Sam turned in the seat when he heard a grunt from the back, placing his hand on the shoulder of the front seat as he saw Nick repositioning Greg, who ended up falling back on the other man. There wasn't much light afforded in the car and Sam could barely make out Greg's face, mostly covered in the shadows.
He sighed heavily and turned back around, gaze fixed to the empty road ahead as he caught sight of his brother throwing him a concerned glance.
Even though he was used to the small amount of space in the Impala, Sam felt more confined than usual and knew it had nothing to do with not being able to fully extend his legs in the car. It couldn't have been thirty minutes since Greg passed out, but for some reason, the drive to Henderson seemed longer than it should have. Nick assured them the city wasn't even an hour away, but time dragged on nonetheless. Truthfully, Sam would have rather taken Greg to a hospital – something Dean and Nick seemed to actually agree on – but since Greg appeared okay for the time being, it was decided that they find Caroline's bones first.
It wasn't an idea Nick readily agreed to, wanting to ensure Greg's health more than anything, but eventually Sam and Dean were able to convince him...to a certain extent and after a bit of arguing on Dean's part. Sam honestly believed that if Caroline hadn't made an appearance, there would be no way that they could have convinced Nick that the supernatural wasn't as unnatural as he once thought. Then again, they probably wouldn't be in this situation right now, either.
Sam glanced at his brother, frowning at the expression on Dean's face. Though he would probably never admit to it, Sam knew Dean felt guilty about what happened to Nick and Greg. He knew Dean didn't like when others became involved in a hunt; especially when said others had no idea what they were dealing with. And on some level Sam could agree because they tended to hinder more than they actually helped most of the time.
Although Nick didn't seem in danger of dying anytime soon, Greg was still unconscious and neither Sam nor Dean had any idea as to what Greg's connection to Caroline was and the mere fact that he had a connection at all still induced questions in Sam's mind. Why was he the only one who could see her? How did even know about her and was there a chance that he was like Kelly?
But Sam knew he wouldn't be receiving the answers anytime soon. He was almost tempted to ask Nick, see if he knew anything about Greg's abilities, but there was already enough strain without Sam needing to add any more to it. Crossing his arms, Sam turned his gaze out the window; a green marker on the side of the road briefly illuminated by the headlights of the Impala. They had nine more miles to go, Dean was going sixty miles per hour, and Sam knew he was going to crack under the tension between his brother and Greg's friend.
Though, Nick and Dean both shared a concern for Greg, it didn't mean they suddenly came to an understanding. The underlying hostility between them had grown to be more than a little palpable and even though they were both quiet, it still made Sam uneasy. However, he didn't know if he could sit quietly through the tense silence.
"If you know so much about us," Sam began looking towards Nick, ignoring the questioning look Dean shot at him, "then why didn't you turn us in?"
"Because you…" Nick frowned at the question, not really expecting nor wanting any kind of conversation on the ride to Henderson. The only reason he even agreed to the trip was the fact that Sam and Dean obviously knew something he didn't and couldn't comprehend. And as much as he didn't want to admit it, they could probably help Greg more than he could and that was something that truly made him feel helpless.
Nick looked away from Sam, peering down at Greg intently; the other man's head lolling on his shoulder; seemingly lifeless if not for the faint falling and rising of his chest.
Truthfully, he discovered the Winchesters' records not too long after the first time he met them, far from convinced from their neighbours story and suspicious about the apparent interest Sam had in Greg. Logically, he knew he should have turned them in. Yet, even with the information in front of him, he couldn't do it and decided to follow his intuition no matter how much it went against his normal judgment; especially as Dean was essentially a dead man walking.
It couldn't have been coincidence that Sam and Dean made an appearance around the same time Greg began to act differently. While Nick still couldn't wrap his mind around the reality of the paranormal – despite actually having been directly exposed to it – it was better than not having anything to go on. And no matter how incredible the idea of a spirit killing people was to him, Nick was at least grateful he had a better grasp of what was going on with his friend and that he now had a chance to help Greg and put an end to a killing spree.
