City of Big Bear Lake, California
leather cord twisted on the hook, its rough edges digging
into his skin until dark red welts covered his wrists.
There was little pain, only a sickening numbness interspersed
with tingling spears of heat that filled his hands and
fingers – hanging from a meat hook for hours,
arms locked above you tended to have that effect. The
sensation of pins and needles sticking into his limbs
had long been replaced by a nothingness he couldn’t
even describe, but then, perhaps that was what his tormentor
forty-eight-year-old exhaled, hearing the gurgling in
his own throat as blood bubbled there. How much blood
could he lose before he slipped into unconscious anyway?
sharp prodded him in the ribs, reminding him that there
was still more meat on his body to cut, still more pain
to inflict should the person before him so wish it.
His frame convulsed, both from the jab and the frigid
air in the meat locker.
have I ever done to you?” The words were raw,
unclear, but the pleading in them was primal, as if
the extremely well educated professional had forgotten
all he’d been taught and slipped back to his most
basic instinct – survival.
black clad figure in front of him didn’t speak,
didn’t move even, and he was forced to stare into
eyes that held no depth, no compassion, no essence.
Whoever was beyond the mask hated him, hated life itself
to the point where anything was acceptable.
Shepherd had seen those eyes before, had looked into
the pits of despair they mirrored and had known what
he had to do. Allowing this unspeakable evil to walk
among innocents shouldn’t even have been considered,
much less sanctioned, and yet, against his wishes it
Shepherd’s fractured tones echoed through the
freezer room, his voice cracking with the agony of multiple
knife wounds and the cold that bit into his near-naked
body. “I told them…I warned them…”
dark figure moved silently and swiftly, stuffing a greased-covered
rag into Shepherd’s open mouth. He gagged, almost
choking as the cloth was pushed just a little too far
down his throat.
Shepherd watched as his kidnapper moved to the ice-covered
inner wall of the chamber, dodging through dangling
beef carcasses to reach the thermostat controls for
spindly, gloved fingers reached out, twisting further
and further until the minimum temperature possible was
selected. Then, the wraith-like tormentor turned and
crossed both arms, waiting, watching.
it would be too cold in the room for a mere mortal.
Soon, the thick coagulating globules of Shepherd’s
blood, pooling beneath his slack form would turn into
solid crimson stalagmites.
squirmed, biting into the cloth in his mouth as he tried
to let out a muffled cry. His hands feebly twisted,
trying in desperation to pull free from the bonds that
held him fast to the meat hook, but it was no use.
spatters of red adorned the floor like a newly laid
ice-carpet with his every tussle for freedom –
the unsightly liquid streaming from flaps of skin that
had been neatly carved away from his side.
the locker, the cold should have been his friend, the
below zero temperature helping to constrict blood vessels
and slow the hemorrhaging, but instead the extra exertion
simply fuelled the bleeding, aiding his killer and providing
perfect entertainment to a crazed psyche.
Shepherd grew tired of the show, tired of the fight
to live, and he succumbed, letting the cold embrace
him. His glazed eyes locked on the figure that walked
towards him, waiting patiently for the last cut of the
knife that would end his days.
large serrated blade whirled before his failing field
of vision but then slid into a sheath on his executioner’s
raven-attired fiend ran a gloved finger down Shepherd’s
chest, pausing at every wound that had been inflicted.
As the digit reached the flails of tissue expertly carved
earlier, it paused, circling in the fresh blood until
Shepherd snorted down his nose in agony.
harder, the tormentor caused a fresh spurt of blood
to spill onto the glove and then rubbed at it between
thumb and forefinger, relishing its color, its potency
as a life-giver.
head lolled back and to the side in total exhaustion.
He was finished. He would either bleed to death or freeze
here, but either way his sentence had been passed.
vague memories of a warning given too late came back
to plague him, Shepherd’s failing eyes watched
his killer walk to the closest wall and begin to write
in his blood.
message was not only for him, but for others too, because
the killing would not end here. This was just the beginning.
