Hello everyone. Before I present you with my story, please let me tell you that I do not own any of the characters 'appearing' in this tale. I don't know who does, just that I don't. This story is not intended to generate profit, it exists merely due to the entertainment value I realized by writing it and I hope your entertainment from reading it.
I would like to thank two people. First, Captainkodak1 for allowing me to write this story based upon his tale, 'A Box of Cuddlebuddies.' The second is my dear wife, Ciya, for beta reading and doing her level best to keep me in line with 'Supernatural' canon and fanon. Should this story deviate from either, it is due to my errors and not her efforts.
That said, please enjoy:
Chapter 1: A New Ally
It isn't as if we didn't know the guy, we actually knew about him longer than we knew him by name. While he dealt with the 'mad scientists performing heinous deeds' world, we dealt with the 'things that go bump in the night' world and every once in a while, those two worlds collide. That's how we got to really know the guy.
Perhaps I should introduce myself; my name is Sam Winchester. My brother, Dean, and I hunt down things that go bump in the night. It isn't a normal job by any definition of the term. We were forced into this life when a yellow-eyed demon killed our mother. At the time Dean was four years old and I was just six months. Our father became obsessed with hunting down the demon and he found himself tangling with all sorts of critters that don't appear in any biology book, along the way. Dean followed him into the life but I didn't, at least at first. When I was twenty-two, the same demon killed my girlfriend, Jessica. Dean and I've been on the hunt ever since, facing those same weird creatures and hoping to find the demon.
How do we get by? A polite observer would say that we live of off our wits. An honest, impartial observer would say that we live by credit card fraud, subterfuge and identity theft. The more generous of the second type would say that the end justifies the means but that really doesn't matter much to us. It's the life we've chosen; the hours are long, the work conditions would make a third-world sweatshop foreman flinch and the pay is nonexistent but hey, at least the food sucks.
As I said before, this guy lived in a different world. Back about the time our parents were getting this frisky feeling that would eventually turn into my brother, this guy took his first steps into the 'stop the bad guy' world. Actually, he followed his best friend into that world. His best friend was a redheaded, teenaged girl who could turn heads a thousand feet away on a dark night. This same stunning redhead had also mastered sixteen forms of kung fu, so while she turned heads, hands tended to stay where they belonged around her. At about the time that my brother finally taught me to walk and talk, and was now trying to get me to sit down and shut up, she became famous. Yes, she was the teen heroine, Kim Possible.
Those of you who followed her exploits have probably figured out that I'm talking about Ron Stoppable, Kim Possible's sidekick who went everywhere with her. It didn't matter if she was helping some park rangers tag endangered birds, trying to find a lost cat or fighting some rogue scientist who had built a super-laser, he was right behind her every step of the way. He really didn't have any business going along with her; he was small, weak, not terribly bright and scared of just about everything. The only thing he really had going for him was loyalty. If his best friend was going into danger, he went along, as simple as that.
The thing that nobody seemed to realize back then was that he had kept improving over time. Speaking from personal experience, the more times you find yourself in nasty situations and survive, the tougher you get. In retrospect, I guess it was only the fact she outshone him that kept everyone from realizing how capable he'd become. I've read some of the old news reports; the reporter gushed on and on about how Kim Possible swam across two miles of open ocean, then scaled a sheer, two-hundred and eighty foot cliff to get to the bad guy. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to the less than photogenic guy off to the side, or thought about the fact that if she had just done that impressive feat, he'd done it as well. Sure, he wouldn't do it as gracefully or quickly and he'd usually be whining in terror the whole way, but he did it. The point of this little factoid is to point out that he'd become a pretty tough customer even though nobody realized it, especially himself.
Time went on and the inevitable happened, they were closer than any brother and sister. He finally figured out that she was an outgoing, drop-dead gorgeous girl and she figured out that he was an athletic, supportive guy who had backed her up through some really rough times. Even though the press still didn't pay much attention to him, the two of them got together, I mean really together, in their late teens. I'm sure you're expecting me to say they hitched up, produced a pack of future heroes and lived happily ever after. Well, happy endings are pretty rare in my world and, apparently, in his world as well. She disappeared.
