Seventeen: Work of Art
Mattingly sat down on the edge of her bed with a loud
sigh. She glanced around her dorm room as she tried
to decide what to do with her free night. Under normal
circumstances, the plain-looking brunette would have
been content to bury her face in one of her textbooks.
But tonight was different. Tonight, Kelly had finished
all the required work, had studied for upcoming finals,
and had even managed to finish doing some research for
Mr. Brannock at the firm.
it was Friday night. Didn’t that mean it was time
to kick back, hang out with her friends, have a few
beers, and generally cut loose?
Kelli laughed at the thought. For her, Friday night
was just another night in the week. She could count
her friends on one hand, had no clue what it meant to
“hang out” unless it involved a study group,
and as for drinking … the one and only beer she’d
ever had in her life had left her puking into a toilet
for nearly an hour.
despite the fact that her version of college life wasn’t
exactly Animal House, didn’t mean she
wasn’t happy or enjoying her life at school. Considering
where she’d come from, how she’d grown up,
her time at UW had been wonderful.
next year, I’ll be a senior… she thought
to herself, a smile spreading across her face as she
remembered the letter reporting her LSAT score. At one
seventy two, her academic advisor had all but guaranteed
that she would have her pick of law schools.
year would be a breeze; finish some last undergraduate
courses and sit back and decide where she wanted to
go. Mr. Brannock had assured her that he would put in
a good word for her at Columbia if she wanted, not to
mention that she’d already spoken with a representative
from UC Berkeley that was likewise encouraging. Yet,
while it was tempting to think about escaping to New
York or California, Seattle was her home. She knew she
could stay at UW and be certain of a place at the law
made her happy to think about how well things were turning
out for her. So what if she didn’t have a life?
She studied hard, worked harder and it was all paying
off. So what if she didn’t have a boyfriend or
partied with the cool kids? She knew that someday when
she was sitting on the Supreme Court bench, she’d
have no skeletons in her closet to worry about.
looked at her watch. It was nearly eight. She could
still go to a movie, maybe even see if Dana, her roommate,
wanted to go out for some pizza and a Coke. Maybe they
could even cruise by the Husky’s Den and listen
to the live band that played there on the weekends.
brushed that thought from her mind, knowing all too
well that she didn’t fit in with the Husky’s
Den crowd. While it was “the spot” for all
the kids on campus, Kelli knew that she’d stick
out like a sore thumb.
wasn’t pretty enough, not fun enough, didn’t
drink enough, and most certainly was too smart for the
crowd that made the Den the most popular bar near campus.
She was as effectively ostracized from the place as
she had been as an entering freshman. Worse in fact,
since even freshmen could eventually climb the social
ladder to acceptance.
brainiacs like her… well they were never really
accepted among all the jocks, homecoming queens and
rich kids. The only time any of those people even noticed
her was if they were looking for a tutor to get them
through some remedial class.
Kelli moved over toward the closet and was about to
kick off her shoes and settle in with a good book when
an itch in the center of her back made her pause. Lifting
her shirt slightly, she started to scratch at her lower
back just at the line of her waist. But even as her
fingernails made contact with her skin, she jerked them
she groaned. “Gotta remember not to scratch.”
twisted around, lifting her shirt up further as she
stared at the reflection of her skin in the mirror.
Smiling again, she looked on with satisfaction and pride
at the colorful butterfly tattoo that graced the small
of her back.
loved the tattoo, her one act of defiance, the one “in
thing” that she’d ever done. The butterfly
was truly beautiful, with vibrant reds, blues and yellows
glowing out from her skin as though the insect was ready
and able to take flight straight off her flesh. To say
that the tattoo looked real was an understatement. In
her opinion, it was hard to tell the difference between
the ink and a real butterfly resting gently against
every dime,” she admitted, even though the two
hundred dollars had been a brutal sting to her checking
to her it was more than just an impulsive act. The butterfly
symbolized her own “rebirth,” the change
that had occurred, taking her from her ugly childhood
to this moment where she was finally living something
more wonderful and free. To her, it was her family crest,
and she wore it like a badge of honor just as she did
the scar that ran from the side of her left eye and
faded into her hairline.
always said how painful it was to get a tattoo, but
to Kelli, it was the finest pain she’d ever endured;
and she certainly was no stranger to pain.
away from the mirror, she walked into the shared bathroom
and grabbed Dana’s lotion from the edge of the
sink. Squirting some into her hand, she was just about
to slather it over the healing part of the tattoo when
a wave of vertigo stopped her dead in her tracks.
reached out for the edge of the sink, steadying herself
until the dizziness passed.
have had more for dinner than an apple I guess,”
she chastised herself.
now to go out and at least grab a burger or some other
fast food, Kelli moved back to the closet to retrieve
her jacket. Her hand was on the handle when another
surge of lightheadedness caused her to tilt into the
gasped, one hand reaching out to grab anything to prevent
her fall, while her other hand flew to her stomach.