"Because I didn't," Nick supplied, not willing to elaborate any further as he felt a slight movement against his side.
Greg squeezed his eyes closed when he felt a flash of light briefly penetrate through his eyelids; a low kind of hum faintly reaching his ears. He groaned, feeling as if he was moving, but not quite sure; eyes still not open as realised he was leaning on something – or rather someone.
"Hey," Sam said gently, peering at Greg from the front seat. He undecidedly made a face, his mouth distorted and trapped somewhere between a smile and a frown. "How you holding up?"
"I feel like I got hit by a truck," Greg admitted, finally opening his eyes and meeting Sam's concerned gaze. Hearing a familiar voice above him – saying his name softly – Greg raised his head to see Nick looking down at him and found himself blinking slowly at the concern on Nick's face. His mind was still somewhat hazy as he tried to place together why he was in the backseat of some car with Nick. "Why-?"
"You passed out in the street," Dean answered, eyes still on the road as he loosened his firm grip on the steering wheel. He released a nearly imperceptible sigh of relief, his muscles less taunt. And while he was glad not to have someone's death on his hands, he just hoped the decision to take Greg and Nick to the cemetery didn't blow up in his face.
"How did I-" Greg was going to ask what happened, but then remembered calling Sam, meeting the brothers in the park, being pushed away, seeing Nick...and Cari, the memories... "Oh..."
"Are you – are you okay?" Nick asked hesitantly, watching Greg move away and slouch against the seat, the younger man running a hand through his hair as he shook his head.
"No...not really," Greg replied, surprised by the honesty in his voice.
"Did you see her?" Sam asked.
"You mean that...that spirit?" Nick looked at Greg hopefully, trying to show that he was at least trying to understand whatever it was that occurred in the park.
Dean didn't wait for Greg to answer Nick's question, posing one of his own. "Why did you call her Cari?" He pulled up the emergency break when the car stopped and took the keys out of the ignition. Unbuckling his seatbelt he turned around to face Greg, the other man appearing smaller as Dean looked at him levelly. "You knew her, didn't you?" he accused.
Greg felt himself sliding further down the seat, the gazes of the other three men making him more than simply uncomfortable. He expected the surprise on Nick and Sam's faces, but Dean looked disturbingly knowing, as if he saw Greg's memories, too – could see the first time he met Caroline – and somehow knew that he was connected to everything that happened to those three little girls was his fault. It was guilt by association.
And more importantly, it felt as if Dean had discovered a part of him that Greg didn't want to remember, going so far as to subconsciously forget. But no matter how he tried to avoid it, it still wouldn't distract from the fact that he killed Kyle all those years ago.
"And you guys do this for a living?" Nick asked. Apparently spirits of the evil variety were actually real and who knew what else that so many people attributed to fiction. Not to mention that Greg seemed to have abilities that allowed him a somewhat better understanding of what was going on, which Nick figured had more to do with Greg having a spirit for an imaginary friend when he was younger.
Though, Nick was surprised to find himself becoming less and less opposed to either idea. However, the notion of grave desecration was something he still couldn't quite come to terms with it...especially since he and Sam were the ones doing the digging. And he only agreed because of Dean's logic, reasoning that as Greg was the only one who could see the spirit and Dean was better versed with that kind of stuff – hunting, Dean called it.
And while Nick conceded that it made sense, it didn't mean he was happy with it.
"Something like that," Sam answered from behind Nick.
"What's the rock salt for again?" Nick held the shovel loosely in his hand as the four of them made their way to the cemetery. He didn't bother asking about the various weapons Dean revealed when he opened the trunk. It was his personal belief that having such an assortment of weapons couldn't possibly be legal. And although he believed in the right to bear arms, he still wouldn't condone this. But he really wasn't in the position to speak against it and at this point, wasn't quite ready to risk anything with his scepticism.
"To stall the spirit," Sam said. "It won't necessarily get rid of her, but it does give us time."
"Especially since we can't see her...right?" Nick asked slowly, walking by another tombstone as he followed behind Greg, manoeuvring past the numerous graves.
