"So how many deaths have there been in this house again?"
Sam looked up from the paper he was studying.
"Uh, this one last week makes 10 over the last 15 years." he said scanning the article again.
"That is one busy spirit." said Dean, shaking his head.
"Yeah, well according to the newspaper they just blame it on people being in an unsafe building when they shouldn't be. The girl that got away? Cops blamed her story on 'shock and hysteria'. Guess it would sound pretty wacky to most people." said Sam dryly.
"Some people just have no imagination." said Dean with a smirk.
Sam folded up the paper and dropped it onto the back seat.
"Hey, Sammy?" said Dean suddenly.
Sam glanced at him.
"You reckon we got any chance of running into those Halliwell sisters? That's San Francisco, right?"
Sam raised his eyebrows, fixing Dean with a disbelieving stare.
"You watch Charmed?"
Dean looked flustered for a second.
"No, I just, you know.. Caught it a couple times.. Changing channels." he said quickly.
Sam snorted. "Yeah, right – you caught it." he said, sounding amused.
"Yeah, well it's not like it's accurate. I mean, trust me I have never met a witch who looks like that." said Dean with a grin.
Sam rolled his eyes. "It's scary the way your mind works, Dean – seriously."
Dean's smirk just grew and Sam shook his head. Sometimes he wondered if they were actually related.
"It's not my fault you know – they're seriously hot chicks." said Dean, whistling appreciatively.
"Well, this house is on the outskirts of the city, so I'd say your chances of bumping into them are pretty remote." said Sam dryly.
"Yeah, but once we're done vanquishing Casper we can take a drive into the city can't we? I mean come on, Sammy – the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, those tram thingies." said Dean waving a hand enthusiastically.
"Could you be more of a geek about this?" said Sam, looking amused.
"Hey, you're the one always going on about us doing nothing but hunting. I just thought we might as well take a few days off, as we're here."
"Right. What's next, the Grand Canyon?" said Sam, grinning.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Fine, just don't go bitching about never having a day off. You can't say I didn't offer." he grumbled.
Sam shook his head, still grinning, and went back to watching the scenery go by.
Dean was still sulking as they pulled into the motel parking lot, shooting Sam a glare as he got out and went to book them in. Sam chuckled to himself. Sometimes it was just too easy to wind Dean up.
As Dean came out of the office and headed back towards the car, Sam got out and grabbed both bags as a kind of peace offering. As much fun as it was winding his brother up, he could do without the icy silence for the next few days.
Dean raised his eyebrow at Sam, and Sam gave a half smile. Dean rolled his eyes and walked ahead of Sam towards their room. Without words the apology had been offered and accepted. That was the way they did things. Even when they were kids they'd had a silent way of communicating that had at times driven John mad. Of course it seriously came in handy in their line of work at times.
Dean opened the door and Sam dumped both bags next to one of the beds. The room was clean and functional, although whoever had decorated it had clearly had fun in the Sixties and never fully recovered. Sam wasn't sure he'd ever seen so many colours in one place. Even Dean grimaced a little, glad they wouldn't have to stay there for too long.
"So, you wanna go check out the house, get the lay of the land first?" he said, turning to face Sam.
"Sure. It's only two blocks away." he said, turning round to head out the door again.
Dean followed, locking the motel room door behind them. As he started to head towards the Impala, Sam grabbed his arm.
"Come on, Dean – it's only two blocks. We can walk that." he said.
Dean looked at him. "Yeah, or we could drive there in the car and get there in half the time." he said, looking at Sam like he was crazy for even suggesting it.
"We're not exactly in a rush. Come on, walking is good for you – get some fresh air. Besides it'll look less obvious if we just happen to walk by the house instead of pulling up in front of it."
"Fine, I'll pull up down the road from it." said Dean, stubbornly.
"Dean, it's two blocks. You pull up down the road, you may as well leave the car here! Don't tell me you can't stand to be parted from it for 5 minutes?" he said with a smirk.
"Hilarious, Sam – I'm just saying why walk when you have a perfectly gorgeous car sitting there, waiting to be used?"
"Well, ok – if you insist. I just thought you might, you know, want to get the exercise" said Sam innocently.
Dean frowned at him. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Sam held his hands up. "Nothing, I just know it gets harder.. Keeping in shape.. At your age I mean."
"Hey, I am in perfect shape! This is all muscle, Sammy." said Dean, the picture of indignation.
Sam struggled to control his smirk. "I'm sure it is."
Dean continued to glare at him for a second, before turning round and stomping off towards the street.
"Fine, you wanna walk, lets walk!" he threw over his shoulder.
Sam chuckled as he jogged to catch up with him.
"Man, you are too easy sometimes." he said.
Dean just shoved Sam with his elbow, almost pushing him off the sidewalk.
It only took them 10 minutes to get to the house. They slowed down as they approached it, trying to look casual. The house was a typical wooden design, and had probably once been pretty nice to look at but years of neglect meant it now had boards missing and all the windows were either broken or boarded up. The grass round it was almost as tall as they were and there were signs all over proclaiming 'Danger' and 'Keep out'.
"Perfect." said Dean shaking his head. Sam had to agree – it really did look like the archetypal haunted house.
Glancing up and down the street to make sure no one was watching them, Dean pushed open the rickety gate and they quickly walked round the back of the house, where there was more privacy. The back garden was as overgrown as the front, with weeds and ivy climbing everywhere. They climbed the old wooden steps cautiously and within seconds Dean had the back door open. He pulled out his flashlight as they went in, the entire place bathed in a murky gloom despite the sunshine outside.
Sam coughed as they kicked up clouds of dust as they walked across the old floorboards. Dean shone the flashlight in his face.
"Dude, you wanna make a little more noise in case Casper hasn't noticed we're here yet?" said Dean exasperatedly.
Sam knocked Dean's hand so the light wasn't in his eyes anymore and glared at him.
"Don't be such a jerk! It's not my fault you're so heavy you're kicking up clouds of dust as you walk!"
Before Dean could answer they suddenly heard a creaking noise. Switching instantly into hunter mode, they turned round and carefully made their way towards the front of the house. They stood in the hall, listening intently. Suddenly the house literally began to shake.
They both grabbed the wall for support, Dean staring at Sam with raised eyebrows.
"That's one hell of a spirit!" he said, but as the house began to shake even harder and the sound of car alarms going off drifted in from the street, Sam realised something.
"That's not the spirit, Dean – I think it's an earthquake!"
Dean's eyes widened. "Oh, you gotta be kidding me!"
They sound of falling masonry and breaking glass echoed in from the street outside. Something landed upstairs with a loud bang and Dean saw out of the corner of his eye a huge piece of ceiling detach itself right above Sam's head.
"Sam, look out!"
Sam didn't even have time to react as Dean tackled him out of the way. They landed on the floor, hard, and Dean staggered to his feet holding a hand out to help Sam up.
"Thanks" said Sam breathlessly.
They could barely stay on their feet now. "We gotta get out of here!" said Dean but even as he spoke Sam watched in horror as the floor beneath Dean suddenly gave way and he disappeared.
Sam slammed to his knees next to the gaping hole in the floorboards but he couldn't see anything and there was no reply to his frantic cries. He suddenly heard a creaking noise above him and looked up in time to see yet more of the ceiling detach itself. He didn't have time to react though and the rubble connected with his head. He felt himself falling and then there was nothing but darkness.