BEWARE OF THE…
By: Karen B.
Summary: Beware of the what? The Dog? The Cat? Bigfoot? A dragon? Whatever the danger is…Sammy's gotten himself into it and Dean is in full-on big brother mode.
Disclaimer: Not the owner
Rated: Hurt Sam territory ahead. The usual blood and crazy stuff.
Time set: Early years. I'm even thinking pre-show.
I swear on my life, they've got... an "It", a giant "It". They got it chained to the wall. ~ Mikey from the movie: The Goonies
Dean had a real problem finding sympathy for the saucers- full-of-crazy town's folk of Blue Mound Kansas, population 275 and dropping.
He and Sam had gotten all kinds of eyewitness and not-so eyewitness accounts of what might be causing the unusual rash of disappearances – no bodies found.
From alien abductions, to goblins in the garden, to a group of zombies bearing the uncanny resemblance of Mickey Mantle, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, and Elvis Presley, to the farmer down the road being eaten by his own hogs, with most the screwed-up witnesses' jumping onto the Bigfoot bandwagon.
One thing now was perfectly clear and for certain to Dean. This was no outlandish hoax or 'greetings earthlings' fest now that Sam had been added to the missing person's list.
"Damn you, Sammy," Dean muttered stomping along. "I told you I didn't want to take this hoax of a job in the first friggin' place."
Man he was pissed off. His geek little brother was his for safe-keeping. It was a job Dean took seriously, from the top of his head down to the little hairs decorating his pinky toe. Dean lived and breathed 'watching out for Sammy'. Stubborn kid wasn't always easy to handle, but Dean had superpowers where Sam was concerned.
Hell, he'd wrote the 'how-to' book of All Things Sam.
As Dean searched, he thought back to that afternoon. It had been cold and cloudy as they traipsed through miles of open field full of drying underbrush and swaying waist high grass finding nothing more than a few rabbit snares, piles and piles of marble-sized deer droppings, and over a dozen golf balls. Not a drop of blood or crunch of human bone or lost shoe – with foot still inside indicating any foul play – was found.
They'd moved on from the field checking out a small algae-covered pond, and tiny muddy stream finding nothing but forgotten fishing tackle and a few empty beer bottles. Beyond the pond was a long abandoned Victorian styled farm house far removed from society.
They'd scoped out the home top to bottom finding nothing but moldy drywall and water damaged furniture, and a child's smashed Tonka Truck. The half-collapsed barn outback held nothing more intimidating than a stack of hay, an ancient tractor, a horde of field mice, several snakes, a family of skunks, a few dead rabbits, and an old hoot owl eyeing them from the rafters. Behind the barn, amid the tall grass, and probably once well-kept vegetable garden was nothing more than compost for discarded junk. 'Abstract modern art' Sam had called it. Past the pile of 'modern art' was a wooden fence and broken down plow and yet another stretch of tall weeds and a few scattering of trees.
Sam wanted to split up to cover more ground faster. Dean…not so much.
They'd settled the dispute in the usual adult way.
"Should have known better than to throw scissors," Dean grouched, pulling out his cell once again and trying to call Sam.
Last he'd seen of his brother his ass was vaulting over the wooden fence and heading off to the left end of the field, while Dean's ass had taken the right. Both their asses were to meet up back in this very same spot in one hour.
Sam's ass never showed.
"Crap," Dean mumbled heatedly, getting nothing but voice mail and shoving the phone back into his jacket pocket.
He squinted to see better. The edge of darkness had crept in fast. Red and yellow foliage now blackened by nightfall. There were six simple rules to remember when little brother went missing:
One: Make sure the kid was well and truly gone, and not just being an emo, premenstrual princess locked in a bathroom closet, hiding under a bed, or in the backseat of one of Bobby's Junkers.
Obviously wasn't the case here. As Bobby's place was nowhere nearby, there were no beds or bathroom closets suitable for hiding in, and Sam had just had his period a little over a week ago.
Two: Remember the secret code when separated. Check all Fifth Avenues, last motel listed in the Yellow Pages, the local library, yuppie coffee shop, animal shelter, and under every bridge, under every tree, under every rock, and under every bar table in town.
Done and done.
Three: Don't panic.
Too late for that.
Four: Don't give up.
Not ever an option.
Five: find the monster that took him and kick some monster ass.
Six: Don't panic.
Always worth repeating twice.
Dean now stood silent beyond the backyard of the farmhouse at the very edge of the wet, cold, spooky field. He clenched a penlight – twenty times brighter than an ordinary flashlight – in his fist shining it all around. Jaw tightening, he narrowed his weary eyes, straining to see through the thick, ghostly-white fog that had drifted in and settled over the area.
