Dean stopped the car in front of their chosen abandoned building, cut the engine and ventured a glance at Sam.
Heaving a deep, long-suffering sigh, Sam glanced back. "That's just…"
"Scary wrong." Pushing the car door open, and himself out of the car, Dean gazed up at the sign over the door to the old service station. He rubbed the back of his neck. They hadn't seen this from the road.
Sam climbed from the car, turning a circle, and scanning the area. "This is still the best spot."
"Yeah." Dean agreed.
"I have a bad feeling."
"Yeah." Dean agreed with that too. Grabbing their duffel from the trunk before he headed to the building, Dean shot a look over his shoulder at Sam. "Let's just get it done and get gone."
Sam fell into step beside him, mumbling, "Acme Auto Repair. No freaking way it's Acme Auto Repair. Who names a company Acme anything?"
Dean barely broke his stride when they came to the door beside the garage bay and kicked it. The old wood splintered. Dean's foot went straight through the door. His face fell into the doorjamb with a hearty thud.
"Want some help there, Dean?" Sam snickered, coughed then erupted in full blown laughter.
Slamming the duffel against Sam, and shoving him back a few steps, Dean ground out some favorite obscenities and yanked his foot free. Grinning like a fool, Sam reached around him and tried the door knob. It creaked but turned. The door popped open. Dean was never going to live this down.
They stopped a few feet inside, giving their eyes time to adjust to the lack of light. Dean inhaled deeply, loving the smell of oil, grease, and steel, even if it was ancient.
"You wanna be alone here for a few minutes?" Sam poked his shoulder, chuckling under his breath.
"Ha ha. Let's set up down there, smart guy." Dean crossed the bay to the center repair pit, jumping down. "This is perfect."
Sam stopped at the edge and peered down. Lumbering down, he sat with his legs dangling over the edge and watched Dean.
"Keep a look out while I set up."
" M'kay." Sam leaned back on his elbows and yawned. The heels of his boots hit the side of the pit rhythmically. Thump…bump…
Thump…bump…It annoyed the crap out of Dean. Thump…bump…
"Couldn't you find anything bigger than a machete to cut up a cow liver with?" Thump…bump…
"Huh?" Thump…bump… "What are you yelling at me for?" Thump…bump… Thump…bump…
In one swift, fluid movement, Dean was up. He spun around and swiped at Sam's feet with his machete.
Yanking his knees nearly to his chest, Sam tipped over backwards. "Hey!"
"Do that one more time and I'll cut them off."
Sam huffed out a breath and jumped down beside Dean. "You sure are grumpy lately."
"According to the legends, coyote tricksters can't resist a meal of tasty cut up bits of liver. Gimme your hand."
"Why?" Holding his hand out even while he was asking the reason, Sam barely flinched when Dean's fingers gripped his wrist.
A few pieces of liver slapped into Sam's palm. "Here, go lay a trail."
Wrinkling his nose, Sam stared down at the raw meat covering his palm. One side of his upper lip curled up. Another sigh. He climbed out of the pit and ambled out the door. Grumbling. Dean was beginning to think his kid brother did nothing but grumble, mutter, and generally be grouchy, when he wasn't being a pain in Dean's ass.
Dean pulled two small canisters of salt from the duffel at his feet, along with matches and a container of kerosene. Machete held loosely in one hand, he slung the duffel over his shoulder and moved the canisters to the edge of the pit. He leaned against the wall and waited.
Sam reappeared from outside, propped the door open, and returned to the pit. Hopping down, he landed lightly beside Dean. "This stuff stinks. Who'd want to eat this crap?"
Dean shrugged. "Fortunately for us, coyote tricksters do."
"I don't see it." Sam took the salt canister Dean offered.
"He's probably still busy exploding fire hydrants."
That got him a genuine smile from Sam.
Leaning his head back, Dean made another visual scan of the old building. He was beginning to think they'd picked a spot too far from the town, or that the coyote trickster just wasn't interested. Sam nudged his side and pointed to the door. Nodding wordlessly, Dean pointed to his right, handed Sam the kerosene. Taking the matches, Dean moved silently to the left. He lifted himself out of the pit and ducked back into the shadows.
A scraggly brown and gray coyote stopped in the doorway. Yellow, beady eyes flashed. It sat back on its haunches and grinned as one of the small pieces of liver went into its mouth.
Sam had moved to the far side of the pit, and eased up and over the edge. He rolled away, slipping behind some crates, ready with the salt and kerosene at the ready. Dean had the machete and matches.
