Irismay42 & Thru Terry's Eyes
ladies and gentlemen, the man of the hour, Mansfield’s
famous son, our most welcome and generous supporter,
some applause please for this graduate and former school
track star, the man without whom the completion of the
last stages of this renovation of our beloved school
would not have occurred for another two years, Mr. Dale
Steven Entwhistle, former
Vice-Principal and now the new Principal of the Mansfield
Public School upon its grand reopening, stepped sideways
from the microphone applauding as a tall man in a perfectly
cut suit that cost more than Entwhistle made in three
months, rose from the chairs lined up at the back of
the stage and came forward.
welcomed Corrigan. His body was gymnasium-honed and
his skin wore a purchased tan. He moved with the easy
grace of a man who has made it, knows it, and flaunts
it to great effect.
He flashed white teeth
in a politician’s canned smile and waved to the
people gathered in the new auditorium.
“Thank you for that
warm welcome…” he said nodding and gathering
them all in the embrace of his sparkling blue eyes,
a lock of longish blond hair falling across his forehead.
I’d sell my soul for a drink… he thought,
regarding the assembled group with a contempt he would
never have allowed his eyes to project. Mansfield,
Ohio, I can’t believe I let my lawyer talk me
into doing this as a tax write off. Good publicity,
my ass! Holy shit, is that Ruth Harpool…?
He reluctantly dragged
his eyes from the barely held-in-check bosoms of the
bouncy blonde in the front row.
“I can’t tell
you what a pleasure it is to be back in my home town
among the people I grew up with. It gives me even greater
pleasure to, in some modest way, be able to help you
reach the goal you’ve all worked so hard for,
the completion of the last wing of the school which
will, after fifteen years with no library facilities
on the school grounds, contain the new state of the
art media center and computer access stations for the
students of Mansfield school to enjoy and be enriched
broke out again as he spoke and he raised his hands.
“Please, after all I got from my years at Mansfield,
I’m just grateful I’m fortunate enough to
be in a position to give a little something back.”
He looked up as Entwhistle and another man carried an
easel onstage with a large sign and artist’s renditions
of the new school wing, with the new computers and shiny
rows of research materials. The lettering over the photos
read: “The Corrigan Learning Center.”
A large red bow was tied
loosely across the photo and to applause and amusement
from the audience, Corrigan accepted a large pair of
scissors and cut the ribbon in half with a flourish,
stepping back as it fluttered to the ground in a large
pool of red.
God, he said to himself, professional smile firmly
in place as he accepted handshakes and kudos from the
people surrounding him. Where the hell’s the
A short time later, sipping
distastefully on a paper cup of (unspiked) peach sherbet
punch, Corrigan listened with one ear, in abject boredom
as Lorena Gale, the head of the school board, clutched
his arm and babbled enthusiastically about his generous
gift to the school.
He fought a grimace as
her claw-like nails dug into the muscles of his upper
arm, her fleshy body, smelling heavily of magnolia that
would take three cleanings to get off his suit, pressing
insistently against him.
all, this is your home town and keeping a second home
is so stylish nowadays. A place where your children
would have roots—”
Reaching over with his
free hand, he carefully extricated himself from her
grasp with a strained smile. “Well, I already
have a second home in Aspen and I don’t have any
kids, but I will give your suggestion some thought.”
LIVE in Mansfield? I’d burn first, he thought,
horrified at the very concept.
She made a disappointed
face as he moved away. “Can I show you around
the school? The changes are quite amazing—”
“You know, Louise—”
I’m actually feeling a little nostalgic but I’d
really like to do a little wandering on my own. I appreciate
the offer though!” her voice rose as he backed
into the crowd, trailing after him like gum stuck on
the bottom of his shoe.
“If I can do anything
for you just let me know!”
As soon as Hell freezes
over you’ll be the first one I call…
He managed to make it
through the people clamoring for his attention and escaped
into the hallway where he leaned against the bank of
lockers with grateful relief. He glanced at his Rolex,
the diamonds around the dial bouncing the overhead lights
around the hall.
Cripes, it was only nine
p.m. The festivities ended at ten, thank God. He could
escape back to his “suite” at Holiday Hell,
alone, from the looks of things, then get on the first
plane out of this berg and get back to REAL LIFE, not
Mayberry R Friggin’ D.
He reached into his jacket
and withdrew a silver flask. Popping the top he started
to pour it into his punch but instead set the cup on
the floor and took a large drink straight from the flask.
That was more like it!
He began to move idly
down the hall, laughing inwardly at the signs pointing
in the direction of the Corrigan Learning Center, memories
of his years at this school hitting him despite himself.
He’d really been the BMOC the years he had spent
here. The biggest fish in the friggin’ pond. Rich
old man, fancy car, any hot cheerleader he set eyes
on, hangers on waiting to do his bidding just to bask
in his reflected importance.
With the exception of
the end of one semester when a brooding kid with haunted
green eyes, a screw you attitude and a geeky kid brother
had hit town. Dean something. It had been hate at first
sight even though the guy had been two years younger
than Corrigan. The older guy had every girl in school
watching his every move, he, in turn watched everyone
who so much as looked at his kid brother cockeyed and
came down on them like an attack dog. A truly weird
pair, there had been rumors about their father—
He looked up as a figure
crossed the hall in front of him. A shapely figure with
Taking another quick slug
from the flask he recapped it and started down the hall
after the attractive figure.
