Well, here it is--the last chapter. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been reading and reviewing. Sorry for not having managed to keep up with my individual responses. I promise to do better. I hope everyone enjoys this final chapter.
When Sam merely stood there gaping at him, Dean raised the jug and took a second smaller swig, nearly choking when the crockery was suddenly torn from his hands. It hit the ground with a dull thud, followed by the glug-glug of the alcohol pouring from the neck of the container and disappearing as the hard-packed dirt floor acted like a thirsty sponge.
"Dude, are you freakin' insane?!" Sam yelled.
"What? It's mighty fine white lightning, Sam. Smoooth as silk," Dean's watering eyes and rotgut-rasped voice somewhat belied his claim.
"Yeah—and it could also be poisonous, dumbass! It could be methyl alcohol. You could go blind or die from drinkin' shit like that!"
"But . . ."
"But nothing . . ." growled the tall, lanky hunter, "Besides we're on a
The older man had the grace to look a little sheepish as the room lazily spun and twirled for a second before steadying once more. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right. Sorry, Sammy," he muttered before allowing a small smirk, "It's just that, you know, I've always liked jugs—both kinds." Dean made a crude gesture with his hands and paused, waiting to see if his flippant remark relaxed the tense lines of annoyance on Sam's face. He actually did feel like an ass for drinking the hooch when he should be concentrating on the hunt and protecting his brother. He almost sighed with relief when he saw the corner of Sam's mouth begrudgingly tilt upward slightly at his joke.
Dean directed the beam of the flashlight up and down the shelving. "Sure is a hell of a lot of hooch, Sam. Maybe I can take a j—"
"Ahhh, c'mon, you don't even know what I was gonna say."
"Yes, I do know what you were gonna say. And no."
"Damn. You are such a hard ass sometimes, Sammy. No fun. At. All."
"Fine," Dean huffed out a breath, "Hey, whatdaya make of those?" The elder Winchester pointed to odd letters and numbers that were scratched into the wall at varying intervals. "Some kind of spell or something?"
Sam frowned as his eyes followed the track of the beam of light. "Not that I can tell. They seem pretty random."
Dean shrugged, before grabbing the shotgun he'd leaned against the wall. "With all this white lightning, there's gotta be a still around here somewhere." Their continued perusal of the room revealed nothing but the shelves stocked with corn liquor. "Yahtzee!" The young hunter strolled quickly to the corner of the room.
"What?" muttered Sam, who was right on his heels.
"There's a door here. It blends in with the wall, but it's definitely a door. Here—hold the flashlight."
With deft and sensitive fingertips, Dean felt around the edge of the door looking for a handle or some sort of trigger that would open it. Finding nothing, he gave in to his natural impatience, reared back, and plowed his shoulder into the door. He grunted at both the trill of pain that thrummed through his shoulder and success of his action when the door thundered open.
A quick sweep of the flashlight in Sam's hand revealed the expected still in the middle of the room. Here too were shelves loaded with jugs full of moonshine and, incongruously, in the corner sat a rocking chair with a basket full of yarn and knitting needles on the floor next to it.
"So you think this was the old lady's thing? She made moonshine and—what—knitted at the same time?"
His brother didn't have a chance to answer. A loud vibrating rumble sounded, accompanied by the shrill warning of the EMF meter still in Sam's other hand. Suddenly, the crockery on the shelves began to take flight. One after the other, the jugs flew—many of them aiming straight at the Winchesters. For all their ducking and weaving, several of the jugs found their targets. One slammed into Sam's shoulder and he groaned, dropping the flashlight.
As the flashlight tumbled and spun, the strobe-light like effect made Dean a little dizzy as he ducked yet another jug missling for his head. He'd already suffered one glancing blow to his temple.
"Sam?!" he cried out when he heard his brother's pained groan.
"Dean—Dean, I think I know where she's buried!" Sam shouted over the noise, "We gotta get the shovels."
The brothers made a run for the stairs but were stopped by the spirit of Patience Prattleworthy, who materialized in front of them and blocked their exit. Her mouth was curled into a rabid snarl and her hostile eyes were locked on Sam. When she moved forward with arms outstretched and gnarled hands curled into claws, Dean let loose with a load of rock salt, sending her temporarily to the ether. With the way now clear, they tore up the stairs and to the shiny Impala waiting at the bottom of the driveway.
Breathing hard and struggling slightly to get the key in the trunk lock, Dean panted, "Y-Y-You okay?"
"Y-Yeah. Fine. You?"
"I'm fine. Just more bruises on top of the others." Dean pushed a shovel into Sam's hands. "Leave your duffel here. I've got salt, lighter fluid, and matches in mine." Dean grabbed a second shovel and closed the trunk.
Without delay, they were headed back toward the basement.
"So where is she?"
"I think she's buried under . . ."
". . . the still," finished Dean. "Damn. Shoulda figured that one out myself."
"I've been thinking . . . You know those letters and numbers on the walls?"
