It's nothing," Harm called, "when they need to board someone in a
wheelchair, they stop the ride for a minute. You'll see – it'll
start right up again."

Mulder took his partner's hand comfortingly. "See? No big
deal...they're just boarding more people." Scully didn't look
convinced...but she didn't pull her hand away, either.

"How long does it take to board a coupl'a passengers, anyway?" Benny
Ray asked a few moments later when the recording began for the fourth

"Well, actually...there aren't any other passengers," a strange voice
stated calmly. The voice didn't have the slightly sinister
undertones of the recordings played throughout the attraction – it
was very ordinary, save for a slight echo, as if the speech were
issuing from the bottom of a well.

There was a muffled chorus of "What?" and "Who said that?"
accompanied by various hands reaching for assorted concealed weapons.

"Now, just calm down, folks," the voice continued. "Nine Ninety
Eight, would you mind?"

"Nine Ninety Eight?" Harm mouthed.

"Weren't you listening?" Mac demanded, equally quiet, "They said that
there are nine hundred ninety nine ghosts here."

Harm looked quizzically at his partner. "They must put something in
the water around here," he finally decided.

The recording squawked into silence.

"As I was saying, you might just as well leave all that stuff in your
pockets, because it won't do any good against the likes of us."

There was a long, heavy silence for several moments, broken finally
by Fox Mulder's quietly amused voice. "And what exactly might you

"We, my fine fellow, are three of the residents of this

"And since this is a Haunted Mansion, then you would be...?"

"Ghosts, my dear boy, ghosts," the voice informed him jovially.

"Ghosts," Benny Ray said flatly. "Ain't no such thing."

"Well, either they're ghosts or we're having some sort of group
hallucination," Scully remarked.

"Ghosts or hallucination...I don't think either one would look good
on a report," Harm observed.

"Margo, what do you think?" Matt muttered. He noted in passing that
the arm Margo was clutching was fast losing circulation.

"The young lady is recalling certain tales of folklore that her
parents used to tell her when she was very young...Romanians always
did have a flair for the dramatic," a second voice mused.

"Matt!" Margo whispered.

"Oh no...you don't mean...you can't believe that we're stuck inside a
Haunted Mansion with a buncha ghosts!" Benny Ray spluttered. "No.
No way. The ride is broke down an' this is some kinda sideshow to
keep us occupied until they get it fixed."

"Benny Ray," Margo hissed, "he knew what I was thinking!"

"Walker?" Alex asked quietly. She was surprisingly calm. Although
her experience with ghosts was lacking, Alex's experience with evil
was not, and these...whatever they were, just didn't feel evil.

"There's something here," Walker replied evenly. "Three somethings."

"Hey, dis guy's good!" a third voice observed cheerfully.

"Did somebody let Delvecchio in here?" Benny Ray demanded.

"Wassamatta? You never talked to a New Yawka befaw?"

"Boss, if these are ghosts, then we must be in hell!" the sniper

Dana Scully's detached, clinical tones cut off further creative
commentary. "Assuming for the moment that you are ghosts, what do
you want with us?"

"Geez! She tawks real fancy...just like you, Nine Niney Eight!"

"Indeed. And I might add, it is a pleasure to be in the presence of
educated people once more."

"Answer the lady's question!" Matt challenged.

"Well, young man, you see, the truth of the matter is that we wish to
leave here," the original voice explained.

"Well, can't y'all just float on through the walls or somethin'?"
Benny Ray wanted to know.

"No, we cannot," the cultured spirit informed him. "And for your
information, silver bullets would have no effect whatsoever on us.
What is required is old iron...those Teflon coated bullets of yours
are useless."

"Why don't we test that theory?" the sniper said with an unpleasant

"Benny Ray! Stand down," Matt ordered.

"I don't understand," Alex said, "Why can't they just leave if they
want to?"

"Because people don't believe," Walker mused. "That's it, isn't it?
In here, people believe in you. You can move around to a certain
degree in the rest of the park –"

"But you can't get beyond the gates," Mulder concluded.

"You think that's what all the strange disturbances have been?"
Scully asked, "Some sort of...energy discharge, caused by their
attempts to leave the park?"

"This is incredible!" Mulder enthused, "Actual recorded instances of
tangible manifestations at the interface of the spirit world and the
non-believing physical world!"

"Ya mean somebody noticed?" the obnoxious ghost asked.

"They noticed all right...they thought you were terrorists!" Matt

"Oh, my, that is most unfortunate," the first ghost lamented.

"I guess we betta just stick ta hitch-hikin'," the third spirit
sighed. "Say, I don't suppose any 'a you ladies...?"

Before anyone could think of a suitable answer to that, the ride
shuddered into motion again. The eerie projected ghosts at the end
of the ride struck the group as looking just a little too substantial
this time, and everyone was very grateful to exit their Doombuggies.
They hurried past the attendants, who were apologizing profusely
about the mysterious mechanical problems.

Once outside, they paused on the path and looked back at the stately
antebellum mansion. "Boss, how we gonna tell Trout about this?"
Benny Ray wanted to know.

"We're not," Margo informed him.

The sniper raised an eyebrow at that, but Matt concurred. "He'd have
us all committed, you know that. What about you two?" he asked
Mulder and Scully.

"Our boss is accustomed to taking our reports with...shall we say, a
grain of salt," Mulder replied cheerfully.

"Or in this case, a shovel," Scully added.

"But they were real," Alex protested.

"Only to people who believe in them," Mac reminded her gently.

"There are a lot of incredible things in the world...if we only take
the time to look for them," Walker observed sagely.

Alex pouted slightly. "Well, just for once, I wish we could go on
vacation without the incredible things happening to us!"

"You think you've got it bad?" Benny Ray challenged, "This one time,
we was on our way to a rafting trip..."


* * * *

Copyright © 2000 Kathleen Klatte
All Rights Reserved

Miss Kathleen A. Klatte


Disclaimer: SOF is the property of Rysher, et al; JAG is the property of CBS, Donald Bellisario, et al; Walker, Texas Ranger is the property of CBS, Top Kick Productions, et al; The X-Files is the property of Chris Carter, FOX, and Ten Thirteen productions, et al; this is a recreational endeavor, no profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.

Thank you to Grace (as always!)
Constructive feedback and commentary is most welcome

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