* * *
Helen Jensen gasped loudly
and swung around at the unexpected voice behind her.
“My God!” she exclaimed, recognizing him.
“You scared me!” She pressed a hand to her
chest, noting how his eyes followed and stayed there.
Corrigan replied. “I’m not in the habit
of scaring lovely women. Have we met?” he held
out his hand. “I’m Dale Corrigan.”
Helen smiled and took
his hand. “I know, we met earlier. I’m Helen
Jensen, the new Media Center Manager.”
“You mean the librarian?
What a waste to shut someone like you up with a bunch
of dusty old books. And may I say librarians have certainly
changed since I went to school here.” Corrigan
eased up next to her.
mentally rolled her eyes. Why couldn’t anyone
take her seriously? Maybe if she had glasses and wore
her hair in a bun. And a wart, a big one. With a long
hair growing out of--- Play nice Helen, she scolded
herself. You have a job because of this man.
“Maybe you need
to spend more time in libraries, Mr. Corrigan.”
She pushed the door open and stepped inside, followed
closely by Corrigan whose prospects for the evening
had certainly taken a turn for the better.
“You may have a
point there,” he said, looking around as she moved
toward a round desk in the center of the plush room.
“My main experience with librarians was old man
Withers and you and he are definitely not in the same
She turned, “You
Corrigan laughed. “Hell,
yes.” He dragged a finger down a desktop and glanced
at it for non-existent dust. “Back in the day
dust covered everything in here and it was thickest
on Carlyle Withers. This is very impressive,”
he commented, waving a hand at the room in general.
“Your money paid
for it, Mr. Corrigan. Hadn’t you seen what you
were buying?” She walked into the center of the
desk, not accidentally putting its polished surface
between herself and Corrigan.
I have accountants for, Ms. Jensen. Call me Dale.”
He reached out and cupped a hand over hers.
She withdrew her hand
on the pretense of straightening some random papers.
“You didn’t care for Mr. Withers?”
him and a poke in the eye with a sharp stick? Gimme
the sharp stick. That old bastard made our lives miserable.
Not to mention trying to do research for some stupid
paper with books so old the encyclopedia didn’t
even have Israel in it. Couldn’t talk in here,
scratch your ass or breathe without the old fool coming
down on you.” Corrigan snorted. “Hell, he’d
have had us sitting in the corner wearing dunce caps
if he thought he could have gotten away with it. Weird
old guy. He’d have students working in the library
and spend all his time holed up in his office, going
through this stack of smelly old books. When he did
come out there was hell to pay if everything wasn’t
just the way it was supposed to be. Even the teachers
were terrified of him.”
Corrigan laughed again,
leaning back on his elbows on the desk. “Hell,
my old man offered to buy a couple of computers for
the library and budget some new books when I almost
flunk—” he stopped and rubbed a hand over
his mouth. “The school board was tickled but Withers
was adamant you learned from books not machines and
told him where he could put his computers. My old man
was furious. The school board was furious.”
Helen frowned. “Why
didn’t they just fire him?”
Corrigan turned to face
Helen again. “What’s the big interest in
that old coot? There’s better stuff to talk about.”
His hand crept toward Helen’s again.
just curious about my predecessor. After all, he was
librarian here from the day the school opened and then
when he died the school closed the library for fifteen
years. Wouldn’t you be curious?” She leaned
forward slightly, offering the open neck of her shirt
as an enticement that his dancing eyes didn’t
money paid for the original school. Part of the deal
was that it guaranteed Withers a job as librarian for
life. Story had it that he couldn’t hack it in
‘real life’ and just wanted to be surrounded
by books so his family set him up here. I think he was
librarian for fifty years or something. Then one Tuesday
the janitor found him dead in his office. They think
he died the Friday before and laid there over the holiday
Helen made a face. “Oh,
my God…” She straightened back up, a hand
over her mouth.
also, disappointed at his loss of view but happy he
had finally caught her attention. “Yeah. I remember
when it happened. Cops said he died of natural causes
but everyone else said he was murdered. They found all
these really strange old books about all kinds of magic
and crap in his office. Rumors started that the library
was haunted, Withers come back to exact revenge on anyone
who didn’t treat the library with proper respect.”
making this up,” Helen accused. “That’s
just stupid.” She picked up a box of computer
manuals and started toward the back of the room.
He hot footed after her,
taking the box from her, “I’ll get that.
I’m telling the truth, swear to God. They shut
the library down at the end of the semester and the
students were given access to the town library during
the day. And then people started getting computers and
it wasn’t such a big deal.” He paused while
she opened the door with a key.
“Where am I going
“Back here, they
sent the wrong manuals.” She flipped on a switch
but the light flickered before coming on at about half
strength. “Darn it. We’ve been having trouble
with the lights. I think the electricians screwed something
up. I hope they get it fixed before school opens.”
Corrigan said, putting the box down near a similar pile
of boxes. The room was filled with crates of books,
some open with the tomes stacked next to them, many
boxes were marked with the words sell or destroy.
“What the hell is all this?”
Helen sighed, looking around. “All the old books
from the library. I’ve been going through the
crates, sorting them. Some of them are actually valuable
collector pieces. Once I’ve catalogued them the
valuable ones will be sold and the rest given away or
destroyed. A lot of them are in really bad condition.
