Happy Independence Day to all who celebrate
Wow, you guys all rock! So many reviews, I hope you all continue to enjoy the story!
And so we continue with Sam and Dean after Lucifer has been freed...
Enjoy! Chapter 2 – Monster in the Pines
The hunter blinked as he tried to bring the world back into focus. A spider web of cracked glass was the first thing he noticed as the sun glinted off of it. That was soon followed by the pain in his head and chest. He could feel blood running down the side of his face as he tried to straighten up. Just beyond the cracked glass he could make out the boughs of a large pine tree. The trunk of the tree was embedded in the front of the car. It was clear they weren’t going anywhere.
A soft groan escaped his lips as he did a quick inventory of his injuries. Definitely some kind of concussion as nausea rose in his throat at the slightest movement. He took a deep breath and moaned as his ribs complained. Okay, so ribs either badly bruised or cracked, but he was breathing without problems and couldn’t feel any rubbing of the bones—so not broken. He moved his arms and legs, but other than a slight twinge in his shoulder where the seat belt had dug into his flesh, nothing seemed broken.
All in all he’d been lucky. The car, not so much. He reached over to open the door and was rewarded with a loud creak as it fell off the hinges. “Piece of crap car.” He muttered as he slowly pulled himself from the crushed vehicle. The top of the car was crushed, but more than that were the indentations that also appeared where he’d heard the sound just before the crash. He fingered the strange marks and frowned. What the hell had made them?
As he stood, the world tilted for a moment before he managed to get himself under control. He took deep breaths to quell the queasy feeling in his stomach, his hand going to the side of his head and coming back with blood. He was still bleeding. Great, bleeding and injured in the middle of a freakin’ forest, some fuggly monster sneaking around and no town in sight. As he stared up the sharp incline the car had rolled down, he realized how lucky he’d been to even be standing here. If the tree hadn’t stopped him, he’d have gone further down the incline and probably been killed.
Rubbing his hand on the side of his head once more he bent down and gazed into the interior of the car. He snapped back up as he realized something important was missing.
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooEarlier that night…
Sam groaned as the world came back into focus. He was on his back staring up at the cloud filled sky. Thunder sounded in the distance along with occasional flashes of lightening. He wondered if it was just a storm or if it was something worse. As he tried to rise, he cried out in pain. His shoulder had taken the brunt of the impact as the car rolled. He could tell it was out of joint as the pain continued to race through his body.
The young hunter paused as he tried to get his bearings. Years of hunting took over as he immediately looked for the danger. Something had attacked the car just before they crashed. As he stumbled slightly his eyes fell on the remains of the small orange car. It had come to rest against a large pine tree about ten feet from his position. Somehow he’d been tossed from the car before it continued down the inclined.
As he took a step, he winced at the pain in his ankle. He could put weight on it, barely. His eyes searched and found a sturdy branch lying close by. He grabbed it and used it to support part of his weight as he slowly made his way towards the car. The closer he got, the more worried he became. The car was totaled. His heart raced as he realized he hadn’t heard anything from his older brother yet. He could see a silhouette slumped against the steering wheel. “God No!” Sam pleaded as he tried to get to his brother. He couldn’t be dead—not after everything. The young hunter reached in through the broken window and quickly felt for a pulse. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt one. “Okay Dean, you’re going to be just fine…” Sam said more to assure himself than his unconscious sibling.
Suddenly the sound of large wings filled the night air. Sam reached for his gun but realized he wasn’t carrying one. He looked into the back seat, but his duffle was missing. It was probably thrown from the car as well. A loud thud sounded on the car roof as the creature landed. Sam looked up into the red eyes of the beast and took in a quick breath.
“You can’t be real…” Sam whispered as he backed slowly from the car. The being tilted its head and let out a blood curdling scream into the night air. Large bat-like wings beat the air angrily as the three foot monster moved closer to Sam. He’d read about it but never thought it was real. After all there hadn’t been a sighting in years but then he should have known with Lucifer free, things like the Jersey Devil would become more active.
He had no idea what to do. He knew what he was facing, but as far as he knew there was no known way to kill it. He tried to remember what he’d read, but his head was still fuzzy from the crash. The one thing he seemed to remember was it didn’t often kill humans—mostly livestock. For now it appeared to just be watching him. “Shoo!” Sam called out as he stepped closer, waving his good arm at the animal hoping to scare it off.
