Disclaimer: Don't own them. Don't claim to.

A/N: This story first appeared in the zine Blood Brother's III. It was such a joy and humbling experience to be part of such a project. My thanks to Jeanne Gold for making that possible for me and for putting up with my tantrums and newbie-ness. This fic is definitely more tight than my normal writings. Which, is a good thing. I learned more from this fic-experience than any others.

Story: Takes place in mid-late season four. There's something in the snow. It's not the abominable snowman, but it appears to be a monster. Story will be four chapters long and I will update every two-three days as not to make you wait.

Falling Slowly

Chapter One: Sinking Boat

It wasn't their first trip through the mountain ranges of Oregon. They had been there plenty of times before. Nabbed a nasty wood witch in the Blue Mountains, took down a harpy in the Pueblos, and as for the Steens…well, they hadn't been there in a long while. Not much had changed, though. They were all beautiful: rough terrain, rocks that were jagged and snow covered, and full of the possibility of finding something new to hunt.

Lucky for them, they weren't looking; they were just passing through on their way down south. Back to Bobby's where their old friend had found a sign.

"What kind of a sign?" Sam had asked, interested. He held his breath, hoping. Lilith's head, bloody on a plate, would be the result of a good sign.

"Diabolical," was all Bobby had supplied, but it had been enough.

Sam had his bags packed and the Impala roaring to life before Dean even got a shoe on.

"We haven't finished the job," Dean mumbled as he opened the driver's side door.

Sam looked up at him, his hands gripping the plastic of the wheel, his foot like lead on the pedal. "It's a pissed-off ghost, Dean. I think we're going to have to leave it in the hands of the Salem Police Department."

But Dean hesitated, answered with a small smirk and a shake of the head.

"We'll come back," Sam insisted. "It hasn't killed anyone."

"Yet."

Sam tilted his head. "It's been haunting the refinery for twenty years, man. I think we can leave it for a few days."

Dean sighed, his breath condensing in the frigid air. His hand waved at Sam.

"What?"

"What do you mean 'what'?" He started a full-on swing into the car. "I'm driving."

Sam scootched over. He had to pick and choose his arguments lately. Actually, both of them did. Nothing like driving for hours on end screaming at each other on fumes and cold anger until one of them turned blue in the face. And still nothing accomplished.

Nah, the silence was just as good an end game for that. So they said nothing as they left Salem, and more of nothing as Dean pointed the old Chevy southeast.

www

Radio stations came and went as Dean wound his way down the mountains. It was no surprise when they were greeted with static as their glide off the main roads turned into the winding curves of the deep Oregon hills. Dean turned the radio off and waited for Sam to reach down for the box of cassettes.

But he didn't. And Dean didn't ask. Didn't matter anyway; the thrum of the old Chevy against the chilly asphalt was music enough. Besides, if he kept her right at fifty-seven, she almost cast a beat similar to "Misty Mountain Hop." Dean smiled to himself. Head bouncing to the boom-boom, he slid his gaze over to Sam, who was oblivious to his sly little secret. His brother wasn't the only one these days who could keep his mouth shut about things these days.

With all the distractions running through his mind, Dean didn't notice the pull of the car to the left, his hand having to palm it over to the proper lane. He had only looked in the rear view mirror once, even though the car chugged three times. But when she started to go, all those signs he'd dismissed came rushing through the space between his ears.

It started out as a clink. Which led to a clunk. Which led to an, "Oh, shit."

"What is it?" Sam glanced over, setting his funk aside and replacing it with concern for the need to keep their ride in motion. Keep his agenda in arm's reach.

"She's just…" Dean took in a breath, his eyes skating over the dials, then up as a whiff of smoke rolled out over the sleek black top. The Impala tried to answer, tried to explain the problem with a harsh chugga-chugga. Dean swallowed hard. "Aw, baby." He glanced at his brother. "She's sick."

By the time Dean had the Impala pulled off the exit and to the only mechanic's shop he could find, his baby was shaking, and gray smoke plumed in columns from under her hood.

The mechanic, whose nametag read "Wilfred," had her hoisted high in the background as he wobbled over to the counter where Dean and Sam were waiting. His large feet stepped in time to the music playing on his shortwave radio.

Counting flowers on the wall, that don't bother me at all.

His overalls were too tight for his round belly, the stitching pulling at frayed seams.

Playing solitaire 'til dawn, with a deck of fifty-one.