They’ve been in storage but they weren’t
stored properly. It’s like they were just dumped
in the boxes and closed up as fast as possible. It’s
a shame really and a dirty mess to go through.”
She suddenly glanced up
at him, a slightly mischievous look in her eyes. “You
mentioned the books, Mr. Withers had in his office…”
Corrigan cocked an eyebrow
at her change in attitude and smiled. “Yeah?”
She glanced around as
though someone might see or hear. “There’s
a crate back here with his name on it. I can’t
get it open and I’ve been dying to get inside.
Would you mind giving me a hand?”
His smile broadened. “Honey,
I’d love to get inside your crate.”
She rolled her eyes again.
“Is that your idea of a great pick up line?”
“Work with what
you got, I always say.”
She grabbed a crowbar
off the crate next to her and handed it to him. “C’mon.”
led him to a dirty wooden crate big enough for him to
have gotten comfortably inside of. Carlyle Withers
was stenciled crudely all over the box along with the
words Keep Out.
Corrigan licked his lips
nervously, slowly twirling the crowbar. “You sure
you should open this?”
“I have to. It’s
part of the collection. If you can’t, I’ll
get a janitor to do it for me tomorrow, they’re
just so busy.” She crossed her arms and watched
him, a slight challenge.
took off his expensive jacket and laid it over a slightly
cleaner pile of boxes. Grasping the crowbar he shoved
the straight slotted end under the lid of the crate
and began to pry.
After a few abortive attempts
and some sweat starting to pop out on his forehead,
the lid finally began to creak open.
It gave suddenly with
a loud crack and flew off, dust flying out in a huge
cloud. Corrigan stumbled forward, his hand slipping
along the rough top edge of the box, a long jagged splinter
sliding sickeningly into the palm of his hand.
yelled and jerked back, the splinter breaking free of
the box with a crack, leaving the jagged end sticking
out of his hand. “Holy shit!!!” he cried,
grasping his injured hand with its mate and staring
in horror at the sliver embedded in his hand.
“Oh, my God!”
Helen gasped, catching his hands as he writhed in pain.
“Oh, Mr. Corrigan I’m so sorry! My God…hold
still please, let me pull it out!”
She grasped the end of
the wood and started to withdraw it. He jerked back
reflexively as it hurt and the splinter came free but
blood instantly replaced it and started to drip from
“Crap! Son of a
bitch!” he swore as red soaked his shirt sleeve.
Helen grabbed a roll of
paper towels lying on a box with some cleaner and ripped
off a handful of sheets. “Here, put that over
it and I’ll go find the first aid kit. I think
it’s in the front desk!” She scampered off
as he grimaced and pressed the wad of towels against
that hurt, he thought, his skin prickling. This
was not how he imagined this moment going but maybe
he could still turn it to his advantage, using both
guilt and her appreciation of his efforts.
Hand throbbing, he glanced
into the box to distract himself. Books were just crammed
in every which way, dust covered and torn.
Curiosity won out over
pain as he reached in with his undamaged hand and picked
up the book on top. It was very heavy and he balanced
it on the edge of the crate. The cover was some kind
of black tooled leather, the pages, as he thumbed it
open, were stiff and crumbly and covered with scrawled
writing and odd hand-drawn pictures.
“What kind of a
sick old bastard were you?” he wondered as he
looked over the ancient text.
The lights went off.
And he began to cough.
* * *
Helen rummaged frantically
for the first aid kit, finally locating it under yet
another pile of manuals. She grabbed the handle and
hurried back to the storeroom.
great job, Helen, the guy who gives us the money for
the library is standing in my storeroom bleeding ’cause
I asked him to open a stupid crate! God knows what’s
on that wood, what if he gets tetanus, what if it gets
infected? Can he sue the school? Can he sue me—?
She opened the door and
was immediately pissed when the lights were off again.
She fumbled for the switch, finding it as her foot caught
on something and she pitched headlong to the floor,
the lights coming on with midday brilliance.
screamed as she found herself face to face with Corrigan
on the floor. She screamed again and threw herself backwards
away from him, coming up against another crate.
His hands clutched at
his throat, blood ran down his face, soaked his upper
body and pooled on the floor in a growing circle. The
corners of his mouth were ripped open almost back to
his ears, teeth and gums blood-covered and exposed,
his jaw totally unhinged to accommodate the huge rolled
wad of crumpled paper, no doubt torn from the computer
manuals now strewn about the floor, that was protruding
from his mouth and from the looks of it crammed halfway
down his bulging throat.
His eyes rolled toward
her as the light in them faded and he stretched out
a clawed hand, scratching across the floor, making an
inarticulate whine of sound.
He was dead by the time
they were found a short time later.
And she was still screaming.
“So remind me why
we’re here again?”
Dean glanced around himself
as the Impala rumbled through the outskirts of downtown
Mansfield Ohio, a strange feeling of déjà
vu assaulting him as they passed a local movie theater
that looked oddly familiar.
Sam shuffled the paperwork
nestling on his lap, his own attention also caught by
the unassuming little cinema, an enigmatic smile crinkling
the corners of his mouth. “Mansfield Public School,”
he informed his brother, waving a page printed off the
internet in Dean’s general direction. “Mysterious
Dean cast him an awkward
sideways glance. “Let’s just say I do, but
I wanna check the facts again.”
smothered a grin. “You know, anyone who didn’t
know you would think you had the memory of a goldfish
and the attention span of a gnat.” Dean opened
his mouth to protest, but Sam continued swiftly. “But
I know different. Like, I know you can recite the entire
script to the original Star Wars trilogy verbatim.”
