restored Impala slid around the snaking Kentucky roads
like it had been built for them, its aged suspension
taking the turns with nothing more than a slight lean
as its weighty form prowled the old mining state.
roads it traversed, like the car, appeared ancient,
and yet somehow inexplicably appealing. Together, the
Chevy and the picturesque panorama made the perfect
couple - the past meeting the present, but never quite
The car slowed as Dean
tapped the brakes, it’s recent, second overhaul
in less than a year showing clearly as the newly lacquered
paint reflected off the setting sun. Its engine purred
from all the loving attention its owner had poured on
it, and the revs dropped only begrudgingly because the
Halfway out of the twisting
bend, Dean eased his foot on the gas, accelerating back
out of the curve. He grimaced as the car hit one of
many tiny potholes in the ill-repaired backroad, and
the steering wheel jarred to the left in his hands.
The elder Winchester quickly
pushed away the expression of pain, forcing one of his
trademark smirks instead. “Sonofa…”
Dean cut the cussing short and didn’t look over
to his brother. For once, his cursing hadn’t been
about possible damage to his car, but more about his
still bandaged palms.
It had only been two weeks
since he’d burned them badly rescuing Sam from
some bizarre cult, and the pain the injuries still inflicted
was excruciating every time he drove. Of course, that
was something he’d tried to hide from his baby
brother every step of the way. Not that it was working.
had been on one long guilt trip since he’d been
saved, and nothing Dean could say seemed to make him
feel any less accountable. Every little frown or scowl
from Dean was duly noted and added to the pile of torment
Sam was enduring. Dean had been hurt, Sarah Blake had
almost died, and all because the demon wanted him. It
was something that ate away at him every minute of the
day and Dean was powerless to stop it. If he intimated
"my fault" one more time, though, Dean was
sure he’d have to give his sibling a cuff around
the ear, sore hands or not.
“You know, I’m
thinking we should maybe have gotten a motel back in
tried to tug the subject away from his smarting palms
and onto something more constructive. It would be getting
dark soon, and he really didn’t want to drive
into the next town. Nor, however, did he want anyone
putting their kiss of death on his "baby."
Sam had trashed it, Kyle had trashed it. He didn’t
dare to think what might be coming next.
“You could always
turn around?” Sam offered, not really caring where
he found refuge because sleep wouldn’t come anyway.
“Maybe we could try calling dad again if we get
somewhere our cell phones actually work.” He looked
from the Impala’s window at the wooded area they
were passing through, not really paying anything much
scrutiny. Getting a signal out here in the boonies was
nigh on impossible.
Dean reluctantly nodded.
He hated backtracking, but right now he thought it was
their best option. His hands were throbbing, and Sammy
definitely needed something to focus on. If that meant
trying to get a hold of their dad because he’d
picked up the demon’s trail, then that’s
what Dean would do.
John had gotten information
from a cult member about some kind of gathering while
they were in South Dakota. Since that time they hadn’t
heard from him, and Sam had begun to fret that he’d
once again gone to try and fight it alone. He had, after
all, deceived them with the last bullet for the Colt.
It was just another hunk of wood to add to the fire
think I saw a pretty cheap-looking motel on the outskirts
of town that won’t question our MasterCard too
much,” Dean suggested, slowing the Impala and
spinning the wheel hard over to make a tight U-turn.
“Maybe we can find a diner nearby and eat. I’m
starving, man.” He grinned, already having thoughts
of what he would order. If I’m lucky, maybe
there might even be a hot waitress to serve it up.
shrugged. He wasn’t really hungry, hadn’t
been for days. Instead, he let his gaze fall back out
on the wilderness that enveloped them. In the distance,
he could see wooden, ramshackle abodes speckling the
horizon. It was like looking at a scene straight out
of some "hick" movie.
think it’s bizarre that some people still live
out here like this? In the hills, no TV, no modern technology
at all, I mean?” Sam shook his head in amazement
at a continent that could be so diverse.
America and the western
world bristled with the newest, most amazing inventions,
from the space shuttle to high speed internet and spy
satellites. And yet, out here the locals where satisfied
with a much simpler life. It made Sam question which
existence was the truer, closer one to what God had
intended. He didn’t voice his opinion, though,
because talking about God in Dean’s presence opened
up a whole new can of worms, especially after what had
happened to Layla in Nebraska.
pulled a face that suggested he hadn’t heard half
of what Sam had just said because he’d been deep
in his own deliberations. “You’re feeling
sorry for everyone now? Jeez, Sam, something tells me
you’re getting a Messiah complex or something.
