A.N. Just a short story that I hadn't got planned and which didn't take long to jot down, so I apologise in advance for errors etc. The story happened as the result of the remnant of a dream the night before and kinda insisted on interrupting the piece I am actually working on and hope to have finished soon.
Spoiler Alert : None. Takes place during a time when Dean was working alone.
Disclaimer : They're not mine, but maybe if I wish hard enough?
ALL THIS FOR NO PAY
The woodsman heard the bellowing howl of a creature, joined a split second later by the sound of a child's terrified high pitched screaming, Charlotte! Forcing his limbs to unfreeze, he began to move in the direction of the sounds, when another noise cut through the roar and the terror. Three shots. Three shots. Please, Lord, let them find their mark. The howling turned into a full throated cry of pain, then silence descended, leaving the woodsman hearing only the sound of his own heart beating. He began to run, axe in hand, racing for the tree line, yelling his daughter's name…..and she, in turn, answered. The woodsman fell to his knees, dropping the axe and holding his arms open wide as his child tumbled out of the forest and into the safety of his embrace.
"My baby! Are you hurt? Are you injured? Let me look at you. Are you alright?"
He held his eight year old daughter at arms length, rapidly casting his eyes over her, scanning for signs of harm. The girl hiccupped tears, shaking her head.
"The man Daddy…the man. We gotta help him. He came an' shot the monster, but it hurt him. Please Daddy, come on, we hafta hurry"
The girl had grasped her father's hand and was now trying to physically drag him to his feet, her movements frantic. The woodsman held her steady.
"At the fairy table."
The woodsman stood,
"Go get your brother from the barn. Tell him to bring his shotgun…hurry baby."
He watched as his daughter ran, stumbled, recovered herself and ran again; then he set off at a steady jog, retracing the direction his daughter had come from and heading into the trees towards the small clearing where his young daughter believed that fairy's gathered to feast.
As the woodsman entered the clearing he heard the sound of his son approaching fast behind. The woodsman glanced around, stopping when his eyes fell upon the gigantic corpse of a, Bear? Hesitantly, he moved closer;taking in the dirty blond, mattered fur which covered the creature's body. Noting where it's pelt was stained with the blood of it's wounds, His nostrils flared at the over powering musky scent of the thing, Definitely not a bear. He took another wary step closer, and flinched as his son came crashing into the clearing, grounding to a halt at his father's side.
"Shit Pa…What the hell is that thing?"
The pair walked slowly around the creature, the woodsman shaking his head in disbelief My Lord…they're real! They exist! Father and son stared at one another across the myth which lay between them.
"I know….The man that killed it, Charlie thought he was injured."
The woodsman tore his gaze away from the body of the Sasquatch and visually searched the rest of the clearing, There, the base of that tree, it's him.
"Nick, over there."
His daughter's rescuer lay face down on the forest floor with one arm stretched above his head, the other at his side, his gun lay nearby. Dressed in blue jeans and a dark grey tee with a maroon over shirt, the woodsman could see no immediate signs of injury.
"Give me a hand to turn him over…Easy, easy. Dammit. This looks bad. We need to get him to the cabin, we can check him out properly there. You lift his legs."
The girl was waiting on the steps leading to the porch surrounding the family's home. She sat rocking, both knees drawn up, her arms clasped around them. When she spotted her father and brother carrying another man between them, she untangled herself and ran to meet them.
"You found him! Is he ok? Is he dead? You can help him Daddy, can't you?"
"Honey, go get the door for us. He'll have to go in Nick's bed, that ok?"
The son nodded,
"Sure. No problem."
Their new guest was carefully manoeuvred onto the bed.
"Charlie…I'm going to need hot water and clean cloths. Nick, fetch me the medical kit and some fresh towels."
