Nineteen: Dead Man's Party
Thru Terry's Eyes
“I just don’t
understand it,” Sam said, watching Dean in pretend
Dean asked, eyes rolled up to stare at Sam. He crammed
the last batter- dipped fry in his mouth, chewed and
swallowed, forcing it down. He was stuffed to the gills
but they were so damned good he couldn’t leave
“How can you eat so much, so
often, and stay so thin?” Sam replied, shaking
his head. He was kidding, of course. They were always
on the move and sometimes opportunities to eat were
few and far between and usually not good. Indigestion
was a common and accepted fact of their life.
Sam had to admit this place they had
stopped at for dinner was amazing. An all you can eat
family style chicken place with table clothes and everything.
Sam had suggested they stop there on a whim. It had
looked like a nice place and they were unusually flush
for a change.
metabolism, son,” Dean replied to Sam’s
comment, wiping his fingers on the cloth, cloth,
for God’s sake, napkin. “Fast metabolism.”
He sat back, very full and momentarily content. He hiccupped
Sam laughed. “Can you even breathe?”
Dean’s eyes widened slightly.
Sam went back to his own food. He was
getting pretty full himself.
Dean was so wired all the time, Sam
reflected, he probably burned thousands of calories
just sitting still. Sam enjoyed those rare occasions
when Dean was in a really good mood - well rested, well
fed and not bleeding. Trying to achieve all three states
at the same time for either of them was usually difficult,
if not impossible. Food, at least, was somewhat controllable.
Good food was a rare treat.
The waitress, a high school girl with
curly blonde hair, stopped at their table with the coffee
pot. Dean put his hand over the cup. “Thanks,
but I’ve got nowhere left to put it but my pocket.”
He gave her a glittering smile. Sam was sure he saw
the girls knees buckle.
“I think we’re ready for
“No dessert?” she asked,
sounding disappointed. “We’ve got the best
blackberry cobbler around.”
Sam groaned, but shook his head.
Dean laughed. “I guess not tonight.
She shrugged, thumbing through her
tickets. “Your loss.” She handed the check
to Dean. “I’m glad you enjoyed it, come
back again.” She smiled longingly at Dean then
went to wait on a beckoning customer.
Dean smirked at Sam. “I still
“If you’re into cradle
robbing,” Sam snorted. He swallowed the last bite
he could make room for and gave up.
Dean chuckled and pulled out his billfold,
tossing some money on the table by the check. “You
nodded and got up. “I wanta wash my hands, I’ll
meet you outside.” Sam saw Dean hesitate. “Swear
to God, if I’m not out in five minutes you have
permission to come in after me.”
Dean eyed him a moment longer then
held up five fingers, cocking an eyebrow. He turned
and ambled toward the door, snatching a toothpick from
the dispenser and putting it in his mouth, unable to
resist a quick look back as Sam vanished in the direction
of the men’s room.
He pushed his way out into the cool
evening air, liking the feel of the breeze on his face.
He stuffed his hands in his pockets and walked slowly
to the Impala rolling the toothpick across his lips
with his tongue.
It was that golden period between dusk
and nightfall and the setting sun cast a rich mixture
of fading light and shadow across the ground as Dean
crunched through the scattered leaves. He returned the
smile of a young couple he passed as he moved through
the parking lot, in no particular hurry to get to the
car. They had no place they had to be right now, he
had a good meal, actually a great meal, under his belt
and prospects of a quiet night if he couldn’t
find some place for a few drinks and a quick game of
pool. It didn’t matter. It was nice just to be
peaceful once in a while. To actually relax.
The hand that fell on Dean’s
arm jerked him out of his food induced haze and he snapped
around, pulling his arm free, automatically falling
into a defensive posture. The toothpick spiraled to
The man behind him wore a suit and
a look of surprise. He stepped back with his hands up
when Dean turned, fists raised.
I didn’t mean to startle you-"
Dean dropped his hands slightly, only
Sam would have noticed the change in his breathing.
The man in the suit, who looked to
be in his mid to late forties was obviously not a physical
threat. He had taken care to step well out of Dean’s
arm range and kept his hands up in a placating gesture.