Suddenly feeling ill, she sucked in a deep breath and
slowly stumbled over to her bed.
be a virus or something… she thought as she
collapsed limply onto the mattress a sudden sweat washing
over her body.
eyelids began to flutter as she fought to keep them
open, her limbs also becoming heavy as though she was
suffocating under a heavy blanket. She strained to reach
for the cell phone on the nightstand to her right, panic
filling her as she pushed back against the cloying fog
that threatened to pull her down.
call… Dana,” she commanded herself. But
her body refused.
even as her vision faded and her senses began to fail
her, Kelli heard a voice. Soft at first, it whispered
in her ear like a sensuous lover.
Don’t be alone…
stirred to the noise, coming slightly more alert as
she focused on the voice. At first she ignored it, convincing
herself that it was nothing more than delirium brought
on by whatever virus had chosen to invade her body.
But as she lay there, the voice became louder, clearer,
hate you… they’ll never accept you…
shook her head, weakly reaching up to run a trembling
hand across her forehead. It silenced the voice for
a moment but as quickly as her hand moved away, the
nothing to them… invisible… less than worthless…
groaned. She rolled to her side, facing the nightstand,
even more desperate to reach the cellular and call for
help. Her body was shaking, as though her muscles were
fighting against any movement even as she stretched
toward the table.
fingers brushed the shining plastic, desperately seeking
to close around the phone when a tearing sensation made
Kelli cry out in pain. She recoiled, her hand flying
to her back even as her breathing was reduced to a shallow
panting. The skin over her spine was on fire, the agony
of it feeling as though someone was flaying the flesh
from her body.
probed carefully, half expecting her fingertips to come
back bloody. Yet as she forced herself to look at her
hands, they were clean and free of any red stain.
do you put up with them? You’re smarter…
you’re better than they’ll ever be…
pain abruptly stopped as the voice resumed. Dazed, her
harsh respirations easing slightly, Kelli opened her
eyes to follow the sound. At the foot of the bed, a
butterfly fluttered lazily, its beautiful wings flashing
vibrant reds and yellows as it hovered before her.
was her butterfly!
than the one that had been immortalized on her flesh,
it was still an exact copy.
just like with him… they think you’re worthless…
something to be used and thrown away… garbage…
stared at the insect as it flitted closer, stopping
just before her face. It spoke again, the tone and pitch
of its voice hauntingly similar to her own. The young
co-ed swatted at the butterfly, some portion of her
mind telling her that it wasn’t real… it
couldn’t be real.
my God, someone’s slipped me something,”
how or even why? She had no enemies and as the voice
had said, she was essentially invisible to everyone
but a select few close friends and professors.
losing my mind,” Kelli then surmised.
out there now… laughing at you…
hold it together, Kelli,” she encouraged herself.
can’t you hear them laughing at you?
as the voice continued, the young woman slowly succumbed
to the powerful suggestion. Her eyes began to glaze
over as she numbly watched the butterfly’s feather-light
know what you must do…
nodded, her face now blank and devoid of emotion. Mesmerized,
Kelli sat up on the bed, swinging her feet over the
side and planting them firmly on the floor.
Kelli strode across the small dorm room, snagging the
keys to her Jeep Wrangler from the desk near the door.
Heading out, she walked the deserted hallway, taking
the staircase down to the first floor and the main exit.
through the lobby, Kelli walked as though she were a
mindless zombie, ignoring the calls from her friend
Dana who was seated at a table studying with other students.
Even when her roommate darted over, reaching out to
grab at her arm, Kelli pulled roughly away and continued
out the double door and into the damp night air.
reached the waiting Jeep, firing the engine and pushing
the stick shift up into drive. On auto-pilot, Kelli
pulled out onto Montlake Boulevard, heading away from
the dorms and toward the edge of the campus and the
nearby area referred to as The Village.
through traffic, she was doing well over seventy miles
per hour by the time her Jeep reached the intersection
at N.E. 45th Street. Blowing through a red light, the
front of her car glanced off an approaching Chevy Caliber,
the heavier Wrangler smashing the smaller vehicle and
knocking it backward out of the intersection.
corrected for the impact, steering the Jeep back into
the proper lane, ignoring the screams of metal from
the collision or the angry honks of other motorists
who swerved to avoid the oblivious young student.
now…” she whispered as the giant marquee
for University Village Shopping Center loomed in the
hub of off-campus activity, the center was booming with
students shopping, dining or hanging out at one of the
several bars. Tonight being Friday, the place was even
more packed as Husky undergraduates sought to celebrate
the end to another week of classes.
spilled out from the clubs; live bands tuning as they
prepared for their first sets, karaoke blaring out as
wannabe singers tried their hand at Top Forty songs.
