Firstly, sincere apologies to anyone reading 'Black Aggie'. I promise that I am going back to that story, it's just on a hiatus until I find my way with it again.
Outsider's pov on a hunt Winchester style. Set early Season One so no spoilers. Limp/angst – rated for mild violence/language. Likely to be 2-3 chapters but hell, who knows, I'm crap at predicting the length of my stories. No beta so all mistakes are mine, unfortunately I suck at grammar.
Usual 'nope I don't own the Winchesters/Supernatural' disclaimer applies.
If You Go Down In The Woods
I've lived here all my life, on the edge of the forest which surrounds Lake Misgater. My father built this house and I haven't ever felt the need to leave it. I'm old now, too old and find myself sat out on the porch most days watching the weeds grow. I have neighbours if you can call them that, as the nearest lives over eight miles away, so I don't see many folks. Sometimes I forget what it's like to share a conversation and wonder if I could manage one even if I got the chance. I see the occasional hiker of course and the odd tourist heading out to the lake to enjoy a picnic and grab a photo or two but they don't usually pay me any heed, they're just passing through after all.
From time to time a hiker will spot me and shout "good morning" and I'll nod my head, civil like and that's it, that's my interaction with another human being for the rest of the day, rest of the week sometimes. That's why I stay out here I suppose, sat on this rickety porch, just so I'll catch that passing "good morning". It's like walking through the forest in the Fall, stepping on the leaves to hear them crunch under your feet. A reminder you're alive, that you still exist.
It was late August and uncomfortably humid, a Friday as I recall. I'd not seen a soul all morning and the afternoon was passing in much the same way. It was just starting to grow dark when I saw them, two young men, heading out on foot towards the lake. They weren't dressed for hiking; not that anyone should be hiking out there after dark especially taking recent events into consideration. The elder of the two men was wearing jeans, crumpled like he lived in them and a brown leather jacket worn despite the heat over a thin shirt. The younger one, real tall and still a kid in truth, was wearing similar creased jeans, torn at the knee (type of tear caused by the material being worn away not the 'in fashion' kind) with a hooded top. No rucksacks, no sir, just a holdall which the kid carried slung over his shoulder and a couple of flashlights between them.
I've not travelled much but I've been around and know enough to realize when to be suspicious. Yep, I was suspicious then all right. Watching how they moved, steady and careful, eyes skimming their surroundings like they expected something to jump out at any moment. The older man saw me and froze. I watched him raise a quick hand to signal to the kid. They didn't need to speak to understand each other and there was something curiously military about their actions.
"There's bears in those woods." I shouted knowing my, not exactly covert, spying gig was up and they walked over, stopping so that they were stood at the foot of my porch.
"Thanks for the warning but we're Rangers with the Park Service." The man said with a fixed smile and strained politeness.
I frowned at that, they weren't like any Park Rangers I'd ever seen before and living out here I knew more than a handful of them. He had ID though and I pursed my lips as I considered that whoever they were, they were darn good at faking IDs.
"Do you know about the people that have gone miss…?"
"I sure do." I interrupted, I didn't need to hear more, of course I knew. People going missing only for their mutlilated bodies to turn up days later. It was happening right on my own damn doorstep too and I'd been sleeping with my rifle less than an arm's stretch away ever since I'd first heard about it.
"So, you ever see anything suspicious?" the kid caught my gaze and gave me a fleeting smile, which briefly lit his face but didn't quite grace his hazel eyes.
"Only you boys." I replied. I always was too impatient for playing games.
"I told you sir, we're Rangers." The man was getting restless and I saw him shoot a frustrated glance at his young friend.
I nodded unconvinced. Yep, sure you are.
The man eyed me again; smart enough at the game to know when I'd seen all his cards. He gave the kid's jacket sleeve a tug and that was it. "Thank you for your time," a brief nod and away they went continuing to follow the trail through the trees, calm and surefooted. The man's eyes kept flicking to the kid at his side and I understood then that he was watching the kid's back with more concern than he had for his own. Partners? Maybe. More likely they were kin but definitely not Park Rangers.
I didn't make any phone calls to report them or my qualms about what they were doing way out here. It's hard to explain but I felt like I needed to wait it out. Like I should stay to see what happened next. So I remained settled on my porch even as the sun sank gleaming burnt orange behind the trees. The onset of night normally chased me away inside but I sat for a long time, the air growing gradually cooler around me. I knew I should be inside, watching whatever took my interest on the television and fixing myself some supper as that was my routine. I swore gently under my breath at myself for being a stubborn old fool. The cool air was starting to play havoc with my joints and my knees protested as I struggled to get up out of my chair. Then I heard it, somewhere far away but echoing on the light breeze, the crack of distant gunfire.
