A/N: I have been working on this for a long time now, and I have to thank someone who is helping me tremendously with it. Without her help I would still be staring at a blank monitor. sendintheclowns! Lisa, you are the best Beta a girl could ask for.
Now about this story: It is set during S2, right directly after 'Bloodlust' The reason for this is because of how the storyline is going, I need the tension between the brothers that only John's recent death could give me. The basics of the story is that Sam and Dean are on a job in Vermillion, Ohio. At first it seems random, but once things begin to fall into place, the boys realize they are dealing with a vengeful, vindictive, and ruthless ghost. Nothing is what it seems, and when Sam becomes a victim of this spirit, Dean must struggle to find him, but when he does will it be in time?
The story is based on somewhat true events that happened in Vermillion, Ohio over a century ago at the Gore Orphanage. That is all I can tell without getting too into anything. Let's just say that what happened there left some very angry ghosts.
I hope you enjoy what I have thus far. Please review, I really look forward to what ya'll have to say. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. If I had the rights to SPN I'd be a hell of a lot richer and a hell of a lot happier. Alas I am neither, so I am stuck doing this :(
One Week Ago
Aidan Moriarty hit the steering wheel of his car hard. He stared at the 'Dead End' sign that had somehow popped out of nowhere. Aidan had been driving down this winding road for the longest time, and there had been no warning that it was going to end until now. Where were the markers up until this point?
Aidan put the car in reverse and spun around, catching a patch of gravel as he did. The rocks clanged against the sign making him jump. He shook it off and continued in the other direction.
A short time later he made it back to the very same bridge he had come across before. Yet this time something made him drive much slower. There was an eery feeling about his surroundings. Something just seemed off.
As he made his way across the bridge his car began to sputter and the dash lights flickered furiously. Finally the car quit on him, right in the middle of the bridge. Aidan sighed heavily and then grabbed his flashlight from the backseat. He popped the hood and stepped out.
"Damned foreign vehicles."
Aidan kicked the car's front tire in frustration. Training the light on the hood, he lifted it, and then angled himself the best he could so as to see what might have gone wrong. He shined the light on all the obvious items and nothing seemed to have come undone or broken. As he pulled back from the car in disgust he noticed something on the air filter unit. Aidan leaned in closer and noticed a dark substance on the outside lip. Upon touching it he could tell that it was ash. Yanking the lid off, a black cloud of smoke billowed into his face causing him to cough.
"What the hell?"
Aidan wiped at his face trying to get what ash off he could. He replaced the lid of the filter and then slammed the hood down. His light landed on the hood of the car. Aidan took a step back when he saw an imprint. Training the light on it, he swallowed hard. It was a child's hand print, and it was fresh.
Aidan spun around, the light dancing wildly in the darkness. There was nothing there. Rushing back to his car he fumbled with his keys. Even if his car was not going to start, he was not about to stay out in the pitch black with whatever the hell was out there.
As he fought to get the right key in the lock, a loud scream pierced through the night. Aidan spun back around and his heart almost stopped. Standing in front of his car was a small child. He looked lost and frightened. He had his hand out beckoning Aidan forward. At this point Aidan was lucky to be able to breathe let alone move.
"Who…Who are you?"
The boy said nothing but continued to motion for Aidan to follow him. Aidan took a deep breath. Even though it was odd for a small boy to be out in the darkness by himself, there was a mark of desperation about the boy that made Aidan want to follow. The boy nodded as if he had read Aidan's mind and hurried off down the road. Aidan shook his head at how crazy this was and dashed after him.
Clinging to his knees and panting like a dog, Aidan came to a stop. The boy was nowhere to be seen. Aidan couldn't even hear him as he ran after him. Apparently the child knew the area well enough to keep so far ahead.
Aidan stood up and caught sight of a large stone building. It loomed over him with an evil presence. The 19th century façade was intimidating to say the least. Aidan was about ready to turn back when he saw the very same young boy slip into the front doors.
"Damn it, what the hell am I doing?"
Aidan placed his hand to his face. He stared at the large structure and then followed after the child. Once inside he saw how decrepit the place really was. From the outside you couldn't really see all that much, but inside the place was falling down. You had to be careful where you walked or you would fall through the floor into a possible basement below. Aidan was awed by the once original woodwork which offset the gothic architecture. To his left was a grand set of stairs that were eaten almost all the way through by termites. It was terrible that someone would let a place like this go despite the vibes it gave off.
Creeping past a visible hole in the floor, Aidan made it into the next room. He spotted the small boy who darted off down a long hallway. This hide and seek business was beginning to grate on his nerves. Taking another step forward he heard laughter coming from somewhere up ahead.
