EVERY BLUE MOON

By: Karen B.

Summary: Two- shot. The boys are on yet another hunt. This time in a swamp….things get a bit…well swampy. Set sometime early season-one. Hurt, lost, Sam. Protective, on the prowl, Dean.

Note: Written for one reason and one reason only -- 'cause I wanted Sammy slathered head to toe in mud!

Disclaimer: Kripke built the ultimate sky scrapper…I just ride his elevator up and down all day long -- punching buttons -- 'cause it's fun!

Thank you for your time,

Sunshine,

Karen

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It was a dark and stormy night.

No.

It was a dark and foggy night.

No.

It was a rainy, dark, foggy, crappy night.

Still, no.

Every blue moon, they, the Winchester boys, screwed up a nuts and bolts job.

'Yahtzee!' Dean would have said, had Dean been anywhere around to say it.

Sam shivered against the falling rain, kicking up sand, his boots making sucking sounds as he splashed along the edge of the dense swamp. He was in deep -- pun intended.

He'd lost his pack, his brother, and his sense of direction nearly three hours ago. Now all he had on his person was a small hunting knife strapped to his ankle, a Fruit Roll-up, a used piece of gum wrapped in foil, half a roll of flavored Rolaids, and one roaming cell phone -- all stuffed in the large front pocket of his not so favorite gray hoodie. Plenty of ingredients for MacGyver to have made a space ship -- flown to the moon. All Sam could think to make was mud pies, and flying anywhere -- in this weather -- a no go.

"Stupid," Sam grumbled, adding a failing flashlight to his growing list. He vigorously tapped the casing against his palm. "Damn it," he cursed, unable to enhance the dull, yellow glow.

Settling for what little light he could muster, Sam continued his search. The mucky swamp was spooky, surrounded by 100-120 foot tall Cypress trees heavily draped in Spanish Moss. The bushy, gray plant hung down in thick tendrils dipping into the thick layer of green algae floating atop the black water.

It wasn't easy being vulnerable, and the uncomfortable silence of being alone in the endless maze of gloom unnerved him. Ghostly, gray tufts of fog floated amongst mysterious shadows. The chirps and deep, unsettling moans of wildlife all added to the wetland's dreamlike appearance. It hadn't been hard getting lost, disoriented, and spun around the large water hole. Even Bear Grylls would find this Man Vs. Wild episode extremely difficult to hike out of -- everything looking pretty much the same.

Sam picked up a large stick, he needed something with a little more reach then his three inch switch blade to ward of anything that might become a threat. Completely aware of his surroundings, Sam watched every shadow -- moving or not -- as he wadded ankle deep through the inky black water. He held his breath with every rising bubble and ripple, conscious of all the dangers and pitfalls. Quick sand, stinging insects -- big as your hand -- poisonous snakes, man-eating, bull-sized alligators, hypothermia, dehydration, microscopic parasites threatening to invade his body. And as if that wasn't enough….

"Swamp monsters," Sam uttered, dragging white puffs of air in and out slightly parted lips as his mind wandered back to just a few short hours ago.

"A fish? Sam, we're hunting a giant fish?" Dean questioned with a tilt of his head.

"Swamp monster," Sam pointed out.

"And what does goldfish boy look like?" Dean asked.

"Not the fancy kind people keep in decorative ponds," Sam explained. "Gills, black scales layered in rows, like the shingles of a roof. Super fast, but not too bright. Brain's the size of a pea."

"Same as yours," Dean breathed under his breath.

"What?" Sam shook his head.

"What?" Dean laughed.

"I thought…" Sam made a face in confusion. "Never mind," he mumbled, going back to the facts at hand. "They have a one track mind, Dean -- hunt, kill, eat."

"So, how do we bait and tackle old goggle eyes? Hook and worm? Glow in the dark fishing lure? Dynamite?"

"Living, breathing, flesh and bone -- bleeds red, so just about any weapon will do. Thing is," Sam continued "The creature only comes out at night, blends into its surroundings, becomes part of the environment it's living in -- camouflaged -- practically invisible."

"That's just …"

"Peachy?" Sam injected

"Keen," Dean added.

It wasn't long after that, Sam and Dean had gotten separated tracking, finding, and attempting to kill the half-human, half fish-like creature.

