Title: Candle in the Window
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, mores the pity. Just get pleasure, no money.
Summary: Kazcon Auction story for Nana56, hope you like it. Multi-chapter. Rising floodwaters trap Sam and an injured (of course) Dean in a house with a kindly woman keeping watch for her long lost son. If you're familiar with my stuff you know what to expect. If you're not, welcome to the world thru my eyes.
A/N: It's been so long since I posted anything that wasn't VS I feel like a virgin again (God forbid). But I made it through losing my job, getting a new job and being laid off 2 weeks later, moving 3 time in the last 6 months and currently living in a house with no doors, missing walls and a hole in the bedroom ceiling. No, I'm not homeless squatting in a warehouse somewhere, but it feels like it. Hope the story pleases. Ta to Gaelic who's been tolerating me playing with this storyline for months.
Rain splattered the ground in ever increasing fury, making it even harder to see in the gathering darkness, hard to hear and freaking hard to walk, let alone run, in the muddy graveyard as broken headstones and potholes became obscured by water.
It was the right time and the absolute wrong place to turn an ankle. Nature seemed determined to make this hunt as difficult and unpleasant as it possibly could be by adding a cold rising wind that whipped the rain into stinging pellets.
Sam swiped his face with a wet arm, slicking his hair back out of his eyes, seeking momentary shelter under a sprawling oak tree.
It had rained for the entire two days they had been on this hunt; neither one of them had a dry piece of clothing. The local weather service was issuing flood watches and there was no sign it would be letting up anytime soon.
Sam's research into the bizarre stories surrounding this hunt had told them they were probably searching for a Nukekubi, a Japanese spirit neither had ever heard of before. How the hell it had ended up in Even God Forgot Where It Was, Michigan, was anyone's guess.
Just finding that information had been hard enough, trying to get information from witnesses who were reluctant to admit they had seen a woman's severed head chase down and maul someone to death with its teeth, screaming horrendously every inch of the way, was pretty nearly impossible.
Nukekubi supposedly appeared as human during the day, interacting with normal people. At night, they had the ability to literally detach their heads from their bodies and chase down their victims, screaming and shrieking. The theory was they fed off the adrenaline produced by fright, ripping their victims to shreds by biting them repeatedly until they finally died from blood loss or fright. A slow and horrible way to go.
Sam had seen pictures of the two most recent bodies; they hadn't made for pleasant viewing. They had traced the spirit back to a woman who dealt in antiques of oriental origins, traveling around the country "buying" for a firm that Sam's searching had revealed did not exist.
She had attempted to flee when she realized they were on to her, but her car had gone out of control on the rain-slicked road and she had crashed into the stone fence of the old cemetery. She had bolted from the car and disappeared through the crumbling hole she had made in the enclosure. They had lost her in the rain and trees.
Unfortunately, dusk was upon them and as dangerous as she was after dark, they had to go in after her.
Thunder pounded around Sam; he could feel it through the ground where he stood, the rain was so heavy the beam from the flash stopped dead about three feet from its source. The only real light came when the air turned blue white as lightning crackled and flashed; one second bright as day the next pitch black before Sam's eyes had time to adjust.
There was fat spark of light and a sizzling pop as one bolt struck the ground not ten feet from where he stood, reminding him that standing under this tree might not be such a boss idea as he felt an electric thrill across his skin.
The thought triggered the need to know where Dean was. They had separated a short time ago, trying to cover as much ground as possible, but between the storm and the not knowing what to expect, every round object in the whole damned cemetery had taken on the aspect of a disembodied head and Sam's nerves were on edge.
He swabbed water from his eyes and swore, stepping back into the full power of the deluge. Turning, he sucked in a shocked breath as he found himself face to face with the very thing he was looking for.
But it wasn't Dean.
He couldn't help it. Stumbling back out of reach, he slipped and went down with a wet thud, splattering water everywhere, a shard of gravestone digging into his back, tearing jacket and skin.