Aidan shined the light in the direction he assumed the sound came from and it instantly went out. He cursed, banging it against his hand. After three tries the light failed to come back on. Aidan grunted. Now he was stuck in the dark with a child who thought it wise to play peek-a-boo.
He suddenly felt something grip his arm. Not wanting to know what it was, he turned and ran for the front doors, not even thinking about avoiding the broken floor.
Almost slamming into the doors, Aidan attempted to pull them open, but nothing happened. He yanked, kicked and scratched but to no avail. They had somehow latched from the outside.
He stopped his struggle when a low voice behind him spoke.
"We've been expecting you…"
St. Louis, Missouri
One Week Later
The drive to Missouri was mostly uneventful. The radio stations Dean could pick up were either country of evangelical bible thumpers. He was in no mood for either. After a few hours he had run through most of his tapes and was getting bored with the monotony. He would glance at Sam on occasion who had his iPod going most of the trip. The boy certainly could occupy himself. Dean watched him fiddle with the buttons until he was happy with a selection and then glanced out the window at the passing trees.
The older hunter returned his attention back to the road, although his mind was not really on his driving. He was still back at Red Lodge drinking beer with Gordon. He had been wrong to assume Gordon would be a decent replacement for John. Sam was right on that one. Dean was just filling a hole the size of Texas with the closest available person. Sam couldn't even come close to knowing what that was like. Yeah they had both been raised by the same arrogant asshole, but Sam never saw what Dean did. Never knew the hell he went through for that man. He was daddy's little soldier until the end. Despite all that, he loved the man. How screwed up was that?
Sam sat in silence for a moment when he decided that his iPod was getting to him, so he decided to pick something else. He yanked a tape out of the glove box and popped it in. Dean could hear the lyrics of 'Carry on My Wayward Son' filtering through the car. He stared at the stereo a moment then hit the eject button. He glanced at his brother and then tossed the tape into the back seat.
"Dude, what was that about?"
Sam watched the tape sail onto the back seat. Dean scowled.
"What possessed you to play that? I mean seriously."
Sam shrugged. He thumbed at his iPod absent mindedly.
"I don't know, it just reminds me of Dad is all. I just thought…"
Dean gripped the steering wheel a little tighter than he would have liked.
"Sam, I understand you miss the big guy, but don't ever do that again. Got it?"
It wasn't just Dean's words that upset Sam; it was his demeanor. His brother had been tense ever since the day John had died, and with good reason, but for him to take it out on Sam wasn't the right way to do it.
"Sorry Dean. I got it."
Dean nodded and pressed down on the accelerator causing Sam to be slammed back against his seat. This was going to be one hell of a road trip.
"Like a true nature's child, we were born, born to be wild!"
Dean banged his hands to Steppenwolf, the earbuds securely in place. He had swiped Sam's iPod while he was taking a shower and decided to do a little spring cleaning on it. Oh well, Sam could always get a new one. It had taken him quite a bit to figure out the buttons, but once he did, it was worth it. The thing kicked ass.
"I never wanna die…"
The instrumental section ripped through his ears and he banged his head back and forth, unknowing that Sam was heading toward his bed. Sam also didn't know that Dean was prepared for this, at least in a sense.
Sam watched Dean a moment as he thrashed like a seizure victim and tapped him on the shoulder. Dean leapt up, his Desert Eagle gripped tightly in his left hand. Sam threw his hands up, at first in shock, then in mock horror.
"Okay Dean I give, I was the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll."
Dean rolled his eyes and dropped the gun. He yanked the earbuds from his ears and shook his head. Sam flopped down on his bed.
"Well, it's official. You have been hanging with me way too long. And besides, there was a 2nd gunman in Dallas that day."
Sam turned to his brother, an eyebrow raised.
"You really believe that the FBI has been covering up the 2nd gunman theory by the use of Oswald as a patsy? You're nuts."
"Sam Winchester, a Doubting Thomas? You believe in ghosts, demons and vampires. How can you not believe this?"
Sam sighed heavily.
Dean replied mockingly.
Dean placed the iPod on the end table and received a stare from Sam.
"Dean, what are you doing with that?
Dean leaned on his knees and chuckled.
"Well since I figured out how to get all that emo crap off it, it actually serves a purpose. But dude, I mean, James Blunt, John Mayer, and Jason Manns. Could you be more gay?"
Sam shook his head and said nothing.
Dean was perched on the end of his bed, the TV set on to some nature channel. He was leaning on his left hand, his right held the remote. His eyes were half closed, only barely able to see a hyena stalking some unsuspecting wildebeest.
"Heh, I bet you five bucks beasty bites it."
No one answered him, seeing as Sam was out getting coffee and sandwiches. He preferred to be alone right now so the excuse of getting sustenance was a good one.