"I can see her," Greg remarked softly, almost sadly, closing his eyes when he felt Nick's eyes on him. He understood now...why his younger self was eager to forget what happened after he received that bracelet from James, after Kyle died. He wasn't sure if it was a subconscious thing or whether he did it purposely, but if what he felt now was any indication...the level of guilt and self-reproach.
She wasn't the same person in his memories. And Greg was still having trouble believing that the Cari – Caroline – he saw was the same one he knew. He couldn't remember her being so cold...so unforgiving. Was she always that way and he simply couldn't or didn't want to see it when he was younger?
And the way she attacked Nick...
Greg was honestly surprised Nick was taking everything as well as he was, especially considering the circumstances. While he could tell Nick wasn't fully accepting of the idea of the supernatural, he was at least trying to understand and it was more than Greg could really ask for. Even after Greg admitted his connection to Caroline, how she was once his supposed imaginary friend and what was trying to kill Nick – Nick didn't blame Greg for her actions.
It was something Greg was truly grateful for because he didn't need anything else to add to the level of remorse he felt.
Dean stopped abruptly, almost causing Greg to run into him, the other man pausing just short of colliding into Dean's back.
Dean held his hand up, signifying silence to the other three men. He led them in front of a diminutive tombstone, seemingly neglected and abandoned with dead flowers; somehow isolated among the other graves. Dean narrowed his eyes as he took a few steps back, surveying the small area. There was a small circle surrounding the grave, almost imperceptible, but ominous in the same light.
He let the beam from the flashlight trace the circle, making an outline and highlighting the grey and unfertile soil, following the wilted vegetation and resting on the tombstone.
"Caroline Taylor," Dean read aloud. "Beloved daughter. July 1969 to March 1984." He moved the flashlight upward, shining the light on the small, withered tree sitting behind the grave marker. It was perverted, a darkened take of nature, aberrant branches hanging down, like they were reaching towards Caroline's grave.
Sam shared a quick look with his brother. "This is what we're looking for."
"That's...disturbing," Greg said, noticing the dark tree that sat directly behind the grave. With no leaves and branches sagging, warping with another, the tree looked dead, lifeless. It appeared brittle, as if a single touch could make it fall over and some part of Greg wondered what was keeping it erect.
"What do we do now?" Nick asked, trying to avoid looking at the tree. It wasn't like anything he'd seen before, and while today seemed to be a day for firsts, there was nothing natural about it; nothing that allowed him to accept its existence. "Just dig up the grave?" he asked, not bothering to hide the slight aversion in his voice.
"And then we salt and burn the bones," Sam answered, shining his flashlight to the salt and gasoline Greg held in his hands; the other man putting it down next to Dean. "That should get rid of it."
"Should?" Nick asked.
Sam shrugged. "It hasn't...not worked," yet, he added silently to himself.
"Look," Dean interrupted, gesturing to Nick and Sam with the hand not holding the shotgun. He didn't need Sam further perpetuating the doubt in an already dubious Nick. "You guys start digging and Greg and me..." he paused, looking to Greg with a small – and what he hoped to be – reassuring smile. "We'll just hope she doesn't get jealous with all time you're spending with us." Dean said the last part with wavering laughter, noticing he was the only one smiling and finding that his joke had fallen short. He ignored the raised eyebrows Sam sent in his direction, muttering to himself about the lack of humour from the other men as he watched Sam and Nick begin to remove dirt from the grave; Greg looking at him worriedly as he moved closer to Dean.
She would have screamed if she could.
Head moving sharply, she again saw there was nothing there. She was alone in the bathroom, robe wrapped tightly around her body and bare feet cool against the tiled floor, but couldn't help but wonder if this is what happened to Paige...Courtney...to Jessica.
Though, she kept telling herself it wasn't happening. She kept telling herself it wasn't real. She kept telling herself it was a figment of her imagination because there wasn't an arm sticking out her chest, twisting inside of her and making her jerk...the movements of her body short and sporadic. It was just her mind distorting the image in the mirror – anything – anything but this.
