Title: Uninvited Guest - Part 7 of 7
Author: Rhonda Dossett
Character: CJ, but everyone gets to play
Summary: Is the White House haunted?
Spoilers: Minor possible spoilers up to and including
"The Day Before."
Disclaimers: The normal disclaimers apply.
Thursday 4:15 am
Under the White House East Room
A greenish, otherworldly light partially illuminated the
The three White House staffers sat with their backs against the
cold, damp, brick wall. But they didn't feel either the cold or
the dampness. Their attention was solely focused on the apparition
calmly sitting on the moldy wooden crates stacked to one side.
The ghostly figure, sitting with an ankle propped on the opposite
knee, was whittling on a piece of wood and intermittently
stopping to write on a sheet of paper.
Sometimes he responded when one of them spoke to him, but
just as often he acted as though he couldn't see or hear them.
Toby had the surreal thought that maybe they were the ghosts
in his world instead of the other way around.
During those seconds when they existed for him, they asked
questions and sometimes he responded with words. Other times
he paused and acted as though he was listening to far off voices,
maybe their voices.
Sam tried to discuss world events with him. Of course his world
ended on April 15, 1865, so his knowledge was a little out of date.
"What are you writing, Mr. President?" asked Toby, itching to be
holding a pen in his own hand.
Expecting to hear about some famous proclamation or address,
they were disappointed to hear these words, "I'm writing a letter
to Molly. Tad's goat has gone missing."
"Did he say goat?" Josh asked, leaning towards Toby.
Toby started walking closer to the figure.
"Toby, what are you doing?" whispered a frantic Sam.
"Shush, I want to see if I can read what he's writing."
Sliding in next to the former President, Toby looked down at
the half finished letter. Reading out loud, he spoke Lincoln's
Washington, August 8, 1863
My Dear Wife:
All is well as usual, and no particular trouble any way. I put
the money into the Treasury at five per cent, with the privilege
of withdrawing it any time upon thirty days' notice. I suppose
you are glad to learn this. Tell dear Tad, poor "Nanny Goat,"
is lost; and Mrs. Cuthbert and I are in distress about it. The day
you left Nanny was found resting herself, and chewing her little
cud, on the middle of Tad's bed. But now she's gone! The
gardener kept complaining that she destroyed the flowers, till
it was concluded to bring her down to the White House. This
was done, and the second day she had disappeared, and has not
been heard of since. This is the last we know of poor "Nanny."
The weather continues dry, and excessively... . "
Impatiently, Josh stood up while asking, "Excessively what?"
Toby stepped back from the busy specter and returned to stand
Josh nudged him to get his attention.
At Josh's inquiring look, Toby growled, "I don't know, he hasn't
finished it yet."
Painfully shifting on the hard ground, Sam sighed, "You know
it's just our luck to meet Lincoln's ghost and be able to watch
one of the greatest speech writers of all time work and what is
he writing? Some letter to his wife about a damn goat."
Kneeling down by Sam, Toby asked, "How are you feeling?"
"Frankly, not good. The novelty of this situation is wearing off
and my leg is killing me."
"Were you injured at Gettysburg, son?" Mr. Lincoln inquired.
Startled, the three stared at the apparition who seemed to not
only hear them, but see them again.
Looking up into his concerned face, Sam stuttered, "Uh, no sir,
I,... I broke my leg . . uh . . in a fall."
Bending over and whispering to Sam, Josh said, "Quick, while
you have him on the line, ask him if he knows another way out
"Mr. President, how can we get out of here?"
But Mr. Lincoln seemed lost in his thoughts again, unaware of
their presence. Talking to himself, the weary spirit proclaimed,
"I lost so many boys at Gettysburg, no wonder they haunt me.
Even here, in this cellar, I can find no peace."
Bouncing on balls of his feet, Josh said, "Hey guys, I think we
have overstayed our welcome. I vote we get out of here."
"Brilliant! declared a sarcastic Toby. "Have you discovered a
way to do that? If so, you have our undivided attention."
"Well, how about we ask them?" Josh quipped, pointing toward
"Now what?" Toby held his hand against his chest, shoulder
height. "I'm fed up to here with spirits, spooks, and especially
"No one has ever called me a ghost before. Spook maybe
but not ghost." Ron Butterfield slid his sidearm back
into his shoulder holster. The Secret Service Agents
behind him did the same.
