A/N: Cujo does meet Bobby, but not in this chapter. Coming soon. I blame my muse for jumping the gun.
Part 25 - the good blue earth
The trip was long and boring. We stopped a few times, but there was nothing to hunt, not even dead things that moved, so I slept most of the time.
It was getting dark when the big black car finally stopped growling. I didn't even poke my head out of the bag. The car doors creaked and when Dean picked my duffel up I still didn't move. I felt lazy. I was content to stay curled up with my eyes half closed. Blue Earth was probably just another motel I'd have to sneak into. Seen that, been there already. I just couldn't understand why my humans were so excited about the place.
We went up some stairs, there was a knock, then the sound of another door opening. That creak was softer.
"John! Dean!" I heard this man's voice say. "Good to see you! I'm so glad you could come for the blessing."
Someone hugged Dean. Fingers brushed up against my duffel.
Well, now. This was different. That never happened before.
I yawned and then stretched. Whoever this was jerked back when they felt the bag move.
I scared them.
"I don't understand," the man said. "I thought you said you were bringing-"
I poked my head and neck out, put my paws on Dean's shoulders and looked around.
We were inside a house!
It didn't smell like any of the other places we'd stayed in lately. This place smelled better. It didn't have that funny strong smell that made my nose twitch and my eyes water. I heard Dean call that "eau du skeezy motel" more than once.
I saw curtains at the windows, pictures on the wall.
So this was Blue Earth?
The man had light colored hair on his head and his chin. He looked like a big black bird with a white spot on his throat. I've seen humans like that before. They live in church places. Usually the food's pretty good, and there's no hitting or screaming, except for that awful noise you humans make sometimes. I think you call that singing. The humans who live in the church places mention someone called god. He made those stupid pigeons. Another name I heard in those places a lot is jesus. They call out his name a lot but as far as I can tell he never showed up.
The jesus man looked at me and his jaw dropped open.
"Padre, this is Cujo," Dean said proudly. "Cujie, this is Pastor Jim Murphy."
I eoowed at him. Pleased to meet'cha.
I had the feeling this was a special occasion, and Dean and his Dad wanted me to act my best, so I did.
This Pastor Jim blinked as he looked at me. "Uh…Cujo?"
Dean and his dad smirked.
The Pastor Jim's eyes got wide as I pulled myself out of the duffel and balanced on Dean's shoulder. I turned, flipped my finger crook of a tail at him, and then I looked around at him. I was showing off. It felt good.
"Have you…have you hunted with her?"
The big man nodded. "Revenants in the woods the first time. She took one down all by herself. Next job, demons. We cleared them out. Cujo knew they were there before we did."
I'd given up trying to tell them about the pigeons and the protection Bast gave Dean. It was all right. I hadn't seen a pigeon since, and if my Mother had anything to say about it, I never would again.
Dean skritched me underneath my chin. "She picks up things quicker than an EMF Reader. She's faster and more accurate."
Usually I don't like it when humans I don't know stare at me hard like the jesus man did, so I ignored him. I rubbed my head against Dean's hand instead.
"Cats do have one paw in Heaven, and the other in Hell. Or so they say." The Murphy Man nodded as if he'd figured me out.
The big man raised his eyebrow at him. "Been watching too many movies, Jim."
The jesus man shrugged. "Well. Sometimes they get it right."
I walked halfway down Dean's back and jumped to the floor. I acted as though I wasn't the least bit interested in what they were saying. I sat down, gave my right paw a couple of licks and cleaned my face.
"How 'bout it, girl?" Dean asked me. He nodded towards the Murphy man. "The padre's good people. You gonna behave yourself?"
I stopped cleaning myself, held my paw in mid-air. The innocent look I gave Dean made him shake his head. Me? Behave? I always do.
The jesus man knelt down. I ignored him. He didn't stick his fingers in my face. He leaned forward, lowered his arm until it was below my chest and then offered me his hand, his fingers slightly curled up.
It was an invitation. He wanted me to sniff him, so I stopped washing my face and I did. I was ready to jump back if he got grabby with me, but he didn't. He smelled like that holy water Dean's Dad is so fond of slinging around. I stopped sniffing and stepped back. He seemed nice enough, but I don't take to every human I meet. I needed time to think about this, so I got up and walked away. I sat down between Dean and his Dad. I was with my humans again. I felt better.