Next thing I know you’ll be doing the whole preachin’
on the radio deal, trying to save everyone’s soul.
Maybe you should go hang out with Kyle.” He smirked
and waved a hand in the air. “Hallelujah, brother!”
couldn’t help but warm to Dean’s snark despite
his dour mood and his cheeks dimpled as his usual broad
smile appeared. “I think I can admit to saving
a few souls in my time,” he confessed, flicking
an M&M at Dean’s head with a plastic spoon
that had been bandied about the Chevy’s interior
Dean flinched as a red
piece of confectionary hit him smack in the middle of
his forehead and dropped unceremoniously into his lap.
“You are SO cleaning my car after this, dude.”
His eyes narrowed mischievously. “Or maybe I should
turn on the radio. The local crap they churn out around
these parts would make you beg for Metallica.”
Sam feigned disgust. “You
wouldn’t?” Another peanut M&M catapulted
from the spoon and hit home right on the spot the last
projectile had landed, proving he was an ace shooter.
elder hunter took his eyes from the road just for a
second to grin at his brother. “You really don’t
want to bet on that, Sammy. I have some new torture
techniques all planned out and ready for testing.”
Sam ignored his sibling’s taunts and frantically
pointed ahead of the Impala with his "catapult."
shook his head thinking the gesture was just another
"Sammy trick." “No way are you gonna
get me with that one, jerk.” He smiled smugly
and turned back to the road almost too late to see the
young girl who had stumbled from the undergrowth in
front of them.
Instinct and highly honed
reflexes kicked in like a circuit breaker, and even
though Dean had no time to think, his leg muscles reacted
automatically and he slammed on the brakes.
The Impala groaned as
its momentum tried to carry it forward against the braking
action. Rubber squealed on the crumbling road surface,
making long, black snake trails as the tires shed a
thin layer of tread due to friction.
Dean let out a huge breath and subconsciously thanked
whoever watched over him that the Impala’s last
overhaul had included the braking system. He tugged
the wheel over for good measure just in case Sam’s
mechanical abilities hadn’t quite matched his.
Shoulda’ done all the work myself…
Sam grabbed the dash as
his body was pushed forward, but unlike his brother
didn’t feel the need to curse. Instead, his eyes
zeroed in on the girl in the road, praying the car and
Dean’s driving stopped them in time.
Impala came to rest seconds later, a hair’s breadth
and a little to the right of the unknown girl.
I swear I’ll never criticize this crate again.”
Sam patted the dash and then swung the heavy door open
to go check on the terrified young woman still sprawled
in the road where she had fallen. Dean silently followed,
as yet undecided whether to bawl the girl out for jaywalking
or show some compassion.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Sam kneeled with his usual gentle, concerned expression
and was surprised when he saw how scared the girl looked.
Her green eyes appeared wide and wild, and she kept
looking back at the tree line she had just left rather
than the car that had almost squashed her.
When she didn’t
answer, Dean took up the conversation. “Are you
hurt?” He looked her over for injuries anyway,
often knowing a person didn’t always feel pain
straight after the initial shock of an accident.
The girl still didn’t
reply, but as far as Dean could tell she was unscathed.
At a guess, he put her between fifteen and eighteen,
and from her clothes it looked like she’d been
hunting, probably with a friend or family member.
Dean carefully placed
a hand on her trembling forearm. “It’s okay.
You can tell us what happened. Was there an accident?
Is someone hurt?” He spoke slow and clear, knowing
from her dazed expression that she was not entirely
focused on reality.
word "hurt" seemed to spark something and
the girl began to scream, her arms flailing wildly as
both brothers tried to hold her down and calm her. “It
took my dad! Its…its...” She lashed out
in panic, punching Dean on the jaw with a mean right
hook before trying to scramble away from their tenuous
grasp. “I couldn’t even see it! Oh, God,
the blood…so much blood…”
Sam reaffirmed his grip
and forced the girl back onto the road surface, trying
desperately not to hurt her arms where he held her tightly.
“Calm down!” He insisted in a stronger tone
than he would normally use with a girl. “We’re
not going to let anything hurt you.” He looked
up to Dean, his eyes flashing questioningly back to
the woodland and then the car.
rubbed at his chin with a frown and muttered, “Slippery
little sucker. Mean punch for a kid, too…”
Then his hazel eyes softened and he leaned over the
girl whose rage and fear had now turned to hitched sobs.