The swamp monster had charged straight at them, erupting out of the thick brush like a raging lunatic, gills moving, a deep throaty war-cry splitting the air. Blindsided, Sam and Dean reacted on gut instinct, in lightning speed they had guns drawn and at the ready. Too little, too late. The creature was fast, like a shark chasing a guppy. Knocking first into Dean, sending him lurching back against a Cypress tree and dropping him with a heavy splash into the pool of black.

Panic stricken, Sam aimed his gun with shaking hands as the creature rushed him. He pulled the trigger, the shot going wild, bullet disappearing into the night. Before Sam could steady his aim the near invisible swamp monster was on him, knocking him down, his gun sailing one direction, the weapon's satchel the other. Strong, gnashing teeth shredded his jacket to pieces. Sam was thankful for the three layers of clothing, otherwise he'd have been filleted in seconds by the creature's serrated-edged teeth, and long bear-claws.

"Dean!" Sam called out to his brother, worried Dean could be unconscious -- drowning in the slimy water.

The swamp monster was strong, its anger -- relentless. Flinging Sam around, batting him back and forth between trees like a rubber Super Ball. Sam knew he was being toyed with, but soon the creature would just overcome him and drag him to its lair,where he would become tonight's dinner -- completely devoured. Or worse -- chopped up, one small puzzle piece at a time only to have those pieces stored for tomorrow's mid-morning snack. Sam took a breath, trying to calm down. He couldn't afford to think of himself now, he needed to get back to help Dean.

That thought was slammed out of Sam as he went sliding head first into a log. Before the beast could grab hold of him again, Sam stood, mule kicked, his boot catching the creature in the chest. Temporarily stunned, the part humanoid muck-monster stumbled back shaking its head, drops of water and loose scales flying in all directions. Gills flaring, the swamp monster roared, its gruesome, pearl-white fangs dripping with saliva. The large clawed hand struck out. Not enough time for defensive action, Sam could only dodge the attack, slipping in the mud once again, and dropping to his side with a wet thunk.

The creature had leapt upon him, flipping Sam to his back and pining him fast, its gapping mouth going straight for his jugular. A dreadful chill filled Sam's entire body as if he was already dead.

Frightened and knowing there was nothing he could do, Sam frantically grabbed at the creature's scaly neck, desperate to stave off his own throat being ripped out. A large hand closed firmly around Sam's neck in return, quickly squeezing all the air and strength from him. Sam grunted and fought against the lack of oxygen, images of his flesh being stripped from his bones, flung around, blood flowing into the sand made him dizzy and sick.

"Nooooooo!" The scream was loud and echoed through Sam's hazy mind.

There was a loud cracking sound, the creature suddenly thrown off of him. Sam struggled to sit up peering through the dark shadows.

"D'n," he gasped.

"Sam! I got you covered, stay put!" Dean ordered roughly, never taking his gaze off the creature. The creature's attention turned on Dean, eyes glowing hot with anger a bellowing growl escaping from deep inside its throat. "Son of a carp-head, you're friggin' fugly!" The creature let loose another vile roar.

"D'n" Sam couldn't catch his breath, his head pounding. His last blurry image before entering a whole other world of darkness was that of Dean charging into battle.

Sam had woken up to large drops of rain pattering onto his face, cold, dazed, confused -- swamp water rising around him. For a moment he couldn't remember how he'd gotten here, nor where here was. He lifted one hand and held it to his head, fingers coming back bloody, a big- fat- nothing nagging at his brain. The area was foggy gray, empty, and dreary. Sam shuddered as images slowly began to fill the hole in his brain. Words running through his head like the blood running down his face recalling Dean's last words to him.

'Sam! I got you covered, stay put!'

"Shit!" Sam quickly stood, gathered his wits and began to search for his gun, the weapon's bag, Dean, or the swamp monster.

Unfortunately, the rain had washed away any trace of tracks and the only thing Sam could find was his dying flashlight, lying near a rock in the goopy mud.

Sam shivered back into the present, shrugging out of what was left of his jacket, he tossed the material aside, pulling his hood down further over his head. He was wet, exhausted, cold and worried about his brother. He'd wanted so badly to call out to Dean, but the dark labyrinth was teeming with danger, animal and supernatural alike. It would be stupid on his part to draw a bead on himself. Dean was either still hunting down the swamp monster, lost like him, or hurt. There was one other possibility, but Sam refused to go there.

