Sixteen: One Way Ticket
irismay42 & Kittsbud
York Connecting Railroad
North Bound Train
April 30th 1955
sound of the diesel engine’s roar was drowned
out by the constant clattering of the carriages as they
sped over the tracks. Metal on metal, pounding until
every now and then sparks flew from the rails.
rattle was monotonous, almost sleep-inducing, and yet,
to one onboard, it was like the sound of a choir beckoning.
this was no heavenly chorus.
was the song of the Dark One, calling, wanting, needing
more souls to feed upon.
tonight, the Master would be given what he craved.
fleeting silhouette moved from the walkway into the
cramped confines of a sleeper car and was lost in further
gloom. The figure was hidden, protected by the raven
blackness that his god provided.
shadows were his friends – his familiars.
the wall, a set of markings was barely discernable in
the muted light until the interloper struck up a match,
savoring his earlier work. Moving the tiny flame across
the inscriptions, he inhaled, taking down the sulfurous
aroma it gave off, as if he was inhaling the scent of
his work was of his usual standard, he moved further
into the room, using the still-flickering match to light
a set of black candles that each marked the spot of
an elemental point.
obsidian wax burned brightly, illuminating the impromptu
altar the worshipper had erected so brightly even the
words on the walls could now be seen clearly.
written in his own blood, but offering up another’s.
moved outside and the stranger slipped back into the
shadows, tempted to snuff out the candles, but not daring
to remain on view long enough.
sliding door to the room jammed for a second, and then
a patient hand teased it back allowing a figure to enter
with a feminine sigh of frustration.
intruder smiled as the young woman pulled away a light
green scarf from her neck, and only too late noticed
the flaming candles that now adorned her room.
guessed in another life he may have thought her pretty,
but beauty was unimportant now his new path had been
stepping up behind the brunette, he slid a gloved hand
around her waist, pulling her into him until he could
smell the shampoo on her hair, the perfume on her skin…the
fear in her scent.
she tried to scream, he moved the hand calmly upwards
until the glove that adorned it was stifling the young
bit into the leather of his gauntlet, her teeth sinking
until he could feel his flesh bruising – and he
drank in the pain, relishing it like a goblet of fine
the window, the stranger noted the train was approaching
his free hand, his pulled an ornamental dagger from
his waistband, letting its tip waft through the smoke
of each candle. As he made the almost serene moves with
the blade, he began to chant something so quietly to
the ordinary ear it would have been nothing but an inaudible
yet it was so much more.
gate was always here, waiting, but the gate didn’t
open for just anyone.
train hit the bridge line on schedule, pounding onwards
relentlessly, and as it passed under the huge metal
archways its lights began to waver as if their flow
of electricity had been halved.
main engine light cracked as sparks of electricity danced
off the metal plates forming the driver’s cab.
within a second, the locomotive had been engulfed in
an unearthly darkness.
within the gloom, one solitary scream cut through the
blanket of death that had fallen, and then there was
silence – silence, save for the familiar clatter
of the loco’s motion.
minutes later, the north bound roared under the last
arch of Hell Gate Bridge and continued on its way, the
dampened lighting suddenly rejuvenated as if more fuel
had been added to the imaginary fire.
the sleeper car, the interloper still worked, placing
his newly retrieved items carefully upon the altar.
The heart was such a beautiful organ, and he handled
its soft form with far more care than he had its previous
the oozing heart between two of the candles, he turned
back to the slumped form on the floor, needing yet more
for his offering. Every sacrifice made to the master
must be of both heart and soul.
the man almost slipped in the slimy trail of blood that
pooled around the body and had begun leaking under the
sliding door. He traced a gloved hand through the gloop,
rubbing the fluid between thumb and forefinger like
a child trying to resist the wonders of finger painting.
wonderful inscriptions he could make with such perfect
dye. But first, the offering must be completed.
the dagger from the girl’s chest, he took the
tip and deftly stuck the blade in just under the left
eye socket of her skull. The staring orb popped from
its home like a newly tapped golf ball and the killer
shuddered with satisfaction.
through the optic nerve, he let the left eyeball drop
into his awaiting hand and then repeated the procedure
with the right.
pretty green eyes. The Master would enjoy this one.
man pushed up from his crouched position and wiped the
dripping blade on the scarf the girl had earlier discarded.
just like her eyes…
looked down at the two spheres in his hand and considered
crushing them in his palm. There could be no greater
sensation of pleasure than to feel the victim’s
soul crushed into a pulp.
not this time, this one was for the Master.
the killer returned to his altar and dutifully placed
the piercing dead orbs next to their owner’s heart.
