warm Arizona breeze ruffled through the carefully sculptured
bushes, invoking a gentle rustling, as if someone or
something has brushed past them. It was nighttime, and
not one single cloud stained the heavens above the institute.
Silence filled the desert, just like the unholy silence
from within the recently constructed building.
walls were stark gray, the perfectly tended greenery
in its grounds contrasting totally with the structure’s
outer image. This was a place that gave away little
as to what carried on behind its thick, concrete walls.
a passer-by on the highway it could easily be mistaken
for some big-shot corporation’s office building,
but it was more- much more.
name plaque, carefully placed among the greenery may
have given some clue as to what the institute really
strived for, but few people ever visited or got close
enough to read it.
place was rarely visited, and those who were brought
here, never left.
* * * *
Garrett munched on a packet of his favorite chips and
opened up his newspaper. He was on the night shift,
and it was truly like being in a graveyard. Nothing
ever happened here, not ever. He sometimes joked to
his wife that he got paid for nothing, but in truth
it was no joke. All he had to do to pick up his wages
every week was sit in a small office and watch a few
he was supposed to walk the grounds a few times and
check on his ‘people,’ but he rarely did.
It wasn’t like they were going anywhere.
opened up his paper, ignoring the main headline to focus
on more local gossip. He shook his head, 'no' as he
read an article about some superstitious hocus pocus
in the neighbouring town of Sedona. The headline clearly
stated 'LOCALS TERRIFIED BY UNKNOWN ANIMAL.' “What
is this world coming to?” He grumbled, munching
on another chip with a chuckle.
turned over the page, looking for something a little
more down to earth, but today’s issue didn’t
even have any good sports news. Annoyed, Phil screwed
up the local and tossed it in the nearby waste bin.
He was tempted to go ask for his money back, but instead
he finally noticed a gauge flashing out of the corner
of his eye.
glanced at his watch and realized his mistake. He should
have checked everything at least a half an hour ago
and now he was going to get chewed out if this was a
light blinked at him, taunting him for his misjudgment.
Then, another, and another began to flash in unison.
Finally, an alarm klaxon began to blurt out, filling
the whole structure and the surrounding desert with
an eerie wail.
Phil clambered from his seat and double-checked every
gauge. He tugged out a soiled keyboard, bringing up
more detailed information, but it all clarified the
same thing- there was a nitrogen leak and the emergency
system had yet to kick in. Temperatures within the institute’s
containment system were rising.
tapped at the keys, trying desperately to bring the
emergency system back up, but it refused his every command.
Breathing heavily, he took another look at the time
before picking up a red phone on the desk. The wall
clock read 12:05a.m.
* * * *
Devin slipped off his jacket and loosened his tie. It
had been a hard day at the office, and now he just wanted
to relax. He flicked the light switch, making the wall
lamps dim to just the right ambience, and then placed
more wood on the fire.
danced and small embers rose from the blaze, lighting
up the room just a little more.
nodded, satisfied, and moved to a small bar he kept
fully stocked. It was time for a quick Scotch while
he checked over some work files on his laptop. The Glenmorangie
ebbed into his tumbler, and he sipped, savoring the
single malt to its fullest.
was only twenty-six, but he was already at the top of
the league in his field. Being the best meant he could
afford many luxuries like this- the apartment, the lifestyle.
sighed, clicking on his hi-tech music center to add
a little more mood to the scene. In his teenage years
he’d preferred rock, but now, just like everything
else, his musical tastes had matured. Ravel ebbed from
the multitude of well-placed speakers in the apartment,
and Jerry finally took a seat on his leather sofa, opening
his laptop and booting it up.
a short pause the correct folder appeared, and he reached
out a thumb to click on the touch pad. Without warning,
a spike of cold shot down his spine as if a frozen finger
had traced its way down his back.
shuddered, finding himself compelled to take another
sip of Scotch just for the warmth it imbued. The drink,
however, did little to restore heat to his body. In
fact, he felt even colder, as if he’d been dunked
in a bath full of ice.
shivered again, this time finding it hard to prevent
his cooling muscles from quivering. “What the?”
Jerry quickly got to his feet, grabbing the nearby poker
and prodded the flames to instill more warmth to the
Instead of rising, the flames seemed to be getting smaller,
like something was having a dampening effect on them.
