Happy New Year, Everyone!
Here's a story I wrote some time ago for the GenBigBang over on LJ and never did get around to publishing on this site.
Sam didn't want to be there – that much was perfectly clear by the way he scowled almost continually as they ran through the pelting rain and up to the door of the building before bursting inside.
It was like any old, haunted house that might appear in a b-horror movie, complete with crumbling Victorian architecture, gables, peeling paint. It even came complete with a night sky filled with lightning and dark, grey ominous clouds as an approaching storm bore down on them.
It was also the home of one Garwood Stephen Lackey III; a spoiled, rich teen and wannabe arsonist. He was shot and killed in this house over a hundred years ago when he tried to run from an angry mob of townspeople that were pissed over him setting fires to people's barns or some shit like that. Dean had only been half-listening to the back-story, but he had gotten the gist of it from Dad and Sam so that was enough for him to be on board with wasting this ghost.
Also, like any supposedly haunted house, it was a magnet for stupid teenagers daring each other to spend the night there. They had more than likely roused the kid's spirit and riled him up enough to seek some sort of revenge on the trespassers – either that or the ghost was still pissed at his parents for naming him 'Garwood' and just wanted to spread the misery.
Normally, this sort of job was small potatoes for the Winchester's and Dad didn't often entertain such piddly hunts for ghosts unless lives were being threatened, but one of those moron kids landed his ass in the hospital after he said he was pushed down a flight of stairs in the house and it suddenly became their kind of case. And since they had been nearby at the time that report came out, Dad felt it was worth looking into – an easy job to keep them all sharp before they left town and found something bigger to tackle.
They all came together in the Impala since Dad's truck was in dire need of a new radiator. Dad was off at the cemetery to dig up Garwood's bones after he dropped Sam and Dean off at the house. Though Dean didn't necessarily like the thought of being stuck in that house without a car to run to, he was mollified by the fact that all he and Sam had to do was make sure that the spirit was well and truly gone and that nothing of the kid's remains had been left behind in the house to keep him hanging around. After that, their Dad would be back to pick them up and they could all go back to the motel and relax with a few beers and some brainless television.
It was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy as far was Dean was concerned. All except that Sam was being a total dick about the whole thing.
He had mumbled something earlier about needing to read Shakespeare or something for school, but Dean couldn't understand why anyone would want to read that shit over icing a spirit – that Old English crap didn't make sense anyway and Shakespeare had been dead for like a thousand years, so it wasn't like the guy was really writing about anything relevant to their job.
Besides … they were going to be out of this town in a week when Sam's school was out for the summer, so what did it really matter if he finished reading freaking Hamlet or not?
Still, for some reason school was important to Sam. Dean was almost sure that it wasn't so much that Sam liked reading Shakespeare so much as it was that he hated to fail – as if failing at school was Sam's worst nightmare – kinda like Dean's worst nightmare would be to be trapped somewhere and forced to listen to Korean pop music. He shuddered just thinking about that and tried to distract himself by humming the chorus to Seek and Destroy.
Then again, his worst nightmare was far worse than that. His true worst nightmare was that he'd turn around one day and Sam wouldn't be there. He'd done it before – run away – even so far as flippin' Flagstaff when he was fourteen and Dean had had to search for nearly two weeks to find him that time. And he knew Sam was itching to get out of hunting – to get away from their life. He just hoped that Sam would come around at some point and actually want to stay, but Dean wasn't holding his breath. Even though Sam still had a year to go in high school he still found himself twisted in knots knowing that the day when he'd wake up and Sam would be gone might soon be approaching.
His humming intensified.
By his side, Sam shot him a glare and his frown deepened so much that Dean wondered how it was even possible for his face to stretch like that without permanent damage. "What?" Dean asked.
"Seriously, do you have to keep humming like that? We're supposed to be getting rid of the ghost, not annoying him."
"Please … even the dead can appreciate Metallica."