He had the presence of mind to fire his weapon, but the shot went wild as he fell and the gun slipped out of his wet grip. Body hanging limply, the feet dragging through the mud, the female figure before him drifted closer, coming to a halt to hover over him. Long black hair straggled by the wind and rain clung to her upper body like seaweed, clothes flapping wetly around her body. Her red lips parted, mouth stretching into a teeth-baring grin that just kept growing. Her silver eyes gleamed with anticipation as she bobbed gently before him, a grotesque cork in the maelstrom tearing around them.
Sam crabbed backwards as fast as he could, working to get to the puddle the gun had landed in but seriously doubting that it would fire now, even if he could get to it in time.
His back hit another headstone, stopping his progress with a painful jolt, hands and boots clawing up mud as he flailed to get further away.
The woman's head took on a eerie glow, her mouth gaping open with dozens of crooked teeth, her tongue lolling out to swipe lazily at them then drift back into her mouth as greenish saliva began to ooze from her maw.
Sam gulped, morbidly fascinated as her neck began to lengthen into a thinning stalk, the flesh stretching as her head rose away from her body, twisting and turning, her eyes never leaving his face. Even over the rain he could hear the popping of separating bones, her head rocking as the skin began to part.
A keening sound worse than nails on a chalkboard began to come from her as the last of the ties to her body snapped away and it tumbled backwards onto the streaming ground, her head hanging in the air, strands of trailing hair, tendon and torn flesh dangling. The keening rose to a scream.
Sam couldn't move, couldn't do anything but breathe, so he drew in as much air as his lungs would hold.
Dean heard the shot, his body twisting in the direction he thought it had come from. His slight hesitation as he tried to get his bearings in the pitch blackness evaporated when he heard his name faintly over the dull roar of the rain.
He bolted between the tilting headstones as lightning split the sky once again, each smack of his boots on the rain soaked ground splashing madly, slipping in the mud as he rounded the large marble headstones scattered haphazardly over the area.
The rain has lessened slightly as he ran and he could hear the earsplitting shriek coming through the air, the sound crawling up his spine like ice. Sam's voice rang out again from the left. Dean skidded to a halt in a spray of rainwater, pausing long enough to cock the shotgun and lift it to fire as he slid on the muddy earth.
Sam was backed up to a pile of grave markers, his arms up to protect himself as the head of their prey swooped at him, screaming and cackling. In a movie, such a thing might have seemed surreal and cartoonish, but in grotesque, real flesh and blood there was nothing funny about it at all.
Dean could see the headless body lying in the mud a few feet in front Sam who was trying his damndest to evade the head as it darted and swooped at him, teeth snapping, demented shrieking filling the air.
Sam had managed to get to his knees but no further. As Dean tried to aim at the suddenly shifting creature he saw Sam's jacket sleeve tear in several places as the thing tried to clamp down on his arm, succeeding only in catching fabric.
"Sam, get down!!!" Dean yelled, weaving erratically trying to track the thing with the shotgun.
Before Sam could do as requested or Dean do more than lift the gun, the Nukekubi spun like a top and shot at Dean as lightning suddenly crackled overhead, blinding Dean with blue brilliance and deafening both hunters with an explosion of thunder.
The gun went flying and Dean was knocked from his feet as the shrieking head struck him dead on.
He landed on his back with a wet smack that knocked the breath from his lungs, his body sliding back several feet before hitting the trunk of the old oak tree.
Rain began to fall in sheets once again. Dean choked, sure he would drown as he fought to take in air and keep the screaming nightmare striking at him away.
Teeth snapping as it flew at him, he threw up an arm instinctively to protect his face, feeling the shocking pressure and pain as his forearm was suddenly caught by what felt like a bear trap.
He arched upwards from the ground, a hoarse yell bursting from him as an acidic burn shot up his arm. The sight of the gibbering head clamped on his arm, eyes rolling in ecstasy, jaws working the jagged teeth even further into his flesh instantly took the prize for the most God-awful thing ever.
In the split second it took the Nukekubi to turn and attack Dean, Sam threw himself in the direction of Dean's gun, scrabbling madly through the deluge. He clawed the weapon from the muddy ground, bracing it against his body as he rose to his knees and brought the muzzle up to fire, aiming it at the headless body sprawled in the mud.