Worse still, the temperature in the room was continuing
reached to grab his jacket back, but before his hand
could touch the expensive garment, a soft rapping noise
signaled someone was at the door.
paused, unsure what to think. He wasn’t expecting
any visitors, and he was sure the room was getting unnaturally
cool. A thought struck him, and he voiced it aloud.
“Maybe the apartment block’s climate control
isn’t working? Maybe they sent out an engineer.”
It was a silly assumption for someone with his intellect
but easier to accept than the other possibility that
something paranormal was going on.
swallowed hard and only then noticed that Ravel had
somehow been replaced with another song- even though
he hadn’t touched the music system.
as cold as ice….someday you'll pay the price…’
instantly recognized the song as a Foreigner track,
but it was impossible that it could be playing right
now. He didn’t own one single Foreigner CD. Annoyed,
he ignored the knocking at the door and picked up the
remote for his system.
clicked, forcing the CD player to skip to the next track.
as ice, you know that you are
Cold, cold, as, as, ice, as cold as ice to me’
felt the cold tentacle weave down his spine again, and
this time it scared him. Suddenly, he wanted to speak
to the person at the door. He wanted contact with someone,
anyone, because he was terrified.
he crossed the room, he kept his gaze firmly fixed on
the entrance to his home, afraid to look around for
what he might see. Should he have turned, he would have
noted a thin white sheen of ice forming on every window
and glass surface in the apartment.
ice grew thicker, until finally a layer formed on the
CD player’s lens and the music stopped.
God,” Jerry mumbled as he fumbled to unlatch the
door. The music had spooked him, and now that it had
ceased he could deal with the engineer outside in a
little more coherent manner.
flicked the handle down and yanked back the wooden frame
just a little too quickly. What awaited was not an engineer.
screamed, but his pitiful cry was somehow stifled by
the thing that now enveloped his body like a blanket.
He stumbled backwards, arms flailing, but there was
no escape from the cold that now held him.
later, Jerry’s stiff corpse fell to the plush
carpet in his room, his eyes staring wildly, frozen
solid. On the wall, a gold embellished clock stopped
ticking at exactly his time of death- 12:05a.m.
* * * *
Winchester twiddled his thumbs atop the Impala’s
steering wheel as he raced along the I-40 out of Arizona.
He was heading the Chevy to California for a second
break in as many months- mainly because Sam still thought
they weren't ready for the real deal after the accident
scoffed to himself as he thought about what they had
brothers had just finished a gig just south of Sedona,
and to say it hadn’t exactly gone to plan was
pretty much an understatement.
The case had meant to have been their first real gig
after Dean's recovery from some pretty horrific injuries,
and according to Sam it should have been an easy one.
Black Shuck he had said. Just a dog spirit he had said.
rolled his eyes as he thought about the demon-eyed monster
they had just sent back to hell, wondering how it could
ever be considered any kind of dog. Still, it had given
him the chance to prove he was back on form and back
to his old self. The scars on his chest still ached,
and sometimes if he caught a blow the wrong way he was
easily winded, but Dean was still back in action. Back
to killin' spook ass every chance he got.
on the other hand, well, Sam was a different matter.
Since leaving Bobby's, he'd done nothing but worry about
his big brother getting back on track too soon and fret
over their old friend Zack Murzak. They still hadn't
heard from the cantankerous demon expert, and after
about a hundred calls Sam was convinced Murzak was no
longer in the land of the living.
fact, Sam hadn’t said much on the drive through
the Mohave Valley as Dean poured on the gas, and to
Dean that meant his brother was moping big time.
are you ever gonna stop playing with that phone and
talk to me?” Dean shot his brother a look and
then put his eyes back on the road. “Geez, I even
turned off the rock and you still sulk.”
frowned. “I’m not sulking. I’m reading.”
He held up the cell phone that seconded as a PDA. “I’ve
been getting e-mails…”
wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and then grinned.
“Right. Here’s me thinking you’re
on a downer, and you’re actually chatting with
some hot chick, huh?”
Sam countered, "Sarah is the only 'hot chick' I
talk to after Meg, remember?" He gestured with
his thumb to the roadside. “Pull over, this is
checked his mirror. There wasn’t another vehicle
in sight, so he pulled the Chevy over to the edge of
the desert highway. Killing the ignition, he waited
expectantly to hear what had gotten his brother so interested.
