Two: Dark Territory
Kittsbud & Tree
felt the two long fangs dig into the flesh of his forearm,
skin starting to tear and warm blood beginning to flow
as he instinctively jarred back from the vicious bite.
thing’s eyes bored deep into his as it clung to
his flesh, the intelligence behind them far more advanced
than that of any feral creature the hunter had ever
been privy to encountering.
was no husky, and whatever it truly was knew what it
wanted – no –needed to do. It wanted
the kill, and it would be relentless until that task
friggin’ Furbee with attitude, don’t you
know Winchesters bite back?” Dean snapped
at the dog, refusing to give in even though its jaw
still held fast on to his arm.
hunter’s eyes took one precious glance away from
the husky to see Gudrun rapidly approaching. Apparently,
his tussle with the pup from hell had roused the Valkyrie
from her slumber and she was now racing to his rescue.
back!” Dean barked out, the sudden realization
hitting him that perhaps the creature swinging from
his forearm may even have the strength to harm his “reaper”
friend. Whatever it was, it was from beyond the grave,
of that he was sure.
looked into the lost soulless eyes of the dead long
enough to know.
expected, Gudrun ignored his warning and continued to
sprint athletically forward. All the grace of a ballerina
and the determination of a warrior showing in her carefully
her side, Sam was less graceful, but no less resolute.
pair came to a halt either side Dean, each unsure what
move to make next. The husky still held on to its prey,
but it had stopped the shaking motion from before, abruptly
aware that it was being watched.
thing’s eyes seemed to glow even redder, spittle
dripping from its mouth as it attempted a low growl
while refusing to unlock its jaw.
scrutinized the dog, her gaze seeing far more than any
mortals. “Sam, go get a stick from the fire-”
hesitated, not wanting to move for fear the husky would
go for his brother’s throat. It seemed only inches
away, and Dean’s hold on it was shaky at best.
He could see Dean’s good arm quivering with the
stress placed upon it as he pushed away the animal.
Sam broke away his gaze and made a dash for the muted
campfire in the distance. It wasn’t really that
far away – and yet to the young man it may as
well have been on another continent.
husky noted the new movement and made a decision based
on reasoning skills no dog should possess. It quickly
released its maw, letting the bleeding human loose in
favor of a more important quarry.
the dog honed in on the blonde one – the girl
it sensed was more than just a human. She knew its weakness,
but likewise it knew who and what she was.
was no fear.
thing could not fear the death Gudrun could normally
cause, for in truth, it had never lived. It bared blood-marred
canines, back legs flexing and tail stiffening ready
for another attack.
don’t move…” Dean clambered to his
feet, holding out an arm that still oozed blood in warning
to the girl.
her credit, the Valkyrie actually followed his advice.
Her totally static pose reminded the hunter of a stone
carving he’d once seen on a Native American reservation.
But still, her frozen stance couldn’t save her,
of that he was sure.
Valkyries, Shield Maidens – whatever their name
– they still showed fear with exactly the same
expressions as a mortal.
right now, Dean could see blind terror in Gudrun’s
pale blue eyes.
might not like her kind, he might not appreciate her
attitude, but in that instant, Dean knew if the husky
moved just one more paw forward in the snow, then he
would place himself between it and the girl.
want to take a bite out of her, Furbee, you gotta come
through me first-” Dean felt his muscles tense,
ready to blindly jump forward into the dog’s path.
He was prepared for the extra pain of yet another puncture
wound, and for the possibility of death from one of
The husky’s pupils dilated, but instead of pouncing
it took a step backwards as Sam dived between it, Gudrun
and his brother, flaming branch in hand.
whirled the glowing section of wood back and forth while
advancing, trying to push the husky backwards away from
his injured brother and Gudrun.
husky snorted at the move, its scarlet orbs narrowing
as it took in the flickering blaze at the end of the
flames bobbed in the breeze, but did little to instill
panic in the animal. Perhaps ordinary dogs would have
feared the heat and smoke, but this creature did not.
the husky cocked back its head and let out a high pitched
howl that seemed to reverberate through the woods, bouncing
from tree to tree until it dissipated in the heavens.
the last echo had dispersed, the dog launched forwards
one last time, angling its head to hit the stick in
the young hunter’s hand.
stumbled, not expecting the lightning rapidity of the
move, and within a split second the branch had been
torn loose from his grip.
stick landed in the snow, hissing wildly as the damp
ground began to asphyxiate the flames.
it, Sam slid in the mush churned up from the recent
fighting, almost losing his balance as the dog dived
at his chest.
