::Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to Winchester Ranch! After a not-so-brief hiatus, I am back and have this completed story for you and I'm working on one more: the wrap up of the overall Winchester Ranch arc. I hope you stick it out with me and see how things wrap up with the Winchester Family. I'm sure I won't be able to stay away...there will probably be flashbacks and stuff too. Until then, enjoy Seven. Please let me know what you think!
love and internetty hugs,
the girl with the dinosaur tattoo::
The shop was chilly, and I walked back to Dean's office, looking for the hoodie I remembered tossing on the back of his desk chair. The wind had kicked up again and I took a deep breath, knowing that winter was headed our way. The birthday cluster had just begun, with my daughter Faith's second birthday next week and my niece Charlotte, also turning two the day after. The twins, Glory and Everett, would be next, turning five in mid-October, and my oldest daughter Liberty would turn seven mid-November. My nephew Levi would wrap up the kid-cluster with his birthday in mid-December and I laughed, amazed by it all.
Taking a deep breath of brisk air, I pulled on the sweatshirt, messing up my hair, and as I redid the messy bun at the top of my head, a customer opened the glass door and smiled as he greeted me. Out of habit, I returned the smile, but found my senses on high alert almost immediately. This man put my teeth on edge.
"Welcome to Winchester Auto," I began, trying to hold my professional smile. "What can I do for you?"
Stuart, our house manager, walked behind me, gathering invoices for my husband to sign. He glanced at me and must have noticed the change in body language, because he hesitated long enough to narrow his eyes questioningly. "Need some help, boss-lady?" he asked, more caution in his tone than I was used to.
"Don't know yet," I gestured to the new customer. "Gonna see what he needs."
The man that approached the counter was on the short and squatty side. He was probably a head or so shorter than me, but I was tall, standing about five-eleven on a good day. He was jittery and barely contained, with wild brown eyes and hair to match, and there was something about him that I just couldn't place.
Automatically, I started searching my mind for monster tells: fangs, claws, scent, but all of my known variables came up empty. I even glanced in the mirror behind me, seeing if he was a wraith or something similar. I pressed into his mind with my own, trying to read his thoughts.
"Are you, uh," he smiled painfully, "Grace Winchester?"
I narrowed my eyes. Something was happening. Every nerve in my body was on red alert.
"Who's asking?" I replied. Everything in me told me to run.
It was as if time slowed to a crawl as I watched him lift two guns, pulling them from the waistband of his jeans.
He was fast; faster than I had seen in a long time, and even with my abilities, even with my version of time slowed, my reactions were dulled. I wasn't prepared. I watched with my mouth open as three silvery, hand stamped bullets screamed towards me. I had enough time to see Enochian was etched into the sides, complete with traps and other symbols I didn't recognize. Willing my body to move out of the way, or even to throw a shield, there simply wasn't time and as I watched, each of the three bullets found their target, sinking deeply into my shoulder, arm, and chest.
I couldn't even cry out as I felt my legs collapse beneath me.
The next few minutes were a blur and the white-hot pain was blinding. The bullets burned, and I knew it was because they were meant just for me. Bright blue light streamed out of my wounds and as Stuart bent over me to press his hand down onto my chest, I could see Dean as he bolted from his office and out into the open garage, chasing after my attacker.
There were more gunshots, but it sounded as if they were being fired underwater. I couldn't hear what was happening and I prayed that Dean wouldn't be this man's second victim. Attempting to focus on Stu, I could feel tears sting my eyes as I shook my head.
"This is bad, Stu," I whispered, squeezing my eyes shut.
Stuart swallowed hard, shaking his head at me and turning to scream at our other employees, "Call nine-one-one!" His voice broke as he continued, "Tony! Call nine-one-one!"
There were voices in the background, all calling out to each other. One of the garage doors shattered as bullets tore through the glass and embedded themselves into the cars on the lifts. Stu bent over me, trying to protect me from the glass, and someone threw clean shop towels onto the ground next to my face. Stuart grabbed them and pressed them down onto my wounds, still trying to stem the bleeding.
"You're gonna be fine, Grace," he grunted. "You're half-angel. You're gonna be okay."
My eyelids were heavy, and the pain hadn't relented. "They were Weapon Stone bullets, Stu," I gasped. "Tell Dean they were Stone bullets."
"He's right here, honey," Stu murmured, looking up. "Dean's right here. Focus on telling him yourself."
My husband's face came into my line of sight and I tried to take a breath, but it caught in my throat, forcing me to cough and gasp. "Grace?" he whimpered. "You're gonna be okay. Hold on." Dean turned to Stu, licked his lips and tried to stay calm. "Cas?" he muttered. "Cas, right now would be a good time."
The wounds were still on fire and I could feel the pull of unconsciousness; my body giving into the pain.
"No, no, Gracie," Dean's voice called me back. "Stay awake, baby. You need to stay awake. Tell me about the bullets."
"Enochian," I whispered, doing whatever I could to follow Dean's directions. "Stamped Stone."
"Lucia? Cas?" Dean repeated, begging the angels to come. "Get down here, now. Grace needs you."
Doing my rounds seemed too ordinary these days, but I held my clipboard and went baby to baby in the NICU, checking off temperatures and oxygen levels. Eventually, I ran out of kids to check, so I meandered my way to the nurses' station near the admissions office and the emergency dispatch center, trying to shake the sense of uneasiness that I had been feeling for the last fifteen minutes or so. I forced a smile, greeting one of the EMTs, and uncapped my water bottle to take a long swig.
"—five-oh Stoneridge Drive," came a garbled address of an emergency call. The EMT lifted his radio closer to his ear, trying to listen to dispatch.
"Say again?" the young man replied.
I turned slowly, listening to the radio as I drank my water. The sense of unease came rolling across my chest and I held my breath, waiting to hear the address that dispatch read over the walkie-talkie.
"Shots fired at five-five-oh Stoneridge Drive," the dispatch receiver repeated as she read her script. "Possible twenty-seven-dee-four," the female voice continued.
I froze, shaking my head in denial. That was the shop's address. I could feel the blood leave my face as panic fueled my adrenaline. "No," I whispered, falling into step with the EMT. Protocol twenty-seven only meant one thing: gunshot wounds.
"Ten-four," he replied, pulling ahead of me and running down the hall towards his ambulance. He pounded the glass of the green room as he ran, "Twenty-seven-dee-four!" he shouted, banding his hand on the glass as he ran. "Let's go!"
I was hot on his tail and into the ambulance bay before he realized what was happening. "What are you doing?" he shouted, "we need to go!"
"That's my sister and brother-in-law's auto shop," I grunted, climbing into the back of the ambulance with the EMT. "Sorry, man, but you're stuck with me." I pulled out my phone and started to dial, fake smiling at the EMT as the engine started. "Serra Winchester," I introduced myself. "I'm a nurse up in the NICU."
"Oh, yeah," the EMT answered, nodding knowingly. "I know who you are." He took a deep breath and extended his hand as the driver peeled rubber out of the ambulance bay. "Andy Simmons," he sighed. "Hope everything is okay at the shop."
The phone continued to ring, and I silently begged for my sister to pick up her phone. "Yeah," I muttered. "Me too."