The Winchesters settled, temporarily as usual, in a trailer park just outside Indianapolis. John got a part-time job at a local garage in town. He spent his mornings doing oil changes at "Lightning Lube", his afternoons sleeping, and his evenings Hunting. The boys were pretty much left to their own devices with only token supervision. When John was at work during the day they were looked in on by one of their neighbors. When John was gone at night old Mrs. Nusbaum, another neighbor, would come sit with them - primarily just to provide food and make sure they didn't burn the trailer down around themselves. Mrs. Nusbaum, or Nussie, as Dean had immediately dubbed her, spent most of her time watching game shows on T.V. When she wasn't watching T.V. she was asleep in the recliner with her head tipped back, producing some horrific sounding snores.
Sam often sat on the sofa sucking his thumb and watching Nussie snore. He was quite convinced the old woman was a werewolf and he wanted to be there when she changed. Dean told him that was stupid because if she did change she would eat him. They both watched very carefully the first time Nussie happened to be babysitting them during a full moon. Dean stood ready with a Louisville Slugger just in case.
Nussie didn't change into a werewolf. She did change into a grumpy old woman later that evening when Dean accidentally hit her in the eye with a rubber band. He hadn't meant to hit her in the eye. He was aiming for the stack of Legos he'd piled on her forehead. The rubber band hadn't hurt Nussie, but it had caused her to wake precipitously from her nap and she had not been happy.
Dean was nine and Sam thought he knew everything. In time he would learn that Dean was often just full of shit, but at five Sam was suffering from a bad case of hero worship. The hero worship stemmed from the fact Dean knew all the words to the Gilligan's Island theme and could throw a knife across the living room to hit Elvis dead center in the nose.
The previous occupants of their trailer had left the black velvet Elvis portrait hanging on one wall and both Dean and their father used him for target practice. There was a bullet hole in Elvis' eye and if you looked through it you could see through the wall into the boys' bedroom. John shot the hole one night when he was drunk. He never knew how close he'd come to killing his eldest son. Dean woke up the next morning to find the bullet lying next to his pillow.
They hadn't lived in the trailer for very long when the Thing took up residence under Sam's bed. He knew it was there. He could hear it thumping and scraping around on the wooden floor at night and sometimes he could hear its raspy breathing. During the day he would peek under the bed and see nothing but dust bunnies and a single lost sock.
But at night...
Sam started sleeping with Dean, which meant he didn't sleep very much at all. Dean tended to fling himself around in his sleep, and, like Nussie, he snored. The snoring was due to chronic problems with his "add noises" - according to Sam, as explained to Pastor Jim.
"Don't you mean adenoids, Sammy?"
"No. It's add noises. 'cause he does!"
The utterly serious expression on his face, and absolute conviction in Sam's tone, had sent John and Jim into peals of laughter. Dean, embarrassed, hadn't thought it was funny, and Sam didn't get the joke.
In any case, Dean would snore until the age of fourteen when a severe infection necessitated the removal of both his adenoids and his tonsils. During the time when Sam had his Under the Bed Thing problem Dean's snoring was so bad it was nearly intolerable - and that was from across the room. Lying in bed with him was like trying to sleep in the middle of a busy runway at Chicago's O'Hare airport. The alternative, however, was to sleep in his own bed, and Sam wasn't having any of that! If he so much as hung one toe over the edge, the Thing would get him. He knew it with certainty.
So Sam spent his nights in Dean's bed huddled between the wall and his brother. He would peer anxiously over Dean's shoulder at the pair of orange, glowing eyes looking back at him from under the other bed. Dean's growling snores harmonized with the growling of the Under the Bed Thing and kept Sam awake. Sometimes the Thing would chuckle and poke a clawed hand out from the shadows into the glow of Sam's night light. Sam would duck under the covers and jab Dean in the ribs when it did that. Dean's annoyed grumbling usually scared the Thing back into the darkness.
