Season Three

Episode Five: Between Two Fires

By Kittsbud & Tree

Part One

 

Morgan’s Garage
Warner, OK


The waning moonlight played across the harsh concrete floor, making grotesque shadows around the plethora of power tools discarded there.

The silhouettes, like the tools, only told half the tale.

It was late evening – the shift should have been over for the night – and yet, a solitary inspection lamp still dared to illuminate the workshop. The metal-encased light hung from beneath a battered SUV that was held skyward by a bright yellow vehicle ramp.

From somewhere behind a wheeled tool cabinet, Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of the Dark’ blurted from the radio, the signal clarity impaired by its makeshift aerial until the words were distorted into gibberish by the hiss of static.

Yet, somehow, the inspection lamp seemed to swing in time to the music, like the rocking pendulum of a carefully wound clock.

Like some impending countdown to doomsday.

Drip…

Drip…

The lamp continued to swing, but there was a new sound to accompany its motion along with the rock music. Something dark and thick was slowly dribbling from the light’s metal casing onto the floor beneath.

Something scarlet was pooling under the Ford, pooling, in fact, around several of the discarded tools until the garage was almost awash with its sticky, coagulating presence.

There was an odor too – the rank smell of death – of murder.

A rodent skittered across the workshop, pausing at a power drill to sniff inquisitively at the thing impaled on the drill’s bit. The rat’s whiskers twitched, its tiny brain processing the smell of fresh meat before daring to begin to feast.

Mia Cameron watched the macabre event but dared not move. Her startled and unnaturally wide eyes were fixated on the freshly plucked eyeball that had been skewered by the drill bit.

The eye seemed to look at her, even though most of the inner vitreous fluid had escaped, leaving it somewhat deflated.

Was it really just watching or was it actually accusing?

Mia shivered, her hands, her whole body shaking violently. She belonged here – no – worked here, and yet she had no memory of how the dismembered body part had come to be speared on the drill she had been using earlier. Nor had she any idea where the puddles of blood around the garage had sprung from.

She looked down, smudges of oil and grease on her hands all but hidden by yet more of the heinous scarlet liquid. Deep red blood that had begun to dry into a more rustic hue – blood that she knew was not her own.

Why can’t I remember? Why don’t I know what happened after I took off the damn muffler?

Mia instinctively looked up at the underbelly of the Ford. Its muffler had been peppered with holes, but the thing was so old she’d had to take an angle grinder to it to remove it. She closed her eyes, recalling the smells, the noise, the whole scene from earlier in the day.

There had been someone with her – they’d been alone in the workshop – laughing, joking, flirting.

Mia flinched and scrambled to her feet. She had needed to remember, but now those fleeting recollections were bringing more fear.

She looked away from the drill as she crossed the room, not wanting to see the rat now dragging the eyeball away with the remnants of the optic nerve that were still attached to it.

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a constant fear that someone’s always near
Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a phobia that someone’s always there

Iron Maiden’s lyrics still screamed from the radio and Mia focused on the sound. She needed something to be able to latch onto – anything – rather than look at the floor.

Because the floor held other items she really didn’t want to see.

I did this…

The whirring of the angle grinder filled her head and she quickly placed her hands over her ears, desperate to shut off the sound. Her palms pushed over her lobes until she thought the pressure would burst her eardrums, but the grinding, cutting, grating, killing noise couldn’t be shut out.

There was no way to stop it, because it didn’t emanate from the room, but from her own mind.

Mia’s eyes flashed wide and she couldn’t resist the urge to look in the corner – the place where she recalled last using the cutting tool.

I was working on the Ford, on the car dammit…not over there…

But she was still forced to look.

The grinder lay on the concrete, its cable strewn dangerously close to the cutting blade as if the last user hadn’t been thinking rationally. The stone disc had long since stopped spinning, but like Mia’s hands, it too was painted scarlet.

Beyond the grinder, there was something larger laying just out of sight in the shadows. Perhaps if the Moon were free from the clouds that held it captive, the thing would have been visible, but for now it teased, urging Mia to draw closer.

The girl felt sick – but she couldn’t help herself – she was mesmerized as well as sickened to the point where she had to satiate her own morbid curiosity.

Forcing a trembling hand forward, she touched something soft, something fleshy and warm. Her fingers traced its shape until they began to sink into something sticky, something suspiciously like the empty eye socket of a human skull.

Mia screamed – not because she realized she was handling the decapitated head of her co-worker – but because she realized that maybe she had done this with the grinder.

No…no…NO!

Bile erupted in her throat and she made a dash across the workshop, only getting halfway before retching up the contents of her stomach next to a half-dismantled Indian.

The acid, like her missing memories, burned in her chest eating at her, clawing until she began to become breathless. She was just an ordinary girl, things like this were for TV shows, for documentaries. She wasn’t like those crazies that appeared every few months on the six o’clock news, was she?

Mia tried to slow her breathing, tried to regain some semblance of control – and it almost worked – until she saw the blood smeared with grease on her palms again.

“It wasn’t me. I’d never hurt him. Why would I hurt him? I loved him…” The muttering seemed almost manic, but it was what she needed. She needed to hear a voice of reason, even if it was only her own strained tones.

Moving towards the door as she continued her oratory, Mia headed towards the garage’s meager reception area. Like the workshop, it was small and outdated, but it served its purpose.

A long row of worn seats lined the shortest wall, and across the other a wooden counter had been placed to serve as both a desk and reception. Behind the counter, a short row of grimy photographs showed the establishment's employees.