Sickening, it was the most horrible feeling, constricting and as if her body forgot how to breathe, how to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide like they were learning in Mrs. Carter's class. She tried to count to ten, practise those breathing exercises her father encouraged her to do. But she inhaled nothing, exhaled nothing and all she could feel was her body trembling, shaking, and she found herself pressed against the bathroom door.
Steam began to appear on the mirror, the heat from the shower clouding her reflection. But she could still see the blood seeping through her chest, a deep red mingling with the light blue of her robe; a rich mauve stark against her pale skin. She tried to gasp, the attempt producing nothing as something began to pool in her throat, making its way into her mouth and dribbling down the corner of her mouth.
Panicked, she pushed her back from the door, turning her gaze away from the reflection in the mirror and fumbling in the large bathroom. She fell on her knees, a harsh pain pulsating in her body and echoing in the tiled room; one hand around her neck and the other pressed against the toilet. Her back arched as she tried standing, forming a curve, contorting itself and reacting against something that wasn't there.
She could almost hear the rush of footsteps outside the door, a pounding against it that was faint in her ears. Frantic was the voice on the other side of it, calling out Samantha and the sound quickly became hazy, a dull drone in her mind. She wanted to say something – needed to say something – and get anything out. She stood on unsteady legs, trying not to fall as she reached to open the door, unlock the knob and let her mother in.
But it was hard and becoming increasingly difficult when she felt her throat becoming dry, parched and she felt like she was somehow choking because of the lack of saliva. She was beginning to feel dizzy, the room spinning around her and her sense of balance upset.
She heard it the door open when she lost the ability to keep herself upright, the sounds of the pelting water behind her fading away and a sudden silence assaulting her ears. The pressure on her chest was releasing, disappearing, but her eyelids were becoming heavier, her eyes tiring as she continued to fall.
Samantha was breathless, weightless and time came to a halt, her back touching the white curtain and bringing it down with her, a small gasp escaping her only to become lost within the torrent of water and the sound of her body stumbling crookedly into the tub.
Her legs dangled over the side of the bathtub, still in motion, her knees a crux allowing them swing against the acrylic of the tub; slightly from side to side. Her body lay twisted and uneven in the tub, the curtain sprawled beneath her. The terry robe was heavy and wet, now a darkened blue, almost black and falling off her body. Her neck was bent, broken and positioned almost perpendicular to her body.
The water was scolding, reddening her pale skin and diluting the fluid that began to trickle from her body, following the oscillating pattern on the shower curtain. It left a trail in its wake, bright against the material of the curtain and tinted white as it travelled through the ridges at the bottom of the tub and eventually down the drain.
Droplets fell down her face, coming from the corner of her eyes, opened and gaze blank as they remained fixed to the ceiling.
"Son of a bitch," Dean said as he fired another shot, again not hitting the spirit he couldn't see. He looked over his shoulder quickly, seeing his brother and Nick were still all right and more importantly still digging. It seemed Caroline was just after him this time. He vaguely wondered if he said anything remotely threatening to Greg lately but the train of thought was quickly broken when he found himself being thrown against a tree for the second time in one night.
He heard his brother call his name, followed by a worried shout from Nick.
"I'm fine, just hurry up and burn the damn bones," Dean yelled, scrambling to his feet and grabbing the fallen shotgun. "Where is she, Greg?"
But Greg didn't answer him and it seemed the other man couldn't speak as he suddenly stilled.
"Damn it," Dean mumbled when Greg seemed disinclined to move. He ran up to the other man, standing in front of him and hoping his presence would do something to disrupt the spirit.
"Dean?" Greg asked, his legs becoming heavy as he took notice of the other man's sudden appearance, somehow breaking the hold Caroline had on him. Until Dean came in front of him, he literally couldn't move, couldn't speak as was trapped without the ability to do anything except breathe.
