Eleven: End Game
Kittsbud & BurstynOut
gently teased the aged page over, being careful not
to tug at the ancient paper too much for fear it might
tear. The book, like all those he now had laid out on
the library table, was hundreds of years old. It held
secrets and rituals that anyone outside the church-
and some inside- might scoff at; secrets that many in
today’s society would call nothing more than fairy
tales. Kyle didn’t think that way, of course.
He knew far too much and had seen too many unexplainable
things to claim such blissful ignorance.
would-be priest had been searching for months for information
after his encounter with the Winchester brothers, and
now, at last, he believed he’d found exactly that
which he'd been seeking. It had taken a lot of persuasion
on his part to get access to certain records, not to
mention a few white lies to explain his requests, but
it appeared his little transgression had been worthwhile.
At least the good he hoped would come of it should justify
last, with the help of church resources, he had found
what the Winchesters could not. The Catholic Church,
after all, was as powerful in its own right as any army
or military think tank on the planet. Pastor Jim's Protestant
ties could never have tapped the resources to which
Kyle was privy.
early texts, to which he'd somewhat laboriously gained
access, told of something that roamed the earth thousands
of years before man; an ancient enemy born not of flesh,
but fire, smokeless fire. The description fit perfectly
with what Kyle knew about the demon that filled his
hands began to shake as he realized the implications.
Finding the demon’s true identity was as much
a curse as it was a blessing, not unlike being burdened
with the sins of the world with no power to absolve
them. Now that he had the information, there was little
he could do with it. A name and a description meant
nothing without some mention of the method required
to destroy or exorcise the creature, and the rotting
Islamic manuscript he now held so delicately gave up
no such secret.
trainee priest sighed and tugged off his glasses, setting
them down on the table while he pinched the bridge of
his nose. He had a dull ache behind his eyes, and he
knew if he didn’t retire to his room soon it would
turn into a full-blown headache. Then again, a nightmare
could exacerbate it as well. Talk about your Catch 22
Kyle refused to leave his task until he had checked
over his research one more time. He needed to be confident
of his theories before he made the all-important phone
he truly had found "the demon," then it was
time to properly introduce himself to Sam Winchester.
The young ghost hunter had inspired Kyle all those months
ago, had made him see that his gifts could serve an
important purpose. What he'd considered a curse could
quite possibly be a calling, and now Kyle was anxious
to give something back for the confidence Sam had helped
him find in himself.
time would tell if the Winchesters could use what Kyle
had found, but he was sure in his heart that they were
the only ones he could entrust with the information.
After leaving St. Mary’s Health Center himself,
he had kept a close watch on the brothers, albeit from
a distance, and he had been relieved when Dean had made
a full recovery.
had barely met. He'd been able to give Dean just a glance
over his shoulder, a lingering look into the rear-view
as the older brother had lain, bleeding on his backseat,
and yet Kyle felt an uncanny bond with the elder Winchester.
In some way, he held a gift as powerful as Sam’s,
although Kyle could not control his own gift well enough
to reach out and distinguish what that power was. Not
that it mattered. Dean was as pure of heart as Sam deep
down, even if the rogue in him hid it sometimes. Kyle
didn’t need his visions to see that.
checked his watch and raised an eyebrow in surprise.
It was later than he had thought. He replaced his glasses
and tried to focus on the aged manuscript, running a
finger along the faded letters and numbers as he translated
them. There would be time to unravel the mystery that
was Dean, and if he was right, he'd get the chance to
meet the wayward Winchester sooner rather than later.
Hopefully this time they’d actually get to have
a real conversation.
* * * *
Morgan tapped a pen absent-mindedly on his desk as he
checked over his speech. He was young to be a bishop,
and as such, he tended to feel more eyes upon him, watching
and waiting for him to prove unworthy of his title.
Perhaps Morgan was paranoid, but it always paid to err
on the side of caution.
next day would see the opening of a new wing of the
seminary that had been paid for by a local businessman.
Morgan wanted the little ceremony to run without a hitch,
and that meant he needed to memorize his speech word
for word. Truth be told, he hated giving any kind of
oratory, and he hated writing them even more. As always,
Cynthia, his loyal secretary had prepared the very religious
sounding sermon and had stayed back with him until she
was sure he had it down pat. Gracious, Cynthia,
I’m opening a new wing, not introducing the Pope…
resounded on the polished oak floor and Morgan couldn’t
help but look up, expecting Cynthia to walk in and chide
him for leaving things until the last minute as always.