The beast screamed again and began to stamp its hoofed feet on the car roof. The car that his older brother now laid in unconscious. The car rocked dangerously as the animal continued to pound on the roof of the car. He had to get the beast away before it caused the car to slide the rest of the way down the hill; he couldn’t let it hurt Dean any further. But he had no weapons and could barely move himself. He looked down at the walking stick he’d found and a plan began to form. He would lure it away.
“Come on you bastard—wanna play fetch?” Sam called out as he moved towards the monster again. This time he raised the heavy stick and aimed for the thin legs of the animal. But the stick met with only air as with a loud screech the monster rose into the air. Red eyes glared at Sam as it circled him before diving at him.
He dove but not before the hooves hit him in the middle of his back. Before he could stop, he found himself rolling down the rest of the incline. As he came to rest about twenty feet below the car, he groaned. The small stones and other debris had left him bruised but at least nothing else seemed to be broken. His shoulder however was complaining about the poor treatment. Sam stood and swayed slightly as the pain in his arm and head reminded him he wasn’t fighting at a hundred percent.
The sound of wings filled the night again as he looked up to see the monster heading for him again. The head was shaped like a horse and the front arms appeared to be short and clawed. If it weren’t for the fact the beast had managed to make them crash, he’d laugh at the way the creature had been constructed. It didn’t look like it could cause much damage. But the sound it made was unearthly as it screamed into the night and it had already proven it unnatural strength. He had to find cover, had to lure it farther away from Dean. Taking an unsteady step, he winced as his ankle complained but held for now. “Okay you demonic son of a bitch—let’s see how well you play follow the leader!”
Sam moved steadily further into the dense forest with the Jersey Devil hot on his heals. Maybe if he was lucky he could lose it and circle back around to help Dean. As he continued to move further into the woods he wondered at the sudden appearance of the beast. It couldn’t be a coincidence. A memory niggled at the back of his mind, but he couldn’t quite grasp it. It didn’t really matter. Whatever happened to him, he’d accept it as due him for his own stupidity. He just hoped Dean would survive. If anyone deserved it—it was him.
Dean looked around the car and saw signs that his brother had been here. As he looked closer he saw a large stick thrown to the side of the car. According to the footprints and the placement of the pointed end of the stick, it was clear his brother had been using it to walk. At least Sam had been able to walk. His gaze looked down the incline and he shuddered at the thought of his brother falling. The hillside was littered with stones and debris.
“Sammy!” Dean called out again as he circled the car and looked down where it looked like something large had fallen. “Hold on Sam, I’m coming!” Dean called as he turned back to the car. He glanced into the back seat but the duffle with Sam’s weapons was missing. “Just great!” Dean slapped the side of the car but stepped back as it groaned and shivered before stilling. All he needed was for the car to roll and either crush him or hit Sam.
He fell to his knees as another wave of dizziness assaulted him. The headache that had been building since he woke up intensified. He couldn’t stop the bile from rising this time as he finally got sick beside the dying hulk of car. As he finished the painful retching he sat back on his heals to catch his breath. As he looked up, he spotted the handle of Sam’s bag sticking out from under a low bush.
He tried to stand, but once again black spots danced in front of his eyes. He couldn’t give in, he had to find Sam. The injured hunter stood on unsteady legs and moved towards the bag. He stumbled more than once before with a sigh he managed to collapse beside the duffle. He looked up and saw the sun was higher in the sky than when he’d started. He’d lost too much time. As he reached for the zipper, his vision grew gray—his last thought as he slumped down next to the bag was about his brother.
Bobby Singer paced at the entrance to the Boston Airport. As soon as the connection had been broken he’d high tailed it to catch the next plane to the east coast. Of course, he hadn’t been able to bring any of his weapons or other tools of the trade which is why he was now pacing impatiently outside the busy airport.
A moment later a red pick up truck bounced to a stop in front of him. An older man with salt and pepper hair leaned over to roll down the window and call out. “Singer!”
“It’s ‘bout time you got here Jason!” Bobby grumbled as he opened the door and jumped into the cab. He glanced behind the seat and smiled when he saw the locked case. “Did you get what I asked for?”
“Yep, but I still don’t believe you’re hunting the Jersey Devil. I mean, that’s right up there with big foot in the hunter’s guide.” Jason responded as he merged back into traffic.
“Yeah, and vampires aren’t?” Bobby smirked as his old friend shrugged.
“Well, I didn’t believe in them either at first.” Jason smiled as he managed to merge into the traffic leading to the tunnel beneath the bay. “So you need help on this one? I mean, if you think there is really a Jersey Devil loose in the Pines, I’d be more than willing to take a few days off from the mill.”