“Why don’t I remember? Why?” Mia shook her head as she approached the images, realizing for the first time that a good section of her mid-length mop of hair had actually stuck to her face. She pushed away the matted brown locks, knowing that another person’s blood had gelled it to her skin.

On the wall, her own image glared back at her along with that of her dead lover.

Mia touched the glass covering the photos, hoping the tactile sensation would bring back more memories – helpful memories – not bad ones. Greg…I loved Greg…would never hurt…

No more memories emerged, only a sickening pain in her chest. She needed to leave this place, leave the badness behind.

Mia’s eyes darted to a sink in the corner. It was meant for washing away the everyday oil and grime from the workshop, but tonight it would serve another purpose.

Taking two long strides she reached out and placed her hands in the bowl, nudging the hot water faucet to “on” with her elbow.

Steam hissed out as the purifying liquid began to cascade over her bloodied hands, but Mia didn’t feel the intense heat. Instead, she rubbed in more and more hand cleanser, hoping its abrasive properties would wash away her sins.

Looking up for the briefest moment, she rubbed away condensation from a cracked and abused mirror to peer at her own features. Her hair was matted, her face contorted with fear and desperation – but her eyes – her eyes were inhuman.

Eyes that had once glinted with a gentle brown tinge now seemed to glass over with the most obsidian stain Mia had ever seen. It had to be a trick of the light, a panic-induced hallucination, maybe?

It’s not real…not real…

Mia pulled away from the sink and its “magic mirror,” almost stumbling in her haste to escape the garage that had suddenly become some circus of horrors.

“Priest…I need a priest…” The girl paused at the desk, common sense making her realize she needed more than a holy man – she needed transport.

Glancing up at the wall, she grabbed the second set of keys on the rack, knowing the car was not only fast, but the repairs it had been brought in for had already been taken care of. There was no point in “borrowing” a set of wheels that was likely to give out on you after two miles, now was there?

A smile cracked her mask of pain and her heart skipped a beat. She wasn’t a religious person, but how could she be smiling at her own cunning at a time like this? Was she even in control anymore?

Mia fingered the keys to the Camero she was about to steal and made a choice. She couldn’t go to the police, she couldn’t go to friends after what she had done.

What did that leave?

I can’t let this happen again…I’d rather die first…

Slamming through the garage’s main door, she didn’t even bother to reset the alarm. If any of the young yahoos who’d be plaguing the place for months decided to break into Morgan’s tonight, they would be in for a big surprise.


Florida
Panama City Beach Motel

“Dude, tell me again what we’re doing here?” Dean lay back on the motel room bed, interlocking his fingers behind his head as a scowl formed on his features. If this was what fun was supposed to be like, then he’d trade it for a good hunt any day. Not that Florida was supposed to be boring – not according to all the half-naked girls he’d seen advertizing it on the TV – but that, he was quickly learning, was pretty much hype this time of year.

Sam’s face creased into a smile and he took the time to look up from his laptop screen to shake his head at his brother. “We’re here,” he explained as if he was teaching kindergarten, “because you thought it would be cool to play chick-magnet.”

Dean scoffed and let his eyes stray out of the nearby window. “Hey, we just kicked the ass of a serial killing demon with a serious clown fetish! Man, I’m telling you, we deserve a little 'fun time.'” He shrugged. “How was I to know this time of year we’re more likely to get Ma Clampett in a thong instead of some full on semi-naked babe with big…”

“Dean!” Sam rolled his eyes skyward and tossed an empty paper cup at his brother. The cup bounced harmlessly off the edge of the bed and landed atop the elder sibling’s duffel.

“You can be so damn unimaginative, you know that?” Dean pushed away from the headboard and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. The ordinary bed that didn’t even have the luxury of “magic fingers” to keep him occupied. Next time, I so book the rooms…

Sam ignored the direct jibe, putting his attention, and his fingers, back to work on the laptop. “You know, after the whole deal in Leicester, don’t you think we should find some way of tracking demons instead of just taking random hunts? I mean, Ferinacci almost…”

“Almost released an army of freaks hellbent on taking over us poor human schmucks?” Dean finished the sentence for his brother and raised a brow questioningly. “What’s eating at you, Sammy? You’ve been at that friggin’ computer for two days when you coulda been out getting laid or something.” He pursed his lips, scratching at his head in thought. “On second thoughts, with the selection of female talent on offer around here, maybe you should stick with the laptop…”

“Dean, will you just listen?” Sam spun the laptop around on the bed so that his brother could see the screen. “I’ve been working on something that will bring up all the possible demon related news items around the country. Maybe we can’t beat Ferinacci, but we can at least stay ahead of him this way –"

“So what have you got, Kolchak?” Dean bounced down on the bed, unsure if he really wanted to look. Coming to Florida might not have been the best plan he’d ever had, but after freezing his butt off in the Arctic, almost being consumed by the fiery pit itself and then fighting a bunch of demonic serial killers, well, he wasn’t sure he was ready for the next stage of Lucifer’s little “game.”

“It’s a report from a small town in Oklahoma. Apparently, a priest at the local church was killed by a woman during confessional.”

“So?” Dean shrugged. “Maybe the padre wasn’t the forgiving type…”

“Or maybe,” Sam continued, “the woman was possessed. Take a look.” He let a finger slide midway down the laptop screen. “There are reports the same woman was seen running from the church, and her eyes were black – as in all black, Dean.”

“Why would this demon chick kill some random priest? I mean I know their kind got the whole Tweety and Sylvester hatred thing going on, but c’mon, gotta be a motive.” Dean let his eyes stray from the screen to his brother, then grabbed a half-empty can of Pepsi from the bedside table. Taking a swig, he waited for answers. Sammy was better at this crap than Fox Mulder – not that Dean would ever tell him that. That kind of thing was reserved for unspoken acknowledgments only.

