The Long Night
"I can't remember the last time I've been this happy to see the sun," Sam said, lifting his brother into his arms, readying them for the long walk back to the Impala.Eleven hours, thirteen minutes earlier…
"Sam! It's six-thirty! Time to get this show on the road!" Dean called, banging on the bathroom door.
Despite his impatience, Sam could tell Dean really wasn't too anxious to go hunting. Foogers were not high on his list of things that needed to be killed, but they were the only ones in the area qualified to do it. Their dad was still MIA and Bobby and Pastor Jim were in their own parts of the country, too far away to deal with the mess they'd found in the Adirondacks of New York.
Dean had said he and his Dad had destroyed a couple of Fooger nests over the past few years, but overall, they were rare creatures. He'd wondered aloud more than once about their growing population in the wilds of the Northeast – another nest of them showing up only four years after their last encounter here – it made him rethink what they truly knew about the beings' origins, habits and abilities.
Sam came out of the bathroom, sat on his bed, and picked up the weapons Dean had laid out. "Rock salt and silver?" he questioned.
"Yeah," Dean confirmed. "They react badly to the salt, like ghosts and demons. Still won't kill 'em, though. Still need the silver for that," he added.
"So the rock salt slows them down, and then you hit them with the silver?"
"Yeah. They're quick little bastards. You don't want to use the silver unless you know it's gonna hit the target; shit's getting expensive," he replied, checking his own weapons.
"I still can't believe I've never heard of these things; why you or Dad never told me about them."
Dean shrugged and went back to checking and packing his own weapons. "It's not like they're on the top of the list of baddies in the world," he said with a smirk and another shrug of his shoulders.
"What'd you call them? Possessed koala bears?"
"Slimy possessed koala bears," Dean corrected, giving his little brother a look, making sure he heard him.
"There's a reason why Fooger rhymes with booger, Sammy," Dean explained, a sly grin on his face.
A look of shock came across Sam's face. "Oh, my God. You named them!" Sam exclaimed.
Dean looked down, embarrassed at first, then shot back, "Well, Dad hit me every time I called them "fucking boogers," so I just shortened it."
Sam rolled his eyes. "I don't believe you," he said, shaking his head. "I can't believe we're going after these things."
Ignoring Sam's attitude, Dean stood up and pulled his duffel bag over his shoulder, heading for the door. "Come on, I want to get out there before dark."
Not liking the situation, but not about to let his brother go off on his own, Sam grabbed his duffel bag and followed Dean out, asking, "So how'd you and Dad work it the last time?"
The Impala was parked right outside their motel room door. Dean threw his bag into the back seat of the car, unconcerned about locking the weapons in the trunk, as they only had a few miles to drive to the hiking trail they'd be using. Sam followed suit and got into the passenger seat of the car.
"Just a matter of finding the things and shooting," Dean said, continuing their conversation. "Finding being the key word here," he added, "as they only come out at night. The first time we went after them, Dad and I spent a week trying to find them during the daytime; you know, hoping to find their nests while they slept, but, nada."
Sam nodded in understanding. Of course. Nothing they hunt ever comes out during the day…
"I'll shoot them with the rock salt and you finish 'em with the silver," Dean finished.
"Sounds like a plan," his brother agreed. Not much different than usual.
Dean seemed fairly confident and the scouting they'd done had indicated that they were probably only dealing with one or two of the things. But Sam still had to wonder about them, these… things. He couldn't even say their name anymore. He wondered what they might have been before some witch or demon transformed them into the slimy little beasts they now were.
Fifteen minutes later had Dean parking the Impala at the end of a dead end road, and the entrance to a well-used trail into the woods. There were three farms nearby, each bordering on part of the State-owned forest, each of which had lost several head of cattle. The local police and forest rangers had chalked the killings up to a cougar or wolf in the area, but Dean had seen signs of the Foogers – namely the awful smelling slime they tended to leave behind. The police and rangers hadn't been able to explain that.
The brothers made their way in, easily so far, as the sun hadn't gone down completely and still shone through to the path they followed. Dean had wanted to come before sundown, but not so early that they'd meet up with anyone else, stray hikers or rangers.
"Lay the salt circle over there, Sammy," Dean instructed, pointing to a small clearing. "We'll keep the extra ammo and salt in there."