Back then, we didn't know what had really happened. By all appearances, she'd gone for a swim in the lake one late spring day and vanished. Again, if you're a little older than I am, you probably remember the extensive coverage the press gave the worldwide search for her. I won't get into any details, but as time went by with no sign of her, the world eventually gave her up for lost. She had many powerful enemies, so everyone assumed that somebody had taken her to meet Jimmy Hoffa. Anyway, this guy had his brief moment of fame as he led the search for her. He blipped back on some screens several years later when he got married. After that, he faded away.
That is, he faded away from the public spotlight. While almost everyone who knew the guy thought he'd settled down to run a small business, there were still those who remembered him and made use of him. It turns out that some quasi-governmental and private organizations knew just what he was capable of, and kept him on speed dial. Every once in awhile he'd get a call and he'd be on his way somewhere to look into a situation that no law enforcement agency could show probable cause too obtain a warrant. While his name didn't appear on any payrolls, he received several checks for 'consultant services'. It was while he was performing one of these services that we first met him, face to face.
I said earlier that the 'mad scientist' world he dealt with occasionally collided with the 'bump in the night' world that we dealt with. The problem with bad guys is not all of them are idiotic psychopaths - some of them can be downright brilliant. Case in point, a short, German dude who always wore a helmet and happened to be a groundbreaking physicist. Now, I'm no dim bulb myself, having once attended Stanford on a full ride. This little incident taught me there's a big difference between pre-law smart and physicist smart. Academically, I'd run in terror from a nested trig function while this guy could solve them after two pints of Guiness and half his neurons tied behind his back.
This megalomaniac was obsessed with alternate realities and came up with a frighteningly simple idea. By using science, he had already pierced the veil between realities, albeit with great difficulty. What made the half-pint so dangerous is that, in order to get greater results, he decided to try combining his science with the occult. So laughing boy managed to team up with a capable conjurer, set up shop in an abandoned mine in Colorado and the two of them started to see just how much they could warp reality without making the beer go flat.
We'd run into the conjurer before, to his detriment I might add, and were on his trail. That's how we found ourselves at the mine. We sneaked in and ran into a sight that I'll never forget; a geeky looking, middle-aged guy with a flashlight that didn't work. We had the usual whispered exchange of words and discovered his name was Ron and he was hunting the physicist while we were hunting the conjurer. I can't remember the names we gave him, since we rarely tell strangers our real names. Now Ron isn't a very big guy and something about his presentation said 'small and weak'; Dean, six foot one and solid muscle, decided to let him know who was in charge of the operation. He grabbed Ron by the collar, pinned him against the side of the mineshaft and started to outline the chain of command. Dean promptly found out that it is a bad idea to try to intimidate a guy who'd earned accolades at a ninja school. Yes, I laughed, I just wish I'd been able to get it all on video. Payback's a bitch, isn't it Dean?
Fortunately, Dean's pride took a great deal more bruising than his body did. After I could breathe again and Dean finished the breath mint Ron had forced into his mouth (we had eaten at a sushi restaurant earlier that day and Ron didn't much care for the aftereffects) I helped my dumbfounded brother to his feet. We followed Ron down the shaft to confront the physicist and the conjurer. Ron went straight for the mad scientist and his machinery, alternating his time between pounding on the man and trying to shut down the device. Dean and I had just closed in on the conjurer when something came through the portal they'd opened.
This might be a good time to let you in on another aspect of dealing with things that go bump in the night, and that is these things don't work the way anything natural does. It doesn't matter if you're dealing with an elephant, spider monkey, gecko or a moral crusader; everything normal circulates blood and breathes air. If you can disrupt either of these processes, they loose their ability to put a hurt on you. The supernatural things don't work that way; it takes specific things to harm most of them and they only get more unfriendly when you try things that don't work. The second problem with these things is they don't identify themselves for you. You can't always tell a demon from a daemon from a spirit from a…well, you get my drift.
Dean stepped forward and started brawling with the conjurer, leaving me to deal with the…whatever it was…that came through the portal. We had already learned from painful experience, to bring along a little of everything when going against something we didn't have good intel on so I was ready to do a little trial and error. I pulled my pistol and fired a silver round into the thing…no effect other than to tell it 'potentially dangerous adversary here'. It turned on me so I dropped my first weapon, lined up my shotgun and fired, hitting it with a rock salt slug. While the salt didn't harm it, it did tell the thing that I was guessing and might come up with a winning answer if it gave me time. It sprang towards me, barely giving me the time I needed to drop my shotgun and pull out my iron hatchet. The thing swung at me with what I'll call a paw, but looked more like a catcher's mitt ringed with butcher knives. I stepped inside the swing and brought the hatchet down on its arm. Unfortunately, iron wasn't the answer I was looking for since my hatchet just bounced off of the thing. While I had dodged the claws, its…forearm…caught me in the gut, throwing me up against the stone wall and knocking the wind out of me. Looking up, expecting the end to come, I discovered that Ron Stoppable wasn't exactly normal himself.
