One: Call To Darkness
Kittsbud & Tree
could hear the pitiful screams of grown men as they
were torn to shreds by demonic hands. Men that he had
once fought with, hunted with, and maybe now was going
to die with. He could hear the disjointed rattle of
guns blazing all around him, empty shells clattering
to the ground as round after round was spent battling
young hunter could smell the acrid fog of unending weapons’
fire, the familiar choking haze of gunpowder filling
his nostrils until he wanted to gag. He could smell
the aroma of burning wax and tallow smoke from the now
extinguished candles that had surrounded him.
one of his senses was on alert, and even though the
room had been plunged into pitch black, he could “feel”
what was going on.
didn’t try to move. He couldn’t. Somehow,
the cacophony of sound barraging his mind had paralyzed
him to the altar as if he’d been drugged.
though one arm had been cut free from its bonds as Dean
had been shot, he couldn’t coerce his muscles
into movement. He felt numb, dead, even though the blade
his brother had held had only nicked his skin as Dean
Sam tried to see into the darkness, tried to listen
for a muted response from his brother to indicate he
was still alive, but all his straining ears could discern
were the cries of the dying intermixed with the yells
of the defiant that still waged their war.
among those men was his father. The father that had
just put a bullet into his eldest son, little realizing
Dean had never meant to harm his sibling.
clenched his eyes closed and rolled onto his side, trying
not to sit up for fear it made him more of a target.
He could feel his free hand shaking as he fumbled to
try and untie the ropes that still bound him to the
let his fingers close around the twine on his wrist
and began to tug at. He had to get free, had to find
his brother and try to help him.
had seen Dean being possessed in Haris’s chamber,
had seen the oily black hue of his eyes when he’d
passed through the crowd of chanters to the altar, and
yet, Sam was convinced Dean’s knife cutting the
cord on his wrist had been no accident.
part of Dean was still Dean. How else could he have
been hurt by a bullet anyway? Humans possessed by a
demon were usually blissfully unaware they even had
an injury until the demon was expelled – just
long fingers abruptly began to work faster on his bonds,
suddenly spurred on by the realization that if Dean
really was still Dean, John’s bullet could have
seriously injured him.
stray slug zinged past Sam’s skull inches from
clipping his temple, ricocheting of the wall behind
him with a metallic twang. He flinched, instinctively
ducking as another salvo of small arms fire erupted
from the far corner, briefly illuminating the underground
room with flashes of white light.
if he was wrong? What if Dean really had intended to
plunge the knife into his throat and John’s shot
had saved him? What if Dean really was possessed? After
all, how could he not be?
felt the cord around his wrist loosen and he tugged
it quickly away, freeing his other arm. Hunching over,
he began to work on the final bonds to his ankles. As
he pried at the rope, he squinted into the gloom, using
the flash from the weapons fire to try to gain his bearings.
just the impact of the bullet knocked Dean back. Maybe
he’s already trying to find me again in the darkness
to finish me…
shook his head. For the briefest of moments before John
had taken aim, he was sure he’d seen Dean’s
hazel eyes staring down at him, eyes that had
spoken volumes without a single word being spoken. Eyes
that had said “I’m not gonna kill you lil’
bro” over and over, even though Dean’s actions
had said the opposite.
pulled away the last remnants of his fetters and swung
his legs down from the altar just as something seemed
to fizz to his left. For a second, he didn’t recognize
the sound and abruptly found himself blinded by a brilliant
red burst of light.
young hunter threw a hand to his temple, guarding his
eyes as they adjusted to the flare someone had tossed
into the middle of the room. Within a few seconds, he
wished he had kept his hand further down shielding his
view from the horrors that littered the concrete floor.
of countless hunters lay strewn haphazardly in pools
of their own congealing blood. Limbs lay askew at odd
angles where they had been torn from their sockets by
angry demonic hands.
of dying friends, hunters, maybe family filled his ears
- filled his heart with dread. And through it all, yet
more intermittent gunfire as if a few stragglers hadn’t
realized the battle was over, the war seemingly lost
before they’d even begun.