As predicted, Sam rolled his eyes and snorted, "I don't think they would agree if they had to spend eight hours a day in a car with you for the past seventeen years."
"Have I ever mentioned how much of a whiny bitch you are?"
Sam smirked, letting sarcasm drip into his voice, "Gee … that's a new one, Dean. Maybe you should go ahead and call me Samantha next … ya know, just to round out the clichés."
Dean grumbled under his breath – okay, maybe he had used those insults a bit much lately, but if the shoe fits the ginormous foot …
Lightning flashed through the dirty windows and illuminated the interior of the foyer followed by a clap of thunder so loud it shook the foundation of the house.
"Dean …" Sam suddenly whispered, grabbing his jacket sleeve and pointing, "Look—"
Dean directed his sight to the top of the grand staircase where Sam was pointing and almost did a double take. Dad had said that the kid was young – almost Sam's age, and with a name like Garwood, he imagined that the kid would be puny with glasses and acne, but he hadn't been expecting the ghost to look so much like his little brother. He was a floppy-haired kid with long, gangly limbs, but unlike Sam, he was wearing turn-of-the-century style clothes and glared down at them from the top of a stairwell with a malicious glint in his dead eyes made all the more disturbing by another flash of lightning casting shadows on his pale, grey face.
Dean and Sam raised their shotguns almost simultaneously and blew the spirit away just as it started to advance on them.
"I guess Dad hasn't burned the bones yet." Dean mused out loud.
"Ya think? We just got here, Dean." Sam groused back, sounding pissy enough for Dean to want to smack him upside the head, "We all should have gone to the cemetery then come back here together to make sure this kid is gone – it's stupid splitting up."
Dean knew Sam was just letting his worry come through as anger, but the bitching was getting to be almost more than Dean could take, "You think you can stop complaining for two minutes, huh? Dad can take care of himself and has been digging graves since you were still crapping in your diapers. Besides, it's a Friday night and prime-time for bored, stupid morons to come out here and dare each other to do stupid things like visit a haunted house and get themselves killed. We're keeping them out until the job's done – in the meantime, why don't you do something useful for a change and help me see if this kid left any bits and pieces of himself behind that need to be taken care of."
Sam sighed truculently, itching to keep up the argument, "You really believe that? Who would be coming out here in this weather? It's just an excuse, Dean. It's like he doesn't trust me not to screw up and have your backs and he wants you to babysit me. Why else would he have us all come out and then take off on his own? I mean – he wants me to hunt and put my homework on the back burner, but he doesn't want me to actually do anything even remotely useful. I just wish he would make up his damned mind, ya know?"
"It's called having a little faith in the man, Sam! Sometimes you just have to trust that he's in charge and knows what he's doing without questioning his every move – Jesus!"
Actually, Sam had a point. The last hunt all three of them had been on together ended up going to the deep south when Sam's shotgun jammed and Dean got thrown into a wall leaving him with a mild concussion. Dean didn't really blame Sam for that, even though he moaned about the headaches it had given him for days, but Dad had come down pretty hard on Sam – ordering him into extra marksmanship training and making him clean each weapon every night before he could go to bed. This was the first hunt Dad had let Sam do more than just research on in weeks.
Sam shook his head, fuming, but walked off without any further moaning over Dad's decisions. Dean couldn't say he was too upset that Sam had put a little distance between them as he went off to explore the house in the opposite direction.
Dean reached into his pocket and pulled out his MacGyver'd EMF detector he had fashioned out of an old Walkman and started scanning the place with the headphones over his ears. Besides the brief appearance of Garwood's ghost, the place was mostly silent until another round of lightning and thunder echoed across the walls accompanied by increasingly strong gusts of wind that rattled the windows and shook the walls. Dean rounded a corner and found himself in a large, open living area with no furnishings save a couple of moth-eaten curtain on only one window and an empty fireplace. He moved on and found himself in the kitchen next. There cupboards were bare and the doors to the cabinets were missing. The only thing that really stood out to him was a door which he assumed was a pantry, but when he opened it, found it led to a staircase going down into the basement.
