(Part 1 of 2)
Warnings: A little swearing.
Summary: Some hunts are all sunshine and daisies. That doesn't make them any less dangerous.
Sam lays there with daisy petals the color of sunshine drifting down from a sky painted ten shades of blue. The smell of grass, earthy and tangy, drifts in the warm summer air. There's another smell underneath, one that he knows too well, but he tries not to notice it.
"Wake up," a voice whispers. Sam sits up and the little girl that has been showering him with daisy petals giggles, hands him a daisy, and runs off. She's no more than three years old.
He's in a field of daisies near an old dilapidated barn. It's the barn he and Dean were searching earlier today. They didn't find anything. Tom Carrow said he saw a little girl run in there once, but the child was gone when he tried to follow. Maybe it's the same girl.
He's not alone in the field. There's a crowd of women and girls, all ages, milling around. None of them get too close to him until a fifty-something woman in a waitress' uniform and a nametag proclaiming her name to be "Daisy" approaches him.
"We were planted alive, so that we might grow," she tells him sadly. All the women are watching him now. It's eerie.
Someone whispers "wake up" again, so he does. Sam takes a moment to get his bearings – there are cascades of blue-and-white flowers decorating the walls, bedspread, and pretty much everywhere else. He liked the forty-year-old faux wood paneling in the last motel better.
Outside his window is the barn he was just dreaming about. Although, come to think of it, there weren't any daisies in that field yesterday. It's October, not exactly the right season for daisies in Connecticut. But when Sam raises his hands to run them through sleep-touseled hair, he stops cold. He's still holding the daisy the little girl gave him.
It takes him three steps to get to Dean's door across the hall. For someone that usually wakes reluctantly, eternally fighting for another ten more minutes of sleep, Dean answers the door in five seconds flat, gun in hand.
Tom and Elena Carrow never mentioned anything about strange dreams, floral or otherwise. They bought this farmhouse half a year ago and converted it into a B&B for the weekend antiquers to stay at, but someone keeps scaring off their guests. Or something.
When the brothers enter the kitchen a little later, Tom's channel surfing as he eats breakfast. He flits past the end of "2001", where HAL is singing, an ad for some TV show about a pie maker, a Donald Duck cartoon, an old Blondie movie where Dagwood's chasing their dog, and finally settles on a "Dukes of Hazzard" rerun.
Dean frowns at the television but doesn't say anything. Nobody else noticed.
Elena Carrow makes a spinach-mushroom omlette to die for. Over breakfast, the Carrows tell them that it hasn't been a working farm for years, the farmland long since sold. When the previous owners, an older couple, passed away with no heirs, the farmhouse was taken over by the state. The Carrows bought it at auction.
Sam goes out to the field behind the barn after breakfast. It's an unkempt tumble of ankle-deep mud and tangled grass and weeds. There's not a flower in sight.
The Winchester boys spend the day in town doing research. Dean befriends Mrs. Abigail McGreevy of the town's token historical society while Sam trudges through microfiches of the town's weekly newspaper.
By the end of the day they know that the former owners were Jonathan and Emily Parker, both in their 80's when they died of pneumonia (Emily) and, six months later, malnutrition (Jonathan). They'd both died in the county hospital, and had both been cremated. The Parkers had been generally considered pleasant but reclusive.
There is nothing in the town's history to suggest restless spirits or any other kind of malevolent entity roaming the area.
"Now what?" Dean wonders as they drive back to the farmhouse. The EMF readings in the barn are strong enough to suggest ghosts and not something else, but they need the next piece of the puzzle.
Sam sighed. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Dean grinned "Yeah, Brain, but where are we going to get two tons of banana pudding and a giant tricycle?"
Sam just stares at his brother, blinking, while Dean continues to grin.
"Aw, c'mon, Sammy. Pinky and the Brain? There are these two mice ..." he trails off as Sam shakes his head in resignation. "You missed out on a real classic."
"So about our next step..."
"I'll get the shovels while you explain to the Carrows why we're digging up their back yard."
It takes them less than an hour, digging in the spot where Sam remembers lying in his dream, to find the skeleton. Sam finds the remains of a purse in the grave. Assuming the purse belongs to the body, she's Daisy Anderson, forty-five years old the last time she renewed her Virginia driver's license -- in 1972.
Dean wants to salt and burn the body where it lies, but Sam convinces him that they really need to call the cops. She could have family needing closure.
Dean finally concedes. Tom Carrow gives the police a story about digging holes to plant some trees, and the cops tape off the grave and take Daisy Anderson away.
Tom and Elena are pleased as punch that it's over so soon, but Sam and Dean aren't convinced. It doesn't feel like it's over.
The next time he sees it, Sam recognizes the field of daisies from his dream. The sky is brilliant blue. He can see the women on the edge of his vision from where he's lying in the grass. They're dropping daisies into his grave one at a time, like mourners at a funeral. He's covered in daisies, except it's just dirt now. Dirt covering him and getting in his nose and mouth and he's gasping for breath when he wakes up. And spits out a mouthful of dirt.
This is not good.
The brothers decide that they need to do a thorough search of the house. They start in the basement because, as Dean explains to the Carrows, "more nasty shit has happened in basements than anyplace else added together."
They search through sixty year's worth of farm implements, canning supplies (what few canned goods they find have long since gone bad), mousetraps with tiny mouse skeletons, a wood carving set, old cans of now-dry paint, every National Geographic ever printed (up to a year ago), a treadle sewing machine, a coal bin for the old furnace empty even of coal, something that might have been a vacuum cleaner, a surprisingly well-organized collection of nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and plenty more semi-identifiable miscellanea.
Tom says they already sold, recycled, or just plain threw out about half again as much junk. He's been gradually working his way through the basement, replacing the Parkers' junk with their own.
The one thing they don't find is any hint of who or what is haunting the farmhouse.
The attic is much the same as the cellar, only more dusty. Elena wants to make it into a sunroom someday, if they can stay in business. Still no suggestions of what's going on.
Dean searches the second floor while Sam does the same to the first floor. It's fortunate for them that there are no other guests. Guest rooms and public areas, all freshly rennovated, and the Carrows' own rooms; all are carefully searched by the Winchester brothers. All with equally sparse results.
By the time they're done, it's nearly dinnertime. Dean is splayed out on the couch of the living room while Sam futzes with his laptop.
"I don't get it. We've dealt with restless spirits before. We found this Daisy Anderson chick's corpse like she wanted. So what are we missing?" Dean complains.
Sam looks up from his computer. "Daisy Anderson went missing from Roanoke, Virginia on October 12, 1973. Dean, that's nearly 600 miles from here. Why would she be buried here?"
"I've got another one for you. What's above this room?" Dean points at the ceiling directly above his head, not bothering to move. The expression on his face is quizzical.
"Uh, your room?" Sam suggests, sketching quick floor plans in his head.
"Nope, the window's by the wall right about there." Dean gestures a line at the ceiling above his feet.
"The one with all the begonias?"
"No, that one stops even with the stairs." Dean waves an arm over his head, in the general direction of the stairs on the other side of the wall, still not moving from the couch.
"But they're next to each other," Sam's more asking than informing, and he's already starting to get out of his chair.