A/N: This would be the reason why Children for a Lesser God hasn't been updated lol. I wrote this for the Gen Big Bang on LJ and I had to finish it up for today's scheduled posting. That being said, this story is 5 chapters and complete. I will post every day or every other day. The amazing art for it can be found on my LJ page, which is the same username as my penname. Hope you enjoy!
The car skidded on the rain slick, icy roads. The streetlights above flickered as the wintry storm raged on against the frosty windows. The radio began to spit and sputter as the tires fought against the ice building up under them.
"Damn it! I didn't think the weather was supposed to be that bad tonight. Idiot weathermen! Can't make a forecast to save their lives! Now the freaking radio is cutting out on me, great! Think I'm gonna have to hang up Mark," the driver said into his cell phone. "Yeah, I was able to get everything I need for tonight. Just have to make it home now. The ring's right here. They got the engraving done and called me. Wanted to get to get it all over with tonight. No, I'm excited, just nervous and want to do it before I choke." He huffed out a nervous laugh. "Thanks again, man. I'll let you know what she says."
He hung up his cell phone and tossed it into the cup holder beside him. He spared a glance at the passenger seat, letting his eyes linger on the small gray bag with the Zales logo embossed on the front. A smile graced his face, despite all the nerves building up under the surface. He began to mutter the speech he had prepared out loud.
"Kate, you know we've known each other since we were practically kids. We've had our rough patches, but you have always stuck by me. I love you and can't see myself with anyone else. Babe, would you-"
The tires of the car hit a patch of sleek black ice on the asphalt. The car spun as if it had a mind of it's own, and nothing the driver did was able to bring it out of the deadly twisting and turning. Before the poor guy even knew it was happening, the car spun off the road and went crashing over the other side. It banked onto the ice-covered grass of the hill. The car rolled over a few times before settling upside down on side of the hill.
After a moment of panic coursing through his brain, he was finally able to realize he was somehow miraculously still alive. Once he realized this, he was able to crawl out the bent door. He fell out on the grass when the metal finally allowed him to be free of the wreckage. The water and ice settled on the leather of his jacket and soaked the denim of his jeans as he tried to catch his breath.
"Are you ok?"
He jumped at the soft-spoken voice drifting through the trees. He couldn't see anyone near him. He closed his eyes to reorient himself. "Must have hit my head," he slurred.
"Would you like me to check? I'm told I have gentle hands."
"Damn," he gasped. His eyes flew open. A young woman with flowing dark auburn hair stood off to his left. A short-sleeved blue dress draped over her small frame. Dirt clung to her legs where her hose had ripped, and her feet were bare against the icy grass. Despite all of it, she looked beautiful.
"Did I scare you?"
"No…well…yes you did. I didn't see any other cars on the road earlier."
"I wasn't driving. My cab wrecked over there," she said as she pointed farther into the woods.
"But, how did your car get all the way back there?"
"Can't remember…" She crept closer to his car and looked inside. "What's this?" She reached through the broken passenger side window.
"Hey! Don't do that!" He crawled off the ground, ignoring the protests of his sore body. "You'll cut yourself!"
"I'm fine," she smiled as she held the bag in the air. He was shocked to note that her arms had no blood on them anywhere from the glass. "Can I have this?"
The question took him aback. "What?"
"I want this? Can I have this? I lost mine." She held up her left hand to him. At first, it looked normal. But at after a second, he saw it for what it really was. Her hand was skeletal and looked as if her flesh had been ripped from her hands. Her ring finger looked the worse with the skin completely gone and the bone bent at an awkward angle.
"Oh my God," he gasped.
"Oh," the woman said, as if seeing her hand for the first time.
"Let…um…let me help you. I…maybe I can get us both to a hospital if we head back towards the main road," he replied shakily. He walked over towards the woman and put his hand out on her bony, icy shoulder.
"I have to find mine!" she shrieked, shrugging out from under his touch.
"My ring! It must be in the car still!" The woman took off deeper into the hills, clutching his bag in her skeletal hand as she ran.