But if Kelli heard anything, it didn’t show as
her foot pressed even harder against the gas pedal.
Make them pay… they’ll never forget
your name again… MAKE THEM PAY!
she drove the car through the parking lot like a spike
being slammed through a rail. Shopping carts were tossed
aside as though they were made of tinfoil, customers
diving out of the way as the Wrangler careened through
the lot, metal screeching in defiance as fenders and
bumpers were crumpled and glass shattered.
yards in front of the speeding Jeep, the Husky’s
Den was filled with dozens of fun-seeking UW students
all looking to put the academic rigors behind them for
the weekend. Absorbed in their social life, the young
men and women never saw the vehicle as it careened toward
them. But as the glass and drywall blew inward, the
screams of panic, fear and pain drowned out all other
sounds of revelry.
was over in just a few seconds as the Jeep came to a
brutal stop up against an interior column, mere inches
from the stage. As the engine finally died, smoke billowing
up from the damaged front end, only the hiss of the
fractured radiator could be heard within the settling
dust and debris.
the weak whimpers and groans of the injured began to
rise, the cries of disbelief from those who were still
able to move about began to echo among the rubble; Kelli
lifted her head from where it had impacted the hard
form of the steering wheel. Blood trailed down the bridge
of her nose joining the flow that was pouring from the
corner of her mouth.
through the broken glass of the windshield the brunette
took in the death and destruction she’d just caused.
Her ears were assaulted with pleas for help but the
determined voice from earlier was now gone.
brown eyes glazed over as her heart began to fade. But
before her brain was deprived of life-sustaining oxygen,
Kelli managed to focus on one last object.
its wings beating back and forth slowly as it came to
rest on the crumpled dash, the butterfly – her
butterfly – sat before her as though it was standing
guard over Kelli’s dying form. She reached toward
it weakly, even as her heart beat out its last contraction,
but her fingers never made contact.
Mattingly died, her eyes closing one final time as the
red and yellow wings before her simultaneously faded
Dean groaned loudly, on purpose, and tossed the April
issue of Penthouse down on the bed beside him. To say
that he was bored was an understatement. He was well
beyond the Webster definition of boredom and had crossed
over into the realm of restless desperation.
only been in the northern Nevada town for two days,
but it had been long enough to find out that the report
of a black dog had been “slightly exaggerated."
Not that Dean was totally disappointed in the lack of
a substantial hunt, but if he had his choice of where
to be stuck, surely Tuscarora wouldn’t have topped
town was a case-study in tedium; one store, one motel,
one restaurant, one gas station, one bar. In Dean’s
opinion, Tuscarora was a place whose only purpose since
the end of the silver rush appeared to be the production
of pottery and to be the butt of “my town is sooooo
small” jokes. No wonder no self-respecting black
dog would have gotten caught here, it simply didn’t
warrant the attention or effort.
the back of his hand across his parched mouth, Dean
glanced at his brother and then looked at his watch.
sat across from him, his long legs propped up on the
small motel room table as his lanky frame twisted at
an odd angle. The laptop, and source of his brother’s
strange physical position, rested on Sam’s legs,
teetering precariously as the younger Winchester fought
to maintain the signal on his broadband card.
his brother was even trying to surf the web annoyed
Dean. Technology was great and while it had its uses,
sometimes there was nothing better than the direct approach.
Certainly Dad had never relied on computers to find
his next hunt. The Winchester patriarch always managed
to zero in on whatever supernatural phenomenon required
his attention simply by “old-fashioned”
methods like newspapers, television and his myriads
on, Sammy. Let’s just pack it up and head out.
We’ll come across something but this is a massive
waste of our time here,” Dean pleaded.
where do you suggest we go?” Sam asked, looking
up from the laptop in annoyance. “Not like we
should be wasting gas just aimlessly cruising around
the countryside. Or maybe you haven’t noticed
that it’s over four dollars a gallon and the Impala
chugs it like a man caught out in the desert?”
groaned, his eyes rolling in exasperation. “Dude,
have you taken a good look around this town? There’s
nothing here and I’m not just talking about the
supernatural. The closest thing to a black dog we’ve
seen is the clerk’s Chihuahua and unless that
damn thing suddenly grows horns and an extra head, I
think the town is pretty safe. Hell, there’s only
two cops in the whole place, I think that about sums
up the threat matrix for Tuscarora.”