Dad!” Sam’s eyes darted from corpse to corpse
until they settled on a battered and bloodied body he
was sure he recognized.
wasn’t his father or his brother, but a colleague.
Frank Driscoll had been a good tracker – his specialty
had been werewolves, but he would turn a hand to anything
should the need arise, and it had.
Sam watched in morbid fascination, the body began to
move, an unearthly black miasma seeping across the chamber
floor and through Driscoll’s nostrils until he
began to rise.
this the fate of hunters who had not yet quite drawn
their last breath? Becoming vessels for “homeless”
demons so they might continue the fight, the war against
fell to his knees at the side of the sacrificial table
and quickly began to fumble in the dull light until
his fingers touched something metallic. Tugging out
the forty-five from beneath a dead man, he took aim,
careful to go for a head shot.
black ooze was almost completely in the dying Driscoll
now, had almost completely possessed his shell keeping
his broken and bleeding body alive as a human vase.
you don’t, you bastard!” Sam pulled the
trigger repeatedly until the click of the hammer on
nothing told him he’d expended every shell. Still
he continued to pull back, seeing Meg Masters die over
and over again in his arms. He wasn’t going to
have Driscoll suffer for months like that. Wasn’t
going to let a friend with no hope be used by some creature
of the dark.
body slumped onto the concrete, nothing left of what
had once been his skull. The throbbing black demon fog
billowed from his body, oozing across the floor at low
level until it found a grating and seeped effortlessly
began to breathe heavily, his heart throbbing in his
chest. What if Dean was trapped somehow like Meg? What
if Dean was still in there, forced to share his body
with the very thing he hunted?
forty-five dropped from Sam’s grasp as he suddenly
envisaged Dean’s body on the floor before him
instead of Driscoll’s. Dean lying broken, bleeding,
dead by his hand. The youngest Winchester began to shake
until he lost all focus of what was still transpiring
– and of who or what was behind him.
heavy hand clamped down on Sam’s shoulder, twisting
him around with such force he almost lost his balance.
Maybe it was Dean come to finish the sacrifice. Maybe
it was Haris come to collect.
iacta est, Samuel…
now, as Sam looked upon the carnage and death around
him, he didn’t even care.
* * * *
pain called to him, drawing him back to some semblance
of consciousness he wasn’t sure he wanted to visit
yet. It was much nicer to stay in the darkness, the
fog that his mind had wandered into after his last fleeting
bastard shot me!
Dean’s body had been propelled backwards by the
impact of the bullet he’d had little chance to
see his assailant. All that his tormented mind could
focus on was Sammy anyway. Sammy his brother, Sammy,
the one he’d been about to give a Colombian necktie…
I wasn’t going to do it…I could never hurt
problem was his semi-cognizant mind wasn’t sure,
was it? The whole scene was like some fuzzy overplayed
video in his head, and frankly, this tape was so worn
it had spots missing. Blank areas where Dean really
wasn’t sure who had been in control.
can control it…it doesn’t define me…
he felt something shift – nothing physical, but
definitely a presence. The demon wanted his soul. It
wanted to use him, to beat him down into submission
until he obeyed its every whim. It wanted him to be
the pawn in Haris’s trap to command Sam. But most
of all, it wanted to know how the hell he was subduing
groaned, a thin smile playing over his lips as he took
down a harried breath and almost gagged on the sulfur
and gun smoke in the air. “It must really piss
you off that you’re in there and can’t give
the orders, you sonofabitch…”
entity within him seemed to tear at his psyche, some
inner growl echoing in his mind even though there was
truly nothing audible to hear save for the unending
spatter of bullets on concrete.
enjoyed the demon’s frustration. He enjoyed knowing
there was something at last that could prevent such
a creature from taking over a person completely, even
though he had no clue what that something was.
find Sammy. Gotta let him know I wasn’t gonna
hurt him…I could never hurt him, could I?
