A/N: Here's that challenge that I mentioned I was working on. Blue Peanut, you've definitely taken me out of my comfort zone with this one but it was fun. I do hope it doesn't disappoint.
Sammygirl1963: Owe you big. 1Pagan3 and I were talking and she asked me what this one was called. I'm like "OH CRAP!" Thanks for helping me come up with the perfect name for this one.
To everyone else: Enjoy……
Silent Blood on the Bayou Waters
John Winchester was sitting at the chipped kitchen table on a worn and wobbly chair in his family's newest temporary home, a rundown house he was renting in Louisiana, near the Bayou. Papers scattered in front of him, he rubbed a hand over his tired eyes and glanced at all that remained of his once happy life, his two boys.
Dean, at eighteen, had embraced what life had dealt him and applied himself to the hunt full time after managing to graduate from high school that summer. It was now October. John watched Dean break down and clean the shotgun they'd used on the last hunt. He caught every gunpowder smudge, efficiently, like a pro. John smiled wistfully as he watched Dean put the gun back together in less than a minute from start to finish, and pick up the pearl handled Colt that was his favorite gun, a graduation present from Bobby. I wish you didn't have to live this life, Dean.
His eyes slid to his youngest, fourteen year old Sam. His baby boy. His heart swelled with pride and then wrenched with disappointment in the next beat. Sam was stretched out on the floor on his stomach near his brother. His long, skinny frame nearly filled the carpeted space between the couch and the kitchenette of the tiny, shabby house. John watched as Sam continued to read one of his ever-present school books. He steadily wiggled on his stomach, towing his book with him, back towards Dean on the couch. Sam curled his legs and rested his shins against the front of the ugly, worn piece of furniture. He stuck his sock clad feet in Dean's face as Dean continued to clean his gun.
Dean pulled a face and looked at Sam's feet and then at his little brother's mischievous face as he grinned up at him.
"Dude, I smell corn chips."
"What?" Sam said even as he grinned and giggled. Dean put the pistol aside and tackled his little brother.
"Wrestling practice, geek boy!" Sam giggled as Dean tickled him and then he quickly fell into using the difficult moves that Dean had been teaching him recently. Within five minutes Sam had his bigger, more muscular brother pinned to the carpet in the rundown living room. John watched, secretly pleased that Sam had taken to the fighting lessons like he had his school work. John knew those moves would save his little boy's life someday, probably sooner than any of them thought.
"Okay, boys. Table, now." Sam and Dean instantly stopped horsing around and stood, coming to the table quietly. Dean looked over his dad's research scattered about the worn, chipped surface.
"You figure out what's killing people who go into the Bayou?" Dean asked as he sat opposite his dad. Sam took the other chair but his eyes kept straying to where his book lay on the carpet of the living room floor.
"It's something like a bog monster, or a Mhorag. Smaller, but just as lethal."
"Like the Honey Island thing?" Dean asked
"Yeah. No one's seen it and lived though. This one is hunting the people that manage to get away. It's like it catches a scent, then tracks it's prey. The last three kills were in the people's houses. They were all cypress harvesters that work out of the swamp for a local landscaping company. They harvested down trees to make mulch and gardening supplies. It finds their scent in the swamp and hunts them down. I'm wondering if it's not slightly vampiric by the way it can track by scent. We're going out tonight to stop this thing."
"Dad, I have this big test tomorrow in school. I need to study!" Sam said.
"This hunt is what's important. You know that Sam. Damnit, it's what we do!"
"No Dad! It's revenge! IT'S WHAT YOU DO. I WANNA GO TO SCHOOL!"
"Samuel Winchester! This thing is KILLING people. It's evil and we're gonna stop it. YOU'RE GOING AND THAT IS AN ORDER!"
"Whatever." Sam muttered, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"What the hell did you just say?"
"Good. Now both of you, pack up. Gear in the car in ten minutes." John said as he glanced at his watch., 5:50 pm.
"Yes sir." Dean and Sam said automatically, going to stash weapons into various duffle bags along with other tools of the trade. Dean grabbed two of the bags and headed for the car. His brother picked up one and lagged behind him. Dean pulled his key from his pocket and opened the trunk. He ran his hands over the car he hoped would be his soon and glared at Sam.
"What is with you and school? And why the hell are you always pickin' fights with dad? Just fall in line and…"
Sam cut him off, glaring at his older brother. "I don't wanna fall in line Dean. I don't even know why we do this. Because something killed mom? Last I checked we lived in Kansas. Kansas doesn't have swamp monsters Dean! It didn't kill mom so why are we hunting it down?"