Dean, if you want to go out to the bar or something,
don’t let me stop you,”
right,” the elder brother answered grumpily. “Even
if I could stand the endless cry-in-your-beer, my woman
left me for another man, county music, there’s
no one there that I can hustle in pool. I’m tellin’
ya Sammy, if we don’t get out of here soon, not
only will I not be able to restock our cash reserves,
but I’m gonna turn into one helluva restless
not even funny, Dean,” Sam chastised him, the
memory of seeing his brother lying deathly still underneath
the bloody remains of Luke Fraser was an all-too-fresh
Sam, Let’s just hit the road. We can head down
towards Vegas or something. I can win us some more cash
and you’ll at least have a better internet connection,”
eyebrows knitted as Sam’s sudden outburst of laughter
boomed across the small room.
I remind you what happened the last time we were in
Vegas, Dean? I mean, dude, some ghost nearly made you
his bitch,” Sam teased
it up, Samantha. At least I never got a supernatural
swirly. Besides, it wasn’t all that bad. The bottomless
glass of tequila was pretty awesome, dude.”
watched Sam’s head shake and then drop back down
to stare at the computer screen. Dean shook his own
head and settled back against the headboard. He briefly
considered suffering through the atmosphere
at the nearby Jimmy’s Place, but decided that
he wasn’t desperate enough, bored enough or dry
enough to want a beer at that bar ever again.
flipping through the meager offerings of the four channels
that actually came through the television, Dean snapped
the set back off and flung the remote across the room,
sending it into the wall with a soft crack of plastic
against drywall. Staring at Sam, it annoyed him even
more that his brother didn’t even look up at the
it…” Dean huffed, rising up and crossing
the space between the bed and his brother in two wide
strides. “Gimme the laptop, Sammy.”
brother recoiled, pulling the computer away even as
off, Dean,” Sam yelled.
an instant, they were wrestling, hands scrabbling to
take possession of the laptop while arms and elbows
flew about wildly. It wasn’t a true fight, more
the type of childish scraps the brothers had engaged
in when they were younger.
even though it was classic juvenile behavior, neither
was about to submit.
off, Dean…” Sam grunted, hugging the computer
protectively against his chest even as he threw his
left arm back toward his brother’s head.
on, I just want to pull up the shortest route to Vegas
or even Reno, dude. Anywhere where the women are hot
and the beer is cold will do. Don’t be such a
selfish jackass,” Dean snapped back, his own hands
clawing at his brother’s arm.
struggled on the threadbare carpeting, Sam’s longer
body an equal match to Dean’s compact muscular
form as they fought over the laptop. Legs kicked and
fists flew, none of them causing any real damage during
their immature game of “keep-away.”
mine…” Sam whined.
God, can you sound any more like a four-year-old? Give
it to me,” Dean threw back as he tugged on Sam’s
the end, it was Sam that halted the almost comical tussle
as he inadvertently reared back, his elbow catching
Dean solidly in the eye. The older sibling cried out,
slumping backwards into the wall, his hand flying up
to his injured face.
Sam called out, spinning around to check on his brother,
concern flashing across his face.
fine, Sam,” Dean snapped, the heel of his hand
pressed hard against his left eye.
knew his baby brother wouldn’t take that as a
final answer, but as he fought to reopen the burning
and tearing eye, he knew he’d never escape Sam’s
me look, you big baby,” Sam teased as he tugged
at Dean’s interfering hand.
it pried away, Dean could tell from the look on his
brother’s face that the result of Sam’s
inadvertent elbow must not have been good.
dude. I got you really good,” Sam chuckled. “It’s
already turning colors.”
comment spurred Dean to his feet. Ignoring the blurred
vision in his injured orb, he quickly darted off to
the bathroom. Once inside, he stared at his reflection,
grimacing as the area just above his cheekbone blossomed
with reds and blues.
Sam,” he exclaimed, tentatively touching the discolored
skin with the tips of his fingers.
dude, but you started it. I just ended it. Guess you
won’t have to worry about attracting any hot women
now,” Sam mocked from the other room. “Maybe
we ought to stay here where you’ll have a better
chance with the less-discerning locals?”
Sam. Real friggin’ funny. Let’s see how
much you’re laughing when you wake up with a Mohawk
tomorrow morning,” Dean threatened. “We’ll
see if the ladies still fall for you when that shaggy
mop of yours is history.”
start, Dean,” Sam warned. “Remember who
won last time?”