"Hey!" He took off after her, but she was impossible to catch. He twisted and turned through trees and bushes that scratched at his already bruised body. He had to find her, had to get his bag back so he could go home to his girl. He finally made it out of the thick of the trees and into a small clearing. He couldn't tell how close to the road he was anymore, and the rain had turned icier. He couldn't see the girl anywhere.
He jumped at the feeling of cold bones scraping against his shoulder and moving down his body slowly. He shivered under the touch
The cold voice echoed through the forest before pain exploded through his being and everything faded to black.
Candles lined the tables, casting a soft yellowish glow throughout the otherwise dark room. The glow flickered around the girl as she moved through the room. Her long white dress flowed around her slim form. Her hair was loosely curled and fell past her shoulders. She barely had any makeup on her face, yet she looked absolutely stunning in the glowing light.
She soon approached the only other person in the room. A blinding smile swept across her face at the sight of him. "Sam," she said sweetly.
He walked swiftly to her side. His hand reached up, gently brushing the hair from her face. Her eyes followed his every move, but the smile never wavered from her face.
"Jess," he whispered as his lips brushed across her cheek. "What do you think?"
"This is beautiful, Sam." She twisted around, nearly twirling to take everything in around her. "You didn't have to do all this babe. You've been so busy with those interviews and-"
"And I wanted to." He watched as she came towards him once again. She was inches away and looked as if she was going to kiss him. He held his hands out, grasping her and stopping her in her tracks. He knelt down on one knee, keeping her hand in his. "I wanted this to be special."
"What are you doing, Sam?"
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. His hands shook and he smiled nervously. "I'm not that great at this am I? But would you marry me?"
Jess gasped in shock, but quickly regained her composure so that she could squeak out a yes. The smile that split across Sam's face was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. She pulled him up and her lips crashed into his. He closed his eyes, letting a few tears of joy slip out from between the lids.
Soon, her lips were no longer on his and the warm tears felt odd against his face. He opened his eyes and blinked at the harsh light that blinded him. He reached his hands up to where the tears were. Once his eyes adjusted, he saw his hand was stained with red. His gaze swept around the room. He saw what was the harsh light that had invaded his eyes earlier- flames.
He couldn't find here anywhere in the room. The panic built in his chest, feeling as if it would crush his heart.
Something dripped against his face again. Once again, he reached up and his hand came back red. He looked towards the ceiling. The sight that met him had him collapsing to his knees.
"Jess!" he cried once more.
She was pinned above him. Her stomach was cut open and dripping blood onto him. The flames were growing higher and lapping at her once silk white dress.
He thrashed against the fire, trying to get to her.
Blood continued to drip and began to run into his already tear blurred eyes.
"No," he moaned back.
"Damn it, Sammy! Wake up!"
"Gah!" Sam yelled as he shot up in the seat. His head banged against the window of the Impala in the process. He blinked around the car, realizing where he was before he rubbed at the red spot forming on his otherwise pale forehead.
"You with me?"
Sam glanced at his brother then nodded his head.
Sam didn't answer. He continued to just look at Dean. The expression across his face was all the answer Dean needed, and it broke his heart to see it on his brother.
Sam nodded again. He settled back against the leather of the passenger seat. He put his hands into the pockets of his jacket; his hand unconsciously closed around the small black box hidden inside.
A silence stretched out for a couple more miles as Sam tried his best to shake off the dream. He finally felt as if his voice wouldn't shake if he began to talk. "Where are we?" His voice still came out timid, but didn't waver.
"Just outside of Virginia," Dean responded.
"Got a text from Dad…"
"Oh," Sam sighed. He knew how much those sporadic texts bothered Dean. "Coordinates?"
"Yep." Dean's voice was calm but his hands tightened on the wheel. "Looks like some smaller township outside of Lynchburg."
"No. He just sent the coordinates. So no clue what's goin' on there."
"Ok," Sam sighed again. "I'll check the local news feeds once we get there."
"Was thinking about getting off at the next exit for lunch before we hit the town."
