Disclaimer: I own nothing involved with Supernatural or the characters. The writing of this story is purely for my own enjoyment and any characters that you don't recognize likely came from my imagination.
A/N: A huge thank you to those of you who helped me to decide which story to post next. I'm excited about this next one the one that will follow it. I hope you enjoy!
This story is actually based semi on a couple of stories that float about my university campus throughout the school year, particularly close to Halloween and orientation week for the freshmen in September. The town and building names have been changed for privacy sake, but the root tales are based in reality. The turns that the story takes aren't necessarily realistically based, but some statements are taken from reports of students, staff and news articles that I have either heard in passing or read myself (news articles in the university papers archived in the campus library). Enjoy!
Summary: A small town university campus is the site for a series of mysterious fires and occurrences leaving both students and staff puzzled.
A staggering stream of smoke hung listlessly in the darkened sky above Harden house, while the sharp scent of fire slithered mercilessly through the sleeping town of Garren. A lone vehicle that was passing Harden after a lengthy day trip into the nearest city, an hour and a half away, saw the smoke and an urgent cell call was put through to the town fire department.
Moments later, blaring sirens pierced the silent night and the red lights of fire rescue vehicles scattered across the fronts of houses setting next to the road. Slowly the town awoke, the alarms pulling the residents from sleep and drawing them to the nearest window in an attempt to discover what was taking place. The vehicles pulled up outside of Harden house and saw the smoke lingering in the air.
No students currently living in the Harden residence had left the building and so the members of the fire brigade hurried into the silent house to clear out those inside. Short seconds later, a member of the rescue team remaining outside, pointed to a third story window where a young man stood with a look of sheer panic on his face. The people watching from the street saw the man yank the window open and leap out. The falling figure fell to the pavement, landing without a sound and when people rushed to help, they were startled to find the jumper was nowhere to be seen.
The townsfolk watched the fire teams usher close to fifty sleepy-eyed or just plain confused students through the building's main entrance and the firefighters pulled their protective masks off with looks of complete confusion shadowing their faces. The inside of the building was completely unscathed by flames, there was no fire devouring the hallways of Harden and the smoke polluting the sky, silently ghosted away into nothing, leaving the night as calm as before the call had been put through to the fire department.
"There's no fire, chief." A woman replied, running a hand over the dark ponytail that peeked out from beneath her helmet. She pulled the fire mask off of her face and blue eyes turned back to the third story window that had caused so much chaos only moments before.
The glass pane was dark and there was no sign of anyone in the room, yet the window was still fully opened to let the crisp night air sift quietly past the ledge. As the woman watched, a white hand reached slowly out of the darkness and pulled the window down without a sound.
"It sure sounds like our type of gig." Dean replied from behind the wheel of the Impala.
He'd been listening to Sam recap a recent news article about a mysterious fire at a small town university and all evidence pointed to elements of the supernatural.
"This isn't the first time that it's happened. I looked into it and saw that the fire department gets at least three of these calls to seemingly non-existent fires every month. Each incident plays out in a similar way with only minor tweaks here and there. Sometimes witnesses will see a student jump from a third story window, only to have the man disappear, and other times, they'll see two figures seemingly on fire in two rooms, one on the second floor and one on the third. There have even been reports of screaming coming from the upper windows of the building and two years ago one student actually did jump from the same third story window the witnesses see the young man leap from. The student hit headfirst into the pavement and died instantly from a snapped neck. Police marked the death up as suicide." Sam replied as his eyes scanned the screen of the laptop.
"What else have you got?" Dean asked, as he took the turnoff to Garren.
"Some students have reported locking their doors at night, only to find them unlocked in the morning. The lights will flicker and radios or televisions will turn on and off. Students have come back after a long weekend at home to find their doors completely opened and every electronic in the room turned on. Sounds have been heard in the bathrooms and hallways late at night, and some students have claimed that they heard the sound of a coin dropping just outside their door. When they got up to investigate, there was no sign of anything that could have made a similar sound."
"So, a haunting then?" Dean questioned.
"It sounds like it." Sam responded, his eyes still searching the screen.
"Any clue as to who the ghosts might be?" Dean wondered.
"Yeah, actually. A little less than thirty years ago, Harden residence burned to the ground and three students were killed in the fire. Some of the other kids in the house thought that the fire drill was just that, a drill and they decided to play a couple of jokes on some students. They stuffed pennies in the doors to keep them from opening and two students burned to death because they couldn't get out."
"What about the third?"
