A/N: Wow... Been gone nearly a year and I'm still getting hits, a few reviews(THANKS FOR THAT) and the random email asking "Where the heck you at?"
Answer: I'm still alive. New house, healed up husband, new job(well, all this last year anyway) LOST MUSE.
I don't know what made me stop, don't know if I just couldn't juggle everything for a while, or if I'd gone temporarily insane at reality's claws. Ouch!
Anyway, I'm feeling super sarcastic these days, trying to help my brother keep his son and his sanity, babysitting the next Einstein/Houdini/puppy eyes Sam in the form of said nephew Devin, paying bills and work work work, with a few minutes for sleep. Somewhere in there I managed to bang out this story on a laptop that gets turned on about once a month.
I really need to know that this is worth it. Maybe I will come back. Don't look for the same regular updates though. I get 2 days off a week and never a weekend so it will be whenever I wanna end the suspense of the cliffys to come. Enjoy, and please, please review!
Beware, there are a lot of artistic liberties taken with John's journal, my own OC and her life, and math! Don't read between the lines, you'll find spaces that bite back!
Book One: Olden Voices Calling
Nineteen years ago.
"Lili! Run, baby! Run!" Michaela Delacroix cried, struggling against the large, dark man with the scary eyes. Lili took off, disappearing through the swinging door into the kitchen and out the back. She ran, tears streaming down her pale face until she cleared the threshold of the church. Inside, she ran up onto the alter and ducked beneath the satin cloth that covered the table there. She shook, clamping a hand over her small mouth to keep from crying aloud as she hunched into herself, tucking her knees against her chest. She sat as still as possible, cramming her fingers tight to her lips. Wisps of long black hair fell over her eyes.
"Lil, baby? It's momma. It's safe sweetie, come on out." The distant voice of her mother called. Lili sat up, fingers still tight to her mouth and she listened to the voice, a chill creeping up the back of her neck. Something was wrong with her mother. She felt it. She remained completely still, afraid to answer.
"Christo." A deep voice came from roughly the same direction as her mother's, sounding slightly farther away.
A gasp filled the tenseness of the church. "Hunter." Her mother's voice changed, growing thin and venomous. "That won't work on me." Lili jammed her fingers against her lips until she tasted the iron tang of her blood. She backed away, crab crawling until she bumped into the large square leg of the linen covered table. She sobbed once before biting her tongue.
"We just want the girl. She is…so…special to us."
"Leave, hunter, and we'll let you keep your skin." A male voice said.
"You're not gonna get'er." The hunter replied, the sound of water sloshing around in a metal container accompanied the hissing cry of the screaming male demon.
"I'm going to rip the bones from your body!" the hollow sound of her mother's voice was overlaid with another, snake like, sound.
"Don't think so." The hunter replied coolly, beginning a chant in a language Lili vaguely recognized. The demon shrieked and wailed, and Lili moved forward, laying on her belly to peek from beneath the long table cover. She watched as the strange man, the one who'd grabbed her mother, writhed and screamed, black smoke pouring from his mouth as his head flew back. The smoke dipped and swirled, before disappearing into a floor vent. The man's lifeless body fell away.
The hunter flung something at her mother, a gray powder. Michaela Delacroix hissed, hands coming up to cover her face, the tone of her voice full of malice. The hunter began another chant as black streaks shifted and writhed beneath Michaela's skin, gathering under her hands until she lowered them, before disappearing into her eyes. They turned from the kind gray Lili loved to black voids, the whites red with blood. The hunter's chant intensified and he pulled a cloth wrapped torch from his pack. He lit it, brandishing it at Michaela. While he chanted and she screamed, the reedy sound making it a harpy like screech. Her eyes began steaming as the glow shone on her face, the flesh around them reddening and blistering. Her body slumped to the floor, her head rolling towards the table and gray eyes with bloody whites locking with her daughter's violet ones before the light left them, blistered skin still steaming.
