DEAD IN ITS TRACKS

By: Karen B.

Summary: Bored? Looking for an adventurous story about a trio of hunters armed with machetes, traipsing through a misty, dark forest featuring lots of mosquitos, muskrats, giant snakes, poison ivy, rain, wind, lightning, mud, blood, and beer? Then this is that story.

Disclaimer: Not the owner.

Rated: Plenty of humor, hurt comfort and some gore. Language mild. Set in S-3 I picture.

Because when they strike it can be that quick that if they're within range, you're dead, you're dead in your tracks. And his head weighs more than my body so it's WHACK! ~ Steve Irwin

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Few people went looking for danger, but danger was exactly what the trio of hunters was looking for as they moved single file through the misty, dark forest.

The day was early and bright, yet the canopy overhead shading out the sun did little to stifle the heat. Daunting cypress trees towered over them like huge giants with unruly, shaggy hair. The smell of composting leaves mixed with dirt and water filled the air, the woods alive with a variety of animals: chipmunks, squirrels, and birds.

Bobby headed the tour, swinging his large machete back and forth along the soft, damp ground, cutting a footpath through the thick, overgrown vegetation. "We must be on the right track," he said, pointing to a large tree with a wide strip of orange paint circling its trunk. "That tree wasn't marked by Smokey the Bear. Those three missing land surveyors have been this way. Keep your eyes peeled now."

Sam and Dean went from observant to extremely alert.

"Rule of thumb on this hunt," Bobby called out over his shoulder to his boys trailing behind him, "Pull out all the stops…stay close… stay alert…stay alive." The older hunter swung his machete like a baseball bat, his duffel bag swinging right along with it. "Remember boys, the Sachamama may be hard of hearing, but is excellent at camouflage we could be walking over her right now."

"Yes, sir," Dean said glancing over his shoulder and frowning at his brother, Sam, who was lagging several yards behind him. Concerned by the large amount of space between them he called out, "Keep up with me, Sammy."

Sam tightened his grip on his machete and gave a curt nod, taking a few long, easy strides until he was within a few feet of Dean.

Satisfied, Dean turned back around, continuing to chop deeply into tree roots, swiping at marsh grass and hacking away at the prehistoric vines that were damn near immovable.

They'd been at it for miles. Their muscles near bursting as they searched for their prey, the air muggy and stifling, tee-shirts soaked with sweat, their bare arms bitten by mosquitos and scratched by thorny branches. Yet unflinchingly, all three hunters whooshed and swooshed and splashed their way through the thick, moist undergrowth of the forest.

Tiny beads of perspiration dotted the edges of Sam's scalp and slipped down his face. He paused, machete at his side as he pulled a water bottle from his pack. He unfastened the lid with one hand and gulped down half the water, all the while his eyes surveying the area. Shadows flicked and drifted along the forest floor in waves, carving strange, grotesque, threatening shapes out of jutting rocks, lush green ferns, large moldy mushrooms, and the twisted trunks of trees making everything seem to come alive. Sam cocked his head slightly off to one side studying the movements trying to distinguish shadow from life. How were they supposed to find this thing if it was that good at hiding? He capped the bottle and shoved it back in his pack.

Bobby suddenly slowed and began to walk backward, past Dean.

Dean stopped swinging; eyebrows pinched, looking over at Bobby as he passed by him, but stayed his ground. "What is it?" he asked anxiously.

Bobby seemed to be in his own world, listening to nothing but his inner self. He came to a standstill beside Sam and stooped to lay his machete at his feet, pressing a hand flat to the ground.

"Bobby?" Sam questioned, gazing down at him.

Bobby didn't answer. Just closed his eyes for a long time; his face tense and full of concentration, a man who knew the faintest change, knew the woods better than the inhabitants themselves.

Sam stood silent and ready.

"What's he got?" Dean's jaw muscle jumped in anticipation, machete now held high.

Sam shook his head. No clue.

Dean drew in a few calming breaths. "Bobby?"

"No ground movement." Bobby dug around in the wormy soil, holding a cracked human skull in his hand. "But we must be getting close to the deaf, legless bitch." He wiggled the skull, sending globs of mud and several very plump and juicy night crawlers slithering out of its dry eye sockets. "Woodland animals sometimes get hold of the pieces parts and drag them off, but not far off. Balls!" Bobby dropped the skull to the ground and dusted off his hands. "Would have been the best bait in the lake."

