Disclaimer: I don't own the Winchesters or Missouri Mosley, but the story line is purely original.
Setting: After "Home" but before "Asylum"
Pairings: None (just our two loveable boys!)
AN: Okay, I know I shouldn't have two stories going at once, but I couldn't help it. I was inspired by a true story that my friend told me and added my own spin on it. This is completely separate from my other fics so no need to worry about any Mary-Sues, there aren't any.
Special thanks to my little bro' for his creative help.
As always, please read and review, it makes my day J
Manchester, New Hampshire. 7:20 PM
The sleepy little neighborhood tucked away in the side streets of Manchester was just the place the Connors had been searching for. Steve and Linda had spent months searching for the perfect home; one close enough to town, but with a yard for the girls to play in. After an entire day spent scouting around town with a very pregnant Linda wilting in the backseat of the realtor's car, they had stumbled upon the old manor house. Sure it was a bit out of their price range, and sure it needed some fixing up, but all in all the place was an absolute steal and the couple had instantly fallen in love with it. However, restoring the vacant home had proved to be more difficult than they'd imagined…
"Baby, where did you put the hammer?" Linda could hear her husband's voice echoing through their sparsely decorated living room, the sound reflecting off of the bare walls and hardwood floors.
She screwed the cap onto her four-month-old daughter's bottle and dropped it into the pot of warm water on the stove. " You said you were going to put it in your truck, remember?" she called back to Steve. She crossed the kitchen to baby Grace's highchair and scooped up the gurgling bundle that she had so lovingly dressed in pink fleece. The old house was more than chilly and she always had the baby in a sweater or hat to keep her from catching a cold.
Linda settled Grace on her hip and walked across the scalloped, creaky floor to join her husband in the next room. She winced with every moan and groan the house released, knowing that it only meant more nails to drive and more boards to replace.
Steve was standing in front of the fireplace, hands on his hips, staring at a large, gold-framed mirror he'd propped on the mantle. "What d'ya think?" he asked, turning towards his wife and motioning toward the mirror.
Linda smiled at him. He was working his fingers to the bone on this house, trying to make it perfect for her and she was reminded of just how much she loved him. "It looks great, sweetie," she assured him. Grace began to whimper, no doubt hungry for dinner and Linda shifted her to the other hip.
"Well, I guess I better get that hammer so I can hang this thing," Steve said. He pressed a kiss to Linda's cheek as he walked past her into the kitchen. "I'll be right back."
Linda hefted a now crying Grace and headed back to the kitchen and the bottle that was waiting on the stove. She collected the bottle and sat in one of the ladder-back chairs at the table. Just as she fitted the bottle's nipple into the baby's mouth, the door opened and Steve poked his head into the room.
He looked slightly perturbed. "Why'd you turn out the light?"
"What?" Linda set the bottle on the table and rose to meet her husband at the door.
"The porch light, you turned it off right as I got to my truck," Steve explained.
Linda gave a little disbelieving grin. "Baby, I didn't turn out the light."
"Well I just put in a new bulb, so I know it didn't burn out. Why'd you do it?"
"Steven," Linda was becoming annoyed. "I-did-not-do-it."
Steve rolled his eyes and reached in to flip the light switch. As he'd expected, the porch and driveway beyond were suddenly bathed in the warm glow of the incandescent bulb. He pulled the door shut loudly behind him and stomped down the steps.
"Oh, that man. Sometimes I swear…" Linda returned to her chair and picked up the bottle.
It was empty.
"What?" She held the bottle up to light, illuminating the few drops of formula still lingering at the bottom.
"Abby?" She knew that her oldest must be playing a joke on her, the six-year-old was full of mischief. "Abby?" she repeated, looking around the room. Nothing stirred, nothing seemed out of place.
Sighing, she rose and went to the fridge to collect more formula. There were three bottles already made-up and she pulled out one to place on the stove. "Well, it'll be just a little longer," she told Grace, rocking the unhappy baby in her arms. She walked laps around the table, singing one lullaby after the other. The walls echoed her song eerily, seeming to whisper in their own verses. Linda pulled the baby into her chest a little closer, feeling a slight shiver. "This house is so damn cold," she muttered.
She checked her watch; it had been ten minutes. "Okay Gracie, I think it's ready." She returned to the stove and pulled the bottle from the heated water.
The bottle was empty.
"Abigail!" Linda stomped her foot for emphasis. "You'd better come out right now, young lady!" She waited, holding the whining Grace and the empty bottle.
