This is my submission for the SFTCOL(AR)S Secret Santa Story Exchange. It's being written for thursdaywench. I really, really hope she likes it and that it's everything she was hoping for.


Disclaimer: Sad to say that nothing Winchester related belongs to me. I'm just having a little bit of fun.

A LITTLE BIT OF PATIENCE IS TOO MUCH

By: Vanessa Sgroi

Westerville, Ohio

"Explain to me what we're doing here again," muttered Dean Winchester, a bit grouchily. He looked over at his younger brother and cocked an inquisitive eyebrow. The younger hunter of all things evil twisted the doorknob and pushed, wincing as the front door of large old, abandoned house squealed in protest as it opened.

"God, do you ever listen to me?" retorted Sam, "In the last few months at least half a dozen teenagers have reported seeing one Patience Prattleworthy—"

"Patience Prattleworthy? C'mon, Sam, be honest—you're making that name up, right?"

Exasperated, Sam rolled his eyes and growled, "No, I'm NOT making that name up. These teenagers have reported seeing her here in this house—her house—anywhere between dusk and 3:00 a.m. The only problem being that Patience Prattleworthy went missing at least two years ago."

"Huh—she probably ran off with her boyfriend or something."

"Dude, she was like 85 at the time!"

"So? Can't 85 year olds have boyfriends too?"

Sam looked at his brother incredulously before shaking his head and closing his eyes for a split second. "Not even gonna go there."

Dean couldn't suppress a small snort.

Duffels in hand, the Winchester brothers inched across the threshold and into the house.

"Okay, so these teenagers claim to have seen her—" tossed out the elder Winchester.

"Yeah. There's only one problem though."

"Oh, yeah? What's that?"

"The kids were apparently drunk when they related their stories. Which is why no one believes them."

"Great. This could all be just some drunken fantasy and a waste of our time then?"

"No. I really don't think so."

"Why's that?"

"Two of the teenagers ended up in the hospital, impaled with—of all things—knitting needles."

"Knitting needles? Fantastic. So Grandma's ghost tries to make human afghans. You're thinking—what—vengeful spirit?"

"Yeah, I think it's possible. These kids, despite being drunk, all have remarkably similar stories," explained Sam, "They're just hanging out, you know, having a good time when suddenly they hearing screeching, the air turns bitter cold—stuff like that."

The pair walked across the front foyer, bypassing the grand red-carpeted staircase in favor of a small hallway to the right that opened into a parlor.

"Man, would you look at this place?" Dean's gaze wandered around the room. "It looks like something out of the 1920's or something."

Sam's gaze roamed the room in concert with his brother's. Beneath layer upon layer of dust and grime as well as the wispy gray draping of cobwebs, the parlor did indeed look like something out of another era, with its sagebrush green walls and mandarin red trim.

"You said she disappeared only two years ago?" asked Dean.

"Yeah."

"Looks like it could have been 80 years ago."

"Yeah, it kinda does."

Dean approached the small desk, and pushing aside the ladderback chair, glanced down at the old-fashioned lavender stationery centered squarely in the middle. Like everything else in the room, it was coated with a thick layer of grime. He peered at the spidery handwriting on the top sheet.

"Well, unless ancient ghosts write letters, I guess two years is right. Here's a letter dated November 11, 2005."

The young hunter leaned forward and squinted, trying to make out the faded scrawl. He began to read aloud.

Dear Drusilla,

I've finally found perfection. Daddy, God rest his eternal soul,

would be proud. Dear Ellsworth will not be however. I suspect

he will be livid when he finds out. This last b—"

Straightening, Dean shrugged and looked over at Sam. "That's it."

"Ellsworth Prattleworthy—the brother. He died about six months ago. Drusilla would be their younger sister. I think I read that she lives over in Palmerton, Tennessee."

Thinking ahead to their investigation, Dean started toward his brother without looking exactly where he was going. He felt sticky cobwebs drift over his face, clinging tenaciously to his cheeks and mouth. The hunter spit and sputtered to remove the offense. "So where do you want to start?" muttered the elder Winchester as he swiped the back of his hand across his mouth.

"Why don't we start upstairs and work our way down?" responded the younger hunter.

"Sounds like a plan." Dean yanked open the zipper on his duffel bag and pulled out his EMF meter. "The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can kick back with a cold beer." He waited while Sam extracted his own EMF meter before heading back down the hall toward the staircase in the foyer, his brother a half step behind him.

The pair started up the wide stairs, stirring up puffs of dust from the burgundy oriental carpet with each and every footfall. They paused at the top of the staircase.

"Should we split up? queried Sam.

"Uh, yeah. We'll do a quick scan. Yell if you find anything."

"Left or right?"

Cocking his head, Dean's gaze locked on the ceiling for a second as he actually gave it some thought. "I'll go right."

Nodding, Sam swiveled to the left, marching down an open hall, and approached the bedrooms located on that side of the house. He flicked on his meter as he stepped into the first room. Once plush deep green carpeting cushioned and muffled his steps. A quick glance around the bedroom revealed pink-and-white stippled walls without much in the way of adornment other than a few gold-framed mirrors. A four-poster bed painted an aged-dulled Nile green and covered with a moth-eaten wine-colored bedspread dominated the middle of the room while a small chintz upholstered chair was backed into a corner. There was little else in the room and what was there was covered in layers of crud. Sam's corner-to-corner, floor-to-ceiling inspection revealed nothing, his EMF meter remaining stubbornly silent.

The younger Winchester's inspection of the other two bedrooms and the small but elaborate bathroom proved equally fruitless, disclosing nothing but similar interior design in each area. With a sigh, he decided to head toward the other side of the upstairs where Dean was searching and see if he had any better luck. If this hunt turned out to be a bust, Dean would never let him hear the end of it.

His long legs ate up about half the distance when the first attack occurred. His only warning was a sudden frigid dip in temperature accompanied by the chatter and flashing lights of his EMF meter. Before he had a chance to do more than spin around, Sam felt a strong force slam into him, pushing him into the balustrade with a thud. He grunted in pain as his lower back and legs impacted with the dark wood, and Sam dropped his meter. A furtive glance through his tousled bangs and over the banister showed a long drop to the marble floor of the foyer below.

Fighting to regain his balance, Sam thought he succeeded until a mangy-looking black cat mysteriously appeared behind his heels. With his fingers scrabbling ineffectually at the slick varnished wood, another forceful push from the spirit sent his tall body flying up and over the handrail. His hands closed desperately around two decorative spindles as a cross between a grunt and a cry tore past his lips.

"Dean!"