Neal was running through the woods, the trail rough as he stumbled headlong at top speed. His left hand held someone else's hand in his, the person starting to lag a bit as he felt the pull against his arm. They were tiring... he was tiring too but they couldn't stop. It wasn't an option.
Suddenly the other hand slipped from his and he heard a soft cry as the figure made a sound. He turned and saw them on the ground, their silhouette masked against the dim moonlight above and the trees around them.
"ALEX!" He came to a stop and turned, starting to go back when he heard it. There was a horrible low guttural growl then another as he saw them appear around her. He was only a few yards away but far enough they ignored him for her.
"RUN NEAL! RUN!" Alex' voice screamed as she scooted back on her butt on the caliche' trail, backing up against a tree as the figures surrounded her, red eyes glittering in the darkness. Neal started back. He wasn't going to leave her. He looked around as he made his way forward, three figures surrounding the young woman their growls evident. He found a large stick and picked it up, starting to run forward as they closed in.
"STAY AWAY FROM HER!" He screamed as he approached but it was too late as they attacked her, the sound horrifying. Neal felt sick, his stomach churning at the sight but he continued towards them, stick in hand determined to do something to defend the young woman and himself. He was almost there when he saw the results of their attack and stopped short in his tracks. She was dead, eyes staring up at him blankly in the dim glow of moonlight from above, her face covered in blood. Neal backed away slowly from the scene still holding the large branch in his hand as he felt nausea and sadness wash over him.
"Alex..." He whispered sadly, terror in his heart at what he had seen when something else made him jump. Those red eyes were looking up from their kill at him now, muzzles covered in thick dark liquid that matched their eyes. Neal stepped back realizing he could do nothing now for his friend, the pack looking at him hungrily. He was too close, backing up slowly then a bit faster as they started to growl at him, the sound making him shudder. He drew back a bit further, their members slowly trying to flank him from the sides but he wasn't going to let that happen as he turned and ran for his life.
Neal was flying down the path, the branch he'd lifted forgotten as he tossed it aside and ran as fast as he could. The path may have been rough but he flew deer-like finding his footing as he went and adjusting in the darkness, the white stones of the trail glittering some in the dim moonlight. He was only vaguely aware it was a full moon, the meaning not lost on him as he continued his headlong rush. Then he saw it, sprinting as best he could towards the structure. Their growls and hisses were close behind, their breath nearly at his throat he thought as he pulled open the door and ran inside slamming it shut and throwing the bolt.
There was a loud thumping sound as figures hit against the dark wooden door. It rattled in its frame, the hinges groaning as they fought to stay in place. Neal covered his ears, stepping back trying not to hear them and closing his eyes. He saw a flash of Alex' dead body and opened his eyes again, the pounding at the door changing ever so slightly as a voice began to speak. It was an inhuman voice, a sound like he had never heard before and would never want to hear again.
"Thieeeeeeeeef... opeeeeen uuuupp."
Neal moved farther from the door into the small cabin hoping he could find a way out when he noticed the small chink of light at his feet. He turned to see the open shutters of a window off to his left. A shadow passed by the window, breaking the path of light till a shattering of wood and glass made him jump, the shutters breaking into so many splinters and the figure stared up at him with glowing red eyes. Slowly the form, that of a wolf, grew and transformed to something humanoid. Neal had moved as far into the corner of the dark building as he could, the small cabin empty and devoid of anywhere to hide or any weapon. The figure laughed.
"Thought you could hide from us? We take care of thiiiiieeeefffs like youuuu." The voice rattled at him, Neal seeing those red eyes crouch before him as hot breath touched his cheek and the smell of blood filled his nostrils... Alex' blood he thought as those red eyes burned into his mind.
Neal woke up breathing hard. He was sitting up in bed looking around his room, his eyes staring terrified around the apartment as he started to wake up from the nightmare. His heart was beating fast, pulse racing as he sat up along the edge of his bed and tried to calm down.
"It was just a nightmare... nothing else." He whispered to himself, his body covered with sweat as he wiped at his face. Neal felt as if he had just run a marathon his heart was still racing despite everything but he was starting to calm down, slowly his eyes moving towards the clock on the nightstand. It read 5 AM, his hand running through his sweat slicked hair tiredly as he realized he would have to be up in another hour or so to get ready for work. Peter wouldn't want him to be late, they had an important case they were working on but at the moment, Neal wasn't sure he was going to get back to sleep any time soon. He sighed, turning to slide back into bed rather than get up and do anything.