began to chant anew, this time louder as he watched
the candles flicker, their flames billowing unnaturally
as he began to rock back and forth on his heels.
behind him, the room’s door slid open with the
same creak that had almost stopped it moving for the
man spun, all thoughts of his work forgotten. What good
was he to the Dark One if he were to be caught?
the doorway, a young porter stared at him blankly. Perhaps
the railroad worker was in shock, perhaps he was a coward,
or perhaps, it had been the girl’s one forlorn
scream that had brought him here.
a coward then…
killer reaffirmed his grip on the dagger’s hilt
and took a step forward. There was always room to make
two offerings – he would just need a little more
the porter to retreat, he frowned when the young man
instead moved closer, his face flushing as adrenalin
urged him onwards.
porter held out both arms, effectively blocking the
killer’s exit. “I’m sorry, sir, but
I’m afraid the game is up. Wouldn’t it be
better to go quietly? Other people on this train heard
the girl yell…you won’t get far…”
clattering of the train on the tracks seemed to grow
louder, intensifying until it filled the killer’s
brain. It was the Master’s chorus, and it wanted
him to finish the game.
a feral growl, he dived at the porter, swinging the
dagger in the hopes of damaging flesh. Throats were
always a favorite, but the chest or even an arm would
do for starters.
blade bit into something soft and he leered.
then, just as they had before, the lights shimmered
and were gone, plunging both men into a never-ending
gloom that only one would survive.
The Dive Bar, Roanoke VA
twirled the beer bottle around with his fingertips,
wondering just how many of its brethren he could sink
without getting drunk. Usually, it was an unknown total
that would probably put the bar owner out of business
for the night, but today, Dean was considering staying
just that little bit sober.
ordinary little bar he was sitting in had turned out
to hold an extraordinary amount of talent when it came
down to beings of the female persuasion, and right now,
Dean was feeling the need for some of that talent to
work its magic on him.
that he wasn’t still wary of anything in a skirt
– especially after Mia and the cat-woman in Philadelphia,
but they couldn’t all be the same, could they?
Knowing my friggin’ luck…
twisted the empty Coors bottle in his hand just a little
bit more and let his eyes stray to a blonde in the corner.
She seemed to notice his wayward gaze and smiled back,
eventually offering a small wave.
is that an invitation? Dude, so gotta get out more…
Dean pushed up from the bar, leaving the bottle
behind as he began to saunter across the room. Now all
he had to do was think of a suitable lie to impress
the chick in the next forty seconds and he was home
whose home he’d actually be home and dry in remained
to be seen. Jeez, you don’t even know her
name and you’re figuring out if it’s my
room or hers…
voice was evil, it was beckoning, and worst still it
was about to stop him getting laid.
whirled to see Sam flipping his cellphone closed, the
distinctive arch of his brother’s brow telling
him that Sam was more than just a little worried about
something he’d just heard. Dammit, Sammy,
took another look at the blonde, desire giving in to
commonsense, and he sighed painfully before changing
direction to make a beeline for his brother.
I’m telling you, this better be good. Me and miss
May Queen were about to find a nice quiet place and…”
Sam interrupted, face scrunching into an even deeper
scowl. “Spare me the details…”
was gonna say have a drink,” Dean retorted, attempting
more of an innocent expression than he truly felt. Or
go bump uglies, depending on which she preferred, he
admitted silently, his face contorting into a grin at
well, maybe this will put you off the idea of flirting
with just anybody. We need to watch our backs, dude.”
Sam took a swig of his own beer, swallowing hard before
continuing. “Bobby has heard someone killed a
couple of hunters out West. He can’t be sure,
but he thinks it might be Mia, Dean.”
took in the news with a small grunt of disapproval.
Mia was bad news – just the thought of her brought
bile up into his throat, the hatred he felt for her
welling in the pit of his stomach almost as much as
it once had for the demon Haris. He gestured for the
bartender to hit him with another beer and then slumped
down onto the stool next to his brother dejectedly.
it was something else,” he suggested, wanting
to stifle any further talk of the girl who had stolen
his heart – and ultimately nearly his life.
about Anderson?” Sam offered, his idea getting
another scowl from his brother.
guy’s a Guardian, Sam. Why would he be
shrugged, but let the subject die. “Bobby has
a friend e-mailing us some information on a possible
gig,” he redirected, opening his backpack and
pulling out their laptop a little too eagerly.
we just finished putting all that amulet hoodoo to bed.
Can’t we just hang out and have some fun for a
few days?” Dean let his eyes stray back to the
blonde, despite Sam’s earlier warning.
didn’t appear impressed, and as the Windows Vista
logo appeared on the laptop he shook his head in frustration.
“If you wanted a little fun, Dean, why the hell’d
you drag us half way across the country to this place?