Sam stood in the small café waiting at the counter. It was lunchtime and the young woman behind the counter was flittering around like a hummingbird. She dashed from customer to customer. The small bell rang and a man would yell 'order up'. She would spin around and grab various plates and slam them down on the faux marble.
Sam finally caught her eye and placed his order. She nodded, trying to write it all down. Sam smiled sadly. Poor girl.
As she hurried off after another patron, Sam heard the TV which was locked in on MSNBC. He tried his best to listen to what was being said, but it was hard over the hustle and bustle of the place. Finally he took it upon himself to turn the set up.
"Breaking news this hour. In the town of Vermillion, Ohio a search party has been under way for an Aidan Moriarty. The 25 year old has been missing for nearly a week authorities say. He was last seen by his wife, Lisa, at their home on the 6th of October. He had gone out to pick something up at his office and hasn't been heard or seen from since.
Moriarty's car was found abandoned on Vermillion River Bridge in perfect condition. Foul play has not been cited as the cause of his disappearance yet. Apparently Moriarty is the fifth person to go missing from Vermillion in just over two years. Authorities are taking this case very seriously at this time."
The woman continued on but Sam was already in his own little world. When the waitress came back with his order, he barely registered her.
"Sir, I said 'here's your order'."
Sam snapped back to reality and thanked her. He paid her and ran out of the front doors letting them crash behind him.
"No, you can't let him treat you like that. Girl, what were you thinking?"
The door opened and the TV instantly turned off. Dean smiled.
"You didn't see that did you? Cause I swear this remote sticks."
He smacked the remote to illustrate his point. Sam ignored him and tossed the food onto a small table. Flopping down beside Dean, who grunted in response to the intrusion, he shoved his notebook in front of the man's face.
"I got this from a TV report. Read it."
Dean made a face, but did as he was told. Scanning through it, he shrugged.
"First off, your penmanship could use some work. You write like a doctor. Second, did they mention anything about the people being connected in any way? Cause it could just be random, Sam."
Sam gave his brother a look.
"Dean, in our line of work, when has anything ever been random?"
Dean had to give him that one. Nothing could ever be taken for granted, no matter how simple it looked. A few missing people could be simply that, but what if wasn't? They needed to delve into the situation a bit more before letting it slide, just in case.
"Okay fine, let's check it out, see what's going on."
Sam looked at his watch. It would take them approximately eight hours to get to Vermillion from where they were right now. Though with the way Dean drove it might only take half that.
"Okay, if we leave now we can be there by six."
Dean nodded. This would have to be some sort of record for them. Only a few hours and they were off again. The motel clerk was going to have a field day with this one.
Several hours later the car came to a stop at their new motel. Dean nudged his brother who had slept for the last leg of the trip. Snorting, he sat up. He wiped at his face and glanced out the car window.
"Are we there?"
Dean turned the car off, rolling his eyes as he did so.
"No, actually this is just the transitional period before 'there.' Yes of course we're there."
Sam squinted his eyes, his eyebrows almost touching. His lips were pursed to where he looked like he was sucking on a lemon.
"Sam, you truly have perfected the bitch face, haven't you?"
Sam huffed. Dean was smiling.
"Yeah, well, you seemed to have turned asshole into an art form."
Dean placed a hand to his chest, pretending to be wounded by the retort.
"Ooh, ouch. Score one for college boy."
Sam threw open his door and slammed it in Dean's face. Dean bit his top lip. Way to go Dean.
Dean stepped out of the car and moved around the opposite side of the car. Sam was leaning against his door staring off in the distance.
"You know, maybe I should cash in on that rain check."
Dean grit his teeth. This was steadily going downhill and fast. He had to do something before Sam pulled a vanishing act on him again.
"Sam, listen I'm sorry. Can we just get back to the job instead of throwing verbal punches at each other?"
"It would be a nice change from the physical ones right?"
Now Dean was ready to lose it. His brother was acting like a child all of a sudden and there was nothing to warrant it.
"You miss him I get it, but we've already been through this. We have a job to do, can we just…"
Sam turned to face him a cold look in place of the sour one.
"This has nothing to do with Dad. I just…you know what? You're right. Let's just get to work."
He stormed off toward the motel office to check in leaving Dean rubbing his forehead.
It didn't take them much searching at all to get Aidan Moriarty's address. All they needed was a phone book. There had been at least eight Aidan Moriarty's. After sending a pissed off Sam out like a blood hound, they finally got the right one on the fifth try.
"Look, I already told every other officer and wanna be Colombo that I didn't have anything else to say. Now please get off my porch."