His dark hair was streaked with gray at the temples
and his suit had cost more money than Dean saw in six
months. His eyes were a bright, intense blue. A gold
signet ring flashed on the pinky of his left hand. To
say Dean came off as a little shabby next to him would
have been an understatement.
Dean’s gaze fastened on the mountain
standing behind the man who had spoken. This guy’s
suit was just as expensive, but the fit was having a
hard time duplicating the tailored look of the first
guy, who was obviously his boss. Massive shoulders strained
the fabric and the coat front barely contained the equally
huge chest, tapering down to a narrow set of hips and
legs of respectable size. His hair was buzz cut and
his features looked as though they had been hastily
whittled from balsa wood, blocky and lacking in detail.
His washed out blue eyes stared coldly at Dean, his
stance screaming bodyguard.
Dean’s eyes shifted back to the
well dressed man, dismissing the muscle with that brief
glance. “Whatever you want, you got the wrong
guy.” Dean growled brushing past them, angry with
himself for allowing someone to get that close without
The smooth voice followed him. “You
are Dean Winchester, aren’t you?”
Aw, hell…Dean’s pause was
so brief it might never have happened. He turned back
with a smile and shook his head. “Sorry, wrong
number,” he replied, continuing on to the car.
“My name is Dale Carlyle. I just
want to talk to you for a moment.” His voice held
the trace of an accent. He slowly lowered his hands,
careful to keep them away from his body.
Dean stopped again, looking back. He
cocked his head and squinted at the man. “Is that
name supposed to mean something to me?” He nodded
over Carlyle’s shoulder at the bigger man behind
him. "And if you just want to talk, why’d
you bring the Hulk with you?”
The bodyguard stiffened and took a
step forward. “Why you little-"
Dean never moved as Carlyle reached
back without looking and stopped the other man’s
momentum with a slight touch. “Stand down, Monty.”
Dean watched, fascinated, as the bigger
man, Monty, fell back without a murmur. His body might
have been at rest but judging from Monty’s face,
if looks could have killed, Dean would have been kicking
his life out on the ground right now.
have a brother named Sam, parents John and Mary Winchester—"
Carlyle never saw Dean move but the hands that were
suddenly twisted in the lapels of his suit jacket, backed
by muscles of iron shoving him backwards, were undeniable
proof that he had.
“Who the hell are you?”
Dean snarled, bending Carlyle back over the hood of
Carlyle’s goon, a beat behind
the action, moved forward but stopped abruptly as past
experience told him the sudden coldness pressing against
his neck was the muzzle of a gun. A hand fisted into
the collar of his jacket and a voice hissed in his ear,
so close Monty could feel the heat of the newcomer’s
“One more step and you get a
free body piercing.”
Dean’s eyes flicked up to Sam,
standing behind Monty, and the corner of his mouth quirked
slightly, “Hey, Sammy.”
“Dean,” Sam replied, eyes
never leaving his prize. Sam wouldn’t have pulled
the trigger but sometimes it was just fun to say stuff
like that. He and Monty were about the same height but
Monty would’ve made two of Sam. Possibly three.
“I can’t leave you alone for five minutes,
can I?” He said.
Dean snorted and gave Carlyle’s
body a shake. Carlyle made no attempt to resist him.
hands rose again, palms out.
“Please…” he choked
out around Dean’s death grip. “I think there’s
“Damned right there is!”
“I didn’t mean to make
you feel threatened, I’m sorry. I just wanted
to make sure I had the right people.” Carlyle’s
aplomb was swiftly draining away under the intensity
of this most scary young man leaning over him. He was
used to waging verbal war in board rooms with powerful
men who could control destiny with the flick of an eyebrow;
where you knew the damage had been inflicted but you
never personally got your hands dirty. This was a little
too real for his taste. “If you’ll just
let me up I’ll explain…”
Dean’s eyes narrowed. “Are
you a cop?”
Carlyle actually laughed. “Not
even close. My ID is in my front coat pocket…”
Dean sneered. He knew how much an ID
was worth. But he began to relax his grip and slowly
straightened back up, pulling Carlyle with him.
shifted in Sam’s grip and Sam shoved the gun harder
into his neck. “Stay!” he warned. When Monty
reluctantly relaxed, Sam nodded. “Good boy.”
Carlyle glanced at his bodyguard, whose
obvious fury was barely being restrained, then at the
tall young man behind him who, although somewhat baby
faced, had a look in his eyes much older than his features.