The 'geek' had already disabled both the machine and the physicist, and was ready to rumble with the…thing. Instead of a useless flashlight, he was carrying a glowing, blue sword. Maybe the bizarre lighting was affecting my vision, but I swore his skin had taken on a bluish tint as well. He let out a bellow that sounded like something halfway between a monkey's shriek and a bear's roar, and tore into the thing. His first chop took off one of the thing's arms and his second strike, delivered with the clumsiness of a professional ballet dancer, hamstrung it. Incredibly, the thing wasn't out of the fight, not by a long shot. It managed to backhand Ron but instead of smashing up against the wall, he executed a series of back flips, bleeding off the blow's force.
Ron's attack had given me time to catch my breath so I tried my fourth guess and tossed a vial of holy water at the thing. The blessed water had an even greater effect than I could have hoped for, actually igniting on contact with the creature's skin. I assumed that the roars it let out indicated pain so I pulled my only remaining vial and started to stalk in, determined to hit something vital with my last shot. Of course it turned to face me and that's when Ron got back into the fight. Before I could throw my vial, he came up behind the creature and decapitated it.
When fighting critters like these, decapitation doesn't always mean 'taken out of the fight' but fortunately, this time it did. The thing collapsed and started to dissolve. By this time, Dean had managed to incapacitate the conjurer with a knee to the groin. Ron, Dean and I just stared at each other for several long minutes, with the stench of dissolving, alternate reality creature making our eyes water. Ron broke the stalemate.
"C'mon!" He growled at us, waving his useless flashlight back towards the mine's entrance. "We've gotta get out of here."
"Why?" Dean demanded, clearly not happy with how easily Ron had 'adjusted his attitude' before the fight.
"Because several government agents will be here in a few minutes," he told us. "And they'll be forced to ask questions if they see us. We have to be out of their line of sight before they arrive. Follow me."
I don't know how he knew where we had parked the Impala, but he led us straight to it. Ron jumped into the back seat and sat there, waiting for us to get in.
Dean and I shared a glance and came to the conclusion that we might as well trust him on this one. Dean climbed in behind the wheel while I got in the passenger side, furtively slipping a hand onto my pistol. Ron started to give directions and, of course, Dean demanded to know why he should follow them.
"Because state and county law enforcement agents have already moved into the area to support their federal counterparts," he explained. "The State Troopers and Sheriff's Deputies are setting up roadblocks, but there's going to be one, and only one, exit route left open for the next forty-five minutes. Like I said before, the cops will stop and question anybody they see, so we have to stay on the right path."
"How do you know all this?" Dean demanded.
"That's none of your business," Ron snapped back, showing a bad temper for the first time since we met him. "If you want to just let me out and guess the way on your own, you're welcome to try."
We believed him for some reason and followed his directions for the next few minutes. We didn't run into any roadblocks, but we did see several of them on routes alternate to the one we were on. Finally, Ron told us to stop.
"I have my own transportation hidden over there," he explained, pointing at overgrown roadside. "Now the locals are going to be more than a little suspicious of outsiders, so why don't you follow me? I'll put you up for a day or two. I guess I owe you, since I was only expecting Dementor."
My brother and I were still deciding if we should follow him when he pulled a scooter out of the bushes. I mean, seriously, a scooter? It looked like something a thirteen-year-old would drive around the neighborhood. He hopped on, pulled on a helmet, and imagine our surprise when he gunned the engine and a three-foot long flame shot out of the tailpipe, making the machine take off like a tofu salesman from a redneck barbecue. It's a good thing we were driving a classic muscle car cause that scooter could really move.