almost didn’t hear the cry from his brother. In
fact, his ears barely heard anything save for the high-speed
thumping of his heart against his ribcage and the anguished
yelp of the husky as it seemed to bounce away from his
been expecting fangs to sink into his skin, or at least
claws to begin digging into flesh through his jacket,
but the dog was repelled from him like they were two
opposing magnets in a science experiment gone wrong.
on its back from the bizarre retreat, the husky quickly
righted itself, shaking away snow from its pelt before
its muscles stiffened again in Sam’s presence.
took a tentative step forward, eyeing the creature just
as it eyed him.
the husky appeared frozen in its stance, he took a chance,
kneeling just long enough to retrieve the still smoldering
stick he’d dropped during the fray.
his gaze with that of the animal, Sam took a second
calculated risk and lunged at the beast, for once the
attacker instead of the attacked.
husky yapped like a scolded pup, its tail slamming down
between its legs as it saw the full frontal assault
and withdrew from it as fast as its legs would carry
that was interesting in a painful kinda way-”
Dean scowled as he pressed a hand over the puncture
wounds in his arm, blood seeping through tightly clasped
fingers to melt the snow beneath his feet.
okay?” Sam winced in sympathy as he saw the wound.
feel a whole lot freakin’ better if I knew what
just tried to chow down on me,” Dean complained,
turning to quickly walk back to the warmth and semi-security
of the camp. “I think Teenwolf just used
me for his starter…”
I can help..?” Gudrun waited until the hunter
had perched himself on an upturned log and then joined
him. There was sympathy in her gaze as she inspected
the bite, even if she didn’t vocally express it.
don’t need any help from a reaper,” Dean
snapped crabbily. “Your kind will get your hands
on me eventually, what’s the rush?”
shrugged. There was no point in denying the title he
gave her, or trying to argue with his skewed male logic.
“Fine.” She rolled her eyes. “Leave
a blood trail in the snow our enemies can see half a
well at least I bleed, sister.” Dean
leaned over, rummaging in his backpack until he’d
found a small first aid kit – not exactly as stocked
as the Impala’s – but it would suffice for
go of his forearm, he delved inside the box until he’d
found a suitably-sized dressing and bandage. While he
could easily have let the girl help him even if she
didn’t use her gifts, he chose not to. Gudrun
needed to learn the lesson that Winchesters could take
care of themselves – mostly.
he haphazardly wrapped the bandage, he glanced to Sam.
The puppy eyes were watching, but his sibling knew better
than to offer his assistance.
was a Dean thing to prove a point to Gudrun.
ideas what that thing was?” Dean finally asked
his brother with a huff. “This is more your kind
of territory, Sasquatch.”
shifted his boot, using the toe to push fresh snow over
the blood trail his brother had left. He didn’t
expect it would deter the likes of the husky, but somehow
it made him feel better not to have the glaring red
stain on view. “Shapeshifter,” he offered
half-heartedly as he worked.
think it was something called a tupilaq,” Gudrun
intervened, offering her thoughts even though she was
sure they probably weren’t welcome.
that a doggie version of a Tulpa?” Dean raised
a brow impishly and let out a deep breath, filling the
damp air with a thin mist. “If we start seeing
Blue Oyster Cult symbols in the snow, we know were screwed,
long as you don’t start humming Don’t
Fear The Reaper, I think I’m safe.”
Gudrun winked at the elder hunter and then paused as
she saw the strange look forming on his brother’s
had gone from his regular “annoyed at big bro”
face into “light bulb” mode. “Tupilaqs?”
He asked intently. “I thought they were simply
Inuit carvings…just legends from the olden days…”
Memories of the book he’d read on their journey
here were resurfacing, but they were disjointed and
took a seat next to Dean on the log, ignoring his best
“pissy” expression as she huddled too close
to him for comfort – at least – his comfort.
“Tupilaqs are carvings now, Sam, but many years
ago they were so much more. In the olden days, there
were Inuit shamans with enough power to create these
creatures by using old bones, pieces of rotting flesh
– anything they could lay their hands on. These
things were given life and sent after a specific
looked at his brother and shook his head. “Ugh
oh, who you been pissing off now, Samantha?”
it went after you first, remember?” Sam pointed
out with annoyance. “So, if we’re the enemy,”
he returned his attention to the blonde. “Just
how do we stop this thing from coming back for a second
shook her head. “There is no way to stop a tupilaq
unless a more powerful shaman can reverse the magic.
In essence, someone more gifted can send the tupilaq
back against its maker. Kind of like mirroring the “kill”
order right on back to its sender.”
let out a low whistle. “Good thing we got your
magical ass along for the ride after all then.”