The jesus man stood up. "So who named her?"
Dean nodded. "I did."
My kid shrugged. "It just fits her, is all."
"When I heard the name, I thought you had a German Shepherd, or a Rottweiler. Or even a tame wolf." He looked down at me and smiled. "She's beautiful. 'Pearl' would have been a good name too."
Pearl? Huh. I don't think so.
I had chicken for dinner that night. It wasn't my usual, from a can. It was roasted chicken, cut up into shreds. My humans sat at the kitchen table. The jesus man gave it to me in a bowl, on a mat in his kitchen.
I was still on my best behavior. When he put the bowl down he moved away so I could eat.
He had really good manners. For a human. Some other cat must have trained him.
Dean and his Dad had roasted chicken too, by the smell of it. Afterwards Dean washed the dishes and all three of them talked for hours.
While they did that I explored the house.
The place felt just a little sad. Like Dean does sometimes. His Dad feels that way when he looks at Dean. There was a kindness there, and that was like my humans too, and I knew that all came from the Murphy man in this house.
I smelled another cat in the hallway. The scent was very very faint. It was old. He was a kitten. That got me even more curious. I wanted to see if he was still around.
Our bags were by the door. They'd even set up my clean litter box in this little room with the water down the hall.
Oh, there were so many soft things around! Cushions and pillows and rugs! And window sills big enough for me to lay down on!
I jumped up on tables and chairs, and then I jumped back down. It had been a while since I'd been in a house. A real house. I'd almost forgotten what it was like. So many rooms to look in, so many things to see!
I found stairs. They were long and went straight down, and there was a closed door at the end. I don't like those. Closed doors, I mean. Never have. I sniffed around the bottom of the door. I smelled the same kind of oil that Dean used to clean those knives of his. Gun powder. Holy water.
I heard squeaks behind the door.
They knew I was out there. They ran and hid.
I couldn't get in because the door was closed. I could have meowed loud enough for one of the humans to let me in, but there was so much else I wanted to see, so I ran back up the stairs, up to the first floor, and then I saw some more stairs. I ran all the way to the top. The doors were open up there. I went into each room. I looked in all the corners. There were beds and other stuff.
More windows, more doors!
I really hoped we were going to stay for a while. I hadn't even gone outside yet.
By the time I came back down my humans and the jesus man were in the living room. Dean looked at me and rolled his eyes. " 'bout time you came back, girl."
It's true I didn't see that other cat, and his scent was very old, but I wanted to make sure I put my claim in. I arched my back and rubbed my chin up against the Murphy man's legs.
Well, I guess you're okay.
His eyes got wide. "Oh, my…" He reached down and very gently stroked my back. His hand was in reach so I rubbed my chin on his fingers too.
Mine. You're mine too. All mine.
The big man laughed. "I guess you passed muster, Padre."
"I guess I did."
I hopped up on Dean's lap. He was on the couch. He always makes a nice pillow. I yawned and stretched, then I turned over on my back with my belly up and closed my eyes.
Time for a nap.
Dean rubbed his finger along the side of my neck, under my chin, real slow, back and forth. That felt so good my right hind leg started twitching…back and forth…back and forth….
I was half asleep when I heard the other two get up. They were quieter than humans usually are.
"Dean, there's beds upstairs," the Murphy man said softly.
"That's okay. I'm good here." Dean moved his legs really slow as he slipped out of his boots. He was careful not to make me fall off.
Dean's Dad talked quiet too. "You sure, son?"
"Yeah." Dean stretched out slowly until he was lying on his back with his feet up. "I don't wanna wake her."
The last thing I remember was feeling Dean breathe, slow and steady. When I woke up in the morning the big man and the jesus man were asleep in other rooms and Dean was still with me on the couch.
The next morning I sat at the door and loudly asked to be let out, so the Murphy man came and opened the door.
Dean and his dad sat at the kitchen table. Dean's dad laughed. "She's got you trained already."
Well, yeah. I've got you trained too.
