Mulder came to on a narrow stone ledge, ten feet
below the top of the cliff. Upon awakening all he
could think of was his physical discomfort. What had
happened to make every inch of his body ache? He
pondered that question for a few seconds before
trying to move.
The aches turned into excruciating pinpoints of pain
when he tried to turn onto his back. He determined
that some parts of his body hurt more than others,
particularly his back, legs and shoulders. The thing
that bothered him most was the nagging feeling that
he was forgetting something important.
"Think, think," he told himself. "How did I get here
and where is 'here'?"
Mulder gathered all of his strength and forced
himself to flip onto his back. He stared up at the
darkening sky and shifted his eyes to the left. That
slight movement caused his eyes to feel like someone
had driven hot pokers into them. His stomach flipped
and for a few minutes he struggled to keep it down.
The feeling of nausea faded and his eyes only
registered a dull ache.
"Concussion," he thought.
He tried to raise his left arm to feel his head and
stopped, reminding himself not to try that again.
The pain wasn't worth it.
He looked above, and to his left again, and this time
the pain was tolerable. His eyes followed the cliff
wall all the way to the top. "I must have fallen."
Suddenly, the nagging memory hit him full force.
Without thinking, he rolled onto his right side, his
shoulder protesting. He looked below, dreading what
he would see. He spied another ledge a bit lower and
to his right. Scully wasn't there, nor was she at
the bottom of the cliff.
Tears began to flow freely as he called her name,
hoping against hope that she was uninjured and
looking for him. He continued to cry until his
strength faded like the late afternoon sun.
"Please, let her be all right," he whispered as he
lost consciousness once again.
He roused up several times during the night calling
Scully's name and getting no answer, then dropping
off to sleep restlessly as a light rain fell.
The next time he woke, the sun was shining brightly
almost directly overhead. He wished he could see his
watch but there was no way he would try to move his
left arm again.
Mulder wondered where his backpack had wound up. He
was very thirsty and could envision that bottle of
water nestled in his pack.
He thought he heard something up above. "Scully!
Help! Down here! Scully?"
He listened in vain for a reply. He couldn't figure
it out. Scully wasn't lying anywhere below him;
therefore, she had to be okay. Why didn't she bring
He began to shiver despite the warm sun. "Great.
That's all I need. Must be getting an infection from
that gunshot wound. Come on, Scully. Where are
He dozed off and on throughout the day. At one point
he felt like he was being carried by someone, but he
figured it was just a dream, and fell into an even
He awoke shivering. "Shit! I wish I could stop.
That hurts." He groaned and opened his eyes.
It was dark. Had he been on that damned ledge for
over twenty-four hours? Something seemed different
though. He smelled a campfire and something was
cooking. It smelled delicious. He was just about to
call for help when the face of a young girl appeared
above him. He blinked his eyes and she was gone.
"Huh? Must be hallucinating now."
He closed his eyes, ready to drift off again when he
was startled by a young voice calling, "He's awake!"
He opened his eyes again and saw several people
standing around him. "Where am I?" he rasped, his
throat so dry it was difficult for him to talk.
A dark-haired, bearded man offered him water and
helped him sit up enough to drink it. Mulder
greedily gulped it down until the man withdrew the
cup. "Take it easy. You'll make yourself sick."
He let Mulder have another swallow, then handed the
cup to one of the people standing near him.
"Thank you," Mulder said, his voice still hoarse.
The others moved away. "You're welcome, and to
answer your question, you're in our home."
Mulder turned his head as much as he could and looked
around. He discovered that he was in what appeared
to be a cave.
"Yes, Mr. Mulder. It is a cave."
"How did you know my name?"
"We searched you for identification and then replaced
your wallet. Your money and credit cards were
untouched," the man, who appeared to be around forty
Mulder had a weird feeling that the man was able to
read his mind.
"Yes, Mr. Mulder, I am able to read your thoughts. I
know you have many questions and that you are
extremely worried about your partner, or should I say
"Have you seen her?"
"Yes, she's here. We found you both last evening.
We were able to take her in right away but it took a
while to get you off that ledge," the man explained.
"How is she? Was she hurt badly?"
"I'm afraid she suffered a serious head injury along
with several broken bones. My wife and mother-in-law
are tending to her."
Mulder tried to sit up, but the man held him down.
"Please, let me go to her," he pleaded. "I have to
"Mr. Mulder, you need to rest."
"Have you gone for help? She needs a doctor."
"She is being helped."
"Your wife and mother-in-law? Are they doctors?"
"Not in the traditional sense."
"What are they doing to her?"