He softly patted the Valkyrie’s knee. “And
a pretty cute ass it is too – for a reaper…”
I cannot fight a tupilaq – as you saw, it turned
on me too.” Gudrun didn’t try to be smart.
She simply drooped her head, allowing both brothers
to realize the severity of the situation. “I’m
not omnipotent. A more gifted shaman must reverse the
magic and turn the creature back on its master.”
great!” Dean pulled off a small piece of tape
with his teeth, finally securing the bandage he’d
been fumbling with for far too long. “Turns out
we shoulda brought Barbara Eden instead of our friendly,
neighborhood death omen.” He dropped the tape
back into his backpack, satisfied with his handiwork.
“I guess if we can’t fight this thing, we
better shag ass before it decides it wants some Winchester
tapped Dean’s knee playfully like he had hers
only a short while ago. “Finally,” she teased.
“Something we both agree on-”
comment earned her a scowl of frustration from one brother,
and a puerile chuckle from the other.
Dean huffed, showing his annoyance at being the object
of their amusement, the group finally began to pack
know after all that effort I’ll kinda be sad not
to use that thing at least once.” Dean nodded
towards the lean-to as he stomped out the last remnants
of their fire with the heel of his boot.
thought heroes didn’t sleep?” Gudrun toyed
as she hoisted her already full backpack over her shoulder.
well, you should know, sister, you collected enough
of their souls…” The fire extinguished,
Dean moved to grab his own bag, forcing a smile as he
pushed past the blonde.
you two ever quit?” Sam’s thought-filled
head was spinning, and his two companions constant bickering
wasn’t helping. If it wasn’t so damned exasperating
it would be better than any network comedy show. As
it was, it was giving the young hunter a headache trying
to think in between bursts of sarcasm.
looked to Gudrun for support, hoping the Valkyrie was
actually more mature than his brother. “You’ve
told us what the dog really is, but why did it run from
me?” His expression hardened as he considered
the frightening possibilities. “The thing was
scared of me…I could see it in its eyes-”
let a hand drift to his pocket and pulled out the tiny
wooden charm he’d been given earlier in the evening.
It still looked nothing more than an old and very fancy
piece of carving, and yet the hunter now believed it
was far more. “You said this was for protection?”
He held it up in the stark moonlight for everyone to
bobbed her head knowingly. “It can afford some
limited defense against a tupilaq’s magic, but
it is nothing on its own.” Reaching forward, she
took Sam’s hand, closing his huge palm back around
Dean intruded. “You gotta buy the yearly subscription
to get the full package, dude.” He grinned, pulling
a rock salt-filled shotgun from his bag before slipping
the backpack strap over his shoulder.
have to trust yourself. Believe in yourself.”
Gudrun looked into Sam’s eyes as she held a hand
over his closed fist. “I cannot send the tupilaq
back, but you can.”
shook his head. “Ugh oh, Yoda strikes again.”
He pulled an almost empty packet of M & M’s
from his pocket and stuffed a handful into his mouth.
When Sam simply stared back at the Valkyrie he shrugged
and began to pull the sheet from the lean-too roof in
case they needed it later.
Sam eventually stammered. “I’m not a shaman.
I don’t know Inuit lore or magic.” He shook
his shaggy mop of hair, looking away into the night
for fear Gudrun would tell him otherwise. He didn’t
want to be special – he just wanted to be like
everyone else. “What can I do?”
pulled her hand away, her eyes narrowing as she inhaled
deeply. “You will know, Sam, when the time comes.
Remember, everyone has a purpose…” She turned,
willing to give away no more secrets – not yet.
Pointing north, she began to walk without looking back.
“We should go this way. The tupilaq will return
soon and we have little time.”
cocked his head, letting the sawed-off muzzle of his
weapon rest on his shoulder. “You know, I would
ask who died and put her in charge, but given her line
can be such a dork, you know that, right?” Sam
didn’t wait for an answer, but began to follow
the girl, looking over his shoulder every few seconds.
I got nothing against girl power.” Dean shrugged,
reluctantly beginning to trudge through the snow after
Gudrun. “It’s just I figure it’s kinda
like dancing, ya know? Guys lead, gals follow…”
nodded just a little too quickly. “Oh yeah, that’s
right, because you’re such a John Travolta
in that department. What about that time at the night
club in Vegas?”