He shined his flashlight down the stairs and was half-tempted to venture down there on his own, but held off, knowing it would be smarter for him and Sam to explore that part of the house together.
Out of the corner of his eye and from the other side of the room where the kitchen met with the foyer, Dean saw Sam beginning to climb the stairs towards the second story, his flashlight's beam bouncing up and down as he ascended. He was almost to the top of the stairs when Dean decided that he probably shouldn't wander too far on his own and went to follow him. Even though Sam had just complained about Dean needing to babysit him, it was still a haunted house and bad shit happened when ghosts were involved and he'd be damned if he was going to let Sam get hurt.
Dean had just reached the steps when the room was aglow with lightning once again, practically blinding him in its intensity. Above him, a shotgun blast reported just as more thunder boomed and shook the earth. Dean looked up just in time to see Garwood dissipate in a cloud of vapor.
Sam shouted above the din as he charged the rest of the way up, "That's twice he's shown up on the stairs, Dean. He must be guarding something up there."
Dean had to race up the steps to catch up to Sam and met him at the landing. On either side of the brother were two halls; one going left and one going right, "Okay, so now which way?" Dean wasn't sure why he even bothered to ask since he knew what Sam had in mind.
"We split up," Dean groaned hearing those words from Sam's mouth; that was the last thing he wanted to do, "It makes sense – you go left, I go right and whichever way the ghost shows up again is probably where whatever it is he's guarding is at."
"Stupid plan, Sam." Dean grumbled, but knew his brother was right and turned to go down the hallway to the left while Sam went in the opposite direction.
Even through the thick walls of the hallway, Dean could hear the wind and rain outside lashing against the house in a frenetic chorus of whistles and increasingly louder thunder claps, sounding more and more like a freight train might come barreling through the place at any moment.
Dean thought of his Dad out in this storm and shivered, wishing they had checked the weather reports before heading out – John Winchester was a tough sonuvabitch, but even he would have trouble getting through this weather and he just hoped he was okay and not taking any stupid chances.
The rain beating against the windshield was becoming bothersome as John drove down the twists and turns of the cemetery road. Sure, storms made it far easier to get into a graveyard unnoticed by the cops, but it also brought its own set of additional problems – the first and foremost being just getting there in the first place.
It was difficult enough to see where he was going, but the constant lightning flashes screwing with his night vision only made things worse and the going that much slower. It took him nearly half of an hour, but finally he found the older section of the cemetery and stopped the car near the family plot he was looking for.
The second thing about digging graves in this kind of weather that really made things more difficult was the actual digging part itself. While John was far too proud and macho to admit how miserable getting wet out in the storm made him, it was trying to unearth a grave while water kept filling in the hole that really got on his nerves and he wished now that he had taken a few minutes to look up the weather reports before taking on the job that night.
He also had to admit that things probably would have gone a lot faster if he had taken his boys with him, but John had his reasons for leaving them behind. Ghosts were notorious for showing up whenever you tried to destroy what was left of their earthly remains and he could handle one teenaged spirit on his own – sometimes he wished it was that easy with his own teenager.
His other reason for leaving them behind was for Sam to learn his lesson. Dean had almost had his head caved in the last time he brought Sam along all because the boy had forgotten to clean his weapon thoroughly and let the damned thing get jammed when he needed it the most. Sam needed to learn to be a team player and to put the hunt first and he hoped that making him clear that house with his brother might ease him back into a hunting mode with a minimal amount of danger – something easy that he could do in his sleep to remind him that hunting could be rewarding and maybe even a little fun if he would just stop complaining about it.
John wasn't overly optimistic that it would work and it was probably not the best of his training plans for the kid, but he had tried everything else to get Sam motivated to hunt and so far, nothing was working. Besides, maybe if Sam thought that John didn't trust him to come along to the graveyard, then maybe that would light a fire under his ass and make him want to hunt with more enthusiasm. Well … it was worth a shot anyway.
