Where have all the libraries gone?
It had been awhile since the Winchester's had been in this part of the country. The last time was when the entire town of River Grove was infected with a demonic virus. The few survivors were slowly rebuilding their lives…but that was another time, another story.
"This is beautiful, so what exactly are we doing here?" Dean asked.
"Dean, how long have we been hunting? Like all our lives, so it should be obvious. I've found our next hunt. There is ghost activity in one of the libraries in Jackson County. From all accounts it is not a new ghost, this one has been around since the 1950's but now she is getting aggressive. There are a couple of accounts of damage in the library and now someone has been hurt. I've got more research to do but that can wait. Let's get the kit re-supplied, find some food and a place to stay."
Dean sped up with tires squealing made a quick right turn from the left lane into the parking lot.
"What are you doing? You just cut that guy off," Sam exclaimed turning in his seat to check the road behind them. You could have caused an accident!"
"It's okay grandma no one got hurt," Dean said with a smirk. "You wanted supplies, I saw Wally World – you get supplies. Looks like we can one stop shop, we've got Wal-Mart, a couple of choices for food and we can ask around about a place to stay. It's all about what you want. Once I've got your needs taken care of I'm going to take care of my own. I really need some beer, some money and maybe some company. Of course you are welcome to tag along if it's not past your bedtime."
"I promise not to cramp your style. Maybe I can get some research done while you," Sam said with air quotes 'take care of your needs.'
"Well that's everything on the list," Dean said as he closed the trunk of the Impala. "Let's find someplace to eat, I'm starved."
The search for food didn't take long once they got past all the slick fast food places in the area. Sitting at the side of the main road was the Road Runner Café, it had a run down look on the outside but the parking lot was full, and that was always a good sign.
As they walked in their mouths began to water, the smell of fried onions, red meat and pie permeated the air.
"This smells like heaven," Sam said as he caught the waitress' eye.
"Sit wherever you can find a spot, I'll be right there with some coffee," the waitress said as she wound her way through the packed interior laden with platters of food.
Finding a table, turning the waiting coffee cups brim side up the Winchester shrugged out of their jackets and made ready for the arrival of the coffee.
"Man it smells good, just like I imagine home cooking would smell," Sam stated as he gazed around the packed café.
"Yeah, but only if home was a greasy spoon," Dean quipped. "Like either one us have much of a memory when it comes to home cooked meals."
Libby, the waitress appeared with a steaming pot of coffee, as she poured she asked, "What can I get you two?"
"A menu would be good," Dean stated as he reached for the cup.
"Menu's on the wall, the special today is liver and onions, soup's navy bean and ham." She turned at the sound of two dings of the bell from the window between the kitchen and the counter, and then was gone.
"Dude, I know you learned at least some manners from our time with Pastor Jim. Could you at least TRY to be polite? You may think it's cute but it looks like Libby has had a hectic day and could use a break from your wit."
"Who is Libby and what are you going to have? I can't decide between the chicken fried steak, the liver and onions or the meatloaf," Dean's attention focused on the menu board attached to the wall.
Sam replied in his cold, I'm talking to an idiot voice, "Libby is our waitress, the supplier of our coffee. Don't piss her off, Dean. Remember the last waitress that scolded you for your lack of manners."
"Yeah, yeah the old battle ax kept smacking me in the back of the head with the menu, I remember. Man, you were whiny that day. 'Dean, I want coffee. Dean, when are we going to stop? Dean, why can't I eat in the car?' Sammy, when are you going to get it: My car. My rules."
Sam rolled his eyes and smiled up at Libby, who had just returned to the table to hear the last of Dean's impression. "He gets this way when he's tired and hungry," Sam said with an apologetic smile. "His behavior will improve when he's had some food."
"So, what will it be guys?" Libby asked pen ready to take the order.
"What would you recommend?" Dean asked, totally unaware of the glare coming from Libby's dark brown eyes.