Sam and Dean flicked each other a strange look.

"For fishin'," Bobby grouched, noticing their confusion.

The boys look didn't fade any.

"The worms…not the skull, idgits." Bobby retrieved his machete and stood, his back creaking and cracking as he did. "Double balls," he groaned.

The sudden high-pierced Caw! Caw! Caw! startled all three hunters and they launched into battle stance like a finely oiled machine. Their feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, weapons thrust out in front of them, and eyes focused on the beady-eyed blackbird perched on a log off to their right, a chunky piece of furry animal held under its bloody claws – most likely rabbit.

"Get a look at that," Bobby muttered, relaxing his stance.

The crow screeched in obviously aggravation at its meal being disturbed, and in a sudden rush of flapping wings took flight heading straight for Sam's head.

"Crap." Sam ducked as the crow swooped past, the dead rabbit – still in the crow's clutches – brushing past his ear.

"What the hell? " Dean glared in the direction the bird had flown.

"Corvus brachyrhynchos," Sam muttered, racking a hand through his hair.

Dean stared at Sam like he was nuts. "Like I asked before…what the hell?"

"It's the scientific name for crow," Sam dutifully pointed out.

"Dude," Dean screeched. "Why can't you just call it what it is?"

"Which would be?" Sam challenged.

"A shiny black bird some suicidal guy once wrote a poem about."

"Shut up," Sam tisked

"Nerd," Dean chuckled lightly, going back to cutting out a trail and taking the lead. "Besides we're not bird watching, Sam. We're Rikki Tikki Tavi watching. That's the Dean Winchester name for 'snake'," he explained. "And I know lots of poems about the slithering, slimy, scaly slippery bitches too," he needlessly pointed out with a snort.

"Knock it off, Dean." Sam visibly shuddered, tracking after him.

"Poor Sammy and his Oprah-phobia," Dean snorted.

"It's ophidiophobia, Dean," Sam huffed.

"You are seriously afraid of snakes, boy?" Bobby asked completely surprised, now bringing up the rear.

Red spots flared on Sam's cheeks with embarrassment. "And besides, Dean, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was a mongoose not a snake. Didn't you pay attention when you read The Jungle Book in Sixth Grade?"

Dean glanced back and hissed, "Ssssss." He flicked his tongue in and out, mocking Sam, while at the same time clearing away brush.

"Bite me, Dean." Sam thwacked at the foliage in anger.

"I won't bite you, bro, but an itty bitty snake might," he chuckled.

"This is no itty, bitty snake we're hunting, Dean," Sam angered, kicking over a large rock, only to reveal more worms and beetles. "It's at least 45 feet long and six feet thick."

"Damn Sachamama might be stone deaf, but I'm not," Bobby blustered. "You two every shut your traps?"

"No." The boys shouted out in unison.

"Damn good thing this snake is deaf and again speakin' of…why are you so afraid of snakes, kid?" Bobby pressed Sam's issue.

"Everyone's afraid of something. Dean's afraid of rats," Sam justified, purposely evading the question.

"And Sammy's afraid of clowns," Dean retaliated.

"And I'm afraid I'm going to crack the two of your heads together if you don't stop busting each other's balls," Bobby spat, chopping his way through a patch of ferns. "So, answer the question, Sam," Bobby demanded.

Sam shrugged, biting into his lip and taking the Fifth as he squeezed past Dean forging ahead.

Dean gave Sam's shoulder a playful punch as he passed.

"Was that supposed to hurt?" Sam whacked through a thick grove of swampy grass, wondering how the giant snake could move even if it could through the tangle of the overgrown forest.

"If I wanted it to hurt Sammy, you'd know it," Dean offered up nonchalantly, being sure to keep pace with his fast moving, irritated brother.

"Again I ask, what am I missing out on here when it comes to Sam and snakes," Bobby bellowed from behind.

Dean gladly answered putting his shoulders and back into his chopping efforts. "When Sammy was ten, dad and I went after a shape shifter and Dad had a 'no girls allowed' rule back then so – "

"So…shut up, Dean," Sam grouched, moving ahead even faster.

"We'll he did," Dean argued. "You have to admit, Sammy, when you were ten you were one weak-kneed, ratty sneakered, whiny little bit – "

"I was not."