Again Dean began to protest, but again Sam shot him
down. “And you know every single lyric to every
single song Led Zeppelin ever recorded. And don’t
tell me you don’t remember the phone number of
every girl you ever slept with, because I know you do.”
Sam shook his head, cheeks dimpling. “And you
call me ‘Raymond’!”
Dean affected his most
affronted tone. “Yeah well at least I make ‘unrecognized
genius’ look cool, Oh Great King of Geekdom,”
he sniffed. “And you still haven’t told
me what we’re doing here.”
Small town boy made good. Of course, it helps that he
also came from the wealthiest family in town to begin
as in ‘no longer comes’?” Dean queried.
is most definitely an ex-bigshot,” Sam confirmed.
“They found him dead at the opening ceremony of
Mansfield Public School’s new library, which he
mouth and throat were crammed full of paper.”
Dean shot a glance at
his brother. “Paper?”
confirmed. “Ripped out of the nice new books his
company had just purchased for the library.”
Dean whistled. “Ouch.
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.” He
shuddered slightly, an old half-forgotten wisp of memory
tickling at the edges of his mind. “So why’s
this our kinda problem?” he asked, shaking the
non-remembrance off as maybe yet another after-effect
of his little run-in with Alyssa Medina, the memory-stealing
freakazoid who’d tried to lobotomize him a few
weeks earlier. He shrugged. “Death by library
book ain’t usually our kinda thing, Sammy. Even
if Mr. Bigshot was offed by a psycho homicidal librarian
I don’t see how –” Dean stopped short,
vaguely unnerved by the oddly uncomfortable expression
on Sam’s face. He shifted in his seat, fingers
suddenly tightening on the steering wheel. “Why
does that sound familiar?” he asked slowly, flicking
another glance in Sam’s direction.
“Ghost of psycho
homicidal librarian,” Sam explained. “Mansfield
Public School. Remember?”
Dean shifted again. “Not
attended that school for a few months when we were kids,”
Sam reminded him. “You were maybe fourteen? It
was just after my tenth birthday? Dude, we went to school
with Dale Corrigan!”
Dean thought back hard,
expression suddenly clearing. “Track star moron
with a silver spoon shoved so far up his ass he walked
with a permanent swagger, right? This is the school
where they thought you were some kind of boy genius!
Or the closest they’d ever gotten to one. Bumped
you up a grade.”
Sam suddenly seemed to
find his fingernails of great interest. “Yeah,
“Bouncing Baby Winchester,”
Dean recalled with a snigger. “Right?”
made a face at him, and Dean half expected him to stick
out his tongue. “Hilarious. Thanks so
much for bringing that up –”
me that!” Dean continued gleefully. “You
were like a dog with two tails! Smartest and youngest
in the class –”
“For which I was
bullied unmercifully, remember?”
Dean nodded. “What
was that one kid’s name? Kept picking on you.
Calling you W–”
“I don’t remember,”
Sam snapped quickly, just as quickly adding, “Jared
Dean agreed. “What an asshole he was.
Probably washing lettuce in a McDonalds by now.”
“We can hope,”
eyes widened suddenly. “Homicidal librarian! Dude,
this was the school where we…” He trailed
off, complexion paling considerably.
nodded grimly. “Yeah,” he agreed. “This
was that school…”
Mansfield Public School Library
Sam breathed in.
Sam breathed out.
There was something comforting
about it, that smell; comforting and familiar. Paper
and ink, decrepit old wooden desks recently scrubbed
with generic, non-branded disinfectant, sweaty kids
in old sneakers.
Sam had had few constants
in his ten years on this earth, but the library was
one of them. Sure, there had been a lot of different
libraries over the years; different schools, different
towns. But they all had one thing in common: sanctuary.
Hallowed place of knowledge
and research, work and study. Life and death. Dad had
taught him that. Be Prepared. Know what you’re
dealing with. It could save your life someday.
Dean always said Dad was
really just a boy scout with a big gun. Which would
have been funny, except Dean never dared say it to Dad’s
face. There was only so far Sam’s older brother
was willing to take teenage rebellion, and mostly it
was limited to bitching, when Dad was out of earshot
of course, about never being allowed on hunts, never
being treated like a grown-up, never being trusted as
anything other than Sam’s babysitter while all
the time Dean treated Sam like he was four.
didn’t do irony.
Sam knew Dean wasn’t
stupid. And it wasn’t that he was ashamed of him.
It was just… sometimes Dean embarrassed him. On
purpose. Like when he called him “shrimp”
or “shortstuff” in front of his friends.
Sure, Sam was a little small for his age, but, as Dad
kept telling him, he hadn’t really hit a growth
spurt yet. He’d show them all when he was seven
“Yeah, like that’s
gonna happen, runt,” Dean would scoff.
all of this, however, Dean, much like the library, was
one of the few other constants in Sam’s life.
And also much like the library – any
library – and Sam had been in a lot of
libraries over the years – Dean also had his own
particularly comforting scent. “Danger,”
Dean called it, although it smelled more like grease,
motor oil and occasionally gunpowder to Sam. And somehow
it always reminded him of “home.”
what gets the chicks, Sammy,” Dean would say.
