Title: Thicker Than Water
Description: A nightmare leads to a town in danger...
irismay42 - April 1, 2006 05:55 PM (GMT)
This it my third attempt at a fan fic, and the first where I've tried to write something more like an actual episode. So far it's been a b**ch to write, and I'm not sure where it's going or even if it's going anywhere, so I'd appreciate your feedback!
The usual disclaimers apply. There's nothing remotely nasty in this one (yet!) although I'll do my best to write some shirtless scenes in later....... (Kidding!)
Oh, and don't worry, Sam fans - I'm not trying to steal Sam's Psychic Thunder...
Spooky (almost) supernatural coincedences abound. I'm English, so not very good at US geography - just knew I needed somewhere desert-like to set it, so took a stab at Nevada. Made up the town name, only to discover when I'd already written a couple of chapters that Stillwater, Nevada is a REAL PLACE and actually has a reservoir next to it! So, sorry if you have any knowledge of this place and it's nothing like what I've written as I honestly didn't know it existed...!
He was chasing someone.
His breathing was ragged and shallow, and his arms and legs hurt as if he’d run a marathon.
He had no weapons. No gun, no knife; just the powerful urge to run.
Because if he didn’t run, he’d die.
His chest hurt. The dark figure up ahead was outpacing him, long legs dealing easily with the rocky terrain, springing over wet grass and slick stone in lengthening strides, powering through the driving rain as if it was the lightest drizzle.
He had to catch him.
The figure ahead stopped for a second, turning to look back the way he’d come, dark hair matted to his forehead as water ran down his face in rivulets.
Then he was off again, running at breakneck speed, too fast for him to keep up.
You’ve got to keep running, the voice in his head told him. Run or you’ll die.
So he ran.
Slipping on the sodden grass, stumbling on the jagged rocks.
He’d lost sight of the one in front, the rain conspiring with the inky darkness to build an almost tangible barrier between the two.
He had to run; he had to catch him.
The muscles in his legs screaming with the effort, his eyes blinded by the stinging rain, he stumbled on, the icy water running off his hair and down the back of his neck, mingling with the sweat lathering his back.
Not much further, he told himself, forcing his legs to carry him up the steep, but mercifully short incline, rounding a rocky outcropping and…
The one he’d been chasing stood looking at him.
He stopped dead, the relief of not running any more drowned out by the look of terror on the other’s face as he glanced nervously behind him. He teetered unsteadily, feet shuffling ever so slightly backwards, closer to the edge.
All he could hear was the screaming of the water as it tore mercilessly at the foot of the cliff. All he could see was the look of pleading in the other’s dark eyes.
“No…” the young man said quietly, barely audible over the driving rain which crashed against the cliff face in waves almost as angry as those fifty feet below. “There has to be another way…”
He could see the fear growing in his eyes; could almost taste it.
And for a second he faltered.
But only for a second.
He had to keep running or he’d die.
Not much further.
Summoning his remaining strength, he ran full tilt at the other, outstretched hands pushing through the needles of rain until they made forceful contact with his chest, almost slipping on his wet jacket as he pushed as hard as he was able.
“No!” the young man screamed as, already overbalanced, the force of the impact sent him reeling, arms flailing wildly as he lost his tenuous footing and began to fall.
Standing on the clifftop, he watched the young man plummet, the jet black waters below reaching up with icy fingers, hungrily clawing at his body as they welcomed him into their glassy depths.
“No!” he heard him scream again, as he disappeared into the seething mass of foam and darkness beneath him, swallowed by the water and the night.
He was gone.
This time the voice was his own.
Dean Winchester sat up so fast his head spun.
Heart hammering against his ribs, he cast about himself wildly until his eyes came to rest on the sleeping form of his younger brother stretched out on the bed next to him.
“Huh,” he muttered, blinking rapidly as sweat dripped from his forehead and into his eyes. “Well that was weird…”
Forcing the breath to leave his chest in a slower and more orderly fashion than it had for the last five minutes, Dean splashed cold water on his face before daring to make eye contact with the reflection in the bathroom mirror.
His heart still raced, and his hands shook as they gripped the sides of the chipped enamel sink.
He took a good long look at the young man staring back at him.
“Idiot,” he muttered, averting his gaze from the haunted look he saw in the hazel eyes, while snatching a fraying, off-white towel from the rail next to the sink. He dried his face roughly, trying not to look at the stains that no amount of washing could ever get out of a well-used motel room towel.
“Dude,” he said, plucking up the courage to look back at the mirror. “You are such an idiot.”
It wasn’t like he’d never had a nightmare before.
Hell, the things he’d seen, it was a wonder he didn’t wake up screaming every night.
Like Sam did.
“Stupid freakin’ nightmare.”
He shoved the towel back on the rail, resisting the urge to squash a small spider that had unwisely chosen that moment to emerge from a crack in the sink enamel.
After all, it wasn’t the spider’s fault Dean had had a bad dream.
Irritably, he flipped off the bathroom light before heading back to his bed, tip-toeing around Sam in an effort to avoid waking the kid: It wasn’t often he got a good night’s sleep, and Dean didn’t want to ruin it for him.
Eyes adjusting quickly to the early morning gloom, Dean perched himself on the edge of his bed and just sat there. Staring at Sammy.
Absently, he counted his brother’s chest rising and falling, rising and falling, twenty-four times before he dared relax a little.
Dean knew it was stupid, but it was something he had done ever since he was a little kid, and he guessed it had just become habit. He remembered sitting cross-legged on the floor, watching his baby brother sleeping, happily oblivious to the whole world crumbling around his crib, while his big brother counted his little chest moving up and down, up and down, twenty-four times before he dared move from his side.
Satisfied that Sammy wasn’t going to stop breathing any time soon, Dean would pad over to wherever his Dad had crashed out – bed, sofa, chair, occasionally the floor – and repeat the whole process from start to finish. Twenty-four times, in out, in out, before he could settle to sleep himself.
Twenty-four was an arbitrary number, he knew that. But it held some kind of magic for the little boy: It had been the highest number his Mom had taught him to count to before she had left him. There were twenty-four hours in every day, she had told him, sitting counting off the numbers on his little fingers as she rocked him on her knee. He remembered the number and remembered the words, and in his head each breath represented another hour that his Dad and his baby brother would be with him tomorrow. Twenty-four breaths for twenty-four hours, and then the whole cycle would repeat itself. If Daddy and Sammy were still breathing now, then they would still be breathing this time tomorrow, and that would be another day that Dean didn’t have to be alone.
Sam muttered something in his sleep, turning with a grunt that jarred Dean out of his reverie.
“Dude,” a voice came out of the darkness. “I swear to God, if you were watching me sleeping, I’m going to stuff your head into a pillowcase.”
Dean started at the sound of Sam’s voice, shifting awkwardly. “I – I wasn’t – ” he stuttered, pushing himself up further onto his bed as if he hadn’t just been sat there staring at his kid brother. “I didn’t – ”. The tone of uncertainty in his voice melted into forced gruffness, as it always did in these situations. “I thought you were asleep. Why are you awake?”
Sam raised himself up on one elbow, looking quizzically over at his big brother. Reaching out, he snapped on the bedside light, causing both of them to squint uncomfortably. “Someone woke me,” he said testily, taking in Dean’s pale complexion and the spooked look about his eyes.
Dean looked away, embarrassed. “Uh, sorry,” he muttered in a very un-Dean kind of way, pulling the blankets over his legs as if he had been innocently getting back into bed all along.
Sam had at least expected an insult.
“You OK?” he asked tentatively, suddenly struck by the fact that this was Dean’s line, usually uttered in concern after Sam had woken in a cold sweat, some hideous nightmare still tugging at his subconscious.
Dean shrugged noncommittally, as Dean always did when he didn’t want to admit that something was bothering him.
“Dean?” Sam pressed.
Dean looked away, as if embarrassed. “I had a – a – ”
Sam frowned. Dean lost for words. Now he knew something was wrong. “A what?” he asked. Dean finally made eye contact with him, and it hit him like a thunderbolt. “A nightmare?” he said, eyebrows disappearing into his hair. “You had a nightmare?”
Dean averted his gaze, cheeks colouring. “Yeah, so what, I had a nightmare,” he muttered. “You don’t have the copyright on the damn things you know.”
Sam nodded slowly. “OK…” he began, a placating tone in his voice.
Dean was apparently too busy examining the evil green and yellow pattern on his quilt cover to look up at him. “Lots of people get bad dreams,” he asserted, picking irritably at one particularly hideous part of the pattern. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
Sam frowned. “I didn’t say it did…”
Dean cut him off, suddenly looking up at him. “We can’t all be like you,” he snapped, the bitterness in his voice causing Sam to recoil slightly.
“Huh.” Sam’s frown deepened as the realisation slowly began to dawn on him: Dean was jealous. Oh my God, Dean was jealous of his brother’s brain-splitting, sleep-depriving, hell-on-earth nightmares! And he was studiously looking away again, which pissed Sam off even more.
But Sam didn’t need to say anything else for Dean to know he’d upset him. He shook his head and sighed, running his hand through his hair wearily. “Yeah, I know,” he said, resignedly. “I’m an idiot. I’ve been telling myself that for the last fifteen minutes.”
Sam nodded, the resentment that had been starting to bubble in his chest evaporating instantly. “Yeah,” he agreed testily. “You are an idiot.”
Dean looked up at him then and grinned weakly. Sam returned a grudging smile.
“So,” the younger brother said, swinging his legs over the side of the bed as he realised neither of them would be getting any sleep until they had this thing out. “What did you dream about?”
Dean looked at him uncomfortably, before following his lead until the two of them were sat facing each other, a chipped nightstand and a green carpet almost as hideous as the quilt covers all that separated them. “You,” he replied at length, fighting the almost overwhelming urge to break eye contact again.
Sam continued to frown. “OK,” he said. “Ordinarily, I’d be kinda touched that you were dreaming about me.” He flashed his brother a mischievous grin. “But seeing as we’re talking nightmares here…”
Dean, if it was possible, looked even more uncomfortable. For a second, Sam thought he seemed on the verge of spilling his guts, which would have been most unlike Dean. Not without a fight, anyway. But then, predictably, he seemed to change his mind, clamming up completely.
Sam recognised that look only too well. He’d seen it plenty growing up, usually when he and Dad were in the middle of yet another blistering fight and he’d looked to his big brother for support. Dean had never given it, instead retreating into a stony silence that Sam knew he would never break as long as it meant saying a word against their father. Sam called it Dean’s ‘Brick Wall Face’, because that’s how it always made Sam feel when it descended: like he was hitting his head against a brick wall.
Sam sighed. “Come on, man!” he said. “You can’t leave me hanging like that! What sort of brother are you?”
Dean considered that for a second. “Hopefully not the sort who would push you off the top of a cliff,” he managed eventually, fixing Sam with an apologetic gaze. He didn’t know why he felt he needed to apologise; it wasn’t as if he’d actually pushed Sam off a cliff, after all…
Sam sat in shocked silence for a second, the little tape player that was his memory hitting rewind and play several times in quick succession, just to check he’d not misheard. “You pushed me off a cliff?” he echoed finally, trying to wipe the goofily disbelieving grin off his face without much success.
Dean frowned at him. “What’s so funny?” he demanded, Sam’s response to his awkward revelation not exactly what he’d expected. “I killed you, Sam!” he reiterated, wondering if somehow his brother had misunderstood what he’d just said.
Sam was grinning even more broadly. “I know!” he burst out. “How cool is that?”
Dean shook his head as if to clear his ears. “In what freaky alternate universe would my killing you ever be described as ‘cool’?” he demanded, more than a little perturbed by his kid brother’s attitude. He could at least pretend to be taking this seriously.
“Dean,” Sam reached out and put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You said it yourself: It was just a nightmare.”
Dean shrugged. “You wouldn’t be saying that if you’d had it…” he muttered.
Sam’s smile faltered. “No,” he agreed. “Maybe not.” Then a sudden thought occurred to him. “You don’t think that…?”
It was Dean’s turn to laugh, although he didn’t sound quite as convinced as he had intended to. “What are you, nuts?” he exclaimed. “You’re Psychic Vision Boy, remember? I’m just Devilishly Handsome Sidekick.”
Sam relaxed slightly, allowing the smile to return to his face. If Dean could joke about it, then he couldn’t really be concerned. “So,” he continued, leaning back on the bed. “This cliff. How big did you say it was?”
“I didn’t,” Dean returned. Then, “But it was way big, little brother. Even bigger than you. And it had some nasty, choppy water and big rocks at the bottom, just to complete the whole Nightmare Cliché look.”
“And you did this why?” Sam dared to ask.
Dean frowned. “I dunno,” he said truthfully. “I was chasing you. Then I pushed you.”
Sam nodded thoughtfully. “That’s pretty weird,” he commented.
“That’s exactly what I said,” Dean agreed. He shuddered slightly, as if mentally shaking himself.
“Soooo…” Sam continued. “Maybe we should try to forget it. Get some more sleep.” He glanced at his watch: 3.42am.
Dean nodded. “I guess,” he agreed, almost reluctantly.
Neither of them moved.
“You first,” Sam urged. “I don’t want you watching me sleeping again.”
Dean grimaced. “I was not watching you,” he insisted, hoisting himself back into bed. “Besides, if I wanted to watch something pretty, I’d go look in the mirror.”
Sam sniggered. “Go to sleep.”
“OK, Grandma,” Dean said, snapping off the light. “Have it your way. But there’s no way I’m getting back to sleep now…”
Three hours later, Dean awoke to the sound of computer keys insistently tapping out of time with artificially peppy voices and irritatingly catchy jingles for breakfast cereal.
Opening one eye warily, Dean immediately located the source of the tapping: Sam sitting on his bed with the laptop open on his knees, eyes flickering between the computer screen and the dilapidated old TV set in the corner. The ceaselessly chirpy anchorwoman was providing an inappropriately upbeat voiceover to accompanying scenes of hot, sweaty-looking locals lugging bottles and buckets to makeshift standpipes where they appeared to be queuing for water.
“…As the drought in the South Western states intensifies,” the anchorwoman fairly sang. “Water rationing has become a daily fact of life in this small Nevada town…” she rambled on some more in her cheerily sing-song voice as images of bone-dry riverbeds and half-empty reservoirs flashed across the screen.
Dean tuned the TV out as he turned his attention back to his brother. “Don’t tell me,” he said, scratching his head as he stifled a yawn. “Multitasking, right?”
Sam didn’t even look up from the computer screen. “New gig,” he replied, bringing up a webpage and spinning the laptop in Dean’s direction. “Take a look at this.”
Dean squinted at the screen as he swung his legs out of bed and rubbed his eyes. “Sam,” he said, glancing at the clock in the bottom right of the screen. “Only geeks of the highest order are up at 6.30 in the morning to check out the Weather Service website…”
Sam ignored the comment. “Weather map for Nevada,” he said, bringing up what looked like a big orange splodge in the middle of the screen.
“Ooohkay…” Dean said slowly, scratching his head. “And I would be interested in this why?”
Sam pointed to a blue-green dot in the middle of the screen. “Because of this,” he replied.
Dean frowned. “Bloodsucking vampire dot?” he asked. “Maniacal poltergeist dot? Dot possessed by the spirit of axe murderer…?”
Sam shook his head. “Rainfall,” he explained, again choosing to ignore his brother’s comments.
Dean shrugged. “My explanation was better…”
Sam continued as if Dean hadn’t interrupted, indicating the orange area of the map. “Nevada hasn’t seen any rainfall in three months,” he said. “There’s a major drought going on around there.”
Dean shrugged, glancing back at the TV, which had cut to an interview with some ecology specialist who seemed to be prophesying the End of Days. “Not entirely unknown for Nevada,” he said. “That’s why they call it the desert.”
“Right,” Sam agreed, nodding. “But take another look at the Vampire Dot of Doom…”
Dean sniggered. Sam was so serious most of the time that when he actually let his dry sense of humour see the light of day it often took his brother by surprise. “OK, I’m looking,” Dean obliged. Then, “So, what am I looking at again?”
“Stillwater, Nevada,” Sam explained, pausing for effect before adding, “Where it hasn’t stopped raining for five weeks.”
“Huh,” Dean nodded thoughtfully, squinting at the blue dot some more. “Five weeks?”
Sam nodded enthusiastically. “Five weeks,” he confirmed. “While the surrounding area suffers its worst drought in fifty years.” He waved in the vague direction of the TV, which was currently showing aerial photographs of a seriously depleted-looking Hoover Dam.
Dean raised a sceptical eyebrow. “I know we deal with freaks all the time,” he said. “But freak weather? I dunno, Sammy. What makes you think this is our sort of thing?”
