Part 11 – Retribution
Dean swore when Jones began shooting.
He shoved Susan to the ground, covering her head with his arms and hoping they were out of the line of fire. The mist obscured his vision, but he could clearly see the form of Frank Lawrence gliding across the grove.
The shooting stopped and Jones' horrified yell rang out.
Through the swirling fog, Dean caught a glimpse of Jones' retreating form. The deputy ran from the clearing as fast as he could.
"Stuart!" Susan screamed from under Dean's grip. She began to struggle.
"Calm down, lady." Dean tried to grab her wrists, but she managed to knee him in the groin.
The elder Winchester went down.
Susan grabbed the gun. She threw a fleeting look at the fog and was horrified to see Frank only a few metres in front of her.
Holding the gun in her shaking grip, Susan pleaded with the figure. "I didn't want any of this to happen, Frank. Please! Don't hurt me!"
The spectre appeared almost sad as it reached for her.
Sam swore as Jones began firing blindly into the fog. He rolled to the side, knowing that the deputy was so panicked, he was likely going to hit everything except his target.
Sam renewed his struggle to relieve himself of the handcuffs, gritting his teeth as the metal cut into his wrists.
Jones let out a scream of pure terror before turning and fleeing the clearing.
Sam wasted no time in climbing awkwardly to his feet.
He heard Susan scream and headed towards her voice.
He knew he should have gone after Jones, but fear for his brother drove him into the swirling mist.
When he finally saw them, Dean was lying on the ground and Susan was pointing her gun at the ghost of Frank Lawrence.
Sam rushed to his brother's side. Dean's pain-filled voice was cursing creatively, but he was alive. Sam positioned himself so he was shielding Dean from Susan and Frank.
The two figures didn't seem to realise the Winchester brothers were even present.
Susan began to weep. "I didn't mean to," she cried. "I'm so sorry."
Frank held his hands out to her.
Susan screamed and began to fire into the fog. Frank did not react.
Sam instinctively tried to cover Dean's head, but Dean wouldn't let him. Dean grabbed Sam's arm and started to pull him back from Susan and Frank.
Susan kept firing until the weapon was empty. She pulled the trigger anyway, as though hoping to stave off the ghost by sheer will.
Without warning, Frank vanished. The fog swirled and began to dissipate with an unnatural rapidity.
"What the hell is going on here?" A startled voice rang through the clearing.
Sam and Dean looked up to see an older man enter the grove. He wore the uniform of a sheriff. The man's eyes appraised the situation, noting Dean's injuries and the handcuffs still holding Sam's hand behind his back before focussing on the gun in Susan's hands.
He didn't know what the hell was going on, but the gun was a good place to start.
"Susan," he said with a placating calm. "Put down the gun."
"He came back," Susan whispered. "How did he come back?"
The older sheriff approached her cautiously, reaching out before he finally took the gun from her suddenly limp fingers.
"He came back," Susan muttered, wringing her hands. "It isn't possible."
"What is going on here?" the sheriff demanded.
Sam and Dean struggled to their feet, the elder Winchester leaning slightly on his brother.
Sam was the first to speak. "Before we tell you that, we have to find Stuart Jones. He's the one who murdered Frank Lawrence. He ran towards the road, so we have to hurry."
The sheriff shook his head slowly. "Stuart Jones is dead."
The two brothers stared at him in shock.
"What happened?" Dean managed to ask.
"I heard reports of a car accident out this way. I was on my way to check it out when he ran out in front of my truck," the sheriff replied, a haunted look in his eyes. "I didn't have time to stop."
Susan began to weep again at the news, covering her face with her hands.
The sheriff looked at Susan and then back to Dean and Sam. "I think you boys have a lot of explaining to do."
Sam let out a relieved sigh as he entered the hotel room. He was beyond exhausted and knew his brother was, too.
The brothers had spent most of the day answering questions from Sheriff Masters. The sheriff was not pleased that his deputy was dead and less than pleased that it was his truck that had done the deed.
Dean and Sam stuck with the story of hikers who found a lost wallet in the woods. Jones was dead, and anything Susan said was being taken with a healthy dose of scepticism. In the minds of everyone involved, the guilt had simply been too much for her, and she was to be taken for psychiatric evaluation pending her trial.
The brothers were allowed to leave once the sheriff was satisfied that they had nothing more to do with the incident.
Sam had driven back to the hotel as Dean dealt with the lingering discomfort of a monster headache. Offers of a trip to the hospital had been met with steadfast refusal and finally threats of retribution should Sam disregard Dean's wishes in the matter.
They both had wanted to leave as soon as possible, but were forced to admit that driving while exhausted was just plain stupid. They decided to stay the night in their hotel room and recuperate before leaving the next morning.
Sam helped Dean into the room where his older brother all but fell into bed. Sam flopped himself down on his own bed, not caring that his clothes were filthy. With a supreme act of will, he managed to turn his head far enough to see his brother.
He smiled to see Dean's eyes open and looking back at him. "We are a sorry pair, aren't we?"
Dean snorted in response.
"You know, tomorrow you're going to have to tell me what happened in that car accident."
Dean smirked slightly. "You have to tell me how you were caught by a waitress."
Sam rolled his eyes.
They were silent a moment longer before Sam once again felt the need to speak.
"Why do you suppose he appeared to you? I mean, in three years, he does nothing. Then, when you show up, he's doing all sorts of interesting things." Sam rolled over to see Dean more clearly. "Why do you suppose that is?"
Dean shook his head slightly. "I don't know, Sam. Maybe he really did just like me."
Sam sighed. Secretly, he thought there was more to it than that. There were too many unanswered questions for his liking. Sometimes, though, secrets had to remain secrets. He closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind.
He had almost drifted off when he heard Dean's tired voice. "You know what sucks, Sammy?"
"What?" Sam responded without opening his eyes.
"I never did get my drink."
Well, that's it. It's over. Thank you all for sticking with it and I hope you liked it!