I remember, Samantha. I remember that I seriously owe
you for the damage you caused to my shooting hand. Now
this? Dude, you better start sleeping with one eye open
and check your shampoo.”
consumed the small motel room as Dean gently probed
at his injury. He muttered several epithets directed
at his brother stopping only when he noticed that Sam
had not responded to his last comment.
out around the bathroom’s doorjamb, he saw that
his brother had once again assumed his contorted position
and was busily working the built-in mousepad on the
laptop. Completely engrossed, Dean well knew the look
on Sam’s face.
something?” he asked.
I think I have. Listen to this,” Sam started.
“A University of Washington student walks out
of her dorm room last Friday night, gets in her Jeep
and drives it down to the local campus hangout where
she plows the thing into the building, killing herself
and a half dozen others.”
So what? Not like that doesn’t happen all the
time. She was probably gunning for some two-timing boyfriend
or something,” Dean answered shrugging.
it doesn’t sound like it was a cheating boyfriend,”
cheating girlfriend?” Dean asked, wrinkling his
nose and wincing as the motion pulled against the swelling
skin on his cheekbone.
this is more likely possession than Penthouse Forum,”
Sam chastised him.
Why do you think that?”
that tried to rescue her said she was muttering something
about hearing voices right before she died.”
again I say, so what? She’s dead, end of possession,
end of story,” Dean replied dismissing his brother’s
“find” with a wave of his hand.
I might agree except this is the third report of a student
going nuts on the campus in the past month. Two weeks
ago, a tight-end from the football team walked into
a liquor store, robbed it at gunpoint, shot the clerk
and then just went back to the frat house. When they
caught him a few hours later, he was still sitting there,
covered in the clerk’s blood, but claiming he
couldn’t remember a thing about it.”
dude. You juice up and it cooks the brain. All those
anger management issues come boiling to the surface
and before you know it, you’re making a beer run
with a 9mm,” the older man joked.
threw him a look of annoyance. “Okay then, how
about this? Laurel Burlinson, a twenty-three year old
elementary ed major is student teaching at a local school
when the kids come screaming out of the classroom, yelling
that their teacher has gone crazy. They go in and find
that Laurel has some of the students locked in a closet,
others tied to their chairs and she’s standing
on top of her desk throwing books, pencils, crayons,
whatever, at anyone that comes close. Oh and she’s
screaming that the ‘monsters’ are trying
to kill her.”
Oh you’re right, Sam. She was definitely possessed.
I mean how could anyone possibly think of a room full
of snot-nosed brats as monsters?” Dean mocked.
“Come on, Jeep Girl might have just lost control
of the car, Frat Boy might have just been on the ragged-edge
and Teacher Wannabe, hell maybe she finally realized
she picked the wrong major?”
you really believe any of that crap, Dean?” Sam
challenged, not swayed by his brother’s casual
dismissal of the evidence.
remained silent for a minute, staring at Sam through
one open and one slightly squinted eye. He knew his
brother had enough hunter’s instincts to feel
out when something supernatural was going down. He just
hated to admit that Sam was finally on to something.
Still, anywhere was better than here in Nowhere, Nevada.
on, Dean. Seattle isn’t that far away and they
say it’s beautiful this time of year,” Sam
tempted as though he was reading his sibling’s
huh? Capital of rain, grunge music and suicides? Sounds
lovely,” Dean groused.
home of Starbucks, Dean…”
foofoo crap? Dude, that’s your girlie
coffee. Give me strong and black any day over that latte
and venti nonsense. I mean really, what demon spawned
from hell comes up with coffee you have to order in
a foreign language?” he mused as he moved over
to the side of his bed and grabbed his duffle to begin
didn’t look back to see Sam’s face, knowing
full well his baby brother would be sitting there with
a smug smile of satisfaction at having won this particular
it up, Sammy. Seven hundred miles is a long way to stay
awake… Dean thought to himself, a devilish
smile creasing his face as his mind began to plot.
It was late afternoon by the time the Impala passed
the downtown portion of the city on its way up toward
the University of Washington campus. The drive, much
to Sam’s chagrin, had been far too long; starting
with Dean mixing liquid soap in his Coke at the first
convenience store and cumulating with his brother’s
laughter when he doused Sam with a super large cup of
icewater over the top of a restroom stall door.
was angry, to be sure, but as they reached the bustling
northwest metropolis, he found himself more interested
in the fresh smelling sea breeze and the beautiful skyline
set against the stunning backdrop of Mt. Rainier.
was a stark contrast to the landscape in Nevada, not
to mention significantly cooler and Sam found himself
rolling up the window to block the penetrating chill.
the matter, Samantha? Too cold for your delicate skin?”