Sam raised a finger, like an over-excited professor. “This,” he said, bringing up another webpage, this time for a Nevada news site, where the headline read, ‘Third man dead in spate of drownings’. Toggling to another page on the same site, the Stillwater Herald proclaimed, ‘Power company chief fourth victim of freak flooding’. Sam indicated this last report. “Six people in all,” he said. “Two more after the guy who ran the local power plant.”
Dean shifted himself so as to be able to read the copy of this last report. “The body of Thomas Bradshaw,” he read aloud, “49, Chief of Operations at NevTech Power and Water, was today dredged from the bottom of Stillwater Creek, only a mile from the reservoir that he had struggled so hard to maintain over the last six years… yada yada yada…unconfirmed reports claim Mr Bradshaw may have jumped from Churchill Bridge… pressure of work… recent wide-scale drought… miraculous rainfall…”. Dean continued to scan the page, before looking up at Sam who was waiting, expectantly.
Dean shrugged. “Guy threw himself off a bridge,” he said. “Still doesn’t make it our kind of deal.”
“Six guys, Dean,” Sam corrected. “Two found in the same stretch of river as Bradshaw, another two in the local reservoir, and another who seems to have just walked off of the dam…”
“Ouch,” Dean said. “That’s gotta hurt.” He continued to gaze unseeingly at the webpage while his brain tried to wrap itself around possible causes of such weird behaviour, before looking back up at Sam. “So, you’re thinking maybe some kind of vengeful spirit?” he asked. “Like the one at the lake in Wisconsin?”
Sam glanced at the computer, where a photograph of Thomas Bradshaw, a distinguished-looking African American man with an air of authority about him that just jumped out from the screen, stared back at him solemnly. “Maybe,” he said, noncommittally.
“Nessie?” Dean offered, grinning.
Sam gave him an exasperated schoolteacher look while he tried to stifle a snigger. “It’s got to be something to do with the weather,” he said, thoughtfully. “It’s too much of a coincidence. Six people drowned in the one place within a couple hundred miles that isn’t baking on an open fire, the one place where it’s not stopped raining since July…?”
Dean nodded, slowly. “OK,” he agreed. “Pretty weird, I’ll grant you.” His eyes drifted back to the computer screen, where a photograph below the one of Thomas Bradshaw showed a wide-angled shot of a rain-soaked little town nestled in the middle of rocky hillsides, a swollen reservoir just about visible in the background, and he was for a second uncomfortably reminded of his dream of the night before.
I dream of rain, I get rain, he thought to himself, for one ridiculous moment tempted to bundle Sam into the Impala and drive as fast and as far away from Stillwater, Nevada as he possibly could, just in case he should be tempted to shove him off one of the cliffs in the area.
“Idiot,” he muttered to himself, standing purposefully. “OK,” he said, this time for Sam’s benefit. “Nevada, here we come.” He headed towards the bathroom, before stopping and turning back to face his brother with a wicked grin on his face. “I suppose a little detour to Vegas is out of the question…?”
OK that's the first part. Let me know what you think....
sam_rox_my_sox - April 1, 2006 06:23 PM (GMT)
Wow! Very well detailed. I like the shorter sentences at the beginning. It adds nicely to the suspense and makes it easy to read. I love it. Please update soon! :D
supernaturalchristian - April 1, 2006 06:35 PM (GMT)
I love it update soon!
daisymay - April 1, 2006 08:01 PM (GMT)
I thought that was great! I got to the end and was not a happy bunny when I realised that it was the end. Please update soon. :)
ktlane - April 1, 2006 08:10 PM (GMT)
I like it. So now is it Dean having the visions? interesting. :D Please continue!
lcaron3 - April 2, 2006 05:34 AM (GMT)
Keep going please. I like that Dean had a nightmare. Can't wait to see how this continues.
dean_an_sam_rock - April 2, 2006 11:22 AM (GMT)
I;m intrigued by this story...it's a good start!
please update soon :)
friendly1009 - April 2, 2006 06:47 PM (GMT)
Very good start. Very interesting. Keep it going????
irismay42 - April 3, 2006 05:00 PM (GMT)
Thanks for the feedback! Here's the next bit. It's short if nothing else...
They weren’t kidding about this drought thing, huh?” Dean observed, shaking the dust of yet another dried up Nevada town from the Impala’s wheels with a shove of the accelerator.
Even at this time of the evening, the heat was absolutely suffocating. Rolling down the Impala’s windows had done little more than create a weak through-draft, and both Sam and Dean fidgeted uncomfortably in their seats, t-shirts and jeans clinging to their sweaty skin.
“You know what?” Sam said, looking up from the map to squint into the twilight up ahead. “As cool as this car is, its times like these I’d prefer a minivan with air conditioning.”
Dean looked momentarily wounded, patting the Impala’s steering wheel lovingly. “Don’t you listen to the nasty man, sweetheart,” he said. “He’s just jealous he ain’t as pretty as you are.”
Sam laughed and shook his head, returning his attention to the map.
Dean glanced sideways at him. “Are we there yet?” he asked, the oppressive heat starting to get the better of him.
Sam didn’t even bother to look up. “No,” he replied in his best angry parent voice, still poring over the map. “But we’re not far away. In fact, we should be crossing the county line right about…”
“Jeez!” Dean burst out, as out of nowhere the car suddenly ploughed into the heaviest sheet of rain he’d ever seen, and he had to fight to keep from skidding off the road.
“…Now,” Sam finished his sentence, scrambling to wind up his window as the torrential downpour soaked him through in seconds. Dean’s window had also gone up, although the coolness of the water was a blessed relief after the day’s arid journey.
“What the hell…?” Dean tried to keep his eyes focussed on the road, but the rain was so heavy he couldn’t see three feet in front of him, darkness falling like a brick as the incessant downpour continued to beat against the windows.
Sam glanced behind him, trying to make out where the rainstorm had hit them, but was unable to see anything beyond the rain pounding on the back window. “I guess this is Stillwater,” he said, twisting back to face the front of the car, where raindrops the size of golf balls were bouncing off the Impala’s hood.
“I swear, I find one single dent in my car,” Dean searched for the right oath. “I’m suing the Weather Service!”
“Still don’t think this is our kind of gig?” Sam asked, glancing sideways at his brother with a lopsided smirk.
Dean risked a quick look at his brother, before returning his attention to the treacherous driving conditions. “You’re starting to convince me, little brother,” he commented.
Sam nodded. “You ever see a rainstorm just – just – ” he groped for an adequate description, but failed utterly. “Just start like that? As if someone had turned on the water just as…”
“Just as we crossed into Stillwater,” Dean finished his sentence for him, before shrugging uncertainly. “I dunno,” he said thoughtfully, glancing again at Sam. “Just ’cause a thing don’t seem natural don’t necessarily make it supernatural…”
“Dean, look out!”
Pointing frantically in front of them, Sam’s eyes had widened to the size of saucers, and Dean rapidly turned his attention back to the road.
Slamming on the brakes as hard as he could, Dean yanked the wheel savagely, narrowly avoiding ploughing into something dark, blurry and completely motionless in the middle of the road.
Fighting for control, the Impala skidded crazily as Dean tried to keep the wheels on the black top, the tyres squealing in protest as the car spun round in a one hundred and eighty degree arc before finally coming to a jarringly abrupt halt.
Dean breathed hard, his heart pounding almost as loud as the rain on the Impala’s roof. “You OK?” he asked Sam shakily, his brother’s knuckles white as they clung to the dashboard.
Sam nodded uncertainly, almost afraid to let go. “Yeah,” he managed, voice high and strangled. “Peachy. Let’s not do that again, huh?”
He glanced almost fearfully behind them, eyes narrowing as he tried to make out what the hell they’d almost hit in the middle of the road. But all he could see was the rain, lit up blood red by the Impala’s tail lights as the cold water splattered against the tarmac. “What the hell was that?” he asked.
Dean gritted his teeth angrily. “Whatever it was,” he said, making a grab for the door handle. “It’s gonna wish I’d hit it by the time I’m through with it!”
Sam caught his brother’s arm before he had chance to get the door open. “What, are you crazy?!” he burst out, keeping a firm grip on Dean’s arm. “Anything could be out there!”
Dean grimaced. “Anything almost wrecked my car, Sam!” he remonstrated. “Not to mention us! Anything’s in for a bitch slappin’!”
With that, he wrenched open the car door and stepped out into the pounding rain, soaked to the skin within seconds, but completely oblivious thanks to the haze of unfocussed anger clouding his vision.
Peering through the relentless sheets of water, Dean could make out something dark and vaguely person-shaped up ahead, and as he began to fight his way through the rain towards it, he realised Sam was out of the car and at his shoulder, a nervous but determined expression on his face. At Dean’s questioning look, he shrugged his sodden shoulders.
“Like I said,” Sam fairly had to shout to be heard over the rain. “Anything could be out here. You think I want my Trusty Sidekick squashed by an eight foot trucker with a tyre iron?”
Dean grinned lopsidedly. “Not that I need you to hold my hand, Sammy,” he said. “But if you had to come, you could at least have brought an umbrella with you…”
Sam frowned at him, before striding off purposefully towards – whatever it was, Dean almost having to run to keep up.
As they neared the figure, oddly illuminated by the Impala’s tail lights, they slowed, suddenly aware that they seemed to be looking at nothing more sinister than an elderly woman.
She was short and gnarled-looking, back bent over and crooked, the hood of a dark green cloak pulled up over her head, casting weird shadows over her barely-visible features. What they could make out of her face was weathered and lined, eyes the colour of midnight partially cowed by drooping eyelids. Her mouth was a narrowed line, yellowing pointed teeth just visible between pale, thin lips.
Dean considered the woman for a second, before observing, “You remember that life-sized witch statue you made in school that Halloween…?” He trailed off, the mere memory enough to make Sam shudder.
Regardless, the younger brother reached out a trembling hand towards the woman, humanitarianism overriding instinct. “Ma’am?” he said carefully, gingerly touching the woman’s arm. It felt oddly dry. “Ma’am, are you alright? Can we help you?”
The woman just stared at him, or rather, through him, her gaze distant, as if focussed on a point a mile up the road. A point she couldn’t possibly see through the horrendous downpour.
She snatched the arm that Sam had touched away from him, as if protecting something, and it was only then that Sam noticed the old-fashioned wicker basket hooked over her bony arm, half hidden beneath her cloak. There was something in the basket, Sam could see, but he couldn’t quite make out what it was. Something vaguely spherical; lots of them; piled atop one another, almost as if the woman were carrying a basket full of ping pong balls.
“Ma’am?” Sam repeated the word, uncertain whether the woman had heard him through the driving rain.
The old woman seemed to see him for the first time then, a wild, crazy look in her jet black eyes. “Forty days and forty nights,” she said finally, her voice as withered as her frame. She had an accent that Sam couldn’t quite identify and a totally mad expression on her face that made him instinctively want to grab for the nearest salt gun. “His bones lie under the water,” the old woman added, just in case Sam didn’t already think she was nuts. “His bones lie under the water.”
Sam glanced sideways at Dean, whose expression said ‘just my luck to nearly hit a crazy broad standing in the middle of the road in a torrential downpour…’
Relieved that Dean’s assessment of the situation seemed to concur with his own, Sam turned back to the old woman as if to speak, but she merely carried on rambling.
“Restore him!” she said, making a sudden move towards Sam that caused him to retreat a cautious step, just as Dean made a move forward in front of him, Big Brother instinct kicking in. This drew the woman’s attention from the younger to the older. “Restore him!” she repeated, eyes boring into Dean’s. “Restore him to his rightful place or this place will drown! All will drown! On the fortieth night, all will drown!” Dean was uncomfortably reminded of a Monty Python sketch as the woman continued to ramble on madly. “He must be restored or all will drown on the fortieth night!”
The woman made as if to turn away, before suddenly turning back towards them, dark eyes locking with Dean’s as a withered hand grabbed his wrist and held on so tight he had to resist the temptation to cry out. “You understand me?” she said. “You understand?”
“Not really…” Dean replied truthfully.
The woman grimaced, pulling on his wrist with more strength than Dean would have given her credit for. “Then run or you’ll die!” she said softly.
Run or you’ll die… The images from his dream resurfaced disconcertingly before his eyes as he stared into those of this batty old woman. How had she known the thoughts he’d had in his dream? How could she possibly have known that?
“Run or you’ll die!” the woman repeated, just as the heaviest downpour Dean had ever seen in his life chose that moment to descend on them, as if a thousand buckets of water had all been upended at the same time and come crashing down on them like a tidal wave.
Freezing water stinging like a thousand pinpricks, Dean instinctively closed his eyes for just a second. When he reopened them, the woman was nowhere to be seen. All that was left to prove that she had ever been there were four white marks on Dean’s wrist where her nails at dug into his skin.
He stood rooted to the spot. “You see where she went?” he asked, just as Sam grabbed his arm and started tugging him backwards towards the car.
“We need to go,” was all Sam said, continuing to pull insistently at Dean’s arm until the older brother’s legs finally decided to acquiesce to the demand, and he followed Sam back to the Impala mutely.
Climbing inside, the two of them sat, staring straight ahead in stunned silence until Sam finally managed, “Still think this isn’t our kind of gig?”
Dean shook his head slowly, the old woman’s last words still ringing in his ears. Run or you’ll die… “Sam?” he said cautiously, still staring straight forwards out of the front window. “Your nightmares.” He paused, swallowing hard. “You know… those nightmares?” He turned to face his brother uncertainly. “When you’re dreaming them, do they feel like – like regular nightmares, or – or something else? I mean, can you tell the difference? You know, when you’re having one of those nightmares, or is it…” he trailed off lamely, not overly encouraged by the confused look on Sam’s face.
“I’m not sure this is the best time for us to be having this discussion,” Sam said carefully. “You know, facing the wrong direction in the middle of a haunted highway? Maybe we should move before something a little bigger than some nutty old crone smashes into us?”
Dean looked at him with that blank, dazed expression he got sometimes. “Huh?” he said, before suddenly coming back to himself. “Yeah. Right. Move. Good idea.”
Grabbing the steering wheel, he twisted the key in the ignition, the Impala rumbling into life as he pushed down on the gas. Putting the car into gear, Dean manoeuvred so that they were facing the right direction again, but just as that was accomplished, he suddenly yanked the wheel and pulled over to the side of the road, biting at his lip as he stared at the place where the old woman had been standing minutes earlier.
Sam frowned, pushing his sodden hair out of his eyes as he wondered why they weren’t moving. “Dean?” he asked. “Hey? You awake man?”
Dean nodded absently. “Uh-huh,” he said. Then, “‘Run or you’ll die’ she said, right?” he asked.
Sam’s frown deepened and he shrugged, not sure what Dean wanted him to say. “I guess,” he agreed.
Dean turned to look at him then, an odd expression on his face. “Maybe we should.”
“Huh?” Sam said, not sure he’d understood. “Should what? Run?”
Dean nodded ever-so-slightly. “You heard the old crone. This place is going to flood…”
“That’s not what she said,” Sam countered. “She said ‘in forty nights’ it was going to flood…”
“She said on the fortieth night,” Dean interrupted.
Sam shook his head, exasperated. “What’s with you?” he asked. “You’ve never run away from anything your entire life!”
Dean shrugged, the image of him pushing Sam off a cliff so vivid in his mind that he almost had to shut his eyes against it. “Well,” he said. “Maybe this is a good time to start.”
Sam just stared at him, a look of total disbelief on his face. “You’re kidding, right?” he asked at length.
“No,” Dean replied instantly, before reconsidering. “Yes.” He seemed to think about what he was going to say next, before adding, “It’s your fault you know.”
Sam looked taken aback. “What is?”
“You and your freaky nightmares.”
A look of comprehension dawned on Sam’s face. “That dream you had,” he said. “Where you pushed me off a cliff…”
Dean nodded sheepishly. “What she said – run or you’ll die – that’s all I kept thinking in my dream.”
Sam’s expression remained completely neutral. “You said it yourself, Dean,” he said cautiously, not wanting to hurt his brother’s feelings. “Everyone gets nightmares. They’re not all…” he trailed off, looking vaguely apologetic.
“Like yours,” Dean finished for him. He rubbed at his eyes for a second, trying to dislodge the water dripping off his soaking hair and clinging to his eyelashes. “I know that, Sam,” he said finally. “And I know it was probably nothing – déjà vu or something – everyone gets that from time to time. But if you hang out long enough with someone who’s nightmare actually come true, well,” he shrugged in defeat. “It has an effect on you.”
Sam nodded, smiling slightly as he finally understood. “We see a cliff,” he promised. “I’ll run in the opposite direction.”
