Sam cried, snapping the phone shut and shoving it into
the pocket of his baggy jeans. The fact that there was
no service on the phone in question completely escaped
his mind. At the moment, all he could think of was Dean
threatening to leave and go to the bar down the road,
Dean, who’d had at least one too many beers to
make that a good idea, and the fact that he’d
been in the bathroom entirely too long to rule out that
spun around abruptly and forced his long legs to weave
him through the crowded bar. Any other time, when he
forced himself to stand upright and dispatched the slouching,
weighed-down by layers of flannel, hoodie, and weight
of the world posture he usually assumed, he moved with
an almost gazelle-like grace. Panic, half a beer, and
almost no sleep for the past two days made him far less
than adequately prepared to maneuver across the floor,
between the now-empty corner table and the door to the
restroom, Sam felt an almost imperceptible bump on his
hip, and a waif-like, leather skirt clad, blonde went
sprawling unceremoniously onto the planks. Whatever
fruity little drink she’d been nursing rained
down on top of her and the boots of her more than PO’d
geez, uh, I’m really sorry,” Sam stammered,
eyes distractedly searching the back of the bar for
his brother as he held out his hand to help the girl
think that would be an understatement,” a baritone
growl retorted from behind him. Before he could turn,
Sam felt himself lift off the floor as the collar of
his undershirt became unbearably tight around his throat.
To his surprise and chagrin, he was lifted off his feet.
Just the toes of his beat-up sneakers grazed the splintered
wood beneath as his hands flailed up to claw at the
strangling shirt collar.
vision began to cloud around the periphery as he gagged,
blood rushing in his ears. In desperation, he did the
only thing he could think of and swung one of his big
feet back and up. He connected with a solid thump into
yielding flesh that was punctuated by his attacker’s
stifled groan of pain. Sam felt himself fall to the
ground in a haze.
grasping at his burning throat as air rushed back into
his lungs, Sam turned. He couldn’t help but raise
a pleased eyebrow to find a giant of a man with a shaved
head and python-sized biceps kneeling on the floor with
both hands cupped between his legs, face bright red.
The guy looked almost pathetic enough that Sam expected
to hear him whine, “Oh man, why’d ya have
to go and do that?” Dean loves that movie.
backed up a few steps to give the angry man a wide berth
as he headed back toward the restrooms. Once he stepped
back, however, the severity of his current situation
became all-too apparent. Kneeling Dude had friends,
lots of ‘em, and they didn’t seem to like
Sam all that well. Three more men, almost the size of
the guy on the floor and dressed in matching jackets
and biker boots, stood elbow-to-elbow, blocking any
passage Sam might have in that direction. Looking around,
Sam spotted several more Hell’s Angels wannabes,
still seated at their tables and booths but obviously
aware of the situation.
look fellas,” Sam stammered, hands out in a placating
gesture, “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.
It’s just…my uh, my wife, she called me,
see we’re expecting our first baby any day now,
and she called to tell me that she thinks it’s
time. So, if you’ll just let me…”
kind of sorry SOB goes out drinking and leaves his wife
at home alone when she’d due to pop any day?”
whattya know, skinheads with real family values. Just
my luck. Oh, and pregnant women about to pop, always
the choicest expression. “Well, that’s
the thing, see, it’s my brother…my brother’s
birthday, and I promised him months ago that we’d
do something…So, if you’ll all let me go
by so I can get him. We’ll just leave.”
brother, eh?” A third rogue asked, standing from
his stool at the bar. “Shorter than you, leather
jacket, military cut, boots?”
yeah, that sounds like him,” Sam answered, confused.
the punk was hitting on my woman,” Barstool Man
answered, pulling the redhead from earlier tightly against
his side. “I been thinking I need to teach him
to keep his hands to hisself.”
if Dean had been there to defend his own honor, or lack
thereof, Sam would’ve probably sat back and enjoyed
the show. His brother would give up his life without
blinking, but God help any poor bastard with the audacity
to insult the one thing for which he had any pride,
other than the Impala, which was the fact that Dean
did not HAVE to pick up women. They offered, and he
either accepted or declined. The glove box of the Impala
had as many napkins inside with phone numbers written
in hooker-red lipstick as it had badges and fake IDs.
