The Shining Effect
Rating: T-for language and violence
Disclaimer: If only I owned anything relating to the beautiful Jensen Ackles and his Supernatural compadres. I don't, so I have to give credit where credit is due and that's to Eric Kripke and his crew – hey that rhymed!!
A/N: Elements (especially the ending) of the opening chapter will sound extremely familiar to a story I had previously posted and since removed but it has been rewritten in places. I decided to take this little ditty in a completely different direction than I had originally planned. Thank you to those who had reviewed previously.
Chapter One - Tragic Encounters
"Are you sure you're OK to do this man?" Sam asked as his brother brought the roar of the Impala's engine to a halt outside the location of their latest haunt. "I mean you've only been out of the hospital a few days and you were pretty messed up. I don't want you doing anything if you're not absolutely ready"
"Change the record Sammy," Dean moaned getting out of the car before letting out a long and lingering sigh. As touched as he was by his brother's concern for his wellbeing he was also as irritated as hell at how often Sam had voiced his worry in the past couple of hours alone. "How many times do I have to tell you that I'm absolutely fine. It's gonna take more than some wrinkly old crone and a piece of string to keep this Winchester down"
Sam couldn't help but let a sceptical smile escape his lips. Dean had been trying to sell him that story for the past few days now. "Dean, that old crone as you like to call her strung you from the rafters by a hangman's noose," he countered completely unconvinced by Dean's vow of health, "God knows how long you had been hanging there by the time I found you and when I cut you down I couldn't get you breathing again for what felt like forever. You were unconscious in hospital for three days and..."
"...and yet I'm still here Sam alive and about to kick your ass if you don't give it a rest." Dean finished. He knew that the past couple of weeks had been hard on Sam and he didn't need his baby brother reliving his recent 'brush-with-death' encounter if he didn't need to. "So for the last time, I feel fine," he smiled, "the Doc gave me a clean bill of health and you know that nothing gets me back on my feet better than getting rid of nasty evil sons of bitches that go bump in the night. Now stop being a girl Samantha and remind me of this dude's MO again so we can go in there and clean up house."
The smile on Sam's face was a genuine one now as he followed Dean to the back of the Impala to unload their stealthy weapon stash from the trunk. Dean always had a larger than life attitude towards hunting and at times that enthusiasm could be infectious even to a reluctant hero such as Sam. He looked towards the daunting mansion house now standing before them and though it looked a little run down in places it was still an intimidating magnificent building that seemed to taunt the Winchester brothers into daring to see what horrors were held inside. 'The dude we're looking for is a guy by the name of Nathaniel Sanders,' Sam began, recalling his research from the night before. " He used to own almost all of the land around here a hundred or so years ago and so pretty much had full run of the place. He was a nasty piece of work and maliciously manipulated the people of his town for over 30 years by brutally beating any tenant who could not pay the high rents he charged, burning properties to the ground rendering whole families homeless or sexually abusing the town's women."
"Sounds like The Colonel is a real charmer," Dean remarked, "I hope he met a nasty end. What happened to him?"
"Oh you could say that," Sam confirmed. "This is his place," he continued pointing to the old stately home, "and in 1899 the people of the town had had enough of his cruelty and revolted against Sanders. They killed him here beating him senseless before running him through with some kind of spear. His body was left pinned to one of the walls of the house to die slowly although strangely enough it's reported that his body was never actually found. There appeared to be no repercussions to his murder until about eight years ago when real estate developers began renovation work on the property disturbing its foundations. Since then there have been nine suspicious deaths in or surrounding the place, all involving sharp implements. All of the victims have been found hanging on display for all to see. Police think they're dealing with a serial killer but haven't been able to come up with any leads as of yet'
It had been Sam that had discovered the newspaper article detailing the facts of the most recent murder that of a 30-year-old realtor named Elisabeth Carlos skewered through the heart with a hearth poker. It was Dean however who had put two and two together and come up with something supernatural.