Whilst he waited, the woodsman studied the man on his son's bed. He was surprised to see how young the man appeared, no more than early to mid twenties. He wore his hair short, and spiked at the front. A smattering of freckles stood out against his too pale complexion. Despite the smears of dirt, the stranger looked almost beautiful as he lay. The woodsman smiled ruefully, his daughter was certain to pronounce the stranger "hot" and decide she loved him, If he lives. Father and son worked together to remove torn and blood soaked clothing, A small hiccup of horror let them know that Charlie had come into the room and seen the mess of cuts, gouges and dark bruises ruining the man's torso.
"You can fix 'im daddy…..can't you?
The woodsman turned to look at the small girl holding a bowl of water and some face cloths, he gave her a reassuring smile, proud of the effort she was making to be brave.
"I could do with a coffee honey, and our friend here might like some soup for when he wakes up. Do you think you could sort that for me?"
"Good girl. Nick will go with you and I'll shout if I need a hand. Ok?"
Something was out of sync. Whatever he was laid on it was too soft to be the ground, yet despite the comfort beneath him, he felt searing pain in his body. Semi conscious and with his eyes still closed, Dean heard a soft moan followed by a half choked whimper of hurt that sounded as though it came from some animal or other. Fighting against his own pain, Dean tried to steady his breathing in order to focus on picking up on any other sounds to tell him how close the animal was. At first he struggled, his breathing remaining rapid and shallow. He tried for a deeper breath, and heard the sounds of distress again, louder and more defined this time. Surprised, Dean finally realised that he was the one making the noises. Along with the realisation came a much greater awareness of how weak he felt and just how badly he hurt Something had happened….something…..
Nick looked up as his father came into the kitchen.
"Shouldn't we call someone Pa? Doesn't he need a hospital? What about the Sheriff's department?"
The woodsman shook his head.
"He's better off not being moved, don't want to risk making things worse for him. Your sister would never forgive me. And the Sheriff? With the dead body of an actual Sasquatch still laying out there? Son, do you really want the world and his cousin camped all around us? Do you? We call no one till that corpse is dealt with. It'll be dusk soon, we'll sort the creature in the morning. Till then, you can use my bed. I'll keep an eye on our guest."
"I can help Daddy. I can do stuff."
The woodsman smiled at his daughter and held his arms out to her. As he held her close his mind wandered, So much like her mother was. Strong willed, caring and, thanks to this stranger, still full of life.
"I know you can Hun, but I think you need your rest. You've had a hell of a day my girl and I might need you to help me tomorrow to look after our new friend. Ok?"
"Ok…Can I go tell the man goodnight?"
"Of course, but then it's supper and early bed for you. Got it?"
Fighting back from the darkness, Dean felt something stroke softly across one cheek. He moved his head away slightly, but something touched him again, a more definite touch and on the shoulder this time. The touch was followed by the voice of a child.
"Mister? Are you awake Mister?"
Green eyes fluttered open, seeking the owner of the voice. Dean found himself looking up at the curious face of a young girl, and he remembered. With memory came pain and he couldn't quite stop the cry as it flooded through him, his muscles contracting in response,
his eyes screwed closed again. The girl's voice was panicked now.
"I'll get my daddy. He'll know how to help."
A new voice. Male, unfamiliar. A hand at the back of his head, raising him up slightly.
"Here lad…You're ok. You're safe. Open your eyes for me. I need you to drink this, it'll help a little."
Later, as Dean slowly came back round, it was to the sound of whispered voices. Curious, he blinked his eyes open. He vaguely recognised one of the two men speaking in hushed tones, eventually connecting him with the foul tasting concoction he had been made to drink earlier. The other man was new to Dean and appeared to be closer to his own age. Dean licked his lips before trying to speak, to let them know he was awake.
Dean knew he made no sense, but it was enough to attract the attention of the pair. The older man immediately came over, a relieved smile on his face.
"Hello again boy. Do you think you might stay with us a bit longer this time?"
Despite having no idea who the guy actually was, Dean thought he might like him and he attempted an answering smile. It seemed to please the man and it earned Dean a few sips of water. Dean tried again for comprehensible speech,
"Where am I?"