Instead, the bishop saw a smartly dressed young woman
with a strange expression on her face. Although he was
sure they’d never met, she seemed eerily familiar.
I help you, Miss?” Morgan stood from his leather-bound
seat out of courtesy, offering the newcomer a questioning
but polite look. How did she get in here past Cynthia?
No one is allowed access to the church office at this
time of night.
woman either didn’t hear his question, or chose
to ignore it. She blinked, and Morgan was sure he saw
her eyes flood with pure glistening black in the half
light of his room. He dismissed it and cocked his head,
a sudden memory returning from some nether region of
his mind. He had seen the woman before in a TV news
the doctor that vanished without a trace in Missouri.
The police are still looking for you…” Morgan
mistook her presence as a plea for help. “If you’ve
come here for sanctuary, my dear, I’m not sure
it’s something I can offer…”
Fletcher smiled and slowly stepped back, allowing the
holy man to see through his doorway into the room beyond.
back in her chair, arms splayed out lifelessly, sat
Cynthia. Her eyes bulged, and her features held an expression
of utter shock and terror. Blood pooled beneath her
where it had dripped from the wound that gaped where
her throat should have been and ran down the sleeve
of her blouse.
balked. He stumbled backwards, almost falling over his
own chair as Cynthia’s dire condition registered
in his mind. The bishop sensed the blood draining from
his features, and as he tried to reason with the killer,
abruptly realized his throat was so dry no words would
come from it.
nodded knowingly and brought her left hand into view.
Her fingers were wrapped so tightly around a small,
but obviously very effective blade that her knuckles
had turned white. “Where is your God now, your
eminence?” She let the words hang in the air.
prey simply stared at her wide-eyed. Morgan had backed
himself into a corner and was muttering in Latin under
his breath. He remembered now just what the black, oily
eyes could mean and only wished he had paid more attention
to the Rituale Romanum instead of dismissing demons
only works if you know all the words, Bishop.”
Helen worked her way across the room until she stood
before the quivering bishop. She noted with pleasure
that he dared not even look her in the eye, and instead
kept his gaze to the floor. “Say hello to God
for me, won’t you?”
raised the knife with a quick flick and savored the
moment she felt it meet the bishop’s flesh. As
he fell back, grasping frantically at the mortal wound
that bisected his carotid artery, blood oozed through
his tightly clasped fingers. He wheezed, straining to
grab one last, desperate breath, but instead of drawing
in precious air, blood burbled from his throat and seeped
onto his lips and beyond.
a thud, Morgan fell forward, landing stone-dead at Fletcher’s
feet. She pursed her lips. One holy man down, one
* * * *
Cardinal Seminary Library
let the text finally fall from his fingers onto the
desk and leaned back in his chair to stretch. He rubbed
at the bottom of his beard out of habit, and then checked
the time yet again, wondering if it was too late to
call the Winchesters.
tells me those boys aren’t early sleepers,”
he muttered to no one in particular and fumbled in his
jacket for his cell phone. He didn’t know how,
but he always seemed to lose the tiny Nokia in his pocket.
It was as if some black void ate the thing every time
he tucked it inside.
to yourself is the first sign of insanity, or so they
looked up in surprise. The library floor was polished
wood, and he hadn’t heard anyone walk across it
in hours. “I, um, appear to have lost my phone,”
he offered, still fumbling for the Nokia. “Can
I help you?”
watched the priest struggle with his jacket pocket in
amusement. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
she asked, wanting, needing the holy man to recognize
stopped his search and focused in on the young woman
with bleary, fatigued eyes. He squinted, just a hint
of recollection playing across his features. “You
were there, at the hospital. You were Dean Winchester’s
doctor after…” The priest’s words
petered out. He had left the medical center before Helen
had become possessed, and had no clue as to why she
might be here now.
my father almost killed him,” Helen finished and
moved closer. Her newly established proximity allowed
him to see the blood spattered blade she had used to
kill Morgan and the deep set darkness of her eyes. “Everything
would have fallen into place that night if it hadn’t
been for your meddling. But now, now it’s payback
gaze fell on the blade. Just who had the doctor, or
whatever she was now, used it on? They know I know…
his bishop, Kyle didn’t back up or show any sign
of fear toward the creature that stood mocking him.