We followed him for about an hour and wound up in the small city of Middleton, Colorado. Seeing the sign tickled my memory and got me to wondering just who this guy was. He led us to a fairly large house in the suburbs and we stashed the Impala in the garage, next to a canvas-covered vehicle. Ron refilled his scooter's tanks with some special fuel before leading us into the house and showing us to our rooms. Looking at the house we could tell that the guy was very comfortable financially, if not downright rich. Since it was just a little after midnight, he fed us a quick meal (and man, could that guy cook!) and chased us off to bed, staying we could talk some more in the morning. I don't know what it was about the guy that told us we could trust him; we just hit the sack and slept like logs.
We actually slept in late the next day, a sure sign of just how tired we were. We didn't talk with Ron very much, which is sort of the proper etiquette among the people we associate with. All of us have things we don't like to talk about so 'don't ask/don't tell' is more than just a way for a politician to please both sides of the aisle. He told us the police were looking for our vehicle, but they should figure out that Dementor and the conjurer didn't have accomplices in the next day or so. Then he set some loaded plates in front of us and offered us the full use of his house. He said his family would return from visiting relatives later in the afternoon and to behave ourselves around them.
I don't think any of you who haven't spent years without a home can appreciate just what his offer meant to us. Little things, like having a laundry room to take care of the weeks' long buildup of funk on our clothes, a shower without limited hot water, and a dry garage to work on the Impala, were rare luxuries. We took full advantage of his offer, doing our laundry, performing maintenance on the car, cleaning our weapons in the garage (it didn't seem right to bring them into his house) before wallowing in the luxury of hot showers. After he fed us again in the early afternoon, I took my laptop and retired to my room, to try to figure out who this guy happened to be. I'm ashamed to admit that it was Ron's wife that finally nailed down his identity in my mind.
He had given us his first name back at the mine and I had gotten his second name from his mailbox. I punched his name into a search engine and eventually figured out why 'Ron Stoppable' and Middleton had tickled my memory. The only problem I had was I didn't know if it was the Ron Stoppable, if you get my drift. While I was sitting in my room trying to figure out how to ask him, a minivan pulled into the driveway. As soon as his wife slid out of the driver's seat, I knew it was him. I had a picture of his wedding on my screen and while his face had changed, hers hadn't. At that moment I knew I was a guest of Ron Stoppable, former sidekick of the famous Kim Possible. What really nailed it was when he introduced us to his family: wife Tara, sons Lon and Roy and finally, daughter Kim.
It took me awhile to get him away from his family, so that he, my brother and I could talk a little shop. I fully admit I'm no relationship expert; not only am I unmarried, I haven't had a date for almost two years. However, even I know you don't walk up to a father, right in front of his wife and kids, and say, "weren't you the guy whose girlfriend vanished almost twenty years ago?" Besides that, I didn't know how deep he was into the double life or how much his family knew about it. Like I've said before, we tend to respect each other's privacy. Anyway, he asked us some question about the clothes we had in the dryer. We followed him half way down the stairs before I realized that he wanted to talk a little shop, as well.
"Sam, Dean," he greeted us, once we got out of his family's earshot. This greeting conveniently let us know that he had seen through our aliases. "I take it you've figured out my past, to a certain extent."
"Huh?" Dean was his usual, witty self.
"Yeah," I stepped in, "since we were under your roof, I wanted to make sure this wasn't some sort of setup. I didn't think you were still active, so to speak."
"What?" Dean asked, as Ron led us past the laundry room to a kind of den he had in the basement. It was a comfortable room and soon Dean and I were seated on an old couch, beers in hand, while he was on a recliner.
"My technical man, Wade, used a satellite to recon the mine area last night," Ron explained. "The thermal imaging scan picked up your Impala, so I scanned you plates before going into the mine. Wade ran a check and found that your car tended to show up during certain…interesting…events. From that, he was able to run down your names."
"Is the old website is still active?" I asked.
"Not so much," Ron admitted. "I don't have the time to do all of the things," here, his voice choked up, "we did." "I specialize in dealing with things various governmental agencies can't justify looking into. When that happens, they make sure I have the elbowroom to take care of them. That's why I knew the route we needed to clear the area last night."
"Website?" Dean demanded. "Technical man? What are you two talking about?"
"By the way," Ron continued, completely ignoring Dean. "Wade tells me that the FBI will announce this afternoon, that they have apprehended all persons of interest. You'll be safe to leave, but I suggest you stay here another night."
"Will one of you please tell me what's going on?" Dean growled.