"Still are. No room for debate," Dean chuffed.

"Dean," Bobby warned gruffly, pausing only slightly to stretch out his overworked arm.

"Whatever," Dean said flatly. "Facts are facts, Bobby."

"Don't," Sam murmured, moving around a large overhanging branch.

"Don't what, Sammy? Tell Bobby what a pansy you are?"

"Dean," Sam threatened, "Do not bring up –"

"We left the squirt at Camp Happy Hour," Dean ran his motor mouth right over Sam. "And in the middle of Strawberry Shortcake's second night there, apparently a garter snake crawled into his sleeping bag –"

"It was-wasn't a sleeping bag, you jerk, it was a moth-eaten bl-blanket caked in m-mud." Sam so angry he stuttered.

"Wuss." Dean glanced at the back of his brother's head smiling and smiling and smiling some more. Getting Sammy's goat was always so much fun. "Should have heard him, Bobby, he was totally whacked out."

"That true, Sam?" Bobby asked sympathetically, slowing his pace.

Sam felt his cheeks heat up red-hot and quickly ducked his head as if he could hide his embarrassment behind a curtain of long hair.

"I never heard such a high-pitched squeal. Kid wouldn't stop screaming over the phone like a girl for dad and me to come get him," Dean chuckled. "The counselors couldn't calm him down –"

"Because they were all stone drunk," Sam mumbled, looking first left then right through the misty swirl of humid fog, then choosing to go right.

"Dad and I had no choice but to cut the hunt short and head back," Dean said, stepping up his speed to catch up to Sam. "Dad was so pissed at you, man."

"I was ten and the place was a dump, Dean. The food was crap, and we had to sleep in leaking, mangled tents with nothing but–"

"The snakes," Dean laughed.

Sam shivered.

"That was then, Sam. This is now," Bobby pointed out, still with an air of compassion in his tone. "You should be used to crawling with the creepy things by now, kid."

"Thanks for that, jerk," Sam scolded Dean in a prissy tone, storming faster ahead again, trying to get away from his stupid big brother's taunting.

"Welcome for that, Bitch." Dean picked up pace, not allowing Sam out of his sight.

"So back to this hunt," Bobby spoke up. "Remember boys the Sachamama is excellent at camouflage we could be walking over her right now."

All three hunters made closer inspection of the narrow footpath they were walking.

"Come out, come out wherever you are, you fugly, slimy, bitch." Dean swung at a large Cypress tree standing in his way, sending pieces of bark and fur-like branches flying. He panted heavily, and waited for a reaction.

"Dean, you never pay attention. Sachamama lives exclusively on the ground," Sam cautioned, swinging his own machete, sweeping the forest floor.

"Also means Mother Tree. And, dude, yes I do pay attention," Dean added. "There's no telling what or where Sacajawea is hiding out." He stabbed the tip of his machete into a two-foot mud puddle.

Nothing.

"It's Sachamama, Dean," Sam said with a heavy huff of irritation. "Sacajawea was a Native American and the only woman who helped guide Lewis and Clark on their exploration of the Western United States also acting as an interpreter for them," Sam muttered dryly. "And if you read correctly Sachamama,"he said the name with emphasis. "Actually means Mother Jungle," he grunted, chopping into a velvety-green moss-covered log.

Still nothing.

"What a geek… thinks he knows so much," Dean ridiculed, taking yet another swing at yet another Cypress tree then wiping yet more sweat from his brow with his sleeve.

"That's because this 'geek' actually reads what pops up on the computer screen, Dean."

"That's the problem, phobia boy…you got the wrong equipment popping up. Ha!"

"I…um… you…"Sam once again reduced to stuttering.

Dean smiled confidently; one upping his brother was always so much fun. Two upping him even more fun. "I heard you the other night at the bar chatting up that blond chick, Sammy. Talk about lame pickup lines." Dean glanced over his shoulder and said in a high-pitched girly-tone, "I'm not drunk, I'm intoxicated by you," he mimicked.

Sam growled, "I did not say that." He ran his fingers nervously through his hair. "Not in those exact words anyway."

"Nerdy, Sammy, real nerdy."

Sam grumbled, "Beats out your 'would you sleep with a stranger. No? Then hi, my name is Dean,' routine." He rolled his eyes and let them stay rolled for a second in exaggeration.

