Author: "Solus Nemo"
Summary: There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who say they want their loved ones around forever, and the ones who will stop at nothing to make sure that actually happens. One-shot.
Author's Note: This is based on a true story I heard several years ago on the Travel Channel, I think it was. But, alas, Google has failed me so I have to improvise on some parts — names, mostly, and the location but everything else I can remember quite well.
Disclaimer: Though some events in the following text have happened in real life, most everything else has not. Supernatural is a television show, of which I hold not a single right, and I'm only writing this for my own amusement. Names have been changed, not for protection, but because I can't remember them. Story title and song lyrics are from Rammstein's song "Weißes Fleisch", translated into English.
sick existence cries for redemption, your white flesh becomes my
In my heaven there is no god."
Outside the walls of the house, summer raged. It was cookie-sheet weather at its finest, a combination of heat and humidity so great even the sun seemed to sag, seemed to wilt under the animalistic jeering of summer in Louisiana. SUMMER, and even that wasn't strong enough to convey the misery of it all, stalked the streets on its giant feet — large, mean hobbit feet — and looked into windows with one gigantic, red eye. It hissed and it moaned and it squawked, spraying spittle that the natives and interlopers alike prayed desperately would turn into a monstrous downpour. It was that hot outside. So hot, in fact, the children were too lethargic to fry eggs on sidewalks; their feet would melt into the concrete before they had a chance to get even halfway down the front stoop. Yes, outside the house it was SUMMER in all its ravenous glory, but inside — oh! inside — it couldn't have been more than negative thirty-five degrees.
Sam stood in the doorway of the master bedroom, membranes of steam puffing from his mouth every time he exhaled. It wasn't that he had ever suffered from Chuckie Finster syndrome, his mouth breathing, because he hadn't. The smell in the room, the overpowering stench that made his eyes water and stomach wretch, was only slightly downsized if Samuel Winchester breathed through his mouth, a hand over the lower quadrant of his face. But the God awful stink got to him fiercely enough through his lousy defenses, anyway, and acted as a granite wall to impede his progress into the room. It wasn't so bad, though, he had gotten the furthest into the master bedroom — he could still hear his brother behind him, shuffling around and vomiting, though surely by now there was nothing left to bring up.
Turning his back to the room, looking away from the bed that radiated such foul stench, Sam brought his irritated eyes to his older brother. If it hadn't been a horrendously inappropriate time to smile with grim glee, Sam would have done just that. Instead, he frowned behind his hand and asked a muffled, "Are you okay?" The question had more colors of chastisement than concern, however. Little brother couldn't change what he was seeing, a Dean Winchester that wasn't any longer the tough and ruggedly handsome dude he tried too hard to come off as. Now, now, he was a twisted looking fool vomiting up his insides — just like the rest of the world.
The blonde man was hunched over, his hands placed on either leg just above the knee, back spasming with each bought of sick. It was a pathetic sight to behold, one in which the little monster in Sam's belly wouldn't ever forget.
Dean's back lurched and he brought his right fist up to his face, making a weird burping-grunting-mewling noise from deep within his throat. With his back to his little brother, Sam could only guess at the pained expression on the elder's face, possibly a "God, anymore of this and my esophagus is going to collapse" look around the mouth and eyes. He could have groaned in agreement to this, or maybe just in relief, because soon Dean's back straightened and he turned to face his brother.
"Yeah," he tried again, slowly, with his fist still pressed loosely to his face. With his lips kissing his thumbnail, the stout blonde looked like a Roman scholar in thought — a sickly Roman scholar with a face flushed of color and wide, basset hound eyes.
Sam tried to deny himself a look at his brother's vomit, it wasn't at all pretty, but he needed to get a sense of where it was. The last thing he wanted was to step in up-chuck, slip backward, and land splat! on his back in the stuff. Registering its location, off by the doorway to the study, he brought his attention back to Dean.
He jerked his head toward the bed behind the lanky brunette, then shut his eyes tightly as if the sudden movement would set him off again. Thankfully for both brothers it didn't and Dean was able to open his eyes again, speak without shooting out anything disturbing like some kind of freaky flame thrower. "Did you see that in there?" he asked, somehow managing to be both vaguely passive and disgusted all at once. "I mean — God, who'd do that?"