"If you want to. I'm not that hungry."
"Sam, you've gotta eat man."
Sam just looked out the window, causing Dean to sigh himself. Things had been rough to say the least. Sam was starting to get better day-by-day, but he was still grieving. That wasn't going away any time soon. Add to it the fact that their father was still missing in action, sending random hunts their way, not answering his phone…
"Just stop wherever you want." Sam's soft-spoken voice broke his brother out of his thoughts. "I could use coffee. A-and I'll see what they have to eat…"
Dean nodded towards Sam. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. It was better than those days spent in Palo Alto where Dean watched Sam completely sink into himself as he went about everything. Dean would have to take this for now at least.
"Want some more coffee, sugar?"
Sam looked up from his laptop at the waitress's voice. "Please," he smiled sweetly.
"Of course…but is something wrong with your sandwich and fries?" She pointed towards his plate. Sam's BLT had a few bite marks around the edges and barely any of the French fries had been touched.
"Oh, no…it's good…just not that hungry. Thank you."
Dean did his best not to sigh at his little brother.
"Just yell if you boys need anything else."
"Thanks," Dean replied as she started back towards the other tables in her section. He then turned back to his brother. "Sam, I think-"
"Found some articles from Lynchburg," Sam interrupted as he stared down at his laptop. "Looks like men, mainly ranging from late teens to early forties, have been wrecking and going missing on 1st Street Hill. The hill is the main road in and out of town…leads to all local business and is the only way to get to neighboring ones, including Lynchburg. Each one has had similar findings in the police reports. Guy goes into town and starts to head up the hill again to get to back home on the other side. Always late in the evening or at night. His car slips on ice or hydroplanes on the rain water, causing it to go off the road and into the wooded areas surrounding the hillside."
"The cars are never that bad off. Some have been totaled, but overall nothing that would really kill a guy. Yet the police never find any of them alive. Normally they barely find anything of him at all. The men are normally found with their flesh hanging off their bones."
"It gets weirder," Sam continued. "All these guys have one thing in common…"
"Yeah…they all had wedding rings in their possessions."
"So whatever we are dealing with only goes after married dudes?" Dean asked around a mouth full of burger.
Sam pulled a face at his brother before going on with the research. "Not exactly. They don't have wedding bands…they have engagement rings."
"Like they were on their way to propose or something?"
"I guess," Sam replied. He pulled his coffee towards him and gulped down more of the hot liquid. "Most of these cases have been around holidays, especially Valentine's Day. Makes sense."
"A little. But that's weird. What goes after guys who are about to pop the question?"
"Hell if I know," Sam muttered. He shoved his laptop away, leaning back in his chair with his hands in his pockets. His fingers once again found their way to the little box he couldn't seem to forget before he moved one hand back up to his laptop. Sam scrolled through a few more documents. "God…I don't know…it could be anything really."
"Well," Dean sighed, "we're not gonna find any answers sittin' here." He stood up and threw some money at the table. His eyes locked on Sam's plate; the food was more or less untouched. He then looked up to see Sam staring at him with his laptop bag already slung over his shoulders.
"Yeah, let's hit the road." With that Dean headed back towards the Impala.
"Need me to drive for awhile?" Sam asked.
"No way I'm letting you drive. Once you come off your caffeine high your ass is gonna crash hard…and it isn't takin' my baby with it. Get in the passenger seat, now."
"Dean, I'm fine…"
"The hell you are," Dean mumbled as he climbed in the driver's seat and slammed the door shut.
"What's your problem?" Sam asked once he got in the passenger side as usual.
"I don't have a problem. You're the one making yourself sick by not eating and sleeping!" Dean pulled back out onto the road with a jerk and turned towards the outskirts of Lynchburg.
"I know Sammy," Dean sighed. "I get it; I do. But I don't think Jess would be too happy to see you like this, especially over her." Dean took his eyes of the road and glanced at his brother. Sam's eyes were wide and shined with unshed tears. Their eyes locked for a second before Sam hung his head and turned away. Dean could hear him sniffle slightly as he leaned his head against the glass of the window.