“Naw, you go back to your wife and kids. I’ve got this one. Besides, like you said—it might be a whole lot of nothing.” Bobby turned to gaze at the dark entrance to the tunnel. He didn’t want to say anything, but the thought of going through a small tunnel beneath a whole bay filled with water didn’t thrill him overly much. The vision of rats drowning in a tunnel was too real—especially now that he knew Lucifer was free.
Jason chuckled as he entered the darkness. “Hold on Bobby—it won’t be long before it’s all over.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of…” Bobby replied.
Sam sank down onto his knees, his breath coming in short gasps as he tried to figure out where the Jersey Devil had flown off to. He looked up at the sky and grinned as he realized dawn was breaking. Maybe the animal was nocturnal. It that was true, then he’d be able to rest a minute before returning to find Dean. He could see his breath in the early morning light as a shiver ran up his spine. It still got cold in the evenings this time of year. Right now, he wouldn’t mind being in a nice warm bed.
The hunter tried to stand but winced as his ankle finally gave up. With a slight gasp of pain, he fell back down with a large grunt. “Perfect!” Sam grumbled as he reached forward to move his pant leg up. He knew his ankle was swelling from the tight feel of his boot but he didn’t dare remove it for fear of not getting it back on. His injured arm hung painfully by his side as he tried to figure out a way to move without passing out.
After a few moments, the exhaustion he’d been holding at bay seized him. He fell sideways, his vision slowly going gray as he gave in to his body’s need for rest. As he fell further into the darkness his mind force him back to the events of the day.Sam found himself back at the turnoff for the convent. He could hear Ruby pacing behind him—impatient as always. He could still hear the pounding from the poor woman in the trunk of the car. His heart went out to her. The confused hunter reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He looked down at the message light—his brother had called him.
For a brief moment hope flared. Maybe Dean still wanted him—wanted to fight with him by his side as they finally killed the demon bitch that had made their lives a living hell. Ruby called for him to hurry but he had to do this one thing. He had to hear his brother’s voice just to make sure. With a trembling finger he pushed the message button and listened.
“Listen to me you blood sucking freak! Dad always said I’d have to either save you or kill you. Well I’m giving you fair warning—I’m done trying to save you. You’re a monster Sam, a vampire—you’re not you anymore and there’s no going back…”
“NO!” Sam called out into the darkness as pain tore his heart into pieces. As he tried to fight against the hatred he heard in his brother’s voice. It warred with the concern he’d seen in Dean’s eyes when Lucifer was freed. But then, maybe his brother was just leading him on—taking him someplace to finish him off. Memories of the panic room emerged along with the fear he’d be confined again—alone with only his own mind to torment him.
“Now I’m asking you for once—trust me…” Sam heard his own voice begging Dean to understand, to accept what he’d become.
“No.” Dean’s face contorted with pain. “It’s not something you’re doing—it’s what you are…” His brother stopped and swallowed, unwilling to say more. But Sam refused to leave it there.
“Say it Dean…” Sam demanded.
“You’re a monster!” Dean replied.
“No! Please Dean, I didn’t mean any of it—I’m sorry!” Sam screamed but his brother didn’t listen as he turned and faded from his sight. In his place he saw Ruby’s triumphant face.
“You’ve saved us Sammy—You’ve set him free…”
“No—I couldn’t—I stopped it…” Sam pleaded once again in his mind. But the proof rose before him as a bright light seemed to pierce the darkness.
“Thank you my son…” A voice echoed from the depth of the light. “You shall be rewarded…”
“NO!” Sam screamed once more as he dropped down onto the floor and covered his head. “I don’t want anything—I couldn’t have…”
“But you did Sam Winchester. You fulfilled your destiny and set me free at last…”
Hazel eyes shot open and glared at the sun breaking through the trees. A shiver ran through his frame as tears gathered in his eyes. “I’m sorry Dean…” he whispered as he let his eyes close once more.
Dean walked along the wooded path, his eyes searching for the tall form of his brother. The forest was unusually quiet as if it was holding its breath. He shrugged off the oppressive mood and continued to move forward. “Sammy!” He called for the hundredth time—and yet he still didn’t receive an answer.
He gazed up at the blazing sun, amazed for a moment that the day felt just like any other. The soft spring breeze carried the scent of pine and decayed forest. It was almost peaceful.
“Help will come soon Dean…” Cas’s voice sounded next to him causing the hunter to jump.
“I swear! Next pet store I come to I’m buying you a cat bell.” Dean stopped and gazed at the rumpled figure beside him. “So you look good for someone who was set to stand up against heaven’s army.”