"You think these things are gonna steal our guns?" Sam asked, incredulous.
"Just keeping the bases covered, Little Brother. Lay the circle."
Dean was playing the 'I'm the big brother, so just do what I say,' card, but Sam really didn't feel like arguing right now, so he shrugged and did as instructed, pouring the rock salt on the ground, making a circle about seven feet across.
"So now what? You got a special Fooger call?"
Dean ignored the remark. Sam wasn't taking this seriously enough. Instead of replying, he reached into his duffel bag and pulled out a plastic grocery bag. From it, he pulled out a dead raccoon and threw it out away from him, watching as it landed about fifteen feet away. "Chumming the waters," he said quietly.
"When'd you pick up the road kill?"
"This afternoon while you were in the shower. I remembered seeing it when we pulled in to the motel parking lot."
"You sure they'll go after it?" Sam asked. "Don't they prefer fresh meat?"
"It's still fresh enough. It's the smell of blood they go for," Dean explained.
Sam just looked at him skeptically. "If it's the smell of blood they go for, then why…"
"I don't know," Dean interrupted. "Maybe the livestock they got were injured already or something."
Sam just shrugged, again. "So we just wait for 'em? Or go looking?"
Dean picked up on Sam's impatience. "Waiting is just fine with me, I got nowhere else to be tonight. Do you have somewhere else to be tonight, Sammy?" Before Sam knew what he was doing, he was looking away uncomfortably and Dean smiled. "That was Sarah that called you before!" he exclaimed. "Shit! We're what, two hours away from her? Damn, Sammy! Why didn't you tell me? I coulda handled this!" He switched on his flashlight and began scanning the area.
"Dean…" The name came out almost whiny.
He was really getting tired of Dean's teasing and was about to beg him once again to stop, when Dean suddenly shouted, "Sam! Down!"
The younger Winchester knew better than to doubt that tone of voice and immediately dropped to the ground, covering his head with his arms. The rapport from Dean's shotgun sounded and Sam thought he heard a dull thud to the right and behind him. When he saw Dean's feet walk past him, he rose from the ground, turning on his flashlight, ready to get his first look at the little beast.
Their first kill of the night lie writhing on the ground as Dean approached it, his shotgun still trained on it. Sam moved in next to his brother and aimed his silver bullet loaded Glock at the thing and fired, stilling its movements.
Sam bent and took a closer look at the dead animal. "Okay. It's a Fooger," he agreed.
"Now the fun really begins," Dean said.
"Fun?" Sam balked. "Dean! That thing isn't any bigger than a raccoon!"
"Watch out, Sam, here comes another one!" Dean shouted just before firing again, hitting another of the small beasts.
When Sam just looked at Dean in mild annoyance, still not believing what they were hunting, Dean took out his own handgun full of silver bullets and finished off the second Fooger.
"You wanna stay with the program here, Sammy?" he remarked, stowing the handgun and reloading the shotgun.
Sam just rolled his eyes at him and moved away from the now-starting-to-smell dead Fooger.
Two hours later and Sam was at his wits' end. No other Foogers had shown up since Dean had killed the second one. He couldn't understand why his older brother had wanted to stay.
"I thought you said there'd only be one or two of these things, Dean," Sam complained. He tried not to sound too whiny. "We've got our two…"
"I don't know, Sam," Dean replied, still ever watchful of the area around them, panning his flashlight to and fro. "These two are a lot smaller than the ones Dad and I got last time. I'm thinking these are the kids; that Mommy and Daddy Fooger are still out there somewhere."
Tired, Sam sat down next to one of the duffel bags and sighed. He looked at his watch.
They stayed silent for a while, Sam brooding a bit, Dean still looking and listening for more of their prey. A cool breeze came through the woods. Sam started coughing as the dead Foogers' odor hit him. "Damn, Dean, can't we move those things?"
Dean moved closer to the first corpse, and grabbing it by one of its paws, carefully lifted it. He brought it over to the second one and dropped it to the ground. "Gonna have to pile 'em up to burn them later anyway," he muttered. He'd just turned to face Sam, adding a snarky "Happy?" to his muttering, when he heard the growl.
"Dean!" Sam yelled, bringing up his shotgun and flashlight.
