Author's note: This story will deal directly with the events of 9x13 so if you haven't seen the episode, you're not going to want to read this. I have no affiliation with Supernatural or the CW and only the OC's in this story belong to me. This story is un-beta'd and all mistakes are mine. As always, I don't own them, but boy do I like to make them suffer. Enjoy!
Chapter One - The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
David Briggs was a heavy sleeper. As the owner of a construction company and foremen of a crew of almost 20, he had to be. Long hours and hard labor meant heavy nights of impenetrable sleep that usually started when his head hit the pillow and ended when his wife's alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning for work. So it came as quite a shock when it was not the agitating beep of the alarm that woke him from sleep, but his body collapsing heavily against cold stone in a room with no light.
At first David thought he was dreaming. The blackness he had awoken to was so complete that it could only have been his mind playing tricks on him or some vestiges of a nightmare refusing to let him go. He found himself reaching out into the darkness searching for the familiar form of his wife but his hands found only empty air and unyielding stone.
It was the cold his brain registered next. It was a creeping, grasping iciness that was quickly numbing his backside and David sat up to alleviate the assault on his bare skin. Nightmares had been tormenting his dreams for a week straight now and surely the unrelenting, ominous blackness he found himself in was just the lingering effects of the nightmare he never could quite recall. Right?
David scrubbed shaky fists across his eyes in a futile attempt to dislodge himself from the dream, but the thick blackness was still there when he opened his eyes again. This wasn't happening. He needed to wake up right now and be back in his own bed with his wife asleep beside him, not sightless and alone in a place he didn't recognize with no way of finding out how he'd gotten there. But it wasn't a dream, was it?
"Real," his thoughts whispered and David shuddered against them.
Panic began clawing up the back of his throat and in the absolute darkness, David fought for control. He needed to be rational. He was awake and this was real and he had to get himself through it, so he choked down a rising swell of hopelessness and forced his brain to think logically. The darkness was absolute, there was no denying that now, but he had other things to worry about like where he was and how he'd gotten there. Was there a way out, and most importantly, was he alone?
David focused his hearing, but there wasn't much to pick up on over the staccato beat of his heart in his ears. He decided on a different approach.
"Hello?" The word came out hoarse and seemed to lodge itself in the inky blackness surrounding him. David cleared his throat and called out again, but the only response he got was his own voice echoed back. His heart seized in panic for the briefest of moments, but he quickly fought it back down again.
"Relax, Briggs," he soothed into the emptiness, "You're okay." And he was. A quick test of his limbs yielded no outward signs of trauma except for a pair of shredded socks and some shallow open cuts on his feet. His calf muscles ached a bit and his shoulder was sore from when he'd fallen to the floor, but other than that, he appeared to be perfectly fine. Wherever he was he'd gotten there in just his socks and boxers and, had the blackness not been so complete, he'd almost have been embarrassed by his state of undress. He thanked his lucky stars that it didn't appear anyone was around to witness his semi-nudeness then, looking back on the thought, swallowed it down and tried not to think about the fact that he might be going mad. Certain of no life threatening injuries, David weighed his options.
He couldn't see. That fact was perfectly clear and beyond refute at this point. What wasn't exactly clear was the 'why'. Had he gone blind? There was definite space around him so he probably hadn't been buried alive and the floor beneath him was stone so that ruled out a shipping container. There wasn't much else to explain the complete absence of light except his blindness theory and David really wasn't ready to give credence to that one yet. Even if it was true and somehow he had gone blind, it still didn't explain how he'd gotten to… wherever 'here' was.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to remain calm as scenarios began prancing across his imagination, each one becoming more far-fetched: some sort of solitary confinement, kidnapped, alien abduction... Realizing the panic was starting to return, David knew he needed to do something, anything to get his mind off of his predicament. Putting a tentative hand out, David searched the ground around him and found only roughhewn stone floor in every direction. Using his hands and ignoring the sting to the cuts on his feet, he got himself standing after fighting back a wave of vertigo. It was the strangest feeling, being completely unable to see, and he'd never really realized how much he relied on his sight to do the smallest of tasks until it was gone. Holding his arms out in front of him instinctively, David took a few tentative steps forward but found nothing but more darkness. The blackness was beginning to close in around him and he stumbled forward with blind urgency, hands grouping desperately for any sign of structure in the blankness.
