Episode 13 – Part 2
'The Unsocial Network'
It was with an undeniable spring in his step that Dean entered the King County Jail, the priest's robes he had rented from a local costume shop swishing about his feet. Sam had instead opted for black trousers with a black shirt and traditional dog collar, whereas Dean had been determined from the get go to don the full garb. In his hands, he clutched a Bible that was so large, it was almost comedic, and around his neck he had hung a silver crucifix that would have had Buffy green with envy. Sometimes, the extent to which Dean enjoyed dressing up alarmed Sam, until he reminded himself that a man who had watched porn as much as his brother had, would be under certain illusions as to the benefits of role play. No doubt Dean was indeed hoping that, somewhere, Jo would be lurking, sporting some manner of scandalous nun costume and insatiable lust. Sam shook his head at the thought, and Dean merely grinned at him unknowingly.
Faye had managed to arrange their visit with the prisoner via the police chief, who it seemed she had worked with numerous times before. They were led from the front desk by an officer towards the cells, where both were searched by hand and with a small metal detector before being allowed through the metal gate and into the corridor that housed the prisoners.
As they walked down the long, darkened hallway, they noted that the majority of the cells were empty, save for one or two men who were obviously no strangers to one particular side of the bars. Half expecting to be delivered to one of these given the details they knew about the murder, Sam frowned as he found that the officer had drawn to a halt in front of a cell that housed a rather weedy looking teen with a ponytail and a Star Trek t-shirt.
After pausing to give the boy a quick once over, Dean turned to the officer and demanded, "You sure this is him? I mean, kid doesn't look like he could kill his way out of a Care Bear convention, let alone saw the head off a beefed up jock type."
The officer shrugged and gestured to the young man, "This is our perp. Caught the guy red-handed… literally." He grimaced at the memory his words evoked, and cleared his throat in a plea for the clergymen to simply go about their business, thus freeing him up for coffee and doughnuts.
"Alright, well… thank you…" Dean smiled piously, adding as an afterthought, "my child."
Sam mouthed the words 'my child' at his sibling in disbelief, and rolled his eyes at the grin Dean bestowed upon him.
"Thanks Father, I'll uh… I'll be right out here if you gentlemen need me," the officer stated, casting one final glance at the young man in his custody before he strolled back to his desk.
Clearing his throat, Dean held his hands in front of him, the Bible clasped tightly in his grip, "Jay Coleman?"
"What is this, The Exorcist?" the young man remarked with a sneer that ably conveyed his disdain.
"Why? You know somebody doing the old pea soup routine?!" Dean checked, only half joking.
Jay stood up, his hands gripping the bars of the cell as he replied witheringly, "No?"
"Oh. Okay, well… good," Dean nodded, suddenly licking his lips as he continued, "so, uh… absolution. You want it, we got it. I mean, we can grant it to you. All you gotta do is confess. Isn't that right, Father Ted?"
"That's right, Father Dowling."
Jay shrugged, "Confess? To what?"
Sam exchanged a mildly confused glance with his sibling, "Um… murder?"
The young man mouthed an 'ohhh' before nodding enthusiastically and offering them an apologetic grin, "That? Sure. Yeah. I killed him."
"I see," Dean said slowly, somewhat taken aback by the apparent murderer's keenness to reveal his crime.
"Why?" Sam inquired, deliberately softening his tone as he addressed the boy, although Dean could see from his peripheral vision that his brother had adopted a defensive poise should the moment call for it.
Jay shrugged, sinking down onto the cot at the side of him and pausing to settle his legs up on it. He crossed his feet at the ankles, and Dean noted that the shoelaces had been removed from his high-tops, as was customary in such situations.
"Seemed like a good idea at the time," Jay finally responded, not even a flicker of remorse crossing his features.
"Had Riley Tambard… upset you?" Dean checked, finding it difficult to banish the frown of distaste from his features as his contemplated the very real possibility that they were dealing with a run of the mill psychopath as opposed to an innocent victim of the occult.
Jay shook his head and crossed his arms behind his neck in order to lean back in comfort against the stone cell wall.