“Look,” he offered kindly. “We’re
gonna get you in the car. You’ll be safe there.
Then you can tell us what happened. Okay?”
Her pupils narrowed as
she took in the information. It was obvious the doughty
little blonde was weighing up the situation and her
options. Could she trust them? Who were they? What the
hell had just happened?
suspected the girl normally wouldn’t be the type
to cry over a broken nail or a hair out of place. He
could just read people that way. In fact, for some reason
she reminded him of a younger, female version of himself.
Maybe she has an ex-military, demon-obsessed dad
that brings her out here to learn how to hunt too.
He didn’t really believe it, but the thought amused
The thing was, if little
Miss Hunter wasn’t normally the type to bawl at
a spider in the tub, then what the hell had her all
fired up now? He held out a hand and bobbed his head,
indicating that she should take it and allow him to
help her up and into the Chevy.
she nodded back, still warily watching Sam from the
corner of her eye in case he tried anything. What she
had just escaped was one type of killer, but Bethany
Jayne McCaffrey knew all too well that there was a whole
world full of perverts out there just waiting for an
opportunity like this. For all she knew these two guys
could be picking her up in their shiny black beast and
she’d never be seen again.
Bethany paused at the Impala’s rear door and looked
back into the woodland, eyes wide. “He’s
an experienced hunter and it…it just dragged him
away. I can’t leave him like this.”
“A bear, some kind
of wild animal?” Sam didn’t want to upset
the girl all over again, but if they knew what they
were dealing with maybe they could actually help before
it was too late. “Did you see it?”
Bethany shook her head,
her thought processes at least becoming a little clearer
now that she was out of the danger zone. “There
was nothing to see. It was invisible, just…just
Sam wanted to tell her
that it was impossible, that the animal had probably
been hidden in the underbrush, but then he knew creatures
like wendigoes and skinwalkers existed, even if it was
unlikely they were dealing with anything like that now.
He looked to his brother warily.
nodded back, silently pulling his favorite silver forty-five
from his waistband. “I’ll go check it out.
Get the kid into the car while I take a look around.”
He cocked the weapon, licking his lips as he carefully
stepped into the wilderness. Guns are useless if
it’s a wendigo, he mentally chided, but still
moved forward swinging the gun in an arc as he searched
Something to his left
skittered across his field of vision and he stopped
dead, bringing his weapon down to get a perfect aim
at it. Dean sighed and rolled his eyes when he realized
he’d targeted a small deer. “Sheesh, I’m
hunting freakin’ Bambi!”
He took a breath and moved
on until he came to fresh tracks on the ground interspersed
with congealing blood. A short distance away, a discarded
rifle with a bloodied handprint completed the scene.
kneeled, examining the evidence. Among the tracks that
he could make out were two sets of boot prints, and
what looked like bare human footprints, although it
was too over-trodden to really tell. Dean ran a finger
over the deep indents in the ground, trying to picture
a scene that would cause such marks. “Freaky,”
he admitted, “like something right out of Predator.”
looked around cagily in the rapidly vanishing light
and decided there was nothing more he could do. The
police would need to come in with tracking dogs and
a rescue team if there was to be any chance of finding
the girl’s missing father.
Resignedly, he stood from
his crouched position and took one last glance into
the wilds. The woods were creeping him out, even though
they shouldn’t be. It was like eyes watching him
from every bush, every tumbled, gnarled tree stump.
He’d been the prey before, heck, even been caught,
but this time even Dean couldn’t stifle an involuntary
hunter turned tail, heading back towards the Impala
with his weapon still at hand, and it was then that
he saw it- a flicker of light bouncing from a broken
window pane in a long forgotten wooden abode.
whirled, wondering if his mysterious watcher actually
lived in the ramshackle structure that made "Mordechai’s
Hell House" look like a palace. He squinted, examining
the building just a little more carefully. Nah,
now who's getting paranoid? No one’s lived in
that rat’s nest for years. Besides, whatever attacked
this dude will have dragged him away, not taken him
home and set the table for lunch.
Dean took one last look
and then broke into a jog back to the car. The quicker
they got the girl to the police, the quicker a rescue
team could start scouring the woods. For some reason,
he didn’t envy them.
