"Stronger at the Broken Places" by Karen
'After a while, "Dean, thought as he his brother Sam pulled into yet another small town," the scenery more or less got imprinted on his mind as one big multi-colored blur.'
Towns came and went and to his way of thinking, it all pretty much came averaged out to one pretty basic equation: You came in, found the creepy spirit, saved the day, and got out, no questions asked, well, not the potentially dangerous and awkward ones at least. On the whole, Dean reflected. "I think I prefer it that way."
However, it did make getting involved with a pretty young girls a lot simpler, if he didn't have to tell them everything about their lives or risk getting too romantically and personally attached.
As Dean pulled into the parking lot of the motel for the evening with the rhythmic and deep baritone of one of his favorite Metallica songs playing on the radio, Dean could not help thinking of himself as some kind of modern day ghost/demon-hunting version of the classic film star, James Dean. As he pulled into a parking spot with his brother, Sam dozing in the passenger seat next to him, Dean mused that he rather liked the comparison.
A short while later, Dean had secured the rooms and the keys, parking the Impala in the parking lot, and waking Sam up. Times like these, Dean often wondered how his younger brother could managed to sleep just about anywhere and make it look so damn easy.
Elsewhere, a young girl ran across the esplanade, dodging in and out of traffic, here in southern California, even at almost half past midnight traffic was still a going concern, so she had to be careful, in the back of her mind Gloria Mitchell thought, "here I am, on the run from something big and scary, only to get wiped out by a car speeding down the highway to become a victim of a hit-and-run. Come on, give me a break, the universe cannot be nowhere that lame.'
Following along in her wake, Gloria's shadow flattened out behind here. and in the dim moonlight seemed much larger than it should have under normal circumstances. She kept running, uncertain even before the weirdness has and the headaches had begun just what exactly she was running from. It was hard to define, and even her folks were a bit frightened and confused by what was happening to her, although they never said so in those terms. Some part of her nature wanted to rebel against being either be treated like she was crazy or mentally ill, another part of her wanted something definite and reassuring to cling to, and although she her folks were worried and cared for her, this was something that they simply could not help understand and overcome.
Gloria kept running, dodging in and around obstacles, following an instinct that she was not coconsciously aware that she had, trying to find someone who understand, and more importantly help to deal with her problem, at last.
As Gloria paused by the glass fronts of stores and shuttered windows of homes and apartment complexes, as she paused a chill crept into the air, one that did not come form the direction of the Pacific Ocean only a few hundred miles to the southwest.
A few of the more sensitive, and Sam and Dean Winchester were among them, felt that breeze like the merest touch of gossamer thin fingernails scratching across the surface of their minds. The thoughts of the presence were vague, hazy and not all distinct, but in the few and far between moments of clarity, the presence referred to itself as "Mary," or Bloody Mary, for when the rage and the frustration, and the longing to manifest in a solid presence grew too much for it, referred to itself as "Bloody Mary."
At the motel
"Something's up," Dean muttered as he rolled over in the motel room bed.
In the neighboring bed Sam stirred and muttered. "Yeah, I felt it, too. Doesn't mean that it has anything to do with us."
"Come on, Sammy," Dean flashed his wicked grin, Sam knew he should be more enthusiastic when either one of them got the heebie-jeebies that the paranormal were stirring, but frankly right at this moment he just did not care.
"Think we should check it out?" Sam asked all the same.
"Not before breakfast," Dean replied, "I've got some leftover pizza in the micro fridge, we can warm it up in the hotel's microwave, or you can eat it cold, whatever, man."
"Better than nothing," Sam nodded.
The Winchester brothers had finished eating breakfast and while Dean went out to check on the car Sam remained behind to clean up the mess. 'Dean had a lot of good points, but the sheer detritus he left behind was nothing short of staggering, Sam thought as he wadded up the mess and dumped it all into the trash bin.
Meanwhile, Dean had just finished reassuring himself that the Impala was still in good working condition after nearly being totaled a few short weeks ago, and the garage mechanic that had reworked both the body and the internal workings had done a reasonably decent job.
Dean straightened up and was nearly knocked off his feet by the slight figure of a pretty girl that staggered into, hair blown every which way by the wind, sweating and obviously in state of exhaustion and panic.