He continued sloshing through the squishy bog, the earlier light shower, turned torrential down pour. Sam dug in his pocket, pulling out a soggy Rolaids. He popped the dissolving tablet into his mouth, hoping to produce a little saliva to ease his dry throat. Being really thirsty and surrounded by water, yet unable to drink the cooling liquid -- sucked. Swamp water, unless boiled could make you deathly sick. But what was the suckiest was being cut off from Dean.

Sam froze like an ice sculpture, spying bubbles floating to the top of the black water. He rose his stick, eyes darting back and forth searching the surface for any sign of life; waiting for something to move beneath him, grab him by the leg, pull him under. When nothing happened, he slopped onward, relaxing his hold on the thick branch, yet his heart pounded between his ears -- damn head wound.

Sam knew most animals of the swamp were nocturnal -- hunting and devouring their prey at night. He didn't have to see the bulging eyes of gators to know they were around. Clawed footprints made in the few sandy banks, followed by a tail dragging behind the large animal -- his number one clue. There was plenty of thick brush and dark shadows, he'd probably never see the gator coming, or the swamp monster for that matter.

Sam was a strong, tall guy, a hunter with good skills and high instincts, but he was positive a large gator could take him down as if he was no bigger than a thumb.

Calf-deep in swamp algae, Sam decided to try his cell again.

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The constant patter of falling rain was annoying. Sam was exhausted, soaked to the skin. His phone was useless, so was the ground he walked on. There weren't any dry spots left as he tromped hip-deep through the swampy gunk. He was miserably cold and long since given up trying to slap or itch away the tiny vampires buzzing in his ear, stinging his body, and draining his blood.

Sam's flashlight suddenly flickered. Once, twice, then went completely black.

"Nononono!" He stopped, smacking the tube against his palm repeatedly. The sick, squash-colored light hadn't been much but it was something of a comfort where there was no other to be found. "C'mon ! C'mon! C'mon!" Nothing, not so much as a glimmer. "You're screwed. Give it up, Sam," he mumbled, ramming the useless light between a y-shaped limb of a nearby tree. He'd been trying to blaze a trail, broken branches, markings on the trunks of trees using his switchblade, purposely placing suttle hints in the occasional sandbar. Dean was out here, too. With any luck, just as alive. Just as wet. Just as cold. Just as worried -- searching for his missing better half.

"Dean your 'not so' better half better be o…" Sam stood completely still in the dirty water. "…kay," he whispered, hearing a low growl, and a small splash breaking against rocks and trees.

Fear pushed against his chest and for a moment he couldn't breathe, guiding his gaze all around. Everything appeared barren and lifeless, the sudden silence echoing through his mind. Sam took in a breath, trying to stay calm. He'd been a hunter long enough to know when he was being watched -- hunted. Swamp monster or something else -- didn't matter, he was pretty much defenseless.

Sam remained steady, rooted in his spot and craning his neck.

Listening.

Watching.

Waiting to see what was aiming to devour him.

He spyed something in the distance.

"Gawd, let it be a log. Be a log. Please, be a log." Sam swallowed down on nothing.

The swish of a tail, a haunting low growl. There was no mistaking the elongated, slow moving black shadow flaoting just on top the rain-pelted surface heading his way.

Alligator.

A big one.

Sam's heart began to throb against the sides of his neck, his breath slipping in and out too fast, legs trembling. An awful picture came to his mind: large jaws opening wide, teeth lashing, grabbing him by the arm and dragging him down to the sandy bottom.

Sam's whole body quivered, the gator's intent was obvious -- his death wouldn't be a quick one. Sam would fight with all he had in him, the gator would do the same. They'd roll and tumble in the murky water, until the gator got the better of him and pinned Sam under a log until he drowned. Gator's liked to 'eat some now, save some for later' -- gobbling and gnawing on dead rotting flesh. Gawd, he hoped Dean didn't find him that way -- bloody portions of rotting, decaying meat floating around. The shadow disappeared from his sight. Sam shook his head, trying to see through the ghastly blackness.

"Ggrrr!" He flinched, feeling his face go white, something had just brushed past barely bumping his right leg. "Crap," he muttered, knowing exactly what that 'something' was.

Sam dug his feet into the sand, forcing himself to gain control of his fear, resisting the urge to flip-out and run. Any small splash would attract even more attention -- would only make matters worse. He wasn't sure what 'worse' really was. Being eaten by the swamp monster? Both creatures were dangerous and fast. Gators on land could run up to thirty miles an hour, who knew how fast they could swim. Sam grimly bit his lip, raising his stick and steadying his nerves. He briefly thought of reaching for his knife strapped around his ankle, but figured there was no time. Besides, the small blade wouldn't do much damage against the rough, scaly hide, and having a hook for a hand -- not high on his list of wants.