"Desperate people do desperate things," Sam replied off-handedly, not intentionally bringing any past feelings to the surface. The past was over and done with, that's what he'd always wanted to go with, but unfortunately he held grudges. Big, strong grudges, the kind that would snowball through the years until it grew too big to deal with; they would explode right around the time of Stanford University letters, phone calls from Dad, possessions by mad sanitarium doctors. Sam hated that about him and he always tried to never bring anything up — which, of course, only made matters worse. He'd never been good with words, however, and the shadow to cross his brother's face proved that.
"Dragging your dying brother off to a faith healer with a wife meddling in black magic is one thing," Dean stated plainly, "but doing… doing that is something else entirely. That isn't desperation, kiddo. I don't know what that is!"
Sam didn't need to turn his head back into the room to see what Dean was motioning at with his hand, the one now removed from his face. All he had to do was blink to see the depraved act displayed for all the world on that bed in there. A shudder racked him, aiding his mind into thinking the temperature had dropped another half dozen degrees, and nodded pathetically.
Dean was so pale he was somehow glowing a faint but steady green, growing stronger the more he thought about what was in that bedroom. His face contorted in sourness as his eyes roamed over his brother's shoulder. "How long do you think she's been dead?"
"A long time," Sam answered, pinching the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger — a whirlwind of smells and sights was beginning to be too much. He hadn't named the other ingredient of those aforementioned smells when they had first arrived at the room, but he knew it now. The bastard they were hunting had doused the room in perfume to mask the smell of decomposition, what must have been a bottle of cheap scent a day — every two on the outside. "A long, long time. A few years, factoring in…." He waved his pointer finger around his face in a leaning oval.
The halo around the blonde had grown into the cousin of night-vision green, a worrisome color that manifested itself in Dean as gnawing teeth. The image of him standing there, slouching and chewing on his bottom lip, sent the ugly monster in Sam's gut into hysterics. "Look at him!" it squealed, pointing with one hand and holding its stomach with the other as it jumped up and down, "Look at him standing there like a kid who just pissed his pants!" Sam shook his head as if to clear it, trying to tell himself that now was definitely not the time to let childhood envy get the better of him.
Lip already beginning to bleed, Dean appeared unable to peel his vision away from the corpse on the bed. Opening his mouth to talk, he failed to find an adult way to tell his brother what he saw. "Sammy, there's a funnel in… she's got this…," he expelled a pent up breath, squeaking like a child in front of his darkest fear. "You don't think he…. Oh, Christ, please don't tell me he used that! I'm all for kinky, kinky's good, but this is just wrong — flat out wrong."
A floorboard creaked off to Sam's left, he and Dean rapidly turning their heads in that direction to look directly into the face of the seedy freak they had been meaning to speak to. He wore a crisp three-piece suit, navy blue with a grey-white shirt and matching blue tie, and a woman could have put on eyeliner using the reflection in his shoes. His smile was warm but hinted at a great underlying madness, his eyes a watery blue, and his aging head tilted coyly to the side. With his hands clasped behind his back, Thomas Baker stood proudly before the brothers who had come to put an end to his tirade.
"But love is never wrong," the silvering mane replied wistfully, his tone of voice arching with easy bliss. The gracefulness of his voice was suggesting that they were speaking of much more pleasant things than the dead woman lying on his bed, the dead woman he had inserted a funnel into and made a doll-like mask on her face with paper mache. He laughed, a light and airy sound that screamed a little more of his daftness. "Oh, no. Love is never wrong."
Sam saw Dean swallow thickly, so he took it upon himself to speak for the both of them. "That poor girl had a family, Baker, and you took her away from them. They tried to bury her and you snuck into the graveyard, snatched her body from her tomb — more than once!"
"I had to," Thomas explained, turning his face into the bedroom. The look shrouding his eyes made Dean bring a hand back to cover his mouth, the glow around him now escalated to a blinding neon green. "I had to. She was brought to me by God, she's my angel, and so I had to keep her with me."
"Stop trying to throw me the big fish, here, because I'm not stupid. You were brought to her, she was just a young woman who got the wrong patient during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. That poor girl had to nurse the devil back to health. But I bet if she'd known the price to pay for that, she would've gotten herself infected with that flu long before you crawled onto her proverbial doorstep," Sam berated him.
Thomas shook his head, smiling that pleasant yet crazy smile. "Alicia loved me, boy, she would have gladly agreed to this."