"It was a dream... that's all it was." He whispered, a foolish smile on his face as he tried to think how stupid it was of him to have a nightmare much less be afraid of it. He rolled over away from the clock to go back to sleep when he screamed, quickly moving backwards till he fell off the bed.
Neal stared at the bloody figure of his friend laying in the bed beside him. He looked down at his hands and there was blood on them as he looked around the room and tried to figure out what was going on.
He couldn't have...
"No... not you, thiiieeeeeffff." Neal turned slowly, the familiar voice coming from the terrace, the curtained doors rattling softly in the night breeze, soft moonlight wafting through. A man-like figure stood there, eyes glowing crimson as they burned in the darkness. Neal moved away from the bed and the terrace but another growl caught his attention, one of the wolves from his dream by the main door blocking his escape. He moved back towards the kitchen, only one more escape open to him. Neal didn't hesitate as he saw the two figures coming at him slowly, predators waiting for him to trip or fall. He reached back for the door and slowly pulled it open, running inside as they jumped, their bodies hitting the door as he slammed it shut and locked it.
"Cooooommme out thiiiieeefff!" He heard them taunting him as he moved back into the bathroom and ducked into the shower, cowering, the young man curling up into a ball as he shivered in the darkened space. He could hear the knocking on the door as someone called his name and banged on the wooden frame. He covered his ears, trying not to hear, waiting for them to leave him be but they kept on till finally everything went quiet.
Neal took his hands from his ears, still curled up but listening, the silence almost as deafening as the noise his pursuers had made. He finally sat up, uncertain what to think when he felt the warm breath against the back of his neck.
Neal felt the teeth dig into his shoulder just below his neck, the huge figure holding him down as he struggled to escape. They were heavy, the half-wolf half-man keeping him trapped as it tore at him, their fangs pushed heavily into his flesh. He was crying, screaming and yelling as he tried to fight, one hand reaching up to scratch at the figure. The beast moved back as he saw his nails slice into the animal's neck but it continued to hold him securely, eyes glowing in the darkness.
"Let me go!" He screamed, striking at the figure as it tried to hold him down.
"Neal. Calm down! Neal!"
Someone was speaking to him. Neal opening up his eyes and looking up at the figure holding him now. Peter was there, the agent holding him securely. Neal paused looking around and seeing they were in the walk-in shower, his mind confused a moment as he tried to figure out what was going on.
"Neal... Neal answer me!" Peter's voice sounded angry but more than that the man sounded concerned, worried as Neal found himself coming back to wakefulness.
"Peter? Where did it go? Where..." He felt his strength leaving him, leaning back heavily against the tile of the shower before his eyes rolled back and he slumped into unconsciousness.
(Earlier that morning...)
Peter felt a nudge as someone tried to wake him. He made a small snort in his sleep, rolling over but then felt a pillow hit him hard across the head.
"PETER!" El's voice rang out as he sat up dazed and confused at what was going on. He could just see the flash of his wife's eyes in the darkened room.
"Your phone is ringing, Peter." She was sitting up looking at him, Peter getting up to grab the phone and then the pillow as he handed the latter back to his wife and answered his cell.
"Burke..." Peter woke up immediately as he listened to the frantic voice on the other end.
"June... June calm down. I don't... I'll be right there." Peter looked at the time and saw it was just after 5 am as he quickly left the bed and walked across the room. He was feeling around in the darkness till a light blinded him as El turned the bedside lamp on.
"Honey, what's wrong. Why is June calling?" She rolled out of bed and stood beside him, handing him a sweatshirt and some jeans as he smiled gratefully. He shook his head, shrugging into the clothes as quickly as he could.
"I don't know. She sounded upset and said Neal had locked himself in the bathroom and was screaming." Peter had finished dressing as he said that, pulling on some socks as he sat down on the edge of the bed and slipped his feet into some old sneakers. He would have to call Hughes about being late once he figured out what was going on with his partner. Peter kissed his wife, hugging her as he started for the bedroom door. She padded beside him, grasping his arm.
"Your phone, Peter." He had left it on the nightstand as he walked out in a rush to see what was wrong with Neal. He took it from her, hugging her again and kissing her as she glanced up at him worriedly.
"Call me." She said as he walked out the door, a soft nod from him. She watched him from the door as he pulled away from the curb. Peter sighed unsure what to expect as he drove the 30 minutes to June's and hoped it was nothing bad. He had brought his gun since June had sounded so frantic but he hoped he wouldn't need it.