Surprisingly, Sam closed the laptop and picked up his cell. Hitting a number in the speed dial section, he slid the phone to his ear, holding a hand over its base to continue talking while he waited for the ring tone. “If anybody has any more information about this, it’ll be Kyle. He knows to watch out for signs of this kinda thing in the church.”

“Moses?” Dean mouthed, his face scrunching into a pained expression. “Dude, you know what happened with Laura. We don’t want the world’s friendliest preacher trying to deal with this black-eyed freak. His Holiness will get his ass kicked, again.”

“Just information…” Sam cut off his answer and quickly removed his hand from the bottom of the cell. “Kyle, it’s Sam Winchester…”

Dean watched as his brother chatted with the priest for over twenty minutes, taking in every strained expression that crossed Sam’s face and every stroke of the pen he’d grabbed to make notes. Apparently Kyle had heard about the killing, but whether that was good or bad news remained to be seen.

The elder hunter liked Kyle Williams, but Kyle was a shy little man who could often be overzealous and put himself and others in danger. For the priest’s sake, Dean hoped Kyle didn’t need to get too involved with this new gig. He’d almost died once at the hands of a soulless monster; he didn’t need to face off any more demons just yet.

“So,” Sam finally spoke after flipping his cell closed. “Looks like the girl is definitely possessed. Kyle says the priest wasn’t killed during a confessional – get this – he was doing an exorcism.”

Dean nodded and took down a breath. It made much more sense for the holy man to have died trying to banish a demon, than for the demon to have just walked into a confession box and whacked the priest for nothing. “He bought the farm trying to out this thing from the girl. At least he went out with a bang.”

“Pretty literally, Dean.” Sam slid his phone into his jeans pocket and then grabbed his tan jacket from a peg on the back of the door. “Kyle says whoever this demon is, it's pretty powerful. It brought half the church roof down on Father Lane.”

Dean winced, the bridge of his nose puckering slightly in distaste. “So if we find this thing we gotta exorcize it fast or get our asses squished worse than Wile. E Coyote on a bad day huh?”

Sam pulled on his jacket and then retook his seat on the edge of the bed. He reopened the laptop and entered several new key search phrases. Once the machine was working, he looked back up to his brother. “It gets worse, Dean. Way worse. Father Lane had finished the exorcism when the girl took him out. It looks like the Rituale Romanum doesn’t work on this thing – at the very least – it doesn’t last.”

“So you’re telling me you can’t do your whole 'chant in Latin and can its ass' deal?” Dean tossed his now empty Pepsi can in the small waste basket provided and began to pace. Of all the hunts he’d been on, both solo and with Sam, the Rituale Romanum had always worked. The thing that scared him most now, even though he wouldn’t admit it to his brother, was that maybe this was all part and parcel of Lucifer’s big plan.

How would the world cope with a demon infestation if the Rituale Romanum no longer had any meaning?

“I don’t know,” Sam admitted, his eyes locking on something on his screen. “But take a look at this. Two more murders near the town of Warner, Oklahoma. There’s security footage from the first. Looks like some girl killed her own boyfriend at a garage and then vanished. “ He paused, thinking hard. “And, Dean? She fits the description of the woman who killed the priest…”

Dean nodded slowly. Whatever her reasons, the girl – or rather the creature inside her – was going on a killing spree. Maybe it was a random demon thing, or maybe it was part of Ferinacci/Lucifer’s “End of the World” plans. Either way, they had to stop things before they escalated any further.

Grabbing his scuffed leather jacket and slipping it on, Dean pulled his duffel from the end of the bed and knocked away the empty paper cup Sam had lobbed on it earlier. There was little to pack, because he rarely had time to unpack, but then, that was the Winchester way.

“Time to go find the black-eyed bitch and send her on a one way ticket back to Hell, little brother.” Sticking a hand into a side compartment of his bag he retrieved a small flask. With a quick flick of his wrist the flagon’s cap was off and he was able to check the contents. “Just make sure you got plenty of this stuff handy, because it sounds like packing anything else ain’t gonna cut it this time.”

Sam swallowed and looked across to the journal that sat innocently by his bed.

Dean caught the direction of his brother’s gaze and realized what he was thinking. For the first time, their dad’s diary was useless to them – everything they’d been taught – everything they’d picked up on the road with other hunters. It was all useless.

“If we catch her, Dean, just how do we save her?” Sam’s innocent eyes skipped to the window rather than to his brother. “How do we send the demon inside back to hell without the exorcism rite?”

Dean stuffed the canteen of holy water back in his bag and slung the duffel on his shoulder. Like his father’s journal, he didn’t have the answers, but he wasn’t giving in, not now, not ever. Maybe this was a war they’d never win, but that didn’t mean he’d ever stop trying.

For the innocent girl enslaved by the new mystery demon, for Sam, for humankind.

“I don’t know,” he eventually answered. “But we’ll make it happen, Sammy. I promise…”


St. Joseph’s Church
323 North Virginia, Muskogee, OK

Sam carefully straightened his tie and shot a stray glance over to his fidgeting brother. Dean hated wearing suits almost as much as he hated chart music, but sometimes it was just plain necessary to take one for the team.

That meant that while Sam had attempted to look his best for their little charade, Dean was trying his hardest to escape the “death grip” of the thing around his neck with little regard to how that made him look.