"Nice wheels." He made a smacking sound with his lips.

Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo…

The whole shop was a little too Pulp Fiction for Dean, and he wondered if they were keeping a Gimp in the basement, and what was actually locked and loaded under the desk the big guy was standing behind.

Now, don't tell me I've got nothin' to do.

But it was the little dark-haired girl who was wrapped around the man's thick legs who gave the place more of a homey feel. She looked up at them, her face half-hidden behind the denim. Couldn't be over four years old.

Dean pretended to ignore her, his eyes flicking to the Chevy suspended in the air. "It's the radiator, isn't it?"

The big guy wrung greasy, dirty hands on an equally greasy, dirty towel. "Yup. Busted." He smiled, showing his yellow-green teeth, his left incisor missing. Apparently not a fan of the dentist.

"Sh—" Dean glanced down at the little one, who was staring back up. Her ears stuck out from the strands of black. "Shoot."

Wilfred nodded back, gently shaking the little girl loose of his pant leg. "It's gonna need replaced. And, uh, a coupla rods blew. Needs a bit of a once-over on the tranny, too." Dirty, super-sized fingers scratched at his thinning scalp. He glanced at Dean over his cheeks, watching his expression.

Dean's eyes slid to Sam, who, since the clinking had begun, hadn't said much of anything. "What did you do?"

Sam looked sideways at his brother, pure confusion in his eyes. "What?"

"I told you to take care of her!"

"I did!"

"I showed you how to keep up the transmission…"

"I did!"

"I showed you how to replace the rods…"

"I did!"

Sam walked away before Dean could get any more out. He glared back at the large overalled man and grit his teeth. "Just the radiator," he ground out.

"Yeah, but…"

Dean's eyes narrowed even more. "I can take care of the rest. Just fix the radiator."

"I'll need to replace the rods for you to drive her."

A muscle normally hidden bounced in Dean's jaw. "Fine."

He turned from the mechanic and caught Sam glaring at him. Jesus Christ. He could never escape the strain, the stress. It was always pulsating in front of him, lately in the form of his too-tall brother. Dean jingled his pocket for loose change and shoved quarters into the lone vending machine.

Sam walked up behind him, his reflection warped by the Plexiglas. "I took care of her," he grumbled as a KitKat fell to the bottom of the machine.

"Not good enough." Dean reached in and grabbed the candy bar, then tore it open. Really he'd rather have what was left in the flask he had resting in his jacket pocket.

A throat cleared, and they both looked over at Wilfred. "You know," the large man thumbed behind him, "that car's, like, forty years old…"

Dean could see Sam shake his head in warning at the man, but it was too late. Those were fighting words. "That car is cherry! I can't count the number of times the dial's flipped over to another hundred thousand!"

"Yeah, okay." Wilfred's hands came up, palms out. "I'm just saying, even if you watch over somethin', take care of it, sometimes…they just give, they break."

Dean rotated his shoulders as Sam blew out a breath. Dean shut his eyes a second and tried to calm his emotions and control his tongue. It wasn't the mechanic's fault he wasn't in on the whole end-of-the-world gig the Winchesters were privy to.

"Daddy, I wanna candy bar, too," the little girl piped up, her voice soft and crisp.

The mechanic looked down. "I already gave you a dollar, Lemon. Once it's gone, it's gone."

The dark gaze landed on the KitKat, watching as Dean broke off a piece and chomped on it.

"How much longer you open?" Dean asked, eyes catching 8:07 p.m. on the Budweiser clock behind Wilfred's counter.

The mechanic kept his eyes on his customer. "Closed 'bout seven minutes ago."

Dean nodded, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. "Great."

"You know…" The guy hobbled over to the counter. He pushed a button, and the Impala started her slow descent to the ground. "Gonna take me a coupla days to get 'er done."

Dean felt his fingers curling then flexing at each word, scraping chocolate off his fingers and onto his palm.

"Daddy…"

"I don't have any more money!" the little girl's father shouted down. "Go back in the office and watch your movie!"

Dean could see the child's throat bob up and down. Recognized the signs of a little one holding back tears, knew her feelings had been hurt. He uncurled his hand and broke off another piece of the candy bar. "Here."

Lemon's eyes floated across to Dean's fingers, holding the chocolate wafer in offering to her. She reached up and snatched it from his hand before Wilfred had time to object.