Most of the numbers had never been dialed.
hindsight, Sam would wonder if defending Dean’s
tomcatting was really the wisest decision, or for that
matter, even justifiable, but then, Dean wasn’t
there to defend himself, which was why Sam was in this
predicament to begin with. The thought of his brother
possibly bleeding to death somewhere while some drunken
jackass threatened him didn’t sit too well with
I did see my brother talking to your better half over
there earlier, but I think you might wanna check your
facts as to who was hitting on whom before you go and
do anything you can’t take back.”
I wouldn’t worry my shaggy head about that if
I was you,” the punk said, leaning forward with
daggers in his eyes. “I don’t take anything
back. See, I’m always right. If I was you, I’d
be worried abut the fact that I just called that pretty
young lady a liar right in front of her big, strong
man.” He smashed his fist into his other open
hand a few times suggestively.
I really don’t have time for this,” Sam
waffled, stepping back. As he moved, he felt the heavy
weight of what he knew to be the rest of the biker gang
pressing in behind him. God, I’m so screwed.
Aw, the hell with it…
ducked and dove for the gap beneath his attacker’s
raised fist. He lunged forward like a quarterback diving
for the end zone. With a start, he realized he’d
cleared the frontline only to find several more assailants
closing in the flank.
get away that easy, pretty boy,” a raspy voice
growled as Sam felt a hand fist in his jacket.
reacted on instinct, curled his left hand around his
right, and sent his right elbow up and into a fairly
large but none-too-soft beer belly. He heard the attacker
grunt and felt the grip loosen on his jacket. Just as
he prepared to stand to full height and race for the
restrooms, a light exploded behind his eyes, and he
fell to the floor in a shower of brown, broken glass.
* * * *
Sam hissed sharply. He immediately regretted the sudden
sound and movement as a wave of searing pain sliced
through his skull. His eyes, which had ventured open
slightly as he edged toward consciousness, squeezed
tightly shut in protest at the flickering fluorescent
light that streamed through the open bathroom door to
the foot of the bed he was sprawled over.
“Sorry,” Dean’s voice soothed from
behind him. Realizing that his brother was there, and
that he was apparently okay, not broken in a wrecked
car somewhere, Sam let himself sink into the mattress
as Dean’s hand worked tentatively at the back
of his head. “I had to use alcohol to clean it.
Peroxide would sting less, but I don’t think you’d
look too good as a bleached blonde.”
groaned slightly as the evening’s events began
filing through his brain in random order.
with me there, little brother? I don’t want you
to get too comfortable. They hit you hard enough to
leave part of the bottle in your head. I’d say
there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got
don’t have a concussion,” Sam protested
weakly, “just one whale of a headache.”
you, Dr. Winchester, for your expert opinion.”
had concussions before…Ah! What’re you doing
trying to decide how many stitches it’s gonna
take to close up this gash.”
need stitches either, Dean,” he said, disgusted
at the fact that even he could hear the slur in his
fine then. We’ll just let it heal on its own so
it can leave a nasty scar on your head where hair will
never, ever grow again. Then, every time you get busy
with a chick and she runs her fingers through your hair,
you can relive the night you tried to take on twenty
bikers in some backroad, hicktown bar for no apparent
my hair?” He almost sat up in alarm but sunk back
into the mattress where Dean had placed him on his stomach
so that his wound could be treated. “Maybe stitches
would be okay…”
so. Just let me get a few things.”
nodded slightly and listened as his brother’s
footsteps retreated into the bathroom, the sound of
the squeaking medicine cabinet door grating on his hypersensitive
nerve endings. “So what happened to those guys
anyway?” He asked into the pillow.
rode away on their bikes,” Dean answered casually.