Peter pulled into a spot across the street from June's palacious estate, running quickly across the street and up to the door. June was already waiting for him, opening the door as he approached.
"Thank goodness you're here, Peter!" She closed the door behind him as she rushed him inside and hurried him up the hall into the foyer and towards the stairs. Peter felt a bit off, letting her hurrying him along but curious what was happening.
"June, what's wrong? I didn't quite understand other than that Neal had locked himself in the bathroom?" He was trying to ask as many questions as he could as she continued to lead him upstairs and into the room Neal occupied. The room was a mess, the curtains to the terrace torn and shredded, glass on the floor where part of one French door had been broken and small droplets of blood along the floor moving away from the center of the room towards the bathroom by the kitchenette. Peter stopped when he saw the back of the door to the room. There were long deep claw marks in the wood and into the frame. The room was bathed in soft light from the moon and city's glow outside and a single lamp June had apparently turned on. As they approached the bathroom door, Peter noticed more claw marks.
"He's in there. He was screaming earlier but he went quiet a little while after I called you. I don't know what happened." June sounded worried, afraid as she clung to the agent. He patted her gently telling her to go downstairs and he would deal with it. She handed him a key, hugging him again before she left the room. Peter removed his gun when he realized there were no other figures around and placed it in a nearby drawer. He didn't want to take a risk he'd hurt Neal as he quietly unlocked the door to the bathroom and opened it up. He pushed the key into his pocket, peering down the short hall into the bath.
"Neal?" Peter called out but suddenly he heard screams again, just a few feet ahead. He ran forward reaching for the gun he no longer had. He cursed moving cautiously around the corner to find Neal thrashing in some kind of convulsive state inside the shower. He's eyes were rolled back in his head and he was shaking violently.
"Neal? Oh God..." He quickly moved forward, crouching by the young man and sitting him up but suddenly Neal attacked him, nails already broken and raw from whatever else he had been through raking at his neck. Peter winced but he managed to grasp the young man's wrist in his hand and hold him back. Those blue eyes weren't seeing him, a glassy look to them as they reacted to some unseen figure. Neal continued to thrash, Peter just barely able to contain him.
"Let me go!" Neal screamed, striking at the Peter as if at some attacker. The agent pressed the young man back against the tiled wall of the walk-in shower and called out to him.
"Neal. Calm down! Neal!"
Neal blinked a few times, the glassy look leaving his eyes as he looked up at Peter. The agent continued to hold him securely until he was certain the young man was back to himself. Neal paused looking around as if confused a moment. He looked as if he wasn't sure where he was.
"Neal... Neal answer me!" Peter called as Neal finally stopped fighting him. Neal blinked again, his body loosening up but still tense from his hallucination or fit. Peter watched his friend continue to look around anxiously as if for something unseen.
"Peter? Where did it go? Where..." Neal didn't finish his sentence as he leaned back heavily against the tile of the shower, his eyes rolling back and he slumped into unconsciousness. Peter nudged the young man, the consultant leaning heavily against him as he tried to wake him up again.
Peter sighed, the young man having passed out from exhaustion it seemed. He still didn't understand what he had just seen, turning when he heard a noise to find June standing a few feet away.
"Is he ok? I heard the noise and wanted to be sure..." She gave a worried yet sheepish look, Peter nodding.
"I don't know. He passed out but he was wild." Peter lifted the young man up in a fireman's carry and with June leading the way he dropped the young man onto his bed. He was breathing heavily, the work out from trying to calm and hold back the panicked young man having worn him out. June gave a gasp and gently touched Peter on the neck. He winced and looked to find her hands had blood and some had dripped down to his collar and shirt.
"What happened in there, Peter?" She grabbed some tissue and handed it to him as she went back to the bathroom and came back with a small medical kit. She pulled out some wipes, leading Peter to the sofa where she started to dab at the wound gently. Peter tried to shake her off but she made a face like El when she wanted him to do something so he let her finish tending his wound.
"I don't know. Neal scratched at me like I was attacking him but it was as if he didn't know I was there. He was trapped in some kind of nightmare or something. Anything unusual happen lately?" Peter winced again as she applied a bit of antiseptic then carefully placed a bandage over the scratch.