The younger Winchester was tempted to remind his sibling that FBI agents didn’t usually go around looking like scarecrows, but before he got the chance, a small, gangly-looking priest appeared from behind the pulpit and began to walk their way.

The holy man nodded as he approached, offering an outstretched hand in welcome. “I’m Father Malone. You must be from the police,” he concluded with a small sigh.

“FBI,” Sam corrected, pulling a freshly made ID from his breast pocket. “I’m Agent Shears and this is my partner Agent Marquis.” He stole another glance to Dean, resisting the urge to smile as he saw the sudden onset of pain in his brother’s eyes. Gotcha, dude! “We spoke earlier,” Sam continued, reaffirming his focus on the priest.

The short man bobbed his head, his eyes abruptly falling to the floor. “It was a sad business…Father Lane was a good friend. A good priest…”

“And you have no idea why this girl would want to harm him?” Dean tapped the small black pad in his palm as if he actually had notes on it to refer to.

The little priest shifted warily from foot to foot, his dark green eyes remaining out of contact with the two brothers as if it would help him hide some deep dark secret. “I…I don’t think so…”

“And there was nothing strange about her?” Sam gently probed. “Nothing different about her eyes..?” He paused, noting the priest’s hand trembling slightly. “Father…did you or Father Lane think this girl was…possessed?”

The last word seemed to bite into the priest so hard he started. “You’re not FBI…”

Sam took a step forward, wanting to both reassure Malone and gain his trust. In their line of work, priests were an asset, and alienating this one wasn’t on their list of things to do. “We’re here to help,” he cajoled. “If you’ll let us?”

Malone finally took his eyes from the stone-slabbed floor and looked at each brother in turn. His gaze lingered on Dean for a moment before he stepped back, allowing his knees to buckle as he slumped onto a pew.

Sam waited, knowing the forty-something-year-old was struggling with his faith and how to handle what had happened. Most priests never had to face a possessed human, or any kind of spirit or demon. When they did, like now, it was an eye-opener.

“We’ve been given information that Father Lane was trying to perform an exorcism when he was killed. Is that right?” Dean took a seat by the side of the priest, surprising even Sam with the amount of understanding in his voice.

Malone seemed to warm to the inflection. “Yes…yes he was. I’d been called out that day, and by the time I got back the exorcism was over.” The priest began to nervously wring his hands as if he was reliving prior events. “The girl should have been saved…but her eyes. I’ll never forget those eyes. So black…”

“So, any ideas why the exorcism didn’t work, padre? Do you think Father Lane could have screw…messed up somehow?”

“No.” Malone shook his head. “This wasn’t Father Lane’s first exorcism. He knew the Rituale Romanum better than anyone I know. And yet…” He turned, gesturing with a quick nod towards a cordoned off section of the church. “And yet that thing brought half the roof down on him with one flick of her hand – “

Sam looked across the church at the yellow police tape that still marked the spot where Lane had died. Pieces of slate and stone still lay untouched on the floor, and above, he could see the vivid blue hues of the sky through a hole in the roof. “Thank you,” he finally offered. “If we need anything else we’ll be in touch.”

Malone exhaled but didn’t move as they walked away.

Maybe Sam was wrong, but he suspected the little man had been exhausted just by their conversation. I hope the girl doesn’t come back. He’d never handle her.

“Okay, Agent Shears.” Dean jerked a thumb towards the arched stone exit. “That wasn’t real helpful. Any more suggestions other than using dumbass names on our ID’s?”

Sam chuckled. He’d been waiting for this the whole time in the church and was relatively surprised he’d gotten away with it this long. “Oh you mean because I didn’t use something like Hendrix or Paige?”

Dean’s nose scrunched in distaste and he jumped down the church steps two at a time to get back to the Impala – something that Sam found highly amusing. Whenever Dean got pissy, Sam could count on him wanting to get to the Chevy as if it was some last refuge or sanctuary. It was a habit he’d formed even as a kid, and sometimes Sam suspected his brother associated the car so much with their father that to Dean, it had become an extension of the Winchester patriarch. A patriarch that was still missing since he’d hastily left Bobby’s awhile back.

“Friggin’ Scissor Sisters! I thought you’d gotten over that whole thing back in Big Bear…” Dean’s muttering continued as he heaved open the Chevy’s door and dropped in behind the wheel.

“Hey, you were the one that started it messing with my cell…” Sam settled onto the bench seat and shut the car door somewhat more gently than his brother. The ancient metal still gave out its usual grating moan before the latch clicked into place. “Anyway, can we concentrate on demon girl here for a second?”

Dean nodded in submission, but Sam couldn’t help but notice his brother slyly flick through the ring tones on his cell as they began to talk. While Sam hadn’t considered it before, he had to admit that perhaps a little nighttime mission with some funky disco downloads might not be such a bad idea. He was sure Dean would so appreciate Irene Cara’s Fame, or maybe even the Bee Gees You Should Be Dancing for his ringtone.

“Okay, so, you’re ancient and very questionable musical tastes aside, what have we got?” Sam finally loosened his own tie and heaved down a deep breath in frustration. “I mean, the girl comes here for help. Was she maybe still in control a little? Otherwise we’re back to why a demon would even come here…”

“Let’s take a step back, Sammy.” Dean dropped the cell into his pocket after finding no evidence of sibling tampering. “This chick didn’t just kill the priest. According to those news reports you found, she offed two other poor schmucks too. Looks like the boyfriend, a local doctor and then Father Lane. There has to be some kind of pattern here we’re missing.”