One day Sam got up in the morning and found claw marks on the floor where the Thing had crawled out from under Sam's bed and made its way toward Dean's. It was getting braver. Sam debated with himself about whether or not he should confide in his father, but by the time he made his decision, John had gone out and Nussie was contentedly snoring in the recliner. Sam kept his mouth shut. He thought about telling Dean, but Dean was a very grown-up nine years old, and would probably think Sam was just being a baby.
Sam fretted about bedtime for the rest of the evening, only slightly distracted by the "Movie of the Kind Little Kids Shouldn't Watch" that Dean found on television. It was Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was about musical space aliens. Sam couldn't understand why anyone would think it was too scary for little kids. Everybody knew there was no such thing as aliens. Besides, if there were, Daddy would just shoot them.
He sat on the couch with his thumb in his mouth, twirling a lock of his hair with his free hand and hoping Nussie would not wake up when the eleven o'clock news came on. When the news came on, Nussie usually sent the boys off to bed. Sam definitely didn't want to go to bed. He was afraid of the Under the Bed Thing. Dean didn't want to go to bed either because he had rediscovered their cache of comic books and wanted to finish a particularly intriguing Batman story.
They were both out of luck. As soon as the movie ended the news came on, and as soon as the news came on, Nussie woke up.
The old woman stretched, and yawned, and declared it bedtime. As neither one of them wanted to go to bed, the boys stalled for as long as they could. Sam brought the proceedings to a screeching halt when he declared he'd lost Bunny and wouldn't go to bed without it. Any mention of Sam's bunny was almost guaranteed to make Dean cranky as he'd spent countless hours trying to wean his brother from the stuffed toy. He'd also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to break Sam of his thumb habit until Sam got mad and poked said thumb in his brother's eye. That resulted in a horrific fight which including hair pulling, the use of a bad word, and time spent standing in the corner.
Dean eventually gave up, and later found it terribly unfair that because of his old adenoid issues he had to get braces on his teeth and the thumb-sucking Sam did not.
(It must be noted that Dean's adenoid problems and the subsequent hospital and orthodontia bills were what ultimately led John Winchester to learn the art of credit card fraud- something both he and Dean would find very useful in later years. As a result Dean adopted and overused the catch phrase, "Don't blame me, it was the adenoids," until Sam threatened to have his tongue surgically removed as well.)
A hunt for Bunny began with Dean only half participating, a) because he had Bunny angst, and b) he was trying to finish reading his comic. Sam pretended to search, and looked everywhere except where the bunny was actually hiding. He'd hidden it there himself so he knew where there was, but just wasn't telling. After about a half an hour Nussie got down on her creaky knees and dug around under the recliner, finally locating the dog-eared bunny. Sam shuffled off to brush his teeth dragging Bunny behind him by the ears. As he shuffled he thought of other ways to stave off bedtime.
Within minutes a toothpaste fight broke out in the bathroom.
"I swear," Nussie fussed as she scrubbed smears of Crest off Sam's face with a washcloth. "I don't know what has gotten in to you boys tonight!"
"Beans?" Sam suggested, referring to a phrase Daddy's friend Bobby used quite often.
The old woman laughed and "beeped" Sam's nose with her finger. "Yes, beans I think. Come on, let's get you to bed."
"Can I have a glass of juice?"
A glass of juice was procured, and was followed immediately by a midnight snack, another glass of juice and a trip to the bathroom (most likely due to the juice.) Sam's stalling went on until Nussie declared it was finally bedtime - over an hour after they'd begun at eleven o'clock. Sam had one more card to play, but pleading, cajoling and giving Nussie sad, puppy-dog eyes could not convince her to read him a bedtime story. She firmly declined and said "enough was enough." Sam considered himself defeated, and resigned himself to having to go to bed at last.
Dean was already asleep, sprawled face down on his bed with his hair sticking up in all directions from his attempts to get the toothpaste out of it. There was no mistaking that he was asleep either as he was snoring like a freight train. Nussie paused to pull Dean's blankets up around him before shooing Sam off into his own bed. He bit his lip as she tucked him in and gave him a peck on the cheek. Before she left she switched on Sam's night light, turned off the regular lights, and shut the door.