Dean taunted with a snicker as he purposely rolled his
own window down further and allowed the brisk air to
sweep into the old Chevy.
right, enough dude. We’re here and we’re
on a case. No more screwing around? Agreed?” Sam
demanded, offering his most serious, no-nonsense look.
sighed and rolled up the window. “Yeah, okay,”
he acquiesced. “So, where to first?”
lifted some papers that he’d earlier tossed on
the dash. Scanning through them, he found the address
of Kelli Mattingly’s shocking attack on the other
Husky’s Den, 2631 Northeast University Village
Street. It’s just out from the campus,”
you really think we’ll find anything there now?”
Dean asked as he expertly steered the Impala across
four lanes of traffic and onto the off-ramp for Northeast
Forty-Fifth Street that lead into the heart of the campus.
dunno,” Sam shrugged. “But it might be worth
hitting the area for EMF or see if there’s any
still thinking possession?”
guess. I mean something had to have set these kids off.
From everything I’ve dug up, the were all fairly
model students. Even Steve Washburn, the football player,
wasn’t the stereotypical bad-boy jock. He was
studying economics, not exactly a ‘blow-off’
major,” Sam explained.
still think these are all just random, unrelated occurrences.
You know, the academic version of Girl’s Gone
Wild? You’re always saying how hard you worked
when you were at Stanford. Maybe these kids just couldn’t
hack it and snapped?”
maybe. But that’s just not the vibe I’m
getting here, Dean. There’s something going on,
I can just feel it,” Sam insisted with an imploring
look at his brother.
okay, John Edward. I’m not saying there’s
nothing here, I’m just thinking it sounds kinda
weak is all,” Dean threw back.
it’s not Tuscarora,” Sam reminded him with
point,” his brother admitted. “And I’m
supposed to assume that this whole ‘college scene’
had nothing to do with grabbing your interest?”
remained silent as he considered his sibling’s
remark. Did he miss school? In all honesty, he hadn’t
really thought about Stanford or law school in nearly
a year. Not since his near brush with death in New Jersey
and then their entanglement with the vampires in Pennsylvania,
had he even thought about finishing his education, much
less returning to the California university.
as they approached the sprawling campus, Sam had to
admit that it stirred warm memories for him. While he
couldn’t avoid thinking about Jess, the sting
of her violent death slightly paled next to the wonderful
life they had shared at Stanford. Times spent together
at the library, not all of it studying. Texting each
other while in class and trying not to get caught when
the messages leaned toward the risqué. And even
though they had only ever shared one class together,
both readily jumped in to help the other prep for upcoming
tests. But the best times of all were when they simply
relaxed together. Thinking about it, some of Sam’s
favorite moments with the beautiful blonde were when
he and Jessica would curl up on the couch to watch Saturday
despite being nearly glued at the hip to Jess, Sam also
managed to make other friends as well. And while he’d
never consider himself to be one of the most popular
students on campus, he was never at a loss for people
to hang out with.
smile faded when he realized that like Jess, most of
his Stanford friends had now slipped away. Even Rebecca
and Zach hadn’t stayed in touch following the
incident in St. Louis. And who could blame them really?
Like Dean had said, once they found out the “real”
Sam Winchester, they had freaked.
Dean’s voice broke through Sam’s silent
sorry, what’s up?” he stammered.
Den at twelve o’clock,” Dean replied jabbing
a finger ahead of him even as the Impala slowed.
remnants of the bar loomed at the end of the shopping
center, freshly hung boards covering the open hole of
the front window like a wooden bandage. But like putting
a BandAid on an amputation, the boards couldn’t
cover the wound that the Jeep left behind. Broken glass
littered the sidewalk and the dark brown stain of dried
blood was dabbled on the concrete outside the building.
his brother pulled the black car into a nearby parking
slot, Sam spotted the crowd of students gathering around
the site. Their demeanor was quiet and solemn and he
could see that each carried a small taper as they prepared
for some sort of candlelit vigil.
wasn’t a foreign concept to Sam, he and Jess had
attended one once for a professor who had died in a
car accident. This tragedy somehow seemed ten times
worse by comparison.
Dean out of the car, they strode up to the assembled
group, his brother singling out a pretty, petite blonde
who was placing flowers on a makeshift memorial in front
of the boarded up building. The remnants of the police
tape fluttered in the evening breeze while small offerings
of flowers and stuffed Huskies adorned the ground below.
rushed ahead, hoping to intervene before Dean tried
hitting on the girl. She was just Dean’s type;
young, well-endowed and - well - breathing.
isn’t it?” Dean offered pulling up beside
the young co-ed.
me?” she asked looking up, sobs wracking her slight
a horrible tragedy, I mean. What a sad waste of life,”
the elder Winchester commented.
the blonde cried as tears began streaming down her face.
watched Dean’s reaction as the waterworks began.