“You hope,” Sam pointed out, watching curiously as his brother leaned forward and popped the glove box. “Dad’s journal?” He asked in surprise as the small, leatherbound book appeared in Dean’s hand.

“This reminds me of something.” Dean began to rifle through the tattered pages, pausing every few seconds only to move on again when the right date didn’t present itself. “I’ve seen a case Dad worked way back when – I dunno, Sammy, seeing the types of people this demon takes out just brought back the memory.” He eventually tapped a page and carefully passed the book over. “Bingo! Look familiar?”

Sam raised a brow but took the journal and began to read. “Dad never solved this,” he pointed out, wincing at some of the garish details his father had made note of – including a doctor that had been decapitated when a small section of his office roof had collapsed.

“It was an early gig,” Dean admitted. “But take a look at the list of victims Dad put together. Sound familiar?” He gazed over, looking at his father’s scrawled handwriting.

Lover
Believer
Healer
Protector
Friend
Family

“You’re thinking we can already scratch lover, believer and healer off the list of hits?” Sam asked, turning the page to read the last few notes.

Dean shrugged. “I’m thinking it’s a pretty thin lead, but yeah. Dad never mentioned the name of this friggin’ demon or why it was doing this, but maybe if we can find enough about the girl it's possessing we can beat it to the next victim.” His eyes seemed to glaze over and he quickly looked out the side window. “Maybe we can even save the girl.”

Sam didn’t miss the abrupt change in his brother, but he didn’t comment on it. Just a short while ago, Dean had been witness to the death of a friend – Erika Gudrun – and despite his wise ass attitude, Sam knew Dean was far from over it.

Dean had never liked Erika – at least – not outwardly, because he considered her a reaper. Even so, watching her die and being helpless to prevent it had made him even more angry at the powers of darkness.

Even more angry at himself.

Sam was all too aware that right now his brother was inwardly vowing to save this unknown girl, no matter what the cost, because he was reliving Gudrun’s death over and over in his mind, constantly taking the blame like only Dean could.

The events in Leicester hadn’t helped Dean, either. It wasn’t every day, even for a Winchester, that you got to feel the thoughts and memories of a soul condemned to Hell.

“Okay,” Sam flipped John’s journal shut. “We know from the reports that the girl worked at Morgan’s Garage in Warner. She probably had friends there who might be able to give us a few leads. “

“Sounds like a plan, little brother.” Dean flicked the ignition and the Impala growled into life. Slipping the column change into drive, he used his free hand to completely pull away his tie and toss it on the back seat. Grinning at the instant relief the move gave, he switched on the stereo.

When The Doors’ People Are Strange began to fill the Chevy’s interior with Morrison’s haunting tones, he began to sing along until Sam was convinced there was a pregnant werewolf in the driver’s seat. That, or maybe the tie really had strangled his brother’s vocal cords.

“When you're strange, no one remembers your nameeee…”

“Dude,” Sam shook his head, pulling out a piece of tissue from his pocket and sticking it in his ears as a sign of sibling protest. “You’re strange, very strange…”

“You’re just jealous ’cause you can’t sing for squat.”

Sam wound down the window, choking back a chortle. At least while he was singing, Dean wasn’t having serious self-doubt about Gudrun’s death or his chances of saving the possessed girl they were tailing.

“Man, just don’t go expecting to be on American Idol anytime soon. That Cowell freak would so cream your ass!”

Dean headed across the next intersection, tapping the steering wheel in time to the music. “You know, I’ve been thinking about him. Ya think maybe he’s possessed too?”

Sam opened his mouth to respond, but for the life of him, he couldn’t find one good argument to fight Cowell’s case. Instead, he just crossed his arms and thanked whoever was listening that his brother had at least not broken out his latest Deep Purple CD.


Morgan’s Garage
Warner, OK

“Thank you for seeing us, Mr. Morgan.” Sam perched his huge frame on a “less than roomy” office chair and waited for his brother to do the same before continuing. “We’re doing a follow up on the Greg Watson case, and any extra details you could give us would be very helpful…”

Harry Morgan rubbed a hand across his clean-shaven features and shrugged. He was a short little man who looked almost as round as he was tall. Maybe Sam’s own height and muscular frame made him biased, but Morgan reminded him of a human barrel – with bright red cheeks and a small moustache finishing off the details.

“I don’t know what I can tell you two fellas that I didn’t tell Cooper – I mean, Sheriff Cooper, but I’ll try.” Morgan leaned forward and interlocked his fingers on the desk, tapping his hands on the surface in nervous frustration.

“We’d like to know anything you can tell us about…” Dean looked at his notepad, reading the scribblings he’d taken from Sam’s newspaper report. “Mia Cameron? Can you tell us the names of any friends, relatives, that kind of thing?”

Morgan sniffed as if the name brought back memories he didn’t care to share, and after a second he looked out of the side window before answering. “Mia was a great girl. I still can’t believe what she did to Greg – she loved him, why would she hurt him? And so brutally? She kept carving and carving at him with that damn angle grinder.”

“You were here?” Sam asked, his brow arching in surprise as he looked to Dean and then back to the garage owner.

“No.” Morgan shook his head. “I wasn’t here, but I saw it on the CCTV footage.” He tapped the monitor screen on his desk. “My brother is in the business. After some local yahoos broke in a coupla times he installed me a state of the art system. Everything is recorded onto a hard drive.”

“Sheriff Cooper took the drive, right?” Dean asked, a look of disappointment already creasing his normally jovial features.