There isn’t even a gig here!”
blinked as if his feelings were hurt and he chugged
down a mouthful of beer. Damn, this stuff is warm!
“Are you kidding me?” He groused. “Lost
colony of Roanoke, dude! I thought you’d appreciate
the town’s historical value...”
mean you thought you’d appreciate the town’s
apparent abundance of girls,” Sam countered as
he began to read the information in the message he’d
received. “Now will you at least just listen?”
Mommy…” Dean rolled his eyes and threw a
note on the counter for his last warm drink.
says here there has been a spate of killings on a Boston-bound
long haul train. The killings are despicably gruesome
– possibly involving rituals of a satanic nature.”
huffed as if the information was less-than-intriguing.
Now the girl, I bet me and her could unravel a mystery
or two…“Sounds like a serial killer,
dude. Much as I hate to suggest it, it’s a job
for the cops, not a couple of hunters.”
but get this – the killings are carbon copies
of ones that went down in the fifties.”
an octogenarian serial killer.” Dean smiled just
a little too roguishly, knowing his brother was getting
irked at his lack of interest. If he couldn’t
have the girl, then why the heck should Sammy have all
the fun of a new hunt without getting ribbed first?
will you let me finish?” Sam turned the laptop
on the bar and pointed to the Word document he had open.
“The original murderer was caught in the act back
in 1955 by a train attendant and was arrested. He was
sent to the electric chair the following year. And,
get this – the details of the killings were considered
too gruesome to ever make public. I know it’s
possible someone could have gotten the information,
but we could also have a serial-killing spook on our
shrugged, wondering whether it was worth risking another
Coors considering it tasted like it had been boiled
rather than chilled. “Okay, so it’s possible,”
he conceded. “But why now? Why wait all these
years to manifest again? This freak been waiting on
a cheap return ticket or somethin’?”
shoulders slouched and he took on a defeated look that
suggested he didn’t have the answers. “I
don’t know,” he admitted. “But given
the original dates of the murders, and the two new ones,
there could be another killing within forty-eight hours
if we don’t find out. The next train leaves from
Richmond at 3.55pm tomorrow. Service 66…”
brow arched. “Service 66? You’re kidding
it’s not quite the number of the Beast, but they’re
already calling the killer the Service 66 Slayer…”
looked longingly at the blonde, then at the plethora
of alcoholic beverages behind the bar, knowing both
were going to be denied him. He grimaced, contorting
face muscles he didn’t know he had in an attempt
to gain his brother’s empathy. “You’re
so not suggesting we get on that friggin’ train,
boyish smirk in response told him al he needed to know.
Staples Mill Station
watched in surprise as throngs of passengers pushed
past him, filing across the busy platform as if they’d
already reached New York. While he’d expected
Staples Mill to be active, he hadn’t been prepared
yet another speeding commuter bumped into him in their
haste to board the nearest train, Sam sighed, happy
that he wasn’t part of the business world most
of these people belonged to.
like freakin’ ants, dude.” Dean noted as
more and more of the black-attired company men appeared
for their ride, gripping briefcases as if they contained
a national secret. “I didn’t expect this
many monkey suits here…”
shrugged. Rail travel was definitely on the decline,
but he guessed there were still enough out of town workers
who needed rides to make it worth running the line,
or why else would Amtrak keep it going? So the killer
can make another hit, he reflected glumly as a
train began to chug sluggishly from the platform.
Sasquatch, tell me again why we’re mixing with
the pen pushers?” Dean continued to walk, but
he set his attention on his brother as if he definitely
wanted to be somewhere else.
did some more digging and this is looking more and more
like our kind of gig, Dean. I managed to get into some
locked files about the original court case and get this,
the killer’s name was Elliot Butcher.” Sam
rubbed at the top of his leg absently as he followed
his brother, his still-healing thigh beginning to twinge
as the walking pulled at his stitches.
paused, frowning. If he’d noticed Sam’s
pain, he didn’t mention it – probably because
he still felt to blame for his brother’s injury.
“Seriously?” He asked. “Butcher?”
even gave him one of those cute serial killer nicknames
– The Hell Gate Butcher. Not exactly original
brow furrowed even more and he huffed as if the name
had started ringing unpleasant bells in his subconscious.
stuffed his hands in the pockets of his tan jacket and
began walking again. “Yeah, Butcher would board
a long haul train and spend several hours choosing his
victim and setting up an altar. Only when he was over
New York’s Hell Gate Bridge would he finally carry
out the murder. The freak believed the bridge was a
conduit to the dark side.”
am I getting the feeling this whackjob knew his urban
legends a little too well?”
he did,” Sam agreed, impatiently restarting his
interrupted diatribe. “Local legends say if someone
stops on the bridge and then turns around, the road
behind them will look like the fiery gates of Hell.