The latch had no sooner clicked than Sam heard a quiet cackle from directly beneath him. Somehow he knew tonight was the night. It was going to get him tonight.
He squeezed Bunny tighter. From beneath the bed there was a scratching sound, and a "huff" of breath before the Thing began growling. It alternated growling with chuckling softly to itself. Somehow that was more frightening than the growling. Chuckling indicated intelligence, and intelligence in a kid eating monster was not a good thing. It meant Sam would not only have to outrun it, but outwit it too.
Sam looked quickly over toward Dean's bed. There was a gap between their two twin beds much too far for Sam to jump but on the floor he'd be vulnerable. The Thing could get him once he left the relative safety of the bed. Sam had no intention of letting the Thing get him, but he had no intention of staying in the bed either, especially when the Thing gave it a good, hard shake.
He carefully pushed down the covers. The Thing had good hearing. The scrape of pajamas on sheets was music to its ears and it immediately stopped its own noises. Sam froze too, waiting for the snuffling and scraping to resume, but every muscle in his body was wound up tight, coiled in anticipation for his sprint across the bedroom floor. He waited, his heart pounding hard in his chest. The Thing could probably hear that too.
Finally there was another "huff" from beneath the bed. The scratching sounds resumed, and to Sam's horror the creature started humming a little tune - off key - that Sam recognized as bits and pieces of various lullabys all strung together. The bed shook again, and Sam decided it was time to make his move.
He threw himself out of the bed and hit the floor running. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something lash out from under the bed and he jumped up in the air just as a clawed hand swept past the spot where his foot had been a moment before. In another two strides Sam was scrambling up into Dean's bed, snuggling Bunny to his cheek and breathing heavily.
Across the room there was a cry of frustration. Shadows shifted beneath Sam's bed and the long, thin arm was withdrawn back into the darkness. The orange, glowing eyes appeared, burning into Sam's eyes. It was angry. It had missed him.
Sam stuck his tongue out at it.
The commotion had awakened his brother. The snoring stopped, and Dean raised his head to look at Sam with an expression that could only be described as "muzzy." "Whu'ru doin?" he asked sleepily. "Huh?"
"I'm cold," Sam said, and scooted beneath the covers.
It was the truth, in a way. He had chill bumps but not necessarily because of the temperature. He shuddered as he cuddled up close to his brother's warm bulk. Dean smelled minty, but he was big and strong, and could throw a knife into Elvis' nose. The Under the Bed Thing couldn't get past Dean, of that Sam was certain.
Dean dropped his head back to the pillow with a grunt. Within minutes his adenoidal roaring resumed. Sam squeezed himself even closer to his brother and hid his face in Bunny's worn fur so he couldn't see the Thing's eyes watching him. Sam was tired. Several nights of little to no sleep were wearing on him. As much as he resisted he soon found his eyelids drooping. He couldn't keep them open. Not long after Dean fell asleep, Sam did too.
He didn't know what woke him. Maybe it had been a dream, or maybe it had been Dean's snoring, or - maybe - it was some sort of sixth sense. Regardless of what it was, it jolted Sam out of a deep sleep, making him flinch and gasp.
The room was quiet. Even Dean's snoring had subsided to an almost tolerable wheezing. The big LCD numbers on the clock read three a.m. No light came in through the window nor from beneath the door. The only light was the ruddy luminescence streaming from Sam's Tigger night light plugged into the wall between the two beds.
Sam cautiously rolled over and peeked over Dean's back. His eyes widened.
The Thing was no longer under his bed. The Thing was in the middle of the room, bathed in the glow of the night light, staring at Sam quite intently with huge, round, lidless eyes. For the first time Sam could get good look at it, and he was frightened.