would they?...Shit, Dean!” He rolled onto his
side to see his brother as Dean returned from the bathroom
with the supplies. The left side of Dean’s face
was purple and swollen, his eye blood red, and even
in the shadow of his own silhouette, Sam could tell
his knuckles were raw and badly bandaged. “So
you got beat to hell falling off the toilet in the restroom?”
shrugged stiffly. “Yeah, well, they were outta
T.P., so I had to wrestle one of those bears in the
woods for some Charmin Ultra.”
well, so long as you didn’t go all Legends
of the Fall on my account,” Sam snickered
half-heartedly and hissed.
you call me Tristan, and I’m gonna knock your
ass back out.”
if I was unconscious, and you were drunk, how the hell
did we get back here?”
put on some latex gloves and began parting Sam’s
hair gingerly. “After the Apple Dumpling Gang
rode away, I carried you out to the car and drove here.
Finding your brother on the floor in a pool of his own
blood is apparently as good as drinking a whole pot
of coffee. Besides, the designated driver was feeling
a little under the weather.”
we’re poster boys for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Our faces are gonna be plastered on every high school
bulletin board in the country with the words, Don’t
Let This Be You, painted under ‘em.”
Dean agreed distractedly as started parting Sam’s
hair with his fingers. “So you wanna tell me what
that was about back there?”
shrugged with the one shoulder he wasn’t lying
on. “Nothing to tell. I was going to look for
you and ran into some trouble.”
for me? Sam, I might’ve been a little tipsy, but
I’ve been able to manage going to the bathroom
on my own since before you were born.”
know,” Sam sighed, “but I was just worried.
You were in there a long time... Ow!” He barked
as Dean pulled a few hairs a little too tightly.
more to it than that,” Dean observed, focusing
on the cut while his mind worked to put two and two
together. “You were acting strange before we even
went there tonight. Hell, that’s half the reason
I decided we needed to get out. So spill.”
considered telling his brother about the strange video
messages, but he couldn’t think of a way to say
it without sounding like he was completely off his rocker.
It wasn’t rational, but he felt like he was telling
Dean about his prophetic nightmares all over again,
and that wasn’t something he really cared to relive.
Not anymore than the rest of this miserable night. “Like
I said, you were gone quite awhile, and I started looking
around, didn’t really like the looks of some of
those guys, so I got worried.”
Dean flicked the switch on the clippers he’d fetched
from the bathroom. Sam recognized the buzz of the hair-cutting
tool, though he hadn’t had one near him since
he was fourteen and stopped letting his Dad cut his
hair into the same military cut that Dean sported.
you?...” Sam twisted around until Dean’s
hand came out of his hair. He met his brother’s
gaze, a gaze that was now framed with an all-too-familiar
cocked brow and knowingly pursed lips.
the story you’re gonna stick with?” Dean
asked, flicking the clippers on and off a few times.
“Cuz I gotta trim a little away from the cut to
get the stitches in clean. Now if I’m nice and
calm, I can get real precise and make it so no one will
be able to see the little bit of missing hair. But if
my little brother wants to piss me off and get me on
edge, my hands might shake…”
demons weren’t the only masters of manipulation
that Sam had to learn to deal with. Sam let out a defeated
huff, because no way could he escape with the room spinning,
and well, even Sam had one thing he was a little proud
of. He let his head fall onto the pillow and shut his
eyes as he said, “I saw you in car wreck. I’m
not sure, but I think,” he swallowed hard, “I
think you died.”
clippers snapped off again as Dean sat on the edge of
the bed beside his prone brother. “Saw? Like a
not like a vision…” Sam’s voice fell
off as he realized how stupid the next part was going
what then, exactly?”
phone,” Sam sighed, “video message.”
I didn’t send you any video,” Dean objected,
know. And you couldn’t have even if you’d
wanted to,” he added. “There’s no
service on that phone.”
twisted around on the bed to face his brother, the movement
jostling the younger Winchester and making him grimace.
“Wait a minute? THAT phone? The one from earlier
with the messages from Jess on it?”
Dean. THAT phone.”
message you’ve never seen before on a phone with
no service,” Dean extrapolated flatly, “and
you believed it?”