I was still recovering from Liberace’s spook trying
to grab my ass! My moves were off…” Dean
picked up the pace; suddenly wishing the conversation
would take a different direction. If it wasn’t
Gudrun beating him up, it was Sam. Those two would
so make a great friggin’ tag team…Psychic
Boy and The Death Maiden, he thought, abruptly
wishing for snow or some other distraction.
saw the annoyed expression on his brother and pulled
back just enough to give Dean some space. Big brother
had apparently taken enough ribbing for one day. Not
only that, but there were more important issues at hand.
it was good fun to throw the odd jibe and keep their
spirits up, they now had the added job of watching for
the return of the tupilaq.
had yet to actually see anything conclusive that it
was following, but every now and again he couldn’t
help but pause and turn just long enough to see what
he thought was a blur of fur in the trees.
course, it could just as easily be his imagination.
It was a known fact that if you feared something enough
you could talk yourself into believing it was there.
Many reported ghost sightings were simply that –
overactive minds reacting on their own fears.
a grip, you’re just panicking because of what
Gudrun said to you…
held back further, taking slower and slower steps until
his brother and the blonde were starting to fade into
the distance. The huskything was here, he sensed
goons had known they were coming long enough to bring
down the tiny Cessna, they had known the Winchesters
and Gudrun hadn’t died in the crash.
was sure that they also now knew the tupilaq had failed
in its mission. If the dog didn’t return then
its masters surely would.
if they don’t come looking for us,” Sam
talked to his empty surroundings, blowing into his freezing
hands to warm them. “Then they’ll surely
be waiting when we reach our destination…”
early morning sun dared to peek over the horizon, its
orange and red shades sending a minuscule amount of
warmth across the cold and very barren panorama.
awhile, white on white had become almost blinding, and
the sun’s tiny offering was enough for the group
to want to wallow in its glow, appreciating the burning
star as they never had before.
what I’d give for a hot shower and a beer right
about now.” Dean shielded the sunlight from his
eyes, making a beeline for a nearby stream that burbled
and beckoned as it flowed over a rocky pool. As he reached
the water’s edge, he looked up to Gudrun innocently
– although his thoughts were far from chaste.
“Don’t suppose you’d like to share
smiled, passing over a medium-sized canteen to be filled
as she slipped off her backpack. “Sure, I’d
go for the beer – but I doubt you’d want
to share a shower with me.” She turned just enough
to slyly wink at Sam.
took the canteen, kneeling at the snow-edged bank to
fill it. “Oh sweetheart, I got plenty
with a reaper, Dean?” The blonde smirked
triumphantly. Finally, she’d gotten the hunter
to see her beyond his opinion of her kind.
cheeks flushed and he feigned a sudden deafness. Dammit
if the girl wasn’t starting to get under his skin.
If this kept up, he might actually like her
before their mission was over. “I gotta take a
leak,” he offered lamely, desperately needing
a way to escape before he said something wuss-assed
he’d regret later.
know, he really is a nice guy,” Sam laughed as
his brother dodged into a swatch of snow-covered undergrowth.
“He just well…”
know,” Gudrun nodded. “He’s not had
the most normal life. Neither of you have. It’ll
get bet…” The Valkyrie’s voice became
muted and her pupils narrowed as she suddenly became
Sam followed the girl’s gaze. He’d been
expecting company, but even a moment’s distraction
had been enough for him to let his guard down –
did you see?” He forced through almost gritted
teeth. “Is it the dog..?” He hunkered down,
fixing his eyes on any drift of snow or clump of vegetation
that might hide the enemy.
didn’t see anything,” Gudrun admitted.
“But I felt eyes upon me.” She gestured
to a small patch of scrub to their rear. “There’s
something out there…”
and it ain’t no man…”
Gudrun’s brow creased.
Sam apologized, gently pushing the girl behind him as
he moved towards the bushes. “Predator
quote. I’ve so been around Dean too long. Wait
here…we know this thing doesn’t like me…”
glanced over his shoulder to make sure the girl obeyed.
He suspected – no – knew that she
had a stubborn penchant for ignoring orders, and today
wasn’t going to be the day that particular proclivity
sent her back to Valhalla.
his surprise, Gudrun remained by the stream, her eyes
darting across the tumbling vista as if she had x-ray
wait for Dean to come back…”
paused until she nodded, then returned his focus on
the shrubbery. The patch of undergrowth was easily large
enough to hide the huskything and give it the
upper hand should it pounce.
hard as the snow crunched noisily beneath his boots,
Sam let a hand drift to his belt where his Glock sat
snugly against him. He wanted to draw it on impulse,
even though he knew the bullets it contained would have
little effect on the dog should it attack.
up his pace, he moved to the left of the bushes, hands
outstretched ready to grab the mystery creature should
it make a lunge for his throat.
cry was like the husky’s fangs piercing warm flesh.