He had been preparing for this day for months, and ready
or not he would fight this black-eyed, lesser demon
until he had no breath left in him. “Exorcizo
te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei…”
smile suddenly broke into a scowl. Morgan may have been
a bumbling bishop who no longer believed in the old
ways, but this one was dangerous. She flicked out her
free hand in angry retribution, sending a bolt of demonic
energy straight at Kyle’s chest.
priest felt the impact as if he’d been punched
by a heavyweight boxer and instantly found his body
being carried back by some ungodly force. He slammed
into a bookshelf and remained there, arms outstretched
and pinned by an invisible energy that kept his feet
dangling several inches from the floor.
hacked harshly as the breath was knocked from him, and
then gulped down air before attempting to half-cough
out the rest of his exorcism. “…Sancti,
ut descedas ab hoc plasmate Dei…”
joined him at the bookshelf, spikes of pain beginning
to show on her normally pleasant features. “There’s
no protective circle to keep me bound here, as was the
case with my unfortunate little sister. I can leave
before you ever get the chance to finish your pathetic
ritual.” She gripped her hands until her nails
almost bit into her own flesh, the sting from the priest’s
words was so great. “Before I leave, though, I
want to give you a small gift…”
doctor let go of the blade in her hand and it turned
in midair, suspended by some unseen hellish power. It
stopped just two inches from Kyle's face and then abruptly
shot into the palm of his hand, hilt first.
looked down, afraid to see what damage the knife had
made, and was stunned when he realized the demon was
forcing him to actually hold the weapon, not stab him
with it. He shook his head in incomprehension and his
eyes darted between his attacker and the knife.
found the reaction entertaining. “Thought I was
going to kill you? Oh, I couldn’t make it that
easy. I’m going to take away something much more
important to you than your measly life, Preacher. You’ll
see soon enough.” She began to chuckle as she
walked away, leaving her foe helpless against the bookcase.
struggled, pushing every muscle to try and release the
grip the evil creature had on him, but no matter how
hard he tried he remained trapped, his fingers refusing
to release the hellish weapon.
Why?” Kyle’s pleas filled the normally silent
library, but he received no answer. He had literally
been crucified against the shelf, and could not understand
why he had been spared.
answer, however, would come soon enough.
* * * *
lobby restaurant of the Sheraton Hotel was not the Winchesters'
idea of a typical lunchtime haunt, but they had a paying
client who was footing the bill, and they weren't fools.
Their own money had to be made to stretch to exponential
proportions. Other people's money had no elastic as
far as they were concerned. It wasn't taking advantage
so much as it was just getting their fair share for
all the times they were forced to make do.
sat at a table in the corner of the bistro, feigning
patience as he waited for his brother to join him. It
was that awkward time of the morning when all that remained
of the breakfast crowd was a few lowly businessmen who
thumbed through stacks of paperwork in preparation for
the day ahead.
was one of the first lunchgoers to trickle in, and he
noticed with amusement that the few others ordering
off the lunch menu looked like they'd missed breakfast
too. Most of them had the tired, glazed look of college
students after an all night binge, so they'd probably
been out at least as late as he and Dean had. He was
pretty sure, however, that none of them had been dispatching
a ginormous water wraith from the local water bottling
plant. Sam figured someone had to pay the price for
the kind of blissful ignorance those other patrons enjoyed,
and today it was one Todd Henry, owner of Just As Pure
slunk through the swinging doors that led out of the
kitchen and slid into his chair, one hand tucked conspicuously
into his trademark leather jacket. He eyed his younger
brother with a knowing glance as Sam fingered the linen
napkin beside his place setting.
you smirking about, little brother?" Dean asked
as he scooched his chair up to the table. "Must've
been some dream you had last night, eh?" He leaned
closer, turning his ear toward Sam, "C'mon, you
can tell your big brother, Sammy. Was it kinky? I bet
it was," he hinted, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
He punched his brother on the shoulder lightly. "Give
me the PG-13 version. Maybe I can give you some pointers.
That is what big brothers are for, right?"
rolled his eyes. "Actually, I was just thinking
how ironic it is that people are paying two dollars
a bottle for this water when it's pretty much the same
thing they'd get with a faucet and a filter you can
get at any Wal-Mart," he lied, looking down at
the table nervously.
see that didn't stop you from buying some," Dean
said, pointing to the bottle beside his brother's silverware.
my money," Sam grinned, raising his eyebrows in
an identical gesture to his brother's earlier expression.
picked up the bottle and looked at it with feigned interest.