The sound of the gun blast was muffled by the roar of the rain. The special rounds, loaded with ground jade, gunpowder, phosphorus, and a compound the squat little proprietor of the dank basement shop they had visited swore was so rare it had been carried from heaven by the gods, burst like firebombs when they struck the still form.
Despite the rain, sparks flew everywhere. Fire exploded outwards so brightly, Sam had to cover his eyes. For an instant the heat was so intense the ground actually dried briefly around the body, then with a sound like the sizzle of raw meat on a hot grill the flames died away and left only ash in their place.
The sudden downpour ceased and only the heavy drip of rain from the trees around them was left.
Sam shook his head and dropped the gun, rushing to Dean as he rolled slowly to his side, coughing water and swearing.
"Dean! Dean, are you okay?" Sam gasped. He grabbed Dean's shoulders and helped him sit.
"Christ!!" Dean yelped, jerking as though he'd been electrocuted as he caught sight of his arm. The Nukekubi's head was now shriveled and twisted; without its body to return to it couldn't survive. The jaws however were clamped down tight, its long teeth still firmly embedded in Dean's forearm.
Dean gagged, flesh crawling, but he could hardly get away from his own arm.
Sam was equally disgusted and not quite sure what to do.
"Sam, get this fucking thing off me!!" Dean yelled, sitting up more and holding his arm as far away from himself as possible. "Jesus! That's the grossest thing I ever saw!"
Sam reached out hesitantly. "I'm not sure…" he began.
"Cut my friggin' arm off if you have to! It hurts like hell! Get it off me!!!"
Blood was starting to drip from the wounds. "Hold on," Sam said, steeling himself. He carefully slid the fingers of his right hand into the thing's mouth, placing them with care against the jagged teeth. The skin of the Nukekubi's head now felt dried and stiff, like beef jerky.
Which he would never be able to eat again after this.
He did the same with his left hand and began to pull the jaws apart slowly.
Dean growled low in his throat, eyes clenched shut, his face twisted in a grimace as the teeth slowly pulled free, barbed edges like fish hooks tearing just as badly on the way out as they had on the way in. Air sizzled through his teeth in a hiss of pain as Sam strained to part the jaws enough to get Dean's arm free.
Dean cried out as the jawbones suddenly separated at the hinge and came free, the skin and skull splitting in half. Sam fell back from the sudden release, dropping the two chunks of skull and washing his hands through the water pooling on the ground in disgust.
Dean clutched his bloody arm, retching as shudders racked his body.
Sam was hovering over him instantly, gripping Dean's shoulder as he gagged. "Let me see…"
Dean pulled away, "Burn that mother first…" he grunted, rocking forward to cradle his arm. In the distance he could hear more rain approaching through the trees. "Hurry! It's starting to rain again. Once we get outta this rain I'm not getting back in!" He started to push to his feet but Sam stopped him.
"Stay here, I'll do it." Sam dug into the brush and found where he had dropped the bag with their supplies.
Between the two of them and with the aid of a lot of kerosene, they managed to set the remains of the head aflame as the rain began again.
Dean, holding his arm against his chest, kicked at the ash pile in disgust. "I'd sure as hell like to know how this damn thing got here." He was still shaking, whether from the cold wetness or reaction he didn't know.
As Sam gathered the weapons, which would all need a thorough cleaning after this, Dean loaded the miscellaneous flammables back into the bag, rain beginning to pelt him once again. He stood holding his throbbing arm close to his belly.
"Let me take that," Sam said reaching out for the bag.
"I got it!" Dean snapped, pulling away and starting back through the graves to the car.
The thought of the car pissed him off all over again. The Impala was fifty miles away with a broken axle and they had been forced to get a car from the local Rent-a-Wreck. The car, an elderly Caprice with a crumpled fender, was cheap and it ran, but that was about all Dean could say about it.
Sam rolled his eyes, but followed along knowing it was useless to argue.