It had about the same mass of a medium sized dog, or a child Sam's age, and a roughly human shape to its body. It could not, however, be mistaken for a human under any circumstance. It stood on all fours with its body suspended over the floor on long, thin, limbs with multiple joints like the legs of a spider. In fact it looked like a spider, a daddy long legs. The forelimbs ended in a pair of clawed hands. Its feet were clawed too, and very small.
Sam was focused on its head. It was very round, and like the rest of its body was covered in pale skin and odd, bristling hair. The face was humanlike to a certain extent but was just slightly enlongated, almost crocodilian, with a set of nostrils at the end of its snout and a broad, smiling mouth full of sharp, pointed teeth. It moved with an odd shuffling, crawling, scrabbling gait - a gait falling somewhere between that of a primate and an arachnid.
And it was moving. It was moving toward Dean's bed with a toothy grin. Saliva dripped from its wide jaws. Sam was paralyzed with fear. He shut his eyes, telling it to "go away, go away, go away."
When he opened his eyes again he gasped in terror. The Thing was at the bedside, resting its chin on the mattress. It smiled up at Sam as it lifted one of its talons to gently stroke the back of Dean's right hand. Dean's hand had fallen out from under the covers to dangle over the edge of the bed. It was fair game. The Thing was going to bite it off, Sam just knew it.
The Thing sucked in a gurgling breath. Its jaws parted.
Sam screamed at the top of his lungs. In a flash he was on his feet, his hands fisted in the back of Dean's pajama top. Gathering every ounce of strength he had, Sam pulled his brother up off the mattress, dragging him away from the edge of the bed and out of the Thing's grasp. It hissed at him in fury. Sam screamed again, but this time with more of a purpose.
Three things happened all at once.
Dean woke up flailing, startled at all the commotion, and accidently popped Sam in the nose. The Thing scuttled backward as fast as it could, vanishing beneath Sam's bed.
Most importantly, John Winchester burst through the door...
...with a shotgun.
"WHERE IS IT?"
Sam clutched his bloody nose with one hand and pointed at his bed with the other.
John rushed across the room and jerked the bed away from the wall, shoving it aside so he could see beneath it, the gun held ready in his hand.
Sam peeped over Dean's shoulder. His eyes were wide and he was still pumped up on adrenaline. If something had leaped out at his father from under the bed he would have been out the door and down the hall in a heartbeat, dragging Dean with him.
But there was nothing under the bed. Even the sock was gone.
With an angry glare, John returned to the door where he flipped on the light. "Did you see it?" he demanded of Dean.
"No sir. See what?"
John snorted derisively and turned his attention to his youngest. "What did you see, Sammy?"
Sam sniffled. He wasn't quite sure what the Thing was precisely. He described it as best he could. "Spider man."
His father and brother stared at him in stunned silence before Dean busted up laughing. "Spiderman?" he chortled. "You were scared of Spiderman?"
Knowing his ABC's but still shaky on the concept of reading, Sam had no way of explaining that he meant "spider man" with two words and a lower case "s" and not the comic book character who spun webs, crawled up walls, and had a girlfriend who shared a name with Sam's mother. As a result neither his brother nor his father took him very seriously. Dean in fact didn't take him seriously at all and launched into a nasally rendition of the Spiderman song until John made him stop.
Their father gave a long suffering sigh as he put Sam's bed back in place and straightened the covers. He did not, however, make Sam get back into it. Instead he came over to sit on the edge of Dean's bed where he examined Sam's wounded nose before tucking them back in.
"It was probably just a bad dream, Sammy, but just in case..."
He had come in with a sawed off shotgun, but in the pocket of his bathrobe was a thirty-eight. He flicked off the safety and laid the gun on the bedside table. His instructions to Dean were very clear.
"Something gets in here - you shoot it."
With that, John got up, turned off the light, and left the room, convinced that Sam had simply had a nightmare brought on by too much television. He made a note to have a little talk with Mrs. Nusbaum in the morning. In retrospect he would later kick himself for his casual dismissal of Sam's story. John Winchester of all people most certainly believed in malevolent bedroom visitors.
As soon as the door was shut Dean poked Sam in the ribs with his elbow. "You big baby."