“Yup, took it first thing after I found the body. ’Course, I’d already seen it, not to mention sent a copy over to my personal PC right here.” He dipped a thumb to the desktop unit hiding under his desk, smiling with just enough perverse pleasure that it actually scared Sam. “I know it was wrong, but…”

Sam tried not to wince. Morgan seemed like your everyday Mr. Ordinary. He looked too squeaky clean to even work in a garage much less own one – and yet – he was sick enough to want to keep the recording of a brutal murder.

“We’ll need to see that,” Dean chipped in, closing the pad in his hand and stuffing it in his pocket before rising from his seat and standing over the “human barrel” just enough to intimidate him. “Unless you’d like your personal computer confiscated right along with your security system hard drive?”

Morgan squirmed but began tapping at the keyboard on his desk. Tiny beads of perspiration began to form on his brow and trickle down his face as he worked furiously to bring up the footage.

Sam watched the garage owner and realized he was enjoying seeing the man writhe and fidget as Dean stood over him. Morgan was one of the small percentage of the population that fit right on in with the demons and angry spirits of the world. He was evil in human form.

“Here, here it is,” Morgan mumbled, turning the LCD screen so that both brothers could get a view. “It’s pretty dark and the noise level…maybe I should turn off the volume before the screaming starts?”

Sam wanted to shake his head, but he couldn’t.

Even though the recording was grainy due to light quality, he had already spotted Mia in the corner of the screen, angle grinder in hand. It looked like she was talking to someone in the shadows – possibly the boyfriend.

After a second, Mia began to cross over the workshop, but she didn’t put the grinder down. The noise from the tool began to grow louder – as if she had it on maximum revs.

Greg appeared, arms outstretched, begging, pleading for her to stop, but Mia had no intention of stopping.

The voices turned to screams, and the screams soon turned to the grinding of bone as the girl began to coldly cut into her partner until his head was severed from his torso. Not satisfied with the bizarre decapitation, she walked around the garage choosing other tools to desecrate her ex-lover’s body. A drill to his eyes, a nail gun to his hands and finally she had used a screwdriver and brute force to gouge out his heart and toss it at the Ford.

“Where could she get such strength?” Morgan was shaking his head, but the twinkle of raw pleasure was still clear in his eyes as they fixated on the monitor.

Dean shot a glance to his brother. “Sam, take a look at her eyes…”

Even though the footage was monochrome, the total blackness of Mia Cameron’s eyeballs was vividly apparent.

“Mr. Morgan, have you any records on file for Mia? Next of kin? Relatives? That kind of thing? Does she have any friends in town she might go to?” Sam leaned forward and hit the pause button on the computer’s video player as he spoke. While Morgan might be getting a cheap thrill out of a young kid’s death, Sam found it deeply disturbing.

Not only were they witnessing a murder, but the possession of the girl was pretty overwhelming too, even for him. It reminded Sam of Meg, and how they had been unable to save her as she’d choked her last breaths in Dean’s arms. Would Mia be any different?

Crap, I’m starting to sound like Dean!

Morgan grunted with annoyance that the CCTV footage had been paused, but pushed up from his chair, virtually “rolling” over to a filing cabinet near the doorway. After rummaging for less than a minute he shook his head. “I only have one address on file for next of kin.” He passed the sheet over to Dean. “’Course, Mia had plenty of friends in town. Damn likable gal, if you know what I mean…” He wiggled his eyebrows just a little too suggestively.

Dean nodded. “Yeah, we know exactly what you mean…” He folded the paper, stuffing it in the same pocket as his notepad. “You’re sure there’s no one in particular she hung out with?”

“Well, maybe just Karen Aldridge. They used to go shooting together. I guess you could say they were like sisters before all this.”

“Where can we find Karen?” Sam stood to his full height, hoping it gave him the same intimidating air Dean had used on Morgan earlier.

For some reason, it didn’t seem to work. Morgan shrugged and slumped back into his chair as if he lived in it – which from his size – Sam guessed was a pretty distinct possibility. “Karen is the Deputy Sheriff around here. I think you FBI boys can find her without my help, right?”

Dean’s eyes narrowed. “I’m pretty sure we can, Jabba. Maybe we’ll drag your ass down there with us for withholding that footage. Whattya say, Morg? In fact, maybe we should search that hard drive of yours for anything else interesting.” He winked roguishly. “I’m sure you’ve got some sick stuff stashed on there, don’t ya?”

Morgan’s pupils narrowed and his skin paled, but he didn’t answer. Sam suspected if they pushed him more he’d probably start screaming for a lawyer – something they really didn’t want – considering their none FBI status.

Sam dipped his brows, trying to achieve his best “stone face” expression – the one he’d watched so many Death Wish movies to try to perfect – but had never quite mastered as well as Dean or Charles Bronson. “Wipe your hard drive, or I promise we’ll be back with a whole unit.”

Morgan didn’t move.

The garage owner simply sat in his chair, bobbing his head like a cheap toy dog in the rear window of a car.

* * * *

“Dude, that guy was one sick puppy. He actually enjoyed watching that chick go Jason Voorhees or her partner.” Dean squirmed as he placed his hands on the Impala’s roof, looking across as Sam joined him.

“Yeah, sometimes I wonder which is worse,” Sam admitted, opening the rear door and tossing his jacket on the seat. “At least demons are inherently evil. But humans can be just…”

“Nutjobs?” Dean grinned back, remembering a conversation from a recent gig in Leicester.

“Yeah, well, Jabba may be a nutjob and a pervert, but he isn’t our problem right now.” Sam craned his head and arm through the open side window of the Chevy and pulled out a local area map. After flipping it over, he tapped the page with his forefinger. “The Sheriff’s office isn’t too far. I think we should start there first. “

Dean bobbed his head in agreement and ducked behind the wheel of his black four-wheeled mistress. “You’re thinking Mia the Mutilator’s cop buddy is the 'Protector' on the list, huh?”