Sam shuffled next to Dean, frustration radiating off him in waves. "Okay. We need a place to stay the night." He stole a resigned look at Dean. "Nearest motel?"

The big balding head was shaking back and forth. "Got no motels here." He pulled out a small phone book. "You boys are in mountain towns. 'Til you hit somethin' bigger, you got two choices: find a cabin or sleep in yer car." He grinned, yellow and green. "I'll call up and see if there's any logs available."

Dean turned away, his head hanging down, the toe of his boot catching as it scuffed at the filthy tiled floor beneath him. In the past month, they had been all over the country. Chased down anything they could hunt as they waited on news from above. His shoulders fell forward. Hadn't heard much of anything, though. And it was getting to him. His temper was short, his nerves were on edge, his mind was…well, his head just wasn't in the game. All this waiting-for-the-apocalypse crap was getting old. He and Sam were supposed to be part of the fight, not second-string benched players.

Now they were stalled in some nameless mountain town in Oregon. No angels. No demons. No hunt. No Impala.

Just him and Sam.

"I treated her good," Sam's voice strayed over. "I changed the oil, checked the tires. I was under the hood every week."

Dean bit his bottom lip. He broke off another piece of the KitKat and ate it. The sound of the crunching drowned the lies Sam told.

Sam released a long sigh. "I traced every part of her with my fingertips."

"What?" Dean watched as his brother rested his hands on his hips. Dean tried to imagine that, remembering Sam's words: You were gone. Wondered why Sam would even want to trace the Impala with his fingers. He looked away as Sam's eyes cased the joint. They didn't stop on anything in particular, just looking. Definitely thinking. Sam did that more than ever nowadays. Problem was, he wasn't talking about his thoughts, just secretly acting on them in the early morning light and behind broken-down buildings, accompanied by the demon bitch Dean still didn't trust.

"…maybe the car just needs a break…"

Dean squinted at his brother. Is he still talking? Dean shoved the last of the KitKat into his mouth, ignoring whatever Sam was yammering about.

But then Sam looked alert and was pointing, so Dean turned and noticed a pudgy hand hanging up the phone.

"Good news." Wilfred smacked his lips again. Must be a habit. "Sally says she's got a coupla cabins open up on the hill."

Sam nodded. "That's good."

Wilfred handed them a map of the area, the Klamath Mountain Region, a large red "X" marking where they needed to go. Dean grabbed it from his hand, his eyes following the line of road as it looped around bends and hills, up not one, but several mountains.

The mechanic was giving Sam directions. "…you gotta keep your eyes open for Rita Hayworth."

Dean's brows lifted. "Rita Hayworth?"

"Yeah," Wilfred nodded, "your turnoff. If you don't watch for it, you'll fly right by. If you come to Greta Garbo, you've gone too far. That means you gotta keep going 'til you come to Mae West. That's the only road with big enough curves to turn around on and go back." He listed the streets on another sheet of paper, then handed it over. "It's a bitch up there."

Dean took the list as well and folded the two sheets of paper together.

"Wilfred—" Sam started.

"Bill." The big man smiled.

"Willie!" The front door of the shop chimed as a gust of wind blew through the small room, curling papers secured to a bulletin board. "Jesus Christ!"

Sam and Dean both turned their heads, watching as a small figure wrapped in a puffy red coat slammed the door shut.

Wilfred sighed, his eyes sinking to the counter.

Black boots stomped on the short-napped carpet, and long fingers tugged at the tie around the garment's middle. Red locks bounced out of a furry hood, and a small, slender body stepped away from the confines of the unflattering coat.

"It's gonna turn to shit out there." The woman started smoothing her hair out with her fingers, fighting a losing battle with static electricity.

"Snowing again?" Wilfred asked.

"Not yet." She turned her attention to the front of the store, her face turning up in a wide jack-o'-lantern smile. "Well…"

"I'm with customers, Addie."

Green eyes narrowed. "I can see that. Do you not think that I can see that?"

The mechanic shuffled his feet. "Of course you can…"

"Well, you're talking to me like I'm stupid." She pointed a finger at her chest. "I'm the one who graduated from high school, right?"

Wilfred nodded back.

"Right. Not stupid." She eyed the Winchesters. "I need one of those shirts, you know? The one with the finger pointing. Says 'I'm with Stupid.'"

Dean chuckled.

The woman looked at Sam. "One of you's got a sense of humor."

Sam smiled back, dimples galore.