Another myth says a couple were killed on the bridge
years ago, and on a dark night, if you stop on the bridge
and turn out your lights, one of the lost lovers will
get into your car and leave a wet spot on the seat.”
no spook is leaving any kind of wet spot on my baby’s
seats.” Dean’s eyes sparked with mirth,
and just for a second Sam expected a suitably lewd comment
none came, he continued his story before they ran out
of platform. “Other reports say ghost trains haunt
the tracks filled with the lost souls of Spanish and
Dutch explorers whose boats sank in the turbulent currents
under the bridge.” He took a breath. “Then
there’s the story of a child molesting rapist
who would grab kids and drag them into some kind of
hidden chamber in the base of the bridge. Reports say
when the police finally figured out where he was they
stormed the place and found wall to wall photos of his
dragged down air as if it hurt to even think about the
implications. “Man, if even half this crap is
true we could be dealing with some seriously pissed
off spirits. With this much activity no wonder our dead
guy picked this spot.”
gets worse, Dean. The place has also been a dumping
ground for victims of the Mafia over the decades –
which, given the place’s implied connections to
Hell…” Sam sighed. He hated having to bring
up an old nemesis, but the evidence was just too hard
to ignore. “And our bad guy did think
he was serving Lucifer…”
think maybe Butcher was working for our old
friend Ferinacci?” The displeasure in Dean’s
voice told Sam he’d hit the nerve he’d been
hoping to avoid.
almost made a house call to Lucifer’s pit once,
and it wasn’t an experience either of the brothers
would care to repeat.
just because a madman had believed he was working for
Lucifer didn’t mean he actually had been. At least,
Sam hoped it didn’t. “Butcher believed he
was sending his Master the souls of those who most deserved
to go to Hell.”
ran a hand through his hair in frustration. “Yeah,
but was the guy a full-on whackjob or really a servant
of Ferinacci? Given our past experiences in New York
and New Jersey we know that fiery-eyed bastard kind
of has a thing for the area.” He stopped again,
remembering Sam wanted them to take a trip on the loco
to Hell. “And you think we should take a friggin’
train right back into Lucifer’s pit? Are you nuts?”
Butcher was probably just another freak hoping to get
a name for himself. Our biggest worry will be finding
why he’s come back after all this time.”
Sam watched his brother’s expression, knowing
the next challenge would reel him in. “And of
course destroying him won’t be a picnic. It’s
not like we’re likely to find the guy’s
bones on Amtrak 66.”
considered it, he face changing from uncertainty, to
annoyance, to cogitation in the blink of an eye. “You
hope Butcher is a nutjob,” he eventually
concluded. “But I’m telling you, mess with
Ferinacci and any more poisoned bullets and I’ll
end you myself.”
could tell his brother wasn’t joking. The time
Ferinacci had had one of his hitmen shoot Sam with a
poisoned round had been almost unbearable for Dean.
In fact, Sam often suspected that if Gudrun hadn’t
healed him, Dean would himself have eaten a bullet within
a couple of months and joined him on the other side.
– another one of Ferinacci’s victims.
felt a cold pain like an ice pick digging into his spine,
and only his brother’s voice brought him away
from the moment.
you think this Butcher boy will kill again tonight,
is April 30th – to devil worshippers its Walpurgis
Night – a traditional day of celebration and sacrifice.
It’s perfect for a killing, Dean.” Sam tried
to forget about Lucifer and the deaths and destruction
they’d already seen perpetrated by his hands.
This had to be just another gig. It had to
be. “Today is also the day Butcher was caught
back in ’55 after murdering his final victim.
All the other murder dates, both past and present, have
been in March and December. I’m figuring because
the Solstice and Equinox are important satanic dates.”
we gotta ride the Hell train and look for a spook we
don’t even have a description of? I mean, this
thing is either gonna be a spirit we might not be able
to even see half the freakin’ time, or it’s
gonna have possessed some poor schmuck. Either way we’re
pretty screwed, Smartboy.”
shook his head and pointed a short distance ahead to
the waiting Amtrak 66. Beside the train, wearing a pristine
uniform and cap, stood a tall black man whose features
looked like he’d been etched from stone by a harsh
the young hunter, the conductor could easily have passed
as a double for Morgan Freeman, right down to his graying
hair and infectious smile.
towards the elder man, Sam slid a hand from his pocket
and flashed one of the infamous Winchester IDs. “Levi
Warwick?” Sam asked, checking over his shoulder
to make sure Dean was still in tow. “I’m
Detective Henley and this is my partner Detective Frey.