"It wasn't very deep but I'm surprised he did this. I've never seen him so wild. Maybe I should call my doctor to come see him. I... I don't know what to do, Peter." She sounded upset, her eyes wet with tears suddenly as she put the contents of the first aid kit back and hunched over a bit. Peter didn't know what to do not just because he was bad with tears but Neal... he was concerned having witness everything he'd seen. He was beginning to think there had not been a visitor or break-in. That's what scared him worse.
"Wait... Alex. She was here last night but I saw her leave. She said good-night to me. I let her out myself. I heard Neal pacing the floor after that for some time then it was quiet. Could that be why?" She didn't seem worried about Alex but Peter stood, limping over to the unconscious figure of Neal. The young man's chest moved up and down noticeably, lips parted, a ragged breath escaping as if he had been running clearly audible. A thin sheen of sweat layered his skin, his white tee soaked through. Peter could see the veins on the young man's neck pulse, a flush to his cheeks. Neal looked tense, body taut even in sleep as he lay stiffly on the bed. Peter grasped his friend's hand in his own, the young man's skin hot to the touch but not with fever.
"Neal... why? I just... don't understand." He saw the torn nails of Neal's fingers, looking closer to see wood and blood beneath them. Peter was looking at something, spreading the young man's tense hand as he scratched it gently over his palm then moved to the door and looked at the scratch marks there. His brown eyes widened, turning to look at the young man laying there across the room. June noticed his look.
"Peter... what's wrong? What did you see?" She stood and walked over, pulling her robe closer around her. He sighed and pointed.
"These marks. Neal made them. I'm certain of it. Nobody broke in here but... it doesn't make sense." He cussed to himself silently, his mind trying to figure out what this had to do with Alex' presence last night. Peter looked around then saw what he wanted and walked quickly over, grabbing up the small cell as he scrolled through and found what he needed. June seemed uncertain of something.
"That's Neal's phone, Peter." Her tone changed slightly less friendly and he nodded.
"I know but I need to contact Mozz if not Alex. They'd know what was wrong." He pleaded with her a moment silently before she nodded.
"I considered the same thing earlier. Go ahead. I'm sure they'll forgive you." She smiled softly, Peter smirking at her comment as he dialed a number. He didn't want to spy, this was his friend but in this case it was an emergency. The number rang 3 times before it picked up.
"Neal, this better be good."
Mozzie's sleepy voice spoke fairly rapidly, Peter swallowing nervously.
"Mozz..." He spoke slowly so the little guy knew it was him. There was a long silence making him think the call had dropped when he heard the cough.
"Suit... why do you have Neal's phone." It was more a accusatory comment than real question but Peter answered.
"Some thing's wrong with Neal, Mozz. I need to contact Alex." Peter tried to tone down his agent side, pleading to Neal's friend as a person. He heard quiet again, soft breathing on the other end before Mozz spoke again.
"Can I talk to Neal." Mozz's tone still sounded suspicious. Peter sighed.
"He's unconscious, Mozz. June's with me. June, tell Mozz what's going on." Peter handed the phone over, waiting while she quietly chatted with Mozz. He was watching Neal, the young man sleeping like some kind of statue, his body still very taut, hands clenched.
"Very well, see you in a few minutes." June hung up the phone and returned it to the nightstand.
"Haversham's coming over. He wants to see what's up before involving Alex." She shrugged, moving over to Neal's side and throwing a blanket over him. The young man moaned suddenly, then both of them froze at the next sound.
"Did you hear that June? What..." Peter sounded afraid, pausing as he heard the sound again. It was a growl. A low guttural growl from deep in Neal's throat, his face starting to contort ever so slightly, lips parting to reveal his teeth. June stepped back away from the young man, fear on her face. Peter felt the same inclination but he had to find out why this was happening.
"Neal... wake up."
The young man's face continued to contort, another growl escaping his lips. Peter tried again.
"Neal! Wake up!"
He watched the young man's lips continue to curl back like an angry animal, fingers stiff as he scraped his nails over the mattress at his side, the sound of sheets tearing in the process. Peter paled, worry evident in his brown eyes as he watched what was going on.
"Neal... It's Peter. Wake up!"
He saw the young man's face contort, lips relaxing, hands unclenching a bit as slowly his whole body slumped and he was panting as if from effort. Neal's eyes fluttered ever so slightly before they opened up, dull blue eyes staring up at them. Peter sat on the edge of the bed grasping Neal's hand in his.
"Hey..." He didn't finish as Neal's hand squeezed his tightly, nails digging into his flesh, face tight again.
"Pe...ter... Help... me..." Neal's voice was tight and forced, his pupils turning tiny before they rolled back and closed again.