This was no kid still wet behind the ears.
“If you’ll release Monty,
I promise he won’t try to do anything,”
Carlyle said motioning at the bigger man who made a
noise of frustrated protest but kept his mouth shut.
Sam shot a look at Dean, who had slipped
a hand into his jacket. Dean nodded. Sam dropped his
hand and stepped back, knowing Carlyle wouldn’t
draw another breath if Monty so much as cocked an eyebrow
at him. Dean wasn’t a murderer but Sam knew what
he was capable of when pushed.
“Monty, go back to the car.”
Carlyle ordered, without looking at him.
“Mr. Carlyle—" Monty
protested, looking from Sam to Dean and back at Carlyle.
“The car, Monty, now. I’ll
With a snort of anger, Monty turned,
hands fisted, stomping toward a black Mercedes sedan
and got inside. The heavily tinted window rolled down
and he sat glaring at them.
Carlyle smiled at the two brothers
who had moved next to each other. Sam had relaxed somewhat
but Dean was still tensed and wary.
“Let’s start again.” Carlyle offered,
holding out his hand. “I’m Dale Carlyle
and assuming you are Sam and Dean Winchester, I want
to offer you a job.”
* * * *
Carlyle had offered them a ride in his Mercedes to someplace
they could talk comfortably, but Dean had insisted he
and Sam would ride in the Impala to a public place of
Carlyle had agreed readily and Monty
had pulled in behind the Impala to follow.
Dean had barely started the ignition
when Sam had the laptop out and was keying rapidly.
Dean glanced at him. “So?”
Sam’s eyebrows disappeared under
his bangs as a page of websites flashed on screen in
response to the name Dale Carlyle. There were 16 more
pages listed at the bottom and a next.
“Wow,” Sam murmured, opening
one of the sites. He scanned as quickly as he could.
“Entrepreneur, wealthy investor, likes unusual
projects.” Sam blinked in surprise. “He
owns a bunch of big houses that people rent out for
special occasions, family reunions, corporate getaways
and junk like that. Mystery weekends. High rollers apparently,”
he remarked. There were no fees listed for the service,
just a number to call for assistance in planning.
Dean frowned. “What?”
shrugged, shutting the laptop off as Dean spotted what
he was looking for turned the car into the parking lot.
“It’s like a game. People pretend they’re
different characters in a murder mystery or something,
you get clues and try to solve the mystery. There’re
other kinds of scenarios, too."
pay money to do that?” Dean exclaimed coming to
“You have enough money you can
pay a lot to have fun,” Sam replied, sliding out
of the car.
Dean shook his head and got out as
the Mercedes slid into a parking space.
Almost sadistically, Dean had pulled
into a somewhat sordid-looking all night truck stop/restaurant/bar,
enjoying the sight of the gleaming black Mercedes alongside
the battered collection of vehicles, semis and motorcycles
parked out front. This was the kind of place Sam and
Dean inhabited on a regular basis and Sam knew Dean
had chosen this spot to level the playing field.
Carlyle’s distaste at his surroundings
was thinly disguised, but he gamely followed Sam and
Dean through the smoke and bad country music, sliding
into a booth without hesitation. He seemed oblivious
to the looks and snickers his expensive suit drew. Monty,
lumbering along behind like a tame grizzly, stifled
most of the looks and gestures as the patrons quickly
avoided eye contact with him. He slid in after his employer,
eyes shooting daggers at Sam and Dean.
A frowsy waitress undulated up to the
table and disinterestedly scribbled their orders for
coffee then slithered away.
Sam bit back a grin when Dean suddenly
let out a hicupping belch, looking surprised.
“Sorry,” he said, straightening.
He took a deep breath. He rested his elbows on the table,
cracking his knuckles. “First, there’s something
I want to know. How the hell did you find us?”
Carlyle couldn’t quite stop the
smile. He cleared his throat and absently moved his
place setting around. “I’m sure you don’t
give away your trade secrets, I hope you’ll understand
if I prefer not to reveal mine.” He looked Dean
straight in the eye. “Let’s just say I have
friends and I called in some favors and leave it at
that. Although I will say, it wasn’t easy.”
He clasped his fingers together and rested them on the
table in front of him, waiting.
