Title: Dream of the Witch House : part 1
rating: K for mild gore and sexual references
word count: 2,090
spoilers: up to ep 7.06
warning: these are not my characters
summary: Supernatural/Lovecraft fic. Dean visits Dunwich, a town made legendary by HP Lovecraft, to investigate a possible solution to the Leviathans, where he finds Castiel.
Professor Hickman pulled back the safety, wishing the storm outside was a bit noisier, and leaned against the library door to listen.
"I've got nothing, Bobby," said the young man on the other side, "There's the guy's notes on opening a door into what looks like Monster Alcatraz, but I swear he's making up most of the words, dude uses vowels like Vanna White on mushrooms..."
Hickman took a deep breath. The burglar obviously thought the house was empty if he was talking in such a carrying voice.
"It says he managed the spell at one of the houses here in Dunwich, and if this is the same one Lovecraft mentioned then we may have a way to shove the Leviathans back in the box, but he's really vague on a street address, I'll have to break into city hall tonight and check the plat maps for property owners...no one will see me, the sidewalks roll up at 8 o'clock around here..."
Hickman rub a sweaty hand against his flannel robe and steeled himself.
"Yeah I'll call back in a minute, the nerd outside doesn't know that I hid his bullets-" he said as he opened the door, "-or that I swiped his porn collection."
Hickman blinked. "My...?"
Dean shut his cell phone and turned back toward a pile of books. "Hiding them behind TheSorrowsofYoungWertheris only slightly more original than the sock drawer, I'd have made space behind those law manuals."
Hickman's eyes darted to the magazines. "They're erm, they weren't-"
"They're not yours, you're keeping them from your horny nephew, who apparently spends his quality shower time fantasizing about..." he said, leafing through an especially dog-eared issue, "...piano teachers with whips."
Dean dropped it on the floor. "Whatever. I need your help with something, and Bobby Singer recommended you."
"Singer? The mechanic?"
Dean sat down heavily in the antique chair behind the desk. Dunwich lacked both strip clubs and bars, which meant he was about an hour's research away from a really wonderful headache. "He visited your library years back, said you used to teach math at Miskatonic University?"
Hickman looked down at the gun, as if for the first time, and hastily stowed it in his robe pocket. "Retired."
"Forcefully," said Dean, fingering a scrap of newspaper, "For, let me see if I'm quoting it right, 'Accessory to kidnapping a faculty member'?"
"What? I, no, I, where did you find that?"
Dean made a throw-away gesture with one hand. "Miskatonic Police Department has crap for firewalls. Now, you gonna tell me what happened to your friend Doctor Pyesell? Seeing as you were the last man to speak with him before his disappearance?"
Hickman almost refused. The man in his chair, HIS chair, was half his age, and has gotten his dirty fingerprints all over his books.
But then he noticed his clothes, how they were so drenched with rain that he had made little puddles all over the carpet.
"Just a moment." he said, as he left the room, and returned with his electric kettle and two cups. Dean looked taken aback. "The storms are awful here, I always feel better with some hot tea."
Hickman glanced around, and realized that Dean was sitting in the only chair in the room. But burglar or not, the man was a guest, a guest half his age, with ten times his strength, and all of his bullets, and so he contented himself with a small tower of dictionaries in the corner while he poured.
"Pyesell had told me about the Witch's House several years ago, but I never actually followed him there." he began.
"The what house?"
"Oh it's one of the oldest structures here in the city," he said, the steam fogging his glasses, "A witch had disappeared inside it back when the Puritans settled here and then...no, I need to go back farther. Pyesell had discovered part of a sequence when he was a student, a magic sequence."
Dean looked confused.
"A set of numbers," he said, handing the other cup to Dean, "Only this set, if ordered properly, could open a door, like a combination lock on a safe."
"And has anyone opened that door?"
Hickman smiled. "He thinks the witch did."
"The one in this house that you've never seen."
Dean leaned forward, and Hickman flinched. "Where's the house?"
"I...I don't know. I was too afraid."
"What, you think the witch is still there?"
"Oh no, she's long gone, it's just...the closer you are, the more afraid you become." he said, watching the teabag stain the water black, "It's uncanny."
"Huh," said Dean, leaning back and propped his boots on the desk, "Must be some sort of warding spell to keep folks away."
"Must be, it's quite remote, it always took Pyesell a long time to get there and back."
"So this...math spell," said Dean, pointing a finger at an open journal, "It opens a door. To where?"
"Pyesell was...not in his right mind," he said, the rain lashing at the window, "He took a lot of pills before venturing out to the Witch's house, he was convinced that only madmen could truly perceive how the sequence worked."
"Well that makes sense," said Dean, flipping to a page, "These numbers are gibberish."
"Oh the numbers make sense-" he faltered as Dean gave him a dirty look, "-to a mathematician at least, but it's incomplete. You can only know how it finishes if..."
