Home Alone: Chapter 1

Webster Groves, Missouri—July 1996

Dean drifted back to consciousness as the sun hit his face and woke him up. He rolled over, only to be hit in the eye by sunlight reflecting off the mirror. He groaned in surrender and sat up. He saw that Sam was still soundly asleep in his bed, which happened to be conveniently placed out of the sun. Dean's bed was placed perpendicular to Sam's and next to the door. The room was so small that their beds almost touched at the corners. Right across from their room was the bathroom and down the hall to the left was the room their dad slept in.

Dean momentarily contemplated playing a prank on his sleeping brother, then decided against it. After all, Sam's hair was still recovering from its run in with Nair. He smirked then decided to get something to eat.

He walked out of the bedroom and down the hall. This end of the hall came out between the living room and the kitchen. There was a small TV on the wall next to the hallway with a couch and coffee table on the opposite wall. The kitchen was small, just barely large enough to fit a four chair table. Dean walked into the kitchen where John was sitting planning their next hunt. John glanced up and muttered, "Morning."

Dean nodded in acknowledgment, then poured himself a bowl of cereal. He sat down next to John and read some of the newspaper articles John had been researching.

"Poltergeist?"

"Yeah, it's been causing some trouble in a house over in East St. Louis."

"When do we leave?"

John didn't answer, he just gathered his papers and stuffed them in his journal. He dropped it in a duffel bag and Dean asked again, "Dad? When are we going?"

"I'm leaving in ten minutes. You're not going anywhere."

"What? Why not?"

John got up and poured himself another cup of coffee. He leaned against the counter and said, "Do you remember what happened the last time we took Sammy on a hunt?"

"Well, yeah. But what does that have to do with anything?"

"That werewolf almost tore his throat out. If Sam's ever going to become a good hunter, he needs more training."

"Dad, as much as it pains me to admit it, Sam's actually getting pretty good at this."

John took another sip of coffee. "He's good at hand to hand, I'll give you that. But his aim is what let that werewolf get to him. If he was better with a gun, that bullet would have hit the bastard in the heart and not just grazed him."

Dean stroked his chin as he tried to think of a reason he should go with his dad. "You'd really rather have me stay here and teach Sam how to shoot instead of watching your back?"

John put his coffee cup on the counter, picked up the duffel bag, and walked to the front door. He pulled it open, then faced Dean. "I'll be gone for at least a week. When I get back, I want to see some definite improvement in Sam."

"Yes, sir."

John closed the door as he left the apartment and Dean finished his breakfast. As he drank the last of the coffee, he dreaded the coming week. It was going to be the longest seven days of his life. He went back into the bedroom and pulled on a pair of jeans with the knees torn out. A gray t-shirt and a green button up with the sleeves rolled back to the elbows completed his look. He was putting on his boots when he saw that Sam was starting to stir in his bed.

He left the room and went to the living room where he pulled out all the weapons. He dissembled them and placed them on the coffee table. He knew he wasn't normally an organized person, but when it came to cleaning his guns he was meticulous. Every piece of every gun was placed neatly next to corresponding pieces. He picked up an old rag and started to clean.

--------------------

Sam woke up, but didn't open his eyes. He did not want to get out of bed because he knew all he would hear about would be this upcoming hunt. All Sam knew was that the problem was further north and the odds were that he wouldn't be going with his dad and brother. He didn't really mind missing out on the hunt, but he minded that they didn't think he could do anything right. He forced himself to get out of bed and headed into the bathroom.

He looked at himself in the mirror and scowled when he saw his hair. It seemed to be growing back so slowly. He ran his hand through it, then heard Dean laughingly say, "You know, you should be thanking me. Before I got through with you the humidity plastered your hair to your head. It made you look like a drowned rat. Besides, Sammy, the girly hair'll grow back."

"It's Sam!"

Dean held his hands up in mock surrender and said, "Sorry, Sam…..y."

Sam slammed the bathroom door as Dean burst out laughing.

