Grey Mirror Sky1
The trees formed an amorphous green and brown blur as Sam ran onwards, his eyes fixed on the crest of the hill above him, silhouetted against the grey, stormy sky. His feet slipped on the wet grass and he fell forwards, hands sinking into the mud, grass stains marring his blue jeans and tan jacket. The wind blew his dark hair into his eyes and he pushed at it impatiently as he struggled to his feet, smearing mud and grass across his forehead and cheek. Rushing onwards, he finally reached his destination, and there before him was a dark figure. As it turned, he saw from the silhouette that it was a woman, though her face was hidden beneath long, wind-swept hair and the hood of her coat. He reached out for her and his grip on her arm made her turn. He could see her face now. It was pale, so deathly pale, and her eyes were dark, seeming black under the overcast sky and in the shadows of the trees. And they glowed with frustration, anger, hatred.
She was yelling at him, though he couldn't hear the words, and there was something in her hand, something silver and sharp that glinted in the low level light. And then they were both falling, sprawling in the mud, and almost as soon as he fell he was standing again somehow, and in the woman's place was something huge, and muscular, which smelt of wild animal, and which had huge, saliva dripping teeth that were racing towards his throat . . .
Sam awoke with a start, his breath catching in his throat and his eyes wide. Leaning forwards, he rested his elbows on his knees and took a deep breath, pushing his hair back and resting his head in his hands. He looked up, startled, when the motel door opened, and his brother Dean entered, carrying a greasy takeout bag and two cups of coffee.
"You're awake. Good. I think I might have found our next gig."
Sam stared at his brother for a while, letting the familiar sight ooze through his sleep-addled brain until he had a handle on reality again. At his silence, Dean frowned, throwing their takeout breakfast on the bed and handing his younger brother a coffee.
Sam nodded. "The same one. That woman again. I saw her face this time. She's young, like us, but so angry. She disappeared and this thing replaced her. I think she's some kind of monster. That we're supposed to stop her."
Dean threw a newspaper onto Sam's lap.
"A monster, huh? Well, maybe we should be looking for her then. There have been five deaths in the woods up in Indiana. Each one has been described as a wild animal attack, even though researchers agree these aren't bear attacks, although one victim had their throat cut, which might mean there's a human element at work here, too."
Sam looked up sharply. "We have to get there, Dean. We have to get there now."
Dean grinned, flashing his pearly whites and looking decidedly devilish, almost feral. "I was hoping you'd say that."
Just over forty-eight hours later, the Winchester brothers were easing themselves out of Dean's car, carefully stretching their stiff legs and rolling their shoulders to banish the last remnants of discomfort after the long drive. They'd stopped in front of a diner, a large sign over it proclaiming that it belong to a guy named "Sammy Jo". The sun was high in the sky, though largely covered by thick, ominous looking clouds, and the wind was icy-cold, cutting right through Sam's jacket and making him shiver.
"Let's grab some lunch; maybe ask around about the fatalities." Dean nodded, and followed his brother into the diner.
A small bell jingled as they entered, and a petite, blonde waitress behind the counter looked up alertly before grabbing two menus and practically bouncing towards them. Dean settled himself in a booth seat and leant back to enjoy the view of the pretty waitress moving towards him, her short, polka-dotted skirt lifting with each step to show off a pair of fantastic legs.
Sam, noticing his brother's leering, rolled his eyes and kicked his ankle beneath the table, eliciting a glare from Dean that made him chuckle softly under his breath.
Having reached their table, the waitress (whose badge proclaimed, "Hi! I'm Mary! Ask about our specials today!") handed them the long, card menus, and took out a notepad and pen from her pocket.
"Can I get some drinks for you boys?" Her voice was surprisingly deep and husky for her tiny, fresh-faced appearance and all-American blonde hair, but this didn't prevent Dean from flashing her a winning smile.
"I'll have a root beer. Sammy will have a coke with lime."
Sam smiled at the waitress politely. "Yes, thank you."
She beamed at them both, mentioned that she'd be back in a few minutes to take their order, and bounced back behind the counter.
Dean shook his head as he watched her go. "Maybe we can stick around a little longer than planned, and have some fun."
Sam smiled ruefully but refused to comment. He'd heard it all before.
Leaning back in the booth, he stretched his long legs under the table and pulled a rolled up newspaper from his pocket.
"It says here that the woods aren't too far out, if the local map can be trusted. I think we should head up there tonight."
Dean quirked an eyebrow. "You don't want to ask around first? Get a feel for what exactly we're hunting here?"
"I'm thinking werewolf."
Dean nodded. "Right time for it."
"Exactly." Sam looked grim, looking as if he were about to say more when Mary returned with their drinks.
After ordering some food, Dean gave Mary another winning smile.
"Mary, my brother here is a bit of a history buff. Local lore is what really does it for him. We heard on the radio coming in that an unusual amount of animal attacks occur around here. You know anything about that?"