"You both seemed to show up the day God gave out looks, though, didn't ya?"

"Addie."

Her sharp green eyes shot up at the big man.

"I'm trying to…" He paused, choosing his words. "…settle up here."

"Uh-huh."

An awkward silence followed. Addie threw the big fella looks that if they could, would have been considered weapons in some states. A few beats of tension and facial tics, followed up with unsaid words, then Wilfred cleared his throat. "This is Addie, boys. My wife."

"Nice to meet you," Sam spoke first.

"Really?" Dean grinned, looking in surprise back and forth at the couple. "You're married?"

Wilfred raised his eyebrows. "Six years."

"Yep." Addie grinned back. She had a great smile, nice white teeth underneath pale pink lips. "Six years…five months." She swished her hips past them, and leaned against the counter, her head bowed. She breathed against the glass, lips coming within dangerously close contact. Quietly, she started tracing hearts on the misty vapors left there.

"Well," Dean observed, "must…really be love."

Wilfred scowled over at his wife. "Oh, God, I can't stand her."

Addie reached over and pinched his oversized cheeks. "Can't win 'em all, can ya, baby?"

The mechanic pulled away from her snappy fingers and rubbed at the red marks. "Cut your nails."

The redhead looked tiny against the man, but there was no doubt who could take whom in a dark alley. "Where's Lemon Pie?"

"In the office."

Addie's head tilted in that direction, her gaze looking through the glass at her daughter watching a small TV on a desk. "What is she eating?"

"Uh…" Wilfred pointed. "He gave her a candy bar."

Red hair flew as she twirled to face Dean. "A candy bar?" She let out a line of curse words, her hands flying into the air like someone who'd been off their meds a day too long.

Dean startled. "Just…part of one."

"Why? Do you have to take her home tonight? Do you have to put her to bed? Don't you know not to give candy to a young 'un right before they go to sleep?"

Dean blinked. "She wanted—"

"Of course she wanted it!" Addie cupped her hands over her mouth. "She's four! That's what four-year-olds do!" She dropped her hands and huffed at him, then turned and stomped into the small office.

Dean glanced at Wilfred, then back at the open door. "I'm…sorry," he called. Too little, too late.

"Bill, um…" Sam stumbled over his words. He looked over at Dean, then back to the big mechanic and stated the obvious. "You know, we don't have a way to get up the mountain."

"Where you headed?" Addie yelled back.

"I'm sending them up to Sally's. She has a cabin waiting for them."

More words tumbled from the redhead's lips. Nice ass and warm place, then Addie's lips parted, beaming big. "Well, you better get going. We're supposed to get a snowstorm, and if you get stuck up there…" She hesitated. "Well, you don't wanna get stuck up there."

The large man sighed. "I keep a coupla loaners. We get you folks in from time to time." He reached for the spare keys hanging on a rusty nail. "Got a '98 Windstar or a '94 Impala."

"Impala," the boys answered together.

The yellow-green grin widened. "Thought ya might." He handed the keys over to Sam's waiting hand. "Grab whatcha need." The door from the office to the garage opened automatically, and he let them pass through. Bill limped behind Dean, pulling on the big doors that opened the back of the garage to the outside.

"Need any help?" Dean called over.

"Got it. I may be old, but I still got it. I'm big and strong."

"I just noticed," Dean gestured to the man's leg, "that you hurt your…foot."

"Nah. Besides, it's my leg, not my foot. Goddamn Addie shot me."

Dean's brows raised again. "She shot you?"

"Yeah." He pushed the last part of the door open and pointed to the '94 Impala. "Wasn't too bad, though. The time she stabbed me, well," he rubbed his oversized tummy, "that one took a little time to get over."

Sam had taken the opportunity Dean had given him to grab the duffels and ransack the trunk, picking and choosing their most important weapons to go into the gunnysack. He slung the bag over his shoulder and gripped the clothing duffels in his hands, then nodded his appreciation to Bill as he reached Dean. "Got the map?"

Dean patted his front pocket. "Both of them."

They walked through the back lot to the parked Impala. Dean's baby's cousin looked cold and dry, no character behind the silver hunk of metal.

Sam opened the front door and cracked a smile at his brother as a familiar groan greeted their ears. He hit the automatic locks and threw the duffels into the backseat.

"Can't cheat on my baby." Dean grinned and crawled into the passenger side.

"Hey!" Bill called out.