Lisa Moriarty nearly slammed the door on Dean's hand, but he was able to wedge his badge between the trim. A huff filtered into the evening air. The door swung back open.
"I thought I told you to…"
Dean held up his hand.
"Ma'am please, we're not here to cause any trouble. We only want to talk."
He showed her his badge. She eyed it cautiously. Since the FBI wanted to speak to her, it must have meant business. She stepped out of the way and let him and Sam into the front hallway apologizing as she did so. Dean shook his head.
"No apologies necessary ma'am. In this situation, things get difficult, and you feel it best to be left alone."
Lisa nodded as she led them to her cramped living room. Sam wormed his way past a cat that thought it necessary to spin through his long legs. He nearly toppled into the young woman's back. Dean snickered.
"Darren, stop that. Forgive him. He loves company and just goes a little crazy."
Dean bit back a comment. Under normal circumstances he would have said it, but this wasn't quite normal.
Lisa stopped Dean before he could say another word.
"Okay, before we go any further here, stop with that ma'am crap. My name is Lisa and I am far from ma'am status. Got it?"
Dean nodded hard.
"Yes ma…I mean Lisa. Now I am Agent Somerset and this is my partner Agent Mills. I know that you really would rather be alone right now, but I want to ask you a few questions about your husband. Has he ever gone missing like this before?"
Lisa shook her head.
"No never. We only just moved here six months ago. This place is supposed to be quiet and good to raise children in. I only just found out I was pregnant before we moved, which made Aidan happier than you could imagine. He would never take off on his family like that; he knows what it's like to not have a family growing up."
Lisa rubbed her stomach and then stared off. Dean swallowed hard, biting back tears. He wasn't the crying type, but the words hit a spot in his heart he wasn't ready to expose to anyone, not even Sammy.
"Um, Lisa, what do you mean by that exactly?"
She glanced up at him.
"Well, when Aidan was 10 years old, his parents were killed in an auto accident. He was an instant orphan. His grandmother was the only parent he ever knew."
Sam and Dean just looked at each other. They themselves may not, technically, have been considered orphans at the age they were. But with Mary's early passing and John's recent demise, although their early feelings about him were torn, it certainly made them the poster children for orphans.
"Do you know where he could have gone?"
Lisa shook her head.
"Like I said, we just moved here a few months back. Aidan has his job here, but we really didn't get to know anyone yet."
Sam took down some notes.
"What was your husband's line of work?"
"He is a teacher,"
Her voice lowered a touch as she corrected Sam's little slip. Dean caught it and smiled at the fact his brother was called out. She continued.
"And I highly doubt that a bunch of first graders know how to orchestrate a hit on someone."
Dean raised an eyebrow. He looked at Sam who only shrugged. Lisa shook her head.
"Sorry. When I get nervous I make weird jokes. But seriously, I don't think Aidan's disappearance was his own doing. It's been a week and he hasn't called me and that's not like him at all. If you can help me, I would greatly appreciate it. I just feel like this is all my fault."
Dean shook his head as he took her hand in his and caressed it gently.
"You did what you could Lisa. None of us can say for sure what's going to happen from one minute to the next, we can only hope that when it comes down it we are able to handle the outcome.
That put a small smile on her face. She thanked them and led them out.
On the way to their car, Sam was smiling. Dean looked over at him wondering if his brother had lost a marble or two.
"Um, okay, should I find the nearest nuthouse and make you a reservation?"
Sam shook his head. He leaned against the car, crossing his arms in front of him. He crooked his head toward the house.
"What you said in there, how'd you get so philosophical all of a sudden?"
Dean chuckled and pulled his jacket closer. The wind had begun to pick up.
"What? It's not like you hold a corner on the market or something. Give your brother some credit at least."
Sam sighed. He rubbed his hands together and then blew on them.
"Damn, did it just drop ten degrees or what? I mean when we got here it was crisp and all, but now it's downright freezing."
Dean scanned their surroundings for a source of the wind, but nothing was moving. The trees were eerily still and the leaves in neighboring lawns weren't moving. Something was off here. Yeah it was mid-October and it was bound to get a little nippy, but it felt like it was Christmas out there. Dean watched a little while longer when the sky slowly began to darken.
Sam looked up and gasped. What looked like smoke filtered through the clouds followed by a sickly sweet smell. Sam took a whiff and instantly gagged.
"Dean, do you…do you realize what that is?"
He nodded his hand at his nose, trying to block out the stench.
"Yeah. It smells like human flesh, burnt human flesh."
A/N: Okay, I am sorry this chapter was way long, but there are many things here that are needed for what comes later. This chapter was mainly talky, sorry for that. There should be more action to come once I get into chapter 2. Believe me I have a hell of lot of action coming, just not sure when I will be letting it loose.