hunter tried to push up on his scraped elbows, but his
right arm just wouldn’t support his weight. He
cringed, remembering the wound inflicted by some unknown
gunman – probably a hunter thinking he was playing
for the other team. It hurt, but not enough. From what
he could tell the slug had passed straight through without
shattering any bone or major blood vessels. Clean entry
and exit. But even so, he should be in agony right about
now instead of feeling a dull ache through his shoulder.
let fingers probe to convince himself, but he had already
guessed what was happening. Maybe he was in control
of the demon, but it was still part of him. While ever
it was “on board” and had any influence,
his physical body would be somewhat shielded from pain
huffed and he tried to roll behind a podium Haris had
used to give speeches to his “troops.” It
was barely what he would call good cover, but he was
still far too groggy to join the melee or try and find
a better haven until he could explain himself to Sam.
little brother, I’m really not possessed. These
are just black Halloween contacts from Wal-Mart…Yeah,
he’ll really buy that one after I put a knife
to his throat! Shit!
felt his body sag against the hard wood of the platform
and he let out a breath, realizing his mind was still
reeling. Was it the demon? Was he losing control? Hell,
had he ever had full control?
you sure you didn’t try to kill your brother,
Dean? REALLY sure? The sentence was like an echo
through his subconscious, but the words didn’t
come from his own mind. They were bitter, taunting –
was tempted to slam his palms over his ears to quell
the demon’s tirade, but he knew it was useless.
The words were in his head.
fact, are you REALLY sure you didn’t finish the
job? I think you did, and now you just don’t want
to remember it…
Dean forgot he was hiding, forgot that he was now a
wanted man by Haris, and probably any number of his
own kind who had seen the flash of black in his eyes
as he’d hovered over Sam at the altar.
began to shout across the chamber and a new volley of
bullets cut through the darkness. How anyone knew what
they were shooting at was beyond the hunter, but at
least they didn’t seem to have heard his outburst.
He looked around, but there was nothing to see, no one
for the rescue party or their foes to aim at in the
gloom. But then, maybe demons could see without
light. Hell was supposed to be pretty damn dark after
me the firstborn!” Haris’s tone was sharp,
acidic as he barked orders to his demon-possessed soldiers
from some unseen location. “Regroup as we planned…”
dared to bob his head from around the dais, at first
not realizing he was the one being sought out among
the bodies now littering the chamber.
sudden flashback of a grimy cabin in lush swampland
entered his mind. Only the crotchety old man that had
given him the amulet had ever called him that. Did it
mean anything? And why the hell does that yellow-eyed
bastard suddenly want me? Wasn’t this always about
shook his head, trying to clear the disorientation that
still clouded his mind and judgment. If only it wasn’t
so damn dark. If only he could see what was going on
and know his brother was safe.
eyes darted up, picking out a towering form above him
in the shadows. It was one of Haris’s guards from
the cells, and he looked pretty pissed – although
how exactly you got such a big-ass demon pissed was
guess this isn’t Disneyland, huh?” Dean’s
lips curled into a smirk even though the creature above
him had already grabbed his collar and held him by it
until his feet dangled several inches from the floor.
“You know, Haris is so gonna kick your ass for
treating one of his kids like this…”
guard’s own raven eyes narrowed as he saw the
flick of black cross over Dean’s, but still he
shook his head. Orders were orders, and Haris was not
a forgiving master. “You are not one of the master’s
thing turned, ignoring the clip of bullets that a hunter
emptied into its back. It felt nothing only the burning
desire to please the dark one, its father.
lashed out with his good arm, trying to dislodge the
demon’s grip, trying to fight it with the extra
strength he now had within, but it was useless. To tap
into the demon’s power he carried was like letting
it have just that little bit more control. Every time
he did so, the voices inside began to scream anew, tempting
him to give into them. Tempting him to join the dark
the center of the chamber someone let off a bright red
flare, and for a second Dean could have sworn he heard
Sam’s soft tones calling out to him. He opened
his mouth, considering shouting out that he was alive,
that he was being taken, but at the last minute he clamped
his jaw closed again. Maybe that was what Haris wanted.
