Going in Circles
Disclaimer: Yeah… Not affiliated with the show. That's life, that's war, that's potatoes.
Summary: Crop circles and revenge, a bad combo for our boys…
I was told my last story was too complicated (and if that doesn't give a person writer's block…), so this puppy is going to be as straightforward as I can manage.
"You know why I like Indiana so much?" Dean asked.
Sam only raised an eyebrow in response.
"It's the scenery. It's always changing. Sometimes the corn's on the left. Sometimes it's on the right."
"Don't forget the soybeans."
"Soybeans. Right," Dean nodded. "Can't forget those. Fascinating things, soybeans."
Sam smiled as he watched his brother sitting in the driver's seat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. Dean was clearly bored out of his mind. Not even the usual music seemed to be helping as the road stretched off into the distance, the mind-numbing, barely changing distance.
"You want me to drive for a while? You could take a nap," Sam offered.
"Do I look 80 to you?" Dean cast him a sidelong glance. "I need naps now?"
"You sleep… what? Two nights a week all the way through? I stay up late watching TV one night…"
Sam held up his hands in the traditional whoa-there gesture. "Just offering. Thought you could use a break. You're the one making observations on mid-American farming technique."
"I'm about to make some observations about fertilizer if you don't back off," Dean said straightly.
"Man, you were watching old Star Trek reruns!" Sam eyed him. 3 a.m. and Dean had still been staring at the TV, quietly commenting to himself on Kirk's poor fighting skills. At one point Sam had actually heard him mutter, 'Set it on Stun, my ass!'
"Couldn't sleep," Dean grunted.
"Not surprised," Sam said, turning to look out the window at the passing corn fields. "Up all hours of the night… body here… grave there…"
Dean sniffed, but didn't reply. Sam knew what the real problem was. His brother was a goal-oriented person. Give him some place to be and a good reason to be there and he'd drive until he was ready to keel over. They were on their way to Illinois to check out a possible haunting, but it was weak at best, only the barest suspicion raised by a newspaper article. It was something to do until they found better, but Dean's heart just wasn't in it.
Sam felt his brother take his foot off the gas and looked up. "What do you think?" Dean pointed out the windshield.
A pair of cars were parked beside the road and two men stood beside them, gesturing toward the field.
"An accident, maybe?" Sam suggested. "Better stop. See if they need help."
"Sam the good Samaritan," Dean frowned, though he slowed the car and pulled it to the side, parking behind the others.
They both got out and started walking toward the men who were still talking obliviously and pointing into the field. Sam saw Dean shift just slightly as he walked and knew he was ensuring that the gun he had at his back was both hidden beneath his shirt and was well placed should he decide he needed it. When meeting new people, some guys checked their hair, some checked their clothes. Dean checked his gun. As always it was comforting to Sam and yet an unsettling reminder of how they lived their lives.
"What's going on?" Dean asked as they approached. Both men turned and eyed him in annoyance.
"Who wants to know?" the closest to them asked. He looked to be a farmer type in his 50s, jeans, well-worn work shirt and a ball cap with a seed company logo on it. The other man looked to be a younger version, probably a son, Sam thought.
"Hey there, pal," Dean raised his hands defensively. "We just stopped to make sure everybody was ok. You're ok, we'll get right back in the car and go."
"Sorry, mister," the man said, somewhat chagrinned. "It's just that those kids have been in our field again messing around."
"Oh?" Dean said, barely hiding how little he was interested.
"Been making crop circles. It's the third one this week."
Now instead of being barely interested, a ghost of a grin appeared on Dean's face though he quickly smothered it. Sam doubted the farmer had even noticed. He looked at his brother more closely and could see that something in the idea of crop circles appealed to him. He could see it in his stance. Artistic destruction of property. Vandalism with a purpose. It was just Dean's style, he realized. That and it was probably a throwback to his teen years when Dean had badly wanted to key some teacher's car, but knew their dad would kill him if he found out.
Still, crop circles were an annoyance. Normal people faking supernatural things only made what they did harder. It was bad enough trying to get people to believe them about the real things out there. Things like crop circles were so easy to disprove, it just made people more skeptical.
"They catch the kids?" Dean asked.
"No," the farmer answered, some of his belligerence returning. "And now that jackass is back out there wandering in my field trying to prove the existence of aliens."
"This guy thinks he's going to find little green men in my cornfield," the man said, taking off his hat and scratching through his thinning hair. "Calls himself a ufologist."