Thursday 4:15 am
The Lincoln Bedroom
They were still sitting in a circle on the enormous bed
dominating the Lincoln bedroom. A bed in a room filled
with Mrs. Lincoln's things. The bed where Willie had died.
Dr. Blaine was convinced that this was the best place
to contact the ghost of the former First Lady.
The antique book was laying open in the middle of their circle.
The electric heating clicked on. Warm air began circulating
while the faint scent of lavender filled the room.
The tired participants began to sink into an almost trance like
state. The soft mattress, the late hour, the warm air - the
elements conspired to rob them of their consciousness.
CJ's eyes blinked shut.
Moments passed, marked only by the ticking of a clock.
The shrill scream startled her but it was Ainsley's attempt to
climb up the carved headboard that brought her to back to
"What's wrong?" cried CJ, rising to her knees.
"Something licked my hand!" sobbed a standing Ainsley,
rubbing the top of her left hand on her slacks.
After 22 years of education, "Yuck" was the best CJ could
come up with in response.
"Who's here?" demanded the parapsychologist. "Show yourself!"
Looking around the room, the Ainsley pointed toward the
fireplace, "There! Look over there!"
CJ and Dr. Blaine focused on the form slowly materializing on
the carpet near the hearth. The image was fading in and out,
not fully formed.
"Is that a...," CJ's voice broke off in mid sentence, as she
tilted her head to the side.
"I think the words you're looking for are golden retriever,"
the doctor sarcastically replied.
"Why didn't you sense it?" snapped CJ, losing confidence in
the professional ghost hunter's competence.
"I'm not good with animals," was the glib reply.
In exasperation, CJ countered with, "You haven't been that
good with anything else, as far as I can tell. Ghosts are
coming out of the woodwork and all we have been able to accomplish
is to lose half the senior staff."
"I think you are all bumbling imbeciles!" a voice thundered.
This time CJ got a look at the former First Lady, or at least part
Mrs. Lincoln's face and upper torso materialized near the
fireplace mantle. Her dark hair was styled into sausage curls
clipped at the base of her neck. She was wearing what looked
like large roses stuck in a hair band, instead of a bonnet. The
dress, what was visible, was made of a black taffeta. But, it
was the scowl on her face that commanded their attention.
"I have never seen such incompetence. In my husband's
administration, his staff managed to accomplish incredibly
difficult tasks under extreme hardships."
Looking at Dr. Blaine, Mrs. Lincoln addressed her, "I'm not
sure what kind of spiritualist you claim to be, but I've seen no
evidence of any special ability on your part to communicate
with those on the other side. There used to be many great
spiritualists here in Washington and Georgetown. Numerous
times, they assisted me in talking with my brother and three
of my sons. Years after my husband's murder, one of them
even took a photograph of my dear husband, standing behind
Looking down in disgust toward the dog, Mrs. Lincoln
continued, "All you have managed to do is let the dog out."
While Mrs. Lincoln's tirade went on, the three sat open mouthed
in awe at the spectacle.
Finally winding down, she turned her steely gaze on CJ. "I have
gotten no succor from you. I should have know that a Democrat
would be of no help whatsoever. This whole encounter has been
To their dismay, the ghost began floating toward them with her
Ainsley hurriedly screamed, "But, I'm a Republican."
Thursday 5:55 am
The Lincoln Bedroom
CJ was laying on a beach with white sugary sand beneath her
fingers. Her long arms and legs felt boneless, weightless. The
sky was a brilliant blue. The ocean was teal with whipped cream
tipped waves. Peace rolled over her like an incoming tide. She
could feel the warmth from his body laying beside her. Oh,
Danny. I thought you were gone forever. But here you... .
A bee was buzzing around her or was it a wasp. She hated both
of them. Have to get away from it. Knock it away.
The sound of glass breaking woke her up. Sitting up, CJ
surveyed her surroundings.
Her pager was on the floor along with a bedside lamp. The
lamp was broken but the pager lived on, buzzing and dancing
on the expensive carpet.
Ainsley, curled in a ball, lay sleeping on her left. Her two
foot long hair was spread in all directions. A softly snoring
Dr. Blaine was stretched across the foot of the enormous bed.