Dean's eyes flicked out the door as Sam turned around. A large snowflake fell to the ground, followed quickly by another. He sighed. Great. "Yeah?" they asked together.

"You guys got a gun, don't ya?"

Sam glanced at Dean. Hesitantly, he answered, "Yeah."

Bill waved as Addie joined him, Lemon Pie snug on her hip. "Watch out for the lions."

Dean stretched his body across the uncomfortable seat, his neck craning out Sam's door. "Come again?"

"Mountain lions! There's a mean one up there. Been attacking people!" Addie yelled back.

Sam and Dean exchanged a quick look.

"You know, cougars!" Bill hollered. "Lotsa them!"

Dean's eyes fell as his body dragged back across the seat, allowing Sam to slide in next to him.

"Shit," Dean huffed.

Sam shoved the key into the ignition; the engine turned over on the first try. They pulled out of the lot and onto to the desolate road just as the snow started to fall.

WWW

The mountainside was steep and rocky. It didn't matter how slow Sam drove up the damn thing, the Chevy was like a sled. The tires spun on black ice all the way up, then locked tight as they skidded down. The road turned and twisted, running into smaller hills and jamming into one-lane cliffs.

Dean's hand was pressed against the dashboard. The wipers slapped in a whumping rhythm that reminded Sam of a body falling to the ground, over and over again.

They'd passed Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, and Joan Crawford. Dean had tried to lighten the mood, offering his unsolicited opinion on whom he would sleep with and whom he wouldn't. "Do her. Doable. Psycho-bitch." A beat. "Yeah, I'd do her."

But as they reached each road, the next seemed to be farther away. A couple of miles between the first two, five miles before the next. They drove maybe eight or nine miles again before Sam saw Dean's finger pointing. "There. There's another one coming up."

Sam let his foot off the accelerator.

"Grace Kelly." Dean's mouth tightened. He let out a tense breath as Sam kept going. Then he grumbled, "I'd bag her."

Sam's eyes glided across the seat. He held his tongue and looked back at the road. The snow was coming down harder as the car crept up the mountain. Tiny pellets of ice soon joined the tapestry of white, and the Impala started making screeching sounds so as not to be left out.

"Ah, man, I don't think…" Dean let out a long sigh. "We're not gonna make it."

Sam kept driving. Kept his foot planted on the pedal. The next sign. The next sign would be Rita Hayworth. He readjusted his grip on the wheel and blinked a few times, trying to relax his eyes to the happenings outside. Shoulda just slept in big Willie's garage.

"I'm so tired of the goddamn snow," Dean's voice interrupted his thoughts.

Sam nodded. The Chevy shifted to the right. Sam easily brought it back over to the center of the lane.

"And the ice."

Yeah. Sam kind of got that as they slipped again, the tires on the box-on-wheels trying to stay on the road. Or wherever the road had disappeared to.

"Want some music on?"

Sam shook his head. His knuckles had turned white as he held fast to the wheel like it was going to fall off. His mouth was pulled into a terse frown, and he released a sound he hadn't used since he was a teenager. He remembered his brother had taken him out to teach him to drive. That time Sam had skidded down a muddy embankment after an Oklahoma rain. Dean hadn't even gotten mad at him. He'd coaxed him easily, almost soothingly, until Sam had been able to get the Impala out of the muck.

"Am I okay to keep talking or…" Dean paused.

"Keep talking."

"Okay." Dean nodded back. "This Impala kind of sucks."

"Sucks ass," Sam agreed, his hands relaxing a little.

Dean grinned. "Yeah, if we were in our car, we could've made it up the mountain an hour ago."

Our car. Had been Dad's. Then Dean's. Then Sam's. Ours. Sam's left hand dropped off the steering wheel. "We wouldn't have made it halfway up this hill with the Impala. The first bit of heavy snow, you would have made me drive her back down."

Dean let out a short laugh. "Probably." He looked out the window to his right, his hand cupping over the glass. "I think there's a cabin out there."

Sam took a quick glimpse. He didn't see anything. It didn't matter. He needed to concentrate on the road. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Dean nodded, turning back to Sam. "Maybe we're almost there."

God, that would be nice. "Is the cabin close?"

Sam waited as Dean calculated the distance of the twinkling lights. "No."

Sam couldn't help the release of the sigh he had been holding in. The driving was getting to him. His neck was stiff, so he rolled his shoulders and bobbled his head from side to side. He knew they couldn't just pull over and switch drivers, though. They'd never get going again.