I warned them…I told them it wasn’t
natural – not even human anymore…
killer ignored his raspy breathing, ignored the drip,
drip, drip of blood splashing onto the hard flooring
and simply continued to scrawl until the bloody message
back to admire the note as if it were an art form, the
lithe figure nodded and then jogged from the meat freezer,
leaving behind a legacy that had begun almost a decade
The Death Chill…
* * * *
The incessant tapping of keyboard keys was almost as
bad as the constant thrum of a hangover to Dean Winchester
– in fact, given a choice, he’d take the
hangover any day.
wasn’t really the noise from his brother’s
long fingers hammering away at the laptop that really
bothered him, but more the why Sam was working
like a madman scouring the net and every known source
know, you’re gonna wear a hole right through those
plastic keys if you don’t give that thing a break.”
Dean looked over from behind the Impala’s wheel,
his right brow raised questioningly.
momentary blank stare he got back told him all he needed
to know. Ever since hastily leaving Bobby’s, Sam
had been different, on edge, and Dean knew why, even
if it annoyed the hell out of him.
was scared. Scared that the demon within his brother
would ultimately take control, would turn Dean into
some pawn for Haris while he helplessly stood by and
younger Winchester had yet to sleep and seldom stopped
to eat or drink, he considered his task so important.
To Dean, though, it was like being baby-sat twenty-four
hours of the day, and it was beginning to wear his already
jangling nerves to breaking point.
Haris’s kid in him was bad enough, feeling its
constant attempts to push through, to force the ultimate
power struggle - his mind and the amulet against the
demonic creature. But for Sammy to even have the slightest
doubt that he could control what was going on, well,
that was just painful on a whole new level.
squirmed in his seat and his eyes darted to the rear
view mirror – not because there was any other
traffic on the winding highway, but because he had to
see his own reflection. The hunter had to see the comforting
flash of hazel to reassure him that he was
his own cocky features glared back at him, eyes sparkling
in all their human glory, he exhaled. Somehow, the amulet
was still doing its job. The hunter had no idea of the
hows, or the whys, but the tarnished bauble that hung
around his neck was suppressing Haris’s kid, keeping
it at bay.
one hand on the wheel of the Chevy, he used the other
to unconsciously touch the amulet, his skin sensing
the power from the cold metal as it met his fingertips.
I swear it’s stronger somehow…I’ve
never ‘felt’ anything when I’ve touched
it before…at least not since the first time…
gaze strayed to the almost mechanical action from his
brother and his fingers finally gave the laptop respite.
“Dean? Is something wrong?” He watched carefully,
somehow expecting Dean’s eyes to cloud over to
a black, oily haze.
I swear if you don’t quit watching me I’m
gonna let this friggin’ demon out to play!”
The sentence was half quip, half vented frustration,
and as his words trailed Dean realized he’d sounded
snappy. Voice softening, he smirked. “You know,
I can tap into this thing’s abilities, right?
Man, I could make more money than David Copperfield…”
reached out to click his fingers but Sam swatted his
hand down, almost afraid to see what his brother might
do. “So not funny, Dean. We need to find
a way to get the damn thing out of you, not let it have
any kind of control…”
just be thankful I’m not pukin’ pea soup
and my head isn’t spinning around. Cos I tell
you, driving would be a bitch if that happened…”
The familiar grin appeared, a mask to appease his already
nervous sibling. “Besides, isn’t possession
nine tenths of the law? I own its ass, not the other
opened his mouth to protest, to try and maybe knock
some sense into his brother, but his cell phone began
to warble, forcing the conversation to the back burner.
He slipped a hand into his pocket, missing the horrified
expression that crossed Dean’s face as Isaac Slade
began to belt out How
to Save a Life from the phone’s tiny
hit the “talk” button and pressed the cell
to his ear, his eyes closing for a second as he inwardly
prayed for it to be their father with information on
how to eradicate the demon safely.
Bobby’s voice greeted him instead, he let out
a low, disappointed breath. “Hey, Bobby, how’s
watched as his brother’s face darkened. Sammy
had a “tell” the size of Mount Rushmore
that would surely get him slaughtered in a poker game
someday. Right now, the expression told Dean their old
friend had no good news to share.
conversation was a short one, and when Sam closed his
phone he took a moment before even looking at Dean.
“Bobby didn’t find anything but dead ends.