"Whoa, whoa, take it easy," Dean said reassuringly to the girl as he held her by her trembling shoulders and turned her around so he could look her in the face.
"Can't, can't stop now," the girl panted, "Have to keep running."
"Look, you're obviously in some kind of trouble, and you look like you need help."
"I don't know," replied the girl.
"Look, if you need help," Dean said and winked, "then you've come to the right place. I'll help you."
"I don't know about this," she stammered.
"Trust me," Dean replied.
"Who are you?" she asked
"Gloria Mitchell," she replied. "Can you really help me. This is way weird, but I feel like I know you from somewhere, but that can't be true, right. Like, we've never even met before this, so how can that be, huh?"
"Oh, I know what you mean," Dean replied. "Look, let's get the hell outta here, and I want you to meet my brother, Sam."
"Let's go," Gloria replied.
Scene 3 Enter Bloody Mary (INSERT)
The lights began to flicker intermittently on and off, and Gloria noted with more than a little alarm that two Winchester brothers were exchanging significant glances and non verbal signals with each other. It had been several hours since she could last recall the warning signs of an oncoming migraine headache, so she could not be entirely certain of her perceptions at this point, but this had to be something bad.
In the reflective surface of the mirror above the beds Gloria could see her reflection, and she wondered if perhaps she had finally lost her mind because the face that looked back at her was not her own.
"We got bogeys," Dean whispered to Sam, you bring the stuff?"
"Yeah, take a gander in the mirror,' Sam whispered back.
"Hell, and here and I thought we were well rid of that thing." griped Dean going over to his back and pulling out a flintlock pistol in one hand and a small bag containing rock salt and a vial of holy water. "Sam, tell me something, is that what I think it is, or am I going crazy?"
"I'll leave the speculation on your mental state for a more qualified person than me," Sam replied."
"Just answer the damn question, Sam," Dean griped.
"Is he always like this?" Gloria asked, a little of her fear alleviated by the good-humored ribbing between the two brothers.
"Pretty much, Gloria, darlin," Dean drawled.
"Dean, a little focus, please," Sam muttered.
"Can I say it?"
"Go ahead, if you feel that you must." Sam sighed and made his own preparation. He didn't like the feel or the way this situation was shaping up, but he knew better than to doubt his own instincts and experience. He too was puzzled as to how the spectral manifestation could be here and now when the last they had seen of it was forcibly trapping into it original mirror somewhere in the back East.
"She's… back…." Dean said with dramatic effect.
"Mary. It's complicated, Gloria," Dean added. "Maybe you'd best get out of here."
"I'm not going anywhere," a chilly voice replied.
Gloria jerked upright as if it she were being tugged along by invisible strings. In the next instant her shoulders went rigid and her eyes rolled back in her head until the whites showed.
"Uh oh," Dean said. "This can't be good."
"You thinking what I'm thinking, bro?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, classic case of spirit possession. Any bright ideas?"
"We can't kill her, but maybe we can help her."
The force of the invisible blow but solid blow sent Dean reeling across the length of the room with his body feeling every bump and bruise sustained in mid-flight before fetching up against the opposite wall nearest the doorway. He grunted from the pain and ground his teeth, forcing himself to stand up and rejoin the fight. "Damn inconsiderate of the spirit to fight dirty," he muttered under his breath. As he got to his feet his legs buckled underneath and in no uncertain terms indicated that the would much rather stay right where they were, instead of carrying him back into the fray.
Dean cursed a blue streak when he discovered that he leg was broken," Damn all the luck!"
"Dean" Sam yelled.
"Just get the rid of the thing, will you!"
Sam tore his gaze away from his injured brother and turned his attention back to the writhing figure of Gloria Mitchell, he had not seen too many cases of genuine spiritual possession, and seeing the amount of sheer agony and pain on the girl's face, he was grateful for that, and he wished with every fiber of his being to have never witness another one.
Sam went into action, trying to recall everything that his father had ever taught them about removing a spirit from its host body, wishing not for the first time that their father was present to advise him.