"Sam. Shut. Your. Mouth. You know damn well why we do what we do! Its evil, it dies. You know that." Dean slammed the bags he carried into the trunk and ripped the one out of Sam's hands to drop it with the others.
"Yeah, well I'm not evil and I feel like I'm dyin'."
"What the hell do you mean by that?"
"I can't play soccer; I can't join the drama club. I can't even pass my tests because the hunt comes first! When are we gonna come first Dean? Don't you care that we're nothin' but soldiers to dad? Don't you want a life Dean?"
Dean grabbed Sam by the shoulders and shook him. He opened his mouth to say something but was stopped by his dad.
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" John roared as he glared at his warring boys. "Load up."
"Yes sir." Dean said again, automatically taking the front passenger seat of the sleek black car. Fourteen year old Sam lagged behind and climbed into the back seat without a word. He moved into the corner of the big bench and sulked, staring out the window. John fired the rumbling engine and sped off into the night.
At the edge of town the road turned to gravel and then to rutted clay, forcing John to slow the big, low slung black car to a crawl. He stopped when the Bayou swallowed the road surface. "Boys, looks like we're on foot from here. Get the gear." Dean stepped from the car and went to the trunk. He used the key his father had given him to once again open the lid. Bracing it with a disused rifle he rummaged through for the bags they would carry into the swamp. He pulled a high powered rifle from the arsenal for himself and John came to his side and pulled a .308 from the trunk. Sam strapped a knife to his side and at fourteen would remain between the two hunters with no gun in his hands. He couldn't help the chill of a bad vibe that settled between his shoulder blades.
John shouldered a bag that contained rock salt, spare ammo and accelerant. He led the way into the heart of the Bayou with his boys following, on full alert for something, anything to let him know the creature was close. In the interior of the Bayou the Winchesters stopped. The swamp was chilly in October, shrouded in shadows as absolute darkness lurked menacingly under the hulks of the massive moss laden cypress trees.
The darkness of evening seemed to encroach and swallow the three hunters as they stilled in the suddenly silent environment. Guns held at the ready they looked around, Dean moving stealthily to cover the rear. Sam pulled his knife and although it wasn't much protection, he felt safer for having it.
A snarl sounded out in the darkness under the trees. It was impossible to tell where it came from. "Dad, there!" Sam cried out as his alert eyes caught a blurred movement off in the darkness under the cypress trees. John quickly followed the movement, his eyes latching onto the blur. He fired and was greeted by a snarl rather than a sound of pain as the thing gave an abrupt lurch and changed directions. John lost it.
"I got it!" Dean said, following the blur to take true aim. He fired his high powered rifle, the bang echoing in the stillness of the bayou. Again the beast snarled. "Damn." Dean quickly expelled the spent shell casing and raised his rifle to the ready again. He scanned the woods and looked for the thing that continued to move at a blur between the trees.
"It's close." Sam whispered; his nose crinkling as he caught a scent somewhere between the smell of rotten vegetable matter and a wet dog. Sam turned before Dean and John to face the opposite direction from them. He moved forward, out from between them as something caught his eye in the darkness. "Dean. It's staring at me."
"What?" Dean raised his gun and followed Sam's look seeing nothing. "Where?" Suddenly the four foot tall, gray, matted ball of fur struck Dean full force as it lunged from the darkness. It tackled him to the mud and swiped a long clawed paw across Dean's hand, knocking the rifle from his grasp. He wrestled with the small gray blue beast for all of thirty seconds before it disappeared even before John could get a clear shot. Sam helped Dean up from the mud.
"Boys, get in close. I don't want that thing… Unh!" The beast tackled John from behind, forcing him face first into the dirt. Luckily he'd been on a rotted tree stump and he didn't sink in the mud. He'd managed to turn and bring the butt of his rifle down on the beast's shoulder. It howled and disappeared into the darkness again. John stood up and breathed, trying to stop the pain in his ribs from where he'd landed on the rotten, but still not soft, stump. He started to go the direction the beast had fled but was beaten to the punch as it came out of the darkness again. This time it went for the only remaining untouched Winchester. Sam's five and a half foot lanky frame was no match for the sixty pound flying ball of muscle beneath gray matted fur. Upon impact Sam and the creature tumbled several feet over the ground, with the thing clawing and snarling, and fell into the bog that lay near the path, a deadly trap in the darkness. Sam and the beast both disappeared beneath the green, slimy film on the water.