But they were too late. The adult Fooger, indeed about the size and shape of a large koala, had already knocked the older Winchester to the ground, knocking his shotgun out of his hand.
Sam was already on his feet, running toward Dean, cursing his ambivalence. "Dean!"
Dean did his best to roll around, trying to get the creature off of his back, and protect his head at the same time. He let out a scream as the thing bit into his right shoulder.
Sam was about to shoot the Fooger, to get it off and away from Dean, when he heard the sounds of another one heading his way. He quickly turned, flashlight catching the red glow of its eyes, and shot, the rock salt hitting the Fooger on its chest, causing it to screech in pain and halt its progress. By the time he turned back toward Dean, he'd reloaded and sent a shot of rock salt into the side of the one attacking his brother, dislodging it.
Dean was crawling toward Sam, the Fooger's vicious attack leaving him unable to stand on his own. Sam reached down and grabbed his outstretched hand and practically dragged him back to the salt circle he'd laid earlier. Just as they reached its border, Sam let go of Dean and let off two more shots of rock salt, hitting one of the Foogers again.
Sam quickly got Dean into the circle and then patched up the gap they'd made while crossing, enclosing them in what he hoped would be a safe place. He dropped the shotgun and picked up his Glock and flashlight, searching for the adult Foogers, hoping to finish them off.
"Dean? You okay?" he asked, continuing to turn in circles above him, searching for the beasts, his eyes keen and alert now. Too late…
When Dean didn't reply, Sam dropped the flashlight beam down to look at his brother. "Oh, God, Dean."
Dean's tee shirt was no longer white, but a mixture of red, brown and green, Dean's red blood having mixed sickeningly with the brown mud and green Fooger slime.
Sam dropped to his knees next to Dean and patted his face. "Dean? Come on, Dean, wake up," he pled, needing to see his brother's hazel eyes.
"Sammy?" Dean called, his voice a mixture of painful moan and breathless croak.
"Yeah, Dean," he replied, relief in his voice. "I'm so sorry, Dean, I'm so sorry," he went on, moving the flashlight's beam over his brother's body to check for injuries. "Where did it get you?"
"Shoulder…leg," Dean replied. He tried to sit up, but immediately gasped out in pain, only to fall back onto the ground, his injured shoulder bearing his weight. "Oh, fuck!" he cried out.
"Easy, easy," Sam murmured, gently holding Dean down. "Just lie still."
Sam shone the light onto Dean's leg first and winced at the sight of the shredded, blood soaked denim covering his right thigh. After laying the flashlight on top of his duffel bag, aiming the light's beam over Dean, he brought out his pocketknife and began removing the material that still covered Dean's right leg. He tore some of the cleaner remnants into strips.
"Gotta stop the bleeding, Dean. Just hang on, okay?" he told him in way of a warning.
Dean practically screamed when Sam lifted his leg up, shoving the strip underneath it, wrapping it tightly around the wound.
Though pain was a big part of his current world, and his breaths were coming in rapid succession, nearly hyperventilating, Dean was still clear headed. "Sam… the Foogers… still out there?"
Sam grabbed the flashlight and looked around quickly. "None nearby, but I think they'll be back. We gotta get out of here before they do," he replied and returned to work, tying off a knot on the makeshift bandage, making Dean cry out again.
"No," Dean argued. "We're stuck here…for the night."
Sam couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Dean... you might not have all night! You've lost too much blood already."
"If we… stay… at least… one of us…walks out…of here."
Sam shook his head furiously and went back to work on Dean's wounds. "No," was all he said, and reset the flashlight onto the duffel bag again.
"Sam… Sam look at me!" Dean shouted. "Sam!" When Sam finally stopped working and met his brother's gaze, he continued, "You've seen them… Sammy. Do you… do you really… think we can… God!" Dean screamed in frustration, his pain keeping him from thinking and speaking properly. "We… I… can't outrun them. Not like this."
Sam swallowed against his own pain, not liking the fact that Dean was right. They'd have to wait out the night, hours to go before dawn, before it would be safe to leave the circle. He took a deep breath and let it out before returning to his ministrations, tending Dean's shoulder wound.
"Fine," he said. "But if you wind up bleeding to death, I'm gonna kill you."
A/N: Special thanks to November's Guest for the awesome beta job!