The impenetrable darkness was starting to do something to him. Panic was rising in his throat again as his other senses started kicking into high gear until every audible footfall was another person behind him in the dark. Each movement of air was a hand reaching for him in the blackness until finally, blessedly, his hands met stone wall and the relief almost brought tears to his eyes. Near hysterics, he rested his back against the solid wall, letting it anchor him to sanity for a least a little while longer. The wall was tangible, unmovable behind his back and hinted of order in the chaos of the darkness surrounding him.
"Get a grip, Briggs!" he choked, digging nails into the wall behind him, sending bits of rock sprinkling to the floor. "There's nothing there!"
Keeping his back pressed tightly against the wall, David made his way slowly along the stone, ignoring the sharp edges that reached out to scrape against his skin and draw blood. It was slow going but the prospect of pushing off the wall and losing the reality it provided left his body shaking so he traversed the wall in awkward shuffling sideways steps. Every few feet he would stop and listen over his pounding heart for any other noises, but the darkness gave nothing away. Even sound it kept enveloped in blackness until all David was left with was what he himself created. His whole world had been condensed down to this one wall and the sound of pebbles scattering as he shuffled on, grunts as the loose stone dug into open cuts, and the ever present pounding drum of his heartbeat in his ears. He existed in that world for what felt like an age, doomed to scramble along in the dark for eternity until his hand came into sharp contact with something hard and unyielding.
Nerves beyond frayed, David let out a hysterical high pitched scream that would have ruined his reputation as a man had anyone been around to hear it, and bolted a few feet back the way he had come. David fell to a crouch along the wall and tensed for the impending attack. He balled his fists and made crude battle plans in his head, imagination conjuring up all manner of foe. Every monster from every horror movie he'd ever seen sprang to life in his mind's eye and he felt suddenly sorry for the hard time he'd given his niece the other night about monsters under the bed. He even prayed, something he hadn't done in years.
Any moment the attack would come. Any moment he would be ripped to shreds and this nightmare would end. He could only guess at how long he crouched in the darkness under the paralyzing fear of the unknown before realization began to dawn on him. After what felt like an eternity, he risked letting out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and pulled in lungfulls of air into his protesting lungs. When the movement didn't bring about his untimely death, he risked rising from his crouch, the cracking of his knees so loud in the silence it startled him. David bent at the waist and put his hands on his knees, his internal dialog desperately willing his body to calm down and act rationally. He was a 40 year old seasoned construction worker for goodness sake! He owned his own business, was 6'2, a buck ninety and had beaten the shit out of more than one person in his lifetime. He was built of stronger stuff than even he could guess and if David could be sure of anything at the moment it was that he wasn't going to go out like this: scared shitless and crying like a baby.
Finally gaining some control over his emotions, David knew he needed to head back to whatever it was he had found. The unknown object could hold a clue to where he was but the thought of returning had hysterical laughter bubbling up from his gut and it was all he could do to force it back down to where it had come from. Losing it now wasn't going to do anyone any favors and he needed to get out of this alive.
When he finally talked himself into some semblance of control, David made his way slowly back the way he had come. There was a brief moment of panic when his mind suggested he was going the wrong way and that he had gotten disoriented and was not headed in the direction he thought. He was half tempted to turn around and try the other way when his hands found the object again in the blackness. Letting out a relieved sigh, he let his shaky hands explore what he had found. Whatever it was it was solid under his touch and not moving to murder him like his tortured mind kept trying to convince him of.
There was no way to see the object in the inky blackness so David let his hands do the work of his eyes. The object was some sort of table and upon further exploration David discovered it was a table saw, and a familiar one at that. It wasn't panic or fear that had his breath quickening this time, but something akin to hope and a desperate anticipation. Barely daring to hope, David swept his hand under the table, searching for the curled edges of the label he affixed to all his equipment with the company logo and his contact information. When his fingers caught against the stickiness of the frayed edges, David felt hot tears of relief spring to his eyes. It was his. There was no denying it and the relief that realization brought was enough to collapse him to his knees on the floor, tears flowing, reputation be damned. The simple piece of equipment was his salvation and suddenly everything fit into place. A complete lack of light didn't matter anymore and the layout of the room he knew he was in sprang to life in his mind. He knew exactly where he was and exactly what he needed to do to get out and get back home. That thought had him getting shakily to his feet again, using the table for leverage when vertigo crept in again. If he had been able to see the room, he guessed it would have been spinning but the need for fresh air and freedom had David groping again for the wall on the other side of the table.