In a voice older than her years Libby answered, "If it's on the menu I can recommend it. You don't stay in this business long if the food is not good. If you need more time to decide, I can come back."
"That won't be necessary, we're ready to order. I would like the French Dip with slaw and fries and my brother will have the meatloaf with a baked potato, everything on it," Sam said with his big puppy dog eyes.
Dean swatted Sam on the shoulder as Libby walked away to put the order on the hanging wheel at the window to the kitchen, giving the wheel a turn so the cook could get started on the order.
"What's that all about ordering for me like I'm your idiot brother or bitch?" Dean asked sharply.
"Dean, you said you couldn't decide, so I helped make it easy for you and Libby. It looks like she's had a rough day and I didn't want you to add to it by taking forever to decide to eat the last item in your list of 'I can't decides.' You always end up with the last thing on the list…it just takes you longer to see the pattern."
"I do not. I'm a very decisive guy. I can decide what I'll eat just as fast as you can." Even to his own ears Dean sounded argumentative and petulant.
As the dinner crowd thinned Libby made her way back to table 12 carrying their meal and feeling the need to apologize.
"Here you are French Dip with fries for you and Meatloaf with baked potato – loaded for you," she said putting the platters in front of Sam and Dean respectively. "Sorry about being short with you earlier. I've had a rough day and you really didn't deserve for me to act that way. I'll be back with more coffee in just a sec."
"See, Dean, I told you she was having a bad day."
All conversation stopped for the Winchesters as they sampled, then consumed the meals set before them. Libby kept their cups full and quietly watched as they finished their meal and picked up the conversation where they left off.
"You are very perceptive, Sam," Dean said as he wiped his mouth, pushed his empty plate away and laid his napkin neatly at the side of the plate, just like Pastor Jim had taught them. "This place was packed and I haven't seen another waitress, so of course she is a little stressed."
"Glad you could be bothered to notice. You've been stuck in your own world since we get here," Sam said with just a pinch of concern in his voice.
"You know, Sam, I'm awful glad I decided on the meatloaf, it was the best, moist, flavorful, full of fresh mushrooms and onions. I'm glad I didn't let you talk me into something else." He said with a wink and a smile.
Libby appeared again with the coffee, topped off both cups and asked, "Will there be anything else for you?"
"No thank you, Libby. That was a great meal, you were right if it's on the menu it is good," Dean said with a mega watt smile. "Sorry about giving you a bad time."
"It's alright, really, everyone here does it, you know, the menu thing. I guess today it just got to me."
"If you've got a minute would you like to sit and talk? We just got into town and we're looking for someplace inexpensive to stay. Do you know anywhere that would fit the bill?" Sam said as he slid to the inside seat of the booth.
"I really shouldn't, but I haven't had a break today." Sinking onto the outside edge of the booth seat she continued, "Ruthie called in sick, Molly is out of town with her kids and Teresa wouldn't answer her phone. That left me by myself and it's always busy here on Thursday."
"That's a tough break when it's so busy, but on the up side all the tips are yours," Dean said trying to focus on the conversation at hand.
"Now about a place to stay, I'm new in town so I'm not really sure what's available. I know there's a Motel 6 down the road, Harvey's is on Central, but it's a real dive. The Sis-Q Inn is on Central too and it looks better than Harvey's, I drive past those on my way home. Other than that I know the big chain motels, Radisson, Holiday Inn and Comfort Suites."
"Dean, didn't we stay at Harvey's the last time we were here? You know the place with the six foot tall rabbit out front."
"That's right but let's try the Sis-Q Inn this time, Harvey's really is a dive." Dean explained to Libby, "We're not big on national chains, we'd rather support local
"So, you're not from here?" Sam asked when Libby shifted to get out of the booth.
"No, I moved here about six months ago from Colorado. My Great Aunt is getting older and needed help after breaking her hip. I needed to get out of Denver so I headed west young man," Libby stopped got up to leave thinking 'what am I doing? I don't even know these guys and I'm telling them my life story.'