Dean scoffed loudly, lips peeled back from his teeth in a sickly snarl. Sam knew his brother wanted to voice his opinion, but felt it safer not to — the thought of that funnel would have made even Coldy McHeartless toss up every last meal he had ever eaten.
Expelling his cookies wasn't much of an option for Sam, however. When he hadn't been paying attention, maybe standing in the doorway gawking at the decomposed human doll, someone had spread peanut butter onto his little Telekinetic tongue. It now got stuck to the roof of his mouth like it had been applied there with gorilla glue, and lots of it. Sam couldn't form comprehensible words, let alone become an awkward human geyser… or demand Thomas Baker to stay put.
Face aglow with insanity, middle aged wrinkles folded into craters, Thomas the Sicko began walking toward Sam. In death, as in life, he clearly made a point to remember the manners his mother had taught him. He nodded at Sam, right before walking straight through the kid with a thickly accented "Excuse me" — not seeming to care that the boy would recoil in horror, make a startled "gahh!"ing sound, and swat wildly at the air. And it might have been amusing, how a concept so filthy as ghost passing through human could spark up almost forgotten memories.
When he had been twelve, Sam had been taken by his father on a little hunting trip into the Appalachian Mountains. Never having been interested in grappling with the supernatural (he wasn't in one of the many Ghost Busters movies, thank you very much), Sam hadn't wanted to go. He had made that point very clear, in the all too annoying almost-a-teenager whine, trying to convince John "the father" Winchester — yes, it had been very important to use the bunny ears — to take along Dean instead. Dean, the overachieving ass-kisser, subject him to the unspeakably boring and worthless and not a bookworm with a pension for the law.
John hadn't listened, merely shoved his youngest son into the Impala (the black cherry that would in time enough be Dean's) with a look that said all too clearly: "try to talk your way out of this one again and I'll break your legs, son or no." So Sam had slid down into the black leather, bucket seats to glower with his arms crossed and death written all over his face. He had brooded and complained all the way to that fucking hick town — that's what he had called it, "that fucking hick town" — and had only been smacked for his attitude twice. According to John, one smack never taught the child discipline and three smacks was abusive, and he stuck by that rule to a fault. The man must've been raised that way, or something, and the result came out to being a torrent love affair with yelling. He yelled over spilt milk; he yelled over loud music that wasn't really loud (not unless the settling of three had been known to rupture death's eardrums); he yelled when the neighbor's dog crapped in the yard; he yelled when his youngest son left for college; he yelled when said youngest son wanted to skip bow hunting lessons to play soccer; he yelled over everything. Because any more than two thwomps to the back of the head was abuse and screaming, not so much.
Sam had always been convinced that Dean had never known about that rule of John's, how the man was perpetually a gnat's brow away from freaking the hell out, and he was only more sure of it during the trip to "that fucking hick town" — which wasn't all that bad, actually, not with the mind-blowing bluegrass music (and folk and country) and the dirt poor (but very polite) men and women speaking in those funny accents. It was funny to Sam because there was a time-capsule quality to it, the faintest British sprinkle in it that struck him as odd. But nowhere near as odd as the creature roaming their mountains, stealing what few livestock they had while their backs were turned. Nowhere near as odd as how… violated and dirty Sam felt when it had looked him square in the eye.
That was how Sam felt now, swatting at the air after the ghost of Thomas Baker had walked through him, violated and dirty. His face was deformed with the sickness of disgust, and he kept swinging his hands through the air as if he could turn back time — step out of the way a second or two before Mr. Kooky decided it was too tedious a job to go around him.
Muttering in protest, Sam turned back into the bedroom to keep tabs on what Thomas Baker was going to do next. He was both pleased and unsettled with the information that, for the moment, all the freak was doing was sitting down next to that poor nurse. That poor Alicia Lopez had only signed on to help people, not be carted to this house of horrors after she died of the very virus that she helped this whack-job get over. Alicia Lopez had agreed to dress in a white dress and silly hat, put a hand to feverish children's foreheads, but not for her dead body to be turned into a plodding doll.
Thank God she died relatively peacefully in a hospital bed, that her corpse lying there on the Victorian sleigh was only a second projection of Thomas Baker (two halves making a whole). Sam really didn't want to have to deal with Alicia Lopez's angry spirit — not when he'd been molested by the fruitcake sitting on the edge of the bed and stroking the dead nurse's arm. When this was over, he was going to hop right into a shower with his friends Steel Wool and Lye. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Of course, he'd miss all the organs Baker dusted with his demented spores, so maybe Sam would simply drink the lye and be done with it.