"I'm not! It 'most bit you."
"Who?" Dean giggled. "Spiderman?"
"It's not Spiderman!"
"You just said it was!"
"It's not Spiderman, it's spider man," Sam explained hotly. "You're just stupid."
Dean punched him in the shoulder. "Shut up."
His feelings hurt, Sam's eyes filled up with tears. He rolled over toward the wall and took up his thumb and bunny. Next time he'd just let the Thing bite Dean's arm off. That'd show him.
"Baby," Dean hissed.
Sam ignored him.
"Baby, baby, ba..."
A sound came from across the room, a squeaking, scraping sound. Dean abruptly stopped his teasing. Sam tensed every muscle. The sound came again and he recognized it as the sound of a metal bedframe moving across a wooden floor.
"What was that?" Dean asked softly.
Sam looked back over his shoulder. "I told you," he whispered. "It's the Thing." He sat up to look, and sure enough, he could see its eyes glowing beneath the bed. "Look, look!"
Dean looked. He squinted. "I don't see anything."
He probably didn't. The Thing had closed its eyes, or turned off the glow or something. As soon as Dean turned his head to peer under Sam's bed, the Thing vanished.
"You know what, Sammy," Dean said reassuringly. "It's probably just a rat, or a raccoon."
That wasn't a comforting thought either. "Raccoonses have Ray Bans."
"It's rabies Sam, and it doesn't matter. We have a gun." Dean grunted as he turned onto his side and pulled the covers up around his shoulders. "Go to sleep. If it comes back we'll just shoot it. Okay?"
"Okay." Sam reluctantly settled back into the bed. "But its not a raccoon," he grumbled. "It's a spider man."
"It's your crazy head."
"You shut up, and go to sleep."
Sam shut up, but he didn't go back to sleep. Dean shut up too, and remained quiet, a sure sign he had not gone back to sleep either. The two of them lay in Dean's bed, listening to the soft scratching sound coming from across the room.
"It's a rat," Dean whispered.
The scraping stopped. There was a thump, and a chuckle.
Dean's body stiffened. Sam felt him pull the blankets up tighter around himself. "That wasn't a rat!" he exclaimed. "Rats don't sound like that!"
"See!" Sam squeaked. "I told you! That's the Under the Bed Thing!"
"Sammy, I'm lookin' right at your bed," Dean hissed back. "There's nuthin' there."
"Maybe it's indivisible."
Dean glanced back over his shoulder. Sam could tell by the look on his face he was scared. "If it's invisible how are we gonna shoot it?"
Abruptly the night light went out, plunging the room in to complete and utter darkness save for a very faint bit of light coming in through the window. Sam sucked in a breath and squeezed Bunny.
Throwing back the covers, Dean started to swing out of the bed. "I'm gonna go get Dad."
"No, no, no!" Sam clawed at him frantically, pulling him back by the collar of his pajamas. "Don't get out of the bed! It'll get you if you get out of the bed!"
"It's gonna get us if we stay in the bed!"
"I can't see it!"
They turned their heads at the sound of a scrabbling noise and another slurpy sounding chuckle. Slowly the shadow that was Dean reached out toward the bedside table. He groped around and came up with the gun. He cocked it.
A growl came from out of the darkness. The Thing had gotten closer. Sam sniffled, trying not to cry. He failed miserably.
"It's gonna eat us," he wailed.
"Shut up, Sam. It's not gonna eat us, it's gonna eat lead."
The room got very quiet. Outside a full moon came out from behind the clouds and a trickle of silvery light came in through the window. Dean's shadow solidified. Sam could see him perched cross legged on the edge of the bed, prudently keeping all of himself on the bed and not dangling over the edge. The gun was in his hand and it was leveled, a little shakily, in the direction of Sam's bed.
"Do you see it?" Dean whispered.
"No," Sam whispered back.