Charlie sat, sleepy eyed, on the edge of Dean's bed, closely monitoring each spoonful of soup that he took.
"I made it special, to help you get better."
Dean winked at the girl.
"It's the best soup I've ever had."
Charlie decided she definitely loved him.
"I can get you some more. I made lots."
From an old armchair placed at the other side of Dean's bed, Charlie's father yawned and stood up.
"Charlie. I think Dean's had enough soup for now. I reckon it's time for you to head back to bed now you've seen he's going to be ok. You can make him some breakfast in the morning. Deal?"
Charlie put on such a huge sulky pout that Dean chuckled. Before Charlie could answer her father, all three of them froze at the sound of a keening howl which resonated through the trees surrounding the woodsman's home. Charlie clamped her hands over both ears, her face turning pale,
The woodsman looked to Dean.
"Could that thing have had a mate?"
Dean switched his attention to the girl.
"Charlie? Have you got a secret hiding spot? You know…somewhere you go when you don't want your brother or your daddy to find you? Somewhere they don't know about?"
As Charlie nodded, Nick burst into the room, hunting rifle in hand.
"Did you guys hear that?"
As if in answer, a second howl cut through the night air, and it sounded as though it was getting closer.
"So, I guess you probably did hear it then. Don't know about you, but I think there's a girlfriend out there and she sounds a bit upset."
The woodsman turned to Charlie, taking her hand he knelt down in front of her, kissing the trembling girl on the forehead before turning to his son.
"Nick? Charlie's going to show you her secret hiding place. I want you to make sure she's safe and out of sight, ok? Charlie, Hun. You might want to take Mrs Moppentop with you so you can look after her. Nick will go with you and once you're hidden, you stay hidden. You hear me? You do not come out of your hiding place until either me or Nick come to get you. It's really important that you do as I say. Do you understand?"
Dean watched with sympathy as the girl nodded. Silent tears ran down her face as she followed her brother out of the bedroom.
Dean Carefully began to climb out of bed, gritting his teeth against the tearing sensation around his injuries. As he stood, he swayed unsteadily, until a strong arm encircled his back, giving him some support whilst he stabilised.
"You know boy, you might consider sitting this one out? You've done more than I can ever thank you for already."
When Dean looked at him, the woodsman was taken aback by the intensity in the younger man's gaze.
"I promise I'll explain later. All you need to understand right now is, this is my job."
"Actually, it's more like voluntary work, 'cos there's no salary. Whatever, I'm not goin' to idle around in bed while you and your boy put yourselves in danger trying to finish what I started."
Both men glanced at the window when a third roar alerted them to the fact that the beast had left the cover of the forest and was now stalking the area in which the cabin stood. The woodsman bent to pull open a drawer. He held out a black hoody to Dean.
"You might want to put this on then."
Together they moved through to the kitchen, turning lights off as they went. Nick was already there looking pale, but determined. The woodsman placed a reassuring hand on his son's shoulder.
"Is your sister safe?"
"As she can be."
Nick pointed toward a cupboard door underneath the sink unit. The woodsman raised an eyebrow, then shook his head in submission. With a sigh, he turned to Dean.
"So…How're we going to play this?"
Dean's smile was grim.
"We're playing to win."
The three stood in darkness, listening for sounds that would tell them where abouts outside the creature was. There was a crash as something heavy was knocked over, closely followed by a deep, rumbling growl. Whispering, the woodsman gave Dean a nod.
"It's out back, near the log pile. This is as good a chance as any for you to get outside the front door without being noticed."
"Right. You two decide who's covering the front and who's staying here to watch the back. If I don't stop it, try to make certain it doesn't get inside with you, hear me? You kill that bastard before it gets through the door. Heart and head. They're your kill zones. Oh…and once it's down, don't stop. Keep shootin'. Make certain the damn thing's dead. We don't want any bad horror movie moments. I'll see you all after."