"They are healing her. Mr. Mulder, I can sense that
you are growing tired and your pain has reached an
excruciating level." He turned and took a cup from a
table behind him. "Please, drink this and I will
answer your questions after you sleep."
"I want answers now!" Mulder demanded, rising
slightly. He quickly dropped back to the pillow when
a sharp pain lanced through his head.
"Please drink this. It will ease your pain and help
"What is it?"
"A mixture of plants and herbs used for thousands of
years to relieve pain. It has a sedative effect."
Mulder eyed the cup warily.
"I promise. It won't hurt you."
"What's your name?" Mulder inquired.
"Jacob, call me Mulder. My father was Mr. Mulder."
"Whatever you want. Will you drink this?" Jacob
Mulder realized that he would be unable to talk much
longer. The pain had increased steadily since he
regained consciousness and was threatening to
overpower his ability to think and speak. "You're
sure Scully is okay?"
"She'll be fine, Mulder. She might even be able to
talk to you when you wake up."
"All right. Let me have it."
Jacob held Mulder's head up so that he could swallow
the concoction. Mulder chugged it down. The taste
was so vile that it made him gag. By sheer
willpower, he managed to keep it down. Within a few
minutes he was pleasantly drowsy. He went to sleep
with Scully on his mind, bound and determined that he
would see her when he next opened his eyes.
Mulder slept for almost ten hours. When he awoke, he
was surprised that his head was feeling much better,
and the other areas of pain had lessened a bit.
"Did you sleep well, Mulder?"
"Yes, I did. I do feel a little better," Mulder
answered, feeling some changes had taken place while
His bandage had been changed and some type of weird
smelling ointment had been spread on his ribs, right
shoulder and back. He also noticed that he had been
stripped and bathed.
"Who took care of me?" he wondered.
"My mother-in-law did what she could for your
injuries and I cleaned you up. I'm sorry, but your
clothes were past saving. We'll find something for
you to put on when you feel more like getting up and
"How is Scully doing?"
"She is conscious but still quite weak," Jacob
"You said I could see her," Mulder reminded him.
"Yes, I did, and I will not go back on my word, but
first, I want to tell you about our rather unique way
"Like why you live in a cave?"
"That is one of many things I must tell you, but
first you need to eat and drink. You are getting
weaker by the minute."
"After I see Scully," Mulder decided.
"She is getting dressed. What I need to tell you
must be kept a secret. I've looked into your heart
and I know I can trust you to believe my story and
not to reveal our location," Jacob said in a very
serious tone of voice.
"Yes, you can," Mulder confirmed.
"For as long as we can remember, and for hundreds of
years before that, our families have always lived
close to each other. The McBrides always marry
Pearsons. It has always been and must continue to
"The McBride men possess the ability to read other's
thoughts. We can look into their hearts and feel if
they are good or evil," Jacob explained.
"That must come in handy," Mulder commented.
"Yes, it does. It is very important to know other's
hearts and minds because we must protect the Pearson
"Do they have extraordinary powers too?"
"Oh, yes. Without their powers, or gifts, Miss
Scully would have died."
The mere thought of that caused Mulder to shiver.
"What do they do?"
"The Pearson women are able to heal," he stated.
Mulder's expression reflected his interest. "They
can heal? How?"
"We don't know how or why, Mulder. It starts to
develop when a young girl becomes a woman. At first
her powers are very weak but they become stronger as
she matures. By the time she is no longer able to
bear children, her powers begin to fade. The very
old and very young have no healing power," Jacob
"Wow, that's quite a story."
"It is not a story. It is a fact. My wife, Naomi,
has been working on your partner, night and day. My
daughter, Hannah, has been looking on. She is
thirteen and just beginning to feel the power."
"You mean Scully was healed by your wife?" Mulder
"Yes. Naomi has had very little sleep or food during
her vigil, but your partner has recovered. Naomi is
resting now. Miss Scully was in such grave condition
that it completely drained my wife. It will take
weeks for her to regain her full powers," Jacob
sighed. "I think you see why we must be so
protective of our women. Of course, being able to
read a person's thoughts and feelings makes that job
"I am deeply grateful for your wife's help. Scully
is my life. If she had died. . ." Mulder stopped,
unable to speak through his emotions.
"I know, Mulder. I can sense your love for her above
all of your thoughts and emotions."
"You said I could see her," Mulder reminded him.
"She will be here soon. Although Naomi healed her
injuries, she is still weak. She is moving more
slowly than usual. It will take a few days for her
to regain her strength, but she will soon feel as she
did before," Jacob assured him.
"Thank you," Mulder grimaced.