Nothing new since last time we spoke…”
well I heard something new with my super sharp demon
hearing…” Dean pulled at the bottom of his
nodded, feigning a look somewhere between disgust and
despair. “Dude, since when did you have the freakin’
Fray as your ringtone? Man, that is such a
wuss ass song…” The elder hunter slowed
the Chevy as he approached an intersection. “I
knew I shoulda disowned you at birth…”
face dimpled despite his worry. While ever the snark
flowed, he could be sure his brother was still himself.
That didn’t mean, however, that he was going to
give up his crusade, not for one second.
had been his protector for so long, and now it was Sam’s
chance to return that favor, even if it took him the
rest of his life to succeed. “Dean, what about
Kyle? Let’s face it, who better to know any obscure
exorcism rites we might have missed than a priest? Besides,
he’s fantastic at research…”
glowered. “You want Moses in on this now too?
Sheesh, if I’d known possession was going to make
me this popular, I’d have tried it years ago.”
He rubbed at the stubble on his chin he’d been
too lazy to shave off that morning and pondered something.
“Hey, you think it might make me an even bigger
chick magnet? Maybe if I could do the whole glowing
eyes deal when…”
Sarcasm was one thing, but Sam definitely did not want
to know if being possessed made his brother any better
in bed. That was something he’d rather not even
think about, even if Dean already had. Doesn’t
he think of anything else but beer and getting laid?
scowled and flipped his cell back open, swiftly hitting
speed dial for the church’s number where Kyle
was still in hiding. After a minute, the answering machine
kicked in. Puzzled, Sam tried again, this time dialing
sorry; I’m not available right now. If you leave
a message, I’ll get right back to you…”
held his own phone away from his ear, his brow creasing
in sudden concern. Kyle Williams was nothing if not
predictable. “That’s odd. I can’t
get a reply at the church or his cell…”
this is Moses. He’s probably out parting a sea
somewhere. You know what he’s like. Mr. Do Gooder,
I gotta save every sinner that walks into my church
this month touchy feely crap…” Dean made
a gesture to say he thought the priest was a little
short of a full deck, but he pulled the Chevy over off
the road and cut the engine anyway. Kyle Williams might
be the perfect material for the hunter’s humor,
but when it came down to it, Dean actually liked the
quirky little preacher. “Try Sarah…”
nodded and thumbed through his address book until he
found Sarah Blake. She’d been in hiding with Kyle
since Haris’s cult had almost killed her, and
if anyone had any inkling of the priest’s whereabouts,
it would be her.
Sarah, it’s Sam…can I speak to Kyle?”
There was a pause. “And you don’t know where
he’s gone?” Sam shook his head, obviously
unnerved by what he was being told. “Okay, Sarah,
Dean and I are on our way.” He twisted his wrist
to glance at his watch. “We’re only a few
hours away. Just sit tight…”
closed his phone and bit his lip. They had enough issues
already with the demon inside Dean and the fact that
several hunters now saw them as targets. To add any
more problems to their load would be dumb – especially
for Dean. And yet, they couldn’t leave Kyle to
whatever he was up to. He just wasn’t experienced
so are you gonna tell me what that was all about, or
do I have to turn freakin’ psychic too?”
Dean’s annoyed tone broke through Sam’s
less than lucid moment and the younger brother started.
something’s wrong. Kyle saw something on the internet
two days ago that bothered him. Sarah doesn’t
know what, but she says he was like a man poss…he
was pretty upset. Anyway, he did some research and scooted
off in his Ford with a bucket load of printouts and
baulked, ignoring his brother’s slip of the tongue
and focusing more on the dysfunctional priest who had
seemingly gone AWOL. “Are you kidding me? Moses
with a gun? The guy will probably shoot his own foot
off. What the hell does he think he’s doing?”
believes this is a gig he can handle, Dean. Sarah says
she thinks he’s headed out for California –
alone. We have to find out what he’s gone after
before he finds himself in a fight he can’t win.”
Sam waited on the elder hunter’s response, knowing
the young priest may already be into something far more
dangerous than he could handle.
had no real experience with the supernatural beyond
demons. He had no weapons or hand to hand combat skills.
Nothing save for his faith.
cranked the Impala’s ignition and spun the steering
wheel, turning the car in a one-eighty. “Don’t
worry, Sammy, we’ll find Moses before anything
happens.” He pushed down on the gas pedal, trying
to hide his own concern. “I just hope he doesn’t
try tossing holy water on my ass when we finally find
* * * *
stone-built church was like something straight from
a Dickens novel. The interior had an aura that oozed
of both age and wisdom which Sam Winchester found familiar,
and somehow comforting.
add to the effect, two large stained glass windows reflected
a myriad of colors off the long wooden pews, bathing
the building’s interior in an almost holy effervescence.
