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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 
                           deeper slumber.
                           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 
                           see her."
                           "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 
                           you sleep."
                           "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 
                           he slept.
                           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 
                           of life."
                           "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 
                           asked incredulously.
                           "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 
                           much easier."
                           "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 
                           injuries yourself."
                           "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 
                           your side?"
                           "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 
                           his voice.
                           "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?"
                           "Yes, Father."
                           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."
                           "I can't."
                           "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, 
                           that's potent."
                           "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."
                           "We will."
                           "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?"
                           "Mmm, cozy."
                           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 
                           her harm."
                           "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