Dean eyed Sam and shrugged. “Fair
enough.” He leaned back and flipped his hand.
“So talk, we’re listening.”
Carlyle suddenly looked a little uncomfortable,
as if realizing what he had to say wasn’t going
to be as easy as he had thought. He raked a hand across
his perfectly cut hair and made a face. “Well,
I’m sure you had time to do a little research
on me as we made our way to this fine establishment
so I will assume you have some idea of who I am…”
“A little,” Sam replied,
tapping his fork softly on the table. “Although,
I’m having a little trouble seeing how what you
do has anything to do with us.”
Dean glanced pointedly at his watch.
Carlyle began. “I have this...problem…I
was hoping I could interest you both in. I spent a lot
of time and a not inconsiderable amount of money to
track you two down. I researched you both, what you
do—" he stopped as Dean stiffened and the
fire began to blaze in his eyes again. "Don't get
the wrong idea,” Carlyle added hastily. “I
need someone who understands this…stuff.”
His hands rose and fell. “Someone who isn’t
just another crackpot scam artist.” He laughed
softly. “Trust me, I learned a lot more about
some things I’d have been happier not knowing
about than I ever wanted to.”
“Cut to the chase,” Dean
said, glancing at Sam and leaning forward again.
“I own a haunted house,”
Carlyle finally said, as if revealing a dark and long
kept secret. Whatever reaction he had expected to get
at this revelation did not include the look of blank
"so what?" he was getting from both brothers.
Dean looked at Sam then back at Carlyle,
raising his eyebrows and moving his hands in an obvious
"yeah, and…?" gesture.
“I’m serious,” Carlyle
“What do you want us to say?”
Sam asked finally when the silence had stretched out
Carlyle blew out a laugh. “I
guess I expected you to laugh,” he replied.
“Cause it’s crazy. There’s
no such thing as a haunted house!”
Dean got up. “C’mon, Sam.
This is wasting our time, I’m tired.” Sam
obligingly slid over.
“Wait-" Carlyle reached
Dean put his hands on the table and
leaned his weight on them. “Look, Mr. Carlyle.
You either want some help or you don’t, but don’t
tell me you spent a great deal of time and money hunting
down a pair of “ghostbusters” to just tell
them you don’t believe in something. So what’s
it gonna be? Cause, I gotta tell you, if you don’t
want to tell us because you’re afraid of what
we, of all people, might think about you, you got a
bigger problem than a haunted house. C’mon Sam.”
Dean said again, turning away.
Sam smiled. “Nice meeting you,
Mr. Carlyle.” Waiting for it to play out.
Carlyle caught Sam’s arm as he
got out of the booth. “Okay, you’re right.
Please, sit back down. I really do need your help with
this.” He sighed and the look on his face this
time was not that of a slick professional businessman
but just a man with a problem he didn’t know how
to deal with.
Sam glanced up at Dean and shrugged.
Dean rolled his eyes but sat back down with obvious
“Okay,” Dean said. “Let’s
start again. I’m Dean Winchester and this is my
brother Sam.” He nodded at Sam. “What’s
the deal with the house and whadaya think we can do
* * * *
The coffee became beer and except for Monty’s
cold glare, the atmosphere had definitely become less
stiff a short time later as Carlyle explained the situation.
Sam sipped his beer. “So let
me get this straight. You buy the houses and set them
up for these special parties?”
Carlyle nodded. “They’re
fantasy parties. You create the scenario, my company
sets it up at the appropriate location and you and your
guests play it out. It’s sort of like playing
video games but it’s for real. You can bring your
friend and they can play or we’ll supply the other
players, whatever the client wants and is willing to
pay for. With the exception that, other than the unavoidable
accident now and then, no one gets hurt. We have a dozen
properties all over the world running right now with
settings for a multitude of scenarios. I have a rather
large staff that coordinates the games.”
expensive,” Dean commented, watching Carlyle over
the rim of his glass.
The cold mask of the businessman slipped
into place briefly. “We cater to a select clientele,
yes. Obviously, it’s not for everyone. But if
you want to go to an island and play war with your buddies,
play the killer in a murder mystery or hire a mansion,
pretend your Hugh Hefner and surround yourself with
bunnies, my people can set you up.”