"A nineteen year old named Isaac Paget. His door had also been locked with a penny and he panicked when he couldn't get out. He opened the third story window and jumped, died instantly from a snapped neck. Students who have been given the room for the year have reported feeling a sense of terror upon stepping inside and they always felt like they were being watched. Most of them requested an immediate change of room or residence because they didn't feel comfortable."
"What about those who didn't switch out?"
"One student claimed to have seen the ghost of Isaac Paget when he was working on a paper late one night. The ghost's neck was bent at an impossible angle and he was just staring at him with a look of sheer panic on his face. The student fled the room and stayed with the house Dons for the rest of the week until a new room could be assigned to him. Also, like I said, another student jumped from the window and died upon hitting the pavement. Other students have stayed in the room, but never for the full year, they'd always switch rooms or residences and in some cases, even universities."
"All men?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, Harden is primarily an all males residence. There are only about twenty female students living there and their rooms are in the basement. No paranormal activity has ever been reported from down there."
Silence fell over the Impala and Dean turned into the town of Garren. The university could just be seen past the trees and next to the marsh. The road was comfortably paved and very few bumps slid under the tires of the car. Beyond the senior citizen residence, a green iron-gate stood, claiming to be an entrance to a waterfowl park. Dean tried to see down the dirt trail, but was unable to do so because of the sharp right turn that it took. He pulled his car into a large parking lot behind the maintenance building of Mount Kale University and got out. The mid-autumn air struck him in the face, bringing with it the musty smell of the marshlands and the taste of salt on his tongue. He cast his eyes beyond the lot and up a set of cement stairs where four buildings stood in a circle. He smiled at his brother and led the way up, only to find a large group of students along the edges of the path that stretched around the entire area.
Seven students were lined up in front of one of the buildings, nearly hidden amidst a larger group of students swarming around them with paper cups and bottles of soda. Dean regarded the swarm with amused interest, wondering just what exactly they were up to. He shoved his way in between a dark blonde and a brunette and looked around at the other students.
"What's going on here?" Dean questioned.
"The root beer mile." The blonde replied with an amused glint in her eye. A smile was tugging at the corners of her mouth as Dean regarded her with confusion.
"The root beer what?" He asked.
"The root beer mile. You see those seven people lined up in front of Wayland hall?" the girl pointed to the area of the swarm.
"Yeah, what are they doing?"
"It's a house challenge, but as you can see, not many people were brave enough to give it a try. The competitors chug a glass of root beer and run around the quad and each time they cross the finish line they have to chug another glass down. They run around seven times and whoever completes the seven laps first is the winner." The blonde stated casually.
"Sounds messy." Dean mused, thinking about the way the event would play out.
"It can be. Last year, I think only one guy crossed the line without giving up." The brunette stated with a smile.
"So this it what you college types do for fun?"
"Sure, why not?" The brunette smiled.
Dean turned an amused glance to where Sam stood with his hands in the air as if to firmly illustrate the fact that he had never watched or taken part in such an event.
"And you guys like watching this?" Sam asked curiously. They hadn't done this particular activity at Stanford when he was there.
"Sure, it's great fun." The blonde replied.
"There's only one girl doing it?" Dean asked, observing the start line.
"Yeah, that's Gill, she lives on my floor. She's got guts to do this. I know that I certainly wouldn't." The brunette girl said.
"I want to keep my dignity in tact. Watch and see what I mean."
A young, dark haired man with a mega-phone held the contraption to his lips and yelled into it.
"Okay runners, you ready?" He didn't wait for a reply and drew a deep breath.
"On your marks, get set, go!" The young man screamed and Dean's ears reverberated with the volume of the voice.
Three laps into the 'race,' four people had already stumbled off the track
"This is the weirdest idea of fun I've ever seen." Dean stated.
"Tell me about it." Sam replied.
The race drew to a close and it was a head to head run between the two remaining men in the race. Gill had gotten off the field shortly after lap five and now a redhead was sitting next to her on one of the benches between Wayland hall and the dining building.
"Ryan takes the race!" The dark haired man yelled into the device he held in his hand. "Second place is Ian's."
Both young men who had finished the race immediately doubled over to catch their breath and calm their stomachs while the dark haired man watched with an amused smile playing on his features. From there, water hoses were pulled from the grass to wash down the cemented walkway while the spectators slowly made their way back to Wayland hall with laughter and smiles lighting their features.
Dean shook his head in disbelief.
"Wow." He replied as the setting sun shadowed his face.
A/N: Well, there's the first chapter. Just so you know, the root beer mile WAS an actual event that the presidents of my house devised as one of their 'genius' activities. Until next time, leave me some notes and by all means, if you have constructive criticism, PLEASE toss it at me. Also, if you have questions, let me have them and I'll do my best to answer.