We’re here to ask a few questions about the recent
let his eyes stray over the brothers as if he were appraising
them, but his warm smile never faltered. “We’ve
had a lot of cops around the past few days. How can
I help you gentlemen?”
were onboard when the most recent deaths occurred?”
Sam questioned, eyes locking with the conductor as he
flipped open a small notebook and began to recite. “And
you were also a porter back in the fifties when the
original murders happened. In fact, you knew the attendant
Ed Fraser, who finally caught Butcher?”
bobbed his head, his eyes abruptly dropping to the platform
as he recalled earlier, unhappy events in his life.
“I knew Ed, yes.” He finally admitted. “He
was a very good friend. Everyone was so proud of the
way he tackled that guy Butcher. Of course, Butcher
had cut up a fair few victims before that happened.”
you see the earlier victims?” Dean raised a brow.
Warwick answered, his nose wrinkling at the grotesque
memory. “Their eyes – he always gouged out
the eyes and placed them on the altar. I remember the
first time I saw them. It was like they were still alive,
watching me, mocking me.” The conductor shuddered.
“I went to church that Sunday, I can tell you.”
now?” Sam pressed. “The victims are all
cut up in the same way? The exact same way?”
nodded. “Exactly,” he agreed. “But
then shouldn’t you boys know that from the autopsy
coughed. “Just checking the facts,” he lied,
redirecting the conversation before the conductor became
more suspicious. “Did you ever see Butcher? I
mean, could you describe him?”
I saw him. I’ll never forget the wild look in
his eyes as they strapped him into the electric chair
that day.” Warwick shuddered in distaste at the
blinked, surprised that the elder man had been at the
execution. “What, you were actually there?”
he asked, voice raising slightly.
was there.” Warwick answered, a tinge of sadness
seeping into his voice. “Butcher was one crazy
sonofabitch, and he requested Ed Fraser be present at
his execution. Ed and I were close enough friends that
I wasn’t about to let him face that alone. Maybe
in retrospect it was a mistake.”
is never pleasant,” Sam agreed, his voice softening
as he recalled some of the wanton deaths he’d
but you don’t understand. It wasn’t seeing
that creep fry that bothered me. It was the look on
his face as they strapped him into the chair. He was
wild, like a creature gone mad more than a man. He knew
we were watching through the glass, and all he kept
saying was that he’d come back from the dead to
get his revenge on Fraser if he had to…”
Warwick shook his head. “Of course, Butcher was
cheated even of that because Ed died not six months
later with rapid cancer.”
scribbled down everything the conductor was saying,
making careful note not to miss even the tiniest detail
that might be relevant. In the end, his pencil tip snapped
with the rapid movement and increasing pressure that
was being put upon it. He sighed, looking at Warwick
as if time, like the pencil, was about out for them.
“Is there anyone else who knew Butcher or Ed Fraser
that might know more?”
Amtrak didn’t even exist back then. It’s
too long ago for anyone much to be left.” Warwick
paused, his aging facial skin creasing as he seemed
to consider something.
them, another Amtrak employee shouted, distracting the
conductor, and Warwick turned, his last thought forgotten.
Checking his watch, he sighed. “Sorry fellas,
but it’s departure time for the 66. Time I got
to working instead of chatting.”
nodded, holding out a hand and shaking the conductor’s.
“Thank you for your time, sir. We’ll most
likely see you on the train.”
taking the 66?” Warwick looked surprised, his
eyes widening just a touch as he warned, “Better
watch your backs over Hell Gate…” He turned
then, straightening his cap before ushering an aging
couple aboard their car.
ain’t he the life and soul of the party,”
Dean snarked, eying the nearby loco with as much enthusiasm
as a Boeing 747. “I mean, fat lot of good that
tucked his notepad and badge back in his pocket, pulling
out two white tickets in their place. “That,”
he replied with a little too much fervor, “is
why we have these…”
Outside Fredericksburg, VA
wasn’t sure he liked the motion of the train one
damn bit. In fact, if he hadn’t had too much on
his mind to think about it, the constant clattering
would probably have made him feel nauseous. So need
some Metallica to drown out the freakin’ noise…
that the current passengers on view looked like the
kind of people that would enjoy hard rock. No, they
were more Sammy’s kind of people. Probably
listening to wuss ass music on their iPods right this
the hunter deliberated on other people’s bizarre
musical tastes, his brother scanned over the people
in the snack car as if he were viewing a group of suspects
through a one-way mirror. “I think we’ll
reach Hell Gate Bridge around 3.30am – that gives
us a nine hour window until someone dies…”
grunted. “Dude, someone is gonna die way sooner
than that if I have to spend nine hours on this tin
cigar with wheels.” He looked at the abundance
of snacks he’d collected in front of him, but
even the wonders of chocolate weren’t luring him
in. “So, tell me, Miss Marple, which one of these
bozos do you think is our killer?”