John was completely soaked and had to brace himself against the fierce winds battering him as he finally reached the top of the coffin. He breathed heavily and panted from the effort and digging the grave by himself had left him exhausted. His aching joints and muscles felt the need to remind him that he wasn't in his twenties anymore and that he should probably take break, but just as a flash of lighting lit up the dark sky like daytime, he looked up and saw it.
He cursed as the winds picked up and tried to push him over. Reaching into his pocket, he reached for his cell phone then cursed again when he flipped it open and the damned thing failed to turn on - it was soaked and utterly useless.
He had no way to warn the boys of what was coming – he needed to work faster.
Sam walked cautiously down the hall, shotgun in one hand and flashlight leading the way in the other. Except for the lightning illuminating the way through the window at the end of the hall, it was black as pitch and eerily deserted.
At one point this house was a family's home – well maintained, lavishly decorated with ornately carved crown molding, stained glass windows, patterned tin ceilings, and expensive wallpapering. But now – now it was a shell – an empty husk made of rotting wood, peeling paint, broken windows, and abandoned, dusty furniture. It wasn't a home anymore – it was just a crumbling house.
For some reason this observation made Sam kind of sad. He'd never had a permanent house and had spent his entire life living out of rented shacks, motel rooms, and the backseat of the Impala, but he never felt homeless – he had Dean and Dad and while sometimes their lives were anything but normal or easy, and maybe it was hard to get along with his demanding father, it was a family that really, truly made a place home. And that's what this house now lacked – a family to fill it – and all that was left was the ghost of a troubled kid -no wonder he was so angry and vengeful; his existence had to be soul-crushingly lonely.
Sam knew about loneliness. Sometimes, even in his tight-knit little family, he felt like the odd-man out – like he was a third, useless wheel attached to the sturdy framework of the team his brother and father made. It wasn't that he hated hunting –okay – maybe he did hate it, but not because he didn't see the benefits of it. He knew hunting saved people's lives and that was a good thing, but the costs were pretty freakin' high. Too many times his father or brother had come so close to dying and each time he had to patch one of them up or worry and fret when they didn't come back on time or call him for days when they left him behind to hunt something. It was enough to make him want to have no part of it anymore – to take off and leave just so he wouldn't have to see either of the two people he loved the most lose their lives before his eyes.
Maybe it made him selfish to want out – to want a little peace, but wasn't that what normal people wanted? He couldn't understand how vengeance could drive a person like his father to abandon that desire to be safe and take up this kind of life – perhaps he never would—perhaps that's why he and Dad never really saw eye-to-eye on much of anything; their goals were too different and while Dad wanted to pull him in one direction, Sam wanted to go the other and never in the middle could they ever meet.
Another crash of lightning and roll of thunder shook the rafters of the house and snapped Sam out of his wandering thoughts and back into the task at hand. He turned around and looked back in the direction Dean had taken and saw his brother walk cautiously into a room, disappearing from his view. Sam didn't like being split up any more than Dean did, but the sooner that got this over with, the sooner they could all go back to the relative safety of their latest motel room and he could lose himself in the pages of Hamlet and forget about what the next day may bring for just a little while.
An open door to Sam's left beckoned. He moved with steady alertness through the opening and found himself in what could have been someone's bedroom at one time. A broken bedframe sat in one corner minus its mattress, while the only other piece of furnishing in the room was an old wardrobe with broken doors hanging off of rusty hinges. Sam swept the room with his flashlight when he was momentarily blinded by a flash of lightning streaking through the tattered, moth-eaten curtains over the windows.
Before he could regain his night vision an unseen force collided with Sam's chest and sent him flying backwards with a lung-emptying crash into the wall, his shotgun and flashlight ripped from is hands and skittering across the floor as his head cracked resoundingly into the plaster.