“The Bad Boy thing. They can’t get enough
of it.” Like he was Casa-friggin’-nova or
that, even at fourteen, Dean didn’t turn female
heads pretty much wherever he went. He did, and Sam
was pretty sure it actually did have something
to do with that “Bad Boy” reputation his
brother tried so hard to maintain – keep everyone
at arm’s length, never let anyone see the
real Dean Winchester. “Love ’em and
leave ’em, Sammy,” Dean would advise him
with a rakish smile. “Love ’em and leave
Sam knew Dean was just
Never making friends,
never forming attachments. Like Dad and Sam were all
he needed in this world.
Or maybe he was just too
scared of losing anyone else to try and find them in
the first place.
least Sam tried to be sociable. Tried to make friends.
Tried to fit in. Tried to be normal. But normal
wasn’t easy with a family like his.
“You still here,
Winchester? Oh right. You live in a motel don’t
you? Not a helluva lot to go home to, huh?”
got that a lot. Never was sure how every school he and
Dean attended the kids seemed to know their life story
before they even really knew their names. Or at least,
they knew what they thought was their life
story. He doubted anyone had ever discovered what really
went on in the Winchester household.
Bullies Sam had mostly
been able to deal with since he was eight, since he
started to get tired of Dean threatening to beat the
crap out of anyone who even looked at his kid brother
See, the “Bad Boy”
rep was one thing; “Psycho Bad Boy” was
something else entirely.
Sam could take care of himself. He’d been trained
by a marine for God’s sake...
then, of course, Jared Macklin was almost fifteen and
was twice Dean’s size, let alone Sam’s,
so when he suddenly loomed over Sam’s desk, all
pre-pubescent baby fat mutating into solid muscle, this
was one of those rare occasions when Sam suddenly felt
deeply guilty for ignoring Dean in the hallway or telling
his new friends he was adopted.
would have given anything to see his big brother
come sauntering through the library door right then.
Bouncing Baby Weirdchester,” Macklin
drawled, picking up one of Sam’s history books
and tossing it carelessly onto the floor. “Daddy
forget to pick you up from school again?”
Sam glanced over at the
clock on the way-off-white wall, fingers tightening
around his pencil. He knew just where to jab it to cause
the most pain with the least damage. Dean had shown
him. Repeatedly. He called it “Study Hall Defense
Class 101.” He gritted his teeth and looked up
slowly from his homework.
here too, assface,” he ground out, before he realized
Macklin’s two henchman, Marty Roscoe and Tony
Gianelli, were hovering at either of the bully’s
considerably broad shoulders.
did you call me, geekazoid?” Macklin demanded
with a growl, fist pounding the table an inch from where
Sam’s fingers were calmly collecting up his belongings,
causing various items of stationery to bounce precariously
on the heavily graffiti-covered tabletop. Time to
“You heard me.”
Sam stood, squaring up to Macklin with his chin raised
defiantly, as if that would compensate for his being
about a foot shorter than the older boy.
Macklin snorted. “Lotta
spunk for someone barely outta kindergarten.”
scowled at him. He’d been so naive to think getting
bumped up a grade would actually be fun.
what?” Macklin continued, advancing a step so
that he was looming even more in Sam’s face. “Your
dad out of town again? Choosing his next victim? I hear
he’s a serial killer or something –”
didn’t even flinch. Heard it all before…
“String of victims
up and down the country –”
yeah, whatever freak…
“And that crazy-ass
brother of yours is learning the ropes, right? Apprentice
serial killer in training?”
dare say that to his face,” Sam spat.
“I ain’t scared
o’ no Weirdo Winchester, runt,” Macklin
hissed. “Even if it’s true your brother’s
just out of Juvie –”
and his damn Bad Boy reputation again…
fact, I heard –” Macklin leaned
down so his pudgy face was level with Sam’s, “the
reason you ain’t got no mommy is because she
was your dad’s first victim –”
Sam had never punched
another kid in the face before. He’d seen Dean
do it lots of times, and knew the mechanics of it, the
physics of it. He hadn’t expected his knuckles
to hurt so much though. Or that spurt of blood that
suddenly gushed from Macklin’s nose.
About. My. Mom.”
It didn’t even sound
like Sam’s voice. All strangled, forced out between
tight shallow breaths and clenched teeth.
just blinked at him in surprise, for a second completely
thrown as to what had just happened. Roscoe and Gianelli
glanced at each other uncertainly, as if awaiting orders,
and Macklin just cradled his bloody nose in one shaking
hand as he tried to downplay his astonishment that anyone
– especially Little Sammy Weirdchester –
would dare stand up to him.
Sam managed to keep breathing,
eyes darting to the exit as he tried to gauge how fast
he’d have to run to get there before Macklin recovered
from his stupor.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t
quite quick enough, the fist not holding Macklin’s
nose as if he thought it might fall off his face suddenly
bunching in the front of Sam’s t-shirt, almost
yanking him off his feet as the bigger boy dragged him
little piece of trailer trash crap!”
Macklin growled. “You’re gonna pay for that,
Weirdchester! You think those Salvation Army threads
of yours looked bad before, just wait till I’m
finished with you, geek!”
