Author's Note: And I'm still on schedule! Started pt for my shoulder (she thinks I have an impingement, torn rotator cuff, my tendons are swollen, and I have a pinched nerve) so now it hurts more than ever. Stupid pt... Anyway, I want to thank Atlasnix, 00-night-eyes-00, ncsupnatfan, Kathy, catspaw439, guest, Butterfly Wings Chaos Theory, Missy Lib93, guest, Writemyownstory, shadowdemontenma, bingos-gal, canis lupus familiaris, and UnleashYourInnerAssButt for their wonderful reviews. You guys are awesome! By the way, I'm a couple episodes behind watching the show so please no spoilers in any reviews. Thanks. Now.. Back to the show!
Chapter Two Hundred and Forty-Two: Omen of Death
The quiet didn't last long. Honestly, Dean hadn't expected it to. But the way that it was suddenly broken wasn't what he had been anticipating. The hunter had been bracing himself for an attack, all the while trying desperately to see something, anything, that looked out of place. But in the end it wasn't anything that he saw or even felt that interrupted the false calm of the moment. It was a scream.
A female's scream suddenly rang out to his right. Dean looked around and saw that Sam had caught up to him, but now Cujo was gone. Great. What was the death-mutt up to now?
The young hunter took off towards the scream at a fast pace. The rocky area led out to a small pool of water that had filled from a waterfall coming off the cliff to his left. The pool drained out into a narrow stream that disappeared into the trees. And standing on a huge rock overlooking the area was Cujo. The black dog turned to look at Dean and then refocused on the pool of water just as the woman splashing around in there let out another wail.
Dean ran forward just as the water around her splashed violently and the liquid turned red. Her cries turned pained and the hunter didn't think twice about wading into the freezing cold water. Dean grabbed the woman around her waist and she screamed again.
"Hey! Calm down! I'm here to help."
"There's something in the water!" She turned to cling to him in desperation.
"I know." Dean acknowledged. "Get to land and my brother will keep you safe."
She turned to look and Dean was pleased when she released him and started for Sam. Luckily, his brother was only a few months from turning sixteen and while he didn't look like an adult, he no longer was a short, little kid that a person would scoff at when the Winchesters suggested that he was a hunter. Dean remembered the relief of finally reaching that age himself.
With the woman safe (hopefully) for the moment, Dean looked around. It turned out that it was much easier to find the creature moving in the water. The liquid rippled around it as it came towards the hunter.
Dean took aim and fired. It made a pained growl and then lunged. A heavy weight hit Dean and they both went under water.
The young hunter struggled to get out from under the thing, but damn the camo monster was heavy. Even under water it weighed a ton. And its claws were dug into Dean's jacket. But he still kept fighting. He needed to breathe. There was no way in hell he was going to drown here with this monster. And even if he didn't die, he couldn't go through dealing with the fallout of oxygen deprivation again. He was just getting back to being able to function like himself again and there was no way he was going to relive all of that. Or worse.
Dean's hand fumbled around a bit until he felt the handle of his knife. With a surge of relief, he pulled it free of its sheath. Suddenly the creature that was pinning him down took form. Dean's eyes widened at the pale yellowish scales of its belly and the mottled green and brown larger ones that covered the rest of its body. But then a huge mouth was coming at him and the hunter turned his attention back to survival. He slid the knife in between the scales on its stomach and it scurried off of him as dark fluid entered the water.
Dean struggled to get out and into the fresh air to breathe again, but the cold was making him feel heavy. Then there were arms around him pulling him out of the water. The hunter took a long deep breath as Sam half-dragged him onto dry land.
He coughed and shook violently, and then the black dog was by his side.
"Oh give it a rest." Dean groaned. "I'm not dying."
And then wondered how long that would remain true as the now non-camouflaged creature waded out of the water. Looking at it now, it truly did resemble a sort of mutated huge lizard. Its movements were no longer smooth and quick, but now were slow and cumbersome.
Cold. The thing was freezing its ass off. It made sense. Dean himself was shivering uncontrollably, and lizards needed to be much warmer that humans (which made the hunter wonder what the hell it was doing out here in the cold in the first place). And that also explained its lack of camouflage. Reptiles regulate their body temperatures to change their colors, but the icy water had made that now impossible for this creature.
But cold or not, it was still a threat. It was coming close to where Dean sat, trying to regain control of his trembling body.
And then Sam was coming up alongside it with a machete. Dean nodded. He watched as his brother brought the blade down and separated the lizard thing's head from the rest of it. Impossibly, it took a couple more steps before the body fell to the ground.
"Oh my God!"
Dean turned to see the woman he'd saved earlier staring at them.