Maybe he was the bait now.
you sure he’s even alive? You had a knife at his
temper blazed almost as fierce as the flare now glowing
brightly in the chamber. He hated the thing within him,
hated its jibes for fear they might be true. What’s
more, he hated himself for allowing any of this to happen.
He was helpless, being lugged out of the room like a
slaughtered animal, his boots dragging on the floor
as he was hauled behind the huge behemoth that was his
hellish captor. And all because he had trusted Zack
and that damned code word.
licked his lips, tasting the tang of his own blood as
he suddenly had the insane urge to hum. He wasn’t
on a plane. He wasn’t even being dangled off the
floor anymore, but somehow hearing the defiant drone
of his own voice was comforting at a level only Dean
Winchester understood. It kept him focused. It kept
him in control. It kept him human.
demon entered a secondary corridor and turned, cocking
its head in bemusement. As it briefly looked down at
him, Dean continued his version of The Stones Sympathy
for the Devil, with a smirk. He was getting
just the reaction he’d hoped for.
have sympathy for your boss, dude, ‘cause damned
if he isn’t going to regret having his kid possess
this Winchester’s ass…”
guard’s expression remained neutral, but with
one swift backhand it slammed Dean into the nearby stone
wall so hard there would be no more quips. No more defiance.
with its handiwork, it nodded, picking up the bloodied
hunter and tossing him over its shoulder as it followed
its master from the complex.
* * * *
Sam felt the hand squeeze his shoulder in something
akin to affection and he exhaled. The eyes that now
looked down into his were not the black orbs of a demon,
but the reassuring eyes of his father. “Sam…”
pulled his youngest into a quick bear hug and then stood
back to check him over. When his searching gaze found
no serious injuries or unwanted bullet holes, he nodded,
relief clear in his expression.
had been bad enough having to watch as Dean pressed
a blade to Sam’s neck, but if his youngest had
been hurt by a stray hunter’s bullet John would
never have forgiven himself. The brothers had been through
so much already because of his sometimes misguided crusade.
cleared his throat. Maybe Dean had already paid the
ultimate price for his blind loyalty to his family.
The bullet wound he’d sustained wasn’t serious
– John had never intended for it to be a kill
shot, but wherever Dean was, he was still possessed.
Maybe there was no way to fix that.
worked, but not always. Sometimes the ritual was too
much for the broken body once the demon inside was vanquished.
And tonight, who knew what damage Dean had already been
Where the hell is Dean?” Sam pushed away from
the altar, letting the ropes that had secured him fall
as he faced his father. “You shot him…how
father sensed anger, fear, resentment, but then that
was only to be expected. “Sam, I had to. You saw
the color of his eyes. He was possessed and you know
it.” John’s voice remained neutral, low,
even though inside hurting his eldest had torn his heart
of him still wished every day that Sam had killed him
back at the cabin and taken the demon with it. Part
of him ached knowing because he’d lived, the damned
thing still walked the earth hurting people –
hurting his kids.
looked around, noting the gunfire had finally ceased.
Bobby was somewhere, barking orders to the hunters still
standing. Cries of agony filled the air from the dead,
the dying, the afraid. Was this a lull? Or had Haris
taken flight after all? Sam wasn’t sure he even
cared. Finding Dean was his mission, his priority.
saw his eyes,” he admitted, avoiding eye contact
with his father. “But right at the last minute…right
when he held the knife at my throat…I saw Dean,
Dad, not some damn demon…”
could have been a trick.”
shook his head, watching as a group of his father’s
friends began to assemble together in a huddled mass,
unsure of what move to make next. “It wasn’t
a trick. Dean cut the rope on my wrist on purpose. I’m
sure of it. And you had to barge in here and shoot him!”
The words were scathing, just like the old days. Somehow,
in Sam’s eyes John always managed to do the wrong
thing at the wrong time.
wasn’t really what he believed, but it was his
defense mechanism against all the bad things that seemed
to happen to the Winchesters. Now, he had to pick up
the pieces again. He had to hope that Dean had somehow
survived the hunters assault and was lying somewhere
in the chamber, bleeding but alive.