* * * *
had taken Sam ten minutes to get Bethany into the car.
She was still terrified of the "nothing" she
had apparently seen tearing into her father, and she
was scared of Sam too. Not that the girl had admitted
as much, but the young hunter could clearly sense it.
He didn’t blame the girl. There was too much evil
in the world to drop your defences even for a second-
he knew that from personal experience.
see anything? Not a blur of color or movement?”
Sam sat sideways in the car’s passenger seat,
looking into the back at the girl with his best expression
of compassion. “A sound maybe? Some kind of animal
Bethany shook her flushed
face and rubbed at her already sore eyes, glancing every
few seconds into the shadowy woodland. When she finally
spotted Dean hurrying from the tree line she exhaled,
relieved that her panicked explanation hadn’t
cost another life. “You can’t see it. Just
what it does…”
The driver’s door
swung open and Dean dropped into the seat he all-too
often called home. He turned, mimicking his brother’s
posture so that he could look over at the girl.
blood out there and signs of a struggle. Pretty expensive
rifle just tossed on the ground too,” Dean recounted
his findings. “Looks like a wild animal…”
Bethany tugged on the back of Dean’s seat, pulling
herself upright in a pose of utter defiance. “It
wasn’t an animal, least not any kind I’ve
ever seen. I couldn’t see it! It just tore into
my dad and I couldn’t even see it to get a shot
off!” Her tone had changed from almost unhinged
to angry and frantic.
calm down there, missy.” Dean held up a hand,
but was fast losing control. Women, he could deal with,
but teenage girls always posed a problem- especially
when their emotions were so out of control. “It
could have been a wildcat hidden by the undergrowth,”
he suggested, even though he didn’t believe it
“It was invisible!
How many times do I have to say it to make you understand!”
The girl moved to jump out of the Impala but Sam caught
her wrist. She pulled back once, and then gave in as
she felt his grip tighten a little.
whatever took your dad is dangerous. You can’t
go back in there without help.” Sam locked his
eyes on Bethany’s. In his mind, he had no doubt
she thought something strange had taken her father.
Maybe she was just scared, delusional even, but maybe
she was right. “We’re with the Kentucky
State Police,” the lie came out totally convincingly.
“We’ll get you to the local Sheriff’s
office and they’ll get a search team out here.
There are procedures to follow. Do you understand?”
Bethany shot both brothers
a look of uncertainty but nodded. She had little choice
but to trust them or walk back into Jackson at the mercy
of lord only knew what. Right now, she’d take
her chances in the Impala.
wrapped her arms around her shivering body and was thankful
when Sam offered up a blanket from the car’s trunk
to keep her warm. Bethany glanced out of the rear window,
but her mind couldn’t focus on anything but what
she’d seen. Is it watching us?
the girl began to rock back and forth in the back, Dean
rolled his eyes and his expression screamed Just
what the hell are you doing? First, Sam had been
carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders about
the events back at the steel mill, now he was taking
on a gig without even considering what Dean might think.
course, Sam would say they were just posing as cops
long enough to drop the girl off at the sheriff’s,
but Dean knew the look that had crossed Sam’s
face and it said he was "in the zone" and
nothing was going to stop him.
it was the thought of trying to save a life, any life,
that gave the younger Winchester some kind of absolution
from previous events, or maybe he just wanted something
to focus on so his mind didn’t keep going back
to the cult, to Sarah and to the demon.
Either way, for Sam, Dean
would pander to his wishes. Besides, after what he’d
seen in the woods, he didn’t really believe the
girl’s father had been taken by anything natural
either, although he never admit it yet. He’d tease
Sam for an hour or so about choosing a gig without asking,
then maybe he’d confess what he’d seen.
Dean shot Sam a bemused
look, conveying his thoughts with just one teasing smile
and then started up the Chevy. He flicked the shift
into reverse and straightened out the car, careful not
to rub his stinging hands more than necessary on the
wheel. “You definitely owe me Metallica for this
the back, Bethany watched the two brothers begin to
bicker and some part of her befuddled mind questioned
their veracity as law enforcement officers. She huddled
closer into her blanket, not wanting to think that she
had possibly been lied to, or why.
Eventually, even the warmth
of the blanket did little to quell her fears and she
leaned forward, no longer caring what happened to her.
“I.D.” she cleared her throat, realizing
she sounded hoarse, “I.D.’s…I’d
like to see some…”
* * * *
Later That Night
Sam leaned back on the
motel bed and finally allowed himself to relax after
spending an hour at the local sheriff’s office.