Dean’s eyes widened, Sam kicked
“A couple of years ago one of
my location scouts found a house for me that had a reputation
as being haunted. A place called Blackmoor House. I
was intrigued, I’ll admit it. It was in pretty
bad shape but worth the renovation and as a draw for
the client looking for unusual entertainment I thought
it might be worth the investment.” Carlyle caught
the waitress’s attention and signaled for refills.
“The renovation took a while
but when it was done it was a showplace. We did a lot
of research into the history of the house, filled it
with furniture, art and architectural elements from
locations all over the world that also had reputations
for being haunted.”
“Are you friggin’ nuts?
Why would you do a thing like that?” Dean asked
in disbelief. “Do you have any idea how dangerous
that could be?”
Carlyle looked disgusted. “Please
remember that when all this started it was just a way
of creating a draw to a new enterprise. The house is
practically a museum of purportedly haunted items. Up
until now that kind of thing was total crap as far as
I was concerned. Who believes in that kind of thing?”
Now it was Sam and Dean’s turn
to look disgusted
“We were right about the appeal,”
Carlyle continued. “The house has been booked
up solid since it opened, in fact it’s booked
up for the next eighteen months. The recent…accident…just
seems to have made it more popular.” He hesitated,
looking at his hands, deciding what to say next. “A
couple of months ago, we received a new group of items
for the house, a special request from a special customer.”
Carlyle knotted his hands together. “You have
to remember the house is pitched as haunted, it’s
rigged for that. There were always little things going
on at the house no one could explain, harmless stuff
that the engineers didn’t design. It just kind
of added to the atmosphere…”
“What was in this new shipment?”
Sam asked, sitting forward.
“I’m not sure, I can provide
you with a list; it was quite sizeable.” Carlyle
rubbed his upper lip. “The thing is, after that
shipment was installed, during the party scheduled for
that weekend some really strange stuff started happening.
People started saying they were seeing things, feeling
things, there started to be accidents, clients really
frightened. Then a few weeks ago, during a scheduled
party, two clients were killed in…I want to call
it an unfortunate accident, and another has been admitted
to a psychiatric hospital totally traumatized. The remaining
members of the party had conflicting stories about what
happened. No one could seem to agree on the exact series
of events that led up to the accident-“
“What supposedly happened?”
Dean asked, pushing his glass around in its small puddle
Carlyle sighed. “The police wrote
it up as a murder/suicide, but frankly, based on what
I heard and what we’ve been able to find out,
I don’t think that’s what happened at all.”
do you think happened?” Sam questioned softly.
Carlyle was obviously upset and he felt like it wasn’t
totally over the accident he had related to them.
“I wish I knew,” Carlyle
replied, shaking his head. “We tried to keep the
lid on the whole thing, bad publicity and all that,
but word gets around.” He laughed mirthlessly.
“Can you believe it? Our bookings at that location
“You want us to check the place
out, see what’s causing the problem,” Dean
supplied for the man.
“I want to keep the property
open. If something we brought in caused this I want
to get rid of it.” Carlyle paused. “Here’s
the real problem as far as I’m concerned.”
Sam cocked his head and shot a look
“I have a client whose daughter’s
twenty first birthday is this coming weekend. This party
has been booked for almost a year at Blackmoor, right
after the property was completed. His daughter’s
friends are the children of some pretty high rollers.
I can’t cancel the event this late in the game.
This client is looking to invest pretty heavily in this
if he likes what he gets, but I can’t take any
chances that something might happen to anyone.”
Carlyle knotted his hands together.
“I won’t lie to you guys, I need this investment,
this is a unique venture and there’s a much bigger
market for it than anyone realizes but I can’t
expand any further without additional capital. I need
this to go off without a hitch and I need you guys to
help me sort this out and make sure no one gets hurt.”
this point, Monty, who had sat like a statue throughout
the entire exchange, suddenly barked, “We don’t
need these guys, Mr. Carlyle! I told you I—"
we had this discussion. Everything can’t be solved
by hitting it.” Carlyle spoke sharply and Monty,
like a trained dog, sat back and fell silent. His mouth
might have been closed but his eyes said volumes.
stared straight at Monty and made a kiss face. Red flooded
Monty’s angry features but he remained still.