He smiled, the corner of his mouth curling up as he
saw his brother try to hide his discomfort in dealing
with the crying young woman. She might have been pretty,
but the minute she became emotional, she was an instant
“turn-off” to his sibling. Dean might love
women, and he undoubtedly knew his fair share of them,
but when it came to investing himself in comforting
the distraught, Dean ran full force in the opposite
in, Sam rescued his brother. “Did you know any
of the victims?” he asked, reaching out to place
a gentle hand on her shoulder.
sobbed louder and nodded.”My best friend, Gayle,
and her boyfriend were in there.”
really sorry,” Sam sympathized.
had just left to go back to the dorm. Otherwise, I would
have been sitting… right… there… too,”
she answered, her voice cracking as she cried even harder.
slid an arm further around her shoulders. “And
the girl that was driving, did you know her?”
I mean, I heard her name, but I didn’t really
know her. She was pre-law or something. I don’t
know, it’s a big campus and I don’t normally
hang out with her type,” the blonde replied.
unconsciously flinched at the young woman’s blatant
comment. He was all-too-familiar with the social structure
in college and the resulting cliques that developed.
said she was crazy,” the girl continued. “How
could she do something like that? I saw her face as
she drove past me. She looked normal enough.”
you think she had some motive for doing this? Like maybe
she was out for revenge on some ex-boyfriend or something?”
glared at his brother’s stark question.
do I know?” the blonde snapped. “She killed
a lot of decent people. She never even slowed down ya
know? She actually sped up and plowed right into the
building. What would make her do that?”
shrugged. He really had no explanation to offer the
blonde, certainly not one that wouldn’t seem completely
insane itself. Thanking her, he led Dean towards the
destroyed bar even as the young co-ed returned to the
group of students.
you hear what she said?” he asked as they snuck
around to the back entrance.
Sam, I did. Did you? She didn’t exactly tell us
anything to make it seem like your pre-law chick was
possessed,” Dean answered.
younger Winchester couldn’t miss his brother’s
inflection as he said “pre-law” and if Sam
had wondered whether Dean had picked up on that little
tidbit of information, he now knew for sure. He’d
read that Kelli was a Poli-Sci student headed for law
school, but contrary to what his brother was probably
thinking, it hadn’t had any bearing on why he
decided to come and investigate.
half hour of them sifting through the scene revealed
nothing more than the expected debris and cast off bloody
bandages from the rescue squads. Even EMF didn’t
turn up anything more than a random blip.
now?” Dean asked sarcastically.
sighed, tossing down a piece of plastic from the Jeep’s
headlights as he looked around the destruction.
didn’t really expect to find anything here anyway,”
he admitted. “But I think we need to check out
Kelli’s dorm room. Maybe talk to her roommate.
She might be able to tell us if Kelli was acting normally
before this all happened.”
groaned loudly and even in the dim light of the bar,
Sam knew his brother was rolling his eyes in derision.
look. I’m not saying there isn’t a hunt
here, but it’s not looking real encouraging right
now. And let’s face it, this whole college scene,
it’s your gig more than mine,” he admitted.
Sam didn’t immediately respond, Dean continued.
“So, why don’t you go check out Jeep Girls
digs and I’m gonna go talk to the folks at the
liquor store that our jock held up. That’s more
my style anyway.”
nodded, knowing that his brother was right. While he
hated splitting up, he likewise knew that it was probably
the best use of their time and talents. He was more
cut out for the role of sympathetic, caring grief counselor
whereas Dean would be right at home pretending to be
a detective investigating the brutal crime. In the end,
getting to the bottom of whatever was going on here
was what was most important.
right,” Sam agreed. “I’ll call you
when I’m done and you can come pick me back up.
Do you know where you’re going?”
loosed a loud laugh simultaneously shaking his head
in mock disbelief. “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy…
when have I ever had a hard time finding the beer?
joined him with a quick chuckle. “Just be careful
and don’t go asking for samples.”