It was like stepping back in time to another era.
you okay in here? I mean, with the …um…”
Sam shot a look of uncertainty at his brother as he
stuffed his hands in his pockets and took a seat on
the nearest pew. It had felt awkward talking to Dean
since the whole possession fiasco, but here, in a church,
it seemed even stranger.
was like the air was filled with some weird electrical
charge, ready to strike like a lightning bolt at just
one wrong word. Can he feel the thing inside him
squirming because he’s on holy ground? Is it harder
to control here? So much Sam wanted to ask, so
many reassuring words he wanted to give, but couldn’t
for fear he’d hurt Dean’s pride even more.
I’m fine.” Dean shuffled onto the bench
next to his brother and bounced down, finding the hard
wood instantly uncomfortable. “Just don’t
ask me to start praying anytime soon. Okay?”
smiled slightly, finding his sibling’s “out
of his depth” expression somewhat amusing. Dean
had never been at ease in churches, not even before
the demon had gotten onboard. He simply just couldn’t
accept that there was any divine force in the world.
Maybe one day that would change, but for now, Sam would
have to be content with his own beliefs.
towards the altar and pulpit at the front of the church,
Sam lowered his head a little and closed his eyes. It
was so peaceful here, so devoid of anything supernatural
that the young hunter suddenly felt like he could stay
in the holy place forever. The silence was almost entrancing,
lulling him into serenity.
was how Sam should feel, not like he had back
at the cabin. For Dean, just for a few hours, it had
been like he’d become a completely different person
– one who had slightly less morals than the usual
didn’t like that person, and he hoped to God he
never had to tap into that part of his psyche ever again.
The visions he suffered were bad enough, but lately
he’d had one or two genuine nightmares about his
actions with Zack Murzak. It was all a front…I
wouldn’t have really hurt him.
prayed that was true. He prayed that the Winchester
nightmare could be over. He prayed for Dean.
tell me you’re not...?”
broke from his reverie to find big brother grinning
what did you ask for, Pornmeister? Free skin channel
for the rest of your days? A night with Sarah..?”
voice was so low, so muted it was almost inaudible.
“I didn’t ask for anything for myself…”
took down a breath and found the church rafters were
suddenly calling for his attention. It was better to
look anywhere than at his brother right now. When he’d
teased Sam about praying he hadn’t expected Sam
to really be making any holy requests, but now that
he thought about it, it wasn’t exactly hard to
figure out just what Sam had asked for.
wanted his brother back. He wanted Dean demon-free,
and he was willing to put his trust in some unseen entity
and ask for help to do it. In that instant, Dean realized
there was one thing Sam had that he didn’t –
faith in something beyond the Winchester family. Maybe
that was a good thing, maybe it wasn’t. Dean just
wasn’t ready for that kind of blind reverence
Sarah Blake’s voice echoed through the church,
reverberating on ancient stone until her gentle tones
sounded angelic. “I’m so glad you made it...”
Dean, the art dealer’s arrival was a good thing
because he sure as hell didn’t want to have to
discuss faith with his little brother anytime soon.
Somehow, having a demon hitching a ride on his soul
tended to dampen any trust in the divine being theories
that so many relied on every day to get them through.
Dean, there was only one thing he trusted outside his
family and that was the silver forty-five tucked neatly
into the back of his waistband.
* * * *
Kyle’s sparse quarters where at the back of the
aging holy house, and as Sarah led the brothers inside,
Sam couldn’t help but wonder how someone from
such an affluent family could live in such meager conditions.
was rich beyond either Winchester’s wildest dreams,
and yet still he dedicated his life to something with
little payback – save perhaps death. “You
said you thought Kyle took off for California?”