When Sam got out of the bathroom, he quickly got dressed in jeans and a dark blue t-shirt. He headed down the hall. Dean was sitting on the couch and had all the weapons spread out on the coffee table in front of him. He was just finishing cleaning the barrel of a shotgun when Sam asked, "Where's Dad?"

"He left."

Sam furrowed his brow in confusion. "Why didn't you go with him?"

"Somebody's got to stay behind and watch your sorry ass."

Sam made a face and poured himself a bowl of cereal. Dean added, "And Dad wants me to teach you how to shoot."

Sam sat down at the table. "I know how to shoot."

"Fine. Someone has to teach you how to aim."

Dean went to the bathroom and washed his hands. Then he went into their room and grabbed the keys to the Impala. He stood by the door and said, "Let's go."

Sam walked over and Dean said, "Dude, I'm taking you shooting. Grab a gun."

Sam looked at the coffee table where all the guns were still laying out in several pieces. "Uh, Dean…"

Dean raised his eyebrows. "Tell me you remember how to put a gun back together."

Sam turned red and stared at his shoes. "Dammit, Sam, I've shown you how to do this a hundred times."

Dean quickly put a gun together and handed it to Sam with a few extra clips. "For the rest of the week you're cleaning the weapons every night."

Sam's eyes widened. "Even you don't clean them that often!"

Dean shrugged. "You need the practice. Besides, you can never have a gun that's too clean."

They started walking out the door and Sam said, "You're an ass."

"And you're a little girl."

Dean laughed as Sam punched him in the arm and they left the apartment. Their apartment was one of three in what used to be a house. It had been renovated and now was owned by an old lady, Ms. Torinski, who lived in the basement. The Winchesters had the first floor apartment and the one above them was empty. Dean and Sam hovered just outside the door until it looked like the coast was clear. Then they ran for the car. They had only gone a few steps when they heard a voice behind them say, "Hi boys!"

They stopped and grimaced, then turned around to see Ms. Torinski coming out of her apartment and walking towards them. She leaned heavily on her cane and was wearing a dress that Dean thought looked like a 50s reject. "Hi, Ms. Torinski," Dean said as he and Sam slowly backed towards the Impala.

"Where are you boys off to so early?"

"Uh, Sam has a doctor's appointment."

She stooped a little lower so she could look at Sam. "What's wrong with you, sweetie?"

Sam heard Dean mutter under his breath, "He has to go to the VD clinic." Sam glared at him and Dean said louder, "He just has a checkup," then he grabbed Sam's arm and practically threw him at the car.

As Dean started the engine and pulled away he could hear Ms. Torinski say, "I once had an uncle who was a doctor…" she trailed off as Dean drove down the street as fast as he could.

Dean turned on the music and Metallica started filtering through the speakers. He said, "We need to talk to Dad when he gets back. I think that old bitch is possessed."

"Did it ever occur to you that she might just be a lonely old woman who wants some attention?"

Dean smirked and said, "You're not getting soft on me now, are you Sammy? I tell you what, after we're done shooting you can spend a little quality time with your girlfriend."

Sam mumbled something under his breath. Dean hesitated for a second, then said, "Dude, did you just swear at me in Latin? You're such a geek."

They rode the rest of the way in silence and Dean parked the car along the side of the road. There was a forest on the opposite side of the road; that was where Dean was going to take Sam. Dean opened the trunk and pulled out a bag that was hidden under various amulets and weapons.

Sam gaped and said, "You're not seriously going to make me use the cans, are you?"

"If you ever actually hit one I wouldn't."

Dean threw the bag at Sam then started walking into the woods. Sam looked inside the bag and said, "Dean, these are all rusted."

"Don't be so whiney. Besides, it's not my fault I haven't had to use these since I was seven."

Sam frowned, "Are you going to make fun of me or teach me to aim?"

"What makes you think I can't do both at the same time?"

Sam threw the bag back at Dean, who smirked. Once they were deep enough in the woods that they couldn't see the road any more, Dean lined up the cans on a low branch. He stood behind Sam and said, "Show me what you got."

Sam sighed and took his time lining up his shot. Then he fired and the third can from the end fell off the branch. Dean slapped Sam on the back and said, "Alright, Sammy! This is going to be the shortest training session ever."