Mary cocked a hip and crossed her arms, shifting her weight to get more comfortable in her heeled shoes.
"Oh sure, honey. It's so weird."
"Weird? How so?" Sam leant forwards on the table, smiling at her with open curiosity. She straightened a little under his gaze, and unconsciously smoothed the skirt of her uniform.
"Well, we get a few regular hunters coming through; they like to hunt bear up in the woods during the season, and sometimes outside. They tell me that the bodies were mauled by something as big as a bear, but stronger, faster. One guy, he headed the search for the last girl. Nice kid. She used to stop by here." Mary paused, looking thoughtful and a little sad, before continuing. "Anyway, this guy saw the body and said the claw marks were all wrong. Definitely not a bear, he said, and he's been hunting for twenty years."
Dean tapped the open newspaper on the table with one, long finger.
"Says here that one of the victim's had their throat cut by a manmade object, maybe a knife. You think maybe it's a serial killer? Some sicko hunting people instead of bear?"
Mary shrugged, her blue eyes darkening with emotion.
"Maybe. Who knows? I just know what I hear, and that's that some weird critter is out there, hunting people and doing ungodly things to the corpse. You won't catch me going to those woods, that's for sure." She shuddered, hard, and then her professional veneer returned as if it never left. Bustling up their menus, and offering to bring them fresh drinks, she bounced off to the kitchen without a backwards glance.
The brothers looked at each other over the tabletop.
"Definitely hunting tonight, then." Dean said, and Sam nodded.
It was almost completely dark by the time the Winchesters made it to the woods. Dean was busy sorting through the unusual equipment in the boot whilst Sam stood by the car, staring out into the dark woods with his shoulders hunched. It felt familiar, and he knew now that he could see the place up close, and smell the air, that this was the same wooded area as in his dream. There were no cars around, so wherever this woman, monster, whatever came from, she came on foot. He watched a tree-branch sway violently in the wind and shivered. An ominous feeling was settling on him like a shroud.
The boot slammed, and he turned round to face his brother, taking the weapons offered (a gun with silver bullets, a silver stake, and some skunk musk, good for distracting a fully changed werewolf and masking your scent if you needed to make a speedy retreat) and fitting them easily about his person.
"Now, we'll have to be quiet, but if she's changed she'll hear us no matter how careful we are. Just be alert." Dean's voice was commanding, and Sam found himself nodding obediently, even though he'd heard it all before and really didn't need to hear it again. He always ended up following Dean, somehow. Maybe because his brother always seemed so sure of himself.
As quietly as possible, they headed into the forest, scanning around them alertly and listening for any indication that they were being followed, or worse, hunted. They walked for a good ten minutes before they heard a howl off to their left. It was soft, almost stealthily, but it sent a primordial shiver of fear right down Sam's spine, and he felt like he'd been doused with ice-cold water. Eyes wide, he glanced at Dean, who motioned for Sam to follow him as, frowning in concentration, he crept through the brush.
They were just peering into a clearing when a scream ripped through the air. Without thinking, they set off; crashing through the bushes and into the clearing, where, ahead of them, dark against the stormy sky, was a hill. The hill from Sam's nightmare. The recognition caused Sam to run faster, harder, slipping in the mud as he overtook Dean, barely hearing him shout out for him to slow down and be careful. He fell in the mud at one point, and Dean pulled him up, so that together they were racing up to the top of the hill where they could see a figure, dressed all in black.
His heart in his throat, Sam raced on, grabbing Dean's arm harder and yelling for him to watch for a weapon.
The sky was darkly oppressive and there was an ozone smell pervading the world, as if a storm was ready to spill out across the plains. Everything felt dream-like, the memory of his nightmares colouring everything Sam saw and felt. Too soon the woman was before him, too quickly she was turning with that silver-item glistening in her hand. Sam reached for it, but this time Dean got there first, knocking it from the woman's grip with one smooth and accurate hit. She watched it fly from her hand, crying out at the attack and cradling her wrist to her chest. Then she was turning to them, just like in his nightmare, her eyes dark with anger and hate.
But something was wrong. Behind her, Sam could see a dark shape begin to rise from the ground where it had been camouflaged against the mud and grass. It was huge and muscular, and it was moving towards them with preternatural grace. Everything seemed to slow, and Sam could see now that it wasn't hatred in the woman's eyes but fear; a bone-deep fear tinged with the merest hint of annoyance.
"You idiots!" She managed to scream, and then the monster was upon her, its claws ripping into her side, seeming to hook under her ribcage before tossing her aside like she weighed nothing.
Dean was already pulling out his gun, and Sam fumbled for his as the werewolf bore down on them, its muzzle open in a frightening snarl. As he stepped backwards, tugging at the gun that was wedged under his waistband, he happened to glance down and saw that the sharp object the woman had been holding was a silver stake.