"Mulder, your pain is bad. You have many serious
"I don't care. I can live with the pain as long as
Scully is all right."
"Our family is small, and Naomi is the only one with
full powers. I wish she could help you too, but she
used all of her gift to keep Miss Scully alive.
"I'll be okay," Mulder groaned, shifting
"I've asked Hannah to help you. Her power is very
weak, but she might be able to make you more
comfortable. Grandma Esther is brewing more of the
drink I gave you earlier."
"That stuff is vile," Mulder complained, making a
"But it did help? Right?" Jacob grinned.
"Uh, yeah, after I choked it down."
"She is also preparing some broth for you. It will
be ready soon."
"Thank you, Jacob. I have some questions for you,
though. Why do you live like hermits?"
"The world shuns us. We're strange in their eyes.
If they knew what we could do we would never have a
moment's peace," Jacob answered, a bitter tone in his
"Judging from the way you speak, you are an educated
man. You must have had some formal education."
"Only enough to learn the basics. I read extensively
whenever I can find books or magazines."
"So, how do you live? How do you get food and
"Sometimes I take on odd jobs, but mostly we are
scavengers. We also have a very well hidden garden
close by. I'm ashamed to admit that at times, we
have had to resort to theft for items that were
desperately needed," Jacob admitted, blushing
"A blanket and jeans for instance?" Mulder asked.
"Yes, I'm sorry. Did they belong to you?"
"No, they belonged to a fellow camper."
"I just didn't see any other way at the time."
"Don't beat yourself up over it. They have more than
enough. Believe me, they can spare the items."
"That still doesn't make it right," Jacob replied,
tears in his eyes.
Mulder heard a shuffling noise, then a sound he
thought he would never hear again.
"Mulder! Thank God! They found you!" Scully
exclaimed, carefully kneeling beside him and gently
taking him in her arms, giving him a tender kiss.
"Scully, I thought I'd lost you," Mulder moaned,
trying to suppress his tears.
"You almost did, Mulder. I can't explain it. I
thought I had a skull fracture, probably a spinal
fracture and ankle fractures as well, yet here I am.
I have no pain, only some weakness."
"Jacob says the women have the power to heal," Mulder
"I don't know about that. I just know I felt I was
near death and now I'm okay."
"Scully, whatever you believe, you're here and alive.
Don't question it." Mulder tried to move to get
closer to her, causing him to groan loudly.
"Mulder, enough about me. How are you?"
"I've been better."
"What new injuries do you have?"
"I think my right shoulder is dislocated and
something's wrong with my back and legs," Mulder
groaned again. "Sorry, the pain's getting to me."
"Let me check you over," Scully demanded.
"Be my guest," Mulder grinned despite the pain,
knowing he was naked under the covers.
Scully pulled the blanket back. "Oh, Mulder. You're
a mess. You're just one solid bruise."
"Well, not everything is bruised," he informed her,
waggling his eyebrows.
Scully ignored that comment. "Can you roll over onto
"Not without help, I'm afraid."
"Jacob, could you help me turn him? I want to check
his back for injuries."
"Of course, Miss Scully."
With Jacob's help, she checked his back. "I don't
feel anything out of place. Can you wiggle your
Mulder complied, grimacing in pain.
"Okay, Mulder. Let me examine your shoulders."
After looking at both she determined that the right
one was indeed dislocated and the left one was
infected. "Any fever?" she inquired, feeling his
"Yeah, I think so."
"I think so too. If Naomi used her powers to heal
me, why can't she heal you too?"
"According to Jacob, her powers need time to
recharge. It will be several weeks before they are
full strength again," Mulder explained.
"We need to get you to a hospital. Your shoulder
needs to be put back in place as soon as possible and
your other injuries and infection need to be treated
as well," she decided, swaying on her knees.
"Scully, you okay?" Mulder asked, concern evident in
"I'm pretty tired," Scully admitted.
"Then lie down with me."
"Thanks. I think I'll take you up on your offer."
"I'm going to get that broth," Jacob informed them.
"Miss Scully, would you like some too?"
"Yes, please and could we have some water too?"
"Of course. You both need to replenish your fluids."
Jacob brought the broth and water. "I'm going out
for a walk and I'm taking Hannah with me. Grandma
Esther will bring your special drink when it is
ready. Naomi will probably sleep for a while, and
you both need to rest too."
"Thank you, Jacob."
"You're welcome, Miss Scully. Hannah, let's check
the garden, all right?"
Scully sat up. "Mulder, let's try to get some of
that broth into you."
"I'll wait until you finish yours."