"It's okay…" He started but was cut off.
"What the hell was that thing?!"
"Uh… a mutated lizard." He explained unconvincingly.
She kept staring at it with huge eyes. "But… but it…"
"It's dead. It can't hurt you anymore."
She nodded. "I'd probably be dead if it wasn't for your dog."
Dean made a face. "My dog?"
"Yeah. That dog of yours. I turned around and saw it staring at me. I got so scared that I tried to run from it. It's very big, you know. So, I ran into the water and that's when I heard something crashing it the bushes right there. It came into the water after me, but I can't help but think that if I hadn't run from your dog that thing would've gotten me long before you guys showed up to save me."
Dean nodded slowly.
"And the water is what slowed it enough for us to kill it." Sam added.
"So thanks to you all." The woman shivered.
"We need to get dry." Dean pointedly ignored the thanks that Cujo was getting. Besides, he hadn't survived all of that just to get full body frostbite.
Sam went through his bag and got out dry clothes. They'd packed in case they'd needed to stay the night in the Impala. They offered the woman a pair of sweats, Sam put on dry jeans, and Dean had to change his whole outfit. Unfortunately, he didn't have a spare coat, so Sam gave him an emergency blanket from the first aid kit to wrap himself in.
Once they were semi-dry and a bit warmer (and the body of lizard-thing had been taken care of) the brothers headed back to where they'd left their car. It wasn't the nicest hike Dean had ever taken, but it was far from the worst.
However, when Dean climbed into the driver's side of the Impala, he was dismayed to see the black dog appear in the back seat.
"What the… hey, out of the car! The hunt is over. Go home, Cujo."
The supernatural creature merely stared at him, looking less than impressed with his orders.
"I told you he liked you." Sam laughed.
"Why is it following me?" Dean questioned. "I'm not being stalked by that thing anymore. So, why the omen of death?"
"I don't know?" Sam bit his lower lip, deep in thought. "I've never heard of any accounts of a black dog staying around after the threat was gone."
"Well, the threat is damn well gone. And judging by the amount and frequency of victims, there wouldn't have been more than one of those things." Dean mentioned.
"Besides, if there were more of those things here, the black dog would remain here to keep warning hikers of the threat."
"So, to recap, the threat is gone but the omen is hanging around… but it has chosen to hang around me."
"Pretty much." Sam confirmed.
"Maybe Cujo will leave if I drive away."
But a few miles down the road it became obvious that that wouldn't be the case. Not only had the black dog not vanished, but it had now laid down and stretched out along the backseat, making itself at home. Which was severely annoying Dean. He really wasn't a dog person. Well, to put it more accurately, he wasn't a huge, dark, supernatural dog person since he'd been torn to shreds by hellhounds and sent to years of torment. And sure, Cujo didn't look like a hellhound, but... close enough.
Even Sam was no longer joking about their new passenger. After all, an omen of death following you around quickly lost its humor.
"What should we do about this?" Sam wondered.
"Well, first we gotta figure out why it's here."
"How do we do that?"
"We pay someone a visit."
Pamela Barnes rolled her eyes as the older woman left. Some people just didn't want to hear the truth. Which was why she always made her clients pay upfront. Because if you tell them that they aren't being visited by their late husband's spirit in some twisted 'romantic' notion and that their house is probably just drafty and has bad wiring, they call you a talentless hussy and storm out.
Oh well. She walked back over to the table and blew out the candles. Last appointment of the day was over. Time to relax.
Or at least that was what she thought before she heard the car pull up outside. Nope. It was a Saturday night and her sign clearly said no walk-ins after six pm on Saturdays. Whoever it was could come back tomorrow. Or go buy themselves their own tarot cards and figure out the future for themselves. Her day was done.
But clearly the person either couldn't read or couldn't tell time. Maybe they were severely dyslexic and had trouble with both concepts. Because a moment later there was a knock on Pamela's door.
So, with a long suffering sigh, she went to answer the door. And immediately wondered if she should regret that decision as soon as the door was opened.
The words 'sorry, I'm closed for the night' never made it out. Because she just was too busy trying to get her brain to comprehend why Dean and Sam Winchester were standing on her front step with a black dog. Pamela wasn't scared of it. She sensed no evil from the beast. But that didn't mean that she wasn't curious as all hell. And as for the Winchesters… she hadn't seen them in forever. They'd run into each other a couple times at the Roadhouse, but never really kept in contact. She knew it wasn't their fault that her father had been killed that night all those years ago. It had taken some time, but she'd come to understand that it had all been his own fault. Still, she got the feeling that trouble followed this family and Pamela just didn't want to roll out the red carpet for her own demise.