cringed. “Dude, Miss Marple? Since when
did you read Christie? In fact, since when did you read,
tore off the end of a Twinkie wrapper and then thought
better of it, tossing it back down in favor of his staple
M&M diet. “What?” He answered
innocently. “I saw that Oriental Express
movie when I was a kid. So sue me…”
smirked. “It’s The Orient Express,”
he corrected. “And that was Poirot not Marple.”
huffed. “Yeah, well only someone who liked chick
movies would know that crap.” He slipped
another handful of chocolate into his mouth and carefully
pointed to a young blonde that had taken a seat by the
girl looked to be about twenty-five and was very pretty.
In fact, Dean suddenly felt his attention drawn away
from food and across to her insanely alluring figure.
And what was more, she was alone.
can you keep your mind on the gig, not the gutter…”
was actually thinking she could be the one we’re
looking for,” the elder hunter suggested, eyes
still glued to the girl as she took a drink from her
recently opened can of Coke.
right, you were thinking she could be the one you’re
after,” Sam teased. “There goes that downstairs
brain again. Gonna have to get an elevator installed
that goes all the way to the bottom just to talk to
finally glanced away from the blonde, clear annoyance
splattered across his features. “I’m serious
here, Sammy.” He leaned over the table interlocking
his fingers in front of him as he became almost staid.
“Think about it, every pretty girl we meet lately
is a whackjob. Why not add one more to the growing pile
of skanks? Mia, Selfi…”
you realize just how paranoid you sound? Not
to mention none of this seemed to be bothering you back
at that bar in Roanoke.”
well, I was looking to get laid back there, not looking
for a killer who rips out hearts and uses eyeballs as
Sam let his gaze fall to the girl and then back around
the snack car. “I’ll add her to the list
and we can check out her room later, okay?” He
paused his scan of the car as his eyes fell on an overweight
man devouring a sandwich. “What about him, he’s
alone too, does that make him a killer?”
huffed, looking over his shoulder to see the man ramming
in the foot long B.L.T. as if his life depended on it.
“Dude, that guy is too fat to move his ass fast
enough to kill anyone…”
face crinkled until each cheek was one huge dimple and
he looked down at the mountain of food in front of his
brother. “Wait till you’re his age…you’ll
be twice his size at this rate…”
I work this crap off with my extra nocturnal activities!”
and you don’t mean hunting.” Sam’s
eyes shot back to the blonde from earlier and Dean was
about to protest when a shadow from above suggested
they had company.
looked up first to see a young, and obviously very inexperienced,
attendant hovering over them. The youngster’s
nametag announced they were being tended by “Luke”,
but by the looks of his skinny arms and thinning hair,
Dean was pretty sure this was no Skywalker.
me, but is everything all right?” The attendant
looked almost scared as he glanced from brother to brother.
fine thanks,” Sam pointed to the empty confectionary
wrappers and then Dean. “Although we may need
a trash can for the wrappers the size of a house.”
young man laughed, but his voice said he was still nervous
to the point of stammering. He blinked, clearing his
throat before finally admitting he had another motive
for approaching them. “I…I don’t mean
to be rude, but I…well, I couldn’t help
but notice you two were kinda checking people out…”
expression softened and he pulled out his fake police
badge. “My partner and I are investigating the
recent murders. We could have a suspect onboard.”
Luke,” the attendant offered, his edginess vanishing
somewhat. “Maybe I can help you out? I know some
of the passengers. Some are pretty regular on this route.”
huh?” Dean’s brow arched and unspoken words
told Sam he was thinking that their bad guy could be
a “regular.” The killer returning to
the scene of the crime certainly fits this freak’s
nodded helpfully, not even noticing the interaction
between the brothers. Sliding onto the seat next to
Sam, he carefully pointed out the blonde. “That
lady over there? Her name is Kim Robinson and she works
for some big city corporation. She uses the 66 all the
time, but she’s a bit of a loner. Fact is, I’ve
never heard her speak to other passengers or staff unless
she had to. Except this one guy…” His attention
drifted for a second, before he suddenly shivered. “Kinda
creepy if you ask me…”
you know her room number?” Dean kept his voice
low, but it was still audible enough to earn him a look
from Sam that said he was using that big ol’ elevator
downstairs again. “For research purposes,
dude! You wanna check out their rooms, right?”
didn’t bother to reply and focused back on Luke.
“What about the overweight guy in the corner?