He locked his hands behind his head, pondering what
they had learned as the sound of a shower hummed in
It had been pretty easy
back in the Impala to flash Bethany a fake badge, and
with her confused mental state she had accepted it.
The sheriff had been just as easy to dupe. At the news
that one of his hunting buddies had gone missing, he
hadn’t really paid Sam and Dean or their badges
Sheriff Hank Waterston
had known Bethany and her dad for a couple of years,
had hunted with them, dined with them, even gone to
church on Sunday with them. Seeing Bethany so distraught
and in shock had clouded his normally clear police judgement.
like the brothers' first impression, Waterston had surmised
his friend had been taken by an animal, and therefore
concluded it would be better to begin the search the
next day. Of course, he also thought there was little
hope of finding Bethany’s dad alive, but he’d
had the tact not to say so in front of her.
Waterston had called up the girl’s mother and
put all the necessary procedures in place. The search
party would set out at first light with tracking dogs,
and Dean and Sam had requested to be on it. Or rather,
Sam had requested to be on it. Dean hadn’t shut
up about that small fact all the way over to the motel.
Dean wasn’t sure they needed the case, and he
was even less sure he wanted to be up at 5 a.m. in the
morning. Sammy, after all, was the proverbial early-riser
of the duo.
Sam, I’m thinking we could maybe skip the food
and grab something later. I saw this bar on the way
over here that might just be civilized enough to have
girls…” Dean bobbed his head around the
door from the bathroom and flashed his tell-tale grin.
He’d been taking a shower ready for a night on
the town. Even if the place was tiny it had to have
some kind of night life, and he wanted in on it. “Ya
know, girls?” He jiggled his eyebrows suggestively
and then vanished to continue preening himself.
man,” Sam really wasn’t in the mood for
drinking or girls. He wanted to open up the laptop and
do a search of local legends. Of course, out here his
wireless card was about as useful as satellite TV with
no dish. Instead, he’d just have to storm things
through with Dean and hope they came up with something
before big brother vanished on his "chick hunt."
“Do you think Bethany could really have seen something
weird take her dad?” He asked, hoping the prod
would stir some interest from Dean.
head reappeared as he rubbed at his dripping-wet hair
with a towel. “It’s what she didn’t
see, dude,” he padded into the room with just
a towel around his waist and began rummaging through
his holdall. “I mean, invisible rules out Sasquatch
or any kind of Bigfoot, right? Skinwalkers are visible,
black dogs are visible…” Finding the items
he was after, the elder hunter returned to the bathroom
without looking back.
smiled mischievously and waited, keeping up the conversation
without letting on that he was up to something underhanded.
“But you do admit this is our kind of thing? Bethany
didn’t seem the type to make this stuff up or
panic easily. And from the look on your face when you
came back out of those woods you saw more than just
a little blood and a discarded gun.”
voice echoed from the tiny, steam filled bathroom as
he splashed on half a bottle of Calvin Klein to add
to his "babe-magnet" appeal. “I think
it’s worth a look, yeah. There was a third set
of prints under Bethany's and her dad’s, but they
were pretty messed up. Definitely not your regular Yogi
Bear tracks…” A clatter, followed by several
curse words suddenly cut off further conversation about
the gig. “What the…”
appeared from the bathroom with the frown of all frowns
burned across his normally jovial features. “Dude,
you put freakin’ "L’eau de Chick"
in my stuff?” He turned up his nose as the strong
and very sweet aroma of Dior’s Poison
intermixed with Beautiful and several tackier
perfumes wafted across the room.
Sam shrugged from his
position on the bed and failed miserably to stifle a
grin. “Dean, you so needed to get in touch with
your feminine side…”
Dean’s glare intensified
and he rechecked the contents of his holdall. “Man,
you didn’t?” He seethed as he realized anything
with a ‘Pour Homme’ label had been swapped
for something more girlie. “Not everything?”
“Oh, I did…”
Sam couldn’t help it. His grin turned into a full-blown
chuckle and he savored the total look of defeat on his
had set the challenge in the Impala by suggesting he
had some new "torture techniques" planned.
