Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Supernatural or its leading fellas. I tip my hat to Eric Kripke. This plot line, however, is an authentic Uzi original.
AN: Hey everyone! I'm so psyched to be back and writing a sequel to Sad but True, I definitely couldn't leave our boys in their current predicament. I've been much slower in getting this posted than I wanted, but I've started back to class and time is at a minimum.
This story has been kicking around in my head for months now ever since I finally managed to formulate a fic based on one of my favorite AC/DC songs (Of course, have they ever put out a bad song?). Night Prowler is the final cut on the band's '79 Highway to Hell album. This is truly one of late lead singer Bon Scott's best. Brian may have the booming stadium voice, but Bon captures that up close and personal leering snarl that resonates with listeners. If you've never heard the song, I highly recommend it. To spice things up, I've used lyrics from the song to title every chapter, though they may not all appear in the correct order.
So, that being said, on with the show, and I hope everyone enjoys!
Chapter 1: A Clock Strikes Midnight
The cherry-paneled grandfather clock was tucked away in the den, right in between the cracked, leather sofa and the bookcase. The sound however, reverberated deep within the house and Amanda could hear the chime of midnight as clearly as if the antique was beside her bed. Sighing, she rolled over onto her stomach and pressed her face into the pillows.
It seemed she had spent every night for the past month chasing sleep, reaching and clawing for it throughout the wee hours only to find that it had slipped through her fingers yet again. Every bump, thump, creak, or groan of the farmhouse brought fitful bouts of tossing and turning. She had wanted to move out to the country, really she had, but she hadn't expected to be plagued with worry and nightmares like this. She chalked it up to living in the same house for her entire twenty two years of existence; surely she would grow accustomed to the change in time and her new home would feel as comfortable as its predecessor.
But that comfort wasn't coming anytime soon. Deciding that she was too warm, she kicked off her covers and rolled up the legs of her pajama bottoms so that they looked like flannel capris.
"Cute," she muttered to herself and was answered by a loud pop from the direction of her window.
Amanda inhaled sharply, drawing her already raised knees into her chest. Her pulse thumped in her ears, breath held as she waited for the sound to repeat. The seconds ticked by slowly, one after the other, and the house was silent. Cautiously, she uncurled her legs and stretched them across the mattress. It's nothing; it's nothing…stop being a wuss she scolded herself. Probably just the wind…
With a squeal, she bolted upright in bed and squirmed back against the headboard, eyes shooting across the dark room to the window. The security floodlight outside slanted several stray beams across the panes, making it hard to discern anything that lay beyond. Amanda squinted, wondering if perhaps she hadn't seen something. She couldn't tell, didn't want to tell in fact, and prayed for silence.
"Stop it, just stop!" she whispered sharply to herself as she barely managed to hold back a shriek. "There is nothing there. Nothing. It's just the screen popping."
"Shut up!" she shouted at the window, not really caring if she woke her parents, and chucked her pillow at it. The lumpy mass of cotton and foam connected with the glass and plopped to the floor, its target completely uninjured.
"I'm not scared!" she insisted, hoping that if she spoke the words aloud they would prove true. Really, she knew that she was irrationally frightened. She knew that fall was a season of fluctuating temperatures and the heating and cooling of the air caused the window screen to expand, contract, and therefore pop. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. She was going to sleep, she was determined, and she was going to fetch her pillow first.
Her bare feet padded silently across the carpet, each step cautious and precise. She reached the window unharmed, and bent down to grab her pillow. Her fingers were just curling around one corner of the case and her head was rising up, her eyes sweeping across the window sill, when she noticed it. Two inches of air separated the bottom of the window from its frame; two inches of open space that had been occupied by the window when she'd gone to bed…
The sound wasn't a pop this time, but an ungodly screech. It was something akin to nails on a chalkboard, or maybe more like a timber wolf being strangled. Whatever it was, it came from behind her. In her room.
She turned, the shadows shifted, and she screamed…
Dallas, Georgia. Twelve miles outside of Temple.
The black, four door, Silverado four-by-four could have belonged to any rough neck contractor hustling from one job site to the next. Or perhaps a couple of local high school students taking a spin in their most highly revered form of transportation. But chances are, any contractor would actually keep tools in their toolbox, and it was a safe bet that no one from Paulding County High had a rosary dangling from his rearview mirror.
The lifted truck traveled west on highway 278, its chunky, 32" tires screaming across the pavement with unnecessary speed. It cut over into the left lane, nearly clipping a Saturn, and downshifted, the dual tailpipes dropping their growl an octave. The truck's driver never saw the middle finger that was flipped in his direction.
"So, dude, Bon Scott or Brian Johnson?"
Not for the first time in his life, Sam Winchester wondered why he had been designated the family navigator and he rotated the Georgia map in hopes of finding a more helpful angle. "What?" he asked distractedly, tracing their current route with an index finger.
Dean sighed, cutting his hazel eyes across the cab of the Silverado and stifled the smile that threatened at the sight of his younger brother's shaggy head cocked awkwardly to the side in front of the map. "I said," the older man repeated with mock exasperation. "Who do you like better, Bon Scott or Brian Johnson?"
Dean shook his head. He'd tried to educate the kid in the ways of rock 'n' roll, really he had, but somehow his stream of metal trivia just hadn't seemed to sink in. Sam's head was too full of poetry and law school crap. "Sam, Sam, Sam," Dean adjusted his grip on the wheel and slouched against the window. "It's a shame, really."