"Not really," Jay answered, "I didn't know him. I think my girlfriend borrowed some sugar off him once or something."
"So they were sleeping together?" Dean demanded, an unsuitable level of glee present in his tone. Jay stared at him, once thick eyebrow arched.
"No…" he said, his tone remaining impartial, "she borrowed some sugar off of him. She was baking."
Dean's brow furrowed, and he folded his arms across his chest as he continued the interrogation, "So, you killed the guy, just because… by hacking his head off with a kitchen knife?"
Jay seemed mildly perturbed by the expression with which Dean had discussed the murder weapon, and he tried to defend himself accordingly.
"I was making a sandwich."
"A sandwich…" Dean began, his eyes widening as he tried to somehow comprehend the behaviour of their strangely apathetic suspect.
"A BLT. White bread, lettuce, couple of slices of tomato, a little pepper… man, I love bacon. Bacon's awesome."
"Yes. Yes it is," Dean agreed, looking up at Sam for assistance, although the younger of the Winchesters was simply staring at the boy like he had grown another head. Dean almost wished he would, so that the youngsters' strange behaviour could be explained.
"Bacon's awesome," Dean repeated to his brother, hoping the absurdity of the words would spur Sam into taking over the line of questioning.
Dean puffed out his cheeks and sighed, "Okay. Uh… Voices. Yeah, so, you been hearing voices? Maybe some demon whispering in your ear, telling you to go and…"
He mimed a sawing motion and Sam shot him a horrified glare.
"Demons?" Jay repeated, grinning as he looked askance at the man, "are you serious?"
"Yeah, you know… weird smells, seeing things that aren't there, clouds of funky smoke… uh… maybe a classmate with black, freaky-ass eyes," he paused, searching his mind for any other supernatural entity that may have prompted the kid's murderous actions. Jay was staring open mouthed at Dean.
"No. What's wrong with you?" He turned his gaze to Sam and hooked his thumb to gesture in Dean's direction, his voice lowered to barely above a whisper, "Is he okay?"
"I ask myself that often," Sam replied through a tight lipped forced smile. Dean shot a hostile glare at his brother, who merely shrugged before taking a hesitant step towards their interviewee.
"Jay… can I call you Jay?" he began, cocking his head as he regarded the teenager, trying his level best to maintain the understanding expression he was working hard to muster in the first place.
"It's my name," the boy replied, his tone becoming increasingly more bored by the second. "Hey, do you think we could hurry this 'absolution' thing up a little? I need to check my emails."
"Your… you need to… he needs to check his emails," Dean stated, chuckling in disbelief as he shot a look at Sam and hooked a thumb in the direction of Jay.
Suddenly, Dean rounded on the kid, his eyes flashing as he barked, "You hacked up a classmate in his bedroom with the dorm kitchenware. I don't think you're gonna be checking your inbox any time soon, pal."
Jay stared at Dean through suspiciously narrowed eyes, his hands falling to his sides as he sat up straighter.
"You sure you're a priest? I mean, you sound kind of 'judgey'," the boy accused, "shouldn't I be innocent until proven guilty?"
"You confessed," Dean retorted, his tone drenched in disbelief.
Jay glanced away, unconcerned. Everything about his demeanour was calm and collected, and he appeared not in the least perturbed by either his situation or surroundings. Perhaps most worryingly, he was not at all remorseful for the crime he was less than shy at admitting he had carried out.
"Jay, can you give us any reason… any reason at all, as to why what you did… seemed like a good idea?" Sam asked, his upper lip curled as he forced out the latter half of his question through his distaste.
Jay pondered this for only a moment, "I don't know, why does anything seem like a good idea?!"
Sam lifted his chin, smiling tightly as he found himself lost for words. Dean however, was apparently not struck by the same affliction.
"Alright, Deepak Chokra," Dean held up his hand to halt any further philosophical musings, "this wasn't a sex tape or a Tweety Pie tattoo - you mean to tell us that you really have no idea why you ganked the guy?"
Jay narrowed his eyes, "Can I see your credentials? You guys got like, a Jesus card or something?"