"Come on." He took in a lungful of air and held it in his chest, turning slow circles as he stood in one place – a beacon in the night. "Sammy, talk to me," Dean whispered on a breath, closing his eyes and letting his inner Sammy-radar take over.
It didn't take long for something to ping in his gut and he stopped cold, eyes flying open. The penlight's beam had landed on a cut tree stump set among some rocks and tangle of vines. Dean inched forward and bent down pressing his palm to the bark, his hand coming away wet and sticky. He stared at his open palm long and hard, his brain not wanting to register what he was actually looking at. The substance was cold to the touch, nothing more than a dark shadow until he shined the beam of his light to it.
The ping in his gut clanged like a giant gong as his heart dropped into his stomach.
"No, no, no," Dean muttered, unable to take his eyes off the glistening ruby-red gore.
Those were two very big-ass words that made Dean's legs shaky and his stomach start grinding his heart into a lump of pulp. The panic he'd been holding down started dragging his imagination through the mud.
Sam was gone. Sam was hurt. What if Sam was dea…
"No!" Dean straightened up, wiping the blood off on his jeans. "Pull yourself together, man," he said to himself, shining the penlight on the ground looking for more clues or a trail. "Bada-bing," he yelped, immediately catching sight of a quarter-sized drop of red situated next to beads of clear moisture glistening on a wet leaf flattened to the ground. "Not as good as bread crumbs, Sammy, but it will do," he breathed worriedly.
Dean went to work. Clocking in like the Bloodhound he was, all hunched over, nose to the ground, flashlight beam following the trail. He was completely concentrated and careful of his footing. Not wanting to disturb the drops of blood that had quickly turned to pinhead-size.
That was both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because if it was Sam's blood – and Dean was ninety-nine percent certain that it was – pinhead-sized drops of blood meant baby brother wasn't bleeding out. Bad, because a man could only live forty days without food, three days with no water, and probably less than eight minutes without air. Sam hadn't been gone long. He certainly wouldn't starve to death, nor would he dehydrate to the point of death. He'd only been missing a matter of hours. Eight to be exact, but that was seven hours and fifty two minutes too long in Dean's 'Sammy' Handbook.
The trail was disappearing with each step he took, the dirt soaking up the blood drops at a fast rate.
Dean was going out of his head with worry. So intent on tracking, that when the trail ended and he looked up, he didn't realize he'd made his way all the way back to the farm house – a farm house that they both had checked out clean.
Hold every friggin' thing!
Teddy liked to sleep. Because when he slept, he could dream and in his dreams he didn't feel all alone. In his dreams he felt happy. Mostly he dreamt of the sweet lady with a warm smile and loving hugs, and pretty long, feathery, chestnut colored hair. She had a name, but Teddy could no longer remember that now, it had been so long ago.
Just like Dada, she had never come back either.
He dreamt of how she used to hum songs, or read storybooks to him every night before he was once again locked up and left alone in his special place.
Teddy dreamt often of his old special place. Wished he was there now. It was plain and small, and square, with smooth-to-the-touch blue walls, and one bared window that let in a few warm beams of sunlight in. He dreamt of playing with the tiny dancing specks that seemed to float about in those beams. He dreamt of a big white dresser, and a squeaky bed, and a few big metal trucks he liked to push around on the fuzzy carpet.
Having playthings made Teddy happy. But now those playthings were gone. Most broken, smashed up and added to the pile of junk up top.
Teddy often dreamt of one particular sunny day when he was sick and could not play with his trucks or the beams of sunlight. The pretty lady had come into his room and given him a new plaything – Floppy – a fluffy pink bunny.
Teddy was so happy; he'd flung his arms around the pretty lady and smothered her with hugs. Teddy had hugged her so long the pretty lady must have fallen asleep. He'd gently laid her on his bed stroking her hair and waiting for her to wake back up so he could hug her some more.
The sun began to set, but the pretty lady slept on.
Dada had finally come home and entered with a tray of food. Immediately Dada's face twisted into something Teddy never saw before. Dada started to shake, dropping the tray and splattering food all over the wooden floor. Then Dada exploded into screams of terror. Racing to the bed and pulling the pretty lady into his arms. She was all floppy, like Teddy's bunny.
Teddy had laughed clapping his hands. He loved his bunny. And he loved the pretty lady.
But Dada was angry. Shivering and crying and turning green. He swiftly carried the pretty lady from the room, locking the door behind him.