Dean placed a hand on his shoulder, trepidation in his features as his eyes glanced over Greg's form. But Greg found his gaze moving past Dean, to something behind the other man, to Caroline. She was coming back, moving closer and Greg found himself wanting to reach out to her; talk to her and somehow get her to stop. Maybe there was still a chance to resolve things without having to permanently send her away. Because a part of Greg wasn't yet ready to let go, accept the rendering of what he once knew – someone he used to call a friend.
He said her name softly, the image of her body flickering away and appearing directly behind Dean, who was quick to turn around, firing at her and the rock salt going right through her, not affecting her.
Greg heard Dean shout something, the sound faint to his ears as Caroline came closer, a deviant smile on her lips, a ghost of the smile he once knew, used to share with the person who at one time, understood him better than anyone else could.
He exhaled quietly, closing his eyes as her arm extended to him, small hand taking hold of his chin. He felt his heart begin to slow, not protesting as he felt himself becoming light, a weight beginning to lift from his body.
But then it was gone, his body recoiling and something lashed against him, prompting him to open his eyes and allowing him to see the image of Caroline being enveloped in flames; hues of oranges and blues covering her, ravishing her small body. Her face was deforming; large, black eyes now holes overtaking her gaunt skin – hands clutching what was left of her hair – and Greg could hear her scream; a high pitched whine that caused him to put his hands over his ears.
And someone was shaking him, calling his name and trying to pry his hands away from head.
Hands still over his ears, he squeezed his eyes, trying to rid himself of the image he still believed was before him. He felt himself falling, an arm around him as he landed on his knees. His body was shaking, trembling when he felt a hand rubbing circles in his back, the subtle motions soothing and calming.
Hearing his name again, Greg finally looked up, releasing the breath he didn't realise he was holding when he came face to face with Nick. He flinched at the sudden emptiness his chest, saying the other man's name tentatively.
"Are you hurt?" Dean asked hurriedly; eyes narrowed as he looked at Greg.
Greg shook his head slowly, taking the time to inhale as he realised he was once again the centre of attention. "She's gone," he said quietly.
"You sure?" Sam asked worriedly, creases appearing on his forehead. "I mean-"
There was a moment of silence as Nick looked at Dean, moving closer to Greg as the younger man began to lean heavily against him. He knew Greg wasn't okay, far from it, but he knew he'd have that discussion with Greg later. "That's it, then?"
"You expecting something else?" Dean asked, surprised to note the slight disappointment in Nick's voice.
"No – just…"
"Well..." Dean sighed as he stood, brushing the dirt off his jeans as he looked down at Nick and Greg, Nick's arm around Greg and still supporting the majority of the other man's weight. "She's gone isn't she?"
Five hours later
Sam turned his head at the sound of footsteps coming toward them, a pair of feet trampling the grass. "Hey," he said solemnly, nodding at the sight of Nick and Greg approaching. He received a call from Greg only thirty minutes ago, discovering that despite their efforts to save her, Samantha Jackson had died. She was found on the floor of her shower, a contusion on the back of her head, her neck broken and spinal cord severed; the latter being determined as her cause of death.
Sam licked his lips, glancing at his brother as Nick and Greg stopped in front of them. "How are you holding up," he asked, peering up at both men from beneath the fringe of his hair, but his question directed to Greg. "You going to be okay?"
"Yeah…" Greg sighed heavily, lowering his head and looking away from the other three men. "As long as something like this doesn't happen again."
"Are they putting her death with the others, then?" Dean asked, crossing his arms as he continued to lean languidly against the hood of the Impala. He could easily tell Greg was becoming uncomfortable, probably starting to blame himself for everything that happened. And while he could more than sympathise with the feeling, he wasn't the type to go in depth with his emotions, didn't have time to.
Dean knew he and Sam couldn't risk someone else recognising them, couldn't afford to because they had other jobs to do. For now, all he could do is hope Greg somehow got over his conscious and was able to move on. At least Nick would be there to help him.