Sam joined him inside the car, his stomach already churning at the possibility that they were right – and maybe already too late. “Yeah,” he answered quietly. “But either way, if we’re not fast enough, there’s going to be a body count even Michael Myers wouldn’t be able to match.”


Local Sheriff’s Office

Dean gently tapped the brake pedal of the Impala, bringing it to a stop just a short distance from the local Sheriff’s office. The Chevy’s engine died as he switched off the ignition and craned his head forward to take a peek at the building they’d come to visit.

Despite the fact that it was still only early evening, the offices were mostly in darkness, including the front reception desk. Somewhere to the rear, a fluorescent tube flickered on and off, like some portent of impending doom.

“Dude, so not liking what I’m seeing here…” Dean slid a hand under his jacket and pulled out his favorite silver Colt. The slugs it held would do little damage to Mia while she was possessed, but it still felt good to have it handy, its carefully worked metal soothing the hunter like a child’s pacifier.

Sam nodded and reached over onto the back seat to his duffel. Rummaging in the bag, he quickly offered up two silver flasks of holy water and two flashlights. Slipping his own into his jacket, he let Dean take the other set of items.

Satisfied they had everything they could to fight the girl, Sam pushed open the Chevy’s heavy door and stepped out onto a narrow section of sidewalk.

The Sheriff’s office was situated on an area of land that was pretty much self-contained. There were no other buildings near the stark grey-walled structure, and no one appeared to be visiting.

Two cruisers sat idly by the main entrance, but there were no deputies to be seen anywhere.

“I’m seriously getting an I Am Legend vibe here, Sammy.” Dean finally exited the Impala, keeping his hand wrapped around the Colt beneath his jacket as he warily walked towards the building’s entrance.

Sam didn’t answer, but as he reached the glass double doors he pushed his back into the side frame and flicked on his flashlight. Letting the light cut into the dark lobby, he paused mid-sweep when the beam picked up on something slumped on the floor.

Dean joined his brother the other side the doors, using his own light to give extra illumination.

The body looked to be that of a young deputy. They’d never know for sure, but he had probably been manning the front desk when Mia had arrived. From the odd angle of some of his limbs and the glistening patch of blood on the far wall, it was an easy guess he’d been tossed across the room “demon style” at high speed.

Dean nodded his head, silently signaling that they should go inside. Taking point, he kept his flashlight in one hand, scanning it across the lobby along with the muzzle of his weapon.

Ahead, he could see the stark white flickering of the fluorescent light they’d spotted from the Impala, and it made his finger instinctively tick on the Colt’s trigger.

From the nearby desk, a burst of static followed by garbled radio chatter made both hunters whirl. The radio mike clicked, but there was no one to answer the deputies out in the field anymore.

“Dean, we don’t have much time. When they realize they’re not getting any reply from control they’re going to come back here. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this would be a great place to get found right about now.”

Dean glanced at the speaker, listening intently as another deputy tried to call in but received no response. While it was true they couldn’t allow themselves to get caught here, they couldn’t leave without searching the whole building either. It was probably too much to hope that Mia still lurked in some corner of the offices, but it was a hope he held onto.

Mia needed their help – the population of this little community needed their help – before this rogue demon took out half of Oklahoma just for kicks.

“We should check out back first.” Dean bobbed his head towards the still flashing light tube and then picked up the pace, keeping his weapon high as he entered a short corridor. There was no time to argue, and he wasn’t about to give Sam chance to try. He’d seen enough on the video at Morgan’s garage, and he was seeing enough here.

Halfway down the passageway, he stopped again, noting something smeared along the walls to his left. Letting a finger slide through the substance he realized he was touching blood.

How many had died here?

Ignoring the thought that Mia could have wiped out almost the entire Sheriff’s department, he continued forward until he reached a door. According to the embellished gold lettering, this was Deputy Sheriff Aldridge’s office.

Nudging the door open with the tip of his CAT boot, Dean swung inside, Colt at the ready.

The room was empty, but there had definitely been a scuffle here. Splashes of blood painted an eerie pattern on the cop’s desk, and on the floor, it looked like someone had been dragged out from behind the desk and back out into the corridor, leaving a sticky scarlet trail to follow.

“Dean, take a look up there…”

Dean turned to see Sam’s gangly frame was standing in the doorway, pointing with his Glock towards something hanging on the wall along with Aldridge’s commendations.

In the harsh light, it was hard to see at first, and the elder hunter was forced to bring the beam of his light across the object to get a full view.

“Aww man, that is just…friggin’ gross…” Dean put a hand to his mouth and quickly turned away. For whatever reason, the Mia thing had cut off someone’s ear – probably Karen Aldridge’s – and pinned it to the wall like a trophy.

Dean wasn’t sure, but it looked like it was actually dangling from the remnants of the owner’s gold ear stud.

“I think it’s a pretty safe bet we’re too late,” Sam suggested, eyes darting around the room and then back to the corridor as if he expected a SWAT team to burst in at any second.

“Maybe.” Dean moved back into the corridor, squatting to quickly appraise the blood trail. “But we owe it to the cop chick to be sure.” He glanced up, his lips ticking into an impish grin. “What’s the matter, Sammy, scared of being turned into Mike Scofield?”

Sam’s own expression twisted into annoyance. “Yeah, actually. You are still kinda wanted, remember?”