Dean smiled back weakly. “You do that,” he said, putting the car back into gear and pulling back out onto the highway. “’Cause I’m not gonna be held responsible if I suddenly turn into a raving fratricidal maniac.”
Hope you're not all too bored yet! :)
betinedemon - April 3, 2006 07:47 PM (GMT)
Wow. That was beyond good. I'm very intrigued. Can't wait to read more!
dreema azleia winblade - April 4, 2006 03:46 PM (GMT)
I cant wait for more please update soon. :wub:
Samoli - April 5, 2006 12:31 PM (GMT)
Haha! I love Dean's jokes and sarcasm. You're really good at writing him. Good job! Please keep the updates coming. :)
irismay42 - April 6, 2006 05:56 PM (GMT)
Thanks to everyone who's read so far! I'm still not sure about this one - no cliffhangers and I've not killed Sam or Dean once! It's just not on...
OK I've kept the next bit quite short as it's the 'talky explanation' bit. By necessity of the dates, I've had to set it after the end of this season, so hopefully neither Sam nor Dean will be dead by then... (Snigger!) But as I don't know what's going to happen in the first season cliffhanger, this might not fit in with the series at all!
I'd just like to point out that I didn't set out with the intention of claiming the Winchester boys for the UK - that part of the story just happened. Might make up for English people always being bad guys in American shows though... ;)
Hope you're not all too bored reading this bit. I might get round to some action at some point in this story........
The motel room was warm and blissfully dry, and although the double-glazed window wasn’t nearly a match for the racket being caused by the pounding rain outside, a hot shower and a greasy burger later and Sam and Dean had almost forgotten the crazy old woman and her dire predictions of watery doom.
“So,” Sam was saying, sitting at the rickety table where he’d precariously balanced the laptop as Dean stretched out on one of the beds, TV remote flicking inhumanly fast from station to station. “The fortieth night. Whole towns flooded. What does that say to you?”
Dean’s wide eyes never left the TV set. “Noah’s ark,” he said off the top of his head. “Wrath of God. Forty days and forty nights of rain.”
“Which is about how long it’s been raining in Stillwater, right?” Sam agreed.
Dean glanced over at him then. “You think we should go pick ourselves up a couple of girls to go in two by two with?” he asked with a grin.
Sam shook his head, smiling despite himself as he turned his attention back to the laptop. “Not unless they got Sheryl Crow working at the local diner…” he muttered.
Dean did a double take. “I never figured you for the toyboy type, Sammy,” he said, continuing to zap through the TV channels like an eight year old with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Sam didn’t reply, his internet search drawing his attention. “Huh,” he said finally, his voice betraying his heightened state of interest. “Well I’ll be damned.”
“I certainly hope not,” Dean said, still entranced by the garbage on the TV. “’Cause that would just be too ironic.”
“Listen to this,” Sam interrupted, drawing Dean’s attention away from the TV again. “OK, I put ‘forty days rain’ into a search engine, and this is what I got.” He squinted at the screen as he began to recite what was displayed there. “St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain / For forty days it will remain / St Swithun’s day if thou be fair / For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.” He looked at Dean expectantly, but the older brother just looked back at him with a completely bemused expression on his face.
“And in English that means…?”
Sam laughed. “That is English, dude!” he said. “Old English. Really old. It’s a weather proverb.”
“Lemme guess,” Dean said, forcing himself up into a sitting position. “Something to do with this Swithun guy.”
Sam nodded enthusiastically. “St Swithun, or sometimes Swithin,” he said, sounding for all the world like one of Dean’s high school history teachers. “He was a ninth century English bishop who was so in touch with the common man that when he died, he asked not to be buried inside the local cathedral with the other holy men and local bigshots, but in the churchyard, where the common men could walk over him and the rain could fall off the cathedral onto his grave.”
“Nice,” Dean commented, attention starting to wane at the mere mention of ninth century English bishops. “A man of the cloth who’s down with the people.”
“So ‘down’,” Sam agreed, “that when a subsequent bishop had Bishop Swithun dug up and moved into the cathedral, there was a clap of thunder and a terrible rainstorm that lasted…”
“Forty days and forty nights?” Dean hazarded a guess.
“Nice to see you’re paying attention,” Sam applauded. “Apparently, Bishop Swithun’s spirit was said to have been so unhappy at his bones being moved that he caused the bad weather, and thus the proverb was born…”
“Which means? In English?”
“If it rains on St Swithun’s Day, it’ll rain for the next forty days and forty nights,” Sam translated. “If it doesn’t rain, then it’ll stay fair for the next forty days.”
Dean actually did look vaguely interested now. “And St Swithun’s Day would be – ?”
Sam consulted his screen, laughing ironically. “July 15th,” he replied.
Dean’s interest level spiked a little more. “Which would be just over a month ago…” he said.
“When Stillwater’s drought problems suddenly seemed to be over,” Sam finished.
Dean nodded thoughtfully. “So they made this Swithun guy a Saint ’cause he made it rain?” he asked, frowning. “I thought it always rained in England?”
Sam laughed again. “No,” he said. “They made him a Saint because in life he was said to have performed many miracles, whilst in death his bones were reported to have healing properties. Pilgrims would travel from miles around just to visit his tomb.”
Dean shuddered. “Creepy,” he said, before adding, “So far, so not-of-this-continent.”
“I know,” Sam agreed, acutely aware of this slight flaw in his research. “But it gets better,” he said. “St Swithun was also a Patron Saint. Guess what of?”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “Got anything to do with water?” he asked.
“Yes it does,” Sam agreed. “St Swithun is the Patron Saint of Drought Relief, among other things.”
Dean had to admit, that was pretty relevant. “OK,” he said, going along cautiously. “Still not quite convinced me yet.”
Sam sat up straighter, a knowing grin on his face that reminded Dean of when they were kids and his kid brother had some earth-shattering piece of news that he just couldn’t wait to report. “This could be the clincher,” he said.
Dean rolled his eyes. “The suspense is killing me. Really.”
“OK, try this for size,” Sam said. “St Swithun was Bishop of a small cathedral town in southern England. Guess which cathedral.”
Dean shrugged. “Ninth century British history not exactly my strong suit, Sam,” he admitted.
Sam’s grin widened. “You’re not going to believe it.”
“Sam – ”
“Winchester!” Sam blurted out, his grin even wider.
Dean didn’t comment for a second, not sure he’d heard right. “Run that by me again?”
Sam spun the computer in Dean’s direction so that he could see for himself. “St Swithun was the Bishop of Winchester,” he repeated. “That’s in Hampshire, in case you were wondering.”
“I wasn’t,” Dean said. “But you get the award for Geekiest Research of the Bizarre and Freakishly Coincidental…”
Sam was still grinning as he tapped the computer screen. “In 1906,” he said. “Winchester Cathedral started to sink.”
Dean frowned. “Now I know you’re kidding,” he said. “How the hell does a cathedral sink?”
“It was built on a marsh,” Sam explained. “They had to send a diver down into the water under the foundations to help shore the building up with concrete to stop it sinking entirely! Parts of it still flood to this day.”
Dean stared at the laptop, before finally declaring, “Yep. Pretty weird. And pretty coincidental.”
Sam shook his head. “Maybe,” he said. “But how about this…”
“There’s more?” Dean thought his head might explode if Sam tried to squeeze one more fact in there.
“Tom Bradshaw,” Sam continued, nodding feverishly. “The power company guy who threw himself off a bridge? Guess when he returned from a ‘fact finding’ tour of Europe?”
“July 15th?” Dean suggested.
“Uh-huh,” Sam confirmed. “St Swithun’s Day. And the last place he’d visited was the UK, where he’d been researching alternatives to hydroelectric power.”
Dean shook his head. “OK,” he said. “If England didn’t involve a pretty damn long plane trip – ” he shuddered. “ – I’d say let’s go torch dem bones…”
It was Sam’s turn to shake his head. “Good luck,” he said. “According to the research, St Swithun’s bones were moved so many times that they were eventually scattered and lost. And besides, I don’t think that’s it. St Swithun was a pious man, committed to the wellbeing of his community, friend of the poor. Not some vengeful spirit out to drown a whole town in a fit of pique. Hell, his most famous miracle involved his mending some peasant woman’s basket of eggs that got smashed when she was jostled on her way to sell them at the market. They were her only source of income, and Bishop Swithun’s supposed to have taken pity on her.”
Dean interrupted. “What did you say you saw that old crone carrying out on the highway?” he asked.
Sam did a double take. “A basket,” he said slowly. “With something inside the shape of…”
“Eggs, maybe?” Dean had moved forward so that he was now perched on the edge of the bed, the TV forgotten.
Sam could tell he’d finally managed to get his brother’s attention. “Not so coincidental?”
Dean tried not to appear too interested in his kid brother’s geeky research. “Maybe,” he allowed, glancing out of the window where the rain continued to crash against the glass in angry waves. “Doesn’t explain who – or what – the old bat is though.”
“Or what she wants,” Sam agreed, turning back to the laptop. “Plus, if she’s the angry spirit, no way we’re finding her bones to salt and burn…”
Dean nodded, thinking. “So to save the town, we gotta figure out why this chick’s so pissed off?”
Sam didn’t look away from the computer screen, another search bringing up some obviously intriguing possibilities.
“Sam?” Dean prodded, irritated by his brother’s ability to go into Total Research Mode at the flick of some invisible switch. He glanced longingly at the TV remote, now abandoned on the bed, and silently wished they’d come up with a version for controlling kid brothers.
Sam continued to stare at the screen, before finally seeming to flick back into Human Interaction Mode. “What if she’s a water wraith?” he said slowly, meeting Dean’s questioning gaze. “You know: old woman, wears green, lures people to their watery death?”
Dean grimaced. “How’d she go from ninth century dairy farmer to vengeful water spirit?”
“Errr…” Sam glanced back at the computer before admitting defeat. “No idea,” he said.
“He shoots, he misses,” Dean noted. “But thanks so much for playing.” Sam threw a pencil at him, which he ducked with the practiced skill of an irritating older sibling.
“Hey, you’ve changed your tune from ‘freaky geeky coincidence’ to ‘let’s torch some bones’ in the space of five minutes,” Sam observed. “So I don’t think I can be doing too badly here.”
Dean grinned. “Years of public scholarship money well spent,” he observed.
Sam smiled wryly. “Thank you,” he said. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Even if you didn’t mean it as one.”
“Take it whichever way floats your boat, kiddo,” Dean said. “Still doesn’t tell us how to stop Grandma Whacko going Old Testament on Stillwater.”
Sam’s shoulders slumped tiredly. “No,” he agreed. “But at least it gives us an idea where to start.”
“Angry water wraith versus ninth century English Bishop with a cool line in dairy disaster recovery and water divination,” Dean recapped. “Not forgetting the fact that they’re both from a little town that just happens to be called Winchester, where they were dumb enough to build a cathedral on a marsh and not expect it to sink.” He shook his head. “God, I hope the name’s all we have in common with those guys,” he said. “I’d hate to think they’re our ancestors or something. ’Cause that would just make us dumber than a hunk of cheese in a meat grinder.”
Sam threw his brother a ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ look, before closing the laptop. “Might explain your dream though,” he offered, cutting off Dean’s random stream of consciousness mid-flow.
The older brother frowned. “How d’you figure?” he asked, intrigued.
“Well, Sam said, reasoning as he went. “We must have gotten our family name from somewhere. Makes sense it could have come from there. The old woman might actually be some distant relative. Who knows, she might have picked up on that and sent you the dream as a warning not to come here or something.”
Dean made a face. “Pretty damn non-specific warning,” he said.
“Ever known my nightmares to come with an instruction manual?” Sam countered.
Dean considered that. “OK,” he said. “But why me? Why not come to you? You’re the one who gets the ‘vibes’ after all…”
Sam thought about that for a second. “Well,” he said. “I guess if she really was a ninth century peasant woman, in those days, the eldest son was the most important person in the family after the father.”
“As he should be,” Dean deadpanned.
Sam continued as if Dean hadn’t spoken. “People didn’t live too long then. If the father died, the oldest son was expected to provide for the family. Maybe she went to you for that reason.”
“Huh,” Dean said. “Seniority. Sounds plausible.” He thought about that for a minute, before continuing, “Jeez, if we’re related to that old battleaxe, then we must have got our looks from Mom’s side of the family.”
Sam sniggered. “Oh, I dunno,” he said. “Looking out the two of you out on that road tonight? I’d have bet money you were related…”
Sam never saw the pencil winging its way back towards his head until it was too late.
Hope you're all still awake! :blink:
sxybabe2_143 - April 6, 2006 09:43 PM (GMT)
AAAAHHHHHH.....saaammmmmmyyyy....omg.....he betta be ok..
Samoli - April 6, 2006 10:43 PM (GMT)
Brilliant!!! If it's this good now, I can't imagine what the climax will be like. LoL! Keep going and don't stop. :D
irismay42 - April 9, 2006 05:46 PM (GMT)
OK, some of you may still be hanging on in there for something to happen in this story... I'm not sure it's going to for a while! (Actually the last scene might be mildly diverting, but it's going to take me a whilte to get there yet...!)
Thanks for bearing with me! :huh:
“Yeah,” Sam looked down, whistling in admiration. “That’s a big cliff.”
He stood right on the edge, gazing down at the water below him, choppy and dark in the continuous onslaught of Stillwater’s relentless rainstorm.
“Sam – ” Dean stood some six feet behind him, edgy and obviously uncomfortable with his brother’s proximity to the precipice.
Sam glanced back at Dean, laughing at the worried expression on his face, when really he knew he shouldn’t be mocking his brother’s concern for his safety. Still, he couldn’t help making a great display of edging a little further towards the brink, just to torture his big brother a little more.
“Sam!” Dean fairly barked his kid brother’s name as Sam continued to laugh at him mercilessly.
“Dean,” he said, slapping his hand against the cold wet metal inches from his face. “I don’t think there’s much chance of me falling, what with this eight foot metal fence being here and all…” He took a step backwards, craning his neck to check out the razor wire atop the security fence surrounding Stillwater Reservoir, before turning back to his brother, who was shifting his weight nervously from foot to foot. “Not unless you’re a hell of a lot stronger than you look.”
“Hey,” Dean challenged, mock hurt invading his voice as he failed pretty miserably to keep the freaked-out look off his face. Yeah, so there was a cliff here. So what? “I may not have any obvious superpowers like you, Rosie Lee, but how do you know I couldn’t launch you over an eight foot fence? Arm wrestled me lately?”
Sam sniggered. “Not since I was fifteen. And I seem to recall I won…”
Dean reconsidered his challenge. “Oh yeah,” he said, grinning. “Just goes to show you what a great big brother I am.”
Sam frowned. “How’d you figure that one?”
Dean shrugged, as if the answer was obvious. “Letting you beat me,” he explained. “Bolstering your fragile teenage ego.”
“Bite me,” Sam returned, turning his attention back to the fence. “Besides,” he added. “Even if you could pull a Clark Kent on me, I wouldn’t have that far to fall.”
Dean sidled up to him cautiously, squinting down through the fence at the restless reservoir churning below them.
But not that far below them.
“Is the water supposed to get that high?” he asked, not really expecting an answer, while he subconsciously ticked off every little difference between the landscape around them and the one in his dream. There was the fence for starters. And the fact that it was a reservoir, not a bay, clearly artificial and without a jagged rock in sight. Of course, the water was so high, there could be a ton of rocks hidden beneath the surface for all Dean knew.
But Sam was right. With the water level this high, even if he did somehow get pushed in, by a crazed older brother or otherwise, he’d still only have a fifteen foot fall at most.
Fifteen feet between Stillwater and a catastrophic Biblical flood.
Which left Dean with Sam’s uncomfortable alternative explanation for his dream: Deep down inside, Dean had known it wasn’t a nightmare like the ones Sam had. But the thought of it being put in his head by some way-distant long-dead ancestor with an unhealthy obsession with eggs, water and dead bishops was even weirder.
Which left option three: Random coincidence. And although Dean didn’t believe in coincidence any more than he believed in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, right now, coincidence seemed the more rational alternative.
If it wasn’t for that whole ‘St Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, Patron Saint of Drought Relief, forty days of rain’ thing.
Those were some pretty big freakin’ coincidences.
“So forty days from St Swithun’s day…” he began finally, still contemplating the dangerous level of the reservoir.
“August 23rd,” Sam replied instantly, as if reading his brother’s thoughts as he, too, considered the water a few feet beneath him. “Today.”
Dean raised an eyebrow, mere inches from impressed. “Tell me you didn’t just work that out.”
Sam grinned, like a magician revealing his secrets. “Checked before we came,” he confessed.