"A what?" The word sounded like you-fall-ogist. Sam couldn't help it. He had to laugh.
"A ufologist… Studies UFOs and whatnot. Just a jackass if you ask me," the man shook his head and pulled his hat back on. "He's out there running around with his silly equipment taking measurements. I'm just waiting for one of the Sheriff's deputies to get here and arrest him for trespassing. I warned him last time that I didn't want him on my land. More publicity is all I need. The other idiots will come out of the woodwork and trample every bit of my corn."
They heard a noise from the field, a shout of half-alarm, half-surprise. Neither of the men standing beside their cars looked inclined to investigate.
"Shouldn't we go check on him?" Sam asked.
Dean shrugged. "He probably tripped over his own feet."
"Still… You mind?" Sam asked, looking back at the farmer.
"Feel free. He's about thirty yards into the field," the man replied, pointing. "But there's no need. The deputy will be more than happy to drag him out in a few minutes."
Sam and Dean headed into the field, brushing the tall corn aside as they walked. It was late in the season and the corn was dry, about ready for harvest.
"Have I mentioned how much I like the scenery here?" Dean asked.
"Hey, crop circles in soybeans are no fun," Sam replied. "Too short."
"That better not have been a height remark."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Fine. The soybeans are vertically challenged."
"Hey, Sam?" Dean stopped momentarily to grin almost sweetly at him. "Remind me to kick the crap out of you later, will ya?"
After several more seconds they saw a break in the corn and stopped at the very edge of a perfectly round circle maybe 15 feet in diameter. A man in jeans and a t-shirt was walking around the edge of the circle opposite them. His back was to them, but they could hear a noise that was clearly mechanical as he bent over moving around the circle.
"Kids these days," Dean grunted, "Can't find anything better to do on a Friday night than wander around crop circles. Here's an idea… Find a girl."
Dean cleared his throat loudly and the man whirled around, dropping the black box he was holding. He bent over and scooped it up as if it were precious. All the while it continued its clicking noises. He was about their age, average height and weight and he looked a lot like they did, as if he lived out of a suitcase. He looked up at them and there was the unmistakable gleam of obsession in his eyes.
"What's that you got there, Scooter?" Dean asked.
The man frowned slightly, but the gleam in his eyes did not diminish. He looked like a miner who had just struck gold. "It's an EMF meter."
Sam glanced at Dean who had suddenly gone very still. "Come again?" he asked.
"EMF. All living things have a small electro-magnetic field. The levels are often slightly higher in crop circles," the man said, looking around himself at the corn that had been carefully and completely flattened in a circular swirling pattern. "But this…" He trailed off and then gestured conspiratorially for them to come closer.
They both moved forward across the empty space to stand on either side of him. "Look at this," he whispered almost reverently. "Look at these readings… They're off the charts. I've never seen anything like it."
Dean and Sam's eyes met over the man's bent head. He was right. The EMF was going crazy.
"All right, buddy."
They all looked up to see two uniformed deputies walk into the clearing. Sam and Dean instinctively backed away as the two bore down on them. The deputies paid no attention to them, however, heading straight for the ufologist who also began to back up as his predicament became clear to him.
"You were warned not to come back on this property, Mr. Baker," one of the cops said calmly. "We told you that you would be arrested for trespassing."
"You don't understand," the man said almost frantically. "This is too important! It's unbelievable! The readings… This field could prove everything!"
"Right, Mr. Baker. Aliens, EMF… We heard it all last time. Now put your hands behind your back."
The policeman's partner had already moved closer and caught one of the man's arms. Before he knew what was happening, he'd been cuffed and was being hauled unceremoniously out of the field, his EMF meter left behind where he'd dropped it when the cops grabbed him.
"One of you guys pick that up and bring it with you," the deputy ordered. "You don't need to be here either."
"Yes, sir," Sam said, grabbing up the small black box. He and Dean hesitated for several seconds, however, until the deputies had disappeared with the UFO specialist.
Together they walked back toward the road. As soon as they passed the boundary of the circle the whirring clicks of the EMF meter fell silent. Sam backed up again into the circle and the EMF started clicking angrily. He stepped forward out of the circle and it stopped again.
"What do you think?" Dean asked quietly. "You ever heard of a ghost making crop circles like this?"
Sam shook his head. "I think we might need to make a trip to the library."
"You know," Dean muttered, "I somehow think aliens might have been less trouble."
The setup… More tomorrow.