Sam raised a brow, sifting through mounds of documents
piled on a small teak desk. “Did he say why? Anything,
even small clues could be important.”
shook her head and pointed to a computer in the corner
of the room. The monitor flashed every few minutes with
a church screensaver, signaling the machine was already
booted. “He kept saying something about how could
he have missed it, and that there would be more if he
didn’t go. When I asked him what was wrong he
shrugged it off, saying it was a gig he could handle
without troubling you two.”
just great! Moses can’t handle any kind of gig
period. The guy might be a wonderful priest, but trust
me he sucks out loud as a hunter.” Dean ran a
hand through his hair disconsolately. “Sam, can
you pull anything off that thing?”
can try…” Sam eased onto the small leather
chair Kyle used at his computer and brought up the desktop.
Hitting the documents folder he swiftly scanned through
several files only to find them full of schedules for
the next two weeks’ sermons. “He hasn’t
saved anything to file.” Sam clicked on the internet
icon. “Maybe I can trace what he’s been
viewing through the history tab. Let’s see…”
and Sarah watched as Sam hit key after key, rapidly
moving the mouse pointer every few seconds until he
had four windows open at once.
what do you see, geekboy?” Dean leaned over his
brother’s shoulder, trying to read the top window
as Sam scrolled.
looks like Kyle has been looking into a spate of recent
murders. The last two were pretty gruesome.” Sam
hit enter and another square popped up with crime scene
photos that made Sarah cringe and back away. “Sorry,”
he apologized, tapping another key. “According
to this newspaper report, the second victim was a psychiatrist
named Julian Shepherd. He was hung in a meat locker,
cut up pretty badly and then left to freeze to death.
The third guy was a research scientist who also froze
to death after a canister of liquid nitrogen spilled
in his lab…”
face contorted uncertainly and he shook his head. “So,
if the third guy was an unfortunate spill, why was Moses
looking at him as a possible victim? And even if he
was a victim, this is still just a murder case…”
whirled around on the chair like a businessman addressing
a stock meeting, twirling a pencil between his fingers
absently. “Because the cops investigating the
case soon found evidence the spill was no accident.
And get this: at the scene of every crime the killer
uses the victim’s blood to leave a message.”
perched himself on the edge of the desk and poked a
finger at a lone piece of pizza sitting idly in an open
tray. There was no telling how long it had sat there
collecting dust, but Dean dared to pick it up and take
a bite anyway. “Okay, you got me, what’s
the message? You say buy two get one free I’m
gonna kick your college boy ass…” He munched
on the double cheese and pepperoni, stuffing in a second
mouthful after deciding it was still very edible –
at least by his standards.
killer always daubs ‘Feel the Death Chill’
on a nearby wall.” Sam shrugged, returning his
attention to the computer after cringing at his brother’s
distasteful habit of eating copious amounts of outdated
food. “Why Kyle thought this was something we
should look at, I don’t know yet. Both the latest
fatalities were pretty prominent in their fields, though.
Maybe I can dig up a connection…”
swallowed down the last of the pizza and looked at his
watch with a sigh. Sammy digging up a connection often
meant sitting around for hours while his brother surfed
the net. It was boring as hell.
hunter looked to Sarah hopefully, needing something
wet to lubricate his throat after ramming so much over-dry
crust in. “I don’t suppose preachers keep
beer handy, huh?”
laughed but turned, heading for the door. “I’ll
see what I can dig up.”
better look at this…” Sam’s eyes were
fixated on another article on the screen, but this time
the color seemed to have drained from his features seconds
after the item had popped up. His voice caught in his
throat as he explained the reason for his new ashen
complexion. “Dean…both dead men worked on
the Laura Mitchell case…”
who?” Dean’s look of confusion lasted two
seconds. “Miss freakin’ Ice Cube? You gotta
be kidding me? I thought she was still popsicle pie?”
don’t you remember? We caused a coolant leak the
night we fought her. The next day it was on the radio
the local hospital had no choice but to try and revive
some of the patients because they’d begun to thaw…”
rubbed at his brow. “Okay, so I need that drink
right about now…” He scowled, recalling
the frigid floating outline of Laura Mitchell as she’d
appeared to them in her ethereal form. “Can you
pull up what happened to her? I mean, she has to have
died right? There’s been nothing on the news and
something that big woulda been major league.”
cleared the screen and brought up a new search with
Laura’s name and several keywords. At first, there
was nothing beyond the initial report of the CryoGen
leak. “This is way too low key, Dean. I can’t
find anything…” The young hunter tried again,
focusing this time on the actual cryogenics facility
rather than Laura.
thinking some kind of cover up?”
didn’t answer at first, seemingly mesmerized by
his task to the point where Dean had to wave a hand
in front of his face to get him to look up. “Huh?”