"That's because we know it's something different," Dean smirked, his enthusiasm brimming over at the prospect of getting back in the hunt "and because cops are so clueless. Well time's a wasting big guy, are you ready to do this College boy?"
Sam took once last concerned look at his brother's bruised form overshadowed by one of Dean's trademark 100-mega watt grins and he knew that Dean was going be OK. "As ready as I'll ever be," he smiled back, "let's go!"
An hour or so later and the search of the house was proving to be fruitless. At first both Sam and Dean had taken to conducting their search together but once they realised just how many rooms they had to cover they split up with Dean choosing to check the lower levels while Sam searched upstairs. The first floor had turned up nothing so Sam continued his sweep of the second storey of the Sanders mansion cautiously stepping down the narrow hallway towards the master bedroom at the bottom of the corridor. As soon as he turned a corner Sam sensed a change in the atmosphere, the temperature dropped and there seemed to be a presence just hanging in the air. With each step, his apprehension grew. Sam didn't scare easily, well not any more at least, but being aware of the malevolence of the spectre he was hunting didn't do much to relieve his uneasiness and he now had an inexplicable gnawing feeling of forewarning that something terrible was going to happen. Reaching the end of the hallway, Sam turned the handle on the bedroom door half expecting to see the ghostly apparition of Nathanial Sanders waiting for him. He raised his rock salt filled rifle as he entered just in case and stepped inside. The large room was devoid of any spiritual welcome but it was colonial in its magnificence. A large four-poster bed dominated as the centrepiece with heavy green and gold regal drapes cascading from its frame. A beautiful mantelpiece adorned the nearside wall ornately sculptured in white marble with silver candlesticks decorating each corner and as if to finish off the room's decadence, a crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling as if it hung from heaven itself. Lowering his weapon, Sam circulated the room impressed by its notable stature. He looked through the contents of the bookcase in the corner not finding anything of any real interest and he was just checking out some of the trinket boxes sitting on top of the dresser when his cell phone began to ring. He didn't need to look to know who it was.
"Hey Dean", he answered his brother on the other end of the line, "You find anything?"
"Nah it's a total bust," Dean replied with a disappointed sigh, "I've checked all through downstairs from the dining hall through to the kitchen and even the fancy wine cellar and found nothing man. There's no sign he's down here, there's no sign he's ever been down here. Wherever the Colonel is hiding, it ain't anywhere I've looked. What about you?"
"Pretty much the same," Sam admitted, " although I keep getting the feeling that there's something around here but so far nothing's registering on any of this dodgy gadgetry you've given me."
"Hey!" Dean remarked with fake indignation, "don't you be dissing the tools of my trade man especially those beautifully engineered pieces of technology handcrafted by yours truly."
Sam openly laughed, "Yeah well beautiful pieces of technology or not, either this house is clean or they're not working as we're not exactly finding anyone here..."
Before he could finish his sentence an almighty force hit Sam from behind knocking him heavily to the floor and his gun and his cell phone flying. Instinctively Sam reached out to retrieve his weapon but found himself unable to move as he was pinned by an invisible power. "Cannot find anyone you say," a cruel and mocking voice whispered in Sam's ear, "then perhaps you weren't looking hard enough!" Sam twisted and sure enough saw the face of Nathanial Sanders smirking down at him. Before he had the chance to kick out of the his captor's hold, Sam felt his arms being yanked behind his back wrenching his shoulders at a painful angle causing him to shout out at the discomfort. The minute Dean heard Sam's cry he was up and running yelling Sam's name as he ran through the house trying to get to the place where someone was attacking his brother.
The prospect of Dean's imminent arrival didn't seem to bother the spirit at all, in fact he it seemed to be waiting for it. Sam heard its wicked laugh as he felt himself being dragged from the floor and suspended temptingly about five feet in the air. His body was now completely paralysed, unable to do anything about the cold hand that now held him firmly by the neck or about the sharp blade from the knife that had suddenly appeared at his throat. He was bait for Dean and he knew it.