"I think they're her recipe, Dean. Remember how she said she'd "found perfection" in that letter you read? I think she discovered what she considered the perfect recipe for moonshine. I think someone killed her trying to get it."
Dean nodded. "You mean someone like that Ellsworth guy . . . the brother."
"That's pretty messed up."
The minute the Winchester brothers hit the bottom of the steps, the crockery once again began to dance and shimmy on the shelves. The jugs arrowed across the room and slammed into the walls, each cracking open and spilling their own spirits into the dirt. The raw scent of pungent alcohol hung heavy in the air and made them both cough.
Once more in the back room, Sam hurriedly knocked over the still and pushed the pieces out of the way as Dean began to dig. Before he could wield his own shovel, the temperature plunged and Sam caught a glimpse of Patience as she coalesced in the corner of the room. He moved to retrieve the shotgun but wasn't quite quick enough as a flash of silver flew from her ghostly hand. The young hunter cried out in pain as he felt the knitting needles sink deep into his shoulder.
Hearing his brother's cry, Dean paused and looked over. "Sam!"
"Keep digging!" Despite the new injury, his fingers closed around the shotgun, and Sam pulled it up and fired at Patience in one motion. She disappeared in a spiraling gray cloud.
Sam spun on his heel, debating whether to try and help shovel or to stand guard. Coming to a decision, he laid the shotgun at his feet and started to dig. "I don't think she's very far down," he panted, the repetitive motion of shoveling pulling at the knitting needles. He felt sweat break out on his forehead.
Cold swirled through the basement once more and a quartet of knitting needles zinged through the air. This time both boys grunted at the sting of impalement with the shiny weapons.
As Sam again managed to yank the shotgun into position, he heard Dean yell "I've got her" just as he pulled the trigger.
Dean hurriedly poured salt over the barely exposed bones. "Sam, get ready to run. With all this alcohol, this place is gonna go quick when I get her lit up."
With shotgun, shovel, and flashlight in hand, Sam ran for the stairs. The whoosh behind him let him knew that Dean had dropped the match.
"Go! Go! Go!" yelled Dean when he caught up to him, his duffel bumping furiously against his thigh.
The boys sprinted up the stairs and out into the chill air of dusk. A roar sounded behind them. Several loud thumps were heard as whatever unbroken crockery there was succumbed to the fire and heat and exploded. The Winchester brothers didn't stop until they reached the Impala.
After dropping everything into the trunk and closing it, Dean turned to look at Sam. "Shit, dude, you look like a giant pin cushion."
"Feel like one," Sam grimaced. "You look like one too." He pointed.
"What? I'm not . . ." Dean looked down and saw two knitting needles in his left thigh and one in his side. "Oh."
Sam limped to the back passenger side door and opened it, wincing as the handle dug into the blisters on his palm.
"Guess we're heading to the ER, huh?" Dean pulled his own door open.
"Yeah, I think that's a good idea."
Dean eyeballed his brother quizzically when Sam began to crawl into the backseat. "Sam, what the hell are you doing?"
"I . . . uh . . . I can't sit . . . in the front." The younger Winchester stretched out full length on his stomach, staying propped up on his elbows to accommodate the knitting needles protruding from his shoulder.
"What? What do you mean you can't sit in the front?"
Sam sighed and dropped his head. "I mean . . . I can't sit . . . period."
"You can't—" Dean squinted and trailed his gaze over Sam until he spied the knitting needle embedded deeply in Sam's right butt cheek. "Oh."
"Yeah. Oh. And don't even say it."
"Say what?" Dean bit his lip to stifle a chuckle.
"Whatever joke you were gonna make at my expense."
Affecting a woebegone expression, Dean settled into the driver's seat and closed his door. "Now I'm hurt, I'd never cra . . ."
"Dean! Can we just go? Please. I'm not exactly feeling great right now."
Suddenly feeling the pain from his own injuries, the elder Winchester felt sympathy flare for his brother, who had a greater number of knitting needles sticking out of him. He'd also taken the brunt of the demon cat attack as well. He brought the big car to life and put it into gear.
"Yeah?" grunted Sam.
"How good are your acting skills?"
"You should know. They're pretty good, I guess. Why?"
"Need a cover story at the ER so I figured we should act like a couple of frat boys drunk off our asses. We smell like a brewery as it is. Might as well have them explain away the knitting needles like they did for those kids."
Hissing as the Impala rolled over a particularly large bump in the road, Sam moaned, "Trust me. If acting drunk will get these damn knitting needles outta me, I'm there."
Suddenly, Dean chuckled.
"What's so funny?"
"Just thinking . . . It's gonna be a while before you can sit down comfortably again, huh? Hey, they might even give you one of those plastic donut shaped things to sit on!"
"And you think this is funny?"
"Well, yeah, it's a little funny."
Sam huffed out a half-irritated breath. "Okay, just remember that, dude. 'Cause while I'm miserable, I'm gonna make you miserable too. And payback's a bitch."
It was a promise more than a threat.
XXX The End XXX