The two of us brought Dean up to speed on our host's identity and past. We then spent over an hour swapping stories, comparing the odd worlds that we lived in. We found out that even after Kim Possible disappeared, the calls for help continued. At first, Ron didn't want to answer them but Wade convinced him he would best honor her memory by continuing her work. While Ron agreed, he decided to do it in his own way. Where Kim had been a media darling, he was decidedly low key. Where Kim had been almost a saint, Ron tended to get dirty when he had to. I noticed one other thing during our talk; Ron still hadn't gotten completely over Kim.
I'm no family counselor, but it was obvious that he had built a happy family. His wife was drop-dead gorgeous and the two of them were clearly smitten with each other. Their three kids were well behaved, when they weren't outside roughousing with either each other or their father. It wasn't until Ron started talking about his past adventures that I realized he still missed the redhead something terrible. At first I wondered about this, since she had vanished about twenty years before our conversation, then I realized that I didn't have any room to criticize. I only knew Jessica a year and a half before the demon killed her, and I hadn't gotten over her. Kim and Ron had been inseparable friends for over a dozen years before she vanished. I guess some wounds just don't go away.
Anyway, sitting in Ron's 'man-cave' and talking shop gave me some hope for the future. After all, if this guy could manage to move past his loss, stay active in the world saving business, and put together a family life that made the Cleavers look dysfunctional, there was still hope for me. He told us his wife knew he went on missions, but she didn't know just how dangerous they were, so he asked us to limit our shoptalk to private locations. All in all, Dean and I were having about the best 'wind down' we could recall. That ended when Ron's oldest son, Lon, pounded on the door.
Soon, Dean and I found ourselves playing some two-on-two touch football against Ron and Lon. It seems Lon had some hopes of making his high school varsity team next year, as a sophomore and Ron had shredded defenses, back in the day. Dean and I found ourselves pretty matched and by the time Lon and I finally convinced Dean and Ron to stop insisting on one more play, it was almost too dark to see your hand in front of your face. Dean and I also discovered that we weren't in as good of shape as we thought. We wound up sleeping like logs again that night.
Ron woke us up early the next morning and told us the police were no longer looking for our vehicle and, by extension, us. He fed us another great meal before taking us by his business, which happened to be a restaurant. Once there, he did a little paperwork and cut us in, anonymously, on the payment he had received for taking down the physicist. He gave us two shares to his one and used his restaurant to make it all appear legal. For the first time in a long while, Dean and I left a town with our bellies full of good food, money in our wallets, and a new ally in the rearview mirror. Our usual exit strategy is to leave a town broke, hungry, the gas pedal floored and a pack of angry townsfolk in the rearview mirror. Do you know that country folk still form angry mobs? It's not like the movies, they carry lanterns instead of torches and shotguns instead of pitchforks, but you get the idea.
Sorry, I'm getting off on a tangent again.
In the months that followed, I researched the guy as much as I could. I really wanted to know how he was able to deal with…whatever it was…in the mine as effectively as he did. What I was able to find out was a mix of rumor and speculation, but that's what I'm used to dealing with when tracking down our next target. I did the best I could to separate blatant fertilizer, so to speak, from possible fact and came to the conclusion that Ron was a conduit of sorts. At some point in his past, he became attuned to some kind of unworldly power. The glowing sword he had in the mine was mixed up in it as well. There were also rumors he'd attended a ninja school. I didn't dig any deeper; he was one of the good guys and he'd talk about it if he ever felt like letting us in on the secret.
We ran into Ron three more times in the next two years. He'd given us the address to his website, along with a couple of keywords, so we were able to contact him if we ran into something that proved to be too big for us. After the next time we met him, Dean searched the Impala from stem to stern, looking for a tracking device. I don't know how he did it, but I think that Ron's tech guy, Wade, tagged us in some secret, high tech way. What I am sure of is that seven months after meeting him we ran into a pack of zombies. We were hunting a necromancer and had tracked him to a small, isolated town in Utah. This necromancer had animated a small pack of the undead and was using them to terrorize and intimidate the residents. Put bluntly, he knew we were on his trail so he set a trap for us and, like a couple of greenhorns in a cow pasture, we stepped into the crap with both feet.