"MOMMA!" Lili screamed, her small body sliding from beneath the alter table and falling to her knees beside her mother's corpse. The hunter grabbed her and she snapped, writhing and kicking as she panted and screamed. "No LEMME GO! Let me go-!" The hunter slapped her and her head fell against his shoulder, eyes sliding closed.
"I'm sorry, baby girl. I have no choice. There's still somethin' after you." The hunter cradled the ten year old girl to his chest and picked up his shotgun and the spotlight, hurrying out the back of the church and to his truck.
"So why are we here again?" Dean asked, looking over the desolate stretch of two lane road with cracked, disintegrating pavement and pot holes that made him grimace in pain when his baby took the hit. Falling brown oak leaves stuck to the rain speckled windshield and Dean turned on the wipers to brush them away.
"There have been four disappearances along this stretch of the road in the last nine weeks. People just up and walk off into the woods. Last car was sideways in a ditch. Driver's door was wide open and he was just gone."
"Think somethin's luring them in?"
"It looks like it. They leave the engines running, radios on, the whole nine yards. It's like they just flake and go AWOL."
"What do you think it is?"
"No, genius. Pure facts." Dean snapped as his baby hit another pot hole hard enough to make her suspension rattle.
"Hilarious." Sam rolled his eyes. "We need to do some research. Look around. Last victim disappeared just a little over a quarter mile up the road." Sam said, dropping his eyes to the open folder resting on the seat between them.
They drove in silence for a couple more seconds before Dean pulled the car off the road onto a wide spot on the shoulder. They got out and headed for the trunk, the clouds rolling overhead signifying to him that this was not going to be fun. Dean opened the lid and reached for matching shotguns and some spare salt and iron cartridges. Sam loaded his gun and headed off to the edge of the shoulder, seeing tire tracks off at an odd angle. He crouched down and looked closely at the tracks.
"Dude, these are the last victim's tire tracks." He said, nodding in the direction of the prints on the bare, moist ground that the steady drizzle was steadily eating away.
"Okay Dean, line it up and take your shot." John whispered, watching his son handle his first personal gun, a small pistol with pretty impressive stopping power. "Wait until he's broadside so you can see your target, but don't hesitate too long. If this was a hunt, you'd need to be accurate but quick. Could be Sammy you'd be protectin'." Dean watched the deer come into sight, the big buck's head lowered as it nipped at tufts of spring grass peeking through last year's dead leaves. Dean's eyelashes bunched into dark peaks as the steady misting rain gathered on them. He blinked and watched the big animal turn broadside, lifting it's head briefly and scenting the air. John remained still while Dean cautiously sighted in the gun. The big buck saw the movement and took off, crashing through the underbrush. "Go after it Dean. You can't let it get away!"
Dean took off after the big buck, following the sign of it's passing, darting around broken, still waving branches. He turned the bend on the deer's trail and snagged his boot on an exposed root, the gun flying from his hands as the big buck turned and snorted, it's twelve point rack menacing with it's nearly twenty inch spread. Dean stopped short, scrambling to maintain his upset balance. Sam stepped out from behind a tree and snapped up the fallen gun, firing a shot before Dean realized he was there. The buck jumped, staggered once and fell. John broke through the trees, stopping short at the sight before him.
"Sam?" he said, wondering how his almost eight year old got in the middle of the forest and wondering how he got his small hands on Dean's gun and felled a twelve point buck with one shot.
"Dad, the deer took Dean's gun!"
John pulled the gun from Sam's hand and tucked it into his waistband before clutching his youngest by his upper arms, shaking him slightly. "Sammy, what the hell are you doing here? Thought I left you at Bobby's."
"I needed to find you and Dean." Sam said, his lower lip trembling. Frightened tears mixed with rain water slid down his face.
"It's okay. It's okay. Now, how'd ya get here Sammy?"
"I woke up, an' the big black car was outside." John looked at his youngest. Some damn stranger is always around my boy and now they think everything is out to hurt 'em. Bang up job as a daddy, Winchester.