Sam was the one with the patience and Dean knew he'd wait there, quietly, until just the right moment or until Dean signaled him into motion. Dean was the one without the patience, so he was the one who'd mount the frontal assault, should it be needed. Besides, he liked hacking bad things to bits. Sam wanted them to see the light and go in peace. That plan practically never worked well.
Hacking was simple, straightforward, and effective.
The coyote paced into the large bay area, stopping every few feet to sniff the air. It moved to the next piece Sam had laid down, then the one after that, following the fairly straight line of food. Halfway between the door and the service pit, the coyote stopped and sat. Ears flicking back and forth, it calmly shifted its gaze from him to Sam and back again.
Damn thing saw them, knew they were there. It was mocking them, trying to goad them into a foolish move no doubt. He darted a glance at Sam, who shook his head tightly once and waved Dean back.
Dean gave him the thumbs up, bounced the machete in his hand a few times, and stepped to the middle of the room.
Sam's groan came through loud and clear. He shook his head again, making a pissy face. Dean reacted in his customary way to Sam's facial acrobatics. He ignored it.
Moving a few steps toward the coyote, Dean bent and poked at a chunk of liver with the end of his machete. "C'mon. You know you want it."
Silently, Sam scrambled from his hiding place by the crates to the door, shutting it quietly. Crouching down, he moved behind the coyote.
The coyote cocked its head, eyes never shifting away from Dean. Waving the machete to and fro, turning it so the blade tip angled up and down, Dean watched the coyote's eyes track the movement of the food.
"Ummm….yuummmyyy…" Dean rubbed his belly and made slurping noises.
Sam rolled his eyes, dropped his chin to his chest, and groaned again.
Dean backed toward the repair pit. The coyote took a few more steps in his direction…and sat down.
Sam was busy laying down a line of salt behind the coyote. Hopefully that would contain it in the abandoned garage. Just as he started circling around getting a closer position to Dean, off to his right, the coyote popped to its feet.
Dean straightened. Sam froze.
The coyote's mouth morphed to some hideously large grin with obscenely big teeth. The eyes literally glowed. Dean barely had time to blink his eyes when the thing was airborne, heading straight for the bull's eye target Dean was sure was painted on his chest.
Sam's "Oh shit!" seemed to come at him from somewhere far away.
All four coyote feet hit Dean at once, sending him flying backwards. His machete rattled to the ground and spun at Sam. Running toward him, Sam bent and scooped up the machete, probably because he knew Dean would be pissed if he lost that machete. It was his favorite.
Hands around the coyote's neck, Dean shoved the head full of snapping teeth first one way, then the other, narrowly avoiding having his face ripped off. A spray of salt hit the coyote's back, the crystals bouncing off. Turning his head, Dean sputtered, trying to spit the salt from his mouth. He'd seen it coming and closed his eyes in time to avoid getting the salt under his lids.
The coyote growled, the sound evolving to a screech as the salt worked through the fur and hit the skin. Pulling up and back, most of its weight was shifted enough Dean could get one foot up and against the chest. He kicked it away with a shout. Back on his feet, Dean and the coyote once again faced off.
Sam's wordless, indignant howl and the pounding of feet hit Dean's ears about the same time Sam hit the coyote. Fortunately he'd dropped the machete. The impact of Sam's weight against the coyote knocked it to its side. The two of them skidded across the floor, stopping so close to the repair pit that Sam's legs swung out over thin air.
Darting forward, Dean shouted, "Hang on to him, Sammy!"
Arms and one leg twining around the coyote, Sam grunted and growled, rolling to keep the scrambling critter in his grasp and pinned to the floor. Dean snatched up the dropped kerosene and yelled a warning to Sam to shut his eyes and mouth. He repeated Sam's previous actions, dumped the salt over the coyote, covering it and Sam.
Grabbing the lift chain over the repair pit, Dean gave a yank, pulling it closer to the ground. It took him a few tries but he finally was able to get his hands on the coyote's hind legs and wind the chain around.
Sam let go of the coyote and rolled away from it and to Dean in the same motion. Using Dean's jeans, Sam's fingers gripped the material and climbed his way to his feet. He stood beside Dean, panting and grinning. Taking the container of kerosene, Sam flipped the top off and nodded. Dean let the lift chain go. The coyote plummeted to the pit floor. A stream of kerosene followed immediately.
Holding one hand out, fingers waggling, "Matches." Dean didn't even try to keep the smugness out of his voice. Another job done!
"You have them."
"No, I—" Dean looked down at his legs, patted down his pockets. "I had the machete."