It was frenzied, urgent – fraught.
spun back around, boots sliding on the ground as he
realized his mistake. Dean had warned that the husky
was smart – too smart for an animal – and
yet, they’d still treated it as one.
they were in danger of paying for that mistake with
someone’s life. The husky had tricked them, using
the ancient divide and conquer technique to split them
up so that it could concentrate on just one –
made perfect sense that the creature would go for the
sole person who knew all about it, and all about those
who had sent it. Gudrun was a mine of information Lucifer’s
people needed out of the equation.
you don’t want her, you want me!”
Sam picked up a rock, pitching it at the husky as it
cornered the terrified Valkyrie.
animal’s back flinched as the stone hit hard and
it turned, the hairs of its pelt suddenly standing rigid
when its eyes met Sam’s.
was fear there, and a kind of respect Sam truly didn’t
does it fear me so much?
husky pawed at the snow, looking back to Gudrun almost
disappointedly as it gave in, darting across the ice-covered
landscape before Sam could get near it.
watched it go and then picked up Gudrun’s canteen
where she’d dropped it. “You okay?”
He asked, handing the once again empty container to
nodded, but her hands shook as she accepted the carafe.
“I don’t think I’m on its list of
puppy pals,” she muttered, kneeling to refill
the canteen, but pausing as foliage to her left began
you two fixing up a date or something?” Dean pushed
noisily from the Canadian scrub, mischievous eyes darting
from Sam to the girl and then back again. “I mean,
jeez, how long does it take to fill a canteen?”
His pupils narrowed as he realized he’d already
filled the container once. “Something you two
wanna tell me?”
husky came back while you were taking time out,”
Sam offered dejectedly. “We screwed up big time,
Dean. We knew it was intelligent and we let our guard
not your fault, neither of you,” Gudrun interjected,
picking up her pack again resolutely. “I should
have expected more…resistance. Maybe I should
never have gotten you involved…”
well you did, sister, and now that thing has started
to piss me off.” Dean’s brow scrunched in
annoyance as he looked at his brother. “Sammy,
I swear I’m gonna hunt that bitch down and use
its hide for a freakin’ rug!”
don’t live anywhere to lay a rug,” Sam pointed
out less than helpfully.
I’ll lay the damn thing on the rear seat of the
Impala. ’Cause I’m telling you, Furbee has
got to go.” Dean slid on a pair of sunglasses
from his pocket, tempering the glare from the rising
sun as it continued its journey upwards in the sky.
“First, though, I wouldn’t mind finding
a safe spot to get some shut eye. We’ve been walking
all night, and unlike some people I didn’t
get any sleep yesterday…”
I don’t need sleep.” Gudrun shrugged. “But
I see your point.”
I can find us a cave or at least somewhere higher up
with better cover.” Sam snatched the Remington
from his brother’s grip before the elder Winchester
could argue. “Besides,” he grinned, “I
get the impression you two need to be alone.”
funny, Sasquatch, the only thing I want to be alone
with right now is a double cheeseburger and fries, or
maybe some apple pie – with extra cream…”
Dean seemed to go into a momentary trance at the thought
of his favorite foods. Eventually, he shook himself,
knowing he was not going to get anything half as interesting
while he was on a hunt. “I should come with you,
that thing is stronger than Tyson on PCP.”
it’s scared of me, not you,” Sam
argued. “You should stay here and watch Gudrun.”
He turned to leave, knowing that the longer he held
back, the more likely Dean was to argue. “Just
watch your backs.”
you’re so enjoying leaving me with her,
continued plowing through the snow, but he couldn’t
resist a small chuckle of amusement at his brother’s
expense. He didn’t look back, but he could just
imagine Dean’s pained expression and wild hazel
eyes at the thought of being left alone with Gudrun.
throwing Dean together with the Valkyrie would keep
him from thinking too much – at least, for a little
while. That was what Sam was banking on.
didn’t want his brother putting the pieces together
and realizing that he’d been left behind because
of the danger he would otherwise likely have put himself
had no doubt that when Dean said he was going to hunt
the tupilaq, he would. And the tupilaq would welcome
the hunter’s attack, because that was what it
had been created for.
truth, Sam feared his brother’s bravado sometimes
– and he feared Gudrun’s eerie message of
death right along with it.
his free hand into his coat pocket, Sam fingered the
little charm he’d been given by the blonde. Why
had she only given it him? Why not one for Dean too?
fearing the thing, his grip loosened and he pulled back
his hand into the frigid atmosphere. Placing his palm
under the shortened barrel of his weapon while the other
remained wrapped around the trigger, he moved on, eyes
scanning the compacted snow at his feet for paw prints.
didn’t care whether there were any caves out here.