"...if you're dosed up, I get it. Some kind of Ivy League zen riddle." He slammed the journal shut. "So your friend got baked, walked into a cursed house that no one's seen, the voices in his head helped him cheat on a Monster Calculas test, and he walked thru a door that was Exit Only?"
Dean smiled. "Now we're getting somewhere."
Dean shook the little orange canister. "There's only one pill left."
Professor Hickman scratched his neck nervously. "That's plenty. You'll be in an altered state for at least twelve hours."
Dean smiled, impressed against his will. "Math teachers have more fun than I gave them credit for." he said, popping the lid with his thumb and swallowing it dry. "Ugh, tastes like battery acid. What now? When will I notice any changes?"
"Twenty, maybe thirty minutes. You'll want to eat if you haven't already, there's a diner close by."
"Thanks," said Dean, studying his reflection in a mirror to see if it would change, wondering if this was how Sam felt all the time now.
"Don't forget this." said Hickman, handing him the journal, "Once the drugs kick in and..."
"And I'm certifiable, the journal notes will start making sense?"
Hickman looked away. "Not just the math in his journal entries. All numbers will appear to be part of the sequence. Pyesell became obsessed with it, to the point of forgetting where he was, or when it was. I think he even forgot his own name."
Dean snorted, but not very convincingly.
"But once he had the solution, he made straight for the Witch's House to perform the ritual. I think he wrote it on the wall of her bedroom, I remember because he tried it several times before getting it right."
"Well if you see me in saffron robes selling flowers at the airport, be sure to put a bullet between my eyes." said Dean, stuffing the journal inside his coat pocket.
The diner was adjacent to a train-switching station, where some enterprising soul had welded three shipping containers together and filled it with chairs and the smell of bacon grease. The news glowed in a corner television, and the cook worked over an open grill behind the counter.
"Evening," said Dean, glancing up at the menu on the wall, "Cheeseburger, pie, and coffee."
"Have to brew you a new pot, the stuff we've got's been boiling so long it'd strip paint." said the cook, pouring a spoonful of lard onto the grill for some hash.
"Whenever is fine, I'll start with dessert." he said, eyeing a display case with the loveliest blueberry pie he'd seen in ages.
The cook wiped his hands on his butt and plucked out a knife while Dean pulled the journal out onto the counter, absently listening to the TV in the background.
The numbers swam like insects. He wished Sam were here, he had a head for figures.
He tried focusing on the first line of the set, and quickly discovered that they were all primes. The further down he looked, he found primes down into the fifth digit range, when last week he had struggled with adding a fifteen percent tip to his bill.
He rubbed his temples and wished he could just go to bed, or that this would start making sense. He looked up at the menu, and the prices suddenly fit a pattern he hadn't noticed a few minutes go, constellations chalked on a greasy blackboard.
"Coffee's ready." said the cook, placing a mug in front of him.
"Oh you are a lifesaver." he said, tearing his eyes away from the numbers and taking a sip. "Wow this is amazing, what's in it?"
"Well ya know, I like my coffee like I like my women." he said, and when he turned to smile, his mouth was a bloody horror, teeth stained red. "Ground up and in the freezer."
Dean choked, and when he brought his hand up to his mouth, bits of hair, long hairs with skin attached, came away.
"It's not real."
Dean looked up. When he glanced at his coffee again, it was just coffee, black and hairless.
"You get a knack for knowing when it's real or not, give it a week."
He looked down at a grandmother who came up to his chest, knitting bag in hand.
"Don't mind Maizie, she stopped taking her meds in March."
"I don't like taking the pills," she said tartly, "When I worked at the phone company, I never took any pills, and I had psychic abilities."
The cook waved her off and turned back to the grill. "That so?" said Dean, starting to wonder if she was another figment.
"Oh yes," she said gravely, leaning to whisper, "I could tell you what someone would say over the phone before they even made the call."
"Huh." said Dean, sipping his coffee for lack of a polite response.
"But then the doctor gave me the prescription and...it gets so lonely."
"With only one voice in your head?"
She faltered a little, and for a second Dean felt sorry for being so rude. "When I take the pills, the angels won't have sex with me." she said.
"I'm sorry, what?" said Dean, spilling coffee over his hand.
"The angel Gabriel came to me at night," she said, her glasses glinting, "And made sweet love to me, all the time. That man was a fiend in bed, did you know he would take a stick of butter and-"
"Nope nope nope don't need to hear this, that's...that's lovely what you two shared." he said, trying not to picture Gabriel with a tub of margarine and a knowing smile.
After she left, the rest of his food arrived, and Dean sat down to take another look at the numbers. He could feel the pill working for real now, the paper felt textureless under his fingers, and the pie was so much wet cardboard in his mouth. Nothing felt real.
A man took the stool next to him, or rather, one minute the stool was empty and the next it had a man on it.