Heaven is Hell Dressed in White

The Road To Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

or;

The Memoirs of Evelyn Jezebel Winchester

A lesser writer would begin something like this with the line "it all started the day I was born." If I were a lesser writer I too would use it, for it is the truth. But one day I will surpass everyone and become the world's first famous Hunter. Being famous within the Hunting Community doesn't count. Now, these memoirs will never be published professionally (unless you count a few self-publications intended for family and new additions to Hunter's lore), so I solemnly swear to say the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The faux beginning above? That is the truth. Born to a being I'm trained to kill, growing up a soldier, starting the freaking apocalypse… My apologies. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me begin with this: my name is Evelyn Winchester. At the time of this writing I'm 28 years old. My birthday is August 15. I am a monster.

o8o

"I'll be gone 'bout a week. There's food in the kitchen and money in the envelope by the microwave. Anything looks at you funny, shoot it. Shoot first, ask questions later, and-"

"Protect Sammy," Dean says, cutting Daddy off. I can tell he's rolling his eyes.

As I poke my head between Dean and Sammy, Daddy adds, "And Evelyn."

He picks up his bags and leaves. He didn't forget me this time! Most of the time I'm not here when Daddy leaves, but Dean always says Daddy thinks of me. When he's nice, anyway. When he comes home at night with empty bottles he's mean. Dean says it helps him feel better. Sammy holds my head for a noogie. I laugh. He always does that. "Should we go play with the guns now?" I say, pulling away from Sammy. Daddy always makes me hit the bulls-eye before bed.

"I was thinking something different." Dean sits in front of the TV. "Instead of target practice, how about a movie? I think Superman is on."

"Superman!" Sammy runs to the couch. "Just in time for my birthday!"

"Just in time for your birthday, kiddo. Evie, you comin' or not?"

"A bit," I say, going to our room. Sammy's birthday is on Thursday. Today is Monday. I still don't know what I'll give him. Twelve is special, everyone knows that. I take out my box of stuff from my bag under the bed. There's seashells, sand, pictures, a pretty rock. Small stuff from whenever we moved. A shell? No, he probably already has one. He's too big for my pretty bracelet. I find my superhero-coloring book. I know! Pictures! Sammy will like that. I'll even use nice markers from school. Good. Daddy can't yell at me for a picture. Something he can take with him everywhere. I put everything away just as Lex Luthor first comes in. I snuggle in between Dean and Sammy. Dean asks me where I was. "Sammy's birthday," I say in his ear. "I know what to give him!"

"Later, kiddo. We can talk about it before bed."

"Kay kay, Dean!" After the movie's over the Dick van Dyke show comes on. We watch the beginning and Dean makes me and Sammy go to bed. I let Dean help with my shirt and check my mouth. When that's done I run around. "I don't wanna go to bed! I wanna stay up wit you!"

"But you can't stay up late, Evie. Don't you want to go to school? Something special?"

I think about that. I do need to make Sammy his present. "Only if you read me a story." Story time is always the best time.

"I'm sorry, Evie. Not tonight. How 'bout Sammy tells you one?"

Hearing his name, Sammy walks out of the bathroom. He makes a face. "Why me? I'm not the only one in this family that can make up a story. And I just checked out the Tale of Two Cities, and-"

"Because," Dean says, grabbing my shoulder, "I have some stuff to do tonight." He gestures to the chest I'm not allowed to play in and the lines of salt I'm not allowed to touch.

"Fine, whatever. Do what you have to." Sammy picks me up and takes me to the bedroom. First he tucks me in, and then does the special monster check. None under the bed or behind the curtain. Then he crawls in next to me. "Tomorrow night Dean's gonna have to do this. What kind of story does Eve feel like tonight?"

I think for a minute. Sammy's good at telling anything. "How about…heroes?"

"Good choice. All right, this is a story Dean told me when I was little. Once, in a place like this, there lived a husband and wife. They had two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was 16 years old and volunteered with the local firefighters after school. He wanted to be a superhero like those in the movies. One day he came home very tired. You see, it was his job to take care of his little sister, who was but eight, while his parents were asleep. It was his job to make her dinner, help her with homework, whatever she needed."

"I'm eight! And that sounds like you and Dean!"

"Exactly, Evie. Exactly like Dean and me. Anyway, this boy came home after a long day of school and work that made him very sleepy. So sleepy he let his sister help with dinner. After it was in the oven the boy went upstairs for a nap, leaving his sister at the kitchen table coloring. He only wanted to sleep for a little bit. A few minutes turned into an hour. The sister began to smell smoke. She went to the oven door and opened it. Inside, dinner had burst into flame. Even though the flames were trapped, they still burned hot and bright. The girl reached out to touch the pretty wall of color."

"Why would she do that? She'd get burned." I think back to the last time we built a fire. Just standing next to it made me too hot.