Sam stood up, grabbed her hand and said, "Its okay. We're not the stalking type. It looked to me like you might want someone to talk to. I'm a good listener and I promise not to use it against you."
"Yeah, right. Talking to us is like talking to your priest without the guilt or penance. No hail Mary's from us," Dean quipped as he stood reaching for his wallet. Walking to the register he laid 30 bucks down and said, "That ought to cover it, Libby and keep the change. Let's go Sammy," he called over his shoulder as walked out the door.
"Guess I'm leaving now but if you'd like to talk here's my number. It was real nice to meet you Libby." Sam ran for the door as he heard the Impalas throaty roar come to life.
After checking into the Sis-Q Inn Dean was ready for some beer and pool. The tip he left for Libby was very generous, the motel cost more than Harvey's and now their finances were a little thin.
"Sam, I'm going out, you want to tag along?" he said around his toothbrush.
"No thanks, I'll stay in and get some research done. You go, stay out of trouble," he said in a stern fatherly voice.
"Me, trouble? Surely you jest!" Dean shot back as he reached the door.
"Don't call me Shirley," Sam shouted as the door slammed.
Sam opened his laptop and while it was booting up thought about Libby. There was something about her that called to Sam – a need to see her again. "Never mind Sam you've got a job to do – focus," he said as he started tapping his way into the computer.
Dean pulled into the parking lot of the first bar advertising what he was looking for 'cold beer, pool and ladies night every Thursday.' Life was good, today was Thursday. Striding up to the bar Dean stood next to a couple of ladies to order his beer, with a mega watt smile and flashing eyes Dean caught the bartender's eye.
Working her way down the bar Morgan assessed the new guy at the bar. Handsome, square jawed and his eyes either hazel or green. Nice as the packaging was he was probably on the prowl, another one of those guys that smiled, flirted, got you in bed and didn't even call. Yep, that's what her gut was telling her and she wasn't wrong very often.
"What'll you have?"
"Beer, please." As Dean watched the bartender fill his order his attention was drawn to the conversation taking place next to him.
"Hi, Marion, I didn't think you'd be here tonight with what's going on at the library lately," the blond two stools down said to the newest arrival. "How is James doing? I heard he got pretty banged up."
Marion answered, "He'll be okay, he has a concussion and half a dozen stitches in the back of his head. He said it was the ghost that did it to him. It's hard to believe she did it because she's never been violent in all the years she's been in the library."
"I remember her from when I was a kid. It was like getting a hug from a special friend when she found you in the library," said Lisa the stunning blonde.
"Yeah, she was comforting, it's hard for me to believe she actually hurt James and is causing damage," said Jan, the red head sitting next to Dean.
"I know this sounds weird but Mrs. Bedoin was the reason I became a librarian. I know she's the reason I spent so much time in the old library. I learned to love books and the library was a safe place when mom and dad were going at each other," Marion said.
"I remember reading Through the Looking Glass, and feeling Mrs. Bedoin with me. I loved the book and use to pretend I could have conversations with the talking flowers, do you remember this part?"
'There's a tree in the middle,' said the Rose. 'What else is it good for?'
'But what could it do, if any danger came?' Alice asked.
'It could bark,' said the Rose.
'It says bough-wough!' cried a Daisy. 'That's why its branches are called boughs.'
"I loved that book, too," exclaimed Jan. "It seemed to come to life when you opened it and began to read then pretty soon you'd feel Mrs. Bedoin there."
"When did Mrs. Bedoin stop coming to you?" Marion asked, "I was around ten or twelve when she left me."
"Gosh, I must have been about the same age. I never really thought about it before," said Lisa.
"She was kind of like Santa Claus in a way. Once you get to a certain age you just stopped believing."
"What are you talking about?" interrupted Dean. "Santa's not real? Who brings me stuff for Christmas when I've been good? You ladies have crushed my innocence," Dean said with a sly smile.
Hearing this, Morgan stopped by to check on drinks for the ladies, then turning to Dean said. "I'll just bet Santa stopped coming by for you a long time ago."