I won't go into details, but I will say that we found ourselves holed up in a motel room with a broke-down Impala, no phone and no cell coverage. The natives went beyond unfriendly and we knew the bad guy was going to send his creations after us the minute the sun went down. There's something you need to know about zombies; they don't take much damage from bullets. Silver bullets do something to them, we're not sure what beyond getting their attention, which is usually a bad idea. The only thing that seems to affect them is nailing them to their grave beds, which isn't easy when they outnumber you. In a pinch, you can try dismemberment, even though it could be rather difficult when they're trying to dismember you right back. We needed help, we needed it soon, and we needed someone who knew how to handle blades in an unfriendly environment.
We needed a swordsman.
Fortunately for us, the City Office Building was less than a block away and had a wireless network. I managed to hack in and log on to Ron's website. Wade was really on the ball because we received an email response within minutes. Two hours later, as the sun was setting and the zombies started showing up, Ron parachuted into the motel's parking lot. We ran out to meet Ron, who drew his sword and tossed us each an axe. The next several minutes were a disgusting pandemonium in the parking lot, as body parts flew everywhere.
During the fight, Ron tossed me some kind of handheld radio. Wade gave me directions to someone who appeared to be observing the fight. While Ron and Dean kept the zombies busy, I tracked down and eliminated this observer, who turned out to be the necromancer. Minutes after that, the same townsfolk who had been so hostile earlier became friendly and grateful. Soon the Impala was fixed and we were ready to move on.
Ron thought that it would be a good idea for us to stay low for about a week after this and offered us his home as a place to stay. Staying with him really lifted our spirits, once again. While he didn't live a hunter's life, his life was close enough to one that we understood each other. In addition, the happy, loving family he and his wife had forged gave us hope. I really don't want to live the hunter's life until I die and the fact that Ron had such a great family made me think I had a chance for the same thing, someday.
The next time we met up with Ron, he was the one who needed help. It was almost a year after he helped us with the zombies and we were more or less marking time, trying to dig up something on old Yellow-Eyes. Like I said, Wade must have had some way of tracking us, because we were walking out of yet another motel room, heading to yet another mom-and-pop greasy-spoon, when a pay phone started talking to us. I don't mean it rang as we walked by, I mean Wade called to us by name and from the phone, right as we were walking by it. After Dean and I got over our case of the heebie-jeebies and I convinced Dean to not shoot the phone, Dean answered it and Wade told him that Ron was in over his head.
It turns out that something was scaring children in a town not far from Middleton. Ron and Wade investigated but just couldn't track down whatever it was. Like Wade said, when you've eliminated all natural possibilities, you must turn to the supernatural. Since we're experts in that field, Wade contacted us.
For the third time, we found ourselves guests of the Stoppables, basing our operation out of their house. It took us a couple of weeks to track down our subject, a spirit. Ron was perfectly capable of handling almost anything corporeal, but was completely lost against the ethereal entity he found himself facing. Our research was a bust, as all of the records were destroyed when the county courthouse went up in flames around 1910. That left us to do things the hard way.
It took us a couple of tries, but we managed to trap the spirit and lucky for us, it was both lucid and talkative enough to tell us why it hadn't moved on. Apparently, it was the ghost of a trapper who had died back in the 1880s. Back then, a couple of kids had gone missing and he was one of the volunteers who had tried to find them. He went out alone and was killed in a rockslide while someone else found the kids. The townsfolk had tried to find him but, needless to say, they weren't successful.
We had modern technology on our side so even though it took us a few more days, we managed to find the trapper's remains. One salt and burn later and there was one less noisy, unhappy spirit making a pest out of itself. In a way, I felt really good about this mission because we were able to help Ron with something he couldn't deal with. I don't know if Ron just wasn't able to perform certain incantations or if the power he channeled interfered with them, but he couldn't contain the spirit. Anyway, Dean and I had another enjoyable stay with the Stoppables; talking shop with Ron, tossing the pigskin with Lon and shooting baskets with Roy.
It was almost a year after that incident before we had to contact Ron again. We happened to be in the Northern Colorado Rockies and found ourselves tangling with a Wendigo. Once again, we were in big trouble. An early blizzard had closed the roads, leaving us holed up in an isolated cabin. While we had plenty of firewood and food, there was no way we were going to hold out against it until the maintenance crews opened up the roads. The only alternative was to try to hike out across almost twenty miles of mountainous, snow-covered terrain, with the creature on our necks the entire way. Fortunately, I had cell phone coverage and managed to contact Ron.