CJ chuckled, it was the first bed she had ever slept on that
was long enough that she wasn't touching the footboard with
Suddenly wide awake, she remembered why she was here.
She remembered the night before with the botched seance in
the East Room, the missing senor staff members, the book,
and the seance in this room.
The seance in this room had been successful. Well, maybe
successful was too positive a description. They had made
contact with Mrs. Lincoln, a very angry Mrs. Lincoln.
For a ghost with energy problems, she did an excellent job
making herself understood last night, or this morning, CJ
thought. Mrs. Lincoln was not a satisfied customer. Apparently
she had seen the whole fiasco and was not impressed with CJ's
performance. Maybe ranting was a First Lady trait or maybe
she just had a talent for bringing it out. Anyway, Mrs. Lincoln
and Mrs. Bartlet had a lot in common. The bottom line was that
Mrs. Lincoln collected her book and informed CJ she would be
taking up her issues with the next Republican Administration,
thank you very much.
Standing up, CJ walked over and picked up her insistent pager.
Looking at the number, she flew through the door.
Thursday 6:25 am
George Washington Hospital
Toby knew this smell, ammonia and bleach, with an overlay
of lemon. Even the floor tiles looked familiar. He had spent
hours counting them last year when the doctors were removing
a bullet from Josh. The only difference this time was no bullets
and Josh was sitting beside him instead of Sam.
The doors whooshed open and a disheveled CJ was standing in
front of them. "Where the hell have you guys been?" she shouted.
Without waiting for an answer, she reached down and hugged
them both. "Hey, you guys could use a shower," she informed
them, wrinkling her nose.
Before Josh could let her know that she wasn't so fresh anymore
either, a young man in hospital scrubs interrupted them.
"Are you relatives of Sam Seaborn?" he asked.
"No, but we're his family," Josh replied, with a smile.
Shaking his head slightly, the Doctor continued, "Uh, okay.
Mr. Seaborn is out of surgery. We put a pin in his leg and,
barring any complications, he should make a full recovery.
Please see the accounting office before you leave." Without
waiting to see if they had any questions, he turned and quickly
CJ started to follow him in order to sort out a few details.
She was sidetracked by Donna's tearful arrival.
Josh stood when he saw her come through the automatic doors.
Never breaking stride, she walked right up to him, looked him
up and down, balled up her fist, and punched him in the jaw.
"Hey," shouted an indignant Josh, from his position on the floor.
"What was that for?"
With tears rolling down her face, Donna stood, cradling her
hand. "I'm through waiting for you. From now on, we're
going to do things my way."
Getting to his feet, Josh gave CJ and Toby a pointed look.
Toby walked toward CJ saying "Let's go find that Doctor
and see if Sam's ready for visitors."
"Okay, but tell me something first. Ron said he found all
of you in a underground tunnel. How did he know where
you were? Or, even to look for you?" CJ asked as they
started to leave the waiting room.
"We set off a motion sensor, and I guess all kinds of alarms
went off with the White House security detail. Funny thing
though, Ron said he wasn't aware that tunnel existed, much
less that there were sensors placed there," Toby shrugged.
CJ happened to glance back into the waiting room.
Josh was hugging Donna.
Looking over Josh's shoulder, Donna met CJ's eyes and
mouthed the word "Willie."
Thursday 7:30 pm
White House Briefing Room
"CJ!" first one reporter and then another shouted.
Ignoring the reporters, the tall women with reddish brown
hair proceeded to the podium and set out her notes on the flat
surface in front of her. Adjusting her reading glasses, she finally
looked out on the individuals vying for her attention.
"I have a short statement about next week's trip to California
and then I'll take questions. Carol?"
A dark haired woman in her early thirties started passing out
sheets of paper to those assembled.
Briskly reading the note in front of her, CJ rattled off the
following information: "Carol is giving you a copy of the latest
itinerary for the San Francisco trip. The shuttle bus will be
leaving from here at 4:30 am on Monday morning, wheels up
at 5:15 am, wheels down at approximately 7:45 am local time.