He squirmed apologetically. “Right…from
what I can find, Laura Mitchell was the only cryo-patient
to undergo surgery and be successfully revived. Despite
the transplant working, Laura remained in a coma for
months. The doctors gave up hope that she’d ever
but she did, the Ice Bitch part deux, right?”
Dean spotted a rubber band on Kyle’s desk and
began flicking safety clips at his brother with it until
Sam shot an annoyed scowl in his direction.
Laura awoke the hospital psychiatrist considered her
mentally unstable. It was thought there was most likely
brain damage due to the experimental freezing process.
He advised Laura be kept in an institution and CryoGen
agreed. I’m guessing they kept their first retrieval
pretty hush hush because of Laura’s mental state.”
Sam picked up one of the paperclip projectiles and propelled
it back across the desk with the edge of a hastily located
Laura is still in some whacko hospital?” Dean
dodged the clip with a smirk.
shook his head, giving up on the desktop warfare to
bring up another piece of classified CryoGen data he’d
managed to illegally retrieve. “It says here Laura’s
parents managed to get her released recently. Money
talks, man. She lives in some expensive but secluded
cabin up near Big Bear Lake.
whistled. “Didn’t one of those newspaper
articles you brought up say one of the dead guys died
bobbed his head, the pieces of the conundrum all falling
into place. “Julian Shepherd, the meat locker
guy was the shrink who tried to stop Laura being released.
The last guy, the scientist? He was former CryoGen too.
Was one of the top guys on Laura’s case at the
time of her body’s preservation.”
our old friend the freeze queen is back for a little
revenge and Kyle worked it out.” Dean kinked his
head to one side, raising a brow in admiration. Maybe
the priest wasn’t a great hunter, but he really
was good at puzzles.
expression was much dourer than his sibling’s.
Kyle was in danger because of them. Men had died, because
of them. “Dean, this is all our fault. When we
banished Laura’s spirit it didn’t come back
when her body was revived.” His brows knitted
in dejection. “We caused this!”
wrinkled his nose in disbelief and plucked the Chevy’s
keys from his pocket, tossing them in the air and then
catching them backhanded. “Dude, you read the
report. Laura is most probably not firing on all cylinders
because of being frozen, not our gris gris bag attack.
You can’t do your guilt trip thing on this one.”
He pointed to the door. “The only thing we can
be sure of is the bitch is back, and Kyle might be the
next one to get his butt frozen if we don’t shag
nodded, but inside the blame had already settled. The
very thing he had been worried about all those months
ago had come true, and now they had to deal with Laura
in her human form. If it hadn’t been for Kyle,
maybe he could have walked away and let the police handle
all, what they were dealing with was murder pure and
simple. No shades of grey. But she wouldn’t
have been soulless if we hadn’t exorcized her
Sammy, it’s not exactly a short trip to Big Bear
Lake from here…”
scooped up any loose relevant paperwork he could find
and quickly stuffed the sheets into a folder from Kyle’s
filing cabinet. Slipping the folder under his arm he
scurried after Dean who was already halfway across the
church’s small parking area.
guys, what about your beer?”
and Dean both turned at the same instant to see Sarah
Blake in the church doorway holding two Coors.
sweetheart, duty calls.” Dean winked and then
stole a glance to Sam, wondering if his brother would
go back across the yard and kiss the girl goodbye.
Sam simply climbed into the Impala instead, deep in
thought, Dean followed him and cranked the growling
Chevy to life.
watched as the car grumbled down the potholed driveway
and rolled her eyes. After a brief moment of thought,
she took a swig from one of the bottles. “What
the hell.” She shrugged. “Men…”
* * * *
Somewhere in the Big Bear Lake Area
the Impala to a stop about a mile down the dirt track
and quietly slipped out his automatic. His face reflected
in the sheen from its perfect silver surface and he
looked quickly away, afraid of the two black voids he
might see. It was hard to keep up the charade, hard
to not let Sammy see his fear, his weakness.
on, stay strong!’
familiar message played in his subconscious, and he
took comfort from it. The inner voice had yet to fail
him. It kept him in control. It kept him human.
sure this is it, Groucho?” Dean asked with a fake
impish grin, looking to his brother as he cocked a brow
and checked his weapon’s clip.