Liquor Store # 182
2307 East Union Street
Dean was regretting the cocky assurance he’d given
to his brother. But then, who would have thought that
every liquor store in the city of Seattle was known
by nothing more than their state regulated number?
he set off looking for store number one-eighty-two,
finding the location east of the downtown area. The
neighborhood wasn’t seedy, but then it was exactly
Medina with Bill Gates’ “shack” either.
store itself was well-lit and open as Dean pulled up
to the curb in front. He could see movement within the
establishment as a couple of customers scanned the aisles
of alcoholic offerings.
for the fake badge and ID out of the box in the glove
compartment, Dean tucked the smaller wallet into the
back pocket of his jeans. Completing the disguise and
more importantly because he wanted the familiar comfort
of the weapon tucked against his back, he stuffed the
.45 behind his waistband.
into the store, the veteran hunter quickly took in the
entire interior, checking for security cameras as well
as assessing the current occupants. Other than the clerk,
an older Asian woman, the two other patrons seemed to
be nothing more than the local winos looking to get
their evening started.
a nonchalant eye from the first aisle, Dean casually
perused a rack of Scotch, his mouth watering slightly
when he spotted a bottle of Glenlivet sitting
alone on the shelf. Normally a whiskey man, the rare
occasion that he splurged for something of quality,
he had to admit that twelve year old Scotch had few
equals. Tempted to purchase the import, he reluctantly
moved his hand away and forced himself to turn his attention
back to the job.
as the last of the two customers walked to the checkout
to pay for their purchases, Dean noted that the counter
was new as was the freshly painted drywall behind it.
Obviously when Frat Boy had shot the clerk, he must
have sprayed a few extra rounds into the décor.
While there was no sign of blood, having read the newspaper’s
account Dean could only imagine what the place probably
looked like following the robbery.
up toward the counter, Dean spotted another security
camera mounted overtly above the cash register. Concerned,
but not overly, he felt confident the false badge and
ID would cover him. It always had before.
there,” he began, moving closer and reaching for
the wallet tucked into the back pocket of his jeans.
slightly built woman behind the counter looked up and
smiled but then just as quickly a look of fear overtook
her previously pleasant expression.
to Dean, his reach for the badge had lifted the tail
of his jacket, briefly exposing the shining metal of
the .45’s stainless steel muzzle.
A shout from behind him made Dean whirl around instantly
on guard. Unseen before, now a older-looking Asian man
stood several feet away, a shotgun leveled at the hunter
even as a string of unintelligible words were flung
at the elder Winchester.
whoa, whoa,” Dean said quietly, his hands held
empty before him. “Settle down there Jet Li. Just
ease your finger off that trigger.”
foreign words were shouted from behind the counter and
Dean’s head swiveled around to spot the clerk
aiming a monstrous-looking .357 Magnum directly at him.
the woman and the newcomer, most likely the clerk’s
husband, continued to yell at him in a language he had
no way of understanding. Caught between the two, Dean
fought to hold down the fear that was prickling into
his spine as he lowered his voice and tried to calm
the two panicked shopkeepers.
he pleaded. “I’m a detective with the King
County Sheriff’s Department. Just chill out and
lower your weapons.”
woman wavered slightly, but the older man remained determined,
his hand shaking slightly as he held the shotgun. His
eyes were wide as he stared back at the perceived robber.
knew that look. Fear, panic and obviously the history
of what had happened here were combiningg into a dangerous
emotional mix. People did irrational things when confronting
their fears, something Dean knew firsthand.
after what happened, they think I’m here to rob
them again… he thought to himself as his
mind raced for some way out of the precarious situation.
down, calm down. I’m not here to hurt anyone.
I just wanted to ask a few questions. Police…
do you understand?” he asked, speaking as slowly
and gently as he could.
call police… you not move…” the man
hissed back, his English broken and with a heavy accent.
Dean thought to himself. The last thing I need
is for the cops to show up. Where the hell is Sammy
when I need him the most? He’d just flash those
freaking puppy eyes and these two would probably hand
him the keys to the store.
call police…me police,” Dean replied, tapping
gotta get out of here…
his left hand still held out in front of him, he slowly
reached for the fake ID in his back pocket. “Police
ID, police badge, don’t shoot…” he
eyes darting back and forth between the couple, Dean
saw that the woman had lowered the long-barreled Smith
and Wesson, but the older man held his position.
leather case was in his hand, he had only to pull it
around to the front, flip it open and display the counterfeit
identification and badge. So close… just one more
held the thin, dark wallet before him, his hand slowly
preparing to open it when he felt more than saw the
man’s movement. The blast from the shotgun reverberated
throughout the shop, and Dean was pretty sure he could
see the brief flash of flame as the gunpowder ignited.
he heard the woman scream, could still hear the man
yelling in that foreign language, he could even hear
the sound of his own heartbeat hammering in his ears.
as his body slammed into a nearby rack, Dean heard nothing
the episode here