"Nonsense. I can have mine while I'm helping you."
For the next few minutes Scully sipped her broth and
helped Mulder take a few sips of his.
Every time she helped him lift his head, he groaned.
She wished she could do something to alleviate some
of his pain, knowing he had to be in agony.
"That's enough, Scully."
"Mulder, you need to drink this."
"You're already dehydrated. You need this."
"I have to save room for Grandma Esther's special
drink," he grimaced.
"What is that, by the way?"
"It's a mixture of plants and herbs that will help
his pain," Grandma Esther explained as she handed
Scully the cup. "Make sure he drinks it all." With
that she shuffled to another part of the cave.
Scully smelled the concoction and made a face. "Wow,
"It's absolutely vile, but it did help the pain."
"Your pain is bad, isn't it?"
"I've never hurt in so many places at the same time
in my life," Mulder groaned.
"We have to figure some way to get you to a
hospital," Scully decided.
"I think Jacob will help us."
"We'll talk to him when he returns. In the meantime,
you'd better drink Grandma Esther's special brew."
"I don't know if I can get it down, Scully."
"At least try. She went to all of that trouble to
make it," Scully coaxed.
She held the cup to his lips. Although he gagged
several times, he managed to drink all of it.
Scully put the empty cups on the table and lay beside
Mulder again. She snuggled close and laid her arm
carefully across his chest.
"Scully, I was so worried about you."
"And I'm worried about you. We have to get help."
"What do you make of these people?" Scully asked.
"Jacob explained that the two families have married
for as long as anyone can remember. I'm assuming
that there are more of them throughout this region
"Why do they live in a cave?"
"They don't fit in anywhere. The men can read minds
and are empathetic to a certain degree. They believe
they exist to protect the women who have the gift of
healing during their childbearing years," Mulder
related what Jacob had told him.
"Only during their childbearing years?" Scully
inquired, her upraised eyebrow showing her
"That's the way I understood it. Hannah has some
power but it hasn't reached its peak. Evidently
Grandma Esther has lost hers."
"Mulder, do you realize how far-fetched that sounds?"
"Yes, I do, but you're living proof, Scully. You
fell all the way down that cliff. You, yourself,
admitted that you were severely injured."
Scully sighed. "Maybe I had a concussion and had
some really weird dreams as a result."
"Scullee," he whined.
"I'm sorry, Mulder. It just doesn't make scientific
sense. It takes weeks for broken bones to heal and
you expect me to believe that multiple fractures were
healed with a touch?"
"Have you read the Bible, Scully?"
"This is something else entirely," she argued,
glaring at him.
"Whatever. I'm tired. I'm going to sleep for a
little bit," Mulder yawned.
"Yes, sleep. You need to rest."
"Will you stay with me? I'm pretty cold too, and I
could use someone to keep me warm."
She snuggled in as close as she could. "Better?"
Mulder fell into a restless sleep while Scully lay
beside him, pondering the things he had told her.
Before long she was dozing too.
They were both awakened by voices. Jacob and Hannah
had returned and were involved in a heated discussion
with Grandma Esther. All conversation stopped when
they realized their guests were awake.
Jacob approached them. "How are the two of you
"I'm feeling much stronger, thank you," Scully
replied, rising to her knees beside Mulder.
When Mulder didn't answer she turned to him.
"Mulder, how are you doing?"
A groan was her only answer. Scully looked at him
closely. His eyes reflected the pain he felt, and
when she touched his forehead it was extremely warm.
"He's worse. His gunshot wound is infected and the
pain from his other injuries is sapping his strength.
We need to get him to a hospital. Now!" she
Hannah appeared at Jacob's side. "Hannah may be able
to relieve some of his discomfort, but I'm afraid her
powers aren't strong enough to do much more."
"It's too soon!" Grandma Esther interjected.
"There are obviously other people close by. They
brought us here. Why can't you get them to take
Mulder out now?" Scully questioned, fire in her eyes.
"We'll let the child decide," Jacob ruled.
"Decide what?" Scully questioned.
"Hannah's gift is just beginning to develop. Grandma
Esther is afraid that using it too early could cause
"I'd like to try," Hannah offered.
"Child, you don't know what you're doing. Please
don't do this," Grandma Esther pleaded.
Scully shook her head in disbelief.
Hannah knelt beside Mulder and held her hands over
him. She started to shiver and moan as Mulder began
to move restlessly. Suddenly, he began to jerk and
flail about in the throes of a grand mal seizure.
Just as suddenly, Hannah slumped to the floor.
"What have you done?" Grandma Esther wailed.
"You've killed her."
End Part Three