The President will be getting his security briefing immediately
upon getting to the hotel. Then he will meet with staff for no
more than 45 minutes. The President is meeting with an
environmental group at 11:00 am and then attending a 1:00 pm
luncheon with the State Democratic Campaign Chairman and
various party officials. After lunch the President is meeting with
Rev. Bennington and touring his homeless shelter. There will be
photo opportunities during the tour and at the following League
of Women Voters reception. The President and senior staff will
then attend a fund raiser "black-tie" dinner at Phil Green's
mansion. The dinner is by invitation only. We will be leaving
for D.C. at 1:00 am California time with touch down at
approximately 7:15 am local time."
Taking a breath, CJ added, "Of course you know that what I
just told you is subject to, and probably will, change without
Pointing to a reporter in the first row, CJ barked, "Gary."
"Is the President going to veto the economic stimulus bill?"
"Okay, no questions about the trip, I see" quipped the Press
Secretary with a smile. "The President is in favor of an
economic stimulus bill that will not only benefit business but
will put extra income immediately into the hands of working
families. Hopefully any bill landing on his desk will be
something he and the American people can support."
Pointing to a women leaning against the wall, CJ said,
"I've got a source that says there was incident in the
White House last night, something about an intruder?"
CJ lowered her glasses to half-staff and peered at the reporter
over the top of her tortoise shell frames. She smiled and stated,
"I have no information about any intruder, and I'm sure that's
something the Secret Service would have mentioned."
A few chuckles were heard and another bout of questions about
tax relief ensued. Ten minutes later CJ walked into her office
and shut the door. Sagging against the door she took a deep
breath and shut her eyes. The sound of a male voice clearing
his throat caused her to jerk upright and her eyes to shoot open.
Danny Concannon was lounging on her couch. In a mater of
fact voice he stated "You didn't think you were going to be
able to keep the ghost a secret did you?
Thursday, 8:00 pm
Stalking over to her desk, CJ tossed her files and glasses down
and turned to face the smiling nuisance, "How did you get in
"Oh, you know me. I can walk through walls. Which reminds
me of my original question. Did you really think you were going
to be able to keep the ghost a secret?" Danny asked.
"I don't know what you are talking about. Have you been
writing with Magic Markers and sniffing the caps?" replied
CJ while riffling through a stack of files on her desk.
Danny stood and headed toward the door, looking over his
shoulder he tossed out the following while leaving, "CJ, I
have a named source who was there. Tomorrow, my paper is
running with the story, with or without a comment from the
Walking after him, CJ called out, "Hey, Fishboy, I don't have
a ghost story for you. But if you buy me dinner, I'll tell you
funny story about how Sam broke his leg exploring a secret
tunnel and managed to set off enough Secret Service
surveillance sensors to wake up the dead."
Monday, 5:30 am
Air Force One
Addressing the Press Corps members who were getting settled
in their seats, CJ outlined the new schedule for the San Francisco
Walking past Danny, she leaned down and snapped his
suspender. "Read your ghost story on Friday. Don't you
think you were a little hard on that agent who claimed to
have seen Abraham Lincoln?"
"Come on CJ. A guy that sees ghosts? That guy has problems.
He must be delusional. The Secret Service needs to get him
some professional treatment. My story just motivated them to
do it sooner, rather than later," Danny retorted.
Smiling CJ joked, "There you go again, minding the people's
"Want to have dinner in China Town?" asked Danny catching
Extracting her hand and starting down the aisle, CJ smiled,
"I already have a date."
Danny blinked hard. He thought he saw a shadow moving
behind her. Maybe it was time for glasses.
In case anyone is curious the following information about
the Lincolns and the White House is true.
Mary Todd Lincoln was very interested in spiritualism and
attended seances in Georgetown and the White House. She
was trying to contact her deceased brother, sons, and husband.
There is a famous photograph that was taken of Mrs. Lincoln
with her dead husband superimposed in the background with
his hands on her shoulders. Even though the photograph was
faked it was reported to have given great comfort to Mrs. Lincoln.
In May of 1875, Mrs. Lincoln went to trial on the charge of
insanity. The jury found her "deranged" and Mrs. Lincoln
was committed to a private sanitarium for four months.
William Wallace Lincoln (Willie) died while Lincoln was
President. He died in the bed, described in this story.
The descriptions of the Lincoln Bedroom and the East Room
are accurate except for the trap door.
The "Goat Letter" is an actual letter written by Abraham Lincoln.