"Least my pickup lines work." Dean waggled his brow going back to chopping at the undergrowth. "I get 'em while their hot, Sammy boy."

Sam swung his machete over a mound of dried-up grass. "You wouldn't get any, Dean, if… shit!" Sam yelped and came up short as a weasel-like creature with a long body and short stubby legs jumped out from under the dried grass and bounded away, four smaller lookalikes waddling right behind. "What the hell?"

"Nibbling on bacon, chewin' on cheese," Bobby sung out from not too far behind them.

"Huh?" Sam and Dean questioned together, both shooting Bobby peculiar looks.

"Captain and Tennille," Bobby answered confidently as if they should know.

The boys shrugged at each other. He can't be serious?

"Muskrat Love," Bobby clarified further.

The boys looked at him blankly.

"Never mind. You two wouldn't know good music if it kicked you in the jewels," Bobby sulked.

"Yowch." Sam and Dean chimed, both wincing at the thought.

Bobby sighed and then said sharply, "Now what if that rat was our rubber hose? You two jug heads want to stop spouting off and pay attention to the hunt?" he spoke loudly, but got no response. "That there was a question and I'm a-waitin' on an answer," Bobby further demanded.

"Yes, sir," Sam and Dean collectively spoke up.

"Sachamama," he said the word extra slowly, "Is one giant-assed boa constrictor and is nothing to screw with. She's a real snake in the grass."

"Literally," Sam butted in. "Legend says this snake just grows and grows until it can't grow anymore. So big she can't move about through the tight jungle of trees so she searches for a swampy area making it her permanent home," he said, chopping into a twisted vine.

Nothing moved this time.

"Probably has been sitting in one spot for hundreds of years covered in vegetation," he continued.

"Camouflage is her first line of defense." Bobby whacked at a thicket of wild berries. "All she has to do is open her mouth and swallow you whole. Stop you dead in your tracks. Won't even leave chew-marks on your bones, " Bobby said. "And before you say anything, Sam, yes, she could be a tree."

"What?" Sam squawked. "I didn't – "

"Son, don't be bothering to explain," Bobby said suggestively then cleared his throat. "Now listen here, you two, she won't actually be a tree, told you before we left the truck…she prefers the soft wet cool ground, but part of her could be wrapped around a tree like a thick vine. " Bobby swung at a tree chipping off some bark.

Nadda.

"She also has a second line of defense. Which would be what? Dean?"

Bobby's pop quiz caught Dean off guard as he was too busy chuckling at the enjoyment of his brother being berated. Dean stuttered for an answer. "What? I…um… you…"

"Sam?" Bobby directed.

"She can whip up a storm," Sam answered right off. "Helps distract her prey as they approach, conceal her even further," he said in an all-knowing tone, splashing through another swampy puddle.

"Right, Sam," Bobby said proudly.

'Right, Sam.' Dean mouthed, rolling his eyes at his geek brother. The brown noser.

"And for all we know… Dean," Bobby paused for effect. "We could be stepping on her right now, so enough slap and tickle talk. Let's keep clearing a path and when something bleeds or we got wind and rain and lightning… you boys know damn well what to do, right?"

Always the dutiful student, Sam opened his mouth to answer, but this time Dean beat him to the punch.

"Cut off Jaffar's head," Dean said smugly, poking his tongue out at Sam.

"Dude. Real mature," Sam snipped. "You're watching Disney flicks now?"

"Princess Jasmine does New York," Dean chuckled, crushing through a spongy wet patch of white flowers.

"More porn," Sam mumbled in disgust, following close behind.

"Boys told you, enough ball busting! " Bobby ordered.

"Yes, sir," Sam and Dean's tone was shameful as they immediately went quiet. Only the hacking and slashing of Mother Nature now heard.

"Some days those boys just plain tucker me out," Bobby ranted to himself, "Walking up a mountainside with one leg in a cast and a sack full of bricks strapped to my backside would be less exhausting." Bobby stopped to remove his ball cap and swatted at a giant shiny green beetle that was about to land on the top of his head. "Damn, idgit's," Bobby whispered, glancing skyward.

They were losing daylight faster than normal. The thickness of the trees blocking what little they had left. Bobby knew that was a very bad thing when hunting anything – supernatural or not supernatural. He took in a deep breath, replacing his hat, practically smelling the putrid evil that lay somewhere on the forest floor cloaked in green and brown and well hidden among the dancing shadows from the swaying trees above.

