Pre-series. Dean is 18, Sam is 14. The Winchesters enter a haunted mansion to go after a vengeful spirit of a serial child killer.
Written for the Gen Big Bang 2011
Usual Disclaimers apply
"You can't keep him from me." The disembodied voice purred so close to John's ear, he shivered at the icy cold breath.
"Watch me." Gripping Dean tighter to his side, John tugged the ornate door handle, unsurprised when it wouldn't budge. Ghost had them bottled up tight on lockdown.
Feminine laughter echoed around the mansion's spacious foyer.
"This way, son." John hefted Dean higher, not liking the kid's sluggish movements. Damn ghost had flung him headlong into the iron-wrought banister. John headed into the east wing, searching for another way out, one arm supporting a groggy Dean, the opposite hand gripping an iron fire poker.
"I can walk," Dean murmured.
"I know you can." John pulled them down the wide gloomy hallway. There hadn't been electricity running through the abandoned estate for a decade, yet the fluted wall sconces flickered around them almost as though the spirit herded them. "Just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. I'll do the rest."
Nudging a door open with his foot, John peered inside, spotting a large bay window they could try. Gauzy curtains with moth-bitten holes billowed inward without a breeze to lift them in front of closed panes of old wavery glass.
Warning edged Dean's tone. John's gaze followed the darkness toward the end of the hallway where the woman materialized.
A slender finger waggled disapprovingly. "You can't keep him from me," her voice sighed around them, as close and intimately as a lover's, though her lips remained still. Her dark hair and pale pink gown—early 1900s style—floated around her willowy frame like smoke. She didn't look anything like a serial killer, yet John Winchester had been at this long enough to know appearances didn't mean jack.
Dorthea Truman had murdered five children when she was alive, two of them her own, though none of their bodies had ever been found, even after Dorthea also disappeared. It was rumored she'd run off out of grief until her journal was found years later inside a nook behind the dumb waiter, confessing to the gruesome murders of the children. Following, the mansion had a long history of children dying of mysterious causes, some simply disappearing until the last owners abandoned the property and whatever evil resided inside went dormant.
None of which would have been noticed by the Winchesters. Hundred-year-old murders weren't exactly on the Hunters' radar until local kids decided daring each other inside the creepy haunted estate would be fun. So far two kids were dead and that was two too many.
John's palm tightened around the fire poker. Spirits that specifically target children were the sickest kind of monsters out there in John's opinion. It's the reason he had kept Sam out of this particular hunt, but apparently at eighteen, Dean was still close enough to a kid for the bitch to go after. Rotting carpet wrinkled beneath John's boot, making him slide a little on the wood beneath. It was going to be a personal pleasure to take her down.
Pearly laughter tinkled around them. "He's mine, he's mine." And abruptly the ghost blinked out of existence and reappeared inches from John's face.
Prepared for the move, John swung out, passing the fire poker through her . . . and nothing . . . not a damn thing happened. Shocked, John swiped out again, but the poker stopped mid-swing as though it slammed against an invisible wall, vibrating in his fist. Light eyes turned to him just before he flew back into a door, jerking Dean from his grasp.
"Dad!" the kid screamed as the woman's arms enveloped him and they disappeared within swirling tendrils of smoke and mist.
"Dean!" John pulled himself up off the floor, ran to where the ghost and Dean had disappeared, his chest heaving with fear. She had taken Dean. Bitch had his son.
What the hell kind of spirit was immune to iron? Did that mean salt and burning her bones—when he found them—wouldn't work either? John was reeling, everything he knew about getting rid of ghosts shot to hell with this one. The only thing for certain he knew about Dorthea Truman was that her ghost was bound to the house somehow. Sammy pointed that out when one of the kids that made it out said the ghost raged at the doorway, but sizzled from sight when she attempted to follow him. So get Dean out of the mansion, then find Dorthea's remains. Maybe she was a powerful enough ghost it would take an exorcism over her bones before he torched them. John knew several exorcisms by heart.
Rage and fear for his son threatened to buckle John's knees. Slow it down. Think it through. Dean needed him to be calm. John took a steadying breath, ran his hands through his hair. Okay, Dorthea couldn't leave the mansion, which meant she'd have to have stashed Dean within the estate somewhere. All John had to do was find him before Dorthea . . .
Gorge rose to his throat. John's hands curled into fists. He had to find Dean now.
"Shh, shhhh, darling. All will be well. Everything's going to be just fine."
Soft lips pressed against Dean's temple. Something really stunk. His eyelids fluttered open, sight hazy, brain cloudy, until his vision came into focus on the corpse staring back at him.
Dean flinched back, rolling onto something brittle that ground beneath his shoulder. Craning his neck to see what it was, Dean found himself on top of another skeleton. Small. Child. Dressed in those old-fashioned shorts and frilly shirt they used to force young boys to wear. Gulping, he turned back to the other corpse, recognizing the thirteen-year-old girl that had gone missing only last week.
Dean frowned. He lay between two murdered children in . . . he took in his surroundings. Small tight dark cramped space. Pointy, like a triangle. Ambient light slashed in from some kind of stained glass window way way up at the point of the triangle. No doors or other windows. Like someone had mortared up their own hidey-hole. No way in or out unless you got dragged in by the poltergeist express. Peachy.
Dean went to sit up, grimacing at the sudden bout of dizziness.
"Don't be afraid, sweetheart. It will be over soon." A cool hand rippled across his brow. The ghost flickered beside him like a TV on the fritz, her knees melding through the dead girl's chest like transparent gelatin.
Dean lurched back from Dorthea Truman's palm. "The hell lady!"
She smiled indulgently, leaning forward over him and Dean found himself held immobile, unable to shift away. A blade suddenly flashed in her hand.
"You get away from me! Dad! Dad! I'm in here!"
"Shhhh." She lifted a finger to his lips at the same time she rucked his T-shirt up and rested the flat side of her blade across the goose pebbles rising across Dean's skin.
Sam paced outside the motel room, too keyed up to remain inside. Something was off with this hunt, but he couldn't figure out what. He'd helped his dad with a lot of the research and it was a clear and clean cut case. Simple. Find the murderess's remains, which had to be in the house, and salt and burn her. His dad and Dean could do a job like this in their sleep. So what was wrong?
Sam's lips twisted, something nagging at him, but he couldn't place it. He'd gone over the research a billion times. Maybe it was just that it involved kids. Those were always tough. And a crazy ghost. The lady had to be insane to kill her own children. And crazy meant unpredictable. He peered across the dark parking lot, willing the Impala to rumble into view.
Even though there were variables, like how difficult it might be to find a body no one else had managed to uncover in a hundred years, Sam had hoped his brother and father would be back by now.
Sam went over the details in his mind again. Dorthea Truman confessed to the murders in her dairy, but had never given a reason why. She grew up poor, but married into wealth, had the mansion built, then for no reason went bat-shit crazy and murdered her two children, and then two orphans her husband had apparently brought in to console his grieving wife because no one at that time knew she was the killer. Next she killed some random boy a little older than Sam—no one knew where she'd picked him up from or even that there'd been a fifth child until she revealed in her journal, in an almost giddy scrawl, that she was about to take the final child's life and it would all be over. That was her last entry before Dorthea, herself, disappeared. Now Dorthea was back, her ghost replaying the gruesome deeds she had committed in life.
Sam kept asking himself why. Why did she do it? What did she mean when she said it would all be over? He pressed his lips together because even at his young age he knew sometimes there weren't any answers.