"Agreed to this?" Sam finally repeated, long after he initially meant to. His face was the poster child for disbelief, soon after that revulsion, for he made the mistake of breathing in through his nose. Just because the corpse was a mirage, having been found eighty-six years prior to this moment, didn't mean it had to smell like a mind trick. To Sam, and surely to Dean as well, the nurse's rotting body was as real to him as the floorboards beneath his feet and the ghost of the high society man sitting on the bed. "Agreed to this?"
Dean remained outside the room in the hall. His duffel bag was resting on the floor by his left foot, in preparation of torching Thomas Baker once the brothers leaned of where his body had been moved off to (it wasn't were it was suppose to be, oh no, because that would be too easy). But, though he wasn't in the main circle of action, that didn't stop him from putting in his two cents. "What the hell have you been smoking, Bucko?"
Thomas kept smiling his eerie little smile, petting and gazing down at his love interest with sickening infatuation. "Of course," he replied dreamily, completely ignoring Dean's remark. "She loved me, boy, and love must not be separated or barred." Still with that creepy look on his face, the fruitcake turned his head to look at Sam. "You'd know this quite well have you ever loved someone," he stated, speaking in tones that indicated how much he had picked up from the brunette when he passed through him. Or maybe the freak was bluffing.
Sam frowned, clasping both of his hands to his mouth as a feeble gas mask.
Baker wouldn't look away from him, seemed to have a goal to melt the kid with his looney eyes while stroking the decayed arm of his beloved. "There are two kinds of people in the world, young man: the ones who say they want their loved ones around forever, and the ones who will stop at nothing to make sure that actually happens. Tell me, have you not ever loved someone enough to want them with you forever, to not be able to bear parting with them?"
That was the million dollar question, all right, and Sam was in a fix to answer it. The answer was a yes, a big honkin' yes, but he couldn't just come out and say it, could he? The game would be lost then. The brothers Winchester would have to pack it up and go home, leave a frightened family to live in a house with this nutcase, leave two little girls to see that woman doll lying on the bed between them each and every night, with Baker standing watch over them (or, rather, the woman doll).
"Yeah, maybe," Sam replied through his palms. "But certainly not enough to shove funnels up into their cores and make masks to cover their faces, to sleep in the same bed with them and use their favorite perfume to cover up the stink of death. Definitely not enough to steal their body from their tomb each and every time it's put in there."
Only the diseased thing about it all was that Sam would have. The monster of envy living in his gut set aside, had Sam been given the choice he would have done that with Dean. He would have propped him up in the passenger seat of the Impala and played Dean's favorite cassettes, talked to him as if the blonde was still alive. Lord knew if that Roy Le Grange hadn't come along, if Dean had actually died of heart failure brought on upon by electrocution and a massive heart attack, his death would have caused Sam to crack. Sure as the sun rises Dean's death would have caused College Boy to become the giggling nut in the driver's seat of that '67 Chevy, talking with Dean and joking with Dean and bickering with Dean. There wasn't a doubt in Sam's mind that he wouldn't have bought his dead brother doll some food too, some drinks, magazines and hats and music tapes. But the instrument for fornication was a no-go, that was completely out of the — just no. Sam would have done everything else, however, because he loved Dean. He loved his big brother and couldn't imagine life without him; he had lived it once, and look where that turned out. A girlfriend glued to the ceiling and erupting into flame, just as his mother had done all those years ago.
Life without Dean wasn't an option, and if fooling himself into thinking that Dean's marker hadn't really been flicked off the game board meant sliding down to the level of… Sam wouldn't have even thought twice about it. Because desperate people do desperate things, he'd already mentioned that factoid, and that was the frightening truth about life, about love, about everything in between.
"Just wait, my boy," Thomas prosed gracefully, looking back to his human doll with those unnerving set of eyes. "Just you wait."
¹: Refers to the scaffolding upon which condemned prisoners are executed.
Clearly this is a mundane-ish drabble. It doesn't really have a place anywhere in the series, except of course after "Faith". The beginning and end are basically up for you to decide (or not), seeing as how this one-shot was not-so-neatly clipped from a possibly larger story. Call it a cop out or laziness if you must, but for the life of me I cannot find any information about that man and his nurse "doll". Had I, you would've been looking at a full-length spiel.