No way was Sam waiting to get Nair in his shampoo or
itching powder in his pants again. No sir, he was getting
"first blood" this time.
can’t believe you’re starting this crap
again,” Dean retreated into the bathroom smelling
like an entire harem, and didn’t let Sam see he
was actually smiling.
he turned the shower back on, he tossed the spiked items
from his bag into the bin and tugged off his towel,
climbing back under the steaming hot spray of water
to remove the syrupy aroma before he choked on it.
There would be plenty
of time to get his brother back, but for now, Dean was
just glad Sam had broken from his doldrums and could
laugh and joke again. Maybe this was what he needed
along with a new gig to keep his mind distracted. And
if Sam needed a gig, Dean would work it.
Dean winced as the water
soaked into the still healing flesh on his hands, and
he hoped that this time there would at least be no demon.
Fighting unearthly creatures was one thing, but Sam
deserved a real break from his torment. Hell, they both
looked back up, a smirk abruptly forming on his features
as he pushed away dark thoughts and formulated his next
prank. This one really would get little brother back
for the "girlie juice" he’d put in Dean’s
Calvin Klein bottle. “Okay, Sammy, let the games
* * * *
Woods just south of Jackson
6:47a.m. The Next Morning
The whirling lights of three police 4x4’s reflected
off the stark greens of the woodland like some bizarre
feral circus. Each vehicle had been parked just off
the highway as far into the wilderness as the overhanging
trees would allow, their drivers awaiting the word to
begin scouring the woods.
Behind the Sheriff’s
rig sat the Impala, its shiny black exterior contrasting
against the stark white of the police vehicles. Dean
had been careful to park the car as far away from any
chance of harm as possible because he was fed up of
having to repair it. Somehow, out here in the boonies
he just expected trouble, and not just for his beloved
Waterston ambled up to the two would-be state cops as
they exited the Chevy and nodded a "good morning"
salute by touching the brim of his hat. “Fellas,”
he jerked a thumb back to where his deputies were now
gathering, along with the much-awaited tracking dogs.“Nice
to see you up bright and early. Although, I’m
danged if I know why you out-of-towners would be so
interested in this. It’s just a local thing.”
say we like to finish what we start.” Dean strode
alongside Waterston as the search party began a wide
sweep of the woods. Sam followed just a short distance
behind, taking in every movement in his surroundings.
know Bethany’s not the kind of girl to panic,
and yet after you left yesterday she told me the strangest
thing about what happened out here.” The Sheriff
paused as they neared the site of the attack. He turned
to face Dean, hooking a thumb under his belt in consternation.
“You know the girl says what took her dad was
invisible? She already told you that, right? And yet
you’re still out here?”
shrugged. “Something took Bethany’s
dad. We’re just trying to find out what before
it happens again.” He eyed the local law enforcement
officer for a reaction, but Waterston didn’t flinch.
anything like this ever happened before?” Sam
stepped up, joining his brother and the Sheriff as they
watched the other deputies follow the yelping dogs into
the distance. “Anything unusual spotted in the
woods or surrounding areas?”
shook his head. He didn’t know who he was dealing
with, but some part of him was screaming that he should
have paid these two yahoos’ badge numbers just
a little bit more attention. Right now they were reminding
him more of Mulder and Scully than two state cops. And
the Chevy? Heck, what a beauty, but kind of unusual
to be using as a "cop car."
noted the Sheriff’s sudden pensive behavior and
realized it was time to change the subject or get caught
out. In the distance, he saw the same glint of broken
glass from the shack he’d seen the previous evening
and decided to use it as a way to deflect the conversation.
He nodded towards the bleak structure that looked even
more ramshackle in the light of day.
about the house over there? Anyone live there?”
Dean was pretty sure the abode was abandoned, but then,
so was Hell House and that place had been a bitch to
Sheriff followed the elder hunter’s gaze as they
began to trudge through the undergrowth again and then
shook his head. “Hell no. Nobody’s lived
there in over ten years. It used to belong to the Walden
family, but as far as I know they left. I heard something
about a disabled son and that they headed for the city
to get him treatment.”
Dean stopped, his ears
no longer fully picking up what the cop was saying to
him. About a hundred yards away he’d spotted a
fence hidden by the encroaching thicket, and at the
base of the blackened, untreated timbers he’d
caught sight of something. He held up a hand, cutting
off Waterston from further conversation until he’d
investigated the dark crimson stain.
carefully in case of hidden bear traps, Dean crossed
to the swatch of color and crouched to run a finger
through the drying liquid. It was reasonably fresh,
but there was no way to determine human or animal.