"Alright. We're goin' home." John let Dean keep an eye on Sam and he looped a coil of rope around the big buck's head at the base of it's horns, slinging the rope over his shoulder and hauling it's head up off the ground so that the tines of the antlers didn't dig into the dirt. He dragged the deer back to the trail head and the waiting truck that he'd borrowed from Bobby. The deer went in the bed and the boys in the cab and John headed back to his friend's salvage yard and the newest in a long line of temporary homes.
Dean led Sam inside, with his father's words, "Go wash up, boys." following him in the door. Bobby looked up from the old book at the table when John came inside. "Got a twelve point on the truck Bobby. It…"
"John," Bobby interrupted his friend, "go see Silas."
"Take the boys. I'll handle the deer." John nodded.
John herded the boys into the Impala and headed off to Silas' house. When he parked in the drive Silas opened the door and motioned to him. Dean hung back with Sam while John stepped up to the man.
"Silas?" John questioned as the other man stared at Sam. The youngest Winchester scooted slightly behind his brother as he locked blue-greens with Silas' odd, milky blue eyes.
"I want to speak with Sam again. He's special John. You have no idea how." He said, not removing his gaze from the child.
"Sam." John barked.
"Sir?" Sam asked timidly.
"Silas wants to speak with you, son." Sam stepped from behind Dean and stopped short.
"It's alright Sam." Silas said, approaching Sam. He put a hand comfortingly on Sam's shoulder. "Come on. I have cookies and milk."
"Dean, let's go on a supply run. Sammy, we'll be back in an hour."
The hour passed quickly and as John made the turn down the street to Silas' house, the black Seville passed the Impala. John glanced at the car in the rearview and stomped on the gas. Slamming the brakes seconds later, he spun the wheel and the car skidded into Silas' driveway.
"Sam?" John asked quickly, getting out of the car. "Why are ya out here, kiddo?"
"I talked with Mr. Silas for a while. He looked tired so I told him I'd wait for you out here."
"Stay here, boys." John's fingers closed on his gun where it was tucked in his waistband.
John went inside and found his friend in pieces, scattered around his kitchen. John stopped and stared at the gore, the words "kill him" scrawled in blood across the cabinets over the range. John swallowed down a curse and left the house.
A cold wind came out of the trees, the clacking of branches becoming a steadily increasing cacophony of sound as it blew swirling leaves around them as if to fend them off. Sam's hair blew across his face as he and Dean exchanged worried glances, fingers automatically tightening around the triggers of their shotguns.
"I don't like this!" Sam said loudly, the wind whipping the words away as soon as they left his lips.
"Yeah, no kiddin'!" Dean cried, echoing his sentiment. Dean lifted his shotgun higher when the wind began to moan, fog seeping in around their ankles. A serpentine hiss accompanied the swirling fog. The hiss morphed slightly, gaining rhythm and forming words that seemed to hurt Sam's head. His vision doubled and his shotgun wavered. Dean saw him and stepped closer. "Sam?"
Sam held up a hand, stilling Dean, and straightened when movement from the darkness, a slightly lighter shadow in the gloom, caught his eye. He raised the shotgun, the reedy whispers and hissing growing in intensity as the shadow loomed closer.
The wind buffeted them, pushing their pant legs tight against their shins. Dean shielded his eyes against the stinging gale, training his shotgun on the shadow. The shadow moved, staggering out of the darkness of the forest. Dean stepped in front of Sam, his shoulders back, automatically moving to shield his little brother from the unknown. The shotgun followed every movement of what Dean could now see was a man dressed in khaki pants and a rumpled white shirt, matching the rough description of the last victim.
Sam touched Dean's arm. "Dude, it's the last vic." Sam peered into the dimness to look the man over. "Hey buddy, ya alright?" He called, garnering no response from the man still making his way towards the brothers. The man's shaking hands moved up to cover his face as he moved drunkenly towards them. Dean stepped forward and raised a hand, the grip on the shotgun relaxing as it lowered slightly. He reached out to steady the man as he lurched into arm's reach.