I didn’t stick that damn moustache back on my
face to come away empty handed! Laura’s parents
were pretty quick to hand over her address. They remembered
‘Detective Sergeant Jagger’ from his visit
last year…” A small smile crept across the
younger Winchester’s features.
moustache was pretty damned uncomfortable, and he hated
being called Groucho, but he could at least see the
funny side of it. It had been a disguise that had worked
well on the original Mitchell case, and right now, anything
that got his mind away from the word “demon”
for more than two seconds had to earn extra points.
nodded. “Okay, so if we hike a few hundred yards
through those trees Laura’s cabin should be down
the embankment the other side. As long as dear mommy
and daddy haven’t forewarned her, we should be
be,” Sam stated doubtfully as he climbed from
the car and began to head for the tree-line, Glock held
carefully under his tan jacket. “What if she’s
not home? In fact, what if she is home, Dean? It’s
not like she’s just a spirit we can fill full
of rock salt anymore.”
dodged through three tightly grouped shrubs and hunkered
down as he hit open space. Below him, smoke spiraled
from a newly built cabin’s tiny chimney. He pointed
silently with his forefinger to the rear of the structure,
where a battered blue Ford had been hastily parked knocking
down several planters. “That’s Kyle’s
grip increased on his weapon and his pulse picked up
speed, racing through his veins until he could hear
the thrum in his ears. “Back window?” He
asked, scanning the property for possible entry points.
bobbed his head in agreement and carefully began to
clamber down the slope, his forty-five kept as close
to his upper body as he could manage. Never once did
he attempt to answer Sam’s earlier question about
how to handle their prey. Maybe there was only one true
choice this time.
at the bottom of the incline, he quickly forced his
back up against the cabin’s rear wall and gestured
for Sam to join him.
inside the wooden structure, the hunter could already
hear voices, or was it just one voice? He strained his
ears, trying to push away all other sounds and concentrate
on the words.
love your job, priest? Maybe you should think about
it more. Think about how futile your prayers are…you
know, he doesn’t really care about you? If he
did, he wouldn’t have let me have you, now would
he? Maybe you love him so much you’d like to join
him? I can arrange that too…”
stumbled as his boot caught on a protruding vine and
he thrust out a hand, catching himself on the cabin
and steadying his balance as he joined his brother.
“See anything?” he whispered, eyes darting
to the surrounding wilderness as his father’s
training kicked in.
shook his head but pointed to the rear door of the log
chalet. “She’s in there with Kyle. I heard
her taunting him. I don’t think we have time to
make a plan. It’s full frontal assault time, Sammy.”
The hunter didn’t say more, but positioned his
body ready to kick out at the heavy wooden door.
moved to the other side, gun poised for action the minute
he had access. “On three…” He nodded.
brothers silently mouthed the numbers in unison, and
as they hit one, Dean’s heavy CAT boot impacted
on the door with his full weight behind it. The timber
frame cracked, almost allowing the hinges to break away
along with the heavy duty lock.
the door burst inwards, Dean and Sam followed, racing
through the cabin corridor and clearing each room they
came to until a muted cry made them both falter and
way!” Dean snapped out the order as he shouldered
an inner door, ramming it open with more rage than Sam
had ever seen. Again, the force of the wood being slammed
back almost tore it from its housing, and again Dean
ignored his own strength.
the barrel of the hunter’s silver automatic spun
around the room, locking on a figure kneeling over a
bloodied mass that had once been a friend.
for Dean, the horrific sight made him baulk, just for
was sitting on her knees, her body hunkered forward
over Kyle Williams’ splayed out form. From what
Dean could tell, the girl had subdued and tied the priest
somehow before using him as some kind of human slicing
priest’s chest and upper body had been intricately
carved into with the tip of a blade as if the girl had
been whittling with a human subject. Each cut had made
a specific shape or mark in his flesh – some were
clearly crosses and other religious symbols, while others
appeared more satanic in nature. Trickling blood from
the wounds had coalesced together until Kyle appeared
one huge mass of scarlet.
the horror didn’t end there.
now had her weapon of choice buried in the priest’s
gut, and Dean could hear a tearing noise like hide being
sliced as she oh-so-slowly tugged it upwards through
the pale skin of Kyle’s abdomen. “Hey! Don’t
move another inch or I’ll blow your damn head
off, you freaky bitch!” The forty-five jerked
up a touch until it was aimed perfectly at Laura’s
the same instant, Laura pulled back on her knife, forgetting
her intended task in favor of using the blade as a distraction.