Meanwhile Gloria gyrated in a smaller and smaller circles, muttering in an undertone and the green of her eyes once more back, Sam could the girl silently pleading with him to help her. Sam clenched his fists and snatched up the bag of salt rock and holy water and without thinking too much more about it, rushed forward, used one hand to grasp the girl, and then with the other dumped the bag's contents onto the girl's face.
She staggered and reflexively wrenched free of his grasp, choking and spluttering. When she could breathe again, she jolted backwards and onto the floor. The chill in the room went up several notches and Sam could see the plume of his breath on the air.
Sam glanced back at Dean, "You okay?"
"I've been better."
Gloria, in the silence of her mind could feel the 'other' as she had come to think of it, the thing that called itself Bloody Mary, fighting to get out of and she mentally ordered it to leave her the hell alone." Mary screeched and then went silent and as if it had decided to obey her silent command, vacated the premises.
Several hours later "I don't know if I told you this before," Gloria said, "But thank you for saving me."
Dean airily waved in response. "Don't mention it, it's our job description."
"You need medical attention, Dean. Add to that, the phone service in here sucks," Sam said as he got up and ran over to the door,. "I'm going back to the office and call 911 from there. You gonna be okay until I get back?" asked Sam as he eyed both his brother's prone form in the bed and that of the girl, Gloria Naylor lying unconscious in other bed.
Dean's right leg had bent and twisted in a way that looked like someone had taken it and forcibly wrenched into all the way around so that it jutted out an angle. The pain of that injury had to be incredible.
Just looking at it and the paler than normal skin of his older brother's face made Sam wince. Dean moaned and placed his hands over his eyes.
"Yeah, yeah, I've survived worse than this, and I don't think I need some doctor poking and prodding me."
"Damn it, Dean, why do you have to be so damn stubborn?" Sam muttered running a hand through his tangled brown hair in order to relive some of his in held tension and frustration.
"You know why, I can't help, we Winchesters are a bunch of stubborn bastards."
"I guess you're feeling better if you can make jokes at a time like this," Sam replied and uttered a short barking laugh that had a little bit of mirth in it.
"Just go make the call," Dean said.
Sam nodded a walked out of the door into the motel hallway, shutting the door behind him.
Gloria woke up with a cottony dry taste in her mouth and with only vague memory of the events of the past eight hours. The headaches and the auras flashing in front of her green eyes seemed to be gone, so that was a major relief, but somehow she felt like she was missing out on something very important. She rolled over on the bed so she was lying on her stomach instead of on her back and looked into the mirror.
Gloria breathed a deep sigh of relief that the reflection that looked back at her was her own, and not that other indefinable other that had been haunting her life for the past five years. "Mary's gone," Gloria whispered. "To whatever powers that be that are listening, thank you, thank you."
"You know, my brother and I might have had something to do with that," Dean said.
"Oh, you're awake," Gloria replied starting a little bit. "I want to thank you, for everything you've done for me."
"Like I said earlier, don't mention it," Dean replied.
"Is Sam coming back? He's been gone a long time."
"He must be on the phone with the EMTs or something. He'll be back soon."
"That leg looks really bed, is there anything I can do, like maybe go get a bucket of ice from the hallway."
Gloria went out to the hallway, found the ice machine and filled it up with ice cubes, then returned to the room. Dean's face was paler than it had been and he looked like something the cat refused to drag in. Gloria almost dropped the ice bucket, but a more sensible side of her nature realized that would be stupid and sat on the edge of the bed to put ice on the injured leg.
"When Sam comes back he might think this was a compromising position,' teased Dean.
"Do you, I mean think," Gloria began and then trailed off into an awkward silence.
"Nah, we're big boys," Dean replied as he reached over and drew Gloria to him. "That should be enough ice for now, I feel like a damn fool for getting myself into this situation, but, we're in California, so what the hell."
"Very charming," mused Gloria, that line work on all the girls?"
"Up until now. You have to an objection to it?"
"Not so much," she replied. "It's just not very romantic."
"I'll take that under advisement," he replied.
"Dean, I, oh, what the hell," Gloria broken down in choking sobs. "I don't know what to say, so, what the hell, just hold me. "
"I can do that," Dean smiled and pulled her in closer to his own body until he could feel the trembling and the tears come to a stop; they remained that way for a very long time.