Author's Note: This is a gift to a very good friend of mine who used to watch Supernatural with me when I lived in Salem. We went to school there and always thought it would be hilarious for the Winchesters to arrive in Salem for the tourist season near Halloween. I lived there for four years and went to Halloween a grand total of twice. The first time I broke my fingers blocking a brick some drunk threw at a zealot. The second time, I spent it following my roommate and her friend as they tried to "cheer up" another girl who was moping about a boy and it was actually more miserable than when I broke my fingers. I hate Halloween in Salem, and I decided to make the poor Winchesters go through it too. The details about the city, the campus, and the ghost stories are all true. Ask anyone who ever went to school there.
For you, Dani. I miss our Thursday nights.
"I hate this city!" Dean grumbled for the hundredth time in less than half an hour. "Who in hell designed this, Satan?! What moron makes a city with 50,000 people have only one road that leads in or out?"
"It's Massachusetts. The whole north shore is designed like this," Sam helpfully pointed out.
Dean glared at his brother who only smiled, pointing towards the bumper of the next car. "Traffic is moving."
"Inches does not count as 'moving', Sammy. That's called 'crawling', or 'parking without leaving the e-brake on'."
"Then it's crawling. Are you going?"
The Impala surged forwards the few scant inches that the Expedition in front of them had vacated.
"What is with the traffic!? Can't you people drive? GREEN MEANS GO!" Dean shouted out the window.
The Winchesters had been stuck in traffic since before the exit off of Route 128. That was two towns and six miles back. Traffic hadn't moved faster than a crawl the entire time, and neither Winchester could figure out what the hold up was until they actually got within city limits. Salem Massachusetts had no parking, and for a city with this many people, with this many tourists that piled in for just one month out of the year, that seemed more than a little stupid.
They had visited almost every major city, and not so major ones, in the continental US at some point in their lifetime. Not one compared to the jumbled mess of construction, one-way streets, incorrect detours, or the throngs of tourists that couldn't be bothered to cross when the lights were red.
Dean was pretty damned positive at this point that someone misnamed the city Witch City, mixing up the W with a B.
"Dean, what were you expecting? It's October and it's Salem. This is like Gothic Mardi Gras for New England. They all pile in during the last week in October and you can't leave until November."
Dean fought the urge to wrench the wheel around and just go back to the highway but traffic was stuck going that way too, and the roads were too narrow to fit a car the size of the Impala swinging a U-ey.
"Remind me why we're here."
Sam rolled his eyes, but fished underneath the seat for his stockpile of information. "Several brutal killings on the local campus. Victims were found eviscerated and literally torn apart. There was no evidence of break-ins, or anything caught on surveillance. The campus is already saying it's a ghost with a vendetta."
"And you're sure it's not the crazy bats calling themselves witches having a war again? The victims are actual people, not decapitated raccoons left on doorsteps?"
"For the hundredth time, Dean, yes, I am sure that it's people, not animals, being killed."
"Are there any suspects?"
"Not really," Sam said, rifling through several articles. "Seems like there's not a lot of surprise the dead people turned up dead. Apparently they were real assholes."
"Who got whacked that everyone is so happy about?" Dean asked, showing actual interest for the first time since rolling into town. Or creeping…
"Several members of the faculty. One was an RA, one was an RD, and the next one was someone in the financial office."
"What the hell are RA's and RD's?" Dean asked. He slammed his hand on the horn and waved his middle finger out the window. "SAME TO YOU, PAL!"
"Resident assistants and resident directors. They run the dorms."
Dean wasn't paying attention anymore. Instead he wrenched the wheel to one side and pulled into the driveway next to them that already had more vehicles than could legally fit.
"Nice parking spot," Sam said as Dean climbed out of the car.
"Way I figure it, no tow truck or meter maid is gonna be able to get in or out of this city any easier than we did. Besides, if this year is anywhere near as wild as the last couple of ones, they'll be too preoccupied with all the stabbings and rapes down town with the tourists."
"Well the campus is about a mile from here, you want to lug all our stuff there in the daylight?"
Dean sent another withering scowl at his brother who raised his hands in mock surrender. "Just saying."
"No one will notice at night. We'll just say it's part of our…costumes."
"If we get arrested, I don't want to share a cell with Gothic Barbie and a six foot bunny."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "What the hell kind of Halloween parties did you go to?"
"Stanford had its own weird ideas of Halloween. I hated it, so I stayed in most years. Except the last one…Jess wanted to go out, and dragged me with her." Sam shrugged.
Dean shook his head. "So glad I missed out on that. Which way is the campus?"
Sam looked around, trying to find the signs for the college, but unlike every other city that was home to a large school, there weren't any signs point the way. Actually, now that he really looked around, there weren't street signs anywhere.
"Um, I think the map said it was on the other side of town, towards Marblehead. Should be a mile…" he glanced around and guessed they were still on route 114. "Thataway." He pointed in the direction of all the traffic and throngs of children and adults in costumes.
Dean made a face. "Seriously? Through that?"
Sam smiled. Dean, though he liked kids, had serious issues with people in costumes. Maybe it was because there was never anything funny about the real counterparts to peoples' costumes, or because he just didn't like holidays. Dean hadn't even showed an interest in Halloween when he was kid, except for the part where kids got candy free.
"I thought I was bad about Halloween," Sam said, smiling as the two headed off with the rest of the crowd.
"Said the guy who freaks out about clowns."