Once again, he parachuted in to our location. I'm sure the Wendigo saw him, and probably was thinking something along the lines of 'three for the price of two.' As soon as Ron was inside the cabin, we could tell something was wrong with him. When we had worked with him before, he acted like he was on the adventure of a lifetime. No matter how serious things were, he would joke and laugh. Now, he was deadly serious. We got right down to planning our next move and I learned something else about him, he could turn invisible.
After he demonstrated the skill and Dean stopped bugging him to teach him how to do it, he explained that he couldn't do much more than remain invisible. It took all of his concentration, kind of like doing a calculus problem. He wouldn't be able to fight or even pay attention to where he was going, but someone could lead him around. He came up with a plan that made sense to Dean and I. Since it was late afternoon, we decided to wait until the next morning to execute our plan. Again, Dean and I realized Ron wasn't the same. While he cooked dinner for us and the food was good, he didn't do it with his usual zest and flair. However, it wasn't a good time for soul-searching, so we kept our mouths shut.
The next morning, Ron faded into invisibility again then grabbed Dean's belt. We stepped out of the cabin, where Dean and I did our best to act out a 'goodbye, maybe forever' type of scene. Dean left, acting like he was trying to hike back to civilization, while secretly towing the invisible Ron. We were sure this would provoke an attack, after Dean and Ron got out of sight of the cabin.
Perhaps I should explain what we know about Wendigos at this time. I won't go into a Wendigo's origins, I'll just say that they roam lonely, wilderness areas, where they stalk and devour those they can find. You need to know that they enjoy terrifying and killing their victims as much as they enjoy eating them. While a normal predator would kill and devour one of us, this thing wanted to kill us all, even if it couldn't stomach all of us. We were trying to convince it that we were about to split up. Since it wanted all of us, we were betting that it would try to take down Dean fairly quickly or else risk Ron (who we hoped it thought was still in the cabin) and I heading off in different directions. If we were what we were trying to act like, frightened greenhorns, it would realize that it would have to move fast to get us before at least one of us escaped. Our plan worked like a charm.
According to Dean, the cabin had no sooner vanished behind them that he started to catch blurs of motion out of the corners of his eyes. Before long, the thing started to break branches, growl, and make other noises that tend to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Dean acted like a frightened amateur; he broke into a stumbling run. The beast started to allow him to actually catch glimpses of it, so Dean started to shoot at it. He didn't have much hope of hitting it, although he wouldn't complain if he did; he was trying to convince it that he was panicking. Before long, he had emptied his magazine and made a show of fumbling, trying to reload. That's when the monster appeared.
Again, our plans worked out and the thing allowed Dean to get a good look from a short distance, sort of priming his fear to the breaking point. Dean insisted that he put on an act, freezing in terror before hurling the empty pistol at it. The thing easily dodged then charged with its inhuman speed…
Only to have Ron Stoppable, sword extended, suddenly appear in its path.
Physical laws don't always bind supernatural creatures, but the laws of physics apparently applied in this case; the thing wasn't able to stop. It plowed right into Ron, impaling itself on his sword. Dean later told me that he got one good look at a very shocked expression on a wendigo's face before it and Ron tumbled by him in a confused mass of flailing arms, legs, growls and profanity. Ron apparently attains superhuman strength and speed when he starts channeling his otherworldly power, so he could actually match the thing physically. When you add the fact that the Wendigo had a couple feet of mystic steel in its gullet, you can understand why the following fight wasn't really that much of a fight, after all.
The short fight did, however, confirm that something was wrong with Ron. The two combatants tumbled over a couple of times before Ron wound up on top of the thing. The ninja yanked his blade out of the monster's chest with a savage twist and hacked down on its head, splitting it from crown to chin. Later, Dean told me that he didn't know if he was more scared of Ron or the Wendigo.
Ron got control of his temper fairly quickly and asked Dean how to deal with the monster's remains. The only way to make sure that a Wendigo is dead, even after cleaving its head open, is to burn it. The two of them threw it on a large pile of wood and Dean shot it with a couple of signal flares before standing upwind of the beast. The two joined up with me while Wade managed to arrange for a local National Guard unit, equipped with Chinook helicopters, to perform a practice extraction. We were kind enough to volunteer the Impala as a stand in for a humvee. Before long, the Impala's tires were back on plowed asphalt and we received another shock; Ron neither invited us to stay with him nor asked us for a ride home. He simply shook our hands and said Wade would scare up a ride for him.
