Summary: Sam and Dean, a jail, the police, ghosts… Some days it just doesn't pay to show up to work.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Duh.
All right, all right… I admit I cheated on the shape theme with the title… I just couldn't come up with anything for rectangles! And since last night's episode had enough angst to last us all an entire season, this story is going to be a short bit of fluff. Just a little adventure for the boys.
"This was a bad idea."
Sam looked at his brother, now locked behind the prison bars, and he had to agree. "They won't budge?"
"Actually, I thought being trapped was a great new look for spring," Dean said, banging against the door again in frustration.
After several more tries, until Sam could clearly see that it was hurting his shoulder, Dean finally stopped and the abandoned jail fell silent around them. It was a claustrophobic silence and Sam fought the urge to bang on the door himself. Every instinct was telling him they needed to leave, fast.
"What does it want?" Dean asked, angrily kicking the door. "What good is it going to do to lock me up in here?"
"I don't know," Sam said, trying to keep his tone calm and soothing. Dean just didn't do well without room to run. Sam watched as he began circling inside the small cell that had been stripped years ago. "Maybe the guard can help. He should have been here half an hour ago. I don't know what the hold up is."
"The hold up is that I'm locked in a freaking cell," Dean said through clenched teeth.
"How's your head?"
Dean stopped pacing and raised a hand to his head where a small trickle of blood still fell from near his hairline. "It's fine," he said gruffly. When they'd walked into this block of cells, Dean had been in the lead. The ghost or whatever it was had literally pulled him into the cell and slammed the door shut.
"Ok, I'm gonna go look around," Sam told him. "You… just hold tight. I'll be back."
"No way," Dean said, already shaking his head. "All we need is for you to be locked in one of these too."
"Dean, somebody has to go find the guard," Sam said reasonably.
"Somebody," Dean furiously rattled the barred door again, "needs to get me outta here. Now. You are not wandering around here alone."
Sam turned his back to Dean, searching uselessly for anything that might help. It was a small block of cells and doors led away on both ends of the corridor. The building was still eerily silent and he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
They were there because a former guard had called asking them to look into his son's death at the defunct facility. The knowledge that the man had died locked in a cell was not currently filling Sam with joy. The guard's son had called his father, completely frantic, saying he was at the jail and then the phone had gone dead. The poor guy had raced there to find his son on the floor of a cell, seemingly unharmed except for being stone dead.
The cell had been closed, the guard had told them, but when he tugged on it, the door had opened easily. Apparently, when the jail had been closed, all of the locks had been removed to prevent just such a thing from happening, fear of lawsuits, etc. That hadn't helped the man's son though. He was still dead. It didn't help Dean either. He was locked up as well as any prisoner.
Sam spun around to see Dean turning in a circle inside the cell, looking spooked.
"What?" Sam said nervously, walking back up to the bars.
"There's something in here with me," Dean whispered, half to himself. He raised his sawed-off shotgun and backed up into the corner closest to Sam where the bars met the wall so he'd have the best vantage without the chance of accidentally shooting Sam.
"You see something?"
"Meaning?" Sam pressed.
"Meaning I felt something. Like something brushed past me," Dean said, "and… heard something."
"I didn't hear anything," Sam frowned.
Dean shrugged his shoulders, loosening them. "Well, then don't I just feel special. That school counselor always said I'd go psychotic in my 20s. I was starting to worry I wouldn't make it."
"Hey, a guy's got to have goals. She told me to make them reasonable and obtainable."
Sam couldn't see Dean's face, but he could hear the tense amusement in his voice. Dean and a wide array of guidance counselors had spent his entire school career in a state of barely undeclared war. Only Dean's innate charm and the very occasional, and Sam suspected purposely timed, flashes of honesty he was prone to had kept him from serious trouble. Sam lived for those moments and he had no doubt the counselors had been just as intrigued by the mess that was his brother. It was either that or Dean had threatened them with bodily harm if they didn't leave him alone. Dean was prone to that too.
"What did you hear?" Sam asked.
"It told me to stay put," Dean answered. "Not like I have a choice."
Dean suddenly flinched and threw himself away from the bars and backed into one of the far corners, wide-eyed and breathing hard.