"No," Greg answered, somewhat distantly as his hands found their way into his pockets. "Not since we actually know what killed her." The reality of the situation was now beginning to take a mental toll on him. Now that he'd accepted the fact he played a part in the deaths, it furthered his since of guilt, especially as they weren't able to save Samantha. Despite what was probably going on the official report, Greg knew Caroline had something to do with it and was the force behind Samantha's death. He didn't say it aloud, not in front of Nick, or in front of Sam and Dean. But he knew what they were thinking, could tell they saw him at fault as they continued to give him fleeting looks.
If only he hadn't fainted, if only he hadn't hesitated and been selfish – then maybe...maybe she would still be alive.
"And that's a good thing...I guess." Dean placed his hand on the back of his neck, his nails blunt against his skin. "You didn't say anything, did you?"
Nick shook his head. "They're thinking that it may have been a suicide...because the other three victims were her friends...best friends."
"What's going to happen to the other cases, then?" Sam asked.
"They're probably going to end up cold," Nick answered. He put his thumb through a belt loop in his pants, standing a little more erect as a school bus passed them; the sounds of children heard briefly and causing him to look away. "There's really nothing else we can do."
"And even if we did tell the truth..." Greg added dejectedly; sighing as he sagged his shoulders, "I doubt anybody would believe us anyway." The only person who would probably be the most open to the idea of the supernatural was Grissom, and considering the older man's nature, it really wasn't saying much.
"What are you going to do now?" Nick asked, noticing how Greg was becoming even more uneasy. They didn't really get a chance to talk about what happened, yet, the news of Samantha's death interrupting the beginnings of anything close to discussing the matter.
Nick could admit he was still in some kind of shock, probably running on the adrenaline, but he was at least willing to accept the reality of what happened, no matter how out of place it initially seemed. He didn't want Greg to hide behind his fears, what he thought Nick would think of him. And he could only hope Greg wouldn't try to push him away again, allow Nick to help him and realise that he wasn't alone.
Because it was a kind of assurance Nick needed, too.
Dean shrugged. "Go on to the next gig, whatever needs hunting."
"Do you know where you're going?" Greg asked.
"Not yet," Sam answered, sighing as he stood. He watched his brother stand, as well, Dean making his way to the driver's side of the Impala, opening the door and getting in. "But you still have my number." He continued when Greg nodded his head. "Call us if you need anything."
As she got off the bus, Kelly clutched the bracelet tightly in her hand: only the starfish and dolphin charms remaining. She took it off before she left for school, right after she found out that Samantha died sometime earlier in the morning; hearing her mother discuss the issue with her sister over the phone and seeing the yellow tape surrounding the house across the street.
She licked her lips slowly, the cherry flavour of the balm bland against her tongue.
It was beginning to fade from her mind – the memory of how she found the bracelet. She asked her mother if she or her father had given it to her and was somewhat dismayed when they told her she simply came in the house wearing it sometime last week.
Running her fingers through her hair, she couldn't help but feel there should have been more charms and that the bracelet was somehow incomplete. Because she told herself that she wouldn't have worn something like this. But maybe she did find it, possibly once enjoyed it, but now...wearing it made her feel hollow and as if she was missing something important.
There were students encircling, many in no rush to walk into the building; having at least thirty or so minutes until school actually started.
She turned around in surprise when something brushed against her neck and she felt an arm around her shoulders, almost jumping but calming when she saw that it was Allison. Kelly only met Allison a couple of days ago, but found a kind of familiarity with the other girl she'd been missing since she first moved here.
"What you thinking about?" Allison asked; a smile bright on her face as she leaned her head against Kelly's.
"Nothing," Kelly replied softly, a shy grin appearing on her face as strands of Allison's dark hair tickled her face. "Nothing important, anyway." She turned to the bus behind her, staring at the windows of the now emptied seats, were they used to sit; four other girls she once knew; part of a life she'd rather forget.
"Are you okay?" Allison asked, removing her arm from around Kelly's shoulders. She followed Kelly's line of vision and then turned to look at her friend curiously. "You thinking about-?"
"I told you nothing," Kelly interrupted, her tone teasing as she smiled at her friend. "Just wondering about how much time we have left until school ends."
"You're silly." Allison snorted, grabbing Kelly's arm and holding it in between her own. "The bell didn't even ring, yet."