"Look kid, we're here to help you okay? Do you know how much trouble you're in right now? They're gonna throw the book at you…" Dean suddenly held aloft the Bible in his hand for effect, "and not this one, I'm talking a way, way scarier book."
The young man shrugged, toeing the dust along the floor at his feet, "Doesn't that have like… brim stone, and death, and creepy plagues…"
At Dean's thoroughly testy expression, Jay paused to explain, "The Bible, man. I'm just saying, that's some scary shit right there. Especially, you know, for like, gay people and democrats?!"
Dean released a slow, agonisingly long sigh, before he turned his back and held both hands up as a gesture of surrender, "I'm done with this kid."
"Does that mean I'm absolved?" Jay pressed, barely moving from his position on the cot as he called out, "because I was kind of planning on finishing up college, maybe proposing to my girlfriend, becoming a pharmacist and stuff."
Dean wiped his palm down his jawline, shaking his head as he stared at the boy, who regarded him levelly.
"Sure, whatever, Jesus loves you," Dean answered, tapping Sam on the shoulder to signal that it was time to wrap up their conversation. He had begun to suspect that Jay Coleman was simply but completely insane, and he had long since lost any desire to remain in the boy's company.
"Wait… what about my emails?" Jay called out, finally clambering from the cot and taking a few steps towards Sam. "When can I pick up my emails?"
"Jay, you're in some pretty serious trouble here," Sam replied, jamming his hands into his pockets as he watched the boy, who seemed now to be hopping from one foot to the other in agitation. "I think you need to take a long, hard look at your priorities and…"
"No!" Jay suddenly yelled, his breathing beginning to grow erratic as his eyes darted from side to side. "I need to log in! I need to check my emails!"
"Hey, just kick it down a notch, pal," Dean barked, starting suddenly as, with a furious scream, Jay propelled himself across the cell and barrelled into the bars, reaching through and shoving Sam hard in the chest. Unprepared for the move, Sam toppled to the floor and his head hit the ground with a loud thwack. He bit down on the tip of his tongue, flashing lights beginning to dance in front of his eyes, although he was still aware of the footsteps of the officer as he ran back down the hall towards the commotion. Dean reached down towards his brother in concern, offering him an arm, which Sam clasped gratefully.
"Let's get the hell out of here, kid's a whackjob," Dean groused, smiling politely at the officer as he and Sam bowed their heads in a suitably respectful manner and made for the door, "officer, we really should be going now… God business."
"Oh, sure, sure. Well, you guys take care now, and thanks again for the donuts. You causing trouble in here, Coleman?" the officer bellowed, night stick poised in his hand as he addressed the now infuriated student.
"I need to check my emails!" the guy screamed, seemingly with no other burning thought than his desire to access his online accounts.
Inhaling deeply, Dean tugged at the collar that was now pinching his neck, as he and his brother stepped out of the building and onto the street. The cool breeze was most welcome, and Dean flapped the lengths of his robe against the wind, hoping to air out his now sweltering torso.
"Well that wasn't messed up at all," he stated, striding toward the Impala with renewed urgency as Sam unsnapped his own dog collar and tossed it in a trash can they passed.
"Guy seemed awfully concerned with checking his emails," Sam winced, "and… totally unconcerned with the fact he just hacked his dorm mate's head off."
"Yeah, I kind of caught that too," Dean smiled wryly, sliding behind the wheel of the car as Sam dropped down into the passenger seat, "I'm thinking maybe we need to see what's in that inbox."
"You mean we hack his email account?" Sam checked, leaning his head back against the headrest as Dean nodded in confirmation. "I guess I can try to access his college email. But, what exactly am I looking for, Dean?"
Pulling out of the parking space, Dean shrugged and glanced up in the rear view mirror, "Be damned if I know, Sammy boy. But something's got that kid all hyped up, and we need to figure out what that is."
Sam arched an eyebrow, already aware that the evening ahead involved almost no input at all from the older hunter, and that it would be he who invariably spent the next few hours industriously working away on the laptop. Dean and technology were never the most comfortable of companions.
"We?" Sam bit back a smile, looking up searchingly at the roof of the car.
Dean grinned, thoroughly smug, "Alright, mostly you."