Sam said, "Except I was aiming for the one on the very end."

Dean's face fell, but he quickly recovered and said, "Okay, no big deal, just try again."

Sam inwardly groaned. If Dean was being nice to him it meant he was really doing badly. Sam tried over and over again with Dean constantly giving him tips on how to be more accurate. He knocked two more cans of the branch and he hadn't been aiming at either of them. After a couple of hours Dean started to get hungry and he could see Sam was discouraged. He decided they should stop or else tomorrow he'd have to drag Sam kicking and screaming out here.

"Okay, Sam, that's enough. Let's go back to the apartment."

Sam went to pick up the cans, but Dean said, "Leave 'em. We'll be back tomorrow."

They walked back to the car and the drive back was filled with silence. Sam knew Dean was disappointed in him. Dean usually went easier on Sam when he was training him, but that wasn't going to happen this time. Sam actually reached over and turned on the radio, just so something would fill the silence. They pulled into the driveway and Dean cut the engine.

"Dean…" Sam began.

"Do we have anything good to eat?" Dean asked and got out of the car before Sam could answer. Sam got out and walked behind Dean, who slowed down his pace. He looked at Sam and the smallest smile crossed his lips. "Dean," Sam said warningly.

Dean grinned and ran towards the door. He quickly ducked inside the apartment, locking the door behind him. Sam pounded on the door, "Dean!"

"Is that you, Sam?" Ms. Torinski said as she came up the stairs from her apartment. "How was your appointment?"

"Um, well, uh…"

"You know my uncle was a doctor…"

Sam was trapped as the old woman droned on and on about her family. Sam unfortunately wasn't nearly as good a liar as Dean and couldn't think of a way to get rid of the landlady. After about thirty minutes, Dean must have decided he'd had enough because he opened the door and yanked Sam into the apartment by his collar.

Sam glared at Dean who said, "Sorry, Sammy, didn't realize you were still out there."

Sam said nothing; he just stomped back to their room and dropped down on his bed. Behind all the joking, Sam knew Dean was still disappointed. That bothered Sam. He didn't know why it bothered him so much, Dad was disappointed in him all the time and it never got to him. But when it was Dean, it tore at Sam and made him feel ashamed.

--------------------

Midnight, 2 Blocks Away

Ethan stood in front of the old house, fidgeting with his flashlight. He kept asking himself why he had agreed to do this. He had been playing Truth or Dare with his friends and one of them had dared him to spend the night in this old, deserted house. Ethan didn't believe in ghosts, not by any means, but he still wasn't looking forward to a humid night spent swatting away mosquitoes.

The house was a split level with two stories, not including the basement. It was made of yellow stucco and there were green vines climbing up the walls on every side. Most of the windows were broken from rocks that kids had thrown through them. Ethan went up the steps and tried the front door, but it was locked. He went around to the back door, which was also locked, but there was a broken window he was able to climb through.

The kitchen had an old-fashioned refrigerator which was a sickly green. Off to the right was a dining room with an antique table and black textured walls. After that was the living room. To the left of the door was a baby grand piano. There were stacks of old newspapers and magazines everywhere.

He climbed the narrow staircase that led upstairs to a hallway. The two bedrooms on the right looked relatively normal; it was the one on the left that gave him the creeps. It was the size of two bedrooms. Across from the door was a twin bed which was right by a window. On the other side of the room were a bunch of antique dolls. The way they looked at him was almost enough for Ethan to run from the house, but he forced himself to stay. He was not going to chicken out on this, no matter what.

He went down the stairs and then to the basement. There were boxes and boxes of old letters and pictures. In the corner was an old push mower with one of the handles missing. Ethan smirked as he thought of the poor man who had to use that thing. He spun around when he heard a creak on the stairs.

"Who's there?" he called out in a shaky voice.

No one answered. He slowly went back upstairs and swept the first floor with his flashlight. When he didn't see anyone he let out a breath of relief. He turned around to go back into the living room, then he screamed.

TBC