"Damn it, Dean!" Sam hissed, slapping the open map against his knees. "I am trying to figure out where the hell we are, so a little more help and a little less bullshit would be much appreciated."
"Jeez, didn't know it was that time of the month, Samantha."
Sam's lip curled in a sour expression. "Bite me," he muttered and returned to his map.
Dean sighed, but let it go. Sam had been on edge ever since leaving Summerville, most likely because their query had vanished into thin air, leaving behind a wrecked house and a delirious wife. It wasn't the first time John had sent his boys on a wild goose chase, and Dean figured it wouldn't be the last. The eldest Winchester's ways were cryptic and strange, but over the years his bizarre behavior patterns had become predictable. It had come to no surprise to Dean that his father had shipped off yet again, leaving him to pick up the pieces of his little brother's shattered heart and steer him on like always. Dean wanted to call Sam a 'bitch' for whining, but he knew the reason for his troubled state, so he just let it slide.
"So," Dean scanned the four lane highway with casual interest, taking note of the modest warehouses that dotted the roadside. "What did your pal back at the Shell station have to offer?"
Sam eyed his brother cautiously, decided that the question was sincere, and lowered his hackles with a rush of expelled breath. "My pal," he sighed, flopping back against the head rest. "Was a total dumbass. He kept insisting that the road we're looking for is pronounced 'buck-annon', even though it's spelled 'Buchanan'. Then he informs me that the address, 2589 Morning Glory Lane, isn't even in Temple, but in some weird limbo between Temple and Dallas called Union Community. I swear, I've been to a lot of places, but this country stuff's the worse."
"Come on, Sammy, where's your redneck spirit?" Dean chuckled.
"And I repeat, bite me."
Dean waved his hands in surrender, nearly missed the sign for Buchanan highway, and swerved into the turn lane, slamming on the brakes and throwing his brother forward against the seatbelt.
"What's with you?" Sam griped as the truck's weight finally rocked back to the rear wheels. "You're driving like a maniac!"
"Meh, this thing doesn't exactly handle like my baby. Blame the vehicle not the driver."
Sam frowned. "Hey, be glad I didn't buy the Crown Vic the guy was pushing."
"It was gold."
Dean shuddered and pressed the accelerator with decidedly less force as the light changed. "The truck's not so bad, Sam. I just miss my car is all."
"I know," Sam sighed, rolling his forehead against the cool glass of the window. Truth be told, he missed the Impala too, but for different reasons. The '67 classic had become a part of the family over the years, passed from Mary to John to Dean. It had a life of its own, it suited Dean, and Sam unconsciously worried that his brother might not be at the top of his game without his valiant steed. Dean, of course, was more worried about his lack of a chick- magnetizing muscle car.
The miles ticked by slowly, the truck growling and groaning up the two lane highway's impressive hills and curves. The homes were modest, mostly brick or wood-sided ranches, and all set up close to the road. Nearly every carport or front yard was overflowing with miscellaneous junk; car parts, toys, old furniture, garbage and the like. Cows and the occasional scraggly horse dotted the pastures. More driveways were paved than not, but there were the proverbial gravel paths to nowhere guarded by private property signs.
"Where the hell's this Rose's place that guy was yammering about?" Dean griped, checking the odometer. "We've gone, like, ten miles and nothing. What's it supposed to be anyway?"
Sam shrugged. "It's some kind of huge store or something, everybody in that gas station referred to it as the major landmark for the area. The clerk said it was about ten or so miles out, so your guess is as good as mine on finding it."
"Great," Dean rolled his eyes. "Can't you use your 'shining' or something?"
"It doesn't work that way," Sam muttered, folding the map with defeat.
Dean's brow crinkled as he watched the double yellow line disappear over the next hill, he was seriously starting to think they had passed their "major landmark" and searched for a convenient driveway in which to turn around. The truck crested the hill and a sign became visible, a rickety message board jutting up from a gravel lot off to the left. There was a building, two in fact, but only one had a thin stream of smoke curling up from the roof.
"What's that?" Dean leaned forward against his seatbelt to afford a better view.
Sam squinted, just barely making out the sign. "Let's see…it says Merle's BBQ. That's not the place."
Dean braked anyway and pulled into the lot, rumbling to a stop in front of the supposed restaurant. The building was in fact a conglomeration of several build-it-yourself storage buildings that had been pieced together and linked with the same deep shade of red paint. There was a tiny, white trimmed porch scattered with various rocking chairs and the sign in the front window read "open".
"Dude, did you hear me? This isn't it," Sam asked, regarding the assorted pick-ups and painter vans slanted across the gravel; not one of the vehicles could have been newer than their own truck.
"We're lost," Dean shrugged, killing the engine. "Besides, I'm hungry."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Only you," he muttered and climbed down from the cab.
"By the way," Dean continued. "You never answered my question."
Another eye roll. "Fine, I like Bon Scott better, happy?"
"Yep, but you won't be," the older man reached into this pocket and whipped out two laminated, fake IDs. "Here," he flipped one to Sam and grinned.
The younger of the two caught it easily and rolled it over in his hand, recognizing his own photo under an FBI label. The name read Brian Johnson.
"Ha ha, Dean, you're hysterical."
"Ain't that the truth? Now come on, I'm starving."
Okay, I had a very hard time with this chap, the words just didn't want to cooperate. But, I promise it will get better from here on out, so please don't write me off just yet.