Dean’s eyes narrowed
and he looked around, scrutinizing the foliage and contiguous
greenery for more splashes of color. Noticing yet more
blood spatter in the direction of the house, he indicated
what he’d seen to his two companions and slid
a hand to the back of his belt to retrieve his forty-five.
Sam and Waterston immediately
followed suit, both silently drawing their weapons as
they moved towards the rickety porch of the tumbledown
Dean reached the structure
first and paused, weighing up whether the killer might
still be within- if indeed it or he had ever entered
the house. The blood trail had ceased just far enough
away for it not to be a certainty.
The hunter turned, gesturing
to his brother and the sheriff that he was going inside.
Both men nodded an acknowledgement and poised to cover
him, neither making any sound.
Dean eyed the rotting
decking warily, wondering if the aged wood would take
his weight. He placed a boot carefully on the edge of
the porch, testing to make sure. When the timbers held,
he moved forward, gripping his forty-five up to his
shoulder as he reached what was left of the door.
paused, considering a slow, cautious entry or a full-blown
"kick the door in" assault. Out of habit,
he chose the latter, standing back and lashing out at
the entrance until the door’s tired hinges tore
away and it blasted into the interior of the abode.
sooner had the wooden remains landed, than Dean was
inside, sweeping the shack with his weapon until he
was certain no danger lurked within. “All clear,
guys!” The hunter let his guard down just a fraction
to look around.
ancient abode still held furniture, or what had once
been furniture. Chairs were splayed out across the floor,
their fabric covers chewed at by rats and other vermin
until the foam from within spewed out across the bare
boards. It made the Benders home look like a palace.
filled every corner, and somewhere in the rafters Dean
swore he saw movement. Probably bats. Great, flying
rats. Just what I need.
the rear of the room was yet another door, this time
more intact than its predecessor. Dean ignored the overhead
movement and eyed it warily, noting something dark smeared
on the timber in front of it. More blood? The
hunter’s senses instantly kicked back into alert
mode and he pointed with his forefinger to his two companions
before aiming his gun at the door.
This time, Sam took point,
warily putting his back to the wooden wall panel next
to the door’s frame, his Glock held high. Once
in position, he nodded, indicating for Dean to kick
down the obstacle in their path.
The elder hunter let his
boot heel hit the door about a third of the way up and
it imploded into the next room. Without waiting for
the dust and flying splinters to clear, he dived in,
his finger tickling the trigger of his weapon.
sprang in behind his brother, with the Sheriff bringing
up the rear.
mother of…” The Sheriff’s words trailed
as bile rose in his throat and he was forced to wretch
at what the room held.
Piled in a corner, just
left of a toppled dining table lay a mound of rotting
remains. Some were mere skeletons, their bones long
bleached by the sun through a nearby window. Others
still held remnants of blackened necrotic flesh that
buzzed with insect life and their yellowish larvae.
“Ah, man, talk about
gross,” Dean gagged at the stench coming from
the heap and unconsciously held a hand over his mouth.
When he’d finally stifled the urge to heave, he
moved closer, examining their find.
like anything too recent,” Sam noted, thankful
that Bethany’s dad wasn’t part of the mountain
of tangled limbs.
Sheriff joined the two brothers at the side of their
find, but still struggled to look at the maggot infested
bodies that had been strewn together. He’d seen
some pretty disgusting sights in his time, but this
was somehow more than some wild animal’s lair,
and he knew it. “Do you see anything human in
“Nah, I don’t
see anything that isn’t animal.” Dean crouched
down, scrutinizing the pile more closely. He prodded
at a half chewed torso with the tip of his weapon, revealing
what looked like a dog collar.
elder brother leaned in closer, plucking the tarnished
tag from its resting place and flicking it over in his
hand. The name "Rocky" and a telephone number
where engraved into the metal.
Dean huffed matter-of-factly
and straightened up, tossing the tag over to his brother.
“Some of these bodies are domestic animals, peoples’
pets. Whatever is storing its food here isn’t
just sticking to the woods to get its meals.”
it's been doing it for a long time,” Sam added,
inspecting some of the skeletal carcasses more carefully.
“I think it’s safe to say we can’t
rule out the thing that did this from having taken Bethany’s
“A rogue bear maybe?”
Waterston eased away from the mound and its plethora
of busily feasting flies, preferring instead to focus
on the room’s exit. He needed fresh air to think.