David pulled the layout of the room back to the forefront of his memories and tried to remember where his crew had stashed their supplies earlier that day. He didn't think there would be anything else in his way to the staircase that would take him up and out of his prison, but he slowed his steps and willed himself to be careful all the same. His recall of the room really should have been perfect as he and his crew had been at the site every day for the past week. Then, to top it all off, every day for that past week, he'd dreamt of the ancient tavern in Oriskany, New York and the eerie musty basement that apparently had liked him so much, it had invited him back.
David had caught wind of a job in Oriskany a few months back and after exploiting a friend of a friend (or two), he had won the bid to help restore some lower levels of an old building in town. The work was a godsend and guys were pretty stoked to get his call about the new job.
From the outside The Old Road Bed and Breakfast had looked like your normal average historical location complete with proudly displayed American Flags, charming colonial architecture, and even its own well maintained historical marker. The four story brick and stone structure had apparently been standing since before the American Revolution and had morphed from village tavern to post office to derelict to its now current incarnation of Bed and Breakfast. When David had first laid eyes on the impressive building, he wasn't really sure why the current owner was looking to do any work on the place. It was a beautifully restored local business that still pulled in a decent number of affluent New Yorkers from around the state yet the owner, an old widow David had never met nor heard of, was determined to return the building to its former glory: The Old Road Tavern. David and his men were going to be renovating the first floor and the lower level to revert them back into a functioning tavern and the architect in David had jumped at the prospect. He'd wiled away many an hour fussing with ideas of what he could do with the place, or at least he had until he met Olivia DeLancy of the Oriskany Historical Society. Apparently, New Yorkers were nut-balls crazy over their historical locations and David had been unceremoniously dragged into a meeting of the Society before his building permit application had even left the mailbox. Twenty impassioned speeches about preservation in and he had been convinced that he would never be the ring leader of that three ring circus.
So he had begrudgingly accepted copies of copies of original blueprints covered in archaic terms and shoddy measurements and after six months of heated debates and bloody battles with every committee and branch of government in Oriskany, NY David had finished plans in his hand the go-ahead to being work. Only, of course, with the understanding that a Historical Society representative would be overseeing every step of the construction. David had prayed furtively, but those prayers had apparently gone unanswered because bright and early Monday morning Olivia DeLancy had shown up at the job site in a pressed suit and the most ridiculous high heels David Briggs had ever seen. She'd been easy enough to scare away, however, and had hightailed it out of the building as soon as David had mentioned 'basement' and 'sandblasting' when she had asked him what was on the agenda for the first day of construction. Figuring out where to start would be the least of the crew's worries that first day and eventually they really had settled on cleaning the lower levels of the old building.
The tavern basement had been as 1700s as you could get. DeLancy had prattled on about how it had been used for important meetings during the Revolution but all David could see was carbon deposits, inches thick, covering every imaginable surface and three centuries worth of detritus to filter through. The first day alone had been spent packing up the contents and labeling the boxes with Mrs. DeLancy's name in bold letters on the side of each box. The creatures that had scurried from boxes that disintegrated when his crew tried to touch them still made his skin crawl.
The basement had been constructed completely from stone and still needed to be thoroughly cleaned and fitted for electricity. If he had been able to see, he would have easily been able to point out every intricate but rusted iron wall sconce made to hold candles that still hung by crude iron nails in some places with the ceiling permanently stained black from the years of constant firelight. He could have judged his distance to escape by the huge fireplace crumbing grumpily at the far end of the room or have been aware of the ceilings that hung low and oppressive turning the whole atmosphere ominous. The lack of air and light had set most of his crew on edge and even his usually jovial nephew Sam who worked on the crew had been unusually quiet when working in the basement. Yet for all its short comings, when David had first set foot in the space, he was struck by the simple yet elegant construction of the whole building and its apparent history. Master craftsmen had set every stone around him back in a time when such men were revered and held in high esteem. Any hack job could get a license any more, it seemed, but David had been different. He'd fought hard for his knowledge and had a degree in architecture and engineering under his belt. He respected good workmanship and while dank and musty by the modern standards, David still had managed to be awed by it all.