Dean straightened, cautiously moving forward again. “Dude, you’re just scared you’ll end up being T-Bag’s bitch. Told ya that girlie side of yours is gonna get you in trouble one of these days…”

Sam pouted, a move that brought another small smile to his brother’s face.

“Looks like we’re coming up on the cells,” Dean muttered, abruptly killing the beam of his flashlight in favor of the relative protection of the darkness.

“Dean, I think I hear something…” Sam held up a hand as he listened intently to the sound again.

Annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to wisecrack back, Dean scrunched his brow and concentrated on the noise.

It was someone softly whimpering.

A girl, softly whimpering.

Forgetting any thoughts of caution, Dean kicked into a sprint, holding the Colt waist-high and slightly to one side as he charged into the holding area.

There was more light here, and he didn’t need to switch his flashlight back on to find the source of the sobbing. The woman was in the corner cell, lying on one side as blood oozed through her uniform.

Guardedly entering the cell, Dean’s eyes darted to each and every shadowy corner before he placed his attention on the fallen cop.

Karen was still alive, her eyes lightly glazed, blood matting the blonde hair one side of her head where her ear had been crudely hacked away. Without peeling away her jacket, he couldn’t tell what had caused the stomach wound, but from the amount of blood she had already lost it wasn’t anything he or Sam could patch up in a hurry.

“It’s okay,” Dean cajoled, watching as Karen's panicked eyes locked with his. “We’re gonna get you some help.” He turned to Sam, anger at the thing that had done this lacing his words. “Sammy, ambulance…”

Sam stuffed his Glock into his waistband and quickly pulled his cell from the back pocket of his jeans. Using his thumb, he began to hit speed dial only to have the tiny unit abruptly torn from his grip.

The cell seemed to momentarily dance in midair before being joined by Dean’s forty-five.

“What the..?” Dean pushed up from his crouched position, any thoughts of Karen Aldridge forced from his mind by a new and sudden danger. Before he could react further to the loss of his weapon, the cell door they’d so haplessly walked into slammed on them, the lock clicking as if a key had turned its tumblers.

Outside the cell, the Colt and Sam’s phone floated into the hands of a young woman who watched them with bemusement.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to snatch?” Dean walked up to the bars that now held him, placing his hands on the cold metal rods. “What’s the matter, bitch. Don’t they teach manners in Hell?”

Mia cocked her head, raven orbs reflecting back the moonlight from the tiny cell window. “Hunters,” she mouthed tossing both the cellphone and Dean’s automatic onto the floor in disinterest. “And small fry at that. Not at all what I’m looking for…”

“Then what are you looking for? Death, destruction, all for a cheap kick?” Sam stole a glance at the dying cop and then back at the demon.

Mia flicked her brown locks, the slight southern drawl to her voice the only indication of the real girl beneath the demon’s hold. “Cheap trick? Oh no, I’m looking for something very specific…and let’s just say I haven’t found it yet…”

“I’m not gonna let you keep killing people like this. Hurting the girl inside like this.” Dean’s voice had turned to a low growl and he clutched at the bars restraining him until his knuckles began to turn white.

After Haris, he’d thought it was over, but then Erika Gudrun had taught him a harsh lesson he wouldn’t forget in a hurry. Maybe people did have a purpose – a destiny to fulfill – and his would always be to kill these evil sons of bitches.

Mia, or the demon in control, ran a hand through the front of her hair, seemingly bored with the conversation already. “I’d heard that your kind like to draw us into long monologues while you try and come up with some pathetic escape attempt. Too bad, big boy, I’m just not the talking kind…”

The girl smiled at the brothers then slowly sashayed over to the nearest wall. Placing her palms on the open brickwork, she closed her eyes and inhaled.

From somewhere unseen, a macabre breeze seemed to fill the holding area, tousling through their hair and making their eyes smart with its icy intensity.

The wind seemed to grow stronger, like a mini-whirlwind was forming, and as it coalesced, forming a bizarre epicenter, the Sheriff’s office began to shake.

Dean looked to Sam as the realization hit that they were about to be caught in a demonic version of an earthquake. “Grab Nancy!”

Sam looked back questioningly and Dean had to mentally admit that his brother’s hesitation was probably warranted. Even if he picked up the girl, there was nowhere to go and no way to stop Mia’s dirty work.

They were trapped in the cell while the building literally caved in around them.

Her task complete, Mia turned back to the cell enclosure as the roof above started to groan and buck with the malevolent pressure forced upon it. “Nice meeting you two. Shame, but I really do have to dash – people to kill, you know?”

Dean pulled the small flagon of holy water from his pocket, and straining through the bars managed to toss its contents at the fleeing girl. Very little of the liquid seemed to hit home, and Mia vanished into the shadows as the first section of roof decided to crumble inwards.

“Did you really have to piss her off?” Sam grabbed at the cot in the corner as he groused, placing it over Karen to try and shield her from the rubble, but it was only a matter of time – not just for Karen – but for all of them.

Dean shrugged as a piece of falling concrete glanced off his shoulder. “What? You want me to play nice with that thing?”

Sam looked up as the ceiling overhead began to twist and bend, showering them with dust and tiny segments of plaster. “Actually, right this second? Yeah, I’m wishing you’d given her your best 'Let’s go have wild sex' line.”

Dean’s eyes narrowed. “Dude she’s not that cute.” Then his gaze followed Sam’s and he considered changing his mind. He was no architect, but at a guess, they had a few seconds before the ceiling decided to crash down on their skulls.

And despite Sam insisting he was hard headed, Dean really didn’t like the prospect of that scenario…

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The Winchester Chronicles

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