"Like you're not counting down to our next break," Kelly retorted, fingering the bracelet in her hand carefully, her grip loosening as she and Allison made their way to the school entrance.
"Exactly seventeen days until the next teacher workday thing or whatever," Allison said offhandedly.
Kelly rolled her eyes, the bracelet falling from her hands and landing on the concrete, left forgotten, abandoned on the ground but not unwanted. "I'm trying to take it one day at a time...that way I won't be overwhelmed by the all the biology homework Mrs. Carter gives us."
"She does give us a lot, doesn't she?"
"Did you read all five chapters of that book for yesterday?"
"Nope," Allison answered quickly, no hint of shame in her voice.
Kelly shook her head, laughing heartily at the reply; the sound intertwining with the crowd of students around her, becoming part of the noise and commotion she was no longer estranged from. She manoeuvred around her peers, dodging a boy walking opposite her as she continued to laugh, Allison's voice joining hers.
"What's this?" the boy said to himself, quickly bending down to pick something up from the ground. It was some kind of gold bracelet; decorated with seven charms: three starfish, three seashells, and a dolphin. It reminded him of the ocean, somewhere he'd always want to go but somewhere his parents would never take him. He vaguely wondered if it anyone lost it – the idea plausible considering the traffic of students – but he dismissed the thought.
He was about to put the bracelet in his pocket when another body bumped into him.
"Oops...sorry, Michael" a voice said, but the tone relayed that the new presence was anything but.
Michael sucked his teeth, brushing off his clothes as he picked himself up. "Whatever, Bryan." The other boy simply laughed, giving Michael another none too gentle shove before walking off in a different direction.
Releasing a deep sigh, Michael shrugged it off and returning his attention to the bracelet in his hand, holding one of the seashell charms in between his fingers. With his other hand, his pulled his jacket closer to his body, feeling a sudden chill from the back of his neck, causing his body to shiver slightly.
He jumped when he felt something brush against his arm, exhaling noisily when he realised it was his friend. "Jeez, warn a guy next time, Jason."
"What?" Jason asked, smiling at his friend knowingly. He put his arm around Michael's shoulder, guiding the other boy to the entrance of the school.
"You almost gave me a heart attack."
"You were probably doing something wrong, then."
"No, I wasn't."
"Yeah, right..." Jason remarked sarcastically.
Michael rolled his eyes, ignoring his friend's taunting as he placed the bracelet in his pocket, the chill down his spine disappearing as he let his friend lead him through the throng of students; both boys taking their time as they weaved their way through the crowd.
(Not a new chapter - just accidently deleted this while correcting mistakes and now reposting)
I so didn't mean to post this on Christmas, but finally, that's it. I would have had this up earlier, but due to computer complications and work and just being plain indolent...and not being sure about it despite my satisfaction with the concept.
I had to force myself to finish this because I knew otherwise it wouldn't have been completed. I had so many ideas for this, concerning what to put in this chapter. There was a Sara, Grissom, and Catherine scene, but like the orginal Grissom and Sara scene, I took that away, as well. It would have felt like a tangent and again, just something to up the word count (not including author's notes). I wanted this to focus on the four guys and didn't really want to put anyone else in directly. I wanted to keep the momentum this time and try not to make it seem like something impromptu because there's not"barrier" between consecutive scenes with the same characters.
Anyway, like I noted in the last chapter, it's another one of those iffy endings. Did they really destroy Caroline's spirit or was the bracelet the cause of the whole thing and something Greg forgot to mention? Honestly, I don't know. I don't believe in precise conclusions because life is rarely like that and I blame it on the literature I read. And I will admit (if anyone got this alongside the other misplaced entertainment allusions) - that Greg's nickname for Caroline alludes to a character by Stephen King.
Yeah, but thank you again for reading and to FlyingShadow666, I do have a name, Chaney, silverrayne621, GregsLabrat, Minako Mikoto, and GreggoAddict for reviewing and raising the expectation bar. I just don't know if the end was what you were expecting.
I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I did...or at least somewhat close to that.