Words evaded the father and he rubbed the bottom of
his graying beard as if the motion would somehow provide
him with some new excuse, some new order that would
block any other thought. But then, Sam was never the
one to follow his orders anyway.
brushed off his name and turned. He didn’t really
blame John, how could he? He and Dean had walked right
into the trap. John had tried to shield them. He’d
tried to send them on some fake gig that would keep
them well away from this place when the war came. But
oh no, they were Winchesters. They’d smelled the
ruse a mile away. Pity they hadn’t smelled Murzak’s
ruse so quickly.
fault. I’m the one this damned demon wants. I’m
the one he wanted to sacrifice, or whatever the hell
that ceremony was…
continued to chide himself as he walked among the bodies,
stopping every few steps to tug over a corpse, his chest
hitching in case the mangled remains belonged to his
the bullets had started flying and Dean had been shot,
Sam had noted pretty much where he’d fallen. Dean
had been close to a small stage where Haris gave his
little oratories. Yet now, there was no sign of the
injured hunter. Was that a good thing?
kneeled, his gaze locking on a small pool of blood on
the floor. It was smeared and seemed to trail up the
side of the podium as if someone still bleeding had
let his forefinger trace through the drying red liquid.
There wasn’t a lot. That was good. It meant his
brother’s injury wasn’t life threatening.
Dad always was a good shot. So where the hell is
he? The young hunter swiveled on the balls of his
feet, still not straightening from his crouched position.
Maybe Dean had crawled to a better hiding place. Maybe
he knew the good guys had shot him. Maybe he was scared
of his own kind.
scared? No way…
then, what if he’d seen who had shot him? What
if Dean knew his own father had pulled the trigger and
might do so again? A flashback from Missouri repeated
over in Sam’s head until he had to put a hand
to his brow.
shoot me, son! Shoot me! Son, I’m beggin’
you! We can end this here and now! Sammy!
had heard those words too. Would John apply the same
rule for him now that Dean was possessed? Sam winced
at his own thought and flinched slightly when his father’s
voice called to him from across the chamber. It was
like those sweet, deep tones had suddenly turned to
we have to move…”
stood from his crouched pose to see his father looking
at him. John had joined the other group of hunters and
had somehow managed to hush their rowdy, uncontrolled
banter with his harsh military-style approach.
was at John’s side, shotgun in hand, his left
arm covered in blood – whether it was his own
or the enemies, Sam wasn’t sure.
have to find Dean…” It was the only coherent
sentence Sam seemed to be able to string together.
glanced to John before answering. “Sam, Haris
and his boys have made a run for it. We don’t
know where Dean is. He could be with them…”
sensed the suggestion in Bobby’s voice. Maybe
the other hunters had seen Dean’s eyes flash black,
maybe they hadn’t, but John and Bobby had. They
thought there was a chance Dean had gone with Haris
willingly. “No.” It was one word, but it
conveyed everything that needed to be said.
nodded, accepting his youngest’s answer. Dean
was a Winchester. He’d die before he’d fight
alongside a demon or let one control him.
people, can we cut the crap and get after the demon’s
ass before it gets away? Too many of us died here today
to let that bastard live…”
voice was from the back of the throng of hunters, and
John didn’t recognize which man had complained.
The complaint, however, was met with a hearty response
from the rest of the men.
voices mixed with the sickly aroma of stale sweat and
gun oil filled the chamber along with something else.
John couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but
there was another odor, faint, but still teasing his
senses. He ignored it, holding up a hand to calm the
a lot of good men have died here today. But
if we go after Haris now we’d just be adding to
that number. He’s not running because he’s
afraid of us. This bastard is too smart for that. I’ve
tracked it, I’ve fought it more than any other
man among you…you have to trust me…”
paused, wondering if the hunters would trust anyone
again after Zack Murzak’s betrayal. There was
a buzz as the hunters talked amongst themselves, each
man evaluating just where his allegiance lay. Some had
never even heard of John Winchester before today. Others,
like Bobby, knew John’s marine background, knew
his exploits in the field, and knew he would never back
down unless there was no choice.
right,” Bobby let his Remington rest on his shoulder.