That was the last time Teddy ever saw the pretty lady.
Then it was just him and Dada.
After the pretty lady went away, Teddy no longer stayed in the square, smooth, blue walled place. Dada brought him to another special place where the walls were rough-to-the-touch, gritty and gray and cold. Where there was no sunlight or squeaky comfortable bed. It was a special place he had to stay locked in, for even longer, a place where he was chained to a stake and slept in an itchy mound of straw. Dada was angry, and then Dada was sad, and then Dada was angry and then sad again. Always wiping tears away from his eyes, yet Dada cared for Teddy when he was hurt, or hungry. But Dada never gave hugs or had the sweet smile that warmed him like the pretty lady from so long ago.
Dada would often scream at Teddy when he did something wrong. Telling Teddy he had to keep him safe or he'd have to do away with Teddy, and then he'd mumble something about a promise to the pretty lady.
Teddy did not understand the word promise or wrong. All Teddy knew was that 'safe' felt like forever to Teddy. Safe was not fun.
Dada said a lot of things Teddy didn't understand. He knew his name was Teddy. Understood simple things such as stop, go, stand back, stay away, hide, strangers, dog, cat, outsiders, happy, sad, playthings, keep safe, sleep, food, water, yes, no, mine, help, hurt, bunny, please, fun, up-top, chains, dig and build, among a few others
Dada would come early in the morning and unchain Teddy. They'd eat and then they'd dig and build and carve out the underbelly of Teddy's special place, making it bigger and bigger. Then Dada would chain Teddy once again to the stake. Teddy would reach out and grab hold of Dada's arm. Whimper and cry and beg Dada not to go away. But Dad always went away. Leaving Teddy alone.
Alone felt as forever as safe. Alone was not fun.
Being chained up and surrounded by the too cold walls, and too dimly lit glow of a few flickering candles –with nothing to cling to but Floppy – made Teddy curl up into a quaking ball.
Too soon the candlelight went out and Teddy was left chained to the dark.
Every now and again, Dada would take Teddy up-top for a walk through the woods or fields. He taught Teddy things. Like how to collect water and capture food with rope. They played hide-and-go-seek. Dada would show Teddy the best hiding spots and how to keep to the shadows and make his way back to his special place without so much as a beam of light or a shadow following them. Dada would give Teddy a piece of candy when he played the game right. That made Teddy happy and he got really good at the game.
Teddy liked helping Dada. He'd help Dada carry back rocks and logs and whatever other junk they'd find to his special place so they could keep building. Other things they found would be stored and piled up in boxes and boxes. Dada called the objects playthings. Playthings were anything from wet newspapers to broken furniture and ragged clothing to rusted-out cars. Some things were kept down below. Other's kept up-top.
Teddy loved collecting the clutter with Dada. Those were fun times for Teddy, but fun-times were only sometimes. Most times Teddy spent long, grueling hours alone in his special place with Floppy as his only company.
A few times Teddy had managed to unchain himself from the stake and go wandering up-top alone, searching for playthings that he could bring back to his special place. Playthings were not always easy to come by. And most often broke quickly. Like the Yo-Yo Teddy had gotten tangled up in or the slinky that mangled around his wrists or the feathery hook that jabbed him in the thumb and got stuck there for days before Dada removed it.
The best playthings were the ones that were warm and cuddly and wiggly. Like the playful, yappy spotted-dog whose ears and tail ripped off way too easily, or the tiny, orange-stripped kitten that wiggled and wormed its way into a bloody towel-twisted bunch.
This always made Teddy so sad. Floppy was the only plaything he had that never seemed to break.
Dada did not like the warm and cuddly playthings. They made him angry at Teddy. After the kitten broke, Dada put bigger, heavier chains on Teddy, and Teddy could no longer go wandering up-top looking for playthings unless Dada took him.
One time, while Dada was busy chopping down a tree, Teddy managed to wander off for the first time in forever –alone. That's when he'd found his first Outsider walking around through the open field. The Outsider was about the same size as Teddy. Had long hair just like Teddy and was tossing a ball up in the air and catching it in a big brown hand.
Teddy remembered how excited he was to see someone his size – Dada and the pretty lady had always been smaller than him. He came upon the Outsider and clasped him from behind. The Outsider cried out, wiggling and waggling, the ball dropping to the grass and the big brown hand pawing at Teddy's face. Teddy only hugged the Outsider tighter. He loved warm wiggly-waggly things. They felt soft and happy.