Letting out a heavy sigh and wincing as his head throbbed, Sam retorted, "Fine. But you're shouting the pizza."
"Whatever the lady wants," Dean quipped, and gunned the engine, a smile on his face as he anticipated the evening ahead, and his thorough lack of involvement in any impending work.
It had taken Sam roughly thirty minutes to hack into Jay Coleman's email account. After trying the usual password traps that people tended to fall into, such as their girlfriend's name or their own date of birth, Sam had recalled the Star Trek t-shirt that the teen had sported, and new life had been breathed into his efforts. He had input dozens of possibilities from classic Trek, Generation, and even Voyager before he had realised that the kid's poor taste had meant the key lay with Deep Space Nine. When Sam had hit upon the correct passcode, his nose had wrinkled in disgust, and he had spent the better part of the next ten minutes ranting and railing to Dean and Jo. Scooby, declining to listen, had fallen asleep on top of Dean's duffel and was snoring like a freight train.
"Freakin' Sisko!" Sam spat indignantly for the twelfth consecutive time, still shaking his head as he considered the betrayal to Trekkies the world over. "That show sucked. The characters were boring, the plot devices were overall poor at best, and… and the uniforms made them look hippy."
Dean regarded his brother with a suitably amused smirk blooming on his features. Hooking his thumb in Sam's direction, he turned to Jo, "First world Geek problems."
Sam cleared his throat and tried to focus the snickering hunters' attention on the task at hand. "Alright, so let's see what we got."
Stabbing the down arrow repeatedly, Sam trawled through the unopened emails assembled in Jay Coleman's inbox. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, which usually implied something was most definitely amiss.
"eBay bids, emails from his mom..." Sam's brow furrowed as he continued down the list, "wow, this dude spends a lot of time on one of those social networking sites."
"That like a MySpace thing or something?" Dean queried, shooting Jo a wounded look as she rolled her eyes at him and folded her arms across her chest.
"Not exactly," Sam replied in amusement, not missing the opportunity to tease his sibling.
"Is it… porn?" Deam queried, striving to appear nonchalant even as he attempted to peer over Sam's shoulder at the screen.
Jo thwacked him across the back of the head, a sour frown plastered across her face as she glared at him.
"Kidding. I was kidding…" Dean appeased, rubbing at the stinging spot on his cranium. Jo merely shook her head, hiding her amused smile behind the façade of a stern look.
"Anything juicy in any of those emails?" Jo asked, leaning over Sam so she could get a better view of the screen. Sam shrugged, quickly double clicking on a closed email in order to bring it up into full view. It pinged open with an annoying bleep, revealing a message apparently from the site itself.
"'Terminate user'," Sam read aloud with a frown, starting slightly as the message then closed itself, "that's not at all suspicious."
"What about these others?" Jo queried, gesturing to several more emails from the same location that were all marked unread. The cursor hovered over them only momentarily before Sam clicked another virtual envelope, pulling the contents up onto the screen.
"Terminate user 4675894A," Jo read, an inexplicable shiver coursing down her spine.
Dean's eyes widened as Sam opened the first of the emails from the social networking site, and all three hunters exhaled in unison.
"Whoah!" Dean narrowed his eyes, as the image of the dead college boy suddenly filled the screen, accompanied by the same direction.
"Anyone want to bet that Riley Tambard was user 4675894A?" Jo glanced between the brothers, whose expressions had paled significantly.
"Aright, so what the hell are we dealing with here? This like some... Windows demon or something? Wait... do you think Bill Gates is a demon?" Dean appeared momentarily lost in thought, before he shook off his long-held suspicions and refocused his attention back to the case.
Sam typed away hurriedly at the keyboard, bringing up the home page of the social network in question.
"Either of you guys got a profile already?" Sam asked, knowing the odds were slim.
Dean laughed softly, "Sammy, I use the internet for two things, porn, and... no, I guess that's it."
"Not really my kind of thing, Sam," Jo shrugged, "crazy girls posing in their underwear posting endless selfies? Think I'll pass."
"Girls in their underwear?" Dean repeated, ducking to avoid the back of Jo's hand as she aimed another slap in his direction.