Dean shook his head. “Ah, Sammy, now look what you’ve done! Who the hell else am I gonna put on that pedestal I’d got you on?”
Sam flashed a wicked grin. “Even off the pedestal,” he said. “You’ve still got to look up to me.”
Dean punched his arm. “Have some respect for your elders, Stretch,” he admonished, turning from the reservoir and heading back up the slight incline towards where they’d left the car.
And stopping so suddenly Sam almost walked into him.
“Hey, Grandma,” Dean muttered, smiling nervously at the old woman who’d suddenly appeared a couple of feet in front of him. “You sure didn’t leave us much time to fix whatever it is that’s pissing you off…”
She was even freakier-looking in daylight than she was at night, Dean found himself thinking, the weak light glinting unnaturally off her coal black eyes while the green cloak contrasted starkly with her papery skin.
She regarded him unblinkingly. “Restore him,” she ordered. “You understand now.”
“What that a question or a statement?” Sam whispered in Dean’s ear.
“Hell if I know,” Dean whispered back.
The old woman continued to regard them thoughtfully. “Forty days and forty nights,” she said. “Restore him or all will drown.”
Dean nodded. “Yeah, you told us that already,” he pointed out, as the woman continued to stare through him as if he’d not spoken at all.
“You understand,” she repeated. “God will show you the way.”
Dean bit off the smart-aleck comeback struggling to make its way out of his mouth, just as the old crone suddenly… wasn’t there any more.
“Well,” Dean observed, trying to hide his discomposure at the crone’s parting statement, but failing miserably. “That was odd.”
“Yeah,” Sam agreed. “Never figured you as the Instrument-of-God type.”
“I keep telling you I have hidden depths,” Dean muttered sarcastically. “Although I’m not sure the wings and halo will fit in the car...”
Sam smirked. “You ever get a halo, someone’ll strangle you with it,” he predicted, before ambling over to the place where the woman had just been standing. He kicked at a tuft of grass, as if it could tell him where she’d gone. When it didn’t, he looked back up at Dean uncertainly. “So what now, Gabriel?”
Dean shrugged. “Thomas Bradshaw.”
Stillwater, Nevada was obviously getting used to the rain.
Despite the incessant downpour, life seemed to carry on as normal in what had once been a small desert town: The streets had the usual number of cars sploshing up and down them; the sidewalks carried the usual number of people – all wearing waterproofs and carrying umbrellas, of course; and although the stores didn’t bother advertising their wares out front any more, the displays could still be seen piled high in the shop windows.
Adapting. Stillwater was adapting to its new weather pattern. People were dealing with it and getting on with their lives.
But still, Sam thought, as Dean turned into the town’s main street, tyres squealing ever-so-slightly as they negotiated the water collecting in gutters not designed for this amount of rainfall, there was a weird feeling hanging over the town and its inhabitants.
A feeling that something just wasn’t right.
Many of the people who lived here had done so all their lives, and they knew that something was very wrong with their town. Something was just not natural.
Sam could see the knowledge reflected in the eyes of the barber, sheltering under his brightly-striped awning as he sneaked a quiet cigarette between customers, all the while glancing up at the grey sky with a gaze full of wistful misgiving; He could see it in the eyes of the cop sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup as he huddled in the passenger seat of his cruiser, praying he wouldn’t get a call that would necessitate his having to leave the car; Even the little girl in the bright pink raincoat wheeling her flowery bike across the intersection seemed to have a nervous look on her face as her back wheel caught in a pothole, splashing her older brother with muddy water. He didn’t yell at her. He just shrugged and helped her free the wheel so she could get safely off the road.
Sam glanced at Dean, who nodded slightly.
“Yeah,” he agreed, without Sam evening having to put his thoughts into words. “I know.”
The Bradshaw house nestled anonymously in an ordinary suburban street lined with a few hundred family homes that all looked exactly alike. Some were painted yellow; some had basketball hoops nailed above the garage door; others had little white picket fences weaving between the flowerbeds. But they were all basically the same, nice suburban houses surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns that had somehow been reclaimed from the desert underneath them.
If Dean were to imagine Hell, this is how it would look.
Minus the rain.
Looking a little more closely, he realised that one or two of the manicured lawns were starting to look a little less than perfect, mossy and waterlogged, while others were beginning to splay mud across the neighbouring footpaths and driveways. The house across the street had a cracked drainpipe that was gushing water onto the front porch, while the sewer cover in the middle of the road was barely containing an ominous bubbling sound.
Dean parked the Impala a little further out from the kerb than he would usually have done, nervous of the water gushing down the overworked gutter.
Opening the passenger door, Sam was glad he had such long legs, as jumping the steady stream of rainwater would not have been easy for a person of regular size.
Stepping over the torrent with relative ease, his feet sunk into the muddy verge lining the sidewalk as he stood looking up at the house they were hopefully about to enter. The curtains were all drawn upstairs, as if to physically demonstrate that this was a house still in mourning, and Sam felt like some inhuman ghoul about to intrude on this family’s grief.
Losing a parent wasn’t easy.
Almost unconsciously, he glanced back over his shoulder to check what had happened to Dean, while stepping onto the firm concrete of the sidewalk.
His brother was still sat in the car, rooting through the box of fake IDs he kept in the glove compartment.
Sam shook his head uncomfortably, wiping rain from his forehead as it dripped from his hair and into his eyes.
A splosh at his side announced Dean’s arrival, and Sam glanced over at him with a concerned look on his face.
Dean frowned, feeling like a little kid caught feeding sausages into the VCR. “What?” he asked innocently, the expression on Sam’s face almost disapproving. “I didn’t do anything…”
“Yet,” Sam added, again looking up at the Bradshaw house, where he thought he’d briefly glimpsed a face at one of the windows.
Dean’s frown deepened. “What?” he repeated, hunching his shoulders and stuffing his hands in his jeans pockets, as if that could really protect him from the rain.
Sam met his questioning gaze levelly. “So what lie are we using this time?” he asked resignedly. This was one of the less ‘perky’ parts of their job: lying to innocent bystanders.
Dean shrugged. “Power company interns,” he replied, producing two ID cards, seemingly from nowhere.
Sam peered at the cards in disbelief. “No way you had time to make those…” he began, looking closely at the cards before giving Dean an even more disbelieving look. “These say ‘Oklahoma’ on them, Dean,” he observed. “We’re in Nevada, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Ever heard of recycling?” Dean returned. “College geek like you…” When Sam merely continued to stare at him disapprovingly, he added, “Hey, we’re on a budget here. They’re not going to notice.”
“Mr Bradshaw worked for the power company,” Sam pointed out.
Dean looked down at the ID cards thoughtfully. “Maybe we should try a different approach…” he admitted.
“You think?” Sam agreed with a grimace. “How about the truth for a change?”
It was Dean’s turn to return the disbelieving stare. “Ah, excuse me, ma’am,” he said in his best authoritative tone. “But some cranky dead bitch of an ancestor of ours is really pissed off about something your husband may have done and is going to drown this entire town tonight if we don’t figure out what that was and make it up to her…”
Sam pulled a face. “We don’t have to put it like that…” he objected, glancing back at the house and again seeing that face in the window. “But whatever we’re gonna do, we need to do it now, otherwise I think these people are going to be calling the cops pretty soon…”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed, following Sam’s gaze. “I noticed.” He shrugged in defeat. "OK Mr ‘I-Always-Tell-The-Truth’. Dust off those puppy dog eyes of yours ’cause I think we’re gonna need them…”
That's it for now! Until we meet again.......
burstynout - April 9, 2006 09:18 PM (GMT)
I just got throught the first bit. Sorry I haven't read this sooner. I don't know how I missed it.
I just hadda say that when you mentioned the desert and then started the story with Dean chasing the dark man, I so had flashbacks to Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I think that whole thing, thousands of pages of it, starts with something like, "The man in black ran across the desert, and Roland followed."
Okay, that's not a direct quote since I haven't read that book in like fifteen years, but yeah, I so got that vibe, and this story is great so far. You write the boys so well. I don't know when I'll get a chance to review again, but I'm out here reading, and I just wanted you to know that I like what you're doing. Then, I always like what you're doing.
irismay42 - April 10, 2006 05:00 PM (GMT)
I know it's a bit naughty to reply on your own thread, but who cares?
Not read that Stephen King book, although I've heard of it! (I can remember the cover - used to work in a library when I was very young!) Maybe I just absorbed it through the pages...!
irismay42 - April 10, 2006 05:24 PM (GMT)
Don't feel quite so bad for posting on my own thread now I'm actually going to add the next bit of the story too!
Wake up at the back! ;)
“Took you long enough.” The girl stood with her hand on her hip, peering at them through the gap between the door and the doorjamb. “I didn’t think you were ever going to pluck up the courage to come knock on the door.”
Sam and Dean exchanged an uncertain glance, Dean waiting for Sam’s ‘Honesty is the best policy’ speech, while Sam wondered whether one of Dean’s less-than-convincing cover stories may have been the way to go after all.
“Well?” the girl prodded, her tone of voice uncomfortably reminding Dean of Missouri Moseley.
It wasn’t that he’d been scared of Missouri. Well maybe just a little. And it hadn’t been the whole psychic thing. That hadn’t really phased him either. Well not that much. No, what had freaked him out most about Lawrence’s least-fake psychic was the whole ‘don’t even bother opening your mouth because I know you’re going to lie to me’ thing. Not being able to lie to someone: now that was something to get freaked out about.
He regarded the girl in front of him thoughtfully. She was maybe fifteen, although the expression on her face would not have been out of place on someone at least forty; tall for her age, with dark afro-style hair scraped back into a ponytail at the back of her head, held in place by a hair band which sported an incongruous yellow flower that clashed horribly with her bright orange t-shirt. She was kind of pretty in a geeky sort of way.
Dean shuddered as he suddenly imagined Missouri looking like this as a teenager. God, Missouri as a teenager: what would that have been like?
No way he was lying to this girl. She’d know. He just knew it.
When Sam still didn’t open his mouth, Dean managed, “We’re sorry to bother you,” realising he’d lied already as he included Sam in his apology with an inclination of his head. Jeez, get a grip of yourself, man, he thought to himself. She’s not Missouri. She can’t read your mind…
The girl was starting to look impatient. “Hey, I’m not psychic you know,” she said, causing Dean to do a double take, while Sam’s eyebrows nearly shot off his head, suggesting to Dean that he and his brother may well have been sharing a thought or two themselves. She tapped her foot. “Unless you tell me what you want, I can’t help you with it.”
Dean smiled weakly. Right. Needed to tell her what he wanted. “Yeah,” he stumbled, awkwardly. “Erm, this is the Bradshaw house, right?”
The girl’s expression instantly became one of suspicion. “Who wants to know? If you’re more reporters, I’m calling the cops right now, I swear!”
“We’re not reporters,” Sam said, suddenly finding his voice. “We – ” he glanced at Dean. “We’re kind of – um – freelance investigators…” Dean raised an eyebrow at this description. “We’re looking into Thomas Bradshaw’s death.”
The girl’s face hardened slightly. “He jumped off a bridge,” she said, setting her jaw and gripping the edge of the door a little tighter. “What’s to investigate?”
“You believe that?” Dean asked carefully.
The girl regarded him thoughtfully, pushing her glasses further up her nose. “You going to tell me something different?”
Dean made as if to answer, but bit off the words at the sound of another voice. A male voice. And it didn’t sound too happy.
“Lexie? Who are you talking to?”
The girl inclined her head backwards slightly, eyes never leaving Dean’s, as if still holding out for an answer. “It’s Alex!” she returned with a sigh and a roll of the eyes, neatly sidestepping the question.
Dean glanced quickly at Sam, who was grinning. How many times had he used that exact tone of voice when Dean had insisted on calling him ‘Sammy’? “It’s Sam!”
A large hand appeared on the door above Alex’s head, opening it wider to reveal a well-built teenaged boy almost as tall as Sam and a lot broader. He eyed Dean and Sam suspiciously, Dean immediately recognising the ‘Protective Big Brother’ look. Had he had a younger sister, he was pretty sure he’d have had the exact same expression on his face had he caught her chatting to two strange young men on the doorstep.
And they didn’t come much stranger than Sam and Dean.
Recognising a kindred spirit, Deal realised a prompt explanation was probably in order. “Hey,” he said. “I’m Dean, this is my brother Sam,” figuring introductions were as good a place to start as any.
The young man continued to frown at them unflinchingly, and Dean found himself wondering uncomfortably if he and Sam would be able to take this kid in a fight.
“They’re investigators,” Alex explained, and Dean couldn’t tell whether she believed that or not. He hoped she did: he still couldn’t shake the idea that lying to her would have been as pointless as lying to Missouri. “They say they’re looking into Dad’s death,” Alex continued.
The boy’s frown deepened to a look of downright hostility, and he moved as if to slam the door in their faces, but Dean was too quick for him, instinctively jamming his foot in the threshold. The boy looked momentarily taken aback, but didn’t look as if he planned to rip Dean’s arms out of their sockets and beat him over the head with them.
That was always a good sign as far as Dean was concerned.
“We want to help you,” Dean managed, trying to sound as sincere as Sam always seemed to sound.
The boy continued to glare at him, before turning his glare down towards Dean’s foot.
Dean smiled awkwardly, withdrawing the offending limb from the Bradshaws’ doorway as further proof of his sincerity. To his relief, the door remained open. “Didn’t catch your name…?” he said to the boy.
“Didn’t give it,” the boy replied curtly.
“It’s Nathan,” the girl provided, pulling a face at her brother.
Nathan pulled a face right back. “And this is my little sister Lexie – ”
“Alex!” the girl corrected.
“Alex,” Nathan conceded.
The two pairs of siblings continued to stare at each other, as if each was willing the other to crack first, until Sam finally broke the silence, Dean sighing mentally in relief.
“We don’t want to intrude,” was Sam’s opening gambit. “We know this must be a difficult time for your family. But…” he glanced sideways at Dean. “We think Stillwater may be in danger, and your father’s death might have something to do with that.”
Nathan’s stony silence remained unbroken, but Alex raised an eyebrow. “How so?” she asked.
Sam shrugged. “This rain,” he said, glancing briefly out onto the street where, if anything, the downpour seemed to be intensifying. “It’s not exactly normal, right?”
It was Nathan and Alex’s turn to exchange a glance. “What, you’re a weather man too?” Alex asked.
Sam smiled awkwardly. “Not exactly,” he conceded. “But you must be able to see – something weird’s going on here. Something that started when your father returned from Europe…”
Nathan and Alex exchanged another glance, and this time, Sam could see that something he’d said had hit a nerve.
Nathan opened the door wider. “You’d better come in.”
Thomas Bradshaw’s study was an echo of the man himself: ordered, organised, tidy; a place for everything and everything in its place.
Except for the desk.
Sam raised an eyebrow as he took stock of the seething mass of paper covering almost every square inch. In fact, the only item on the desk that wasn’t buried under hurriedly scribbled notes or crumpled yellow legal paper was the computer keyboard. Even the monitor was almost totally submerged under a crazy collage of Post-It notes in every shade imaginable.
Alex and Nathan followed Sam and Dean into the room, the girl shuddering visibly at the state of her father’s desk. “He was such a neatness freak,” she said, shaking her head slowly and wrapping her arms about herself. “But this…” she trailed off, staring at the desk sadly. “It just wasn’t like him.”
Dean absently picked up one of the pieces of paper from the top of the pile, looking over at Alex and Nathan, who kept glancing over his shoulder.
“Listen,” the young man said, fidgeting nervously. “Our Mom’s gonna be home soon. I’m not sure how we’re going to explain letting two perfect strangers in here…”
“Don’t worry,” Dean tried to sound as comforting as possible. “We have that effect on people; I guess we just ooze trustworthiness.” When Nathan just looked at him blankly, he added, “And we’ll be quick.” He glanced over at Sam hopefully. “Won’t we, Sam?”
Sam didn’t answer straight away, busy trying to make sense of some of the paperwork.
“Sam?” Dean prodded, causing Sam to look up at him absently.
“Uh-huh,” he said, eyes returning immediately to the paper mountain.
“My brother has an affinity with the written word,” Dean explained, smiling. “Had to promise our Dad I wouldn’t use the word ‘geek’ too much when he was around…”
“I can hear you, you know,” Sam assured him, continuing to look through the papers.
Alex’s hand had gone back to her hip. “Do you guys even know what you’re looking for?” she asked, again sounding disturbingly like Missouri.
“Yes,” Dean answered immediately, just as Sam answered, “No.”
The two of them exchanged a quick ‘huh?’ look that caused Dean to admit, “Well, not exactly…” while Sam modified his answer to “Maybe.”