Sam blinked and Macklin
glanced over his shoulder to where his henchman lurked
stupidly. “What did you say?” he demanded,
ignoring Sam’s struggles as he glared at his two
cronies who exchanged a nervous glance.
nuthin’, Mack,” Roscoe assured him, just
as his untidy hair was suddenly ruffled by a gust of
warm air that seemed to come out of nowhere.
Macklin snapped his attention
back to Sam, actually tugging him off his feet so that
their noses were almost touching and the smaller boy
got an up-close-and-personal with the mess he’d
made of the jock’s face.
“What are you doing?”
Macklin demanded, the unbloodied portion of his visage
beginning to turn an angry shade of purple just as the
bookshelf behind him started to tremble of its own accord,
the books juddering forward towards the edge as the
“I’m not doing
anything!” Sam protested, calmly eyeing the books
with an air of detached professional disinterest as
the breeze whipping at the boys’ hair and clothes
started to gain strength and increase in temperature
until something akin to a hot mini tornado appeared
to be attempting to form in the middle of the fiction
Several girls sitting at a nearby table started to squeal
as the wind caught at their hair and blew their homework
all over the place, hurriedly attempting to grab their
stuff before running for the exit, one of them tossing
a backward glance in Sam’s direction and yelling,
“Weirdo Winchester!” over the steadily rising
A rather hefty tome on
the Vikings chose that moment to launch itself off the
shuddering bookshelf, slamming squarely between Macklin’s
shoulder blades causing him to yelp more in surprise
than pain, fist tightening in the front of Sam’s
it, Winchester!” he growled. “Whatever you
and that psycho brother of yours are doing, it’s
not funny –”
Sam shrugged innocently
as several more books flew from their shelves, their
trajectory clearly indicating they were aiming for his
squealed worse than the girls had as a set of junior
encyclopedias headed in his direction, and he immediately
turned tail and dashed for the exit, closely followed
by Roscoe who was flailing his hands ineffectually at
a battered copy of Gray’s Anatomy that
had zoomed all the way from the Health and Medicine
section and was busy snapping its pages at him as it
chased him from the library.
purple cheeks were now a waxy shade of white. “Tell
you brother I still don’t believe in
that ghost crap he was trying to scare the kiddies with
at recess,” he growled, teeth clenched more now
in fear than anger. “He’s full of bull –”
him yourself,” Sam returned calmly, the screams
and general reports of a tornado in the school library
having attracted the attention of the only student left
in the building who hadn’t chosen to
run in the opposite direction.
Macklin glanced behind
him to where the other Weirdo Winchester had finally
decided to put in an appearance, immediately dropping
Sam the second Dean’s oddly calm gaze lit on his
Macklin grimaced, turned
back to Sam and swatted him none-too-gently on the cheek
before hissing, “This ain’t over you little
freak! Next time I’ll find you when your brother
ain’t around to entertain us with his freakshow
parlor tricks –”
At that moment a copy
of Webster’s Dictionary decided to slam into the
small of Mackin’s back, causing the rest of his
threat to be choked off in a sudden exhalation of surprised
air, the bully merely scowling ferociously at Sam before
turning tail and running for the exit, purposely shoving
Dean with his shoulder as barreled past.
matched Macklin’s scowl with added interest, pivoting
to yell, “Yeah, you better run, asswipe!”
after him, before turning back to assess the melee currently
occurring in the library. “Seriously, what the
hell, Sammy?” he demanded, gaze turning
upwards as he considered the odd funnel of torn book
leaves currently swirling up towards the big skylight
in the ceiling.
do anything!” Sam insisted plaintively. “I
swear, this all just started on its own…!”
as suddenly as it had started, the would-be tornado
stopped abruptly, almost as if someone had just switched
off an out-of-control ceiling fan, and all of the books
still flying around between the stacks fell back to
the earth with a concerted whump, leaving Sam
and Dean just looking at each other in mild surprise.
The silence that followed
was a little too eerie, even for a library, and then
Sam swore he heard that same disembodied voice hiss,
For a stunned moment,
Dean looked at Sam and Sam looked at Dean, but neither
of them moved.
Dean managed eventually, stepping carefully over pages
torn haphazardly from Salinger’s The Catcher
in the Rye, Kerouac’s On the Road
and a bright yellow copy of The Dummies Guide to
PCs. “That’s something you don’t
see every day.” Navigating around a collapsed
display of brand new hardback fiction as he carefully
made his way toward Sam’s position in the World
History section, he added, “So when I heard there
was something freaky going on in the library I guess
I really shouldn’t have been surprised to find
my freaky geeky kid brother right there in the middle
you see it?” Sam exclaimed, bouncing
excitedly on the balls of his feet as Dean approached
him warily. “Angry spirit! I’m sure
raised an eyebrow as his picked his way through a landslide
of Sweet Valley High softbacks that appeared
to have spun right off one of the carousels. “Spirit
of Mark Twain come to save us all from bad kids’
literature?” he asked as he finally made it to
the younger brother protested, doing his best impersonation
of a demented Pez dispenser. “Don’t be stupid!
It’s the librarian! It’s the ghost of the
old librarian, I just know it!”
hey, hold your horses there, Doctor Venkman,”
Dean said, one hand on Sam’s shoulder attempting
to hold him still for five whole seconds while the other
drew a thumb across the red mark Macklin’s slap
had left on Sam’s cheekbone. Dean’s expression
changed instantly from patient concern to potentially
homicidal fury, an indignant scowl on his face that
would have sent lesser men running for the hills. “That
Neanderthal jock hit you?” he demanded,
posture stiffening to his default factory setting of
Sammy Protection Mode.