“The only way to follow Haris is to search each
and every passageway in this place. Reminds me too much
of the underground warrens the gooks used to dig in
Nam. You guys don’t want to find out how much
fun being a tunnel rat is, believe me. I heard all about
it from my brother, and he has some pretty nasty looking
scars to prove it…”
murmuring from the masses, followed by slowly bobbing
heads indicated the hunters finally trusted their new
leader. A wane smile and a nod back from John let them
all know he appreciated it.
need to get back topside, regroup and get the injured
some help.” John looked to Bobby again. “Can
you get them back out? I’ll stay and help with
eyes twinkled and his beard twitched with an understanding
smile. John was holding back. He was going to help those
wounded in the fight, it was true, but he was also going
to look for Dean. “You’ll find him, John.”
The hunter pulled a small flask from his pocket and
offered it up. “Just promise me you don’t
try to shoot him again when you do. Kinda a habit of
yours if I remember correctly…”
took the flask and let it lie in the palm of his hand,
uncertain what to do with it. “Holy water?”
He eventually asked.
chuckled. “Hell, no! Whiskey! Now go find your
Sam and Bobby turned simultaneously as the voice from
the back of the crowd began to yell a new warning. In
the same instant, John at last realized the aroma he
hadn’t been able to pinpoint earlier. It was the
smell of an electrical fire melting through plastic
and cable. It hadn’t been strong enough to identify
before, but now the sickly scent was almost too pungent
wouldn’t just leave like he did.” Sam sprang
towards the nearest corridor, noting the whispery tendrils
of smoke ebbing from the entranceway at ground level
like an innocent morning mist. “This has to be
another ambush. His men probably booby-trapped the whole
confirm his fears, an explosion in one of the far tunnels
seemed to rock the small chamber, bringing down chunks
of plaster and concrete from the ceiling. After the
first detonation, several more followed in a chain reaction
that made the very ground shake beneath the hunters’
air began to fill with a thick white dust as debris
of all sizes toppled onto the dead, eviscerated bodies
on the floor, mingling with their blood to make a nauseating
strawberry split colored glop.
“We have to move! NOW!” John grabbed his
own shotgun and gestured to a corridor that still seemed
intact and fire free. It was like he was back in the
marines taking point of the motley troop that now saw
him as their leader.
looked to his father, both proud and afraid. They were
escaping, leaving the complex before it was blown to
pieces, but what about…
We can’t leave. He could be down here. Trapped,
saw the look in his son’s eyes and read the thoughts
behind them as surely as if he were psychic himself.
As he reached the corridors entrance he paused, letting
Bobby take his position at the front of the men as they
raced down the dimly-lit passageway.
a hand fall on Sam’s shoulder, he swallowed. “We’ll
find him, Sam. We’ll find him and we’ll
fix him. But first we have to find a way out…”
knew his father was right. They were no good to Dean
if they died in Haris’ “tomb.” That
still didn’t make it feel right. It didn’t
make it any easier to just walk away not knowing.
“C’mon, Sam, we have to leave…maybe
Dean’s already out and waiting topside...”
John tugged more firmly on Sam’s shoulder, not
giving his son any chance to rebel. Because hell, this
was Sammy. And while he had never liked following orders,
he sure knew how to disobey them.
time, Sam didn’t put up a fight and slowly followed
his father into the tunnel with the last few stray hunters.
He was no good to Dean dead.
his eyes adjusted to the dimness, he began to scramble
forward, following his father and the illumination of
a flashlight beam far in the distance. His companions
didn’t speak, but simply clambered onwards, knowing
that if they saw daylight ever again it would be a miracle.
cry came almost at the same time as the last detonation.
Sam wasn’t sure who had yelled or how far ahead
they were, but then he didn’t need to know. The
bright blinding flash that seemed to sear into his eyes
was followed by a deafening explosion of noise and debris.
had little time to even shield his eyes, little time
to see the fireball now expanding outwards towards his
group, and little time to say one last prayer before
his legs were torn from under him and his whole world
turned hellishly black.
the episode here