With the wind knocked out of his lungs, Sam fell to his knees and struggled to restart his breathing, forcing his eyelids to remain open as black spots crowded his vision and threatened to pull him under into oblivion. A spike of merciless pain assaulted his head, but there was no time to licks his wounds just yet – he needed the shotgun that lay on the floor just a few feet away so he could blast away the spirit that was quickly closing in on him.
Too slow to reach his gun in time, Garwood was suddenly upon him, wrapping his thin, cold, dead fingers around Sam's throat and cutting off his already depleted supply of oxygen.
"Stay out!" The ghost kid hissed, "It's mine!"
Sam couldn't really grasp what the boy was saying past his own need for air and struggles to pry hands from his neck. Things were getting darker with each thudding heartbeat in his chest when a loud bang filled the room and shook the walls.
Suddenly the pressure on Sam's windpipe was gone and he gulped in huge gasps of much needed and blessedly free air into his starved lungs. His throat and head ached miserably, but he could breathe and looked up gratefully at Dean who stood in the doorway, lowering his still smoking shotgun.
"Sam!" Dean was at his side a moment later, helping his to sit up. Sam rubbed the back of his head, feeling the rising lump under his fingers. There was no blood at least and while he might have a headache for the rest of the evening – which kinda put his desire to read Shakespeare that night on hold – he didn't think he was concussed.
Dean was harder to convince, and raised his hand spreading out his fingers, "How many fingers, Sammy?"
"This many," Sam replied, raising his middle finger, "And don't call me Sammy, jerk."
"Very funny, jackass." Dean sighed, helping Sam to his feet and relieved that he appeared to be more or less intact.
"Thanks." Sam said once he was stable and certain he wouldn't fall over, expressing his gratefulness at Dean's last-second save. Any longer and Sam would probably be up in the clouds learning how to play the harp with the angels.
"No problemo." Dean replied, looking about the room, "I'm guessing this must be the kid's room."
"Yeah … he certainly didn't want me in here. I'm guessing that there's something in here he doesn't want us getting at. We should look around before he decides to come back."
"Yeah … I'm gonna call Dad and see if he's toasted the kid's bones yet. If he has, then we know that there's for sure something here keeping him tied to the place."
Sam nodded and started searching while Dean fished out his phone and dialed. Sam looked under the bed frame and found nothing but dust bunnies. The closet was empty and when he looked through the wardrobe there was nothing to be found in there either. It wasn't until he bent over with a grunt and looked under the dresser that he saw something that caught his eye – a loose floor board that looked as if it had been pried up and shoved back into place many times over.
Standing up again, Sam went to the side of the wardrobe and pushed it until the floorboard was exposed. He went to his knees and saw scratches where something had been used to pry the board up. He reached into his pocket for his knife, flicking it open then inserting it between the seams and wedging it like a lever to force the board to rise up. It came up easily as there were no nails holding it in place and he was able to completely remove it and see what lay underneath it. Inside the little hole that had been created in the floor, Sam found a small, dusty, and decaying cigar box.
Carefully, Sam pulled the box from its hiding place and laid it on the floor in front of him as he sat back on his heels and opened the lid to peer inside. A box of matches, a couple of pocket knives, and a small, paper-bound notebook were stuffed inside.
A shadow came over Sam and he glanced up quickly, worried for a second that Garwood was back to attack him for prying into his personal belongings, but it was only Dean standing above him with a deep frown on his face.
"What's wrong?" Sam asked.
"Dad's not answering his phone. It could just be the storm messing with the reception and I'm sure he's fine, but ..."
Sam felt a lump of concern grow in his stomach, as he looked out the window beside him that rattled in its frame from the onslaught of wind and rain, "He's okay, Dean. You know Dad ... he's probably too focused on getting the job done to answer."