"Sammy!" Dean yelled out, rushing to the edge of the bog where he quickly sank to his knees in the muck that lay at the water's edge. He plunged both arms into the murky water up to his shoulders and tried to find his brother beneath the brown water. He barely kept from pitching forward himself as his knees sank into the muck. "SAMMY, REACH FOR ME!" Dean hollered as if Sam could hear him beneath the water's surface. Suddenly there was a thrashing at the water's edge opposite where they were now. The beast broke the scummy surface, covered in slime and baring its two inch long teeth with a growl in their direction. John raised the rifle he held and fired. The beast jumped and disappeared into the darkness as the bullet lodged into the soft ground, sending a clump of mud flying. A cry of rage sounded out from the beast as it took off without its intended prey.
Dean started as he reached further into the muck when he felt John's arms close around him from behind, anchoring him from falling into the bog. John held fast to his oldest and a litany began in his head concerning his youngest. Please Sammy. Let us find you. Baby boy, my baby boy, please be okay. Please Sammy, pleasepleaseplease.
Dean gasped as his blindly searching hands clutched mud soaked cloth. "Sam." Dean gathered as much of the material into his slippery hands as he could. "Dad, I got him. PULL!" John pulled back against Dean's ribcage and Sam surfaced, clutched in Dean's straining arms. He was face down in the murky water, coated with mud and bog slime and unmoving. One final pull and Sam's body broke free of the pull the water had on it. Sam landed in Dean's lap as Dean and John both landed on their butts in the mud. Dean quickly turned Sam over onto his back and crawled out from under him. "Sam? Sammy! C'mon, breathe!" Dean turned Sam onto his side and thumped him on the back trying to dislodge the muck he could see in Sam's mouth and nose. He reached around and opened Sam's mouth, sticking a finger inside and pulling out a clump of black muck. Sam gagged and began coughing, shudders wracking his frame, as he continued to bring up water and muck followed closely by what was left of his dinner when he vomited. Dean gathered Sam into his mud covered arms and helped him expel the muck from his system.
Tears made clean paths down Sam's mud covered cheeks as he continued to choke, gasping for air around the heaves. He finally settled some.
"That's it Sammy. You okay?" Sam continued trying to breathe, his nose running as his body tried to get all the filth out.
He finally nodded slightly and stammered. "D-dean, 'm c-cold."
"Dean, take Sam back to the car. I'm gonna find this thing and put it down." John said, even as he groaned and put a hand to his bruised ribs as he stooped to pick up his discarded rifle.
"No Dad." Dean said, glaring at his father in the darkness, as Sam continued crying, clutching at Dean's mud covered, soaked jacket. Dean wrapped his arms around his baby brother.
"What? I thought I gave you an order, son."
"I said no. You're hurt. I'm a mess, and Sammy's half sick and freezing. I'm not gonna make him sit in that damn cold car at the edge of the Bayou in October while you hunt down some rotten smelling monkey wannabe with teeth! If I go with him to the car I'm takin' him home and you're on your own!" Dean was pissed at John for Sam's suffering. Sammy should have been allowed to stay home and study. He always gets hurt when damn dad gets bullheaded.
"Alright, we'll go home, clean up and I'm coming back out. You can stay with your brother."
"Fine. C'mon Sammy." Sam looked up and scrubbed a hand over his tear washed face, smearing mud over it once again.
"Okay, Dean." Sam muttered, avoiding yet another disappointed stare from his father. John turned and started back the way he had come into the swamp, letting Dean bring his brother. Sam stood, feeling Dean's eyes on him as his big brother looked him over for injury. He hid the grimace on his muddy face as he felt a burn across his abdomen, not wanting his dad to feel that he'd messed up another hunt. Dean still caught the look.
"You okay, kid?"
"Yeah, Dean, just sore. That thing hit me hard." Sam hunched into his jacket as Dean put a muddy hand to his shoulder and guided him back to the Impala behind their father. Sam's shivers caused another flare of pain across his abdomen.
The beast stopped under one of the ancient cypress trees, still exposed enough that it could see the Winchesters but they couldn't see it. Its mistress stepped out from behind the tree and put her hand to the back of the beast's head, stroking the matted, rotting fur almost lovingly. She looked down, her gray sightless eyes communing with her pet, her familiar.
"You sense it, don' ya?" A deep Creole accent came from the woman. The beast looked up at her and its eyes shone with an emotion only she could interpret. She didn't have to see her familiar to feel the vibration of power thrumming through the creature. She sensed it too. "The boy, he be the one to give us what we need. He be the one to give us back our life."
A/N: Okay Peanut. Hope that was a good start for you? To everyone else who's reading I hope you enjoyed and decide to let me know. Next chapter up tomorrow.