Dean threw the bag into the trunk after the guns and slammed it shut one-handed. "God, I'm sick of this friggin' rain!" he yelled, slamming into the driver's seat, lamenting the state of their clothes but grateful it wasn't his baby's interior that was getting soaked from their sopping garments.
They both settled back into the dry interior with groans of relief, just sitting there for a moment staring through the windshield while the rain pounded the exterior.
"Shit," Dean finally said, reaching forward awkwardly to turn on the ignition with the wrong hand. He hit the heater switch, knowing it would take the old car a while to warm up. Hemade a face as his injured arm throbbed with a dull ache that his shivering didn't help.
Sam reached over and took Dean's arm, watery blood dripping onto his hands.
Dean jerked back automatically, startled out of his haze. "What are you doin?"
"I'm lonely and I wanta hold hands, " Sam sneered. "Turn on the interior light and let me see your arm, you idiot, you're bleeding like a stuck pig."
"It's fine," Dean grumbled, "It doesn't really hurt," he lied. It hurt like a bitch. He flipped the light on and clumsily shucked his sodden jacket, throwing it in the back seat where it would no doubt mildew. He extended his arm for Sam's examination. Looking at it in the harsh interior lights along with the memory of how it happened made him queasy suddenly and he closed his eyes.
"You okay?" Sam asked eyeing him.
Dean's eyes popped open, "Yeah, just thinking about that…thing…chewing on me."
"I'm more concerned with what it was chewing on before it got to you," Sam gritted. "That's gotta be an infection waiting to happen."
Sam curled a lip at the row of teeth marking Dean's arm, taking in the three deepest punctures with shuddering distaste, still feeling the jaws giving way in his hands.
Dean grimaced as Sam's hold suddenly tightened painfully, his sleeve shoved roughly up his arm. "Hey! That hurts…"
Sam looked at him, "I thought you said it didn't really hurt." Sam's fingers gently prodded the puncture wounds on Dean's forearm just above his wrist.
"It didn't 'til you did that!" Dean snarled, trying to pull his arm back but Sam held fast. He leaned over the seat and grabbed the first aid kit, pulling it back over the seat into his lap.
Dean stared at his arm, more disgusted than anything. "Sam…"
Sam pulled out a bottle of peroxide and a small towel and proceeded to pour it over the rather large slowly bleeding holes. As wounds went it wasn't as bad as a lot of them but just the thought of what might have been in contact with that things teeth made Sam sick to think about it.
Dean yelped as it bubbled and foamed, a sting shooting up his arm to the shoulder. "Ow! God, Sam!!! " He grabbed the towel and pressed it over the wounds, holding his arm out of Sam's reach.
"Dean, it bit you! We need to clean it." Sam, protested.
"Thanks for the newsflash!" Dean hissed as he patted the area carefully. "You've got the touch of a blacksmith! Just dress it or let me do it and let's get the hell outta here." Dean reluctantly held his arm out again. "God knows what the hell was living in that bitches mouth."
"Sorry," Sam replied, trying to be more careful. He finished cleaning the bites and laved on the antibiotic ointment, wrapping Dean's arm with gauze and tape. Finished he closed the kit and dropped it back over the seat. "You want some pain killers?"
Dean shook his head, gently rubbing the bandaged area, flexing his fingers pulled on the torn muscles.
"What?" Dean growled. The interior was starting to smell musty now that the heat had finally kicked in.
"Maybe you better let me drive…one handed and in this weather…"
Dean opened his mouth to retort, then thought better of it. Sam had a point and his arm was really starting to hurt. A dull burn that shot from his hand to his shoulder and back, pulsating.
"Fine ," he replied, sighing. They managed to switch sides with a little clumsy awkwardness and Dean settled against the window.
Sam flipped on the headlights and wipers, trying vainly to see through the monsoon. Shooting a quick glance at Dean, cradling his injured arm, staring out the window, Sam put the car in gear and urged her through the mud and water.
End Notes: My mind is a blank (which after reading this may not be that hard to believe) Ta for wading thru it. Hike up your booties cause there's more to come.