Catching her hand, he propelled her backwards, wrapping his arms around her waist as she huffed and leant back against his chest with feigned indifference.
"Come on, you know I only have eyes for one woman and her underwear," Dean murmured, his gaze sweeping Jo's body suggestively. She shook her head, but a smile crept across her lips nonetheless.
"You're a first class pervert, Dean," she accused, standing up straight and returning her attention to the laptop.
"What should we do now?" Sam mused, shooting a questioning glance from Dean to Jo and back again. The two hunters shrugged, Jo perching on the edge of the nearby bed, and Dean hunkering down at Sam's side.
"Let's create ourselves a fake profile and do some super sleuthing, gang," Dean stated with obvious glee, rubbing his hands together as he moved closer to the table. Sam raised his fingers from the keyboard and gestured to it, allowing Dean the free rein of the buttons that he so clearly craved.
It took Dean only minutes to discover the new user registry page, and mere seconds to formulate a cunning, highly amusing alias.
"Ivor Biggun?" Sam repeated, blinking in disbelief at his brother, who snickered at his own joke.
Jo snorted in amusement, but as a suitably derisive reply was about to leave her lips, Dean clamped his hand over her mouth and pointedly cleared his throat.
"Okay, so let's take a look…" Dean began, arching an eyebrow at Jo as he released her from his grip and she smirked to herself and batted his hands away from the laptop. Seizing control, Jo began to navigate down the page, a blonde eyebrow suddenly shooting up as she saw a box flash up at the corner of the screen.
"Jenna 'Bikini Queen' Jones wants to be your friend," she snorted derisively, glancing back at Sam as two further beeps alerted her to more friending requests, "as does 'Tinkerbell' Gibson and Princess Dani…"
"Well no kidding, look at that… 20 seconds on the site and the chicks are fallin' over their mouse mats to say 'hey'." Dean looked suitably pleased with himself and his efforts. The profile picture he had hastily selected seemed to be instantly appealing, and he couldn't help but smirk at his new found popularity.
"No doubt attracted by the subtle innuendo in his user name," Sam sighed wearily, sensing that this was going to be a long, drawn out process.
Watching Jo purse her lips as further requests filled his inbox, Dean gently brushed her hands away from the mouse pad and took a few moments to make an adaptation to his profile. Turning the laptop screen back around, Jo smiled as she saw that 'in a relationship' had now been added to the page.
"That's sweet, Dean-o," she replied, a grin fixed in place as she added, "you talking about me or your car?"
Dean shot Jo a glare and rolled his sleeves up to his elbows in preparation to begin typing with renewed gusto. He tapped away at the keys almost thoughtfully for a few moments, gnawing on his lip as he contemplated his next move.
"What exactly am I looking for here?" Dean inquired, finally turning to Sam, who screwed up his features as he debated the question.
"I guess you accept some friend requests, and snoop until you find something that looks like it could be worthwhile," answered Sam, throwing himself into a chair and hooking his hands behind his head.
"But… I… I mean, I don't know what I'm doing here," Dean all but whined, shooting a frown at Sam even as he readjusted his position in a bid to make himself more comfortable.
"It's a social network, Dean," Sam replied, fighting the grin that tugged at the corners of his lips, "be sociable."
"You're an asshat," Dean accused, scowling and turning his back on his brother, who giggled quietly before letting go a sigh of sheer contentment. Usually, Sam was the one manning the computer, and he did not intend to ignore the poetry of the situation as he watched an irate Dean with his fingers hovering over the keyboard as he wore an utterly clueless expression.
"Just… 'like' something," Sam suggested.
"Huh?" Dean's brow furrowed, " 'like'… what?"
Sam puffed his cheeks and shrugged, "I don't know… classic cars, rock music…"
Jo leant back in her chair, contemplating the ceiling as she continued on with Sam's train of thought, "Women, semi-naked women, naked women, scantily clad women… pie."
Dean rubbed his hands together gleefully, "The magic words… pie and hot women. Or women and hot pie."