"And the matches." Sam leaned his weight on one leg, crossed his arms over his chest and snorted. "Dean Winchester, great demon hunter, and you lose the matches? The matches are the important part!"
"You can't carry a spare book?"
The coyote howled and crowed, swinging back and forth and in circles inches above the flooring of the repair pit.
"Do you see them?" Sam looked around.
Dean scanned the floor near is feet in the other direction. His eyes darted across the expanse of the service station…hoooo yaaaaa!! "YES!" Dean punched the air and snickered when Sam jerked around to face him, startled.
Crossing the room in a few fast, long strides, Dean snatched up his prize. "We got him now, Sammy!"
Sam gulped. His mouth fell open. "Dean that's a bit much, don't you think?"
"Oh hell no!"
Snatching the welding torch from its holding place and the striker from a hook on the wall next to it, Dean spun to face the dangling coyote trickster. He lit the torch as he ran back to the pit. Once at the edge, he adjusted the flame to its fullest, looked over at Sam, and grinned. He touched the torch to the nearest bit of kerosene.
A loud whoosh filled the air around them, followed by the cracking and popping of kerosene, salt, and coyote lighting on fire.
Dean smiled smugly, held one hand out palm up and barked a laugh. "Gotcha!"
Sam halfheartedly swiped his fingers over Dean's palm. "Uh, Dean."
"Bit of a wimpy high five there, Sammy."
"Dean." This time Sam tugged on his sleeve.
"I just love when a plan comes together." Dean plucked a stray piece of liver off the floor and threw it at the flames.
"Christ, Sam, what the hell is your pro—" Dean's words caught in his throat when what Sam was pointing at registered. "Who the hell keeps explosives in a garage!?" His voice absolutely did not raise and crack.
"Someone who has it illegally?" Sam's voice was weak and thin.
The crates at the edge of the repair pit Sam had hidden behind had writing on the side they now faced. The letters C-4 had been handwritten on one of the crates, the one under it was labeled in pink ink, dynamite.
Grabbing Sam's shoulders, Dean spun him around, "Run! Sam! Run!"
As they sprinted toward the door Dean stopped long enough to retrieve his machete—it was his favorite and he wasn't leaving it behind. The sound of the flames hitting the wooden explosives crates followed them to the door. Nearly yanking the door from its hinges, Dean jerked it open, pushed Sam through a step ahead of him.
Sam stopped a few feet outside the garage, leaning down on his knees. "Damn, that was close."
"It still is." Fisting Sam's jacket collar in his free hand, Dean ran, literally dragging Sam by the scruff of the neck with him.
They rounded the corner of the building, heading to where they'd parked the Impala. They'd never make it there in time, Dean realized. When a heavy rumble filled the air, followed by a louder explosion, Dean shoved against Sam's shoulder blades, sending him tumbling to the ground. Dean dropped beside his brother, crunched in a ball, arms over his head.
He felt Sam roll his shoulders to one side, lift his head and turn. "Shit!"
Dean glanced up in time to see the roof blow straight off the top of the building, launch high enough for them to see daylight, then crash straight down. Flames shot out of the windows and doors, bits of wood and whatnot blew out in all directions. Dirt and debris kicked up into the air, flying away from the blasted building.
Fragments of gray fur and liver rained down. One yellow bead eye bounced off Sam's head, making him smack himself in the ear. Dean's chuckle was cut short when the sign reading Acme Auto Repairs cracked into his side. Groaning, he held the sign up, looked at it, and threw it away. Then, he shoved against Sam's arm, sending him tumbling to the ground and cutting off the laughter bubbling from his chest.
Standing and brushing his jeans off, Dean held out one hand for Sam to pull up against. "Now that's what I call a salt and burn."
Sam groaned, threw both hands in the air, and headed for the car. He stopped, leaned against the trunk, and watched the building burn.
"I wonder if Chuck Jones knew about that trickster," Dean mused, leaning beside his brother and shifting a bit so his butt inched up on the trunk.
"Who is Chuck Jones?"
"Creator of the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote cartoons."
Eyes narrowing, and shifting to Dean, Sam punched his shoulder. "If he was the Wile E Coyote, then we're—" Snickering cut off Sam's words.
"Don't say it, Sam." Dean stood, faced his brother, trying hard to contain the way his shoulders wanted to bob up and down. "Don't you dare say it."
Sam's eyes twinkled, he scrunched his nose, opened his mouth.
Not to be out done by his kid brother, Dean tried beating him to the punch.
"Beep! Beep!" They both yelled at each other at the same time.