Is he a regular too?”
shrugged, showing little interest in the man. “I
don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. Of
course, I don’t get to see every passenger. It’s
a busy job after all…”
considered saying it couldn’t be that busy if
he had time to sit around and chat, but bit back the
words. The kid wanted to play cop – and if that
helped them, then maybe they’d have to put up
with him a little while longer. “Are there any
hunter didn’t get chance to finish his question.
somewhere in the next car, someone screamed –
the yell promptly followed by the carriage door bursting
open and a throng of passengers pushing through as if
they’d been in line for the Thanksgiving sale
sudden mass of activity seemed to center around one
huge black man, although he was so totally smothered
by the crowd that it was hard to see why.
the He…” Dean moved to jump into the fray,
only realizing at the last moment that the man wasn’t
actually being attacked – he was being worshipped.
that’s Jay Stringer. He travels with us a lot
because he’s afraid to fly,” Luke offered
well I can relate to that,” Dean mouthed, only
taking in the man’s name after several seconds
of deliberation. “Jay Stringer who plays defense
for the NY Giants?” He asked incredulously.
nodded knowingly, a smile spreading across his face
so wide Dean had to stifle the urge to be a smartass.
“Mr. Stringer uses Amtrak a lot. He’s a
very friendly guy, chats with all the passengers, signs
autographs, that kinda thing.”
took in the information. “Dean, a guy like Stringer
– people would approach him, they wouldn’t
be scared if he was around. I mean, someone with his
build could snap a neck in seconds, and there’s
no real proof he’s really scared of flying…”
leaned back in his seat, appraising the footballer.
He was a fan of Stringer’s. Hell, if they weren’t
working a gig, he’d probably be getting the guy’s
autograph with the rest of the crowd. The man was a
legend, for sure.
was he, could he be a killer?
still think the killer is a woman, Sammy.”
you serious?” Sam asked in disbelief.
“Have you one shred of evidence?”
it’s just what you never expect!” Dean countered
half-heartedly. “C’mon, Mia, Selfi…”
he warned just a little obsessively.
gone, Dean.” Sam pushed up from the table and
nodded to Luke. “Thanks for your help, but we
need to go interview a few other staff members now,
don’t we, Dean?”
do?” Dean shook away latent mental images of the
two women who had almost killed him and stood to join
his brother. “Yeah, right. We do.” Stuffing
the remaining foodstuffs in the pockets of his leather
jacket, he waited until Luke took the hint and sidled
away before raising a brow. “So now what, Marple?”
jerked a thumb to the corridor and began to make a beeline
for it across the snack car. “We each take a list
and search the rooms,” he suggested, keeping his
voice low as they moved by other passengers.
I so get the girl…”
so don’t,” Sam asserted both brows dipping.
“The mood you’re in, you’d probably
rock salt her first, ask questions later.”
she’s innocent, I can think of something much
better than questions for later…”
well, my money is still on the overweight guy. I think
we need to check him out first.” Sam tapped the
paper he’d noted room numbers on.
little fat guy..?” The voice was deeper than either
Winchester’s and seemed almost amused as their
and Dean looked up to see Warwick standing in front
of them. He was smiling, arms behind his back like some
strange sentinel who had crept up on them without making
one single sound.
took a second to take in the conductor’s almost
magical appearance and then turned back towards the
snack car, pointing towards where their quarry was still
sitting, gorging on junk food. “Little fat guy,
likes his food a lot. Been sitting in the corner of
the snack car feeding his face since he got on, I’m
face changed from a smile to a wary frown and he moved
his shoulders just enough to give the impression the
fat man made his spine tingle. “I know who he
is. He’s a cop, and not the best kind.”
The conductor’s left brow ticked up until he reminded
Dean of a very curious Spock. “Funny, if you’re
cops and you don’t know the man…”
’cause we’re cops, we’re all supposed
to know each other?” Dean countered without even
stern gaze bored into the hunter until the elder man
detected a slight glint in Dean’s hazel eyes.
A glint that brought the wry smile back to the conductor’s
grizzled facade. “I like you. You’re a funny
cleared his throat, clearly growing tired of the game.
“So – err – the fat guy?”
Wozniak,” Warwick responded without missing a
beat. “He has friends in low places…”
licked his lips, the skin on them becoming suddenly
dry as he realized he might be in a tighter spot than
he’d ever imagined. Being in the confines of a
train was one thing, but being cooped up with a bad
cop when he was a wanted man wasn’t the best way
to spend the evening in his book. “How low?”
he eventually dared to ask.
heard of a New Jersey mobster named Ferinacci?”
Warwick’s nose wrinkled in disgust as he said
the name, and Dean suspected had the conductor been
alone and outside, he may have spat on the floor for
bobbed his head, his own face matching the Amtrak worker’s.