But alas, immediately the Outsider turned blue and there came a loud crack! The Outsider shuddered in Teddy's hold, one eye slipping to the right, the other slipping to the left, each eye unfocused as his body went to sleep like the pretty lady had forever ago. Broken. Like the spotted dog had been after losing both his ears and his tail. Like the towel-twisted cat.
When Dada found Teddy still holding the Outsider and stroking his hair, Dada exploded into screams of terror.
Teddy was so frightened he wet himself.
That was the last time Teddy was unchained and allowed out of his special place to help Dada collect playthings or play hide-and-go-seek. That's when Dada came to see him less and less. Checking his chains and leaving behind only large bags of dried food, and jugs of warm water and nothing more. Dada would take more candles from a giant crate full of them, place them about the room on top of other crates and rock ledges, relight the wicks, then go away again, often mumbling about fires and blessings in disguise and how if he only had the guts and had not promised.
Teddy did not understand.
Then one day Dada just stopped coming at all.
Night- after-night-after- day-after- day, Teddy was all alone. Sometimes he would cry all night lying on his mound of straw. With nothing more to do than watch the strange formations slink across the walls created by the glowing candlelight, he'd listen to the plunk, plunk of dripping water. Waiting and waiting to hear Dada's footsteps. Waiting and waiting. But Dada never came. The flickering lights had long gone and all that remained was the cold and the dark and the drip-drip of water.
Finally, after being in the dark forever and ever, the rumbling in Teddy's stomach and an aching need Teddy could not understand took hold. He just wanted to see his Dada. He wanted food. He wanted water. He wanted a warm and cuddly plaything, one that didn't break or hurt him.
In a fit, Teddy began to pull and tug and howl. After a lot of hurting, he finally freed himself of his chains.
Dada still never came. Dada was nowhere to be found.
Night-after-night-after-day-after-day went by, and Teddy did the only thing he knew how to do. He continued to stay hidden the way Dada had taught him. Lurking about and continuing to dig and build his special place. Capturing what food he could in the snares Dada taught him how to set, and collecting whatever he found, gathering water from the tiny muddy stream nearby in dirty tin cans and old plastic jugs.
Forever and ever he dug his special place deeper and deeper. Lined the cold gray-gritty walls with whatever he could. When the sun disappeared Teddy went to sleep on his straw, only this time without the chains, then got up to do it all over again the next day. Teddy had plenty to eat most days and plenty to drink, but he was always empty. He grew and grew. But for as much as Teddy found and collected and packed tightly in his special place or piled up-top, a nagging, aching, sickening pain somewhere down inside of him whispered for more.
Sometimes Outsiders would come snooping around. Animals mostly, sometimes others that reminded him of Dada and the pretty lady. Teddy would try to make friends. He missed his Dada, and just wanted someone to be with.
Teddy would sneak up on them and take them to his special place. The Outsiders never were nice. Always screaming and fighting him. Their eyes couldn't get any bigger. He'd try to hug them close, tried to make nice, but that made them scream even louder.
Teddy did not understand.
One minute they were shrieking and punching and kicking and crying and hurting. Teddy didn't like anyone to be hurt. He was all over them, trying to make them be quiet. Trying to make their pain go away, trying to show them how to be playthings, give them a big hug like the sweet lady used to give him when he was little. The Outsiders would only kick and fight him further until they stopped doing anything all together.
Then they were not much fun. Their warm bodies limp and quickly turning cold. Their eyes lifeless and rolled over white, or blankly looking off at nothing. He'd pound on their chests and push them all around the dirt floor trying to get them to move again, until everything just turned red and sticky and messy and Teddy would eventually thrust them aside like the rest of his broken playthings, piling them up all raggedy and torn and pop-eyed.
The Outsiders scared Teddy and he spent more and more time in his special place and less and less time wandering the field or woods.
Today Teddy woke to find he had no food or water. He had to go up-top. He took Floppy, his only companion, and headed up the rickety wooden stairs that lead out of his special place.
Teddy hadn't been up-top very long when he froze…stiff in his tracks. It had been forever since he'd come across an Outsider.
Outsiders were noisy. Outsiders hurt. Outsiders broke.
Fearfully he clutched Floppy, to his chest, every muscle in him twitching and straining as he let out a small whimper.
The wind picked up blowing through the Outsider's chestnut hair, feathering it back. It reminded Teddy of the pretty lady, but still he was afraid.
Teddy whimpered. This was the tallest Outsider he'd ever seen. Even though Teddy still towered over him, Teddy was scared.
The Outsider held something metal in his hand, but it was no toy truck or Yo-Yo or Slinky. It was nothing Teddy had ever seen before. The Outsider pointed the metal thing right at Teddy's chest, and didn't move, didn't say anything. Just stared, regarding Teddy curiously.