Once outside, Dean allowed himself a few brief moments to lean up against the cabin wall in the shadows, letting the adrenalin kick in, willing himself to ignore his wounds. He could feel the tickle moving down from his chest that told him he was bleeding again. He knew that if there was even a slight breeze, if it wasn't in his favour he may as well be standing in broad daylight, in full view waving at the creature. The Sasquatch would pin point him in seconds if it could smell his blood, it didn't matter how dark it was. Dean didn't give himself the luxury of checking wind direction. He didn't care. This family were not going to be harmed, whatever it took.
Dean Winchester, Hunter, began to move as the Sasquatch howled and roared again, it's frustration and fury serving to increase the volume and stretching out the length of it's cry. Dean heard the sounds of objects being thrown against walls and kicked along the floor. Suddenly, amongst the yowling and screeching, he heard the sound of glass shattering. Keeping his back against the cabin walls he hugged the shadows and moved swiftly towards the raging beast, the noises of destruction leaving Dean no time to waste, the thing was already up on the porch. His next turn would take Dean directly into the creature's line of sight. For a split second he considered moving off the porch, attempting to find enough cover to enable him to come at the creature from behind. Dean quickly abandoned that possibility when he heard the creature begin to bellow and hammer at the door which lead straight into the kitchen. The sound was all too quickly followed by that of wood splintering and collapsing. Without hesitation, Dean launched himself around the final bend, planting himself in plain view just as the beast began to push itself through what remained of the door. He heard Nick shouting his father for help, Why didn't he fire his gun? Just shoot it!
Dean's own line of sight didn't give him a clear shot at the chest or head. He compromised, desperate just to divert the creature's attention away from Nick. His bullet hit somewhere near the creature's hip, immediately drawing a high pitched wail.
"Hey! Over here Hearth Rug! C'mon!"
Dean fired again, wounding the thing in it's thigh. With an ear splitting scream, the creature withdrew from the wreck of the doorway and turned eye's that blazed red with rage towards Dean, Join in any time soon guys.
Hands steady, Dean took aim at the creatures forehead, before he pulled the trigger, a shot rang out from the cabin instead, splintering wood in front of the creatures face and causing it to instinctively duck. To Deans astonishment, the thing dropped onto all fours, growling. As Dean adjusted his aim another shot from inside the cabin went wide, distracting Dean for the briefest of moments. The creature unexpectedly pounced like a tiger, aiming straight towards Dean.
Caught by surprise, Dean didn't move quickly enough. It felt like a freight train had run into him as the creature knocked Dean onto his back. Still on all fours, the creature stood over him. Fetid breath made Dean gag as the monster opened it's jaws wide to reveal row upon row of shark like teeth. All other sounds faded into the background as Dean's entire focus narrowed onto the salivating black maw above him. Everything appeared to move in slow motion as the beast lowered it's open mouth towards Dean, the clear intent being to rip his face off. Dean screwed his eyes closed and turned his face to one side as he simultaneously jammed his gun up against the beast's chest and fired, again and again.
Even with the two of them, it was still a struggle for the woodsman and his son to roll and drag the beast's corpse off the hunter. Nick stood back whilst his father checked Dean's life signs. The woodsman cursed.
There was nothing else for Nick to do except watch as the woodsman began mouth to mouth, forcing air into Dean's lungs, trying to give back what the sheer weight of the Sasquatch had stolen from Dean. After a while, the woodsman took a brief respite, looking angrily at Dean's still form.
"Come on kid. I can't do this for you forever. You've got to breath on your own! You hear me?"
Nick unconsciously held his own breath as his father returned to his task.
"Want me to take over?"
Again the woodsman stopped, then, taking Dean by the shoulders he shook him.
"You hear that? You'd better start to breath, or my son's gonna start kissing you as well!"
Finally, it happened. A reflex cough, and Dean at last began to draw in shuddering lungs full of air unaided. Nick punched the air and whooped. The woodsman smiled and, as Dean began to stir, he sat back shakily and offered up a silent prayer of thanks.
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