Hitting Sam's arm, "I told you not to say it!"
The sound of Sam's stifled laughter followed him into the car.
Sam was still trying to swallow his chuckles when they pulled back into the shelter parking lot. He was far happier than he'd thought he'd be to see Marion had returned.
She ran down the steps, Phoenix on her heels. Pulling up short, she gasped and stared at them when they climbed from the car. "My goodness, what happened to you boys?"
Dean stopped long enough at the back of the car to pull a towel from the trunk. He wiped his face, hands and arms then threw the towel to Sam. "Vermin." He said. "Reports of them just outside town. Big ones. We took care of it."
Sam shoved his groan back down his throat. Instead he smiled innocently, "They were scaring the little kids."
Sirens, probably from fire trucks, split the air.
"Looks like a big fire somewhere." Marion's attention was pulled to the sky over the trees.
"Yeah, we saw the smoke." Sam hedged away from the car and toward the door to their room.
"Everything here looks great. You boys did a wonderful job! Stay as along as you'd like."
"Sorry, ma'am, we'd better go. There's other vermin to take care of." Dean's expression was so sober, his voice so solemn, Sam nearly believed him.
Nodding in agreement, Sam turned and sprinted after Dean up the steps to their room. Once packed, their bags loaded in the car, they bid farewell to Marion. Both brothers stopped to give Phoenix a tummy rub on the way out.
"That wasn't so bad, Sammy." Dean glanced over at him after the two of them were settled safely in the Impala. He started the car and they pulled away from the shelter. "Another job well done."
"Dean, we set a demon loose on a town, wrecked a Laundromat and a grocery store. Not to mention we blew up an abandoned building."
Holding up one finger, "But, we got rid of the trickster. The rest is semantics, Sammy."
"Uh huh." When the car suddenly slammed to a stop, Sam's hand was smashed into the dash. "Hey! What are you doing?"
Dean was staring in the rearview mirror. Sam whipped his head around as Dean twisted and launched himself over the bench seat. Fingers scrabbling at the door handle of the back driver's side door.
"Out! Out! OUT! You belong OUT!" Throwing the door open, Dean grabbed up the towel and smacked, repeatedly at the brown bit of fur on the backseat chattering angrily at them.
Sam winced, almost feeling sorry for the squirrel, having been a victim of Dean's towel snapping expertise his entire life. The squirrel did a few laps around the back seat, Dean's towel in hot pursuit before it dashed out the door. Yanking the door shut, Dean twisted around, squared his shoulders, and tugged his jacket into place. Hands on the steering wheel, Dean bent his head side to side. Sam's eyebrows pulled together, and he couldn't help a small laugh when he heard Dean's neck pop and crack.
His cell phone chiming made him jump and start digging through his pockets. Pulling it out, Sam had barely a few breaths before it was snatched from his hand and snapped shut again.
Dean tossed it to the back seat.
"Hey!" Sam watched his poor, defenseless phone jostle around, lost in the big car.
Dean's hand under his arm, fingers digging into his flesh, firmly turned Sam around to face forward again. "No."
"No? What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Ya know, Sammy, I've been explaining no to you since you were about two. Grasp the concept, okay?" Dean gave him that annoying know-it-all grin. "Voice mail. Everyone we call, we just get to leave a freaking message. Well, it's our turn." His speech was cut off when his phone, on cue, rang. Dean fished it out, and tossed it over his shoulder to join Sam's in the back. "From now on, Bobby and all Dad's old crony hunter friends can just leave us a message! We'll get back to them when we want. No more getting the young dudes to run their asses all over doing the dirty work."
Sam crossed his arms over his chest. "You plan on telling Bobby that to his face?"
"Oh, hell no. Sam, I'm not stupid." Dean shook a finger in his face. "And don't even think about one of those thingys you hook in your ear!"
"Dean, those are schweet!" Sam felt a twinge of excitement. Surely Dean was trying to throw him off the trail, faking disapproval. He wasn't too proud to admit he loved technology. "You're getting me one?"
"What you'll get is your ear cut off with my Bowie knife if you even look at one."
Sam slouched back in his seat. He stared out the window, sullen and cranky. Dean just laughed. As they drove past the Leaving Coyote Bluffs sign, Sam's head, then Dean's whipped around.
"Dean, did you see—"
"But there was—"
"No, there wasn't."
"Maybe just keep driving."
Dean's eyes slid to meet Sam's. "Yep. That's a good plan Sammy."
They would never speak of the coyote sitting under the sign. Or how it waved to them as they drove away.
That's All Folks!