With a controlled flick of her wrist the perfectly balanced
weapon flew threw the air and bounced from Dean’s
forearm just as he pulled back on his trigger.
blow from the knife’s hilt jarred a muscle, making
it reflexively relax, and his automatic slipped from
his fingers and bounced to the floor, the discharged
bullet boring into the wall harmlessly.
the respite for her escape, Laura dived for an open
window and tossed her body head first through it.
Sammy, shoot the bitch!” Dean dropped to his knees,
retrieving his weapon and spinning it in an arc around
the room, but Laura was already free from the confines
of the cabin. “Shit!”
jogged to the window and briefly looked out, his eyes
locking on Laura’s fleeing figure. She was damn
fast, but he knew he could catch her. Kyle…
spun around and dropped back to his knees, suddenly
realizing the priest was still conscious. Dropping his
weapon again and pulling his own knife from his ankle
holster, he cut the injured man’s bonds. “It’s
okay, buddy, we’re here now. She’s gone.”
He looked down, knowing what he would see before his
gaze met the garish hole in Kyle’s stomach.
knife had made a clean slice and thanks to the brother’s
intervention the hole she’d made wasn’t
that wide. That didn’t mean that she hadn’t
done enough damage to have almost gutted the priest
like a wild animal.
cringed as he realized he was looking at a good two
inches of Kyle’s intestines pushing through his
flesh. Blood, intermixed with a pungent odor, the hunter
guessed was bile made him want to look away, pressing
the back of his hand to his mouth.
caught the reaction, his wide, panicked eyes desperate
to see what damage had been inflicted on his body. He
could feel the pain, the immeasurable pain, but his
mind simply hadn’t assimilated what had caused
no!” Dean gently stopped the priest dropping his
chin enough to see the wound. “C’mon, don’t
look at that, look at me, Moses. We got you, you’re
gonna be okay now…”
shook his head, his hand suddenly gripping Dean’s
tightly. “No…I’m dying. I’m…not
stupid…” He paused, taking a long breath.
“Leave me…find Laura…before she does
this again…” His pupils fixed on the man
who he had once saved, pleading, beseeching Dean to
give his word. “Promise…me…you’ll
squeezed back, sensing the tension in the priest’s
grip begin to fade. “You know me, Moses, but you
gotta promise me something back…”
took another long breath and closed his eyes, a small
smile spreading at last over his agonized features.
“I can’t make that promise…”
felt Kyle’s hand go limp in his own, the shy priest’s
fingers sliding from his palm and gently thudding onto
the kitchen’s pine floor – a floor awash
with blood until very little of its true surface remained
the hunter burned until his stomach churned. His muscles
tensed with a temper he’d never felt before, aching,
wanting, needing revenge. What kind of God let’s
one of his emissaries die this way?
clenched his fists, breathing hard, but the more he
tried to control the rage, to listen to his protecting
inner voice, the more the darkness seemed to envelop
him. He reached out, fingers grabbing his forty-five
so hard his knuckles drained of color. “You should
have fired, Sam…”
words were cold, angry, and even though part of Sam
felt the same way he shook his head. This wasn’t
his brother talking. “She’s still a human
being, Dean, I can’t just…” He shrugged,
words failing him.
clicked the safety back on his weapon and slid it back
in his waistband. His hands shook and his muscles screamed
from pent up aggression as he pushed up from where he’d
squatted on the floor. “Tell that to Kyle…”
Even Dean’s voice sounded different, on edge,
wanted to answer. He wanted to justify not pulling the
trigger, but then, he needn’t have used a kill
shot just to drop the girl, need he? I let her go.
I hesitated and now she could kill again. Realizing
his own worries about the demon within his brother may
have clouded his judgement, he looked up, but all that
his eyes met was the cold, hard stare of two abyss-like
black orbs instead of the familiar hazel glint.
the episode here