Scooping up the laptop, Dean stalked over to the bed, plopping down against the head board before he patted the vacant space beside him and waited for Jo to join him. He cracked his fingers, bending and stretching them as if limbering up for the proceeding activities.
"You really expect me to sit here and watch whilst you Google 'hot women'?" Jo inquired, her head cocked as she examined Dean with scrutiny.
He shook his head, scoffing before he answered, "Of course not… this isn't Google, it's…"
Dean trailed off, squinting at the screen to read the name of the website before he finished, " 'Chat Pad'."
Jo merely thwacked him hard in the chest in response, beaming brightly as Dean let out an 'oof' that expressed his pain. Jo relaxed back against the pillows, and watched with more anxiousness than she would care to admit to as Dean began typing.
As a list of groups suddenly appeared on the screen, all featuring pictures of hot, baked desserts and lashings of whipped cream, Jo simply grinned and snuggled into Dean's side to watch as he immersed himself in the world of internet food porn.
Dean's eyes flashed open and he started as a loud ping from the laptop still balanced on his knee wrenched him from his slumber. Jo slept soundly at his side, stretched out on the bed and with one arm resting over her face. In the chair adjacent to the television, Sam almost sagged, his head lolling back and his mouth hanging open as he snored. Scooby had yet to move from his perch atop the duffel bags, and his long tongue poked out of his mouth as he continued to snore.
Squinting against the bright light emanating from the screen, Dean hoisted the computer closer and clicked on the flashing icon.
Another two friend requests awaited, both from fairly innocuous looking men who had obviously seen him join a classic car appreciation group. He accepted both requests, and began to skim their profiles. Pictures of girlfriends, drunken nights out, and an alarming number of cats wearing clothes greeted him, yet nothing seemed immediately unusual about either user.
Puffing out his cheeks, Dean exhaled in evident boredom as he scanned the second guy's home page. One particular sentence caught his eye, and as he read the man's latest status update, his eyes widened in realisation.
Reaching out blindly to his side, he tapped Jo on the thigh, receiving an irritated grumble from the sleeping blonde, who rolled away from his touch rather than wake.
"What?" Jo groaned testily, wincing from behind her arm as she peered up at him in the darkness and awaited an explanation for having been so unceremoniously awoken.
"I think we got a problem," Dean stated, sighing as Jo mumbled unintelligibly and attempted to bury her face in the duvet.
"Ask Sammy… he's good with computers…" Jo muttered, her eyes fluttering closed and her breathing beginning to slow once again. This time, Dean poked her underneath her ribs, knowing that this hated gesture would not fail to rouse her fully. As predicted, Jo shot up, her features clouded with rage and her lips set in a snarl.
Dean held up both hands in defence and took a step back, "I found something, and if I'm right, we got about ten minutes to get our asses back onto campus and break into a frat house before some unsuspecting pledge gets shoved face first into the garbage disposal."
Jo opened her mouth, her rage dissipating, and simply began moving off the bed to gather her jacket and discarded boots.
Dean closed the laptop and grabbed up his car keys before pulling on his boots and catching the jacket Jo tossed toward him.
"Sam?" Jo tried to rouse the snoring Winchester, whose chin was now pressed against his own chest.
"Sam?" Jo said more urgently, wincing as Dean suddenly strode past and deftly thwacked his brother across the back of the head.
"Up and at 'em, Sammy," Dean drawled, stifling a yawn as he held the door open and looked expectantly at his brother.
Sam blinked in confusion, rubbing his eyes as he stood up from the chair, grateful that he hadn't seen fit to remove his shoes before falling asleep.
"Dean, what's going on?" he asked groggily, sighing as Dean foisted his jacket at him and it hit him square in the chest.
"Thanks," Sam replied tightly, now somewhat more awake but just as confused.
"Somebody want to tell me where we're going at..." Sam glanced at his watch and disgust painted his features, "3am?"
"You're gonna be joining a fraternity. So, let's roll, before they give out the last of the togas."
Sam topped dead in his tracks, "What?"
Shaking his head, he strode off after Dean, who was already halfway across the parking lot when Sam caught up to him.