Teddy shuffled in his place, trembling with fear and clutching Floppy ever so close to him.
After a really long moment, the Outsider very slowly lowered the metal thing and put it away into his jacket pocket. "It's okay," The Outsider softly spoke. "I didn't mean to scare you. It's okay," the tall Outsider repeated, cocking his head off to one side and holding his palms outward in front of him. "Please, don't be afraid." The Outsider looked Teddy up and down. "You live out here alone?"
Teddy titled his head in curiosity, wetness dripping from his eyes and soaking into Floppy's fur.
"I know it's difficult to imagine, but I promise you… there are people who care."
Teddy did not understand the Outsiders mumblings.
"I can help you." The Outsider dropped his hands down at his sides, looking up at Teddy with softness in his eyes, eyes that reminded Teddy so much of the pretty lady. "My name is, Sam. Let me help you."
Help. Teddy knew that word.
This Outsider wasn't like the other's he'd come across. He didn't scream, or run, or kick, or bite, or look upon Teddy with big, round eyes. This Outsider smiled.
Teddy liked the Outsider's voice. It sounded kind and soothing, held a sing-song hum that had a sleepy effect on him. Much the same way the pretty lady used to forever ago.
Teddy relaxed a bit, now holding Floppy by one ear at his side.
"That's it. Come on, now." The tall Outsider moved toward him, so slowly and so gently. "I'm sorry. I know you didn't do anything to deserve this, but I can't take a chance. Not until I can figure out what to do for you," The Outsider said, reaching a hand inside a bag that he had slung over his shoulder.
Teddy was confused. Instinct told him to run, but a spark inside him, which he hadn't felt since his Dada left, kept him frozen in place.
"Man, I hope you can understand this. Easy, take it easy." The Outsider took something out of the bag. It was shiny. Two round circles that clanged and jingled in his hand.
Teddy gave a grunt of happiness at the pretty sound.
"Just relax now, going to help you, big guy."
There was that word again. 'Help.' It meant feel good things. It meant warmth and comfort. Teddy fidgeted anxiously. It'd been a long time since he'd had any of those things.
"Hold still now." The Outsider slowly reached out. "I gottcha." He opened one of the shiny circles and looped it around Teddy's right wrist. "This is for both our protection."
The loop was cold. Teddy eyed it suspiciously, but didn't pull away.
"Nice and easy…that's it," the Outsider cooed. "Not going to hurt –"
Teddy freaked and let Floppy fall to the ground as he yanked the loop off his wrists and tossing it into the bushes.
"Hey, hey, hey." The Outsider raised his hands up in front of him and stumbled backward a few steps. "That's fine. We can go another route. Just please….calm down. I didn't mean to scare you. I am not going to hurt you. Maybe we could just –"
"No hurt," Teddy yelled, fearfully grabbing the Outsider by the shoulders and tossing him toward the ground.
The Outsider's head hit the edge of a cut tree stump with a loud crack! And his eyes slipped into his skull rolling white like all the others. Another broken plaything.
Teddy was scared. He quickly found Floppy, fishing the stuffed animal out of a muddy puddle. Holding the bunny tightly to him, Teddy paced nervously back and forth, howling and crying and staring down at the Outsider who did not move.
He was alone again. Teddy didn't want to be alone. He wanted his Dada back. He wanted to see the pretty lady again. This Outsider was the closest thing he'd come to getting that in forever.
Eventually Teddy calmed and dropped down to his knees crawling cautiously over to the sit beside the Outsider. Holding Floppy in one hand, he used his other to stroke the long strands of the Outsider's chestnut-colored hair away from the pale face and staring inquisitively.
"No, no," the Outsider moaned, "Dean. Please." Clutching fingers blindly reached out grabbing hold of Teddy's arm.
Teddy frowned in confusion at the hand that dug into his skin, but did not flinch away. This Outsider was not broken or cold or silent. The hand that held on to his arm so tightly was warm and begged him not to go away. The way Teddy remembered begging Dada not to go away so many times.
"Teddy no hurt," he said, stuffing Floppy into a pocket of his overalls. "Me… no hurt." He slipped one arm under the Outsider's shoulders, the other under his knees, and scooped the limp body up off the damp ground, bag and all.
"D'n." The Outsider shuttered in Teddy's arms, making strange noises, but still his eyes stayed shut.
"Mine," Teddy muttered, as he stalked off to his special place.
This was the plaything he'd longed for.
AN: Story is complete. Stay tuned. More to come soon.