It's Abby, I know it is Linda told herself as she tapped her foot impatiently. But there was another voice in her head, one that kept saying you know she wasn't in the room; you would have seen her.
She isn't here, Linda. She couldn't have drank the milk without you seeing it…
Suddenly she didn't want to hold the bottle any more. She set it hastily on the counter and backed away. She felt silly, she was being irrational. There had to be an explanation for this.
The ceiling above her began to squeak as something made its way down the upstairs hall. They were small squeaks, made by something light and compact. They moved to the staircase, then descended, each wooden step sounding out a unique, torturous wail. The sound was coming closer, coming towards the kitchen, towards Linda and her baby.
Her breath caught as a small figure entered the doorway, but sighed in relief as she recognized said figure as Abby. But the relief was quickly replaced by a strange tingling at the back of her neck caused by the knowledge that Abby had not drained the formula from the bottles.
"Hi, sweetie," she tried to keep her voice steady.
"Mommy," the little girl's blue eyes were wide and fearful, an expression that a parent never enjoys seeing. "There's…there's something under my bed."
"Oh baby, there's nothing under your bed," Linda said soothingly. "You must be having a nightmare."
"No Mommy, I wasn't sleeping. I was coloring at my desk and I…I saw something," her voice grew softer with every word and she pulled her hands up under her chin.
Sighing, Linda strapped Grace into her swing in the corner of her room and escorted her oldest up the stairs. "Come on, I'll prove that there's nothing there," she soothed.
Mother and daughter made their way up the stairs and down the long hall to arrive at Abby's room. Linda pushed the door open and stepped into the large room. There was a short-legged desk in one corner, a bookshelf that displayed stuffed animals and pictures, and a twin bed beside the window.
The bed was white wood with a pink and mint green spread and matching pillow shams. Abby pointed at it and grasped her mother's shirt tail with her other hand. "It was under there, Mommy, I promise."
Linda ruffled Abby's blonde curls and offered her a smile. "Okay, I'll check, but I know that there's nothing there." She walked over to the bed and crouched down beside it.
Nothing there, nothing there, nothing there she chanted in her mind, feeling ashamed at her needless fears. She reached out one hand slowly and grasped the lace dust ruffle. Inch by inch she raised it up, wincing as she peered under the bed to find…
Nothing. She exhaled loudly, unaware that she'd been holding her breath, and turned back to her daughter.
Linda shook her head. "See baby? Everything's okay. There's nothing…"
Abby's scream could have awakened the dead. That is, if they weren't already awake…
100 miles away…
"Disappeared?" Sam's eyebrows rose above the rim of his coffee mug and slipped into his shaggy hairline.
Dean lowered the newspaper, revealing his sharp, hazel eyes and chiseled jaw line. "Yeah Sam, that's usually what they call it when a person vanishes without any reasonable explanation."
"Smartass," Sam grumbled, setting his mug down and reaching for the paper. "Let me see."
"Uh-uh, what's the magic word?" Dean pulled the paper out of his brother's reach and flashed the biggest fake grin he could conjure.
"Dean…" Sam sounded tired, too worn out to play the game so Dean slapped the paper down with a sour face.
"Thank you," Sam muttered as he spun the paper around so that he could read the article Dean had been talking about.
Dean leaned back in the small booth they had crammed into at the motel's buffet and folded his arms with a sigh. He watched his brother across the table, taking in the way Sam's 6'3" frame hunched over the newspaper and the way the circles under his eyes had darkened. Dean knew that he hadn't slept at all since leaving Lawrence, since leaving their old home.
It had been so painful for Dean to step across the threshold of that house, positively heartbreaking to be flooded with memories of his brief shot at a normal life. As hard as it was for him, all he could worry about was how Sam would take it, how he would react at returning to the place where it had all began.
And he'd been right to worry. When their mother's spirit appeared, he'd seen the tears pouring down Sam's cheeks. And he'd seen him lay awake every night since then, afraid of the visions that haunted his dreams.
Dean was pulled from his thoughts as Sam looked up from the paper, a doubtful expression on his face. "So Linda Connor just disappears in her own house. How does her husband know she didn't just run out on him?"
"Because," Dean said with more patience than he felt. "The daughter saw something."
"Her mother got pulled under her bed," Dean gave a little triumphant grin, knowing he had Sam trapped.
Sam held up his hands and sighed loudly. "Fine, you win. New Hampshire here we come."