Dean threw his brother a ‘man, you are so bad at lying’ look, while Sam’s just said, ‘man, you so need to work on this whole telling the truth thing’.
Sam shrugged, and continued to sift through the paperwork, while Dean attempted a more person-oriented approach.
“So,” he said, again smiling awkwardly at Alex and Nathan. “When your Dad came back from Europe. You notice anything odd – anything different – about his behaviour?”
Alex glanced sidelong at her brother. “He’d been worried about the drought for a long time,” she said cautiously. “He’d been warning his bosses at the power company for months – ”
“That the town was running out of water?” Dean asked.
Alex nodded. “He couldn’t get anyone to listen to him.”
“And that’s why he went to Europe?” Sam put in. “To find some other way to save the town?”
Nathan looked distinctly uncomfortable, as if he really didn’t feel right telling them anything. But Alex nodded her encouragement. “He said he had a lead on something that might fix the problem,” he said, shaking his head. “And when he came home, he just seemed like a different person, like all the worry and the stress had been lifted off his shoulders.”
“And that’s when it started raining?” Dean asked.
Nathan nodded. “The day he came home.” He exchanged another nervous glance with Alex, who continued,
“But the rain wouldn’t stop, and he started to get kind of – well – frantic. Kept saying he didn’t know how to stop it, he didn’t understand…”
“Understand what?” Sam seized on Alex’s words just as Dean remembered the old woman’s repeatedly asking him whether he understood her.
Alex again glanced at her brother. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “He – he kept rambling on about this weird dream he kept having…”
Dean paled visibly. “Dream?” he echoed, stomach lurching. Sam had stopped squinting at Bradshaw’s notes and was looking at his brother. Dean was almost scared to return the look.
“It was stupid,” Nathan said.
“It was?” Dean asked.
“Yeah,” Nathan continued. “He kept dreaming he jumped off a cliff and drowned.”
Dean felt like someone had just poured a bucked of ice water down the back of his shirt. “He – he did?” his voice sounded strangled, and the fake smile that had been plastered to his face for the last couple of minutes slipped noticeably.
“Why is that stupid?” Sam asked, as nonchalantly as he could.
Nathan shrugged his broad shoulders. “Dad was a caver,” he explained. “Knew every cliff and every cave within fifty miles of here like the back of his hand. And he was the best swimmer I ever knew. If he was going to jump off a cliff, he’d know which cliff he could jump off relatively safely. And he sure as hell wouldn’t drown.”
“How can you safely jump off a cliff?” Dean asked, also trying to sound casual.
“Water level. Undercurrent. Rocks…” Alex answered.
“So how come he drowned?” Dean instantly regretted asking such a stupid question. “I mean – er – if he was such a good swimmer and all…” he trailed off, angry at himself for causing the pained expressions on the Bradshaw kids’ faces.
“Exactly,” Nathan managed at last. “Which is why the cops said his death must have been a suicide. Reckoned no way he should have drowned in the river, knowing it as well as he did. Not unless he wanted to drown.”
“So he knew the area where he drowned really well, not just the water?” Sam asked curiously.
“He had a favourite spot somewhere round there,” Alex answered. “Near Churchill Bridge someplace. A cave he used to go to all the time when he was a kid.”
“Dean?” Sam interrupted suddenly, pulling a glossy flyer from under a thick sheaf of unused legal paper. Dean shuffled round the desk to take a look, eyes widening in disbelief as he read the caption on the front: ‘Welcome to Winchester Cathedral’.
“Ah man…” he muttered.
“There’s a photography stub too,” Sam added. “You know, when you pay extra to take photographs…”
“What’s the date?”
Sam turned the ticket stub over. “July 10th,” he replied, before looking up at the Bradshaws. “Did your Dad use film or a digital camera?”
“Digital,” Alex replied. “Your typical gadget man.”
Sam indicated the computer. “Would his pictures be on here?”
“Mind if I look…?”
Again Alex and Nathan exchanged a look.
“I guess,” Nathan replied, grudgingly.
As Sam powered up the computer, Dean’s attention was caught by a slip of pink paper buried right at the bottom of the pile. Pulling it out, he realised it was an invoice.
“University of Nevada Department of Anthropology,” he muttered, looking up at the Bradshaws, a frown creasing his forehead. “Why’d your Dad owe them money?” he asked.
Nathan and Alex shrugged.
“Dr Maurice Greenbaum,” Dean read the name off the bottom of the invoice thoughtfully, before holding the piece of paper up to their hosts. “Can we borrow this?” has asked.
“Hey, knock yourself out,” Alex said.
Dean pocketed the invoice, peering over Sam’s shoulder at the photographs displayed on the computer screen. “That’s the floating cathedral, right?” he said, pointing at a group of pictures showing the inside of the church.
“Yeah, I guess,” Sam agreed, scrolling through photo after similar-looking photo. Dean’s attention began to wane after the twentieth stained glass window, and it was only when the pictures began to move through a series that looked as if they had been taken in a dingy old crypt that Sam managed to get him to re-focus with a sharp elbow to the ribs.
“Whoa,” he muttered. “What the hell is that?”
“I told you, Dad was a caver,” Alex’s voice in his ear almost made Sam jump out of the chair, the girl having appeared from nowhere as her curiosity got the better of her. “He said he’d been in some good ones in England…” she trailed off, as various images of half-submerged caves scrolled across the screen.
“Said he found something in one of them,” Nathan offered, just as Sam clicked to enlarge a particular photo that had caught his and Dean’s attention at exactly the same time.
“I’ll say he did,” Sam agreed, staring at the computer screen with a mixture of awe and disbelief.
“That what I think it is?” Dean asked slowly, for a second wondering whether his morbid upbringing was prejudicing his interpretation of the image in front of him.
“Yeah,” Sam confirmed. “And I’ll bet we can guess who it belonged to…” he added, looking up at his brother meaningfully.
It took Dean a second to follow Sam’s train of thought, then it was as if a light bulb had come on behind his eyes. “No way!” he burst out. He peered a little more closely at the picture, before adding, “Well, at least now we know why Grandma’s so pissed off…”
“If it’s genuine,” Sam added.
“Maybe that’s why Mr Bradshaw was hanging around University Anthropology departments?”
Sam was about to agree, when Nathan, who had suddenly appeared behind his sister, asked “What is that?” while frowning at the photograph.
“It’s a bone, dummy,” Alex admonished him.
“A bone?” Nathan repeated, peering harder at the screen, where a long, yellowing object sat atop a boulder, carefully unwrapped from a mound of filthy grey rags. “That’s a bone?” he asked.
Sam nodded. “Hmm,” he muttered, opening up Bradshaw’s e-mail account. “Looks human, too…” he added, e-mailing himself a copy of the photograph before printing a hard copy.
“Arm,” Dean agreed, having burnt enough of the things to know one when he saw one. It was only on looking away from the screen that he realised Alex and Nathan were staring at him.
“How’d you know that?” Alex asked, as if suddenly suspecting she may in fact have invited a serial killer with a penchant for dismemberment into her house.
Dean smiled awkwardly. “Biology,” he said. “Always my best subject.” He grinned at Mini-Missouri, content in the knowledge that he still hadn’t really lied to her.
Depending on how you looked at it.
The girl folded her arms across her chest and raised a knowing eyebrow. “Uh-huh,” she said. “I’ll bet.”
“OK,” Sam interrupted, standing so suddenly Nathan took a startled step backwards. “I think we’ve got what we came for.”
“We do?” Dean queried, looking down at the half ton of paperwork still strewn across the desk that they hadn’t looked at yet.
Sam gave him a ‘shut up and follow my lead’ look, the sort of look Dean didn’t remember Sam ever giving him before the kid’s sojourn at Stanford. Any other time, he might have berated him for treating him like he didn’t have two brain cells to rub together, but Dean figured that could probably wait until later, when he didn’t run the risk of tipping these kids off to what their late father may have gotten himself killed over.
Convincing Alex and Nathan they were investigators was one thing; convincing them their Dad was a grave robber was something else entirely.
In the words of Mr Schwarzenegger 'I'll be back...!"
betinedemon - April 10, 2006 06:01 PM (GMT)
Great update. Can't wait to see what happens next!
irismay42 - April 14, 2006 05:40 PM (GMT)
Haha, I think I might have found a cliffhanger. I knew I'd left one lying around here somewhere...
The next chapter after this has an even bigger one... You wait around for days, and then two cliffhangers come along at once. Typical.
“So this St Swithun guy,” Dean recapped, pulling the Impala out into the waterlogged street casually, acutely aware that Alex and Nathan were still watching their every move from the porch. “You said his bones had been scattered, right? No-one knew where?”
Sam nodded, smiling half-heartedly at the Bradshaw kids as they began to recede into the rear view mirror. “Yeah. Until now, apparently.”
Dean glanced sideways at him. “So that’s what the old lady’s pissed about?” he clarified. “That Bradshaw brought one of the Bishop’s bones here?”
Sam frowned. “I don’t know if that’s why she’s angry,” he said. “Maybe just the act of moving the bone is what set her off – like a desecration of St Swithun’s final resting place or something. Maybe she doesn’t really care where the bone was moved to…”
“Yeah, but that must have been Bradshaw’s plan from the start,” Dean pointed out. “The legend says it rained for forty days and forty nights because the Bishop was angry that his bones had been moved. So that must have been what led Bradshaw to try and find them – or one of them at least. He was a desperate guy – maybe he figured if he brought the bone here, the Bishop would get pissed off again and hey presto – forty days of rain to solve Stillwater’s drought problem.”
Sam nodded grudgingly, and Dean figured he’d lay off kicking the kid’s ass for treating him like an idiot for the umpteenth time. “Maybe,” Sam said thoughtfully. “Maybe he didn’t expect quite so much rain.”
“Or that it’d be the mad egg lady doing the rain dance.”
“That would make sense,” Sam conceded. “No way would he have expected the pious, caring Bishop of Winchester, friend of the common man and Patron Saint of Drought Relief, to be vengeful enough to want to drown a whole town.”
“Just enough rain to get the reservoir back up to capacity.” Dean seemed about to add something, when suddenly he changed his mind, instead laughing mirthlessly.
Sam’s forehead crinkled still further. “What?” he asked.
Dean glanced over at him. “Sammy,” he said. “Granted we’ve seen some pretty weird stuff in our time. But do you realise just how crazy this sounds?”
Sam shrugged. “Yeah,” he agreed casually. “So? Any crazier than a vengeful spirit trapped in a mirror who delights in causing people with dirty little secrets to bleed from their eyes? Or a genetic freak who can mutate into anyone it pleases? Or a hick family hunting people for sport – ?”
“Now that one’s really crazy,” Dean admitted, suppressing a shudder at the thought of that red hot poker millimetres from his eye. He rubbed the scar on his shoulder absently. “So why the dreams?” he asked at length. “If Thomas Bradshaw had the same dream I did, why did he wind up taking a swan dive off the bridge?”
“You didn’t jump off the cliff in your dream,” Sam pointed out. “You pushed me…”
“Thanks for the reminder,” Dean said tersely. “So Bradshaw didn’t have the same dream I did?”
“Not exactly the same,” Sam said, thinking for a second. “Which would make sense if the old lady was warning you to stay away… If she’s a water wraith it’d be in her nature to lure her victim’s to a watery death.”
“Like the other five dead guys.”
Sam nodded, biting his lip. “But I don’t get why she targeted them. There doesn’t seem to have been much point if she was going to drown the whole town anyway.”
“And I don’t think my dream was a warning,” Dean added, meeting Sam’s inquisitive glance. “She wanted me here. But not to drown me.”
“No,” Sam said, laughing ironically. “She wanted to drown me!”
Dean grinned. “And who can blame her? I’ve thought about doing the same thing a few times… That’s what they do with runts, you know.”
Sam pulled a face at him, before deciding to ignore his comment totally. “We’ve only got until tonight to save the town, remember?” he said. “We need to figure this out pretty fast, man.” The expression on Sam’s face suggested he didn’t seem entirely confident in their ability to do that. “We need to figure out what it is she wants us to do. If she kept asking Bradshaw if he understood, like she did you, maybe he didn’t… Maybe that’s why he drowned.”
“Hate to break it to you, kiddo,” Dean said. “But we don’t understand what she wants us to do either.”
“No,” Sam agreed. “That could be a problem.”
Dean contemplated their next move. “So how about this Doctor at the University? Three guesses why a guy with an ancient bone would be visiting a Professor of Anthropology…”
“Ninth Century,” Professor Maurice Greenbaum confirmed excitedly, eyes magnified to owl-like proportions by the half-inch thick glasses perched on the end of his overly-long nose. “That’s what I said to Tom, and that’s what I’m saying to you.”
Sam exchanged an ‘ah crap’ look with Dean before prodding, “And Mr Bradshaw paid you to carbon date the bone for him?”
The Professor looked at him with the haughty contempt of a tarantula considering a money spider. “Son, if Tom Bradshaw had actually paid me, you wouldn’t have that invoice in your hand, now would you?”
Sam glanced down at the slip of paper clutched in his fist and smiled dumbly. “Right,” he muttered, suddenly feeling as small and insignificant as he had on his first day of Stanford.
Dean glanced over at him, picking up on his brother’s obvious Professor-Anxiety and stepping in to rescue him. “Mr Bradshaw tell you where the bone came from?” he asked cautiously, barely controlling the urge to smack the condescending stiff for causing the abashed expression on Sam’s face.
Greenbaum frowned, sighing dramatically. “England,” he said. “That’s all he’d tell me. And God knows I tried to get him to loan it to the University for further research…”
“But that was a none-starter?” Dean interrupted.
Greenbaum seemed slightly taken aback at Dean’s lack of deference, used to students hanging on his every word, his every thought.
He liked the taller, more respectful boy a lot more than this one.
“He said he already had a use for it,” Greenbaum managed reluctantly. “He was very cagey about the whole thing, actually. God knows what he was planning to do with it.”
“Probably,” Dean muttered. “But I think He’s the least of our worries…”
“Crossing back into Stillwater…” Sam announced, eyes riveted to his watch as the mid-afternoon sun beat down on them from a merciless blue sky.
Dean’s fingers tensed on the steering wheel. He was ready for it this time…
Despite his readiness, Dean still didn’t manage to avoid instinctively ducking slightly as the first huge raindrops landed with an unnatural boom on the Impala’s roof. “Man, that’s freaky,” he reiterated, shaking his head as he flipped the window wipers into overdrive. He frowned slightly as the action enabled him to see further down the dingy road in front of them. “Sure is a lot of traffic coming out of Stillwater,” he observed, understating somewhat as car after car began to pass them heading out of town.
“This does not look good,” Sam said, taking note of the number of vehicles that seemed to have the entire contents of the occupants’ house strapped to the roof.
“No,” Dean agreed, inclining his head in the direction in which they were heading. “And neither does that.”
A cop with a plastic cap strapped over his hat and a yellow plastic cape slung ineffectually over his uniform was standing in the middle of the road, waving down oncoming vehicles.
“I think he wants us to stop,” Sam hazarded, taking some kind of perverse comfort in stating the obvious as he nervously caught sight of the road beyond the officer. It seemed completely submerged under a good few inches of muddy water for several feet ahead of them, almost as if someone had decided to build a ford in the middle of the highway during the three hours they’d been away from Stillwater.
The cars heading in their direction were negotiating the standing water carefully, but couldn’t avoid spraying everything within the surrounding few feet of their tyres with mud and ooze as they hit each pothole.
“Man,” Dean grumbled. “We sort out this Egg Chick’s problem, she is so gonna owe my car a wash ‘n’ wax…” He rolled down his window for the police officer, braking as gently as he could to avoid splattering the poor guy with even more mud than already covered his uniform. Which he regretted the second the cop splayed a filthy hand against the Impala’s roof while he leaned slightly into the car.
Dean’s grip on the steering wheel tightened with the effort of restraining himself from barking at the guy to get his dirty mitts off his paintwork. Gritting his teeth slightly, he smiled up at the officer, who grimaced in return.
“You boys might want to consider turning around,” the cop advised them, the plastic cap covering his hat dripping incessantly onto the Impala’s upholstery.
Dean’s knuckles whitened.
Sam, sensing an imminent explosion, asked in his most innocent voice, “Is there a problem, officer?”
The cop tipped his hat back slightly, causing the trapped rainwater to slide backwards down his neck.
Dean barely suppressed a grin. Revenge was a dish best served wet and muddy…
“Flood warning,” the cop replied, hunching his shoulders as the water trickled down his back. “The whole town’s on alert.”
“The reservoir?” Sam asked, more than casual alarm in his voice.