Created by master craftsmen or not, David was still stuck in the windowless room with no idea how he had gotten there and remembering his situation, he cleared the table saw and continued his journey down the wall. An electrician was coming next week to fit the basement for electricity and David knew the generator they had been using for power had been stored down there somewhere. The trouble was he wasn't quite sure where and did not want to risk bumbling around in the dark and killing himself when he was so close to getting out already. If he was remembering correctly, freedom was only a few feet away and soon his hands would find the place where the wall turned away to make room for the stairs that offered him the only escape from his nightmare. The next few feet gave him nothing but more wall until finally his hand reached out into open air. He stumbled forward a bit in his haste to find the first stair and looking up, David could make out the faint outline of early dawn light peaking around the edges of the door about 20 feet up. He had never been so happy to see anything more in his life than those weak shafts of light and, almost laughing with relief, he began climbing the stairs two at a time. He made it about half way up when it happened. Putting his foot out to the next step the wind was knocked from his chest when a cold envelope of air suddenly surrounded him. Early morning light was growing stronger in the stair well and he was able to see his breath crystallizing in the cold air in front of him just before he was wrenched up and away from the stairs.
"What the f..." his curse was cut off mid-sentence as the ground disappeared from beneath his feet and David was pulled bodily back into the blackness. This time there was no talking himself out of the sheer terror that took over him because the icy moist arms that were wrapped around his bare torso were very, very real. The morning light had been weak, but it had still given him enough illumination to catch a glimpse of the grey and decaying arms that had lifted him from the ground.
The pressure was unbearable and every desperate attempt to pull air into his lungs was thwarted by an even tighter constriction on his chest. Instinct tried to form a scream in his throat, but the twin vices wrapped around him were unyielding and no air moved past his parted lips. Unchecked panic swirled around his brain, trying to conjure coherent thought around his flight or fight response, yet in the end he submitted to those most primal of instincts and fought ferociously against his attacker. How long it went on, he wasn't sure, but suddenly he was slammed onto the stone floor on the flat of his back and the paralyzing constriction was gone. David drew in a large and ragged breath that sent him into a coughing fit and brought the taste of blood to his tongue. Every fiber of his being screamed at him to get up and run like hell, but all he could focus on for the moment was pulling oxygen into his abused lungs. Every inhalation was agony and he knew that at least some of his ribs had been fractured. Disoriented and oxygen deprived, David did the only thing he could think to do and pulled himself along the floor by his arms in search of his wall. The only thing left to believe in in his unending nightmare. He made it maybe 10 feet before he felt the cold squeeze return as he was dragged helplessly back to where it had all begun.
Knowing it was likely his last chance at survival, David put all the remaining strength he had into fighting for his life. Behind his fists he put all the rage of an unremarkable life, the left over strength of dreams long ago forgotten but still attainable, and the look on his wife's face every morning when he awoke beside her in the warmth of their shared bed. All these things he used but in the end there was nothing to fight against. His fists met no resistance for he had no defense against an entity that seemed to be made of nothing more than bone chilling cold and unbound rage. All his futile movements earned him was an increase in pressure to his chest that was quickly becoming unbearable and likely to be his demise. No breath could reach his starving lungs though he gasped like a fish on dry land, flopping around and begging for his life through silent pleas from his eyes sent out into the black abyss for no one to see. David heard a cracking noise above the roaring in his ears as he fought and realized with sick certainty that it was his bones cracking from the unimaginable pressure being exerted on his body. A cry died in his throat as his chest collapsed and the last thing David Briggs ever heard was splat of his insides on the stone floor and a mournful wail from the blackness.
I'll be updating as often as I can. Most of this is written already, just gotta tweak. Let me know if the opening scene (as I like to call it) has got you hooked or not by leaving me a review! It takes MINUTES and makes me oh so happy.