A/N: One day, I'm going to get back to the real world, but this is too much fun. And this idea seized me, and I'm running with it.
Anyway, I don't know how often this will be updated. I'd like to keep on with my streak of updating every night, but with Christmas Break and my last semester of college coming up, we'll just have to wait and see. I've already got a couple chapters written, so that should give me a head start, right?
Also, don't laugh, but I got the idea for this particular villain from Teen Titans. I swear I made him creepier and I just took the basic ideas of his MO and his weaknesses, so it's not like a total crossover, but yeah. Just throwing that out there.
Anyway, on my last story, I was told I write like I'm writing episodes, so I'm running with that. Think of this first chapter as the cold open.
So, without any further ado, I present to you my second ever Supernatural fanfic!
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or any related rights.
She was definitely lost.
This was a small town, and she had only been driving through by mistake. She missed her turn on the highway, took a wrong exit, and now she couldn't find her way back. It was the middle of the night, pouring freezing rain, but she didn't want to pull off anywhere to ask for directions. Everywhere looked closed, first of all, and besides that, she was a single woman, alone. Of course she was going to take precautions.
But now her tank was running low, and so were her options. There was one place with the lights still on, and she decided she would try it. It was brightly decorated, well, relatively speaking—all the paint in all the buildings looked about a hundred years old—and it sold children's toys, if she could read the signs right with the letters missing. That was probably a safe place to stop.
She pulled into the parking lot and put her keys between her fingers. Creepy backwoods towns at night? Yeah, she was definitely going to invest in a GPS once her next paycheck came in. She was only even traveling this late because her old roommate was getting married, gone off and eloped to Vegas, and she wanted to get there in time to get her a present before the honeymoon.
The present was neatly wrapped in her backseat, topped off with a bright blue bow and gold wrapping paper. She'd bought them a waffle iron, even though she was sure other people would get them appliances, but it was short notice, and she hadn't had time to think about a better gift.
She locked the car door behind her, then pulled her jacket collar up to try and cover her neck. The rain was coming down so hard now that it was practically blowing in sideways. By the time she reached the door, she was dripping wet, and she took a minute to wipe her shoes so she didn't slide on the tile floors before she looked for anyone at the counter.
No one was there. Of course. Just her luck. But the lights were on, so there should have been someone in the store somewhere. Maybe they were just in the back.
"Hello?" she called out. The air conditioning was on, and she shivered when the cold air hit her already soaking wet clothes. She pulled the jacket tighter over her shoulders, clutching as if it could keep out the wet and cold. But even though everything else was wet, her mouth felt dry. This place was creepy.
No one answered her calls, so she peeked around the corners of the aisles. Maybe they were shelving items? She could hear her heart beating in her ears, and she seriously thought about turning back. Maybe she wouldn't run out of gas. Or maybe she would and she'd just sleep in her car as close to the highway as she could get. This town was old and decrepit, and she was pretty sure this was the perfect breeding grounds for serial murderers.
She reached for the pepper spray in her purse. Good. Now she had pepper spray in one hand and keys between the fingers of the other hand. She was prepared for anything.
Finally, she made her way to the back of the store. She still couldn't see any employees, but what she did see scared her so badly that she almost dropped the can of pepper spray. (That was no good; she was going to have to keep a tighter grip on that if she wanted to stay alive. She couldn't go dropping her only good weapon at the first sign of trouble.)
The walls were lined with hundreds of puppets, dead little wooden things with too-realistic eyes. She peered closer at them, just to make sure they weren't going to jump out at her, then allowed herself a small laugh. She reached out to poke one of them. They were creepy, sure, but they were just toys.
"Hello?" she called out again, hoping that, now that she was closer to the back of the store, someone might hear her. Or maybe she was hoping that no one would hear her after all and she would finally have to turn around again.
"Oh, is someone there?" asked a high-pitched, nasally voice from the very back. Of course it was just past the aisle full of wooden puppets. "I'm sorry; I just stepped out back for a smoke. Can I help you?"
She tightened the jacket again, whether because she was cold from the air conditioning or because the puppets were creeping her out, she wasn't sure. "I think I'm lost," she called out to the disembodied voice, hoping it was a person and not a serial killer. "Can you help me get back to the highway?"
"Oh, sure thing! Give me just a second."
She waited in place, still clutching desperately at the coat that provided no protection. She glanced over at the puppets again and gasped. This time, she really did drop the pepper spray. She could have sworn she saw one of the puppets turn its head.
"Where are you?" she called out.
"Sorry, sorry," the voice answered. "I'm coming. Just let me . . . ." There was a crash of crates. The worker swore, then shouted again, "I'm so sorry! I'll get you back home, just let me . . . get through . . . ."
She was slowly backing out of the aisle now. The puppet eyes, in this lighting, seemed to follow her. "I'll just wait at the front counter," she said. At that, she turned to run, stooping first to pick up her pepper spray.
Thunder clapped, and the lights flickered, then died. The power was out.
The emergency light flickered on over her head, and she gave up all pretenses. She took off running down the aisle, not caring that she would look like an idiot if she had managed to creep herself out over nothing. She just wanted away from the moving eyes. Maybe it was the wind or the air conditioning, but she could swear she heard the clatter of wooden puppets against each other.
She tripped over something in the middle of the aisle and went sprawling. The pepper spray went again, this time under the shelves on the aisle next to her, but she wasn't going to stop and get it this time. She scrambled to try and get to her feet, then immediately fell back again when she looked up at the emergency light—standing under it, all on its own and holding the wooden controls and strings—was a flat-headed puppet with a pin-striped shirt and an evil grin.
She screamed out loud this time and scrambled backwards, temporarily forgetting about her legs and instead crawling. She managed to get to her feet and start running, but when she looked back, the puppet wasn't there anymore. Where did it go?
And then she felt a small hand grab her by the ankle, and she went sprawling. Her chin hit the ground, and she tasted blood, but she turned around swinging. The fist with her keys between the fingers connected with wood, and she heard the satisfying crunch of keys scraping out a pattern. The puppet released her, and she reached for the nearest thing she could use as a weapon—a big box with a Barbie Corvette inside.
But when she turned around, it was gone again. "Hello?" she shouted, hoping the employee in the back would hear her. "Can anyone help me? Are you there?"
The puppet was back on the next aisle, and this time it was glowing with some kind of weird yellow energy that settled in its too-human eyes.
She abandoned all her pretenses. "Help!" she shrieked. She started for the doors, but there was a short in them. Maybe it was the storm, maybe it was the puppet doing whatever weird magic crap it was doing, but they wouldn't open, and they were automatic.
She still had the keys between her fingers, and she tried to punch through the glass. She scratched it, but that wasn't as helpful as she would have liked.
And then the puppet held up the controls and the strings. It was grinning even wider now, with yellow, wooden teeth.
She felt her knees go weak, and then her whole body went limp.