As soon as the word left his mouth Sam caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye. It did not come from the direction of his bed, but from the foot of Dean's. Before he could shout a warning the Thing had launched itself at them, rising up from the foot of Dean's bed like a monstrous four legged spider. One spindly, odd-jointed leg lashed out, knocking the gun from Dean's hand. One clawed hand shoved Sam back into the wall so hard it took his breath away. The other reached out to grasp Dean around the ankle.
Quick as a flash the Thing was on the floor again, claws scraping across the wood as it scuttled back toward Sam's bed dragging Dean with it.
Both of them were yelling, and so was their father, who had come at the first shout only to find his way blocked. The door reverberated with the sound of John's shoulder crashing into it. Sam spared a glance and saw that the Thing had sneakily pushed a bookcase in front of the door while they had been whispering back and forth. John couldn't get in, and by himself, Sam wasn't strong enough to move the bookcase.
Dean was clawing at the floor with his hands, and pushing against it with his toes, trying to prevent the Thing from dragging him under the bed. One foot was already lost in the shadows. The Thing still had hold of him.
Sam hurried down into the floor. He grabbed one of Dean's hands. With the other he grabbed onto the leg of Dean's bed. They heard a cry of frustration ring out in the darkness. Sam pulled Dean toward him. The Thing growled, and gave Dean's leg a hard tug.
The tug nearly jerked Sam's arms out of their sockets but he did not let go. Dean yelped. His bed squeaked across the floor a full inch toward his captor - exactly where they did not want to go! Sam braced his bare feet against the floor and pulled back as hard as he could but made no headway. The Thing just jerked back even harder than before. Dean's bed scooted across the floor another inch, while Dean's leg sank deeper into the shadows under Sam's bed. He cried out in pain.
"Sam! Get the gun, get the gun!"
Outside in the hall their father bellowed at the top of his lungs and battered at the door.
"Sam! Dean! Open the door!"
Frantically, Sam looked around on the floor for the gun. Dean had been taught gun safety when he'd turned six years old and at nine he knew how to operate every weapon John owned. Sam was only five, but he knew how to pull a trigger. There was nothing to it, and that was all he really needed to know.
He saw the weapon lying on the floor beneath the bedside table where it had fallen. It was out of his reach, even if he had a reach. He could not let go of his brother. He knew with conviction that if he let go, the Thing would drag Dean under the bed and Dean would be gone forever. He did not let go. He would not let go.
The tug of war went on a minute more, until finally the Thing gave Sam the break he needed. Frustrated at its failing efforts to make off with Dean, it apparently decided to go after Sam instead, or maybe it was just pissed off that Sam was keeping it from its prey. Whatever the reason, it suddenly launched itself back out from under the bed with an angry snarl. It let go of Dean and came at Sam with flailing limbs and snapping teeth.
Sam yelled. He let go of Dean too and scrambled backward like a crab. Dean quickly sprung up to his hands and knees and crawled after the gun.
The Thing would be quicker.
Sam would be quicker still.
The gun may have been out of Sam's reach but not so Dean's faithful Louisville Slugger. The bat had been propped up at the foot of Dean's bed. It had fallen to the floor after the Thing's first attack. Now Sam rolled out from under the Thing's clawing hands and grabbed at the baseball bat. His fingers closed over the smooth wooden handle. Without a moment's hesitation he came up swinging, putting his full weight into the blow as if he were Babe Ruth trying to score a home run.
A loud "bang" made Sam's ears ring. He felt something hot rush past his shoulder. Dean had missed, but Sam wouldn't. The shot rang out just seconds before the bat connected with the Under the Bed Thing's long, pointed chin.
Its jaws snapped shut. Its head jerked back and away from Sam's body. Sam swung again, this time backhanded and this time the bat made a solid connection with the side of the Thing's round head.
The Under the Bed Thing's skull burst open like an overripe melon.
Warm, sticky goo splattered across Sam's face. It smelled horrible and tasted even worse. He spit it out of his mouth and took one more swing at the Thing, smashing its body into the floor. Like the spider it resembled it died in a curled up jumble of twitching limbs.
Dean switched on the light.