The cop shrugged. “Not yet,” he said resignedly. “But its only a matter of time. No, the river’s burst its banks in a couple of places. Most of the town’s OK for now, but Southland Bridge is out.”
“What about Churchill Bridge?” Dean found himself asking for no apparent reason.
Sam spared him an inquisitive look, but Dean continued to look up at the policeman.
“Still passable for now,” the cop replied.
“So not everyone’s leaving?” Sam asked, half hoping they’d be heading for a ghost town – it would certainly relieve some of the pressure if there weren’t quite so many lives at stake.
The cop shrugged again. “Can’t force people to leave their homes,” he said with an odd grunt. “There’s always gonna be some wanna bury their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.”
Sam nodded. “Well,” he said, flashing his most disarming smile. “Thanks for the warning. Maybe we’ll just go and pick up our stuff and head straight back out.” He smiled again, the ghost of Normal College Guy Sam berating him for lying to an officer of the law.
The cop straightened. “Suit yourself,” he said, finally removing his muddy hand from the Impala’s roof and waving them on. “Don’t leave it too long though.”
“We won’t,” Sam smiled again, elbowing Dean in the ribs in an attempt to silence the string of curses emanating from between his brother’s gritted teeth. “Just doing his job, man,” he muttered under his breath, still smiling at the cop as Dean put the car into gear and pulled away.
“Yeah, well,” Dean growled, winding up his window just in case the cop heard him and decided to call them back. “He can go do his job over someone else’s upholstery.”
“Dude,” Sam said, trying to ignore the pained grimace on Dean’s face as he edged the Impala through the newly-flooded stretch of road. “Biblical flood imminent; evil English chick; missing bone of St Swithun… You gotta focus!”
“I am focussed,” Dean protested. “But right now, I’m focussed on not messing up my paint job!”
Sam shook his head disbelievingly, while Dean continued to grumble all the way back to the motel.
“OK,” Sam said, cracking his knuckles so loudly it made Dean wince. “Other five dead guys…” He slipped easily back into Research Overdrive Mode, fingers tapping rhythmically on the laptop’s keys as the motel room and the big brother looking over his shoulder began to melt into mere background noise.
As Sam scrolled through various news sites, Dean’s attention was drawn to the copy of the photograph of St Swithun’s bone that Sam had printed off at the Bradshaws'.
At least now, thanks to Professor Condescending-Asshole, they could be pretty sure the bone was genuine. Now they just needed to figure out what they were supposed to do about it.
Dean sat down heavily next to Sam, the rickety table lurching dangerously, causing his brother to frown at him over the top of the computer screen. Dean ignored the look, instead picking up the photograph and staring at it, as if that would provide the answer.
“Jeez, Grandma,” he muttered. “What the hell do you want me to do with this thing?”
Sam broke in on his thoughts. “Those five other guys?” he said. “Four of them worked for NevTech – on Bradshaw’s research staff.”
Dean whistled. “They go with him on his little field trip?”
Sam nodded. “Oh yeah,” he confirmed.
Dean frowned. “What about the fifth guy?” he asked.
Sam clicked through a few more pages of rubbish before replying, “Simon Wilson. Senior at Stillwater High School.”
Dean’s frown deepened. “A kid?” he sounded surprised.
Sam nodded again. “Went into the water under Churchill Bridge, washed up in some swamp downstream.”
“Why would Granny Winchester drown some random kid?” Dean wondered.
Sam squinted at his screen for a second, shrugging. Then, “Huh,” he said, looking back up at Dean. “Maybe not so random. Simon Wilson was the eldest son of Karen Wilson – Thomas Bradshaw’s deputy.”
“Eldest son?” Dean echoed, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling.
“Yeah,” Sam confirmed. “Looks like the water wraith – if that’s what she is – skipped right over the only female member of the team and went straight for the oldest male in her household – her husband died two years ago.”
“I’m rapidly going off this whole Ninth Century misogyny thing…” Dean muttered.
Sam’s brow creased as he read the news article displayed on the screen. “Odd though,” he observed thoughtfully.
“What is?” Dean asked, eyes flitting unconsciously back to the photo of St Swithun’s bone as the rain seemed to double its efforts to smash through the motel room window.
“Doesn’t fit the pattern,” Sam explained, scrolling down the page.
Sam finally tore his eyes from the screen to look at his brother. “The first three victims all drowned in the general vicinity of the reservoir, right?”
Dean nodded. “Yeah…”
“Then there was Bradshaw,” Sam continued. “Jumped off of Churchill Bridge. Then there was this guy – ” he spun the laptop so that Dean could see the photograph of a guy in his late forties displayed there. “ – Ray Henriques. Found in the river just downstream of Churchill Bridge. They figure he probably jumped from one of the hills just down from where Thomas Bradshaw went in…”
“When you say ‘hills’…?”
Sam coughed. “I mean ‘cliffs’,” he corrected, attempting to skim over that part of the story before Dean could get too freaked out and come over all over-protective big brother on him. “But then this Wilson kid,” he continued, deliberately not looking up at Dean. “There were a couple of eye witnesses that said he looked like he was looking for something under the bridge, before he just waded out into the river – which was already close to bursting its banks – and got swept away by the current. They found his body in an area of swampland that had been part of Stillwater until the river changed its course a few years ago and flooded the whole place.”
Dean continued to stare at the bone. “We’re running out of time here, man,” he said quietly, his face taut, worry gnawing at his features. “That’s not the only part of Stillwater that’s going to be under water if we don’t figure out what the hell we’re supposed to do in the next couple of hours.”
Sam sighed, nodding. “I know,” he agreed, looking back down at the picture of St Swithun’s innocuous-looking bone. “OK, so we know it definitely has something to do with the bone: the fact that Bradshaw moved it, or that he brought it here. Maybe we just need to find the thing and burn it…”
“Not if it’s the English chick’s spirit causing the flood,” Dean pointed out.
Sam nodded again, “Yeah, right…” he said, staring back at the photo in the hope that it would somehow bring some kind of inspiration.
Dean was also staring at the picture, chin resting heavily in the palm of his hand. He had that faraway glassy look to his eyes that Sam remembered only too well from when he couldn’t quite get his head around a particular bitch of a High School math problem and was too stubborn to ask for his little brother’s help.
Then, very slowly, Dean raised his head, eyes focussed and alert. “Search pattern…” he mumbled, pulling towards him a badly-printed map on which Sam had marked the locations where the Stillwater drowning victims had last been seen and where their bodies had subsequently been found. Dean looked up at Sam. “It’s a search pattern,” he said, jabbing the map with his finger. “Grandma doesn’t know where the bone is any more than we do!”
“Huh?” Sam said, craning his neck to look at the map from the angle Dean was looking at it.
“That’s what she’s been doing!” Dean burst out. “She’s not been deliberately trying to drown people – she’s been trying to use them to find the bone!”
Sam looked up at him sceptically.
“Look,” Dean traced the points Sam had drawn on the map with his finger. “Victims one through three all jumped into the reservoir, right? At almost equal points around the rim, look…”
Sam nodded. “Yeah, I noticed that,” he said. “But thought it was just a coincidence.”
“No, look,” Dean pointed at the map. “Number four – Thomas Bradshaw. Jumps from Churchill Bridge – here. Number five – Ray Henriques – jumps from the hills – cliffs – whatever – downstream from the bridge. Then number six – Simon Wilson – wades out into the water under the bridge to wash up further downstream than any of them.” He met Sam’s inquisitive gaze evenly. “These guys didn’t randomly jump to their deaths: She was using them to search for the bone. The first three checked out the area around the reservoir; Bradshaw around the bridge; Henriques downstream from the bridge; Wilson under the bridge and down towards the swamp…”
“Wait, wait!” Sam said, waving his hand. “If Grandma doesn’t know where the bone is, how does she know it ‘lies under the water’? Why’s she searching the reservoir and the river – ”
“ – And the swamp,” Dean added. He shrugged. “I dunno. Maybe she just senses the old Bishop’s displeasure or something. She just knows he’s not happy with where he’s ended up …”
“That would kind of make sense,” Sam said. “The whole myth started when St Swithun’s bones were moved into the Cathedral, not outside in the churchyard where the common man could walk over his grave.”
Dean nodded. “So maybe that’s what she means by ‘restore him’. Maybe its not Bradshaw’s moving the bone here, or desecrating the Bishop’s final resting place that’s got her panties in a bunch, but the place where he put the bone.”
Sam inclined his head thoughtfully. “And she wants something more in keeping with the Bishop’s final wishes?” He trailed off, thinking.
Dean was still looking at the bone photo. “All she knows,” he said slowly. “Is that the bone isn’t in a place acceptable to the Bishop. Like underwater, maybe.”
Sam frowned. “How’d you work that one out?” he asked.
“Because all she shows you in the dream is water,” Dean explained. He met Sam’s gaze levelly. “Maybe the first three guys dreamed of the reservoir; Bradshaw dreamed of Churchill Bridge; Henriques saw a cliff, like I did; Wilson saw the river. Sam, she wasn’t luring them to their deaths: she was using them to find the bone, to restore St Swithun to a suitable resting place. She’s not a water wraith at all.”
Sam’s eyes lit up suddenly. “The Wilson kid,” he said. “The last victim. He was looking under the bridge… Isn’t that where Alex said her Dad had a ‘special place’? A cave under Churchill Bridge?”
Dean frowned. “You think that’s where he hid the bone?”
“Pretty inaccessible to the common man,” Sam reasoned. “Or to the rain. Now the river’s burst its banks, it’s sure as hell going to be underwater. And it might explain what the Wilson kid was looking for…”
Dean held up a hand, a frown lining his forehead. “Doesn’t explain Bradshaw, though,” he said, shoulders slumping in sudden realisation. “Why would he need to jump off of the bridge if he already knew where he’d hidden the bone? He could just have taken Grandma to it, save all the messing around.”
Sam looked momentarily deflated. Just when they thought they were finally on to something…
His gaze drifted back to the photograph as he and Dean both tried to puzzle out their next move.
In fact, they were so deeply wrapped in semi-desperate concentration that the almost unnaturally loud chirruping of Sam’s cellphone nearly made them jump out of their skin.
Sam picked up the phone, frowning at the caller ID displayed on the screen. “Alex?” he said into the phone, exchanging a surprised look with Dean. “Yeah, yeah I know I did,” he said. “Anything we can do to help. That’s why I left you my number…” The surprised look on his face slowly changed to astonishment and then finally concern as he listened intently to what Alex was telling him.
“What’s she saying?” Dean asked, only able to hear the high-pitched squeak emanating from Sam’s phone.
Sam held up a hand to quieten him. “OK,” he said. “OK Alex. Your Mom’s there with you, right? Right. Just try to keep him away from the edge. We’ll be right there.”
Jabbing the disconnect button, Sam jumped up from the table, grabbing his jacket from the back of his chair and pulling it on hurriedly. “We gotta go,” he said urgently, making it to the door in three long strides.
Dean stood uncertainly, pulling on his own jacket as he followed Sam to the door. “What’s wrong?” he asked, noting the concern flooding Sam’s eyes.
“It’s Nathan,” Sam explained, wrenching open the door. “He’s trying to jump off Churchill Bridge.”
Tigress - April 14, 2006 09:51 PM (GMT)
Now at least they have an idea of what they are dealing with, and hopefully Sam won't end up in the water, or Dean for that matter! :D
See you at your next chapter!
irismay42 - April 15, 2006 05:38 PM (GMT)
Necessarily short this bit... Need to get my one big cliffhanger in there........
The Impala’s tyres should have squealed as Dean brought the car to an abrupt halt half way across Churchill Bridge; but instead they just made a horrible squelching sound as they fought for traction on the waterlogged tarmac.
Although the bridge was still mostly intact, the river had reached dangerously high levels, spray and foam crashing violently against the cliffs bordering the far side of the bridge, while on the near side, ever-expanding tentacles of water reached out hungrily in the direction of Stillwater.
As Sam and Dean had driven, somewhat maniacally considering the treacherous conditions, through the half-empty town, the closer they’d got to the river, the more of the place they’d seen under water. While Main Street only had a few inches to contend with, some of the houses in the outlying valley were already under a couple of feet.
And still the rain kept coming, heavier and heavier, pounding mercilessly onto a town which had already surrendered itself to constant rainfall, but had yet to seriously consider the very real threat of complete, catastrophic destruction by flood.
“If we find that bone,” Sam had said, clinging to the dashboard as Dean had flung the car around another treacherous bend. “What do we do with it then?”
Dean had shrugged. “How do I know?” he’d asked. “I just do the driving. You’re the Man with the Plan, college boy.”
Sam had scowled at him. “Then you’d better dust off that halo and start praying God really does show you the way, ’cause I’m coming up empty.”
And here they were on Churchill Bridge, with only an hour until midnight, the final hour before the English spirit’s ‘fortieth night’ deadline, and Sam still didn’t have a clue what he and Dean were going to do to save Stillwater.
He was the Man Without a Plan. And they really needed a plan.
Dean had brought the car to a halt behind a red Toyota that was skewed across the bridge, doors flung hopelessly open causing the internal light to flicker crazily, casting odd shadows all around.
Beyond the car, Sam could make out three figures near the left hand edge of the bridge, the tallest standing perilously close to a section where the railing had been partially swept away by the rapidly-swelling river rushing by underneath. The two smaller figures appeared to be restraining him, hanging on to him with every fibre of their being.
Sam narrowed his eyes and drew in a sharp breath as a sheet of spray smashed into the right side of the bridge, almost knocking him off his feet in the backlash. He felt Dean’s hand at his elbow, and was unsure whether his brother was trying to steady him, or whether he was merely hanging on to avoid being swept away himself.
Either way, Sam found Dean’s contact strangely comforting as he focussed his attention on the desperate family in front of him.
It was a good thing Nathan was such a substantial kid, Sam thought, gauging the boy’s proximity to the edge of the bridge and wincing. Not likely to get swept over the side by one of those freak sheets of water that had nearly just taken him and Dean out.
Alex was standing a little way behind him, clinging to his sweatshirt as if her life depended on it.
But it wasn’t her life in the balance: it was her brother’s.
The anguish on the girl’s face was almost painful to behold, and Sam uncomfortably found himself remembering all the times when they were kids when he and Dean had been on a hunt and his big brother had rushed off to do something rash that could very well get him killed. Sam remembered how he’d felt in those few seconds beforehand, when he’d realised what Dean had been planning, and his chest ached. Yes, he recognised Alex’s expression only too well.
But then he remember seeing the same look on Dean’s face, when Sam had stubbornly stated his intention to summon Bloody Mary, and his chest hurt even more: No way was Alex losing her brother tonight.
“Alex!” Sam yelled through the tumultuous clatter of the rain on the tarmac and the insistent howl of the gathering wind.
The girl turned as Sam and Dean fought their way towards her, legs unsteady as the bridge swayed slightly beneath their feet.
Dean glanced briefly over his shoulder at the Impala, and Sam could tell he was wishing he’d not parked it on the bridge.
“Please!” Alex yelled. “Please help us!”
The woman at Alex’s side looked in Sam and Dean’s direction for the first time, a look of abject terror etched onto her attractive face.
Like her daughter, Sonia Bradshaw was tall and slim, but her feelings of desperation were mirrored in the hair coming loose from the orderly bun at the nape of her neck and the dishevelled office clothes which looked distinctly out of place in the middle of a Biblical rainstorm. Her large eyes were wide and dark with fear – not for herself, but for her son. And her daughter.
Nathan made a sudden move towards the water beneath his feet, causing Sam and Dean to jolt forwards towards him, while his mother tightened the vice-like grip she had on his arm, simply refusing to let him go.
“What happened?” Dean asked, glancing up at Nathan, whose eyes were wild and unfocussed, as if he had no clue where he was.
The kid made another sudden move, and Dean found himself grabbing at his other arm, while Sam had somehow managed to position himself between the boy and the edge of the bridge, the fast-flowing water so near to him it made Dean dizzy.
With his free hand, he grabbed hold of Sammy’s arm, too.
Sam spared him the briefest of glances, but to Dean’s surprise didn’t shrug him off.
“Nathan – ” Sonia was pleading. “Please honey! Not like this! Not like your father!”
Alex turned frightened eyes on Dean as Sam braced himself against her brother, a human railing between the kid and the river he seemed so desperate to join. “He was sleeping,” Alex tried to answer Dean’s earlier question, struggling to make her voice heard over the storm and the terror clawing at her throat. “Next thing I knew, he was heading out the front door in this – ” she indicated the rainstorm, “ – without even putting on a coat! I asked him where he was going, and he had this real spaced-out look on his face, almost as if he was sleepwalking. And then he just said…”
“I have to run or I’ll die!” Nathan supplied.
