This story is set some time after Dead Man's Blood and Devil's Trap but there is no reference to what happened after the Impala's crash. Suffice it to say in my story they all survived, including the Impala and continued their hunts. From my pen to Kripke's ear!

This is a totally new kind of story for me and I don't know if it works or not. I think it does but what do I know, I could be delusional. Therefore feedback in the form of reviews or PMs is greatly appreciated. Don't be shy; let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: No I don't own the characters of Dean and Sam or have any connection to the show other than the fact that it holds me in its thrall. I am laying claim to all new characters I have created for this story, wink, wink. If Kripke would like to incorporate them into the show for an episode I would be thrilled to share them. LOL

I hope you enjoy my tale.

Chapter One – The Stranger

"God made all Men, Samuel Colt made them equal."

Texas 1876

The sleepy, backwater town was in a frenzy preparing for the first official hanging of the year and all the excitement and revelry that would accompany it. Ranchers from the outlying spreads were coming into town to restock their supplies and partake in their only available entertainment for the foreseeable future. As the vendors set up their booths to hawk their mementos and souvenirs, a festive carnival atmosphere took over the town and the anticipation mounted.

The poor bastard preparing to swing had made a fatal mistake going up against the scion of the town. In small frontier towns like this the law belonged to whoever kept the town alive and in this town that would be the Carpenter family. They either owned the major businesses or they owned the proprietor of the business. Either way, they ran the town, including the sheriff, the judge and the undertaker. After the completion of this hanging, all three could expect a handsome bonus in their pay.

The prisoner sat in his cell contemplating where it all went to hell. It seemed like a normal little town, even the saloon was quiet on that Saturday night and they didn't even have a whorehouse, just a few working girls hanging around the saloon slinging drinks and offering extra services if the money was right.

Townsfolk all seemed pleasant enough although they were a bit tightlipped about the disappearances of the drifters who had wandered into town. Either they didn't see them or they conveniently forgot ever seeing them, either way he hadn't gotten any information from the lot of them. Just more questions that no one seemed able or interested in answering, that is anybody but him, a stranger who appeared in town and refused to leave without those answers.

His old friend Cain had disappeared in the vicinity of this town two weeks prior. He had been on a hunt and had indicated he was close; close to exposing the beast that walked like a man during the day but fed on the unaware under the cloak of darkness. Common belief was vampires were the stuff of campfire stories, used to initiate the greenhorns who came out West to conquer the wild and wooly frontier.

With all the real horrors of the unforgiving West, the idea of vampires really didn't seem too plausible. Yet the fact was the West was inundated with them. After all it was a perfect place to kill and slaughter, cowboys died every day and no one really seemed to care; most were too concerned with staying alive themselves.

He had gotten to town just as another two cowpokes disappeared and later their blood drained bodies mysteriously appeared behind the undertakers. The undertaker just seemed content to stuff them in a box and bury them down on boot hill in the indigent section. Strange how he didn't seem concerned about his cost. As a businessman one would think he would want to make a profit. Turns out that wasn't a problem, the Carpenter's took care of any bills he presented. Funny how altruistic the patriarch families of small towns can be.

If this stranger ever considered settling down again he wouldn't pick a sleepy, little town like Valentine, Texas. He had found out the hard way a town like this could be detrimental to one's health once they locked him up, rigged a quickie trial and sentenced him to hang before the week was over. Yeah, he had definitely seen better weeks.

The priest would be in tonight to hear his sins and offer him absolution and his final meal would be brought in by that little Mexican café he had never quite gotten around to trying. He hoped the food was good; it'd be a waste to not have a good meal the night before you die. Guess they can pile on the jalapenos and hot spices, might as well make it a night to remember.

He had been allowed just one visitor since his arrival at the jail, not that a wagonload of people had been trying to get in. His lone visitor was a local waitress from the saloon he had the pleasure of knowing briefly. Unfortunately, the sheriff had refused to actually allow her inside the cell but still it had been nice to see her pretty face again and have someone who seemed genuinely distressed he would be departing this world.

He had earlier left his belongings with her in her room at the saloon and now he gave her instructions that two items be held for his next of kin: a worn leather bound journal filled with pages of incomprehensible scrawlings and a Samuel Colt revolver in a wooden case with nine bullets. He said she would know his kin when she saw them, the family resemblance and all.

Aggie was her name and she reminded him of the only woman he had ever loved: the mother of his sons, the love of his life, his beloved Molly who had been murdered twenty years earlier by a demonic force that shattered his world and sent him on his deadly vendetta against all things evil. He was a hunter and he had come to this town to save the townsfolk from an unspeakable evil and instead they had turned on him and thrown in with evil itself. Innocents, guess in the untamed West there was no such thing.

Aggie had been the one true innocent he had found in this town. A young woman who had been forced to live a certain life just to survive but still maintained a purity of spirit that endeared her to the hardened hunter. Against all reason or common sense he had allowed himself to care for another woman for the first time since he lost his wife.

Somehow, she had managed to penetrate his protective wall of solitude and grief and enamor her way into his heart. He had barely seen it coming and there it was: a new love to mend his broken heart if only for the few days he was blessed to know her before fate would again deal him a crushing blow.

He had at long last found another true love, yet happiness was still to elude him for with his death their love would also perish and her hopes of another life with one man who truly loved her would never come to pass.

He hoped her allegiance to him wouldn't cause her any backlash in this sordid, little town once it was all over. He hoped when his kin arrived she would consent to leave with them to find a better, safer life elsewhere.

Aggie looked longingly into the eyes of the one man who had made her believe again. She had fallen for this stranger the moment she saw him and it wasn't just the ruggedly handsome features that distinguished his face and tall frame. Perhaps it was the sad, knowing look in his sparkling eyes or the dimples that defined his smile when he allowed the humor of a situation to override the serious demeanor of his face.

He possessed the weariness of a man who had battled long and hard for righteousness yet when he allowed his guard to drop he was the most charming man she had ever met. His eyes positively shone with an inner light and his gravelly voice sent shivers down her spine.

The finality of his plight left her shivering now from the cruel injustice of it all. Here was a good man who certainly did not deserve to die at the gallows come morning. The harshness of this bitter West was more overbearing on this long last day than even she could ever remember.