"You see, the girl wasn't like other kids. She wasn't that good in school and thought like a younger child. Younger than you. She didn't remember fire is hot, that fire equals pain. So she touched it and screamed. The sound mixed with the smoke detectors, waking the boy. He ran downstairs. His sister backed into a corner of the kitchen, not knowing how to run from the flames. Fire quickly spread across the room, trapping her. But her brother was smart. Before going downstairs he wet two towels so he could breathe. He ran to the kitchen and pulled his sister to safety."

"But what about the mommy and daddy? Why didn't they leave?"

"You don't miss a thing. The mommy refused to leave without her wedding ring and the daddy refused to leave without her. They trusted their son to save his sister. By the time they tried to leave, the smoke blocked their only way out. Outside, the boy left his sister with the neighbors while he looked for his parents. The fire department hadn't shown up yet. So the boy ran back inside to save his parents. Fighting through fire and smoke, the boy made it to the front lawn before collapsing. The firefighters put out the fire and took the family to the hospital. For almost four days the boy fought for his life."

"But he was okay. He woke up and became a firefighter and went back to school and took care of his sister and got married and-"

"Who's telling the story here, you or me? But yes, the boy got better and life went back to normal. The boy and his sister became heroes. The end."

I pull the covers up. "That story didn't have much heroes."

"Maybe tomorrow I'll find a book with what you want. Night night, Evie."

"Nighty night." Sammy kisses my forehead. I snuggle up next to him. I wake up in the same spot, Sammy drooling everywhere. He's hogging all the covers again. Winds coming in from the broken window makes the air feel cold. Daddy says there's no point in fixing it since we're moving after school ends. Dean says a bad word from the kitchen. It's too cold now. Sammy's shirt is on the floor. I put it on to find Dean. He's in the kitchen staring at the microwave. It's making funny noises. "Good morning Dean!" I jump to hug his hips. "Why does the microwave sound like it's gonna blow up?"

He sighs, then turns around to pick me up. "Looks like we're not having oatmeal today, Evie. Cereal sound good to you?"

I nod. Dean sits me down at the table to find a bowl, cereal, and milk. Accidently I pour too much milk. Dean went to the bedroom to wake Sammy. He might get really mad like Daddy would. Maybe even hit me. Daddy does that sometimes when I do something really bad. So I run to the sink to find a rag. Clean up the spill. He walks in as I sit down again. Sammy follows him to the counter, where he gets his food. When he sits next to me he sees a few drops I missed. I stare at my bowl. Dean sits on the other side, talking about a game after school. He never finds out. I almost tell him on the way to school. When I open my mouth he just gives me my Barbie lunchbox and walks me to the door. I kiss him on the cheek and wave to Sammy. The nice police officer takes me to Miss Vlodok's room. Before school I'm allowed to play with toys or go to the library. Twice a week a tutor meets me there to help me read books. Since the stuff we read in class is too hard we read by ourselves. Miss Vlodok is already here. She moves to take my bag. "Miss Vlodok, can we go to the library early today?"

"Whatever for, Eve?" She holds my backpack so I can put my lunchbox away.

"Sammy's birthday is Thursday. Dead says we can't do anything this year and Daddy won't be there. So I want to make him a picture!"

"That's a great idea! But we can't go this morning. Mr. Cooper's here today. We can go over lunch if you want. The whole time. I can even help you if you want."

"Kay kay!" She pushes me to the table. Mr. Cooper says good morning and shows me the book we're reading today. It's made for babies. He makes me read it a sentence at a time. Whenever I screw up he writes it down in his book. He writes a lot of stuff down. By the time we're done kids start getting here. Mr. Cooper leaves. Miss Vlodok makes us work until lunch. When we get our lunchboxes I see Jack without any. He always packs. I ask why he doesn't have anything.

"I let my brother have mine," he says. "He didn't have any neither."

Dean sometimes does that. He thinks I don't realize, but I do. I always sneak my carrots into his bag so he has something. "I have some food if you want." I open my lunchbox. "Take what you want. I'm not hungry." I smile at him. Jack takes my sandwich and apple. He hugs me and leaves. At least he has some food now. I go to the library. Miss Vlodok gives me paper and markers. While she eats I make a bunch of pictures of me and Sammy and Dean. All the lines are good. I try really hard to make them look real. Then Miss Vlodok comes over to help me with a card. She writes the words on a piece of paper so I can copy them. No matter how hard I try I feel like they don't look right. I can't even read what I'm writing. The balloons look good. I hope Sammy can read it. I put everything in a folder for Thursday. Miss Vlodok says I can eat lunch here. Lunch is just a juice box, but Jack has some. There's food at home for me.

Miss Vlodok walks over to see what I did. "Eve, did you forget your lunch? You only have juice."

"I had it. But Jack was hungry. He didn't have any so I gave him mine. This is enough."