Not that he really suspected the predator responsible
for the carnage before him was a bear. Bears just didn’t
act that way. He’d hunted them long enough to
raised a brow at the cop’s suggestion, knowing
it was a spur of the minute and very irrational idea.
They were dealing with something new here, and the hunter
didn’t like what he was seeing. The cadavers he’d
gotten close enough to had been torn into alright. Some
even had visible teeth marks, but the canine incisions
didn’t look deep enough to be any wild animal
he’d ever encountered. The whole scene was just
“I don’t think
it’s a bear,” Sam agreed, seemingly reading
his brother’s mind. “Maybe we should take
another look around, see if we can find any more tracks.
We still haven’t found the end of that fresh blood
glanced around the room, following a sudden bemused
look from his brother. Both Winchesters' eyes paused
on the same spot as they noted what appeared to be some
kind of cellar door. It had a rusted padlock that obviously
hadn’t been touched for a very long time.
Dean wafted the barrel of his weapon towards the newly-found
entrance, forcing the cop to return his gaze back into
the center of the room. “I think we should take
a look down there.”
nodded and joined the brothers at the small wooden doorway.
As long as he didn’t have to look at the putrid
pile of flesh, he could pretend to ignore the smell
and remain in the room. “I guess we’ll probably
need the bolt cutters from my cruiser.” The Sheriff
cocked a brow as he examined the lock, suspecting it
was too corroded to open of its own volition even if
they had the key.
maybe not…” Dean shot the local a cocky
grin and produced a small and very bent paper clip seeminlgy
out of thin air. He wafted it like a magician and proceeded
to gently poke it into the padlock, teasing until he
felt his way through the rusted interior mechanism.
After a second he felt the lock give way, but it still
Sam couldn’t help
a small smirk as his brother showed off. “Maybe
we should have just kicked it down. This place is so
full of termites it probably would have collapsed with
Dean huffed and swivelled
the forty-five in his hand like a gunslinger until he
was holding the barrel. With one swift tap on the lock
with the automatic’s butt, it clicked open. Dean
grinned and quickly grabbed the door handle, pushing
it inwards as he twisted the forty-five back the right
way up in his palm. “Patience, Mr. Gung Ho,”
he smirked and then tugged out a pen-sized flashlight,
pointing it into the gloom.
basement was just what all three men had expected. Just
a small to medium sized room dug out of the earth beneath
the cabin and fortified with very fragile wooden beams.
A few shelves had been erected along the farthest wall,
and some still held long-outdated jars of pickle, half-rusted
paint tins and a few other cob-web covered household
swung the pen-light further to his left, illuminating
yet more of the darkened corners. He paused mid-arc
and returned to a point closer to the shelving. Something
lay on the floor covered by a moldy green tarp.
go take a look. Cover me.” Dean held his weapon
on the tarp with one hand and the beam from his light
with the other. As he approached he felt a lump form
in his throat. Anything could be under the tarp, including
any number of nasty and supernatural creatures right
out of his dad’s journal.
hunter stepped carefully down the angled ladder that
led into the shadows of the cellar, worrying more about
falling through rotten rungs than what lay beneath.
Great, I’m bound to fall on my ass with Sam
and the local Sheriff watching.
He sensed the wood give
under his right boot and didn’t wait for the step
to give way further. Instead, he leapt forward, jumping
the rest of the distance into the chamber and landing
upright with a grunt.
pausing, he brought the flashlight back up to waist
height and twisted the beam so that it hit the weathered
tarp dead center. As he watched, something slowly began
to move and seemingly writhe beneath the canvas.
Dean froze, every sinew
in his body suddenly readying for a possible fight.
He brought his prized silver automatic up alongside
his light, both brows furrowing as he tentatively approached
the thing on the ground.
Sam watched as his brother made slow, cautious steps
in the darkness. From his position, all he and the Sheriff
could see was what little illumination Dean’s
mini-light gave to the scene.
stomach lurched as he recalled a similar incursion into
a cellar that had almost cost Dean his life. This
is no Rawhead, and there’s no tazer…
Still, the younger sibling’s
grip on his Glock tightened until his knuckles began
to turn white with the pressure.
In the murkiness below,
Dean felt the same kind of trepidation as his brother.
Gone was the jovial, wayward Dean, replaced by his serious,
no-nonsense side. He reached the tarp and the movement
beneath abruptly ceased. Whatever was below had sensed
The Episode here