"You wanna tell me what's going on?" Sam demanded tersely. He wasn't seeing anything at all and Dean was acting like there was something all around him.
"Different voice," Dean said, still breathing like he'd been running. "That one definitely told me I was a dead man."
"It said what?" Sam's voice rose, his own heart now pounding in his chest.
"All right," Dean announced as if he'd come to a decision. "Now you can go find something to get me out of this cell."
"I thought you didn't want me going anywhere alone."
"I don't. But I don't wanna die in here either." Dean suddenly looked past Sam. "You smell that?"
"Dean, what is going on?" Sam was getting more and more frustrated. "Since when are you Mr. In-touch-with-all-your-ghost-senses?"
"You don't smell smoke?" Dean asked, ignoring him.
Sam immediately stopped moving, paying closer attention to his surroundings. They'd looked into the history of the jail. There were no reports of a fire. They certainly would have noticed the old died in a prison fire routine. No self-respecting ghost could resist that. But the facility had simply been closed when a newer, larger one had been built.
"Ok, yeah. I smell smoke," Sam said.
Dean yelped involuntarily, and Sam immediately echoed him as he felt something brush past him in the direction of the door leading out of the cell block. "I think it or they or… whatever… it's gone," Dean said warily.
"I felt it go past me on the way out," Sam confirmed. He reached out toward the barred door, but Dean was already in motion. He gave the door a vicious kick and it popped open with a loud clang. Sam barely had time to move out of the way before Dean came barreling out of the cell. He grabbed Sam's arm as he passed and began pulling him back toward the front of the building.
"Sam, haul it a little faster," Dean urged.
Sam swung his flashlight ahead of them and immediately saw why Dean was in such a hurry. He hadn't realized it, but there was a definite haze in the air. Of necessity, the place had only certain places one could exit. Going through the cell blocks, they had worked their way to one side of the building. Now they were going to have to work their way back to the front and hope they weren't blocked.
The smoke became thicker and thicker as they approached the front. Sam kept Dean in sight trusting his brother's nearly infallible sense of direction to get them out. Hacking and coughing, they finally came through the doors leading into the jail's front receiving area. The wide room was engulfed in flame or at least everything that wasn't made out of concrete. The old desks and built in furniture were wooden and the ceiling tiles were clearly flammable, raining fiery debris down on them as they hurried through.
Sam nearly ran into Dean when his brother came to a sudden halt. Dean dropped to his knees and Sam was startled to realize there was a man sprawled face down on the lobby floor. He hurried to the man's other side and together they hastily patted out several smoldering patches on his clothing.
"Feet," Dean ordered on a cough while he grabbed the man's shoulders. He was heavier than he looked, but between them they managed to lift the dead weight. Dean led the way, walking backwards and they again hurried, as best they could, to escape the scorching rain.
Sam anxiously watched the ceiling, expecting the whole thing to fall at any moment, but to his relief, they broke out into the fresh air only seconds later, coughing their way out and running directly into a line of firefighters.
"You boys all right?" one of them asked as the others continued to move past, already running hoses toward the burning building. "Ambulance is over there," the fireman pointed instead of waiting for an answer. He then quickly moved between them to help carry the heavy man.
"Heads up, Andy!" the fireman yelled and Sam saw the medics pull a gurney out of the back of the ambulance and then hurry toward them. The uniformed workers waited for them to set their burden on the gurney and then both men did a visible double take.
"Doug?" one of the men said loudly. "Doug, can you hear me?"
Sam and Dean shared a quick look. Doug was the name of the former guard who'd called them. Apparently they weren't going to get any information out of him tonight.
As the medics started working, Sam and Dean melted into the noise and bustle of the emergency workers, especially avoiding the policemen blocking the traffic. They quickly stumbled into the car, grateful it wasn't being hemmed in by fire engines and, mindful of the police presence, sedately drove away.
Sam shook his head. "Either these ghosts have learned to set fires…"
"Or someone doesn't want us poking our noses where they don't belong," Dean finished for him, staring angrily out the windshield. "Great. Just great."
A teaser to get started… More tomorrow…