He didn’t care if he found cover. Sam was going
to hunt down the tupilaq before it attacked again.
reached a fallen tree stump and paused, taking care
to keep his weapon poised as he clambered over the rotting
hulk of timber. As his boots hit the ground the opposite
side, he hunkered down, his searching gaze spotting
imprints in the snow.
let out a hazy breath and ran his forefinger over the
tracks. He was no ranger, but he’d learned enough
to know this was probably the thing he was looking for.
husky was stalking them, keeping just enough behind
to remain hidden for the most part, but soon, soon it
would strike again.
looked at the shotgun in his hand, knowing the shells
it held would have no real impact on the tupilaq. He
carried it more for reassurance than anything.
he returned to Dean and Gudrun now they still had no
protection from the thing – not that that would
stop Dean trying to kill it.
Sam couldn’t afford for his brother to do something
stupid and try and hunt the dog, even though he had
no chance of winning.
was the one it feared.
was the one Gudrun had given the Aegishjalmur to.
have to kill it before…before... He couldn’t
even think the words. Not after all he’d been
the choice without clearly thinking it through, Sam
straightened and began to track the paw prints. There
would be very little time before Dean realized something
was wrong and came looking for him, and Sam needed to
use that time wisely.
owed Dean that much, Gudrun too, after all
she had done for him.
Following the trail, Sam realized he wasn’t just
tracking the creature. He was almost retracing his own
steps. The thing had doubled back, and taking higher
ground it had basically circled back to where Gudrun
and Dean were now held up.
dogthing was sitting quietly, waiting, watching.
Every once in awhile, its ears ticked forward just a
little as it took in the conversation from below. Could
it actually understand what was being said?
thought of all the times he’d wanted a pet as
a child and finally understood why his father had blatantly
refused him. It wasn’t just because of their life
on the road – it was because animals could so
easily be used as vessels for evil.
sliding the weight of his pack from his shoulder, Sam
flipped open the fastener and pulled out his favorite
machete. It had been a gift from John after their first
vampire hunt together, and he hoped it would afford
him some luck now.
bullets couldn’t hurt the tupilaq, then maybe
the loss of its head could. He placed the Remington
down across the top of his pack in favor of the new
weapon, dragging in a breath of freezing air before
launching himself into the trees to his left.
copse would hopefully give him cover until he was closer
to the husky – not that getting closer to the
thing would be considered sane by most.
each step, Sam’s breathing grew slower until he
was almost parallel with the dog. Once he was a gunslinger’s
distance from the animal, he stepped away from his cover,
moving completely into the open.
expected, the husky’s ears pricked back in the
realization that it had company. The dog whirled, churning
the snow below as its claws frantically moved to reposition
it for attack.
thing’s eyes locked with Sam’s and its maw
dropped open in a snarl of untold, and very unnatural
proportions. While it was apparent the thing was still
apprehensive of his presence, it showed no intention
didn’t break his gaze with the creature, holding
the machete high ready to strike the first blow. He
didn’t really have a plan beyond decapitating
the dog, and right now that looked like he may need
to make the first move to achieve.
husky whined, and for the first time Sam understood
that maybe it not only understood human conversation
– maybe it detected human thought too. It
knows what I’m trying to do…
the urge to take a step backwards, Sam braced himself
as the husky made a dive for his position.
dog hit hard, surprising the young hunter by its technique.
Instead of trying to knock him down as it had Dean,
the dog charged at Sam’s arm, jarring it backwards
enough for him to lose grip on the sharpened blade he
machete tumbled into the snow outside of his reach and
he was knocked backwards by the blow. For precious seconds
he tried to keep his center of balance, and was almost
winning the battle when the husky attacked again.
and beast fell hard against the frozen earth, human
and canine limbs flailing as each tried to get a grip
on the other.
Sam’s huge hands found a home first, constricting
around the husky’s throat as he held the creature
away from his body.
dog yelped as if his touch was somehow poison, its back
legs kicking out as it tried to pull free. Its red orbs
rolled wildly, but Sam wouldn’t let go.
the hunter focused on its panicked eyes, looking into
them, searching, probing until he felt a connection.