As soon as Dean saw Sam at the mercy of this Sanders freak he slowed dead in his tracks. He wasn't about to do anything that would bring any harm to his little brother but he wasn't foolishly going to walk into an obvious trap either and risk the chance of getting them both killed. A chill ran through Dean when he saw just how close the knife was to Sammy's jugular. In a gesture of mock surrender Dean lowered his loaded gun as he entered the room keeping a firm enough hold on it however to be able to get it into action when it was needed.
"Let him go Sanders," Dean said calmly as he walked towards the ghoul and his hostage, "let him go and we'll walk away and leave you alone."
The bearded apparition of the former wealthy landowner smiled, "But I don't want you to go my boy, I very much want you to stay" it sneered, slamming the large oak door behind Dean for emphasis effectively cutting off any chance for its victims to escape.
Deep within his gut Dean knew things weren't exactly going to plan but on the on the outside he maintained nothing but his usual cool composure. "So what now? We paint our toenails, talk about boys and have ourselves a slumber party?" Dean challenged, trying to buy enough time to figure out his next move, "If I'd have known I'd have brought my PJ's."
"You mock me boy!" Sanders bellowed, pressing the knife against Sam's throat hard enough to draw blood, "You should learn some respect!"
Sam gasped and Dean cursed his smart mouth.
"I'm sorry dude," he said, his hands apologetically held in the air, "I'm sorry. You're right, I was wrong. Please just don't hurt him. OK?"
"Your weakness is sickening," Sanders answered in disgust, "but nothing more than I would expect from low life peasants. How dare you grace my home with your filth. I should just kill you now and bring an end to your pathetic existence"
"We want to leave your home," Dean countered, trying to keep his voice as sarcasm free as he could, "but it's you who seems insistent that we stay. Now please let him go, let us go"
Nathanial Sanders leered as he observed the desperation in the young man before him in regards to the fate of the prey in his clutches "What is his life worth to you?" he taunted, "What reason can you give me not to bleed him before you?"
Dean looked into the eyes of his younger sibling, the one person he had sworn to protect since he was a boy and he couldn't help but let an affectionate smile escape his lips. "He's invaluable," he whispered more to his brother than to the spirit, "to me at least," he added. "If you want to destroy something worthless, then you've got the wrong guy."
Nathaniel Sanders was amused by the wretched sentiment that was being voiced for the creature in his grasp. When he had been alive, he had gained all types of pleasure from inflicting misery upon those he deemed less worthy than himself and now even in death he was determined to let that tradition continue. "Would you willingly trade your insignificant life for this pitiful soul?"
"Yes," Dean replied without any need for thought or contemplation.
Sam's heart stopped upon hearing Dean's solitary word. All his life, Dean had put Sam's well-being, happiness and safety before his own and Sam didn't like the sacrificial tone his big brother was taking once more. "Dean..", he managed to hoarsely croak out, "don't..."
"Would he trade his for yours I wonder?" Sanders continued, ignoring the squirming of his captive.
"I wouldn't let him," Dean responded defiantly.
"How noble." Sanders mocked, "one life for another and if you are so determined for me to take yours then so be it."
Without warning, the knife previously held threateningly at Sam flew through the air with break neck speed. Sam fell heavily to the floor as Sanders relinquished his hold then subsequently disappeared. As Sam lifted his head, he watched in horror as the knife cut straight through Dean's throat, the force throwing Dean back until the blade embedded in the wood of the oak door effectively pinning Dean by its hilt. Sam trembled at the scene unravelling before him. Deep rivulets of blood flowed down the column of his big brother's neck and his eyes that were usually so vibrant and alive and conveyed more about what Dean was thinking than words from his mouth were wide in shock but now dead and cold. Unable to move and absorbed in grief, Sam did the only thing he could do, he screamed...