"Whilst you two cherubs were busy catching up on your beauty sleep, I was online being subjected to a billion pictures of pets wearing dresses, and getting messaged by chicks who post photos of themselves doing that creepy duck-face thing whilst wearing an entire catalogue of Mary Kay products," Dean ranted, holding up his hand to Jo as she seemed poised to protest, "then some guy 'friend requests' me, and next thing I know I'm looking at the status of this college kid that says he's going to 'terminate' some other user. Sound familiar?"
Sam cleared his throat and nodded, "Yeah."
The three hunters clambered into the car, and Jo shot a fretful glance back at the closed and locked door of their room.
"Do you think Scooby will be ok on his own?" she worried aloud, her concern genuine as she peered across the darkness at Dean, who nodded.
"He'll be fine, I'm sure he'll find some socks to maul or something, if he ever awakens from the coma he seems to have slipped into," Dean answered, squinting at his cell as he added, "and right now, I think we should be a little more concerned about User 9482331J."
Jo accepted the phone that Dean tossed at her and examined the screen, which was now filled by the homepage of 'Chat Pad'. A picture of a tall, broad young man wearing a basketball jersey and beaming at the camera stared back at her, and beneath his cryptic status, a new message flashed up quickly; user terminated.
Dean threw the gearstick into reverse, and the Impala tyres spun as the car careered out of the parking lot.
Since Dean had no idea where the strongly suspected murder might be taking place, he had simply set out for the fraternity house where Wesley Tinton resided and hoped that luck was on his side. As soon as the Impala had pulled up to the curb outside the sprawling white washed house, it had become apparent that Dean's instincts had not failed him. Young men, and a few young women, most clad in a mixture of boxer shorts and white sheets, spilled out the door in a panic, their screams and cries making an unimaginable din.
The hunters flung themselves out of the car, Dean not bothering to lock it, and Jo already resting a hand on the small gun she kept concealed in a holster beneath her shirt on her hip.
Sam reached out and grabbed the bare shoulder of a teenager in the obvious throws of sheer terror, and forced the boy around to meet his gaze. Sam shook the kid a little, just hard enough to get his attention, and leaned into his face.
"What's happened?" snarled Sam and, faced with the tall, bulky and utterly imposing Winchester literally growling at him, the boy seemed to sober up a little.
"New pledge… he… he just went crazy… I mean… oh God, he… Frankie…" the boy babbled, tears beginning to spill from behind his thick lashes and run down his cheeks. Sam released the boy, and he wasted no time in following in the frenzied wake of his companions in a bid to escape the scene.
Pushing their way through the throngs of students, the hunters stepped into the hall of the frat house and were instantly met with the sight of gore spattered across the otherwise pristine walls.
Jo readied herself as her gaze swept across the splashes and pools of blood, until she eventually found herself staring at the victim. Or at least a part of him.
Dean pressed the back of his hand against his mouth as he too discovered the severed head sitting in the centre of a punch bowl, slices of orange somewhat comically bobbing around it.
"Dude, that's just..." he grimaced in disgust, suddenly realising that the perpetrator could not be far away and was quite obviously wielding something decidedly sharp and pointy to have caused such damage.
"Dean?" Sam called across the hall, taking small steps toward the living room, which was decorated with tables of food and beer kegs, and strewn with what looked like a year's supply of toilet paper.
Dean and Jo followed cautiously behind, each of them now having drawn their guns.
Sitting in the centre of the couch was another student, apparently oblivious to the evening's events. Apparently nonplussed, he played on a games console with a red paper cup gripped between his teeth.
"Uh… hey?" Dean attempted, his tone neither confrontational nor certain as he wandered into the lounge. Furniture lay overturned and broken across the room, and the carpet was sodden in places with dark red liquid that Dean could tell from the stench was more blood. However, the boy continued to play his game, a smile twitching at his lips as the cartoon character he controlled on the screen gobbled up enormous gold coins.
"There's punch in the bowl," the boy directed, not breaking his keen gaze from the television. Jo swallowed down the bile that rose in the back of her throat at the prospect, and deliberately avoided shooting a second glance at the refreshment table.