He was afraid too, afraid of himself – afraid
of what he was about to do even though he didn’t
know where the knowledge came from.
sensation almost made Sam lose his grip, but he held
fast for his brother, for Gudrun.
husky screamed with rage and then seemed to go limp
in his hands. It was giving in to him – giving
in to a power – a gift Sam didn’t even really
know he had.
feeling wasn’t a new one.
had felt this energy before, he’d felt the strange
sensations the day he’d faced Alyssa – the
day he had somehow sent the girl’s memory wiping
powers right back at her.
husky’s eyes seemed to flash over white, just
for a second, and then it was pulling away, yelping,
terrified – changed.
released his grip on the thing’s throat –
suddenly more afraid of himself that the creature. Had
he really just done the impossible and sent the tupilaq
back against its maker? Or was Gudrun’s charm
more part of the equation than he realized?
heavily, the hunter rolled over in the snow, tugging
himself up to watch as the husky’s frenzied legs
carried it into the distance.
glanced at his watch. He’d already been gone for
over twenty minutes. Much longer and Dean would break
out into search party mode. But still, could he really
go back without knowing if the tupilaq had gone for
if to tease further, the clouding sky began to open
up, allowing some of its burden to fall from the heavens.
The snow wasn’t heavy, but it reminded Sam that
it would be all-too easy to lose track of his location
should he decide to hike after the dog.
only that, but the husky’s prints would soon be
covered over, affording him with no way to follow it
back to its lair.
walked over to the lost machete, grabbing it from its
snowy grave and replacing it in his pack.
had to know what had just happened. If that
meant Dean getting pissy with him, then so be it.
the pack by its strap he launched into a slow jog after
the husky’s rapidly disappearing paw prints. Trying
to run over this kind of terrain wasn’t easy,
and Sam wasn’t exactly one hundred percent yet
after Wyoming, but despite the obstacles he made good
time. He had to, or suffer the consequences.
a mile from the overhang where he’d fought the
tupilaq, the prints moved onto a path cut into the snow
and were almost swallowed up by the mud and slush upon
paused, winded by the constant influx of biting cold
air into his lungs and the uncertainty of what to do
trail was definitely man made, winding up through a
multitude of pines until it reached a small cabin.
structure looked ancient – like some frontier
abode left over from the gold rush. It was the first
sign of humanity since they’d crashed, and yet
the steady whirl of smoke from its chimney did little
to comfort the hunter.
place looked wrong somehow, even though there were no
outward signs of anything malevolent at work.
caught his breath and moved off the pathway, picking
his way to flank the left side of the building through
the snow-laden pines. If this was where the husky had
come, then there was a good chance it was the home of
the shaman who created it. It wouldn’t be safe
to just walk on up and knock on the door.
I really sent that thing back here, what does that make
me? The thought wasn’t a cheering one. He
had hoped, no literally prayed that after Haris had
died he would be free of the gifts that had haunted
him. But if he had sent the dog back here, then could
he ever truly be free?
surge of guilt washed over him and he felt his stomach
churn. He’d only recently given Dean a lecture
about the amulet, about how he deserved to be a guardian.
And yet, here he was, wishing that his own gifts were
nothing more than a distant memory.
dropped his pack on the ground as he reached the rear
of the cabin, using his height to cautiously peer through
an ice-covered window. The pane was grimy - dirt and
frost making the view almost indiscernible until he
was forced to rub the back of his glove gently against
it to clear the view.
was a mishmash of strange items, including shelves filled
with potions and jars full of dead and very ugly looking
creatures. Inuit carvings covered most of the walls,
although the floor was bare save for a body now sprawled
across its aged wooden surface.
body looked to be an Inuit male in his fifties, although
only his traditional clothing could really add credence
to the assumption. There was too much damage to anything
else to clearly tell.
had once been the man’s face had been chewed and
bitten until only bone and mangled, bloody sinew remained.
The shaman’s throat was in a similar condition,
his lifeblood still leaking from the huge wound inflicted
by the tupilaq.
gagged as he realized he was looking at what was left
of the man’s windpipe, now exposed in all its
raw, fleshy glory.
the recently deceased Inuit was more evidence that he
had been the instigator of the tupilaq. A mangy fur
pelt and several yellowing animal bones lay at odd angles,
where they had fallen once the thing’s mission
had been complete.
shaman was dead, and now too was the creature he had
called to act on his wishes.
stepped back from the window, unsure how to digest the
information. The shaman had obviously been using his
power to practice the dark arts. Surely that meant he
was working for Ferinacci – or rather Lucifer?
that the shaman was dead, where did that leave their
mission? How many more of Lucifer’s people were
up here, just waiting for the kill? And how the
hell did I beat one of their kind?
felt the pit in his stomach widen. He needed time to
take in what was happening – what was happening
to him. But time wasn’t something he had right
and Gudrun will be freaking already…
the Remington, but leaving the pack behind, Sam edged
to the cabin door, keeping his back to the rough log
exterior. So far he’s seen no reason to think
there were more bad guys here, but it always paid to
err on the side of caution.
when your name was Winchester.
front entrance to the cabin lay open just a fraction,
and Sam used the tip of the shotgun’s barrel to
push the door further ajar. There might be no urgent
need to check out the place now the tupilaq was gone,
but any intel he could find here might be enough to
placate his brother once they regrouped.