Sam had seen it a hundred
times, but really hadn’t the time to watch Dean
try to rip Macklin’s head off right now. However
entertaining that might have been.
“Dean, listen to
me,” he said excitedly, grabbing Dean’s
wrists and hanging on in an effort to prevent his big
brother charging off after Macklin like a dipshit-seeking
missile. “It’s the librarian – the
one who died a couple of months back! I know it!”
only been here five weeks –”
“I know that,”
Sam huffed. “But I heard the other kids talking
“About Paula Abdul
or Debbie Gibson?”
always serious, Sammy –”
“And you never take
me seriously, Dean!”
you’re a geek,” Dean told him lightly, although
Sam was at least relieved to have gotten his brother’s
attention if nothing else. Having completed his cursory
physical examination and satisfied himself his kid brother
had been left largely undamaged by the indoor tornado
and the asshole jock, Dean continued, “So you
gonna tell me about Conan the Librarian or do I gotta
read your mind, shortstuff?”
“His name was Mr.
Withers,” Sam said with a huff, choosing to ignore
another in Dean’s long list of irritating little
brother nicknames. “And he died right here in
Dean looked down at the
carpet. “Right here?”
Sam rolled his eyes. “No,
dumbass! In his office! Right there!” He gestured
to a door marked “Carlyle Withers. Absolutely
no admittance” in faded red lettering, the glass
panel having been covered by brown packing paper inexpertly
taped over the inside.
Dean glanced over at the
little office before turning back to Sam and asking,
“Did you just call me ‘dumbass’ you
little nerf herder?”
sighed his much-practiced sigh of long-suffering resignation.
“Dean, when are you going to believe me that Star
Wars just isn’t cool anymore? And quoting
it even less so.” He shook his head in exasperation.
“And you call me a geek.”
was from The Empire Strikes Back,” Dean
corrected him, completely unruffled. “And Star
Wars will always be cool. You’re just pissed
’cause you’re never gonna be any taller
Sam protested, instantly cursing himself for allowing
Dean to bait him like a dumb pre-schooler. Again.
Dean grinned knowingly.
“Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that, shorty,”
he crowed. “You never know, one day Dad might
run into a genie who’ll grant your dearest wish
to be as tall and handsome as your awesome big brother.”
ass,” Sam told him shortly.
“It’s a nice
ass though,” Dean returned with another infuriating
“Who told you that?”
Sam demanded, arms folded across his chest. “Mrs.
Mrs. Spinnaker was the
rather creepy alleged lady janitor who kept looking
at Dean in a way that was probably illegal in most states.
Dean shuddered. “Midget.”
“Like you even know
what that means.”
“You want the Webster’s
definition or the Oxford English Dictionary?”
“You used that already.”
“Dad said you’re
not allowed to call me that anymore!”
well Dad ain’t here, is he? And while he’s
away, I’m in charge.”
snorted, grinning broadly. “That’s a new
one! Okay Sammy, you win this round. Where were we?
Oh yeah, pissed off spirit of creepy-ass librarian in
creepy-ass library, right?” Dean glanced around
him, finally taking in his surroundings for the first
time since he’d got here. “And as libraries
go, this place is way creepy.”
say that about every library.”
Sam stopped suddenly, the full horror of his sudden
realization hitting him like a wrecking ball the size
of Jupiter. “We’ve been at this school five
weeks and this is the first time you’ve been
in the library?” The notion was truly inconceivable.
shrugged. “What do I need to come in here for?”
he asked. “No textbooks on hunting evil in the
Careers section as far as I’m aware. If you hadn’t
needed rescuing from an indoor tornado and a pansy-ass
bully after I’d been waiting for you in the parking
lot for twenty minutes I’d have gone
the rest of the semester without setting foot in the
need rescuing,” Sam protested, drawing himself
up to his full height before immediately deflating again.
“And I think I broke Jared Macklin’s nose.”
He shrugged a little apologetically.
Dean positively beamed
at him. “That’s my boy, Sammy! I knew there
was some Winchester blood in there somewhere!”
Sam muttered, eyes averted to the carpet.
“They keep calling
Dean’s jaw tensed almost imperceptibly, before
suddenly splitting into a grin. “It’s nice
to be famous. What the hell do we care what they think
of us –”
“They think Dad’s
a serial killer.”
Dean actually laughed
at that. “Niiiiice! Anyone tries to mess with
us we’ll threaten to chop ’em up and hide
’em under our floorboards –”
“And they keep calling
you a psycho and telling everyone you’ve been
considered that. “Actually, I think I
might have started that rumor.”
all but stamped his foot. “Dean, why would you
do that? I have to come to this stupid school
“And if everyone
thinks your big brother’s a homicidal delinquent
then they’re gonna think twice before messing
with you. Right?”
blinked at him, voice suddenly regaining a little of
the hero worship he seemed to have outgrown over the
last couple of years. “You spread that rumor for
Dean shrugged dismissively.