Covering his heart with his hand and tossing his head back Dean replied, "You wound me. Hi, my name is Dean and you are?" flashing his trademark smile.
"I'm certain our names aren't that important to your type," replied Morgan. "I hardly think your heart is so close to the surface that one little comment would have any effect."
"Morgan, you really should be nicer to paying customers," scolded Lisa. Extending her newly manicured hand to Dean she said, "I'm Lisa, and these are my friends Marion and Jan. Don't mind Morgan she's a bitch most of the time."
"Lisa," Morgan said sharply, "I'm not a bitch. I'm just tired of good looking guys coming in here, hitting on us, thinking they're God's gift."
"So you think I'm good looking?" Dean asked, again flashing his smile.
"Well let's put it this way, you're not a cousin from Dubuque. You haven't been married to any one of us and this is the first time we've seen you in here. That alone gives you bonus points," Lisa said with a tinkle in her eye.
"I guess now would not be a good time to mention that I'm from Kansas," Dean quipped. "So what is the story on this ghost?" Dean asked leaning slightly towards the girls. "It sounds like she's been around awhile."
Marion answered, "Since the 1950's – shortly after she died. My mother talked about her being at the old library when mom was a child. It really surprised everyone when she showed up at the new library shortly after opening day."
"I have heard of haunted houses where the ghost lingers, but have never heard of a ghost that moves across town," Lisa added with a self important grin.
Jan, not to be outdone reached for Dean's hand and added, "I've heard she was one of the first female librarians in the county, and that even when she was fired she kept working, on a volunteer basis."
"So, when did the library open?" Dean asked thinking research wasn't so bad after all. A cold beer and a couple of hot chicks really made it bearable.
"The old library opened around 1910 or there about." Lisa said as she withdrew a cigarette from her purse, put it to her lips and waited for a light.
"Actually, the Carnegie Library opened in February of 1912," Marion corrected.
Reaching for the matches on the bar Dean struck one as Lisa cupped his hand and touched it to her cigarette. Drawing in deeply, she mouthed a thank you as she released the smoke from her lungs and blew the match out.
"You said the librarian worked, even after they fired her. Do you know why she was fired in the first place?" Dean asked thinking if he wasn't careful this chick might lean over and take a big old bite out of him.
"I don't remember the particulars but I think it had to do with her getting married?" Jan said warming to the conversation. "It's hard to believe that being married is reason enough to be fired from a job. Just think if that happened now Mrs. Bedoin would never have to work again for all the money she could win in a lawsuit."
"Jan, Mrs. Bedoin wasn't a librarian for the money, even now that's not why you get into the business. She loved being with the children. Helping children learn to love books and showing them that they could do anything they could dream, that is what Mrs. Bedoin was all about," Marion fervently replied.
Finishing his beer Dean caught Morgan's attention indicating his desire for another. "Well, I should leave you to your ladies night out. Looks like there is an open pool table."
Lisa turned as Dean strode away, "Nice from all angles. I wouldn't mind waking up to that everyday."
"The problem with that dream is he'll probably be fat and flabby by fifty," Morgan added with a smirk as she headed down the bar to fill another order.
As the evening wore on Morgan grudgingly admired Dean's skill at both pool and darts. Some of the regulars were beginning to grumble about their losses to the newcomer.
After checking the bar for any orders Morgan went out the back of the bar to catch a few drags on a cigarette. Taking the last drag Morgan dropped the butt on the ground, crushed it out and bent to pick it up when she heard a sound that got her heart pumping…the sound of pure Chevy muscle. Standing up, turning towards the sound to see a black Impala with tires squealing pull out of the parking lot.
Who was driving it? Returning to the bar Morgan took a quick inventory of customers to find two regulars, Tony and Mike, and the new guy, Dean were gone. It didn't take long to figure out that the Impala belonged to Dean. A car like that would not go unnoticed.
AN: This is my first attempt at writing fanfic, so feedback is welcome!