It was a short time later when Mozzie showed up, the door bell ringing as June ran down to answer the door and came back with the little guy following. Mozz peered at the scene looking a bit uncertainly between June and Peter sitting at Neal's side. After a moment he walked forward as he joined the agent and placed a hand on Neal's forehead and frowned. He was about to say something when he noted the bandage on Peter's neck.
"Suit... what happened? Did someone attack you?" He actually sounded concerned. Peter nodded but he wasn't sure how to explain it.
"Yeah... Neal did." He just said it seeing Mozzie about to spout something before he stopped and looked at him over his glasses.
"Neal... attacked... YOU?" He sounded dumbfounded and slowly his manner turned suspicious as if he had walked into a trap. June chimed in around then as she watched the scene from the sofa, her manner worried.
"He's telling the truth, Mozz. I woke up and Neal was tearing up the apartment. I thought someone had attacked him. I was so scared I called Peter. I didn't know what else to do." She paused a moment before continuing, Mozz looking between the both them still dubiously.
"Peter showed up and went into the bathroom, Neal had locked himself inside and then he attacked Peter scratching him on the neck. He was going to hurt himself. He was acting crazy. Look at the bed sheets." She pointed and Mozz looked seeing the scratches that had been torn in the expensive sheets. He seemed to make note of the ragged torn nails of his friend and then the room around him as if taking it all in together at once.
"Crap... This isn't good, Suit... June. I think I need to call Alex." He pulled the phone from his pocket making his way out onto the terrace through the partially broken door. The sun was rising by now, soft rays of early morning filling the sky with purples and deep blues that were lightening. The moon had set long ago, a few stars still in the sky twinkling. It was only a few minutes later and Mozz stepped back inside.
"She didn't pick up. I'll try again later." Mozz looked a bit nervous, pacing the room then stopping and pacing again after a few. Peter wanted answers but Mozz seemed to have clammed up so he had to wait for Alex to hopefully call back. He wasn't fond of her but if he had to talk to her he would for Neal's sake.
June stood up as the doorbell rang heading back downstairs. Voices could be heard from downstairs as Peter perked up hearing another familiar voice with June's. The agent looked up when he heard their footsteps and turned to see his wife standing beside June.
"How is he?" She asked quietly. El walked over to be at Neal's side. She hugged Peter tightly just before she gently brushed a few stray hairs from Neal's face. She looked worried, his face pale, cheeks flushed red as if he'd been running.
"I don't know. He woke up for a bit but then he was out again. He seems to think something is chasing him but I don't know what he's so afraid of." He continued to hold the younger man's hand, Neal's knuckles white from gripping so hard. Peter wanted to pull away but felt it would be bad so he didn't. El nodded, continuing to brush at the younger man's hair her eyes watering with tears.
"Peter, this room; did something happen? Tell me." She was looking at her husband but he just shrugged unsure how much he should tell her but he was a terrible liar when it came to his wife so he finally nodded.
"I'll tell you in a moment. I just realized I need to call Hughes and let him know we won't be in. He's not going to like that." The agent sighed, managing to remove his hand from the younger man's grip as he walked out onto the terrace. El meanwhile took over his spot and sat, holding Neal's hand in his as she continued to gently comb at his hair with her fingers. She thought she saw his lips curl into a soft smile.
"Neal, what happened here?" She was about to reach down to kiss his forehead when his eyes popped open, startling her. El was staring down at those deep blue eyes when something unexpected happened. Neal sat up and wrapped his arms tightly around her, his cheek brushing hers as Mozz and June watched.
"Neal?" June asked as she stood from the sofa and walked over. Mozz was up and moving closer as well only slowly. Neal's eyes were strange, the pupils small tiny points in a sea of blue. El looked a bit nervous, his hands and arms holding her so tightly she could barely move.
"Neal..." Mozz tried to get the younger man to answer but then everyone stopped at the next sound out of his mouth. A voice unlike Neal's spoke and then the younger man slumped back and passed out across the bed. El moved aside, her eyes wide with terror at what had happened. Peter walked back in, pushing his phone back into his pocket noticing everyone standing around with a strange look on their face. It was his wife's face that made him panic, El moving towards him once he came back into the room.
"Peter!" She clung to him as he watched the others looking at Neal fearfully it seemed, the agent confused till Mozz spoke up.
"Suit... this is bad. Really bad."
Author's Note: Figured a good scary Halloween story with our favorite cast might be interesting. Enjoy!