They were both panting, both clutching their weapons in hands made sticky by the globular, yellow goo that coated them both from head to toe. One leg of Dean's pajama bottoms was torn and stained with blood from the deep scratches around his ankle. His fingertips were bloody from clawing at the floor. The nail on his right index finger was gone.
He still had toothpaste in his hair.
Together they pushed the bookcase away from the door and let their father into the room. John pulled them both down onto Dean's bed and hugged them tightly, one under each arm. The smelly Under the Bed Thing goo did not seem to bother him. He rocked them back and forth, whispering, "Good job, boys, good job."
By the time John let them go and attempted to investigate the dead Thing it was gone, dissolved by the onslaught of bright light upon its spindly body. Only the sticky yellow goo remained to prove it had been there.
The next morning John packed up their belongings and they moved yet again.
They flitted around from town to town for the rest of that year, until they settled, temporarily, in the small town of Bogart, Ohio. John rented a tiny Cape Cod style house on the edge of town in exchange for doing some handyman work around the property. The house was falling apart. John patched it back together and they lived there quite comfortably for several months.
Shortly after they'd moved into the Cape Cod, Sam went to his father and told him there was something in his bedroom closet. This time John did not waste any time doubting Sam's claims. Instead the child was presented with a gun, and told to shoot first, ask questions later. Sam felt a more than a little discouraged. The Under the Bed Thing had been bad enough. Now he was being told there was such a thing as the Closet Monster? Childhood innocence fled and his eyes were opened to the truth.
Still, his slaying of the Under the Bed Thing had drastically improved Sam's self confidence. He had stopped sucking his thumb, and at Christmas when Pastor Jim needed Toys for Toddlers, Sam said good-bye to Bunny. He did it bravely, without tears - at least not where he thought anyone could see him. It was later that same night when the tears came, and someone did see them. Dean witnessed his little brother hiding behind the sofa, bawling his eyes out. Sam didn't realize he was there, and Dean would never tell him.
Sam eventually got over the loss of Bunny, and he began sleeping in his own bed, with the gun under his pillow. If the Closet Monster really was in the closet, it apparently decided messing with Sam Winchester was much too risky. It did not manifest itself. Sam slept quite well in the little house in Bogart.
By the time Sam grew up, he was well versed in how to dispatch all sorts of nasty things. He wasn't afraid of the Closet Monster, nor the Under the Bed Thing. He didn't cry over silly things like stuffed toys. The things that scared him as an adult were much, much worse, and his tears were for losses far more painful.
Not long after his twenty-third birthday he and Dean stopped in to see some people apparently in need of the Winchester kind of expertise. There was something strange going on in the Rooker family's house. The daughter refused to sleep in her bed. Odd noises were heard at night. Pets kept going missing. Mrs. Rooker found the animals' collars in the daughter's bedroom and had become afraid her child might be the one doing the them harm.
Dean had another theory, once which he did not divulge to the Rookers. He convinced them they simply had a problem with some particularly "angsty" raccoons, vowing that he and Sam of "Critter-B-Gone" would take care of things, "don't you worry!" Already at the end of their rope, the family didn't think they had anything to lose by leaving two strange men alone in their house. They agreed to spend the night elsewhere while Sam and Dean conducted an extermination.
So while Dean was busy hustling the family off to a hotel, Sam dug around in the Impala's trunk looking for the perfect weapon.
It was stained, chipped, and battered from years of use. Some of the stains looked suspiciously like blood, others were an odd, yellowish color. A crack had been shorn up with duct tape, and the handle was worn shiny and smooth from years of handling, but Dean's Louisville Slugger was still going strong.
And it had never once hit a baseball.
When the Under the Bed Thing crawled out from the shadows in little Tara Rooker's room that night, Sam was standing on top of her bed waiting for it with the Slugger cocked back over his shoulder.
From his cross-legged perch atop Tara's dresser, Dean supplied all the necessary encouragement:
"Hey, battah, battah, battah, sah-wiiiing..."