"You know, maybe we should put one of those tulpa
symbols on the bottle. Whattya think? They take off
the cap and get whatever they want out of it. It's all
about the marketing anyway. They could put toilet water
in these bottles for all we know. 'That's why I prefer
beer myself. The alcohol kinda masks the toxic waste
and kills the bugs without the chlorine aftertaste."
grinned lopsidedly like he always did when laughing
at his own jokes. "Honestly, though," he continued,
eyes narrowing suspiciously."What are you really
trying to hide? There's no glue in my napkin or anything
is there?" He looked at Sam through half-closed
eyelashes, and like most women Dean encountered, Sam
could never help but grin when his brother did that.
caught sight of a waiter balancing a heavy tray coming
toward them. "Oh God, I wasn't gone that long,
was I? Don’t tell me, this will probably be my
last meal in a decent restaurant for who knows how long,
and you ordered me healthy crap. What'd I tell you about
ordering for me?"
smiled broadly, obviously pleased with himself as a
plate of very lean chicken breast and steamed green
vegetables was placed in front of his protesting brother.
Dean took one look at the offending cuisine and turned
away with a grimace.
Sammy, you didn't even order any potatoes. . ."
if I did you'd smother them in butter and sour cream
and completely defeat the purpose," Sam stated,
diving into his own plate of food with fervor. He hadn't
realized how hungry he was until the smell had hit him,
and now he was suddenly starving.
Mom, but I can feed myself from now on." Dean's
grimace melted into a devilish grin, and he pulled his
hand out of his jacket, pulling with it a brown paper
sack with huge grease stains leaking through it. "Or
shall I say, the sweet Martina, who works in the kitchen,
can feed me."
eyed the sack with disdain. "You didn't. . ."
opened the package and pulled out a warm sausage and
cheese kolache. Pausing briefly to eye it hungrily,
he stuffed the whole thing into his mouth and was forced
to chew with his lips parted because the treat was too
large to close them. He couldn't suppress a small laugh
at Sam's look of feigned disgust, and a few crumbs sprayed
out onto his bland-looking chicken. Finally, he swallowed,
throat stretching convulsively around the bolus. "Yup,
I did," he smiled. "Since you took forever
in the shower and made me miss the continental breakfast,
I got the ever-so-lovely Miss Martina, with all-hours
access to the kitchen, to save me some kolaches."
did she give you a tour of the supply closet while you
were back there?" Sam asked knowingly.
you know she did, Sammy boy," he nodded, scarfing
down another kolache.
shook his head. "Dude, the stuff you put in your
body. . .You're a walking heart attack waiting to happen.
What? You weren't impressed with the first one, so you
thought you'd try to get one the old-fashioned way?
That's like those women who have two or three kids and
then decide they want to have one without the epidural
just to get the whole experience. They always cave,
of course." Sam took another bite of chicken.
Sam repeated, "Like a nerve block they give women
during childbirth so they don't feel the pain as much."
you know about this how?" Dean asked, eyes wide.
Learning Channel," Sam said matter-of-factly. "Come
eight o'clock Monday nights, you couldn't drag Jess
away from it. Nothing but babies being delivered all
I'm sure she hogtied you and made you watch it with
her," Dean suggested, cringing slightly at the
I watched it willingly," Sam stated, amused with
his brother's reaction. "It couldn't hurt to know
a thing or two about what to expect, you know, cuz I
might be a dad someday."
looked unimpressed and went back to eating his chicken.
He decided, with a quirk of his head, that it wasn't
half-bad. Wasn't exactly finger-lickin' good, but he
supposed that's why they provided a knife and fork.
Chicken that you eat with a knife and fork, that was
man," Sam said, "I could be a father someday,
and so could you." When Dean still didn't respond,
he continued. "Tell me you don't wonder if you'd
be a good dad," he prodded.
Dean said flatly, face honest.
looked at his plate, suddenly saddened. It bothered
him to think that Dean really never thought of having
a family of his own someday. He wanted Dean to think
about the future. Hell, he wanted Dean to have a future.
don't have to wonder," Dean added, interrupting
Sam's newly begun brood. "You turned out okay.
looked up at his brother incredulously, and Dean just
kept on eating as though he'd asked the kid to pass
the salt. Dean and his damned loaded statements. Sam
shook his head. The older brother didn't quite have
Sam's vocabulary, but sometimes Dean said so much in
so few words that it was Sam who was left speechless.
God, he hated that. Sam ducked his eyes, glaringly aware
that he had blushed with embarrassment and reluctant
pride. "Yeah. . . I guess so. . . Jerk."
Dean retorted distractedly, making eyes at a girl across
the room who Sam thought might be the infamous Martina.
they could settle into comfortable silence, the phone
rang. Dean pulled it out of his pocket, glanced at the
screen, and tossed it to Sam. "Speaking of the
future," he observed, "looks like we just
got our next job."
picked it up and glanced at it. "Coordinates,"
he pouted. "I can't believe he's still sending
us coordinates. Would it really be so much trouble just
to tell us where he wants us to go and why? Now we gotta
spend all morning researching."
grinned cockily and pushed his chair out from the table.
