Notes: This was written before Purgatory and when it was posted to various FL lists, it was titled Subject - The Huddleston Hunt.


Derek was invisible. Or maybe he wasn't, who knows? What he did know, however, was that at that moment, he was being overlooked. He decided then to pull out his camera. Ignoring the loud chattering around him coming from Jason and the "friend" he decided to take along, Derek forced himself to speak.

"Hi, Derek Barnes speaking, coming to you from the vehicle with which we are occupying, on our way to the Huddleston Mansion, which is reputed to be haunted by entities unknown. As apart of this official Freaky Links investigation, I have with me, my partner Jason." He swung the camera to Jason, who was chatting it up in the drivers seat.

"Hey, man." Derek said, tapping Jason on the shoulder. Jason briefly looked back and smiled.

"Hey, get a shot of Sue." Jason said, winking at the girl in the passenger seat.

His companion just rolled her eyes. She hated the camera…she wished it would just stop filming. It made her nervous. Derek Barnes, in his early 20's and male, could not deny that Sue was pretty. Long dark hair and bright eyes, she was funny, intelligent, and also a bit whiny. Showing up at 6 am at his offices were not in the plans, but apparently she's one devoted girlfriend. Or Derek must have slept too long and forgot it was "Take Your Girlfriend To Work Day."

Derek smiled and put the camera back to him. It was a bit hard filming himself without anyone else there to hold the camera. On film, his head might look a bit large…he wondered if Lan could fix that.

"We are nearing the small town of Huddleston, Georgia, which was named after the house that it was built around. History shows that in the mid-1800s, a man by the name of J.E. Huddleston built a grand mansion and invited the nearing city's noblemen to a ball. It was written that over 200 people came, but only 192 people left at the end of the night. Whatever happened to the remaining 8, no one knows. Now, in modern times, the mansion is-"

"Damn." Derek said, when the camera's LCD screen went black. "Jason, did you change the battery?" He asked.

"Jason?" He asked, looking up. He lightly hit his friend in the shoulder.

"What?" Jason asked, slightly irritated. His eyes darted towards the girl as if to say "Stop ruining my game."

"Did you change the battery?" Derek asked, ignoring Jason's look.

Jason thought for a minute, keeping his eyes on the road ahead. "Yeah, of course I did. I brought the extra battery like you asked. It's all in the pack."

Derek reached in and took out the battery. He frowned and removed the battery. He attached the new one to the camera and the screen flickered to life once more.

He focused the camera back towards him. He paused to think about where he had left off.

"You were talking about the mansion in modern times." Jason said, helping Derek.

"Thanks." Derek said, surprised Jason was even paying attention.

"Now in modern times, the mansion is owned by the Georgia Historical Society, and tours are allowed only in certain times of the year. In a fit of luck, the Freaky Links team has scored exclusive time in the mansion. The house is currently open for small renovations and we have been trying to conduct our search for some time now. And thus, the Freaky Links team is devoted to finding out the truth of the mysterious disappearance of 8 people in the 1862."

Derek stopped when the car suddenly stopped.

"What's going on?" He asked, looking out the window. Several police officers and two cruisers marked on the side with the words "Huddleston Sheriff's Department" blocked their way.

"Some kind of blockade." Jason said. He rolled down the window as a police officer came up.

"What are you kids doing here?" He asked.

"We have an appointment with-" Derek looked down at a packet of information he had. "Janine Dobbs."

"You're the kids that are staying at the Huddleston House?" The police officer asked. Derek, Jason, and even Sue nodded.

"What's going on here?" Derek asked the policeman.

"Well, we got a report of a break in at one of the neighboring houses. The neighbors are pretty scared. We're just here to make sure things are all right." He said. Then he smiled. "I'm Sheriff Fielerson."

The name struck a chord. "Wait." Derek said, and started flipping pages in his research notebook. There was a bit of Adam in him as well. "You're not the relative of Daniel Fielerson, are you?"

"The one and the same." The sheriff said, seeming surprised. "You really did your homework." He smiled and waved them through.

"A break-in?" Sue asked.

"Don't worry about it. I'll protect you." Jason grinned.

Derek only rolled his eyes and started the camera back up again.


Lan wasn't upset. No, not at all. Just because she had been left behind, doomed to be the one sitting in front of the computer watching the boys do the action, instead of being there herself. And further more, she wasn't upset that at the break of dawn, Jason's girlfriend showed up and practically invited herself along and Derek agreed.

And she wasn't upset that despite that she was Derek's "sunshine in his darkness and his sugar in his coffee" (which she was doubting), she was still the one sitting at home.

The phone rang and Lan picked it up. "Hello?"

"Hey, Sunshine." Derek said. She smiled.

"Where are you guys?" She asked.

"We're there! You should see this, Lan. It's beautiful." Derek said, staring at the castle-like mansion before him. It was a sun compared to the curator offices' planet.

"I would be seeing it if I were there." She said, realizing too late her error.

"Aww, Lan. You know I'm sorry. Please?" Derek pleaded over the phone. "You know you're the sunshine of my darkness, the sugar in my coffee, the…the fuel of my car, the water of my ocean. I owed Jason a favor, and she just showed up."

Lan smiled. She could almost picture Derek doing the puppy dog face she always melted at.

"Okay. But don't think I'm still not a bit upset." She said, despite the smile.

"Great. You're the best." Derek said, turning around. He noticed Sue watching him from the shadows cast by the tall bushes. He didn't think anything of it, but her face was unbearably calm. Not relaxed, or casual even, but just concentrated on one thing so much. Concentrated on him.

"Oh, I got the information you wanted. You know, about the witnesses?" Lan said. "Derek?"

"Uh, yeah." He said, turned away from Sue.

"Should I send it to you?" Lan asked.

"Yeah, do that. Email it to me." Derek said. "And about the Doggett case--"

"Hello?" Lan said into the phone. Silence. She stared at the phone.

Derek stared at the phone. He groaned and redialed the number. He groaned when he got one of those annoying automated operator messages.

We're sorry, but your call could not be completed. Please try again later. Lan angrily set the phone down.

"Hey, where have you been?" Jason said, walking up to Sue. For a moment, she broke her concentration and smiled at him.

"Just here." She said, her eyes twinkling like the stars of heaven.

"Well, lets walk around while Derek does this thing." Jason said, grinning.

Sue looked back at Derek, who's back was facing her. Her eyes flashed yellow and she closed them. She opened them a second later and smiled at Jason.

Derek paused from his phone frustration to watch Sue and Jason walk into the garden behind the curator's office. He couldn't help but sense something was wrong.