But she didn't feel like she could just shut the door in their faces either. So, she suppressed another sigh and opened the door even wider, stepping to the side.
"Come in. But if your mutt ruins my floor you're cleaning up after it."
"Not mine." Dean commented dismissively. And damn but had he grown up handsome.
"It started following Dean around on our last case." Sam explained helpfully. "At first it seemed to just be warning about the creature that almost killed him, but… now it won't go away."
"We were hoping that you could tell us why."
"Do I look like a paranormal vet?"
Dean looked like he was examining her and trying to contemplate an answer. Sam rolled his eyes.
"No, but you can do your whole…" He gestured vaguely at her. "... thing." He finished lamely.
Pamela put her hands on her hips and gave him a look. "You mean you want me to try and get a reading on a black dog? Seriously? "
"Isn't doing readings kinda your job?" Dean asked.
"You offering to pay for my services?" She knew full well that hunters never paid.
"How about you put it on our tab." He smirked.
"Don't you know another psychic?"
"She's more intimidating than you."
"I'll have to try harder." Pamela moved into the room where her supplies were set up. "Okay, if I'm understanding this correctly, your pet here seems to have attached itself to Dean, right?" The Winchester boys nodded. "Well then, Dean take a seat here and see if your mutt will sit next to you. Sam, sit on the other side of your brother."
She went about drawing the correct symbols on a clean white table cloth and then placed the candles down in their proper places. Once they were lit, she took her seat. Honestly, Pamela wasn't sure if this would work. The psychic had never attempted anything like this before.
"Okay, Sam, you hold one of Dean's hands and one of mine. Dean, you and I will each put our free hand on the black dog. Once we begin, don't break the circle until we're done. Got it?"
"Let's go. Spiritibus, audi clamorem meum. Sciam quid nosti melius. Quare est hoc, hinc creatura?" She waited for a moment to see if she'd gotten anyone's attention. But it seemed the forces of the unknown were going to be quiet about this.
Pamela tried a few other 'requests' but got no replies. Finally, she withdrew her hand from Sam's and placed it on the table atop of Dean's.
"I'm sorry but…"
The moment she was touching both Dean and the dog, it was like a jolt of electricity ran through her. She felt her hand tighten around the hunter's, but it was out of her control. Then visions passed before her. They were of Dean. And strangely enough, he looked older than he did now, but she felt that these violent scenes had all already happened. And oh, were they violent. Each one depicted him dying in terrible, horrific ways. She was certain she even saw him in Hell. But then he was back out and… oh god, he was dying again.
When she finally was able to tear herself away from Dean and the horrible images of him dying, she felt tears running down her face.
"What the… what happened?" Dean questioned.
"You… you died."
"No… I'm still alive." He spoke slowly as if to a crazy person. She kind of felt crazy.
"No. I mean, before. Or, not now. You were… Older? But it was before?"
Dean's face looked a bit shocked. "What did you see?"
"You. Dying. Over and over. How?"
"It's a long story. But yeah, that happened."
She nodded, trying to push past the shock as pieces fell into place. "That's why it's attached to you."
"Do you know what a death omen's purpose is? To prevent death. They try to warn the living of an upcoming event to give a doomed person a chance to escape a preventable fate. They can sense death on a person and they do what they can to stop it." She took a deep breath. "This guy here? He sensed yours on your last job. Obviously you lived. But to him you don't feel right. He can sense death around you. It clings to you, Dean. I sensed it when we shook hands the first time we met. I just didn't know what I was sensing until now, seeing it through his view. To him, you feel like you're dead or dying and he's attached himself to you to prevent it."
"To prevent something that has already happened?" Dean sounded sceptical.
"To prevent the feeling of death that surrounds you from taking you over. The black dog merely wants you to live."
"And how do I get it to stop following me around?"
Pamela shrugged. "Die?"
"Any better suggestions?"
"Nope. I'm not telling that thing to back off."
Sam stood and held out his hand. "Well thanks anyway. It's at least a relief to know that Dean's not being followed around because he's destined to die soon."
"Well, after what I saw, don't rule an untimely demise out. Your brother seems way too familiar with death."
With that, Dean grinned. "Yeah, I am. He really likes deep dish pizza."
Pamela watched as the Winchesters left, and tried to figure out if that had been a joke or not. For the sake of her sanity, she decided it had to be.
Author's Note Part Two: Hope you all enjoyed. If you want, you can check 101 chapters ago to confirm that yes, Pamela did have a weird reaction to shaking Dean's hand when they first met in this story. It's so fun revisiting characters... And yes, I do have my own personal black dog to warn me of all the hellhounds that get sent my way. Anyway, please take a moment to leave a review. Thanks so much.