"You okay?" Dean asked, his eyes steady in Sam's direction. "Want to just stop and sleep in the car tonight?"

Sam's neck craned in his brother's direction. "What? You're kidding me, right? It's like negative two outside! And I can barely fit in the Impala. I can't fit in this."

"We could've taken the minivan."

"Yeah, you in a minivan." He chuckled. "Besides, it wouldn't have made it a mile in this white crap."

Dean smiled. "We would've had to crawl back down."

"Still might."

Dean's smile turned into a toothy grin, glowing neon against the darkness of the car's interior. "Remember that time we were in New York? We were checking out a haunted house and…you were, like, I don't know, fourteen?"

Sam looked over, his eyes narrowing. "No."

"Sure you do," Dean insisted, opening his arms, eyebrows toggling. "We were living in that apartment above the porn shop."

Sam smiled then. His shoulders instantly relaxed, loosening at the thought of store-bought sex for free. "Yeah, outside of Buffalo?"

"Right." Dean nodded back. "Dad took us on one of his famous routine hunts. Remember? He thought it was just haunted by the dead mother, but—"

"The kids were haunting it, too."

"All nine of them."

"And they wanted to keep us off their yard…"

"So they started a fight with us."

Sam grinned. "A snowball fight."

"Dude, they totally wiped the ground with us."

"Well, yeah. There were nine of them!"

Dean started laughing, his shoulders shaking. "That one little girl had a hell of an arm." He looked over at Sam. "She chased you…"

Sam was laughing now, too. She had chased him. Ran him to the end of the snowy yard and then thought she could kiss him. Almost succeeded, too. If only she could have hung on to anything of human substance. Sam shook his head, letting the memory slowly burn away. Just like the kids had. He tried to refocus on the road, looking for signs, keeping the car moving. He reached up and wiped at his eyes, clearing them of the moisture that had happily collected there.

"Sam." Dean's voice was stern with a hint of panic.

Sam glanced over. His brother was sitting with his back against the door of the Impala, staring back, his eyes wide, his face pale. Sam smirked, his mouth ticked up in a worried, nervous smile. "What?"

"It's not a cougar."

Sam felt the hairs on the back of his neck prick away from his skin. His foot started to lift from the gas pedal, and his left hand slowly returned to the steering wheel. He turned his head to the front of the car, watching the snow fall in a chaotic frenzy. Palming the wheel to the left as the road started to bend, he skimmed his eyes over to the driver's side window.

It stared back.

"Go!" Dean yelled.

Sam pressed the accelerator harder than he'd intended. The tires couldn't keep their traction, spinning in circles as he tried to make it around the curve of the road.

It was running next to them, its body long and sleek, smooth like rubber. The skin was translucent, seeming to glitter like stars under the dark sky, large blue veins visible on its head.

"Faster!" Dean reached for the wheel as they rounded the corner.

Sam kept his foot on the gas, pressing his toe onto the tip at three-second intervals. He watched the odometer. Thirty-five miles per hour. Forty. Forty-five.

The eyes were still staring at him, large and bloodshot. Very, very human-like. Sam chanced a full-on look, his neck turning quickly. He eyed the creature as its long legs ran next to the car, its body not tiring. It didn't seem to mind the temperature of the snow or the treachery of the road. It apparently adapted well. Or maybe it was a local.

"Right!"

Dean's sharp warning brought his attention back to the road, and Sam turned the wheel. This turn was much harsher, more jagged, than the previous one when they were going forty. Now at forty-five—Sam glanced at the odometer—make that fifty miles per hour, the Impala didn't want to make it easy on them. It fishtailed, and Sam had to talk himself and the car through the snow. He could see his brother out of the corner of his eye, fastening his seatbelt and bracing himself with a hand on the dashboard.

"You buckled?"

Sam swallowed and pushed the accelerator a little more as they made it around the curve. His eyes skated to the left, only to see the unearthly freak of nature still there, still staring at him. And now he thought maybe, just maybe, it was grinning.

Probably knew a good joke they didn't.

In the edge of his vision, he saw the thing shift its body, then there was a loud thump. The Chevy pushed to the right, and Sam blinked hard as he steadied it back on the road.

"Jesus Christ!"

"What should we do?" Sam yelled over.

Dean's mouth twitched.

"Should I stop?"