“Didn’t work on Jared Macklin though, did
it? Big dumb jerk. Don’t worry, squirt. I’ll
squash him for ya as soon as we’ve worked out
what the hell tried to drop a library on his head. And
be so eager,” Sam warned him. “I heard old
man Withers had some – uh – off-curriculum
books in his office. Some of the other kids say he was
a devil worshipper; that his books were all Black Magic
and Satanism and stuff.”
Dean inclined his head.
“Some people even
think he was murdered –”
interesting. That’d certainly piss him off
enough to make him come back and haunt his own library.”
“– By Satan.”
Dean shook his head. “Gotta
love kids with active imaginations.” He took a
breath before suddenly heading off toward the office,
leaving Sam standing for a second before trailing after
“Dean, what are
pulled out his lock pick and set to work on the door.
“I think it’s
called Breaking and Entering.”
eyes widened in alarm. “Miss McKenzie’s
gonna be back to lock up as soon as she’s done
with Detention! What if she comes back to see what all
the noise was about? Bad enough she should come in and
see us here in the middle of this mess! Guess who’s
gonna get the blame?”
Dean said, glancing at his watch. “We got tons
of time. If she was gonna come back to investigate the
tornado she’d be here already. No way she’s
gonna leave twenty juvenile delinquents all by themselves
in Detention. Plus, y’know – serves the
school right for not hiring another librarian and making
the teachers take double duty.”
“But – but
maybe we should just tell Dad –”
Dean nodded. “Yeah,
maybe. But Dad’s gonna be out of town for at least
another week. Least we can do is look –”
The lock clicked and the door swung open, Dean’s
grin broadening. “C’mon Sammy. We’re
just gonna look.”
With that, Dean disappeared
into the office without another word, the light snapping
on inside just as Sam suddenly heard the words, “Oh
my God!” issue from his brother’s mouth.
Concerned Dean might be
in trouble and trying to ignore the “absolutely
no admittance” sign, Sam ducked into the room
after his brother, finding the older boy staring at
a tiny room packed virtually floor to ceiling with musty
old books of every size, shape and color, a thick layer
of dust covering nearly every surface and a variety
of cobwebs giving the whole tableau a distinctly Gothic
muttered, coughing. “Looks like the maid’s
“I heard Mr. Withers
never let anyone in here to clean,” Sam offered,
nervously glancing over his shoulder just in case Miss
McKenzie had inexplicably materialized behind him in
the library. “He had the only key. The cleaning
staff still refuse to come in here on account of –
y’know…” He inclined his head toward
the creaky wooden desk in the center of the room.
Dean followed his gaze.
“This is where he bit the big one?”
Sam confirmed, gingerly moving toward the nearest pile
of books and examining the top few. “You know,
I’ve seen books like this before. At Bobby’s.”
Dean nodded, his own cursory
examination of the scene raising enough question marks
to have his spidey-senses tingling. There was definitely
something not right going on here. But if the old librarian
was a pissed off spook out to avenge his own murder…
Well, ghosts were one thing. Homicide was something
“You were right,
Sam,” he pronounced finally, Sam looking up at
him with a quizzical expression on his face. “We
need to tell Dad about this.”
“What happened to
‘least we can do is look’?” Sam asked.
Dean shrugged. “We
not gonna do anything about it?”
d’you think we should do, Sammy? Go tell Principal
Reeve his library’s haunted by the spirit of his
possibly-murdered former librarian? Or maybe we should
go to the cops with that theory? And you think they’re
calling us weird now! Just wait till they get
a load of that!”
the one who wanted to wait and tell Dad in the first
“I know, but what
if someone gets hurt in the meantime?”
“By a collapsing
Judy Blume exhibition?”
“Again with the
sighed heavily. “Dad’ll be back in a week.
We’ll tell him what’s going on and he’ll
deal with it.”
“But Dean –”
“Sam, Dad left me
in charge while he was gone, okay? My ass would be grass
if we got in any trouble while he was away! Remember
when you broke your arm in gym class that time, and
the Principal went all Child Protective Services on
us when she figured out Dad had left us on our own?”
“You were eleven,
“I know that,”
Dean conceded. “But just ’cause we’re
older now doesn’t mean we have to keep any less
of a low profile when Dad’s away.”
“I broke Jared Macklin’s
he gonna admit that to?” Dean put a hand on Sam’s
shoulder. “Look, we dodged a bullet there, but
I’m not taking any more chances. I gotta prove
to Dad he can trust me to be responsible. Especially
after…” He trailed off for a second, before
mentally shaking himself and continuing. “If I
can prove that to him, then maybe he’ll finally
let me go on some of the bigger hunts with him, not
the penny ante stuff he’s let us help out with
up to now.”
Sam straightened, a thought
suddenly occurring to him. “Look, I know you’re
pissed off that you got stuck with babysitting detail
people could get hurt, Dean! What better way
to prove to Dad that you’re ready to hunt with
him than by showing him some initiative? Huh? It’s
a simple salt n’ burn. We’ve done them lots
“Never on our own.”
“No. But how hard
could it be? We find Mr. Withers’ grave, we dig
him up, we burn his bones. Simple. End of story. We
could do it blindfolded.”
your boat, Sammy.”
just looked at him. “Dean.”
“I know, you’re
serious.” Dean regarded his little brother for
a second. “What happened to ‘maybe we should
tell Dad’ anyway?”
“Maybe I want to
prove something to Dad too,” Sam said slowly.
“Dean, please? What could possibly go wrong…?”
the episode here