Cas shook his head as he continued. “Heaven is busy at the moment with other things…”
Dean shook his head. “Yeah, I imagine planning a war would take some time.” He couldn’t help the bitterness that seeped into his tone. “So how long before the world ends?”
“No one knows—it depends…” Cas replied.
“Great, care to share or are we back on the need to know crap…” Dean scuffed his foot against the dirt. When Cas remained silent he turned and finally asked the question he’d been wondering since the angel arrived. “So, how did you get out of there?”
“The Archangel and I came to—an understanding…” Cas simply replied. “But that is not why I’m here. I’ve come to let you know help is on the way.”
“Help?” Dean gazed around the forest and for the first time realized he wasn’t feeling any pain. “Right, this is a dream again…”
“It was the best way for me to reach you. But you must be careful. There are those who don’t believe you are the one and even more that fear what your brother may become…”
“Wait—you’re saying we’ve got both heaven and hell on our tails?” Dean had already guessed as much, but hearing it didn’t make him feel better. He thought it was bad when they were on the FBI most wanted list. Leave it to Winchester Karma to make the same list in both Heaven and Hell.
“Yes” Cas remarked as he turned and looked at Dean.
“But I believe in you—and there is still hope Dean.” Cas looked heavenward as if looking for something. “God still believes in you—and Sam.”
“So Sam can be saved?” Dean stopped and looked directly at the angel.
“Anyone can be saved Dean—even a drowning man.”
“Great, so how do I save Sam?” Dean asked as he placed his hand on the angel’s shoulder. His green eyes daring Cas to lie to him. He stepped back as the angel looked down at his hand before responding.
“I do not know Dean—but I do know all is possible…”
“You know Cas, I’ve gotten better answers from a fortune cookie!” The exasperated hunter proclaimed.
“You need to wake up Dean—wake and go to your brother. He needs you…” Cas spoke before he disappeared once again.
“Easy for you to say! But how in the hell do I wake up!” Dean called into the silence of the forest but once again, he was left with no answer.
Bobby pressed harder on the pedal as he checked the map one more time. He’d been on the road since Dean’s call and was beginning to feel fatigued but he refused to give in; not while Dean and Sam were in trouble. He saw the sign telling him he was entering the Pine Barrens forest. It had to be the sign Dean had seen just before…
The experienced hunter was able to read the tell tale signs of a car going off the road. As he pulled the truck over to the side, he quickly stepped out and grabbed his duffle. He’d made sure there was a first aid kit along with his weapons and a few other things that might come in handy. The bag was heavy, but he didn’t even notice as his eyes followed the car tracks over the edge of the steep hill. Even in the early evening light, he could tell this was where he’d find the car. He only hoped he would also find the boys.
It only took him a few moments before he saw the body of Dean Winchester sprawled face down next to a bush. He moved quickly, but carefully down the steep incline. He could also see what was left of an orange car as it rested against a pine tree. From the shape of the car, he was pretty sure the boys would be injured. He knelt down beside Dean and placed his fingers against the unconscious man’s neck. A moment later he breathed a sigh of relief as he felt the steady and strong pulse.
“Dean?” Bobby said softly and he carefully turned the young man over. He could see the dried blood and the gash just beneath the hairline. Pulling out his canteen and a handkerchief, he quickly wiped as much of the blood from the boy’s face as he could. The wound on Dean’s head had clotted, but it would eventually need stitches. He grabbed the first aid kit and pulled out a couple of butterfly bandages along with a sterile dressing. It would have to do until he could get the boy to someplace safer.
Carefully Bobby began to run his hands down Dean’s body, assessing any further damage. A soft grunt of pain sounded when he rubbed his hand over the boy’s rib cage. He quickly pulled up Dean’s shirt and whistled at the rainbow display of bruises. It was clear he’d hit the steering wheel with his chest. He could also see a deep bruise on the boy’s shoulder, probably from the seat belt. “You are certainly a mess Dean…” Bobby said softly as he lowered the shirt. There was nothing much he could do for the ribs. From the feel of them, none appeared to be broken.
“Okay Dean, looks like we have bruised ribs and a concussion. So why don’t you rest here while I go see what’s up with that brother of yours…” Bobby used his own jacket to cover the unconscious man while he stood and headed down the hill towards the car. The light was quickly fading as he approached. “Sam?” Bobby called out as he peered inside the broken window of the car. But there was no sign of the youngest Winchester.
“Damn it!” Bobby looked back up at Dean’s still form. He’d said Sam was with him, the question was had the boy left on his own or with help.