Dean nodded and also chanced a worried glance out the window. The storm seemed to be getting worse with more and more lighting and even fiercer gales that howled and whistled angrily through the walls. The whole house now vibrated constantly and so much so that Sam was starting to get a prickling feeling of unease knowing that their father was out in that.
Dean shifted his attention to the box in front of Sam's knees, "What's that?" he asked.
"Found it under the floor," Sam answered, reaching inside and pulling the contents out. There wasn't really anything special to the matches or knives – no human remains or blood visible on any of them, so Sam went next to the notebook and turned to the first page. The paper was dry and brittle, crackling as he leafed through the pages, but Sam was more interested in the words he found scrawled inside. It was a journal, filled with the deeply personal and disturbing thoughts that Garwood hid from the rest of the world.
Sam read with fascination and growing sympathy. Garwood was clearly a kid with serious emotional problems that he expressed in his words – how he felt that no one understood him – how his father never showed him any attention except to demand that he follow him into the family business, and how starting fires had given him sort of release and sense of control over his life. While Sam didn't think that arson was a good emotional outlet, he could identify with the kid's feelings of isolation and struggles to follow his own ambitions.
In the final and most angst-ridden entry, some of the words were smeared and the page was more wrinkled than the rest like something wet had been splashed across the page. That's when it hit him. It wasn't water that caused the damage … it was tears long-since dried, but a biological piece of Garwood that could be keeping him tied to the living world.
"I think this is it, Dean." Just as soon as Sam finished saying that, Garwood was back, this time appearing behind Dean and before he could warn his brother, the ghost struck and knocked him upside the head, knocking him to the floor.
"Dean!" Sam shouted, quickly pocketing the book then springing up to dive for his shotgun while cursing himself for not having grabbed it sooner.
"It's mine! Give it back!" Garwood shouted, his voice echoing above the din of the storm raging outside. Sam rolled and had the shot gun wrapped around his fingers, pointing and firing in one fluid motion. The spirit vaporized with an unearthly and angry screech.
Huffing, Sam darted for Dean who was groaning and struggling to his hands and knees. He grabbed his brother's arm, "You okay?"
"Guh … shit … "Dean shook his head like he was clearing the cobwebs out, "I'm fine. Where's that damned book, Sam?"
"I got it."
"Good … let's burn that mother already."
Sam couldn't have agreed more and helped haul his brother back up to his feet while grabbing their weapons. Sore and groaning over their fresh hurts, Sam and Dean stumbled and leaned against each other as they headed out of the dark room, back down the hall and descended the stairs, heading for the living room where a fireplace that had stood cold and empty for decades waited for them.
Sam wearily tossed the book into the pit while Dean produced a shaker of salt and coated the thing with the fine crystals. Lighter fluid wasn't needed as the pages quickly started to burn the moment the flame from Sam's lighter touched the dried paper. Smoke curled and billowed from the pages as the words written in ink disappeared, turning into black ashes.
For half a second all was quiet as Sam and Den stared at the flames but all too soon the silence was shattered by the distant sound of a siren that was quickly muted again by the noise of heavy rain, wind and now hail careening into the decaying structure.
"What is that?" Sam asked and they both perked their heads up, trying to identify the far-off noise that was being obscured by the wailing winds and booming thunder.
"Crap," Dean groaned as though it finally registered with him what that noise was and at the same time a dawning realization crept over Sam as well – he'd heard that sound before and given the fact that they were in the plains of Oklahoma in early summer during a terrible storm, he really shouldn't have been all that surprised to hear it.
"Is that a tornado siren?"
Above the noise, sirens began to whoop and blare, warning all those within earshot to seek shelter.
John tried to ignore that wind roaring around him as he pried open the lid of the coffin just enough for him to toss on some salt and lighter fluid without the rain getting into the interior and making it impossible to set on fire.
He propped the lid open with a stick while still inside the grave then set about trying to get his lighter to produce fire while all the time chaos erupted around him. Hail began to pelt him, some as large as golf balls bouncing across the lid of the coffin and slamming into his back, shoulders, and head hard enough to leave welts.