The boys were a few yards ahead of him now. Finally quiet, scouting, totally vested. The dangerous, professional hunters he was always so dang proud of.

He took a step toward them, and then stopped abruptly again. Over his years of wandering the woods Bobby had developed an eye for change; colors, shapes, patterns, smells. Everything in nature stood out, talked to him. It was a foreign language most folks never could learn.

He tentatively took a few more steps, soundlessly and slowly lifting each foot high up off the ground and gently setting down first the heel of his boot, then his toe, heel, toe, heel, toe – a stalker's walk. Aside from the scavenger, gut-picking crow, and the muzzle-to-ass family of muskrats they'd just seen, no song of birds or buzz of pesky insects or chatter of squirrels or badgering brothers filled the air.

Up ahead, Sam and Dean were working their way around a thick wall of rock covered in green ivy, whacking at a grove of low-slung tree moss.

Bobby moved slightly off to his left, staring intently at a patch of green clover, tiny white flowers, and misshapen grape vines. He slowed his pace further, swept his eyes across the forest floor. There was a hint of a shape. A patchy pattern of brown that blended in with the boggy ground only its texture seemed slightly off, the tempo of its motion not matching the sway of the tiny flowers in the wind.

He squinted, studying more intently. Take away the clover, the twisted vines, the tiny white flowers and the puddles of squishy mud and you had –

"Balls," Bobby whispered, dropping his duffel off his shoulders. The crap was about to hit the crapper.

The sky began to darken, and a giant cloud moved in like someone rolling out the red carpet, only this carpet was black. The wind changed direction, from West to East. In anticipation to the moisture, the green leaves of the trees flipped over, showing their undersides flicking violently and shimmering silver.

"Double balls," Bobby yelped. "Boys," he shouted a warning.

At the strained sound of Bobby's voice, Sam and Dean spun about.

There came a huge bluish-white flash sending sparks crackling through the trees, a clap of thunder shook the ground, followed by blasting wind and the hail of rain. The patchy spot came to life; a giant head bursting forward, jaws open wide like the mouth of a deep, dark cave swinging Bobby's way.

The Sachamama's front fangs snagged Bobby by the shirt collar and pulled his feet a few inches off the ground. He dangled there a second looking much like a soaking wet coat hanging from a hook. The oversized, overweight hissing snake made a move about to flip the older hunter up into the air, catch him, and swallow him whole.

Bobby closed his eyes, machete still tight in his hand. If he was going to become rat food, he'd take his weapon with him and hack at the thing from the inside out until he either freed himself or dissolved into a secretion of juicy bile acid and belly fat.

"Nooooooooo!" Dean was suddenly there, ramming his machete up through the bottom jaw of the boa and piercing its tongue. "Drop him, you bitch!" he screamed above another loud clap of thunder as the rain came pouring down.

The gargantuan snake roared out in pain, tossing her head upward to escape the blade, her blood reddening the puddles forming all around.

Bobby prepared to be tossed as well, but something wrapped around and latched onto both his legs and held on tight. The weight was dragging him downward, and the snake tugging upward –a game of Tug of War. Any second now he'd be torn in two. But the seconds ticked by and instead of his torso separating from his legs, his shirt ripped away from the snake's fang and he found himself plopping with a wet splash – ass end – to the soggy ground. Dazed and confused, he peered down the length of his body to see Sam peering back at him through dripping wet, muddy bangs. The kid was stretched out belly flat in the mud both arms still wrapped tightly around both of Bobby's legs.

"I gottcha, Bobby. It's okay," Sam gargled in a waterlogged voice.

Another bolt of lightning crashed down right in front of them, near blinding. Sam and Bobby cringed, electricity raising the hair on their heads.

"Any closer and they'd be calling you Shirley Temple and me Tom Selleck," Bobby snarked.

Ignoring the remark, Sam panted, "Bobby. You okay?" he crawled up onto his knees scooting to Bobby's side helping the shaky man up out of the muck.

"I'm good, kid." Bobby winced. "Just a few sore muscles is all."

"Sammy!" Dean hollered.

Bobby and Sam looked up to see Dean riding the snake like a cowboy riding a bucking bull. The Sachamama reared up, trying to smash its rider's back into a tree.