Sam said with a roll of his eyes, disgusted that he
had no excuse for his strange behavior. He couldn’t
believe he was even going to say this. “I thought
maybe it was a message I never got, you know, when the
phone had service, like it was lost or something, or
I just missed it.”
Has that ever happened before?”
of HOW, Sam?” Dean was getting more than a little
irritated at his brother’s fondness for half-assed
explanations. He flicked the clippers on and off a few
times and leaned closer to the mop of bloody hair.
Sam said quickly, trying to roll away. “When I
played the messages earlier, I found one on there from
the weekend Jess died, one I’d never seen before,
and I thought I’d just missed it, what with everything
that happened. And I figured if I missed one, then maybe
I could’ve missed others…”
flicked the clippers back off. “Look, Sam, I’m
no expert, but I don’t think it’s possible
for messages you never got to just suddenly appear on
a phone with no service. How do you know the message
from Jess was real? And how would that explain you seeing
me in car wreck I’ve never been in?”
was the problem, it didn’t, but if it wasn’t
real, well, Sam really didn’t want to go there
either. “I dunno. Just something she said…”
Alea Iacta Est, Samuel. “And when I got
the video with you in the wreck, I just sorta spaced
on the part about there being no service.”
Dean said thoughtfully as he flicked the clippers back
on. Sam tried to move away, but Dean held him still
as he went to work carefully trimming the hair around
the cut. “Well, that means both messages were
probably not real.”
Sam asked hesitantly as the clippers fell silent and
Dean placed them on the nightstand next to the phone
is the phone?” Dean asked.
Sam agreed, already knowing instinctively that if Dean
tried to find the messages, they’d be gone.
pushed a few buttons, gazing at the screen expectantly,
then shook his head, and let his hand fall to his lap.
knew it,” Sam said. “You don’t believe
pushed his head back into the pillow. “That’s
the thing. I do believe you, because you didn’t
start acting strange until you got it in your head to
charge this puppy up and go digging up bones. I’m
just trying to wrap my head around it.”
what does your head think?”
shrugged slightly. “I’m not sure yet, but
I don’t like it. You said you had false visions
in Missouri, right? When we crashed the car? And at
you think this is tied to the Demon somehow?”
be,” Dean surmised. “We know Haris is also
called ‘The Whisperer.’ He lies and manipulates:
that’s his M.O. If that was one of his kids that
messed with your mind in Missouri, who’s to say
this isn’t another one?”
I dunno.” Dean fell into a silent contemplation
as he carefully stitched up the gash in Sam’s
head, then stood, removed his gloves with a snap and
went into the bathroom. He returned a few minutes later
with a glass of water and some ibuprofen. “You
catch a couple winks. I’m gonna see what I can
scrounge up about demonic manifestations on the internet.
I’ll wake you up in a couple hours.”
that Dean was gonna stay up all night worrying about
him, Sam protested, “I don’t have a concussion,
Dean. Go to bed yourself. We’ll figure this out
together in the morning.”
still got plenty of charge left in those clippers,”
Dean replied, tilting his head suggestively, eyes widening
was too tired to argue, so he begrudgingly shut his
eyes and let himself slide into sleep. He could argue
just as well in two hours as he could now.
watched as sleep overtook his brother, then gently tugged
off Sam’s shoes and socks before pulling the comforter
off his own bed and covering him with it so that he
wouldn’t have to move Sam back to the head of
the bed. He bit the inside of his lip thoughtfully as
he observed the younger Winchester for several long
minutes to make sure he was resting comfortably before
firing up the laptop.
much as he hated research, he hated the fact that something
could be toying with his brother’s head even more.