"Drift we to the dead." The man muttered, his hands muffling his words, voice a raspy sound in the night, so low the sighing wind nearly drowned it out completely.
"What?" Dean asked.
The man dropped his hands, moonlight coming from behind the clouds illuminating his features. Black streaks like blood poisoning marched across his face and disappeared like pathways into his eyes. "Drift we to the dark!" the man snarled, lunging at Dean. Sam shoved his brother aside, the man's outstretched hand gripping his forearm in a painful, clawing grasp. Sam hissed as the stranger's bony fingers tore through his shirt. Sam's arm burned as the man spoke again, the flesh of his hand discolored by a black mass that seemed to crawl under his skin. The man yanked on Sam's arm and brought them face to face with punishing strength. His eyes bored into Sam's, the pupils dark voids surrounded by the once blue, taken over by black swirling streaks and bloody whites.
"Drift we to the dark!" The man screamed, his eyes shining a deep obsidian before slowly turning to a steaming, gooey mass leaking down over his cheeks. The stranger's vice like grip tightened and spasmed, clawed fingers digging deep and causing an acid like burn to course through Sam's veins. His ears began to ring and his vision grayed out at the edges. The man's reedy, hissing cry died off, his hand releasing it's grip before the lifeless body slumped to the ground, skin turning gray and withering before Dean's eyes. Sam gasped for breath, his legs folding beneath him. He followed the corpse to the ground, swaying on knees that seemed to be made of rubber.
"Sammy!" Dean cried, following Sam down. He gripped Sam's chin and lifted his head, the flashlight panning over his features. Sam cried out, closing his eyes and pulling his abused arm to his chest. He breathed raggedly. "What the hell was that?"
"Jus'… gimme a m-minute." Sam tried, still hugging his arm and panting for breath.
"Look at me." Dean said, tipping Sam's head up. "Hey, look at me."
Sam opened his eyes and looked at his brother, forcing his breathing to calm. "'m alright."
Sam nodded and swallowed when his vision grayed. "Yeah. Help me up."
Dean pulled Sam to his feet and looped an arm around his shoulders. Just in case. Sam looked down at the dried out husk that was the last man to disappear. It didn't even look human. "What the hell happened to him?" Sam questioned.
"Dunno. Sure as hell don't like that the last thing he did was touch you before he screamed and his eyes melted out of his head." Dean shivered in disgust. "'M gonna get you back to the car and come back here for a little salt an' burn action."
"He's got a wife and twins looking for him, Dean."
"They aren't gonna want to see that."
Sam looked down again, seeing the shell of the man. Dean's voice receded to a buzzing in the back of Sam's mind. His arm throbbed and burned and he pulled it tight across his middle, hooking his thumb over his belt buckle. Dean tugged on Sam's jacket, settling his arm more securely across his own shoulders before heading back to the car. Dean opened the passenger door and settled Sam inside. "You sure you're alright?"
No answer came from Sam. "Sammy?"
"Yeah. I'm okay. Go take care of the vic. Jus'…be careful."
Sam leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes when he heard the trunk lid close and Dean's footsteps move away from the car. He opened his eyes and looked down at his burning arm. Lifting a shaking hand to part the torn fabric of his jacket and shirt, his eyes widened when he saw a darkening bruise in the shape of a hand print on his forearm several inches below his elbow.
His stomach lurched as the mark on his arm seemed to throb in time with his heartbeat. He watched the redness on his arm as the flesh swelled and bruises deepened slightly.
Sam dropped his hold on the fabric and straightened in the seat when the driver's door opened with it's familiar squeak, Dean sliding behind the wheel.
"That was fast." Sam said, clearing his throat and forcing his hammering heart to beat normally.
"Dude went up like paper." Dean responded quietly. He fired the Impala's engine and pulled out onto the road, heading towards the nearest town and a motel. "I wanna call Bobby in on this and see if we can figure out what freaky supernatural crap we're up against now."
So there was chapter one. Please let me know I'm doing okay.