She looks at me funny. Then she smiles. "You're so sweet, Eve. Gather your things and come with me. I'll get you some food." I follow her down the third grade hallway to the cafeteria. Everyone's out at recess. She talks to a lunch lady to buy a piece of pizza. We go to the special teacher's room. She puts the pizza down to hand me a dollar. "Get whatever you want from the vending machine."

"Anything?" I stare at the candy and chips. So many I've never had before. I hit the button for a brown bag. It comes down the slot. Apparently it's chocolate. "What are these?"

"Those are M&Ms. You've never had them before?"

I sit down. "Dean says we don't have enough money for stupid stuff like candy. He says to eat healthy so I can grow big and strong so I can go with Daddy when he does stuff. Something 'bout a family business."

"Did your brother say all that to you?"

"Most of it. Daddy and Dean fight about that a lot. Money and me and Sammy. Daddy and Sammy fight a lot too." I move on to the chocolate. "These are yummy!"

"They sure are." Miss Vlodok laughs. "What is the family business?"

I stop eating. Dead always says to not say anything about what Daddy really does. "Working on cars and stuff."

"So a mechanic, then." Miss Vlodok looks at her watch. She throws my trash away and walks me back to the classroom.

o8o

On Thursday I wake up extra early to help Dean make breakfast. Next to Sammy's plate I put his picture and card. Dean even signed it. He lets me make chocolate milk for us. We put a chocolate chip pancake on each plate and a piece of bacon. He sends me in to wake up Sammy. I run in and jump on the bed. All he does is pull the blanket over his face. So I shake his shoulder. "Come on, Sammy, wake up! Breakfast is ready!"

He grunts but lets me pull him out of bed. "How on Earth are you so awake in the morning."

The way he says it doesn't sound like a question, but I say, "Cause you need to go look!" When we get to the kitchen I run to Dean to sing Happy Birthday. Sammy sits down to look at his presents. He smiles and gives us both a hug. I jump in his lap.

"Thanks for the pictures, Evie. And the card. They're both excellent."

So I didn't do bad on the writing part! Maybe all the time with Mr. Cooper really is helping. I hug him again. "You're welcome, Sammy. I hope you win tonight."

Right after school Dean walks me to the middle school where the soccer fields are. Sammy and a couple kids are kicking a ball back and forth. The other team isn't here yet. Sammy passes us his ball so we can play with it. "Dean," I say, kicking the ball too hard. He stops it anyway. "Do you think Daddy will call tonight?"

He waits a second to pass it back. It doesn't go far enough, so I do a running start to give it back. "I don't know. I'd like to say yes, but who knows. He could be busy."

That's the nice way of saying he forgets. Dean always says that when Daddy forgets something important. "He shouldn't be busy the entire time. Even Uncle Bobby already called, and he said he'd call again."

"Let's just keep our hopes up for Sammy's sake. Look, the game's starting."

We sit down next to our backpacks. Soon our team scores a goal. I tell Dean about sharing my lunch with Jack again. The first time he just looked funny at me and said it was the right thing to do. This time he says I can bring a little extra every day just in case. At halftime Dean pulls out his homework. All I see is a bunch of black blobs. I guess they're letters. Every once in a while he asks me a question to help him answer. When the ref says there's one minute left Sammy scores. Turns out it's the winning goal. On his birthday! We let him celebrate with his team while Dean grabs our stuff. Moms drag their kids to cars. Sammy walks over to us. The entire way home he can't stop talking. The game, the mini party his class threw for him, how many people said happy birthday, Pastor Jim calling over lunch. If he called then that just leaves Uncle Bobby and Daddy. Inside Sammy gets changed while Dean makes dinner. Somehow he even found a cupcake.

After dinner we work on homework. Sammy finishes his first. I'm still on the first worksheet. I say he doesn't have to help me; he can do whatever he wants. Watch a movie or read a book or something. But he pulls his chair closer to help me read each problem. It's much easier with Sammy telling me what went on earlier in the sentence. We even finish early. That never happens. Dean does the dishes while we clean up the table. Then watch TV. Right before bedtime the phone rings. It's Uncle Bobby asking for Sammy. That makes him happy. They talk for a long time. If Uncle Bobby had time to call, then why not Daddy? Maybe he's in the middle of fighting. Or the motel doesn't have a phone. Or he's camping. There are lots of reasons he can't call. When Daddy comes home he'll make up for it and everything will be fine.

Sammy comes out of the kitchen. "Bobby says hi and he wants a visit this summer."

"I'm sure we're going at some point," Dean says, standing up. "Birthday boy or not, you guys halfta go to bed."

Tonight Dean tells the story of a boy who killed a monster on his birthday. It's nice. Even Sammy likes it. As we lay here trying to go to sleep I give Sammy an extra kiss on the head. "Happy birthday, Sammy," I say to his hair. "I love you."