When Sam continued to scroll through what was on the
phone, he coughed. “Ahem, care to share your revelation,
e-mails are from a random web mail address. Basically,
they could be from anyone.” Sam reached for the
back seat of the Impala and quickly plucked their laptop
from a hold all. He clicked a button, transferring the
e-mails over so Dean could see all the files they’d
received more easily on a larger screen. “Our
anonymous friend wants us to check out three deaths
in Barstow, California.”
kinda deaths? You think Dad sent it?” Dean shook
his head. “Sam, we’ve been through this
before. The man can’t manage an e-mail!”
you said that about a text message and…”
He let the sentence trail a moment to get his point
across. “Anyway, the gist of this is, the deaths
are baffling the local cops. Take a look.” He
swiveled the laptop over so the screen was visible to
Dean. “All three victims were found dead in their
homes- frozen to death. It says here that the bodies
looked like they’d been in a meat locker all night,
although the coroner won’t confirm anything yet.”
continued reading where his brother left off. He’d
gone from mildly annoyed to interested in less than
two seconds. People didn’t just freeze to death
in desert territory. “Look at this. It says the
last victim even had a fire blazing in his hearth! The
dude must have been whacked out in this heat…”
shook his head. “People with his kind of money
have open fires just for effect. They let the climate
control do its job. The fire is to impress.”
eyes widened slightly and he smiled. “Ah, I get
it. Chicks dig an open fire…” He shook himself
and continued reading. “According to this there
were no signs of foul play, and the only lead the cops
have is of a woman on CCTV footage outside the victim’s
door, shortly before his death.”
thinking spirit?” Sam asked, reading the final
report a third time.
scowled. “Honestly, I don’t know. I mean
the freezing thing, I’ve never seen anything like
it before, not even in Dad’s journal. One thing
we can be sure of is this is our kinda gig.” He
waited, hoping his brother would finaly stop playing
mother hen and let them get back into the game.
didn't disappoint. “We need to find the girl.
If she’s the only lead she could be part of this.”
inhaled. “From the looks of these reports, finding
her isn’t going to be that easy. The cops aren’t
releasing the video footage of her until the local crime
lab has finished analyzing it. That could take days.”
could ignore the mails, but if they’re from Dad…”
Sam knew Dean wouldn't normally be able to resist an
order from their father, but after the recent strain
on their relationship it would be interesting to see
his next move.
Dean offered, “we could get the video footage
by other means.” A smile grew on his face from
ear to ear, and he restarted the Impala without explaining
further. He didn’t have to. They were headed for
Barstow and the local crime lab.
* * * *
Bernardino Crime Lab 11:54p.m.
pulled the Impala up to the curb a good distance from
the building and cut the engine. He’d chosen a
spot in the shadows where the car’s dark color
hid it to all except the keen-eyed observer. It was
better this way, because just walking into the crime
lab and masquerading as a C.S.I. or technician wasn’t
really viable. Neither he nor Sam had the relevant knowledge
should they get questioned by other staff members.
sure this is going to work?” Sam didn’t
sound convinced as he watched his brother pull a satchel
over from the rear seat. “I mean, breaking in
is a little radical…” I should go with
him. He's not ready after the accident...
sighed. He knew damn well Sam was fretting again but
he really couldn’t see another option to get the
video footage. And besides, he had no intention of being
baby-minded by his little brother for the rest of his
life. He’d managed to find out from one of his
police ‘girls’ that the tape was in senior
investigator Jack Worrell’s office being worked
on, and getting in there as an outside contractor just
wasn’t going to be possible. Nope, Dean was going
in solo. He'd made his mind up about it and Sammy wasn't
going to convince him otherwise.
apparently had a reputation that made TV’s Gil
Grissom look like a pussycat. The man was meticulous
to the point of insanity- even about security in his
labs. That little fact made it even more of a challenge
for Dean to prove himself.
me, I can do this,” Dean offered with more confidence
than he actually felt. “There’s a fire exit
I can get in through with just a little help.”
He wafted a few tools from inside the satchel. “I
got the camera layout from dad’s friend Mel while
you were snoozing on the ride over,” he explained.
“There’s only one camera in that corridor.