Dean was going to be more than pissed.
couldn’t stifle a smile as he imagined his irate
brother storming through the snow with the Valkyrie
in tow. Dean could be such a comedian sometimes without
even realizing it, and part of Sam wished he was here
sibling rivalry, Sam forced his lofty body through the
doorway and quickly skewed from left to right, scanning
the cabin’s interior. As far as he could tell,
he was alone with the remains of the shaman and his
room smelled stale, like the Inuit had lived here in
squalor for many months. Old food lay uneaten on the
table, until even here in the glacial temperatures,
maggots squirmed as they enjoyed their feast.
ignored the rotting food, knowing soon the maggots would
move on to the fresher meat of the floor. He kneeled,
keeping the Remington across his knee as he examined
the wizened Inuit.
abyss like hole replaced what was once the man’s
nose and his cheeks were mere flaps of flesh where the
husky had torn at it, but around the shaman’s
neck a cord had remained bloodied, but intact.
off a glove, Sam jerked on the leather until a whale
bone carving popped from shaman’s scruffy plaid
shirt. The craftsmanship was expert, and the charm jarringly
familiar to Sam.
sigil of Lucifer,” he mouthed to no one in particular.
the charm fall back around the Inuit’s mangled
neck, Sam straightened, his mind shooting backwards
in time till he was once again in Wyoming. The demon
that had held him captive there had painted Lucifer’s
symbol on his forehead. At the time, he hadn’t
known what had been daubed on his flesh, but later he’d
been forced to look upon it in the mirror before he’d
name still stung harder than a bad case of heartburn
in his chest.
tried to ignore the implications, striding over the
shaman’s body to inspect other obvious more modern
occult items that were shattered around the foul-smelling
the table, the hunter noticed a small hand-woven rug
that appeared as grimy and as old as the cabin itself.
The colors would once have been startlingly bright,
but now the only thing interesting about the carpet
was where one of its edges had completely frayed away.
the non-existent section of rug, the floorboards seemed
raised and at an odd angle, as if something had been
hidden beneath them.
hunkered down again, taking the rug with his fingertips
and slowly peeling it back. The boards were in fact
a trap door with a small hole carved in the center for
leverage rather than a handle.
the perimeter of the strange wooden opening were symbols
painted onto the wooden timbers in red spray paint –
at least, Sam hoped it was paint.
the signs and whole door was something that reminded
Sam of a Devil’s Trap, but it was different –
definitely some kind of cryptogram, but like nothing
he’d encountered before.
If it was something Solomon had known about, he hadn’t
seen fit to include it in any of his written texts.
to recall the design for later, Sam slid a hand into
the handle-hole and carefully tugged, trying to make
as little noise as possible.
wooden doorway swung outwards effortlessly, as if the
hinges had been oiled with far more effort than had
been put into the housekeeping of the cabin.
leaned closer, letting his body tilt forwards to look
into the opening. A fresh breeze greeted his cheeks,
with just the tiniest hint of sulfur. He recoiled slightly,
getting the distinct idea that this was not the most
welcoming place he’d ever visited.
hunter squinted, but even his 20/20 vision did nothing
to reveal the secrets of the chasm below. Rungs peeked
through the shadows, giving at least the impression
that this was not a pit directly into hell, but from
what Sam’s instincts told him, it was close enough.
held his shotgun with one hand, fumbling with the other
to find his Maglite in the depths of his winter jacket’s
thinsulate-lined pockets. Just as flesh met metal, a
scuffling sound from behind made him forget any plans
of searching the underground tunnel.
tried to straighten his legs and whirl around at the
same time, but in his position the move just wasn’t
fluid enough. A dark form was all that his eyes could
pick out as someone, or something pushed him forward.
anything to regain his balance, there was little Sam
could do to stop his forward momentum. There was a brief
moment where he was teetering on the edge of the trap
door, and then nothing.
arms thrashed wildly in the darkness as his body suddenly
felt weightless, but no matter how hard he tried he
couldn’t grab a hold of the elusive ladder rungs
he had spotted moments earlier.
into a pit that for all he knew led to Lucifer’s
lair and beyond…
the episode here