“Can’t get much lower than that…”
he agreed, his mind racing at the possibility that there
really might be a Devil’s disciple onboard.
bad cop aside, we still have a suspect to find,”
Sam interrupted, hoping to deflect any more questions
about why they didn’t know Wozniak was on the
train. He looked to his notepad and then Warwick. “We’re
going to need the sleeper car room numbers for Kim Robinson
and Jay Stringer.”
eased back on his heels, eyes once again examining the
brothers before he responded. Eventually, he silently
took Sam’s pad and jotted down two sets of numbers.
Without speaking further he turned tail and headed towards
the snack car.
he moved away, he wagged his forefinger in the air and
both Winchesters heard his familiar deep tones mutter,
“Don’t let me find out you boys have been
up to no good on my train…”
with that, the indefinable conductor was gone.
not sure who is creepier, our bad guy or Warwick,”
Dean grumbled, craning his neck to see if the conductor
was really out of earshot.
c’mon, he’s just been around so long he’s
like the wise old owl of the line.” Sam defended.
“And besides, he’s not the one we need to
well, like we know who is?” Dean countered, beginning
to make his way along the corridor again. “I mean,
we have no freakin’ idea what’s going on
here, Sammy. All we got is a bad cop, and he may only
be onboard this time to support the real bad guy now
there’s some heat comin’ down.”
that’s if we really are dealing with
Lucifer again rather than just some whacko,” Sam
pointed out. “For all we know, Wozniak might just
be scoping out the real killer, either for work or for
Ferinacci. Killing in the Devil’s name like that
is bound to get Lucifer’s attention eventually.”
we need to find out and fast, dude, before some poor
schmuck ends up minus a few body parts.” Dean
glanced at the pad still open in his brother’s
hand. “I’ll take the cornerback’s
room, you can take the girl’s…just to show
you how serious I am. “ He winked.
opened his mouth to comment, but then clamped it shut
there was just no fathoming the inner workings of Dean
* * * *
Dean felt the train juddering beneath his feet again
and wanted to curse – except cursing while he
was picking the door lock to a passenger’s room
wasn’t exactly acting covertly. Sonofabitch,
he mouthed silently as the door to Jay Stringer’s
room finally slid open.
first to the left, then the right, he scooted inside
and closed the door behind him.
room was tiny, even by his standards. How anyone the
size of Stringer managed to get a good night’s
sleep in the bunk defied belief. Unless he doesn’t
actually sleep here. Maybe he’s busy someplace
else tearing out eyeballs…
hunter tried to push the images of ragged fleshy orbs
from his head, but they lingered, taunting him as if
the killer was already in his mind, playing tricks with
didn’t like emotions anymore. Not after Mia.
beside the football player’s bunk he pulled out
a small canvas travel bag and unzipped the top. At first,
the contents seemed innocent enough.
shoes, a sweater, jeans.
then something like photo paper caught his attention.
slid his hand into the bag and tugged at the image until
it came free. Turning it over, he realized that the
image had once been that of a young brunette. Now though,
the girl’s picture had been defaced – two
holes removing the places where her eyes should have
like the killer’s M.O.
I could be looking at the next target and I don’t
even have a clue who she freakin’ is!
the photo onto Stringer’s bunk, Dean turned to
the player’s larger case that had been stowed
overhead. Roughly pulling it free, the hunter let the
heavy baggage drop to the floor and then began to awkwardly
rifle through its contents.
everything else in the tiny space, it was hard to maneuver
time, Dean discovered Stringer’s football garb,
but like before, it was not alone in the case. Beneath
the colors of the NY Giants was another shade –
a shade formed by the scarlet taint of human blood.
not to touch the bloodied dagger with his hands, Dean
used one of Stringer’s socks to pick up the sullied
blade. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing a mugger
from the Big Apple would use to assault their next victim.
No, this thing was ornate, almost beautiful in design.
was the kind of tool used in satanic rituals.
the dagger were more items to add to the satanic tally,
including black candles, spray paint, and a small human
skull that could only have ever belonged to a child.
the dagger, he picked up the yellowing cranium and examined
it. This was no prop, it was real bone, from a real
what was more, there was a crack and jagged puncture
hole just above the right eye socket that could only
mean one thing.
person had been a murder victim too.
one of the kids from under the bridge Sammy talked about…
face contorted in disgust and anger. It didn’t
matter who was behind this now, some whacko, or Lucifer
were going to pay.
the skull down, he picked up a second sock and began
rummaging further into Stringer’s case, his mind
so distracted that he didn’t hear the door click
behind him until it was too late….
the episode here