Even though the lighter was designed to be resistant to wind and water, the damned thing refused to stay lit as he was lashed at from all directions by the murderous storm.
The trees above him swayed and leaned, and John could hear them beginning to crack under the pressure even above the noise and cacophony. Limbs began to snap and debris tossed about, flying through the air, as they were sucked up into the atmosphere.
John's heart fluttered then pounded – he had to get these damned bones lit – he had to get back to the car – get back to his boys. He looked up again and swore bitterly at the giant, approaching wall of deadly clouds that were illuminated by the bolts of lightning striking far too close for comfort.
He worked more frantically with the lighter, flicking it over and over to no avail. The ground began to shake and John popped his head out of the grave long enough to see trees only a quarter of a mile away being pulled from the ground, some completely uprooted before they became airborne. On the upside, the sinister funnel of destruction seemed to be making a turn, but not in the direction he had been hoping – it was heading straight in the direction of the house where he had left his sons.
Heart in his throat, John rolled the flint of the lighter once again setting off a spark that finally ignited the butane and stayed alight.
It was also in that second of triumph that a blinding crash of pain exploded in his head some hard and solid connected with the back of it and sent him sprawling into the grave and plunging into him darkness.
No sooner than Dean and Sam had identified the tornado sirens, the walls of the old house began to shake and shimmy in earnest. The ground vibrated in time to the roar outside when suddenly the sounds of shattering glass burst into the cavernous room.
"Shit!" Dean exclaimed,
Sam didn't argue with that sentiment. If there was a tornado, of which there didn't seem to be any doubt anymore, it was getting closer by the second, increasing with fury and merciless strength. Gale force winds broke even more windows and sent sheets of rain and large pellets of hail in through the exposed openings, causing both boys to cover their faces.
Dean grabbed Sam's arm, tugging on his sleeve, "C'mon … we gotta get to the basement!" He shouted as loud as he could, almost unable to hear his own voice above the noise.
Sam for once, didn't question that logic and they both hurried to search of better shelter and protection from the wrath of nature bearing down on them.
Wind whipping their hair as more windows blew out, Dean kept a firm grip on his brother, unwilling to let him go or lose contact with him in all of the chaos erupting around them as he pulled his brother towards the kitchen and the door he recalled there that led to the underground.
The wooden planks of the walls groaned ominously while above them sharp cracking sounds issued and called out the death knell of the roof as it began to tear from the rafters. In one felled swoop and gust of fury, the sky was suddenly open to them, tearing debris up into the clouds and pelting them both with rain, hail and flying lumber.
Dean felt along the wall, one hand clenching his brother while the other grabbed for purchase along a chair rail and held on like a vice grip. He inched them along, demanding his feet to pull them faster while the pull of gravity relinquished its hold on him and a mighty suction attempted to hoover him up like he was a piece of lint on the floor.
Sam's arm came around Dean from behind him with equal pressure as his body pushed him forward from behind and for once, Dean was glad his brother had started to outmatch him in size if not in strength as he gave him the stability he need to take one more step forward and reach the door.
Dean had to feel his way forward– the wind, hail too furious for him to see. At last, his fingertips felt a door and he could only pray this door led to the basement and their only hope of crawling out of this intact. As soon as he turned the knob, the door flung open and nearly took him and Sam with it, but with one look at the rickety staircase that led down into the shadows of the house's underbelly, he felt that had finally caught a break.
Clinging to the railing, Dean and Sam fought their way down until they came to yet another door. Dean hurriedly opened it as Sam pushed him past the threshold and they both turned as one to push against the raging wind and shut it.
Black as pitch, there was nothing to be seen.
Dean couldn't even hear his own breathing over the caterwauling of the winds, but they were both safe – at least that's what he thought until the ceiling above began to groan and shake followed by a loud crash as the whole house fell in on top of them.
To Be Continued ...