"Ghaaa!" Sam lurched backward in pain, his stick falling wayside and quickly drifting off with the current. "Dean!" He called for his brother, completely unnerved as that 'something' had just ripped through his jeans -- penetrating skin.

A tooth?

A claw?

A rock?

Hell, that was no rock. That much Sam was sure of.

Instinct brought Sam's hand dipping down into the water probing the burning sensation high on his inner thigh.

He forced his heart out of his throat and back into his chest. Bringing his hand up close to his face, he visually confirmed it wasn't just water dripping back down churning in the swampy current. It was blood -- his. He had to find dry ground. Not just needing to escape the jaws of death, needing to rest, try to ward off the cold, maybe dry his wrinkled, itching skin. Sam began to slowly back up, searching for a safe place or a way to get around the eight-foot eating machine, before the reptile attacked again.

Glancing around, there was nothing but rancid, black water and trees.

"Stupid!" Sam smacked a hand to his forehead. "Ow." He winced forgetting about his head wound.

Sam took in a deep breath and dove under the water, hedging toward a particularly large Cypress tree. He kicked hard, barely able to see through the quagmire of debris, figuring swimming on the surface would only create splashing noises, turning the gator into a heated missal -- out for his ass. If Sam could make it over to the tree, climb up into the branches, he could wait out the night and the gator.

Sam held his breath as long as he could. Just when he thought he'd have to take in a mouth full of water, he breached the surface. A quick check -- all limbs intact, he sighed. He'd made the journey through the cloud of slime that floated silent under the inky surface. Sam stood sputtering and coughing. He was only a couple yards away from the graying trunk of the twisted tree. He waded out of the swamp water onto a sandbar, dripping wet and barely ankle-deep. He'd climb the tree, a place to safely rest, get a better look at his wound, try to call Dean again. His cell phone was as wet as he was, but maybe he could dismantle the backing, try to dry out the wires. He needed to know Dean was okay. He needed Dean to find him.

Sam eyed the huge tree, hoping he had the strength to climb. He was beat, just wanted to sleep, let go of consciousness right there where he stood. Once he did that, however, he'd find his head inside an alligator's mouth, or worse, the swamp monsters. Instead, Sam opted for swaying and staggering his way clumsily through wet sand, wishing he could dodge raindrops. He must be loosing blood quicker than he thought to be so damn out of it and twice as cold, but couldn't spare the time to look. He better hurry before he really did face plant -- became something's maggot-ridden cuisine. Only a few more feet to go, then all he had to do was climb...

"Ahhh!" Sam suddenly dropped, going right up to his thighs in gunk. Wild eyes darted around in shock. Had the gator pulled him down? Chomped his legs off? He was too numb with cold to tell. "Get a grip, Sam," he muttered, disgusted when he realized he'd landed himself in a thick, bog of mud. "Just mud, Sam, chill, dude," he gave a nervous chuckle.

Mouth tamped shut, Sam concentrated on sucking air in and out of his nose, desperate to gain his senses. Rain fell. Thunder rolled. Lightning crashed, and the shadows of ill intent danced a waltz around him. He tried to move, wiggle his way out of the thick, brown stuff only succeeding in sinking deeper.

"What the?" He tired to move his legs, his feet, simply walk out of the pit, but the pit held him firm.

Sparing the nearby tree a look, he struggled hard to reach the dipping rope-like moss.

"Arrrgh," he let out a frustrated cry, sinking deeper.

Arms flapping, floundering, reaching.

He sank to his hips.

Lightening cracked across the sky like a bullwhip, and rain gushed like a broken gutter. Sam was quickly loosing energy trying to escape the mud pit that held him like a gangster wearing cement block shoes.

Puffing and panting, he worked to calm himself, but each movement no matter how small only tugged him painfully slowly down -- pulling - sinking - deeper -- deeper.

Realizing he wasn't getting out of this any time soon, all Sam could do was keep still, make sure he his head remained above the sloppy, brown, mud.

Sam kept every move snail-slow -- trying to ferret his way out. Maybe Dean would find him. Maybe he'd just go under -- suffocate. He'd rather be eaten alive. At least he could fight the gator.

"Dean," he gagged, all these maybes were making Sam feel sick.

TBC….

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