Dean reached over and squeezed his brother's shoulder affectionately. He didn't say anything. He knew it wouldn't help. Not much really would right now.
Dean turned his attention back to the road and kept on driving. It wasn't long until they reached the hill. Police tape lined the edge of the road and broken glass lay scattered across the grass on the other side. Dean parked the Impala as close as he could, not wanting to puncture the tires with the sharper shards.
"Looks like the place," he said to Sam.
"I'd say so," Sam replied. He then opened the glove compartment. "What's our cover?" He rummaged through until his hand settled on the box of IDs stashed in there.
"I was thinking FBI."
"Original," Sam sarcastically remarked, breaking the dark mood that had settled in the car following their conversation earlier.
"Who cares as long as it works?" Dean grumbled. "We got what looks like a serial killer who's been at it on and off for twenty years. FBI will be our best bet." Dean snatched up one of his IDs and hit Sam on the shoulder. He climbed out of the car and made his way to the trunk for supplies.
Sam grabbed an ID of his own before following Dean to the back of the Impala. "Don't forget the EMF."
"I know, Sam. I'm not stupid."
"Just checking…you never know."
Dean glared and smacked Sam upside the head. "Bitch."
"Ow!" Sam rubbed the spot on his head. "Jerk…"
Dean smiled a little as he went back to gathering what they needed. "What are you thinkin' this is?"
"Not sure," Sam said, picking up a sawed off in the process. "It fits a spirit's MO. Demons don't normally stick around this long and attack so sporadically. Doesn't fit for them."
"No…too much flesh left on the bodies. Plus, they normally don't live this close to the roads and cities. And no to werewolves…hearts are still intact and the attacks have been occurring at different times of the month, not just during full moons."
"Dude…how do you know all this?" Dean slammed the trunk of the Impala closed and turned to face Sam.
"I read it while you ate."
"Ok…" Dean started off towards the woods, Sam following closely. "So, spirit?"
"Think so. Bout the only thing that does seem to fit with all the evidence."
Dean nodded and pulled out the EMF. He looked around, trying to finds signs of wreckage or blood in the grass. The ground was still muddy from the rains and frozen in places because of the colder air. It crunched under his boots.
"Sam, how far in is this supposed—Oomph!" Dean's foot hit a piece of a car bumper, sending him to the ground hard.
"Dean," Sam called as he ran over to his brother, avoiding the wreckage along the way. "You ok?"
Dean sat up, shaking his head to clear it. "Yeah…but damn it…"
Sam knelt down in front of his brother, checking for injuries. When he didn't find anything other than what would be a few bruises in time, he patted his brother's shoulder and stood back up. "Well, you found it at least."
"Shut up," Dean grumbled. He then looked around and saw how much broken car pieces lay scattered around the ground. "Woah…this place looks worse than Bobby's junk yard."
"Yeah," Sam sighed as he too took in everything around him. "Whatever this thing is, it definitely is pissed off at something."
Sam glared at Dean. "Just pick up the damn EMF and let's get to work."
Dean went off in one direction, holding the EMF out to get a reading. Sam took the other direction and searched the grass for more clues amongst the car parts.
"Son of a bitch," Dean muttered. The EMF was going nuts. "Yeah, think we are definitely dealing with a ghost here Sam!"
"I figured as much," Sam replied. He continued roaming the grass and looking. His eyes finally settled on a gnarled tree off to the side of the clearing. The roots stuck out from the ground and hooped up over the mud in every direction. What looked like blood stains covered the trunk, marring the bark. But what caught Sam's eye was the metallic glistening coming off one of the smaller roots.
He moved towards the tree and knelt down. The mud soaked through his jeans, causing him to shiver. It felt as if the wind was starting to pick up again.
"What the hell…" Sam's hands glided over the roots until they connected with the shiny objects. He pulled them out of the shadows so that he could see them better.
Silver and gold sat heavy in his hands. Diamonds of various sizes and cuts danced in the sunlight. Along the root there were dozens of engagement rings.