"No, you get to spend all morning researching,
dude." He picked up the brown bag and unabashedly
leered at the tall brunette he'd been flirting with
across the room. "I'm getting a little low on kolaches."
Sam protested weakly. He knew it was no use, but he
wouldn’t give his brother the satisfaction of
passing the buck without receiving some sort of complaint.
In reality, Sam was glad to see the old Dean make an
appearance. There'd been a bit of a Dean drought of
late in which the older brother had only appeared in
a misty sprinkling of his former self, and Sam was beginning
to thirst for that familiar Deanity. Damn that snake
girl for messing with his heart.
bent over the table and forked a couple of bites of
vegetables into his mouth. "Thanks, Mom,"
he snarked. As Sam shook his head with a grin that was
probably more pleased than the situation warranted,
Dean slipped back into the kitchen.
they'd already checked out of their room, Sam got his
laptop from the car and went back to the hotel computer
room to check out the coordinates. He noted with some
relief that they related to a small town in South Dakota.
Small towns usually didn't have a lot of news, so it
shouldn't be too hard to figure out why their father
would be sending them there.
only about fifteen minutes of searching he came across
a newspaper article that got his attention. The headline
itself wasn't too startling, but the picture of a familiar
face plastered on the front page caused Sam's hackles
to rise immediately. He printed out the article and
began checking for any police records. He just couldn't
believe the story was true.
* * *
what'd you find?" Dean asked, leaning over the
hood of the Impala as though he'd been waiting there
tossed him the printout of the newspaper article, which
Dean only glanced at before tossing back. "What?"
Dean asked. "You expect me to read it myself? What
do I have you for, geek boy?"
caught the paper before it blew away in the breeze and
slapped it down on the hood of the car as though he
could pin it there with just his finger.
Dean protested. "What is it with you and abusing
my poor car? Jealous much?"
read it," Sam sighed, and Dean did, rolling his
eyes to feign exasperation.
hate to say it, Sam, but priests getting arrested is
kinda old hat these days, and homicide is not supernatural."
looked confused for a moment, then came to a realization.
"Oh, I guess you probably wouldn't recognize the
picture. I mean, you were pretty out of it that night.
dude, just spill already before I get tan lines around
my sunglasses. What's the deal?"
that priest is Kyle Williams. He's the one who got us
out of the car after the accident and drove us to the
hospital," Sam explained.
same one who pointed us toward the hospital in Wisconsin?"
Dean extrapolated, pursing his lips in understanding.
"So, what? He's really a psycho killer?" He
asked, glancing at the headline. "Says here he
murdered two people, and the police have a murder weapon
covered in his prints."
leaned over the article and pointed to a certain paragraph,
brushing shoulders with Dean in his haste to explain.
"Yeah, but it also says that he maintains his innocence."
that's supposed to be surprising? C'mon Sammy, no one
kills people and then just admits to it. The world is
full of greasy lawyers who can get just about anyone
off, so why confess?"
elbowed his brother in the arm, not missing the barely
masked jab at his once chosen career path. "That's
beside the point. But check this out." He pulled
out the notes he'd taken on the police files he'd hacked
into. "Both victims had their throats cut, and
not just slashed, we're talking about imminent decapitation.
It took some serious strength to do that, not to mention
it's classic demon methodology. Or do I have to remind
you about Pastor Jim and Caleb?"
Sam, you do not have to remind me about that, but thanks
for doing it anyway, dumbass. I was having a pretty
good morning up 'til now." Dean scowled.
playtime's over, man," Sam said, straightening
up. "We gotta haul ass to South Dakota and get
him outta there."
how do you intend to do that, Sam?" Dean asked,
putting on his sunglasses as he stepped toward the driver's
side door. "Somehow I don't think we can waltz
in there and say, 'Release that man, he's being framed
by a demon,'" Dean deepening his voice theatrically.
think of something," Sam insisted. "I did
study pre-Law. There's bound to be a technicality or
something I can find to at least get him released pending
while you're sorting through mountains of law journals
and red tape, the guy's a sitting duck. A man of the
cloth's gonna be real popular in prison, Sam, and not
because the inmates are all lookin' for salvation,"
Dean pointed out seriously. "The sooner we get
him out, the better it will be for everyone."
what are you suggesting?" Sam asked, almost afraid
of what the answer would be.
raised his eyebrows and grinned suggestively.
the episode here