"That boy's all kinds of crazy. Get to him," Bobby said, shoving Sam bodily away. "Your brother's eight seconds are just about up."

Sam crawled through the mud, finding his machete he'd tossed aside, and then jumped up to his feet splashing haphazardly through the mud. The pelting rain hitting his face stung like chips of cut glass slowing him down.

Dean's eight seconds were done, but still he remained in the saddle, hacking into the creature's neck over and over while trying to hang on to its slimy skin. He was making good progress, the creature's blood spurting into his face with each cut.

"Ahhhhhhhh!" Dean raised the machete and jammed it down to the hilt, hoping to pierce into the creature's brainstem.

The snake shrieked in pain, belly flopping to the ground, tail swishing and violently batting against the muddy forest floor in an attempt to move, to escape, but her sheer size kept her rooted to her spot.

"Sammy," Dean called out, near breathless, working the machete back and forth to cut further into the neck. "Hurry up and help me kill this bitch."

Slipping and sliding, Sam skittered around the flailing tail and came up alongside the snake's right side. Quickly gaining balance, he started chopping like a woodsman into the side of its neck, legs spread far apart, and using a two-handed grip he swung hard giving each strike all he had, streams of rain mixed with sweat rolling down his face.

Dean continued to work from up top. Between the two, the beast's skin split wider and wider with each hack.

"Keep at it, boys! Stay away from its tail," Bobby ordered, coming up on the left side of the beast with his weapon.

Lighting struck an old Maple tree, the branch splintered, falling to the ground in a burst of orange flames but was quickly doused by the pounding rain. The snake bucked hard and Dean flew off. With circus-like agility he rolled, summersaulting through the air and landing facedown into a large mud puddle.

"Dean!" Sam abandoned the snake and raced toward his brother. Tripping and falling to his knees, he slid through the mud only skidding to a stop when he bumped into his downed brother. "Dean," he called again, grabbing the still form by the shoulders and rolling him quickly over onto his back.

Dean immediately blinked up at Sam through a mask of mud.

"Dean," Sam uttered in panic. "You okay?"

Heavy rain plodded down, washing the mud off Dean's face. He sat up slightly dazed and smacking his lips "Shouldn't this taste like peppermint?" he spit mud from his mouth. "Egg yolk? Avocado?"

"Dude!" Sam yanked Dean to his feet. "Talk about your fetishes later. We got a snake to kill. Remember?"

The three faced off again with the snake, dicing and slicing at her neck, inch by inch, chopping her down like a giant Sycamore tree.

The snake had flopped to her side, still fighting, though weakened.

The three hunters kept at it, near blinded by the continuous flashes of lighting reflecting off their steel blades and near deaf from the clapping thunder. All three stood at a comfortable distance from one another, each taking up a side alternating between horizontal strokes and vertical strokes. Notch after notch they cut into her neck. As if it were tree bark, pieces of flesh flung all about. Their machetes became harder to hold, slickened by the snake's blood and rain and cold fingers tingling from the electricity in the air.

The fatal cut was finally made by Dean as he pierced the jugular vein. "Yhatzee!" he whooped as the snakes head wobbled, holding on by only a few rope-like veins.

A few more hacks and whacks and the Sachamama was beheaded, its severed head rolling off to one side, body becoming more animated as muscles spasmed and nerve endings played catch-up. The three men backed away the snake flopped and rolled the blood spillage immense. Even from a distance and with the wash of rain, spurts of red soaked the hunter's shirts, and dotted their faces, entering their ears, eyes, and noses.

The storm suddenly came to a stop, and the woods became silent, save for the heavy drops of water sliding off the leaves of the trees and plinking to muddy, bloody puddles below. The snake's body was still now, but the mouth of the severed head continued to open and close, eyes staring right at Dean, gleaming with revenge.

"You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me," Dean mocked and made to walk over and kick the beast for good measure.

"Hey, hey, hey!" Sam roughly grabbed Dean by the arm stopping him cold.

"What the hell, Sam?" He glared at his brother in annoyance, tugging out of Sam's hold.

"Stay away from its head," Sam drawled out bossily. "It has a bite reflex and can still stick you with a fang. Dead or not."

Kid was always sucking the joy out of the kill.

"Whatever," Dean mumbled glaring at Sam, then smacked his brother roughly upside the head.