Damn, Dean thought, he’s better than
felt Sam poke him. He turned and Sam's look clearly
conveyed, don’t tease the bears, you idiot!
“Think of it kind of like working
security. You’ll be paid and rooms and food are
included. You don’t have to participate in the
entertainment, just keep an eye on everyone and see
if you can figure out what’s causing this.”
Carlyle spread his hands. “With any luck it’ll
be like a vacation. Good food, soft beds, a chance to
mingle with the scion of the high and mighty. You never
know when a new contact might come in handy.”
Carlyle searched his mind to try and make the offer
as appealing as possible.
He looked over at Monty, who made a
face but reluctantly reached into his jacket withdrawing
a hefty envelope which he laid on the table between
them, sliding it toward Sam.
“What is this?” Sam asked
reaching for it when Dean made to do so. He opened the
clasp on the envelope and pulled out a thick sheaf of
folded papers and another smaller envelope.
is the history on the house and an up to date inventory
list. I figured you could use that. It includes every
item purchased for the house and, to the best that our
research can tell us, the history of each item.”
Carlyle tapped the smaller envelope. “That’s
an advance. If you take this job, you need to get some
better clothes. At Sam and Dean’s twin looks of
slightly offended surprise, Carlyle added. “No
offense but this isn’t a torn jeans and old t-shirt
kind of get together. There’s also driving directions
and money for gasoline and food, it’s a fifteen
hour drive from here. I know you prefer not to fly-"
Dean’s eyes flicked up at that and his mouth opened
slightly. “-so it also includes money for motel
rooms if you don’t want to drive straight through.”
Dean was still floundering at “prefer
not to fly” and was at a momentary loss for words.
Sam frowned at Carlyle and slowly opened
the white envelope, thumbing through the bills inside,
trying not to look stunned. “What happens if we
don’t find anything? Or if something happens that
we can’t stop?”
Carlyle sat back, looking a little
smug. “I have faith in you. No one is going to
know anything about you other than you are part of our
house security there to ensure everyone’s safety.
This weekend goes by without incident ,you get paid
a set fee. If you can figure out what happened and make
sure it doesn’t happen again I could be very generous
over that amount. If something especially untoward does
happen, I think you’ll agree that the advance
is very generous and depending on the circumstances
we can negotiate any additional pay. Think of the advance
as a gesture of good faith.” He smiled.
The businessman was back in control.
He was well aware of the financial gray area that the
Winchester brothers operated in, the people on staff
who did his research were nothing if not thorough, but
frankly didn’t give a damn, it was none of his
business and he preferred not play that card, sensing
correctly, that Monty’s presence notwithstanding,
Dean Winchester would punch him in the nose. Then he
and Sam would vanish into the night and his chances
of ever finding them again would vanish right along
with them. Another thing he had learned was that the
two hunters were not without their own backup of protective
resources if threatened, some of which they apparently
were not even aware of, but enough red lights had gone
off as a result of his inquiries that he knew to tread
“I will be on hand, personally,
for this occasion as host and you will be provided with
any other information that you may need when you get
there. Which, by the way, is 4 pm on Friday the 24th,
two days from now. The weekend ends the following Monday
morning. We will settle additional compensation at that
time.” He held out his hand over the table. “So,
do we have a deal?”
handed the envelope to Dean, who glanced at the contents,
then back at Sam. “We need to talk about it, Mr.
Carlyle. You got a card?”
This was obviously not the response
that Carlyle expected judging from the look on his face.
The smile was quickly back in place though, and his
hand shifted smoothly to his pocket where he palmed
a card which he pushed toward Dean.
Dean took the card without looking
at it. He shoved out of the booth, tucking the envelope
Monty had provided into his inside jacket pocket. Sam
slid out behind him.
“Aren’t you forgetting
something?” Carlyle said, rising also. He held
out his hand palm up. “The advance?”
Dean glanced at Monty, whose face had
turned black. Only Carlyle’s touch on his arm
prevented Monty from crossing the short distance between
Dean and himself and doing some serious damage. Sam
could feel himself tensing up as they stood there.
“At 4 pm on Friday, Sam and I
will be there, or this will.” Dean patted his
As Carlyle opened his mouth to protest,
Dean smiled. “Think of it as a gesture of good
faith, Mr. Carlyle.”
the episode here!