A lump the size of a bowling ball caught in my throat and I sank back into my chair, fingers nervously tapping at my kneecaps, wondering whether I should go fetch my rifle. Time passed painstakingly slow then abruptly I heard him. I heard him even before I saw him, crashing through the woodland. The same man from earlier, only this time there was no kid at his side. This time, he was carrying the kid over his shoulder. The kid's arms swinging limply against his back as he moved.
I still couldn't tell you why I did it. Maybe it was the wretched look on the man's face or the fact I really was an old fool but I got up and waved a hand, motioning him to bring the kid in the house. His eyes widened, wary of me (it was enough to make an old man chuckle) but he wasn't about to waste time questioning my motives. He climbed up the porch steps, stumbling under the kid's weight a little and I watched him move past me to go inside.
By the time I'd pulled myself together and got myself indoors, he'd already lowered the kid onto my couch. I'm not completely heartless, I'd have let the kid take my bed had I been given the chance to offer but when my eyes saw all the blood I ended up stood silent, mouth opening and closing like a water-starved fish.
"He shot?" I stuttered feeling the bowling ball working its was up my throat again.
The man ignored me. Instead he gently lifted the kid's top, exposing bare flesh and I cursed roundly at the sight of torn skin. A gash ragged and deep ran the length of the kid's stomach. It looked an awful gory mess, blood was still pulsing from the wound and I scuttled off in search of some towels. I returned moments later a clean towel in one hand and my phone in the other. "I'll call an ambulance." I muttered. Pressing buttons before the sentence had even finished leaving my lips.
The man reached up and took my phone. He quickly pressed a button ending the call. "No ambulance." He said grimly.
"You want that kid to bleed to death?" I asked shocked.
The man's expression shifted then, moving from morose to lethal in the blink of an eye, making my heart hammer loudly in my chest. Wordlessly he grabbed for the towel and pressed it against the kid's stomach. The kid, who was ghostly pale and still unconscious, moaned softly and his body bucked against the unwelcome pressure. "I'm sorry Sammy, I'm so sorry." The man whispered pressing down again firmly with the towel and using his free hand he rubbed the kid's, Sammy's, arm. "I need a blanket and more towels." The man said looking up at me again. His tone had hardened now it was directed at someone other than the kid. It seemed he was tolerating my help because he was desperate not because he welcomed it.
I nodded and disappeared into my kitchen; a little relieved not to have to look at the blood which was making even my empty stomach feel queasy. I heard Sammy whimper and the man's voice began to murmur soothingly, words I couldn't quite distinguish but then they weren't for my ears anyway. I knew I had a first aid kit somewhere though it was poorly stocked; I'd not used the thing in easily a decade. I scouted it out and as I went back into the room, I saw the man had already started stitching Sammy's wound. First aid supplies were scattered all around him on the floor, which must have come from the holdall they'd been carrying.
The man looked exhausted but he continued the stitches with a steady hand and once more I found myself wondering who these two really were. "Can you hold his shoulders? I don't want him coming round and moving before I'm done." He asked, his tone was still gruff but it didn't mask the underlying concern which rode beneath all of his words.
I did as I was asked and tried not to watch the needle weave as it closed the wound. When he was finished the man rubbed his bloodied hands on his jeans and gingerly fingered at his shirt which was tacky with dried blood. Sammy's hair was dishevelled, drenched with sweat and chestnut strands were plastered to his forehead. His cheeks had regained a little colour but he'd stayed unconscious whilst the needle worked its way in and out of his flesh and I could tell it was beginning to worry the man that he hadn't woken up yet.
The man picked up one of the towels I'd given him and I noticed then for the first time that there was something wrapped in it. I lent forward to look, curiosity getting the better of me. He carefully opened the towel to expose what appeared to be a claw, as long and broad as my index finger. The end which curved sharply to a vicious looking point, rather like a sickle, was an unsightly lurid green shade. I couldn't prevent the question from tripping off my prying tongue. "Goddamn. What animal is that thing from?"
AN - Okay bit of a cliffy but not too evil...please let me know what you think and whether you'd like to read more.
As you might have already guessed, the lake mentioned in this story doesn't exist. In my head it's somewhere near Yosemite, just cos I've been there and thought it was breathtakingly beautiful.