A part of him wanted to just dismiss the whole thing
as the confused rambling of a concussed man, but he
couldn’t take the chance. Besides, it was a little
too coincidental that this had all started when Sam
dug up the old phone.
glanced at the innocuous looking phone where it lay
dead on the nightstand. He considered taking it out
and smashing it, just in case, but like Sam had said,
it was all he had left of Jess. Besides, he was pretty
sure that if it was the Demon calling, it wasn’t
attached to the actual phone. If he could find some
way to break the connection and spare the phone, well,
he didn’t want to take away his brother’s
memories for no reason.
was something about the fact that this phone had no
service on it that touched a nerve in the back of his
voice of that kid from Poltergeist floated
out of his subconscious mind. He recalled the scene
exactly. The national anthem had played, the television
station had gone off the air, and then… Shit!
It was like Electronic Voice Phenomena, the voices they
sometimes picked up on audio equipment that the human
ear hadn’t picked up at the time of the recording.
quickly dragged up all the information he could on EVPs,
most of which he’d read before, but refreshed
his memory nonetheless. There was a whole school of
parapsychologists who did nothing but search through
static in search of EVPs with high-tech recording equipment.
The static was apparently the best media because it
meant there was no background signal interference. No
leaned back in his chair as he tried to put the pieces
together. It made sense that if the Demon was communicating
with Sam, he was doing it on a phone with no signal.
But that didn’t really help. Didn’t tell
him where the signal was coming from, or if there was
any way to stop it without taking away Sam’s only
connection to Jess.
Dean remembered why he had so few possessions. He didn’t
do sentimental. Outside of his necklace, his car, and
his journal, he didn’t place much importance on
things. The things that were attached to people were
the hardest to dismiss, though. And Sam didn’t
have a car, a necklace, or a journal. What he had was
burned to ash like the mother he never knew.
now Dean was just depressed. He ran his hand over his
head roughly and glanced at his watch. Almost 5:30.
Time to wake Sam, and too late to get some sleep himself.
rested his hand on Sam’s shoulder and shook him
gently. “Hey, Sammy…”
Sam asked tiredly, his eyes opening a slit.
held up three fingers. “How many fingers, dude?”
grumbled and shut his eyes again. “One, dork wad,”
he said, flipping his brother the bird. “I don’t
have a concussion, Dean. Let me go back to sleep.”
laughed softly. “No problem. I’m just gonna
go out for coffee. If I’m gonna be too long, I’ll
give you a call to make sure you’re okay.”
Sam said, snuggling back into his pillow and tugging
the covers up to his chin.
shrugged and snatched his keys off the table before
heading out the door.
* * * *
shrill tones of the phone ringing cut into Sam’s
sleep with an intensity that made him want to push the
pillow over his head. “Dean!” He groaned.
“Dean, answer the damned phone.” When the
ringing continued, he pushed the covers back roughly,
and reached for the end table. The phone vibrated in
his hand as he picked it up.
pushed the talk button and put it to his ear without
checking to see who it was.
tried to open his eyes, but the glare of the early morning
light filtering through the blinds kept him squinting
painfully. “Dad? Dad, we’ve been trying
to get ahold of you for days. Where the hell have you
been? Why haven’t you answered your calls?”
I need you to shut up and listen for a minute, son,”
the familiar voice said. “Your brother is coming
to get you at school.”
Sam said, confused. “School? Dad, I haven’t
been in school for over a year. What’s…”
I only have a few minutes. Now your brother is coming
to get you. Don’t go with him, Sam. It isn’t
heart clenched in his chest. “Why isn’t
it safe, Dad? Why shouldn’t I go with him?”
your brother…he’s not himself. He’s
different. I don’t want to go into detail over
the phone, but he’s not to be trusted. Sam? Sam,
do you understand me?”
pressed a hand to his forehead as his head began to
throb anew. Before he could answer, the reception cut
out, static crackling over the line. “Dad?”
He prodded. “Dad, you still there?” Silence.
Iacta Est, Samuel.”
shooting open despite the glare, Sam jerked the phone
away from his ear and swallowed the gag that threatened
to choke him as he realized that he’d just been
talking to his father on the phone with no signal. Blood
dripped onto the number pad, and Sam placed a hand to
his nose as a flash of blinding pain pierced his head.
Iacta Est, Samuel.”
the episode here!