"Owe!" Sam squawked, rubbing at his right ear. "What the hell, man?"

Dean shrugged. "Mosquito, man," he said, causally walking away.

"That was uncalled for, man," Sam squelched.

"You started it, man," Dean responded.

"Knock it off, idgits," Bobby huffed in exasperation. "I'm hankering me some snake soup, boys." Bobby drew their attention as he ran his blade down the length of the creature's belly splitting its skin.

The hide unfolded like a banana peel blackened by the sun, splayed open wide to reveal mounds of lumpy, bloody guts.

"That's sick." Sam and Dean gulped.

"Neither of you has any taste in music or cuisine," Bobby complained, wiping his bloody blade off on his jean clad thigh and giving up on the snake soup, "Got a better idea." He headed over to the spot where he'd dropped his duffle and dug out a six pack, and tossed a cold one to each boy.

They popped their tabs in unison.

"To our livers, boys," Bobby happily raised his beer high.

"To fantastic teamwork," Sam cheered, holding his beer up as well.

"To women and horses and the men that ride them," Dean sung out, waving his beer in triumph.

Sam and Bobby frowned deeply, sadly shaking their heads at him.

"What?" Dean asked dumbfounded.

"Boy. If you don't know…I ain't tellin' yeah," Bobby muttered. "Cheers, idgits," he said, all three clunked their cans together and drank up.

Crumbling his can and stuffing it in his pack, Bobby said, "Now you young, strappin' lads can handle the cleanup of this mess. Don't forget to burn the head. More cold ones waiting for you two back at the car." He gathered his belongings and headed down the path they'd chopped their way through.

Dean gathered up his and Sam's machetes and walked back over to the tree where his weapon's bag had been flung during his cowboy ride, and began cleaning the blood of their blades. "You handle the snake head, know-it-all boy," he ordered Sam.

"Better that then being bossy."

"I'm not bossy, Sammy, I just know what you need to be doing is all."

Sam rolled his eyes and trudged toward the snake, noting the things mouth was no longer opening and closing. He swallowed another swig of beer taking a long time to look all around the forest. Call him know- it- all, call him a geek, call him a bitch, call him whatever you will something was off. He took another swing and glanced back down at their kill.

"Huh?" Sam cocked his head, frowning deeply at the bloody pool of bubbling flesh and large intestines. Had he just heard a hissing sound? He took two steps closer taking another half-interested swallow of beer.

"Sam," Dean called out, swiping the sweat off his forehead and glancing over at his brother. "Get your lazy Sasquatch ass in gear. I'd like to get back to the motel before the mosquitos come out in force." He turned to face a tree.

"What about you?" Sam glanced at his brother who appeared to be doing nothing more than staring at a tree.

"Give me a minute, man, relieving my sea of tranquility, you mind?"

"Your sea of wh –" Out of the corner of Sam's eye he thought he saw the large bloody-red intestines move. What the. "Dean." Sam turned to stare further at the splayed open carcass.

"Dude, told you give me a minute," Dean called out over his shoulder in annoyance, "Takes time to drain this monster."

Unsure of what he was actually seeing, Sam moved closer never taking his eyes off the bloody glop as the crimson bowels seemed to be quivering. How could that be? He cocked his head off to one side, Bobby's words ringing in his ears. Camouflage…it was the snakes' best defense. Like a child making shapes out of the clouds, Sam made shapes out of the guts. What kind of intestines had a mouth, white fangs and large, black beady eyes?

The two sets of black beady eyes zeroed hungrily right in on him the intestines; which were not intestines at all rising up to their full height, the twin serpents fast moving to strike.

Sam's skin prickled, his beer slipping from his hand and hitting a rock, foamy spray shot-gunning all around. He stuttered to call out to Dean, but everything happened in a flash of stabbing pain. The two newborn snakes were already on him. One ringed around both his ankles, taking him off balance, the other surging through the air wide mouth open and striking him in the chest, biting down hard and latching on.

"Dee!" Sam cried out grabbing hold of the sides of the snakes face pinned to his shirt, wrestling to pull it free.

Dean whirled around, just now zipping up his pants. "Sam! Holy crap!" He wildly snatched up his machete, still covered in blood. "Bobby, ambush!" he screeched, racing toward his brother.

Continued in chapter two - story is complete!