"Yeah, I'll pass," Dean responded, not missing a beat. He heard a soft click behind him and knew without a doubt that Sam had raised his handgun and aimed it at the boy, who did not seem to be an immediate threat anymore. Dean recognised his face from the picture, and he wracked his brain to recall the name of the boy.
"It's… uh… Wesley, right?" Dean attempted, motioning with one hand for Sam to position himself out of the boy's eyeline, just in case the presence of the gun sparked off yet another episode.
"Wes, only my Mom calls me Wesley," the boy corrected, his tone flat even as he added, "you guys want punch? It's really good."
Purposefully avoiding glancing anywhere near the punch bowl, Jo smiled tightly, "We're uh... not real big drinkers."
"Suit yourself!" Wesley replied, casting a half-hearted gaze over the three hunters, "wasn't this like a toga party? What's with the whole lumber jack thing you got going on here?"
Dean stole a glance at his shirt and cleared his throat indignantly, "How about we ask the questions, huh buddy?"
Wesley let out a growl and hurled the game controller onto the couch beside him, "I'm never gonna make it to level fifteen!"
Sam's expression betrayed his bewilderment as he nodded in understanding, "That's a tough break."
"So, about the headless guy whose entrails are decorating the hallway..." Dean began, finding that this somewhat successfully captured the young man's attention.
"That your handy work out there?" Dean continued, stepping back cautiously as Wesley stood up and dug his hands in his pockets.
He shrugged and simply bobbed his head, "Frankie? Yeah, that was me."
Dean and Jo exchanged pointed stares, as their suspect reached down and grabbed a handful of peanuts from a bowl on a nearby table. The table was littered with empty chip bags and overturned cups of beer, all of which were now dribbling onto the pale coloured carpet below.
"Okay. And you hacked off the guy's noggin because?" Dean widened his eyes and bent to catch the petulant student's glassy stare.
Wesley puffed out his cheeks and exhaled, "Guess it just seemed like the right thing to do."
"The right thing to do?" Sam repeated.
Wesley pondered this for a few moments before he smiled good-naturedly, "Uh... sure."
"That doesn't seem at all… odd, to you?" Dean pressed, staring down the pledge, who was still clad in a bedsheet that had been poorly fashioned into a toga.
Wes shook his head, his expression neutral and his posture calm.
"So… where'd everybody else go?" Wes inquired, finally looking around him and realising that the house was deserted save for himself and three strangers. "I thought we were pulling an all-nighter?"
"I guess not everyone has your dedication," Jo replied dryly, a shudder running through her as her eyes befell the stained wall opposite her.
"Ok, well, we gotta be going," Dean stated as the sound of sirens approaching began to fill his ears, and he realised it would be best that they make a speedy exit in case Faye was not amongst the arresting officers. Sam and Jo were already backing towards the door, and Dean followed quickly, shooting furtive glances at Wes every few seconds.
"I guess I'll just… wait right here…" Wes said, slumping back onto the couch and reaching for the game controller again. As the television screen once more burst into life, bright and loud, Dean shook his head at the absurdity of the situation. The three hunters piled out of the door, harbouring little concern that Wes would attempt to make any kind of escape, or resist his impending arrest. If anything, he seemed remarkably compliant, and Dean was now damn near certain that whatever was causing the boy's behaviour was linked to their mystery website.
Once the Impala had crawled around the block and was out of sight of the ever increasing crowds, the hunters took the opportunity to stop and take stock of recent events, mainly the ever increasing body count.
"Well that's just not normal." Jo stared blankly ahead, her arms folded across her chest.
"Nope," Dean turned a corner, drumming his fingertips on the steering wheel.
Sam sat silently in the backseat, his brow furrowed as he tried to process exactly what he had just witnessed, and formulate a suitable explanation for it. All evidence seemed to point in one direction.
Their social network was proving to be anything but social.
A. N. - We suck. We'd like that term to apply directly to our relationship with Sam and Dean, but it doesn't. We just suck. Apologies for the appalling lack of updates on our part, but we can promise you that we never give up on a fic. You know what makes us write faster? Reviews. Pretty, pretty reviews. Thank you kindly, folks.