The dream. Nathan had had the dream.
“Dean – ” Sam began.
“I know,” Dean said, shortly, as Nathan made another lunge towards the water.
It took all four of them to restrain him, Sam pushing against his chest, legs set wide apart to maximise his balance, while Dean seemed more concerned with keeping his brother from going headfirst into the water than with actually hanging on to Nathan.
“That’s all he keeps saying,” Alex told them, desperation mingling with the terror in her voice. “And that’s what he did – ran straight out the door and down the street as fast as he could. That’s when I got my Mom – ” she indicated Sonia, who nodded.
“Sonia,” she introduced herself. “We got straight in the car and followed him here. He didn’t stop once.” She put a hand against her son’s cheek. “I can’t lose my son like I did my husband.”
Dean swallowed hard, the words from his own dream echoing in his head as Nathan repeated them over and over, struggling to get to the water where he knew he needed to be.
Where Dean somehow knew they both needed to be.
“I have to run or I’ll die.”
“No,” Sam said, pushing against the kid with every ounce of strength he had. “No, Nathan! You have to stop running! If you run you’ll die, don’t you see that? You’ll drown, just like your Dad!”
“His bones lie under the water,” Nathan said, eyes barely focussing any more, fixated on the water beneath his feet in awful fascination. “He must be restored.”
“We know that,” Sam assured him, legs aching with the effort of trying to halt Nathan’s forward momentum. “We’re going to take care of it! You don’t need to worry…”
Dean frowned at him, managing to tear his own wandering gaze from the water. “How are we gonna do that, Sam?” he asked. “Realistically? If the bone’s in Tom Bradshaw’s cave, no way we’re getting to it! Not without scuba gear, anyway…”
“Tom’s cave?” Sonia echoed. “What has that to do with anything?”
Sam glanced over at her. “We think your husband hid – something – there that might be causing this rain,” he explained cautiously. “We need to find it.”
Sonia shook her head. “Your friend’s right,” she said, indicating Dean. “It’s under twenty feet of water by now!”
“Where?” Sam asked desperately, seizing on the woman’s words like a life raft. Which he could also have used right about now. “Where is it?”
Sonia pointed in the direction of the far side of the river, to the cliffs where Dean assumed Ray Henriques had plummeted to his death; the cliffs they both seemed to have seen in their dreams.
“Under there,” Sonia said.
Sam looked in the direction she was pointing, before looking back at Dean, silently.
Dean met his gaze evenly. “If it’s there, we gotta get it,” he said, trying to keep the tremor from his voice.
Sam shook his head. “It’s suicide…!” he burst out, the remainder of his words drowned out by the sound of an ominous siren suddenly wailing out into the stormy night.
“What is that?” Dean asked, alarm flooding his voice.
Alex and Sonia exchanged a worried glance.
“It’s the reservoir,” Sonia explained. “Flood alert. The water must have breached containment – ”
“The reservoir’s flooding?” Sam translated.
Sonia nodded, fear totally dominating her features. “It’ll take the whole town…” she trailed off.
Dean and Sam just looked at each other for a long moment.
“We gotta do this – ” Dean began, dark eyes gazing fearfully down into the waters beneath them. “It’s the only way to save the town!”
Sam just stared at him uncomprehendingly. “Dean,” he said, glancing nervously over his shoulder as his heels hovered over the edge of the bridge. Dean momentarily let go of Nathan when it looked like Sam might fall, grabbing his brother by the front of his jacket.
The same jacket he’d been wearing in his dream.
He met Sam’s gaze with his own.
“There has to be another way,” Sam said the words Dean had known he was going to hear, but had been dreading all the same. The words Sam had said in Dean’s dream, the words he’d said before his big brother, the one person he trusted more than anyone else in the world, had pushed him off a cliff into the violent waters below.
Into the waters Dean knew he and Sam had to brave if they were to have any hope of saving Stillwater.
He continued to hold Sam’s gaze, hand still clutching the front of his jacket, his brother’s balance faltering as Nathan continued to push against him.
Sam saw the look in Dean’s eyes, and in that instant knew his brother was going to push him off the bridge. “Dean, there has to be another way,” he repeated, just as an ungodly swell of water smacked into the concrete beneath his feet, tearing at his legs and dislodging them right out from under him.
The next thing Sam knew, he was falling.
Hahahaha!!! I've found the cliff (bridge?) hanger! Hurray!!
jadams04 - April 15, 2006 09:40 PM (GMT)
:evil OMG! i'm totally addicted! you gotta update! .......and fast! AARRGHH!
*eh hem* lovin the story by the way.........
Tigress - April 15, 2006 11:44 PM (GMT)
Um, Irismay42, THAT WAS AMAZING!!!!!!!! I love the way you warped Dean's dream/vision. He didn't push Sam off a cliff, rather that he let him fall from a bridge!
Is Sam going to be O.K? I hope Dean comes to the rescue! :supes Just how good seimmers are they, anyway? I don't think I've ever seen Jensen or Jared swimming, can they? (Jensen and Jared in swimming trunks, ummmm!) :o
I am waiting (un)patiently for your next update.
irismay42 - April 16, 2006 03:36 PM (GMT)
There's no stopping me now... We're into the home straight......
This is probably the second to last part, as I can't figure a way of splitting the last bit up. It's gonna be a biggie! So this one's reasonably short anyway...
Dean’s ears were buzzing.
Run or you’ll die! Run or you’ll die!
He looked down at the swirling waters beneath him, the jagged rocks jutting upwards into the unnaturally fast-flowing river; the pieces of tree and other flotsam speeding beneath the bridge.
Into the terrified eyes of his kid brother.
Dean lay flat on his stomach, his unflinching grip on Sam’s arm the only thing between the kid and a decidedly watery death.
Sam tried to grab Dean’s wrist with his other hand, but his kicking and struggling only succeeded in causing the grip his brother already had on him to slip further down his arm.
Sam glanced down, his feet mere inches from the riotous river, fingers of water reaching up to grab at his ankles as he looked back up into his brother’s unreadable eyes.
For the first time in his life, Sam wasn’t sure what Dean was going to do.
“Dean – !” he cried out, trying not to sound too much like a whiny kid; he knew they had to get the bone. He just didn’t think this was the way to do it.
Just then, a flash of lightning illuminated the scene, reflecting ominously in Dean’s eyes, and Sam felt terror rise in his throat like bile: the terror that his brother might actually let go of him in order to make some suicidal attempt at getting to Bradshaw’s cave.
“You understand now?”
Sam craned his neck, following the direction of the scratchy voice beyond his brother, to where the old woman stood over him, positioning herself between the Winchesters and the Bradshaws.
Nathan shook his head suddenly, as if to dislodge a ringing in his ears, and Sonia took the opportunity to drag him away from the precipice.
“Mom?” Nathan said, looking down at his mother as she clung to his arm with the superhuman strength reserved only for women desperate to protect their offspring. Nathan’s eyes moved to his sister, still clutching a fistful of his sweatshirt. “Lexie? Where am I?”
Sonia promptly burst into tears of relief, pulling her son into a hug and not letting go. “You’re safe, honey,” she sobbed. “You’re safe now.”
Alex glanced over at the old woman who had appeared from nowhere right in front of her, and at the two brothers clinging tenuously to the edge of the bridge. She’d just known there was something odd about those two…
“Dean!” she cried out, taking a hesitant step towards him, eyes flitting to the old woman standing between them. “Have you got Sam?” She tried to move another step closer, to offer any help she could, but the old woman turned her jet black eyes on her, and suddenly she couldn’t move. Eyes widening in fear, she cried out, “Dean! I can’t…”, biting off the rest of her words as the old woman turned her attention back to Dean. Alex sucked in a breath as her feet started to move backwards of their own accord until she was standing with her back pressed against her brother.
The old woman bent slightly towards Dean’s position, ignoring the look of consternation on the young girl’s face. “You understand now?” she asked him. “You understand?”
It was all Dean could hear, the old woman’s voice and the roar of the river.
“You understand now? He must be restored!”
There was another voice.
In the back of his addled brain, Dean thought he recognised it, but all he could see was the water; all he could hear was the other voice.
Let go. Let go.
His head hurt. His arms hurt. What was this dead weight pulling him down, down towards the water?
He had to get to the water.
Let go. Just let go. Go to the water.
He felt his hand slip on something, something slick and wet. And then the second voice was back.
“Don’t let go, Dean!”
There was something there, something besides the water. A dark shape, struggling. That boy. The one he’d seen before. On the clifftop.
“Dean, there has to be another way!”
Another flash of lightning, and Dean looked up, away from the boy’s pleading eyes. The whole horizon was lit up white and scarlet, and for a brief instant, Dean saw something.
Dean saw everything.
“You understand now?”
“Dean, don’t – !”
Dean pulled with every bit of strength he had left in him and more besides, fingers slipping on Sam’s sodden jacket, but finding purchase around his wrist where they gripped like crocodile teeth.
“Hang on, Sammy!” Dean cried, pulling as hard as he could, inching Sam’s arm up towards the edge of the bridge until he was finally able to grab on to it for himself, first with that hand, and then with the other, bringing his elbows up onto the concrete and, with Dean’s help, lifting himself back up over the edge, pulling first one leg and then the other back onto terra firma.
For a second, Sam just lay there panting, eyes closed tightly against the rain, still able to see the white flashes of the lightning even through his eyelids.
He felt a hand grab his shoulder, pulling him up into a sitting position, and then he opened his eyes to stare into Dean’s. They’d lost that glassy, unfocussed look Sam had seen in them when he was hanging off the bridge, but Sam still wasn’t sure what was going on in his brother’s head.
“I – I thought you were going to drop me,” Sam panted, only just realising he was still clinging to Dean’s hand. He didn’t let go, and neither did Dean.
“I was,” Dean replied flatly, meeting his brother’s gaze. “At least, I think I was.” He tried to flash a grin, but didn’t quite get there. “But I think I was planning on jumping in after you, if it’s any consolation…”
“It’s not,” Sam replied truthfully.
“You understand now?”
The batty old woman was still there, and Dean tore his gaze away from his brother to look at her. “Yeah,” he said at length, struggling to his feet with a groan. “Yeah I do.” He pulled Sam up after him, finally letting go of his hand.
“You do?” Sam did a double take.
Another flash of lightning illuminated the horizon.
“Yeah,” Dean replied, staring off downstream as Sam followed the direction of his gaze.
To where a decrepit building way off in the distance was silhouetted starkly against the unnaturally bright sky.
A building with a cross affixed to the roof.
Sam drew in a startled breath. “God will show you the way,” he mumbled.
The old crone smiled, showing pointy teeth. “You understand now.”
She’d found it.
Dean turned and looked at her. “I understand,” he said.
“Forty days and forty nights,” the woman reiterated. “Now. Run or you’ll die!”
Dean recognised the truth in those words now more than ever, as another blast from the reservoir’s flood alert sounded hollowly across the valley.
“Alex!” Dean barked, the girl running towards him just as the old woman again did her disappearing act. Alex pulled up short in surprise, but Dean waved her forward. “That church!” he said, pointing off towards the horizon.
Alex followed the direction of Dean’s finger, just as another crack of lightning conveniently illuminated the area where he was indicating. “St Agnes’?” Alex clarified. “That’s not really a church any more,” she said. “My Dad told me it got flooded when the river changed its course – it’s part of the swamp now.”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “So your Dad knew that place?”
Alex shrugged. “Yeah,” she said. “Like I told you – he knew pretty much all of the waterways around here.”
Dean glanced at Sam, who had caught his drift.
“The bone was never in the cave.”
Dean shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
Sam frowned. “So why did Alex’s Dad jump into the water here?”
Dean spared an apologetic look for the girl. “He didn’t understand, Sam,” he said. “None of them did. All they saw was the water because all she saw was the water. That’s all she could show them. All they knew was that they had to run to the water or they’d die.”
“But Tom Bradshaw knew…”
“…Where the bone was hidden, yes,” Dean agreed. “He knew what was causing all of this. But he didn’t understand what Grandma wanted him to do to stop it. He thought she wanted him to sacrifice himself to save the town… Maybe he thought she was a water wraith, too. That’s what they do, isn’t it? Lure people to their deaths? Maybe he thought it would appease her – appease the Bishop – appease whatever spirit he’d offended…”
“By sacrificing his life,” Sam finished thoughtfully, eyes drawn to the edge of the bridge where he’d almost gone over.
“My Dad didn’t commit suicide?” Alex put in suddenly, an almost incongruous glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Dean sidestepped the question. “He was trying to save the town,” he said, putting a hand on Alex’s shoulder. “That’s all he ever wanted to do.”
Alex nodded, satisfied for now.
“We have to get to that church,” Dean added. “What’s the quickest way?”
Alex surveyed the near side bank of the river, thoughtfully. It was almost totally under water. “The road’s gone that could have taken you there,” she said. “The only other way is towards town. Head for Willow Point. St Agnes’ is maybe a five minute walk – swim – ” she smiled apologetically, “ – from there.”
Dean nodded, squeezing Alex’s shoulder. “Get your Mom and your brother home,” he instructed her. “That’s probably the safest place for you right now.”
When Alex didn’t move, Dean realised she was still looking up at him, waiting for something else.
“And don’t worry,” he added. “It’s going to be OK. I understand now.”
Tigress - April 16, 2006 06:18 PM (GMT)
Dean will always save Sam. And that's the way it is supposed to be.
I can't wasit for your next/last chapter. This one was Great!!!!!!!!!!
See ya :wave
irismay42 - April 17, 2006 12:08 PM (GMT)
Thanks very much to the one or two of you that have managed to make it this far! Don't worry, it's nearly over! B)
As promised, here is the very long last chapter. There's nearly some action in it.
“Dammit!” Dean cursed loudly, slamming on the Impala’s brakes as they hit yet another waterlogged road. Shifting the car into park, he turned to face Sam. “How long?” he asked.
Sam glanced at his watch. “Twenty-five minutes,” he replied, just as the reservoir flood system blared out yet another alert.
As if they needed reminding.
“OK,” Dean said, switching off the engine. “You heard the lady.” He yanked on the door handle. “We run or we die.”
Sam cast an uncertain glance out of the window, at the now heavier-than-torrential rain, deep down inside knowing Dean was right, but reluctant to leave the car all the same. He took a deep breath. “OK, let’s go.”
If it hadn’t been for the almost constant lightning, Dean didn’t think he would have been able to see a foot in front of him, even with the flashlight he held up above his head. He still managed to stumble every now and then, his feet seeming to find every pothole and every submerged tree root they possibly could.
The water was becoming steadily deeper the further into the swamp they ran, at first just tugging on the soles of their shoes, then dragging on their ankles. Now it was up to their knees, and it was becoming harder and harder to maintain a sustained level of forward momentum.
Sam cursed under his breath, and Dean turned to check his brother’s progress. His jacket had caught on an overhanging tree branch, tearing as he tried to free himself.
“That’s what you get for being so ridiculously tall, dude,” Dean said, himself having to duck suddenly as another branch loomed towards his head.
“Right,” Sam said, noting his brother’s close call. “But don’t forget who’ll be able to keep their head above water longest. I’m serious. I’ll take breathing over a torn jacket any day!”
Dean turned back just long enough to pull a face at him, before continuing on, further into the swamp.
“I can see it!” he said, just as the ground suddenly fell away from under his feet, causing him a sharp intake of breath. He stumbled, but managed to remain upright, the water now up to his waist. “God, I always hated swim class,” he muttered, forcing his way towards the church looming darkly in the distance.
Sam stepped carefully down the sharp incline that had so taken Dean by surprise, eyes fixed straight ahead as he tried to convince himself that he hadn’t just seen something dark and shadowy moving in the water to his left.
“Well,” Dean said from up ahead. “I can see why St Swithun’s so ticked off at being dumped here.”
He was standing stock still, looking upwards through the rain, and as Sam joined him, he could see why too.
St Agnes’ wasn’t exactly Winchester Cathedral.
Although it was sinking just the same.
Half of the roof was missing, abandoned birds nests clinging to the rafters as the remaining tiles slid downwards, their moorings rotting away beneath them. The windows had long gone, big gaping holes like black lidless eyes staring out at them from a worn face of cracked plaster and crumbling brickwork. The front steps were completely submerged, one of the large wooden doors hanging at a crazy angle as the water tried desperately to tug it away from its single remaining hinge. The other door had long since been carried away into the swamp.
All that was left intact was the large stone crucifix above the door that Dean had glimpsed from Churchill Bridge.