It should be a breeze…”
wasn’t buying it. “Then why am I staying
outside again?” He raised a brow when Dean didn’t
answer. “Oh right, so I can come play out the
cavalry rescue when you get your butt busted in there.”
grinned. “Twenty bucks says I make it out with
the tape.” He pushed open the door and hopped
out, taking the bag of tools with him.
you mean the twenty bucks you still owe me from last
week, jerk!” Sam mouthed after his brother as
Dean melted into the darkness. Then, just as a precaution
he turned on the police scanner that was carefully mounted
out of sight under the dash. It was better to be safe
than sorry, and if he did need to play rescue, he’d
at least know the cops were coming.
* * * *
jogged across the crime lab’s parking lot, dodging
from shadow to shadow to keep out of sight. The lot
had surveillance, just like inside the building, but
he knew where the cameras where placed and kept well
away from them. Mel had expert knowledge in all kinds
of security systems and had informed him that any place
had weak spots if you knew where to look.
better be right, Mel, or I’m gonna be paying Sammy
boy his twenty back.” Dean whispered to himself
as he scooted down a side alley and came to the infamous
fire exit. Now it was time to go to work with the tools.
Like any lock, Dean had it cracked in under a couple
looked from left to right and then pulled back carefully
with the hook he had placed through the hole he’d
drilled. The exit gave way smoothly and he glanced inside.
Worrell’s office was just a few yards down the
corridor he’d gained access to but then so was
wrong move and I get to be star for a day at the local
police department,” he quipped, waiting for the
camera to swivel in the opposite direction.
seemed painfully slow to turn, but once it had panned
away, Dean took a dive for Worrell’s office door,
lock picking tools in one hand and a flashlight in the
began to pant as exertion and adrenalin kicked in, and
for a second he wondered if he really was fit enough.
This was almost as exhilarating as a ‘hunt,’
and he was already breathless from running across the
lot- not something that would have happened before the
Two more seconds and he was shutting the office door
behind him and flicking on his light. He kept the beam
well away from the door, hoping it would help avoid
detection from any passerby.
Grissom wannabe, where do you keep the projects you’re
working on?” Dean noted a set up in the corner
that was obviously for watching and editing video footage.
It looked pretty technical, digital stuff.
over his shoulder, he headed for it and began to search
around. There was apparently no place to insert a security
video, but the bank did have several disc drives. Atop
one sat several labeled jewel cases.
quickly sifted through them until he found what he was
looking for. “Right, Grissom wouldn’t keep
the master copy here. It’s probably locked away
somewhere tight, but this will do just as good.”
He flipped the disc into his top pocket. “Twenty
bucks coming my way, Sammy boy!”
boy may have to wait to pay that debt.” The lights
suddenly flickered on, and Dean found he was looking
straight down the barrel of a police issue revolver.
“Do you realize the penalty for breaking in here
and trying to steal evidence?” As he spoke, the
man moved to a nearby desk and picked up the phone on
it, calling for security.
I wasn’t stealing it. I was just borrowing, honest.”
Dean thought about bolting for the door, but he could
tell the man he was dealing with was no pushover. In
fact, he suspected it was Worrell.
won’t be so quick to joke when you’re locked
up in the state pen, young man.” The investigator
scrutinized his captive as if he was a specimen to be
dissected. “What were you after, the Grissetti
footage?” As he spoke, a security guard entered.
Worrell nodded to him. “Search this piece of trash.
I caught him red handed in here.”
guard didn’t speak but quickly began to frisk
Dean as he’d been ordered.
keep your hands off the merchandise!” Dean gave
in and offered up the disc with a frown. “Like
I said, I was just borrowing it. Daytime TV sucks, so
I thought I’d try something a little more action
packed, ya know?” The quip earned him a dirty
look from both the guard and Worrell, but he shrugged
took the disc back, checking to see what files it held.
He was surprised to see it was the Devin case and not
Grissetti. “You broke in here for this? Are you
shrugged again, his eyes twinkling with mirth. “According
to some of my friends that’s debatable, but I’m
a nice kinda nuts, honest.”
sighed. He hated wise-asses, and he was obviously dealing
with one. “I’ll let the police deal with
you from here. An officer has already been dispatched
to take you downtown, so you might want to think about
telling us what you’re really here for. Why not
start with your name?”
grin. “Houdini…that’s with an H…”
“Actually, your real name is Winchester. Dean
Winchester to be precise. What’s more, you’re
a wanted felon…”
whirled to face the voice. As if things weren’t
bad enough being caught, his past was now catching up
with him too.
the episode here!