The weather was surprisingly pleasant, considering the fact that they were holed up in a run-down motel just south of Moab, Utah. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze wafting through the room, and if Dean pretended hard enough the stale smell of the old room was barely noticeable. He was leafing through a thick, leather-bound book, though both he and Sam knew that he wasn't really reading.
It was a fairly simple hunt. Something was pulling souls out of the locals. Most of the victims were children, and whatever it was it was systematically working through the houses closest to the river. It had "shtriga" written all over it, but once they'd arrived in town, the Winchester brothers couldn't find any of the physical evidence that usually accompanied a shtriga attack. So Sam had insisted that they hit the books, which, Dean mused, was par for the course for Sam. His little brother was poring over an equally large, equally boring-looking book when he nodded knowingly. Dean braced himself.
"It's a kappa," Sam said, turning the book on the tabletop and pushing it towards his older brother. He tapped his finger against the picture splashed across the top half of the page. Dean pulled the book closer to him, taking in the ugly looking creature and frowning while Sam continued. "It's a Japanese water spirit that lures its victims to the water and sucks out their shirikodama, their life force."
"Kiss of death?" Dean guessed.
"Not quite," Sam corrected gingerly, "It gets the shirikodama through the victim's anus." Dean considered this for a moment before grimacing and shaking his head as if to rid himself of the scarring mental image.
"What I wouldn't give for a succubus. Spiteful bitches, but at least they don't look like that," he muttered, wrinkling his nose. "It looks like some kind of weird lizard-monkey." Sam couldn't argue with that.
"It feeds primarily on the life essence of children, but it'll settle for adults and, brace yourself, cucumbers," he informed, keeping a straight face when Dean glanced incredulously up at him.
"How healthy of them," Dean remarked with a grin. "How do we kill it?" Once again, his younger brother tapped his finger against the picture of the kappa, this time circling around the oddly shaped formation on its head.
"The basin on its head is full of water. If we empty it out, it can't move," Sam explained.
"Like a weird, lizard-monkey statue," Dean supplied, still grinning.
"Sure," Sam agreed. "The only problem is that it's fast and dangerous and won't exactly stop to let us scoop water out of its head." He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed.
"Any way to trap it?" Dean asked. He wasn't surprised when Sam shook his head. "Peachy. Anything else?"
"Not really," Sam shrugged. "The lore is pretty straight-forward. You empty out the basin, and the kappa loses its power."
"What about the souls it's already sucked? Do they go back to their owners?" Dean questioned.
"I'm not sure," Sam admitted. Dean looked back down at the picture of the kappa and scoffed.
"Peachy," he repeated.
The kappa was a lot faster than they'd anticipated. Not wendigo fast, but fast enough that it charged before they could react, sending Dean flying and knocking Sam to the ground. Sam felt it grab him by his ankles, dragging him across the ground. Instinctively, the younger Winchester lashed out and managed to kick the water-dwelling creature squarely in the chest.
The kappa loosened its grip, howling in either pain or anger or annoyance (Sam wasn't sure which). Before it could reclaim its hold on Sam, however, an arrow buried itself deep in its scaly shoulder. Sam stared in mild confusion. He was sure that he and Dean had only brought shotguns.
The kappa scratched at the arrow as it looked around for its attacker. It's eyes settled on the underbrush near the river. Sam turned around just in time to see a small, hooded figure disappearing into the thick foliage. The kappa roared (this time Sam was sure it was anger) and gave chase.
Dean pulled himself to his feet and took a few unsteady steps before getting his bearings and jogging to Sam's side. In one practiced motion, he put his hands on his brother's shoulders and hauled him upright. He looked around, presumably for the kappa.
"What the hell just happened?" he asked. "Where did it go?"
"That way," Sam said, nodding after the creature. "Someone shot it."
"Another hunter?" Dean asked, scanning the gangly patch of trees.
"I dunno," Sam answered. "I didn't exactly get a good look."
"Well, whoever they are, I hope they know what they're doing. That soggy son of a bitch wasn't playing around," Dean grumbled.
They decided to stake out the river the next night. They had no idea if their unknown assistance had in fact killed the kappa, and they weren't about to leave without knowing the job was done.
"I hope he didn't get ganked," Dean said suddenly, lowering his binoculars and glancing over his shoulder at Sam.
"Who, the kappa?" Sam asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No, the hunter," Dean replied flatly. "I hope the kappa didn't rip the poor bastard's soul out of his ass." Sam raised an eyebrow at the statement.
"Yeah," he mumbled shortly, though he seemed mildly disturbed by Dean's less-than eloquent description of the kappa's process. "Hopefully, he took care of it." They sat for a moment, staring at the river. It would've been peaceful if they hadn't been keeping a look out for a soul-sucking water spirit.
"You said that he shot it with an arrow?" Dean asked, breaking the silence.
"It didn't do much good, but yeah," Sam replied. "If nothing else, he distracted it. Probably saved my life."
"Remind me to send him a Christmas card," Dean replied distractedly. He sat forward, fiddling with the focus on his binoculars. "You see what I'm seeing?" There was something moving alongside the river. A young couple was walking hand-in-hand, enjoying the scenery as they talked, making goofy, lovey-dovey faces at each other. This was less intriguing than the scaly shape gliding through the water. Dean flung open the door of the Impala, rushing down the steep, muddy river bank. Sam followed suit, waving his arms and shouting in an attempt to warn the couple.
The more effective warning came when the kappa left out of the water, bringing a wave of water crashing down on the river bank. Predictably, thankfully, the couple screamed and bolted. The kappa moved to follow, but Dean headed it off, shooting it in the chest. He quickly reloaded and shot again, slowing the beast down until Sam could hit it from behind.
Its attention split between two targets, the kappa floundered for a moment before deciding that Dean was a more suitable target. Dean braced himself, totally ready for a fight, but just as it neared him a blur of a figure tackled it from the side at full speed. The kappa and the figure became a tangle of limbs as they tumbled across the dusty ground before plunging into the river.
"Was that the hunter from last night?" Dean asked.
"I think so," Sam answered, running to the edge of the water. "Do you see him?" There wasn't any sign of the kappa or the hunter, though, considering the fact that the kappa was now in its element, the odds were not in the unidentified hunter's favor. Suddenly, however, the hunter broke the surface, swimming to the opposite river bank and hauling himself out of the water.
"Are you okay?" Dean hollered over the water. At the sound of the question, the hunter jumped and ran for it, disappearing into the night without so much as a backwards glance.
"That was weird," Dean decided. He turned to Sam and noticed that his brother was examining something on the ground. "What is it?" Sam scooped up the object and turned it over in his hands.
"A wallet," he answered distractedly, flipping the wallet open and perusing its contents. "We were wrong about our mystery rescuer."
"He's not a hunter?" Dean ventured.
"He's not a he," Sam said pointedly. "Driver's license says her name is Ellen Ripley."
"Sweet alias," Dean smirked. "Does she look familiar?"
"No," Sam shook his head, tossing the wallet to Dean, who flipped it open and took a look at the license. It was a nice fake, but he'd made enough to know one when he saw one. He'd never seen the girl in the picture before, but he was pretty sure he knew someone who had.
Author's notes: I don't even know what I'm doing right now. This is the first chapter of my first Supernatural multi-chap. I don't really know what else to say, other than an apology for the rubbish quality of it all.
I'll try to finish the next chapter as soon as possible, perhaps when my brain decides to be more cooperative.