There was water in the back of the house. It wasn't one of those cement ponds, either, this had tall grass and trees, and I chased big fat green frogs, I chased bugs that flew and bugs that hopped. There were fish in the pond, too, big ones, little ones, and they scattered when I sat down at the edge and stared at them. I could've caught one and brought it back to the house, for Dean, but I knew he wouldn't eat it.
On the way back to the house I felt a rumble in the ground underneath my paws. When I got to the front porch I saw cars and trucks coming down the road. More people were coming. I didn't like that, but I saw Dean, the Murphy man and Dean's dad standing on the porch. That was good. I wanted to get to my people.
I was a few feet away from the bottom steps when a huge black dog ran up to me. It was a male, and he whimpered like a puppy. His coat looked funny. He was shaved in some places. That little ball at the end of his tail looked like one of my felt toys. I dropped my claws but then I realized I wouldn't have to use them.
"Hey! Heyyyyy waaaaaiiit!"
The dog looked over his shoulder, yelped and ran past me into the field behind the house.
A pale skinny man in a green fatigue coat ran after him. "Come back, Pickles!"
Dean leaned against the porch railing. "Pickles? What the hell?"
"Garth. Hunting with a French poodle." Dean's Dad rumbled. "Why is he still alive?"
"God looks after children and fools," The jesus man said.
"I guess so." Dean sounded like he really didn't believe that.
I ran up onto the porch and jumped up on the railing next to my boy.
More cars and trucks. More people. And all kinds of dogs, some big, some small, and all yappy. One large truck drove up and parked. There were horses in the back.
That was different. I've been around horses before. They're big snorty things.
I sat and I watched. I was nervous. I didn't like being around this many people. And so many damn dogs. I talked about it out loud. That's what comes from having Siamese in the family tree somewhere.
That big brown dog looks like the one that chased me that time. And I don't like that white dog, either.
Dean rubbed me behind my ears, and that made me feel better. "It's okay, Cujie," he told me. "It's all right."
That big black Pickles dog came running out from behind the house. The Garth was right behind him. He was pretty fast, for a human, but Pickles got to the road first and never looked back. He might have been a dumb dog but he was smart enough to keep right on running.
The Garth finally stopped running and watched him go. His face got red. His bottom lip trembled and he looked like he was going to cry.
My humans felt embarrassed.
Some of the people came on horses, not cars or trucks. This woman rode this big spotted brown and white horse right up to the house. She had brown skin and long black hair that looked like ropes. I didn't like the way she smiled at Dean. Reminded me of the way that female doctor smiled at Dean when I was in that bad place, that clinic before.
Dean smiled back. He showed her all his teeth, but not in snarly way. He was acting goofy. I really didn't like that either.
"Hey, Dean." She made the horse stop a few feet away. That was close enough. The horse danced and snorted in place. I rubbed my head against Dean's arm and glared at her. He's mine.
"Hello, Mr. Winchester. Pastor Murphy." She sounded like she was purring, and they grinned back at her all silly like Dean did.
"Hello, Niobe." Dean's Dad and the jesus man said it at the same time. I guess that was her name. They sounded goofy too.
She looked at me and her face changed. She stared hard at me and I stared hard right back. I walked on the railing and sat down right in front of Dean.
She didn't smile. She nodded at me, as if she knew exactly what I was doing. "I know a fellow huntress when I see one," the Niobe girl said at last. "Welcome, little sister."
The way she said "little" didn't make me mad. I don't know why. That didn't make me like her any better, but at least she didn't say something stupid like "Oh what a cute widdle cat."
When she looked at Dean that little smile of hers came back. I looked up at Dean and he still looked goofy at her.
I didn't like that, so I batted at his hand with my paw. He looked down at me and scowled. I scowled right back at him.
"We're going to go set up by the lake," Niobe said. "Don't be a stranger." She didn't wait for him to answer. She nudged that horse of hers with her heels, turned around and walked back to where the others were. I was glad to see her go.
More people came. I saw a few more trucks with horses, but there were mostly dogs, and I never saw another cat out there.
Next: Before the blessing of the hunters (human and animal) at Blue Earth, Cujo meets up with Gordon Walker and his new pooch. Garth tries to upgrade, and Cujo observes intense social interaction between Dean and Niobe. Yeah, that's exactly what you think it is: sex. Avert your eyes, little kitty.