I want you to understand that we weren't exactly prying with what we did next. While we respect a fellow hunter's privacy and we had come to view Ron as a fellow hunter, we tend to look out for unexplained changes. When a member of our odd community changes his behavior, it might mean one of the things he'd been hunting managed to get a hold of him. Ron was no longer the happy, friendly man he had been since we met him. His aloofness, coupled with the savage way he finished off the Wendigo, convinced us that something was wrong in his life. We did what we thought was the right thing. We snooped.
We waited a few days then dropped by his house for an unannounced visit. While the house was the same, the family wasn't. The two younger children, Roy and Kim, acted just like they had during our previous visits. However, there was clearly some poorly concealed animosity between Tara, Ron and Lon. While Ron was coldly polite to us, he made it clear he would be happier if we moved on. We didn't even attempt to stay the night with them. We took a room at the Middleton Motor Lodge and discussed what we should do next. We argued about what to do for over an hour before the phone rang. I answered, expecting to hear the manager telling us to quiet down. I was completely shocked when I found myself talking to Wade. I still remember the conversation. I didn't even say hello before he started talking.
"Sam," he said, leaving me wondering how he knew I, and not Dean, had answered the phone. "Have you and Dean noticed something funny with Ron?"
"Like he's cold and surly, rather than friendly and joking?" I answered. I'd decided that I didn't want to know how Wade knew who had picked up.
"Exactly, it started a couple of months ago, around the beginning of November. One day he's happy go lucky and the next…he's not."
"So it wasn't gradual?" I asked.
"No," Wade replied. "I talk to him every day. I can't tell you the exact day I noticed how…angry…Ron had become, since not all of our conversations last very long. We talk a great deal before and after his missions, so I can tell you he took a mission on the seventeenth of October and he was the same guy he's been for years. He took another one on the eighth of November and he was…like you see him now. I've tried to get him to tell me why, but he's not saying anything."
"This mission in October, " I started to ask; only to have him interrupt me.
"I'd rather not talk about this over an unsecured line," he told me. "I recently spoke to someone who asked to discuss the matter with you. Please meet with her, she'll be at your door in ten minutes. Call me if you need my assistance."
I'll admit that after bringing Dean up to speed, the two of us wasted most of the time simply staring at each other dumbfounded. The hesitant knock on the door was both a shock and a relief. We shared a look, knowing that whatever had affected Ron could be a tall order to deal with. I got up and opened the door, revealing…
I managed to scrape together something resembling manners and offered her both a seat and a cup of coffee. She accepted he chair but declined the coffee. After a hesitant start, she got right to the point.
"I understand that you two take care of…things that aren't exactly normal," she prompted us.
"Yes," Dean replied. "There are such things as ghosts and ghouls. We deal with them when we find them."
"Do you do so under the radar?" She asked. "In other words, do you do it without letting anybody know what you're up to?"
"We'd be in the loony bin if we didn't," Dean quipped back. "If someone knew that we were out trying to eliminate a vampire, we'd wind up in padded cells and injected full of happy juice."
Instead of being insulted, Tara looked relieved. "I need your services," she declared. "I have a problem with someth…someone who isn't alive anymore."
Dean and I shared a look. This was the type of thing we could deal with and who knew, maybe it would take care of whatever was bothering Ron.
"This apparition," I prompted her, "what does it look like and where does it appear?"
"I don't know what you'd call her," Tara answered. "Since I don't know the names for such things. She looks like a walking corpse, she can talk and she's incredibly strong. As to where she's at, she's trapped in an old cistern in our backyard."
"Do you know how she got there?" Dean asked. "Knowing her identity could help us elimin…"
"Her name is Kim Possible," Tara snapped, tears pouring out of her eyes. "She's been in there since she disappeared, over twenty years ago."
Tara looked at the two of us. Her eyes, although bloodshot and streaming tears, were steady as she said, "I know this because I'm the one who killed her."
This story takes place during my tale, 'Family Legacy'. I hope to provide enough detail so that you can enjoy this story without reading this earlier work. However, 'Family Legacy' and 'A Box of Cuddlebuddies', by Captainkodak1, contain further details that may make this story more enjoyable.
Thank you for reading and, until my next update, best wishes;