Sam ignored the jibe and fell in step beside his brother.
Salem actually wasn't a half bad city, once they were no longer driving and managed to circumvent most of the larger crowds. The brilliant New England foliage was in full glory, and the historic neighborhoods looked unchanged since they were first built in the 1600's. Tour guides dressed liked pilgrims led groups down narrow alleys and walkways, giving detailed descriptions of all things Salem. Trolleys filled with the stereotypical tourists in Bermuda shorts and wide brimmed hats with their cameras around their necks drove past the old city, pointing out haunted this and haunted that. There were even horse drawn carriages closer to the Salem Common and the waterfront.
"Does this place smell funny to you?" Dean asked when they paused at a four-way intersection.
Sam hadn't noticed it until his brother mentioned it. "Yeah, it does, kinda. Like…incense."
"God, and we smell it all the way out here? Thank God people don't know what the hell they're doing, or we'd have a lot more work to do than just the mauling at a campus." Dean growled at the people standing staring at the "cross now" sign. "HEY! Are you morons gonna start walking or just wait for traffic to go again?"
He received a couple huffy looks and one hand gesture, but people finally started to cross. Dean fought the urge just to shove them out of his way, but decided idiots in numbers were not odds to his liking.
"This had better be one hell of a ghost for all this hassle."
"You're really crabby lately, you know that?" Sam noted.
"I'm always this crabby in tourist hot spots," Dean snapped.
"Touché. But this has been going on for weeks, Dean. Ever since you got back from…" Sam trailed off. It still sounded wrong to say, "since you got back from Hell."
"I think I'm earned the right to be a little upset, don't you think? You go spend four months in Hell and come back and tell me everything is peachy."
A pamphlet was suddenly thrust in their faces, cutting off any reply Sam could have made.
"Repent now!" the man shouted. "Repent your sins or Satan will come for your soul!"
"I've already been saved, now get your hand out of my face or lose it…" Dean growled, grabbing the man's wrist and bending it back to the snapping point in one fluid motion.
"Moving on Dean," Sam said, shoving his brother aside and forcing him to release the man's wrist. "Thank you sir, we're not here for the party."
"I'm beginning to think we oughta leave whatever is after the school alone. Maybe when it's through with the faculty, it'll come for these idiots."
"Only a little further. And we made it through the worst of the crowds. Now we're heading towards the modern half of the city."
"There's a modern half to this place?" Dean scoffed. "Something from this century would be a leap."
"You have no appreciation of history, Dean."
"Sure I do. I just don't see the point in gathering in a city that's known for evil kids starting a witchcraft rumor that sent everyone into a blind panic just because they didn't have anything better to do for one night where there's no major event. Times Square at New Years makes sense – ball dropping. Boston for Saint Patrick's Day – tons of booze and a parade. But this is just stupid. You spend money on cheap crap that looks vaguely witchy, have your picture taken in costume by some overpriced tourist trap and call it a day. Where's the point?"
Sam shrugged. "Probably because this is a novelty to most people. They like believing in the supernatural once a year. We just get to deal with it every day, and we get sick of it. Besides, we know the reality of things. If people saw what they came here to see, nobody would ever come back."
"It's still stupid."
"Yeah, it is."
They'd been walking for about thirty minutes, the crowds slowly thinning out and the people in costume appearing few and far between. Now they were further into the actual part of the city where people lived instead of the shop area. Not even the tour buses came down this direction.
People in backpacks and lugging piles of books replaced kids dressed in fairy and witch costumes, and others carried camera and enormous portfolios. There were several groups of kids, but they were led by one teacher and followed close behind by another carrying a notebook, all tied together with string to prevent them front wandering.
"There's the campus," Sam pointed. The school was the only thing labeled since they came into town with a large sign out front in orange and blue proudly asserting 'Salem State College.' The school was a mix and match of old buildings from the original school and modern ones, and one that was definitely under construction with a large crack running up the side of it like it had almost split in half. The weather was pleasant, so several students were out on the lawn, most napping, but some actually reading or doing their homework.
"What the hell is that insignia?" Dean asked, squinting and tilting his head to the side to look at the sign.
Sam mimicked his movements. "I think it's a boat…"
"Whatever. Where are we supposed to be going? Where was the last body found?" Dean asked.
"Administration building. There should be signs on the buildings."
Just as they headed off in the direction of the low level buildings and mobile offices, a blood-curdling scream rent the air.
"Maybe we should go that way," Dean said as they both took off.
Author's End Notes:
This actually has nothing to do with this story, but I didn't want to edit Jigsaw just for a couple of pointers:
I know how Dean got the Impala. However, when I started writing that story, it was 2006, and probably the veeeeeeeery beginning of second season or the very end of the first one, where we knew nothing about the Winchesters.
I also know it is a 1967 Chevy Impala that they drive – again, never felt like going back and losing all the reviews.
A Black Swan is a marketing term for the exception to a rule. Nobody believed there was such a thing as a black swan until they visited Australia and found them, which is why it's used when someone says there's a steadfast rule, except for one particular instance. The relation Marquette makes is that Dean is an exception to every rule – no one expects him to do what he does.
Oh, and this story will contain an original female character – however, it will NOT be a romantic interest on either end. In fact, she's not even a good guy. I promise now that I have the "intro" done, it'll be more up to par with dialogue. And waiting for updates shouldn't be as bad as last time – my friend will kick my ass if this isn't done by her birthday in four weeks.