"Why?"

"We could get out and shoot it." Sam glanced over.

His brother seemed to be contemplating that for a few seconds.

"Dean—"

Dean's finger pointed across Sam's chest. "Rita Hayworth! Rita Hayworth!"

Sam looked out the windshield, barely catching the road sign as it soared by them. The thing slammed its body into the side of the car again, edging the Impala farther over this time.

"Son of a bitch!" Dean shouted. "You missed the goddamn turn!"

Sam glared back at him. "What do you want me to do, Dean?"

There was a moment of silence where Sam tried to take in the oddity of the situation. His toe kept pushing on the gas, the snow kept falling from the sky, the '94 Impala kept trying to veer to the right, and the thing…the thing still stared.

"Roll down your window." Dean pulled his Colt out.

"You can't be serious."

Dean leaned forward, stretching his arms out in front of him, toward Sam's window. "I won't miss."

Sam shut his eyes for a brief second. He let his left hand drift to the console on the door. "It's gonna grab me."

"Not if I shoot it first." Dean swallowed.

Sam hit the automatic window button and immediately felt the change in temperature. The wind blew his hair back as the air lacerated his cheeks and cooled his sweaty forehead. His eyes squinted, watching the road as it turned to the left, the odometer's arrow pulling more to the right. Fifty-eight. Fifty-nine.

Dean pulled the hammer back. The creature's large eyes glistened as the window pulled down, its mouth spreading wide into a grotesque grin. It inched closer to the car and its mouth kept opening wider and wider.

Oh, God, Sam thought. It's going to swallow me whole. Dean couldn't miss. He felt his brother lean in closer, knowing his aim wasn't his best as they rocked and rolled along the mountainside.

"Move back," Dean whispered.

Sam complied, pushing his body against the seat until his back protested, giving his brother a better view of the creature.

The large, veined head froze while the rubbery body kept racing. Large, hollowed eye sockets opened ever wider as its pupils swung down like a slot machine, curiously eyeing the barrel of the gun pointed at it.

Dean didn't blink. He didn't move. But then the thing suddenly wasn't there anymore. "Where'd it go?" Dean asked, watching the side of the car.

Sam glanced over. "It's gone." He darted his head out the window, looking down. Just the snowy road.

Bam!

The Impala took a hard spin to the right. Sam fought with the wheel, pulling it back to the left.

"Damn!" Dean turned in his seat. "There!"

It was at the rear of the vehicle now, slamming its lanky body into the side of the trunk.

"Go faster, Sam!"

Sam pressed on the accelerator. He watched as the road disappeared up ahead into a wall of rocks. There, directly before it, was a sharp right turn. "Dean…"

"Go!"

Thump. Thump. Wham! The car pushed to the right as Sam let up on the gas and turned the wheel dangerously in the same direction. There was no way he could straighten it out. They were going sideways down the remainder of the road. Snow kicked up, most of it getting caught under the uncooperative wheels.

Dean reached over and pushed on the steering column as the trunk rocked from the earth and the creature, which was still pushing and prodding them. The Chevy made one last feeble attempt to stay on the road. There was a brief second where Sam had his hands on the wheel and thought maybe they had gained the upper hand.

Then the translucent skin was back at Sam's open window, hissing and breathing in his ear. Sam's eyes flicked over to its ravenous face, its eyes that wanted too much. The grin returned, and its long hands came up and pushed on the Impala's door.

There was a loud slam, but Sam couldn't register where it had come from. A crunch followed. The car funneled off the road and skidded to the right, down over the rocky barrier separating the pavement from the hazards below.

Up was down and down was up. The car tumbled too fast for Sam to tell what was right and what was wrong. He crashed into the driver's side door as it squished in. Glass shattered as his body slammed into Dean. The roof caved from above as his abdomen smashed into the steering wheel.

A loud, deafening pop was the last thing Sam heard as his body came to rest, the car settling on its roof, digging deep into the snow with an animalistic groan. He took a deep breath and really hoped the warm sticky moisture running down his chest was from the creature, not him.

The dark interior blurred his vision. Sam thought he saw the emblem of the Chevy gleaming back at him, and tried to stay with it, keep alert. But the next thing he knew, he was falling slowly backward in the dark, his brother's name on the tip of his tongue.

Playlist:

Misty Mountain Hop (in reference to) performed by Led Zeppelin

Flowers on the Wall performed by the Statler Brothers