Dean whistled. “Yeah,” he said, his voice laden with sarcasm. “This is gonna be so easy…”
He glanced at Sam before shaking his head and continuing to push through the steadily-rising water. He was pretty sure he hadn’t imagined it, but in the brief time he’d stood looking up at the church, Dean could swear the water had risen from waist-level up to the middle of his chest.
He took a quick look at his watch, trying awkwardly to keep his arms above the water, if only to keep his watch and his flashlight in working order. Twenty minutes to midnight. They were cutting this one damned close.
Finding the stone steps with his feet, Dean was more than relieved to climb some way out of the water as he entered the pitch black church. He swung the flashlight in an arc around what was left of the building, the huge dark shadows playing on the walls doing little for his equilibrium.
“Man!” Sam burst out, coming up the steps behind him. “OK, can we say ‘creepy’?”
“With a capital ‘creep’,” Dean agreed, shuddering.
He took a few faltering steps up the aisle, the movement causing the standing water to wash lazily against the rotting pews on either side of him as the rain hammering down through the holes in the roof seemed to make the water level rise right in front of his eyes.
“So where d’you reckon Bradshaw would have put this damn bone?” he asked, shining his flashlight around hopelessly. This may have been a small church, but with twenty minutes to watery annihilation, it seemed the size of a cathedral.
Sam shrugged, looking up at the almost completely absent roof thoughtfully. “If Bradshaw had left it up here,” he said. “The Bishop might not have been quite so hacked off – I mean he’d be pretty much outside right?”
Dean shook his head resignedly. “I knew it’d be the damn basement,” he muttered, shining his flashlight around in an effort to identify a doorway. “How much water do you think’s gonna be down there?”
Sam was reluctant to guess, although he had a pretty good idea. He motioned with a nod of his head as his flashlight fell on a darkened wooden door behind the pulpit.
Dean nodded, wading through the rising water towards the door. It was half open, and he hoped that was a good sign that someone had been here recently.
A flash of lightning momentarily lit the whole place up like it was midday, and as Dean tried to push the door further open he could just make out the top of a flight of decidedly rickety-looking wooden stairs leading down into the basement. Where the wood hadn’t already rotted, it looked as if it was about to at any moment, and Dean really didn’t hold out much hope that the stairs would hold his or Sam’s weight.
But then again, seeing as they were almost completely submerged, Dean didn’t think he or Sam would be walking down them any time soon.
Sam followed Dean through the door, shining his flashlight down through the water into the completely flooded basement. “I’d say the bone most definitely lies under the water,” he observed.
Dean nodded. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Problem is, how do we find the thing? It’s too dark down there to see anything underwater.”
Sam thought for a second. “We could take it in turns to look,” he suggested. “One of us stays up here shining the flashlights down through the water – ”
“While the other one hopes he can hold his breath long enough to find the thing,” Dean supplied. He shook his head again. “Alright,” he said, handing Sam his flashlight. “Always wanted to try deep sea diving.”
“Be careful,” Sam said, shining the beams of both lights down through the water.
Dean nodded, grinning. “Always,” he said. “Besides, I ain’t dying in no church.” He took a deep breath, and disappeared beneath the water, swimming away in the general direction of the staircase.
Luckily, the water was reasonably clear, so Sam was fairly confident Dean would at least be able to see something down there.
He tried to follow his brother’s progress with the flashlights, hoping he was at least illuminating somewhere near where Dean was searching, but after about a minute a little niggle of concern started to bubble in the pit of his stomach as he realised he couldn’t make out Dean’s shape any more.
“Dean?” he called uncertainly, confident in his brother’s swimming ability, but not so confident in his ability to not die without air.
He swung the flashlight beams around in something akin to an arcing search pattern, but still couldn’t see any movement under the surface of the water.
Sam glanced at his watch. Dean had been gone too long. He couldn’t possibly still be holding that one breath.
The little niggle of concern started to flare into something akin to panic as Sam noticed ripples starting to form on the surface of the water, ripples that were becoming more and more violent until they just…stopped.
“OK, that’s it,” Sam decided, looking around for somewhere to leave the flashlights before taking a deep breath and heading down into the basement to look for Dean.
He’d been right about being able to see through the water, but it was just so dark down here that the only time he could really make anything out was when he was right on top of it.
After a few seconds of stumbling around in the murkiness, Sam felt his hand brush against something that felt suspiciously like cold flesh. He stopped, narrowing his eyes to try and see what he’d touched, before a flash of perfectly timed lightning enabled him to see only too clearly.
His brother’s eyes were closed, and he seemed to just hang there, barely moving at all, and Sam was pretty sure it wasn’t the dingy lighting causing his lips to look a distinct shade of blue.
Trying not to panic, as he knew that would waste too much of the air still in his lungs, Sam looked his brother over to try and work out what was wrong with him, why he hadn’t swum to the surface. His eyes landed on something entangled around Dean’s ankle, but he couldn’t quite make out what it was.
Working his way down as quickly and as urgently as he was able, Sam reached out to grab at the thing entwined around Dean’s leg, only narrowly avoiding yelping in pain and swallowing a lungful of water as something sharp ripped at his fingers.
Even in the murky underwater gloom, Sam could see his own blood staining the liquid surrounding him. And it took him a second to realise there wasn’t just his blood here – there was Dean’s too.
Another flash of lightning revealed the truth: a small wooden chest stood open, surrounded by copious amounts of barbed wire coiled around its base, obviously put there to dissuade casual onlookers from poking around where they didn’t belong.
This didn’t appear to have stopped Dean from opening the thing and removing its contents however: Sam could see something wrapped in brown cloth that he fervently hoped was St Swithun’s bone wedged in the waistband of his brother’s jeans.
From what Sam could figure, however, Dean may have gotten into the chest, but he hadn’t managed to get away from it without getting tangled up in the barbed wire, which he probably hadn’t seen until it was too late and it had entwined itself around his leg.
Feeling slightly light headed as the oxygen in his lungs began to run out, Sam steeled himself before attacking the wire restraining his brother.
This was going to hurt.
Wincing as the sharp barbs cut into his fingers, Sam pulled, working to disentangle the wire from around Dean’s ankle as quickly as possible. He could just about make out traces of Dean’s blood on the barbs he pulled away, and despite the mess he was making of his own hands, continued to rip at the stuff until his brother’s leg came free.
Grabbing Dean’s arm, Sam swam for the surface as fast as he could go, thankful he’d had the presence of mind to leave the flashlights switched on so that he could at least be sure he was heading in the right direction.
Breaking the surface of the water after what seemed like hours, he took in a huge gulp of air, dragging Dean out of the water behind him in the hope that he’d be conscious enough to do the same.
When he didn’t, Sam grabbed him by the front of his jacket, half swimming, half stumbling up out of the basement, finally dragging Dean back into the church where he hauled him up onto one of the not-yet-submerged pews and laid him down on his back.
Sam again fought the panic welling up inside of him as he finally got a good look at Dean’s face: he was deathly white, his lips blue, and as Sam tried to bring him round by tapping him lightly on the cheek, his own blood staining his brother’s skin scarlet only succeeded in making his face take on an even more deathly pallor.
He wasn’t breathing.
OK, drastic measures.
Sam pinched Dean’s nose and took a firm hold on his chin, forcing his mouth open and his head back. He knew he’d get his ass kicked for doing this, but right now, mouth to mouth seemed Dean’s only option for survival.
It was at this point that Dean coughed and sucked in a violent gulp of air, managing to spit out the words, “Don’t you dare!” before another coughing fit took hold of him, his lungs expelling the water they’d so recently taken in while fighting to take in more oxygen.
Sam laughed, despite the desperate circumstances: he should have known the threat of mouth to mouth would have yanked Dean back to the land of the living.
When the coughing and spluttering had subsided, Dean laid his head back against the damp wood of the pew, considering his brother carefully. “You look like crap,” he said, honestly.
Sam grinned, recognising Dean-speak for ‘thank you’. “Thanks,” he said, pushing dripping hair out of his eyes with bloodied fingers. “So do you,” he added, although relieved to see the colour returning to Dean’s face.
Dean’s expression changed to one of concern mixed with guilt when he caught sight of the state of Sam’s hands. Catching hold of his brother’s wrist to inspect the injuries more closely, he opened his mouth as if to apologise, but Sam pulled away before he could say anything.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, with an embarrassed grin. “You’d have done the same for me.”
Dean knew that was true, but it didn’t make him feel any less guilty for causing his kid brother’s injuries. “Never saw that goddamn wire until it was too late,” he explained sheepishly. “Couldn’t get free of the stuff once it got hold of me.” He glanced down at his own hands, which were also covered in cuts, before sitting up to inspect the injury to his ankle. Peeling back the hem of his torn jeans, he winced as he inspected the tears in his skin.
“Lemme see,” Sam insisted, but Dean pushed him away.
“No time,” he said, remembering the urgency of their situation. “We need to get the good Bishop out of here before Granny Winchester does something Stillwater won’t live to regret.” He removed the cloth-enshrouded object from the waistband of his jeans, carefully unwrapping it to reveal a yellowed human bone. “St Swithun, I presume,” he said, mentally sighing in relief that they’d actually managed to find the thing, before re-wrapping it and making a move to stand up. He winced again at the pressure on his torn up ankle, but grimaced away the pain determinedly.
Sam got to his feet. “So where do we take it?” he asked, glancing about himself. “If it wasn’t for the fact that this churchyard is under three feet of water, I’d have said bury it right here…”
Dean nodded. “Yeah, so would I,” he agreed, before flashing a grin. “But I got another idea.”
“That should do it,” Dean said, shovelling the last mound of dirt over St Swithun’s restless bone before tossing the shovel aside with sore hands.
“I hope this works,” Sam said, glancing at his watch before looking out across the valley. It was three minutes to midnight, and, looking down, Sam could see that the river had completely burst its banks, flooding the entire area as far as the outskirts of Stillwater itself.
As he stood there on the clifftop, so similar to the one still vivid in his memory from that freaky nightmare, Dean offered a silent prayer that this resting place would be in keeping with the Bishop’s – and his wacko cheerleader’s – last wishes. If not, Stillwater was history.
He looked over to the reservoir nervously. As far as he could work out, it hadn’t yet flooded, and from this vantage point, the place where, for Dean at least, this had all started, Stillwater still appeared to be largely in one piece, and even Churchill Bridge stood its ground defiantly.
“Dean…” Sam said suddenly, looking up at the sky just as from somewhere in the distance they heard a clock striking midnight.
Dean followed Sam’s gaze.
The rain had stopped.
Pausing for a second to make sure he hadn’t imagined it, Dean gave a little whoop of victory. “Yes!” he cried. “God bless old Granny Winchester!”
Sam grinned, shaking his head in relief before pulling out his cellphone and dialling. “Alex?” he said, as a voice at the other end of the line offered a shaky ‘hello?’ “You OK?”
Dean could hear Alex’s excited voice from where he stood a foot distant, and Sam had to pull the phone slightly away from his ear to avoid permanent deafness.
“So the reservoir’s not going to flood?” Sam clarified in response to Alex’s babble. He looked over at Dean and grinned broadly. “That’s good news,” he said. Then he frowned. “And Nathan and your Mom?” he asked. “That’s even better. That’s OK, happy to help.” He looked up at Dean, an awkward expression on his face, and Dean could tell he was about to do the unthinkable. “No, it’s kind of what we do…” he said slowly. “Yeah, um, she’s kind of our – our distant relative. Yeah, she is pretty freaky…”
Dean mouthed the word ‘liar’ and Sam grimaced at him.
“OK Alex, I’m glad you’re alright,” Sam said, clearly wanting to change the subject. “You take care, OK? Bye.” He disconnected the call, before correcting his brother. “I did not lie,” he said. “It was a fib, that’s all…”
Dean grinned, “OK, man. Fib. Lie. Different strokes…”
Sam sat down heavily on the soaked grass, running a mangled hand through his wet hair and letting out a very deep breath. “Man, that was close,” he muttered, quietly.
Dean nodded, dropping down next to him. “Yeah, it was,” he agreed.
Sam spared him a sideways glance, hesitating before asking the question that had been nagging at the back of his mind. “So why you?” he said at length. “How come of all the guys who had that dream it was you who understood that the old gal didn’t want you to drown yourself?” He raised an eyebrow, as Dean just looked at him evenly. “Did God really show you the way?”
Dean smiled an enigmatic little smile. “No,” he replied softly. “You did.”
Sam frowned, not following. “Huh?” he said. “How so?”
Dean shrugged. “Those other guys,” he started to explain, and Sam could tell he’d been thinking about this for some time. “They were alone in their dream, nothing between them and the water, nothing to convince them that there was any other way but down – deep down.” He gave Sam a significant look. “But I had you.”
Sam looked slightly taken aback by Dean’s unusual candour. “In your dream?” he asked, uncertainly.
Dean nodded. “In my dream. In reality. Sam, I would never do anything to hurt you. You know that, right?”
Sam nodded. Of course he knew that.
“Except for that one time at the asylum,” Dean corrected, sheepishly. “But you were so asking for that…”
Sam nodded sincerely. “Yeah, I was,” he agreed.
“So when I dreamt I pushed you off a cliff,” Dean continued. “I knew that couldn’t be the right way to go. I knew that couldn’t be what the old lady wanted me to do. When the dream took me in the waking world – when we were on the bridge – it was you that stopped me throwing myself in, because before I could give myself to the water, like the dream seemed to be telling me I had to, I’d have had to have done the same to you, and no way could I ever have done that.”
Sam smiled lopsidedly. “You sure? For a minute there…”
Dean nodded. “I’m sure,” he said, conviction in his voice. Then, “Sam, why do you think Grandma gave me that dream in the first place?”
Sam frowned, thinking. “You’re the eldest son,” he suggested. “And there’s an outside chance our ancestors came from the same place as she did…”
Dean shook his head. “No,” he said. “That’s not it. Sam, she didn’t give me the dream. She gave us the dream. Whether you were conscious of it or not, you were right there with me, telling me there had to be another way, telling me not to throw myself – or you – into the water.”
Sam’s forehead creased. “So what are you saying?” he asked, still not sure he quite understood.
Dean met his gaze evenly. “You weren’t in the dream she gave me, Sam,” he said. “You put yourself in my dream. Consciously, subconsciously – I don’t know how your freaky psychic mojo works, man, but it was that that showed me what to do. It was you. You made me understand. Just like the old lady knew you would.”
“Huh,” Sam didn’t know what to say, turning his gaze back out over the valley thoughtfully as he and Dean were momentarily lost in their own thoughts. Then, “Dean…” he began, but his brother cut him off.
“You know how I feel about that chick flick stuff, Sammy,” Dean said. “Now let’s get the hell out of here before sitting on this wet grass gives us haemorrhoids.”
Thanks for taking the time to read! :wave
burstynout - April 17, 2006 01:13 PM (GMT)
Whew! made it back over here, just got the last chapter to read, but wanted to say how much I love this story. Your banter is great, and the angsty suspense keeps my fingers tingling. I had keep reminding myself not reply at the end of every chapter since I was so many chapters behind.
irismay42 - April 17, 2006 05:20 PM (GMT)
I'm still not sure about the relative sanity of ending a fan fic with the word 'haemorrhoids', but it seemed such a Dean thing to say...!
Tigress - April 18, 2006 12:12 AM (GMT)
Great story Ishmay. Are you planning on doing another? If so, let us know and I will definately be there!
I am soooo glad that you didn't kill Dean, and that Sam didn't have to give him mouth to mouth, though it might have been cute!
Dean could never hurt Sam and that is what saved them. A great way to explain everything, well done!
Bethany16 - April 18, 2006 05:13 AM (GMT)
Wow Great JOB!!!!!! Really enjoyed it, couldnt tear my eyes away!!! So get cracking with your next story!! OK?
betinedemon - April 19, 2006 01:30 PM (GMT)
lcaron3 - April 19, 2006 06:34 PM (GMT)
irismay42 - April 19, 2006 06:41 PM (GMT)
Thanks guys! I was really unsure about even finishing this fic, let alone posting the thing! Glad it makes sense (mostly!)
I've got another one in the pipeline... Although I've only written the first scene so far!
Hey, I'm in the Horror / Demon section! How cool is that? Suits me somehow...
supernaturalsam - December 22, 2006 03:18 AM (GMT)
I know it's been a while since you posted this story, but I am just now finding the chance to check them out. And I have to say that this is one of my favorites so far! You had me hooked from the beginning and I just couldn't stop reading!
Great job! :clap
Jensenluverkris - May 29, 2007 06:25 AM (GMT)
Perfect! You really write the brother relationship between Dean and Sam well. Supernatural should have a contest for the best fanfic script for an episode and then produce it! That'd be awesome!